Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shotgun Reloading - part six

 I hope you and all of yours have a Happy and Healthy New Years!!  Let's get back to guns....


Slings have several use and a few draw backs.

They are very useful for holding the gun near the ready position while your hands are busy with something else, like your fly, or water canteen.  The shotgun is in position in more of less the same place every time.  But….

A three point sling may interfere with reloading as one part of the sling is always near the gun.  I’ve reloaded AR and shotgun with 3-point slings and sooner or later the sling gets in my way.

I like a 2-point sling on all my long guns.  The sling is a distance from the operating control and still allows me to position the gun to the side if I need to transition to my handgun.  Some 1-point slings are reported to alternate between slapping you between the legs and butt stroking your chin.  Neither, as I see it, are desirable. 

Most two or three point slings affect the mounted gun reload, just more weight and surfaces to catch wind and branches.  I find the two point sling helps stabilizes the shotgun with the demounted reload.

Just make sure the sling has enough slack to reposition and rotate the gun.  If not, the sling will bind, pull, hamper and frustrate you.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shotgun Reloading - part five

PS:  Merry Christmas.  I hope you're safe and warm, but spend a few moments thinking and praying for the men and women who are cold and a long way from home so you can have a good holiday!

You need to reload, you’re in the open and you need to cover some distance.  The coast is, for the moment, clear but you need that gun at full capacity.

Me, I demount the gun, rotate it inward so the carrier is visible and place the butt stock upside down under my armpit and support the shotgun with the trigger hand.  This is when you start stuffing shells in one at a time with your less dexterous fore-arm hand.   

Shotgun supported with hand and armpit.
It's a secure grip and i can see where I'm reloading as well as the ground i walking over and have the potential to scan for danger.

 The two point hold, hand and armpit, makes the shotgun more stable while I move.  This orientation also points the muzzle downward.  This works for both semi-auto and manual pump shotguns.

There are potential problems with this.  I need to look up and scan left-right, ahead and behind for danger.  I also need to look down to make sure I know where I’m stepping and to assist my hand by watching my hand and the gun’s carrier.  If I fall, I’m sure to plug the muzzle and now I’ve got a loaded gun I can’t shoot until I clean the barrel.  The upside is I’m changing the dynamics of the battle field by moving and at my level of skill I can reload faster if I can see what I’m doing.   

Remember, someone wants you DRT!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Why didn't the laws stop Adam Lanza?

I have to interrupt shotgun reloading.

The following is a letter I wrote to the editor of the Beacon Journal prior to the NRA’s announcement and statement that to stop a bad guy with a gun takes a good guy with a gun.  I wish I had been that distinct.

I doubt the Beacon Journal or any other newspaper would publish this.  It isn't that I want my name in the paper, but I read the letters to the editor from people claiming they own guns, people who don’t have a problem with the 2nd Amendment, or just want to make children safe.  All of them hammer the gun culture.  That’s you and me.

I have try to explain it to them.  It will not help, but I must tilt at windmills never the less.

Rant mode: ON!

How could any normal person not feel sorrow and angst following the senseless deaths of so many children and adults?  My prayers and the prayers of so many go out to their families and friends.  I cannot understand what drove Adam Lanza to ruthlessly kill so many.

In our desire to prevent these tragedies, ordinary people get swept up by politicians and organizations who would prostitute these horrendous slayings to serve their agendas. 

In the rush to be first and capture a bigger portion of the market, the media gets details wrong, vilifies an innocent man and uses buzz words to grab our attention.  Corrections can be made later after the news cycle moves on.

Politicians use incorrect labels and spread fear to drive up revenue and donations, align votes and assure snappy future sound bites. 

Organizations on every side of the debate ramp up their fundraising activities and experts crawl out of the woodwork to get their 30 seconds of career boosting publicity.

Cynical?  Yes I am!

So before we rush to judgment and put bigger locks on doors, ban guns, or embed tracking chips in students, teachers and staff, let’s look at what happened as best we can.

Adam Lanza broke several state and federal laws and killed his mother.  He then broke into a locked, occupied school building getting past passive locks, signs and security measures while breaking more federal and most likely state laws in the process. 

Clearly laws have no affect on law breakers.  I suspect more laws will not remedy the problem.

Lanza then continued to break state and federal laws with impunity until people arrived who had the ability to physically stop him.  Actually, I believe he stopped himself when faced with the possibility that someone would stop him.

I don’t believe digital cameras cause child pornography, hypodermic needles create drug addicts or spoons make people obese.  These are tools and have no life or personality of their own.  Nor do firearms create the evil men do.

Recent and historic data show that evil can only be stopped when good men and women stand up and resist it.  There is no doubt in my mind that Adam Lanza would have changed his plans if he thought someone could stop him during his rampage.

It is a strange world in which we assign armed men to guard a pile of soft metal whose principle properties is its gold color and softness.  But our most important asset, our children, are protected by a twelve dollar lock and a sign on the door.  We must be nuts!

Our children deserve the same protection as mere gold.

Rant mode:off!

More Shotgun shortly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shotgun Reloading - part four

 There are two basic ways of reloading or topping off .  Sure, there are modifications of each, but the core of each remains the same.
Leave the shot gun mounted, or demounted.  Those are the only options.

Warning: The assumption from here on out is you have at least one round in the gun and it is chamber ready to fire.  You may have more in the magazine, but you need to top it off.

Leave the gun mounted.
With the gun butt still pressed against your shoulder you need to pick up a round, two if your dexterity is good, and thumb each one past the carrier and into the magazine.  But with which hand?
If you support the gun with the trigger hand, the length of the gun will act as a lever making the gun feel heaver than it is.  This also makes you load with the less dexterous hand.  You must pre-position your reloads where that hand can get to them without having to contort yourself like a pretzel.  The advantage is you can pull the trigger anytime. 

start by sliding the shell in tothe magizine withte gun mounted
Finger off trigger during all reloads!!!

finish the reload with gun mounted
Gun remains pointed at anticipated threat during reload  I'm loading with forearm hand.  The gun feels like it weights 50 pounds

Or you can support the gun with the fore-end hand at the forearm and load with the trigger hand.  Many people find this faster.  The trigger hand is more dexterous and you are probably more confident with it.  Again the reloads have to be pre-positioned so the trigger hand can find them.    The disadvantage, you have empty your hand and get on the trigger to fire the gun.
In general I find the mounted reload best when you are expecting an attack right now and you are stationary behind cover.  I’m not ragging on you about walking and chewing gum, but…   

Imagine walking on uneven ground, trying to hold the gun directed at an anticipated threat.  The muzzle swings with every movement you make, you can’t see the reload or the ground in front of you ‘cause the gun blocks your vision.  And you’re trying to reload a swaying gun with your less dexterous hand.  Take the walking out of it and it simplifies the process.  Never be ashamed of simple. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shotgun Reloading - part three

Okay, let’s get back to reloading.

For convenience, or maybe clarity, I’m ignoring right and left.  I’ll just talk about the hand you use to pull the trigger and the hand you hold the fore-arm of the shotgun with. 

It’s quite possible you'll shoot your gun dry.  Try as we might, most professionals report that under fire they lose count of the number of times they fired.  Dirty Harry wasn’t lying when he said:   “I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.”

How do you tell when you’re empty?  The chief clue is the lack of Boom! and recoil when you press the trigger.   Of course you could have also slipped the safety on by mistake.  Skill-with-arms come from practice.  Practice, Grasshopper.

Your immediate goal is to continue breathing and having an empty shotgun is not conducive to that goal.  You need to reload.

The semi-auto is simple.  If it is functioning properly the last round locks the breech bolt back.  Demount the gun, turn it sideways so you can see the open chamber. Drop a round into the open chamber and depress the carrier release.  Use your fingers.  Yes, the cool tactical guys use the reloading motion of a second shell to close the breech bolt and load a second round.  That’s the Master level reload.  The PhD level is never letting your gun go dry.  We’re working at the BS level.

Dropped shell in chamber of shotgun
Ive dropped a rshell in the empty chamber of my shotgun.  If it's manual I'll pump it closed, semi-auto- I'll turn it over a little more and push the release with my finger tips.

If people are shooting at you, Keep It Sweetly Simple.  Get one round in the gun, and if you don’t need to shoot at that moment, load more.

The carrier release?  That’s the shiny rectangular button on the bottom of the carrier.  Most semi-auto shotguns are set up that way.  Check your instruction manual.  Don’t have one?  E-mail, call or download one from their website.

Pumps are more complicated.  An empty pump shotgun will go click, but no boom or recoil.  Use the fore-end to cycle the breech bolt open, demount the gun, turn it sideways and drop a shell into the open chamber. Continue with the forward stroke to complete the cycle loading your gun.  Most pump shotguns can’t be reloaded into the gun’s magazine if the breach bolt open, so get it closed and your gun loaded.

Pssst!…Do you know what the most common source of failure to fire is in a pump shotgun?  Incomplete cycling of the breech bolt.  So rack the gun with authority.  Do not short stroke it.

Why do I want you to take the time to demount the gun?  All your efforts need to be concentrated on completing this reload.  One round.  One round loaded.  One round loaded when you need it.  Get the drift?

I anticipate my fingers will be numb and my manual dexterity will be in the toilet.  I need to concentrate on getting one round loaded and not juggling two or more rounds in my hand.  Once I get the gun loaded, dropping the second or third round from my hand isn’t the end of the world.  My loaded gun gives me options.  I don’t need to mount the gun, if I need to use the trigger.

The army video (previous post) is great.  I would never say anything bad about them, but they are on a sportsman’s field.  Put them behind a short, shot-up brick and clay wall in Iran or next to a doorway in a mud hut with rounds coming at them and I know you’ll see a different reload.