My new AR-15: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today’s report is both an object lesson, and a summary of what we’ve been studying for so long — the fact that ballistics, though often difficult to understand, are also precise and repeatable. It may not sound like that until I summarize at the end; but trust me, this is a lesson for all airgunners.

As the title says, this report is about my new AR-15. If you’re just finding this report for the first time and are interested in the AR, you owe it to yourself to read the first three parts of the report, linked above, before reading today’s message.

It was another very calm day at the range — perfect for testing a little experiment I’d cooked up. As you know, I do not shoot factory ammunition of any kind in my rifle. I did prove that it will function with standard factory 55-grain Remington .223 rounds in the last report, but the accuracy was horrible. I put 10 shots into about three inches at 100 yards. So I use the word “function” here to connote that the rounds fed through the magazine and action smoothly, as designed. I would never consider shooting them, other than for this test!

My load has been a 77-grain pointed bullet and a load of Varget gunpowder. That has demonstrated the ability to put 10 shots into less than one inch at 100 yards on many occasions. But another bullet — a 68-grain Hornady Match hollowpoint — produced the best 10-shot group I ever got with the rifle. It measures 0.562-inches between the centers of the two bullet holes farthest apart.

Group 3 AR-15
Ten bullets went into 0.562 inches at 100 yards.

The experiment
So, I dreamed up a little experiment. I would shoot another group with the same load, only this time I would also do some other things to improve the group. For starters, I would only select cases that had the same headstamp. Different companies make .223 ammunition, and their cases differ a little. Even though they all meet the specifications for the .223 Remington case, there are tiny variations that occur from the differences in the manufacturing processes each company uses. Add in the possibility of different materials at the beginning of the manufacturing process and you get small variations. The specifications allow for this, as long as the gross tolerances and performance specs are satisfied.

AR-15-different headstamps
These cases were picked up off the ground at the range, so they came from several different manufacturers and were made at different times. They’re not uniform at the lowest level.

Reloading cases with different headstamps, therefore, sets up the possibility for small variations in performance. Those differences probably don’t matter to a deer hunter; but to a guy trying to put 10 bullets in the same place, they can matter a lot.

So, I pulled 10 cases with the Federal Cartridge headstamp and set them aside for special treatment. Then, I selected a second lot of Federal cases and put them into a second group. A third group was comprised of cartridges with random headstamps.

Next, I trimmed all the cases to the same length — 1.760 inches. To this point, I hadn’t trimmed a single case, and semiautos like the AR-15 are known for stretching their cases.

Following that, I reamed the inside of the necks of the 10 special FC cases. I then loaded them with the 68-grain bullet and Varget powder that had produced the best group. The other cases I loaded with 77-grain bullets and Reloader-15 powder that has also shown a lot of promise. I wouldn’t call them control groups because they were reloaded with a different charge and bullet, but I was certainly interested in how well they did.

The moment of truth!
After warming the barrel with the 10 mixed cases (which got a 1.225-inch group), I started shooting the select cases with the good bullet and reamed case necks. The second bullet went into the same hole as the first. So did the third. When the fourth bullet enlarged the hole only a little, I suspected I was finally onto something. Shot 5 didn’t seem to make the hole any larger and I almost stopped shooting at that point. Never in my life had I ever put 5 shots from any rifle into 1/8 inch, which was what I estimated this group to be through my 30x scope sight. But fair is fair, so I pulled the trigger on shot 6. It went into the same hole, but enlarged the group noticeably. It was now about 1/4 inch between centers.

I was on a roll, and what a story this was going to make. So I lined up the crosshairs and fired shot 7.

“Oh somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.”

[From the poem Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer, 1888]

Shot 7 landed apart from the first six and thumbed its nose at me through my powerful scope. So, I put my head down and finished the group. Two more shots were also apart from the main group and had the ironic audacity to land together, as if to say they were in the right place and all the rest were wrong. And one bullet managed to nick the main group, enlarging it by a considerable amount. In the end, I’d put 10 shots into .859 inches — a decent group; but when compared to the 0.198 inches of the first 5 shots, not that respectable.

AR-15 group made by prepared cartridges
The first 5 rounds went into 0.198 inches at 100 yards. Seven of the 10 shots went into 0.43 inches. But the 10-shot group measures 0.859 inches because of those 3 shots that strayed.

What happened?
Here was yet another group that contained within it a smaller group of respectable size. But why had at least 3 of the 10 bullets gone so far astray? Hadn’t I done everything in my power to make these cases identical and as perfect as possible?

I had to wait till I got home to sort the 30 cases because my eyes were not good enough to discern those with the reamed necks. They were reamed on the inside and now the tiny scratches were filled with burned powder ash. But under the magnifying hood and strong lights at home I found them, one at a time. They all had the tiny scratches from reaming. But there was a problem. There were only 7 cases with the FC headstamp on them. None of the rest of the FC-stamped cases showed the signs of having been reamed. I looked among the odd headstamps, and there I found the remaining 3 reamed cases. Somehow, I’d mixed them up during the reaming operation and the non-FC-stamped cases got mixed in with the others.

Three! An interesting number, because it matches the number of bullet holes that are not in the main group. And that’s today’s lesson. It’s not a lesson about how to do something — it’s a cautionary tale about what not to do. That’s what we learned today. You can’t be too careful when you test things, and you have to check things twice and even three times before you pronounce them as good.

That is what I failed to do this time. And you know what comes next, don’t you? I have to rerun this test and next time make sure everything is done correctly.

I’ll make a prediction. If I do everything correctly as I’ve said here, I predict that this load will be able to put 10 rounds into a group that measures under 1/2 inch at 100 yards.

We shall see.

76 thoughts on “My new AR-15: Part 4

  1. Something occurred to me while reading this posting. You made the comment that you would never shoot factory ammo from your AR, except for testing purposes,, and while I have no problems with anyone else’s peculiuarities,, having so many of my own,, I am forced to ask,, why own a weapon designed for a particular purpose,, ie, firing many rounds as quickly as possible,, and then limit that function? Curiosity about what how fast a particular mule can run, notwithstanding,, why not a test of it’s attributes that set it aside from other rifles,, it’s rate of fire and ease of offhand use. Maybe testing the group size of firing a thirty round clip at fifty yards in under ,, say ten seconds?

    All you seem to be testing here is the barrel. Not that it isn’t interesting,, but I often find one’s rational to be as well.
    Ed


    • If you may recall, the reason he owns a Mattelomatic in the first place was to test an air rifle top. I feel certain a falling block or bolt action is more to his taste, as they are mine. Why spray and pray when one will do?


      • Ed,

        RidgeRunner got it right. But for the Crosman MAR177, I would never have built the AR lower. But now that I have it, it turns out to be the most accurate rifle I have ever owned — as long as I shoot it the way I am doing.

        Accuracy is all I care about. I got my fill of full-auto when I was in the Army.

        B.B.


        • B.B.,
          Ed’s comment brings to mind the age old question of whether the glass is half full or half empty.
          Rambo, reading this report, would be disappointed because he is inerested in,100 round mags & high rate of fire.
          The Army sniper would or should have a big smile on his face because he is interested in a rifle that delivers ” 1 shot,1 kill” capability and should be asking whether he can have an AR like yours that still has the capability of taking a 30 round mag and firing in full Auto.
          Then again, I don’t own a firearm, so what do I know?

          Pete


        • B.B.,
          I think your air blog is going to get more attention from the powder burner set with groups like this. If you’re not doing a article in Shotgun News about this build, you should!
          Was it scary reference an AR and type the words “it turns out to be the most accurate rifle I have ever owned” ? Bubba-Backyard might say that about his AR, but I never thought you would…Nice work.
          -h


          • Hank,

            It was completely outside my comfort zone to do anything other than deride an AR. But this rifle is so accurate that I actually traded away a Winchester High Wall in .219 Zipper Improved that was made by Mashburn Arms Co., just because this gun could at least shoot as well. I’m thinking this one can actually outshoot that one! It shouldn’t be, but it is.

            B.B.


            • I’m having a tough time digesting this. I know it’s real but it’s short circuiting my perceived reality.

              All AR-15′s that I’ve ever seen are spray and pray guns.

              This is the very reason I come to this blog daily. It challenges my prejudices.

              kevin


        • But for the Crosman MAR177 AR-15 Upper PCP Conversion Kit… I think we can agree the M4-177 is a different animal entirely.


    • While the no-factory/no-autoload operation is understandable to me… I’m still amazed that he’s using random brass found at the range!

      I’d have either bought a few boxes of factory rounds (maybe cheap mil-surplus grade — was this a hybrid .223/5.56 chamber?), done basic functional testing with those, and then ONLY used that brass for the custom loads. That way it should all be a common lot number with similar metallurgy et al.


  2. B.B.

    You could have claimed that a swarm of flies moved in over the range and deflected those last three shots.

    Things not to do….
    Take everything else along, but forget the ammo.
    Take along the wrong caliber ammo.
    Forget the marker you need to write on your targets with so you won’t mix them up.
    Take the wrong rifle when you have two or more of the same kind.
    Shoot with more than one tin of pellets open in front of you.
    Dump two tins of pellets together when they have different lot numbers.

    twotalon



      • B.B.

        Two other evils that I forgot…
        Forgetting the rangefinder.
        Forgetting the tape measure used for measuring P.O.I. distance to desired P.O.A.

        I guess I could also add forgetting a level to make sure the target is hanged straight.
        AAAAANNNNDDDD….
        Forgettting the screwdriver and allen sets (metric and SAE).

        It sucks to finaly get a perfect shooting day and screw it up.

        twotalon


        • TT,

          As for the tools, I now have separate tool boxes that stay in my range box. Don’t forget extra ear and eye protection for those people who show up without them.

          B.B.


          • B.B.

            I have multiple acessories, so I will usually have anything I need handy either outdoors or in the house. That’s a lot of stuff. Always try to have a backup available.

            Surprising how full and trashy the inside of my van always looks. And my indoor work areas too.

            twotalon


  3. Got to shoot my news/used AA S410 last night. My first impressions are… What a nice trigger! And it puts them all in the same hole at 9 1/2 yds! Nice balance although it’s a bigger gun than I thought it would be. Really efficient air usage too! I shot 40 pellets from a full reservoir of just under 200 bar and ended up at a little over the 150 bar mark. It took me 90 strokes of the Benjamin pump to get it back to full again (at 5500 ft elevation). That’s only 2-1/4 pumps per shot! Pellets are burying themselves in the duct seal so I know they’re hitting hard. Can’t wait to run some chrony strings next week! I debated spending the money for this gun, but now I have no regrets on that count. Thought I might need a silencer, but the factory shroud does great. About the loudest noise I hear is the pinning of the striker and the pellet hitting the target! The only thing I find a little difficult is cocking it. The bolt action is a bit of a stiff pull. I can see why they went to the side lever… Maybe a bigger bolt handle will help that. But that aside, it’s living up to my expectations! :-)

    /Dave


    • /Dave

      Have you been shooting in my basement ?? Or is it just a coincidence that we both have only 9.5 yds ??

      twotalon


      • I don’t know…. Can you walk through your basement? Or do you have to step over things like exercise machines and boxes to check your target? If there are things to step over, I might have been in yours….

        /Dave


    • /Dave,

      Congratulations on the bolt action S410.

      I’ve owned several and still have a sidelever version in .22 cal.

      When you shoot that gun at longer distances or shoot it across a chronograph I think you may find that a fill to 180-190 bar is the sweet spot. Try the jsb 18.1gr pellets. They were the most accurate long range pellets in 4 out of 5 of my S410′s.

      A bigger bolt won’t help the cocking effort on your S410. Technique is critical. Don’t operate it like a bolt action firearm. That puts sideways pressure on the bolt and makes it feel like you’re dragging it across concrete. Pinch the bolt between your thumb and forefinger by placing your thumb on the left side of the bolt and pull it straight back. No sideways pressure. Your other fingers can ride on the bolt for leverage but pull it straight back.

      You may also want to look into getting an RC machine after market magazine since the factory magazines (yellow cover) are notorious for slight mis-alignment thus slightly clipping pellets and affecting accuracy.

      kevin


      • Thanks, Kevin! I’ll try those suggestions. I noticed right away that the bolt needed “special technique” to operate smoothly. Still pretty hard to pull all the way to cocked position. Incl get used to it though… I have one mag with the yellow cover and one with a clear, but no mfg marks on either one. So far my only regret is that I don’t have more time to pay with it! At least, (gag, choke, retch….!) taxes are almost done…

        /Dave


    • I don’t know if you read Wayne’s posts praising his S410. And Wayne owns a lot of airguns! You’re also making me feel better about my used SW 686. Prior ownership no longer makes it seem tainted to me. :-)

      Matt61


  4. Wow…..that’s awesome for 100 yards with a tactical weapon. I suppose there may be some match ammo out there, but it would cost you an arm and leg. Nothing beats DIY.

    I’ve finally got around to putting in a new extractor in my old Ruger 10/22 rifle. The only thing I’ve done to it in the last 30 years was to lighten up the trigger a little.


  5. B.B.

    Word used to be that the Winchester brass was the most consistent in dimension, including internal volume. Do you know if this is still so ?

    twotalon


    • TT,

      Golly — I though Remington brass was always the best. But these days it could be Sellier & Bellot, because they make for many American companies, too.

      I do know this — Lake City match brass has always been consistent in 30.06 caliber. I would think it would also be good in 5.56mm.

      B.B.


      • black hills re-manufactured ammo uses once fired mil spec brass, good stuff.

        glad to see you tried some production ammo. hornady makes good stuff and as you indicated the 68 gr match shoots great. it even helps off the rack ARs get better results, assuming we are talking about the higher quality rifles.


  6. Just bought a new scope with some spare Paypal dollars (selling a lot of old motorcycle junk on Ebay), a UTG/Leapers 3×9 x50mm objective from PA. It is for the Talon I bought from Mac. What’s really nice about this scope is that it focuses down to 15 feet (for shooting in those 9.5 yard indoor ranges), has fairly sharp optics and the elevation and windage adjustments lock down with a separate thumbwheel (no tool needed – hooray) plus they are very easy to reset to zero after the scope is zeroed in.

    However, the reticle seems to have been installed by a one handed, one eyed, three fingered worker somewhere in China. The darn POI was almost a foot below the POA and that was at 28 feet and no elevation adjustment left! I ended up cutting one of those plastic info cards the insurance companies give you to put on your keyring (not quite as thick as a credit card) into a thin strip and folded it back on itself three times (estimate a 1/16″ to 1/32″ shim – I’ll get my micrometer and double check) and placed it on the rear mount to get the elevation needed so the scope would hit the darn paper! I hope the angle the scope now has won’t damage the tube where the front mount grips it.

    The Condor barrel is not a drooper as the former scope that was mounted on it, a Bushnell Banner, didn’t have this problem.

    Happy Good Friday to everyone who celebrates Easter.

    Fred DPRoNJ



      • I’m thinking about it even though I just got the scope settled in and getting results for POA = POI. Do I really want to remove the scope yet again?

        Fred DPRoNJ



      • Aaagh, see above comment to BB. Do I really want to pull the darn scope off yet again (this was about 3 hours last night of sighting, cutting, sticking, re-assembling and removing). I do agree with you, Mike. This scope was really cockeyed but occassionally I do run across this type of problem (last time being a Centerpoint scope).

        Fred DPRoNJ


    • Fred…

      There are some things to watch for that could get you.

      Make sure that the rings are from a matched set, and if they have no slip tape that it is present in both rings. Also, make sure that both rings are clamping in the right place….both properly in the groove.

      twotalon


      • Thanks for the reminders, TT. I did check to make sure the mounts were identical, had no mounting tape within the rings and that both were properly installed in the dove tail groove. I was going to swap the mounts just in case when I realized that the Bushnell Banner scope I had removed did not suffer from this problem so I left the mounts where they were.

        Fred DPRoNJ


        • Fred…

          All that considered, sounds like a wasted scope. It might last a while, but could have other problems that you have not found yet.
          I had a Bushnell on one of my R7s that came from P.A. as a package deal. The scope was shimmed because the gun was a drooper (no surprise). The windage knob was cranked in to within 1/2 turn of max. P.A. did have it pretty well zeroed. BUT..the scope did not live through a tin of pellets.

          twotalon


    • Fred…

      One other thing…
      If there is a scope stop pin in one of the rings, make sure that it is not extending up or down enough to cause a problem.

      twotalon


  7. Never thought I’d see 100 yard groups like that out of an AR-15.

    Build it correctly and feed it right and anything can shoot is my lesson for today.

    If I owned that gun I would be tempted to approach other AR-15 owners at the range and suggest a shoot off for accuracy along with a friendly wager.

    kevin



    • I’ve wondered the same thing myself after looking some specialized benchrest guns. Some of them look like plumbing pipes lashed together or as if the shooter were making fun of expectations or daring you to criticize his groups. My only explanation was that you can make anything shoot well given sound components and enough attention. Incidentally, this is relate to the theory of why the Tie Fighters of the Empire in Star Wars are shaped the way they are. The inferior Rebel X Wing fighters look like you would expect warships to look. But, with its superior resources, the Empire developed a powerplant that transcends any particular structural design. So, they resorted to the weird abstract shapes of the ball and two screens of their Tie fighters for a psychological effect on their opponents. So, it’s all connected.

      Matt61


  8. Edith,

    Looking at the description for the new Condor SS the standard barrel length is shown as 24″ with optional 12″ & 24″. Is this correct? Should the standard length be 18″? Just checking.

    David H


    • David H,

      Oops! My bad. I thought I’d changed that to 18″ when I rewrote that paragraph. All have been changed but will take about an hour or so before the changes will show up online.

      Thanks,
      Edith


  9. Spring is finally start to show it’s face in Norther Michigan. I was just outside shooting my Diana 52 (The .22). It was actually starting to get a bit too warm wearing a black hoodie. Our local gun show is a week away and the snow is melting. Soon it will be time to head for the range!

    Mike


    • Just had my first range day this week. I took out my never fired Hatsan 125Th, Crosman TR177NP and dusted off My condor with it’s new fill length barrel shroud. I likely won’t be using the Hatsan much since I found cocking the thing was a strenuous operation requiring more strength than I had that day. I was not having the best of days. The TR77NP was slightly disappointing since it seemed to have trouble keeping the barrel locked in straight but the GRT3 trigger I put in it really helpet that gun feel great when I fired it. But the condor was firing sweet as pure clover honey, accurate as it ever was and much quieter with that full shroud I put on the 24″ barrel this year. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on that condor ss but it has to wait. I can’t cough up $700 in one go and I have an ar15 build going on at the moment. That one is a complete top secret experiment in how I’m doing it until I proof of concept test my build.



  10. I’m still working on a AR15 here. I’m keeping the details of this build top secret until I have tested it on my range. But if it works I’ll be telling you what I did in my building process. I’m working on something that should keep my building costs minimal in all ways. We shall see if it works. I figure I have around a 50/50 chance of what I’m planning will work. But if it does work, then I will have spent less money to make an AR15 than I will have spent on my AK47. At the moment the entire thing is theory and rumor. I hope to make it workable fact. If my idea doesn’t work at least I should have a few useable parts for try #2. The biggest problem I am having right now is getting some parts of the upper. I can thank Obama, Biden, and Feinstein for that.


    • Can you say what you’re trying to achieve since it seems just about everything has been tried with the AR15 platform from spraygun to super-accurate sniper rifle? Just about the only thing that hasn’t been done is making it cheap (which I thought was one of the original design aims actually :-)) Is that what you’re trying for? Then big bucks might be headed your way.

      Personally, I continue to lament the fate of the AR18, a piston design by Eugene Stoner himself. Apparently it worked great, but it could never find a buyer. It’s achievements have also been stolen by the success of the German G36 design which is practically the same thing under a different name.

      Matt61


      • Building your own guns from parts is a rather costly hobby. I’m looking at a possible way to get some pieces rather cheap to hold down the cost since the parts are expensive and hard to get in this political climate. If my theory holds I’ll be sure to share what i learn. If my experiment doesn’t work, i save myself a load of public humiliation. But I’m always inventing and building and trying new stuff. I’ll tell you what I am up to at a later date….if it works.


        • Do tell although the 3D printing might supersede what you’re doing. On the other hand, 3D is still in the very early prototyping stages.

          Matt61


          • Ive been watching it carefully. They seem to have fixed the printed lower receiver so it no longer breaks when used. They’ve also come up with some stronger plastic compounds to print with as well. But the printers are &700 that can make a receiver. I’m trying to get the price down lower. I should be able to tell you what my evil plan is in the next few weeks. I don’t want to say more until I know if what I’m trying actually works. That way is it fails at least I get to keep my ego intact. If it works, I’ll tell you what I did and you can call me a genius.


  11. I’m totally excited now! The Crosman MTR77 NP is coming out right at the price point I thought would be right for that rifle. And it will be out in time for my May 3 pay day! When I saw that I almost peed myself in my excitement. This will be a great gun to add to my tactical rifle rack along with my ancient AIR17, m4-144, AK47, AMD65 and of course the AR15 I am busy milling from raw aluminum block. I got my receiver looking like a lower receiver now. But it’s far from finished.


  12. Well, reading the article I was moved to wonder if this is the most accurate firearm rifle that B.B. has ever shot. I recall that the most accurate airgun rifle was some obscure slide-action British design called a Skand or something like that which I never expect to see, but I don’t recall a firearm rifle being mentioned. Now, I have! The next question is whether B.B. has fired a super-accurate Olympic target rifle like an Anschutz. What is second place to this AR-15? Anyway, that’s quite an achievement with the AR-15. And we can’t really get on your case for counting sub-groups since these were fired in order. :-) If this doesn’t convert you to the platform nothing will. It sounds like another case of Clint Fowler’s “at first I didn’t think much of this gun, but it intruded itself upon my consciousness against my will.” I wouldn’t dismiss the semi-auto results either. Your 3 inch ten shot group works out to something like 2.5 MOA for the equivalent 5 shot group. That’s better than the stated average of 3 inches for a standard AR-15 which isn’t really a surprise with the trigger and other modifications to this particular gun. What if instead of the 55 gr., you shot 69 gr. like I do in my Savage 10FP. I wager that would bring you down below 2 MOA which is quite good for a semiauto. We’ve discussed what makes the AR-15 accurate from a mechanical point-of-view but do you have any additional insights from the shooting experience? (One of the values added in the blog. :-)) You did say that this gun felt great. :-)

    Ah, yes of course, the Desert Eagle is manufactured by Magnum Research; that should have told me something. But this does intensify the question in a certain way. How come everyone else hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon the way they are eager to do for most shooting trends? Reading into this a bit, I see that Magnum Research has incorporated a rifle style piston system for the greater power, so perhaps they have a propriety lock on the technology that will enable this. The sheer power of the .50 AE is actually less interesting to me than the repeatable joy of the .44 and .357 magnum calibers. I’ll keep that in mind whenever I manage to get out with my SW 686.

    Wulfraed, I would agree with your explanation about speed of firing for some mechanical device that is not limited in its reaction time. But my guess is that the limits on resetting for both the automatic and the DA revolver that you mention–the barrel lock-up and was it the gas escape for the revolver–are both well outside the limits of human reaction time and are thus not relevant. I know for example that the slide on a 1911 is moving at approximately Mach 2. It is so fast as to be almost invisible which is why for many years before I understood the mechanism of guns, I didn’t know that the slide moved at all. I was recently wondering about the same question as I tried to imagine how fast someone could get with a Lee Enfield bolt action. Might they get as fast as a semiauto? Could they get so fast that they open the bolt before the bullet had left the barrel thus causing gases to blow back in their face? Clearly not. So, I’m guessing anything on that order is not relevant to human reaction times. That leaves you with the DA trigger which will always be harder than a single action for any equivalent cartridge. So, I conclude that the DA revolver must be slower for a human being. Mustn’t it? :-)

    Victor, that’s pretty tight about the engineers stealing things. As the one guy says in the film Midnight Express about an FBI officer as he is being led away in handcuffs, “Watch your cigarettes around this guy.” There was a recent YouTube video of the president of the Czech Republic stealing a pen on live television. He was at some diplomatic event and he could be clearly seen sneaking the complimentary pen across the table and then into his pocket all with a beatific smile on his face. Naturally, internet posters edited the film with arrows to diagram his plot the whole way. As the saying goes, “Trust no one, my friend.”

    I love Texas! There’s a preserve called Fossil Rim or something like that which is raising its own population of black rhinos and you can see them charging around on the grass just like they’re in Africa. Apparently, some countries in Africa are so afraid of losing their rhinos to poaching that they have sent over some for safekeeping. Watching the rhinos, I’m starting to believe that intelligence in animals is overrated as a criteria for liking them. The rhinos are most endearing with their rather clueless selves sitting around and holding the world at defiance. Turns out that if you scratch their heads and bellies, you can pretty much have your way with them. And watching one of them try to buck off a guy who climbed on his back is one of the funniest things you’ll ever see.

    And here’s further proof that my idea of introducing exotic animals into Texas may not be quite dead. Perhaps tigers imported for the feral pigs could be kept inside of an enormous enclosure into which the pigs could be allowed to enter. But if the pigs are as smart as people say, they will probably realize that pigs go in and they don’t all come out…

    Meanwhile, back in Africa things are getting intense. Some places have personal security details for individual rhinos and will shoot poachers on sight. The rangers pack heavy gear–FN FALs. It’s a little extreme but they are literally running out of black rhinos. Another solution is to inject the rhino horns with a toxic solution that causes nausea and vomiting in anyone who tries to ingest them in any form. Something appropriate about that.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      Many an engineer will steel much more than small personal items, like walk-mans. I worked in defense for many years, and while probably most individuals, projects, and companies try to be honest, sometimes they have more short-term motives, like profit over service, or product. It’s not unusual that organizations hire bodies, for which the vast majority of charges to the customer go to “overhead”.

      Victor


    • The tigers would never stay inside the enclosures. That’s how most of the pigs got their start. They would get out for sure.

      Mike


      • I’m counting on the lower intelligence and larger size of the tiger relative to the pigs to keep the tigers contained. But you’re right the amount of fencing would be prohibitive.

        Matt61



  13. Hey Tom I have a question. Has anyone ever tried putting a Daisy Avanti Model 499 B plunger spring in a Red Ryder. So you can a have a fun repeater bb gun.


    • Thomas,

      To my knowledge that has not been tried. You see, the BBs the 400 uses are so precise that they have to be shot though a very precise barrel, and that isn’t conducive to a repeating action. Things have to be looser in a repeater.

      B.B.


      • I know that the 499 has higher precision in the barrel and the bb’s it uses. But it has a weaker plunger spring. I just want to put a 499 plunger spring in a red ryder. Also I wonder why daisy hasnt made a precision repeater.


  14. Happy Easter to all. And on the subject of resurrection, William Shatner at 82 has just remade his battle with the Gorn that you can see online. The remake allowed me to look more closely at the moves. First, the reborn Kirk clobbers the Gorn with a double-fist technique which prevents his own body from rotating in a way that will generate power and which also exposes his outlying pinky to damage on a surface as hard as the Gorn’s body. Then Kirk follows up with a Karate chop to an alien neck which likely does not have the same make-up of arteries and nerves as a human neck. The Gorn doesn’t obviously have a neck at all. Then Kirk polishes it all off with a double clap to the ears, a devastating technique by report, except the Gorn doesn’t seem to have any ears. There’s actually a compilation of Kirk’s fighting techniques on YouTube which is hilarious, especially the one where he springs off a wall attempting to strike an Andorian with his rear end and almost knocks himself out in the process.

    At 82, Shatner has had quite a career from being called “The Shame of Canada” to his renewal and recognition in later life to his exclusion from the wedding of George Takei, Mr. Sulu, which led Shatner to accuse him of a psychosis that was “patently obvious” to his one-man traveling show on the virtues of charity and his ill-advised attempt at a singing career after the original Star Trek. Perhaps we can say that he has persisted which is the virtue that redeems all others. His singing career with Mr. Spock inspired some memorable reactions. Leonard Nimoy singing Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town displayed a respectable voice which may have been a little short on musical sophistication but long on a kind of gravelly sincerity. But Shatner really went off the rails with his Shakespearean soliloquies and his interpretive reading of the Beatles song Mr. Tambourine Man. One Amazon commenter wrote: “Never in my life have I heard anything to approach the ridiculousness of this collection. I laughed non-stop for 45 minutes and almost suffocated.”

    Did you know that black rhinos can reach speeds of 35 mph and whirl around too fast for any group of lions to take them in the flank? I’ll leave it to someone else to calculate the kinetic energy of 6000 pounds moving at 35 mph, but I’m sure there’s nothing like it in the animal kingdom. Ancient warfare may have been completely different if people had harnessed rhinos instead of elephants. Rhinos are actually biologically very close to horses so the idea isn’t all that far-fetched.

    Can someone speak to the virtues of the FN FAL now in service against rhino poachers but also with quite a service record of its own? The general wisdom is that it’s superior to the M14, but I don’t see why. The gas system is copied from the Russian Tokarev SVT 40 which was inferior to the M1 Garand which is the basis of the M14. The SVT 40 was dogged by unreliability and sure enough the Israelis dropped it after it began jamming on them in the desert. The Galil which replaced it was based on the AK 47 whose action is probably closer to the M1 Garand design than anything else. Granted that the FAL did reasonably well in competition against the M14 for the U.S. Army and was only defeated through a certain amount of chicanery which seems to accompany most army weapons trials. But other than that I don’t see the appeal. I believe that the accuracy is consistently inferior to the M14.

    My theory is that the FAL was held up as the “right arm of the free world” to counter a sense of inferiority to the Eastern bloc’s AK 47 and to compensate for the real or perceived shortcomings of the M16 during the Cold War. Much of the favorable attitude could even be based on the FAL’s modern-looking pistol grip design even though the battle rifle cartridge was uncontrollable in full auto. Coincidentally, much of the M14′s renaissance as the Mk14 seems to be center around its modern chassis. FN produces some good weapons and the FAL obviously could do its job, but other than that, I don’t see the appeal, especially when the civilian versions cost a fortune.

    Matt61


  15. Just got is a bit of a gun argument today. Every year I hunt my mom’s place for muskrat and groundhog. This year I have my pimped out AK47 with bipod, nice scope and of course 30 round magazines. This is one of the best muskrat set ups I have and it is ready to go. But I have a monkey wrench in my machine this year. The guy my mom shares that property with seems to think his single shot 20 gauge shotgun is the perfect hunting thing. Problem is he’s running a very light hunting load in his shotgun shells and I know that set up is only good for around 40 feet on the best day. I know I can get within 10 feet of a swimming muskrat but I prefer to sit in the shade of a big tree and watch the water which means I’m farther away than that shotgun’s maximum effective range. He also has not taken into account I’ve fired close to 10,000 rounds out of guns like my AK47 (low estimate) and I know my gun down to the last rivet and have 4 months invested in making it the best it can be along with around $1500 invested. With a shotgun I have likely fired around 25 shots in my lifetime. I tried to tell him he’s severely destroying my chances of success with a gun I am not familiar with, but I guess you just can’t tell someone that thinks like Joe Biden anything.


  16. Hi, I am looking for a good squirrel gun that can maintain accuracy down range, be cheap, and in .22 caliber. What is anyone’s thoughts on the Hatsan Model 95 .22 Cal Air Rifle? Thnx for ur time


  17. I know BB is using reloads and going through all the trouble to make a fairly precision round. But I am curious about what the precision in his AR15 would be like with some off the shelf factory loaded ammo. The reason I’m asking that is most of us will likely just go to the store and buy ammo instead of going through all the trouble of reloading the casings. I know this will likely be a challenge since 5.56 NATO is hard to come by at this time, but it can be found. I just found some 7.62×39 today.


  18. Tom,
    I enjoyed this thread a lot. I’m surprised that you did not sort your cases right away. That is the very,
    very, first thing you do. I’m not a bench rest shooter but they not only use the same brand they use the same case and reload the case at the bench for each shot, and position the case in the chamber the same for each shot.
    I have an Olympic Arms AR-15 with a Williams Trigger (normal trigger except that if the safety is pushed forward the trigger is a set trigger). I bought 1000 American Eagle rounds just to get used to the rifle and have brass for reloading. The gun was shooting well under an inch with those rounds and as I was shooting IPSC at the time I never bothered to see what the rifle could really do but I seem to remember that Olympic guaranteed under a half inch.
    The tricked up AR-15s are excellent shooters.


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