Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cast bullets in rifles: why?

Og took me to task one day for shooting cast in my rifles. And the fact is, you can run into problems. So why do it?

Three reasons for me:
1. Cost
2. Tailoring loads
3. I enjoy rolling my own

Admittedly, for some rifles not much difference. You can often buy FMJ bullets for very good prices, especially if you buy them in bulk. For others, for which pulled military ball is not available, there can be quite a difference. You do have to figure in the costs of a method of melting the lead, lube and(where appropriate) gas checks and, for many, a size/lube press. Happily, you can get some good stuff for not very much, and if take care of they'll last damn near forever.

Tailoring loads:
I started using these for my Model 94 back when my son weighed about 70 pounds and loved shooting it; my standard loads whacked him pretty hard, so I started making these so I could put together light loads for him. And the fact is, light loads that work in your rifle are good for practice. For some rifles can cut costs quite a bit(less powder for one) and give you a low-recoil, low-noise load that gives good accuracy. Which also makes them good for introducing someone to a centerfire rifle.

One more good point here: there are a lot of old rifles out there that in some cases should not be used with modern full-power ammo, or you just don't want to stress them that much even if in good condition. For these you can put together loads that won't stress things too much, and allow you to keep shooting them.

I just like it:
It's really neat to take old wheel weights and other scrap, melt & clean it, then turn it into shiny new bullets. In some cases you don't even need the size & lube press; if the as-cast diameter of the bullet matches the bore, you can lube it with something like Lee Liquid Alox and go from there.

There is another factor to consider, and it's the same as in handloading in general: is it worth your time? A lot of shooters(like Kim)don't handload because they consider any benefit in savings/tailoring loads not worth the time, and casting bullets does take some. For a lot of people, while handloading may be fine, the extra time and the expense of getting started just isn't worth it.

Quickie size/lube procedure

Take a cast bullet & gas check

Take the sizing die and top punch

The die is machined & polished perfectly round and the exact diameter you want the bullet to be, in this case .309". The nose punch fits the bullet nose so it isn't distorted in the process.

Put the die & punch into the sizing/lubing press.

The lock ring on the right holds the die in place. The press holds a stick of bullet lube and, since I use the hard, high-temp lube which has to be heated, it's bolted onto a heater. When the lube is up to temp, you place the gas check in the die, set the shank of the bullet into the check,

And press down on the lever. The bullet is forced into the die and formed to exact diameter and the gas check is crimped onto the bullet heel. You can't see it in this picture but there's a lever on top of the press that puts pressure on the lube, forcing it through the passages, into the die and then into the lube grooves. Then you raise the lever, which lifts the bullet out, and you have a ready-to-load bullet. The picture I took of the finished product didn't come out; when I get the chance I'll take another and add it in.

Update: here 'tis:

A gas check is just a copper cup that fits on the base of a bullet designed for it; they will not fit on a plain-base bullet. A gas check bullet has a 'heel' on the base of smaller diameter where the check fits.

There are two kinds of gas checks. One is just a cup that slips on and the sizing process squishes it in a bit; the other has a thicker rim that's actually crimped onto the heel. I prefer the second type, as I've heard of cases of the other type coming off in the barrel. Which is bad.

The purpose of a gas check is to protect the base of the bullet from the hot propellant gas. Up to a point it's no problem; start loading the bullet up to higher velocities, and the gas winds up cutting into the base/corners and two things happen: accuracy can degrade, and the barrel WILL have a fouling problem.

Having spent the last couple of days in hard work

helping my parents out(hey, putting up the gazebo roof took damn near 15 minutes of hard work!), in exchange for which I only got fed, I'm now going to work on too little sleep.

Ok, so I got fed well(fresh squash out of the garden, etc.) And I got to use Dads' size lube press on a bunch of cast bullets. It was still hot outside.

Shut up. It was hot.

Oh well. More on the cast bullets later. Hopefully I'll be more coherent after some sleep.

Just saw the new(er) Shakira video,

Hips Don't Lie

I don't know if they lie, but hers damn sure carry on a conversation...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If someone hasn't noticed,

This is what we're dealing with

The enemy is a bunch of pre-civilized filth.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A thought about the chemical warheads they found in Iraq

They were a mix of Sarin and mustard gas, as I recall. A bunch of people said that after this long they'd be useless, and with mustard I don't doubt it; I've read that stuff is corrosive and doesn't last too long.

However, the sarin could be a whole 'nother story. If mixed, it won't last long either from what I've read. But, remember the IED that was a sarin shell? It was a binary; the two chemicals are kept separate until the shell is fired, then the barrier is breached and they mix. If these were binary shells too, then the damn things might still be very dangerous.

And how many more are out there?

Enfield Trainer

I mentioned shooting this the other day, and while I wrote about this rifle before(I think), I can't find the post, so here it is again.

Every army has had the problem of training new recruits. In many countries, many times they had never even held a firearm before, so starting them off with a .30-06 or 8x57mm or something was not the best of methods. Could be done, but add LOUD noise and substantial recoil in some rifles to new shooter and that's not a recipe for quick learning.

Some just picked a good bolt-action .22 and went with it, and some did this: take a standard infantry rifle, bore and chamber it for .22lr, modify the bolt- and sometimes the magazine- for the smaller cartridge, and you have a rifle slightly heavier than the standard(due to the smaller bore), but otherwise everything- trigger, sights, safety and all- was the same. So a new trainee could learn the fundamentals of shooting with the standard rifle, only with .22-level noise and no recoil to notice.

In the case of the British:

It's a #1 MkIII Enfield in all ways except cartridge and being single-shot. To simplify matters, and so as to not worry about a new troop accidentally chambering a round without realizing it, the magazine is the shell only, and there's no ejector; you place a round in the chamber, close the bolt, fire, and when you open the bolt the extractor pulls out the empty and it falls into the magazine body. Very simple and neat. And for a country worried about costs, makes collecting the brass easy.

This one has two differences from the couple I've seen before. You'll notice that it has the standard rear sight, but this one also has something interesting: a Ross rifle rear sight mounted on the receiver. In the down position it's a low, wide 'V':

and when flipped up

it's an aperture with a screw-adjustment for elevation. Which is what first caught my eye; I was at a show and, walking past a rack, saw what I thought was just another #1 until I saw that odd sight on the receiver. Which made me look more closely and when I saw it was a .22 I about freaked. I'd seen one once before; a friend had spent a couple of years looking for one before finding it, but that one did not have this sight. There's a bracket mounted to the left side of the receiver with a dovetail slot; the base for the sight fits into the slot, and a thumbscrew locks it in place:

And, right in front of the magazine is a third sling swivel. When I mentioned the rear sight and the swivel to Og, he had a fit; apparently it's not just a trainer, it's a match rifle.

All in all, it's a really neat piece of history that I get to care for for a while. The receiver is marked 1916; I don't know if it was purpose-built from the first, or if they picked a standard rifle and rebarreled/modified it for training. In either case it was very well cared for; the metal and wood are in beautiful shape, and the bore is pristine. With both Eley Sport and Federal Lightning it'll shoot very well; as the target I posted the other day shows, less than 3" at a hundred yards. I think with a solid rest(or a better shooter) it might group a bit better, but all things considered I ain't complaining.

Oh, and this is one of the reasons I take every good opportunity to tell the UN to piss off; "Prohibit civilian possession of military-style rifles", as the IANSA would force, would mean this beautiful piece of the past would wind up in a smelter.

Assuming some thieving bureaucrat didn't sneak it away for himself. The bastards.

My Acidman goodbye

It's possible you never saw his place; he called it Gut Rumbles, and he wrote about everything, including every damn thing in his life, good and bad, past, present and possible future. Once worked a lot with acids; thus he used Acidman as a moniker.

He died the other day; between health problems, despair and- in the current 'I feel like I'm gonna get stomped' situation- the IRS, I think his system just wore down.

I once wrote in a comment somewhere about him that it's amazing how someone you know solely from a blog, a few pictures and a few e-mails could come to touch you. He reminded me a bit of Jed Clampett(had Jed had a seedy youth playing in bars), had that same southern country gentleman attitude. Though a lot more rough-tongued about things, without question.

There's a bunch of people posting on what he meant to them, and how they'll miss him, like here, and here, and here. There's not much on that line to say that someone else probably hasn't said better.

Like Og said, athiest or not, he's in my prayers. 'Bye, Rob.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The previous post brought to you- especially-

by a day at the range

With a friend and his son. Lots of ammo expended, lots of holes in targets, a hot and thirsty good time had by all.

In particular the kid. He'd been with us once before and couldn't hit the paper at 50 yards. At all. Moved up to 25, he could usually hit the paper but in patterns, not groups. BIG patterns. Today he started with his dads' Winchester 94/22(looks like a scaled-down model 94, but in .22lr with side-ejection) and did much better than before. And then he tried the Martini model 12(similar to the 12/15 here) and fell in love. And shot even better. Mind you, he had to use a rest, as it was too heavy for him to hold in any offhand position, but he liked it anyway. Can't blame him.

I fired a couple of things, but mostly enjoyed the #1 MkIII training rifle. I can't find the post I did on it a while back; if I can later I'll add a link. Think the #1 Enfield .303, but bored to shoot .22lr ammo. It's a marvelous thing, in this case with a Ross rear sight added on. The Ross has a wide, low notch, but when you flip the ladder up it's an aperture. Large aperture, but still works well. Enough to to allow me to do this at 100 yards with it:

A little over 2.5" spread, which I'm quite happy with. I just love shooting these old rifles.

And now, I need to put the trash out so it isn't missed(again).

More on the UN 'Ban Guns From Anybody Except Governments' conference

I wrote on it here and here; in the second Noddy very kindly posted addresses in the comments. I remembered seeing something(ok, a lot of somethings) at The High Road, and tracked down this thread on the matter. Which includes a very interesting excerpt from the IANSA report recently issued.

In this article, it quotes Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka, who's president-designate of the conference as saying "...the NRA campaign is totally misguided because the meeting is "not aimed at banning small arms or controlling weapons that are legally manufactured, purchased or traded in conformity with national laws". . Sounds good, right? Except that the excerpt has the following:

2. Regulation of civilian ownership of weapons

To maintain public safety, civilian gun possession must be
recognised as a privilege with associated responsibilities for
maintaining public safety. In most countries, in order to drive a car,
applicants must pass a test proving their fitness to drive before a
licence is issued. If a car crashes killing a pedestrian, the owner of
the car can be identified by checking the registration plate which
will be linked to the owner’s name. Guns are specifically designed
to kill. Yet the majority of countries do not have effective licensing or
registration systems for guns.

So it's a 'privilege', not a right. And 'privileges' can be taken away at any time, can't they?

Regulation of guns in civilian hands was omitted from the agreement in 2001 and thus did not form part of states’ obligations in the Programme of Action. Despite this, 70 per cent of governments have included information on controlling civilian possession in their reports to the UN since 2001. Governments clearly understand the importance of regulating civilian possession in order to prevent diversion; it is time for the UN small arms process to recognise it too.
"...the importance of regulating civilian possession in order to prevent diversion..."
Because you can't have a bunch of uppity peasants able to defend themselves, now can you? And if the peasants have arms, there's not telling where they might get to.

Governments should agree to:
• Promote gun owner responsibility by requiring all firearms to be
registered. Individuals permitted to own guns and ammunition
must be held to account for their security, use and misuse.

Promote "...owner responsibility by requiring all firearms to be registered and Individuals permitted to own..." There's that 'permitted' thing again, and a UN-approved registration system of course; can you say 'nightmare'? I knew you could.

• Define minimum criteria for private ownership of guns with a national system of licensing. These should include proven capacity to handle a gun safely; knowledge of the relevant law; age limit; proof of valid reason; and a security screening based on criminal record or history of violence, including intimate partner violence. Licences should also be required for ammunition.
So you have to show 'proof of valid reason to have a firearm, and to buy ammo. And who decides what a 'valid reason' is, I wonder? Someone like Rebecca Peters, I'd guess. Who thinks there is no such thing as a 'valid reason' to own a gun.

• Prohibit civilian possession of military-style rifles, including semiautomatic rifles that can be converted to fully automatic fire and semi-automatic variants of military weapons.
So there goes your Garand, you M1 Carbine, your FAL, your AK, your anything. And, let's see, 'military-style rifles, including..." That means their list includes that 1903 Springfield, that 96 or 98 Mauser, that old S&W or Colt or Webley/Enfield or Nagant pistol or any other firearm they decide is 'military-style'. I wonder how many they'll decide don't fit the list?

• Block access to guns for people with a history of violence, particularly against intimate partners or family members.
Sounds not too bad, until you remember the crap the Lauterberg Amendment has caused. And you damn well know they'll count anything, including self-defense, as a 'history of violence'.

• Introduce safe storage requirements to prevent gun accidents, suicide, misuse and theft.
So you have to have a certified and approved safe(as expensive as possible) and let agents of the government into your home any hour of day or night to inspect. Uh-huh.

• Regulate manufacturers and dealers. A national register of all manufacturers and their distribution network, including firearm
dealers, would help prevent diversion to illicit use.

Now, we've already got all that. But just think of the layers of bureaucracy and cost these clowns could dream up to add to it.

And all this, according to the president-designate, is
"not aimed at banning small arms or controlling weapons that are legally manufactured, purchased or traded in conformity with national laws"

My aching redneck ass it's not. Can you say 'lying, two-faced nanny-state socialist politician who hates our freedoms and liberty'?

I knew you could