Saturday, January 28, 2012

Identify this 30-06 headstamp?

The one on the left is common Greek HXP.

The one on the right is......?

Laserlyte's side mounted laser for the ruger LCP


(Please note: The fly in the photograph is not an employee of Carteach0, nor were any flies harmed in the testing of this product. The fly was strictly an uninvited guest, and does not represent the views of Carteach0 or it's staff.... meaning me.)

Lasers are fun. There's just no way around that. As sighting aids on weapons, they are fun... useful, and sometimes downright necessary. Wonderfully effective under low light conditions when sighting is difficult, they really 'shine' when mounted on a pocket pistol with minimal sights.

Okay.... Carteach is a fan of lasers. When I'm at work I have a nifty green laser blaster in my pocket at all times, as a means of directing students attention. When I CCW, I have a laser option on my weapon as a means of directing
my attention.... and hitting the correct target. Now, Laserlyte has come up with an interesting choice to make in the pantheon of shiny things.

My regular carry pistol is a Glock G-30sf with a Lasermax internal laser. It was the only choice on that weapon, as Lasermax is the only company that makes an internal laser to fit it.

My backup weapon, and on occasion the only firearm I can easily carry concealed, is a Ruger LCP. The little .380 pocket rocket has much going for it, but good sights are not on the list. The reasons for this are reasonable and understandable, but still a bit vexing to someone who thinks 'better-than-point-shooting' accuracy is important at times.

Crimson Trace has a solution to that dilemma, a nifty little laser that mounts to the LCP and activates when the shooter takes a normal grip. By all appearances and reports, it's a fine piece of work and does a great job. The one place the CT unit may come up lacking is.... cost. With the best retail price found at roughly $190, and designed to mount on a $290 pistol.... the cost of the CT unit can be daunting. Especially to a cheap old skinflint such as Carteach.

Well...... Laserlyte has seen fit to fill that niche with their own offering... and it will retail for about half what the CT unit does. Like I said.... 'Old Skinflint'.... and the Laserlyte offering piqued my interest tremendously.

Using the vast journalistic powers at the disposal of 'Ol Carteach, I managed to get an early production model before they were released in bulk. Actually, those powers run more towards 'wheedle', 'whine', and 'beg', but the results are the same. We had one to look at before most other folks did...

The Laserlyte 'CK-AMF' side mount laser for the Ruger LCP (and Keltec models) comes with most of the tools needed to install it, along with a set of spare batteries (
I love the idea of it coming with spare batteries.... that's a nice touch I wish every manufacturer did). The tools not included... a pin punch, small hammer, and some sort of work bench padded block.... these should be in every tinkerers tool box.

Laserlyte has gone to the trouble of uploading a video tutorial on mounting the little laser, as they have done for their other units as well. Nice touch... and much appreciated. It's not a high production value video, which means they didn't spend a ton of cash on it. Laserlytes videos have a homey feel to them, as if the folks there were talking one day, and decided their customers should have simple videos to show how to put the things together.... and they went out the next day and shot some. The good part..... it probably didn't cost much, and that means they don't have to bump prices up to pay for glitzy video productions.

Carteach actually had this video running on his cell phone/pocket computer while installing the unit on the test Ruger. Installation of the laser took only a few minutes more than it takes to run the entire video.

With the unit installed, next came sighting in. Here, experience with the Laserlyte construction has taught a trick. Run the adjustment screws mostly to the end turning counterclockwise (That's
left for you digital kids), and then let the pistol and laser rest in a warm spot for twenty minutes or so. I suspect this allows the buffers inside the tiny laser units to fully expand, making adjustment easier and faster.

Once the pistol is ready to have it's new laser sight adjusted, install the (included) Allen keys in the near microscopic adjustment screws, and slowly dial in the laser dot to appear at the point of aim. Carteach chose to make that distance about 20 feet, a reasonable choice given the expected duty of the little Ruger as a backup pocket pistol. Make the adjustments just a little at a time, maybe 1/8 of a turn, and
always finish with the adjustment by making the last movement clockwise (right hand).

Final adjustments, if required, are done with live fire at the range, although Carteach has never had to do more than the above with a Laserlyte unit. Perhaps one of the tricks I employ helps with that, as I give the pistol a brisk '
swat' with my hand after each adjustment change, thinking this helps seat the adjustment into place.

The Laserlyte LCP unit activates with a push button that falls naturally under a right hand shooters trigger finger as it indexes along the frame of the pistol. The slight swelling bump of the laser unit makes for a perfect line to encourage the finger to fall into the correct place.

Pushing the button activates the laser. Pushing it again shuts it off. The button head is recessed deep enough in a guard that it's highly unlikely the laser will be activated accidentally during pocket carry, especially if a proper holster is used. On the other hand, switching it on on purpose is easy and natural.

It should be noted though.... activating the laser places the trigger finger in exactly the right place to block the laser beam, and it doesn't appear on the target till the finger is dropped back into proper frame index, or on the trigger.

The unit is programmable, in that there are two laser modes to choose from. Holding the button down for about five full seconds will toggle the unit from 'solid' laser to 'pulsing' laser. Once chosen, that is the mode the laser operates in till the operator does the five second trick again and toggles it back.

Carteach chooses the pulsating laser for a variety of reasons. For one, it exactly matches the way the Lasermax unit works in my regular G-30 carry piece. For another, it nearly doubles battery life. Last.... it just works better for me to see the laser dot since it's pulsating. My theory on that is..... Man is a natural predator. Our eyes and brains are keyed to movement, and we see movement faster and easier than a still object.

With the laser mounted to the little LCP, new forms of training can commence. Like Bill Murray in the movie 'Stripes', I hear that as '

When I holster my regular carry pistol, I make it a habit to activate and test the laser in a safe direction. Every single time. This not only tests the laser, but builds muscle memory towards activating the laser without having to think about it. Likewise, every time I unholster and put the weapon away, I do it as a draw with laser activation... in a safe direction of course (Living in the country at the highly secret Carteach0 headquarters, I have that option).

Now, I can do the exact same thing with my backup pocket blaster. Over a few weeks of doing so, drawing the weapon and activating it's laser becomes second nature. The laser gives instant feedback of the accuracy of the draw/point technique, and with a little thought to the training, the sights come into alignment with the dot as second nature.

My thoughts on the Laserlyte side mount unit for the Ruger LCP? Two thumbs up. It's a welcome addition to my regular backup carry piece, and gives immensely more confidence in my ability to hit what I need to with it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thank you!

Folks, to all of you who take a moment to click on the ads here on the site, thank you. Each click might not seem like much, but they add up. Even a few pennies at a time can build up to a welcome surprise each month.

I promise.... the ill gotten gains will be translated directly into ammunition and supplies, and shared right back here on the site.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The M1 Garand rifle: "The greatest battle implement ever devised."


Thus spoke George Patton Jr.

I'll admit, I like old things, and I like learning history. I especially like old firearms, and most especially of all, I like old military arms. So many were present at pivotal times in human history, and even the most jaded imagination can almost hear the human voices speaking from beyond time when one holds the military rifle of a previous generation.

That is why, when I opened the rifle case which appeared in my home this Christmas, I was stunned; left almost speechless. What lay before me was a pristine M1 Garand rifle. Manufactured in the mid 1950's by Harrington and Richardson, and kept intact for longer than I've been alive, the rifle was an answer to a life long desire.

I now own a Garand. Those words have a meaning to me I can't describe. Made in the millions, seeing the United States through several wars, and now coveted and loved by myriad shooters, the M1 Garand was a game changer in the way the world armed it's soldiers.

The United States changed the way battle was waged over 200 years ago. Where time honored tradition called for lining up soldiers like automatons, and marching them en-masse towards the enemy.... who was doing the exact same thing. Whether it was Roman swords and shields, Swiss Pikemen, or British Redcoats with their muskets and bayonets.... the play book stayed roughly the same. The United States took a different attitude, where each soldier was expected to display some intelligence, and when needed wage war on a more individual basis. Small unit tactics became the norm, with soldiers becoming rifleman who actually aimed at specific targets rather than volleying 200 musket balls at a time in the general direction of the enemy.

Fast forward many generations to the late 1930's, and we find John Garand, an employee of a US arsenal, designing a gas operated semi automatic rifle. While certainly not the first automatic feeding rifle designed, it was arguably the first one built to equip an entire army with. The US model holds each soldier as being a rifleman, with the power to choose and dispatch individual targets, and thus having the ability to make good use of the substantial increase in firepower the M1 rifle offered. While other nations were still arming their soldiers with slower bolt action rifles, the United states moved towards each individual soldier being a formidable force on the battlefield. The M1 Garand played a big part in that. A trained Garand rifleman could sustain twice the rate of aimed fire as a bolt action armed soldier. This ability was magnified by a training system that pushed each soldier hard to master the rifle all the way across it's useful range.

This poor writer is not equipped to delve into the details and history of the M1 rifle. Thankfully, better people have taken up that task, and many fine works are out there. Bruce Canfield's book graces my shelf, and was valuable as a resource in researching my own Garand. There is also a Garand collectors association which promotes and supports owners of this fine historical weapon. It should be noted that membership in the Garand collectors association meets the requirements to register and purchase from the CMP.

What can I report about my new Garand, and the joys of owning it? The words are hard to find... but after a lifetime of wishing I owned my own M1, I can say this... It's everything I ever thought it would be, and far more.

Holding the rifle is like holding history in your own hands. This alone makes it worthwhile, even if it's never to be fire again. Joyfully, that is not the case, and this rifle has... and will... be shot. On that you have the promise of Carteach.

My first time shooting it was a military rifle match at our local club. Heeding the advice of several 'old farts' (knowledgeable experts) at the shoot, I preset the rear sight to a certain point. Given only four rounds to adjust sights before scoring began, I managed to shoot a 364/500 1x over the course of the match. This is not my best, but it's above average for me, and considering it's the first time every firing this rifle, or any Garand for that matter, 'Ol Carteach is mightily pleased. I suspect it's the quality of the rifle design and manufacture that has more to do with the decent score than my own skill. I also suspect this rifle will challenge me to be a better shooter... and I am going to love every minute of it.

Many gun owners will know of what I say next; this rifle needs a name. For me, it's one of those 'grail' firearms that mark a milestone in life. That calls for a name.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

30-06 M2 Armor Piercing bullets, revisited

(M2 AP bullet, shown alongside actual AP core)

Some time back we examined some Lake City armor piercing ammunition here on Carteach0. By 'examined', I mean tore it down and looked inside the insides, just to see what made it tick. As part of the article, yours truly mentioned not having a rifle to test the ammunition at that time.

Well now.... It seems that might have been akin to waving a red flag in the faces of the fine folks who read this blog (that would be YOU people). Not only did offers of rifle loans come in, but one unmatchable gentleman even gifted the author with one (Story to come). In addition, another reader took up the cause and did his own range testing, writing up his findings to share here with the family. Digging ever farther into the subject, reader 'Hartley' forwarded a bleeding great big bag of 30-06 AP pulled bullets here to the 'Ol Fat Man for testing and examination. Of these, a small portion were held back for our prying eyes, while the majority were sent on to the official AP 30-06 ammunition testing guy down South, where they will be loaded up and accuracy tested one day when time and weather permit.

What you are reading here today.... given the idea that a picture is worth 1000 words.... should give some idea what Carteach found when he got inquisitive with these bullets.

First, let me say I have no sure provenance on these bullets. There are very clear differences amongst the batch, with four distinct bullets being present. While all are clearly pulled bullets from M2 AP ammunition, who made that ammunition and when is not clear. About half the pile look exactly like the bullets pulled from the '54 Lake City. The others have differences in their cannelures or bases.

Bullet weight varied across the lot about one grain from low to high. There didn't seem to be any leaning there, just all over the place within 162 to 163 grains. As for dimensions, I gave that a pass. These are pulled bullets, and the method of pulling, as well as their treatment after, will make any measurements a mostly useless guess.

Hartley reports a few thoughts on the AP ammunition in question:

"I did a bit of sniffing around and discovered the story on the AYR (Norwegian) AP ammo - it seems that Uncle Sam stopped making 30-06 AP in '54, so they contracted with AYR to produce it for our allies who were still using the caliber. Therefore, I would assume it is fully "mil-spec", though that may account for the slightly different cannelures visible on those bullets - or they may just be from different US arsenals.

Btw, I've shot a number of those at some mild steel plates I have (railroad tie plates - .4" - .75" thick) and I've found that they don't penetrate a whole lot better than plain ol' ball, at least on suspended plates. They do go just a smidge deeper, and I have seen at least two where the steel "penetrator" lodged in the plate - though NOT straight into the "crater". On an AR500 plate, I notice they make a slight "dimple" in the surface, which pretty much matches the dimple I get with M855 5.56 rounds (all shot at about 80 yards). Ball 30-06 (and M193) does not dimple the suspended plate at all, just leaves a surface mark. "

One of the questions regarding surplus M2 ball is accuracy. On this subject, the following images may shed some light. What I found as I sectioned bullets with both hand file and diamond lapidary wheel..... well.... the pictures show. Diagrams from a 1961 US Army manual on small arms ammunition show the lead filling the nose of the M2 AP bullet is something called 'Lead T shot'. It appears the bullet jacket had some fine lead shot deposited in the nose, and then the AP core was pressed in before the base of the jacket was rolled over (Just my guess).

What was found in the bullets examined here was the lead deteriorating significantly. 75% of the bullets sectioned had some sort of void in the lead portion, and several were quite dramatic. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that such voids cause inaccuracy proportional to the size and placement of the void.

On the other hand, excellent accuracy has been reported from Lake City AP ammunition.

More info will follow eventually!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Targets that go BOOM right back at ya..... Shockwave exploding targets

The sign out in front of the gun shop said 'Exploding targets'.

I remembered this after picking up the powder and bullets I originally stopped in for. Asking the sales clerk, he directed me to an end cap rack stocked with dozens of containers.

'Shockwave' exploding rifle targets, which are binary devices. The container is filled with a white granular substance resembling calcium chloride ice melter. As I understand it, it's ammonium nitrate, and when it's mixed with fine aluminum powder it becomes an explosive. Inside the container of white substance is a double bagged envelope of the aluminum powder. Following instructions, the two materials are combined in the container, and then gently mixed by rolling the container back and forth till it's all a uniform grey. That's it..... it has now changed from common garden fertilizer into an impact sensitive explosive.

What kind of impact? Well, that's the question then, isn't it? The instructions (and the store clerk) say it takes at least a .223 to detonate the container of explosive. The Shockwave company website says the same thing, and adds that a projectile velocity of at least 2200fps is required.

2200 fps? Why.... .223 is not the only cartridge that steps along above that speed. There are many. Most larger.... and some smaller. Say, the .17 hmr for instance.

Knowing that the one pound container, while exciting to detonate as a target, might be just a tad 'large' to use in my backyard, I had two questions in mind as I bought it.

1) Will it work in smaller amounts?
2) Will it detonate with a nice quiet .17 hmr?

See, I like most of my neighbors. With few exceptions, we get along very well indeed. Out of respect for them I like to keep my back yard shenanigans to a restrained minimum. I try to avoid earth shattering KABOOMS. Small understated kabooms... that's another story.

Mixing the binary explosive as directed, I used it to fill small jewelry type cardboard boxes. Taping the lids on with bright pink duct tape, a few of the neighbor boys and I moved to the backyard for some testing. Very, very happy neighbor boys, I might add.

What we found is this..... The .17 hmr will detonate a small box of the material just fine about 80% of the time at 50 yards. At 20 yards, it works 100% of the time. The boxes mostly just vanish. There is little clean up.

How loud is it, when using the small box as a container? Roughly equivalent to firing a big bore pistol... say a .44 magnum.

Safety wise, I would advise staying at that fifty yard distance. Eye and ear protection should go without saying. Also, do NOT transport the mixed material. Combine it on site and make your targets up right where you intend to shoot them. Should there be any of the mixed binary explosive left over, simply wing it across the yard. It will be a very green patch of grass come Spring.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

For lady shooters.....

Just a quick note:

'A Girl and Her Gun' is having an exceptional giveaway for her fellow female shooters. She's giving away $300 towards a training course of the winners choice, and a whole slew of exceptionally decent gun-blog family members have chipped in plenty of ammunition, gear, and guidance. If you want to know why... read her blog!

By 'give away', she means Giving it Away. All the ladies have to do is comment on her blog post and they are in for the drawing.

Pass this one on to the fairer shooty people you know, if you ain't one yourself!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Coming up.......


An article here on Carteach0 regarding Lake City AP ammunition instigated some discussion, and a reader sharing his own testing. Another kind reader sent along a heaping double handful of pulled AP bullets for test and review. Some were retained here for 'Ol Carteach to poke and prod at, while most were shipped down South to be loaded up and tested by another friend of the cause. Look for an upcoming piece or two here detailing what we find!

Over the holiday, the fat guy here was blessed with a gift from a friend. A magnificent prize in the form of a M1 Garand. Look for a slew of articles this year as I explore Garand ownership, something I have only wished for most of my life.

As always, thank you for hitting up those ads spotted here and there on the Carteach blog. Each hit ads a few pennies to the kitty, and makes it easier to do what we do here. Thank you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Zen and the art of hand loading......


This morning I spent a few enjoyable hours at the reloading bench, preparing cases for my new M1 Garand. It came with a can of Greek HXP, and I have begun the work towards getting registered with the CMP so I can buy more.... but it's clear that is a well soon to go dry.

Given the scarcity of factory loads suitable for the Grand Garand, the answer is obvious.... I will load my own.

So, all my assorted 30-06 cases went into the big polisher yesterday. This morning.... full length size, re-polish, trim to length, debur flash holes, true up primer pockets, polish inside necks... all the things that help make hand loads special.

In the workshop, with music playing softly and the heaters keeping it comfortable, it's possible to mentally shift and become so focused on the job at hand... the rest of the world goes away.

Repetitive motions... insert, tighten, twist, remove, twist, spin, twist, flip, spin, insert..... and repeat till the bin is empty of waiting shell casings. All with the mind focused intently on the job at hand, alert solely to any issues, problems, or oddities. No room for wandering thoughts and no consciousness to spare for the world's problems.

Does my M1 really need ammunition loaded to this level of exactness? By no means. It's not a national match rifle, nor am I an astounding marksman. That said... why not make it as good as I can? There is a satisfaction to understanding the process, and doing it as well as one possibly can.

Yes, a hand loader can get lost in the work, till minutes become hours, and suddenly half the day is gone.

Princess called, and I never even heard the phone ring......

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shooty stuff for sale or trade........

This page will show things Carteach has for sale or trade, usually reloading and shooting gear although the occasional firearm may show up as well.  All prices are plus shipping to wherever you happen to be, unless we arrange otherwise.

If something is shown here, I still have it.  Pictures will be of the actual thing, not a generic image. If anyone is interested in an item here, email me at the address shown in the profile to the top-left of the blog.  I'm open to American dollars, silver, and trades.

1916 Spanish Mauser, retrofitted to 7.62mm by Spain in the 1950's.   It's well described in this article here. 
$275 + shipping, includes some of it's favorite ammunition.  Open  to trades.

Lee die set in 30-06.  New, unused, full set with shell holder and factory crimp die.    $35

Lee hand press, new and unused, complete with a die bushing.  This is the new one with the quick change bushing setup.  You can leave a die in the bushing, all set up, and just pop it out of the press till the next time you need it.  This would require one bushing per die, but they are cheap.  OR...... just leave the bushing in the press and screw in any standard die you wish.

I began loading with one of these mumble mumble years ago.  I've owned several, and given them away to start others on their reloading career.  I've learned to not pass one up at a good price, which is how I now have a few spares to sell.

I use one of these all the time for auxiliary operations, like decapping and such.  $35