Friday, June 10, 2016

Smokeless Powder versus Smokeless Powder

I've never been much for reloading and I'm struggling a little bit to understand the differences. There's no time like the present to learn, right?

Please note, actual author's reloading bench is covered in debris and does not look nearly as "Pinterest Worthy" as this photo!
I'm attempting to reload about 1,000 rounds of 9mm. I know loaded ammo prices are pretty cheap right now but I'm tackling this project more about self-sufficiency than saving a buck or two. With the political situation in this country being what it is, there's no telling what the future of ammo will be and I'd rather be ready to reload than trying to learn in a market with scarce supplies and high prices.

I wasn't much for reloading at the time but I can remember primers being especially hard to come by about 3 months after the Newtown tragedy. Sure, ammo prices had skyrocketed as well but I figure if I can learn what I'm doing now, I won't be so hesitant to stock up on powder and primers in the fall if and when things start to get a little dicey.

Powder Options

I understand that Hodgdon Titegroup is pretty well known and a decent choice. Is there any benefit to going with it over Alliant's Bullseye Powder? Comparing the two under a microscope below, you can see the Hodgdon above and Alliant below. It's certain that the Hodgdon is less uniform than the Alliant in terms of shape and color but I'm not sure if it really matters for a 9mm load.

Thanks to the National Center for Forensic Science for the images.

The powder side of ammo is largely a mystery to me. If I understand it correctly, everything pretty much comes from the same facility in Florida and the "brands" you and I see online and at the gun shop are just basically the same powders put in different packaging. Because of that, I'm a little partial to just gobbling up the cheapest out there.

Obviously, I'm not loading defensive cartridges - just looking for some rounds to plink with and safely gain experience into the world of reloading. If you have any other thoughts on what pistol powder would be best (and cost effective) I'm all ears. Thanks in advance!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oh. My. God - That is Some Ammo Data.

Well, that's about 2 hours of my life that I won't get back.

But wow.

Lucky Gunner just ran a massive test on handgun ammo. Looks like they covered 380 ACP, 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP... and shot a lot of each.

handgun ammo laid out on a table
They tested using Clear Ballistics synthetic gelatin.

5 rounds of each different load through four layers of denim into ballistic gel. Slow-motion video and a ton of photos.

Luckily, the HSTs I keep bedside fared pretty well. I'd love to see more of the law enforcement loads tested - Ranger T especially. Sounds like they may make some additions and I'm going to shoot them an email to suggest Ranger T.

Anyway, what a massive undertaking. I'd suggest you take a look if you're into ammo, ballistics, or you're someone who just likes to watch fast objects move through gelatin in slow-motion!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Free 9mm Ammo for Shooting Mentors

I received a heads up about this from the guys at Seems like a great idea, especially with all the gun regulation talk that's circling around right now. Not sure if they timed it that way or not but it's just about perfect.
new shooter smiling because of 9mm ammo for new shooters

Magtech and are giving away 9mm ammo to shooters who take a new shooter to the range and show them how to safely fire a gun. If you download a target off the's 9mm page, take a photo of the new shooter with the target, then upload it back they'll send you a couple boxes of 9mm 115 grain ammunition.

9mm Ammo by MagtechSeems like a good idea. I know it's not always easy finding someone who isn't familiar with guns that wants to shoot but I like what they're trying to do here. I'm curious how many people will be able to round somebody up. They claim to have 100,000 rounds of 9mm
ammo available as part of the program. That's enough for 1,000 new shooters if my math is correct. Pretty good - but just a drop in the bucket of what we'll need if the gun-grabbing public continues on with the momentum that they seem to be building.

I'm not sure who I'm going to take to the range but I wanted to post since they reached out and I think it's a worthy topic. Have you heard about it? Planning to take advantage of the offer?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Relaxing Labor Day

It's hard to believe the summer is winding down, right?

Had a pretty laid back Labor Day weekend, nothing too exciting to talk about.

Had a chance to smoke of these guys on Sunday, very nice and very smooth.

Kristoff Cigar

That's a Kristoff Brittania Reserva stick - the corojo and criollo from them are decent too but this one kind of surprised me because it was incredibly mellow without being too boring.

Anyway, I've been really enjoying porch time of late with cigars just about every weekend. Because of it, I've had the chance to smoke a lot of really good and really bad cigars. If I run across an especially good one, I like to share them because there are so many bad ones out there!

Oh, and the Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest didn't hurt any either! :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

.308 Winchester vs. 7.62x51

This is pretty cool and a good look at an issue I know causes a lot of questions out there.

I have a rifle chambered in .308 and always just buy .308 Winchester but it sounds like I could have strayed and gotten into some 7.62x51mm if the price was right.

Thanks to BulkAmmo for look at .308 vs. 7.62x51mm ammo.

308 vs. 7.62x51

Monday, July 28, 2014

Staying Busy... Time to Relax With a Cigar Review

Things have been relatively hectic over the past few weeks.

Lots of work.

Bad weather in the area yesterday.

Civilian planes being shot of the sky, Israelis and Palestinians lobbing bombs...

Now seems as good of a time to sit on the front porch rocking chair and enjoy a cigar!

Cigar Review: Gurkha Beauty

Gurkha Cigar
Gurkha's Beauty - a pretty good smoke for the money.
I'm definitely not a cigar aficionado... at least not yet.

I often don't taste the creamy notes a lot of folks report when they talk about cigars.

The leather, oak, and other assortment wood flavors are often lost on me.

But I'm getting better at it.

This past weekend I had a chance to sit down and catch up on my reading while checking out the Gurkha Beauty cigar. Good stick, great packaging. I'm a sucker for Gurkhas branding, I admit it.

This cigar was a pretty large stick that took me about an hour from start to finish and I tend to take more drags than the average cigar smoker. I did struggle at first to get a nice even burn line with this cigar and early on, I didn't have a ton of smoke coming out of the cigar.

About 15 minutes in, things started to really get cooking. The cigar was medium-to-strong in my opinion. Frankly, I picked up more pepper than I expected.

At about the half hour point, the Misses brought out some vanilla ice cream. That, was fantastic paired with the cigar. The cool ice cream paired with the burn brought in with each puff was absolutely delightful.

As for breaking the cigar into thirds, I must admit the flavor profile didn't change a whole lot to my untrained palate. If you're a novice, like myself - I definitely would recommend this cigar. Although, if you're REALLY new to cigars, you might want to try something more mild.

Oh, and fun fact: You know the cigar that Bill Clinton used when he... umm... well with Monica Lewinsky. Yeah, it was a Gurkha. Ha!

Any suggestions for cigars I should try out? I'm hoping to make this a Saturday ritual. I won't write about them all the time but I found it was a nice way to draw down my Saturday evening.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Iraq Update

I can't stop thinking about it but I don't know what to think about the situation in Iraq right now.

Photo Courtesy:
The photo above shows Iraqi soldiers led by this militant group ISIS to an open field where they were shot and killed, execution style.

In all, they're saying 1,700 Iraqi Shia air force recruits near Tikrit were the victims.

Disheartening? Yes.

Frustrating? Absolutely.

Now, it sounds like our nation may even consider working with Iran in hopes of saving Baghdad.

ISIS in Iraq
Photo Courtesy: The Guardian

It's really tough for me to separate the sacrifice of all the good folks our nation has already lost for their "freedom" and the concept of cutting our losses. 

If you have any thoughts that are well thought out, I'd love to hear them. Every time sometime pops up on the news now I really don't know what direction my mind wants to go. It's incredibly sad that the blood and sacrifice we've spilled into that nation have apparently been erased in less than a decade.