Combat Handgun Practice

Combat Handgun Practice

“By practising for both speed and accuracy, you can develop important hand gunning skills while enjoying your shooting.”

By Michael KAY

When you go to the range to practice, do you see how fast you can fire using the target as a backdrop, or do you carefully place each shot, striving for a tight group? To acquire the skills needed in a defensive situation you have to do a little of both. The key in defensive shooting is not to see how accurately you can fire a handgun, but how quickly you can fire it accurately. To develop effective defensive skills, you should practice gun movement and quick firing while maintaining sight alignment. Sound difficult? It is at first, but by rehearsing a few basic drills, your skills will greatly improve.

GENERAL SHOOTING TIPS: The act of firing a rifle, pistol, shotgun or other firearm accurately is made up of a combination of the following skills. Mastering these skills, and repeating them as consistently as possible, each and every time you fire your gun, forms the foundation of accurate shooting.

ATTITUDE: The attitude you take to the shooting range will largely be reflected in your shooting. If you have convinced yourself, “I’ll never be able to shoot any better than I do right now”, chances are you’ll never get any better. However, if each day you go to the shooting range, you say to yourself, “Today I’m going to shoot more accurately and more consistently than I ever have before”, pretty soon you’ll notice you’re shooting more accurately and more consistently! Simply put, the more positive your attitude is about shooting, the better your shooting will become. Imagine yourself shooting nothing but bull’s-eyes, and before you know it, you will be doing just that.

EQUIPMENT: Your equipment should be in good repair, functional and above all else, clean. Even as you shoot, you should maintain a certain level of cleanliness. Don’t be afraid to clean the bore and chamber of your rifle or pistol after every couple of shoots to maintain consistent functioning and accuracy. Firearm items, such as screws, sights, scopes or rings should be tightly secured. Rifle and pistol barrels should be free from obstructions and kept away from contact with other objects. Simply resting the barrel of your rifle on a support (such as a universal bipod) can influence the direction of your shot. Ammunition should be clean and undamaged. Whenever possible, use high quality (match grade) ammunition. During any particular practice session, you should try to use ammunition that is from the same manufacturer and of the same type (i.e. bullet weight and design). Ammunition from the same box or closely produced boxes is ideal. Always remember that consistency is the key to accurate shooting.

BODY POSITION: Whether you are firing a rifle or pistol, you’ll want to maintain a body position that affords you two things. First, and most importantly is comfort. Few can consistently fire accurate shots while in a position that is uncomfortable. Second, is support. Your position should allow your bones and muscles (i.e. your body) to provide proper support for your weapon. If you are firing a pistol, this may be no more than holding your arms out in front of you. While firing a rifle may involve the use of a bench or other stationary supports. Don’t be afraid to try different positions until you hit on one (or more) that work well for you.

GRIP: How you hold your rifle, pistol or shotgun can directly effect how accurately you shoot. A grip that is too loose, will not afford the stability needed while firing a high powered weapon, while a grip that is too tight, may tend to influence your shoots or restrict an otherwise smooth trigger pull. An even, unhindered grip works best. When firing a pistol, your free hand should support, not grip your firing hand. For rifles, your free hand should steady or support the forearm or buttstock of the weapon. Once you find a grip that works well, be consistent about it.

BREATHING: Controlling your breathing goes along way towards increasing your accuracy. The act of breathing (inhaling and exhaling) actually moves your body enough to keep you from getting a really steady sight picture. By momentarily holding your breath, just before you take your final aim and squeeze the trigger, you’ll remove that extra shaking associated with breathing. However, don’t make the mistake of holding your breath too long, as oxygen deprivation can set in and introduce blurry vision or additional body shaking. The best breathing method involves taking one or two full breaths, then releasing the air and holding your breath momentarily as you squeeze off a shot. You may find other methods also work well, don’t be affair to use the method that works best for you. But again, be consistent about it.

SIGHT PICTURE: Sight picture is very important to accurate shooting, after all, if you can’t see it clearly, aiming will be very difficult, if not impossible. Additionally, if you aren’t seeing your target in the same way each time, you’ll have greater difficulty hitting the same spot with each successive shot. Therefore, the two most important aspects of sight picture are clarity and consistency. The picture you see, whether through a scope or with iron sights, should be clear and sharp. Concentrate on a specific point, don’t just aim “at the target” select a very small location on the target and aim at that spot. When using a scope, your sight picture should be round and without dark “half moon” areas. For iron sights, your target and sighting post should be aligned and in focus. Sometimes looking away briefly and then looking back before taking final aim will help to refocus things. Being consistent about your sight picture is equally important. Whether you decide to shoot with one eye closed, or both eyes open, be consistent about it, don’t change midstream. Did I mention consistency is the key?

TRIGGER PULL: Pulling the trigger should be the only motion involved in firing your weapon, and as such, it must be smooth and precise. Pulling the trigger should not effect (i.e. move in any way) any part of the gun other than the trigger. Sloppy or inconsistent trigger pull will cause more inaccuracy than any other aspect of shooting. When pulling the trigger, you should use the tip of your finger (not the body of it) because this is the most sensitive part available to you and pull the trigger straight back. Pulling at an angle, even slightly, can change your point of aim prior to firing. Dry firing (i.e. pulling the trigger without a live round in the chamber) is beyond a doubt the best exercise for increasing your accuracy. Practice this over and over, until you can squeeze the trigger without moving your gun at all. Balancing a dim (or other small object) on the barrel as you dry fire will enhance your ability to keep the weapon still while pulling the trigger. Note: the firing pins on many weapons can be damaged by dry firing, contact your local gunsmith or gun store for plastic dummy rounds that will protect the firing pin while dry firing your gun.

FOLLOW THROUGH: The instant the trigger is completely pulled, the hammer is released. The time between the hammer being released and striking the firing pin (firing the chambered round) is called lock time. Any movement, such as letting up on the trigger, relaxing your grip or anticipating recoil, during this lock time, can greatly effect accuracy. Some guns have quicker lock times than others, but regardless, you should concentrate on following though with each and every shot you fire. No movement should occur until well after the bullet penetrates its target. Only then should you let up on the trigger, adjust your grip or change your sight picture.

CONSISTENCY: The more consistent you are in your shooting, the more accurate you’ll become. Without a doubt, consistency is the key to accuracy. The closer you can come to providing the exact same conditions for each shot, right down to the cleanliness and temperature of your barrel, the more accurate your shooting will be. Become consistent and you’ll become accurate.

DEFENSIVE HANDGUN PRACTICE: After you have become confident with your ability to fire a handgun safely, concentrate on sight alignment. When you raise your gun to fire, the front sight should be centred in the notch of the rear sight, and they should be even across the top. If your sights use a three-dot system, the dots should be lined up evenly. You should see the top half of the target through the sights. When firing at the target, the sights should remain in focus and the target should be a blur. Aim for the “centre of mass” and fire two shots, focusing on the front sight the entire time you are shooting. The most common error a shooter makes is to lower the gun after each shot to check the hits. This bad habit results in erratic or low shots. Keep your eyes focused on the front sight as you recover from recoil. Do not be concerned where your shots are landing at first, as long as you are hitting the target. After you have finished the shot string, look at the target to evaluate your hits. It your shots are falling within an eight-inch group at 15 yards, you are doing fine.

To develop effective defensive skills, incorporate gun movement and quick firing while maintaining sight alignment during target practice. If your shots are grouping off centre by about an inch, do not be concerned. The sights on pistols are not always precise to every shooter’s eye sight and aim. If they are adjustable, you can move them so that your hits are centred. If they are fixed sights, you can work with a gunsmith to correct them or simply leave them be if the problem isn’t too severe. As you practice this shooting drill, you will find your hits falling in smaller, closer groups. At this point you should speed up the time between shots, being careful to keep the front sight in focus. Begin the drill with arms relaxed and the gun in your hands. Bring the gun up to eye level, quickly align the sights on the target and fire two shots

.

Lower the gun after you have finished firing and assess the target. Make sure you are following through with each shot. This means making sure your sights remain on target and your arms locked in place until you are through firing.

In a defensive situation you do not want to lower your gun until the target has retreated or dropped out of the sight picture. You may find at first that your hits are not even close together, and maybe off the target altogether. There are two causes for this. When you shoot quickly, you often do not settle into a good sight picture or stop gun movement before firing the next shot. Continued practice will remedy this. The more serious problem is the flinch. It is usually caused by snatching the trigger or pulling the gun down in anticipation of recoil. If you think you are flinching, practice pulling the trigger with your gun unloaded (known as dry firing). Alternate practising with a dry gun and with live ammunition. Take breaks in between drills and allow yourself to relax.

To vary your drills, add a second target. Fire one shot at the left target, then quickly move to the right target and fire one shot. Repeat this several times and then reverse the order. Change the number of shots fired on each. For instance, fire one shot on the first and two on the second, then two on each. Gradually work these drills into your practice sessions and, when you have become skilled at them, begin your practice with them. Start cold, with your gun on the table, muzzle facing down range.

Grasping the gun firmly, raise it to eye level, focus on the sights and fire like your life depended on it. After a few trial runs, use the remaining time at the range to work on the areas where you are weakest. Keep in mind what you are practising for, but make it enjoyable too. Be confident you are developing skills that will be invaluable in a true defensive situation.

� Copyright Michael KAY 1997.

Lever Actions – Survival FAQ’s

Lever actions have always been my all time favorite firearm. I’ve come across several very good articles on modifications to (1887 shottie’s, Win 94, Marlins), maintenance, loading, calibres, history, work shop manuals/parts diagrams and spare parts to keep and thought I’d post them all in one place so they would be easier to locate.�

1887 Lever Action Modifications�
http://www.coyotecap.com/index1.htm

(Updated, January 2nd. 2008) – – We have made changes to the text on a lot of the problems and those changes are TYPED in RED. There is a new change to the “Two Shot Feeding System” of the IAC M-87w-20 and our own M-87wcse-18, called a “Top Gun Action”. These changes were originally SASS approved, but because the factory changed the SASS approved specifications for the “Two Shot Feeding” system, in an attempt to prevent a possible warranty situation (from buyers that did not understand why the carrier would stop at the 3/4 down position), we have been forced to return to the original specifications and we call this change, (which is actually a major internal improvement from factory) a “Top Gun Action”, which is a return to what was originally approved by SASS, so that each M-87 would operate to it’s maximum capabilities.�

There are some new problems found on ejection of the last shell on the “Standard” 1887w-20. Please scroll down to problem #7 and the cure for the problem. �

New 87 buyers planning on using the “Holy Black”, please contact us about opening up your chamber from 12 ga. to 11-7/8 ga. prior to shipping the shotgun out to you. In testing, we have experienced some extraction/ejection problems using Black Powder in plastic hulls and 65gr. ffg.�

The problems listed below have mostly appeared in the early ’05 guns and now some “06’s” as well. We’ve yet to find very many major issues with the CC-06 special editions, Sorry for the delays, but we have to go through every gun for quality control from Chinese assembly. This takes about 5-1/2 time per gun. �

1887 Standard Model, Lever Action Problems: To date, (02 Jan 08.) I have found (35) separate problems in these new guns that need to be corrected. Some more difficult to cure than others, so please be patient and work slowly when applying a cure. �

1. Inspection of frame construction: look for blue blotches in a reddish colored frame. If the blotches are close to the lever pivot pin area, and you have already purchased the gun, my suggestion is to take the gun to metal working shop that can perform die penetrate or x-ray inspection to look for cracks in the casting.�

Cure: if the casting is cracked, you will need to replace the frame.�

2. Take off the butt stock and inspect for lever lock spring contact in the underside of the tang inletting. The stock shop supervisor inletted the stocks to “87” specs, forgetting I had the lock mechanism from the “01” modified to fit an “87” – – thus the lever locking spring contacts the bottom of the wood.�

Cure: re-inlet the tang grove so the spring cannot contact the wood anymore.�

3. The lever lock spring screw is loose, as long as you have the stock off, you may as well modify the spring to relieve some of the locking pressure and tighten the screw. This screw has been loose on over 800 M-87’s we have inspected to date.�

4. The triggers on EVERY new “87” where incorrectly manufactured for the new pivoting lever. They do not slide in the lever groove to prevent an out-of-battery hammer drop. (not a dangerous situation, as the “87” has a radius bolt design as compared to an in-line bolt design of a “97” pump, and as such, the firing pin of the “87” is never in alignment with the primer until the bolt is over 90% closed). Not a real problem, just annoying if someone could get the trigger to pull before the lock-up clicks shut.�

Cure: Bend the base of the trigger down and the tip to the trigger up. Problem goes away.(New note). When you bend the front tip of the trigger, it is not necessary to take the trigger out of the gun. Simply open the lever till the hammer and sear are no longer visible, but still supporting the base of the trigger. Place the barrel on a carpet, (muzzle down), and use a fairly heavy hammer to simply tap the underside of the trigger at the “hook” and the trigger will bend upwards very easily. The trigger will also now clear the straps of the leather lever wrap.�

While on the trigger subject, notice the small screw on the top of the tang, (in front of the serial numbers). This screw is the trigger spring screw, and I found that it can also adjust the trigger pull and not work loose. If you want a 5lb. (factory) trigger, tighten the screw down. To adjust the trigger to about 2-1/2 to 3 lbs., simply turn the screw counter-clockwise about 1/3 to 1/2 of a turn and try the trigger again – – (nice, isn’t it?)�

5. The pivoting lever is incorrectly manufactured on a great many of the new “87’s”, and because of the loose tolerances of the two parts, when the action is operated, the loose parts can pinch your finger very badly – – badly enough to take a huge chunk out of the inside of your middle finger or the underside of you trigger finger (depending if you operate the lever with your finger inside the lever or outside the lever), the result will draw some blood. �

Cure: Install leather covers (correctly) over the pivoting levers exposed parts and pivot pin, and do this as a safety addition. (See #6 note below)�

6. The leather lever wraps are incorrectly installed on EVERY new “87” (from the factory). The leather wraps when incorrectly installed, are nothing more than cosmetic and almost useless. The leather lever wraps where brought to China from Wisconsin, to show the Chinese exactly what I wanted, AND WHY! �

Cure: The leather wraps have to be installed around the pivot area, to protect your fingers (and help prevent the lever pin from coming out under use) and this requires the two long tails (straps) to go through the trigger guard and under the trigger, necessitating the trigger to be modified to clear the leather straps. (see problem #4 and cure). The leather straps now clear the trigger.�

7. Check over each gun to be assured the left and right extractors are not installed incorrectly and the firing pin is protruding through the bolt, holding the rim from flipping and thus not releasing from the left and right extractors. This will cause stove piping, and failure to eject. New problem found.�

The left side of the carrier, (knockdown plate contact area), has been ground away too far on several guns, and this problem will cause the last round to stovepipe.�

Cure: The left side of the carrier needs to either be replaced, or the portion that the bolt knockdown plate contacts, has to be (low-amp) wire feed welded, back to blueprint specifications. The reason is because the left side of the carrier helps in the ejection of the last round. This is what causes the last round to pitch to the right and over your shoulder, (for right handed shooters), and has to be modified for left handed shooters, (to pitch the spent hull to the left, instead of the right).�

If this is not done, a spent hull can hit you between the eyes (against your safety glasses).�

The following is a continuation of the “stove piping problem of the last round ejection.�

Cure: The Left extractor has one flat area that mates up with the spring and plunger. That flat area should be angled slightly inwards, so to put more pressure on the left extractor. The bottom 1/2 of that extractor “hook”, should be removed, so as to release the rim of the spent hull at about the 1/2 way of bolt arc travel (radius bolt).�

Cure: The Right extractor needs to move up and down VERY easily, almost 1/2 inch, in an arc movement to grab the spent hull at the 1/2 way mark and continue the extraction. Then at the end of travel, the right extractor has to release the spent hull (every time), and to do this, you need to remove 1/2 the bottom area of the rim hook and cut (about) 1-1/2 coils off the spring, then make sure the V channel that the extractor glides in, does not have a ridge left in it from the factory milling machine operator. The right extractor needs to have two flat areas where the plunger can flip the extractor up and down very easily and a small channel needs to be cut into the base area where the extractor plunger glides over the two flat surfaces. The plunger also needs to be rounded and smooth so it can glide from one flat spot to the other, without restriction.�

Lots and lots of high polishing is needed on all parts in this area and keep the extractors well oiled.�

8. A great many of these guns have too much metal taken off the bottom of the left side carrier ejector cam, causing poor ejection of the last round fired, resulting in a another stove piping condition.�

Cure: Open the action, remove both the left and right carrier screws, then reach inside and pull out the carriers. The left side cam is the problem. The cam is the part that sticks into an oval slot in the right side of the carrier. When you look closely at the cam itself, it also is supposed to be oval in shape. The problem was caused by an assembly worker, not understanding why the new two shot feeding system ejector, does not work well, and thought that the ejector cam was the problem, when in fact, the failure of the extractors to release the last round (spent hull) is most likely the real cause and not the ejector cam.�

This problem can only be cured by replacing the filed off metal of the cam, by low-amp wire feed welding. This process may require taking the carrier in and out several times in order to get the cam shape correct. I have found the majority of the problems to almost always be on the bottom 1/2 of the ejector cam.�

9. The right carrier pivot screw hole, countersunk too far. Tightening the right screw down, will lock-up the action, or at least cause the cycling of the action to become very stiff, if this condition is evident. The reason, because the screw threads go through the frame and contact the pivot hole of the carrier, and tightening the screw down, causes the threads to push the carrier inward and will make the action very stiff to cycle.�

Cure: take out the right side carrier and countersink the pivot hole to compensate for the factory countersinking the hole too far. I saw the cause at the factory, when the person doing the hole drilling into the frame, (using a jig), would first drill the left hole and countersink it, then not blow out the shavings. The frame was then turned over to drill and countersink the right side hole, and the metal shavings would fall under the frame, and raise it up on the jig, thus causing the countersink hole to become too deep and when putting the screw into the gun and tightening them down, the threads would contact the carrier and lock the gun up. Because so many of the frames were countersunk too far, the “06” models (should) have the carriers already countersunk, so those of you with “06” models should not experience this problem.�

One other problem in this area is the amount of “lock-Tite” used to secure the screws. We have found some screws so tight we could not get them out. The reason was soon found to be the threads were stripped and then the screw was epoxied into place, so the gun could not be taken apart. This problem turned out to be fairly serious and I actually got a little angry about it, because I had to drill and tap a new hole and machine a pivot screw to fit – – which would render the gun operable, but no longer of a factory standard issue and the gun would have to be sold at a discount or donated to a SASS club.�

10. The left carrier (second shell stop cam), incorrectly angled. This problem can be identified when the second round on the carrier, flies out of the gun along with the ejected first round.�

Cure: Take out the carriers and the bolt, then while on your work-bench, align the carrier halves on each side of the bolt and observe the tip of the left carrier. It is supposed to have a cam angle on it, to match a cam angle at the top (left side) of the bolt radius. Check the bolt first to see if there is a burr in the cam area, as we have found this to be the main problem. Mate the two areas, so that when the lever is cycled fully open, those two cam angles will cause the left side of the carrier to pitch to the right and stop the second shell from coming out with the spent hull of the first round.�

This is part of the timing system, and unless you are pretty sure of what you are doing, best leave this for one of the cowboy gunsmiths, or someone VERY familiar with the timing of an 87 lever action. The reason is that there are several timing areas on the lever and carriers, and all of these need to work together for the gun to operate successfully, without a problem.�

11. The bolt (left side, under the left extractor) to carrier knock-down plate usually has a loose screw causing a jammed action. This problem can be identified by looking closely at the left side of the bolt, with the action 1/2 way closed, there is a flat plate under the left extractor, that is loose and not contacting the left side of the carrier correctly, to knock it down. That small plate will go either inside or outside of the left side carrier, causing a jam and locking the action up.�

Cure: Remove the carrier and bolt, tighten the screw and then peen it down, so it cannot come loose or come out again. There is no reason to remove the knock-down plate for cleaning, etc.�

12. The magazine tube and follower are sometimes machining incorrectly, and not holding the carrier fully up. (This problem is very similar in nature to the AWA (Lightning) carrier dropping down as soon as the bolt is moved forward, the carrier drops). This problem can be seen by opening the action fully, and observing the carrier (with the lever held firmly, full forward). The carrier should be tight. Because it is held by the right side lever cam screw. As soon as you take the forward pressure off of the lever, the carrier drops down just enough to cause the next round, not to chamber, (because the carrier is too low). The carrier then goes loose and can move up and down at least a 1/4″. The mag tube follower is supposed to hold the carrier up to feed ammo, while the action is closing.�

Cure: Either get the follower to go into the frame deeper, by machining the follower stop ring (deeper) on the inside of the frame, which allows the follower to go in farther, or simply use a low amp wire feed welder to add two spot welds to the bottom front of the right side carrier.�

13. Coming soon – – “Two Shot Feeding System” incorrectly installed from the factory. Workers “flattened” the nose of the longer ejector, so each gun would work normally. The nose and underside of each ejector needs to be modified to become operable.�

Cure: Using a Dremel tool, with a round diamond cutting wheel, trim the left and right corners of the ejector to fit better in the mag tube follower ‘hole”. Be sure to bevel the underside, so that the ejector will release itself from the follower, when empty of ammo, or when closing the action with one round.�

TOP GUN ACTION to the 87 lever action�

I have a new modification to IMPROVE my patented and SASS APPROVED “Two Shot Feeding System” that I now call the “TOP GUN” ACTION, which is pretty difficult to explain in writing, suffice to say, the change is one that puts back into each gun, that what was approved by SASS. The “Top Gun Action” allows the shooter the opportunity to no longer have to be so gentle when reloading the gun with two shells, (one on top of the other). For more information, please call in (507) 685-4511 �

14. Follower is very rough, causing carrier to stick up or down, however, if the gun ejects the last round very well, leave the follower rough so the carrier can come up very suddenly. If not, then see cure below..�

Cure: Take the follower out of the mag tube, put the follower onto a wooden dowel to hold the follower and allow it to spin on a belt sander and polishing wheels.�

15. Ejector nose is too flat, holding the top shell too high.�

Cure: remove the carriers and using a Dremel diamond cutting tool; angle the nose of the ejector slightly, to allow the ejector to drop down just a bit more, so the round will not be too high.�

16. Bottom of the frame opening incorrectly cut to hold carrier to feed the mag tube.�

Cure: completely disassemble the shotgun, so you have access to the frame opening from the bottom. Using a flat faced (fine) file, file away the frame material, until the carrier drops all the way down in the frame, without contact. �

17. Carrier stop screw cut-out on carrier too deep, allowing carrier to go too high.�

Cure: you will need to low-amp wire feed weld the carrier cut-out notch for the stop screw, then grind and hone the cut-out notch to hold the carrier at the correct height.�

18. Right extractor cam screw and right extractor, not mating properly, causing a hic-cup when closing the action with or without shells in the gun.�

Cure: Take the small forward cam screw out of the frame and watch the right extractor as it comes into view in the hole, then using a small tipped magic marker, put the tip into the hole so to make a mark on the extractor where it is hitting the screw head. Then take the gun apart, take out the bolt and modify the underside (cam portion) of the left extractor to create a “ramp” when the extractor contacts the cam screw – – – hic-cup goes away!�

19. Left extractor catching inside of chamber, jamming gun when empty (bad bolt milling).�

Cure: take out the left extractor, and put a very small spot weld on the backside of the extractor. Then hone down that spot weld, until the left extractor stays outside the extractor slot in the chamber. Keep in mind, the amount of welding and honing determines the shell rim holding of the extractor, so you may have to take the gun apart and put it together again, several times before you get it right.�

20. Right cartridge guide screw (two shot system) too long, or drilled and tapped too deep.�

Cure: grind off the bottom of the screw end to clear the bolt better and then (while installed) taper the leading edge of the screw, so a cartridge crimp cannot get hung up on the screw, but will guide the shell into the chamber. This is the reason for the screw in the first place.�

21. #3 front sight bead incorrectly installed – – most of the time, leaning off to the right.�

Cure: two cures actually. �

(1). Cut and recrown the barrel just behind the front bead. Drill and tap for a #4 (large brass bead).�

(2). take the #3 bead out, weld the hole shut. Grind and polish the area smooth, then drill and tap for a #4 large brass bead, grind off the bead threads left in muzzle, then cold blue where needed. �

22. Left extractor not going over the rim properly, jamming the bolt as the extractor tries to go between the left side of the frame and the rim of the cartridge.�

Cure: Dremel out the left inside of the frame to get the extractor to clear the frame. Cold blue area. �

23. Carrier contacting the front of the frame, causing very stiff closure and release of the lock-up.�

Cure: Enlarge the right side carrier pivot hole on the forward portion of the hole, thus allowing the carrier enough clearance on the front of the frame. (This will not effect the cycling of the carrier; only relieve the binding problem caused by poor attention to tolerances and quality control).�

24. Incorrectly threaded magazine tube threads in the frame, causing pressure on forearm wood, resulting in small cracks developing in the forearm wood, after several rounds are fired. A good indication this problem exists on your shotgun, can be noticed when the forearm moves forward after firing, and tightening the forearm screws down more, does not help. (May even crack the wood, if tightened too much, so be careful)�

Cure: the only way I have been able to cure this condition is to replace the whole magazine tube with a new magazine tube. You, however, can cure this with simple plumbers tape around the threads and larger screws to close out the looseness in the notches cut into the bottom of the barrel and the notches cut into the magazine tube.�

25. Action will not lock-up properly, or lever becomes very tight on final closing, even without ammo in it..�

Cure: This one has proven to be so difficult, even the most experienced cowboy gunsmiths, think long and hard about this one, and then they send the gun to me to cure the problem.�

26. Cartridges not coming out of the mag tube fully (when two shot feeding only). Does not happen when single loading.�

Cure: once again, this is a problem that needs to be seen to by an M-87 competent gunsmith, as the problem has been found to be very difficult to diagnose, and cure, because of loose frame tolerances.�

27. Cartridges dragging on the inside of the lever, slowing down feeding.�

Cure: Take the bolt/lever out of the gun and notice the rounded inside of the bolt/lever. This is the area where the rim of the shell slides against as the action is closed. You need to clean up the burrs in this area and do some polishing to the radius.�

28. Headspace problems, causing action to close very hard when feeding ammo. The problem is in the radius of the lever, combined with the barrel being installed to deeply in the frame.�

Cure: this is a gunsmithing problem, do not attempt to cure this using simple tools.�

29. Ejector contacting the hammer, causing misfire.�

Cure: using a dremel tool, grind away just enough metal from the tail of the ejector to clear.�

30. Metal shavings behind the firing pin, eventually coming loose and blocking pin movement.�

Cure: obviously, you are going to want to take out the bolt/lever and take out the firing pin, by driving the holding pin out, then remove the firing pin and spring. Using a dremel tool, clean out any burrs that you might find up inside the firing pin hole – – – be careful not to make the hole larger, or the firing pin may possibly stick down and cause a hic-up when closing the action.�

31. When using high base or magnum loads in a “standard” M-87w, extraction from the chamber is difficult and the lever opening is very stiff.�

Cure: check the chamber for rough chambering from the factory, caused by failure to clean up tooling metal shavings from the chambering reamer and forcing cone cutter. The Chinese did not clean their cutting tools each time they were used, resulting in deep gouges in the chamber.�

These rough chambers grip the hulls of spent magnum loads.�

Using a VERY rough and coarse sand paper, wrapped around a slotted wooden dowel and an electric drill, hone out the chamber, using enough drill speed to do the job quickly.�

The reason is because the metallurgy of the Chinese barrels is so hard, you will wear out a break hone and frustrate yourself trying to get the job done. Using a very coarse sand paper, followed closely by progressively finer and finer sand paper, and that electric drill, will hone out the chamber nicely.�

32. When using spent hulls, or even dummy shells for practicing, the lever is very difficult to open the action once the hammer has been let down – – like for dry firing, using snap caps. The cause of the problem has proven to be in the tolerances of the hammer to bolt pivot pin slot and also, some very sloppy clean up of inside metal burrs.�

Cure: take the carrier, hammer and bolt/lever assembly out of the gun, and using a small rat tailed file, clean up the hammer and bolt/lever pivot pin slotted hole. Do not take off hardly any metal at all, just clean up the burrs. Then clean up the burrs on the inside walls of the bolt and lever assembly, right at the pivot pin area.�

Look for metal to metal contact marks on the top side of the bolt/lever (pivot pin area), and grind off those marks and polish the grindings smooth. Then look for contact marks on the top of the pivot pin area of the hammer, grind and polish those contact marks away also.�

Cold blue all the filing, grinding and polishing areas. your hard opening problem is now cure.�

33. Ejector installed too high in the carrier, causing timing problem.�

Cure: replace the right side of the carrier – – as the old one is yet another defective part sent out from China, instead of scrapping or throwing it away.�

34. Hammer not in correct alignment with the lever/bolt, caused by burrs in the pivot slot of the carrier.�

Cure: completely disassemble the whole gun and clean out the burrs from the inside of the slots.�

35. Carrier rubbing up against one side of the other of the frame, causing a stiff action and can be seen more clearly by the marks left by the primers against the face of the bolt. You will notice the firing pin is off center.�

Cure: pivot pin cross-frame hole was drilled at an angle, rendering the frame as useless. The gun needs to be replaced under warranty.�

Cleaning up the action of a Winchester Model 94 Trapper �

By: �

The Mohave Gambler �

Disclaimer: This is written as a guideline for those who are skilled enough to complete this work. These modifications are advisory in nature and I assume no liability for the outcome on your guns. Make sure that any gun you work on is unloaded and check it each time you work with it. Nobody ever planned an accident. You have the last word on any modifications, especially the removal of any safety devices that might be a part of your firearm. �

Background on the Winchester 1894 Trapper �

The 1894 Winchester lever action rifle was specifically designed by John Moses Browning as the first lever action rifle to be marketed for use with the new smokeless powders. The 94 has been in nearly continuous production since 1894, which makes it one of the most successful products in history. This gun makes a fine entry level Cowboy Action lever gun and new owners of these successful rifles will want to know how to slick them up so they shoot better. Unfortunately, the current design of this stout rifle does not lend itself to being turned into a finely tuned shooter without some major modifications that are beyond the scope of this article. �


Figure 1. Here is a picture of the Winchester New Model 94 Trapper that I use for competition. This was taken after the modifications were complete. �
The Winchester was originally designed for the longer casings of more traditional rifle ammunition and many argue that its linage prevents the action from being optimal for the shorter cartridges of the newer models. The design and manufacturing methods have have evolved to make it more attractive in a competitive market, a cross-bolt safety was added that can cause problems, and the trigger and hammer assembly were modified from the original design. The Winchester model 94 in this tutorial is a nine-shot Trapper in .44 Magnum caliber. It has been used in Cowboy Action Shooting with mixed results and improvements were warranted. The trigger was a little heavy and the action was somewhat stiff. �

I selected the Winchester 94 Trapper because the price was attractive, it had a long history, and there was no significant advantage to buying a longer gun in the state of California. I looked at other models, but California law defined any rifle with a magazine in front of the trigger and a capacity of more than nine rounds as an illegal assault weapon. With a felony of putting more than nine in the tube, I went with the Trapper. That law was changed in 2002 to allow tube feed magazines to exceed the nine round limit. The change in the law allows me to increase the capacity of the Trapper if it is possible. �

Although the Winchester 94 has been in production since 1896, they made significant changes to the gun at serial number 4,580,000, which appears to be the point when they changed from a leaf hammer spring to a coil hammer spring. I understand that additional changes were made at around serial number 6,000,000, which appears to be the change to a rebounding hammer and the the addition of the cross-bolt safety. �
Winchester 1894 Trapper Project Statement �

To clean up the action on a modern 94 Trapper so it shoots better for Cowboy Action Shooting. This will be done using simple tools and techniques. I will also see if it is possible to correct the overall problem of the basic design of the hammer and trigger assembly and will see if it is possible to modify the magazine to allow the storage of ten rounds. �


Figure 2. The Winchester 94 trigger and hammer assembly. Note the coiled mainspring and the fork with its two hammer contact points that create a cradling effect that forces the hammer back away from the firing pin when it is at rest. Click on the picture to enlarge it. �
Understanding this Gun �

There are many people who claim the 94 cannot be cleaned up and turned into a good rifle. I feel this is an inappropriate argument, because the most common use for this rifle is Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) and hunting. Let’s face some CAS facts. The 94 does have design limits that prevent it from being a premier action rifle, however, most CAS shooters are not top contenders. Most people are in the sport for fun and can benefit from having a reasonably priced and reliable gun that is also very strong. �

To better understand the trigger and hammer function of the modern 94, please click on the thumbnail in figure 2. Study the lower tang assembly. Note the hammer spring guide rod with a two prong fork on the forward end (left) retains the coil mainspring. Note the two indentations on the rear of the hammer. The two prongs of the hammer spring guide rod ride in those two indentations. When the hammer is cocked, the pivoting action of the hammer causes only the top prong of the hammer spring guide rod to engage the hammer. The distance (leverage) from the hinge pin to drive the hammer forward is sufficient to drive the hammer forward and strike the firing pin. When the hammer is cocked, the pressure on the upper part of the hammer is much like that of any hammer and spring combination. Cocking the hammer also engages the sear, which holds the hammer in the full cock position until the trigger is pulled. There is no half-cock notch on this rifle and there is no need for one as long as we do not modify the design of the trigger and hammer. �

It is important to understand that the hammer and trigger sears do not come in contact with each other on the New Model 94. There is a lever safety that protrudes through the lower tang and must be depressed by the lever in order to release the hammer. Essentially, the trigger engages the lever safety and the lever safety engages the hammer sear. This is the cause of one of the biggest problems with the New Model 94, which causes the trigger to have over a half inch of travel before engaging anything. Do not tamper with this safety feature because it prevents the gun from firing before the bolt is securely locked in place. �
I think of the New Model 94 as having three hammer positions: resting, striking, and cocked. In the resting position, both the upper and lower prongs of the hammer spring guide rod are in contact with the appropriate recesses in the hammer. A balance between the two cause the hammer to remain centered and away from the firing pin. This is needed to allow the cross-bolt safety to be engaged without being obstructed by the hammer. When the hammer has been pushed or pulled to the rear and is engaging the sear, it is in the cocked position. Pulling the trigger moves the hammer forward to momentarily strike the firing pin. I call this the striking position. �
When the hammer is cocked and the trigger pulled, the hammer is released and pushed forward by the energy of the coil spring exerting pressure on the upper part of the hammer through the upper prong of the hammer spring guide rod. The hammer accelerates forward until it reaches the rest position and the lower prong of the hammer spring guide rod engages the lower notch in the hammer. The lower notch is slightly below the hammer pivot bushing so it exerts a slight force to slow the hammer as the hammer moves forward. As the lower prong engages the lower slot, the upper prong of the hammer spring guide rod disengages and stops providing any more forward energy. Between the resting and striking positions, the hammer is moving forward only from its own forward inertia and there is a very slight slowing action from the lower prong in its notch. The hammer strikes the firing pin and the cartridge is fired. �
What does all of this mean? It means there are a lot of parts moving around in that trigger assembly and a lot of mass and inertia needed. It means that the Winchester New Model 94 will shoot safely and reliably in a variety of weather conditions for hunting. It also means it is not the most suitable design for CAS, but it is certainly good enough for most cowboy action shooters. �
Is this simply not the right gun for CAS competition? That depends on your point of view. The top shooters will use expensive toggle-bolt rifles that have been slicked by the best smiths in the country, so this is not a gun for them. I think this is a good gun for the rest of us who are content with having a fun day. For us, the difference between a Winchester 94 and a perfect rifle will be only a second or two in total stage time, which does not matter to most of us. The good news is that this gun can be improved a little in just a few hours. I have determined that it is possible to custom build a new trigger and hammer for the gun, but the effort would be so great that it’s probably better to simply buy a different gun and use the 94 as a backup if the perfect trigger is needed. I may create a project to illustrate how to make these changes, but they are probably not warranted. �
Making the modifications �

There are several places where the Winchester 94 can be improved. Improvements are simple and can be made in the sear, the hammer spring, the magazine spring, and the cross-bolt safety. Begin by removing the stock from the tang. This is done by removing the tang screw from the upper tang and pulling the stock to the rear to remove it. This will expose the upper and lower tangs and you will note the lower tang is loose and held only by the hammer pivot screw. Remove the hammer pivot screw from the left side of the receiver and the entire lower tang assembly can be removed out the bottom by carefully lowering the assembly to the rear. It may take a little experimentation with the hammer position to remove it, but it will come out. �
The hammer is held in position by the bushing that runs through the hammer pivot hole. Cock the hammer back to expose a hole in the hammer spring guide rod and place a small pin or nail into the hole. This will hold the spring in place until you need to remove it. Drift the hammer pivot bushing out with a drift punch, but it should only require a little pressure since it is not a press fit. Remove the hammer and you will find the sear and ramp on the bottom. Using a stone or some 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper on a flat surface, polish any machine marks down to reduce friction. It is not necessary to create a mirror finish, but removing rough spots will help. It may also help to lightly polish the sides of the hammer where they contact the receiver. Don’t forget to lightly polish any roughness on the receiver where the hammer is in contact. �

Figure 3. The hammer sear after it has been polished. This improves the feel of the hammer as it is pulled with the thumb or the bolt. �
Take some wet or dry sandpaper and gently polish the outside surface of the hammer pivot bushing and the inside of the hammer pivot hole. I wrap the 600 grit paper around a drift punch and use the drift punch to polish the inside of the hole. It only takes a few strokes to remove the rough spots, but you do not want to remove enough material to increase the play of the bushing. �
It’s now time to make a decision. You can stop and coat all of the friction surfaces with action grease, or you can take the parts further apart and do more polishing. I took mine completely apart and polished each part where they contact another part, but there is so little movement in the parts that I would probably just use grease and move on if I had it to do again. It is up to you. �
Now for an important step. Carefully compress the hammer spring, remove the retaining pin, and remove the hammer spring guide rod and the hammer spring. Note the orientation of the hammer spring guide rod because it’s easy to reassemble it upside down. I am not aware of any spring kits for the 94 so I removed four coils from the coil mainspring on the advice of some people who have done it. I also polished the hammer spring guide rod so the spring would not tend to bind on any rough spots. There were some rough points on the prongs that contact the hammer so I lightly polished those with 600 grit sandpaper. Reassemble the parts back into the lower tang assembly and lube with an appropriate low-drag grease. I used Brownell’s Action Magic Lube Plus. �
After installing the lower tang assembly and reinstalling the buttstock, I lubricated the gun as I normally would and cycled the action. Reducing the spring tension reduced the force needed to cock the hammer on the down stroke of the lever. The grease and slight polishing seemed to make the trigger feel better and smoother. Testing the gun with empty, but primed cases, told me that there was still enough mainspring force to reliably detonate the primers. We will now turn our attention to the magazine. �


Figure 4. The magazine spring, the follower, the magazine tube cap, and a cartridge in the proper orientation. �
I find the Winchester 94 to be a bit difficult to load, because there is simply too much tension on the magazine spring to get the last cartridges to feed easily. I removed some of the tension by removing the magazine plug from the end of the barrel by removing the small screw under the magazine tube about a quarter of an inch from the muzzle end of the tube. Be sure to apply some inward pressure to the magazine plug, because the magazine plug is under tension from the magazine spring and it may damage the threads or cause the magazine plug and spring to be launched across the room. I cut four coils off the magazine spring and reinstalled it. �

My last modification was to remove the cross-bolt safety. It was not difficult, but it is a personal decision that must be made by each owner. I resisted this change for the first year I owned the gun, but finally decided to remove it after loosing four shots in a match because the safety was on. Laying a 94 on its side at the loading table often activates the safety, which may not be noticed until it fails to shoot while on the clock. �
Figure 5. The view looking down into the area between the firing pin and the hammer while the hammer is in the cocked position. That flat platform with the little hole is the safety bar. �
I finally removed the safety from the gun to prevent any future problems. Click on the photo in figure 5 to see a close-up view of the cross-bolt safety and the release hole. The bright metal on the left of the image is the breech bolt with the firing pin. The flat piece of steel in the middle with a tiny hole is the safety. The large hole just above the small hole is the access hole for getting the special tool into the small hole in the safety so you can depress the spring loaded detent and remove the safety bar. �
If you are going to remove the safety, push the safety into the safe position. This should align the little access hole with the larger hole that gives you access to the access hole. You will need a special tool that will fit into the access hole. I found a standard paper clip to be a good fit. Using the paper clip, or any suitable tool, press down into the hole and depress the detent and the detent spring. While holding the detent down a little, push the safety on through from the left side of the frame (from shooting position) and out the right side. Once the safety bar moves about an eighth of an inch, it may hit a machining mark and need a slightly more aggressive drifting out. Proceed carefully! Remove the spring and detent, and save them for installation at a later date. �
Some people advocate modifying the safety so it does not work and then putting it back into the frame to plug the holes . I feel it is dangerous to use the rifle outside of CAS without the safety installed and it might be carried with a round in the chamber. Cowboy Action Shooting does not allow cartridges in the chamber except when the gun is ready to fire. I feel it is worse to have a safety in place that does not work. �
The Winchester New Model 94 has a reputation for parts failures and for actions that jam during shooting stages. I have had quite a few problems, but most of them have been of my own doing or something other than the gun. A common problem that has led to the reputation of this gun is the fact that many people do not cycle the lever forcefully enough. This action was designed to be worked with deliberation and a timid operation of the action can cause problems. Treat it with respect and don’t abuse it, but operate the action with some authority and it will be more reliable. �
These modifications to my Winchester 94 Trapper have smoothed the action on the gun and made it a lot easier to shoot in competition. There are a lot more things that can be done, but this represents the total amount of work I have done to mine. I am planning to make and install a brass buckhorn rear sight. I am also planning to make a filler for the hole left by the removal of the safety. I will add any additional modifications to this article as they are completed. �
Site Design By Time-Slice Check Us Out…..�
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/fryxe … n_1894.htm �

Marlin 1894 �

by Glen E. Fryxell �

At one point, the “2 guns chambered for the same cartridge” sales pitch had some real merit. After all, a cowboy riding herd in the late 1800s needed to be completely autonomous, he needed to be armed and he probably wouldn’t get into town for at least a couple of months. His saddle bags had very limited room for “kit”, so he needed to be able to cast and load for both his scabbard-gun and his sixgun with a single set of tools. Today’s shooter may be just as independence-minded as the cowboy of long ago, but most likely leads a more modern existence, with readily available ammunition and components, and if he does reload his own ammunition, it’s probably on bench-mounted presses and not with a tong tool over a campfire to a coyote serenade. We have easy access to sporting goods stores and mail order supply houses, with a far better availability of accessories, ammunition and components with which to feed our guns than shooters did a century ago. We have a multitude of cartridges available today, with something ideally suited for whatever task a shooter may have. As a result, shooters today generally own more than one gun, and these guns are chambered for more than one cartridge. So I guess we can pretty much throw out the “combo cartridge” sales pitch. Where does that leave the value of a lever action carbine chambered for revolver cartridges? Second to none, because ballistically speaking these are exceptional lever-gun rounds! �

Marlin 1894 carbines in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt. �

I have a confession to make: I’ve always been partial to the Marlin lever action design. While some may favor it for the closed top, allowing easy scope mounting (I prefer iron sights on lever-guns), I appreciate the solidly designed receiver and the fact that the top and bottom of the action are closed and protected from “stuff”. When still-hunting on a snowy day, have you ever fired a shot from behind a tree, only to be cascaded with snow from the branches above? An action that “exposes itself” during cycling allows snow, pine needles, tree bark, cigar ashes, etc. into the guts of the action, and personally I’d rather just have oil and ammo down there. The Winchester lever-guns are clearly one of the most proven, time-honored designs in firearms history, it’s just that my favor tends to fall on the Marlin side of the fence as a result of their keeping their private parts, well, private. However, the Winchester 94 captures all the benefits of the revolver rounds just as well as the Marlin 1894. �

These attributes include: �

Short, light, easily handled carbines — valuable traits for a home defense gun or for a “workin’ gun”, i.e. one that will be there always as ranch work, farm work, or whatever work is being done and is always there when it’s needed, either defensively, or for targets of opportunity. �

Modest recoil — while many won’t admit it, a significant number of shooters have trouble handling the recoil of the .44 Magnum cartridge in a revolver, but in a carbine, it’s comfortable to shoot. �

Excellent ballistics — these aren’t long range lasers, but 125 yard thumpers with the ability to shoot through pretty much anything if properly loaded, and this range covers most targets of opportunity (and defensive situations). As a general rule of thumb, you can get about another 300 fps over what a given load will deliver from a revolver. �

Magazine capacity — before the time of high capacity magazines, the lightweight lever-action carbines created the capability “to load on Sunday and shoot all week”, these guns also provided the advantage of being able to top off the magazine without opening or deactivating the action (a valuable character trait for certain law enforcement or home defense situations). �

Cast bullets — these rifles and rounds are extremely well served by cast bullets, a trait long admired by the frugal and independent-minded. �

Lever-guns can be finicky about cartridge OAL and bullet profile, and so a wide variety of bullet weights, profiles and designs were run through these three Marlin carbines in order to see what works and what doesn’t. All testing was done with the factory buckhorn sights, with unmodified guns right out of the box (i.e. no modifications to carrier, chamber or throat). Unless otherwise noted, all groups are 5-shots at 50 yards. �

.357 Magnum. �

The Marlin .357 carbine was made with a 1 in 16″ twist, so heavyweights were expected to shoot just fine. This characteristic may have something to do with why the .357 Magnum fired from a lever gun has been likened to the .30-30 Winchester — heavier bullets at the higher velocities possible from a rifle have considerably more thump than can be achieved from a revolver. I’ve been on this handgun kick for about a decade or so now. This little Marlin re-introduced me to how much fun a plinking rifle can be. A .30 cal ammo can full of .38 ammo and this little Marlin makes for one very fun afternoon! �

The .357 seems to be a little more finicky about smooth feeding than the other two rifles. The .357 also seems to be somewhat more finicky about which loads it shoots well. It shoots (and feeds) very well indeed with the right loads, but not all loads are up to its discerning tastes. On top of this, this gun has the distinct tendency to print different loads to different points of impact. �

Obvious cast bullet choices for this lever-gun are the round-nosed flat-pointed bullet popular in cowboy action shooting. Both the Lyman and the Lee Cowboy bullets cycle and feed flawlessly when loaded into .38 Special cases, and the Lee bullet also feeds very nicely when loaded into Magnum cases. The Lyman Cowboy bullet is short enough to feed from the magazine when loaded into Magnum cases, but doesn’t make the transition from carrier to chamber very smoothly at this OAL. The LBT 200 LFN likewise is short enough to make the magazine-carrier transition, but also doesn’t make it cleanly into the chamber when loaded into .357 brass. The Lyman 358429/358439 Keith SWC and HP are simply too long to make it out of the magazine when loaded in .357 Magnum cases. The 200 grain Lyman 35875 RN-FP is also much too long for Magnum brass. The LBT 180 WFN is not only too long for the longer cartridge case, it also has too much bearing surface forward of the crimp groove to even chamber when loaded into .357 cases. However, all five of these bullets (the LBT 200 LFN, the Keith SWC and HP, the Lyman 35875 and the LBT 180 WFN) cycle, feed and chamber very smoothly when loaded into .38 Special brass. �

Some of the bullets that worked well in the .357 Marlin when loaded into .38 Special cases: the Lyman 358439, the Lee 358-158-RF, the Lyman 358665, the Lyman 358429, the LBT 200 LFN and the Lyman 35875 200 grain RNFP. �

The Lee cowboy bullet over 4.5 grains of Bullseye in .38 Special cases gave fine accuracy (1 1/2″ 5-shot groups at 50 yards) with an average (and very consistent) velocity of 1128 fps. When loaded over 14.0 grains of 2400 in .357 Magnum brass, this bullet fed quite smoothly, and delivered an impressive 1678 fps, but could only muster 4″ groups at 50 yards. In general, the PB bullets shot better at more modest velocities out of the .357 Marlin. �

In contrast, the Marlin .357 carbine did very nicely with the GC 358156 HP over 14.0 grains of 2400. 5-shot groups at 50 yards ran just under 2″ and average velocity was 1721 fps. Expansion of this HP at this velocity is dramatic, to say the least — this load is a rodent buzz-saw! This constitutes a very versatile and personal favorite, load for this gun. The 358156 GC-SWC over the same powder charge delivered 1764 fps and even better accuracy. Both of these bullets feed flawlessly in the Marlin when loaded in .357 cases. �

Another excellent performer was found in the LBT 160 grain WFN-GC. Again, 14.0 grain charges of 2400 provided excellent accuracy at 1674 fps. These loads fed and chambered without the slightest hiccup. Conveniently, this load printed to the same point as the 358156 HP discussed above (the 358156 SWC was another 1 1/2″ to the right at 50 yards, go figure). �

Bullets that worked well in the .357 Marlin when loaded in .357 Magnum cases: the 358156 SWC, the 358156 HP, and the LBT 160 GC-SWC. �

In contrast, the LBT 180 grain WFN-GC is too long to chamber when loaded into magnum brass, but it cycles, feeds and chambers just fine when loaded into .38 Special cases. When paired with 12.0 grains of 2400 in the shorter cases, this bullet provided so-so accuracy (with a tendency towards vertical stringing) at 1510 fps. A little fine-tuning of this load might correct this tendency however. �

When the Lyman Cowboy bullet (#358665) was tried out in .357 Magnum brass over 14.0 grains of 2400, it shot just fine, and while it was short enough to feed from the magazine, it didn’t generally cycle very smoothly. Groups ran 2″ at 50 yards and velocities hovered right at 1780 fps. This was the only PB bullet tested that grouped well at full-throttle magnum velocities, but rough cycling dulled the appeal of this combination (perhaps it would cycle more smoothly if cases were trimmed back another 0.010″ or so). When this bullet was loaded into .38 Special cases and powered with 6.5 grains of HS-6, it cycled beautifully and printed nice round 1 1/2″ groups (1100 fps). �

The Keith SWC and HP (358429 and 358439, respectively) are too long to make it out of the Marlin’s magazine when loaded in Magnum cases, but if a shooter wants to use these bullets they function perfectly when loaded into .38 Special brass. For example, the 358429 SWC loaded over 12.0 grains of 2400 in .38 Special brass cycles effortlessly, and delivers 1556 fps and decent accuracy at 50 yards (this load should only be used in .357 Magnum firearms). Likewise, the Lyman 358439 154 grain HP loaded over 8.5 grains of HS-7 in .38 Special brass cycled just fine and shot beautifully. Velocities (1258 fps) were particularly consistent with this favorite load. Expansion of this bullet at this velocity is positive and dramatic when it’s cast at a BHN of about 11 or so. �

For whatever reason, this gun didn’t seem to like the 358477, either in .38 Special or Magnum brass. In both cases it cycled just fine, it’s just that accuracy wasn’t quite up to snuff with this lighter plain-based bullet. In .357 cases over 14.0 grains 2400, accuracy ran about 3-4″ at about 35 yards, and the HP version of same over 15.0 grains of 2400 generated 1970 fps and 3+” groups at 50 yards. The Lyman 358477 when loaded into .38 Special cases with 4.5 grains of Bullseye also gave 3+” groups at 50 yards, and 1149 fps. This short little bullet just doesn’t seem to have enough bearing surface for this rifle’s tastes. �

Taking a look at heavier bullets, the 200 grain Lyman 35875 was called into action. This plain-based RN-FP was originally designed for the old black powder cartridges like the .38-45 Stevens (muzzle velocity of 1420 fps) and I thought that it might be right at home in the Marlin lever-gun. Because of the long nose found on this bullet, it could not be loaded into magnum brass, but it turns out that when loaded into .38 Special cases so it could be crimped in the top lube groove, the OAL is just about ideal to feed in the Marlin (1.580″). Loaded on top of 10.5 grains of 2400 and sparked with a CCI 550 primer, this bullet flew from the muzzle at 1319 fps and printed 3″ groups. There were no signs of excessive pressure, but I believe that reducing this load slightly might lead to better accuracy. The LBT 200 grain LFN gave excellent accuracy on a very windy day when launched with 10.0 grains of 2400 at 1301 fps. These magnum level loads were also assembled using .38 Special cases since this bullet doesn’t feed cleanly at the Magnum OAL. �

As an interesting side note, .38 wadcutters feed just fine in the little Marlin. When the classic .38 wadcutter Lyman 358495 over 3.0 grains of Bullseye was test fired, it printed a 1 1/8″ 5-shot group at 25 yards at 894 fps, and cycled just fine. Basically, every bullet tested in .38 Special cases fed just fine (it’s only with magnum brass that things get touchy). So much for needing round-nosed bullets to feed through a lever-gun… �

Loaded with suitable ammo (e.g. Cor-Bon, Federal 125s, or even the FBI .38 load) the Marlin carbine is arguably THE definitive home-defense gun. Loaded with .38 Special ammo, there is no argument about it, the Marlin 1894 .357 IS the definitive plinking gun! The best plinking bullet is the Lee cowboy bullet, and a 6-cavity mould allows the caster the ability to make a lot of plinking ammo in a hurry! The best accuracy with PB bullets was generally found at 1300 fps and under, at full throttle magnum velocities this gun shows a definite preference for GC bullets. The best all-round bullets are the Lyman 358156 SWC/HP, and the LBT 160 WFN-GC. In my gun, the 358156 HP and the LBT 160 WFN both print to the exact same spot, so that’s how the sights are set. Jack rabbits anyone? �

.44 Magnum �

The 1 in 38″ twist that the Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum was graced with often raises questions as to how well this gun might handle heavier bullets, so a wide spectrum was evaluated. Starting with the standard weight bullets, superb accuracy was obtained with the Lyman 429244, in both SWC and HP form, over 23.5 grains of W296 for about 1724 (265 grain SWC) and 1748 fps (253 grain HP). Both bullets cycle and feed just fine. The 300 grain GC-SWC’s from both RCBS and Lyman (#429650) also feed just fine in my gun. When powered with 21.5 grains of W296, these bullets leave the little Marlin at 1708 fps and deliver decent accuracy. Lots of questions get asked about how well the SWC’s feed from the magazine on a lever-gun, and while some folks have reported trouble with them in the past, this particular carbine doesn’t seem to mind these four bullets (the Lyman 429421 has a slightly longer nose and does not cycle quite as smoothly in this gun). �

A more traditional shape for the lever-gun is the round-nose flat-point. Such an ogive is found on the solid (i.e. non-HP version) of the Lyman 429640, which weighs about 290 grains when cast with WW alloy. Not surprisingly, this bullet cycles from the magazine well, and is quite accurate when launched with 22.0 grains of W296 for 1617 fps. The HP version of the 429640 also shoots quite accurately, but the fragile mouth of the Devastator HP tends to get dented and hang up if the action is cycled vigorously. A very similar profile is found on the LBT 300 grain LFN bullet, which feeds just as smoothly as the solid 429640. The 300 grain LBT LFN delivers 1711 fps and fine accuracy when powered by 21.5 grain of W296. �

A somewhat more curvaceous RNFP is made by Saeco. On this 300 grainer, the meplat is slightly smaller and the ogive somewhat more curved, so it’s no surprise that this bullet glides from the magazine like an enthusiastic Lab puppy on a freshly waxed floor. Once again, 21.5 grains of W296 provides good accuracy and 1679 fps. An even more voluptuous profile is found on the LBT 280 grain WFN. Loaded on top of 22.0 grains of W296 the LBT WFN is quite accurate and generates 1683 fps, but unfortunately this fine hunting bullet feeds poorly in my gun. �

The 320 grain SSK FP is too long to cycle through the Marlin’s action when seated to crimp in the crimp groove (although it shoots very nicely single-loaded). The expander ball on my Dillon die set runs .4275″ and I size these bullets .430″ With a bullet that has as much bearing surface as the SSK bullet, throat tension provides sufficient bullet pull to prevent recoil from shoving the bullet deeper into the case while the round is “waiting in line” in the magazine. I loaded this bullet up to an OAL of 1.638″ and placed a hearty roll crimp over the forward driving band. Seating a bullet deeper into the case requires that the load be reduced accordingly. Case volume measurements revealed that case capacity had been reduced a little over 16%, so these loads were assembled using 17.5 grains of W296. This ammo cycled and fed beautifully in the little Marlin. Accuracy was excellent and velocity was 1414 fps. There were no indications of excessive pressure. This bullet is available from Lynn Halsted at Dry Creek Bullet Works (http://www.creeker.net). �

Loads were tried with various 330, 340, 350 and 365 grain cast bullets and all were problematic. Either they would not feed smoothly, they would not chamber or they would not stabilize and were keyholing at 50 yards. The 330 grain GC version of the SSK bullet will not cycle when crimped in the crimp groove and I see no advantage to trying to seat it deeper as was done with the 320 grain PB version. The 320 will do anything the 330 GC version will do and do it better in this little gun. The Lyman 429649 340 grain RNFP feeds just fine from the magazine, but will not chamber due to the extended bearing surface on the nose of this blunt bullet. The 350s (LBT WLN and SSK) don’t stabilize with the 1 in 38″ twist. The take-home lesson here is that the 320 grain SSK is pretty much as heavy as you can go with the .44 Magnum Marlin. �

Bullets that work well in the .44 Magnum Marlin 1894: the Lyman 429244 SWC, the Lyman 429244 HP, the Lyman 429640, the LBT 300 LFN, the Saeco 300 RNFP, the RCBS 44-300 GC-SWC and the 320 grain SSK (loaded short). �

As an all-round working load for this gun, my first choice would probably be to go with the 285 grain Lyman 429640 GC-FP over 22.0 grains of W296 for (1617 fps), with a close runner-up being the 265 grain Lyman 429244 GC-SWC over 23.5 grains of W296 (1724 fps). My “hands down” first choice specifically for deer-sized game would be the 253 grain Lyman 429244 HP over 23.5 grains W296 (1748 fps). This combination is superbly accurate and hits like a sledgehammer. For larger stuff like elk, I would go with one of the heavier bullets, specifically the solid 429640, one of the 300 grainers (LBT, Lyman, RCBS, or Saeco), or the SSK 320 FP and not think twice about it. �

The .44 Magnum in the Marlin 1894 is a somewhat more limited gun than is the .45 Colt, in that it seems to be choosier about which bullets it cycles cleanly with and in terms of bullets that will adequately stabilize with the lethargic 1 in 38″ twist. It’s an excellent little gun, and functions well with bullets in the 250 to 320 grain range. �

.45 Colt �

The .45 Colt chambering of the Marlin 1894 is blessed with a 1 in 16″ twist. As a result it is capable of handling a wider range of bullet weights than is its .44 caliber little brother. Also, if my gun is representative, it seems that the fatter chamber opening is more forgiving in terms which bullet profiles cycle and feed properly through the action. Virtually everything tried fed slick as a whistle (the only feeding problem encountered was with a 265 grain NEI SWC, a variation on .451-275-PB, #317, a bullet with the forward portion very similar to the 452423; a very thick forward driving band, coupled with a very short nose, a tough combination for a lever-gun). �

Testing was started off with the Keith SWC (Lyman 454424) loaded over 8.0 grains of HP-38. Excellent accuracy was obtained (5 shots into 1 1/4″ at 50 yards) and an average velocity of 1186 fps was recorded. In today’s age of magnum pressures and magnum velocities, is load may not sound all that impressive, but it will handle most situations with ample authority. In its own quiet way, the .45 Colt continues to deliver superb performance in the field when loaded to moderate pressures, just as it has for over 130 years. �

When loaded to Ruger Blackhawk pressures (25,000-30,000 psi), the .45 Colt Marlin mirrors the performance of the .44 Magnum. A favorite deer load for my Blackhawks is the Keith HP (Lyman 454424 HP) loaded over 26.0 grains of W296, sparked with a CCI 350 primer. This brisk load generates 1345 fps from a 7 1/2″ Blackhawk and 1731 fps from the Marlin. Superb accuracy is delivered from both guns and expansion is positive. �

Dave Scovill of Handloader magazine designed a 280 grain SWC for the .45 Colt, inspired by Elmer Keith’s original design criteria. The result was the RCBS 45-270-SAA, one of the finest all-round .45 bullets ever conceived. This bullet drops from my mould blocks at 282 grains when cast with WW alloy. Loaded on top of 13.0 grains of HS-6, this bullet delivers good accuracy and 1293 fps from the Marlin carbine. It’s hard to argue with a 280+ grain .45 caliber bullet at 1300 fps. As a side note, I’ve found that HS-6 performs quite nicely with heavier bullets in .45 Colt (i.e. 280-320 grains), but with lighter bullets (e.g. 250 grains) and standard primers, I’ve commonly obtained erratic velocities. �

NEI makes a lovely 310 grain FP bullet (listed on their website as cherry #322C, the PB version of .452-325-BB) that looks as though it was made specifically to feed through a lever-gun, and feed smoothly it does. With 12.0 grains of HS-6 to provide motivation, this shapely slug works up 1215 fps and groups to about 1 1/2″ at 50 yards. With 21.5 grains of W296 the groups open up slightly, and velocity climbs to 1471 fps. A very similar profile is found on the gas-checked Lyman 452629 (the bullet that Lyman made for Freedom Arms and the 454 Casull). The Lyman 452629 over 21.5 grains of W296 generates 1482 fps and also gives satisfying accuracy. �

The 315 grain WFN cycles just fine from the magazine, but unfortunately this fine hunting bullet won’t chamber with the factory throat in the Marlin. �

NEI also makes a beautiful 330 grain Keith-style SWC (cherry # 320, .451-310-PB). In spite of its blocky appearance, this monolithic sledgehammer cycles, feeds and chambers fluidly in the Marlin. Paired with 20.5 grain doses of W296, this massive SWC delivers 1442 fps and 2″ groups at 50 yards. This combination makes a very comforting companion in bear country. For those that don’t cast their own, a very similar, and finely made, bullet is available from Dry Creek Bullet Works (http://www.creeker.net/). �

J. D. Jones of SSK Industries designed a series of bullets for the handgun hunter back in the 1980s (the moulds were made by NEI). These bullets are characterized by being large, heavy and blunt. They serve the lever-gun hunter just as well as they serve the sixgunner. The 335 grain SSK bullet for the .45 Colt is one of the most accurate bullets I’ve shot out of my 7 1/2″ Ruger Bisley (NEI lists this as cherry #320A, .451-325-PB). When loaded on top of 21.0 grains of W296, this bullet leaves the Marlin carbine at 1484 fps, and accuracy is reasonable. The truncated cone ogive allows this bullet to feed flawlessly in the Marlin carbine. �

Bullets that worked well in the .45 Colt Marlin 1894: the Lyman 452424, the 454424 HP, the RCBS 45-270-SAA, the Lyman 452629, the NEI 310 FP, the NEI 330 SWC, the SSK 335, and the SSK 368 (both made by NEI). �

One of my favorite hunting bullets for both the .45 Colt and the 454 Casull is the 350 grain SSK FP (NEI lists this bullet design as cherry #320B, .451-345-PB). When powered by 19.0 grains of W296, the Marlin carbine spits this bone-crusher out at just over 1330 fps, with fine accuracy (2″ at 50 yards). This load cycles and feeds like water through a funnel. This bullet is also available with an added bevel base to add a little more weight. With the bevel-base contour it weighs 368 grains when cast of WW alloy. This heavier version performs well loaded over 17.8 grains of W296, delivering 1276 fps and superb accuracy. The ogive and meplat are identical to the lighter 350 grain version, so it’s no surprise that it cycles and feeds just as smoothly. Any of these SSK sledgehammers also make bear country a little less onerous, whether carried in sixgun or saddlegun, they are accurate, reliable, heavy and blunt — precisely what the situation requires. �

Note that the original .45-70 loads that earned it such a reputation as a “stopper” consisted of a 405 grain .45 caliber lead bullet at 1300 fps from the single-shot Trapdoor Springfield. The .45 Colt Marlin carries 10 rounds of the SSK 350 or 368 grain loads at roughly 1300 fps in a light easily handled 5 � lb carbine. This is a powerful and versatile combination. �

The bottom-line for cast bullets that function well in the Marlin 1894 .45 Colt is that there are lots of excellent choices! They pretty much all seem to feed well and group well. For all-round usage, my first choices would likely include the NEI 310 grain RNFP, the Lyman 452629 GC-RNFP, or the RCBS 45-270-SAA. For hunting deer/antelope sized critters, I would opt for a cast hollow point, in particular the fine HP designed by Elmer Keith (454424 HP). For larger stuff like elk and moose, the choice is easy, the NEI 330 grain SWC or the SSK 350 grain FP, two of my all-time favorites. �

While there may not be any need for the two guns/one cartridge sales pitch these days, the value of that concept is just as valid today as it was almost 110 years ago when the Marlin 1894 was drawn up, and that value is directly attributable to the outstanding performance of these cartridges. The straight case pistol cartridges employed in these light, fast-handling carbines carry a surprising amount of thump, and are very well-served by cast bullets. The .357 Magnum digests a wide variety of bullet designs when ammo is assembled using .38 Special cases, and the Lyman 358156 HP/SWC or the LBT 160 GC-WFN loaded in .357 Magnum cases deliver 1700 fps and excellent accuracy. The .357 Magnum is a fine little working gun, serving well for coyotes and other vermin, and properly loaded might make a handy little carbine for woods hunting deer. The .44 Magnum is best served by bullets in the 265-300 grain range, and cannot handle anything heavier than the 320 grain SSK bullet. While limited in terms of bullet weights, this carbine delivers bullets in the 265-300 grain weight range at 1600-1700 fps, providing the hunter excellent overall utility in the field. However, the bottom line is that the .45 Colt Marlin 1894 is a more versatile gun than is the .44 Magnum carbine; the .45 seems to smoothly feed almost any bullet you can stuff into a .45 Colt case, and the 1 in 16″ twist stabilized every bullet weight tested, from 240 grains to 368 grains. Bullets lighter than about 310 grains all shot to pretty much the same point of impact at 50 yards, and the 330-350 grain bullets dropped down about 3″ below that, and the 368s were about halfway in between. The .45 Colt Marlin is a remarkably egalitarian little carbine. Yup, the Marlin 1894 is a keeper, which might explain why Marlin reintroduced this Model in 1969 and has made so many since then.�

Someone asked me which to choose between the three straight walled pistol calibre’s available, these were my thoughts out of the 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 45Long Colt and 30-30 Bottle neck case. Just my opinion – Budda.�

“The 44 Magnum if in the north of the country where there are crocs and lots of pigs. For the hitting power, if for no other reason or unless your not planning on getting a revolver to pair with it and not reloading, as there are good production loads available. �

The 45 Long Colt only if planning to reload ammunition, factory loads are too light for practical use, other than for competitions and expensive to purchase. The cases aren’t as strong as a 44, having thinner wall and rim dimensions and you don’t get as many reloads out of each case, or if contemplating casting prodgies and loading with black powder at a later stage, when smokeless powders become hard to obtain. I just like the idea of owning a firearm with a big enough hole in the end that will fit my finger. Look’s real cool. Loaded with 300 grainers travelling at 1200fps will drop anything it hits with out the recoil of a magnum unless loading to the hilt, but not the trajectory, rainbow like at least when compared to the other two calibres. �

The 357 is easier to find, cheaper to purchase factory ammo and has a flatter trajectory because of using lighter faster bullets. One packet contains 50 instead of 20 like the other two and be combined with a 357 revolver. If reloading, then more cases can be loaded compared to the 44 and 45 with the same amount of powder and lead. Far less recoil, with full power loads. �

My idea is a 357 for the primary lever to couple with a revolver then a 45 Long Colt to load with black powder and cast projectiles if it should ever come to that. But like I said, I just like the look of the big hole and into that nostalgia thing.�
The 30-30 if wanting more range than a pistol cartridge and the easiest out of the four calibres to find ammunition for in out of the way places, but not as much speed of cycling as the other three using the longer action.�
Making a choice between the three most popular brands; Winchester, Marlin or Rossi. All are of good quality in newer models, in terms of timber, finishes and internal parts. The Rossi’s are a top eject and of no use if wanting to mount a scope, but cycle well and very smooth using the older 92 action. Marlin are a better choice if primarily using for competitions as the actions can be worked and the lifters are less likely to break as in the other brands when being thrashed as in a comp, when rapid firing. Winchesters have always been my favourite for hunting, preferring the thicker barrel profiles and chunkier magazine tubes.”�
44 Magnum VS 45 Long Colt�
Rifling twist rates can be a consideration when choosing between a 44 or a 45. A 44 has a 1 in 38 twist and a 45 has a 1 in 16 twist. If using 200 to 280 grain projectiles then its better to use a 1 in 38 twist but if wanting to use 300 to 350 grain projectiles then its better to choose a 45 in order to stabilize the heavier weights. �
Both cases walls measure .0013” …approx 2mm in from the case mouth. 44Mag-V-45 Colt.45 is the shiny one on the right. A picture is worth a thousand something’s….- Easy Rollins�

Spare Part Kits and maintenance for Marlins�
http://www.curtrich.com/marlinspares.html


After 2 years and between 20,000 and 30,000 rounds, the ol’ Marlin Cowboy started breaking. I had spares for everything, so no long term down time existed. I would suggest you have the following spares at least, and if the gun’s getting up in rounds, replace the * parts (part numbers are for .45 Colt Marlin Cowboy Limited. #s may vary with caliber and model):�
Extractor with spring -514569 (the spring will break *314695)�
Firing pin, front -*414299 �
Firing pin spring-*401295 �
If you use the new one piece firing pins, all firing pin spares may be dispensed with.�
Ejector with spring-514268 (Spring had sprung, and was ejecting in front of gun. Now hits me on right shoulder (left-handed shooting). For a right hander would mean putting brass behind shooter to right instead of out of bounds.�
Ejector spring – *401294 �
As a spare you’ll want the ejector with spring. But you can just replace the spring. Takes more time, not something you’d want to do at the unloading table.�
Carrier Assembly-514961 — when it fails, send it to Marlin for a rebuild, gratis. But keep a spare. Replacing it and the * parts annually before a big match is probably not a bad idea. Coyote Cap has a modified carrier assembly with innards that can be rebuilt. When he does action jobs on Marlins (very reasonable by the way) he modifies the carrier assembly to eliminate a rare malfunction as well. If you’re a serious competitor, sending him your Marlin is probably a good idea.�
Note that this is after a lot of rounds. The Marlin is the class of the field regardless of price, I think. Just keep the gun clean, the screws tight and go over the above parts every 10,000 rounds or so.�
CLEANING SUGGESTIONS:�
After shooting, remove lever and bolt. REMOVE AND KEEP SAFE THE EJECTOR! You won’t believe how many shooters have gotten to the line and realized they didn’t have an ejector in the gun the hard way!�
Clean the bore from the chamber. I use a Bore Snake. Since I shoot Clean Shot, I spray Break Free CLP on the Bore Snake. Usually one pass is enough with Clean Shot. I’ll spray out the chamber with Windex/Vinegar (not ammonia.) Then I’ll air-dry with compressed air. If things look dirty, I’ll spray Gun Scrubber or Brake Cleaner. Dry with compressed air or hair dryer. If you’re using real BP use Ballistol./water (10/90%). Make sure you have it thoroughly dry. I stopped using Ballistol because of a lever rusted shut and considerable internal rust. This doesn’t happen with Break Free, and Clean Shot doesn’t REQUIRE Ballistol like real BP does. Reassemble. Test cycling with dummy ammunition! This prevents the “forgotten extractor” embarrassment.�
Then, using an appropriate gunsmith’s screwdriver for each screw, tighten every screw on the weapon. Wipe rag over exterior using Ballistol (smokey), or Break Free (smokeless). You can also spray with Sheath. The weapon should have a light coat of oil. �
As Needed:�
No longer than 1,000 round intervals: Disassemble weapon. (Leave Carrier Assembly assembled. Bolt sometimes needs to be disassembled to clean out extractor hole and to check and clean extractor.) Clean the parts of the action completely. They develop a “gunk” coating. The magazine spring has a tendency to rust. I coat it with a light coat of RIG grease. Clean out the mag spring tube using patches. Oil everything lightly with your magic oil of choice. Reassemble. Test cycling with dummy ammunition. Tighten the srews. Coat weapon with light coat of oil.�
For Winter Range�
The dirt is so bad there you want as dry a weapon as you can get away with. Keep it covered with a gun sock of some sort when not shooting.�
Tuning�
I found a set of instructions that sound as good as you’re going to get for home gunsmithing. If you’re not going to send it to Coyote Cap, this is as tuned as you’ll get. I haven’t done all of it, and mine’s smooth, but it has thousands of rounds through it.�

Spare Parts Kits for Common Survivalist Firearms….�
http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum … 506367/pg1�

Colt 1911 type pistols: �
Magazine, extractor, sear, firing pin, disconnector, sear spring, ejector, barrel link pin. grip screw(s), firing pin spring, recoil spring. Nice to have a spare hammer, bushing, maybe a complete pin and spring kit. Wolf’s spring kit is very nice value for the money. Maybe you look at replacing your magazine followers with arredondo or pachmayr followers, and put a recoil buffer in your slide system. Give some consideration to a Ciener .22LR conversion unit as they are affordable and make a great training aid and extend usefulness greatly. �


Ruger Mk II pistols: �
Firing pin, extractor, recoil spring assembly. Nice to improve on factory parts with Volquartson or other aftermarket makers like Clark etc. Good to have spare springs and pins. Good to have a diagram for disassembly etc if you don’t have your Ruger manual. �

Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rifle: �
Firing pin, FP return spring; extractor w/plunger & spring, magazine. �
This rifle is capable of being tuned to extraordinary accuracy. Volquartson and others make a wide variety of accessory parts. Nice to have the extended bolt lock and magazine release levers. A picatinny rail gives interchangability to your scope system with other rifles. An aftermarket barrel and stock kit add much to potential accuracy. Very handy with short, heavy barrel and plastic or laminated stock. �

Smith & Wesson revolvers: �
Hammer nose & rivet, hammer spring, cylinder stop & spring, grip screw, sideplate screw spares, hand & sping. Wolf and other tune-up kits from Cylinder & Slide are very nice and easy to install. Kuhnhausen’s manual is especially worthwhile for these handguns because so much of their interanals are/were hand fitted for functioning and there are many tricks to tune and assemble them correctly. S&W at one time sold parts direct. �

Marlin 39 lever action .22 rifles: �
Firing pin, extractor, ejector & spring, magazine tube complete. �

Remington 870 pump shotgun: �
Firing pin & return spring; extractor w/plunger & spring, R&L shell stop. �
Greatly accessorized, these shotguns have pin sets, spring sets and tuned parts available readily. Ejector assembly and other parts reportedly have very rare incidents of breakage yet maybe you want a spare and the rivets needed to install it? �

Winchester 94 lever action rifle: �
Firing pin, hammer spring, sear spring, extractor. �
Marlin 336 etc: �
Firing pin, FP striker & spring; ejector & spring, extractor. �

M1a semi-auto rifle: �
Firing pin; extractor, spring & plunger; ejector & spring, recoil spring, gas piston; gas valve spring, spindle & pin. Spare magazines. �

Ruger Mini-14: �
Firing pin; extractor, spring & plunger; ejector & spring, recoil spring, hammer spring, magazine latch spring, trigger guard, gas piston. Spare magazines. �

Remington 700 and other bolt rifles: �
Firing pin and spring assembly with barrel shroud (for ease of installation), spare set of action screws, magazine spring, extractor with rivet (or extractor w/spring & pin if mauser type bolt). Spare screws for scope base mounts, spare sling swivel studs and qd swivels. �

AR-10 & AR-15 rifles: �
Firing Pin, bolt takedown pin, spare assembled bolt or entire bolt carrier assy unit, carrier key screws; extractor, o-ring, spring and pin; ejector, spring & pin; gas tube & pin, gas ring set or McFarland ring for AR-10, Pin plunger and spring set for lower receiver, spare recoil spring, buffer and tube w/stock extension if use A2 or other full length stock. Spare gas block or A2 front sight assy (w/sight parts) also a good idea for long functioning potential. Roll pin can cup pin punches are worth investing in for dissembling gas assy parts.�

Lee Enfield Parts by Pugs�
Spare parts for the Lee-Enfield No4 Mk1 �
Extractor spring & claw . * 7.62& 303cal have a different claw but the 303type can be used in a pinch.�

Firing pin 303 & 7.62 are the same�
Bolt heads No,s 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 these are used to adjust the headspace to keep the rifle in a safe and shootable cond .�
example , the older & more use the gun gets the more likely the headspace will need a bigger bolt head hence the No.s 1 is the smallest and 4 is the biggest , But they are measured in the thou of an inch…7.62 & 303 are the same.�

Not much else goes wrong on these old war horses but it never hurts to obtain complete bolts as they’re usually cheaper than buying all the bits separately.�
Often rifles can be picked up at very cheap prices and are worth stripping for bits and handing in the bare receiver.�


NOTE*****�
The No4 Mk1 and Mk2 are different from the No1 MkIII* �
The most obvious is that the No4 has a flat reciever on the RHS of the action and the No1 is rounded.�

Also the No4 has its serial no stamped on this flat edge or the RHS of the butt socket where the No1 is stamped on the LHS of the Butt socket and is found by lifting the bolt handle.�

NOTE*****�
No4 and No1 parts are NOT interchangeable and doing so could be FATAL ( No BULLSHIT)�
one way is with a set of headspace guages , they come in a set of 2 called “Go & NoGo guages and look very similar to a snapcap or cartridge for that paticular firearm.�


Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges; a “go” gauge, and a “no-go” gauge. Modern headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “go” and a “no-go” gauge are required to headspace a firearm properly.�

Headspace gauges are typically used by inserting the gauge into the firearm chamber. The bolt should close and lock on a “go” gauge, and not close on a “no-go” gauge, indicating that the chamber headspace of a firearm is within safe minimum and maximum dimensions, respectively. The force that is applied to the bolt on a bolt-action firearm when making these assessments should only be at normal levels of force; otherwise, an incorrect assessment of headspace may result if the bolt is forced into a position with excessive pressure.�

For current or former military calibers, a “field” gauge can also be used. The “field” gauge is designed to take the place of the “no-go” gauge in military firearms, and functions in the same way. Military firearms are designed to withstand higher pressures. As such, a greater tolerance in the firearm’s headspace is acceptable, and the “field” gauge takes into account this greater tolerance. “Field” gauges should be used only on military firearms, and not on commercial firearms. Headspacing a commercial firearm with a “field” gauge can create an unsafe condition.�

As the “field” gauge takes the place of a “no-go” gauge, any military-surplus gun that locks on a “field” gauge is unsafe to fire, and should be checked by a trained gunsmith.�

Guns that fail to lock on the “go” gauge may simply need cleaning, especially at the bolt face, as build-up may occur on this surface and this buildup can cause problems in chambering a round without stressing the brass.�

Headspace gauges are designed to indicate simply whether a firearm’s chamber is in tolerance. �

**REMEMBER*** If in doubt DONT fire the gun and have it checked by a qualified gunsmith*****�

This is the easiest way to do this type of check and guages are fairly easy to obtain through various gun dealers or even better these days via the net from the states…�

WHY YOUR 1911 AUTO PISTOL�
WON’T WORK!! �
by Duane Thomas�
(Handguns Magazine / November 1994) �
Probably the most commonly heard complaints about the 1911 .45 auto are, “It doesn’t work out of the box.” “It jams all the time.” “You’ve got to put hundreds of dollars into customizing it…..and it still doesn’t work!” There’s a certain amount of truth to these criticisms. Every time I go to a high-level handgun training class, there’s at least one other class attendee shooting a customized 1911. I have yet to see such a shooter complete a full day’s training without his or her gun choking numerous times. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen more jams — and experienced them myself — with the 1911 than with all other types of handguns combined. Why is that? In this article, I’ll try to address what I consider the half dozen or so most common reasons why your 1911 auto won’t work. �

Before we start, let me make one thing very clear: I love the 1911. I’ve carried Colt Government Models and Combat Commanders for years, and I’m morally certain I’ll carry them again. Some folks have the attitude that the 1911 is perfect — no weak points, no improvements possible. What a nonsensical attitude! Only with a mature appreciation of the design’s strong and weak points and a knowledge of the most common mistakes and pitfalls waiting to trap a 1911 user will you be able to get the most from these guns. �

Now, why might your 1911 auto not work? I can think of six reasons. These are, in no particular order: (1) incompetent customization, (2) inappropriate ammunition, (3) lack of lubrication, (4) cheap magazines, (5) flaws in the basic design and (6) a propensity toward small-parts breakage. �

INCOMPETENT CUSTOMIZATION�
Gunwriters love penning articles about their heavily customized .45 autos (and God knows I’ve written my fair share of them over the years). This seems to have imbued the gunbuying public with the belief that a certain amount of customization is absolutely mandatory on a 1911. Well, that isn’t necessarily so. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on customizing 1911s. In the process of doing so, I’ve discovered that most of the things you can have done to the gun are simply a waste of money. The more I’ve learned about the 1911, the less I like to tinker with it. I do feel there are a few things (none of which is extremely complicated or expensive) that can be done to make the 1911 a better gun, but in general I think you’re better off leaving the piece alone. �

Let’s assume you’ve just gotta have your 1911 customized. How do you choose a pistolsmith? Here’s how I look at it: Let only the very best people touch your gun. Conventional wisdom has it you should choose a pistolsmith close to you geographically, so if anything goes wrong with his work, you can take the gun back for correction without having to send it out of state, wait weeks or months for its return and go through the hassle of shipping the gun through an FFL dealer coming and going. I profoundly disagree with this. There simply aren’t that many good pistolsmiths out there (although there are a lot of people who think they’re good pistolsmiths), and the chances of finding someone truly excellent close to you are very slim. Yeah, it’s more hassle to send your gun away to one of the top .45 shops and you’ll have to wait longer to get it back, but when you do get it back, it’ll probably work, which is not something you can say when you hand it over to the local hack-‘n’-slash artist. �

At one time, customizing a 1911 made a lot more sense than it does today. Until about a decade ago, the guns available from the factories were set up to feed hardball only. Sights were horribly tiny. Trigger pulls might or might not be extremely stiff and heavy. If you’re buying a straight GI gun today, perhaps that might still be the case. If you go for a top-of-the-line gun like an Enhanced Model Colt, however, today’s 1911 will come out of the box with a hollow point-compatible ramp and throat job; decent, high visibility sights; a beavertail grip safety; a beveled mag well; and a lowered and faired ejection port. The trigger pulls on recent-production Colts I’ve tried have been in the acceptable to excellent class. What more do you want? �

One of the areas where you want to be especially careful about modifying your 1911 is in the area of trigger pull. Ever seen the hammer follow on a 1911? You’re firing the gun, the slide cycles and recocks the hammer, but instead of staying cocked so you can fire the next shot, the hammer follows the slide down and falls to half cock. The same thing can happen when dropping the slide while loading the gun. I’ve seen both these things happen and have had them happen to me. �

You almost never see this happen on a stock gun. You’ll see it most commonly with guns on which some enterprising pistolsmith has lessened the hammer/sear engagement and fitted a heavy steel trigger and added a heavy recoil spring. When the slide slams forward on the gun, the gun moves forward, but the heavy steel trigger wants to stay in one place (it’s called inertia, folks), so it actually moves back slightly in its track. If the hammer/sear engagement has been compromised, either through taking off too much metal or changing the angle of the hammer hooks, the trigger can actually bounce far enough back to jostle the hammer hooks and sear out of engagement, causing the hammer to fall to half cock. �

You also see this happen with guns on which old mil-spec parts have been substituted for the stock Colt parts. Stock Colt parts and most of the quality aftermarket hammers and sears (like Brown, Wilson, Cylinder & Slide, etc.) are heat-treated and hardened all the way through. The old mil-spec parts, on the other hand, are only surface-hardened, and when a smith takes metal off these parts to do a trigger job, he exposes the soft steel beneath the hard “skin.” Under use, these soft surfaces begin to peen each other. Typically, with this problem you start out with a decent trigger pull weight: say 4 1/2 pounds. As you use the gun, however, the trigger pull starts dropping in weight – four pounds, 3 1/2 pounds, three pounds – as the hammer hooks and sear round off, and suddenly your hammer starts following. �

Can you get around this problem simply by lowering the slide gently to chamber a round? Well, no. The 1911 was designed to chamber a round with the slide moving at full speed. Easing the slide forward will quite often result in a failure to feed. Also, never loading the gun except by easing forward the slide kind of rules out ever doing (or practicing) a speed reload from slidelock, doesn’t it? And if you keep the gun for home defense in Condition Three (hammer down on an empty chamber, full magazine in place), I suggest a lot of practice swiftly racking the slide to chamber a round. �

Some shooters (and many pistolsmiths) recommend squeezing the 1911’s trigger and holding it to the rear while dropping the slide during loading, as well as when doing a speed reload from slidelock. This prevents trigger bounce and also activates the weapon’s disconnector, preventing the hammer hooks and sear from pounding each other. I consider this a very dangerous practice. �

For one thing, under the stress of a violent encounter (or even while shooting on the range, with or without match pressure) many shooters experience a phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance,” which basically means that stress negatively affects the mind’s perceptions and clearness of thought. One of the most common results of cognitive dissonance is that you lose your short-term memory. (This is why it’s almost impossible for shooters to count their rounds during a gunfight.) If you’re doing something that requires you to perform actions in a certain sequence, there’s a very real tendency to screw up the order in which you do them. Thus, under stress, “squeeze the trigger, hit the slide stop” becomes “hit the slide stop, squeeze the trigger, ” and you’ve just accidentally fired your gun, probably hitting something you weren’t supposed to, possibly even killing an innocent person. �

Besides, holding the trigger to the rear while loading the gun is a crutch for an incompetent trigger job. You have two ways around this problem: (1) Leave the gun stock or (2) let only the best people work on your gun. (Where have I heard that before?) Some pistolsmiths will tell you that even a good trigger job will allow the hammer to follow occasionally unless you press the trigger before dropping the slide. When I was discussing this matter with nationally famous pistolsmith Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop (Dept. GAH, 245 E. 4th Street, P.0.Box 937, Fremont, NE 68025, phone: 402/721-4277), he told me that, in his opinion, a pistolsmith who gave a shooter a trigger job that allowed the hammer to follow for any reason hadn’t done his job very well. The Cylinder & Slide Shop is one of the few places of which I’m aware that can give you a trigger job resulting in an excellent trigger pull while leaving the gun as durable as an unmodified version. �

I hope it goes without saying that modifications that predictably adversely affect reliability-like tightening the slide to frame fit-are a bad idea. �

The bottom line on customization, as far as I’m concerned, is this: Leave the gun alone. If you must customize, do so with extreme moderation and let only the best people touch your gun. You’ll be amazed at how much better the piece works when you haven’t paid some incompetent person to ruin it. �

INAPPROPRIATE AMMUNITION�
Shooters want to stuff everything imaginable into their 1911s, and then they seem amazed when much of it doesn’t feed reliably. Let’s try to avoid as much of the wishful thinking here as possible, shall we? The 1911 is not as tolerant as some of the more modern designs in terms of the range of different bullet profiles it will reliably feed. The fact is that the 1911 was designed to feed hardball, and no matter what you do to it there’s really no way around that. Now, I’m not one of those people who says you should only carry hardball in your 1911, but I will say that the farther your.45 load departs from a hardball profile, the more you’re asking for trouble. �

At one time Colt, Springfield, etc., produced all their .45 autos with feed ramps and barrel throats set up exclusively for hardball; hollow points need not apply. In the past decade or so this has changed. Now you can have a 1911 .45 straight from the factory with a decent ramp and throat job, and the guns will reliably feed hollow points. However, I still believe you’re better off if you make feed reliability a main priority when choosing your.45 ammo. �

Hollow points that feature a rounded, hardball-type ogive are far more feed-reliable than bullets that have flat-nose, truncated-cone or semi-wadcutter shapes. The.45 ACP is a short, fat, wide cartridge, which is not the most feed-reliable cartridge profile in the world to start with. Aggravate that problem by getting too far from the reliable hardball shape in a gun that was designed from the ground up to feed hardball, and you’re just begging for jams. �

Some folks argue that your primary consideration in load selection should be stopping power. I disagree: The primary consideration should be feed reliability. Even if a particular .45 load does have deeper penetration (or lack thereof), more expansion (or lack thereof), a “one-shot stop” rating a few percentage points higher than other loads or any other traits you deem desirable, all that does you no good if you can’t fire the gun because your “wonder bullet” is hung up on the feed ramp. �

If stopping power is the name of the game, the good news for .45 lovers is that the .45 seems to be very forgiving in terms of load selection. If it’s a good hollow-point load that’ll fit into the chamber of a .45, it should give you a usable amount of stopping power. That being the case, you’re free to place the emphasis back where it belongs on feed reliability. �

There are a number of effective hollow-point loads out there that feed extremely well in modern 1911s. Hollow-points that exhibit excellent feed reliability are Winchester 185-grain Silvertip JHPs, Remington 185-grain JHPs and 230-grain Golden Saber JHPs, Federal’s 230-grain JHP load and Black Hills’185-grain and 230-grain JHPs. Winchester’s 230-grain Black Talon JHP load (now sadly unavailable to civilians) was also a very feed-reliable load. �

Hollow-point loads for the.45 ACP that, in my experience are testy feeders include the Federal 185-grain JHPs and 230-grain Hydra-Shoks, the Hornady 230-grain JFPs and the CCI-Speer 200-grain JHP “flying ashtrays.” �

LACK OF LUBRICATION�
All handguns require lubrication to work their best. My experience and the experiences of the top-flight pistolsmiths whose brains I’ve picked on this subject lead me to conclude that this is even more true for the 1911 than with most other firearms. Whenever you start feeling smug about mankind’s technological progress, remind yourself of this: We have not yet progressed to the point where our handguns will function unless we smear them with dinosaur grease. �

How long has it been since you last lubricated your 1911? If it has been more than about three days, the piece is probably bone-dry. Oil evaporates; if you carry the gun muzzle down in a holster, gravity pulls the oil down the slide rails, around the bushing and out of the gun. Some folks tout the various teflon-based lubricants as the cure for this. In my experience, they don’t last one bit longer than the natural products. �

Every few days, take a minute or so to lube your 1911. Unload the gun; lock the slide to rear. Put a small drop of oil on each slide rail and let it run into the gun. If you have a Colt with the firing pin lock, you might want to take this opportunity to put a small drop of oil on the firing pin lock plunger in the slide. Lightly rub a thin coat of oil on the exposed barrel where it rides the bushing when the gun is cycling. Let the slide go forward and put one small drop of oil on the front of the barrel hood where it meets the front of the ejection port. Cycle the gun’s action a few times, and you’re in business. Frankly, I like to do a more leisurely job of lubing my 1911s in which I actually field strip the piece, but the quick-‘n’-easy method I’ve just described will be sufficient. �

Also, while you’re lubricating your 1911, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to oil your gun like you would oil your salad. Excess lube, especially on the breechface, can attack primers and turn your chambered round into a dud. �

CHEAP MAGAZINES�
I haven’t quite figured this out yet, but it seems there are a lot of folks quite willing to pay five or six hundred dollars for a quality 1911 and invest a small fortune in customizing it, but when it comes time to buy magazines to feed the beast, they suddenly try to save a few bucks by buying EL Cheapo-brand mags. Suffice it to say, the magazine is one of the most important parts of the firearm, and buying trash instead of top-quality mags is kind of like wimping out and putting Brand-X retreads on a Porsche. �

I don’t much care for the eight-round mags with their folded metal followers that Colt provides with their guns (except the 1991A1s, which come with a seven-rounder featuring the traditional split metal follower). If you shoot a lot, sooner or later the folded metal follower in the eight-rounder is going to pop over the slide stop inside the gun, failing to lock the action open when the gun is empty and necessitating manually ripping the magazine out of the gun. The split metal follower in the seven-rounder will do the same thing. This is the sort of thing that can get you killed. �

I don’t like any eight-round .45 mags. In general, they cause more problems than they’re worth, such as difficulty to loading to full capacity, failure to feed the top round off the magazine, extreme difficulty snapping the mag into the gun and failure to lock the slide open on an empty magazine. Eight-round magazines were designed for competition use to feed extremely long bullets like the H&G #68 semi- wadcutters. Shorter rounds, like most hollow points, won’t feed reliably out of these magazines. �

There is a bewildering array of aftermarket 1911 magazines out there. I’ve tried most of them, so let me make this easy for you. If you want good mags that will work, I suggest the stainless steel Wilson-Rogers seven-rounders. These are available from Wilson Combat (Dept. GAH, Route 3, POBox 578, Berryville, AR 72616; phone 501/545-3618). The Wilson-Rogers follower design is excellent, and you won’t have to worry about it popping over the slide stop inside the gun. There are other decent seven-rounders out there, but remember, I’m making things simple for you, and when you buy the Wilson mags, you can pretty much bet the farm they’ll work. �

The Wilson-Rogers design comes standard with a thick-plastic slam pad. If that bulky floorplate protruding from the butt of your gun adds too much length to the grip for your taste (vis-a-vis, concealment), Wilson’s also sells thin, concealment-oriented replacement floorplates for their mags that are more subtle. An even more low-key approach is to pull the spring and follower out of a Wilson-Rogers and stick it in a stock Colt magazine. This gives you a magazine that doesn’t protrude from the gun at all, but still has the great Wilson-Rogers follower design. When I carry a 1911, I’ve got a hybrid Wilson/stock Colt seven-rounder in the gun and two more Wilson mags behind my left hip in a spare mag pouch. �

FLAWS IN THE BASIC DESIGN AND A PROPENSITY TOWARD SMALL PARTS BREAKAGE �
Now, here’s where I may get in trouble with a few folks. Some people seem to regard the basic 1911 design with an uncritical awe. To their minds, the 1911 represents handgun perfection; it is without flaws — without flaws, you hear me? Any criticism of the gun threatens their perceptions of the universe. Meanwhile, back in reality, the basic 1911 is an antiquated design and it is far from perfect (sacrilege, I know). Come on, folks, if John Browning was alive today, do you really think he’d be designing guns like the 1911? Hell no, (Actually, Browning had moved far beyond the 1911 by the time he died in 1926. In his prototype for the Browning Hi-Power, already completed at the time of his death, he did away with many of the flaws of the basic 1911 design.) �

Without trying too hard, I can think of four flaws in the basic 1911 design that range from moderate to serious. Several areas of the gun are prone to small-parts breakage; In some cases, when these small parts let go, the gun is totally disabled and it’ll take a pistolsmith to get it back up and running. �

PROBLEM #1: THE SLIDE STOP: �
A portion of the slide stop projects into the mag well for the purpose of engaging the magazine’s follower and locking open the action when the gun is empty. Unfortunately, this also puts the slide stop almost in the path of a cartridge coming out of the magazine. Since the slide stop is only lightly spring-loaded into the down position, if a round of ammo nudges this part during the feeding cycle, it can pop up into the slide stop notch, locking the slide back with rounds still in the gun. This can get you killed. This malfunction usually occurs, if it occurs at all, when firing the gun with hardball and less commonly with shorter hollow-point rounds. If this hasn’t happened to your gun, you probably have nothing to worry about; it’s only a problem on certain guns. If you do have this problem, a good pistolsmith can dimple the slide stop where it touches the spring-loaded plunger. If the work is done to perfection, the slide stop will never pop up on you, but will still operate perfectly to lock open the empty gun. �

PROBLEM #2: THE EXTRACTOR: �
The amount of pressure a 1911’s extractor places on a cartridge casing’s rim is regulated by the curvature of the part in its channel through the slide. This is a crude system. Too much curvature means too much pressure, and the extractor will not allow a cartridge casing to slip up into place, resulting in a failure to feed. Not enough curvature means insufficient extractor tension, resulting in failures to fully extract and/or eject. Most modern firearms use spring-loaded extractors, a far more durable and reliable system. This is a major improvement in firearms design that seems to have passed by the 1911. �

The tension of a 1911’s extractor can weaken with use. One sure way to screw up your extractor is to drop a round into the chamber with the slide open then drop the slide on the chambered cartridge. This will force the extractor to bend back and around the case rim, eventually abusing the extractor so much that it will lose its tension or even break off in extreme cases. �

PROBLEM #3: THE BARREL BUSHING/RECOIL SPRING PLUG:�
The barrel bushing/recoil spring plug is a high-stress area of the gun. Not only does the barrel whack around in the bushing every time you fire the piece, but the full force of the recoil spring also bears upon the bushing via the recoil spring plug. If the barrel bushing gives way, your recoil spring and recoil spring plug will depart the front of the gun at high speed. Effectively, the gun is disabled. Now, this doesn’t happen very often, but I have had it happen to me while firing a Combat Commander. The bushing shattered, losing the semicircular piece that holds the recoil spring plug in the gun. My recoil system was somewhere down range, my gun out of action. I believe this occured because the slide of my gun came from the factory slightly shorter in front than it should have been. There was a fingernail-size gap between the barrel bushing’s flange and the slide; you could move the bushing back and forth with your fingertips. This being the case, of course, the bushing took a hellacious pounding as it jacked itself back and forth every time the gun was fired, and finally it gave up the ghost. You should check your gun to ensure that the bushing fits snugly into the slide. �

The exact same problem can occur from a different cause: The recoil spring plug may give way. This is common with hard use of the compact Officer’s ACP guns. Most compact 1911s slavishly copy the Officer’s ACP’s recoil system, so this problem is not limited to Colts. On the Officer’s ACP, the only thing holding the recoil spring plug in the gun is a tiny tab that hooks into a slot in the slide. If that small tab gives way (and it often does), your gun is hors de combat by virtue of a missing recoil system. I’m a big fan of the aftermarket recoil spring plugs for Officer’s ACP-size guns that use a ring of metal at the rear of the plug to hold it inside the slide. There’s no way such a part can come out of the gun. �

PROBLEM #4: THE PLUNGER TUBE: �
The plunger tube that runs between the slide stop and thumb safety is a notorious weak spot in the basic 1911 design. This tube contains two little plungers and a spring, the power of which serves both to hold the slide stop in the down position until operated by the follower of the empty magazine as well as to hold the thumb safety lever in the safe or fire position. This is a high-stress area of the gun; every time you flip your thumb safety on or off, you apply force to the plunger tube. Unfortunately, the plunger tube is held to the side of the gun only by two small studs that pass through holes in the frame. It is not at all unusual for one of these studs (almost invariably the rear one) to snap off. I’ve had this happen myself while shooting, and I’ve seen it happen to other shooters. When this happens, your thumb-safety lever will wind up in a half-on/half-off position. In an emergency, it would be possible to physically hold the safety lever down in the fire position and still shoot the piece. However, for all practical purposes, the gun is disabled until the plunger tube is replaced. �

There’s really nothing you can do about this problem except to keep a close eye on your gun’s plunger tube for signs of looseness. Some folks say that if your plunger tube is loose, you should simply have it restaked. I don’t know about that. If the plunger tube has been loose for any amount of time, that rear stud has probably been abused enough that I’d probably feel better myself simply replacing the tube with a new part. �

So, there’s a lot to know about the ol’ 1911, huh? It’s not exactly the simplest or most maintenance-free design out there. The trick here is to enjoy the 1911 design for its strengths, but at the same time don’t deny its weaknesses. Let me summarize my advice to maximize your 1911 auto’s reliability: Load it with good hollow-point ammunition featuring a feed profile as close to hardball as possible. Use only top-quality magazines. Keep the gun clean and well lubricated. Check your bushing’s fit in the slide. Regularly check your extractor tension and the plunger tube staked to the side of the gun for any looseness. If either of these areas shows problems, move instantly to rectify them. �

Modifications? Leave the gun as stock as possible. If you must customize, do so with extreme moderation. Either leave your hammer/sear alone or, if you must have a trigger job, let only a shop that knows what it’s doing modify this critical area. If your slide stop is popping up, have the slide stop dimpled by a competent pistolsmith. On the small, Officer’s ACP-size guns, replace the stock bushing with an aftermarket bushing designed to stay in the piece. Let only the best pistolsmiths touch your gun. I like to put my preferred sights on a 1911, but that’s a matter of personal preference and not an absolute necessity. And that’s about it. �

You in the front row….yeah, you with your hand up. You have a question? �

“So, you’re saying that you’ve got to know the 1911 inside out to get the best out of it? You’ve got to know what ammo to feed it, buy good mags for it, know how the various parts work and know where the weak points are in the design so you can have advanced warning if anything’s about to let go. Is the gun really worth all this effort?” �

Emphatically, yes; the 1911 is worth it. The 1911’s overwhelming virtue is how easy it is to shoot. Quite simply, the 1911 design gives us the shortest, most controllable trigger pull of any handgun. In this area, all other one-hand guns must take a back seat to the grand old design. In my recent article on the easiest handguns to shoot, the Colt Government Model outshot several of the more modern designs, placing third out of five guns I tested. I believe it might have placed even higher, but I was determined that all the guns in my shootout be as stock as possible, so before testing the Government Model I replaced the excellent wooden Spegel grips the piece normally wore with the rubber wraparound grips that had come stock on the gun. The rubber wraparounds really bulked up the grip, changing a gun that had fit my hand wonderfully well into a gun that didn’t fit my hand at all. The fact that I was still able to fire the piece well is, I feel, a tribute to the Government Model’s inherent shootability. �

Another thing I like very much about the 1911 is that it’s the only serious, heavy-duty combat handgun out there that can be totally detail stripped without tools. Not to get too Zen here, but when I know I can totally disassemble my carry gun and put it back together again using nothing but my own hands, it gives me a wonderful sense of being one with the gun. �

No, the 1911 is not a gun for the casually interested. However, for the dedicated shooter who’s willing to take the time to get to know the design intimately, the 1911 is still a superior choice in a defensive handgun. Unlike most things in life, the 1911 has strengths that more than compensate for its flaws. If it’s not perfect, well, what is??



FLINTLOCK MUZZLE-LOADER: By Keith�
Spare mainspring, hammer (frizzen) spring, hammer, spare flints, mainspring vise.


Links�
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/ … vergun.htm
http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/leverguns.htm
http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/molever.html
http://www.downrange.tv/forum/index.php?topic=1085.0
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/rossi.htm
http://www.notpurfect.com/main/lever.htm
http://www.notpurfect.com/main/combo.htm

On Line Firearms Manuals�
http://survival.stx.nl:7001/Survival-pr … s/Weapons/ �

http://www.winchesterguns.com/prodinfo/om/index.asp

http://stevespages.com/page7b.htm

http://civilianarmory.com/manuals.php
http://imhz.com/gun/pdf/
http://www.okiegunsmithshop.com/win_320.jpg

Suggested Spare Parts �
http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/firearmspartslist.htm

From the book “Survival Gunsmithing” �
Basic Parts Kit �
*Firing Pin �
*firing pin return spring �
*extractor �
*extractor plunger �
*extractor spring �
*right shell stop �
*left shell stop �
Complete Parts Kit �
*includes basic parts plus �
*ejector �
*ejector spring �
*ejector rivets (2) �
*carrier assembly �
*trigger housing pins �
*magazine spring �
*magazine spring retainer �
*trigger housing pin spring retainer clips �
*trigger assembly �
*bolt �
**complete trigger housing would easier to install than carrying all the individual parts �

Bolt Action Rifles

This is the most in depth article Ive ever been able to find on describing the differences in bolt action rifles. What I like about it the best is that after describing the inherit designs, still leaves it up to the individual to decide what is best for them. Its well worth checking out the link for pictures of the different systems and a comparison chart of manufaturing data. The only thing that isnt mentioned from a survivalist/preparedness angle are rifle twists.This only really applies to the 223 cartridge, being the current military round. Military rounds usually the primary choice, believing that they will be more common after SHTF. Im not a big believer in that philosophy myself. The below article is written on standard rifle features and not from a military sniper nor a competition perspective.

Rifling is the process of making spiral grooves in the Gun barrel which imparts a spin to a Projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy. Rifling is described by its twist rate, which indicates the distance the bullet must travel to complete one full revolution, such as “1 turn in 10 inches” (1:10 inches), or “1 turn in 30 cm” (1:30 cm). A shorter distance indicates a “faster” twist, meaning that for a given velocity the projectile will be rotating at a higher spin rate.

The 223 round is generally made with a 1 in 12 twist for sporting shooters. This will stabilize a production 55 grain load. Military rounds are a 69 grain ball projectile or if wanting to use a 223 for larger game, need to be loaded with for example a 70 grain hollow point. To stabilize the heavier rounds a faster twist rate is required. The twist rate of military firearms I believe is 1 in 7 but dont quote me on that.

There are three main actions that are now made with faster twist rates as standard in bolt actions. If wanting to change an existing twist rate on another action or barrel then another barrel needs to be fitted. Tikka make a 1 in 8 twist and both Savage and Remington come out with 1 in 9 twists in their tactical models.�

By Rick Jamison

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is: “Which bolt-action rifle is best?” The inquiry nearly always comes from someone intending to buy a hunting rifle, not a competition target rifle. My usual response is that, for the price, all the popular and current American-made actions are good. A shooter can simply pick one he likes and go with it without going wrong. That might sound like a cop-out, but it’s true. At the same time, however, there is more to the story. While they all function well and reliably, they are far from all the same. They are designed differently, and it is these design features that may hold the key to finding the rifle that is right for you.

On the surface a bolt action appears to be basically simple. But when one examines all the different aspects of what it takes for a fully functioning system, the actions are not simple. Some of the designs and innovations that solve the same problems are what separate the makes. Most of these design features aren’t of interest to the average shooter. What is important is how the rifle feels, handles, and functions in your hands. Again, the key is to look at firearms from the standpoint of what suits you best. To help you decide what’s best for you, let’s look at the key features of what I consider to be the top six popular bolt actions.

Locking Lug Design
For example, all the popular bolt actions feature locking lugs situated near the front of the bolt. Most have two opposing lugs (Remington Model 700, Ruger Model 77 Mark II, Savage Model 110 Series, Winchester Model 70), but the Browning A-Bolt has three and the Weatherby Mark V has three banks of three for a total of nine locking lugs. What this means to the shooter is that two opposing lugs make for a 90-degree bolt lift. Three lugs, or banks of three, make for a shorter 60-degree bolt lift. If you want a shorter arc in bolt lifting, go with the Browning A-Bolt or the Weatherby Mark V.

Since the camming distance is shorter with the shorter lift, some have suggested that something is sacrificed–that the bolt is probably more difficult to lift, the spring is weaker, perhaps, or that the striker falls a shorter distance. In reality, the mainspring is quite long and is compressed a relatively small percentage during bolt lift. What you will find is that the Weatherby and Browning actions both open with normal to light resistance. When it comes to sporting rifles, the user has little concern about how a manufacturer achieves the final product. What is important to the shooter is how the rifle feels during operation. Again, all the modern actions function well and reliably enough for sporting purposes.

The real answer is to go to a gun shop and try the bolt function of the different designs to see which one feels right to you. A shop owner might not want you working the bolts on new guns just for testing, but there should be no problem in working the bolts of used guns. For some, the short 60-degree lift just doesn’t feel quite right. Others will appreciate the shorter and potentially quicker bolt throw.

There has been a lot of controversy about multiple lugs. It is said that not all of them can be made to bear evenly in a production gun. Today’s machinery is pretty good, and it is in the interest of the manufacturer to make the strongest rifle possible in accordance with the design. The average shooter doesn’t know whether all the lugs bear or not. If this is an issue for you, the answer is to purchase only an action, then have the lugs lapped by a good gunsmith before fitting and chambering a new barrel. (And if you desire that much precision, you would probably want to have a number of other aspects of the rifle altered as well.)

Production manufacturing of popular rifles is designed to keep costs down while offering a serviceable product, and again, for the price you pay, popular rifles offer a lot. As for my own hunting guns, I don’t worry about lug bearing and action machining unless I re-barrel. Off-the-shelf rifles shoot okay for hunting purposes, and the actions are plenty strong. This is really the crux of the issue.

When you are testing different actions you’ll notice that Browning, Remington, Ruger, Savage, and Winchester rifles have the same diameter bolt body (around .690 inch). The exception is the Weatherby with a bolt diameter of about .839 inch. In the Weatherby, each lug is small and is machined within the large bolt body whereas in the two-lug bolt rifles mentioned the lugs project outward from the bolt body. You will also notice that the Weatherby action is exceptionally smooth.

Safety Location & Operation
Insofar as the feel of the rifle, aside from bolt operation, the safety location and operation are perhaps the next most important features on any rifle.

Another aspect of the safety is what it blocks. You might want a safety that is functional even though the bolt handle is not blocked. Some shooters desire this feature so that rounds can be cycled through the action with the safety engaged. If you want this feature, be sure that the rifle offers it–for example, the Winchester Model 70, Ruger Model 77 Mark II, Savage 110 Series, or the right Remington Model 700. On the Remington 700, some rifles have it and some do not. On some Remington models, depressing the safety lever straight down unlocks or locks the bolt. It is an added feature on the safety.

Extractors & Ejectors
While much as been made of extractors and ejectors, they all work well. If you’re a controlled-round-feed aficionado, go with the Winchester Model 70 with controlled-round feed or the Ruger 77 Mark II. The rest of the six rifles mentioned have the push-feed feature. A controlled-round feed means the cartridge is grasped by the bolt (claw-type extractor) immediately when the bolt pushes it forward and the round exits the magazine box. In the push-feed design, the round is free to move about after it exits the magazine and before it enters the barrel.

As for ejectors, a plunger ejector places constant spring pressure on one side of the base of the cartridge. As the cartridge is withdrawn from the action, the mouth of the case drags on the barrel and receiver ring until it is flipped out the ejection port. It is ejected with the same force regardless how the bolt is withdrawn.

A standing ejector places no pressure on the cartridge. In fact, the ejector is not even in contact with the cartridge case until the bolt is pulled to the rear and the ejector extends past the boltface to flip the case out of the action. With a standing ejector, the speed and force of bolt operation control how the round is ejected. Pull the bolt back slowly and the empty case can easily be grabbed for handloading. Pull the bolt back quicker and the empty is flung a short distance. Pull the bolt back sharply with a lot of force and the empty is flung farther away. Some shooters desire this latter feature for the control it provides. If you want it, make certain the rifle you purchase has it. The Model 70 Winchester with controlled-round feed and the Ruger Model 77 Mark II have this (standing ejector) feature.

One other thing on ejectors: When it comes to very big cartridges with heavy bullets designed for African game, standing ejectors can be deformed by continually flinging the bolt open with a loaded round. The force of the round with the weight of the bullet constantly batters a standing ejector. Some shooters intending to go to Africa practice rapid bolt operation using dummy rounds that have bullets but no powder or primer. This practice can destroy a standing ejector. While the controlled-feed Model 70 Winchester is often a rifle of choice for African hunting, this same rifle is susceptible to extractor battering and deforming (bending in the middle). It is no problem during normal use because the cartridge is usually fired prior to ejection, and an empty round does not have the same battering effect.

Hopefully, this article will help you make a more informed choice. But remember: You aren’t limited to just one!

A plunger ejector is just as prone to problems. I have had plunger ejectors become jammed inside the boltface under adverse conditions, but again, this is not a normal occurrence and seldom happens.

Triggers
Many rifles have adjustable triggers, but not all do. Some factory triggers can be replaced by aftermarket triggers, but aftermarket triggers are not available for all models. If you want an adjustable trigger, be sure the rifle you purchase has it. I’ve included a chart to indicate the features of six of the most popular rifles discussed here.

The Weatherby Mark V has a bolt stop that operates in conjunction with the trigger lever. As with plunger ejectors, this bolt stop can become jammed inside the receiver under adverse conditions. The result is that the bolt is pulled clear out of the action when the action is opened. Or, open the Weatherby Mark V action and point the muzzle skyward. Press the trigger and the bolt falls out onto the floor if you don’t catch it. On the other hand, it is very easy to remove a bolt from the Weatherby because squeezing the trigger releases the bolt from the action.

Removing a bolt from a Savage is not quite so easy. You have to depress a lever at the right side of the receiver bridge while at the same time press the trigger and then withdraw the bolt from the action. You can do it with two hands pretty well once you learn how, but when you’re learning how you’ll wish you had three hands.

This discussion is not intended to dissuade you from any particular action type. While the Weatherby has the trigger/bolt stop combination, it has a short 60-degree bolt lift and is also perhaps the smoothest action going. While the Savage has the bolt stop manipulation situation mentioned, it is also known to be one of the most consistently accurate rifles. The point is that each rifle has a variety of features. Some you might like and some you might not like. If you find a rifle that has all the features you like and none you don’t like, you’re easier to please than most shooters.

Special But Basic Features
As for some basic features that are special, the Ruger Model 77 Mark II has integral scope mount bases. Ruger even makes the rings for its rifles. Other rifles require aftermarket scope rings and bases. The Ruger rifle also has a forward action screw that enters the recoil lug at a 60-degree angle from the rear. These features are not found on the other five popular bolt guns mentioned.

The Savage has an unusual barrel attachment feature. While the receiver is threaded in a normal manner, the barrel has threads extending forward of the receiver. There is no shoulder on the barrel that serves as a stop against the face of the receiver. Instead, the barrel is turned into the receiver until the chamber headspaces properly and then a nut is turned down on these exterior barrel threads against the washer-like recoil lug at the face of the receiver.

The main rear action screw of the Savage also enters the receiver under the bridge instead of back at the tang. And the Savage has what appears to be a secondary set of action locking lugs. In reality, they remain blocking the lug raceways when the primary lugs are locked and serve as gas baffles in the event of a ruptured cartridge case.

Another feature of the Savage is that the action lugs are a piece separate from the main part of the bolt body. The Browning A-Bolt has a similar setup in this regard. The A-Bolt also has a box magazine that can be detached from the floorplate when the latter is opened. Inside the magazine box is a unique scissors-type cartridge elevator that puts even pressure on both the front and rear of the cartridge as it rises out of the box. The A-Bolt also has an unusually shaped bolt knob. Some shooters love it and others hate it. Again, personal preference plays an important part in action selection.

These are just some of the different designs of the basic actions. All of the rifles mentioned are offered with a variety of different features. You can get a standard weight rifle, heavy barrel, ultra lightweight model, stainless steel or blued, synthetic stocks or wood in such different versions as Classic, Mountain, Coyote, Safari, etc. The purpose of this article is not to get into all the variations but to focus on the main features of the basic actions of six popular rifle models.

http://www.shootingtimes.com/longgun_reviews/st_0302_boltaction/index.html

Firearm Spare Parts

Firearm Spare Parts

From the book “Survival Gunsmithing”
Basic Parts Kit �
*Firing Pin �
*firing pin return spring �
*extractor �
*extractor plunger �
*extractor spring �
*right shell stop �
*left shell stop �
Complete Parts Kit �
*includes basic parts plus �
*ejector �
*ejector spring �
*ejector rivets (2) �
*carrier assembly �
*trigger housing pins �
*magazine spring �
*magazine spring retainer �
*trigger housing pin spring retainer clips �
*trigger assembly �
*bolt �
**complete trigger housing would easier to install than carrying all the individual parts �

Flintlock/Muzzle Loader: By Keith
Spare mainspring, hammer (frizzen) spring, hammer, spare flints, mainspring vise.


Lee Enfield Parts by Pugs
Spare parts for the Lee-Enfield No4 Mk1 �
Extractor spring & claw . * 7.62& 303cal have a different claw but the 303type can be used in a pinch.�

Firing pin 303 & 7.62 are the same�
Bolt heads No,s 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 these are used to adjust the headspace to keep the rifle in a safe and shootable cond .�
example , the older & more use the gun gets the more likely the headspace will need a bigger bolt head hence the No.s 1 is the smallest and 4 is the biggest , But they are measured in the thou of an inch…7.62 & 303 are the same.�

Not much else goes wrong on these old war horses but it never hurts to obtain complete bolts as they’re usually cheaper than buying all the bits separately.�
Often rifles can be picked up at very cheap prices and are worth stripping for bits and handing in the bare receiver.�


NOTE*****�
The No4 Mk1 and Mk2 are different from the No1 MkIII* �
The most obvious is that the No4 has a flat reciever on the RHS of the action and the No1 is rounded.�

Also the No4 has its serial no stamped on this flat edge or the RHS of the butt socket where the No1 is stamped on the LHS of the Butt socket and is found by lifting the bolt handle.�

NOTE*****�
No4 and No1 parts are NOT interchangeable and doing so could be FATAL ( No BULLSHIT)�
one way is with a set of headspace guages , they come in a set of 2 called “Go & NoGo guages and look very similar to a snapcap or cartridge for that paticular firearm.�


Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges; a “go” gauge, and a “no-go” gauge. Modern headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “go” and a “no-go” gauge are required to headspace a firearm properly.�

Headspace gauges are typically used by inserting the gauge into the firearm chamber. The bolt should close and lock on a “go” gauge, and not close on a “no-go” gauge, indicating that the chamber headspace of a firearm is within safe minimum and maximum dimensions, respectively. The force that is applied to the bolt on a bolt-action firearm when making these assessments should only be at normal levels of force; otherwise, an incorrect assessment of headspace may result if the bolt is forced into a position with excessive pressure.�

For current or former military calibers, a “field” gauge can also be used. The “field” gauge is designed to take the place of the “no-go” gauge in military firearms, and functions in the same way. Military firearms are designed to withstand higher pressures. As such, a greater tolerance in the firearm’s headspace is acceptable, and the “field” gauge takes into account this greater tolerance. “Field” gauges should be used only on military firearms, and not on commercial firearms. Headspacing a commercial firearm with a “field” gauge can create an unsafe condition.�

As the “field” gauge takes the place of a “no-go” gauge, any military-surplus gun that locks on a “field” gauge is unsafe to fire, and should be checked by a trained gunsmith.�

Guns that fail to lock on the “go” gauge may simply need cleaning, especially at the bolt face, as build-up may occur on this surface and this buildup can cause problems in chambering a round without stressing the brass.�

Headspace gauges are designed to indicate simply whether a firearm’s chamber is in tolerance. �

**REMEMBER*** If in doubt DONT fire the gun and have it checked by a qualified gunsmith*****�

This is the easiest way to do this type of check and guages are fairly easy to obtain through various gun dealers or even better these days via the net from the states…�

Spare Parts Kits for Common Survivalist Firearms….
http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum … 506367/pg1�

Colt 1911 type pistols: �
Magazine, extractor, sear, firing pin, disconnector, sear spring, ejector, barrel link pin. grip screw(s), firing pin spring, recoil spring. Nice to have a spare hammer, bushing, maybe a complete pin and spring kit. Wolf’s spring kit is very nice value for the money. Maybe you look at replacing your magazine followers with arredondo or pachmayr followers, and put a recoil buffer in your slide system. Give some consideration to a Ciener .22LR conversion unit as they are affordable and make a great training aid and extend usefulness greatly. �


Ruger Mk II pistols: �
Firing pin, extractor, recoil spring assembly. Nice to improve on factory parts with Volquartson or other aftermarket makers like Clark etc. Good to have spare springs and pins. Good to have a diagram for disassembly etc if you don’t have your Ruger manual. �

Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rifle: �
Firing pin, FP return spring; extractor w/plunger & spring, magazine. �
This rifle is capable of being tuned to extraordinary accuracy. Volquartson and others make a wide variety of accessory parts. Nice to have the extended bolt lock and magazine release levers. A picatinny rail gives interchangability to your scope system with other rifles. An aftermarket barrel and stock kit add much to potential accuracy. Very handy with short, heavy barrel and plastic or laminated stock. �

Smith & Wesson revolvers: �
Hammer nose & rivet, hammer spring, cylinder stop & spring, grip screw, sideplate screw spares, hand & sping. Wolf and other tune-up kits from Cylinder & Slide are very nice and easy to install. Kuhnhausen’s manual is especially worthwhile for these handguns because so much of their interanals are/were hand fitted for functioning and there are many tricks to tune and assemble them correctly. S&W at one time sold parts direct. �

Marlin 39 lever action .22 rifles: �
Firing pin, extractor, ejector & spring, magazine tube complete. �

Remington 870 pump shotgun: �
Firing pin & return spring; extractor w/plunger & spring, R&L shell stop. �
Greatly accessorized, these shotguns have pin sets, spring sets and tuned parts available readily. Ejector assembly and other parts reportedly have very rare incidents of breakage yet maybe you want a spare and the rivets needed to install it? �

Winchester 94 lever action rifle: �
Firing pin, hammer spring, sear spring, extractor. �
Marlin 336 etc: �
Firing pin, FP striker & spring; ejector & spring, extractor. �

M1a semi-auto rifle: �
Firing pin; extractor, spring & plunger; ejector & spring, recoil spring, gas piston; gas valve spring, spindle & pin. Spare magazines. �

Ruger Mini-14: �
Firing pin; extractor, spring & plunger; ejector & spring, recoil spring, hammer spring, magazine latch spring, trigger guard, gas piston. Spare magazines. �

Remington 700 and other bolt rifles: �
Firing pin and spring assembly with barrel shroud (for ease of installation), spare set of action screws, magazine spring, extractor with rivet (or extractor w/spring & pin if mauser type bolt). Spare screws for scope base mounts, spare sling swivel studs and qd swivels. �

AR-10 & AR-15 rifles: �
Firing Pin, bolt takedown pin, spare assembled bolt or entire bolt carrier assy unit, carrier key screws; extractor, o-ring, spring and pin; ejector, spring & pin; gas tube & pin, gas ring set or McFarland ring for AR-10, Pin plunger and spring set for lower receiver, spare recoil spring, buffer and tube w/stock extension if use A2 or other full length stock. Spare gas block or A2 front sight assy (w/sight parts) also a good idea for long functioning potential. Roll pin can cup pin punches are worth investing in for dissembling gas assy parts.�

What to Look for in Buying a Revolver

“What to Look for in Buying a Revolver”

By Kirk Hayes �

Well, here’s a list of some things I look for when buying a used

revolver.� I collect S&W revolvers, so it is, somewhat, specific to

S&W.�

However, most of this applies to any revolver.�

I’ve got 20 years experience buying used revolvers, and, yes, I’ve

bought a dud or twenty over the years.� Remember that it is rarely

worthwhile to buy a damaged gun, thinking you’ll get it fixed.

It’s cheaper to buy new than to buy damaged.�

On the other hand, easily repaired damage can be used as a

negotiating point.�

Finally, don’t be afraid to walk away – let someone else buy the

bad ones.�

Before you start, make sure the weapon is unloaded, and ask

permission to dry-fire it.� Observe all safety rules.�

1.� Is the yoke bent?�

Look at the yoke (aka “crane”) when the cylinder is in the closed

position.� The gap between the frame and the yolk should be very

narrow, and the same width top to bottom.�

A bent yoke can be caused by a number of things, the most common of

which is “flipping” the cylinder closed, as seen in the movies.�

A bent yolk can be fixed, but it is rarely worthwhile.�

2.� Look at the hole in the frame through which the bolt extends.

Is it burred or oversized?�

Again, can be fixed, is not usually worthwhile.�

3.� Look at the topstrap above the forcing cone.� Is it flame cut

excessively?�

I regard flame cutting that is more than 2/3 the width of the

topstrap as excessive.�

4.� Look at the firing pin hole.� Is it peened out?�

This is a minor repair if not too excessive, and not repaired

before.�

5.� Point the weapon in a safe direction.� Cock the hammer, and,

with your finger off the trigger, press forward on the hammer spur.�

If the hammer falls, put the gun down and walk away.�

6.� Repeat the following for each chamber.�

������� 1.� Cock the gun using the hammer, slowly.� Does the bolt

����������� lock up when the hammer goes to full cock?

������� 2.� Is the cylinder gap excessive (take feeler gauges)?� Is

����������� it the same for each chamber.

������� 3.� Is there excessive slop fore-and-aft?

������� 4.� Does the hammer move to the rear any further as the

����������� trigger is pulled?

������� 5.� Is the trigger pull identical on each cylinder?�

7.� Repeat six (6) while holding a thumb lightly against the

cylinder.�

8.� Repeat the following for each chamber.�

������� 1.� Cock the gun using the trigger, slowly.� Does the bolt

����������� lock up before the hammer falls?

������� 2.� Is the trigger pull identical on each cylinder?�

9.� Repeat step eight (8) with the revolver inverted.� This will

get you strange looks, many times, but shows up problems that might

otherwise be missed.�

10.� Repeat step eight (8) with a thumb riding lightly on the

cylinder.�

11.� Is the revolver cylinder scored excessively between the bolt

holes?�

12.� Is the cylinder star damaged in any way?� Pay particular

attention to the cams the hand pushes on.� Look at the hand for

damage.� Push the ejector rod as far back as it will go – did it

bind, or is it bent?� Are the star locator pins present and

unbent/unbroken?� Is the knurling on the ejector rod unblemished?�

13.� If you are lucky enough to have a timing rod, which is a piece

of precision-ground steel that will fit down the bore, check to be

sure each chamber aligns with the bore, cocking the hammer to lock

the cylinder with the bolt.�

14.� Look at the sideplate screws.� If burred, walk away unless you

feel lucky.�

I generally ask, if the screws are burred, for the sideplate to be

removed, but this is an entire subject area by itself…�

15.� Run your thumb and forefinger down the barrel – you’re looking

for bumps and rings.�

16.� Look down the bore.� Use a borescope if you have it, a piece

of white cloth or your thumbnail at the recoil plate, whatever

you’ve got to get light in the bore.� Be very suspicious if the

bore is dirty, as a dirty bore can cover a multitude of sins.� If

it is dirty, ask to have it cleaned.�

Looks for pits, rust, rings, etc.�

Look at the forcing cone for splits and erosion.�

17.� Examine the chambers for damage – flame cutting, bulges

(particularly under the bolt holes), dents, corrosion.�

18.� Examine the sights for damage – look for “square” with the

rest of the gun.�

19.� Examine the firing pin tip.� A chipped one can be repaired,

easily.�

20.� Examine the finish, markings, etc.� A non-even surface,

rounded edges where they should be sharp, or washed out markings

can be evidence of a refinished gun.� Ask.�

Revolver checkout:
How to tell if a particular specimen is any good

BY Jim March

So you’re buying a revolver. New, used, doesn’t matter, you want a good one, right?

How do check one over without firing it, right at the dealer’s counter or gun show table?

This is how. All of this works with DA or SA wheelguns…”close the action” on most DAs means swing the cylinder in, on SA types, close the loading gate, on breakopens, close ’em. UNLOADED.

WARNING: Most of these tests require violation of the “finger off trigger” rule. Therefore, be extremely careful about safe muzzle direction and making sure the gun is unloaded ahead of time, PERSONALLY, as you begin handling it.

Note: Bring a small flashlight, something small and concentrated. A Photon or similar high-powered LED light is perfect. You also want feeler gauges if you’re not used to eyeballing cylinder gaps; at a minimum, bring a .002″, .004″ and .006″.

Note2: No dry firing is required or desired at any point. It just pisses off the gun’s current owner.

Cylinder play

1) With the gun UNLOADED (check for yourself!), close the action.

2) Thumb the hammer back, and while pulling the trigger, gently lower the hammer all the way down while keeping the trigger back – and KEEP holding the trigger once the hammer is down. (You’ve now put the gun in “full lockup” – keep it there for this and most other tests.)

3) With the trigger still back all the way, check for cylinder wiggle. Front/back is particularly undesirable; a bit of side to side is OK but it’s a bad thing if you can wiggle it one way, let go, and then spin it the other way a fraction of an inch and it stays there too. At the very least, it should “want” to stop in just one place (later, we’ll see if that place is any good). The ultimate is a “welded to the frame” feeling.

Cylinder gap

4) Still holding the trigger at full lockup, look sideways through the barrel/cylinder gap. If you can get a credit card in there, that ain’t good…velocity drops rapidly as the gap increases. Too tight isn’t good either, because burnt powder crud will “fill the gap” and start making the cylinder spin funky. My personal .38snubbie is set at .002, usually considered the minimum…after about 40 shots at the range, I have to give the front of the cylinder a quick wipe so it spins free again. I consider that a reasonable tradeoff for the increased velocity because in a real fight, I ain’t gonna crank 40 rounds out of a 5-shot snub .

If you’re eyeballing it, you’ll have to hold it up sideways against an overhead light source.

SAFETY WARNING: This step in particular is where you MUST watch your muzzle direction. Look, part of what’s happening here is that you’re convincing the seller you know your poop . It helps the haggling process. If you do anything unsafe, that impression comes completely unglued.

Timing

5) You really, REALLY want an unloaded gun for this one. This is where the light comes in. With the gun STILL held in full lockup, trigger back after lowering the hammer by thumb, you want to shine a light right into the area at the rear of the cylinder near the firing pin. You then look down the barrel . You’re looking to make sure the cylinder bore lines up with the barrel. Check every cylinder – that means putting the gun in full lockup for each cylinder before lighting it up.

You’re looking for the cylinder and barrel holes to line up perfectly, it’s easy to eyeball if there’s even a faint light source at the very rear of both bores. And with no rounds present, it’s generally easy to get some light in past where the rims would be.

Bore

(We’re finally done with that “full lockup” crap, so rest your trigger finger. )

6) Swing the cylinder open, or with most SAs pull the cylinder. Use the small flashlight to scope the bore out. This part’s easy – you want to avoid pitting, worn-out rifling, bulges of any sort. You want more light on the subject than just what creeps in from the rear of the cylinder on the timing check.

You also want to check each cylinder bore, in this case with the light coming in from the FRONT of each hole, you looking in from the back where the primers would be. You’re looking for wear at the “restrictions” at the front of each cylinder bore. That’s the “forcing cone” area and it can wear rapidly with some Magnum loads. (Special thanks to Salvo below for this bit!)

Trigger

7) To test a trigger without dry-firing it, use a plastic pen in front of the hammer to “catch” it with the off hand, especially if it’s a “firing pin on the hammer” type. Or see if the seller has any snap-caps, that’s the best solution. Flat-faced hammers as found in transfer-bar guns (Ruger, etc) can be caught with the off-hand without too much pain .

SA triggers (or of course a DA with the hammer cocked) should feel “like a glass rod breaking”. A tiny amount of take-up slack is tolerable, and is common on anything with a transfer bar or hammerblock safety.

DA triggers are subjective. Some people like a dead-smooth feel from beginning of stroke to the end, with no “warning” that it’s about to fire. Others (myself included) actually prefer a slight “hitch” right at the end, so we know when it’s about to go. With that sort of trigger, you can actually “hold it” right at the “about to fire” point and do a short light stroke from there that rivals an SA shot for accuracy. Takes a lot of practice though. Either way, you don’t want “grinding” through the length of the stroke, and the final stack-up at the end (if any) shouldn’t be overly pronounced.

Detecting Bad Gunsmithing:

8) OK, so it’s got a rock-solid cylinder, a .002″ or .003″ gap, and the trigger feels great. Odds are vastly in favor of it being tuned after leaving the factory.

So was the gunsmith any good?

First, cock it, then grab the hammer and “wiggle it around” a bit. Not too hard, don’t bang on it, but give it a bit of up/down, left/right and circular action with finger off trigger and WATCH your muzzle direction.

You don’t want that hammer slipping off an overly polished sear. You REALLY don’t want that . It can be fixed by installing factory parts but that’ll take modest money (more for installation than hardware costs) and it’ll be “bigtime” unsafe until you do.

The other thing that commonly goes wrong is somebody will trim the spring, especially coil springs. You can spot that if you pull the grip panels, see if the spring was trimmed with wire cutters. If they get too wild with it, you’ll get ignition failures on harder primers. But the good news is, replacement factory or Wolf springs are cheap both to buy and have installed.

There’s also the legal problems Ayoob frequently describes regarding light triggers. If that’s a concern, you can either swap back to stock springs, or since you bought it used there’s no way to prove you knew it was modified at all .

In perspective:

Timing (test #5) is very critical…if that’s off, the gun may not even be safe to test-fire. And naturally, a crappy barrel means a relatively pricey fix.

Cylinder gap is particularly critical on short-barreled and/or marginal caliber guns. If you need every possible ounce of energy, a tight gap helps. Some factory gaps will run as high as .006″; Taurus considers .007″ “still in spec” (sigh). You’ll be hard-pressed to find any new pieces under .004″ – probably because the makers realize some people don’t clean ’em often (or very well) and might complain about the cylinder binding up if they sell ’em at .002″.

The guns in a dealer’s “used pile” are often of unknown origin, from estate sales or whatever. Dealers don’t have time to check every piece, and often don’t know their history. These tests, especially cylinder gap and play, can spot a gun that’s been sent off for professional tuning…like my snubbie, the best $180 I ever spent .

As long as the gun is otherwise sound (no cracks, etc) a gunsmith can fix any of this. So these tests can help you pick a particularly good new specimen, or find a good used gun, or help haggle the price down on something that’ll need a bit of work.

9MM

From Gabe Suarez:


I suppose this will be yet another highly controversial issue, but what the heck. Controversy makes for interesting discussion, no? The issue is to look at whether high magazine capacity gives you a tactical advantage, or if we are better served by carrying an equally sized weapon with a smaller capacity of bigger bullets. Before I answer my own question, let me put forth some facts as seen both in force on force training and on the street.�

Point One – Pistol bullets, regardless of caliber are all, what one colleague calls, “iffy”. None can be guaranteed to drop an adversary in his tracks reliably. The notion of a one shot stop is an urban myth dreamed up by those with a vested interest in such things. I have seen 45s work and fail, and I have seen 9mm both work and fail. For the record, the only one shot drop (excluding head shots) I have ever seen with a pistol was fired by a good friend as we entered a crack house during a SWAT raid. He shot the bad guy squarely in the heart with 9mm +P+ out of a SIG P-226. He only fired once because the bad guy fell before my friend could reset his trigger for the next shot!�

If we look at the three most prevalent calibers we see that there is very little difference between them. A 9mm (also .38/.357) is only one little millimeter smaller than the 10mm (aka .40 S&W), and that is only one little millimeter less than the vaunted 11mm (aka .45 ACP). And before we get into the high speed light bullet versus the heavy slow bullet argument, lets remember that you can only drive a pistol bullet so fast without drastically affecting its integrity. Moreover, since penetration is affected by weight, sacrificing weight for speed will not yield good results. Finally, you can only make a bullet so light or so heavy. There are limits to what you can shoot out of a pistol.�

I have seen every one of these calibers fail at one time or another. There are those who disdain the 9mm as unsuitable for anything larger than squirrels. With modern ammunition, this is simply not true. There is also a myth and a cult grown up around the .45 ACP in this country. Sadly, it is not the deadly hammer of god its proponents suggest. This is not new. Read Fairbairn’s Shoot To Live. He writes of two separate times when the .45 failed to work any better than anything else. Although one millimeter may give you a slight edge in a less than optimum body hit, under most circumstances, there will be very little difference between the effectiveness of the various calibers when modern anti-personnel ammo is used. Trauma injury doctors and reputable terminal ballistics experts tend to agree with this statement.�

Point Two – Private Citizen CCW Operators do not go looking for trouble. If they are called to fight it is either because they have inadvertently crossed paths with bad guys while they are doing bad guy stuff (walking in on a robbery in progress as an example), or because they have been specifically targeted and stalked (such as a carjack, or home invasion event). They will have to use extreme violence to fight off the surprise attackers. When we translate the conversion of fright and startle into a firearm application we wee that definition is high volume of fire. You will shoot a lot, and until the threat is no longer there.�

While these events share slightly different dynamics, the common thread often seen is that of multiple adversaries. The lone criminal or terrorist is an urban myth. If your fight only involves one, consider yourself lucky. More often than not you will be outnumbered.�

Another point is the time frames in which these events take place. Think three seconds. After this, either you will be dead, or your adversaries will be dead. Urban gunfights do not go for hours. Unexpected, short duration, high intensity, extreme violence, multiple adversaries. That is the back drop.�

Point Three – Our staff has collectively been in a large number of gunfights ranging from police, citizen, and military events. We draw on those experiences to set up mock gunfights in dynamic, unscripted force on force training drills. Although the surprise factor is missing (you generally don t know you will be in a gunfight until it is upon you), the dynamics of its evolution do not change much. Here are some other observations from watching hundreds of those drills.�

1). Defenders will fire their weapons until the threat disappears. That means that until the role player falls down (simulating effective hits delivered), or runs away (removing the target), the good guy will keep firing. The concept of school solutions, controlled pairs, or otherwise artificially limiting the number of shots (as one does in a firing string on the range) does not hold up even in guys who’ve been extensively trained to do it.�

2). When a training gun stops firing (due to running out of pellets), the shooter is still in the fight and still trying to shoot his enemy as well as trying to not be hit by him. We see them continue to try to work the trigger for one or two times before there is a realization that there has been a stoppage (malfunction or empty gun). This is followed by a visual examination of the gun, and only then is remedial action taken.�

This can take upwards f a second and a half before anything is even attempted to fix the gun, and then the additional time needed to reload. Thus the idea that one can read the gun s feel and immediately realize a need to speed load simply does not hold up. Running out of ammo is usually a fight ender if there has been a failure to stop, or there are multiple adversaries at hand.�

3). Participants in these reactive mock gunfights are debriefed immediately to get a clear picture of what happened before any rationalization takes place. Besides a shoot them to the ground firing process, most shooters do not remember seeing the crystal clear sight pictures they learned on the shooting range.�

We see a great deal of point shooting, and gun index shooting. I have yet to see anyone strike a classic shooting posture and press off a carefully sighted pair in these room distance drills.�

The point to remember is that in a fight such as what are likely for the private citizen, one can easily develop Bullet Deficit Disorder , and that this can have deleterious effects on the outcome of that fight.�

The idea that a pair or trio of quality rounds carefully delivered onto a high scoring target zone will stop the action fails both the terminal ballistics test as well as the applications test.�

A truth of gunfighting – Having more ammo immediately on board lessens the likelihood of ever needing to reload. Not needing to reload translates into more time delivering lead and less time manipulating the weapon. More trigger time increases likelihood of hitting, which increases survivability.�

So the question is this. Given that there is a limit to the size pistol one can carry, do I want that pistol to hold more rounds? My answer is a strong YES!�

Consider the similarly sized Glock 36 in .45 ACP, and the Glock 23 in .40 S&W. The latter holds nearly twice the ammo of the former in an almost identical package. The Glock 19 is an even more drastic comparison with 15 shots available. Of course there are also high capacity 45 pistols for those so inclined and for those who can wield them. I would argue that if your choice is a 45, a gun holding 13 would be better than a gun holding 6. And if your hand is too small for the 13 shooter, rather than decrease capacity, I d decrease caliber.�

I have a colleague is South America who has been in High Risk Police Service for close to three decades. He has been in over three dozen verified gunfight . His weapon was originally a Browning Hi-Power and later a Glock 17.�

I was very interested in hearing more so I asked him about the load he used. He said he had always used military ball full metal jacket. Astounded I asked him why he chose that. That is all we can get here. Hollow points are illegal .�

I shook my head and told him that there was a belief in the USA that 9mm was an anemic caliber, especially in the load he d chosen. He shrugged and said that his adversaries must not have gotten the word. He said he fired a burst at the chest and if they didn’t fall fast enough, he fired a burst at the face. He never needed to reload and had enough on board so if he missed a shot or two he could catch up in the fight. And before we hear the careful shooter versus the spraying prayer, this man is one of the best shots I have seen and competes on an international level. Even so, he knows the chaos in a gunfight can play havoc with even the most gifted marksman. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from him.�

Me? I split the difference and carry a Glock 23 in .40 S&W. But I feel just as comfortable with a 15 shot 9mm.�

While on the subject of Calibers�

In variably one of the things asked by a prospective gunman, right after he decides which type of pistol to buy and carry, is what caliber should he get. In fact, you would be hard pressed to pick up any gun-related magazine and not see at least one article relating to ammunition and caliber choices.�

Some instructors are also very caliber-focused, thinking that anyone who does not bring a 45 to class is unarmed. One student of mine who carries a 9mm was recently told that his 9mm was simply a 45 set on “stun”. (The commentator however, declined to be stunned.). So what should you do when trying to decide on calibers/loads, etc.? In a previous article we discussed the attribute of magazine capacity. Here we will discuss the characteristics of each caliber and give you some information so you can make up your own mind.�


Issue Number One – Shootability.�

I had a student come to class with a Glock 29 in 10mm. My philosophy is that students should bring whatever they want to carry, and that was his choice. The only problem was this gent weighed about 125 pounds, and was arthritic in both wrists. To make matters worse, he’d bought 500 rounds of the heaviest most powerful T-Rex stopping loads he could find in the caliber. To make a long story short, he ended up shooting the rest of the class with my Glock 17. That caliber/weapon combination may have made a fine choice for a larger and stronger man, but for him it was totally unusable.�

The caliber choice must be first predicated on the reality of your physical condition. Can you shoot the thing? Can you train with it? If you wince in pain every time you fire that Dino-killer in training, you will never be able to use it well in a fight. Be honest with your self. Let your intellect and not your ego select your caliber.�

Issue Number Two – Delivery Envelope.�

Some students in my classes live and work in certain social circles where the pistol must not only be concealed, it must be covert. This means that weapon selection is as important as anything else. For them, an HK USP may be a fine weapon, but they will never carry it. Selecting a smaller weapon that will always be there may be a better choice.�

There are small, large caliber weapons out there, but remember Issue Number One – how shootable is it for you. My friend with the super-charged Glock 29 was trying unsuccessfully to kill both issues with one choice. If you must carry a smaller weapon, and shootability issues are present, do not feel impotent because you had to decrease caliber size.�

Issue Number Three – Availability.�

By now we are entering the Hurricane season again and the memory of Katrina lies lightly on the minds of those who live in the Southeast. Natural disasters and riots can occur at any time. We are assuming that you will have your CCW pistol as a first line of defense until you can obtain something else. In the event you cannot get to your survival stash, you may need to resupply from regular sources.�

If you carry a .357 SIG, or a 45 GAP, or any other new, non-mainstream caliber, do you think you will find the ammo you need? When I travel, I carry a Glock 17 in 9mm. Why? Because if my ammo does not arrive with my luggage (the illusion of security), I can always find 9mm. Perhaps not a huge issue but still something for consideration.�

Issue Number Four – Effects On Target�

This is where all the bullet salesmen come out and discuss amateur terminal ballistics. Listen folks – hundreds of thousands of people, both good guys and bad guys, have been killed with pistol shots in the last few decades. I will bet the majority of those have been shot with 9mm. Why do I say that? Because I travel all over the world to teach good guys how to prevail in gunfights and invariably the caliber of availability is 9mm.�

“How on earth do they get past the fact that the 9mm is anemic and will bounce off a leather jacket?”, someone may ask. Truth be told, they shoot the bad guys until they either fall down or run away. Usually it is the former. Its only here in the USA that we are so fixated on this issue of one or two shots.�

We may hear all manner of arguments about the one caliber or another being the only true choice, but I will tell you that no single caliber will be the best choice for everyone. Heck, some people are better served with a caliber like 22 LR due to physical limits from advanced age or injury!�

All calibers can fail, and have failed. When you look at the issues scientifically a 9mm or a .38 Special is approximately .357. A 40 S&W is 10mm. And a 45 ACP is 11mm. So could it be that we have basically one or two little millimeters separating “T-Rex Stopper” from “Merely Adequate”, or “Anemically Inadequate”? Yes that is exactly right.�

Let me put it in a different perspective. A student of mine who works for a narcotics Unit in the south recently reported in. He told me that he and his guys had gotten in a gunfight with a violent drug dealer. Our student shot the bad guy once with a shotgun loaded with Federal Tactical Slugs. (Slugs incidentally are about .72 caliber and are suggested as anti-bear insurance in Alaska ). The shotgun slug entered the right side of the bad guy’s chest from about the 2:00 and exited through the back at about the 8:00 .�

Nice shot. However, the bad guy not only kept fighting, but stole a car and evaded the pursuing police officers into a wooded area. A week later, the bad guy’s attorney arranged for him to turn himself in. He was alive and well, albeit injured. Does anyone want to tell me how deadly their pistol round is now?�

So select the size of your pistol first and foremost. Base it on what you need to carry it 24-7-365. That means all the time. Select a caliber that is easily obtained, and shootable for you. And finally, train to hit and keep hitting until the threat has gone away (one way or the other). A hit with a 9mm is far better than a marginal hit or a miss with a caliber you cannot control. �

Why Your 1911 Auto Pistol Won’t Work

WHY YOUR 1911 AUTO PISTOL�
WON’T WORK!! �
by Duane Thomas�
(Handguns Magazine / November 1994) �
Probably the most commonly heard complaints about the 1911 .45 auto are, “It doesn’t work out of the box.” “It jams all the time.” “You’ve got to put hundreds of dollars into customizing it…..and it still doesn’t work!” There’s a certain amount of truth to these criticisms. Every time I go to a high-level handgun training class, there’s at least one other class attendee shooting a customized 1911. I have yet to see such a shooter complete a full day’s training without his or her gun choking numerous times. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen more jams — and experienced them myself — with the 1911 than with all other types of handguns combined. Why is that? In this article, I’ll try to address what I consider the half dozen or so most common reasons why your 1911 auto won’t work. �

Before we start, let me make one thing very clear: I love the 1911. I’ve carried Colt Government Models and Combat Commanders for years, and I’m morally certain I’ll carry them again. Some folks have the attitude that the 1911 is perfect — no weak points, no improvements possible. What a nonsensical attitude! Only with a mature appreciation of the design’s strong and weak points and a knowledge of the most common mistakes and pitfalls waiting to trap a 1911 user will you be able to get the most from these guns. �

Now, why might your 1911 auto not work? I can think of six reasons. These are, in no particular order: (1) incompetent customization, (2) inappropriate ammunition, (3) lack of lubrication, (4) cheap magazines, (5) flaws in the basic design and (6) a propensity toward small-parts breakage. �

INCOMPETENT CUSTOMIZATION�
Gunwriters love penning articles about their heavily customized .45 autos (and God knows I’ve written my fair share of them over the years). This seems to have imbued the gunbuying public with the belief that a certain amount of customization is absolutely mandatory on a 1911. Well, that isn’t necessarily so. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on customizing 1911s. In the process of doing so, I’ve discovered that most of the things you can have done to the gun are simply a waste of money. The more I’ve learned about the 1911, the less I like to tinker with it. I do feel there are a few things (none of which is extremely complicated or expensive) that can be done to make the 1911 a better gun, but in general I think you’re better off leaving the piece alone. �

Let’s assume you’ve just gotta have your 1911 customized. How do you choose a pistolsmith? Here’s how I look at it: Let only the very best people touch your gun. Conventional wisdom has it you should choose a pistolsmith close to you geographically, so if anything goes wrong with his work, you can take the gun back for correction without having to send it out of state, wait weeks or months for its return and go through the hassle of shipping the gun through an FFL dealer coming and going. I profoundly disagree with this. There simply aren’t that many good pistolsmiths out there (although there are a lot of people who think they’re good pistolsmiths), and the chances of finding someone truly excellent close to you are very slim. Yeah, it’s more hassle to send your gun away to one of the top .45 shops and you’ll have to wait longer to get it back, but when you do get it back, it’ll probably work, which is not something you can say when you hand it over to the local hack-‘n’-slash artist. �

At one time, customizing a 1911 made a lot more sense than it does today. Until about a decade ago, the guns available from the factories were set up to feed hardball only. Sights were horribly tiny. Trigger pulls might or might not be extremely stiff and heavy. If you’re buying a straight GI gun today, perhaps that might still be the case. If you go for a top-of-the-line gun like an Enhanced Model Colt, however, today’s 1911 will come out of the box with a hollow point-compatible ramp and throat job; decent, high visibility sights; a beavertail grip safety; a beveled mag well; and a lowered and faired ejection port. The trigger pulls on recent-production Colts I’ve tried have been in the acceptable to excellent class. What more do you want? �

One of the areas where you want to be especially careful about modifying your 1911 is in the area of trigger pull. Ever seen the hammer follow on a 1911? You’re firing the gun, the slide cycles and recocks the hammer, but instead of staying cocked so you can fire the next shot, the hammer follows the slide down and falls to half cock. The same thing can happen when dropping the slide while loading the gun. I’ve seen both these things happen and have had them happen to me. �

You almost never see this happen on a stock gun. You’ll see it most commonly with guns on which some enterprising pistolsmith has lessened the hammer/sear engagement and fitted a heavy steel trigger and added a heavy recoil spring. When the slide slams forward on the gun, the gun moves forward, but the heavy steel trigger wants to stay in one place (it’s called inertia, folks), so it actually moves back slightly in its track. If the hammer/sear engagement has been compromised, either through taking off too much metal or changing the angle of the hammer hooks, the trigger can actually bounce far enough back to jostle the hammer hooks and sear out of engagement, causing the hammer to fall to half cock. �

You also see this happen with guns on which old mil-spec parts have been substituted for the stock Colt parts. Stock Colt parts and most of the quality aftermarket hammers and sears (like Brown, Wilson, Cylinder & Slide, etc.) are heat-treated and hardened all the way through. The old mil-spec parts, on the other hand, are only surface-hardened, and when a smith takes metal off these parts to do a trigger job, he exposes the soft steel beneath the hard “skin.” Under use, these soft surfaces begin to peen each other. Typically, with this problem you start out with a decent trigger pull weight: say 4 1/2 pounds. As you use the gun, however, the trigger pull starts dropping in weight – four pounds, 3 1/2 pounds, three pounds – as the hammer hooks and sear round off, and suddenly your hammer starts following. �

Can you get around this problem simply by lowering the slide gently to chamber a round? Well, no. The 1911 was designed to chamber a round with the slide moving at full speed. Easing the slide forward will quite often result in a failure to feed. Also, never loading the gun except by easing forward the slide kind of rules out ever doing (or practicing) a speed reload from slidelock, doesn’t it? And if you keep the gun for home defense in Condition Three (hammer down on an empty chamber, full magazine in place), I suggest a lot of practice swiftly racking the slide to chamber a round. �

Some shooters (and many pistolsmiths) recommend squeezing the 1911’s trigger and holding it to the rear while dropping the slide during loading, as well as when doing a speed reload from slidelock. This prevents trigger bounce and also activates the weapon’s disconnector, preventing the hammer hooks and sear from pounding each other. I consider this a very dangerous practice. �

For one thing, under the stress of a violent encounter (or even while shooting on the range, with or without match pressure) many shooters experience a phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance,” which basically means that stress negatively affects the mind’s perceptions and clearness of thought. One of the most common results of cognitive dissonance is that you lose your short-term memory. (This is why it’s almost impossible for shooters to count their rounds during a gunfight.) If you’re doing something that requires you to perform actions in a certain sequence, there’s a very real tendency to screw up the order in which you do them. Thus, under stress, “squeeze the trigger, hit the slide stop” becomes “hit the slide stop, squeeze the trigger, ” and you’ve just accidentally fired your gun, probably hitting something you weren’t supposed to, possibly even killing an innocent person. �

Besides, holding the trigger to the rear while loading the gun is a crutch for an incompetent trigger job. You have two ways around this problem: (1) Leave the gun stock or (2) let only the best people work on your gun. (Where have I heard that before?) Some pistolsmiths will tell you that even a good trigger job will allow the hammer to follow occasionally unless you press the trigger before dropping the slide. When I was discussing this matter with nationally famous pistolsmith Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop (Dept. GAH, 245 E. 4th Street, P.0.Box 937, Fremont, NE 68025, phone: 402/721-4277), he told me that, in his opinion, a pistolsmith who gave a shooter a trigger job that allowed the hammer to follow for any reason hadn’t done his job very well. The Cylinder & Slide Shop is one of the few places of which I’m aware that can give you a trigger job resulting in an excellent trigger pull while leaving the gun as durable as an unmodified version. �

I hope it goes without saying that modifications that predictably adversely affect reliability-like tightening the slide to frame fit-are a bad idea. �

The bottom line on customization, as far as I’m concerned, is this: Leave the gun alone. If you must customize, do so with extreme moderation and let only the best people touch your gun. You’ll be amazed at how much better the piece works when you haven’t paid some incompetent person to ruin it. �

INAPPROPRIATE AMMUNITION�
Shooters want to stuff everything imaginable into their 1911s, and then they seem amazed when much of it doesn’t feed reliably. Let’s try to avoid as much of the wishful thinking here as possible, shall we? The 1911 is not as tolerant as some of the more modern designs in terms of the range of different bullet profiles it will reliably feed. The fact is that the 1911 was designed to feed hardball, and no matter what you do to it there’s really no way around that. Now, I’m not one of those people who says you should only carry hardball in your 1911, but I will say that the farther your.45 load departs from a hardball profile, the more you’re asking for trouble. �

At one time Colt, Springfield, etc., produced all their .45 autos with feed ramps and barrel throats set up exclusively for hardball; hollow points need not apply. In the past decade or so this has changed. Now you can have a 1911 .45 straight from the factory with a decent ramp and throat job, and the guns will reliably feed hollow points. However, I still believe you’re better off if you make feed reliability a main priority when choosing your.45 ammo. �

Hollow points that feature a rounded, hardball-type ogive are far more feed-reliable than bullets that have flat-nose, truncated-cone or semi-wadcutter shapes. The.45 ACP is a short, fat, wide cartridge, which is not the most feed-reliable cartridge profile in the world to start with. Aggravate that problem by getting too far from the reliable hardball shape in a gun that was designed from the ground up to feed hardball, and you’re just begging for jams. �

Some folks argue that your primary consideration in load selection should be stopping power. I disagree: The primary consideration should be feed reliability. Even if a particular .45 load does have deeper penetration (or lack thereof), more expansion (or lack thereof), a “one-shot stop” rating a few percentage points higher than other loads or any other traits you deem desirable, all that does you no good if you can’t fire the gun because your “wonder bullet” is hung up on the feed ramp. �

If stopping power is the name of the game, the good news for .45 lovers is that the .45 seems to be very forgiving in terms of load selection. If it’s a good hollow-point load that’ll fit into the chamber of a .45, it should give you a usable amount of stopping power. That being the case, you’re free to place the emphasis back where it belongs on feed reliability. �

There are a number of effective hollow-point loads out there that feed extremely well in modern 1911s. Hollow-points that exhibit excellent feed reliability are Winchester 185-grain Silvertip JHPs, Remington 185-grain JHPs and 230-grain Golden Saber JHPs, Federal’s 230-grain JHP load and Black Hills’185-grain and 230-grain JHPs. Winchester’s 230-grain Black Talon JHP load (now sadly unavailable to civilians) was also a very feed-reliable load. �

Hollow-point loads for the.45 ACP that, in my experience are testy feeders include the Federal 185-grain JHPs and 230-grain Hydra-Shoks, the Hornady 230-grain JFPs and the CCI-Speer 200-grain JHP “flying ashtrays.” �

LACK OF LUBRICATION�
All handguns require lubrication to work their best. My experience and the experiences of the top-flight pistolsmiths whose brains I’ve picked on this subject lead me to conclude that this is even more true for the 1911 than with most other firearms. Whenever you start feeling smug about mankind’s technological progress, remind yourself of this: We have not yet progressed to the point where our handguns will function unless we smear them with dinosaur grease. �

How long has it been since you last lubricated your 1911? If it has been more than about three days, the piece is probably bone-dry. Oil evaporates; if you carry the gun muzzle down in a holster, gravity pulls the oil down the slide rails, around the bushing and out of the gun. Some folks tout the various teflon-based lubricants as the cure for this. In my experience, they don’t last one bit longer than the natural products. �

Every few days, take a minute or so to lube your 1911. Unload the gun; lock the slide to rear. Put a small drop of oil on each slide rail and let it run into the gun. If you have a Colt with the firing pin lock, you might want to take this opportunity to put a small drop of oil on the firing pin lock plunger in the slide. Lightly rub a thin coat of oil on the exposed barrel where it rides the bushing when the gun is cycling. Let the slide go forward and put one small drop of oil on the front of the barrel hood where it meets the front of the ejection port. Cycle the gun’s action a few times, and you’re in business. Frankly, I like to do a more leisurely job of lubing my 1911s in which I actually field strip the piece, but the quick-‘n’-easy method I’ve just described will be sufficient. �

Also, while you’re lubricating your 1911, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to oil your gun like you would oil your salad. Excess lube, especially on the breechface, can attack primers and turn your chambered round into a dud. �

CHEAP MAGAZINES�
I haven’t quite figured this out yet, but it seems there are a lot of folks quite willing to pay five or six hundred dollars for a quality 1911 and invest a small fortune in customizing it, but when it comes time to buy magazines to feed the beast, they suddenly try to save a few bucks by buying EL Cheapo-brand mags. Suffice it to say, the magazine is one of the most important parts of the firearm, and buying trash instead of top-quality mags is kind of like wimping out and putting Brand-X retreads on a Porsche. �

I don’t much care for the eight-round mags with their folded metal followers that Colt provides with their guns (except the 1991A1s, which come with a seven-rounder featuring the traditional split metal follower). If you shoot a lot, sooner or later the folded metal follower in the eight-rounder is going to pop over the slide stop inside the gun, failing to lock the action open when the gun is empty and necessitating manually ripping the magazine out of the gun. The split metal follower in the seven-rounder will do the same thing. This is the sort of thing that can get you killed. �

I don’t like any eight-round .45 mags. In general, they cause more problems than they’re worth, such as difficulty to loading to full capacity, failure to feed the top round off the magazine, extreme difficulty snapping the mag into the gun and failure to lock the slide open on an empty magazine. Eight-round magazines were designed for competition use to feed extremely long bullets like the H&G #68 semi- wadcutters. Shorter rounds, like most hollow points, won’t feed reliably out of these magazines. �

There is a bewildering array of aftermarket 1911 magazines out there. I’ve tried most of them, so let me make this easy for you. If you want good mags that will work, I suggest the stainless steel Wilson-Rogers seven-rounders. These are available from Wilson Combat (Dept. GAH, Route 3, POBox 578, Berryville, AR 72616; phone 501/545-3618). The Wilson-Rogers follower design is excellent, and you won’t have to worry about it popping over the slide stop inside the gun. There are other decent seven-rounders out there, but remember, I’m making things simple for you, and when you buy the Wilson mags, you can pretty much bet the farm they’ll work. �

The Wilson-Rogers design comes standard with a thick-plastic slam pad. If that bulky floorplate protruding from the butt of your gun adds too much length to the grip for your taste (vis-a-vis, concealment), Wilson’s also sells thin, concealment-oriented replacement floorplates for their mags that are more subtle. An even more low-key approach is to pull the spring and follower out of a Wilson-Rogers and stick it in a stock Colt magazine. This gives you a magazine that doesn’t protrude from the gun at all, but still has the great Wilson-Rogers follower design. When I carry a 1911, I’ve got a hybrid Wilson/stock Colt seven-rounder in the gun and two more Wilson mags behind my left hip in a spare mag pouch. �

FLAWS IN THE BASIC DESIGN AND A PROPENSITY TOWARD SMALL PARTS BREAKAGE �
Now, here’s where I may get in trouble with a few folks. Some people seem to regard the basic 1911 design with an uncritical awe. To their minds, the 1911 represents handgun perfection; it is without flaws — without flaws, you hear me? Any criticism of the gun threatens their perceptions of the universe. Meanwhile, back in reality, the basic 1911 is an antiquated design and it is far from perfect (sacrilege, I know). Come on, folks, if John Browning was alive today, do you really think he’d be designing guns like the 1911? Hell no, (Actually, Browning had moved far beyond the 1911 by the time he died in 1926. In his prototype for the Browning Hi-Power, already completed at the time of his death, he did away with many of the flaws of the basic 1911 design.) �

Without trying too hard, I can think of four flaws in the basic 1911 design that range from moderate to serious. Several areas of the gun are prone to small-parts breakage; In some cases, when these small parts let go, the gun is totally disabled and it’ll take a pistolsmith to get it back up and running. �

PROBLEM #1: THE SLIDE STOP: �
A portion of the slide stop projects into the mag well for the purpose of engaging the magazine’s follower and locking open the action when the gun is empty. Unfortunately, this also puts the slide stop almost in the path of a cartridge coming out of the magazine. Since the slide stop is only lightly spring-loaded into the down position, if a round of ammo nudges this part during the feeding cycle, it can pop up into the slide stop notch, locking the slide back with rounds still in the gun. This can get you killed. This malfunction usually occurs, if it occurs at all, when firing the gun with hardball and less commonly with shorter hollow-point rounds. If this hasn’t happened to your gun, you probably have nothing to worry about; it’s only a problem on certain guns. If you do have this problem, a good pistolsmith can dimple the slide stop where it touches the spring-loaded plunger. If the work is done to perfection, the slide stop will never pop up on you, but will still operate perfectly to lock open the empty gun. �

PROBLEM #2: THE EXTRACTOR: �
The amount of pressure a 1911’s extractor places on a cartridge casing’s rim is regulated by the curvature of the part in its channel through the slide. This is a crude system. Too much curvature means too much pressure, and the extractor will not allow a cartridge casing to slip up into place, resulting in a failure to feed. Not enough curvature means insufficient extractor tension, resulting in failures to fully extract and/or eject. Most modern firearms use spring-loaded extractors, a far more durable and reliable system. This is a major improvement in firearms design that seems to have passed by the 1911. �

The tension of a 1911’s extractor can weaken with use. One sure way to screw up your extractor is to drop a round into the chamber with the slide open then drop the slide on the chambered cartridge. This will force the extractor to bend back and around the case rim, eventually abusing the extractor so much that it will lose its tension or even break off in extreme cases. �

PROBLEM #3: THE BARREL BUSHING/RECOIL SPRING PLUG:�
The barrel bushing/recoil spring plug is a high-stress area of the gun. Not only does the barrel whack around in the bushing every time you fire the piece, but the full force of the recoil spring also bears upon the bushing via the recoil spring plug. If the barrel bushing gives way, your recoil spring and recoil spring plug will depart the front of the gun at high speed. Effectively, the gun is disabled. Now, this doesn’t happen very often, but I have had it happen to me while firing a Combat Commander. The bushing shattered, losing the semicircular piece that holds the recoil spring plug in the gun. My recoil system was somewhere down range, my gun out of action. I believe this occured because the slide of my gun came from the factory slightly shorter in front than it should have been. There was a fingernail-size gap between the barrel bushing’s flange and the slide; you could move the bushing back and forth with your fingertips. This being the case, of course, the bushing took a hellacious pounding as it jacked itself back and forth every time the gun was fired, and finally it gave up the ghost. You should check your gun to ensure that the bushing fits snugly into the slide. �

The exact same problem can occur from a different cause: The recoil spring plug may give way. This is common with hard use of the compact Officer’s ACP guns. Most compact 1911s slavishly copy the Officer’s ACP’s recoil system, so this problem is not limited to Colts. On the Officer’s ACP, the only thing holding the recoil spring plug in the gun is a tiny tab that hooks into a slot in the slide. If that small tab gives way (and it often does), your gun is hors de combat by virtue of a missing recoil system. I’m a big fan of the aftermarket recoil spring plugs for Officer’s ACP-size guns that use a ring of metal at the rear of the plug to hold it inside the slide. There’s no way such a part can come out of the gun. �

PROBLEM #4: THE PLUNGER TUBE: �
The plunger tube that runs between the slide stop and thumb safety is a notorious weak spot in the basic 1911 design. This tube contains two little plungers and a spring, the power of which serves both to hold the slide stop in the down position until operated by the follower of the empty magazine as well as to hold the thumb safety lever in the safe or fire position. This is a high-stress area of the gun; every time you flip your thumb safety on or off, you apply force to the plunger tube. Unfortunately, the plunger tube is held to the side of the gun only by two small studs that pass through holes in the frame. It is not at all unusual for one of these studs (almost invariably the rear one) to snap off. I’ve had this happen myself while shooting, and I’ve seen it happen to other shooters. When this happens, your thumb-safety lever will wind up in a half-on/half-off position. In an emergency, it would be possible to physically hold the safety lever down in the fire position and still shoot the piece. However, for all practical purposes, the gun is disabled until the plunger tube is replaced. �

There’s really nothing you can do about this problem except to keep a close eye on your gun’s plunger tube for signs of looseness. Some folks say that if your plunger tube is loose, you should simply have it restaked. I don’t know about that. If the plunger tube has been loose for any amount of time, that rear stud has probably been abused enough that I’d probably feel better myself simply replacing the tube with a new part. �

So, there’s a lot to know about the ol’ 1911, huh? It’s not exactly the simplest or most maintenance-free design out there. The trick here is to enjoy the 1911 design for its strengths, but at the same time don’t deny its weaknesses. Let me summarize my advice to maximize your 1911 auto’s reliability: Load it with good hollow-point ammunition featuring a feed profile as close to hardball as possible. Use only top-quality magazines. Keep the gun clean and well lubricated. Check your bushing’s fit in the slide. Regularly check your extractor tension and the plunger tube staked to the side of the gun for any looseness. If either of these areas shows problems, move instantly to rectify them. �

Modifications? Leave the gun as stock as possible. If you must customize, do so with extreme moderation. Either leave your hammer/sear alone or, if you must have a trigger job, let only a shop that knows what it’s doing modify this critical area. If your slide stop is popping up, have the slide stop dimpled by a competent pistolsmith. On the small, Officer’s ACP-size guns, replace the stock bushing with an aftermarket bushing designed to stay in the piece. Let only the best pistolsmiths touch your gun. I like to put my preferred sights on a 1911, but that’s a matter of personal preference and not an absolute necessity. And that’s about it. �

You in the front row….yeah, you with your hand up. You have a question? �

“So, you’re saying that you’ve got to know the 1911 inside out to get the best out of it? You’ve got to know what ammo to feed it, buy good mags for it, know how the various parts work and know where the weak points are in the design so you can have advanced warning if anything’s about to let go. Is the gun really worth all this effort?” �

Emphatically, yes; the 1911 is worth it. The 1911’s overwhelming virtue is how easy it is to shoot. Quite simply, the 1911 design gives us the shortest, most controllable trigger pull of any handgun. In this area, all other one-hand guns must take a back seat to the grand old design. In my recent article on the easiest handguns to shoot, the Colt Government Model outshot several of the more modern designs, placing third out of five guns I tested. I believe it might have placed even higher, but I was determined that all the guns in my shootout be as stock as possible, so before testing the Government Model I replaced the excellent wooden Spegel grips the piece normally wore with the rubber wraparound grips that had come stock on the gun. The rubber wraparounds really bulked up the grip, changing a gun that had fit my hand wonderfully well into a gun that didn’t fit my hand at all. The fact that I was still able to fire the piece well is, I feel, a tribute to the Government Model’s inherent shootability. �

Another thing I like very much about the 1911 is that it’s the only serious, heavy-duty combat handgun out there that can be totally detail stripped without tools. Not to get too Zen here, but when I know I can totally disassemble my carry gun and put it back together again using nothing but my own hands, it gives me a wonderful sense of being one with the gun. �

No, the 1911 is not a gun for the casually interested. However, for the dedicated shooter who’s willing to take the time to get to know the design intimately, the 1911 is still a superior choice in a defensive handgun. Unlike most things in life, the 1911 has strengths that more than compensate for its flaws. If it’s not perfect, well, what is?? �

Glock Armorer’s Report

A CERTIFIED ARMORER’S THOUGHTS ON AFTERMARKET PARTS
The Glock’s sustained popularity among both law enforcement and civilian shooters in this country has given rise to a vast array of aftermarket parts, accessories and gunsmithing services, to the point where (arguably) only the 1911 is more “customizable”.

That said, most of the aftermarket parts (as opposed to accessories) are sold by guys who make their living selling parts, and are not really necessary or beneficial to the performance of the Glock pistol. Most Certified Glock Armorers – myself included – are not very keen on aftermarket parts, and for good reason. Gaston Glock designed his pistol a certain way for a reason, and it WORKS. Many third-party gizmos on the market not only fail to provide the benefits their sellers claim, but in many cases are unsafe or contribute to premature wear on the pistol. And using these parts will almost certainly void your factory warranty, especially if they should cause some sort of problem with the pistol. My general advice is to stay away from all titanium parts (titanium is hard but very brittle, and not suitable for parts like firing pins) and any parts that replace vital parts of your pistol’s operating mechanism (ie aftermarket connectors, trigger bars, firing pins, firing pin safeties, guide rods, etc). There’s a lot that can be done to improve a Glock by working with the stock parts and using aftermarket parts in non-critical areas (ie mag springs, sights, etc). This approach will save you money and most importantly will preserve the simplicity and reliability for which Glock pistols are known.

NIGHT SIGHTS
Having trained extensively in low-light and no-light environments, I am a firm believer in having night sights on defensive firearms, and would certainly not own a carry pistol without them. Many brands and designs of night sights are available for the Glock pistol family, but all use glass elements filled with tritium (a radioactive gas) to provide self-illuminating reference points for aiming in low light. Night sights are available as a factory option from Glock, which until recently used two brands (Meprolight and Trijicon) interchangeably. Recently they have gone to making their own sights and using Meprolight inserts. I have had four different brands of night sights on my various Glocks, and have found the greatest difference to be in the daylight sight picture they provide; at night they all show three green dots. 🙂 Below are my findings; your experiences may differ.

Meprolight – Currently imported from Israel by Kimber and available for all Glock models. I find the Mepro daytime sight picture to be superior to the other brands; the combination of high profile, narrow rear notch (or is it a wide front blade?) and white plastic inserts make these sights quick and easy to pick up, yet still capable of good accuracy at longer distances. Nighttime sight picture is three crisp green dots with good, even brightness.

Trijicon – The de facto industry standard, Trijicons offer an adequate daylight sight picture and good brightness at night. They have a lower profile and a wider rear notch than Meprolights, so the sight picture is not as clean, IMHO. Also, the white rings around the tritium capsules are white paint, rather than a plastic insert. This means that over time, the white highlights can fade or chip off, degrading daylight performance. Perhaps the biggest strike against Trijicons is their high price – generally $15-20 more than Meprolights.

Trilux – The Trilux name may be little known, but they manufacture OEM night sights for several major brands such as SIG-Sauer. The Trilux night sights for Glocks are similar in shape and design to Trijicons, but appear to be slightly dimmer at night. The Trilux design features a locking setscrew in the rear sight notch. The up-side to this setup is that installation is easy, even without access to an Armorer’s sight installation tools. Simply start the rear sight into the dovetail with a mallet and punch, then finger-adjust for windage. Lock down the setscrew when the rear sight is in the desired position. The down-side is that if the rear setscrew should work itself loose, the rear sight will drift out of position, and possibly even out of the dovetail! I highly recommend using a threadlocker on both the front sight screw AND the rear sight screw. Trilux are generally $10-20 cheaper than Meprolights.

IMX/PT – Made by Innovative Weaponry Inc. and sold under the brand names IMX and PT. The “New Glock Style” is a ramped-rear design that extends all the way to the back edge of the slide, and also features the locking screw. The IMX sights offer a sight picture similar to Heine or Bo-Mar competition sights, and the dots are VERY bright at night – brighter than any other brand I’ve owned. Both IMX and PT offer several patterns of dots, bars or combinations, in several color options. Mine were 3-dot green/green, and that’s what I recommend for optimum clarity and brightness. Some of the bar patterns are very fast but highly unconventional, and some of the non-standard colors (red, blue, yellow) are quite dim. NOTE: If your training includes one-handed weapon manipulation that involves catching the gun sights on your belt or holster to perform a slide rack, these sights are NOT a good choice – the ramped rear design will slide off just about anything! This caused me no end of grief in a recent FR&I Level III course, and I promptly replaced the IMX sights on both my G23s with Meprolights upon my return!

TRIGGER ENHANCEMENTS
The stock Glock trigger is very easy to manage and is conducive to accurate shooting. That said, many shooters transitioning from single-action pistols have difficulty adapting to Glock’s Safe Action system. Additionally, the mass-produced stamped metal parts and slightly varying tolerances found in the Glock fire control system can result in a significantly different trigger “feel” from one stock Glock to the next. Fortunately, there are ways to customize or improve a Glock’s trigger action simply by reconfiguring or working with the stock parts, rather than replacing them with expensive aftermarket parts that may render the gun unsafe.

The Trigger Bar – the serrated trigger face found on the compact and subcompact Glocks may be replaced with the smooth trigger found in the larger-frame pistols. Some find the smooth trigger to provide a more comfortable, positive contact between the trigger face and trigger finger. Note that the trigger is permanently attached to the trigger bar, so the whole assembly must be replaced. Additionally, the vertical extension of the trigger bar (which bears against the firing pin safety) and the rear “slope” (which bears against the connector) may be lightly polished to remove machining imperfections and generally smooth the trigger pull (see “Trigger Job in a Can” below).

The Trigger Spring – the standard Glock trigger spring is a coil-type unit that, when paired with the standard connector (see below), yields a nominal trigger pull of 5.5 lbs. This spring may be replaced with either the NY1 or the NY2 spring to create a heavier, more consistent (ie revolver-like) trigger pull of 8 or 12 lbs., respectively.

The Connector – this is an angled metal piece against which the trigger bar bears, creating resistance and giving the trigger pull much of its weight. The standard connector is unmarked. There is also a “-” or competition connector which results in a trigger pull of about 3.5 lbs. when used with the standard spring. This is the stock setup in Glock’s 17L, 24, 34 and 35 competition pistols, but is generally regarded as too light for duty or self-defense use. Also available is the little-seen “+” connector, which produces a pull of roughly 8 lbs. with the standard spring. This is commonly found in police duty guns, and the feel is similar to that produced by the standard connector paired with the NY1 spring.

Using these three main components in various combinations, it is possible to greatly alter the trigger feel of a Glock pistol without sacrificing any of its safety or reliability properties, or voiding the factory warranty. WARNING! NEVER combine the NY1 or NY2 springs with the “+” connector! The resulting trigger pull may be too heavy to engage, or other reliability problems may arise.

The Carry Trigger – My preferred trigger configuration for a carry Glock is what I call the “carry trigger” (catchy name, huh?). It is really nothing more than a NY1 spring paired with a “-” connector. This combination provides resistance from the beginning, eliminating the initial slack or “dead space” found in the stock Glock trigger pull. This results in a more consistent, DAO-type feel, similar to my Kahrs or a tuned DA revolver. The NY1 spring also gives a more positive trigger reset which allows faster followup shots. Finally, the “-” connector eliminates much of the weight added by the NY1 spring, keeping the pull weight to somewhere near stock (about 3/4lb. heavier, instead of some 3lbs. heavier with the NY1 alone). The only real downside to this arrangement is that the NY1 spring returns the trigger so energetically that it may “slap” the trigger finger a bit, causing finger fatigue or even blistering during extended (several hundred round) shooting sessions.

Reduced-Power Striker Spring – This part from Wolff Gunsprings reduces the force that cocks and releases the striker, lightening both take-up pressure and trigger break pressure by approximately one pound. The resulting pull is much smoother and lighter, but does not come without a cost! Lighter spring pressure means the striker is propelled forward with less velocity, and therefore it may lack sufficient force to detonate harder primers (military surplus, CCI, etc). For this reason, this part is intended for use in competition pistols and is not recommended for duty or carry weapons! If your Glock pistol is used for both defensive and competition purposes, you may want to purchase a separate firing pin assembly with the reduced-power spring installed. That way you can just drop in the “competition” assembly prior to a match, and reinstall the “carry” assembly afterward. If you insist on carrying a defensive weapon with a reduced-power spring installed, do so only after extensive testing with various types of ammunition, and use only ammunition with which the pistol has proven reliable!

The Trigger Job In A Can
The following was forwarded to me by Glock List member Keith Holmes, and is reproduced here with his permission. I have performed this procedure on several of my Glocks, to good effect.

The Holmesmade Trigger Job in a Can is in no way a new process. It is simply a means of hand lapping the trigger bar to the disconnector and I accept no responsibility for or from you or anyone else for using the directions posted here. If you fuggup your gun listening to a ham fisted hack like me on the Internet, it’s your fault. I tacked my name on to it, because I thunk it up on my own, all by my self. This in no way implies that others have not come up with the same fool thing I did, but I put it up on the Glock List before anyone else that I am aware of. So there! 🙂 To perform this operation you will need some Flitz polishing compound (Don’t use anything more abrasive that Flitz! You’re just smoothing things up a bit, not grinding fancy new shapes into your gun’s parts), basic gun cleaning gear and your head screwed on straight. Knowing the proper procedure for detail stripping your Glock is also a good idea. I recommend having fired at least 250 rounds (more is better, here) through the gun before embarking on this adventure. This is to settle everything into place and diagnose any possible glitches in the gun before making any modifications to it.

Now that the standard disclaimers are in place, clear the weapon, chamber and magazine, and put all the ammunition in another room, so the ammo fairy doesn’t drop by and leave you a little surprise. Disassemble the gun in proper order and give all the parts in the trigger group a good wipe down, at the least, to remove any oils, greases, crud, gunk or other fouling from the parts. Coat the disconnector and trigger bar with Flitz on all wear points (the shiny spots where the parts rub together), then reassemble up to the point where the trigger block assembly (including trigger spring), trigger/trigger bar assembly, locking block, trigger pin and grip pin are in place. You will not need the slide release right now, but you can go ahead and install the locking block pin, just for grins. T’ain’t necessary, though. Now, keep gentle counter pressure on the vertical extension of the trigger bar while you carefully work the trigger bar back and forth. This will feel fairly gritty at first and may jam up, so DON’T force it. Go nice and easy and take your time. After a couple dozen strokes the action will start smoothing up and it will get easier. A few dozen more strokes and everything will feel nice and smooth, almost glass-like. This is the point where you want to stop! Do not continue on from this point or you may cause excessive wear on critical parts of your gun. That’s the beauty of doing this by hand. A machine polish can go way too far, way too quickly and will not mate up the surfaces, which is what you have just done.

Disassemble the lower receiver again and give everything the most thorough cleaning you have ever done, including the frame, to remove every last trace of polishing compound from every nook and cranny of all the parts, including springs. This is to prevent bits of compound from getting back into places you don’t want them to be and causing you much grief and undue stress later on. The trigger bar and disconnector wear points will have a shiny, mirror like appearance to them and will be near perfectly matched. After cleaning and drying everything, reassemble the gun, lube to spec. and run a basic systems check to verify that nothing bad has happened along the way. Now practice dry firing the gun a few hundred times to familiarize yourself with your new and improved trigger action and head on down to the range for live fire practice to see if you’ve done any good. 🙂 I use Tetra Gun grease to lube the trigger and disconnector as I find it helps smooth up the action a bit more. It’s much better than oil, IMPO. Other greases should work just as well.

So, there you have it, folks! The Holmesmade Trigger Job in a Can! All grammatical and punctuational errors are intended and all responsibility, liability and accountability of any kind are expressly denied, refused, negated, null and voided. Use of the above directions is at your own risk.

The folks at Glockmeister.com have compiled an interesting report on the actual pull weights achieved by various trigger configurations. You may want to consult this as a guide to achieving the results you desire, and remember that lighter isn’t necessarily better! I’ve shot better match scores with my carry-configured G23 than I have with my dot-sighted G17 Unlimited gun with a 3.3lb. pull…

EXTENDED SLIDE STOP

This factory part was introduced by Glock with the G34/35 “Tactical Longslide” pistols, but can be installed in all Glock models except the G36. It features a built-up shelf at the rear which gives better leverage to release the slide from the locked-open position. Note that Glock Inc. and several noted pistol instructors do not recommend using the slide stop lever as a slide release. Instead, they advocate the “overhand” method, where the off hand wraps over the top of the slide and tugs to the rear, causing the slide to return to battery. The factory extended slide stop, however, also makes it easier to lock the slide open for unloading and malfunction clearance, as well as providing an easier option for releasing the slide during one-handed drills. I have this part on all my Glocks (except the G36, which it will not fit without modification) and find it quite convenient.

EXTENDED MAGAZINE CATCH
Some confusion exists regarding the history of the Glock extended mag catch (mag release). According to Peter Kasler’s book Glock: New Wave in Combat Handguns, Glock developed an extended-length magazine catch for the G17/19, which then became the “stock-length” part used in the large-frame G20/21. If this is the case, then why did Glock never produce an extended mag release for the G20/21, as Kasler claimed they had plans to do in the early 90s? The alternate story, which makes more sense to me, is that the “extended” mag catch for the 9/40/357 Glocks is nothing more than the stock-length part from the large-frame pistols, and there never was a dedicated “extended” mag catch developed for either frame size. Whatever the case, the extended mag catch button protrudes about an extra 1/8″ from the grip of the pistol. This is not long enough to greatly increase the chances of accidental activation (except perhaps in certain tightly-fitted holsters), but it is enough to make magazine release more positive and easier to accomplish under stress, and makes the button accessible to average-sized hands without needing to break the shooting grip as much. Because of its simplicity, low cost and effectiveness, I recommend the stock Glock part over the two-piece, custom-fitted and metal extended mag releases offered by aftermarket manufacturers.

THE PLUG
As a side effect of the frame-molding process, Glocks possess a hollow cavity behind the magazine well, which extends the full height of the grip and has a small opening into the action. Dust, dirt, lint and other debris tends to gather here – especially in guns that are carried a lot and rarely cleaned or are stored improperly. In addition to being unsightly, the possibility exists that this accumulated crud may eventually migrate into the working parts of the firearm and cause malfunctions. The simple solution is to seal the entrance to the cavity with a device commonly known as “The Plug”. Two basic styles of plugs are offered. The Jentra plug fits flush with the base of the grip, while the Scherer Slug Plug protrudes slightly, doubling as a bevel or ramp to help guide the magazine into the well. The plugs for large-frame, standard and compact glocks all lock into place using the lanyard hole at the bottom of the backstrap. The subcompact Glocks lack the lanyard hole, so the plugs for those models are simply friction-fit into place. I have noticed that newer subcompact Glock frames lack the half-moon cutout at the bottom of the mag well’s back wall. The Jentra plug interfaces with this cutout in order to fit flush, and will not work in the newest subcompacts. This is just as well, as in my experience, the friction-fit plugs will work loose over time and with recoil, so I do not use them in my subcompacts anyway. Finally, the Plug not only prevents dust and debris from building up and infecting your Glock, but it also turns an otherwise useless void into a handy storage cavity for small tools, spare parts, or if it’s a race gun, extra batteries for an electronic sight.

EXTRA-POWER MAGAZINE SPRINGS
The weak link in the Glock system is the magazine springs. Because their production is contracted out, the springs tend to be of a quality far below what one would expect from Glock. They tend to “take a set” and become brittle fairly quickly, even if the magazines are infrequently used. This problem seems to be worse with preban magazines than with the “Clinton” 10-rounders. Fortunately, Glock mag springs are inexpensive to replace, so it is a good idea to have replacements on hand for when the inevitable happens. Rather than replacing poor quality springs with more poor quality springs, a better idea would be to install a spring specifically engineered for better performance. The main players in this market are Wolff Gunsprings and ISMI. I have used the products from both companies and they appear to be equally good. An extra-power magazine spring will fix feeding problems related to sluggish, worn-out mag springs, and will have the extra length and strength needed to function properly in preban magazines equipped with extra-capacity floorplates.

STREAMLIGHT M3 TACTICAL LIGHT

The M3 is a lightweight, high-intensity flashlight that clamps onto a Glock’s frame rails forward of the trigger guard. Powered by two 3V lithium batteries and producing some 90 lumens of light, the M3 is more powerful than a 3 D-cell conventional flashlight. The light is operated by a rocker switch on the back, which is accessible with either the trigger finger of the shooting hand or the thumb of the off hand. The operator may move the switch in one direction to produce a momentary effect, or move it in the other direction for “constant on.” Because the light is mounted on the pistol, the operator can use the same solid two-handed shooting grip as he normally would. Having the light affixed to the gun also leaves the off hand free to perform other critical tasks, such as using a telephone, opening a door, controlling a suspect or fending off a physical attack. The M3 is a useful accessory for a home-defense pistol, but note that mounting even a 3oz. device to a Glock’s frame will cause a slight shift in point of aim/point of impact. It is important that the operator train with his home-defense pistol with the light mounted, as well as without, in order to understand and compensate for this variance.

SCHERER “BIG STICK” GLOCK MAGAZINES
Prior to the 1994 magazine ban, Scherer Supplies produced extra-high-capacity magazines – essentially copies of the magazine Glock designed for the G18 machine pistol – in versions holding 33 rounds of 9mm and 29 rounds of .40 or .357SIG. Scherer magazines are less expensive than factory Glock 18 mags, and for good reason. On the surface, the Scherer mags are closer to Glock factory than any other aftermarket magazine. Like Glock, the Scherer “Big Sticks” have a polymer shell bonded to an inner metal liner on three sides (NFML). The baseplate has the proper locking insert and tabs, and the back of the magazine has witness holes identical to Glock’s. Scherer even puts their markings in the same place where the Glock logo would be. But alas, the similarities seem to be only cosmetic; the durability and reliability for which Glock is known simply doesn’t carry over to the Scherer product. I used to own several of the “Big Stick” mags. Even when the mags were brand new, they would not load to capacity or feed properly. I replaced the springs with ISMI extra power springs and the followers with Glock followers. That fixed the feeding issues, but after running the mags in my G17 and Mech Tech CCU, the mag lips began to chip and crack at the front where there was no metal liner. This caused more feed malfunctions, so I sent the magazines back to Scherer for repair or replacement. For $5.00 to cover return postage, Scherer replaced all four magazines. I chose one of the bunch and test fired it in my G17, only to have the problem repeat itself. I sent this mag back for replacement, and upon getting a new one back, promptly sold them all. If you absolutely MUST have 30-some rounds on tap for your pistol or carbine, then I recommend you spend the extra money and get factory Glock G18 mags. With the money I got from selling my Scherer mags, I was able to purchase several factory Glock 17rd mags with +3 baseplates. These give me 20 rounds rather than 33, but are of much higher quality and are far more practical.

http://home.comcast.net/~shooter2_indy/glockgear.html

http://www.stevespages.com/pdf/glock_armorers_manual_update.pdf

Terminal Ballistics

Terminal Ballistics as Viewed in a Morgue


Comments by Deadmeat2 (and a few others) found on the SW Forum �
Archived on Mouseguns.com July 13, 2006 �
Original Post is Here

One of the benefits of working in a morgue is that I get to see what works and what doesn’t. Ballistic gelatin is good as far as it goes, but there’s nothing like seeing what a bullet actually does once it strikes bone, flesh, and organs. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t always mimic ballistic gelatin.

The other is that I get to hear some great CCW stories. Here’s one of them: A recently-married couple living in one of the less desirable sections of Atlanta decided that for safety purposes they should get a handgun and learn how to shoot it. They bought a Glock 27 in .40, CCW permits, and made regular trips to an indoor range.

One evening, having just come back from the range, they cleaned and loaded the Glock and had left it on the coffee table in the living room, intending to put it up later. Shortly thereafter they heard a knock at the door and, expecting company, opened it without looking through the peephole.

A crazed male entered the apartment brandishing a handgun yelling, “Give it up, give it up!” The husband said that it was obvious the individual was high on drugs and there was absolutely no question in his mind that both he and his wife were going to die. Knowing this, he decided that his only option was to go down fighting.

The BG forced them both down a narrow hallway into the living room, screaming all the while. The husband was in the lead, followed by his wife, and then the BG, whose view of the living room was being blocked by the husband and wife.

The husband reached down, grabbed the Glock, pushed his wife aside, and fired one shot at the BG, striking him dead center in the middle of the chest. Although knocked to the floor, the BG still made a feeble attempt to retrieve his own gun. At this point, the husband let him hold another one to the chest. That ended that little problem.

Upon talking to the still-shaken husband, the police said he could remember little of what all the BG had said. As he recalled it, “All I can remember is that his first words were ‘Give it up!” and his last words just as he saw the Glock were “Oh, (fill in the blank)!”

I see an average of 8.2 autopsies per day/365 days per year, and I can tell you that when the chips are down, there’s nothing that beats a 12-gauge. As for handguns, the name of the game is not only shot placement but how a properly-placed bullet acts once it gets there. I’ve seen folks killed by a bb to the eye and others survive after being hit by several well-placed rounds with a 9mm.

As for me, I’ll take a slow-moving .45 to a gun fight any day. I absolutely despise a 9mm for defensive situations (yes, they will eventually kill but often not quickly enough to prevent the BG from doing you in first)and a .380 as well. These are probably the two calibers I see most often on the autopsy table.

But then, I’ve seen most everything. I’ve seen a guy killed by a .416 Rigby, as well as a suicide to the head with a .44 Mag that didn’t penetrate the skull on the other side.

The long and short of it is that you just don’t know how ANY bullet will react to tissue and bone until you open them up and take a look. I’ve seen hardball fragment and hollowpoints act just like hardball. That said, shoot what you’re comfortable with and place your shots well whatever caliber you use.

The .357 is gloriously effective. It’s just that semi-autos are much more common than they used to be, so we see far more 9mm and .380 rounds on the autopsy table than we do the .38 and .357. Particularly among the gangbangers, the 9mm and .380 are the weapons of choice. The .357 is a wonderfully effective round for self-defense from what I’ve seen, but it’s rare that we get them in anymore.

Again, this is from experience that I’ve made my calls on what works and what doesn’t. I have no use for mouse guns like the .32, although it’s a lot better to have a mouse gun than nothing at all. Personally, I’ll never carry anything smaller than a .40 and prefer the .45. Day in and day out, results from the autopsy table show me that the .45 is the gun to have in a gun fight, provided you can shoot it well. If not, it’s better to have something you can shoot well, even if it’s a mouse gun, than something you can’t.

Yeah, tell me about it, Smitty. I spent most of my life in Knoxville, TN and absolutely loved it. But then, my job is working in the Medical Examiner’s Office, and, as you said, this is a target-rich environment. Having a job in an Atlanta morgue is job security at its best.

KRL, I’ll take slow and heavy to light and fast any day. What I want is a round that plows through bone and tissue and expends ALL of its energy in the body. That said, the 125-grain .357 is marvelously effective.

S/W-Lifer, You’re correct in what you’re thinking. Yes, the 9mm and .380 are the rounds I most often see on the autopsy table, but they’re also the rounds that usually require multiple hits to make the kill. The standing joke in the morgue is to guess the caliber by looking at the x-rays. If multiple rounds show up on the x-rays more often than not it’s a 9mm or .380 (or .32 or .25 or some mouse gun caliber). If only one round shows up, it could be an inordinately good hit with a .380 or 9mm, but more likely it’s a .40 or .45.

Yes, the .380 and 9mm will do the job, but usually multiple hits are required as opposed to single hits with a .40 or .45.

Instead of individual replies to each of these questions, let me see if I can narrow some observations down into one long one. Forgive me if some of these have been in other posts, but they bear repeating.

First, ballistic gelatin, being all that’s available for most bullet testing, is good as far as it goes but it’s often far different from what we see in the morgue. A far more realistic scenario would be to dress up ballistic gelatin with a heavy coat of denim to mimic blue jeans, embed some bones obtained from a butcher shop, and throw in a few objects of varying densities to mimic organs. Try it again, and I think you’ll see that this impressive wound cavity that’s so often seen in ballistic gelatin goes down the tubes. The human body isn’t just composed of one density as ballistic gelatin is, and the bullet does various things to various parts of the body as it passes through.

And that’s why I think observations from a morgue are so important. Day in and day out, I get to see what works and what doesn’t. More than that, I get to see what the same caliber does with various bullets weights and designs and how it reacts to different parts of the body. The best of all are when the gangbangers use the mix and match technique and shoot a variety of bullets in the same magazine and these bullets wind up in the same victim shot from the same gun. Hardball and hollowpoints in the same body from the same gun give a great comparison on the effectiveness of each.

So let me give a few thoughts here. First, as you’ve pretty well guessed by now, I’m a big fan of the .40 and .45 for personal defense, and for the same reasons. They’re both big, slow-moving bullets. Of the two, I think big is more important. As I’ve said before, I want something that will plow through bone and keep going, not skip off of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a .380 or 9mm strike bone on a well-placed shot and skip off in a non-vital direction, leaving the BG free to return fire. With the .40 and .45, this seldom happens. Bone is in the body for basically two reasons–to give support as with the legs and spinal column and to protect major organs, such as the ribs protecting the heart or the skull protecting the brain. Skip a bullet off a support bone, such as the leg, and the BG will keep shooting. Break it, like you generally do with a .40 or .45, and the BG is going to hit the pavement and your chances of survival increase dramatically. It’s the same with a shot to the chest. Skip a 9mm off the sternum (breastbone) and the fight continues; plow through the sternum with a .45 and, trust me, the fight is over. I’m just convinced that all things being equal, bigger is better when it comes to bullet size.

I also like bullets to expend all their energy in the body, not only for the protection of nearby civilians, but because I think it imparts more damage. I’m a bit less certain of this one, however, than I am about bullet size. Whether a bullet remains in the body is often as much a result of WHERE in the body it hit as what it was hit with. If hit solely in tissue, more often than not the bullet exits the body, regardless of what caliber it was; bone, on the other hand, can slow the bullet dramatically and leave it lodged in the body. As I said before, I once saw a .44 Magnum enter the skull point blank between the eyes and flatten and not exit on the inside of the skull on the back of the head. Amazing!

As for the .357 being a well-documented man-stopper, I’m guessing that you guys are right in assuming that it’s mainly a function of velocity, but if someone wants to disagree I’ll have no issue with it because it’s a caliber we almost NEVER see anymore. When I was a cop in Atlanta it was the caliber of choice for law enforcement. Unfortunately, I only rarely got to see autopsies back then so I can’t speak from vast experience. With the increasing use of semi-autos, the prevalence of revolver rounds such as the .38 and .357 has dropped dramatically, and although we still see the .38 with some frequency, we almost never get to see the .357 at autopsy. Still, in its most lethal form, it’s a 125-grain bullet, the same as a 9mm in many cases, and the 9mm has a horrible reputation as a reliable man-stopper. Again, I’m only guessing that it’s a function of the higher velocity of the .357. The .41 Magnum, for all its hype about being the next great law enforcement caliber, never came into widespread use and I can’t remember ever digging one out at autopsy, so I’ll leave this one alone. And almost without exception, the bullet weight I see most often with the .44 is the commercially-available 240 grains so I can’t speak to anything besides that.

Remember, folks, that what I see on the autopsy table is most often BGs shooting BGs (sniff, sniff. Forgive me, my eyes are welling up with tears and I might have to continue this thread later. Ok, better now, so I’ll continue) or, worse, BGs shooting good guys. In either case, BGs usually aren’t students of ballistics, they aren’t NRA members, they don’t read Guns and Ammo, and they don’t sit down at the Dillon 550 at night cranking out some new handload they’ve read about. They buy commercially-available ammo and, occasionally, add some personal touches they’ve read about in the latest issue of Gangbanger Magazine, such as filling the cavity of the hollowpoint with mercury (Yes, I’ve seen it. Worked just like hardball.)or deeply scoring the nose of the bullet (worked just like frangible except that it came apart on the outside of the other BGs clothing, which is why we had this one on the autopsy table (sniff). That said, if we want to evaluate various bullet weights and designs that aren’t available commercially, we’re once again left with ballistic gelatin, and the more I see on the autopsy table, the less confidence I have in the results.

Finally, just a couple of answers to questions: First, Houston is mostly right in assuming that multiple rounds seen from the 9mm and .380 are from the higher magazine capacity and controllability of the two calibers. Again, however, much of it is due to the fact that these two calibers just aren’t getting the job done before the other BG returns fire and sends our BG to gangbanger heaven. Yes, the shots were eventually lethal, but many times not immediately so. And, yes, they CAN BE an effective weapon IF placed in a lethal area and IF the bullet gets the job done once it gets there instead of skipping off in a non-lethal direction. My advice, however, is to get a larger caliber such as a .40 or .45, practice until you’re comfortable with it, and use it as your carry gun, not the 9mm or .380. Practice will greatly reduce the first IF mentioned above, and a larger caliber will greatly reduce the other.

Please forgive the long-winded reply, but I guess it was still shorter than responding individually to each of you. As always, take what you can use, and if your opinion differs, well, that’s what opinions are all about, isn’t it? My guess is that this will generate other questions, such as which bullet I like and other questions about caliber, etc. If so, let me know and I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can.

Jeez, this thing has taken on a life of its own and I’m wondering where to take it. Do you guys think we should continue the bullet end of things on the Ammunition forum? It seems like it might be a bit more appropriate there since this thing kind of morphed out of a CCW story.

Also, as has been mentioned, I’ve got a bit of a unique perspective here having been a cop and now working in a morgue, so I’ve seen it from both sides. I’ve also got some pretty strong opinions on practice (having done plenty of it as a cop) and what happens with a lack of it (poorly placed shots in police shootings). Should I air them here (or not at all, if you aren’t interested) or move them to another forum. It just seems to me like the topic has changed enough that another forum might me more appropriate. Suggestions?

Ok, we’ll keep it here, I guess. I suppose the next logical topic should be bullets–hollowpoints vs hardball vs other types. First, let me address a couple of quick questions that have come up. Regarding the questions that Bill h brings up regarding the .38 Special, it’s a great question and one that’s hard to answer. Had I been in this profession more during the transition from revolvers to semi-autos I would probably be better able to answer it. As it is now, about the only time we see the .38 (or any revolver round, for that matter) at autopsy is with a suicide. Often it’s an elderly individual who has had a .38 in the nightstand for many years and only decides to use it to end their life. Almost without exception, the BGs are toting semi-autos with the 9mm, .380, and occasionally the .40 or .45. And, yes, I think the “spray and pray” mentality (gee, is that a misnomer) may well be responsible for the high number of poorly placed shots we see. It’s kind of hard to hold the old Glock over the head and sideways, Gangsta style, and direct a shot with any kind of accuracy. Fortunately, the gangbangers don’t know this or, if they do, do it anyway because it looks so cool. It makes sense that the limited number of rounds in a revolver might make one a bit more careful with a sight picture but I’m afraid that this is just speculation on my part. I cut my teeth with a single shot .22 where I had to make every shot count and that has carried over to any handgun I shoot today, be it revolver or automatic. I have a hard time understanding the “spray and pray” approach.

Hollowpoints are really hard to get a handle on. From my experience, the limiting factor on the effectiveness of a hollowpoint is that the cavity can and often does get packed full of something besides tissue prior to entering the body, and this can inhibit expansion. Sheet rock is about the worst although heavy clothing can be a problem also. Once you cram the cavity full of anything but tissue, you’ve essentially got hardball. But then that’s not necessarily bad either. With full expansion of a hollowpoint you’ve got to worry about the jacket separating from the core as well as weight retention. It’s largely weight retention that allows the bullet to continue to blast through bone and reach those deep vital organs that will end the fight in a hurry, and hardball is well known for maintaining its weight at autopsy. Once a hollowpoint does what it’s supposed to, it begins to lose weight, albeit in varying amounts depending on the construction of the bullet and what it hits along the way. Some retain weight well and others lose it rapidly as can be seen in the lead “snowstorm” often seen during x-ray. Some hollowpoints expand so rapidly and lose weight so quickly that they haul up short of reaching the vital organs.

I’m talking mainly about the .40 and .45 here, but a few words about the 9mm and .380 are in order. Since the weight of the bullet is a major factor in reaching the vital organs, why penalize yourself with 125 grains of 9mm when you can have 230 grains of .45? In other words, why start out light and have the bullet only get lighter as it passes through the body when you can start out heavy to begin with. Again, I know of the well-deserved reputation of the .357 Magnum with the 125-grain bullet, but I think this is probably more a function of velocity overcoming the limitations of a smaller bullet weight. But I have limited experience with the .357 so I may admittedly be off base here.

Also, and I may be going out on a limb here, I’m not altogether certain that hardball is necessarily a bad choice for the reasons given above. Look, folks, you don’t have to blow the heart into a million pieces; you’ve just got to hit it, and you don’t have to make the liver look like it just spent 10 minutes in a Cuisinart. Again, you’ve just got to hit it. All things being equal, yes, I’d rather have a properly expanded hollowpoint reach the same location as a hardball round since, for the most part, the hollowpoint will infict more damage than hardball. But things aren’t always equal. Unlike some hollowpoints, hardball generally has no problems feeding (as always, this is more a matter of knowing your gun and what it feeds reliably) and almost without exception it just plows along its merry way busting up whatever it comes into contact with. Hollowpoints, even the best of them, can do really strange things such as shedding the jacket, losing an inordinate amount of weight, or expanding so rapidly that they don’t reach the vitals. I’ve seen it time and time again and many times I don’t have an explanation for it. It’s just empirical observation and something to think about.

I’ve only seen one example of Federal’s Expanding Full Metal Jacket so I’m not qualified to speak with any authority on it except to say that the expansion was MOST impressive and it was a 1-shot kill. I’ve read other forums in which some in law enforcement made disparaging remarks about it, and one example is nothing I would want to hang my hat on, but I was impressed nevertheless. IF the EFMJ works as advertised, it would go a long way toward remedying the problems inherent with hollowpoints.

I’m sure there are some other questions here that have gone unanswered or more that will be generated. As always, this is just personal experience from seeing thousands of autopsies every year and may or may not conform to what you’ve read elsewhere. And if these posts are taking up too much of the forum, let me know.

Ok, let me give a few thoughts on shot placement. First, as j2k22 suggests, there’s no shot that will end the fight faster than a head shot. The brain is the center of the neurological system, and a shot there will end things immediately. The problem is that the head is very mobile and can be darting from side to side while the thorax stays still. A shot to the spine is also a very good choice, but the spine is probably no more than two inches wide and can be very hard to hit.

When all is said and done, go for the chest. Unless it’s a child molester or rapist, however, in which case I plan to give him a .45 caliber vasectomy first so in the event I don’t kill him with subsequent shots, at least he’ll no longer be able to commit assault with a friendly weapon. The body remains relatively stable, while the legs, arms, and head can be moving from side to side. Trust me, when the BG is sending bullets in your direction and the adrenaline is pumping, it does very strange things to a sight picture, so you’ll want to go for the biggest thing there is. On top of that, there are loads of really nice things to hit in the chest, any one of which will end the fight. There are plenty of arteries and large veins, bones that will prevent or inhibit the accurate firing of the weapon (e.g., shoulder blade, collarbone), or paralyze him (spine), and organs such as the lungs and heart that will shut down the BG if hit. And if you hit too low, you’ve also got a good chance of poking a hole in the liver, spleen, stomach, and other organs which, although they may not cause immediate death, may severely incapacitate the BG.

Remember, your goal in a gunfight is to incapacitate the BG to the point that his ability to fight ceases or he breaks off the engagement voluntarily. If you kill him, fine; if not, you want to wound him to the extent that he can no longer return fire effectively and you’ll live to see another day. Depending on how fast you or someone else chooses to call 911, he may not (sniff). Sometimes simply breaking a leg of the BG will end the fight; sometimes not. Sometimes, simply the muzzle flash from a citizen the BG thought was unarmed will cause him to reconsider. As for me, I’m going for the chest.

And, yes, I followed Elmer Keith for years as well as Skeeter Skelton and others (I practically worshipped Jack O’Conner) and, yes, I think he’s right on big, slow-moving bullets. As for Gold Dot, it’s what I carry in my carry gun (.45, naturally), although if I can see some more examples of the Federal EFMJ I might switch to that. Many of our LE personnel are carrying Gold Dot as well as others carrying Federal HS. Of the two, I’ve come to like Gold Dot better. I don’t know why but I’ve seen some really funky stuff with HS. When it works, it works great; when it doesn’t it’s pretty lame. In fact, some folks in my neck of the woods refer to it as Hydra Sucks, but I think that’s taking it a bit far.

I hope this has answered some of the questions. If any others pop up that are generated by this post, let me know.

Ok, let’s try to answer a few more questions that have popped up since I got back. Again, as has been seconded here, the .357 has a well-deserved reputation as a man stopper, and it seems to be regardless of what load is used from what I’ve seen. Unfortunately, we seldom get them anymore, but when we do it just confirms what others have said about its stopping power. Ah, if only all handgun calibers were this effective…

As for over penetration, yes, it’s something to be concerned about but not overly so. I see bullets that pass through the body and are not recovered every day. I can only think of a very few times, though, when over penetration led to an unintended target being hit after passing through the BG, and even then the other person survived if I remember correctly. Keep in mind that most of the folks I see on an autopsy table weren’t shot while going to prayer meeting, while watching an Atlanta Falcons game in the stadium, or during an AC/DC concert. BGs are opportunists, which means that they look for places where contact with civilians other than the intended victim is minimal and they can get away without being identified. Sure, some occur in large gatherings and in plain view, but by far and large most involve a minimum of people. As a result, even if overpenetration occurs, more than likely the bullet will lodge in some inanimate object, not another civilian. I’ll take my chances with a bullet that will get the job done rather than being unduly concerned with over penetration and selecting a bullet that is less detrimental to the BG’s health and wellbeing.

Hydroshock is something I’ve never been quite sure of, at least with handgun bullets. Seeing the wound cavity in ballistic gelatin is really impressive, and the theory is that even if the bullet doesn’t actually make contact with something vital, the shock wave created by the passage of the bullet will inflict its own damage. Maybe, maybe not. I can tell you that when one of the BGs comes in with multiple gunshot wounds it can be extremely difficult to determine the paths of each. We use steel probes to try to follow the path of each bullet in an attempt to determine the angle and trajectory of the wounds, and many times it’s almost impossible. Unlike ballistic gelatin, the body is not translucent so the course of the bullet can’t be seen. Also, unlike ballistic gelatin, which stays open allowing the damage to be analyzed, human tissue closes back up. Many times it comes down to making small scalpel slices along the wound path and trying to follow it that way. And from this I can safely say that I’ve never seen anything that approximates ballistic gelatin. Yes, there is damage along the course of the bullet, but usually it’s due to the bullet itself, which is ripping tissue along the way and fragments of the jacket or core that are spalling off and creating their own trajectories incidental to the main path of the bullet. As I’ve said several time in other posts, I just don’t believe that ballistic gelatin is a realistic representation of what actually happens, and I’m afraid that folks are placing their faith in a bullet that looks impressive in ballistic gelatin although the results are markedly different in the human body.

As for body armor, the idea of becoming proficient with the Mozambique drill is fabulous!!! Be ready to put one between the running lights if one is wearing body armor, but, again, this should be the exception. Of all the thousands of autopsies I’ve seen, I can’t remember a single one that was wearing body armor. Still, it makes a good case for being flexible and ready to go to Plan B should your first round or two bounce off a Second Chance. And there’s always the 44 minutes in L.A. to think about.

Now for rifles and shotguns. I’ll say first that whenever possible use a shotgun. Doesn’t matter if you’re using 7.5 shot or 00 buck, use a shotgun! Trust me on this one! A spray of birdshot to the ‘nads or the eyes can end a fight really quickly, and if the range is short enough a high concentration of even very small shot can make a really, really big hole. Also, you’d be surprised at how deeply small shot can penetrate at relatively long distances. And even if the distance is such that small shot will be ineffective, most BGs aren’t willing to chance closing the distance to get a better shot once they know a shotgun is in use.

Barring shotguns, use a rifle. And like the shotgun, it doesn’t make much difference which as long as it’s bigger than a .22 rimfire. The other day I saw a head shot with a .204 Ruger that was just beyond belief! An itty bitty bullet moving at .220 Swift velocities (about 4100 fps) is most impressive when it fragments inside the noggin. I’ve seen just about all rifle calibers used at one time or another, and they were almost all impressive. Unlike handguns, rifles have the velocity to drive smaller, lighter bullets deeply into the body cavity. Expansion (and often fragmentation) is complete, and damage is magnified. Often, on x-ray a “lead snowstorm” is seen in which lead (and copper from the jacket) separates from the core and tracks tangentially from the main trajectory of the bullet. These can and often do inflict their own damage, such as opening arteries or lodging in vital organs that were completely missed by the main path of the bullet. Also, if hydroshock exists to the extent that it will cause significant damage, I think it’s almost certainly with rifles, not handguns. I once saw a woman who committed suicide with a 7mm Magnum to the chest. Not only did it blow out the spine, it turned the vicera in the chest cavity into mush. No matter what rifle or bullet you use on the BG, it will usually be more effective than your handgun.

In short, my first choice in almost all situations will be a shotgun, followed by a rifle, followed by a handgun.

After re-reading some of my previous posts on wound ballistics and how bullet weight and velocity affect wound characteristics, I’m not sure I did as good of a job of explaining it as I might have. Let me see if I can rephrase some of this stuff and reduce it to something useful (I hope). I’ll try to keep the scientific end of things to a minimum, but some of it is necessary to get the gist of it. Anyway, the kinetic energy imparted by a bullet as it enters the body depends on two things–the weight of the bullet and the velocity at which it is traveling. Of the two, velocity is more important. Doubling the velocity quadruples the kinetic energy; doubling the bullet weight only doubles it.

When a bullet strikes tissue the kinetic energy begins to create a temporary cavity behind it, sort of like the videos you’ve seen of space capsules re-entering the atmosphere. Maximum expansion occurs some time after passage of the bullet (measured in milliseconds) and the diameter of the expansion depends largely on velocity (as well as tissue density and cohesiveness, but we’ve already touched on that), with higher velocities producing larger temporary cavities. The temporary cavity is extremely important in that it is largely responsible for producing injuries to arteries, veins, organs, and nerves that are not directly struck by the bullet or its fragments. In fact, it’s possible for the bullet to strike nothing vital at all but still produce incapacitation or death by the temporary cavity that does.

Because of the relatively low velocity of most handgun projectiles, the temporary cavity produced is generally quite small, extending only a short distance into the surrounding tissues. With high velocity bullets, such as with rifles, the picture changes dramatically. Because of the quadrupling of kinetic energy, this temporary cavity is GREATLY enlarged and subsequent damage to surrounding nerves, tissues, blood vessels, and organs is GREATLY enhanced, and fractures to bones incidental to the temporary cavity can occur even without the bullet directly striking them.

So at what velocity does this increased (hence, more effective) temporary cavity occur? From what I’ve read (and confirmed on the autopsy table) this is around 2600-2900 fps. At these velocities the characteristics of the wound change from one with a minimal temporary cavity to one in which the temporary cavity increases dramatically.

As for the bullet exiting the body versus staying in the body, I read just yesterday that most ballistic experts now agree that my suspicions all along are correct. Although kinetic energy is determined by the weight and velocity of the bullet, wound damage is determined by the kinetic energy lost in the tissue. In other words, kinetic energy lost when the bullet exits is not imparted to the body; conversely, when a bullet remains in the body, all of its kinetic energy is spent doing damage to the tissue. So I guess that finding a bullet that is less likely to exit is bad for the BG who gets hit and good for the civilian standing behind him.

Ok, so where does this leave us? It sounds like we want a big bullet moving at high velocity that bleeds (no pun intended) off its kinetic energy so fast that it stays in the body rather than exiting. Also, the weapon that shoots it would have to be small in order to be concealable (after all, that’s what the gist of this CCW forum is even though this thread has morphed far beyond that), controllable, and capable of firing multiple shots in rapid succession. Wonderful! Now all someone has to do is invent it because it certainly doesn’t exist right now.

Like most things in life, everything is a tradeoff here. In order to get the much-needed high velocity necessary to produce a large temporary cavity we’ve got to opt for rounds commonly associated with rifles and somehow put them in a handgun. About the only ones I know of are things like the Thompson Centers or the Remington XP-100, and somehow neither of these would be very high on my list of self-defense weapons. Concealability aside, working the bolt of an XP-100 in a firefight just doesn’t appeal to me. And if you think a snubbie can be hard to hide in hot weather, try a Thompson Center. Even if it were possible to somehow shrink them to concealable size and produce multiple shots, how easy would it be to control a caliber designed for rifles but put in a handgun?

So we’re back to handguns, when going out and about, aren’t we? Ok, think back to the two things that control our all-important temporary cavity, i.e., bullet weight and velocity. In most handgun calibers that are designed for self-defense, we can’t do a lot about velocity. We just can’t get the velocity up to the all-critical 2600-2900 fps, so we’re left with bullet weight. Again, doubling the bullet weight doubles the kinetic energy. So, do you still want to shoot that 125-grain 9mm when you could have a 230-grain .45?

Someone poses a question…

Master Deadmeat2,

Grasshopper is confused by this. Where does it leave or how does it explain the most-deadly reputation of the 125 grain .357? Does that reputation hold up if fired from a 1 7/8″ snub? Or the commonly carried .38 special +P launched from a 1 7/8″ snub? According to http://le.atk.com/pdf/SpeerTech38_135HP.pdf Speer Gold Dot .38’s (135 grain bullet) fired from a S&W 640 1 7/8″ barrel yields about 870 fps (which they compare with a 124 grain GDHP bullet from a Glock 19 with 4″ barrel at about 1,200 fps).

I don’t have velocity information for other bullets handy, but it would seem that to a CCW wheelgunner it would behoove one to compare their chosen caliber offerings for velocity from a barrel length as close as possible to what they carry, compared with the weight of the bullet, and look for the best combination of high velocity viz high bullet weight. I’m not sure what weight to give to bullet shape in this analysis, versus velocity and weight.

Steven Camp has done some of this and I’ll have to re-read his and your postings. Pretty much he recommends 158-grain LSWCHP +P .38 special from a 1 7/8″ snub revolver (Remington, Federal or Winchester) but the pages seem a bit dated. They are however EXCELLENT, easy to read and well illustrated. I highly recommend reading them. Hopefully they’ll be updated soon.�
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38vs357snub.htm (although a 2 1/2″ barrel was used for testing, not 1 7/8″)�
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38%20Special%20158gr%20LSWCHP.htm (refers to but hasn’t yet tested 135 gr GDHP)�
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Feedingthe38Snub.htm

Edited to Add:�
I just found this information on Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel rounds on their website �
http://le.atk.com/Interior.asp?section=2&page=pages/cci…ccispeer_GoldDot.asp

.357 125 gr short barrel is clocked at 1,000 fps from a 2″ vented barrel. Here’s some abbreviated muzzle velocity and 25 foot velocity in parenthesis info from the page on short barrel, with my calculation of % velocity retained at 25 feet:

  • 9mm +P 124 gr 3.5″ barrel 1150 fps (1089) 94.6%
  • .38 Spcl +P 135 gr 2″ vented barrel 860 fps (839) 97.5%
  • .357 Mag 135 gr 2″ vented barrel 1000 fps (966) 96.6%
  • .40 S&W 180 gr 3.5″ barrel 950 fps (922) 97.0%
  • .44 Mag 200 gr 4″ vented barrel 1075 fps (1031) 95.9%
  • .45 ACP 230 gr 4″ barrel 820 fps (801) 97.6%

I don’t know why they used a vented barrel for some of the tests. I would guess that most users would not have vented barrels, and that velocities would be higher if tested in non-vented barrels (but so would recoil/muzzle flip).

Deadmeat2 answers the question:

Ah, Grasshopper, the answer is simple. Master just does not know! Again, we seldom ever see the .357 anymore despite its well-deserved reputation for stopping power, so for me to wax poetic on the meditations of its unexplained power would be ill-advised. And yes, Grasshopper, your insight on carrying what you practice with is well-taken. There are innumerable combinations of barrel length, vented vs. non-vented, bullet construction, bullet weight, velocity, etc. The trick is finding what works, which is easier said than done.

The .357 is a bit of an anomaly. Despite its relatively small bullet weight, it is known in defensive circles as a man-stopper. Yes, it’s got a higher velocity than many other handgun calibers but not THAT much greater. But then, remember that increasing velocity results in a concomitant increase in kinetic energy, which then translates into a larger temporary cavity. Handgun bullets are just not going to come close to reaching the 2600-2900 fps needed for the maximum expansion of the temporary cavity, but ANY increase in velocity will increase kinetic energy. Maybe, then, the increase in velocity of the .357 is just enough to increase the temporary cavity to the point that it can often shut down human biological systems more often than other calibers. I just don’t know.

I guess the bottom line here, at least from what I’ve seen on the autopsy table, is that it’s a tradeoff of bullet weight for increased velocity. If I had some way of making the 2600-2900 fps in a handgun to ensure a huge temporary cavity, sure, I’d opt for it even at the expense of a lighter bullet. But we don’t, and although increased velocity can be gained by reducing bullet size, it often comes at the expense of penetration for a modest gain in velocity (temporary cavity size). All too often I see bullets stop short of reaching vital organs because they shed weight before arriving there. I’ll stay with heavy even to the extent of sacrificing some velocity.

Although we most often see the .380 and 9mm on the autopsy table, we’ve pretty well beaten these to death (no pun intended). Suffice it to say, I would never trust either caliber to save my life regardless of what round I carried in it. Why the government in its infinite wisdom ever switched from a proven man-stopper like the .45 to the 9mm will forever remain a mystery to me.

The .40 is another caliber we see quite often, mostly in police-related shootings, and the round carried has mostly been Federal HS or Gold Dots. Both have worked VERY well in most cases although the Gold Dot seems a bit more consistent. Remember, this isn’t scientific but is based solely on observation. It has just seemed to me that HS occasionally does some funky stuff, mostly when the cavity gets crammed full of something besides the BG. Usually this just results in non-expansion of the bullet, but as we’ve said before this isn’t always bad. The bullet just keeps chunking merrily along busting up whatever it hits. Gold Dot has always seemed to expand well, and I’ve seen several instances of cars being brought into the garage that have been shot full of Gold Dots during shootouts. The Gold Dot rounds have done a marvelous job of penetrating doors and windshields before venting the BG (sniff). It’s the round I carry in my own weapon.

Same with the .45. Although we see it less than the .40, it has a justifiable reputation of being able to put a stop to a gunfight VERY quickly. Again, we see it with Federal HS and Gold Dots, and both work VERY well. Of all the rounds I’ve seen that are 1-shot kills, it’s the .45 that is the clear winner followed by the .40. It’s also the caliber I carry.

Ah, the .44 Magnum. I’ve got 3 of these suckers and love ’em all. About the only time we see them in the morgue is during a suicide and, trust me, there’s no such thing as an “attempted suicide” with a .44 Magnum. Regardless of bullet weight or design, they plow through bone and tissue with ease. As I mentioned in an earlier post, however, I did see a 230-grain hollowpoint touched off between the running lights flatten on the inside of the skull on the back of the head and not exit. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

Most BGs shy away from the larger calibers like the .40, .45, and certainly the .44. They’re hard to conceal and harder still to shoot effectively. Most BGs don’t take the time to learn to shoot ANY firearm effectively let alone the harder to shoot larger calibers, and I doubt that many of them have ever gone to Gunsite or Thunder Ranch.

While we’re on the topic of Gunsite and Thunder Ranch, allow me to vent one of my pet peeves, if you will. That pet peeve is having a cavalier attitude toward qualifying. Let me explain it this way: I go to an indoor range near my home almost every Friday, mostly to get ready for an IPSC match the following day or on Sunday. A few weeks ago I was at the range when a guy took the lane next to me and put up a 50-foot silhouette target . After some period of time he leaned over into my lane and asked, “How do I get this thing downrange?” “Try the switch on the side”, I replied. He ran the target down to 10 yards and began blazing away with his Beretta 92. The holes appeared all over the paper, and the closest thing I could find to a group was whatever was defined by the margins of the paper.

Feeling comfortable that he was now in the ballpark, Bubba ran the target to 25 yards and began blazing away again. Half a box of ammo later he still hadn’t poked a hole in the paper, much less the silhouette. He then left, purchased another box of ammo at the front counter, returned, and began firing away. About 20 or so shots later I began to see a few holes near the shirt cuff of the silhouette, and he never got closer to the x-ring than a foot or so. He packed up his gear and on his way out said to me, “I’ve got to qualify tomorrow and I can’t shoot for (doodly squat).” “You’re in deep doo doo, pal” I replied. Once he was gone I retrieved his target and counted 7 holes in the silhouette and 45 on the paper but not on the silhouette.

I have no idea what his occupation is. Maybe it’s a policeman, maybe a security guard, but it’s something that definitely requires him to carry a weapon frequently enough that he’s required to qualify with it at least once a year. And if he’s required to carry it it seems to me like he should take the time to become proficient with it. But Bubba’s attitude toward qualifying was that it was something he had to do, not something he needed to learn to do.

In retrospect, I guess I should have taken him aside and said “Look, quit treating this like it’s a test you have to pass in order to keep your job! Think of it as a skill that might keep you or me alive someday. Think of it as a skill that might keep your wife from becoming a widow or your kid from growing up without a father.” It was obvious that he hadn’t been to a range in a very long time, probably since the day before he had his last qualification, and he’s unlikely to return until a year from now when he has to qualify again.

Folks, we can continue this thread until the next millennium and beat around calibers, bullet construction, velocity, muzzle flash, and a zillion other variables. Sooner or later you’ll have to make up your mind on what you think works and carry it. When the dust settles and we’ve made up our minds on what we’ll carry, I think we’d see that there won’t be a consensus of opinion. The one thing I hope we’d agree on, however, is that the best man-stopper in the world is absolutely useless in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it effectively.

Make every trip to the range count. Learn to shoot effectively; learn to call your shots. Learn how fast and how effectively you can place that second and subsequent shots. For those of you with non-adjustable sights, learn which ammo places your shots closest to the x-ring. Learn proper trigger control and proper sight pictures. Learn how to reload quickly and effectively.

As for the guy next to me who had to qualify the following day, I sincerely hope he failed and now has a desk job somewhere. The very job of a cop often places them in situations in which this skill, one that he considered a mere job requirement, could save their lives or those of someone else. Conversely, poor shooting by a cop has been the cause of the death of more than one innocent bystander. Yes, this was a cop or someone who was required to carry a weapon, but it applies to all of us, civilian and law enforcement alike.

Remember, that visits to the range are generally no-stress situations. You’re there to improve your marksmanship, and if you think it’s hard to poke holes in an inanimate piece of paper at 25 yards, it’s infinitely more difficult when 125-grain bullets are headed back in your direction from the perpetrator’s gun, the stationary paper target becomes a moving BG, and your shooting position becomes vastly different than the one you habitually use at the range. In addition, as I think I’ve mentioned before, an adrenaline rush from a real-life combat situation does the most remarkable things to a sight picture. In short, if you can’t place your shots on a non-moving piece of paper, how much more difficult will it be when that piece of paper becomes a 3-time felon whose sole purpose is to avoid going back to prison no matter what happens and no matter who gets in the way? Take your trips to the range seriously. Have fun, but take them seriously.

Maybe it’s my law enforcement background or maybe it’s having worked in the morgue for a number of years, but killing someone who is coming at me with intent to do me in is precisely what I want to do. For those who don’t, that’s fine, and I have no problem with it. We all make our own decisions and live (or die) with them. I was a witness at an execution by lethal injection last year and I have to say it didn’t bother me a bit; I also think that killing someone who is intent on doing me bodily harm would have a similar effect. Having seen innumerable innocent civilians killed by BGs, I’ll have to admit that an imperceptible smile crosses my face every time I see a BG supine on an autopsy table. I suspect the vast majority of law enforcement personnel feel similarly.

As for the .22, I agree with you that it’s a poor choice of weapons and probably about the last one I would choose if given a choice of calibers. Still, it’s a caliber we see quite frequently, and it might be good to know what damage it imparts. Discussing it is in no way an endorsement of it.

The reason it’s such a poor choice of a defensive weapon by now should be obvious. If you think 125 grains of 9mm has little stopping power, try 40 grains of .22 long rifle. It has been my experience that hollowpoint .22 long rifle bullets fired from handguns seldom mushroom; when fired from rifles they usually do. Also, when fired from handguns both hollowpoints and solids are often recovered relatively intact and undeformed.

Like most revolver calibers, the .22 long rifle (I don’t remember ever seeing a .22 short or long although ratshot shows up from time to time) is most often seen at suicides. The ubiquitous .22, since it’s the most commonly fired caliber in the US, is never in short supply, and many folks who own no other firearm own a .22. Most often the site of the wound is to the head, and penetration is almost always more than sufficient to get the job done. When fired from a rifle, often a “lead snowstorm” is created and shows up on the x-rays where the bullet fragments shortly after entering the skull. With body shots, either in defensive situations or suicides, multiple shots are usually required unless someone gets inordinately lucky and plants the bullet firmly in a vital organ. I’ve seen more than one example of someone who tried to commit suicide by emptying a cylinder into the chest and was forced to reload before completing the job with a shot to the head. As nvbirdman so rightly said, it has a well-deserved reputation as a very poor choice of defensive weapons.

Along these same lines, let me give a thought or two on pellet guns and bb guns. I can remember a number of deaths caused by these two weapons, one quite recently. In every case I can remember, the death was caused by a pellet or bb to the eye. The bone in the back of the eye is extremely thin and little is required to push a pellet or bb through it. Even worse, in the back of the orbit there’s a small area where there’s no bone at all and there’s a direct path to the brain. For those of you with kids, be aware of this and, as always, preach safety to them.

I hope the previous post was taken in the spirit in which it was intended. For many, there seems to be a feeling of comfort imparted by carrying a defensive weapon regardless of how incompetent they are in using it. Unfortunately, these folks seem to have a habit of seeking out an autopsy table.

Someone poses a question:

DeadMeat, I have a question for you that has come up in some discussions. Due to the laws of some states not allowing the transportation and/or possession of a handgun or in some places any “firearm”. The idea has been kicked around of carrying a flare gun. For the limited range that it most likely be used(1′-6′).And since it is not recognized by the law as a “firearm”, but as a signaling device it relieves the stress of legal problems. Have you ever seen a victim of or read a report medical or morgue of a person shot with a 12ga. flare pistol?

Someone else chimes in:

There was a pretty well known case among cruising sailors in the Bahamas. It made several of the magazines at the time back in the late ’80s. A man and his wife in a remote anchorage where attacked by a group of three local problems. They announced what they were going to do to his wife after they killed him with their machetes. He responded to the first guy over the rail with a 25mm white phosphorus round to his face at a range of about three feet. Perp ended back in his own boat doing alot of screaming. White phosphorus can’t be extinguished once it starts. 25 mm white markers burn for around 20 seconds and are very, very hot. His fleeing buddies dumped him on the beach where he expired after screaming for about 30 minutes. The couple had their property seized and where deported if I remember correctly.

Deadmeat2 replies:

No, I’ve never seen someone hit by a flare gun so I’m out of my element here. I did have a guy hit in the chest by a ‘tater fired out of a potato gun, though. Seems he and his buddies were having an alcohol-fueled softball game when one of the guys produced a potato gun and bet the batter he couldn’t hit a ‘tater fired from it. Believe me, if you’ve ever seen how fast a spud comes out of one of these things you wouldn’t have taken that bet! Anyway, batter up! Our batter was ready to do his best imitation of Babe Ruth, but, unfortunately the pitcher’s aim was a bit inside and hit our batter squarely in the chest with one of Idaho’s finest. It broke about half the ribs on the left side and severed a few major blood vessels around the heart. Needless to say, he didn’t get the walk to first.

When I started this thread a couple weeks ago my intent was just to relay a CCW story I had been involved in. Since then it has morphed into a lengthy discussion on calibers, bullets, velocity, wound characteristics, and other things. Also, judging from the number of views, it seems to have generated a fair amount of interest, due, I think, to a unique perspective of an ex-policeman and avid shooter working in a morgue. Please understand that I don’t profess to be an expert in ballistics since I’ve had no formal training although I have been hunting and shooting for the better part of 50 years now. What I’ve been relaying are simply observations based on empirical evidence I see every day in the morgue, nothing more.

That said, I’m wondering where else to take this thread, if anywhere. If you guys want to let this wither on the vine here it’s ok with me. If there are any other topics along these lines that might be of interest, we can continue it if you like. Suggestions?

You’re right, it is a good question, but one I won’t be able to answer, unfortunately. No, I’ve never seen a Glazer or MagSafe come through the morgue. Let me ask around a bit and see what I can find out. I got called out to south Georgia last night and will be gone through at least Wednesday and probably longer so it might be a few days before I can get back with you. Until then, if you guys can come up with some more questions like this one I’ll try to answer them when I get back. I’ve already got questions on knives (trust me, leave ’em at home if you’re expecting a gunfight although some folks still give them a try), assault weapons, and the .416 Rigby that I’ll answer when I return.

Jeez, what a week! Just got back last night from south Georgia looking for a guy who was killed six years ago. I thought I’d be there for maybe three days but wound up spending six…and never did find him. I’ll be heading back next Tuesday to implement Plan B for the search. I don’t think it was that hot last year when I was in Thailand identifying the tsunami dead!

Anyway, yes, I’ve seen the 145-grain Silvertip at autopsy (as well as the more common 125-grain variety) and like all .357 wounds I’ve seen, it was really impressive. For the life of me I can’t recall the details of shot placement or specific damage. I see so many gunshots at the morgue that I usually can’t recall the specifics of individual cases except to form an opinion over time of what bullets and what calibers work and don’t work. And, believe me, the .357 works! With any bullet style, with any powder charge. Carry it if you have it.

Oh, I do remember one from long ago that’s interesting. I never got the whole story on it, but it seems a BG somehow got hold of some .357 handloads that used a 148-grain hollowbase wadcutter–inverted, no less. Talk about a hollowpoint! I don’t know what velocity it was loaded at but from all indications it was really cooking and probably loaded the lands and grooves with lead as it traversed the barrel. Fortunately, he smoked the other BG (sniff)with one shot in the chest and didn’t blow up the gun with a subsequent shot. When we dug it out at autopsy it was about the size of a quarter and was about as thick. That’s one of only a handful of handloads that I’ve seen on the autopsy table but it was most memorable.

Let’s see if I can get to a few other unanswered questions. First, knife fights vs. guns. If given the choice, take the gun, always the gun. Bringing a knife to a gunfight is almost always a poor choice but one we see occasionally in suicide-by-cop. In these cases, the BG almost always loses. Fortunately, the Tueller Rule is (hopefully) now taught in virtually every law enforcement academy and distances between the cop and the BG that were widely perceived to be safe at one time are now considered well within the danger zone. By the way, there’s a really good re-evaluation of the Tueller Rule at www.usadojo.com/martial-arts-articles/article-21-feet-valid.htm. It’s well worth reading and serves to emphasize that a knife-wielding BG can be a formidable adversary and may well justify lengthening the 21-foot rule. Reading the article can explain it better than I can.

Oh, and, no, we don’t have the plastic injection method to determine the blade length, blade shape, and number of serrations that you see on CSI. Jeez, that just cracks me up!!! On CSI, they’ll take a syringe filled with some kind of liquid plastic, inject it into the knife wound, wait for it to set up, remove it, and then analyze the mold to determine the length of the blade used and whether it was single-edged or double-edged. Ah, if it were only so my job would be so much easier.

At the risk of morphing this thread even further than it’s already been morphed from the CCW topic, I’ll answer the question on smell and then maybe get back to the .416 Rigby, assault rifles, etc. To be honest, the smell is something you accept as part of the job but never quite get used to regardless of how long you’re around it. Actually, in my job I get the best of the best and the worst of the worst. For the most part, the skeletal material I deal with has little if any smell. Unfortunately, I also get the badly decomposed bodies that the ME can do little with because of the extent of decomposition. I had one in the other day that had more maggots than you could take out in a 5-gallon bucket, but it just comes with the job. Yes, they all stink, some more than others, but you learn to deal with it.

Frequently, we see folks come into the morgue to observe autopsies and put Vicks Vaporub beneath their nose. Now think about it. What’s the purpose of Vaporub? To open the sinus passages and help breathing, right? If you’re there to observe an autopsy of a decomposed person, is opening the sinuses really what you want to do? I don’t know where this one got started, but like most things psychosomatic, if you think it works it does.

The next question that will come up will probably be how do I get used to working around death? The long and short answer is that I just don’t know. Not to sound cavalier about it, but I honestly NEVER think about it. Sure, if I thought about it long enough I could envision someone on the autopsy table as someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, or dear friend. I could wonder what this person was like in real life and whether I would have liked to have known them. But I never do. In some way I don’t understand, I’m able to divorce myself from the personalization of it all and carry on in a clinical, detached manner that allows me to analyze the skeletal material to determine the biological profile, trauma, and, hopefully, identification.

I can think of only once when it bothered me, and that was more from personal effects than human remains themselves. I worked in Kosovo excavating mass graves and again for eight months in Bosnia doing the same thing. In Bosnia in particular, we often had mass graves that contained well over 200 individuals, women and children included. While excavating one mass grave I came across a Seiko watch that was nearly identical to one my wife gave me shortly after we were married and which I wore until a couple years ago. Since we’re now coming up on our 34th wedding anniversary, I guess I wore it for about 30 of those years and it remains one of my most prized possessions. In a poor country like Bosnia, a Seiko watch would be considered a large investment and was probably given at a special occasion such as a wedding or birthday. Upon seeing this watch I’ll have to admit that I nearly lost it and had to walk away for about 15 minutes until it was collected as evidence and was out of sight. To this day I can still see the date and time on that watch.

As for my wife, I NEVER tell her the specifics of what I do. She’s particularly sensitive to these kinds of things and would conjure up images of dead and mangled bodies in her dreams and during her work day. When I was in Thailand last year identifying the tsunami dead I would call home and tell her, “Yes, I worked in the morgue today. Sure is hot here but the beaches are beautiful and the guy at the motel bar makes a great margarita!” End of story.

There’s no middle of the road on what I do. You can either do it or you can’t. For those of us who can, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a good explanation of HOW we’re able to deal with it when others can’t.

Forgive the departure from the CCW format, but that seems to be the nature of this thread. Beyond my original post, I can’t remember any post that’s even remotely related to CCW, and now it seems we’ve even deviated well beyond the bullet, velocity, trauma theme. If this is getting too far a field, let me know.

Just got back from another three days in the garden spot of the world–the middle of a peanut patch in the middle of south Georgia so I haven’t had a chance to catch up on the unanswered questions but will try to do so over the weekend if I’m lucky enough to not get called out of town. Apparently in my absence my avatar took a hike, offended no doubt, by the graphic descriptions of the autopsies. I’m searching all the previous haunts now. Anyway, Plan B failed miserably and now I’m contemplating Plan C, whatever that will be. No, I haven’t forgotten about the .32 and I’ll send you the directions on some indoor ranges in the Rome area as well as get to some of the assault rifle stuff. As for the Vicks, it was in use long before The Silence of the Lambs came out.

As for funny decomp stories, here’s one. We had just finished autopsying a floater in a very small morgue. For some reason, there’s almost nothing that’s worse than a floater, and this guy was about the color of the Incredible Hulk when he gets POed. The first scalpel cut into him cleared the autopsy room and we came back several minutes later, dressed in Tyvek suits over our street clothes.

Following autopsy, we shucked the Tyveks and went to Mickey D’s for lunch. After getting our lunches we took a table near the front counter and were followed shortly thereafter by two other guys who took seats at a table near ours. Shortly after sitting down I noticed one of the guys wrinkling his nose and bending over looking under the table. He kept this up for a minute or so before walking to the front counter and asking for a manager. Being as close as we were, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation. As the manager walked back to the table with the customer I heard him say, “Man, I don’t know if someone’s thrown a dirty diaper under one of the tables of if something died in here, but this area STINKS!!!!!!!!!”

Only then did it dawn on me that it was US! The Tyvek kept off the decomp fluids but did nothing to keep the stink off the clothes. By the time we walked out, most of the patrons were looking at us with disgust wondering, probably, where we had parked the garbage truck. Lesson learned. After that, it was scrubs.

Desperado,�
So you live in Chickamauga? Great place and a beautiful part of the world! And you’ll also love Rome. My introduction to Chickamauga was in February 2002. I had just gotten back from eight months in Bosnia when I got called in from Knoxville to work the infamous Tri-State Crematory incident. The job fell to me because in addition to the remains that were found in the warehouse, in vaults, and in caskets in the back 40, there were numerous mass graves, and no one had ever worked one but me. I worked Tri-State by day and spent the nights for the next two weeks in a motel in Chickamauga.

Bill A,�
You’ve probably guessed my opinion of the .32 S&W Long by now, but I’ll proffer it anyway. In short, I don’t like it for self-defense. IMHO, it just doesn’t have the oomph to do what a defensive round it supposed to do, and I lump it in the same class with the much-hated (at least by me)9mm and .380. Actually, with the exception of the .357 (Magnum and Sig), I can’t think of any rounds that start with a number smaller than 4 following the decimal point that I would trust my life with. I like the .40 and the .45 better still when it comes to a defensive caliber. And think about it. Of all the countless articles you’ve undoubtedly read on which rounds and calibers to rely on for self-defense, have you ever seen one advocating the .32 S&W Long? I’m reasonably sure I haven’t.

Now for the .416 Rigby tale. Actually, I’ve seen two of them used, albeit in different ways. Many years ago when I was a cop I got a call of a suicide. It turns out that this guy had a extensive gun collection, one of which was a .416 Rigby. For some reason that I don’t remember, things had gotten bad and he decided to end it all with a bullet to the chest. Needless to say, the bullet went through him without slowing down, punched a hole in the ceiling, and blew a hole through the roof before achieving orbit around the earth. On the other side of things, the recoil blasted the butt of the gun off the floor and punched the stock about halfway through his TV set. Elvis would have been proud. Both the entrance and exit wounds were remarkably small, but I didn’t get to see the autopsy so I can’t report on what it did to the innards.

Also, while I was a cop there was a gun store, the name of which escapes me, that specialized only in high-dollar classic guns, such as L.C. Smiths, H&H, big African doubles, and the like. One night this gun store was burglarized, and the thieves got away with some really expensive guns. Several months later a local convenience store was robbed at gunpoint and the perpetrators were caught shortly thereafter. As it turned out, the gun held on the proprietor was one of the guns taken in the burglary–a .416 Rigby that the thieves had sawed the barrel down to 18 inches. As I remember it, they didn’t have any ammo for it, but somehow looking down the bore of the thing was more than enough to convince the clerk to hand over the money, which was on the order of $100. There’s no telling what the gun itself was worth before these candidates for MENSA sawed it off, but I can assure you it was worth far in excess of their take. As my favorite saying goes, “Against stupidity, the gods themselves fight unvictorious.”

Yes, I’ve seen the .32 a number of times at autopsy and was underwhelmed. Use it for targets; leave it for self-defense.

Many thanks to those of you in this thread who have encouraged me to write a book. In fact, I’m doing just that as time permits which, of late, hasn’t been much due extensive travel associated with my job. At the rate it’s going we’ll all be dead and gone before the first draft ever makes it to the publisher. Although some of it will undoubtedly include things I’ve seen in the morgue, most of it will be about forensic cases I’ve worked throughout the state and about working mass graves in Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Tri-State Crematory, as well as identifying the tsunami dead in Thailand.

My wife has been encouraging me to write a book for years. Her thinking is that because of my previous law enforcement background as well as the fact that I’m engaged in a job that very, very few people have, I owe it to law enforcement and the public to share my experiences. But I’ve always put it off. Somehow, it’s more enjoyable to shoot a Steel Challenge match on Saturday (like I’m doing today), an IPSC match on the Sunday (like I’m doing tomorrow), or crank out some rounds on the Dillon 550 in the evening (like I did last night), than to sit down and write after a long day at work. Still, I’m doing a lot of lecturing throughout the country these days, both to law enforcement and the public at large, and because of the current infatuation with forensics and the uniqueness of my job, everywhere I go I’m asked when I’m going to publish. I guess the time has come to take some of the PowerPoint presentations I give and begin to shape them into a book.

Please forgive this interruption of the thread, but in addition to the encouragement I’ve received in this thread, I’ve also gotten e-mails from some of you asking the same thing and I just wanted to clear it up.

Someone else posted:

I am asking here, in response to a question I read in the Reload Forum …. Would a .44 magnum, 180 grain bullet, at 1400 fps give better results than the hot Federal 125 grain .357 magnum ? Or, is the result similar to the .416 Rigby ?

That’s a good question, Hook686, and not one I’m sure I can answer with certainty. First, muzzle velocity on both the .357 and .44 with the bullets you named will be around 1400 fps, give or take a little. Since velocity quadruples kinetic energy, it goes as a tie. Bullet weight, however, is greater with the .44, and since bullet weight is the second factor in kinetic energy, the nod would have to go to the .44.

But there are other factors, namely whether it expends all its energy in the body or goes zipping through to expend it in some inanimate (hopefully!) object behind the BG. I’ll have to confess that I’ve seen few instances of the .44 in the morgue, but when I have, with one exception, the bullet exited the body and was not recovered. That means that much of the energy was lost because of overpenetration. Most of the .357 bullets I’ve seen have remained in the body, meaning they expended all their energy in the BG (sniff). This is where we want the energy to be lost, not digging a divot in the pavement or poking a hole in granny’s mailbox.

And then there’s the issue of controllability. Dirty Harry’s one-handed shooting notwithstanding, most of us just aren’t good enough to get off that often-needed second shot from a .44 with any kind of accuracy, at least not in the time we need to be able to do it effectively. The .357 is more easily controlled and therefore a better option for self-defense, I think.

In this case and with these two calibers, at least, I think the nod would go to the .357. Remember, at only 1400 fps, the temporary cavity is going to be quite small regardless of bullet size or design and the weight of the .357 is about 70% of the weight of the .44, which, although significant, is not THAT much lighter.

In my opinion (and as with all things I’ve voiced in this thread it’s only that–an opinion) I think the .357 would be a better choice for self-defense. It’s more controllable than the .44, the rounds typically do not exit, meaning ALL the kinetic energy is expended in the BG instead of only part of it, and its reputation as a man-stopper is well-known.

Amputator, �
Like you, I’ve read innumerable reports on which calibers and which bullets are most effective for self-defense and come away totally confused. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read reports such as a 1-shot kill by a .22 to the gut while a similarly-placed .40 was completely ineffective. What the reports don’t tell you is that autopsy it was learned that the .22 that sent our BG to the Promised Land just managed to nick the 12th rib and was deflected upward into the ascending aorta or the right ventricle of the heart and that the .40 missed the 12th rib by 2mm and exited without hitting anything vital. Was this stroke of luck mentioned in the report? No. Did it have anything to do with the bullet or caliber? No. Did the author draw the conclusion that the .40 is therefore ineffective? Quite possibly.

And this is where I think observations from the morgue are so important. As I’ve mentioned before, day in and day out I get to see what works and what doesn’t and why. I’ve learned that multiple layers of winter clothing can slow the bullet to the point that a well-placed shot won’t reach the vital organs (it isn’t Kevlar, folks, but it can be marvelously effective). In the shooting reports you’ve read, is the season of the year ever mentioned? Rarely if ever. Only in the morgue can we see which bullets tend to skip off of bone and exit the body without causing significant damage and which break bone and plow into the vitals. Only in the morgue can we see the effects of a 1-shot kill because it was placed in the central nervous system versus multiple shots to other organs.

Let me assure you that there’s a lot of poor information and mis-information out there, much of which is being used by the public to determine which calibers and rounds they’ll carry for self-defense. Let me give you two examples: Despite the hype and negative publicity given the Black Talon by our liberal media, in my opinion and the opinions of most pathologists I work with, I find it no more effective than any other hollowpoint. In fact, the Black Talon that ventilated our BG (sniff) is at least as dangerous to those doing the autopsy as it was to him because of the sharp projections on the jacket. Is it effective? Absolutely, but it’s not to the extent that it has been portrayed. Also, I occasionally hear the statement that a guy hit in the hand with a .45 will be instantly knocked off his feet. I can assure you that this myth didn’t start in the morgue, yet it seems to persist. Sounds like a good project for the TV program Myth Busters. Volunteers?

Because of my job I not only get to see what works but I also have to keep up with current literature regarding new bullets and calibers so that I’ll recognize them at autopsy. I have to read books that talk about sectional density, fluid pressure, yield tests, and drag coefficient and their presumed effect on bullet performance (and to you insomniacs out there, let me suggest that you read one of these books at bedtime. Beats Tylenol PM every time and it most certainly isn’t habit forming). Some of this stuff seems to make sense at autopsy, some is utter hogwash, and some I just don’t know about. Even my Ph.D. won’t let me make sense of some of the physics touted in these books.

Being the pragmatic sort that I am, just let me see what works and what doesn’t and skip the physics needed to get there. And I get to do just that every day in my job.

Yeah, the Black Talons can present real problems for those of us who work in the morgue, more for the pathologists than for me. They get the ones that are fresh and recently dead. I mainly get the skeletal remains and the ones that are so decomposed that the ME can’t do much with them. The fresh ones are often IV drug users, crackheads, prostitutes, and gangbangers that often have hepatitis, HIV, TB, or some other variant of nasty cooties that have taken up residence in their bloodstream. A nicked finger through a nitrile glove while fishing for a Black Talon can present real problems for the pathologist. By the time I get ’em, most everything virulent has long since croaked. Contrary to what you frequently read or hear about in the news, there just isn’t a whole lot of stuff you can catch from a decomposing body.

And, yes, Black Talons are exceedingly sharp and have to be recovered with caution. Problem is, that prior to autopsy we seldom have any idea of what bullet to expect, and often not even the caliber. But then a fragmented jacket from almost any round usually has some sharp edges and corners and can present the same problem.

As for the .500, no, I haven’t seen it on the autopsy table and don’t expect to. Remember, most of the guns of this size are in the hands of law abiding gun owners, not gangbangers. Gangbangers are usually of the previously-mentioned “spray and pray” philosophy, meaning they want something like a 9mm or .380 that they can shoot rapidly (somehow, shot placement takes a back seat to unloading the magazine as rapidly as possible for these guys), and the .500 just isn’t a gun to be shot rapidly.

OK – this may sound stupid and naive, but can’t you use a metal detector to help locate fragments?

The problem isn’t locating the bullet fragments because they show up easily on x-rays. The problem is trying to remove the darn things without butchering the all-important wound track. We try to remove fragments of the core and jacket whenever we can in order to preserve evidence for later prosecution, and sometimes the only way to find them is to probe the bullet track with the fingers, which can be a bit dangerous in the case of Black Talons.

DM2, thank you for taking the time to post your info on this thread. I have a question about the 9mm. I carry the Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P+ in my G17. This load is chronoed at 1265 fps. It isn’t giving up much to the 357 magnum. Have you seen any of these and if not how do you think they would do? Also, what about the 357 Sig; it is basically the 357 mag in an auto. Thanks!

I haven’t seen the 127-grain +P Ranger come across the autopsy table so in all fairness I can’t comment on it. Granted, velocity-wise it’s pretty similar to the .357 and with the 127-grain bullet they seem to be about the same here also. But as I’ve said in many posts on this thread I just don’t trust the 9mm for self-defense. The .357 Magnum and the .357 Sig, yes, but not the 9mm. No, I haven’t seen the .357 Sig at autopsy but from all accounts it’s pretty much a semi-auto version of the notoriously deadly .357 Magnum.

In the next two posts I’m going to bounce off a couple of things I’ve seen that can throw a wrench is this discussion of bullet types, calibers, and shot placement. One I’ve seen mentioned anecdotally from time to time in reports of shootings and the other I seldom if ever have.

We’ve already talked about physiological factors required to end a fight. Suffice it to say that the best of all worlds is a hit to the central nervous system. A hit to the brain or upper spinal column ends the fight then and there, be it from a bb gun or a .600 Nitro Express. That’s the good news. The bad news, as we’ve talked about earlier, is that these two areas are among the hardest to hit and aren’t real high on the list of areas we should be aiming at to end a gunfight. It’s the chest area that should be our focus since it’s loaded with high-value goodies that can end the fight quickly, if not immediately.

But in addition to physiological factors, we’ve also got a psychological component to consider. That is, what’s the state of mind of the assailant and how determined is he to continue the fight once the bullets start flying? For you students of the Hatcher Formula, you’ll know that this is not a new concept. I’ll try to summarize Hatcher’s thoughts here, taking a bit of poetic license from my own experience in the morgue.

First, there’s the assailant who, when the rounds start flying, suddenly remembers an appointment with his dentist to have a couple of root canals done. To quote Hatcher, he has “no stomach for the fight, or who has no expectation of trouble and is taken by surprise.” He will “quit at the first sign of trouble, and any wound, however slight, will put him out of the fight.” There are documented cases of assailants fainting at the first sound of gunfire even though they were not hit. These are the BGs we all hope to encounter.

The second group is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from this lengthy discussion. The gunfight starts, the adrenaline is pumping, and there’s an ongoing assessment of the situation. If a wound is slight, the gunfight may continue. If it’s significant, self-preservation usually takes over and the assailant seeks medical attention or at least breaks off the conflict in the hope of doing so. This is pretty much the normal reaction.

The third group is the assailant who is determined to kill you regardless of the consequences. Often they are enraged, drug-ridden, or simply mentally disturbed, and self-preservation takes a back seat to their all-important purpose of killing you. Of the three groups, these are the ones we most have to worry about. Cumulative, well-placed shots in the torso of these folks may well kill but not immediately, leaving them time to return fire.

Group One I’ve never seen because they never make it to the autopsy table. They live to fight another day or suddenly decide that going back to their mundane job is a bit safer than a life of crime. Group Two is what we see most often. Group Three, although I don’t see it a lot, really scares me. More often than not this involves police shootings, often of the deranged or inordinately determined criminal, or one involving suicide by cop. Often these are people who, at least in their minds, have nothing to lose and are determined that the fight ends then and there and either they or their victim will die in the process. Many times multiple, well-placed hits, although not ineffective, do not prevent the attack from continuing well beyond what would have stopped a person from Group One or Group Two.

You’ll notice that psychological factors are independent of caliber. The sound of a .22 may cause Group One to flee in abject terror. Likewise, a significant wound from any caliber may cause Group Two to reassess the situation, and Group Three will likely continue the fight regardless of what the BG is being shot with.

I’ll post the second part of this later and tie the two together with a third post at a later time. After the next post you’ll probably see where I’m going with this and hopefully it will provide some food for thought. That’s the good thing about working in a morgue. The things I see from day to day give me pause for thought, not only about weapons but about tactics and equipment, which is where this is headed.

Deadmeat,�
if you were to carry a 9mm, wouldn’t you say that the 127 grain +P+ Ranger would be THE load? A deer doesn’t know the difference between a .260 or a 7mm-08. I don’t think a person would notice the 100 fps slower 9mm. Just my opinion and no flame (disrespect) intended.

In theory I would agree with you; in reality I just don’t know. Remember, our BGs don’t sit around reading Gun Tests or some other magazine that evaluates ammo, and more often than not we never find out exactly what the BG was shot with except perhaps brand and caliber (and often not even that). So it’s possible that I’ve seen 127-grain +P Ranger and not even known it, but I think it’s more likely that it’s never come across on the table. Usually what we dig out is whatever was on sale at Wally World the day our BG decided to take some of his hard-earned drug money to buy some ammo, not what he decided to

Someone else posted:

This whole business of what caliber/bullet/load to carry for self-defense has been talked to death (pun intended) but that never stops me from joining in and offering my 2 cents worth. I always like to ask people about their expectations during a criminal attack. Do you expect to be attacked by 5′ 4″ 110LB 75 year old Mrs. Jones with her “attack umbrella”? Hey, stick that pellet gun in your belt and be on your way? Perhaps, like me, you think it much more likely you’ll be set upon by 6′ 12″ 325LB Louie Packaload who just got paroled from the state pen (assault on a police officer and possession of a big fat bag of crack) and who comes equipped with a big knife and a fresh load of heroine, PCP, or meth (or some combination of the three with a few shots of Jack Danials thrown in) pumped into his arm. Uh oh, did I bring the .380 or the .44 mag? Maybe its winter time and Louie is well dressed with a heavy leather jacket, a sweater, and a heavy flannel shirt. Now, whatta YOU want to be pack’n? Hey, shoot me with a 9mm +P+ and I’m on my ass in a heartbeat. Shoot Louie with the same load and you’ve got one pissed off ex-con to deal with. Friends, I’m a big believer is safety margins and there isn’t much of a bigger margin with a handgun) than a 200-240 gr. JHP clipping along at 1200+ fps and to hell with “overpenetration” I wanna win and I wanna stay alive. You pays yer money and you makes yer choices.

Well, you’re both right. All things considered I’d rather have a head shot regardless of caliber than a body shot with a hand cannon. But I, for one, just don’t consider myself good enough to do it consistently so I’m directing my bullets toward the chest. For those of you who can consistently hit the head under combat conditions, more power to you.

And Dusty Miller is exactly right. It isn’t going to be a Michael Jackson or Pee Wee Herman look-alike who holds you up at gunpoint. More than likely it’s going to be some drugged-ridden, bulked up, 5-time ex-con who makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like the runt of the litter. And for him I want the absolute biggest caliber and bullet I can control and fire effectively and quickly. And there’s no such thing as a margin of safety too large as long as I can handle it.

Yes, the 127-grain Ranger +P might do the job effectively. Or it might not. As Dusty Miller says, the margin of safety is just way too small for comfort for me. If you can learn to shoot the 9mm effectively, how much harder would it be to learn to shoot the .40 or .45? Probably not much, and believe me they’re both effective with any load.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I’ve NEVER failed to see a .40 or .45 get the job done. I can’t say the same about the 9mm.

By now you’ve probably figured out that I don’t like the 9mm for self-defense with any bullet. I’m a big fan of the .45 followed by the .40. I’m not intentionally avoiding your questions but the answer to them will become clear after the next post or two if I can stay in town long enough to get it cranked out.

Someone else posted:

This is getting ridiculous. Being shot 12 times in the chest with 9mm ammo and feeling “tired” is very interesting. Not knowing you are shot means is neural pain pathways are not working and he needs treatment because he probably has an auto-immune disorder. The 45 is in no way vastly superior to the 9mm. Just look at the physics and biology of a man. Plus, the blood loss from 12 9mm holes would cause death in a matter of minutes. All I am saying is if the 9mm is so poor, the 45 is not going to be much better. If you think it is so much better, what about it makes it so vastly superior to the 9mm? Let me say, that I have no love for the 9mm, I just think it is a good caliber and a disservice to people to mislead them into thinking the 9mm is weak or “for their wives.”

Your points are well taken, Patton21, and I agree with you to a point. But there’s method in my madness and if you’ll bear with me for a bit longer I’ll try to explain (but not try to convince) you why I believe the .40 and .45 are superior to the 9mm. You’re absolutely right in believing there’s no magic bullet and no magic caliber.

As has been stated before, I’m not schooled in ballistics and I make no assumptions that require that I be. I’m only stating what I’ve seen in the morgue, which I consider to be the finest university of self-defense. I’m far from an expert in ballistics, but having been a cop for seven years, a hunter and avid handgunner for half a century, and having seen thousands of autopsies gives me a unique perspective.

I’m only stating what I’ve seen, not what I’ve read about. Bear with me a bit longer, follow the posts, and make your own decisions at the end of it all.

Ok, if you think the psychological factor threw a wrench into the equation think about this one. You’ve just put three well-placed shots in the chest of some thug who was trying to do the same thing to you–and he stays in the fray! What happened to these well-placed shots that were supposed to end the fight? Enter the luck factor.

Even though our goodie-packed thoracic area is what we should be aiming at, there’s no guarantee that the vital organs contained therein will be hit. Hence, the luck factor. The temporary cavity of almost any self-defense handgun round is so small that it will pretty much take a direct hit from the bullet itself to bring about the much-desired damage. Believe it or not, there’s a fair amount of dead space (uh, let me rephrase that, non-vital space)in the chest that will allow a bullet to penetrate and exit without striking something vital. We see it from time to time and it’s the main reason that it’s tactically advantageous to continue firing until the BG is either headed to Gangbanger Heaven or he’s shot so full of holes that he probably will be shortly. The more rounds that hit the chest the better the odds are that at least one of them will hit something that will cause incapacitation.

Where I’m going with this should be obvious by now, particularly after the posts on the psychological factor and now the luck factor. Ok, you’ve just been attacked by some thug who’s high on meth, needs your money for another fix, has just gotten out of prison and is determined not to go back. He stands 6’8″ tall, weighs 350 pounds and it’s pure muscle. You’ve just put three rounds into his chest to no effect and three others have missed. He’s still coming, madder than ever. You do have your speedloaders with you, don’t you? Or, if it’s a semi-auto, please tell me you always carry a spare magazine! Surely you wouldn’t go out with only the ammo that’s in the weapon! Or would you?

Someone else posted:

Interesting thread. I am not sure I agree with some of the conclusions though, and based upon my own experiences and research I tend to believe that a good 9mm is about the same as a good .40 or .45 or .38 or .357. But I am always open to learning.

The “which is best” discussions seem to largely ignore issues such as gun weight, size, recoil, barrel length, bullet choice, shot placement, etc. Dirty Harry notwithstanding, most armed citizens and non-uniform cops have to deal with real-world weight and size issues that make a 9mm appealing. I also can’t help but wonder about anecdotal stories when the stories seem to defy common sense.

A 200 lb man is going to be substantially more affected by a .40 projectile weighing 165 gr than he is by a .35 projectile weighing 127 gr. and traveling at a similar velocity? Why?

A 9mm traveling at 1000 fps and weighing 124 gr is going to penetrate more than a .40 155 gr. bullet at about the same velocity? Why?

A 124 gr 9mm bullet traveling at about the same velocity as a 125 gr. .357 magnum is less effective?

The .357 is better than the .45 but a 9mm with similar properties as the .357 is much worse?

Help me out here.

I also am having trouble reconciling a few things:

  • 1. The most common gunshot wounds DM2 sees are from .380 and 9mm.
  • 2. He works in a morgue so these are all deaths.
  • 3. Therefore, he sees more people killed with .380 and 9mm than any other caliber.
  • 4. But the .380 and 9mm are ineffective as defense calibers?

(I understand that there is a difference between “stopping” someone and killing them, but this whole thread is about dead folks, not “stopped” folks)

Maybe more people shot with the .45 survive? Or are a lot less people shot with the .45? If so, what does that say about the validity of the conclusions?

I have first hand knowledge of a triple homicide in which the victims were each shot once with a .25 and stopped in their tracks. Do I carry a .25? No.

Why does DM2 say the 9mm is a bad choice? I can’t discern the reason from the data. If it that they didn’t expire quickly enough, fine, tell me more. Is it that when they come in they are accompanied by another dead guy, whom they shot after first being hit? Great, tell me more.

If it is just the fact that the deceased often have multiple injuries, does that mean the first round failed? Does it mean the first round didn’t work? Or does it mean these calibers allow follow-up shots that are harder to accomplish with larger calibers? Or does it mean they were killed by some whacko who just kept shooting? Are the multiple shots well-placed? Tell me more. What are the comparisons? If you have, say, three times as many 9mm shootings as .45 shootings you would expect to see a lot more weird results. What are the statistics?

If you have 40 shootings with a .45 and 50 with a 9mm and 7 out of 10 of the .45 shootings were one shot “kills” that might tell me something, but I don’t find that here.

I assume these are mostly killings by bad guys. What ammo did they use? FMJ? Where were the rounds placed? Just guessing here that if you randomly looked at 100 shootings with a 9mm and 100 shootings with a .40, both by average citizens or bad guys, you would find a higher percentage of old-style hollow points, fmj ammo and other less-than-ideal rounds in 9mm than you would in the newer .40. Does this factor in?

If I remember correctly, Atlanta P.D. went to the .40 a couple of years ago. How many of their shootings factor into this? One would assume they are using top-rated ammo and have a better record of well-placed shots.

Does this factor in?

What is wrong with the 9mm? Is it lack of penetration or lack of expansion, or what? Do the victims just not respect it and suffer less?

I don’t think there is much value in factoring suicides into this. In my comparatively limited experience, a suicide via gun is going to be a contact wound to the head/face or to the chest, and can’t be compared to a non-suicide. Same with an execution-style shooting.

I’m not saying DM2 is wrong, and I am not questioning his honesty or good intentions, just wondering about the data. I have no quibble with his caliber choice but I gather some people are thinking of switching calibers or ammo based on this thread. Fine, but does the data back up the conclusions?

I have heard the stories over the years about people being shot 10, 20, 30 times with a 9mm and barely noticing. Frankly, I don’t buy these stories. I got shot by a .25. it did little damage, but I did notice. I also have first-hand experience with people getting shot with .38, .357, .44, .22 .25, 9mm and .223 rounds and have seen some interesting responses from those folks, including a guy shot in the chest with a .38 and he wouldn’t sit still and wait for the medics. Interesting, but probably meaningless, although i don’t have much faith in wadcutteres now.

I would love to see some of the statistics or other data from DM2 on bullets, wound locations, etc.

Bottom line is this: I respect your conclusions, your background and your experience. You have more experience in this area than do I, and your opinions are worth knowing, but I would rather have data and facts so I can reach my own conclusions. Just saying “I’m a cop…trust me, the.45 is no good” or “I work in an ER and I would never carry a 9mm” or “my son was in Iraq and hated his M4” doesn’t give me much. Telling me how calibers and bullets work when they hit bone, muscle, intermediate barriers, etc., can be very helpful. In other words, I would like to hear more about what you have seen than how you feel. No offense…….

Another person posted:

Ok, sorry to be long-winded.

I continue to disagree. NO handgun round is a miracle weapon. IF any weapon gets that misnomer is would be a high powered rifle. I don’t understand this “myth” that the 45 is the “Holy Grail” of handguns; that if you are not using a 45 acp you are under-gunned. Isn’t the first rule to be armed anyway? What about shot placement? Oh yeah, in 4 years of law enforcement I have NEVER seen a meth/crack head that weighed over 200 pounds. Not that they don’t exist, just that I don’t think the chances of running into 6’8″ 350 pound Bubba are high.

Someone else posted:

Right, Chris. In the Glock annual this year they had the story of a policeman who went against some home invaders with her Glock 21, a .45 caliber. She hit one BG in the head and he stayed in the fight. She hit another (I forget where) several times, he too stayed in the fight. She was shot three times. One of the BG’s died later I believe. She and the other BG survived, and she’s back to work.

As to shot placement, a lot of people use that term. As you no doubt know in a real gun fight, often, you’re lucky to get a hit, much less a ‘shot placed’ where you want it. I guess that’s where a larger caliber bullet would be nice, even poorly placed it’s likely to do more damage than say, a .380.

A lot of stopping the threat, I think, is luck and having lots of ammo. I don’t have any statistics. but I wonder what percentage of BG’s are stopped by “spray and pray.” I’ll bet it’s a lot. Spray and pray, in fact, will probably be the default option for all amateurs and more than a few policemen. It’s a good one.

On the subject of 9mm’s. We had an officer a while back who was shot by his partner’s gun when the BG took it. (Most unfortunate, but it happens.) The officer was a big guy. He was shot in the upper left chest, and while it didn’t kill him, it clearly took him out of the fight. This was a 124 gr +P+ fired from a Glock 17 or 19. The BG was taken out of the fight, and quickly died, with two shots of the same ammo, also from a Glock 17 or 19.

I don’t want to contradict true experts, but just throw this into the mix. I’d have to say, carry the largest caliber you will carry and can handle, is probably a good rule of thumb. Every little edge helps at a time like this.

If you’re like I am, you read discussions like these, you want to run out and buy a .45. But that’s not going to happen with most people and for many good reasons. And I think that’s fine. Get as good as you can with what you can handle and afford.

But I much appreciate Deadmeat’s comments and the others as well.

The idea I got from DM2 was that most of the multiple shot kills he sees are the result of a 9mm or .380 ,while a body with only 1 or 2 holes in it was almost always killed right off by a single .357,.40,.45 .

I agree with DM2s observations and value them because they go along with most everything I have heard from other sources. Also because I believe a heavy slow moving bullet like a .45 has more smack down power than a 9mm. It makes a bigger hole, it’s putting a lot more metal in your body and the wider bullet will transfer more energy into the target that a real small one. It’s just an established fact, bigger bullets kill better than smaller ones do. If I’m going to be gut shot in a gun fight I’m praying it’s a .22,.25 or .32 slug in me rather than a .45 or hollow point .357. I’d even take a .380 or 9mm to a .40 or .45 sort.

Have your buddy poke you in the ass with a sewing needle, then have him drive a 10 penny nail into ya, see which wound is sorest for the longest. lol .

Likewise, shoot a deer with a 30’06 or 7mm,then shoot another with a .45-70.

Lol, no one will ever accuse me of being scientific. Neither will anyone ever convince me lighter and faster is always better.

But I’m getting off the subject.

The biggest things I get from DM2 is

  • 1. Bigger the bullet is the better chance you have of hitting something important as the bullet goes in and bounces around in the guts.
  • 2.Hollow points can get clogged up as they go in and lose there effectiveness, or else get shattered on some bone and bounce around for a little while in several pieces, killing the bad man eventually but still allowing him to shoot ya as he bleeds out internally.
  • 3. Your probably going to have to shoot multiple times if you have to shoot once.

I think we all agree on these points.

My coworker was confronted by an armed robber and tossed his wallet over as demanded, hitting the robber in the chest. The LEO drew his issued 9mm as the robber picked up the wallet.

The first two went in the dirt. Six went into the upper legs and groin, removing or damaging the testicles. Surgeons may have finished up later. By this time I suspect the BG had a huge adrenaline dump.

The LEO continued bringing his gun upward to the chest and emptied it, which was six more rounds. At least two were near the heart.

The BG commented that he felt tired, sat down and then reclined, still holding on to his S&W Sigma 9mm.

This had been a close in gun fight in which both parties moved as the range increased. The LEO suffered a grazing wound described as a burn by a passing bullet.

The BG survived and is in custody. That he lived may have been due to the immediate medical care he received. The incident occurred in a large US city accustomed to treating gunshot wounds.

Take from this what you will. We do not teach shooting into the ground or targeting the thighs or groin. The street and reality differs from training and the school solution.

I think my coworker did the best he could in that moment in time with his life on the line. I would hope I could do as well.

I can’t say any other caliber or load would have made a difference. I can only say this did happen and my source of information was the LEO who debriefed our involved agent.

The shoot was ruled justifiable.

Everyone should carry what they are comfortable with, but there are NO magic bullets…..

BEN SCHMITT�
Detroit Free Press via the Associated Press

Detroit police officials are investigating the ammunition officers use after a bullet fired from a cop’s gun bounced off a suspect’s head and another bullet failed to penetrate the winter jacket of a suspected robber.

These two recent incidents — and rumors of others — have touched off a fierce debate that’s raging from patrol cars to the gun range to the chief’s office. It’s a sensitive topic in a department under federal supervision, partly because of complaints about excessive force.

Chief Ella Bully-Cummings ordered the investigation.

“Any time officers are concerned, in order to dispel those concerns, it’s important that we look into the matter,” said Bully-Cummings, adding that the type of ammunition the department is using “is one of the best.”

The .40-caliber bullets are manufactured by Federal Cartridge Co. of Anoka, Minn. They are known as expanding full metal jackets.

The chief said they were first issued in January 2004, after years of urging by the police officers’ union, which wants ammunition that will stop a threat but not so powerful that bullets plow through bodies and hurt other people.

The chief said another worry of the officers is that body-piercing bullets — known as full metal jackets — sometimes allow gunmen, even after being hit, to continue to advance on officers while firing. Expanding full metal jackets differ from standard full metal jackets in that their tips are filled with a silicone-like substance and are designed to stop inside the body rather than exit.

Rich Weaver, secretary-treasurer of the Detroit Police Officers Association, wants more answers. “We do know there were some recent incidents where some rounds did not take effect,” he said Tuesday. “A bullet is supposed to go through winter clothes. We can’t shut down for winter season.”

Detroit Police Sgt. Lawrence Semczak, a supervisor at the department’s gun range, insists there is nothing wrong with the current bullets.

“There’s a major misperception out there right now,” Semczak said. “It’s all conjecture. The rounds do what they’re intended to do, which is stop a threat.”

Evan Marshall, a retired Detroit police sergeant who lives in Midland, has written three books on ballistics. He’s a proponent of the current ammunition.

“It’s certainly better than the standard full metal jacket, which will over-penetrate and endanger bystanders and other officers,” Marshall said Tuesday. “A straight, full metal jacket will go through a target. It won’t deform unless it hits a major bone.”

Federal Cartridge Co. said in a statement Tuesday that it is “working directly with the Detroit Police Department to support all of their ammunition research needs regarding this matter. It is impossible for us to respond in detail to this specific situation without doing further examination.”

Spokesman Jason Nash said in the statement: “We do have full confidence in our product based on extensive testing and previous live-fire field reports and will do all we can to support the Police Department’s investigation.”

Nash said Detroit’s bullets are also used by numerous other departments, and he knows of no other complaints.

The first incident that sparked worry took place Feb. 1. A Detroit officer fired at a robbery suspect, who had fired a gun. The bullet hit the suspect’s head but did not penetrate. He was hospitalized with a head wound, but an examination showed the bullet did not enter his skull — perhaps because the man had a metal plate in his head from a previous injury.

“The incident raised our concern,” Bully-Cummings said.

The second incident took place Feb. 12 when several officers from the 6th (Plymouth) Precinct shot and killed another robbery suspect, who was shooting at them. An officer was seriously wounded in the fusillade, and the suspect was struck 11 times. But when the officers and evidence technicians examined the man’s body, they reported that at least one of the bullets had failed to penetrate his thick winter jacket.

More from Deadmeat2:

At long last we’ve got a little controversy here so let me see if I can sort out some things that I apparently didn’t make as clear as I might have. First, I’m not a pied piper seeking to wean you believers of the 9mm over to the .40 or .45. I happen to like ’em both, and, as you’ve probably guessed, I’m not a big fan of the 9mm, but for those of you who are, fine. I’ve got no problem with it.

Second, there has been a fair amount of anecdotal evidence presented in the past few posts, little of which I have much faith in. We’ve all read stories about the BG who was hit with 2 magazines of +P and lived to tell the tale, often with the conclusion that the caliber used was ineffective. And, as I said in an earlier post, what isn’t said is what clothing he was wearing, what his state of mind was, what the bullet did once it hit bone and/or flesh, what ammo was used and whether the hollowpoint hit an intermediate target before reaching our BG… The list goes on and on. We can rehash stories we’ve read citing various calibers and bullets, but are these really a basis on what we should be using do decide what to carry? I think not.

Third, there’s no “magic bullet”, caliber, or weapon. Folks, it just doesn’t exist. No, not even the .45. The closest thing we’ll ever get to a “magic bullet” is the one that hits the central nervous system, and that’s also the only one that guarantees a one-shot stop.

10ring makes some good points, as expected. I wish I had data to back up all of this, but the only way to get it would be to wade through every autopsy report and accompanying police report, review the autopsy photos, and then review the tox and ballistics reports, clothing photos, and crime scene photos, all of which would figure into the findings of the ultimate demise of our BG. And even these would be incomplete. Sometimes due to bullet fragmentation or deformation we never even know what caliber they were hit with much less with what bullet. There might be some way to get at part of the data needed for a complete analysis but it would require a large investment of time, which I don’t have. As I said early on, these are observations only, nothing more, nothing less.

Rather than responding to all the numerous questions posed in the past few posts, let me just lay it on the line. For ME, there’s one main factor I’m looking for in a defensive weapon, and everything else is secondary. It isn’t velocity, since in most handgun calibers we just can’t get the velocity up enough to make an appreciable increase in the size of the temporary cavity. It isn’t bullet type, because for the most part modern bullets have increased in efficiency to the point that they pretty much do what we want them to and do it reliably. It isn’t dumping all the energy in the BG although this is preferable to dumping it outside of him. And, no, it isn’t even caliber. It’s something I’ve talked about in a couple of other posts.

It’s PENETRATION. Pure and simple. Give me guaranteed penetration to the vital organs with whatever caliber you like and I’ll take it to a gunfight any day, 9mm included. As I said in another post, you don’t have to shred the heart, just hit it, and a BG with an artery nicked by a 9mm is just as bad off if it were hit with a .45.

And it’s here that I have a problem with the 9mm and .380 (and a few other calibers as well). Yes, many time they penetrate to the vitals just as well as a .45 or a .44 Magnum for that matter. But many times they don’t. Yes, I’ve seen it. When I brought this up in an earlier post or two, I thought I had made that clear, but maybe I didn’t so let me try again.

Assuming that we’re going for the chest, we need to know that the vitals contained within it are extremely well protected by bone. We’ve got 24 ribs and the sternum (breast bone) in front, the clavicle (collarbone) and part of the scapula (shoulder blade) on top, and ribs, scapula, and the spine in the back. Not only that, but the bones are all tightly-spaced making it very difficult for a bullet to hit the goodies without striking bone first. Throw in the fact that when the arms are at the sides, the sides of the chest are protected even more and you’ve got a high-value area that’s hard for many bullets to reach.

As I’ve said in an earlier post, there are two main components to ending a fight. One is shot placement, i.e., what part of the body does the bullet strike to begin with, and, two, what does the bullet do once it gets there? A perfectly placed shot to the chest will often be ineffective if it doesn’t penetrate. Conversely, a poorly placed shot may end the fight if it does. It’s penetration that I think is the principal component in ending a fight and everything else is secondary.

From empirical observation of what comes across the autopsy table, I’ve noticed MANY times that the 9mm or .380 strikes bone and is deflected into a non-vital area, never reaching vital organs. And I’ve seen it with multiple shots on occasion. Other times the 9mm or .380 will fragment before reaching the vitals or just plain haul up short. Whatever the reason, often times adequate penetration needed to reach vital organs is not achieved and the fight continues. Much of this, I think, is related primarily to bullet weight with the 9mm typically weighing about half of the .45. Yes, I’ve already said the .357 is a proven man-stopper with the 125-grain bullet, so it’s not entirely a function of bullet weight.

As I think I’ve said before, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a .45 fail to penetrate adequately, and it’s for that reason that it’s my carry weapon. Time and time again I’ve seen the venerable .45 just keep plowing along, busting up bone instead of skipping off of it or being stopped by it. If it’s headed in the direction of the vital organs, there isn’t much that’s going to deter it from its intended target.

All things being equal, I suspect that a hit to the vitals with a 9mm ends the fight as quickly as an identical hit with a .45. At least in the autopsies I’ve seen I’ve never had any indication to the contrary. But that’s not the point. Let me say it clearly here. In my humble opinion, the 9mm and .380 are more likely to fragment or be deflected into a non-vital area or to simply stop short of reaching the vital organs than a similarly-placed shot with a .45. It’s all due to penetration.

For me, I want a large bullet from a large caliber in a weapon that I can control effectively and get off multiple shots from effectively. I want that bullet to be able to CONSISTENTLY PENETRATE the thoracic area even with heavy clothing, and I want a margin of safety built in to the extent that I’m still confident of the effects of the weapon under less than optimal conditions. For me, at least, it’s that simple.

Someone else posts:

I certainly hope my comments were not considered defamatory, and if everyone agreed and there were no questions or debate this would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it?

So the answer is that you believe penetration to be critical and believe the .45 offers more consistent penetration than does the 9mm.

Well, I agree on the penetration issue (combined with some measure of expansion, and the manner of expansion) and agree that the best .45 bullets probably offer more consistent performance than their 9mm counterparts. But I also believe that the .45 performs best in longer (4-5″ barrels) and can actually be less effective than a 9mm when you try to push it out of a 3.25-3.5″ barrel. It just starts slowing down too much unless you start with a really hot .45, which in a small and light gun will be a handful and placing quick and accurate follow-up shots will be more difficult for most of us.

I think that with the right bullet, the differences between the 9, 40 and 45 are fairly small, and are probably outweighed in any particular case by other factors, such as the “target’s” clothing, size, mental state, distance, intoxication, shot placement, etc.

I also think that those bullets that expand in a manner resulting in jagged edges are likely to cause more tissue damage and more blood loss and therefore will tend to be more effective when a major organ is not hit.

It can’t be just penetration, or we could all carry 9mm fmj and be done with it. It can’t just be diameter or we could just use .45 ball ammo. The wounding mechanism of a handgun bullet is complicated and there are a lot of pet theories out there.

I understand that it probably isn’t feasible for you to provide the data or detail that I would like to see, and I gather others may not care. Personally, I just find these discussions of caliber and bullet more interesting when accompanied by hard information, but the discussion is still interesting even without that.

Deadmeat2 Responds:

Ok, let’s get to some of those questions. First, my Ph.D. is from the University of Tennessee in Anthropology. And, no, my dissertation isn’t on ballistics, wound characteristics, or anything else even vaguely related to this topic. And, no, I don’t consider the fact that I’ve got a Ph.D. to elevate me above anyone else as anyone who knows me will tell you. Yes, I spent quite a bit of time in Kosovo and another eight months in Bosnia working mass graves over there.

Let’s go back a bit. My disparaging remarks about the 9mm notwithstanding, I own two of them, used to reload for them, and for years used to use one as my carry weapon. In fact, my .45 is a relatively recent acquisition, bought only after I started working in the morgue. And there’s a reason for it, the reason being that I’ve just seen too many instances where the 9mm fragments or stops short of reaching the vital organs.

I can understand your desire for data but how do I give it? I could show you x-rays of fragmented 9mm bullets beneath the skin, but that isn’t allowed. I could give you autopsy reports detailing the bullet path and the resulting injury but that isn’t allowed either. And you’re absolutely right that often the ME can’t tell what caliber and/or bullet was recovered at autopsy, and I clearly stated that in one of my earlier posts.

Look, I’ve tried to do one thing and one thing only here. I’ve tried as best I can to summarize my observations from what I’ve seen in the morgue. I’ve seen 9mm rounds fragment before reaching the vital organs and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a .45 do that. That’s all I’ve said, nothing more. I’ve never claimed that this was research, just observation. I’m fully aware that wound ballistics are complex and that penetration is due, in part, to an interaction of bullet type, velocity, and a few other things. All of that is interesting but that was never the thrust of this thread. Let me say it once again. All I’ve said all along through the past 15 pages or so is that I’ve seen the 9mm and .380 often fragment or stop short of reaching the vitals but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a .45 do so.

Someone posted:

I’ve been in public service since 1983, including time as a paramedic in Washington DC, an Army MP, a state probation officer, and a state prosecutor.

Since 1983 most of the killings I have seen have been .38 Special/.380 ACP and below caliber. I prosecuted one murder 2 in 2003 where a drunk migrant fruit-picker got into an argument with another drunk and let fly from 30 feet, in near total darkness, drunk, with a 2″ Charter Arms Undercover .38, and hit the target (who at 5’6″ weighed 230 lbs and was intoxicated both on alcohol and cocaine) in the left chest twice with lead round-nose ammo that had to be thirty years old, and killed him. The medical examiner told me that the victim was out of the fight instantly and died in minutes, from a transected artery and punctured lung.

I also saw D.C. police shoot a guy riding the Love Boat (marijuana laced with PCP) six times with issue .38/.357 revolvers in 1986, and he still planted a knife in one of the officers before going down.

More from Deadmeat2:

10ring, sounds like your week was about like mine. It came to me last night what the problem was here, and from the sound of it neither one of us quite seemed to see it. You were making a case for WHY a given bullet or caliber worked or didn’t. I was making a pitch not so much for WHY, but that it does. Your side is an argument that started long before either of us were born and will still be raging long after we’re gone. As I saw it, my side wasn’t open to debate.

To question my observation that I’ve seen SOME 9mm and .380 (and other caliber bullets) fragment and/or not penetrate and the vaunted .45 not fail to do so you’ve got to assume one of three things: a. I didn’t see it (I did), b. I saw it and changed the facts (lied) to fit whatever agenda I had (I didn’t) or c. actually saw it and somehow misinterpreted it (I didn’t). I guess you got my dander up because I thought you were somehow questioning my integrity, which I realize now you weren’t.

And apparently I never quite made it clear that I’m not talking about the 9mm or .380 fragmenting or failing to penetrate in every case or, for that matter, even in most of them. In most cases it works just fine and will hold its own against any caliber, including the .45. But my point was that I’ve seen a pretty large number of them (don’t ask for numbers because I don’t have ’em) of 9mm and .380 bullets that failed to penetrate and/or fragmented beyond what was effective. Does it happen often? Not a lot, but happens often enough that I would be reluctant to use it as a carry weapon. Does the same thing happen with the .45? Possibly, although I’ve never seen it. That’s all I was saying.

I don’t know where you’re located but you obviously know where I am. Sure, I’d love to have lunch or a beer with you. Better yet, why don’t you give me a call and drop by the morgue for a visit. I’d love to show you around. Maybe we’ll have one on the autopsy table that has had a few holes poked in him with a 9mm or .45 and we can continue the discussion while prodding the innards. Looking forward to hearing from you.

DM2, I have enjoyed your posts and most of the others in this thread.

As for some information backing up some of what DM2 has posted, there was an article a few years ago documenting the Texas Dept. of Public Safety’s search for a new pistol. They had gone from .357 mag revolvers to .45 and 9mms. They studied all of their shootings and found that often officers were required to fire into cars, so ability to penetrate windshields and car doors was a consideration. I am going from memory here but here as some of the highlights:

.357 mag worked quite well but they were going with a semi-auto pistol. This was the round that all others were judged by.

9mm penetrated windshields and car doors BUT the bullet tended to fragment, meaning Bad Guy was hit with only fragments which did not penetrate heavy clothing.

.45 would penetrate windshields and car doors and stay intact. The problem was that going thru the windshields or car doors slowed the round down enough that it would not penetrate heavy clothing.

.40 caliber was considered but viewed as a cross between 9mm and .45, meaning you get the best and worst of both calibers.

.357 SIG is what they ended up getting. It had similar ballistics with .357 mag, would penetrate windshields and car doors and still have velocity and bullet weight to penetrate a bad guy.

I am not advocating .357 SIG, just pointing out that some of DM2’s observations are correct. I have shot the .357 SIG but don’t really care for it. Another agency I know of considered the recoil and size of their officers and ended up with 9mms and have done quite well with them. I believe they are/were using Cor Bon ammo.

As far as shot placement goes, you could have two different bullets hit a body in the same area and both bullets could and probably will take wildly different tracks on their journey thru the human body. Gang bangers and Thugs are not known for using thing like sights; they advocate the spray and pray method or the up close and personal shooting (gun to back of head).

Right now, my duty weapon is a .40 (Speer Gold Dot), my back-up weapon is a S&W 360 PD (357 mag. Glaser), my off duty weapons are a 1911 .45 (Speer Gold Dot) and a 9mm (Federal EFMJ).

Deadmeat2 says:

The reason so many folks wind up on the autopsy table with 9mm and .380 holes poked in ’em is because these two calibers are the ones most commonly carried by the BGs. It stands to reason that the more BGs that are carrying them, the more BGs that will wind up on the autopsy table with these rounds in them. And in most cases they work quite well. Let me make this clear. Still, as I said in a very recent post, there are a fair number of times when they don’t, and these are the times that give me pause for thought. I realize that nothing is guaranteed regardless of caliber, but I’ve can’t seem to remember a .45 that fragmented or failed to reach the vitals as a result of a deflected bullet but I can think of plenty of times when I’ve seen the .380 or 9mm do it.

And that’s a great point about the choice of calibers for the poe’-leece (as we call them down here). Remember, though, that a traffic stop is pretty much different than the way the average citizen generally encounters a BG. More often than not it’s at an ATM at 3:00 in the morning, a deserted street, or some other place where an intermediate target such as a car door or windshield won’t be in the way. Not that I think a bullet that would penetrate these would be a bad idea by any means.

You’re right, Catshooter, it fell through the cracks. Sorry. Anyway, I carry a Para-Ordnance Para Carry loaded with 230-grain Gold Dot, but in all honesty I don’t think you’d go far wrong with almost any brand these days. When it’s cold enough and I can get away with it, I’ve even been known to carry my IPSC gun, double stack .40 STI Edge. And, as you’ve probably guessed, I prefer heavier bullets whatever the caliber.

I’m going to step away from this thread for awhile and may or may not pick it up at a later date. As it turned out, this thing sprouted legs and I spent far more time on the forum than I intended. Now I’ve got other thing that require my attention so I’m going to leave it with you and maybe come back with some other thoughts at a later date if time permits. I travel extensively, and I need to make the best use of my time when I’m actually in town.

This thread started as just a simple CCW tale I had first-hand knowledge of and then morphed into a zillion different directions, none of which had the slightest thing to do with CCW. It was not my intention to diverge into such a lengthy thread that discussed calibers, bullets, tactics, and other things, but I’m kind of glad it did. There’s a lot of information out there, some of it good, some of it bad, and some of which will kill you.

Like most of you, I had lots of preconceived ideas of what works and what doesn’t, and like most of you most of the information I used to develop my own ideas of what bullet, caliber, and gun to carry were based on extensive readings in gun magazines, published reports of actual shootings, demonstrations of penetration in ballistic gelatin, anecdotal information, and just plain old personal preference. Once I started working in the morgue I found out that it just ain’t necessarily so, and many of my long-held beliefs went out the window.

The interest in this thread seems to derive primarily from the fact that I work in a morgue which, in itself, is apparently a rarity among the shooting crowd. In the morgue, I guess the popular expression could be bastardized to read, “The bullet stops here.” We get to see the end result of gunfights, good and bad, what worked, what didn’t, and what could have worked better. And it’s because I get to see autopsies and the bullet trauma that comes with them that I’ve developed my own ideas of what works. The fact that I’ve been shooting for over 50 years now and am an avid reloader helps, I think, to understand what I see at autopsy.

My opinions expressed in the previous pages are just that–opinions–so take them only as that. Still, they are based solely on what I’ve seen in the morgue, not what I’ve read about somewhere, so I’m comfortable with them. Skeptic that I am, I want to see things, not read or hear about them. If there are some pearls of wisdom that make sense to you, use them; if you think I’ve fried too many brain cells breathing formalin and what I’ve seen goes against everything you believe, feel free to toss it.

In any event, stay safe. I don’t want to see any of you on my autopsy table.

Someone else posts:

In 20 years of working the streets, I have seen a lot of shootings. Sometimes the results are what you would expect, other times, make no sense at all.

A subject walked up to the back door of the station once. He had been involved in a fight with another subject and told the first Officer that he had been shot. He raised his shirt and showed 5 entry wounds to his chest. I followed the ambulance to the hospital and looked at the X rays with the doctors. Every single round missed every single vital organ. It was FMJ .380. No organs, bones or ribs were hit. It was amazing.

One of our Officers shot a subject through the neck with a .45 Hydrashock. He was trying to run over another Officer. After the shot, the subject drove off, we had a pursuit, he bailed, ran a couple blocks and barricaded himself for hours in a house before he surrendered. He appeared before a judge the next morning with a big wad of gauze on each side of his neck. That round had missed every single important thing in his neck, how? Who knows.

Another subject was trying to run over an Officer. The Officer fired several rounds of .40 through the windshield. One round hit him in the face and stunned him (a little) He had to be wrestled out of the car. At the hospital, he spit the bullet out of his mouth. The windshield slowed it enough to where it penetrated his face and sinus cavity, that’s it.

Homeboy #1 was standing in front of his gang house. Homeboy #2 drives by in his 70’s Chevy. At about 30 yards, he leans across the seat and fires one round of .22 LR out of his RG out the passenger window. That stupid little bullet smacks HB#1 straight through the aorta and he drops dead without twitching.

And on…and on….And on….

A good friend of mine who is a serious shooter, and teaches a lot of people who shoot people for a living sums it up nicely. Poke a hole. Poke the biggest hole that you can. Poke it all the way through. Penetration is king. If you can get a bullet that can reach the central nervous system from any angle on any human body, you have done all you can.

I would argue that a FMJ bullet is a better choice than a rapidly expanding Hollowpoint, unless the HP is heavy enough to penetrate. A good flat semiwadcutter may be an even better choice.

I usually carry a 3″ 65 loaded with full house 158 GR .357’s. I see a defensive shooting be a very close up fast event. There seems to be some weird combination of physics that makes a .357 inch bullet traveling around 1200 FPS a really good combination for dumping energy into 170-220 LB bipeds. No idea why, but, statistics bear that out.

My uniform gun is a Glock 35 loaded with issue 180 GR Gold Dot. Seems to be a pretty decent bullet. Heavy enough to penetrate.

Deadmeat 2 posts again: Maybe it’s just human nature, but for some reason when a differing opinion runs contrary to preconceived ideas, often the first response is to shoot the messenger. In many cases that’s what I’m seeing here. It also seems like in the haste to empty your magazines at the messenger, some of you aren’t reading things very carefully:

  • 1. I’m not a coroner or pathologist. Never said I was.
  • 2. I don’t work at the Clayton or Fulton County morgue. Never said I did.
  • 3. All of the autopsies I see aren’t gunshot victims. Asked and answered six weeks ago on my May 18th post. As I clearly stated, some are naturals, some are SIDS, some are overdoses, etc. although there aren’t many days that we don’t have at least one gunshot victim. We do autopsies 6 days a week, I work of 5 of those days (and often 6), and on Monday morning I look over photos of the few that I might have missed from Saturday. Any bodies taken in on Sunday are rolled to Monday. And when I’m out of town often I’m at another ME’s office observing autopsies there. Of course if you want to figure in the ones I saw (not worked on) in Kosovo and Bosnia we can bounce that number up much, much higher.
  • 4. Yes, most of my job is WORKING on skeletal remains or decomposed bodies, but I often OBSERVE autopsies of the newly-dead. I said that also.
  • 5. In a post on another forum it says I’m a big fan of the 10mm. Really! Please show me where you got that information because I certainly can’t find it.
  • 6. The list goes on and on…

If you’ll CAREFULLY read this thread, I think you’ll find that you can condense the vast majority of it to one thing and one thing only–my OBSERVATIONS from the morgue regarding the wounds I see inflicted. Not what I’ve heard, not what I’ve read about, not what I “believe” or “think.” Take it a step farther and you’ll see that my concern with the 9mm and .380 (and other calibers) as a defensive weapon is that I’ve SEEN it fragment and fail to penetrate to the vital organs whereas I don’t think I’ve ever SEEN the .45 fail to penetrate to the vital organs if headed that way to begin with. As I’ve clearly stated, most of the time the 9mm works just fine. It’s the times that it doesn’t that bother me. Obviously, there’s no one bullet/caliber that’s going to work all the time in all cases, not even the .45, but IN MY OPINION (and I’ve said this is opinion many times) I think the .45 adds a margin of safety that the 9mm doesn’t have, that’s all. I happen to carry the .45 because it’s the largest caliber I feel like I can shoot effectively when the chips are down. Frankly, I’d rather be carrying Smitty’s beloved .500 Magnum but I know my limitations. Virtually all thoughts expressed in my posts are predicated on what I’ve SEEN.

And that’s what I don’t quite understand. Just a quick count of my posts shows that I’ve used the word “see” or some variation thereof (e.g., saw, seen) 94 times (and I probably missed a few) or “observation” (at least 6 times). So in these posts I’ve detailed what I’ve SEEN on the autopsy table at least 100 times by actual count. What followed are ideas developed from my OBSERVATIONS. If you want to dispute what I’ve SEEN during autopsy you’ve really only got three options: 1. Say I didn’t see it (I did), 2. Say I saw it and changed to facts to fit an “agenda” (I didn’t), or 3. Just didn’t know what I was seeing to begin with (I do).

SEEING what happens to a bullet at autopsy isn’t rocket science, folks. Once you dig it out you’ll either see that it expanded or it didn’t, and once you look at the wound track and look at the x-rays you’ll either see that it reached the vitals or didn’t. It’s really quite simple. I could take any of you, show you an autopsy involving a gunshot wound, show you the wound track, show you the bullet, and I feel sure we’d agree on what we SAW.

EXPLAINING what happened and why is another story. SEEING what I have in the morgue, I’ve learned that bullets often do the strangest things once they enter the body, and no reasonable explanation will suffice. I’ve also mentioned that in my posts. On occasion I’ve speculated on why I think something happened but I’ve always prefaced it with the caveat that this is just speculation. And I’ve said many times that sometimes I just can’t understand what went on. For those of you who think you have it all figured out, please enlighten those of us who don’t.

On another forum, there’s the comment that since I work in the morgue, I don’t get to see the living. That’s right, we don’t. That’s why we call it a morgue, not a hospital. There’s also a comment that we don’t get to see how long our BG remained in the fight after being hit or how long it took him to expire. Right again. So how do we do it? I’ve never known anyone to take a stopwatch to a gunfight or whip out their CED8000 when the first shot goes off, and it’s an accepted fact that there’s time distortion in most traumatic events, which I suspect a gunfight would be classified as. And even if they manage to make it to the hospital only to die there, is that always really indicative anything? EMS can often sustain life far beyond what it would have been if left unattended. If a BG is hit in the frontal lobe and lives in a vegetative state for days, months, or years before someone pulls the plug, do we then say that because he lived that period of time after being hit that the shot was ineffective? I’m not nearly as concerned about how long he lived in the hospital as I am in how long it took after he was hit to quit firing back at me. So how do we determine how long he lived or stayed in the fight? If you’re going to pose a question at least give us a way to get at the answer.

And then there’s the one about shot placement. Sure it’s important, as I’ve said MANY times in my posts. But shot placement actually has two facets, as I also stated. Most folks think of shot placement as where ON the body the bullet initially hit i.e, the chest, the abdomen, etc. But there’s the other half of it, which most of the flames don’t get around to mentioning, that being what does the bullet do once it enters the body? And as I’ve said MANY times in the posts, quite frequently I’ve SEEN the 9mm fragment but not the .45. Yes, most of the BGs are really lousy shots and shot placement doesn’t seem to be quite as high on their list as putting a lot of lead downrange. I’ve said that also. But I’ve seen BGs with .40s and .45s do the spray and pray thing also, not just with the 9mm or .380, and for the most part I’ve seen better results with the .40 and .45.

And data. As I said from the outset, the information contained in my posts is OBSERVATIONAL. I never said I had subjected it to any statistical analysis.

As for my “agenda”, I have none. As I clearly stated in the forum, I used to carry a 9mm before working in the morgue and only switched to the .45 after seeing both calibers being dug out of BGs. If that tells you something, fine. If not, that’s fine too. And, no, I don’t work for any gun or ammo manufacturer, so it makes absolutely no difference to me what caliber you carry or even if you carry at all. I’m not trying to wean you away from your beloved gun/caliber/bullet, whatever it might be. I’m just trying to give you food for thought, nothing more.

So let me try to sum this up one last time. Forgive the caps for emphasis but I feel they’re needed because somehow the points seem to be getting lost on a few of you: From what I’ve SEEN in the morgue, MOST of the time in a gunfight the 9mm will get the job done. How fast, I don’t know nor does anyone else since there’s just no way of knowing how soon he died or how long he stayed in the fight after being hit. SOMETIMES, however, I’ve SEEN the 9mm fragment or fail to reach the vitals but I can’t remember the .45 doing so. THIS IS OBSERVATIONAL, NOTHING MORE. I don’t know how to make it any simpler than that.

What we’re looking at here, folks, is analogous to the parable of the blind men touching an elephant. One, who touched the tail, said he thought it was like a rope. Another, who touched the ear, said it was like a fan. Still another touched the tusk and said it was like a pipe. Although each of them was correct in his perception as he knew it, none of them had the full picture. What I tried to do over the course of several weeks was simply to present another aspect of the elephant. Like you, I’ve read countless theories on why a particular caliber works or doesn’t. Like you, I’ve read the police shooting reports. Like you, I’ve developed my own ideas, so up to now we’ve all touched the same parts of the elephant.

Unlike most of you, however, I work in a morgue. By working in a morgue I thought my OBSERVATIONS of what I’ve SEEN would present a part of the elephant that most of you had never seen before. I don’t spend much time on any forums so perhaps this information is out there and I just don’t know about it. From all indications, however, it isn’t.

Do I have the complete picture of the elephant just because I work in a morgue? No, absolutely not, and I never said I did. Like you, I’m just holding on to my small part of him. Perhaps if we can just turn loose of our own part of the elephant long enough to quit shooting at the messenger and listen to his description of a part of the elephant most of us aren’t acquainted with we could all become a bit more enlightened and gain a fuller picture of what we’re holding.

Someone else posts:

May I apologize in advance if I am somewhat long-winded here?

Most of us who have been involved with shooting have a few (or a lot) of anticdotal stories about what failed to stop or really stopped.

While most of us agree a 12ga. is a pretty good stopper, disagreement starts after that… some claim the .223 round is wonderful for self defense others say it is junk.

If you look at enough shooting you can find failures to stop with about anything. The real issue is what works well and FAST most of the time. This is what Marshall and Sandow tried to do in their books a few years ago. The result of those books was serious controversy over the usefulness of those statistics. You can decide for yourself if you think they are useful, but they were an attempt to predict what would work and what would not.

Earlier Major General Hatcher did extensive studies for the War Dept. on the effectiveness of various rounds. He concluded that among pistol cartridges, the .45 was hard to beat… and his conclusion was generally agreed to by those who had actually used various pistols in combat.

While we may argue the reasons, the fact is combat soldiers preferred the .45 acp to the 9mm and the troops today want to get rid of the 9mm for a .45… based on their experiences. Special units that have the ability to buy weapons commercially have already bought .45 acp pistols. These units express great satisfaction with the .45 and very little with the 9mm. This may be related to the fact they are required to use ball ammo… and because they are limited to ball for political reasons, the .45 is all the better.

All that said, I know of few if any who have carried the .45 in real “elephant viewing” situations who would choose the 9mm over the .45.

Another person posts:

Bottom line is this: I respect your conclusions, your background and your experience. You have more experience in this area than do I, and your opinions are woorth knowing, but I would rather have data and facts so I can reach my own conclusions. Just saying “I’m a cop…trust me, the.45 is no good” or “I work in an ER and I would never carry a 9mm” or “my son was in Iraq and hated his M4” doesn’t give me much. Telling me how calibers and bullets work when they hit bone, muscle, intermediate barriers, etc., can be very helpful. In other words, I would like to hear more about what you have seen than how you feel. No offense…….

Deadmeat2 posts again:

I’m going to answer this last question and then back out of here for good. I’ve got other things more pressing and this thread has taken up an inordinate amount of my time.

As for the .223 and the 7.62×39, yes, I’ve seen a few but not enough that I’d feel comfortable expounding on them. I wouldn’t doubt the rifle instructor’s description of the shredding of the organs a bit because I’ve seen it myself. Because the velocity of almost any rifle caliber is usually greater than with handguns, the temporary cavity caused by most rifle bullets is ALMOST always going to be bigger and cause more damage. In their military configurations, both calibers are FMJs, and most authorities (of which I’m not one) believe that yaw, a major factor in wound dynamics, begins in a shorter distance with the .223 than the 7.62×39 and thus imparts more damage, all else being equal. With increased yaw, the .223 begins to deform and even fragment while the 7.62×39, which usually has a steel core in addition to lead, often does not. Change the bullet design and you’ve just opened another can of worms. Let me say this very clearly to avoid alienating the rifle crowd: The explanation I’ve just given is what I’ve read by those who have seen far more wounds of both calibers than I have, not by what I’ve seen. We rarely see either caliber and I just don’t think I’ve had enough experience with them to want to take it much farther than that. We see mostly handgun wounds, followed by shotguns, followed by rifles.

By now, most of us have made up our minds on what we’ll carry, one way or the other. In 21 pages of posts what I’ve said has either confirmed what you’ve long believed, possibly caused some of you to switch or at least rethink your caliber choice, or angered some of you so badly that nothing I’ve said is going to change your mind. Again, that wasn’t my intent. My intent was just to provide food for thought based on what I’ve SEEN in the morgue.

Some of you have asked for descriptions of injuries, but I’m not sure a description such as “the projectile struck the anterior superior iliac spine, was deflected posteroinferiorly, and became lodged in the auricular surface of the innominate approximately 7 mm superior to the greater sciatic notch” is quite as effective as saying “it broke the hip”. Descriptions of soft tissue damage would be even more complex than that. Yes, I could go back through the autopsy reports and give a description of the wound either simply, in complex fashion, or somewhere in between but I just don’t have time to do it. If my statements of, “Occasionally, I’ve seen the 9mm fragment or fail to reach the vital organs, whereas I don’t think I can remember seeing a .45 do so” aren’t sufficient, I’m afraid you’re on your own.

And, yes, we could bat around theories such as Hatcher, LaGarde and many others as well as innumerable variables such as bullet design, bullet weight, velocity, and intermediate targets and still wind up right back at where we are now–in the typical caliber war with no consensus and no resolution. And I don’t have time for that either.

As a parting word let me say what I’ve said many times before–that what I’ve tried to do is provide food for thought based on what I’ve SEEN, nothing more. Take it for only that and don’t try to read more into it than is actually there. Think it over and if there’s something you can use, fine. If you are adamant that your opinion is correct even though it differs from mine, that’s ok too. But in either case remember this: The mind is like a parachute–it only works when it is open.

It’s been fun, folks, but now I’m going to leave it with you.

Stay safe, stay patriotic, and stay off my autopsy table.

Deadmeat2

Survival Guns

I’ve owned a large amount of firearms over the years and competed in IPSC on an irregular basis. Tactical with pistols, long range rifle and Western Action to a far lesser extent. Along with several Security based tactical training courses. At one stage, I even had a very large collection of commemorative Winchester lever actions. These have gone by the way side to pay for other toys.

It would be nice to own thirty different firearms to cover every situation covered over the internet but that would mean supplying thirty different types of ammunition at 500 to a 1000 rounds each comes to a lot of cash as well as spare parts when you can only carry maybe two at a time but defiantly only use one, so I choose to keep my choices to a minimum. Having a cracked sternum has also restricted the calibres I can now use, to lower recoiling. So as not to risk breaking the wires holding my chest together for a second time.

I wanted a rimfire for small game as I usually prefer to hunt with a bow, very quite and you can go anywhere with it. However the amount of arrows that are lost on rabbits and birds just isn’t worth the cost of a nine dollar arrow. The .17 calibres are great for long distance sniping and can take roos with head shots having a very flat trajectory and high velocity, however having very little bullet weight aren’t the greatest wind buckers. Along with the 22 magnum, are pricey to bulk buy. The 22 longs can almost keep up with the magnum using high velocity loads and cost under $50 for 500 compared to magnums which are well over double the price at $180 per 500. The advantage to the Long Rifle is that they can be silenced far more effectively, but misses out on the additional range of the magnum.

I’ve purposely stayed away from firearms requiring removable magazines as I’m not using them for sporting purposes where a large amount of ammunition is needed, only foraging and I like not having as many moving parts that can break or become lost. Single shots are built like tanks and even with some breakages can still be used effectively. Parts can be made with minimal power tools, if breakages were to occur.

Of those available I was lucky to come across an old Winchester Low Wall built for target use with a custom heavy barrel and trigger job. It had to have been made for someone well over six foot due to the length of the rear stock and at least a 30 inch barrel. Very little had to be done to make it suitable as a hunting rifle other than shortening the stock, barrel and removing the peep sights. Then replacing the sights with the largest scope that would fit comfortably and balance. I later had it reamed to a rimfire magnum. Many of the smaller game in the area where I hunt is out of range of the long Rifle and needed atleast a good hundred yards to reach a bunny. Dropping foxes that come in close to hen houses require a magnum. Ive skun out too many foxes with 22 rounds under their skin to ever use a Long Rifle again on medium game. Federal bring out 50 grain hollow points for magnums now that make it easier to drop slightly larger game from roo’s to goats.

Recently I came across a Martini action with a brilliant trigger. Usually the ones in shops have been decked out for competition use with heavy barrels and stocks. This one had been left standard and looked in mint condition. I left it as a long Rifle round, simply due to the cost of bulk buying ammunition for storage. $100 supplies 1000 rounds. Both the martini and low Wall are over 40 years old and dont look like ever breaking and not reliant on magazines. 40 grain power points are my prefered load for the long rifle.

For my third choice I wanted something a little more specialized for a Bug Out Bag carry that would take a variety of game and be collapsible for easy storage. Everyone is going to have a different set of circumstances in selecting a firearm for their bug out bag depending on;

1) Part of country you reside in, regarding available game

2) State laws

3) Do you see yourself needing a defensive firearm?

4) Foraging only

5) Storage requirements

I found myself selecting a M6 Scout combination in 22 Hornet over 410 gauge. I wanted something small, easy to breakdown and store. That would take a variety of game.

I had never owned a Hornet or 410 gauge and was interested in how both performed also not wanting to rely on a rimfire to hunt medium game. The hornet has always been referred to as a poaching round.

A friend recommended the 410 gauge as not putting as many pellets into the game as its larger brothers, as I could no longer use a 12 gauge from the shoulder and a 20 gauge seems to recoil more for me due to the guns being lighter (It may just be me).

Carrying an auto or similar seems to upset people as well; a little combo doesn’t draw much attention, is mainly for foraging but has the ability as a back up for defensive purposes. I believe the little 410 loaded with rock salt would deter most intruders or solids if you need to become serious.

For hunting I use the 410 gauge on smaller game as I can take rabbits on the run and birds on the wing. Then use the Hornet for medium sized game. As it has more reach than a 22 rimfire/magnum and can take larger animals with head shots at close range. The 410 loaded with solids performs similar to a 41 magnum, for use as a backup on larger animals. 50 grain nosler projectiles can be loaded into a hornett when using a single shot action. The longer prodgies tend to not feed well through mags.

I kept waiting and waiting for the stainless centre fire to be released in Australia alas that was never to happen; only the rimfire version ever appeared. So the week I found out production had stopped I called every gun shop on the eastern sea board looking for a copy.

The only one I found was an old blued version, so I grabbed it. The bore was good but the rest was junk, but I got it at a good price. The barrels were fairly scratched up from someone attempting to put on a wooden fore stock and the sights were pushed out by half an inch. So either the gun didn’t shoot well or the previous owner didn’t.

After reading other articles on the Scout I didn’t even bother to try and repair the rear sight, going straight to a red dot on a dove tail. It balances well and can be used with both calibers with a little practice. The red dot works a lot better for low light conditions than the factory peep.

The second modification performed was to bead blast then a hard chrome to remove the scuff marks and protect the steel. I wanted to further reduce the glare when hunting, so went to the strider knife site and tried to copy their instructions for braiding knife grips.

I promptly gave up trying to do this out of one piece of material. So I cheated and did an under bind like on fishing rod guides then following the instructions did the over bind out of the braid using Para cord. At first I thought this may be a silly idea, as there wouldn’t be a way to oil the barrels. However if you spray a light coating of clear lacquer over the barrels first to protect them from rust, the braiding provides a very nice grip. I ended up removing this after a few sessions at the range. Too much added weight, harder to store covertly and I like wipeing down barrels after a while. I ended up using a piece of rubber insulation for the foregrip.

The other thing that bothered me about the design of the M6 was loosing the connection pin that holds together the barrels and stock. A local gunsmith made me up three extra out of stainless steel with cir clips, so if they came loose the clips would still hold them in place.

Trying to find a gun bag short enough was a major headache. It became easier to have one custom made from a canvas maker out of codura. This holds the two segments separate to avoid wear. I was thinking of placing pouches on the side to store accessories but this would have increased the bulk too much for easy storage.

I decided to use a couple of smoke grenade pouches attached to the shoulder strap of the gun bag. One pouch contains 200 rounds of 22 hornet with 100 rounds of 410 gauge size 4 shot and 20 solids. The other pouch holds a small tin of gun oil and two bore snakes. These do away with the need of brushes and rods for cleaning.

The spare connection pins are also stored here. Another pouch could be added to include a small survival kit if desired.

Strider Knives

http://www.striderknives.com/

M6 Articles

http://free.hostdepartment.com/c/cas45reamer/m6.html

http://www.oldjimbo.com/survival/v-shrake/m6.html

For my main rifle I wanted to stick with a lever action in a pistol cartridge. This way I would have a decent ammunition capacity with out needing a detachable magazine and a fast cyclic rate of fire. The three calibres readily available all have their advantages and disadvantages.

The 45 long/colt is probably my favorite due to the history and the big hole in the end of the barrel. However it’s not really practical for survival use unless into reloading as factory ammo is a little on the light side, designed for older guns. I reload my empty cases for hunting but for long term storage or defensive work like to stick with factory loads, reducing the likely hood of misfires. When loading a 45 colt up to similar velocities of a magnum, its a myth that case life is reduced due to the thinner walls of the older cartridge. Both are the same, the magnums have slightly thicker bases around the primer walls. The 45 long has a 1in16 twist allowing for heavier bullets to stabilize out to 300 grains compared to the 44’s with a 1in32 twist. The 44’s have decent factory loads available in 240 grainer hollow points, if not a reloader.

44 magnums have the advantage of hitting power but require twice the powder and lead of the 38 cal to reload. The 357 magnum have light loads that won’t destroy small game and heavier loads that can take larger game with head shots. They can also be used in conjunction with revolvers, so only one type of ammo needs to be carried and can be switched to whatever firearm is used the most. The 357’s come in a box of fifty and are quite easy to carry as compared to calibres requiring a longer action such as a 30-30 but this is my all time favorite calibre and if I could still handle the recoil would be one of my first choices.

Of the three major rifle brands available it really comes down to a personal choice, all are very reliable. Rossi’s are a top eject and cannot use a scope. Winchesters are no longer made but I’ve always been a fan of these and own the trapper version. The Marlins in the cowboy action series are sweet with the octagonal barrels and are easy to mount scopes on. The barrels and mags seem much thicker on the Winchesters. The only bad thing Ive ever heard about a Winchester are from comp shooters that rapid fire, saying lifters tend to break when used in this fashion. Their still my favorite.

I’ve always been a peep sight user and never a fan of scope use, but it may be my age as I’m tending to go the other way. I’ve found instead of looking down the sights and aiming at the head of an animal, I can now aim within the head for a more specific target which drastically improves my accuracy.

Levers are great for up to 200 yards but for over that a bolt action is required. Realistically I doubt many shots are taken over that distance for hunting. The ability to shoot up to 600 yards can come in handy for tactical situations. Very few people could see over that.

I’ve always looked at 223s as small game cartridges, to successfully use them for anything larger requires the use of 70 grain projectiles with a fast rate of twist, either 1in8 or 1in9 to stabilize them. Most brands don’t come out with a twist this fast, usually 1in12 and may need rebarreling .Factory loads are only brought out to 55 grains. Tikka and the police models in savage and Remington have faster twists. I have always refered to 223’s as poodle shooters. They however do have� 3.3 foot pounds of recoil for sensitive shooters. To bring up more hitting power than a 70 grainer, its possible to neck up the case to a 6mm and fire a 90 grain prodgie. This however needs several more steps in the reloading process. Of neck sizing and fire forming and has a recoil figure of 4 foot pounds and will take a head off a roo at 400 yards.Not to mention the $600 dollar price tag on a new barrel and the work involved in fitting.

The 7.62×39 rounds are mainly exmil and made from steel which use double flash holes in the case making it a lengthy process to reload. Commercial brass only uses one flash hole from the primer for this reason I prefer 308s for the ease of finding commercial brass ammo over the Russian round. Im not generally a fan of using miltary calibres. These always seem the first to go off the shelves when a crisis hits, in order to supply the military.

Recoil is a problem for me and not wanting to go through the extra steps of removing berden primers from military rounds or modifying cases. I chose a 6.8SPC. These have comercial brass available and a recoil similar to a 22-250 at 8 foot pounds. This can be reduced even further by using heavy barrels, good recoil pads and a muzzle brake. Bringing it down to around 4.5 foot pounds. I found a Remington already fitted out with a burris scope and just needed to fit a badger ordance bolt handle and the muzzle break. Remingtons may not have a claw extractor but I have never heard of a clip extractor breaking with any regularity. My gun smith has changed one clip extractor in 10 years. If it aint broke dont fix it, as many of my mates that shoot long range, swap the extractors to Mauser claw types and many have broken part way through matches.

Remington LTR’s have a 20 inch barrel, fibreglass stock and aluminium bedding block. The glass stocks dont feel slick as the cheaper plastic SPS version do and the alloy bedding blocks dont require rebedding as fibreglass beds will do. The barrels are also fluted reducing weight by an extra few pounds. The fore stocks are also shorter than target models, allowing them to be fitted out for hunting. I see no sense in trying to hike around with a 26 inch bull barrel and match stocks designed to shoot prone, unless wanting to play sniper. I prefer meat on the table.

Shotguns are my favorite firearm I just seem to never miss. Auto’s are totally banned and pumps are restricted in some states leaving the Norinco 1887 levers. I’m starting to prefer these, as the external hammer can be lowered into the half cock position, unlike pumps that are always cocked and rely on safeties. The mag can be loaded and the hammer lowered without a round inserted in the chamber. A very safe way of carryiage.

I’ve had mine modified by shortening the barrel to 17 inches. It is possible to go another inch but I also wanted to shorten the stock to help with recoil and swing, this way they remain legal. A thick recoil pad was then added and magna porting to further reduce kick. Many of the earlier models had trouble extracting. I believe that the kinks have been ironed out, especially after the actions have been cleaned up a little more. Spare parts are now available including extractors. Using BB loads at 32 grams, the recoil stays low enough to shoot from the hip and is the same as bunny loads but with 40 pellets per shot. Ive found that wearing gloves and being rough when operating the action will aleviate most problems extracting after the action has been worked on. The magna-porting ended up being a waste of cash with no noticable difference.

Coach guns are the closest thing to a pistol with the help of a hacksaw in a post SHTF scenario and are well worth considering as an option to anyone that hasn’t a pistol license. Whether to go for a hammer version or hammerless is a personal choice. I prefer a hammer gun as it can be kept loaded with the hammer down, uncocked. Hammerless guns are always cocked when loaded, but much faster to fire and load. Single triggers work off an inertia system in some guns, meaning the first barrel needs to be fired before the second can be used. So if the first firing pin breaks the second barrel is useless. The same cant be said for double triggers. If either firing pin breaks the second trigger will still activate the other barrel. Good choices are the Rossi overland, (no longer made) for a hammer gun or a Stoeger western action coachy.

My first love has always been pistol shooting and I’ve made quite a few observations over the years, which most people will probably disagree with and some may not but, this is just my opinion.

With two shots to the body and one to the head it won’t matter what caliber is used, whether a .22 or a .44 cal? Don’t confuse the next statement with the dislike of the calibres and the models of guns their usually chambered in as I thoroughly like both Browning Hipowers and the Colt clones but just don’t think much of either the 9mm or 45acp. It’s all well and good shooting into ballistic gelatin and saying how good they perform but I don’t think anyone has ever been attacked by gelatin. In a realistic scenario you not only shoot through flesh but also bone and whatever cover maybe used whether vehicles or walls etc. I also think hollow points are a fallacy, prefering jacketed soft points. HP’s were designed for police to prevent over penetration amongst bystanders. A jacketed soft point with will not only leave an entry wound but as an exit wound aswell, allowing for faster blood flow from two wound points. Dropping blood pressure much faster.

When shooting at 1/4� inch steel plate in comps a 45 will knock down the target first time every time, but when you walk up to the plates all you see are squashed 45 slugs sitting at the base. To do the same thing with a 9mm requires a triple tap to knock the plate over. Having said that if I were in a country that allowed a pistol to be carried and used for defense, I would prefer one of the above mentioned pistols. Either a Browning Hipower chambered in a 9mm or ream a 9mm STI tactical 4.15 to a 357Sig.

After watching a youtube vid on comparisons of a 9mm, 40smith and 45acp fired through a ballistic vest into clay slabs. The 9mm went thin but deep. The 45 shot wide but shallow. The 40 shot both deep and wide, outshooting both other rounds. If I had my choice the 40 would win hands down. The 40’s are now restriced here and come in boxes of 20. With the price of base metals now making them an expensive proposition, along with any larger pistol calibre.

I might be getting old but prefer firearms where I don’t have to spend a fortune on gunsmithing to have them function as their supposed to. For this reason Glocks seem to out shine most other brands on the market at the moment requiring no work to fire them straight out of the box, maybe just a rifled barrel instead of the polygonal style to bring in closer groups when using lead target prodgies and these tend to drop straight in. Lone Wolf 9mm/357sig conversion barrels inserted into a 40 cal slide bring the barrels to a thickness similar to an STI bull style. Ten minutes on youtube shows you how to strip one down, having only 33 parts which will come in handy if gunsmiths arent available. The only other mods needed are an extended slide release and stainless guide rod. If anything were to break on a Glock it would be the plastic factory guide rod. Although trained on single actions, glocks have three things going for them, I now prefer. One, consistant trigger pull no double action /single action triggers to deal with. Ive never been able to master going from 12lbs to 3 lbs after the first shot. Two, no external safeties. I do however prefer an external safety when in a crowd situation but not for personel use. Three, the trigger doesnt reset after the last shot has been fired. This lets you know when your out of ammo by feel if yourve lost count of rounds.

Balistically I favour the 357sig over a 9mm. Both use the exact same projectiles, along with 38 super(38 super only available in handloads).The sig round has a flatter tradjectory and greater retained energy at 50 yards. Not the most popular round but gradually gaining favour due to security companies and comp shooters, costing less to purchase than 40 smith ammunition. 9mm still reigns for bulk purchases in terms of avialability and trying to find it stocked in stores in any resonable quantity. Barrels and mags can easily be swapped between slides to shoot either round. The sig is a bottleneck round which will feed better but the bullet sits deeper into the case which can cause problems when reloading, if powder sits up around the prodgy causing higher pressures. Comp loads for shooting major tend to be painfull and the brass doesnt last long from split necks. Using factory loads the round is compareable to the 40 smith. The velocity advantage of a 357Sig over a standard 9mm using factory Hornady ammunition is a 9mm using 147 grain projectiles will have a velocity of 975 feet per second from the muzzle. A Sig round will still have 1072 feet per second velocity at 100 yards using the same weight projectile. First choice in an auto is still a 9mm, for no other reason, than being able to find it easily on a normal day. Let alone after SHTF.

357 Magnums not only knock over steel plates, but usually move it back a few inches and when using jacketed ammo and put big dents into the target. Much more practical to use when there’s the possibility of having to shoot through heavy cover.

I was taught old school by you could say disreputable characters, who would always say only amateurs used autos. They leave spent cases all over the place with firing pin and extractor marks as well as finger prints and now genetic material. This doesn’t really pertain to SHTF but has stuck with me my entire life.

The other advantages to revolvers are that if the time comes that the only ammo available are reloads, it’s far easier to collect spent shells from a revolver than an auto. The same ammunition can also be used in a long arm and there is no reliance on magazines that can become lost or broken. Revolvers can also fire a variety of loads without having to change recoil springs and dont jam if limp wristing the grip.

I stay away from colts, although they are one of the best revolvers made. I’ve owned three, the diamond back model being my favorite but the first time I opened one up and saw all the leaf springs needing a professional gunsmith I changed to Rugers. These have the strongest actions and most sensible cylinder release. The spring set up internally are mainly coil, but like HK’s are made in segments that are difficult for a backyarder to work on. I ended up with Smiths, as I can strip one very fast; they seem to balance the best for me besides I’ve got a thing for unflutted cylinders, that Smith bring out in the classic Hunters and DX models.

Which ever type you may choose, it’s generally worth getting a good trigger job. This reduces the trigger pull from 12lbs and polishes the sears to remove any creep. It’s not worth going too light as target shooters can reduce the poundage to as much as 2lbs. This is alright when using custom hand loads for target use, but can cause misfires with the hard primers that are used in the manufacture of some brands. Federal primers are softer and dont misfire and are the best choice for reloading when playing with hammer springs.

I generally have all my revolver barrels cut to 5 inches to improve the balance and handling. Four inch barrels are best to carry, but six inch barrels are better for shooting at longer ranges. I find with a five inch barrel I get the best of both worlds.

Revolvers can be kept loaded for long periods of time without causing any damage. If you were to do this with magazines the spring will eventually become stressed and begin to fail. If you leave a magazine loaded for any length of time either remove one cartridge so the spring isn’t completely compressed and rotate the magazines periodically that are kept fully loaded.

Once again, the 357 can be used in conjunction with my winchester Trapper and three boxes of ammo in my pockets equates to 150 rounds. Easy to grab and carry in a hurry and can be used as a hunting round unlike the other pistol calibres available in this country, which are restricted to rifle use only.

A lot of people won’t even consider archery as an alternative to firearms. I find that I’m now using bows more than guns due to the lack of land owners that allow shooters on their properties. Bows are quiet, don’t jam and are easy to replace arrows unlike guns that may break and need spare parts or run out of ammo therefore more of a� renewable resource.

Crossbows require very little practice if your used to a rifle and would make a good backup for hunting if ammunition becomes unavailable. As yet no licensing or registrations are needed to purchase compound or recurve bows. (AS YET) More and more restrictions are gradually being brought in.

When I first damaged my back in an arboriculture accident, I thought that I would never be able to use a bow again. I sold my Oneida Eagle as a 70lbs compound was just too much for me and an Oneida was a big heavy bow at the time.

I walked into the local archery shop to collect the cash from the sale and come across them putting together a childs bow. I thought it looked pretty good for a kids bow and asked them about it.

The bow ended up being a Martin Altitude. Made for American hunters using tree stands, that requires short light bows to be used. I tried pulling back the string and found it so easy having only one cam and one pulley instead of two cams. No pain in my lower back, I put down the deposit immediately.

However being such a short bow, measuring 30 inches axle to axle the string pinches the fingers onto the arrow causing inaccuracy. A release aid is required to use the bow. The owner of the shop showed me a release that straps to the wrist which acts like a wrist strap in weight lifting, isolating the larger muscle groups and taking the strain off the wrist.

This also has the advantage of not needing a separate glove to hold the string, so two camo gloves can be worn reducing reflection from the skin to game. It also keeps your shooting hand free to string arrows easier. Using a wrist release also reduces the amount of pull by another 10 to 15 percent.

Having been a dedicated bare bow shooter it didn’t take long to become hooked. Ever since then I’ve been a fan of martin bows having a machined riser as opposed to molded and very easy to obtain parts.

I have my Altitude set up with an arrow rest called a Whiskar Biscuit. This is a rest made up from bristles forming a circle to hold the arrow in place, so it’s possible to walk around with an arrow nocked and not need to hold it in place using your fingers.

My upper body strength is limited at the moment, so I can’t pull a bow heavy enough to hunt with. This is where I discovered crossbows. They’re easy to load using a manual pulley system and powerful enough to hunt anything from medium to large game.

I like Barnett bows, but most target shooters don’t because of the triggers. I find like most things if you don’t like something it’s pretty easy to modify it to suit. Too lighter trigger on a hunting bow isn’t a good idea anyway.

One of my favorite bows is a Barnett commando; this has the ability to break at the stock using a leverage system to load the string. Being a recurve it’s only suited for thin skinned game. This is a good choice for survivalists due to the speed and ease that it can be loaded and the lack of a pulley system means less moving parts to break.

The new model Barnett Wild Cats in compound have a built in pulley system in the rear of the butt stock, making it very user friendly to load. Tons of grunt for pig hunting.

With restrictions becoming more and more the way of the future with liberal mind sets gaining power in politics, or as I refer to them quasi-nazi’s. Im experimenting more and more with primitive methods of hunting and defense, but with a modern twist. Modifying slingshots to fire arrows for small game and fishing, making atlatls from alloy tube, using delrin for manufacturing JO staffs, etc.

Links

http://www.savvysurvivor.com/chapter_one.htm

http://www.outdoorlife.com/outdoor/gear/gunvault/article/0,19912,604357,00.html

http://survivalplus.com/defense/page0001.htm

http://survivalplus.com/philosophy/page0003.htm

http://www.endtimesreport.com/Smithing/smithing.html

Postscript – Since writing the above several years ago, Ive gone through several changes in thinking. Most of the above have been sold in the past few months for various reasons. I no longer shoot long range. To do so would require me to drive three hours. Its far easier for me to hunt with bows now, for better accesss to properties. My upper body strength has also improved. Im currently selling my compound and buying a Martin Jaguar recurve 45# takedown. It can be taken apart and carried without being noticed and far fewer parts to need replacing. My shotguns have gone. Anything that cant be carried in a bug out bag has been sold. The realities of a 12 gauge are that to carry 2 slabs of ammo requires a sack truck. 500 rounds are too heavy when compared to pistol calibres. Shotties are still great for home security but not for carrying when having to leave in a hurry. Any calibre that is hard to find in a rural area or that costs too much to purchase as factory rounds Ive now sold.To carry a 12 gauge in a bug out bag limits the weight to 2 boxes of ammo. Thats 50 rounds. Compared to pistol calibres utilised in a rifle I can carry three times that amount.

Essentually Ive stuck with the 22 magnum with various loads for bunnies up to goats and the 357 magnums in a lever action and a revolver. Two sorts of amunition encompassing several loads and thats it.

Sti-AT 4.25/9mm Australian Tactical

The problem with special order guns in Australia is that theyre for lack of a better word, a head f&*k. It came down to the choice of two pistols, either a glock or an Sti. Both I can work on myself and are easy to get parts for within a day to two weeks. Other brands on the market can take 6 months and over to order since sales agents dont keep them in stock and only order a shipment every few months when large enough to warrant shipping and the ammount of importation paperwork required.�

For a glock to suit what I wanted there are three ways to go about it. One; to buy a model 17A. (A 5 inch barrel is required by law in OZ for auto’s and 4 inches for a revolver) for $900 and then buy a model 22 slide for $600 to replace the original barrel maybe another $300 to a 9mm conversion from either Lonewolf barrels or Stormlake. The easiest way is to order a Stormlake Longslide barrel at 6 inches and have it machined down. Anything under 5 inches wont be allowed in the country. Second; to buy a 17A and a 22 and hand in the barrel, extractor, mags and frame to Firearms Branch. This gives you an extra set of parts.(40 Cals are restricted here to police and security). Hence the 9mm build up, otherwise it would be 40 cal all the way. $900 for the 17A and another maybe $400 for a secondhand ex-security model if they come up for sale. Thirdly; Just buy a model 22 and have to have it inspected by Firarms Branch to say that its been converted. These prices on top of Stainless Steel guide rod, extended slide release, mag release, butt cap, taping the grip, decent sights, EU trigger, etc, etc. Using a conversion barrel brings the weight up and the thickness of the barrel to almost bull barrel proportions.�

The problem I have with Glocks is that I now limp wrist them causing malfunctions, my upper body strength isnt what it used to be. I dont have this problem with 1911’s. By the time Ive done all this I might aswell just purchase an Sti. The model I liked was a Tactical 4.15, undersized making it illegal here unless having a 5 inch barrel inserted. This would be easy in the States but not here, with importation laws and I end up with an illegal 4.15 barrel I couldnt sell or use. Coming to the conclusion that getting it custom factory fitted was too hard, having to import through shipping agents. It became easier just to make one up by importing the parts and having it custom made here to my specs. Hence the AT model or Australian Tactical.�

A� Commander frame and slide length are more likely to pass through an inspection, than a 4.15 slide. The 4.25 inch being close to a Glock 17A in length. The A model being a 5 inch barrel on a 4.5 inch slide. Two of my favorite STI’s that the AT is based on are the Tactical 4.15 with no front racking serrations and a SOCOM (Special Operations Command), made from an Edge with a two tone finish of an OD (Olive Drab) bottom end and a black top end. The original idea was to go for hardchroming but too expensive to have it factory done and I couldnt find anyone in oz that did a good enough job. There are bound to be a few but whomever I approached to use their metal plater also wanted to do the machining of the rails from where the extra coating builds up. This is what I wanted to avoid by staying as close to factory standards as possible. Ceramic baked coatings are far eaiser to have done and the two tone finish may be more suitable for military applications.�

The AT concept is a commander slide length of 4.25 with a 5 inch barrel, on a cut down Edge slide. Made by GFJ Firearms. Giving a Commander slide with full length sides with (no scallop) to match a long dust cover frame. Coupled with a Cerakote finish of a Military Black top end and a Desert Bottom end. Cerakote make three desert colours of Sand, Sage and Verde. Im leaning towards Sand. All parts are factory Sti, made by a MIM (Metal Injection Molding) process of using powdered steel formed under pressure in molds and then sintered, I prefer to stick with factory standard parts as much as possible. �

Speaking of which, always stick with factory STI mags, not aftermarket to be as reliable as possible. Ive only had problems with binding rounds when using aftermarket mags. Here we’re restricted to 10 round mags. Sti make two types of mags. A standard 1911 pattern for their single stack designs and a 2011 double stack mag but with crimping on the side to make them a single stack internally. This gives the best of both worlds in terms of no chance of binding with a double stacker but the ease of inserting into a mag well with the tapered ends.�

Other things worth mentioning are the removal of the ambi safety. I cant shoot left handed and if I had to the safety would already be off. I have small hands but prefer a fat frame. It seems to fill the hand and absorb recoil better. A wider trigger width is prefered for service matches, I no longer compete in IPSC and having to decide between Bomar and Novak sight dovetails when ordering the slide. Still in the design process, I’ll keep updates coming as the process moves along. It should end up looking pretty much like a 4.15 tactical but with a slightly longer frame and slide, extended barrel and two tone finish.�

JFJ Firearms

silverado@esc.net.au

Limp Wristing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limp_wristing

Budda’s Glock Build

Part 1

This is an article I put together a while ago, while trying to learn about building glocks and aftermarket parts. Finally have all the components and have started building it. Updates and pics to follow. I ended up with building a Glock over other model pistols due to the ease of aftermarket parts and 10 minutes on youtube will let you do all the work yourself without having to need a gunsmith.

Building a Glock Research

I was undecided on whether to start and do a build on a custom STI tactical 4.15 with an extended 5 inch barrel to be of legal length in oz or buy a Glock and came across the following picture on the m4carbine forum, which sort of settled the choice for me. That and finding several Australian importers of glock parts, that hadn�t been available to me in the past making buying the accessories and parts much easier than importing from overseas due to current import restrictions. It also allowed me to do most of the work myself, unlike working on a STI 2011. http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=95628

The following link describes how to break the trigger down into its separate components, in order to understand how modifying each one can change the characteristics of the trigger and gun as a whole. http://militarytimes.com/blogs/gearscout/2012/01/01/glock-setup-tips/

There are three main components to the Glock trigger action that determine pull weight: the connector, firing pin spring, and trigger spring. I will be discussing these along with barrel choices, guide rod recoil springs, guide rod weight and combinations of these. The following information is all I could find to learn about building a Glock, since I had never owned one before.

Firstly Guide Rods;

To start with in Glocks guide rods have absolutely no effect on the accuracy of your pistol. In a standard 1911 the guide rod, being so short, only guides the spring at the end of the rearward action. This allows the spring to move from side to side in the frame channel and could allow interference. The full length guide rod forces the spring to stay centered and slide along the guide rod reducing the interference. Ti is worthless for guide rods, you want heavier not lighter. Steel is only slightly heavier but if you are really in tune with your gun you can feel a subtle difference in the handling. Tungsten is much heavier than steel and makes a significant difference.

Below are some guiderod weights. Aftermarket rods are all same brand. Weights do not include the recoil spring.

Stock 17 2.04 grams = 0.071 ounce

Captured Stainless 17 18.3 gr = 0.645 oz

Cap Tungsten 17 34.18 gr = 1.206 oz

Non-cap Tungsten 34 44.56 gr = 1.572 oz

When compared to stock the tungsten is significantly heavier. When compared to stainless the tungsten is almost double the weight. Here is where it gets real interesting. An empty G17 weighs 625 grams. Adding a captured tungsten rod increases the total weight of the gun by more than 5% and in a key location. An empty g34 weighs in at 650 grams. With an extended tungsten rod you are increasing the total weight by almost 7%.

Something that weighs less than 2 ounces may not seems like much but it does make a significant difference in recovery from recoil.

My personal view

I�m using a model 22 in 40cal and converting it to a 9mm. This will bring up the barrel wall thickness and also the front weight of the firearm. I am therefore sticking to a steel guide rod. If I were using a stock thickness competition barrel I would then use a Tungsten rod.

Captured Vs. Non-Captured;

I personally use non captured rods. It is easier to swap out springs and with a little practice it is not any harder to assemble your pistol. There is no mechanical advantage or disadvantage to either, it�s just personal preference. If using a single load, such as when reloading a captured system is easier to install when cleaning. It�s similar to a bolt with a nut on the end that keeps the spring under tension. The advantage of non-captured is when working up loads or using more than one type of factory load and wanting to tune the firearm to the load being used. I generally use three different loads. A 147 grain subsonic at 980fps, my usual load is a Hornady steel match 125 grain running at 1100fps that cost $280 per 500 and ex-military FMJ plus P loads which cost $350 per 1000 rounds. An uncaptured spring set up allows me to change them out using a $12 spring, whereas with a captured system you have to replace the entire guide rod and spring.

Barrels;

KKM vs. Stormlake vs. Lonewolf. There are three links below comparing the three brands. From what I can tell there isn�t that much difference. If I were to choose a standard wall thickness match grade barrel, to fit in a standard slide assembly 9mm to 9mm, without opting to use a conversion/bull barrel 40smith to 9mm luger. I would probably choose a KKM due to the type manufacture, using button rifling.

Button rifling is a process, in which a Titanium Nitride coated Carbide button is pulled under pressure to displace metal to produce a rifled barrel. This process is very expensive but produces a better finished size, surface finish, and surface hardness as well as maintains a more uniform rate of twist than any other rifling process. Each button can be used to produce thousands a barrels before wearing undersized. This allows us to maintain the highest level of quality control.

That�s if I wanted to wait 6 months for the import process to occur in this country and could be bothered filling out B709 forms. If choosing a bull barrel style conversion it would be between a Stormlake and a Lonewolf as KKM don�t make a conversion barrel. The same import process would be required for the Stormlake. Lonewolf have an importer listed below. Hence the lonewolf is my choice.

Note: I have been told that KKM barrels are very tight and some require minor fitting.

Trigger Springs;

The NY trigger are a coil spring within a frame as opposed to factory coil spring, the modules alter the internal geometry and relationship of the trigger linkage. You now have a spring pushing straight up on the back of the cruciform, instead of applying pressure at an angle. The result is a smooth trigger pull and a clean break, with a lightning-fast reset.

http://www.glockmeister.com/TriggerSpringInstallation.asp

Dawson are just reselling the Glock Triggers kit. It removes pre-travel and gives a nice trigger: reduced travel and light pull, not for use on anything but a competition gun. I would offer one word of caution: you need to be very careful about setting the over travel stop and make sure that it does not creep out of adjustment, by using a little blue Loctite.

The Ghost Rocket is not a trigger kit, it is just a connector with a fixed over travel stop that needs to be fitted to an individual gun by filing. It works well, but it is not a complete trigger kit.

NOTE; If you have a Glock that has a couple thousand rounds through it your trigger is already lapped in. If you replace the trigger bar or connector in this gun, it will feel terrible. Any part that is replaced into a lapped system needs to be lapped in itself before a reliable evaluation can be made.

Guide Rod/Recoil Springs;

Effects of a lighter spring: Recoil is transferred to the shooter in a shorter duration of time because the slide is moving at a higher velocity. This is often perceived as less recoil and reduced muzzle flip. With a lighter spring the shooter also has less force to counteract, or you don�t have to work as hard. This usually reduces muzzle flip. Less force to counteract reduces the odds of producing a limp wrist style jam. A lighter spring will result is reduced muzzle dip when the slide closes keeping sights steadier and on target for a faster follow-up shot. Light springs are particularly helpful to smaller shooters like children, women or anyone else having trouble keeping their wrists locked.

Effects of a Heavier spring: Recoil is transferred to the shooter over a longer duration of time due to lower slide velocities. Slower slides equal a longer recovery time for the shooter. The shooter does more work, as there is more force to counteract. This often causes and increase in muzzle flip. The chances of a limp wrist style jam are increased, as there is more force working to unlock your wrists. The chance of the slide short stroking and causing a feed jam is increased. Increased muzzle dip when the slide closes for a slower follow-up shot.

Brass Ejection: It does not matter how far away it lands or if it is in a neat pile. You are there to shoot not to pick up brass.

Frame Battering: A non-issue for Glock pistols. It falls under the category of Internet Nonsense along with the idea that light springs cause kabooms and broken parts.

Spring Selection and Testing: There is no magic weight that is perfect for all shooters, loads and guns. Each shooter must evaluate and test various weights to determine what is best for their application. For rough tuning try different standard weights. For fine-tuning, take a spring slightly heavier than you prefer and trim it until it is just right, this is a trial and error process.

NOTE; MATCH THE SPRING TO THE LOAD.

If trimming springs. Start by removing 1 coil at a time and then check for full travel. Trim until the slide has full travel then check for proper lockup. You can go too light: The firing pin spring can overpower an old or too light recoil spring causing the slide to pull slightly out of battery as you pull the trigger resulting in a light primer strike. If you have off center light primer strike this is probably the cause. Feeding jams; The slide can be so fast that the mag spring cannot keep up.

By using 11 pound recoil springs should greatly reduce or eliminate the need for cutting 13s and should work great in the 9mm guns and the compacts.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Factory recoil spring ratings above are for current production models with captive factory recoil spring systems which are silver/gray in color. Previous captive factory recoil assemblies for the 17, 17L, 20, 21 & 22 had recoil springs rated at 16 pounds. Earlier non-captive models of the 17, 17L and 19 had factory recoil springs rated at 19 pounds. Not for use in Generation 4 pistols.

�Reduced Power…: 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 & 16 Lb.

�Factory Standard.: 17 Lb.

�Extra Power………: 19, 20, 22 & 24 Lb.

Recommend starting springs weights:

G17 13lb

G19 13lb

G20 15lb

G21 13lb

G22 15lb

G23 13-15lb

G24 13lb

G31 15lb

G32 13-15lb

G34 13lb

G35 15lb

Spring setups:

G34 Production 13lb minus 4 coils

G35 Limited 15lb minus 3 coils

G17 Open 13lb minus 5 coils

G19C Carry 13lb minus 6 coils

Choosing Spring Weight. This part is not as simple. Selecting the proper weight spring is part of the weapon tuning and will depend on what your end goal is to be. The standard weight spring, in the case of Glock 34, of 17 pounds is used to match the average slide performance with industry standard loaded ammunition. This is to ensure maximum reliability for a weapon right out of the box. In your tuning, if you prefer a snappy slide that opens and closes more quickly, you would want to go with a heavier spring and ammunition that has a lighter weight bullet, such as 115gr. You want to make sure you don�t go too heavy on the spring or it could prevent the slide from going all the way to the rear. This would not allow for proper empty case ejection or failing to strip the next round from the magazine. If you would like a slide that is a bit slower and has more of a push feel then a snap, you would go with a lighter weight spring and a heavier bullet, such as the 147gr. Because of the added weight, the round is a little slowing in getting moving and this produces the push feel. Again, don�t go too light on the spring as this will allow the slide to hit the slide stop too hard and cause damage. For a Glock, a good test is to make sure the weapon is not loaded, pull the trigger and hold it. Point the barrel straight up and pull the slide all the way to the rear. Do not release the slide but slowly ease it up until it stops on its own. If it fails to go into battery, on its own, the spring is too light and may fail to chamber a round and go fully into battery.

One thing to remember once you do this, if you tune your weapon for the light bullet/heavy spring, firing rounds with a heavy bullet will not function the same. But, the other way around, firing a light bullet in a weapon tuned for the heavy bullet/light spring, could damage the weapon.

If you have a heavy spring most of that energy is displaced in the spring, resulting in a softer push feeling. If you have a weak spring only a small amount of the energy is displaced in the spring and the rest is displaced when the slide slam’s in to the frame.

If an egg is thrown at you can catch it one of 2 ways. You can just stick your hand out and let it smash in to your hand (weak spring). Or, you can draw your hands back with the egg and absorb the eggs energy without breaking it. This creates a more even disbursement of the energy (heavier spring).

Either way your hands absorbed the eggs energy. Catching it differently didn’t change it’s energy. It only changed how the energy displacement was felt by both you and the egg.

Changing spring weight doesn’t change the energy going in to your hands, Just how it’s felt or perceived. A light spring may feel snappier than heavy but there is less muzzle flip for a shorter duration. It also produces less push than a heavy spring; it is a short tap instead of a long push.

  1. Try a little experimentation for yourself if you have not already. A few rounds with a 15# spring, a 17# spring and a 20# spring won’t hurt anything.
  2. 1911s are NOT Glocks. They have different kinematics and differences in the way the forces are transfered through the frame, due to geometry and material properties. Even the mathematical models show this pretty convincingly. The friction on Glock pistols between the frame and slide is less than in a 1911, the bore is lower and the frame flexes more.
  3. For 4 shooters, in a Glock 22, target acquisition, split times, perceived recoil, timing drills were always at least the same, usually better when the spring weights were increased. We went from 15# to 17# to 20#, 150 rounds each. Every shooter prefered the 20# spring. The round we used was Pro-Load 165 grain Tactical Grade (1100 fps chronographed) and a reload that duplicates it (165 Berry’s at 1100 fps). The spring weights were measured and we had to switch 1 of them to make sure the actual weights remained constant.
  4. Frame battering, in major caliber Glocks, if you want your pistol to last past 50K rounds or so and REGULARLY use hot or Plus P ammo, then a bump in recoil spring weight will help the gun last longer and allow more reloads on the brass.
  5. For the average shooter, I doubt most will ever shoot past 50K rounds on a gun, and the vast majority will be plinking rounds if they do.
  6. A factory Glocks trigger (5.5 pounds) precludes any slight advantage that softer springs may have in medium power loads as far as timing and increased performance is concerned.
  7. Buy a case of ammo or load 1000 rounds up and get yourself 3 spring weights and match your pistol and load to your shooting.

Connectors;

Everybody seems to want a 3.5lb connector because it is “THE BEST”. The truth of the matter is a 3.5lb connector delivers the lightest trigger pull BUT it also delivers the longest pull available. A lot of shooters confuse the 3.5 connector as a mushy system because it has so far to travel. It is hard for some shooters to grasp this theory because they are thinking less (3.5lb) is best? Try to think of it this way: You want to load a 55 gal drum into the bed of your truck.

1 You get a 30 foot plank and roll the barrel along effortlessly but it takes a long time to get the barrel in the truck. (3.5lb connector)

2 You get a 15 foot plank and roll the barrel along. This requires more effort but it doesn’t take much time to get there. (5lb connector)

3 You get a 5 foot plank and roll the barrel along. Man I noticed the effort here but the barrel was instantly in the truck! (8lb connector)

Factory connectors have less of an angle at the contact point with the trigger bar, less that stock = less resistance. The “+” connector has a greater angle, greater = more resistance. Difference either way is about 15 degrees.

Using a 3.5 lb. Trigger Connector: The factory trigger pull on a Glock is similar to shooting a staple gun. It has a long pull and a slight snap to it as the striker releases. The 3.5 lb. drop-in replacement connector gives an immediate improvement in trigger performance on the Glock pistol. The lighter trigger pull weight and the highly polished, nickel-plated surface make the pull smoother and more consistent. It helps the trigger reset more quickly for faster follow up shots and less temptation to jerk the trigger and compromise accuracy. The imported Glocks to Australia use an 8lbs trigger pull.

Combinations;

While doing my research, I came across this useful guide on trigger spring / connector combos. It was originally on this web site http://gunlovers.19.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=441

Actually, that link was quoting another article by T.R. Graham. Just want to be sure to acknowledge the original author.) I thought this might be useful for others:

5.5 lb coil trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector

This trigger setup generally gives a nominal pull weight of between 3.5 to almost 6 pounds, and has a somewhat long and “spongy” trigger feel in most guns. An excellent trigger combo for target use, but because of liability concerns it is not normally recommended for defensive applications.

5.5 lb coil trigger spring + 5.5 lb connector

Nominally breaking at 5.5 lbs, and by far the most commonly encountered of all the GLOCK triggers, this factory standard combination is the one that will have the most variation in overall pull weights between guns. Due to various lockwork tolerances a typical stock GLOCK “5.5 pound trigger” can and will break anywhere from 5.5 pounds to almost 8 pounds in a new and tight pistol.*

5.5 lb coil trigger spring + 8 lb connector

One of the least encountered of all the heavier GLOCK factory triggers, this trigger setup is also one of the least desirable, combining and magnifying the vague “spongy” feel of a stock 5.5 coil trigger spring with a stiff 8 pound “+” connector. Although mainly found on police issue GLOCKs, it is a poor choice for defense use, and this trigger setup is emphatically NOT recommended for competition use.*

8 lb NY1 (green) trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector

This almost bulletproof combination will generally give a nominal pull weight of between 4 to 6.5 pounds in most guns, providing a trigger with a much more defined takeup and a much crisper release point. Because the NY trigger spring is virtually unbreakable, this is an especially useful trigger setup for guns used for both competition and defense applications.*

8 lb NY1 (green) trigger spring + 5.5 lb connector

The most widely encountered of all the “heavy weight” GLOCK triggers, this combination gives a nominal pull weight of between 8 to 12 pounds, depending on the gun. Like with the 8 lb “NY” # 1 trigger spring with a 3.5 lb connector, the trigger takeup is firmer and more defined, and letoff and trigger reset is much crisper than the stock 5.5 lb trigger. Also, unlike the stock coil trigger springs, the “NY” trigger springs are virtually unbreakable in normal use, making this an excellent setup for hard duty or rough condition use.*

11 lb NY2 (orange) trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector

This combination feels much like a 8 lb “NY” # 1 trigger spring with a 5.5 lb connector, breaking at or about 9 to 15 pounds. Applications include rough duty or home defense use. Recommended only as a substitute when a standard “NY” # 1 spring cannot be installed.*

11 lb NY2 (orange) trigger spring + 5.5 lb connector

The super-heavy weight of GLOCK triggers, this combination averages from 11 to almost 20 pounds trigger pull. Of limited use, applications include home defense for people with young children, or with persons having especially large and strong hands.*

EITHER of the NY trigger springs + 8 lb connector

NOT approved by the factory. As well as giving a incredibly heavy trigger pull, installing these two components together can cause failure of the sear kickup on the trigger drawbar to drop down far enough to clear the firing pin lug with some guns. In effect, although the trigger will move back and forth, the pistol will not fire. Furthermore, if this happens the pistol cannot be field stripped to remove these components without first removing the firing pin mechanism from the slide.

Trigger Recipes

1) 8 lb NY1 (green) trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector. This almost bulletproof combination will generally give a nominal pull weight of between 4 to 6.5 pounds in most guns, providing a trigger with a much more defined takeup and a much crisper release point. Because the NY trigger spring is virtually unbreakable, this is an especially useful trigger setup for guns used for both competition and defense applications.

2) For a 5-6 lbs trigger it would be very easy. For a true 6 lbs spring use the factory springs and connector. For a 4-5 lbs spring either use our connector or trigger spring with the factory firing pin spring. It is not an exact science but going heavier is always easier than going lighter.

3) Here’s a suggestion that may prove somewhat controversial: Use a 4 lb connector (Glock works has them) and get yourself a NY #1 trigger module.

4) Lone Wolf 3.5 connector

Lone Wolf Ultimate Trigger Stop

Lone Wolf 4 lb striker spring

Lone Wolf 6 lb trigger spring

Polish the trigger bar “birds head” flat and edge where it contacts the connector also the raised angled edge where it contacts the firing pin safety and the “kick up” edge where it engages the striker leg. Polish the leading edge of the firing pin safety and the face. Polish the face of the striker leg.

Squirt a little “Flitz” between all bearing surfaces of the trigger system. (everything you polished) Keep it there for a few hundred rounds then clean all the parts and check the bearing surfaces. They should be lapped in completely. If so, replace the Flitz with a small amount of quality grease or oil. If not, add a little more Flits and check it again in a couple hundred rounds.

Special note: You can use this recipe with any connector, 3.5/5/8. Try them all and pick the one best suited to your style shooting

For rough tuning try different standard weights. For fine-tuning, take a spring slightly heavier than you prefer and trim it until it is just right, this is a trial and error process.

5) The fulcrum trigger will indeed lower the trigger pull though. Installing a 3.5 connector w/ ny trigger spring will make reset better and polishing the firing pin and replacing the firing pin spring will shorten reset.

6) The heavier trigger spring will lighten the trigger a good bit, particularly during takeup. The lighter connector doesn’t change takeup at all but will make the break lighter. It will also tend to make the break “mushier”. Some folks don’t really notice the “mushy” or don’t have a problem with it.

Things to look out for;

If you reduce the poundage you will increase wear on other components such as the lower barrel lugs where they make contact with the vertical impact surface. The process of extraction and ejection are altered in fact that is how one might tell they need to replace their springs when you see the casing being thrown into another time zone.

The relationship with magazine springs and followers can affect how well the pistol feeds and is often referred to as the primary cause of malfunctions. On the flip side, running your gun in a dirty environment, or wanting to insure your gun cycles reliably, some folks recommend raising the poundage to 17-18 lbs. Duty guns.

Competitors tune their recoil springs as mentioned for soft ammo using the idea of managing the recoil so they get back on the target faster. At this point they add a little weight so they might reduce muzzle flip.

You can play with these ideas along with downloading your ammo but the standard weight of 16 lbs for recoil springs and practicing will likely be better for you than tinkering and losing confidence in your pistol.

Peening happens because the frame flexes under recoil allowing the locking block to move upwards and hit the slide.

The most common approach to dropping trigger pulls is to replace the factory firing pin spring with a lighter unit. Unfortunately this makes the gun sensitive to primer hardness. Run hard primers with a light firing pin spring, you will get misfires. If you can always control what ammunition goes into your gun by choosing only ammunition that uses federal soft primers.

Explaining Pre-travel, Reset and Over-travel

1.Pre-travel. Pre-travel is the amount of �slack� that must be taken up before the full weight of the trigger begins. Some pre-travel may give the user the ability to feel the trigger prior to discharge, it also increases the length of pull, which may add some safety margin.

2.Overtravel. Overtravel is the amount that the trigger is free to move after the point at which it activates. In most applications, minimal overtravel is consdiered advantageous as it prevents any jarring caused by the trigger hitting a sudden stop after release. With self-loading firearms, overtravel considered detrimental because it increases the reset distance.

3.Reset. Reset is the distance the trigger must travel forward (as pressure is released) before the trigger is ready to be fired again. Reset is not a concern in single-shot firearms, but in self-loaders where a fast follow-up shot may be desirable, a short reset is preferred.

In conclusion;

As with any modifications or gunsmithing tips, take them with a grain of salt and do your own research.

What I would like to achieve is a 5 pound trigger pull to bring it down from the 8 pound factory weight. Essentially a tactical trigger system, not as light as a competition trigger but not as heavy as a duty trigger where you end up missing the target. Have a medium trigger pull and a short reset using a Zev Industries model ZT-STD-D-9-TAC as a base to work from, being made from CNC billet aluminium. Then play around with a 14 pound recoil spring, Ghost 3.5 lbs tactical connector and Light New York trigger spring and see what happens.

Amendment�s;

Found out some more information since writing article. I will be using a full fulcrum kit. The trigger is billet aluminium and not polymer. It�s also three times wider, better for accuracy. Will also need a 9mm trigger kit to use in a converted 40cal as the ejector pin is slightly different in a 9mm compared to a 40.

Glockworx Triggers

http://www.glockworx.com/Products.aspx?CAT=3688

Ghost Connector Tactical 3.5 lbs

http://www.ghostinc.com/category/50_tactical/

NY trigger Spring

http://www.rockyourglock.com/custom/TriggerSprings/GLO-7405BK2.htm

Links

Anarchangel Blog � How to make a Glock not Suck

http://anarchangel.blogspot.com.au/2005/03/how-to-make-glock-not-suck.html

Modding the Glock � By Duane Thomas

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/modding-the-glock/

Glock Tech – Recoil Springs, guide rods, Connectors

http://www.custom-glock.com/glocktech.html

Recoil Springs

http://www.gunsprings.com/index.cfm?page=items&cID=1&mID=5#109

Spring Tech

http://www.custom-glock.com/springtech.html

Triggers � Pull Weight, NY Triggers

http://www.gundigest.com/tactical-gear-articles/tactical-military-arms-blog/range-report-glock-new-york-trigger

http://www.boatmanbooks.com/samplelwglocks.html

http://vickerstactical.com/tactical-tips/trigger-pull-weight/

Barrel Comparison

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1420767

http://glock.pro/glock-pistols/1764-barrel.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU83fh6XoYA

Glock Gen 3 vs Gen 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtS59trmk3Q

Zev Tech trigger installation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iawkkWSHioQ&feature=plcp

Australian Glock Importer Parts

C-More sights and mounts

http://www.dillonprecision.com.au/c/66/more-sights.html?osCsid=27a30b1600b69a2c7e80f319ddf1e33a

Trijicon sights

http://www.urbanconquest.com.au/

Zev Technologies and Lonewolf

http://www.hyperfire.com.au/

Glock Parts

http://glockproducts.com.au/

http://survivalarms.com.au

Trigger Design

http://firearmsdesigner.com/?p=504

GFJ Firearms (special thanks for all the advice and help)

http://www.gfjcustomfirearms.com/

Part 2

What I�ve done to my Glock.

Top End- I started off with a Gen 3 Model G22 40cal. (Now restricted in Australia due to caliber, but to use a heavy barrel you require the 40 caliber slide). As I prefer the aftermarket aluminum extended mag releases on the gen 3’s, compared to the stock wide gen 4 mag release design, hence the older model choice. This has been converted to a 9mm using a Lonewolf Barrel LWD M/22 conversion to 9mm, threaded 1/2 x 28 length 5.03 inches/ 128mm to suit the 5 inch barrel length laws in oz and to enable the use of a close to bull barrel wall thickness to reduce muzzle lift and add to the balance.

The lonewolf barrel slipped straight in with no fitting and has no ejector port slop; all parts were purchased from hyperfire.com.au.

The slide has been bead blasted and Cerakoted in amour black by GFJ Firearms, with a black slide cover plate in aluminum added. All internal and external parts have been changed to titanium, CNC billet aluminum or stainless steel. An uncaptured stainless steel guide rod replaces the plastic version and the original 17 pound spring has been changed to a 14 pound to suit the Hornady 125 grain/1100fps steel match loads I generally use. Uncaptured guide rods are easier to use when swapping spring weights if changing to suit light and heavy loads. The only two parts I�ve ever heard of breaking in a Glock are the guide rod and trigger spring.

The original firing pin spring has been kept to aid in igniting hard primers instead of using the lighter competition version that comes with the trigger kit. The 40 cal extractor has also been changed out to a 9mm extractor. Many people haven�t bothered doing this. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn�t. Why take the chance on a $15 dollar part.

The front sight has been removed; my eyes are what they used to be so I�ll be using a red dot. Trijicon are known as the best, followed by C-more but I ended up with a Burris fast fire due to where the on/off is located on the side. This way I don�t have to reach inside and around the mechanisms for accessibility. It also sells at an affordable price.

Bottom End – Trigger spring has been changed to a NY1 olive 8 pound spring for added reliability over the standard coil spring. The trigger weight should be able to eventually to be reduced by using a 3.5 connector and the adjustability on the fulcrum trigger its self. It should end up being around the 4 pound mark, a good combat weight.

The Fulcrum trigger has a CNC Billet Aluminium trigger pad has an ergonomic correct shape with a flat face that is ideal for shooting with the pad of your trigger finger as opposed to the more rounded face of the factory trigger pad better suited for shooting with the first joint. The Safety of the fulcrum trigger is 3x wider and completely flush when depressed. Safety features a real spring as opposed to the thin plastic nubbin of the factory safety for greater heat and chemical resistance.

The Fulcrum trigger features adjustment screws for over travel and pre travel adjustment. Overall trigger movement can be shortened to �� with all factory safeties intact. Trigger reset has been shortened by half so that pistol can fire mechanically faster. Trigger bar is high polished and precision ground to help eliminate trigger creep and allow trigger to stack up and break consistently.

The trigger system used is a Zev tech fulcrum Gen 3 9mm model as the ejector pin from a 9mm to a 40 calibre is slightly different, even though it�s a 40 calibre slide. If converting, use the trigger system to suit the calibre being used. Glocks are known for reliability, why mess with that unless attempting to improve it. The ejector pin and extractor are small things to change, if doing a job you might as well do it right.

This kit includes a connector, springs, ejector housing, and Titanium Firing Pin Safety.

  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>2/56 Set screws in front and back of the trigger to adjust over travel and pre travel. All aluminium CNC milled out of solid billet aircraft grade billet aluminium.
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Wide ergonomic trigger safety is completely flush when depressed
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Very short trigger reset
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>V4 Race Connector
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Reduced Power Striker Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Standard Power Striker Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Trigger Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Titanium Firing Pin Safety
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Firing Pin Safety Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Ejector housing
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>All glock safeties fully functional!
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Trigger pull weight adjustable from 2 lbs � 6 lbs
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Instructions and two allen wrenches included

Other Parts I�ve changed are the plastic take down pins to titanium. Probably went overboard with those but what the hell. They�ll outlast the frame. An extended slide release, to replace the standard slide stop, I�ve been too used to 1911�s and Brownings to change to the racking the slide method in order release the slide at this stage.

I�ve never been fond of Glock grips in hot weather with sweat. So am trying out a Brooks Tactical A-Grip. To finally complete the overall balance I�ve used a ZEV tech speed magwell with a brass insert. It now balances better than an STI, with the steel guide rod, bull barrel and brass magwell combination and still remains lighter than a 2011 to carry all day.

Pictures are to follow later when the build has been completed.