Favorite, favorite, favorite

That which one of my favorite YouTubers says is his “most valuable” firearm is one of my favorite (carbines?) also, and his has one of my favorite creations on it. OK, he doesn’t mention his M1-B optic mount, and doesn’t have an optic on it for the video, but we’ll take what we get.

He had his AK worked over at Rifle Dynamics, which is one of our distributors. They seem to know what they’re doing, and that is something worthwhile.

Rounds in the last month

In September I only loaded .40 S&W. It was 1875 rounds of Black Bullets for USPSA matches, 93 rounds of Acme Bullet Company’s 180 grain “Lipstick Bullets” (I’m probably going to replace The Blue Bullets with these for steel matches), and 95 rounds of Montana Gold bullets over 3.0 grains of Clays for some “powder puff” loads for new shooters. This is a total of 2063 rounds this month.

I had a revision of some numbers on 300 Win Mag ammo. A few years ago I made some ammo for a friend and didn’t count the rounds. I put them in zip lock bags and gave them to him. In my log I just entered estimates of 300 and 100 rounds for the two different reloading sessions.

Then… earlier this month I was visiting him and found out he still hadn’t shot them. I counted them and found I had reloaded a total of 299 rounds. Whoops. That changes things a little bit. I corrected my log file so that shows up in the numbers below.

The corrected and updated lifetime reloaded ammunition totals are:

223: 2,424 rounds.
30.06: 756 rounds.
300 WIN: 1591 rounds.
40 S&W: 76,772 rounds.
9 mm: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 103,184 rounds.

Year to date I have loaded 17,567 rounds. I’m still on course to reload about 20,000 rounds this year for a lifetime total of over 105,000 rounds.

Steel match results

Ry and I went to the Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club (Whidbey Island) steel match last Saturday. The weather was great and the ferry ride was pretty and pleasant:


As usual the stages were interesting:






Ry had problems with his open class pistol. The red-dot optic kept turning off when he was shooting. Hitting small targets rapidly with no sights is challenging. His score is not representative of his true ability. Rimfire rifle went better for him but he did have problems with one magazine on the first stage he shot.

I thought I generally did well. Things felt good with few misses and fairly consistent times. There were just three people in my divisions. I came in second in Centerfire Pistol Iron sights with a total time for five stages of 77.00 seconds. That is an average of 0.77 seconds per shot. With Rimfire Pistol Iron sights I got first with a total time for the five stages of 63.70 seconds. This is an average of 0.637 seconds per shot.

I did not shoot in the August match as I was helping Barb’s son, Max, move.

In July the same guy, Todd Epps, who won in September beat me in the Centerfire Iron Sights division. I had a total time of 76.83 seconds in this division. And, again, I won the Rimfire Iron sights division with a total time of 55.11 seconds.

In June I won the Centerfire Iron sight division with a total time of 79.03 seconds. I also won the Rimfire Iron sights division with a total time of 66.25 seconds.

Black Bullet anomalies

I’ve mentioned Black Bullet International before (and here, here, here, here, and here) and that I use them for outdoor USPSA matches. They give excellent accuracy, consistent velocity, and are a good price. I have reloaded 7563 rounds of ammunition using these bullets and have about another 875 on hand.

Earlier this month I ran into this:


One of these is not like the others. Instead of the 180 grain 0.40” diameter bullet it is a 124.9 grain 0.359” bullet. Of course, there is no danger of reloading it in a .40 S&W casing and causing a problem. But if it had been a 200 grain bullet while reloading for 180 or a 180 grain while reloading 165 grain bullets there would have been a serious concern.

I thought it was funny and set it aside.

This afternoon I opened a new box of Black Bullets which had been shipped many months after the last batch of bullets from them. I decided to weigh them to make sure they were essentially the same weight as the previous batch (important for making Power Factor for USPSA matches). I weighed 19 bullets and they were essentially the same as the previous batch:

  • Mean: 180.7
  • Standard Deviation: 0.612
  • Max: 182.2
  • Min: 179.7
  • Extreme Spread: 2.5.

When I weighed the 20th bullet I was shocked. It was 177.5 grains. This is over three grains below the mean of the other 19. This is significant enough to endanger “making major” at a match. Hmm…

I weighed another 10 and found a 178.5. Hmm…

I measured their diameter and length compared to typical bullets. The diameter was the same but the length was 0.005 less:



All the typical bullets were within 0.001” in length of one another. Then there were the two out of thirty which were 0.005” shorter.


Then I compared the stats of the Black Bullets to what I find typical of Montana Gold bullets:

  • Mean: 180.22
  • Standard Deviation: 0.159
  • Min: 179.9
  • Max: 180.5
  • Extreme spread: 0.6.

Remember when Barb and I toured the Montana Gold factory Norm told us they keep the weight of their bullets to about +/- 0.3 grains? Yup, that matches my measurements of their bullets.

Now, I did once find a partial jacket in one of the Montana Gold boxes, but I have reloaded nearly 40,000 of their bullets. That is over five times as many as the Black Bullets.

I have to conclude that the Black Bullets International company is not as quality conscious as the Montana Gold Bullets company with 180 grain .40 caliber bullets.

Another good classifier

Last Sunday I shot a USPSA match at Marysville Rifle Club (Marysville, Washington).

In the match I did good, but not great. I got a score of 64.97% of the Limited Class, Grandmaster winner.

I had kind of a rough time the day before and was sort of stiff and sore. I did well on the first few stages then faded in the afternoon. But with the classifier, the third stage of the day, I did pretty well coming in at third place in Limited out of 22 shooters behind one Grandmaster and one Master class shooter. My score of 67 on Lightning And Thunder gave me a solid B-class 74.4444 percentage (75% is A-class). I have the video but it’s three different, rather boring, strings of fire and I doubt anyone really is interested in watching it.

This brings my cumulative USPSA classification up to 63.7697%. I’m approaching my highest ever of 68.5272%

I’m a bit suspect of this particular classifier. It is a fixed time stage and I think it is probably too easy. I suspect that a large number of GMs and perhaps even some Master class shooters clean it with a perfect score of 90. This means that lower class shooters are not really compared to the very best GMs but, instead, are compared to something like the lowest level GM and highest Master class shooters.

Still, I played by the rules and legitimately got the points even if the system is probably warping the indicator of my actual ability.

Be sure of your target and who is in front of it

“All’s well that ends well” isn’t one of the rules of gun safety, at least so far as I know. Nor is, “If you can walk away from it, then it was good gun handling”. Maybe that does apply to rocketry though.

Seen at Zero Hedge

One round skipped off the ground just a few yards from the guy walking in front of the truck. I guess he had a memorable day.

It reminds me of a W.W II story in which an American unit was taking heavy artillery fire. Their commander, realizing that it was friendly fire, reassured his troops saying, “Don’t worry, Boys; those are our guns!” or something to that effect.

John Vlieger in the news

A media release from son-in-law John Vlieger’s sponsor Shell Shock:

Shell Shock Technologies, LLC., an early stage technology and manufacturing company focused on developing innovative case technologies for the ammunition industry, is pleased to announce its sponsored shooter John Vlieger has won High Overall in the Open Division at the 2017 USPSA Area 4 Championship, held at the United States Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sept. 8 – 10, 2017. Vlieger finished with 1390.928 match points and a time of 148.09. This was his second consecutive Area win.

“Being able to take home a second regional title in such a short time is another goal reached. The time spent traveling, training and competing can take it out of you, but I’m ready and raring to go to the next one. Having reloading components I can trust with my +P+ competition loads helps me focus on competing, and not on whether or not my gear can take the abuse. My Shell Shock Technologies’ NAS3 cases have taken everything I’ve thrown at them and keep on going. I plan on continuing to trust them as I finish out the 2017 competition season, and forward,” commented Vlieger.

The USPSA Area 4 Championship, otherwise known as the Walther Arms-MGM Targets Area 4 Championship, is a Level III (pending) match that runs 12 stages with a round count of 290. Watch Vlieger compete at the USPSA Area 4 Championship on the John Vlieger Shooting YouTube Channel.

Vlieger can be seen competing next at the Tennessee Atomic Blast USPSA State Championship Match, to be held at the Oak Ridge Sportsman’s Association in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Sept. 16 – 17, 2017.

John placed second out of 227 competitors at the Tennessee Atomic Blast.

John Vlieger USPSA wins

Son-in-law John Vlieger, competing against 318 competitors, 79 of them in his USPSA Open division, decisively won the Walther Arms-MGM Targets Area 4 Championship match this year. Area 4 includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The next closest competitor came in with only 95.77% of his score:

He also won the EGW USPSA Area 8 Championship. Area 8 is on the east coast and includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. His margin was only 0.7% but against 493 competitors, 105 in open division, a win by any margin is awesome:

Compare his shooting in the matches above which were in August and September against his shooting in March during Optic Nationals:

At nationals he came in at 11th place, just barely below Rod Leatham, even though he had an equipment failure (broken extractor) on one of the stages. It’s hard for me to say for sure, because the target distance is difficult to judge and I don’t have the exact times for the individual shots, but it seems he is now shooting perceptibly faster and he certainly has fewer misses on the steel targets.

I can see him winning national, and even world titles, soon.

Revolver re-build, Field Carry system, and deer hunt

Deer season is upon us (Joe; no Hunting category?) so I thought this a good time to post it.

Following is a very long, detailed account of customizing a reproduction Colt 1847 Walker percussion revolver and using it in a deer hunt in the 2016 muzzleloader season. It assumes the reader has some understanding of the Colt open top revolver design and its inherent problems, and contains lots of technical photos and jargon. I also introduce a paper cartridge “Field Carry” system which I’ve developed for percussion revolvers, making things simpler and easier for the shooter while in the field on the move. There are bloody butchering (necropsy) photos cataloging the terminal performance of the gun and ammunition. You have been warned– If you read on you may be extremely bored, fascinated, or shocked or disgusted, or all of the above.
Continue reading

USPSA Classifier “Tight Squeeze”

As I’ve mentioned before my USPSA classifiers have not been as good as I would like. Today, at the Lewiston (Idaho) Pistol Club, was a step up:

Draw: 1.27 S
Reload: 2.03 S
Total Time: 8.59 S
Hits: 11 A-Zones, 1 C-Zone
Points: 59
Hit Factor: 6.8685
Stage Win.
USPSA Limited Classifier: ~66.38%

Even though it was a classifier from 1999 (99-48 Tight Squeeze) with the issue of all the top shooters slowly ratcheting up the best scores over the last 18 years I did fairly well on it with an estimated 66.38%. This is better than I have done on a classifier in over seven years! This is solid B class shooting instead of all the C class results I have been turning in the last few years. It was the stage win for all divisions, including Open! I won Limited Division for the match and came in second overall. If I hadn’t overlooked one target on the first stage and racked up all those penalties I would have won the match.

The video shows my transitions between targets is almost painfully slow and I could do much better reloads. And with more practice I think I could do a faster draw as well.

Well, I know what I need to work on this week when I go to the range.

Primer removal failure

This is twice in about 500 rounds that I have seen this happen:


Instead of popping out whole, the primer fractured and only part of it came out of the primer pocket. I thought the first instance was just a very odd fluke. But this is twice in a very small set of used brass and I don’t recall this ever happening before in the over 100K times I have removed primers.

Update: I had this happen with three more cases out of about 150. All with R-P headstamps. I bought this brass used. It would be interesting to know the history of these cases.

Rounds in the last month

In August I loaded 148 rounds of 30.06 for daughter Kim and 2644 rounds of .40 S&W. This used up all my 30.06 brass and before I do any more 30.06 she is going to have to do some shooting. The .40 S&W was 722 rounds of Black Bullets for USPSA matches and 1922 rounds of Montana Gold bullets yielding Major Power Factor for practice at indoor ranges.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223: 2,424 rounds.
30.06: 756 rounds.
300 WIN: 1692 rounds.
40 S&W: 74,709 rounds.
9 mm.log: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 101,222 rounds.

Year to date I have loaded 15,504 rounds. I’m on course to reload about 20,000 rounds this year for a lifetime total of over 105,000 rounds.


Today, in addition to the Dot Torture Target, I shot the F.A.S.T. (Fundamentals, Accuracy, & Speed Test) target:


The individual shot times, in seconds, are:

  1. 1.93
  2. 0.78
  3. 2.81
  4. 0.48
  5. 0.43
  6. 0.40

Total: 6.83 seconds.

That’s just barely in the “Advanced” ranking and a long way from “Expert”.

I shot about four or five practice targets before I got one where everything was working reasonably well. The slide lock reload is really painful. In action shooting I try to always plan my reloads so I never go into slide lock and frequently reload with half full magazines in the gun when I’m on the move between shooting positions just to make sure I avoid the slide lock. The reload time shows my lack of practice. I always hesitated as I started to engage the target again before I racked the slide. I think I can do better on the first shot too. I can see shaving 0.50 off my time without too much effort, but getting to “Expert” may be beyond what I can accomplish.

Dot Torture

Last week Say Uncle linked to the Dot Torture target. Paul Koning sent me an email about it too, so I printed out a few and tried it today at five yards:


It’s tough. Those are 2” circles. I can usually do a 1.5” six shot group at 10 yards. But that is a group size, not putting them inside a 1.5” circle. And that is six shots, not 50 shots. Just going from six shots to 50, with the same base accuracy, bumps my group size from 1.5” to 2.57” (Modern Ballistics will tell you this if you speak to it nicely). Then you have to make sure you are centered exactly in the circle.

I adjusted my sights after shooting the #1 dot which helped. I still dropped two.

I think I can clean it at five yards. I’ll try again when I’m not intent on working on shooting faster.