The 6.5×40 Cartridge

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Mitch Shoffner decided to design a replacement for the venerable 5.56×45mm cartridge used in M16 rifles and M4 carbines, the 6.5×40mm, which would have the range of the much bigger 7.62×51mm without being too big to fit into the AR-15 platform:

He has not been the first to try to improve the performance of the AR-15 family in this way. The two most significant attempts from the point of view of their military potential have been the 6.8×43 Remington SPC and the 6.5mm Grendel already mentioned.

The 6.8mm SPC was the result of a joint effort between Remington and members of the U.S. Special Operations Command, working in conjunction with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia. The project took place before the problem of the long-range engagements in Afghanistan emerged, so the priority was to develop a round that would deliver more reliable terminal effectiveness than 5.56mm at normal combat ranges. This it does very well by all accounts but, as Mitch discovered after experimenting with the round, the relatively short, stubby bullets blunt the long-range performance. Using the finely-pointed long-nosed bullets needed to achieve the high ballistic coefficients required would make the 6.8mm cartridge too long to fit into the AR-15 action.

In contrast, Alexander Arms designed the 6.5mm Grendel around the use of long, low-drag bullets. To provide enough space for their long noses without exceeding the overall length limit, the case length has been held back to 1.52 inches (38.7 mm). To compensate for its shortness the case has been made wider than the 6.8mm’s in order to hold enough propellant. This round can provide excellent long-range performance when bullets of around 120 grains are used, although commonly quoted muzzle velocities are usually from long (24 inch) barrels. Furthermore, the short, wide case, with little taper and a sharp shoulder, has prompted some debate about its suitability for military use in belt-fed machine guns as well as about the potential for increased stress on the M4’s action, as described earlier.

The approach that Mitch Shoffner has taken with his 6.5×40 is to design a compact, long-range military cartridge that would not experience any functioning problems in magazine or belt-fed automatic weapons. He accordingly adopted the same 0.42 inch case diameter as the 6.8mm SPC together with a case taper and a shoulder angle similar to those of the 7.62×51. He chose the 6.5mm caliber and a case length of 1.57 inches to allow the use of long, low drag bullets within the M4 platform.

It is worth mentioning that a 6.5mm version of the Remington case was explored during the development of the SPC but 6.8mm was preferred as it was found to have superior terminal effectiveness. However, long range was not a priority in the development of that cartridge, and the 43 mm case length meant that the 6.5mm version could only use relatively short, light bullets. As always in cartridge design, compromises are necessary; if you emphasize one characteristic there will be penalties elsewhere.

6.5x40 loaded with a Lapua 144 grain FMJBT compared with other rounds

The use of low-drag bullets means that the initial velocity penalty compared with the equivalent 7.62×51 loads gradually reduces as the range increases. The lightest and least aerodynamic military-pattern bullet recommended for the 6.5×40 is the 120 grain Norma FMJBT. This loading develops 97% of the velocity of the 7.62mm M80 at the muzzle and 100% at 1,000 meters when both are fired from 14.5 inch carbine barrels. The 144 grain Lapua FMJBT performs even better at long range, with the velocity of only 90% at the muzzle rising to 106% at 1,000 m, at which distance it also retains more energy than the M80. The optimum bullet for long-range performance in the 6.5×40 is the 140 grain Berger VLD, a match-grade target bullet, which remains supersonic to 1,000 meters even from the 14.5 inch carbine barrel – an impressive statistic given the modest initial velocity.

So, what are the downsides?

The most obvious one is that the ammunition is some 30% heavier than 5.56mm. It also has a greater recoil impulse although, as comparative testing has revealed with other cartridges of this power such as the 6.8mm Remington, the perceived recoil is much closer to the 5.56mm than it is to the 7.62mm and controllability is not seriously affected. Another inevitable downside is that the lower initial velocity means a steeper trajectory at medium ranges compared with the 5.56mm. At 300 meters, the 5.56mm M855A1 drops around 16 inches when zeroed at 100 meters, while the 6.5mm 120 grain Norma drops 20.5 inches. These comparisons are however only relevant for distances that are within the relatively short effective range of 5.56mm weapons. If troops ever need to engage at longer ranges, the only valid comparators are the 7.62mm systems, which have trajectories not very different from the 6.5×40.

TrackingPoint AR Series

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

I’ve been wondering when TrackingPoint would introduce an AR series:

The Weapons in the Leland Yee Scandal

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Not many FBI documents read like crime thrillers, but the FBI’s case against California State Senator Leland Yee and the Chee Kung Tong does:

The FBI accuses 54-year-old Kwok Sheung Chow of leading the Chee Kung Tong (CKT) criminal group. (The bureau tapped the ceremony swearing him in as the Dragonhead of the group.) The criminal complaint paints him as a leader who wants his organization to be seen as legit, but who keeps a direct hand in some of the felonious operations that ensnared other CKT-affiliated players, including State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), a gun control advocate caught on FBI recordings brokering arms deals and accepting money to pass legislation. Chow is the person who introduced Keith Jackson, the senator’s political operative, to the undercover FBI agents.

In July 2010, when the investigation was new, UCE 4599 had dinner with Chow, who used the venue to discuss his days as a street gangster. “Chow described how he like to carry two 9mm and a .45 caliber [pistols],” the affidavit reads. “Chow described that a .22 caliber is an assassin’s gun, but he liked carrying something that had real power and would stop someone if you had to use it on the street.”

In March 2012, the undercover agent was “inducted” into the Chee Kung Tong as a “consultant.” After that, the investigation into California crime and corruption really took off.

On March 11, 2014, Yee met with political consultant Keith Jackson (more on him soon) and Wilson Lim, who claimed to have a relative in the Philippines military who could steal weapons and was supposedly selling the military gear to Islamic rebels in Mindanao. An FBI undercover employee (UCE 4599) also in attendance asked Lim what kinds of weapons he could get. “Lim told UCE 4599 the Israeli-made Tavor assault rifle was very common in the Philippines,” the affidavit says. “Lim described the Tavor as being the equivalent of the M16 assault rifle.”


The idea at this meeting was to buy rifles from the Philippines and ship them to the United States through New Jersey (where the undercover agent claimed to have Mafia connections at the Port of Newark) before sending them to final customers in North Africa. “Senator Yee told UCE 4599 there are approximately 100 rifles currently available,” the court document says, and that Yee said “he thought Africa was largely an untapped market for trade” of weapons. The profits would be broken into smaller pieces and funneled into his election campaign. If he had lost that election, he would “move into the private sector and exploit all the relationships he had in Asia for various kinds of activities,” according to the criminal complaint.


Of all the strange people in the FBI document, the Jackson family may be the strangest. Keith Jackson operates a political consultancy that raised campaign funds for Yee. He also is implicated in scores of money laundering deals, high-volume drug transactions, bribes, cigarette and booze smuggling, international arms deals, and local weapons sales. Plus, he has been linked to murder-for-hire schemes; he told undercover agents that he and his son, accused drug smuggler Brandon, could hire thugs to kill people.

These are political consultants with access to a slew of firearms. In one transaction alone, on June 24, 2013, the father-and-son team sold UCE 4599 five weapons for $5300. One of them was a Cobray Machine Pistol, a compact fully automatic 9mm weapon with a 50-round magazine. The other guns: a Mossberg shotgun, a Smith & Wesson Model 59 handgun, A Colt MKIV 80 handgun, a .22 Ruger carbine, and a 7.62mm Clayco Sports Rifle. Also, intriguingly, they sold the undercover agent two ballistic vests. When UCE 4599 checked, he found the protective vest was stolen from the FBI.

Jackson Consultancy appears to be always campaigning for the candidate’s war chest. During the June 24 weapons buy, “Keith Jackson told UCE 4599 that he was hoping UCE 4599 could raise more money for Senator Yee.”

Leland Yee, Super Villain

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Democrat state senator Leland Yee isn’t just corrupt, Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International) says:

If Yee had a machine that could control the weather he’d be a Batman villain.

He got busted in an FBI sting, taking millions of dollars in bribes, to smuggle RPGs and machine guns through brutal Chinese tong gangs, through the Ukraine, to rebel insurgents in the Philippines. No. I’m not making any of that up.

The part that makes this all so awesome and hilarious is that the only reason people like me know who Yee is, is because he’s the primary asshole behind disarming law abiding Californians. Yes. He is the anti-gun poster child. He has an A+ from the Brady Center morons. (Hmmm… Now that he’s been caught smuggling rocket launchers to Muslim rebels, but he’s still a democrat, they might downgrade him to a B).

So, regular Californians can’t own an AR-15, but Chinese drug lords, no problemo. Law abiding citizen protected by the 2nd Amendment, go to hell. Murderous scumbag criminals, good to hook. This plan seems to work for Eric Holder too.

The other part that makes this funny as hell is that he is also the anti violent video game guy… Yee is the crusading liberal who has been out there trying to get violent video games banned. Because won’t somebody think of the children!

Let that sink in for a delicious moment.

Grand Theft Auto? Hell, he doesn’t need to play it. Leland Yee LIVES Grand Theft Auto. If only he hadn’t been exposed to Call of Duty, then he wouldn’t have been so tempted to smuggle machineguns to MILF. And yes. The rebels were actually called MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) So when you hear that a Green Beret bagged a MILF, it really could go either way.

Of course you probably haven’t seen too much of this on the regular news, because Yee is a democrat, and thus his scandal is totally not newsworthy. I saw a thing where Yee’s bust had gotten a grand total of like 30 seconds of coverage on CNN, in between long reports of how Chris Christie may possibly have blocked traffic.

Think about that. Sure, I know that CNN is basically the marketing department of the DNC, but this story has everything. It is implausible. It is ridiculous. It is Breaking Bad only more absurd. His Chinese mafia contact was named Shrimp Boy Chow! How the hell can you not report on a respected elected official making millions of dollars from rebels MILFs and a mob boss actually named SHRIMP BOY CHOW!

Grenade Launchers

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Larry Vickers looks at grenade launchers on his Tac TV show and finds them far less devastating — and certainly far less spectacular — than movies and video games might suggest:

Shooting Beethoven

Monday, March 31st, 2014

If you enjoy music and shooting, you should enjoy Shannon Smith shooting a bit of Beethoven:

FSB Alpha Team Confidence Drills

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Americans have Delta Group. Russians have Alpha Group. In Alpha Group, they take their confidence drills to another level:

Michelangelo’s David Wasn’t an Underwear Model

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Michelangelo's DavidItalian authorities are indignant that ArmaLite’s ad campaign depicts Michelangelo’s David holding one of its rifles — but they’re not indignant about many other depictions of the iconic statue:

This moral posturing is clearly about something other than respect for the sculpture’s “aesthetic value” or “cultural dignity.” Otherwise, officials would crack down on the David boxer shorts sold by countless Florentine vendors.

Depicting David as armed shouldn’t be the least bit shocking:

ArmaLite’s ads broke the unwritten rules. Instead of highlighting the hero’s body, they emphatically made him a warrior. Hence Franceschini’s objection to an “armed David,” even though every David is armed. “David famously used a slingshot to defeat the giant Goliath, making the gun imagery, thought up by the Illinois-based ArmaLite, even more inappropriate,” writes Emma Hall in Ad Age.

To the contrary, the gun imagery, while incongruously machine-age, was utterly appropriate. David did not use a “slingshot.” He used a sling. As historians of ancient warfare — and readers of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, “David and Goliath” — know, a sling was no child’s toy. It was a powerful projectile weapon, a biblical equivalent of ArmaLite’s wares.

Nor did Florentine patrons commission statues of David because he looked good without his clothes. They commissioned statues of David because he was a martial hero who had felled an intimidating foe. They made him a beautiful nude to emphasize his heroism, not to disguise his bloody deed. (Donatello’s David has his boot triumphantly on Goliath’s severed head.) Michelangelo’s giant was meant as an inspiration to locals and a warning to would-be invaders. He wasn’t an underwear model. He was a Minuteman.

Active Shooter Events

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The FBI’s report on Active Shooter Events from 2000 to 2012 notes that private citizens stopped one in six mass shootings:

Note that for the purposes of the study, the average police response time was about 3 minutes. Out of 104 incidents, they had the following resolution:

  • 49% of events stopped before the police could arrive
  • 42% of events (44 total) resulted in the killer committing suicide, of which 29 killers committed suicide prior to police arrival.
  • 43% of events (45 total) result in the attacker being stopped with force, either by civilians or law enforcement.
  • When civilians intervene before LE arrives, they stop 33% of mass shootings.
  • Slightly less than 3% of mass shootings are stopped by armed civilians shooting the attacker.

The Nazi Smart Bombs

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Precision-guided munitions seem extremely modern, but Nazi Germany developed many missile and precision-guided munition systems during World War II, including the Fritz X radio-controlled bomb and the Henschel Hs 293 radio-controlled guided missile — another glide-bomb, but with small wings and a rocket engine slung underneath it.

They failed as wonder weapons though, if only because the Germans had lost air superiority:

It’s hard to estimate losses caused by the guided weapons. German air raids saturated Allied defenses by combining smart bomb attacks with conventional dive bomber and torpedo assaults, so it is always not clear which weapon hit a ship.

The Allies also tried to maintain morale by attributing guided weapon losses to conventional weapons.

Bollinger counts 903 aircraft sorties that carried around 1,200 guided weapons. Of those 1,200, almost a third were never fired because the launch aircraft aborted or were intercepted.

Of the remaining 700 weapons, another third malfunctioned. Of the approximately 470 whose guidance systems worked, at most 51 — or just over 10 percent — actually hit their targets or landed close enough to damage them.

Bollinger calculates that just 17 to 24 ships were sunk and 14 to 21 damaged.

“At most, only one weapon in 24 dispatched from a German airfield scored a hit or damage-causing near miss,” Bollinger writes. “Only about one in 14 of the missiles launched achieved similar success, and at most one in nine of those known to respond to operator guidance was able to hit the target or cause significant damage via a near-miss.”

“This is very different from the 50-percent hit rate experienced during operational testing,” Bollinger points out.

To be fair, the technology was new. There were no lasers or fire control computers. The Fritz-X and Hs 293 were manually guided all the way. Operators had to track both missile and target through cloud, fog and smoke, without the benefit of modern thermal sights.

“It was virtually impossible to hit a ship that was steaming more than 20 knots and could fire back,” Bollinger tells War is Boring. “Almost all of the hits were against slow and/or defenseless targets.”

Bollinger hypothesizes that a phenomenon called “multi-path interference,” unknown at the time, may also have hampered the performance of the Hs 293. Radio command signals sent from the bomber to the missile might have overshot the weapon, bounced off the ocean surface below and interfered with the missile guidance signal.

The early jammers were ineffective, but Bollinger believes that by the time of the Normandy assault in June 1944, the equipment had improved enough to offer a measure of protection — and partly explains why German missiles performed poorly later in the war.

Strangely, while the Germans took measures to counteract Allied jamming of their air defense radars, they never really addressed the possibility that their anti-ship missiles were also being jammed.

It’s wrong to blame the bomb for the faults of the bomber. The real cause for the failure of German smart bombs was that by the time they were introduced in late 1943, the Luftwaffe was almost a spent force.

Already thinly spread supporting the hard-pressed armies in Russia and the West, the German air arm suffered relentless bombardment by U.S. B-17s and B-24s. The Third Reich could never deploy more than six bomber squadrons at a time equipped with the Fritz-X and Hs 293.

When the Luftwaffe ruled the skies over Poland and France in 1939, this might have been enough. By late 1943, a guided-bomb run was practically suicide.

German bombers making daylight attacks had to run a gauntlet of fighters protecting Allied ships in the daytime. Night attacks were marginally safer for the bombers but still exposed them to radar-equipped British and American night fighters. The Allies aggressively bombed any airfield suspected of harboring the smart bombers.

“Allied fighter air cover was by far the most important factor,” Bollinger tells War is Boring. “Not only did it lead to large numbers of glide-bombing aircraft getting shot down, it also forced the Germans to shift missions from daylight to dusk or nighttime. This in itself lead to a major and measurable reduction in accuracy.”

Many raids would cost the Germans a few bombers. By the standards of the thousand-bomber raids over Germany, this was trifling. But for the handful of specially trained and equipped Luftwaffe squadrons, it was catastrophic.

Of the 903 aircraft sorties, Bollinger estimates that in 112 of them, the bombers were lost before launching their weapons. Another 21 were shot down or crashed on the return flight, for an overall loss ratio of 15 percent.

“Each time a pilot departed on a glide bomb mission, he had almost a one-in-seven chance of never returning in that aircraft safely,” Bollinger says. “Put another way, the probability that a pilot would return safely after each of the first 10 missions was only 20 percent.”

Target Shooting In America

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Target shooting In America is big business:

Target Shooting in America

Notes on Arrow Wounds

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

In 1862, J.H. Bill’s Notes on Arrow Wounds appeared in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences:

The arrow is a weapon of the greatest antiquity. It is one with which, in this country, at least, we are all familiar; nevertheless, there is nowhere now extant an account of the wounds produced by it sufficiently accurate or definite to guide a surgeon in their treatment, or to give to the medical antiquary a record of their history and appearance. Before long these wounds will become of unfrequent occurrence, for our Indian tribes are fast being exterminated. We propose, in the first place, as a matter of historical interest, to state in this article what we know of arrow wounds. The subject still presents much of practical interest to the surgeon, and must continue so to do, in a greater or less degree, for the future. It will be some time before all our Indian tribes are “civilized off the face of all creation,” and many a soldier and settler has yet to pay the death penalty for his courage or hardihood. Moreover, the bow and arrow is in use among the Tscherkesses of the Russian army, for the purpose of picking off sentinels without creating an alarm. It is probable that a corps of carefully selected bowmen would be found of great use in our own army for like purposes. Franklin has suggested the employment of arrows in battles, to be shot from bows or fired from guns. Arrow wounds are, therefore, and for some time likely to be, of practical interest.

Tscherkesses, by the way, appear to be Circassians.

Dr. Bill finds arrow wounds especially lethal, because of the arrows’ two-part construction, with the shaft loosely attached to the head:

Such being the mechanism of the arrow, we can readily understand the danger peculiar to arrow wounds in general, a danger often seen in pistol-ball wounds of the chest. Let us suppose a case to illustrate and explain our meaning. An arrow is shot at a man at a distance of fifty yards. It penetrates his abdomen, and without wounding an intestine or a great vessel, lodges in the body of one of the vertebrae. The arrow is grasped by the shaft by some officious friend, and after a little tugging is pulled out. We said the arrow is pulled out. This was a mistake; it is the shaft only of the arrow that is pulled out. The angular and jagged head has been left buried in the bone to kill — for so it surely will-the victim. The explanation of such mishaps is this: the ribbon of tendon which compressed together the split sides of the end of the arrow, and so clamped the head and the shaft together, had become wetted with the fluids effused in the course of the wound. When wetted, it was, of course, lengthened, and, if lengthened, loosened. It ceased longer to bind together the split sides of the shaft; this and the head were, consequently, very feebly united and readily detached. Experience has abundantly shown, and none know the fact better than the Indians themselves, that any arrow wound of chest or abdomen, in which the arrow-head is detached from the shaft and lodged, is mortal. From this we conclude that the danger peculiar to all arrow wounds is, that the shaft becoming detached from the head of an implanted arrow, leaves this so deeply imbedded in a bone that it cannot be withdrawn, and that, remaining, it kills. It is not possible with forceps to extract an arrow-head so lodged (if lodged deeply), throwing aside the difficulty of discovering and the danger of searching for it. The blades of forceps long enough for this purpose (supposing the foreign body deeply lodged in the chest) would bend too readily with the force required for the removal of the missile. The greatest force is sometimes required for the extraction of an arrow-head so lodged. We have seen an arrow shot at a distance of one hundred yards, so deeply imbedded in an oak plank, that it required great force, applied by strong tooth-forceps, to remove it. In the case of a man shot in the shaft of the humerus by an arrow, it was only after using both knees, applied to the ends of the bone as a counter-extending force, and a stout pair of tooth-forceps, that we succeeded in removing the foreign body. Another similar case will be mentioned hereafter. Asst. Surgeon McKee had a case, also, in which considerable force was required to extract an arrow-head lodged in the trochanter, and other instances illustrating the difficulty sometimes encountered in the removal of arrow-heads lodged in bone could readily be adduced.

We have dwelt thus at length upon the mechanism of the arrow because we consider that upon a rightful understanding of the same must depend an intelligent and a skilful treatment of the wound which it occasions. The arrow-head removed by proper treatment, and we have an ordinary punctured wound, such as a poniard or stiletto would make. The wounds inflicted by these last named weapons are dangerous and troublesome for this reason. When such a weapon pierces any deep tissue, it must do so through some other tissue possessed of a contractile or muscular power. As soon as the weapon is withdrawn, this last named tissue contracts, and thus draws the wound in itself upwards or downwards, interrupting the continuity of the wound as a whole; whence it happens that all such wounds, the pus or efi‘used liquids finding no outlet, are apt to be attended with burrowing of matter and deep-seated abscess. This remark applies to arrow wounds, although they partake of the nature of incised wounds, and, therefore, oftener heal by first intention than do the punctured wounds of the stiletto or bayonet, attended as these are with much bruising and tearing of tissues. Arrow wounds are often complicated by profuse hemorrhage, and for the same reason that in bayonet wounds abscesses form, through inability of matter, to find a ready outlet, in arrow wounds haematomata result. In fact, when arrow wounds suppurate, they generally do so through disorganization of these collections of blood.

What parts of the body are oftenest wounded by the arrow, and what is the relative fatality?, he asks — and then produces this table:

Notes on Arrow Wounds 1

The above table includes all the reliable cases of arrow wounds falling under our notice.

On referring to it, it will be seen that the upper extremity is oftenest wounded, next comes the abdomen, next the chest, next the lower extremity, next the head, and, lastly, the neck. The reason that the upper extremity is so often wounded, is that a person can see an arrow darting towards him, and very naturally putting out his arm to ward it 011′, receives a wound oftener in this member than in any other. Wounds of the abdomen are oftenest fatal (more than three-fifths of the total deaths occurred from wounds of abdomen), next come wounds of chest, wounds of head and heart next, and wounds of spinal marrow, and upper and lower extremity are last.

An expert bowman can easily discharge six arrows per minute, and a man wounded with one is almost sure to receive several arrows. In the above table, when a man was wounded in more places than one, the most serious wound, or that which immediately caused his death, is recorded. We have not seen more than one or two men wounded by a single arrow only. In three of our soldiers shot by Nabajoes, we counted forty-two arrow wounds; this is an extreme case, as the manufacture of the arrow costs the Indian too much labour and time to expend one unnecessarily. The cause of death in the twenty-nine fatal cases may be thus summed up :—

Notes on Arrow Wounds 2

A flesh wound really is just a flesh wound, by the way:

First, then, for the simplest case; an arrow wound involving no parts essential to life. Let us suppose a case.
A man is shot by an arrow which passes through integuments and muscles, and grazing the bone, makes its exit on the other side of a limb. What appearance is presented after the accident? We will find at the spot where the arrow entered, a very small and narrow slit, surrounded by a circular patch of bruised integument of a dusky-red colour. It is almost impossible to say whether the slit was made by a pistol-ball or an arrow, so closely does the entrance wound made by an arrow resemble that made by a small ball. On the other side of the limb another slit, somewhat larger than that above described, is seen, but not surrounded by the red areola. This is the exit wound. What is the treatment? Apply cold or evaporating lotions, place the limb at perfect rest, let the patient diet himself, and the chances are favourable of such a wound healing by first intention. At all events this is the indication. Ordinarily, such a wound will be quite well in a week.

There’s just something about the writing of that era:

  • “We have seen but one case of a large artery of a limb divided by an arrow, and that case terminated fatally before we saw the man. He was a Mexican, and was shot in the groin while on horseback. The arrow pierced the femoral artery just below Poupart’s ligament. The man lived twelve hours, but was brought into the post dead.”
  • “Private Martin, of the 3d Infantry, was shot in his right leg by an arrow — the arrow passing out. I saw him shortly after the receipt of the injury. The only thing remarkable was the agonizing pain, referable to the small toes and outside of foot.”
  • “Private Bishop was shot in the head of the humerus with an arrow, and the shaft having been plucked out, the iron head was left deeply imbedded in the bone. The man was in great pain, synovia was flowing out of the wound, and all motion was lost. I enlarged the wound, introduced my finger, and so ascertained the position and depth of the arrow-head. It was very deeply implanted.”
  • “I have already alluded to another case, in which I removed an arrow from the shaft of the humerus by bracing the end of the humerus against my knees, and then applying all my strength to the foreign body by means of forceps.”
  • “The first case was that of a Mexican shot by an Apache, the arrow-head striking the ulna in its upper third. The man withdrew the shaft immediately, and then came to me. I enlarged the wound, and prudently made an examination with my finger.”
  • “The second case was that of Corporal Scott, shot at Fort Defiance, by a Nabajoe. I enlarged the wound, and followed the arrow shaft with my finger until I reached the iron head. The arrow had entered on the posterior and outer aspect of the leg, penetrated the muscles of the calf, scraped the fibula about two inches from its head, and then wrapped itself firmly around this bone.”
  • “Dr. Kennon informs us that he had a case of this kind, in which he re~ moved from the thigh of a Mexican an arrow-head which had been lodged six months previously in the femur. The surgeon attending the man at the time of the accident, had failed to remove the foreign body, contenting himself merely with a withdrawal of the arrow shaft.”
  • “A fourth case, illustrating this peculiar accident, occurred in the practice of Asst. Surgeon Clements, U. S. A., during the last campaign against the Nabajoes. A surgeon was shot through the upper part of the posterior fold of the axilla with an arrow, which penetrated deeply. The shaft was pulled out, leaving the head imbedded. The man then went to the doctor. The case was treated by Dr. Clements for six weeks or two months, but without benefit, and finally it was decided that the arrow-head must be re moved. The doctor accordingly made a T-shaped incision over the seapula, cutting through integument and muscle, and exposing the bone. The foreign body was, after some search, found, but so twisted and bent, that notwithstanding the large incisions made, it was only after the application of some force by strong tooth-forceps, that the head was removed. Secondary hemorrhage took place twelve hours after, but was checked by (we believe) the actual cautery. The man slowly recovered.”
  • “Miguel “ Nigro,” the post-guide at Fort Union, was shot with an arrow by a Utah Indian. I found the arrow-head sticking in the left parietal bone, the shaft having been detached. I made traction on it, and drew it out of the wound. The symptoms of compression present at once vanished, the man turned over and sneezed, and rose up on his feet. I had made arrangements to trephine the skull if necessary, but I had probably restored to its proper level that portion of the inner table which was depressed, so that measure was unnecessary. The cause of the compression was gone, and I had nothing to trephine for. The next day the man complained of headache. His face was flushed, eyes sufl’used, pulse hard, and irregular. I ordered croton oil, shaved his head, and applied cold. Presently, when delirium came on, I bled him until he fainted. This bleeding was repeated the night of the same day. The next day he was greatly better; the croton oil had operated well. The man was left to recover, which he did in three weeks.”

It gets “better”:

An arrow wound of lung is from first to last more dangerous than a gunshot wound of the same parts. There are three reasons for this. First, the hemorrhage occurring at the time of the injury, or a few hours after, is much more profuse than in an ordinary gunshot wound. A ball going through the chest does not often give trouble from hemorrhage, unless it should wound a large vessel. The reason is, that a ball tears and bruises, while an arrow makes clean slits and punctures. Secondly, an arrow wounding the lung, is almost sure to lodge, whilst a ball generally passes. Now, hear what Guthrie says about balls that lodge in the chest:

“General McDonald, of the Royal Artillery, was present at Buenos Ayres when a bombardier of that corps received a wound from a two pound shot, which went completely through the right side, so that when led up to the general, who was lying on the ground, he saw the light quite through him, and supposed, of course, that he was lost. This, however, did not follow, and some months afterwards the man walked into General (then Captain) McDonald’s quarters so far recovered from the injury as to be able to undertake several parts of his duty before he was invalided, thus proving the advantage of a shot, however large, going through rather than remaining in the chest.”


The Super Bowl for ICBM Crews

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Popular Mechanics describes the Super Bowl for ICBM crews:

Three times a year, the Air Force randomly selects a Minuteman III ICBM from the missile fields, removes the nuclear ordnance, trucks the missile to California, loads it with telemetry packages, and fires it at the Kwajalein atoll, 4700 miles away.

Gun Control in Sochi

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

The Soviet Union may have handed out tens of millions of AKs with few strings attached, but Russia itself enforces strict gun control — even on Olympic biathletes:

When biathletes arrived in Sochi, their rifles were taken off their planes and delivered directly to the biathlon venue, which is the only place they can access them. Biathletes must sign out their rifles when they arrive and sign them back in before they leave. Every box of ammunition must also be signed out and accounted for.

The measures are similar to those used at previous Olympics, and Russia isn’t the only country with such tight controls. But it is among the strictest. “There aren’t a lot of other countries like that,” said U.S. biathlete Sara Studebaker.

For American biathletes in particular, it represents a stark change from what they are accustomed to at home.

“In the U.S., for a biathlon rifle, it’s really pretty simple,” Team USA’s Leif Nordgren said. “To be honest, no one really seems to care too much. When you’re done with training, you throw your rifle into the back of the car and bring it into the house.”

There are reasons biathletes like to take their rifles home or back to a hotel. Away from the mountain, many of them hang sheets of paper with five black dots on bedroom or living room walls, which mimics the targets in a race. They use them for a training method called dry firing, in which they aim at the dots with their rifles unloaded and pull the trigger.

Before a typical race day, they can do this casually — before bed the previous night or just after breakfast, for instance. But at the Olympics, the security measures bring those routines to a halt once biathletes step out of the competition venue. “You just kind of adjust your schedule,” said U.S. biathlete Lanny Barnes.

Competitive shooters perform far, far more dry fire than live fire.

RAS-12 Shotgun and Shotshells

Monday, February 10th, 2014

The traditional shotshell has a flat nose and a rimmed base, which makes it hard to feed from a pistol- or rifle-style box magazine, but Intrepid Tactical Solutions’ new RAS-12 shotgun — a 12-gauge upper on an AR-10 — uses a ball-tipped rimless round — full of 00 buckshot rather than .308 ball:

RAS-12 shotshell