Many moons ago

When I had hair!

I used to target shoot at Bisley on the long ranges, 900 and 1000 yards.
No telescopic sights then. Vernier iron sights as a ‘bolt on goodie’ on the venerable .303 Enfield #4 were in common use. Only my ‘borrowed’ weapon was the forces 7.62mm variant aka L42A1 issue which I used for services shooting, and that too had vernier sights.

While I was just happy to put all ten rounds SOMEWHERE on the target at those ranges, my mentor at that time had a dreamy wish.

He wanted to put all 10 rounds into the centre (the V Bull) of a 1000 yard target with his #4 Enfield. Scoring the magical 101 out of 100!
To give you an idea of how big a feat that is, the X mark (V Bull worth 10.1) on the targets we used was only 5 inches in diameter.

He’d got close on a number of times but never quite perfect.

Well he’s done just that.
Thing is he was ‘old’ when I knew him, so today he must be in his nineties.
Thus it’s taken him over 35 years and about a dozen barrels I’d guess!

Which brings me to:-
Congratulations ‘Brian T’ aka Shaky
(He’ll probably murder me for that one and hasn’t replied to my email)

And something that I wrote on the sidebar of my blog.
Disabled don’t mean incapable
To prove that, you run,
And I’ll try to shoot you.
I’ve no idea if he is disabled now but as he is in his nineties (and still shoots most weeks), he might just qualify as ‘mildly unfit for active service’.

So, out to 500 yards you ain’t too safe from me.
Out to 1000 yards, “Shaky” awaits you!

Meanwhile, them modern weapons.
What’s the current record in combat, 3.5 km plus change I think?
That’s just dandy and a credit to modern trigger fingers, CNC engineering, and 50 cal ammo.

However the Enfield #4 is not to be sneered at.
So my thought is:-
Could today’s military trigger shoot as well over 500 yards (that pencils in at a group of 2½ inches) using yesteryears technology and .303  ammunition, iron sights, and NO GLASS? Two point slings permitted, no rests.
Might be interesting to try that (if it hasn’t been done before).

If it has been done, please drop me the link, site, blog or whatever.


Keeping my eye in.

Although I’ve got tired old eyes, my hands creak, and all the other bones grind, I still can’t help wanting to throw bits of lead around.

Problem is the nearest ‘official’ range is 18 miles away, costs £125 a year to “join”, plus £8 for a 10 minute slot on a lane (plus ammo), on a range that favours standing or ‘military prone’ as opposed to all position shooting (sitting, kneeling, or timed), available for only two nights a week, when it’s all-comers, no booking a lane, and only 25 and 50 yard ranges. That and a bar which is open from 8am to 11pm, 7 days a week. Um. Kids and idiots using firearms or air weapons and a bar to loosen up in. How very ‘Twee’, if not dangerous.

Anyone out there that would willingly join that to put up with so much nonsense?
Not me.
Meanwhile a friend does as he tries to get 6 months of range time before he can buy a 22LR rifle. Jeez. 26 weeks for two strings a week plus fees? £541 and a licence not guaranteed at the end of all that.

As a result, I’ve returned to garden shooting, all 23 meters worth of it.
Please don’t faint at the phenomenal ranges available to me.
Still I can have loads of fun and with no “membership or range fees” I get to buy more lead!

To that end, I’ve finally decided to make myself my first shooting bench.
No bad methinks as I don’t own power tools other than an electric drill!
Strong little sucker it is too, i.e. me standing on it and it didn’t collapse.
Dual handed position as I’m a South Paw and SWMBO is a Righty.

Only a few more things to do.

  • Finish the silent pellet catcher I’m working on.
    Did I mention my PCP pencils in at only 70db on discharge?
    Anyway, pics to follow sometime soon.
  • Make a couple of shooting bags to help SWMO. (modified baby romper suits)
  • And, because my bones hate damp, and before it gets cold again, I’d like to knock up a decent prone, sitting, and kneeling platform.

As usual, on the cheap.
Sigh, never a dull moment in my frantic life style.

To the gun shop!

An Aladdin cave it is too.
I went to pick up some spares and usually I am in and out in minutes, but the browsing bug bit and for the first time I had a good look around the shelves and racks.My PCP is, to put it mildly, like me, ancient, but what was there had me muttering WOW!
Never a good thing as far as the wallet goes.
Except it wasn’t me I was thinking about.
Although I taught SWMBO to shoot, she never could relax enough.
That’s mainly because I’ve always found it difficult to ‘fit’ a gun to her frame.
So imagine my grin when I found not one, but TWO racks full of “shorter stocks’.
The other thing that really got me excited was how light everything has got.
My mainstay PCP (although to be fair it has a beech stock), weighs in at 8.7 lbs with the scope and moderator fitted. So it’s a bit of a brick.
At 5 lbs, including the scope and moderator, the one I was looking at was exactly right for the smaller frame and lighter build shooter.
I managed to persuade SWMBO to size the weapon to herself.
The butt plate was placed in the crook of her arm and could she get a good position on the grip and the trigger. OH,YES, perfect! BUT, I got that “not today look” so that was that.

If money was no object, and there were no stupid gun laws, there was a lovely Korean lever action, 9 shot, 145 ft lb PCP in 9mm. Good lines, weighs 9.5 pounds which is a full pound lighter than the ubiquitous AK47 with a full mag. Except probably a lot quieter with a SAKS moderator fitted on the spout (muzzle).Talk about droll.
But at £899 I think SWMBO would have brained me if I’d bought it.
I had shot the .32 version many years ago and it was fairly accurate at about 2 MOA.
What surprised me about it was the recoil. Yes, it had one!
That and the one I tried was not moderated so it was really, REALLY LOUD!

Then it was back home via boring things like shopping to painting gates.
See how domesticated I’ve become!

More media and police B.S.

First the headlines:-
A 77-year-old and a 50-year-old have been arrested after an assault rifle was seized from the boot of a vehicle. Officers stopped two vehicles in Peckham, south London, at around 5pm on Thursday and found an Armi Jager AP80 .22 rifle with a loaded magazine. Scotland Yard said it is believed to be a fully automatic assault rifle.

Armi-Jager AP-80 (Made in Italy)
Firearms production at Jager ended by the early 1990s

Civilian-market sporting rifle intended for hunting, plinking and similar recreational firearms activities.
Inertia blow-back, no fixed operating; semi-automatic only.
Cast and machined aluminum alloy.
.22 LR rimfire.
Came with a 30 and a 15 round magazine.
Third party (if you can find one) can look like a full-sized 7.62 magazine.
Weight, Approx 5.5 lbs.

So I wonder, when did this weapon make it to the giddy heights of any of various intermediate-range (100 to 300 yards) magazine-fed, MILITARY ASSAULT RIFLE, that can be set for automatic or semiautomatic fire?

Now I like the 22 LR BUT it is a mouse round only generating a nominal 100-150 ft.lbs at 100 yards. So provided you are capable of precision application of the 30 to 40 gn bullet at those sort of ranges, it can ruin a person’s day, but not necessarily kill 80% plus of the time.

Worrying about the little things when shooting.

Consistency is king in the world of long-range precision rifle.
An article I was reading recently was talking about losing 20 fps shot per shot by lax recoil technique. So I got to thinking and typing into my ballistics program.
Shooting 7.62 x 51 NATO 150 gr, BC .391, MV 2800 Typ, @ 1000m

  • 1000 m @ 2800 fps Drop 1440 cm
  • 1000 m @ 2780 fps Drop 1464 cm.
    Or in old money, just under 9½ inches.

OK, point proven (sort of), but unless you are head shooting everything at 1000m, plus an expert at all the rest of the techno bits of shooting, it’s all pretty much for a narrow skill set i.e. for people who use bench rests at long ranges or snipers.

Real life and ‘little people’.
If the SHTF for those trying to stay alive in an Urban / Semi rural self-defense scenario it’s unlikely that you will be shooting much over 100 m.

Do the military still call building clearance “Widow Making”?
That ‘game’ causing more casualties to the good guys than any other activity.

One of the unanswered (but very opinionated) questions about urban weapons is “What is the ideal weapon and caliber for self-defense that meets all range and capability requirements?” I submit their isn’t one but 9×19 mm is a good start as is something you are comfortable and accurate with as good shot placement is vital no matter what caliber you are using.

My choice up to 100m in a sensible caliber is a compact, lightweight, bull-pup or very short carbine, or a MP5 format. Semi auto, and sensible (non PC) capacity magazines.

The ‘why’ is because there are many practical issues in working within an urban area, in buildings, like trying to swing a barrel quickly, in cramped conditions, and accurately onto close targets probably moving at high-speed.

So why these examples and not a handgun?
How many can achieve 3-4 MOA with a handgun at 100 m? (Excluding liars).
Anyway I’ve always preferred a stocked weapon over the spray and pray of a shotgun or pistol. That and unless you are trained and practiced in point shooting, using a pistol is a bitch as grip and sight mal alignment is enhanced in low light scenario.

Another small note. Are you a lover of shotguns?
If you are, at room ranges, you’ll know you still have to aim at a target as shot at close range doesn’t spread a lot. That and over 40 to 50 m, unless you are shooting slugs or sabot, your shot impact i.e. lead on target isn’t going to be all that great. On the other hand my listed types work well at all ranges from up close and personal and out to 100m.

Barrel Length
Some will bleat short barrels aren’t accurate!
At 100 m or less, just how accurate do you need to be?

Model Overall (in) User MOA 100 m (in) 50 m (in) 20 m (in)
Tavor 7 29 (Fixed) 3 3.1 1.6 0.8
SBR AR15 27-30 (Adj) 4 4.2 2.1 1.1
MP5 27 (Fixed) 4 4.2 2.1 1.1

Before anyone says my MOA figures are wrong, they were averaged out from multiple user reported MOA and not factory spec.
As for real life? The only one I’ve fired is the MP5 and it never came off-center mass.

Incidentally, have you thought about how fast those sort of distances can be covered if someone is after you?

Movement Speed Distance
MPH m/s 100 m 50 m 20 m
Patrolling 3.1 1.4 71 sec 36 sec 14 sec
Jogging 4 to 5 2 50 sec 25 sec 10 sec
Running 6 3 37 sec 19 sec 7 sec
Dash to Cover 10 4.5 22 sec 11 sec 4 sec

I also think (nay hope) I’ve just highlighted the disaster that is current thinking among ‘Hollywood’ survivalists. “I own a handgun so everything is covered”.

Sights? I’m not a fan of iron sights in urban work preferring a QR (red dot) as I always find iron in dim conditions another bitch. Having said that I’m not a fan of laser.

Is that it?
Not for me and I want to quickly mention SOUND aka Boom in a confined space. Firing or taking fire in an enclosed area without ear protection is to be HAMMERED BY SOUND. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140 dB level. That is beyond ‘pain threshold’ and if you aren’t careful you can be partially ‘sound blinded’ aka deafened. That can really screw up your capability for clear thinking and your equilibrium.

As a result reaction time slows and your survivability drops.

So If you are going into a hot zone, think ear protection.
Hows about talking to others, communications, or just listening?
You can buy intelligent (aka ‘Smart’ headsets) or earplugs with communications built-in. Both can plug into a radio, and both intelligently limit sound levels. A few even draw power from the radio so no batteries! (Boy I wish I’d had access to those years ago). Or for those simple moments in life you could use:

Expert. Yeah but you don’t have time to don ear protection in an ambush!
OK I agree.  But not every scenario is an ambush is it?
If you are entering a known hot zone, I again say, what is it to don ear protection? 2 maybe 3 seconds?

Get woken at night by an intruder, what’s 2-3 seconds (unless they are in the same room). Process being make weapon ready and then plug up them ears.

And finally (because I’ve just looked at the word count and I’m thinking Oops).
Everything I’ve just scribbled is subjective but I would also remind you that disaster is generally a noise maker in its own right. If not the event, I do wish the emergency services had volume controls on their two tones and sirens.
That’s why my poor man’s PPE kit includes cheapo foam ear plugs.

Lead Rust

Caution. Lead oxide is as poisonous as pure lead.
Wash your hands after handling, cleaning, or recasting.
Never breath in lead vapor.
No eating, drinking, or smoking when working with lead.
Do I need to mention hot lead burns DEEPLY??

Two containers of rounds, knocked over at some time, exposed to the air, and discovered well corroded.
So what to do about it?
Suggestions made were, a light rub with fine wire wool or plastic scourer.
A tumble in sand, a polish with a rag lightly wetted with vegetable oil and I tried a couple with lamp oil.

Note: Nothing ‘gun care’ was tried as you can never find a gun shop open when TEOTWAWKI happens.

After trying all those I rapidly came to the conclusion that nothing was going to restore them to their former glory.

The question after that was are they only fit for scrap or are they at all useful?

  • Power wise, comparing them with untarnished examples, there was little noticeable loss of power at the muzzle (chrono)
  • Range wise, the 22 LR performance fell off dramatically after 50 m and the air pellet quickly started to tumble after 10-15 m.
    Both conclusions by looking at target strikes and elongated entry holes.
  • As for accuracy?
    The 22LR still shot within an inch at 30m but the air pellet was more miss than hit. That could have been caused by the corrosion BUT for me the waist damage was the most likely cause.
  • Danger to the weapons. Oxydised lead is harder than pure lead yet you would have to put loads through your barrels to make a real difference. That goes for the softer mild steel of the air weapon as well as the 22LR.

With the 22Lr, unless you need under 2 inch accuracy at 50 m, I would just carry on.
With firearms it’s the bang that matters as the rifling will do a fair job of scraping the crud off. However cleaning would need to be really thorough as barrels will foul up much more quickly.

The air pellets? Some were found corroded but damage free.
They also flew erratically so it shows that even slight imperfections make a heck of a difference. Certainly over 20 meters.

Now it’s a judgement call. When hunting for small furries or birds, I often manage to get within 20 meters before firing. With a .22 or .25, the knockdown power is still enough to stun prey although not every time.

That comment stands for all kinds of air gun shooting anyway but I would ask how many times have rabbit fallen for you only to run off as you approached? For me that happens even with a head shot.

I suppose you have to consider what would happen in an austere scenario.
If they fly, you have a chance.
If you ditch them you’ve just thrown away a little bit of luck.

Without reworking the little 22LR with new cast lead, accuracy may become an interesting issue. There again pulling the lead in less than ideal conditions may dampen the ‘powder’ and primer.

For the air gun pellet, there is no casing BUT to use a handheld swager (Pellet maker) on them, you may be able to put a little life back into them.
The best bit about that is you can remelt the corroded lead, scraping off the slag, and casting new correctly dimension-ed wire for your swager.
Remember air pellet lead is a mixture of pure lead and antimony to make it a bit harder. That hardness serves two purposes. It retains the shape better on impact and resists deformation on acceleration within the gun barrel thus helping accuracy.

Is a pistol crossbow a viable weapon?

I have never rated them but some special forces still use them as CQB weapons.
On average the pull has to be 80 lbs to be effective.
Even with a foot stirrup or hinged spine to aid loading that is hard work.

With an average bolt weight of 16 grams (250 grains), at 165 fps it only delivers about 20 joules 14 ft lbs. YET with a razor-sharp broad head and a hit to a soft target like a neck blood vessel or perhaps an eye (speculation) , it could cause enough blood loss.

But is it a viable self-defense weapon?
I submit not for these reasons.

  1. Ballistically it is weak,
  2. It’s effective range (on small game) is 60 yards maximum.
    If you are lucky enough to achieve accuracy over that range.
  3. The cyclic rate on a standard bow is too slow for anything more than ambush use.
  4. A bow with an inbuilt cocking mechanism can be reloaded in 2-3 seconds BUT that is the reload time and not the TOTAL time to re-aim and fire.
  5. Most have built-in auto-safeties which will slow you down.
  6. Bow strings aren’t generally wet or cold compatible and do fail suddenly
  7. Trigger mechanisms are generally coarse and heavy, certainly not precision releases. Which also makes them difficult to use for traps.

Possible advantages.
Relatively silent but still ‘twang’ well.
Strings can be replaced by para-cord although that does stretch over time.
Bolts can be fabricated but feathering is hard.