Apitir

Years ago I read about a fascinating pistol target device described by Jeff Cooper as an Apitir. I searched for it at the time and found nothing. I later forgot the name, which I knew only as an odd name starting with an A. After rediscovering Cooper’s description and searching for it just now, I still find nothing. If anyone is building them, or has build even one, they haven’t posted it on line by the name Apitir, and almost no one has been talking about it.

Cooper describes it in the sixth item on this page. It’s a great idea, Cooper wanted it to be widely embraced, and since no one else is talking bout it, at least under that name, well, there it is for you to ponder.

It shouldn’t be difficult to build, but I don’t quite understand what he meant by “actuated by the shooter…with the shooting hand.” Maybe he intended that your pistol be holstered as you pull a cord or some such, and then as the disks begin to roll you draw, aim and fire. My (apparently incorrect) memory of it was that you’d shoot a central target, which would release the two rolling disks. He did not indicate the angle, or pitch, of the sloped runners. A variable slope would allow you to experiment, or change the difficulty, as desired. Some experimentation would be in order, to find a rail design that reliably keeps the disks on track, and lets them fall off when hit.

I remember thinking that a magazine full of the disks, and a feeding mechanism, would allow for several actuations, or tries, before having to reset the thing. That would make it more complicated and expensive, but far more useful.

If I had any trust that it would remain unmolested by rifle fire for a number of years, I’d have one built and keep it at the Peterson range. Something like that would make a pretty sweet rifle target though, too.

One compromise design, or variation, would replace the steel disks with clay “jackrabbits” or similar targets.

Regarding primers…

…and getting testy;
There is total energy, and then there is peak power, time to peak power (which in audio circuitry we referred to as “rise time”) and duration of peak or near peak power. So you’d likely want to be able to graph it as power over time, to “really know” what’s happening. Point being of course that total energy would be somewhat inconsequential unless the power were up to a certain level for a certain period.

But maybe you got it just like that already. If so, carry on. Don’t mind me sitting in the corner and muttering.

Experiments with oil and primers

A week or two ago Ry showed up in my office and said he wanted to do an experiment. He and I have had conflicting information on the contamination of primers by oil. The common word on the Internet and word of mouth is that if you get the tiniest amount of oil on the chemically active portion of a primer then it would go dead.

However Ry had seen Lyle demonstrate this was not true by putting CLP in a shell casing with an active primer then detonating it a minute or two later. I had done similar things myself. I wanted to deprime some cases with live primers and to test the “kill the primer with oil” hypothesis I put a thin oil in the mouth of a shell casing and waited, sometimes a day or more, but they would still fire just fine. Bah! As usual the Internet is wrong. Right?

As we talked about the experiment we realized the Internet story wasn’t quite the same thing as our first hand data. Our first hand data wasn’t of putting oil directly on the primer. It was putting oil in the mouth of a shell casing. We believed the thin oil would make it through the flash hole into the active area of the primer.

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But that was an assumption. It was not a proven fact.

So what we decided to do was soak the primers for few minutes in a paper cup and then load them in a shell casing. We would do several primers then test them at various time intervals, like an hour, a day, a week, and a month. We expected the primers would still be fine after a month and the myth would be busted.

Here are the solvents we tested:

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We used Winchester small pistol primers:

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Here are the primers being soaked prior to inserting on the empty shell casings:

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An interesting thing occurred. The primers soaked in Break Free CLP turned the CLP slightly red after a few minutes:

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And the primers in the water turned the water slightly yellow:

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We also created two control sets. One set had dry primers in a dry shell casing and the other set had dry primers with solvent put in the shell casing.

After we had all the shell casing loaded Ry added more of the solvent to the test shell casings so evaporation would not be a factor in the long term testing.

We then tested both control sets and the test set.

We hand loaded the empty shell casings into a handgun and put the muzzle tight against an air pillow used for padding in Amazon shipments. We then fired the gun. If it failed to fire we would cock the hammer and try a second time. If it failed both times we called it a dead primer. There were no primers which failed on the first attempt and succeeded on the second. If it popped the air pillow it was a “vigorous” detonation. If it failed to puncture the air pillow it was a “mild” detonation:

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The dry normally inserted primers would punch a hole through both sides of the air pillow even though there was a significant air gap between the two sides:

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We tested two primers for each solvent. The results with solvent only in the shell casing mouth were as follows:

Solvent Detonation Result
Water 2 vigorous
Break Free CLP 2 vigorous
WD 40 2 mild
3-IN-ONE 1 vigorous, 1 mild
Tetra Gun Lubricant 2 vigorous

This confirmed the tests Lyle and I had done years ago. The primers were still active after putting oil in the case mouth.

Here are the results of the primers soaked in the paper cups with solvent:

Solvent Detonation Result
Water 2 dead
Break Free CLP 1 mild, 1 dead
WD 40 1 mild, 1 very mild
3-IN-ONE 2 mild
Tetra Gun Lubricant 2 mild

We will have updates later after the remaining primers have soaked for longer periods of time but it is clear that the flash hole is a significant barrier to the entry of solvents into the primer compound and the common wisdom of oil damaging primers is true.

Update from Ry after one day:

Solvent Detonation Result
Water 2 dead
Break Free CLP 1 mild, 1 dead
WD 40 1 very mild, 1 dead
3-IN-ONE 1 mild, 1 dead
Tetra Gun Lubricant 2 dead

Well, there’s always the Contender

Via TFB, we see The Dominator, a 308 Winchester upper for the 1911. OK then. As Cooper was fond of saying; I suppose we should refrain from asking “why?” I don’t know what it’s for, but it is interesting from a gadgetry liker’s point of view. If it were a choice between the two I think I’d take the Thompson Center Contender. Hmm; how about a 300 Win Mag upper for your LCP, then, for, you know, uh…practice, or something, so when you’re out shooting for defense with your .380 it would serve as low recoil practice for big game hunting.

Boomershoot 2015 statistics

Boomershoot 2015 is now half full:

  Total Average per position taken Average per total positions
Positions Taken 38 - 0.50
Participants 71 1.87 0.93
Friday Field Fire participants 11 0.29 0.14
Friday Clinic participants 6 0.16 0.08
Friday High Intensity participants 16 0.42 0.21
Private Fireball participants 0 0.00 0.00
Saturday Field Fire participants 29 0.76 0.38
Saturday Clinic participants 4 0.11 0.05
Saturday High Intensity participants 8 0.21 0.11
Dinner participants 37 0.97 0.49
Shooters 70 1.84 0.92
Spotters 1 0.03 0.01
Media/Bloggers 9 0.24 0.12
ATF Approved 12 0.32 0.16
Staff 24 0.63 0.32

Keep in mind this after the event has been open for entry for a little over a week and over seven months before the event. There are still positions open in every area so whether you want to shoot from the well drained ground on the berm, with a bench with room for a canopy, or in the .50 Caliber Ghetto you still have those options available.

There are still opening for Private Fireballs too. The smoke from these can sometimes be seen from over three quarters of a mile away. It’s tough to describe the intensity of the blast when you are 50 feet away. The phrase we hear about 75% of the time from first timers is, “Holy shit!

Sign up here.

Kit Gun

OK, so I’ve been ignorant. Laugh and make fun of me and get it out of the way. Tam posted about a “Kit Gun” recently. I’d seen that term many times, and it’s always been used as though everyone understood what it meant and there was therefore no point in trying to explain it. Kind of like the high school meetings I missed because, well, “We told everyone” they said (meaning they told a few people and assumed everyone else would hear it from them. I was always out of the loop because I only attended half days my senior year. It was a good excuse to avoid pep rallies anyway.

I searched “kit gun” some time ago and came up with nothing helpful, but doing it just now I found it! A kit gun means it goes with you on hiking and camping trips, and the term comes from the “kit bag” that a hiker or camper might carry. Well I’ve hiked and camped all my life and never heard of a “kit bag”, so the term “kit gun” has been not at all obvious to me. I somehow missed that memo. I suppose everyone knew about all this but me.

That makes just about every gun I own a “kit gun”, technically, since I would take most any of them along on a camping trip or a hike, and have done so in most cases, but I guess the term refers to one that’s generally more handy (smaller and/or lighter) than some other similar gun in a similar caliber, kind of how a “carbine” is a relatively shorter and lighter version of a particular rifle. As far as I can determine through observation of usage though is that a “kit gun” refers to a handgun only, not a long gun, even though I do have what might be called a “kit bag” that holds a long gun. So a relatively light and handy rifle equals “carbine”, while a relatively light and handy handgun equals kit gun. Is that about right?

Does this mean that ANY service pistol is a “kit gun” simply because soldiers tend to hike about and are known to camp?

Just learned this today, so it may be flawed. I’ve ordered “gun kits” before but apparently those do not necessarily qualify as “kit guns”, though there may be such a thing as a “kit gun kit” from which you build your own kit gun.

OK, so there MUST be a term for a light or small and handy shotgun that I’ve never heard. “Coach gun” maybe, but that’s a side by side with exposed hammers, in my mind anyway, which would exclude many other light and handy shotguns.

Bath time

I did a bunch of dozer work at Boomershoot Mecca this weekend. It was very dirty work. The ground was very dry and it turned to powder as soon as I broke it up with the blade. I got really dirty:

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I wore gloves and my hand was clean by comparison:

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I have a solar heated shower at Mecca so I dusted off my clothes and rinsed off my head, arms and hands before I got in my car and left for the day.

But what I didn’t have there was my gun cleaning supplies.

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It probably is functional for at least as many shots as would be needed in a self-defense situation. But I’m sure the wear rate would be dramatically increased with the oil being soaked up by the dust. And the odds of a malfunction have to be much higher than normal.

It’s ultrasonic bath time for my STI.

Three counties in Idaho make the list

According to this article three of the top thirty counties in the country for homes that have guns are in Idaho. Nez Perce County (Lewiston is the county seat) is number three with 59.0% of the households having guns. They were edged out by Fairbanks borough, AK and Tooele County, UT both with 59.1% (I want a recount!). I don’t consider it home but I do own a little land in that county and drive through parts of the county whenever I go to the Boomershoot site.

Nez Perce County is home to CCI and Speer which are some of the area’s largest employers so those workers probably contributed a far amount to the gun ownership in the area. Another thing that probably influences the ownership in the area is the good hunting. Hunting is a very popular activity there.

The Gun Box

I was sent, for a limited review time, The GunBox Biometric Hand Gun Safe.

First the negatives.

They have a YouTube video on how to get into the box with a common tool. The video is not listed so that helps but security through obscurity is, putting it mildly, frowned upon in the security world.

The interior height should be a little greater. It was tough to get the lid to close with my STI Eagle. The oversized magazine well would hit the lid when I tried to close it. I was finally able to find a configuration to get everything, including hearing protection, in but it was tight:

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And if I didn’t have the gun in just the right spot it would fail to open unless I put some pressure on the lid when the mechanism was activated.

My Gun Blog .45 fit fine in most positions. Some positions were still an issue. The magazines had to be laying flat which took up more space than I thought they really should. My Surefire 6PX Flashlight was limited to certain locations in the box as well.

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Next, the positives.

It does seem to be pretty tough. I was a little disappointed in the testing in their video:

I would have like to have seen attempts at prying it open by someone with a little more skill and strength than the small children shown in the video. But it’s cast aluminum. A hacksaw is going to cut through it in seconds so anyone that has access to tools, time alone with it, and doesn’t care about damaging the box will easily gain access. This is not intended to be protection against skilled and determined thieves.

It is opened via an RFID (wristband, optional ring, or RFID label to put on your phone or drivers license) or fingerprint. The slowest access time is with your fingerprint as it takes longer to read and process it than it does with one of the RFID access methods. From “the buzzer going off” to “first shot” took me about four seconds. With the wristband I could do it in three. I was a little annoyed with the wrist band in that I had to present a certain portion of the band to the sensor. For the easiest access to the box the buckle of the wristband needed to be on the top of my wrist which is the least attractive way to wear the band.

Initially I wasn’t too keen about the opening mechanism but I was focusing on the wristband. I still don’t think I would wear the wristband all the time. And if you left the wristband in a drawer or in a closet then it would be more susceptible to discovery by the kids. Don’t worry about having the wristband around if you don’t plan on using it or if you lose it. You can have the box unlearn all fingerprints and RFID devices and reprogram it for just the opening methods you plan to use.

And I might see putting the label on my drivers license even though it would be much slower to find my wallet in the pile of clothes beside the bed. It could read the label through the wallet just fine. It wasn’t necessary to remove the label from the wallet so the time to open would be primarily the time to get your wallet to the sensor.

Some people might find wearing a ring acceptable. I’m not a ring person and I wouldn’t wear a ring just for this gun box.

The fingerprint method seemed to work well enough. This is how I think I would use it. I programmed it to accept three of my fingers and one of Barb’s then she, her daughter, and I all tried all our other fingers in an attempt to get a false match. All attempts at false entry failed.

I occasionally had failures to open on the first try with both my index fingers. I think it was the vertical angle (airplane pitch) I used when it was learning the fingers. When it was learning the fingerprints it was on the floor where I was taking pictures. When I was doing extensive access testing it was on the desk while I was sitting.

I had it learn the same fingers again with the angle I used when sitting at the desk and access was almost 100% on the first try. They claim it will hold “approximately 100 unique fingers” so you might consider programming it for the same finger in different orientations for more reliable opening. You do not need to do this for various horizontal (airplane yaw) angles. The sensor works just fine for 360 degree access on the horizontal plane. That is very nice feature and it work flawlessly for me.

Here is one of their many videos on the use of The Gunbox:

I liked this safe and for keeping guns out of the hands of children and casual access attempts by unauthorized people I would recommend people give it serious consideration. It’s attractive enough to leave on the nightstand and functional enough to keep the kids out of it.

Boomershoot steel target testing

Phil repaired the Boomershoot target steel someone (not a Boomershooter, it’s a long story) damaged with steel core bullets. This last weekend I tested the “target dog” he built for me. It was also the first time I had shot at the steel myself from further than about 75 yards.

Except for a single shot with a .40 S&W from about 20 yards all the shots were from 375 yards.

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The target is 3/4” AR500 so they are not your standard pistol targets. They were intended to stand up to .300 Win Mag from 375 yards and beyond. The white splotches on the target above were almost all from 55 grain .223 FMJ bullets at 375 yards. They barely took the paint off and as near as I could tell did not rock the target backward. The spring, as Phil noted, is way too stiff for that. And I suspect that with a .223 and that massive of a target it’s physically impossible to select a spring such that a bullet strike would knock it backward such that a mild breeze wouldn’t also do that. The .40 S&W didn’t move the target either.

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Notice the white stuff at the base of the target? That is lead spray from the bullet strikes on the target.

I was trying to zero my .300 Win Mag, without a spotter, from 375 yards and only got two hits as I probed different hold overs and unders. And the bullet splash on the steel was so small I couldn’t see it even with the 14 power scope at that distance. Here you see the impact from a 190 grain Sierra Match King bullet hitting the steel at about 2475 fps:

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There is just the tiniest of craters there.

A hit on the edge of the steel is another matter:

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The two .300 Win Mag hits weren’t particularly good to judge the knockdown potential of the configuration but as near as I could tell there was, again, no movement.

I’m extremely pleased with the crater repair Phil did. The targets look awesome! But we need to crunch some numbers to see if it is possible to choose a spring or maybe redesign the target dog such that it will be self resetting for a .30 caliber bullet at Boomershoot distances.

Test everything

The picture below is from a computer backup I was doing over the network.

TransferRate

This was with the existing file on the target drive being overwritten. For new files the transfer rate is nearly constant and a little above the peak shown here.

I suspect the algorithm used by either the driver or the controller for the hard disk for update an existing file results in a large number of seeks of the head. The file copy program (Robocopy in this case) could work around the problem by deleting existing files before doing the copy. But the designers of the program may not have been aware of the problem with this particular hard drive.

In my situation I don’t care a lot because it can just run as a background task and it doesn’t much matter if it takes 10 minutes or 300 minutes (yes, the transfer rate is over 30x slower). But for some people it might.

As always, thoroughly testing your products, processes, and assumptions is important and either this one wasn’t fully tested or management marked the bug as “Won’t Fix” and shipped it anyway.

Having presided over numerous Boomerite failures I know how easy it is to say, “This change shouldn’t matter” or “This has to make it better, no need to test it.” There is a reason many companies have a test team that is independent of the development team and may even have a reporting chain independent of engineering.

This, almost, paranoia about testing can be generalized to a lot of things in your life. Have you ever changed a tire on your current vehicle? I bought a used vehicles a few years ago and discovered a day or so after I bought it that it didn’t have a jack in it.

You have a gun to defend your home and loved ones? Have you ever pied the corners of your home with that shotgun? Have you looked at possible choke points for stopping a home invasion? How about looked at what happens to misses or shoot-throughs from likely shooting positions? How do those speed reloads you practice for USPA matches work out for you when you are at the top of the stairs in your birthday suit?

Progressives want the government to have more power to implement “social justice”. Ask the tens of millions of people that went into the Gulags of the USSR how that worked out for them. Oh, that’s right, most of them that weren’t shot after their forced confessions were worked and starved to death. We don’t need to run that test again. 100+ million people have already been killed during the testing done by various progressives regimes in the 20th century.

Anti-gun people want to register guns. Ask Canada how that worked out for them.

Does your bug-out kit included canned goods but you forgot to include a can opener?

You’ll discover many such things when you test.

1000 yard shot with 9mm

Update: From the comments I discovered Miculek used a 400 yard zero for his revolver, not the 200 yard zero I hypothesized. I have updated the post accordingly.


The other day Say Uncle posted this video of Jerry Miculek shooting at a balloon from 1000 yards away with a 9mm revolver:

First off, as Rivrdog noted, he didn’t hit the balloon. He hit the steel and the splatter from the bullet fragments popped the balloon.

Second, I decided to run the numbers on those shots. Using Modern Ballistics, the bullet Miculek said he used, with a muzzle velocity of 1000 fps (Hornady factory ammo with a four inch barrel is 975 fps but I added some extra velocity because Miculek probably has a longer barrel and a custom load), with a standard deviation of 10 fps, a bullet delivering a five shot group size of 1 MOA under ideal conditions, a wind estimation error of 0.2 MPH, sea level, at 59F, and a 400 yard zero. We end up with the following results.

The bullet took 5.11 seconds to travel the 1000 yards. It reached a height of 110 feet at 583 yards from the shooter. It arrived at a velocity of 377 fps.

This first graph shows the height in inches from the point of aim. At the target the bullet is hitting over 2900 inches low. That is over 240 feet below the point of aim!

Drop10To1000

In this graph the rate of descent at the 1000 yard mark is shown. That is nearly 11 inches of additional drop for each yard of travel.

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Here we have the odds of getting a hit if the shooter knew the exact ballistics and compensates perfectly for every shot. The random variation of the muzzle velocity, wind variation (Gaussian distribution with a standard deviation of 0.2 MPH), and inherent variations in the bullet contribute enough error that only about a third of the bullets would hit a target 30 inches wide and 50 inches tall.

TargetView

The image below is what the shooter would see with a red-dot sight shooting a tracer bullet with the same drag. I added some wind to make the perspective a little better. At 1.6 yards the bullet crosses the near zero and you can see the red-dot of the sight just before the track of the tracer starts. The tracer ignites at 2 yards. Everything is to scale so change the size of the image such that the base of the 9mm bullet looks the same in the image as a 9mm bullet would at 1.6 yards and you can see what the 30 x 50 inch target would look like at 1000 yards.

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Jerry is at the peak of human shooting ability but he had some serious luck on that shot.

Replacement for tracers

Via Mitchel M. on the gun email list at work:

The interesting part starts at 1:46.

This may mean that the new “tracers” could be safely used when the fire risk from normal tracers is too great. I’m a skeptical they can match the brightness of the pyrotechnic based tracers. But they probably would work for many applications.

And of course there are application where incendiary rounds will be needed when tracers might have worked.

Washington D.C. is now Constitutional Carry!

Via Alan Gura who says, “Justice never sleeps…. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.”:

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

20 years ago when I started becoming very involved in the gun owner rights movement I could not have imagined I would be talking about the day when Washington D.C. became “Constitutional Carry” (well, even “Vermont Carry” which what we called it then).

The anti gun people will be crying themselves to sleep tonight. But I’ll be cleaning and lubricating my guns with Liberal Tears:

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The good, the bad, the ugly

The last few times I used my AR it would occasionally “double”. I thought maybe it was just dirty and cleaned it. It didn’t do it for a while then it did it again. I cleaned it then when I had the private party last month it did it when it only had a few rounds after being cleaned. I set the gun aside and used a different one.

About three weeks ago I removed the trigger group and was going to replace the springs. That surely was the problem, right?

I was dismayed at the state of the important surfaces.

This is a known good hammer and trigger:

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And cropped down to just the interesting parts:

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This is the bad hammer and trigger:

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Again, cropped to just the interesting parts:

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Do you see the difference? That’s some ugly wear on those critical surfaces. I believe that was the source of the problem.

It would have been really ugly if the ATF took a dislike to me. A gun malfunctioning like that can result in a prison sentence. It’s not right. The law should be fixed. The ATF should abolished or at least have it’s “claws trimmed”. But that is the way it is.

I’m pretty sure the known good trigger group parts fixed the problem. I have probably 300 rounds through it without issue now.

I can explain it to you, but I cannot make you understand

I designed the UltiMAK optic mount for the Kalashnikov to align itself with the barrel (fancy that). There is a radius on the underside, which engages the barrel (something like. V-block, but we’ll call it an “interrupted radius”) so as the clamp screws are tightened, it simply WILL align with the barrel unless something interferes with that process. The “something” that can interfere is the gas block or the rear sight block, or more specifically, a radical misalignment of the gas block with the rear sight block.

The mount has several features that allow it to accommodate a slight to moderate misalignment of those two parts, and so there is a fraction of one percent of AKs (usually Romanian) that cannot properly accept the UltiMAK mount, but I digress.

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