Friday, January 09, 2015

Ruger Amercian Rimfire

I like the 17 HMR. It is a fun cartridge to shoot. And that is the category it fits in: Fun. It isn't a serious cartridge for hunting coyotes or deer. The ammo costs more than .22 lr. That harms the fun factor, but only a little. You make up for higher ammo costs by hitting what you shoot at more often, and the results of a hit on a varmint are more certain, sometimes even spectacular.

I bought a Remington 597 Magnum in 17 HMR. I like the idea of the gun, but as is typical of Remington, they botched it. The magazines feed like crap, and the bolt barely closed on an empty chamber. The rifle was very accurate, but not reliable at all. And then Remington recalled it. Seems a bottleneck cartridge in a blowback action wasn't a great idea. Others did it though.

So anyway, the gun wasn't getting shot, and Remington's recall was a joke. They'd give me $200 towards a Remington gun. This meant I'd have to spend about $600 out of pocket to get my $200, and I paid over $300 for the gun. I wasn't taking that deal; at the time Remington had nothing I needed. So I just hung on to it but never shot it.

Now, the problem with 17 HMR is that a good rifle costs as much as a cheaper (or even a more expensive centerfire). There is a savage for about $200, but I didn't like that one. Marlin makes a nice one, but I haven't seen one in years and they cost too much also. This is a fun cartridge, not a serious one, so if I'm spending serious rifle money I should get a serious rifle.

So then, the 17 WSM comes out. Wow. I wanted one. The 17 WSM is starting to get into serious cartridge territory. It shoots a heavier bullets faster than the HMR. It will work as a fox or coyote rifle close in, anyway.My uncle got one, my cousin got one. They liked them. I shot my uncle's. The savage B-mag is not impressive. The round is awesome. I did some research on Apparently there's a lot of problems with the Bmag rifle and some speculation on the ammo. Oh well, I wanted one anyway. I need to fill that niche. (It doesn't matter that the niche didn't exist a dozen years ago, it does now). One problem, three local gunshops have rifles but nobody has ammo. I don't want to buy a gun I can't get ammo for. So, I figured I'd wait. Maybe somebody would make a better rifle in the meantime.

A new gunshop had opened up in town. I took my brother in law in to show him the AR's. When we were just about to leave, something caught my eye in the used rifle rack. "Ruger American .17 HMR. $260"  Now what is this? The dealer told me he had sold the gun new and the guy traded it in after a week because his wife wanted a .204 AR and she told him she needed that worse than he needed this gun. I told the dealer I needed a wife like that. 15 rounds through it. So I made a deal for $240. You can't beat that. Finally a decent 17 HMR that I feel good about spending the money on. His price for a new one was $270.

This is a bolt action repeater that holds 9 in the magazine. Uses Ruger's rotary magazines just like the 10/22 only scaled up. It has an adjustable trigger similar to savage's acutrigger. The bolt is solid feeling. No binding. It isn't as silky as a tikka, but it is pretty smooth and has a substantial feel to it. I was loading a round once and bumped the mag release. The magazine fell out, but the round stayed on the bolt face even when I moved it forward and back. I wouldn't call it controlled round feeding, but it is similar. Feeding, extraction and ejection were very positive.

It has a fold down rear sight and a fiber optic front sight. I hate fiber optic sights, they usually are so big. This one I liked, and I liked the sight picture. I feel you can get a pretty fine hold with them. Despite this, I couldn't hit anything with the iron sights. I don't think they were sighted in. The stock is synthetic and comes with two inserts, one with a higher cheekpiece for using the iron sights. The stock is fairly solid feeling. Not at all like the rubbery plastic one on the Bmag.

I took a set of rings off a .22 and mounted a Weaver Grand Slam 4.5-14 off my old .17 HMR. I think that is a pretty good choice for optics. It may seem silly to mount a scope on a gun like this that I paid twice as much for as the gun.  Yet, the cartridge is capable of great precision so higher magnification is in order. A small field of view isn't a problem, You aren't going to be swinging on a whitetail running through the trees. This is a cartridge you take your time to set up your shots with. Quality optics are called for when the gun and cartridge are capable of making the most of it.

I got it dialed in quickly. The third shot hit dead on. I shot a five shot group. I didn't measure, but it was around 1/2" at about 40 yards. Not too bad for just screwing around and only trying one kind of ammo. The wind was blowing about 30 mph so I didn't try it at 100.

I proceeded to spend my fathers day shooting various varmints. I only remember missing once, when I hit a stick between me and my target.

Pros: Bolt feel, magazine, looks OK, accurate, light weight, iron sights are functional, good trigger.

Cons: the magazine release sticks out a little. I bumped it once and the mag dropped out. You have to bump it forward, though.

My brother has the Marlin in 17 HMR. When the 17 WSM came out his reaction was  a yawn. I can see why, now that I have a rifle that I think I will love in 17 HMR. Ammo will be cheaper. Performance may be reduced, but really, the 17 HMR is a good round. The WSM is pretty attractive, but if I need a serious gun, I have those.  I think I will wait and see if the 17 WSM makes it as a cartridge. They will also have to chamber it in a good rifle. I haven't seen one yet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

David Wood: Why I am a Christian

Came across this video. I found it pretty interesting. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hot Lead.

Note: This post will possibly be updated from time to time. I might add some pictures. I will probably link it on the sidebar. 

El Borak gave me a heads up that he was going to put me on the spot regarding bullet casting. I think that he knows that I have only been doing it for a little longer than he has, and therefore I am no kind of expert. But, I am the sort that reads a lot on the internet about things that interest me, so if I don't actually have the experience, I think I can send you to the people who do.

I got started with cast boolits* because I got started shooting revolvers. Revolvers are very versatile and very unfussy in their care and feeding. I had thought jacketed bullets were more modern and therefore superior. In some ways they are, but if you have a well made and loaded boolit, you can't improve on it much with a jacketed bullet. I've been a handloader for quite awhile. Adding another component I can make appealed to me, and hunting and shooting is my main hobby. I also have moulds for my semiauto handguns and one for .30 cal rifle. My newest addition is a mold for buckshot. I tried it out over the weekend and I got about 50% nice round buckshot. The others were out of round and small. I suspect my mold wasn't hot enough and my melt should have been hotter. I was just testing it out. I can see that it will take a lot of time to cast usable quantities of buckshot.

Lead is the primary metal used. It is actually an alloy of lead, antimony, and tin. Zinc will ruin the castibility of your alloy. Only a minute amount will ruin a lot of lead. I get my lead on ebay. I have tried to get old wheelweights at the tire shop and they had sold them to the recycler. I never tried again, as I had read that our overbearing federal govt had banned lead wheelweights. However, others are still getting them, so I need to try again. Wheelweights are in a sweet spot regarding hardness. Elmer Keith shot boolits cast from wheelweights without a gas check. There are other sources of lead, old plumbing, roof flashing, old xray shielding, etc. When I buy my lead on ebay, my boolits cost around $.05. Compared to $.20+ for jacketed, that's a pretty good deal. Obviously free is better. An added benefit is that a gun shooting boolits will never wear the barrel out. Jacketed bullets will, eventually.

Smelting is melting scrap lead, cleaning it, and mixing your alloy. This is a litlle more advanced. (that just means I have never done it, not that it is more difficult. El Borak has). Lead is heavy, so impurities float to the top. Keep your temp right, and I believe zinc wheelweights will float and can be removed. Flux the melt to mix alloyed metal back in. Then you ladle your allow into ingots to use for casting bullets. Muffin tins work good for ingot molds. Obviously they can't be used for muffins again, so don't take the Mrs's. good ones.

Casting bullets is both an art and science. It can be as simple as buying lead ingots , melting them, casting, loading, and shooting. More advanced casters mix special alloys to achieve a desired hardness, concoct their own lubes, and make or have made their own mould designs. The members of the Cast Boolits Forum are an invaluable resource regarding all aspects of lead boolits. There is information on sources of lead (and lead for sale), equipment, alloys, lube recipes and generally anything you need to know about casting or swaging boolits. They are good guys too. One of them, screwed by the overbearing government of California, sent me a Lee bottom pour lead pot and some lead for the cost of shipping because he can't shoot lead anymore.

There are many variations of boolits.  Softer lead is used for low velocity loads, and muzzleloaders. As you increase in velocity, the hardness of the bullet should increase. The hot propellant gasses blowing past the boolit will strip lead and deposit in the barrel. This destroys accuracy and is a pain to remove**. The boolits are also lubed to keep lead from sticking to the barrel. The downside is more smoke. For the most powerful loads a gas check is used. This is a copper cup crimped on to the bullet base. Since the price of copper went north, the guys at Cast Boolits have taken to making (and selling) their own punches to make gas checks out of aluminum. There are also esoteric things like paper patched boolits*** and swaged boolits.

Boolits are a little different than what the average shooter is used to. In rifles, they top out at about 2000 feet per second velocity.  Boolits can be very accurate, but they are generally less so than what we are used to with jacketed bullets. They are plenty accurate for hunting. They are not going to be useful for long range marksmanship, except perhaps the kind Matthew Quigley demostrates.  There were some long range feats with bullets like this, but modern bullets are greatly superior because of their accuracy and the ability to product more streamlined shapes. You can produce small caliber boolits, say in .224" for a .223 or .22-250, but they are more difficult, to make, and not very accurate in the more cavernous cases. You can turn a .223 varmint rifle into a glorified .22 long rifle, but why? Well, because it is cheaper to shoot.  Boolits tend to expand less. I have dug boolits out of a green ash log that were fairly intact, that I thought should be smashed unrecognizable. I've found shiny boolits lying on the matted grass in the spring that I had shot into the snowbanks. They were pristine except for rifling marks. I suppose they expand less because they are harder. You get the tendency to have a bigger, heavier boolit moving slower, yet hitting like a ton of bricks.  Rifles might tend towards larger bores so that expansion becomes less necessary.

You will need equipment. You can start with a camp stove, a cast iron pot, a lead dipper and some Lee moulds. Or you can buy Magma Engineering automatic machines that cast hundreds per hour.  I'd recommend starting with a bottom pour pot.  You fill it up with lead and turn it on. Once the lead is melted, flux it to remove impurities. Put a pea sized piece of wax on top and light the vapors with a match. Stire the melt and then use a dipper to remove the slag on top. Some of the stuff that rises may be your tin that you want to keep. I recommend you do some further reading on fluxing.

Lee moulds**** are inexpensive. Cheap isn't good enough for some people. That is what use. There are higher priced cast iron molds that may bring value.  You can buy six cavity moulds that cast six bullets at a time. I recommend those. They don't cost much more and there isn't anything more to learn, but you triple your production.  With a new mold, you "smoke" it buy holding a candle or a match flame on the cavities. The soot is deposited and allows boolits to release freely.  The procedure to cast boolits is to rest your mould on top of the pot to warm it up. You fill the cavities with lead and let the lead harden, then you cut the sprue off with the sprue cutters, open the mould, and dump the boolits out. Some quench them in ice water. Read the paragraph on safety before you try that. Any reject boolits and the sprues go back in the pot.

Next, you need to size the boolits and lube them. There are lubrisizers that do both simultaneously. I just bought Lee tumble lube molds. The boolits have small grooves. You put them in a container, squirt some Lee alox lube on them, and tumble them until coated. Dump them on some wax paper, dry them overnight and they are ready to load. Lee says sizing is not necessary as long as they chamber easily. I have never sized a boolit. More traditional boolits have deeper and wider grooves that are to be filled up with lube.  Supposedly you can tumble lube these too. I do have sizers for my boolits for my semiauto .45 and 9mm. I just haven't got around to loading any of these, since the 9mm is a new acquisition and the .45acp doesn't get shot much. If you size tumble lube boolits, you lube them twice, once before you size them to keep the sizing die from leading up, and once after, in case you rub the lube off. Gas checks are also crimped on during the sizing process. The goal is to size your bullets .001" larger than the cylinder throats of your revolver. This is for accuracy and to prevent propellant gases from blowing by.

Then that is about it. Your boolits are ready to load. You do have to expand the necks of your cartridge cases so the bullets seat without shaving lead or lube off. I sometimes don't do that when loading jacketed bullets in handgun calibers. You usually don't do it in rifle calibers. So it is an extra step and an extra die you need, but most of the time it comes with the set in handgun calibers.

Cast boolits are something you think of as old technology. They are. Yet there is still innovation going on. I hadn't been to the Cast Boolits forums for quite awhile. I went back a couple months ago and got a big surprise. Someone had invented a process to eliminate lubing bullets. You simply powder coat them with acrylic powder coat. Bake it on, load and shoot. The advantages are you don't have as much smoke when you shoot, you can eliminate leading, and you don't have to taylor your hardness to your velocity. The downside is you have to have a powder coat machine, although there are some who are tumbling it on in coats. You also need an oven to bake it on. Some are using toaster ovens. I'm thinking I may go this way some day, as I don't have all the expensive lubing and sizing gear, so $60 for a powder coat machine from harbor freight and $30 for a toaster oven my be preferable than buying a lubrisizer and dies for each caliber. (Some have a complete machine for each caliber).  Another downside is you have to stand all your bullets up in rows in order to coat them. It may not actually save any time over old methods (certainly not over tumble lubing). Other people are doing a similar thing with certain types of spray paint. I find it attractive because I might be able to use range scrap lead that I buy on Ebay which tends to be soft.

On safety: Leather gloves are a necessity. Lead melts at about 650 F.  Your mold will get hot, the boolits coming out will be hot. You can handle the boolits for short times with leather gloves. Always cast outside, as vapors may be produced that you don't want the kids around. Lead is toxic. Wash your hands when done. I understand the worst stuff is oxidized lead that you skim off when you flux. Get rid of that.  Be careful adding lead back into the pot. You don't want splashes. You do need eye protection. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOW WATER TO GET IN CONTACT WITH MOLTEN LEAD. What results is a steam explosion, and hot molten lead flying around and coating everything. There are stories on the forum of guys coating their faces. Be aware that the lead you are adding to the melt may contain moisture. I guess that means be certain it does not contain moisture or don't add it. Some people recover bullets from the range and recycle them in a smelting pot. You must always completely empty the pot before adding new lead. Any water will evaporate before the lead melts. But if you simply dump it into the melt, you can get the tinsel fairy. Now perhaps you see why I look a little askance about quneching boolits in icewater as you cast them. I've never had a steam explosion, and I don't want to. One also needs to be careful with range scrap that you don't get any dud .22 shells in there.  Basically, you should decide if this is something you can or should do or not.

*"boolit" is the actual technical term for cast projectiles. I may forget and type "bullet". Please forgive me.

** Fortunecookie45LC says just shoot jacket bullets occasionally to clean out the leading. I'm not sure about that, but the man has a wealth of information on Youtube about shooting and boolits.

*** Think Quigley Down Under. One my favorites.

**** for some reason I'm spelling it mould. I don't know why. Lee spells it mold.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I didn't think they had people this stupid in Wyoming

Of course, the comments are most likely not from people that live in Wyoming, so stupidity is expected:

That poor bunny - I feel so sick right now


I'm sure the Trooper mercelessy shot the rabbit after the man died trying to save it. god bless the man who died. We obviously know who the good guy was. The kindness in this mans heart is what we need so much more of on this earth. May he rest in peace.

 Then again, I don't really know anybody from Wyoming.  Res?

Friday, February 15, 2013

We need this to be universal among firearms and ammo companies

Olympic Arms is a staunch believer in and defender of the Constitution of the United States, and with special attention paid to the Bill of Rights that succinctly enumerates the security of our Divinely given Rights. One of those Rights is that to Keep and Bear Arms.

Legislation recently passed in the State of New York outlaws the AR15 and many other firearms, and will make it illegal for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and safe firearms and magazines. We feel as though the passage of this legislation exceeds the authority granted to the government of New York by its citizens, and violates the Constitution of the United States, ignoring such SCOTUS rulings as District of Columbia v. Heller - 554, U.S. 570 of 2008, McDonald v. Chicago - 561 U.S. 3025 of 2010, and specifically the case of United States v. Miller – 307 U.S. 174 of 1939.

Due the passing of this legislation, Olympic Arms would like to announce that the State of New York, any Law Enforcement Departments, Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders within the State of New York, or any New York State government entity or employee of such an entity - will no longer be served as customers.

In short, Olympic Arms will no longer be doing business with the State of New York or any governmental entity or employee of such governmental entity within the State of New York - henceforth and until such legislation is repealed, and an apology made to the good people of the State of New York and the American people.

If the leaders of the State of New York are willing to limit the right of the free and law abiding citizens of New York to arm themselves as they see fit under the Rights enumerate to all citizens of the United State through the Second Amendment, we feel as though the legislators and government entities within the State of New York should have to abide by the same restrictions.

This action has caused a division of the people into classes: Those the government deems valuable enough to protect with modern firearms, and those whose lives have been deemed as having less value, and whom the government has decided do not deserve the right to protect themselves with the same firearms. Olympic Arms will not support such behavior or policy against any citizen of this great nation.

Olympic Arms invites all firearms manufacturers, distributors and firearms dealers to join us in this action to refuse to do business with the State of New York. We must stand together, or we shall surely fall divided.


Brian Schuetz
Olympic Arms, Inc.

Friday, February 08, 2013