Monday, May 25, 2015

Bolo Magic

The search for the magic bullet continues. 

new magic bullett
The latest entry for Magic Bullet Award

 It is our nature to search for a cure that can be bottled, packaged or shrink-wrapped and purchased.  Smarts, skill, grace under pressure, surely we can buy a product to replace these core skill, can’t we?

If there is one message I came away from competitive bulls-eye shooting with, it is every competitor is a sucker for bottled advantage.  Don’t take my word for it; check out most of the gun rag articles and advertisements.

Some designer looked at handgun ammunition and boiled down the stopping power problem to insufficient bloodletting.  And he is, in my opinion, correct.  There are many variable to stopping power, but nobody doubts that if we could drop the VCA’s blood volume by 30% almost instantaneously, the fight would be over.

Sailing navies had the same problem and they came up with a solution.  It might not be a stretch to metaphorically link the wooden ships sails with human blood circulation.  

Sea combat with sailing ships boils down to wind and your ability to use the wind.  Opposing ships would sail towards each other in one manner or another to bring their guns into range.  If you could rob your opponent of the ability to move, he became a stationary target you could simply hammer away at.  The easiest way was to destroy the sail and rigging. 

A single canon ball might hit and destroy a mast. But more likely it would punch a hole in the canvas.  Some naval designer came up with the idea of chain shot.  Simply put, it was two halves of a cannon ball joined by 6 feet of chain.  Fired from cannons this would cut rope rigging, shred sails and have a much better chance of shattering the mast.  The downside is the fired shot was relatively inaccurate and had to be used at close range.  I also suspect the penetration power against the thick wooden hulls of warships was significantly reduced by the separating mass of the cannon ball.

Multi Impact Bullet (MIB) Company has come up with a high tech version of this round.  This innovated design was brought to my attention by my good friend and fellow cartridge collector, Marty.

magic bullet
Note the partial separation and independent  top of bullet

top of magic bullet
top view

The round, called Multiple Impact Bullet, is a four component projectile.  There is a center portion and three equal weight fragments joined bolo style by Kevlar string.  The rotation imparted by the gun’s barrel cause the projectile to open up bolo style.  The stated purpose for this is poor shooting.  Even if you are 4 inches off center of mass, the theory goes, one of the bullet bolos will hit somewhere near the center of mass.

We just had to try it out.

Multiple impact bullet on paper
Marty cracks one out, note the happy brass in midair.  (It's happy cause it's doing its thing)

Marty set up a paper target on a cardboard backing board and shot it at two distances.  He used the zero on the target as the point of aim and he marked each impact.

Here's the target.  Marty got two center of mass hits, which conventional, and often wrong, wisdom indicates should have ended the conflict. 

Mary marks the magic bullet impacts
This target was fired at 9 and 12 feet.  Note the two impacts at aiming point at "0"
 In this case the reduced mass of the center of the projectile may not have had enough oomph to penetrate deeply into the body.

If you were expecting the stronger-than-steel Kevlar to open-up the target like a wire cheese cutter through a wedge of Swiss cheese you’d be wrong.  

The red box shows the end of the Kevlar string which was attached to one of the bullet bolo ends

The Kevlar cut the paper, but not the cardboard.  The bullet bolo pieces did penetrate the cardboard but we don’t know what that would have meant to a person.  So I went to their website.

It’s a slick site.  Nice cartoons of how it works and of guns firing cartoon bullets.  There are several videos of real people, but they’re fluff videos.  Nowhere did I find actual numbers about penetration into ballistic gelatin.  

I’m a performance-based prejudiced shooter.  Shooting clay, wet phone books and gelatin tissue stimulant is, in my mind almost worthless.  Give me coroners/doctors reports detailing internal damage and what the person did after they were shot.  Yeah, I know, it’s ghoulish, but it is what it is.

As I understand the website the MIB has problems with accuracy, which they discount with the standard disclaimer most self-defense shootings happen within X number of feet.  (Pick your own X depending on your belief system.)  This mirrors the problem with chain shot, reduced accuracy. 

Would I collect this round cartridge?  Hell yes, this is an innovative and quite amazing round.  Would I carry it?  Not even if I knew I going to be attacked by paper targets.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Help and Having Fun

Benifit run for wishes for warriors
The start of the day

I recently attended a benefit for Wishes for Warriors, an organization that helps wounded veterans do many of the things we enjoy:  fishing trips, a day with friends, acceptance in society.  Their stated goal, “Many return from war, mentally or physically disabled only to be judged by society.  Wishes For Warriors is here to change that.” 


I don’t know how much money was made.  I’m sure it wasn’t enough but we can all do a little bit ourselves.  Next time you meet a veteran, remember they have baggage I can’t begin to understand, so cut them a little slack.

Warming on up on the rifle range
We moved the benches down from the rifle range reday line to control safety

The range had shooting stations set up on two pistol ranges and the rifle range.  Those attending had a chance to do a little shooting.  The club also offered two 1-hour long training sessions with Adam Litke.  The first hour was pistol and after lunch and drawing of riffle prizes, Adam ran a rifle course.
Well, there isn’t much you can do in an hour, but…

Adam ran essentially a figure 8 drill.  The concept is simple: you walk a figure eight pattern looping around two cones.  Five 3/8 size steel targets were set up approximately 10 yards away with a number painted on the steel plate.  In response to the verbal command, you turn, find the target  with the matching number and engage it with as many rounds you think are required.  Simple.

Adam Litke figure 8 pistol range
Shooter engages steel.  Part of the drill was muzzle awareness.

Well, it sounds simple until the number 2 target becomes the “2 times 3 minus 4” target.  Of course there could be two number 2 targets and no 1 or 5.  Add different color paint and 2-red, square root of 9 and half 10 become especially interesting.

A similar activity was scheduled for the hour of rifle. The pistol grade steel targets were swapped out for all purpose cardboard IDPA targets.  With the bigger targets, more numbers could be placed on each target. 

Adam Litke run a rifle responce
shooter engages target square root four plus 2

The goal is to simulate the chaos of an armed interaction. 
Huh?  What does that have to do with the square root of 16?
It’s about decision making under pressure.  Think about what can happen:  the environment gets your attention because something non-ordinary happens.  Your response is: “I may need a weapon.” 

After you verify a weapon is required, and there is an imminent threat present, and your only/best response is to draw and engage that threat, you must draw and engage.  During that entire period everything in the environment is changing because of the shooter.  Disorder and confusion will be the order of the day.

Don’t let this be the first time your mental processes grind to a halt and need to be rebooted.  The more you experience this, the easier the reboot will be.

Remember the 6P rule: Pre-planning and practice prevent poor performance.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Double Bank Shot

Go on!  Hit me with your best shot!  Fire away!

What a story!

It’s like a scene from an Adam Sandler movie.  All you need is a trailer, recliner, your favorite target and the all important armadillo.  Brains appear to be optional.

Here, you read it.  I don’t think you’ll believe me otherwise:

54-year-old Larry McElroy, of Leesburg, Georgia, shot an armadillo with his 9mm handgun while standing outside his mobile home.

The bullet ricocheted off the animal's armor, went through the back door of the mobile home and into the back of a recliner where McElroy's mother-in-law was sitting.

74-year-old Carol Johnson was struck in the back.  She was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

"The whole situation was unusual," said the county sheriff.  (Clearly a man of few words!)

Residents are allowed to shoot armadillos as a way to get rid of them and McElroy will not be charged for the shooting.

I couldn’t find this reference to this story, but here’s another:

Just a reminder, know what’s behind and around your target.  You may not go to jail for shooting the person you meant to shoot, but you almost certainly will for shooting the person you did not mean to.

I hope Carol feels better.