Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cousin Wallace: First Deer for Nephew.

Was visitin' with a friend of mine last nite & he was telling of his nephew's first deer kill.
This young man, Josh, is in his early 30's and a good kinda guy, he has hunted dove before but never had any exposure to hunting deer.
A friend of his invited him to go deer hunting & since he already had his hunting license, Josh jumped at the chance.
Josh owns an old 20ga Stevens pump shotgun, a Ruger .22 Mark I target pistol and a .45 SA Range Officer but, no suitable hunting rifle.
Well, it's Uncle Richard to the rescue!
Richard loaned him a Rem 700 chambered to the classic .257 Roberts and some 120gr handloads.
Off we go to the happy huntin' grounds!
Josh's buddy sets him up watching a feeder about 100 yards away.
A young & dumb 6-point arrives to partake of the free groceries.
Josh has a rest but is shaking so bad he misses said buck....
The little buck scampers away but soon returns, intent on scarfin' up on the handout from the feeder.
Josh gets a second chance.
Josh still has a bad case of the "shakes" but manages to hit the deer very high toward the hind quarters, breaking him down but not killing him.
Josh approaches and manages to finish him off but told Richard he felt really bad cause "he was looking at me when I had to finish him off."
Josh & his buddy get him gutted and a tag applied.
Off to the processor.
Once @ the processor, TPW Game Warden drops by on a routine visit.
Josh thought he was good, since he HAD TAGGED the animal....
However, he didn't know he had to cut the date out of the tag and fill in the info on hunting license.  Oooops!
Josh also learned he didn't have a Hunter Safety Course certification ( I thought you had to have this before you could be issued a license???)
Anyhow, the Game Warden probably was so amused that Josh flat didn't honestly know all this was required, he just wrote him warning tickets on the offenses...Lucky Josh!
After the Warden left, the processor guy, thinking poor ole Josh had just received a couple of hefty fines, felt sorry for Josh and told him he would process his deer for free....
Now that's a first time deer hunter's story to remember!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Daily Deercam: Little Buck.

Young and dumb.  Lays down to sleep in front of the cam.  

When a doe and yearling come by later they check that spot.

Daily Deercam: Doe and fawn.

  This MIGHT be a reunification after the rut.  Mom is certainly checking the scent on this yearling.


Nice 2 1/2 year old buck.  Not a shooter, but OK.

Daily Deercam: Nervous does.

I'm sure the mom has been through the rut and has collected her yearlings back together.  They are all very watchful.

Daily Deercam: Buck working a scrape.

It's a scape that is hardly visible, but he knows its there.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cousin Wallace: Suppressed!

Had a chance this afternoon to try out a couple of my pal's new suppressors. Brand new so we wanted to try to get them on a couple of pistols for a trial run & get some zeros on the handguns. It was kind of cool but the wind wasn't bad. We set up to do some firing from sandbags at 23 yards into his target frame backed by a thick, angled steel backstop.

First up was a new Ruger 22/45 with the polymer frame and about a 4.5" barrel w/threaded end. The AAC suppressor easily threaded right onto the end of the barrel and the extra weight was hardly noticeable. The Ruger had a red dot (or green dot)TV screen looking optic sight (sorry, dont remember the brand name). Made aiming easy. I was disappointed in the heavy trigger pull of the Ruger. It really wasn't creepy, just heavy...probably over 6 pounds if I had to guess. The suppressor was approximately 5" long and small enough in diameter that it didnt interfere with the sight picture.
After firing our first group and making adjustments, I determined it took 4 clicks on the optic to move point of impact 1" @ 25 yards. Soon we had the group centered in the bullseye.
The suppressor did it's job pretty well, the loudest sound was the bullet striking the steel backstop. No need for hearing protection. I could hear the pistol's action working. We were using Armscorp standard velocity long rifle. I'm unsure of the velocity but it was likely sub-sonic. Now, just to clarify, this was not a "silencer"....there was some noise, about like a pellet gun in my estimation. I didnt get a chance to evaluate the sound except from behind the gun as I was doing all the shooting. 
We tried a couple of other .22LR brands and even some .22 shorts. The shorts wouldn't cycle the Ruger (as expected). The shorts were just a tad quieter I thought. Best 5-shot group with the suppressed .22 was quarter-sized. The worst was about 3" if I remember correctly. We didn't shoot the .22 without the suppressor to see how it would, I wish we had. We were soon to learn the suppressors DO have an effect on accuracy.

Next up was a H&K Mark 23 in .45ACP. This is a monster of a's BIG. It gets even bigger with the suppressor attached. Almost felt like it needed a buttstock attached. The suppressor was just small enough in diameter to allow use of the iron sights. With suppressor attached, this pistol was definitely muzzle heavy. That muzzle weight did reduce the muzzle rise quite a bit. From behind the gun, the .45 was somewhat louder than the .22 in my estimation. We tried three different brands of 230gr factory hardball. Wolf, Silver Bear & Winchester. Groups were very disappointing with the best around 4" and the worst probably close to 8" @ 23 yards. I had never shot this H&K before so didn't really know what to expect. 

We decided to try reshooting the different ammo types without the suppressor to evaluate how effective the suppressor was and to see if accuracy would improve. As expected the recoil and noise were much more without the suppressor attached. My hand and the high thumb hold I use did not mesh well with the H&K's grip. Just below the safety is a sharp area that really got painfull. Without the suppressor, muzzle flip was pretty pronounced and this increased felt recoil in my opinion.
The biggest discovery of the day was what an adverse effect the suppressor had on group size. Without the suppressor, groups shrunk to more of what I expected. All three brands of ammo did much better with the Silver Bear shooting the smallest group (5-shots in about 2") and the worst group (Wolf brand) was just under 3"...the Winchester was just over 2" for 5-shots. I wasn't aware or expecting the suppressor to make that much difference in groups. I wish I had tried the .22 but I'm not thinking the difference would have been as pronounced as it was w/the .45 pistol. Please know this was a very incomplete test with limited ammo expenditure but I absolutely know I was holding tight from sandbags and no way was I shooting 8" groups! 

I'm sure the suppressor companies dont advertize a loss in accuracy & I certainly hadn't heard anything of the sort (although I had silently wondered if this might be an issue). Before I absolutely declare this is written in stone, I want to do a more comprehensive test on several weapons. The owner of these suppressors is considdering a threaded barrel for his Glock 21....I'm thinking I'd like that better than the H&K, other's may differ in opinion.
Of the two tried today, I think the .22 is more practical & has potential for big fun and usefulness! It was small enough and light enough to still be "handy"...cant really declare that with the giant .45 combo which ended up long and fairly heavy. Another plus for the .22 was accuracy seemed to be unaffected. I dont think I can hold much tighter than a quarter size group, even with the optic sight. With a better trigger that little Ruger 22/45 would be a dandy "critter gun" where it's suppressed report wouldn't disturb the neighborhood if one had to dispose of a varmit. Guess that's why the mafia hit men prefer suppressed .22's...or, so I've heard.
Up to today, my only experience with suppressors had been with them installed on M4 carbines firing supersonic .223 rounds. They work very well but I dont have any feedback as to their detriment on accuracy, I guess I'm nitpicking as most shooting is done up close and some loss of accuracy may not cause a total miss....I just cant help worrying about stuff like that though....

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has experiences good or bad with suppressors. They're here to stay and getting more & more popular. It would benefit us all to know all we can before we decide to make an investment in one of them.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sierra Bullets tip out.

I got distinguished shooting nothing but MatchKings in rifle and TournamentMasters in pistol.  Now they have improved the ballistic co-efficient on the rifle bullets by adding a little tip.  I've always wondered how the Hornady tips survived the heat and shock of being fired.  I guess they must.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cousin Wallace shoots the wadcutters.

10 Decembre 2014

Over the last couple of years I've been very intrigued with shooting Bullseye Pistol. Not necessarily the official NRA version but a modified version more related to the new CMP Military and Police match. This match shares the same B-8 target used at 25 yards in the NRA version but time limits are way more generous and geared toward maximum accuracy other than shooting the NRA  timed and rapid-fire stages. Our local version of the match allows just about any type pistol (or, revolver) with any sighting system and any safe ammo. It's all for fun and to stimulate local handgunners to get involved in some friendly competition as well as increasing their skill levels. Most shooters really like it with a few getting "hooked" on it...guess you better count me as hooked as I really enjoy it!
Again, my good friend was more than willing to lend me two of his pistols, likely used in the popular bullseye matches of yesteryear, to evaluate for this report. I chose these two to test/eval because they are unusual in the fact that they are semi-autos built to shoot a traditional and popular calibre, the .38 Special. The .38 Special is a fairly long case so in order to make it work in a semi-auto's magazine, the bullets are seated flush with the case mouth and typically a light roll crimp is applied just over the front of the flat-nosed wadcutter bullet. The .38 wadcutter is famous for it's high level of accuracy and for being lots of fun to shoot since it is generally loaded very mild, between 700 and 800 fps. This loading was very popular for revolvers so I guess the auto folks wanted to get in on the fun. Colt and Smith and Wesson responded by building pistols specifically for the .38 wadcutter to cater to the Bullseye crowd. As far as I know production ceased on these models years ago. There are still a lot around and I wanted to try these two to see what I could, I just like to shoot!
With my busy work schedule, it took several days of waiting to finally get a day off where I could devote enough time and get suitable weather to do a comparison between the two. I wanted to do a little accuracy testing from the benchrest as well as some offhand "real world" shooting to get a feel of what each had to offer. Shooting would be at 25 yards on the B-8 target. I had four different loads with fully seated wadcutters to try. I used the issue iron sights and tried my best to do my part in removing human error from the bench. Of course, when shooting offhand, human error is one of the biggest factors involved in how well the pistol shoots. Since these pistols are not frequently encountered, I wanted to give everyone my impressions in case they are considering getting one. They are still available but it will take some searching. Of course, they can be pricey but that's to be expected with an out of production, quality made gun.
 The first was a Colt 1911 adapted to shoot the .38 wadcutter with the slide marked National Match Midrange. The top of the slide has a flat rib with grooves running it's full length.  Instead of the traditional swinging link / locking barrel, it was a straight blowback design. The take down pin does pass through a block attached to the underside of the chamber but it has an oblong hole instead of a swinging link. The chamber of the 5" barrel was very unusual in that the chamber was "grooved" with approximately 12 - 15 ( I didn't count them)  grooves going all the way around the chamber, not flutes like H&K chambers but, circular grooves. I haven't read the reason but I'm guessing it was Colt's way of retarding the ejection process. Weird. Spent brass had sooty marks around their circumference. The barrel / slide fit was very tight and this pistol felt every bit as good in the hand as all 1911's do to me. I noticed the barrel bushing was shorter than a normal bushing but worked just the same. The barrel has 6-grooves and is LH twist. Weight with empty magazine was 38 ounces. The trigger was the extended type with grooves and had an overtravel adjustment screw within it. It has a full spur hammer and conventional grip safety. Grips are checked wood and the mainspring housing is flat with vertical grooves. The front strap of the grip also has vertical grooves. Sights were Ellison adjustable rear and an undercut front. They were plain black on black with a good sight picture. Magazines were different from what everyone is used to seeing. The sides are open allowing one to grasp the follower tabs and compress the spring to aide in loading 5 rounds. The springs are strong and hard to compress. My finger and thumb were sore by the end of the session. I found it best to place the baseplate of the magazine on the table top, use one hand to compress the spring while popping the rounds down into the mag with my other hand. After experiencing this, it makes me glad regular .45 mags load so easy!
The other pistol was Smith & Wesson's answer to the bullseye crowd. The Model 52-2. (I understand there are three models with the last being the 52-2 that had an improved extractor design).  It looks like they modified the old Model 39 single-stack, first generation autos to handle the .38 Special. However, this pistol is single-action. Grip shape looks the same to me with the rounded butt. S&W took extra pains to accurize this pistol and it has a curious star shaped nut that surrounds the barrel. I'm guessing this is where tightness / lockup can be adjusted? Although the Colt's barrel was the same diameter throughout it's length, the S&W barrel had a small "dog knot" near the end where it's diameter increased noticeably. The 5" barrel has 5-grooves with a RH twist.  The trigger is grooved with an overtravel stop screw tapped into the frame behind it. This pistol also has a conventional spur hammer but no grip safety. It does have a slide mounted thumb safety that serves to block the hammer from the firing pin. The wooden grips are checkered as is the rounded backstrap. The front strap has vertical grooves. Weight with empty magazine is 40 ounces. This pistol has a magazine safety which prohibits firing unless there is a magazine locked in place. The sights are adjustable with the front sight being a bright orange. I found that very odd since this pistol is intended for bullseye target work. The magazines for this pistol also have open sides with follower tabs similar to the Colt to grasp in order to compress the spring. These magazines were also difficult to load easily and I used the same method described above to load them.
Without having to list all the individual results of my benchrest testing, I'll list the loads used, best and worst groups and overall average of groups. There really wasn't much of a difference in group sizes after all was said and done. I'm sure with a little load development and tailoring a load to each gun, these groups would probably be smaller. Anyhow, here goes. The pistols' owner graciously provided some commercially loaded swaged lead wadcutters by Wisconsin Cartridge Company. Along with these were three handloads of my own. Two used the Remington 148gr HBWC over either 3.0grs of Bullseye or 3.2grs of W231 and the other was my home cast 148gr WC from a Lee mould over 2.8grs of Bullseye. I fired two 5-shot groups of each load from the bench at 25 yards and averaged them. The Colt shot the worst and the best groups of the day at 3.63" and 1.81" and had an overall average for all four loads of 2.64". The S&W groups were in between those extremes with a four load average of 2.58" so, it was pretty much a dead heat off of the bench. 
Now, for the "real world" test, offhand shooting on the aforementioned B-8 target. Just like a guy would have to do if he were shooting these guns in competition. I decided to shoot a "half-match" with each. This meant to shoot a 5-shot string from each of four stages: Two-handed Slow-Fire, Left Hand Only, Right Hand Only and finally 5-shots in 30 seconds to simulate our 70-second "Timed Fire" stage (minus the normally required reload). By doing a half match, I could hopefully avoid fatigue and also only expend 40 rounds instead of 80. I would then double the score to arrive at an estimated score for each stage. Clear as mud, huh? After firing all four stages, I could estimate how each pistol would have scored in a match. Pistols were alternated between stages to try my best to be fair. Below are the results.
                 Colt 1911                                                S&W  52-2 
SLOW   X X 10 9 7  ( x2) = 92 - 2X             X X X 10 10  (x2)  = 100 -6X   
LEFT     X X X 9 9    (x2) = 96 - 6X             X X X 10 9    (x2)  =  98 - 6X
RIGHT  X 10 10 9 8 (x2) =  94 - 2X             X X 10 10 8  (x2)  =  96 - 4X
TIMED  X 10 9 9 8   (x2) =  92 - 2X             X 10 10 10 9 (x2) =  98 - 2X
----------------------------------------------            ------------------------------------------
TOTAL                        374 - 12X                                         392 - 18X
This test made it clear which pistol was the winner, at least in my hands. In case anyone is wondering, I did get both pistols zeroed to my satisfaction during the benchrest testing so both were sighted in properly. With all this being said, I think it's time to give my "likes" and "dislikes" on each pistol which I feel are big factors in how the "shootability" in this test played out. First, it's no secret that I absolutely love the feel of a 1911 in my hands! Big advantage Colt here. I wasn't fond of the rounded butt of the S& just doesn't feel as secure in my hand as a 1911. The Colt's plain black sights were another big advantage, especially in the bright sunlight of the outdoors. The bright orange front sight on the S&W hindered my ability to properly focus on the front sight. The Colt's recoil spring definitely felt stronger, not heavy at all but way more frisky than the spring in the S&W. The S&W's spring was downright lazy, sometimes requiring I nudge the back of the slide to get a round to chamber out of the magazine. I have no idea what factored into recoil perception but the Colt's recoil was a bit more than the S&W's. Neither were anywhere close to being unpleasant. The S&W definitely had the better trigger, somewhat lighter with no creep. The Colt's trigger wasn't too bad but did have a bit of creep to the sensitive trigger finger.
Neither pistol was without problems in feeding. The Colt had about three times as many malfunctions as the S&W. Many times the Colt would extract the case but not fully eject it. The cases were frequently ruined as they were smashed into the feed ramp or back of the barrel, tearing the case walls sometimes as much as a quarter-inch. Two magazines were tried and malfunctions occurred with both. Made me wonder if this was a problem associated with the ringed chamber? The S&W also had a few hick-ups. The weak recoil spring made me wonder if it could be the culprit. Of course the loads could also be at fault on some of these issues. I'm sure the old-timers that shot these pistols in competition would have the answers but, during this limited test, I don't. The Colt never made it through a 5-shot string without a malfunction. The S&W functioned 100% with the 3.0gr Bullseye and 3.2gr W231 loads but malfunctioned on the lighter loads. I also observed a very troubling thing on the lighter loads in the S&W. I noticed while checking groups that some of the holes were not completely round in the paper.....Utt Oh!!!  Bullets not completely stabilized. That is bound to affect groups sizes. They were not "key holes" but obviously some were oblong holes. I'm thinking the S&W may need a bit faster load to get optimal groups. I've read the oldtimers believed the Colt revolvers stabilized bullets a bit better than S&W due to their faster rates of twist. Could this be the case with the S&W 52? You'd have thought S&W would have figgered that out??? For the half matches above, I used the factory WCC load in the Colt but had to switch to my homecast bullets (shorter than the HBWC's) in my S&W which seemed to stabilize just fine.
As to final thoughts. I'd love to have the 1911's grip frame, plain black sights and rifling twist mixed in with the S&W's sweet trigger and better function and lighter recoil. I really thought I'd do better in match mode with the Colt's better feel in my hand. This was not the case as the S&W proved superior shooting the half-match. There didn't seem to be a whole lot of difference in mechanical accuracy though the S&W probably suffered a bit with marginally stabilized bullets in certain loads before I noticed the oblong holes in the paper. This could probably be eliminated by load development and avoiding the loads that were not fully stabilized. The Colt's trigger could be tweaked a bit to get rid of the (very) slight creep. I'm thinking surely the Colt can be made to function properly if the right load was discovered or, is it a problem child as a straight blowback that deviates from the tried and true swinging link / locking barrel design of other 1911's?  Both of these pistols were new to me and I don't have any prior experiences with these designs to elaborate on.
As always, I hope this was informative and served as a bit of entertainment. This are my impressions, I'm sure others may have differing opinions. I'd love to hear back from you as to what you think.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Daily Deercam: Scrape traffic.

All at scrape across creek.  I put out a little corn.  Cam about dead when I was there, so don't expect much on next cam check.  Nothing on the closer cam.  Activity but no files.

Doe and fawns.

Doe and fawns again.

Little buck.

Doe and fawns with other deer around.

Coyote checking the scents.

Big wandering spike.

Probably little buck going by.  You get this a lot.

Single doe.