Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wet tumbling without stainless pins with near stainless pins results!

  Reloaders need clean brass, usually.

  Some reloaders with carbide dies (especially pistol caliber reloaders) do not even clean their brass, but most do and most should.  Over the years, a plethora of dry tumbling techniques have been used, such as walnut hulls especially in the form of "Lizard Litter, corn cob media, and even airsoft pellets.  Additionally, additives to the brass and media mix such as mineral spirits, Nu Finish car wax, and purpose-manufactured Flitz tumbling media additive are popular.  There's drawbacks to dry tumbling, mainly dust to be mitigated; both in the overall load in the tumbler and in individual cases.  A dryer sheet in the media is a popular remedy to the dust issue, but one may experience plumes of tumbling media dust during shooting rounds reloaded using this cleaning method.

  The various dry tumbling techniques have recently been eclipsed in popularity by wet tumbling, mainly wet tumbling using stainless steel pins.  This produces vastly superior results over dry tumbling.  Furthermore, the steel pins help with slightly polishing rough edges left over from decamped primer pockets and making chamber necks smoother.  Some common drawbacks to this technique are:

  • disposing of the leftover lead contaminated water
  • stainless steel media stuck in cases (most of the time, simply removing each pin caught and throwing it away will keep this problem from occurring again with your batch of media
  • separating the pins from the brass.  This can be a chore.  Common techniques are sifting out the brass using a large amount of water to "rinse" the steel out and of course, a magnet.
  • drying the wet brass.  This does not have to be hard, but many make it that way.  Use a food dehydrator.  If you do not want to buy an extra one, simply buy extra drying trays for a whopping $9 for only brass use.  

  I tried the dry tumbling route and it was too messy, too slow, and produced mediocre results for the amount of work involved.  Next was buying a tumbler capable of tumbling liquids.  The Thumler tumbler is well spoken of, but I was certain I could spend much less and get a decent tumbler.  I found what I looking for in the Harbor Freight dual tumbler coupled with a 20% off coupon from Harbor Freight, bringing my total to under $50.  Yes, the Harbor Freight is not the same quality as the over two hundred dollar Thumler.  I do not care, I can purchase some extra drive belts, remove the motor cover so that it does not overheat, and slap rubber bands on the drums so that they turn properly.  This is a hobby that allegedly saves you money, if you can tinker just a little with the Harbor Freight tumbler, you can pocket a lot of savings.  I plan to sooner or later, manufacture a better drum for it, using this thread at ARF as a guide.

  So far, stainless media and wet tumbling worked much better for me.  However, enterprising souls at Pistol-Forum found a better way.  I read through the entire "Wet tumbling WITHOUT SS pins results" thread and tried the technique developed and detailed by the community there.  Many were using hot water, LemiShine citric acid dishwashing additive, and a very small amount of dish soap (Dawn works well).  The technique has been refined into saving money by using bulk citric acid powder (vastly cheaper than LemiShine), water, and Armorall Wash'N'Wax vehicle wash soap.  The Armorall soap helps clean the cases and adds a slight wax coating to the cases.  Regardless, the results are compelling; only slightly "dirtier" than tumbling using the bothersome time sink of stainless steel pins, but with greatly reduced time expenditure (You ARE reloading so that you can shoot, RIGHT?  RIGHT?)

  I am now a convert to the wet tumbling sans media method using water, citric acid, and Armorall soap.  I fill each drum about 2/3s to 3/4s full of brass, add hot water to little below where the lid sits, add 1/8 of a teaspoon of the citric acid powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of Armorall soap.  Then I tumble for roughly two hours.  If you add too much citric acid, some cases will become pinkish in color, I do not lose sleep over this, but those that wet tumble mainly for pretty brass might, so take it easy on the citric acid!  After that, I dump the water (safely), rinse the brass, add water again, and add another 1/2 teaspoon of Armorall for a final rinse and to ensure the cases are nice and smoothly coated with the wax additive in the soap, because in my experience; the final step of Armorall-only rinse negates the need for case lube while reloading.  After that runs for an hour, do not rinse, simply dry the cases on food dehydrator for at least two hours, once dry, reload per your normal routine.  This works for me and it works well.  Seasoned reloaders and clean brass worshippers will probably be clutching their chests in horror, but this works well for me.


Dirty brass:

Tumbling away, note the Armorall and rubber bands on the tumbler drum that ensure the drum spins properly (Thumpers Tumbler snobs can contact me about donations for a more expensive tumbler):

Nearly done, this the final rinse solution of Armorall soap and water:

Drying after final Armorall rinse:

Final product, ready to load!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cleaning a SilencerCo Spectre II using the "dip"

This is dipping the baffles in a 50:50 mix of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.  Later on, the lead acetate will be precipitated out into lead chloride by adding table salt and disposed of at the hazmat facility at my county dump.  In the video and some of the pictures, you can see bubbles of lead floating to the top, popping, and the lead particles plummeting back down to the bottom.  Two pairs of nitrile gloves were worn and of course, this activity was performed outside as so to avoid the fumes.

Cleanup was easy.  At 2.5 hours in, I pulled the baffles and wiped them off on shop rags.  Reinserted for another 2 hours.  Wiped off again, the results below.  Literally like factory new.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

FPF Training Street Encounter Skills Class Review

"Not the firearms training class you want but probably the firearms training class you need"

March 22nd 2015, I attended the FPF Training Street Concealed Carry Encounter Skills class in Culpeper, Virginia.  John Murphy was the primary instructor.  As so much can hinge upon the instructor versus the course material, my notes about John are as follows:

  • professional in conduct and appearance
  • served and deployed as a US Marine (this counts to Marines such as myself)
  • safety is stringently adhered to in his class
  • John is a student of self defense in all aspects of the phrase.  That means he studies why you should use force, the legal ramifications of using force, how to use force when needed, and most important of all; how to avoid using force.  

We started the day with the multi-media presentation.  John showed examples of the warning signs of attacks on the street, both successful and unsuccessful attacks and self defense attempts, and in the background; he kept on hitting upon some simple tenets of common sense that are oft overlooked in firearms training classes such as:

  • avoiding the fight
  • "not my circus, not my monkeys, not my problem"
  • deescalating a situation (better to be alive than to have died "keeping it real")
  • verbal judo AKA convincing a would-be attacker that you're not an easy victim

I do not want to give the impression that John sat there and lectured as he did not.  What you receive is an interactive discussion with real life examples from a true scholar of self defense who is doing his damnedest to make you a safe concealed weapons carrier and to be able to persevere if attacked/accosted on the streets.  Sources as varied as YouTube videos to Colonel Cooper's Principles of Self Defense was referred to and quoted from in detail.  Remember, this man is a scholar of self defense.  

The presentation was broken up with "verbal judo" work in the art of convincing a would be attacker to back off.  FYI, an infantry Marine's voice is quite handy in these scenarios.  

The second half of the training day was spent working with firearms.  Realizing that his students had different levels of skill in handling a pistol, John graded each drill according to his personal assessment of your skill.  So, despite my level of skill being a bit higher than a few other students in the class, I was held accountable for every shot I fired.  There was also a bit of FPF Training curriculum that I will not write in detail about but suffice it to say that you will undergo practical application of everything John teaches that day.

I've been trained by two Tier One firearms trainers (Kyle Defoor and Larry Vickers, a US Marine, NYPD/US Marine, and a civilian.  I wish I had started with John.  Knowing when and why to shoot count more than anything.  I do not wish to give the impression that this class was full of remarks like "that will get you killed on the streets" and "competition shooters would fail here" as John doesn't have that bit of egotistical schilling in his lexicon.  What he does have is a humble and professional approach to putting more educated and competent armed citizens on America's streets.  It is not high speed low drag training.  However, it is training that may save your life either physically or financially.  If you are looking for more reviews of this training, please click here for a review from my friend Tim at GunNuts.

I cannot recommend this training enough.  I plan to attend more training from FPF Training.  I believe that all concealed carry permit holders should attend training like this.  America would be a better place because of that.   

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Scott Edvin is a Massachusetts firearms trainer

  Have any idea how I know this?  Because Scott likes to spam or more aptly, astroturf gun related blogs and websites like.....this one.

  On my 5.45x39mm AR15 article, Scott took it upon himself to share this nugget of knowledge:

Whether it is a handgun, rifle, or even artillery, they have to go through periodic maintenance. In my class, I teach my student not just to use handguns but also how to keep them and maintain them properly. Regards, Scott Edvin MA Gun License

  Far fucking out.  You teach how to use and maintain handguns?!  That's amazing and completely pertinent to my article on how I put over twenty thousand rounds through a 5.45x39mm AR15!  I mean, all I did was train with and spend thousands of dollars becoming proficient with that weapon and documenting the whole process.....for free to whoever wants to read the damned article.  You're quite welcome for the free advertising, Scott.  

  My "gun gamers" post merited this bit of arcane wisdom, no doubt learning from copious hours of training, Scott?  Feel free to post your experiences; I mean I've only trained with the US Marine Corps, Pat Rogers, Larry Vickers, Kyle Defoor, Todd Green, and Jack Leuba.  

Good training class is required for all person who wants to learn perfect shooting or to improve their firearm shooting skills. Expert trainer helps them to cover and learn all techniques of shooting, which help them to become a good shooter.

  MIND.  BLOWN.  You mean you should get training?  WHO FROM, Scott?  Pray tell.  Do you know of some "expert trainer"  Maybe that guy could comment on blogs everywhere and offer some sort of completely unrelated drive by advertisement, along with a link to his website.  Don't mind everyone doing the work of building an audience and maintaining a blog/site, that's what other people do for YOU.

  So if you're looking for a lazy firearms trainer who lacks the wherewithal and work ethic to build up his business online, look no further than Scott Edvin.  Scott, nice bio you got there.  Oh wait, you haven't posted one.  In the off chance you actually competed with a firearm, I googled "Scott Edvin" and UPSA.  No match results but at least you're spamming someone else's blog.  Good work, Scott!  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Periodic maintenance on a 5.45x39mm AR-15

Well, this is sort of pointless after the truly pointless ban on surplus 5.45 ammo but I neglected to put this in my definitive article on the 5.45x39mm AR-15 so here goes.

Every 2,000 rounds or so, you need to remove the flash hider or muzzle brake  on your 5.45 AR-15.  Use a 19mm wrench and steady pressure.  Then put it forward end down and take a look.

That's not supposed to be there!  Light tapping with nearly any tool will show you that is indeed built up carbon.  Do note that I've never seen this actually cause a problem in 27k rounds.  I assume the rounds exiting the flash hider self regulate the carbon wall from obstructing the bore but might as well spend 10 minutes chipping this away and then soaking in my favorite penetrating oil and repeating the chipping process.  You don't have to get it perfect; just knock out most of the wall of carbon with a flat tip screwdriver or any other tool you have laying around.

Gratuitous pics!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Navy Captain awarded Silver Star in absentia

***Disclaimer***  This is satire aimed on shining the light on the demonization in the media of military veterans and the patent absurdity of naming a US Navy ship after a mass shooting victim who's never served in the US military over one of the literally dozens of fallen heroes from the last decade.  The slap to the face to these fallen heroes by the US Navy cannot be overstated.  For more information on Extortion 17, look at this book that was in part written by the father of one of the fallen SEALs.  Please feel free to email Chris Adams regarding the McClatchy PTSD article and tell him what you think of his map.  Kathleen Belew may be reached here if you have thoughts on her insinuations regarding veterans being or becoming white supremacists.

  In a daring daytime operation, apparent domestic terrorists have lured US Navy Capt. Joseph Tuite, Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) Gulf Coast into a local Denny's where they are holding him hostage with unlimited coffee refills and complimentary Moons over My Hammy.  Captain Tuite is a mission critical asset to the official keel laying ceremony for the USS Gabrielle Giffords.  Reacting swiftly, the Obama administration awarded the now POW Captain Tuite with the Silver Star, the POW medal, and announced that Vice President Biden is ready to negotiate for the Captain's release.

  Mystified Navy public relations officers could be seen puzzling over the ransom note which made cryptic references to the "Fallen Heroes of Extortion 17" , "Ryan Job," and a "Christopher S. Kyle" being "more worthy" of a US Navy vessel's name.

  The baffled public relations officers reached out to the civilian press for help identifying the sinister kidnappers whose ransom note was attached to the keel via a trident.  So far, the hypothesis is that veterans who are now white supremacists launched a raid from a notorious hotbed of crazed PTSD afflicted combat veterans known as "Little Creek."

  Support from celebrities has been overwhelming as Piers Morgan (@PiersMorgan) and Michael Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) announced a campaign "for common sense gun laws to free every town of armed veterans."

  The NRA; a "grass roots organization of armed veterans and white supremacists," had no comment at press time and neither did the vessel's namesake.