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June 06, 2021

Gun Thread: Ammo Corsage Edition!

ammo corsage scaled.jpg
Floral arrangement courtesy Duke Lowell

Howdy Y'all! If we're all here together, it can only mean one thing... it's Gun Thread time! Yay us! For the next few hours we can discuss guns 'n shooting and swap tall tales regarding our ascent to the pinnacle of shooting greatness and the descent into the pit of our shooting failures. OK, maybe that's a little overblown, but you get the idea. If you're new here, welcome! I hope you will jump in, introduce yourself, and tell us about your shooting interests.

So I took a couple of days off this past week and boogied on down to the farm-o. The weather was highly cooperative with sunny days, low humidity, and daytime highs in the 70s. In other words, perfect shooting weather! So what did I do? Spent two days on the tractor mowing grass and cutting vegetation. Earlier this year I put down a couple hundred pounds of seed on the road and this was the first cutting. It was also the first time this year trimming vegetation back from the road side so I had to make a couple of passes with the sickle bar mower. Truth is, I enjoy being on the tractor so I wasn't in a hurry and just took my time. Looks pretty bueno, if I do say so myself!

But Weasel, is this the danged Organic Tree Farming Thread or the Gun Thread? Let's find out below, shall we?


Last week we had a lively discussion on atmospheric conditions and how weather and environmental changes affect the flight of a bullet. In our discussion, we covered the topic of density altitude and how it can be measured and used as a reference when computing a firing solution. In it's simplest form, density altitude is nothing more than a comparison of current local conditions to a standard reference column of air. If you make a density altitude measurement of 1,000 feet, it means the current conditions represent 1,000 feet of altitude in the standard column. This density reference is valuable when combined with elevation and range to target data recorded from previous engagements.

Assuming you are using ammunition with very consistent velocities, or that with extreme spreads of less than 8-10 feet per second, differences in air density will account for most differences in elevation excursions when you first engage a new target. In other words, the 35.0 MOA elevation you used at 1,000 yards yesterday, might be 34.0 or 36.0 MOA today. With me so far?

Soooo, what about vertical stringing in your groups after you have the correct elevation dialed in for the conditions? Since we have gone to great lengths in producing extremely consistent ammunition, we have to look at our setup. Without a doubt, when analyzing long(er) distance rifle groups, the usual culprit in vertical excursions is a goofy rear bag setup. Assuming you have a good, solid front rest, it's the rear bag that almost always causes problems. So what are good solid setups? For a front rests I like Harris Bipods. For almost all applications I want the swivel model to manage uneven terrain, and I want to extend the legs as little as possible keeping everything as low to the ground as practical.

Now for rear bags. If you are a super-badass tactical ninja warrior on a special-ops mission, weight may be a factor and may limit your choices. In a nutshell you want the sturdiest bag you can make work in your intended application and since I shoot recreationally, I'm OK with a bag weighing a little more. Since the major considerations are the footprint and bag fill, it pays to go big on both. Avoid small footprint setups that rock back and forth, or are too light to properly support the stock of the rifle. Without a doubt, one of the most popular among long-range shooters is the Protektor brand. The Bumble-Bee model is a great choice and comes in a variety of customizable sizes. The people at Protektor are a pleasure to work with. WeaselApproved.

If you cannot lug around a 12# bag, another good option is the Triad Tactical Pillow. I have several of these and use them often, however, the bags come a little under filled in my opinion, so I open a small seam section and add poly fill beads so they pack a little tighter. Avoid using rice to fill bags... it becomes an unholy mess when they absorb moisture.

Bottom line is you want a very solid setup, and you can tell this has been achieved when the sights move back onto the target after the recoil of a shot with little intervention on the shooter's part. Avoid undersized bags with a small wobbly footprint, and don't be afraid to experiment with adding or removing fill material. If it's too soft it will not "load" properly and support the stock, and if it's overstuffed and too hard it can cause the rifle stock to bounce. A proper setup really takes very little management from shot to shot, which makes it highly repeatable.

Try it and let me know what you think!

******

First up we have a range report from Snidely Whiplash who always reads, but rarely comments.

First item, I nearly was bitten yesterday by finding a web site selling primers at pre-panic prices.

Tried to contact with no luck. Then decided to look the location up with Maps to see where in town they were. Hmmm... shares an address with Chik-fil-a. My they are branching out these days. Then I happened upon another site that looked exactly like the one I first found only it was in Mississippi. Watch out, y'all, there's lots of sneaky types out there.

Anyway, back to the fun stuff.

I held out for the longest time from going to the range at my usual tempo of every Saturday morning, and expending 115 rounds in my usual practice routine. Ammo prices so astoundingly high I didn't dare burn up my supply, at least not very fast. At first I'd go every couple three weeks and just empty one magazine, just to make sure I remembered where the trigger was. Finally I was able to get a couple of 1,000 primer boxes for slightly less than my first born and felt a bit more comfortable inching back to the usual. Last couple of weeks I've been going through 3 magazines a week to get some actual practice in. This is from this last Saturday, 5/22.

SW 060621 Target scaled.jpg

First group in the chest, 18 round magazine of .40S&W out of a Beretta APX. Second group head, 18 rounds same gun. Third group neck, 18 rounds same gun. I've been having trouble with my vision and rounds hitting where I thought I was aiming. Almost was afraid my dominant eye was wandering back and forth. The last set made me feel quite a bit better.

Nice shooting Snidely, and thanks for sending the range report. Welcome to the Gun Thread!

******

Next up we have a nice submission from our pal A.H. Lloyd.

A while back I was reading up on pocket pistols and found this article in the Lucky Gunner Lounge. It's from 2018, but the insights are very much relevant. There's lots of good information, but one thing I want to highlight are the four reasons they give for why armed self-defense fails:

- Unable to draw weapon in timely manner
- Drew weapon but couldn't fire it in timely manner
- Fired weapon but missed or hit non-vital area
- Weapon malfunctioned after firing and couldn't be brought back into action

As the article/video notes, most of the time armed self-defense is successful, but when it is isn't these are the primary reasons. Let's look at them in order and how we can mitigate them.

The first comes down to your carry rig and one way to ensure a clean draw is to practice it. Most ranges don't like people drawing from a holster, but you can do this with an unloaded firearm at home pretty much at will. It can be helpful to look in a mirror to see potential problems. The ideal draw doesn't have to be like Clint Eastwood whipping out a six-shooter, but it should be clean and easy - and also something you can do without looking.

The second problem is largely problems with the safety or not having a round in the chamber. Both can be fixed with practice. As people know, I'm partial to an unloaded chamber ("condition three") and an easy way to practice this is to only load a couple of rounds in each magazine while you're at the range. After inserting the magazine, go to a low ready stance, and then rise up, chamber and fire in a single motion. If you are at range where you can draw and shoot, so much the better.

The same applies to using a safety. Before starting your firing sequence, put the safety on and pause for a moment. Begin your firing by first releasing the safety so that it becomes reflexive.

Accuracy is crucial, and I'm a firm believer that shot placement beats caliber every time. Slow-fire practice is great for building fundamentals, but trying to fire under a time constraint induces more realistic stressors. I think doing both is best. Strive for a nice tight group in slow fire and then push yourself to do it quickly. Then go back.

The last element can be a combination of poor maintenance or not knowing how to cycle the weapon, but ammunition selection is also a factor.

I know people take issue with the notion of using lots of self-defense ammunition in practice, but you need to use at least enough to see how well it runs. Not long ago I was at the range and ran out of one brand so opened a box of another. Both were factory FMJ but damn if that second box did not want to chamber easily. I've seen other shooters have similar oddball issues where a particular brand just doesn't work well in a particular firearm. Know this in advance by making sure you put enough rounds through it to verify smooth operation.

And of course, keep them clean!

Nice article and very valid comments, A.H. Lloyd! Thank you!

******

Next up we have some great points on customizing handloads from our pal Bama Bubba.

I have long been fascinated with the "one rifle, many uses" concept of our our fathers and grandfathers. I have several reprinted catalogs that show different bullet weights and loads for the same rifle and I'm not talking just slightly different, I'm talking way different and made for different purposes. Just because you've got a rifle that will put down a bear doesn't mean everything you shoot at is a bear. That said, I've seen some squirrels in Michigan and Wisconsin that all but growl.

With that in mind, I loaded up three different types of bullets using three different powders and loads for my old Marlin 30-30. For the first load, I used a 160 grain Hornady flex-tip bullet with a full load of the appropriate powder. This was good for deer season. The next load was a 165 grain lead bullet, cast on my back porch of course, and loaded with a light load of rifle powder. The third was a small, 100 grain Hornady half-jacket bullet using a small load of pistol powder. And out to the range we went.

First up was the deer load. At 50 yards, I was shooting just less than 2 inches high, which was about right. Where I hunt, there is a lot of brush and trees, pretty thick, and if I were to shoot at anything past 100 yards, it would have to be flying overhead. Since deer don't fly all that well, I called that load a good deer load. I did hear once that a northern whitetail deer can jump higher than a two story house. I've never see a two story house jump at all, so that seems right to me.

Next was the lightly loaded cast lead bullet. At 50 yards it was shooting about half an inch above point of aim. Very little recoil, quite accurate, not very loud, and would certainly put down a coyote at 50 to 75 yards. Look up "cat sneeze" rounds on the Internet. They were apparently used to good effect during WWII in Finland or Norway, I believe. Of course, they weren't shooting at coyotes, either.

Finally was the little 100 grain round. I'm sure some of you have heard of the "universal 30 caliber rabbit round". I won't repeat it here, but you can find it on the Internet. I've forgotten who discovered it, and he may in fact be reading this. If he is, THANK YOU! Anyway, these little things sound about like a firecracker, shoot like a 22 with no recoil at all, and hit point of aim at 50 yards! Rabbits or squirrels anyone? Well yes, you do have to aim carefully, because even a light load like that with a 30 caliber bullet will leave not much for dinner if you hit it in the wrong place. But what a pleasure to shoot! I could have sat there and shot those all day, they're just plain fun! Sadly, I hadn't loaded up enough and had to quit.

The general idea is to load for what you're hunting. The light loads are also great for getting a new, young shooter introduced to a 30 caliber rifle. Good luck and good shooting!

This is an excellent point. Reloading gives you a much greater degree of control for intended uses rather than simply making one load try and fit every scenario. Thanks Bama Bubba, and welcome!

******

Next up our pal polynikes took a field trip to Collector's Firearms in Houston, TX, and shares some undercover photos of what was found.

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Here are their racks of ARs made or put together by a Houston company called Bird Dog Arms. They want $1200 for one. So a fair price is probably closer to $900. They are also very proud of their ammunition. The pallet of .45 (not pictured) was selling for $75 for 50 round box.

polynikes 1 060621 scaled.jpg

I've purchased firearms from Collector's a number of times and always seemed to pay a premium for nice examples of whatever I was looking for. So agreed, they're not the cheapest guy in town!

******

Next up, a nameless lurking pal Lurker shares some scary tales from the reloading bench.

I've been reloading handgun, rifle, and shotgun ever since 1974, and have had only one bad load, which did not have a powder charge. The round was with a stick powder which didn't run consistently thru my dropper, so I would weigh the charge manually and then seat the bullet. Fortunately this happened early in the reloading experience, which I corrected by always placing the charged cases in a cartridge tray, then visually inspecting each power charge before seating any bullets. My biggest mistake was to teach my late shooting buddy how to reload. He has gone to his great reward so I'm free to talk behind his back. The man just had no attention to detail and constantly produced squib loads and stuck bullets. I even saw him load a magazine for his .223 with 7.62x39 and then wonder why it wouldn't chamber. But his biggest mistake, which I didn't witness, was when he chambered a .308 into his .270 and fired it. Perplexed when nothing hit the target, he ejected the case and wondered further why it was elongated. Chambering another .308 this time the bolt lugs didn't grab the case and just pushed it into the chamber preventing it being fired. According to him the bore was not plugged, so in this case bullet fragmentation was a good thing over losing an eye.

I have always double and triple checked every step in my reloading process, convinced that sooner or later I was going to screw something up, including a visual inspection of cases and powder charge volume before seating bullets. As to the experiences of your late friend, yikes!

******

Finally, Here's a video from Lena Miculek eye dominance.

Lots of good practical info there. Wouldn't she make a great 'ette?

******

Ax Weasel
This week our pal DB- just DB sends in a great question!

If a guy wanted to share a range report with the group on a future thread, what kind of content would that include?

Excellent question DBjDB! I really do think this is as much your thread as it is mine. Honestly, anything that is interesting to you on the topic of guns and shooting is going to be interesting to the rest of us.

I try not to edit what people send at all, although I do reserve the right to do so, and that generally has as much to do with the length of the submitted material rather than for actual content. How much is too much? A good rule of thumb would be around 350 words. Any longer than that and it's probably a good idea to check with me before you spend a lot of time on it.

What do I personally like? Range reports including new shooters are always a favorite, and something I feel strongly we all should be doing. I also like to see reports on shooting with a specific objective in mind, then after action reports on what you think went right or wrong. You get the idea, but plain ol' plinking reports are also just as welcome! If you spent an enjoyable summer afternoon shooting cans off of a fence just for funsies, then take a couple of pictures, write her up, and send it in!

I really mean it when I say this is all y'alls dealio, and I would really like to see more people sending in their range trip stories. When I started writing the Gun Thread I wanted it to be a combination of the Gardening Thread and the Pet Thread which are two of my favorites. Your content doesn't need to be super technical to be relevant, so if you went shooting and had a good time, let us all share in the fun! I absolutely don't want this to become so specialized and focused on ultra-precision that people who just shoot purely recreationally feel excluded.

So the question really is, what do you all like to see?

******

ATTENTION NoVaMoMe 2021!!

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The social and cultural event of the season, NoVaMoMe 2021 is on the calendar! That's right, you people have a chance to meet many of your online pals on Saturday, July 24th beginning at 1pm until dark, or such time as it gets busted up by the cops. We have an exciting new location in the Northern Virginia area which we think will be more better than before and allow extended time for visiting. Admission is $25 which includes food and soft drinks, with a cash bar. This year all of the food is prepared from the greatest non-fiction literary work in modern history, The Deplorable Gourmet. Want to find out if your recipe made the cut? Want to be one of the cool kids? Just send an email to novamome at protonmail dot cee oh emm, pass the rigorous screening process to obtain registration details, then sign up to attend! Easy-Peasy!

It promises to be a great day, including our customary raffle of AoSHQ themed gift baskets. That's right! Each of the AoSHQ weekend threads has a specially themed gift basket chock full 'o theme related gifts!

Registration closes at midnight, July 10, 2021

Win a Dream Date with Weasel!
This year, a separate raffle for the Gun Thread gift basket will be held. This fabulous prize includes an entire day of shooting and personalized one-on-one handgun & rifle coaching and instruction at Weasel Acres on a mutually agreeable date with yours truly. The lucky winner will be able to not only bring and shoot their own weapons, but also try out a variety of WeaselWeapons using WeaselAmmo! The winner will take home 150 rounds of quality 9mm ammo to practice what they have learnt, a signed photo of WeaselDog and Fun Size Joe, and a complimentary video of the WeaselAcres experience, as parting gifts.

We will end the day with dinner at a good Mexican place in nearby Appomattox. Pretty much a dream date with Weasel! The winner will be responsible for their travel to and from Central Virginia, hence the separate drawing.

Don't be a pathetic girly-man loser, register today!

******

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
Bud's Gun Shop

***Mail Bag***

This week's Mail Bag is from our pal and CoB extraordinaire, MisHum

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******

Please note the new and improved protonmail account gunthread at protonmail dot com. An informal Gun Thread archive can be found HERE. Future expansion plans are in the works for the site Weasel Gun Thread. 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 Weasel at 07:00 PM

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