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[Buck Throckmorton]
July 26, 2020

Gun Thread: Mail Box Status: Blowed Up! [Weasel]

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What's the old saying about being careful what you wish for? Last week I asked for your help with the first-time gun buyer project and holy crap did you all ever come through! Thank You! I received a ton of email this week and think I have responded to them all so far. It's going to take me a little while to organize the ideas, but everything I saw was excellent and well presented. Seriously, a ton of great ideas! You guys are the best! If you haven't had a chance to send in your ideas, there is still time; just email me at the address below. Thanks!

Also, I really, really need to get to the farm. Things, actually the weather mostly, are looking good for later this coming week and hopefully I'll get to try out my spiffy new video camera gear. Stay tuned!

So with that, let's get the gun stuff below, shall we?


First up this week our pal A.H.Lloyd sends us this bigly excellent range report. In it, he explains something I have been trying to preach for a while, and that is to incorporate an element of realism into your practice. Unfortunately, most public ranges won't allow this sort of thing, which leaves you stuck plinking at a hanging target from 25 feet. Not very realistic unless you live in an area where potential adversaries are very polite and cooperative and stand still in front of you as you gear up and start shooting them.

Let's see what A.H.L. is doing:

Thoughts on Self Defense Drills

Over the last few months, my friends and I have shifted away from traditional slow-fire target shooting into a more dynamic and I believe realistic approach. I should note that this is a private range, so many of the things we do may not be applicable at a public or commercial facility, but perhaps it will give you some ideas.

The photo is our target area. Note the four paper targets and ignore the orange steel plate, we normally drop that once we start the drills. We usually shoot 7 to 10 yards away. The course of fire is this; the shooter stands at the low ready and on the command "Go!", engages all four targets and fires a total of five rounds, with the object of hitting each target at least once. We run this sequence twice, and then close the range to do a target check.

After a few sessions, we started timing it, from the "Go" command to when the fifth shot is fired. We did this for three reasons. First, we wanted to get an idea how how long it took. The Rule of Three states that most gunfights last 3 seconds, at 3 yards with 3 shots. We were curious as to how quickly we could acquire a target, fire, and then transition multiple times. The second reason is that it gives us an objective way to measure our progress. Our stated goal is to hit each target once, but in practice, we want all five shots to hit a target, so this opens up a potential for double-tapping one of them. By running a timer, what we're able to do is see how our reflexes and skills have improved. Finally, racing against the clock creates stress, which is important because in a real-world situation, you're going to be stressed, too.

Since we started doing this, we've seen our times fall sharply, even when we are trying to be deliberate. It's like high school athletes playing in college talking about much "faster" the game is, and then how it slows down again. The same thing happens here. At first we were a little panicked and flustered, pushing ourselves to be quick, but now we're much calmer - but also faster!

Some may wonder why we use five shots. The reason is simple: that is what my revolver holds and we were curious as to how various platforms measured up against each other. Five shots allowed us to compare like with like, so we could see the impact between the revolver on double or single action, and what the time/accuracy penalty was vs various platforms.

We don't always use the revolver, but we're sticking with the five-shot standard because if you have more capacity, it's not a bad idea to have a few rounds left after the initial flurry of firing. So if you have a sub-sub-sub compact that holds 6-8 shots, you still go with a 'burst' of 5 and then know you have a few left in case something unexpected happens.

Another thing we started doing was including holsters, so we could see how much they slow us down. This probably won't work at most ranges, but one way around that is to practice holster draw at home with snap caps, so you at least have the muscle memory. Some people, like me, don't feel comfortable carrying with keeping a round chambered, so we have included that as well. Thus, on command you draw, chamber a round and engage the five targets. Crazy to say it, but our times are currently around 6 seconds on this, with all shots hitting the target. Practice, practice, practice.

This training brought up two things I'd never really thought about before, both relating to speed. The first is the recovery time after each shot. I've always believed the advice to "shoot the largest caliber you can comfortably control," but in practical terms, rate of fire also matters. The bigger guns just shoot slower, and when seconds count, getting off three or four shots with a mouse gun may be a better idea than one or two with a hand cannon, particularly when you are engaging multiple targets (as we are).

We are also learning a lot about the difference between target sights and battle sights. In a slow-fire situation, finding a sight picture is easy, but when you are in a hurry, that front side blade (or tiny red dot) can be hard to see! We are radically rethinking what proper sights look like. I get why when I first started shooting some of the old timers told me to paint the entire front sight blade of my carry gun with bright orange nail polish.

Anyhow, hopefully the other Morons will find this helpful. I have no experience of competition shooting, just the CPL training and military qualifications which were with the rifle, never handgun. I do watch some of the YouTube channels (In Range, Paul Harrell, Forgotten Weapons) so this borrows a bit from what I see them doing.

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This. A thousand times THIS! This is what I am talking about. You need to practice not only basic fundamentals, but also at least try to create realistic training scenarios. If your range doesn't allow something like this, and they probably will not, then either a) go buy a farm where you can do whatever you like, or 2) investigate IDPA matches in your area.

IDPA stands for International Defensive Pistol Association and matches are held all over the country. If you live in an area with a good size population, there are almost certainly IDPA matches, or something like them, being held near you. IDPA is the governing body which sets the rules under which matches are sanctioned. Local gun clubs are the ones sponsoring the matches. The idea is to create real-world scenarios and score the results. The matches involve different elements such as drawing from a holster, movement, offhand shooting, shooting from cover, reloading and a number of other scenarios. All the sorts of conditions you are likely to face in the real world.

I am not trying to push competitive shooting for competition's sake, but performing under stress and operating outside your comfort zone is something you need to be familiar with. Keeping score is the best way to track your progress. You may not be competitive by nature, and that's OK. It's as much a social event with like-minded individuals, as it is a training opportunity. It's like watching Monday Night Football with the guys without the stupid NFL. You do not need to go all crazy and become a big IDPA celebrity with sponsors and range babes clinging to you. If it helps, just look at it as realistic practice and don't worry about timing and scores. I can almost guarantee you will make some new friends in the process. If you carry a gun, you owe it to yourself and the rest of the world to become a proficient shooter, and this is one way to go about it.

I would like nothing better to hear that some of you took the dive and signed up for a match in the coming weeks. OK?

Please?

******

Next we have a nice entry from out pal Socratease which I swear could be the cover of a reloading magazine.

I took this picture in the first weeks of the California COVID house arrest when I had lots of time to catch up on my reloading. The cases are Lapua 6.5-284, and the powder is H4831SC. I've used my Hornady Lock 'n Load progressive for .308 loading, and the results are consistent enough for good long-range accuracy. But the 6.5-284 won't fit in that press, so I have to use the single-stage. I probably could have gotten away with using a powder drop for these, but this was a new powder, and I don't have enough experience with this caliber yet to know what significantly contributes to accuracy, so I weighed each charge to reduce that factor as much as I could. And I had a lot of time on my hands.

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I've always loaded everything with a single stage press because I'm old and set in my ways, but also because I don't trust myself not to loose track of what's going on with a progressive press. Socratease seems to have it under control and certainly has all the right tools! The RCBS 10-10 is an excellent balance, by the way. Thanks for sending this in!

******

Many of you will recall our pal Sua Sponte and his .22LR ammo testing project. Let's drop in and see what progress he has made.

Well so far I've logged testing of around 15 different 22LR manufacturers and had narrowed it down to Aguila, CCI, Federal. That is until yesterday when I got in an order of Norma Tac-22 and ran some rounds today. Wow. I read reviews stating that it was quite good precision ammunition but the prices put me off a bit. My focus was to review items that most of us would be likely to purchase based on price. I happened across a sale on the Norma, $35 for 500 rounds, and didn't have to think twice. I love just spending time out on my range, but what makes it even more enjoyable is when you are putting round after round on target, this stuff answered the call. Again, these results are solely based on the platform I'm using so your mileage may vary.

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Holy Crap! I think you may be on to something. Nicely done, Sua Sponte! Anyone else using Norma Tac-22?

******

Next up we have our pal Scuba_Dude with not one, but two range day reports!

Put 40 rounds total down range. All at 100 yards and a good portion at steel targets. I also worked on sighting the rifle in. I started shooting at the bottom left of the paper ranging target. You can see me dialing the scope in there. I then proceeded clockwise around the target eventually shooting at the center. I was also messing around shooting at various powers on the scope. That might account for some flyers or groups that are not tight I guess. The shots taken at the Shoot-N-C were done near the end of the day.

All in all it was a great day. Can't wait to get back out.

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Later, we see Scuba_Dude has in fact been back to the range:

Went to the 100 yard range again today and did another 40 rounds. 5 of the rounds were shot at the steel targets the range has at 100 yards.

So the sequence is this, I shot each target in groups of 5. The first target I shot was the one on the lower left of the paper target. I then proceeded clockwise. Group 5 was on the bottom right Shoot-N-C and Group 6 is on the bottom left Shoot-N-C. I shot the center of the paper target last. If you see a group where you see only 4 holes that is because 1 of the 5 shots went through a previous hole. The majority of my shots were with the scope at full power (16x) and a couple at 12x.

Attached are a picture of my target when all was done and a picture of a notebook where I was trying to keep track of where each bullet landed on the target and the scope power. Can't wait to hit the 200/300 yard range and see what I can do!!!

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Scuba_Dude has done something really interesting and useful here, so pay attention. He's beginning to plot his shots. This is something we'd do in team shooting to measure the called shot versus the actual impact on target. It's very helpful, for example, to know if your wind calls in a certain condition are consistently impacting right or left of the intended target. It's also helpful to gauge vertical dispersion based on headwind and tailwind, or to identify certain patterns emerging with a specific shooter before they become a problem. We'd often have a team member whose specific job when not shooting was to sit next to the scorer and plot shots. Record your range data and study it later!

******

Next up we have a sling question from our pal Martini Farmer.

I have a DPMS AR-15 flat-top. No mods other than a small reflex optic on the top rail and adjustable stock. The stock was on it when bought. Handguard is smooth. There is only one sling mounting point on this rifle, a built in non-swiveling mount at the rear of the stock, on the bottom. No matter what single point sling I buy, the rifle is slung too low on my body. I can't seem to adjust either the sling or rifle to fit properly. Mounting quick release swivel mounts would require some reconfiguration of this rifle, as in a new handguard, possible new stock, etc. I'm fine with this route, but I didn't want to spend money needlessly that could go towards another firearm.

My specific question, and I realize it's not a one size fits all answer is; where is/are the ideal locations for mounting 1) a single point sling on an AR platform, and 2) mounting 2 point sling on same?

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OK, so who has sling and attach point recommendations for Martini Farmer?

******

Next up, our lurking pal Nexus 6 gives us some insight with a great follow-up to last week's question on non-lethal self-defense options:

I was always told as an officer to carry cuffs off duty so if an asshole actually got on the ground and you didn't have to shoot them, you could cuff them and not have to stand there with a gun in your hand when the cops showed up. I don't carry a non lethal alternative because the crap pepper spray for "civilians" is pretty weak compared to the stuff we carry and the last thing I want all over the inside of my bag is pepper spray if the can leaks or explodes in the heat. Bear spray may work, never been around it so not sure. Anyone can buy cuffs so it might be a good idea to at least carry those. I don't carry on person, have a sling bag with a full size pistol (G17) w/light plus 2 spare mags, flashlight, cuffs, spare batteries, med kit, and a poncho. Med stuff is for me if I'm hit or someone else after the fight is over.

If there is more than one "bad guy" the last thing i would pull out is non lethal, and depending on how you carry your toys, you might not have a chance to draw lethal. If you want to carry pepper spray or something similar, you better have someone spray you so you know how it will affect you because it goes everywhere and may blow back in your face depending on wind and you may have to fight the guy you just sprayed. I would carry a taser as non-lethal, but they are too damn expensive and if the guy is on wet or some other high level cocktail, it may not work. Been there done that.

You make some great points Nexus 6! Thanks. What do the rest of you think?

******

In reviewing the responses to the Moron Gun Buying Guide, I saw several references to options for left-handed shooters. I thought it'd be good to include this as an item for general discussion, and picked this one from Super-Lurker Whose Name is Totally Not "Bob".

Just a quick thought about the first time gun buyer's guide. Can you please address left-handed and/or ambidextrous guns? As a potential first time gun owner I'm having difficulty identifying lefty friendly handguns, rifles, and shotguns (I know of a few). Of course, living in California makes it that much more difficult given the 10 round magazine limitation.

So how about it? Here's a good chance to mention specific models. [*ahem* revolvers *ahem*]


******

I've saved the best range report for last. Our pal WTM is introducing his Grandnephew Isaiah to shooting and will you please take a look at the results!

12yo Grandnephew Isaiah 20 yards offhand with a 10-1/2 inch .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk, using red-line handloads.

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I don't know about the rest of you, but that's some impressive shooting! And with nothing less than a .44 Magnum firing hot loads. There are a whole bunch of people I know who have been shooting for years that would be happy with that target, myself included! I really hope we get to see some future targets from this young shooter. Nicely done, Isaiah!

What are you all doing to introduce young people to the shooting sports? Hmmm?

******

Here's a great link from our pal JT which offers thoughts on the current ammo shortage.

Very interesting. Appreciate it, JT!

******

Stabby Things
Well, I suppose it's really more of a Pokey Thing, but here's our first official Stabby Things submission by our pal Otto Zilch:

Hey, I like where this thread is going! I don’t have any bang sticks, I learned in summer camp that I’m a pretty lousy shot, but I’ve got a bunch of things for stabbing my friends with. I especially enjoy stabbing teenagers with them. Left to right at the bottom, there’s a sabre, an epée, and a foil. The order is reversed at the top. Notice how the foil and the epée have spring-loaded buttons instead of sharp points: that allows an electrical apparatus to record hits.

The modern foil is based on the classic training sword, so the rules are quite formal, including a complicated concept called right-of-way, and the valid target is limited to the torso. The epée is based on the classic dueling sword, so any hit on your opponent: head-to-toe ("first blood” ) counts. With the foil and epée you can only score hits with the point. The sabre is based on the classic cavalry sword, so you can hit with the edge as well as the point, but since your opponent would be on a horse, only hits above the waist count. The footwork and other basics are similar for each weapon, but the rest is more complex, so most fencers specialize in one weapon and I’m mainly an epée, but us old guys fence the others just for fun.

There’s a reason they call fencing “physical chess.” It’s a very tactical sport. Much of our training is to try and evoke a particular action from our opponent and then parry it or make it miss, at which point you can land the riposte. The mental part of the game makes it possible for 50- and 60-year olds to compete with teens and win. I tell people that once you raise teenagers, you know how their brains work. I picked the sport up at age 54 when my son got into fencing, and it’s been lots of fun. Find a fencing club in your town and give it a try—it’s never too late to start!

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Thanks for the lesson and thanks for sending this in, Otto Zilch! What's your kitty's name? Any other fencers out there?

******

ATTENTION NoVaMoMe 2020!!

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Sad people who cannot make the new NoVaMoMe date of August 29th

Due the Chinese Cooties hysteria in Virginia, the NoVaMoMe 2020 has been postponed until Saturday, August 29th. The time and location remain the same. If you haven't already, please check your email and let the Central Planning Committee know if you are able to make the new date. If not, your registration fee will be refunded and we will open your spot to those on the wait list. Questions? Just email us at NoVaMoMe2020 at gee mail dot com. Thank you!

******

Link-O-Rama

I'm really very seriously not kidding around anymore. Buy Ammo
AmmoSeek - online ammo search tool
GunBot - online ammo search tool
SG Ammo
Palmetto State Armory
Georgia Arms
AmmoMan
Target Sports USA

***Mail Bag***

Our pal JT, who has clearly been paying attention to my buy ammo message, sends a picture of his workshop with an observation.

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******

Please note the new and improved gmail account morongunthread at gmail dot com. An informal Gun Thread archive can be found HERE. If you have a question you would like to ask Gun Thread Staff offline, just send us a note and we'll do our best to answer. If you care to share the story of your favorite firearm, send a picture with your nic and tell us what you sadly lost in the tragic canoe accident. If you would like to remain completely anonymous, just say so. Lurkers are always welcome!

That's it for this week - have you been to the range?

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posted by Open Blogger at 07:00 PM

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