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“Ah-ha!” - Moments in firearms.
Zee Posts: 28,456 Senior Member
edited October 2020 in General Firearms #1
In the recent thread about the 6.5 Creedmoor my boy uses I mentioned that it was growing on me as a cartridge. But, that statement made me remember one of two “Ah-Ha!” moments in my growth of ballistic knowledge.
1. Growing up, the standard of measurement when choosing or selecting a cartridge was footpounds of energy. Those were the numbers I read and studied. About 25 years ago, I realized that velocity meant more to me in my world than FPE. Muzzle velocity and more importantly......impact velocity was the defining factor that told me what I could and couldn’t do with a given cartridge. And within that......a particular bullet. Knowing, understanding, and operating within the functional velocity threshold of a bullet where it would do what I wanted or needed it to do changed my way of thinking and therefore.......my world.
2. When I started playing more and more with specialty pistols and short barreled rifles, a new mind altering moment happened to me. I stopped thinking of the cartridges themselves and more about the caliber they launched.........at what velocity. For instance, a .308 Winchester isn’t just a .308 Winchester Because a 12” barreled .308 Winchester is VERY different from a 30” barreled .308 Winchester. In fact, by changing the barrel lengths and altering their muzzle and impact velocity, started making that .308 Winchester perform more like a .30-30 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield (for example). Even though it’s still headstamp Ed a .308 Winchester.
A 6.5cal is a 6.5cal but what matters is the velocity you want/need it to travel at. So, you select a cartridge to launch it from in a barrel length that gives you the velocity you desire.
That last one is a real defining moment for me. I now look more at the velocity an overall package provides and less about the headstamp.
None of this may make sense........but it sure changed the way I think and do business.
Anybody else have defined “Ah-Ha” moments in their firearms world?
"To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
But...#1.....you said a mouthfull there. Kind of my own "ah-ha" moment too.
I thought bigger was more betta.
Then I joined the Military. I was taught to shoot properly by a SP/5.
Learning to shoot accurately was much more important in Somalia than the size of the bullet.
How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain
The crux was the better ammo/bullets of today.
I think that "old guns" accuracy was more a victim of gun rags selling the next great thing than actual accuracy.
Back then a 1" gun was a grail
Most I've found with modern ammo do better.
Talking old day writers.
I've also been told that what really matters is how any give bullet performs in a given velocity range. That makes sense to me, so maybe that's my aha realization.
Edit: I've also come to realize that squeezing the last FPS of velocity out of a given round isn't the be all and end all. Some bullets just perform better at more moderate velocities than they do at the high end of their velocity range. Some bullet/barrel combinations don't provide adequate accuracy at the high end, either. I guess this all goes to say it's a balancing act between bullet mass (weight), velocity and platform.
Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
#1 - Reading Robert Rinker's book "Understanding Firearms Ballistics". I've championed it here for close to 20 years. I still do. If you read it once, you'll be amazed at how little you really knew, but be a lot more knowledgable. If you read it twice, you'll pick up on the nuances you missed before. If you read it thrice, you can browse every gun-board on the net on a Sunday afternoon and separate the wheat from the chaff. If you read it a fourth time, you'll realize there's still a lot you don't know.
#2 - Quick Load software. It's for handloaders, not for the casual plinker that burns up tons of factory ammo at coke cans, or the occasional hunting round at a deer. But burn-rates matter, lot-to-lot variences matter, barrel time matters....etc. Paired with a chronograph (even an el-cheapo) you'll save a ton of money searching for the "perfect load" PDQ. It's not for the faint of heart, though. The users manual takes some study. Some serious study.
Maybe it's the super hair trigger on a matched out 1911 that allows the hammer to follow the slide. . .
Maybe it's the lightened trigger rebound spring on a revolver that fails to reset when the gun gets a little dry or dusty. . .
Maybe it's the thin match rifle front sight post that got snapped to the side - even in spite of the protective ears. . .
The aftermarket AR gas blocks that are (COUGH) held in place with set screws instead of cross pins, or the tubular rail handguards that either don't come, or don't stay aligned. . .
Sexy is fine, but spare me the high-maintenance supermodels. I've come to greatly prefer "Crude, but WORKS".
"Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee