17 August 2022

357 Magnum - Cast Loads. Some work and some don't

 I've been tinkering with what little powder and primers I have but I have been able to pick up different cast bullets. The only two powders I have are HS-6 and Trailboss. While neither seem to be especailly suited to 38 Special and 357 Magnum, they can be used. The only small primers I have are Remington 5 1/2 "magnum" small pistol primers. They work just fine for what I'm doing with my revolvers and lever action 357 rifle. That said, if I find a good opportunity to buy up some Alliant Unique or similar powder, I will. I'm not sure I'll buy up more primer anytime soon since I just took supply of a new box.

200 Grain

My first 357 Mag / 38 Special hand loads were using Trailboss with a 200 gr hard cast flat nosed bullet with a gas check from Cast Performance. They're a bit expensive but for fun, heavy weight loads for suppressed shooting, I figured they'd work great. Turns out that maybe Trailboss was not the best choice since they were very inaccurate and also seemed to be tumbling out of my Marlin 1894 CST but I did find that 5.5 grains of HS-6 using a 38 Special case makes for a GREAT plinking round. See the below video of that rifle getting hits on a 6 inch gong at 50 yards.

As you can see, the HS-6 load is a pretty capable load for shorter ranges. I haven't tried it for dispatching varmint critters such as armadillos yet but give me time. Sadly, I used up the last of my 200 gr cast rounds on that visit. I do have a Lee 6-cavity mould that I can try to make my own but that's for a later date. 

160 Grain

I ordered a box of 160 grain hollow points that have a very wide cavity from GT Bullets. I've been loading up with varying amounts of HS-6 starting at 6.2 grains and running up to 9.7 grains per the Lyman Cast Bullet book. I forgot to take my chronograph out on the first visit and from my Taurus 66, none seemed to be particularly accurate. I did have to seat them deep and may have damaged the driving bands. I will need to test again. I'm thinking a few test loads for subsonic loading might be a good choice that I need to tinker with since these are MUCH cheaper than those 200 grain pills. 

145 Grain

GT Bullets, here in Georgia, has nice cast hollow points in the 145 grain range that I'll pick up a box that I think would make for a good handgun and defensive load. Just a good all around bullet for concealed carry guns up to a 16 inch rifle. I'm also looking at find a bullet mould that would duplicate that bullet if it works out well. 

I'll keep updating this post as I tinker around with loads.

06 August 2022

357 Magnum - My New Love Affair and a Cartridge for Many Guns

 Previously, I had settled on a revolver cartridge for a sort of do-it-all cartridge that could be reloaded with a focus on black powder but could also be reloaded hot for much more powerful loads. The idea was you could have one cartridge that was fairly common but that you could use in both types of firearms and make powerful enough ammo from scratch and scavenged materials. I had settled on 45 Colt for its use in not just pistols but rifles, it's large case capacity which is an advantage in black powder and that many guns are chambered in it. At one point, I ended up with a Cabela's special 45 Colt Single Action Army clone and a case hardened Winchester 94 AE Trapper that was beautiful. Which the Winchester was able to handle the real heavy loads of the 45 Colt +P-esque loading from Buffalo Bore, they are not recommended for SAA clones since they'd explode. Too high of a pressure for the old 1870's designed frame.

I had those guns for quite a while but over the years, I acquired several other similar guns. The project dubbed ArgentVaquero, or Silver Cowboy, chambered in 357 Magnum offers better smokeless powder performance without the need to use boutique ammunition. Though those Buffalo Bore 45 Colt are more powerful from the rifle. I settled on the Remington HTP load in the semi-jacketed hollow point at a standard 158 grains. The folks at the Chopping Block on YouTube (might be under ARFCOM now) tested that load in ballistic gelatin from both a 16 inch rifle and a revolver. It was found to perform to acceptable standards from both guns. Since I have a 4 inch barrel revolver and a 16 inch rifle and was trying to standardize my ammunition choices, the Remington was a clear winner. I stocked up on it a while back and continue to do so. I've since then also replaced my Taurus model 85 in 38 Special with a model 605 in 357 Magnum. Both are 5 shots but the 605 is able to handle the full pressure of the 357 while I would have to settle for lesser power 38 Special. This stable of bulls gives me a concealed carry gun, a larger gun for other work where open carry is permitted (such as on the family's farm) and a rifle for defense and hunting applications. 

To further the concept, I picked up reloading dies a while back in 38 Special / 357 Mag from Lee that I've been using to load for some time now. Most of the time, I'm loading heavy weight 200 gr 38 Special for the Marlin 1894 CST as a subsonic round for plinking. I started loading full power 357 Magnum with 160 grain cast hollow points for use in the revolvers. I'm still working on an accurate load. 

My recent intrigue with 357 Magnum came after I started working more with 38 Special and trying to find a good load for my Taurus 85. Once I started looking into good finding that the best loads for 38 Special, I learned that they are usually in the +P range and can be a big tricky to make up. If you want to make your own ammo, you need to run a very soft lead bullet at low velocity or a harder lead at higher pressures. Since 357 Magnum has a far higher chamber pressure rating, loading 357 Magnum to those +P 38 Special range gives you a pressure rating well below the max 357 pressure. If those 38 Special +P rounds are 19,000 PSI and with peak 357 Mag being around 35000 PSI. Plenty of room to work with. As I got more in depth with those 38 Special rounds and cast bullets, I also started to learn about the exploits of men like Elmer Keith. He's a very storied man to say the least. He's also part of the reason we have the Magnum cartridges in the first place. He had a hand in the development of 357 Magnum, he pretty much created 44 Magnum with his friends and later created the 41 Magnum. 

For a while, I had considered that a 44 Magnum setup was a better choice and that I had screwed up going for 45 Colt instead of 44 Mag. While that may be true, I'm not sure that I would have been better suited in the end. Maybe for black powder that will be true given the case capacities but from a modern perspective, the 44 Mag is a better choice for factory loaded rounds. It also turns out the the 44 Mag is a good round to load for as Elmer Keith found out. 

That said, I settled on 357 Magnum for the time being. Folks such as Dan Wesson and Skeeter Skelton championed the 357 Magnum and spent a ton of time getting it right. Dan Wesson used it during his hunts around the US to promote the capability of the cartridge and Mr. Skelton found great use in Lyman cast bullets for taking of jack rabbits and other game animals. While the 44 Magnum may be better for larger game such as elk, here in the middle parts of Georgia, I am unlikely to stumble across anything so large. Deer and feral hogs, coyotes and armadillos are the most likely of critters for hunting and a 357 Magnum can take such critters based on the experiences written by these men and many of handgun hunters on the Internets. 

For defense, 357 Magnum has been used by police departments long before I came along, to put down bad guys. Many outdoorsman have deployed successfully the 357 Magnum in the woods, mountains and plains of the US as bear defense and populates many of the stories of defensive tools cataloged by various states in their reports. I feel, to say that the 357 Magnum is capable for defense, would be a true statement. 

The hunting and defensive capabilities of the 357 Magnum merit a well-reasoned do-it-all cartridge when coupled with the correct firearms and ammunition choices. If it came down to a single decision, my stable of 357 Magnum weapons and the reloading equipment plus the various factory offerings makes the 357 Magnum cartridge a stellar choice in my opinion. It may not be as elegant as the basic 4 inch barrel 44 Mag revolver that Elmer Keith championed but it does offer options based on one cartridge. 

I look forward to learning how to cast my own bullets and load my own ammunition over the next few years with the 357 Magnum. I think a good Ruger Blackhawk should be in my future. 

21 July 2022

The Indiana Defender - Teaching Us How to Do the Job aka We need to Talk About Terminal Ballistics (Commentary)

**Warning: Don't read if you don't want to hear about bad things**

I've been combing over the Googles and I haven't been able to find anything more substantial about what handgun the Defender in the Indiana mall mass shooting attempt had used to save lives. So far, all the sources are saying a Glock 9mm but I want to know which one. It matters because of capacity and barrel length.

Either way, there are three components in this incident I very much appreciate. Firstly, our Defender took shots at what people are saying was around a 40 yard shot. Secondly, our Defender fired 10 rounds and lands 8 of them. Thirdly, our Defender did it in less than 20 seconds with people saying around 15 seconds. That's fast, accurate and meaningful shooting. I still have concerns and questions I want answered.

**Gruesome description below**

A picture that leaked onto the Internet of the body of the supposed attacker appears to show that around 4 to 5 rounds landed in the attacker's elbow and center and left-side chest area. I can't tell where the other 3 to 4 rounds impacted. If they are to be believed, despite the several hits, the attacker walked off according to Open Source Intelligence sources (The Internet). If the OSINT data is accurate, this demonstrates a few things but mainly that handgun rounds are still capable of incapacitating a person but that the impacts may not be immediately incapacitating. The attacker took 8 rounds reportedly. It appears that maybe two were in the right elbow, one in the upper right lung and maybe two in the center area around the chest below the heart and one around the left collar bone area. I don't have the autopsy report so I can't confirm any of this. It sounds like the incapacitation was due to blood loss as opposed to a nervous system shutdown. 

**End gruesome description**

The question becomes this. What took so long? Why were 8 rounds of 9mm with several in the hits in the vital zone not immediately incapacitating? Part of that is due to handguns just aren't that greatly effective according to a study. The best information I think I can provide you can be found in a study done and published. That pertinent information can be found in the video below. 

My Questions

How can we improve this situation? My concerns can be summarized by several questions. What ammo did our Defender have? What barrel length did he have? What was the capacity of the magazine? Did the Defender's bullets expand?

The ammo selection matters significantly if we believe that a reliably expanding hollow point design is more effective at stopping an attack than that of an FMJ or something else. This is called terminal ballistics. If that statement is true, then we want to make sure that the hollow point designs we are using in our carry guns are good and that those designs will work from our handgun's barrel length. You need both. 

Hollow point bullets only expand when they impact the target as long as they do so within what I will call the velocity envelope. If the bullet impacts at too fast a velocity, the bullet will open up but may break apart and might not penetrate deep enough. If too slow, the bullet won't expand making it no more effective than an FMJ. A good design is one that meets the the FBI's testing requirement. Note there is another standard called IWBA which is the International Wound Ballistics Association. They have different testing than the FBI for the layers testing. On impact of ballistic gelatin, the bullet will pass through through 4 layers of denim or clothe to simulate clothing and expand quickly then penetrate between 12 inches and 18 inches. Usually testing should use at least 5 bullets to confirm reliable expansion and penetration. You can find great examples of testing at the Lucky Gunner Lab. They provide great information. There are others that you can find on YouTube such as ShootingTheBull410's incredible saga of 9mm and 380 ACP ammo testing. There are many folks who test this stuff so take advantage of the free data and cross reference your questions and choices with that OSINT data.

Barrel length is important in this topic because many people prefer to carry a smaller gun with shorter barrel but with the shorter the barrel, the less velocity you generate. A good design may work well in guns with a 5 inch or 4 inch barrel but by putting that round though a 3.1 inch barrel, the design may not expand reliably. For example, in the STB410 Ammo Quest, the Speer Gold Dot 124 grain load (3618) did not expand reliably in the test pistol with 3in barrel. However, that same load in the +P variant (3617) DID work correctly. By increasing the velocity, the design worked well. If the standard pressure round had been fired from a 4 inch or maybe a 3.5 inch barrel, the design may work just fine. See TNOutdoors9 video for comparison. 

By confirming our ammo choice with good testing practices, we can find if we need to keep looking or start stocking up. 

Back to our Indiana incident, if the Defender had used a good design and fired those rounds from a 4 inch barrel then it's possible that those bullets did expand as desired. That said, at 40 yards, they may not have had enough velocity to expand. 

Most of the gel testing done is at shorter distances. By shooting with shorter barrels, we can see where performance starts to taper off. This demonstrates how a bullet will perform after it's travelled some distance. Say 40 yards.

For example, if STB410's 124 gr Gold Dot (23618) test is accurate, then the average velocity of the 5 shots was 1030 FPS. With a poor success rate at those speeds, it would seem that the Speer Gold Dot 124 gr bullet produced back then has a minimum velocity of around 1030 FPS to get some kind of expansion. Lucky Gunner, however, got around 1067 FPS with reliable expansion from a 3.5 inch barrel. If we split the difference, then somewhere around 1050 FPS is the lowest at-target velocity we would want to run these bullets. We would not want to start our muzzle velocity that low. I assume that Speer didn't make any changes to the bullets used in the 23618 loading but I could be wrong. It's possible they updated the design/manufacturing. I do know they have a +P variant and a Short Barrel version of the 124 gr load with both standard pressure and +P variants. If I was going with anything less than 3 inch barrel and chose to run Gold Dot 124 gr bullets, then I would go +P or either Short Barrel variants.

At 1050 FPS, those bullets may only work reliably at shorter distances but if we run a longer barrel, than we can increase those velocities. TNOutdoors9 used a 4 inch barrel Glock 19 and got around 1141 FPS. That's a 74 FPS increase compared to Lucky Gunner's 3.5 inch barrel. 

If we run the velocity from TNOutdoors9's test through a ballistic calculator, we can see that around 40 yards, the Speed Gold Dot 124 gr from a 4 inch Glock 19 will hit around 1050 FPS. This means that our Defender in Indiana may have had reliable expansion IF he had carried a Glock 19 with Speed Gold 124 gr (23618) loaded. I used GunData's default ballistic coefficient data for those numbers if you're interested. 

Many people had operated under the pretense that the FBI previously stated the average distance of engagement was around 7 yards. I have no idea if that's true but clearly this incident happened well outside that distance. I had been mulling over the idea for a while but the Indiana incident brings up that we should be concerned that we may ACTUALLY have to take a long range shot. I know I can take a 50 yard head shot if need be but it's not easy. I have a red dot on my carry gun. Yes I've tried shooting a 6 inch target at 50 yards. It's how I validate my 25 yard zero by holding about an inch up from center.

If I'm taking a long range shot, I want to know if my bullets are still in the velocity envelope. I'm not going to pull out a laser range finder to find out in a situation but it's good to know that I may have to take extra shots or hold over a bit if an attacker is at 50 to 75 yards to end that attack. If I'm carrying a 3 inch barrel gun, then I may have to consider that at distance past 7 yards or so, my bullets may not expand at all. If our Defender had a Glock 43x with it's 3.1 inch barrel, those shots at 40 yards may have only been as effective as FMJs because they never expanded. I ran the Lucky Gunner velocity of 1067 FPS and the numbers drop to 1050 FPS at 8 yards. That may work for close in but it may also explain why our Defender had to put 8 rounds into the attacker. Not that he could see if they were effective hits or not. Really, you should keep shooting until they stop.

Honestly, this is starting to make me want to go back to a 4 inch barrel gun but I've run my own data and found I should good out to about 50 yards. I really like my ammo and P365xl combo but I'm wondering if I should see if the Federal HST 147 grain is any better. Doesn't look it. 

But what about capacity?

If our Defender had a Glock 48, Glock 43x or Glock 26 with the standard capacity magazines then he would only have had 10 rounds per magazine. If he topped off, then +1 that capacity. This is a concern for me because he fired 10 rounds. While clearly this worked out well, it highlights that if there had been another shooter (think Columbine) then he would have had to reload. 

If our Defender had carried a Glock 19 or a Glock 19X, 45 or 17 then he would have had 15 or 17 rounds in the standard magazine. This would have left him with at least 5 rounds or as many as 8 rounds depending on the variables. That's not a lot of wiggle room.

Alternatively, he may have had a embiggened magazine in one of the smaller guns, such as the S15 mag in the 48 or 43x or a 15 round G19 mag sleeved in a G26 or a +2 extension on any of these guns. Simply put, we don't know.

"But how often to people need to reload?" Great question. Sometimes, it's not about running out of ammo. 

I try to carry a spare magazine with my P365xl. Not because I think I'm gonna get in a big ol' gun fight but because sometimes things happen. Once I found that I had lost my magazine from my gun when I got home. I reached down to unholster before changing clothes and found the magazine was missing. I knew immediately when the gun was in hand. Had I needed my gun, I would have had 1 round in the chamber and needed a reload. Had that happened, I would have been able to pull the spare 15 round magazine I keep and charge the weapon. I found that magazine in the truck shortly after. I don't use that holster anymore since it clearly doesn't protect the magazine release. 


There's a lot of missing information I'd like answered. Did he have a red dot? What setup did he run? We won't know for a while, if ever. We do know this, he was successful in stopping that attacker. I am extremely grateful he was successful. I am very pleased to see such accuracy and speed in this situation. I wish he never had to deploy his gun. Evil exists in our world. We have to put it down when it shows up. If you ever have to help out, I hope that you took the above information and questions and put it to use. God Bless. 

26 June 2022

SCOTUS Gun Ruling and You - If you’re reading this, it probably doesn’t directly impact you.

The ruling is very simple as it does two things. Firstly, it confirms that you have the right to carry a gun in public and secondly, the last of the hold out states like Maryland and New Jersey who’s carry permits required a good reason can’t require a good reason any more. That’s it. They can still demand training, fees etc but can’t demand you show a good reason. That’s it. 

Of the 50 states, 42 of those states are Shall Issue or Constitutional Carry and in most cases, both of those. Most of America lives in those 42 states. The last of the 8 states use a May Issue system. Some of those states have counties that are fairly permissive on issuance and there’s a high chance you’ll get a permit but it's dependent on the location. The problem is mostly with a few of those 8 states like New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Hawaii and a few restrictive counties who simply never or almost never issue everyday citizens permits for general self defense reasons. The ruling forces those states into a Shall Issue system instead of a May Issue system. They can still deny a permit to violent people or persons with mental health issues and are still subject to background checks. 

Why is this a good thing? Let me give you an example. Someone I know is a realtor who has a carry permit in a Shall Issue state for specific instances. In Maryland or New Jersey, she wouldn’t be issued a permit because she can’t show a good reason. She has a good generalized reason and if she explained that reason to the average, everyday person they would likely agree it's common sense but she can’t provide tangible evidence to prove it such as court documents or police records and thus these states would deny her a carry permit. 

In reality, this ruling does affirm the in-public thing but it’s mostly focused on impacting those last few political regions where the ruling class doesn’t want you to carry a gun.

No, there won’t be Wild West gun fights on every street corner. It's not going to be Gunfight at the OK Corral (which BTW was a failure of gun control). I've had a few people say that to my face over the last 12 years and it's NEVER come true. We’ve had something like 30 years of Shall Issue permits and the Wild West argument hasn’t turned in to a thing. Making NY state fall in line won’t change that suddenly making it true. If you want to know what'll happen, take a look at Illinois after they started implementing a Shall Issue system after a similar court ruling. People got permits and almost immediately started defending themselves from criminals. It's been a big win. 

That said, there is a real probability that the mechanisms this case operates on will have a major impact on gun laws like magazine limitations and the Left's favorite boogie man, Bans on Features and Accessories for Common Rifles also known as an Assault Weapons Ban. I say this as the text of the Opinion makes room for "common" guns. At 10's of millions, I would say that semi-auto, centerfire rifles with Features are common.

What I am hoping for is a new fight in the court system that focuses on these Gun Feature Bans that ultimately results in NFA Title II weapons like Short Barrel Rifles and Shotguns and hopefully silencers being removed from the NFA. Interestingly, there are already cases in the system that we're waiting on this case to be argued. 

Fundamentally, this is a HUGE blow to Controllers here in the US. Hawaii, New Jersey and California are already getting applications for permits and have noted their head folks have instructed permitting agencies to by-pass the old Need requirement. New York is acting like a spoiled brat so we'll see how long it takes them to comply. 

09 June 2022

Mass Shootings Take Place in Flat Ranges - Why Magazine Limits Will Fail to Save Lives

 In the world of shooting sports, the term flat range refers to the environment where shooters practice in a static environment. There is little to no stress and you aren't being shot back at. Sometimes you can move around but usually the targets don't move. Almost every range, indoor or outdoor, is a flat range. Maybe you have a paper target on a track at an indoor range or you have paper or steel targets near a tall dirt berm outdoors. Maybe the ground is dirt and grass, maybe it's concrete or gravel. Maybe you have a designated lane, maybe you have open lateral movement. Regardless, the flat range is a low stress environment that doesn't present what some refer to as a two-way range. Most mass shooting occur in "gun free zones" where the one person who has a gun in a "gun free zone" is free to do as they please. Sadly, that appears to be murder. 

I haven't participated in a practical shooting match for a while but the last one I was in was under what's called Production Class. In Production Class under USPSA rules, you shoot with unmodified, stock firearms and load only 10 rounds into the magazine. I shoot a Walther PPQ M1 in 9mm. You can have larger or standard magazines but only load 10 rounds. I have both 15 and 17 round magazines for my pistol. Again, I am limited to 10 rounds loaded in each. 

These matches are usually performed on a closed range that is heavily controlled for safety. The match is setup so that wood target stands have cardboard targets stapled to the wood. You shoot the various targets according to the course of fire. You are scored according to your shot placements with the target having zones worth different points and try to be faster and more accurately than the other players.

I usually have around 2 or 3 spare magazines on my belt loaded with 10 rounds each along with the one magazine in the gun, also with 10 rounds. As I move through the course of fire, I will reload my pistol at a speed that I can reliably with a fresh magazine as needed. It's not very hard. Practice can be done in your living room in the form of dry-fire practice. If you want to know what a course of fire at a practical shooting match looks like, get on YouTube and search "uspsa production class" to get an idea of what I'm talking about. 

When a bad guy steps into a class room and starts murdering, they are operating in a flat range type of environment thanks to the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. Teachers don't shoot back because they can't. It's supposed to be a Gun Free Zone. Sadly, there's no RSO to DQ that jerk and kick them out. 

Magazine limitations won't work because just like in a match, there isn't anyone to stop you from doing what you are doing (well there is the RSO match). People aren't bum-rushing you to stop you since they are usually surprised and scared as hell (justifiably). Even if you fumble a reload, you can work through the mistake without issue. Using law to limit magazine capacities, are simply put, not an effective way to prevent a shooter from reloading. 

What magazine limitations DO do, is make it harder for the person being attacked from making an unhindered response. Let me introduce you to a phrase; Action is faster than Reaction. If a teacher in a class room is Reacting to a shooter, they need process what is happening, then pull their gun, get on target and start shooting. The shooter already has the high ground because of the element of surprise. Their gun is out they just have to start shooting. Action is faster than Reaction. 

Allow me to teach you another thing. The attacker sets the time, place and tempo of the attack. Because the attacker has initial control of the situation and usually there isn't someone onsite to take back control or disrupt the tempo, these attackers are able to set the tempo for which the Actions take place. This means that any number of limited capacity magazines can be consumed as the attacker wishes. 

Where these limitations are problematic is when you have someone who needs to respond immediately and in a fast and large way. Granny with wrist issues does not have the luxury of a high speed reload. She needs to have as many rounds in the magazine when a home invasion occurs. Granny doesn't have time to put on her IDPA gun belt with 3 mag pouches. There are any number of Thought Experiments that we can run to highlight why defenders need as many rounds in the magazine as it can hold while running similar experiments showing why fundamentally, limiting magazine capacities doesn't help slow down mass shooters. 

Thus, magazine limitations are a fallacy that should be avoided.   

Below is a link to an old video showing how the reload times simply DO NOT MATTER. 

25 May 2022

21 Dead - Liberty or Control? How about 766,500 Dead?

 The first reaction of many people when they hear the news of instances like what happened in Texas is "more control."

Currently, the estimation is that 21 people have died from the attack in Texas. As usual, the demand by the usual folks is for a demand for more gun control. If there was one of these attacks EVERY DAY, it would total to 7,665 people killed in just our hypothetical daily shootings scenario. If that continued EVERY YEAR for the next 100 years then we should expect that 766,500 people would die in that time frame. If the US had a Texas mass shooting EVERY DAY for 100 years, it still wouldn't reach the amount of death generated by just ONE of the Authoritarian regimes that committed genocide. Whether it be Soviet Russia at 20,000,000 or Nazi Germany at 10,000,000 (6 million Jews alone) or Communist China at 45,000,000 deaths, mass shooters WILL NEVER reach the levels of murder laid upon humanity like Governments in just the 1900's ALONE. We've haven't talked about 2000's genocides. It could turn out that the Russian invasion results in genocide or the Chinese genocide of the Uyghurs could be massive. This is all government sponsored.

This is why we have a Second Amendment. This is why I REJECT all forms of gun control. 

No amount of mass shooting can ever achieve the levels of destruction the most powerful governments can. And the US government is the MOST powerful government in the history of humanity. 

I'll be keeping my guns. 

The reality is that this issue is so far more complicated than that, I can't post it in a TL:DR version here. Culture has a lot to do with it. The dissolution of the nuclear family can't be helping and the destruction of good masculine roll models for young Men definitely isn't either. 

06 May 2022

Silencers - Four Years of Ownership

Since March of 2018, I have learned much about silencers. What I thought I wanted back then has definitely changed. Thankfully, my choices turned out to have been pretty good ones. I pray my more recent choices turn out the same. 

Many of the things I've learned are as follows. Having a silencer for my more common pistol calibers has been good and I've enjoyed shooting pistols suppressed but I've gotten to a point where my silencers are seeing FAR more use on my rifles than on my pistols. I've learned that a suppressed 22LR rifle or pistol is basically pure shooting bliss. I've learned and re-enforced a distain for the regulating legislation that is the National Firearms Act of 1934, that it's garbage and needs to die. I've learned that I have ZERO interest in rifles or pistols that I cannot immediately or make changes to, to use one of my silencers. An un-suppressible firearm has limited utility in my life and will most likely be ignored. 22LR tube-feed rifles and shotguns are the exception to this rule. And finally, having dedicated silencers for each weapon a smarter choice and that your choice in silencer should be specific to the build that you're working on. Having a heavy multi-roll silencer is great but when your can is 21 ounces on the end of a 24 inch barrel, you start to notice the weight. By choosing a more focused silencer, you are able to build a better packaged product. A Gemtech Tracker makes more sense on a dedicated, light-weight, mountain hunting  rifle compared to having something like the Dead Air Primal, Hybrid 46 or Bushwhacker 46 as all of these suppressors get pretty heavy where the Tracker is 11 oz. However, the Tracker isn't multi-roll. In the end, while it's more expensive to buy one silencer be gun, the effect is that you can tailor the full package without dealing with bulky universal mounts and extra weight or multi-roll cans. My Wolfman as setup currently as it's used on my AR-15s is 13 oz and can get pretty heavy after a while. The lighter, the better.

One of the biggest factors for me in purchasing my first silencer was that SilencerShop had been able to make the process easier and the changes to the application were more streamlined. Sadly, the Form 4 Trust wait times were massive and just plain awful. Recently, the ATF e-File system changed, allowing persons with Trusts and Form 4s to submit via the ATF portal instead of mailing in the forms. The rumor is that the new process has massively reduced the bureaucratically induced wait times down to somewhere around 90 days. My first suppressor took 280 days from start to end. With this new change and the fact that I have committed to buying a new silencer, I'll update this post on the changes. 

That said, as of March 2022, I have taken the plunge to buy the last silencer I will buy for a long while (unless things change). Dead Air released their Primal back in 2021. This is a welded body, tubeless silencer design that is VERY similar to the Wolfman but has many differences. The major differences are that the Primal is a 45 caliber bore instead of 36 caliber, that the Primal handles most every rifle cartridge out there compared to the Wolfman's small rifle and pistol caliber ratings and finally, the Primal is NOT segmented meaning you can't reduce the long-boi length by removing a part of the stack. I like the K-config version of my Wolfman. It's a heavy beast at 16 oz. While not as svelte as something like the 9.8 oz Nomad Ti, the Primal is full-auto rated and makes more sense in the DMR and hunting rifles roll which is where it will serve most of it's life. The Tracker would have made more sense for the hunting rifles in general but my 357 magnum lever action will do better with the Primal and my 308 Winchester DMR project will need something that can handle the abuse the Tracker can't.

Interestingly, Dead Air setup the Primal in such as way as to offer accessories that you can use most of, if not all of, the Wolfman, Wolf-9SD and Ghost-M accessories like the boosters but also use the stuff from the Sandman and Nomad lines. This means you can build out the Primal to meet whatever configuration you need. The ONLY exception is that Dead Air has not yet released a Primal specific e-Brake . The Sandman E-Brake is too narrow diameter to match the 1.6 inch body of the Wolfman and Primal but the Nomad E-Brake is too large. They need that Goldilocks zone E-Brake. From what I have seen, both of those E-Brake actually would mount up but they would look funny. 

I'm looking forward to trying the Primal out on my current inventory but I'll also see about rectifying the oversight of I've never shot a suppressed 45 ACP pistol!

If you're on the fence about getting a silencer for your guns, just jump right on in. There are plenty of services offered by companies such as SilencerShop and SilencerCentral that make it easier for people like me who are intimated by government paperwork. I work with several people and about three of them so far have come to the quiet side. You'll never go back.

Update: The Primal is currently on backorder and pending Dead Air to deliver to Silencer Shop.

Update 2: Silencer Shop now has the can and the forms have been signed to be filed with the ATF.

Update 3: I am waiting on the LGS to setup a time we can certify the application. It looks like the timer will start when that actually is completed. So far we're about 55 days since the backorder was filed. 

Dead Air Primal Form 4 Trust eFile Times:

Purchased 4 MAR 2022 (Item on Backorder)

Backorder Fulfilled - 06 MAY, 2022 

Tax stamp Applied for: 06 MAY, 2022

eForm Certification: TDB

Stamp received: