Archive for the 'Ammunition' Category

350 Legend Review

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 4 weeks ago

I believe he likes the 350 Legend.

Jerry Miculek On Self Defense Cartridges With The Modern Sporting Rifle

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

I was actually a little surprised at the results with dry wall.  I also expected a little different results from the heavier rounds (I expected the rounds greater than 70 grains to expand a bit more since they are “open tip”).

Why .22 WMR And .17 HMR Doesn’t Exist In Semi-Auto

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

But it does, in rifles.  There are plenty of them, and good ones.

In the comments he had to amend (refine or clarify) what he was saying to indicate handguns.

John Farnam On Military Rifle Calibers

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago


Through the first half of the Twentieth Century, military rifle cartridges were all between 6.5mm and 8mm (25-31 caliber), in order to achieve an acceptable rifle/ammunition compromise that balances:

  • Adequate range
  • Adequate penetration
  • Accuracy
  • Manageable recoil
  • Weight
  • Bulk
  • Durability
  • Overheating
  • Barrel length
  • Barrel life
  • Magazine capacity, and
  • Terminal effect

Those twelve issues represent competing, unavoidable trade-offs confronting weapon and ammunition designers. It is not possible to “adjust” any one of those without affecting all the rest. Go too far in any one direction, and you immediately run into deal-busting troubles!

That weapon design is a perpetual tradeoff is certainly true.  There is no debating that point.

In the first half of the Twentieth Century, horse-mounted cavalry units persisted, although mostly obsolete by the end of WWI.

However, with cavalry still a military consideration, “adequate terminal effect” implied an ability to take-down a horse with one shot!

In our modern era, with horses no longer a consideration, 5.5mm (22 caliber) bullets (5.56×45 NATO, 5.45×39 Soviet, 5.7×28 FN) have emerged and are considered (by some) appropriate chamberings for modern, military main-battle rifles, but there is far from “universal agreement” on that!

Inadequate penetration and inadequate range have been persistently (since the 1960s) cited as critical failings with this modern generation small-caliber military cartridges.

Interminable technological attempts to address these two issues have failed to silence critics, including me.

And so the point of the article was what – that Farnam is still an opponent of the 5.56mm cartridge?  We needed to be reminded of that?

So just to float the same point I’ve made before, Farnam leaves out the most important point in the discussion, and that is military doctrine.  Doctrine leads to or produces tactics, and tactics produces weapons design, not vice versa.

There is no point in rehearsing the doctrinal changes that occurred to bring about the advent of the 5.56mm cartridge.  But it is sufficient to say: that the use of fire and maneuver tactics (e.g., squad rushes), the reliance on crew served weapons for longer range combat (because more than 80% of enemy killed occurred throughout military history from crew served weapons, not rifles), and the reliance on DMs for even longer range shooting (those who have been specifically schooled in that science, and have been issued the weapons and gear for it), is legitimate military doctrine.

Farnam’s objections not withstanding.  In a perfect world in which Soldiers and Marines didn’t have to wear body armor because they were never shot at, they were in perfect shape, they didn’t have to leave the line at 100 pounds of kit, and the U.S. military had unlimited resources, time and money, everyone could carry rifles that weighed twice as much and carry ammunition that weighed twice as much.

After 50 Years, The Army And Marine Corps Are Closing In On Dumping Brass-Cased Ammo

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

Wheee … big news for the DoD.

After more than 50 years of failed attempts, the U.S. military may be on the verge of ending its love affair with brass-cased ammunition, something that predates the Spanish-American War.

Advancements in body armor, communications equipment and other tactical gear have weighed down U.S. combat troops in the Army and Marine Corps, pushing individual loads well past 100 pounds and degrading service members’ physical performance, U.S. military studies have shown.

Both services have launched multiple efforts to lighten the weapons and equipment grunts carried while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but ammunition weight has always been an Achilles’ heel for these efforts.

Oh bull.

We suit these guys up in 30+ pounds of body armor with Kevlar and SAPI plates, and then add cameras, comms equipment, helmets, etc., etc., etc., and then spend millions of dollars to design polymer case ammo as a solution?

My reaction is good!  That will relieve the pressure on the civilian market and [hopefully] the costs of real ammunition.  That’s more for me for less.

7.62×51 NATO Versus .308 Winchester: What’s The Difference?

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 1 week ago

This rule is backwards from the 5.56mm versus .223 rule, in which a chambering for 5.56mm can shoot both, but not necessarily the other way around.

Is COVID-19 Creating A Nationwide Ammunition Shortage?

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago


We’ve seen subtle signs of a panic buying here and there the past few weeks but it looks like the lid is about to blow off.

A reader from Arizona, Brent Stuart, tried to purchase two cases of pistol primers last week from Sportsman’s Warehouse in Phoenix, AZ, this afternoon and was told he could only purchase one case. The clerk at the counter told him there was a new corporate policy limiting the amounts of firearms, ammunition and reloading components purchased in a single day. According to the employee, he had received a copy of a memo from corporate headquarters that morning limiting firearm, reloading components and ammunition purchases temporarily.

Online ammunition retailer,, reports a significant increase in sales since February 23, 2020. The company believes that this surge corresponds with the public concern regarding the COVID-19 virus.

Online ammunition retailer,, reports a significant increase in sales since February 23, 2020. The company believes that this surge corresponds with the public concern regarding the COVID-19 virus.

When compared to the 11 days before February 23 (February 12 to 22), in the 11 days after (February 23 to March 4),’sber of transactions increased 68%.

Alex Horsman, the marketing manager at, said of the surge, “We know certain things impact ammo sales, mostly political events or economic instability when people feel their rights may end up infringed, but this is our first experience with a virus leading to such a boost in sales.”

We queried another big box store, Cabela’s and Bass Pro-Shops, who reported that ammunition is selling at a record pace. Week to date tallies for Herter’s 9mm 115-grain FMJ ammunition is 5,589 boxes. That’s 279,450 rounds and it’s not even Saturday. Month to date sales are 40,152 boxes for 2,007,600 rounds and we are not even halfway through March for just that one type and brand of 9mm ammo.

In my little neck of the woods, the shelves at Academy Sports are bare.  There is nothing on them.  The same holds at Cabela’s.  I suspect that even in normal times it would take months to recover inventory.  With the upcoming election cycle, these aren’t normal times.

Why .22LR Won’t Be Available For A Very Long Time

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

He does a good job of explaining the rush on ammunition, and the resulting push to get 5.56mm/.223, .45 ACP and 9mm out the door.  He also explains the retooling process necessary to get .22LR produced, the lower profit margin, and the uncertainty the upcoming election cycle will bring.

You Do Have Enough Ammunition, Don’t You?

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

News from Montana.

Stores across the country are seeing people stocking up on hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

One other thing people are stocking up on across the country and in Missoula is ammunition.

“I think it’s just people concerned about shortages of all kinds of stuff, so they are trying to buy more ammo before there is a real shortage,” Missoula Axmen salesman Danen Brucker said.

Brucker says they get freight in everyday and it almost always includes ammunition.

“It’s a little bit like the toilet paper shortage you know there really wasn’t a toilet paper shortage until people thought there was and people went out and bought a bunch,” said Brucker. “We saw something with 22 ammunition for a couple of years where people were just buying way more than they could ever use, so yeah we might get to the point where we see a true shortage, because people are just buying so much,” Brucker added.

I don’t.  I’m not of the opinion that you ever have enough ammunition.

Bullets In The Rain

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

How do bullets behave in the rain?

I’ve heard a fair bit of conjecture over the years about what happens when a bullet flies through the rain. Speculation varies from nothing to maybe something. Until now, all I’ve had is an opinion. After conducting tests at EMRTC (New Mexico Tech) ( for Guns & Ammo TV, observed by a team of ballisticians, I can honestly answer, “A lot more than you think.”

The most common speculation I’ve heard is that a pressure wave forms on the supersonic bullet’s nose and pushes anything out of the way — and water never touches the bullet. I’ve also heard that even if water hits the bullet, it moves too fast and has enough mass that a drop has no effect. Both hypotheses are false.

The impetus for this test was Dave Emary who write’s this magazine’s “Bullet Board” column. Emary shared with me an experience he had shooting a High Power Match at Camp Perry, Ohio, during which some serious rain showed up. Dave was shooting and doing just fine until he had one bullet barely clip the edge of the entire 600-­yard target board. It wasn’t just a few inches away from the rest of his group — it was a few feet! Dave was shooting an M1A chambered in .308 Winchester using 180-­grain bullets when his bullet hit about 3 feet away from his expected impact.

[ … ]

… EMRTC had the instrumentation to film a bullet hitting a drop of rain, so we decided it was time to find out exactly what happens when a bullet hits a drop by filming it occur in high speed.

Engineer David Hibbert and a couple of PhD candidates determined that a drop of rain induced a 3.2-­degree yaw on our 125-­grain bullet. Thanks to some judicious pixel counting by our big-­brained team of scientists, we also determined that the bullet’s yaw was not directly correlated to the flight path; 3.2 degrees is some serious yaw. We observed 4 inches of deflection at 50 yards, however, the bullet could have hit multiple water droplets due to our test setup.

[ … ]

Does this mean that shooters need to worry about shooting in the rain? No. Even in a pretty steady rain, the likelihood of hitting a drop with a bullet is pretty low. However, there are a couple of instances where it would be worth remembering this study, should you find yourself shooting in wet weather.

Via Woodpile Report.  This is an interesting result, but not one I would try to plan or train for.  On a related note, I recall one time that “Myth Busters” tested the notion that walking faster or running in the rain caused you to get less wet than if you walked slowly.

It’s not true.  You can see rain drops in terms of specific concentration, or drops per cubic foot or cubic meter (or your favorite volume dimension).  You’re going to walk through the same number of water droplets running as you will walking.

For those who care.

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