Category Archives: Scattered Shots

Miscellaneous ramblings.

The M1 Carbine Penatration Failures In Korea : True or More To The Story

008

If there is an oft told tale of US service rifle failure more common than the myth of the M16 being UN-reliable, it is the tales of the failures of the M1 carbine in the Korean war, to penetrate the thick coats worn by communist soldiers. Anyone who is interested in US ordnance history of its use has no doubt hear or read about it some where.  Stories of some GI or another in Korea shooting  charging human wave commies in the winter wasteland with his M1 carbine and after the small around failing to penetrate the coat, throwing it away and getting himself a real man’s gun like the M1 Garand.  Firearms boards in the internet thrive on telling each other these stories and they are no doubt popular campfire fodder.   So the .30 carbine has in the past, suffered from a reputation of being a poor performer.   On a side note  I have always been amused by the same people who say the 357 mag is a never fail manstopper also declaring the 30 carbine useless when they are  very similar.

After getting a T&E rifle from Inland, the maker of brand new very high quality original spec M1 carbines( full review to come) and showing it to some fellows, the old chestnut about failing to penetrate thick coats was brought back up. I determined to shoot the M1 into some thick padding to see what I could see before serious testing and evaluation of the M1 got started.

001

Being August, I could not manage sub freezing temps, but I did set up a cardboard target behind a very thick pad that I added extra clothing by stuffing it inside to make it even thicker.  I set up from 200 yards away and fired.

002

The military FMJ round had no problem punching through the thick clothing and padding just as I knew it would.

003 005

Even from 200 yards the carbine and its ammo said by “experts” to be puny. not only went through the padding with ease, it zipped through the wood and damaged it more than I expected.  But it was not done yet.

004

It traveled another 10 yards and tore into the dry hard packed dirt and rocks behind   several inches deep with little deformation to the short stubby 110 ball rounds.

The 30 carbine is not in the same class as a  7.62 or even a 5.56. But, it is better than given credit. With quality hollow points, it is not much different than a 357 magnum. A round few people complain about being under powered.   Those vets who claimed lack of power simple missed or made shots in non-vital places on the body or glancing blows.  We all know everyone is a perfect shot that never misses so any problem has to be the gun.  And no red blooded American military fighting man would ever be anything but a perfect crack rifle shot so it has to be that lowest bidder crap!

A great little story Howard often says illustrates this well.

“When a  Soldier or Marine  is shot multiple times and tough it out to carry on the fight and prevails, he is a bad-ass napalm eating super soldier hero. When an enemy soldier  takes multiple hits from US troops and continues to fight beyond what is normally deemed possible, the issue gun sucks is underpowered and is lowest bidder garbage”.

016

Does an M14 Really Turn Cover Into Concealment?

By Andrew Betts

M14

If you spend enough time at an outdoor range, especially on the weekdays when the retirees are there in force, you are certain to hear someone opine that they prefer the M14 to the AR/M16/M4 because it “turns cover into concealment”. This is usually in conjunction with their opinion that the DoD made a terrible error in moving to the 5.56x45mm, rather than the much more manly 7.62x51mm. No one can claim that the 7.62mm NATO does not have more power. The cartridge contains significantly more powder and it launches a heavier bullet at only moderately lower velocity. Is that extra power actually useful for penetrating cover, though? Does it really “turn cover into concealment”?

To answer that, we took a look at a few real world objects of varying composition. The question is not whether the 7.62mm penetrates more deeply than the 5.56mm. It is widely known that 7.62mm will penetrate more deeply in some materials such as wood, while 5.56mm can often penetrate steel plate at close range better. M193 55 gr FMJ can even defeat Level III armor plates that are rated for multiple 7.62x51mm M80 147 gr FMJ (https://youtu.be/QrWtgyFQ8LU). The claim that the old guys are making is that the M14 can kill a man who is hiding behind an object that would stop a 5.56mm. In other words, does a small difference in penetration depth really translate to a difference in whether a specific object will act as cover or not? If the cartridges are compared in terms of go/no-go, will the M14 really “turn cover into concealment”?

For the first test, we will consider concrete barriers. There are a variety of concrete walls, block walls, and other concrete barriers in the urban landscape that a person might take cover behind. The concrete varies somewhat in the ratios of the ingredients but all are composed of cement, sand, and sometimes larger aggregate. Regardless of the recipe, concrete has high compressive strength and low tensile strength. That means that it works very well for applications such as load bearing walls, but not so well for a second story floor. It resists being crushed but when bent, it cracks easily. That also means that it works pretty well to stop a bullet, but it is destroyed in the process. We tested two kinds of concrete. The first is a concrete block common to privacy fences, with lots of small aggregate and air voids.

The second is a concrete paver. While not as sturdy as a poured concrete wall, the paver is made from mostly cement and sand, with little aggregate and no air voids.

In both tests, neither round was completely stopped by the concrete barrier. While the 7.62mm did look more impressive, the 5.56mm also made it through and neither cartridge seemed to retain much ability to wound on the other side of the wall. That is to say, both would likely cause a painful wound but neither were likely to penetrate deeply enough to have a high probability of causing incapacitation. A bad guy on the other side of either of those barriers would have an awfully bad day to be sure, but he would likely have the opportunity to make your own day much shorter. To sum up, it is a very close race with little practical difference between the two cartridges.

Of course, an 8” thick, poured concrete wall with rebar reinforcement is likely to stop both rounds cold, but it is also outside our ability to test. There are almost infinite variations on the thickness and composition of concrete structures and some will certainly stop both cartridges while others will not stop either cartridge, as seen in the above tests. It would take substantial resources to conclusively identify exactly what sort of barriers could be penetrated by which cartridge and at what distance. For our more general and limited testing, the conclusion is that both cartridges can penetrate some concrete barriers. There may very well be a special Goldilocks barrier that is just thick enough to stop the 5.56mm but not the 7.62mm. From what we can see of this testing, it seems likely that such a barrier would also bleed so much energy from the 7.62mm as to render it nearly harmless, though. Both cartridges failed to fully penetrate a single water jug in this test so if the thickness of the concrete were increased to that magical point where 5.56mm was stopped but 7.62mm passed through, the 7.62mm would be even less energetic than was seen in this testing, which means a very minor wound.

Next, we will consider one of the few components on a motor vehicle that actually has a good chance of stopping a bullet: a brake rotor. Other than the drive train, the brake rotors (or drums) are one of a very few places where there is actually enough thick metal to have a reasonably good chance of stopping a bullet. Frame rails will usually stop handgun rounds but are unlikely to stop any rifle round and it is common knowledge that the body does next to nothing to stop a bullet. Conversely, the engine and transmission should stop nearly any man portable weapon short of an AT-4. Will the brake rotor be just thick enough to stop one cartridge, but not the other?

In this case, several rounds of both the 5.56mm and the 7.62mm were stopped. It is true that the 7.62mm looked to be a bit closer to getting through, based on the slight cracks on the back side of the disc, but the bottom line is that a person hiding behind that object would not have acquired any extra face holes from either cartridge.

Wood is one of the materials which 7.62mm is said to penetrate much more deeply than 5.56mm so we compared the two cartridges’ ability to penetrate a modest sized log.

On the one hand, the 7.62mm penetrated almost twice as much wood as the 5.56mm. On the other hand, both were stopped and you would need to find a log that was more than 2 ½” thick but less than 4” thick to be able to stop the 5.56mm but not the 7.62mm. Aside from the obvious problem that few people would consider a 4” stick to be “cover”, the difference here underscores something we have long suspected. It is true that 7.62mm can penetrate more deeply, but the difference is unlikely to make any substantive real world difference. That is to say, there are very few objects that are just thick enough to stop a 5.56mm but not thick enough to stop a 7.62mm. Most objects are either thick enough to stop both or thin enough to stop neither.

We did find one material that was soft enough to underscore the difference in a very definitive way: water. This is a test using a 55 gallon plastic drum filled with water as the barrier.

Finally, here is an object that very clearly stopped one bullet but not the other. If your target is taking cover behind a 55 gallon plastic drum full of water, 7.62x51mm can punch through it, while 5.56mm will probably be stopped. In the high speed video, it seems that the 7.62mm was not really moving along that quickly after passing through the barrel, though. It is possible that it would not be capable of doing much wounding after getting through the barrel, but we did not test for that, so the nod has to go to the 7.62mm for getting through.

It is also worth noting here that projectile construction could make a significant difference in any of these tests. If the rounds were changed to bonded soft points, it is possible that both rounds would have made it through the water. If the 7.62mm were a Hornady 155 gr AMAX, it is unlikely it would get through the barrel. There are a wide variety of bullet weights and designs available for both cartridges and some of them will substantially change the performance on these objects. We chose M80 and M855 because they are the commonly issued FMJ ammunition for their respective rifles. We chose a 16” barreled AR15 because it is a good compromise length and we did not have the time to test 11.5”, 14.5”, and 20” barrels. We also did not test at greater distance, where the 7.62mm is likely to have a larger advantage because hauling the test materials 200 yards down range is difficult, bothersome, and disruptive to other shooters. There are a variety of conditions that were not tested and those conditions could give more of an edge to one or the other cartridge.

Overall, most of the tests showed very little difference between the two cartridges. In every test but the water barrel, either both penetrated the test object or both were stopped. Ultimately, it does not appear that there is any evidence to support the unilateral claim that 7.62x51mm “turns cover into concealment”. There may be some very specific circumstances where this is true, but they appear to be the exception, rather than the rule. To be sure, this concept deserves quite a lot more testing. It would be nice to see the differences at range and through a variety of other materials such as live wood and poured concrete. Some day we may continue testing. It seems that the M14 is likely to develop a real, substantive advantage as range
increases because the greater mass and higher ballistic coefficient can carry more energy further down range. On the other hand, this sort of testing only compares a single round of one cartridge to a single round of the other but 7.62mm weighs twice as much and that means a person is likely to have twice as much 5.56mm. In that light, one round of 5.56mm may be just about as good as one round of 7.62mm but two rounds of 5.56mm are far better than one round of 7.62 in nearly any circumstance. The real take-away here is that nothing in the world of firearms and projectiles is nearly as simple as “A is better than B” and it appears that the statement “The M14 turns cover into concealment,” is more often false than it is true.

Related  further reading of 762 penetration

http://looserounds.com/2013/01/30/7-62-nato-tunring-cover-into-concealment-since-well-not-as-often-as-you-may-think/

I like big guns and I cannot lie…

mail.google.com

 By  Cat Lindsay

I like big guns and I cannot lie…

 

This could be the song of my ladies!

At the last Ladies Introduction to Shooting class, while I only had one student, it was one of my best classes ever!

C, a 5’/100lb. 30-something spa owner, came to my class because her business has had 5 break-ins or attempted break-ins over the past 2 years. She no longer feels safe. While she does buzz her clients in and out, she fears someone barging in past one her customers. She was ready to learn the basics of handguns.

Though she had shot a gun once, in her youth, she came to me on Saturday as a clean slate. I actually prefer newbies, because there are no bad habits to break.

When we first started out, we used the replica training guns, as usual.  But, she soon wanted to touch & feel the real thing. For demo purposes, I always use my .45 Ruger SR1911, my 9mm S & W M & P Shield, my Taurus 608 .357 magnum, and one of MAGS rental guns, usually a large-frame 9mm Glock. This gives my students a wide variety of guns to feel.

With small hands, the double-stack Glock was too big.  She liked the feel of the Shield, but liked the weight of the Ruger & Taurus, because they “feel like real guns”.

After the classroom time (safety, how the guns & ammo work, loading magazines, clearing malfunctions, grip, stance, sights), we headed to the range.

The first gun she fired was the Taurus, shooting .38’s.  She liked the weight and being able to control such power. The Shield fit her hand better, but she didn’t like the recoil. She really liked the Ruger, the weight and all the safeties. She fired Will’s (MAGS employee) Gen 4 Glock 19, but had malfunctions. I showed her the difference between locking out and REALLY locking out, and she had better results. The last gun she fired was a Ruger SR .22 (I know we should have started with this gun, but it was a rental and we had to wait). She did not care for the optics.

So at the conclusion of the class, I asked her what her favorite gun was and she said the Taurus revolver and the Ruger 1911 because they felt like real guns. I told her that bigger, heavier guns were great for home/business defense.

BTW, she will be taking the CCW class in later this month!

A rare failure, the broken AR15 forward assist.

Broken AR15 Forward Assist

Pictured above is the broken forward assist from my Colt 6933.

I’ve see a few forward assists break. Every time it has come as a surprise to the shooter. Usually what happens is a shot is fired, and the action ends up locked closed, and no one is able to open it using normal clearing techniques. In my case the action locked open after ejecting a shell.

It can be hard to diagnose a jam caused by a broken extractor simply because you can’t see that is what is preventing the bolt carrier from moving.

The best procedure we have found to free up a stuck bolt carrier from a broken forward assist is to:
1. Remove magazine, keep muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
2. Hold rifle with the ejection port down, barrel parallel to the ground.
3. Shake rifle while attempting to move bolt carrier.

Then usually it wont take much to get the action moving again. Immediately clear the chamber and remove the bolt carrier group from the action and remove any loose parts(like the forward assist pawl shown above).

Over the years, I have come to believe that the forward assist should be reserved for emergencies. In practice or on the range if a round does not chamber discard the round or inspect the firearm. I have met many(most former Army) that hit the forward assist after every reload. If your rifle isn’t chambering the round under its own power, there is something wrong with either the rifle or the ammo. Forward assists very rarely fail, but there is no point in slapping it around unless it is an emergency.

Designated Marskman Instructor Comments on the AR15 at 1,000 yard Article

This is from the comment section from the article about shooting the AR15 at 1,000 yards. The commenter offered some insight into the Army’s marksmanship levels and attitude.  I have offered the commenter a chance to elaborate and post more on the subject.  hopefully this will be expanded and he will come back to share his thoughts and experience in greater detail in more posts.   Below is the original post from Jose

Original post Jose was speaking about here

http://looserounds.com/2013/06/10/ar15-at-1000-yards-can-a-rack-grade-ar15-and-m855-make-1000-yard-hits/

Good on you Shawn. I’ve coached the last three consecutive All Army Small Arms champions. Before that I taught SDM for s number of years, still conduct the occasional course.
I’m not a distinguished rifleman (yet) but I’ve produced a number of them.
The M16A4 and M4 are woefully misunderstood by nearly all Soldiers. There are less than 200 Soldiers in the Army that I would consider “Riflemen” even the “multiple tours, combat arms NCO” is not a guarantee of any real skill at arms AT ALL. Soldiers are universally poorly skilled with their rifles. It’s appalling. But for such Soldiers, first you’d have to admit you have a problem. If they “qualify expert” they believe *that* somehow equals skill. I’d call that “familiarity.” 40/40 is easy, nothing to brag about, and is a ridiculously low standard. Most Soldiers never achieve even that embarrassingly low standard. If an NCO can’t get all of his squad to shoot “expert” he’s untrained.
My point is that most (but I’d wager closer to all) the criticism you may have received from Soldiers ought to be dismissed out of hand. They really are overconfident amateurs. Even in “Special Forces” units, that’s no guarantee of skill at arms.
That about sums it up. If I offended someone, good. Outshoot me.
The thing is that the M16/M4 is an EXCELLENT weapon and there are excellent 5.56mm cartridges. A Soldier doesn’t have to be a superhero to shoot really well with it either. We trained many female Soldiers that had no problem striking a steel silhouette target, 14″ wide and 40″ tall, at 760 meters, with iron sights on her M16A2. I can drop names, ranks, class dates. With the M4 and ACOG, SDM Students routinely hit the same target at 800 to 830 meters – 1st round hits.
In our SDM classes, we spent so much time at 500 and 600 on the KD range, that 300 was a welcomed and easy target engagement for them. Yet in units many Soldiers will not engage the 3 exposures of the 300 meter target, preferring to save those three rounds for the closer targets when they miss the first shot, so they can re-engage the ‘easy’ targets. They’re all easy!
I want to share a couple of things, there’s somebody out there reading this that will heed this advice, I promise it can make you a dramatically better shooter.
When shooting for precision with rack grade Army M16’s or M4’s there is one method that works. DO NOT EVER USE A SLING OF ANY KIND TO “LOCK IN” “SNAP IN” OR OTHERWISE PULL ON THE SLING SWIVEL. The AR in a rack grade condition does not have a free floating barrel. The upper receiver is made of a zinc and aluminium alloy, the barrel is hard steel. Pulling on the sling is like making a giant torque wrench, moving the strike if the round several inches just at 100 yards! Any weight or pressure on the handguards moves the barrel.
Don’t touch the handguards or use a sling if you want the most out of a rack grade rifle.
Use the magazine, preferably a 30 rounder, as a monpod. Place the palm of your non firing hand (not your fingers) on the flat front face of the magwell. Spread your elbows and get nice and low and stable. The non firing palm exerts firm rearward pressure on the rifle.
There’s more to it, but that’s the biggest challenge you’re having now. Great job on the test
Enjoy.

All about those sights…

mail.google.com

By Cat Lindsay



At the last 2-hour weekly training class (MAGS Indoor Shooting Range), it was all about the sights.

I know there are alot of “point” shooters out there, which is fine shooting from retention from 0-5 yards, but if my arm is in lock-out, my eyes are looking for the sights!

After warm up drills (2 to the body, 1 to the head, then the two combined{failure drill}), we shot drills first with the strong hand, then switched to the off hand, making sure to keep the sights in focus during the transition (harder than you think!). Some shots we did on the same spot, some were from right to left, while some were from lower corner to upper corner. We did these drills from 3-10 yards away from the targets.

With shooting one-handed, the stance, grip, and lock-out stays the same as with shooting with both hands. There is a tendency to want to be too perfect with the shot, which leads to muscle fatigue, then slapping the trigger. As soon as any part of the front sight can be seen through the rear sight, on the target, the trigger needs to be released.

I occasionally turned on the safety while transitioning from right hand to left hand, so lost some time on some of the drills. If I ran empty, I reloaded one handed (release magazine, pinch gun between knees, reload, rack slide on belt). At the end of the night, we went back to both hands and it was so much easier!

Speaking of sights, I have been really liking the Trijicon HD Night Sights Mike installed 3 weeks ago. I love the big orange photoluminescent front dot and the “U” shaped back sight cutout. I find that I can pick up my sights quicker with the contrast. I did the one-handed drills with my Crimson Trace laser turned off and felt I didn’t lose much speed. The flat-fronted rear sight made racking the slide much easier, one-handed, as opposed to the slope-front one I had previously. The glow at night on my headboard is also very comforting. These night sights are well worth the cost.

So, the next time you’re on the range, take some time to work on sighted, one-hand drills. You never know when knowing this skill may come in handy for personal protection.