Sunday, January 04, 2015

I haven't written much about shooting lately,

so I ought to catch some of that up.
The arm/hand has been healing up nicely, with some odd quirks.  Like the area where the surgery was done has occasionally had a twinge, or a bit of soreness, but the wrist/hand gave me hell for a while.  Then the wrist was much better, and the hand improved.  Oddly, two fingers are still not up the snuff, but getting better.  All of which made using the right hand for shooting(or much else) from damn-near impossible, to difficult & painful, to a bit difficult, to just a bit of remaining difficulty. 

This included rifles, as getting hold of the grip(straight, pistol, didn't matter) flat hurt for a while, eased to "I can make five or ten shots, and that's it", to just the occasional twinge from those two fingers now.  Handguns, for most of that time, forget it, that was left-hand only. 

And no, I did not have a suitable left-hand holster.  Dad does some leatherwork, and modified one he'd made so I could use it.  Fast reloads were out of the question, very happily life continued without me having to use it.

As it is, pistols with stout recoil- like my Officer's Model with carry ammo- are still a problem, the right hand does not like that still.  It's not really the fingers, it's the hand where it takes the recoil push that gets upset after half a dozen or so.  Which is MUCH improved from a month ago, let alone two.

One of the interesting things I've learned is the Crimson Trace grips have another use: they tell me when those fingers aren't gripping as they should, since the button is right under the second finger, so if you're not properly squeezing the laser doesn't come on.  Which has helped a lot with dry-firing.  Which has forced me to work those fingers more, which has helped them improve.

Considering how long recovery has taken(possibly in part because I just don't heal as fast as I used to), you might be wondering of it was worth it.  Yes.

That pinched nerve had reached the point that it not only caused some numbness and tingling- which was getting worse- but it was screwing with my grip strength too.  No more tingling or numbness, and the grip strength is mostly back.  Yeah, it was worth it.

Getting more into shooting("Finally!", everyone cries), I do have a piece I'm working on on a particular subject, but it's not ready, so for now I'll cover an experiment with the X-Treme copper-plated 7.62 bullets.  Same ones used to work up those practice loads for 7.62x39.  I wondered how they'd work in 7.62x54r for the same purpose, so loaded some up* using 15.0 grains of 2400.  That load because the standard for 150 to 180-grain bullets in that cartridge is 16.0, and since these are 123 grains and I didn't want to overdrive them, I dropped it a grain as a starting point.

Short version, works fine.  With iron sights at 30 yards(weather's been cold and/or nasty enough no outdoor range for a while, which also means no chronograph readings) I'm getting about 1" groups with nice, clean holes; considering a so-so rest and not the best light, quite satisfactory.  Add in low recoil, and it's great for a Mosin for some general practice at an indoor range.  No sign of copper fouling in the barrel or other such problems.  True, haven't fired a lot of them, but no indications of any difficulties in the bore.

Occasionally, that flat nose is a problem as it didn't always want to feed smoothly(possibly a quirk with this rifle).  Just on general principles I wish these bullets had a smaller nose, but if this is the worst problem encountered I won't bitch too much.  Which does bring up a thought, wonder if you could size these with a Lee bullet sizer to .309, and if so how it'd work in .308 or .30-06, maybe .30-30?  Probably have to lube them a bit, but I think I'll give it a try.

Yes, I know X-Treme makes 150-grain plated for .308 bores; I'm just wondering... 

As a general reference, I've used a lot of their plated pistol bullets over the last few years, with no problems of fouling or whatever from them.  And their 110-grain roundnose for .30 Carbine work well, too.

Another company that makes plated bullets is Berry's; I've used a bunch of theirs, too, and they were the plated I started with.  Zero problems, good quality stuff.  In cartridges like .38 Special I usually use the X-Treme because they can be had with a cannelure for roll-crimping; with bullets for semi-auto where you use a taper crimp, or wadcutters where you crimp over the front edge of the bullet, they both work beautifully, so find which has the best price and grab them.  One more plug for a company: T.J. Conavera carries both X-Treme and Berry's, and sometimes has the best price.

The one thing I see as a possible problem with plated bullets is in pistols, more specifically .38 Special.  If you're used to using low-end loads with 148-grain cast wadcutters, remember that even though the plated are a lot softer than standard jacketed, they're harder than cast, so a bottom-end cast load might not give enough velocity to push these harder bullets out.  Borrowing from the Berry's page on wadcutters:
When loading for these bullets, you need to use data that will attain 800 fps as a minimum.  Most of the data for this bullet weight was created using a dead soft lead projectile with velocities under the 800 fps and will not work for a this bullet at those lower velocities.
I'd imagine the same is true for X-Treme, and I've been loading accordingly.

That about catches this up, so if you'll excuse me, I need some tea.

*The standard practice load I've been using in this and a number of other cartridges with those weight cast bullets came from Cast Boolits; if you're using cast bullets or thinking of starting, go look the place over, it's a treasure trove of information.
And working the lever on a loading press was a "No you won't!" thing for quite a while, too.


Anonymous said...

Really not a robot ;-)
I've used a lot of Xtreme pistol bullets in 9mm and .40S&W and have been quite happy. A bit of .380 and .38 likewise.
Honestly hadn't thought about plated Rifle rounds much, but loading something light in .312 for the MN that is inexpensive ans soft-shooting is a great idea and worth following up on.
Makes me wonder about my friend with a new LE .303 as well...
Appreciate a great Blog BTW, I'd follow it even without the scientific studies.

Firehand said...

For some reason, trying them in .303 hadn't occurred; you're right, that needs to be tried.

I did load another five in 7.62x54r, cycled with no problems and shot well. Looking forward to a warm(at least warmer) day when I can take some of these and some other stuff to the outdoor range where I can try them with a solid bench and 50- and 100-yard distances. I'll have to set up some .303, too.