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The Myth: The .223 is too Light for Deer
Jul 11th, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

The Myth
The .223 is too light for deer.

The Facts
I read somewhere that today’s premium bullets represent the greatest advance in big game hunting technology since the widespread use of the optical sight, and I agree 100 percent. Many of the myths that we face today are the product of outdated truth—what your grandfather or Elmer Keith said 50 years ago may not be true today. The fact is that today’s premium bullets penetrate deeper, expand more reliably and stay together better than ever before. This has been a game-changer for small calibers (note the resurgence in the .243 Winchester). It’s not that the laws of physics or reason no longer apply, but the fact is that bullet technology has readjusted the scale of which calibers are appropriate for what game. Thanks to these advances, .224 caliber bullets are no longer designed with either varmints or Soviet infantry in-mind. Let’s take a look at factory ammo.

Federal Premium alone lists four factory loads appropriate for deer-sized game, I’m not talking FMJ behind the ear appropriate either—these are legitimate, put-it-on-the-shoulder big game bullets. All of these bullets should shoot well without the need of the fast-twist barrels necessary for the longer, heavier (and excellent) .224 bullets on the market. I’ve personally used three of these bullets in various loads on management whitetails and a truckload of feral hogs—none of them lived to tell about it.

I asked around for some opinions based on more than anecdotal experience. As always, I found a public relations professional willing to answer some questions.

“We would agree that there are adequate loads/bullets for humanely taking deer with the .223,” said Tim Brandt, Federal Premium Public Relations Manager. “We have several .223 loads featuring a couple different bullet options that are designed especially for hunting. Our Fusion line is great example. We see excellent weight retention, expansion and penetration from this bullet in the .223 platform. Hunters that live in areas where it’s legal to use this caliber should have no problem finding an effective load to take into the deer stand.”

Tim also included the following test data, which shows that the average Fusion bullet penetrated nearly 15 inches of gelatin and expanded to .54 caliber. Most of a bullet’s expansion happens within the first inch or so of penetration which means that the Fusion load effectively sends a .54 caliber ball through the vitals of its intended target. I observed recent tests of the DoubleTap load with similar results.

Gelletin

Federal Fusion Rem. bullet fired into 10 percent ballistic gelatin at 100 yards (bullet expanded and penetrated to 15 inches)

Bullet

Five Federal Fusion .223 Rem. bullet expansions shot into 10 percent bare gelatin

One of NRA’s contracted experts, Richard Mann, helped develop the Bullet Test tube. (It’s slightly harder material than the gelatin used in Federal’s test.) Mann tested Federal’s loads in it and on deer, and here’s what he found:

“The .223 Remington is a suitable cartridge for hunting deer, within its limitation. This cartridge relies on velocity to drive the lightweight bullets deep. This same velocity contributes to tissue damage. The key to using a .223 Remington on deer is to keep impact velocities high. In other words don’t shoot deer much beyond 150 yards. Past that distance, the velocity drops below the level needed for dynamic bullet expansion. When robustly constructed bullets like the Barnes TSX, Nosler Partition and Fusion are used inside 150 yards, penetration with the .223 Remington is on par with cartridges like the .243 and the .30-30 Winchester.”

Ok, so we heard from the nerds in the lab coats, what do the guys that shoot deer for a living think? My friend John Shaw has killed more deer than anyone I know—he’s managed an exotic game farm, worked on a Texas whitetail ranch, passionately hunts whitetail in numerous states using the .224 and .22-250. He has also culled scores of does for meat, depredation, and management purposes. John has this to say:

“I rely on my 22 centerfires more so than any other caliber. Low recoil and the typical pinpoint accuracy found in rifles of .224 caliber allow for careful shot placement. If you treat hunting with your .223 much like bow hunting and wait for the perfect shot, there is no reason that this caliber should not be considered for many applications. However, bullet choice is a major factor. Shots to the central nervous system with any type of bullet will work but I recommend premium, controlled expansion bullets, such as Barnes Triple Shocks, Nosler Partitions, and Trophy Bonded Bear Claws. Typically, I keep shots under 200 yards but animals hit in the shoulder, heart, and lung region with a quality bullet expire quickly.”

The Conclusion
I’m not saying the .223 is the perfect whitetail bullet, I wouldn’t pack it on a trophy hunt or where long shots were likely but, with the right bullet, it is a legitimate choice for some big game animals. With big game bullets ranging in weight from 55gr. to 70gr., it’s versatile at a range of velocities.

Long Range Load Development
Jul 9th, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

This article was posted on Sierra’s Facebook page. We found it to be very interesting; so much so that we thought it was worth to be posted in our blog as well. To all the precision long range loaders and the aspiring ones as well, enjoy it. We know that some of us will try this method out.

Long Range Load Development

Written by Sierra Bullets Product Development Manager Mark Walker

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Since I just put a new barrel on my F-class rifle this spring, I figured it might be a good time to discuss load tuning for long range shooting. Getting the most accuracy out of your rifle is one of the most important aspects of load tuning. For long range shooting in particular, using a load that produces the least amount of vertical variation is vital. There are several steps to the process that I use, so I will go through the basics of each. When I first get a new barrel installed, I like to determine what the loaded cartridge “jam” length is. I do this by taking an empty case (no powder or primer) that has been neck sized with the proper bushing (I like to shoot for 0.002 smaller than the loaded cartridge neck diameter) and seat a bullet long in it so that the throat of the rifle will move the bullet back into the case when I close the bolt. I close the bolt several times until the bullet stops moving back into the case at which point I use a comparator with my calipers and get a length measurement on the cartridge. This is what I consider to be the “jam length” for this barrel and chamber. I came up with 3.477 as the “jam length” for this particular barrel. Next, I will fire form some brass using a starting load of powder and bullets seated to “jam” while breaking in the barrel. My barrel break in process is not very technical; it’s mostly just to get the brass formed and the rifle sighted in. I do clean every 5 rounds or so just because I feel like I have to. Once I have the brass formed, I use them to load for a “ladder “ test to see what powder charge the rifle likes. With a ladder test, you take your starting load and load one round each with a slightly increasing amount of powder until you reach your max load for that cartridge. You then fire each round using the same aiming point to see where the bullets start to form a group. For this barrel and cartridge, I started at 53.3 grains of H4831SC powder and increased the load by 0.3 grains until I reached 55.7 grains. I always seat my bullets to “jam” when doing a ladder test. We will determine the final seating depth in another test later. It’s usually best to shoot this test at a minimum of 200 yards because at closer ranges the bullets will impact too close together making it hard to determine which load works best. I shot this test at 300 yards.

walker2072-copy

 

As you can see from the target, the lightest load #1 had the lowest velocity and impacted lowest on the target. Shots #2 and #3 were a little higher and in the same hole. Shots #4 thru #6 were slightly higher yet and all had the same elevation. Shots #7 and #8 were the highest on the target however pressure signs were starting to show. For some reason shot #9 went back into the group and the chronograph didn’t get a reading so I ignored that shot. When picking a load, I am looking for the most shots at the same vertical location on the target. As you can see that would be shots #4 through #6 so I would pick a powder charge from those shots which would be 54.2 grains to 54.8 grains. As a side note, shots #2 and #3 are only 0.851 lower so I wouldn’t be afraid of using one of those loads either. I settled on 54.5 grains as the load I wanted to use. It’s right in the middle of the group so if the velocity goes up or down slightly, the bullet should still hit in the same place on the target. Now that we’ve settled on a powder charge, I want to find the seating depth the rifle likes. I usually start at jam length and move the depth in 0.003 until I get to 0.015 deeper than jam. I load 3 rounds at each depth using the 54.5 grain powder charge and shoot a group with each depth at 150 yards. As you can see from the target, the first two groups are not good at all. Next one looks good and is the smallest group on the target. The next three are not quite as small but the vertical location on the target is almost the same which indicates a sweet spot which will help keep the vertical stringing to a minimum on target. I went with 3.470 which is right in the middle once again and should give some flexibility with the seating depth.

walker3074a

 

So after all of that, my load is 54.5 grains of H4831SC and a cartridge length of 3.470. I plan on loading up enough ammo to shoot five groups of five shots and see exactly how this load works on target as well as what the extreme velocity spreads are over several groups. I sincerely hope some of this information helps you to get the best accuracy out of your rifle. I do not take credit for coming up with any of this, a whole lot of good shooters use this same method or a variant of it when working up their loads. For more information about load development, please contact the Sierra Bullets technical support team at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Disclaimer: Load data represented here may not be safe in your rifle.

 

Cartridge Crimp Styles and Uses
Jul 4th, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

Cartridge Crimp Styles and Uses

Lee 3-die set with taper crimp die.

Crimping, that final stage of handgun cartridge assembly. Whether done as a separate operation, or as a part of the bullet seating process, one simple fact remains – it must be done.

There are two distinct types of cartridge crimps: Roll crimping and taper crimping.

In the handgun world, it is a pretty clear distinction. Roll crimping is best used on the revolver cartridges, and taper crimping is the way to go for semi-automatic pistol cartridges. Here’s the why.

Cartridges designed for use in a revolver use some sort of a rim to properly headspace the case in the cylinder. Think .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 Colt, .44 Remington Magnum. This guaranteed headspacing allows the reloader to “roll” the case mouth around the cannelure of the bullet, ensuring that the bullet will not move during recoil. This also gives us a consistent overall length if you roll crimp on the cannelure.

I will note that a roll crimp should only be used with bullets that have a cannelure; if you try to roll crimp on a bullet without one, you risk bulging the case mouth, and it will not fit properly in the cylinder. We’ll get back to how to crimp a bullet with no cannelure for revolver use in a second.

The bullet seating die for most pistol cartridges can be adjusted to give a good, solid roll crimp. Read the die set instruction carefully, and follow the directions. It may take a few tries to get the proper crimp, and I usually make a dummy round, with no powder or primer, to use as a guide should the die come out of adjustment.

Those cartridges that work well in the semi-automatic pistols can’t be roll crimped, because those cartridges headspace on the case mouth rather than a rim, which most lack. You see, rimmed cartridges (generally speaking) don’t feed well from a pistol magazine, so the autoloaders usually employ a rimless design. Think .45 ACP, 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, .380 Automatic.

The rimless design needs to headspace on something other than the rim, of which there is none, and the lack of a shoulder (as in a rifle cartridge) leaves only the case mouth. If we were to roll crimp, we would compromise the squared case mouth for headspacing. Yet, we still need to hold the bullet firmly in the case.

40 Smith & Wesson ammo needs to be taper cripmed.

This is where the taper crimp method comes into play. It squeezes the sides of the case wall tightly against the bullet, and effectively prevents the bullet from moving, while maintaining the nice square case mouth that allows the cartridge to headspace.

A taper crimp can solve the problem I previously mentioned, where revolver cases use a bullet with no cannelure, yet need to be crimped. No bulged cases, no mess. Taper crimp and fire away!

Most companies that make quality reloading dies will have a taper crimp die available for purchase. If you’re serious about your pistol’s performance, I highly suggest you invest in one.

Stay crimpy, my friends.

 

Berger Article on COAL and Cartridge Base-to-Ogive – Part 2
Jul 2nd, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

Berger Article on COAL and Cartridge Base-to-Ogive – Part 2

litzcoal03Effects Of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) And Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 2

by Bryan Litz for Berger Bullets.

Part One of this series focused on the importance of COAL in terms of SAAMI standards, magazine lengths, seating depths, and pressure levels. Another measure of length for loaded ammunition is highly important to precision, namely Cartridge Base to Bullet Ogive Length (CBTO).

 

Figure 2. Chamber throat geometry showing the bullet jump to the rifling or lands.

litzcoal02

Figure 2

Look at Figure 2. Suppose the bullet was seated out of the case to the point where the base of the bullet’s nose (ogive) just contacted the beginning of the riflings (the lands) when the bolt was closed. This bullet seating configuration is referred to as touching the lands, or touching the riflings and is a very important measurement to understand for precision hand-loading. Due to the complex dynamics of internal ballistics which happen in the blink of an eye, the distance a bullet moves out of the case before it engages the riflings is highly critical to precision potential. Therefore, in order to systematically optimize the precision of his handloads, it’s critically important that the precision hand-loader understands how to alter bullet seating depth in relation to the barrel rifling. Part of the required knowledge is understanding how to accurately and repeatably measure the Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) dimension. This is explained in the FULL ARTICLE.

Bryan Litz offers an extended discussion on how to measure CBTO using different tools and methods, including the Hornady OAL gauge. You can read this discussion in the full article found on the Berger Bullets website. CLICK HERE to Read Full Article.

Why Not Use CBTO as a SAAMI Standard?

If CBTO is so important to rifle accuracy, you might ask, “Why is it not listed as the SAAMI spec standard in addition to COAL?” There is one primary reason why it is not listed in the standard. This is the lack of uniformity in bullet nose shapes and measuring devices used to determine CBTO.

Figure 4. Two different bullet shapes, seated to the same CBTO length, but different COAL. Note the shiny scratches on the bullets made by the comparator tool which indicates a point on the bullet ogive near where the ogive will engage the riflings.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Benefits of Having a Uniform CBTO
There is another aspect to knowing your CBTO when checking your COAL as it pertains to performance. With good bullets, tooling, and carefully-prepared cases you can easily achieve a CBTO that varies less than +/- .001″ but your COAL can vary as much as .025″ extreme spread (or more with other brands). This is not necessarily bad and it is much better than the other way around. If you have a CBTO dimension that varies but your COAL dimension is tight (within +/- .002″) then it is most likely that your bullet is bottoming out inside the seater cone on the bullet tip. This is very bad and is to be avoided. It is normal for bullets to have precisely the same nose shape and it is also normal for these same bullets to have nose lengths that can vary as much as .025″.

Summary of Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) Discussion
Here are four important considerations regarding bullet seating depth as it relates to CBTO:1. CBTO is a critical measurement to understand for handloaders because it’s directly related to precision potential, and you control it by simply setting bullet seating depth.

2. Tools and methods for measuring CBTO vary. Most of the measurement techniques have pitfalls (which may give rise to inconsistent results) that you should understand before starting out.

3. A CBTO that produces the best precision in your rifle may not produce the best precision in someone else’s rifle. Even if you have the same rifle, same bullets, same model of comparator gauges, etc. It’s possible that the gauges are not actually the same, and measurements from one don’t translate to the same dimension for another.

4. Once you find the CBTO that produces the best precision in your rifle, it’s important to allow minimal variation in that dimension when producing quality handloads. This is achieved by using quality bullets, tooling, and properly preparing case mouths and necks for consistent seating.

Effects of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 1
Jul 1st, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

We found this article in the Berger Bullets website; it is an interesting and informative piece for reloaders seeking to improve accuracy. Remember that safety is achieved with knowledge.

 

Effects of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 1

Many shooters are not aware of the dramatic effects that bullet seating depth can have on the pressure and velocity generated by a rifle cartridge.  COAL is also a variable that can be used to fine tune accuracy.  It’s also an important consideration for rifles that need to feed rounds thru a magazine.  In this article, we’ll explore the various effects of COAL, and what choices a shooter can make to maximize the effectiveness of their hand loads.


Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI)

Most loading manuals (including the Berger Manual), present loading data according to SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) standards.  SAAMI provides max pressure, COAL and many other specifications for commercial cartridges so that rifle makers, ammo makers, and hand loaders can standardize their products so they all work together.  As we’ll see later in this article, these SAAMI standards are in many cases outdated and can dramatically restrict the performance potential of a cartridge.

Bullet seating depth is an important variable in the accuracy equation.  In many cases, the SAAMI specified COAL is shorter than what a hand loader wants to load their rounds to for accuracy purposes.  In the case where a hand loader seats the bullets longer than SAAMI specified COAL, there are some internal ballistic effects that take place which are important to understand. 

 

Effects of Seating Depth / COAL on Pressure and Velocity

Figure 1. When the bullet is seated farther out of the case, there is more volume available for powder. This enables the cartridge to generate higher muzzle velocity with the same pressure.

Figure 1. When the bullet is seated farther out of the case, there is more volume available for powder. This enables the cartridge to generate higher muzzle velocity with the same pressure.

The primary effect of loading a cartridge long is that it leaves more internal volume inside the cartridge.  This extra internal volume has a well known effect; for a given powder charge, there will be less pressure and less velocity produced because of the extra empty space.  Another way to look at this is you have to use more powder to achieve the same pressure and velocity when the bullet is seated out long.  In fact, the extra powder you can add to a cartridge with the bullet seated long will allow you to achieve greater velocity at the same pressure than a cartridge with a bullet seated short.

When you think about it, it makes good sense. After all, when you seat the bullet out longer and leave more internal case volume for powder, you’re effectively making the cartridge into a bigger cartridge by increasing the size of the combustion chamber. Figure 1 illustrates the extra volume that’s available for powder when the bullet is seated out long.

Before concluding that it’s a good idea to start seating your bullets longer than SAAMI spec length, there are a few things to consider.

Geometry of a Chamber Throat

The chamber in a rifle will have a certain throat length which will dictate how long a bullet can be loaded. The throat is the forward portion of the chamber that has no rifling. The portion of the bullet’s bearing surface that projects out of the case occupies the throat (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Chamber throat geometry showing the bullet jump to the rifling or lands.

Figure 2. Chamber throat geometry showing the bullet jump to the rifling or lands.

The length of the throat determines how much of the bullet can stick out of the case. When a cartridge is chambered and the bullet encounters the beginning of the rifling, known as the lands, it’s met with hard resistance. This COAL marks the maximum length that a bullet can be seated. When a bullet is seated out to contact the lands, its initial forward motion during ignition is immediately resisted by an engraving force.

Seating a bullet against the lands causes pressures to be elevated noticeably higher than if the bullet were seated just a few thousandths of an inch off the lands.

A very common practice in precision reloading is to establish the COAL for a bullet that’s seated to touch the lands. This is a reference length that the hand loader works from when searching for the optimal seating depth for precision. Many times, the best seating depth is with the bullet touching or very near the lands. However, in some rifles, the best seating depth might be 0.100″ or more off the lands. This is simply a variable the hand loader uses to tune the precision of a rifle.

Figure 3. Illustration of a bullet being seated out of the case too far to feed thru a magazine.

Figure 3. Illustration of a bullet being seated out of the case too far to feed thru a magazine.

Considerations for Magazine Feeding

When a hand loader is working to establish a seating depth to use with a particular bullet, he must decide if he needs the cartridges to feed thru a magazine or not.  If the shooting application is hunting or tactical shooting, then the shooter probably needs the rounds to cycle thru the magazine so the rifle can be used as a repeater.  However, in many slow fire target shooting applications, it’s not necessary to magazine feed the cartridges.

Often times when a shooter doesn’t need to feed rounds thru a magazine, the shooter can take advantage of substantial performance improvements by loading the bullets out long.  This brings up an important reality of seating depth and COAL.

 

SAAMI COAL Limits Ballistic Performance

It is a fact that the ballistic performance of modern ammunition is directly limited by the SAAMI COAL standards that are currently in place and that rifle manufacturers build to.  Even when a shooter understands the implications of cartridge case volume and has a chamber that allows them to load the rounds out long, the rifle itself (having been built to feed SAAMI length cartridges) won’t allow the shooter to do so.

This fact is one reason for the popularity of custom rifle builders who understand the importance of feeding longer than SAAMI length rounds and building rifles with long enough actions and magazines to cycle the rounds.  The first commercial rifle manufacturers who figure this out and start building rifles capable of feeding longer rounds will lead the way into modern times.  There have been many improvements to several key components of modern rifle ammunition, specifically bullets and powder.  It’s unfortunate that many rifle makers continue to adhere to the antiquated SAAMI limitations that were put in place so long ago when components were so different, standards which limit the performance of modern potential.

 Summary of COAL discussion

To recap the important considerations regarding bullet seating depth as it relates to COAL, we can say:

–  Seating a long bullet to the restrictive SAAMI COAL can severely decrease the internal volume of the cartridge which will limit the max velocity the cartridge can achieve.

–  If magazine feeding is not a requirement (or if you have a longer than standard magazine) you can load your bullets long, which increases the volume for powder and allows you to use more powder and achieve faster MV for the same pressure.

–  If you load the bullet too long and it encounters the lands, this can elevate pressure due to the engraving force resisting the bullets’ initial forward motion.

 

The second half of this article will discuss the differences between Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO), and why a working knowledge of both is beneficial to shooters and reloaders.

Bryan Litz

Guns, Bathrooms, and Legal Consequences
Jun 29th, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

By Dean Weingarten

Guns, Bathrooms, Legal Consequences

 
Dean-Weingarten

Dean-Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- One of the most legally dangerous places to carry a handgun is in the bathroom.   It may not be as legally dangerous as an airport, but it ranks high on the list for the same reason: it creates an environment where it is easy to make a legally dangerous mistake.

A church going lady in Wisconsin found this out in March.   She will recover from the error, but it has already cost her significant time, money, and stress.   From jsonline.com:

Susan Hitchler, 66, was charged in April with negligent handling of a weapon, a misdemeanor. The complaint indicated that on March 19 she had left her handgun in a stall of the women’s restroom at Elmbrook Church. A church employee found the gun within a few minutes and turned it over to security.

At a hearing late last week, Circuit Judge Lloyd V. Carter ruled on a defense motion to dismiss the case based on a lack of evidence that a crime had been committed. The motion had been argued in May.

The most common way for people to carry concealed handguns is attached to the belt or waist band in some way.    When people use a stall in a bathroom, the handgun becomes an impediment.   I can imagine the nodding of heads of those who have carried.   Nearly everyone has encountered this problem in one way or another.   Undo the belt, and the handgun is no longer supported.  If you place the handgun on the floor, even if it is still in the holster, it may be seen from outside the stall.   Some solve this dilemma by discreetly covering the holster and handgun inside the clothes at their feet.  Others detach the holstered gun and place it out of sight behind the toilet or on top the toilet paper dispenser.

Worse, some unholster the handgun and place it in a “convenient” spot. That is not a good idea.   From tampabay.com, a detective left his firearm:

There, perched atop a toilet paper dispenser inside a busy bathroom inside a busy movie theater, he discovered the loaded Glock 26, a small semiautomatic weapon.

One from the Missouri Capitol:

Dave Evans, legislative assistant to Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, left a loaded 9mm pistol in a stall at Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri

One that involves an airport bathroom :

The weapon, a .380-caliber pistol in a black case, was found by a custodian in the restroom near the security checkpoint about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Peoria County Sheriff’s Office report on the incident.

In Michigan, a security guard:

An armed school security officer hired in response to the Newtown shootings forgot to take his gun with him when he left the bathroom. 

The unloaded handgun was unattended in the restroom “for a few moments,” Matt Young, director of The Chatfield School in Lapeer, Mich., told Michigan Live in a statement.

The problem is one of human nature. Humans are fallible. We all make mistakes. If you detach your handgun, distractions can occur at exactly the wrong instance, overriding your awareness of your handgun’s location with something that seems more important. In that critical instant, the handgun is left in the bathroom. That error can come with considerable legal consequences. You will survive, but your pocketbook, reputation, and your constitutional right to own and carry guns may not.

Most people discover the error very quickly. I surmise that in the vast majority of cases, the handgun is retrieved without any ill effects. It is those few cases where someone else finds the firearm and reports it to the police, that consequences start spiraling out of control.

Those consequences are considerably less severe than if you manage to fumble the handgun and have a negligent discharge in the process. Here is one from Tampa:

Bliss was sitting on the toilet in a hotel bathroom when a woman in the next stall accidentally let her handgun slip out of her waist holster. The weapon discharged when it hit the ground.

It can happen. There are almost no modern handguns that will discharge when dropped. If someone grabs for them as they are falling, and contacts the trigger… that is another scenario. It is a good reason to have some form of retention device on the holster, and to keep the handgun in the holster when you are in the bathroom. If you keep the holster on your belt or waistband, you are fairly well assured of not leaving the firearm behind.

Alternatives to belt or waistband carry offer other challenges and possibilities. It is possible, if the person is carrying the firearm in a pocket, to have the gun slip out, unnoticed, as the clothes are rearranged. This is not common, but we are talking about rare events. While fannypacks may not be fashionable, they offer a fairly secure and easy way to carry concealed handguns. In the bathroom stall, it is usually necessary to detach the fannypack. The handgun remains concealed, but the possibility of leaving the fannypack is ever present. One retired officer that I know hangs the fannypack on the door coat hook to keep it in sight. It can be placed on top of lowered clothes. The same concerns apply to purses, briefcases, and non-traditional methods such as camera cases or tablet cases. Shoulder holsters offer a different approach that helps keep the firearm secure. If you remember the detective on “Barney Miller” that was always going to the bathroom, there was a reason that he used a shoulder holster. Leaving guns in bathrooms seems to be exclusive to concealed carry.

I have not heard of any handguns that were left in bathrooms where the gun was openly carried. Guns carried openly tend to be better secured to belts, be in retention holsters, and are usually larger and not as easily misplaced.

I have not found any cases of handguns left in bathrooms that were stolen and used in crimes, but it could happen.

To sum up: in the bathroom, be sure to maintain control of the firearm when undoing belts or clothes.

Do not inadvertently display the gun to others who might view it from outside the stall. Do not remove your gun from the holster and set it down; do not remove your holster from your belt or waistband and set it down; if using a fannypack, purse, or other detachable container, keep it in sight. Check the security of your gun when you rearrange your clothes; check the bathroom to make sure you have not left personal possessions when you leave. Consider shoulder holsters, they might work for your needs. Do not be the next person on the national news who left a gun in a public bathroom.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

What the Supreme Court still doesn’t understand about guns
Jun 26th, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

What the Supreme Court still doesn’t understand about guns

RTR3FBOA.jpg

A detail of the United States Supreme Court is seen at dawn in Washington.Reuters

In what’s being hailed by many as a victory for gun-control advocates, the recent Supreme Court decision on “straw” purchases of guns has completely muddled the whole issue of background checks and “straw” purchases for potential gun owners.

The court ruled 5-4 that, as The Hill.com put it, “one legal gun owner may not acquire a firearm on behalf of another — a practice known as “straw” purchasing.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Abramski v. United States merely confirmed a horrible injustice, with no understanding of how gun tracing works, and without producing any increased safety for Americans.

The case heard by the high court involved a Virginia police officer, Bruce Abramski, who bought a gun, a Glock 19 handgun, for his uncle. The police officer, who could get a discount on guns, bought the gun in Virginia. He then transferred it to his uncle, who lived in Pennsylvania, through a second licensed dealer in the state. 

The Obama administration successfully prosecuted Abramski for two felonies. The Justice Department said that the same federal background check form where Abramski indicated that he wasn’t a straw purchaser involved perjury as well as for providing false information to the gun dealer who sold the gun.

The five Justices who supported Obama’s prosecution, claimed: “That information helps to fight serious crime. When police officers retrieve a gun at a crime scene, they can trace it to the buyer and consider him as a suspect.”

But there are two big problems with their claim. Abramski transferred the gun not to some ordinary individual, but through a federally licensed dealer in Pennsylvania. If the gun were to ever be involved in a crime, it could have been tracked back to the Pennsylvania dealer. There was no cover-up here. Instead there was transparency. The government would see that Abramski’s uncle was the last person to possess the gun. 

There was no intent of deceiving anyone. Nor did the exchange make it so the government couldn’t trace the firearm. Abramski’s motive was simply to get his uncle a discount on a gun.

Moreover, there is actually no public safety argument, as registration doesn’t actually solve crimes. The reality of registration doesn’t work the way the Justices think that it does. Crime guns are very rarely left at the crime scene, and when they are left at the scene, they have not been registered — criminals are not stupid enough to leave behind a gun that’s registered to themselves. In the few cases where registered crime guns are left at the scene, the criminal has been seriously injured or killed. That means, the crimes would have been solved anyway even without registration.

Hawaii has required registration and licensing for over 50 years. Nevertheless, the police have yet to point to any crimes actually solved using registration to trace the guns. But in 2000, it was taking about 50,000 hours of police time in just Honolulu to register and license guns, time that could have been used to put police on the street to solve crimes in ways that we know work. Other places with registration in the U.S. have seen similar wastes of time.

The experience in Canada is similar: there is simply no evidence that the handgun registry, started in 1934, has been important in solving a single homicide.

However, Justice Kagan’s opinion in Abramski v. United States only creates confusion. While she acknowledged that Mr. Abramski is allowed to buy a gift, she argued that this particular transaction was illegal because the transfer was a “straw” purchase. Abramski did not give a gift because he resold the gun. The problem is that Abramski sold his gun at the below market price, clearly the type of thing that the IRS regularly classifies as a “gift.” 

So what is the message the court is trying to send to Americans who purchase guns? Are gifts OK? Is the issue that Abramski just didn’t give a big enough gift? Are we going to let the Obama Justice Department determine whether something, be it a gun or a book or a sweater, is a gift? Or shall the IRS make that determination? If you were to give your child a house for a dollar, the IRS would classify that as a gift for tax purposes.

Officer Abramski’s life has been ruined. The Supreme Court’s decision in Abramski v. United States merely confirmed a horrible injustice, with no understanding of how gun tracing works, and without producing any increased safety for Americans.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a columnist for FoxNews.com. He is an economist and was formerly chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. Lott is also a leading expert on guns and op-eds on that issue are done in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Research Center. He is the author of eight books including “More Guns, Less Crime.” His latest book is “Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench” Bascom Hill Publishing Group (September 17, 2013). Follow him on Twitter@johnrlottjr.

 

Secrets Of Accuracy
Jun 25th, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

As reloaders we seek the perfect, most accurate round, and we go to the extreme in the peruit of perfection; however, we have to remember that there are many factors that affect accuracy, starting with ourselves as shooters. Our ability to “shoot straight” plays a key role in the final results, no matter how perfect is your equipment.

Human error is an ever present variable very difficult to eliminate. Following good shooting pratices is one way to minimze human error.

 

Secrets Of Accuracy

by Tom Turpin   |  September 23rd, 2010

 
Here’s what it takes to get minute-of-angle accuracy or better in your rifle

When I first started writing for the outdoor magazines some 30 years ago, a rifle that would consistently shoot groups of a minute of angle or better were as scarce as turkey lips. Rifles capable of 1.5-inch groups at 100 yards were considered to be very accurate shooters, and two-inch groups were acceptable to most hunters.

My colleagues who owned such rarities as MOA-capable rifles wrote about them in glowing terms. Many other gunwriters, including the dean of them all, Jack O’Connor, often belittled the stories of super-accurate rifles as occurring far more often in the typewriter than on the range. I can recall writing a piece that I called “The Accuracy Myth” about 25 years ago in which I came to about the same conclusion. I had owned quite a few rifles, and only a handful would consistently deliver MOA-or-better groups.

However, gunmakers–both factory and custom–have learned a lot about accuracy and how to achieve it in the years since. These days, MOA-capable rifles and shooters are not at all uncommon. In fact, several hunting rifles in my present battery will consistently deliver half-minute groups if I do my part.

We still don’t know all the secrets to gilt-edged accuracy; if we did there would be no inaccurate rifles. However, we seem to be closing in on solving the mystery.

There are several major contributors to accuracy in a rifle or lack thereof. The first and probably most important factor has nothing to do with the rifle but rather the ability of the shooter. No matter if the rifle is capable of consistent one-hole groups, if the best the shooter can do is two or three MOA, then that is the best that can be produced at the range.

The second most important factor is the quality of the barrel. After that is the concentricity of the action and the quality of the trigger. Next comes the stock and the bedding of the metal to wood (or fiberglass or laminates). The precision and durability of the sights are very important, and finally, the quality and consistency of the ammunition are critical.

It is pretty easy to discover the ability of the shooter. Simply take a rifle-and-ammo combination of known accuracy, and let the suspect shooter have at it on the range. Either that or get a shooter of demonstrated ability to shoot a questionable rifle. Either way, it will quickly be shown if the shooter or the rifle has the major problem. However, no shooter is capable of producing super-tight groups all the time, so no decision should be made on the results from a single range session.

The largest single variable in the quest for accuracy is the capability of the shooter. Here the author tries out a very accurate Dakota Model 10 chambered for the equally accurate .220 Swift cartridge.
 

If the results from multiple range sessions determine that it is the rifle that has problems, the first and the simplest thing to check is the sights. These days that invariably means a scope and mounts. Make sure all screws are tight and nothing is moving. If they are, I’d even go so far as to swap scopes and mount one of known accuracy. I’ve had new scopes out of the box that wouldn’t hold zero worth a whoop. If the sights are OK, then it’s time to move on to the next step, checking the bedding of the metal to the stock.

BEDDING THE STOCK
There are basically three generally accepted methods of doing the bedding. Properly done, all seem to work well. These methods are full-pressure bedding of the action and barrel, fully free-floating the barrel with a pressure-bedded action and free-floating the barrel with upward pressure at the tip and a pressure-bedded action.

There is also a variation or two, such as pressure-bedding the action and the first three or four inches of the barrel and free-floating the remainder or pressure-bedding the action and the first three or four inches of the barrel, free-floating the rest of the barrel and then using upward pressure at the tip. Each method has its advocates and detractors. I believe the quality of the bedding is more important than the method that is used. By the way, these methods are the same whether the bedding is conventional or bedding pillars are used.

While the average shooter can do some checking to determine if the stock has warped and is bearing on the metal where it shouldn’t, the correction of bedding problems is probably best left to a talented gunsmith. If, on the other hand, the shooter has a shop with the proper tools along with a modicum of wood-working skills, quite a bit of the work can be done at home.

If the stock doesn’t appear to be binding on the metalwork, try torquing the screws that attach the stock to the metal with a consistent pressure. Curt Crum of the David Miller Company told me that he and Miller have found about 55 to 65 inch-pounds work best for them.

If your stock is synthetic you don’t have to worry about warpage, you say. Think again, my friend. Synthetic stocks will move just as wood does. The only difference is the cause of the movement of the different materials. Wood warps and moves as a result of moisture. Synthetics, on the other hand, move as a result of temperature changes. In either case, check the bedding of a problem rifle, regardless of the type of stock on it.

Two very accurate hunting rifles from the shop of the David Miller Company in Tucson, Arizona. At top is a Miller Classic rifle, to my knowledge the most precisely built bolt-action rifle made today. It is also the most expensive that I am aware of. Also shown (above) from the Miller shop is the Marksman rifle. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Classic, but it is about 40 percent as expensive. Both rifles are superbly accurate.
 

TRIGGERS
It is difficult if not impossible to shoot nice, tight groups with a factory trigger out of the box. A good example is a recent acquisition of mine, a Ruger M77 Mark II in 7×57 Mauser. I bought it from Brownells as a barreled action and had the company send it to Randy Boyd of Boyd’s Gunstocks for one of his laminated stocks. Randy and his crew fitted one of their JRS classic stocks to my barreled action. The JRS stock was designed by my colleague and friend Jon R. Sundra.

The stock job was excellent, and the resulting rifle is really spiffy indeed. I could hardly wait to get it on the range. However, as it came from the factory, the trigger was stiff and heavy–I didn’t measure it, but it must have had a minimum of a 10-pound trigg
er pull, possibly more. There is no way I could have shot tight groups with that rifle with its factory trigger.

I’m not picking on Ruger. Just about all factory rifles, regardless of the manufacturer, come from the factory with a “lawyer trigger.” They are set at the factory to satisfy lawyers rather than shooters. These impossibly heavy triggers are a direct result of idiotic product-liability judgments against manufacturers in our court system. Anyway, with a quick trip to one of my favorite gunmsmiths the Ruger trigger problem was solved in short order. Several companies offer aftermarket triggers for the Ruger including Timney, Dayton Traister, Moyers and Spec-Tec. All are available from Brownells.

Ammunition is better today than it has ever been–no question about that. Factory ammo today is loaded with bullets that are more consistent, better constructed for hunting and more accurate than in the past. Cases are stronger and more uniform, and primers are cleaner burning and more consistent than ever. Many powders of different burning rates are available, and given enough time, the right one can be found to match a given rifle and cartridge. The machinery used in making the components and in loading the ammunition with those components is better and more precise than ever.

Thirty or 40 years ago the cause of most of the complaints about various cartridges was almost always a result of the ammunition (usually bullet failure) and not the cartridge itself. If Elmer Keith had used today’s ammo instead of the stuff available during his time, he might have found something smaller than a .33 caliber with a 250-grain bullet adequate for most hunting. He might have even found the .270 Winchester to be an acceptable cartridge.

Factory ammunition is so good today that many hunters who previously handloaded all their ammo no longer do so. They have found that factory fodder is just as accurate as their reloads, perhaps even more so, and that they cannot duplicate factory velocities at safe pressure levels. They are perfectly happy with factory ammo.

Still, to extract every ounce of accuracy that a rifle is capable of, very precise and careful reloading is usually necessary. The key is, of course, consistency. Perhaps discussing how one expert goes about it would be useful.

DAVID MILLER
In addition to producing arguably the finest bolt-action rifle ever made, David Miller is a fanatical hunter. He is also an expert long-range marksman. While some would call it extreme, the way he loads his ammo is a key component to his search for the most accurate tool he can come up with. He starts by running his bullets and brass through an Internal Concentricity Comparator (ICC) from Vern Juenke of The Accuracy Den in Reno, Nevada (775/345-0225). This machine compares each bullet (or case) and registers any variations on a scale readout. Brass and bullets that vary substantially from the others are set aside and either used for something less critical or discarded. The remaining cases are marked and kept together for their useful lives. The bullets are also segregated and remain together until they are shot.

Miller uses nothing but the most precise competition reloading equipment he can buy. He recuts primer pockets and precisely drills all the primer holes to ensure that all are uniform in diameter and depth. The cases are all weighed as well to ensure consistency. Once the cases are prepared, the primers are all uniformly seated to the exact same depth. Each charge is weighed, not measured, again for consistency. Finally, Miller applies molycoating to all his bullets before loading them into the meticulously prepared cases.

Proponents of molycoating cite numerous reasons for the process and sing loud praises for its attributes. Miller believes that the neck tension of the case upon the bullet and the release of the bullet from the case neck is much more consistent when using coated bullets. That makes pretty good sense to me.

WHAT’S NEXT?
You’ve done all that, and your rifle still won’t shoot. Things are getting serious now and much more difficult to correct. If the action was not “blueprinted” in the early stages of building the rifle, it is almost like starting over to attempt it at this stage. The term “blueprinting” merely means that all surfaces are trued and are concentric with the bore. Most gunsmiths true on the barrel threads, and that usually works well. However, David Miller goes one step further. He and his colleague, Curt Crum, true on the raceway, remove the factory threads and cut new ones to ensure concentricity. They surface-grind the action with the exception of the front surface of the recoil lug and the front of the action ring. These two items are trued on a machine lathe after the barrel threads are recut.

Next to the capability of the shooter, the most important factor in accuracy is the barrel. Never skimp on the quality of a barrel if precise accuracy is a requirement. That is easily said, but how does one determine a quality barrel from an ordinary one? Alas, I know of no magic formula that guarantees barrel quality. While not foolproof, price and reputation of the maker are generally the best indicators of quality. Even so, the best of the makers turn out a lousy barrel every now and then.

Unfortunately, it is difficult if not impossible to determine if a barrel is a lemon until it’s fitted to a rifle and taken to the range for a session or two. At that point, fixing a barrel problem is time-consuming and expensive. Not only is replacing the barrel required, but the replacement must be of precisely the same contour and size as the bad one or significant stockwork is also required. However, a rifle with a bad barrel cannot be made to shoot accurately no matter what one does. Replacement is really the only acceptable option.

Unfortunately, unless one is exceptionally talented and experienced, most of the corrective measures I have mentioned are best left to a professional gunsmith. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, the problem cannot be identified and therefore cannot be corrected. The best example of this that I know of is a rifle that I once owned. It was a petite little Husqvarna .270 with a full-length, Mannlicher-type stock. The first shot from a cold barrel would always shoot about 12 inches lower than the second and succeeding shots. After that first shot the remaining shots would group very tightly.

I took the rifle to several talented gunsmiths, but none succeeded in correcting the problem. That left me with the option of zeroing the rifle for the first shot and then holding a foot low on any succeeding shots or zeroing for the group and holding a foot high for the first shot. I chose a much wiser option and sold the rifle. I was totally honest with the buyer and told him up front of the problem. He was unconcerned as he was sure the problem was in the bedding, and he intended to have the rifle custom stocked. He did so, and last I heard the rifle was still doing the same thing. As far as I know he never figured out what the problem was either.

The accuracy of rifles available today has never been better. Many factory rifles out of the box will deliver consistent MOA-or-better groups. The quality of factory ammo has been improved to the point that much of it is better than most handloads. Still, accuracy is an elusive quality that many shoo
ters consistently try to better. There are many things that can and should be done in search of accuracy. If we progress in the next 30 years as much as we have in the past three decades, one-hole groups will not be unusual.

The one variable that is most difficult to control and conquer is the shooter himself. That may continue to be the one uncontrollable factor in our search for accuracy.

Read more: http://www.rifleshootermag.com/2010/09/23/shooting_tips_accuracy_062904/#ixzz35eKSnhE8

Case Trimmers, Cutting Your Brass Down to Size
Jun 23rd, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

Case Trimmers, Cutting Your Brass Down to Size

Using cases more than once means sooner or latter having to reduce their dimensions. That's when case trimmers such as this RCBS Universal Case Prep Trimmer comes into play.

In the reloading world, we are faced with a set of dimensional specifications that are prescribed by SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) and life goes much easier when we adhere to these dimensions.

The brass cartridge case that we use is the only component of the equation that is reusable, and that is because it is constructed of a malleable metal that can be resized and reshaped. Those very attributes of the brass cartridge case that make it a good choice for a reusable material see to it that we must trim that flowing, moldable material as it flows and stretches.

So, how do maintain these dimensions so that everything works well once we’ve reloaded our cartridges?

Well, there are a few tools that will make your life easier. The goal, simply stated, is to reduce our brass cases to a particular overall length, specific to each individual case. This overall length dimension is available in any good reloading manual, and you’ll need a micrometer to measure the cases. I like to trim my brass cases to the dimensions specified by SAAMI. This keeps things consistent with new brass.

You’ll need some sort of means of trimming the case, be it a hand cranked adjustable devise, or an electric motor driven machine. I use several different methods, some inexpensive (yet fully functional) and some on the expensive side of things.

Case trimmers can be as simple as this hand-operated model by Lee.

The Lee Case Trimmer uses a lock stud, shell holder, cutter and hardened length gauge; the length gauge is specific for each caliber. Depending on where you shop, you can get into this product for less than $15, and the tool can be used either by hand or chucked into a hand drill for quicker trimming. The length gauge has a pin which uses the flash hole as a guide and stops against the lock stud, so the cases are trimmed to a uniform and correct length every time. Although inexpensive, I’ve used this tool in many different calibers for decades.

Lyman, RCBS, and other companies make quality trimmers that utilize a hand crank to trim brass to length. Some are micrometer adjustable, and most come with caliber specific pilots that help hold the case in place to ensure a squarely trimmed case mouth. Once you set the depth to the desired length, all it takes is a few turns of the crank and your case is trimmed to length. The hardened steel cutters give a lifetime of service.

The Trim-It case trimmer is another neat little gadget that can deliver very accurate results. This trimmer works with a cordless drill or drill press to quickly and efficiently trim your brass. It is fully micrometer adjustable (each notch represents approximately 0.002”), and uses the case shoulder for support. The unit uses case specific dies that can quickly be mounted within the body.

My favorite tool, by far, is the RCBS Universal Case Prep Station. It is an electric motor driven trimmer (no more blisters!) unit, with adjustable rpm dial, and caliber specific collets. The length is micrometer adjustable, and the spring loaded jaws hold almost all rim sizes (although I found today that the big 50/90 Sharps is too big).

When using a case trimmer the micrometer becomes your best friend.

Hands free trimming is a wonderful thing, and the consistency is pretty solid, within 0.002” or so. Another nice feature of this machine is the six rotating heads on the top, which hold chamfer and deburring tools, as well as large and small primer pocket cleaning brushes. Sure saves the fingers and wrists!

Some manuals recommend trimming the cases to a dimension 0.010” shorter than the SAAMI specification. This is fine if you choose, yet not necessary. If you do choose to adhere to the shorter dimension, just remember to trim any new, unfired brass before you load it, to keep things consistent.

 

The stuck case blues
Jun 21st, 2014 by RoundsReloaded

THE STUCK CASE BLUES

June 13, 2014
stuck72
Sticking a case in the sizer die is a rite of passage for the beginning handloader. If you haven’t done it yet, that’s great, but it probably will eventually happen. When it does, fixing the problem requires a bit of ingenuity or a nice little kit like the one we got from RCBS.

 

decapstem72The first step is to clear the de-capping pin from the flash hole. Just unscrew the de-capping assembly to move it as far as possible from the primer pocket and flash hole. Don’t try to pull it all the way out. It won’t come. Just unscrew it and open as much space as possible inside the case.

 

drilling72Place the die upside down in the padded jaws of a vise and clamp it firmly into place. Using the supplied #7 bit, drill through the primer pocket. Be careful not to go too deeply inside the cartridge once the hole has opened up. It is important to be aware that the de-capping pin and expander ball are still in there and can be damaged by the bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

taping72Once the cartridge head has been drilled, a ¼ – 20 is tap is used to cut threads into the pocket. Brass is relatively soft compared to a hardened tap, so no lube is needed for the tapping process. RCBS says that a drill can be used for this step, but it seems like a bit of overkill in a project of this nature. A wrench makes short work of the project.

 

RCBS supplies a part they call the “Stuck Case Remover Body” for the next step. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and have the bit and tap, this piece is easily replicated by a length of electrical conduit of the proper diameter and some washers. In either case, this tool provides a standoff for the screw that will do the actual pulling.

fingers72

 

 

 

 

 

pulling72Run the screw through the standoff and into the tapped case head. With a wrench, tighten the screw which hopefully pulls the case free. Once the case is free, clamp the case in vice and pull it free of the de-capping pin. There is tension here because the sizing ball is oversized to the neck dimension as part of the sizing process. It doesn’t take much force, but be aware there is still this last little hurdle to clear before you get back to loading.  Don’t feel bad, everyone does this.  Just use more lube next time.unstuck72

 

 

 

 

wholekit72

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