Communion Of Dreams

Finished. Well, sort of.
April 7, 2008, 8:24 am
Filed under: 2nd Amendment, Ballistics, Guns, Predictions, RKBA, Science

The ballistics testing is finished. Well, sort of. As I mentioned yesterday, the primary goal was to get through the barrel-chopping tests, get all the data from that, and to worry about the ‘real world’ guns sometime later. And we accomplished that. Early on, as we were cruising along, it looked like we might wrap up really early, perhaps mid-day.

Of course, it couldn’t possibly work out that way.

Just as we were down into the 3″ barrel lengths, disaster struck: the mounting rail for the laser busted loose. And not just a little bit – the mounting screws stripped out, and there was no way to fix it short of machining in new threads on the receiver. That’s not the sort of thing you can do out in the field.

Remember I said this, yesterday:

We have four more ‘flights’ of ammo to test today (we did six yesterday), going from barrel lengths of 5″ down to 2″. When we get to the point where the length of the barrel is less the the housing of the receiver (the pistol), things get tricky, but the aiming laser will help a lot.

Um, oops.

And of course, the thing didn’t fail all at once. We got to go through that wonderful process of noticing the impending disaster and trying to cope with it, using this or that strategy, each attempt sorta working for a little while before failing. That took about two hours. And just when we thought we had it secured, a shot with one of the powerful calibers (I think it was a .45 Colt) sent the thing flying in recoil.

Steve, who probably has the most experience as a shooter of any of us, figured that he might as well see if he could shoot the pistol, sans laser. And sans any other sort of sight. Even without the benefit of a barrel, since once we got to that point, the short little bits of barrel were *down inside* the housing of the Thompson/Center Encore pistol (look down to ‘Number 1842’ to get an idea of what just the housing looks like – it’s the part without a barrel or anything attached, off on the left side).

This, needless to say, was going to be a difficult accomplishment, for just a few shots. Doing it for a couple hundred data points (shots were only considered “good” if we got comparable readings from both chronographs), using always-changing types of ammo and different calibers, almost impossible.

But Steve did it. We decided that his secret ‘super power’ is the ability to shoot amazingly well in really dumb situations.

So, we got it done. Got all the data we considered critical for the project. Packed up the stuff we didn’t want stolen, and what needed to go back to Iowa with Jim K, came home. I’ll get the rest of the set up (tent, tables, et cetera) today. And Steve and I will go out sometime in the next week or so and do the ‘real world’ testing, using guns on the market with the same ammo as for the test, which will give us some benchmark comparisons to relate to the ‘ideal’ data.

Big project. The better part of $7,000 worth of ammo, and $5,000 for the custom barrels. Add in another three or four thousand for incidental stuff (lasers, chronographs, generator, chop saw, and so forth). Maybe 250 man-hours of labor for the actual testing component. And we’re still a long ways from being done. We still need to do all the data entry, design a website, write everything up so that all the information – warts, glitches, and errors – is available freely to anyone who is interested in seeing hard data about what the correlation is between barrel length and ammo performance. I’m guessing we still have several weeks before we can say that it is done.

But one hell of a big part of it is accomplished. And that feels really good.

Jim Downey

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[…] Filed under: 2nd Amendment, Ballistics, Guns, Predictions, RKBA, Science Well, as I mentioned in this post, after we did the schedule of ballistic tests using the custom Thompson/Center Encore pistol and […]

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