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By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

Just got back from the gun range, firing on the 100 yard band. Didn't do so hot, but then I was in a hurry to get back. Most of my shots were low, about three to four inches down. Last time I shot the 100 yard band, they were at the right elevation. Could have been the heavier, wet air, or it could have been that I failed to form a proper sight picture.

Two weeks ago I went to the only 200 yard gun range in Oklahoma, a public range at Canton Lake. That went terribly. Eighty percent of my shots didn't even hit the target, dropping into a dirt berm.

As I have mentioned before, I prefer Silver Bear 5.545x39 60 grain ammunition, to be consistent in use. The standard round for the 5.45 is the Russian 53 grain 7N6 cartridge, which has a corrosive primer and requires extensive cleaning after firing. I chose the 60 grain because it is the heaviest round the AK-74 will fire without jamming.

Last Thursday we posted a news article by a travelogue writer about the economics of the AK-47. Nearly all the information imparted was what we had heard before, but what stuck out at me was the contention that the AK-47 was an inaccurate rifle to begin with.

As I have said, it's about the bullet drop.

The 53 grain bullet, being lighter, is supposed to drop less than a 60 grain bullet. In fact, the Russians say the 53 grain bullet is consistent enough that a rifleman can hit a man size target from 50 yards all the way out to 400 yards without adjusting his rear sight leaf. The close shot will hit the center mass (between the shoulders) and the farthest shot will hit Russian center mass, which is the belt buckle.

So it follows that a 60 grain bullet zeroed in at 100 yards will drop more, even at an intermediate range such as 200 yards. At Canton I did adjust the rear sight leaf to 200 to no avail. There is really no way to determine just how much the bullet will drop, but it is heavy enough to fall ineffectively. Next month I will test it at the 200 yard band using the 300 yard sighting leaf to see if that helps, or even remedies the problem.

Such it is with the AK-47. We get the 123 grain round, which with the smaller charge will drop much more than any comparable round. The windage may be pristine, but if the drop is so severe that it strikes the ground before reaching its target, you may as well be firing blindfolded.

Bullet drop is why the 5.56x45mm AR-15 cartridge is considered more accurate. It has a heavier charge, so the bullet drop is much less. You can have an easier time zeroing in when your rifle fires high than when it fires low. It's just physics.

Here is a discussion about the 5.56x45mm cartridge and its .223 counterpart.

And a funny Tweet about the 1911.

Loads.

Rantburg's summary for arms and ammunition:

Prices for pistol ammunition were mostly unchanged while rifle ammunition prices were mixed.

Prices for used pistols were lower across the board while prices for used rifles were mixed.

New Lows:

None

Pistol Ammunition

.45 Caliber, 230 grain, From Last Week: Unchanged (7 Weeks)

Cheapest, 50 rounds: Quality Made Cartridges, Store Brand, RNL, Reloads, .25 per round
Cheapest Bulk, 500 rounds: Quality Made Cartridges, Store Brand, RNL, Reloads, .25 per round (From Last week: Unchanged (9 Weeks))

.40 Caliber Smith & Wesson, 180 grain, Unchanged (2 Weeks)
Cheapest, 50 rounds: Sportsman's Outdoor Superstore, Tulammo, FMJ, Steel cased, .22 per round
Cheapest Bulk, 500 rounds: Ammo Mart, Legendary, FMJ, Brass, Reloads .21 per round (From Last Week: Unchanged (2 Weeks))

9mm Parabellum, 115 grain, From Last Week: -.02 each After Unchanged (2 Weeks)
Cheapest, 50 rounds: Ammo Mart, Buffalo Cartridge, FMJ, Factory Seconds, .15 per round
Cheapest Bulk, 500 rounds: Blok Tactical, Store Brand, FMJ, Brass, Reloads, .16 per round (From Last Week: Unchanged (9 Weeks))

.357 Magnum, 158 grain, From Last Week: Unchanged (2Q, 2015)

Cheapest, 50 rounds: LAX Ammunition, Tulammo, FMJ, Steel cased, .28 per round
Cheapest Bulk: 1,000 rounds: Surplus Ammo, Tulammo, FMJ, Steel cased, .27 per round (From Last Week: Unchanged (3Q, 2015))

Rifle Ammunition

.223 Caliber/5.56mm 55 grain, From Last Week: +.02 Each After Unchanged (3 Weeks)
Cheapest, 20 rounds: Natchez Shooters Supplies, Tulammo, steel cased, FMJ, .23 per round
Cheapest Bulk, 1,000 rounds: LAX Ammunition, Tulammo, steel cased, FMJ, .21 per round (From Last Week: Unchanged (4 Weeks))

.308 NATO 150 grain, From Last Week: Unchanged (2 Weeks)
Cheapest, 20 rounds: Cheaper Than Dirt!, Tulammo, steel cased, FMJ, .38 per round
Cheapest Bulk, 500 rounds: Cheaper Than Dirt!, Tulammo, Steel Cased, FMJ, .36 per round (From Last Week: Unchanged (3Q, 2015))

7.62x39 AK 123 Grain, From Last Week: Unchanged (5 Weeks)
Cheapest, 20 rounds: Ammunition Depot, Wolf WPA, steel case, FMJ, .23 per round
Cheapest Bulk, 500 rounds: SG Ammo, Wolf WPA, steel case, .23 per round (From Last Week: Unchanged (1Q 2015))

.22 LR 40 Grain, From Last Week: Unchanged (2 Weeks)

Cheapest, 20 rounds (10 Box Limit): Ammo Men, Federal Champion, RNL .08 per round
Cheapest Bulk, 325 rounds (2 Box Limit): Target Sports USA, Federal Automatch, RNL, .08 per round (From Last Week: +.01 Each)

Guns for Private Sale
Rifles


.223/5.56mm (AR Pattern Semiautomatic) Average Price: $523 Last Week Avg: $513 (+) ($616 (29 Weeks), $476 (5 Weeks))
California (244, 249): Palmetto State Armory: $480 ($650 (39 Weeks), $400 (8 Weeks))
Texas (285, 297): Mixed Build: $550 ($700 (34 Weeks), $350 (29 Weeks))
Pennsylvania (163, 170): DPMS Oracle: $500 ($700 (28 Weeks), $300 (16 Weeks))
Virginia (185, 192): DPMS (Bull Barrel): $585 ($750 (34 Weeks), $500 (38 Weeks))
Florida (407, 404): Mixed Build: $500 ($650 (18 Weeks), $380 (30 Weeks))

.308 NATO (AR-10 Pattern Semiautomatic) Average Price: $1,000 Last Week Avg: $955 (+) ($1,359 (28 Weeks), $820 (4 Weeks))
California (51, 47): Mixed Build: $1,500 ($1,700 (42 Weeks), $850 (12 Weeks))
Texas (46, 50): Palmetto State Armory: $1,300 ($1,500 (48 Weeks), $800 (12 Weeks))
Pennsylvania (33, 37): DPMS: $800 ($1,500 (34 Weeks), $700 (5 Weeks))
Virginia (56, 61): Palmetto State Armory PA-10: $900 ($1,650 (18 Weeks), $900 (48 Weeks))
Florida (70, 68): DPMS Oracle RFLR: $500 ($1,500 (49 Weeks), $500 (4 Weeks))

7.62x39mm (AK Pattern Semiautomatic) Average Price: $490 Last Week Avg: $506 (-) ($626 (30 Weeks), $450 (17 Weeks))
California (50, 42): Polish Radom: $600 ($700 (33 Weeks), $320 (44 Weeks))
Texas (73, 76): WASR 10: $500 ($750 (32 Weeks), $350 (3Q, 2014))
Pennsylvania (50, 48): Romak: $300 ($750 (39 Weeks), $375 (24 Weeks))
Virginia (54, 54): CAI C-39: $550 ($625 (35 Weeks), $350 (37 Weeks))
Florida (116, 120): CAI: $500 ($650 (28 Weeks), $300 (48 Weeks))

30-30 Winchester Lever Action Average Price: $341 Last Week Avg: $375 (-) ($489 (36 Weeks), $296 (18 Weeks))
California (6, 9): Winchester Model 94: $450 ($500 (11 Weeks), $180 (18 Weeks))
Texas (17, 15): Marlin 336W: $380 ($550 (37 Weeks), $300 (42 Weeks))
Pennsylvania (19, 17): Marlin 336CS (w scope): $275 ($450 (38 Weeks), $250 (43 Weeks))
Virginia (10, 12): Marlin: $350 ($450 (22 Weeks), $350 (40 Weeks))
Florida (19, 18): Winchester 94: $250 ($500 (34 Weeks), $250 (20 Weeks))

Pistols

.45 caliber ACP (M1911 Pattern Semiautomatic Pistol) Average Price: $385 Last Week Avg: $410 (-) ($450 (34 Weeks), $350 (7 Weeks))
California (158, 160): Rock Island Armory: $375 ($600 (36 Weeks), $300 (14 Weeks))
Texas (248, 242): Tisas Zig: $340 ($600 (47 Weeks), $325 (10 Weeks))
Pennsylvania (146, 149): Para Ordnance: $325 ($550 (26 Weeks), $300 (20 Weeks))
Virginia (118, 124): Desert Eagle 1911C: $450 ($550 (28 Weeks), $250 (45 Weeks))
Florida (330, 334): Girsan MC1911: $435 ($475 (19 Weeks), $250 (34 Weeks))

9mm (Beretta 92FS or other Semiautomatic) Average Price: $286 Last Week Avg: $296 (-) ($336 (31 Weeks), $268 (9 Weeks))
California (163, 162): Glock 19: $300 ($450 (36 Weeks), $250 (41 Weeks))
Texas (253, 255): Ruger SR9: $280 ($355 (35 Weeks), $200 (8 Weeks))
Pennsylvania (212, 209): Ruger P89DC: $250 ($350 (4Q 2014), $200 (15 Weeks))
Virginia (163, 169): Smith & Wesson 5906: $350 ($400 (29 Weeks), $250 (15 Weeks))
Florida (439, 445): Smith & Wesson SD9VE : $250 ($375 (45 Weeks), $220 (8 Weeks))

.40 caliber S&W (Glock or other semiautomatic) Average Price: $318 Last Week Avg: $348 (-) ($368 (25 Weeks), $300 (3Q, 2014))
California (90, 99): Smith & Wesson SW40VE: $350 ($425 (10 Weeks)), $250 (42 Weeks))
Texas (101, 100): Sig Sauer P250: $300 ($425 (46 Weeks), $275 (28 Weeks))
Pennsylvania (88, 88): Glock 23: $300 ($350 (17 Weeks), $250 (37 Weeks))
Virginia (77, 83): Sig Sauer P250: $300 ($450 (25 Weeks), $275 (41 Weeks))
Florida (162, 166): Beretta PX4 Storm: $340 ($400 (35 Weeks), $200 (10 Weeks))

Used Gun of the Week: (Pennsylvania)
Bulgarian Makarov PM Chambered in 9mm Makarov

Chris Covert writes for Rantburg.com. He can be reached at grurkka@gmail.com and on Twitter


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