Sunday, August 11, 2013

Frickin' frangibles...

So, it was a beautiful day at the range. Low seventies and sunny, a shaded firing line, and the only negative weather-wise was humidity that required gills.

After a bit of shooting with the .22 to make a hole in the middle of the target, I got out the M&P 357 and went to work with it.

It's a bone stock gun except for the sights, with a truly awful early M&P trigger that has absolutely no tactile reset. I'm getting to where I kind of like that: It forces me to shoot it like a revolver and quit trying to play fruity reset games with the trigger that can cause trigger freeze. (Maybe I could shoot an LEM or DAK trigger better these days than I usedtacould? I should try that.)

The first ammo I shot was a box of Fire Frangible ammo from Precision Ammunition. The projectiles were either ??gr or maybe ???gr; the manufacturer did not deem that information important enough to note on the box.

I got to shooting and thought to myself "You know, I know I'm not that good of a shooter, but I'm not that bad, either, and these things are hitting all over the place." So for the last few rounds in the box, I fired slow deliberate shots at each of the three small targets above the main bull. The two I fired at the center target are circled in orange above. That's a not-quite-3" target at only seven yards, and I was barely hitting it.

Was it me? Or the ammo? Or the gun?

I broke out a box of conventional Fiocchi 124gr FMJ and the first five rounds of it that I fired are in the yellow outline. I used the same sight picture as before, only with much better results.

I'm guessing the flyweight sintered bullets might not be grouping that well, what do you think?

(Incidentally, this is one of the downsides to using oddball superlight projectiles like Glaser or MagSafe for self-defense: Twist rates, locking geometry, and sights are seldom set up to work with rounds whose ballistics vary wildly from the norm.)

(PPS: According to Blogger, this was my ten-thousandth post on VFTP! Go Team Me!)


Phil said...

Kind of sounds like the difference between a generic .22LR round and a Stinger.

10.000 posts?! Dang!
I have been blogging since 2006 and I ain't nowhere near that.

Al T. said...

I'm seeing more and more issues with ammo. I've got most of a case of Federal 115 gr Champion left as it manages to both group poorly and throw wild fliers. Bleh....

Joe in reno said...

The lower shot on the orange group sorta looks like it was starting to tumble.

mikee said...

When you are good enough to tell the differences in your shooting are due to ammo type or bullet weight, as you so obviously are, I'd say you're a darn sight better shot, by a long shot, than me.

Any thoughts on the use of 22LR for practice, when one carries a 9mm, .40 or .45 for social uses?

Will shooting mostly the smaller caliber mess one up for shooting the larger calibers under stress in any particular way?

J.R.Shirley said...

What?!!! Your magic bullets weren't magic? NOOOOOOOOOOO!


Totally with you, on the oddball stuff. I used to talk fairly frequently with Mullins...who eventually changed their name to Extreme Shock!!!1! after their polyester bullets were finally perfected. Maybe we'd take them seriously if they'd used better advertising at the beginning, instead of the doofus that did Dork Ops and Blackhawk.

Old NFO said...

Wow... That really IS an issue!

Steve Skubinna said...

So this is where we're supposed to weigh in and state that your caliber is crap, and that your model gun is crap, plus your stance is all wrong, right?

Dunno. I never have those issues with my caliber. I don't even need to shoot it, I just show it to the goblin and he falls down dead with every internal organ ruptured.

Oh, also your grip sucks.

Did I do that right?

Will said...

After my experience with some blue crap, the only place I would bother with Glasafe types would be against paper targets. Which reminds me, I forgot to take a batch of .25acp blue with me to my last range outing, to get rid of it.

I suspect that part of the problem with this sort of ammo is due to low production amounts. Too many variables can be introduced when it isn't fully automated, high volume, debugged production lines.

You would need detail oriented perfectionists, and production managers actively discourage retention of this type of employee, even when they are desperately needed to make less than perfect designs actually function properly.

Frank W. James said...

I've always fiigured frangible was for shooting steel at 5 ft or closer so I never worried about its accuracy....

All the Best,
Frank W. James

Thomas Smith said...

I had a packet of Glasers and literally could not hit a 2 liter bottle at 10 feet with the stuff. I assume the loose pellets in the jacket cause instatumble. Epic fail I wish I'd fired some earlier I would never have carried it as I did.

Ed Foster said...

Precision supplied a number of 1,500 round cases of .223 frangible ammo to Stag Arms for a police shoot about 7 or 8 years ago, and severely hot rounds were common, at least 1 per mag, often 2 or 3. Bulges, partial case head separations, the whole deal.

They gave me a case of it and I did a complete rundown on variations in powder charge, bullet seating depth, ogive length variations, and primer seating.

I got a really nice letter back from the owner, thanking me for giving him the information he needed to make better ammo, and I haven't heard of any problems Precision has had with overpressure or functioning glitches since.

I agree with you that frangible is intrinsically less accurate than solid core, usually by a big margin. It's primarily for short range shooting in desperate circumstances or gallery/police range competitions.

Within that large margin though, I'd have to say Precision is doing a good job at providing reliability with it's product, which is more than I can say for many of their competitors.

Besides, I got to pull down and keep all the ammo, sold the frangible projos, and shot lots of very nice PMC primed brass for the next two years. Not having to do the cleaning and resizing for all that time made me very lazy.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I think Frangible Bullets should be restricted to those who wanted them in the first place: Lawyers and Treehuggers.

rickn8or said...

10,000 posts. Wow.

Think what that amounts to in cubic Free Ice Cream. Or tank cars of weapons-grade Snark.

You're much too good to us.

Woodman said...

I don't mean to be flippant, but at 7 yards getting in a three inch circle is within minute of bad guy isn't it?

Or is the thinking that if it's off that much when you are taking your time at the range how much worse would it be in a serious situation?

Tam said...


Three inches off the sights at seven might be half a foot off at fifteen.

Yeah, most defensive shootings are a wide-open target at a double-arm's-length or so, but some aren't. I don't think that being able to keep its rounds on, say, a 3"x5" index card at 21 feet is an unreasonable basic accuracy standard to demand of a pistol. Most any gun should be mechanically capable of that.

Kristophr said...

Steve Skubinna: You didn't leave enough spittle on the monitor.

( looks around, and quickly wipes monitor off )

Matt G said...

Steve Skubinna cracked me up, too.

Anonymous said...

Go Team BlogMom! 10K!



Anonymous said...

mikee -

Article on using .22 for practice:

Ed said...

"Three inches off the sights at seven might be half a foot off at fifteen.

Yeah, most defensive shootings are a wide-open target at a double-arm's-length or so, but some aren't. I don't think that being able to keep its rounds on, say, a 3"x5" index card at 21 feet is an unreasonable basic accuracy standard to demand of a pistol. Most any gun should be mechanically capable of that."

Those words should be printed out, framed, memorized and internalized, used as a motivator to practice harder.

Add an adrenaline dump from a real-life threat and your accuracy will understandably deteriorate further from what you can do on a peaceful range, where no one is firing back at you.

I know some people that think that anything outside of the 10 ring on a B-27 (the red center of a B-27RC) target is an indication that they not working hard enough on their technique when they go to the range. Practicing with a 3"x5" index card works well for this task.