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  Ar-7 Answers
Posted by: wmerrin - 04-06-2004, 03:29 AM - Forum: Weapons FAQ - No Replies

Subject: AR-7 Answers

Posted By: ML - Registered User

Posts: 44

Posted At: (12/5/00 7:01 pm)

Reply | Edit | Del

The previous post in this string queries:

"What I was wondering is since the AR-7 has a waterproof stock (it does, right?) can you bury it . . . ?"

Please be advised that while the AR-7's stock is waterproof, it is not watertight--an important semantic difference. The AR-7 will float when disassembled because of trapped air (usually in the form of an inert foam filling), but this is aside from the cavities molded in for the barrel, action, and magazine(s). You certainly can bury your AR-7, but it will rust just the same as if you buried it directly in the ground. The buttplate simply snaps over the butt of the stock, and while this may keep the gun dry under casual spray conditions or even light rain, it should in no way be counted on to keep the disassembled rifle dry under prolonged immersion, or especially burial (i.e., watertight). Waterproof in this case simply means that the stock itself will not absorb any water as would wood. In addition, the trapped bolt running up through the pistol grip serving to secure the action to the stock would remain completely unprotected, and thus a prime target for corrosion.

The post continues:

"I'd definitely hunt one down with an all steel barrel. "

May I ask why? It's heavier (a mixed blessing) but no stiffer compared to the steel-lined aluminum barrel. And your chances of shooting out a .22 LR barrel are something less than Your Humble Correspondent winning the lottery. In fact, the aluminum/steel composite barrel will dissipate heat faster . This isn't a match gun you're talking about, and aluminum/steel composite AR-7 barrels have been proven for more than 30 years. The chief value of a steel barrel is probably for the manufacturer--they are cheaper to produce.

To address another issue (jamming/misfeeding), let us settle back anc consider three variables: ammunition "power," bullet profile, and magazines.

Ammunition "Power"

Virtually all .22 LR semiautomatics, whether rifles or pistols, operate on the Unlocked Blowback principle, where only the inertia of the bolt's mass assisted by the force of the recoil spring(s) hold the action closed until the bullet is out of the barrel and the pressure in the chamber/barrel has dropped to a safe level. The rearward thrust of the cartridge-case head pushing against the bolt face operates the action, and that rearward thrust is controlled by the amount and type of powder and the weight of the bullet.

Bullet Profile

In most semiautos, .22 LR or otherwise, rounded hard-compound bullet noses feed best--the classic 230-grain .45 ACP "Ball" or Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullet is a prime example. Flat points, hollow points, and especially truncated cones with a pronounced shoulder or step may contribute to failures to feed. Wadcutter loads (a completely flat-nosed bullet, truly a simple cylinder of lead) are the most challenging to feed.


Firearms with detachable magazines introduce another variable, as the attitude to which the bullet addresses the feed ramp, or, lacking a feed ramp, the chamber mouth, may vary with differing magazines, or with the play between the magazine, magazine retention latch, and the receiver.

What Does It All Mean?

You've got to experiment. Start with using one magazine, and standard or high-velocity .22 loads with a rounded bullet nose. Then introduce other magazines, and ditch the ones which won't feed 100 percent. (Trust Me On This--you'll never fix them, and will only be tempted to use them. A good, solid blow with a 12-pound sledge hammer is the only solution, otherwise you're knowingly compromising the function of a survival firearm for an inexpensive, replaceable, and virtually disposable part.) Then test any alternate loadings for function as well. Since you can't reload your own .22 LR cartridges, that's all the customizing/variability control your can effect.

There's really no "magic bullet" solution here. Make sure the AR-7 is clean before you start testing, or none of your results will be representative.

It's really no big deal--just a box of your favorite .22 loads and a pleasant afternoon at the target range. You can test for accuracy while you're at it--just remember never to touch the AR-7's barrel with anything--your hand a rest, anything--but support it by the receiver/magazine instead.



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  Mausers And More
Posted by: wmerrin - 04-06-2004, 03:25 AM - Forum: Weapons FAQ - No Replies

Subject: Mausers and More

Posted By: ML - Registered User

Posts: 191

Posted At: (11/14/01 5:32 pm)

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Surplus Mauser and other Rifles

Mr. Roberts again brings up some interesting questions. Allow me to voice some (hopefully) interesting opinions. Let me first expound a little on the background of these particular surplus rifles, and then address the questions directly.

* * * * *

Less than two months ago, I was privileged enough to spent a most pleasant afternoon at one of my holy grails, the Mauserfabrik museum in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany. The museum itself is housed in the very building the Mauser brothers erected to fulfil their 1894 contract with the Swedes to produce 6.5mm M1896 rifles.

Mauserfabrik has produced and designed a number of rifles since 1871. The most famous is probably the Gew 98 series (Gewehr Model 1898, "Gewehr" being the German word for "rifle"). These are also sometimes called "large-ring" Mausers. In 1935, the design was modernized (new rear sight, shorter barrel, turned-down bolt handle). That model is properly known as the Kar 98k (for Karabiner Model 1898 kurz), and this model was the standard-issue infantry arm of the Wehrmacht during the Second World War.

After the War, Mauserfabrik was (for a time) disbanded, and the Yugoslavians produced a variant of the Kar 98k on Mauser tooling, differing in only minor details (the top handguard and the bolt handle). These, like the G98 and Kar 98k, were chambered in 7.92x57 JS Mauser cartridge, in this country more commonly known as the 8mm Mauser. This is roughly the Continental equivalent of our .30-’06 Springfield.

The Yugoslavian rifles were designated M48 and M48A. (The "A" variant uses a one-piece stamped floorplate and triggerguard. Personally, I prefer the milled-floorplate M48 model.)

Mauser 98-series rifles are the high-water mark in military bolt-action rifle design, in both their detail and craftsmanship. The youngest are also more than 50 years old at this point (the oldest more than 100 years old), and some of them have been through two wars. More than 12 million of them were produced, and the variation in condition is staggering.

I have a Yugo M48, purchased only a couple of years ago, and bought in virtually unfired condition for $250 or so. Compared to my German-issue Kar 98k, the stock is clumsy and clublike, and made out of an unknown wood resembling teak. Metalwork, though, is on par with most of the German wartime production. The price included an accessory package consisting of a bayonet, ammunition pouches, sling, and cleaning equipment.

The Turkish Mauser Rifles of which you speak are (fundamentally) a Gew 98 with differing sights and bolt release. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend them highly, as every specimen I have observed has seen hard service and is of substandard quality.

There are many other Mauser rifles out there as well. In the past, I’ve written of my M96 and M38 Swedish 6.5mm Mausers. So-called "Small Ring" M1893 rifles in 7x57 Mauser are also often encountered, as well as a few of the earlier M88 or even M71 and M71/84 Mausers. For reference, an M71 is roughly the equivalent of our Trapdoor Springfield single-shot of the George Armstrong Custer era.

* * * * *

The Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, more correctly the M1891, was developed in Imperial Russia by Colonel S. I. Mosin, while the rifle’s magazine was engineered by the Belgian Nagant brothers. Like the Gew 98 in Germany, it was the standard Russian battle rifle for both world wars. And, like the Gew 98 and Kar 98k, the Mosin-Nagant was shortened between the wars, resulting in the M1891/30 and M1944.

All Mosin-Nagants were chambered for the 7.62x54R cartridge, the standard infantry cartridge of the period. Unlike the 8mm Mauser, it is a rimmed cartridge.

I have to say, while the Mosin-Nagants are historically interesting, in all their variations I believe them to be not as desirable as the Mauser 98 family.

* * * * *

Now, taking your questions in order.


"Are they [the Turkish Mauser, the Russian Mosin-Nagant, and the Yugoslavian M48] worth buying as a cheap hunting rifle?"

Well, probably none of them will return the accuracy of a modern commercially made American rifle. They will all be heavier. All have inferior sights. And all are limited in caliber choice to either 8mm Mauser (the two Mauser designs) or 7.62x54R (the Mosin-Nagant). All of them are inexpensive, though. For a functional piece, you could probably get more bang for your buck by purchasing a used American-made bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight. Still, they are all chambered for a major-caliber cartridge, and it is the bullet which gets the job done, not the rifle launching it. Bottom line: for hunting, an acceptable choice, but only acceptable. You can "plink" with anything, but probably a good .22 will teach you more.


"Is the 8mm cartridge going to be hard to find soon?"

Not likely. All of the major American ammunition manufacturers produce this cartridge at present, and plenty of surplus ammunition is still being imported. With 12-million-plus copies of these rifles in circulation, only the 7.62x39 Soviet Kalashnikov round and our own 5.56x45 NATO (the .223 Remington) has a bigger worldwide potential for consumption.


"What are the differences between the Mausers?

I believe I’ve covered this.


"Can they (the Mausers) be used with modern ammo?"

Yes, generally, providing they are in sound condition. Most commercial 8x57 in this country is only loaded to 37,000 psi, well-below the maximum a good Mauser 98 can handle. Condition is everything, though.


[The Mausers v. the Mosin-Nagants]

In every way, the Mausers are superior designs when compared to the Mosin-Nagants. But that is only the design. Condition is, again, everything with these old firearms. I will say that it is probably much easier to get a good Finnish Mosin-Nagant than a good Turkish Mauser. Of the three rifles you mention, the "unissued-quality" Yugo M48 would be my choice.


"What are the differences between the Finnish [M39] and Russian Rifles? Quality?"

Yes. Of the many rifles I have observed, the Finnish rifles have always been superior. They vary in details of sling attachment, stocking, sights, and barrel length. The Russian rifles are offered in a greater variety of lengths.


"Is it worth playing with these, or [should I] just forget about it and buy a modern Remington 700?"

These old rifles are a good deal of fun, and they have a depth of history few modern rifles can touch. Still, for value and function, the engine of the modern American economy produces a product that is almost impossible to beat. Virtually every American commercial rifle produced in the last two decades comes ready for a telescopic sight right out of the box. With a modern rifle, you will have a much greater choice of cartridge choice. A modern rifle will be lighter. Buying a used rifle, perhaps already fit with a telescopic sight, will add to the value. For new rifle value, please look at a Remington 710 or a Savage "package" if you’re really strapped. Personally, I’d start putting my money away, and buy a rifle I was really happy with rather than one which was only a bargain.

A final thought--if you liked your M1903 Springfield, why not find another? I’ve got four, two original and two sporterized. You get the history and character of an older gun, the power of the .30-’06 Springfield, and a rifle that is competitively accurate and capable with a more modern piece.

Enjoy your shooting,




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  Reduced-load Loudness
Posted by: wmerrin - 04-06-2004, 03:21 AM - Forum: Weapons FAQ - Replies (1)

Subject: Reduced-Load Loudness

Posted By: ML - Registered User

Posts: 213

Posted At: (12/14/01 3:25 pm)

Reply | Edit | Del

You’ve touched upon an interesting topic here, and one which I’ll try to address more thoroughly in the future with yet another one of my long, boring posts. This one, though, will be (relatively) short.

Since about 1975, I’ve collected quite a file on hearing loss and other physical reactions due to exposure to loud sounds. And over the years, I’ve had several pretty thorough hearing tests myself (one of the best long ago and courtesy of your tax dollars during my OCS exam for the USMC).

Reduced-charge loadings certainly will be "quieter" (more on that definition in the subsequent posting) than full-power loads from the came cartridge.

Some numbers expressed as decibels of Sound Pressure Level (dB SPL) from some typical chamberings:

.22 Long Rifle HV, 20.5-inch barrel 137.5 dB

.30 US Carbine, 18-inch barrel 148.4 dB

.30-’06 Springfield, 22-inch barrel 158.9 dB

.375 H&H Mag., 25-inch barrel 160.0 dB

Bear in mind that this is a logarithmic scale; thus a 10-dB rise indicates roughly a doubling "loudness."

The .30 US Carbine data is useful in this particular instance, because , casting a 110-grain bullet at roughly 1700 feet per second and producing about 705 foot-pounds of energy, it’s similar to some of the mid-range .30-’06 Springfield reduced loads in the previous post. Comparing the 148.8 dB for the Carbine/reduced .30-’06 Springfield against 158.9 dB for the full-power .30-’06 Springfield, and we see a significant drop.

(Be aware, this is an extrapolation, and not an exact comparison. More reliable numbers would come from firing both full power and reduced .30-’06 Springfield loads from the same rifle with the same instrumentation. Still, it gives at least a quantifiable educated guess at what we should expect.)

Exposure to even the modest 137 dB produced by the humble .22 Long Rifle will produce hearing loss if you persist in shooting without hearing protection. Shoot more and you’ll notice it less, but that’s simply because you’re losing your hearing, not because you’re getting used to it.

What does this noise mean in the woods, though? That’s much harder to predict. I’ve seen many deer shot at and missed, and rather than spook and bolt from the noise of the shot they’ve stood still, raised their heads, and looked around. On the other hand, conventional wisdom holds that loud noises spook wildlife, and we’ve certainly all seen examples of that.

There will be no doubt, though, that lower powered cartridges, or major calibers firing reduced loads, will not be heard as distinctly or as far away as full powered versions, although they will still be quite loud.

In a previous post, I discussed the subject of sub-sonic .22 ammunition, and its influence on accuracy. A bit of that post is reproduced here:

"The speed of sound isn’t an absolute figure, but one influenced by temperature and air density. Nevertheless, a figure of about 1100 feet per second is pretty close for a temperature of about 75 degrees F at sea level.

"As a bullet passes from supersonic to subsonic (faster than the speed of sound to slower than the speed of sound) is undergoes a period of instability and for our purposes a resulting loss of accuracy."

Note that a reduced load in the 1100 fps range or only marginally higher may evidence this same behavior.

More later, although it may be well into the new year.



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  Reduced Centerfire Loads (long)
Posted by: wmerrin - 04-06-2004, 03:19 AM - Forum: Weapons FAQ - No Replies

Subject: Reduced Centerfire Loads (long)

Posted By: ML - Registered User

Posts: 209

Posted At: (12/11/01 9:56 am)

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Reduced Loads for Small Game

(Note: This post has been edited by the author and incorporates corrections from the original)

Which would you rather have for dinner: A brace of quail, rubbed with olive oil, black pepper, and fresh-picked sage, and braised in the glowing embers of a live-oak campfire along with a coffee-can full of steaming black French Roast and a shot of single-malt whiskey, or another anonymous extruded McMeal from the local Gulp ’N’ Blow, with a side of limp fries and a watered-down Coke? Not long ago I enjoyed the first, licked my fingers, and laughed at my good luck.

I’d been deer hunting, but the deer were winning that day. Yet hunting is still hunting (always a lucky day of itself), and is so often the case, when you hunt you sharpen your senses everywhere and see much, including many other animals. I had the fortune to be carrying a few reduced-power loads for my rifle as well. About an hour and a half before sunset, I flushed up a fat covey of quail. As for the rest of the story, well, I imagine you can fill in most of the blanks.

* * * * *

Reduced centerfire rifle loads aren’t much in vogue today, and that’s too bad. Like so many lessons from the past, we’ve forgotten today much of what our grandfathers knew. To that point, in this Forum we have discussion threads concerning the conjuring of fire by friction, flint knapping in order to produce stone tools, brain tanning, and others where the posting parties revel in a jacket designed in 1914 and produced by a company founded in 1897.

Quite right.

Certainly, I’m not suggesting old solutions are always best. (Every time I visit my dentist or physician, I’m very happy to enjoy any advances in modern medicine, and as someone who’s flown on everything from DC3s to Boeing 747s, I can vouch that advances in modern aircraft are even more impressive.) Yet I do believe, once again, many of us have ignored an "old" solution to a present problem--and that solution is the use of reduced cartridge loading for hunting small game.

In this Forum, we’ve seen threads addressing sub-caliber cartridge adapters (devices which allow the use of smaller cartridge in larger centerfire rifles, for example, a .22 Long Rifle fired in an arm chambered for the .223 Remington). These are popular for several reasons: They allow the use of less expensive ammunition. They allow the use of ammunition with less recoil and less report. They produce less meat destruction in small game. Similarly, some members advocate using a small-caliber rifle for rather ambitious undertakings, discussing what medium and large game may be taken with a .22 Long Rifle, .22 Magnum, .22 Hornet, and so on. (As my previous posts reflect, I generally disapprove of both these positions, but Forum members are advised to educate themselves and come to their own informed conclusions. As this is posted, we have an active thread concerning the use of the .22 Magnum)

The past, though, shows us a better solution.

Reduced loads fired in a major-caliber centerfire rifle return all the benefits of the sub-caliber-adapter setup (economy, mitigated recoil, lessened report, reduced destructiveness), but are simpler (no adapter to lose); factor in the price of the adapter itself, and their thrift is underscored. Finally, installation and removal of the adapter (easy with some designs, more difficult with others) or loss of the part are eliminated.

No less an authority than that great rifleman, Colonel Townsend Whelen, lived for months in the field carrying only one rifle (a sporterized M1903 Springfield in .30-’06). When was the last time any of us subsisted only on what we shot and the flour, sugar, salt and coffee we carried on our backs for an extended period?

Whelen and others knew, from experience, that they’d get far more shots at small game than big game. He also knew meat spoilage was less of an issue, as was variety in his diet. The Colonel called his reduced .30-’06 cartridges "grouse loads," and used them to fill his pot. With a box or two of them, he freed himself from having to carry two guns, yet maintained considerable versatility in his ability to bag game from moose to squirrel (Bullwinkle to Rocky, if you’d like) efficiently, accurately, and humanely with a single firearm. Today, that may appeal to Forum members whose scenarios include the possibility of true subsistence hunting, or for other who simply started salivating with the description of those quail and the campfire (the shot of whiskey, of course, was a field-expedient method of water purification).

Whelen’s Load

Col. Whelen’s pet small-game load for his .30-’06 consisted of a 150-grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullet travelling at 1600 feet per second. He used 18 grains of Dupont 4759 powder and a Federal #210 primer, delivering 852 foot-pounds of energy. From 1916 on, Whelen used this loading to take "grouse, rabbits, squirrels, muskrat, conejo, sloth, paca, crested guan . . . mink, otter and beaver."

Other Reduced Loads

The Speer Reloading Manual Number Ten offers reduced loads for many cartridges. For example, for the .30-’06, it shows a 100-grain Speer "Plinker" bullet travelling at 1548 fps, propelled by 16 grains of Dupont SR4759, producing about 532 foot-pounds of energy. A corresponding load for the .308 Winchester, using the same bullet and 16 grains of SR4759, produces 1516 fps and 510 foot-pounds of energy. Speer offers many other light bullets (in the 100-110-grain range) and soft loads for the .30-’06 and the .308 Winchester, among others.

Comparing Reduced Loads

A typical .30-’06 Springfield big-game loading consists of a 150-grain bullet travelling at 2900 fps, producing 2800 foot-pounds of energy (fpe). Here’s a comparison of typical energy for several other common "standard" loadings, as well as some of the reduced loads cited in this posting:

Standard Loadings

.30-’06 (150-gr) 2800 fpe

.223 Rem (55-gr) 1280 fpe

.22 Hornet (45-gr) 624 fpe

.22 Magnum (40-gr) 325 fpe

.22 Long Rifle (40-gr) 140 fpe

Reduced Loads

.30-’06 (150-gr/1548 fps) 765 fpe

.30-’06 (151-gr cast/1479 fps) 733 fpe

.30-’06 (100-gr/1548 fps) 532 fpe

.30-’06 (108-gr cast/865 fps) 179 fpe

Thus, one can see that even with a full-sized case such as the venerable .30-’06 Springfield, one may assemble a reduced load with little more energy than a .22 Long Rifle, or as much as a .22 Hornet.

The Buckshot Option

Even more versatility may be derived in .30-caliber rifles by substituting a single 0-Buckshot round lead ball for a more conventional bullet. (A single 0-Buck round lead ball weighs is .32-inch in diameter and weighs 48 grains.) A charge of 3.0 grains of Bullseye powder is usually suggested, topped by a tuft of Dacron of Kapok fiber and then the lead ball. This comes close to replicating what the old Lyman handbooks called "the ideal cellar and small-game load," and is suitable for most of the major .30-caliber rifles (including the .30-’06 Springfield, .308 Winchester, .30-30 Winchester, .300 Savage, and .30-40 Krag).

Cautions and Drawbacks

Wm. C. Davis, Jr. notes that, "Powders suitable for full-charge loads often do not burn completely in low-pressure reduced loads, and many produce poor results. Powders of finer granulation, designed for more rapid burning, are required." Dupont’s SR4759 is recommended as "possibly the most useful reduced-load powder for rifles." Of note, it is also Whelen’s choice. It may be difficult to find, but your shop can certainly order it, and a little will last a long time. Powders such as IMR4831 and 4350 and Hodgdon’s 250 and H450 should never be reduced below 90 percent, due to erratic ignition. Hodgdon’s H100 should not be reduced below 97 percent. These may lodge a bullet in the barrel, with catastrophic results if the phenomenon is not noticed and a second cartridge is fired. Simply cutting back a standard charge is dangerous and ill advised. You must consult a reliable loading manual; thankfully, they usually contain a good deal of information for reduced loads in all of the standard calibers.

Since some reduced charges only fill a small portion of the case (Red Dot, for example), there is a very real chance of double-charging a case if you are not paying attention, a dangerous mistake. These partially filled loadings may also require a filler to keep the powder near the primer (Dacron or kapok is the usual choice), or require the shooter to elevate the muzzle after chambering the cartridge in order to move the powder near the primer’s flash hole. This latter action may not always be convenient in the field.

A potentially more serious occurrence crops up if you confuse your loads. Whelen tells of having loaded the magazine of his .30-30 Winchester lever gun with reduced loads, and then encountering a bear. He emptied five shots into the animal with no effect before realizing his mistake. His solution was to always carry his rifle charged with full-power loads, and only single-load the reduced cartridge when he spotted the small game he intended to shoot. Sound advice.

Finally, be advised that you should never trust any reloading data published on the Internet or copied down by a friend, no matter how well-intentioned. Proofreading and accuracy are apparently foreign concepts when it comes to this medium, and you have no idea how careful or careless anyone may be--and of course that includes this author and this posting as well. Let me repeat that: NEVER TRUST ANY RELOADING DATA PUBLISHED ON THE INTERNET. Base all your planning on reputable, verifiable data published by the major reloading companies, and only appearing in their original publications.

Personal Experience

While I’ve taken no where near the variety nor amount of game as Col. Whelen, I have learned from his experience. Using reduced loads in the .270 Winchester and .30-’06 Springfield, I’ve shot dove, quail, squirrel, marmot, and a single wild turkey. Naturally, the loads shoot to a point of aim different from the full-power load, but this is easily learned. Shooting with a duplex-reticle telescopic sight makes things really easy, as one may choose to use either the conventional crosshair aiming point or any point between the thicker lower vertical wire and the thinner inner horizontal wire. Scopes with so-called "mil-dot" reticles offer still more points of reference for aiming. (For a small fee, Leupold will install the reticle of your choice in your Leopold telescopic sight. Other aftermarket suppliers also offer this option. Personally, don’t think even this is necessary.)

An alternate solution to reduced loads may be firing reduced-diameter bullets through your .30-caliber centerfire. How? By using plastic sabots. The following is from a previous post by this author:

"Once upon a time, Remington produced ‘Accelerator’ ammunition. This product line loaded .223-caliber bullets into various .30-caliber chamberings (.30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-’06 Springfield) by using a plastic ‘sabot’ to increase the diameter of the slug, the sabot separating from the bullet shortly after leaving the muzzle (today blackpowder shooters use a similar setup to fire .44-caliber pistol bullets through .54- or .58-caliber rifles). Sabots allow you to shoot (for example) a .223 bullet at velocities of 4000 fps from your .30-’06 Springfield. No alterations to the arm are needed, neither permanent nor temporary, and accuracy is generally the same as it would have been with the original .30-caliber cartridge--i.e., if your .30-’06 shot two-inch groups at 100 yards with 150-grain .30-caliber bullets, you could expect the saboted .223 bullets to shoot with a similar degree of accuracy, albeit to a different point of impact. While Remington no longer loads such ammunition, reloaders can order sabots through a variety of reloading supply outlets."


Whether you’re hunting for sport or sustenance, a pocketful of reduced centerfire load turns your rifle into a versatile game getter. In addition, a good centerfire often will return better accuracy and offers better sights and a superior trigger pull to less expensive rifles you might otherwise use to hunt small game. Don’t handload? What’s stopping you from learning? Like learning to drive a stickshift, pilot a small boat, or make a fire without matches, you should consider it part of your outdoor-preparedness educational process if you’re serious about using a rifle to hunt for survival to begin with. If you’re not, of course that’s fine too, but I doubt that you would have read this far.

Enjoy your burger, or enjoy your quail. As with so many things in life, you retrieve what you invest, and I for one am greedy for life’s grand experiences.



Forum members interested in learning more about producing and using reduced loads for small game will find the following article informative; indeed, even reloaders in possession of conventional loading manuals should consult it prior to assembling their own reduced loads.

"Reduced Loads" by Wm. C. Davis, Jr., appearing in book "Handloading" as published by NRA books.

Information concerning Townsend Whelen’s reduced game loads comes from his books, "Mister Rifleman" and "Wilderness Hunting and Wildcraft."

Much of the data for other reloading comes from Speer’s Reloading Manual Number Ten.

To calculate foot-pounds of energy (fpe) for a given load when you know bullet weight and velocity, use the following formula:

FPE=(Velocity x Velocity) x Bullet Weight / 450400

Edited by: ML at: 12/14/01 4:32:07 pm


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  Cook Sets
Posted by: alco141 - 04-06-2004, 02:23 AM - Forum: Wilderness Cooking Forum - Replies (21)


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  Good Wood For A Spoon?
Posted by: T-young - 04-05-2004, 04:52 PM - Forum: Questions and Answers - Replies (10)

Any reccomendations for a wood that will stand up to use, doesn't have a strong natural scent, and obviously isn't poisonous?! I want to carve a few styles of spoons and a spatula. I was thinking along the lines of willow or cottonwood.

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  What? More On Hand Drill? Damn...
Posted by: storm - 04-05-2004, 12:46 AM - Forum: Hoodlum Workshop-Photos Please - Replies (8)

dave wescott (editor of the Bulletin of Primitive Technology) once posed the question--Is there an optimal thickness to a hand drill spindle? i have about a dozen thistle spindles and about the same amount of yarrow and mugwort spindles that i'm going to use to test this out and wonder if any of you have an opinion--and especially experience--on this.

cattail on decayed western red cedar hearthboard--notchless ember

[Image: 50146465.jpg]

thank you!

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  Speaking Of Hand Drill...
Posted by: storm - 04-05-2004, 12:41 AM - Forum: Hoodlum Workshop-Photos Please - Replies (1)

my current big secret experiment (not so secret anymore) is to obtain a hand drill spindle and hearthboard (except things like yarrow, that are too small) from every species of tree, shrub, vine and woody flower (like mullein, thistle, etc.) that grows in the US. then i'd test them all within each region they grow in (for example, i wouldn't care how a cucumbertree spindle from alabama performs on an alligator juniper hearthboard from arizona). should be easy, eh? barry keegan once wrote to me about the experiments i've been doing and thought that projects like this would be most valuable if done by a core group of experienced people around the country. i think this group should standardize (the best they could) their methods and cross-check certain species that were regional (like redwood) and widespread (like the thistles). i'd be willing to buy such hand drill sets from around the country for $10 a pop. but the materials would have to fit certain criteria:

- spindle and hearthboard has to be cut from dead material (not green-cut). i think weathering and slight fungal deterioration of the cellulose and/or lignin improves friction fire wood.

- spindles should be reasonably straight, around 3/8" at the working end, and at least a foot long

- hearthboards should be at least 1" wide and at least 1/2" thick

as soon as i can rustle up the funds, i'm going to get a 1/2 page advertisement in the Bulletin of Primitive Technology for this. in an effort to reclaim our lost knowledge of such things (and hence our survival heritage), i'd like to see some folks get together and provide a place (on the Web?) to share our friction fire results (from bow drill to fire thong).

if you're interested in any of this, please contact me.

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  Cedar Foliage Offered For Free...
Posted by: storm - 04-05-2004, 12:25 AM - Forum: Hoodlum Workshop-Photos Please - Replies (9)

a lot of westen red cedar (thuja plicata) was cut down and trimmed around here yesterday (NPS fire control method #1). i see all the valuable foliage laying about, getting snowed on right now, and want to offer some to anyone (free) who contacts me. below are some links and text regarding uses. i use it for internal and topical antibiotics, as well as incense. let me know if you are interested...


[url="http://www.psychicreadernewspaper.com/Reader/2003/12-03/4herbshealth.html"]The Psychic Reader[/url]

The medicine of the cedar tree has been used for thousands of years and has many applications. Cedar helps to cleanse the energy field of your house. Having a cedar tree in your home is like doing a big spring cleaning. The strong aromatic smell of cedar is antibacterial and helps keep the winter flu at bay. Dried cedar needles can be gathered up and crunched into twigs. Put these twigs in the blender and powder them into a fine dust. You can put a pinch of this dust in a shell or noncombustible bowl and light as incense. Cedar incense purifies and cleanses. Burn it in your home or work space and clean out old, unwanted energies. Cedar will help you set your intention for what you would like to create in your life.

Fresh and dried green cedar needles can be made into a tea and used against colds, flu and bronchial infections. Cedar is an antifungal and cedar tincture can be applied topically to any fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot. Cedar syrup is an ancient remedy for coughs and chest colds.


[url="http://www.primitivearcher.com/articles/cleaning.html"]primitive archer[/url]

That calls to mind another way of taking care of feathers, contained in the words that opened the article, “if you do it right, they will sing.” The person who told me that was describing how he had been taught to take care of feathers. What he was referring to was a way of cleaning feathers. What you do is make a tea with flat cedar. Put a small handful of green flat cedar into a pan of water, and be careful about the kind of pan you use. No aluminum. In a pinch stainless steel can work, but it is better to use an enamel or glass pan, and preferably one that is only used for purposes like this. Simmer the cedar in the water, not boiling but softly simmering it until the tea is a nice green color, not too light and not too dark. I like to use rainwater, because it is nice soft water.

Once the tea is made, let it cool down. Then wash the feathers by stroking the vanes with the cedar tea, working your way outward and upwards from the quill, gently stroking them and listening to them sing. This process cleans the feathers and also gives them a light coating of cedar oil. As the feathers dry, you can see the way they shine. If you have ever seen a hawk spreading its wings to dry the dew from them in early morning sunlight, you get a sense of how beautiful the feathers can look.

In some cases, if the feathers that are going to be used for fletching are quite dusty or dirty, they can be washed in a very mild soap, such as a baby shampoo. After washing the feathers in the mild shampoo solution, rinse them by swishing them in clean water, and then follow up with the use of the cedar tea. The use of cedar helps replace the oil removed by the soap.


[url="http://magazine.audubon.org/features0101/future.html"]audubon magazine[/url]

While exploring the St. Lawrence River in 1535, Jacques Cartier and his crew drank cedar tea to cure themselves of scurvy, prompting King Francis I to name it arborvitae, or "tree of life."

[this is referring to Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), a related species)


[url="http://oregonstate.edu/~samplesj/plantspp.html"]oregon state[/url]

Western Red Cedar has bright red bark which peels in long strips. A natural fungicide in the cedar heartwood stops decaying. The complex root system prevents the large tree from falling over in this wet environment. Small cones shaped like rosebuds grow upright on cedar twigs. Toothaches were cured by cedar buds and kidney problems helped by cedar tea.

other great info:

[url="http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Thuja+plicata"]western red cedar[/url]

[url="http://herb.umd.umich.edu/herb/search.pl"]Plants For a Future Database[/url]

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  Hand Drill Particulars Carried Over From Old Forum
Posted by: storm - 04-05-2004, 12:19 AM - Forum: Hoodlum Workshop-Photos Please - Replies (1)

some people in the other forums requested that i send them a list of friction fire embers i've achieved via various methods (other than ones that are listed in one of my published articles). after finishing the list, i thought it might be worthwhile to post it here:

Hand Drill Combinations I’ve Tried in Washington (that led to an ember):

- on western hemlock root: big-leaf maple (BLM), cattail, red elderberry

- on western red cedar heartwood: BLM, itself, salmonberry, thimbleberry, canada thistle

- on western red cedar sapwood: cattail, horseweed, canada thistle, burdock, mullein

- on sub-alpine fir: spiraea, ocean spray, western red cedar

- on sitka spruce: bitter cherry, clematis

- on douglas fir: BLM, clematis, cattail, western red cedar, red elderberry

- on BLM: itself, cattail, ocean spray, thimbleberry, salmonberry

- on artist’s conk fungus: BLM

- on red-belted conk: BLM

Misc. Hand Drill Embers:

- sunflower on itself

- douglas fir on itself

- live oak on CA buckeye

- scotch broom on itself

- bamboo (Phyllostachys sp.) on CA fan palm

One-Armed Fire Plow Embers:

- CA fan palm on itself

Fire Plow Embers:

- CA buckeye on itself

- mule fat on yucca

- sotol on yucca

- mule fat on redwood

- mule fat on CA fan palm

Fire Thong Embers:

- rawhide lacing on yucca

- sisal on CA fan palm

Fire Saw Embers:

- yucca on itself

- sotol on yucca

- CA fan palm on itself

- CA fan palm on CA buckeye

- bamboo on itself

- red elderberry on itself

Inverted Fire Saw Embers:

- yucca on itself

- CA fan palm on itself

- bamboo on itself

- red elderberry on itself

Favorite Hand drill Combos:

- box elder on CA fan palm

- cattail on western red cedar sapwood

- milk thistle on CA buckeye

- mule fat on CA fan palm

- mule fat on sotol

- mullein on western red cedar sapwood

- burdock on western red cedar sapwood

Fungal Bow Drill Embers:

- on Fomes fomentarius (tinder fungus): green ash, burning bush

- on Ganoderma applanatum (artist’s conk): basswood, green ash, CA fan palm, mule fat

- on Fomitopsis pinicola (red-belted conk): red-osier dogwood, burning bush, CA fan palm

i think there is a need/want for some articles (and good photos) regarding fire thong, fire saw and one-armed fire plow--i'll get right on it. BTW, i hear that you might see an article by me in one of this year's issues of Stalking the Wild Magazine, Wilderness Way Magazine, Earth First! Magazine and Backwoodsman Magazine. i am honored...

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