Shooting Competitions in 2012

Today I shot my first USPSA match of 2012. This year I’m going to focus on shooting Production class with my full size Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm. I would have been happy to have continued shooting my Glock 19 like I did last year but my wife has claimed it as her own.

Overall the match went much better than I expected. I had a lot of dust to knock off and realistically I’m still pretty new at this stuff compared to some folks. I made some big improvements on how I’m moving between firing positions and my accuracy was better than I thought it was going to be but still needs work.  I’m really excited that I was able to call some of my shots towards the end of the match.  I’ve never been able to do that during a match before.  Hopefully I can keep working on improving this.

My life is starting to get a little less complicated so I’m hoping to make it to more matches this year.  In fact my shooting goals for 2012 are:

-Shoot a minium of one match a month

-Attend at least one firearm training course, possibly two

-Finally get classified in USPSA, realistically I’m going for “C” class but that’s just a stepping stone

Keep up the good fight
-Rob

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Free Brian Aitken!

Imagine being sentenced to seven years in prison for legally transporting your legally owned firearm.  Sound crazy?  Happened to this guy.  Check out the links to both the webpage and the facebook page working to get him out of prison.  Also contact Charlie Christ the governor of New Jersey and urge him to pardon Brian and get him home in time for Christmas!

http://briandaitken.com/

http://www.facebook.com/FreeBrianAitken

My reloading gear

I started off with some real basic reloading equipment that I trade for from a guy who tried it and just didn’t enjoy it.  After some time spent reloading and gaining experience I found some things I thought could work better and even found some of the equipment just didn’t work as good as I wanted.  I’ll go through my setup and let you know what I liked, didn’t like and what I replaced and why.

The press I started with is the LEE Breech Lock Challenger Press that comes in the LEE 50th Anniversary Reloading Kit.  It has a feature that uses these quick change bushings so that you can keep your dies adjusted when you switch them out.  I thought this was really neat at first but now I just keep one of the bushings locked in the press and change the dies like normal.  It really doesn’t take that long and I didn’t want to by the bushings for all my dies.  The press comes setup to use the LEE Safety Prime which works fairly well.  It usually doesn’t want to feed the last couple of primers and sometimes the primer arm on the press likes to stick or fall out.  These are minor issues but they do get annoying after a while.  My solution was to order a LEE hand priming tool from Midway USA for 11 bucks.  I figure eleven dollars for an easier time priming sounded like a good deal.  One thing I do really like about the press is the tube it has that catches spent primers when you are depriming once fired brass.  It comes with a removable cap on it so you can route the tube to a trashcan or bucket of some sort or just leave the cap on and let the primers fill up the tube which is what I do.  It will hold several hundred before it needs to be emptied and works just fine.

When it comes to dies all I use right now is the RCBS carbide three die sets, not because they are better than anyone else’s but because that’s what the local purveyor of reloading gear has on the shelf.  Not much to report about them, they work and I don’t have anything to compare them to as of yet.  I do have a LEE 4 die set inbound that comes with the LEE factory crimp die so look for a report on that in the future.

Next let’s move on to the powder measurer.  I started with the Lee Perfect Powder measure and honestly found it to be anything but perfect.  It has some nice features like the fact that you can shut off the hopper and even remove it to pour extra powder back into its original container.  On the downside I found it’s mount to be flimsy and didn’t like how it would flex when I measured powder.  My biggest complaint was the fact that it didn’t measure powder consistently.  The charges were always close and I loaded pretty conservative loads so it wasn’t really a safety issue for me but the key to accuracy is consistency and the Lee Perfect Powder Measure wasn’t consistent.  To solve this I replaced it with a RCBS Uniflow, something smaller like the RCBS Little Dandy would have worked fine but I found a great deal locally on a lightly used Uniflow so I ended up going that route.  It is amazing how much more accurate and consistent the Uniflow is compared to the Lee unit.  I still put every tenth load on the scale to make sure everything is still working right but so far it has always been right on.  It is also made out of metal as compared to plastic and is much sturdier.

The only other piece of equipment I replaced was the Lee Safety Scale.  It did work, it would measure powder accurately.  It was just finicky, everything had to be just right for it to work.  I felt like I was constantly fighting with the scale to make it work.  I replaced it with a RCBS 502 reloading scale.  It just seems better made and easier to use.  The ironic part is now that I have a better powder measurer I don’t have to rely on the scale as much but it is still an important tool to have around and will come in much more handy when I start trying to load up some precision rifle rounds and want to weigh every charge.

The last piece of equipment I’m going to talk about is arguably the most important.  You NEED to have a good reloading manual (or three).  This is where you will find all the load data you need, it also acts as your speed limit sign when you wonder if you should add another grain of powder or not.  I really like the Lyman manual because they include components from a variety of other companies and don’t just focus on one.  As I’ve mentioned before if you are just getting started I would also pick up “The ABC’s of Reloading” it explain everything step by step and with pictures.  If you are on the fence about reloading just pick up the ABC’s or any of the reloading manuals to read through it and give you a better idea of what is involved.

My setup is fairly simple but effective, I’m not loading 500 rounds an hour but I can manage ~150 right now.  It’s hard to measure because I do everything in batches.  One of these days I will probably step up to a progressive press to really crank the ammo out but right now I kind of like taking it slow.  Reloading really becomes a separate hobby instead of just an addition to shooting.  I find sitting down in my reloading cave working the lever and concentrating on doing simple things really well to be very therapeutic.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and maybe learned something from me rambling.  If you have any questions about reloading feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email and I will do my best to answer you.

Keep up the good fight
-Rob

My intro to reloading

For a long time now I have been interested in reloading. I read lots of stuff on the intraweb about it but it seemed like I was reading a foreign language. I’m fairly mechanically inclined but just didn’t know enough of the terminology that was being used to really grasp what others were talking about. An opportunity to do some horse trading came up and I ended up with some basic reloading equipment.

After looking through what I had things seemed to make some more sense but not all the fog had been lifted. At this point figured the best thing I could do was head over to one of the local stores and pick up a reloading manual. I had heard good stuff about the Lyman manual, they don’t make reloading components (bullets, primers, or powder) so their load data contains a good mix of components. It has a fairly large section in the front of the book dedicated to explaining how to reload and going over the various pieces of equipment. Finally things started to make sense and I could actually visualize how all this worked. Another book that I picked up later and wish I would have started with is “The ABC’s of Reloading” it contains no load data but is all about the process of reloading for both handgun and rifle rounds. It even goes into different subjects such as casting your own bullets.

After looking over everything and setting up all my equipment I poured over the load data in my Lyman manual and decided on what I wanted to start with. I loaded up 100 9mm rounds with a fairly conservative load. After I loaded them I spent a week walking by them wondering if they would destroy my gun (or my hand) when I finally went to shoot them. I must have weighed and measured every one of those rounds at least 5 times before I finally worked up the moxy to take them out to the range. Since I had done my homework and paid attention to what I was doing that range trip ended up being fairly uneventful. Nothing bad happened, the rounds all worked they way they were supposed to and I got some extra satisfaction out of hitting targets with bullets I had made. When it was all over I collected my brass (and a little extra) to take home to feed my new hobby.

Over the next couple of weeks and days check back for some more articles where I’m going to talk a little more in-depth about what equipment I’m using and what I have learned in my reloading journey so far. Hopefully this will include some pretty good pictures to.

Thanks for sticking with the site even with my extended absence.

Keep up the good fight
-Rob

Apologies

Let me start off by saying I’m sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been dealing with some serious family issues (which are much better now) and nursing an injury which had dampened my spirits some. Luckily I’ve got plenty of stuff to write about and my free time is starting to appear a little more often. I’m actually about to work up a new article for y’all right now so stay tuned in.

New article on ITS Tactical

Sorry the site has been a little slow lately but I’v been dealing with lots of personal stuff lately.  I do want to let you know that I am now a proud ITS Contributor and my first article went up today.  It’s a review of a Strider WP, a real hard use knife.  Be sure to check it out.

http://www.itstactical.com/2010/06/21/a-simple-strider-knife-for-hard-use/#more-5878

Mall Ninja sighting 6-18-2010

Found this commando at the local grocery store. Full decked out in MARPAT with a Woodland pattern fighting load carrier with some type of hunting vest over that. To top it all off a MARPAT boonie hat with a big skull bandana as a hat band.