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June 26, 2022

Gun Thread: Another June Edition!

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Danger Will Robinson!

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!

You know, it occurs to me that in addition to being another June edition, it's also the last June edition of 2022. Kind of sad, really. Adios, June of 2022! Next week we'll welcome July of 2022. Now that we understand how the calendar works, wassup with all y'all? I had really, really, rilly planned to go to the farm this week but some work stuff and some home stuff got in the way of my plans. I used to go down there with five or six things on my to-do (ha!) list, and come home disappointed in having only completed one or maybe two. It was the super-smart WeaselWoman who pointed out the farm was supposed to be fun and to stop worrying about it. Smart girl, and one with impeccable taste I might add.

With that, step into the dojo and let's get to the gun stuff below, shall we?


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Feature Gun
This week we have a little feller from the WeaselCollection, the Walther P22, which I purchased new in 2010.

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This is, hands down, an excellent little gun. It functions reliably with all brands and types of ammo, and only rarely suffering a FTF/FTE, and since it's not a self-defense gun, those don't really bother me when they do occur. Whenever I am helping a new shooter, it is almost always the gun I start them out with. If I have said it once I have said it a hunnert times, do not overlook the .22LR as a training cartridge. You can still very economically spend an afternoon shooting it while focusing on all the basics of marksmanship; grip mechanics, sight alignment, target acquisition, and looking good for the range babes.

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Determining Elevation and Windage
Tonight, I want to cover something which we've discussed before and which continues to present a little bit of a mystery to many, and that's how to engage a target for the first time with an initially unverified ammo load. Say a hawt babe, the heiress to her family beer and ammo manufacturing empire who is temporarily home from her assignment as a super-model, invites you to her private range for a day of rifle shooting and you want to impress her with your super-ninja precision shooting abilities. Rather than bothering with the difficult task of practicing and recording range data, you have decided to instead spend your free time reading the internet on how the bad-ass Navy SEAL's jump out of helicopters, and by golly you're ready to go!

Except for the shooting part. Might be a teeeeensy problemo there.

You have a bolt rifle in .308 Winchester, a decent scope, bipod and a sturdy rear bag, and you even lucked in to some commercial Federal Gold Medal Match ammo that your pal 'ol Weasel recommended. Now what?

*SIGH*

You have disappointed Weasel. We've covered this material before, but let's go over it again.

Step 1: Sighting the rifle
You should've already done this, however, based on your extensive internet reading the night before the process seems something of a mystery and besides you've been OK plinking at 50 yards up until now. Not great, mind you, but OK enough to hit a fair size target most of the time.

Sighting or "zeroing" a rifle is not voodoo. It simply means the crosshairs inside the scope are pointed to exactly the same place as the rifle barrel and bullet impact at a fixed distance, and there is an easy way to achieve this mystical state of affairs. It's helpful to use a paper "sighting" target with a grid of one-inch squares, but that really isn't absolutely necessary. Set up the target at 100 yards and with as steady a hold as possible using shooting bags, and with all the little scope knobs set at zero, fire a shot at the center of the target. If you're lucky, the impact will be somewhere on the paper, but if not, you have some more work to do. With a bolt gun it's possible to remove the bolt and sight through the barrel so the scope and barrel alignment are pointed in roughly the same place so the bullet is on the paper, and there are other options, such as laser cartridge inserts, which basically do the same thing. Now the process can continue.

Say you're lucky and the bullet has found the paper, with the impact low about 2.5" and left about 3.0" of the target center and your aim point. All you need to do now is adjust the scope reticle to match the bullet's point of impact. You remember that your scope is indexed in Minutes of Angle, or MOA, and that one MOA equals just over 1" (1.047") at 100 yards. After thinking for a minute, you conclude an adjustment right 3.0 inches and up 2.5 inches is necessary. All that is needed is to turn the elevation UP and RIGHT by these amounts. Take one or two practice shots to confirm the setting, then loosen the scope knob set screws and reposition them to zero.

Now your lovely host wants to make things interesting and move out to a target at 300 yards. Uh oh! What do you do now? Up until now, all of your shooting has been at 50 yards, and you've already stretched that to 100 yards zeroing the rifle. What more does she want? These demands are unreasonable! Has she not seen your cool tactical pants and Wiley X shooting glasses?

*SIGH*

You have again disappointed Weasel. We've also covered this material before, but let's go over it again too.

Step 2: Adjusting for Elevation and Wind
You really weren't paying attention, but recall Weasel saying something about a shooting app he uses. Now what was the name of it... Ballistic something or other... Ballistic AE! That's it!! Although there are others, that's the one your 'ol pal Weasel uses and recommends, so quick like a bunny you download it from the app store.

It might not seem so first, but the Ballistic AE app isn't very difficult to use. It really pays to familiarize yourself with it before you need it and get used to the features and conventions. In a nutshell, you need to know what bullet you are using, its speed leaving the barrel of your gun and a few specifics about the rifle itself; zero distance, scope height, barrel length, and a couple of others.

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Ballistic AE comes with a bullet library containing very specific information about various bullets. Looking at the package your ammo came in, you see the Federal Gold Medal Match is using a Sierra Match King HPBT (Hollow Point Boat Tail) bullet weighing 168 grains. Recall a grain is simply a unit of weight measure equaling 1/7000th of a pound. You find the Sierra section of the bullet library and select it or enter the info manually. You don't have a chronograph to precisely measure velocity but note on the package that the manufacturer lists a muzzle velocity of 2650 fps and using the bullet library pre-selects this for you. You have no idea what length barrel was on the test gun, and it will make some difference, but it's better than nothing so you use that figure. Finally, in the app you configure a 1 mph wind exactly perpendicular to the bullet's flight, or a 1 mph full value wind, and calculate the trajectory. What you get is this:

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Ballistic AE is an extremely powerful ballistic computer, and a complete discussion of its features is beyond the scope of this thread. Suffice it to say there is a lot this thing will do and if you are at all serious about shooting at longer distances then you should get a copy of it. It allows for countless atmospheric, rifle and ammunition variables, and the more inputs it has, the greater the degree of accuracy the output will be. In this example, I have left all of the atmospheric data set to "standard" and entered the minimum data for a firing solution out to 500 yards in 100-yard increments.

You look at the range conditions and guess the wind is blowing about 5 mph from the left, and you know the next target is at 300 yards. You have the basic information you need to take a shot in these conditions. Find the 300 yd line in the bullet trajectory data and note the bullet drop in col 2 is 4.27 MOA, and the effect of a full value wind (perpendicular the line of flight) at 1 mph in col 4 is .05 MOA. You dial up, 4.25 MOA, and dial left wind of .25 MOA (.05 MOA x 5 mph), and take the shot.

Bingo! Hit! Hawt Babe is impressed!

With some basic information about the rifle and ammunition you have been able to convert what you know into a firing solution. In those same conditions, a shot at 500 yards would be about 10.0 MOA elevation (and hold a little low), and .5 MOA left wind.

The super hawt range babe swoons and asks you to marry her and you live happily ever after.

The End.

Well, not really The End. Please, for the sake of all that is holy, please record the range data in a little notebook you keep with the rifle. It can be as simple as "300 yds 4.25 / .05" or can be more complex to include location, weather data, your deepest thoughts and feelings... whatever you like. At a minimum though, you need the 4.25 MOA elevation and .05 MOA for 1 mph wind info. For general plinking and funsies, just print a copy of the range card and laminate it. You will find there are going to be differences with the computed data and your actual observations based on differences in atmospheric conditions, muzzle velocities and other variables, but it should get you close enough for Moron-level work. Next steps would to be to measure actual velocities with a chronograph and atmospheric conditions such as density altitude with a Kestrel Weather Meter or similar product.

Again, the better the input the more accurate the output. As you engage more distant targets, the margin for error becomes vanishingly small, and you need to be more precise in your measurements and setup behind the gun. Hope this helps, and as always, if you have questions just drop me a note!

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Sock Monkey is Down!
Next up, our pal Sock Monkey has banged up his trigger finger and it's affecting his shooting. Oh the humanity!

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Looking for suggestions from the pros.

I am not sure if you can tell from this picture. The finger in the lower left is my trigger finger. If you can notice it is slightly wider and has a slight downward bend. This is the result of smashing two of my fingers with my log splitter last November. Initially there was some loss of tactile sensitivity. That seems to have improved. Warmer temps or nerve damage repairing itself. It has noticeably affected my shot groupings to the point of frustration. My primary is a Glock 19 but the grouping issue is noticeable to some degree on everything I shoot. The frustration is the inconsistency. I don't seem to have an identifiable pattern. High low left right and combinations that vary all over the place. Any thoughts? Drills? My wife has already stated the obvious regarding being more careful with the log splitter so we can skip that one.

Yikes, bro! I am at a total loss on this one. I know we have some smart doctor types who read the thread, hopefully one of them will chime in! Has anyone out there had a similar injury, and what did you do for it?

******

Colt 1911 vs the Nambu Type 14

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Here's a great look at the Colt 1911 vs the Nambu Type 14 from our pal A.H. Lloyd. Who says the war is over?!

One of the great lessons is life is this: if you don't have a pickup truck of your own, find friends who do.

Similarly, you don't really need to have a vast gun collection so long as you have friends who do.

Today I will prove this point by comparing two completely dissimilar pistols: the Colt 1911 (actually an Argentinian Ballester-Molina, but close enough) and a Nambu Type 14.

Strange though it may seem, these two weapons are close contemporaries. The Nambu was made in January of 1943 and the Ballester-Molina 1911 dates from the late 1940s.

Looking at them side by side, it is clear that the 1911 is a military arm. It is rugged, durable, easy to disassemble and maintain. Even the shape of it exudes a sense of power. The design was so robust that it became a world-wide standard that is still being used today.

The Nambu is an artisan weapon. The Japanese serialized everything. Even the tiniest parts have three digits stamped on them - including the mag release and firing pin! This is not something you do if you expect to swap out parts regularly. Everything about it is over-engineered and the milling required to shape it is ludicrous. As for disassembly, it's also needlessly complex. There are videos on YouTube if you want to see it, but suffice to say that there really isn't a "field strip" option - whether you want it or not, you're getting full disassembly.

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And yes, I'll say it: a Mauser C96 is less complex to take apart than this metal Japanese jigsaw puzzle. For one thing, on the C96 you can swap out the firing pin with a screwdriver and leave the rest of the weapon intact. Can't do that on a Nambu, which is a serious flaw we'll discuss later.

That gets us to another key difference: use in action. For the size of the weapon, the Nambu gives you very little in return. From left to right we have .45 ACP, 8x22mm Nambu and 7..63mm Mauser/7.62mm Tokarev (the cartridges are externally identical, but the Tokarev rounds have more powder). As you can see, the 8x22mm cartridge looks like a 7x63mm Mauser but has only half of the horsepower.

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Do the books have pictures?

Astute observers will note that I chose to use snap caps and dummy rounds to highlight how important and useful it is to have these, particularly with vintage weapons.

I don't think I need to sing the praises of the 1911 in .45 ACP, so I'll just note that if it comes down to a gunfight, everyone with a brain would choose it over the Nambu. Yes, the Nambu magazine has an additional cartridge, but .45 ACP has (depending on the loading) 50-100% more energy. I'm generally supportive of mouse guns but defending yourself from a mugger is a bit different that full-on combat ops.

Since we've got them open, there are a couple of interesting observations about these particular weapons. The finish on the Nambu is less than ideal, but that's to be expected. Internally, however, it is in great shape with a nice clean bore and shiny parts throughout. The firing pin is a replacement, which is to be expected because among the design's many flaws was a fragile firing pin. This was a known issue and issue holsters have a slot for a spare.

Let's pause to contemplate that for a moment. You're blasting away with your pistol and there's a click but no boom. Because the Nambu uses a striker, the only way to cycle it is to pull the cocking piece. So you do that, ejecting a round in the process. You try again and get nothing. At this point, you realize the pin may have broken, but the only way to check is examine the rounds you just ejected to see if there was strike on the primer. This is not a function you want to perform at pistol range. Maybe that's why they also issued their officers swords.

One reason this particular specimen is in such good shape is that its previous owner packed it with preservative. The current owner remarked that he got a deal on it because the bore looked pretty bad on initial inspection. Once he brought it home to clean it, he realized that it was just filled with old cosmoline. Turns out, the bore is nice and shiny. Lucky bastard.

I think there is another reason this Nambu - and others like it - seem to be in better average condition than bring-back weapons from Europe. I believe it has to do with the nature of the combat. Veterans from the European Theater of Operations had a very different experience than those who fought in the Pacific War. Unlike the European veterans, those in the Pacific didn't get to experience light-hearted jaunts in London, Rome or Paris. Instead, it was one jungle hell after another. The only respite might be a visit to the overworked whores at Pearl Harbor or maybe Manila late in the war.

All of which is to say, they took souvenirs but when they got home, there may have been a reluctance to get them out and relive the experience. Yes, ammo was more of an issue than with European weapons, but I get the sense from the accounts (and residual feelings of veterans towards the Japanese), that their trophies were more likely to be packed away than taken out and talked about. I could be wrong, but that's my sense of it.

The 1911 has clearly been refinished, and while barrel and frame match, the barrel is in hideous condition. If you throw enough light into it, you can see where the rifling used to be. It winds like little curving paths through all the pitting. Clearly, I'm going to need a replacement.

Yes, here's the big reveal at the end: I've joined the 1911 club. That worn-out not-quite-1911 was all I can afford, which is why - as I said at the start - it's important to have friends with much more lavish gun collections that you.

As to why I got a 1911, that's a story for another time...

Wow! Nicely done, AHL!! Thank you very mucho!

******

.380 ACP Worth a Look?
I think the .380 ACP gets something of a bad rap. Sure, carry the .50AE if you can, but if size, weight and concealment are factors, consider whether the .380 has a place in your canoe. They can be a little snappy which surprises some people, but you don't find a lot of people volunteering to act as a target for one, either. Here's a video on the cartridge using ballistic gel.

What do you think? Good option or bad option? How might you work the .380 into your carry routine?

******

Gun Basics 101
Once again, the She Equips Herself gal feels compelled to remind us she has a husband, and also mentions various carry styles.

******

Cigar of the Week
Our pal and Gun Thread Chief Cigar Correspondent rhomboid brings it with another excellent cigar review.

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Avo Syncro Nicaragua, toro. Avo Uvezian is a musician who turned to composing cigar blends. This is his first significant use of Nicaraguan tobacco, including the spicy leaves grown in the volcanic soils of Isla Ometepe. Avo has a signature flavor profile to most of his stuff, what I'd call a mellow, full flavor, often with a hint of sweetness. This cigar follows that path, using not just Nicaraguan but also leaf from the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Ecuador. Box-pressed - meaning roughly rectangular instead of round, so a "v-cut" works well on this one. About $8 and up online.

Thanks rhomboid!

***

Cigar Vixen is taking a break this week. Instead, here is a video with a guy discussing selecting a cigar.

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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 mailbag entry is from our pal JT

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Hiya! Hiya! Hiya!!!

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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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