One of my
favorite TV shows is the Discovery Channel’s “Myth Busters”. The show
basically examines the validity of popular urban legends such as the
construction worker who fell off a very tall building and used the 4 x 8
sheet of plywood that he happened to be holding as a wing to land safely
on the ground, or determining whether pyramids have a mysterious power to
preserve things like food, razor blades, and dead people, or the
likelihood that a certain NFL team was secretly substituting footballs
filled with helium so they could be thrown and kicked farther, etc.
occurred to me that it would also be really interesting to explore
the extensive mythology of the shooting world in a similar way. In fact,
some time ago I was even thinking about making this subject a regular
feature in this column. I’d even picked out a title i.e. “Myth of the
example of the myths I’ve discussed in the past concerned the belief that
cleaning rods have to be made of very hard steel, or other wise carbon
from combustion byproducts would become embedded into an ordinary rod
turning it into an abrasive file which would wear away the bore of your
gun. In my examination of this belief, I found this myth to be completely
untrue i.e. “Myth Busted” as they like to say on the TV program.
popular myth comes from the rimfire world, and is called the “Carbon
Ring”. This myth says that through the normal course of shooting a rimfire
gun, a ring of carbon and lead will quickly build up in the leade of the
chamber just before the lands of the barrel. Many believe the ring will
appear in as little as 25 shots. The ring will now act as a restriction
and start sizing down the soft rimfire bullets smaller than bore diameter.
Of course the more you shoot, the larger the ring grows, and the more
bullets become smaller in diameter. Consequently, after passing through
the ring, the undersized bullets will be literally rattling down the
barrel, and accuracy will go to the devil. The whole thing sounds very
logical, but is it true?
carbon ring really exist? If it does, I’ve never seen one. I’ve examined
many, many rimfire pistols and rifles with a bore-scope and haven't seen
the slightest evidence of a ring of carbon and lead in the leade of any
chamber. These were barrels where the owners were both very conscientious
about cleaning, and barrels where the owners weren't.
closest thing I ever seen to a carbon ring was in a Winchester 52 target
rifle that was probably about 45 years old. I doubt if the gun had been
cleaned more than a dozen times over that period of time and it wouldn’t
shoot worth a lick. A quick look with the bore scope showed that lumps of
lead had built up over the years in the lands at the 6 o’clock position
directly in front of the chamber (not the leade). However, there was no
ring in the leade or anything even vaguely resembling a ring at all
anywhere. Once the lumps were removed through long and vigorous
applications of Brownell’s JB Bore Cleaner, the gun’s accuracy was
restored and it shot beautifully.
one step further and discuss the myth’s assertion of how after the bullet
passes through the ring it gets sized down, and is now slopping its way
down the bore. Most people don’t realize that the average 22 rimfire is
working at a very similar chamber pressure to that of the 38 Special i.e.
17,000 psi. That’s a lot of pressure any way you look at it. For
argument’s sake, say the ring does exist, and that yes, it’s sizing the
bullet down by say one thousandths of an inch (which would be a lot). As
the bullet moves through the ring and into the lands, it is still being
subjected to thousands and thousands of pounds of pressure. We know that
rimfire bullets are soft, and when exposed to that kind of pressure,
they’re going to swell to the limits of the bore diameter. So even if they
were sized down by the ring, they’d immediately expand to bore diameter
again and therefore couldn’t go “rattling” down the barrel.
the myth really exist as fact? The people who sell little carbon ring
cleaning gizmos insist that it does. However, I have to go by what my own
eyes have seen in a large number of bore scope examinations and so I have
to say “Myth Busted”.
still worried about the carbon ring, just take the time to clean your
rimfire barrels after every shooting session with a good solvent and make
sure that includes a good brushing with an Iosso bore brush or something
of similar quality. If you do so, I’m sure that you’ll never see a carbon
probably heard, Hodgdon Powder has taken over the Winchester line of
reloading powders. Winchester made a very brief announcement to that
effect on the 30th of January of this year. However details were just
about non - existent at that time. Recently, I called a friend at Hodgdon
and got some more information. Except for Winchester’s WXR extruded
product, all other powders in the WW line up are being retained. The make
up of the powders will also stay exactly as they were before as they will
still be provided by the same suppliers that Winchester used previously.
However, the powders will now be packaged in Hodgdon’s “pickle jar” style
containers instead of Winchester’s rectangular containers with the handle
on the top.
will be doing all the ballistic testing for the Winchester powers, all the
distribution, advertising, customer support, etc.. etc.. For now on,
Winchester powders are 100% Hodgdon powders. A licensing agreement, allows
Hodgdon to continue to use the Winchester name.
acquisition of Winchester along with its recent acquisition of IMR
certainly makes it the 800 lb gorilla in the shooting sports powder
business. This is a good thing as Hodgdon has always been extremely
conscientious about product quality, performance, and safety. I have no
doubt that their family tradition of excellence will continue with this
new brand name under their umbrella.
Award to Simmons
past I’ve written about the new Simmons Master series rifle scopes and
have given them high marks. Evidently a special NRA committee from the
“American Rifleman” magazine agrees. They’ve awarded the Master Series
scopes their “Golden Bullseye Award” for their performance, reliability,
design, and value.
remember in my story I mentioned that the new Simmons Master Series
provides an exceptionally large “eye box”. This means there’s no hunting
around for your target in the eyepiece. This is a big advantage to any
competitor or hunter using a scoped firearm with lots of magnification. It
also uses a completely different way to make elevation and windage
adjustments, thus eliminating the most common problem that shooters have
with their scopes i.e. settings that suddenly go haywire. They also have
30% fewer parts, and so are now lighter and more reliable than many
Coincidentally, NRA’s magazine for women - “Woman’s Outlook”, also
happened to name Simmon’s Master Series scopes as their “2006 Optic of the
Year”. It’s nice to see that lots of other people think as much of the new
Simmons products as I do.
Sinclair International Press
shoot at a public range the way I do, you’ve probably seen benchrest
shooters doing their reloading right on the firing line. They’ll have a
folding table set up and will have all their gear laid out in a very
orderly fashion. The reason they do their reloading on the spot is the
fact that they use a very small number of cases for their shooting. They
may have perhaps 10 super specially prepared cases that they use over and
over. Since benchrest loads are very mild, the cases last forever. The
bottom line here is that if a benchrester wants to shoot more than 10
shots, they have to reload at the range.
often wish I could reload at the range just like the benchresters.
The press exhibits
Sinclair's usual high quality but the opening may be too small
for general reloading
I go out with some number of prepared loads that I want to evaluate and then
as things proceed, end up wishing that I had some more loads with say a
grain or two more or less of powder, or perhaps where the bullet depth was a
little deeper. If I had some portable reloading gear I could just make what
ever changes I needed right then and there. Instead, I’ll have to wait until
the following week to follow up.
The problem is the
fact that most standard reloading gear is big and heavy and so would be a
major pain to drag around.
Of course the biggest piece of reloading equipment that we’ll have to deal
with, if we want to do things at the range, is the press. Most
benchresters use both special hand dies and a small arbor type press which
requires painstaking procedures that most shooters probably wouldn’t want
to deal with. Obviously, the equipment and procedures also really don’t
lend themselves to producing ammo in any but the very smallest numbers.
However, there’s an alternative. If you want to reload at the range
definitely consider Sinclair International’s 2006 Custom Press. This is
a compact press in a conventional “C” shaped design that’s still big
enough to size any silhouette cartridge up to and including the 308. The
press is machined from a solid block of aluminum and features compound
linkage for plenty of power. It’s also tilted back 10 degrees to offer
even more access. The one inch stainless steel ram accepts standard
shell holders and you can also use your regular sizing dies as
well. This is a press that’s significantly lighter and smaller than most
and so is very portable.
also strong enough to handle any standard case reforming task like taking a 7
BR case down to 6.5, changing shoulder angles, etc. Radical case reforming
however, as always, should be left to the big, iron presses from Redding and
RCBS, but that’s not the kind of thing you’d be doing out at the range
factor that has to be taken into account is the relatively small sized opening
in the press’s mouth - about 2.5 inches. This means that if you’re using a
typical BR type case and a long bullet, you’d might have to insert the nose of
the bullet into your seating die before you could place the case into the
press. If you use a case longer than a BR case, you’d might also have to use a
separate arbor press for the seating operation. This is not as unreasonable as
it sounds, as arbor presses are very light and portable. It is one more piece
of equipment to tote however. Bottom line - if you want a compact, lightweight
press to resize cases while you’re developing or refining loads out at the
range, the Sinclair press will do the job. For bullet seating, just make sure
the overall length of your loaded cartridges will fit in the mouth of the
press or you might have to use a separate piece of gear for seating.
To go with
the press you’ll also want an electronic scale with a good wind cover over the
top as the slightest bit of air movement will drive them crazy. Sinclair also
sells the Acculab electronic scale that features a very effective glass cover
(not plastic). It’s got a nice wide footprint for stability and a means of
leveling the scale which is very useful when the scale is sitting on a
portable table that’s somewhat off kilter. The scale is loaded with all kinds
of features, has a 1852 grain capacity, and comes with a TWO year warrantee.
With most electronic products, it seems like 90 days is often the case. If you
get a one year warrantee, you’re doing well. Two years is unheard of. In
reality, this is a high quality scale that’s made in the good old USA and will
should last as long as a press. Check out these products in the new Sinclair
catalog. It’s a beauty, and is filled with all kinds of really nice gear. Call
them at 800-717-8211.
Streamlight TLR-1 Tactical Light
suspect that there’s more than one or two silhouette shooters reading this
that beside owning a raft of competition guns, also own a home defense firearm
(usually a semi auto hand gun and/or a shotgun). This is certainly not an
unusual situation. As we all know, the crime situation makes a home defense
weapon almost mandatory - even in good neighborhoods.
having loaded weapons around the house carries a degree of risk which requires
us to take as many common sense steps as possible to reduce that risk down to
in spite of extensive precautions, accidents still sometimes happen. One of
the most tragic, is when an individual will wake up in the middle of the night
hearing strange noises in the house. Taking their gun, they’ll go to
investigate. They see a strange figure in the blackened room which then moves
towards them. Fearing the worst, they fire, and the figure goes down. The
lights are then turned on, and the figure on the floor turns out to be a
family member who got up to raid the ice box for a late night snack or what
ever. According to police departments, this type of horrible incident is not
all that unusual. However, this situation could have been totally avoided if
the gun was equipped with a tactical light.
lights are marketed primarily to police departments and other law enforcement
agencies, which is all well and good. However, the general shooting public and
even most manufacturers don’t seem to appreciate their value as a safety
device for the home owner who needs to defend their family and
property. Having the means to quickly and seamlessly illuminate an area to
assess the situation before firing a weapon is just as critical to the average
Joe as it is to a police officer.
There are a
lot tactical lights floating around the marketplace, but the new Streamlight
TLR-1 is surely one of the very best choices. First of all, I particularly
like Streamlight products because they have a 30 year history of producing
high quality lights for police and emergency service agencies. The TLR-1
definitely follows that tradition.
measures 3.25” long and weighs just a tad over 4 ounces without the batteries.
The thing that really impresses me about this little light is the incredible
amount of illumination that it puts out. The focused 80 lumens coming out of
the 3 watt Luxeon LED is absolutely blinding. I’m not kidding when I say
blinding. Let me illustrate. I was showing the light to some friends at the
range last weekend, and to illustrate the point, I shined the light directly
into their faces. Everyone either threw up their hands to shield their eyes or
turned their heads away from the light. There were also a few four letter
words uttered, but we won’t get into that. Now this was out in broad daylight.
Think what the reaction would be from an intruder in a pitch black room.
The TLR-1 is
also tough and comes with a no bull life time warrantee. It’s totally shock
proof, completely waterproof, and is rated to one meter under water for one
hour. The body is milled from a solid piece of aluminum and is hard coat
anodized both outside and inside. The two 3 volt lithium batteries (included)
and electronic regulation circuitry also provides a full 80 Lumen run time of
2.5 hours. Afterwards, the TLR-1 will give you another two hours of useable
light. The Streamlight can also be activated for continuous use or for short
on-demand bursts of light. (BTW, the lithium batteries will keep their charge
while in storage for 10 years.)
One of the
most useful features of the TLR -1 is attachment system. Most semi autos sold
these days are equipped with a Glock style accessory rail on the underside of
the weapon. Even self defense long guns are similarly equipped with a 1913 (Picatinny)
rail. The TLR-1 is equipped with a spring loaded clamp that fits over the rail
with ease. No tools are necessary and the clamp can be tightened further with
a finger adjustable screw if necessary. Removal is just as easy. Just push in
the screw head with your thumb and the clamp opens. Easy. Consequently, your
hand never has to be in front of the muzzle to mount or dismount the light.
(Never the less, always make sure the gun is completely unloaded when mounting
any accessory.) One quick note: The TLR-1 is too long to fit on short
barreled, compact semi-autos.
If you have
an older model semi auto pistol or shotgun without a mounting rail, Streamlight also sells mounts or adapters that fit a number of popular guns.
Additionally, Brownells also sells very high quality accessory rails in both
steel and aluminum that will fit the 1911 and other similar firearms.
line here is that if you own a home self defense gun, it needs a tactical
light on it to avoid potential tragedies and to give yourself every safe
advantage. Check out the Streamlight TLR-1. You’ll like it.
In my Shot
Show story last month I stated that a couple of Alpen spotting scopes,
including their Model 788 80mm now came with an aluminum carrying
case. That was incorrect. A kit is now available for the 788 and some of
the other smaller spotters which includes an aluminum carrying case as
part of the package. My apologies to you and to Alpen Optics for the
Streamlight is easy to mount and puts out a blinding amount of light."