My day at Sig Sauer: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Sig Sauer at work
  • The tour
  • Security
  • Ground rules
  • Rapid change
  • The big deal
  • Finishing
  • Test firing
  • ASP20
  • The engineers
  • Ed Schutz takes over
  • Laser-welded parts
  • Precision fixtures for every process
  • The cocking shoe
  • Summary

Last week a number of airgun writers and editors were invited to Sig Sauer in New Hampshire, to witness the start of the ASP20 production line and to tour the Exeter facilities. Those who attended were Tom McHale who writes for American Handgunner, Shooting Illustrated, Concealed Carry Magazine and too many other publications and website to list. Kristen Voss from the digital side of the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine was also there. Terry Doe and Dan Chart were there from Archant Limited, the publisher of Airgun World and Air Gunner magazines in the United Kingdom. John Bright of Highland Outdoors, a worldwide firearms and related products distributor in the UK was also there. I was there representing this blog and Firearms News in the US.

Two US writers were unable to make the trip, due to massive thunderstorms in the American northeast. Jock Elliott and Dennis Adler were unable to get flights out of their respective homes.

Sig Sauer at work

Those same thunderstorms that blanketed the northeast gave me my first look at how Sig Sauer differs from most other companies. My first flight from Dallas landed in Philadelphia, where the sun was out and the clouds were fleecy, but the moment I turned my cell phone back on about 15 text messages downloaded. The first two were from American Airlines, informing me that my next flight to New Hampshire had been cancelled. They had rescheduled me for a flight later that evening, so I asked in the terminal where the closest AA desk was located, to get confirmed and ticketed.

It took me 15 minutes to walk to the airline desk. As I walked, a team at Sig Sauer was rescheduling me for a flight into Boston’s Logan airport. Five minutes before I arrived at the airline desk I had been confirmed on a much earlier flight, and a Sig manager was assigned to pick me up and transport me to Exeter, where we were staying. I found out later that team was doing the same thing for the other writers who were scattered everywhere from the hundreds of flights that had been cancelled.

The next evening, Sig Sauer CEO, Ron Cohen, who had flown back from India that day to have dinner with the airgun writers, told us that Sig doesn’t always get things right. He admitted that they do make mistakes. But when they do, stand back, because that is when Sig Sauer really shines! I have worked in and toured a great many plants in my lifetime and I can tell you he is not exaggerating! I will tell you more about Ron later.

The tour

This visit was a one-day event to showcase the startup of the ASP20 production line. That is a new breakbarrel air rifle that I said yesterday is the FWB 124 of this century and millennium. I will show you every unique and novel new detail on this rifle, plus I will conduct an extended test of the rifle, once I get one, but before we look at that, let’s look at the rest of the Sig Sauer production facility in Newington.

Security

Sig makes firearms in this factory. If you remember the old Johnny Cash song One Piece at a Time, where he stole a Cadillac over 20 years of employment on the production line, our BATF&E doesn’t share the humor. They don’t want guns walking out in lunchboxes, so everybody going into and out of the plant has to pass security. I mean everybody — even the vice president of Sig Air (their new name) had to remove all metal and step through the detector. I had to take my belt off but not my shoes.

Ground rules

We were then taken to a small conference room where the ground rules were covered. Besides the BATF&E, Sig has an Army contract for the new M17 sidearm, and the Army requires them to keep that work separated from the commercial firearms being made. The M17 is based on the P320 pistol, with some variations. The Army does not want their sidearm to get mixed up with a civilian handgun, so all parts are stored in color-coded cabinets and all assembly is done inside locked steel cages. I was not permitted to photograph the cages, but they are nothing more than a standard shop area that’s been enclosed by open steel mesh for this contract work.

Sig conference room
Everyone was briefed before we toured the plant. We also put on headpieces to hear the tour guide over the shop noise.

We were also asked to not photograph any engineering documentation, to include displays on the screens of any of the CNC machines. And there were certain machining operations we were asked not to photograph. Otherwise, we were given free rein to take whatever pictures we wanted.

Sig Product Manager, Pistol, Tim Butler, conducted the first part of the tour, showing us the general plant operations.

meeting
All good companies have meetings before the shift starts. At Sig they hold them in small groups.

Rapid change

We looked out over a sea of CNC machines. They told us they have been upgrading the plant capability by switching to 5-axis machines that can do more work than the machines they replaced. But that wasn’t the big deal.

They have CNC machines with robot arms inside them, moving the parts inside the machine to get more operations from a single machining center. That’s efficient but it’s not the big deal, either.


A solid block of steel goes into the machining center and all the machining is done. There is a lot more before this slide will be complete, but they have other machines for that. Photo provided by Sig Sauer.

The big deal

The big deal is that a short time before these CNC machines had not been where they were on this day. Where other companies take days to install one machining center and get it up and running, Sig installs dozens of them at a time and has them running in one or two shifts.

They did not build the building we were touring. They bought it because it was the largest building available in the area, and, when they moved in, space inside was already tight. They installed their existing machines from the old building, with a plan to install the new machines we were seeing on the tour. And even that wasn’t efficient enough for them. They did something I have never seen before. They installed a robot arm between two CNC machining stations and had it unloading finished pieces from one machine and installing them into the carriage of another machine sitting next to it. In other words, no operators for that entire process! I have seen robots inside machining centers but this was the first time I have seen them operating between two separate centers without human intervention! I’m sure it exists elsewhere, but this was my first encounter.

Finishing

After walking around the plant we were taken into the finishing room. In here everybody had to wear hearing protection because some of the machines like the huge industrial tumblers make a lot of racket. Inside this room I saw a robot grinder that was smoothing the slides we had just seen being made. Everything was inside a plexiglass enclosure, and the robot arm worked fast.

grinding slide
A robot arm (the yellow in the background) is holding a pistol slide against a grinding wheel to remove the tool marks from the various angles on the steel part. This machine has several wheels and sanding belts that come into play at different times. Please excuse the reflections on the plexiglass shield.

Test firing

Each pistol Sig produces is test-fired on one of six indoor ranges inside the factory. Between the pistols and their semi and full-auto firearms, Sig uses over a million rounds of ammunition each month.

We were allowed to see the test ranges but not to take photos. Sig also has a 100-yard indoor range for their rifles in the same plant.

ASP20

Okay, you didn’t just come for a plant tour. You want to know about the rifle that I said is going to be the next FWB 124. Well you guessed correctly that I was referring to the Advanced Sport Pellet (ASP) 20. The name was created when the company was still thinking in a European way, because “Sport” in Germany, when it relates to airguns, means everything other than 10-meter target competition. The Germans are big on target shooting and not so much on everything else. Of course the rest of the world knows there are many more flavors besides target shooting, but you have to start somewhere.

The 20 refers to the muzzle energy of the rifle in .177 caliber. And here is why that is important. Any other airgun company would have just put way too much spring behind a piston that’s way too fat and has a stroke that’s way too long and call it hasty puddin’. Sig went another way. They reckoned if they could make a .177 spring-piston rifle that was easy to cock, insensitive to the hold and dead-nuts accurate at 20 foot-pounds, imagine how nice it will be when they scale it back to 12 foot-pounds!

What I am about to reveal to you over the next two days is the most significant development of the spring gun that has ever taken place. I do mean ever!

The engineers

I have bragged a lot about Ed Schultz and what he can do, but Ed is only one of three engineers who developed this rifle. I met the second one, Krzysztof (Kris) Kras at the dinner I told you about earlier.

The third engineer, Justin Daniel Heckert, was not at the dinner with us because, sadly, he passed away very suddenly on February 22 of this year. He was beloved by everyone at the company, and Sig has memorialized him by including his initials, JDH, in the serial number of every rifle. Serial number one will be presented to his family. That’s the kind of company Sig is.

Kris came from the firearms side of the house. Justin came over from Crosman as did Ed Schultz. But at Sig, there is no distinction between firearms and airguns when it comes to manufacturing. They are serious about everything they do.

Ed Schultz takes over

At this point in the tour, Ed Schultz assumed the duties of tour guide and led us over to the brand-new ASP20 assembly line. There he narrated the building of a complete rifle before our eyes.

Laser-welded parts

The spring tube and barrel with attached base block and silencer showed up as finished assemblies. They had been welded by laser in another Sig facility and brought to this building. The laser that welded them was also present, but it hadn’t been hooked up yet. As I mentioned — this was day two of production and things were still getting sorted out.

They already had a 1,000-watt laser but it wasn’t big enough for the airgun job so they bought a new 2,000-watt laser just for this project! Other airgun companies weld by friction or with induction welding, but Sig wanted the least possible distortion and the laser was the way to go.

Precision fixtures for every process

At each assembly station there was one or more precision fixtures to hold the work. Other companies use the same type of tooling but these were finished and made especially for the job.

The cocking shoe

I told you I was going to discuss in detail every innovation on this rifle. I will start with the cocking shoe, which is the interface between the cocking link and the piston. The shoe is metal injection molded and the cocking link it’s attached to is hard zinc. Before you go on the warpath about Sig trying to save 20 cents on a part, it was designed that way for a reason. The shoe hooks into the piston to cock the rifle and the lever pushes it back when the rifle is cocked. Zinc in contact with steel has less friction than steel on steel. They lubricate it for life at assembly and this shoe/link combination was tested over 19,000 cocking cycles at a force that is 25 percent greater than you will apply.

The shoe is articulated (it rotates through a small arc) and spring-loaded to eliminate most of the friction that a regular cocking shoe would have. Airgun tuners know that we have to deburr the cocking slot, the cocking shoe and the piston when tuning a springer. And even then the cocking shoe will try to gall (rub with pressure) the spring tube. Sig designed a shoe that articulates with the changing angle of the cocking link, eliminating any galling.

cocking shoe
The spring-loaded cocking shoe adjusts its angle as the cocking link changes its angle during the cocking stroke.

Summary

I’m just getting started! Tomorrow I will show you things about this rifle that you have never dreamed of, and we will also go to the range. There you will find out if it is accurate.

63 thoughts on “My day at Sig Sauer: Part 1


  1. BB,
    They say they are fixing a droop issue….but in my opinion droop doesn’t matter. Inconsistent lockup is an issue.

    All of my springers have droop mounts, because I can keep the turrets tighter at longer ranges.

    And if they were trying to solve a lockup issue, why not make an underlever or sidelever?


  2. I knew that Sig must be a great company, but hearing your inside perspective makes me appreciate them even more. Looking forward to the coming reports from your visit. Thanks.


  3. B.B.,

    On rumination a zinc alloy cocking shoe does sort of makes sense in that you can’t end up with a gouged piston if or when the cocking shoe fails. Part 2 for tomorrow I hope.

    Siraniko

    PS. Section This report covers: Ed Schutz (Schultz) takes over



      • B.B.,

        That means the between the lever and the cocking shoe, the lever is the one that could break leaving a stub on the cocking shoe. Makes sense in the light of the recent failure of the RWS52 cocking arm reported here. I’ll bet that that is one of the first aftermarket parts going to be sold made of steel in the same vein of the FWB 124 trigger made of plastic being replaced by a metal part.

        Siraniko


        • Siraniko,

          Yes, and just as useless!

          Remember that Rolls Royce bought their first automatic transmission from Buick. They machined one of the piston heads inside smooth because they felt it was too rough, and the tranny failed to work! The roughness was essential to operation.

          B.B.


          • B.B.,

            Indeed! How many actually had improved triggers after swapping out the plastic for the metal trigger? How many plastic triggers actually broke? Only a handful I would hazard to guess out the thousands that were made.

            Siraniko



              • Siraniko and B.B.
                My experience with my 127 was that it took a little encouragement to break after 40 years. (Stupidity when self-teaching a spring replacement job.) I bought one of those metal replacement triggers made by ARH – which, btw was NOT new and improved, but an exact copy. I found I preferred the plastic trigger because it held the trigger shoe more firmly than the metal trigger.
                Larry from Algona


                • LarryMo,

                  I had not read your post before I wrote mine below. I was in no way referring to you, and I certainly did not mean to offend you.

                  Plastics infamously become fragile with age, especially if they are stored in warm conditions. Your trigger could quite possibly have become brittle with age.

                  Again, no offense meant.

                  Michael


            • How does one break a plastic trigger that breaks (the good way) at a pound or so?

              I have a collectible, San Anselmo marked, left-handed 124, and I was disappointed when I saw that contrary to my recollection, a prior owner had replaced the plastic trigger with the metal factory replacement offered by Beeman to replace the (gasp) plastic one. I believe it would fetch more money for my future widow (as I will not ever sell it) were it with the plastic one in place and perhaps the metal one in a plastic bag, or vice-versa. :^)

              Michael


              • Michael,
                I’ll reply to both posts here.
                Absolutely, no offense taken! Now, if you had worded it like, How does anyone get so stupid to break a trigger when trying to replace a piston seal, then maybe, but, probably not. I have the same feelings about the plastic triggers. (BTW, this was on my San Anselmo, 127. My 124 was imported from Germany by Robert Law of ARH and he did not mark his imports. If you go to the FWB owner’s blog on FB, you will see it’s serial number – 5524 – listed as the oldest serial number they have found to be verified by the Feinwerkbau factory.)
                Anyway, the trigger on the 127 was sheared in such a way that it will fit back together perfectly. I have been playing around with ideas about how to get the pieces securely back together such as pins with super glue for one.
                My 124 was a custom model by Robert Law so a special stock was installed and other work was done. He had no compunctions about cannibalizing other manufacturers for parts to make a better final product. For instance, the front sight was taken from Weihrauch for the replaceable insert capabilities and the trigger guard came from somewhere else because it was checkered steel – no matter that the hole for trigger adjustment was in the wrong place. I guess he figured that once he set the trigger adjustment, no one would need to touch it again, which turned out to be true until the stock was broken when the receiver lug broke off while cocking it. That was in the mid eighties and I had it packed away for about 10 years. My brother took an interest and found someone that could repair the stock. I don’t know what all he did for other repairs but I suspect he might have replace the piston seal. It was long past overdue for the original seal to disintegrate like the seal in my 127. Back to the trigger, my failing memory can’t recall if Robert Law replaced the trigger with a metal one or it was done at this time. Also, he didn’t get the level of the trigger back up to what Robert Law did so I did end of “tweaking” it. However, that being my first attempt, I didn’t get it as fine tuned as I managed with the 127.
                Sorry I went on so long.
                LMo


                • LarryMo,

                  Wow! That is quite some history there. Thanks for sharing that.

                  I don’t do FB, but I might go there and look around the FWB Owner’s page. i really should jot down my 124’s serial number. It almost certainly has had a master tune. I shoots so quickly, with absolutely no vibration, just a slight fast pulse. It is an absolute tack-driver, too.

                  Michael


          • “Plastic” is thrown around often. I think it gets a bad rap too. UHWPE, for one, and fiberglass or carbon fiber that’s been epoxied is called plastic also. Then there’s the space station wonder lubes made from PTFE and perflouropolyether.


        • Siraniko,

          I got my replacement cocking arm from Scotland today. It ended up costing $70 US with insurance and shipping. Someone expressed a concern that there was no guarantee that the new lever wouldn’t just break as well. The replacement has modifications that should prevent it from breaking. The old one broke right through the middle of the drilled hole that takes the cocking rod pin. Apparently that hole was drilled too close to the edge of the cocking lever because the new one is drilled much further from the edge. Also, the original cocking lever was a simple U channel that was flat on all three sides. The new lever has a rounded ridge embossed in it and running its entire length to add rigidity and strength to the lever. I’ll post some pics.

          This seems to be the lever that is installed on new guns, as you can clearly see the rounded emboss in some of the Model 52 photos on the Pyramyd website. This tells me that Umarex should have recognized it as a ” defect in material or workmanship” and covered it with their warranty.

          I am even more convinced than ever that it is foolish to base buying decisions on warranty periods. They are seldom enforceable and how a company honors them should carry much more weight than how long it’s good for. Umarex/RWS suck at honoring their “Lifetime” warranty, for instance.

          Here are the pics illustrating the changes. I think this one will hold up fine.



            • Michael,

              I just calls ’em like I sees ’em! I even told the Umarex customer serviceless rep that I would be giving my impression of their warranty at any opportunity and in any forum that I found myself in.

              Half



  4. If you look at the outline of the Benjamin Legacy – Jim Shockey version (also a gas ram)
    and compare it to the Sig Sauer ASP20 there is some input from this.


  5. BB
    Yep it sounds like Sight has their act together. Can’t wait to hear more about the gun and hopefully the processes involved with the different components.

    And just wanted to mention we had two Hydromats facing each other with a big slide arm that transfered the parts from one machine to the other. And had about 5 other machines that was individually loaded by robot from a conveyor system. And alot of automated checking stations when the parts came off the machines.

    So can definitely relate to what is happening at the Sig plant. Definitely look forward to hearing and seeing more.

    Did they have any type of indoor test shooting range at the plant?



  6. B.B.,

    Off topic,… but do you have any idea if the internal threads of objective lens openings is a standard thread? OR will differ from maker to maker? Like,… would all 56 mm objectives be the same internal thread?

    These are the internal threads that would be used for adding tube extensions or internal caps/lens/filters.

    Thanks,…. Chris


    • Chris USA,

      To answer yesterday’s question no I haven’t. I do imagine that you have to use relatively short straws maybe 2″ in length maximum.

      Siraniko


    • Chris
      That’s a good question. I have wondered the same.

      I would say the best bet would be to stay with the manufacturer of that particular scope your trying to get the extension for.


    • Chris,

      Apparently they can vary from model to model of one company. The new shade and lens covers will not fit my older Hawke.

      If you are talking of a honeycomb sunshade with Siraniko, they do not need to be very long at all. Most are under 1″. 1/2″ would be effective.


      • RR,

        I too think 1/2″ would be effective. Most look to be 1/4″, but it hard to tell from the pics. The downside to straws is the gap between. A true honey comb would not have that and may be better. I plan to give it a go though.

        Thanks for the input on threads. You would think that the same maker would keep the same threads on the same size objective.


      • RR,

        Also, what is your opinion of the objective extension tubes? I have none,… but have made the equivalent with card board and card stock and can honestly say I have seen no benefit.

        In my opinion, unless you are shooting towards the sun,.. or the sun is ahead of you,… most lens’ are recessed enough to keep any (direct) sunlight from hitting them.


        • Chris,

          Extension tubes do indeed work. I like them. The only issue is they do make your scope longer.

          As for the gaps between the straws, don’t sweat it dude. You will not see any of that through the scope and it will work just fine.




  7. BB ,

    Very exciting stuff , glad to see that Sig is treating the Airguns seriously and building them in house . So much better this way as all things are controlled in house. Glad to see the engineers are allowed to engineer instead of building something down to a price point !!. I bet Ed is a proud Papa .


  8. B.B.

    Thank you for the in depth report of the Sig facility. Sig sounds like a company I would have enjoyed working for…one not run by bean counters. It appears they are doing everything right and take a lot of pride in their products. I like that a lot. I suspect there is a lot of company / employee loyalty at Sig also. I once created a resume and in it I wrote “I am looking for a company that cares as much about their employees as they do about their product”. Sig is an impressive company building impressive products of high quality. I had almost given up on the idea of any companies existing these days with those values. Very much looking forward to more reports on Sig and the ASP20.

    Oh, is the ASP20 only being made in .177 caliber? Inquiring minds want to know 😉

    Geo


  9. will there be a 12fp version available in the US? Its good to see a quality springer made in the USA SIG must be a great company to work for there are to few of them left What an interesting life you lead


    • Paw,

      Ed talked about many things like that. Nothing has been decided, but I think they need the under 12 foot-pound gun for the UK, and they will be hot for this rifle. So that one is almost a given.

      Yes, I do love my job.Sometimes, like now, it’s a real pleasure.

      B.B.



      • B.B.
        I, for one, can picture myself as being more interested in the U.K. version. That, of course will depend on your test findings. If the 20 fpe version is as smooth firing and easy to cock as my 11 to 18 fpe collection (the guns in the cabinet).
        Larry from Algona



          • Thank you, B.B. I appreciate that.
            L’ingOL, I hope it’s not lost or wasted on me. Some of my latest acquisitions (cabinet guns) are a Walther Terrus, RWS 34, (new version) FWB Sport, and HW 95, all stock and none of which I feel the need to have tuned. One that did get the benefits of a tune was a Mike Milek tuned Xisico XS25 – the Chinese clone of the Diana 34.
            LMo



  10. Ok guys, here is the bottom line on the ASP20. You want to buy it.

    Yesterday when I commented about making room at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns, BB replied;

    “RR, Make the room. You won’t be sorry. B.B.”

    I have known BB personally since 2005. I have bought airguns from him over the years, as has my wife by the way. He has a pretty good sense of the quality I demand. He also knows what a stickler I am about accuracy. When BB tells me to “Make the room. You won’t be sorry.”, I am going to make the room.


    • RidgeRunner,

      I feel the same way, even tho I don’t have any personal friendship with B.B. Since discovering this blog I have read thru all the archives from 2005 and have come to trust his judgment and wisdom.

      When I resumed my interest in airguns, I only had (left) the two FWBs I have mentioned here and began a search for something else that would be as fun to shoot in all circumstances as they were – plinking and pesting, and to keep me hunting small game like squirrels and rabbits.

      After trying an assortment of modern offerings, I realized I needed to set limitations for myself. I would also try to keep the final number to eight because that is how big my gun cabinet is. (This went out the window pretty quickly.) I would look for rifles that would be as much fun to go afield with as the FWBs. Also, I looked for guidance from this blog, decided I wanted wood stocks, nice triggers, and accuracy – not necessarily in that order.

      I also discovered that in this area my European heritage was really showing. Therefore, unlike most of my American peers I discovered that air rifles performed most ideally when quality was forefront instead of (excess) power.

      I seriously thought I had made my last purchase to fill out my cabinet and begin farming out the overflow to my nephews, nieces, and frankly, anyone I could get interested in airguns. It’s been said before and I’ll reiterate: B.B. is truly the Great Enabler. I expect I’ll buy an ASP20 but really, I’m having a hard time getting my head around a black stained wooden stock.

      Larry from Algona


      • LarryMo,

        As I intend to have mine afield and knowing how “gentle” I am, it is my intention to go with the synthetic stock. It is more durable and weather resistant than the wood.

        As for the black stain on the wooden stock, it could possibly be undone. 😉


        • RR
          Good call. I usually prefer wood and the weather resistant pains that go along with it. However, I seem to remember that in boot camp and ITR when I got the synthetic stock for my M-14 it was easier to take care of – no spending Sunday mornings hand rubbing in LinSpeed, and It actually seemed easier to shoot at the 200 for offhand and the 300 for sitting and kneeling. The only place it was a wash was the 500 for prone, tho come to think of it, I believe the only time I was given a puffy lip was from the wooden stock.
          I guess I’ll wait and see what B.B. is going to test. We know it’ll be a .22, but which stock? (or, did I miss that?)
          LMo


  11. Thank you for this very informative report, B.B. I’m looking forward to part 2. I’m really interested in the shot cycle and the trigger – more so the trigger. In my mind, if this is to be a revolutionary rifle, it needs to better a T06 or Rekord trigger. I know that this may be more of a sporting rifle than a target rifle, but adjustability at least down to 8oz would be nice. Looking forward to reading more…

    Thanks!


  12. B.B. and anyone else here who has expertise to share on this subject,

    As many of us know, it takes time/space for the gas in airguns and firearms to expand. For this reason certain types of guns require a lot of time/space and others less, but all require some. For example, black powder combusts more slowly than does modern smokeless gunpowder, so barrel length has a great influence on how much muzzle energy is produced with a black powder firearm, perhaps less so with modern smokeless gunpowder. Similarly, CO2 and PCP air guns are more significantly impacted by barrel length than are springer airguns.

    And for all of the above there is a “law of diminished returns,” where an extremely long barrel can actually slow a projectile.

    Finally my question. I read somewhere on the internet that certain firearm cartridges benefit to a lesser degree than do others when it comes to longer barrel length due to the pressure in the cartridge. The specific comparison I recall involved higher-pressure handgun cartridges, such as 9mm, .40 S&W, and 10mm vs. lower pressure cartridges, such as .45 ACP. Some argued that longer barrel lengths provide a smaller velocity increase than do higher-pressured cartridges. For example, a 6.5 inch barrel provides significant increased velocity over a 3.0 inch barrel with .40 S&W, but the velocity increase would likely be of lower percentage with .45 ACP Furthermore, some expressed the belief that lower-pressure cartridges such as .45 ACP have a shorter “ideal” barrel length then do higher-pressure cartridges. Therefore, the aforementioned law of diminished returns comes into play, some contended, with shorter barrels for lower pressure cartridges than it would with higher-pressure cartridges.

    Your thoughts, educated opinions, and any data you can point to?

    Michael



      • B.B.,

        So to provide a practical example, a .44 magnum carbine with a 16 inch barrel will provide a significant boost in velocity over a 6.5 inch barrel if they are both shooting .44 magnum. But if they are both shooting .44 Special (lower pressure), the increase in velocity will be of a lower percentage than with the Magnum (higher pressure) cartridge?

        Perhaps, and I’m just grabbing numbers out of the air here, a .44 Magnum rifle with a 26 inch barrel might still provide velocity benefits (albeit exponentially decreasing benefits) for the Magnum cartridge, but it might be a bit too long for .44 Special, perhaps too long enough that it might even slightly slow that .44 Special ammo to below its maximum possible velocity?

        Michael


      • B.B.,

        I still can’t find a bookmark for the online discussion, but in my physical notes I found I wrote the following: “8/2017 — B. discontinued CX-4 in .45 ACP?’, ‘Probably poor sales.’ ‘Small cap. mags. vs. .40 and 9mm.’ ‘Lesser fps. increase for .45 vs. .40 and 9mm with added barrel length?’ ‘That, to. [Sic]’ ‘Why?’ ‘Lower pressure in .45 ACP.’

        That is probably how that whole thing got planted in my skull.

        Michael


  13. Michael,
    It is my understanding that more important than pressure is the burning rate of the powder in question. For example, when reloading 357 Mag it is common to use a small charge of a fast propellant for target practice. The pressure may still be high at its peak but by the time that the bullet exits the muzzle it has dropped significantly. A longer barrel would not change much things with this load. However, a large charge of a slow propellant in the same cartridge generates the same peak pressure but burns for a longer time, maintaining the pressure for lot longer. BTW, this effect is very visible shooting at night, in the first case the flash is noticeable but small, in the second its a scary fireball. And I mean scary!

    There are some parallels in airguns, A springer could generates a high pressure but with a small volume of air would not benefit from a longer barrel. A PCP, on the other hand, is the other way around.

    Henry


  14. Hm. Good for Sig. But this is not exactly a new market and one where the Germans have paved the way. We’ll see how this new rifle compares to my favorite breakbarrel, the HW30S, and we will see if all this quality comes with the traditional German price tag.

    Does anyone know the status of the M17 combat pistol? I heard that it was found to have a bunch of reliability problems. Anyone know if they have been fixed?

    Regarding the shooting game of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, I see I was mistaken. To fit a .30 caliber bullet into the neck of a bottle .75 inches wide gives you about .2 inches clearance on each side, so I took that clearance as the equivalent group size. But the bullet can move to both sides so this clearance needs to be doubled. .4 inches at about 25 meters works out to about 2 MOA, not 1 MOA like I said. So, the shooting was not superhuman. But under the conditions with a field rest, the non-precision reticle of the Mosin, and the cold bore, it is still exceptional.

    The latest installment covers the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany. They say everyone remembers what they were doing when they learned about Pearl Harbor. To a certain extent the same is probably true of 9/11. I was teaching a class at the time. When I came out and found an unusual silence, I asked, “Did something happen?” So, what do you suppose would be the reaction if you found out your country was invaded? Lyudmila was having lunch with friends on the beach, and after hearing the announcement, they paused and then continued their conversation about something else. Everyone else did the same. It took awhile to sink in. Things moved slower in those days. But then during the mobilization, everyone was eager to get to the front to see some action before the Nazis were defeated!? This was only 20 years out from the catastrophe of WWI. As the song says, “When will they ever learn?”

    Matt61


  15. Thanks BB for a great report. It is great and very encouraging – and a bit surprising I should add – to see a company like Sig that works so hard to make products that they can be proud of. Also, one that allows engineers to do their work. A rare gem indeed and really nice.

    It looks like this is going to be an exciting series I am also one of many looking forward to the next chapters. By the way, I didn’t think I needed another springer, but that ASP has me thinking. Oh well.
    Henry


Leave a Reply