Ambivalent Skeptic

January 18, 2011

A Heavy Duty Hi Power?

Filed under: Weapons — Clint1911 @ 8:34 am

Back in October, I called Browning about their Hi-Power Handguns.

See, there are differing “facts” on the internet about the 9mm and the 40 S&W parts swap-ability. Some said the slides were interchangeable an the different frames, while others said no, they were not. Rather than guess – or be lead by the blind- I called the company for myself.

The 40 S&W gun is 3 oz. Heavier than the 9mm version and that weight is for both the slides and the frame. The nice customer service guy told me the slides are NOT interchangeable. After I asked if Browning made a 9mm barrel for the 40 S&W guns, the customer service guy said no but maybe there is an after market part somewhere.

I then suggested that they make a 9mm gun on the 40’s frame and slide that can handle 9mm NATO loads and call it the Hi-Power Heavy Duty. The customer service guy liked the idea and said he would forward it up the line.

I wonder if we will see a new Browning at SHOT show this week?

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January 6, 2011

S&W 22A at Jay’s place.

Filed under: Weapons — Clint1911 @ 3:22 pm

http://stuckinmassachusetts.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-rimfire-goodness.html

Jay has a a post about his article about a neat little 22 semi-auto that he plans on buying. That’s the best endorsement a writer can give a gun.

I have S&W’s entry 22 and love it. Well, actually it gets abused as it lives in the range bag. Once, I fired over a thousand rounds of various ammo thought it without cleaning of any kind. I keep a log of the malfs ….but I lost the paper before I could transcribe the data to the computer. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I did wait til the end. Why do you ask?)

Sounds like a good time for a new endurance test.

January 3, 2011

The internet is abuzz with Jeff Cooper’s scout rifle idea.

Filed under: Jeff Cooper,Scout Rifle,Weapons — Clint1911 @ 10:53 am

Seems a good time to point out some of the guru’s criteria for a Scout rifle and also to point out some things. First, the Scout rifle, as an idea, evolved over time. The inspiration was Remington’s 600 carbines in 350 Rem Mag. Cooper took it from there. Unfortunately, the closer a factory produced Scout came to reality, the more the ol’ Colonel become dogmatic in his approach. This is partly justified as many were taking his ideas and rather than building a proper “system” they only included the “cool” parts.

Have you ever had a good idea that was tainted after some idiot screwed it up due to that idiot’s poor planning or follow though? Too many failed and phony Scouts left some asking “Why bother?” Until they handled a Real Scout and experienced how ALL the key features, working synergistic, made the Scout rifle the good idea it is.

Here are some of Cooper’s writings about the Scout Rifle. They illustrate a “mission statement” for the Scout and explain many key elements. Unfortunately they also show that as refinement took place, Cooper began to fixate on particulars.

QFT (emphasis added)

Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries
Vol. 3, No. 2
31 January 1995

On the matter of Scouts, we are mildly annoyed to discover that the term has been picked up and run off with by all sorts of people who have never seen a true Scout and do not know what it is. Most of these people do not realize that a Scout must make weight, and it must use a general−purpose cartridge readily available worldwide and suitable for any target up to buffalo. This points towards 308, but options include 30−06, 303 British, and the 7−08 for jurisdictions where 30 calibers are prohibited. It does not include the 223.

Anybody is at liberty to call anything whatever he wants, but the Scout attributes were fully discussed at the Scout conference held nearly ten years ago at Gunsite, and customized versions have distinguished themselves all over the world. I have tried to write the matter up on several occasions, but I am amazed at the number of people who adopt a term without reading into it.

And

Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries
Vol. 3, No. 6
25 April 1995

The Scout project has “charged off madly in all directions.” I guess I should not be surprised. Nobody owns the word “Scout,” and anyone is free to call anything whatever he wants except on American university campuses, of course. Nonetheless, I should point out a couple of rather important criteria:

1. The Scout really should make weight, and weight is 3kg (6.7lbs) including sights.

2. The Scout caliber is 308. This is because the 308 ammunition is universally available worldwide (so is 223, but let us not go into that.) One cannot make a classic Scout out of a 30−06, simply because the cartridge, and thus the action, is too long.

3. A classic Scout must be short. Start with one meter (39 inches) and work down from that.

There are other considerations, but the foregoing are vital. The basic problem is that one must actually shoot a Scout rifle over a period and under field conditions to understand it. There just are not enough Scouts around for a large number of people to appreciate them.

December 12, 2010

The 308 and the short barrel.

Filed under: Weapons — Clint1911 @ 9:22 am

The more I look at it, the more I see 16” barrels on rifles chambered in 308 Winchester or 7.62 NATO rifle as usually a bad idea.

I understand CQB is all the rage right now (CQB is Close Quarters Battle, although I prefer the British term FISH, Fighting In Someone’s House), and I know a guy who thinks he can make a rifle both an ultimate CQB gun and a sniper rifle.

I know how Mr. T feels about him.

Now, short barrels can be accurate, and if you want one go right ahead; just understand that there are some serious trade-offs.

First you lose velocity. Most loads have a listed speed from a 24 inch test barrel which may, or may not, give higher velocity that real world rifles. Along with that comes trajectory. The slower the bullet the progressively worst the bullet arcs during flight. Bullets work like American footballs. When launched from a height of 5 feet, in order to hit a target 5 feet off the ground the ball must arc up to a max height and then fall down to the target while still going forward. A thrown ball goes up many yards to travel a short distance, a bullet goes only a few inches to go few hundred yards.

However the slower the bullet, the more arc. This means at extreme range a mistake in hold-over is much easier and will cause a miss due to the bullet flying over the target (if one over compensates) or the bullet hitting the ground before reaching the target (in the case of under-compensating). You can correct for trajectory if you know the distance but the trick is knowing the exact distance. And the more arc to the trajectory the more important exact distance is.

Second, that loss in velocity reduces terminal performance. Let’s face it. When you shoot something, or someone, you want them to get hit pretty good. And the more effective the bullet, the better your shot placement translates to a downed target. And the less you get shot at.

A 16” barrel is going loss close to 200f/s up to 300f/s compared to a 24” and 20” barrels. (Depending a mitigating factors; each gun is an event unto itself .) Oh, and the effect is NOT linear. It is possible for a load that goes 2800 f/s out of a 24” barrel to do 2700 f/s from a 20” tube and only 2500 f/s for a 16 inch barrel.

And you lose velocity with distance traveled. Basically a bullet that is most effective at 2700-2800 f/s may not be very good at 2500 f/s.

Now, these reasons may not be much concern for a CQB sitch were you are defending yourself in an “across the street” or “across the living room” distances. But there is one aspect where a short barrel is very relevant to short range defense:

Muzzle blast.

Now, if I have to choose between deaf and dead, that’s a no brainer. (although some might choose dead over blind) But the point a self-defense is to ultimately go back to one’s “normal” life, no worst for wear.

So having my ears blown out does no good. And if you believe that hearing damage only hurts after the fight. Sorry, but no. Your sense of balance is dependent on the tiny organs of the ear. If those go kaput you can be severely disorientated and lose you balance. It’s somewhat like the early scene in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hank’s character is disorientated after a near miss with explosives. You can reduce muzzle blast by using silencer. Unfortunately the government taxes and regulates what should be simply safety device pretty seriously even though, is a partial solution. So few own or use silencers, with is a shame.

So how much worse can muzzle blast become?

First, energy does not just disappear. It is either used one way or it is used another. According to the 2010 edition of the Hodgdon reloading magazine modern cartridges are about 17% to 47% efficient. In other words, the gunpowder (smokeless propellant) releases its stored chemical energy as kinetic energy to the bullet thus propelling the bullet forward. About 1/6th to 1/2 of the available energy is used for the intended purpose of pushing a bullet. The rest is “waste” energy with the 53% to 83% going into the gun or the air as heat and vibration (and a little bit of velocity). More on this in a moment.

The velocity/energy relationship is expressed by the equation E(k)=.5*m*v^2. Roughly speaking, an increase in velocity of 10% needs a 21% increase in energy. Or from a different point of view, one needs 21% more energy to gain 10% more speed. It also means if you drop 10% of your “nominal” velocity you have 21% less kinetic energy. So where does it go?

The short answer is -surprise- muzzle blast. The long answer is that the gun soaks a good portion of the the waste energy. The gun get warmer, the barrel will vibrate as the bullet travels along the bore, and the rifle with be pushed back against the shooter. A very small portion of the energy is transferred to the shooter for reasons best left for another post. For now, let’s leave it at a bullet with a kinetic energy of 3000ft-lbs going forward may have the rifle pushing back with only 20 ft-lbs.

When a rifle has a shorter barrel the gun won’t absorb as much heat due to the bullet and the burning power having less time in the barrel. The barrel also will not spend considerably more energy on vibrating. And due to less bullet dwell time, there may be less energy for vibration (however with a smaller barrel, there could be more vibration even with less available energy).

This means that all the increased waste energy goes into muzzle blast. Muzzle Blast has three primary components: Muzzle Flash, the light; Muzzle Report, the noise; and (for lack of a better word) Concussion which is the pressure wave coming from the muzzle.

All three of these things are disorienting when thrown in your face. And in-your-face they are because with that shorter barrel, the muzzle and hence muzzle blast are that much closer to your eyes and ears. And being human your instincts really want to protect your eyes and ears. In fact, muzzle blast is by far the leading factor in causing the dreaded “flinch.” A flinch is when your body protectively spasms as you use the trigger in a vain attempt to minimize any damage. Since keeping the sights on target until the shot is made is the most important factor in accuracy, you can see how a flinch is a very counter-productive. Especially if your life is on the line.

OK, let’s wrap it up.

With a shorter barrel you lose velocity with an increase in blast that will adversely affect your ability to shoot. So with a bullet weight of 150 grains going from a velocity of 2800f/s to 2600 f/s you lose 360 ft-lb of energy. From 2800 to 2500 f/s you lose 530 ft-lbs of kinetic energy. And we know where that energy is going.

That’s assuming the powder has burned completely, which maybe it didn’t. Once the bullet leaves the barrel the propellant has a fresh supply of oxygen so, yeah, even more muzzle blast.

Pushing a 150 gr bullet at 2500 f/s is the performance one would expect from the good, old, 300 Savage. Which was a shortened version of the 30-06. The 308 is a basically a lengthened 300 Savage at higher pressure. So by losing that speed we are losing a main advantage using the 308.

There is nothing wrong with 300 Savage cartridge. It is a good hunting round and its performance is half way between the 308 and 7.62 NATO (7.62×51) and the AK round, the 7.62×39. So it would make a very good combat/defense round.

Now if the shorter barrel made a 308 into a 300 Savage in terms of both velocity AND muzzle blast, hell, I’d prefer the shorter tube. But sadly that is not how it works. You pay for 308 Win, you have 300 Savage performance, and you get 300 Win Mag muzzle blast.

That’s a lose-lose situation.

November 18, 2010

AR and M16 stats

Filed under: Weapons — Clint1911 @ 11:52 pm

Here is some info on on the military’s spec’s for the AR platform. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the what and the how of this weapon.

Please note, the M16A2 and M16A3 are the same rifle except the A3 is full auto while the A2 has a three round burst. This makes sense being that the A3 was introduced at the same time as the A2 which was BEFORE the picatinny rail standard was made.

In boot camp is was drilled into our minds that the M16A2 was a lightweight, magazine fed, air cooled, shoulder fired, selective fire 5.56mm rifle.

The original M16 weighed 6.35 lbs while the M16A1 weighed 6.55 lbs. The A2 mod boosted the weight up to 7.5 lbs.

EQUIPMENT CHARACTERISTICS, CAPABILITIES, AND FEATURES
M16A2/M16A3
Caliber ……………………………………… 5.56 mm
Weight……………………………………… w/30 (loaded) round mag approx 8.79 lbs
Length ……………………………………… w/compensator 39-5/8 in
Fire Selector……………………………… SAFE-SEMI-BURST (M16A2)
SAFE-SEMI-AUTO (M16A3)
—————————————————————————————————
M16A4 (removable carry handle)
Caliber.. ……………………………………. 5.56 mm
Weight.. ……………………………………. w/30 (loaded) round mag 8.79 lbs
Fire Selector…………………………… SAFE-SEMI-BURST
—————————————————————————————————–
M4/M4A1 CARBINE
Caliber …………………………… 5.56 mm
Weight …………………………….. w/30 (loaded) round mag 7.5 lb
Length …………………………….. Buttstock Closed 29.75 in
Buttstock Opened 33.0 in
Detachable carrying handle w/integral accessory mounting rail
Buttstock has four positions; closed, 1 R open, 3/4 open, and fully Open.
Firing Characteristics:
Muzzle Velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,970 fps
Chamber pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52,000 psi
Cyclic Rate of Fire…………….. 700-970 rpm (approx.)
Fire Selector ………………………. SAFE-SEMI-BURST (M4)
SAFE-SEMI-AUTO (M4A1)

ARMY TM 9-1005-319-23&P

AIR FORCE TO 11W3-5-5-42

1-10. EQUIPMENT DATA.

US CUSTOMARY / METRIC

Weight:

Carbine, M4/M4A1 without magazine and sling …… 6 lb 7 oz 2.91 kg

Rifle, Ml 6A2 without magazine and sling……………. 7 lb 8 oz 3.40 kg

Sling, adjustable ……………………………………………… 4 oz 0.11 kg

Empty magazine……………………………………………… 4 oz 0.11 kg

Loaded magazine ……………………………………………. 1 lb 1 oz 0.48 kg

Carbine, M4/M4A1 w/sling and loaded magazine … 7 lb 12 oz 3.51 kg

Rifle M16A2 w/sling and loaded magazine………….. 8 lb 13 oz 4.00 kg

Bayonet-Knife M7 ……………………………………………. 10.5 oz 0.30 kg

Scabbard M10 o ……………………………………………… 5 oz 0.14 kg

Length:

Carbine with compensator, buttstock extended……. 33.0 in 83.82 cm

Carbine with compensator, buttstock closed ……….. 29.75 in 75.57 cm

Rifle with compensator …………………………………….. 39.63 in 100.66 cm

Barrel (Carbine) ………………………………………………. 14.5 in 36.83 cm

Barrel (Rifle)……………………………………………………. 20 in 50.8 cm

Barrel with compensator (Carbine)…………………….. 15.5 in 39.37 cm

Barrel with compensator (Rifle) …………………………. 21 in 53.34 cm

Mechanical features:

Rifling…………………………………………………………….. right-hand twist 6 grooves, 1 turn

……………………………………………………………………… in 7 inches (17.78 cm)

Method of operation…………………………………………. direct gas

Type of breech mechanism ………………………………. rotating bolt

Method of feeding……………………………………………. magazine

Cooling…………………………………………………………… air

Trigger pull (M16A2 & M4)………………………………… 5.5 to 9.5 lb 2.49 to 4.31kg

Trigger pull (M4A1)………………………………………….. 5.5 to 8.5 lb 2.49 to 3.86 kg

Ammunition:

Caliber …………………………………………………………… 223 5.56mm

Type………………………………………………………………. ball, blank, dummy, and tracer

Firing characteristics:

Muzzle velocity (Carbine) (approximate) …………….. 2,970 fps 905.85 mps

Muzzle velocity (Rifle) (approximate)………………….. 3,100 fps 945.5 mps

Chamber pressure…………………………………………… 52,000 psi 358,540

kPa

Cyclic rate of fire (Carbine) (approximate)…………… 700-970 rds/m

Cyclic rate of fire (Rifle) (approximate) ……………….. 700-900 rds/m

1-4.2 Change 5

ARMY TM 9-1005-319-23&P

AIR FORCE TO 11W3-5-5-42

1-10. EQUIPMENT DATA (CONT).

US CUSTOMARY METRIC

Maximum rate of fire:

Semiautomatic………………………………………………… 45 rds/m

Burst ……………………………………………………………… 90 rds/m

Sustained rate of fire ……………………………………….. 12/15 rds/m

Maximum range………………………………………………. 3,938 yards Approximately

3,600 meters

Maximum effective range:

Individual/point targets (Carbine)……………………….. 547 yards 500 meters

Individual/point targets (Rifle) ……………………………. 602 yards 550 meters

Area targets (Carbine) ……………………………………… 650 yards 600 meters

Area targets (Rifle) ………………………………………….. 875 yards 800 meters

November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday

Filed under: 1911,Weapons — Clint1911 @ 11:33 am

Well, more of a brought-it-home day. Today is the anniversary of buying my first gun.

It’s a SW1911PD. I bought it one month after getting my CCW/CHL which was 3.5 years after joining the NRA. No one ever said I was conventional.

I’ve known since I was in high school, maybe before, that I wanted my first gun to be either a 1911 or an N-frame S&W. While in the USMC there was no hurry to buy a gun because POF (personally owned firearms) were not allowed in the barracks. They have to be stored in the armory (which had bankers hours). The plan, when I was still considering being a “lifer”, was to wait until I finished a degree and went OCS or until I made Sgt and could live off base. Long story short, I never made officer candidate school and I had no desire to be enlisted for 20 years. So as a civvie, once I got back into college I took the training and applied for the carry license. Meanwhile Smith and Wesson decided to make 1911’s because, why not, every one else was. S&W had even been making parts and frames for the other guys.

A funny thing about this was how I went about avoiding hype or glamour. I was not going to buy a gun “just because” it was “cool.”

Everything had to have a purpose.  Asking “What does it do and how well does it do it?” was some of the best advice I’ve been given.

I even questioned the Novak sights. Why does the rear sight have a slant in front? That doesn’t help on the draw and when would I need to “speed re-holster”?

I shot as many different guns as I could borrow; I rented 9’s, 40’s and 45’s from the local range. I keep coming back to John M. Browning’s 1911.

The S&W was the right combo of price, quality, and “useful” features while still lacking many “frills.”

Here it is today.

It’s been “personal-ized” rather that customized and the finish is a little worn. Just the way I like it…

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