Category Archives: Accessories

REVIEW: Taurus Judge

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Bob Campbell takes a look at this unique revolver that has in a short time become an iconic phenom. READ MORE

taurus judge

by Bob Campbell

Handguns are reactive instruments. They are carried on the person to answer a threat. They may be kept at home ready to address a threat in the home. If we have warning, then we are most often better advised to deploy a rifle or shotgun.

The handgun then is the weapon of opportunity. While handguns are not the most powerful firearms, they are the ones we are most likely to have on hand when a firearm is needed to save our life. I have spent several months evaluating the Taurus Judge and have formed a favorable opinion of the revolver for specialized use.

The Judge is a 5-shot revolver that chambers both the .410 bore shotgun shell or a .45 Colt cartridge. This means real versatility. By the same token, the design limits the accuracy and range of the revolver. As a pure, short-range home defender, the Taurus Judge has merit.

taurus judge

There is a considerable argument that getting on target fast and getting a hit — any hit — very fast is critical. This is true. I have taught that it is better to slow down and get a center hit than a fast miss. This doesn’t mean a fast hit isn’t possible; it simply demands practice.

The Judge addresses this need by offering a shot payload. The .410 bore isn’t a powerhouse, but with the right load — and that is the key — it offers a viable defense option. Surprisingly, my evaluation indicates the Taurus Judge may be viable for protection against predators at close range as well. My test piece is perhaps the most common Judge (there are several options), a steel frame revolver with a 3.0-inch barrel.

The revolver is light enough, handles better than its ungainly appearance suggests, and offers good hit probability for those that practice. Fit, finish, and smoothness of action are good. The revolver features a red fiber optic front sight. This sight offers a good aiming point and aids in rapid target acquisition.

A short barrel handgun with a smooth bore firing a shotgun shell is illegal, the .410 and the .45 Colt are close enough that Taurus was able to design and manufacture a revolver chambered for both the .410 shotgun shell and .45 Colt cartridge. There is rifling but it is fairly shallow.

Like all double action revolvers, the Judge is simple to operate. Open the cylinder, load the chambers, and press the trigger to fire. No slide to rack, and no safety to operate. The concept is to allow the shooter to get a fast hit with a load of shot. While each individual buckshot pellet doesn’t carry much energy the effect of the loads hitting instantly with several projectiles offers excellent wound potential.

Load Selection
You may have seen ill-conceived videos and hype in which the Taurus Judge is fired at a target and the target is peppered with hits. Birdshot is a tiny shot grade intended to humanely kill a bird with a few hits. It is by no means useful for personal defense. Like firing a full-size shotgun, birdshot is fine for practice but not personal defense. A charge of birdshot from 7- to 9 shot carries hundreds of small pellets that form a pattern.

taurus judge
Federal’s buckshot load is a simple and effective solution to .410 buckshot.

At the typical personal defense range, this pattern runs 18 to 32 inches. This is 7 yards, past that birdshot is useless. Worse, the small shot penetrates only a few inches. A felon wearing a heavy winter jacket may not be hurt at all. At about 15 feet, the Federal 4 buckshot load, carrying #3 buckshot, holds a cohesive pattern of less than three inches. This is a preferred load for those using the .410 load for personal defense.

taurus judge
This is a pattern from the Federal buckshot load at about 15 feet.
taurus judge
As range progress misses are inevitable.

The Federal load is advertised at about 750 fps but actually clocked over 800 fps in the Judge. The total payload is 292 grains. Winchester offers a PDX load with a total payload of over 300 grains, with three flat disks and a load of BB Shot. With this load, the pattern is often quite large (as much as 16 inches at 15 feet) with the disks striking the center of the target.

taurus judge
The Hornady Triple Defense load offers good wound potential.

The Hornady .410 defense load features a .41 caliber slug followed by two round balls. The slug generally tracks straight with the point of aim with the balls radiating around the center. It is essential you pattern the shot on a paper target to determine how the shot spreads at 5 to 10 yards.

In my opinion, 7 yards is the outside range for these loads, although the Hornady slug with its FTX design might be useful a bit beyond. The bottom line, buckshot and specialty loads are useful for home defense and for short-range defense against predators. Penetration tests in water jugs and wet newsprint indicate these loads will produce a serious wound.

According to A Prepper’s Guide To Shotguns, birdshot may penetrate a six-inch gallon jug and some shot will make it to the second jug, but very few. Federal’s 2 ½-inch shell with 4 OOO balls penetrates over 24 inches, which might correlate to 18 inches in gelatin. That is excellent.

The Winchester PDX load exhibits a much larger pattern. However, the three disks in the PDX offer a 3×4 pattern at 15 feet. The much larger pattern is made up of 12 BBs. The Hornady FTX slug penetrates 15 inches from this revolver, with the two round balls making a total 3 to 5 inch group at 15 feet.

These heavy loads should produce devastating results at 15 feet to perhaps 21 feet, the magic 7 yard average range. In truth across a room or bedroom is more likely. The Judge must be aimed, but the pattern has spread enough to aid in hitting at 10 to 15 feet. This handgun isn’t useful past 21 feet with shot loads.

Another option is to load the Judge with .45 Colt ammunition. In order to meet Federal law pertaining to handguns and shotshells the Judge is a .45 Colt revolver with the option of firing .410 shells. The barrel is rifled. The long jump of the .45 Colt bullet from the chamber to the barrel throat would seem to limit both velocity and accuracy. In some cases this is true. However, my most recent testing indicates that this loss isn’t always what we think it may be.

The Judge is plenty strong for the heaviest loads, including hard cast SWC bullet handloads. It depends on how much recoil tolerance you have. A good choice for personal defense is the Hornady Critical Defense. This 185-grain bullet has a good reputation for expansion and penetration. Velocity is 891 fps form the three-inch barrel Taurus Judge. Recoil is modest. This load strikes to the point of aim. At 15 yards, five shots fired from a solid benchrest firing position yielded a 3-inch group. This is plenty accurate for personal defense.

Another choice worth considering is the Winchester PDX 225-grain JHP. This load offers a heavy hitter at 780 fps. This bullet weight offers plenty of momentum. The .45 Colt is among a very few handguns that performs well without bullet expansion. This was proven in the Old West and in many engagements since.

A solid choice is the Winchester 255-grain lead bullet. This bullet exits at 770 fps from the Judge. (And 778 fps from a 4 ¾-inch revolver on hand for comparison.) Penetration is about 18 inches, ideal for personal defense, yet recoil is mild. This is also a relatively accurate load with a 3-inch, 15-yard group. If the Judge owner anticipates a long shot, the .45 Colt offers proven wound potential without high recoil.

The Judge is a specialized handgun. It isn’t a go-anywhere do-anything handgun by any means. But what it does, it does well. It is worth your time to explore the Judge.

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Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

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Not exactly! Not even remotely. But it’s another example of the gun control groups ignorance afoot and afloat out there. READ MORE

suppressor

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In response to reports that the Virginia Beach shooter used a firearm suppressor in carrying out his terrible crime, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Giffords gun control group, claimed that a suppressed pistol is especially dangerous because the noise associated with the firearm is difficult to distinguish from a nail gun. As per usual for claims Chipman and his employer make about firearm suppressors, this is false.

In an article appearing in the Virginian-Pilot, Chipman claims, “The gun does not sound gun-like. It takes the edge out of the tone . . . This is how I would describe it: It makes a gun sort of sound like a nail gun.”

But, a suppressed .45 caliber pistol, like the one that is reported to have been used in Virginia Beach, is many times louder than a nail gun:

A suppressed .45 caliber pistol produces about 130-135 dBA.
A nail gun produces about 100 dBA.

Decibels (dBA) are a logarithmic scale, so sound levels increase in a non-linear fashion. A 3 dBA increase doubles the sound pressure level. (Although most people perceive a 6 to 10 dBA increase as double the noise level.)

The 30-35 dBA difference between a nail gun and a suppressed pistol will be perceived as at least eight times louder to the human ear.

As an interesting comparison, an unsuppressed pistol produces about 165 dBA. So the difference between an unsuppressed and suppressed pistol is about the same difference in sound pressure level between a suppressed pistol and a nail gun.

suppressor sound

Chipman can’t have it both ways, if, as he claims, suppressed gunfire can’t be easily identified as gunfire, then suppressed gunfire doesn’t sound anything like a nail gun.

This isn’t Chipman’s first attempt to mislead the public on firearm suppressors. In 2017, he made a false claim about the design intent of suppressors. And, his employer received three “Pinocchios” from the Washington Post fact checker for misleading claims they made about suppressors.

Unfortunately, the Virginian-Pilot article created further confusion about suppressors by producing audio files that purport to show the difference in sound level between nail guns, suppressed pistols, and unsuppressed pistols. Listening to recorded audio through speakers or headphones cannot accurately depict these sound differences. Due to microphone and speaker specifications, most sounds in audio recordings are reproduced at a similar sound level. This is why normal conversations and gunfire can both be reproduced in the same audio recording despite the fact that one of the sounds is over 100 dBA louder than the other.

The only way to accurately perceive the differences in sound levels is to hear them in person (with appropriate hearing protection). Short of that, if the Virginian-Pilot wanted to accurately convey differences in sound level, using commonly occurring sounds can be helpful.

For example, a suppressed pistol at over 130 dBA is louder than the maximum sound level of a jackhammer. Not exactly quiet and nothing like a nail gun.

 

3 Rapid-Access Safes For Your Long Guns

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Your best choice for defense doesn’t do any good if you can’t get to it. Jason Hanson shares a few ideas on how security and speed can go hand in hand. READ MORE

Jason Hanson

A 79-year old Benzie County, MI man was sitting in his home one evening around 11:20 P.M. when he heard a noise in his barn.

The homeowner grabbed his shotgun and proceeded to his barn to investigate.

Once inside the barn, the homeowner confronted an unknown man and told him to leave the property.

Unfortunately, the man inside the barn decided to move toward the homeowner in an aggressive manner, resulting in the homeowner firing his shotgun, striking the intruder in the legs.

The armed homeowner kept his shotgun pointed at the suspect until deputies and paramedics arrived.

The intruder was transported to a local hospital with multiple wounds from the round fired by the homeowner.

According to the Benzie County Sheriff…

“We believe he was defending himself, he did this in self-defense, but the prosecutor ultimately gets to make that decision.”

Clearly, this homeowner stopped a criminal from not only burglarizing his barn but also from physically harming him in the process.

This 79-year old man was prepared to defend his home and was ready with a shotgun quickly available so he could stop a threat.

The thing is, so many people who own long guns such as AR-15s or shotguns have them tucked away in large gun safes located in their closet.

This is clearly not a good idea if you are planning to use one of those guns for home defense.

Instead, consider a rapid-access safe for your long gun.

A few types to consider are below…

Hornady Rapid Safe AR Wall Lock. This particular safe is more like a lockable gun rack than an actual safe.

hornady gun lock

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It’s designed specifically to fit a standard AR-15 or larger AR-10 style rifle and they sell a version for shotguns as well.

The lock can be opened with a numeric code or you can use one of the included RFID tags.

There’s also a bypass key. The Hornady Rapid Safe AR Wall Lock sells for around $175.

Fort Knox Shotgun Security Box. This security box is an under-the-bed style safe.

The Fort Knox Shotgun Box is a big 10-gauge steel box with a spring-assisted door and a Simplex lock.

fort knox gun safe

SEE MORE HERE

It’s limited in what it can store since it’s only 45 inches long and the opening is only 9 inches by 5 inches. That’s enough room for most shotguns, but it might be a tight fit if you’ve got a pistol grip.

An AR will most likely fit if there’s no magazine or optic attached.

One drawback to this safe is that there are no holes for cables or for mounting it to the floor.

However, this means you can easily move it around from under a bed or under a living room couch. The Fort Knox Security Box sells for $400.

Tactical Walls Rifle Length Shelf. Tactical Walls is a company that makes all different types of gun safes that look like ordinary furniture.

GUN SAFE

SEE MORE HERE

The Rifle Length Concealment Shelf is the largest and most popular wall mounted safe the company sells.

It has a foam lined compartment that is 12-in. D x 42-in. W. The installation for the safe is the same as hanging any common shelf.

To access the secret compartment, simply disengage the hidden locks with the supplied keys.

The bottom half of the shelf is lowered with the assistance of a pneumatic strut.

Depending on the color and wood options you select, the Tactical Walls Rifle Shelf starts around $400.

Any of these three safe options will allow you to more quickly access your long gun than if it’s sitting in a giant safe in your closest that takes an eternity to open.

Since long guns are such a good option for home defense, I would have at least one of your ARs or shotguns in a safe you can open fast.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

 

Why You Need an Air Rifle

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A good air rifle is not a toy! It’s a valuable multi-purpose gun, and you never know the purpose it might be put to… READ MORE

Gamo Silent Cat
Gamo Silent Cat

Jason Hanson

How many times have you been getting ready for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and you realize you need milk, eggs, butter or some other staple? Since grocery stores frequently change their hours during the holidays, a lot of folks end up running to a local convenience store to buy last minute items.

This is exactly what happened to an Indiana family and unfortunately their trip to the gas station was more excitement than they anticipated. While parked at the gas station, a nine-year old boy named Larry was waiting for his father, Kevin, in a Dodge Ram.

It was parked outside with the engine running when a man approached the driver’s side door.

Ollie Dunn, 32, opened the driver’s side door of the pickup with the intention of stealing the truck, but he was met by 9-year old Larry who grabbed his pellet gun and put it to Ollie’s face.

Obviously, this gave the criminal second thoughts so he backed away and slammed the door of the truck, moving on to another vehicle.

Eventually, Ollie found a vehicle that was running, with no one inside and sped off from the store. However, a short distance away he crashed the stolen vehicle and was arrested by police.

Ollie was charged with attempted auto theft, unlawful entry of a vehicle, vehicle theft, theft, and driving without a license.

The thing is, this brave 9-year old did exactly the right thing because who knows what Ollie would have done if he had taken the truck with the child inside. Clearly, the gun intimidated the criminal, whether he knew it was a pellet gun or not didn’t really matter since it was effective at keeping Larry safe.

The reality is, an air rifle can serve many different purposes and is something I would consider buying if you don’t already have one.

First, an air rifle is quiet and can easily be used to hunt small game such as squirrels or birds. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive, and ammo is also easy to come by. In addition, many air rifles come with iron sights and are simple to shoot, meaning they are a great way to teach new shooters before giving them a real firearm.

Finally, another advantage to air rifles and pistols is that they are legal to own in most states.

Oftentimes, people use the term BB gun and pellet gun as the same but they are very different weapons.

A BB gun typically shoots only round balls commonly referred to as BB’s. On the other hand, depending on the specific pellet gun, these guns can shoot both BB’s and pellets, which are more like the shape of a bullet, instead of just the ball shape.

Another thing is, pellet guns are typically more accurate and can fire at a longer distance compared to BB guns.

With that being said, I would definitely consider a pellet gun since they can serve more purposes and are usually more accurate. Considering this, here are the top pellet guns I would check out to add to your firearm collection.

Gamo Silent Cat (shown at article start).This is a .177 caliber pellet gun that shoots at 1000 feet per second, making it one of the more powerful pellet guns on the market.

It comes equipped with a 4×32 air rifle scope with rings and mounts. As the name implies, this gun is one of the quieter pellet guns you will find because the noise dampener mounted to the barrel makes the firearm noticeably more silent.

Plus, this is a spring-piston air rifle meaning you don’t have to pump the rifle to fire. The Gamo Silent Cat sells for around $150.

Remington AirMaster
Remington AirMaster

Remington AirMaster 77 Air Rifle. This is a multi-pump rifle that shoots either BB’s or pellets. The Airmaster 77 is coated in a black matte synthetic stock and forearm with a black metal receiver and brushed nickel barrel.

This shoots .177 pellets or BB’s up to 1000 feet per second so it gives you more options compared to other pellet guns on the market. In addition, the Remington comes with a fiber optic front sight and a 4X15 scope.

Since this is a multi-pump air rifle you can vary the power with which you’ll shoot depending on the number of times you pump the rifle. The Remington AirMaster 77 sells for around $85.

Ruger Blackhawk
Ruger Blackhawk

Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle. If you are going to buy an air rifle, you may want to buy one from a company that is known for making quality and accurate firearms.

This is exactly what Ruger delivers with the Blackhawk, which is a .177 caliber air rifle that shoots at 1000 feet per second. This rifle features rear optic sights and a 4×32 scope and mount so it can easily adapt to changes in elevation or wind.

This air rifle uses a spring-piston mechanism so there is no pumping the rifle before shooting. The Ruger Blackhawk sells for around $100.

The truth is, this is a perfect gift idea for those in your family who you may want to introduce to firearms or as an addition to your firearm collection that can serve many purposes during an emergency.

Lastly, remember these guns can do a lot of damage and are not the cheap guns we played with back in the day so always follow all firearms safety rules.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

 

The Unequivocal Instrument: Snubnose Magnum Revolvers

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While the revolver is often looked down on as old technology, few handguns are as reliable and accurate as the short-barrel .357 Magnum revolver. KEEP READING

ruger sp101 357

Wilburn Roberts

With the great and growing abundance of concealed carry permits as Americans exercise their rights and commons sense, and with a present political climate that nurtures such progress, armed citizens are choosing to be responsible for their own safety. Choosing which handgun may be an easy enough choice for seasoned shooters, but quite a few of the new generation of handgunners are newcomers to one handgun in particular…

Many are steered toward a handgun that doesn’t fit their skill level. A semi-auto 9mm or .40 compact isn’t for everyone. However, the novice and very experienced shooter alike often choose a revolver. They are well armed when they do so.

snubnose revolvers
Short barrel revolvers are great personal defense firearms. Be certain to train well!

The snubnose .38 Special is a reasonable choice, however, the snubnose .38 is seen as less powerful than the 9mm pistol. (A “snubnose” is generally defined as having a barrel length 3 inches or less.) This is overcome by the power of the .357 Magnum revolver. When comparing the types, the advantages of the revolver have to be plain to make the short-barrel revolver an attractive choice.

Reliability is one advantage.

A further advantage of the revolver is that the revolver can be fired repeatedly even if it’s contacting an opponent. The semi-auto would jam after the first shot. It may also short cycle due to a less than perfect grip.

taurus 605
This Taurus 605 .357 Magnum revolver is carried in a 3Speed holster. This is a great deep concealment rig.

For a weapon to be used at conversational distance, the revolver’s reliability in this scenario is a big plus. A further advantage would be in a struggle for the gun — and this happens often — the gun grabber has little to hang onto in the case of a short-barreled revolver.

As said, an alternative to the .38 Special is the .357 Magnum. The .357 operates at almost three times the pressure level of the .38 Special. The Magnum operates at some 40,000 copper units of pressure compared to 18,000 for the .38 Special, and 20,000 for the .38 Special +P. This gives the magnum a great advantage in power, and the ability to use heavier bullets. There are .357 Magnum revolvers almost as compact as the snubnose .38, but often the Magnum will have a heavier frame and a heavier barrel which offers a better platform for the more powerful cartridge.

galco holster
Galco’s Carry Lite revolver holster is among the best for concealed carry. This inside the waistband holster is affordable and available.

These handguns also willingly chamber the .38 Special, providing a power level option in the same gun (that’s not available in a semi-auto). A .38 Special +P load is a good choice for the beginner for use in his or her .357 Magnum revolver. The shooter may move to the Magnum loadings after sufficient practice.

The obvious mechanical advantages of the revolver as related to reliability, the ability to use the weapon with a less-than-perfect grip and at point-blank range, are compelling sales features. However, in the end, the ballistics might be the best selling point. There has been a myth circulated for some time that the snubnose .357 Magnum is no more powerful than a .38 Special, as the Magnum loses velocity when fired in a short barrel. This is far from true. The Magnum does lose velocity when fired in a 2- to 3-inch barreled compact revolver, but it remains far more powerful than the snubnose .38 Special as the accompanying table shows. The .357 Magnum considerably outperforms the .38 Special by any measure.

With these revolvers, recoil could be grim to the uninitiated. Recoil energy approaches 12 pounds in some .357 Magnum revolvers, compared to 6 to 8 pounds in the 9mm and .40 caliber handguns, and a slight 4 pounds with .38 +P ammunition in a snubnose. This is a sharp jolt not to be underestimated. The person deploying this revolver must engage in practice and use the proper techniques to master this revolver.

sp101
The Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum is among the strongest handguns — ounce for ounce — ever built.

Modern .357 Magnum revolvers such as the 5-shot Ruger SP 101 are designed with every advantage toward making the gun controllable. The factory grips on these revolvers are among the best ever designed. If you are able to find a Smith & Wesson K-frame revolver at a fair price, the 6-shot Smith & Wesson is even more controllable, albeit a bit larger.

Use a proper holster such as one of the Galco inside the waistband holsters and you will find the snubnose revolver very concealable. The revolver is simple to use — simply draw and fire. The Ruger and Smith & Wesson each have smooth double-action triggers that promote accuracy.

Another advantage of the revolver is superb accuracy. The Smith & Wesson Model 19 I often carry has been in service for four decades. A combination of excellent high-visibility sights and a smooth trigger make for fine accuracy. As just one example with the .38 Special Fiocchi 125-grain Extrema, this revolver has cut a 1.5-inch 25-yard group for 5 shots.

The .357 Magnum revolver isn’t for everyone, but for those who practice, one offers excellent accuracy, reliability, and proven power.

magnum specs

Check out Midsouth AMMO here.

RELOADERS CORNER: Multi-Rifle Loading

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If you shoot the “same” load for different rifles, here’s a few ideas on getting the most out of it for all of them. READ MORE

multigunj reloading

Glen Zediker

I have a few rifles…

Every time I do a new book I have more. This last time around, in writing America’s Gun: The Practical AR15, I built 10 AR15s, and half of those have the “same” chambering (5.56 NATO). My choices that I can case and then uncase any afternoon for some range time might all have the “same” chamber but they’re each and all, in some measured amount, different.

That’s literally in measured amounts, and more in a minute.

If you (like me) really don’t want to load separately, store separately, and use separately, then the only real choice is to employ a “lowest common denominator” tactic. With only one exception, I don’t load uniquely for any of these guns. I pretty much just want a sack-full of ammo at the ready. The one I load uniquely for has a tuned gas system (it’s a practical competition “race gun”).

old and new AR15
Both straight up NATO chambers, but the little one won’t run what the big one will. It’s a gas system architecture difference, and a little more challenge to find a “universal” load. Rifle-length gas systems like on my retro “602” M16 (left) are, by the way, more tolerant of load variations than tricked out short guns like the brand-new USASOC URG-I (right).

Variables
Assuming all the rifles have the “same” chamber, meaning only that the barrel stamp is the same, there still exist differences. There are differences reamer to reamer, and, depending on the operator, there might (will) be differences in headspace, and leade. They’re likely to be tiny, but tiny can matter. Some manifestations of pressure have some to do with the barrel bore (land diameter for instance).

I measure spent cases for all the different rifles. They don’t measure nearly all the same! Of all the set-by-sizing dimensions, cartridge headspace has shown the most variation in my samples.

That, also, is a very important dimension to set. As gone on (and on and on) in RELOADERS CORNER, the idea is to get adequate case shoulder set-back to ensure function, and also to keep it to the minimum necessary to prolong case life. The minimum necessary runs from 0.003 for a semi-auto to 0.001 for a bolt-action.

To set this dimension for multiple rifles that use the same batch of ammo, the means is pretty easy to anticipate: find the gun with the shortest headspace, set the die to set back the case shoulder where it needs to be for that one, and live with it.

If you don’t want to give in thataway, but rather prefer (or at least don’t mind, two technically different outlooks) running multiple dies with multiple adjustments, and keeping the ammo segregated, then here’s more.

I’ve had really good experiences using a turret press. For most rifle needs, one with, say, four spots will allow the use of two sizing dies, maybe three (depending on what occupies the other locations). These dies can be uniquely adjusted for cartridge case headspace. Of course, it’s easily possible to just swap dies in and out but the turret keeps them put and saves a step.

redding t7
A turret press is a sano solution to maintaining differently adjusted dies. Redding and Lyman both make good ones. This is a Redding T7.

If you’re a bolt-gun shooter and have a couple or more rifles that run the same cartridge, and if you’re wanting to get the most from your efforts in loading for each, you might consider this next. Redding has long-made a set of five shellholders with varying heights. They allow a shellholder swap on the same die to alter case headspace, for example. There are also shims available that go under the die lock ring to provide for die body height variance. This sort of setup lets the handloader alter-adjust headspace without readjusting the die.

redding shellholders
Redding Competition Shellholder set. Five shellholders, each 0.002-inches different heights. This allows, for one, different case shoulder set-back using the same die as set.

Levels
Now. As far as lighting on a load that they’ll all shoot their absolute best with. Sorry to say, but “not likely.” There sometimes seems like there is more mystery than there is known in “why some shoot better” with one load. And when I say “load” I’m talking about the dose, the amount of propellant. What that ends up being mandates at least some effort in evaluating more than one rifle when working up to a point you’ll call it “good.”

NATO-spec ammo is hot and getting hotter! I’m talking about true NATO-spec, not just lower-cost ammo sold in a “plain box.” This isn’t about NATO ammo, but it was for me. The difference between pressure levels of NATO and, say, a commercial-made .223 Rem. “match” load are enough that two of the guns won’t even run with that. I set up these guns from the workbench respecting NATO pressures, and that, in most cases, meant firming up the “back end”: heavier buffers and springs.

My good old “do it all” load no longer exists in my current notes. Amazingly, to me at least, it’s up the velocity equivalent of about a grain and a half from what I used to bust up clods and cans with. It’s also a different propellant (now H335).

No question: pressure symptoms must also define the “lowest common denominator” when loading the same for multiple guns. Since I also have to consider reliable function in my own example, and as just suggested, I’m loading up a little nearer the edge. I carefully evaluate spent case condition from each rifle and anything that reads or appears remotely as an excessive pressure sign means I’ll knock a universal half grain off the group load.

The preceding is a specially-adapted excerpt from Glen’s newest book, America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Check it out HERE

par15

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

LINKS
TURRET PRESSES

COMPETITION SHELLHOLDER SET

RELOADERS CORNER: Progressive Press Tips

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Progressive reloading presses are speedy and efficient ammo-creating machines, and here’s a few tips on getting the most from yours. READ MORE

Hornady AP

Glen Zediker

A “progressive” reloading press is a stellar invention. Originally conceived for use in commercial loading, the consumer segment latched onto them for the simple reason that those who consume mass quantities of ammo needed to take some of the time and tedium away from the necessary process of handloading. They were no doubt popularized with a lot of help from those involved in the (then) new sport of practical pistol shooting.

Clearly, if you think 1000 rounds is a reasonable expenditure in a day, you’ll probably be loading for your handgun on a progressive. However! They work for rifles too.

A question most have, or have had, is whether rifle ammo loaded on a progressive will shoot as well as that loaded up on a single-stage. If you have had that question, this article will help you answer “yes.” Some concerns using progressives revolve around overcoming some of the lack of control we can have using single-stage, stand-alone tools.

Hornady progressive press
Progressive presses are not just for straight-wall pistol cases. High-quality ammo can be produced on a progressive. Just need the right tooling and the right approaches. A “big” progressive, like this Hornady, can handle virtually any cartridge. I like Hornady, by the way, because of the tooling option flexibility.

The name “progressive” comes from the machine’s rotating shell plate that progressively moves a cartridge case from one step in the process to the next, from start to finish. Each pull of the press handle advances one case, another is added, and so on. A loaded round emerges at the end of the ride. Along the way each routine step in the reloading process gets done: decapping, sizing, priming, propellant dispensing, bullet seating. There are varying levels of automation, corresponding with varying levels of complexity, corresponding with varying levels of cost. Some require more or less user-supplied input (manual shell plate indexing, and so on) while others are near about hands-free, with case and bullet feeders and the like.

It’s a bench-mounted ammo assembly line.

As started on, each essential op is supplied by a toolhead that has four or more tool stations to correspond with the openings on the shell plate.

Most progressives I’ve seen arrive complete and ready to set up: all you need, all it needs. Take a look at what they’ve given you.

Get “good” dies. Most progressives will accept any 7/8-14 threaded die. Feel free, and encouraged, to use the “better” sizing and seating dies, just as you might for a single-stage press.

Hornady AP press
This’ll getcha done in a hurry! Hornady AP (“ammo plant”) with auto bullet and case feeding.

If it’s possible, upgrade the powder meter. This can often be done using a “conversion kit” if the press isn’t already outfitted with linkage that will cycle another powder meter operating handle. A good propellant dispenser always makes a difference!

Address primer pockets. The priming operation inherent in a progressive doesn’t provide the feel of a stand-alone tool. That’s not a problem at all if all primers are all seated fully. To help ensure that, I say it’s wise to run a primer pocket uniformer. That way, the pocket will be what it should be, so the priming operation should “automatically” result in a properly-seated primer. Sometimes adjustments to the mechanism are necessary, by the way.

Keep the press pieces clean and lubed. Most function issues come from neglect here. Remember that all ops revolve around the revolution of the shell plate so keep it clean and lubed appropriately. Pay attention especially to the priming mechanism.

And mount a progressive securely. There is a huge amount of pressure and stress involved especially on a “big” one. Think again about how many tasks are being processed each stroke, and consider those processes, and it’s clear that this big bad boy best be fastened down. It’s also noticeably easier to operate a progressive when it’s rigidly mounted. Press op feel greatly improves.

Reasons not to use a progressive? Not really, or none that really affect ammo quality. For me it’s primarily stepping up to the level of trust necessary. Single-stage? It’s all and each done one at a time. Chance for a mis-seated primer or short-charged case are more remote. Keep a close eye on results using a progressive. Don’t get either in too big a hurry or complacent. I check each round after the fact, looking mostly for high primers.

The more pre-progressive case prep you do (maybe) the better. Much of that depends on what you routinely do to or for cases. Trimming, for instance, primer pocket cleaning, primer pocket uniforming, and on down the list. The main reason I don’t use progressives more than I do is because I radically slow them down! All those ops are stand-alone station processes.

decapping die
Prior decapping is wise. I recommend this op prior to case cleaning (gets the primer pockets). But decapping prior to putting the cases on a progressive eliminates a huge amount of grit that otherwise will get onto and into the mechanism. Pay close attention to progressive priming parts: look out for any debris, which could conceivably detonate a primer; that can and has been catastrophic. And take care filling primer tubes! Know when to stop, know when they’re full.

The closer your starting point (sizing a clean case) is to your ending point (seating a bullet) the better a progressive will reward you.

Last: Keep a close watch on supply levels! The efficiency of a good progressive creates a time warp for me. I am always surprised how quickly primer and propellant supply empty. Warning buzzers are most welcome!

Check out PRESSES HERE
Find a DECAPPING DIE

Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, are available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com and check out more articles and a brand new book on AR15s! HERE.

Win This Lyman Borecam Digital Borescope!

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Check out the “Borescope the New Year with Midsouth Shooters and Lyman Products Giveaway!”

Borecam Digital Borescope With Monitor

From now, until January 21st, we’ll be giving you a chance to win a New Lyman Borecam Digital Borescope! If you’re not familiar with this handy piece of technology, the Borecam gives you the ability to inspect minute details of your barrel, while capturing clear images, and getting the most out of your barrels longevity.

Borecam Digital Borescope With Monitor

Enter for your chance to win below, and GOOD LUCK!

Borescope the New Year with Midsouth Shooters and Lyman Products Giveaway!

 

REVIEW: Optic Ready Glocks for Concealed Carry

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Glock G17 and G19 Gen4 Modular Optic System (MOS) guns are ‘game changers’ according to the author. Read more about this new trend in carry guns HERE

glock mos

Wilburn Roberts

There are times when you don’t notice a shift in the paradigm, but with the new Glock G17 and G19 Gen4 MOS (Modular Optic System) pistols the move is obvious and clear. Concealed carry pistols equipped with optics are the next stage in the evolution of defensive pistols.

Glock has taken its most popular models, the full-size G17 Gen4 and compact G19 Gen4, and created MOS variants. The MOS variants that feature a small cover plate just forward of the rear sight. After removing the plate and replacing it with a mounting adaptor the user can mount a reflex red dot sight such as the popular models from Trijicon, Leupold, Meopta, C-More, Docter, and Insight. What this means is, a shooter can acquire a target faster and shoot with more accuracy while doing it with a pistol meant for personal protection. Red dots are not just for competition shooting and hunting any more.

mos mount
The optic-ready mounting is easily accessible.

Glock introduced the MOS (Modular Optic System) variants a few years ago. The G34, G35 and G41 Gen4 received the MOS treatment making them easier to equip with a red dot sight for competition shooting. Glock did the same for the 10mm G40 Gen4 MOS. The addition of an optic increases the shooter’s effective range. Mounting a reflex red dot sights increases the speed and aiming accuracy over traditional iron sights — well, plastic sights in the case of Glock. With a red dot, all a shooter needs to do is focus on the red dot and place it on the target. Traditional sights have three planes — rear sight, front sight, and target — that need to be aligned for accurate shooting. Adding a red dot simply seems to be the natural progression for concealed carry pistols.

Fobus IWBL
I hauled the larger G17 with Delta Point in a Fobus IWBL holster, which required no alterations.

I recently had the opportunity to test a G17 Gen4 MOS and G19 Gen4 MOS. I mounted a Leupold Delta Point to them. At the range, I found I was more accurate and faster on target when compared to the same guns using only iron sights. Drawing the G17 and G19 from concealed cover, I experienced a bit of a learning curve. Make sure your concealing garment is out of the way. The optic is obvously higher and could potentially snag.

The transition from iron sights to optic also requires the shooter to aim differently. In my case, I needed to slightly lower the muzzle of the pistol to acquire the red dot within the sight’s window. Within a few magazines and practice draws, I was comfortable with the optic sight and the smaller groups in the paper downrange indicated my accuracy had improved. I’ve particularly grown fond of the G19 in a DGS Arms CDC (Compact Discreet Carry) kydex appendix holster, which I modified to fit the new Glock equipped with the Delta Point. I hauled the larger G17 with Delta Point in a Fobus IWBL holster, which required no alterations.

discreet holster

The size of the sight does mean the optic has the potential to snag, but proper training should alleviate any fumbled draws. The battery means you need to replace it on a schedule so you are not caught with a dead battery — both are easily managed. I also used the Delta Point as an improvised handle to rack the slide. Not something I would normally do, but I want to see if the mount held and if the sight went out of zero. I had no issues. The pistol ran like you would expect Glocks to run — flawlessly.

optics accuracy
Accuracy is better with optics!

With the G17 Gen4 MOS and G19 Gen4 MOS, Glock is redefining the conceal carry pistol, making the pistol easier and faster to aim, which is an advantage. And we all want the advantage.

glock mos specs

Check out dot optics at Midsouth HERE

leupold dot sight

Check out details from GLOCK HERE

 

Guns and Taxes

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David Hogg wants a federal tax on firearms and ammunition. Uh. David… That’s very old news! READ MORE

hogg

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

David Hogg has repeatedly broached the idea of taxing firearms and ammunition, including multiple times on Twitter, and only sometimes suggests a use for the tax revenue. Hogg’s tweets on a federal gun tax include references to implementing the same sort of licensing and permitting requirements as the government requires to drive a car or funding “gun violence” research.

We’ve previously addressed the problem with comparing “gun violence” and motor vehicle accidents or smoking, and the problem with anti-gun research, so we’ll focus exclusively on Hogg’s tax idea.

Except it isn’t Hogg’s idea. The idea of a tax on firearms and ammunition predates Hogg by about a hundred years. A moment on Google would have shown Mr. Hogg as much.

The Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET) was first imposed in 1919. In 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act directed all revenue from FAET and related excise taxes to be used for hunting-related activities. The FAET includes a 10% tax on the sale price of pistols and revolvers and 11% of the sale price of other firearms and ammunition, and 11% tax on archery equipment. The tax is applied whether or not the equipment is likely to be used for hunting. The U.S. Department of the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau provides an informative reference guide, and the Congressional Research Service compiled a report on the tax and relevant legislative proposals just this past March.

The Pittman-Robertson Act funds acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat, introduction of wildlife into suitable habitat, research into wildlife problems, surveys and inventories of wildlife problems, acquisition and development of access facilities for public use, and hunter education programs, including construction and operation of public target ranges.

More than $12 billion has been collected under the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, including more than $761 million in fiscal year 2017 alone. Revenues from the tax are placed into the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund and distributed to the states and U.S. territories.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, put together an informative video about how the excise tax supports conservation efforts and an infographic showing how the money collected from under the Act has impacted species. Spoiler alert: the white-tailed deer population went from 500,000 in 1900 to 32 million today, and the waterfowl population grew from few to 44 million. There are similar success stories for other species, all made possible through the excise tax on firearms and ammunition.

The Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax is public information, as is the distribution of funds. Awareness of the tax may be low, but that doesn’t make the tax any less real. More than three-quarters of a billion dollars was collected last year; such an amount does not go unnoticed, particularly by the state wildlife agencies that depend on that funding for research and conservation efforts.

Mr. Hogg and others who want a federal tax on firearms and ammunition, would be well-served by spending a bit of time researching an idea before they start issuing demands.