Why Not a Shooting Post?

I don’t really feel like commenting on statue toppling. I don’t really favor toppling statues for the most part. Though I’m sort of OK (sort of because in general people who want to erase history are up to no good) with removing (through democratic, rather than mob action) statues that were put up in the racial identity politicking revival of the last century’s teens and twenties. The problem we have in this country is we need to topple statutes. Statute toppling I can get on board with. Statues are history and art. You know who liked destroying statues? The Taliban. Statutes, on the other hand…. if half the tax code disappeared, would anyone really miss it?

OK, so I said this post would be about shooting. I’m looking for opinions on loading for the M1 Garand without a gas plug.

I’ve been looking for a powder that can do .223, .30-06 and .308 reasonably well so I can economize. Normally my go-to would be Varget, but I can never find it. I got a hold of 8# of Ramshot TAC, since it had loading data for all three. But I’m not sold on it. It leaves the .30-06 case empty enough it shakes like a maraca. Cycled the action fine on the starting load, but I need to chrony it. Internet fora suggest “Never use ball powder in an M1! 4895 or go home!” But Internet gun fora are full of bullshit, myth, and legend. My club is honestly no better. I’m sure bending the op-rod is a real thing, but I just don’t know how much of a risk it reasonably is if you’re careful and don’t run hot loads. Anyone have experience with M1 loads that deviate from the norm? Or is that really not a good idea to play with?

64 thoughts on “Why Not a Shooting Post?”

  1. It is my understanding is that the M1 Garand is very sensitive to the burn cycle of the powder used. Using the original military load for the .30-06 and the rifle will function normally. Using another powder and load can result in a burn cycle that peaks too much for the rifle and the it will come apart. A friend of mine loaded for his M1 and it worked fine for about 20 rounds and then came apart when his Op rod bent.


    1. The issue isn’t the strength of the action, the issue is the gas system. If the powder produces a burn curve that results in an overpressure at the gas port, which can bend the op-rod. On the other hand, if the pressure curve peaks too quickly, the result may be a load that shoots well but doesn’t cycle reliably.

    2. It wont come apart, but like what has been said below, it can damage the op rod.

      The M1 was designed to operate with a very narrow band of powder burn rate and IMR4895 was developed specifically for that rifle. Too fast a burn and you get short cycling and high chamber pressures. Too slow and the highr port pressure and duration can drive the system too hard. Over time this will start to damage things the same way running +P will wear a pistol out sooner.

      This is exasperated by the bend in the op tod.

      Tappet systems like the M14, SVT40, and AR18 are probably the most tolerant of this.

    1. “The mob is never satisfied with just destroying the symbols that people revere: The people themselves must always come next.”

      What went wrong when the Soviet Union collapsed? Cousins of mine participated in tearing down statues of Lenin and Stalin, but stopped there. The last time I checked, communists were still able to run in elections, though seldom very successfully.

      1. Yes and no.

        I think you’re missing the fact that people like Ceausescu were captured, “tried”, and were then dragged out into the street for immediate execution.

        The revolutionaries were intent on tearing down the oppressive regime, and they were not afraid to tear down the people who stood in their way.

        So it isn’t that they stopped at tearing down statues, it’s just that there was broad consensus among the revolutionaries that the statues and representatives of the regime were oppressors, and were not representative of the people.

        In that way, tearing down the statues and the figureheads was seen as enough, which is why things stopped there in most of the former soviet-bloc states that threw off the yoke of communist oppression in the 80s and 90s.

        Compare that to what we see going on in the U.S. today: The people in the streets tearing down statues are saying that the entire system, from top to bottom, is the problem. Many of them are also saying that white people in general are the problem. Some of them are even directly calling for the mass-murder of white people.

        TLDR: Revolutions only stop when the revolutionaries are satisfied. That’s why the American Revolution, and several of the post-soviet-bloc revolutions, did not devolve into a mob murdering people indiscriminately. It’s also a big part of why the French revolution, along with most other revolutions in recorded history, have turned into wholesale murder festivals.

        1. I don’t mean to dismiss your arguments, but IMO you’ve engaged in a lot of cherry-picking to make them.

          The situation in Romania was unique enough in the Soviet collapse that it gave us the term “Romanian term limits” (thank you, Claire Wolfe.)

          My relatives were in a crowd where people were killed by Soviet soldiers. When I was at the place it happened, more than a decade later, I was moved deeply by the bullet pocks in walls of the buildings. But, most were above head height. The soldiers were firing mostly over the heads of the crowd. When I asked my relatives why they thought they had done that, they said “The soldiers didn’t want their moms to see them killing innocent people, on TV.” They were sincere in believing that technology had saved them. The world would have been watching, almost instantaneously.

          One of my distant relatives (husband of a blood relative) had a card permitting him to be in their parliament building any hour of the day or night for the rest of his life. Because, he had been one of the men who had held it against Soviet troops for days, swearing they would die there before yielding. Fortunately for them the Soviets stood down.

          But the point of all that is, that there was violence and death, but in general the “revolutionaries” did not seek reprisals. But there was lots more going on than “let’s tear down the statues and go home.”

          When you say “what the people in the streets” (in the U.S.) want today, you are painting with a very broad brush, exactly as if someone characterized the opposition to them as wanting what the Boogaloo Bois or Identity Evropa want. If you want to characterize what BLM wants by a Twitter photo of one black woman holding a sign, I’ll find you lots of photos of hundreds of Nazis marching with torches at Charlottesville, all chanting “Jews will not replace us.” They called that “Unite the Right”, I think.

          Last, the American Revolution may not have devolved into a ravenous mob, but more than one American fortune can be traced to confiscated Tory property, whose owners had to flee for their lives to Canada or elsewhere in the British Empire.

    2. I just wanted to check on this one before I spoke, but American colonists tore down statues of King George III, Wlliam Pitt, and possibly a few other Brit political personalities. To add insult to injury, they melted down a King George statue to cast into musket balls. Of course we know what happened with the American Revolution.

      That author is with the Federalist Society? Seems his history involves some very judicious cherry-picking, to make his point, whatever it is.

        1. “Are we in the midst of a revolution?”

          Short of a “Declaration of Independence” quality event, or troops on the move, I think it’s not apparent that a lot of revolutions are that, until they are almost over. I suppose any time the people stop paying attention to and obeying their government, it’s a revolution, even if all the people don’t agree on where they are headed.

          I frequently cite my relatives in a former Soviet Republic. One of them was a local leader in one of the anti-Soviet movements. It started as a “reform” movement, with some popular demonstrations that were far tamer then much of what is going on in the U.S. right now, and only as events developed did it occur to anyone that it could be an “independence” movement. But, many families were divided on whether independence was desirable, and there was near-starvation for quite awhile. All of that occurred before those relatives and I discovered each other.

          1. I’m not impressed. The last centuries 1920s anarchists were more serious. The socialists were way more violent. As best I can tell from Chaz, the socialists and anarchists are being pushed aside by the ordinary criminal element.

            1. “the socialists and anarchists are being pushed aside by the ordinary criminal element.”

              After a bit of thought (what better to do while scrubbing the bathtub?) it occurred to me that is analogous to the gun rights movement, which has become totally infiltrated by charlatans, opportunists, and cynical front-men pursuing “other” agendas.

              Better they had smashed my windows and stole my television, than what they are stealing.

            2. Solzhenitsyn pretty much nailed the connection between criminals and leftists. Still works.

              As for the anarchists of yesteryear, it was more than the 20s. They assassinated McKinley in the oughts, tried to get TR in the teens and tried to get FDR in the 30s (and came close to killing him by accident another time when they were trying to kill Rockefeller who lived in the same neighborhood. There were numerous incidents in Europe as well. So they were serious bad dudes. But the modern equivalent is just getting started. The SLA did assassinate the (black) Superintendent of the Oakland School District

          2. “Except there is only one side fighting.”

            Unless you want to dismiss it as “fake news” there would appear to be only one side conspiring, and that’s the “accelerationists” like the “Boogaloo Bois” who want to kick off a civil war. And locally, I return to the fact that all of the rumors of “big riots coming” appear circumstantially to have originated with individual local police.

            I agree with Sebastian. For what little I know, the actual anarchists and hard-leftists may still harbor their dreams of a utopian, voluntary-collectivist society evolving, and part of that may entail “tearing down” the existing authority-structure, but if there is any deeply hidden coordinating “authority” it really is hidden because no one seems to know who it is. (Going back to my ex-Soviet, distant family members for an example, there was a lot of whispering and wishing going on, long before any “organization” that anyone identified with emerged.)

            To go back to the Federalist author who started this sub-thread: In thinking of analogies, I remembered a regrettable incident in my own life when I “over-reacted.” Afterward someone said to me “you let yourself get too mad before you acted.” I think that has been the case with most revolutions in history when people went viciously overboard; they (often necessarily) let themselves be suppressed for too many years before the dam broke. “Bloody Sunday”, when a Russian crowd went as supplicants to Czar Nicholas expecting sympathy, and instead were slaughtered, was in 1905; Nicholas and his entire family were killed in 1918, thirteen years later.

            You can make all kinds of contemporary parallels out of that, I know, in terms of what classes/factions in our society feel most put-upon.

            1. “…All the talk of big riots coming have come from the police…”

              I’ve been predicting big riots this summer since the indefinite shutdown orders hit in March, and we saw the biggest wave of gun panic buying this country has ever seen.

            2. Yeah, there must be 20 Boogaloo Boys in their parent’s basement. Meanwhile, we have Democrat (former) Presidential candidates threatening to nuke gun owners.

              1. “there must be 20 Boogaloo Boys in their parent’s basement.”

                For historical perspective, years ago I read a long article by a guy who claimed to have been a bodyguard for American Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell. He wrote that even though their numbers were small, Rockwell would throw them into insane physical confrontations just to test their physical courage and loyalty to him. The idea was to found a loyal cadre and grow from there.

                Rockwell was assassinated the day I got out of the Army, which isn’t relevant except as an indicator of how long ago that was. But, how many Nazis were marching at Charlottesville?

                Castro landed in Cuba with 81 men in 1956, and in 1959 the government fell to him. Consider what portion of the U.S. population the Boogaloo Bois (et al) speak for, if they ever get their shit together.

                1. Probably wasn’t hard for Rockwell to do that given that about half his membership was FBI provocateurs.

                  As for the BB, sure radical movements can grow but it is easier when you start from a larger base of sort of functional people. Whatever insults people on the Right come up with about BLM/Antifa, they have organizational skills, money, resolve and lots and lots of fellow travelers. They even have a tactical manual. Could be a false flag I suppose but it is extraordinarily detailed and pretty good. I doubt the Right would want to give them good advice.

                  Regarding Charlottesville, the media’s definition of Nazi is much more expansive than it was back in the day and half of them are still FBI provocateurs. Come to think of it there are probably FBI guys pretending to BBs in their parent’s basement.

                  Regarding Cuba, Obama wasn’t as corrupt as Batista.

                  1. FWIW: I have observed a couple demonstrations by our usual-suspect local liberals at our congressthing’s district offices, and while I have yet to see any Antifa, the Proud Boys have been there. There was even a sympathetic column about them in our local paper, by our pot-stirring “conservative” columnist. I suspect they invited him.

                    Just because I’m incurably fascinated by “tactics” (which have no ideology), what is the “technical manual” that Antifa has? Is it available without patronizing an anarchist book store?

                    1. https://crimethinc.com/2020/06/10/the-siege-of-the-third-precinct-in-minneapolis-an-account-and-analysis

                      Never seen a Proud Boy. Judging from their literature, it is a stretch to call them BBs though they have engaged in street fighting with Antifa. Or even white nationalists as they have run off white nationalists from some of their events. Describe themselves as Western chauvinists. Seem more like libertarians who like to fight. Purport to be for drug legalization and gay rights and gun rights. Even leftist sources say they include blacks. Never seen an antifa either as I stay away from demonstrations. They don’t seem to have any sort of central organization, at least on line. They use Twitter a lot but some of that is purported to be false flags. Of course a real revolutionary organization would be nuts to do that and would work in a cell organization.

                2. It is not the political right that is running around burning, killing, looting and pulling statues to the ground, Andy.

                  It is the far left.

                  1. “It is not the political right that is running around burning, killing, looting and pulling statues to the ground…”

                    What makes them “left” except that they’re doing naughty things and have stopped kissing cop ass in the name of “Law and Order”, which is something I remember well from the Nixon Era? (Not to mention “Crimestrike”, “Project Exile,” and other anti-gun initiatives.)

                    I of course have an associated Old Story, but I’ve posted too much already today.

  2. I’m not having problems finding IMR 4064, and I use it in .223 and 30-06. I haven’t loaded for the Garand though.

  3. What do you mean by loading for a Garand without a gas plug? What bullet weights are you using? & what’s the purpose (informal targets shooting, matches, hunting, liberating your state, etc)?

    Op rod binding, insufficient lubrication, & excessive port pressure are what causes op rod damage. You can probably get away with one of those for a while, but 2 or more can cause the op rod to bend undesirably. There are smiths who will bend an op rod back to spec for ya if there’s a bind occurring. Use grease, not oil, on the underside of the barrel & along the op rod channel in the receiver, & use a lot of it. With those things taken care of you just have port pressure to deal with.

    The recommended powders & bullet weights are the safe bet. I’m a fan of IMR 4064, but 4895, Varget or IMR 3031 should work, & I believe the latter two are suitable for 22’s. If you want to experiment I suggest either an adjustable or a ported gas cylinder lock screw.

    All Garand safe loads that I know of leave room in the case. Think of the maraca effect as a feature – helps you check that there aren’t any squibs loaded by mistake. If you’re shooting mid to long range (past 400 yards) or trying to build an MOA gun tip the cartridge up before you shoot to settle the powder against the primer.

    I’m working up heavier bullets for my Garand. 190’s so far with plans to mess around with 200 & up to 208 grainers. But there are caveats; I’m using 4064, semi-educated guesses about a moderate load with heavier bullets (i.e. 2550 fps instead of 2700 fps for the 190’s), I’m using a ported gas cylinder lock screw, & I have spare op rods. I won’t tell you not to experiment, but I will tell you there is some risk. The more you understand how the gas system works the better you’ll be able to tell if the risk is worth it for what you wish to accomplish. There are a few books to read, and several loading manuals to consult, and some internet forums to peruse. But if it’s just about minimizing powder types, I’d suggest finding a powder that works in the Garand first, then try to make it work in .308 &/or .223. Varget & 3031 would be where I’d start.

    1. Thanks! Not going out beyond 200 yards, so informal target shooting is closest. Using a 150 gr FMJBT. Started with 45gr of Ramshot TAC. I also haven’t seen a full load, but my concern with Ramshot TAC is that I think it might fit a triple load. It’s a really fine ball powder.

      1. A quick glance at the Western Powders loading manual shows 44.6 grains of Ramshot TAC delivering 2735 fps in ’06. If so you’ve pretty much maxed out as around 2750 fps to 2800 fps is where you want to be with a 150 grain pill from a Garand. A few more quick glances on forums resulted in folks saying Ramshot told them TAC is acceptable for a Garand but will be really sensitive to powder positioning. Course if it works for what you want it for then it works.

        With IMR 4895 & IMR 4064 a double charge will overflow the case. Don’t ask how I found that out. I’d guess 3031 & Varget & some other Garand appropriate stick powders would overflow on a double as well, but haven’t messed with them to find out.

  4. I’m so old that IMR is the only language I’ve ever spoken fluently, but for any of those calibers I would say anything in the 3031/4895/4320 range should work OK. Maybe I’d start keeping an eye on my M-1 with 4320.

    Part of that “I’m so old” is, I have never really trusted ball powders since badly fouling the bore of a nice .22/250 using H414, and then a 6mm using H380. As the accuracy went south, in those days I had no idea what was happening, and once I figured it out, it took tons of elbow grease to get those bores clean. (Carburetor cleaner was about the only thing that would touch ball powder fouling in those days.) I’m also of the age where lots of my contemporaries were killed by ball powder in their M-16s in Vietnam, though nobody I knew personally. (There was some degree of cover-up/denial involved with that.)

    1. The M16 situation is more one of “unsuitable pressure curve” than “ball powder vs stick powder.”

      The ordnance department was deliberately trying to sabotage the adoption of the rifle, and they were perfectly happy to get GIs killed in the field in order to make their political points.

      1. “The ordnance department was deliberately trying to sabotage the adoption of the rifle”

        Here you and I may be headed for some level of agreement, because I remember well that the AR platform and the 5.56 cartridge was sold to the military by first selling it to the public, and I remember buying into it as much as the next guy.

        Magazine articles extolling the virtues of the platform and the cartridge were everywhere around the time I was in high school. I remember even magazines like “Mechanics Illustrated”, “Popular Science”, and I think even “True” magazine having glowing articles — and I read them all. Years later a wag characterized them as “shoot a gook in the hand and his ears will fly off.”

        We had M-14s while I was in the Army in Germany, and I only saw one M-16 the entire time I was in the service; it was leaning against an Air Force M-151 outside our base APO. But I had a “pin-up” of an M-16 in my wall locker, right next to my Playboy calendar.

        I put my toe in the water of “gun writing” a couple of decades later, and found it to be a totally mercenary business. By which I mean, “gun writers” were expected to write what was effectively ad copy for manufacturers, in return for free equipment (at the entry level) and I imagine cash payments once a writer was established. I had a friend at the time on the NRA technical staff. A manufacturer gave me a quantity of a product to try out. I wrote — in a small, obscure, special-interest print publication — that it had not worked as advertised for me, and that I’d had to tweak it quite a bit to get good performance. My tech staff friend scolded, “Dammit, you’re hurting Jerry’s business!” and all I could think was “Gosh, I thought we were supposed to tell the truth!”

        I envied my NRA friend because he had almost unlimited access to free gunsmithing work and equipment.

        But back to the main subject: From my own life-experience I am reasonably convinced that what became the M-16 platform and cartridge was “sold” to the public, probably by giving free ARs to anyone with access to a popular magazine, who could out together a magazine article without necessarily ever firing the rifle, and just echoing talking points and Armalite press releases.

        If the ordnance department resisted that good on’em — except of course if they did it by killing guys like me and my contemporaries.

        1. Full Disclosure:

          In my time I received the free product mentioned in my Old Story above, which I won’t name even though the company is now long defunct; by implication I could be badmouthing similar products.

          I one time borrowed a T/C Contender from T/C to test certain bullets intended for the 7mm TCU; I returned it but was offered a tempting discount if I wanted to keep it.

          I tested some potential products for RCBS, but documented the results in a proprietary engineering report to RCBS only. They allowed me to keep a couple of their presses and made me a job offer, which I declined as not sufficiently remunerative to entice me to move, and would have required my wife to give up her equally remunerative job.

          I tried writing for a couple shooting publications, but found that the cost of components to do the required testing, was greater then the payments received; so the novelty and egotism of that wore off real fast.

          That was about it.

      2. I supposed I will have to revisit the M16 adoption controversy. As I recall though the first military adoption was by the USAF whom the Army regarded as weenies when it came to ground combat. Then, that being the Age of McNamara, the M16 got forced on the Army. I suspect that was the source of the resistance. There was the issue about the powder, which as I recall, someone (might have been Army Ordinance) warned about at the time but was blown off, again by the DoD wizards under McNamara. There was also the issue about prohibiting cleaning the rifle which under combat conditions is pretty much an invitation to malfs. And there was an issue about an early batch of mags. And of course, stopping power, though that was the cartridge and not the rifle.

        At any rate, both M16/M4s and the ARs work now, other than the inherent limitations of the cartridge which I suppose will get argued about forever. Wasn’t really designed for places for Afghanistan though it should work in close terrain. Perhaps the new 6mm ARC is the answer. Designed for the AR15 but it should work on the M16 too. 800-1000 yards on an AR15 platform so no need to go to the big AR10 platform. Hopefully, it will prove a success and be commercially viable.

        1. “I supposed I will have to revisit the M16 adoption controversy.”

          Me too. I remember reading extensive, detailed history but I don’t remember where.

          However: To my memory the issue about the powder and jamming came to light after the adoption of the M-16 was well established in the Army. That would undercut any conspiracy theories that the Ordnance Department was deliberately seeking failure to torpedo adoption of the M-16.

          Another dimension is, that I seem to recall that the powder was salvaged from reprocessed cannon powders. It seems likely to me it was more a case of “false economies” than deliberate bureaucratic sabotage. But I’m always willing to listen.

          It is true that the Air Force adopted the M-16 first. I’m sure that’s the explanation for why the only M-16 I saw while I was in the service was leaning against an AF Jeep. This is almost certain to be a “manufactured memory” based on knowledge acquired later, but in my mental image that rifle did not have the forward assist.

          Germany was of course a backwater for the Army during the Vietnam Era, and despite being a Combat Support Brigade (in-field maintenance), when I got there in ’66, they had only recently replaced M-1 Carbines with M-14s, probably as M-14s were replaced by M-16s in Vietnam. Our Hesse District qualification range was 300 meters, and I marveled at all the Carbine bullets in the berm. I wondered how qualification at 300 meters had worked, with Carbines.

          IMO the M-14 was ideally suited for the terrain in most of Germany/Europe, but our generation had been so hyped on the M-16 as civilians, those of us who cared one way or the other wished we had M-16s.

          1. I found the Wikipedia M-16 article surprisingly good.

            Upon review of that I see nothing that doesn’t reinforce my perception from the time that the adoption process was a political one, fought out in the media of the era.

            It also appears that if there was a conniving “guilty” party it was Colt, more so than the Ordnance Department; though the OD did pull its own shenanigans, rigging the early tests. Colt on the other hand made absurd false claims such as, that the M-16 was “self-cleaning.”

            On the powder issue, while the reprocessing of cannon powders that I mentioned is not cited, I would speculate that while Olin said the original IMR 4475 extruded powder could not be made to meet specifications, Olin’s real reason for substituting WC 846 ball powder (the problem-powder) was economics. Contrary to what I thought I remembered, WC 846 was not reprocessed cannon powder, it was original powder intended for the .303 British, and tons of it remained as surplus.

            The Wiki article also includes the Marine’s quote that I remember, “we were killed by our own rifles.”

            Anyway, enjoy!

            1. The other controversy re this involved pissing off the Euros. We had more or less forced them to adopt the 7.62 a few years before and then pulled the rug out from under them with the 5.56. In hindsight, it was probably not a big deal as I don’t think it had the slightest impact on their current uselessness but it was a big deal at the time. Since there were other cartridges in the mix at the time, it is possible that one of them might have proved superior to the 7.62×51 and thus made the 5.56 issue moot. McNamara’s Whiz Kids thought the world began when they took office, though, and would have screwed something up, even in an alternate universe.

              1. “We had more or less forced them to adopt the 7.62 a few years before and then pulled the rug out from under them with the 5.56.”

                In terms of personal philosophy: I think in terms of “evolution” our rush to “subcaliber” was too fast, and may have leapt over a better spot. Maybe evolution to smaller calibers would have continued, but more rationally. We built a platform based on our 5.56 cartridge and then all evolution was around the platform, more so than ballistics.

                Cartridges like the .276 Pedersen and .280 British were trends toward smaller calibers and lighter, more compact ammunition, but were never fielded and thus no battlefield experiences exists for them. Come to think of it the 6.5 x 50 Arisaka was a nice “intermediate” cartridge, but it’s platform was mainly an archaic bolt action rifle, though I think in light machineguns it was pretty effective. If you “improved” the 6.5 Arisaka case and made the brass stronger, think how similar it would be to the 6.5 Creedmoor — no ballistic slouch!

                The British experimented with leap-frogging us to subcaliber with their 4.85 x 49, but that was found inadequate in NATO (?) evaluation tests.

                Speaking of the Brits: One of the anecdotal examples I’ve heard of an advantage for our 5.56 was, that the IRA discovered that rounds from their “Little Armalites”, aimed right, could squirm through the gap between turret and hull of some British armored cars.

                (If I wanted to go off on a tangent, I could start on the role of the British in U.S. gun control, in particular, AWBs. They haven’t forgotten that in the early ’70s the primary arms source for the IRA was Irish-Americans shipping Armalites to both the Six Counties and the Republic. See “Whitey Bulger” and “the Marita Ann/Valhalla”.)

                1. Nah, they are just jerks. If the 5.56 could get through that gap so could the 5.45. Not sure if the 5.45 was around during that stage of the Troubles but it definitely was when AWBs became a thing.

                2. “If the 5.56 could get through that gap so could the 5.45.”

                  The period of IRA supply by Irish-Americans was the early and mid-’70s. Later they were supplied with 7.62 x 39 cal., standard AK-47s, by Khaddafi — thanks to Reagan getting in bed with Maggie Thatcher, though that’s a long story. Khaddafi also supplied some Soviet 12.7mm heavy machineguns, other heavy weapons, and even some SAMs I think.

                  The 5.45mm Soviet cartridge wasn’t even around at the time. It was in the early ’80s (I think) that my NRA tech staff buddy called my office to tell me that R.K. Brown had been stopped at the airport that morning, bringing back the first samples of 5.45mm ammo from Afghanistan. It had taken a lot of bureaucratic wrangling to prevent the immediate destruction of the only 5.45mm samples the U.S. had up to that time.

                  You may recall that even Kalashnakov himself ridiculed the adoption of the 5.45mm in terms of “going along with a fad.”

                  1. “It was in the early ’80s (I think…)”

                    I like to check my own memory before someone else does — thanks for making me do it! ;-)

                    The incident was first written about in SOF Mag in February 1981, which supports what I said. Brown brought back 5,000 rounds of AK-74 ammo he obtained from the mujahadim.

                  2. You may find this Wikipedia article about IRA arms supply of tactical/historical interest.

                    Also, the arms trafficking portion of the Wikipedia article on Whitey Bulger.

                    Admittedly these articles are based on conventional knowledge and wisdom, though I consider them only about 85 percent accurate. For example, I know the source of some IRA weapons was the Boston Police Department, and that Whitey Bulger himself was a double agent for the FBI and the IRA — whoever was paying better. I don’t believe at all the story of his final years. But, one of the good things that can be said for Wikipedia is, if something can’t be proven it is usually not cited.

                  3. The issue isn’t when the Troubles were, it is when the AWB happened (1994) and the 5.45 was widely available then. It was actually introduced in Soviet service back in the 70s but was not available in the civilian sector until later. So if the Brits were playing in the AWB game, they were just trying to force their gun control agenda on us, again, not out of any real concern for their own security.

                    1. “if the Brits were playing in the AWB game, they were just trying to force their gun control agenda on us, again, not out of any real concern for their own security.”

                      But consider how tight Reagan and Maggie were. Where was Maggie’s pro-gun agenda?

                      Just one of my usual flasbacks, but: What first piqued my interest in the situation in Northern Ireland was, an article about it in (of all places) a “Parade” magazine/Sunday supplement at the time, where I read the sentence “possession of a single round of Armalite ammunition will land a man or woman in prison for eight years or more.”

                      What may be lesser known is that such imprisonments were usually without trial.

                      And those policies were imposed by “good conservatives.” “Godly” people, even. Just imagine what liberals might have done!

                      (Hint: Exactly the same things. They are all the same faction.)

                    2. I was just reminded that this happened fifty years ago this past weekend. I don’t remember it being cited in the “American Rifleman’s” popular feature The Armed Citizen at the time. ;-)

  5. Sorry for participating in the hijacking of your shooting thread but I didn’t start it. I was actually responding to your downthread post and then Andy B jumped in as usual.

    1. If you check the dates and times, my first comment was shooting-related, even if it wasn’t very profound. Shooting-wise, not a lot has been new under the sun for decades now, except for the prices. ;-)

      If I was challenged to choose “just one powder” for medium capacity rifle cartridges, and including the M-1, I’d buy a keg of 4895 and let it go at that. I might not be able to achieve the primo performance any single rifle was capable of, but I’d know I could achieve acceptable performance.

      1. While I’m thinking of it, has anyone experienced problems using any particular powder in an AK or SKS or similar gas system? I’ve messed around loading 150 gr. spitzers in the 7.62 x 39, but I always worried about that a little.

        Regarding the M-1, I’ve used reduced charges of 4350, filling the rest of the powder space with measured amounts of cornmeal grits (they flow through a measure), with ~195 gr. semi-spitzer heat treated cast bullets, and they cycled just fine and were as accurate as military rounds. But, I didn’t mess with the concept long enough to get a reading on potential gas system problems. I had in mind shooting cast bullets in the M-1 in club DCM matches, sort of as a stunt, but lost interest in such social activities very shortly later so didn’t follow through.

      2. Didn’t say you started it. If you look at my post, I stated I was responding to Sebastian and you got involved later.

  6. @ Andy B. Once more the issue isn’t when the Troubles were, it is when the AWB was an issue. Clinton was President, not Reagan. You might be able to push back to Bush1 but Reagan Thacher was irrelevant. Besides you don’t have to look very hard to find worse British atrocities against the Irish.

    1. I never said the Brits alone were responsible for U.S. gun control in general or the Clinton (or other) AWBs in particular. All I implied was they had an unrecognized diplomatic role in U.S. gun control. You may recall that Reagan was a big supporter of “ammo-piercing ammunition” bans, as was the NRA at the time.

      It is a pleasure to be able to sign into law H.R. 3132 to ban the production or importation of the so-called cop-killer bullets, which pose an unreasonable threat to law enforcement officers who use soft body armor. This bill, similar to legislation jointly submitted to the Congress by the Departments of Justice and the Treasury in 1984, recognizes that certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited. Such action is long overdue.

      I know that year was the last time I sent a donation to the NRA, but to tell you the truth I don’t remember if that was the straw that broke this camel’s back.

      I’m just recalling the lyric,

      “The Army came to visit me, ’twas in an early hour,
      with their Saracens and Salidens, and turret armored cars,
      oh, they thought they had me cornered, but I gave them all a fright,
      with the armor-piercing bullets of me Little Armalite.”

      At that time the ammunition would have come from U.S. civilians.

      1. Fun song but the ammo of that era was not armor piercing. It was the M193 which, in tests, does not reliably penetrate mild steel, much less armor.

        You keep wanting to talk about the gun control sins of Reagan and Thatcher which certainly existed but they are both dead. Might as well talk about Oliver Cromwell. I on the other hand wish to talk about UK interference in US politics, which by the way, they are still doing. Does the name Christopher Steele ring a bell?

        1. “Little Armalite” is of course just a spirit-lifting propaganda tune (allegedly composed by “The Monk” while in Long Kesh — I forget his real name at this moment) and not a source for technical information. ;-) But if I wanted to stretch the point I could argue (as Reagan did) that “armor-piercing” referred to the ability to pierce ordinary police body armor.

          I too can turn on/off what history is important or teaches a useful practical lesson. Even Cromwell does, IMO — plenty of “Great Leaders” since him have displayed similar traits and even tactics. But I think anyone who would be a sincere student of U.S. gun control should not dismiss the backchannel connivances of Thatcher and Reagan, who were part of the same international network; though Reagan needed to operate in a different cultural milieu than Thatcher, using all of his skills as an actor/Great Communicator.

          There is a lot from that era that, even though I was well into adulthood and approaching middle age at the time, I feel I slept-walk through, like most Americans, watching only the shiny objects we were told to, and I’ve had many epiphanies looking back and understanding what was really going on. I’m sure you’ve noticed how a favorite theme of mine is, how many times gun owners have been snookered, who was doing the snookering, and how easy it has been to do.

          Your point about Christopher Steele is well taken. Not everything about the Special Relationship is entirely healthy.

          1. As I recall the “cop killer bullet ” thing back in the 80s was an attempt by Democrats to outlaw all rifle ammo as all will penetrate soft armor. The NRA,supported by Reagan, crafted a narrow definition that outlawed some rare stuff only available if you had KGB connections. Personally, I favor a more in your face approach rather than going for a narrow tactical victory but I do tend to support decisions made by the front line troops. Remember at the time, NRA constituents were mostly hunters. As tech and culture has changed there have been bad effects but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

            If Thacher had any role here, I am unaware of it.

            1. “The NRA, supported by Reagan, crafted a narrow definition that outlawed some rare stuff only available if you had KGB connections.

              I dunno; here’s what passed:

              Shown Here:
              Passed Senate amended (03/06/1986)
              (Measure passed Senate, amended, in lieu of S. 104, roll call #28 (97-1))

              Amends the Federal criminal code to define “armor-piercing ammunition as projectiles constructed from specified material which may be used in handguns. Excludes from the definition: (1) shotgun shot required by Federal or State regulations for hunting; (2) frangible projectiles for target shooting; or (3) projectiles that the Secretary of the Treasury determines are primarily intended for sporting purposes or industrial use.

              Makes it unlawful for any person to manufacture or import armor-piercing ammunition. Allows for: (1) the manufacture or importation of armor-piercing ammunition for the use of the United States or any State or local government; (2) the manufacture for the sole purpose of exportation; and (3) the manufacture or importation for testing or experimentation authorized by the Secretary. Allows for the sale and delivery of armor-piercing ammunition for these purposes.

              Establishes a licensing fee of $1,000 per year for manufacturers and importers of armor-piercing ammunition.

              Authorizes the Secretary to revoke any license issued to a dealer if such dealer willfully transfers armor-piercing ammunition.

              Requires licensed importers and manufacturers to specially mark all armor-piercing projectiles and packages.

              Imposes an additional mandatory sentence of not less than five years for any person who uses or carries a firearm and is in possession of armor-piercing ammunition during the commission of a crime of violence. Provides that such sentence shall not be suspended or probation or parole be granted.

              The definition was:

              The term ‘armor piercing ammunition’ means a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium.

              Sounds like a pretty comprehensive ban to me, unless you are referring to its confinement to handgun ammo, which of course is a biggy; or if the KGB was still operating in the 15 century. :-)

              It was primarily a Democratic bill, and Reagan signed it, while also praising it. He could have vetoed it. He didn’t.

              As I recall — from 34 years ago — the only NRA-stated concerns were that an armor-piercing ammo ban might outlaw steel shot used for waterfowl hunting, or industrial pentrator cartridges used for things like breaking up slag in furnaces. Those issues do indeed appear to have been addressed. But my attitude then as now was, it established a precedent that if ammunition could be banned for “Feature A”, more could be banned later for “Feature B”.

              Of course I could be remembering wrongly — three decades is a long time — so if I’m wrong, correct me.

              Last, just because it isn’t documented that Maggie expressed her druthers, doesn’t mean she didn’t. There have been contemporary examples of world leaders getting their way, with no documented communications having occurred.

              1. I don’t worry about precedents any more. Only the Right still cares while the Left just plays Calvinball.

                Rifle ammo, of course, is still available (when there isn’t a shortage). Armor piercing pistol ammo was not really available at the time. I suppose that it could have been developed in the interim but I wouldn’t carry the stuff if it were legal and free. It’s like using FMJ for defense except worse. It is the exact opposite of what you want in a defensive cartridge.

                I don’t support any gun control laws but tactics matter and the front line troops are the best judge of that.

                1. “Armor piercing pistol ammo was not really available at the time.”

                  I believe the BATF immediately established a list of specifically prohibited brands and types of ammo, by product-name. If not immediately, within a couple years. I remember seeing a list from 1990, that included specific surplus military ammo, like certain steel-cored 9mm. Those old lists could still be found at the BATF website at one time. They would update it annually.

                  1. Steel core 9mm is around enough that my training place feels the need to specifically ban it. Tears up their plates. Still I wouldn’t carry it or any other AP round even if legal and free. You?

                  2. Just for historical interest here is the BATF’s list of prohibited ammo for 1987 — only months after the law passed.

                    Armor-piercing ammo has never been on my mind (yet) and a bit of rhetoric I’ve used for being a bit low-keyed with other carry considerations is “Odds are I will never get in a shootout with a drug cartel.”

                    “Technicalities” have worried me though. I once experimented with cast (rifle) bullets with a wire steel nail through them. The tip of the nail stuck out just enough that the supersonic bow-wave from the nail point was outside the meplat of the bullet’s nose. The idea was to see how or if it affected the ballistic coefficient. But the only way I could test that was by trajectory. If it made any difference it was slight and not worth the effort. But as with fishing, the worst day of ballistic experimentation was better than the best day at work.

                    But the point is, I wondered if I was creating “armor-piercing” bullets via the steel nail.

                    I also recall someone threading machine screws into hollow-point pistol bullets, I think hoping to increase penetration on bears. Same question.

                    1. Apparently, there is something dumber than AP which is 25acp AP. I did note that most of the stuff on the list was government issue.

                      I actually rolled into a campground once where the campers had been in a shootout with cartel members the night before. Campers won. They had one wounded while the cartel had one dead, one wounded and the rest captured. Sucked to be the wounded good guy though.
                      Shows how well armed the campers were. Just prudent since you could see about 100 miles into Mexico from the campground.

                    2. “Odds are I will never get in a shootout with a drug cartel.”

                      I of course meant that in terms of my “normal” day-to-day environment which is becoming narrower as the years go on. But specifically for “camping” environments I have usually had a short-barreled shotgun, even where Authorities would have frowned on it. ;-) Anyone in the family including my young kids at the time could operate it.

                    3. “there is something dumber than AP which is 25acp AP.”

                      Chances are steel-cored .25 ACP were not really intended to be armor-piercing, though that was an excuse for the economy of not using lead, which is at least an order of magnitude more expensive per pound. When you’re making tons of the stuff, it all comes out of the CEO’s pocket.

    1. Just thinkin’ like the engineer I used to be, it would be interesting to tap some sort of electronic pressure transducer into the gas port of a Garand barrel and record the time-history of the pressure pulse. Then, vary powders and bullet weights, paying particular attention to known-good and known-bad (i.e., damaging or non-cycling) combinations. I suspect the integral of Pdt (the area under each curve) would tell the story.

      A bit cruder but simpler and perhaps more effective, create a rig attached to the gas port with a vertical piston driving some known, heavyish weight on it, and see how high the weight is launched. From that could be derived the initial velocity (thus energy and momentum) induced by the pressure pulse. From that could be derived the minimum, for reliable functioning, and the maximum, before damage may occur. Again test various bullet-powder combinations.

      It has been years since I’ve read Hatcher’s Notebook or his Book of the Garand and I’ve forgotten much of the content, but I would not be surprised if he addressed the problem in engineering terms, in one of those books.

      (Having retired as a Major General, he was a member of the NRA Tech Staff, and died the same month I joined the NRA.)

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