RELOADERS CORNER: Cartridge Cases: The Outside, Part 1

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Lubrication is absolute essential in the reloading process, Here are a few ideas on which and how. READ MORE

lubing cases

Glen Zediker

What’s the most important thing in case resizing? Case lube! Overlook it or under-do it once and you’ll know why! A stuck-case remover is one of my very least favorite tools…

I have long used and recommended petroleum-based case lubes. More: I prefer those that are applied by hand, literally with the fingers, because I think it’s a better assurance that the right amount, to all the right places, will get laid down. I will quickly concede, though, that they are messy and slower than other methods.

imperial case lube
This is my favorite case lube. I took advice from Sgt. Norris after complaining how hard it was to get a good sizing pass on a Lake City .308. Sure enough. This made it easy. Been using it ever since. It’s not really wax. Use it like shoe polish: rub a little on your fingers and then rub it onto the case with a “gimme money” motion.

Spray-on-type lubes are very often used and recommended, especially by high-volume loaders because a good many cases can be treated and then even stored before use, so say the claims. I strongly suggest taking steps to prevent the lube from finding its way inside the case. A thin piece of cardboard placed atop the standing cases works well for this. There’s worry otherwise that the lube might affect the propellant. That does depend on the formulation, but I prefer the “no-chance” approach. I’m a “slow-down” sort of loader. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to save time or be as efficient as I can be, but I’ve just not found the speed advantage to spray-ons to overcome their performance. Sprays are not quite as “slick” as rub-ons.

Lanolin-based and wax-based alternatives also have their following. As do water-based lubes. The wax lubes indeed work and also clean up (off) easily, as does lanolin. I’ve not been a follower, though, because I find many to be more difficult to apply evenly and, one more time, just not quite as slick at petro-based products. Some of the wax-based lubes also make claim to “apply-now, use later.” I’m not sure what the appeal of that is, but there it is for those it appeals to. There are also a number of “proprietary” formulations out there now. I have not tried them all.

hornady case lube
Hornady pretty well has it covered: one for every opinion! Try them all! But I will wager you’ll like petro best… That’s the one in the bottle. Hornady claims their spray lube doesn’t contaminate powder, and that makes it applying it more straightforward.

A tip I picked up umpteen years ago by the man who got me started loading was to get an ink stamp pad (office-supply store variety) to apply roll-on type lubes. Indeed, that works way better than the industry pads I’ve tried.

Back to petroleum lubes: aside from providing smoother feel in sizing, which I have to believe also indicates “better” lubrication qualities, these don’t build up as much within tooling. I take apart my sizing die every now and again and swab it out, like I would a rifle chamber.

For best results, no matter which lube type you’re using, an even (thin) coating gives best results. With a good petro lube, it doesn’t take much. If you see any denting (usually in the case shoulder area), that resulted from hydraulic pressure and is a sign there was too much lube (too thick a coat). No worries, though: shoot the case and they’ll iron back out. Just use less lube next time!

Lubing the case neck inside is debated, but I favor it. However! Only very sparingly! That is why I really like the finger-applied lubes: just a little “wipe” across the case mouth eliminates the “gaunch” noice from the expander. I don’t use the graphite-applicators (the bin-and-brush types) because I haven’t noticed a whopping lot of difference in neck sizing with or without it.

forster lube
For best sizing results, I prefer the “rub-on” lubes. This one is from Forster. Never any worries about too much, too little, or complete coverage.

And, by the way, lube a case each pass through the die. This is important when setting up a sizing die where you might make a few passes with the same case. Don’t risk it! Stuck cases are total mood killer.

Clean the lube off the cases! There will be some now who will just roll their eyes, but I use denatured alcohol and a bath towel pour some on the towel, but the cases on the towel, fold the towel over the cases, and roll them around. Fast and simple! That works for petro-based. Others need more attention: just rub it away, or use detergent.

I do not recommend using a tumbler-type cleaner on loaded ammo!

Sho, there is a (slight) chance that a bullet tip might detonate a primer, but that’s not why. Why is because the propellant gets pulverized, and that, no doubt, will change its burn characteristic.

case cleanup
This is what I use to clean loaded rounds, along with the towel it’s sitting on. Lay out the towel, put down the rounds, pour some alcohol, fold the towel over the cases, and roll them around. Then hang the towel to dry for another use. Zero residue.

The reason to clean off the lube is because it lubricates, and that’s a bad thing on a live round. The case is supposed to stick tightly to the chamber when it expands under pressure. Any slip increases bolt thrust. I once saw a fellow douse a loaded 30-round magazineright down the middle with WD-40, to “make sure the bullets fed…” NO NO NO. Oil on a cartridge doubles bolt thrust!

Case lube is not a case cleaner!

Make sure the cases are clean prior to sizing. They don’t have to gleam, just be free from dirt and gritty dust. If you’re seeing a applicator pad, for instance, getting a dirty spot on it, well there’s your clue.

We’ll talk about that next time.

 Check out the selection from Midsouth HERE

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

REVIEW: Superlative Arms Short Stroke Retrofit AR15 Piston System

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There’s been much said about AR15 gas system problems. Here’s another solution that really offers something different! READ MORE

superlative arms piston system

Major Pandemic

Over the last decade, piston driven AR systems have gained a lot of attention due to their ability to deliver cooler running reliability similar to the exceedingly reliable piston based AK platform. One of the many advantages of the AK platform has been its piston based operation which isolates operation gas pressures at the front to the gun away from the shooter and bolt and trigger group. This piston based system delivers a cooler and clearer running AK gun which arguably delivers more reliability. Some very bright folks figured out several ways to transfer that piston system over the the AR15 platform thus combining the accuracy of the AR15 platform with the reliability of the AK.

HISTORY
There have been a number of companies offering short and long stroke piston system. Long Stroke systems have the op rod attached to the bolt carrier such as AKs and Tavors. Op rods are not attached to the bolt carrier on short stroke systems. The main compromise between the two is that the Long Stroke system designs are typically heavier but inherently offer an integrated gas design that bleeds off excessive gases. The new Superlative Arms patented system extends this bleed off capability to a low profile Short Stroke system all while still providing gas pressure adjustment.

Let me first point out that Superlative Arms is the co-patent holder of the design offered by Syrac Ordnance and was also its manufacturing partner of the Syrac adjustable gas block and Piston system product line. Superlative could have been offering its own line of adjustable gas blocks and piston systems identical to Syrac’s however they developed their own unique patented gas bleed off design. Superlative’s bleed-off system is offered in both a direct impingement adjustable gas block and also in the co-patented short stroke low profile gas system. Though there are many similarities, Superlative Arms is on the market with their own systems.

superlative arms piston system
The super low profile block fits under virtually any handguard rail.

DESIGN
The Superlative Arms or piston system uses their patented bleed-off. Instead of limiting the gas pressure, this system functions more like a pressure regulator which limits the gas delivered to the gas tube or op rod piston and the rest of the excess gas is vented out the front of the gas block. Typical adjustable gas block systems have had some problems due to gas port and adjustment screw erosion from the captive excessive gas temperatures and pressures at the gas port. Many of us have seen this problem manifest themselves in wandering gas settings or even adjustment screw blowouts.

By porting and venting off that excessive high heat pressure the instant the pressure hits the gas block, the Superlative Arms system greatly reduces erosion and pressure based failure problems right at the gas block all while running cooler and cleaner for both their DI and piston systems. This bleed-off design in turn reduced the beating delivered to the adjustment mechanism and op rod.

Some previous short stroke piston systems have experienced problems with gas block durability and retempering of the op rod springs. In order to assure completely problem-free operation Superlative goes the extra mile and makes the piston block from melonited 416 stainless steel and uses a heat treated Inconel steel spring which is impervious to the pressures and heat generated by an AR15 even running in full auto. Superlative has accomplished this design feat all within a very small compact low profile design that is barely larger than most low profile gas block designs.

superlative arms
Unlike other adjustable systems which block gas, Superlative Arms bleeds it off. This results in a longer-lasting, less problematic solution. Unlike other adjustable systems which block gas, Superlative Arms bleeds it off. This results in a longer-lasting, less problematic solution.

INSTALLATION
Superlative Arms Direct Impingement (DI) adjustable bleed-off gas block is a simple swap for people who want to retain a DI based system. Pull off the old gas block, move the gas tube to the new Superlative gas block, reinstall, tune to assure reliable last round lock back and you done. Like all retrofit gas piston systems, the Superlative arms kit install is a bit more involved.

The Superlative Arms retrofit gas piston system includes everything a user would need for conversion of a existing AR15 including the gas block, op rod, op rod spring, and carrier. Any AR15 bolt can be used with their carrier. All the Superlative kits are all essentially the same with the exception of the pistol, carbine, mid, and rifle op rod lengths — just order the appropriate gas rod length specific kit..

First time installation requires some patience and about thirty minutes. Unlike a DI gas block install, the left/right and fore/aft alignment of the gas block is critical to reliable operation. With a stiff fixed op rod responsible for converting the blast inside the gas block to a shove on the carrier, it has to be free from any binding and also precisely the right length from the face of the carrier to the gas block.

superlative arms
An “AK-style” gas piston promises cooler and cleaner operation, and this did indeed deliver both!

The basic process is to install the gas block loosely on the barrel and insert the stripped op rod (minus the spring) into the gas block and tighten down the gas block piston plug. Then the task is to assure the op rod spins freely without binding with the carrier (minus bolt) fully seated in the upper receiver. If you have a fully seated carrier and freely spinning op rod then you can tighten down the gas block. If the carrier does not fully seat or the op rod does not spin freely, the gas block needs to be turned or moved out as appropriate. Of note the gas block should not be slammed right against the shoulder on the barrel — mine both required positioning the gas block off the shoulder of the barrel about 1/32-in.

Once those initial adjustments are made, the op rod is removed and then re-installed with the spring and the plug fully seated then backed out on-half turn. Similarly the carrier is removed and reinstalled complete with a bolt, cam pin, firing pin, and retaining pin. A final installation check is made to assure the carrier fully seats and positive hammer drop is achieved. All that is required now is to adjust the gas pressure in a process similar to any adjustable gas block.

This is a rise and repeat process of assuring the gas block sees just a bit more pressure than is required to offer a last round hold back of the carrier — generally one half turn pressure increase tuning over the lowest setting that will hold the bolt back.

superlative arms di
A more simple solution is one of Superlative Arms Direct Impingement type gas bleed off blocks. Outstanding quality!

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
If you are familiar with Syrac’s top notch gas block quality then you are already familiar with Superlative’s Manufacturing quality since they have been the manufacturer up to this point. The fit and finish is outstanding and the Ion Bond finish on the carrier and melonite on the block finishes are excellent.

Functionally the system offers a lot of advantages including being able to tune the pressure to just enough to drive the bolt carrier. The result is that there is less recoil, cooler running system, less carbon build up, and greatly reduced gas blowback on SBRs and AR15 pistols.

superlative arms
My two test guns: a Yankee Hill Machine rifle which was a test of the systems low pressure operation. Zero problems. The second build was a conversion of an Aero Precision and Phase 5 Tactical AR15 pistol build. AR15 pistols gas pressure are notoriously high. This was a test of how the Superlative Piston system would handle high pressure systems and it worked flawlessly!

FINAL THOUGHTS
Only a 1000 or so rounds in, I am impressed. Both offer something that is different than anything on the market, and a design which potentially offer greatly expanded durability over traditional AR15 piston systems. I have said many times that an adjustable gas system is the best upgrade any AR owner can make — note due to the low pressure issues I do not recommend any adjustable gas system for 300 Blackout or 7.62×39 AR15 builds.

Find all the parts you need to build your AR at Midsouth Shooters Supply! Click Here to Shop Now!

See more HERE and view all the SPECS

MSRP: $289

Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

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Abandoning their “Wild West” heritage, Levi’s now advocates radical gun control. READ MORE

levi's antigun

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, the pants came to symbolize American freedom. As Stanford Historian Niall Ferguson points out in his book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, during the Cold War, the American pants were so desirable behind the Iron Curtain that citizens would break any number of laws to obtain them. At one point the company even celebrated America’s armed heritage in a circa 1950 advertising brochure, “Levi’s Gallery of Western Guns & Gunfighters.” It’s with some irony then that Levi’s has abandoned this rugged image to team up with a billionaire oligarch in an effort to empower the government to trample upon the fundamental rights of the American people.

On September 4th, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh announced that the San Francisco-based clothing manufacturer (which also owns Dockers) would openly advocate for gun control. As part of this campaign, the company will donate more than $1 million to radical anti-gun groups, including Michael Bloomberg front-group Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords, formerly Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Legal Community Against Violence. The company will also match employee donations to these groups and is encouraging its staff to devote their time to anti-gun activism.

Further, Bergh stated that the company has joined the Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety. The business wing of Bloomberg’s outfit is dedicated to leveraging member companies’ “market footprint… employee networks, [and] public communications platforms” to diminish Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

In a repulsive insult to the nation’s 100 million gun owners, Bergh likened Levi’s campaign to restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans to previous company efforts aimed at combatting pre-Civil Rights Era racial bigotry.

Among gun owners, Levi’s intemperate foray into the world of gun control politics has been met with the disgust it deserves. However, it shouldn’t be met with surprise.

Since the late 1990s, Levi’s has used its name and resources to attack gun rights. In 1999, the company gave $100,000 to gun control group PAX, followed by a $250,000 donation in 2000 and another $100,000 in 2001.

PAX was founded in 1998 by Dan Gross, who went on to become president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. PAX would go on to change its name to the Center to Prevent Youth Violence and later merge with the Brady Campaign.

Much like Bloomberg’s Everytown, PAX placed an emphasis on attracting corporate partners to their gun control efforts. As part of Levi’s relationship with PAX, in 1999 the apparel company teamed up with the band Goo Goo Dolls to attract support for the anti-gun group during the Levi’s Fuse ’99 summer concert tour. Concert goers, and visitors to Levi’s website, were encouraged to sign the PAX Youth Petition. Moreover, the denim company donated a percentage of all Levi’s Fuse ’99 t-shirt proceeds to the gun control group.

The PAX Youth Petition endorsed a variety of severe gun control measures that have repeatedly been rejected by the American public through their elected representatives. The document called for the “licensing and registration of guns, like automobiles.” The petition also demanded the “elimination of assault weapons and other weapons of war.” As the 1994 Clinton “Assault Weapons” ban was in place at the time of the petition, this imprecise demand appeared to call for prohibiting the sale of the remaining lawful semi-automatic firearms, confiscation of the firearms grandfathered under the ban, or both.

Given the majority of Levi’s 165-year history, Bergh’s decision to use a formerly-quintessential American company to attack a quintessential American right is a particularly sad episode in the current surge in corporate virtue-signaling. We can only assume that Levi’s accountants have determined that resulting skinny jeans sales will be enough to offset the permanent damage to their once-cherished brand.

 

VIDEO: Shooting With Leupold’s Custom Dial System

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Leupold’s CDS gives shooters the opportunity to get a truly custom scope. Read about and it and check out the VIDEO. MORE

leupold cds

SOURCE: Leupold

The Leupold Custom Dial System (CDS) provides a simple way to compensate for ballistic performance customized for your rifle and load.

Each CDS is unique, taking all practical ballistic and environmental factors into account. It’s laser-inscribed just for you! Once the CDS elevation dial is installed, just range the target, dial to the correct position, aim dead-on, and hit the target.

CDS takes into account all of the following:
Cartridge & Caliber
Bullet Weight
Bullet Make/Brand
Bullet Type
Ballistic Coefficient
Muzzle Velocity
Average Elevation
Average Temperature
Sight Height
Zero Distance

The CDS System works by laser-inscribing your scope’s elevation dial to match your load, velocity, and conditions based on the information you provide. Your CDS-equipped scope will be in perfect sync with the way your rifle and load shoots (handloads included).

Check out this video by Leupold with Fred Eichler and Leupold’s Tim Lesser.

It’s amazing! WATCH IT HERE

Check out more amazing Leupold Products Here!

Conceal Carry Permits Surge to 18 Million, Democrats Rush To Get Them Too

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A nation on edge has driven a surge in concealed carry gun licenses, but those getting them aren’t the usual suspects. READ ALL ABOUT IT

concealed gun

SOURCE: Washington Examiner

According to the United States Concealed Carry Association, which trains and insures those legally allowed to pack heat, there are now some 18 million with permits, up from 11 million four years ago.

Founder and President Tim Schmidt estimates that up to 40-percent of his 300,000 members are Democrats. What’s more, he said that of another three million who have sought information from his group, half are Democrat.

“A lot of new people are getting permits,” Schmidt said.

Of his prospects, he added, “Half of them align themselves with the Democrats. So this whole concept of wanting to defend yourself doesn’t go straight down Republican or conservative lines. I think everyone wants to defend themselves. We have all sorts of folks who say they are Democrats but want to carry a gun.”

He said that when USCCA sends out emails critical of Democrats, his phones light up with members who stress that they are gun advocates and Democrats.

“It’s less about politics, I think, than freedom,” said Schmidt.

5 TIPS TO UP YOUR SKILLS

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Team Springfield Armory’s Steve Tarani shares martial arts secrets to more effective training for defensive handgun use. READ MORE

steve tariani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

Back in my early Filipino Martial Arts training days (in edged and impact weapons), I would put in anywhere between 40 to 60 hours (sometimes more) of hard skills training every week.

During that time, one of my Masters, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite (founder of the LAMECO fighting system), would always remind his committed disciples, that at any level of training, “Repetition is the mother of all skills.”

We’ve all heard the adage “practice makes perfect” or more accurately “perfect practice makes perfect.” The back-story to this axiom is practice makes PERMANENT. If you practice something that is not correct thousands of times, you will burn it into your system exactly as you trained it — incorrectly.
Making permanent, can include the imprinting of training scars.

SCIENCE OF TRAINING
As with any effective self-defense training, at the higher skill levels, defensive shooting is as much a martial science as it is a martial art. Taking your skills to the next level requires raising your level of understanding, as well as your level of performance. The only way to up your skills is to put in the number of correct reps it takes for you to measure a desired change in performance.

Following are 5 tips from the masters that can help you get there more effectively.

TIP 1: SET AN ATTAINABLE GOAL
First off, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. In other words, what is your objective? If your objective is to draw from concealment and make accurate and rapid round placement on a target, then you will need to establish a few performance parameters such as how many rounds, what target size and distance. Once you’ve decided upon the parameters, you can then determine your baseline performance.

TIP 2: FIND YOUR BASELINE
To establish your baseline, execute the drill at a comfortable speed with which you can guarantee the hit from your starting position. Run the drill multiple times — again guaranteeing each hit. After you can do it reliably without missing, then measure how long it takes you to execute this skill on demand.

Running a timer to determine how long it takes you to make that guaranteed hit gives you a measurable start point. Let’s say it takes you 4 seconds to guarantee a successful run. You can then set your goal to reduce that time to 3.5 seconds. You now have everything you need to set a training foundation upon which to build your next-level skills.

In that foundation you know exactly what your baseline is, what the training parameters are, and your desired result of guaranteeing a hit at 3.5 seconds on demand. All that remains is to crank out an unknown number of correct repetitions.

TIP 3: ISOLATE YOUR MOVEMENTS
One crucial tip that will help you tremendously in building your repository of correct repetitions, is to cut out any wasted movement. When I asked my martial arts masters and shooting instructors how they can move so quickly and with such accuracy, they replied in kind, “No unnecessary movement.” Doing only what you need to do to accomplish the task is all that is required. Any additional movements do not contribute in any way to your task and further add unwarranted time to the process.

Cutting out unnecessary movement is simply a matter of training. Isolate each individual movement in your presentation from concealment by running them a single step at a time:

Clear cover garment

Defeat any retention devices

Establish a positive grip


Draw from the holster


Align muzzle with your target


Make guaranteed round placement


Mindfully practice each one of these individual tasks standalone. Remain vigilant about eliminating any wasted movement. Forget about the timer — stick to the process.

TIP 4: ELIMINATE LAG TIME
The next step in your skill-building repetitive process is to reduce the lag time in between each of the isolated steps until the entire process is one fluid, purposeful motion. The master says, “Training without purpose is no training at all.”

Why you are doing what you’re doing is just as important as what and how you are doing it. It is said that the “why” is the mortar that holds the bedrock of your “what” and “how” together. Being mindful of why motivates you to run all the individual steps together with focus on reducing any wasted time in between those steps.

TIP 5: DETERMINE NUMBER OF REPS
What’s the exact number of reps needed to make a difference in your performance? According to the experts, repetitions vary from shooter to shooter. Some trainers say it takes a minimum of 3,000 reps while other say 7,000 and still others suggest over 10,000 repetitions.

How do you know how many reps it is for you?

After multiple training sessions, chipping away at less time between the steps, removal of any wasted movement and guaranteeing the hit on demand, you will have accumulated sufficient repetitions that may make each movement feel more comfortable, easier to execute and effortless.

When you start to feel yourself reach that comfort zone — ease of movement with very little effort — you may then want to re-measure your process time. These are personal indicators that the mother of all skills may have just moved you up a notch in your level of performance.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

Winchester Ammunition Awarded U.S. Army Order

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Long-time ammo maker gets a big new contract! READ MORE

ammo plant

SOURCE: Winchester

The U.S. Army has recently awarded Winchester an $8.1 million order for 7.62mm ammunition under an existing “Second Source” contract. The ammunition will be manufactured in Winchester’s state-of-the-art facility in Oxford, MS with an estimated completion date of Dec 31, 2019. Winchester has received more than $285 million in orders on this contract since it was initially awarded in January 2016. “Winchester has a proud history of developing products for the military and is honored to have a role in supporting the American war fighter with the ammunition they depend on” said Matt Campbell, vice president of marketing and sales for Winchester.

 

There’s more Winchester arriving every day at Midsouth Shooters! Check it out right here!

RELOADERS CORNER: Primer Tech

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It may be the single-most influential reloading component, so learn all about it: the primer! READ MORE

rifle primer

Glen Zediker

This is one component in the collection that might not get all the attention it warrants. That’s because it is the one thing, above all other components, that you don’t want to just swap and switch around.

We’ve all heard cautions about testing new lots of every component, especially propellant, but primers not only change lot to lot, they vary greatly in their influence on any one load, brand to brand. The difference in one brand to the next can equal a good deal more or less pressure, for instance. While there are “general” tendencies respecting the “power” of various-brand primers, always (always) reduce the load (propellant quantity) when switching primers.

This has become more of an issue over the past few years as we’ve faced component shortages. I can tell you without a doubt that going from a WW to a CCI, or from a Remington to a Federal, can have a major influence on a load. I establish that from chronograph readings. No doubt, it’s best to have a good supply of one primer brand and lot that produces good results, and when that’s not possible, it’s a hard sell to convince someone to stop loading ammo and get back to testing. But. It is important. I can tell you that from (bad) experience. How I, and we all, learn most things…

When I switch primers, whether as a test or a necessity, I reduce my load ONE FULL GRAIN. There can be that much effect.

The Thing Itself
A primer is made up of a brass cup filled with explosive compound (lead styphate). Lead styphate detonates on impact. Primers don’t burn – they explode! In the manufacturing process, this compound starts as a liquid. After it’s laid into the cup, and while it’s still wet, a triangular piece or metal (the “anvil”) is set in. When the cup surface is struck by the firing pin, the center collapses, squeezing the explosive compound between the interior of the cup and the anvil. That ignites the compound and sends a flame through the case flash hole, which in turn lights up the propellant.

Primers are dangerous!

Don’t underestimate that. I’ve had one experience that fortunately only created a huge start, but I know others who have had bigger more startling mishaps. These (almost always) come from primer reservoirs, like fill-tubes. Pay close attention when charging up a tube and make sure all the primers are facing the right way, and that you’re not trying to put in “one more” when it’s full! That’s when “it” usually happens. What will happen, by the way, is akin to a small grenade. Static electricity has also been blamed, so keep that in mind.

primer tray
Take care in filling primer tubes! Make double-sure all are facing correctly, and a good primer tray helps. This photo shows the correct orientation for using primers one at a time. To fill a primer tube, make sure the “shiny side” is facing up! Flip the tray over.

Sizes and Types
Primers come in two sizes and four types. “Large” and “small”: for example, .223 Rem. takes small, .308 Win. takes large. Then there are pistol and rifle in each size.

Rifle primers and pistol primers are not the same, even though they share common diameters! Rifle primers should have a tougher cup, and, usually, a hotter flash. Never swap rifle for pistol. Now, some practical-style competitive pistol shooters using their very high-pressure loads (like .38 Super Comp) sometimes substitute rifle primers because they’ll “handle” more pressure, but they’ve also tricked up striker power. That’s a specialized need.

Further, some primer brands are available with a “magnum” option. Some aren’t. My experience has been that depends on the “level” of their standard primer. A magnum primer, as you might guess, has a more intense, stouter flash that travels more “deeply” to ignite the larger and more dense powder column. It reaches further, faster.

large rifle primers

large rifle magnum primers

There’s no real reason not to experiment with “hotter” and “colder” primers, whether the case is stamped “mag” or not. Keep in mind that the experiment is all about the initial flash effect. And keep in mind that this (without a doubt) demands a reduction in the propellant charge at the start.

Over a many years I’ve seen some tendencies respecting flash effect. Using routine cartridges, like .308 Win., single-base extruded propellants tend to shoot well with a cooler spark to start, and the double-base, especially spherical-types, seem to respond best to a hotter flash. Many seem to think that the coating (necessary to form the spherical) and the inherent greater density (less air space between granules) in a spherical demands a little faster start.

Flash consistency is very important, shot to shot. The consistency of every component is important: bullet weights, diameters, case wall thicknesses, and all the way down the list. We’re hoping to get more consistent behavior from a “match” or “benchrest” primer, and we’re paying more for it. I can tell you that some brands that aren’t touted as “match” are already consistent. That all comes from experience: try different primers, just respect the need to initially reduce the load each test. I can also tell you that my notes tell me that the primer has a whopping lot to do with how high or low my velocity deviations plot out.

One last: there are small variations in primer dimensions (heights, diameters) among various brands. These variations are not influential to performance. But! Small diameter variations can influence feeding through priming tools. This can be a hitch especially in some progressive loading machines. Manufacturers usually offer insight (aka: “warnings”) as to which are or aren’t compatible, so find out.

Check out Midsouth products HERE
Primer trays HERE

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

REVIEW: Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock

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Here’s a quality upgrade for the popular Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifle model. Read the complete review HERE

magpul takedown stock

magpul takedown stock

Major Pandemic

Magpul has been on an aggressive innovation design track for the last few years. One of the coolest products is the Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock. Magpul took all the great features and ergonomics of their awesome X-22 stock and created a light packable version specifically for the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock which allows for compact storage of the barrel and receiver.

FEATURES
The notable feature of the Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock is that instead of a separate barrel and separate receiver flopping around in you pack, Magpul has designed the hand guard to lock into the under part of the buttstock. This provides an all-in-one stowable secure rifle solution which does not require a secondary soft case to keep parts from banging around. Deployment is easy — press the release buttons on each side of the handguard and the barrel releases from the buttstock and the barrel breech is pulled from a passed hole. This little hole that the breech keys into offers protection to a critical part of the barrel which if damaged or dented could cause significant problems.

The barrel is then just slipped into the receiver like any other Ruger 10/22 Takedown model and rotated into place. Simple. This stowable feature is the big feature, but there are still plenty more Easter Eggs hidden in the stock.

From a feature perspective this is a standard-sized stock with real buttpad and does not feel like the dwarf stock Ruger included with the factory takedown models. The funny thing is that although the Magpul stock feels larger, it is actually shorter than the factory Ruger stock. The Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock features a MOE SL compatible buttpad which means that if you want you can extend the length of the stock with a swap to the 0.7-inch buttpad. The larger size has not gone to waste. Magpul has hidden a sizeable ammo compartment and water-resistant compartment inside the stock.

magpul takedown stock
The barrel breech is protected with the rubber key hole and the handguard locks into the buttstock.

The stock includes both a flat and elevated cheek rest. The cheek rest is actually a hinged lid for the ammo compartment which can accommodate three full loaded 10/22 10-round magazines or one magazine and a 50-round paper box of ammo with still a little room to spare. Even more, this compartment is configurable via slip-in dividers. You could jam far more than 60-rounds of ammo plus other items into this space if you worked at it! The taller cheekpiece riser provides additional space compared to the low riser. Because I had AR-style Techsights on my Ruger 10/22 Takedown I was able to use the high-rise cheek rest and maximize my onboard storage.

magpul takedown stock
The storage compartment is configurable.

The other little compartment is located in the base of the grip and is o-ringed and water resistant. The plug is quite tight so I would imagine that it should do a pretty decent job of keeping water out, but I would probably place dry tinder or matches in a secondary waterproof bag before stuffing it into this area. In this case, a partially disassembled ferro rod with flammable firestarter tinder paracord fit easily into the grip with room to spare.

magpul takedown stock
The small grip compartment space is water resistant.

The Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock is compatible with Magpul QD mount inserts at four points on the stock and is compatible with the new Backpacker optic mount which provides a solid base sized for any red-dot optic.

magpul takedown stock
Room for two mags or a mag and a full 50-round box of ammo.

EASY INSTALL
Install is so simple it only requires about five minutes and just a standard screwdriver: the Magpul Receiver and Barrel groups both re-use the factory screws. Unscrew and remove the factory barrel band and handguard from the factory barrel assembly. Unscrew and remove the reciever from the factory buttstock and reverse the previous two processes to install the Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock. It could not be more simple.

SHOOTING IMPRESSIONS
I could say that the gun feels worlds different and is infinitely easier to shoot, but I still think I would be under-emphasizing the significant ergonomic upgrade over the factory stock. To be fair, the factory stock never felt even close to comfortable for me — it worked, it just was not comfortable. The Magpul ergonomics delivered more stability than the factory stock. The only downside to the upgrade is that the handguard size is reduced, but I am more than willing to make that trade for the other features the Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock provides.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Even with a standard 18.5-in barrel, the Magpul X-22 Backpacker Ruger 10/22 Takedown Stock delivers a disassembled 19.5-in. packable size. Keep in mind this stock’s length of pull is actually about 3/4-inch shorter than the factory stock. It could be slid into larger-sized packs, but is still a little big for most 3-day-sized packs. I am looking forward to swapping out the factory barrel for a lightweight sleeved match-grade Whistlepig or Volquartsen barrel to shed a bit more weight. The bottom line is this is a really excellent stock which has some innovative features — features that solve problems like shrouding the barrel breech from damage. This is as good as it gets to pack up your Ruger 10/22 and take it with you.

MSRP $109.95

SEE FULL SPECS HERE
CHECK OUT THE RIFLE HERE
VIEW 10/22 ACCESSORIES AT MIDSOUTH HERE 

Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

SKILLS: The Perspective of BALANCE

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Choosing a gun for concealed carry is a very important decision. Here are some ideas on carefully considering all pros and cons to select the best for you. READ MORE

handgun choice

SOURCE: Team Springfield, by Jason Burton

Somewhere, some time ago I read or was told “Everything in moderation, nothing in excess.” The statement and its underlying sentiment has been something that has stuck with me for years, even if I didn’t always apply this principle in real life. The basic concept I get from that statement is balance.

Everything can and should have balance and recently I found myself once again contemplating the idea of balance as it relates to carry guns.

USER PREFERENCE
To state the obvious: I am a die-hard 1911 user. For the better part of the last 20 years I have used a full-size 1911 in a concealed carry role. To also say it has been my main shooting / range gun would be appropriate. I’ve willingly given up a high-capacity magazine in exchange for the exceptional ergonomics of the slim yet full-length grip. Regardless of events or weather or circumstances, the 1911 has remained my constant companion. If I had to choose one principal attribute that has made carrying and concealing this large gun as easy as it has been, it would be the relative slenderness of the pistol.

PRACTICE MAKES PONDERING
After a recent range session with the Springfield Armory® 9mm RO® Elite Compact, I once more was reflecting on pistol performance, ergonomics, and employment in a concealed-carry mode. I contemplated the idea of balance as it relates to carry guns and our individual responsibility of personal defense.

So in this increasingly high-capacity world, could a single-stack gun be the perfect embodiment of balance and moderation and do they actually make the most sense when used in a concealed carry role?

PROS AND CONS
Here is where we start down the road towards balance and we should be practical in acknowledging that every carry gun is a compilation of trade offs in one form or another. Whether it is caliber, capacity, size, weight, ergonomics, trigger type, or other attribute — like most things in life you may have to give something up (or at least part of something) in order to gain something else.

My personal choice of the 1911 is a good example. In exchange for carrying a gun that is powerful yet easily concealable (provided by the relative slimness of the single-stack design), I give up capacity when compared to other platforms. Same comparison can apply to the size and weight. I choose a full-size pistol due to the positive performance and shooting aspects in exchange for carrying a relatively heavy gun. We can continue with these comparisons, but you get the point.

BEING YOUR OWN FIRST RESPONDER
By now, I’m sure someone is reading this and thinking, “No way a full-size 1911 is a balanced or moderate choice,” and in fairness, the commitment to carry an all-steel, full-sized 1911 may not be for everyone. However, if you consider what one truly needs in a personal defense gun, you may find that a single-stack gun of some type fits the bill.

Before you can define your needs you should begin with the understanding that you will likely be required to be your own first responder. What you bring with you as your own first responder will help give you options. Since you can’t save anyone if you don’t save yourself first, your equipment can become an important factor. The aforementioned balance of “pros and cons” comes into play here.

EVALUATE YOUR REALITY AND YOUR NEEDS
So what is needed in a personal defense pistol? All else being equal (reliability, accuracy standards, etc.), the gun should fulfill some basic requirements:

The gun needs to be easy to conceal, not just easy to carry. By that I mean the gun can’t just be small and light, although those things may help. I fully understand the ideas of proper holster selection and dressing around the gun, but the point is that the overall bulk and size element of the pistol should help to make it easy to dress around. The same principle applies to spare magazines as well.

The gun needs to be ergonomic. The “grip” and how the gun interfaces with the shooter is of tremendous importance and should be especially considered when using the pistol as a reactionary self-defense tool. This can be a pretty wide field because so much depends on shooter’s hand size and potentially overall physical size. There is such a thing as a gun that is too big or too small. I have found that when a gun doesn’t physically fit a shooter, it typically becomes less shootable for them and much worse when it is fired under stress.

The gun needs to hold enough ammo to solve your problem. Capacity is important primarily because it gives a shooter the ability to manipulate the pistol less. However, care should be taken not to over emphasize capacity in lieu of other basic requirements. Something to keep in mind is that in many fights, the last shot fired is the one that wins the fight. If the gun works well and is easy to shoot in a reaction mode, the first shot and the last shot might be the same, negating any remaining capacity. Even still I would strongly advocate carrying a spare magazine, if for no other reason than the magazine in the gun could malfunction. Along those lines, being easy to carry and conceal said spare magazine might make one more apt to bring it with them.

BE WARY OF EXCESS
There are extremes that can be born out of all of these factors, so try not to get bogged down in excesses of one direction or the other. What I mean is this, while a derringer is slim, easily carried and concealed, its inherent capacity limitations and required manual of arms don’t make it a viable option for personal defense. Keeping the aforementioned factors in mind and remembering moderation, an ergonomic and concealable gun that has a minimum capacity of 7 rounds — while being readily reloadable — is probably a choice that one can stake their life on.

RO Elite

For me, single-stack guns of all types have always embodied an ideal balance of moderation. My recent test drive with the Springfield Armory® RO® Elite Compact 9mm reminded me once more of the practical benefits of a slim, compact gun that is easy to handle and shoot.

With the continued popularity of the 1911 platform in general, as well as newer offerings such as the XD-S®, and XD-E™, and 911 .380, it would appear that slim is in!

So when it comes time for an honest evaluation of what you need for personal defense, ask yourself if a slim or single-stack gun fits that role? You might be surprised by the answer.

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