RELOADERS CORNER: Picking Propellants

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There are a whopping lot of propellants on the market. How do you choose one? Well, usually it’s more than one… READ WHY

PROPELLANT

Glen Zediker

All we ever really want is a propellant that provides high consistent velocity, small groups at distance, safe pressures over a wide range of temperatures, and burns cleanly, and, of course, it should meter perfectly. Dang. I know, right?

Ultimately, propellant choice often ends up as a compromise and it may well be that the smallest compromises identify the better propellants. Getting the most good from your choice, in other words, with the fewest liabilities.

There are two tiers of basics defining centerfire rifle propellant formulas. The granule form can be either spherical (round granules) or extruded (cylindrical granules). Next, the composition can be either single- or double-base. All propellants have nitrocellulose as the base; double-base stirs in some nitroglycerol to increase energy.

There’s been a good deal of effort expended and applied over the past several years to reduce the temperature sensitivity of propellant. Coatings come first to mind, and I use nothing but these “treated” propellants.

This attribute is very (very) important! It’s more important the more rounds you fire throughout a year. A competitive shooter’s score hinges on consistent ammunition performance. Test in Mississippi and then go to Ohio and expect there to be some change in zero, but a change in accuracy or a sudden excess of pressure and that’s a long trip back home. It’s common enough for temperatures to (relatively speaking) plummet on at least one day at the National Matches, so my 95-degree load has to function when it’s 50.

extruded propellant

Some are decidedly better than others in this. There are several propellants I’ve tried and will not use because I didn’t get reliable results when conditions changed. Some gave outstanding groups on target, on that day, at that hour, but went goofy the next month when it was +20 degrees. Heat and cold can influence pressure in a sensitive propellant.

Single-base extruded (“stick”) propellants are my first choice. A good example of one of those is Hodgdon 4895. These tend to be flexible in maintaining performance over a wider range of velocities, related to a wider range of charge weights. For instance, I’ll vary the charge weight of the same propellant for ammo for different yard lines. I’m reducing recoil or increasing velocity, depending on what matters more. Zero and velocity are different, but accuracy doesn’t change.

H4895
There are a few single-base extruded propellants that show impressive flexibility in load levels as well as in different round structures. This is one of the most flexible I’ve used, and I use a lot of it!

Spherical or “ball” propellants (these are double-base) are a good choice for high-volume production, and also tend to be a great choice for highest velocities at safe pressures. These meter with liquid precision. They, however, tend to be less flexible. That means they tend to work best at a set and fairly finite charge and don’t do as well at much less or more than that, and especially at much less than that. More in a minute.

spherical propellant
Spherical propellants tend to be volume sensitive. My experience has been they’ll perform best when the fill level is a good 90-percent. That means there’s a little smaller gap between one that’s good with, say, 50gr bullets and one that works well with 60s. It’s likely to be two propellant choices, not just one. Generally, spherical propellants do their best when loaded near-to-max.

Double-base extruded propellants (sometimes called “high-energy”) do, yes, produce higher velocities at equal pressures compared to single-base but also tend to be less flexible and exhibit performance changes along with temperature changes. Vihta-Vuori and Alliant are the best known for their formulations in these. Double-base usually burns at a hotter temperature (not faster or slower, just hotter) and can increase throat erosion rate. Some double-base spherical propellants claim to burn cooler. I’m not certain that this is a huge selling point, either way, for a serious shooter, but, there it is.

VV540
Double-base extruded propellants are mighty fuels, but, they tend GENERALLY to be more temperature sensitive and also burn hotter. Now. That’s not always true (I think NONE one of this is always true). With Viht. you can have a choice of double- or single-base in the same essential burning rate; N140 is single-base, N540 is double.

All propellants are ranked by burning rate. That’s easy. That’s just how quickly the powder will consume itself. All reloading data manuals I’ve seen list propellant data in order from faster to slower. For instance, if you’re looking at .223 Remington data and start off with tables for 40-grain bullets, you’ll see faster propellants to start the list than you will moving over to the suggestions for 75-grain bullets.

It’s tough to find a perfect propellant for a wide range of same-caliber bullet weights. Faster-burning propellants tend to do better with lighter bullets and slower-burning tends to get more from heavier bullets. That’s all about pressure and volume compatibility. Again, I have found that a single-base extruded propellant will work overall better over, say, a 20-plus-grain bullet weight range than a single choice in a spherical propellant.

scale pan with powder
Extruded propellants vary greatly in granule size, and, usually, the smaller the better. More precise metering. This is VV540, strong stuff, meters well. There are a few now that are very (very) small-grained (like Hodgdon Benchmark).

The idea, or at least as I’ll present my take on it, is that we want a fairly full case but not completely full. I don’t like running compressed loads (crunching a bullet down cannot be a good thing), and excessive air space is linked to inconsistent combustion. We ran tests upmteen years ago with M1As and found that out. Many details omitted, but here was the end: Settling the propellant back in the case prior to each shot absolutely reduced shot-to-shot velocity differences (the load was with a 4895, necessary for port pressure limits, and didn’t fully fill the case).

Generally, and that’s a word I’ll use a lot in this (and that’s because I know enough exceptions), spherical propellants have always performed best for me and those I share notes with when they’re running close to a max-level charge. More specifically, not much luck with reduced-level charges.

Too little spherical propellant, and I’m talking about a “light” load, can create quirky pressure issues. Workable loads are fenced into in a narrower range. This all has to do with the fill volume of propellant in the capped cartridge case, and, as suggested, that’s usually better more than less. That further means, also as suggested, there is less likely to be one spherical propellant choice that’s going to cover a wide range of bullet weights. That’s also a good reason there are so many available.

With some spherical propellants, going from a good performing load at, say 25 grains, and dropping to 23 can be too much reduction. One sign that the fill volume is insufficient is seeing a “fireball” at the muzzle. Unsettling to say the least.

Spherical propellants also seem to do their best with a “hot” primer. Imagine how many more individual coated pieces of propellant there are in a 25-grain load of spherical compared to a 25-grain charge of extruded, and it makes sense.

However! I sho don’t let that stop me from using them! I load a whopping lot of spherical for our daily range days. We’re not running a light load and we’re not running heavy bullet. We are, for what it’s worth, running H335.

So, still, how do you choose a propellant? Where do you start? I really wish I had a better answer than to only tell you what I use, or what I won’t use. There are a lot of good industry sources and one I’ve had experience with, including a recent phone session helping me sort out Benchmark, is Hodgdon. You can call and talk with someone, not just input data. Recommended.

When it’s time, though, to “get serious” and pack up for a tournament, I’m going to be packing a box full of rounds made with a single-base extruded propellant that meters well. As mentioned before in these pages, I have no choice in that, really. I’ll only run the same bullet jackets and same propellant through the same barrel on the same day. I need a propellant that works for anything between 70- and 90-grain bullets.

With time comes experience, and I know I sure tend to fall back on recollections of good experiences. I admittedly am not an eager tester of new (to me) propellants. I have some I fall back on, and those tend to be the first I try with a new combination. There are always going to be new propellants. That’s not a static industry. I may seem very much stuck in the past, but I no longer try every new propellant out there. I like to have some background with a propellant, meaning I’ve seen its results in different rifles and component combinations. Mostly, I ask one of those folks who tries every new propellant…

There is a lot of information on the internet. You’re on the internet now. However! There’s also not much if anything in the way of warranty. If you see the same propellant mentioned for the same application a lot of times, take that as a sign it might work well for you. Do not, however, short cut the very important step of working up toward a final charge. Take any loads you see and drop them a good half-grain, and make sure the other components you’re using are a close match for those in the published data.

One last: Speaking of temperature sensitivity: Watch out out there folks. It is easily possible for a round to detonate in a rifle chamber if it’s left long enough. Yes, it has to be really hot, but don’t take a risk. A rash of rapid-fire can create enough heat. Make sure you unload your rifle! Here’s an article you might find interesting.

CHECK OUT CHOICES AT MIDSOUTH
Hodgdon
Shooters World
Vihtavuori
Alliant

The preceding is a specially-adapted excerpt from Glen’s book Top-Grade Ammo. Available HERE at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.

 

REVIEW: Bond Arms Bullpup — A Great Carry 9

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This may be the most advanced 9mm handgun on the planet.  READ WHY

bond arms bullpup

Bob Campbell

When we look at a new firearm we like to know where it came from and what operating principles it is based on. The Bond Arms Bullpup is a result of Bond Arms purchasing the rights and machinery to the Boberg pistol. Before that there isn’t a lot owed to anyone for this design. The pistol uses the proven locked breech short recoil principle but with a twist — literally. The pistol features a rotating barrel. A rotating barrel lessens the need for a heavy recoil spring and guide while controlling recoil. This is important in a very small 9mm handgun. Recoil energy is expended over a longer period of time. The barrel rotates 14 degrees during the recoil cycle as the slide unlocks and shoots to the rear. The recoil spring is pretty light, with its main function moving the slide back into battery after the spent cartridge case is ejected. As a result of this design the slide is very easy to rack. Easier than any other 9mm I am aware of.

bond arms bullpup
The mechanism is complicated but works well.

At first glance the pistol appears to have a very short barrel, when you realize the barrel takes up a lot of the slide. The 5.1 inch slide contains a 3.35 inch barrel. This means that the average velocity loss compared to a Glock 19 as an example is less than 40 fps average. That’s impressive and necessary as well as the 9mm demands good velocity to ensure bullet expansion. The Bullpup moniker comes from the pistol’s unique design. The magazine is loaded conventionally but the front of the magazine is closed and the rear open as the cartridge feeds from the rear. A dual tongued drawbar catches the cartridge case rim and pulls it from the magazine and feed it into the chamber. This is controlled feed at its nth degree. The cartridges must be carefully selected. The problem isn’t a blunt nose but cartridge integrity. A firm crimp is demanded. With this in mind, the company supplied a list of cartridges they have tested and which offer feed reliability. Included are inexpensive training loads and top notch defensive loads.

bond arms bullpup
Good sights are essential for combat accuracy.

I am particularly impressed with the grip design. The supplied wooden stocks are attractive and offer good abrasion and adhesion. The stocks are wide enough to soak up recoil and remain slim and trim for concealed carry. The sights are good examples of combat sights. As for improvements over the original pistol the primary improvement is in fit and finish. The Bond Arms Bullpup is as well made as any handgun. It isn’t inexpensive but it is innovative and it works as designed. A big reason the new pistol isn’t as finicky as the original — and the Roberg ran fine with good ammunition and proper lubrication — is that the reciprocating barrel and barrel block now feature a frictionless space age coating. This eliminates the need to keep the barrel and locking block coated. The take-down is the same as the original using a lever to remove the slide. This lever may be turned to the six-o’clock position in order to lock the slide to the rear. The slide does not lock open on the last shot, it simply isn’t practical with the Bullpup design. Be aware during combat practice of how the pistol behaves. Get a rhythm going and perhaps try to count the shots and practice tactical loads.

bond arms bullpup
Firing the pistol is a joy- this is a light recoiling and accurate piece.

When firing the Bullpup 9 I had a pleasant surprise. This is a very nice pistol to fire. It isn’t the lightest 9mm at about 22 ounces but recoil is decidedly light. The trigger action is very smooth. The Lyman digital scale measures 7 to 7.5 pounds on average. Press the trigger straight to the rear until it breaks cleanly and you have a good hit. During recoil allow the trigger to reset. The result is good control and surprisingly good combat accuracy. Most of the ammunition fired has been the recommended Winchester 115 grain FMJ, as well as Sig Sauer Elite 115 and 124 grain FMJ. The pistol is also reliable with modern expanding bullet loads including the Hornady Critical Defense and Critical duty and the SIG Sauer Elite V Crown loadings. Accuracy is exceptional for this size handgun. The pistol will exhibit a five shot 1.5 inch group with most loads at 15 yards, firing from a solid benchrest firing position. Of course this doesn’t have much to do with combat shooting.

Firing offhand it isn’t difficult to keep a full magazine in the X-ring well past 10 yards. I executed the 10 10 10 drill — modifying it to 10 10 7. Ten yards, ten seconds, and seven shots. The pistol stayed in the 8 and 9 ring. This is good performance. The pistol demands attention to detail, both in maintenance and in handling. The Bond Arms Bullpup comes with a hefty list of advantages foremost of which is its small size. Yet the pistol retains a full length, for a compact, pistol barrel and offers light recoil and excellent accuracy. This isn’t a handgun for the slightly interested. For the demanding shooter it is a top notch piece.

bond arms bullpup
This is a group fired from a solid rest at 15 yards.

Among a very few concealed carry holster makers offering a suitable concealed carry rig for the Bond Arms Bullpup 9 is Alien Gear. The soft backing coupled with a rigid Kydex holster makes for good comfort and a sharp draw. There isn’t another holster offering a better balance of speed, retention and comfort along with real concealment.

bond arms bullpup
The pistol carries well in this Alien Gear holster.

SEE MORE HERE

SKILLS: Verbal Skills During An Armed Encounter

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Managing an armed encounter successfully takes more than shooting skills. Put yourself in a better defensive position with these essential verbal skills. READ MORE

INTRUDER

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life

Verbal Strategy
Verbal skills tend to come in handy during an armed encounter. As a police officer, I’ve used the “gift of gab” to great effect on a number of occasions, but verbal skills aren’t just for cops. Saying the right thing at the right time — and with the right delivery — can prompt a would-be assailant to back down. Since voluntary compliance is always preferred to bloodshed, it’s important to give careful consideration to how you can communicate effectively in crisis.

The problem with many well-intended firearms instructors is they offer to their students little more than a few canned phrases such as “Don’t move!” “Drop the weapon!” or “I have a gun! If you come through the door, you will be shot!” While any of these directives could prompt a criminal to reconsider his plan, they could also backfire.

Rather than rely on these phrases, students of the gun must be trained to think before they speak. Let’s say you turn away from the ATM and are confronted by a thug who sticks a gun in your face. Clearly, you’re in no position to issue verbal commands, but the right words and tone could still be of tremendous benefit.

Saying something like this might work well. “Hey, buddy. Calm down. I’ll do whatever you say. Take my wallet, just please don’t hurt me.” This type of submissive verbal response is an excellent segue to you either cooperating or feinting cooperation until it’s more advantageous to counterattack.

Another good strategy when an assailant has the drop on you is to ask questions. While pretending to beg (or actually begging) for your life, ask what the assailant wants you to do. When you ask a question, the assailant will likely consider what you’re asking, and this will likely make him just a bit hesitant.

If you’re planning to counterattack, the time to make your move is when the assailant starts to answer. That’s because it’s hard to talk and shoot at the same time — which is a good thing to keep in mind when you are armed and giving verbal commands.

Body Language
Make sure your body language matches your spoken language. Your tucked chin and raised open hands appear to match your submissive speech, but this posturing actually prepares you to act, if that’s what you choose to do. Your chin down minimizes the likelihood of being knocked out if you are struck in the head, and your hands being up enables you to more efficiently fend or redirect and control the weapon.

So should you give verbal commands if you’re in a position to do so? There’s no right answer. If you catch a burglar attempting to pry open a window screen on your house with a knife, bellowing out clear, unconditional directives like those previously mentioned would make sense — especially if those orders were issued from behind cover. They would likely cause most criminals to either comply or flee.

Now, imagine walking around the corner of a building and seeing an assailant holding someone hostage with a weapon. Should you issue a forceful verbal command? If you’re thinking, you realize that by verbally challenging the assailant in this scenario, you may make an already highly volatile situation even worse.

At the very least, you will have forfeited the element of surprise and put the ball in the assailant’s court. Will he run away? Attack the person he was threatening? Attack you? If you’ve just barked orders at him, you’re about to find out.

Warning Obligations
As the good guy, are you obligated to give an assailant warning prior to using deadly force? Not necessarily. While such a warning may be required in some states, many statues are written so that a warning should be given prior to the use of deadly force “when feasible.”

Laws differ from state to state but typically deadly force is authorized to prevent the imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to yourself or someone else. When an assailant is pointing a gun at someone’s head, that criteria has certainly been met.

What about when someone shatters a window and you and your family move to your “safe room” where you barricade behind the locked door, arm yourself and call 911. Shouldn’t you shout verbal commands from inside the room to advise the intruder that you’re armed and that the police have been called? Not necessarily.

Giving a verbal command alerts the intruder to your location. Then, assuming he enters the room, he has an idea where you are. Heck, he may even shoot through the wall toward the sound of your voice.

Perhaps a more tactically sound plan would be to turn off the lights, get behind cover and watch the door. Should it fly open, you will have a clear view of the intruder because he must come through the doorway to get into the room.

In personal and home-defense situations, verbal skills can be important. But don’t assume yelling forceful commands is always the answer. Sometimes it’s better to speak softly or not at all. It’s up to you to gauge the situation and respond appropriately. You’ve got to think before you speak.

Originally appeared in Handguns Magazine.

SEE THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

 

Robert Reese, Springfield Armory Founder, Passes at 87

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We owe the ongoing legacy of one of America’s premier gun manufacturers to Bob Reese. READ MORE

robert reese

SOURCE: Springfield Armory press release

GENESEO, ILL. (06/28/19) – Robert R. Reese, 87, of Geneseo, Illinois, iconic founder of Springfield Armory, passed peacefully Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf, Iowa.

Robert Rost Reese was born June 27, 1931, in Moline, Illinois, to Thomas William and Ruby Rose (Rost) Reese. Bob married Carol Schillinger on June 25, 1952, in Geneseo, Illinois, and went on to serve in the U.S. Army National Guard at Camp Cooke in Santa Barbara County, California. Upon discharge from the Army, Bob and Carol returned to the Midwest where he began farming in Henry County, Illinois with his father. In addition to farming, Bob had several other occupations. He was an agriculture equipment salesman in Tipton, Iowa, a real estate developer in Hanna Township, and a dealer of Army surplus with a store in Geneseo.

In 1974, Bob resurrected the “Springfield Armory” name, and in doing so, preserved iconic and historically significant firearm designs such as the M1 Garand, the US M14, and the 1911 pistol. Bob, his wife, Carol, and their son, Dennis, were the first employees in this next chapter of the legendary Springfield Armory. They were joined by sons Dave and Tom, and together the Reese family grew the business to be a global force in the firearms industry.

Bob was a man of many interests and talents. He enjoyed boating, water skiing, snow skiing, and racing dirt bikes, but his greatest passion was in all things related to firearms and shooting. He was an avid competitive shooter, hunter, and fisherman, who pursued those interests together with Carol all over the world. He hunted big game well into his late 70s, traveling to such places as Mongolia, Azerbaijan, the Amazon, Alaska, Africa, and everywhere in between.

Bob was a lifelong, committed advocate for the Second Amendment, who cherished its significance and lived his life guided by the principles of independence and personal responsibility. He loved trips to Camp Perry, exhibiting on Commercial Row and supporting the Highpower Rifle Championships and Bullseye Pistol Championships, an annual tradition that began only months after founding Springfield Armory in 1974. Bob was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, and has several firearms patents to his name. At the young age of 17, he became the North American Junior Trapshooting champion.

Bob is survived by his wife, Carol; three sons and daughters-in-law, Dennis J. and Jane Reese of Geneseo, David R, and Colleen Reese of Colona, and Thomas William and Jane Reese of Geneseo; seven grandchildren and their spouses, Stefany and Chris Toomer, Nicholas Reese, Robert and Bethany Reese, Jon Reese, Kelly and Houston Holt, Carolyn and John Kozlik, and Thomas William Reese; and two great-grandchildren, Ruby Grace Holt and Eli Joseph Reese. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Carol Kleeman.

Bob’s family invites friends to share stories and condolences at TrimbleFuneralHomes.com.

Memorials may be made to the following: VFW, or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).

About Springfield Armory®
In 1794, the original Springfield Armory was designated as our national armory by General George Washington, and began manufacturing muskets for the defense of our young, free Republic.  This monumental institution went on to serve as a think tank for developing innovative firearms concepts and producing some of the most storied rifle platforms in our country’s history.  The Armory functioned as a firearms supplier for every major American conflict until 1968 when the government sadly closed its doors. In 1974, two centuries after its inception, Springfield Armory Inc. in Geneseo, IL revived the iconic heritage of the Armory to carry on its legacy and restore the Springfield Armory name.

Springfield Armory Inc. engineers, manufactures and assembles their high-quality 1911, 911, SAINT® AR-15 and legendary M1A™ lines of firearms in Geneseo, Illinois. Since 2001, Springfield Armory has enjoyed a strategic, collaborative partnership with the state-of-the-art factory in Croatia working hand-in-hand to develop and engineer the multiple award-winning line of XD® polymer pistols that have become staples in the US marketplace. We strive to honor this responsibility as guardians of the original Springfield Armory legacy by manufacturing the highest quality firearms to enable responsible citizens to preserve their right to keep and bear arms in the defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

With an unmatched emphasis on craftsmanship, performance and exceptional customer service, our mission is to forge superior firearms and provide the tools necessary to defend individual freedoms and equality for those who embrace the rights and principles secured by our Founding Fathers.  For more information, please visit us at: springfield-armory.com.

 

Vista Outdoor Announces Sale of Savage Brand

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Two venerable American firearms brands will have a new home. Savage and Stevens sell for $170 Million. READ MORE

savage logo

SOURCE: Vista Outdoor Inc. Media Press Release

ANOKA, Minn., July 8, 2019 — Vista Outdoor Inc. (“Vista Outdoor”) (NYSE: VSTO) announced that it has completed the sale of the legal entity operating its Savage Arms and Stevens firearms brands to a financial buyer for a total purchase price of $170 million, comprised of $158 million paid at closing and $12 million to be paid upon maturity of a five-year seller note issued by the buyer to Vista Outdoor in connection with the transaction.

The sale is part of Vista Outdoor’s previously announced transformation plan, which outlined the intent to reshape the company’s portfolio by cutting costs, consolidating leadership, paying down debt, and divesting certain brands, including both its eyewear brands and firearms brands, in order to pursue growth in product categories where the company believes it can be market leaders. As the company now looks forward, the focus is on ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, hydration bottles and packs, outdoor cooking products, and cycling/ski helmets and accessories.

“Divesting our Savage brand was a key aspect of our transformation plan,” said Chris Metz, Chief Executive Officer of Vista Outdoor. “While it was a difficult decision to sell such an iconic brand, I remain confident that this was the correct choice to help Vista Outdoor grow in those categories where we can have leadership positions. Savage is a fantastic business, and it deserves to continue to evolve into other firearms categories. At this time, however, we simply do not have the resources to transform Savage into the full-service firearms company that it deserves to be and, therefore, we determined the brand would be better off with a different owner. We’re excited to see Savage reach its full potential under new ownership.”

Savage was acquired by Vista Outdoor’s predecessor, ATK, in 2013. ATK’s sporting business — which included Savage, Bushnell, Federal and CCI Ammunition, and dozens of other hunt/shoot accessories brands, spun off in 2015 to become Vista Outdoor.

“The Savage acquisition helped create Vista Outdoor, and we’re grateful for all the success the brand brought to our company over the past six years,” said Metz. “However, this divestiture now gives our ammunition brands flexibility to work with any industry partner to create the best products and meet our consumers’ needs.”

At closing, Vista Outdoor received gross proceeds from the divestiture of $158 million. Vista Outdoor will use the net after-tax proceeds of the sale to repay outstanding indebtedness.

“Reducing our debt is a key part of turning around our business,” said Metz. “Selling Savage and further reducing our overall leverage will improve our financial flexibility and better position the company for long-term growth. We’ve now rebuilt the company’s foundation to provide a more stable base upon which to grow. We have a portfolio of brands that all have the potential to be strong, market leaders in their respective categories and I’m proud of my team’s efforts in reshaping the portfolio over the course of the past year.”

Vista Outdoor Inc.

Hey Virginia! Speak Up Against Your Governor, And Do It Now!

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His plans would leave Virginians with severely restricted rights. READ MORE

northam

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Following the tragedy in Virginia Beach, Governor Ralph Northam recently held a press conference outlining his plans to enact new gun control proposals that will significantly restrict the rights of Virginia’s law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to stop criminals. Gov. Northam and his media allies are desperate to deflect attention from scandals involving all three statewide officeholders and are trying to scape-goat Virginia’s law-abiding gun owners for the actions of a madman.

If Gov. Northam gets his way, Virginia will have some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Gov. Northam knows that none of his proposed gun control would have prevented the tragic murders in Virginia Beach, but they will make it harder for law-abiding Virginians to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense. Don’t let Gov. Northam take away your rights and put your safety at risk.

Don’t let Gov. Northam take away your rights and put your safety at risk.

It’s critical every gun owner in the Commonwealth contact their legislators, urging them to OPPOSE Gov. Northam’s anti-gun agenda, and attend the Special Session on Gun Control on July 9!

Would any of Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun control proposals have stopped the tragedy in Virginia Beach?

So-Called “Universal” Background Checks
NO.
According to law enforcement, the perpetrator of the shooting in Virginia Beach legally purchased the firearms used in the attack.

“Assault Weapons” Ban
NO.
The Virginia Beach tragedy was committed with handguns, not so-called “assault weapons.”

Standard Capacity Magazine Ban
NO.
Following the shooting, Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera stated, “As far as more legislation on gun issues. I’m a member of Major City Chiefs, we did publish something about a year and a half ago. I don’t think most of that would have mattered in this particular case. We do have the Second Amendment it is very stringent for our country. In this particular case, the weapons were obtained legally. Everything was done in a legal manner by this individual.”

Silencer/Suppressor Ban
NO.
Despite its name, firearms are still very loud when using a silencer/suppressor. The outcome of the attack at Virginia Beach would be no different with or without a silencer/suppressor.

One-Gun-A-Month Purchase Law
NO.
The perpetrator used two handguns to carry out the attack. The perpetrator bought one of the pistols in 2016 and the other in 2018.

Requiring Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms
NO.
The firearms used in the Virginia Beach tragedy were purchased through a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer.

Government-Mandated Firearm Storage
NO.
The alleged perpetrator of the attack was 40 years old at the time of the attack. A government-mandated safe storage law would have had no effect on the attack.

Weakening State Firearms Preemption
NO.
Like many of the other proposed gun control ideas, weakening state firearms preemption would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy in Virginia Beach because criminals, by definition, do not follow the law. These laws and others are only effective in restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Say NO to Gov. Northam’s extreme gun control agenda. This is anti-gun politics as usual. Let’s demand real solutions from Richmond, not failed gun control schemes.

Bloomberg’s Killjoys Target Fourth of July Fireworks

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They seriously don’t get it… READ MORE

crossing the delaware

[Editor’s note: I know 4th of July was a bit ago but didn’t coincide with the last blog post date, and I wanted to share this one because it’s just crazy…]

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In a July 3, 1776 letter to his wife Abigail, founding father John Adams wrote about how Independence Day should be celebrated. Adams explained,

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

In the years since, Americans have done their best to live up to Adams’s expectations by celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Americans spent $1.3 billion on illuminations in 2018, with $945 million of the total spent on consumer fireworks. As for the volume of pyrotechnics, Americans consumed 277.5 million lbs. of fireworks in 2018. Simply put, celebrating with fireworks is an integral part of and ubiquitous on Independence Day.

Never a group to tolerate the traditions of others, or to celebrate American freedom, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety made clear this week that Americans have been commemorating Independence Day wrong.

On July 1, the gun control group tweeted out an image with the message “Consider gun violence survivors on the Fourth of July.” The image was accompanied by a further message that stated,

Every day, an average of 100 Americans are fatally shot & hundreds more are shot and injured. If you’re planning to set off fireworks to celebrate the 4th, consider letting members of your community know so those who might be sensitive to loud noises can prepare themselves.

There are those with a sensitivity to loud noises, including some veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. No one should go out of their way to exacerbate these individuals’ condition.

However, Everytown’s blanket admonishment raises a serious question, which was identified by Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon. Gutowski tweeted, “This confuses me. Are there people in America that are unaware we set off fireworks on the 4th of July?”

It doesn’t take a cynic to suspect that Everytown’s Independence Day lecture isn’t about helping those with sensitivity to loud noises. The group has routinely sought to pervert cherished holidays in order to push its gun control agenda. In 2013, Everytown component Mayors Against Illegal Guns created a placemat that encouraged loved ones to argue about gun control during Thanksgiving dinner. The lame stunt was repeated the following year. Everytown supporters are encouraged to send anti-gun “holiday cards” to their members of congress.

Americans should strive to be safe and neighborly in their July 4th activities, but none should let a would-be oligarch and his political minions deter them from fun and legal celebrations. After all, Adams’s prescription for Independence Day observance was “from this Time forward forever more.”

Washington: New Lead Regulations Would Target Shooting Ranges

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Stricter regulations could mean great expense for shooting ranges and retailers. We’ll keep up with this one, but here’s where it starts… READ MORE

lead on ranges

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH) has released an updated draft of the lead rules they originally released last year following stakeholder meetings. These proposed regulations will impose complicated and expensive burdens on shooting ranges and retailers, potentially making it difficult for some to continue operations. DOSH will be holding additional stakeholder meetings to discuss these proposed regulations. Shooting ranges are vital to the safe practice and exercise of our constitutionally protected Second Amendment right to self-defense, and maintaining access to shooting ranges is a top priority for NRA.

Existing federal and state law already provides extensive regulation of lead in the workplace. In addition to the federal requirements under the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Washington also has regulations in place regarding workplace lead exposure and has enforced these regulations through inspections and citations. This draft regulation proposes new and much more demanding requirements that significantly exceed compliance under existing law without providing any clarification on their need. Furthermore, there have been no economic impact studies on the effect these regulations will have on small businesses.

Your NRA will continue to actively participate as a stakeholder in the development of these new rules in meetings with the Department of Labor and Industries. We will provide ongoing input on the impact the proposal will have on gun ranges, retailers, and our shooting community.

 

NRA’s Number Two Resigns, NRA Shuts Down NRA TV

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No shock, Chris Cox has resigned his position at NRA. Here’s more in this developing story that’s now taken NRATV off the air too. READ MORE

Chris Cox
Chris Cox

SOURCE: Tactical Wire

Chris Cox, the former head of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has resigned his position. Last week, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre placed Cox on leave and accused the man many believed to be his evenutal successor of having aided in a failed “coup” attempt against LaPierre by former NRA President Oliver North. In the announcement of Cox’s departure to NRA employees, LaPierre thanked Cox “for his service to the NRA.” This latest development follows the announcement by LaPierre that the NRA was shutting down production of its online streaming network, NRATV. The Outdoor Wire has also acquired a communication between the NRA and its former agency Ackerman McQueen in which the NRA’s Andrew Arulanandam “demands immediate delivery of all materials by Section XLC of the Services Agreement, including all Confidential Information (as defined by the Services Agreement).” The letter also says that “if AMc damages or converts the NRA’s property, or if the NRA perceives an imminent risk of the same, the NRA will pursue legal recourse.” The acrimonious parting of the ways has been accompanied by a myriad of charge, counter-charges and lawsuits between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen.

 

RELOADERS CORNER: Bullet Seating Depth

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A popular topic in these pages, and for good reason: it can make a big difference in rifle accuracy! Read more about it HERE

benchrest bullets
Pretty much all bullets respond to seating depth changes. Long or short, for maximum accuracy it’s worth the effort.

Glen Zediker

Every time I do an article here in Reloaders Corner on the topic of bullet seating, I always see at least a couple of comments from readers about their experience and preferences with bullet seating depth. Those usually involve or revolve around seating a bullet so it is touching, or is nearly touching, the lands or rifling when the round is chambered.

This is a long-standing “trick” well known in precision shooting circles, like those competing in NRA Long Range or Benchrest.

Seeing What You’ve Got
First step, absolutely, is determining what the bullet seating figure is for your particular bullet in your particular chamber. This length is most often referred to as “dead length.” That’s a pretty ominous-sounding term! It’s not really perilous, but there is a little danger involved, which, mostly, is one point to respect. That point is that when a bullet goes from just off to just on — actually touching the lands — pressure will (not may) increase. Reason is that the previous gap-valve effect closed so burning gases are effectively “plugged up” a fractional millisecond longer. My experience with the most common small- to medium-capacity cases we’re using (ranging from, say, .223 Rem. to .308 Win.) is that this is worth about a half-grain (0.50-gr.) of propellant.

Finding It
Those who have read much in these pages have seen the Hornady LNL OAL tool. This is a well-designed appliance that will show you, in your chamber with your bullet, how far forward the lands are, or, more precisely, the overall cartridge length that will touch the lands. This amount varies and is unique! Don’t transfer figures from one gun to the next. It also changes… As the chamber throat erodes it lengthens, and so too will the overall cartridge length that touches the lands. Let’s call overall cartridge overall length COAL for sake of space.

hornady lnl gage
Here’s the tool to find the seating depth that touches the lands. Hornady LNL Oal Gage.

There are other means but I’ve not found one more accurate. Some smoke over a bullet that’s been seated into a “loosened” case neck and gauge contact by the marks left. This, however, is likely to be “touching, plus” length.

Once you’ve got the round ready to measure, I strongly suggest doing so using a bullet length comparator along with your caliper. This is another tool that’s been gone over and gone on about here. It measures at a point along the bullet ogive rather than on the bullet tip. It’s more accurate. Now. A comparator inside diameter is usually close to actual land diameter, but, as with chambers, these are each and both unique so don’t assume anything.

Hornady comparator
More precise reads come from using a bullet length comparator to measure overall length. This is a Hornady LNL too.

Why It Works
Setting the bullet so it touches the lands does a few things, all good. One, and I think one of the most influential, is that the bullet starts off aligned with the rifle bore. As a matter of fact, it better centers the whole cartridge because there is, not may be, at least a little gap between chamber and case. If there wasn’t the round wouldn’t enter the chamber. The bullet is, effectively, supported by the lands and that has, also effectively, taken up the “slack” by locating the cartridge more concentric with the chamber and bore. It also then effectively makes up for the affronts to concentricity created by case neck wall inconsistencies and the resultant relocation of the case neck center.

Another is that that it eliminates jump (the usual distance or gap between the first point of land diameter on the bullet nosecone and the lands). Bullet wizard Bill Davis (designer of the original “VLD” projectiles, and others of much significance) once told me that his thoughts on why especially the high-caliber-ogive high-ballistic-coefficient bullet designs worked best with no jump were for all those reasons and improvements just mentioned. Plus another: gravity. A bullet floating in space, and also moving forward in this space, has that much more opportunity to engage the lands at a little angle, if only because of gravity. Always have thought about that one.

Soft-Seating
There are degrees. When we go from just on to “in” that’s another tactic some experiment with. And it has another level that’s commonly popular with Benchrest and other precision shooters. That’s called “soft seating.” What that is, is setting the case neck inside diameter to very nearly match the bullet diameter with the idea that the bullet starts out extra-long and then chambering the round finishes the bullet seating when the bullet contacts the lands. The reason for the more generous case neck inside diameter is to reduce resistance so the bullet can more easily set back and let the lands seat it.

I don’t use this tactic, but have. It’s another level of commitment and, as is often true with such other levels, demands more attention and also limits utility. One is that it clearly is only for bolt-action use. Another is that it’s for single-shot use only; such rounds should not be loaded into a magazine or fed from a magazine. For another, once loaded the round can’t usually come back out. The bullet will stay and you’ll get an action full of propellant.

Seating Depth Experiments
Now this is a process I have used throughout. Most times I find that best accuracy comes with a seating depth that has the bullet “just” on the lands. Contact is made but it’s the same pressure level as if the bullet were sitting on the benchtop. I also often have found best group sizes come at a little less than touching, and, a few times, at a little more than touching. I’m talking about 0.002-0.003 longer than dead-length. Let’s call it “firmly touching” but also a long ways away from “jammed.” These rounds often can’t be extracted.

There’s an easy way to run seating depth experiments. Here’s how I do it: I load however-many rounds at dead-length plus 0.003 COAL. I load them all that way. I then take a small press I can clamp on to a benchtop or tailgate at the range, and install a micrometer-top seating die. For max accuracy, I already seated all these test rounds using this exact setup. Take along a caliper and comparator and a fresh notebook page. I’ve adjusted the propellant charge as said earlier by dropping it a tad. Now. I also know that there’s going to be a little difference in perfected results because of this because lengths that aren’t touching the lands are running 35-40 feet per second slower, but it still shows me what’s going to work best. If it ends up being a COAL with a little gap, I’ll bump it back up.

Last
As said, the COAL that works best is going to change because the throat is going to change. Check using the OAL gage and adjust. That means the load is also changing, a little bit, each time the bullet moves forward (more case volume), and that can affect zero and velocity.

It’s a lot to keep up with.

Another note: If you’re feeding these rounds from a magazine, and running them through a semi-auto match-rifle, make sure there is adequate bullet retention (difference between bullet diameter and case neck inside diameter, go good 0.003 inches). Don’t want the bullets jumping forward (inertia-induced). If, for example, you’re giving 0.002 hold-off, that little bit can get taken up easily and then, if the bullet gets on the lands, there’s a pressure spike.

GAGES, on sale now at Midsouth!

The preceding is a specially-adapted excerpt from Glen’s book Handloading For Competition. Available HERE at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.

 

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