Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Prime Day Deal on Frankford Arsenal Hand Priming Tool

It's Prime Day at Amazon and something that's on sale is the Frankford Arsenal Hand Priming Tool. I bought one a couple months ago and have primed at least 500 cases with it. Compared with the Lee Hand Priming Tool I used for years, the FA is much better built, robust, and also allows adjusting the primer seating depth.

Using the Lee tool I'd usually lose 1 or 2 primers out of 100 due to them seating sideways. I haven't lost one primer yet with the Frankford Arsenal tool.

Normally it's priced at $79.99 but for Prime Day it's $59.99. It's worth it at the normal price. The Prime Day price is a great deal.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Guns for Jews v3.1 is now live

My ebook, Guns for Jews v3.1 is now live. Compared with the earlier versions it is greatly expanded including additional gun recommendations, discussion of ammunition, child proofing your guns and safe storage, and much more.

Get it here and please share:


Thursday, July 11, 2024

Sig Sauer P365X

The other day I traded off a few guns and came home with a Sig Sauer P365X. The gun comes with two 12 round magazines. I had enough store credit that I also got another 12 rounder and a 17 round extended magazine.

The P365X is part of Sig's family of compact and micro-sized 9mm semiauto pistols intended for conceal carry. The original P365 is exceptionally small, while the P365X is just slightly larger with a longer grip, and has a slide already milled to accept RMS-c footprint dot sights.

Overall the P365X is a tiny gun, especially when you consider its capacity. It's 6" long, 1.1" thick, and 4.8" tall. The barrel is 3.1" long. The slide is fitted with Sig's own night sights and is cut for an optic, as mentioned above.

Top-to-bottom, P365X, S&W Model 640-1 .357 Magnum, S&W M&P Shield 9:

The P365 family is very modular because the actual "gun" for legal purposes is the fire control unit (FCU), which includes the major mechanical components. You buy different grip modules and mix and match barrels and slides to create the configuration you desire.

For several years I've owned a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9, which is in the micro-9 class, but never really warmed up to it. (In contrast, I like the mid-size M&P 9 2.0 and full-size M&P 9 1.0 A LOT.)

Before shooting any new gun I always field strip it, remove any factory oil, and lubricate it per the owner's manual. I do this as a quality control check and to familiarize myself with the gun in case I need to resolve any issues at the range.

Field stripping is very simple and doesn't require any tools. First clear the gun to ensure it's unloaded. Then lock the slide to the rear. Next rotate the takedown lever on the left side of the frame downwards. Release the slide (which is under spring pressure) and pull it off the front of the frame.

Then pull off the recoil spring assembly and pull the barrel out of the slide.

Reassembly is in reverse order.

To remove the FCU, first clear the gun, then field strip it as normal. Then drive out the pin at the rear of the frame, from right to left. Next, tilt rear of the FCU up and pull the unit out of the grip module.

To drive out the pin you need a 3/32" punch. A Glock disassembly tool works well.

Strangely, Sig doesn't include a printed version of the owner's manual with the gun, which comes in a nice lockable plastic box with an extra mag, chamber flag, and a cable lock. There is a basic safety pamphlet included, which has a QR code on it to scan which takes you to the Sig website where you can download the manual.

In this litigious age I am amazed Sig's lawyers approved shipping a gun without a full owner's manual. You can call Sig to have them mail you a hard copy of the manual, which I intend to do so it can stay with the gun. Seriously, Sig Sauer, what are you thinking?

Yesterday I took the P365X to the range and put a mix of S&B 124 grain FMJ and Wolf Polyformance 115 grain FMJ for a total of 105 rounds through it. It had 3 or 4 failures to fully go into battery, which were resolved with a gentle tap on the back end of the slide.

Today, I did a quick field strip, clean, and relube, then took it back to the range and this time it ran flawlessly through 152 rounds of Wolf and 14 Speer Gold Dots that I had in my range bag. Today it ran flawlessly.

The P365X weighs just 17.8 oz. (500 grams) unloaded. As expected, recoil was pretty snappy. Compared with the M&P Shield, the grip is a little rounder in cross section and more comfortable for me.

The Sig's trigger reminds me of a double action revolver trigger but lighter and  with a shorter stroke. But, unlike a DA revolver trigger I can't stage it.

Shooting such a small pistol well with its short sight radius and level of recoil demands good form. If you don't have the fundamentals down pat you won't shoot well. It is not forgiving. Yesterday, I was definitely not in the zone. Today I really concentrated on my form more and shot better.

Something that will help accuracy especially under stress is a dot sight. I plan to get a Holosun green dot for it soon.

Because of the recoil I find that extended shooting sessions with this class of gun are taxing and my shooting degrades after awhile. Today I took a few breaks during the session to sweep up my spent brass and give my hand some rest.

The P365X fits a DeSantis outside the waistband holster I have for my Shield 9. It also fits a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster but is a bit too big for my pants pockets. It would probably work OK in a large coat or vest pocket.

Overall, I am seriously impressed with the Sig P365X. It packs an amazing amount of firepower into a tiny gun that with practice is very shootable.

Sunday, July 07, 2024

More Chronograph Results

Today I got some more use out of my Garmin Xero C1 chronograph. It's so easy to use I may as well chronograph all the things.

All data is for 10 shot strings. Muzzle velocity (MV) is in feet per second, with muzzle energy (ME) is in foot-pounds. The ambient temp was about 94*F and elevation above sea level is about 160 feet.

First up was a selection of 9mm from a Glock 34 with 5.3" barrel:

Wolf Polyformance 9mm 115 grain FMJ:

  • MV: 1154.5 
  • ME: 340.3

This ran about 60 FPS faster than when I shot it in my CZ P07 with a 4.36" barrel.

Sellier & Bellot 124 grain FMJ:

  • MV: 1175.7
  • ME: 380.61

Winchester M1152 115 grain FMJ-FP:

  • MV: 1358.3
  • ME: 471.05

M1152 is the relatively new US military standard issue 9mm Ball. As expected it was a lot hotter than the Wolf and S&B range ammo. I'll have to run some of this through a carbine to see how fast it goes from a 16" barrel.

Next up was some .38 Special, with a Lee TL358-158 SWC on top of 3.8 grains of HP-38. I fired these from a S&W Model 15-3 with a 4" barrel.

  • MV: 743.1 
  • ME: 193.8

This is a nice plinking and target load that's pleasant shooting in a K-Frame with Magnas and a grip adapter.

Finally, I ran some black powder .44-40s over the Garmin. These were shot in my Cimarron Model P (Colt Frontier Six Shooter replica) which has a 5.5" barrel. Both loads used a 219 grain bullet cast in an Accurate Molds 43-215C mold.

First up was a .44 Henry-equivalent load with 1.9cc (~30 grains) of pre-factory explosion Goex 3Fg, sparked by Federal No.150 large pistol primers.

  • MV: 833
  • ME: 337.68

Not bad, and not too far behind .45 ACP Ball.

Finally were some loaded with 2.2cc (~35 grains) of Scheutzen 3Fg, sparked with CCI large pistol primers.

  • MV: 756.1
  • ME: 278.27

I am very surprised at how much slower the Scheutzen loads ran. I was under the impression that it's at least as energetic as Goex, but that didn't seem to be the case with this batch.

I plan to load up some more of each of these loads but with the same primer to remove a variable, but I doubt that the results will be much different. I also need to chronograph some loads with Swiss 3Fg, of which I have a limited supply, along with a pound of some 1990s-vintage Elephant 3Fg. I'm expecting higher velocities with the Swiss and lower velocities with Elephant. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

A Vest for Concealed Carry

I just got one of these vests in gray for $27 on Amazon Prime, for use as a cover garment. It looks more REI rather than tacticool. Actually, it looks more Walmart-ish than REI.

It is lightweight and uninsulated, which is what I wanted. I already have fleece insulated vests for colder weather. The shell is nylon with a polyester mesh liner for ventilation. It has four pockets: two handwarmer pockets, a chest pocket, and one inside pocket. The zippers and stitching seem pretty good. Unlike the pics on Amazon the zipper pull is American-style, i.e. with the pull on the right side. There is a hanging loop on the back.

The vest should roll up compactly so it can be stuffed in a bag when traveling. It'll be handy for when you need a few extra pockets but not something that's borderline LBE.

I tried it with a few different guns in OWB holsters. On me it’s long enough to cover a 3” S&W K-Frame if I don’t raise my arm over my head. A 2.75" Ruger Speed Six concealed a little better. A 2” barrel gives more wiggle room. A S&W M&P9 Shield concealed well. A 4" K-Frame stuck out the bottom. The guns remained covered if I bent over.

I also tried it on over one of my bulkier hoodies and it fit ok with no binding in the arm holes. So, it could work also as a windbreaker over a sweatshirt or sweater, depending on the thickness.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Brownells Revolver Chamber Brushes

Cleaning the charge holes is an important part of maintaining a revolver. If you shoot .38 Specials in a .357 Magnum it's especially important to do so to knock back the crud ring that results. However, even using a bore brush this is a fair amount of work.

Brownells sells revolver chamber brushes for .38/.357 and .44/45. They are larger in diameter and longer than pistol bore brushes. This morning I used one when cleaning my S&W Model 64-2 snub .38.

(Yes, my workbench is cluttered.)

Note how much longer the chamber brush is than a bore brush. Also note that it's longer than the frame opening for the cylnder. Do not put the chamber brush down the bore because getting it back out is going to be extremely difficutl.

I ran the chamber brush dry through each charge hole once in each direction. It got rid of a lot of crud from the .38 Special 158 grain LSWC loads I fired yesterday.

Incidentally, after I finished cleaning the gun I replaced the wood grips and grip adapter with the set of Pachmayr Compacs it had when I got it. The Magnas with grip adapter were comfortable when dry firing but really whacked the inside of my left thumb when shooting the gun.

From last weekend:

The rubber grips are still pretty small so the piece should still conceal easily under a jacket or vest when Fall rolls around. This is a 6 shot K-Frame so it's not like I'm going to be stuffing this in my pants pocket, anyway.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Happiness is a Smith & Wesson Combat Masterpiece

... and a box of .38 reloads.

I bought this Model 15-3 used in 1996 and have put thousands of .38 Special reloads downrange through it since then.

Today I took it to the range to test a new-to-me load: a fairly soft cast Lee TL358-158 LSWC coated with Lee Liquid Alox on top 3.5 grains of Titegroup, sparked by Servicios Aventuras primers. I load the bullets unsized and then after seating, run the cartridge through a Lee carbide factory crimp die which not only crimps the bullet in place but also resizes the round so that it's within factory spec.

I ran 10 shots over my Garmin Xero C1 Pro chronograph and it clocked an average of 779.5 FPS with an SD of 17.2.

Rather than shoot for groups, I shot at my club's 25 yard plate rack. The plates are 12" discs and I hit them a lot more than not shooting fairly rapid double action.

This is a clean burning load leaving minimal powder residue and no leading.