Reliability vs Accuracy trade offs

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Re: Reliability vs Accuracy trade offs

Postby APynckel » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:05 pm

There is a third factor that isn't brought into the equation, however, which is quality.

You can have reliability and accuracy, but you're going to have to fork out the dough for quality. Well toleranced parts, such as an AR15 that has no slop between the lower and upper, and the bolt being properly headspaced to the barrel, will function time and time again without fault while slinging lead through the same hole, but will not be cheap. Quality costs money, because it takes time to make.

My daily carry is a Les Baer Stinger (Stainless) in .45 acp. 6+1 officer grip, 4.25" barrel. I've run thousands of rounds through this weapon and never had a fail to feed / fire that wasn't at fault of a reloaded cartridge (single round that wasn't crimped after bullet seating) or a limp wrist (fail to extract due to damping).

This gun shoots far better than I do (and my generic plated lead RN 230 gr projectiles) and would shoot far better if I loaded some lighter rounds for it.

This is the number 1 reason why I got into handloading. The harmonics of two barrels are never equal, and you cannot make a "mass produced" round that will work GREAT in all weapons. You must tune a cartridge to the gun, like you tune an engine, so that the projectile leaves the weapon at the same harmonic node time after time. There are MANY factors that influence this, not just powder charge; Case neck tension around the projectile is a big one, flash hole uniformity, primer seat depth, and overall case volume which will drastically change pressure spikes behind the bullet. The time it takes for the bullet to jump out of the neck and be grabbed by the rifling lands is also a huge factor, but cannot be controlled in semi auto magazine fed weapons (like the ar15) since you are limited in overall length by the magazine, this is really only a factor in bolt action guns, which is why they tend to be more precise weapons.

Sometimes you'll get lucky and find an off the shelf cartridge that works good enough for you. Great. Personally, if a rifle doesn't shoot sub MOA or tighter, it's sub-par to me.

I would never, however, carry a handloaded round for the exact reason you stated, Mr Coulter. Lawyers can spin that you made a "deadly deathly bullet of death" with the intent of taking someone's life with it, and make you look REALLY bad in front of a jury. No thanks.
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Re: Reliability vs Accuracy trade offs

Postby Doug Coulter » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:11 pm

Hey, I'm just Doug, not mr anything. I've had power and authority enough to not want it anymore, or the trappings.

Seems as though we agree on most things, and the important details. I have to say, though, that getting a really bull barrel 6 PPC kind of took the fun out of reloading for a little while - anything it will chamber, it will put into the same hole, and I have a 20 shot target, two shooters, four different loads, all the same ragged hole to prove that. Yeah, we were both pretty amazed, but loading for that tight-necked sucker is a PITA...you have to turn the necks down so far there's almost no grip left, and put the bullet in the lands or past - it'll push back into the brass easily when chambered anyway.

The AR was LOTS harder and more fun as a result. I got a Colt HBAR, and the jump to the lands is furlongs, and it was hard on rounds during bolt cycles, so yeah, putting the real quality into super low TIR ammo, super consistent stuff, and
"fixing" the gun so it didn't bend the ammo on loading were key to get it to sub-moa. Still not as good as my better bolt guns, but I did once take it to a benchrest match to prove a point. I didn't win but it changed a lotta old minds (these guys thought 3/8" average MOA groups were amazing from an AR). I'm still modding an AR 10 in .308. It already shoots great, and is very reliable and not too hard on the shoulder, but it has a fatal flaw - it ruins brass on ejection. They used too little mass and too-strong springs throughout the original design, and I'm slowly fixing that.
It throws out the brass so hard it's almost as dangerous to the side as what it's pointed at.

I don't find as much effect of ammo on handguns, but maybe that's because I kind of stink at shooting them anyway - I don't have Jerry Miculek's forearms, which is key - you're part of the system, the gun is moving in recoil before the bullet leaves, and it's where we are pointed when it leaves (not when your mind says pull the trigger) that determines where it's going to hit. That said, in my truck I carry a CZ 97 b in .45 ACP with one each 10 round clip of factory hardball - and another of hollow point handloads, and a .36 spcl in Taurus Titanium with lasergrips the rest of the time (requires a very hard grip and slaps like a .357 if you're not on top of it). "Do not look into laser with remaining eye" or you're going to get a hole in it. That said, situational awareness has allowed me to not need either one, though it can be comforting if someone tries to start a fight, and you know what could happen - it calms you right down and it's easier to just grin and walk away - I'll talk, walk, run my way out of any fight. But if I have to run more than about 10 steps, the gun will be in my hand when I turn around, and if the guy isn't making the fastest U turn he's ever made when I dot his eye with the laser, that's it.

Everyone who is not a gun guy I hand that CZ to falls in love with it - it shoots great for everyone, and is 100% reliable, unlike my custom 1911.
Gun guys too, but the CZ is a great way to make a convert, if you know what I mean, as the round has the reputation "no one can shoot it well" and everyone does with this gun - it's too heavy to carry, really, but that's not how I use it.

I still shoot for entertainment, but rarely compete anymore - It is actually a case of I got too good at this too easily and it got boring after my first "possible" at hunter-benchrest. Can't beat that. I'm just trying to pass on what I've learned for other pepole to benefit from it (and have a lot more to do on that, but right now, I'm swamped in other things).

But I still enjoy some time on my own range now and again, and build accurate (some might say hyper accurate) rifles, which for now are in general 6.5 mm, either swede or rem 260 (sometimes modified for steeper shoulder). To really get this right, and have it work first time, every time, you build the gun around the projectile and check out what Sierra has in that caliber - can't be beat for the ratio of accuracy and BC vs how hard a beating the shoulder takes (yeah, I'm a little guy and big guns hurt). I generally use Mauser actions I blueprint here in the machine shop to utter accuracy (100 atoms or maybe one thickness of sharpie mark ink on the lugs and bolt face), machine them in a jig I built that is very tight, and do some pretty cool tricks. After making a "drill" that on my lathe can cut an arc out of metal block to match the radius(es) of the action, I go ahead and mount them, and then and only then, mill in the picatinny slots for the scope rings, all without removing the action from my jig. Nice way to save time later zerioing in, eh? I KNOW the scope is on-axis, or can arrange for tilt for super long range guns. For 6.5 mm I've gone as slow as an A&B 1::9 twist for hunting type guns (and they're pretty good but I'd not take them to benchrest matches), to a cutom Kreiger 1::6 for long range 142 gr sierras, which finally settle down around 200 yards and have won me some egg shoots at half a km. But that barrel is expensive, and 1.4" in diameter - straight, so you'd not take that one into the woods, you'd die of exhaustion. Some of the fake "Mitchel's Mausers" were actually made in the Balkans long after WWII, and were better in every way than the original - quality of metal and machining, though I usually can get an action a lot cheaper at some gun show and ditch the rest of the gun - I'm going to chew on it anyway, so as long as the metalugy is OK, and they're not too worn, I don't care. They are easy to get a good trigger for, and are generally really reliable if you make sure to NOT use the Ti firing pin David Tubb sells without the feature that prevents the pin from falling in a gun out of battery (that's the scar on my face, it got hit with a bolt. it was ugly and all my fault on top - a cautionary tale I'll tell later on). It's in fact why Peter Paul Mauser invented that particular feature, he had the same accident, but with iron sights. Hard to believe he lived, I had a scope so the bolt hit me at the jaw, not right under the eye. Then it went through a locust fencepost and buried itself about a foot deep in a dirt bank. It was hauling. I still have that action and will use it again, sans that dangerous pin.

Note that one holers at 50 or 100 or 200 yards aren't the universal gun. They are good starters (and great hunters), but to shoot much further, you really don't care that much about short range group size - you care about long range group size, and as Roy Dunlap pointed out, some guns that are close to "over spun" have smaller groups at longer ranges (in MOA) than at short, becuase the bullets spiral a bit till they "settle down". Fact, I also have a couple guns that do that, including that .308 I used in the video that brought so much attention. But at range, it's all about staying supersonic and judging the wind, the fact that you understand trajectories is a given when you get to that point. I seem to be especially lucky there, but I'd not want to be shooting one of those low velocity rainbow trajectory guns in that case. I want the bullet to get there before the wind can change much!
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Reliability vs Accuracy trade offs

Postby APynckel » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:28 pm

Well then, Doug :P , I think for the time being, I am done with "high precision" and am leaning more into the fun Title II stuff; SBR's, suppressors, etc. I've built a 300 BLK SBR in an AR15 platform with an 8.5" barrel and suppressor, and that is more fun than a barrel of monkeys for me. It's got me farther into casting boolits so that I can optimize terminal ballistics, which for me is more fun than making holes stack on paper :P

If I was to build another "reach out and touch someone" weapon, it would be in plain jane 6.5 creedmore and do some load progression in that caliber.

Other than that, I'll carry my Les, and enjoy my toys. :D

If you ever want to start casting your own boolits, I am always open to lend some advice (like you'd really need any), so you can put all that lead to more use than just shielding :)
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Re: Reliability vs Accuracy trade offs

Postby Doug Coulter » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:33 pm

Actually, I agree on that too, and already do cast my own bullets - custom alloy depending on use. I use lino or lino + extra Sb for targets, soft stuff for handguns, and so on. Hunting, it's just plain hard to beat jackets where you can have a tough outer lining and a soft core easier (and really, who breaks the budget with hunting?). I just love it when people come to my range and leave bullets and brass behind - we recycle it all.

I had some contact with the BATFE and they helped me with a design that didn't need approval for a muzzle brake that at least was no noisier than no brake...

I bet .50 blackout is tons o fun. A neighbour has two m1 carbines we use for that kinda fun. Not the same, fun nevertheless.
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