Monday, January 18, 2010

Range Report

Saturday was supposed to be my mental health day, but it turns out, "day" = several hours in my world. Sadly, my plans to shoot with a friend went south, so I instead jumped in my truck and headed South for some shooting on private property.

I wanted to try a new OCW test with some 175 grain Sierra Match Kings over Varget, and I put some rounds down range there. My shoot was somewhat inconclusive, and you can read all about it at the Practical Riflery Forum where I have some pics posted.

On top of that shooting, I wanted to shoot some 80 grain Cor-Bon and some 100 grain Buffalo Bore Hard Cast through the Kel-Tec P3AT to see how they group. I was not disappointed.

Traditionally, the little .380acp has never been known as a go-to round for reliable self defense. A 100 grain FMJ round traveling at 800 fps will get the job done, but maybe not in the time frame you were hoping for. Now that the cartridge is getting some serious attention, ammunition companies are cranking out some serious rounds for it. A friend had given me some of the Cor-Bon rounds to load up with, but I had only fired a couple of them to see where they hit. I have since bought more of them, although they are very hard to find. I ordered a couple of boxes of the Buffalo Bore because they seem readily available.

I'd like to add that I've fired about 150 rounds of practice ammo through this gun, and it has never missed a beat. Blaser ammo is pretty mild stuff, especially in a 9 oz gun, but the Cor-Bon and Buffalo Bore are a different matter entirely. Both loads are absolutely fierce. The manual that came with the Kel-Tec says +P rounds are fine, but to not make a habit of shooting them all the time. After firing a box through the gun, I was not interested in shooting any more of them.

With both rounds, the recoil is manageable, but the thin backstrap (mmmmmm, backstraps!) of the little blaster really cuts into your hand. Velocities from the 80 grain Cor-Bon clocked in at at an average of 1,007 fps, and the Buffalo Bore clocked in at 1,033. The Buffalo Bore was more consistent than any handgun ammo I have ever fired, and it's accurate at that. Even with the non-existent sights, I was still able to shoot a 3.88" and 2.87" group at 15 yards, and a group of Cor-Bon went into 2.73" at the same distance. Groups were fired from a Caldwell shooting rest off the top of my truck. Here's a pic of my target:


I don't have them marked very well, but you can see the Cor-Bon 5-round group circled on the right of the big target, with the individual shot holes circled, one just inside the black at 3 o'clock. The first Buffalo Bore group is the two un-circled shot holes in the center of the Cor-Bon group, plus the three just below it. The five round group circled that is to the right of the little black dot are from the second Buffalo Bore group, the third group from them being the three shots above the little black dot, as well as the two inside the bull on the big target which were all fired from a weak hand pocket draw at seven yards. They do sting the hand a bit, but five rounds inside of a fist at 15 yards is amazing for such a teeny gun. I put the two rounds in the center of the bull by taking just a fraction of a second longer to line the sights up properly. The gun is quite capable of putting them all in there from that distance. Something to keep in mind, always check your ammo before you load them into your magazine or gun. This is especially true of self defense ammo, as you wouldn't want this round at the top of the stack when the bad man is braying at your door.

I think I'll stick with the Buffalo Bore as my SD ammo. Some may snicker that they're not hollow points, but one thing I always notice is that everyone ponders whether their favorite SD round in all of the trendy cartridges will make it to the vitals or not. 100 grains of hard cast lead at over 1k fps will make it just fine, and I'll take that over expansion any day.

The last thing I wanted to do was to check some accuracy handloads in my AR15, and to make sure they hit to POI at 100 yards. I plan on doing some nighttime predator hunting soon and wanted better accuracy than my mass produced zombie rounds offered. About a year ago I had loaded some rounds that in the past would consistently put five rounds into half and inch, but I had loaded CCI 450 primers instead of the traditional CCI 400. It doesn't seem to matter, as they shot under an inch from a hasty rest and firing at the glint from a staple holding my target up. Velocity averaged 2,893 in a 16" barrel. I'm using new Winchester cases, 52 grain SMKs, and 25 grains of Benchmark.

Let me tell ya, I love Benchmark. I mix Benchmark in my smoothies and sprinkle it on my burgers. Snorting it works well too, but I can't get it to flow through a syringe. Maybe it'l go if it's mixed in the smoothie. Anyways, I need to give it a try with in the 308. When I get time, I need to post a picture of the crappy 1 million candle power spotlight that I have mounted on my AR for lighting up coyotes in the dark. I need to make a red filter for it first, though.

That's it folks. I will be doing another OCW test with Varget and the 175 grain SMKs just as soon as I can get some new Winchester cases.
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