Category Archives: Rifles

RELOADERS CORNER: Two-Two-Three

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AKA: “.222 Remington Special.” Here’s where and how one of the most popular rounds in use today came from, and the influence it’s had. READ ON

high power service rifle
This right here drove the development of what we now have in .224-caliber bullets: High Power Rifle competition, and there’s none better at it than USAMU Sgt. Grant Singley, many-time National Service Rifle Champion.

Glen Zediker

Last time up I talked some about the PPC cartridge, and about the influence it’s had on those developed since. This time I want to talk about another influential cartridge that hasn’t exactly done quite as much for the direct evolution of currently popular rounds. Well, except for having the influence to spur on the development of cartridges that can beat it…

It seems that nobody likes .223 Remington… It also seems that everybody likes the AR15. Well, that’s clear if only going by the numbers of those guns out there, and the other angle is that there are a whopping lot of chambering options available nowadays that all set out to beat .223 Rem.

Next time we’ll look at a couple that beat it limp, but first, here’s where .223 Remington came from.

Understanding the development of .223 Rem. starts with understanding the development of the AR15 and, of course, along with that came a round to fit it.

All “this” (small-caliber mil-spec cartridge development) started a good while ago, and before the AR15 was a blueprint. Back in the early 1950s the Department of the Army SALVO project resulted from exploring a theory that a high-velocity sub-caliber (in mil-speak, anything under .30 is “sub-caliber”) round would be the quick ticket to the field hospital for enemy troops. A new bullet-maker, Sierra, produced the 68gr. .224s that were designed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1953 by Bill Davis (later known for development of the “VLD,” which led all the current batch of high-ballistic-coefficient bullets to where they are now), and were drawn up pretty much as a scaled-down .308 147gr. I can’t find much documented about any conclusions or results. Another batch was made for Colt’s in 1964 for testing in an experimental heavy-barreled M16, but the Army showed no interest then in exploring the longer-range capabilities of that platform.

salvo
SALVO

The SALVO is a little piece of history, and forebearer, related to the “sub-caliber” uprising. This idea gained familiarity (we’ll leave “popularity” alone) shortly thereafter when General Wyman made a direct push to develop and employ what came to be the AR15. He insisted on equipping our troops with a lighter, smaller-caliber battle implement. But this isn’t about the rifle, it’s about the ammo.
Assuming that the SALVO got shelved, which is a right-minded assumption considering what came next, the “new” rifle needed a new round.

At the very start there was the .222 Remington. This was uniquely developed (no parent case) in 1950 as a cartridge for Benchrest competition. It was the first commercial rimless .224 cartridge made in the U.S. So, when Armalite, and others, started its Small-Caliber/High-Velocity (SCHV) experiments, this is what they started with. It was clear early on that this round wouldn’t meet the Continental Army Command (CONARC) velocity and penetration requirements so Armalite went straight to Remington. Remington in turn and in response created the .222 Remington Special, which had a longer case body and shorter case neck than its .222 Remington: more capacity. Springfield Armory concurrently developed the .224E2 Winchester, an even longer-bodied .222 Remington, which later became the .222 Remington Magnum. Springfield dropped out and in 1963 the Remington .222 Special got its designation as 5.56x45mm and was officially adopted for use in the new M16 rifle (that round was in use prior in early guns). The next year it got all SAAMI’ed up and emerged as .223 Remington in commercial loadings. I skipped details, but that’s the gist of it. That means .223 Remington has been with us a while now.

222/223
.223 Remington (right) literally grew from .222 Remington, which seemed to be the most closely suitable cartridge then available to chamber the “new” rifle in. The .222 grew to give more capacity and satisfy the military requirements for ballistic performance. .222 Rem. is awesome-accurate by the way.

.223 Rem. follows the lines of other popular U.S. Military rounds and shares some of the same attributes, including its 23-degree case shoulder. The one thing it hasn’t shared with something like .30-06, for good example, is accolades! That, of course, is because of its limited capacity and likewise resultant power limitation. It did, however, launch a whole different class of small-caliber projectiles to prominence. Maybe an intended pun.

As a result of High Power Rifle competition, a major part of which is Service Rifle Division, efforts were necessarily made to improve the downrange performance of .223 Rem. Long and complex story, but after both CMP and NRA changed Rules viewpoints in 1990 to one more liberal on “allowable modifications” to the AR15, two bullets then finally made it both viable and attractive to serious competitive shooters. That was all that it was waiting on (the dang things already shot small groups).

jlk 80
The impetus for “bigger” .224 bullets came from High Power Rifle competition. See, a “Service Rifle” absolutely has to shoot its native chambering to be allowable. When USAMU made the “switch” to the M16, they did not want to lose. That motivation is where bullets like the Sierra 80gr. MatchKing came from, shown here alongside the first of its kind, the JLK 80 VLD (on right). Note the moly coating, by the way: back in the daaaaay!

Sierra had, in my mind, resurrected the SALVO with its introduction of the 69gr. MatchKing in 1984, but that only gave two-thirds of a score; it hits the wall past 300 yards. In 1990, coinciding with those Rules changes to make the rifle more fairly competitive with the match-conditioned M14s, that same Bill Davis drew up a blueprint for a bullet for Jimmy Knox and Carlene Lemmons: the JLK 80 VLD. Sierra right thereafter introduced its 80gr. MatchKing.

When United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Col. Johnson mandated that the Team would, not should, use the M16 in competition commencing 1994, we quickly saw full and complete exploitation of those bullets and the resulting rapid demise of the M14 as the leading Service Rifle.

I honestly think that, had it not been for the military motivation to win, we’d not have seen the developments we have in .224-caliber bullets.

sierra 90
Funny, to me at least, that the diminutive .223 Rem. led to development of the biggest .224-caliber bullets. More about getting this one here downrange next time.

Well, enough history. Next time I’ll get right to today and go over and go on about two newer cartridges that radically further the “sub-caliber uprising.”

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

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

REVIEW: Kel-Tec’s RFB Ultimate Big Bore Bugout Bullpup

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Wild, Weird, and Wonderful: read all about this very different evolution of tactical firearms design HERE

rfb

Will Dabbs MD
Photos by Sarah Dabbs

Did you ever notice that looking at a gun is like morphologically analyzing a family member? Little Timmy might have Dad’s ears, Mom’s nose, Uncle Edgar’s dour disposition, and Aunt Edna’s penchant for eating her boogers. He’s his own kid, but the raw material is drawn from a motley well. Likewise, most tactical weapons come from recognized families. Master Stoner or Comrade Kalashnikov beget the lion’s share of them. Those left over hearken from John Moses Browning or one of half a dozen lesser minds. The point is, most modern weapons simply evolved from something simpler. That is just not the case with the Kel-Tec RFB.

RFB
The RFB .308 Bullpup from Kel-Tec is the ultimate bugout rifle. The RFB packs .30-caliber firepower into a compact package that is optimized for maneuvering indoors and in and around vehicles.

Weird, But a Good Kind of Weird
RFB stands for Rifle, Forward-Ejecting Bullpup. Bullpup, for those of you who might be new to the game, means that the action of the gun is located behind the fire controls. The origins of the term purportedly spawn from a diagnosably strange WW2-era Japanese submachine gun called the Experimental Model 2. The legend goes that American Ordnance folk were examining the odd weapon and declared it to be as strange as a bullpup, and the name stuck. The RFB is a 7.62x51mm battle rifle that occupies less space than your typical unadorned AR. It also conquers the Achilles heel of most bullpup combat rifles. It figures out what to do with the empties.
Most bullpup weapons can only be fired off of one shoulder or the other. Swap to your weak hand to shoot around an uncooperative corner, and the gun will spit hot brass into your face. As by definition half of all the corners on the planet will not be amenable to management on your strong side, this becomes a real boon in a CQB environment.

RFB safety
The safety is easily accessible by either thumb and therefore fully ambidextrous.

The RFB employs an ingenious dual extractor system that ejects its rounds forward into a pressed steel ejection tube. A small dimple in the tube prevents empties from sliding backwards and jamming the action. Once about five rounds have been fired empty cases start to spill out the front of the gun. Tipping the rifle nose down empties the tube. An odd side effect of this system is that when you drain a magazine the last empty cartridge case remains secured to the bolt face by the aforementioned twin extractors. Dropping the bolt on an empty chamber releases that last fired case into the feed chute. In a sea of firearm designs that do things pretty much the same way, it is simply fascinating to see it done so differently.

RFB bolt lock
The manual bolt lock is ambidextrous and mounted behind the pistol grip. Pulling back slightly on the charging handle disengages the device. Everything about the RFB is innovative and cool.

This unconventional design is nicely sealed against the elements, but it does make it a bit of a chore to clear the rifle visually. Doing so involves locking the action open and then peering into the open magazine well from the bottom. This maneuver takes a little getting used to, but it’s a small price to pay for so much unfiltered awesome. The charging handle is readily reversible, and the safety is fully ambidextrous.

The bore and chamber are chrome plated, and the overall workmanship on my test piece is perfect. Recoil is fairly spunky as this is a small rifle firing battle rifle cartridges but yet remains thoroughly tolerable. The top rail is long enough for any reasonable optic, and there is an ingenious optional quad rail that screws directly onto the barrel for lights and lasers.

RFB
The Kel-Tec RFB is a remarkably powerful .308 Battle Rifle that occupies less space and weight than many of its .223 brethren.

The RFB uses any standard metric FAL magazines. Magazine changes are fast and intuitive once you take the measure of the gun. Bullpup triggers are usually mushier than their more conventional counterparts. The unavoidable necessity of a long mechanical linkage connecting the pistol grip with the action typically takes a toll. In the case of the RFB, the trigger is simply well executed. The trigger pull on the test rifle was a bit over six pounds and pleasantly crisp.

rfb

I was curiously enraptured with this rifle. The compact envelope makes the weapon eminently maneuverable, and the 7.62x51mm round means not having to say you’re sorry under any imaginable circumstance. The thing’s not cheap, but it is incredibly cool. My copy runs like a scalded ape and is as intriguing as a pretty girl in a pair of boxers (Admit it, it’s a compelling metaphor.) The Kel-Tec RFB is a breed unto itself.

Click HERE to see more.

RELOADERS CORNER: Cartridge Evolution

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Here’s a short retrospect on what’s set the standards for most new cartridge designs, and why… KEEP READING

Glen Zediker

ppc

I’m not an engineer, but, like all of us, we rely on those folks to develop just about all the things we have and use. When we look at a new development, one that’s proven to work better than the “old” way, sometimes it’s easy enough to understand why. Cartridge development over the years is a good example.

What makes a good cartridge? Answers, of course, vary with the intended use, the performance needs. For the most part, power (which mostly is velocity), and “efficiency” (which is essentially getting the most from the least amount of propellant, likewise increasing barrel life), and accuracy (always) top the list. And, to me, “accuracy” is a combination of small group sizes and, even more, small group sizes all the time! Consistency.

Case capacity has the most to do with the first: more room for gunpowder means more power. Also, it’s pretty clear that pressures have been going up! There’s a big (big) difference in the pressure levels of some of the “new” cartridges compared to the older, longer-lived rounds. Sometimes it’s not because the older round can’t “take” the additional pressure, it’s because the guns might not. A round developed turn-of-the-century fits a rifle from the same era. Well, steel has improved, manufacturing has improved, and, some no doubt, is that the trend toward “shorter, fatter” cartridge cases also contributes.

So. About that…

In my mind, and certainly in my “world,” which is competitive shooting, one of the most influential cartridges has been, and still is, the PPC. That was developed in 1975 by Ferris Pendell and Dr. Lou Palmisano (hence “Pendell, Palmisano Cartridge”), and the idea was to design the “world’s most accurate cartridge.” They did. It has the record to prove it. However, that’s in Benchrest (capital “B” meaning formal competition). Bechrest is nearly always a 100-yard event. The idea behind the PPC wasn’t to set the range on fire with excessive velocity, although it’s well more rapid than others then popular in that game. The idea was to improve cartridge structure to improve shot-to-shot consistency, and another part of that plan was to extend the duration of load-to-load consistency by slowing down firing-induced changes to the case. It’s native caliber is 6mm (.243).

(By the way, the PPC is based on .220 Russian, which is still how many get their brass: fire form it from that. That round is associated with 7.62X39mm, which came earlier and was based on the WWII German 7.92x33mm Kurz, the Mittelpatrone.)

PPC and .223
PPC isn’t for everyone. It’s expensive and not nearly the fastest available today. However, it sho has had its influence on modern rounds. It’s expensive, by the way, because of the available brass: it’s from Lapua or Norma and has machined primer pockets, and other such points of perfection. Compared to .223 Rem. (right) which, in configuration, follows pretty well accepted architecture, similar to .30-06 and other originally-mil-based rounds, the PPC is shorter, larger-diameter, and longer-necked.

A few reasons, offered by its creators, why PPC shoots so well: One, it’s a short case, a scant 1.515 inches overall. That makes it more rigid and less susceptible to warp. It also means it fits into a short action, also more rigid (and with shorter bolt travel). The case neck is relatively long, which means the entire shank of the bullet is within the neck, never below it. That means no influence from varying cartridge wall thicknesses (the case neck walls can be made near-perfectly consistent), avoiding the case neck “donut” at the neck, shoulder juncture. Its body area diameter is 0.440-vicinity, which is (was) a good deal larger than the more common 0.378 commonly used in Benchrest. Case shoulder is 30-degrees.

About that: Well before the PPC there was P.O. Ackley. Well-known for his “Ackley Improved” rounds, which, pretty much, were standard rounds with a sharper shoulder angle. In sharpening (flattening) the shoulder angle (usually from 23-degrees to 30 or even 40), that also elevated the shoulder, and that increased case volume. More speed! Another benefit of the sharper shoulder was a notable reduction in the “flow” of the brass. That meant less change firing to firing. The sharper angle on the shoulder essentially “caps” the flow in that area.

ackley improved
Dang. These always look so radical, but it’s a proven formula: the Ackley Improved. My Dad used one of these in .270 decades ago (P.O hisseff built his rifle) for elk hunting. Shown is an AI 280 Rem. which nearly equals the power of 7mm Magnum.

Other attributes engineered into the PPC have and haven’t been incorporated into subsequent new cartridges. Notable is the smaller-than-standard flash hole. This requires a likewise smaller sizing die decapping pin. Also, PPC uses a small rifle primer, which is fitting based on its overall round size. Over years, there have been retro-engineered common rounds with small primer pockets and those have worked well. For a spell, over the time it was available, small-primer .308 Win. brass found great favor among competitive shooters. Remington made it. Interestingly (again from a perspective of one who isn’t an engineer) pressures were higher compared to standard loads based on routine large-primer brass. Velocities tended to be more consistent.

Another reason for PPC perfomance is one I don’t pretend to understand, and that is its “efficiency.” That’s all in the science of internal ballistics and I only can attest to its influence. I have been a PPC user (the 22 variant) for a good while. It’s what my main NRA High Power Match Rifle is chambered in (AR15 platform). From virtually the same amount of the same propellant, there’s a solid +100 fps gain over the .223 Rem. The structure of the PPC indeed “works.” From that, and from “those” (High Power shooters), rapidly evolved experimental takes on the essential PPC.

Moving on, rounds like 6BR and 6.5 Grendel are outgrowths of the PPC format (“upgrowths” actually: they’re bigger capacity). We’ve also seen the essential influence in the popular 6.5 Creedmoor and the 6XC, which currently dominate competitive across-the-course and long-range shooting (“standard” long range, not the 2-mile stuff, that would be .375 Cheytak…).

6.5 grendel
Cuzzin to PPC is 6.5 Grendel (left), which grew from earlier experiments by NRA High Power Rifle shooters in creating PPC “tall-boys.”

Looking at semi-auto developments, many of which have been coming at us fast and furious, it’s clear cartridge developers are exploiting these same ideas. There is a (short) limit on what will fit into an AR15 upper receiver, for instance, because, one, it’s a finite amount of space, of course, and, two, there’s a magazine box, and these are related. More power in this platform means a fat case.

Now. I am in no way suggesting anyone run out and tool up for PPC in the next rifle! It can be soundly beaten in the “real world” of our needs from a cartridge. There are similar rounds with more velocity, easier availability, lower cost, and on down the list of desirables. In the next couple of issues, I plan to talk more about some of the newest rounds, but wanted to offer just a little retrospect on where it all came from before getting into where it’s gone!

This article was adapted from content in Glen’s newest book: America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Go check it out 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

Check out AckleyImproved.com

REVIEW: Sig MCX Rattler

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Dr. Dabbs takes us to the range with SIG’s Sinister Stubby Snake. READ MORE

sig rattler

Will Dabbs MD

What do you get when you take some of the finest firearm engineers in the industry and ask them to design the smallest AR-based close-combat weapon imaginable? Stipulations include that the gun needs to be piston-driven for the ultimate in reliability and ruggedness, modular for maximized flexibility, and chambered in .300BLK so it will run a sound suppressor well. The culmination of that ballistic quest is the SIG MCX Rattler. This thing just drips cool.

sig rattler
The SIG MCX Rattler is as compact as Physics allows an AR-based firearm to be.

Pertinent Particulars
The SIG MCX is actually a broad family of weapons. Easily interchangeable barrels and forearms combined with SIG’s proprietary recoil system offer unprecedented versatility. The action contains the reciprocating bits within the confines of the receiver. This feature negates the need for a buffer tube and allows for a side-folding buttstock or collapsible pistol brace. The end result is positively Lilliputian.

The sliding Pistol Stabilizing Brace allows the MCX Rattler to transfer as a standard handgun without any NFA baggage. This PSB collapses into the receiver for storage or portage and extends when extra stability is needed. The PSB includes the obligatory rubber forearm interface and Velcro attachment.

sig rattler
The key to the Rattler’s success is a collapsible Pistol Stabilizing Brace. This PSB lets the gun transfer as a standard handgun.

The gas piston action is readily adjustable using either the tip of a cartridge or your fingers. This allows the action to be optimized for subsonic or supersonic ammo. The forearm has plenty of M-LOK slots. The magazine release is replicated on both sides of the gun, and there is plenty of rail space up top for optics.

sig rattler
The gas system on the MCX Rattler is readily adjustable with either a bullet tip or a standard set of fingers.

The pistol grip is a bit smaller than standard but still remains both functional and grippy. The entire gun weighs just a bit north of 5 pounds. The forearm and barrel assembly swap out readily. There have been rumors that a 5.56mm conversion is in the making, but to a certain degree this would defeat the purpose of the gun. What really makes the Rattler unique is its .300BLK chambering.
The .300BLK is essentially a .30-caliber bullet seated into a shorter 5.56mm casing. By adjusting powder charges and bullet weights the round may be configured for either subsonic or supersonic performance. When running subsonic ammo through a sound-suppressed MCX Rattler the rig is just stupid quiet.

sig rattler
Even with a superb SIG sound suppressor installed the MCX Rattler is not terribly bulky. The .300BLK chambering makes the suppressed gun surprisingly quiet.

sig rattler

SIG calls themselves the Complete Systems Provider, and this is not an overstatement. SIG makes optics, ammo, accessories, and apparel. Most anything you could conceivably want for your SIG rifle is available from the parent company. Their .30-caliber suppressor is sealed for durability and features welded construction along with the most evil-looking miniature steel spikes on the end. In a pinch the device would make a superb prod should your foe end up both unarmed and recalcitrant. SIG’s electronic sights will hold their own with the best in the business. These sights are nicely matched to the personality and comportment of the host weapons.

Trigger Time
The SIG MCX Rattler seems heavier than it is given its diminutive dimensions. However, the gun is legitimately tiny and runs like any other M4-style rifle. The Rattler will feed from any standard M4 magazine or drum.

At close combat ranges the Rattler is eminently controllable. The gun will collapse down into something that could conceivably fit into the center console of a pickup truck. However, the Rattler can also be ready to go in moments. Nothing runs faster.

sig rattler
The magazine release is replicated on the left side of the receiver.

With the suppressor in place the SIG Rattler runs quickly and well indoors. In confined spaces you may still need earplugs, but it will indeed help preserve both your hearing and your situational awareness should you have to use the gun for real. With the can removed the Rattler will tuck into a briefcase.

Ruminations
If the 5.56mm forend/barrel assembly ever hits the streets, the resulting package would be too short to accept SIG’s 5.56mm suppressor. Really stubby 5.56mm barrels release so much chaos they will wreak great mischief upon most 5.56mm sound suppressors. A 5.5-inch barrel on a 5.56mm weapon would look cool but would in essence create a very expensive .22 rifle. The Rattler really is optimized for the .300BLK.

sig rattler and skorpion
You really don’t appreciate how tiny this gun is until you juxtapose it against something small for comparison. The SIG MCX Rattler is not all that much larger than a Czech vz61 Skorpion.

The SIG Rattler is a special purpose tool, and it is not cheap. There are rumors floating about that certain Tier 1 Special Missions Units have already bought a few specifically for executive protection missions. Given the exquisite design and unimpeachable level of quality imbued throughout this seems a reasonable choice. Reliable, versatile, and just nifty as can be, the SIG Rattler packs unprecedented levels of awesome into the tiniest of packages.

sig rattler
With the PSB extended the Rattler is an unusually effective close quarters tool.

rattler accuracyrattler specs

Click HERE for more!

Former ATF Agent Pulls Mask Off Giffords’s Plans for Federal AR-15 Registration

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In an odd turn, just before Halloween one prominent gun control group briefly got out of costume: read all about what was underneath it… SEE MORE

giffords

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

When former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly launched Americans for Responsible Solutions (now named Giffords) in early 2013, gun owners were assured that the group sought moderate “common-sense solutions” to gun violence. The group admonished NRA for not working to “to find the balance between our rights” and gun regulation. Giffords and Kelly explained, “we don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home.”

This, of course, was all a marketing ploy. From its inception, Giffords has pushed the same warmed-over gun control policies as their less messaging-savvy peers.

To help their anti-gun allies better deceive the public, in 2016 Giffords put out a gun control messaging manual titled, “A Guide to Understanding and Engaging Americans on the Need for Stronger Gun Laws.” In a section labelled, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking About Gun Violence,” the guide made clear to gun control supporters that “Talk about creating a national gun registry, or banning or confiscating guns” was a definite “Don’t.” The group went on to falsely contend none of those measures “are policy priorities or have widespread support among gun violence prevention organizations.”

Not only is a national gun registry a priority for gun control advocates generally, as former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and current Giffords Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman made clear to The Hill this week, it is an explicit policy priority for Giffords.

In response to a question about AR-15 rifles, Chipman responded, “What I support is treating them just like machineguns.”

Reiterating that America’s most popular rifle should be subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA), Chipman went on to state,

To me, if you want to have a weapon of war, the same gun that was issued to me as a member of [the] ATF SWAT team, it makes sense that you would have to pass a background check, the gun would have to be in your name, and there would be a picture and fingerprints on file. To me, I don’t mind doing it if I want to buy a gun.

Chipman and Giffords’s preferred policy is similar to that supported by gun confiscation advocate Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). In early 2013, Feinstein proposed legislation that would have subjected tens of millions of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms to NFA regulation and registration.

While a former federal bureaucrat might not mind navigating the convoluted federal bureaucracy in order to exercise a constitutional right, most should abhor the prior restraint of NFA regulations.

In order to acquire a machinegun, the transferee and transferor must submit a Form 4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm to the ATF. The form requires identifying information about the firearm and personal information about the applicant. The transferee must submit an identifying photograph along with two completed FBI Forms FD-258 fingerprint cards. This information is compiled in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, colloquially known as the NFA registry. The transferee must also pay a $200 tax.

The NFA procedure is also a prohibitive waiting period. The latest ATF data measured the wait time for completion of a Form 4 at seven months, or over 200 days. At certain points in 2016, waits stretched to about a year.

Chipman’s policy of treating AR-15s “just like machineguns” would also mean a ban on the civilian possession of newly-manufactured AR-15 rifles. In 1986, anti-gun members of Congress were successful in getting one piece of gun control into the vital Firearm Owners’ Protection Act. A late, and controversial, amendment from Rep. William J. Hughes (D-N.J.) placed a ban on the transfer and possession of machineguns manufactured after May 19, 1986. Treating AR-15s like machineguns would mean a permanent freeze on the total stock of AR-15s Americans could lawfully possess.

There are good reasons gun control advocates seek to obscure such radical goals.

An October Gallup poll showed that 57 percent of Americans oppose “a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns, known as assault rifles.” For the last seven years, every time Gallup has asked this question opposition to a ban has outweighed support.

Moreover, there is no evidence that further restricting commonly-owned semi-automatics would reduce violent crime. A pair of Department of Justice-funded studies of the 1994 Clinton semi-automatic ban could not determine that the ban reduced violent crime. The later of the two studies, from 2004, stated, “the ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” In explaining why, the researchers wrote, “estimates consistently show that AWs [commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms] are used in a small fraction of gun crimes.” More recent research from the RAND Corporation determined, “Evidence for the effect of assault weapon bans on total homicides and firearm homicides is inconclusive.”

History also shows that otherwise law-abiding gun owners are unlikely to comply with gun registration requirements. In the year and a half following implementation of the N.Y. SAFE Act in early 2014, 23,847 people registered 44,485 guns. Estimates of the number of firearms in the state subject to registration were 1-1.2 million. Gun control advocates didn’t have any better luck that year in Connecticut. Despite estimates that Nutmeg State residents owned several hundred thousand firearms and 2.4 million magazines subject to new registration requirements, owners registered a mere 50,016 firearms and 38,290 magazines.

Anti-gun advocates are well aware that the American people, through their elected representatives, have repeatedly rejected the severe gun control measures they support. Faced with this reality, gun control advocates have continually dressed up their fanatical goals in all manner of disguise. Constantly masquerading as moderate, for gun control supporters every day is like Halloween. As for anyone who falls for their ruse, it’s all tricks and no treats.

Poll: Most Americans Oppose Ban on “America’s Rifle”

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Despite media claims, a new Gallup poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support the AR15 ownership. READ ALL ABOUT IT

gallup ar15 poll

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last week, Gallup released the results of a poll which included a finding that should surprise no one: Americans oppose a ban on AR-15s and similar semiautomatic firearms by robust a margin of 17%. Meanwhile, current support for such a ban is 7% lower than the historical trend dating back to 1996, when Gallup first began polling on the issue. Americans, in other words, appear not to have been swayed by the intense media editorializing, celebrity pontificating, and youthful activism of the past year aimed at prohibiting what are by all accounts the most popular types of rifles in the country.

Of course, even in America, you could probably find people who would claim to support a ban on apple pie. It’s not very nutritious, they might say. It’s regressive, others might insist. Americans, after all, have the right to their opinions, even the unpopular ones.

When it comes to guns, the minority opinion is strongest among people who identify as Democrats. Gallup’s latest poll shows 56% of Democrats would support a ban on semiautomatic rifles, 16% above the national average. That is more than twice the percentage of Republicans (25%) who responded the same way. But even among Democrats, support for a semiauto ban has fallen 7 points since this time last year, notwithstanding the fact that some pundits were predicting that 2018 would finally be the year when banning highly popular guns would somehow become a winning political issue.

So what has all the “game-changing” post-Parkland grandstanding accomplished in the last eight months?

When it comes to banning guns, apparently nothing.

And it’s not just us who think so.

No one individual has shoveled more bad money into the gun control cause than billionaire Michael Bloomberg. In fact his insistence on burning huge sums of money on the issue for minimal returns almost makes you wonder how he ever got so rich in the first place.

But even he seems to understand the reality of the current situation.

According to an article in the Washington Times, Everytown for Gun Safety — the umbrella group for Bloomberg’s gun control activism –has actually shifted its midterm election spending into “ads covering abortion, health care and the Republican tax bill — but nary a mention of assault rifles … . “

Commenting for the article, gun control advocate Adam Winkler mused, “Perhaps the gun issue has waned a bit in the absence of highly publicized mass shootings in the past few months.”

And that, of course, is the irony of the gun ban movement: it needs the very events it claims to want to prevent for anyone to pay attention to it.

Even then, however, that attention and intensity typically prove to be short-lived.

Hyping other issues, of course, does not actually signal a retreat by Everytown from its gun control agenda. Rather, it’s a recognition that gun controllers will have to buy votes and politicians by other means to force their prohibitionist views downward on the American people, rather than using those views to inspire people to support their candidates in the first place.

In other words, it’s pretty much the opposite of a true grassroots approach.

Take, for example, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who was embarrassed this week by the release of audio recordings catching her and her staffers admitting that they conceal or downplay her true positions on issues like gun control in order to mislead voters on the positions she will take once elected.

All this is exactly why NRA-ILA — a true grassroots organization — is dedicated to ensuring that voters know exactly what they’re getting when it comes to the Second Amendment views of political candidates.

You might even say we try to make it as easy as pie … apple pie, of course.

RELOADERS CORNER: What Happened To Moly-Coated Bullets?

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All the rage in 1998 and all but dead 2018: here’s a look at some reasons why. KEEP READING

moly coated bullets

Glen Zediker

In a way, I guess nothing really happened to molybdenum-disulfide-coated bullets (“moly-coated”). They’re still for sale, as are means to make up your own. What I mean is why didn’t they attain the sustained popularity they started with about 20 years ago, back when many forecasted they would virtually replace bare bullets? Here’s my take, from my experience, on “what happened.”

I don’t know any shooter who tried them and wasn’t excited about results. I sho was!

Performance-wise, moly has a lot of benefits. A lot. The first and most: take two bullets, one coated and one bare, put the same load behind them, then shoot and chronograph. The coated bullet goes slower. How is that a help? The reason it goes slower is because moly drops chamber pressure (into and through the bore easier). And! That velocity loss (at least 50 fps, usually more) is not, proportionately, nearly as much as the accompanying drop in pressure (usually ballpark 4000+ psi). (These figures vary with the cartridge, but all show similar universal influence.) So. The moly-load can be increased beyond previous “maximum” velocity: the idea is to take the coated load up to normal chamber pressure. It works! It’s common to need at the least 1+ grain more propellant to level the coated load with the original bare-bullet load.

Other advantages: Most see improved velocity consistency, evidently resulting from the coating alone. The coated bullets seem to have no limit to the number of rounds that can be fired with no change in accuracy or impact location. Of course there is a limit, but I knew many going beyond 500 rounds between cleanings. And when I say “many,” I’m talking about serious competitive shooters. Another benefit is increased barrel life (less rapid throat erosion), and this is, I think, due to a faster-accelerating bullet getting into and through the throat more quickly (less intense flame). Moly bullets also release sooner from the case neck (additional “tension” is recommended).

I “switched.” (The motivation to write this came from a weekend shop-cleaning where I restacked a huge many boxes of coated bullets, and wondered if I’d ever shoot them…)

I got more bullet speed and zero loss of zero: big benefits to an NRA High Power Service Rifle shooter. 88 rounds per day, and 80gr bullets through a 20-inch barrel trying their best to get to 600 yards in close proximity of one another.

moly barrel cleaning
Here was my solution to cleaning up after moly: Kroil penetrating oil and abrasive-type bore paste. This combination got it gone, and zero didn’t leave in the process.

What is bad, then, about moly-coated bullets? Moly itself! It coats the bore with a layer of residue. This layer traps moisture and will, not can, corrode the steel underneath it.  More: molybdenum disulfide outgases (outgas is the release of an occluded gas vapor that was part of the compound; a state change, pretty much) at lower than firing temperatures. That creates a chemical that, when mixed with water (including post-firing condensation), becomes, pretty much, sulfuric acid. That meant that the whole “zillion rounds between cleanings” didn’t really work. I know many who “lost” barrels, expensive barrels.

If the barrel is cleaned (correctly) after each use, no problems. But then another advantage is lost because starting with a clean barrel it takes quite a few rounds to return to zero. The layer has to be recreated.

The residue is x-difficult to remove. It doesn’t respond to routine means for bore maintenance, mostly meaning brush-and-solvent. The only way I found to get it gone was using micro-penetrating oil in conjunction with an abrasive paste-type cleaner, such as USP Bore Paste or JB Bore Compound.

bn coated bullets
Boron Nitride (BN) is an alternative that functions, in my experience, the same but with fewer drawbacks. One is that it’s “clear,” not as messy. Bullet on the left is coated. Still, though, I think that shooting coated bullets is an “all or nothing” proposition. Good groups are not likely to come “mixing” bare and coated bullets through the same barrel.

I no longer use coated bullets. There are other coatings that have fewer disadvantages, like boron-nitride (doesn’t outgas), and some of the proprietary baked-on coatings a few major makers (like Barnes and Winchester) use don’t exhibit the post-firing issues “conventional” moly-coating creates (which usually was moly powder, followed by wax, which added to the tenacity of the residue).

However, another issue is that accuracy tends to suffer running bare bullets though a residue-coated bore (which results after only a few coated rounds, that are coated with anything). All that means, in short, is that running coated bullets is something that really has to be bought into. It’s a commitment, as I see it, and, as with many such things, pushing the limits on performance requires more attention to detail, more effort. It’s a matter of value.

lyman moly kit
Here’s an easy way to get bullets coated: Lyman’s Super Moly Kit. Just add a tumbler. The two bowls contain the media, moly, and bullets and then go into a vibratory-type tumbler. The 6 ounces worth of moly powder will coat thousands of bullets. It works well.

Weigh the pros and cons. I honestly cannot, and will not, tell anyone not to use them. Coating can provide a serious performance increase. I don’t use moly-coat anymore, but that’s because my shooting needs are not so “serious” as they once were. I, yes, have gotten a tad amount lazy. I want to go to the range and enjoy my rifles and not lose sleep over the possibility of creeping corrosion if I didn’t clean up. I also want to be able to shoot different loads, including factory ammo, and maintain accuracy.

Last words: IF you choose moly, take steps to protect the barrel bore against the potential for damage. At the least, run some petroleum-based oil through the bore after shooting if you can’t clean it soon.

Tell about your experiences with moly.

See what Midsouth offers HERE

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

REVIEW: The Palmetto State Armory PSAK-47

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And Now for Something Completely Different… A DYI AK! READ MORE

ak

Will Dabbs MD

Down here in the Deep South where I live failure to build an AR-style rifle with your children before they finish high school can be mistaken for child abuse. Gene Stoner’s inspired contrivance is the most versatile firearm ever conceived. There are estimated to be between five and ten million of the guns in circulation in America. Nobody really knows how many for sure. It is this remarkable fact that keeps the Forces of Darkness from fomenting totalitarian designs on our great land, just like the Founding Fathers envisioned.

One of the most remarkable attributes of the AR15 is its modularity and, subsequently, the ease with which the guns may be bodged together at home. However, sometimes it is kind of cool to be just a wee bit different from the guys standing on either side of you at the range. Now, thanks to Palmetto State Armory, you can craft your own AK in your dining room with no more hassle than might be the case with an AR. They call their DIY smoke pole the PSAK-47.

psa ak
The stamped receiver AK rifle is the most produced military weapon in history. Now thanks to Palmetto State Armory you can build up one of these robust rifles at home easier than you might a comparable AR. Stock options run the gamut from classic hardwood to Information Age polymer.

Pertinent Particulars
The gun is 100% made in the USA and would more realistically be described as an AKM. The receiver is pressed steel, and PSA does the heavy lifting for you by mounting up the trunnion, barrel, and riveted bits. The receiver is the serialized component that transfers through your FFL. All that remains is to install the guts and bolt on the furniture. As this is Palmetto State Armory they naturally offer scads of options at very reasonable prices.

ak parts kit
Here’s what you get. The barrel, trunnions, and ancillary components are already pressed and riveted. Palmetto State Armory does all of the heavy lifting for you.

Installing the entrails of an AKM is easier than finishing out an AR lower. Fitting the sundry springs normally takes three-and-a-half hands with milspec internals, but the kit comes with a proprietary retaining plate that makes that chore lots easier. If you get stumped there is always the miracle of YouTube.

ak psa parts
The hammer and trigger retaining plate makes assembly of the internal parts so much easier than is the case with the GI version. Just snap the plate in place and secure it with the safety shaft.

Furniture options range from 1960’s-era retro chic to Information Age Magpul awesome. Just like your AR, a single chassis can serve as host for a wide variety of options. Each has its own personality. Truth be known it is not philosophically dissimilar to Barbie for gun nerds.

ak stock options
Various furniture options give the rifle very different personalities.

Trigger Time
The PSAK-47 runs just like any one of the other 100 million Kalashnikov rifles in service around the globe. The ranch-gate safety sucks, but that hasn’t stopped the rifle from becoming the most successful Infantry weapon in the history of mankind. Magazines have to be rocked in place, but the subsequent mechanical advantage makes it easy to seat a fully-loaded mag with the bolt closed. Try doing that quickly with your favorite Stoner rifle. The sights were state of the art back in 1947, but they still drop your bullets where you want them. The PSAK-47 comes with a Combloc-standard scope rail on the left aspect of the receiver if you’d like to add something sparkly and electrical.

ak scope mount
The PSAK-47 comes standard with a Combloc scope-mounting rail on the left side.

The big .30-caliber 7.62x39mm rounds can be a handful in the absence of proper technique. However, that’s all relative. Truth be known even a child can run it, and, in your less-respectable war zones, many have.

Availability
Palmetto State Armory consistently has the best prices on gun build kits in the industry. As a result they move quite a lot of iron. An unfortunate byproduct of this fact is the dreaded “Temporarily Out of Stock” appellation to be found at the bottom of several of the entries on their website. Many’s the gun-nerd dream has been shattered by that fateful phrase. Regardless, be patient as their stock does indeed rotate. At present they offer a variety of completed guns even though the build kits might be sparse. Their prices are always great, even for the turnkey AK’s, and their quality is unimpeachable. The USSR wished they could have fielded AK’s that were this awesome back during the Cold War.

palmetto ak cover
The tab at the back of the recoil spring assembly retains the stamped steel action cover. The PSA workmanship is impeccable.

Blondes or brunettes, Mustangs or Camaros, steel pistols or plastic:  it is in our many manifest differences that true diversity begets strength. If AR rifles set your heart aflutter then, by all means, craft the race-gun of your dreams on your diningroom table, go forth, and be well. However, if you find yourself in the mood for a little Combloc chaos then the PSAK-47 offers Kalashnikov brawn along with the delectable capacity for individualization. Any three-thumbed ape can build one, and the subsequent sense of ownership is mighty satisfying.

ak accuracy results
The completed rifle shoots just fine for a combat gun. Younger eyeballs or an optical sight would likely yield better results.

Performance
I tested three loads through my PSAK-47. Group size is best 4 of 5 shots measured center to center fired at 100 meters over open sights from a simple rest using 51-year-old eyeballs. Velocity is the average of 3 shots fired across a Caldwell Ballistic Chronograph oriented 10 feet from the muzzle.

Results: Red Army Standard 123gr FMJ, 2.25 inch group, 2316 fps; Wolf Performance Ammo 123gr FMJ, 2.25 inches, 2399 fps; Russian Steel Case 123-gr HP, 4.25 inches, 2385 fps.

LEARN MORE

 

INDUSTRY NEWS: New Ruger Custom Shop

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Big news for Ruger fans! Now you can get an upgraded gun from Ruger. READ MORE

sr1911

SOURCE: Ruger

Ruger Custom Shop products offer a high level of refinement and attention to detail.  Custom Shop products have been designed by Ruger’s expert team of engineers with input from professionals in the field: competitive shooters, renowned hunters, and award-winning writers. This new line of firearms represents the finest example of quality and innovation in Ruger products built to the highest of standards. The Custom Shop will feature exclusive collectible, competition, hunting, and personal defense firearms.

“Our customers have been craving high-end performance variations of our popular models for a long time. We are thrilled to respond to the call and bring the Ruger Custom Shop to fruition. We are confident that these new products represent the very best in craftsmanship and performance.”
– Chris Killoy, Ruger President & CEO

The first two announced are the SR1911 and 10/22 Competition Rifle.

Designed in conjunction with professional shooting team captain and world champion competitive shooter, Doug Koenig, the SR1911 is a full-sized 9mm pistol built for competitive shooting in IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, Bianchi Cup, Pro Am Shooting, and Steel Challenge disciplines.

Features include a precision-machined Koenig Shooting Sports low-mass hammer and competition sear, combined with a custom flat-faced trigger shoe, precision-machined disconnector and hand-tuned sear spring, which all provide a match-grade break. The package also includes a hand-fitted slide and frame.

10-22

The 10/22® Competition Rifle features a custom receiver. It’s hard-coat anodized, CNC-machined, heat-treated, and stress-relieved 6061-T6511 aluminum, and includes an integral, optics-ready, 30 MOA picatinny rail. This new receiver is paired with a 4140, heat-treated and nitrided match CNC-machined bolt. The receiver also incorporates a second bedding lug to improve action stability, plus a rear cleaning port to provide access to the barrel from the rear of the receiver for easier cleaning. This new rifle also has a second barrel locator to provide a free-floating barrel.

The receiver is secured in a painted and textured laminated stock with a fully adjustable cheek rest.

Go check them out!

NEW: Western Powders Handloading Guide

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Western Powders has released its new Handloading Guide, Edition 7.0. Plus a Hazmat Special from Midsouth Shooters This Weekend Only! READ MORE

western powders loading guide

This $2.99 print resource contains the latest load data for Western’s propellants.

You’ll find load data for over 100 rifle cartridges. The cartridge listings are up to date — including the popular new mid-sized competition cartridges, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and also .224 Valkyrie, along with many popular wildcat varmint cartridges, such as the 20 Vartarg, 20 Tactical, and 20 BR.

This resource also features helpful articles on handloading methods and rifle maintenance and cleaning.

Click HERE to take a look!

Midsouth Shooters is also offering a FREE HAZMAT promotion this weekend only! Get $140 of any Western Powder, like Accurate, Norma, or Ramshot (including Blackhorn 209) and you get FREE HAZMAT!

Check it out HERE!