06/12/2020 Pardon the redundancy… This issue of 10mm Automatic power was addressed on Part I, but the comparison was to large bore magnum cartridges. Now that we know the 10mm Automatic pales in performance, kinetic energy wise, to the 50 BMG, the table below may provide more reasonable associations and context. Cartridge Bullet Weight Grains…
Ruger’s EC9s® – Warm Weather Is Here Easy concealment and 9mm Luger power
One of the positive aspects of winters in Maine is the necessity for clothing that could conceal a bazooka. What is a bazooka? If you are old enough to remember movies set in World War II / Korean War era, it was that 55″ long tube shouldered by a kneeling gunner and rear end fed a 2.36″ diameter rocket by a loader. Clear of the path of the exhaust, the loader would tap the gunner on the shoulder, a rocket plume would flame from the back and a tank within 300 yards would erupt into a pile of scrap steel and exploding ammo.
According to movies of the day, the “Launcher, Rocket, 2.36 inch, Anti-Tank, M-1” was just as effective on: a Rhedosaurus* (Beast From 20,000 Fathoms 1953), giant ants (Them! 1954), mutant spiders (World Without End 1956), and a giant Ymir (20 Million Miles to Earth 1957). What does this have to do with the Ruger EC9s? Nothing at all. I was trying to illustrate how winter clothing makes concealing even large weapons easy but, metaphorically speaking, I ran off the road and into a ditch while reminiscing.
The Ruger EC9s lineage began with the January 2011 introduction of the LC9. The LC9, followed on the heels of the very popular LCP compact 380 Auto that was introduced in February 2008. The LC9 provided greater lethality in a slightly larger package as pictured, left.
Where the LCP is a striker design, the LC9 is a preset hammer design where the trigger pull finished cocking the hammer before release.
In July 2014, the LC9 was overhauled and became the LC9s, a striker fired design with a much improved trigger with the same external form. The “s” signifies striker. Later that same year, a Pro version sans thumb safety and magazine disconnect was introduced.
In mid 2018, the Ruger EC9s was introduced, a cost reduced version of the LC9s; fixed sights, fewer process steps and what is often described as a black oxide substitute for the LC9s’s blued finish. While both finishes are actually the same, the underlying metal finish is different. In Ruger vernacular, if the metal has been polished prior to the black oxide process, it is defined as “blued”. If the metal surface has been bead blasted prior to the black oxide process the finish is defined as “black oxide”.
When introduced, the EC9s was listed with an MSRP $100 less than the LC9s. As detailed above, some of the cost reduction came from a reduction in finishing steps, some from reducing machining steps like decreasing slide serration count, going to integral fixed sights, packaging one magazine with the product. A little here and a little there that added up to a significant drop in price without any sacrifice to quality or performance.
|Manufacturer||Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc|
|Grip Frame||Glass Filled Nylon|
||Hard Anodized Aluminum
|Slide||Through Hardened Alloy Steel
|Barrel||3.12″ Alloy Steel|
|Trigger Pull||6.5 Lbs.|
|Sights||Integral To Slide|
|Weight – Actual||17.6 Oz|
The Ruger EC9s is a simple, but solidly engineered and manufactured pistol. Where many compact pistols can be… finicky in operation, the EC9s had no such propensity. Regardless ammunition fed: factory, handloads, FMJ, hollow points, lightweight composite, and cast, the EC9s fed, fired and cycled without complaint. The poly grip frame is durable, a durable hard anodized aluminum insert provides strength and wear resistance for all friction points and precision fire control part alignment.
Takedown, is easy. I will leave the safe details of how the pistol is disassembled to the Ruger manual, but central to the exercise is a takedown plate is pushed down, the takedown pin is pushed out and the slide assembly is pushed forward on the frame and off. The guide rod assembly and barrel life out of the slide.
The EC9s slide is a through hardened, CNC machined precision casting. The sights are machined integrally with the slide. Sight faces are serrated to kill glare. The extractor is oversized compared to most 9mm compact pistols. The relatively wide spacing of ribs on gripping surfaces provide excellent purchase.
A notable characteristic of the EC9s is an easy to rack slide. The guide rod assembly, Ruger nomenclature, is spring is two stage. The rear spring provides little resistance until the slide is well into its rearward travel. The dampening is effective as the EC9s is a relatively soft shooting compact 9mm.
The alloy steel barrel is bushingless and ramped to assure reliable feed. The barrel hood has a view port to permit cursory empty/loaded chamber status. Cursory, as it does not replace the process for assuring an empty chamber where the pistol is pointed in a safe direction with fingers outside the trigger guard, the magazine is removed, the slide is retracted to eject a chambered round, and the chamber is visually inspected for empty.
Above, the trigger and inner trigger prevent the trigger from going full travel unless the inner trigger is depressed, unblocking the striker.
There are some people who are anti safety. No, I don’t know why, although I have heard their tales of millisecond saves when they did not have to thumb down a safety or could still shoot with a magazine out, or they fell into a dumpster during a shootout and could only pull the trigger on their pistola with their elbow; thank God there was no embedded trigger safety!
Personally, I think for 99.99% of the shooting public, the no safety mentality is a load of crap. Most people in a defensive situation are not highly honed assassins where spit second delays mean lives, or where having to remember to switch a safety to “fire” should not represent unreasonable mental or training challenges. The EC9s requires that you take the gun off of safe, you have your finger on the trigger and a magazine in place. I don’t think that is asking to much in the way of personal handgun proficiency.
The control layout is intuitive; above the trigger and just below the slide is the takedown plate that secures the takedown pin. Moving right, the slide stop and farther aft is the thumb safety. The thumb safety has positive detent positions that allow the safety top be thumbed off, but more direct force is required to go to safe. Although it has been a lot of years since I won a thumb wrestling contest, so maybe that is just me.
Ammunition… or as my old friend Bob Lewis used to say Am-a-nition
The Ruger EC9s is approved for any NATO, U.S., SAAMI, or CIP standard ammunition, brass or aluminum cased. It is also sort of approved for +P, with the caution it can be used but it will accelerate wear.
The Ruger is not approved in any way for ammunition labeled as +P+, ++P+, or the dreaded dark star +++P+!!+ , or any of the other labels manufacturers use on ammunition that is loaded above recommended safe pressure levels. Shrug it off if you will, but I still have all of my fingers and toes and I am as good looking as always. Hey, my wife tells me that all of the time… just before asking me to take out the trash, mow the lawn, build a new garage… the usual.
Far left – IMI Systems 115 grain JHP and Remington Ultimate Defense 124 grain BJHP. The IMI round is rated at 1,150 fps and chronographed 1,072 from the short barrel Ruger. The Remington round is rated at 1,100 fps and checked 1,051 fps. Both are 9mm Luger standard pressure, 35,000 psi versus +P 38,500 psi.
Why these two? Because after many target shooting, and gel penetration tests, and popping varmints, and running firearm reliability and longevity assessment, and researching manufacturer’s recommendations, I’ve found these two to be readily available and not too pricey. Neither has the science fiction look of the current rash of $3 per round cartridges that are tipped with what looks like an EZout, but they fully expand without fragmenting at the recorded velocity levels.
Five shots into an office B27.0006 10 yard target. Yes, it does look like a common 2.5″ x 3.5″, but it is actually a very hard to find, special target that I personally make in the basement. If you are interested, they are $37.50 per; expensive but highly tactical and very pro grade.
Surrounding the playing card is a 6.5″ square which, to me, represents the critical chest area. Sure, there is an infinite number of opinions depending on which expert is selling a seminar or training day, so I picked this one for myself and to use when assessing firearm and shooting for proficiency. Both IMI and Remington ammo shot about the same, however, there was a 1″ left to right change in point of impact.
Why is a conclusion necessary? Well, since I come from the rambling school of righting and because I write from point to point of distraction, it is always good to pull things together at the end.
With the heat of summer coming, bringing with it the loss of big bulky carcass covering clothes, compact firearms offer the most choices for concealment. The Ruger EC9s brings that small form, but in 9mm Luger, so lethality isn’t materially compromised by the downsize. The pistol is comfortable to shoot, shoots accurately and with a high degree of reliability. Incredible price for a well made in U.S.A. pistol.
No, please don’t shoot this way. Let’s leave that for Hollywood nitwits.
*In cooperation with a radio active grenade
Light Varmint Loads For A Featherweight Rifle They are even smaller at a distance...
Apparently, there are places within these United States where large expanses of rolling plains, clumsy herd animals and hole creating prairie dogs intersect to wipe out a rancher’s only source of income; the herd. Surely you have seen splinted cattle, gimping along on a cattle drive with marked down price tags hanging from their horns.
In those areas, prairie dog populations are controlled with cartridges like the .22-50 BMG-AI matched with 36″ barrel rifles. Why would they not, as the average shooting distances is 1,200 yards!…!!. In Maine, where cattle and sheep are mostly found in zoos, and modern ranchers raise peacocks and alpacas, varmints come in different forms.
Coyotes decimate our deer herds during periods of heavy snow fall and eat our pets as they recreate on back porches. Fox and skunk contract rabies at a substantial rate and opportunistically bite the hands of Mainer’s, both metaphorically and literally, who insist on feeding them. More common are the gray squirrels that snack on costly structures, and/our vegetable gardens and every grain of seed we plant.
So on my list of varmints are: coyotes that make it a habit of coming out of the woods and hanging out in populated areas, oddly behaving fox and skunk that are flashing teeth at pedestrians in broad daylight and any squirrel in the area of the homestead while I have a firearm in my hand.
A varmint eradication facilitator
Winchester Model 70 Featherweight
|Manufactured||Browning – Portugal|
|Weight||6 Lbs 12 Oz|
|Overall Length||42 1/4″|
|Stock||Black Walnut Grade I
|Barreled Action||Blued Alloy Steel
|Length of Pull||13 3/4″|
|Drop at comb||1/2″|
|Drop at heel*||3/4 “|
|Scope||Drilled and Tapped|
|Trigger Pull||3 Lbs. 11 Oz. Adj|
|Safety||Wing Three Position|
I do not own a Model 70 Winchester Featherweight in 243 Winchester at the moment, but only because I currently own a six pound Model 70 Compact with many of the same attributes. The Compact is in queue for a fancy black walnut stock… as it has been since 1998. The problem is that it is in frequent use and I cannot see taking it out of service for six months. Hmm… perhaps I should buy a Featherweight, get the benefit of two more inches of barrel length and time for fitting a new stock on the Compact?
Some of the attributes that make the Featherweight an ideal candidate are obvious. The smooth, controlled feed action, an adjustable super slick trigger, a swing safety for easy field operation, a very comfortable stock for good control and support, and just enough fancy stuff to instill pride of ownership.
The Model 70 Featherweight also has a 2.880″ long magazine well and a 0.175″ freebore behind the rifling that will accommodate significantly longer than 2.710″ maximum length cartridges. All of this combines to give the handloader more latitude in working toward maximum ballistic performance, velocity and accuracy.
In more tangible terms, the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight can easily accommodate everything from a 0.790″ long Sierra 55 grain varmint bullets to 1.352″ long 115 grain Berger Match bullets. The former seated deeply enough to properly secure the bullet with case neck tension, the latter without deep seating and displacing useful case powder capacity.
Joe, why are you including a Remington AccuTip where there are no mainstream reloading manuals available for us to put your handloads into context? In this case, the Remington AccuTip is actually a 75 grain Hornady V-Max, cleverly disguised with Remington green camo.
Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity, pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5% as a starting point for development where cartridges have greater than 40 grains in capacity and 10% for cartridges with less than 40 grain capacity following safe handloading practices as represented in established mainstream reloading manuals. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.
|Cartridge – 243 Winchester
|Firearm||Winchester M70 Featherweight
|Min – Max Case Length||2.045″ +0.000″/-0.020″|
|Min – Max COL||2.450″ – 2.710″
|Bullet Diameter||0.2430″ +0.000″/-0.0030″|
|Remington AccuTip||75||50.3||2.640||Norma 204||47.0||3214||1721||0.4
H414 ran a little warm, Norma 204 ran a little cool. Where there is lower velocity in any given bullet weight for a specific powder, the next few tenth grain increments yielded no appreciable increase in velocity. Charges listed represent the lowest charge required to secure velocity. So what does this all mean? From the Real Guns® Ballistic Calculator
|Sierra BlitzKing 55 Grain|
|Near-Zero – yds.||41||Mid Range – yds.||133|
|Far-Zero – yds.||216||Max Ordinate – in.||+1.5|
|Point Blank – yds.||241|
|Best Zero : Range 0 – 300 yards|
|Velocity – fps||3788||3473||3180||2908||2651||2408||2179|
|Energy – ft.-lbs.||1752||1472||1235||1033||858||708||580|
|Momentum – lbs-sec||30||27||25||23||21||19||17|
|Path – in.||-1.50||0.24||1.25||1.40||0.52||-1.59||-5.22|
|Drift – in.||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|Time Of Flight – sec.||0.00||0.04||0.09||0.14||0.19||0.25||0.31|
|Hornady V-Max 65 Grain|
|Near-Zero – yds.||42||Mid Range – yds.||139|
|Far-Zero – yds.||229||Max Ordinate – in.||+1.5|
|Point Blank – yds.||257|
|Best Zero : Range 0 – 300 yards|
|Velocity – fps||3711||3513||3325||3145||2974||2808||2648|
|Energy – ft.-lbs.||1987||1781||1595||1427||1276||1138||1012|
|Momentum – lbs-sec||34||33||31||29||28||26||25|
|Path – in.||-1.50||0.22||1.23||1.46||0.81||-0.83||-3.57|
|Drift – in.||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|Time Of Flight – sec.||0.00||0.04||0.09||0.13||0.18||0.23||0.29|
|Remington AccuTip/Hornady V-Max 75 Grain|
|Near-Zero – yds.||40||Mid Range – yds.||131|
|Far-Zero – yds.||217||Max Ordinate – in.||+1.5|
|Point Blank – yds.||245|
|Best Zero : Range 0 – 300 yards|
|Velocity – fps||3435||3277||3126||2980||2838||2701||2568|
|Energy – ft.-lbs.||1965||1788||1627||1479||1341||1215||1098|
|Momentum – lbs-sec||37||35||33||32||30||29||28|
|Path – in.||-1.50||0.31||1.31||1.42||0.55||-1.40||-4.54|
|Drift – in.||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|Time Of Flight – sec.||0.00||0.04||0.09||0.14||0.19||0.25||0.30|
Like virtually all calibers, in the lighter end of the bullet weight ballistic coefficients tend to be less than slick. As an example, the Sierra 55 grain BlitzKing cranks out just under 3,800 fps in muzzle velocity. However, it flies about as well a big dogs face sticking out of a car window traveling a 100 miles per hour. By comparison, a 115 grain Berger VLD has a BC of 0.597.
The examples expressed in tablular form above are based on a point blank range where the bullet does not rise or fall greater than 1.5″. Where the fastest bullet, the 55 grain Sierra, has a point blank range of 241 yards. The slower 65 grain bullet has a 257 yard point blank range. Even the heaviest bullet, with the lowest muzzle velocity out distances the 55 grain Sierra. In any event, they are all solid 300 yard performers.
For 99% of the varmint applications I encounter, the 7 lb 22″ barrel Winchester Model 70 Featherweight and replace my 11 lb 26″ barrel 220 Swift. Report is a bit on the loud side, recoil is virtually nonexistent. From a handloader’s perspective, bullets are inexpensive, brass is long living and powder consumption is modest. Any of the spring and summer shooting I can get in will only sharpen my skills for shooting the same rifle during deer season in the fall.
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