Saturday, March 31, 2012

New gear review: Lee Ergo-Prime



As part of an upcoming series of articles on reloading, Carteach dialed up Lee Precision on the confusatron and ordered up a bunch of gear that any new hand loader might set themselves up with. Plunking down my hard earned Plasti-cash, a great big pile-o-goodies was purchased.

Lee Precision has been in the business of supplying gear to hand loaders for a long... long... LONG... time. My own adventures in reloading began at the tender age of 13 with a Lee Loader, a big mallet, and a part of the barn my Dad didn't mind me blowing up. That Lee Loader was the only way a poor kid could shoot a lot. Dad would supply lots of .22 for rodent control, but anything else was on my dime.

To this day, the Carteach reloading bench (Okay... it's more like a shop) still has it's fair share of Lee reloading gear in use. It's not just for beginners. There may be better quality hand loading tools in some cases, but there probably isn't a better value out there. Once the tool can do the job, everything else is just shine and convenience.

It's with that in mind that I unboxed a new Lee Ergo-prime this morning. It's the latest and greatest hand priming tool offered by Lee, and may take the place of my venerable Lee Auto prime. Shown here side by side, whats not plain is just how many shell cases have been primed on my beloved Auto-Prime. Conservatively.... tens of thousands of cases have found their way onto this gadget. At a guess, perhaps three thousand a year for the last twenty years or so. Everything that didn't get primed on the Progressive, was done by hand on the old Lee unit.

Now, Lee has updated and upgraded their old standby. They still offer the Auto Prime, and it's as popular as ever. Still, there was room for improvement in both safety and ease of use. Lee made those changes and called it 'The Ergo-Prime'.

The older Auto Prime was not supposed to be used with all makes of primer, most notably leaving Federal's offering by the wayside. Supposedly there was a danger in using the Federal primers on the Auto Prime. In addition, there are specific limits to the number of other brand primers which should loaded into the Auto Prime, according to Lee.

The new Ergo-Prime has none of those limitations. Through an interesting design, the actual priming operation is done on a different 'plane' than the primer tray. With each hand motion, a primer is seated into the case while another is 'elevated' to the primer ram feed for the next case. This can make for an occasional miss, with a second (no pressure) squeeze being needed to feed the next primer (This may smooth out with use).

The Auto Prime had another limitation.... it's ergonomics. The primer is seated with thumb pressure on that unit, and after a few hundred primers even Superman's thumbs would get tired. The Ergo-Prime uses the entire hand in a natural squeezing motion to seat the primer, a powerful and easy operation.

In use, primers are laid into the feed tray right from the primer box. If needed, the primer tray is a 'flip-tray', and shaking the primers gently will turn them over into the proper orientation. I'll say, in all honestly, that Lee's take on a flip-tray here is not nearly as smooth and easy to use as RCBS's. It works, just not as fast, nor without a small amount of fiddly poking at recalcitrant primers. There is a learning curve, as a slower smoother motion in working the flip-tray makes it work better.

Seating primers with the Ergo-Prime is... nice. There is a very high amount of 'feel' to the operation, letting the user judge both seating pressure and depth easily. This takes a slight bit of getting used to, as the design presents quite a lot of leverage and power to the user. As I was priming Lake City military brass today, there were a few 'crimp' issues to overcome. Most of the brass had the military crimp swaged out, but not always to perfection. Some cases took extra effort to seat primers into. In a few cases, the $#@!&%$ crimp must have been missed, as the primer seating operation literally shaved away the crimp, damaging the primer at the same time. Out of the 450 once fired Lake City military cases primed in the course of roughly 45 minutes, 10 were lost to tight pocket/crimping issues. In Carteach's experience, this is not bad at all.

Does the tool work? Yes, without a doubt. Is it worth the asking price? Once again, yes, even when taking into account that a set of special shell holders must also be purchased. Will it replace the Fat Man's beloved Auto Prime? That remains to be seen. Let me load ten or twenty thousand rounds with it first, and we shall see.





Thursday, March 29, 2012

Carteach dusts off his wallet and buys a....


Just a quick note: The fat man needed a forward sling point for the M&P 15-22. Using a sling at the upcoming Appleseed event seems like a must... and I would very much like some training in how to use it properly. The M&P lacked such a device, but having a rail farm as a forearm, adding the mount is a snap. Ordered from Amazon.com, with free shipping no less, this little do-hickey is exactly what's called for. Fitting a 1.5" sling perfectly, with no swinging and rattling hardware hanging off it. Simple, strong, cheap, and does everything it needs to without a fuss.

The fat man approves.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Appleseed bound.....



The 'Ol Fat Man is attending an Appleseed event next month. April 14th and 15th at the Elstonville Sportsmans club. I'd welcome friendly company... and there is room for more to sign up. Come along, and I will make you a promise.... you won't be the worst shooter there (g).

What's next?


Simmering on the burners for upcoming articles:

  • Lake City armor piercing ammunition.... accuracy testing redux. We have on hand, thanks to a good man, a supply of both pulled AP bullets and original LC AP ammunition. Thanks to another good man, we have a US M1 Garand in premier condition. This presents a wonderful opportunity to test the original Lake City military AP against custom hand loads using the AP bullets in match prepped cases.
  • Hand loads using the 62 grain SS109 bullet.... How fast, how far, how accurate?
  • A book review... THE Garand history book to have.
  • A series of articles (with video I hope) on basic reloading for beginners. Carteach has placed an order with Lee Precision for enough equipment to duplicate exactly what a beginning reloader might acquire, and will be writing up as easy and accurate a how-to as he can. (LOTS of requests for this one...)


Allow an 'Ol Fat Man to take a moment and say thank you to all the readers here. You folks make the work and sharing all worth the effort. For those who click on the ads, or buy through the Amazon links here, a double thank you. That adds up, and makes thing happen that otherwise wouldn't... witness the gear ordered to write the above mentioned article for beginners. That results from the last few months of 'ad clicking', and with luck we can help some folks new to the game. Thank you!



An AR15 Bleg..... Carteach needs an M-16 bolt carrier.

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As Carteach learns the way of the AR, details begin to emerge. See, all the AR platforms in my past have been new up to this point. 'Fixing' them has not been an issue.

This newest stallion in the stable is anything but new. When I first took it into my grubby little hands, I had serious concerns regarding the bore. It appeared shot out. What it was... in fact... was so heavily copper fouled the rifling looked weak. An hour or two with Hoppes copper fouling cleaner and a few good bore brushes later... and the rifling looked darned good.

Function checking did eventually reveal an issue. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes.... if the charging handle was eased forward the bolt carrier stopped half way through the receiver, as shown here:


Now, if one releases the handle, all is well. When shooting, no issues surface. It's only when the bolt is allowed to slowly go forward that any problem shows, and even then it's one in a dozen times. That said..... a problem is a problem and indicates something not up to spec. Thus, the rifle was field stripped and carefully examined (With help from the AR gurus at the rifle match). No problems at all were found, except this wear on the bolt carrier:

and of course that explains the issue perfectly (I TOLD you it was a well used unit).

So the Fat Man needs an AR bolt carrier. Preferably, an M-16 carrier as it weighs in an ounce or so heavier than the AR-15 version. I'd like to slow the action speed just a smidge, and a little extra weight there would just suit the purpose.

So... the question: Does anyone know a good seller who has an M-16 bolt carrier in stock?


Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Hogue Monogrip for the AR15..... In which Carteach begins a journey

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As some of our friends and neighbors here are aware, an AR15 A2 rifle has come to reside at the Carteach0 secret bunker complex, otherwise known as 'The House'. It's well used, and was built from parts. To the best of my knowledge, an elderly DPMS lower and a post-ban Colt A2 upper. The bolt carrier and upper guts appear to match Colt, and the trigger group looks to be all DPMS. As for furniture.... the hand guards are the new A2 round style, and the butt stock looks like it was used to beat mules into submission during some foreign conflict.

In any case, after an hours scrubbing copper fouling, the rifle laid five rounds into two inches at 100 yards, and has now become a match rifle for the fat old man.

"But Carteach, you already have a gorgeous Garand to shoot in the matches!"

"Yes... I know... but with this I can shoot two squads, and be twice as embarrassed in the same match!"

You see....matches for me usually have this scene at some point, as a GOOD shooter looks at my targets....

GS: "Nice shooting there buddy. Is this your first time shooting a big bore match?"

Carteach: "....... I've been shooting alongside you here for three years. I've already spotted for you twice this season!"

GS: "Oh...... well...... nice weather today, isn't it?"


So Carteach has embarked down the AR15 road, and I'm told it will be a life long
adventure in upgrades, downgrades, fixes, retrofixes, uppers, lowers, sidewayers, and such like that.

To kick off the bandwagon, the Fat Man has elected a tiny little upgrade from the classic A2 platform. A one screw, five minute, twenty dollar change in the rifle. That would be swapping the hard plastic hand grip away and installing a Hogue Rubber Grip Ar-15/M-16 Rubber Grip with Finger Grooves.

Purchased from Amazon.com for roughly $20 (with free shipping at that time), the Hogue grip replaces the slick hard plastic A2 with a highly grippable and sticky-ish handle for the shooter to hang onto. It's not like the AR has massive amounts of recoil to contend with. It's just a poodle shooter for yumpin yimminy. That said.... holding on to the rifle in a repeatable manner is a key element to shooting accurately.

The AR15 grip is held on by one lonely screw. The house Pachmayr gunsmithing screwdriver set had a slotted insert that fit the screw perfectly. It was the work of a moment to unscrew the old grip, and ready the rifle for it's new handle. Of course, that work of a moment was followed by several minutes searching for the SMALL SPRING that lives under the grip. Using the secret magic words (%$# @#%$# ^$@$%#*+^# (^$$@$@), the spring was recovered and installed under the new Hogue grip.

The hardest part of the entire five minute ordeal was getting the screw into the hole of the new grip, as the screw hole lives at the bottom of a deep dark grip well hole. Carteach solved this by placing the screw and it's lock washer on the screwdriver, and then lowering the grip over it Vertically. Once that was done, the rifle was finished seconds later.

How does the Hogue grip feel compared to the stock hard plastic? Like night and day, the difference is remarkable. The shooters grip is much firmer, more repeatable, and utterly un-shifting under recoil. Frankly, I wish all firearm modifications were this cheap, easy, and of such value. Hogue has been making grips for generations... and with reason.

Good stuff!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A few comments on ammunition, and it's supply....



Friends, Carteach generally keeps some ammunition on hand. To some, it might seem a lot. To others, I'm a piker hobbyist with a pitiful stock. That said, I've been known to repack a case or two into surplus ammo cans for storage. What looks like a big mound-o-ammo suddenly doesn't seem so big when one is in the middle of rifle match season and burning a few hundred a week in practice.

So, is it any wonder that when a brand new well used AR15 A2 match rifle came into the household... Carteach went looking for a case or two of 5.56x45mm? Nothing wild; Just a few thousand rounds to practice with and shoot over the coming summer.

Gentle readers.... what I found today was not what I found last week. Today, most of the decent brand name brass case .223/5.56 ammunition is suddenly marked 'Out of stock' or 'Sold out' on any one of my handful of regular ammo haunts.

So what is a fat old shooter to do? Just what he should...... he orders a few thousand SS109 bullets and a few thousand small rifle primers.... and then loads his polisher with freshly sized Lake City brass. I'll have my supply of 5.56mm ammo in a few weeks, although it will cost me a little time.

So why is it all suddenly sold out? To listen to the 'Man Behind The Counter' down at the local we-be-guns is to hear a repeat of the line handed out before the last presidential election. Folks are just as ready to believe it now as they did then, and respond accordingly.

Look.... the ammunition industry is built around certain demand levels. It only takes one shooter in a dozen who suddenly decides to buy a little extra, and supplies in the pipeline dry up fast. The manufacturers cannot simply crank up the assembly lines, as they already run at efficient levels. They also can't build another plant overnight.... nor should they, as today's demands can vanish tomorrow.

Is there an Ammunition Shortage looming? Perhaps there is.... or perhaps it's just a short term fluctuation in the market. We shall see.

As for Carteach... Rolling ones own is perfectly acceptable here, and doing it 500 at a time is not a problem.

That might bear some thought just about now, hmm?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Book review: Mauser Military Rifles of the World, by Robert Ball

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The name I use here (Carteach) is not chosen by chance. It's actually what I do.... instructor for an automotive technical program. As such, I review text books constantly, and write purchase orders for over $5,000 of such every year. Doing that for years on end has led me to appreciate a well written and researched reference book... and that is exactly what Mauser Military Rifles of the World is.

This Fifth Edition marks the third volume of the book I have purchased. Each new edition adds material, images, and details that make it worth the expenditure. They. Just. Keep. Getting. Better.

Mr. Ball's book runs down the world of Mauser military rifles nation by nation, offering details on each version listed (which is a vast number). Unlike many firearm reference books, Ball's has some of the best photography I've ever seen. Important details are displayed in stunning clarity, making identification far easier than when working solely from written word, or drawings.

I bought my first edition of Mauser Military Rifles of the World when I got my first Mauser, and needed to know more. Not only did I learn important (to me) information on my new purchase, but also had my eyes opened to a universe of collectable Mauser rifles I didn't know existed. These rifles made such an impact on the world that they changed history, and are arguably one of the most important military weapons designed in the last two hundred years. Ball's book traces that development through each countries choices in arming their troops. Few nations failed to adopt Mr. Mauser's design, and even the United States own Springfield and 1917 Enfield owe most of their heritage to the Mauser blood line.

The photos that follow illustrate the point regarding this books brilliant and detailed images. The pages were chosen at random, and represent what the reader typically sees as pages are turned.

Carteach rates this book: The primary book for Mauser enthusiasts and collectors.







Sunday, March 18, 2012

Is your 91/30 Mosin an Ex-Sniper? Here's how to tell....

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During the 'patriotic war' the soviets built a LOT of sniper rifles. I can't answer for the Soviets, but the Russians are not stupid and they knew every shot that hit an important target was better than ten thousand rounds hitting dirt.

For some reason the soviet battle doctrine changed, or Dragunov rifles were adopted, or maybe the vodka ran too heavy one year, and many of these rifles were converted back into infantry weapons. The optics were removed and the mounting holes had plugs installed. These plugs were welded in and the welds ground off on the outside of the receiver. This didn't happen to all the snipers, and they were still turning up in battle right through the Vietnam war, and even today in Afghanistan.

The first clue are barrel markings. In this case, a 'CH' on the barrel shank which shows it to originally be a Tula made sniper rifle. Seeing that, opening the bolt reveals the final proof. Inside the left hand si
de of the receiver are found several screws visible in the bolt lug run. Looking on the outside of the receiver, no screws will be found. These are the 'plugs' installed in the mounting bolt holes and welded in place. The welds were rather roughly ground off, and the rifle refinished and restored to infantry standards. The position of the welded plugs shown here show this was a PU series sniper rifle, the most common type.

Often the ex-sniper Mosin's will have the best triggers of the breed, and the best accuracy of the Soviet 91/30's. This particular rifle has a decent trigger and will easily hold 2" groups at 100 yards using com-bloc military surplus 7.62x54 ammunition with the lighter bullets. Using the heavy bullet ammo, the groups open an inch more. Perhaps with a scope mounted, instead of the rough sights, it might show even better accuracy.

Check your Mosin rifle.... there might be a deeper story there than you know!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Soldiers Angels fund raiser drawing!



The drawing has been held, with 145 little slips of paper going into the ammo can. With head turned, Princess reached in and pulled just one, and it belongs to....... Dave E! (watch your E-mail Dave, as I'll be writing to get a shipping address).

For all those who chipped in, I wish to give a heartfelt thanks. We put together $725 for Soldiers Angels, who I'm certain will put it towards supporting our troops in need.

I'd also like to thank Jack at Tuff Writer for donating the gorgeous hand made one of a kind titanium tactical pen. Tuff Writer has been a solid supporter of the fund raisers here at Carteach0, and it wouldn't have worked without their help. It needs to be said... Jack didn't wait to be asked. He sent along that pen with a note saying we should put it to good use, and it came as a surprise.

Stay tuned friends and folks, there will be more good things coming here at Carteach0!

Looking for a really good AR15 book.....

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The 'Ol Man is seeking recommendations from the good folks who stop in here. The hunt today is for a good book on the AR platform. Detail stripping, maintenance, accuracy techniques.... the technical guts of the beast.

The safe has a new resident; A mix-n-match A2 built on a DPMS lower with a Colt upper. Very shortly we'll know if it wants to shoot... and then the fun begins.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Carteach goes to the gun show.... a very short review.




This weekend the Fat Man joined the ranks of Gun Show Dealers... at least for the weekend. Our local club held it's Bi-Annual fund raising gun show, and I received a call a few days before it began.... "Hey Carteach, we had a cancellation. You want to take a table so we don't have an empty spot?"

So, a few days scrambling to put together enough stuff to fill a table for a few days, and a rushed Friday evening setup, and Saturday found the Fat Man standing behind a table in a nicely crowded gun show.

What is there to report? Mighty darn little. You see, the thing is... the dealers don't get to wander much unless they have a full blooded helper to man their tables, which Carteach did not. That means my 'shopping' was limited to what was in eyesight most of the time. On Saturday I was able to read through most of Hatcher's Notebook, and on Sunday I spent a very enjoyable few hours talking with a long known but never before met blog friend. That said.....

Carteach went to a gun show and did not buy a firearm.

I'll say that again..... Carteach went to the gun show and did not buy a firearm.

Sigh.

On the other hand, he did come home with a very cool new shooty toy, and has been chuckling over it ever since. It happens the stand holder next to me was the club president, and all round nice guy and known to price things a bit low. Amongst the long gun on his tables was something I'd thought about buying in the past, a Gamo Whisper air rifle

It laid there, looking as if it was unboxed yesterday, and came with a few cans of Gamo pellets as well. The Pres allowed that he was selling it for a friend, who had graduated to a .22 as a backyard varmint eradicator and no longer needed the Whisper. I asked only a single question... "Is it Accurate?" as I've had air rifle in the past that were more blow than go. He responded that his buddy makes ragged one hole groups with it.

It was priced at $75.

A few moments research on the 'Phone which is smarter than I', and I almost stumbled as I turned back to his table and snatched the rifle up. "I Believe I'll have this!", and I spent the rest of the day defending my new prize as it stood in my own tables long gun rack of sale items. Sell it? Hell no! I wanted to use it!

To make a long story short, and I'm probably already too late for that.... I shot this thing a bunch after the show both Saturday and Sunday. It does every blessed thing Gamo says it does... and I sorely wish I had bought myself one the day they first came on the market.

It's named the 'Whisper' because it's factory suppressed, and that works bloody well great. The only sound is the 'sproing' as the spring driven air piston compresses the air to launch the pellet. If heavier pellets are used, it pushed them about 1000 fps with no sound but the rifles action. If the lighter Gamo 'Raptor' pellets (Gamo Raptor PBA .177 Cal, 5.4 Grains, Round Nose, 100ct) are used, they exceed the speed of sound and the rifle cracks like a .22 with high speed ammo.

Let me tell you..... a can of beer fairly explodes when hit with a pellet from this thing (g). As for accuracy, I only fired a few at paper to see... and they all landed in a group no bigger than my thumbnail. Real accuracy testing will have to wait till the 1000 assorted pellets I ordered come in. The rest of my shooting was at steel swingers, cans, fence posts, board knots, sticks, clay birds, and just about anything else in our largish backyard that was target worthy.

Woe be to the squirrel that gets near my garden this Summer!



Thursday, March 8, 2012

How 'tough' are Tuff Writer tactical pens? Lol..... Hey Ya'll... Watch This!

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So.... here on Carteach0, we are having a fundraiser to support The Soldiers Angels. There's lots of folks out there who do good things for deserving people, but Soldiers Angels gets down and dirty helping our troops, and I can't think of too many things I'm more willing to support than that.

As a prize in this fund raiser, the fine people at Tuff Writer have donated a one of a kind hand made titanium tactical writing instrument, as shown above. This thing is gorgeous.... and.... well.... stunning. It's probably the best looking pen I have ever held. That may have something to do with the donations being what they are, quite good.

If you want a shot at owning this tremendous piece... get it in gear and follow the link to find out how! If you would like to buy just the plain old run-of-the-mill fantastic version, you could click here: Tuff-Writer Operator Series Tactical Pen Gray


Now, handling this 'pen' got me curious, and the Fat Man went digging. Looking into Tuff Writer, I quickly found a little thing they have been poking at to prove the 'toughness' of their product. There's a company out there called Blend Tec, and of course they build blenders. They claim their blenders are tough, and Tuff Writer says their pens are tough, and.... we can all see where this is going.

Well... 'Ol Carteach could see a little room here for going right off the stupid end of the stick. As a result, we have this:





Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book review: Hatcher's Notebook, from Stackpole Books

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This is the first of what I hope to make a regular feature on Carteach0; Book reviews for shooting enthusiasts. With a little good fortune, I hope to post one every few weeks and share a little of the Fat Man's love of good books.

To begin the series, only one book would do. When gunnies the world over are discussing firearms and cartridge design, the simple mention of a reference in this book ends all arguments. Representing the thoughts, personal journals, and technical work of one of the greatest firearms minds of the 20th century, Hatcher's Notebook is the reining king of firearms reference books.

Published by Stackpole Books, Hatcher's Notebook is available on Amazon (Hatcher's Notebook, Revised Edition (Classic Gun Books Series)) as this is written for only $27 with free shipping. For a devoted shooting enthusiast, there is no good excuse not to own this book.... which is why after so many years in the wilderness, Carteach has finally acquired his own copy.

General Hatcher lived through some of the most exciting and dramatic times the United States has known in terms of firearms development, and he was in the heart of it all. Working for the military, he had his hand in training, design, and development of just about every ballistic endeavor imaginable. Through it all.... he took notes. Hatcher's Notebook is a collection of those notes and thoughts, including personal stories from the time.

Replete with technical tidbits and mathematical solutions to problems in ballistics, the book is also heavily endowed with General Julian Hatcher's thoughts and ability to teach. As such, it serves as a window into time, opening up the lives of the folks who built the rifles we collect and shoot to this day.

With over 600 pages of stories, technical descriptions, images, tables, charts, and essays Hatcher's notebook is a reference and resource worth far, far more than the few dollars it costs.

Carteach rates this book as: Indispensable.





Hatcher's Notebook, Revised Edition (Classic Gun Books Series)


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mil-Surp training ammunition makes Carteach smile

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At a recent Military rifle match, amongst the shooters was a young lady standing about five foot nothing and weighing in slightly more than my left leg. She carried a Model 38 Mosin type rifle to the line....

Now, for those who are not conversant in the language of Mosin Nagant, the Model 38 is a shortened carbine version of the 91/30 Mosin Nagant rifle, which in turn is a shortened and updated version of the 1891 Mosin Nagant rifle. They all shoot the 7.62x54mm Russian cartridge, and they all have a 'healthy' recoil. The shorter carbine versions can be brutal.

This petite young lady was going to shoot a 58 round match with a Model 38
carbine. "OUCH" says I to myself. Far be it from me to say anything... she was an adult of legal age and fully competent to make her own decisions.

Watching as the sight-in stage proceeded, from her firing position I could hear the expected KaBLAMM of a 7.62x54, and see the patented Huge Fireball of the M
osin carbines.... but what I did not see was her suffering under the heavy recoil. Wandering over to speak with her companions, I was shown the ammunition she was shooting. Czech military training ammunition with 48 grain hollow bullets. All the BOOM, all the FLASH, accurate at 100 yards, but recoil more like a 5.56 in an AR than a 7.62mm BoomNsplat special in a lightweight rifle with a steel butt plate.

The kind folks shared the information on where they acquired the neat stuff, and I was on their web site almost before my own rifle cooled after the match. There I found the aforementioned Czech goodies, of which a sample was placed in the checkout cart at once. Then, I began to explore their site.

In short order I found another offering I had to try; A German 7.62x51mm training round featuring a plastic case and plastic bullet. The fact that it came in Smurf blue was a little amusing too. I doubt the Smurfs even existed when the Bundeswehr cooked this stuff up, so they get a pass on all the jokes coming to mind.

As you might guess, a few hundred samples of the Smurf Special.... um....
Fine German Training Ammunition was also placed in the shopping cart, and checkout proceeded at a rapid pace. (I'd link it, but their supplies are low and I expect the link would be dead a few days after posting this article.)

The ORM-d box appeared on my porch one fine Friday afternoon, to be found when I arrived home from a long day warping young minds... you can bet your coffee mug I was in the backyard minutes later lining up some cans of 'adult beverage' to experiment on.

The very first round fired announced to the neighbors that fun-ness was happening, and I had company almost before I could walk to the backstop. Naturally,
the 10 grain (!) plastic bullet from the 7.62 had literally exploded the can of watery beer, but what I saw rather shocked me. The bullet had not penetrated the can! It appears to have hit, given up it's energy in a huge hydraulic dump, mushroomed to all get out, and then fallen flat to the ground next to the destroyed beverage can.

The next few cans also exploded under fire, spraying liquid ten feet in the air, but those plastic bullets simply vanished. One fired into the end grain of a log also vanished, leaving a mark behind.

I didn't break out the chronograph, but considering the plastic-fantastic ammo is carrying a full load of powder behind a ten grain slick plastic bullet, I can guess these projectiles are approaching 4000fps. At speeds anything like that, bullet disintegration is more than possible.

As fun as these cartridges are, how well do they hold up when examined for fit, function, and accuracy? That's the real question, once we are all over the 'Exploding Beer Cans' thing.

As mention, a handful of folks were shooting a match using the Czech ammunition, and aside from the significant low recoil there was no noticeable difference in performance that I could see. The gentleman of the group did mention that his Mosins displayed preferences, with some shooting the hollow bullets well, and others not so well. That in mind, I retired to the range one afternoon with the two types or training ammunition, and the appropriate rifles to test them. In my case, a Soviet 91/30 Ex-Sniper in 7.62x54mm, and an Ishapore Enfield 2a in 7.62x51mm.

As for fit, both rounds filled both magazine and chamber as intended with no issues. Getting
from magazine to chamber, on the other hand, showed a few very minor flaws. The Czech 7.62x54mm, with it's stubby bullet, sometimes required a light hand on the bolt to function well. Cycling too quick did not give the blunt bullet time to line up with the chamber, where the sharply pointed and slightly longer full strength military round chambers as fast as I can work the bolt. The German 7.62x51mm round also displayed a slight irritation with being pushed into place, sometimes having the bolt override and needing a gentle second go.

I would expect neither round to cycle an automatic, having not the bullet weight nor pressure to function the action. Given their application though, I don't see this as a major drawback.

Now... to accuracy. As mentioned, people were using the Czech hollow core in a match... and the thought occurred that 'Ol Carteach would like to play that game too sometimes. Towards that end, targets were placed at fifty yards and the rifles were benched to check grouping. In both cases.... there is some disappointment for the fat man.

Both rifles, with the right ammunition, are capable of placing their bullets into quarter sized groups at fifty yards, even with Carteach's elderly eyes behind the sights. Using the Czech 46 grain hollow core ammunition, the Ex-Sniper produced palm sized groups. The 7.62mm Enfield placed three Chinese bullets into a dime sized group last week, but the plastic bullets could only do four inches at best. This may be explained by the very inconsistent report and muzzle blast, which points to huge variations in powder burn rates. I suspect a tighter rifle bore might help with that, even though the 2a has a pristine bore. The Plastic bullets were sometimes propelled by a spectacular blast, flash, and kerpow..... and sometimes by a quite subdued 'Poof'.

My thoughts and considerations; I won't be shooting the match with these, but neither will I be throwing them away. Both will serve their intended purpose, training new shooters. In that role, they will serve superbly. I'll order enough that I have it on hand when I wish over the coming years, and it will give Carteach the ability to let new shooters enjoy some old military history, without getting bruised shoulders.