HGR 014 - Listener FAQ's

HGR 014 - Listener FAQ’s Episode!

Ryan tackles some of the listener frequently asked questions about handguns and shooting

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Brownells helps make this show possible. Selection, Service and Satisfaction. Find it all at Brownells. Please visit handgunradio.com/brownells

Week In Review:

  • Been working on some reviews for the upcoming Firearms Insider launch on Tuesday, October 15th.  I think the listeners are really going to enjoy the whole concept of the Firearms Insider community and the extra level of interaction there is to experience.
  • Found an old .32 S&W Top-Break revolver I had started working on several years ago just as a test of my gunsmithing skills.  I polished and blued the barrel and cylinder so I may have to get back into it and do the lower grip frame sometime soon.
  • I am looking for a picatinny mount for my Ruger 10/22.  I have had some trouble finding a mount online, and I was wondering if any of the listeners had this item or knew of where I could get one.  Thanks in advance!

This will more than likely be a fairly lengthy Q&A episode, so we will skip the Half-Truth segment and head right into the main topic!

Main Topic: Listener Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):

Thank you to all the listeners who wrote in with your frequently asked questions.  I hope I can answer them sufficiently!

1.) From Listener T: “Can you use a noise suppressor on a revolver? You always see them on semi-autos in the movies. Is there a way to suppress a revolver?

  • Typically no. The revolver has a small space between the front of the cylinder and the entrance to the barrel, which is called the forcing cone.  When the bullet jumps the gap from the chamber in the cylinder to the forcing cone, there is a substantial amount of gas that is vented from this small gap.  Therefore, if you put a suppressor on the end of the barrel, it will capture gas there, but the gas escaping from the barrel/cylinder gap will be just as loud as the unsuppressed shot, thereby negating the suppressor.  The only time this will work sufficiently is with the 1895 Nagant Gas Seal Revolver. The 1895 Nagant uses a camming mechanism which cams the cylinder forward before firing. The Nagant also uses a special cartridge that helps seal the barrel/cylinder gap so no gases escape.

2.) From Listener Todd: “What is the difference in the grain count of different bullets and why does it matter? What is the difference in different grades of ammunition such as match, range, hunting, etc.?”

  • The grain count of a bullet is a measurement of the bullet’s weight.  There are 7000 grains in one pound.  The measurement of 158 Grains or 170 Grains is how much that particular bullet weighs.  Typically, the length of the back end of the bullet grows as the weight increases (you can’t increase the diameter of the bullet to increase weight, and you can’t alter the nose shape either.) The weight of the bullet can have an effect on many things ballistically, such as accuracy, bullet drop, and penetration on the target. When discussing the different grades of ammunition, Match ammunition is manufactured with VERY tight tolerances, and oftentimes each round is inspected by hand to ensure quality and uniformity.  Range ammunition is your basic “Winchester White Box” stuff that is produced in quantity and is not intended for the utmost accuracy, just for practice time on the range.  Bullets are usually full-metal jacket.  Hunting grade ammunition is loaded similarly to Match ammunition, but carries a bullet specifically designed to dispatch a certain type of game.  Remington Core-Lokt bullets are a superb example of hunting ammunition.  It carries a jacketed soft point bullet that will expand on impact, killing the game quickly and humanely.

3.) From Listener Ed: “I have a Browning Hi-Power 9mm which I had stored away for 30+ years.  I carried it off duty when I was a Police Officer.  I have had it reblued and checked over by a gunsmith who advised replacing the recoil spring which is being done. Do you think carrying this handgun cocked and locked in a holster is a reasonably safe thing to do? Do you know where I can obtain spare magazines and a good holster for this model?”

  • It is pretty safe to carry the Browning cocked and locked (in fact, I wouldn’t carry it hammer down on anything except an empty chamber.) Most Brownings, especially the earlier models, are NOT drop safe.  To rectify this, you may check with Cylinder & Slide or Brownells to look for a light firing pin and a heavy firing pin spring.  This should help make the pistol more drop safe.  As for magazines, I have heard good things about Mec-Gar products and have also had good experience with Don Hume holsters for my semi-autos.  These can be found for good prices online at any number of the firearms accessories sites.

4.) From Listener Lyndon: “What is the story behind the development of the .22 Magnum? Many guns shoot both .22 LR and .22 Mag using separate cylinders. It is my understanding is that they increased the thickness of the cartridges case on the inside and decreased the diameter of the bullet by 1/1000th of an inch. This means the .22 Mag is going through a barrel designed for a larger bullet.  This may explain some of the .22 Mag’s accuracy problems. Why didn’t they increase the thickness of the case on the outside instead of the inside? This would alow the gun to shoot the correct diameter bullet. Perhaps the cylinders themselves couldn’t handle the pressure with larger chambers?”

  • The .22 WMR was introduced in 1959. Some people think that the .22 LR and the .22 Magnum are just the same cartridge case that has been lengthened, but this is not the case. The .22 Magnum was derived from the .22 Winchester Rimfire which has a bullet 0.15” greater in diameter than the .22 LR and has a thicker case wall to withstand the higher pressures.  The .22 Magnum uses bullets that are seated in the case like most centerfire rounds, and is .224 inches in diameter.  The .22 LR uses a heel-type bullet, with the case mouth holding onto a sub-caliber heel on the back of the .22 LR bullet. The diameter of the .22 LR bullet is .222 inches.  The .22 LR will fit loosely in a .22 Magnum chamber, but will split upon firing and can be dangerous.  The .22 Magnum/.22 LR convertible revolvers use a .224 inch diameter bore and rely upon the soft lead .22 LR bullet to expand or obdurate to grab the rifling, as the .222 bullet in the .22 LR is far too small for the .224 inch bore.

5.) From Listener Nick: “I hear constant discussion about what calibers and actions are best for in-home defense. What is your opinion?”

  • The calibers argument could be a whole show by itself.  I will try to dissect each question somewhat and give the best answer I can.  In terms of caliber, you must consider your living situation.  Do you live in a house with other people in it? An apartment? Over penetration of ANY handgun round you choose is going to be a significant issue.  It has been shown that even 9mm can penetrate several layers of drywall.  For home defense, look at some of the ammunition that has been produced specifically for home defense purposes, such as Federal Guard Dog. This ammunition is designed to reduce overpenetration. In terms of action, you need to consider who is using the gun and their hand size, stature, etc.  If you have a significant other who is unfamiliar with firearms but may need to use the gun, a revolver may be a good choice due to its simplicity.  If you have someone who can’t operate the heavy trigger of the revolver, something like a Glock may also be called for.  This is a decision that will be heavily based upon the intended users of the firearm, as well as your living situation.

6.) From Listener Jeff: “I am considering a smaller CCW piece in .380 ACP or .32 ACP.  I have heard you talk about the .32 ACP quite a bit. Which cartridge is best in your opinion?”

  • At one time, the .32 ACP was your only option when you wanted to get a really small, concealable pistol.  The .380 ACP was around but was not as popular a cartridge for quite some time.  You do hear me talk about the .32 ACP quite a bit, but that is because I own a Colt 1903 which I enjoy immensely.  There are better defensive rounds out there.  The .380 ACP is the minimum that most people feel comfortable carrying.  The advancements in .380 ACP ammunition in terms of hollowpoint design, velocity and performance put it well above the .32 ACP in terms of stopping power.  The majority of .32 ACP cartridges, even today, will fail to expand due to the fairly low velocity out of a small pocket pistol barrel.  If you still want to carry the .32 ACP, many people including myself recommend full-metal jacket ammunition.  The .32 ACP will need to penetrate to do its work, and the chances of expansion are slim.  Yes, there is the concern for overpenetration, but the .32 ACP is less apt to do so, given its lower velocities.  If you’re carrying .380 ACP, any of the modern hollowpoint designs should be sufficient for self-defense.

7.) From Listener Todd: “I’m interested in learning more about Bullseye Shooting. What are the basics, what types of handguns are most popular, should you try to match your handguns with respect to grips, trigger pull, etc.?”

  • A bullseye pistol match is called a 2700. Each competitor fires 270 shots, each with a POTENTIAL value of 10 points. The 270 shots are divided into three, 90 shot events: .22, Center-Fire, and .45. This originally was intended to allow the use of a .22 pistol, a .38 Special police-style handgun and a 1911 .45 Automatic.
  • I will admit, I have very little experience with this form of competition pistol shooting.  I have found a SUPERB website called Bullseye Pistol Shooting that thoroughly explains what Bullseye shooting is and all the various facets of it.

Brownells helps make this show possible. The leading supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools. Find it all at Brownells. Please visit handgunradio.com/brownells

Wrap-Up:

  • Thank you to everyone who sent in Listener FAQ’s! This was a very fun episode and I can’t wait to do another one in the future.
  • Be sure to check out the reviews and the Firearms Insider community over at The Firearms Insider! Share the link with your friends!
  • Give Handgun Radio a written review on iTunes! Thank you to everyone who has done so!
  • If it wasn’t for you listeners, the show wouldn’t be where it is today! Thank you so much!

Thanks for listening and SAFE SHOOTING!