Sunday, January 29, 2012

Plastic Cased Ammunition from PCP Ammo

Plastic Cased Ammunition from PCP Ammo:

By Paul Helinski

Sometimes when you try a new product you are left with more questions than answers, and that is what it was like at SHOT Show Media Day at the Range 2012 when we bumped into PCP Ammunition, the plastic cased ammo people. It seemed to shoot good, but plastic ammo is too good to be true, right?

Set up with a .300 Winchester Magnum and a suppressed .308 Winchester, PCP Ammo didn’t seem to have a lot of stock with them to shoot, and they wouldn’t let us keep a fired case, but the stuff seemed to work, and it worked well. Some of the questions people had were:

How does it work full-auto?
Will the rounds cook off?
Do they stick after the gun heats up?
These are the questions you would probably ask if you were there, and the answers were pretty simple. No, they don’t cook off unless a brass case would normally cook off under the same chamber temperature. They run perfect full auto, and no, they don’t stick in most situations in the testing done so far by PCP ammo, part of this being, according to a company rep her on the blog comments, that the rounds will cook off in a machinegun before the melt temp of the plastic.

We didn’t, however, get to actually see any of this testing. What we saw were a few hundred rounds of what were most likely hand-made shells, that worked well in the rifles we shot. The rest remains to be determined down the road. We have included the company video here, embedded, that shows the rounds being fired in machineguns and rapid fire, with no failures, but we can’t attest to the legitimacy of the footage.

The thinking behind plastic cased ammo is that it reduces weight by 30-50%, thereby allowing the warfighter to carry more ammo for the same weight. According to the guys at PCP, and I have to say, they were true gun guys, not a bunch of slick marketing types, they finally hit a formula that stands up to the pressure and heat of full-auto fire in a battle situation, while retaining and even improving performance and accuracy for the cartridge and for the rifle. It all seemed legitimate, and it seemed like plastic cased ammo could indeed be one of those new things that everyone would be talking about all year.

How would plastic cased ammo improve performance and accuracy? Well, this is the thinking, though I have no idea how you would ever prove the theory, even if you could prove the results. Plastic obturates at a much lower pressure than brass. That much is of course true. Obturating, if you are unfamiliar with this term, is what it is called when metal is squished to a certain shape. The shape in the case of a fired round of ammo is the chamber of the rifle. The first thing that happens when you fire a cartridge is the brass of the case expands to the dimensions of the chamber, which are always slightly bigger than the SAAMI specifications of the cartridge. This is why you have to resize fired cases if you want them to fit any rifle again, and no two chambers are exactly the same, even if you cut them with the same cutter on the same computer controlled CNC machine.

The plastic case, by obturating quickly, requires less of the cartridge to be used up on obturation before sending the bullet down the barrel. That leaves more energy to get the bullet going, making it travel faster. And because plastic obturates so easily, it does so more uniformly than brass, which makes it “let go” of the bullet on obturation more evenly, which delivers a more stable bullet, thereby increasing accuracy.

… or so the thinking goes.

Ben Becker, our resident US Army Sniper, got to shoot the suppressed .308 on Media Day, and we were only shooting at steel plates, but he did find it easy to hit consistently, and he did feel like the gun was “right there” as it should be. The short run production of PCP Ammo right now is using Sierra MatchKing bullets, and they hope to have some hunting ammo out soon as well using Sierra GameKing and Berger Match VLD Hunting bullets. When asked if the cases were reloadable, the answer was, “officially we have to say no,” so take that for what it is worth. There did appear to be a brass base to PCP cases, and that would probably have to be resized even if the plastic had enough memory to return to form.

We had hoped to track down PCP Ammo on the SHOT Show floor, but didn’t see them in the directory and didn’t bump into the booth at the show. It could be that they weren’t able to get a booth this year as there is a waiting list for exhibitors and a lot of companies didn’t make the cut to get in. Media Day was all we were able to get to see of them, and there are definitely more questions than answers. This is one of those “we’ll believe it when we see it” things in the gun world that we may see in the market and we may not see. Hopefully PCP Ammo will stay in touch and get us some testing product when they are ready for prime time.

Until then, it’s a good story anyway, and we wish them the best.

'via Blog this'

NRA-ILA | Act Now to Stop Obama/Holder Gun Registration Scheme

NRA-ILA | Act Now to Stop Obama/Holder Gun Registration Scheme

Recently, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. issued a ruling upholding an Obama administration policy that requires federally licensed firearms retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles. The case was brought by two NRA-backed firearm retailers and by the National Shooting Sports Foundation acting on behalf of its affected members. Plaintiffs have already filed an appeal—but while we await the outcome, your help is urgently needed in seeking congressional action to end this illegal policy.

Devised by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the plan requires all of the 8,700 firearm dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days, if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines.

In July 2011, the Justice Department announced that it would proceed with the controversial reporting procedure. During consideration of the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, pro-gun U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) offered an amendment in committee to prohibit the use of funds for the unauthorized reporting plan and the amendment was passed by a vote of 25-16. Unfortunately, the Rehberg amendment did not make it through the appropriations process.

Much has transpired since then regarding BATFEs’ failed “Operation Fast and Furious,” and evidence is now clear that “Fast and Furious” was used as justification to force the multiple sales reporting requirement.

In early December 2011, CBS News reported that BATFE “discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.” In particular, agency officials wanted guns to fall into Mexican drug cartel hands and be traced back to gun dealers in the U.S. to make a case for requiring the multiple sales reporting.

According to CBS, “Emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called Demand Letter 3. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or ‘long guns.’”

CBS singled out a July 14, 2010 email sent by BATFE Field Operations Assistant Director Mark Chait to Bill Newell, the agency’s Special Agent in Charge in Phoenix, where “Fast and Furious” was based. In the email, Chait asked Newell to “see if these guns were all purchased from the same [licensed gun dealer] and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales.”

Last March, U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced S. 570 -- "a bill to prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns." The bill would prohibit the use of federal money to fund the multiple sales reporting requirement.

It is imperative that you contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 570. You can find contact information for your elected officials by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at, or you can call your U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121.

S. 570 currently has 33 cosponsors. To see if your senators are cosponsors, please click here:

Again, it is critically important that you contact your U.S. Senators as soon as possible and urge them to cosponsor and support S. 570. Ask your Senators to defund, and defeat, the Obama/Holder Gun Registration Scheme.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Knife Sharpening Tools and Techniques

Disclaimer* These are my tools and techniques! They may be different from yours!

In this video I take a basic look at some of the many types of tools and many different techniques of knife sharpening. There are plenty of people out there with a lot of experience with knives, but for the person just getting into knives or the outdoors (where a sharp blade is necessary) it can be difficult to know when and how to sharpen the blade.

Today I go over the methods and equipment that I use. I have found that the knife community is filled with great people just like the firearm community.... And on the opposite end of the spectrum it has just as many people who are 100% sure their way is the only way things should be done. Ignore the BS, do your research to figure out the best blade angles and what grind type your knife has and you'll be alright.

As always get in touch with me if you have any questions or requests!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How to Build an A-Frame Debris Shelter Pt. 2

In Part 2 of the wilderness A Frame Shelter, I complete the final touches on insulating the roof with added debris, securing the debris and then finally insulating the sleeping area within the shelter.

From here everything is pretty simple.  If you have questions with the initial procedures please see the video and blog description.

Basically the only thing I did was add additional debris to increase roof insulation/protection. The debris will settle somewhat. You can lay sticks on top if you can not complete the shelter in one go, but settling will occur none the less. But you WANT it to settle, because as I showed, it when "cake" and become stronger when it settles. It kind of gets like peat.

Anyway, I repaired the areas that had any settling but stuffing the space with new debris. Then I went about adding the layer as before, starting at the bottom and working to the top. Finally, I put the last debris along the top of the roof. 

MAKE SURE that you cover the entire roof area on either side of the "V". This is a crucial step in stopping heat from escaping.  To check your work, enter the shelter and inspect the main support beam. There should be no sign of daylight, or even a bright area showing through.

The last step to make the shelter more comfortable and to stop the ground from drawing the heat right out of your body at night, you can add debris to the bottom of the shelter. I prefer not to use leaves for this base and instead opted for the pine needle. Try to avoid collecting the wet  needles, closest to the ground. Go for the top most superficial layer. The best place to gather needles easily is right at the base of the tree (obvious fact that some people overlook).  You can never have too much ground insulation. I will also have a tarp, a mat and a bag, but a 2-3" layer of a thick pine needle base will be my goal before I sleep.

Now all that is left is to wait for snow!