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August 23, 2020

Gun Thread: More Basic Information Edition! [Weasel]

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The weather is finally cooperating, so guess who is heading to the farm tomorrow? That's right, your ol' pal Weasel is heading to the farm tomorrow! Right now, the plan is to spend a day cutting brush and grass, a day doing some other chores around the place, and a full day shooting video. If all goes well, I hope to come back with lots of material for the following week's GT. Yay Weasel! In the meantime, let's pick up where we left off last week reviewing basics, shall we?

More Back to Basics
So last week we went back to basics and reviewed 'zeroing' a rifle, a process in which you simply align the reticle in a rifle scope, with 'zero' adjustment for elevation or wind indicated, to exactly match the point of bullet impact at a fixed distance. With me so far?

Well that's all fine and dandy, you say, but how does one adjust for different (longer) distances and the effect of wind on the bullet flight? You may have zeroed your rifle at 100 yards, but what if you have a target of opportunity at say, 500 yards? This is where the little knobs on the rifle scope come in handy. By turning these, you move the reticle inside the scope by tiny precise amounts. For example, when you dial elevation UP, you're actually moving the reticle DOWN inside the scope body which causes you to raise the barrel to center the crosshair on the more distant target. Same with left and right adjustments for wind; a left wind adjustment moves the reticle to the right, and you re-center the crosshair and bore axis to the left to re-center the reticle on target.

Now the question becomes how much of an adjustment to make. We have previously covered the measurement conventions most commonly used, Minute of Angle or MOA, and milliradian or MIL. That thread can be found in the dusty Gun Thread archives. Remember, don't be a retard and comment in old threads or you will be banned!

Anyhoo, your scope will be graduated in one of the two conventions, and you have a couple of options for computing (this is actually where the term 'computer' was derived) a ballistic firing solution solved in one of those conventions. You can a) break out the slide rule, or 2) use an app like everyone else. As much as I like counting on my toes, I prefer the fast and easy route, and Ballistic AE is the app I use for making calculations on the spot. This is not a substitute for developing good, solid range data including atmospheric variables for your particular rifle and ammunition, but it will generally get you close. Let's see how it works.

Many things affect a bullet's flight to target, but the most significant are the shape and weight of the bullet, and the speed at which it leaves the barrel. With these two pieces of information, you can reasonably predict the amount of additional elevation necessary to move the point of impact at 100 yards, the 'zero', out to 500 yards. Somewhere in the small print of a box of rifle ammunition you will find a velocity estimate and the weight of the bullet. Velocities are given in feet per second (fps), and bullet weight in grains (gr), with one grain equal to 1/7000th of a pound. For the sake of argument let's assume you're shooting a .308 Winchester and using Federal Gold Medal Match ammunition. A quick check of the packaging shows an estimated muzzle velocity of 2,600 fps and a 175gr bullet. Now let's take a look at some screen shots of the app in action.

First we have the relevant portion of the input screen:

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Next we see a summary of those inputs

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And finally we have the output data

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If you follow the third column, Drop (MOA) down to 500 yards you see a value of -10.26. That means you need 10.26 MOA of elevation to move from 100 yds to 500 yards based on your current configuration. Dial UP 10.25 MOA, disregarding the hundredths place, and that should be your approximate elevation for a 500 yd shot. If you look at the 5th column Wind MOA you will see a value of .19 MOA for 1 mph of wind. I secretly set that up during the input and now know the effect in minutes of angle of a 1 mph wind on the bullet at 500 yards, or about 2/10ths of an MOA, so a 5 mph wind will require approximately 1 full MOA windage correction.

The Ballistic App is a very powerful tool, and this is by no means anything other than a very short introduction to its use. As mentioned earlier, many factors, including current atmospheric conditions, bullet form and others, will affect the results and you will need to make corrections to the observed impact accordingly.

Give it a try!


Next our pal Scuba_Dude has delivered on his promised report from his Handgun 101 Course at the Sig Sauer Academy in Epping, NH.

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Our class had 9 people, 5 males and 4 females and 1 instructor. The first part of the class was in a classroom. We first went over each of the firearm safety rules and the instructor had a blue plastic training pistol and showed us how the rule applied to the gun such as muzzle management and where the trigger finger should be and of course the various parts of the gun. After that he went over the sights of the pistol by drawing on a whiteboard and explaining what a sight picture was and how we should be focusing on the front sight as opposed to the rear sight or the target and gave the explanation why.

I think he was a very good instructor, from what I learned about him he had been in the Army and has Special Forces training. He did not rush through things, he did not berate. He was making small jokes and was not laid back but not overbearing. I found it very easy to pay attention to what he was saying. We brought our chairs into the range room and he showed us the various parts of the gun and what they did.

He first talked about muzzle management and the exercise he had us do with no magazine and the slide locked back was to walk around the range, basically meandering around, all the time being sure not to have the muzzle pointing at the other students who also were walking around. While we were walking around he would say "point down range" or "point up range" all the while moving the muzzle to where he said without sweeping or pointing the muzzle at someone. This was really good as it made you aware of what was around you and you had to consciously think of where the muzzle was at all times. He went through the entire function cycle of the gun and how the bullet is chambered, how the firing pin will hit the primer and will ignite the powder, how the bullet leaves the barrel, the slide moves back and the extractor grabs the empty casing and the ejector ejects the case. Next he showed us how to load the magazine, and gave us each 5 dummy bullets and we practiced loading and unloading the magazine.

Next he showed us how to grip the gun and why we grip up as high as we can on the gun with both hands, and he made a correction to my grip which I think will help immensely. After the grip he then had us work on our sight picture. We would be behind the table, pick up the empty gun with the slide back and bring it into the ready position and getting the sights aligned and trying to see the tritium dial in the front sight as that is the sight you would be focusing on. He would have us go to low ready then bring the gun up to the ready position numerous times. He also explained why we do not lock our elbows but they should be slightly bent. We ran numerous drills doing that.

Next up is the stance, the feet shoulder width apart the dominant leg behind the other foot. Chin over the belt. And when he had us in the stance he showed how you know it is good if while you are in the stance you can go up on your tippy toes and you are not effecting the sight picture.

Then came the time to actually fire the gun. He had us walk to the back of the room with an empty magazine. At the back we each had a box of 50 rounds of frangible ammo in 9mm. We loaded 5 rounds into the magazine and took it back to the table with the gun. He next had us take the gun and the magazine up to the 3 yard line. He then demonstrated with live ammo what he wanted us to do. He did this to get the people who never shot before what it was like when a gun went off. Telling them to look at the gun and not at the target so they could see what was happening.

After the demonstration he had us load the magazine into the gun, tug at the bottom of the magazine to show it was seated and then rack the slide in one of the 3 ways demonstrated that we felt comfortable with. We then took our stance, got the grip we wanted on the gun and kept it at low ready. The drill was this: bring gun from low ready, aim at center of the target, get sight picture, take finger from its position of outside of the trigger guard high on the frame, put and trigger, fire, finger out of trigger, check sights, then go to low ready and repeat until all 5 rounds were expended and the slide locked back and return to low ready.
We would then hit the magazine release dropping the magazine and then do a 3 point check to verify the gun was clear, then look away then perform the 3 point check again. He then analyzed everyone's targets and asked for feedback on the ones where the shots were spread wide. I did have the best group, all 5 shots just above the center square and 4 of the holes touching and 1 just barely above.

The next drill he had us load another 5 rounds. It was almost the same type of drill, but instead of aiming at the center of the target he had us shoot anywhere on the white part of the target and the aiming point of the next 4 bullets was the bullet hole we just shot. Same way, low ready, bring gun up, get sight, shoot, get sight, go low ready and repeat until slide locked back. This was the aim small, miss small. In my target picture I was aiming at my left, top part of target. Again, I was very happy with my group, and all the shots on the target were at 3 yards.

Now, he had us load 10 rounds into the magazine. We did the same drill but this time we selected another part of the target, made the first bullet hole then 4 more at that bullet hole then transition to another part of the target and do the same thing. I selected the left middle for the 1st 5 rounds and the top right for the next 5. I think I did pretty good, though I had what I consider a little flyer with the 1st 5 rounds.

Now the next drill had us working on recoil control. He went to each persons target and if he saw a bullet hole outside the ring he would ask the person what they think caused that. I had one shot outside the ring and I know why it happened. Every now and then I get an involuntary "twitch". I usually catch it before I fire but did not this time. I think I get them because even after a thousand or so rounds I still get a little nervous when I am shooting and I am somehow anticipating the recoil.

The next drill was concentrate on the grip of our dominant hand. Tuck it as high as we can and apply more pressure on the grip with the bottom 2 fingers, then do the same drill as before. The last drill he had us work on incorporating all we had learned. I am happy to say all my rounds were inside the 8 ring and amazingly none of them were low, left like I normally shoot. I really believe what he did with my grip and knowing how to press the trigger eliminated that. I still have to work on recoil control so after a shot I get the sights back on target better after I fire.

Finally we moved all of the tables to the side of the room and removed the cardboard targets and now we were shooting at steel plates. He demonstrated what it sounded like when a steel plate was hit then he had us all line up on the 3 yard line facing our own individual steel plate. We got into our stance, got a grip then we brought up the gun, shot 3 rounds at the steel then go to low ready, when everyone was done, we turned around and backed up to the 7 yard line making sure we had muzzle management. We then repeated and fired 3 more shots, then went to the 10 yard, 3 more shots, then the 15 yard and 3 more shots. Somehow some people had run out of ammo but I was able to shoot my last 3 at the 15 yard again. I did pretty good, I was on steel with all my shots.

After lunch and still on the range we discussed securing a gun at home. He showed us a cable lock and a trigger lock and explained how they worked and that with a cable lock it is impossible for the gun to go into battery and with a trigger lock it IS possible to get the gun to fire even with it on. He discussed why one would have a gun safe but also how in a home defense you really would want the gun to be readily available to you.

He next went to describe the different types of actions on guns, SA, DA/SA, SAO, DAO, SF. Then he went onto the different ammunition, centerfire and rim fire, the different pistol calibers and how 9mm is the most popular. He discussed what made up a copper jacketed bullet. He also told about the different bullet weights for 9mm, that 115gr was more of a practice round and that 124gr and 147gr was more defensive rounds and what a hollow point bullet was. Finally he discussed cleaning the gun. Getting rid of carbon fouling, lubing the gun and the places that you would see more wear and the carbon fouling that can effect the ejector.

And then he ended the class asking us if we felt we got anything out of the course. Needless to say everyone had nothing but positives. All in all this class was well worth the time and money even though I have been shooting for 2 years and a handgun owner for almost a year. I do recommend this course to any of the new shooters out there. I can't wait for Handgun 102, where we work on drawing from a holster and firing.

Nicely done Scuba_Dude! Great report! Thank you especially for the detail on the various drills, which are something we can all practice on our own. My experience with the Sig Sauer Academy, both in shooting and non-shooting courses, have been the same as yours, or very positive. It is a very well run and professional operation. So whether you travel to the Sig Sauer Academy, or perhaps find an instructor near home, taking a course, even a basic one with someone evaluating your shooting is always a good idea. I cannot emphasize this enough especially for the new shooters out there.


Who needs a rifle for a thousand yard shot? Our pal Jerry Miculek don't!


Derringer v. Deringer

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An interesting article from Ammoland courtesy of our pal JT.


Online Ammo
Our pal redc1c4 recommends this new (to me) online ammunition supplier, Old Western Scrounger featuring hard to find calibers.



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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!



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
Target Sports USA

***Mail Bag***

No reason other than I like the cartoon!

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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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