Category Archives: guns

A new toy for my reloading efforts

A while back, I picked up a couple of gallon zip-locks full of .40 S&W brass at a gun show…should be about 2000 rounds between them.  They’re range pick-ups, so they need work before they’re usable.

That’s a lot of brass to go through in the triple-digit heat we’ve been having, so I picked up a handheld reloading press so that I might move some of this stuff indoors:

Lee Breech-Lock Hand Press

It arrived today, so after work I started going through my brass.  Three things need to happen: the spent primers need to be removed, the brass needs a thorough cleaning, and then it needs to be “de-Glocked.”  (Some .40 handguns (especially those from Glock, though I don’t think they’re the only offender) don’t fully support the round in the chamber.  When fired, the unsupported area bulges out a bit more than the rest.  De-Glocking forces this area back into shape so it’ll feed properly.)

First, decapping (or primer removal).  I’ve always used a universal decapping die for this to keep my sizing dies from getting crudded up:

Primers accumulate inside the ram until it fills up, at which point you tip them out into the trash.

Next, it’s into the pool.  They spend 24 minutes in the ultrasonic cleaner in a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water, with a drop or two of dish soap:

It doesn’t take long at all for the cleaning solution to turn cloudy.  After cleaning, the acid is neutralized by 8 minutes in water with some baking soda, at a half-tablespoon per gallon.  They’re then rinsed twice for 8 minutes at a stretch, and then spend 40 minutes in a food dehydrator on high heat, drying out.  Have a look at these before-and-afters:

I then de-Glock them with a mix of parts in the press: the ram pusher from a .401″ bullet-sizing die set and the “factory crimp” die from the reloading die set, the latter with the crimping insert and adjustment knob removed.  It has a carbide insert at the bottom which sizes the case before crimping; the pusher from the sizing die set is used to push the entire shell through.  Lee also makes a “bulge buster” die set for this purpose, but if you’re casting as well as reloading, you already have all the bits you need:

Some of these take a bit more effort than others.  The ones with a “CBC” headstamp are particularly difficult, often needing the press to be placed on the floor to put more force into the handle.  Others aren’t much more difficult than they were for decapping (which is really light effort).  Not all .40 S&W brass gets fired from Glocks, but enough of it does that the only safe approach is to de-Glock all of it.  I have an aftermarket barrel (from Lone Wolf) for my Glock 23, so de-Glocking should be a one-time affair for new-to-me brass.

Once it’s all done, you have nice, clean brass that’s ready to reload:

Need the “owner’s manual” for your M1 Garand?

I’ve converted it to an eBook:

Field Manual 23-5: U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1

It’s a faithful rendition of what I think is the last edition (published in 1965), formatted for your Kindle or other compatible device.  Cribbed from the description I provided to Amazon:

An ebook conversion of the Army’s “owner’s manual” for the M1 Garand battle rifle. More convenient than the PDFs that exist, and easy to load into your phone so you have it on hand at the range or in the field. Includes information on basic handling and operation, field stripping, a description of how the rifle operates, how to resolve stoppages, and routine maintenance.

Starting to get into the swing of things

Loaded a new batch of .30-06 Saturday morning before the hash, then went shooting yesterday.  How much of it is the “recipe” and how much is my finally getting around to RTFM to make sure the Garand’s sights were properly set up is unknown (windage was way off from where it should’ve been), but  I think these are my best yet:


16 rounds at 75 yards…nothing outside the 8 ring, two bullseyes.


17 more rounds on the same target, this time at 100 yards…just one in the 7 ring, and it was the one shot I loaded manually instead of through a clip as I had 33 with me.  Three more bullseyes.

Load recipe for this batch: mil-surp (HXP) brass, CCI 200 primer, Hornady 150-gr FMJBT, 44.2 gr Varget.  It’s supposed to be good for 2500 fps, and I had no misfeeds.  The load data I have says you can get up to 2600 from this combination of bullet and powder, but this was only my second batch (loaded the first one with less powder for 2400).


End of an error

LV_BlueCard_FrontGuess I can go fish the guns I never registered out of Lake Mead now:

Gun enthusiasts shred blue cards in North Las Vegas

A sense of triumph overpowered the scent of rain in the wind for the hundreds of Second Amendment enthusiasts gathered at a North Las Vegas gun shop on Saturday.

A decades-old handgun Clark County registration program was shot down by the Nevada Legislature earlier this summer.

Those who gathered celebrated the program‘s demise at a community barbecue and blue card shredding party at the New Frontier Armory, 150 E. Centennial Parkway, near North Fifth Street.

Nevada Firearms Coalition President Don Turner said about 250 people came, including many families, and they were happy to celebrate the end of the program.

“A lot of people were taking pictures as they shred their blue cards,” he said, adding that the 3-foot-tall shredder people used was probably filled.

USS Gabrielle Giffords Christened As First Gun-Free Warship

giffords-750x400They really shouldn’t give the brass ideas like this…they might make them reality:

USS Gabrielle Giffords Christened As First Gun-Free Warship

Designed to hold a core crew of 40 sailors, the Independence-class littoral combat ship has been stripped bare of its Mk 110 57-millimeter gun, all four of its Mk2 .50-cal machine guns, its Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher, and its entire cache of small arms, which are typically issued to boarding teams and watch standers.

“Having this mighty warship be 100% gun-free not only helps to honor its heroic namesake, Gabby Giffords, but it also helps the Navy to steer clear of promoting a culture of violence,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who reportedly lobbied hard to get Congress and the Secretary of Defense on board with leaving the Navy’s newest addition to the fleet completely defenseless.

Gun industry’s helping hand triggers a surge in college shooting teams

A surprisingly even-handed look at the increasing popularity of collegiate shooting teams:

Gun industry’s helping hand triggers a surge in college shooting teams

In between completing problem sets, writing code, organizing hackathons, worrying about internships and building solar cars, a group of MIT students make their way to the athletic center, where they stand side-by-side, load their guns and fire away.

They are majoring in biological engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, aeronautics, mechanical engineering, computer science and nuclear science. Before arriving at MIT, nearly all of them had never touched a gun or even seen one that wasn’t on TV.

“Which is strange because I’m from Texas,” said Nick McCoy, wearing a ­T-shirt advertising his dorm and getting ready to shoot.

McCoy is one of the brainiacs on MIT’s pistol and rifle teams, which, like other college shooting teams, have benefited from the largesse of gun industry money and become so popular that they often turn students away. Teams are thriving at a diverse range of schools: Yale, Harvard, the University of Maryland, George ­Mason University, and even smaller schools such as Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Connors State College in Oklahoma.

“We literally have way more students interested than we can handle,” said Steve Goldstein, one of MIT’s pistol coaches.