Archive for the 'Ammunition' Category



Full Metal Jacket vs Hollow Point (FMJ vs HP)

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 5 days ago

Is The .223/5.56 The Best All-Around Rifle?

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

Guns Magazine.

To understand how we got here we need to look at its military origins. Some years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Eugene Stoner at the SHOT Show. We were able to sit down and chat for an hour or so, which I considered a privilege then and still do.

Back in the 1950s, he said, the U.S. military had just adopted the M14 rifle using the 7.62mm cartridge, ballistically similar to the .30-06. What might be called the “Old Guard” supported the concept of powerful battle rifles and carefully aimed fire at individual targets.

Other military theorists noted enemy soldiers for the most part don’t stand around in the open waiting to get shot. They hide behind things and shoot from cover. Combat in WWII and in Korea had shown the value of suppressive fire, “shoot and move,” and the integration of infantry, artillery and air power.

The rifle they wanted would be lightweight, with moderate recoil, selective semi- or full-automatic fire, compact and fast-handling for house-to-house fighting and adequately powerful, using non-expanding bullets. Hmmm, you don’t want much, do you? Stone said the only way he knew of to make a small non-expanding bullet behave like a bigger bullet is if it tumbles on impact. Original rifles had a 1:14 twist so bullets were just barely stable in flight, but would destabilize and tumble when they hit something.

Almost as soon as it was adopted the twist was changed to 1:12 to improve stability, which some argued also decreased effectiveness. In the ’70s and ’80s military users began shifting to heavier bullets for improved downrange ballistics, requiring faster barrel twists. It took a while, but faster twists eventually appeared on sporting rifles.

Faster twists and sleeker bullets, notably from Berger and Hornady, greatly enhance the versatility of the .223. Compare a 55-grain FMJ bullet (G1 B.C. 0.243) at 3,200 fps to a Berger VLD 80-grain bullet (G1 B.C. 0.455) at 2,750 fps. With both sighted at 200 yards, bullet drop at 600 yards is 91.5″ for the 55 grain versus 82.3″ for the 80 grain. Now check the 10 mph wind drift figures: 55 grain, 60.8″; 80 grain, 32.5″. That nearly 50 percentage advantage in wind drift is huge. Moreover the 80-grain bullet starting out 450 fps slower reaches the 600-yard line going over 400 fps faster (1,271 55 grain, 1,680 80 grain).

So what is a fast-twist .223 good for? Training with moderate recoil and noise. Teaching new shooters the fundamentals of center fire rifles and longer range shooting. Moderate cost due to smaller bullets and powder charges. Excellent hunting performance for most varmint shooting and for deer, the most popular big-game target. Untold millions and billions of .223 and 5.56 rounds have been loaded over the past 60+ years. Even in times of chronic shortages there’s a good chance of finding quality brass.

In my experience 1:9 will stabilize 70- and some 75-grain bullets, 1:8 will stabilize up to 80-grain bullets. Here’s some examples of twist rates in various rifles. The Savage Elite Precision is 1:7. Browning X-bolt, Ruger American, Sako 85 and Tikka T3X are all 1:8. Ruger’s Hawkeye, Howa, most Savage models, Kimber, Steyr and Weatherby Vanguard are all 1:9. Decide what your priorities are then buy accordingly.

I have heard that from multiple experts (i.e., that 1:9 twist barrels will stabilize 62 and 69 grain bullets, or even slight heavier like the Sierra Match King bullets).

I too and very fond of the round.

And I love hearing stories about Eugene Stoner.  I think we ought to build statues of him and John Moses Browning as the premier weapons designers in American history.

Is It Safe To Shoot 5.56 in a .223 AR-15?

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

As I think about it, the only thing I ever thought it might do to consistently shoot 5.56mm in a rifle chambered for .223 is throat erosion.  I think they confirm that.

Hornady American Gunner vs Hornady Critical Defense 357 Ammo

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 4 days ago

Joe Biden Bans Russian Ammunition Importation

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 5 days ago

I’m surprised to hear that the Russian makers have captured 40% of the ammunition market.  I’m not trying to be an ammo snob, but I don’t put steel cased ammo through my guns.  But this statistic is repeated elsewhere.

This increases demand for brass, so expect ammunition prices to go up again.  You can send your thanks to Mr. Biden.

All About The 6.5 Grendel

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Some of you will say “I told you so” concerning the brilliance of the 6.5 Grendel when we’ve discussed this in the past.  But one nice thing about this cartridge is that an upper swap combined with another magazine gives you another rifle.  Buying a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, for example, means switching to a completely different rifle, i.e., an AR-10 rather than an AR-15, with all of its recoil, weight and nonstandard parts lists.

There is this recent article from Recoil.  Here is a fairly recent video.  AR15.com does a gell test with the 6.5 Grendel.

And finally, near the end of last year, Ryan Muckenhirn did a very good discussion of the cartridge.

Anyway, it seems like a good upper to have, as well as a legitimate White Tail cartridge. It didn’t seem to catch on as fast as the 6.5 Creedmoor, but it wasn’t a “flash in the pan” either.

Ryan Muckenhirn On The Virtues Of The 45-70

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

If the other two goobers would shut up, this would have been an absolutely great video.  I could listen to Ryan teach me for hours.  The two goobers made it just a great video.

The .454 Casull: History and Performance

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

At American Rifleman.

Buffalo Bore makes this round hot.

I do wish that Henry would make a Walnut furniture rifle in .454 Casull.  The alternative is an absolutely beautiful rifle by Big Horn Armory.

But their price is too steep for me.

 

World’s Smallest & Biggest Rimfires — 17 and 22 Calibers

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ballistics Made Easy

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago


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