Monday, February 28, 2011

A Rifle to Full-fill Your Civic Duty?

You might or might not see the connections between my last few articles.  I'll leave it up to the reader to draw conclusions as to my point(s).

Back in 1999 there was much consternation over the Y2K event and anticipated difficulties that would accompany computer failures cascading around the world. Even before this, there were people who had coined an acronym for such events, TEOTWAWKI or The End Of The World As We Know It. But they weren't the first, various religious groups have long fore-told of the end of the world, the apocalypse, and today there are those who use the Mayan calendar and Nostradamus in an attempt to convince that the end times will come on December 21, 2012. Of course one can simply look at the news from the middle east with the people in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Libya as well as our own states of California, Wisconsin and Indiana to see a trend to unrest and civil upheaval. Such things give one pause, at the least, and make the wise person consider preparations to avoid problems if such things happen in their area.

What preparations? Well, certainly it depends on what you believe will happen but there are some very basic things one can do that aren't outrageous and can be useful even if nothing happens. Ensuring one has enough food for 2-3 months on hand, that one can purify water, that one can generate electricity and/or have light at night if the electricity is cut off, that there is at least some extra fuel for vehicles and some medical supplies on hand (for treatment of injuries and continuing medicinal care) are all important and things we should do in the event of natural disasters. I'm not going to address those here. I'm going to talk about something else that one should do and that is having the means to defend oneself and protect one's other preparations.

I would even submit that self-defense (including the defense of one's family) is a civic duty. At the least it will free police and National Guard responders to deal with other things which helps the entire community. It is codified in the militia laws for those men aged 16-55 (although the ages may differ state-to-state). Certainly, one should live up to one's responsibility to one's own family (and friends) and self-defense demands the appropriate tool.

I know that there are those who will advocate the shotgun and/or handgun for this purpose as they do now for self-defense in the home or concealed carry. Unfortunately the effective range of the shotgun is insufficient for the single user and most people using a handgun are simply going to be out-gunned by any attacker outside their home using anything else due to their inability to hit targets at greater than armed robbery distances. I'm sure there are exceptions and I feel the shotgun and handgun are excellent for certain applications. However, I think that the single firearm, where only one will be used, for this application is the rifle. What rifle? Now that might be a conundrum...

One characteristic of such a rifle is that it should be chambered for a common cartridge. I further submit that it should be a cartridge common in the midst of such a circumstance. Some cartridges might always be stocked by the local gun store but did you know that FEMA and standard police policy is to secure your local gun store in the event of extreme civil unrest? You're just not going to be able to run out and buy a couple extra boxes of .243 Winchester and such. What I'm talking about is what you can store up quite a bit of or easily find "on the street" in such a circumstance.

Certainly, the most common cartridge is the .22 LR but some people won't have confidence in it even though the Israeli Defense Force has actually used it to eliminate riot agitators. One can store quite a large stock of .22 LR in a small space and it is easily moved if that becomes necessary. It is likely that your neighbors might have a box or two (50-100 rounds) in a drawer some place and it might be possible that a looter driven off might drop a box or two that you could recover. What other cartridges might we consider?

Well, number two would have to be the .223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO. Police use it, the National Guard and all other military organizations use it and it is tremendously popular among younger shooters. It will be everywhere. It is cheap enough that you can stock a realistic quantity at relatively low cost and certainly other people will do so. It is VERY likely to be available at any given place during such an emergency.

What else is out there? For pistol cartridges available in carbines both the 9mm NATO (Luger) and .40 S&W are used by the military and police. Other rifle cartridges used certainly include the .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO (used in police counter-sniper rifles and military medium/GP machine-guns). You might even count the .30-06 due to the wide distribution of M1 Garand rifles and CMP ammunition. Certainly there are going to be regional differences. E.g. in some localities the .30-30 (.30 WCF) is ubiquitous and a rifle chambered for it might be a reasonable choice. In any case reason/logic must be applied to the choice as there is no room for sentiment or nostalgia. This is an important decision as it will determine what rifle is used.

So the next question is, what rifle to use? The first requirement is most certainly that it be a repeater. Let's face it, a single-shot requires an extremely high-level skill set on the part of the user and that for use against the average group. Just about any single user would be overcome by a group of any size or higher than average skill level. Remember, this isn't about being fair or nice, it is about winning, it is about survival. So what sort of repeater?

A bolt action is simple and usually robust. Unfortunately the magazine capacity of 4-5 rounds is usually not sufficient and non-military surplus arms lack any method for rapid reloading. One nearly ideal bolt action gun is the British #4 or SMLE rifles. Unfortunately acquiring their ammunition might be problematic. There are usable .223 rifles but they might better be used in the counter-sniper role than as general defensive weapons.

The lever action really only applies to such as the .30-30 or rimmed pistol cartridges such as the .357 Magnum and .44 Remington Magnum. If you have one it could be useful but if you have to start from scratch for this purpose they might not be best choice, again due to ammunition availability. Properly managed they can be very effective in defending against groups of "bandits". There are some chambered for the .22 LR and .308 Winchester but none chambered for the other choices and the cost of some of those rifles is right up there with any AR system rifle.

As an aside, there is only one pump action rifle with detachable magazine for the .223/5.56mm cartridge and that is made by Remington. In some localities it might be necessary to buy this action type but there is a reason that there is only one such made and sold in the USofA.

The truth is that the standard for modern self-defense rifles is a semi-automatic such as the AR15 type. It is a huge advantage for most people both in terms of trigger control and delivering repeat fire to have a semi-automatic firearm. Choosing an AR15 type rifle provides the added benefits of interchangeable magazines on a proven system designed for the .223/5.56mm cartridge. One can get interchangeable uppers for other cartridges for other uses but those would be a secondary use. We're talking about the primary purpose of which is self-defense.

Other reasonable semi-auto options would include the Ruger Mini-14s, the M-14 such as the Springfield Armory rifles and carbines and the M1 Garand. The reason to get any of these isn't price or interchangeability of magazines (clips for the Garand) but for reasons of availability, familiarity (thus avoiding additional training time) or a need for greater range (the .308 and .30-06 will greatly outrange the .223/5.56mm cartridge). Rural folks may have or feel there is a real need for the latter.

So, we have a rather truncated discussion of the subject, for the moment, but it comes down to this, an AR15 type rifle in .223/5.56mm is my choice. It will shoot bullets from 55 to 77 gr. and uses any readily available military or police ammo in the standard magazines (if that should become necessary). It is light, compact (telescoping stock and 16-1/4" barrel). It will do for me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

.30 Remington AR

A recent article in "American Rifleman" on the cartridge really brought this cartridge to my attention.  I know I'm about 2-3 years late to the game but I've had a lot on my plate and let's face it, the AR platform isn't a major interest to me, or hasn't been (more on that in a later post).   I had previously been considering the 7.62x29 COMBLOC round as a larger caliber, "more" capable round for my AR15 carbine.  I abandoned that interest because I was told that the magazines were problematic.  I had considered the .300 Whisper but it was designed primarily as a silenced round with the alternative use of the light bullets at speeds less than the 150s in the .30 AR.  In short, not enough gun.  Perhaps the .30 Rem AR is a cartridge that could fulfill the uses I foresaw for the platform.

I do have some concerns.  First and foremost, will I be able to simply swap an upper for the cartridge onto my current lower or will it require a whole new rifle?  Second, will it be difficult to find magazines that will work with the cartridge?  I would rather not complicate the magazine situation and ideally I'd like to use 5.56 magazines.  Last, and these are all critical concerns, how available will brass for the cartridge be?  If you can't get brass the whole point is moot.  Of course there are other concerns, such as with appropriate bullets, ballistic performance, appropriate powders and primers, and so forth, but most problems with such concerns can be overcome or adaptations made.

Some background on the cartridge is called for here. Remington's engineers started with the .450 Bushmaster case, a joint project between Hornady and Bushmaster. The magazine depth (front to back) is the limiting factor in cartridge overall length (COL). A .30 cal bullet of usable weight being longer than the .458" bullet, the case had to be shortened from the original length of 1.700" to 1.530". The case head is the same size as the .308 Winchester. Due to the increased pressures of the .30 AR over the .450 Bushmaster Remington engineers used an AR-10 bolt head. Clearly, this is one change that might affect other things in the system. However, Remington increased the RIM diameter to .492". This was to prevent use of the .30 AR cartridge with a .450 Bushmaster bolt head which is considered to fragile to contain the much higher pressures of the .30 AR cartridge. With a case head of .500" we have a short REBATED rim case. Remington has this to say about their new cartridge.
Now for the first time, Remington® brings you 30 caliber hunting performance in a lightweight R-15 modular repeating rifle. Our new 30 Remington® AR cartridge produces big-game-dropping ballistics similar to the venerable 308 Win. with pressures perfectly suited to our lightweight R-15 platform. Comparable terminal power was once only available in the heavier AR-10 platform.

This cartridge is the ultimate synergy of our ammunition and firearms expertise, as its development forever changes the shape of both categories, creating a revolutionary new big-game hunting system. Our lightweight R-15 platform – its minimal recoil, rapid follow-ups, easy maintenance and inherent accuracy – chambered for a cartridge that will put down deer-sized game with gusto. This year’s offerings include the most trusted big-game bullet of all time, Core-Lokt, the pinnacle of polymer-tipped accuracy, AccuTip and an economical UMC loading. As a cartridge, the 30 Remington AR breaks new ground. In conjunction with our R-15 modular repeating rifle, it marks the beginning of a new era in the deer woods of North America.

.308 Win, .30 Rem AR and 5.56mm NATO compared
Case capacity is 44 gr. of water by weight. This is roughly the same as the .30 WCF (.30-30) but of course the .30 AR operates at much higher pressures so exceeds the velocities of the old .30 by quite a bit. However, this is much less than the capacity of the .308 Winchester (about 53 gr.) and it operates at less pressure than the .308 Winchester so there is no way it can equal that cartridge. In other words, you can't equal the M14 on the AR15 platform. You can see how the two cartridges compare in the chart on the right. It does appear that there is a useful improvement in terminal ballistics compared to the 5.56mm cartridge, at least for my purposes.  In my reading on the subject I see one common thought repeated and that is that a .30 WSSM cartridge (does Olympic still support this?) would be a better "fit" and provide better ballistics.

Is the upper installation a simple swap? The answer is yes! That is a big relief as this greatly reduces the cost of getting into the cartridge. Unfortunately it still isn't "cheap" in this regard with the least expensive upper asking $737.00 plus shipping for an A3 style flattop upper. I would personally prefer an A4 type upper.

Are magazines available? One of the concerns is that capacity is severely reduced being about 40% of that of AR-15 magazines. I.e. a 4 round mag is reported to be about the same size as the 10 round 5.56mm magazine.   Well come to find out that one simply uses the 5.56 magazines and just as with the WSSM cartridges, 4 rounds will go in a 10 round mag.  This means that the magazines simply don't have the capacity to make the rifle useful for tactical applications.  That is a possible secondary use for me.   I have read that the magazines for the WSSM cartridges must be slightly modified but I can find no reference to such requirement for .30 Remington AR usage.

Is brass and/or ammunition available? I can find ammo with CoreLokt going at about $20.00 a box but switch to the Accutip bullet and that nearly doubles to about $38.00 a box of 20 rounds. If you're going to reload, the RCBS die set (RCBS dies are usually close to the high average of all available dies in price) is available from MidwayUSA for $52.79. However, I couldn't find brass anywhere! Not only is this bad for the reloader or handloader (me) but it really raises the cost of acquiring sufficient ammunition to make use of this cartridge a viable alternative. I could find 6.8mm SPC and 6.5mm Grendel brass that makes them eminently more useful to me.  One has to wonder why Remington is not supporting the cartridge by getting brass out into the market.  For me, no brass means the rifle is of no use.

- .30 Remington AR by Layne Simpson

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In Memoriam - Robert Rene Monast (SFC, USA Ret)

ARRINGTON — Robert Rene Monast, 52, of Arrington, died Friday, Feb. 25, 2011, at his residence. He was born May 26, 1958, in Massachusetts, a son of Shirley Day Monast and the late Roger A. Monast.

A member of the 82nd Airborne, he was a recruiter, retiring in 1996 with 21 years of service. Since then, he worked in construction.

In addition to his mother he is survived by his wife, Tammy M. Monast of Arrington; one son, Robert Monast Jr. and his wife, Whitney, of Staunton; three daughters, Kerri Wood and husband, Andy, and Julie Stokes, all of Waynesboro, and Kristina Monast of Lovingston; four stepchildren, Kenny and Christina Wyant, and Suzanne and Scott Hewitt; four sisters, Gail Bilbo and Bonnie Raines, both of Waynesboro, Pam Reed and husband, Charlie, of Sherando, and Janet Geary of Pennsylvania; two brothers and their wives, Roger and Susan Monast of Florida and Michael and Becky Monast of Lovingston; four grandchildren, Gage Wood, Shuggie Monast, Wyatt Wood and Hailey Stokes; 12 nephews; and 7 nieces.

A service will be conducted at noon Thursday, March 3, 2011, at McDow Funeral Home by Mr. Bob Gaylor and Mr. Mac Blackwell. Interment will follow in Riverview Cemetery, with military honors.

Active pallbearers will be Chris Bilbo, Tommy Gunn, Robbie Harada, Eric Lang, Jamie McLean and Bobby Monast.

Honorary pallbearers will be Charlie Reed and Kenny Wyant.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at McDow Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the the family to assist with final expenses.

Condolences may be shared online at

Bob Monast was always a good friend to me. We met in February 1981 when I went into the armory to enlist in the National Guard. Two years later we began a fruitful partnership that took Detachment 1 Company A 3-116th Infantry from 0% to 100%+ strength in less than 3 years. When Bob left for an in-service recruiting position about 1993 he had enlisted something more than 900 soldiers in the Virginia National Guard. He always gave at least the outward appearance of being upbeat and positive and we had some interesting experiences with some of the prospects that came to his office.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Poor, poor, cynical me...

Nana has noticed. I've noticed. I'm cynical. VERY cynical. Ok, so perhaps I'm over reacting. Certainly, doing the right thing like ensuring that you are as well educated as possible, that you have savings, that you pay your bills on time, that you keep your promises (of all sorts), that you don't lie/cheat/steal, and so forth will put you in a position of relative security in that it won't be your fault if something goes wrong. Unfortunately, just as when you drive on snow covered roads it is more likely to be the other fellow on the road that causes problems for you than it is that you will make a mistake so it is that what other people do is what will give you problems.

I used to be an optimist. I used to be able to tell myself that no matter how bad things were that they would get better. I used to tell myself that if I only did the right thing(s), it will all turn out in the end. I no longer believe that.

Now that's not to say that I won't continue to do the right thing. That's what we're supposed to do. However, I no longer have any faith that doing the right thing will "protect" you from the vagaries of life. Oh, I still remember just moving ahead on faith and trying to do the right thing and sometimes just standing there looking at the functionary who'd just told me something really outlandish until, miracle of miracles, that person would suddenly be "inspired" to "save" my rear end and do the right thing (from my point of view at least). I've gotten better assignments, better conditions, etc. due to this phenomenon. But lately...

I watch the news and I see some truly uncaring or stupid people or, worst of all, agents of evil step up or back or whatever to allow this country to degenerate. We don't care for any sort of standard unless it is some sort of revenue enhancement for the government.

For example, I was just in a Florida courtroom where a number of traffic offenders were being arraigned. Driving without a license or driving on a suspended license (which apparently some didn't know had been suspended, and I can see how that happened) were the majority of the cases heard. Really vital stuff. So this one fellow steps up and needs the interpreter (those needing the interpreter went first and we'd heard him speaking English with his girl-friend earlier). The judge asks, "Mr. ______ can you get a license?" The response, "no, because of my status." What was his "status"? He was an illegal immigrant. Was he hauled out of the courtroom to one of ICE's enclosures? No, he was given a public defender and released until another date. Another fellow was there because he'd been in an accident and allegedly falsely given insurance info. What he claimed is that he thought the insurance was good when the insurance company had canceled it just two days prior to the accident and he had yet to receive the notice. The end result, he pleaded "no contest" and got screwed for the court costs. From what I saw, the government never lost a case but they would let you buy your way out like buying indulgences in the middle ages. Then again, there were the defendants who couldn't be at court earlier because they were in jail serving time for a variety of offenses from battery to prostitution to fraudulent checks... One person, however, had been nabbed for a single $43 (and change) bad check. One. No other problem. Had already made "restitution". I guess he should have had overdraft protection. The judge had to ask how the DMV operated, not once but several times, and he presumably sat on hundreds of such cases. One man was still waiting on his California birth certificate (which now must be "original") for which he had waited over 14 weeks and made more than 2 other court appearances. He got a trial date. Both the prosecutor and the public defender were about as old as my nieces. In total my impression was the the criminal justice system wasn't what you think. Oh, it was criminal, but it wasn't justice and the system began and ended at the courtroom door.

But that's not all. We saw a number of people hustling to work and a number just hustling. There are good folks out there, young and old, male and female, of all races, who are working hard to make a living and taking the time to help their fellow man and they are being fed on by the non-producers in the same way a leech will feed on anything that wanders near it.

E.g. we saw this one fellow on the same corner over several days. On the third day I noticed that the same new Ford pickup was parked nearby every time we saw him and it wasn't there when he was absent. Then on the fourth day we stopped at the light just as he was getting out of his new truck, taking out his carefully lettered cardboard sign and checking his appearance in the side mirror before walking over to the road side to beg for money.

Ok, I've been around. I've seen beggars. I get it that somebody will always be doing this. But now, in this day and age, it appears to have risen to a shameless profession where the professional beggar doesn't even bother to conceal his financial success. Yes, I'm cynical. If this guy was truly down and out the bank would have repossessed the truck OR if it was paid off he would have sold it and perhaps gotten a junker. I could smell the new car smell from the road and it smelled like rat. Yes, I'm cynical.

The circumstances that resulted in my being there don't help. I was let down by at least two people. One I'd come to expect the worst from and she didn't disappoint. She talked a good game until push came to shove, backed out and then raised a fuss and played the injured party when we eliminated her from the equation in order to have resolution. She couldn't live up to her responsibilities but that isn't something new. The other hadn't been as bad as expected but still his failures had been the cause of the trip and exacerbated the situation. So much time and treasure could have been conserved if only he'd been honest, timely and communicative. He might have learned his lesson. Once upon a time I would have expected that he had. Now I doubt it. That's cynical. That's me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

IMR and Hodgdon 4198 in the 1876 Rifle

First, while others like fillers for various reasons, I don't. I think they add variables, depending on the filler, not addressed in the manuals and most of those variables increase pressures and may have other affects. When fillers are used they MUST be under compression in order to give SOME assurance they or the powder charge won't migrate. There may be others but so far as I can remember at the moment, only PUFFLON is intended as a filler. Many have use other items like TP (which obviously has problems with consistent compressibility), card wads (which add mass and friction), cream of wheat or other cereals and so forth. I think that Ross Seyfried used compressible foam ear plugs (IIRC). It seems to me that one can have far more consistent pressures by loading to over 65% loading density.

Some will likely disagree with me but I think that the ONLY thing TP has going for it is availability and is the most inconsistent of all the commonly used fillers. Just look at the supermarket TP shelf for all the variations available. Yet, users never specify even which brand much less which specific product is used. I think it makes a big difference. Yes, I've tried it and found that there is no interchangeability.

As to the use of IMR or H 4198, I think it is perfectly safe, both with regards to pressures and loading density. Fillers are not required IF one uses the recommended charge weights. Because the charge weight for 4198 is 40% of the BP charge, it is easy to calculate and produces velocities very close to those produced by BP. HOWEVER, I have found that in the lower limits of the charge weight window the powder density MIGHT reduce exposure of the charge to the primer flash resulting in incomplete combustion. This will give a squib. I have found that the CCI 250 is better for this application as compared to the CCI 200. It may seem a small difference but there is a great difference in reliability. Also, increasing the charge slightly increases loading density and reduces the possibility of squibs because, I think, the powder charge is more consistently exposed to the primer flash.

The manuals have consistently recommended charge weights of 4198 below the 40% calculation for the 1876 cartridges (I am particularly interested in the .45-75 and .50-95 cartridges) and I don't know why as there is plenty of independent data that supports the 40% rule. For the .45-75 that puts the charge weight at 28-30 gr. (for 4198) not the 24-26 gr. in the various manuals. In my experience there is a big difference in performance between the two charge weight ranges. Also, all the squibs I had were with powder charges of 24 to 25 gr. and CCI 200 primers. EITHER switching to CCI 250 primers OR increasing the powder charge and the squibs ended. BOTH increasing the powder charge AND using CCI 250 primers has absolutely eliminated squibs and the charges burn more cleanly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Home again...

Have just returned home after an unplanned trip to LA, aka Lower Alabama, where we stayed with the sister-in-law and her husband, and ventured into Escambia County, Florida to help my son. Some things weren't as bad as we were lead to believe and other things were much worse. We "fixed" most things, set some other improvements in motion and are pretty much at a standstill otherwise. Sometimes you just have to wait for your cues to continue the play. I am deeply appreciative of Nana's work in this. She was able to maintain her composure and dealt with a number of people in a way that expedited much of the bureaucratic exercise we endured.

Among the changes noted is that Pensacola is not a pleasant place to visit, at least for me. Traffic is MUCH worse than 25 years ago. It seems there is a murder a day in that area. Definitely not small town as it seemed to be, to me, 25 years ago. Yes, I've visited in the meantime but I often didn't drive and seldom did drive much south of 9-mile road on my own. There ARE some wonderful people there, but, many now have that big city air of weariness. It seems to me that there is a general atmosphere of decay that you can see and smell.

We also were treated to a ride to Bay Minette, Daphne and Fair Hope, Alabama. What a pleasant difference from Florida. The day we went to Fair Hope children were swimming in Mobile Bay. We had wonderful weather for February, needless to say, and all too many good meals. Had dinner at Kravers (Daphne) and also at Dixie Catfish Shack (Atmore). Really excellent meals.

We were very pleased to find some old family photos and to get names to go with. We visited older family members and were pleased to find those still living in good condition and excellent spirits.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

March 2011 issue of Rifle Magazine

The magazine showed up today. I needed a little diversion. The best things look to be the regular columns and an article on 6.5mm military surplus rifles. We'll see.

Getting ready to start the .45 Auto Rim project but it has been set back a week.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

No posts?

We have been preoccupied with familial responsibilities and chores. In what little spare time we've had we've been visiting friends and I've been doing a little reloading. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much to write about.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Busy, but not too busy. No truly interesting guns, but one or two interesting people. Business is picking up and most buyers are somewhat concerned about the new, if muted, gun control noise coming from the Democrats. 7 backgrounds (I think) today.

Old "Army buddy" Dennis P______ came in and was there for about 3 hours altogether. Several police officers were in and got firearms and/or ammo, including one who's girlfriend ordered a Marlin MR-7 Youth model in .243 Winchester.

Frankly, the best part of today came AFTER work when my old school pal, Ron R______ called. He was a good friend in High School, I think a good friend still. Had a long talk and it was at a time I needed it.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

T-Shirts and Promotions

In trying to encourage camaraderie among various groups of enthusiasts one often promotes clothing of one type or another. Paco Kelly's Leverguns Forum might have this (in Kelly green of course). What do you think?

I received the shirt yesterday (4 Feb 2011) and I am a bit disappointed.  Based on this image, I thought the logo would be a bit bigger than it actually is.  This isn't Cafe Press's fault.  I'm going to need a far larger image to have the shirts come out correctly.  It is literally "back to the drawing board".

.45 Auto Rim

The .45 Auto Rim (AR) is the .45 ACP with a heavy/thick rim made up to meet the demand for a rimmed cartridge for the 1917 revolvers developed for emergency issue in WWI.  Likewise it can be used in all the Smith and Wesson revolvers chambered for the .45 ACP.  Use of the rimmed cartridge eliminates the need for the "moon clip" and is easier to manage for sporting use.   Factory ammo is often loaded with a 230 grain round-nosed bullet mimicking the 230 grain "ball" load for the .45 ACP but several manufacturers produce standard pressure and "+P" loads using the 255 grain bullets, both Keith and a more traditional "RN" style. There are also loads using 200 grain JHP loads. Such loads will equal standard pressure (i.e. NOT for Ruger New Model Blackhawk) .45 Colt loads.

Since I bought my 25-2 Jovino Effector type revolver from my friend John H_____ I've been considering using the .45 AR for the first cylinder full in daily carry.  I've been most interested in use of the 250 grain Keith bullet.

To start I bought a box of loaded .45 AR at a gun show and then ordered 200 pieces of Starline brass. I quickly found it necessary to order a roll-crimp seating die for my die set in order to properly crimp the Keith type bullets. It was also necessary to order the shell holders for both the press and the Lee AutoPrime due to the Auto Rim's unique rim thickness. It simply isn't practical to use or modify anything else. I have a lot of Unique because I use it in a lot of cartridges (.32 S&W, .38 Special, .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 Colt) so that is what I want to use.  It would be reasonable to use some others like Universal, W231/HP38, PowerPistol and such but I'm going to start with Unique and change only if I can't get the performance I want.

LOAD DATA (in research)

Keith255 gr.Unique7.0 gr.unknownunknown
Keith255 gr.W231 or HP386.0 gr.unknownunknown
FMJRN230 gr.Unique6.5 gr.unknownunknown

- Corbon .45 Auto Rim 160-gr. DPX at Highpowers and Handguns

Friday, February 04, 2011

Enfield No. 2 MK I Revolver

What I really want is a Webley MKIV .38/200 as shown here.  It seems to me that this is a classic British Revolver.  It has additional features in that it is made of fairly modern materials and chambers a cartridge (the .38 Smith and Wesson) that is relatively easily acquired and for which reloading components are relatively (compared to the .455 cartridge) available.  Unfortunately, these seem to be pretty rare.  I haven't seen one in a long, long time. However, I discovered that Century had them last year.  Where was I?  Why didn't I know this?  Dang!  Of course, I don't want the darn cross-bolt safety that was apparently added for importation (one has to ask why such a thing has to be on a basic DA revolver when US made DA revolvers have gone in and out of the country sans such safeties during the same period).  It is an awful addendum to a perfectly fine, and safe, mechanism. 

It seems to me that it might be far easier to get the poor cousin to this gun, the Enfield No. 2 MKI revolver.  After all, that is pretty much just a rip-off copy of the Webley design.  Well, that was the idea.  But no, it doesn't seem to be easier or cheaper.

I think I'll keep my eyes open for a Colt Police Positive in .38 S&W if I find I can't live without a revolver so chambered.

Serial numbers and dates of manufacture for the Enfield No. 2.

1929-1931 1-A Prefix
1932 A-B
1933 B-C
1934 C-D
1935 D-E
1936 E
1937 E-F
1938 F
1939 F-H
1940 H,I,J,K,L
1941 L,M,N,O,P
1942 Q,R,S,T,U,V
1943 V,W,X,Y,Z,ZA,ZB
1945 ZH,ZI,ZJ

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

What else can you stuff in the AR platform?

I was just reading about a company that puts the .25 Winchester Super Short Magnum (a .25-06 class cartridge) in the AR-15. Accuracy Systems of Beyers, CO is one such (you have to go near the bottom of the linked page) for a mere $1369.95 for an upper. Of course, this is old news in the AR-15 world but for me, it was a new idea. It would seem to make the home defense/militia carbine a viable deer cartridge (where, like VA, we need to have .23 caliber and greater) with a flatter, more "modern" trajectory than the 7.62x39 or 6.8mm SPC. Not without limitations, it is still thought provoking even for a "Fudd" like myself who hunted the past season with a side-lock muzzleloader and a Winchester 1876 reproduction.  It seems to me to be an infinitely better choice than using of the the AR-10 clones.  Now, on the AR-15 platform, one can shoot from .50 to .17 cal and cartridges to suit most North American hunting situations.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Yesterday was MUCH busier at the gun shop. We did over 10X the business of last Monday. The big topic of conversation was the attendance at this past weekend's gunshow. Apparently you couldn't stir 'em with a stick on Saturday and the parking lot was half-full Sunday morning before the church crowd showed up at about 12:00. Just as we've experience with the number of customers at the shop, people have suddenly come out in droves for the gun business. Why?

Some opined that folks were getting cabin fever, didn't have sports to watch on TV, or had finally recovered from the Christmas bills. However, last week was when the White House announced that they were going to make a policy statement on gun control. THAT gets a lot of folks around here in a tizzy and they start buying, selling and trading like mad to get what they think might be unavailable if they don't. It is very much like the rush to the grocery for milk, bread and eggs every time a snow storm is said to be approaching. Even folks who are lactose intolerant and who normally live on cigarettes, beer and pizza will feel a need for the staples. Guns are included and when you make a noise towards the rifle rack, folks' ears perk up and they start moving to stop you.

However, for me, the gun show wasn't anything really special. Prices were, unrealistically I think, "optimistic" and non-negotiable, at least for those things that interested me. That extended to the shop as there were too few interesting new toys. The best, most entertaining, part of the job is the customers. We had our share of interesting folks yesterday.

The best of these was a former medic from a former unit of mine. It does my heart good to see him buying shooting supplies but we didn't get to talk much.

The worst was a fellow who seemed intent on ignoring simple advice and/or justifying his personal decisions. Highly defensive, my co-worker was better able to resist the urge to actually become involved in his fantasy based shooting research, probably because I've got some actual experience trying to do what he was trying to do. That is, to move .30 caliber 220 gr. HPBT match bullets out at about 1000 fps. At least he thought he had a 1:10" twist barrel (so had I when I started) but it wouldn't stabilize even the 190 gr. HPBT. In my experience that means his barrel is really a 1:12" (and he noted his buddy with the same model rifle did have a 1:12" twist barrel). I tried to point out that but he tried to argue his way out of it. I tried to explain how I'd been through the same thing with my .30 Herrett but he firmly believed that because he was using a .308 Winchester my experience didn't apply. He couldn't accept that any given bullet, should have the same general behavior when fired at the same velocity from the same twist rate barrel regardless of cartridge. In other words, a 220 gr. bullet fired at 1100 fps from one 1:10" twist rate barrel is either going to stabilize or not the same as when fired from any other 1:10" twist rate barrel. My co-worker had to administer a sedative when this guy left the shop. What a way to end the month!