Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, I just looked at the clock, it's a new year. It doesn't feel much different than any other Midnight. Except a little bit of fireworks off someplace not too far. The main fireworks out here are off at the boat ramps on the lake but there are always a few people setting them off away from the water, I hope nobody burns their house down, or, more importantly, my house.

We thought about driving to see them shoot off fireworks, then we thought of the stop signs and stuff that get run over on regular nights around here and stayed home. The dogs don't like fireworks anyway. I did stop at the fireworks stand and bought five boxes of green sparklers. These should be cool cut up into my black powder shotgun shells for the Cowboy Action matches. White smoke, red flames and now green sparks. Maybe I ought to wear a Santa Suit and shout Ho Ho Ho every shot.

Yesterday was William's birthday, he's six now. During the afternoon will be the small party, since it's a day off for most people. We got the boy a nerf gun for now and two hundred rounds of .22 ammo in a fancy target shooter's ammo box for later in the spring when we start his training. Not that I'll let him run out of ammo after that two hundred is gone.

Sure seem to be a bunch of alleged humans mad because Israel is finally getting tired of Hamas flinging rockets willy nilly into their country. The Pals are lucky I'm not running Israel. Seems the Pals are allowing Hamas to fling those rockets from their crowded neighborhoods. I'd announce that this is unacceptable behavior and that each rocket launched gets a napalm canister on the launch site. I suspect it wouldn't take long for the behavior to stop. That should take out the screeching that the Izzies are being disproportionate, too. One rocket, one napalm canister. It's not the Izzies fault that Hamas can't aim.

Oh, and who is this idiot journalist (but I repeat myself) claiming that the Palis are just "taking potshots"? Somebody tell him that words have meaning. A potshot is a shot taken by someone needing a critter to eat. Back in the day that was the job of the boys and young men. And they'd better bring something home for each charge of powder and each ball. Folks doing that kind of hunting didn't have powder and ball, and then cartridges later, to waste.

Speaking of potshooting, a lot of folks in places like the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky, the hills of upstate New York and Vermont, places like that, held on to their muzzle loaders long after cartridge guns came along. Oh, many, perhaps most, had those newfangled ca'tridge guns but we can cast our own balls and find our own flints, even make our own powder, though that's still pretty dangerous. Not quite as dangerous as flinging missiles into the blue in hopes of killing anyone at all. Potshots. When did it become a requirement to not know the meaning of words to be a writer?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Levergun Shooters Take Note

It has been a while coming but Hornady's LEVERevolution bullets are finally available to handloaders. This is big news. Since there are those who do not read themselves to sleep with handloading books let's start at the beginning. Lever action rifles have always had one weak point, that tube magazine under the barrel. With those magazines we cannot use sharp pointed bullets for fear that a sharp pointed bullet might set the primer of the next round off. Considering that our own personal hands are wrapped 'round the fore end with that mag tube running through it, it is a valid worry.

This is why leverguns are woods rifles, the flat point and round nosed bullets are like trying to win a footrace in hip waders. But a couple-three years ago Hornady came up with a sharp pointed bullet that will work in a lever action rifle. They found a plastic tip that was stiff enough to maintain it's shape, yet soft enough to not set off a primer.

This just about instantly extends the range of your levergun by a hundred and fifty or two hundred yards. Figure a .30-30 Winchester or .35 Remington levergun. We figure those as running out off steam by about a hundred and fifty yards. Where a rifle that could fire a spitzer bullet at the same speed is a three hundred yard gun.

These bullets aren't cheap but then today, no bullet is. They are available for most of the calibers used in lever actions. In .30 caliber they have a 160 grain bullet that might just bring the ol' thutty-thutty into the 21st Century.

The old .35 Remington has a 200 grain bullet, so far they haven't released one for the .357 Mag carbines out there. I would imagine it's coming soon, though, they make a nifty little 140 grain bullet with that sharp point for their factory loads. I suspect that bullet over a hot load of H110 or LilGun would zap a Texas Whitetail out past two hundred steps.

The folks shooting .44 Magnums or .444 Marlins have a nice 265 grain slug, start that one off at some 2250 feet per second from a .444 and you could bombard cities better than the Palestinians and their stupid rockets.

I'm looking hard at the bullets they make for my .45 Colt rifle. Here there are two, a 200 grain and a 250. Now I have clocked over 1900 fps out of the 24 inch barrel of my '92 Winchester clone with a 250 grain bullet, that same action is used for the .454 Casull Mag so I would probably make that weight bullet fly faster. I haven't bothered because those flat point bullets lose speed so fast. But with these pointy ones? Hmmm.

Guys with the '86 Winchesters and 1895 Marlins have a couple of bullets, too. Guys with a .45-70 or one of the others, the .45-90s and such have a sharp pointed 325 grain that would reach out way past Fort Mudge. Winchester fifties and the .50 Alaskan would be taking a long poke with the 300 grain pointy bullet.

Now these bullets aren't the end all and bee all of levergun bullets. There are a lot of times I'd want a bullet for something up close and big, say I lived where there might be an old sorehead Grizzly Bear popping out of the bushes with mayhem on his mind, I'd want my levergun loaded with the heaviest bluntest bullets I could fit in there.

It might be a while before the loading data for some of these bullets is found in every manual, too. But still, this is a big step.

So far the only folks I know of who are selling these bullets are the Potterfield gang at Midway USA. There may be others but I know Midway does, they're on the January flier on the "new products" page. I like to call them, 1-800 243-3200. They have country music while I'm on hold.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Latest Pics From NASCAR Country

Number Two son, Robin lives in a town called Huntersville, near Charlotte. Very near all the big NASCAR team headquarters. Thanks to the Democratic Congress they couldn't make it this year for Christmas but they did, finally, send new pictures of the kids. That's Christopher James in the red chair, next is John Mark with his heavy construction equipment.

Nathaniel Philip is just layin' there and Ethan Presley is getting ready for football.

That's a pretty good bunch o' boys and we miss them. Maybe next year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Big Christmas Adventure

So, on Christmas Eve we had a bit of last minute shopping to do. So we filled the car with $1.35.9 a gallon gas and started the adventure. After dog food and suchlike from Wally World we went to Petsmart, Ming the Merciless was her usual hit. Then to Barnes and Noble for something to read. I got a couple of paperbacks, the newest issue of Guns of the Old West and the 2009 Hodgdon Reloading Manual. Speaking of that, what's with all of these new cartridges, none doing anything unusual? In ten years will anybody buying the .300 Hornady or the .338 RCM or a half-dozen other new ones going to be able to get cartridges, or even cases to handload?

Anyhow, then we stopped for Linda Lou's favorite meal, a Sonic burger, then home.

Then Linda Lou was up all night and half the morning making her world class Cinnamon Rolls. These rolls take so long because she keeps having to wait an hour for the dough to rise, then she pounds it down, then she has to wait again.

Then came Christmas day, we didn't need to get there 'til noon, thank the Lord. So we drove to Plano, Linda Lou sleeping gently in the passenger seat, presents and Cinnamon Rolls safe on the floor or back of the van. An hour later we got there to a house with no children, they being with Dean's parents. Shortly thereafter, Stefanie's twin brother Michael, our youngest boy, showed up with his wife Jennifer, their two and Amanda, her younger sister, plus her boyfriend.

A while later Dean's folks and the three boys showed up and, while dinner was finishing, we all ate a cinnamon roll. Michael Junior declared them "the best ever" which made Linda Lou's day.

Eventually we opened presents, the usual stuff. This year the children got taken to the dollar store where they each got presents for the grandparents. Like my new hat? I'm not sure the color is perfect with my red bib shirt but that's what happens when a six year old boy is let loose to choose a gift.

Then it was time to drive home, bedtime came early.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Writing On The New Confuser

So Linda Lou and Ming the Merciless are lying on the couch for a Sunday afternoon nap and I am trying to blog on the new infernal machine. I forgot how easy it is to type on a brand new keyboard. There are a couple of downsides, though. I can barely point an' click with the new mouse, or maybe it's just the new mousepad is so smooth. Another minor downside is the new monitor screen has about a two-two and a half inch strip down the right side that has the clock, some headlines and a bunch of our pictures scrolling through, one at a time, over and over. Including lots of pictures of Eddie. I wish I knew where he is and how he's doing.

In other news I durned near burned up the neighborhood yesterday. We had a bunch of boxes so I took them out to burn them. Well, as soon as the fire was going good, the wind came up, hard and dry. The grass and weeds were also very dry. Ooops! We managed to get it out before the house burned down, though. Still, had all the neighbors investigating the fire, kind of embarrassing. Especially since I was doing this in the front yard where our hose doesn't reach, I wanted to burn a stubborn patch of bushes that are too thick to mow.

Note to self: Never again try to burn stuff outside while wearing flip flops. Yes, it was that warm, thing is, the wind picked up as the cold front blew in, by the time I got the fire out I had icicles hanging off my toes. I blame Algore.

Update: I'm still reading about why the Secret Service let that bozo throw two shoes at Dubya. The answer is simple, it's very bad publicity when the good guys cut loose with gunfire on someone armed with two shoes. Even worse publicity when the bozo has already thrown them. Can anyone imagine what the lefties would be saying if the bodyguards had cut loose a burst each with those little subguns? Now I wouldn't complain too much if overpenetrating rounds, plus misses and ricochets had knocked down a half dozen media types. Far as I'm concerned there ought to be a bounty on 'em, but the same people that are complaining about how he managed to fling both shoes would be having a cow. Each.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What An Ordeal

So we set the new computer up and (of course) nothing worked the first time. We never did make the program that was supposed to transfer what we wanted from the old computer to the new. After trying to load it from the disc for an hour, with no end in sight, we just blew it off. Linda Lou will just enter stuff over the next few weeks.

Then I put Linda's computer in my room and got it half set up. Enough to use, for now. Meanwhile my old monitor wouldn't come on so I had to drag the ancient cathode ray monitor in here and put it on my desk, the thing is huge. Doesn't look as if I'll be eating many meals in here until I get my new flat screen monitor.

Meanwhile I'll have to few items at a time to my Firefox bookmarks. This is a pain as I have to put the laptop on line, write the urls down, move the phone line to the desktop, add those in, etc. Plus the thing won't let me register my printer because it's already registered. Ah well, at least I have a keyboard, as well as a new monitor coming.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reversed Polarity

So it was sixty degrees out there yesterday and people in New England were coping with the loss of power from some big freezing storm. So I put the big box fan out on the deck and pointed it northeast and turned it on high. Hoping, of course, to blow some warmth up there. Well, there must have been a reversal of polarity somehow, it was 31 degrees in Dallas just before I turned the radio off. Seeing as how the city is always warmer than the country I don't even want to think about the actual temp out here by Lake Tawakoni. I knew something was wrong today when a Polar Bear showed up, begging for blankets. Fortunately Ming the Merciless chased him off. It's nice to have a vicious killer attack Pug.

It was cold enough to bring CAP back in the house. In other news, the Dell showed up today off the FedEx truck.After nap time we'll set it up, then comes the big deal about transferring of all Linda Lou's pictures, bookmarks and other stuff over. Then I have to transfer my stuff from the laptop to this computer. Then, at last, I'll be typing on a real keyboard all the time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quiet Here

Not much going on right now down here. I read where there are crooks in politics in Chicago. Imagine that. Next they'll tell me there are political crooks in south Texas.

We've got some cold wet weather coming, nothing like up in Massachusetts and suchlike places, but the high tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 40s. So Linda Lou is off at Wally World, shopping for grandchild Christmas gifts. Ming The Merciless is laying where she can look out for her Momma to come home. Meanwhilw I'm sitting around with an actual keyboard to write with, with nothing to say.

I'm still in a mild state of shock, I had bought some Hornady XTP hollowpoint bullets for my .45 Colt rifle and my .357 Mag carbine. Well one of the bags of bullets was mismarked. Instead of being 250 grain .45 bullets they were 210 grain .41 bullets. Well, I don't have a .41. Nor will Linda Lou let me have a .41. So I finally got around to taking the bullets back to the store. The bag of bullets that was $13.95 in late 07 is now $26.00. I know that prices were going up but jeez. Double? Primers are way up there, too. $28.00 a thousand now. This before Obambi.

Well, since Linda Lou is gone it must be naptime.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bullet Material, Construction And Penetration.

I might as well finish that long and boring to most, treatise on bullet penetration. As I have said, in the same caliber, the heavier the bullet, the further in penetrates, all else being equal. Of course, all else is seldom equal.

Since smokeless powder improved velocities above the 1400 feet per second level that was common in rifles in the black powder era, there has been an argument among gunnies. One one side has been the velocity is everything crowd, we'll call that the Roy Weatherby bunch. The other side is the bullet weight is everything crowd, we'll call that the Elmer Keith bunch. These crowds join together on the internet bulletin boards and insult each other. In a few hunting camps there have been a few fistfights when the snakebite and anti-cold medicine flowed too freely.

Actually both camps are partly right. Velocity isn't everything but it is something. The old fashioned lead core, gilding metal jacket soft point bullets that we pretty much began the smokeless era operated best at between 2200-2400 feet per second, like the .30-30 Winchester and the .30-40 Krag and the .303 British. With their original bullets, the 170 .30-30, the 220 Krag and the 215 .303 these rifles were deadly out to around 200 yards. Now this range is still where 85-90percent of big game is taken. Unfortunately in these days of shortened seasons and people living away from the game fields, most folks don't really know the country the critters live in, nor do they have time to learn. So, instead of hunting the old way many folks are setting up and shooting the power line cuts, the beanfields and the southwestern senderos. Back in the day I simply would not shoot at an unwounded big game critter past three hundred yards, ever. Today I would cut that range down to two hundred, maybe 150, no matter what rifle I was shooting. Too many of us have forgotten our duty to the critters. Number one is a quick kill. If I cannot guarantee a quick death I won't pull the trigger. But I'm digressing again.

At any rate the old cup and core round nose soft points are the perfect bullet for 2200-2400 fps. Trouble comes when these old bullets go very much faster, they start blowing up. So the feller with the 3000 feet per second rifle needs a new kind of bullet. Especially since even though he's set up for a five hundred yard shot, still some 85-90% of the shots will be at two hundred yards, or less.

The first thing that the bullet makers did was make the bullets sharp pointed with less exposed lead. This did two things, it improved how the bullet held together on impact, plus the sharp point flattened the trajectory. This added a couple of hundred yards to the rifle. A regular sharp pointed, or spitzer bullet works well at 2800 feet per second. An ordinary .270 or .30-06 or a .308 or 7-08 with the proper bullet for the game is good all the way out to about four hundred yards with an ordinary Winchester poer point or a Speer Hot Core, Hornady Spire Point, Remington Core Loct, Sierra Game King, bullets like that.

We'll get the odd bullet blowing up on impact at very close range if we hit bone and we'll see a few failures to expand at the longest ranges if the bullet doesn't hit anything but hide and lung but within those limits the old cup and core bullets have worked very well.

Just after WW2, John Nosler has a 180 grain bullet blow up when he shot an elk with a .300 H&H Magnum. Losing all that venison was annoying so John did something American. He sat down and designed a new bullet. Instead of a drawn gilding metal tube he went with making his new bullet jacket on a lathe. He made a jacket out of copper alloy with a place in the front for a lead core, then a thick partition of copper alloy and a rear lead core. After experimenting around for a while he figured out the famous Nosler Partition bullet. This bullet will go through just about any critter from any angle. Often on something the size of a bull elk the bullet will go through until it hits the tough, elastic hid on the other side and that is where we find it. Typically this bullet will hit, the front core will expand and then slough off, creating secondary missiles, and when we find the bullet it will weigh some sixty percent of the original weight.

For decades the Nosler Partition was the best bullet in the hunting fields for rifles in the 2800-3100 fps range. During that time there were some attepts to improve on the performance of the Partition. These mostly were attempts to bond the core to the jacket. This kept the weight of the bullet closer to the original weight. We went through a period where hunters weighed their recovered bullets and started talking about how a bullet that weighed "only" ninety percent of original weight a failure, Even though they dug that bullet out of a dead critter.

Now if it matters you can buy the Swift A-Frame bullet in place of the Nosler Partition. The A-Frame is basically the Partition with the front core bonded to the jacket. This means that the only weight the A-frame loses is lead that is gouged away as the bullet punches through bone. Seeing as how the older Partition kills critters dead, I'm not sure I care but then, everybody doesn't ask me.

Several companies are now making bonded bullets. Swift is making a bullet called the Sirocco. This is a bonded bullet with a plastic tip (more on that in a minute). Hornady has their Interbond, Norma has the Oryx. All these bullets are pretty much the same, their idea is deep penetration.

There is another fairly new (we're told) idea, the plastic tip in a hollow point on a bullet. These plastic tips allege to solve two problems, they keep the tip of the bullet sharp, for a bullet that cuts through the air better. this flattens trajectory, making hits easier at longer ranges. Then when the bullet hits the plastic tip pretty much stops, not having much mass. The bullet keeps going so the tip starts the bullet expanding. This is great for light big game at extended distance. Trouble is, Remington did this decades ago with their Bronze Point ammo.

The major difference between Nosler's Ballistic Tip and Remington's Bronze Point is that the Noslers are made with different jackets for the various bullets. Noslers small caliber Ballistic Tips are varmnint bullets. They "explode" in small critters. The bigger bullets have thicker jackets and just expand.

Sierra makes these plastic tipped in the varmint calibers and Hornady has the V-Max, plus the A-Max, a target bullet with a plastic tip. Target bullets are a whole 'nother story. Nobody much cares how a target bullet penetrates, it's only job is to penetrate a piece of paper. My target/varmint rifle can put five shots into a quarter to a half inch with great regularity as long as the loose nut behind the butt plate is doing his part. Yet those groups would lose a benchrest match.

The new big thing in hunting bullets are the lead free bullets. These bullets are a big deal now because of the war on lead. Seems the California Condors are dying out. They've been dying out since I was born, now the claim is lead poisoning. The anti-lead people say that the Condors are eating dead critters with lead fragments. Now far be it from me to disbelieve folks but the anti-lead folks I've seen sure look like anti-gun people. I'm pretty sure it's the same bunch with the newest line. Consider that the Condor doesn't live in varmint country. So the shot critters the Condor could eat are big game, deer, and black bear mostly. We try real hard to recover those so there aren't that many lead fragments. I suspect the Condor are really going because their habitat is filling up with Californians.

At any rate the lead free bullets are the next big thing. I strongly suspect that they will be all we can buy by the end of the Obama Administration.This wouldn't be so bad except for the cost. Fifty bullets (not whole cartridges, just the bullets for handloading) cost some forty bucks. Some are thirty bucks for twenty. these are .30 caliber for a general hunting rifle. The big bullets for an African rifle are even more expensive.

The big company making lead free bullets, Barnes, also has a lead free varmnint bullet. This is a thin jacket hollow point with the base filled with powdered metal. This bullet blows up going through a grape. Killing crop eating ground squirrles or prairie dogs is easy, the bullet blows up in the little critter, the little critter blows up into red mist, the ground around is fertilized. And no lead poisoning for the Condor that do not live in ground squirrel and Prairie Dog country. Everyone wins but the shooters.

Of course all this talk about bullets may just be about over. If my suspicions are correct we'll be first hit with a prohibition against lead bullets, like the no lead shot for shotguns around waterfowl. Next will be a five hundred percent tax on this new ammo. The Second Amendment says we have to have guns. It doesn't say anything about affordable ammo.

Now handguns are a different story. The jacketed hollowpoints make a big hole, for a very deep hole you want a blunt hardcast lead alloy bullet. Very few jacketed soft points expand at common pistol velocities although some of the hand cannons will. Say anything bigger than a .454 Casull Mag. The geneal rule for handguns is jacketed hollow points for self defense, hardcast lead for hunting.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dude, We're Getting A Dell!

Our very old laptop computer gave up the ghost last night. It just sits there making grinding noises and trying to boot up. Consider that we bought this machine some time before we moved out here near the lake in April '98 it probably was just plain worn out.

At any rate we ordered a new Dell with lots of extra stuff, blue tooth stuff for Linda Lou's phone, photoshop and some other stuff. Did you know that we had to order a telephone modem in a new computer? Seems that city people don't need a modem anymore, it's now those fast things that STILL haven't got our here. Oh, we can get some satellite thing for a hundred dollars a month but no DSL yet. This is the price one pays for not knowing what kind of music the neighbors listen to, I reckon.

Anyhow I won't be around much until after the new computer gets here, Linda Lou doesn't much like me sitting in her chair, at her computer desk. She has everything arranged just so.

Please do not think I will get the new computer, though, I will get the E-Machine from out here. If I use the proper combination of bribes and begging I might be able to use Photoshop once in a while though. Note: Please do not make any remarks about how this or that brand is better. Too late. I have read where Dell has had a few complaints about customer service. Well, these E-Machines have the worst customer service I've ever heard of, I can put up with Texas lefties from Austin (aka the Berkeley of the Plains). The Red Chinese are even worse.

Update: I fixed the laptop, sorta. Seein' as how I had nothing to lose I took the cover off the cooling fan of the laptop and blew the foo out of it with canned air. I put the cover back on and it sort of works now. I'm pretty sure that it's still on it's last legs because it's making all kinds of noises that it's not supposed to. And it will suddenly start going and going with the four lights lit and the stupid hourglass on the screen when nobody told it to do anything.

If it just lasts 'til the new one gets here...The exciting thing is that I managed to pull the panel off and put it back on without losing anything or giving my moustache an Afro from shocking myself.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sectional Density And Bullet Penetration.

The other day I made an offhand comment on another blog, Pamibe's if it matters, about using heavy for caliber bullets. This, unbeknown by me, started a bit of an argument over what I was talking about. I keep forgetting that most people, even most shooters, aren't ballisticians.

Ballistics has nothing to do with the scene on cop shows where they find a gun or a bullet and say "take it to ballistics", that is forensics. Ballistics is the science of the moving bullet, divided up it to three parts, interior, exterior and terminal. Interior ballistics is the science of what happens between the time the primer pops until the bullet exits the muzzle of the barrel. This is all acceleration and pressure. We care about that because if we have too much pressure the shootin' iron might blow up or the bullet might go too slow to do anything useful. Or, for that matter, go so fast it blows up in midair.

Terminal ballistics is what happens when the bullet hits the target. In many ways this is the hardest part of ballistics because there are so many variables. Impact velocity, bullet weight, bullet shape, bullet material, how thick the bullet jacket, hardness of the bullet core, how stable the bullet is, the media that the bullet hits, etc, etc, etc.

One of the most important things to know in ballistics the the sectional density of the bullet. This number is a simple equation, the bullet weight in pounds divided by the square of it's diameter in inches. So, a 180 grain .30 caliber bullet is .0.0257143 of a pound. So we divide that by .008992 and get .270. Actually we just look in the loading manual where this has already been done.

In the days before the fancy new bullets like the Swift A-Frame and the Barnes Triple Shock or even John Nosler's Partition, the first of those new ones, first made in 1949, the only way to increase bullet penetration was to increase bullet weight in that same caliber. Roughly speaking any two bullets of the same shape, construction and velocity, with similar sectional densities will penetrate the same distance.

For instance a .270 Winchester 130 grain bullet has roughly the same sectional density as a 165 grain .30 caliber bullet. The .270 is .242, the .30 is .248. This is why that famed gunwriter Jack O'Conner loved the .270. If the same critter were shot with both bullets they would each penetrate the same distance, only the .270 wouldn't kick as much.

Until hunters forgot how to stalk game the class of the hunting fields used moderate velocity, heavy-for-caliber bullets.WDM "Karamojo' Bell, the famous old ivory hunter slew bazillions of elephant with the old 7 mm Mauser and 6.5 mm MS. The long solid bullets penetrated just as well as the elephump guns. They left the guns at the same velocity as those big bores, about 22-2400 feet per second. Bell kept a big gun handy in case he had to stop a big critter but mostly he snuck up and popped a bull in the brain. This, of course, before the idiot environmentalists got in the game. Now, instead of Jumbo being a valuable resource he is a pest. Where before a Jumbo would add thousands in trophy fees, plus each ne feeding entire villages, they are poached, with no trophy fees for the governments, most of the meat rotting. Oh well, it makes liberals feel good. But I digress.

I shall look through the Speer loading manual at bullets with an SD of about .240-.250, each will penetrate similarly. The 100 grain 6mm bullet, the 155 .257 bullet, the 120 grain 6.5 or .264 bullet, by the way, those fine old 160s will still hit today and pentrate 'til a week from Tuesday, the .270 130 grain mentioned above. A 140 grain 7mm bullet, but if you want to drive really deep, the 175 grain works well.

Another aside, if I were wanting a hunting rifle that would take anything on this continent (except for Grizzly and Brown Bear in heavy cover where they might bite) and didn't want to be kicked silly by recoil I'd want a Seven mm Mauser or .280 Winchester and load the Hornady 175 grain round nose soft point to around 2400 fps and limit my shots to 200-250 yards.

Anyhow, the list goes on, the fine 165 grain .30 caliber, the 170 grain of the old .32 Winchester Special, the 200 grain .338 for those that want to use a moose and bear gun for deer, a 220 grain .35, the 235 grain .375, and the 350 grain .458. If we assume that all else is equal, each of these bullets will drive about the same distance through similar mediums, whether that be flesh, bone, old newspapers, ballistic gelatin, etc. A number that sticks in my head from my teens is that the original WW1 service load for the 1903 Springfield is that those old .30 caliber solids would penetrate sixty-one inches of pine board. Kind of plays the fool of the old cowboy or war movies with folks hiding behind a wooden wagon or empty barrel. Five feet of pine boards, space an inch or so apart. That was a 172 grain solid back in the day when the fastest such a bullet could go was maybe 2650 fps.

Handgun bullets, being shorter than rifle bullets of the same caliber, have lower SDs. My two favorites the .357 and the .45s have SDs ending at about .180. for the standard heavy bullets. I load a six shot .357 revolver with the 125 grain Federal hollowpoints when I'm loading for serious business. My little five shot Ruger SP101 gets a handload, 5.1 grains of Bullseye for an average of 1007 fps with the Speer or Hornady swaged lead semiwadcutter hollowpoint. Note, I live where my DA only cares about why you shoot someone, I've read of jurisdictions where it is financial suicide to shoot a bad guy with a handload.

For my .357 Carbine I like the Hornady 158 grain XTP hollowpoint. I've never had one stay inside our smallish Texas Whitetails, no matter the angle. I keep thinking about trying the 180 grain Remington hollowpoints but then I get distracted and forget to buy some on the rare occasions I have any money. The SD of the 125 grain .357 is .140. At full velocity a good hollowpoint will seldom exit a grown man. The soft point will. The old Remington medium velocity 125 grain hollowpoint, at about 1000 fps from a four inch revolver actually penetrated a little further than the full steam loads at 1450 fps. The bullets expanded more with the hot loads so, pushing a larger frontal area they lose steam a lot quicker.

In my .45 Colts I use the same bullet weight in all my guns, 250-255 grain. The difference is, in my handguns I shoot softcast or swaged lead bullets at standard velocities, about 8-900 fps. My rifle shoots those loads well, for play. At a cowboy action shoot those loads ring the steel of the targets just fine. A slight sight adjustment bring up the hot loads, though. A max load of Hodgdon's Lil Gun or Hodgdon's H110 will fling a 250 grain Hornady XTP hollowpoint out the muzzle at close to 2,000 fps. Now that is very close to the old Trapdoor Springfield Cavalry Carbine Ballistics, lower velocity with the Springfield of course, with a heavier bullet.

These days bullet weight is not as important as it used to be, todays fancy bullets penetrate as deeply as the old heavy bullets. John Nosler invented his Partition bullet after the failure of an old cup and core bullet failled in his .300 H&H Magnum. Today a 130 grain Barnes .30 will penetrate like a 165 grain cup and core jacketed lead bullet. The thing is, those fancy bullets not only cost a lot but they are very much attuned to impact velocity. You can't hardly drive a Barnes fast enough to hurt anything but if the velocity is too low they just pencil right through. With the old bullets the bullet weight is always there. If the critter is too big for a 150 grain .30, those critter will fall with a 220 grain soft point.

 Update: I just noticed that comment about Terminal vs. exterior ballistics. Semper fi guy is correct, I don't know how I made that silly mistake, except that I usually write these posts in a house full of dogs and a wife, distracting me. I shall leave that comment, he's not quite correct though. I ain't all that nice.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Avast, Ye Scurvy Pirates!

Here is another thing I don't understand...Last I heard we had literally thousands of semi-obsolete 20 mm. and 40 mm light antiaircraft guns. It would cost pennies to mount those guns on merchant vessels, put small Navy crews on them, or train the civilian crews. There is nothing particularly difficult to mount those guns for close range surface engagements.

Anybody want to guess what would happen if a 40 mm flak shell explodes over one of those Somali pirate speedboats? Or a half-dozen explosive 20 mm rounds?

For that matter, The Dillon people out in Arizona sell brand new electric miniguns. The put out six thousand rounds per minute. A one second burst would put a thousand 7.62 NATO rounds into a small craft. Instant floating debris and small oil slick.

We also probably have hundreds, if not thousands, of five inch dual purpose Naval Rifles sitting on mothballed Navy Ships. Just in case the pirates choose to go with bigger ships.

When I was in the Service I spent time on several sorts of troopships, as a matter of fact I sailed across the whole Pacific Ocean on LSD. (Landing Ship. Dock.) This old WW2 ship had 20s, 40s and five inch thirty-eights. Nothing much could get too close to that old tub without a fight. Plus, of course, the shootin' irons of the Battalion of Marines aboard. Of course we weren't allowed to have ammo. I suspect as many as five or six guys actually obeyed that rule.

During WW2 merchant ships were armed as a matter of course. Matter of fact, merchant vessels carried cannon from the invention of cannon to about WW1, without government permission.

So, with thousands of various kins of naval weaponry sitting on mothballed ships, costing money to keep from rusting away, why can't anyone but me figure out what to do about pirates?