Monthly Archives: December 2010
So how did 2010 do for me?
All in all, not bad.
There are goals I met, goals I didn’t meet. There are things that came up along the way that I never figured on… like getting a dog.
But all in all, life is good. I’m fortunate in my life and while I may whine from time to time, while things may not always go the way I want, I know the general trend is better than most so truly I have no place to complain. I count my blessings and do my best to remember them.
How do I want 2011 to shape up for me?
Funny I should use the word shape. While my weight-loss was good and I am down 15#, I’ve plateaued at that level for some weeks now. It’s a combination of slacking on the “up-day-down-day” diet, stress, holiday/vacation time and wanting to enjoy some fruits of the season. I will get back on this because I want to drop another 25#… that should put me around 190# and I’ll see from there where to go. My “muffin top” is certainly shrinking and I figure around 190# it should be gone or close to it.
I also want to get back into regular empty-hand martial arts training.
I want more balance in my life with all the things I do… not spending every weekend doing some gun thing, be it at KR Training helping or taking classes, or wanting to go shoot a match, or hunt, or whatever. But yes, I would like to get to a match or two this year, as well as some training classes and helping @ KR Training. So nothing will go away, just pulling back and having more balance.
I have software I need to finish and release. More about that later. I need to grow my business.
I want to tour local wineries with Wife. We’ve done it casually, but I’d like us to do it a little more seriously. Keep notes instead of vague recollections on what we did or didn’t like. But really, it’s not about the wine, it’s about time with Wife.
I want to get the kids to the gun range more often to pick up their skills. I’d love for them to be the primary on a hunt, not just tagging along with me. I’d also like to do more computer work with them, be it working in Stagecast or other creative software.
Most of all, I want balance and sanity. I want peace. I want to keep myself reigned in, perhaps finding more things in my world to shed… I can’t pile any more on, so I need to get rid of some things. My motorcycle, for instance, is just collecting dust in the garage. Needs to get sold (because I’m not sure the guy that wanted to buy it is going to at this rate).
I wish you Peace for the new year.
I admit it. I’m a blog stats junkie. I love to look at the blog stats to see what people are interested in, why they come, what they stay for.
So let’s look back at 2010 and what people liked.
First, the home page is #1. That tells me people come to the blog and read what’s current. Fair enough. The one thing stats can’t tell you is truly how many readers you have, and I can’t help but wonder how many unique readers I do have. I’d still write whether I had 1 or 1,000,000 readers… I’d write the same, in terms of style and about “whatever interests me… and maybe you”. It’s why I don’t take advertisements, or “link trades” for any sort of profit… this is a personal blog and I write from me for me. Still, it’s a curiosity.
So apart from what, what did people tend to want to know about in 2010?
- How to correct shooting problems.
- 50 things everyone should know.
- 9mm reload recipe
- This one is actually interesting to me. As I cross-reference the search queries that bring people here, what most people are looking for is load recipes with Berry’s bullets. There just isn’t much data out there, so I’m glad I can share something.
- Hornady Critical Defense ammo.
- Using .223 Rem for hunting.
- igneous weather forecasting!
- Combined Skills
- I’m not sure why this one gets so much traffic, but it does.
- I’m Scotts-Korean!
- That was a fun one.
- Ruger SR-22
- That one showed me that if you want to drive traffic to your blog, be on top of the latest news as quickly as possible.
- More about 9mm reloads.
If I look beyond the top 10, I can see that people care about anatomy lessons, M1A ammo, more Berry’s bullets data but for .38 Special, DIY mook jong’s, that links from saysuncle.com generate a lot of traffic, and people likes boobs.
It’s interesting to see what brings people to my blog. Gun topics certainly are a primary thing. Reloading data for Berry’s bullets are a prime reason, and one reason I like sharing all the data I generate (especially about reloading). Mentioning “boobs” generates lots of clicking (imagine that, sex sells!). As well, getting a link from popular websites like saysuncle.com can drive a lot of traffic.
All in all, I’ll just continue to write what I write. I’m not out to get tons and tons of traffic, but it’s nice. It’s nice to see readership increasing… I guess because it makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. While I say I write for me, that’s only mostly true. If I wanted to only write for me then I’d write in a journal and never share it with the world. That I write in a public way like a blog well… that just shows I want to share something with the world. Thus, to see lots of traffic, to see readership on a general upward trend well… that’s nice. I guess I’m doing something right, and I thank you for thinking what I write is something worth reading.
Is there anything you’re curious about my opinion on? Anything you wonder why I talk about? Or maybe a topic I don’t talk about? Yeah… I’m asking for requests because hey… I make sure I post something every day and sometimes that’s difficult to do. Furthermore, sometimes it’s cool to break out of the mold and touch on something different. So if you want to request something, go ahead.
But the bottom line is: thank you for reading. I appreciate it.
Updated: Well…. it looks like the original Vimeo-hosted video was deleted. Here’s YouTube… until it’s deleted:
Lookie what I got!
For Christmas I received a Cabela’s gift card, so I put Daughter in the car and off we went. I actually was going to look at getting a new coat (those Carhartt’s looked pretty cool) but they didn’t have the color and size I wanted. So….. over to the gun counter I went. I was curious to see if they had any of that IMR 8208 XBR… and lo, they did! So as you can see I picked up a jug. I’m not going to use it yet… just figured to snag a jug while I had the opportunity. That shiny gold label is a cute gimmick… makes the jug really stand out on the shelf from all the other powder containers.
The rest is .223 Remington ammo to act as the control baseline for my .223 reloads. The UMC, PMC, and AE along with some Georgia Arms Canned Heat will serve the role for cheap plinking ammo performance. The TAP and Federal Gamekings aren’t 100% the same as my load (different bullet), but about as close as I could get in a .223 55 grain premium ammo. And I picked up a box of the Winchester 5.56 Q3131 stuff just for a 5.56 load comparison. I think I have some XM193 somewhere that I might also pull out for similar comparison.
Enough waffling. I think I have a plan for my next reloading efforts.
When I reload, I like to reload “everything at once”; that is, as long as the press is set up for X caliber, just keep reloading that caliber until I’m sick of it. Sure, the Hornady Lock-n-Load progressive press is relatively quick with caliber conversions, but I don’t have enough duplicate parts to just swap around without having to reconfigure some things, like the powder drop. So, just keep it dialed in and stable, load until I’m sick of it, then change. With pistol rounds almost finished, I can now shift to something else, and that something else will be rifle.
About a year ago I was trying to reload .223 Remington but it just wasn’t working out. So I put it on the shelf, loaded a lot of 9mm and .38 Special, and wondered what rifle to do next. I thought about 6.8 SPC because that’s really the only way to utilize those Barnes 6.8 SPC 95 grain TTSX’s, but I wasn’t sure about doing that because components are expensive (even the cheapest 6.8 components are still relatively more expensive than say .223 or .308) and I was still unsure about what caused the .223 reloads to not work out: was it me? process? equipment? components? not enough trials? so many possible reasons, I didn’t want to bet the farm on expensive 6.8 components until I had a better grasp on things. I recently was thinking about .308 Winchester, but that motivation was primarily driven by the thought of an elk hunt with Dad…which is now unlikely to happen. So I come back to the shelf. I mean, if I look at the long-term reloading plans I set about a year ago, I’ve accomplished much of what I wanted, but the path was always to go back to .223 Remington. Now of course at that time I was still very curious about hunting with .223 Remington and hadn’t made the move to 6.8 SPC, thus why I still wanted to come back to .223. But as I think about other reasons for shelving it, I want to come back to it to finish what I started. I want to figure out what was going on and what caused things to not work out.
And so, I’m going to work on .223 Remington. It’s final, no more waffling.
So here’s my plan. Fellow reloaders, feel free to comment.
The general plan is to use loading .223 Remington as a platform for figuring out my rifle reloading process. I want to iron out any issues and gain rifle cartridge reloading experience. Thus this go-round will be loading simple and, relatively speaking, cheap .223 plinking/practice rounds. Longer-term I want to be able to make fine-tuned hunting rounds, be it in .223 Rem (probably using something like heavy Barnes TSX/TTSX, or maybe 60 grain Nosler Partitions), or 6.8 SPC… being able to get exactly the best hunting ammo my rifles can shoot? That’s my longer-term goal.
The goal of this particular load is practice: a round to use for shooting practice, a round to give me practice in reloading. Thus I want to keep it fairly simple and straightforward, but also with a nod to mass production on a progressive press.
I will be testing it out of a Bushmaster AR-style carbine. It has a 1:9 twist, 16″ barrel, 5.56 NATO chamber, carbine-length gas system. While I can load it hot due to the 5.56 chamber, I don’t want to. My primary concern is accuracy, wanting to make a load as accurate as I can within the limitations of the components and the rifle. Velocity is a secondary concern. I doubt this will be shot beyond 200 yards, and if I can make a round with acceptable accuracy that’s less violent on the gun, all the better. Plus, it’d be nice if this load could work out of any .223-chambered rifle, so I want to do my best to keep it within .223-specs; I may not test it out of any other rifle (unless someone is willing to put up their rifle for the tests), so the Bushmaster will be the sole test platform.
So what is acceptable accuracy? Before I shoot the reloads I will obtain various factory ammo of similar design from different manufacturers (e.g. UMC, Winchester white box, I’ve got some Georgia Arms “canned heat”, some XM193, Federal P223S, etc.) and shoot them through the same rifle and note their performance. I will want to use both cheap target ammo but also some premium ammo. That will provide me a comparison baseline.
Bullets: Winchester bulk 55 grain 22 caliber (.224″) FMJ BT (WB556MC55). I obtained a lot of these when I originally bought my reloading equipment, thus they are what I’m going to use because they’re what I have.
Primers: Magtech small rifle (PR-SR, #7.5). I don’t know much about Magtech primers but they were what was available during the great Obama gun-rush. Google turns up positive results, so I’ll try ‘em for these plinking loads. My CCI #41′s I’ll keep for the hunting loads.
Brass: Initially I’ll start with new Remington-brand .223 brass, because again I have some. I want to minimize variables, so I figure starting with new brass of all the same brand/headstamp should help with consistency in the brass department. I will then continue to use this same fired brass while developing the load. After the load is developed, brass will be the next thing I vary because if I want to load a lot of rounds for plinking then “mixed used cases” is where I have to go.
When I work the brass I will be using RCBS small-base full-length resizing dies… at first! The first time through the brass will get this treatment, then will be marked. Subsequent uses of that marked-brass will go through a RCBS X-die (small base). Thus, when I do the initial brass setup, I will set up the brass, trim it, etc. according to X-die instructions. First time through I will also take care of things like deburring the flash hole, cleaning primer pockets, and so on.
COAL: Load to the cannelure. These bullets have a cannelure, so I’m going to load such that the case mouth is centered in that cannelure. Exactly what is that length? I’m not sure… have to wait until I get one loaded and then I’ll measure. But rough measuring lying a bullet outside a non-prepped case was somewhere around 2.2″.
Of course, that brings up an issue of to crimp or not to crimp. I personally want to crimp because there is a cannelure thus I CAN crimp, and since these are going to be practice loads 1. I don’t need nor expect “one-hole” accuracy, 2. the rounds are likely to be banged around in loose-storage in an ammo can, shot out of an AR, and so on… so I think a light Lee Factory Crimp would be good insurance against setback. HOWEVER, that said, I think I’m going to try developing the load without a crimp. I’ll work to find what’s “good enough”, then throw a crimp on there and see if that changes anything.
Powder: Of all the rifle powders I have on hand, I am going to use Ramshot TAC because it’s usable in .223 and it should meter extremely well, important for use in the progressive press. From my researching, I get the feeling that TAC will produce a good load… maybe not the best in terms of maximum accuracy and maximum velocity, but should be more than adequate. I should be able to get an accurate-enough load, but it just may not have the most velocity. But given my above-stated goals, that’s fine. Ease of loading with it, if it’s accurate-enough, low-cost, etc. all add up to a powder that fits the bill for the intent of the load.
As for charge weight, I’m going to start at 23.5 grains and work up to 26.5 in 0.5 grain increments. The Speer #14 book says that shooting 7 rounds gives you the best idea of how a load will perform without using a lot of components, so I’ll go with that emotion and load 7 at each charge weight. Once I see which of those 7 weights performs best, I’ll try some refinement from there (e.g. if 24.5 is best, try out 24.3, 24.4, 24.6, 24.7 and see how they do).
Testing Procedure: I will start by keeping all components relatively the same, except for powder charge weight. I say relatively because I will start with new brass and use the same brass throughout development, so over time it’ll be once-fired, twice-fired, etc..
I will initially shoot only for accuracy, not using the chronograph. The main reason is logistics. Best way to test for accuracy will be at the indoor range off a bench and I can’t use a chronograph there. The indoor range is the closest, and if I want to ensure I can work on this stuff well, I must have some conveniences here.
I’ll start by throwing a few Georgia Arms “canned heat” downrange just to get the barrel fouled and warm, then I’ll start with the various factory ammo, shooting for accuracy. The scope will be zeroed @ 100 yards and I’ll shoot at 100 yards, thus while I’m sure I’ll see some POA vs. POI shifts as I change ammo, in general that should keep me on paper. I’ll use fresh targets for each string. I’ll see what charge weight gets me the best results. After that, it’ll be going home, analyzing, and figuring out how to correct or refine.
Where I go from there will be determined by the results of the initial test. But I can say that of those factory ammos I purchase, I will not shoot all of them that first time. Once I have the most-accurate loading, I’ll then take everything to the outdoor range and shoot over the chronograph. I’ll shoot the factory loads too to get their velocities for comparison.
After that, I’ll try varying other things, like trying out the Lee Factory Crimp, using mixed used brass cases, and so on, and just see how performance goes. If all goes well, I’ll have myself a nice plinking load and perhaps be able to figure out why my attempts last year didn’t pan out.
I won’t be starting on this immediately as I’ve got a bunch of other things in life to get dealt with. But I did want to get my plan on paper. I may tweak it slightly between now and whenever I actually start loading, but the above is what I have so far.
Any input from seasoned reloaders is welcome.
Daughter received a set of professional watercolors and a nifty composition book for Christmas. She spent the morning painting this and just came in to show me her work.
I really like it. There’s a style to it. I don’t know how to word it right but… well, you know how a lot of kids’ artwork looks like kids artwork? not very refined? This doesn’t have that. There’s some sort of modern style to it. I can’t put my finger on just what it is, but I dig it.
Or maybe, I’m just a proud Daddy.
The comment period on the muscovy duck regulation is almost up (ends Dec. 30, 2010).
If you’re not sure what to say, here’s some brief points:
Tell the FWS: NO control order! DO NOT limit Muscovy duck ownership in the US to only exhibition birds and birds raised for meat and eggs! NO banding or marking! NO outlawing of Muscovies as pets! No outlawing of backyard flocks for pesticide-free insect control!
Here’s the document. That should allow you to read, and then click to make a comment.
I know you haven’t commented because the comments are public and I don’t see your name listed.
Please please please. Take a few minutes RIGHT NOW and comment. You can’t do it later, you can’t come back to it some other time… because there is no more time.
… has putting decongestants (that work) behind the pharmacy counter actually achieved the end of halting meth production?
I didn’t think so. *sniffle sniffle wipe blow*
So why do we keep doing it? Why do we force every American to suffer under a failed policy? Where is the logic in doing so?
Any reloaders out there worked with IMR 8208 XBR powder?
It’s a relatively new powder, but all the stuff I’m reading online seems very promising and positive. Excellent velocity, high accuracy, extruded yet short-cut so it should meter very well, temperature insensitive, and made for all sorts of cartridges. Loading it for .223 Rem, .308 Win or even 6.8 SPC seems like it could do very well. Seems like a dream powder.
I’m curious if any readers have used it and what your experiences are. If I can find some locally, I’m thinking about picking some up.
I’m almost done with reloading .38 Special. The last of the Titegroup is in the powder drop, just a few hundred rounds to go. I’ll get to it eventually… no big rush right now as vacationing is more important.
As you know, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do next. I was thinking to work on .308 Win loads because I was dreaming of an elk hunt with my Dad — I’d want to have the skills to nail a target at 500 yards on demand if I was going elk hunting. But after some talking with Dad, I don’t think that will happen (schedules, cost, physical demands and Dad’s getting up there in age; I also think he’d rather go fishing than hunting). So if an elk hunt isn’t in the near future, that lessens motivation to work in that area.
Then there’s my recent work with the Aimpoint CompM4s and just loving how well it works. I can’t help but think about the recent hog hunt, as I think the reason I missed was due to placement of cheek on gun and not getting the right sight angle, thus my point of aim was not the intended point of impact. But gosh, that parallax-free Aimpoint would render that moot. Furthermore, I see how Aimpoint markets towards hunters and I always was skeptical of how well that would work, especially lacking magnification and using a 4 MOA dot. But you know, the more I think about it, the more I think it could work. Sure I wouldn’t take a mountain goat at 500 yards, but a deer or hog up to 200 yards? Maybe… but I need to take the AR out to the range and try it and see how well I and my eyes can do it. Point is, the thought has recently perked my interest. The kicker is the Aimpoint is mounted on a .223 AR so… I’d need a substantial load, which means something like 62 grain Barnes TSX (or maybe the forthcoming .224″ TTSX!).
And when I think about that? it brings me all the way back to my first rifle handloading attempts… which had a lot of problems and failure to get a good load. I spent some time the other day re-reading all my blog posts on the topic. There’s a part of me that’s motivated to go back and solve that problem. I don’t want to leave that unfinished and unknown… but is that reason enough to bother? I have kinda moved on from exploring .223 as a hunting load since I bought the 6.8 SPC.
So I’m back to waffling.
But while I’ve been thinking about all of this stuff I’ve been reading and researching, trying to figure out what components I want to use. The biggest of which is what powder to use, because I want something that will not cause me headaches on the Lock-n-Load progressive press. What just hit me was reading about IMR 8208 XBR. That powder has perked my interest. It apparently meters well. It’s supposed to be resistant to temperature changes. It’s purpose-built for rounds like .223/5.56 and .308/7.62NATO, with an eye towards high velocity and high accuracy. I mean, that sounds like the perfect powder! What things I can find by Googling on the powder sound very positive and promising — everyone trying out the powder is impressed by the performance. There even seems to be a few people dabbling with it in 6.8 SPC loads, but there’s certainly not much information here (tho what there is is promising). So gosh… could that be the powder to try? I got a Cabela’s gift card for Christmas. I’m thinking if the local store has a 1# jug that I’ll pick it up.
I hate that I’m waffling so much about what to do next. I think it’s because I need a tangible goal to work towards, instead of just reloading for the sake of reloading. When the elk hunt seemed possible, .308 was appealing. I think about the Aimpoint and hogs, so the .223 returns to being appealing, but not enough. Finishing what I started before? That has an appeal too. And I can always use more trigger time with the AR. Geez. Am I leaning that way now?