When something goes wrong and the rifle won’t fire, the first question should always be, “What changed?” Before answering that, we have to determine—or at least I determine—whether we’re talking about a “fresh” rifle going through its shakedown period, or a (previously) trusted gun that’s suddenly decided to stop running. If it’s the first scenario, there’s a longer list of possibilities that include original parts, conditions, and installation quality. This article will focus on the previously-functioning rifle that’s taken a vacation from operation.
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Part of the process of developing the load we’re seeking is learning how to safely set a cap on its pressure. Most of us don’t have pressure-testing equipment, so we rely on measurements and observation to know when we’re at the limit. Here are a few ideas on how to proceed in load testing to find the safe maximum velocity, and keep it safe.
Don’t short-change a short gun! When you spec a carbine, think about shooting it! Simple? Yes. But don’t adapt to the carbine; make it adapt to you. Here are a few thoughts on how to get the most utility from your carbine.
In this installment of Reloading 101, it’s good to keep in mind what you’re dealing with, and that is a cartridge case, and what happens to it during firing, which is what we’re setting out to remedy when we reuse it. Read the full article to find out what’s going on with your brass.
When the bullet is sealing the bore, a longer barrel means more pressure is contained for a longer time. The smaller or larger the gas port size, the slower or faster the gas enters the system. The farther back or forward the port is located, the sooner or later. Bullet weight is a factor also: heavier bullets accelerate more slowly (This is also the reason heavy bullets erode the chamber throat faster than lighter bullets). Read the full story to understand pressure curves and port pressures.
A barrel-twist rate is expressed in a chain of numbers that reflects on how far down the barrel a bullet must travel to make one full rotation. To fully understand barrel twist, read this article.
In Part 2, High Master Glen Zediker writes about important considerations in choosing a barrel for your AR-15, including contours, length, life expectancy, crowns, cryo treatments, and chambering choices. Read this article article to learn more.
The difference between a rifle that shoots well and one that shoots very well is in the barrel. The standard for “shoot well” is ultimately subjective, but some manufacturing factors contribute to accuracy, the author explains, and some don’t.
Many AR-15 shooters don’t get barrel twist rates and chambering nomenclature throws them for a tizzy. Here’s a detailed explanation that will help you understand both.