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“Ah-ha!” - Moments in firearms.

ZeeZee Senior MemberPosts: 24,905 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

Replies

  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,362 Senior Member
    #2 doesn't mean much in my world, since barrel lengths are going to be 20" to 26".

    But...#1.....you said a mouthfull there. Kind of my own "ah-ha" moment too.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 11,367 Senior Member
    Growing up all I knew about guns came from books magazines and TV.
    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.  

    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 657 Senior Member
    Everyone seems to think that a gunsmith should be a complete Bible of knowledge for anything and everything firearm related, but the truth is that you continue to learn almost daily. Hell, I still can't remember all the different S&W or Glock modeling number systems and I probably won't ever. There will also be plenty of days that I have to do or repair something that I never had to do before, but you best believe that I'll figure it out and do it right. So I guess my ah-ha moment was when I first realized that any job is much like life itself in the sense that sometimes you just have to muddle your way through and learn as you go.
  • pjames777pjames777 Senior Member Posts: 1,421 Senior Member
    Everyday seems to be an ah-ha moment for me.  Especially with all the experience departed on this forum.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,876 Senior Member
    I finally learned that the Glock was never the actual problem...  🤬
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,272 Senior Member
    Growing up I looked at FPE for everything. It obviously simplified life, the most foot-pounds wins! What did I know, I was a kid. 😂
    When I finally cultivated a better understanding of physics, that bubble was seriously burst. Aha!
    Today I understand FPE as a single parameter of a more complex issue. By itself, it's not very significant.

    My second Aha moment was when I first realized hobby mags are not technical journals! I couldn't understand how both Elmer Keith and Jack O'Connor could both be right about everything (they were Gun Writers) and still have such opposite opinions. 🤣🤣🤣

    That second one lasted a really long time until Scott E. finally put the last nail in that coffin. I was having a private exchange with him about technical inaccuracies in some popular magazines we all know. His response was, "They're just hobby magazines." I wasn't expecting that. I guess I was expecting him to defend the honor and integrity of said publications but instead I got the -- don't take them so seriously -- response.
    Needless to say, whenever possible, I check everything myself and consider all else as opinion... until proven otherwise.

    I've had other gun related aha moments, but the ones above really stick out in my mind.


    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,905 Senior Member
    That’s a good one, too. 

    More a disappointment than an ah-ha. Realizing how truly inept the gun magazines were beyond advertisement. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,514 Senior Member
    When I figured out that 300 yards is short range.

    I kind of knew it after reloading for a while and figuring out maximum point blank range and then loading and sighting in for it on the hunting rifles. Knowing that for most standard rifle cartridges used today, save carbine stuff, that you can set up at a 100 yard range and adjust your POI so that the bullet will not leave the kill zone out to about 250-275 yards put me on the path. Shooting a lot of 200 yard matches took away the "must test at 100" mystique, but getting into high power made me realize that distance is a simple matter of turning a knob.

    Wind is still kicking my butt....
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 672 Senior Member
    one for me is that "old guns" are far more accurate than was believed during their time period.

    The crux was the better ammo/bullets of today.
  • Elk creekElk creek Senior Member Posts: 6,712 Senior Member
    After shooting the 308win at 600 yards and connecting with 1/2 gallon milk jugs. Same load hitting the 18” steel plate at 750..... mind altering. Was with a friend shooting after a 200!yard zero. He said pack up we are moving out! Wait what? 
    Aim higher, or get a bigger gun.
  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 622 Senior Member
    First time I went to SHOT. I never could have imagined just how much stuff is out there. The firearms industry is massive. I thought I was a pretty knowledgeable person on firearms and related stuff, then found out I knew absolutely nothing. 
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,514 Senior Member
    one for me is that "old guns" are far more accurate than was believed during their time period.

    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.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,054 Senior Member
    For me, it's realizing how much fun it is to shoot a rifle over 100 years old with open sights and how amazing they still shoot so good!! I got bored with scoped rifles and small groups, now it's an accomplishment to hit the 200 yard gong consistently!! 

  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 672 Senior Member
    one for me is that "old guns" are far more accurate than was believed during their time period.

    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.
    Not the way intended.
    Back then a 1" gun was a grail
    Most I've found with modern ammo do better.
    Talking old day writers.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,187 Senior Member
    edited October 2020 #16
    Energy is a function of velocity and mass, so it doesn't make sense to separate one from the other.  I've been told a number of times that energy doesn't kill, but it's sure as hell an indicator.  

    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.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,876 Senior Member
    one for me is that "old guns" are far more accurate than was believed during their time period.

    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.
    Not the way intended.
    Back then a 1" gun was a grail
    Most I've found with modern ammo do better.
    Talking old day writers.
    I agree.  Just about every old rifle I own will do sub MOA with some new commercial ammo.  If it doesn't a 5 minute bedding job usually gets it there.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,812 Senior Member
    Big Al1 said:
    For me, it's realizing how much fun it is to shoot a rifle over 100 years old with open sights and how amazing they still shoot so good!! I got bored with scoped rifles and small groups, now it's an accomplishment to hit the 200 yard gong consistently!! 

    Agree. Constant practice with my surplus Mausers finally made me realize that inside a reasonable distance (maybe up to 700 yards) if I was able to clearly see something and properly judge distance and wind, I have a really good chance of hitting it with the 1st. shot up to 300 yards or with the follow up one beyond that range. 
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,362 Senior Member
    Two other truely ah-ha moments for me.......

    #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.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 13,078 Senior Member
    My aha moment came when I shot my uncles Rem 700 7mm Rem mag with a crappy Tasco scope, I learned about eye relief and scopes that day. Kind of like this guy ;) 
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,492 Senior Member
    Watching raceguns - however you choose to define them - fail.

    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".
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,616 Senior Member
    edited October 2020 #22
    Two other truly ah-ha moments for me.......

    #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 knowledgeable. 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 variances 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.

    Mike
    After reading #1 and buying #2, both on Mike's recommendation, I wholeheartedly agree with his post

    Edited to add: One thing I learned from the book, that blows peoples' minds, and has lead to more than a couple of disagreements is...
    With 40gr 22LR ammo, slower, subsonic ammo has less wind drift than supersonic ammo.
    It has to do with Supersonic ammo just BARELY being supersonic and a wonderful little thing called, "The Transonic Zone"

    Don't believe me?  Go to ANY online ballistics calculator you trust, input 40 gr and a BC of 0.125 (rough average for 40gr 22LR bullets)
    Now use velocities of 1050 and  1150-1250 (1200 for a rough average) and compare the wind drift
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


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