Quote of the day—Carl Bussjaeger

I would like Swalwell, Biden, O’Rourke, and Harris to note that what US gun owners consider play time is what a major news outlet can mistake for a major military offensive by the Forces of a NATO nation. Tell us again how resisting a tyrannical government is futile.

Carl Bussjaeger
October 14, 2019
Overwhelming Military Force
[This was in regards to what I posted about yesterday: Layers of fact checkers.—Joe]

USPSA shooting on a Segway

I shot in a USPSA match yesterday and one of the guys in my squad, Loke, brought his Segway. He mostly used it to move from stage to stage. But on one stage, after shooting the stage for real, he shot it while riding the Segway. I have my own video but this is better and is already posted on YouTube with this comment by the shooter:

After owning and using a Segway Ninebot for a few months, I got to shoot one of the stages for fun on it. It was a blast. You can see me wanting to go faster but the Segway’s acceleration is pathetic. I’m sure it’s for safety reasons, so I’m ok with that.

Another shooter also had her Segway and was pulling her wagon loaded with her shooting supplies while riding it. It worked surprisingly well even when traversing uneven ground.

Layers of fact checkers

When you catch them in lies (or even errors) this big the correct conclusion to draw is that nothing they say can be trusted:

ABC News ‘slaughter in Syria’ footage appears to come from a Kentucky gun range

ABC aired supposedly shocking footage Monday and Sunday purporting to be from the frontline battle between the Syrian Kurds and the invading Turks. The only problem is: The footage appears to come from a nighttime machine gun demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky.

As J.D. Rucker said:

If @ABC News made a mistake, then their incompetence is startling. If they did it on purpose (and with the edits to the video, that seems to be the case), then they’re an outright evil group of bald-faced liars pretending to report the news.

This reminds me of what WSBTV did with a video of daughter Kim shooting a Boomershoot fireball target a number of years back.

Cleaning brass

In the comments Sendarius asks:

When you say “clean”, how do you do that?

Vibratory tumbler with dry media?
Rotating tumbler with wet media?
Power drill with a Brasso-soaked rag? /jk

I have been using a Lyman tumbler with walnut shell dry media for years, and I am considering switching to wet solution with those tiny stainless steel rods.
Others at my club have made that switch, and their brass looks amazing.

Any thoughts?

I first sort the brass using a set of these (Amazon also has them for $10 more):

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This is how the brass ended up in a five gallon bucket.

There is a similar product available for less money but I have not had my hands on them so I can’t compare the quality:

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Amazon sells it for the same price.

I then put the brass in an ultrasonic cleaner (I bought mine from Harbor Freight several years ago but Harbor Freight is slightly more than Amazon for what appears to be the same product):

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I use Hornady One Shot Sonic Cleaner Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution. I tried a homemade recipe using vinegar and Dawn dishwashing detergent but this works much better. I run the cleaner for at least 24 minutes (three cycles of 480 seconds each).

After the cleaning the brass may not look that great. But most of the remaining dirt/tarnish will come off in the rinse.

I then dump the brass and cleaning solution into a colander:

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I stir the brass with a gloved hand to remove most of the liquid.

I then rinse the brass in tap water:

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Again I stir the brass with my hand.

I drain and rinse two more times. The final rinse is done with distilled water from my dehumidifier.

After the final draining I put the brass on a rack above my dehumidifier. I built the rack from PVC pipe, a plastic screen, and transparent duct tape:

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The dehumidifier puts out warm dry air. I usually let it run for about eight hours and I may stir the brass a time or two.

When cleaning rifle brass I may remove the primers before cleaning. This will result in clean primer pockets as well as a clean interior and exterior.

If I want really shiny brass I will first run it through the vibratory cleaner with the usual corn cob or walnut shell media and a brass cleaner additive. I then follow up with the ultrasonic cleaning.

For many years I just used the vibrating cleaner with the corncob or walnut shell media but the ultrasonic cleaner gave me a faster throughput and the cases are cleaned on the inside as well as the outside.

I considered buying a wet, stainless steel pin, type cleaner but I decided what I had worked well enough.

It’s time to clean some brass

I haven’t reloading any .40 S&W ammo in a long time but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been shooting any. Here is a partial illustration:

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This is what I have picked up of the floor after practice as the local range before I sorted and cleaned it. Maybe five percent of that is 9mm or .45 ACP that got mixed in as I scooped it up. That this bucket is full means I don’t have a place to put the brass I’ll bring home from the range this week.

It’s time to sort, clean, and put away some brass.

Ammo aging

This last weekend I finally got around to doing some chronograph work on some (relatively) new loads I made last February. To make sure the chronograph was all set up correctly I fired some old rounds that weren’t marked but I was pretty sure what they were. The mean velocity should verify or disprove my hypothesis as well as do the function check on my chronograph setup.

The mean velocity was 3507.92 fps. I looked up the last time I had reloaded and chronographed the ammo. I last reloaded that bullet in April of 2001 and chronographed them using the same gun in May of 2001. The mean velocity from over 18 years ago was 3506 fps.

The ammo (and gun!) aged better than I expected. I like Varget powder even more than I did before.

New shooter report

Almost exactly a year ago Vic brought me a new shooter and I taught him to shoot a handgun and did some coaching for Vic. Then last Friday Vic brought his wife and two daughters to the range so I could teach them to shoot. Four shooters is more than I really wanted because with the range reserved for only two hours there wouldn’t be enough time to get them all through the usual material.

But, I did my best and got them through the basics with a .22 pistol (both suppressed and unsuppressed), .22 revolver (both single and double action), and we had just enough time left for each to take make a single shot with the .40 S&W.

The wife and two daughters had never shot a real gun before. One of the daughters had shot a pellet gun once.

I did the usual explanation of grip, stance, sight alignment, and sight picture,  then had them dryfire until things looked solid. I added live ammo and they started punching holes in the paper from 10 feet away.

They all did well after some minor adjustments. The primary adjustment was in which hand to shoot with. All are right handed but Vic’s wife and one daughter are cross eyed dominate. They tried shooting both right handed and left handed and ended up sticking with left handed shooting. I’ve found that when new shooters are cross eyed dominate the majority end up shooting with their weak hand.

Here are the new shooters smiles:

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Ingenious trick!

Original tweet:

Johannes Köpl @JohannesKoepl

Mit diesem genialen Trick kann man leicht einen Schokoriegel in ein US-amerikanisches Kino schmuggeln!

MovieCandyBarTrick

Translated:

With this ingenious trick you can easily smuggle a chocolate bar into a US cinema!

That’s very clever! I might try that sometime. However, I’d leave a round in the chamber and have a spare magazine on my belt for a quick conversion to full functionality.

He should have asked Kim Rhode

Randall of xkcd.com ponders an interesting question and misses the, to me, obvious answer:

A wedding-photography drone is buzzing around above you. You don’t know what it’s doing there and you want it to stop.

Let’s suppose you have a garage full of sports equipment— baseballs, tennis rackets, lawn darts, you name it. Which sport’s projectiles would work best for hitting a drone? And who would make the best anti-drone guard? A baseball pitcher? A basketball player? A tennis player? A golfer? Someone else?

If I could have any sports professional to clear the skies around my property of private drones I would engage Kim Rhode. Some number 7-1/2 shot, launched at a fairly high angle, wouldn’t be much of a risk to neighbors or their property but it would permanently neutralize small drones.

USPSA stage first for me

Yesterday I participated in a USPSA match at the Marysville Rifle Club. One of the stages was a first for me in a couple ways. The first part of the stage was fairly ordinary. You started in a shooting box and upon the start signal you drew your gun and shot three targets partially hidden behind a picket fence. From there you had to go maybe 75 feet forward and around a corner where a second set of targets became visible.

This was the most interesting portion of the stage:

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There were two targets in the open, one on the extreme left of the picture above and the edge of one almost visible on the extreme right of the picture above. There were two targets visible behind the green door (no relation to the movie), and two targets visible from underneath the barricade to the left. Still nothing particularly unusual.

The interesting part of the stage are the targets in the distance on the right. There are three paper targets behind a sheet of black plastic (soft cover). In front of two of the targets are Mini-Poppers*. These targets are about 25 yards away. You can’t see most of the paper targets because of the soft cover, you have to shoot the steel targets down to get good access to the paper targets, and you have to shoot these fairly distant targets from below a barricade. Going prone left you with the problem of shooting the two targets to the left at almost a 90o angle and while prone I was unable to get enough elevation to hit the distant targets and still be stable. I, and many others, squatted or kneeled to shoot below the barricade. Being a tall person this pushed my aging flexibility to the limit and a little beyond. My back felt a little odd for the rest of the day but is almost normal now.

I have never shot a stage where soft cover was the only way to get good hits on a target. I have never shot a stage where my flexibility was a limiting factor. Also unusual was that I was also the only person, out of 70 shooters, to get all 26 A-Zone hits.

My time of 29.98 seconds put me at 6th place out of 20 shooters in my division and 33rd out of 70 shooters overall.

Here is how the stage (and match) winner shot it in Open division in 19.30 seconds:


* See here for a picture of one. Official dimension are as below:

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New shooter introduction advice

I recently received an email from Robert Z. asking three questions:

I have a couple of coworkers interested in shooting and I wanted to get your advice:

1) I have an orange gun – do you teach them the basics (grip, stance, 4 rules) before going to the range or you do it there?

2) most of the time you seem to have a private bay, is this something for VIPs only or any regular Robert can reserve? I live in Redmond, too, and I think it is well worth the money as you may end up with someone shooting some cannon next to you and the new shooter will start flinching from that.

3) how do you select what firearms you start with?

Here are my answers:

1) If I have the chance I teach them with my blue gun before going to the range. But most of the time I don’t have that opportunity.

2) I have an early Platinum membership which allows me to reserve Bay 3 at West Coast Armory (Bellevue) a couple times a month at no charge. The present day Platinum memberships don’t have that benefit. I think, with some membership types, you can still reserve it for a price. I think it’s something like $80 for two hours. Call to find out for certain.

3) I always start them out with a .22 pistol (when available, suppressed). I do this even with people that have some firearm experience. It makes it easier for the student as well as the instructor. You both have a much better chance of seeing the shooter jerk the trigger and other common beginner mistakes. And with new shooters they can concentrate on the stance, grip, sight alignment, and trigger pull without the recoil. The recoil will dominate their attention instead of the other things. Once they have the fundamentals working fairly well let them have a few shots with a centerfire to experience the recoil. Handling recoil is its own topic and should only be worked on after the student has the fundamentals as almost second nature. They can get there with dry fire or they can shoot a similar number of rounds (a few hundred) with a .22.

New shooter report

On August 2nd Ry brought Henry, his nephew from Illinois, to the range. Henry had shot a fair amount with Airsoft guns but never a real gun. As usual, I started him out with safety rules, grip, stance, and sight alignment on a suppressed .22 from about 10 feet away. This was his first shot (from a video by Ry):

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Most of the time he was able to keep them on the target. He tended to have a bimodal distribution of his shots. They were either good or way off. I gave him the gun with an empty chamber when he expected the gun to be loaded. The bobble of the gun showed both of us he was not holding the gun steady as he squeezed the trigger. More dry fire helped.

I moved him on to shooting multiple targets. One shot per target. After he seemed have that down fairly well I removed the suppressor and brought out the timer. The pressure of the timer showed and on nearly every run of five shots he would miss one of the targets.

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I told him each miss was a three second penalty, as it is in Steel Challenge matches and told him to remember the mantra, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow-through”. The hits got better and then his times improved with some strings being in the mid fours.

I moved him on to low powered .40 S&W loads. At first he did almost as well as with the .22. Then there were more and more wild shots. More dry fire was required. After he seemed back in control I turned him over to Ry as I prepared to leave (Barb and I were headed to Mount Rainier that evening). Ry had his own set of toys and Henry started out with a fully equipped 9mm:

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I picked up my brass and gear and left while Ry and Henry finished out the last 20 minutes or so we had the bay reserved. Ry later send me video and a picture he had taken of Henry with an AR:

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The next day, while Barb and I were hiking nearly over 6500 feet above sea level on Mount Rainier, I got a message from Ry, “Thank you for yesterday. Henry can’t stop talking about it.”

Another shooter has joined the community.

New shooter report

This is way late but better late than never.

Last month daughter Kim and her husband Jacob had some friends visit Idaho from Utah. Most of them had never shot a gun and wanted to learn. Kim was thrilled I was going to be working on Boomershoot stuff that weekend and brought them to me to learn to shoot.

A couple locals had more gun experience and also showed up to participate. I originally expect people would arrive around 4:00 and maybe leave by 6:00. They arrived about 1:30, but, whatever. That worked for me as well.

It was a hot day and we put up a small shelter to give us some relieve from the sun:

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I did the usual by starting them out with safety rules, grip, stanch, and a suppressed .22.

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As you might expect, one of the more experience people needed a little more coaching to unlearn bad habits. The only pistol she had ever shot was a 9mm. She confess that when she pulled the trigger she always closed her eyes. Her hits on the target reflected this. With a little extra dry fire and coaching we got most of that cleared up and her targets looked much better.

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Rounds in the last four months

I kept forgetting to make a post about my reloading activities. Partially because there hasn’t been much. But it was greater than zero and I intended to make my usual posts. Oh well.

March

80 rounds of match grade .223. This was four sets of 20 using various weights of CFE 223 powder. Even the hottest loads, showing some minor high pressure signs, were almost 20 fps slower than previous loads with Varget which showed no pressure signs. Varget is one of Hodgdon’s Extreme Rifle Powders which is extremely consistent from lot to lot and extremely temperature stable (actual test with 308 Winchester):

VargetExtreme

CFE 223 is not part of their Extreme product line.

April

125 rounds of match grade .223 using the previously tested Varget loading.

May

216 rounds of match grade .223 using the previously tested Varget loading.

2509 rounds of .40 S&W.

175 rounds of these were a load which tested hotter than expected. They resulted in a Power Factor of 182.7. My previous tests indicated this load should result in about a 175 PF. I was quite perplexed at this until I looked at my data closely. This velocity measurement was done when the temperature was 80F. My previous velocity measurements had been at a lower temperature. I verified this by cooling some of the ammo to 35F. The velocity was over 25 fps slower which was equivalent to a powder charge of 0.1 grains less. I put these rounds aside for a match in Idaho on a cold day.

The remainder of the .40 S&W rounds were of the load I wanted to use for USPSA matches when the temperature is 60 F or warmer.

June

61 rounds of match grade .223 using the previously tested Varget loading.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223: 7,439 rounds.
30.06: 756 rounds.
300 WIN: 2,126 rounds.
300 Savage: 50 rounds.
40 S&W: 100,872 rounds.
45 ACP: 2,007 rounds.
9 mm: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 134,891 rounds

Over 100K rounds of .40 S&W! That’s kind of cool.

Chronograph stage at Area One

Prior to the Area One match in Bend Oregon I expressed some concerns about making Major Power Factor. It turns out I did just fine:

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I saw the chrono team weigh the bullet before getting any velocity measurements, 180.2 grains, and knew I was going to be okay. My sample of 20 had a minimum of 178.3, a maximum of 180.7 and a mean of 179.2. I was concerned they might pull a 177 or something. Then, if the velocity was really low for some reason I could be pushing the threshold and perhaps break into Minor Power Factor (< 165). But the velocities were good. Had they pulled a 177 grain bullet and measured the same velocities the power factor would have still been 170.6 and comfortably in Major.

The odds were low of getting a low velocity since my measurements indicated a mean velocity of 978.4 with a standard deviation of 10.6. But still, you never know how the tolerances might stack up against you on any given day. As it is I suspect the chronograph they used would not agree with my chronograph, which is another variable that is difficult to plan for.

Area One USPSA results

I had relatively modest goals for my Area One performance:

  1. Don’t get hurt or hurt anyone.
  2. Don’t get DQ’d.
  3. Don’t finish last.

I met my goals. In Limited I came in 81st out of 118 shooters. If you just look at Limited B class shooters then I came in 32nd out of 38. Or if you just look at Limited Seniors then I came in 9th out of 15. And finally, my favorite view, in Limited, Senior, B class shooters I came in 2nd out of four shooters.

I had a good time at the match. My squad was very pleasant to be with. The last time I went to Area One, over 20 years ago, it was sometimes very uncomfortable. Some shooters were very aggressive in asserting their bullets had touch scoring rings that the R.O. called as out. I didn’t like that atmosphere. These were nice people to be with.

One of the most unusual event I have heard of at a USPSA match is that one guy got DQ’d at the chronograph stage:

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I have a lot more to say about the event. But that is going to wait until I have time to edit the video.

Quote of the day—Brian Enos

Awareness in shooting comes from observation without thought. Awareness leads to action without thought. Awareness exists only in the present tense, along with shooting. Although awareness happens actively, it’s perceived passively.

Brian Enos
1990

Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals Page 16.
[I know what Enos is saying. I sometimes experience this when shooting and am trying to get into “the zone” consistently. I think this is the major obstacle to my further improvement at this time.

I’m not certain this is the best way to say what Enos means.

I went looking for Yoda quotes to supplement Enos but I couldn’t find one that was a good match.

A year or so ago I read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience to try and find out more about getting into this state of mind and body. It wasn’t as rewarding as I had hoped it would be.

Several decades ago, when I played a lot of tennis, I read The Inner Game of Tennis. This was when I first started understanding this state. I’m beginning to wonder if I should read it again and apply it to shooting.—Joe]

USPSA firsts for me

Today I shot in an USPSA match at the Paul Bunyan Rifle and Sportsman’s Club (results are here). I’ve been shooting USPSA matches for over 20 years so one might expect there are very few, if any, things I have not seen and/or done or at least heard of in regards to stage designs. I certainly thought that before today. Sure, at the big matches they have fancy props and they do interesting things with platforms, carrying odd objects (I seem to remember a squirrel statue from many years back), and even a mining cart. But have you ever seen a stage which one only required one shot? A state which required a reload between each shot? Or a fixed time stage with no timer? Well, today I shot all of those oddities.

The stage called Quick or Slow was a single USPSA Popper at 35 yards. You started standing in a box with the gun loaded. Upon the signal you were to draw and knock down the Popper. If you missed you were required to reload between each shot until you knocked it down. I was the first shooter in our squad and I felt pretty good about dropping it on my first shot with a time of 2.21 seconds. Others did quite a bit better. The overall winning with a pistol caliber carbine dropped it in 1.17 seconds. The best pistol shooter (with an optic sight) dropped it in 1.38 seconds. I came in at 13th place in Limited class out of 26 shooters, 38th out of 97 overall, and got a whopping 2.647 points (in overall ranking) on that stage. One poor person took over 37 seconds to get 0.158 points (in overall ranking).

The stage called Murmaider had four disappearing targets which the shooter activated by stepping on a slightly raised platform. It was Virginia Count scoring so you had a maximum of eight shots. Your gun was loaded on a table directly downrange of the activator. Two targets were drop turners which presented themselves three times. The presentation time couldn’t have been more than a half second for each turn. There were two swinging targets that were pretty fast acting too. The “fixed” time was the total time the targets were visible. It was self actuated so there was no buzzer required. Hence, no timer. Here is how one shooter handled the problem:

Out of 40 points possible the overall winner got 31 (Limited class winner got 29). I got 22 points even after reflexively shooting at one of the drop turners three times when I realized I had a miss as I fired the shot. I knew I made an error and didn’t take one of the two shots I should have taken at one of the swinging targets which were much easier shots. This avoided the extra shot penalty but cost me the opportunity of another five points. The 22 points gave me a tie for 4th and 5th out of 28 shooters in Limited.

There was one other first for me today. I shot a Popper, got a clang from a hit, assumed it went down and continued with the rest of the stage without confirming that it went down. I didn’t realize it didn’t fall. I was totally surprised when the range officer asked me if I knew that I left it standing. We went over to look:

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There was nothing wrong with my shot. I was shooting 40 S&W with a Power Factor of 170 or greater so I asked for a calibration test. I’ve never done that before. I’ve shoot low plenty of times and figured it just wasn’t worth the effort to get a calibration test and took another shot (or two) to get it to fall.

This time the range master came over, shot it with the 9mm calibration ammo almost exactly dead center in the circle portion of the target, and it slowly fell forward as it was supposed to. I got a miss. Oh well, it was a bit of bad luck.