Saturday, April 30, 2016

Does Not Work That Way


"Indiana" is not having a primary this week. The Indiana Democratic Party and the Indiana Republican Party are having primaries this week. I don't see why I have any more say in who they want their delegates to vote for than they do in what I want for dinner.
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Starting up the Steyr...

Since I ran the Glock 37 concurrently with the P250 and Canik and the Glock 19 concurrently with the P320 and PPX,  it makes sense (at least to me) to have a non-Glock test running alongside the Glock 32.

Some non-Glocks are more non-Glock than others, of course, and the Steyr C9-A1 was designed by a dude who'd previously done work for the Austrian 800lb gorilla. Legend has it that when they didn't want to incorporate some of his new ideas, he set out to make his own theme park, with blackjack and hookers get a gun produced by Steyr that incorporated them.

The Steyr M9 (and its smaller S9 and C9 offspring) could be thought of as one dude's vision of a Glock Mk.II.

Friday I brought the Steyr C9-A1 to MCF&G along with the Glock 32 in order to get a bit of chrono work done and fire some initial rounds on the steel in the bays...

The gun had been field-stripped and a drop of Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil added at all points indicated in the owner's manual.

I had a fifty-round box of CCI Blazer Brass 115gr FMJ and a fifty-round box of Federal 9BPLE 115gr +P+ JHP.

Other than a light primer strike (that lit off on the second attempt) on round #8 of the day, the firearm went through the complete cycle of operation every time I pulled the trigger.

The slide release is so easy to reach with the strong side thumb, BTW, that it only locked open for me a couple times. It is very easy to ride the slide release if you shoot a thumbs-forward grip. Much easier than even with a Sig.

Velocities recorded are below (70°F, ~700ft ASL):
CCI Blazer Brass 115gr FMJ
LO: 1055
HI: 1121
AV: 1097
ES: 66.19
SD: 19.41

Federal 9BPLE 115gr +P+ JHP
LO: 1273
HI: 1307
AV: 1296
ES: 34.10
SD: 10.53
Notice how light those numbers are from the Blazer Brass? This is from that same lot that was so weak it wouldn't reliably run the Canik TP9v2. It ran the Steyr okay, but the ejection was a sight to behold, as the rounds dribbled weakly from the ejection port...

video
It did make it easy to wear out the steel at twenty yards with those mouse-fart loads and the Steyr's low bore axis, though. (Did I just say "low bore axis"? I feel dirty.)

This makes 100 rounds fired through the Steyr C9-A1 without cleaning or lubing, with one failure-to-fire (#8). 1,900 rounds left to go.
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Special Snowflake Glock Part Deux

G32 with seemingly ubiquitous PHLster and UpLULA
Went to MCF&G yesterday morning to do some chrono work in the pistol bays. This project was interrupted by the need to leave the range and get a fresh 9-volt for the chrono, but fortunately someone was shooting in the next bay over and agreed to keep an eye on my chrono setup while I ran down the road for a Duracell.

I brought along a twenty-round box of Hornady Critical Duty 135gr FlexLock and a fifty-round box of Winchester RA357B 125gr Ranger Bonded hollow points.

The gun still showed that it liked a strong grip, as the slide didn't trickle all the way back into battery after firing one of the Rangers. If this is a persistent problem, I'm going to talk to smarter people and see what they say about going to a stronger recoil spring.

Ballistics, in case you don't want to decipher my chicken scratch in the picture:
Hornady Critical Duty 135gr
LO: 1176
HI: 1202
AV: 1186
ES: 26.28
SD: 8.66

Winchester RA357SB 125gr Ranger Bonded
LO: 1308
HI: 1379
AV: 1348
ES: 71.00
SD: 23.49
Note that, once again, Hornady delivers amazingly consistent numbers. That 8.66fps Standard Deviation is match-grade in anybody's book. Interestingly, Winchester claims 1350fps for this load from a 4.00" test barrel, and I observed 1348 from a 4.00" gun. This was a novelty to me.

If anybody's still turned on by energy numbers, that's 422 foot-pounds for the Critical Defense and 504 for the Ranger.

So, that makes 169 total rounds fired with three failures to go completely into battery (#63, #78, #126). 1,831 rounds left to go.
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Overheard in the Office...

Me: "$%&# internet. %$&# people. I %$@&ing hate people. I wish they'd all go play in traffic and get hit by buses."

RX: "Wouldn't work. You'd need people to drive the buses."

Me: "After the first round, you get half the bus drivers to get out and get run over by the other bus drivers and then keep doing that until there's only one guy left, and I beat him to his knees with a lead pipe."

RX: "You'd never get them all that way. They'd be making new little drivers in the back of the buses faster than you could run them over."

Me: "Can I put this on the internet?"

RX: "Sure. There's your blog content for the morning problem solved."

Friday, April 29, 2016

Some Pointers for the Budding Arsenal

Kevin Creighton offers his views on the "Okay, I bought a CCW gun. What other guns do I need to buy?" question...
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That '90s Show...

Discovered these while rummaging around through boxes, looking for more .357SIG ammo...
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Project Other Whimsy

So, on to the next 2,000 round Glock test. Continuing the theme of special snowflake Glock chamberings, I'll be trying out the 32, Glock's midsize offering in .357SIG.

Trivial Pursuit, firearms category: I once had a very early Glock 33, the subcompact in the same caliber. Back then, the gun was still rollmarked ".357SIG", but this was before the court battle against Smith & Wesson over the Sigma. After that, Glock decided they wouldn't be putting other company's brand names on their guns, and so ".357SIG" and ".40S&W" became ".357" and ".40".

In the picture above, the pistol is in a Skeleton Gen2 holster from PHLster and is accompanied by the ever-present UpLULA, which is practically required to get the thirteenth round in those magazines when they're new.

The pistol was disassembled and a drop of Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil was applied to all lubrication points indicated in the Glock Armorer's Manual.

I brought two boxes of FMJ ammunition to the range: 124gr copper-plated from Fiocchi, and 140gr FMJ fromSellier & Bellot.

I did not chronograph anything yesterday, but the S&B definitely had more sturm und drang, with vivid fireballs at the muzzle and noticeably more muzzle flip.

The S&B also had one round (#65 of the day) that refused to fit in the Glock's chamber.

As a side note, the Gen3 Model 32 feels somewhat undersprung. This is unsurprising since, like the .40 cal Model 23, it uses the recoil spring assembly meant for the 9x19 Glock 19. The slide bottomed out hard in recoil with the S&B and trickled back into battery.

Usually.

On two rounds of the S&B, the slide required a nudge from the thumb to close it all the way.

Printing slightly high and left for me. God I hate the factory Glock "sights".

So, that makes 99 total rounds fired with two failures to go completely into battery (#63, #78). 1,901 rounds left to go.
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Sorting out the P250, Part II...

So I grabbed a box of that Armscor .380, the P250C, and my Bodyguard .380 and headed to the range, where I also secured the use of the range's Sig Sauer P238 rental gun.

I put three magazines (eighteen rounds) through the Smith & Wesson, and three magazines (twenty-one rounds) through the P238 with no failures to feed. The remaining eleven rounds went through the P250, also without any failures of any type.

Weird.

Now, this was a different box of the same ammo, which means that, even if it was in the same shipment, it could be a completely different lot number. I have no way of knowing, since the box from the rounds that jammed up the P250 is in a trash can back near Topeka. Was it just a lot that ran a little thick in the rim?

BG380 lower left, P238 lower right, P250C on the center circle, all at seven yards. I fired a box of .380 Blazer Brass through the P250 to function check it. It ran fine.

Incidentally, that box of fifty was fired at a pace that exceeded the range speed limit, roughly half-second splits, since I had the range to myself. The two smaller pistols were fired slow-fire, concentrating hard on sight picture and trigger press. Bigger guns are generally easier to shoot accurately.
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Harris Publications is Gone With the Wind

Bigger story can be found here.
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Tab Clearing...

Reading Room

A thread at a forum was asking for recommendations for PopSci books that were interesting and enlightening. My current two standing recommendations:

And so it begins.

The Clash of the Midgets being still unresolved, the circus sideshow that is the 2016 Presidential Election has shifted its focus to my home state.

Despite the expenditure of cubic miles of $USD, the only thing this entire campaign season has produced that's worth a damn is that old hippie's ad with the Simon & Garfunkel tune...


Too bad Bernie wouldn't know America if it bit him on the ass. (Which it appears to be doing, via the baroque primary rules of the apparently hilariously misnamed Democratic Party.)

So far this morning my TV has showed me ads for every one of this pack of losers except Kasich, but the morning is young, yet.

If this is what it's like after the weakest links have all failed, I don't know how Iowans and New Hampshirites could stand it, back when the candidates were still thick as dog turds in Michael Vick's back yard.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New guns...

From a press release for a new CCW gun...
"There are no plastic or mimed parts on the PKO-45."
Thank heavens. I hate it when my gun starts walking against the wind or gets trapped in an invisible box because of mimed parts.
"It boasts a revolutionary fixed-barrel-under-the-guide-rod configuration, resulting in less recoil felt by the operator."
That's super revolutionary. It's so revolutionary that John Browning's very first commercially successful autopistol used it a hundred and seventeen years ago.

But it looks like the PKO-45 is more of a copy of the Bayard 1908, itself something of a riff on the M1899/1900 Browning.


(H/T to Unc.)
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Automotif CXXIV...

1975 Oldsmobile Toronado. Oldsmobile's "personal luxury coupe" entry on GM's E-body platform. This thing stretches most of eighteen and a half feet between stem and stern.

Front-wheel drive, with a longitudinal 455 c.i.d. V8 (that's 7.5 liters for those of you who live places that have never been to the moon) driving a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic transmission via a chain off the output end of the crank.

Notice how much of it hangs past the Subie forester parked behind it...
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Sorting out the P250, Part I...

So I took the P250 to MCF&G yesterday morning and ran some chronograph tests.

The Armscor was not as weak as I would have supposed..
Armscor .380ACP 95gr FMJ
LO: 881.7
HI: 950.4
AV: 919.7
ES: 68.75
SD: 21.16
That's actually fairly warm for .380 FMJ range ammo. Thinking back carefully to those few strings of fire in Topeka, did I actually have any failures to eject? Or were they all failures to feed? Was I just superimposing memories of the Canik test and automatically assuming underpowered ammo was the culprit?

I have to say that I honestly do not remember any failures to eject. They were all failures to feed, and of a very specific kind, to boot.

See the picture above? Notice that the extractor claw is not popped fully out of the frame?

In a tilting-barrel recoil-operated gun, the slide moves forward and pushes the top round in the magazine forward. The nose of the bullet bumps into the angled feed ramp, which points the nose of the cartridge up and toward the chamber. At some point in its forward travel, the cartridge is freed from the feed lips of the magazine and the rear of the cartridge slides up the breechface, allowing the cartridge rim to slip under the extractor claw and the slide to close on the chambered round.

(I warned you that this was going to get nerdy and to tape up your glasses, didn't I?)

The first part of the travel is pretty easy. It's almost comical the way most folks have a knee-jerk reaction to "Polish the feed ramp!" as though this were the cure for every feeding ill. A polished feed ramp is pretty but doesn't have a ton to do with feed reliability. All the feed ramp needs to do is bump the cartridge in the right direction.

What is happening here is that the cartridge has made it around the "first corner", in that the nose of the round has been bumped into the correct upward orientation by the feed ramp, but it hasn't made it around the "second corner": The rear of the cartridge has not slid smoothly up the breech face and under the extractor claw.

The Armscor round is on the right, and a round of CCI Blazer Brass FMJ is on the left. Note that the Armscor round is a tiny bit longer, has a much pointier ogive to the bullet, and the rim appears to be a smidge thicker, too.

This pistol has been stone cold reliable over the course of 2,000+ rounds with everything fed it except the Armscor. The solution is obvious:
Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
Doctor: "Then stop doing that."
While I was at the range, I also ran a chronograph test on Speer's 90gr Gold Dot hollowpoint load for the .380ACP. To say I was surprised by the results would be an understatement...
Speer .380ACP 90gr GDHP
LO: 1052
HI: 1099
AV: 1080
ES: 47.80
SD: 14.45
That's smokin' hot for major label .380 ammo. That's 160fps faster than Hornady Critical Defense and 240fps faster than Barnes TAC-XPD fired from the same pistol. I hope to do some ballistic gel testing on this load soon.
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"The Wages of Smug is Trump"

Outstanding piece at Vox on "The smug style in American liberalism." Definitely worth the read.
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Ballistic Nerdery Ahead...

Spent some time at MCF&G with the P250 and a chrono yesterday morning. I'll have to go bust a few more caps this morning to confirm my theory, but I think I've figured out what the deal was with the Armscor.

Y'all start taping your glasses, this is gonna get nerdy when I get back.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

They work great until they don't...

I took that little Sig Sauer P250 Compact with me to Topeka, intending to run it in the class.

Lucky Gunner kindly sponsored the ammo for the class, and so instead of having to transport half a case of .380ACP halfway across the country, five hundred rounds of Armscor .380 was waiting for me at the range.

Saturday morning in the hotel room, I took the P250 apart, applied a drop of Slip2000 EWL to all the lubrication points, and reassembled the pistol.

After lunch on that first class day, preparatory to beginning the shooting portion of the curriculum, I swapped out the Glock 19 on my belt for the P250 and a Bladetech Eclipse holster. On the first drill from the holster, the gun began exhibiting issues. Multiple failure-to-eject and failure-to-feed issues, suspiciously like the Canik TP9v2 shooting Blazer Brass.

Fortunately everybody else in the class was shooting 9mm and Lucky Gunner had brought plenty of that, so I switched back to my G19 carry gun and finished up the class with it.

I brought the Armscor .380 ammo home with me and I'm about to take it to the range for some chrono work...

So, what are the lessons from this?

  1. Just because a gun has functioned with complete reliability up until this point, there's no guarantee it will continue to do so.

  2. Always bring a second gun to class. This is the second class I've been to now where a heretofore completely reliable pistol has $#!+ the bed hard, bright and early on the morning of the first day.

Monday, April 25, 2016

So...

I rolled out of Topeka in the passenger seat of a pickup truck somewhere around 8:30 or 9:00 local time last night. Caught a brief nap in a parking lot in Poseyville, down in southern Indiana, before continuing on to pick up my car near L'ville right around 0800. I decided to brave the morning rush hour traffic and headed right back out in the Zed Drei, arriving home a little after 10:30.

I'm exhausted, but don't want to go to bed and wind up waking up at midnight, so I'm going to try to stay awake a little longer. I doubt I'll be very coherent, though...
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Saturday, April 23, 2016