Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 11,609
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 11,609
ACLU: U.S. Government "No Fly List" Is Unconstitutional and Ineffective
ACLU: Watchlists are bloated and overinclusive
San Francisco Chronicle: No-Fly Blacklist Snares Political Activists
Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota
Schneier: Infants on the Terrorist Watch List
Funny how the Bush/Cheney Administration's war on civil liberties, as conceived and aggressively advocated by the Bush/Cheney Justice Department, suddenly becomes wonderful and "progressive" when somebody waves the "ZOMG gunz" flag.
Posted by benEzra | Sat Feb 28, 2015, 07:42 PM (0 replies)
of rifle-resistant armor (NIJ Level III, which is rated to stop steel-jacketed 7.62x51mm NATO).
Armor piercing 5.56mm is M995 (tungsten core) and has been banned for years. This is just an excuse to ban ordinary ball ammo, even though it is primarily *lead* core and therefore exempt from the ban on steel-core bullets.
Posted by benEzra | Fri Feb 27, 2015, 09:55 PM (1 replies)
Here are some thoughts. I may have mentioned this before, but so that you know where I'm coming from, I've owned one since around 2005 and shoot competitively (USPSA) with mine, so those are my own biases up front. I'm responding to your points a little out of order because I don't want to get bogged down in firearm minutiae right away.
"People new to gun control often start out thinking a) we should ban all guns, and b) we should at least ban assault weapons. When they study the reasons why this would be either impossible or undesirable, most change their focus to what can be more reasonably be done to reduce gun violence.
I would like to believe that is the case, but unfortunately it seems that AR bans and over-10-round magazine bans are still near the top of the gun control lobby's hit list. The leaders of that movement have been fighting for rifle and magazine bans for 25 years now, and have just about sacrificed their entire movement at times in order to maintain that shibboleth.
Occasionally they stop talking about such bans...for a while...but reintroduce them any time they think they can get some traction. They have spent a quarter of a century demonizing people like me, literally since I was eighteen years old (I'm 44 now), and have been discussing this same issue here on DU for the last eleven years. And if anything, banning over-10-round magazines and protruding rifle handgrips is more an article of faith among gun control advocates than it was ten or twenty or thirty years ago, despite the fact that rifle homicide has declined by half or two thirds or whatever as the AR-15 became Americans' #1 rifle.
Tens of millions of people like me own "assault weapons", 40-50 million Americans together own perhaps a billion over-10-round magazines, and "assault weapons" are involved in only ~1% of U.S. homicides annually. Yet if I were to head over to the gun control DU group and suggest that "assault weapon" and magazine bans are counterproductive and should be discouraged/repealed, I would be insta-banned from the group for daring to blaspheme one of the basic tenets of the gun-control faith.
A certain ex-mayor of New York and Wall Street billionaire is still trying very hard to get them banned, and he even managed to buy a magazine ban in pro-gun Colorado, much to the detriment of Gov. Hickenlooper and Colorado Dems. At least five states still ban them, including two which only banned them last year, lobbied heavily by Wall Street money posing as grassroots activism. The BATFE is making noises about banning various flavors of .223/5.56mm ammunition. So while I'd like to believe that my rights here in NC are safe on the AWB and mag-ban front, I'm not exactly reassured yet.
"Why are they the most popular civilian rifles in the United States? I contend they are the most popular because they look like military weaponry and that appeals to a lot of insecure males."
If that were the case, then why are the most popular AR variants those that look the *least* like M16's or M4's? Why do most female competitive shooters overwhelmingly shoot AR's, as opposed to more traditional-looking rifles? I would suggest that AR-15's are popular on their merits, not from some sense of perceived badassery.
And this particular "insecure male" carries a Smith and Wesson Lady Smith on a North Carolina CCW license, just so ya know.
Back to AR's...mine is an Illinois-made Rock River Arms model with a Wilson 16" match grade heavy profile barrel, civilian midlength gas system, adjustable stock, Hogue grip, Bravo Company extended charging handle, and 2-6x scope, and when sitting in the safe at home it wears a civilian Surefire LED light. In its current configuration, it is less "military" than a Remington 700 deer rifle or a Winchester Model 70, and I have no interest in making it look more like an military M4.
In my opinion, AR's are popular because they are reliable, extremely accurate, modular and easily customized, they don't kick much (most are .22 caliber), they are inexpensive to shoot, and are easily adjustable for different size shooters or different shooting positions. They can be set up for anything from slowfire precision benchrest shooting to more dynamic IPSC/USPSA/3-gun competition to home defense and small game hunting *without* needing the services of a gunsmith. They are to the rifle world what the M1911 Colt pistol was to competition shooting in the 1960s through the 1980s, or what the IBM PC was to the computer market in the early days of personal computers---perhaps the first true open-specification, open-source rifle, user-configurable rifle.
AR sales jumped in 1994-1995 as a protest against the hated 1994 non-ban, but they really took off in the late 1990s/early 2000s when flattops (allowing you to put any optic you want on it) became available, and those quickly came to dominate the market due to their practicality and accuracy. You don't see too many military-style fixed-carry-handle, goverment-profile-barrel AR's ("M4geries") on the market anymore. SOPMOD-style quad rails were used for a while for foregrips and lights, but then the civilian market evolved away toward smooth-sided free float tubes with less unnecessary rail. And so on. Overall, not so different than the evolution of the Mauser and (both designed to kill human beings at extreme range) into the Winchester Model 70 deer rifle, except that unlike the Mauser/Winchester, the civilian AR doesn't actually work like its military cousin.
"Isn't it true that the handgrip of these 'most popular civilian rifles' were designed to make it easier to carry and use in combat, not hunting?"
No, vertical handgrips are vertical because that is what works best for human wrist anatomy when firing from the shoulder. Don't take my word for it; pick up a soda can and hold it out a foot in front of you at shoulder level. Is it easier to hold vertical, or horizontal? Now put it down at your waist; is it easier to hold it vertical, or horizontal? Seriously, try it. That's why most high-end target rifles use either separate pistol grips, thumbhole stocks, or extreme Monte Carlo style stocks to give the same grip position/angle as a pistol grip.
McMillan Alias Target ($10,000)
Anschutz European target and Olympic Biathlon rifles
Eberlestock Precision Rifles
Old-fashioned straight stocks were straight because they were made of natural wood, which would split along the grain under recoil unless fairly linear, not because straight is always better.
The other reason for a separate handgrip from the stock is to allow the receiver (basic frame) of the rifle to extend backward past the shooter's hand, allowing for a better weight distribution. The AR puts the recoil spring and recoil buffer in the buttstock, instead of in the forearm under/atop the barrel like most centerfire rifles do. This allows a simpler and lighter bolt carrier design and puts less weight out front, but also means that normal AR's can't use stocks that fold. FWIW, you can get an AR with a traditional straight stock if it floats your boat, and they work just like any other AR except for the more awkward ergonomics of a straight stock.
"Have hunters adopted the military style handgrips for hunting?"
Replace "hunters" and "hunting" with "target shooters" and "target shooting", and the answer is certainly yes; target shooters have been using vertical handgrips for many years, see above. Of the small minority of gun owners who hunt, some use protruding handgrips also, but their ergonomic advantages are somewhat outweighed by the need of a hunting rifle to pack as much lethality as possible into a very light and slim package, and protruding grips add weight, bulk, and snags over a light fixed-stock rifle. So pistol grips are mostly used in long-range varmint hunting and whatnot, which are more similar to target shooting, rather than deer hunting. But since the vast majority of gun owners are nonhunters, those considerations are moot for most of us, which is also why most AR shooters are content with the small, relatively low-powered .223 round.
"Isn't it true that the ads for these rifles frequently use military scenarios in their advertising?"
That depends on the company. Remember, over 40 companies (50? 60? 100?) make AR's, some of whom (Colt, FN, maybe Daniel Defense, maybe Noveske, maybe LM&T) also make components for military rifles/carbines, and most of whom (JP Precision, DPMS, Bushmaster, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, etc.) don't. I don't believe Rock River Arms (the maker of mine) currently makes anything for DoD, but they have certainly touted their law enforcement sales in some ads. What sold me on mine, though, was that the company guaranteed an accuracy of 1.5 arcminutes or less with match ammunition (which it delivers), and a good reputation among competitive shooters. Do some companies overplay the military pedigree to boost sales? Sure, though I tend to view that as less Walter Mitty and more playing to the "if it works under those harsh conditions, it'll work for you" meme like Breitling does. But advertising isn't what sells AR's; seeing them on the range, and handling them in person, does. They really are great little rifles.
FWIW, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but pretty much all civilian rifles are civilian derivatives of military designs. After the Civil War, hunters and homesteaders ditched their muzzleloaders in favor of military-style lever-actions through the rest of the 19th century, then military-style bolt-actions (based largely on the German Mauser infantry rifle, see above) came to ascendancy in the early to mid twentieth century. The AR-15 hit the civilian market in IIRC 1962 or 1963 (John Kennedy owned one), so it's had plenty of time to evolve into the dominant civilian rifle of its time, and has.
Posted by benEzra | Fri Feb 27, 2015, 07:44 PM (0 replies)
A poster in one of the M855-ban threads made the following comment, and I think it is worth discussing at length.
" i would like to have a discussion that looks at pros and cons in these situations.
We can approach this topic from the perspective of police officer murders (the BATFE's stated rationale for the proposed ban on some popular .223 ammunition), or from the perspective of rifle murders in general.
Police officer murders. One way to approach this question is to look at the police officer murders, and the ability of pretty much any centerfire rifle to shoot through soft body armor like Saran Wrap.
The best resource for understanding the threat to police officers is the annual FBI report on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted. From this report, we see that in 2013, 27 police officers were murdered in the United States. Of those, the table of types of weapon used shows that all rifles combined accounted for 5 murders. Eighteen officers were murdered with handguns, and three with shotguns.
Of those five officers murdered with rifles, two were murdered with .223 rifles of any type.
Table 41 reveals exactly zero deaths occurred in 2013 because the victim's body armor was penetrated. To reiterate, not one single officer died in 2013 from having her/his vest penetrated by *any* caliber firearm.
In fact, the same table shows that only 3 officers have been killed since 2004 by any .223 or 5.56x45mm round penetrating any type of vest. One death occurred in 2004, one in 2008, and one in 2011, and there is no indication that any of those involved M855 or rifle-resistant armor. During the same time period, 7 officers were murdered through their vests using deer hunting calibers (.30-30 Winchester, 7mm, .308, or .30-06), 5 were murdered through their vests using 7.62x39mm, and 385 were murdered with ordinary pistols and revolvers (almost all of which involved hits to unprotected areas).
Finally, to understand this discussion, it helps to understand body armor ratings. The current National Institutes of Justice armor ratings are as follows, increasing in both protection and discomfort/bulk as you go higher:
Ballistic Resistance of Body Armor - NIJ Standard-0101.06
NIJ Level IIA (soft armor) - rated to stop slow 9mm, .40 Smith & Wesson (handgun rounds)
NIJ Level II (soft armor) - rated to stop fast 9mm, slow .357 (handgun rounds)
NIJ Level IIIA (soft armor) - rated to stop .357 Sig, .44 mag (handgun rounds)
NIJ Level III (usually hard armor) - rated to stop steel jacketed 147gr 7.62x51mm at 2780 ft/sec (substantial rifle round)
NIJ Level IV (hard armor) - rated to stop full power rifle shooting armor piercing ammunition (166gr .30-06/7.62x63mm tungsten-core AP at 2880 ft/sec)
For context, M855 is a 62-grain, copper jacketed, steel-capped lead core .22-caliber bullet at about 2980 ft/sec out of a typical civilian-length barrel.
Note that any armor rated IIIA or below is not rated to stop any rifle. Most police officers wear Level IIIA, which is rated to stop the threat they are likely to face (concealable handguns in pistol/revolver calibers). Some officers add Level III hard inserts in the armor that protect the chest from torso hits with lower powered rifles like .223 and 7.62x39mm (as well as .308), but these plates are heavy and hot. SWAT officers typically wear Level III hard armor (external) or Level IV, which will stop full-on military armor piercing rounds from a .30-06, but they don't have to patrol all day wearing it.
Looking at the above figures, it is obvious that the number of annual police officer deaths that would be averted by banning M855 is zero. .223 is rarely used to murder police officers, and in the rare event it is, it rarely involves vest penetration. If vest is involved, NIJ Level IIIA or below won't stop *any* .223 (or pretty much any other rifle round), and NIJ Level III or IV hard body armor will stop M855 just like it stops 7.62x51mm steel jacketed FMJ. True armor piercing .223/5.56mm rounds (tungsten core M995) would probably penetrate Level III hard armor, but has long been banned, is not affected by this proposal, and has probably never been used to murder a single police officer in the United States.
Murder in general. The other way to address this question is to look at murder in general. The best source for this information is the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, particularly Table 20, Murder by State and Type of Weapon.
According to the UCR, there were 12,253 murders reported to the FBI in 2013 in the United States. According to Table 20, all rifles combined accounted for 285 of them. Back in the late 1980s, I recall the BATF Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Survey might have broken things down more by caliber, but those numbers are now dated and don't shed much light on the current discussion. I have them archived in my journal from the old DU and can dig them up if anybody wants them.
Still, we can certainly narrow it down based on what we know of U.S. rifle ownership. Of that 285, some large portion is committed with .22 rimfires due to their ubiquity, low noise signature, handiness/concealability, or whatever. The remainder are committed with centerfires, which are more powerful than rimfires but also heavier, louder, bulkier, and more costly. By far the most popular centerfire rifle caliber in the United States is .223 Remington, the caliber under discussion here. As I recall, the next most popular centerfire caliber in terms of annual rounds fired are 7.62x39mm, .308 Winchester, .30-06, and .30-30, followed by a bevy of more narrowly focused hunting calibers like .243, .270, the 7mm's, and so on, but no one disputes that .223 is by far the most popular centerfire rifle caliber in U.S. homes. For the sake of argument, let's say 100 murders/yr are committed with .223, 100 with 7.62x39mm, and 85 with everything else; this undoubtedly overestimates both .223 and 7.62x39mm (the old YCGIS data put rimfires at almost half of rifle homicides, I think), but it's probably within a factor of two or so of the true number, and overestimation presents the strongest possible case for the gun-control side, so let's run with that figure for now and see where it goes.
.223 Remington ammunition (aka 5.56x45mm) is a .22 centerfire that shoots small bullets weighing between 40 to 77 grains (2.6 to 5.0 grams) at deer-rifle velocities. By far the most common in general use is 55 grain (3.6 grams), which splits the difference between the light 40-grain small game rounds and the heavier 77-grain long range rounds, and is mostly what you'll find at Walmart or sold as inexpensive target/practice ammo. Based on its overwhelming prevalence, it's reasonable to expect that 80%-90% of murders using .223 are with 55-grain FMJ/JHP/SP. Let's say 80%; that leaves 20 murders with all other weights of .223 rounds.
M855 is a 62-grain load, the extra mass over 55-grain helping it retain velocity better at range (which is why it out-penetrates 55-grain at 600 meters; it is more streamlined and has higher sectional density, so it doesn't slow down as quickly from air resistance). It's by far the most popular of the longer range .223 rounds, so let's assume that 75% of non-55gr murders are with M855. That's 15 murders, out of 12,253 murders annually (and remember, we are overestimating the case here).
Of that 15, how many would have survived if they had been shot with a 55 to 77 grain .223 that wasn't M855? Ironically, although all rifle rounds are quite lethal, M855 has been the subject of harsh criticism (also here) over its perceived lack of lethality in combat, which is why it's popular as a civilian target and practice round but much less so as a defensive or law enforcement round. In short, even if a ban on M855 magically made it vanish completely, to be replaced by ordinary $5/box 55-grain lead core FMJ, it would make no difference whatsoever. M855 is no more lethal than any other .22 centerfire rifle round, and (as discussed above) is stopped by the same body armor that stops other .223.
Addendum: For those who don't have firsthand experience with .223, here's a comparison that may help put this discussion in perspective:
The cartridge on the left is .308 Winchester (7.62mm), a popular hunting and target shooting round that was originally developed for the U.S. military; NIJ Level III body armor is rated to stop a steel jacketed bullet from this cartridge. In the center is a .223 Remington (5.56mm), the most popular civilian centerfire rifle cartridge in the United States; M855 is one particular flavor of this cartridge. On the right is an AA battery to show scale.
Disclaimer: I am a casual-competitive shooter who enjoys shooting a .223 rifle and keeps one at home in lieu of the traditional 12-gauge, so that's my angle.
Posted by benEzra | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 11:31 PM (119 replies)
then yes, you do want to ban all rifle rounds (or at least 98% of them).
Posted by benEzra | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 09:18 AM (0 replies)
may end up doing exactly that. If BATFE goes ahead with this, then they are undermining the entire ban on AP handgun ammunition.
Posted by benEzra | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 09:16 AM (0 replies)
that allows centerfire rifles.
Armor piercing M995 ammo (like .30-06 M2 AP) is not allowed on most ranges, but 5.56x45mm AP is already restricted from civilian use.
What this new proposal does is attempt to bring non-AP M855, which at close to moderate range penetrates just like any other .223 FMJ you can buy at Walmart, under the same restrictions as M995 AP, and that is ridiculous. M855 is stopped by properly constructed NIJ Level III (rated to stop 7.62x51mm FMJ) but will penetrate NIJ Level IIIA, which is not designed to stop ANY centerfire rifle rounds.
And the construction of the bullet *is* salient, since the ban specifically exempts mostly-lead-core ammunition like M855. Senators Moynihan and Biaggi were adamant that their bills *not* be interpreted to ban anything that could penetrate soft armor, since that would ban all rifle ammunition.
Posted by benEzra | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 09:09 AM (0 replies)
Total murders...................... 12,253
Handguns............................ 5,782 (47.2%)
Firearms (type unknown)............. 2,079 (17.0%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc.............. 1,622 (13.2%)
Knives and other cutting weapons.... 1,490 (12.2%)
Hands, fists, feet.................... 687 (5.6%)
Shotguns.............................. 308 (2.5%)
Rifles................................ 285 (2.3%)
Of that, only a tiny percentage (if any!) involve M855. And of course rifle homicides have fallen precipitously since 2005. From FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2005-2013, Tables 20:
This proposal seeks to outlaw inexpensive surplus target ammo used heavily by competitive shooters and almost never by criminals. It is less lethal than any civilian .223 load you can buy at Walmart, even the cheapest $5/box FMJ.
Anyone fighting to outlaw practice ammo for the most popular target rifles in America (not just AR's, but all .223's) doesn't give a crap about "saving lives", because you are going directly after lawful target shooting with this.
Edited to add: The "saving cops' lives" angle is also BS. NIJ Level IIIA body armor will not stop rifle calibers, period. NIJ Level III body armor, if up to spec, should stop any ball ammo up to .308/7.62x51mm, including .223 M855 which is non-AP ball (.223 AP is M995 and is already restricted). NIJ Level IV body armor will stop all AP rifle rounds up to .30-06 M2 tungsten core (7.62x63mm). So this isn't about saving anyone's life; it's about sticking it to people whose life choices you disagree with.
Posted by benEzra | Tue Feb 17, 2015, 11:54 AM (0 replies)
Spencer - sustainable rate-of-fire in excess of 20 rds per min
For clarification, that's the rate of sustained fire for the early 1860s Spencer, 7+1 and reloadable with speedloaders.
Comparing apples to apples, here are the U.S. military specs on the M16 (the NFA Title II restricted select-fire military rifle, not non-automatic civilian AR's, but similar limitations apply):
Note that the rates of semiauto and cyclic fire are instantaneous rates and do not take reloading or heat buildup into account, unlike the listed sustained rate. The M16, and all other military infantry rifles, are not designed for or capable of sustained high-volume fire (see Wanat); that's what machineguns and SAWs are for.
Ha, what you refer to are drastically substandard to modern semi-auto rifles & used mostly in the latter couple years of the Civil War. We went over this in an earlier thread; link below pegs spencer at 1 rd per 3 seconds: Spencer- sustainable rate-of-fire in excess of 20 rds per min
So you consider a sustained 1 round per second "underaimed" but think the average person can sustain 0.33 to 0.5 second splits aimed fire with a civilian semiauto while aiming? A more realistic one round per second, plus pauses for reloading, put speedloader-capable lever-actions and the AR-15 and other civilian semiautos on a lot more even footing than you care to acknowledge. And as you well know, 30+ round lever actions were produced in the early 1870s, though the development of more convenient and reliable box magazines truncated their development.
There's also the pesky fact that semiauto has been the default civilian mode of operation for decades, outside of guns optimized for long-range lethality. You're not going to ban semiautos any more than you're going to ban 11 to 30 round magazines. And given that 30-round rifles account for fewer than 300 homicides a year out of 8000+ in this country, despite being some of the most popular civilian firearms in U.S. homes, I'd suggest that your crusade is wrongheaded and counterproductive.
Posted by benEzra | Wed Feb 11, 2015, 02:23 PM (1 replies)
which can deliver rate of aimed fire not far off that of a modern semiauto, and they had them in fairly large numbers. They didn't change the outcome of the war.
Ironically, many of those Civil War vintage lever-actions would be banned from new production by this wrongheaded bill, due to holding 15 or 16 rounds.
Posted by benEzra | Mon Feb 9, 2015, 02:22 PM (1 replies)