Sunday, November 17, 2019

Keltec CMR30 First Impressions

Several years ago, Keltec piqued my interest when they announced the forthcoming RMR30 semiauto carbine in .22 Magnum. As with a lot of Keltec guns, it took awhile in coming to market and a couple years after that in becoming widely available, by which time it had been renamed the CMR30.

Yesterday I took several military suplus rifles that were gathering dust in my closet and traded them in towards a CMR30 and 500 rounds of .22 Magnum ammunition. This post will provide my first impressions of the gun.

Here's a pic along with my CZ Scorpion Micro, which we also shot today:



For those unfamiliar with the CMR30, it's a semiauto carbine chambered for the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire cartridge. It feeds from the same 30 round magazines as the Keltec PMR30 pistol. The operation is straight blowback.

The upper receiver is an aluminum extrusion while the lower is polymer. There is a full-length Picatinny rail up top, while the bottom of the forearm also has a rail. The 16" barrel is threaded 1/2-28 at the muzzle and comes with a thread protector.

Keltec gives the unloaded weight as 3.8 lbs, with a 5 pound trigger. OAL with the stock collapsed is around 23".

All the controls are ambidextrous except for the bolt release. As a lefty I appreciate this.

This afternoon I took the CMR30 to a friend's place where we put 100 rounds through the rifle. We shot two types of ammo, which I got yesterday with the gun. The first box was Speer 40 grain Gold Dot JHPs, intended for use in handguns. The second box was Hornady 30 grain VMAX.

I should note that Keltec states in the owner's manual to shoot 40 grain ammo. They warn that cartridges with lighter weight bullets may not have enough recoil impulse to operation the action.

In 100 rounds we had 4 failures to feed. The first malfunction was on the second round of the first magazine, with the Speer loads. The remainder were with the 30 grain Hornadys. For a new gun that's not broken in, shooting ammo that the manufacturer specifically recommends against, I won't complain.

We were shooting offhand from about 20 yards at an 8" gong and a 5" Caldwell stick-on target on a cardboard backer. The rifle needs to be zeroed from a bench; it's shooting low and right. However, once I figured out where the point of impact was, I was able to use Kentucky windage and elevation to reliably hit the gong.

The recoil impulse is almost nothing with virtually no muzzle flip. It's very easy to do double taps or even longer, rapid fire strings and keep your bullets on target.

As mentioned above, I am a southpaw. One thing I checked online before getting the CMR30 was whether it was lefty-friendly, specifically whether I'd be getting gas in my face from the ejection port, or get hit by empties. The reports I saw online indicated shooting lefty isn't a problem.

I did get a little gun schmutz on my right cheek when shooting, and I think one empty bounced off my right shoulder, but neither of these was a major issue. I experienced worse with my Remington 550-1 .22 LR autoloader before I installed a gas deflector on it. I might make something for the Keltec because I think it might bother my daughter more (she also shoots portside).

I like the Magpul MBUS sights that come on the gun from the factory. I expect most owners mount some kind of red dot sight and I'll be no exception. One thing I noticed is that the front sight is close enough to my eye to make it a little hard to focus on. Ah, the joys of being in my early 50s. (That said, it's not as bad as on the CZ Scorpion Micro.)

My overall first impression is very favorable. Although I experienced 4 malfunctions in the first 100 rounds, three of those were with ammo that Keltec warns against. The trigger is nice and the overall shooting experience is fun.

Last night I placed an order with MidwayUSA for 2 more magazines, a rifle case, a Maglula, and two boxes of Federal Champion 40 grain JHP .22 WMR.

Next up will be to get it to a range with a proper benchrest to get the sights zeroed and check the accuracy potential.



Sunday, November 03, 2019

Makin' Smoke

Today I made some smoke with my Cabela's / Investarm Hawken.




The rifle is a .50 caliber with a 1:48 twist. Last Winter, I installed a Lyman 57 SML aperture sight along with a Lyman white bead front sight. I'd shot the gun with a different, higher front sight, but not with the current sight. So, my first order of business was to zero it because with the lower front sight, it was shooting about 18" high at 50 yards.



The initial zero was with Hornady .490 round balls, 0.018" pillow ticking patches, and 80 grains of Swiss 3Fg black powder sparked by CCI No.11 caps. The patches were lubed with October Country's Bumblin Bear Grease.

I settled on a slightly different load: 70 grains of Swiss 3Fg and 0.020" patches. The 15-shot target below is actually two groups as marked by the brackets. The second, lower group is 7 shots all in the 10 ring.



I like this ball / patch / lube combination. I only swabbed after every fifth shot and the combination of the tight patch and the Bumblin Bear Grease remained easy to load. The temperature was around 50 degrees F. and the BBG remained easy to apply to the patches.

I recovered some of my fired patches, which show no signs of cutting or burning:



Another change I'd made to the rifle since the last time I shot it was to swap out the factory nipple in favor of a Hot Shot nipple, which has two small vents in the cone. The theory behind this is to allow the air contained inside the cone to escape when the flash of the cap hits it, improving ignition. My main reason for trying this was to improve first round ignition if I haven't popped a cap on the nipple to clear out the patent breech's flash channel.

I noticed that the Hot Shot nipple got a lot dirtier on its outside after multiple shots. There were a couple times when the accumulated exterior fouling prevented me from properly seating the cap, causing the cap to fail to ignite on the first hit. This would only be a problem in extended shot strings, not while  hunting.

For cleaning at the range I used moose milk made up of a Ballistol/water mix. I've found this to be very good at removing black powder fouling. In theory, if you run a few patches wet with this through the barrel and can't clean it all out, it should leave a light film of oil behind when the water evaporates.

To complete cleaning after I got home I used a flush nipple from Track of the Wolf. The Cabela's Hawken has a hooked patent breech allowing easy removal of the barrel from the stock. However, because the tang sight isn't mounted to the barrel I don't want to remove it to dunk the breech end in a bucket of water, because I don't know if it'll return to zero. The flush nipple allows you to pump water through the barrel using a piece of vinyl tube. The tube that came with it is a bit on the short side so I'll probably pick up a longer piece at a hardware store.

The blue painter's tape it hold the tube in the water.



I may get this rifle out in the woods for buck season.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

New Grips for the Ruger Police Service Six

I've had my Ruger Police Service Six for years. It came with Pachmayr Presentation grips that covered the backstrap. However, I have small hands so this made the trigger reach too long when the gun wasn't cocked. Since I almost always shoot double action, this was a problem.

I looked for a set of Pachmayr Grippers for the Ruger but struck out. The Service Six hasn't been made in over 30 years so that shouldn't be too much of a surprise. However, I was able to find an eBay seller with NOS Sile walnut target grips for the Security and Service Sixes. Score!




They needed a little minor fitting but it was nothing 5 minutes and a Dremel couldn't handle. They are very comfortable in my hands and allow me to get better trigger finger placement, since the backstrap is exposed.

I'd hoped to try out the gun with the new grips but the indoor range I go to with my dad was occupied with an event last night, and it was raining today so I didn't want to go to my outdoor club. I'm hoping to try it next weekend.

Speaking of which, I'm going camping next weekend so I'll be packing the Ruger in this, a replica of the WW2 USGI shoulder holster for S&W Victory Models as issued to Naval aviators. (Mine is for southpaws. AFAIK all original USGI holsters were right handed.) I got it from Pacific Canvas and Leather in their going out of business sale this past Summer. (They sold some cool stuff, I'm sad to see them go.)




The cartridge loops are very tight, so I'll be leaving the rounds in their so the canvas can stretch a little. They are my handloads consisting of a 178 grain Keith on top of 5.2 grains of Unique, in mixed nickeled cases. I'll also have a couple of Bianchi Speed Strips in my pocket with the same ammo.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Range Report and Some Revolversmithing

I've been on a bit of a revolver kick lately and last night accompanied my dad to his club with my Ruger Police Service Six .357 Magnum and GP100 .38 Special in tow. (Note that the vast majority of GP100s are .357s but Ruger will chamber them in .38 Special for agencies that don't want magnum revolvers. This is one of those.)

Both guns are law enforcement or security company trade-ins. The Service Six has been in my safe for a long time but I haven't shot it much, and not at all in several years. The GP100 was acquired a few weeks ago and has given me a bit of trouble. More on that below.

Anyway, I brought two flavors of .38 Special handloads with me last night.

First was a batch of ammo loaded with Berry's plated 158 grain truncated cone flat points on top of 3.8 grains of Alliant Bullseye, sparked by CCI small pistol primers. These were loaded in mostly Winchester brass. This is a full-power but not +P load.

Second was a box loaded with 178 grain Keith bullets from Matt's Bullets, on top of 5.2 grains of Alliant Unique, again with CCI small pistol primers. These were loaded in mixed headstamp nickeled cases. These rate as +P loads.

(NOTE: Consult with loading manuals before relying on any data you see online, including any on this blog.)

Accuracy with the plated bullets was OK but nothing to write home about. They were pleasant to shoot, however, especially in the GP100. In contrast the accuracy of the Keith bullets was outstanding, with my final group of the night all going into one hole. Recoil on these was brisk, especially in the Service Six. It wears Pachmayr Presentation grips which are a little large for my hands. The GP100 wears the Ruger compact grip / short butt, which fits my hands better than just about anything else I've tried. I've found that it absorbs recoil better than any other DA revolver grip that I've tried. I may get a set of Pachmayr Grippers with an exposed backstrap for the Service Six.

Unfortunately, while the Service Six functioned perfectly (as expected), the GP100 gave me problems. The first time I shot the gun the previous week, I got light primer strikes due to me putting in a reduced power hammer spring. I put the original hammer spring back in before shooting the gun last night, so that wasn't a problem. However, on random trigger pulls the gun felt like it was binding, driving the pull way up and sometimes to the point where I couldn't fire the gun. This was most evident in double action but also happened when shooting it single action. I gave up on the GP100 after about 30 or 40 rounds, and finished up the night with the Service Six.

This afternoon I brought the GP100 out to my workshop, intent on figuring out what the heck was wrong. I field stripped and thoroughly cleaned it. I also removed the cylinder from the crane. Everything got blasted out with brake cleaner.

With the gun apart and clean I went over it closely for any burrs and found some, including in the slot through which the hand moves, on the back face of the frame recess, and on the ratchet on the back of the cylinder.

I carefully removed all the burrs using some gunsmith slip stones from a set I got several years ago from Brownell's.

Next, I reassembled the gun and dried fired it around 20 or 30 times in both single and double action modes. This showed no signs of binding.

I then broke the gun down again and this time after making sure it was fully degreased, I loaded up the mechanism with Flitz metal polish, reassembled, and dry fired it around 100 times.

Once again, I stripped the gun and blasted everything out with brake cleaner, reoiled it, and put it back together. I then dry fired it another 20 or 30 times.

Knock on wood but I think I've taken care of the problem. Naturally, I won't know for sure until I shoot it again, hopefully next weekend.

On another note, I got the chance to put a full 17-round magazine through my dad's IWI Masada 9mm pistol. I'd handled it before and liked how the grip felt, and the light trigger pull.  However, the Masada was a perfect example of why a gun that feels good when you dry fire it may give you an opposite impression when you get to actually shoot it.

In short, I hated it. The Masada exhibits a lot of muzzle flip but worse, the Glock-like trigger actually felt like it was biting my trigger finger. I wasn't getting pinched, rather, the face of the trigger was biting into the pad of my finger tip.

For 9MMs, I'll still with my Browning Hi Power, Beretta M9, and CZ P09.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Shooting the Smith & Wesson No. 1 1/2 Revoler

Yesterday I put together some black powder .32 S&W handloads using the following components:

  • Remington brass,
  • CCI No.500 small pistol primers,
  • Lead bullets cast in an original 19th Century Ideal mold/loading tool (shown in the video),
  • The bullets were lubricated with a 50/50 mix of beeswax and mutton tallow.
  • 0.3cc (approximately 4.8 to 5 grains) of Olde Eynsford FFFg black powder.
Goex developed Olde Eynsford to compete with Swiss black powder. OE burns more cleanly than regular Goex and is more energetic. Swiss is still a higher grade powder, but OE is a definite improvement over regular Goex.

Anyway, I got to shoot the old Smith & Wesson today. It was flawless for 49 rounds (somehow I managed to lose one of my once-fired cases before reloading them). Afterwards, we put 50 rounds of Remington .32 S&W loads through my Ruger Single Six Vaquero and saved the brass so I can reload it for use in the Smith.

Recoil in the old gun was very mild even though it's so small it's a little difficult to get a good grip. The sights are an afterthought, so it required extra effort to shoot well. (That's why we shot at only five yards.)

Here's a short video:




While this is not going to be a high round count gun, I will shoot it again. It was a lot of fun and I wish a modern replica was available.

We also put a few magazines through my Beretta Model 81, for a .32-a-palooza day.

Monday, September 02, 2019

.32 Caliber Range Report

On Saturday I was able to get the Beretta 81 out to the range. I put 50 rounds of Aguila and 20 rounds of Fiocchi .32 ACP through the gun. It showed good accuracy at 7 yards and had no malfunctions. As expected, the Fiocchi ammo, which was made in Hungary, was loaded hotter than the Aguila ammo. Recoil with both loads was mild.

I also put 50 rounds of Remington .32 S&W through my "Cowboy Pimp Gun," a Ruger Single Six Vaquero chambered for .32 H&R Magnum.



Shooting .32 S&W in the Ruger felt like a pop gun. My reason for buying the .32 S&W ammo was to get brass so I can reload it with black powder for my vintage-1878 S&W Number 1 1/2. My plan is to load the black powder ammo with an Ideal No. 2 reloading tool which I won on eBay yesterday.



(Picture borrowed from the auction.)

Another pic from the auction shows some corrosion in the bullet mold cavity but I think it'll clean up OK with some Evaporust. Even if the bullets aren't perfect it's not like I'm going to get gilt edge accuracy from the Number 1 1/2, which has merely vestigial sights.

That said, shooting the .32 S&W in the Ruger was plain fun and I have three more boxes of it.

Out of curiosity I tried 5 rounds of Aguila .32 ACP in the Ruger. The .32 ACP cartridge is semi-rimmed and being a rod-ejector, I don't need to be concerned with the small rims slipping over an ejector star. Pressure of SAAMI-spec .32 ACP is under what the Ruger is rated for, being chambered in .32 H&R Magnum (20,000 PSI vs. 21,000 CUP.)

However, CIP-spec 7.65mm Browning / .32 ACP can be loaded to 23,000 PSI so it's probably not a good idea to run it in most .32 H&R wheelguns. It would be safe to shoot in revolvers chambered for the .327 Federal Mag, which is rated for 45,000 PSI. I suspect that it would be fine in the Ruger, which is rather overbuilt.

Aside from shooting the Beretta and Ruger, I put another 50 rounds through my Glock 19-sized Polymer 80 pistol. I need to do some more tinkering with it, because although it feeds and ejects fine, it's not locking back after the last shot in a magazine. This is with both MagPul and Glock factory mags, and with CCI Blazer Brass 115 grain and 124 grain Winchester 9mm NATO Ball.

One thing I'm noticing is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to see the front sight of small pistols when shooting them indoors under florescent lighting, especially if they aren't square. I may look into getting a Merit Optical Attachment for Pistol Shooting. (I don't have this problem when shooting outdoors and my iris is contracted, which gives better depth of field.)

Yay for middle age.