Friday, March 29, 2013

The "Lanza Arsenal", dissected...

Tonight, I had the opportunity to view the five search warrants recently released by Law Enforcement authorities revolving around the Sandy Hook shooting spree.

A few of them didn't really deal with firearms or ammunition, so I won't bother bringing up his seized iPhone or the various knives they carted out of his bedroom.  I'll be keeping this strictly in reference to the firearms and ammunition that was seized by the police.

In the first warrant, there appears to be a check and a holiday card.  The check was written by Nancy Lanza to Adam Lanza, for the purchase of what the warrant describes as "C183 (Firearm)".  Either that was a typo, and was supposed to be a Chech-made CZ-83 handgun in .380ACP caliber, or someone screwed up and assumed that the Kodak C183 camera is a firearm.  Neither a CZ-83 handgun or C183 hand-held camera was seized.

In another warrant, a Saiga 12ga semi-automatic shotgun was found inside the Honda registered to Nancy Lanza at the scene of the crime.  According to the warrant, this Saiga shotgun was found alongside "two magazines containing 70 rounds of Winchester shotgun rounds".  Now, call me stupid, but does anyone know where one might buy a 35rd drum for a Saiga?  The largest I've ever been able to find is a 20rd drum magazine.  I know it's not a box-type magazine, because such a mag would be longer than the weapon itself.  Maybe whoever had inventoried the vehicle didn't exactly know what they were speaking of?

In yet another warrant, detailing firearms and ammunition seized from the home of Nancy Lanza, the following items were seized:
1) A "small caliber" bullet*
2) Five rounds of Winchester buckshot (shotgun rounds, including those from the car, now total 75)
3) White plastic bag containing 30 rounds of Winchester 12ga rounds (total now 105rds)
4) "Planters can" containing "numerous .22cal and .45cal bullets"**
5) Four hundred rounds of Winchester Wildcat .22LR rounds, in 50rd boxes (400 rounds .22LR ammo known at this point).
6) Twenty "Estate" brand shotgun shells (total 12ga rounds 125).
7) Forty rounds of "SB" buckshot shells (total 12ga rounds 165).
8) Five 12ga slugs, Lightfield brand (total 12ga rounds 170).
9) Two 20rd boxes of .303 Enfield rounds, one Federal and one PPU.***
10) Wooden box with "numerous" .45ACP rounds.**
11) 100 rounds of PPU .45ACP (100 rounds .45 ammo known at this point).
12) 20 rounds Remington .223 (20 rounds .223 ammo, katp).
13) 150 rounds Blazer .40S&W (150rds of .40 ammo, katp).
14) 40 rounds Winchester .223 (60rds .223 ammo, katp).
15) 30 rounds Magtech .45ACP (130rds .45 ammo, katp).
16) 48 rounds Fiochi .45ACP (178rds .45 ammo, katp).
17) 80 rounds CCI .22LR ammo (480rds .22LR ammo, katp).
18) 120rds PMC .223 ammo (180rds .223 ammo).
19) Six rounds Winchester 12ga buckshot (12ga rounds 176).
20) Two Remington 12ga slugs (12ga rounds 178).
21) Three Winchester .223 rounds (.223 rounds 183).
22) 31 rounds of undisclosed-manufacture .22LR (511 rounds .22LR ammo, katp).
23) One ".323cal Enfield Albian" rifle.***
24) 134 rounds "Underwood" 10mm ammo (134rds 10mm).
25) 130 rounds "Lawman" 9mm ammo (130rds 9mm).
26) Two 20rd drums for Saiga 12ga.****
27) Partial magazine with 10rds .223 ammo (.223 rounds 193)
28) 29 "Miscellaneous" 9mm rounds (139 rounds of 9mm)
29) Three empty AGP Arms shotgun magazines.*****
30) Surefire Gunmag with 8rds 12ga buckshot (12ga rounds 186).
31) Two AGP Arms 10rd magazines, conjoined with tape, filled with buckshot (12ga rounds 206).
32) Savage bolt-action .22LR rifle, containing 3rds of ammo (514 rounds .22LR, katp).
33) Small plastic bag containing "numerous" .22LR rounds.
34) Small plastic bag containing "numerous" .45ACP rounds.
35) Single AGP Arms 10rd magazine filled with buckshot (12ga rounds 216).
36) 50 rounds Blazer .22LR ammo (564 rounds .22LR, katp).
37) Partial box of PPU .303 Enfield ammo containing 9 rounds (49 rounds total).
38) A pair of loose 9mm rounds (141 rounds 9mm).

---------Notes regarding firearms and ammo seized from the Lanza home----------
*The "small caliber" bullet (when used by firearms industry employees, firearm aficionados, and shooting-sports regulations) typically refers to anything .38-caliber (9mm, .38SPL, .380ACP, etc) or smaller.  Because the listing on this warrant was compiled by law enforcement agents whose job is to produce seizure documentation attempting to cast unfavorable light upon the person from whom the items were seized, it may refer to just about anything.

**The term "numerous" may refer to a number as small as half a dozen, or as large as several dozen.  

***Due to the various rounds of .303 Enfield ammunition seized, and the fact that a .323 caliber Enfield was never produced, I am assuming the seized rifle was of .303 caliber and the ".323" designation found in the seizure inventory was a typographical error.

****Please see my earlier thoughts, regarding the possibility of finding "two magazines containing 70 rounds" in the trunk of the Honda.

*****Due to the 10rd AGP shotgun magazines being the most popular model, the largest model made by AGP, and the type found loaded elsewhere in the home, I am assuming the unloaded AGP magazines would be of 10rd capacity.  AGP also produced 6rd and 8rd magazines for the Saiga.

So now, let's look at the total known number of rounds per caliber, as described in the Lanza warrants and seized from the home and car:

49 rounds of .303 British Enfield, for use in the WWI-era bolt-action Enfield rifle.
193 rounds of .223Rem, the type used by the AR15 allegedly used in the shooting.

141 rounds of 9mm Luger
150 rounds of .40S&W
134 rounds of 10mm
178 rounds of .45ACP

564 rounds of .22LR

216 rounds of 12ga

Pistol rounds are typically sold in boxes of 25 or 50 rounds, depending upon brand.  Often, 25rd boxes of pistol ammunition are reserved for top-shelf premium product lines.  It is not common to use such ammo on a trip to the firing range, and it has been well-reported that Adam and Nancy Lanza were both fond of range shooting.  Even accounting for reloading, and taking a five-second break between shots to aim properly, a 50rd box can easily be expended in under five minutes...especially if one has already pre-loaded his magazines, as most people do prior to going to a shooting range.

As such, keeping three boxes of shells for a particular firearm is actually considered "going light" in most circles.

For a .223 rifle, such as the AR15, the same holds true.  A standard-capacity 30rd magazine is easily expended in under a few minutes, taking several seconds between rounds to aim.  The amount of rounds found at the house would be enough to fill six magazines to capacity.

The suggestion that 564 rounds is an "excessive" amount of .22LR rimfire ammunition is truly absurd, considering that shooting several hundred rounds in a single day of "plinking" is actually extremely common.  Prior to the ammunition shortage created by the media hysteria after Sandy Hook, a 525rd "value pack" of .22LR ammo would generally cost less than $20, as it is still the cheapest ammunition on the market.  It is also the smallest commonly-available round, typically used only for target practice or hunting very small game, due to its size.

While it may seem "odd" to some that Lanza would have almost two thousand rounds of ammunition in his home, it's really not when one puts it into context.  Almost 600 of those rounds were for a bolt-action rimfire target rifle.  The other less-than-1100 rounds were for seven different firearms...or, roughly, enough to take each one out to the range for half an hour.

Some might find it odd that a person might keep 2,000 rounds for a given rifle or handgun, but that clearly wasn't the case here. 

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