Friday, December 4, 2009

Dura coat paint

This one will be a short post. I've applied Dura Coat to a 1911 slide of mine as well as a M4 I'm working on assembling (proper word in lieu of "building"...AR's are model kits for adults)...yeah I'll post about the M4 later still working on the write up. Anyways for any of you who have thought about trying out Dura coat I highly recommend trying it out...its rather easy to apply and mix. I used a cheap air brush to put it on and it dried fairly quickly. I really like it because I didn't have to blast the AR rec prior to applying it. We'll see how durable it is in the years to come but it seems ok for now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Teaching a man to fish": or : free .224 jacketed bullets...almost

The following is the current method I use to produce very low cost jacketed bullets out of .22 rimfire range pick up brass and a lead core. A lot of people are familiar with cast bullets being made at home but this is a step up from that.

First I secure a good supply of rimfire brass and wash them with hot water and a drop of dishwasher soap, then sort by head stamp as I try to keep the variables down so I use one head stamp/make for one run since the point form die sometimes must be adjusted for that jacket in particular. The cases after they dry get derimmed in the .22lr jacket maker (no picture at this time sorry) and each one is examined for flaws. The brass then goes into a small toaster oven I drug out of the dumpster a while back to anneal. I leave them in until they take a very dirty brass color...these will now be suitable to form into bullets.

The next step is to find something to fill the jacket. I go with lead cast cores so that is what I'll cover here. These drop at .180" and will get formed in the first die of a 3 die set to create a very uniform core. Below we see the raw core not yet squished into a core ready to be seated.

Above core prior to being swaged for diameter and consistency, Below after core is run in die. Note flaws all removed and very sharp cylinder look.

So we have a formed core and a formed jacket lets put them together. This step is as involved as the individual chooses to make it. De-greasing the core and the jacket is one such step, Bonding the jacket and the core is another as well as adding any ballistic tips or partitions as one sees fit. Below we see the core simply dropped into the jacket (not yet upset) and the excess lead from the last step coming out of the side of the die.
Now we need to make the jacket and core upset to .224 and make sure the core is in the jacket in a uniform manner so it wont offer inconsistencies. Below we see the jacketed core exiting out of the die (picture removed for editing, I will have this back in sometime this week sorry). It is now a uniform .224", The core and the jacket are as smooshed together as they are going to get without the use of chemicals. Now the jacketed cores will go into a container being glass or plastic. After I am done with that run of cores they will get sprayed with a film of my own homemade lube of 99% alcohol and Lanolin and shaken to distribute evenly then allowed to dry. This is a very slick lube and is used prior to all the other steps (I don't use it to form the lead cores however. The jacketed core is set tip down into the die and the press is slowly but firmly manipulated.

Above we see the finished product a short, large meplat 55gr bullet ready to be cleaned up and loaded. The last step I take is to dump bullets into a old t shirt put a small drop or two (for every 50 bullets) of Brasso and for 10 or so minutes polish them (by rocking the old shirt back and forth) so they are nice and shiny and all the lube and dirt is removed. Remember do not push these "free bullets" faster than 3,000 FPS or the thin jackets might come apart mid flight. The Corbin book claims 3,400 FPS but I have yet to try it. The thinner jackets and soft lead work very well on varmint but not on medium game. Bullets as large as .257" can be made with the rimfire jackets but they are lighter plinker bullets where as the RF jacket is the perfect length for a 55-62gr bullet. I figured that I need to make 8,000 of these free bullets to get the cost of the die set and press back but one should not look at the cost of the setup like that. Instead its a "give a man a fish, teach a man to fish" kind of thing. I'll never have to buy varmint bullets for my rifles ever again. And the joy of being able to supply myself with handfulls of these is tramendous.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Enough For Them, Good Enough For Me : or : Retirement From The Street Beat

Each year the big handgun manufacturing companies produce new updated models and generations of their products and really push to get their handgun in the holsters of the law enforcement officers and swat teams around the United states. Some departments upgrade every so often and upon doing so might choose to sell back their carry guns if they are switching to a new model or make. Police trade in weapons are common at one of the bigger gun shops here in Columbus and I try to keep my eye out for these as they are some of the best deals around. They are kind of like mil-surp but not as abused or dropped as much (as the case might be with some french firearms ararar). The latest addition is a Beretta 96D in 40 Short and I mean S&W for short....or wait what did I mean? The D is a Double Action Only (DOA) firearm. This particular set up has no safety other than a fireing pin block, Where if the hammer was pulled and released or the gun was dropped and the trigger was not being pulled the firing pin would not strike the primer. I aquired my example after a friend picked one up and allowed me to try it out. I liked the mild recoil and simple controls (lack of safety and easy break down) and the price out the door $277 didn't hurt. I figured one would be a welcome addition to the line up. The gun came with 2 mags and some holster wear which is fairly common (duh). And since another person carried this gun everyday, trained with it, broke it in and proved it as it were I feel comfortable after I run it through its paces having it close at hand in a time of need.

The other two police trade ins I've aquired might have been from a armored truck company or something of the sort. These are two S&W revolvers one being a k frame 65 (357 Mag stainless) and the other being a 10 (38Spl blued). The 10 I picked up first for $267 OTD, and the 65 was $264....REALLY good prices for S&W revolvers that have been carried more than shot. They show holster wear but the action is sound and the 10 will handle +p loads....which I've been feeding it on a regular bases since I like a 160gr full wad cutter almost going 950FPS out the 4" barrel. I've been using that same load in the combat matches with great success so far knocking the steel down in a hurry. The 65 has not been shot much since I only have 28pcs of 357mag brass on hand, most of which is on its 6th loading.

So we see here 3 great guns that have done their civil duty only now to be loaned to others and not dread their fate all for $808....The wheel guns are great for those learning to shoot combat matches or just want to plink. and the 96D will be great for trigger control training, yes the pull is heavy but if your a experienced shooter and don't like Glocks then this might be a good option for you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Soft brass and stuck cases!

I have not had hard wired internet to my computer for a I finally wired up the network cable in the new apartment. So I'm gonna get back on here and try to get new stuff out now!!!!!!!

While sorting through a small container of .223 brass that has been buggered up too much to use again for .223 reloads I got the idea I would try out a set of .300 whisper dies that I got for a good price not long ago. .300 whisper is the .221 fireball blown out to 30 caliber if I remember correctly and therefore much shorter than .223 Rem. Long story short I did not use enough lube on a particular brand of brass that tends to have a soft case head and rims are easily stripped off. The die set was a RCBS set where the decap assembly and expander ball goes out the bottom of the die. SOOO if you have a stuck case in the can't take out the stem to use a stuck case remover. Esp if the expander ball is somewhat stuck in the neck of the case that is in the die. So my lathe to the rescue I turned the case head off as it was sticking out of the die still (duh?)
The next thing was to sort of bore out the last bit of case head so the stem could be removed all the way out the front of the die ( my dad pointed the fact I could remove the stem out after opening the hole up to 30cal but I was worried about wall thickness for my threads). After doing this a standard stuck case remover can't be used because I have successfully removed all the material it would have used to remove the case.
Next using the lathe I took the largest tap I could find and threaded the case that still resided in the die. You only need about 3 full threads and a bolt that is the right size for this.
After that I tossed the whole shebang, bolt threaded into the brass and the die into the freezer. HA I did learn something in physics. After about 20minutes or whatever we put the die in a rubber jawed vise and with a brass rod gently tapped from above. After a few taps the bolt pulled the brass out with it and I cleaned the die and checked for any damage.
Lesson learned....USE enough lube...I've had this problem more than not lately.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lee's Hand Held Press

Lee precision produces a little reloading press one can use without the need for a reloading bench. Their Lee Hand Press retails for around $39.98 and will fit standard Shell holders, Dies and their universal priming unit which I've seen sell for about $5 from Lee dealers at gun shows. The priming unit screws into the top of the press, you place the shell holder of the case you are priming and the priming arm is inserted into the ram and your set to prime. The press I used was a gift from somebody I worked for at OSU who no longer reloaded and thought I could put the press to good use as well as the priming unit, loading tray and RCBS 45 ACP dies. I have seen the Lee Hand Press before but didn't think highly of them as all my presses are green, orange or blue. So would this little Lee Hand Press stand up to the rigors of reloading on and off the Wonderwolf bench?

Some people who reload go as far as taking their equipment to the range to load small lots of ammo to fire through that particular gun right then and there. All your brass should be already prepped and primed mind you so you spend less time at the range doing what you would usually just do at home. Not to mention handling primers at the range can be tricky. So once your at the range you look at your notes at what you've tried and pick out the next incremental load or combination. Taking your prepped brass you simply throw the powder charge then seat the desired bullet with the hand press. No clamping your Rockchucker or Orange Crusher to the shooting bench or your tail gate. Now I didn't have any testing like this to do over the colder months here in Ohio so I took the press with me to the indoor range here on campus to find a regulated load for my 38/200 Webley with fixed sights. The press did fine and took a little getting used to as far as not having a hand free to guide the case and bullet up into the seating die. All my brass was primed and belled only needing powder and a bullet. So how does this press do other operations of reloading other than just simply seating a bullet? For this test I had sized and belled a few hundred pieces of 9mm luger brass while seated on the couch watching a movie (another benefit of the hand press!). Priming with the handpress is like priming with any other non auto priming unit on a single stage press. Place the case and primer in their given areas and with the "feel" of things seat the primer slowly but firm and consistent.I was pleased with the press overall but I would not use it for large production runs. Only on load testing trips to the range and such. The power zone is on the upstroke because you close the handle to lift the ram you must be careful not to smash your fingers in between the ram shaft and the handle when it finally closes all the way. This press is not something for the beginner to start with. For lots of reasons just stick with a bench mounted press for those just starting out.