August 6th, 2020

Guns and Ammo in Aftermath of Floods — What to Do

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage
NOAA photo of flooding after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The Colt Python Revolver once belonged to Elvis Presley (Rock Island Auction).

This past week, Tropical Storm Isaias has hammered the East Coast of the USA. The BBC reported: “From North Carolina up to New York, Isaias left more than 3.4 million residents without power. It spawned tornadoes, uprooted trees, damaged homes and caused floods and fires.” This article explains what to do if you have experienced flooding.

Firearms owners who have seen their guns and stored ammunition submerged by flood waters in storm-wracked areas are probably wondering if their firearms and ammunition can be salvaged and safely used. To answer these questions, the NSSF and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI®) created two documents outlining the proper response to submersion of guns and ammo. If you’ve got wet guns and/or ammo, download these two PDF files and read them carefully.

SAAMI Guidance 1: What to Do About Firearms That Have Been Submerged in Water

SAAMI Guidance 2: What to Do About Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water

Dealing with Firearms That Were Submerged

The SAAMI document “Guidance on Firearms That Have Been Submerged or Exposed to Extensive Amounts of Water” points out two major concerns about firearms that have been exposed to water: parts susceptible to moisture and rust damage such as metal parts, wood stocks and grips, and optics; and, secondly, infiltration of the action, barrel and safety systems by grit, silt and other foreign debris.

#1 Always unload firearms before beginning any treatment process.

It’s important to limit moisture and corrosion damage to the component parts of the firearm. This can be accomplished by disassembling the component parts and using up to two coats of a moisture-displacing lubricant such as Hoppes #9 MDL or WD-40 to clean and stabilize the parts while, importantly, following the product’s directions so as not to damage, for instance, plastic or synthetic parts. Another tip is to allow wood stocks and grips to air-dry and not be force dried by exposure to heat.

The document emphasizes that once the firearm has been thoroughly dried, consideration must be given to having the firearm inspected and serviced by the manufacturer, an authorized service center, or a qualified gunsmith before putting the firearm back in service.

Dealing with Ammunition That Was Submerged

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage

Bottom Line, if your ammo has been submerged — DON’T USE IT. SAAMI explains why…

To help firearms owners determine what to do with ammunition that has been affected by water and moisture, SAAMI offers another helpful document, “Guidance on Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water.” This document covers differences in moisture resistance between centerfire, rimfire and shotshell ammunition, and potential hazards associated with “drying out” cartridges, including possible deterioration and damage to cartridges due to drying methods.

Another serious hazard that could result from using compromised ammunition is the potential for a bore obstruction due to partial ignition of either the priming compound or the propellant powder charge, or both. Firing a subsequent round through an obstructed barrel can result in bodily injury, death and property damage.

SAAMI provides the following cautionary conclusion: “It would be impossible to ascertain for certain the extent of the deteriorating affect, if any, the water may have had on each individual cartridge. Therefore, the safe answer is that no attempt be made to salvage or use submerged ammunition. The ammunition should be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. Contact your local law enforcement agency for disposal instructions in your area.”

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April 17th, 2020

Know Your Terminology — CUP vs. PSI

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSI
Image by ModernArms, Creative Common License.

by Philip Mahin, Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician
This article first appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog

If you asked a group of shooters to explain the difference between CUP and PSI, the majority would probably not be able to give a precise answer. But, for safety reasons, it’s very important that all hand-loaders understand these important terms and how they express cartridge pressures.

The ANSI / SAAMI group, short for “American National Standard Institute” and “Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute”, have made available some time back the voluntary industry performance standards for pressure and velocity of centerfire rifle sporting ammunition for the use of commercial manufacturers. [These standards for] individual cartridges [include] the velocity on the basis of the nominal mean velocity from each, the maximum average pressure (MAP) for each, and cartridge and chamber drawings with dimensions included. The cartridge drawings can be seen by searching the internet and using the phrase ‘308 SAAMI’ will get you the .308 Winchester in PDF form. What I really wanted to discuss today was the differences between the two accepted methods of obtaining pressure listings. The Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) and the older Copper Units of Pressure (CUP) version can both be found in the PDF pamphlet.

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSICUP Pressure Measurement
The CUP system uses a copper crush cylinder which is compressed by a piston fitted to a piston hole into the chamber of the test barrel. Pressure generated by the burning propellant causes the piston to move and compress the copper cylinder. This will give it a specific measurable size that can be compared to a set standard. At right is a photo of a case that was used in this method and you can see the ring left by the piston hole.

PSI Pressure Measurement
What the book lists as the preferred method is the PSI (pounds per square inch or, more accurately, pound-force per square inch) version using a piezoelectric transducer system with the transducer flush mounted in the chamber of the test barrel. Pressure developed by the burning propellant pushes on the transducer through the case wall causing it to deflect and make a measurable electric charge.

Q: Is there a standardized correlation or mathematical conversion ratio between CUP and PSI values?
Mahin: As far as I can tell (and anyone else can tell me) … there is no [standard conversion ratio or] correlation between them. An example of this is the .223 Remington cartridge that lists a MAP of 52,000 CUP / 55,000 PSI but a .308 Winchester lists a 52,000 CUP / 62,000 PSI and a 30-30 lists a 38,000 CUP / 42,000 PSI. It leaves me scratching my head also but it is what it is. The two different methods will show up in listed powder data[.]

So the question on most of your minds is what does my favorite pet load give for pressure? The truth is the only way to know for sure is to get the specialized equipment and test your own components but this is going to be way out of reach for the average shooter, myself included. The reality is that as long as you are using printed data and working up from a safe start load within it, you should be under the listed MAP and have no reason for concern. Being specific in your components and going to the load data representing the bullet from a specific cartridge will help get you safe accuracy. [With a .308 Winchester] if you are to use the 1% rule and work up [from a starting load] in 0.4 grain increments, you should be able to find an accuracy load that will suit your needs without seeing pressure signs doing it. This is a key to component longevity and is the same thing we advise [via our customer service lines] every day. Till next time, be safe and enjoy your shooting.

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSI

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April 16th, 2020

.22 Creedmoor Load Information from Peterson Cartridge

Peterson Cartridge Company 22 .22 Creedmoor wildcat cartridge load data recipe powder

Peterson Cartridge Company (“Peterson”) has released a lengthy, authoritative guide to the 22 Creedmoor cartridge, a popular wildcat based on the 6.5 Creedmoor or 6mm Creedmoor necked down to .224 caliber. We think the 22 Creedmoor would be a great long-range varmint cartridge, similar to the .22-250 Rem, but with a more moder, efficient cartridge design. In addition, some PRS/NRL competitors may turn to the 22 Creedmoor because it has less recoil and is flatter-shooting than the 6mm Creedmoor. In addition, .224-caliber match bullets are typically less expensive than heavier 6mm and 6.5mm projectiles. Less recoil, and less cost — what’s not to like?*

DOWNLOAD Peterson .22 Creedmoor Load Data Article PDF »

Along with load data, this article has specific sections dedicated to: Primers, Rifling Twist Rates, and Reloading Supplies. If you are considering building a .22 Creedmoor, we recommend you download the full Peterson .22 Creedmoor article, which is available in PDF format.

Peterson Cartridge Company 22 .22 Creedmoor wildcat cartridge load data recipe powder

Peterson states, “Since its inception in 2007… the 6.5 Creedmoor has seen some pretty meteoric growth in popularity. That growth continues as of this writing, as the cartridge has now gone mainstream with hunters and shooters alike. As the popularity of the 6.5 Creedmoor has increased, so has the number of wildcat cartridges based off of it. Some of those popular wildcat cartridges are the 6mm Creedmoor, the .25 Creedmoor, and now the .22 Creedmoor. This data sheet will cover the .22 Creedmoor.

To help our customers, and anyone else who shoots .22 Creedmoor, we decided to create this Data Sheet and distribute it. [In this LOAD DATA Document] you will find four (4) common bullets, and four (4) common rifle powders used when handloading the .22 Creedmoor cartridge. We then took the different bullet and powder combinations and loaded them up to the SAAMI Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor cartridges, which is 62,000 PSI. [O]ur goal was to provide a wide spectrum of bullet weights and the powders used with them.

All of the following data was gathered by our ballistician in our indoor ballistics lab located in our factory in Pennsylvania. Although we were able to gather pressure and velocity data in our lab, we have NOT tested these loads for accuracy. Again, these loads are just designed to give shooters information regarding what velocity, a given bullet and powder charge combination, will produce the SAAMI Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) of 62,000 psi.”

Sample 22 Creedmoor LOAD DATA

Peterson Cartridge Company 22 .22 Creedmoor wildcat cartridge load data recipe powder

IMPORTANT — Pressures can vary significantly with different Cartridge Overall Lengths (COAL). In addition, ANY change to ANY load components — primers, bullets, brass, powder — can affect pressure. Always load conservatively. In addition, because of variances in bore dimensions, some barrels may show higher pressures than others. Again, always start with conservative loads, well below MAX pressures.


*Actually there IS a potential downside — reduced barrel life. We expect that a 22 Creedmoor running hot varmint loads would experience shorter useful barrel life compared to a 6.5 Creedmoor. This is based on what we’ve observed with .22-250 and .22-250 Ackley barrels compared to our 6.5 CM barrels.

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January 9th, 2020

GUN INFO 101 — Headspace Defined and Illustrated

Ultimate Reloader Brownells headspacing go gage gauge barrel gunsmithing
This illustration shows headspace measurement for the popular .308 Winchester cartridge, which headspaces on the shoulder. Image copyright 2015 Ultimate Reloader.

In this Brownells Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains what headspace is and why it’s one of the most critical measurements for nearly all firearms. Even if you’re an experienced rifle shooter, it’s worth watching this video to refresh your understanding of headspace measurements, and the correct use of “GO” and “NO-GO” gauges.

Headspace Definition
In firearms, headspace is the distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Used as a verb, headspace refers to the interference created between this part of the chamber and the feature of the cartridge that achieves the correct positioning. Different cartridges have their datum lines in different positions in relation to the cartridge. For example, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition headspaces off the shoulder of the cartridge, whereas .303 British headspaces off the forward rim of the cartridge.

If the headspace is too short, ammunition that is in specification may not chamber correctly. If headspace is too large, the ammunition may not fit as intended or designed and the cartridge case may rupture, possibly damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Forster Headspace diagram belted magnum rimfire

Go gauge gage NOGO no-go field gaugesHeadspace Gauges
Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges: a “Go” gauge, and a “No-Go” gauge. Headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “Go” and a “No-Go” gauge are required for a gunsmith to headspace a firearm properly. A third gauge, the “Field” gauge, is used (as the name implies) in the field to indicate the absolute maximum safe headspace. This gauge is used because, over time, the bolt and receiver will wear, the bolt and lugs compress, and the receiver may stretch, all causing the headspace to gradually increase from the “factory specs” measured by the “Go” and “No-Go” gauges. A bolt that closes on “No-Go” but not on “Field” is close to being unsafe to fire, and may malfunction on cartridges that are slightly out of spec. (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more, read Brownell’s longer article Headspace Gauges and How to Use Them. Among other things, this explains the relative lengths of “Go”, “No-Go”, and “Field” gauges. The “Field” is actually the longest: “The GO gauge corresponds to the SAAMI (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute) minimum chamber length, while the FIELD gauge usually matches the maximum chamber depth, or slightly less. NO-GO gauges are an intermediate length between minimum and maximum, that, technically, is a voluntary dimension. A firearm that closes on a NO-GO gauge and does not close on a FIELD gauge may not give good accuracy and may have very short cartridge case life from the ammunition re-loader’s standpoint.”

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February 18th, 2019

READ THIS — Powder Storage — How to Avoid Problems

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

SUMMARY: Powder can have a very long shelf life. You need to watch for changes in smell and color. A reddish tinge, almost like rust on the powder, is a bad sign, as is a foul odor, not to be confused with a normal chemical smell. Either of these signs indicate it is time to dispose of your powder by means other than shooting.

Ever wondered about the stability of the propellants in your reloading room? There are some important things you should know about powder storage, to ensure consistent powder performance and safety. On its website, Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders) published an informative Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.

Proper Powder Storage

Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.

Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.

CLICK HERE to Read SAAMI Guidelines for Powder Storage (PDF)

In their original containers smokeless powder’s lifespan is quite long, even in your hot, arid climate, typically longer than the average handloader would need to store them. Stored safely in a garage or outbuilding, your powder should last years. If you see the powder developing a reddish tint, or giving off a foul odor, it is time to discard it.

Clumps in Powder Container

Q: I ordered some of your Accurate 1680 powder back about in December. I just now opened it … and it is full of clumps. My knowledge tells me that means moisture. Am I wrong? I just now broke the seal and it has been stored in a ammo can with desiccant packs around it and a dehumidifier running 14-16 hours a day. I can’t imagine this being my fault, if this does indicate moisture. I don’t know if the pink part on the label is suppose to be red or not, but it is definitely pink, so if it was red I am wondering if I was shipped an old container? I hope that this isn’t bad and I am stuck with it…

Lab Answer: All powder contains a certain amount of moisture. When the powder is stored or during shipping, it can go through temperature cycles. During the cycling, the moisture can be pulled to the surface and cause clumping. Clumping can also be caused by static electricity if too dry or the powder has limited graphite content. You can break up the clumps before metering and they shouldn’t be a problem. This will not affect the powder performance, so your product is fine. Accurate 1680 labels are designed in Pink. As a side note, specification for testing powder is at 70° F and 60% humidity.

(more…)

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May 31st, 2018

Secretary Zinke Creates Hunting and Shooting Sports Council

Zinke Secretary Interior Hunting Shooting Sports Council Department NSSF Boone Crockett
Utah Monument photo by DOI. Inset graphic from Ammoland.com, DOI source.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced the newly-appointed members of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (HSSCC). The Council, established on January 9, 2018, is intended to provide the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture with advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation. The Advisory Council will meet at least twice a year.

The Council will also examine ways to benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports.

“We have assembled here some of the best conservationists in America,” Secretary Zinke said. “Over a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt established the American conservation ethic — best science, best practices, greatest good, longest term. These sportsmen carry on the American conservation ethic in the modern day. Bringing these experts together will be key to ensuring the American tradition of hunting and shooting, as well as the conservation benefits of these practices, carries on.”

Departement interior DOI Hunting sShooting Conservation Council
Secretary Ryan Zinke (left) believes we can learn important conservation lessons from President Theodore Roosevelt (right), an avid hunter.

“America’s hunters and recreational shooters have a champion in Secretary Ryan Zinke,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Zinke is fighting for our sportsmen and women to have greater access to our public lands. I am pleased to work with the Trump Administration’s new Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council to make it easier for Americans to enjoy our public lands.”

“Comprised of national leaders throughout the hunting and recreational shooting communities, the HSSCC is widely regarded as one of the most effective and productive federal advisory committees across the federal government,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior V.P. and General Counsel.

Departement interior DOI Hunting sShooting Conservation Council
Julie Golob Photo Courtesy Shooting Sports USA.

“What an exciting time for our hunting and shooting sports! This Shooting Sports Council is yet another way Secretary Zinke and staff is making the expansion of our great American heritage a priority,” said Smith & Wesson Pro Shooter Julie Golob.

“President Trump and Sec Zinke continue to make major positive structural changes to America’s land and wildlife conservation systems,” said Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Founder Don Peay. “This new Council, made up of the most accomplished hunter/conservationists in North America, will assist in revitalizing conservation of our nation’s natural treasures for generations!”

Zinke Secretary Interior Hunting Shooting Sports Council Department NSSF Boone Crockett

“I am very pleased and honored to be appointed to this Council by Secretary Zinke,” said Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning. “I look forward to representing the interests of big game and big game hunters as this Council does important work.”

“I am honored to be asked by Secretary Zinke to serve on the federal advisory council,” said Bob Model, Chairman of the Boone and Crockett Club. “Sportsmen and women are vital stakeholders in federal land management.”

Members of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council are listed below
MEMBER NAME ORGANIZATION
Mike Budzik Retired Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Chris Cox Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)
Jeff Crane President of Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF)
John Devney Vice President of U.S. Policy for Delta Waterfowl
Dan Forester Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer, Archery Trade Association
Ward “Trig” French Chairman of the Hunter’s Leadership Forum
Julie Golob World and National Shooting Champion, Team Smith & Wesson
John Green CEO of Crossroads Strategies and Board Member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Dale Hall CEO of Ducks Unlimited and former Director of the USFWS
Blake Henning Chief Conservation Officer for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Graham Hill Principal and Founding Partner, Ice Miller Strategies LLC. NRA Board of Directors member
Larry Keane Senior V.P. for Governmental and Public Affairs, Asst. Sec. and General Counsel for National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF); General Counsel, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institutes (SAAMI)
Bob Model Former President of the Boone & Crockett Club; President/CEO of Mule Deer Foundation; previous Deputy Director of Utah’s Div. of Wildlife Resources
Collin O’Mara President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation
Donald Peay Founder and Former CEO of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW)
Eva Shockey Co-Host of Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures on Outdoor Channel
David Spady President of the Liberty and Property Rights Coalition

(more…)

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May 13th, 2018

Cartridge Headspace — Understanding the Basics

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

Do you know what the inside of a rifle chamber (and throat zone) really looks like? Do you understand the concept of headspace and why it’s important? If not, you should read the Brownells GunTech article Gauging Success – Minimum Headspace and Maximum COL. This article explains the basics of headspace and shows how to measure headspace (and length to lands) in your barrels with precision. The article also explains how to adjust your full-length sizing dies to “bump the shoulder” as needed.

Why is headspace important? The article explains: “Controlling headspace and setting proper C.O.L. also represent improved safety and reduced cost of handloading. Excessive headspace can cause case head separation and gases in excess of 60,000 PSI escaping from a rifle’s chamber. Too little headspace can result in a chamber forced bullet crimp and a bullet that becomes an obstruction more than a properly secured projectile. Excessive C.O.L. can result in a rifling-bound bullet, a condition that could result in spikes of excessive pressure.” [Editor’s NOTE: It is common for competitive benchrest shooters to seat bullets into the rifling. This can be done safely if you reduce your loads accordingly. With some bullets we often see best accuracy .010″ (or more) into the lands. However, this can generate more pressure than the same bullet seated .010″ away from initial lands contact. As with all reloading, start low and work up gradually.]

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

How is headspace specified? Most cartridges used within the United States are defined within ANSI/SAAMI Z299.3-4. Brownells explains: “In the case of the .243 Winchester, as an example, there are pressure specifications, cartridge drawings and, as pictured above, chamber drawings. Armed with a chamber drawing, each manufacturer producing a firearm for the .243 Winchester knows the proper standard dimension to cut chambers and set headspace. Notice there are two headspace reference dimensions for the chamber. The upper is a place in the chamber where the shoulder is .400″ in diameter; the “datum” or “basic” line. The lower is the 1.630″~1.640″ minimum – maximum dimension from the breech face (bolt face) to that point in the chamber that measures .400″.”

The actual headspace of any firearm is the distance from the breech face to the point in the chamber that is intended to prevent forward motion of a cartridge.

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October 8th, 2017

Download Official U.S. Military Specification Standards (MIL-STD)

Looking for authentic U.S. Military Specification Standards (MIL-STD) for gun parts, safety products, or other hardware? Log on to EverySpec.com. This website provides FREE access to the complete archive of U.S. Government spec sheets and technical manuals. You can quickly access and download thousands of public domain U.S. Government documents. For example, we searched for “Picatinny” and came up with MIL-STD-1913 “Dimensioning of Accessory Mounting Rail for Small Arms Weapons”. With one click we downloaded the file as a PDF. Then a search for “M118″ yielded the engineering drawing for 7.62×51 M118 LR Match ammo. Pretty cool.

Using EverySpec.com is fast and easy. And everything you find and save is FREE. Search as often as you like — there are no limits on search requests or downloads. You can either search by keyword, or Federal Supply Class Code (FSC). CLICK HERE for a complete list of FSCs for all products.

Here are FSCs for a few common product types. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of other FSCs — for everything from Office Supplies (FSC 7510) to Nuclear Projectiles (FSC 1110).

1095 — Miscellaneous Weapons (incl. Knives)
1240 — Optical Sighting and Ranging Equipment
1395 — Miscellaneous Ammunition (incl. Small Arms)
3455 — Cutting Tools for Machine Tools
6140 — Batteries, Rechargeable
6230 — Electric Portable Lighting Equipment
7640 — Maps, Atlases, Charts and Globes
8340 — Tents and Tarpaulins
8405 — Outerwear, Mens

Credit Gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzales for finding this resource. Thanks Speedy!
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September 8th, 2017

Guns and Ammo After a Flood — Here’s What to Do…

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage
NOAA photo of flooding after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The Colt Python Revolver once belonged to Elvis Presley (Rock Island Auction).

Firearms owners who have seen their guns and stored ammunition submerged by flood waters in storm-wracked areas are probably wondering if their firearms and ammunition can be salvaged and safely used. To answer these questions, the NSSF and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI®) created two documents outlining the proper response to submersion of guns and ammo. If you’ve got wet guns and/or ammo, download these two PDF files and read them carefully.

SAAMI Guidance 1: What to Do About Firearms That Have Been Submerged in Water

SAAMI Guidance 2: What to Do About Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water

Dealing with Firearms That Were Submerged

The SAAMI document “Guidance on Firearms That Have Been Submerged or Exposed to Extensive Amounts of Water” points out two major concerns about firearms that have been exposed to water: parts susceptible to moisture and rust damage such as metal parts, wood stocks and grips, and optics; and, secondly, infiltration of the action, barrel and safety systems by grit, silt and other foreign debris.

#1 Always unload firearms before beginning any treatment process.

It’s important to limit moisture and corrosion damage to the component parts of the firearm. This can be accomplished by disassembling the component parts and using up to two coats of a moisture-displacing lubricant such as Hoppes #9 MDL or WD-40 to clean and stabilize the parts while, importantly, following the product’s directions so as not to damage, for instance, plastic or synthetic parts. Another tip is to allow wood stocks and grips to air-dry and not be force dried by exposure to heat.

The document emphasizes that once the firearm has been thoroughly dried, consideration must be given to having the firearm inspected and serviced by the manufacturer, an authorized service center, or a qualified gunsmith before putting the firearm back in service.

Dealing with Ammunition That Was Submerged

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage

Bottom Line, if your ammo has been submerged — DON’T USE IT. SAAMI explains why…

To help firearms owners determine what to do with ammunition that has been affected by water and moisture, SAAMI offers another helpful document, “Guidance on Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water.” This document covers differences in moisture resistance between centerfire, rimfire and shotshell ammunition, and potential hazards associated with “drying out” cartridges, including possible deterioration and damage to cartridges due to drying methods.

Another serious hazard that could result from using compromised ammunition is the potential for a bore obstruction due to partial ignition of either the priming compound or the propellant powder charge, or both. Firing a subsequent round through an obstructed barrel can result in bodily injury, death and property damage.

SAAMI provides the following cautionary conclusion: “It would be impossible to ascertain for certain the extent of the deteriorating affect, if any, the water may have had on each individual cartridge. Therefore, the safe answer is that no attempt be made to salvage or use submerged ammunition. The ammunition should be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. Contact your local law enforcement agency for disposal instructions in your area.”

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April 18th, 2017

Tough Brass — Peterson .308 Win Brass Strong After 32 Firings

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet
Here are five Peterson .308 Win casings after 32 loading/firing cycles (31 at SAAMI max). The brass remained intact, with no cracks. The circles below the shoulders are markings from pressure testing.

This story comes from the Peterson Cartridge website.

Torture Testing Peterson .308 Win Brass — 32 Load Cycles

Recently Peterson’s ballistician had some extra time in his schedule, and asked what he should work on next. He was told, “Just for the heck of it, see how many times you can fire our .308s before you experience failure.” So that’s what he set out to do.

He took five casings out of inventory and loaded them at SAAMI max pressure, which is the pressure we use for all of our longevity testing. It is a hot load, and he did the firing out of Peterson’s Universal Receiver. This way he could measure pressures and velocities each shot. He shot all five, 20 times. (It takes a long time to do that. Load five casings. Shoot five times. Back into the lab to reload, back into the indoor range to shoot, back into the lab, and so forth.)

After 20 firings with no sign of case deterioration, Peterson’s tester asked if he should keep going. “Sure, let’s see how long these can go”, was the reply. So he shot them five more times. Same result. All casings still in good shape. We told him to keep going. He shot each of them six more times. At this point each of the five casings had been fired 31 times. After several days of this the casings were still in good shape but “ballistician fatigue” was setting in. Finally he said, “Let me take these cases to an outdoor range and see how they do for accuracy.” The Peterson team agreed.

Five Shots at 100 Yards after 32 Load Cycles:

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet

For the 32nd firing, the cases were loaded with a somewhat lighter load, and then tested for accuracy. The test rifle was a Tikka T-3 bolt action, with a 20 inch, 1:11″-twist barrel. After 32 firings the primer pockets had opened about 0.002″ (two-thousandths) but were still tight enough for further use. There were no cracks or signs of head separation. The tester put five shots in three holes at 100 yards. The group was 1.5 inches for the five shots, on a somewhat windy day.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 11th, 2017

Get FREE SAAMI Rimfire Cartridge and Chamber Diagrams

SAAMI Cartridge Diagrams

Planning a rimfire build in the future, or want to get the exact specifications for your 17 Mach 2, 17 HMR, 17 WSM, .22 LR, or .22 WMR rifle? Then we’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to download an official SAAMI document with specs for all popular rimfire ammunition. This FREE 89-page PDF includes complete Cartridge and Chamber drawings and headspace specifications. The document even includes info on pressure terminology, headspace gauges, and test barrels.

DOWNLOAD SAAMI Rimfire Cartridge/Chamber Drawings >>

SAAMI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, is an association of the nation’s leading manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and components. Founded in 1926, SAAMI promulgates industry standards for firearms ammunition safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality.

SAAMI offers diagrams for ALL popular, modern rimfire cartridges:

SAAMI Cartridge Diagrams

Here’s the Official SAAMI Drawing for the 17 HMR Cartridge:

SAAMI Cartridge Diagrams

SAAMI Website Also Offers Centerfire Cartridge and Shotshell Diagrams
From the SAAMI website you can also access hundreds of FREE official cartridge diagrams and chamber drawings for all centerfire ammo types and Shotshells. Simply click on the Cartridge and Chamber Drawings link and then choose your ammo type: Pistol and Revolver, Rifle, or Shotshell.

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November 6th, 2016

Burn Baby Burn — The Great SAAMI Ammo FIRE TEST

This important video shows what really happens when loaded ammunition burns. You will probably be surprised. Contrary to Hollywood notions, the ammo doesn’t ignite in a massive explosion. Far from it… basically the rounds “cook off” one by one, and the bullets release at relatively low velocity. We’ve featured this SAAMI research project before, but it is worth reprising for those who have not yet seen the burn tests.

A couple years back, SAAMI released an important video concerning ammo and fire. With professional fire-fighters standing by, over 400,000 rounds of ammo were incinerated in a series of eye-opening tests. If you haven’t had the chance to view this video yet, you should take the time to watch it now

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) has produced an amazing 25-minute video that shows what actually happens to sporting ammunition involved in a fire. This video shows the results of serious tests conducted with the assistance of professional fire crews. We strongly recommend you watch this video, all the way through. It dispels many myths, while demonstrating what really happens when ammunition is burned, dropped, or crushed.

Watch SAAMI Ammunition Testing Video

Video Timeline

  • 2:10 Impact Test (ignited outside firearm)
  • 3:40 65-foot Drop Test
  • 5:08 Bullet Impact (.308 Win firing)
  • 7:55 Blasting Cap Attacks
  • 9:55 Bulldozer and Forklift Tests
  • 12:20 Boxed Ammo Bonfire
  • 15:37 Bonfire without Packaging
  • 17:21 Retail Store Simulation Burn
  • 20:55 Truck Trailer Burn

Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used in the tests. Some of the footage is quite remarkable. Testers built a bonfire with 28,000 rounds of boxed ammo soaked in diesel fuel. Then the testers loaded five pallets of ammo (250,000 rounds) in the back of a semi-truck, and torched it all using wood and paper fire-starting materials doused with diesel fuel.

The video shows that, when ammo boxes are set on fire, and ammunition does discharge, the bullet normally exits at low speed and low pressure. SAAMI states: “Smokeless powders must be confined to propel a projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm, projectile velocities are extremely low.” At distances of 10 meters, bullets launched from “cooked-off” ammo would not penetrate the normal “turn-out gear” worn by fire-fighters.

We are not suggesting you disregard the risks of ammo “cooking off” in a fire, but you will learn the realities of the situation by watching the video. There are some amazing demonstrations — including a simulated retail store fire with 115,000 rounds of ammo in boxes. As cartridges cook off, it sounds like a battery of machine-guns, but projectiles did not penetrate the “store” walls, or even two layers of sheet-rock. The fire crew puts out the “store fire” easily in under 20 seconds, just using water.

Additional Testing: Drop Test, Projectile Test, Crush Test, Blasting Cap Test

Drop Test
The video also offers interesting ammo-handling tests. Boxes of ammo were dropped from a height of 65 feet. Only a tiny fraction of the cartridges discharged, and there was no chain-fire. SAAMI concludes: “When dropped from extreme heights (65 feet), sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate.”

Rifle Fire Test
SAAMI’s testers even tried to blow up boxes of ammunition with rifle fire. Boxes of loaded ammo were shot with .308 Win rounds from 65 yards. The video includes fascinating slow-motion footage showing rounds penetrating boxes of rifle cartridges, pistol ammo, and shotgun shells. Individual cartridges that were penetrated were destroyed, but adjacent cartridges suffered little damage, other than some powder leakage. SAAMI observed: “Most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction.”

Bulldozer Crush Test
The test team also did an amazing “crush-test” using a Bulldozer. First boxes of loaded ammo, then loose piles of ammo, were crushed under the treads of a Bulldozer. A handful of rounds fired off, but again there was no chain-fire, and no large explosion. SAAMI observed: “Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. [If it does ignite when crushed] it does not propagate.”

Blasting Cap Test
Perhaps most amazingly, the testers were not able to get ammunition to chain-fire (detonate all at once), even when using blasting caps affixed directly to live primers. In the SAAMI test, a blasting cap was placed on the primer of a round housed in a large box of ammo. One cartridge ignited but the rest of the boxed ammo was relatively undamaged and there was no propagation.

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October 28th, 2016

New 33 Nosler Rivals .338 Lapua Magnum in Smaller Package

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

Nosler has just introduced a new SAAMI-spec .338-caliber cartridge, the 33 Nosler, which is based on the 404 Jeffrey parent case. This efficient new cartridge rivals the velocity and energy of the proven .338 Lapua Magnum while using significantly less powder. AND, the Nosler 33 fits in a standard, long action receiver. Accordingly the 33 Nosler should be popular with extreme long range (ELR) shooters and big game hunters. The 33 Nosler fires .338-caliber bullets which are tough on big game and typically boast high Ballistic Coefficients and sectional densities. For long-range target work, Nosler will offer 33 Nosler match ammo with a high-BC 300gr bullet.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

Notably, the 33 Nosler will fit in a standard-length Long Action. That’s a big deal because it means you can now achieve .338 LM performance in a rifle that is lighter and less costly to build. Nosler lists a 3.340″ COAL for the 33 Nosler. Compare that to 3.681″ for the .338 LM. Nosler will offer loaded ammunition as well as 33 Nosler brass.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

The above chart was created by Nosler. It shows the 33 Nosler can push a 225gr AccuBond at 3025 fps and the 265gr AccuBond at 2775 fps. That’s 275 fps faster (with 20% more energy) than the .338 Winchester Magnum using the same length action. According to the chart, the 33 Nosler is also 25 fps faster than the .338 Lapua Magnum at the muzzle while burning 18% less powder. However, the numbers quoted by Nosler for the .338 LM are conservative.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

The 33 Nosler® is SAAMI-standardized for consistent industry-wide brass and chamber dimensions. Nosler will be supporting this new cartridge with Nosler Brass, factory ammunition, and Nosler factory rifles. Expect 33 Nosler products to be available in early 2017.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 33 Comments »
October 1st, 2016

15th Edition of Cartridges of the World Releases This Month

Cartridge of World Guide book

The new 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World is slated for release on October 24th, 2016, but you can pre-order now via Amazon.com. This massive 680-page reference contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (release date 10/24/2016) includes 50 new cartridges and boasts 1500+ photos. This important reference guide can be pre-ordered now through Amazon.com for $21.20. Order now and you’ll get the new 15th Edition hot off the press.

Cartridges of the World, the most widely-read cartridge reference book, has been totally updated, with a newly expanded, full-color 64-page color section featuring essays from some of today’s most prominent gun writers. The 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World includes updated cartridge specs, plus essays by leading writers on the topics of SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. In scope and level of detail, Cartridges of the World is the most complete cartridge reference guide in print.

Cartridges of World Barnces 13th Edition

Cartridges of the World by author Frank C. Barnes was first published in 1965. The 15th Edition is edited by W. Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests magazine and author of several firearms reference books. Frank Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case.

Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver. Learn more about Cartridges of the World (15th Ed.) at www.gundigest.com.

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January 2nd, 2016

When Ammo Burns — The Results Are Surprising

This important video shows what really happens when loaded ammunition burns. You will probably be surprised. Contrary to Hollywood notions, the ammo doesn’t ignite in a massive explosion. Far from it… basically the rounds “cook off” one by one, and the bullets release at relatively low velocity. We’ve featured this SAAMI research project before, but it is worth reprising for those who have not yet seen the burn tests.

A couple years back, SAAMI released an important video concerning ammo and fire. With professional fire-fighters standing by, over 400,000 rounds of ammo were incinerated in a series of eye-opening tests. If you haven’t had the chance to view this video yet, you should take the time to watch it now

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) has produced an amazing 25-minute video that shows what actually happens to sporting ammunition involved in a fire. This video shows the results of serious tests conducted with the assistance of professional fire crews. We strongly recommend you watch this video, all the way through. It dispels many myths, while demonstrating what really happens when ammunition is burned, dropped, or crushed.

Watch SAAMI Ammunition Testing Video

Video Timeline

  • 2:10 Impact Test (ignited outside firearm)
  • 3:40 65-foot Drop Test
  • 5:08 Bullet Impact (.308 Win firing)
  • 7:55 Blasting Cap Attacks
  • 9:55 Bulldozer and Forklift Tests
  • 12:20 Boxed Ammo Bonfire
  • 15:37 Bonfire without Packaging
  • 17:21 Retail Store Simulation Burn
  • 20:55 Truck Trailer Burn

Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used in the tests. Some of the footage is quite remarkable. Testers built a bonfire with 28,000 rounds of boxed ammo soaked in diesel fuel. Then the testers loaded five pallets of ammo (250,000 rounds) in the back of a semi-truck, and torched it all using wood and paper fire-starting materials doused with diesel fuel.

The video shows that, when ammo boxes are set on fire, and ammunition does discharge, the bullet normally exits at low speed and low pressure. SAAMI states: “Smokeless powders must be confined to propel a projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm, projectile velocities are extremely low.” At distances of 10 meters, bullets launched from “cooked-off” ammo would not penetrate the normal “turn-out gear” worn by fire-fighters.

We are not suggesting you disregard the risks of ammo “cooking off” in a fire, but you will learn the realities of the situation by watching the video. There are some amazing demonstrations — including a simulated retail store fire with 115,000 rounds of ammo in boxes. As cartridges cook off, it sounds like a battery of machine-guns, but projectiles did not penetrate the “store” walls, or even two layers of sheet-rock. The fire crew puts out the “store fire” easily in under 20 seconds, just using water.

Additional Testing: Drop Test, Projectile Test, Crush Test, Blasting Cap Test

Drop Test
The video also offers interesting ammo-handling tests. Boxes of ammo were dropped from a height of 65 feet. Only a tiny fraction of the cartridges discharged, and there was no chain-fire. SAAMI concludes: “When dropped from extreme heights (65 feet), sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate.”

Rifle Fire Test
SAAMI’s testers even tried to blow up boxes of ammunition with rifle fire. Boxes of loaded ammo were shot with .308 Win rounds from 65 yards. The video includes fascinating slow-motion footage showing rounds penetrating boxes of rifle cartridges, pistol ammo, and shotgun shells. Individual cartridges that were penetrated were destroyed, but adjacent cartridges suffered little damage, other than some powder leakage. SAAMI observed: “Most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction.”

Bulldozer Crush Test
The test team also did an amazing “crush-test” using a Bulldozer. First boxes of loaded ammo, then loose piles of ammo, were crushed under the treads of a Bulldozer. A handful of rounds fired off, but again there was no chain-fire, and no large explosion. SAAMI observed: “Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. [If it does ignite when crushed] it does not propagate.”

Blasting Cap Test
Perhaps most amazingly, the testers were not able to get ammunition to chain-fire (detonate all at once), even when using blasting caps affixed directly to live primers. In the SAAMI test, a blasting cap was placed on the primer of a round housed in a large box of ammo. One cartridge ignited but the rest of the boxed ammo was relatively undamaged and there was no propagation.

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June 6th, 2015

Powder Storage Q & A — What Are Signs of Problems?

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders), publishes a Blog that covers all aspects of hand-loading and rifle maintenance. Recently the Western Powders Blog published a Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.

Proper Powder Storage

Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.

Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.

CLICK HERE to Read SAAMI Guidelines for Powder Storage (PDF)

(more…)

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March 15th, 2014

Learn About 300 AAC Blackout with Articles and Podcast

Now that Lapua is making very high-quality .221 Fireball brass, those of you who own an AR may be considering a 300 AAC Blackout project. For AR shooters, the 300 Blackout (300 BLK) offers the ability to fire a heavy-weight bullet from standard AR15 magazines. When loaded to supersonic velocities with heavy bullets, this little cartridge packs more punch than a 30-30 round. Alternatively, when loaded to sub-sonic velocities, the 300 Blackout is ultra-quiet when used with a suppressor.

AR15 Podcast 300 AAC Blackout BLK

Writing for the CTD Shooter’s Log, CTD Mike has authored a good Beginners’ Guide to the 300 AAC Blackout. This explains the basics of this interesting cartridge, which is a .30-caliber round that works with existing AR15 magazines and upper. You can purchase 300 Blackout factory ammunition or you can load your own. The easiest way to make 300 Blackout cartridges is to neck-up Lapua .221 Fireball brass. But if you have hordes of .223 Rem brass, you can also cut those cases down and reform them into 300 Blackout. But that is much more work. With Lapua .221 Fireball brass, you lube the inside of the necks, expand, and you’re good to go.

AR15 Podcast .300 AAC Blackout BLK

300 Blackout vs. 6.8 SPC
AR owners who have considered a dedicated upper in 6.8 SPC, should give serious consideration to 300 Blackout instead. First, with so much .223 Rem available, you have a virtually infinite supply of parent brass. 6.8 SPC brass is not so easy to find. Second, to function optimally, the 6.8 SPC requires dedicated magazines. CTD Mike says: “6.8 SPC II and 6.5 Grendel both require specific magazines [that are] different from the Standard NATO Agreement (STANAG) AR-15 magazine. These magazines are not nearly as common … and of course cost a bit more. On top of that, you lose capacity in those calibers, down to 25 rounds instead of 30, because their casings are fatter and take up more space[.]”

The Sound of Silence — Suppressed 300 Blackout Properties
The 300 AAC Blackout is a great option if you live in a jurisdiction that allows suppressor ownership. A suppressed 300 Blackout is ultra-quiet and very reliable. CTD Mike explains: “Unlike 5.56, subsonic [1000 FPS] loadings that still cycle the AR-15 action reliably are easy to make [with] a 220 grain .308 bullet. At close range, these 220 grain rounds really thump, and the real kicker is that using an AAC suppressor with them in a 9-inch barrel brings the sound level to only 125 decibels. That’s quieter than an MP5SD shooting 9mm rounds, and much quieter than a MK23 pistol shooting .45acp rounds. You have to be there and shoot one of these rifles with a ‘can’ attached to realize that this 220 grain bullet is nearly as quiet as a silenced .22 pistol.”

AR15 Podcast 300 .300 AAC Blackout BLKAR15 Podcast Talks about 300 Blackout
If you are intrigued by the 300 AAC Blackout, you should consider listening to an hour-long AR15Podcast hosted by Reed Snyder and co-Host Anthony Hardy. In this Podcast, Reed explains how to re-barrel an AR15 for the 300 Blackout. Step by step, he explains how to remove your .223-caliber barrel and install a .30-caliber barrel chambered for the 300 Blackout. Reed lists the tools you’ll need and he also explains how to tune adjustable gas blocks for best performance with a 300 Blackout upper.

AUDIO FILE: AR15 Podcast about 300 AAC Blackout (Warning Loud Volume)

For those who are undecided about adapting their AR15s for the 300 Blackout, Reed weighs the pros and cons of having a dedicated .30 caliber in your AR arsenal. Here are some of the strong points of this interesting cartridge:

  • 300 Blackout cartridges fit and feed in standard AR magazines.
  • 300 Blackout rivals 7.62x39mm performance.
  • Brass and Bullets are readily available.
  • Barrel is only part that needs to be modified.
  • Excellent Subsonic Performance — very quiet.
  • .30 Caliber suppressors can be used with smaller calibers as well.

300 AAC Blackout

About the 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK)
The 300 AAC Blackout cartridge shares case-head dimensions and body taper with the .223 Remington. Not only does this allow for compatibility with existing magazines and bolts, but it allows reloaders to form their own brass from cut-down 5.56×45 mm or .223 Rem cases. You can also form 300 Blackout cases by necking-up .221 Fireball brass. Take Note: Lapua has started producing .221 Fireball brass — this should be available in the USA by the end of April.

300 AAC Blackout

The 300 AAC Blackout is a similar concept to previous wildcats, such as the 30-221 and 300 Fireball, as well as the proprietary 300 Whisper®, except that 300 BLK was the first to be a SAAMI-approved cartridge and any company is free to make firearms or ammunition.

300 AAC Blackout is also finding use with hunters, who may not have been able to legally hunt with .223 in their state, and who prefer .30 caliber bullets for medium-sized game. It provides similar effectiveness to the 7.62×39 or the slightly more powerful .30-30 cartridges except works in the more up-to-date AR-platform rifles. Effective hunting range is about 150 yards. Some innovators, such as Dave Whitford, have also experimented with the 300 BLK for Across-the-Course competition. READ Whitford story in Rifleman’s Journal..

Related RESOURCES:
American Rifleman Article with 300 AAC Blackout AND 300 Whisper Reamer Prints.
.330 AAC Blackout Factory Ammunition Review.

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February 3rd, 2014

Firearms Industry Challenges California Micro-Stamping Law

On January 9, 2014, the NSSF and SAAMI filed suit seeking to invalidate and enjoin California’s micro-stamping statute, which was codified in 2007, but not implemented until late in 2013. In the commentary below, NSSF Senior VP and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane explains the reasons gun industry groups have filed suit to enjoin California’s micro-stamping requirement.

Manufacturers Now Acting — Second Amendment Rights Are in the Balance
by Larry Keane

It was inevitable given the unconstitutional and unworkable governmental overreach now under way in the State of California. Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co., two of the most recognized names in American firearms manufacturing, have confirmed that they are being forced to stop selling new or improved models of semiautomatic handguns in California because it is simply impossible to comply with the state’s microstamping law. That law became effective last year and applies to all new models of pistols introduced to the California market. Read the Smith & Wesson Statement. Sturm, Ruger & Co. also said it will stop new sales there.

Microstamping New York

On Jan. 9, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) filed a lawsuit on behalf of our respective members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court challenging the state’s microstamping law. NSSF and SAAMI are seeking to invalidate and enjoin enforcement of provisions of state law enacted in 2007, but not made effective until May 2013, requiring that all semiautomatic pistols sold in the state not already on the California approved handgun roster contain unproven and unreliable microstamping technology.

Under this law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired.

As I said when we announced this important legal challenge, there is simply no existing microstamping technology that will reliably, consistently and legibly imprint the required identifying information by a semiautomatic handgun on the ammunition it fires. The holder of the patent for this technology himself has written that there are problems with it and that further study is warranted before it is mandated. A National Academy of Science review, forensic firearms examiners and a University of California at Davis study reached the same conclusion and the technical experts in the firearms industry agree.

Manufacturers can not comply with a law the provisions of which are invalid, that cannot be enforced and that will not contribute to improving public safety. As a result, NSSF and SAAMI are seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief against this back-door attempt to prevent the sale of new semiautomatic handguns to law-abiding citizens in California.

In 2007, over our industry’s strenuous objections, California Assembly Bill 1471 was passed and signed into law requiring microstamping on internal parts of new semiautomatic pistols. We had called for a federal study of microstamping rather than a one-state mandate for this flawed, unreliable and easily defeated technology.

The legislation provided that this requirement would only became effective if the California Department of Justice certified that the microstamping technology is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by patent restrictions. The California legislature subsequently reorganized certain statutes concerning the regulation of firearms, including the microstamping law in 2010. On May 17, 2013, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris provided such certification despite the fact that peer-reviewed research proved microstamping does not work.

We predicted in 2007 that the passage of AB 1471 would lead to a de facto semiautomatic handgun ban. Now that the law has become effective, that ban has begun to roll forward.

See the NSSF Fast Facts on Microstamping for additional background.

The eyes of the nation are now turning to California. The national media has begun to take notice. This situation is not only about a consumer’s right to select the handguns with the latest features, or the aforementioned inability of manufacturers to comply with an unworkable law, the Constitutional, Second Amendment stakes are very high. You will want to stay tuned.

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January 13th, 2014

NSSF and SAAMI Sue to Block California Microstamping Policies

microstamping pistol identificationOn January 10, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) filed a lawsuit on behalf of their members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court challenging the state’s microstamping law. NSSF and SAAMI seek to invalidate and enjoin enforcement of provisions of California state law enacted in 2007, but not made effective until May 2013. These newly “activated” provisions of California law will effectively require that ALL future models of semi-auto pistols be microstamp-capable. Note — semi-auto handguns that are currently on California’s “approved” handgun roster will not be banned from sale. But guns introduced in the future cannot be sold in California unless they have microstamping technology. If gun makers cannot include such features in their future designs, the next generation of handguns will effectively be banned from sale in California.

Under California law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired. “There is no existing microstamping technology that will reliably, consistently and legibly imprint the required identifying information by a semiautomatic handgun on the ammunition it fires. The holder of the patent for this technology himself has written that there are problems with it and that further study is warranted before it is mandated. A National Academy of Science review, forensic firearms examiners and a University of California at Davis study reached the same conclusion and the technical experts in the firearms industry agree,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “Manufacturers can not comply with a law the provisions of which are invalid, that cannot be enforced and that will not contribute to improving public safety. As a result, we are seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief against this back-door attempt to prevent the sale of new semiautomatic handguns to law-abiding citizens in California.”

In 2007, California Assembly Bill 1471 was passed and signed into law requiring microstamping on internal parts of new semiautomatic pistols. The legislation provided that this requirement would only became effective if the California Department of Justice certified that the microstamping technology is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by patent restrictions. On May 17, 2013, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris provided such certification. The DOJ’s certification notice has been attacked on the grounds that it is scientifically unsound, founded on little more than “wishful thinking”.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News No Comments »
November 3rd, 2013

What Happens When Ammo Burns — SAAMI Video Reveals Truth

A year ago, SAAMI released an important video concerning ammo and fire. With professional fire-fighters standing by, over 400,000 rounds of ammo were incinerated in a series of eye-opening tests. If you haven’t had the chance to view this video yet, you should take the time to watch it now.

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) has produced an amazing 25-minute video that shows what actually happens to sporting ammunition involved in a fire. This video shows the results of serious tests conducted with the assistance of professional fire crews. We strongly recommend you watch this video, all the way through. It dispels many myths, while demonstrating what really happens when ammunition is burned, dropped, or crushed.

Watch SAAMI Ammunition Testing Video

Video Timeline

  • 2:10 Impact Test (ignited outside firearm)
  • 3:40 65-foot Drop Test
  • 5:08 Bullet Impact (.308 Win firing)
  • 7:55 Blasting Cap Attacks
  • 9:55 Bulldozer and Forklift Tests
  • 12:20 Boxed Ammo Bonfire
  • 15:37 Bonfire without Packaging
  • 17:21 Retail Store Simulation Burn
  • 20:55 Truck Trailer Burn

Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used in the tests. Some of the footage is quite remarkable. Testers built a bonfire with 28,000 rounds of boxed ammo soaked in diesel fuel. Then the testers loaded five pallets of ammo (250,000 rounds) in the back of a semi-truck, and torched it all using wood and paper fire-starting materials doused with diesel fuel.

The video shows that, when ammo boxes are set on fire, and ammunition does discharge, the bullet normally exits at low speed and low pressure. SAAMI states: “Smokeless powders must be confined to propel a projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm, projectile velocities are extremely low.” At distances of 10 meters, bullets launched from “cooked-off” ammo would not penetrate the normal “turn-out gear” worn by fire-fighters.

We are not suggesting you disregard the risks of ammo “cooking off” in a fire, but you will learn the realities of the situation by watching the video. There are some amazing demonstrations — including a simulated retail store fire with 115,000 rounds of ammo in boxes. As cartridges cook off, it sounds like a battery of machine-guns, but projectiles did not penetrate the “store” walls, or even two layers of sheet-rock. The fire crew puts out the “store fire” easily in under 20 seconds, just using water.

Additional Testing: Drop Test, Projectile Test, Crush Test, Blasting Cap Test

Drop Test
The video also offers interesting ammo-handling tests. Boxes of ammo were dropped from a height of 65 feet. Only a tiny fraction of the cartridges discharged, and there was no chain-fire. SAAMI concludes: “When dropped from extreme heights (65 feet), sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate.”

Rifle Fire Test
SAAMI’s testers even tried to blow up boxes of ammunition with rifle fire. Boxes of loaded ammo were shot with .308 Win rounds from 65 yards. The video includes fascinating slow-motion footage showing rounds penetrating boxes of rifle cartridges, pistol ammo, and shotgun shells. Individual cartridges that were penetrated were destroyed, but adjacent cartridges suffered little damage, other than some powder leakage. SAAMI observed: “Most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction.”

Bulldozer Crush Test
The test team also did an amazing “crush-test” using a Bulldozer. First boxes of loaded ammo, then loose piles of ammo, were crushed under the treads of a Bulldozer. A handful of rounds fired off, but again there was no chain-fire, and no large explosion. SAAMI observed: “Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. [If it does ignite when crushed] it does not propagate.”

Blasting Cap Test
Perhaps most amazingly, the testers were not able to get ammunition to chain-fire (detonate all at once), even when using blasting caps affixed directly to live primers. In the SAAMI test, a blasting cap was placed on the primer of a round housed in a large box of ammo. One cartridge ignited but the rest of the boxed ammo was relatively undamaged and there was no propagation.

Permalink - Videos, Tech Tip 17 Comments »