Lead Is Bad, M’k….


At some point, whether we think we want it or not, lead ammo will likely be banned, probably indirectly. The Yankee Marshal had a couple of videos that make a pretty good point about the firearms industry, which includes consumers of the firearms industry, self-regulating away from lead to let us drive that agenda rather than being driven by that agenda.

There are quite a few lead-free options in defense ammo, mostly made of copper. Copper prices have come down a bit, but there still isn’t any range ammo for high volume competitors.

There is no arguing that it is really hard to beat the cost of poly coated or copper plated lead ammo. It’s cheap. 1000 rounds of plated or poly coated ammo can be less than $100, sometimes much less than $100 bucks.

In following some information alluded to in TYM’s videos, I found Polycase Ammo’s RNP ammo. The RNP projectile is made of a polymer mixed with copper powder to add weight. It doesn’t add a LOT of weight because the similar 9mm and 40 S&W Ruger ARX bullets, manufactured for Ruger by Polycase, that I found at Cabelas are only 65 grains and 97 grains,¬†respectively. Even the 97 grain 40S&W is light enough that I could not pull the bullet with an inertia bullet puller. I whacked it pretty hard and the bullet didn’t budge. Perhaps I will have better luck with a collet puller.

I did remove them from their cases with considerable alacrity using Glock pistols. Th 40S&W ARX out of the G20/Lonewolf is fast, averaging 1479 fps through my chronograph the 9mm (G19) trucks along at 1583 fps. The light weight bullets have to haul butt to generate enough foot-pounds to work a pistol slide. The 9mm ARX comes in plenty hot to cycle the pistol, but at 102PF, it is too light for non-BUG IDPA sanctioned competition. The 40S&W ARX does. It makes 143 power factor right out of the box. The RNP is expected to run about 133.

Both ARX rounds tore pretty impressive ruts in the ground and compared to the low velocity RNFP I usually put through the chronograph, I got splattered with ejecta.

In the interest of at least checking it out, I ordered 500 rounds of Polycase RNP in 40 S&W from LAX Ammo, in addition to the Ruger ARX at Cabelas. The RNP from LAX arrived today.

Concurrent with my order, I contacted Polycase Ammo to ask about handloadable projectiles for sale and, while the reply was basically, “Please wait”, the guy was very nice and revealed that I am not the only person pressing them for projectiles:

I have a bunch of friends that are competition shooters and they are all wanting to know when the reload portion of our ammunition will be available and I have to tell them all to be patient.

That’s fine for them, but I want it NOOOOOOWWWWWW!

In any case, I expect to shoot the RNP in this Wednesday’s match at Defender Outdoors…

Too Busy Shootin’ To Blog

Ok, well, maybe that isn’t completely the case. The ‘too busy’ part is, though.

Since my last bit about cutting some weight off the RIA 2011, the new 2017 IPDA Rulebook has been published. For the most part, the new rules are an improvement. At the very least, there are substantially *fewer* of them; the 2017 rulebook is 18 pages shorter. More on that later, but the maximum weight limitation of 43 ounces still applies, but the prohibition of an extended dust cover disappeared without a trace.

This is, of course, good news and bad news. For this pistol to comply with CDP rules, I still need to remove a total of 4.3 ounces, plus a bit of margin. It’s just that now I don’t have to hack the front of an otherwise useful mounting rail off as well. On the other hand, that *was* going to be some of the weight to trim.

One of the most important changes are in the dimensions of allowed firearms, particularly CCP and BUG. The CCP division box is now an inch shorter in length, but 5/8″ taller and barrels are allowed to be 4-3/8″ or less, which is 0.275 inches longer than before. Similarly, the BUG division box is 3/4″ shorter but 7/8″ taller and barrels are now only allowed to be 3-1/2″ or less.

Guess who’s Kahr CW40, a veteran of several BUG matches and which complies in every other way, has a barrel that is suddenly¬†0.1″ too long?

I had some 1/4″ aluminum plate cut to some specific dimensions to form IPDA boxes that can be disassembled and stowed in a range bag.

The box on the left is for SSP, ESP and CDP divisions. The width of the pieces establishes the 1-5/8″ depth of the box. With the pistol inside the frame, slide a straight edge across the top of the frame and if it clears the pistol, then the pistol complies.

The CCP and BUG boxes share the same 1-3/8″ depth, with different length and width dimensions. The slots in those pieces allows one set to be assembled into either size. As I ordered two sets of either size parts to be cut, there are enough pieces to make all three boxes at the same time.

My hope is to offer these for sale, but there is a caveat to their design that I need to address before they could be considered as a valid measurement device. When assembled, the fit of the slots allows a little movement of the pieces. The net effect is that rather than a rectangle, with 90 degree corners, it can become a parallelogram, basically a skewed rectangle. Since a pistol needs to fit inside of a rectangular box that is of a specific length, the bit of slop in the fit can let a pistol that is as much as 1/4″ too long to fit by allowing the muzzle to push the top left corner to the left and the grip to push the bottom right corner to the right.

The obvious fix is to clamp the parts square and weld the corners into that position. Of course, there goes being able to disassemble it and stow it in a range bag. I have some other thoughts about stabilizing the assembly, something like this clamp, but sized and applied to take advantage of extra material on the outside corners.

Unlike rendering a my BUG gun ineligible to compete, one very welcome aspect of the new rules is the addition of fault lines at cover points. From a tactical standpoint, a moving cover line as the shooter advances to address each target in tactical priority keeps the shooter more safely behind cover. On the other hand, while it seems like it would be objective, calling cover violations required a lot more active attention to the shooter’s body position and it often became a very subjective discussion about whether or not cover had been violated. As a shooter, now you can check the fault line once as you set and pay all your attention to shooting unless you need to move. As a Safety Officer, you can check the shooter’s position once and pay all your attention to other scoring and safety issues unless the shooter needs to move again. Better for everyone.

Somewhat controversial is the increase of the points down value from a half second to a full second. Ones are still less costly to your score than threes, which are less costly than misses, but all are twice as costly as they used to be. The emphasis is on accuracy over speed.

Related to the scoring cost is the new two-zone head section of the standard target. No longer is the entire head area zero down.