Saturday, November 23, 2019

Making Some Beef Jerky

Making some beef jerky this weekend. Weis had a 2-fer special on London Broil, so that's what I bought. It came out to a bit more than three pounds of meat. This is half.

The knife is a Terävä Jääkäripuukko 110 carbon steel model from Varusteleka. It came EXTREMELY sharp. I'll do a follow up post on the knife after I get the chance to use it some more.

I put the meat in the freezer for about a half hour before slicing, which made it firm, which in turn helped in cutting uniform slices about 1/8" thick. The puukko went through it like a hot knife through butter.

After slicing the meat I added the Nesco cure and spices, and now it's marinating in the fridge until tomorrow morning.

It should take about 10 - 12 hours in my Nesco dehydrator tomorrow. Gonna be good.

My plan is to freeze about half the jerky to bring with us when we go upstate for deer hunting in a few weeks. The rest will be for snacks until then.

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.