Don’t Think So, Simon

According to this guy, the only three chamberings one needs to hunt everything in the U.S.A. are the following:

  • 6.5 Creedmoor
  • 12ga
  • .338 Win Mag

To paraphrase Sheriff Margie in Fargo, “I’m not so sure I’m agreeing with your rationale, there.”

I don’t agree with the rifle choices (the 12ga. is a no-brainer), for the simple reason that they don’t pass the “To Be Found On The Shelves Of Bubba’s Bait & Ammo Store In Bumfuck, Anywhere” test.  Granted, the 6.5mm Creedmoor (a.k.a. the “flavor of the month” cartridge) and .338 Win Mag are fine cartridges, but are they sold everywhere?  I doubt it.

Also, two chamberings aren’t enough.  We can sit and argue the point all day about which rifle cartridges are the best — and I have no problem with entertaining said discussion in Comments, of course — but I am of the opinion that the “hunt anywhere / anything” criterion in the U.S. of A., given the wide variety of terrain and game we have, cannot consist of fewer than three centerfire rifle chamberings, to whit:

  • .25-inch (.243 Win, .270 Win etc.)
  • .3x  (.30-30, .308 Win, .30-06 etc.)
  • .3x magnum  (7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag, etc.)

…and a credible argument can be made for an additional, larger cartridge for grizzly in deep brush, such as:

  • .4x (.45-70 Gov, .458 Win etc)

I know, anything a .308 can do, a .300 Win Mag can do better;  but let’s just add a little real-world experience by acknowledging that the .300 Win Mag costs twice as much as its little cousin, and also because recoil / owie shoulder.

All that established, feel free to suggest your three favorite rifle chamberings in Comments, especially when taking the “Bubba’s Store” criterion into account.  Explain your choices, if necessary.  I’ll be adding mine later.

Using The Proper Method

Yesterday I renewed my Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) membership — in fact, I “upgraded” to the 3-year package — and paid for it using my CitiBank credit card because Citi are a bunch of gun control-loving bastards.

Even better, I’m currently on a “lowered” promotional APR of 1.99%, so they get diddly out of this renewal except the transaction fee.

And as soon as my balance is paid off (before the expiration of the promotion period duh), out come the scissors.

Oh and by the way, it’s an “affinity” card with American Airlines so I get frequent flier miles with every purchase.  However, American now refuses to carry my (or anyone’s) shotguns and rifles when I fly over to the U.K., so fuck them too.

Fresh Look: .327 Federal Magnum

The .327 Federal Magnum cartridge was introduced to the market back when I was about to quit take a break from blogging, so I never got to try it out for myself.  However, following a link from Bill Quick (who is unconvinced about the .327, mind you), I got this information about it:

The 100-grain Speer Gold Dot load for the .327 Federal Magnum will penetrate more than 16 inches in 10-percent ordnance gelatin and expand with a frontal diameter of almost a full half-inch. The DoubleTap 75-grain TAC XP load will penetrate almost as deep and expand almost as wide but will do so with less than .38 Spl. recoil. It has lightning-like velocity, even from short-barreled revolvers. The 130-grain hardcast load from Buffalo Bore Ammunition is even suitable for bear defense. You can expect almost 3 feet of penetration from this hard-hitting, powerhouse, .32-caliber load.


When you compare a .357 Mag. load that will deliver the same level of terminal performance as the .327 Federal Magnum, you’ll find it does so with about a 50 percent increase in recoil. The .327 Federal Magnum performs so well because it operates at a higher pressure than the .357 Mag.—45,000 psi as opposed to 35,000 psi. But recoil is reduced because it fires smaller diameter and slightly lighter bullets. The .357 Mag. is a great cartridge, but with 125-grain bullets, the .327 Federal Magnum can match its velocity and terminal performance without the wrist-twisting crunch.

And finally:

The true beauty of the .327 Federal Magnum is its ability to fire four other cartridges. You can shoot .32 ACP, .32 Long, .32 Short and .32 H&R Mag. ammunition in any .327 Federal Magnum revolver.

To me, that’s quite compelling.  So why isn’t the .327 flying off the shelves?

That’s from CheaperThanDirt.  And there’s not much else out there.  Worst of all, nobody seems to be offering cheap practice ammo in .327 FedMag, only the spendy self-defense loads.  And yes, the other .32 loads are out there, but they’re not that cheap to shoot either.

It’s even worse when you look at guns to shoot this stuff.  Here are the Ruger LCR and LCRx which are nice, but weenies:

and the tried-and-tested SP101 (one of my favorite revolvers of all time):

…and that’s it.  Nothing else with a longer barrel, and neither S&W nor Taurus list any revolvers chambered for the .327 FedMag, which means that aside from the SP101, the .327 is doomed to be limited to the backup role only.  Seems a waste, in my opinion.

That said:  as Henry is now making their Big Boy lever carbine and rifle in .327 FedMag:


…I might be persuaded to get a Henry and SP101 as a rifle/pistol combo, but only if someone starts making practice .327 ammo*.

Anyone from Winchester, CCI/Speer, UMC or the big reloaders listening?  Otherwise, I’d just go with the same guns chambered in .357 WinMag, and be with Quick in the “Undecided” column when it comes to the .327 FedMag.

*I’m not about to start reloading, so don’t even go there.

I’m With Insty

Glenn Reynolds points to an article which proclaims the virtues of the double-tap, and makes this comment:

Lately, I’ve gone to Mozambique drills

…and I agree.  (For the record, I’ve always referred to the “controlled pairs” type of shooting as “double tap”, simply because an uncontrolled second shot is a wasted shot 99% of the time, and every shot should be a controlled shot.  I just prefer the cadence of the double-tap phrase over the vague-sounding controlled pair.  Here endeth the exposition.)

While the double-tap is good — provided that one has mastered the timing thereof —  three will always be better than two, especially if you’re using a smaller cartridge like the 9mm or .380 ACP.  (The good part of a smaller cartridge is that the recoil is less than, say, that of the .45 ACP or .357 Mag, so target re-acquisition is far quicker, making the third (head-)shot easier.)

The tricky part of any “repeat” shots, whether the double or triple, is the timing thereof.  Here’s my training drill for each.

My goal for any double-tap is to get both shots inside a palm-sized area in the center mass of the target.  As I get them consistently inside that 4″ diameter circle, I try to cut the time between shots.  I don’t specify a time for this drill (e.g. both shots out the barrel in less than a second).  The quickest speed that I can land both shots inside the circle over forty shots (two boxes of ammo) I call my “optimal” speed; that is, the time in which I can reliably get almost 100% accuracy.  (Obviously, that speed increases with, say, a drill with a .22 LR pistol compared to that with a .45 ACP 1911 or with a .357 Mag revolver, which is why I don’t use an actual time-frame to judge the effectiveness of the drill.  And if I don’t get both bullets consistently into the circle, I slow down until I do.

I refer to this as “Bang | Bang”, where “|” is the optimal interval between shots.  (Sometimes expressed as “Bang” {beat} “Bang”.)

I do the same for a Mozambique drill, except of course that I now have to get the double-tap into the 4″ center-mass target, and the third shot into the head area of the target (if using a silhouette target, or if not, a 3″ circle about twelve inches right above the 4″ circle).

There’s a significant difference in the timing interval between the three shots, though, because I think a shooter needs a fraction more time not only to re-acquire the target, but to shift the point of aim upwards.  For the Mozambique drill, therefore, I try for the following timing:

Bang | Bang | | Bang — in other words, whatever is the pause between shots 1 & 2 in a double-tap, that pause is doubled before I drop the hammer on the Mozambique’s shot 3, the head shot.

In my opinion, if you’re an ordinary shooter like I am (as opposed to a competition shooter like Rob Leatham or Dave Dawson or even compared to deadly shots like The Layabout Sailor or Doc Russia), it’s too difficult to get the same interval between shots 2 & 3 as you’ve managed to achieve between 1 & 2 — and let’s be honest, the third (head-)shot is the most difficult of the three, so give yourself just that extra beat to acquire the new target and get your shot off with absolute confidence.

After going through hundreds upon hundreds of these drills, I’ve found this timing and these target sizes to work for me.  It really helps with IDPA scores, by the way, if that is your favorite competition type:  the time penalty is much less than the miss penalty.

Others may differ.  Your mileage may vary.  Void where prohibited (e.g. at your local range).

All comments welcome.


Gratuitous Gun Pic: FN-FAL

So now that the Gummint has admitted that small-caliber guns are not “military” equipment, I think it’s time to look at a couple decent “civilian” rifles, which I will do here, and again over the next few days or so.

Everyone has written or is writing about the Usual Suspects (AR-15, AK-47 etc.), so I’ll look at what I think are viable alternatives.

Here, for example, is the SA-58 line in the manly 7.62x52mm NATO caliber from DSArms:

This should trigger all sorts of memories among men Of A Certain Age who served with it as the FN-FAL in various European armies during the mid-20th century period.  As the L1A1 it was the rifle of choice in the British and Commonwealth armies and as the R1, it was the standard-issue rifle during my time in the Seffrican Army (SADF). While my particular rifle was an absolute pig (shot-out barrel and a quirky mag release, to name but two “features”), that shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting one now.

And any gun designed by Dieudonné Saive (he of the improved Browning High Power design) should always be afforded a respectful hearing.

The biggest knock against the FN was its unreliability in dusty conditions (it’s the main reason the Israelis dumped it in favor of the Galil), although it should be said that later versions performed much better in this regard.  (For an overview of the FN-FAL, go here.)

As far as I’m concerned, its main problem is its weight — as I recall, mine (with a 21″ barrel, don’t ask) weighed in at just under 6kg (13lbs) unloaded — but I see that DSA has got their modern version down to a far more manageable 8.25lbs, which is good news.

You can get it still lighter with some versions, but then the lighter frame doesn’t handle the 7.62’s recoil as well.  Newton will not be denied.  Here’s what we’re talking about:

I’m not a big fan of the collapsible (“paratrooper”) stock, but I will grant that this feature allows for easier storage and carrying.  You may want to invest in a shoulder pad, however, if you’re going to have an extended range session with this puppy.

The FN-FAL doesn’t compete with the AR-15 much, because it’s more of a rifle for wide-open spaces, as opposed to short-range urban activities where it’s disadvantaged compared to its smaller counterparts.  I do think, though, that it’s a better rifle than Stoner’s AR-10 because it handles recoil better.

The only thing you need to know about the SA-58 is that it’s based on the “metric dimension” of the Steyr version, so it can’t use parts from “inch-dimensioned” variants common in the U.S. and Canada.

Would I take an SA-58 today over an AR-15?  If it was the shorter-barreled Combat Tactical Carbine (CTC) version, in a heartbeat.  (And I should also note that it’s a bear to make the basic FN tacti-cool, but the CTC makes it easy.)

Would I take an SA-58 over an AK47?  Probably not — unless I was facing the prospect of open-country (ergo longer-range) shooting.  Then, I believe the 7.62x51mm cartridge is a much better choice than the shorter 7.62x39mm, and I’d forego the CTC for the 18″-barreled fixed-stock option, and just pump iron for a few weeks first so I could handle the extra weight [sigh].

As always, comments are welcome.

Eucalyptus Now

Over at Shooting Times, Rick Mann looks at what he considers to be the four best SHTF rifles — what he terms “Apocalypse-Ready Rifles” — and has devised a test to determine which one is best.

I’m not going to pick holes in his test — it seems quite adequate — and I actually agree with his rationale (e.g. “Granted, cataclysmic conditions of ruin can run the gambit from a camping trip gone bad to total anarchy.” )

As I’m unlikely ever to go on any camping trip which doesn’t include the words “Holiday Inn”, I’m not going to pick two of his choices (the .30-30 lever rifle and the .308 Win boltie), fine weapons though they may be.  No, from where I’m sitting, the most likely scenario is civil breakdown and disorder caused by natural disasters (which could likely cause prolonged power outages, food shortages and such), or else a truly bad situation like a BLM- / Antifa-inspired riot.  In both cases, what’s needed is something for home / property defense (if caught in a riot), and something which would also allow me to do things like pay a visit to a local supermarket for a little un-monetized food collection (the fancy term for looting).

Well, you all know my first choice:

…and if I ever wanted to get fancy, I could always improve the crappy iron sights on the AK with some kind of red-dot sighting apparatus, thus:

I know, some people are going to prefer the Waffen Durch Plastik  AR-15, and while I deplore the choice (I mean, all that plastic… think of the environment, people!), I’ve come to the point of view that you go with what you feel comfortable using — and as most gunnies of my acquaintance have served in the (e.g. Doc Russia, Combat Controller etc.), the AR would be a logical choice for them.

(Over The Pond, and following his service in the Paras, Mr. Free Market’s rifle of choice would no doubt  be the FN-FAL — or whatever the Brits called it — but sadly, H.M. Government says that the icky things are Just Too Dangerous or some such nonsense, so he’d have to be content with picking off fuzzy-wuzzies from his rooftop with his trusty Blaser R8 .300 Win Mag.  I for one would pay money to be able to watch that.)

Where was I?  Oh yes, the SHTF rifle choices.

I have to say that for my Readers who live in rural areas, where one could forage for dinner amidst the wild beasties who frolic in the fields, the .308 bolt rifle would be an outstanding choice — although I’d probably choose a .300 Win Mag chambering instead — and if the terrain is heavily wooded, the .30-30 lever rifle would be equally effective.

Mann’s observation about ammo is, I think, quite on the mark:

Sustainment for months is unlikely, so being able to “pick up” ammo—while potentially important—is not a realistic necessity. What’s more important is how much ammo you can comfortably carry.

Here’s my take:  outside the scenario of actual guerilla warfare (ain’t gonna happen, not in this country, Red Dawn fantasies notwithstanding), you aren’t going to run out of ammo.  Seriously, if you think you’re going to need more than a couple-three magazines for your rifle, what you need is not more ammo but more people to support you.  Myself, I could not see myself taking the AK for an outing with any more than two 20-round magazines.  Ammo is heavy, Bubba, and I’m not young and fit anymore.  More than two, and I’d keep them in the car instead.  The amount of ammo on hand is another story, of course, but you all know my “500” rule — a minimum of 500 rounds per  gun (with an exception for exotic calibers like .375 H&H or 7mm Jap).

All this is fun to wargame out, isn’t it?  Even though it is an unlikely scenario, I try not to wander too deep into the Gun Dork Forest, because that’s like drawing up a comprehensive financial plan for when you win the $100-million lottery:  fun, but after a certain point it’s just wasting time.

I do think, however, that some planning is not only necessary, it’s prudent.  You don’t want to be like those morons in New Orleans who, when Hurricane Katrina was about to come calling, arrived at the shelters carrying nothing but a Pepsi Big Gulp.  In a dire SHTF situation, my plan involves staying in place and defending the apartment.  If that’s untenable, then I’ll be loading my Grab ‘n Go* tubs, emergency water cans and the necessary guns and ammo into the Tiguan, and making my way over to Doc Russia’s fortress house.

Call me unprepared if you will, but I’m not a dummy.

*Yes, I still have them, just with fresh supplies.  If anyone’s interested, I’ll post pics of them some other time, after I’ve moved.