Archive for the 'Guns' Category

5 Most Produced Military Rifles Ever

BY Herschel Smith
7 hours, 43 minutes ago


The writer has it at (5) Lee-Enfield, (4) AR-15/M-16, (3) Mauser Gewehr 98 / Karabiner 98k, (2) Mosin-Nagant, and (1) AK-47 and derivatives.

They don’t do much in the way of producing evidence for their assertions and I have my doubts.  For example, who is to know how they counted AR-15s/M-16s?  If you sum the total deployed to SE Asia, Iraq, Afghanistan, other armies across the globe, and AR-15 and variants, including upper and lower receivers sold separately, would you have come up with their number of 20 million?  I seriously doubt it.  I think there have been more than 20 million full ARs sold in America just in the civilian market alone.

However, it’s worth nothing that the gun that was built for conscripts (AK) who didn’t know how to shoot and didn’t want to mechanically understand the gun has been quite successful.

That’s one observation that should be made, of course, that genius Eugene Stoner designed his rifle for the professional soldier who needed MOA or sub-MOA performance, and wanted to understand how to work on his rifle.  As it is said, the AR is an MOA gun, while the AK is a minute-of-man gun.

Furthermore, America was built, at least up until the 1980s or so, with garage, backyard and farm mechanics working on cars, gun, and machines of all sorts, repairing them, cleaning them, and making them better.  Eugene Stoner knew this, I suspect, and didn’t worry too much that it was “too professional” of a rifle for the professional soldier.

From my point of view, Stoner understood the AK about as well as Kalashnikov did. Watch and tell me I’m wrong.

Here are the preceding two videos of Stoner and Kalashnikov at the range (Link 1 and Link 2).  One day I’ll embed the entire Eugene Stoner tape library for viewing.

Scope Mount & Ring Prices

BY Herschel Smith
8 hours, 6 minutes ago

Outdoor Life has an article entitled The Best Scope Rings of 2022.  They go the spectrum from Seekins to Night Force, from Zeiss to Leupold.  As for prices, they go from budget (just over $50) to around $500.

That’s what I’ve noticed about this market – the massive divide in price point.  Precision Rifle Blog has a rundown of what the long range competition shooters use, and as anyone might guess, it leans towards the pricey end of things with Nightforce being the most prominent of the choices.

Spuhr makes some very expensive mounts/rings too, mostly in the range of $400, up to $500 for quick detach mounts (which in my book are preferable to fixed mounts and rings).

What are the experiences of our readers?  Do you find much difference between moderately priced rings and the pricey ones?  Which ones do you prefer, and why?

I find that the really cheap ones are really cheap and not much worth having.

Cleaning Your Bolt Gun for its Long Winter’s Nap

BY Herschel Smith
5 days, 7 hours ago

He makes a good point about removal of the brass shavings under the extractor with a small tool.  I had never thought of that before.

Rifled Choke Tubes

BY Herschel Smith
1 week ago

American Hunter.

Finding a rifled choke tube isn’t particularly difficult for most common thread patterns, such as the Remington RemChoke, Benelli Crio Plus, Beretta/Benelli (Mobil), Beretta Optima HP, Browning Invector and Invector Plus, and Winchester Win Choke. At this time, Browning appears to be the only gunmaker that sells them direct to consumer (as accessories); there’s no need to fret, as aftermarket companies, and particularly Carlson’s Choke Tubes, cover those mentioned above and then some. Options in 12 gauge typically outnumber those in 20.

As with choke tubes offering varying degrees of constriction, rifled models are, at times, available in flush-fitting and extended configurations, though the latter are now conventional. I haven’t found one length to outperform the other, but the extra length of an extended model definitely aids the installation and removal process. Given that many slugs—including those featuring a sabot—can be used with fully rifled barrels and rifled choke tubes, it’s unsurprising that the twist rate of both are similar, if not identical. For instance, a 1:35-inch twist rate is commonly employed in 12 gauge.

While there is ammunition that plays nicely with both fully rifled barrels and rifled choke tubes, some is outright incompatible with the latter. When the manufacture states, “Use in fully rifled barrels only,” or something similar, heed their warning. Avoid that load. Unfortunately, such cautions are common to the highest-performing—and flattest shooting—slugs, but that’s simply the tradeoff associated with going the rifled-choke-tube route.

Provided there’s no warning, or the ammunition box reads, “Suitable for use in smoothbore and rifled shotguns with any choke,” or an analogous message, that slug is safe for use through your rifled choke tube. Most will be of the traditional, full-diameter, Foster-type design or Brenneke’s improved version, though there are sabot slugs that can be utilized in rifled choke tubes, too. Examples of the latter are Winchester’s Super-X BRI Sabot Slug, a favorite of mine, and Brenneke’s new Topas, which pairs a blue, 12-gauge wad with a Brenneke-style, lead-alloy, 16-gauge slug. That’s only the beginning, too.

I found this to be a very helpful article.  A day or two ago I watched Ron Spomer discuss rifled slugs, and I was a bit confused until I figured out we’re talking about two different things between the article above and Ron – rifled slugs that don’t spin versus rifled chokes that do spin a slug.

Anyway, I’m not a slug shooter so this was a learning experience for me.

14 podium finishes for Team Beretta at 2022 National Sporting Clays Championship

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago


Team Beretta shooters recently achieved 14 podium finishes during the 2022 National Sporting Clays Championship at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, TX.

Team Beretta members in attendance at this competition included Zachary Kienbaum, Anthony Matarese, Jr., Joseph Fanizzi, Desirae Edmunds, Diane Sorantino, Dominic Grossi, Meagan Harrington, and Jared Greenwood.

Kienbaum, shooting with a Beretta DT11, secured his third HOA National Champion title with an exceptional score of 285 out of 300 targets, besting his nearest competitor by 1 target. With this accomplishment and his back-to-back National wins in 2018 and 2019, Kienbaum joins a select group of two other sporting clays athletes as the only competitors to have ever won 3 National Championship HOA titles in NSCA history. Kienbaum, shooting with a Beretta A300 Ultima, also took home an additional champion title in the 20 Gauge event with a score of 94 out of 100 targets.

This could arguably be one of the best jobs on earth.  I’m not sure who’s job to admire the most – this one, or Ron Spomer’s job as a pro hunter.

But then, jealousy is a sin, so I better leave it at admiration for a job well done.  And that DT11 starts at $10,000.

Beretta Investing $60,000,000 To Build A New Ammunition Plant In Savannah, Georgia

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago


Beretta Holding Group (owner of Beretta, Benelli, Burris, Steiner, and more) announced today their plans to invest $60 million in a state-of-the-art ammunition plant to be located in Savannah, Georgia!

After their recent acquisition of Norma Precision, the Beretta Holding Group now employs over 1,000 people in the USA through Beretta USA, Benelli USA, Burris, Steiner eOptics, and Norma Precision.

Dott. Pietro Gussalli Beretta, President and CEO of Beretta Holding S.A. said:

“I am delighted to announce our commitment to invest $60 million through our newly acquired US ammunition subsidiary, Norma Precision. Together with my Family and Beretta Holding, we are very proud to add ammunition manufacturing to our US presence. That is a very special moment as we can now provide our loyal and dedicated US customers with a full range of locally manufactured premium products spanning from firearms to ammunition and optics, all united under the same Group. We are also supporting the local economic network by creating hundreds of new jobs.”

You were aware that Beretta owned those companies weren’t you, including Benelli?  Now they own Norma Precision.

This is a nice addition to my series on Gun Valley Moves South.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Review Of The Beretta 694

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 4 days ago

I would love to have this gun, but they’ve priced me out of the market at just over $4000.  I’d also like to have the predecessor to this one, the 686.

Model 686 is no longer in production so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find them for sale (although some are still out there).  They don’t a bit of upgrading and added $2000 to the price for the 694, making it less appealing that owning a model 686.

The comments in the video seem to prefer the 694 over the Browning.

Semi-Auto Shotgun Ascendancy

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 4 days ago

Shooting Illustrated.

Yup. No matter how good the shooter is with a pump. Many big 3-gun matches also have a side match for shotguns. There is usually a low target count, so nobody has to reload. The buzzer goes off and you shoot the targets. No reloading, running, jumping or standing on one leg, and no tricky targets. Just stand there and shoot the shotgun. Pump guns never win. No matter what the guy at the gun shop says, semi-autos are simply faster.

Semi-autos will not shoot all ammo.
That was an issue with that bird gun I mentioned and a few others, but not with most guns today. Today’s best semi-automatic shotguns can digest a wide range of ammo from low-recoil to full-power without a problem. Shotguns with the inertia system pioneered by Benelli, or the multi-port gas systems like Remington used in its guns, will handle all ammo. Most of the newer gas guns will likewise eat any ammo they are fed.

Semi-autos jam.
They pretty much don’t anymore. At least, no more than other firearms. Pumps do, though. I shoot a pump shotgun a lot. (I never said I don’t like them.) When it counts, I will now and then inadvertently short stroke and jam it up.

It’s not just me. I have seen even the very best pump-shotgun shooters in the world short stroke their guns when trying to go fast. The simple fact is that operating a pump shotgun is a human function. When subjected to stress, humans do not beat well-designed machines, because machines are not subject to emotional stress.

I agree with all of these remarks.  I think that a commitment to pump action shotguns over semi-auto shotguns because you believe that semi-auto shotguns are less reliable is based on a false paradigm that may have been correct 50 years ago, but certainly isn’t now.

Specifically, he’s reviewing the latest Savage tactical shotgun, the Renegauge Security.  It appears to want to compete with the Beretta 1301.  I doubt that it can come up to the level of the 1301, but since Savage didn’t send me one to review, I have no way of knowing with certainty.

It’s a nice looking gun, and maybe I’ll get a chance to shoot one some day.

They Fielded The Sig XM5 For All The Wrong Reasons

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 5 days ago

It always happens.  When the small Green Beret team was ambushed in Niger, Maj. General Bob Scales escalated his whining about the M4, demanding that it be replaced with a piston AR (a point completely irrelevant to anything that happened in the engagement).  The engagement was poorly planned, ill-conceived, and undermanned.  There was no QRF anywhere near them, the team was too small, they had no light or medium MGs (and certainly no heavy MGs), and I could go on with the failures.

But it’s the gun.  It’s always the gun.  It’s never the stupid Colonels and Generals who plan the missions.  It’s always the gun.  True to form, the reason they fielded the Sig XM5 was to bring battlefield superiority against – wait for itthe PKM.  It’s never the planners who put FOBs in the valleys between mountains and waste time even doing that, allowing the enemy to mass forces and field fighters that outnumber our troops by ten to one.  It’s the gun.  It’s always the gun.

No battle rifle can compete with a crew-served, belt-fed medium MG.  There are always answers to medium MGs, such as: taking the high ground, overwatch, QRF, CAS, using our own medium and heavy MGs, and maybe re-introducing a role for the long-forgotten grenadier (the M203 is not a sufficient replacement for the M79 in terms of range).  These things mean rethinking doctrine, weapons systems, TTPs, and training.  But they don’t want to do that – it’s always the gun.

If you want somewhat increased penetration and distance with the AR platform, I’ve already told you what to do.  Switch uppers to the 6mm ARC.  It’s a simple change, and would be the cheapest and most effective remedy for what is currently really a very small problem.  And in-between remedy for this would be to return the 20″ barrel Eugene Stoner originally designed.

But for whatever reason I cannot fathom, the U.S. Army has some sort of sordid love affair with Sig.  And for whatever reason I cannot understand (unless someone has pictures on active generals in the DoD complex), they always need a new rifle.  So here it is, all 13 lb of it.

Why I hunt with the 35 Remington

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks ago

This is yet another interesting video from Target Suite.

I do have a personal interest in this issue.  I was previously wondering if having a Marlin Model 336 30-30 and Marlin Model 336 in 35 Remington is redundant.  I also stumbled across this article in American Hunter magazine.

Which is the more useful cartridge? Of the two, which serves the hunter better? Traditionally, the tubular magazines of the popular lever-rifles restricted the cartridges to using round or flat-point bullets, to avoid the possibility of magazine detonation, should a pointed spitzer bullet hit the primer of the cartridge ahead of it in the magazine. The exception to that rule is Hornady’s LeveRevolution ammo line, which uses a pliable tip on a spitzer bullet to afford a much flatter trajectory in both cartridges. With the traditional loads, the .30-30 will drive its 150- and 170-grain bullets to a muzzle velocity of 2400 and 2250 fps respectively, while the .35 Remington launches its 180- and 200-grain bullets at 2100 and 2080 fps. Both generate between 1,800 and 1,900 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy with traditional loads, and the hot-rod LeveRevolution will certainly offer an improvement in ballistic figures, but the advancements are parallel between the two cartridges.

I did find it a bit amusing at about the 6:20 mark.  He should have left the stated value of 35% alone without “correction” in the video.  Comparison of areas would be done by the square of the radius: (0.358)^2 / (0.308)^2 ≈ 1.35.

Please weigh in with comments.  Do readers have a preference for 35 Remington over the 30-30, or vice versa, or none at all?  Then again, fine gentlemen of find upbringing have fine weapons, and there shouldn’t be a problem with a collection where both calibers are a part of it.

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