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Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!


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About fbzero

  • Rank
    Finally read the FAQs
  • Birthday 06/03/1985

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  • Gender
  • Location
    St. Louis, MO
  • Interests
    USPSA, 3gun, Camping, Canoeing
  • Real Name
    Brandon Creps

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  1. fbzero

    QC on loaded ammo

    I generally keep an eye out for messed up cases as I load, then put loaded rounds in a bucket or 50 cal can as I load. I'll just grab some for practice generally, but everything I take to a match gets case gauged.
  2. fbzero

    9MM and COL Variations

    Here's how I determine COL. Find your firearm in that caliber that has the shortest, tightest chamber. Set up a crimp die for a tight crimp, and first determine your maximum OAL by seating then crimping until you are just off the lands, then shorten it up enough that your normal variation will not put you in the lands(be a little forgiving, just in case). Now you have your COL, and you can back out your crimp die and then start tightening it just until you pass the plunk test, then add a pinch more for good measure. Load up a test cartridge and make sure it plunks in all of your firearms of that caliber. Feed it from a magazine in all of them and make sure it seems smooth. At that point, you have a round that should function in all of your firearms and can move on to determining a safe starting load to work up from. Pay attention to whether or not feeding from magazines is causing bullet setback or not. If so, you may need to look at your sizing die. Couple notes. First, get a chrono. There's what books say the rounds are doing and what you think they are doing, and in my experience with local reloaders who don't have them, both are usually pretty far off. Had a local guy shoot a full season of level 1 matches as "major" because he thought they "felt major". When he was finally chronoed, they were 150PF. Second, expect a bit more variation on 9mm's if using mixed brass. There seems to be more variation in 9mm brass than 40 S&W brass in my experience.
  3. fbzero

    Is vvn320 worth the extra cost

    My opinion...not really. It's a fine powder and there's nothing I don't like about it, but it's not worth twice the price of other powders that do 98% of what it does. That said, I really don't like TG. Yes, it works. Yes, it's cheap. Yes, it seems to deliver acceptable accuracy without much effort. It's also pretty dirty, smoky, and gets the pistol really hot really fast. I don't like cleaning guns, so anything that runs really dirty is an issue for me ;)
  4. I've had a JM Pro, M3K, and now use a 1301. Below is a brief summary with MY experiences regarding each. YMMV. Since I've started the shooting sports, I've learned that you get what you pay for, but things become exponentially more expensive at a certain point(IE, does an Atlas shoot 2.5x better than an STI Edge as the price tag would indicate? Probably not). Somewhere there is a sweet spot where you get a good, reliable gun that can do 90-95% of what the super expensive ones can do. You should shoot for that area if your wallet will allow and buy once/cry once. JM Pro - I understand these can be good, but you shouldn't assume it will from the factory. If your handy with that sort of thing, there's a lot of information out there on what you can do to get it running more reliably. Or maybe you'll get lucky and get one that runs out of the box. Mine didn't and I got rid of it. A lot of local guys call them JAM Pros, and I see them fail more than anything else at our local matches. Those are usually the guys who don't put in the work to make them reliable; Other local guys have them running like sewing machines. I take no pleasure in saying any of that because, despite any personal preferences, I do not like to cut down any company that supports our 2A rights and makes products for those of us who do. Still, it is the cheapest option and can be reliable either through luck or putting in the work. M3K - Mine has been excellent, but my wife took it over when she started doing 3gun. My dad's has been less than reliable and suffers from bolt bounce. There's a lot of suggestions out there on how to fix this, but nothing definitive. He's found it frustrating trying to resolve it because he'll try a recommendation, get a hundred rounds through it at our local club without issues, then take it to a match only to have it fail on him again. He probably just got a lemon because most reviews on this one are pretty good. Heavier and slightly more recoil than my 1301, 99% reliable but has had the occasional issue or two(a bit pickier with ammo). For $530 OTD at Cabelas, I can't complain. I don't think they run quite that cheap anymore though. 1301 - Wasn't looking for one of these, but when my wife took over the M3K, I needed something. A local guy who intended to get into 3gun but didn't was selling one for $800 with an extension tube already installed back when they were generally running $1K or more, so I grabbed it. It's light, but also recoils light. Slugs hit right where they should. Gas guns generally require a bit more maintenance, but I'll take it to 4 matches or so before cleaning it and haven't had a failure at a match yet, even on rainy days. The failures I have had were testing low recoil buckshot at my local club before it was broken in; No problems last time I tried the same ammo. It comes with a slightly shorter stock, which I prefer for 3gun, less likely to snag my shirt when presenting, etc. After shooting mine, my dad eventually got one and now his M3K lives in the safe. His has been just as reliable as mine thus far(about 3 or 4 matches). The fit/finish on these is definitely better than the other two, but that also shows in the price.
  5. fbzero

    To mpx or not?

    In my experience, the MPX shoots lighter, and seems reliable *if you keep it clean* based on my buddy who has one. My CK Arms AR-type PCC is lighter even though it doesn't shoot as light and seems to be reliable no matter how dirty I let it get. My wife and I shared it at the Lucas Oil PCC match, and with both of us shooting all 12 stages, never had a single failure or malfunction of any kind. We also shot Friday when it was pouring rain for over half of the time. That certainly wasn't the norm in our squad. IMHO, it's a trade-off and you need to choose which attributes are the most ideal to you. Whether 3gun or USPSA, I have at tendency to not clean match firearms very often, so the level of reliability that mine offers without having to worry about cleaning it before a match comes in pretty handy.
  6. fbzero

    Carry optics tips/advice?

    I'm setting up my G34 Gen5 for CO as well, and ended up going with the 2.5 MOA DPP. Lots of options, but I like the C-More on my PCC due to the larger window and thought that it would be beneficial to have a larger window for this as well. I also considered the Vortex Venom, but it looked so small next to the DPP that I decided not to. The size of dot you choose is probably going to come down to personal preference, but I went with the 2.5 MOA because my C-More is 8MOA, which I regretted really fast at the Lucas Oil match. Up close, those larger dots are really nice to find quickly, but once you start getting out to 25+ yards, they completely obscure smaller targets. The DPP gets pretty bright and I don't seem to have any additional issues finding it quickly despite the smaller dot size, and actually preferred it working the plate rack at 25 yards on our club training bay. YMMV, GL!
  7. My firing pin broke at a match the weekend before the Lucas Oil PCC Championship. The tip that hits the primer was misshapen and it was snapped in half right where it goes from thick to thin. This was a Taccom, but not one of their newer ones with the larger strike face in the rear. In any case, I also use a Hiperfire 24C and was using the heaviest springs(silver), which have higher hammer drop energy by roughly 35% according to the instructions. This delivers the lightest trigger pull. When you said you were using the "lightest" springs, did you mean the lightest springs or the springs that deliver the lightest trigger pull? Just curious...after replacing the firing pin, I've decided to try the yellow springs to see if it makes this one last longer. It should supposedly deliver "low-end stock hammer energy".
  8. If you shoot indoors frequently, you probably have bigger things to worry about than the coated projectiles. Most lead exposure is going to come from the primers. There's lead-free options, but so far, I haven't found them to be as reliable or readily available. Good ventilation is a must, and even so, you're going to get more exposure indoors than outdoors. As for the heavy smoke, this isn't a guaranteed thing with coated bullets...it's usually caused by poor powder choice and/or over-crimping and breaking the coating. One thing I've learned from talking to reloaders locally is that about 90% of them have no idea what their crimp measurement is on their pistol loads...bad loading habits are all too common =/
  9. fbzero

    Steel grips!?! Are they really worth it!?

    I shot a RIA Pro match 40 for a season, and it was honestly a lot of gun for the money. Eventually I got a CK Arms with a plastic grip. It shot great and was definitely more accurate at longer distances, but after about a season of shooting it, I just couldn't shake how much I liked the extra weight from the RIA. Ended up selling the RIA to fund a metal grip to fit to the CK. I only got to shoot a few matches before I had to focus on PCC for a bit because the Lucas Oil match was coming up, but I was definitely getting more alphas overall after the change. Seemed like a lot of doubles that were previously alphas with a close charlie were now more likely to be two alphas. I'm more of a medium grip-strength shooter when I'm going as fast as I can, and I usually bear down more for harder targets. If you always do a death-grip, I suspect it may not be as helpful...
  10. fbzero

    Nobel Sport 9 1/2

    I checked it out a while back, and it seems like a good powder. Mostly been using Prima V and Prima SV. It metered well, gave good accuracy and pretty much checked all the boxes. Still, just like with PV and PSV, I had hard time trying to get myself to settle on it due to possible availability issues. Currently checking out Sport Pistol as a possible go-to powder.
  11. fbzero

    Max won the Lucas Oil PCC match !

    Wish I could have seen him shoot, he must have been a beast. Was definitely a different kind of match than I'm used to; The PPCC thing from above is pretty accurate. The added challenge of playing around in mud soup on Friday made it even more interesting lol...glad everyone who shot the next two days got better weather.
  12. fbzero

    Current STI lineup

    I don't have any special knowledge on this, but I'd think it would make sense to go back to a more basic lineup of good quality pistols. From the beginning, I just haven't understood why they would ditch all of their normally priced models and replace them with flashy looking factory guns that cost just as much as custom/semi-custom and based on reports seem to have more problems. FWIW, we have two SHOT 2017 models in the house that my wife and I use for 3gun. We got a good price on them and they run great, which is the niche that I always thought STI filled - that price point between the non-modular metal guns and custom/semi-customs.
  13. fbzero

    G34 Gen 5 trigger (suggestions)

    Pretty happy with the TTI.
  14. fbzero

    How many stages is your local?

    Mostly 6 for the outdoor ones. Sometimes, on really hot months, they take it down to 5.
  15. fbzero

    Crimp question

    This is normal - to an extent - but you must be sure of why the shortening is happening. So what do I mean? If you chamber a round over and over, even a factory round, it may get shorter by a few thousandths. You should never do this with ammunition you intend to shoot. This is normally from the feed ramp and will probably vary depending on the firearm being used. Depending on the feed angles, some firearms will push the bullet up he feedramp and others may nearly launch it right into the chamber and hardly touch the feed ramp. The amount you are describing could absolutely be very dangerous and does not sound normal. One important question is whether or not the bullet is being jammed into the rifling. If that is the case, then your bullet setback will be even more extreme than in the above scenario and you have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands - possibly even he first time you chamber that round. Did you determine the length at which your bullet touches the lands to be sure that this isn't the case here? Last, your crimp doesn't hold the bullet in place. If you are getting significant setback under normal circumstances where the bullet is not impacting the lands, then you need to be looking at your sizing die and make sure that it is providing adequate neck tension. If the die you have isn't providing the needed tension with proper adjustment, you may need to look into a different one, possibly even a U-die.