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American Rifle
Rifle Magazine
February - March 2002
Volume 37, Number 1
ISSN: 0017-7393
Number 215
On the cover...
Cover photos include the Smith & Wesson Models 625 Mountain Gun and 27. Below (left to right) sixguns include the Ruger Vaquero, New Model Blackhawk and Colt Single Action Army. Colt pistol photo by Dave Scovill.
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Columns

Leading in H&K Barrel

Q: I purchased an H&K USP compact .45 ACP to carry. My problem and question result from trying cast H&G semiwadcutter bullets with 6.8 grains of new Unique. The bullets are sized to .452 inch and lubed with Lyman Alox. The alloy is a mixture of lead/tin/antimony that measures 7 on the SAECO hardness tester. This load does not lead the barrel in my Colts at all. However, in the H&K with its different rifling design, it leads like mad, even after 5 or 10 rounds. Could this leading be the result of the rifling design, or do you have other ideas?  - B.B., Georgia

A: Leading has many causes. Some barrels just lead. I remember well the wonderful, old Bar Sto barrels we used in our competition pistols tended to lead, sometimes severely for the first several thousand rounds. These broach-rifled barrels were extremely accurate and for lack of a better description, a little toothy. Until much shooting, especially with jacketed bullets, had polished them, they leaded.

I doubt, however, this is the cause related to your H&K. These barrels are usually glass-smooth. It seems your thoughts, that the rifling (polygonal) is the cause, are probably correct. The barrels are certainly designed around jacketed bullets. The barrel’s surface may have extra, high-friction contact with the bullet, when compared to conventional rifling. This combined with lube break down might cause the lead.

Another potential cause, that is the most normal cause for severe leading, is gas cutting. The bullets may not be creating a perfect bore seal. When gas jets by the bullet, or part of the bullet, it melts lead and leaves it in the barrel. As possible cures you might try: slightly larger bullets, softer bullets, harder bullets and another lube.

Now here is a really good one! I suppose for most of us, case trimming is a necessary evil; and the often flimsy, imprecise or ridiculously complex trimmers add to the agony. Like so many good things, case trimming is not rocket science, nor does a case trimmer need to be a rocket.

Sometimes, simpler is better.

The Cam Lock trimmer is just that, astoundingly simple and really stout. If we begin with the “normal” parts, the body is a heavy alloy casting. It is, as it should be, a version of a miniature lathe with lots of metal and very stiff. The cutter measures 5/8 inch and therefore should be capable of handling cartridges through .50 caliber. This cutter-end or head stock is turned by a thick, solid handle with a big, smooth knob. You can put plenty of power into this. Further, you could unscrew the crank handle and substitute a power drill or screwdriver.

Fine-trim length adjustments and trim-to length stops are part of the cutter end. Again, these are simple and positive. No wrenches are required, just simple hand-tightening of the two heavy, knurled steel collars lock the length adjustment.

The tailstock, or end that holds the cases, is where the trimmer gets really interesting and revolutionary. First, the part that holds the cases begins as a massive .810 inch diameter solid steel shaft. It fits into the base and is locked by a simple cross slide and a big knurled knob. This gives you very quick, coarse length adjustment. The end of the shaft is turned and threaded, ending in a flat-faced rod that is the size of the hole in a shellholder. A threaded shellholder screws on to the end of the shaft.

In action, the shellholder holds the case and the threads draw the case head and shellholder back against the flat-faced end on the solid shaft. This creates a solid crush fit between the end of the shaft, shellholder and rim Ð all measured from and related to the head of the case. Each and every case is indexed solidly against its head. The trim length is always the same, fixed between the immovable shaft and the cutter. The end result is cases that are the same length, every time.

One of the really good things about this system is that you do not need exotic or odd case-holding devises to go with your trimmer. A standard shellholder does the job. Therefore, if you have a shellholder for the cartridge, your case trimmer is ready to trim it. The only other addition is a trimmer pilot that fits the caliber. The trimmer is supplied with seven pilots for: .22, .24, .27, .28, .30, .35 and .45.

While it is a bit of overkill, you can see in the photo, I chucked the shellholder shaft components in a collet and attacked cases on my Bridgeport milling machine. I launched the big, 2,000-pound machine with its 2-horsepower motor at the cases. It was running at 2,500 rpm and taking .006-inch cuts per rpm. The smoke and brass really flew, and most important, the extraordinary case holding system seemed to like it. Every case came out the same. There was no slippage, chatter or vibration. If you need a case trimmer, take a hard look at this one.

* * *

FoodSaver - for Everything

 This is a little off the subject, but it is too good to miss. The FoodSaver is that relatively familiar critter that magically seals your dead deer, fish, quail or whatever in strong plastic. The machine is a proper vacuum system. Therefore, each bag has all the air removed before sealing. It is air that causes trouble in the shape of freezer burn, etc. Unlike ordinary plastic bags, these bags can be boiled or microwaved without melting. Yes, I do use the FoodSaver for its intended purpose by packaging my rare, yearly catch of sturgeon and lots of smoked salmon. But, it is the non-food uses that seem to grow daily.

As time goes by, I find more and more uses for this handy   vacuum device. One of the first things I sealed up was a fragile, rare box of original collector’s cartridges. The transparent plastic does not hide the box or information on it, but all air is out, preventing internal decay, and the tough plastic eliminates wear and tear to the fragile box itself. Other things, like an impossibly rare, original Jacobs bullet and exploding head are now neatly sealed. This accomplishes two things: first, damage and decay are stopped; second, the small, losable pieces are now held in something big so they cannot run and hide.

I have also sealed up a revolver or two. The guns were cleaned and lightly oiled before they were sealed. Putting a gun in an ordinary plastic bag is a certain recipe for rust, because of trapped moisture and oxygen. But with the vacuum concept, there is virtually no air in the bag (nor water or oxygen), therefore the components of oxidation/rust are not present. If I were going to run a river, or pack a pistol in other really horrible conditions, where there was little immediate need for the arm, it would travel in the vacuum bag. The bags actually come in long rolls and while I have not tried it, I am certain you could seal up a long gun also.

Beyond firearms, the vacuum bags hold my limited, but carefully selected emergency and survival gear in my pack. The sealing does two things. First it makes the materials as small and compact as possible. Bandages or cotton shrink almost to zero. Further, the contents are kept perfectly dry and clean. In addition to serious stuff, they will perfectly preserve candy bars, tobacco, film, spare lighters and almost anything else you would like to keep neat and tidy. Also, a spare sweater, socks and other clothes are absolutely sealed from the elements.

I guess the main point is, if you have wondered about buying a vacuum FoodSaver, as I did for years, it is perfectly fair to think well beyond food. They are really handy. Available from Cabela’s or other retailers, or direct: www.suresource.com/Tilia; 1-888-777-8841.

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