Chamber hone for 6.5 Grendel

Via email from Rolf:

I know that several boomershooters use the 6.5 Grendel. I was having problems, and suspect a rough chamber might be the culprit. (Still awaiting a reply from Midway, where I bought the upper, as it’s a MidwayUSA house brand, before I do anything like home gunsmithing). I went looking for a chamber hone that would be right, and could not find one, and saw contradictory info on the web. So I emailed the company (Brush Research) that makes the Flex-Hone chamber hones to ask what the correct one might be. I got this prompt reply this morning. I’m pretty sure that they’d be OK with posting the info on a popular shooting-related web-site such as yours, if you want to post it for any of the Grendel shooters out there who might want to know.

From: Technical <>
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 9:21 AM
Subject: Re: [#479759] New Technical Inquiry Home

Hi Rolf,
Thank you for contacting us regarding chamber hones for your 6.5mm Grendel. We have made these for the Grendel before only they aren’t visible on our website or literature.

You’ll want to order part ID 12809  for 400 grit SC abrasive or part ID 12810 for 800 grit SC abrasive.  The following distributors can order this for you in Washington state. Simply contact them and ask them to order up the part ID’s provided:

4021 6TH AVE S.
(206) 223-5255

(206) 762-0297

Let me know if you have any other questions we can assist with.


Brush Research Manufacturing Co., Inc. 
4642 Floral Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90022
Phone: (323) 261-2193 ext 703
Fax: (323) 268-6587

Quote of the day—Ashley Varner @AshNVarner

The gun range is not a good first date… if the girl shoots better than the guy.

Ashley Varner @AshNVarner
Tweeted on June 7, 2020
[I figured we needed something on the lighter side of the spectrum for today. We will return to our regularly scheduled depressing observations of our current situation tomorrow.

I could see Ashley’s assertion being true in the general case. I would like to think that if my first date with a woman demonstrated she was a much better shooter than me I would have been inclined to propose on the second date.—Joe]

The rifle that wasn’t

From a private group on Facebook:

Had a helluva time zeroing it at 25m, and at 100m it was all over the place. And some of the holes on the paper looked wrong…some of them were kind of…oblong. He’d bought some really cheap ammo online, so we were suspecting something was amiss with the ammo. Perhaps reloads sold as factory made. Then we got back to my place, he pulled the upper off, looked down the barrel, said it looked kind of funny. So I looked down the barrel. Then I quickly took my AR apart so I could look down it’s barrel. Then down his barrel again. Then mine, then his.

It’s a fucking AR15 *smoothbore*.

No photo description available.

The targets are from 25 meters. The one on the left is the smooth bore. The one on the right is a normal rifle.

I’m sure the “rifle” owner is far less amused than I am.

USPSA Area 1 Championship postponed

I received an email last night regarding the USPSA Area 1 Championship:

2020 Berrys Bullets Area 1 Championship
It is with much regret that we are forced to delay Area 1. Many efforts were made to continue as planned, however current governing COVID protocols prohibit us from moving forward as planned. We are working diligently to postpone with the hope to continue the last week of August. We will confirm dates as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Refunds for withdrawals will be extended until 30 days prior to match start date, which we hope for a start date of August 26th. We will keep everyone posted on any updates as they become available. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time and everyone on the Area 1 team look forward to seeing everyone in the near future.

Kind regards,
Tessina Hurley
Match Director
2020 Berry’s Area 1 Championship

I’m not surprised. Barb and were talking a couple hours before I got the email, “How are they going to do that with the current restrictions? How do they know the restrictions will be lifted so they can hold the event?”

Hurley and her staff were probably asking themselves similar questions yesterday.

I”m fine with that. It gives me more time to practice and get back to something approaching my normal skill level.

Broken Dillon XL650 indexer return spring

As I posted yesterday the indexer return spring (item 22) on my Dillon XL650 reloading press broke. Here is a picture of the two pieces:


From looking at the larger piece with the naked eye I originally thought it might have been worn then broke. After I found the second piece and looked at them closely and together I decided it probably was a defective spring.

If someone has a different opinion I’m willing to listen.

Rounds in the last month

I haven’t done any reloading since February. I was working very long hours and finally got that project done earlier this month. And with the COVID-19 thing I didn’t really want to go to the range anyway, so why spend the time reloading ammo I wasn’t going to shoot for a while? When I received the email saying the Area 1 Championship, which I had signed up for last year, was still on I decided it was time to start practicing and reloading.

Today I started reloading some 200 grain bullets in .40 S&W. I only completed round 104 when the indexer return spring broke on my Dillon XL650 press. It sort of looked like I should consider it a consumable and I ordered five of them. At $1.99 (plus $8.49 shipping) I decided to order five so I could quickly replace it when the next one dies.

After ordering I thought about it some more and realized I had never lubricated the spring. If I had it might have lasted longer (I had only reloaded 21,584 rounds when it died).

No matter. I’ll have spares and maybe they will last longer too.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223: 7592 rounds.
30.06: 756 rounds.
300 WIN: 2,126 rounds.
300 Savage: 50 rounds.
40 S&W: 109,877 rounds.
45 ACP: 2,007 rounds.
9 mm: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 144,049 rounds

It’s time to dust

It’s been months since I did any shooting. As you can see there are dust bunnies on both sights and around the ejection port of my carry (and competition) gun:


I took it apart and cleaned the internals too.

I reserved an entire shooting bay at the range for just myself and will attempt to put some holes in paper later this week.

Achievement unlocked

My USPSA Range Officer certification expires on June 30th. I took the test today to recertify and passed:


Shortly after I started the test I received the following email:

2020 Berrys Bullets Area 1 Championship
Area 1 WILL CONTINUE AS SCHEDULED! There will be some protocols in place to help ensure current governing social distancing guidelines. The most notable, for competitors, will be assigned schedules for gate entry and walk through opportunity. Competitors will receive a future email with the assigned schedules and printable gate entry pass that corresponds with schedule. We are asking that competitors limit guests to one guest per competitor. We are looking forward to forward to seeing everyone and there are still rooms available at the following match hotels, which have graciously extended the cut off date to June 19th…

I signed up for the Area 1 Championship several months ago but due to working extremely long hours at work for several months, combined with the Corona virus lockdown, I haven’t practiced since about the first week of January. I’m going to have to remedy that in a big way or else plan on an extremely dismal performance if I participate in the Area 1 Championship Match.

Craft Holster review

I was given a free holster by Craft Holsters on the condition I review it on my blog. I received it several weeks ago but I was extremely busy at work (new invention disclosure came out of it and was sent to the patent attorneys just yesterday). I had looked at it some but didn’t actually try using it until yesterday.

I ordered the holster for a STI 1911 5”. I was thinking this would work with my STI DVC Limited. It didn’t. The magazine release button would catch on the holster. Pushing the leather aside and putting the gun the rest of the way into the holster wasn’t really an option. The magazine release button received a lot of pressure and would release the magazine while the gun was in the holster. I concluded this was a bug and not a feature.

I tried my Gun Blog 45 in the holster. The rear sight would catch on the holster as it was inserted. Okay, well, the Gun Blog 45 isn’t really a 1911 anyway.

I borrowed a true 1911. This combination worked. Pictures:



The angle is a little more than I am used to with my usual holster but it worked just fine for me.

I am a little concerned about the mouth of the holster and the potential for collapse. This is not an inside the waistband holster so it doesn’t get much pressure on it. But it was much more flexible than I am used to.

It could be that if the holster was intended for a true 1911 the fit would be more snug. Craft Holsters sent me a “break-in kit” so I’m pretty sure they expected it would be a snug fit. But with the given holster and gun tested the gun would fall out when the holster was turned upside down. It was a little more snug when on my belt but it expect that after some wear if I were to do a forward roll the gun would fall out. And possibly even just running and jumping would jeopardize control of the gun. But, again, this holster was intended for a different style of 1911. A true 1911 holster might have eliminated this complaint.

On a positive note, the price is $59. This is about half what I would normally pay for an IWB holster for my STI. Also, it is nice looking and comfortable.

Quote of the day—Lee Enfield

The FGC-9 enables everyday people all around the world to build a 9mm semi-automatic firearm, from start to finish, using a 3D printer and commonly available, unregulated materials. It’s specifically designed to be accessible to folks with minimal gun building experience, and avoids using parts commonly or easily restricted by law in the US and Europe. Anyone can build it, and no one can stop it.

In case there was any doubt about the political ideology here, you should know that the ‘FGC’ in the ‘FGC-9’ stands for “fuck gun control”.

Lee Enfield
March 31, 2020
The FGC-9 Fulfills the Promise of 3D Printed Guns
[Things have come a long way:

It’s not going to make the anti-gun people give up the fight and become normal humans. They will, as is always the case, continue to lie and double down on their failing objectives.—Joe]

Social distancing

The title claims “Ultimate in Old School Social Distancing”. While carrying a rifle down the sidewalk with an extended bayonet would grant you greater social distancing for a few minutes I expect the distance would be considerably shortened by the end of your walk as the police stopped by to have a chat with you.

Also, I expect an experienced Boomershooter could maintain something much closer to “ultimate” distancing than someone using a bayonet to keep the distance.

The range is open

I haven’t been to the range in several weeks now. And probably won’t for a while still. But the range I go to most frequently (Bellevue) sent out an email a few minutes ago:

Why is Our Range Open?
We have many clients who work in law enforcement or in the private security sector. These individuals must maintain
firearms proficiency for their personal safety and to meet professional certification requirements. We have other clients who don’t fall into the above categories but have personal circumstances which make firearms proficiency a priority for them.
Additionally, many families perceive an increased need for all members to have familiarity with defensive firearms. It is especially important that these new or less experienced shooters have the opportunity to learn and practice safe firearms handling skills in a controlled environment.
Federal guidelines recognize the above issues and have designated firearms retailers and ranges as essential critical infrastructure.
Our opinion is that each individual should have the opportunity to make an assessment of their personal risk factors and act according to that assessment.
What are we doing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission?

Traveling alone in your vehicle does not increase your risk or the risk to anyone else. The risk of COVID-19 transmission is increased most significantly by close interpersonal contact.
Upon arrival, clients are asked to maintain 6’ or more of distance while waiting to approach the check-in-counter one client at a time (unless in a group of two who already share close social distancing.)
Clients are assigned shooting lanes one person per booth. (The only exception is that two family members who already share close social distancing may share a booth.)
Once on the range shooters are separated from each other by over six feet of space and two partitions (we leave an empty booth between each shooter.)
The ventilation system on the range provides constant air flow away from the shooters.
Upon exiting the range all clients are directed to wash their hands in the bathrooms located in the range lobby.
All surfaces that people contact are cleaned multiple times during each day.
Going to a shooting range is not the best choice for all persons at this particular time. It is however an essential activity for some people and an activity which can be engaged in without significant risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The range will be open Thursday through Sunday,
10am to 8pm until further notice.

New shooter becomes new gun owner

Six weeks ago I took a new shooter to the range. Today we went to the range again for her to try out numerous guns in preparation to buy a gun and take a class.

I brought:

  • Suppressed .22 Ruger 10/22
  • Ruger P89 (9mm with lightly loaded 147 grain bullets)
  • STI Edge (.40 S&W with lightly loaded 180 grain bullets)
  • The Gun Blog 45 (.45 Auto with lightly loaded 230 grain bullets)

I had to correct her stance and give her some hints on the grip but after that she did really well. There were a few flyers but most were good solid A-Zone hits.

The rifle:


The stock was too long and she ended up putting it on top of her shoulder to get the proper eye relief and get it close enough she could hold it up. Still, she had great hits.

20200301_102620(0)I had her shoot the Ruger P89 only in single action mode. My goal was to see how she handled the 9mm recoil in a fairly heavy gun. If that worked out okay I would have guided her to Glock or S&W M&P style gun.

Great hits (smaller holes are from the .22 rifle):


Then the STI Edge in .40 S&W:


There was one flyer:


She said she liked that gun the best so far.

On to the Gun Blog 45. Even though these were light loads with a MV of just under 775 fps (PF of about 178) she fired one shot and said that was enough.

I rented a Sig 238 (.380 Auto) and she liked it before she even touched it. We did a little dry firing, then actual shooting. She really liked it. She had great hits and after shooting about a half dozen magazines said she was done. She really liked the .380.


She had three flyers. But she shot a lot more good solid hits.


We put away the guns, washed up, and went to the store where her husband ordered and paid for a Sig Sauer 238 and two extra magazines.

I will probably do some more coaching to prepare them for the May General Defensive Handgun class from Insights.

New shooter report

Sunday before last, on the 19th, I had an interesting student. Susan was born and raised in communist China. She is currently a Canadian citizen, recently married my brother-in-law, a U.S. citizen, and is in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen herself.

One of the interesting stories she told Barb and I was that growing up the schools in China taught that in the U.S. there was lots of food but only the rich could afford it. And rather than let the poor people have food for an affordable price the rich would dump the excess food in the ocean. The fact that food is so plentiful and cheap that poor people in this country are obese apparently didn’t make it through the censors.

Susan wanted to learn to shoot a gun because there are times when she is home alone. Barb reserved the indoor training bay at the local gun range and Susan, her husband Mark, Barb, and I went to the range for a couple hours.

At the range one of the first things she told me was that she had never touched a gun before. <shrug> Not a problem. That’s what we are here to fix.

She filled out the paperwork for the range and after we were in the training bay she again told me, “I’ve never touched a gun before.” I assured her that was fine. I will start at the basics and she will do just fine.

After reviewing the safety rules I used a plastic gun to show Susan and Mark the proper grip (photo by Barb):


I had taught Mark to shoot a couple years ago but I don’t think he had been to the range since and he was following along with the instructions I was giving Susan.

It might be said that Susan is left handed but she uses her right hand for a lot of things. I tested her eye dominance and found she was left eye dominate. I had her first try dry firing left handed but she insisted that shooting right handed felt better. Okay, let’s see how that works out and maybe try left handed shooting later. It turned out that shooting right handed worked for her. She closes her left eye when shooting.

After she practiced gripping the plastic gun and taking a stance that was approximately correct I showed her what the sight picture looks like with the rear, front, and target all lined up.

We then moved on to dry firing a .22 with a suppressor. The first couple of “shot’s” had significant gun movement. I pointed this out and asked her to concentrate on the following through. No movement of the gun until significantly after the click. Again and again I repeated, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow through”. After just two or three dry fire clicks the gun was remarkable solid.

I loaded the gun and she fired a live round for the first time. I didn’t see any flinch or movement except that caused by the recoil of the gun but the shot was way high. Odd, try again. Again it was high but a little closer. Again and still high. I looked over her shoulder and could see she was aiming high. I stopped her and went to the target with her and the plastic gun again. I pointed out the front and rear sights and how they should align on the target. I told her to keep the front sight in focus and the target and rear sight would be slightly out of focus.

Still she was shooting high. I encouraged her get the sights lined up on the target but she still kept pointing it way high. At the end of the first magazine she finally got two rounds on the target from about 10 feet away.

After putting in the second magazine she started getting all the shots on the target. She told me she had just been using the front sight at first. Oh! That was the problem. Somehow I hadn’t connected with her on the two sights. She went through several magazines and the groups kept improving. Here is her first target with her new shooter smile:


I put up a fresh set of targets and had her shoot at one target, move to the next, shoot it, and continue until she shot five times. One shot on each of three targets and two shots on the target which was the first and the last shot. Then repeat which would empty the magazine. Repeat with another magazine. She got really good hits and I encouraged her to shoot faster and faster as long as she was getting all the shots inside the rings.

I took off the suppressor to reduce the weight and let her experience more muzzle blast. She shot still faster and never had a miss. Here is her target after several magazines:


I moved on to self-defense shooting. I told her about what I call the four Bs. There are only four ways you can get a bad guy to stop their attack:

  1. Brains—You get a central nervous system hit and shut them down. This includes the upper spine as well as the brain.
  2. Bone—You shoot and break their pelvis or other major mechanical supporting structure allowing you to escape.
  3. Blood—You shoot them in a vital circulatory system causing them to lose sufficient blood pressure to remain conscious. Typically this is accomplished with shots to the heart and lungs.
  4. Balls—They loose courage and stop the attack because they don’t want to get shot or want to stop getting shot.

Although number 1 is the quickest end to the attack it is a very difficult shot because the head is easy to move rapidly and it’s almost a reflexive move when a gun is pointed at your head. Plus, with pistol calibers the only dependable way to get into the cranial cavity is through the eye sockets. The curved and angled skull can deflect the bullet such that it doesn’t penetrate. Getting a bullet into the eye socket is an extremely difficult shot on a moving target.

Number 2 is a little easier if you are shooting a reasonably large caliber at the pelvis. They can’t get their pelvis out of the way as quickly and reflexively as their head. But the hips, which are most easily broken are still a small target compared to number 3.

The first target should be number 3, the upper chest. It’s difficult to move the chest area rapidly because it’s near the center of gravity. The heart and lungs are a much larger target. These are what should be shot first. If that doesn’t get the desired results after a few shots then start targeting number 2 or 1 (photo by Barb):


How many times do you shoot? You shoot until the attack is stopped. If they turn and run you are done unless they are putting another innocent life in imminent danger of permanent injury or death.

I explained you can’t shoot someone just because you don’t want them in your yard. You can only justifiably use lethal force to defend yourself or other innocent people from imminent danger of permanent injury or death. Washington state does generally consider someone who has broken into your house, knowing that people are present, as sufficient justification to use lethal force. There are some situations where this is not going to be true. A healthy adult male shooting a 10-year old who broke a window and came into the house is probably going to jail. The resident has to use reasonable judgement.

Susan first used the .22 pistol with good results:



After several magazines with her shots doing well I had her try my .40 with some powder puff loads. They wouldn’t cycle the gun when Susan was shooting it. I tried to get her to lock her wrists and hold it firmly but she just didn’t have the strength to keep the gun solid enough to cycle. I switched out the ammo to my major Power Factor loads. It cycled with the two shots she took but she was uncomfortable with it and I moved her to a different gun for her defending herself in the inside the home scenario:


This is a suppressed AR with a red-dot sight. I explained the bullet, even though it is the same diameter as used by the .22 she had been shooting, is moving about three times the velocity. This additional velocity will cause much more damage to an attacker and one or two solid hits will have as much “persuasion power” as a whole magazine out of the .22. Plus it is easier to get good hits. Even from the top of her stairs to the front door of her home she could easily get hits that would be difficult with a handgun.

She fired a few shots with it then I moved her back to about eight yards from the original three or four yards. She continued to get good results but the gun was too heavy for her to be comfortable with it. I took off the suppressor since it’s actually a .30 caliber suppressor and much heavier than it needs to be. I should get one sized for 223.


With the much louder muzzle blast she still did fine and even said she liked that, “Because it will scare them away!” I told her that especially if she is indoors it will require she be wearing hearing protection because it would cause permanent hearing damage to shoot it without ear protection.

Here is her final target:


Our range time was up so we cleaned up and made plans for the next stage of her firearm skills development. I gave them a link to Insights Training for the General Defensive Handgun class. She will need to have her own gun and she needs a little more preparation to be ready for the class. We will go to the range again soon and they will try out various guns to see what works best for them at this stage of development.

As we were leaving Susan again told me, “I had never touched a gun before.” She went on to say, “I thought we would just look at guns today. I didn’t think I was ready to shoot one!”

She did fine. Guns aren’t so difficult that you can’t be safe and functional within a couple hours. You can spend years becoming an expert but you can successfully defend yourself with a few hours of training and practice. Just look at the last target for the proof.

Rounds in the last month & yearly report

This year was a bit slow on the reloading front. I spent a lot of time working on precision ammo for .300 Winchester Magnum and .223 rifles. Individually weighing the charges to less than 0.1 grains is extremely slow compared to the .40 S&W rounds I pump out on the Dillon XL650. And then there is the case preparation that consumes several seconds per round on top of that.

The last couple of months my supply of .40 S&W practice and USPSA match ammo became critically low and I ignored the rifle ammo. This last month I reloaded 5,786 rounds of .40 S&W. This is more rounds in a single month since the first month I began reloading. That was 10,944 rounds of 9mm in November 1997.

5,432 of those .40 S&W loads were 180 grain polymer coated bullets from Black Bullet International. This finished off my supply of those bullets and I loaded one box of the 200 grain bullets (552 bullets in a box instead of the stated 550). Mixed in there were test loadings of CCI 500 primers instead of the usual Winchester WSPs. I really like the Winchester primers but I thought would be a good idea to have loads for the CCI primers if we get into a situation where reloading components are difficult to get.

This brings my rounds for the year up to 12,114 and my lifetime count up to 143,638.

My yearly and lifetime reloading numbers are below,

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Boomershoot 2020 registration is now open

Today, as of 9:00 AM PST, Boomershoot 2020 registration is open to everyone. For the last several days Boomershoot 2019 participants and staff have selected their positions. The long range event on Sunday still has 42 of the 76 positions available. The Friday and Saturday Precision Rifle Clinic still has lots of openings with only three and four of the 16 positions taken on each day. The Field Fire, practice on your own with the steel targets with a range safety officer, is an alternative to the Precision Rifle Clinic and doesn’t have a practical limit to the number of people who participate.

The High Intensity events on Friday and Saturday evenings have five and 10 of the 25 available positions still available.

“What are the High Intensity events?”, you might ask. A few years ago Oleg made a great video which captures it:

The Sunday long range event is a little harder to capture. The thumps to your chest don’t come through the filtering of the video camera:

Anette gives you an overview of the entire experience:

And once experienced you will never forget the opening fireball on Sunday morning:

Boomershoot 2019 Fireball from Joe Huffman on Vimeo.

Register for Boomershoot 2020 now for an experience you will treasure for the rest of your life.