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August 29, 2021

Gun Thread: Three Year Anniversary Edition!

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Howdy, Y'all! Welcome to the wondrously fabulous Gun Thread! As always, I want to thank all of our regulars for being here week in and week out, and also offer a bigly Gun Thread welcome to any newcomers who may be joining us tonight. Howdy and thank you for stopping by! I hope you find our wacky conversation on the subject of guns 'n shooting both enjoyable and informative. You are always welcome to lurk in the shadows of shame, but I'd like to invite you to jump into the conversation, say howdy, and tell us what kind of shooting you like to do!

Q: What is today?
A: The Three Year Gun Thread Anniversary!

You forgot? You forgot the GT Anniversary? Oh, that's fine. Just fine and dandy!! I just don't know who you people are anymore!!

Yup, as hard as it is to believe, this is the 156th weekly edition of the Gun Thread. Crazy, huh? When I started doing this I had no idea it would last this long and never imagined it would develop such a faithful following! I say it every week and I really mean it, whatever success the Gun Thread has is owed to all of the readers and contributors. If it weren't for you all, this would be three hours of Weasel talking to himself. My most heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you! We have a very nice combination of those new to shooting, some very knowledgeable regulars, and everything in between on a wide range of shooting topics. I am grateful to you all for contributing in such an easy-going, respectful and conversational atmosphere. Y'all are the best!

Oh, and I made it to the farm this week! As always, I had quite the to-do list in mind, and as usual, got very little of it accomplished. I had hoped to do the annual service on a bunch of power equipment, but at the end of the day managed to get some vegetation cut and a few other small chores done. Shooting? Precisely 0.0 hours. It was in the mid-nineties with high humidity, so I mostly sat in the shade, smoked cigars and tried not to die.

So with the farm report out of the way, let's get to the gun stuff below, shall we?


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We had an interesting comment last week from our pal Mister Scott (formerly GWS). How many guns do you take to the range?

Going to the range tomorrow, just need to decide what to shoot. 9mm, .45acp or 45 colt and no I cant bring everything. Posted by: Mister Scott (formerly GWS) at August 22, 2021 07:21 PM (JUOKG)

That's actually a very good point. What do you all think; take one gun to the range and concentrate on it, or take a bunch of guns and have to adjust to shooting each one? For many years when shooting at an indoor range, I'd take five or six handguns each time. It was a little regular Saturday morning thing with my primary shooting buddy. We'd meet, blast away for an hour, then go have breakfast. Bigly fun!

But what was I accomplishing, training-wise? Probably not a whole lot. Sure, I was practicing some fundamentals, but I wasn't really training, per se. By taking that many different weapons, and shooting each one for maybe 10 minutes, I spent most of the time adjusting to the individual characteristics of each gun's trigger pull, grip feel, sight picture and so forth. By the time I'd shot 30 or 40 rounds with each one, I'd wipe it down and put it away. It never occurred to me that just about the time I was becoming re-acquainted with a particular firearm and could begin concentrating on marksmanship I was picking up something else and starting the process all over.

Since each weapon has different characteristics, you cannot really begin to assess your results on target until you have the 'feel' of the weapon committed to memory. Later in last week's thread, our pal That Deplorable SOB Van Owen recognizes this and made the following comment.

I usually take just one pistol or rifle to the range and concentrate on that, although I will occasionally take along an additional one that I haven't shot in a very long time just to keep my familiarity with it. Posted by: That Deplorable SOB Van Owen at August 22, 2021 07:30 PM (CmPBR)

Bingo! TDSOBVO hits the fork in the head! Concentrating on one weapon each time is the way to go. It's OK to take and shoot one or two others, but your primary training time should be spent focusing on just one, and correcting any errors that show up on the target. If you want to spend the last 10 minutes of a range trip pretending to be Dirty Harry at the Alamo, well then go ahead and have fun! Sometimes shooting for the sake of shooting is therapeutic, and I have no quibble with that. Just keep your training time separate and distinct from shooting for funsies.

What do you all think?

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Also last week our pal and all-around good guy Pillage Idiot asked the following question.

I do have a noob ammo question.

I understand that ammo variance is greater than the variance in moving from a good rifle to an accurized rifle. Therefore, you have to be a better shooter than your match-grade ammo limits to justify upgrading your rifle.

What I DON'T understand is how hand-loading ammo can be more precise than commercial match-grade ammo? All of the precision manufacturer that I am familiar with is capable of much tighter tolerances than anything done in the average machine shop.

Posted by: Pillage Idiot at August 22, 2021 07:04 PM (tkyK5)

This is a pretty common misconception, and one that I admit to holding myself until my own reloading efforts proved otherwise. There are a number of reasons for this, especially with rifle ammunition, but the basic idea holds for handgun calibers, too. Consider a modern automated commercial ammunition high-speed production line. How many rounds do you think are made in an hour? In a minute? Probably more than I make in a year or three, and in order for the line to keep moving, tolerances end up being somewhat looser rather than tighter. Commercial ammunition must be made to conform to Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute specifications. Take 9mm ammo for example. If you buy a handgun chambered in 9mm, you have a reasonable expectation that commercially made 9mm ammo will work safely in it. Dimensionally everything is correct with the cartridge and the bullet weight and powder charges are within a specified range, so it shouldn't blow up in your face when used, which is typically the desired outcome.

The problemo is that not all handguns, in this particular example a 9mm, are identical. Specifications of the guns themselves even from the same production line will vary slightly due to machining equipment tolerances and wear, so the SAAMI specifications cover a prescribed tolerance range. That way, 9mm ammo will work in a Sig Sauer 9mm, a Smith & Wesson 9mm, a Ruger 9mm, and sometimes maybe even a Glock 9mm. Mass production has its limits, and again, commercial ammo has to chamber in all guns made in that particular caliber. The stuff you make at home can be made to much tighter tolerances and fitted to your particular weapon.

There are a number of factors that contribute to accuracy, the most important being generally described as consistency. Are you getting inconsistent results? You may have inconsistent, or ill-fitted ammunition. There is nothing wrong with it, it's just not optimal for your firearm. The effects are much more noticeable in rifle ammunition due to the greater powder charges and distances involved. Ever wonder why a certain ammunition does not chamber reliably in your auto-loading pistol? Perhaps the bullet is not seated at the optimum depth or work well with a particular magazine.

This isn't meant to be an in-depth review of reloading, but at the reloading bench I can control tolerances to something like 5 ten-thousandths of an inch (.0005") which is a pretty small measurement, since I'm not trying to turn out a zillion rounds per hour. Again, I didn't believe it until my reloading skills and techniques were sufficiently advanced and I began to see it with my own eyes.

Finally, the ability to 'tune' a load to a particular weapon, most significantly rifles, plays a critical part. The reasons are complex and have a lot to do with interior ballistics, or what happens inside the gun when the trigger is pulled. Once an optimum custom load is developed, comprised of a precisely measured powder charge, bullet weight and seating depth, and case wall thickness, it can be more reliably replicated by the handloading process. It is truly custom ammunition.

Make sense? Am I forgetting anything?

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First up. our pal RI Red has gone all nutty and set his bad-self up with a dandy .22! Let's check in as he takes it to the range for its shooting debut.

ri red 2 082921 scaled.jpg

Christensen Ranger .22 - 18" threaded barrel, carbon fiber wrapped stainless steel. Uses Ruger mags! Recommended break-in of two three-shot groups, clean, repeat for 40-50 rounds, so yesterday was break-in and ammo test day.

ri red 3 50yds 082921 scaled.jpg

Warm up shot groups at clays on berm to bring cheapo ChinaMart 4X16 scope grabbed from 10-22 close, then cleaning, and then set up a target:

1. On paper at 50 yards.
2. Scope adjusted to target.
2A. Fire for effect, adjust scope, then clean.
3. First shot clearly a fouling shot, second and third looking good. Geco Semi-Auto ammo.
4. Fire for effect, clean.
5. Swap to Ely ammo. A bit slower/lower, but OK group.
6. Fire for effect, good-looking group. Clean.
7. Swap to Aguila. First and second rounds are bullseyes, but the rest scatter. Say goodbye, Aguila. Clean.
8. Swap to CCI MiniMag. Ugh. I have a ton of this ammo that will not be used in this rifle.
9. Tightens up a bit, but not gonna hit an aspirin with that. Clean.
10. Run back to LGS with target and grab two boxes of Geco Match ammo.

Now to get some good glass. LGS loves me and wants me to be happy. I am.

Whoa dude! A 10 step program? That looks a lot like work! Nice, RI Red! Now let's move the target back a little.

Zeroing at 200 yards, breeze left to right. Vertical looks pretty darn good, about .5 moa. Need more wind skills.

xri red 3 200yds 082921 scaled.jpg

Very respectable at 200 yards! As you have observed, developing wind reading skills requires a ton of work in the form of practice, practice, practice. Then more practice. Take the time to stop and assess every shot. Think your way through the firing solution, take the shot, then think your way through the results. Did the bullet not impact where expected? Why not? Did the conditions change or did your misread them?

Very nicely done, RI Red!

******

The Russians are Not Coming!
As I'm sure you have heard by now, the retard Biden administration has banned Rooskie ammo. Here's a link to the story from our pal CBD.

Here is more detail on the situation and some Rooskie ammo deals from SG Ammo courtesy of our pal MikeCLT

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The NRA is Not Meeting!
Talk about a mess. The NRA has cancelled its Annual Meeting [h/t redc1c4]. Here's what the NRA itself has to say on the matter.

So, do you believe the stated reason of Covid concerns?

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Gun Basics 101
Last week I started what will hopefully be a popular feature for new shooters, Gun Basics 101. Here I will do my best to cover introductory information for the newest shooters and gun nuts out there. It will probably be mix of videos and discussion on a variety of topics. This week you get videos because I screwed around and didn't get any material prepared.

So! You have heard of pistols and you have heard of revolvers. What are they and how do they work?

Here's a explanation on the revolver:


Here's a simple animation on the function of a Sig Sauer pistol.


And here's a more detail animation of a pistol, in this case a 1911.

These should show the obvious differences in the operation and function of both types of firearms. As you can see, there is a lot more going on in a pistol than a revolver, and therefore more possible points of malfunction, but pistols almost always offer a greater capacity.

Are you looking for a handgun? Have you decided which type and did the animations cause you to reconsider your choice?

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Ax Weasel
Here's a question from our pal Bif Bewalski

Do you ever include precision matches in the weekly gun thread? Below is one my neighbor hosts at the range we both belong to, The Blue & Grey Rifle & Pistol Club

I'm thinking very seriously about doing the rimfire competition with my Savage .22Mag bolt action with 5 round box magazine and adjustable trigger. Great rifle, very accurate for varmint hunting. I've had it since ~1972. Got it from Gibson's Hardware in Natchitoches, Louisiana brand new in the box for about $90.

Do it! Do it! Enter the match! I have said this a hundred times, there is no substitute for match experience to make you a better marksman! I am generally pretty lazy by nature, and when I was learning to shoot and began accumulating skills, I realized I was justifying my sometimes less than stellar results with a sort of "it's close enough" attitude. I'd be set up on a man size target at 600 yards and barely nick the edge when I should have been taking head shots at that range. So what did I do? I starting regularly entering mid-range matches held at the closest club, about 2 hours from home. I participated in a lot of matches.

Why? Because you cannot hide from a poorly executed shot when the target comes up and scores are being kept. The pressure of not being last forced me to try my best every single time I was behind the gun, and my skills started improving dramatically. You don't have to go crazy like I did, but match shooting is an excellent training tool. Plus, matches are fun and you make some great new friends. You just have to get over not knowing what you're doing the first couple of times. Talk to the Match Director and explain the situation and ask them to squad you with someone experienced, then become their best buddy.

It works, believe me. Bif - I hope you enter the match and tell us how you did!

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This looks like fun! A 280mm Atomic Cannon. Take that, mo-fo!

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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 funny is courtesy of our pal blaster

blaster funny scaled.png

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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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