Gift Guide for Shooters (22 gifts under $50)

Posted December 1st, 2010 in General, Links, podcast, reloading, Smiths, Uncategorized by Rob

Looking for a gift for the hard-to-please shooter?  You’re sure to find the perfect gift below!

Monkey Knuts – $6.95

For anyone that would enjoy slinging a 3/4” stainless steel ball bearing on their keychain.

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 01 10.26
Why? Because you can’t go wrong with a name like Knut Buster!
Buy it here!


Stephen Hunter’s “Dead Zero” – $14.82

For the reader that enjoys an author who knows his guns.


Why? Because no one can turn down a good Bob Lee Swagger story!

Warning:  This book releases on December 28th, but any fan will take an IOU

Buy it here!


Nikon SpotOn Ballistics iPhone Application – $4.99

For the techie long range shooter who can’t put away the iPhone

ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 01 10.39
Read more about this app

iTunes store page

Why? Because we need another justification for that iPhone purchase.


Swisstech Utilikey – $8.65

For the gadget geek that’s too stylish to carry a Leatherman on their belt.

Why? Because those Christmas gifts may need opening and assembly before the real tools get opened.

Buy it here!


Quark Mini AA2 – $31.20 + Free Shipping

For the security minded person in need of a high quality EDC flashlight.

Why? Because deep down, everybody’s afraid of the dark.

Buy it here!
Read this review


KaBar TDI Law Enforcement Knife (Small) – $33.59

For the handgunner who wants a knife that draws like a handgun.

Why? Because sometimes guns need to be taken back.

Buy it here!


Battle Bears – $29.99

For the youngest member of the family who wants to be “tactical”.


Why? Because nothing says “Don’t kidnap me!” like a teddy bear in Multicam.
Buy it here!


Boresnake  – $6.26 – $21.95

For the shooter who hates to clean their guns.


Why? Because now they will be without excuse!
For Handguns – $6.53 -$15.26
For Rifles – $6.26 – $16.29
For Shotguns – 13.74 – 21.95


Magpul Dynamics – The Art of the Dynamic Handgun (4 Disc Set) – $49.99

For the Magpul fanboys(or girls)

Why? Because everyone loves to sit on the couch and watch Chris Costa roll in the dirt.

Buy it here!


SOG Tactical Tomahawk – $38.10

For the person fixated on historical weapons.(Think revolver shooters)

Why? Because everyone wants one, but they’re just to embarrassed to add it to the list.

Buy it here!

_____________________________________________________________________________ – Free service or Premium for $7.95/mo or $29.95/yr

For the numbers geek that tracks every round sent downrange.

Why? Because paper is so last year!

Use the promo code: PersonalArmamentPodcast for 90 days of free PREMIUM access

Check it out here!


Brass Flowers – Starting at $28

For the ladies that want to show their shooter cred and still wear stylish jewelry.

Why? Because nothing says Merry Christmas like repurposed brass.

Buy it here!


The Ultimate Cliploader – $23

For the rimfire shooters who buy ammo by the case.

Why? Because bullets don’t jump into magazines on their own.
Buy it here!
Works with: Ruger Mark II, III & Hunter, Ruger 22/45, Colt Woodsmen Mag., Old Military High Standard, Newer High Standard, Browning Buckmark Pistols, Stoeger Luger


Warren Tactical Sevigny Carry Rear Sight ~$45

For the shooter who blacked out the white dots on their rear sights.

Sevigny Competition Sight 1

Why? Because it’ll make you shoot like Dave Sevigny!

More info
Prices vary dependent on the handgun
Pair this with a Dawson Precision fiber optic front sight…


Ranger Up Shirts – $18 to $25

For the shooters who need a special outfit just for the range.

sheepdog 2acarbonrevolvsonsdang1dang2chicksflag

Use the code PERSONALARMAMENT for 15% off any of these shirts!

Why? Because you haven’t been there or done that unless you have the t-shirt!


Dave’s Book – Handgun Combatives – $23.95

For the hadgunner who wants to learn without watching Chris Costa roll around in the dirt.

ScreenHunter_04 Dec. 01 11.31

Why? Because Dave Spaulding is the man!  He does a fantastic job of explaining complicated subjects and infusing a healthy dose of reality.

Buy it here!


California Competition Works 8 Magazine Pouch – $24.95

For the shooter who stores his handgun mags in a cardboard box.

Why? Because everyone should have 8 lint-collecting pockets to stick their mags into!

Buy it here!


Kershaw Ken Onion Blackout with Speed Safe – $45.78

For those that want a fast opening knife that isn’t a switchblade.


Why? Because not everyone wants a fixed blade.
Buy it here!


Radians Custom Molded Earplugs – $11.04

For the shooter who doesn’t want to mess up their hair, but wants comfortable, custom earplugs.

Why? Because you know you want to see someone else stick goo in their ear.

Buy it here!


Lyman Combo Powder Funnel Pan- $6.09

For the reloader who weighs every single charge.

Why? So there is less stuff on the reloading bench.

Buy it here!


Martial Blade Concepts – The Enhanced Version – $29.95

For the knife guy who wants some practical and realistic training.


Why? Because who doesn’t want to learn to make that scary face?

Buy it here!


USPSA or IDPA Membership – $40/year

For the shooter who loves to play.





Why? Because everyone can use some more game!


So what do you think?

Are there glaring holes in the list?

Did I leave anyone out?

Be sure to email this to those that may be purchasing gifts for you this holiday season!

Interchangeable Magwells

Posted June 26th, 2010 in Uncategorized by Rob

This AR-15 lower from Lancer Systems offers 3 interchangeable magwells:


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NY District Attorney Lies About “Illegal Gravity Knives”

Posted June 25th, 2010 in Uncategorized by Rob

Maybe somebody should consult relevant legal rulings before scheduling a press conference about “illegal gravity knives”.  Then again, what did I expect from a New York District Attorney?

Obviously, too much!

Thanks to

Gun News Link Round-up #1

Posted June 14th, 2010 in Uncategorized by Rob

Welcome the Democrat gunnie:  

What would Jesus carry?

Congratulations Area 5 Winners:

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

A modern saddle holster:
Another use for your spent casings:

Toughest #gun laws in the world couldn’t stop a mass shooting last week:

Learning productivity from #firearms:

“To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” G Washington

DeSantis Nemesis Pocket Holster Review:

Any right or freedom not worth fighting for is but a temporary privilege. – Sheriff Richard I. Mack
The NRA is for school shootings?! Is this slander?

You can clean a pistol wrong, but I don’t really think you can clean it excessively. – Todd G.
Say bye-bye to the front sight! Awesome photo:

Smart Carry Vs. Thunder Carry

.308 Bullpup for Lefties – Keltec RFB pics:

Concealed carry US map and state chart:

AR-15/M16 Field Maintenance and Inspection Video:

Guns and burgers! Now that’s a combo:

Videos from the Blue Ridge 3-gun:

Cover but not concealment? Hmm…   

Sniper competition obstacle photos:
Any good gun book recommendations?

Dawson Precision factory video tour: 
Ultimately, it is greed that drives men to work, survive, and create

Dear Abbey gives pro-gun advice:

Building a lightweight AR:  

Now available: Bullet Points – Reloading for Customization 

Randy Debuted his “Ninja Reload” at this year’s IRC. Here’s a video 

Just finished editing the interview with Ruger for tomorrows podcast. Learn about some of the differentiating details in the new LCR .357.

Now available: Ruger LCR .357 and SR-556 Carbine Details

Miculek: 18 International Revolver Championship Titles And Counting
Gorgeous photos of the Springfield XDm

For these and more updates and links:

Follow on Twitter

Twitter RSS Feed

Bullet Points – Reloading for Customization

Posted June 11th, 2010 in podcast, reloading, Uncategorized by Rob

Dan and James of come on the show to discuss customization.

One of our listeners offers his process for selecting a powder for reloading.

1)Loading manuals (compare several because they don’t always agree, use different components, and different guns)
2) Barrel length compared to what the manual used (like you said…shorter barrel, use one of the faster burning loads listed in the manual).
3)Charge weight (less powder means less expense, but several factors affect safety and uniformity)
a. Compare charge volume for safety. It’s easy to double charge a low volume of powder in a large case, so I choose a charge weight that will overflow the case if you accidentally double charge it.
b. Meterability- Fine grain ball powders meter more uniformly through a powder than flake or extruded versions
c. Case volume for uniformity- A small charge in a large case will lay along the bottom of the case (not in contact with the primer) and cause velocity uniformity issues.
4)What powder I have on hand- I try to buy powders that may be used in several different cartridges. For example, I have lots of Blue Dot because it works in a wide range of larger cartridges. I keep Unique and Power Pistol for the small to medium cartridges. For riles, IMR 3031 covers a lot of cartridges I normally shoot.

James talks about his solution for using small powder charges in large cases.  You can find polyfill at your local fabric store.  It is like quilt filling.  After you charge the case, insert a tuft of polyfill on top of it to keep the powder directly over the flash hole.

James will be testing a product from Southwest Shooting Authority called PB Blocker.  This product is supposed to greatly reduce and in some cases, eliminate lead fowling when using cast bullets in a stock Glock barrel.  Look for the video review on the ammosmith youtube channel and we will discuss the results right here on the show.

Rob answers a question from a listener about reloading or handloading for shooting competition:

…I’ve recently gotten into IPSC shooting. I’m new and still learning, but it would be nice if you did a show on how to reload for IPSC competitions. Specifically, how do you work up to a good competition load when handloading? What are the mandatory velocities for different competition calibers (9mm, .40 Cal, 45 ACP) I don’t know much about the competitive world yet, but out here that’s about the best way to “train” (given our strict ranges).

Rob shares his experiences in handloading for the Area 5 Championships.

Power Factor = (Weight of the bullet in grains) x (Velocity in feet per second) /1000

Example:  147 grain bullet x 900 fps /1000 = 132.3

Minor Power Factor for USPSA, IPSC, or IDPA = 125
Major Power Factor for USPSA or IDPA = 165
(Major Power Factor varies in IPSC depending on the division)

Rob started with the minimum load in the reloading manual and worked down from there.  I chronographed 10 bullets at each .1 grain increment until I reach the appropriate velocity.

Be sure that you don’t try to get the velocity too low.  It can be very disappointing to miss your power factor.  Be sure to take the temperature into consideration when loading for a match.

James adds his experiences with changes from temperature variations.  Always reload in weather that is similar to where you will be shooting or adjust accordingly.  Also try to choose powders that are known to be less temperature.  This info can be found many places including web forums, but call manufacturers and confirm.

James mentions a manufacturer warning about Blue Dot Powder.

Rob also changed the recoil spring to correspond with the light load.

James also mentions that reduced recoil loads will greatly reduce wear and tear on the brass and firearm.

Dan tell us about customizing his .45-70 loads for hunting, plinking, etc.

James tells us about customizing the 9.3×62.   It just happens that the 9mm Makarov uses a bullet of the same diameter, but about a third of the weight.  James uses a light load of unique with a Hornady XTP Hollow Point to create a small game load that has barely any recoil.  Something similar can be done with .30 Carbine bullets and .30-06.  James also loaded up a “buckshot load” in .357 Magnum for his mother.  He can’t count, but at least he was helping his mother.(5 shots x 3 lead balls = 15 projectiles)

Rob talks about using custom reduced recoil loads to introduce inexperienced or recoil sensitive shooters to more powerful guns.  James adds on that everyone should have some reduced recoil loads with them at the range to use if you share your gun with a new shooter.

Dan talks about customizing your ammunition for maximum potential.  He mentions the anemic 10mm factory loads and Rob chimes in with the 6.8 Rem SPC as another example.

Dan talks about using reloading to produce obsolete ammunition or ammunition that is not in production.  This can turn a family heirloom or piece of history into something so much more than just a piece of art on display.

James mentions a method of measuring and determining the caliber of an old gun that may not be well marked.  He uses Cerrosafe casting alloy.

Dan reminds us of one of the biggest reasons to reload custom ammunition:  Load tuning for accuracy.

Rob offers up a “Reloading Tip of the Week”:

Cover your reloading equipment when not in use.  Throw a garbage bag over the presses or even your chronograph.  You can also use a pillowcase or shop rags.

Please call (660) 207-1239 and leave questions on the voicemail or e-mail me.

Ruger LCR .357 and SR-556 Carbine Details

Posted June 8th, 2010 in General, podcast, Uncategorized by Rob

Mark Gurney from Ruger comes on the show to discuss the new guns that were announced at the NRA Annual Meeting.

Ruger LCR .357 Magnum Revolver

The standard .38 Special +P LCR gets a boot grip and XS Standard Dot Tritium Sight. The boot grip is a smaller, smoother grip that is easier to get in and out of the pocket. It is still a Hogue grip and helps absorb shock. These 2 features are paired as one new project.

The new .357 Magnum brings the weight of the gun up to 17.1oz because of the new steel frame that replaces the previous aluminum frame. Mark has found that the 158 grain bullets can be a bit much, but the 125 grain bullets are “perfectly manageable.” He has even found the 110 grain .357 Magnum loads in the new .357 LCR to be easier to shoot than the .38 Special +P loads in the original LCR.

Mark recommends that recoil sensitive shooters try .38 Special +P loads in the new .357 Mag LCR.  The extra weight of the gun makes them much easier to shoot.

Mark also mentions the patented LCR non-stacking trigger.  He mentions that this trigger starts out at about 6#s and builds to about 10#s before letting off.  This makes it easier to get the trigger “started” and feels much smoother and lighter.

Rob goes back to remind people that the small weight increase is still a good percentage of the entire weight of the gun and makes a big difference in recoil reduction.

Rob asks about the .357 LCR cylinder size in comparison to the .38 Special +P model.  Mark confirms that they are the exact same size, but the fluting is different.  Both cylinders are 1.283″ in diameter.

Mark also mentions the the other minute differences in the frame and how they improve the gun.  Ruger added bevels to the frame at rear of the barrel where the cylinder aligns with the frame. (see pointer below)

This minute bevel reduces spitting and moves flash from the cylinder gap forward and away from the shooter.

The .357 LCR uses “Carpenter 465″ stainless steel in the barrel and cylinder.  This is the same material used in the .454 Cassull revolvers.

Rob confirms that none of the cosmetic and internal changes keep the .357 model from using the same holsters as the .38 Special +P LCR.

Ruger SR-556 Carbine

The original SR-556 uses a heavy contour barrel(.850″ under the hand guard and .750″ in front of the gas block).  This makes for a muzzle heavy gun(typical of piston guns).  The new gun is in response to customer feedback asking for a lighter gun for faster transitions.

Some weight is removed by shortening the barrel and still keeping it legal with an integrally machined flash suppressor(as opposed to pinned and welded).  With the integral suppressor, the barrel is 16.125″(16 1/8″).  The rifled barrel is about 14.5″.  This removed about 1.75″ inches from the barrel of the gun.  Please note: This is NOT a short barrel rifle!

The barrel is also fluted beneath the hand guard.  Between the shortening and fluting, .5 lbs was removed from the front of the gun.  Mark says it is easily felt in handling and moving target to target.  Mark cautions that it does have more muzzle rise, but that is the trade-off.

Because the carbine version has the flash suppressor integrally machined, it cannot be removed or replaced with compensators, suppressors(sound), etc.  You would want to use use the original SR-556 if your intend to replace the flash suppressor.  BTW, Mark recommends a Torx T60 bit to remove the flash suppressor on the original SR-556.  It matches the flutes in the flash suppressor.

Mark says that the integrally machined flash suppressor does not contribute to additional accuracy although shorter barrels tend to shoot more accurately because they exhibit less barrel whip.  In testing, they found that the carbine was slightly more accurate that the original SR-556.  “We’re talking a couple tenths of a minute of angle here.”

Also remember that the shorter barrel length will lose some muzzle velocity.

Call (660) 207-1239 and leave questions on the voicemail or e-mail me.

Bullet Points – Why Reload?

Posted June 4th, 2010 in podcast, reloading, Uncategorized by Rob

James tells us about his plans for his camping trip.  Something about dragging maxpedition bags filled with rocks behind a hummer, more video with a Barrett M99, and “some other stuff.”

Here is the Barrett M99 video:

Here is the Maxpedition Volta Battery Case we are talking about:

Rob tells James and Dan about  Dan is a bit skeptical, but he likes the idea of using it for reloading logs.

Rob will be shooting the Area 5 Championships on June 10 as a part of squad 109.

One of our “rebellious” listeners emails in a question:

I have a show suggestion. I got into reloading this year, and now I’m considering casting my own bullets. I’m somewhat confused regarding the lack of a reloading manual when you cast your own. Where do you get reliable load data? I’m looking to cast for 44mag, 38 special and 357mag. Do molds come with reloading data? I’ve read that there are some standard loads for specific weights of WC and SWC. Is this info reliable? Thanks for your help.- Bob

James recommends the Lyman load data book.  Also, when using a unique alloy, find the load data for the most similar bullet(same shape, weight) and use that as a reference point.  James also recommends going the community route with  He has found lots of good loads for specific components.

Rob, Dan, and James jump into why people reload.  Rob mentions customizing special lead-free hunting loads for California and the ever quotable James helps us get into the minds of the California animals: “It’s not like they eat lead shot because it tastes good.”  He also tells us about the politicians.

James also tells us how to “stick it to ‘em” by casting your own lead-free bullets with Bismuth.  Plus, it’s slightly heavier than lead.

Dan uses a big word and dashes our hopes in one fell swoop: “It’s a misnomer that you’re going to save money reloading.”  He then backs up and punts with: “There are cost savings involved… over time you will definitely recover that cost.”

Dan says he started reloading to create more accurate ammunition.  Rob points out that even reloading for precision ammo is still saving money compared to similar commercial ammunition.  Dan gives us a specific example of how a hunter shooting just 200 rounds can still save money reloading.  He also notes that with less common calibers, commercial ammunition is much more expensive and he probably wouldn’t be able to shoot his .45-70 if he didn’t reload.

James goes into the specific numbers of reloading .45 ACP.  He currently reloads 50 rounds of .45 ACP for less that $2 with range brass and cast bullets.  Rob gives an example of loading .308 WIN.  James recommends buying factory second bullets.

Dan reminds us to extrapolate the cost of brass over several loadings to get the true cost.  Dan also talks about the hobby aspect of reloading and the satisfaction, etc. “If I can’t be shooting, I’d rather be reloading.”

James also brings up the fact that reloading helps you have the ammunition you need even during shortages or times when ammo is unavailable.

James show off his .40 S&W jacketed hollow-point bullets made from 9mm cast bullets jacketed with 9mm cases:

Call (660) 207-1239 and leave questions on the voicemail or e-mail me.

Fire and Explosion at Nosler Bullet Plant

Posted June 2nd, 2010 in Uncategorized by Rob


Bend, OR – An explosion and fire rocked a portion of the Nosler Inc. bullet manufacturing plant in southwest Bend Wednesday afternoon, prompting evacuation and closure of streets in the area; despite a blast felt for several blocks, all 100 workers were accounted for.

 I’m glad to hear that there were no injuries.  I guess that is what happens when you let the engineers play.  I always laughed at their ads showing the mushroom cloud, but maybe there is some truth to it.  Who would’ve guessed?

From their website:

Seriously though, I hope they make a quick recovery.  I have some good loads worked up with their bullets and I don’t feel like changing components and doing more load development.

Rob at the NRA Convention

Posted May 14th, 2010 in Uncategorized by Rob

Rob plays on the floor with big guns:

And pesters famous shooters:

And occasionally interviews people like:

  • Ruger
  • Berger Bullets
  • Chiappa Firearms
  • Hodgdon Powders
  • Hornady
  • Redding
  • Winchester
  • Surefire
  • Lapua
  • Majestic Arms
  • Les Baer Custom
  • Ready Shot

14 interviews today.  Looking forward to editing and sharing them!

Reloading Safety Part 2 with Q&A

Posted May 7th, 2010 in podcast, reloading, Uncategorized by Rob

James and Dan from come on the show to continue last week’s discussion of reloading safety.  We also answer listener questions about reloading and casting lead bullets.

Reloading Acronyms

Video of the week:


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