Firearms in America

by Erik  

The information contained on this site provides easy to understand information related to firearms, their use, and operation.

I do my best to provide unbiased information pertaining to different types of firearms, manufacturers, and laws.  Certain sections of this site focus on specific areas and topics related to firearms.  I only post information on topics and items that I can speak intelligently about.  If I am not educated on a specific topic or item then you will not find it here.

Now for the disclaimers; I am not a gunsmith, lawyer, law enforcement officer, or gun control lobbyist.  Nor do I play one on television.  Any information contained on this site contains no warranty or guarantee of any kind.  This site exists for the sole purpose of being useful to those who are less educated about firearms.

RELOADING: 223 is labor intensive

by Erik  

If you are new to reloading, or thinking of starting you'll probably want to reload .223/5.56. While you can successfully reload this caliber, it's pretty labor intensive.

Even using a progressive press, there are some steps that still must be performed if you want to create match-grade ammo. Here are some tasks that must be performed to get the most from your .223 reloads:

  • Swagging
  • Full-length sizing
  • Case trimming
  • Annealing

Swagging is a process the removes the crimp from the primer pocket on military brass. Not all .223 cases are crimped, but the majority of 5.56 ammo will need to be swagged. This is a labor intensive process that must be performed manually unless you have a very expensive Dillon 1050 progressive press.

In order to chamber and function properly, .223 rounds must be full-length sized. This isn't required when working with pistol caliber or straight-walled cases. Due to the shoulder on the .223 cases, the dies must be adjusted to "squeeze" the entire case in order to properly re-shape them.

Case-trimming is a must for accuracy. It ensures that your bullets will be seated uniformly. All match ammo is carefully trimmed to very precise length. This must be done manually unless you have another expensive Dillon accessories that works with progressive press.

Annealing is a process in which the top of the case is heated to a glow and then slowly cooled. It will look like a blow torch mark near the shoulder of the case. While, not critical to accuracy, it's often seen in military and match cases. The main purpose is aid in proper "stretching" of the case when fired. It also extends the life of the case which is useful to reloaders.

Personally, the majority of my ammo is for plinking. I don't reload ammo for accuracy as I'm usually just shooting steel plates. In my case, I don't trim the cases, and I don't separate my cases by make as most precision reloaders often do. Many of the steps you must perform with .223 are not necessary when reloading something like .45 ACP.
At the end of the day, you should consider how accurate you really want your reloads to be. Of course we would all like to have the most accurate ammo possible; but you must consider the cost of your time as a reloader. At some point, it just becomes cheaper to buy some Black Hills match ammo and be done with it.

Triple-base gun powder?

by Erik  

Single and double-base smokeless gun powders are very common is all small arms cartridges. They are available for use by reloaders and factory produced ammunition.

The primary energy source in single-base powder is nitrocellulose.
The primary energy source in double-base powder is nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine.
The primary energy source in triple-base powder is nitrocellulose, nitroglycerine, and nitroguanidine.

Triple-base powders are used almost exclusively in larger arms such as artillery and are therefore restricted for civilian purchase.

ITAR: shipping guns and accessories internationally

by Erik  

If you buy and sell gun parts on ebay, you may have noticed disclaimers about ITAR regulations. Without getting into too much legal jargon, I will provide a general idea of what ITAR is.

The International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a collection of regulations that basically states you cannot "export" certain types of items without an export license. One purpose is to restrict the amount of domestic arms and arm/products from being obtained by international hands from US civilians. Manufacturers of specific equipment can export to foreign allied military/government.
The criteria covers most "military-grade" equipment. Here is a sample of some items which are restricted from export by ITAR:

  • .50 caliber firearms/parts (example: Barrett rifles/parts/ammo)
  • Military-grade rifle scopes (example: EOTech holographics, Trijicon ACOG)
  • Lights/lasers (example: Surefire weapon lights,
  • Optic mounts (example: Larue mounts)
  • Night vision
  • Silencers
  • Flash suppressors (example: AAC 51T blackout flash hider)

There are some strange things listed such as "ammo linking machines" and other tooling which can be used to produce munitions. Consumer grade reloading presses ARE NOT restricted by ITAR.
See more details regarding ITAR.

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