Archive for the 'Ammunition' Category

Why Are Hollow Point Rifle Bullets More Accurate?

BY Herschel Smith
2 hours, 11 minutes ago

Shooting Sports USA:

From the standpoint of interior ballistics, the ideal match rifle bullet would be a bore-diameter, homogeneous cylinder with flat ends perfectly square to its body. Such a bullet would be cheap, easy to manufacture and have maximum bearing surface for superior accuracy.

From the standpoint of exterior ballistics, an efficient match rifle bullet would have a high length-to-diameter ration; a sharp, drag-reducing point; and a tapered base (boattail). Such a bullet would offer high retained velocity, flat trajectory and minimum wind drift.

From the standpoint of terminal ballistics, the ideal match rifle bullet would offer a center of gravity displaced toward the base, a jacket with no sidewall variations and a core with no weight variation. Such a bullet would offer consistent, reliable, sub-minute-of-angle (MOA) accuracy from lot to lot.

These requirements pull match rifle bullet designers in different, often mutually exclusive, directions. As a result, all match rifle bullets are a compromise—none are perfect.

I think it might have been clearer if the author had said “from the standpoint of gyroscopic stability, the ideal rifle bullet would be a bore-diameter, homogeneous cylinder with flat ends perfectly square to its body.”

But overall, this is an informative article and worthy of a little time.

Ammunition In The News

BY Herschel Smith
5 days, 2 hours ago

Sierra Match King 5.56X45 77 grain rounds being pushed by Midway.

Sierra MatchKing bullets have very thin jackets and are held to exacting tolerances in diameter and weight. These Hollow Point Boat Tail bullets have a small meplat to produce a higher ballistic coefficient.

Federal Syntech Ammunition.

Syntech is Federal’s proprietary Total Synthetic Jacket polymer bullet jacket, intended to reduce metal-on-metal contact, reduce fouling, and extend barrel life.

Well, it sure looks different enough!

Shooting Illustrated:

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), which, among many other tasks, creates and publishes industry standards for safety, reliability and interchangeability for the firearm industry, accepted two new Hornady-designed cartridges. Chamber and cartridge drawings for the 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge (6.5 PRC) and .300 PRC are already availableon the organization’s website.

I had heretofore seen very little on the 6.5 PRC, but I had seen at least some analysis of it.  It has become difficult to keep up with the cartridges.

Democrat Running For Florida Governor Wants To Tax Ammunition To “Fund School Safety”

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

Miami Herald:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King rolled out a bold gun violence prevention plan Friday that would create a fund designated to research, school safety and intervention programs.

The “Every Kid Fund” for Gun Violence Prevention would have three sources, King said during a roundtable discussion at Allendale United Methodist Church: sales tax revenue from gun and ammunition purchases, a 6 percent “safety fee” on the sale of ammunition, and revenue generated from aspects of King’s criminal justice reform plan.

Straight out of the Bloomberg / Everytown / Brady Center playbook.

NovX Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 4 weeks ago

American Rifleman:

Beyond increasing on-target energy, the additional velocity greatly enhances the ARX’s terminal effect. “The fluted design of the ARX bullet is quite amazing, as it operates on the principle of fluid dynamics rather than hydrostatic shock,” explained Schultz. Molded into the projectile are three distinct flutes that, as the bullet penetrates soft tissue (and fluid), transfer the forward energy laterally. The fluids, spinning at around 120,000 rotations per minute (r.p.m.), are forced in an outward direction at upward of two times the speed of the bullet itself. “A new phenomenon has been realized,” Shultz said. “NovX can achieve breaking the liquid sound barrier, actually causing a sonic boom inside whatever water-based material it may encounter—water, clay, gel, flesh, blood, et cetera.”

The rest of the article is interesting, but testing on the round thus far lack field data from hog hunting, deer hunting, etc., and the ammunition also lacks convinced buyers.

I had missed this from Ammoland a few days ago when Glen Wunderlich wrote on NovX ammunition in .450 Bushmaster.  His concluding paragraph[s] is this.

The experiment concluded with a search for what remained of the two bullets. The recovered Inceptor made a violent entrance and completely disintegrated to its final resting place where only a tiny fragment of the original projectile was found – not even enough to bother weighing! On the other hand, the Hornady Flex Tip was peeled from well over 4,000 layers of paper, weighed 170 grains and had mushroomed to about 50-percent more than its original diameter of .452 inches, although the copper jacket had separated from the lead core.

The conclusion is that velocity and energy are only important if they can deliver a better wound channel and the less-expensive Hornady ammo and its Flex Tip design provide a much more appropriate transfer of said energy for a big-game hunting round.

No offense to Glen, but I think he’s utterly missed the point.  It isn’t the design of the NovX round to disintegrate in order to “deposit” energy.

I’ll grant the point that one has to think differently in order to understand what’s supposed to be happening here, but this round was designed using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).  The flutes in the round accelerate liquids and other material in the direction of its path by virtue of twist, so it would be contrary to the intent to disintegrate (i.e., it would fail to perform its intended function of imparting energy by virtue of its design if it shattered).

But what I would like to see (I hinted at it above) is field tests using the cartridge.  Anecdotal data.  Yes, anecdotal data is perfectly admissible in logical discourse.  Induction cannot prove a point, but it sure can disprove it.  Show me a 500 lb. hog taken with this round.  Or better yet, invite me to this hunt and let me take the hog.


AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Considerations In Selecting AR-15 Ammunition

Small Caliber Lethality: 5.56mm Performance in Close Quarters Battle

More On 5.56mm Ballistics

Oversimplifying Ammunition Ballistics

Pistol Ammunition Ballistics Part 2

New Ballistics Gelatin Tests At Ammunition To Go

Gun Show Report April 2018

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

So I went to a local gun show today, mostly looking for magazines and the availability and price of certain ammunition, but I was also surveying prices for all manner of guns.  I offer up a number of observations in no particular order.

For pistols, sellers still focus their stock in the cheap, plastic, striker-fired guns with crunchy, crappy triggers.  Good, high quality 1911s are just not carried by the folks looking to push large quantities of inventory (and rely on quantity rather than quality and larger markups for their profits).  And yes, I consider most if not all polymer handguns cheap plastic guns (with the exception of FN because their .45 tactical is a hammer gun and the FN 5.7 is an internal hammer gun).

The prices of rack (budget) ARs have not changed in months, or even years.  The prices aren’t going to get lower.  The prices of higher end ARs have not changed in months, or even years.  I suspect the prices aren’t going to get lower.  If anything, I expect the prices of the higher end ARs (Daniel Defense, Rock River Arms, FN, etc.) to creep slightly higher over the next few months, and then take off within a year or a little longer.

Good chassis bolt action guns are expensive, many as expensive as ARs.

There was plenty of ammunition for sale if you were looking for 55 gr. 5.56 mm / .223, .308, .45, 9 mm or the standard soft point hunting rounds.  Everything else is an esoteric round to them and few dealers had much else.  For more out-of-the-ordinary rounds like 77-gr. 5.56 mm, 5.7X28, .45 SMC (which I was looking for, finding none at all), and even some run-of-the-mill PD pistol rounds for 9 mm and .45 that you can get at Gander Outdoors, Cabela’s, or Bass Pro Shop, you may have to rely on mail order if you don’t want to pay a visit to aforementioned large stores.  Shipping ammunition is expensive because of the weight.  When you drive near the aforementioned large stores, always consider buying ammunition because you don’t know when you’ll be back if you don’t live near one.

Overall, there were about a third less tables than usual, and the crowd was thinner than usual.  It all felt rather bleak and depressing.  My assessment: the gun owning public is asleep at the wheel.  Give this until after the mid-term elections and it will all turn around, and it will peak at a frenzy as we near the presidential election.  The GOP shouldn’t expect to carry Florida and North Carolina again.

Get what you need while you can.

Take The Bullets, Not The Guns

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

That is the title of a Las Vegas Sun letter to the editor.

The March 16 letter to the editor, “Bullet control is the answer,” hit the nail on the head. It’s not guns or people that kill people, it’s bullets. Without the correct bullets, every AR-15 would instantly become a wall-hanging collector’s item. Banning the sale, use and possession of bullets used in these weapons to anyone other than military and law enforcement would eliminate the need to take anyone’s gun.

Mandatory prison time for selling, using or possessing these bullets would eliminate stockpiling. The right to confiscate vehicles and houses where such bullets are found would further discourage people from hanging onto existing supplies.

Of course, the National Rifle Association would say that would leave the bad guys as the only ones with the bullets. True, but an automatic 10-20 years for anyone using this type of weapon in the commission of a crime or 40-to-life when it results in death would assist law enforcement in weeding them out one by one.

Note that it is quite alright to the letter writer for peaceable men and women to be left with the criminals being the only ones with ammunition, as long as one by one, the cops chase down criminals who use ammunition after commission of crimes – against peaceable men and women.  The letter writer doesn’t care about you, just outlawing ammunition.

This isn’t an oddball view.  It can be seen at some point on virtually every major newspaper editorial page, and virtually every progressive politician has floated the idea.  You’ve seen it as have I.

Listen to your enemies.  Learn from them, especially when they publicly inform you of their tactics.  Plan accordingly.  By my calculations, Trump (being I suspect a one-term president) gives us about two more years.

New Ballistic Gelatin Tests At Ammunition To Go

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Ammunition to go has an entirely new round of ballistic gelatin tests on personal defense ammunition that should be a great contribution to the knowledge base for making informed choices.  The link is here.

I won’t steal their thunder and rehearse the results – go see for yourself.  It’s a massive collection of data.  But I will convey some very quick analysis I did on the data.  I didn’t calculate the standard deviation of the data for each round like I did with the Lucky Gunner tests, but these data should inform you a bit concerning 9mm and .45 ACP results.

.45 ACP: Average penetration = 16.62″.  The variance was high, with the minimum penetration at 11.08″ (165 gr.) and the maximum penetration at 23.64″ (185 gr.).  The high and low were for bullets other than the standard 230 gr.

9mm: Average penetration = 19.32″.  The variance was extremely high.  The minimum penetration came in at 11.78″ (115 gr.) and the maximum penetration came in at 33.38″ (115 gr.).

A few thoughts.  First of all, the variance is large because this isn’t a stochastic process amenable to averages, variance, and so forth, although I’ve provided you with the data.  Powder loadings and compositions vary, QA varies, technology varies, and [most importantly] expansion varies, with some successful expansion, and then some not so successful expansion.

Bullet weights [reduced] didn’t seem to hinder penetration, but it’s also not clear that reduced weight assisted penetration.  However, you wouldn’t want to get tagged with any of these rounds, heavy, light, 9mm or .45 ACP.

Nothing, not even this battery of tests, could quench my appetite for more data.  I’m an engineer, I always want more data.  It’s who I am, it’s what I do.  Finally, there are no “flying dimes” in the lot of them.


Oversimplifying Ammunition Ballistics

Pistol Ammunition Ballistics Part 2

The Federal Government And War With The American People

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Every time a new contract is issued for weapons and ammunition, the typical cacophony of comments follow.  Those who think that the FedGov has too many guns and too much ammunition weigh in, and invariably (perhaps some of them are trolls or paid commenters?) some people weigh in with support.

Terrorism.  Bad people.  Every agent with a gun needs range rounds and personal defense (PD) ammunition (JHP or whatever).  Think of how many rounds you shoot per year, and multiply that times the number of agents, blah, blah, blah.

The commenters yammer and yak and go on about how we need to support law enforcement, not understanding the deeper meaning of things.  That was true of the recently released contract on behalf of the DHS.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently awarded Federal Premium a major ammunition contract. Starting delivery in 2018, the contract provides for up to 180 million rounds of .40-cal. Tactical HST duty ammunition to multiple Department of Homeland Security law enforcement components and other federal agencies for up to five years. This contract will provide the organization’s agents and officers with .40 cal. duty and training ammunition.

“Law enforcement and federal agencies put it all on the line for our safety and freedoms,” said Mike Holm, said product director at Federal Premium.” They should expect nothing less from their ammunition.”

Notice the sleight of hand?  “Multiple Department of Homeland Security law enforcement components and other federal agencies.”  While wrapped in a patriotic cloak of border security, this contract so hidden as to its real import that you have no idea what’s in it or who receives the ammunition or for what purpose.

I suspect various commenters will come to the rescue of the FedGov on this one as well (I’ve seen it every time something like this is announced), but the fact remains that 180 million rounds is a lot of PD ammunition.  Note: this isn’t range ammo – it’s duty ammo.  I have faced the usual suspects before, like “Well, the FedGov has to protect the American nuclear facilities.”

No, I reply, go back and try again.  Commercial nuclear power plants owned by utilities in America must provide their own security, and sometimes they are utility employees, while sometimes they are contract workers.  But always, the FedGov has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Next up, “Well, FedGov must supply security for our nuclear weapons facilities.”  No, try again, I reply.  The real shooting in any incident effecting our nuclear weapons facilities will be done by Marine Corps FAST teams, and if you’re stupid enough to perpetrate an incident against such a target, you’re likely to be staring down the barrel of a Mark 19, operated by men who, as the Gunny would say, are “Ministers of death, praying for war,” and just waiting on someone like you.  I know some of them (or at one time I did).

Finally, the commenters always mention our national laboratories, and I’ve visited multiple labs on multiple occasions.  Most of the security is done by contract employees, and doesn’t get counted in any of the weapons or ammo purchases made by FedGov.

It is against this backdrop that this insightful report must be read.

In the aftermath of the Orlando terrorist attack, many Washington politicians tried to shift the conversation to the Second Amendment and called for an assault weapons bans. But former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, our Honorary Chairman, had another idea. In this interview on CNBC, Coburn said we should improve our system of background checks, but said it was IRS officials and non-military federal personnel who should be subject to an assault weapons ban, not the general public.

This week, our organization at released our findings in an editorial at The Wall Street Journal that quantified the growing federal arsenal. The number of non-military federal officers with arrest and firearm authority (200,000+) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000). Spending on guns, ammo and military-style equipment at 67 federal agencies – including 53 regulatory, administrative agencies amounted to $1.48 billion between 2006-2014.

The IRS gun-locker is an example  of this growing federal firepower. Nearly $11 million was spent on guns, ammo and military-style equipment for 2,316 ‘special agents’ during this period. The IRS stockpile includes pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns with buckshot and slugs; and semi-automatic AR-15 rifles (S&W M&P 15) and military-style H&K 416 rifles. (See the OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America.)

The recent growth of the federal arsenal begs the questions: Just who are the feds planning to battle?

In 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics officially counted 74,500 federal officers who had arrest and firearm authority. By 2008, the Bureau quantified over 120,000 such officers. Newly updated counts were supposed to publish by this July but the Bureau now admits that over 80% of federal agencies ignored or stonewalled responses to their latest survey. What are they trying to hide?

Even though our organization at estimated the number of non-Department of Defense federal officers at 200,000+, the current number of non-military federal officers and security personnel could be much larger. Here’s why:

  • The feds refuse to disclose the number of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers, claiming a national security exception.
  • The growth of officers within the 53 administrative, regulatory agencies since 2008 is uncertain. Our officer count estimate used a no-growth figure of 30,000 – the same count as in 2008.
  • Likewise, the count within the Department of Homeland Security is unclear. We found conflicting sources citing figures at 70,000 and 63,000. We used the more conservative figure for our analysis.

At Health and Human Services (HHS), it’s also unclear just how many ‘special agents’ are currently employed. Yet, research uncovered a multi-million-dollar program for HHS ‘Office of Inspector General Special Agents’ that used a sophisticated military-style weapons platform with Special Forces contractors training the agents on domestic special operations.

Today, HHS is operating from a brand new “National Training Operations Center” within the Washington, D.C. area they describe as “an operational readiness, emergency response, crisis room and command post for HHS headquarters and staff.” That’s serious business for an agency supposedly preoccupied with “health” matters.

The author, 

So if America’s founders would be disappointed in the United States today, how much of that disappointment, if any, might be directed at the military and what has come to be known as national security affairs? It is a question especially worthy of our attention, since the American people have repeatedly said in polls that, of society’s major institutions, the military is the one they most trust.

Let us start with the Preamble to the Constitution. Whatever the framers’ intent, however aspirational the wording, and notwithstanding the fact that national security wasn’t part of the vernacular of the day, the Preamble stands as America’s enduring security credo.

Its importance is essentially threefold. It lists providing for the common defense (in lower-case letters) as merely one — not the first, not the most important — of the national aims the governing apparatus called for by the Constitution seeks to achieve. Semantically, it captures the normative essence of military affairs as self-defense (not aggression, not power projection). And it thereby implicitly cautions against purchasing defense at the expense of these other strategic priorities — national unity, justice, domestic tranquility, the general welfare, liberty.

[ … ]

Madison famously provided one of the most powerful statements ever on war:

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Today, we live in a state of constant, potentially endless war — always, without exception, undeclared; invariably by choice (rhetorically disguised as necessity); frequently in secret (to increase the license to act, while minimizing oversight and accountability); often labeled war (to engender fear and urgency), but just as often labeled something other than war (for reasons of expediency, convenience and legal circumvention); initiated and prosecuted by a now permanently imperial presidency, largely devoid of congressional consultation and consent before the fact, sometimes even with minimal congressional notification after the fact.

Such concentration of executive power, such abrogation of legislative authority and responsibility, such marginalization of popular consent would seem to be the ingredients of tyrannical government the founders said the people had the right and the duty to overthrow.

It’s instructive and expedient to understand the FedGov and its actions under 3P’s: [1] Protect, [2] Perpetuate, and [3] Promote.  It isn’t by accident that the FedGov wants a disarmed population and continually presses gun control (supported all the way by the court system up to and including the SCOTUS).  A disarmed population is a corollary and a couple to government control and subjugation of the people.  An armed population cannot be subjugated – and thus the population must be disarmed.  It all works together, and without each part none of it works.

But in America that’s difficult, so one answer to the difficulty is to arm the FedGov better and with more.  Note well that the rulership has created a caste system of peasants who will protect the FedGov because it’s their livelihood.  Too old and not in good enough shape to join the military, and not desirous of the decrease in income, there is nothing much else a gun toting agent can do except work for the government.  Family support is a strong motivator, and provision for wife and children can cause all sorts of word twisting and reinterpretation of oaths and vows.  The job of this peasant class is to keep the other peasants in check.  It is to protect the rulership.

The rulership by its very nature perpetuates itself by patronage and largesse to its families, friends and allies.  This is the value of high taxation and federal ownership of land.  Finally, promotion of the FedGov and rulership occurs via the public education system where willing subjects are molded, and also through the MSM where willing “journalists” parrot talking points.

There are those who say that the constitution contained in it the seeds of this despair and destruction.  And there are those who say that we need a new constitution because the last one failed.  While I am no defender of the notion that the constitution was infallible or perfect, I don’t subscribe to this being the ailment or the proposed remedy.

If I’ve tried to teach anything in these last years, it’s that men are to blame.  The constitution is a covenant, or agreement with the appurtenant blessings and cursings for obedience and disobedience, respectively.  It is nothing more, and nothing less.  We don’t get rights to ownership of weapons from the second amendment – we get them from the very fountain of rights, the Almighty Himself.

But America has broken covenant with the Almighty.  After this, everything else is duck soup.  It’s easy to break covenant with men when you have no fear of God.  Blaming the constitution for the malfeasance of men is like blaming the marriage covenant for an adulterous spouse, and demanding a new marriage covenant because the last one let your spouse engage in infidelity is demanding more of the same and expecting a promise to mean something to an adulterer.

To answer the question posed by the author, “Just who are the feds planning to battle?,” the answer is that the answer is crystal clear for those who would see it.

Prior Featured: AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Ammunition Control

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

The Hill:

A pair of Democratic lawmakers are introducing legislation to require a background check for all firearm ammunition sales.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said on Monday they had introduced the bill, known as the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018, arguing it would help close a “loophole” in the current law.

“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales, and that includes instant background checks. … Closing this ludicrous loophole is a common-sense component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence,” Blumenthal said.

Wasserman Schultz added that it is “common-sense legislation” that would close an “absurd loophole.”

Understand this is what they would do to you.  This doesn’t have much of a chance of passing as things stand now.  But give the House to the democrats, and things get a little more dicey.  Give the presidency to the democrats, and things go down hill fast.  If the republicans thought they could get away with it, they’d do it too.

Don’t look to the supremes to undo this if it ever happens.  They won’t even take up cases for New York State where people cannot purchase weapons without CLEO approval, and cannot carry anywhere.

You and I don’t have enough ammunition.  Not even nearly.

More On 5.56mm Ballistics

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 1 week ago

This video is interesting given my almost obsessive interest in ballistics.

In it he analyzes the performance of the bonded soft point in ballistics gelatin, and his claim for superiority of this round is that it expands (like a soft point does) but it is more “barrier blind” than other rounds that are not bonded soft point.  It stays together and intact through barriers.

But take a look at the wound track in the gelatin.  It’s pretty straight and doesn’t fragment, and one of the things we know about the 5.56mm round is that it yaws upon tissue entry and fragments.  This is one of the aspects that gives it its lethality in spite of the small bore.

Compare that now with what you see in this ballistics test using M193 (there are a thousand like it, and also of the M855).  Compare and contrast the wound channel and fragmentation.  Which ammunition would you prefer for personal defense in close quarters battle?

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