Not sure long this deal will last. The last time I brought this to the blog, you folks bought up hundreds of the things. Plano Ammo Can (Field Box) Once again, they are $10 off on a purchase of $50, with free shipping. That means buy six, and you get about 15% off, with the $9.79 price as I write this. I now have almost all my ammunition in these, and my primers as well. They are just the right size to grab for a range session, without the weight of a big 50 cal can. Not sure how long the deal will last.... buy them while you can!
taken a good look at various types of buckshot loads fired from both a
short riot gun with no choke, and a full length shotgun with a full
choke, We appeared to have a good handle on how buckshot is going to
behave at the target.
But.... one test was left out, even if
improbable. What happens when buckshot is fired through a rifled shotgun
barrel meant to spin slugs? Will we see the 'Donut of Doom' so
commonly espoused? Will it effect the pattern at all?
rifled shotgun barrel is designed as a slug thrower, not a 'shot'
thrower. Sure, it will go bang with shot and stuff will come out the end
of the barrel, but what happens after that is not so clear. The spiral
rifling meant to impart spin on a solid slug and stabilize it. It will
impart the same spin on the shot charge. It must have an effect, but
exactly how much of one was unclear to me till today.
Using a single shot H+R rifled slug gun in 12 gauge, I fired three rounds of #4 buck at
a silhouette target. The #4 buck has 24 pellets per shot charge, and
leaves sufficient 'pattern' for analysis. Three rounds.... nearly 75
pellets, and enough to make a judgment on what happens (click on the
target photo to enlarge). The
firing distance was about 35 feet, and roughly 30% of the pellets hit
the silhouette with any effect. The rest.... decorated the hillside.
The conclusion is clear; a rifled barrel will force the shot to spread
at a very rapid pace. Where a cylinder bore shotgun will place all it's
buckshot on center mass at that distance, a rifled barrel will splatter
most of the pellets far and wide, with only some hitting the target in a
useful manner. The 'donut' of shot did not appear on this target, and
the pattern was without... well.... 'pattern'.
Would I use it for defense? If there was no other choice, yes. Given any choice at all I would prefer a smooth bore of any type over rifled for shooting buckshot.
This afternoon found The Fat Man at his club, competing in a military rifle match. 50 rounds at 100 yards on the standard NRA reduced range high power targets. 50 shots, worth 500 points total. 50 opportunities to put into action all the skills learned at Appleseed, 50 chances to succeed, and 50 chances to fail. Shooting the 03-A3 with my own handloads using old military pulled bullets, I managed a 417/500 2X, a personal best score. For the first time ever, every shot I fired scored. Every shooter who bested me (3 out of 20) were highly experienced competitors whose skills are built on years of practice and training. The lesson to come away with...... this can be done. Practice, learn, teach, and practice some more. I can be better.
I recently received a welcome note, explaining the rifle I used in this article is still out there, and doing yeoman's work in teaching young people to shoot. It's a lowly .22 Marlin I had for many years, and had 'modified' somewhat searching for better accuracy. Sold to a friend some time back, it since changed hands again, and is now ensconced on a military base someplace helping to relieve the boredom and gather skills in a pack of youngens.
I have since discovered one make and model of .22 rimfire ammo that every single .22 I own shoots well, and some shoot astoundingly well. Given the current rimfire ammo drought, I'll save that for another day, as nobody likes salt rubbed in a wound. That pleases me quite a bit. Article redux from 2008:
I've been building up to this range test for a few weeks now. Tweaking the rifle and gathering rimfire ammunition to squander.
had two goals, besides the obvious one of spending a day trying to wear
out the Marlins barrel. I wanted a look at the velocity numbers of
various makes of .22 ammo, and I wanted to pin down what the Marlin
As a side bar, I was very curious if velocity
consistency is a key to rim fire accuracy, as it is in a center fire.
With my heavy barrel varmint rifle I look for less than 20 fps variation
shot to shot. This tells me I have a load with consistent internal
ballistics. I expect the same from any match ammunition I load,
including pistol rounds.
My plan for the days testing was to fire
a twenty round string of each cartridge. All from the same rifle, same
targets, same bench, same shooter, etc. Fired into four groups of five
rounds each, this should provide a rough but fair result in the search
for the most accurate (as far as this Marlin is concerned, anyway).
every round over my chronograph and recording the data, I would then
have a decent record of each brands average velocity and it's
variations. I wasn't sure what the data would show, but it would be
interesting to see the results and chart them. The
shooting day started at 9am for me, and abruptly came to a temporary
stop at 9:05. A nest of yellow jackets had adopted the fifty yard back
stop I chose, and my initial setup target was their new God.
had planned to attach a dozen targets to a sheet of cardboard, cutting
out some down time spent hanging paper. The Cardboard had a target on
it I use to set up and align the chrono. For some reason the little
wasps thought this target was the most fascinating thing ever seen, and
swarmed it. Hovering by the hundreds in front of it, worshiping like
Obamaites at the convention.
Four partial cans of wasp spray only
thinned them out a little, so I came to an agreement with the little
buggers. I left them the target they loved so much, and I hung mine a
few feet over to the right. The separation agreement worked well for
all concerned. I proceeded to fire a dozen foulers, and set up the
alignment of the chronograph. The rest of the day I co-existed with the
yellow jackets in a strange form of shooty peace. Each time I looked
through the spotting scope, I could see mounds of little wasps crawling
over the large target. The smaller targets I was shooting for record
they completely ignored. Each
target was numbered, for a total of sixteen targets. The numbers
matched those at the top of data sheets I had preprinted and arranged in
a binder. Each page was used to record the make and model of the
cartridge, along with all the velocity data collected. The speed of
each round fired was noted, along with average velocity, highs and lows,
extreme spread, standard deviation, and average deviation for the
Accuracy was measured hours after the shoot, looking only
at the numbered targets in the binder. Groups were checked and
averaged without knowing what cartridge was mated to which target. The
target data was then transferred to the cartridge data sheets for
comparison. This round-about method helped me leave my own ammunition
prejudices aside as I looked for results. In
this first chart (click to enlarge for easier reading), I have listed
each type tested, it's average velocity, extreme velocity spread, and
average group size.
At first blush, the results would seem pretty
confusing. The ammunition with the best accuracy did not always have
the least velocity variations. The question remains in my mind... how
much of the data is flawed simply because I needed to concentrate
more....to shoot better?
Anecdotal evidence suggests this may be a
significant factor. Many of the targets showed four shots touching,
then a flier an inch away. The velocity numbers don't always explain
Some targets were clear, with large groups dispersed
evenly around the bullseye. Others showed excellent promise for tight
groups, till a blasted flier opened it up. Fliers are always a
question..... was it the ammunition or the shooter? The
data showed that wide velocity variations were not solely the realm of
cheap ammunition. While Federal bulk pack had a huge spread, so did
some very expensive RWS subsonic.In
addition, accuracy seemed to be dependent on velocity numbers to only a
small degree. Far more important were bullet weight and style. The
ammunition loaded with lighter bullets of a more conical shape shot the
worst from this Marlin 780. CCI Quik-Shok stood out from the crowd in
that manner, with very high velocity bullets fired into groups so large their was no reason to measure them. The Marlin clearly despised the Quik-Shok round.
impressive, velocity and accuracy wise, were the relatively expensive
match rounds. Both the Eley and the Fiocchi shot a few astounding groups
and both had the lowest velocity variations of the pack. Where the
Federal bulk pack made consistently large groups, the Eley would land
four rounds in one wide hole, then another hole half an inch off the
groups center. On the other hand, at $70 a brick (500 rounds), I won't be rushing out to buy a case of Eley anytime soon.
the range of reasonably priced ammunition, both the PMC Sidewinders and
the Federal Champion 510 ammunition built promising groups without wild
velocity variations, although 80+ fps is still a pretty wide spread.
CCI Subsonic hollow points did the same.
What did I learn, after
firing sixteen different rounds with serious intent? Clearly I can go
buy a few bricks of Federal Champion and have a reasonable expectation
it will perform decently in this Marlin. CCI Subsonics will make an
excellent small game round for the rifle as well. Past that..... The
Match ammunition? For what it costs, I think I'll pass. I'm not doing
any shooting with this rifle that demands that kind of potential,
especially at the price. 0.75" - 0.80" groups at fifty yards make this
a fine squirrel rifle, and at $2.80 a box for the Federal I can shoot
as much as I like. I had
planned to test half a dozen types of .22 short as well, but their
accuracy was so poor from the Marlin that it became pointless. CCI CB
Long was also tested, but its such a different animal that it doesn't
belong in this mix at all. One fact I did come away
with... every rifle is very different. Replacing the Marlin 780 on the
bench with my new CZ452, it was a different ball game. The Eley that
had 40 fps variations in the Marlin had only a 13 fps spread in the CZ.
The Federal bulk that had so-so accuracy in the Marlin grouped
exceptionally well in the CZ. The longer barrel on the CZ resulted in lower velocities as well. I would have enjoyed being able to announce "This .22 Ammunition is the best! Your rifle will love it and you will be pleased!".
But.... I can't do that. Each rifle is different, especially in rim
fire. The only conclusions I can draw are the obvious ones..... each
shooter will have to run these tests (at least the accuracy portion) for them self, with each different rim fire rifle they are interested in. On the other hand.... that just means a lot of shooting. How bad can that be?
Long ago, in a former life, I had cause to acquire this book. That copy was given away, and another bought for myself. That happened again, and another was found to grace my shelves. One way or another, I've had a copy around for.... a while. I've written here about putting together a Med-kit, and my amateurish thoughts on same. As part of that I suggested getting training might be more valuable than anything else.... but just like serious weapon training, real life medical training can be expensive and hard to find. A Red Cross first aid course only goes just so far.... That leave us hitting the books on our own, and muddling through as best we can. Not the best course of action, but far better than a sharp stick in the eye. It means buyng emergency medical books, reading them, try like hell to remember what they said, and hope we do no harm when we land in the crap. Well, this is not one of those books, so don't get your hopes up. Where There Is No Doctor covers a lot of medical conditions, and their treatment, it is true. More than that, it speaks to quite a lot we in civilization take for granted. The importance of simple hygiene, clean water, and the root causes behind serious systemic illness in a community. No, this won't be the book you flip open every time little Bobby gets a boo-boo, but that's not it's purpose. This is the book you read, storing it's information away in that little vault labeled 'Oh Crap' deep in your head.
My bookshelf has a copy, and I re-read it every few years, just to refresh the contents of that vault. It's a lot like knowing how to make fire without lighter or matches. I'm not whipping out the flint and steel every time I light my cigar, but I know how if I need to.
This book is to community or small group health what the US Army survival manual is to back country travel. Odd's are you will never need the knowledge, but having it is a good thing anyway.
Astute readers, and that means everyone who spends time here, will have noticed the abundance of Amazon.com links in the written blatherings of Carteach recently.
What is up with that, you may ask...... Currently Carteach is more like 'Nobodyteach', and is enjoying a semi-retirement-type unemployed situation. I say 'semi' as I fully expect something will come along that attracts my passion, and then it will be full bore again. Till that happens, I have more time for other enjoyments, including everything shooty I can manage. But.... why the Amazon.com links? Two reasons: (1) I shop there myself, and find it the easiest way to help people find the stuff I am writing about, and (2) they kick a few percent of the sales back into my account, letting me buy some toys my otherwise brokeitude would not allow. That extra bit of income, small as it is, is most welcome and greatly appreciated. For those gentle readers who chose to make purchases through the links here, my thanks go out to you. You've done me a solid, and I appreciate it.
Sadly, Amazon.com does not sell ammo, bourbon, or cigars..... sigh. They do sell coffee, and food, and both have been carried to my door by the unflagging UPS driver. That's pretty handy, that is.
Burned up about 150 rounds this morning doing Mozambique drills. Both my regular carry G-30 and the newish S&W model 10 with it's freshly installed Hogue combat grip got involved. These are what I call 40 footers.... all shot between 40 and 50 feet, usually with some movement tossed in just to keep it interesting. I found some bad trigger habits had crept in over the last few months, and therefor concentrated on that aspect of the shooting. I like my carry pistol..... 11 rounds of hot .45 acp in a small, accurate, and dependable package that I can carry all day comfortably..... what's not to like? That said, it almost feels a little wrong to say the S&W model 10 with the Hogue grip is quite a bit easier to shoot well. It points naturally, and the .38 special is very, very controllable even with my typical +P loads. Was a good morning on the range......
Recently a new horse was added to the stable, an elderly police trade in S&W model 10 in .38 special. A slight bit of cleanup revealed a quite serviceable revolver, with all the traditional S&W quality showing in abundance. The first range trip made it clear the old beastie is a real shooter, willingly placing bullet after bullet into a very, very small groups.... surprisingly small groups.... given the fixed sights and undersized almost-an-afterthought grips. The pistol having proven it's mettle, it seemed worth the cost to upgrade the grips with something a little more conducive to good shooting. It was a tossup between making my own, as I have before, or buying one of the new offerings from Hogue. Perusing the intertubes to see what is available, the Hogue monogrip design combat grip in rosewood laminate looked just too stunning to pass up. (Fish around on the site a while... they have a dozen different types of wood available, in different designs).
Installation is literally a two screw affair, using a decent gunsmithing screwdriver preferably. First, remove the old grips by taking out the one grip screw. I like to put the grip halves back together, reinsert the screw to keep them attached, and then store the original grips in the package the new ones can in. That lets me know exactly what they fit ten years down the road, when I stumble on them in a box of stuff.... Next, Install the stirrup mounting that Hogue includes with the new grip unit. This just snaps into place over the grip alignment pin at the base of the grip frame. It's pretty much fool-proof, and even Carteach managed to get it on without screwing it up. The one piece grip is then slid carefully onto the pistol grip frame, with the stirrup sliding into the milled recesses in the grip. Once again, nearly fool-proof. Once lined up, the grip is a snug fit requiring a couple light thumps with the palm of the hand to seat it home. The design of the inletting guides the stirrup exactly where it needs to be for the final step, which is nothing more than installing the single screw that comes with the mounting hardware. Snug down this screw.... and you are done!
See? Take out one screw, pop off the old grips, snap on the stirrup, slide on the gorgous new finger groove combat grip, and install one screw. Shucks.... even *I* can handle that! The result is a very serious upgrade in ability to hold the pistol and shoot it well. The Hogue grip settles down into the hand as if the pistol just grew there, and it's more than a little difficult putting the pistol down after feeling it all fall into place. Yes, I could have made own..... but it wouldn't be like this piece of work. Carteach gives it two thumbs up.
Updating the review recently posted on the TLR-1 High Lumen weapon light...... Another 100 double taps have gone down range, practicing light activation along with double/single action shooting sequences. The PT809 performed flawlessly so far, as did the light. The added forward weight makes the pistol a little more controllable on rapid fire, and the light-saber-blaster functions fine under recoil. One thing did surface though; A slight tendency for the rail clamp screw to back off if it's only finger tightened. Snugging with a coin (it's slotted for such) removed that minor offense instantly.
Spending some time around the home with this pistol/light combination (Unloaded of course), I was looking for evidence that perhaps the light is just too bright. Purposefully hitting a gloss white door with a light blast, I'll say the reflection was a serious hit to the eyes. That said, it was not dehabilitating.
More to the point, hitting myself full throttlevia a mirror, I can say that being on the receiving end of 630 lumens is BLINDING. It totally washed my optics from focusing on the area, and five minutes later my eyes were just returning to normal.
I have to vote for the light, as it's shear massive output and how that can effect an attacker outweighs the possibility of damaging ones own night vision (Lets face it.... firing most pistols indoors in the dark is going to result in a muzzle flash anyway). Heck, even getting a hit with the TLR-1 HL in full daylight can be blinding at close range.
Two points really stand out..... the ability to identify exactly what is making that bump in the night, and the ability to take away it's eyesight if needed. As a weapon light for this home defense pistol..... stellar performance. Now I want several more to mount on rifle and shotgun.......
Recently Peter spoke of acquiring a Ruger Blackhawk. His writings brought this to mind....
This Ruger Bisley .44 has been in the stable for decades. Acquired at a gun show long ago, it's become an old friend.
It's seen it's most use as a cowboy action pistol, with lots of range
time tossed in. It's also fired it's share of hot lead at game in the
field, and been a bear backup gun during some Maine fishing expeditions.
From 200 grain puff loads to 300 grain super boom-en-splat bear loads, it's gobbled them all with no complaint.
issue, nursed over the years, has been the original factory walnut
stocks. Now, the factory wood was nice, and had the nifty Ruger
squawking chicken emblem on them. For many people they would have been
For many people.... but not me. See.... most people don't have paws like mine. Big hairy creature paws that tend to fill up any space they are jammed into. Especially tight little spaces jammed in behind trigger guards on magnum pistols. Ouch!
My answer was to whittle my own stocks from rock hard Birdseye maple. It took only a few hours, and they happened on the first try which is amazing. The directions are out there on the net.... and wood is around. I highly recommend trying this activity if you have the desire.
the original factory stocks onto flat slabs of maple, I traced around
them with a pencil. Using a band saw (a jig saw works fine) I cut away
everything outside the generous line. Working the parts of the
oversize rough pieces where they fit the pistol, I filed away till the
blanks could be fitted to the pistol. With tape on the blued surfaces
to protect them, I then began carefully filing away at the overage, till
I was within .040" or so of pistol frame.
that, it was simply a matter of sand off a hair at a time till they fit
as good as possible, and then sand for thickness and finish. Once
final shaped and sanded, an oil finish was applied and allowed to set up
for a week or two.
These fill my hand like the gun was fitted to me personally. Oh, wait..... it was.
The full house magnum loads are nothing big to deal with, now that the
pistol has something to really hang onto. The puff target loads... like
shooting a .22, only way more fun.
new grips or stocks? Try this! I mean... the WORST that could happen
would be a wasted evening and some fancy toothpicks.... It's not like
the order of the universe will be altered if it doesn't work.
I kicked myself the last time I passed up the sale at Bud's, so this time I didn't make that mistake. They have used S&W model 10's, both round and square butt, for $279 right now. That price includes shipping. Frankly, anytime one can buy a S&W revolver in decent condition for under $300, it's probably a good deal. These are no less than that. There is a reason Smith and Wesson made over 6,000,000 of the model 10 over the last 100 years, and it's still in production today. They are a working pistol..... having the standard of reliability that all other weapons are judged by. Once carried by nearly every police officer in the United States, they have given way to higher capacity, and higher power, semi-auto pistols. That said, six rounds of utterly reliable .38 special is nothing to be sneezed at, especially with today's modern +P loadings.
The pistol Bud's delivered for that price is a heavily carried but lightly used Model 10-10. Blued, fixed sights, standard grips..... just a box stock base model. It's gained quite a bit of holster wear, and the backstrap shows a patina that speaks of years with a police officer resting his hand on it. There were a few spots of very light rust stain in the cylinders which buffed out with a brush and some WD-40. The same for the backstrap, which smoothed out nicely under 4-0 steel wool sprayed with the self same WD-40.
The grips are heavily worn and dinged, but serviceable. I expect I will be updating them with a set of Hogue grips in the new combat pistol design. They are a pleasure to hold and make the pistol easy to control, not that .38 special is difficult to begin with.
I'll probably do a bit of cold bluing with Oxphoblue, just to touch it up a little, and perhaps one day the pistol will get a total makeover in matte nickel. For now, just new grips... some touch up..... a very good cleaning..... and LOTS of shooty time!
These are my favorite inexpensive wraparound safety glasses. They have excellent safety ratings, offer good clarity and peripheral protection, and are cheap enough they can be bought by the dozen and given away to new shooters. Right now, as I write this, only $3.78 with free shipping. Time to stock up on spares!
I bought some and stashed them in car, shooting bag, and garage. I also got a shaded pair, and am liking them muchly as sun glasses. WAY more optically correct than cheap sunglasses (no headaches).
I've been working towards setting up a pistol as a 'Bump-In-The-Night' house weapon. When the Taurus PT-809 followed me home one day as an investment, it became a prime suspect for the role. Now, about 500 rounds later (and a treatment with Slipstream), the Taurus has settled down and become quite reliable. Having an 18 round (17+1) capacity, a double action that makes leaving a round in the chamber quite safe, and pretty decent ergonomics..... the pistol lacked only a weapon light to fill out the package. To meet that need, I ordered a Streamlight TLR-1 HL High Lumen Tactical Light. Like it's older brother, the TLR-1 (300 lumens), the HL is a rail mounted tactical light featuring full on, momentary on, and strobe effect. Fed by a pair of lithium CR123 batteries, it has a reported run time in excess of an hour. Since all my pocket flashlights live off the same power source, getting the same in a weapon light is a no brainer. I'm already buying CR123 batteries by the ten pack anyway. Unlike many other rail mounted units, the TLR-1 HL has an
interchangeable 'key' setup to the rail mount. This means the actual part that fits into the notch of the rail can be swapped out to make the light fit better. The light comes with four different inserts that bolt into place, each marked for a different weapon. Even though they are so marked, I found it best to try all four for fit before bolting one into place. Hitting upon the right one was like the clouds opening and a ray of sunshine beaming onto the weapon in my hands. The light snicked on snugly, putting the ambidextrous switch tabs exactly under my finger tips where needed to be.
This particular light is a bit large for a carry pistol, in my view, unless it's carried in a pocket and then snapped into place when needed. The mechanism for mounting it to the rail is fast, sure fitting, and secure. When the little knob is screwed down, the light is NOT going anyplace. All this can be done without tools, in seconds. On a house pistol, or a long gun..... this thing really shines (Pun fully intended). It's light output is nothing less than spectacular, blinding to look at even in daylight. Within it's rugged aluminum body is housed a C4 LED putting out roughly 12,000 candlepower. The conversion to lumens is tricky and beyond this poor old man's ken, but I'll attest to this...... the light is BRIGHT! Scary bright, if you are on the wrong end of it.
About fifteen years ago I was playing around with building LED flashlights of my own, and a buddy asked if I could build him something that would flat out blind someone on the receiving end. So bright it would effectively shut down their ability to respond coherently to the threat they were under. I could not..... and till now when I ran into the TLR-1 HL, I hadn't seen anything likely to fit his wishes. This light could possibly do that. Now, it's not all sherry and giggles..... there is a minor flaw to the unit in my opinion. A very minor one, I think, but it's one Streamlight could work on. The strobe feature is activated by flicking the momentary switch a couple times. If done just exactly right the second hit will have the light in strobe mode as long as the switch is held down. My beef is that it's fiddly to do, and requires a deft touch and a conscious thought... two things that fly straight out the window in a tense defensive situation. The reality is one can forget using the strobe feature under pressure unless practiced a lot, and I mean an awful lot, until it becomes instinct.
It would be far better to have the light programmable, with a setting that has momentary either full on or strobe, but not a touchy combination of the two. For myself with this unit, I shall practice using either full on or momentary, leaving the strobe function aside. Frankly, given the momentary blinding 630 lumen flash, I'm not sure the strobe will be all that missed. The unit weighs in a little over 4 ounces, which is excellent for it's power. Still, it will seriously change the handling characteristics of a pistol, no matter how large. On the somewhat lightweight PT-809, it's a hefty change. That means more practice..... something I'm not adverse to. The TLR-1 HL tactical light costs about $140, and that's not a small investment. Given it's well regarded ancestry, tough build, and incredible power..... the price is not bad at all. It's nearest competitor in this power/quality range runs well over $200, making this Streamlight offering a scream of a deal.
Yesterday I stopped at Cabela's since I was in the Hamburg area. What I saw there was pretty much in line with what people are reporting from elsewhere.
Firearms, one could purchase pretty much anything, and there was a variety to choose from. Even the used rack was replete with Sig rifles, HK's, and combat shotguns. Prices were high, but not insane.
Magazines, there was a BIN full of AR poly magazines at $14.95. Other mags were available.
Ammo..... sigh...... not a single box of .22 rimfire anyplace. Anything that would chamber in a battle rifle, forget it except for 30-06. They had the Privy Partisan Garand load at $400 per 500 round can. Common hunting and pistol calibers, there was plenty, excepting .223, .308, 9mm, and 45acp.
Reloading supplies, thin. VERY thin. Nothing at all in .22 or .30 caliber. Powder and primers in short supply. Lots of dies and equipment in stock, but prices are much higher than a few months back.
Other stores in my area reflect the same situation. Weapons are available, at the new price points established over the last few months. Not a lot of them are moving just now, and it seems like peoples rifle/pistol budgets have dried up somewhat. Ammo is sketchy in availability, with a real drought in .22 rimfire. I would hope that eventually lightens up as people get the stock on hand they desire.... but remember, someone who might think 200 rounds of rifle ammo is a lot might also think 5000 rounds of .22 is a good start.
Myself, I'm shooting a lot more air rifle than I did even a few months ago, and conserving .22 rimfire like I might never see it for sale again. At this point, I'm more comfortable going through 100 rounds of 7.62x54 than I am 100 rounds of .22lr.