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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 92-----------FEBRUARY 2010



February 1, 2010

I think we're finally geared up and ready to go with our Hunter Education classes!  Rick and I held an orientation/training session the evening of January 26th, for our Northwest Sportsman's Club Volunteers.  NWSC is sponsoring our classes and this gets them up to speed with regard to state requirements for volunteer work.

I can also report that our plan to award a young student in each of our 5 classes a gift certificate, has been funded and the gift cards purchased.  One lucky student from each class, age 17 or younger, who shows outstanding effort and enthusiasm, will be awarded a $100 gift card to the Wholesale Sports store in Spokane.  (For more on this story, visit the Hunter Education page)

As hunting seasons are pretty much behind us until end of summer, thoughts turn to other activities that give us an excuse to burn gunpowder. Rick and Jennifer are in the midst of a project to load some target ammunition for Christi's 9mm Glock.

Reloading components, and factory ammunition, have been scarce to unavailable for months, and are just now hitting dealers shelves in quantity.  Still, one must shop around to find everything needed to assemble handloaded ammo.

Rick found Bullseye Powder and Hornady bullets at Wholesale Sports in Spokane, small pistol primers at Cabela's in Post Falls, ID, and new brass at Blacksheep Sports in Coeur d'Alene, ID.  Sounds like he found everything about twice as expensive compared to the pre 'Obama inspired' gun and ammo buying frenzy.

So far Jennifer has used a dial caliper to measure a representative sample of the brass to determine if it needed trimming, (it didn't) expanded and 'belled' the case mouths, and inserted primers.  Another session will be needed to charge the cases and seat bullets.


Jennifer priming 9mm cases with the RCBS bench mounted auto prime tool.  In over 40 years of reloading, I've never had a primer detonate at the bench, but eye protection is a sensible precaution!

Rick and Jennifer have not loaded ammo for semi-automatic pistols and the technique is a bit different than either bottlenecked or straight sided, rimmed cartridges.  They 'headspace' differently.  Most of you who read my keyboard diatribes, probably know what I mean by 'headspace,' but perhaps a few words of explanation are in order.

When a metallic cartridge is chambered in a firearm, the fit must be such that the cartridge is held firmly against the breech block.  If the case fits too loosely, it could, theoretically, slip forward far enough that the firing pin could not reach the primer to fire the round.  Also, excess headspace usually harms accuracy and shortens the life of the cases.

Most rimmed cartridges headspace on the rim.  The chamber is cut such that the rim contacts a precisely machined groove in the edge of the chamber.  So called 'belted magnum' rounds headspace on the enlarged belt at the base of the cartridge case.  Rimless, bottlenecked cartridges headspace on the case shoulder below the neck.

All the above scenarios allow the use of a 'roll crimp' as appropriate for the cartridge and caliber being loaded.  A roll crimp turns the edge of the case mouth into a groove called a 'cannelure,' cut, pressed, or molded into a bullet to hold it more firmly in the case.

Many calibers can be loaded with or without a crimp, but some, like most revolver loads, require a crimp to keep the bullet in place during recoil.  With some powder and bullet combinations, the crimp is necessary to provide additional resistance so the powder burns consistently.  Guns with tubular magazines may also require a crimp to secure the bullets from moving during recoil.

Rimless, semi-auto pistol rounds (like the 9mm Luger) headspace on the edge of the case mouth, so a crimp that rolls the edge of the case mouth into a groove, won't work.  Here we use what is called a 'taper crimp.'  This crimp tapers the end of the case toward the bullet, tight enough to secure it, yet leaves the edge of the case mouth exposed to contact the corresponding ridge inside the chamber.

The crimping mechanism is built into the reloading dies, and they are manufactured with whatever crimp is appropriate to the caliber.  Adjustment for the amount or tightness of the crimp is accomplished by threading the die in or out of the press.


L to R:  Taper Crimp on a 9mm Luger cartridge; Roll Crimp on a .44 WCF

Handloading ammunition for semi-automatic firearms is unique in another respect.   It must be loaded very close to the dimensions and working pressure curve of factory ammunition.  This is a bit of oversimplification, but if the round is too light, it won't operate the action, if too heavy, may damage the gun and if the bullet is shaped wrong it will likely jam.

This means that choices of powders, bullet weights, and bullet shapes are carefully chosen by the reloading manual publishers to function properly in the firearms in which they will be used.

You may want to load light, low recoiling ammunition for target practice with your favorite bolt action deer rifle, and then use full power loads for hunting.  You won't have this flexibility when loading for a semi-auto.

Whatever you're loading for, and for whatever purpose, use only data from published manuals and reputable sources!!  With the availability of printed and online data from the myriad component manufacturers, there is absolutely no reason to try some 'secret' recipe touted in an online chat room or discussion forum!

The filing of a bill in the Washington State Senate, has started our 60 day legislative session on a note that again prompts me to get on my Soap Box!  Three State Senators from the 'California' side of Washington, filed a bill to ban the sale of certain semi-automatic firearms.  Yeah, a so called "assault weapons ban."

I emailed our local legislators in both Houses, asking their support in defeating this insanity, but was pretty much preaching to the choir.  I was fairly sure that they would oppose the measure and their responses indicated they would.

I also emailed the bill's principle sponsor, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, expressing my thoughts on the matter.  Neither she nor any of her staff members responded, which is not too surprising considering my vote won't affect her standing in the next election.

Next I emailed a 'letter to the editor' of our local daily, The Spokesman Review.  The editor responded to tell me my letter exceeded the 200 word limit.  I revised the text, to cut off the extra few words, and re-submitted with this leading line:  "Will this one fit?"  (He must have thought I was asking if it would meet the 200 word limit!)

Anyway, my comments appeared on the editorial page of the Sunday edition.  Here's the letter:

I rarely write letters to editors or legislators. The recent introduction of the so called Ďassault weapons baní in Olympia is an affront that prompts me to do both.
Gun ownership up, crime levels down; is there a correlation? Perhaps, perhaps not, but certainly arguable.
What is clear though, the national Ďassault weapons baní in effect from 1994 to 2004, had no measurable effect on gun crime. Any reputable studies Iíve seen conclude that there was no statistical relationship between the ban and gun crime levels.
Another story that hits the media with some frequency, bemoans the fact that the United States has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Is it possible that keeping more criminals locked up for longer periods of time has more effect on reducing crime than gun laws? Keep your eye on the crime rates as we increase the early release of criminals in the name of Ďbudgetary woes!í
Letís spend our tax dollars on efforts to steer young people away from crime, and a criminal justice system that puts and keeps repeat offenders behind bars, instead of on another pointless gun law.

This week marks the 48th anniversary of my marriage to Little Heifer.  We usually celebrate with a night out at a nice hotel.  This year we chose the Hampton Inn Suites in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on Saturday, January 30th.  As in years past Rick, Christi, and Jennifer joined us in the afternoon for snacks and beverages.  Very nice place, with indoor pool and hot tub.  Unfortunately one of us forgot our swimsuit, so we couldn't partake of those amenities.  (Well, I guess we could have, but bodies of people our age sometimes tend to be wrinkly, especially the parts normally covered by swimsuits)


48th Anniversary - Coeur d'Alene Hampton Inn

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from one of Ann's cookbooks.  The book was compiled as a fundraiser for the Newman Lake Fire Auxiliary.  Author unknown:

"Before you give someone a piece of your mind, make sure you have enough to spare."

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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