Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Prepper's Armory: Cleaning Handguns

Now that we have the tools and the solvents & lubricants needed to clean a firearm, let's discuss the actual cleaning procedure. This week is handguns.

The first step is making sure it's clear of ammunition. Always unload and make safe a firearm before attempting to clean it!

The second step is disassembly. Having the manual that came with the gun is a good start; if you don't, there are a variety of online resources, both video and text, available for most firearms. Pretty much every modern manufacturer has their manuals available for download on their websites, and I've found this website very helpful for older firearms.

Once the gun is disassembled into its component pieces (aka field stripped), the cleaning process can begin.


  1. After disassembling your pistol, run a patch wetted with solvent back and forth through the bore a few times, then set the barrel aside. This allows the solvent time to work on softening any fouling.
  2. Moving on to the frame, pay special attention to the feed ramp and guide rails. Give all the surfaces a good scrubbing using a small brush (either military-style or a dentist giveaway toothbrush) and solvent. 
  3. Look for carbon buildup on the feed ramp and barrel lug, and around the top of the magazine well; this is where a scraper can come in handy. Clean the magazine well by using the brush, followed by pushing a larger cloth up from the bottom of the mag well and out the top of the frame.
  4. The slide is next, and you need to pay special attention to the rails as well as the breech face. If this is a locked breech pistol, look for any peening or wear on the locking surfaces. Scrubbing with solvent and brush is generally all this part needs.
  5. Examine the recoil spring for signs of wear. If it’s a free spring, such as in the 1911, compare the current length of this spring to a new one of the same resistance weight. If it's a captive recoil spring, such as in a Glock or Sig, look for cracks on the washers that retain the spring on the guide rod. This can show if the spring is close to needing replacement.
  6. After cleaning and wiping down the slide, frame, and any other parts, such as the recoil spring, guide rod, etc., it's time to  complete cleaning the barrel. Put a few drops of solvent on a bore brush and start the brush into the chamber end of the barrel. Give it a few twists in the chamber before running it all the way through the barrel. Whenever possible clean barrels from breach to muzzle; this helps protect the barrel crown at the muzzle from being damaged by the cleaning rod. Similarly, never reverse the brush when inside the barrel; instead, go all the way out and then all the way back to prolong the life of the brush. 
  7. Finish the barrel by running dry patches through until they come out relatively clean.

Put a drop of oil on the rails, and on the locking surfaces if recommended, then reassemble the gun and perform a function check.


The process is simpler, as disassembly is usually limited to opening the cylinder. Many double action revolvers, however, allow you to remove the crane and cylinder for easier access by loosening a single screw.
  1. As with the pistol, run a solvent wetted patch down the barrel as well as into each chamber of the cylinder. 
  2. Get to scrubbing, paying special attention for signs of wear to the recoil shield where the firing pin protrudes, the forcing cone where the bullet enters the barrel, and the top strap right above the forcing cone.
  3. Clean the chambers and barrel the same way as described for the semi-auto barrel. Since most revolver barrels can't easily be cleaned from the breech, take care that the cleaning rod doesn't rub against the crown of the barrel as wear here can damage accuracy. 
  4. Take special care to look for any carbon buildup near the forward end of the chambers in the cylinder.
  5. Wipe everything down, reassemble the cylinder if necessary, put a drop of oil on the crane surface, and another inside the action on the hammer pin.

Next week I will explain how to clean long guns.

Happy cleaning!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Prepper's Armory: Firearm Cleaning Chemicals

Solvents and lubricants are another area that can cause information overload. Everyone has their favorite, as well as a product they dislike for whatever reason. Among the commercial solvents I’ve used are Ballistol, LSA, CLP, Frog Lube, Hoppe's No.9, Outers, Sweet's 7.62, and Shooter's Choice. I’ve also used World War II/Korean War vintage US Military Surplus bore solvent. They all worked reasonably well, but as expected, they all have their pros and cons.

One of the considerations when choosing a solvent is the type of projectiles being shot. When primarily shooting lead bullets, cleaning requirements will be different than with metal jacketed or plated bullets. For the latter, eventually a solvent that can remove jacket fouling from the barrel will be needed.

A selection of solvents and lubricants

  • Of the various solvents I’ve used over the years, CLP has become my go-to for maintaining my firearms. While it doesn't manage copper fouling, CLP does a good job of removing powder residue, old grease and oil, dirt, and general grime. In addition, it acts as a lubricant and, according to the literature, leaves a protective coating on the metal.
  • For copper fouling I tend to rely on Sweet's 7.62. It works as advertised, so long as I remember to use a plastic or stainless steel bore brush, as it will react poorly with a bronze brush.
  • Solvents used in cleaning black powder guns are generally not the same as those used to clean smokeless powder firearms. Of the products commercially available for cleaning black powder residue, I only have personal experience with Ballistol.As far as I’m aware, it’s one of the few that can be used on both black powder and smokeless powder guns. It worked quite well.
Am I claiming that any of these is the be-all end-all of cleaning fluids? Absolutely not. All I’m saying is they work well for me.

In regard to oils, both wet and dry lubricants are available and both have their place in any cleaning kit; grease, on the other hand, is less frequently used on firearms than in the past. (The M1 Garand or similar rifles are exceptions in that certain parts do require a small dab of grease; generally, LubriPlate or something similar is recommended.) This biggest difference between the two is viscosity. Oils tend to be less viscous, while grease is more so. In other words, oil has a more liquid texture, while the texture of grease is more creamy.

Climate and intended use can also have an effect on the type and quantity of gun lubricant applied.
  • People who live in a hot and dry climate, like Arizona, are likely better off using a dry lubricant, as liquid oils will attract grit and the resulting slurry will act as an abrasive, quickly wearing close fitting parts.
  • During winter in northern states, a light coating of oil is all that’s recommended at most, as oil thickens in the cold and may affect function. Dry lubricants are also an excellent choice for this climate as that was part of their original design criteria.
  • In a hot and humid climate, a heavier application of oil may be needed as the higher temperature will cause oil to thin. This can also be a good place for some of the lighter grease options. While dry lubricants can work in these environments, traditional oils and greases are believed to give better protection against humidity-induced rust.

Keep in mind that a little lubrication can go a long way, and when in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Which Way is the Wind Blowing?

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

Summer is ending, schools are opening in many places, and before you know it Halloween decorations will be on display. With Fall rapidly approaching, change is on everyone's mind. 

Bag Up, Sack Up, and Be Ready
When I see non-preppers posting articles to their blogs that talk about building Bug Out Bags, I feel like it may be time to check my own gear because of the direction the winds of change are blowing. Relatively mainstream people are now waking up to the idea of being prepared for disasters of any kind. 

The part that is funny to me about the normalization of prepping -- odd funny, not "haha" funny -- is how many people once laughed at the idea of planning for a disaster when they heard I write at a prepping blog. However, just last week a man I've known for six years contacted me for information about gear and equipment and the companies who carry them. I was surprised that he even knew  they existed! 

All of you should know this info by now and could, with a little thought, make a similar list for a neighbor or a friend in no time at all. Please take the time to be a good example and reference source for family and those around you. With the fires here in the West and various storms hitting the rest of the country, I'm hoping this could be the chance to help a friend be set for a disaster.

Dealing With Protests
We're also heading into election season, and with that come protests and demonstrations. Don't worry, I won't get political here; I'm just pointing out that these kind of situations can get bad quickly. 

There are several books written by experienced folks who have either been law enforcement, been caught in riots or both, in the case of Greg Ellefritz. His blog, Active Response Training, has an amazing amount of information on a wide variety of topics, including getting out of riots. 

In his book Choose Adventure: Safe Travel in Dangerous Places, Greg wrote a chapter about being in South American disturbances. From reading the book, it seems to me that mobs and other large collections of people will act similarly no matter what nationality.


Here is an excerpt from the chapter titled "Surviving Third World Riots and Political Demonstrations":

"The more dangerous situations are the riots or mob violence situations that seem to pop up without warning.  The best advice I can give you is to pay attention to your surroundings and have an escape plan for every location you visit.  When you see things starting to go bad (massing police, masked looters, people setting fires), GET OUT!  Implement your escape plan. Don’t stick around and become a target for police batons, gangs of teen looters, or panicked crowds. Usually the people who get hurt or killed in these events are the people who aren’t paying attention or who want to stand around and be a spectator.

If you accidentally happen upon looters, rioters, or large political demonstrations, walk away by the most direct route possible that allows you to avoid the unpredictable crowd. Don’t run; that only draws unwanted attention from the rioting crowd. Just walk quickly, avoiding eye contact or any interaction with the rioters. As you walk, keep an eye out for places of sanctuary you may be able to use to escape the violence for a short period of time until the crowd passes.  Fighting against the crowd will be difficult. Think of crossing a river, it’s easier if you don’t fight the current. It’s the same way with crowds. If you get surrounded by a group, move with the group as you work your way to the edge of the crowd or to your pre-planned escape route or sanctuary location."

Do you see the part about "your pre-planned escape route"? This is the same thing as always knowing where the closest exit is when shopping, and having a designated rally point wherever you go. I've written about being in a building fire and not having supplies or a discussion about meeting up in an emergency with my friends. This is not the same as a riot, but planning a meeting spot is simple and is a good habit to start.

The truly important part about demonstrations in the USA is that there are news reports on who is holding it and where and when it us, usually several days to a week in advance. If you live anywhere close to a known demonstration zone like I do, then do like I do and tune the  radio to the local "all news station" and do your best to be nowhere close to those spots whenever demonstrations are planned.

Recap And Takeaway
  • While it should be common sense to plan for a disaster, far too many people don't. Be a good example and share what you know.
  • If you don't have a Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag, put one together. Search the blog for "Bug Out Bags" or "Get Home Bags" and you will find many different versions and sizes.
  • It's always best to have a plan that gets changed in the face of Reality, than to have no plan and let Reality bite you in the butt. 
* * *

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Bug Out Foot Care

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Ever since adolescence I've had an annoying tendency to roll my ankle, and recently my right big toe has been acting in an uncomfortable bunion-like manner. While painful, neither of these conditions are debilitating... at home. In an emergency situation, though, either of these could slow me down enough that it could mean the difference between being rescued and being stranded. I have added the following items to my Get Home Bag in order to prevent just such a thing happening. 


This is my solution to a rolled ankle. It's breathable, doesn't slip, gives a comfortable amount of snug support, and I can even walk with it on.

Yes, I could probably achieve the same effect with an Ace Bandage, but this is faster and easier to put on, and much easier to adjust than an Ace -- and besides, this allows me to save my Ace for something else. At $6.64, it's also cheaper than an Ace. 

Pair it with a SAM Splint and you have a handy solution to a host of ankle injuries. I have two, one for each ankle, just in case. 


While it's possible to walk with these on, given that it effectively immobilizes the big toe by splinting it along the side of the foot, such movement is awkward at best. Hobbling between rooms of my house is one thing, but I wouldn't want -- nor do I think I would be able -- to hike with it. 

Fortunately for me, I don't have to. I've caught my bunion in time, so it's neither particularly bad nor does it hurt all the time; instead, it mainly flares up when I've been wearing shoes with a narrow toebox, and a few hours with the bunion corrector on serves to drag my to back into alignment. In a bug out or get home emergency, I would put this on only right before bed, and I'd sleep with it on to get maximum effect from it before taking it off in the morning. 

Other Footcare Items
While the above are for my specific foot problems, there are some preps which everyone should have in their GHB and BOB:

Take care of your feet now, and they'll take care of you when you need them most. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Prepper's Armory: Firearm Cleaning Equipment

The number one cause of firearms malfunctions is, by far, a poorly maintained gun. Properly cleaned and lubricated firearms generally operate more reliably and last longer than ones that aren’t.

I’m sure many of our readers, especially those with military service, are already very familiar with cleaning firearms; hopefully this series of posts will add to that knowledge, and possibly suggest some alternatives.
IMPORTANT: Do not have any live ammunition in the cleaning area!  Confirm this before starting and make it a regular habit whenever firearm maintenance is to be performed.

The basic tools for cleaning a firearm are:

  1. Aluminum or
  2. Brass cleaning rod
  3. Scraper
  4. Jag
  5. Patch holder
  6. Cleaning brush
  7. Bore brush
  8. Patches (not illustrated)

There's an impressive variety available in all these different components; there are a number of options just for patch holders, from simple multi-caliber loops to more specifically-sized jags. Patch holders are available in both metal and plastic.

Patches need to be properly sized to the barrel. The best patch material is cotton, either light flannel or T-shirt style weave. They can be purchased pre-made or cut out of old t-shirts.

Brushes are another area of great variety. They are caliber specific, so it’s important to use the correct size. These brushes are consumables and need to be replaced when they show signs of wear.
  • Nylon bristle brushes are not as aggressive as the others, but they can be used with solvents designed to remove copper fouling which would damage bronze brushes if used together. 
  • Bronze bristle brushes, an the other hand, are more aggressive and tend to last longer before needing replacement.
  • The stainless steel tornado brush is even better at removing bore fouling without presenting any sharp ends that could scratch the barrel. However they don't get into the corners of the rifling as well as the bristle style does.
Cleaning rods come in brass, aluminum, coated, and carbon fiber.  Metal cleaning rods are available in segmented and one-piece styles. 
  • Rods made of softer materials may embed particles, potentially causing scratches to the bore.  
  • With segmented rods the joints often don't line up and can present an edge to the inside of the barrel.  
  • One-piece cleaning rods, in addition to being more challenging to store, are often more expensive than segmented ones -- sometimes significantly so.
Another cleaning tool is the bore snake, which consists of a caliber-specific length of material with built-in bronze bristles. In use, it's treated with solvent, the weighted end is dropped down the barrel, then the body is pulled through.  This combines the function of both patch and brush at the same time, which is useful for a quick cleaning at the range or in the field. However, it's much less thorough than dedicated, individual tools.

In addition to the above items, there are other tools and supplies I’ve found useful:
  • First and most important is a bench mat. This is a dedicated, pliable, cleanable surface on which to perform firearms maintenance. These mats shouldn't be used for any other purpose, and should be wiped clean after each use. This not only preserves the mat, but also reduces the chance of grit or metal fragments getting stuck in the mat and scratching the finish of a firearm.
  • Any firearms that have to be cleaned from the muzzle will benefit from a bore guide, which helps protect the barrel crown from being damaged by the cleaning rod. The crown is the last thing the bullet touches when it leaves the barrel and is an important element to accuracy.
  • A set of quality, properly fitting screwdrivers is a must for disassembling many firearms past the field strip stage.  They should be hollow ground so that they lock into the screw heads instead of damaging them.
  • Punches, especially roll pin punches, are another must-have. 
  • A small double-headed brass and nylon hammer is a good companion for these.
  • Finally, there are all sorts of picks, hooks, and scrapersdental pick sets can often be found for a reasonable price. These are excellent for getting into small nooks and crannies.
One of the best old-school scrapers is home-made by taking an empty brass cartridge casing and hammering the case mouth flat. I always have several in my kit, with various edge contours, for removing carbon buildup from differently shaped surfaces.

I hope this helps you with building a gun cleaning toolkit.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Portable Car Jump Starter

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Last week I mentioned that I wasn't worried about my LED road flares losing a charge because I have a 20,000 mAh power bank in my car designed to jump start a dead automobile battery that also has USB outputs for charging other devices like a phone... or LED road flares.

There are many products similar to this on Amazon with company names that suggest only a passing familiarity with English -- this one is POWRUN, mine is TACKlife -- which leads me to believe that products like these are all being made in China and perform more or less the same. I picked a unit with a low price ($60) and decent rating (4.5 stars and 3455 reviews); by the time you read this you may find one with a lower price or better reviews or a higher amperage. Consider this post a generalized "Here's what these do" article and not a recommendation of a specific product. 


These units are basically the following:
  • a large capacity battery bank
  • a set of jumper cables connected to a sensor module
  • a carrying/storage case
  • at least one USB cable
Because these are just large batteries, the manufacturers have added utility by giving them an LED flashlight and output ports to charge electronics. This is why I said I'm not worried about having rechargeable road flares in my car: if I can recharge a tablet twice or a phone six times with one of these, then I can recharge three LED flares without any problems. 

This unit has a 12 volt input with both a USB input and a wall-mounted transformer for AC charging. For output, it was two USB ports (one 5V/9V quick charge, one 5V/2.1A) and one 12V/10A DC output socket to power things like lanterns, spotlights, and so forth. I really like the flexibility this gives me.


The manufacturer claims that this model can start a vehicle 25 times before needing to recharge. While I cannot prove that, the honest answer is that I don't need to; it just needs to work once as far as I'm concerned. 

Just like with the LED flares, I have not tested my unit under real conditions; at this moment I don't need a battery jumped and I understand that it's dangerous to jump a full car battery. That said, the process itself is very easy:
  1. Connect the sensor module (with cables) to the battery.
  2. Attach the clamps to the battery. Like always, red is positive and black is negative. Unlike with car-to-car jumpstarts, do not ground the black cable to your car frame. 
  3. Start your car. 
  4. The sensor module acts like it's another car and feeds power to your battery, which hopefully makes the engine turn over. 
  5. Remove the cables and put everything away. 
Speaking as someone who has had to jump her car about a dozen or more times, I appreciate how much safer this feels than having to attach leads to a very live, and potentially dangerous, car battery. I especially like how the clamps are manufactured with extra plastic that bulks them up such that it's impossible to short anything out by having the teeth touch each other; I would have to deliberately circumvent the safety features to short-circuit these. I also appreciate how the sensor module has lights which tell me if I have the positive clamp attached to the positive terminal or not. 

Don't do what they're doing with the clamps. That's dangerous.

In conclusion, whichever model you buy, if you use your car regularly and/or are planning a car trip, buy something like this. Not only is it cheaper and faster than AAA sending someone to help you, and safer than depending upon the kindness of strangers to jump your car instead of jumping you, but it's also a source of backup power for your cell phone, GPS unit, road flares, and other necessary devices. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Weed Killers, Maaaaaan

Anyone who has a yard, whether there's a garden present or not, has to deal with weeds. On our property, the driveway is long and gravel, so during the high growth months, nature tries to reclaim it for her own.

Because of the size of our property, we have a lawn service and they do have some serious chemical weed killers they can use. However, we don't want anything like that near our vegetable garden, so other solutions are necessary. 

The easiest but most time-consuming is pulling weeds as they appear in the garden. Less simple, much faster, but also somewhat less effective, is using weed-resistant fabric on top of the soil before planting. While it should be covered with a layer of mulch, weed-blocking fabric can also be used on its own, though it won't stop as many weeds, nor last as long, due to UV breakdown. We can usually get two years out of ours without mulch, and three to four with mulch.

(Speaking of mulch, it's available in natural wood and rubber forms, both shredded. Rubber lasts considerably longer, but isn't always best for food-bearing plants due to possible chemical contamination.)

You can also use layers of newspaper in the same way as weed blocking fabric. The concern here, like with rubber mulch, is with chemicals leaching into edible plants; many printers use soy-based ink, so there are safe (or at least, safer) alternatives. Newspaper will generally last one season at best.

For plants trying to get into the raised gardens from outside, I use a home-made weed killing spray:

  • 1 gallon of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of table salt
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap

Mix these ingredients together and put in a sprayer. I use a large pump sprayer, but a simple spray bottle can work as well.

The vinegar and salt both work to dehydrate the plants, and the dish soap both helps them stick and reduces surface tension on the mixture so that it flows better.

For smaller applications, a mixture of one quart of water per two tablespoons of 91% rubbing alcohol sprayed directly on the plant can be effective. It works to kill plants pretty much the same way, by dehydrating them.

For both of these compounds, the best application time is early on a sunny day. Be very careful not to get any inside the garden area, as these concoctions will damage or kill any plant with which it comes in contact!

If you are fighting weeds with deeper roots, one of the simplest methods is just pouring boiling water onto the plant. Use enough to saturate the soil and burn the roots.

Speaking of burning, the classic propane weed burner can also work well. Two things to keep in mind:
  1. The charred remains of burned plants can make for excellent fertilizer, nourishing any follow-on plants, so quick follow-up will be necessary to prevent rapid regrowth.
  2. Never, ever, ever use this method on something like poison ivy. The itching and blistering on our skin is bad enough; it's much worse if it gets into our lungs.

Hopefully, these options will help the gardeners among our readers keep those pesky weeds at bay without risking their health or the health of their produce.

Good luck, and good harvest.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Boy's Axe

Sometimes it's great to be a boy... or at least, it's great to use their tools.

Recently I was cruising through a hardware store, getting parts for a work project, when I stumbled across a most curious tool. It was a compact axe, and it was so striking that I had to bring it home with me.

Before I say much more about my new axe, allow me to set up the hole that it fills. In my life, I've encountered 3 common axe-type objects: the hatchet, the full-size axe, and the splitting maul. All three are great for certain tasks, but have weaknesses that are very limiting. 
  • Hatchets are light and easy to carry, but their light weight and short handle leave them lacking in actual chopping power.
  • Splitting mauls are the exact opposite, with heavy heads and long handles. They hit like sledgehammers, but packing 6-10 pounds of maul isn't anyone's idea of a good time. They're also useless for tasks like felling trees or cutting downed timber to length. That big head which splits firewood like a dream makes them very difficult to control in anything but a straight downward swing. 
  • The full-size axe is a decent middle ground between the two, but it's still a bit heavy to carry in a pack, and the full-length handle is a bit cumbersome to pack around as well.
Enter the Boy's Axe, so named because it's an axe suited for young men to use. With a 2-2.5 pound head and 24-28 inch handle, it's about half the weight of a standard axe, and about 10 inches shorter. Its compact form factor is still a foot longer than a hatchet, with roughly twice the head weight, which means it hits far harder than the hatchet while being much easier to carry than its full-size brother. The longer handle also allows for (almost demands) 2 handed use, granting even more control and power than the hatchet can muster. 


As with most tools, prices vary from "the cost of a decent meal" to "I'll never financially recover from this." And as with most tools, you get what you pay for (to a point), but buying the most expensive one isn't going to garner much of an advantage. 

If you're buying online, find one that has a substantial number of reviews with a consistently high rating, like the unit linked. If you find one locally, handle it a bit; the handle should be comfortable to hold, with no burrs or snags, and move easily in your hand. The head should have a decent edge, be firmly affixed to the handle, and have some kind of finish on it to minimize rust and corrosion.

If you do pick one up, have fun hitting and splitting.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Stop! Wrong Cartridge!

Back in November of 2021 had two different posts where I talked about how certain chamberings could fire multiple different cartridges safely. I stressed that this isn't always the case, however, and that care must be taken to stay on the safe side of cartridge combinations.

A friend recently shared an experience he  had at the range. A few benches over from him, some guys were shooting a very nice Weatherby rifle, and as is common on the gun range, he went over to chat. While there, he noticed their ejected brass looked odd. After a short conversation, he found out that while the rifle was chambered in .300 Weatherby Magnum, they were firing .300 Winchester Magnum.

As they told him, .300 Winchester Magnum was cheaper and easier to find, and it worked just fine in their rifle. With their permission he collected a couple of pieces of their fired brass. Later he sent me one of those fired cases, along with both .300 Weatherby Magnum and .300 Winchester magnum cases that had been fired in the correct rifles.

L-R: .300 Winchester Magnum; 
.300 Winchester Magnum fired in .300 Weatherby Magnum; 
.300 Weatherby Magnum

As can be seen, the cartridge fired in the wrong chamber has had its shoulder pushed forward, leaving a very short neck. If done intentionally, this is called fire forming and is part of the cartridge conversion process. In this situation, it was done out of false economy. While they saved some money on the ammunition, it was at risk of damaging or destroying a very expensive rifle:
  • For example, the unsupported case of the shorter cartridge could have separated and lodged in the end of the chamber or further down the barrel, and the next round fired would have hit that obstruction; the ring just behind the shoulder on the middle casing may be a sign of incipient case separation. 
  • Another possibility is the bullet of a fired round could hit the front of the chamber off-center, also potentially leading to an obstructed barrel.
  • Even if these events don't happen, if a number of the shorter rounds are fired they will cause a buildup of carbon and other combustion residue at the end of the chamber. If left in place, this can cause damage to the neck of the chamber.
  • Furthermore, if the correct ammunition is fired without the rifle being thoroughly cleaned beforehand, this ring of buildup can cause problems with extraction. Anyone who has experienced firing some rounds of .357 Magnum after a few cylinders of .38 Special is familiar with this experience.

.308 Winchester fired in .30-06 Springfield, 

Due to the difference in overall case length, the middle .308 Winchester cartridge has been transformed into practically a straight-wall case with the neck blown almost all the way out. Looking closely, there's a slight curl at the very end of the case where the shoulder of the .30-06 Springfield cartridge would start; in fact, it looks almost like an all-brass, rimless .410 shotgun shell.

There are other examples of this concept, such as .40 Smith & Wesson or .357 SIG in a 10mm chamber, that aren't generally dangerous but can still cause problems. Of course, there are also potentially disastrous combinations, such as .30-06 Springfield in a .270 Winchester, .300 Blackout in a .223 Remington, .40 Smith & Wesson in a .357 SIG, and others. While these combinations shouldn't always be able to chamber, it has been known to happen, with the result usually being damage to the firearm and, all too often, to the shooter as well.

More details on these cartridges and many others can be found on the SAAMI (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers Institute) website.

Always make sure that the ammunition being used is correct for the firearm. There's no need to take unnecessary chances in life; the necessary ones are bad enough.

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.