Category Archives: AR-15

REVIEW & RETROSPECT: Colt’s AR 15 — Trail-Dirty Deeds and Off Road Shooting

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The author says the Colt’s is still the AR-style rifle by which all others are judged. READ WHY

colt ar15

Bob Campbell

There are several variations on the Colt’s AR 15 rifle. While I have my favorites any of the Colt’s will give long service in the harshest environments. It is like the old question of do you know the difference between an elephant and an ant? An ant can ride an elephant — many companies have done the AR 15 and some have done it well but the Colt’s is still the one that all others are judged by. On that subject the same may be said in spades concerning the Colt 1911. The pistol has been first with the most since 1911. While there are high grade handguns that are good examples of the maker’s art, those that cost less than the Colt are, well, cheaper guns.

colt ar15
This is the Colt’s LE carbine with standard forend.
colt ar15
This is the author’s long serving M4.

Field Test
I elected to go a field test of these guns. You have to get down and dirty sometimes. I appreciate my firearms but they are workers. I also love my shiny near new Jeep, but I took it across the Jeep Beach at the Outer Banks. That is what it is made for.

colt ar15
Note M4’s quad rail.
colt ar15
Each Colt’s features a birdcage type muzzle brake.

The Colt’s LE6940 was good enough to cause me to retire my long serving Colt’s HBAR. The LE6940 carbine is about as accurate in practical terms as the longer rifle and carries much easier. I like it better. With a flat top, a CNC machined 7075-T6 Aluminum forging, and Colt’s quality, this is a winning combination. A chrome lined bore, four position collapsible stock and the classic flash hider are all hallmarks of the carbine. It uses .0154 inch hammer and trigger pins so be certain to specify Colt when ordering an aftermarket trigger or parts. The chamber is a 5.56mm NATO, and the barrel twist is 1-7. The barrel is .750 inch diameter at the meeting of the gas block, slightly less the rest of its length. The trigger and safety are crisp in operation. One example is fitted with the XS sights rear aperture that allows using the conventional sight picture at longer range while using the sight notch at 7 yards. The Paul Howe designed CSAT makes for great utility for home defense use. The other sports a Redfield Battlezone optic.

colt ar15
The Colt’s collapsible stock is a good feature.

Firing Test
I fired 80 rounds in each rifle, firing from 25 to 100 yards, firing at quickly as I could regain the sight picture. The iron sighted rifle was by no means hopeless at the longer range but very fast at close combat range. The scoped rifle is a joy to fire and use at longer range. Both rifles, using PMag magazines, were completely reliable. The rifles have been fired extensively but this was the first outing with SIG Elite ammunition. The combination proved a happy one. I used the SIG 55 grain FMJ loading with good results. There were no function problems of any type.

colt ar15
The author really likes the XS rear sight. It is useful for close range and long range depending on which aperture is used.

The next step was firing for accuracy. I used the Sig Sauer Elite Match .223 Remington Open Tip Match (OTM) 77 grain E223M1-20 loading. This load has proven accurate in a number of rifles and I thought now was a good time to qualify its performance in the Colt rifle. I fired twenty cartridges in the open sighted Colt first. While I am not quite as sharp as I was once with iron sights I did well enough at a long 100 yards, placing three shots into groups of 1.7 to 3.0 inches. I suppose that is good enough for government work. The other Colt, with its optical sight, made things much easier. This time I realize the full accuracy potential of the loading. At 100 yards the Colt/SIG Ammo combination posted an average group of .88 inch, measuring the group from the center of each of the most widely spaced holes in the target. That is good enough to ride with.
Neither rifle was cleaned during this test.

sig 223 ammo
SIG Sauer Elite ammunition gave excellent results.

SEE MORE HERE

“Fact Checker” — Joe Biden’s “Gun Ban” Not a Gun Ban Because Some Guns Wouldn’t Be Banned

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It’s hard to check facts when the fact-checkers don’t know them… KEEP READING

fact check

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Facebook has teamed up with what it calls “third-party fact-checkers” to punish users of its platform that post information embarrassing or inconvenient to the political outlook of its principals. Yet like most sources of what passes as “news” or “journalism” these days, these “independent” organizations have knowledge deficits and outright biases that color the information they provide to the public. Take, for example, Politifact’s assertion that a gun ban is not a gun ban if there are still guns left to be banned.

Last month, the NRA’s Facebook page posted a photo of Joe Biden with the message: “Joe Biden calls for gun ban.” This was in reference to Biden’s well-known and very explicit stance that he wants to ban AR-15s and like semiautomatic rifles

There is no dispute about this. As vice-president, Biden responded to a petition by gun control activists demanding a ban on “AR-15-type weapons” by stating: “I want to say this as plainly and clearly as possible: The President and I agree with you. Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should be banned from civilian ownership.”

More recently as a candidate for the Democrat presidential nomination, Biden published what he called a “Plan for Educator’s, Students, and our Future.” Among its agenda items was to “[d]efeat the National Rifle Association” by “championing legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – bans [Biden] authored in 1994.”

So yes, he wants a gun ban. And not just on some exotic or unusual types of firearms known only to criminals or the military but on what are in fact the most popular types of centerfire rifles in America today.

After the NRA post, Facebook appended a link to a Politifact story that rated the NRA’s claim as “Mostly False.”

Politifact did not deny that Biden wants to ban AR-15s and similar guns, nor did it deny those types of firearms are very common and popular in the U.S.

Nevertheless, it insisted that “saying Biden calls for a gun ban could lead readers to believe he’s seeking to outlaw all firearms.”

This is classic use of a strawman by Politifact.

In other words, Politifact fabricated a theoretical misperception about what the NRA actually said to make a true statement “Mostly False.”

But the NRA made very clear exactly what sort of “ban” we were referring to by linking to a Fox News article about Biden’s “education” plan.

The Politifact article also used details of the 1994 “assault weapon” ban that Biden helped author and shepherd into law to make claims about what he means now when he says he wants to ban “assault weapons.”

But anti-gun Democrats have in intervening years introduced far more extensive bans under the phony “assault weapons” rubric, making it clear that prominent members of the party think the old ban did not go far enough.

Just how far Biden is proposing to go in banning guns is therefore unclear. He has not actually released legislative language for his proposed ban, nor a comprehensive list of the guns or design features he would seek to prohibit. There is no reason to believe, however, that he would (as Politifact takes for granted) feel bound by limitations in an old law that leaders of his party now view as inadequate.

In any case, a leading firearm industry source estimated there were more than 16 million AR-15-style rifles owned by civilians as of 2018. Merely banning future sales of those types of guns would unquestionably be a sweeping and dramatic incursion on access to the very types of firearms that Americans, left to their own devices, choose for lawful purposes.

It’s also notable that the old law Biden referenced was often referred to in news sources, that Politifact undoubtedly would consider reputable, as a “gun ban” or “Clinton’s gun ban,” including PBS, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Were they also being misleading or hyperbolic in the use of that term?

Politifact additionally mentions in passing that Biden insisted during a nationally televised debate on June 27, “We should have smart guns,” and, “No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure could pull that trigger.” He went on to characterize “gun manufacturers” as “our enemy.”

What Politifact conveniently omitted from its story is that no firearm currently available in the U.S. meets Biden’s fanciful “biometric” activation test.

It would therefore not be much of a stretch, given Biden’s own words, to suggest he doesn’t think any of the guns currently available for sale in the U.S. are acceptable.

Finally, Politifact ignored the fact that during the same debate, Biden also said: “I would buy back those weapons. We already started talking about that. We tried to get it done. I think it can be done. It should be demanded that we do it and that’s a good expenditure of money.”

Again, what “weapons” Biden was referring to or the details of his proposal were not clear, but the sort of “buybacks” the Obama administration promoted while Biden was vice president were modeled on policies adopted in Australia during the 1990s. These “buybacks” would more accurately be characterized as orders of mandatory firearm surrender. While owners of the affected guns were offered some bureaucratically set compensation for their property, it was an offer they couldn’t refuse. Failure to sell the banned guns could have resulted in the owners being criminally prosecuted and even jailed.

Given the foregoing, we rate Politifact’s article “politics, not fact.”

In this case the “fact-checker” was clearly trying to discredit a true statement from the NRA and minimize the increasingly radical nature of the anti-gun agenda being pursued by leading Democrats, namely Joe Biden.

 

RELOADERS CORNER: Bullet Seating Depth

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

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

Glen Zediker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a lot to keep up with.

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

GAGES, on sale now at Midsouth!

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

 

Video: Arrogant Illinois State Senator Proposes Confiscating Guns

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An Illinois State Rifle Association member asked a simple question and got a threatening answer… READ MORE

julie morrison

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

SEE THE VIDEO HERE

Anti-gun lawmakers, including some of those vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, are becoming increasingly open about their desire to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens and jail those who don’t comply. Perhaps taking a cue from their strident federal allies, this trend has trickled down to state politicians.

On June 11, anti-gun Illinois state lawmakers Sen. Julie Morrison and Rep. Bob Morgan held a “townhall” meeting in Deerfield, Ill. The NRA state affiliate, the Illinois State Rifle Association, encouraged members to attend the meeting and ask Morrison about her sponsorship of SB107.

The bill would have branded many modern semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic handguns, and shotguns commonly owned by law-abiding citizens as “assault weapons” and banned them along with spare parts and accessories. The legislation permitted current owners to continue to possess these firearms if the owner registered the firearm with the state and paid a $25 fee for each gun.

At the “townhall,” a constituent confronted Morrison about her bill, asking why it was acceptable for the lawmaker to push legislation that would take firearms away from law-abiding citizens unless they registered their guns and paid a fine. The exchange was captured on video by an ISRA supporter.

After pointing out the punitive nature of the legislation, the gun rights supporter asked Morrison, “If I get to keep it if I pay a fine and register it, how dangerous is it in the first place and why do you need to ban it at all? Why do you need to try to ban my semi-automatic firearms?

With a repellant smugness that can only be appreciated by watching the video, Morrison offered her constituents a flippant response. Literally looking down her nose at those gathered, the state senator replied, “Well you’ve just maybe changed my mind. Maybe we won’t have a fine at all. Maybe it’ll just be confiscation and we won’t have to worry about paying a fine.”

Astute gun rights supporters have long-understood that the ultimate goal of anti-gun politicians is to confiscate firearms from law-abiding gun owners. What sets Morrison’s conduct apart is that it is an almost perfect encapsulation of the contempt gun control supporters have for their fellow citizens. Gun rights supporters and all those who value personal freedom should share this video in order to show others the arrogant indifference with which these lawmakers treat their constituents’ constitutional rights.

 

Joe Biden’s “Education” Plan Aims to “Defeat” the NRA, Reprise Failed Gun Control Law

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Looks like Creepy Uncle Joe wants to retry the “Assault Weapons Ban” that failed under Bill Clinton and Big Brother both. READ MORE

biden

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last week the campaign website for presidential hopeful Joe Biden published what it called an “Education … Plan for Educators, Students, and Our Future.” Among its agenda items was to “[d]efeat the National Rifle Association” by “championing legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines — bans [Biden] authored in 1994.” In other words, Biden would reprise a law that was widely recognized (including among gun control advocates) as a failure and the cause of his party losing control of Congress in 1994.

Halfway through his first term, President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 into law. That 356-page bill included a ban on certain semi-automatic firearms and limits on the capacity of firearm magazines. It’s ghoulish and Orwellian short title was the “Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act.”

Firearms misleadingly dubbed “assault weapons” were banned by the law in three ways: by name, as “copies or duplicates” of the named firearms, and by a test that limited what features could be incorporated into a semi-automatic rifle with the ability to accept a detachable magazine. Firearms that were lawfully possessed before the ban’s effective date were exempt.

The ban included a provision that required the U.S. attorney general to “investigate and study the effect of this subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle,” and in particular, “their impact, if any, on violent and drug trafficking crime.” The study was to be reported to Congress not later than 30 months after the law’s enactment.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) contracted with the Urban Institute to complete that assessment, and it was published on March 13, 1997. The study, while bemoaning the necessarily limited amount of data for review, failed to substantiate any significant reduction in violent crime attributable to the ban. In particular, the authors “were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim.”

The authors did posit a “6.7% reduction in total gun murders between 1994 and 1995, beyond what would have been expected in view of ongoing crime, demographic, and economic trends,” but they admitted this could simply have been a year-to-year variation, “rather than a true effect of the ban.” They also acknowledged that other provisions of the 1994 crime bill, “or a host of state and local initiatives that took place simultaneously,” could have accounted for the drop.

More fundamentally, the authors pointed out that the ban from the outset missed the point when it came to reducing violent crime. “At best,” they wrote, “the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.”

The ban, in other words, actually went after guns and magazines that were underrepresented in firearm related homicides.

What debate over the law did seem to accomplish, according to the study, was to raise interest into the firearms targeted for banning. Production of the targeted guns surged during 1994, “so that more than an extra year’s normal supply of assault weapons and legal substitutes was manufactured during 1994.” The upshot was that prices for grandfathered and substitute guns remained near pre-ban levels for the early years of the law, and consumers could go on as before purchasing them for legal uses.

But that’s not all.

The lead authors of the study later received another NIJ grant to update their findings, which they did in July 2004 under the auspices of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Again, the authors indicated that the ban missed the point. “The AW provision targets a relatively small number of weapons based on features that have little to do with the weapons’ operation,” they wrote. They also reiterated that “AWs were used in only a small fraction of gun crimes prior to the ban: about 2% according to most studies and no more than 8%,” with most of those “assault weapon” crime guns being pistols, rather than rifles.

The authors also conceded that the ban had no effect on the criminal use of what today’s gun control advocates consider the paradigmatic “assault rifle,” the AR-15. “There has not been a clear decline in the use of ARs,” they wrote, an assessment that was “complicated by the rarity of crimes with these weapons … .” Likewise, the authors saw no drop in the use of banned magazines in crime and could not “clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”

Overall, the authors concluded that “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

The only good thing about the ban’s language was that it contained a 10-year sunset clause, the expiration date of which just happened to coincide with the waning days of President George W. Bush’s first term. Congress allowed the law to expire, giving it the ignominious death it so richly deserved.

Since then, even staunch gun control advocates have often admitted that trying to ban certain types of semi-automatic firearms under the guise of “assault weapons” is a fool’s errand.

The Atlantic, in a June 25, 2016 article, referred to the law as “Bill Clinton’s Costly Assault Weapons Ban.” The article quotes a lengthy oral history by Clinton’s chief congressional affairs lobbyist, who indicated he was caught off guard when he learned that Clinton was committed to pursuing the law. “It was,” the lobbyist said, “a disaster from day one.” Democratic party leadership pleaded with Clinton not to pursue the ban. When he insisted, they tried to distance themselves from the effort as much as they could.

While deals were made, the lobbyist recounts, they “were not necessarily made on the substance of the issue. The candy store was open. . . It was a very transactional kind of setup.”

In the 1994 midterm elections soon after the ban’s enactment, Clinton’s party lost a net of 54 seats in the House, as well as 8 Senate seats. The lobbyist attributed at least 40 of those losses to the “assault weapons” ban. Clinton himself later concurred that he had pushed too hard on the ban, effectively handing control of Capitol Hill to the opposition party.

Bill Clinton had no stronger critic in 1994 than the NRA.

Yet that episode is what Joe Biden now calls a “defeat” of the NRA.

Of course, Biden and his fellow Democrats are counting on the idea that the politics around “assault weapons” have changed since then.

And while it’s certainly true that the Democratic base remains committed to the idea of resurrecting an “assault weapons” ban, it’s not true that the American public at large agrees with them or is showing any sustained fervor around the issue. As we reported last October, Americans oppose a ban on AR-15s and similar semi-automatic firearms by robust double-digit margins, with support for such a ban 7% lower than the historical trend dating back to 1996, when Gallup first began polling on the issue.

Defeating the NRA may be a nice rallying cry for people who maintain committed to disarming law-abiding Americans, but taking their semi-automatic rifles won’t improve public safety. Some of the more honest members of the gun control movement admit this, including in articles published in such staunchly anti-gun publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times, and Vice.com.

And let’s not forget, Joe Biden himself was the figurehead for Barack Obama’s post-Newtown federal gun control blitz in late 2012 and early 2013.

But, as Politico recounted, “Biden did not deliver.” In that same article, a Senate aide recounted how even as Biden was publicly calling for restoring the federal “assault weapons” ban, “[b]ehind the scenes, [he] was ‘instrumental’ in convincing more liberal Democrats that there was no point in fighting for anything beyond a background check bill … .”

You might even say ol’ Joe himself recognized he was already defeated by the NRA.

It of course remains to be seen if Joe Biden will even prevail in his party’s presidential primary, much less have the opportunity to pursue his legislative agenda from the Oval Office.

But it only takes a little homework to show that when it comes to gun control, all he is offering with his “education” plan are empty promises and failed policies.

 

RELOADERS CORNER: Seating Depth Issues

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Don’t take anything for granted! Safety and suitability are both at risk if you don’t take time to analyze and act on this important topic. READ MORE

land illustration

Glen Zediker

As said often, it’s sometimes recent experience that leads to my Reloaders Corner topics. Whether it’s a question I’ve been asked, usually, or, in this case, a malfunction I’ve had, those things are fresh in my mind. I hope to believe, and have to believe, that any such topics aren’t only a question for them, or for me.

That brings us to bullet seating depths, which really means overall cartridge length, using some particular bullet.

Usually, when we’re loading for a rifle with a box magazine, either bolt-action or semi-auto, the cartridge overall length — that’s measured from the base of the case to the tip of the bullet — defines and determines the maximum length. Usually.

What ultimately determines the cartridge overall length maximum, though, is really the first point of contact that the bullet makes (will make) with the rifling or lands ahead of the chamber throat. That space, and therefore overall round length, has a whopping lot to do with the chamber reamer specs, and also the reamer operator’s judgment in some cases, but we need to know.

It also can have a whopping lot to do with the bullet! And that’s what the most of this next is all about.

So here’s the lesson to learn, and, for me, to relearn: Do not assume that if the round fits into the magazine it will be fine. I will, at the least, freely admit to my mistakes because, one, I dang sho should know better, and, two, if I know better and still don’t do better confession is my punishment. Well, not really, but it’s always a wake-up call.

Different bullets have different profiles, different ogive architectures. The ogive is the “curve” beyond the last point up the bullet that’s caliber diameter (meaning full diameter) ending at the bullet tip. My slang but descriptive term for this is “nosecone.” Tracing up this curve, some point will be equal to land diameter. So where this point is on the seated bullet and where this point is ahead of it in the chamber matters a lot.

Unless it’s done as a deliberate tactic, there needs to be some space, some distance between the land diameter point on the bullet nosecone and the lands. The amount of that distance is referred to as “jump,” because that’s descriptive. It’s the gap the bullet has to cross through to engage into the rifling. Usually the closer the better, and that “tactic” used often by precision shooters (mostly long-range and Benchrest competitors) is to purposely seat the bullet so it’s touching the lands. That’s done in the belief that if there’s no jump, then there’s no ill effects from jump. It’s very often right, and I’ve proven that to myself many a time. It’s not always right, but then if it was this all would be too easy.

The reason there needs to be some space is because when a bullet goes from just off to just on the lands, pressure jumps. It’s a “spike,” not a surge, but it’s enough to put a load that’s nearing the edge over the edge. In something like a .223 Rem. it’s about a half-grain-worth of propellant.

hornady 52
Here’s one I messed up with. The ogive or nosecone profile on this bullet is much “higher” than normal for a match bullet of this weight and it encountered the lands at a much shorter overall length than any others I had used. I learned the hard way, even though I already knew better.

So. Here’s the lesson I learned again, but this one wasn’t my fault! Honest! Several years ago, however, here’s one that was my fault: new (to me) match bullet, a short 52-gr. I wanted to try for reduced-course NRA High Power Rifle events. Rifle had a Wylde .223 Rem. chamber. A Wylde has a throat length between a 5.56 NATO and a SAAMI-spec. .223 Rem. That means the throat is fairly much more generous than commercial .223 Rem. specs. The maximum cartridge overall length in an AR15 box magazine is 2.260 inches, and I go 2.255 for a margin. I checked some industry manual data for this bullet and did notice that the overall cartridge length listed in the data spec table was a good deal shorter than that. I quickly did some “math” but without numbers (so it wasn’t really math) and decided that since I had a longer chamber I’d ignore that and just seat the bullets to 2.255. Blew primers right and left.

Back home and gage in hand and, dang, they weren’t kidding! I was about 0.020 into the lands at that cartridge length. That’s a honking lot. That’s also ultimately dangerous because of the free-floating firing pin tapping off the primer when a round is loaded into an AR15. A bullet that’s getting jammed into the lands is greatly more resistant to chambering freely and fully.

I humbly learned my lesson.

Get a gage and use it! The best out there is the Hornady LNL Overall Length gage. This tool lets you very easily find the overall round length that touches the lands with your bullet in your barrel. Very valuable, that.

lnl oal gages
A Hornady LNL OAL Gage will show right quick like and in a hurry with the seating depth that touches the lands is with your bullet in your gun. Valuable!

Use it in conjunction with its companion “bullet length comparator” insert for the very best precision. That tool measures a bullet at a point on its ogive that (usually) corresponds closely with land diameter. It won’t be perfectly the same, but it doesn’t have to be. What matters is that it gives a more accurate figure. Avoiding the bullet tip in a measurement eliminates that (guaranteed, by the way) inconsistency in accurate measurement because of bullet tip variations.

LNL comparator
A “comparator,” like this one from Hornady’s LNL line, is a much more accurate way to measure seating depth because the bullet tip doesn’t get involved. I like the curved one: easier and more accurate by my experience.

Now. To the recent experience: It was with a .300 Blackout (AAC) subsonic. I did not have the means to gauge this using my tools (then, but I do now). However, that wouldn’t have mattered in this case, and why is next.

Tested a factory load. Liked it. Noticed nothing unusual. Functioned perfectly, shot well. Brought it home and filled a magazine, loaded one in the chamber, and set it aside. Folks, just so you don’t think I’m irresponsible, that gun is what I keep at the ready for home-defense. So, my son, who had gone in to unload and then dry-fire the gun, came up and said, “Dad. The bolt won’t open.” Dang. It wouldn’t. I started thinking up all reasons that might be behind that. The bolt carrier would retract a little way, which was the limit of usual “play” in the bolt travel inside it, so I didn’t think anything was broken. To remove the round I pulled off the upper, took it to the shop, and pried back the bolt carrier from the underside. A couple of careful but firm enough strokes and it opened.

The bullet had really jammed into the lands! I mean really jammed. Extracting the round and looking at it, land impressions were clear, and measuring the extracted round showed it was 0.022 longer than the new, un-chambered round. Unseating the jammed round pulled the bullet that far out from the case neck.

I manually inserted another round of the same into the chamber and gave it a nudge-in with my finger, and, sure enough, there it sat not nearly fully into the chamber. Had to tap it back out.

jammed bullet
Here’s the “stuck” round, right, talked over in the article. Land impression is pretty clear, and pretty deep. Notice also that the bullet got pulled out a might upon finally opening the action. On left is the same round out of the same box that was pushed into the chamber; land marks also, just a lot lower!

So. Since it’s a factory load, I really couldn’t have had a clue that it wasn’t compatible with my chamber throat. But now I do. And, for a clue, do that same yourself. If the round won’t drop in and out of a chamber fully and easily, that might be a problem. I still don’t know what the actual measured amount of the excessive length might have been. To find that I’d have to get a box of those bullets and gauge them using the LNL tools. I’m not going to do that. I’ve chosen another load that’s no-issues.

I say “might be” because, again these rounds functioned well, but, also, well, that can’t be good…

I suppose I will now need to start handloading for that contraption. I have also written down 100 times: “I will always check the chamber throat, even if it’s not a long-range rifle…”

Find gages at Midsouth HERE and HERE

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

Kamala Harris Says She’ll Ban Imports of all AR-15-Style Assault Weapons if Congress Doesn’t Act

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Harris: I’ll give Congress 100 days to pass gun laws… READ MORE

kamala harris

SOURCE: CNN, by Kyung Lah

Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday announced that, if she is elected president, she will ban the importation of all AR-15 style assault weapons by executive action if Congress fails to act in the first 100 days of her administration.

Harris made the announcement at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “Assault weapons are designed to kill a lot of people in a very short period of time,” Harris said.

“I think that this has got to be something that is understood, that we cannot any longer afford to allow people to make this a partisan issue,” Harris added. “Those guns, those assault weapons, do not discriminate and determine, ‘OK, is the person pointing it at, is it a Democrat or Republican.’ “

Harris’ proposal is the latest in a series of gun-related executive actions she has promised to take if she wins the Democratic nomination and defeats Donald Trump in 2020. Previously, Harris had said she’d use presidential executive action to mandate near-universal background checks, revoke licenses of gun dealers who break the law, limit fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants from buying guns and close the so-called “boyfriend loophole.”

Harris’ new proposal “would ban AR-15-style assault weapon imports because they are not ‘suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.’ Additionally, the Harris proposal would have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives suspend all assault weapons imports until the agency studies and determines admissibility under the “sporting purpose” test, said the Harris official.

SEE the video HERE

RELOADERS CORNER: Four Firings In: Final

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Yikes. Gremlins. Case neck “donuts” are a common development in an aging cartridge case, and it’s often unknown. Read this and know! MORE

case neck donut
Here one is! Or was.

Glen Zediker

Even if the case neck passes the “drop test,” there might be something amiss within that cylinder, and it might not show up until after case sizing, and that is the “dreaded donut.”

What exactly is a case neck donut? It’s a tiny elevated ring of brass on the interior circumference of the case neck, right at the juncture of the case neck, case shoulder. It is pretty much a little o-ring, in effect.

This “tight spot” reduces the case neck inside diameter at that point, which will, not may, have an influence on the amount of constriction surrounding a seated bullet. And since it won’t be perfectly consistent from case to case, accuracy will, not may, suffer.

And, without a doubt, there’s going to be cartridge pressure changes, which can create velocity changes. A donut is not likely to create anything like a pressure spike similar to what an excessively thickened (overall) case neck can, but it can’t be a Good Thing no matter what.

Now. I can’t say this is always a symptom of aging cases (based on the “four firings in” idea I’ve been running with). I’ve seen donuts in new cases. However, in my experience with the brass I normally use, and, therefore, that which I have the most notes on, the formation of a donut seems to coincide at the same time I measure what I think is excessive case neck wall thickening. Again, though, I spent an afternoon at the loading bench with David Tubb trying to solve donut issues he was having after one firing on commonly known “good” brass. We solved them, and more in a bit.

Culprits
There is a difference in the case wall tubing thickness at the case neck, case shoulder juncture. The neck walls are a consistent thickness — it’s a parallel cylinder (or they start off that way). At the shoulder wall thickness increases steadily in a taper as it goes down the case shoulder to then intersect with the case body walls.

There is diverse speculation about exactly what causes or creates the donut. My own experience suggests that there can be more than one factor or influence. But at the root of it is simply this difference in wall thicknesses. The difference has an influence in this area with respect to brass flow. Seems certain that there’s material movement forward from the case shoulder.

If that’s it, then the chamber dimensions (neck diameter and headspace) and cartridge case headspace play their parts. Same old: with respect to case headspace, it’s another reason to set back a shoulder the minimum amount needed for faultless function. Also old news: that’s going to be more for a repeater than a single-shot, and well more for a semi-auto.

I’ve seen it said that the expander ball or sizing button coming back up through a sized case neck “drags” the metal up with it, but also I know without a doubt that sizing without an expander means there’s a more pronounced donut. Checks I’m made sizing with and without an expander (using a neck-bushing-style die), show that an expander or, my preference, an expanding mandrel, reduces the donut influence. That, by the way, is from selecting bushings that produce the same case neck outside diameter with and without the inside neck sizing. I think the expander is just pushing it to the outside… But that’s good!

case neck donut neck turning
This helps! Turning a tiny bit off the start of the shoulder gives some relief in this area and holds off the donut for at least a while.
neck turning cutter angle
The neck turner, however, has to be configured to allow for this. Note the bevel on this cutter.

Fixing It
This one is pretty easy, after a little math at least. The most direct means is using a correctly sized reamer on a likewise correctly sized case neck, and that’s where the math comes in. The reamer should be the diameter of your sized neck inside diameter; that will pare away the donut without changing the case neck wall thickness. The idea is to get the donut without universally thinning the case neck walls, and the reason there is maintaining consistency. That, after all, is why we’re doing any sort of fixing on cases in the first place: get the same performance the maximum number of firings.

Another way, which is primarily preventative, is with an outside case neck turner, if its cutter has an angle or bevel (see photo for example). Turn down onto the case shoulder about 1/16 of an inch. Do this on new cases since that’s the only good time to turn case necks. This area is then “relieved” enough that the donut won’t form, or not for a while. In firing, this thinned area essentially relieves itself. I got this tip from Fred Sinclair eons ago and it’s the only thing I know of that heads off the donut. If you are worried about weakening a case in this area, don’t do it, but I can tell you that’s a moot worry. It’s very common practice among competitive Benchrest and NRA High Power Rifle long-range shooters. That’s how we came to a quick and permanent (well, for the short life of those cases) solution to David Tubb’s donut problems with a 6mm-.284.

neck reamer
This is a “special” reamer, meaning ordered to a custom and specific size. Choose carefully, and it’s an easy fix.

Short aside note that’s being revisited from other articles I’ve done here, but the VERY BEST way to never worry about donuts is to never seat a bullet into this area! That is the reason the better (in my mind) cartridge designs feature long necks.

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

Glen’s newest book, America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Check it out HERE

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Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

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Major 2nd Amendment boost! Judge overturns California’s ban on “high-capacity” magazines, the ban was “turning the Constitution upside down.” READ MORE

high capacity magazine

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined last Friday that California’s ban on commonly possessed firearm magazines violates the Second Amendment.

The case is Duncan v. Becerra.

The NRA-supported case had already been up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the question of whether the law’s enforcement should be suspended during proceedings on its constitutionality. Last July, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Benitez’s suspension of enforcement and sent the case back to him for further proceedings on the merits of the law itself.

Judge Benitez rendered his opinion late Friday afternoon and handed Second Amendment supporters a sweeping victory by completely invalidating California’s 10-round limit on magazine capacity. “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” he declared.

In a scholarly and comprehensive opinion, Judge Benitez subjected the ban both to the constitutional analysis he argued was required by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and a more complicated and flexible test the Ninth Circuit has applied in prior Second Amendment cases.

Either way, Judge Benitez ruled, the law would fail. Indeed, he characterized the California law as “turning the Constitution upside down.” He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox hailed the decision as a “huge win for gun owners” and a “landmark recognition of what courts have too often treated as a disfavored right.”

“Judge Benitez took the Second Amendment seriously and came to the conclusion required by the Constitution,” Cox said. “The same should be true of any court analyzing a ban on a class of arms law-abiding Americans commonly possess for self-defense or other lawful purposes.”

Unfortunately, Friday’s opinion is not likely to be the last word on the case. The state will likely appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which has proven notably hostile to the Second Amendment in past decisions.

Nevertheless, the thoroughness of Judge Benitez’s analysis should give Second Amendment supporters the best possible chance for success in appellate proceedings, particularly if the case ultimately lands before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Friday’s order prohibits California from enforcing its magazine restrictions, leaving its law-abiding residents safer and freer, at least for the time being.

To stay up-to-date on the Duncan case and other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, click HERE. And be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA email alerts HERE and HERE.

RELOADERS CORNER: 4 Firings In, Part Two

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Cartridge cases always fail on the “next firing.” Question is which one that might be. Need to know! KEEP READING

beat case
I apologize for the image quality, but these were taken a while ago. Fortunately, for me, I didn’t have anything on hand that shows even close to the beating this one took. Cracked neck, head crack. Rare to see one case with both of the most common failures. It was attacked by an M14.

Glen Zediker

I’d always rather say it all at once, but the realities of tolerance, and space, sometimes mean I have to split a bigger topic into smaller installments. The “tolerance” part is how many pages you all are willing to scroll through!

This multi-part topic is when, and then how, to check after the progress of changes commencing with the firing on a new case. It’s the “progress of degeneration,” in a way of looking at it because the concern is getting a handle on when enough change in the brass has come about to require attention. Or abandonment. As said then, for me that’s 4 firings. That, as said last time, is when I might see changes that need attention. Also as said, that figure didn’t come out of a hat, but from my own notes in running my competition NRA High Power Rifle loads.

The areas most affected are the case neck and case head area. Case neck walls get thicker, and that was the focus last time. Well, the case head area body walls get thinner. Primer pockets get shallower and larger diameter.

As started on: Brass flows during firing. It expands, then contracts, and when we resize the case, it contracts, then expands (a little). This expansion and contraction makes the alloy harder over the entire case, but with more effect in areas of more expansion, and flow. Replace “hard” with its effect, “brittle,” and that’s a clearer picture. This increasing hardness influences its reaction to being sized or otherwise stretched. As with many metals, bend it back and forth enough times and it will break. It will also fail if it loses enough resilience, or thickness, to withstand the pressures of firing.

Case Head
When a case is under pressure during firing, the brass, like water, flows where it can, where it’s more free to move. Of course, the chamber steel limits the amount it can expand. The case shoulder blows fully forward and the case base is slammed back against the bolt face. There is, therefore and in effect, a tug on both ends — it gets stretched. The shoulder area is relatively free to expand to conform to the chamber, but the other end, the case head area, is not. Since that’s the area of the case with the thickest walls, it doesn’t expand “out” much at all. What it does is stretch.

The “case head area,” as I refer to it here, is the portion of the case above the web, which is just above the taper that leads in to the extractor groove. The “area” extends approximately an eighth-inch up the case body.

case pressure ring
Here’s a “pressure ring.” You’ll see this after firing, if you see it. And, if you see it, that case is done. The bright ring indicates excessive stretching, which indicates excessive thinning.
head separation pic
Closer view of another sectioned case. This one here was fixin to pop. 

That portion of the case does not fully expand and grip the chamber, but the area immediately ahead of it does. So the case body expands and grips the chamber, and that last little bit back to the base can and does move. It stretches. If you see a ring circling the case, noticeable because it’s lighter color than the case body, and it’s in this area, I’d say that case is done. The ring will be evident after firing, not after; don’t confuse a shiny ring around the case in this area with what can be normal from sizing, especially if it’s been a hotter load. That is pretty much a scuff from the sizing die squeezing down this expanded area.

And that’s right where a “head separation” occurs. It can crack and also blow slap in two, and that’s the “separation” part of case head separation.

This is a spot to keep close watch on as cases age. It is also the area that is more “protected” by sizing with less case shoulder set-back. That is, pretty much, where the freedom for the stretching movement in this area comes from (the case shoulder creates a gap). However! As said many a time, semi-autos need some shoulder set back for function, and it’s the reason to use an accurate gage to determine the amount of set-back needed.

case head separation
Ultra-high-precision gage, made by me. Not really. It’s a selectively bent paper clip, and running this down inside the case and and then back up the case wall can signal a dip-in in the head area, which signals thinned walls. Feel it? Case is done.

Some folks unbend a paper clip and run it down inside a case and drag it up against the inside case wall as a sort of antenna to see if they detect a dip-in near the head area, which would indicate that the wall in this area has been stretched thinner. If there’s enough to feel it, that case is done.

Since I’m working off this “4 Firings In” checklist, if you’re seeing a sign that a head separation might be nigh in that few uses, chances are the shoulder set-back is excessive, and also too may be the load pressure level.

Primer Pocket
Another case-head-area and pressure-related check is the primer pocket. As said, the primer pocket will get larger in diameter and shallower in depth each firing. As with many such things, the questions are “when” and “how much,” and the main thing, “how much?”

If the pocket gets excessively shallow, and that’s judged by a primer that seats fully but isn’t at least a tick below flush with the case base, there could be function issues. There’s a risk of a “slam-fire” with a semi-auto that uses a floating firing pin, and, if there is actual protrusion, that has the same effect as insufficient headspace.

primer pocket uniformer
A primer pocket uniformer can reset the depth of a shallowed primer pocket to what it should be, but the real test for me is how easily the next primer seats into it. If it’s significantly less resistance, I’ll say that case is done.

Shallower can be refurbished. That’s a primary function of a primer pocket uniformer. Larger diameter, though, can’t be fixed. I’ve mentioned in another article or two that, any more at least, my main gauge of load pressure has become how much primer pocket expansion there’s been. I judge that without using the first gage, well, unless my primer seater is a gage. If a primer seats noticeably easier, that’s the clear clue that the pocket is too big. Another is seeing a dark ring around a fired primer, indicating a little gas leakage.

Measuring primer pockets is a waste of time, say my notes at least. First, it’s not easy to accurately (truly accurately) measure a pocket, especially its diameter, but, that’s not really what matters. It’s how much grip there is to maintain the primer in place during firing.

I pay close attention to resistance in primer seating and won’t reuse a case that’s too easy.

Good deal on what I think is good brass, especially if you’re an AR15 loader — HERE

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

Glen’s newest book, America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Check it out HERE

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