If there was ever any doubt about the market influence California has in the gun industry, it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt this past weekend. After the surprising ruling from Judge Benitiz in Duncan v. Becerra, not only did he reverse almost 2 decades of oppression by the CA state DoJ, but he was able to get the CA state Attorney General to admit that any magazine purchases made after the March 29, 2019 decision were legal! That however is not the point of this post.
The point here is how much influence the CA gun market can have. After the historic ruling was handed down, word spread like wildfire amongst the pro-2A community, not just in California, but across the USA. Soon retaliers across this great nation of ours were posting/announcing/emailing/etc. that there were accepting and shipping orders for 10+ round magazines to Cali. Overnight retailers sold out of inventory (which was in the thousands of units) and were calling their distributors for resupply to the tune of additional thousands of units. I was seeing posts on other websites telling stories of how distributors had sold out of 150k plus inventories overnight! That was one distributor!
Over a single weekend every magazine retailer large and small had seen sales volume like never before. Orders that are typically processed in a day had taken 2 or 3 to get shipped simply due to the sheer volume. While we may never know the exact count of magazines sold to California this past weekend, we can safely assume it is over the one million mark. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we as a single state in a single weekend have generated more business for the magazine industry than the past year combined for the rest of the country (gov’t contracts excluded). Now if we can only get as organized on election days, California could be made great again.
I see it all the time. Some tacticool Joe goes out and spends $1,500 on parts to build his AR15 and then puts a $30 scope on top of it. He then goes out and tries to make “sniper” shots and can’t hit the broadside of the barn. “its got a <fill in the name of some high priced barrel> on it. Why doesn’t it shoot well?” is always the follow up to which some harsh truth gets dropped on this poor soul.
When it comes to getting the best accuracy performance out of your rifle, ammo is the biggest influence over performance. After that comes optics, then trigger, and finally barrel. If we take a step back and think about what perfect accuracy is, it is the ability to send the bullet out the barrel over some distance and hit what we are aiming at dead center all in the matter of seconds. When in the barrel, the bullet doesn’t have much room to move around, but once it leaves the barrel all sorts of physics laws impart their harsh reality on it. If the bullet you are shooting has a low ballistic coefficient, then the bullet will go off course easier. Likewise, if your optic doesn’t provide a clear target image due to cheap glass or poor parallax adjustments, the barrel of your rifle may not be lined up with target even though the cross-hairs say they are. Last, but definitely not least, if your trigger is too stiff then what ends up happening is you apply so much pressure that you pull the barrel off target when the hammer gets released. All of these things can result in fractions of an inch change which translates to feet off target down range.
The bottom line is that the barrel has not as much influence on the overall accuracy of the gun as most people think. Yes having a barrel from a good manufacturer is paramount to accuracy, but to be honest its more about their QC processes than anything else. I have shot both high dollar rifles and budget ones and I have shot well and horribly with both. At the end of the day it’s your money and you get to decide what to do with it, just don’t be surprised if that $300 barrel with a $20 scope pairing doesn’t make dime sized groups.
I recently retweeted a story about a 2A business pulling their booth from the annual NRA conference. They took this action as a sign of protest to the recent stance the NRA took on the bump-stock ban implemented by the US DoJ. At the time I was being bombarded with letters and phone calls from the NRA warning me that my membership was about to expire and the cost was going to be increasing in a couple months. I decided to follow suit and not renew my membership to the NRA.
At the time I too was unhappy with how the NRA was supposedly fighting for my (and your) 2nd Amendment rights. I was befuddled by their seeming continuous stream of lawsuits arguing the exact same legal reasoning time and again, and each time being shot down (anyone know the definition of insanity?). I too wondered how the largest organization of so called “supporters of gun rights” could say they agreed with the unconstitutional banning of a non-firearm item? At that time I decided I couldn’t justify giving them my money.
But a few months later, I can’t help but wonder if refusing to give the NRA my money is the wisest decision in the grand scheme of things. I mean lets face it, there is an all out war in the media over the 2nd Amendment. And the NRA is the largest pro-gun lobby group. The NRA has helped get 2 supreme court nominees confirmed in the past 2 years. They also have very deep pockets to help fund some campaigns. So there is some good the NRA has been doing for the gun rights community.
I feel my decision might have been a little brash back then. Yeah I am still upset over what I perceive to be poor legal arguments and somewhat spineless response to left-wing attacks on our constitutionally guaranteed rights. But they are still a driving force in American politics with a lot of money to spend and there is value to them staying as mainstream as possible. When you take the emotional (OK mostly anger) factor out of it and try to look at the NRA’s existence objectively I find that the NRA still does more good than harm for gun owners and still probably deserves my $35 a year membership due.
We’ve all asked ourselves this question: Do I buy the $100 version of this thing, or the $20 made in China one?
Some guys will tell you to buy the name brand expensive option. In their mind it’s the only way to go. These are the folks who have the money to buy Versache gun bags if there were such a thing.
Then there’s the buy the cheapest one crowd. If it breaks, throw it away and buy a new one. These guys are usually the ones doing mag dumps at the range and measure accuracy in terms of minute-of-man, minute-of-car, and minute-of-barn size groups.
Neither of these groups is typically correct 100% of the time. So when is it right to buy the military grade, withstand a nuke blast version, and when is it correct to buy the made in China special from wally world? The answer lies in what YOU need it for.
There are essentially 5 grade of gear:
1) My life depends on this grade – these are products designed for military and LEO use in the field to fight. I think you get the picture.
2) Hunter grade – the name says it all. You are going to trek miles into the woods for that trophy hunt and your gear is going to take some beating (not as bad as a war zone) and you still need it to work every time
3) Tacticool grade – It looks like the delta team operator’s gear, but it’s not
4) Hobby gun owner grade – It will work but can’t withstand much abuse. Maybe not machined to the tightest of tolerances but will be close to spec
5) Airsoft grade – Don’t put this on real guns
These are my terms, not official industry ones so there is some room for interpretation/disagreement with me but I think most will agree.
So which one fits you? My perfect example of how to answer this question is the bi-pod I run on my rifles. They cost less than $20, and work great. I would never take them into war, but then again I am not a soldier or LEO. If I was, there is no way that bi-pod could withstand the abuse their gear is required to take and paying $100+ for a bi-pod is absolutely required. The point here is that if you are honest with yourself about your needs and expectations, then you can definitely save yourself some money, and still have gear that will meet your needs.
Here are some of the “Hobby Gun Owner” gear I have purchased with my own money and tested:
and here is some of the name brand gear that I decided was worth the extra cost to guarantee performance:
I was talking with a friend the other day and they were telling me how frustrating their recent shooting outing was. We’ve all had the not so successful day at the range where that latest build didn’t work as anticipated or that new load recipe wasn’t as accurate as we hoped. Those failures are productive though. My friend however had a different kind of bad range day (if there is such a thing) that is 100% avoidable every time. His problem is he went out with one agenda that didn’t match his shooting buddies’ or the location. Continue reading “Making the most of your time at the range”
Whether or not you need to anneal your brass when converting 223/5.56 to 300 AAC/Blackout is a question that is very frequently asked. I personally struggled to find the correct answer to this problem at the beginning of my 300 AAC loading journey. If you check any online forum with a reloading topic section you will find those that tell you its an absolute requirement, and those like me that will tell you it’s not. It’s honestly up to you what you want to do, but here are my reasons for thinking it’s a bit overkill.
This is the process I have come up with for prepping brass I bring home from the range. I have tried to find ways to cut steps to save time but this is the best I can come up with.
- run through sizing die (obviously lube first if needed)
- check length
- trim (if needed)
- toss if too short
- clean primer pocket
The cases are now ready to load. Here are some of the consequences of skipping some steps:
Skipping step 2 will gum up your dies causing cases to get stuck and/or not size the case to speck
Skipping step 3 will cause the case to not be measured correctly
Skipping step 4 will at best cause your accuracy to be inconsistent, at worst you get rounds out of spec that can cause serious injury
Skipping step 5 can cause you to not be able to seat the primer all the way into the pocket
Step 6 is probably the only optional step in this list. The reason I say this is because the consequence of not doing this step is mitigated based on the type of bullet and crimp die used.