Archive for the 'Guns' Category

The Best Rifle Bipods of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 4 days ago

At Outdoor Life.

It wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t see Spartan in the mix. Frankly, I don’t like the Harris or the Magpul.

It’s nice to see Spartan being mentioned among the best.

Spartan Precision Equipment

Of note: I received nothing for making mention of Spartan.

Can Shooting Clays Improve Your Defensive Shotgun Skills?

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 4 days ago

Shooting Illustrated.

Before I get into it, allow me the following disclaimer: Tactical gurus abound who discount any notion that clay-target shooting can be compared in any way to the act of using a shotgun to defend your life. I do not argue that the two uses are, of course, night-and-day different. But, in my view, the shotgun and the fundamentals of using it to hit whatever you are shooting at are inherently similar. Certainly, the pressure placed upon the shooter in a life-or-death situation compared with a silly clay game is not remotely similar, but if a shotgunner can consistently flip the safety, mount the gun smoothly and orient the barrel quickly and accurately enough to hit small flying objects, nearly any target encountered in any situation will likely be easier.

In other words, I’ve never witnessed a great wingshooter who couldn’t quickly be trained in tactical applications, because this person already has the fundamentals of shotgun shooting mastered. Of course, there are differences in technique—the main ones being stance and weight distribution—but these can be quickly learned. The shotgun, whether a Remington 870 pump with a short barrel and an extended magazine or a 32-inch-barreled over/under clays gun, remains similar in form, and, when used as intended, functions as an extension of the body to hit targets. Of course, in a defensive scenario you will need to aim the shotgun at the target in a manner similar to a handgun or rifle, whereas when shooting clays you move with the target and lead it, but ask yourself, which is harder: aiming at a stationary or slow-moving target a few feet or yards in front of you, or a fast-moving, small target flying on a path designed to be challenging?

On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of decent tactical shotgunners who couldn’t use their shotgun well when they were removed from a static range with stationary targets and placed in more fluid scenarios where unpredictable, moving targets were encountered. Based on my experience, I believe it’s best to master the shotgun via practice until it can be effectively used at an almost subconscious level. One efficient way I’ve found to do this is via clay games that are challenging, yet enjoyable.

First of all, I don’t listen to “tactical gurus.” I have absolutely no use for such people.

Second, more shotgunning is better because shotgunning. Just because.

Enough said.

Go get some. Head to the range. Hunting upland birds is an awesome sport, as is just shooting clays of any sort, including unorganized practice if that’s what you like. Hunting quail is the most fun you’ll ever have.

And not only that, but we’ve also discussed chokes that will give 00 buckshot a pattern within 5 inches at 50 yards. What’s not to love about shotguns?

Rediscovering Revolvers

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 6 days ago

At reddit/Firearms.

I always think it’s slightly amusing when folks rediscover wheel guns. My favorite comment is this.

People have successfully defended their lives with snub nose revolvers for 100+ years. You can too.

I do carry pocket revolvers and I think they’re a wonderful alternative to either OWB (which is non-permissive at times) or IWB (which I hate), and more accessible than ankle carry.

But as with any weapon, you’re only going to be as good as your practice. I would rather shoot single action because the trigger is as tactile as a 1911, but if I carry a wheel gun to the range, I always make sure to shoot a couple of cylinders in double action.

Rex Reviews Night Vision and Thermal Scopes

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

I confess that I know little to nothing about the difference between thermal and night vision scopes. If some enterprising reader would like to give me a rundown of the advantages/disadvantages of each with the basics of operation, that would be welcome.

Also, in all of my [without a doubt several dozen] readers, surely someone has purchased and used an Arken Optics scope.

What do you think of them? Rex seems to like them, especially for the price point. I’m asking for a friend.

If Arken wants to send me one for review for my next deer and hog hunting trip, I’ll be happy to oblige.

Magnetic Red Dot Mount from High End Defense

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

High End Defense has brought out an interesting new pistol optics mounting system at the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting. This new magnetic red dot mount allows users to add on a pistol dot onto a non-optic ready pistol easily utilizing the rear sight and magnets. So you no longer need to have any milling on the slide done, and no mounting plates or tools are needed for a pistol red dot. Instead, it locks into place using two components. The High End Defense rear sight first needs to be installed into place in the rear sight dovetail. Then the magnetic mount keys into place on the slide and the rear sight to lock into place.

Images at the link.

I wondered how long it would be before someone broke into this market. It made sense to me years ago. Slide a mount into the dove tail and you’re off to the races.

Apparently, the magnet doesn’t lose zero. It seems to me the only thing you lose without milling a slide is height over bore (if what you want is a sleek profile and low height).

They intend to do 1911s.

Computational fluid dynamics simulation of shooting a bullet from a rifle barrel

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Cool CFD video. Based on the time of travel down the barrel (0.0006 s), I compute the lifetime of a barrel at 2000 shots to be 1.2 seconds.

h/t Wisco.

CZ Shadow 2 Compact

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

I like Tim Harmsen and have talked with him before. Occasionally I disagree with him. This is one of those occasions.

Tim focuses on the fact that there isn’t a firing pin block on the CZ Shadow 2 Compact. I’ll let you watch the video for the details of his objections.

However, there are numerous videos where guys beat on the hammer with a mallet and cannot get the gun to fire. See here for an example. There are others like it.

The problem seems to stem from the use of an aftermarket firing pin, so the moral of the story is don’t use an aftermarket firing pin.

Frankly, I don’t think Tim did his research before posting this video.

John Farnam on 9mm Revolvers

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago


During an exercise, shooting factory 115gr hardball from a well-known and reputable manufacturer, a bullet jumped forward far enough to protrude from the face of the cylinder and thus prevent the cylinder from rotating normally. In fact, the bullet jumped forward far enough to physically separate from the case. This not only precluded the revolver from continuing to fire, but it also made it impossible to swing out the cylinder, so the revolver could now not be reloaded!

Honestly I had never considered this failure mode before. But after all, the 9mm cartridge is a rimless cartridge, so one should maybe expect to see this from time to time.

However, I’ve never seen this failure when Jerry Miculek is shooting his S&W 9mm revolver, and he likes his a lot. In fact, he broke one world record with it.

But Jerry uses moon clips. I cannot see how this failure mode could occur if you’re using moon clips.

If any smart gunsmiths care to explain how this failure could happen while using moon clips I’ll listen. But absent such an explanation, I assume that using moon clips prevents this failure mode.

Read the rest of John’s analysis here.

Barrel Whip

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

We were recently discussing barrel whip and barrel harmonics.  Here is a good video on this.

Rifle Nodes

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Outdoor Life.

Many commonly-used terms in the shooting community aren’t widely understood or used in a consistent context, so it’s important to define what we are talking about. The technical term “node” refers to the points on a wave at which the amplitude or displacement is the smallest. In terms of a vibrating object like a rifle barrel, it’s the point at which the vibrating barrel moves the least. A rifle barrel does have nodes as it vibrates during and after a shot is fired, but when someone refers to “finding their rifle’s nodes,” they’re referring to finding the charge weight and velocity that causes the bullet to exit at or near that node or dead spot in the barrel’s movement as it vibrates back and forth.

[ … ]

When I brought up the subject with Shooting Editor John B. Snow, he said that all his data had supported the idea that chasing nodes doesn’t gain you anything. He and other high-level shooters at team events will even tailor their loads to target matching velocities to simplify drop and windage calculations between shooting partners …

He goes on to discuss a number of interesting points – interesting to me, at least, including whether a 3- or 5-round group is really sufficient to show anything of value. I agree with him. It’s not.

This is true for a number of reasons. Let’s move past the implications of chaos theory. Atoms are moved by Brownian motion. Atoms bond together to form crystalline structures. Crystalline structures can slip against each other. The barrel heats as it is fired. This motion changes each time the barrel sustains a round being fired through it.

There are other effects as well. This all means that a 3-round group isn’t really relevant for anything much except inflating your ego. Now, let’s move past the issue of repeatability due to physical effects and ponder whether the action of a bullet travelling down a barrel is governed by a deterministic process or a Monte Carlo process. That is, if you could exactly measure the grains of powder charge, exactly govern the bullet weight, and exactly control the barrel temperature, each and every time a rifle is fired, would the bullet go into exactly the same hole each time? Or would the group behave as a random process in which the grouping is always described by a standard distribution?

I think about things like that.

I prefer to just do the best I can and shoot the best equipment I can find within reason. I am not a performance precision rifle competition shooter. If I was, I would probably do the things he’s talking about.

But I wouldn’t assume that a 3-shot group meant much of anything.

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