Listing of Questions on the Q&A Pages
[The answers you've been looking for.]

When I grow up I want to be like Dad.

The Q&A section contains answers to a lot of shooting related questions as requested or suggested by correspondents. With currently 202 different questions listed you may find the answer here to that nagging question you've had, so scroll through the listings below.  I am constantly adding new questions so check back frequently.

Look for the or flash for new or updated items.  

The signifies a commonly asked question.

If you have a question that you have been trying to find an answer to (keep 'em ballistics or shooting related--see your local minister for the mysteries of life) and it isn't on these pages, email me by clicking here and I'll do my best to find the answer for you, and, if it is of general interest, publish it on these pages. If you can contribute additional input to one of the answers I'd would appreciate hearing from you too. 

Remember--the only dumb question is one not asked!  

Topic Categories

| Accuracy, Ranging, Sights, & Zeroing | Ammunition | Ballistics | The Biggest, The Most, etc. |

| Bullet Casting | General Topics | Gun Care and Maintenance | Reloading | Training / Practice / Safety |

Accuracy, Ranging, Sights, & Zeroing

What makes one barrel more accurate than another?
How much power do I really need in a telescopic sight?
What is the best reticle to use?
At what range should I zero my (supply your own caliber) rifle?

How effective are those "laser" sights seen in all the movies?
How effective are the red dot handgun sights? 
Won't having a more accurate firearm make me a better shot?
Won't using a higher power "scope" make me more accurate?
What are "mils" and "minutes of angle?"
How do you use a collimator to zero your rifle?
What effect does canting the rifle (not holding it vertically) have on the point of impact?
What affects the mechanical accuracy of a rifle?
Just how much accuracy is "enough?"
What does the target measurement "mean radius" mean?
Is there anything that can be done to improve the accuracy of standard commercial .22 rimfire ammunition?
How long will my barrel last?
What is meant by "point blank" range?
What is the best procedure to zero a rifle?
What is and what is the best method to measure your sight height (line of sight)?
What is parallax error?
How do I adjust the eye piece focus of my scope?
What color front sight insert is best?
What would happen to the point of impact if a rifle was held upside down?
How is group size measured?
What does group placement on a target tell the shooter?
How much does using a Ransom Rest decrease group size when testing handguns?
What effect does lubricant in the bore have on bullet impact?
How much of the target does my front sight cover at a given distance?
How do I determine how much to move or file my fixed sights to get a zero?

What is the difference between a first and second focal plane riflescope?
How do I compute what height scope rings I need for my scope?
What effects the intrinsic accuracy of a bullet?
What effect does the number of shots have on group size? 
How  good are the moderately priced rangefinders?  


Is blank ammunition really dangerous?
What do the various bullet tip colors on military ammunition mean?
What is a SABOT round?
What are the ballistics of modern US military rifle cartridges?
How do you identify military explosive or incendiary ammunition?
What are the bore diameters of the various shotgun gauges?
When I buy surplus ammunition how do I know it is really NATO specification ammunition?
Are the 7.62 x 51 mm NATO rounds and the .308 Winchester really the same round?
Are the 5.56 mm NATO rounds (and M193 types) and the .223 Remington really the same round?

How can I tell if the chamber of my  AR is .223 SAAMI or 5.56 NATO?
How do they get blank ammunition to work the action of semi and fully automatic firearms?
How long will ammunition last in storage?
What is the difference between "Boxer" and "Berdan" primers other than their size.
What are the differences between the various cartridge case base designs
What is a balloon head case?
What are the ballistics of modern Soviet Bloc military rifle and SMG cartridges?
What are the color codes used on Soviet Bloc ammunition?
What is the difference between all of those .30 caliber "magnum" cartridges?
Just how effective were the 16" guns on the Iowa class battleships?
What is the performance of the "silver bullet" 120 mm rounds used on the Abrams M1A1 and A2 tanks?
What is the performance difference between lead, steel and bismuth shot?
What is +P and +P+ ammunition?
What are the current SAAMI pressure specifications for ammunition?
How are proof pressures determined?
How does tracer ammunition work?
What is "magnum" ammunition?
Who invented the first jacketed bullet?
What were "guard cartridges?"
Why are some primers crimped into the primer pocket?
How hot does ammunition need to get to "cook-off?"
What is a flechette?
Who really invented gunpowder?
What is "subdued" or "dim" tracer ammunition?
Is the super hot 9 mm "submachine gun only" ammunition dangerous to use in pistols?

How do the various .38 cal/9 mm duty rounds compare to each other?

Why are some cartridges loading to a lower pressure than others when the same gun is chambered for both high and low pressure rounds?
Why are there so many different cartridges with effectively the same performance?
What were the ballistics of the pistol cartridges commonly used in the "wild west?"
Why does the caliber designation of many cartridges differ from the actual bullet diameter?
Is there issued US military shotgun ammunition?
Who invented the Foster shotgun slug?
How does the 6.8 SPC (6.8 x 43) cartridge compare with the current military cartridges?

What is the law regarding the use of "hollow point" bullets in war?

All the advertisements and gun writers claim that the "short magnums" like the .300 WSM give the same ballistics but have less recoil that the "standard" magnums like the .300 Win Mag.  Is this true.
Is factory ammunition better than handloads?
What are the dates that the US military ammunition stopped using corrosive primers?
How much ammunition for my firearms do I "need?"
How good is the Russian steel cased ammunition now available?

The bullets of my military surplus ammunition take a magnet.  Are they armor piercing?
How can I tell if the ammunition I have has corrosive primers?
How stringent are the NATO ammunition specifications?  


What happens when a bullet is fired straight up?
Shouldn't I always use boat tailed bullets so I get a flatter trajectory?

What is the maximum range of my (user supplied caliber)?

How do I calculate muzzle energy and sectional density?
Why do some barrels give higher velocity than others of the same or longer length?
What effect does shooting at an up-hill or down-hill angle have on bullet trajectory?
What is the maximum range of shot from a shotgun?
How do you determine the rifling twist needed to stabilize a given bullet?
What are the "standard conditions" used in ballistic computations?
Do bullets tumble in flight?
How do I get a job in the field of ballistics?
What is the "Coriolis Effect" and do I have to worry about it?
How fast is a bullet rotating?
What is the penetration of bullets fired into water and underwater?
What is the Hatcher Formula?
How accurate are the velocity and performance specifications given in manufacturers ammunition brochures?
How effective would the armor worn by knights be against gunfire?
What kind of bullets are best in the brush?
Is there a way to compute the weight of lead round balls?
How can I reliably test bullet performance? (Gelatin and wet pack preparation information)
How effective was the Blunderbuss?
How accurately do "tissue simulants" relate to bullet penetration?
What velocity is needed for a projectile to penetrate skin?
What are the standards for body armor and other ballistic protection?
How effective is the P90 "submachinegun" used on Stargate?   (PDW Info)
At what point is the bullet traveling the fastest?
What is a vented test barrel?
What affect does a cannelure have on the ballistic coefficient of a bullet?
How fast is the speed of sound (Mach)?
What does detonation mean and does it happen with small arms ammunition?
What are the ballistic coefficients for lead round ball projectiles?
What is the difference between a "tangent nose" and a "secant nose" on a bullet?
In some advanced ballistic calculations there is the term Rt/R ratio that is used in drag analysis.  How are those radii measured/computed? 
What is the BC of an airgun pellet?

The Biggest, The Most, etc.

What is the most powerful handgun?
What is the highest velocity firearm?
What was the largest gun in history?
What is the worlds most accurate rifle?
What was the longest deliberate rifle shot by a sniper that hit its intended target? 

Bullet Casting

What is the composition of the various alloys used for casting bullets?
How do you measure the Brinell hardness of lead alloys?

Are there any ways to improve the hardness of my cast bullets?
What temperature do you recommend for casting bullets?
Is there any way to determine the bullet hardness needed?
I have several lots of different alloys.  How can I mix them to obtain a desired hardness?
Do cast bullets harden or soften with age?
What does leading in pistols or revolvers tell you about your loads?

General Topics

What are some common conversion factors for shooting related measurements?
Why do some guns of the same caliber seem to kick harder than others?
What about muzzle brakes? (In relation to recoil.)
If you were limited to just one rifle for use on all kinds of game, what would you recommend?
Can you recommend a good basic library of books relating to shooting?
Why are some barrels fluted (grooved) on the outside?
Just how effective is a riot gun?
What are, and what are the advantages of, the various methods of making a gun barrel?
What is the difference between short, medium, and long triggers on the Colt 1911 .45 pistol?
What is the advantage of the full length spring guide rods I see on many current .45 autos?
What are your favorite calibers and favorite firearms?
"Shottist" or "Shootist?"  
How effective was the ancient sling compared to a firearm?
What is the difference between the "Picatiny" (M1913) mounting rail and the "Weaver" mounts?

Is there an easy way to photograph cartridges?
Is there any way to give brass different colors?
How can I determine the freshness of batteries I buy for my red dot sights and flashlights?
How can I test my batteries?  
Can you give some background on the problems with the M16 after it was first adopted?
What is better.  A direct gas impingement or a gas piston AR rifle?   

Gun Care, Maintenance, and Accessories

What is the proper procedure to clean a barrel?
Is there a special procedure for "breaking in" a new barrel?

Are oils and solvents dangerous to ammunition?
Can you recommend any "homemade" gun cleaning solutions?

What cleaning, preserving, and lubricating products do you recommend?
What kind of cleaning rod and accessories should I use?
What spare parts would you recommend for my (supply your own brand name) gun?
What modification or "custom" features do I really need on my defensive pistol?
What brand of magazines do you recommend for autopistols?
What do you mean by "Manual of Arms?"
How much oil and grease should I use when lubricating my firearm?
How many spare magazines is enough for my rifle and pistol?
How long will the springs in loaded magazines last?
Do you have any suggestions for maintaining my AR type rifle?
How can I prepare firearms and ammunition for long term storage?

Do you have any plans for or parts sources for reasonably priced gun racks?
How do you remove the handguards on an AR rifle?
What can I do to make my firearm(s) more reliable?
|What is MIL 63460 that is see on some gun products?
Do you have any suggestions for refinishing GI ammo cans? 
What tools do I need to maintain my firearms?
How tightly should I torque the stock screws on my rifle.
How can I safely clean the optics on my firearms?
How good are the polymer magazines for the M16?   
How can I start roll pins (split spring pins) straight without damaging them? 
What special procedure is needed to clean firearms used with corrosive primed ammunition?
What are the NRA's "firearms finish conditions?"
How often should I clean my firearms?  
What can I do about light primer hits hit with my M1 Carbine?  


What are some of the common causes of chronograph problems?
Where can I get plans for a reloading bench and a shooting bench?  
Why is there such a difference between the data in different loading manuals?
Can I use hollow point "match" bullets for hunting?
Is tumbling loaded ammunition dangerous?
How do changing various components affect chamber pressure and velocity?
What affect does screen spacing have in using a chronograph?
What is the difference between a roll crimp and a taper crimp?
What are "magnum primers" and when are they needed?
Can you suggest some reduced charge practice loads for my hunting rifle?
How can I make blank ammunition for my rifle.

What affects the accuracy of ammunition?
How good are "moly" coated bullets?
How good are those "digital" scales?  
Why won't my reloads chamber properly when factory ammo works fine?
What does the term "standard deviation" mean?
Besides a reloading press and dies what equipment do you recommend to get set up for reloading.
How much adjustment in sizing is obtained when you back out a reloading die?
What is "headspace?"
How are the shotgun shot size designations determined?
What is the proper diameter for flash holes?
Besides the shape of the grains what is the difference between ball and extruded (stick) powders?
What are "GO," NO-GO," and "FIELD" headspace gauges?
How do  I duplicate US Military ammunition when handloading?
How do you determine the overall length to use for hollow point autopistol ammunition if you don't have factory data?
How can I make "sub-sonic" ammo?
How effective are silencers (noise suppressors) and how do they work?
What are the various primer types and sizes?
How can I decap Berdan primed cases?
What are the dimensions of large and small primers?
What is the difference between "case capacity" and  "powder capacity" and how are they measured?
How important is trimming cases to the "trim length?"
Can you give me some tips on cleaning my cases?
Should I full-length resize or only neck size my rifle cases?

Training / Practice / Safety

What are some good general tests of someone's shooting skills?
What safety precautions should be taken when shooting at steel plate targets?
Just how damaging to hearing is the sound of gun fire?
What are "item" and "option" targets? (Target design info)

Can you recommend any inexpensive target stands for practical shooting practice or matches.
Is there an inexpensive way to make reactive targets?
How do I scale targets for practice at reduced distances?

What are "major" and "minor" calibers?
Are there any data available on the statistics of gun fights?

What are the safe ways to store ammunition, powder, and primers?
What are the qualification tests for Federal Sky Marshals?
What is the best pistol shooting stance?
How can I safely dry fire my .22RF?  
Can you suggest some inexpensive, reactive targets for youngsters?


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As far as I know all the information presented on these pages is correct and I have attempted to ensure that it is. However, I am not responsible for any errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use or misuse of this information, nor for your doing something stupid with it. (Don't you hate these disclaimers? So do I, but there are people out there who refuse to be responsible for their own actions and who will sue anybody to make a buck.)

Updated 2017-06-16  (229)