April 24th, 2020

California Ammo Purchase Restrictions Found Unconstitutional

Judge Benitez U.S. District Court California ammo ammunition law unconstitutional Kim Rhode Olympic shotgun gold medal

Breaking News April 25, 2020: There is a report that CA’s Attorney General has applied to the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for an Emergency STAY of the injunction issued by Judge Benitez blocking application of California’s ammunition background check system. We are working now to determine the status of the case.

Currently in California, citizens must go through a state background check to purchase ammunition — any ammunition. And for quite some time, California residents have not been able to purchase ammunition from out of state, unless the ammunition is first shipped to an approved California ammo dealer. All ammo sales must take place in-person through licensed ammunition vendors. This has all resulted in significantly increased ammo costs in California, and failure of the state’s computerized ammo check system has resulted in over 16% of legitimate purchasers being denied the right to obtain ammunition.

Now all that may change. In Rhode v. Becerra, Federal District Court Judge Roger Benitez has determined that the California ammo check system is fatally flawed and unconstitutional. On April 23, 2020, the Judge granted a temporary injunction which halts California’s ammo background check system and lifts California’s blockade of ammo imports from other states. Californians may now again purchase ammo directly from out-of-state vendors. READ Injunction Decision HERE.

Kim Rhode Olympic shotgun gold medalJudge Benitez called California’s ammunition background check law “onerous and convoluted” and “constitutionally defective”. The Judge stated that: “The background check experiment defies common sense while unduly and severely burdening the Second Amendment rights of every responsible, gun-owning citizen desiring to lawfully buy ammunition”. Notably, the lead plaintiff in the case, Kim Rhode, is an Olympic Gold Medalist trap shooter, whose ability to obtain competition-grade shotshells was impaired by California’s “onerous” ammo purchase restrictions.

California’s ammo laws blocked sales to legitimate, law-abiding buyers about 16% of the time, the Judge noted. Moreover, in his 120-page Opinion, the Judge held that the state’s ban on importing ammunition from outside California violates federal interstate commerce laws.

As reported by the NRA-ILA: “The [court’s] Thursday’s injunction means the law cannot be enforced while the case is active unless the decision is stayed.”

Judge Benitez slammed California’s Ammo Check law: “The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured.

These new laws are constitutionally defective for several reasons. First, criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks. The background check experiment defies common sense while unduly and severely burdening the Second Amendment rights of every responsible, gun-owning citizen desiring to lawfully buy ammunition. Second, the implementing regulations systematically prohibit or deter an untold number of law-abiding California citizen-residents from undergoing the required background checks. Third, in the seven months since implementation, the standard background check rejected citizen-residents who are NOT prohibited persons approximately 16.4% of the time. Fourth, the ammunition anti-importation laws directly violate the federal dormant Commerce Clause.”

To Read Judge Benitez’s Full Opinion, CLICK HERE »

This Video analyzes the decision in Rhode v. Becerra

Constitutional Rights Must Be Preserved Even in Times of Crisis
The Judge stressed that Constitutional rights should not be sacrificed, especially in these challenging times: “Law-abiding citizens are imbued with the unalienable right to keep and bear firearms along with the ammunition to make their firearms work….. Presently, California and many other states sit in isolation under pandemic-inspired stay-at-home orders…. Maintaining Second Amendment rights are especially important in times like these. Keeping vigilant is necessary in both bad times and good, for if we let these rights lapse in the good times, they might never be recovered in time to resist the next appearance of criminals, terrorists, or tyrants.”

Judge Benitez U.S. District Court California ammo ammunition law unconstitutional Kim Rhode Olympic shotgun gold medal

How did California politicians react to their defeat in Court? Read comments from CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other state officials in Associated Press Report reprinted by NBC Los Angeles.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 6 Comments »
April 24th, 2020

Precision Reloading for Handguns — Smart Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. If you load for pistols, take the time to read this article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Reloading 3 Comments »
April 24th, 2020

New SIG Sauer Scopes Offer Smart Technology for Hunters

Sig Sauer hunting scope electro optics windage bullet drop

Sig Sauer Electro-Optics (SIG EO) is releasing a new line of SIERRA6BDX hunting scopes that combine relatively light weight with advanced features and up to 95% light transmission. We think hunters may see the advantages of a “smart scope” which offers ballistics and windage info in a relatively streamlined form factor with a 6X zoom ratio. These scopes calculate an aim point and wind hold-offs.

Sig Sauer hunting scope electro optics windage bullet drop

There are currently three SIERRA6BDX riflescope models: 2-12x40mm, 3-18x44mm, and 5-30x56mm. All three have 1/4-MOA clicks. We think many hunters will prefer the 2-12x40mm optic which is the lightest at 21.7 ounces, as well as the least expensive at $1169.99 MSRP. Twelve power is plenty for a hunter. Designed “by hunters for hunters”, SIG’s new SIERRA6BDX riflescopes offer some very advanced features:

1. LevelPlex™ — a built-in Digital Level that displays rifle cant.
2. QuickBOND™ allows SIG BDX rangefinders to “talk” to the scope without needing a Smartphone App (30 yard range).
3. Digital Focal Plane BDX-R2 hunting reticle with wind holds and 194 LEDs.
4. KinETHIC™ display shows Kinetic Energy Transfer to target.

How the BDC System Works
Sig Sauer hunting scope electro optics windage bullet dropThese scopes all feature SIG Sauer’s smart on-board BDC system which is user-selectable for cartridge (there are 9 options). Selection of the appropriate BDC is explained starting at 1:15 in the video below. You use the illumination control knob to select the right BDC for your cartridge. Then you manipulate the zoom control lever to “lock in” your choice. A wide variety of information is displayed in the illuminated reticle.

SIG states: “Our mission with the new SIERRA6BDX riflescope line was to bring all of the advanced features of the BDX 2.0 platform to a premium 6X zoom system. BDX 2.0 takes all of the advanced Applied Ballistics Ultralight and Bluetooth™ technology and adds simplified, and easy to use, functionality to get hunters and shooters on target with unprecedented speed and accuracy. The BDX 2.0 System is simple, fast, and intuitive — just connect the dot.”

This video explains how to use the “smart technology” in SIERRABDC6 Scopes:

SIERRA6BDX 2-12x40mm
Weight: 21.4 oz.
Adjustments: 0.25 MOA
Maintube Diameter: 30mm
Field of View: 52.5 ft. at 100 yd.
Reticle: BDX-R2 Digital Ballistic Reticle
Eye Relief: 3.9 in.
Waterproof: IPX-7
Battery: (2) CR2032
MSRP: $1,169.99

SIERRA6BDX 3-18x44mm
Weight: 23.8 oz.
Adjustments: 0.25 MOA
Maintube Diameter: 30mm
Field of View: 34.9 ft. at 100 yd.
Reticle: BDX-R2 Digital Ballistic Reticle
Eye Relief: 3.7 in.
Waterproof: IPX-7
Battery: (2) CR2032
MSRP: $1,299.99

SIERRA6BDX 5-30x56mm
Weight: 30.4 oz.
Adjustments: 0.25 MOA
Maintube Diameter: 34mm
Field of View: 21 ft. at 100 yd.
Reticle: BDX-R2 Digital Ballistic Reticle
Eye Relief: 3.7 in.
Waterproof: IPX-7
Battery: (2) CR2032
MSRP: $1,689.99

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, News, Optics No Comments »