All posts by glen Zediker

SKILLS: Riflescopes: All About Reticles

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This is the second in a series on optic basics, and it covers the most visible component of a scope: the reticle. Read on…

by NRA Staff

basic riflescope reticle

The riflescope’s reticle is the visible reference used as an aiming point to align the gun with the target. There are many reticle patterns ranging from simple to complex. The most popular remains the general-purpose crosshair. However, even the simple crosshair offers choices, such as tapered, ultra thin, duplex, mil-dot, ballistic compensating, range-finding, center dot, center ring and post, just to name a few. Each configuration is intended for a specific type of use and there are multiple versions of all. For example, tapered crosshairs are a popular choice for varmint hunting and duplex crosshairs are a common choice for big-game hunting. There seems to be no limit to the new reticle designs being offered, and most makers offer at least six or more types. Your best bet is to try out several at a local gun store, then consult with experienced shooters or hunters before making a final selection.

Reticles may be illuminated electronically, with tritium or with fiber optics to enhance their contrast against dark backgrounds; this is helpful especially at dusk or dawn or during heavy overcast conditions. Illumination remains an expensive option that may not work well in very cold conditions and has limited usefulness. Still, it has proven a popular addition to many scopes.

reticle choices

The reticle itself may be located inside the scope at the first, or front, focal plane or the second, or rear focal plane. The location is an issue only in variable-power scopes. Reticles located in the first focal plane in a variable-power scope will increase or decrease in size as the magnification is changed while those located in the second focal plane do not change size when the power is adjusted. For this reason, the latter location has become the most popular.

One situation in which a front-focal-plane reticle is clearly advantageous is in scopes with a mil-dot ranging system. This type of reticle employs dots spaced one milliradian apart on the crosshair. (A milliradian is the angle subtended by 3 feet at 1,000 yards.) An object of known size is bracketed between the dots, and a table is used to determine the range based on the number of dots the object measures. With a rear-focal-plane reticle variable, the mil-dot system is only accurate at one power setting. A front-focal-plane location maintains the same relationship to the target throughout the range of magnification, thus enabling mil-dots to be used accurately at any power.

A second benefit of placement in front of the variable-magnification lens system is that the reticle remains unaffected by tolerances or misalignment of the erector tube during power changes. With a rear-focal-plane location, these tolerances may shift point of impact as the power level changes.

In the past, many scope reticles were not constantly centered, meaning they moved off to the side when windage or elevation adjustments were made. Many shooters found this annoying. Today, nearly all riflescopes have constantly centered reticles that do not change position when adjustments are made.

Crosshairs or other reticle patterns are created by laser etching on optical glass or by ultra-thin platinum wires. Some early scope reticles used strands of hair, hence the name “crosshairs.” Others used spider silk…interestingly enough, the silk of the black widow spider, which has a better tensile strength than other types of spider silk.

David Tubb DTR Reticle
David Tubb’s DTR design takes a reticle about as far as it can go, offering built-in aiming dot compensation choices to even account for density altitude.

RELOADERS CORNER: Shop Setup Savvy

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Don’t overlook details when setting up shop. Here are a few ideas on dealing with a few tools and tasks to get set up to reload.

bolts and fasteners

Glen Zediker

Set-Up Tools
Time after time, point after point, I address the use of specific tools used in the process of loading ammunition. There are a few tools that never get near a cartridge case or bullet, though, that matter much to contentment. These are the “set-up” tools and appliances that when needed are indispensable. And, as with the loading tools themselves, making the better choices pays off. I joke with myself sometimes that I spend about as much time at auto parts and hardware stores as I do reloading industry outlets…

Get real wrenches for all the dies and tools you own. It’s worth the investment to buy a quality combo wrench at an auto-parts store rather than buggering up all your fasteners with a set of slip-lock pliers. But. You need those too. Everyone needs a slip-joint pliers, like Channellock-brand, but avoid using it whenever possible. Again, correctly-sized quality wrenches won’t muck up your die parts.

craftsman wrenches
Good quality wrenches are a necessity, in my mind. Craftsman fits that bill nicely.

A good quality set of allen wrenches, or hex-heads, likewise is a relative joy to use next to the el-cheapo versions that come with the tools. Get the ball-end kind for even easier use.

reloading bench
I’m sho no carpenter, but after working with handloading enough, a fellow will develop a few essential skills. A few tools to purchase: appropriate sized drill bits for starting screw holes (never don’t drill a hole beforehand); appropriate drill bits for press mounting, usually 1/4 inch, and the kind with a starter point are the bomb; a corded drill, not cordless, and preferably with a level indicator. And drill down straight! Even a tad amount of angle in a bored hole can make it muy difficult to get the fasteners to cooperate.

Press and Tool Mounting
Make an investment in at least “good” grade tools for drilling holes and measuring where to drill them, and then for installing the fasteners. It really makes a difference to have proper size drill bits and drivers.

The press is the base for the dies. It’s important. Of course it is. Mounting is key. I suggest a workbench that’s mounted to a wall, along with its legs fixed down to the floor. It’s the press upstroke, not the downstroke, that taxes the stability or solidness of the workbench.

If you’re building a workbench, consider carefully the overhang and bench-top underside construction, or at least dimensions. What you don’t want, and what I have had so I know, is a combination of press hole mounts that conflict with workbench construction. Like when there is a structural crosspiece right underneath where a hole has to bore through. That’s a mess to deal with, or it can be. Then you have to drill a hole big enough to give a window to install a washer and a nut, and then that nut won’t want to stay tight. Check first before you settle on your plans. 6 inches of overhang (free underside) mounts anything I’ve yet used.

nuts and bolts
Bolt goes down through the press mounting hole, preceded by a plain washer. A fender washer then goes against the bottom of the bench, followed by a nut, either plain preceded by a star washer or nylock. If it’s a star washer, the star points face the nut underside. Get good hardware. And use the fender washer!

Do a template for press mounting. That’s easy by doing the “rub trick” with a soft pencil on a piece of paper taped to the press underside; some manufacturers provide templates, and that’s a nice touch. Otherwise, use a centering tool to mark the holes, used through the mounting holes on the press. Even being a little bit off hurts wonders. And drill straight! Get a drill with a level-bubble. The thicker the bench-top, the more mess a small angle error makes.

A cool trick for drilling holes in laminate or wood is to put masking tape over the marks for the drill bit start marks before boring. This keeps the material from splintering. Never (ever) use the press holes themselves as a guide for the drill bit.

I strongly suggest backing up the underside bench nuts with washers. Otherwise there will be compression of the nut into the bench material, and ultimately result in loosening. This is actually very important… Use a fender (flat) washer next to the wood, and a star (locking) washer between the nut and the fender washer (stars face the nut underside), or use nuts with “nylock” inserts.

After mounting the press securely, keep it secure. Check all the fasteners especially after the first use. And, as just recommended, here’s where washers and locking fasteners help. As said, the washers help avoid the compression into a wooden benchtop that can otherwise ultimately lead to a lifetime of snugging down the bolts — they’re not tightening, they’re just pushing in deeper… The locking fasteners are resistant to stress-induced movement.

I have increasingly become a fan of using threaded retainers in place of nuts to screw the bolts to. This is a great means to secure things like case trimmers, powder meters, or anything else that might need to come on and then off the workbench area. Threaded inserts, such as t-nuts, remain in place on the bench top underside and the bolts are just run down into them. That makes it simple to mount and dismount with allenhead screws. Less benchtop clutter also.

t-nut and bolt
I’m a big fan of t-nuts for mounting accessories to a bench. When you need the tool — small press, case trimmer, or what-have-you, bring it out and snug it down with an allen-head bolt. Helps keep the benchtop less cluttered. I often mount the tool, like a case trimmer, to a piece of wood using t-nuts and then secure the whole thing to the bench top using a c-clamp.

Supply Items+
Shop rags work better than anything, and that’s why they’re used in shops. Sometimes the obvious is true. Get them at an auto parts store.

Invest in some good rust preventative and then use it. A lot of the tools we use don’t have any or adequate protective finishes on them, so give them a wipe-down after use. Local climate has a whopping lot to do with the need and frequency for this. Plus, there’s always going to be unforeseen times you’ll need to free a stuck fastener. Kroil-brand penetrating oil is the best I’ve used. Tip: Always grease contact points between steel and aluminum. If you don’t it will “freeze.”

Light is an asset, and, especially as eyes get older (dang I hate to say that, so let’s say the more and more someone needs bifocals and won’t get them) some magnification is a help too at times. It’s easy to find one of the clamp-on arm-style magnifying lights at most office supply stores, and even easier to locate a pair of reading glasses.

The preceding was adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available here at Midsouth. For more information on this book, and others, plus articles and information for download, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

REVIEW: Springfield Armory SAINT

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We have been waiting a long time for Springfield’s AR15 and it is worth the wait, and worth the money. Here’s why…

by Bob Campbell

Springfield’s ads had been teasing us with the introduction of a new product and very recently we learned that the SAINT was an AR15-type rifle. This is the first-ever AR15 with the proud Springfield Armory stamp. The rifle had been described as entry level but this isn’t really true. There are more expensive rifles but the Springfield isn’t cheap — it is simply below the $900 threshold. That is a pretty important price point. The rifle has good features and is built for reliability. The SAINT is intended to appeal to the young and adventurous and to those serious about taking responsibility for their own safety. I agree but older shooters such as myself who are able to discern quality at a fair price will also appreciate the SAINT. As a Springfield fan, the SAINT will take its place beside my 1903 Springfield and the modern 1911 Operator handgun, but there is more to the puzzle than the name. At present I have fewer than 600 rounds fired through the SAINT but the experience has been good. (I fire the rifles I test for real on the range, and not with the typewriter. I know the difficulty in firing one thousand rounds or more in an economic and physical sense.)

SAINT and 1903
The SAINT is shown with a 1903 Springfield. A proud tradition!

Let’s look at the particulars. The SAINT features the A2-style front sight/gas block and a folding rear sight. The rear sight is stamped with the Springfield “crossed cannons” emblem. The rear sight isn’t target grade but it is useful for short-range defense work and snagging predators to perhaps 100 yards, the use I will put this 6-pound, 11-ounce rifle to. The gas system is a mid-length architecture. Without getting into a discussion that would fill these pages all its own, the mid-length system is ideal for use with common bullet weights. The SAINT has a 16-inch barrel chambered for the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. This means you can fire .223 Remington or 5.56mm cartridges without a hint of trouble. Its 1-in-8 inch barrel twist is increasingly popular. Midway between the 7- and 9-inch twist this barrel twist rate has proven accurate with the majority of loads I have tested. So far this includes loads of 52 to 77 grain bullet weights.

SAINT
The SAINT handles well. The author found the SAINT exceptionally controllable.

The trigger is a GI-type that breaks in my example at 6.7 pounds. This is in the middle-ground for an AR trigger and it is clean and crisp. There is also a special coating that allows the trigger group to ride smoothly. The receivers are anodized aluminum, no surprises there, but the bolt carrier group is also specially coated, and stamped with the Springfield logo. I like that a lot. Springfield has added a new design with the Accu-Tite Tension system. This is a set screw located in the lower receiver that allows the user to tighten the receivers together. I like this feature and I probably will not add any other tightening measures to the SAINT. The furniture is Bravo Company and the handguard is a Springfield exclusive. The three-piece handguard features a heat shield in the lower base, and allows for accessory mounting via a keylock system. The handguard offers excellent grip when firing but doesn’t abrade the hand when firing in long practice sessions. I like the stub on the end of the handguard that prevents the hand from running forward onto the gas block. Optics are not optimally mounted on the handguard since it isn’t free-floated, so the receiver rail is available for mounting optics. The six-position stock utilizes a squeeze lever for six-point adjustment. The grip handle is the famous BCM Gunfighter.

SAINT sights.
The front and rear sights are adequate for shorter-range use, and the controls are excellent. Note bumper on handguard to prevent the hand running forward off the handguard.

To begin the evaluation I filled several magazines with Federal Cartridge Company American Eagle cartridges. The rifle had several hundred rounds through it and I expected the same performance for this Shooters Log test. These 55-grain FMJ cartridges burn clean, are affordable, and offer excellent accuracy in a practice load. I loaded the supplied MagPul magazine and a number of other various magazines I had on hand. The bolt was lubricated. AR15 rifles will run dirty but they will not run dry. I addressed man-sized targets at 25 and 50 yards, firing as quickly as I could get on target and align the sights. Keeping the hand forward on the handguard (and avoiding the gas block!) and controlling the rifle fast and accurate hits came easily. The rifle is controllable in rapid fire but then it is an AR15… The sights are adequate for the purpose. The Gunfighter grip is particularly ergonomic allowing excellent control. As for absolute accuracy with the iron sights, it isn’t difficult to secure 3-shot groups of two inches at 50 yards, par for the course with an iron-sighted carbine.

Accuracy Testing
For a complete evaluation, you have to go further with accuracy testing and this means mounting a quality optic. I settled down with a mounted Lucid 6x1x24 rifle scope. This optic provides a good clear sight picture and has many advantages a trained rifleman can exploit. I settled down on the bench and attempted to find the best possible accuracy from the SAINT. Hornady has introduced a new line of AR15 ammunition. Since black rifles run on black ammunition the new loads should prove popular. My test samples of Hornady Black Ammunition featured the proven 75-grain BTHP. This is a good bullet weight for longer-range accuracy and it proved to give good results in the SAINT. I also tested a good number of popular .233 loads including a handload of my own, using the 60-grain Hornady A-Max bullet.

Meopta MeoRed
The Meopta MeoRed Red Dot gave good results.

I have also mounted a MeoRed red dot with excellent results. For use to 50 yards this red dot offers good hit probability and gets the Springfield up and rolling for 3-Gun Competition.
I like the Springfield SAINT. I drove in the rain to get the rifle and was at the door at my FFL source when they opened. I had to wait to hit the range! I am not disappointed and the SAINT is going to find an important place in my shooting battery.

Check out the complete specs HERE

SAINT free-float
The SAINT is also available with a free-floating handguard tube.

Bob Campbell is an established and well-respected outdoors writer, contributing regularly to many publications ranging from SWAT Magazine to Knifeworld. Bob has also authored three books: Holsters For Combat and Concealed Carry (Paladin Press), The 1911 Semi Auto (Stoeger Publishing), and The Handgun In Personal Defense (The Second Amendment Foundation).

The Second Amendment Story

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In the wake of the 4th of July, this is a focus for many of us, and here’s the full story of how and why the Second Amendment came to be. Learn more…

second amendment

by Chip Lohman, NRA Publications Staff

Our earliest colonial governments began with charters written for individuals and settlement companies. As colonists sought religious freedom, better land or escape from British rule, charters were authorized by the King as the legal means for the colonies to exist.
As the colonies became more independent, they established their own governments, even drafting state constitutions in some cases. During this same period in our history, complaints began to surface about the perception that traditional rights of English citizens were not being extended to the colonists. Similar unrest was vented in Jonathan Mayhew’s sermon where he coined the phrase “No taxation without representation.” These and other objections to British oversight led to the American Revolution, during which the colonies formed the Continental Congress, declared independence on July 4, 1776 and fought the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).

Eleven years after publishing the Declaration of Independence with the legendary words “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” representatives from the 13 states were invited to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to revise the “Articles of Confederation.” These Articles still recognized states as independent governments. After the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, colonial activists began to compare the viability of independent state governments to a federal government better suited to national affairs. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would not last unless the Articles of Confederation were revised.

Absent Rhode Island, the Philadelphia meetings began on Friday, May 25, 1787, with 55 prominent citizens attending. The deliberations included alternatives for wartime security, transitioning to a central government and how the states would be represented in that central government. The more populated states preferred proportional representation, while smaller states argued for equal representation. Thanks to the remarkable wisdom for our forefathers, the matter of state representation was resolved by proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation in the upper house (Senate).

As the summer debates of 1787 wore on, emphasis gradually shifted from state rule to a central, federal government. However, with little mention of individual rights guarantees written into the draft, several delegates, including anti-federalist George Mason of Virginia, proposed that a committee be appointed to prepare a bill of rights. Mason concluded in his objection: This government will commence in a moderate aristocracy. It is at present impossible to foresee whether it will, in its operation, produce a monarchy or a corrupt oppressive aristocracy. It will most probably vibrate some years between the two, and then terminate in the one or the other.
One hundred and sixteen days after convening, 39 delegates signed the carefully crafted system of checks and balances that would become the United States Constitution. As provided for in Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

The following summer, New Hampshire became the requisite ninth state to ratify the document, thus establishing our new form of federal government. Today, our Constitution is the oldest written, operating constitution in the world.

Mason’s objection was delivered five days before the Constitution was signed. Perhaps due to the months already spent in argument and debate, and maybe to some degree because of the summer climate, worsened by the heavy wool coats and wigs of the day, the anti-federalist’s proposal was rejected.

Those who supported the Constitution were known as federalists. Delegates who feared that a centralized government would lead to a dictatorship were called anti-federalists. Recall that our fledgling country had just fought a war over matters such as “taxation without representation,” so there remained a healthy resistance to replacing one autocratic government with another. As a result of the impasse over the proposed amendments, several delegates refused to sign the final document.

Negotiating a common, legislative rule of law for 13 states, in four months (not years) and securing a majority vote was an extraordinary task in itself. Devising a system of checks and balances with separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches was brilliant. But in 1787, the completed document contained none of the civil liberties that distinguish our government today. Were it not for the inspired, flexible design of the newly drafted Constitution that allowed a minority group to voice a dissenting opinion, the cornerstone of individual rights on which our democracy is now based may never have been laid.

The early framers recognized the need for flexibility in constitutional law. Consequently, Article V of the Constitution outlines the method for change as a two-step procedure: Proposal of an amendment, followed by ratification. Using state models for individual rights and reaching as far back as the English Magna Carta for inspiration, Mason proposed a Bill containing 10 amendments to the Constitution what became known as the Bill of Rights. Through a lengthy process of House, Senate and State ratifications, the Bill was ultimately signed four years later on December 15, 1791. Over time, more than 5,000 amendments have been proposed in Congress, with far fewer actually ratified.

Established shortly after the American Civil War (1871) as a marksmanship and firearms safety organization that today includes a myriad of related education and support programs, the National Rifle Association’s mission was significantly expanded in the mid-1970s. With an increased concentration of resources devoted to preserving Second Amendment rights, NRA became a more active participant in the legislative and public policy arena in support of protecting and advancing the guarantees of our Constitution. As originally ratified by the founding fathers, the Second Amendment decrees that: 
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.This wasn’t a new concept, with origins dating back to Great Britain’s Bill of Rights written in 1689. The British version created a separation of powers, enhanced democratic elections, bolstered freedom of speech and argued that individuals had the natural right of self-defense.

The old style grammar used when drafting the Second Amendment has since led to multiple dissections and interpretations of the founders’ intent. Were the framers referring merely to the need for a standing militia, or is it clear that their focus was to preserve an individual right, as was the theme for all 10 amendments?

Over the years, the Supreme Court has rendered its own interpretations of the intent of the Second Amendment. In 1875 (United States v. Cruikshank), the Court ruled that “the right to bear arms is not granted [emphasis added] by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.”

Fast forward to 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller), where the Court again ruled that the Second Amendment “…codified a pre-existing right” and that it “…protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” Most recently in 2010, (McDonald v. Chicago), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.

While it’s interesting to review the twists and turns of history and the awe-inspiring wisdom of the founding fathers, what lies ahead rests squarely on our shoulders. Readers will argue their own reasons why the fervent debate continues over the Second Amendment and, by extension, gun control. I believe that the implementation of Social Security (1935), the shift from an agricultural to urban life, and a dependence on others for food, shelter and safety, and maybe even the advent of 911 calls (1968), have contributed to an attitude, for many, that “someone else” is responsible for our welfare. The opposing side will argue that we are “our own 911.”

With the recent Republican wins in the White House and Congress, and the Supreme Court nominations to follow, one could mistakenly believe we have put this debate to bed for 40-50 years. Whether or not the argument can be reconciled through education, arbitration or compromise, that’s another article — for all of us to write.

Trump sends more feds to fight Chicago gun violence

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As usual: it’s not about new laws, it’s about more effective enforcement… Read on…

chicago crime scene

Source: Chicago Tribune

Twenty federal gun agents have been assigned to Chicago to join a newly formed task force aimed at cutting the flow of illegal guns into the city and cracking down on people repeatedly arrested on gun charges.

Hours after the Chicago police department sent out a news release about the task force, President Donald Trump claimed credit for sending in the agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help,” he tweeted last Friday morning.

Trump said there have been “1714 shootings in Chicago this year!” but the number is actually higher, according to data kept by the Tribune. As of Friday morning, the number of people shot in Chicago was at least 1,760, still lower than this time last year, when violence reached levels not seen in two decades.

In January, Trump tweeted, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, … I will send in the Feds!”

At a news briefing Friday in Washington, D.C., reporters asked Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether Chicago’s crime problem was related to gun access.

“I think that the problem there is pretty clear that it’s a crime problem. I think crime is probably driven more by morality than anything else,” she said. “So I think that this is a law enforcement issue and our focus is trying to add additional support.”

The roughly 40-person strike force, which consists of Chicago police officers, ATF agents and Illinois State Police, will be working on unsolved shootings and gun-related homicides and combating illegal gun trafficking, officials said Friday.

“It is a battle which can only be fought with all hands on deck, that is, state, federal and local law enforcement,” Joel Levin, Chicago’s acting U.S. Attorney, told reporters at a Friday afternoon news conference at Chicago police headquarters.

This isn’t the first time task forces have been formed to combat gun violence in Chicago.

For example, ATF agents worked in the past with Chicago police officers in the South Chicago District, which borders northwest Indiana, to try to counter the flow of illegal firearms from that state. ATF statistics have shown that most of the guns originating from outside of Cook County that were recovered at Chicago crime scenes in past years came from Indiana.

Tim Jones, who heads the ATF task force, told reporters that 20 new agents will be working on it. That’s in addition to 41 ATF agents who were already working in Chicago.

“We are a small agency, have a small footprint but we like to cast a bigger shadow through our attitude and effort, and we’re here to help, so we’re going to do what we can to work with our partners,” Jones said.

When asked by a reporter if 20 additional agents is enough, given the scope of Chicago’s illegal gun problem, Jones replied, “Me personally, we could probably use 500 more agents. We just don’t have (those resources).”

One of the things the task force will be doing is examining bullet casings recovered from crime scenes in order to perform expedited ballistics testing and determine whether the casings came from the same guns used in other crimes.

These casings will be tested in a mobile van provided by ATF agents who will perform the tests through its National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. This way, Chicago police will be able to determine within hours — instead of days with the department’s in-house lab — whether the casings came from guns used at other crime scenes.

Anthony Riccio, chief of the Chicago police’s Bureau of Organized Crime, said the ATF’s ballistics technology not only could help the department work more quickly, but also could help them link guns to solve more crimes.

“While officers probably will still be working on the arrest report for this individual, we’ll know the history of that gun. We’ll know if it’s been involved in any other shootings. We’ll know where it’s been used,” he said. “And that’s a great lead for detectives because now they’ve got the guy and the gun that have been used in shootings that before would’ve taken us days to find out.”

Chicago police First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said the department had been working on arrangements to receive more assistance from federal law enforcement since November, during former President Barack Obama’s administration. Those efforts continued under Trump

According to a release from the office of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the task force became operational June 1.

“The Trump Administration will not let the bloodshed go on; we cannot accept these levels of violence,” the release quoted Sessions as saying. “That’s why, under President Trump’s strong leadership, we have created the Chicago Gun Strike Force and are sending 20 more permanent ATF agents to Chicago, reallocating federal prosecutors and prioritizing prosecutions to reduce gun violence, and working with our law enforcement partners to stop the lawlessness.”

Sessions went on to criticize the city of Chicago’s status as a “sanctuary city,” which gives certain legal protections to immigrants without legal status in Chicago, saying the policies “tie the hands of law enforcement.” He then praised Celinez Nunez, the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of ATF, saying the agent “has experienced the tragic consequences of gang violence firsthand,” and would make the city safer.

The task force will work with the Chicago police department’s Organized Crime Bureau and the ATF’s Chicago field office, Chicago police said.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in the CPD news release that the task force “will significantly help our police officers stem the flow of illegal guns and create a culture of accountability for the small subset of individuals and gangs who (disproportionately) drive violence in our city.”

SKILLS: Optics ABCs: What All Those Terms Mean

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When it comes to optics for firearms, the specific terms that people use to describe them can be confusing. Here’s what all that argot actually means…in alphabetical order, no less.

Source: NRAFamily.org

rifleman with scope

Contrast
The ability of an optical system to distinguish clearly and crisply between areas of light and dark is called contrast. For shooting purposes, always select the riflescope with the highest contrast.

Exit Pupil
Exit pupil is the diameter, in millimeters, of the beam of focused light transmitted by the ocular lens. The exit pupil can be calculated by dividing the diameter of the objective lens by the power, or magnification, of the scope. An exit pupil of about 5mm or larger in diameter is preferable. A large exit pupil provides a brighter image with greater contrast and a wide field of view for easy target acquisition. Exit pupils smaller than 5mm in diameter offer darker images with lower contrast and progressively narrower fields of view.

Eye Relief
Eye relief is the distance of the eye from the ocular lens when the image fully fills the lens and is not vignetted. Normally, eye relief figures are given as a distance range, for example 3.2 to 3.8 inches, due to differences in individual visual acuity. On a variable-power scope, eye relief typically changes with scope power. Too little eye relief is undesirable, particularly on a scope mounted on a hard-kicking magnum rifle, where it may contribute to a “scope bite” on the eyebrow. For this reason, most centerfire riflescopes have a minimum eye relief of 3 to 4 inches. A riflescope with an eye relief of less than 3 inches should only be used on a small-caliber rifle with low recoil.

Most riflescopes and shotgun scopes are designed to be mounted on the receiver, close to the eye, and thus have relatively short eye relief. Scopes to be mounted on handguns and on the barrels of long guns are classed as long eye relief (LER) or extended eye relief (EER) scopes. Some models provide as much as 18 to 20 inches of eye relief, enabling scope use on a handgun extended at arm’s length. Other models may offer an eye relief of 12 inches or less for scope mounting on a scout rifle. Note that the higher the magnification, the shorter the eye relief of such scopes.

Field of View
Field of view is the width of the area that can be seen in the image at a given distance. Normally, field of view is expressed as the number of feet in the image at 1,000 yards, for example 322 feet at 1,000 yards. Field of view decreases dramatically with increasing magnification. A narrow field of view makes it difficult to find the target and then to hold it in the image. For this reason, a wide field of view may be more important than high scope magnification.

When looking through a scope with a 100-foot field of view at 1,000 yards, a 100-foot-wide object viewed at that distance will just fill the visual field.

Focal Plane
The focal plane is the plane or distance from the objective lens at which light rays from an object converge to form a focused image inside the main tube. Objects in the same focal plane appear to the eye to be at the same distance, and therefore can be seen with equal clarity without the need to refocus the eye. One of the advantages of optical sights is that the target and the reticle are in the same focal plane. This eliminates trying to focus on both iron sights and the target at the same time. This is why riflescopes are so popular with shooters who have less-than-perfect eyesight.

There are two focal planes in a typical riflescope: The first behind the objective lens, and the second behind the erector lens set.

See the huge selection of riflescopes available here at Midsouth HERE

RELOADERS CORNER: Inside Reaming Vs. Outside Turning

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Some confuse these operations. Don’t! Here’s what each is, and isn’t…

Glen Zediker

I get a lot of questions. I always answer each one, and in doing so that experience reminds me of the wide span of topic knowledge needed to be a successful, and safe, handloader. I make an effort not to assume any level or depth of anyone’s understanding of any topic I might address. At the risk of “offending” all the experts out there by wasting their time with fundamental starts to technical pieces, I’d dang sho rather bore them than shortchange a newcomer out of elemental information.

I told folks in my last book that “grains” refers to a propellant weight, not a kernel-count. Right. But I’ve fielded that question more than once. That’s not, in my mind, a “stupid” question. Truth: The only stupid question is one that’s not asked, when there’s a need to know.

So, that was leading into this: Here’s a question I got just yesterday that sourced via someone who wasn’t even a little bit uneducated in the need for finer points of case prep. This fellow was confused about the relationship between inside case neck reaming and outside case neck turning. Here’s a longer version of the answer I returned to him —

First, there is no relationship between inside neck reaming and outside neck turning, and by that I mean they are not a combined process. As a matter of fact, these should not be combined!

They can be confused because they both ultimately accomplish the same thing, the same basic thing: each process removes material from a cartridge case neck cylinder, and that makes the case neck wall thinner. These two ops, however, are done for two different reasons.

neck reamer
Inside neck reaming is a treatment to thin excessively thickened case necks after several firings. If the neck walls get too thick, the outside diameter of the case neck might not have adequate room in the chamber to expand to release the bullet. Excess pressure! Shown is a Forster-brand accessory for its case trimmer.
IMPORTANT: “Standard” case neck reamers are for use only on fired but not resized cases! Exceptions are custom-size reamers, and I own a few of those that get use from time to time, but, as was said for tight-necked rifles, if you know about that then you already know about this…

An inside case neck reamer is intended to relieve excess material from case necks that have thickened excessively through use and reuse. Brass flows, and it flows forward.

Important! Most “standard” case neck reamers are intended to be used on fired, but not yet resized, cases! In other words: Use the reamer on the fired cases as-are. Do not use one on a case that’s had its neck resized because that will cut away way too much brass.

Another application where inside reaming is frequently recommended is in forming operations that require a reduction in case neck diameter. When a case is “necked down,” which means run through a sizing op that creates a .243 caliber from a previously .308 caliber, for instance, the neck walls thicken. An appropriately-sized reamer makes the shortest work of this tedious but necessary job. Most forming die packages either include or make mention of the specific-size reamer to use.

Outside case neck turning is done to improve the consistency of case neck wall thickness around the cylinder. It’s a step taken to improve accuracy. Outside case neck turning should be done only on brand new (unfired) brass. It’s more precisely effective and easier because that’s when the alloy is at its softest.

turned case neck
Outside neck turning is a “precision” case prep step that improves consistency of the case neck wall thicknesses. It can be done a little bit to clean up “high spots” and make the cases better, or full-area to make them nearly perfect. That, of course, also makes them universally thinner so your sizing apparatus might need to be dimensioned differently to maintain desired case neck inside diameter to retain adequate grip on the bullet.

There are specific, custom combinations that require a smaller than standard case neck outside diameter. The “tight-necked” rifle, which is just about exclusively encountered in Benchrest competition, has to have its brass modified to chamber in the rifle. The neck area of the rifle chamber is cut extra-small to provide a means to attain a “perfect” fit and minimal case neck expansion. If you’re into this, then you already knew that…

So, the primary role and use of an inside neck reamer is as a safety precaution; its secondary use is as a prep step in case forming. The primary role and use of an outside neck turner is to improve the consistency, quality, of a case neck cylinder. The idea is that more consistent wall thickness leads to a more centered case neck. And it does. Reaming does zero to improve consistency. Reaming just makes a bigger hole of the hole that’s already there; it doesn’t relocate its center.

drop test
The way (or one way) to tell if your cases need a ream is to take a fired case and see if a bullet will freely drop through the neck. If it won’t, they’re too thick. Thrown them away or refurbish them with a reamer. Resizing won’t change a thing.

Combining these ops might create a safety issue because the necks might get too thin, and that could mean there wouldn’t be enough grip on the bullet. Point is, ultimately, that reaming and turning are not equivalent even though they might seem to be doing the same thing. One is not a substitute for the other. It certainly would be possible to remove metal from the outside of the neck cylinder to overcome the effects of thickened necks, if (and only if) the neck is sized again using the usual die apparatus. When that’s the goal, though, a reamer is lower effort, faster, and less expensive to buy into.

Very important! Always (always) culminate either operation by running the cases a trip through the sizing die you normally use.

Check out a few tools at Midsouth HERE

SKILLS: Top 6 Public Range No-Nos

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There’s a lot for a new shooter to learn, and a lot of it is learned at the shooting range. But learn first  about the range!

by Jeff Johnston, NRA Family

So you’re heading to the range for the first (or maybe the second, or third) time. Here’s what NOT to do, both from a safety and a common courtesy perspective.

DON’T…
…Bring a shotgun and shoot it with anything except slugs. In most public range settings, lanes are set mere feet apart from each other. While a shotgun loaded with any pellet-type load might hit only your target at 10 yards, at 50 yards the spread of its pattern will turn your neighbor’s pristine new target into Swiss cheese. For this reason most ranges don’t allow shotguns on the range for anything except slugs. You should know this beforehand, so you don’t buy everyone new targets later.

DON’T…
…Place your finger on the trigger before your sights are on the target. This is the quickest way to tell everyone in the range, “Hey, everyone! Look at me! I don’t have the foggiest clue what I’m doing! Ha! Ha!” You may notice people begin to look at you like you’re wearing a Bin Laden costume as they back away slowly. Why? If you don’t know the second NRA rule of gun safety, you are obviously not safe. So keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Perhaps you can’t hit a bullseye to save your life, but at least everyone around you knows you’re  trying to be safe.

This one is for indoor ranges that max out at 50 yards:
DON’T…
…Bring your .338 Lapua Mag. (or .300 Win. Mag. or any other high-power rifle that’s equipped with a muzzle brake) to “sight it in.” To zero your rifle for hunting you should shoot it at 100-200 yards anyway, so why kill people’s ear drums at the range by getting in on paper there? A muzzle brake sends sound waves and hot gases backwards, and many times the long, 26-inch barrels of magnum hunting rifles extend past the side barriers, sending those unfiltered sound waves and gases directly back at your neighbors. Think the opposite of the Nike commercial and just don’t do it.

DON’T…
…Place your target above or below eye level. Some ranges clearly post rules against this, while others do not. Regardless, consider what your bullet does after hitting the target: It continues on its merry way at its given angle, and if that angle is steep, it will stop in the floor or the ceiling, not the backstop as it should. Wood and debris from the floor or ceiling will fly, and the range officers will begin eyeballing you like buzzards above a bloody road kill. So place your targets at eye level so your bullet goes into the backstop where it should.

DON’T…
…Give unsolicited advice to complete strangers. Sure, it’s OK to politely point out or correct a major safety violation if someone is clearly being unsafe (if the range officers are non-existent), but if the good-looking girl on lane 14 would’ve wanted your advice, she’d have given you some type of signal. That’s right, like a “Hey, you” from across the range complete with “come ‘ere” wave and a tractor-beam eye hook. But 100 times out of 100 she just wanted to shoot her new Springfield a few times without being hit on as if it was closing time at Hooters. And see that cool dude with her? One of the reasons she’s with him is because he’s not always telling her what she’s doing wrong. So go back to your lane, make happy face targets with your .357, then go home and make yourself a few bachelor burritos.

DON’T…
…Let some Magnum PI-looking yahoo on lane No. 13 tell you how to shoot your own gun. I’ve seen it all too often. The minute you try to be polite by saying, “OK, thanks for the advice,” Magnum thinks he’s Steve Spurrier with a renewed license to coach. So instead, just say, “If I wanted instruction, I would’ve hired a professional,” and turn away. I hate to sound crass, but the shooting range isn’t the place to put up with this kind of nonsense. Of course, if he or she is offering good advice in a non-creepy way, and is in fact Tom Selleck, feel free to listen.

What are your public range pet peeves? Tell us in the comments! 

 

 

8 Reasons to Invest in a 9mm Pistol-Caliber Carbine

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Here is a list of compelling reasons that a PCC might just become your favorite, most-used firearm. Keep reading…

Gil Horman, NRA Publications

Just before our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I were rear-ended at high speed while making a right-hand turn. Our car was totaled and my wife suffered serious soft tissue damage to her neck and shoulder. Although she has healed over the years (the pain has never completely left her), it was a long time before she could participate in any shooting sports, let alone fire guns with stiff levels of felt recoil.

Ruger PC9
Ruger PC9

I started researching low-recoil defensive options that she could use (if you’ve ever wondered why I write about this topic as often as I do, now you know). At the time, Ruger was still making the now-discontinued PC9 Police Carbine chambered in 9mm. If not for the magazine well designed to accept Ruger P Series pistol magazines, the blowback operated PC9 could be mistaken for a 10/22. It was lightweight, compact and easy to operate. I thought my wife would be able to manage the recoil at the practice range so that it could be kept on hand as a home-defense gun. The carbine had the added benefit of using the same magazines as a Ruger 9mm pistol we owned at the time, making for an ideal home-defense pairing.

I strolled into a local gun shop and asked the college kid behind the counter to hand me a PC9 carbine off the rack for closer inspection. His face took on a subtle, but noticeable, look of distain. As if I had asked an English butler to pass me a dead mouse, he slowly reached for the rifle and with forced professionalism dropped it into my hands.

I explained why I was interested in this particular model. I was looking for a low-recoil defensive option for my wife to use. In a perfect dead-pan voice he said, “Yes, and when the ammunition runs out it will make an excellent club.” In other words, after 15 rounds of “wimpy” 9mm hollow points fired through a 16-inch barrel harmlessly bounced off the home invader, like so much confetti, my poor wife would be forced to swing for the bleachers.

This gun store conversation took place in the late 1990s when the 9mm and all of its platforms were still wrestling with the reputation of being weak defensive options. It’s a bias that’s stuck to 9mms of all sizes like glue, even the carbines. That is, until the last few years. Defensive 9mm pistols of all shapes and sizes have moved to the center of the defensive limelight. And this year in particular, pistol-caliber carbines (PCC) chambered in 9mm have enjoyed a surge in sales not seen before.

Here are eight reasons why 9mm PCCs are a good choice for home defense as well as general shooting —

ONE: A Variety of Models to Choose From
Some types of firearms are only available in limited configurations which in turn can make it a challenge to find a good fit for some shooters. This is not the case with pistol-caliber carbines. The 9mm PCC may be enjoying a new level of popularity today but it’s been manufactured by several companies for quite some time. I still hear folks talk about how much they love their Marlin Camp 9 even though the gun has been out of production since 1999. 

NOTE: CLICK ON THE PHOTO CAPTIONS TO VISIT THE WEBSITES

JRC carbines
Just Right Carbines offers a wide range of configurations.

If you enjoy working with the AR-15 type carbines, several 9mms are available from reputable manufacturers including the SIG Sauer MPX 9, and the Wilson Combat AR9. The 9mm AR models tend to come in two varieties, those with dedicated 9mm only lower receivers and those that use standard .223/5.56 lowers fitted with magazine adapters.

Some models, including the Just Right Carbine, are built around proprietary actions that accept AR-15 accessories. The receivers, barrels and controls are unique but the removable grips and six-position adjustable shoulder stocks can be swapped out for popular aftermarket AR-15 upgrades.

If the AR-15 is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other designs to enjoy. For instance, the Chiappa Firearms M1-9 is a modern variation of the WWII-era M1 carbine. One of the more unusual options (if you can find one) is the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 which folds in half for easy storage.

Kel-Tec Sub-2000
Kel-Tec Sub-2000

TWO: Proven Designs
Many semi-automatic 9mm PCC platforms use blowback-operated actions, which are among the simplest and most reliable designs available. The bolt assembly is held in place by its own weight and the recoil spring. The force of the cartridge case being pushed backwards by expanding gases cycles the bolt. That’s all there is to it. There’s little in the way of complex parts, gas tubes or pistons to worry about failing and the guns are often easier to clean and lubricate.

Chiappa M1-9
Chiappa M1-9

THREE: Pistol Magazine Compatibility
Just like the Ruger PC9 mentioned earlier, many of the modern PCC platforms feed from removable semi-automatic pistol magazines. Right now many carbines have magazine wells and bolt assemblies designed to work with the common, easy to find and inexpensive Glock factory and aftermarket magazines. This is especially convenient if you already own, or plan to buy, a Glock pistol. Companies that make pistols as well as carbines, like Beretta, often build their carbines to accept the same magazines as their handguns.



FOUR: Low Levels of Felt Recoil
I continue to be baffled by the notion that if a gun doesn’t leave the owner battered and bruised at the end of a practice session it’s not a legitimate home-defensive option. Guns don’t need to hurt the operator in order to be effective. In fact, low recoil provides a couple of important tactical advantages. Any activity associated with pain can cause us to hesitate. In a fight for your life, when every moment counts, it’s important to avoid any unnecessary hesitations that may cloud a defender’s judgment. Low recoil also aids in placing faster, more precise follow-up shots.

Sig MPX
Sig MPX

FIVE: Cheap and Plentiful Practice Ammunition

Proper practice sessions held on a regular basis are the key to mastering a carbine’s controls and to improved accuracy. The more rounds fired downrange per practice session the better. As of this writing, the only platforms I can find that are cheaper to run than the 9mm are those chambered in .22 Long Rifle. The good news is that practice-grade 9mm is more readily available than .22 (which is still experiencing shortages) and can be found in sporting goods and big-box stores around the country.





SIX: Top Notch Defense-Grade Ammunition

The 9mm cartridge is not just popular in the United States, it’s one of the most common calibers used around the world for military, law enforcement, and civilian applications. Millions of dollars have gone into improving bullet designs and overall cartridge effectiveness. More +P loadings are available now than ever before. This improvement in cartridge performance combined with carbine magazine capacities ranging from 17 to 33 rounds provides a level of firepower not to be taken lightly, especially at home-defense distances.

9mm defensive ammo
There is effective 9mm defensive ammo available, and it’s made more so via the higher velocities attained when fired through a 16-inch barrel.

SEVEN: Improved Ammunition Performance
Generally speaking, 9mm pistols are constructed with barrels somewhere between 3- to 5-inches in length. Carbines, on the other hand, are usually fitted with 16-inch barrels. This increased length boosts the performance of the cartridge because of the longer powder burn time, which increases velocity, and additional rifling that improves bullet stability.

The degree to which performance improves when using a carbine depends on the load fired. But in some cases, especially with +P ammunition, the increase in downrange energy is impressive. This table shows some of the 16-inch barrel performance results gleaned from carbine tests posted to this website along with the manufacturers’ listed pistol velocities for comparison.

The standard velocity loads shown here demonstrated a velocity increase of 101 to 238 fps. resulting in bullet energy going up by 70 to 153 ft.-lbs. when fired through a 16-inch barrel. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But it’s the +P loads that seem to benefit the most from the longer barrel. Velocity jumped between 173 to 684 fps. increasing bullet energy by 94 to 356 ft.-lbs. 



EIGHT: Flexible and Fun To Shoot
Whenever possible, it makes sense to invest in firearms that can fill multiple roles instead of just one. The 9mm PCCs fall into this category. These platforms are ideal for informal plinking, target shooting, home defense, or riding along as a trunk gun. I’ve heard that a good sized part of what is driving the new interest in these guns are the new divisions in 3-Gun and other practical-style competitions that allow the use of 9mm carbines. Imagine spending a day honing your shooting skills at a match, getting home, giving your carbine a quick cleaning, and then staging the gun you know inside and out to defend your home in case of an emergency. That’s about as flexible as a gun gets.

Rotary Turns 180 Degrees on Restrictive Firearm Policies

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UPDATE: Rotary Club International changes policies at request of 2nd Amendment member-supporters.

u-turn sign

Source: NRA-ILA

In March, we reported on a series of restrictive policies governing firearms that had been approved by the governing body of the well-known networking and service club, Rotary International. This week came a welcome turn of events, as the club’s board of directors announced that the rules, which had been set to take effect July 1, have undergone substantial “clarification.”

The policies as originally announced in January had banned any Rotary entity — including clubs and districts — from selling, raffling, or transferring firearms. It also banned these entities from participating in activities where any sort of firearm raffle or other transfer occurs, whether or not Rotary is the owner of the items. Rotary entities were additionally prohibited from sponsoring or conducting gun shows or other exhibitions involving guns and even from “accept[ing] sponsorship from any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacturer of guns, weapons or other armaments.

Rotary’s board of directors had cited “financial and reputational risk” as justification for the rules.  

A number of Rotary’s American members, however, spoke out in opposition to the new rules. Fortunately, their voices were heard, and Rotary announced changes to the rules this week.

Under the revised guidelines, Rotary entities are expressly authorized to “participate in activities involving the sale, give-away or transfer, including raffles, of guns, weapons or other armaments ….” The entity, however, must not “take ownership of the item(s)” and any transfer of ownership of a firearm must be “handled by a licensed third party in compliance with all applicable laws.” 

Entities engaging in activities that involve firearms, including sport shooting activities, are further required “to consult with legal and/or insurance professionals to ensure that they are adequately protected.”

The ban on sponsorship of Rotary activities by firearm-related companies was also lifted.

An email announcing the changes said they were made “in response to comments from our members….”

The NRA is very pleased that Rotary has reconsidered its position and will continue to allow its entities to conduct these popular events. It speaks well of the club that it was willing to chart a more moderate path in response to member concerns.