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January 29th, 2024

Cheap Tricks — Measure Shoulder Bump with .45 ACP Pistol Case

.45 acp pistol case bump gauge headspace tool

Here is a simple, low-cost way to get reliable readings of case headspace when you “bump” the shoulder back on your 6BR, .243 Win, or .308 Win brass. Credit Boyd Allen for this tip. First, you’ll need one .45 ACP case (.40 SW works too), with primer removed. Make sure the pistol case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP (or .40 SW) case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See photo below, with striped case).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the pistol case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Bottom Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting. By using this simple tool, you can avoid bumping the shoulder too much. This will also help you set-up the depth of your full-length die to get the proper amount of bump each time.

Other Pistol Brass Types Work Too: Some folks have used this method but they prefer to work with 10mm or .40 SW brass rather than a .45 ACP, because slightly smaller-diameter pistol cases may conform to the shoulders of their sized rifle cases a bit better. That works fine — use whatever pistol brass case works best for your rifle brass. We got very repeatable results with .45 ACP brass but the method also works with 10mm or .40 SW brass. Just be sure the pistol brass has been sized, trimmed, chamfered, and de-burred.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
December 29th, 2023

Watch .45 ACP Pistol with 73,000 Frames Per Second Video

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP
Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

What if you could see a speeding bullet in the milliseconds it exits the muzzle of a pistol? How cool would that be… Well, the Mythbusters folks (Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) have made that possible. Using an exotic Phantom super-high-speed camera running at 73,000 frames per second, the Mythbusters recorded a .45 ACP bullet being fired from a 1911-type handgun.

Watch Mythbusters Super-Slow-Motion Pistol Video:

Watch this FULL SCREEN to see the amazing details of the flame and smoke exiting the muzzle.

What unfolds is spectacular. First you see a ball of flame as the bullet emerges from the barrel of the 1911, then two distinct, separate swirling clouds form as the bullet races toward the target. Watch the video a couple times — it’s mesmerizing.

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

Co-host Adam Savage is nearly rendered speechless by the remarkable slow-motion footage from the Phantom. Filmed at 73,000 frames per second, the video reveals a dance of pressure and fire that would otherwise be missed by the unaided eye.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 6th, 2023

Ace S&W Pistol Instructor Offers Critic A Slice of Humble Pie

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo
Shown is the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm model. The M&P 45 is the same except for chambering.

You’ll hear some shooters complain loudly about the (perceived) lack of accuracy of their handguns. Well, sometimes the problem IS the gun, but other times the problem is “driver error”. At the range, we often hear guys blame their gun for poor accuracy, when in fact the real problem is lack of operator skill. This saga, posted a while back on Facebook, is a case in point.

Here’s the story. A gentleman attending an armorer’s course at Smith & Wesson was loudly dissing a S&W M&P 45, claiming it could not shoot. Very loudly he tells the instructor, “the M&P 45 one of our officers is carrying is sh*t”. He then trash-talks the gun, saying that both he and his officer couldn’t get the gun to shoot decent groups, either with FMJ or duty ammo.

Well it seems that Gregory Grutter, S&W’s Chief Firearms Instructor, happened to overhear these vociferous complaints, so Grutter asked to test-fire the M&P 45 pistol. Grutter put a couple of his business cards up at 15 yards, then shot one with Winchester Ranger SXT and the other with Winchester White Box ammo. Grutter’s best group was about half an inch, measured with OnTarget. Check it out:

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo

We’re told that, after hearing the litany of complaints, Grutter walked over to the loud-mouthed grumbler and asked: “Hey Sir, can I shoot it?

“Have at it, I don’t want that POS back!” said Mr. Negative.

Kharma time baby… In Grutter’s hands the M&P performed superbly. Here are Grutter’s two 5-shot groups, each shot at 15 yards with the .45 ACP Smith & Wesson pistol. Pretty darn impressive:

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo

After seeing this, the complainer asked: “Why did you shoot your cards — Ain’t got no targets?”

Grutter smiled and replied: “Nah… in case you or your officer want to learn how to shoot [this way] you will have the numbers to call.” Badda Bing!

Permalink - Articles, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
November 12th, 2023

Eye-Opening Slow-Motion Firearms Video — Amazing Imagery

Bullet theory films slow motion slo-mo ultra high speed camera video

Here is a stunning highlight reel created by Bullet Theory Films, a Los Angeles-based production company that specializes in capturing action that is too quick for the human eye to see. Using ultra-high-speed cameras, these talented film-makers have captured blindingly fast phenomena — things that happen in micro-seconds. The resulting video imagery can be used for R&D, scientific analysis, product marketing, or (of course) entertainment.

We recommend you watch this video full-screen in High-Definition:

This impressive slo-mo “sizzle reel” features many notable sequences, including:

00:18: .45 ACP leaving m1911 muzzle
00:27: Rifle bullet penetrating barrier with explosive ejecta
00:33: M1A cycling 7.62×51 cartridges
00:38: Pistol bullet disintegrating on steel
00:40: Huge muzzle flame from 12ga shotgun and lead shot on steel
00:45: 5.56 bullet in ballistics gelatin with secondary explosion
01:07: Handgun flame ring from muzzle
01:11: Massive shotgun blast with slug in midair

About the Film-Makers
Bullet Theory Films Co-Founders Matt Novello and Matt Drake first met on the set of History Channel’s highly successful competition reality show TOP SHOT. Throughout five seasons, the show set a benchmark in the art of capturing firearms and live ammunition in action, which has yet to be surpassed.

Utilizing the latest digital high speed technology, Bullet Theory Films offers a full range of production services; from concept development, to the final delivery of your vision. For more information, visit BulletTheoryFilms.com.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Tech Tip No Comments »
October 29th, 2023

Ten Tips for Reloading Ammo with Progressive Presses

6.5 Guys Progressive Press video Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Progressive reloading presses offer shooters speed and efficiency in producing custom-tailored rifle and pistol ammunition. However, there is a wide choice of Progressive Presses and a bewildering array of options to consider. In this video, the 6.5 Guys and UltimateReloader.com’s Gavin Gear provide an overview of the leading Progressive Presses on the market along with key considerations for precision rifle shooters. If you are considering getting a Progessive for rifle ammo reloading, you should watch this informative, 25-minute video.

10 Tips for Reloading Rifle Ammo on a Progressive Press:

1. Make sure the brass is very clean. Don’t mix old range pick-up brass with newer brass.

2. Apply a thin, spray lube to all cases before the sizing/loading cycle.

3. Consider priming your brass separately (with a hand or bench tool) before the operation. Then inspect the primers before loading powder and bullets.

4. Always wear eye protection when loading with the Progressive, particularly if you are priming cases.

5. With masking tape, mark the powder measure/dropper with the powder type and cartridge charge weight. Check the charge mass multiple times (see below).

6. Cycle a few cases, sizing and adding powder but NOT seating bullets. Weigh the powder charges to ensure the powder measure is dispensing the correct charge. Sometimes this will change a couple tenths as it “settles down” after the first few charges.

7. Check the brass for shoulder bump and bullet seating depth carefully for the first few rounds, then check again periodically.

8. Try to maintain a steady pace and operate the handle the same way every time.

9. Visually inspect the powder charge in each case (before bullet seating), and use a lock-out die if your Progressive Press has enough stations.

10. Never, ever mix pistol and rifle powders! If you have previously loaded pistol ammo with your Progressive, make sure ALL the powder (every flake and kernel) is removed from all parts of the powder-dropping system before you add rifle powder.

Visit these sites for more Reloading and Precision Shooting Videos:

6.5 Guys
https://www.youtube.com/user/65guys
http://www.65Guys.com

Ultimate Reloader
https://www.youtube.com/ultimatereloader
https://UltimateReloader.com

Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 6th, 2023

Sharpshooting S&W Instructor Proves Arrogant Student Wrong

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo
Shown is the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm model. The M&P 45 is the same except for chambering.

You’ll hear some shooters complain loudly about the (perceived) lack of accuracy of their handguns. Well, sometimes the problem IS the gun, but other times the problem is “driver error”. At the range, we often hear guys blame their gun for poor accuracy, when in fact the real problem is lack of operator skill. This saga, posted a while back on Facebook, is a case in point.

Here’s the story. A gentleman attending an armorer’s course at Smith & Wesson was loudly dissing a S&W M&P 45, claiming it could not shoot. Very loudly he tells the instructor, “the M&P 45 one of our officers is carrying is sh*t”. He then trash-talks the gun, saying that both he and his officer couldn’t get the gun to shoot decent groups, either with FMJ or duty ammo.

Well it seems that Gregory Grutter, S&W’s Chief Firearms Instructor, happened to overhear these vociferous complaints, so Grutter asked to test-fire the M&P 45 pistol. Grutter put a couple of his business cards up at 15 yards, then shot one with Winchester Ranger SXT and the other with Winchester White Box ammo. Grutter’s best group was about half an inch, measured with OnTarget. Check it out:

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo

We’re told that, after hearing the litany of complaints, Grutter walked over to the loud-mouthed grumbler and asked: “Hey Sir, can I shoot it?

“Have at it, I don’t want that POS back!” said Mr. Negative.

Kharma time baby… In Grutter’s hands the M&P performed superbly. Here are Grutter’s two 5-shot groups, each shot at 15 yards with the .45 ACP Smith & Wesson pistol. Pretty darn impressive:

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo

After seeing this, the complainer asked: “Why did you shoot your cards — Ain’t got no targets?”

Grutter smiled and replied: “Nah… in case you or your officer want to learn how to shoot [this way] you will have the numbers to call.” Badda Bing!

Permalink Handguns, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
December 29th, 2022

The World of Cartridges — Guide to Cartridge and Primer Types

pew pew tactical bullet cartridge photos rimfire primer illustration

The Pew Pew Tactical website has interesting article on rifle and pistol cartridges and bullet types. This contains a large selection of interesting photographs and illustrations. If you load and/or shoot for a wide variety of cartridge types, you’ll find that article well worth reading. It has nearly 50 photographs and more than a dozen short videos. READ FULL Article.

pew pew tactical bullet cartridge photos rimfire primer illustration

The article shows all types of pistol bullets, along with a variety of rifle projectiles. It even illustrates multiple types of shotshell cartridges.

The article also explains the basic components of modern cartridges –bullet, case, powder, and primer:

ammunitiontogo.com ammo case cutaway
Photo courtesy Ammunitiontogo.com which sells ammo from many leading brands.

pew pew tactical bullet cartridge photos rimfire primer illustrationPopular Cartridge Types Profiled
The article provides quick summaries of popular ammunition types including 9mm Luger (9x19mm), .357 Magnum, .40 SW, .45 ACP, .223 Rem, and .308 Winchester. The author’s favorite pistol round is the 9mm Luger: “9mm is my personal favorite and if there was a “Goldilocks” round, this would be it. The very first gun I bought was a 9mm. They’re fun at the range. They’re good for defense. It is the standard round for NATO countries and the majority of police forces around the world. It is mild shooting, can vary in weight from 115 to 147 grains, and has varying stopping power based on the type of bullet.”

This Pew-Pew Tactical guide to cartridge types also provides a quick explanation of cartridge ignition — both centerfire and rimfire: “The rimfire’s primer is built into the rim while the centerfire cartridge has the primer in the center. Pro tip — if you can see a circle in the middle…it’s a centerfire cartridge.”

There are two common types of centerfire primers — Boxer and Berdan. This helpful Wikipedia illustration shows how Boxer, Berdan, and rimfire primers ignite the powder in the cartridge:


Berdan boxer rimfire primer gif animation illustration


This centerfire and rimfire ignition animation is by BBODO – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 15th, 2022

Amazing Super-Slow Motion Video — Shooting Highlights

Bullet theory films slow motion slo-mo ultra high speed camera video

Here is a stunning highlight reel created by Bullet Theory Films, a Los Angeles-based production company that specializes in capturing action that is too quick for the human eye to see. Using ultra-high-speed cameras, these talented film-makers have captured blindingly fast phenomena — things that happen in micro-seconds. The resulting video imagery can be used for R&D, scientific analysis, product marketing, or (of course) entertainment.

We recommend you watch this video full-screen in High-Definition:

This impressive slo-mo “sizzle reel” features many notable sequences, including:

00:18: .45 ACP leaving m1911 muzzle
00:27: Rifle bullet penetrating barrier with explosive ejecta
00:33: M1A cycling 7.62×51 cartridges
00:38: Pistol bullet disintegrating on steel
00:40: Huge muzzle flame from 12ga shotgun and lead shot on steel
00:45: 5.56 bullet in ballistics gelatin with secondary explosion
01:07: Handgun flame ring from muzzle
01:11: Massive shotgun blast with slug in midair

About the Film-Makers
Bullet Theory Films Co-Founders Matt Novello and Matt Drake first met on the set of History Channel’s highly successful competition reality show TOP SHOT. Throughout five seasons, the show set a benchmark in the art of capturing firearms and live ammunition in action, which has yet to be surpassed.

Utilizing the latest digital high speed technology, Bullet Theory Films offers a full range of production services; from concept development, to the final delivery of your vision. For more information, visit BulletTheoryFilms.com.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 18th, 2022

Reloading with Progressive Presses — 10 Tips for Good Results

6.5 Guys Progressive Press video Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Progressive reloading presses offer shooters speed and efficiency in producing custom-tailored rifle and pistol ammunition. However, there is a wide choice of Progressive Presses and a bewildering array of options to consider. In this video, the 6.5 Guys and UltimateReloader.com’s Gavin Gear provide an overview of the leading Progressive Presses on the market along with key considerations for precision rifle shooters. If you are considering getting a Progessive for rifle ammo reloading, you should watch this informative, 25-minute video.

10 Tips for Reloading Rifle Ammo on a Progressive Press:

1. Make sure the brass is very clean. Don’t mix old range pick-up brass with newer brass.

2. Apply a thin, spray lube to all cases before the sizing/loading cycle.

3. Consider priming your brass separately (with a hand or bench tool) before the operation. Then inspect the primers before loading powder and bullets.

4. Always wear eye protection when loading with the Progressive, particularly if you are priming cases.

5. With masking tape, mark the powder measure/dropper with the powder type and cartridge charge weight. Check the charge mass multiple times (see below).

6. Cycle a few cases, sizing and adding powder but NOT seating bullets. Weigh the powder charges to ensure the powder measure is dispensing the correct charge. Sometimes this will change a couple tenths as it “settles down” after the first few charges.

7. Check the brass for shoulder bump and bullet seating depth carefully for the first few rounds, then check again periodically.

8. Try to maintain a steady pace and operate the handle the same way every time.

9. Visually inspect the powder charge in each case (before bullet seating), and use a lock-out die if your Progressive Press has enough stations.

10. Never, ever mix pistol and rifle powders! If you have previously loaded pistol ammo with your Progressive, make sure ALL the powder (every flake and kernel) is removed from all parts of the powder-dropping system before you add rifle powder.

Visit these sites for more Reloading and Precision Shooting Videos:

6.5 Guys
https://www.youtube.com/user/65guys
http://www.65Guys.com

Ultimate Reloader
https://www.youtube.com/ultimatereloader
http://www.UltimateReloader.com

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
September 18th, 2022

.45 ACP Reloading — Vihtavuori N320 and Other Good Powders

VV N320 for .45 ACP

There’s an interesting thread in our Shooters Forum right now — all about good choices for a .45 ACP handgun. If you’re considering getting your first .45 ACP pistol, you should read that thread. If you already own one or more .45 ACP handguns, this article offers some good tips on handloading options.

Forum Thread: Which .45 ACP Handgun to Purchase — Members Offer Suggestions

VV N320 for .45 ACPGood Powder Choices for the .45 ACP
We know that many of our readers own .45 ACP handguns and load for this extremely accurate “classic” cartridge. When selecting a powder for the .45 ACP, there are many good options. All the major powder manufacturers make propellants with appropriate density and burn rate characteristics for the .45 ACP. Popular choices include: AA #5 (Accurate Powder); Bullseye (Alliant); Clays, HP-38, and Titegroup (Hodgdon); VV N310 and N320 (Vihtavuori); and WW 231 and WST (Winchester). We’ve tried all those powders in a variety of .45 ACP handguns. When we consider all the factors that make for a good pistol powder, we think Vihtavuori N320 is one of the best available propellants for the .45 ACP.

Vihtavuori N320 is very accurate, it meters well, and it burns clean, with minimal smoke and flash. If you haven’t tried VV N320 yet, you should.

Pros and Cons of Different Powders for the .45 ACP
This Editor has personally tried out eight or more different powders for the .45 ACP. Bullseye works but it is very dirty (both smoke out the barrel and sooty powder fouling on case). Though it otherwise burns clean, Titegroup leaves a singular (and nasty) high-temp flame streak on your brass that is hard to remove. AA #5 is a good choice for progressive press newbies as you use more powder so a double charge will (usually) be obvious. I like AA #5 but N320 was more accurate. Clays burns clean but some powder measures struggle with flake powders like this. WW 231 offered excellent accuracy and metered well, but it kicked out sparks with little pieces of debris that would hit me in the face. Who wants that?

I personally tried all the powders listed above with lead, plated, and jacketed bullets. After testing for accuracy, consistency, and ease of metering, I selected VV N320 as the best overall performer.

Vihtavuori N320

  • No powder tested was more accurate (WW 231 was equally accurate).
  • Meters very well in all kinds of powder measures.
  • Produces very little smoke from muzzle.
  • Does not put nasty burn streak on brass like Tite-Group does.
  • Low Flash — you don’t get particles and sparks flying out like WW 231.
  • Cases come out from gun very clean — so you can tumble less often.

Forum member and gunsmith Michael Ezell agrees that N320 is a good choice for the .45 ACP. Mike has also found that WW 231, while accurate, produces sparks and a large flash. Mike writes: “I first started using N320 after my first night shoot, while shooting IDPA/IPSC matches. It was astonishing how much of a fireball the WW 231 created. I was literally blinded by the flash while trying to shoot a match. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out very well. I went from WW 231 to N320 and never looked back…and the flash from it was a fraction of what a kid’s sparkler would give off. I have nothing but good things to say about [N320] after using both. Night shoots are a real eye-opener! When it comes to a personal protection… there is, statistically, a very high chance that if you ever have to use a gun to protect yourself or your family, it’ll be in the darkness[.] Being blinded by muzzle flash (and deafened by the noise) are things that should be considered, IMO.”

This Editor owns a full-size, all-stainless S&W 1911. After trying numerous powders, I found VV N320 delivered the best combination of accuracy, easy metering, consistency, clean burning qualities, and low muzzle flash. My gun has proven exceptionally accurate using N320 with bullets from 180 grains to 230 grains — it will shoot as accurately as some expensive customs I’ve tried. At right is 5-round group I shot offhand at 10 yards with my 5″ S&W 1911.

NOTE: The bullet hole edges are sharp because I was using semi-wad-cutters, and the target paper is thick. Rounds were loaded with Vihtavuori N320 and 200-grain SWCs from Precision Bullets in Texas. We shoot Precision’s coated bullets in many of our pistols. These projectiles are accurate and they seem to reduce fouling in our pistol barrels. You can learn about them in this video:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Reloading No Comments »
June 6th, 2022

Watch .45 ACP Pistol, Ultra Slow Motion — 73,000 Frames/Sec

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP
Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

What if you could see a speeding bullet in the milliseconds it exits the muzzle of a pistol? How cool would that be… Well, the Mythbusters folks (Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) have made that possible. Using an exotic Phantom super-high-speed camera running at 73,000 frames per second, the Mythbusters recorded a .45 ACP bullet being fired from a 1911-type handgun.

Watch Mythbusters Super-Slow-Motion Pistol Video:

Watch this FULL SCREEN to see the amazing details of the flame and smoke exiting the muzzle.

What unfolds is spectacular. First you see a ball of flame as the bullet emerges from the barrel of the 1911, then two distinct, separate swirling clouds form as the bullet races toward the target. Watch the video a couple times — it’s mesmerizing.

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

Co-host Adam Savage is nearly rendered speechless by the remarkable slow-motion footage from the Phantom. Filmed at 73,000 frames per second, the video reveals a dance of pressure and fire that would otherwise be missed by the unaided eye.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 10th, 2022

1911 Mastery — Todd Jarrett Explains Proper 1911 Hold

Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett is one of the world’s best handgun shooters. A multi-time World Champion, Todd knows a thing or two about semi-auto pistols, particularly 1911s and 1911-based raceguns. Jarrett holds four World titles, nine National titles and has won more than 50 Area championships, as well as many other action shooting events. Jarrett is the only USPSA Triple Crown Winner and he holds four USPSA National titles: Open, Limited, Production, and Limited-10. Jarrett revealed in an interview that between 1988 and 2001 he shot about 1.7 million rounds during practice: “I had a gun in my hand for two hours every day for 10 years to develop my skill level”.

In the video below, Todd explains how to get the proper grip on your handgun, and how to employ a proper stance. We’ve watched many videos on pistol shooting. This is one of the best handgun instructional videos we’ve seen. Todd explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the key elements of grip and stance. One very important point he demonstrates is how to align the grip in your hand so that the gun points naturally — something very important when rapid aiming is required. If you watch this video, you’ll learn valuable lessons — whether you shoot competitively or just want to have better control and accuracy when using your handgun defensively.

model 1911 wilson pistol

Related Article: Thumbs-Forward Shooting Grip for 1911s
“Shooting semiautomatic pistols using the thumbs-forward method really becomes useful … where speed and accuracy are both needed. By positioning the thumbs-forward along the slide (or slightly off of the slide) you are in essence creating a second sighting device: wherever your shooting thumb is pointing is where the pistol is pointing. This makes it incredibly fast to draw the pistol, get your proper grip, and press forward to the target without needing to hunt around for the front sight.” — Cheaper Than Dirt Blog.

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