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October 24, 2021

Gun Thread: Howdy From Texas 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: Guess who is deep in the Heart of Texas?
A: Weasel! Weasel are deep in the heart of Texas!!

That's right, I am writing this on Tuesday after arriving at the beautiful ranch belonging to Rancher Bob and Cow Horse Queen late Monday afternoon. The trip down is a full two days, and although it's a pretty drive, there is a lot of it! Anyhoo, went to dinner last night with Ben Had, RB, and CHQ, then sat around an outdoor fire solving the problems of the word and catching up since last year. They are truly wonderful people, and other than displaying the questionable intelligence of inviting me into their home, are the kind of folks I'm proud to have as friends.

Anyhoo, as you are reading this Sunday I will be on my way back to Virginia with another incredible Texas MoMe in the books. We'll have laughed, and we'll have cried. We'll have eaten, drinken, and been merry. Since I am writing this in advance I will not have time to include details of the MoMe, but you are welcome to discuss all the fun in the comments below this evening, and I will include a Post MoMe Discussion & Analysis section next week!

Post TXMoMe Sunday Update: Made it to Nashville. Ho-lee Shitballs!!! How much fun was that?!?! I'm still trying to absorb the events of the last few days, and I'm still pretty much speechless after last evening. You all are the BEST, and I love you all. I will have a more complete thank you next Sunday!

With that, let's get to the gun stuff below, shall we?


Re-Run O' Rama!
I hinted at this last Sunday, but I need to put this together sort of quickly so we can start preparing later today for the TXMoMe beginning Friday. I have decided I am best suited for a supervisory role which does not involve a lot of actual work, so after unloading guns n' ammo n' my lawn chair from the car, I'll pretty much finished with my part of the process and will be patiently waiting on everyone else to hurry the hell up with their stuff. Supervisin' is hard work!

For those of you attending, the weather forecast is just about perfect. Daytime highs in the 80s and evenings in the 60s with a breeze which can make it cool. Also, breezy during the day which will give us some interesting wind problems to solve on the range!

I am really looking forward to everyone getting here, saying hello and doing some shooting together! Hurry up, Y'all!

Gun Thread: November 4, 2018

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1999 Springfield Armory, Inc. M1A Loaded Model

I have to admit I think this may be my favorite rifle. I just like everything about it. It's well balanced, fun to shoot, fun to look at, sort of fun to clean (not really), and makes it seem like I know what I'm doing on a rifle range. Pointy end downrange, right?

The M1A is the semi-automatic civilian version of the M14. Chambered in .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO, the fully automatic M14 was introduced as a replacement for the M1 Garand beginning in 1959, and served as the U.S. battle rifle until the arrival of the M16 around 1964. The M14 continues to be used by specialized units to this day.

In 1974, Springfield Armory, Inc., a private corporation headquartered in Genesco, IL., began production of the M1A. Offering several different models with an array of features; the M1A remains popular with competitive shooters, marksmen, hunters and sportsmen alike. The M1A 'Loaded' model pictured above includes as standard a number of match grade components including a National Match barrel, front and rear sights and two stage military trigger. Although not standard on the Loaded model, this particular rifle has a custom bedding job and was very clearly someone's well cared for match rifle. Although I haven't done any scientific measuring, with decent ammo off a bench I think this is probably very close to a 1 MOA rifle. Did I mention it was fun to shoot?

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Although very small physical and pressure differences do exist, .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition is interchangeable, with the .308 Win developing slightly higher pressure. Over the years, the military has produced M80 Ball, M118 Match and M852 NATO Match ammunition to varying degrees of accuracy. Unfortunately, military loads are often driven by the economics of component availability, with accuracy sometimes becoming a secondary consideration. Whether you're shooting surplus, commercial or handloaded ammunition, look for a bullet weight in the 168 gr to 175 gr range, and a muzzle velocity around 2600 fps for best performance.

2021 Update : Here is a video I made at the farm shooting this rifle

Did I bring this rifle to Texas? No, unfortunately I am not that smart. Maybe next year!


Gun Thread: November 11, 2018

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Interesting Variation on Classic IWB Carry

Anyone else use the Advanced Lower Back Muzzle Peekaboo style for concealed carry?

A few weeks ago we talked about buying a first gun, and today I'd like to discuss carry permits and carrying a weapon.

I firmly believe that the single best carry gun in the universe is the one you actually have with you when you need it. Regardless of caliber, sights, custom trigger and all the rest, the gun you left at home in your sock drawer isn't going to do you a whole lot of good when the unexpected occurs. This is why some gun owners get a concealed weapon permit and then carry a concealed weapon.

Before we begin the usual banter and fun commentary, a serious note:
Not everyone wants or needs to carry a gun, and if you aren't comfortable doing so, then you are one who probably shouldn't consider it. I'd feel better if you did, but it's a big responsibility, and not something to ever be taken casually. Carrying a gun is a very serious business and needs to be treated as such. If the unthinkable occurs and God forbid you use a weapon to defend yourself or others, in the time it takes to pull the trigger you will have changed your life, and presumably the target's life, forever.

Think about that.

As I write this, reports are just coming in of another horrific mass shooting, this time at a nightclub in Thousand Oaks, California. What drove the person to commit such a heinous acts will probably never be known. However, I think it's safe to say we do know a couple of important facts; we will never be able to un-invent, or confiscate, all the guns, and just one properly trained and armed person in a crowd of hundreds would have at least had a chance to stop the massacre.

Think about that, too.

OK, end of Mr. Serious-Pants.


The Permit
I live in Virginia, and like many states today, at one time it was nearly impossible to get a concealed carry permit here. Things have changed, and today as long as you pass a background check and can demonstrate competency with a firearm, you should be approved for a permit. For me the process was straightforward; submit fingerprints with an application, show that I'd attended a brief but practical course on the topic, and pay a fee to the city where I live. A few weeks later, the permit came in the mail. There are going to be some variables to the process based on where you live but Virginia is likely representative of other "shall issue" states, where one must only meet the criteria specified in the law and is not required to demonstrate a subjective 'need' to be considered for approval.

Do you have a permit? For those living in "may issue" states, what was the 'need' you specified and how were you required to support the claim?

What to Carry
You've gone through the process of obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and your next decision is likely what

As I mentioned above, any gun is better than no gun. I would much rather be armed with some puny girly-man caliber handgun than relying on throwing bags of Fritos and Slim Jims at the bad guy holding up the gas station late at night. So which handgun is my carry gun, you ask? Well using my super-genius reasoning, they're all candidates, with varying degrees of suitability. My main carry gun is one designed for the job, a Kimber Compact Custom in 45 ACP with a 4 inch barrel.

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Kimber Compact Custom

Another handgun that I carry is a revolver, the S&W Model 686 in .357 Magnum with a 2 1/2 inch barrel. I carry this gun mostly at the farm with the first two or three cylinders loaded with rat or snake shot. Haven't had to use it yet.

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Smith & Wesson Model 686

The common element for both guns is absolute reliability and a short barrel, and I practice with them enough to hit the center of a target at a reasonable distance.

Which gun do you carry and why? Is bigger always better, or is comfort and concealability a greater consideration for you?

***How to Carry It***
Now you've gone through the process of obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon and found the ideal weapon to carry - so what are your options for carrying it around?

Most people like to use holsters, but other options do exist. Like a handbag or purse for girls, and the man bag or satchel (*snicker*) for boys. There's even a rig employing the under-bewb or frontal overhang region as a concealment area for the ladies (and some of the gentlemen). All sorts of contraptions exist to conceal a firearm, but in my opinion, the farther you get away from a simple and straightforward sidearm holster, the less useable the firearm becomes. Unless of course you're a super-badass quickdrawing mo-fo with cat-like reflexes, of which the internet breeds many. And don't forget that states have very specific definitions for weapons in vehicles and what is considered 'concealment' - know the laws wherever and however you travel.

I prefer Outside Waist Band (OWB) holsters over Inside Waist Band (IWB). They seem to be more comfortable to me, but both work. The best holster for you is the one that's comfortable FOR YOU, and isn't such a miserable experience you're tempted to leave the whole mess at home to begin with. Ask around and don't be surprised if you have to try a few over time to get one that feels right.

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I like these holsters - do you have a favorite brand or style?


Let's stay with the November 2018 theme...

Novenber 18, 2018

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No worries - That'll buff out!

When it comes to ruining your day, this is a pretty effective way to do it.

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Today let's talk about getting a bigger bang than expected. Or a smaller bang than expected. Or pretty much any sort of result other than you expected.

Squib Loads and Barrel Blockages
Over the years, I have reloaded a lot of handgun and rifle ammunition, and have had a squib load block the barrel exactly once. When it happened, I could tell the recoil and sound were completely wrong and fortunately didn't pull the trigger again. After making the gun safe I took a peek and could see the bullet resting peacefully about 1/4 inch from the end of the barrel just waiting to cause a disaster. Ruh Roh!
What had happened is this; I was load testing and measuring muzzle velocity in a series of cartridges with decreasing powder charges, and although still above the published minimum, this particular round didn't make it out of the barrel. Muzzle velocity = 0 feet per second. Test concluded.

There are a couple of lessons here. First, pay attention to what the hell is going on while you're shooting. It is possible to become so focused on the target, and looking good for the range babes, that you lose sight of everything else. If something jams, or breaks, or sounds and feels different, stop pulling the trigger and investigate. If you're a new shooter and not quite sure what to do, put the gun down pointed in a safe direction and call over the RSO. Explain what you think is going on and let them help you. Second, be very careful when reloading. Things can go wrong even when you haven't done anything overtly retarded. I was trying to find a lower velocity accuracy node and while I was technically above the minimum published load, apparently the bullet didn't get the memo. If I hadn't realized what had happened, I could have turned an annoyance (tapping the bullet out later) into a big mess - ruining the barrel of a nice revolver, or worse.

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How is This Even Possible?

Here's an extremely lucky cat who just used up eleven lives and is fortunate to have only ruined a barrel. Hands and fingers and eyeballs are much more difficult to replace. Did someone really pull the trigger that many times, even stopping to reload the gun, without realizing something was wrong?

And speaking of reloading...

Big Reloading No-No: Double Charge or Wrong Powder
Reloading can be fun and a rewarding part of shooting. For competitive shooters it can be a necessity, and for normal people it can be an economical way to shoot more and not be totally dependent on retail ammunition supply. It can also turn a fun day at the range into a complete nightmare if you are not absolutely focused on the job at hand while at the reloading bench. I'm pretty cautious by nature, and even more so while I'm reloading. Just as there are safety rules to follow while handling firearms, some must also be followed while reloading.

First, I allow zero distractions. Realizing my limited mental faculties do not permit me to do two things at once, I don't watch TV or listen to the radio while I'm reloading. I don't even want anyone talking to me while I'm at the reloading bench, and will stop what I'm doing if a distraction presents itself. I pause at each step and check my work.

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Can you Tell a Difference?

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Confusing on Purpose?

The biggest potential for excitement relates to powder. When I started reloading I was surprised to learn there are literally hundreds of types of gunpowder all burning at different rates. The unit of measure for gunpowder is the grain (gr) which is equal to 1/7000th of a pound. In some cases, a safe load can become unsafe when it varies by as little as a few tenths of one grain, so imagine the mayhem if you inadvertently doubled the amount of powder in a cartridge. One good way to avoid this is by selecting a powder in which the desired load cannot be doubled without overflowing the case (volumetrically greater than 50% of the case capacity). Hopefully the observant reloader will notice gunpowder spilling all over the place and make some adjustments. Another problem is forgetting the powder altogether - see squib, above.

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This Isn't Good

A mistake with potentially disastrous consequences is simply using the wrong powder, and it's easy to do if you're not paying attention. Pressures developed in modern cartridges can easily exceed 50,000 psi and selecting the incorrect powder, for example using a fast burning powder in place of a slow one, can easily exceed the design pressures of the gun and result in a catastrophic failure. The only way I know to help prevent this is to never keep more than one powder on the reloading bench at a time and always check and recheck the powder you have selected before beginning a reloading session.

Have any of the reloaders among us had an accident (or a scare) related to reloading? What happened and how would you recommend preventing it from happening again?

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
Bud's Gun Shop


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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