Tuesday, July 20, 2010

8541 Tactical "Dope Wallet"

I have been getting requests for something similar to this for awhile now. Here is my shot at it. It's a simple bi-fold body with a plastic translucent window to display a dope data card, range card or any other 3"x5" card.

The wallet can be secured to the arm with the two included 1" webbing straps or attached to a pack or vest by the PALS webbing on the back.

It's a simple design, but I think it's one that any shooter will find useful.

I have not determined pricing yet since this is just the initial design, but I should have that lined out soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Casio Pathfinder PAG40-5V review is up

The initial review of the Casio Pathfinder PAG40-5V is up at 8541 Tactical. I have been wearing this watch for a week now. With mixed patrol, off-duty and one entry (warrant service) it appears to be a great watch. It does what I need and doesn't get in the way. For the regular day to day stuff like taking reports and writing tickets all the info I need is displayed on the main screen with no need to push buttons. At a glance I get time, date and day. It may come as a shock to many but the day feature is incredibly useful to me. For folks who work a regular Monday through Friday work week, keeping track of the day is not difficult. I know it wasn't when I had that kind of job. However when you work a job that rotates days off OR where you may have non-standard sleep cycles (like our military folks) keeping track of the day can get a little difficult.

The Pathfinder has some great features like Altimeter and Barometer. These are very useful for precision long range shooters who need to make ballistic calculations. The Compass could be very useful for backup duties, although I am still not advanced enough to trust an electronic compass over my tried and true lensatic.

The one feature the Pathfinder PAG40-5V seems to lack is a countdown timer. That could be very useful for shooting drills where you need an audible signal to remind you your time limit is up.

Overall I am pretty pleased with this watch. I will continue to update the review on the main site as I get some more time with it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Warrior Song - Hard Corps

For those of you who haven't see this, give it a watch. I felt the goose bumps. Pass it on to a Marine. He will appreciate it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Long or Short Barrels?

I have lost count of how many times this question has come up on the various Internet forums. A new shooter will look at the various rifles available and ask, "should I get the longer barrel since it's more accurate?"

First, longer barrels are NOT more accurate. Interestingly enough if we are discussion barrels of the same diameter, rifling, chamber, etc. the shorter barrel will be stiffer. The stiffer barrel will be more consistent, thus more accurate.

So why so many long barrels? Barrel length is required for the expanding gas from the powder charge to accelerate the bullet before exiting the muzzle. Once the bullet exits the muzzle there is no more force accelerating it, and only air attempting to slow it down (drag). For a long range shooter speed is a good thing. The faster the bullet is moving the less time there is for the wind to act upon it. If you pull up a ballistic calculator and punch in your favorite load, take a look at what happens to the wind correction when you increase the muzzle velocity.

So, this seems to indicate that long range shooters should go with the longer barrel, right? Not necessarily. You have to have a load that needs the longer barrel. Otherwise you are just carting around extra weight and a longer pole to run into stuff.

At the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Advanced Observer/Sniper Course students shoot out to 1000 yards. I attended this course with my 26" barreled Remington 700. My partner was also there with his 20" barreled Remington LTR. Both barrels are made on the same machinery with the same type of rifling and the same chamber reamer specs. We were both shooting the same lot of 168gr Federal Gold Metal Match ammunition. At 900 yards, both of us were punching nice round holes in the target. This means the bullet was still stable when it passed through the target backer. When we moved back to 1000 yards, BOTH of us were getting "keyholes" where the bullet passed through the backer sideways. This indicates that the bullet has gone transonic prior to hitting the target and has begun to tumble.

What does this tell us? It demonstrates that with this factory load 6" of barrel makes absolutely no difference at 1000 yards. 6" of barrel will make a difference carrying it through the woods, abandoned houses, vehicles, building maintenance rooms, etc. I have also found out the hard way that a 26" barreled rifle in a Pelican 1750 rifle case will not fit in 90% of the rental cars out there.

The next question I usually see is "Will the shorter barrel stabilize the bullet?" Length does not stabilize the bullet. The barrel twist stabilizes the bullet. I am sure there is a length you can get to where you have so little rifling that the bullet is not stabilized. However that length would be well below the legal length for a rifle in the US. If you start looking at building a 4" .308 pistol you may want to do some more research. A factory Remington 1:12 twist .308 barrel will stabilize most of the commercial cartridges available. Many have reported good results with the 208gr Amax bullet through a 1:12 barrel. This is well outside of what most beginning shooters will be sending downrange. If you plan on shooting bullets on the heavy end, then look at a 1:10 twist for the .308.

So in conclusion, unless you have a specific situation in mind a 20" .308 will be sufficient for most long range shooting. If you are hand loading and want to get the most out of a long range load, then the 26" barrel may be a better choice. Length does not equate to accuracy. Length only gives you more velocity if the powder charge is large enough to take advantage of it.

If you are a long range shooter who hand loads, get the 26" barrel. If you are a police officer shooting a factory load, you can probably get away with as short as 16" if you use a good flash suppressor. 18-20" will be about perfect. If you are like me and use one rifle to do everything, then the benefits of a 26" barrel outweigh the drawbacks from the weight and overall length.

Hopefully now I can just link to this post when the next thread appears.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Casio Pathfinder PAG40-5V

I just picked up a new Casio Pathfinder PAG40-5V. It should be here in a few days. This model will display temp, barometric pressure, altitude and compass heading. I am going to see how well it agrees with my Kestrel weather meter. Hopefully it will be close and can act as a backup for environmental data when shooting. I will be posting an initial review once I get some use out of it.

USO SN3 and MST-100 photos uploaded to the site.

I just got done uploading some more photos to the Gallery at 8541Tactical.com. These were pre-rattle can paint job pics of the SN-3 that is currently on my main working rifle. I also uploaded some unboxing photos from my MST-100.


For those who do now know the MST-100 is the US Optics built version of the Unertl 10x USMC Sniper Scope that was designed for the M40A1 Sniper Rifle. The body of the scope is Stainless Steel, unlike newer optics made from aluminum. It is ballistically cammed to the M118LR cartridge and can get to 1000 yards real quick. It is an extremely well made optic. The only change on this one, versus the scope that was on my issued M40A1 is that the MST uses a coil spring for erector positioning. The old Unertls used leaf springs. When USO rebuilt the Unertl 10x's under contract they replaced the leaf springs with coil springs and incorporated this in their design.

Here is a neat schematic of the MST-100 courtesy of John at USO.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Timney 510 Trigger Update

One training day down and I have gotten 56 rounds on the new trigger. I am pretty satisfied with it so far. It functioned flawlessly and I could not detect any change in pull weight through the day.

As soon as I can get some rain and grit in it I will post another update.

8541 Tactical Image Gallery is online!

I finally got around to organizing and uploading some pics to the image gallery on the main site. As things move along I will upload some more.

My intent with the Gallery is to allow me to remote upload images when I am at events. It will also provide a place for pictures that don't really fit in any of the articles or reviews I am doing. I will probably not enable public uploads because that will just cause too much of a management issue for me.

Take a look and see what there is to see.


Friday, July 2, 2010

OTB Desert Lites

I have just posted the review of the OTB Desert Lite and Jungle Lite boots on the main site. These are both excellent boots for the hot arid and hot jungle environments. So far the comfort has been great. I am looking forward to wearing these out on the street and in the backwoods.

The Jungle Lite and Desert Lite boots are almost identical. The difference is the color and the finish of the microfiber upper.