July 2010 Cover Page

July 1939        
The Rifleman's Journal
A Collection of Articles Dealing with Rifle Accuracy Topics

Camp Perry 1939

This Month:

Townsend Whelen
Statistics for Shooters
Sources of Error in Ballistic Programs
Chamber Throat Maintenance
Full Metal Jacket Match Bullets

15 Cents 

Reloading: Should I Turn Necks?

Should I Turn Necks?
This month's Question of the Month comes from Lance who is in a very common situation, wondering if neck turning will be a benefit as his scores improve and he's looking for the next step up.

Germán ,

For long range I shoot a 6 Turbo (plan on acquiring a bolt gun for next year). The rifle shoots well. Last fall  at 600 yards I shot a pair of 199's with 14X's on one string so I know the load I use works. I gave up X's and the two 9's due to, I believe, a shifting cheek piece on a CSS tube stock. This isn't Gary's design flaw it was my fault as I didn't realize the set screw on the stock is not meant to be loosened to adjust the cheek piece (duh!). The load I am using is Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass with BR4's, 30.5 of R15 under a Hornady 105 Amax.

Anyway, I plan on shooting a few of the long range matches at Camp Perry this year and after reading your post on the daily bulletin on the K&M neck turner this got me thinking about their being any benefit to neck turning the little neck on the 6mm Turbo? I know neck turning is usually more of a bench rest technique for bolt guns. I don't use many bench rest loading techniques as I am primarily a SR/ JCG match shooter. Do you think there would be any benefit in turning the necks on my ammo? The necks on this cartridge are about 0.170" long.




That's a good question. The most important reason for a Highpower shooter to consider neck turning is to equalize neck tension within a set of brass. Consistent neck tension is one of those small factors that add up to low standard deviation of muzzle velocity and thus to less vertical dispersion.

You mentioned a couple of good scores and those are excellent scores anywhere. The important question, however, is: what is the average score? Do you tend to lose points or X's to uncalled shots high and low? If all of the shots that you call as good ones fall within the elevation of the X ring, then the load is fine for the distance used. If not, then the load could use some attention. Let's have a quick look at the various elements of a good load.

Neck turning falls fairly low on the list of items to look at when trying to improve a load, especially if you're using good brass as you are. First and foremost is the bullet. The AMAX you're using is one that I see a lot of service rifle shooters use both in their service rifle and in their match rifle when they make the switch. However, it isn't one that you'll find a lot of dedicated bolt gun shooters using, at least in this part of the country - sometimes there are regional preferences. Sierra and Berger really dominate the bolt gun ranks here and it might be worth trying a box or two. My personal preference is the Berger 105 VLD but I have had good results with all of the appropriate weight Berger and Sierra bullets in that weight range.

Your choice of powder is the same as most good 6BR shooters and the 6mm Turbo has essentially the same capacity as the 6BR so let's leave it aside for the moment. The charge weight is also right in line with most 6BR loads, I use 30.2 RL15 with moly-coated 105's, for instance.

Primers are my area of special interest and they are definitely a significant factor in reducing SD. The CCI BR4 is a good primer in this regard, but if you can get your hands on some Wolf small rifle magnum, I think you'll see an improvement. Make sure to get the magnum, the standard small primers have a very thin cup which will blank in this cartridge.

Now we're finally down to the necks. I left them for last because that's about where they fall in the relative scheme of importance. I don't know if you're currently set up to turn necks or not, so here's a good initial way to analyze your brass. Take 15 or so loaded rounds, and measure the neck diameter with an accurate digital caliper or a micrometer, ideally a blade micrometer.  For these purposes, a dial caliper as shown in the picture is too hard to read accurately but will do in a pinch.  Measure the neck diameter on each one in two places (measure, rotate 90 degrees, measure again). Write these measurements down in two columns on a sheet of paper. Be careful in your use of the calipers, make sure to use very consistent pressure as it is easy to affect the reading through varying pressure.

Now take a look at those numbers. If the brass was neck turned there would be essentially no variance in them. How much are you getting? If you see more than 0.001" between different necks, then the necks could benefit from turning. If you see that much within single necks, then they definitely need turning. When I say they can benefit from turning, I mean there will be a small improvement in SD, not a dramatic change in the overall performance of the load. Let's keep in mind that we're talking about the lowest item on our priority list and that these small gains can be hard to see at 600 yards, although they become more apparent at 1000 yards.

If you decide that neck turning will be worthwhile, then some better measuring equipment and technique are in order. I use a tubing micrometer to check neck thickness and check each neck at three points after turning to make sure they came out right. The caliper method I described above is just a quick and dirty way to check now if you don't have a tubing micrometer but won't really do for neck turning.

Remember that an unturned neck never caused a 9 at 600 yards. We shoot all of our own 9's; all good ammo does is get us more X's. Of course when you're in the X ring, you're further away from the 9 ring and have increased your margin of error and that's very worthwhile to me. As you know, I shoot the .30-06 a lot and am able to shoot scores with it that surprise a lot of shooters who have low expectations of the .30-06. The key to those good scores is attention to all the finer details of reloading and shot execution and those lessons apply equally to your cartridge and any other. As we herd the shots closer in to the center, we get fewer strays out there in the 9 ring where we don't want them!


Related Articles
Neck Turning
Measuring the Case
Neck Tension

Hap's Corner: A Brief Tale of Cleaning Patches

By Hap Rocketto

My brother is fond of giving books for presents and passed a volume entitled Floating off the Page to me for my last birthday. It contains a series of articles taken from the Wall Street Journal’s “middle column.” James P. Sterba related a brief tale of cleaning patches, “Prisons, Guns, and Knickers,” and it begins on February 5, 1975 in Sacramento, California. President Gerald Ford was working the crowd when an alert Secret Service Agent saw a mousy looking woman named Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme point a 1911A1 at the President. He quickly batted the pistol down, grasping it so that if the hammer fell it would pinch the skin on the web of his hand, preventing the firearm from discharging.

It would not be a great month for Ford, 17 days later, in San Francisco, Sara Jane Moore would actually get a shot off at him from a .38 but it was diverted by a bystander, Oliver Sipple. The next year, almost as if in apology for these unfriendly acts by its citizens, California gave its 45, poetic justice as the number matched the caliber of Fromme’s pistol, electoral votes to Ford in his failed attempt to gain the White House on his own.

Fromme, a disciple of mass murderer Charles Manson, was duly tried and convicted of attempting to assassinate the President of the United States. She quickly found herself remanded to the custody of the Attorney General of the United States and housed behind the walls of West Virginia’s Alderson Federal Prison, later to be the abode of Martha Stewart. Upon arriving at her new abode she was issued, gratis, the standard prison clothing, which included several sets of heavy-duty undergarments manufactured by the anachronistically, named Southern Bloomer Manufacturing Company of Bristol, Tennessee. Institutional laundries are not kind to lightweight underwear and Southern’s 5.3 ounce knitted cotton will withstand the rigors of a prison laundry.

It seems that Donald and Winifred Sonner, proprietors of Southern Bloomer, had established a niche market in sturdy prison underwear, sort of the Victoria’s Secret or Federick’s of Hollywood of the incarcerated set. They covered both ends of the market, so to speak, with a line of panties, brassieres, nightshirts for the ladies and boxers, briefs, and T-Shirts for the men. They grew so successful that they soon had 125 prisons as customers and were piling up scrap at an alarming rate. Being both cost and environmentally conscious they wished to do something worthwhile with the waste. By chance Donald was shopping with his son Stephen when the boy turned into a gun store because he needed some cleaning patches. Donald, not a shooter, took one of the flimsy patches his son had purchased and rolled it in his fingers. Like Paul on the road to Tarsus he was struck by lightning. Back at the factory he cut up some waste into squares, packed them in plastic bags with a photocopied label, and drove to, where else-after all this is the south, his local Wal-Mart. There he worked a deal with the manager and the rest, as they say, is history.

Before he knew it they was selling 5,000 pounds of his heavy-duty cleaning patches a month. The smallest patches run about 6,000 to the pound while the largest run 666 to the pound, you do the arithmetic on the total numbers produced but it means that someone out there is doing a lot of shooting and cleaning. The product line that had started out to simply reclaim scrap material grew so big that Southern built a plant just for their manufacture. The Wall Street Journal reports that the United States Army’s 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the FBI use them exclusively, as do numerous other Federal, state, and local police forces and agencies. Southern even has a growing foreign market.

So successful has the line become that the company came up with a new motto. Whereas, movie minded as I am, I might have preferred, “Patches, We don’t got to show you no stinkin’ patches!” Southern’s stationery and advertising bears the words “Manufacturers of Quality Panties and the Finest in Gun Cleaning Patches.” When you think about the source of the material it kind of brings a new meaning to the high power shooter’s term for a miss, “Maggie’s Drawers.”

Index to Articles

I've spent a bit of time compiling and organizing an index to the articles on the site.  You can access it by clicking on the Articles Index page link near the top of each page.  It is visible from any page you are on.  I'll update the index monthly.

Also remember that the domain name http://www.riflemansjournal.com/ is directed here so you don't need to type the "blogspot" part anymore.

Cartridges: The Full Metal Jacket Match Bullet

The Full Metal Jacket Match Bullet
by: Germán A. Salazar

What do the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Woolly Mammoth and the Dodo have in common with the full metal jacket match bullet?  Yes, they're all extinct species! Evolution occurs with blinding speed in our technological world, at least as compared to the natural world and in 1959, when Sierra introduced the 168 gr. International (later to be renamed Match King), their existing line of 30 caliber Match King bullets (180 gr., 190 gr. and 200 gr.) suddenly looked a bit like a woolly mammoth in a world full of cheetahs.  In short order, the Match King line was converted to the hollow point design and neither Sierra nor the rest of the bullet making world looked back.  There was one holdout, actually.  Not unlike the occasional discovery of a survivor of a species thought to be extinct, Lapua kept on making its famous full metal jacket D46 bullets in 170 gr., 185 gr. and the rarely seen 195 gr. version.

A great deal has changed in the world of Highpower shooting in the 51 years since the hollow point became the near universal form of match bullet.  The evolutionary pace of the rest of our equipment hasn't slowed.  Today's actions, barrels, stocks, triggers and sights are as significant a factor in our higher scores as are advances in bullet design.  Therefore, being a curious ballistic archaeologist, I decided to try a selection of the old FMJ match bullets in today's equipment.  However, this is almost like saying that you'd like to go take a ride on a woolly mammoth.  By their nature, match bullets are expendable and they only make one trip downrange.  Fortunately, I'm not only curious, but also a bit of a scrounger, so I was able to come up with a nice selection of Sierra, Western, Lapua, Arizona Bullet Co., Lake City and Remington FMJ match bullets to test.

Selecting the test rifle was simple enough; since the idea is to try old bullets in a modern rifle, what could be more modern that the Eliseo tubegun?  Equipped with a 1:11" twist barrel chambered in (what else) .30-06, using a Warner rear sight, a Riles front sight and an X-Treme Shooting Products trigger, this rifle is as good and as modern as it gets in my opinion.

I'm not going to suggest that the FMJ design is better than or even as good as the hollow point design - it isn't.  Over the years, the principal reason for the HP's superior accuracy has generally been held to be its more uniform base.  Going back to Dr. Mann's experiments at the turn of the last century, careful shooters have known that a perfectly uniform base is essential to accuracy.  When making a FMJ bullet, the open end of the jacket is, by definition, at the base, and it must be rolled over with great uniformity if the bullets are to perform well.  When you examine a good selection of FMJ bullets, both match and military, it becomes apparent rather quickly that some are much better than others in this important aspect.  Without a very uniform base, accuracy will be compromised by the uneven force applied by the burning gas to the irregular base upon exiting from the muzzle.

There are other reasons, however, for the HP's dominance.  Recently, Al Matson, a well known experimenter in the field (alinwa for those who frequent the Benchrest forum) wrote the following: 

All Match Grade bullets are hollow points for two large (and several small) reasons.
1. Only by leaving the point empty can proper weight distribution be achieved. The center of gravity MUST be held to the rear for a bullet to behave properly. If you bring the center of gravity too far forward you run into oscillation problems. To understand this look at a child's top. A top is fat on top. Make a top fat on the bottom or spin it upside down to see why. A stable bullet is a 'top' which balances on the airflow it perceives...... bring a wind in from the right and the top "rights itself" by nutating over to 'balance' on the new vector. A proper bullet must be light in front.

2. Mechanically the front should be left empty for manufacturing reasons. Pointing up a bullet with a nose full of lead leads to unpredictable, uncontrollable eccentricity. This is huge. This is one of the reason full-core bullets (Game Kings, Silver Tips, Partitions to name a few) can never be accurate.... and partial hollow points can be even more problematical. Read 'Rifle Accuracy Facts' section on .270 bullets to see with pictures and descriptions how unsupported lead will slump, yet understand that while lead is "fluid" under the pressure of firing it's still a very viscous fluid and therefor cannot redistribute itself for balance. Hand made Match Grade projectile will always be hollow points. As will machine produced bullets.... just go to Sierra's site to see that Match Kings are the hollow pointed projectiles on the page.

Other problems have to do with flexure during flight and several other manufacturing details..... as well as the fact that when using fragile J4 jackets, the pleats are likely to open and spew molten lead if you get it up into the point section very far.

By the way, a tipped bullet like Noslers or the Hornady A-Max is still a hollow point, but with the point plugged with a hunk of plastic or aluminum or somesuch, not necessarily a good idea.
 I'm not certain how accurate all of this is, but if nothing else, it reflects a well-informed modern experimenter's perception of the FMJ v. HP analysis.  Al's focus is the Benchrest world, mine is Highpower and accordingly, since we have a different perspective we can see different sides of the same question.  I wrote to Al and he gave me permission to use his quote and is very interested in this test.  Al's opinion is informed by the high accuracy standards of the Benchrest world, whereas mine derives from Highpower shooting where other factors often rise above pure accuracy in generating winning scores.

The bullets in this test are old, they're not made with J4 jackets, and although their accuracy is likely not equal to modern offerings, they probably aren't too bad by Highpower standards.  The questions is: how well will they do on the modern Highpower target?  In Highpower prone shooting, the winners are determined in larger measure by their wind reading, shot execution and strategy than by pure accuracy.  That's not to say that an inaccurate rifle can be used to win big matches, but simply that small accuracy differences aren't terribly important once the wind starts to blow and experience takes the lead.

Although we might like to shoot a 200-20X all the time, in reality, many good scores are fired within that 2 moa 10 ring of NRA mid-range and long-range targets with equipment that is far from state of the art; equipment that would, in fact, place dead last in a Benchrest match.  When our test bullets were made, the targets had a maximum value of 5, and the 5 ring was approximately 4 moa; will the bullets still perform decently on the tougher, but not too tough, 2 moa 10 ring of the modern target?

Let's take a look at the test bullets; just click the pictures to enlarge for detail.  The order is simply by weight, no special plan here.

Arizona Bullet Company 180 gr. bullet.  These were made in Tucson, I have had some trouble getting a precise date but the 1950's seems pretty reliable.  Both Bob Jensen and Norm Darnell, who were active shooters in Tucson during that era confirm that as a likely date for this box.
  • Length - 1.310"  (33.28 mm)
  • Diameter - 0.3085"  (7.84 mm)
  • Meplat - 0.050"  (1.27 mm)
  • Base - Bases are rolled over forming a lip with the exposed lead below the lip is uniformly flat.  Very uniform rollover.

Sierra 180 gr. Match King.  These are from the original Sierra plant in Whittier, California.  This may be the most commonly used match bullet of the period after the Frankford Arsenal 173 gr.
  • Length - 1.294" (32.87 mm)
  • Diameter - 0.3080" (7.82 mm)
  • Meplat - 0.053" (1.34 mm)
  • Base - Bases are folded over flat, edge of jacket visible, exposed lead below the lip irregular, some flat, some cupped. Not very uniform rollover.
Lapua 185 gr. D46.  My favorite bullet of all time.  It's not the most accurate bullet ever made, and it certainly doesn't have the highest BC, but it shoots very well in almost any barrel and the consistency of manufacturing over the 8 decades it's been in production is fantastic.  The box shown is from the 1950's, part of a shipment to Roy Dunlap direct from Finland.
  • Length - 1.324" (33.62 mm)
  • Diameter - 0.3090" (7.85 mm)
  • Meplat - 0.046" (1.16 mm)
  • Base - Bases are rolled over forming a lip, exposed lead below the lip is uniformly flat. Very uniform rollover.
Lapua 195 gr. B406.  This is the rarely seen big brother to the D46.  This box is the only one I've ever had and I've been saving it for something interesting; the time has arrived.  The same rebated boat tail FMJ design as the D46, but longer.

  • Length - 1.386" (35.20 mm)
  • Diameter - 0.3090" (7.85 mm)
  • Meplat - 0.048" (1.22 mm)
  • Base - Bases are rolled over forming a lip, exposed lead below the lip is uniformly flat. Uniform rollover, not quite as perfect as the D46.
Sierra 200 gr. Match King. Here's a bullet that won the Wimbledon Cup on more than one occasion.  Also from the old Whittier plant, these were a top choice for long-range shooting into the 1960's.
  • Length - 1.403" (35.63 mm)
  • Diameter - 0.3085" (7.84 mm)
  • Meplat - 0.048" (1.22 mm)
  • Base - Bases are rolled over forming a lip, exposed lead below the lip irregular, some flat, some cupped. Not very uniform rollover.
Western 200 gr. International.  These bullets were pulled from WCC 58 match ammunition intended for 300 meter ISU competition.  By 1960, Western switched to the stubbier HP 197.  This bullet is distinctly sleeker and should have a better BC than its replacement.

  • Length - 1.451" (36.85 mm)
  • Diameter - 0.3090" (7.85 mm)
  • Meplat - 0.052" (1.32 mm)
  • Base - Bases are folded over flat, exposed lead below the lip even with jacket, slightly cupped. Uniform rollover.

Now that we've had a look at the test bullets and measured them a little, let's see how they shoot.  The shooting test was conducted in two parts: the first was 10 shots at 100 yards on the NRA 100 yd. Smallbore target and the second was 20 shots at 500 yards on the NRA MR65 500 yd. target (both have a 2 moa 10 ring and a 1 moa X ring).  All of the shooting was done prone, with iron sights, with the Eliseo Tubegun mentioned above. 

Due to the limited quantity of these bullets on hand, I couldn't do any specific load development, so the 180 gr. and 185 gr. bullets were loaded with 52.5 gr. of IMR 4350 and the 195 gr. and 200 gr. bullets were loaded with 52.0 gr. of IMR 4350.  These are mild loads as confirmed by chronographing them on the day of the test.  It's possible, even likely, that accuracy would have been better with some load development, but that just wasn't possible.

180 gr. Arizona Bullet Co.The day of the 100 yard test was hot (109 degrees) and windy with a stiff wind from left to right.  However, at 100 yards, that shouldn't have much of an effect.  The first target fired was with the Arizona Bullet Co. 180 gr. and it was not an especially promising start.  I expected a bit better performance given the very uniform bases and the overall good appearance of the ABC bullet.  Shots alternated between the group at 10:00 and the rest of the shots with no rhyme or reason. 

180 gr. Sierra Match King. 
Knowing how popular this bullet was in its day, my expectations were high.  Unfortunately, it performed erratically, throwing shots off call despite putting a reasonable group together in the X ring.  The irregular bases or some other factor was at work here, in any event, I wouldn't call this a great bullet.

185 gr. Lapua D46.
Enough disappointment, it was time for my favorite bullet, the Lapua D46, 185 gr. FMJ.  Actually, when I was shooting, I didn't know which bullet I was shooting; I color coded them with a stripe on the back of the case and left the code sheet at home.  Once I saw the target, though, I was pretty certain this was the D46 since I shoot it all the time and know how it performs.  I don't hesitate to shoot the D46, at any distance up to and including 1000 yards.  The D46 and the 190 Sierra are my "standard" .30-06 bullets.

195 gr. Lapua B406.
Now we have the 195 gr. Lapua FMJ.  I've never shot this bullet and was pleasantly surprised by how well it shot.  I sure wish I had a lot more of them, but the one box I have is the only one I've ever seen.  It shot very well and I hope to try it at 1000 yards later this year when our long-range season begins.

200 gr. Sierra Match King.
As we moved to the heavier bullets, the rifle really seemed to perk up, maybe the load was a little more suited to them.  In any event, the Sierra 200 shot very well, much better than it's 180 gr. sibling.  The shot at 7:00 was all my fault, right on call.  The bases on this bullet were not especially good, yet the performance at 100 was excellent.

200 gr. Western International.
The 200 gr. Western tied the 185 gr. Lapua for high score (100-9X) although it didn't seem to bunch them up quite as tightly as that bullet or the Sierra 200 gr.  Overall, there is really nothing wrong with this target, and it reflects a well made bullet and a reasonably useful load behind it.

The 100 yard testing was worthwhile and relevant, because if a bullet won't shoot well at 100 yards, there's really very little to be learned by shooting it at a longer distance.  Time and range availability are always a consideration and in the end, I decided that the two 180 gr. bullets, the Arizona Bullet Co. and the Sierra, just weren't worth shooting at 500 yards.  Given how things turned out, I think it was a good decision as you will see below. 

The "finalists" were the Lapua 185 gr, D46, the Lapua 195 gr. B406, The Sierra 200 gr. Match King and the Western 200 gr. International. The 185 gr. Lapua was fired on a different day than the other three due to time and temperature constraints; it's summer in Phoenix and there's only so much shooting you can do in a heavy coat when it's 110 degrees (43.5 C).  As it turned out, the second day of testing was substantially windier; however, since were mostly looking at elevation dispersion and the presence or absence of off-call shots, a bit more horizontal dispersion from wind won't affect our analysis.  The NRA MR65 repair centers were tacked lightly to the target with spray glue so they could be removed for analysis and photography and I'm very grateful to Oliver Milanovic and John Lowther for their help with this delicate operation.  As before, all firing was prone, iron sights, .30-06 in the Eliseo Tubegun.  The 500 yard MR65 target's X ring is 5" in diameter (1 moa), the 10 ring is 10" (2 moa) and each successive ring is 5" larger than the previous one.  All of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking them.

185 gr. Lapua D46.  This bullet is part of my normal selection of 30 cal. bullets and in fact is the reason I began this test.  The D46 has always shot well in every rifle in which I've used it so naturally, I began to wonder about FMJ bullets generally.  The good performance (199-10X) on this target is actually very typical for this bullet.  I don't have much more to say because I expected it to shoot well and it did.  It isn't the highest BC 185 gr. bullet out there (it might be the lowest) but its reliable accuracy puts it very high on my list.

195 gr. Lapua B406.  This big brother to the D46 is very sadly out of production.  I would make this my standard 1000 yard bullet in a heartbeat if I could get a good supply.  With no load development, this bullet held outstanding elevation and the score (198-5X) would have been several X's better had I not been so wary of the gusts that were blowing; as you can see, the group is distinctly on the right side of the bull.  Both the D46 and the B406 show what a well designed and carefully manufactured FMJ can do; frankly, I think they're the equal of any hollow point with similar profiles.  Both of these bullets have a rebated boat-tail which some people believe aids accuracy or BC; Bryan Litz dispels that theory in his book and I place a great deal of confidence in Bryan's work.  So there's no magic boat-tail here, just a darn good pair of bullets, one overlooked and one discontinued.

200 gr. Sierra Match King.  Sometimes you have to work awfully hard just to get a mediocre score (196-4X) and that was the case with the Sierra 200.  The two 8's were not on-call, they just went there on their own, probably caused by base irregularities.  In general, this bullet just didn't seem to want to go to the middle.  I worked the windage knob carefully to keep the group centered in shifting wind but there was no way to tame the elevation spread.  I don't think it was a matter of load tuning either, it's just one of those bullets that doesn't want to shoot.  It would have been fine on the old 5V target with its very generous scoring rings, but on the modern decimal target - forget about it....

200 gr. Western International.  Better than the Sierra is probably the best thing I can say about the Western (199-5X).  It's a good looking bullet, long boat-tail, sharp break between shank and boat-tail, nice point, good, clean fold-over at the base - it just didn't shoot great.  The Western was more consistent than the Sierra and didn't have any wild shots, but it also suffered from excessive elevation dispersion and shots slightly off call.  I've shot quite a large number of the 197 gr. Western hollow point that replaced this bullet and the HP is definitely more accurate.  Like the Sierra, the Western 200 belongs in the day of the 5V target.

Sometimes change is driven by genuine process improvements, other times it's simply following the fad of the day.  In 1959 when the Sierra 180 Match King was a very popular mid-range match bullet, the 168 International was a definite improvement in all respects and Sierra's move to hollow point match bullets was well justified.  All of the current Sierra Match King bullets are very accurate and don't suffer from any of the erratic behavior of their FMJ predecessors.  Similarly, Western made a good change in going to the hollow point design, especially since the focus of the ammunition in which those bullets were loaded was 300 meter ISU shooting.  On the other hand, Lapua has always made absolutely fantastic FMJ match bullets and it is truly a shame to see the D46 languish on dealers' shelves and to discover that the relatively new B406 has been discontinued.  Unfortunately, too many match shooters think that no FMJ bullet can shoot well and therefore won't buy them based on that misconception.  In reality, the FMJ is just as dependent on careful manufacturing as is the hollow point: without it, neither design is capable of match-winning accuracy, but when made right, either can, has and will win matches.

Hap's Corner: What Was Good For the Canucks Was Good For Us…

by: Hap Rocketto

Twenty days before Christmas of 1956 the rifleman who had survived the qualifying round carefully arranged their shooting gear on the firing line at the Colonel Sir Charles Merrett Range in Williamstown, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. This was first smallbore prone match in the first Olympics held in the southern hemisphere. United States team member Art Jackson (photo right), the 1952 bronze medalist in prone, would not fare as well in this Olympics as ones past but it would do nothing to tarnish his sterling reputation as one of the premier riflemen of the era.

It has been my delight to have been Art’s acolyte since the early 1970s. He has generously shared with me his extensive shooting experiences and memories of a transitional age in international shooting, as well as the occasional rifle. One of the tales he delights in telling is an incident he watched unfold at the 1956 Melbourne Games involving two of Canada’s greatest riflemen, Gerry Ouellette (photo below) and Gil Boa.

The pair was shooting the prone match as well as the three position match and Ouellette was also firing the 300 meters. Both had qualified for the final but a relatively poor performance in the preliminary had Ouellette concerned about the capability of his rifle. Boa offered to share his Winchester 52 with Ouellette in the finals, a generous offer, quickly accepted. The only hitch was that there was only one relay-the reason for the preliminary in the first place. This meant that the duo would not only share one rifle and its dwindling supply of match ammunition but also the time, just two and a half hours. Because the targets were to be changed after each shot, if there were any delay in pit service the second shooter could easily find himself in a severe time bind.

Boa shot first, scoring a 598 and, after a five way tie breaker, the bronze medal-but I am getting ahead of the tale. He then passed the rifle to Ouellette who shot a perfect 600 in what time remained, seemingly beating Art Cook’s 1948 Olympic record of 599 and winning the gold medal. Ouellette would, indeed, be the Olympic champion but not the record holder for it was discovered that the range was 1½ meters short of the regulation length during the post match verification.

Art reminded me of this story when I picked up his Winchester 52 Pre-A Speedlock that he wanted me to shoot in the Made In America Match at Camp Perry. He had cajoled me into shooting the match with this classic old rifle. I did not realize that he was handing me a shooting artifact of some historical significance. He never mentioned it and I didn’t discover until I was preparing the rifle for practice that a small oval silver plate was set into the stock stating, “50 & 100 Mtr. Prone World’s Championship 1949 & 1952-Pan American games I951 & 1955 A. Jackson.” The Winchester had been used to win a handful of international gold medals and set a few records in the World Championships and Pan American Games while I was yet in second grade. I hoped not to embarrass it or its owner. I was concerned because Art is tall and lean and I am short and fat and so the rifle did not quite fit.

As it turns out I did well enough with it in the MIA, finishing second and having the only clean score at 100 yards. It also won the most unique rifle award. The MIA had run long and I rushed up the line to get to my team firing point. I left Art’s rifle in its case at the foot of my point where I could keep an eye on it. Unknown to me it was soon to be Melbourne 1956 déjà vu.

Early in the first stage of the team match I sensed a disturbance in the force. Team mate Shawn Carpenter was mumbling to himself as he got out of position and started wiggling various pieces and parts of his rifle. I quickly asked what was up and he said he had mysteriously run out of left windage. After checking the rifle as best he could he told me there seemed to be nothing he could do to correct the situation. As I bent to my task I recalled Art’s tale. It took just ten minutes from the command “Commence Fire” to my last record shot. I was sliding behind my scope to spot for him while my even as my last cartridge case was still cart wheeling through the air. I had unhooked my sling, rolled over, and passed my rifle to Shawn in the meantime. Even though we are about the same height my rifle is not fitted for him but he soldiered on and managed to complete his 20 record shots before the time limit expired. We shot almost identical scores.

As we went out to change targets Shawn stayed behind and found that he had installed his ‘bloop tube’ cockeyed. That solved the problem, sort of. With all of the sight corrections he was not sure he was back to his no wind zero and the sights still had to be run up for the 100 yard stage. I was prepared to execute another rifle switch if things again went awry. As it turned out he was on paper on the first shot. We won the iron sight team match in the Expert class for the seventh consecutive time, each shooting a 383. However, I had a two X lead on him-shades of Gerry Ouellette and Gil Boa.

It was a bit eerie. We had sort of duplicated the Canadian’s 1956 feat, albeit with two Xs instead of points. Ouellette, who had the higher score of the pair, was an avid aviator, as am I. At my feet, as a mute observer to what its owner had witnessed a half a world away and a half a century before, was Art’s Winchester 52. To round it out we were shooting north on the south shore of Lake Erie, facing Canada, Ouellette and Boa’s home.

History: Vintage Films from Bisley

Vintage Films from Bisley
by: Germán A. Salazar

Now and then while doing some research online, I run across a real gem.  This collection of films from Bisley are one such item.  There's not much I can say that will add to the experience of watching them, so I simply encourage you to click the link below, select a film from the list and begin watching.  These are relatively short, being from newsreels of the time, but are very enjoyable.  Some of the earliest are silent, while the later ones have sound.  The linked page displays the first 20 of 42 films, so be sure to turn to the next page as well.

History: Notes of Interest to Sea Girt Shooters

The following two articles are taken from Volume III, No. 1 (July, 1906) of the Journal of the United States Infantry Association.  The first is by Dr. Hudson, a well known shooter and author of the era and appeared in the Journal as a reprint from Shooting and Fishing (which eventually became The American Rifleman).  The second is an uncredited item also from Shooting and Fishing which discusses the performance of the new Springfield at the Army Division Competitions. - GAS - 

By W. G. HUDSON, M. D., In "Shooting And Fishing."

Probably no one subject is of such great interest to the rifleman nowadays, unless it be his prospects of winning the national match, as the question of how to preserve his barrel so as that it will shoot well as long as possible, and indeed the two subjects may have a close connection. Visitors to Sea Girt from dry, interior sections of the country are liable to learn by sad experience the rusting qualities of salt air, and the corrosive qualities of smokeless powder residues when combined with salt air.

As a simple rust preventive, and also for use inside the barrel after it has been thoroughly cleaned, any oil with a good heavy body suffices. Cosmoline is largely used by the Government in packing rifles for shipment to distant points. But for the use of the shooter, ordinary gas engine cylinder oil, such as that used in automobiles, seems to meet all requirements and is easier to remove than the cosmoline. A good wiping with a greasy rag, used thoroughly after each day's shooting, will generally preserve a gun throughout a meeting, although rust sometimes forms in a few hours at Sea Girt.

To clean out the smokeless powder residue thoroughly at one operation has seemed to be next to impossible, and I have been making a number of experiments during the past year with a view to finding a way of cleaning a rifle so that it could be laid away for a week or a month, with some prospect of finding it free from corrosion at the end of that time. Heretofore the only way has been to clean it repeatedly on several successive days, with some good nitro cleaner.

I have lately found that if the barrel be first scrubbed out with an alkali (preferably ammonia) and then with the nitro solvent, then the ammonia and then the nitro solvent again, alternately several times until a rag pushed through comes out clean, the gun can be laid away with much better prospects. The ammonia should be used on a bristle brush and the nitro cleaner on a brass wire brush, as the ammonia attacks brass. A good nitro cleaner can be made by dissolving one ounce of cylinder oil in two ounces of amyl acetate, and then adding two ounces of acetone, a little at a time, with thorough shaking. Or, if the shooter prefers to buy cleaning solution ready made, Hoppe's Nitro Solvent No. 9 is about the best on the market. The ammonia should be used with either one. Perhaps we will some day find a way to incorporate the alkali with the nitro cleaner, so as to meet all the requirements with one solution.

A difficulty which seems to afflict the British riflemen to an annoying degree is the deposit within the bore of cupro-nickel fouling. The cupro-nickel is, of course, derived from the bullet jacket, and the process is analogous to the leading which gave so much trouble in the old black powder days. But, according to British authorities, it is even worse, for the cupro-nickel seems to actually form an alloy with the barrel steel, making it much more difficult to remove than lead.

The thought has suggested itself: may not some of those mysterious troubles which occasionally seem to afflict our Krags be due to cupro-nickel fouling? It is true that our powder, which American riflemen believe to be far better than cordite with its fifty-eight per cent, of nitro-glycerine, is less likely to cause this trouble. It is more than probable that the hot burning qualities of the cordite are, largely responsible for it. But in our new . 30 calibre Springfield such a greatly increased charge is used, that it would not be surprising if we soon encountered the difficulty ourselves, if indeed we have not already done so occasionally in the Krags without knowing it.

To settle this question, I have made up for the editor of Shooting And Fishing a quantity of the solution which British riflemen have found efficacious, and he will be pleased to use it on any rifle which is brought to the Shooting And Fishing headquarters at Sea Girt. The solution not only dissolves the cupro-nickel fouling without attacking the steel, but if any such fouling is present the solution acquires a blue color, due to the copper salts formed, thus acting as a test as well as a cure. Strong ammonia will do the work in time, but the solution we will use, because it is quicker and more effective, is that devised by the British riflemen, to whom credit for the invention is hereby given.

But no matter how we may nurse it, a good barrel wears out all too quickly. We hate to believe that our pet barrel, selected with such care from so large a number, is wearing out—we blame the ammunition, we blame ourselves— but a few shots fired from some brother rifleman's gun soon convinces us that both we and the ammunition are right, and it must therefore be the gun. We are, in fact, up against a more acute development of the same situation to which I called attention in Shooting And Fishing of Aug. 24, 1905.

New Barrels For The Krag Rifle

It is safe to say that every observant rifleman has become aware of two serious difficulties which confront the military shooter of to-day: (a) The obtaining of a good shooting barrel on his Krag, and (b) the rapid wearing out of the barrel after it is obtained, especially if much skirmish or rapid fire shooting is practised.

The modern rifleman has acquired a knowledge of how to select a gun which promises good work; therefore, the rifles to-day in the hands of the team men and good shots of a military organization, are those selected as the best of the entire allotment of guns to such organization, and this partly explains the remarkable scores which have been so common of late years. Experience shows that only about one out of twenty barrels of service issue conforms sufficiently close to the standard to do the fine work required to win matches nowadays; not to say that the remaining nineteen are unserviceable from a military standpoint, but they will not do the fine work, especially at the long ranges, necessary to win against rifles selected by experts.

This leads to two questions: (i) What are we going to do when these barrels of correct measurement are worn out? and (2) should not some means be placed at the command of even an inferior shot, to whom one of the poorer barrels may have been issued, to obtain a barrel of sufficient accuracy to keep up his interest in the sport? Such a man may eventually become a good shot; but he will never do so, and will speedily lose all interest, if his rifle is incapable of fine work when properly pointed. A rifle must be accurate to make shooting a pleasure.

The remedy for this state of affairs is to admit barrels of private make, when guaranteed by an officially appointed viewer to be in all respects like the standard Government barrel, to all matches on the same footing as the Government made weapon.

This is done in England with satisfaction to all, and it is believed that the same plan would work advantageously in this country also. But the chief reason for urging it at this time is to remove the objection which so many riflemen have to doing much skirmish and rapid fire practice, through fear of wearing out their barrels; one dislikes to wear out a good barrel when there is small prospect of replacing it. I believe that most riflemen have found their barrels worn out for fine work after less than 1,000 rounds have been fired, if much of the firing has been skirmish and rapid fire work, and sometimes a barrel will go bad after a few hundred shots.

To remedy this state of affairs, I propose to offer the following resolution at the coming meeting of the National Rifle Association:

1. That the executive committee of the National Rifle Association confer with the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, with a view to so modifying the conditions of the national matches that barrels of private manufacture may be admitted thereto on the same footing as Government made rifles throughout, providing (a) that such barrels conform in outside and inside measurements, weight, character of rifling, pitch of rifling, number of grooves, and in all other respects, to the standard adopted by the Government; and (b) that such barrels bear the inspection mark of an official appointed in such a manner as said board may deem most expedient, to be known as, "View Mark A," or "Government Viewer's Mark," as a guarantee of inspection and conformance to the above requirements.

2. That the present view mark of the National Rifle Association be designated as "View Mark B," and applied as at present to rifles coming under the designation any military; and also to special barrels which may have been fitted to Government made actions, whose outside dimensions and chambering are the same as the Government barrel and which are capable of using the standard ammunition, but whose rifling may be modified with a view to demonstrating in the annual competition whether the standard form of rifling can be improved upon."

It will be remembered that this resolution was duly presented at last year's meeting of the National Rifle Association, and carried unanimously. As many shooters have asked me what became of it after that, I made inquiry of Secretary Jones as to what was its ultimate fate. He states that the matter was duly brought to the attention of the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, and as duly laid on the table by that body. But the situation is rapidly becoming more and more acute, and if we want to carry our point we must keep up the pressure. I therefore suggest that while at Sea Girt we unite in signing a petition to the National Board, requesting that the matter be taken from the table, and asking for some action that will give us relief. I have made inquiries as to whether private makers would be willing to supply such barrels, and find that there would be no difficulty on that score. They would be willing to furnish them for $4 or $5 each; surely a small outlay if the measurements are guaranteed correct.

From "Shooting And Fishing"

From a correspondent in the service, who is a recognized expert on military rifle practice, we have received the following interesting comments on the recent Army division competitions:

"The scores in competitions all through the army this year have been low. The highest scores are as follows: Atlantic Division, 789 points; Pacific Division, 754; Southwestern Division, 752; Northern Division, 802.

The conditions called for two scores of ten shots at 200, 300, 500, and 600 yards; two scores of ten shots rapid fire at 200 and 300 yards; and two skirmish runs of forty shots each—same time limit as the regular skirmish run; five shots must be fired at every halt, loading from a full clip only.

Last year 1st Sergt. George Sayer won the army competitions with 892 points. The winning scores in the division competitions averaged around 850 points.

The low scores this year can be laid to two things. First is the forty-round skirmish run. Without about a year's training with dummy cartridges it is impossible to fire forty shots with care in a skirmish run. This forty-round run is new, and the men had no training in it. Those who did best seemed to have fired only between thirty and thirty-five shots. Second is the fact that almost all rifles used by competitors were ruined before the competitions took place.

The New Springfield rifle shoots very nicely and accurately as long as the firing is confined to slow fire. The moment rapid fire and skirmish is taken up the bore begins to fill up with large lumps of cupro-nickel, deposited first on the lands and then in the grooves. Gradually as this occurs the accuracy of the piece becomes poorer and poorer. There is no way that I know of to remove it. It seems to be welded tight. The competitors' guns in the Atlantic Division competition were all filled with this fouling. Many of them failed to keep on the target at 500 yards. Added to this, just before the competition the competitors were allowed a few days' practice on the range. They spent almost all the time in practising the forty-round skirmish run, burning their guns up in awful shape. With the present ammunition I believe that one forty-round skirmish run will ruin a new rifle for target work.

The trouble is not with the rifles. They are fine. The remedy lies in one of several things—a different shaped bullet, a different combination of jacket material, or a combination of longer barrel and smaller powder charge.

Desert Sharpshooters Practice Day

Desert Sharpshooters Practice Day
by: Germán A. Salazar

The Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club is one of three Highpower clubs in Phoenix.  While we don't have a facility of our own, in a sense we do, as the Ben Avery Shooting Facility is our home and we host all of the Highpower and Smallbore matches held there.  Apart from competition, when there is a weekend without a match (a rare event in Phoenix), we get together to shoot a bit, test loads, work on the basics with the newer shooters and generally have a fun morning.  I think that one of the main reasons our club is successful is that we're genuinely good friends and we take an interest in each other's needs and accomplishments.  Usually we have our practice days on one of the 100 yard ranges at Ben Avery, this was one such weekend and here are a few photos from that.

Norm was out shooting his new .243 based wildcat.  It's like a few others, with a sharper shoulder and longer neck but all to his own specs.  Norm is a great gunsmith and tinkerer and apart from chambering the barrel he made his dies and assorted tooling for the job.  No club works well without someone like Norm who gets called upon to solve the crisis of the day more often than not and who carries in his head 60 plus years of shooting wisdom.

John is a pretty dedicated Eliseo Tubegun shooter and just got a new one from the classifieds on http://www.accurateshooter.com/ .  His existing one is a .308, this one is a 6 BRX and he was out getting acquainted with it.  John commented that it was nice to be able to apply all of the settings and measurements from his .308 to this stock and have it feel exactly the same.  John and Norm have a little project ahead of them with this one as it will need to have the front sight tenon cut back a bit to properly fit John's Riles sight, but these two are pretty handy around the lathe so that won't be too much effort.  I gave the X-Treme trigger a little adjustment to set it up to John's preferences and he's just about ready to go with it.
John's son Max is getting ready to begin his senior year in college and is on summer break so he came out to shoot a bit too.  Shooting a 6BR Savage from the bench is a guaranteed way to put a smile on anyone's face, those things can shoot!

I was doing some shooting for an article on the old full metal jacket match bullets in the .30-06.  I enjoy days like this as much as anyone, it's a fun day with friends, working on projects, etc.  There's always plenty to do.
Oliver is such a great shooter and a great friend to all.  He juggles more things in his life than anyone I know, several jobs, volunteer work, family life and shooting and he's always smiling and happy.  Pretty soon his name is going to be right at the top of our match results, I've never seen anyone make such quick progress.
Robert is one of our newer members and he's already getting the hang of it.  Like most new shooters he's using an AR15 service rifle and getting some coaching from other club members.  With his background in competitive sports, Robert will be learning fast!
Norm, John and Max tearing into a defenseless rifle!  There's plenty of precedent for this as some of you may recall.  When these guys get together, no mechanical device is safe!
Michael is a new F-Class shooter and really coming along with his F-TR rifle.  He's working hard, coming out to the practices and enjoying every bit of it.
Keith is another F-Class shooter on the way up.  He shoots a Savage which is definitely the dominant rifle in our F-TR category.  Keith's been shooting in matches for a while now and is always there to do what needs to be done.
I decided to work on the trigger of one of my rifles; not just screw turning, but total disassembly.  Not always a good idea at the range.
Predictably, we were soon looking for the lost check ball that flew off the bench!  Yes, we found it in the shooting bag among the sweatshirts and coats!  Lucky...
Gary Eliseo lives and works in California, but Phoenix is Tubegun City!  We really like Eliseo Tubeguns here, they flat out work and in our tough environment, where sand and rocks constitute the shooting surface at most ranges, they take the abuse without any problem.  Here we see a typical rack of tubeguns, with .30-06, .308 and 6BRX all represented.  Doan Trevor's grips, Scott Riles front sights and X-Treme triggers are mighty popular too.
Well, it's time to say goodbye and go back to another week of work, counting the hours until we meet again on the range.  Good friends are hard to come by and I really value and enjoy every moment spent in their company.

Safety: A Negligent Shooter Gets Lucky

A Negligent Shooter Gets Lucky
by Germán A. Salazar

Here we have a story so filled with negligent acts that I can only marvel that the shooter survived the experience.  The photo and narrative were provided by the gunsmith who took in the repair job, my comments are in red.  It's worth reading, we can't get enough safety warnings in our hobby.  - GAS -

This is a sectioned barrel showing an 80gr Sierra that was fired in a .223 bolt action with a cleaning rod in the bore; the rod is also still in the bore.

1.  The shooter had a stuck case in his .223 chamber.  The stuck case was actually a loaded round that didn't fire. It wouldn't extract because it was a .222 case that got mixed in with his .223 brass. Not a case of using the wrong ammo, I saw the loaded round with an 80 gr bullet in it and a light primer strike.   Negligent act #1: Wrong brass mixed in with the brass being reloaded.

The shooter removed the stuck case with a 3 piece aluminum rod.  Negligent act #2: Hammering out a loaded round with a cleaning rod.  People have been killed doing this as the round can fire and drive the cleaning rod right into you.  I remember one such incident about 5 years ago, the shooter was pounding out a stuck round, the cleaning rod went right through him, he didn't survive.

 He didn't notice only 2 segments came out when he removed it.  Negligent act #3: if you put anything at all down the barrel of a rifle you'd better make darn sure you got it all out before doing anything else!

He then chambered another round and fired it.  Negligent act #4: if you've had a barrel obstruction of any kind, and if you've put something in the barrel, look through the barrel before proceeding!  Within the past two years I know of an incident in which a benchrest shooter was killed in exactly this manner.  The pressure built up and the rifle bolt came out of the receiver and into his chest.

The shooter is 'OK', but did not escape unscathed. He said there was a huge explosion and after regaining his senses found he was bleeding heavily from his forehead. The blood was thick enough that it ran in his eyes and he couldn't see. In his words "I thought I was going to die".

He was shooting on private property, and was alone when this happened  Negligent act #5: Don't shoot alone!  Accidents happen, this is just one more example.  If we could predict accidents, we wouldn't have them.  Always shoot with at least one other person.

He managed to get the bleeding stopped, or at least under control, packed his car and drove himself home without seeking immediate medical attention.  Negligent at #6: This one could have cost him his life after being lucky enough to survive the incident.  There's no way to know what's happened just after an incident like this.  He should have been at a hospital getting checked for shrapnel in the head.

He has what looks like a pretty deep cut about an inch long on the side of his head, right in line with his right eye starting where the eye socket turns out to the side of the skull. And no telling what he's got in the way of brass particles embedded in his forehead. It's been a week and half and he seems to be healed up pretty well. I don't know what the long term effects of brass and copper in the bloodstream are.

The rod and slug could not be driven out, and as the barrel had a fairly high round count it was decided there was no point in seeing if it was salvageable. The aluminum rod is expanded to a tight fit in the bore for the first couple inches. The base of the bullet is a little over 2 inches from the mouth of the chamber.

Negligence and an absolute indifference to the well established rules of safe reloading and gun handling from start to finish capped off with a foolish avoidance of medical treatment.  This shooter is lucky to be alive but he's used up all the luck he had.  Don't assume you'll be as lucky.

Equipment: Throat Maintenance Reamer

Once again we have a very thought-provoking article from Mario Favaron, our friend in Italy.  We present the article in alternating paragraphs of the original Italian language version and my translation to English.  In this article, Mario describes his approach to keeping the throat fresh through the regular use of a throating reamer.  He also shows us the tool designed by J.C. Braconi for this purpose.  I would have liked to see more detail on the tool itself, but I think there's enough information here for some of our more mechanically astute readers to figure it out and make one if so inclined.  - GAS -

Il Throat 
by: Mario Favaron

Cari Amici lettori, questa volta vorrei parlarvi in modo più particolareggiato dell'importanza del throat . Le foto che vi presentiamo sono in formato ridotto per migliorare l'impaginazione, ma cliccando su di esse si possono vedere in formato originale e scrutarne cosi tutti i particolari.

*In this article, I would like to discuss in more detail the importance of the throat. You can enlarge any of the photos shown here by clicking on them in order to see the necessary details.

Ora volevo trattare un aspetto ai più sconosciuto, ovvero il consumo del throat, l'importanza del suo ripristino e i mezzi per poterlo fare. E ' cosa certa che il throat essendo la porzione di canna che intaglia la palla e che riceve la vampa derivata dalla combustione della polvere, è soggetto ad una usura che ne compromette piuttosto velocemente la funzione primaria. Tale funzione è quella di garantire un perfetto allineamento con la palla, infatti proviamo ad immaginare una canna con 4 - 6 righe che presentino un consumo anomalo in almeno una delle righe: ciò impedirà alla palla di appoggiarsi in modo uniforme e riceverà cosi una spinta anomala al momento di inserirsi nelle rigature.

*I would like to address an issue that is little understood by many shooters: erosion of the throat, the importance of its restoration and the means to do so. The throat, being the part of the barrel that engraves the bullet and receives the heat derived from combustion of the powder, is subject to rapid wear that compromises its primary function. That function is to ensure perfect alignment of the bullet and barrel.  Imagine the four to six grooves in a barrel, with one or more showing abnormal wear which prevents the bullet from bearing in a uniform manner.   As a result, the bullet may be slightly off-center as it enters the rifling under the pressure of the burning charge.

Tale fenomeno si può osservare anche in canne nuove ma che non sono camerate perfettamente in asse, è questo uno dei motivi che compromettono da subito la precisione di un'arma. Si può visualizzare se il throat è uniforme in tutte le righe posizionando il borescope al suo livello iniziale e girandolo a 360°. Gli intagli dovrebbero presentarsi tutti con la medesima lunghezza e profondità. Un sistema empirico per visualizzare il throat è quello di inserire una palla in un bossolo e cercare il Free Bore 0 (zero), affumicando la palla (oppure rendendola opaca con della carta vetrata fine) si vedrà il segno sulla palla, girando a 360° la cartuccia, si visualizzeranno tutti i segni impressi dal throat di ogni singola riga. (foto a destra) Il throat, riceve un consumo e un compattamento del metallo che lo fanno avanzare anche di 2/10 di mm. specie nei primi 100-200 colpi, pertanto almeno agli inizi il free-boring andrebbe controllato con una certa frequenza (50-60 colpi). In canne soggette ad intensa attività agonistica, si può intervenire ritoccando il throat ogni 300-400 colpi. L'importanza di ripristinare correttamente il throat è dunque legata alla maggior precisione che se ne ricava.

*This phenomenon can be observed even in a new barrel with an imperfectly cut chamber and is one factor that will immediately affect the accuracy of a rifle. You can determine if your throat is uniform in all grooves by looking through a borescope and turning it 360 degrees. The origin of the grooves should all be the same length and depth. An empirical system to check the throat is to load a bullet in a case and set the seating depth to jam it into the lands.  Smoke or mark the bullet with a marker  (or dull it with sand paper) you will see the rifling marks on the bullet; as you look over the 360° of the bullet, you will see all the signs left by the origin of every land (pictured above - caption says: marks on the bullet from the throat with a freebore of 0). The metal in the throat typically moves forward about 2/10 mm in the first 100-200 shots due to heat-induced erosion. Accordingly, the seating depth should be checked frequently (every 50 to 60 shots) during the early part of a barrel's life. A barrel used for intense competitive activity, can be maintained at peak performance by touching up the throat every 300 to 400 shots. The importance of properly restoring the throat is based on the greater precision that a fresh throat yields.

Di seguito vedremo l'atrezzatura necessaria e il modo di intervenire sulla canna, è un'operazione semplice ma che richiede pazienza, mano ferma e un poco di manualità. Come mia consuetudine, lascio spazio più alle immagini che alle parole. Fondamentale è l'alesatore (throater foto a sinistra) che nella sua porzione iniziale ha un angolo di taglio che darà vita al nostro throat, tale angolo è fornito a richiesta del comittente in quanto può variare in funzione del raggio di ogiva (S) e delle palle che si impiegheranno, nel mio caso usando io palle - 8 S - ho optato per un angolo di 1,30 gradi.

*Here we see the tool needed and how it is used on the barrel.  It is simple but requires patience, a steady hand and a little dexterity. As is my usual practice, I prefer to let the pictures, rather than the words, provide the bulk of the explanation. Basically, the front of the throating reamer (throater) has a cutting angle that will restore life to the throat.  This angle is selected based on user requirements because it can vary depending on the ogive of the bullets to be used.  In my case I use bullets with an 8 caliber ogive, so I opted for an angle of 1.50 degrees (1 degree, 30 minutes).

Throater seen on an optical comparator.  Note the 1.50° angle at the intersection of the crosshair lines.
Servono poi i bushing per guidare l'alesatore in canna, ne necessitano diversi per calibro in quanto il diametro tra i pieni di una canna è variabile sebbene nominalmente dello stesso calibro. Nella foto seguente si potrà vedere la serie pressochè completa per il 6 mm. con un atrezzo autocostruito che serve per tovare quello che passa con minor tolleranza all'interno della nostra canna la numerazione và da .2360 a .2376 inc. con uno scostamento tra uno e l'altro di 2/1.00.000 di pollice equivalenti a 5 micron.

*You'll need an assortment of bushings to properly guide the reamer in the barrel.  Although nominally of the same caliber, you'll find that different barrels vary somewhat in their internal dimensions. In this photo you can see a nearly complete set of 6 mm bushings and a test rod which I use to see which bushing has the best fit in a given barrel.  Bushing sizes vary from .2360" to .2376" in steps of 0.0002" or about 5 microns.  Photo below shows the test rod with a bushing in place.
Si monterà poi il bushing all'alesatore.

After determining the proper bushing size with the test rod, you then install the bushing on the reamer.

Uno dei problemi più spinosi è calcolare di quanto si avanza con l'alesatore, siccome le quote in gioco sono dell'ordine dei centesimi di mm. si capisce che uno sbaglio anche minimo può compromettere il nostro lavoro. Fino agli inizi degli anni '90 si utilizzavano delle rondelle fissate all'alesatore e interponendo tra queste uno spessimetro si calcolava di quanto esso doveva scendere. Il metodo funzionava ma era legato agli spessori disponibili di uno spessimetro, bisognava trovare qualche cosa di più performante!!!!

*One of the trickiest problems is calculating how far the reamer advances, because the amounts involved are of the order of hundredths of a mm (0.01mm is roughly equal to 0.0004"). We are always conscious of the fact that a mistake, even a minor one, could seriously compromise our work. Until the early 1990's, we used specially made spacers on the reamer and by inserting a feeler gauge between them, we calculated how far the reamer could advance. That method worked, but it was limited by the thicknesses of the available feeler gauges; we had to find a better method!

E' in questo frangente che la mente di J.C.Braconi http://www.eurobenchrestnews.com/ escogita un sistema basato su di un micrometro che calcola di quanto sporge il throater dalla rondella superiore, ciò ci permette un avanzamento molto più preciso. Non contento, ripensa il tutto e arriva ad una soluzione a dir poco geniale !! Un avanzamento micrometrico che ci permetta un contatto il più preciso possibile con la canna praticamente esente da errori, in questo contesto nasce il pezzo che vi illustro di seguito, pensato da J.C.BRACONI e nell'esemplare in foto eseguito al tornio da GianAntonio QUAGLINO.

*That was when the mind of J.C. Braconi of http://www.eurobenchrestnews.com/ devised a system based on a micrometer that calculates how far the throater protrudes from the spacer; this allows us to determine the reamer's travel much more accurately. Still not satisfied, J.C. thought everything through and came to a final solution and that is nothing short of brilliant! A micro feed that allows us to contact the rifling as accurately as possible and virtually error free.  That is how the piece shown below was designed by J.C. Braconi and made by Gianantonio Quaglino on his lathe.

Original system using special washers on the throater which we used until the end of the 1980's.

J.C. Braconi's first micrometer based system.  This has been superceded by the system below.
The current system developed by J.C. Braconi. 
1.  Base piece with 1mm thread pitch is screwed to the body of item #2.  Front of base has an angle that matches the barrel's breech cone angle.
2.  Throater holder body.
3.  Throater.
4. Barrel.

L'articolo in questione è stato pensato dopo una mia disavventura, infatti all'improvviso una mia carabina ha iniziato a disperdere i colpi sul besaglio. Non trovando spiegazioni plausibili sulla ricarica, ho controllato al bore-scope la canna, con orrore ho visualizzato una "incisura" in corrispondenza del LEAD a livello di un vuoto (grooves), insomma probabilmente un corpo estraneo metallico si era introdotto in camera e al primo colpo aveva causato il danno. (foto in basso a destra) E' stata l'occasione per rimediare al misfatto e nel contempo rifare il throat dopo che vi avevo sparato circa 300 colpi.

*This tool was designed after my rifle has a suddenly begun to randomly throw shots out of the group. Finding no plausible explanations having to do with my loads, I checked the barrel with a borescope.  I was shocked to find a "notch" at the origin of the grooves.  In fact probably a metallic foreign body was introduced into the chamber and the first shot had caused the damage. (photo below) This was an opportunity to fix that problem by recutting the throat after having fired around 300 shots.

Le foto all'interno della canna, sono state eseguite tramite bore-scope e fotocamera digitale (Nikon Coolpix 4500) (foto sinestra).

The photos of the interior of the barrel were taken with a digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 4500) set up on the borescope (left photo).

Dopo aver tolto 5/100 di mm. ho controllato al bore-scope il lavoro svolto , siccome non era sufficente ho proseguito di 5/100 in 5 /100 fintanto che ai 2/10 di mm. il segno era sparito dando vita ad un novo LEAD e il throat aveva riacquistato il suo aspetto originale. Questo ci insegna che se un'arma all'improvviso ha dei cali vistosi di prestazioni , non è detto che tutto sia perduto ma si può cercare di porvi rimedio , l'importante è avere la voglia i mezzi e le persone volonterose per poterlo fare.

*After removing 5/100 mm (0.002"), I checked the work in the borescope.  Since it hadn't yet cleaned up the notch, I kept on advancing, 5/100 mm at a time and ending up at 2/10 mm (0.008") total throat advancement.  The notch was gone, and the throat had regained its original appearance. This teaches us that if a rifle suddenly decreases in accuracy, it does not mean that all is lost.  You can try to remedy it, but the important thing is the desire to have the resources and people willing to do so.

After removal of the first 0.002", you can see a reflection of the cutting oil, also note that the land has not yet been cut with the leade angle.

On the finished throat, the leade angle (1.5 degrees) is visible on the land.

Come ultime foto, pubblico questi spaccati di una canna con cameratura al solo titolo informativo.

These final pictures of the interior of the barrel are just for reference.

Rifling marks on the bullet from the new throat.  The barrel is a 4 groove Krieger.  The marks appear to be perfectly even.

The cartridge is rotated a bit to see the other two rifling marks.

Vorrei rivolgere i miei ringraziamenti a : J.C.BRACONI e G.A. QUAGLINO per la loro amicizia e per i loro consigli, all'amico Denis Pellizzari titolare del poligono SPORT-GUN che mi sopporta nei miei sconsiderati esperimenti. Un grazie anche a tutti i lettori.

*I extend my thanks to: J.C. Braconi and G.A. Quaglino for their friendship and for their advice, and to my friend Denis Pellizzari owner of the SPORTS-GUN range who always supports my experiments. Thanks also to all the readers.

All contents Copyright 2012 The Rifleman's Journal