Monday, June 26, 2017

Rotating Carry and Defense Ammo

The other day my wife caught me replacing ammo in her gun. Actually she didn’t really catch me she’s seen me do it before. She just noticed this time and asked questions. “How often do you replace ammo? Is the replaced ammo still good? What do you look for when inspecting ammo? Is there any other time you would rotate it?”
These were all good questions. I also have some other things I’d like to point out.
Defense guns and ammunition are special items. These tools you must have work when you need them. They should be what you consider the best. Or at least the best that you can afford. One of my home defense guns is a S&W auto compact 9mm. Would I rather have a Sig Saur or a Kimber? Sure. But I like my S&W and I am accurate with it. We have other guns of other calibers hidden through-out the house.
Anyway, I like to switch out my ammo in our carry guns and home defensive weapons every 6 months. This is just a conclusion I came to many years ago from experience. If you Google “rotate your ammo” you’ll find several articles and forum threads on this topic. I also consider what type of gun I’m keeping ammunition in.
The difference between a semi-auto pistol and a revolver is obvious. But not so much how each type of gun treats its ammo. With a revolver, your rounds are dropped smoothly into the chamber. Every surface of the ammunition, save the face of the bullet, is protected, and there is no high-impact insertion into the chamber. Autoloading pistols have a tendency to beat the daylights out of the first couple of rounds in the magazine. When the gun is loaded, the first round is slammed rather violently into the chamber. The second round is subject to the slide’s movement over its case, and if you load and unload frequently, these two probably get cycled in and out of the chamber more than once.
The “revolver or auto” question also pertains to any spare ammunition you carry. With extra mags for a semi-auto, all of the ammunition in the magazine is protected by the magazine body with the exception of the first round. If you carry a revolver, things are a bit different. If you carry spare rounds in a Speed Strip in your back pocket then after a month or two, the rounds on this strip are discolored and usually one or two of the cases is at least a little dented. If you carry speedloaders in belt holders (or magazines in magazine pouches), the ammo will probably not age as quickly, but can still eventually encounter issues from exposure moisture and debris.
The next question you should be asking is, “How do I store the gun?” Is the gun a nightstand pistol that rarely leaves the bedside table? Is it a daily carry gun? Do you load and unload it daily? Your answers here may dictate how often you should rotate your ammunition. If the gun never leaves the bedside, the ammunition could probably last pretty much indefinitely. Because it is not exposed to sweat, humidity, temperature fluctuation, and daily handling, the ammunition should last much longer than ammunition in a carry gun. If you are like me and you check the condition of your firearm every time you put it into the holster, the ammunition in it can become a little worn and should be replaced more frequently.

You should inspect your ammunition occasionally. When I pull the rounds out of my gun, I am looking for some specific indicators that it should be replaced. First, I’m going to look at the bullet itself. Some discoloration from handling is normal, but alterations in the shape of the bullet are not. Did it get slammed into the feed ramp and is now misshapen as a result? This is probably a good indicator that the whole cartridge has suffered some abuse, and the change in shape may impact the bullet’s performance. If the bullet is deformed, replace those rounds.
Next, you should look at the position of the bullet in the case. A condition called “bullet setback” can occur when pressure is repeatedly applied to the bullet – from chambering and rechambering – and forces it backward into the case. This can compress the powder and create dangerously high chamber pressures, and ammunition exhibiting significant bullet setback should not be fired. If the bullet is set back, replace those rounds. Federal, Remington and Winchester all recommend that cartridges should not be chambered more than twice before being discarded. I usually shoot the rounds unless the setback is significant or there is other damage. (I reload so I have a bullet puller. I’ll pull the bullet and re-use the case if it’s not damaged)
Next, you should inspect the case. Non-nickel plated brass cases may be discolored. Some mild discoloration isn’t reason to remove them from duty, but corrosion is.
I then inspect for deformities, especially the kind that would prevent the round from feeding reliably. These include dents or slight bulges in the case or deformities around the case mouth. I find this to be most common with revolver cartridges carried in reloading strips. I carry these in my back pocket, so each time I sit they are liable to impact with whatever I am sitting on. If cases are badly corroded or deformed, get rid of them.
What do I do with the ammunition that comes out of the rotation? I shoot it. There is some value here, other than just an expensive range session. It also gives me confidence in my ammunition.
I admit this does cost a little money. For me, it’s totally worth it for the peace of mind in knowing that my ammunition will go “boom” when it has to.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, June 23, 2017

Don't Be A Sitting Duck!

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana has undergone surgery and will need further operations, after being shot by a man who opened fire with a rifle on an early morning baseball practice for Republican members of Congress in Alexandria, Va. Scalise was the most seriously injured of four victims of the shootings.
The suspect was fatally wounded during a gun battle with law enforcement, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who had been shot.
“He was hunting us, and there was no place to go…
Most of us were at home plate, waiting for batting practice, and everyone hit the deck, flat on the grass, right off the baseline.
But we were sitting ducks…
I’m shocked that I am alive.
I don’t want to make a political statement about guns, but I’m just grateful they were there with the weapons they had…
The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here (security detail traveling with Scalise) had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover…
“He was coming around the fence line and he was looking for all of us who had found cover in different spots. But if we didn’t have return fire right there, he would have come up to each one of us and shot us point-blank.”
Congressman Mike Bishop (R) Michigan
This happened to be a Congressman. This could be anyone. Do you want to be a sitting duck? Do you want to be helpless? Most of you are out there. Do you think any of the members of Congress thought that going to practice softball would be life threatening? Think about what you did today. Was anything you did life threatening? Maybe, if you’re in law enforcement, firefighting, or soldiering. But most of us went to the store, went to work, or a theme park, or the pool, or a myriad of other public places that could have turned into “softball practice.”
People wonder why I carry a gun. The above situation is one of the many reasons I carry. I could always be surprised but mostly I am not a “sitting duck.” But don’t just get a gun and feel safe. One of my mentors Jeff Cooper said:
"You are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol than you are a musician because you own a guitar."
You must get trained. And continue training. To do this you must devote a portion of your time, your fortune (some money), and your mind, to such a serious endeavor. You must practice, and teach, situational awareness for you and your family. You must fortify your mind and your home. You must not be a sitting duck! If you do what these several Congressmen did you will lose! We must not let these few wolves, these few miscreants of society, win. This is your life! This is your community! This is your country! You and I cannot, will not, give in to those who prefer violence over safe liberty. I know that I am condoning violence for violence, but I cannot see any other way of defending myself against violence than with violence. I believe in Ghandi’s words. I believe in Martin Luther King’s words. And most of all I believe in Christ’s and God’s words. But until we can win the hearts and minds of the world we must be able to survive the world.
Get trained. Practice. Carry and defend what is right. And in the end do we not “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor?”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Porter Rockwell Philosophy

I like OP Rockwell. Orrin Porter “Ol’ Port” Rockwell was born June 28, 1813. This is his 204th birthday! He was my kind of guy. He was rough but had a big heart. He could shoot and defended the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Church until his dying day. At one time he was a deputy sheriff, mostly riding shotgun for the Overland Stage. At what became known as the Great Bullion Robbery of `68, a bandit tried for $40,000, and Rockwell brought the man in after tracking him through the desert for a week. That fame helped to set Rockwell up as the territory's first private detective. Frank Karrick, a freighter out of Sacramento, lost stock to rustlers, and Brigham Young's advice was to "Get Rockwell." Later, Herman Reinhart also lost stock, and Young's advice again was to "Get Porter Rockwell." Both Karrick and Reinhart were suspicious. Hadn't that same Rockwell, back in `57, played some terrible part in wiping out a train from Arkansas bound for California? But Rockwell had then been in Wyoming, harassing Johnston's army and so could not have participated in what was becoming known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Rockwell made good his contracts with Karrick and Reinhart with about as much dispatch as he did everything else from when he had ferried wagons over the Big Blue. Both clients paid him readily (with Karrick throwing in the gifts of a silver-trimmed saddle and a keg of whiskey). But the appreciation of those two was as nothing alongside that of the territory at large when Rockwell teamed up with another sheriff and brought in Chauncey Millard, Utah's version of Billy the Kid. Little known in the annals of the West's killers, Millard's final story was that he shuffled off in leg irons to his firing squad while still eating the dollar's worth of candy he had gotten when he sold his body to a Provo physician. Rockwell was one to have witnessed Millard's execution, and increasingly Rockwell's taking part in the lawful business of the state seemed to drain the Samson out of him.
Porter was an avid concealed carrier. One time an Illinois sheriff had gotten the drop on Rockwell, and shaking him down, the lawman found the Mormon carried the fire power to get off 71 pistol rounds before he would have had to fort up and reload. That would have meant he had ten, eleven, or twelve guns on board, plus ramrods, wadding, and shot. For comparison, a Smith and Wesson .357 weighs 46 ounces, unloaded. A Ruger .44 weighs 48 ounces (an even three pounds). For either, a box of 50 cartridges comes in at a pound and a half. Figuring that a modern weapon weighs roughly what one of Rockwell's would have, along with its paraphernalia, he could have been riding along with as much as 38, to 40 pounds of steel slapping against him with his horse's gait. Add to that the weight of the hostlers and belts his outfit would have required. And more—add the weight of a formidable array of knives he had sheathed beside his guns. The sheriff, whoever he was, came away from the arrest with a story that was to last him a long time.
But Rockwell kept scaling down his arsenal until he carried just one .36 caliber Navy Colt, whose barrel he had sawed off to about two inches. The convenience of that was he could drop the gun into his coat pocket and go without a holster. In lightening up that way, he appears to have become like veteran cops, weary of the chaffing from gun belts and sick of the dangerous nuisance of the guns themselves. Maybe it was his age or experience.
Some famous advice purportedly given by Rockwell to Sir Richard F. Burton as he was embarking on an (apparently also now-famous) excursion through the desert: “Carry a double barreled gun loaded with buck-shot, to keep my eyes skinned especially in canyons and ravines, To make at times a dark camp, That is to say un-hitching for supper, and then hitching up and turning a few miles off the road. Ever to be ready for attack when the animals are being in-spanned and out-spanned, and never to trust to appearances in an Indian Country.”
I like his thinking. He believed in fire power and he believed in tactical thinking.
This is why I call this philosophy the OPR Philosophy in honor of Orrin Porter Rockwell. It goes like this:
I’ve heard many balk at this idea or philosophy and I respect that opinion. But it’s been my experience that this philosophy is true.
The philosophy basically is that there are 3 types of people. They are described as Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs. The sheep are most people that you know and see. They are good, productive members of society who would not hurt anyone or anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a sheep. Then there are wolves. Wolves are evil, selfish near-humans intent on taking what they want. They are not interested in who they hurt in this process. They are a large minority and many are locked up. Then there are sheepdogs. Sheepdogs care about the sheep even though sometimes the sheep don’t appreciate them. The sheepdogs want the sheep to be safe and to be rid of the wolves. I’ve read so many writers who don’t believe that sheepdogs exist. They think that those who believe themselves to be sheepdogs are camo wearing wanna-bes. I’m sure some camo wearers do exist. But I know enough people who, when confronted with violence, go toward it. Watch video of 9-11. Most people were running from the towers but a few were running toward them. This was not just because it was their job. There are many stories of people who helped others and went back into the towers and perished. Many people were going up the stairs while the masses came down. I’ve learned for myself that when shots are fired I go towards the sound. Much to the consternation of my wife.
Be prepared in all things. Be prepared in defense. Be like Port. This is what I call the OP Rockwell philosophy. Living among the sheep but doing my best to protect them. This is how I see Porter Rockwell's life.
Semper Paratus
Check 6