Monday, May 16, 2016

.22 Benchrest

I started a couple of years ago. Wasn't really interested, didn't have an appropriate firearm but Nana "made" me do it. Got a 1955 produced Winchester 52C, mounted a Weaver 36X and got some moderately priced (relatively) .22 LR target/match ammunition, and a rest. I've had some success, in other words I've improved. Then again, I am just in the middle of the pack, an average shooter. Some of it is equipment, I don't have a one piece rest, don't use the most expensive ammo, haven't tweaked the rifle, etc. Some is me, my eyesight, my technique, my level of interest/commitment. However, I still enjoy it. Good people, a problem to solve without any more pressure to solve it than I choose to put on myself, time away from life's concerns, all good to me. The game isn't particularly physically challenging either. With planning and enough interest to get adaptive equipment a person who was confined to a wheelchair, missing limbs, and having who knows how many other physical challenges can participate. Gender is absolutely not an issue. Turns out to be great fun.

Yesterday I shot at our club. The wind was whipping with gusts of 45-50 mph but mostly at 15-25 mph and the temperature never got over 56°F. Challenging. I was still able to shoot better than I did at the season's first shoot a month ago. A good day all around.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Youth shoot 2016

Our club does a "youth shoot" every year to encourage young people who are interested in shooting. All sorts of kids come out for the shoot, age 11-18, male and female, with and without familial shooting backgrounds and they all have a good time. This year was physically challenging as the temperature was down in the 30s and the wind was generally 20 mph with gust far exceeding that. We instructed in crossbow, air rifle, rimfire rifle and shotgun, fed them a lunch and handed out a number of door prizes including a crossbow. Very happy to have my grandson participate this year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Firearms sales and politics...

We recently had a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA and the POTUS almost immediately called for gun control despite the fact that the attackers and their supporters had broken many laws (aside from murder) concerning the firearms to use those firearms, laws that already existed and which they ignored. What good would it do to have more laws that they would ignore?

Meanwhile, it is estimated that Americans commit 3 felonies each and every day, mostly in complete ignorance, because we have criminalized so much behavior. Just how does that help anyone? Does it make us safer? Healthier?

Recently, the Governor of Virginia, in an apparent bid to repay favors given him in his run for the governorship, issued an executive order to "ban" firearms from state offices including rest stops. That this "ban" is unenforceable or that for the time being the only charge could be trespassing, matters not one bit. Only the law abiding will be affected. Then the Attorney General for Virginia unilaterally decided to negate concealed handgun permit reciprocity with 30 other states. In one act he abrogated the rights of citizens of those 30 states as well as Virginians who acquired their Concealed Handgun Permits with the understanding that there would be reciprocity. Again, this affects only law-abiding citizens who have passed background checks to purchase and again to carry concealed those firearms. Meanwhile, criminals are under no restraints. How does this actually help anyone other than the criminal?

The truth is that gun control is an act of political control. Control over one's personal security is the ultimate act of control. So what happened as a result of each of these acts?

Sales of firearms. After each act there was an increase in sales in excess of what we would expect given the holiday season. Sales weren't just to rednecks, they weren't just to hobbyists, they weren't just to activists, those sales were to men and women and couples (of all kinds) who had never owned a gun, have never before carried concealed (but were signing up in droves for the required classes), and who were absolutely opposed to these restrictions. It was reported that on "black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving, over 187,000 firearms were sold. Based on this year's trends 40%+ or about 75,000 of those firearms went to first time buyers. Based on what I've seen these new buyers are not the politically disconnected or inactive, these are voters.

Friday, December 04, 2015

The world as it is, not as we wish it to be...

Things have changed. Compared to what we have today even the Vietnam War period seems idyllic. For the first time since the submarine attacks directly off our shores in WWII we are being attacked by our enemies. They are few in numbers but great in their effect. This state of affairs will not change in the foreseeable future. Some politicians (let's face it, politicians see themselves as separate from the rest of us) are willing to allow us to defend ourselves others are not but nearly all of this class are attempting to find personal advantage in our collective disadvantage. We can not permit this nor can we permit ourselves to be disarmed at home or at work. We need to work with our friends, neighbors, co-workers, customers, service providers, and community officials. We need to be prepared for the worst.

As I began to write this we were hearing of yet another "mass shooting" this time in San Bernardino, CA. Due to the modi operandi we expected one sort of perpetrator but we got another. The norm has changed yet again. A successful man of mid-eastern descent who made $70K+ working for the government, was married and had a 6-month old child apparently also had a bombs in his home and was assisted by his wife in the attack. They were both killed. CAIR immediately trotted out his brother-in-law to say that Islam was a religion of peace and the perp would never have done this and that he just can't understand... Interestingly, the argument he supposedly had with a co-worker was about Islam being a religion of peace (or not). Doesn't anyone else see the irony in this?

The reporting has generally been abysmal with most reporters rushing to push their agenda on the subject of "mass shootings" by attributing the shooting to various groups, blaming a lack of gun control (in California of all places), and being absolutely clueless about any of the applicable terminology. If I were their professor in journalism school judging this as a class assignment they'd have all gotten an "F".

Let's look at what we do know about certain technical aspects that might contain teaching points.
- While they apparently purchased the AR-15s they used in the attack legally, they illegally removed the "bullet button" and illegally possessed magazines with a greater than 10-round capacity.
- They were illegally making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in their home with neighbors on either side of them.
- They tried to deploy one of those devices at the attack site and it did not work.
- They booby-trapped their home but we do not know whether or not those devices were set up correctly.
- They did not try to flee (although it was supposed that they had successfully done so).
- They had body armor (or not, perhaps only tactical load bearing vests).
- They had a reported 2500 rounds of .223 ammunition and 2000 rounds of 9mm ammunition as well as some .22 Long rifle.
- They had GoPro cameras to record their attack.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hunting 2015

Ummm, not so much hunting. Did go up on Leading Ridge Road yesterday. Have to enter the other end from Todd Lake which entrance is closed because they have some construction going on, part of repairs for the 1985 flood. Leading Ridge Road is in terrible condition with parts very nearly washed out. Pickups are generally ok but I'd be wary of taking a car up there. Not one sign of anything but 3 camps. I hope they have a good time. Nowhere near the deer we had there only 5-10 years ago. Sad.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

.327 Federal in the Single-Seven

Last year I bought a Lipsey's Special, Single-Seven Ruger in .327 Federal. This 7-shot gun is based on the frame of Ruger's long popular Single-Six .22 rimfire. The cylinder window dimensions have been slightly enlarged and the cylinder dimensions likewise increased to fill the window which permits the chambering of 7 of the .32 caliber cartridges and handling the pressures those cartridges will generate.

Factory ammunition available since my purchase has been limited to the Federal American Eagle loaded with 85 and 100 grain soft-nosed bullets. While these two bullets are of different weight, the design for both seems to be the same and one can't tell the difference by simply looking at a loaded cartridge. This hasn't proven to be as accurate as I think the pistol should be and so I decided to load a known quality bullet, the Hornady 100 gr. XTP.

BulletPowderPowder ChargeMuzzle VelocityMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPAA-79.4 gr.1462 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPAA-913.0 gr.1572 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTP240011.5 gr.1405 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPH11013.5 gr.1525 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPLongshot6.7 gr.1402 fpsMuzzle Energy

However, the gun wasn't shooting well and so I sent it back to Ruger who did some work and returned it within a week. This first is the test target they sent with the invoice. They shot this test at 15-yards.

Today, I shot the gun with the Federal factory 100-grain bullet load. This is what 3 cylinders full looks like after being shot at 25-yards.
I also shot some of my reload of the 100-grain XTP over 9.4-grains of AA-7. This is that target.

Needless to say I was not happy. Is my eyesight to blame? Can I not shoot today? Poor trigger management? Had it with me so I got out my Garthwaite CCO and 5 magazines (6-7 rounds each) of mixed brand "white-box" ball. This is that target.

So, I think I can still shoot alright but the gun is just not going to group worth a fig. I did not want a cast bullet gun and I suspect it will be a pain to find a mold to cast a bullet big enough in diameter to work with the cylinder and bore.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Single-Seven and Ruger's customer service

Wrote Ruger about the problems with the Single-Seven and got a quick response. Called as instructed and got an RMA number and shipping label e-mailed to me. Sent the revolver back on Tuesday afternoon. Ruger says 2-3 week turn-around. So far they have lived up to their reputation for wonderful customer service. Not every mass produced item is going to be perfect. I'm optimistic about this and will note progress as it occurs.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Range day...

14 shots at 25-yards, 100 gr. Federal load
Several months ago now I bought a new Ruger Single-Seven, 5½", stainless steel, .327 Federal, single-action revolver. I really haven't been all that enthused with it. I DO like the trajectory of the .327 Federal round and the light recoil and it holds the promise of being a good 100 yard varmint gun to carry in the field with the ability to shoot .32 S&W Long for edible small game. But...

When I first shot it I had nothing but Federal factory 85 gr. bulleted ammunition and was later able to get some of the 100 gr. bulleted ammunition. Both bullets are flat-nose soft-points (jacketed) and look the same while in the case but the 85 gr is obviously a bit shorter. Some cases seemed to be a bit fat near the case head and didn't chamber easily but now I am convinced that one must precisely locate the cylinder to avoid the rim rubbing on the side of the loading cut in the recoil shield. That is not too great a difficulty to prevent me from liking the gun, but...

I noticed with both loads that it seemed there would be 6 or 7 different groups on the target. I am not an "expert" shot but I can usually kill squirrels with pistols at up to 25-yards despite the inevitable vision changes that come with old age and I have to ask, how can I get 6-7 different groups if I can't shoot the gun well enough to get the one group one would expect? I thought perhaps that the chambers differed significantly from one another.

You can see those differences in a couple of ways aside from the 6-7 different groups. One way is in the burn marks on the front of the cylinder. Because of the size of the cylinder and the quantity of gas produced by the cartridge one has distinctive burn marks on the side of the cylinder by each chamber where some gas is directed down the side of the cylinder by the top strap. This is likely where the "spitting" is mostly originating. I don't know if this is avoidable or not but in any case the patterns of these burn marks are different for each chamber and the larger marks come from those chambers with the apparently largest throats.

Yes, those throat dimensions differ for each chamber. I don't have a set of plug gauges, the ideal way to check this out, but I do have a variety of bullets intended for this cartridge and/or its .32 caliber brethren (.32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 HR, and .32-20). I tried the "drop test" in that I took each of those bullets, measured them with my dial calipers (after ensuring they were properly calibrated) and found that there were 2 chambers whose throats were considerably tighter than the other 7. These 2 chambers also had the smallest burn marks on the side of the cylinder. Both the Speer and Hornady 100 gr. bullets marked .312" and measuring .3115-.3112" dropped all the way through every throat but for those two chambers. I was a bit surprised that cast bullets of the same dimensions did not and don't know why this is so but suspect the lube gripped the throats just enough to prevent their passing. The barrel throat does not permit these same bullets to get so far as to pass the ogive.

That's not the only problem with this gun though. Sometimes, especially immediately after shooting, the action will not cycle. My impression is that something has been knocked out of kilter inside. My first thought was that fired primers were dragging on the recoil shield or that the case head itself had hung up on one of the slight hole edges in the recoil shield. However, I was able to duplicate this "freezing" or "locking up" of the action with an empty chamber even without the cylinder installed.

So, what to do? Well, the gun was bought new, has not been altered, has never had other than factory ammo fired in it and it isn't good enough so it is going back to Ruger. It won't be fired again until it comes back from them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adventures in reloading...

I had a bit of an oddity while reloading today. I've been working on loads for my M1 rifle and settled on 48 gr. 4064 with the 150 gr. Sierra Matchking. Since my old Lee Autoprime was getting a bit loose (the cover which would sometimes work loose) I thought I'd try a new one. The new Autoprime has a two stage system to separate the primers you are seating from those in the "magazine" and it takes out some of the feel. Also, in my load search I sought to compare to a widely known quantity, the Hornady 168 gr. AMAX load. All this came together today when I went to charge one of the Hornady cases as I picked up the primed case to pour in the powder charge I noticed that the primer was falling out! Although I had this happen once with a many times fired case about 30 years ago I have never had this happen with a once fired case. None of the other 39 cases had a loose primer pocket and I didn't notice this when removing the fired primers and I think, emphasis on think, that I didn't notice the lack of resistance when priming due to the built in multiple stages of the Autoprime.

About that new Autoprime... The primer "magazine" cover has come loose twice or rather it was pushed off by the first stage primer lifter catching the primer on the cover and pushing it off. There is some slop there and it bugs me. I guess Lee had to do something because somewhere, somehow, somebody managed to set off a primer while priming and thence the whole lot in the "magazine" yet this system doesn't thrill me. I'm thinking of buying an RCBS hand primer.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Range day...

Back to the range this afternoon with the M1 rifle. Easy to stay on a 1/2 silhouette at 100 yards with some loads grouping into ragged silver dollar sized groups. Was able to shoot another 1½-inch group with the .223 10-inch Contender. Took the new Contender with 10-inch .22 LR barrel and even did pretty well with it at 100 yards shooting a 3-inch group with the scope set at 4-power. All shooting with of the .22 LR was done with Winchester PowerPoint ammo. Easy to keep on a squirrel head out to 50-yards.

I am going to switch from H4895 to IMR 4064 for the M1, .30-06 loads. Both versions of 4895 being more difficult to get right now I'd rather save what I have for other cartridges.

We had a bit of a thundershower but while we listened to and watched the fireworks for about 30-minutes we only had about 5-10 minutes of rain and not really enough to wet anything.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Another Contender...

Picked up the $310 Contender. Got the Weaver 92A base, Z-rings, Weaver 1.5-4X scope and mounted same after removing Aimpoint Mark III and base. I don't know why the previous owner felt the need on a .22 LR barrel, but he drilled and tapped it for the forward screws on the base even though he had the rear 4 on the Contender barrel. Anyway, I put in some filler screws. Shot some Aguila Colibri in it. Quiet enough that the wife and dog didn't pay any attention to it 20 feet away from them on the other side of the closed basement door. I now have an understudy barrel for the BR/Varmint pistol AND another frame for Contender carbines.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Range day...

Color me green, with envy.

Today I drove out to the range for the Thursday follies and stopped along the way, about 3 miles from the range, at a friend/co-workers house to drop off some bullets he'd been looking for but couldn't find. I pulled up and he stuck his head out of his "shop" to welcome me.

Now "shop" to describe this place of nirvana is totally inadequate but I am sure it meets the need of maintaining operational security. It is a typical old (about 1940-1950 vintage) outbuilding/garage measuring about 14x18 feet. It now has a period built standard 36" door. Stepping inside is a trip to a shooter's man cave dream world. Just inside to the right is a small wood stove. Behind that is a flat screen TV. Directly in front of the door facing the TV is a nice comfortable looking green easy chair. To the left is some shelving with the first of various shooting paraphernalia. Between the rafters, pasted to the bottom of the "attic" floor are targets and between some of the rafters shelves have been placed on which boxes of bullets have been carefully stacked. A HUGE Ft Knox gun safe takes pride of place along the left wall while on the right is a work bench with a neat little drill press, vices, tool boxes and so forth. Along the back wall is the loading bench with a double hung window just above it. To the right between the work bench and the loading bench are shelves filled with powder, loaded ammo and dies, on the left wall between the safe and loading bench are hung hunting clothes, and other stuff we all seem to accumulate.

I've always wanted such a place and have a very poor facsimile in my basement. My friend doesn't think he's rich but it seems to me that he is very well off indeed.

Time at the range was pretty good. There were already 2 others there shooting varmint rifles. I shot my M1 rifle at 100 yards. I was principally interested in the different points of impact for various loads out of various sorted cases. A clip of ball ammo drifted across the middle of the target roughly centered on the point of aim. The 8-rounds 155 gr. Sierra HPBT Match bullet over 46 gr. of H4895 cut a ragged just left of the point of aim with a group of about 1½-inches total. The rest of the ammo, loaded in Lake City, RP and Winchester brass using the Sierra 150 gr. HPBT Match over 47 gr. of H4895 made a pattern of about 5-inches total diameter centered about 4-inches above point of aim. Since the goal is to use the same point of aim for both factory ball and my reloads I think I'll be reducing the powder charge to 46 gr. of 4895 for my test. However, I've been really going through the H4895 and have about 9 lbs of IMR-4895 to use so may also switch to that. I have lots of brass to load and will likely need at least one more .30-cal ammo can in which to put up clipped reloads.

Shooting the 10" .223 Contender is improving. The load is 20 gr. H4198 under the 52 gr. Hornady HPFB Match (2250). This flat base bullet has been discontinued but it seems to be a good one. I have improved to the point that I can consistently shoot 5-shot groups of about 3" with some half that. I find it difficult to use the long eye relief scope and am still learning how to hold the gun on the bags for maximum steadiness.

I did make a Gunbroker purchase of a used Contender with a 10" .22 LR barrel and intend to use the rimfire barrel to practice more but I haven't received the barrel yet despite having delivered the MO and FFL last Thursday. THAT is a bit of a bummer.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Range day...

Had a good afternoon at the range. Met Frank P________ there and we shot on and off (while waiting for barrels to cool) and sat out a short lived downpour.

I tried some loads through the M1 Rifle and they did ok at 100 but I feel that they are bit too much and so will back off for the next test. I also shot a comparison between the Hornady 53 gr. HPBT and the 53 gr. HP Match bullet both loaded over 20.0 gr. of H4198 in the .223 Contender. It was a bit difficult to see much difference but I think that the flat base match bullet shoots a bit higher than the boat tail bullet. I am getting better with the gun though and think I've finally hit on a comfortable and repeatable benchrest grip for the gun. I did manage to put 5 of the BT bullets into a group about the size of a quarter albeit this out of 20 shots which would have fit on a playing card. Just getting more consistent with the gun and that takes practice. Next week I should be getting a 10" .22 LR barrel which should make practice with this gun and trigger a bit less expensive.

Frank was shooting a 6.5x55 Swedish M94 that had been sporterized with a Fajen stock, Williams FP receiver sight and Williams shorty ramp with gold faced post sight. The trigger doesn't feel like a military trigger but I haven't gotten to look at it to see what might have been done to it. It shot pretty well today and Frank thinks it is good enough to take a deer. It should do that. It is a neat gun and Frank was good enough to buy it before I did.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Range day...

A couple of weeks back I shot in a benchrest pistol/varmint pistol match. In the week prior I traded for a 10" .223 Rem barrel for the Contender, bought a 3-12X scope sight, mounted the sight and set up the pistol, bought some Federal factory ammo to shoot in the match and ordered brass and bullets for further ammo. However, I didn't have time to zero the gun or load any ammo. During the match my scope mount shot loose (the base screws weren't torqued tight enough) and I couldn't get zero with the amount of ammo I had to use. I STILL wasn't the lowest scoring shooter. Since then I've been working diligently to remedy that for next year's matches.

First thing though is to get the thing zeroed. I must be a dang poor shot. It has taken forever to get it right. Today, with help from Frank P________, I was able to get it zeroed. I do believe that as it is now I could be much more competitive than I was at the last shoot.

Also, while waiting for the Contender's barrel to cool, I shot the Webley MKIV a couple of cylinders full. It proved to be much less accurate from the bench than I expected. However I did empty some cases of those 146 gr. bullets.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. Calm to light breeze,75°F,and you couldn't have asked for better.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Range day...

Range day was interesting. Got reminded of something I knew (that loads worked up on one Contender frame MIGHT need to be shot on that frame or maybe the headspace will be wrong and they won't fire), saw my new Fowler target cratered by a .243 Ackley (70 gr. HP at almost 4000 fps), and remembered that my old 7mm TCU 10" was probably last shot at 50, not 100 yards... I did take a couple of photos of the cratered plate. I have to download the photos and the other computer where I do that is giving me fits. That 7mm TCU was shooting about 4" high. The .30 Herrett really shot well once I moved it to the correct frame which also required moving the butt stock since one frame was set up for the 10". Neat that you can do all that at the bench with no more tools than the one TC tool. The 7mm TCU didn't kick too much but I bet this .223 barrel kicks some less. The new scope should be here by Monday (might already be at the store) and we'll see where we stand.