Monday, August 31, 2020

Video: Ken Hackathorn on M1 Carbine Reliability

Lately I've recently been paying more attention to my M1 Carbines and so watched this nice video on the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel with Ken Hackathorn discussing the M1 Carbine:

I have NOWHERE near as much as experience as Mr. Hackathorn, but I’ve owned several M1 Carbines since the 1980s and my experience matches his when it comes to ensuring reliability.

My first Carbine was a commercial copy by Iver Johnson, purchased new. It had a problem with an improperly hardened bolt. The locking lugs peened and it had to go back to the factory for repair. I got rid of it a little while after I got it back from IJ.

Since then, I've owned a few USGI Carbines: 1943 Underwood, a 1944 Underwood, and a 1944 Rock Ola. I still have the '43 Underwood and the Rock Ola. On all of them I replaced the recoil springs with new springs from Wolff.

In my experience, the USGI Carbines have been very reliable as long as they were kept clean, lubed, and fed good ammo. The only time I had significant reliability issues was when shooting steel cased Wolf (Tula). The steel cases don't obturate as well as brass and the chamber got filthy. After shooting a box of that stuff I changed over to some RA 52 Ball and got extraction problems. Cleaning the chamber fixed that.

Good .30 Carbine ammo that I've shot includes RA 52 Ball (Remington from 1952), Winchester FMJ, Remington FMJ and JSP, Prvi Partizan FMJ, and Federal FMJ and JSP. I recently got a 1080 round can of mid-1980s vintage Korean milsurp ball made by PMC, and I'm sure that will be perfectly fine.

Finally, if you're interested in keeping an M1 Carbine around for more than just casual use, get ahold of Jerry Kuhnhausen's The U.S. 30 Caliber Gas Operated Carbines: A Shop Manual. It's the definitive work on gunsmithing M1 Carbines.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Rifle vs. Shotgun for Defense in the Event of Civil Unrest

  On an email discussion list the relative merits of shotguns vs. AR15s came up in the context of defensing yourself in a riot. Another member offered the opinion that Kyle Rittenhouse would been better served with a semiauto shotgun or even a side by side (SxS).

This is an edited version of my reply:

An AR15 or other semiauto rifle is an ideal choice for protecting oneself in a riot. As demonstrated by Kyle Rittenhouse, 5.56mm at close range is devastating, while offering light recoil and the ability to carry a lot of ammo while not weighing much.

A SxS shotgun is better than a sharp stick but when confronted with multiple attackers I don’t want to have to reload after only two shots. KR actually fired at 4 different individuals, all at bad breath range.

Something that needs to be noted is that these Antifa guys pressed the attack even after watching one of their buddies get killed. The old saw that a group of criminals will disperse after you drop one or two cannot be depended upon to be true when dealing with Antifa. IMHO, they need to be regarded more like determined insurgents than as criminals.

Also note the importance of a sling for weapon retention. One of the shootees, I think Pedo Dwarf, tried to pull KR’s rifle away from him before being shot. The sling prevented that. A bayonet might also be helpful for weapon retention.

A semiauto shotgun would have worked as well for KR as the AR15, at the expensive of additional recoil and the ability to carry less ammo. Also at the expense of shorter effective range (although that would not have been a factor in this incident).

Today’s AR15s are a far cry from the M16s fielded in Vietnam with no cleaning kits and poor maintenance instructions. Especially in a relatively clean (i.e., no blowing sand or mud baths) environment like an American city, an AR15 with good ammo and magazines, and properly lubricated will function very well.

A Mini-14 or AK would serve just as well.

AAMOF, I am looking once again at my M1 Carbines because they are so light and handy.

I have a 1943 Underwood and a 1944 Rock Ola. Both have been fitted with Wolff extra power recoil springs and have been checked for function with Remington 110 grain JSPs. Gelatin tests of that load result in permanent cavities similar in size to those produced by 5.56mm M-193 ball.

The Underwood used to be my road trip gun. I had it in a replica of an M1A1 paratrooper folding stock but this week put it back into the original stock because it’s more ergonomic. It has an Ultimak rail on it, replacing the handguard. I’ve had it with a Bushnell TRS-25 but I am going to swap that for a Primary Arms micro RDS with a longer battery life, and rezero. I’m also going to add a Rogers Rail Light.

I have an Italian surplus bayonet on order for it. (grin)

USGI Carbines have gone way up in price in the past few years but from what I’ve read the current production Auto Ordnance Carbines are good. (Early production apparently had issues.) Fulton Armory Carbines are also supposed to be good to go.

Nowadays, my CZ Scorpion Micro is my road trip gun. I have a laptop backpack that fits the gun, several spare magazines, a multitool, IFAK, and an Israeli battle dressing. The CZ is fitted with a Primary Arms micro RDS with a 50,000 hour battery life, Olight weapon light, and a Magpul sling. The gun is zeroed at 25 yards; shooting a little low at 50.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Black Powder 20 Gauge Shells with Patched Round Balls

  Today I loaded up 25 rounds of 20 gauge shells for potential use as short range deer hunting loads. They consist of:

  • Magtech brass cases
  • Federal large pistol primers
  • 80 grains of Goex 2Fg black powder
  • Ballistic Products nitro card
  • Ballistic Products fiber cushion wad
  • 2 x 0.010” patches prelubed with Wonder Lube
  • .575 round ball
  • Ballistic Products over shot card sealed with Duco cement
Before I settled on the patch/ball combination I check it for fit in my H&R Topper’s modified choke. With only one patch I could push it through with hand pressure. With two patches I needed to tap it through using a mallet, but it required less pressure than a typical tight fitting PRB in a muzzle loading rifle.

Waiting for the Duco cement to dry: