Monday, December 29, 2014

CTK Precision P3 Ultimate Target Stand Review

The P3 Ultimate Target Stand retails for $60 and includes everything shown except the two optional bottle hangers that retail for $6 each.
When I bring a new piece of gear into my videos, I will often get questions from viewers about the item.  Very soon you will begin to see the P3 Ultimate Target Stand, from CTK Precision, showing up in my firearm review and shooting videos.  Ahead of that, I wanted to share my thoughts on the P3 Ultimate Target Stand.

Having previously reviewed products from CTK Precision, I had a good idea what to expect as I unpacked the stand.  CTK Precision products are made in the USA using top quality raw materials and hardware.  The P3 Ultimate Target Stand is crafted from robust 14 gauge steel tubing and 3/8 inch steel rod.  All metal parts have been given the durable black E-coat finish on all surfaces.  The stand assembles in less than a minute with the provided star handle knobs.  No other tools are required for assembly.

Just Add Wood

1"x2" Furring Strips are required to complete the stand.
Before assembling the stand, you need to make a trip to your local home improvement center for some wood.  CTK Precision has provided all the metal pieces required to assemble the stand.  The vertical and horizontal supports are common 1x2 inch wood furring strip.  You can get the cheap stuff for $1.04 for an 8 foot length, or go upscale with pressure treated furring strip for $1.27 per 8 foot section.  I prefer the pressure treated variety because the edges have been rounded and there is less chance of getting splinters in your hands when handling the wood.  Also, in my area of the country, the pressure treated lumber tends to be straighter than the cheaper stuff.

The pressure treated wood is slightly undersized, but will still work because the stand incorporates clamping plates to secure the wood to the metal frame.  The clamping plates cover a larger area of wood than just the star handle screw alone.  The clamping plates add rigidity and stability to the stand without damaging the wood.









A Target Stand For All Seasons

























I use several different target types in my reviews.  They range in size from 8 to 45 inches wide, and 8 to 35 inches tall.  I've made several target stands using PVC pipe and the same furring strips used with the P3 Ultimate Target Stand to accommodate different target widths.  With the smaller targets, I will often need a backer behind the target because my PVC stands won't accommodate the narrow target width.

What I like most about the P3 Ultimate Target Stand is that one target stand will work for all of my targets.  By cutting the horizontal support to work with the widest target, I can bring the vertical supports closer together to work with the targets that aren't as wide.  Even if I didn't do reviews, I would still appreciate the flexibility of the stand.  Being able to pattern a shotgun or sight in a rifle using the same target stand is one of the most unique features of the stand.

The stand sits securely on 24 inch wide angled legs.  The legs are made from 3/8 inch round stock and can be inserted into the ground for added stability or to account for uneven terrain.  If you have a problem with wind, the horizontal support can be ballast weighted with sandbags.

Those seeking a more reactive target should consider adding one or more optional bottle holders to their Ultimate Target Stand.  These metal hooks simply side over the vertical supports and are infinitely height adjustable.  The hooks are very robust and will easily hold a gallon jug of water.

For me, the P3 Ultimate Target Stand really is the most ultimately flexible target stand I've worked with.  I need to add a pair of taller vertical supports for the longer paper targets, but the cardboard targets can be raised above the height of the supports as needed.  The only enhancement I would like to see are vertical hooks, similar to the bottle hooks, that could be used with small steel targets.

Watch for the P3 Ultimate Target Stand in my upcoming videos.

The P3 Ultimate Target Stand can be ordered from the CTK Precision website, or amazon.com







Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CCI Stinger 22 Long Rifle Clothing and Gel Tests


Back in May 2013, I ran my first terminal tests with a newly acquired Beretta 21A.  At that time I was testing the bulk pack ammo from Federal, Winchester, Remington, and CCI.  You can see those test through the various links on the Ammo Tests page.  Coming out of that test, I received many requests to test the CCI Stinger through the same pistol.  At the time, I was really surprised by how many requests I received for this specific test.  I decided to dig a little deeper into the subject.

If you humor me and Google something like "Best ammo for Beretta 21A Bobcat" you will get back a series of links to various forums discussing the subject.  The most recommended ammunition for the little Beretta seems to be the CCI Stinger.  Surprised by this, I made a mental note to do the test at some point in the future and quickly forgot about doing the test due to other distractions.

Recently I happened to see a box of Stingers while I was reorganizing my ammunition.  This reminded me that I wanted to try Stingers in my Beretta 21A.  Unfortunately, this box has been in my ammo stash for several years so the packaging doesn't match the current packaging, but I assure you that they were indeed Stingers.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that has a similar density to 10% ordnance gelatin.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

YouTube video direct link

My Thoughts on This Load:
As I read through the many reasons why folks recommend this specific load in the Beretta 21A, the most common reasons where reliability with feeding and ejection in the mini Beretta.  I didn't shoot much of this ammunition through my pistol, but what I did run through fed and ejected cleanly.

CCI created this load decades ago as a hyper-velocity light bullet round for varmint control.  Rated at 1640 feet per second, this load is still one of the fastest 22 LR loads available.  As expected, our tiny 2.4 inch barrel didn't allow the Stinger to develop that level of velocity.

All recovered rounds did not show any sign of expansion in the nose cavity.  This was also expected at the limited velocity generated by the short barrel.  What I found most interesting was that every test shot appeared to tumble as it progressed down the gel block.  The other interesting observation was that the bullet base is cupped with a thin skirt.  The base of all recovered rounds either expanded as it traveled down the barrel, or as it traveled through the gel.  I think they probably expanded as they ran down the gel block.  You can see the skirts have cracked on two of recovered rounds in the picture below.

Pick or Pan:
If your specific Beretta 21A Bobcat runs reliably with Stingers and you have confidence in the handgun and ammunition combo, then by all means continue to use it.  From my point of view, I prefer a bullet that penetrates deeper in gel testing.  Using 12 inches of gel penetration as the ballistics experts suggested minimum, this load fell short on penetration in half of our test shots.  I would feel more comfortable with a heavier round nose bullet, similar to the previously tested Federal Lightning or CCI Mini-Mag, that penetrated to 12 inches or more in gel testing as long as either proved to be equally reliable as the Stinger.

I conducted this test several weeks ago.  At the time, CCI shipments of Stingers were still hit and miss.  Earlier this week, I started seeing Stingers available at many of the on-line ammunition sellers by the box, brick, and even case.  Prices are still running on the high side at $10/box of 50, but at least they are available again.  





Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ruger Announces the BX-Trigger for 10/22 and Charger

Just in time for holiday gift giving, Ruger announces their new BX-Trigger for all 10/22 rifles and 22 Charger pistols. 

The complete drop in replacement trigger group replaces the factory trigger group and reduces the trigger pull weight from 6 lbs. to a lighter and crisper 2.5-3.0 lbs. 

Innovative packaging, and the included dry fire block, allow you to try the trigger before you buy.  With a retail price of $89.99 it will surely be a must have upgrade for many 10/22 and Charger owners.


Beginning December 19, the Ruger BX-Trigger will be available for purchase directly from Ruger at ShopRuger.com or from local independent firearms retailers.

Additional information and introductory video can be found at the following link.      Ruger.com/BX-Trigger

For those of us that have upgraded our personal 10/22 triggers over the years, this drop in replacement comes as a welcome addition to the Ruger Product Catalog.  With a retail price of roughly half of other currently available drop in replacements, the BX-Trigger is sure to be in very high demand. 








Monday, December 15, 2014

Federal Premium 9mm +P 147 Grain HST Tactical Ammunition Test


Two years ago, I tested this load from both short and long barrels into bare gel.  The results of both tests were very good, and I had good intentions of getting back to run additional tests with this load through clothing barriers.  My initial tests can be found here.  While I had good intentions, I never did get back to retest this load until two weeks ago.  I was working on another project at the time and discovered I had ammo, gel, and a Glock 17 so it was time to do the long overdue comprehensive retest.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that has a similar density to 10% ordnance gelatin.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
This was one of those tests where everything seemed to go perfectly.  The light wasn't the best with overcast skies, but the high speed camera still captured the action pretty well.  As I mentioned above, I was working on another project when I conducted this test.  There was a two hour gap between the initial velocity test and when I actually shot the gel block.  The temperature was rising during that time and must be the reason why all 4 test shots exceeded the velocities recorded earlier in the day.

Test shot velocities were right on par with the 1050 fps specified by Federal.  With our longer 4.5 inch test barrel, we expect to exceed the velocity estimates published by Federal from their 4 inch barrel.

Expansion, penetration, and weight retention were all excellent with this load.  As I mentioned in the video, the denim test shots both exited the gel block and bounced off the phone book behind the block.  Neither of the bullets damaged or dented the cover of the phone book.      

Pick or Pan:
This load is a pick.  It displayed all the desirable performance characteristics we look for in our tests.  The only negative seems to be the limited availability of this load.  Let's hope availability improves as the ammunition supply catches up with demand.





Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Don't Settle For A Tie. Ask For the 2015 Ballistics Calendar

Yes, it's that time of year again when spouses and children start asking for Dad's Christmas list.  I'm not a fan of the annual ritual, but I've learned from experience that failure to come up with a list can lead to gifts like socks, ties, and sweaters ending up under the Christmas tree with my name on them.  I've also learned that if I can keep the list small and fill it with affordable items there is a really good chance I'll get most of them.   

Nathan Boor is a friend of the blog, and also the owner of Aimed Research.  You may remember his guest blog post on high-speed ballistics imaging from June 2013.  Nathan captures some really cool high-speed stills and video in the pursuit of his work.  Aimed Research has a YouTube channel showcasing some of Nathan's work.


Just in time for holiday gift giving, Nathan  has published a 2015 calendar with some of his best high-speed images.  Most of the images in the calendar were captured at 1/2,000,000th of a second.  I'm always amazed how professional high speed cameras can crisply capture a bullet traveling at more than 850 miles per hour as it leaves the barrel of a firearm.  Nathan includes high-speed images from rifle, shotgun, and handgun in the 2015 calendar.

The 12 month spiral bound calendar is printed in full color and measures 8.5" x 11".  Calendars can be ordered directly from the printer (lulu.com) at this website.  Additional information, and more sample images, are available on the calendar ordering page.  The cost is $14 plus shipping and tax according to the website.  Get one on your list while there's still plenty of time for delivery before the holidays.