Saturday, November 23, 2019

Making Some Beef Jerky Today

Making some beef jerky this weekend. Weis had a 2-fer special on London Broil, so that's what I bought. It came out to a bit more than three pounds of meat. This is half.

The knife is a Terävä Jääkäripuukko 110 carbon steel model from Varusteleka. It came EXTREMELY sharp. I'll do a follow up post on the knife after I get the chance to use it some more.

I put the meat in the freezer for about a half hour before slicing, which made it firm, which in turn helped in cutting uniform slices about 1/8" thick. The puukko went through it like a hot knife through butter.

After slicing the meat I added the Nesco cure and spices, and now it's marinating in the fridge until tomorrow morning.

It should take about 10 - 12 hours in my Nesco dehydrator tomorrow. Gonna be good.

My plan is to freeze about half the jerky to bring with us when we go upstate for deer hunting in a few weeks. The rest will be for snacks until then.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Keltec CMR30 First Impressions

Several years ago, Keltec piqued my interest when they announced the forthcoming RMR30 semiauto carbine in .22 Magnum. As with a lot of Keltec guns, it took awhile in coming to market and a couple years after that in becoming widely available, by which time it had been renamed the CMR30.

Yesterday I took several military suplus rifles that were gathering dust in my closet and traded them in towards a CMR30 and 500 rounds of .22 Magnum ammunition. This post will provide my first impressions of the gun.

Here's a pic along with my CZ Scorpion Micro, which we also shot today:

For those unfamiliar with the CMR30, it's a semiauto carbine chambered for the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire cartridge. It feeds from the same 30 round magazines as the Keltec PMR30 pistol. The operation is straight blowback.

The upper receiver is an aluminum extrusion while the lower is polymer. There is a full-length Picatinny rail up top, while the bottom of the forearm also has a rail. The 16" barrel is threaded 1/2-28 at the muzzle and comes with a thread protector.

Keltec gives the unloaded weight as 3.8 lbs, with a 5 pound trigger. OAL with the stock collapsed is around 23".

All the controls are ambidextrous except for the bolt release. As a lefty I appreciate this.

This afternoon I took the CMR30 to a friend's place where we put 100 rounds through the rifle. We shot two types of ammo, which I got yesterday with the gun. The first box was Speer 40 grain Gold Dot JHPs, intended for use in handguns. The second box was Hornady 30 grain VMAX.

I should note that Keltec states in the owner's manual to shoot 40 grain ammo. They warn that cartridges with lighter weight bullets may not have enough recoil impulse to operation the action.

In 100 rounds we had 4 failures to feed. The first malfunction was on the second round of the first magazine, with the Speer loads. The remainder were with the 30 grain Hornadys. For a new gun that's not broken in, shooting ammo that the manufacturer specifically recommends against, I won't complain.

We were shooting offhand from about 20 yards at an 8" gong and a 5" Caldwell stick-on target on a cardboard backer. The rifle needs to be zeroed from a bench; it's shooting low and right. However, once I figured out where the point of impact was, I was able to use Kentucky windage and elevation to reliably hit the gong.

The recoil impulse is almost nothing with virtually no muzzle flip. It's very easy to do double taps or even longer, rapid fire strings and keep your bullets on target.

As mentioned above, I am a southpaw. One thing I checked online before getting the CMR30 was whether it was lefty-friendly, specifically whether I'd be getting gas in my face from the ejection port, or get hit by empties. The reports I saw online indicated shooting lefty isn't a problem.

I did get a little gun schmutz on my right cheek when shooting, and I think one empty bounced off my right shoulder, but neither of these was a major issue. I experienced worse with my Remington 550-1 .22 LR autoloader before I installed a gas deflector on it. I might make something for the Keltec because I think it might bother my daughter more (she also shoots portside).

I like the Magpul MBUS sights that come on the gun from the factory. I expect most owners mount some kind of red dot sight and I'll be no exception. One thing I noticed is that the front sight is close enough to my eye to make it a little hard to focus on. Ah, the joys of being in my early 50s. (That said, it's not as bad as on the CZ Scorpion Micro.)

My overall first impression is very favorable. Although I experienced 4 malfunctions in the first 100 rounds, three of those were with ammo that Keltec warns against. The trigger is nice and the overall shooting experience is fun.

Last night I placed an order with MidwayUSA for 2 more magazines, a rifle case, a Maglula, and two boxes of Federal Champion 40 grain JHP .22 WMR.

Next up will be to get it to a range with a proper benchrest to get the sights zeroed and check the accuracy potential.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Friday, October 04, 2019

Wheelguns and Cast Bullets

Most preppers nowadays favor semiautomatic pistols. However, medium frame revolvers in .38 or .357 remain excellent choices for home defense, concealed carry, or use as a general utility gun.

A friend of mine who is by necessity something of a prepper recently picked up a used Smith & Wesson Model 64-3. The Model 64 is the stainless version of the old police standard .38 Special blued steel Model 10, AKA the Military and Police. The M&P has been in continuous production since 1899. This is his first centerfire revolver and he immediately fell in love with it for the ease of use and accuracy.

At the same my friend was buying his Model 64 I picked up another revolver, this time a used fixed-sight Ruger GP100 chambered for .38 Special. Both our guns are security company trade-ins.

Ruger designed the GP100 in the 1980s to take advantage of more modern manufacturing methods including investment casting. They also designed it to be more user-serviceable. Disassembly is a lot easier than the Smith & Wessons (not to mention Colt double actions) and the "peg" to which the grip attaches allows a wider variety of shapes to be used.

The GP100  a very robust gun designed to handle shooting an unlimited number of full-power .357 Magnums.

The shop where we bought them also had a few nickel-plated Model 10s, and for someone on a really tight budget, two or three Taurus Model 82s.

I chose the Ruger this time since I already have a passel of Smith & Wessons and also because it came with the compact rubber grip, AKA the "short butt." This is probably the revolver grip that fits my hands best and also does an excellent job of absorbing recoil.

Aside from easy availability of ammunition, .38 Special and .357 Magnum are straightforward to reload. Revolvers are not dependent upon magazines and can function with any bullet shape. They are ideally suited for use with cast bullets.

Guns chambered in .357 Magnum can safely shoot .38 Special but the reverse is not true (the .357 case is 1/10th of an inch longer but otherwise the same). If i could have only one handgun it would be a medium frame .357 Magnum.

For example, I recently received an order from Matt's Bullets:

The small box is one hundred 250 grain .452 bullets that I'll use in .45 Colt cowboy loads for my Pietta Remington New Model Army fitted with a Kirst Konverter. Factory .45 Colt ammo is rather expensive but now that I have a few hundred pieces of empty Starline brass, it makes sense to roll my own.

The large box is five hundred 178 grain Keith-style bullets to be loaded in .38 Special and .357 Magnum. I tried 100 of them last year and they shot really well in my S&W Model 28 and Ruger 50th Anniversary Blackhawk, loaded on top of 5.0 grains of Alliant Unique.

I'm looking at loading up some hotter rounds for use in the GP100. The 178 grain Keith bullets loaded to around 1000 to 1100 FPS will handle anything on two or four legs that needs shooting in Pennsylvania. They should perform similarly to the .38/44 round developed by Smith & Wesson in the late 1920s to improve the performance of the .38 Special against car bodies, and chambered in N-Frame "Heavy Duty" and "Outdoorsman" revolvers. They won't stress the GP100.

As I've mentioned in the past, the ability to cast your own is important for self reliance but I'll admit that buying them already made is a lot easier. That said, I need to get a Keith-style mold from Tom at Accurate Molds.

One of my favorite gun writers is Ed Harris (sometimes known as C.E. Harris). I recently discovered a web page with a collection of his articles, here. One in particular makes for good reading for preppers who might be interested in reloading for .38 Special and .357 Magnum in revolvers and lever actions, here. Another good piece of Ed's is Revisiting the Full Charge Wadcutter, hosted on Grant Cunningham's blog.

A lever action in .357 Magnum is an excellent companion to a .38 or .357 revolver that offers a lot of utility while not being on the immediate radar of gun banners. I got the chance to handle a new production Rossi 92 last weekend. The fit and finish looked good although the action was a bit stiff. That will improve as the gun is shot.