Thursday, January 31, 2013

Primers and Rope



I’ve been working on reloading .223 Remington, mostly because I wanted a 68 gr. bullet.  The theory is a heavy bullet should be a little less prone to wind drift at Camp Perry.  Those 300 meter pop-up targets are hard to hit and I’m blaming the wind.  I found the 62 gr. steel core SS109 works well at 200 yards, but several ranges don’t want you shooting these rounds at steel plates, especially at 10 to 75 yard distances of urban combat.  The 68 gr. bullet in my reloads shot a tighter group at 200 yards than most of the commercial 55gr rounds I had been shooting. 
 

And in light of the Sandy Hook tragedies and the resulting frenzy of blame (It’s guns!  No, it’s high cap magazines!  No, gunshow loopholes!  No, ammo sales!) it might not be a bad idea to do a little more reloading in general.


I’ve suffered from high primer stick-up.  No, it’s not the price of primers, it’s an inability to mount my primers flush with the base of the cartridge.  It happens to everyone, even to the factory manufactured rounds.

primer extends beyond the case base
High primer in re-manufactured .38 special

This is a high primer in a .38 special cowboy load I buy for my introduction to shooting classes.  I buy them from a customer reloader who I know is careful and precise and leaves nothing to chance.  Still, things happen.  The high primer will prevent the revolver’s cylinder from turning smoothly. 
 

With rifle it’s a little more important because high primers can cause misfires and jams.  The cure is to ream the primer pocket out.  It’s a time consuming step.  Especially if you have staked or crimped NATO brass.


shows the four deep crimps in the nato rounds
The heavy crimps help prevent the high pressure found in NATO proof rounds from blowing the fired primer out and into the rifle's trigger group.

I wish I could tell you it was my idea, but I got the idea from YouTube.  I bought an RCBS primer pocket reamer head for their motorized reamer and asked a friend of mine if he could drill and tap an arbor for me.  He could and did.  I mounted it in my drill press.

a primer deburer on a shaft or arbor on my drillpress
Pocket primer primper

It took a little fussing with the drill’s drive belt, but I’ve got the speed right and now I can ream out primer pockets like crazy.  I use a clamp lamp to get a little more light on the subject, turn the press on and just lift each deprimed cartridge into the whirling de-burrer and it’s done.  What took hours is now done in minutes.  It’s fast and I get a nice primer pocket.  


Too much wiggle open the primer pocket too much!
I wiggled this one a little too much thinking I had to get rid of all the indents.  Now the primer simply falls out.
  
I’m no longer getting crushed or high primers and I can’t wait to get out on the range.

Success!  The primer fits like a glove and is flush with the case ready for the range.





I’ve been wearing one of those 'survival' bracelets for about a year now.  There’s about 6 feet of kernmantle cord woven into a bracelet.  That’s not a lot cord, but we tell ourselves that’s enough to secure the main supports of an emergency shelter.  Or enough rope to cobble together an emergency fishing line or…well, you get the picture.


It wasn’t a BIG emergency, but here’s what I found out when I went to use mine.  It’s barely enough to make two shoe laces.

These are shoes and not boots, but I still had to skip the bottom eyes to get them laced up.
They aren't boots, but I still had to skip the bottom eyes to get them laced up.


I’m a little disappointed I didn’t have enough to completely lace the shoes, but it snapped me out of the fantasy that one survival bracelet would make a difference. 
 

Here’s my take on the tactical side of this.  Make sure your preparations work in practice, and not just as thought experiments.  In Germany thought experiments are known as Gedankenexperiment, which loosely translates as “too-lazy-to-try-it.”   This phenomenon is all too common among armchair experts and blog writers. 


Make sure your options are functional and not just pipe dreams.  I still wear a survival bracelet, but I tuck away another 50 feet of cord in my day pack just in case.

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