Hot topic! Zediker takes a look at 22 Nosler and .224 Valkyrie, two rounds that set out to maximize “sub-caliber” performance. READ ON
Last time I nutshelled the history of the .223 Remington and suggested that round, and its 5.56mm NATO chambering in the “new” M16 was the start of the “sub-caliber uprising.” By that I mean in popularity ( Also as mentioned last time, there’s zero doubt that the motivation behind companies like Sierra developing better .224 caliber bullets came from military shooting team needs to use 5.56 in competition. We, pretty much, ended up with better bullets than the .223 Rem. could exploit.
Moving forward 55 years or so now two hot-rodded 22s seek to fully exploit the best of these bullets: 22 Nosler and .224 Valkyrie.
What it is, is another way to stuff more into an AR15 upper and it’s impressive. 25-percent more case capacity compared to .223 Rem., which translates to solid +300 fps gains — close to a .22-.250. And anyone who doesn’t think .22-.250 is impressive is beyond me and mine. “Conversion” from a conventional .223 Rem. parts set takes a 6.8 SPC magazine and a new barrel with the new chambering, and you’re good to go. It’s a rebated rim so the case head stays at the .223-standard .378, and has same rim thickness, so no new bolt needed. It’s kind of a stretched and necked-down 6.8 SPC, and it’s the same overall case length as .223 Rem. The extra capacity comes from a .420 body diameter, supplemented also by its 30-degree shoulder. Unlike the other Nosler-brand cartridges which came off a .404 Jeffery, there’s no parent case for this one. Currently, brass has to come from Nosler. That’s a good thing. But it’s not cheap. Nosler makes great brass; it’s prepped and ready to load out of its box. It’s become my go-to brass for .223 Rem. when it matters.
22 Nosler is an exciting thing, to me, because it’s a truly new cartridge that lets someone start off fresh with a SAAMI-standard-backed round that is significantly stouter than .223 Rem.
The variety of .224-caliber bullets make it flexible for all the uses a higher-speed round can be put to, including surely as a hunting cartridge, and, no doubt, as a paper puncher. As suggested, it’s pretty much a .22-.250. Even though I like the “shorter-fatter” direction in cartridges to optimize bullet seating architecture to optimize accuracy, 22 Nosler, for me, hasn’t shot one bit worse than .223 Rem., and dang sho leaves a more substantial contrail. Barrel life is going to be significantly shorter than .223 Rem. and it won’t be to the tune of the 25-percent increase in capacity relating to 25-percent shorter life; it’s more like 50-percent, at best. Trades. Maybe 3000 tops.
About one year after the 22 Nosler, Federal countered with its proprietary creation. (These were each released at a SHOT Show.) At this brief moment in time, 2018, it’s the round that’s getting the biggest following amongst the higher-22-velocity seekers.
Valkyrie is based on the 6.8 SPC. It has a 1.600-inch case length, so is shorter than .223 Rem. or 22 Nosler. That’s good! It uses the same .422 bolt face as SPC, so that’s a needed part for a conversion. As with the Nos. it needs an SPC magazine.
Both the Nos. and the Valkyrie are well suited to handle the biggest of the .224 bullets, and, according to its maker, the Valkyrie was expressly intended to launch the 90-grain-range bullets. Given that, Valkyrie barrels tend to be 1-7 twist. That’s not “enough,” in my experience, and more about that soon enough.
So, which is better?
I like 22 Nosler. It gives the most speed. That’s pretty much the whole idea behind either one. There’s been some said about the ups and downs of the bolt face differences. The smaller .378 is a stronger bolt, but there’s more bolt thrust effect from the more powerful 22 Nosler, and that’s mostly on the case. I can’t see anything I’ve heard being a problem. I’ve not had issues. The Valkyrie case is shorter, and, as said, that is an advantage with longer bullets because the bullet doesn’t get seated as deeply into the case to end up at the same overall round length. That’s exactly in keeping with the “accuracy architecture” as was shown with the article on PPC.
Bottom-line, though, Valkyrie is an easier investment. Component prices (and availability options) are radically better. I think that for someone looking to explore the far end of the shooting range and ding some steel plates at 500 yards, the .224 Valkyrie would be my recommendation.
But it’s not just nearly that simple! More about why, and more cartridges thrown in to add to the confusion, next time.
The M1 Carbine was one of the most widely produced of all U.S. Military rifles. Here’s how to get your own piece of shootable history! READ MORE
Millions of M1 Carbines were produced. This firearm served during World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, and at one time surplus models were commonly found and inexpensive. Today things are different. A well-used, vintage M1 Carbine is expensive and the cost will vary dramatically depending on which manufacturer produced the M1 Carbine and the model. I collect, but I shoot what I collect and that’s why the M1 Carbines from Inland Mfg. and Auto-Ordnance are important to me and other shooters who favor the M1 Carbine.
The Inland Mfg. M1 1945 Carbine ($1062) and Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine Paratrooper ($805) are reproductions of carbines built in the mid 1940s. The Inland is a copy of the last style of Carbine built for the Military. The Auto-Ordnance (A-O) is a copy of the Model M1A1 designed for Paratroopers with a folding wire stock. These reborn Carbines offer a lot for collectors, competitive shooters, and home defenders.
The Inland Mfg. M1 1945 Carbine is made with an investment cast receiver mated to an 18-inch barrel with 4 grooves and a 1:20 inch twist rate. Features that make the Inland historically accurate are numerous and include the type 3 bayonet lug and barrel band, a rear sight with a siding ramp, and a push button safety. Original M1s had a flat bolt, basically the top of the bolt was milled flat. Late models used a round bolt to reduce manufacturing time. These features are also incorporated into the Inland carbine. The walnut stock is also referred to as a “low wood” stock which means it is relieved next to the operating slide. Early M1s had wood nearly covering the slide and the wood was prone to splitting in this area. From a historical perspective, the Inland was a good copy of the original carbine.
The A-O is a reproduction of the Model M1A1, which was a model variant specifically designed for paratroopers who required a shorter weapon. Like early original M1A1s the A-O had no bayonet lug and the stock was close to originals even down to the brass rivets that attached the leather cheek rest to the wire stock. Sights were per the original a simple flip up aperture with a two settings one for 150 yard and the second for 300 yards. Windage was drift adjustable.
The stock does not lock in an open or closed position. A detent keeps the stock in position and when I fired using the stock I could easily knock it out of the open position. This is a feature of this older design. The rest of the stock was plain walnut, and pistol grip is thick and filled my hand.
Magazines are easy to find and inexpensive from $8 to $35 depending on manufacturer and capacity. Carbines were originally issued with a 15-round magazine, and 10-, 15- and 30-round magazines are the most commonly available.
AMMO & PERFORMANCE
There is no shortage of .30 Carbine ammo. I had on hand quite an assortment: Hornady Critical Defense with 110-grain FTX bullets ($33/20-rnds), Hornady 30 Carbine with 110-grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullets ($39/50-rnds), Aguila 110-grain FMJs ($24/50-rnds), and steel-case TulAmmo also with 110-grain FMJs ($15/50-rnds). If you see the trend, the .30 Carbine’s sweet spot is the 110-grain bullet.
These modern reproductions are lithe and fast handling. Using the Inland Mfg. M1 1945 Carbine at 100 yards the Aguila ammo performed well and I fired my tightest 3-shot group which measured 2.05 inches. The TulAmmo ammo and Hornady Critical Defense also gave good accuracy averaging close to 2.75 inches on average. In fact I was quite pleased with the results since I were using iron sights and a mil-spec style trigger. The trigger is a single stage with some creep that broke at 6.1 pounds. Typical service style trigger.
Recoil is mild with not a lot of muzzle blast. At 25 yards fast follow up shots were quick. Since the rifle is only 36 inches long it is easy to maneuver.
In my opinion, the Inland is well suited for Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) M1 Carbine Matches. These matches are fired at 100 yards in 4 stages with slow and rapid fire and from prone, standing, sitting or kneeling.
At 25 yards I shot a near perfect, 3-shot clover leaf with A-O using the inexpensive TulAmmo. Recoil was more noticeable with the A-O since the cheek against the wire stock was not as comfortable. I was able to shoot a 2.0-inch 3-shot group at 100 yards with inexpensive TulAmmo; 2.1-inch best groups were obtained with Aguila and IWI. On averaged I achieved 2.3 to 2.8 inch groups at 100 yards with three shots. The trigger pull weight averaged 7 pounds but I still was able to shoot some decent groups.
As a home defense weapon or truck rifle, the new breed on M1 Carbines from A-O and Inland Mfg. are good choices. There are less-expensive options available, but they are not “as-original” M1 Carbines.
Increasingly, Americans might find themselves faced with a crisis involving a “shooter.” Here are thoughts from Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt on the citizen’s role. READ ON
SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt
No doubt — there are more frequent reports of criminals attacking citizens. It has become more commonplace at big events or where large groups of people gather together. These environments make easy targets for the criminals.
Unfortunately, when there are no “good guys with guns,” the bad guys don’t really need to be very skilled at whatever attack method they use, and they are highly likely to injure someone.
Likewise, there are more situations where a citizen thwarts the criminal attack before any or further injury occurs. The news reports though are hard to find most of the time — due to the lack of mainstream media reporting — but it happens more than you might think and the stories are out there if you know where to look.
And personally, as an American, I think this is awesome. Citizens helping protect each other…what says “United We Stand” more than that?
From the news sound bite, though, this may seem all too simple. Realistically any “active shooter scenario” or other type of attack is a very complex and continuously evolving process. And difficult to successfully get through because there are countless scenarios and variables.
DECISION MAKING 301
If an attack situation allows, it makes sense to 1) get away from the threat completely or 2) hide in a safe location until law enforcement arrives. Unfortunately, those options may not always be available.
What the situation requires at that point is advanced decision making; complex, chaotic decision making. Ideally, your decisions should be based on situations you have thought about, prepared and trained for (what ifs?) prior to becoming a responsible concealed carrying citizen.
How you handle the scenario starts with identifying what your priorities are or what you want to accomplish. Slight changes in the situation may change the priority or action you choose to take.
Everyone’s priorities are different… None are wrong, they are just different.
If I am out with my family, friends or acquaintances, their safety will be my number one priority.
If I am out by myself, the safety of the innocent people is my number one priority.
If it is just me and the criminal, my safety will be my number one priority.
To break it down, we all have a built-in priority hierarchy when it comes to saving lives and preventing the criminal from trying to injure or kill. As stated above, my priorities are:
Friends / Acquaintances
All other people
I could further complicate this with the concept of life years saved, but I think you get the idea.
Let’s skip a couple of steps and jump right to response; you decide to take action and use your concealed Springfield Armory XD-(M)® pistol to stop the criminal. The very first thing to remember / consider is SAFETY — all of the firearms rules that everyone works so hard to learn and apply. Drawing your gun to stop a criminal does not relieve you of your safety responsibilities. Now, more than ever, you will need to adhere to them. If you inadvertently injure someone, other than the criminal, it will be a serious problem.
SUSPECT DOWN — HEADS UP — GUN AWAY
Let’s jump ahead again. You have successfully stopped the suspect and saved some lives. #GoodSamaritan
But once the (only) suspect is down, the problems are not over.
At this point, another significant issue is of immediate concern: That others involved, citizens and law enforcement, do not recognize that you are the good guy. You and the suspect are the only ones that know for sure that you were the good guy who stopped the bad guy. You cannot assume that others recognize what transpired. There may also be more than one law-abiding concealed carrier on site.
In fact, this is still a very dangerous situation. If you can confirm the scene is safe, put your gun away. This is the best way to avoid another Good Samaritan or LE agent engaging YOU as if you were the suspect.
THE 411 ON 911
Since virtually everyone now has a cell phone, there will probably be multiple calls being placed to 9-1-1. If you can, call 9-1-1 yourself to inform the police of your situation. One of the most important things you can do is give the 9-1-1 operator YOUR physical description. It’s also critical to then follow their directions. Most fine details about the incident are unimportant at this point, but responding officers need a quick description of you; gender, race, hair color, height, clothing, etc. #JustTheBasics
If you are with someone, instruct them to do the same, remembering only pertinent information is required at this point. There will be plenty of time during the subsequent investigation for the fine details.
PREPARE FOR POLICE ARRIVAL
Most police officers are extremely good at evaluating what is going on, before they take action. However, realize that they likely have received numerous (possibly inaccurate) reports of a shooter and may have been given more than one description. They have probably also received a description of you (the good guy) by those who saw you shooting.
When the police are on scene, they will most likely treat everyone (especially those with a gun) like a suspect until they can get some investigating done and figure out what actually happened.
Remember their goal is to make the scene safe and get aid to any victims. But they need to locate and stop any threats before they can safely do that.
My advice for when the police arrive – just comply with what they tell you do. Nothing new, as that’s what you should always do. The responding officers don’t know who you are or anyone else for that matter. Trying to convince them that you are not the bad guy (especially while you are still holding the gun) will just make things more difficult.
If you are going to be a responsible, armed citizen; make it your duty to be prepared both physically (by becoming a competent, skilled, safe shooter) and mentally (by knowing how and when to safely take action, and what to do when you have stopped the criminal). Discuss, prepare and plan for this type of situation with your loved ones (also) on a regular basis. Preparation before an attack happens, may just save the lives of your very important “priorities”, and that is absolutely worth the investment.
Another try. Another fail. Recent study concludes there’s zero relationship between legal concealed carry laws and violence. READ MORE
As we’ve noted recently, much research purporting to demonstrate connections between access to guns or right-to-carry laws and increases in crime is seriously flawed. Often it’s an attempt to curtail or eliminate Americans’ rights under the Second Amendment rather than unbiased scientific research.
One recent study bucked that trend, however, finding no evidence of a link between access to firearms and increases in crime. “State Level Firearm Concealed-Carry Legislation and Rates of Homicide and Other Violent Crime,” (Hamill, Hernandez, Bailey, Zielinski, Matos, & Schiller, 2018), examined an expansive dataset, encompassing all 50 states and the District of Columbia — from 1986 to 2015 — to determine whether a relationship existed between liberalization of access to legal concealed carry of firearms and rates of both violent and nonviolent crime.
The 30 years’ worth of crime data comprised state-level crime rates for homicides, violent crime, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary from the Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided partially redundant figures, including state-based rates of homicide overall and firearm-specific homicide. State-specific rates of unemployment were provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, and poverty rates were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Hamill et al. (2018) defined the ease with which state residents could obtain a carry permit in two ways:
On a four-point scale: (1) no carry; (2) may-issue; (3) shall-issue; or, (4) unrestricted (i.e., constitutional carry)
With a simpler, bipolar system which grouped the no-carry and may-issue schemes, versus the shall-issue and unrestricted arrangements
Using a form of linear regression modeling which allowed for multiple predictor and control variables as well as correlations among error terms (due to the time-based nature of the data), the authors estimated the various UCR and CDC crime statistics as a function of ease of obtaining carry permits, after controlling for state and year. No significant relationships were noted between ease of carry — whether measured on the four-point or bipolar scales — and rates of crime in any of the UCR or CDC categories. Repeating the analyses, but additionally controlling for level of poverty and unemployment, the Hamill team again found no statistical relationships between the ease with which carry permits could be obtained — regardless of measurement scheme — and crime rates in any category.
The authors concluded:
After adjusting for several population and demographic factors, we demonstrated that the rates of homicide and violent crime were not significantly increased after state laws were passed making access to concealed-carry permits less restricted. These important findings should inform further public policy research to help determine root causes and solutions to firearm-related homicide and violent crime in the future. (Hamill et al., 2018, p. 5)
As the authors noted, the study was correlational in nature and did not demonstrate causation (or lack thereof). Additionally, there were variables with potential explanatory power that were not included in the models, because the authors plan to do so “as a topic of future research” (Hamill et al., 2018, p. 7). Yet, however unlikely it may be that research such as this will convince many in the anti-gun crowd — whose minds seem closed to objective data which conflict with the “bad gun” narrative — it is refreshing to see objective minds investigate the association between guns and crime with the intent of letting the data write the story, rather than seeking evidence to buttress already-worn arguments.
Intellectual giant Tom Arnold claims that “80-percent of gun owners shoot themselves or their own families.” REALLY?
In a November 30 tweet, Tom Arnold, famous for being married to Roseanne Barr and making a few really bad movies, has proven that he knows nothing about guns, gun owners or firearm misuse.
Here is his exact tweet:
“This explains why 80% of gun owners shoot themselves or
members of their own families.”
Really? It’s a claim that is so absurd it hardly needs to be refuted, except that these days the media and many uninformed anti-gun activists might just believe it.
Here is the reality.
Let’s assume that there are 100 million gun owners in the United States. Some estimates are higher than that, and some lower, but it’s a reasonable estimate. That means that for Arnold’s ridiculous claim to be true, there would have to be more than 80 million instances where people shot themselves or their family member in their lifetimes.
So if we assume that the average American lives sixty years at an age where they can lawfully possess a firearm, it would mean there would have been on average more than 1 million shootings each year. And, it would mean that there would have been over 2,500 shootings each day! Obviously, these would be in addition to any shootings that were not self-inflicted or perpetrated against a family member. Needless to say, this isn’t happening.
Anti-gun politicians and activists have long used suspect statistics to boost their position. They conflate homicides and suicides and include accidents to exaggerate the amount of “violence” committed with guns. They count “children” as anyone under the age of 24 to inflate the number of “child” shooting victims. They completely ignore jurisdictions with high rates of firearm ownership but low rates of firearm crime, to advance their agenda of more and more restrictions on gun ownership.
But this claim by Tom Arnold is clear evidence that opponents of gun ownership, especially celebrities and media hungry politicians, cannot be trusted to make honest arguments.
Perhaps that is because it would require a little effort to learn the truth. Or, it may well be that it is due to the simple fact that the truth does not support their increasingly radical positions.
California, a state with every gun control imaginable, witnessed an 18 percent rise in firearm homicides from 2014 to 2016. READ IT ALL
SOURCE: Breitbart, AWR Hawkins
This rise in firearm homicides comes despite the fact that Democrats, gun control groups, and the establishment media constantly claim that states with the strictest gun controls see lower rates of violence and death.
California has universal background checks, gun registration requirements, red flag laws (i.e., Gun Violence Restraining Orders), a ten-day waiting period for gun purchases, an “assault weapons” ban, a one-gun-per-month limit on handgun purchases, a minimum firearm purchase age of 21, a ban on campus carry, a “good cause” restriction for concealed carry permit issuance, and controls on the purchase of ammunition. The ammunition controls limit law-abiding Californians to buying ammunition from state-approved vendors–all of whom are in-state sellers–and adds a fee to any ammunition bought online, also requiring that ammunition to be shipped to a state-approved vendor for pickup.
Additionally, the state mandates gun free zones in businesses where alcohol is sold for on-site consumption. Therefore, the few concealed carry permit holders in the state must enter myriad restaurants without any means of self-defense. This provides a target-rich environment for attackers who want to be sure no one can shoot back when they strike. We last saw this on November 7, 2018, when an attacker opened fire with a handgun in the gun-free Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.
Despite all the stringent gun controls a bill filed by Assemblyman Marc Levine (CA-D-10) admits California firearm homicides were up between from 2014 to 2016. The bill says, “Although California has the toughest gun laws in the nation, more effort is necessary to curtail gun violence. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation found that from 2014 to 2016 gun homicides increased 18 percent.” In light of this gun control failure the language of the bill goes on to suggest more gun control.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.
Boulder, Colorado calls for nothing less than an out-and-out registry to allow “grandfather clause” possession of AR-15s. READ MORE
SOURCE: NRA-ILA, Matt Vespa
Remember when Boulder, Colorado banned the ownership of AR-15 rifles? They also banned high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, giving gun owners with such magazines until July 15, 2018 to either sell them or dispose of them –whatever that means. Most likely, you’ll have to turn them over to the authorities. Now, there is a grandfather clause allowing residents who already owned AR-15s to keep them as long as they get a certificate by the local sheriff’s office. Well, that date is rapidly approaching. AR-15 owners have until December 27 to certify their weapons. If owners fail to do this, they won’t be allowed to own their rifles within city limits. So far, only 85 rifles have been certified (via Denver Post):
“Boulder police have certified 85 assault weapons to residents with less than a month to go before all such firearms will need to be verified or removed from the city.
A ban on the sale or possession of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks was passed unanimously in May by Boulder city council. Guns already owned by residents were grandfathered in; council gave residents until the end of the year to obtain a certificate.
Certification is not a registry; the department keeps no records or paperwork of any kind. The only information they have is a handwritten count, said Boulder police Sgt. Dave Spraggs. Eighty-seven certificates have been issued to date. Two of those were redundancies, for the same weapon shared between a husband and wife.”
This is nonsense. And yes, it may not be a registry, but it sure sounds like a test run. We all know that the anti-gun Left wants to shred the Constitution, ban firearms, and confiscate them by force if necessary. How can one do that efficiently? You need a gun registry, which is why the universal background check push is such a fraud. We have enough laws on the books that prevents criminals and nutcases from committing heinous acts. In recent months, we’ve seen that such laws are not enforced all the time, however. Just look at the Navy Yard Shooting, Dylann Roof’s preventable hate crime in South Carolina, and the Sutherland Springs shooting in Texas, where an Air Force veteran, who served a year in jail after a 2012 court martial for domestic violence, was allowed to purchased an AR-15 because…the Air Force did not inform the FBI of his conviction. The recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Broward County, Florida was also preventable.
I’ll let Tom Knighton at our sister site Bearing Arms sign off on this one:
Councilman Brockett thinks he wants to see these guns gone, but he doesn’t understand what that world would look like. He doesn’t get that with every gun unavailable to the law-abiding citizen, there’s another gun the criminals can use without worrying about whether their victims have a way to respond.
That way lies chaos. It leads to horrific crimes that no one can stop, crimes like the gang violence plaguing Mexico where the average citizen is essentially disarmed. You’re deluded if you think the disarmed populace doesn’t play into the cartels’ plans.
I’m not saying it would happen overnight, but it would embolden criminals.
As it stands, Boulder will still have people with these rifles. It’ll have them, and that will keep the worst of this kind of thing away. It’ll let the gun grabbers live in the delusion that they’re somehow safer, at least for a little while.
But it doesn’t change the fact that this is wrong, stupid, and immoral.
Wrong, stupid, and immoral — excellent words to describe American liberalism.
AKA: “.222 Remington Special.” Here’s where and how one of the most popular rounds in use today came from, and the influence it’s had. READ ON
Last time up I talked some about the PPC cartridge, and about the influence it’s had on those developed since. This time I want to talk about another influential cartridge that hasn’t exactly done quite as much for the direct evolution of currently popular rounds. Well, except for having the influence to spur on the development of cartridges that can beat it…
It seems that nobody likes .223 Remington… It also seems that everybody likes the AR15. Well, that’s clear if only going by the numbers of those guns out there, and the other angle is that there are a whopping lot of chambering options available nowadays that all set out to beat .223 Rem.
Next time we’ll look at a couple that beat it limp, but first, here’s where .223 Remington came from.
Understanding the development of .223 Rem. starts with understanding the development of the AR15 and, of course, along with that came a round to fit it.
All “this” (small-caliber mil-spec cartridge development) started a good while ago, and before the AR15 was a blueprint. Back in the early 1950s the Department of the Army SALVO project resulted from exploring a theory that a high-velocity sub-caliber (in mil-speak, anything under .30 is “sub-caliber”) round would be the quick ticket to the field hospital for enemy troops. A new bullet-maker, Sierra, produced the 68gr. .224s that were designed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1953 by Bill Davis (later known for development of the “VLD,” which led all the current batch of high-ballistic-coefficient bullets to where they are now), and were drawn up pretty much as a scaled-down .308 147gr. I can’t find much documented about any conclusions or results. Another batch was made for Colt’s in 1964 for testing in an experimental heavy-barreled M16, but the Army showed no interest then in exploring the longer-range capabilities of that platform.
The SALVO is a little piece of history, and forebearer, related to the “sub-caliber” uprising. This idea gained familiarity (we’ll leave “popularity” alone) shortly thereafter when General Wyman made a direct push to develop and employ what came to be the AR15. He insisted on equipping our troops with a lighter, smaller-caliber battle implement. But this isn’t about the rifle, it’s about the ammo.
Assuming that the SALVO got shelved, which is a right-minded assumption considering what came next, the “new” rifle needed a new round.
At the very start there was the .222 Remington. This was uniquely developed (no parent case) in 1950 as a cartridge for Benchrest competition. It was the first commercial rimless .224 cartridge made in the U.S. So, when Armalite, and others, started its Small-Caliber/High-Velocity (SCHV) experiments, this is what they started with. It was clear early on that this round wouldn’t meet the Continental Army Command (CONARC) velocity and penetration requirements so Armalite went straight to Remington. Remington in turn and in response created the .222 Remington Special, which had a longer case body and shorter case neck than its .222 Remington: more capacity. Springfield Armory concurrently developed the .224E2 Winchester, an even longer-bodied .222 Remington, which later became the .222 Remington Magnum. Springfield dropped out and in 1963 the Remington .222 Special got its designation as 5.56x45mm and was officially adopted for use in the new M16 rifle (that round was in use prior in early guns). The next year it got all SAAMI’ed up and emerged as .223 Remington in commercial loadings. I skipped details, but that’s the gist of it. That means .223 Remington has been with us a while now.
.223 Rem. follows the lines of other popular U.S. Military rounds and shares some of the same attributes, including its 23-degree case shoulder. The one thing it hasn’t shared with something like .30-06, for good example, is accolades! That, of course, is because of its limited capacity and likewise resultant power limitation. It did, however, launch a whole different class of small-caliber projectiles to prominence. Maybe an intended pun.
As a result of High Power Rifle competition, a major part of which is Service Rifle Division, efforts were necessarily made to improve the downrange performance of .223 Rem. Long and complex story, but after both CMP and NRA changed Rules viewpoints in 1990 to one more liberal on “allowable modifications” to the AR15, two bullets then finally made it both viable and attractive to serious competitive shooters. That was all that it was waiting on (the dang things already shot small groups).
Sierra had, in my mind, resurrected the SALVO with its introduction of the 69gr. MatchKing in 1984, but that only gave two-thirds of a score; it hits the wall past 300 yards. In 1990, coinciding with those Rules changes to make the rifle more fairly competitive with the match-conditioned M14s, that same Bill Davis drew up a blueprint for a bullet for Jimmy Knox and Carlene Lemmons: the JLK 80 VLD. Sierra right thereafter introduced its 80gr. MatchKing.
When United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Col. Johnson mandated that the Team would, not should, use the M16 in competition commencing 1994, we quickly saw full and complete exploitation of those bullets and the resulting rapid demise of the M14 as the leading Service Rifle.
I honestly think that, had it not been for the military motivation to win, we’d not have seen the developments we have in .224-caliber bullets.
Well, enough history. Next time I’ll get right to today and go over and go on about two newer cartridges that radically further the “sub-caliber uprising.”
The preceding is a specially-adapted excerpt from Glen’s newest book, America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Check it out HERE!
Wild, Weird, and Wonderful: read all about this very different evolution of tactical firearms design HERE
Will Dabbs MD
Photos by Sarah Dabbs
Did you ever notice that looking at a gun is like morphologically analyzing a family member? Little Timmy might have Dad’s ears, Mom’s nose, Uncle Edgar’s dour disposition, and Aunt Edna’s penchant for eating her boogers. He’s his own kid, but the raw material is drawn from a motley well. Likewise, most tactical weapons come from recognized families. Master Stoner or Comrade Kalashnikov beget the lion’s share of them. Those left over hearken from John Moses Browning or one of half a dozen lesser minds. The point is, most modern weapons simply evolved from something simpler. That is just not the case with the Kel-Tec RFB.
Weird, But a Good Kind of Weird
RFB stands for Rifle, Forward-Ejecting Bullpup. Bullpup, for those of you who might be new to the game, means that the action of the gun is located behind the fire controls. The origins of the term purportedly spawn from a diagnosably strange WW2-era Japanese submachine gun called the Experimental Model 2. The legend goes that American Ordnance folk were examining the odd weapon and declared it to be as strange as a bullpup, and the name stuck. The RFB is a 7.62x51mm battle rifle that occupies less space than your typical unadorned AR. It also conquers the Achilles heel of most bullpup combat rifles. It figures out what to do with the empties.
Most bullpup weapons can only be fired off of one shoulder or the other. Swap to your weak hand to shoot around an uncooperative corner, and the gun will spit hot brass into your face. As by definition half of all the corners on the planet will not be amenable to management on your strong side, this becomes a real boon in a CQB environment.
The RFB employs an ingenious dual extractor system that ejects its rounds forward into a pressed steel ejection tube. A small dimple in the tube prevents empties from sliding backwards and jamming the action. Once about five rounds have been fired empty cases start to spill out the front of the gun. Tipping the rifle nose down empties the tube. An odd side effect of this system is that when you drain a magazine the last empty cartridge case remains secured to the bolt face by the aforementioned twin extractors. Dropping the bolt on an empty chamber releases that last fired case into the feed chute. In a sea of firearm designs that do things pretty much the same way, it is simply fascinating to see it done so differently.
This unconventional design is nicely sealed against the elements, but it does make it a bit of a chore to clear the rifle visually. Doing so involves locking the action open and then peering into the open magazine well from the bottom. This maneuver takes a little getting used to, but it’s a small price to pay for so much unfiltered awesome. The charging handle is readily reversible, and the safety is fully ambidextrous.
The bore and chamber are chrome plated, and the overall workmanship on my test piece is perfect. Recoil is fairly spunky as this is a small rifle firing battle rifle cartridges but yet remains thoroughly tolerable. The top rail is long enough for any reasonable optic, and there is an ingenious optional quad rail that screws directly onto the barrel for lights and lasers.
The RFB uses any standard metric FAL magazines. Magazine changes are fast and intuitive once you take the measure of the gun. Bullpup triggers are usually mushier than their more conventional counterparts. The unavoidable necessity of a long mechanical linkage connecting the pistol grip with the action typically takes a toll. In the case of the RFB, the trigger is simply well executed. The trigger pull on the test rifle was a bit over six pounds and pleasantly crisp.
I was curiously enraptured with this rifle. The compact envelope makes the weapon eminently maneuverable, and the 7.62x51mm round means not having to say you’re sorry under any imaginable circumstance. The thing’s not cheap, but it is incredibly cool. My copy runs like a scalded ape and is as intriguing as a pretty girl in a pair of boxers (Admit it, it’s a compelling metaphor.) The Kel-Tec RFB is a breed unto itself.
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