AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Herschel Smith · 19 Feb 2017 · 6 Comments

There are a lot of articles and discussion forum threads on barrel twist rate for AR-15s.  So why am I writing one?  Well, some of the information on the web is very wrong.  Additionally, this closes out comment threads we've had here touching on this topic, EMail exchanges I've had with readers, and personal conversations I've had with shooters and friends about this subject.  It's natural to put this down in case anyone else can benefit from the information.  Or you may not benefit at…… [read more]

Fealty To The State Concerning The Right Of Self Defense

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 5 days ago

David Codrea:

For instance, in Haynes v. U.S., the Supreme Court ruled a felon could not be required to register a gun because that would violate the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Is requiring a person to submit to the background check and then prosecuting him if he fails equivalent? Especially if he doesn’t realize he’s “prohibited”? (Hey, it’s happened, and Neil Gorsuch said knowledge was necessary.)

And what about “false positives”?

[ … ]

Noting NRA’s penchant for the “law and order/enforce existing gun laws” mantra, what about this reporting bill did they craft and/or signal a green light for …

Good questions all around, but I’m not sure that the state cares, nor the NRA, frankly.  As for false positives, I work in an industry where I am randomly drug tested under the “fitness for duty” policy.  False positives happen.  I’ve seen them before among coworkers.  I feel certain that a plan like David describes is even much more susceptible than the one I’m under.

San Juan County Sheriff Accused of Pointing Rifle At Staffer

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 5 days ago

U.S. News:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The sheriff in a rural southeastern Utah county was charged Friday with threatening an employee in 2015 with a rifle, failing to properly carry out an investigation of the incident and then firing the staffer in retaliation. Two of his deputies were also charged.

San Juan County Sheriff Richard Eldredge was charged with one count of felony witness retaliation and three misdemeanors: official misconduct, reckless endangerment and obstruction of justice, the Utah Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.

Chief Deputy Alan Freestone, who ran an internal investigation state prosecutors allege was fraught with missteps, is charged with one count of felony witness retaliation and two misdemeanors: obstruction of justice and official misconduct.

Deputy Richard Wilcox, who is accused of being with Eldredge the day the sheriff pointed the assault rifle at the employee, is charged with three misdemeanors: official misconduct, reckless endangerment and obstruction of justice.

[ … ]

The alleged events occurred at a shooting range parking lot on May 26, 2015, according to a narrative from state prosecutors in charging documents.

An unnamed sheriff’s office employee said he heard a click and the sound of a trigger pull and turned around to see Sheriff Eldredge pointing an assault rifle at him. He said he heard deputy Wilcox chuckling. The employee said he had been previously confronted by the sheriff.

After the employee lodged a complaint, Eldredge assigned Freestone to investigate the incident despite previously assigned cases involving his department to be reviewed by outside agencies.

Freestone didn’t’ record his interview with Eldredge and Wilcox but recorded the employee’s interview and then allowed Eldredge and Wilcox to listen to it. His investigative report contained incorrect dates and paperwork and was missing audio interviews, prosecutor say.

Freestone closed the investigation in May 2016 concluding it didn’t happen.

Eldredge then used that finding to against the employee, eventually firing him in February of this year.

Gosh, I hate it when that happens to me.  I like to point rifles at people all the time and pull the trigger just to see the reaction on their faces.  Most of the time the rifle is unloaded and not cocked.

Hahahahaha … it’s really funny.  Just being boys, they were.  Too bad the dude had to take it so seriously, losing his job over something silly like this.  Hey, just be cool and let boys be boys.  Why do you have a problem with rifles being pointed at you, dude?

Single Worst Firearm You’ve Ever Owned, And Why?

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 5 days ago

At reddit/r/firearms there is an interesting discussion thread about the single worst firearm you’ve ever owned, and why?

Remington, Hi Point and Taurus play big in this thread.  What firearm would you put in that category?  What is the single worst firearm you’ve ever owned, and why?

Should You Be Reloading Your Own Ammunition?

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks ago

Rich Simpson:

While not a panacea, reloading can give you a temporary hedge on politically driven market shortages by allowing you to build up an adequate store of ammunition while the components are readily available and still reasonably priced. Second Point: On a more personal level, I absolutely love the fact that reloading gives me the ability to custom tailor ammunition for each of my firearms, thereby maximizing the performance and versatility of every firearm in my collection.

I’ve never been a reloader, but there are advantages to it if you know how, including a level of QA likely not brought to the task by factory loads.  Then again, Massad Ayoob has a warning for you concerning handgun ammunition.

For years, I’ve warned people that there are a couple of serious concerns with using handloaded ammunition for personal or home defense.  The big one is forensic replicability when the shooter is accused, and opposing theories of distance become a factor.

How often does this happen? One time some years ago, that question came up on an internet debate.  I looked through the ten cases I had pending at the time as an expert witness, and gunshot residue (GSR) testing to determine distance from gun muzzle to the person shot was an issue in four of them.  Forty percent is not what I’d call statistically insignificant.

[ … ]

… if you have any friends who use handloads for serious social purposes, please share. You might just save them from the sort of nightmare suffered by the defendant in New Jersey v. Daniel Bias, who was bankrupted by legal fees before the first of his three trials was over, and wound up serving hard time.  Both of his attorneys were convinced he was innocent, and told me they believed that if he had simply had factory ammo in his home defense gun, the case would probably never have even gone to trial.

Remember that if you ever have to shoot in self defense, the entirety of the legal system – witnesses, judges, juries, police and prosecutors – is stacked squarely against you.  Do you need anything else in that stack?

The Indiana Supreme Court On Open Carry

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 2 days ago

Guy Relford writing at

On Monday, the Indiana Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated ruling in Thomas Pinner v. State, which addresses the issue of whether police officers may detain and question a person based only on a report that the individual has a gun.  In agreeing with the Indiana Court of Appeals’ decision handed down last August, the Supreme Court ruled that officers violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures when they detained and questioned Thomas Pinner after a taxi driver called 911 to report that Pinner had dropped a handgun when exiting a cab at a movie theater.

Under rules announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1968 case of Terry v. Ohio, a police officer may briefly detain and question a person if the officer has a “reasonable articulable suspicion” that the person is engaged in criminal activity (or in the words of SCOTUS, “that criminal activity is afoot”).  If the officer also has a reasonable suspicion that the person “may be armed and dangerous,” the officer may conduct a brief pat-down of the person’s outer clothing to check for weapons.  Together, this process is called “stop and frisk” or a “Terry stop.”

Before the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday, there has been a long-standing debate in Indiana.  On one side, many police officers and prosecutors have argued that a Terry stop is justified based on a report that a person is carrying a gun – or an officer’s own observation that the person has a handgun – because the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is carrying a handgun illegally until the officer confirms that the person has a handgun license.  On the other hand, defense attorneys and Second Amendment advocates have countered that the mere possession of a handgun, without some additional indication that such possession is illegal, does not justify the detention of the individual to investigate – much like police are not allowed to randomly stop vehicles to confirm that a motorist has a driver’s license.

In the opinion handed down last August by the Indiana Court of Appeals (and written by highly-regarded Judge Melissa May), Indiana resolved that issue for the time being by holding that “the mere possession of a handgun, which is legal, cannot produce reasonable suspicion to justify a Terry Stop.”  The court went on to state that “the State has not directed us to a reason why the police believed when they stopped Pinner that his possession of the gun was illegal, nor has the State asserted any other criminal activity was ‘afoot.’  Accordingly, we are constrained to hold the stop of Pinner was not supported by reasonable suspicion.”  Thus, without a basis to believe that Pinner was carrying a handgun without a license – or engaged in some other illegal activity – detaining Pinner to investigate his possession of a gun violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment.

In Monday’s opinion, the Supreme Court wholly agreed with Judge May’s analysis.  Specifically, the court ruled that a police officer, based only on a tip that a person possesses a handgun, may not detain that person to confirm that he has a license to carry …

[ … ]

Said the ruling:

“The United States Supreme Court has previously declared that law enforcement may not arbitrarily detain an individual to ensure compliance with licensing and registration laws without particularized facts supporting an inference of illegal conduct. See Prouse, 440 U.S. at 663 (‘hold[ing] that except in those situations in which there is at least articulable and reasonable suspicion that a motorist is unlicensed or that an automobile is not registered, or that either the vehicle or an occupant is otherwise subject to seizure for violation of law, stopping an automobile and detaining the driver in order to check his driver’s license and the registration of the automobile are unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment’). In like fashion, we decline to endorse such behavior to ensure compliance with Indiana’s gun licensing laws.” 

This case is actually similar to the case of Nathanial Black decided by the Fourth Circuit.

Nathaniel Black was part of a group of men in Charlotte, North Carolina who local police officers suspected might be engaged in criminal activity. In particular, Officers suspected that after seeing one of the men openly carrying a firearm – which was legal in North Carolina – that there was most likely another firearm present. When police began frisking the men one by one, Mr. Black wished to leave, but was told he was not free to leave. Officers chased Mr. Black and discovered that he possessed a firearm; it was later discovered that he was a previously convicted felon. Mr. Black was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Mr. Black moved to suppress the evidence against him. His suppression motion was denied, he entered a guilty plea preserving a right to appeal the denial of the suppression motion, and he was sentenced to fifteen (15) years imprisonment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, however, determined that the officers had improperly seized Mr. Black, suppressed the evidence against him, and vacated his sentence.

Like Indiana, North Carolina is an open carry state.  Simply openly carrying a gun isn’t grounds for detention.  It must be a so-called “Terry Stop,” and openly carrying a weapon, since it is entirely within the law, isn’t justifiable reason to detain an individual.

The Indiana Supreme Court got this right.  I’ve argued similarly against the new open carry law in Texas, pointing out that “… licensed open carry in a state with no stop and identify statute for enforcement is a shooting-by-cop waiting to happen.  And I certainly don’t support empowering the police state any more by giving them a stop and identify statute.  That would be making something bad even worse.”  As stops must be Terry Stops, and since Texas has no stop and identify statute, and shouldn’t because they are unconstitutional (despite what the courts have said), LEOs in Texas are left with no direction concerning open carriers.

I don’t want LEOs in Texas to be given more direction, any more than I want that for LEOs in Indiana.  I advocate simple observation of God-given rights, and living by the covenant to which we are all obliged, i.e., the constitution.

Affordable Chassis Precision Rifles

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

I knew if I waited long enough, the nice precision chassis rifles would become affordable.  Companies won’t decide to forego making products if they can turn a profit, they’ll just let the market seek its own equilibrium.

Bergara has done a nice job with their B-14 Hunting and Match Rifle (HMR).

Bergara Rifles, a division of BPI Outdoors, is pleased to announce its Bergara B-14 Hunting and Match Rifle (HMR) has won the Outdoor Life Editor’s Choice Award for 2017.

Over several days of shooting, Outdoor Life tested all of the new rifles for 2017. Drills were done to mimic practical shooting positions. The rifles were shot for accuracy off the bench and tested for reliability by being shot in a way to try and induce malfunctions. Each firearm was taken apart and inspected to ascertain the quality of manufacturing and the amount of innovation put into each firearm. The rifles were tested by a group of five independent judges and were evaluated on 10 different categories. In each of these 10 categories, each rifle was scored using a scale from 1-10. After the shooting stopped and the dust settled, the B-14 HMR came out on top.

But I have to say, I own a Tikka T-3, and they have also entered this market with their new T3x TAC A1.  The Tikka is a bit more pricey at around $1600 – $1700, while the Bergara is around $1100.

Concerning The Firing Of James Comey

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

USA Today:

I was at a meeting with some senior members of the law enforcement community when Comey backed off the investigation and they expressed utter bewilderment at what he was doing. It went beyond how this would affect Comey’s career or his reputation; he was potentially tarnishing the Bureau itself. And for all this Comey said he had no regrets.

Oh bullshit.  There is nothing to be bewildered about.  Comey was a “player” from way back.  For those of us who followed George Webb on YouTube, we know that Comey was neck deep in all of the nefarious workings of the government and global players.

He had to appear as nonpartisan as possible to the idiots and players on capital hill, while at the same time never quite closing the deal on the Clintons and their ilk for their criminal and immoral acts over the years.  He finally wore out that game.

He was neck deep in protection of the Clinton Foundation, The Clinton Global Initiative, involvement with DynCorps, nation-toppling in North Africa, and the global smuggling racket.  Comey is a bad, bad man.  It’s a shame that it took this long to fire him.

Now for the next steps.  Calling Andrew McCabe.  Do you hear the grim reaper behind you?  Well, do you?  He’s coming for you.  You will not get out of all of this with your life.  If you happen to live through it, you have certainly lost your soul.

Bob Owens Passes Away

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

By now most readers have heard about Bob Owens passing away.  Apparently he was very troubled and yet didn’t seek help.  Folks, please seek help when things seem this bad.

He leaves behind family, and for this I’m very sorry and hate to see what happened today.  Col. Douglas Mortimer (reader) and others have exchanged mail with me on this, and while there are very mixed emotions, including my own, in my opinion there is no mortal sin.  I’m not Roman Catholic.  When Jesus paid it all on the cross in the vicarious atonement, that means all, sins past, present and future for His chosen people.  If Bob knew Christ, he is with the savior as we speak.

Bob was an enigma wrapped inside a riddle, and I never quite knew what he was going to say or what position he was going to take.  He and I butted heads on open carry and well as other things.  That doesn’t diminish his life’s work, and I simply don’t take disagreements that seriously.  Life is too short to lose friends over disagreements.

I don’t believe in the phrase “rest in peace” (RIP).  There is work in heaven, just without the sweat of the brow.  I hope Bob is working and worshipping right now.

Media Tags:

Why A Revolver Is Still A Smart Choice For Personal Defense

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 4 days ago

Outdoor Life:

In today’s world of high-capacity, polymer-frame, semi-auto pistols, we often forget about the original repeating handgun. While the roots of the revolver go back to the revolving arquebus, produced by Hans Stopler of Nuremberg in 1597, it wasn’t until 1836 that Sam Colt figured out how to make it work reliably. Once Colt started making revolvers, the world of repeating handguns changed forever.

Whether you’re in the field hunting, hiking, or exploring, or in any wilderness setting, the revolver is the top choice in a handgun. For personal defense, the double-action revolver may be a bit less popular nowadays, but it’s every bit as good a choice as it ever was.

I agree.  I have one concealed carry revolver, and two that are too big to conceal, requiring open carry.  I carry my small wheel gun regularly.  And while we’re on the subject of revolvers again, Lucky Gunner has a nice article on testing the Ruger GP100.  I love mine.  But that’s not what caught my eye.  While reading the Outdoor Life piece on carry revolvers, I noticed one I missed from two years ago that has some remarkable anecdotal data.

Even here in Alaska, where you’d think we would have the “bear sidearm” thing figured out, all you have to do is mention bear protection in a crowded place or online forum, and you will no doubt hear from numerous people who swear on their mother’s grave that their .44 mag, .454, .500, or other monster caliber is the ideal bear protection. I have however, only heard one claim myself of someone stopping a grizzly with one shot from a .460. The bigger-is-better idea is rapidly going the way of the buffalo, and here’s why.

I’ll say this very clearly. No handgun has the energy to drop a bear in its tracks (barring a perfect, or extremely lucky shot). Even the .500 S&W has little more energy than a .30-30. If you read John Snow’s blog last week, you saw a scientific comparison of several autoloading cartridges and the conclusions that the FBI drew from it. Yes, the bigger cartridges do slightly more damage than a .45 ACP, but we are talking about animals that can sometimes soak up .375 H&H rounds like they are BB’s. I’ve personally witnessed a brown bear take 13 solid shots from less than 20 yards with a .375 Ackley before it expired. I have seen black bears shot at under 15 yards with .338’s and 7mm Mag’s and not even lose their footing. The handgun is a last resort, slightly better than nothing. Never, EVER rely on a handgun as your primary defense if you know you are going to be in a risky situation. Take a large rifle you are comfortable with, or a shotgun.

[ … ]

I think that with a heavy wheelgun, you will get one shot off if you are lucky. If you’re wondering how you would do, next time you are at the range, see how many hits you can get on a 15” x 20” target at 15 feet in 3 seconds (including drawing from your carry holster). You probably won’t have much more time than that in the field, and possibly less.

Select your backcountry sidearm wisely, and be safe out there!

Okay, I hear you loud and clear.  But it’s still the case that soon after firearms were declared legal in national parks a man defended his life from a grizzly in Denali National Par using a .45 ACP handgun.  I always want more rather than less, but I’ll take what I’ve got and try to aim well if this situation ever presents itself.  I’m not sure that anyone can ever be truly prepared for an attack like this save doing it all of the time.

Comment Of The Week: So Few Do The Heavy Lifting For Gun Rights

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 5 days ago

Ned Weatherby:

Wouldn’t surprise me if the “didn’t know” was true – but averting one’s eyes to avoid learning the truth in this political climate is BS.

However, I truly wonder how many of the people now bitching at various gun friendly websites about RRA & SA don’t do crap for gun rights, other than maybe being an NRA member – if that.

Here in AZ, the Arizona Citizens Defense League has only around 2000 members, and yet, AZCDL and its handful of members are responsible for most of the pro-rights laws passed the last few years in AZ.

So few do the heavy lifting. Sorry folks, but “activism” like not buying a RRA product is just keyboard commando posing horsecrap.

I see posts often on various websites from state-run gun rights organizations asking for help. How many of the “activists” who now won’t buy that new SA gun can’t even be bothered to follow a link and send the pre-prepared letters for their own state – much less join?

How many Illinois gun owners didn’t do squat about this issue, and are now bitching because some scumbag lobbyist also took “no position?”

I spend an awful lot of time perusing articles, watching the forum posts, sending letters my readers never see, and writing for you to take the information and act on it.  I hope you do that rather than just read my posts.  Sending these links around pushes traffic and empowers the whole community.  But this takes a powerful lot of time.  I’m not complaining, it’s a labor of love.  But everyone has to do their part.

I’ll would certainly buy again from Rock River Arms.  There’s a sweet 6.5 Creedmoor rifle they have up on their web site I’d like to have.  It’s a bit too pricey for me right now, but after a couple of years of bonuses from work, perhaps it will be my next purchase.

I encourage you to make your feelings known to Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms.  They’ve given you the avenue to do that.  If they didn’t want to hear from you they wouldn’t have given you the chance to tell them what’s on your mind.

As to perfection in the gun rights community, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  Consider Ned’s questions.

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