Year two of Ammolytics was a bit of a mixed bag, though that’s true for 2020 in general. As my end of year metrics will make evident, I did not conduct as many experiments, publish as many articles (or any videos), or share many new projects as I would have liked. That’s not to say that nothing was accomplished, simply that the backburner is a bit more crowded. Despite this and the constant feeling I have of being behind, of underperforming, the community around Ammolytics still managed to grow.
In the first part of this series, I spent a significant amount of time and energy measuring several dimensions of the same rifle cases, over and over for five firings. The goal was simple – to measure the relationship between the weight and volume of the cases. The theory-first approach I took does have its merits, but admittedly the results were a bit less clear.
Another valid way to approach this experiment is results-focused. To simply record the performance (muzzle velocity, score, etc) of each case, look for outliers, then try to better understand why they are outliers.
The same obstacle that prevents either method from being practical. Namely, a reliable way to keep track each and every rifle casing throughout several rounds of firing, cleaning, and reloading. My solution to this problem? Microstamping.
2019 marked the first year of Ammolytics! Working on the articles, experiments, and projects that I’ve created has been incredibly rewarding for me. I’ve learned so much and I’m always thrilled to hear from readers who’ve enjoyed reading. I’m proud of the work I’ve done so far and am excited about what I have planned for 2020.
It’s beneficial to take a moment to look back on what I’ve accomplished and how it was received. It’s also an opportunity to think about what worked well, and how I can improve going forward.
Throughout my life, I’ve always learned more from failure than success.
This is a story of a recent and epic failure of mine and what I learned from it. It isn’t the usual technical deep-dive I typically write about, but it’s equally important – it demonstrates learning lessons the hard way. More specifically, it’s about attitudes during competition and their influence.
This was a moment that I’ll never forget. That I hope no one else has to endure. That I hope everyone else can learn from, as I did.
Which chronograph should I buy?
Most likely, you’ve been asked this question, heard it asked, or have asked it yourself. I certainly have.
It’s no wonder, with so many options to choose from, each using different techniques and offering greater accuracy and precision than the rest. Since high-quality chronographs are an essential tool for the work I do here at Ammolytics, I thought it would be helpful and interesting to provide a direct comparison of some modern options. I already own a MagnetoSpeed V3 and some friends loaned me their LabRadar and Two-Box Chrono, which created an excellent opportunity test them head-to-head and to satisfy my own curiosity.
In late June, I took all three chronographs to the range. Two rifles were used to fire a total of 75 rounds; 25 rounds of 6.5mm Creedmoor (bolt-action/suppressed) and 50 rounds of .223 Remington (semi-auto).
There are some aspects of the reloading process which tend to be significantly more time-consuming than others. Obtaining consistent, to-the-kernel precision on every round is one of those. I’ve tried a lot of different tools and techniques over the years to save time without sacrificing quality. Stop me if you’ve heard this one… RCBS Chargemaster, modified with straws and new programming, using an OHaus beam scale and manual trickler to measure the last few kernels, tweezers to add/remove single kernels, then ditching the beam scale for a lab-grade digital scale (e.g. A&D, Sartorius)… Sound familiar?
The inexpensive rifle accelerometer project was a huge hit. It was reshared and featured on other sites like Adafruit, Hackaday, ITS Tactical, and The Firearm Blog! Since then, many readers reached out to me with ideas and suggestions. I’d like to provide a quick update on the progress that’s been made thanks to support from readers like you. Thank you!