Archive for the 'Ammunition' Category

Snubnose Revolver Velocity: How Much Do You Lose?

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 8 hours ago

Shooting Illustrated.

On average, with the shorter barrel there was a 12-percent reduction in velocity (100 fps). The smallest difference—26 fps—was recorded with the Buffalo Bore 110-grain Barnes TAC-XP load. The most-extreme variation—200 fps—was recorded with another Buffalo Bore load, the +P Outdoors-man, which utilizes a 158-grain, hard-cast, Keith-style bullet. More important than the velocity loss was how the slower velocities affected terminal performance. This is because when it comes to stopping bad guys, penetration and expansion are what matter.

The average penetration depth for the nine loads fired from both barrel lengths was 14.28 inches. The average penetration variation between barrel lengths was only 0.80 inch. For all practical purposes, that’s irrelevant; individual loads can vary more than that from shot to shot. However, comprising that average were a few extremes worth mentioning.

The 140-grain Hornady XTP load penetrated 2.25 inches deeper from the longer barrel simply because of its 99-fps faster impact velocity. With the 110-grain Hornady Critical Defense load, an 85 fps decrease in velocity caused the bullet to penetrate 1.75 inches less. However, with the 125-grain Golden Saber +P load, the longer barrel delivered 3 inches less penetration because the bullet deformed with a larger frontal diameter at the only slightly higher (57 fps) impact velocity. It should be noted that the hard-cast Outdoorsman load passed through all 28 inches of gelatin, regardless whether it was fired from the 1.9- or 4-inch barrel.

With regard to expansion, there was minimal difference. The average variation in expansion between rounds fired from a 1.9- and a 4-inch barrel was a mere .04 inch. The lone exception was the Winchester Silvertip bullet. Out of the 1.9-inch barrel, it expanded with a frontal diameter of .66 inch, but out of the 4-inch barrel it had a recovered frontal diameter of only .4 inch. The higher impact velocity (132 fps) overly stressed this bullet and caused it to shed 46 percent of its original weight. Out of the shorter barrel, the bullet retained 99 percent of its weight.

There was one load that stood head and shoulders above all others. The Speer 135-grain Gold Dot Short Barrel load only varied .5 inch in penetration depth and .03 inch in expansion, even though there was an 83-fps difference in impact velocity. Obviously, this load is aptly named; Speer purposely engineered it to deliver optimum performance from short barrels. Not only did it perform near identically from both barrel lengths, it delivered what many consider optimum terminal performance from a defensive handgun. Any load that will penetrate in excess of 12 inches and expand to 1.5 or more times its original diameter is noteworthy.

First of all, I think this is good news for ankle-carry small frame and short-barrel revolvers.  There just isn’t much of a loss in performance.

Second, it looks like Speer has done a very good job with .38 Spl. ammunition, calling it the “Short Barrel Load.”

Reloading For Your AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 3 days ago

Shooting Illustrated recommends at least this.

A micrometer-adjustable seater, a freefloating/self-centering bullet-seating system and a bullet-retaining system … the RCBS MatchMaster Full Length Bushing Set .223 Rem.  MSRP: $169.95; …

Hornady .223 Rem. Brass … MSRP: $32.41 (per 50); …

Powered by two AAA batteries, measuring 2¼x4¼x¾ inches and weighing a mere 2.47 ounces, the Lyman Pocket Touch 1500 Digital Scale offers immense performance … MSRP: $30.95 …

The Frankford Arsenal M-Press Coaxial Reloading Press … MSRP: $262.99;

A replacement for the company’s popular Rapid Lube 5000, spraying a thin layer of Dillon Precision’s DCL Case Lubricant on brass prior to running it through your press’ sizing die … MSRP: $11.95; …

Does anybody who reloads for 5.56/.223 have any subtractions or additions to this list?  Any experienced reloaders care to weigh in?


Magpul: Corrosive Ammo Protection

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 3 days ago

350 Legend Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks ago

Reader and commenter Sanders said this.

I picked up some 145 gr. Winchester White Box at Cabela’s the other day for $10/20. There have been some tests posted online of different loadings. One that was pretty impressive was a test in water jugs using 148 gr. Hornady XTP .357 bullets. It pretty much just exploded in the water jugs due to the higher velocity.

The other tricky thing about this round is the bullet sizes. SAAMI says it should be .355 to .357. Pulled factory ammo is all listed as .357, but actual measurements are showing they are using .355, or 9mm. The best options for hunting bullets are in the .358 range, but I guess those have to be resized down to .357 or they won’t chamber. Also, using Winchester brass, if you use a .357, you won’t be able to chamber the round. But, Starline brass is thinner and works with .357.

Many folks have gone ahead and just re-barreled to .358 so they could use the greater range of available bullets in that size.

So, you see there are still a lot of bugs for reloaders to work out on this round. It will be fun to see what folks come up with.

Funny how this dovetails together with what I found out.  I have been looking into purchasing a 350 Legend upper, and one manufacturer told me this.

Accuracy is, at this time, very ammunition dependent.  While the ammo is supposed to be .357 diameter. The ammo makers are using pretty much everything that they can fit in the case….for instance, one manufacturer says that while .357 is the call out, they are allowing a -.003 tolerance.  This seems to be so they can load cheaper and more prolific .355 bullets.  But that doesn’t necessarily work the best with the spec bore diameter.

We’re getting our best groups with handloads.  With factory ammo, at this time, we’re in the same 1.5-2MOA range as an average.

Eventually the ammo makers will sort it out and get their loads to match the round’s potential, but until that happens, I think that is as good as it’s going to be with production ammo.

That’s good enough at 0 – 150 yards for hog hunting.  But I expect that as time goes by, the ammunition quality issue will sort itself out.

Future Army Ammunition In 6.8mm

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks ago

Sigh …

It’s not MOUNT, it’s MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain).

Each and every soldier ISN’T taught to conduct room clearing operations as he said they were.

And remember the words “minimal training.”  And remember that’s what this ammunition change is trying to ameliorate.  They don’t want to change the training to teach shooting.  They want a magic bullet (pun intended).

Why Did The U.S. Military Switch From 7.62x51mm To 5.56x45mm Cartridges?

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks, 1 day ago

We Are The Mighty.

Ultimately, the decision to shift from 7.62x51mm ammunition to 5.56x45mm came down to simple arithmetic. The smaller rounds weighed less, allowing troops to carry more ammunition into the fight. They also created less recoil, making it easier to level the weapon back onto the target between rounds and making automatic fire easier to manage. Tests showed that troops equipped with smaller 5.56mm rounds could engage targets more efficiently and effectively than those firing larger, heavier bullets.

As they say in Marine Corps rifle teams, the goal is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy — and the 5.56mm NATO round made troops better at doing precisely that.

I include this not to start another caliber war, but to link up the PDF document, “Rifle Squad Armed With Armed With A Light Weight High Velocity Rifle.”

I had never seen that before and thought readers might find it interesting.

300 Blackout Gel Test

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

I guess I’ve never understood the love for 300 Blackout or why people think it’s a better option than virtually anything else, especially at long range, but to each his own.  I know this round has its believers.

Straight Wall Hunting And Self Defense Cartridges

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

I recently said something about the benefit of a MSR that can double as a hunting firearm and a self defense gun in the bush, i.e., 0 – 150 yards.  While multipurpose tools can suffer from not doing anything well, a legitimate multipurpose tool that can do more than one thing well is a good thing.

Hunters are buying straight-wall guns 50:1 over slug guns for deer.  Here’s a quick rundown of the recoil energy associated with these new cartridges.

Designed and developed by Winchester, the 350 Legend is the first new introduction to the market aimed specifically at straight-walled hunting regulations. The company unveiled the new round at the 2019 SHOT show and currently offers it in Deer Season XP, Power Max Bonded, and many others. Winchester has also chambered their XPR line of bolt-action rifles for the cartridge, and other major gun manufacturers are producing rifles for it as well.

The plus side of this cartridge is that recoil is pretty mild, so it’s a good choice for shooters who need to take recoil into consideration. The Winchester 150-grain Deer Season XP generates 8.52 foot-pounds of recoil in a 7-pound rifle. By comparison, a 250-grain .450 Bushmaster factory load generates 22.99 foot-pounds of recoil, and a full-power 12-gauge slug generates 45 foot-pounds.

By contrast, the .223 generates around 5-6, and the 30-30 (which I recall as mild enough to enjoy shooting a lot thus lending to good practice and accuracy) is 8-10.  So the 350 Legend is around the same as the 30-30, not much more than the .223, less than half of the .450 Bushmaster, and 19% of a 12 gauge.

Any of these choices would be fine within 150 – (maybe) 200 yards for either hunting or self defense.  The 12 gauge would be less accurate than any of them.

This might be good perspective for your next selection(s).  I wouldn’t call myself “recoil sensitive,” having shot a lot of different rounds, but I like reduced recoil to ensure a pleasurable experience.  If that happens, I’ll shoot more and be better at it.

Jerry Miculek Does The 350 Legend

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

I still think it’s an impressive cartridge, with power greater than 30-30 or 300 Blackout, able to be shot from a MSR, and much less recoil than .450 Bushmaster.

Thoughts On Barrel Twist, Bullet Weight And Precision

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

Shooting Illustrated had an assessment of the Barnes Precision Carbine.  It seems a nice enough gun, although for the price you’re getting into BCM and Rock River Arms prices.  I do like the looks of the hand guard, though.  But what caught my eye was this chart.

I find this fascinating.  I’m a wonk, I admit.  But even if you don’t find it as interesting as I do, I’d request that you [a] see this first and foremost as a fishing expedition, not a tutorial (because that’s not my job), and [b] keep track of similar data and send to me as you run across it.

So here’s my specific interest.  Technically, MOA is a measure of precision, not accuracy.  Accuracy can be modified based on sight (or optic) adjustments.  If you don’t understand the difference between accuracy and precision, without going through the mathematics of the Central Limit Theorem, you can see this article.  So now you’ll understand why I am using the term precision for this information.

The precision is lower for the 62 grain bullets than for 55 grain or 73 grain.  It would have been nice to see additional testing with Sierra MatchKing 77 grain OTM.  The difference above is nontrivial.

We saw in a previous post (not because I knew this information, but because I know how to find this information) that when the Army tested the M855A1 round, they were using accurized 1:8 twist barrels, not 1:7 twist as per MilSpec.  They got worse precision with the new ammunition with 1:7 twist barrels.  The M856 tracer round is 63.7 grains, and the Army had to show that the barrel could stabilize the round in order to justify the new bullet.

A twist rate that is too high can over-stabilize bullets, leading to “keyholing.”  We know that, and so it’s important not to overdo barrel twist.  It is fairly standard knowledge that use of the 1:7 twist leads to slightly less precision for the 55 grain, and maybe for the 62 grain green tip.  But it manages to stabilize the heavier rounds, including the rounds that are apparently in current use within SpecOps.

This stabilization is necessary because of changes made to the service rifle.  The original M-16 had a much milder twist rate than does the shorter barrels in use today.  The shorter barrels are a direct result of trouble getting into and out of vehicles for dismounted operations, going through buildings and around walls, and the general requirements of MOUT.  In order to make the ammunition work for these shorter barrels, the engineers had to monkey around with twist.

Now I’m to my main point.  I take interest in the fact that the precision is lower for the medium weight bullets.  I’ll stipulate that the variables are many, including perhaps the most important one, barrel harmonics.  I’d love to talk to some of the original engineers and test shooters for the newest Army round, but it’s likely that I’d never get the truth.

But what I can do is compile data of my own.  I’m wondering if this behavior stands up with other twist rates?  I’m also interested in whether barrel length plays a role.  Why did the precision decrease with medium weight bullets, and recover at the lower and higher ends?

At any rate, if you run across any data for 1:9 twist, 1:8 twist, or any more data on 1:7 twist, using different bullet weights, I’d be very interested to learn the precision of the groups and plot for future reference.

Thanks in advance.

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