Showing posts with label AR-15. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AR-15. Show all posts

Saturday, May 21, 2016

And the AR 'Build' Winner Is....

BCM Standard 16" M4 SOCOM with BCM Bolt Carrier Group and BCM Gunfighter (medium) charging handle.
The cost was a shade over $250 more than the perpetual $299 PSA sale. I had the cash and in the long run think it will be worth it. I'll probably do a PSA one at some point but who knows.

I also ordered mags for it to maintain the right ratio. This plus some of those new magpul Glock mags is pretty much my prep for the election

Obviously it will need some accessories. Obviously a sling though I think I have one lying around. Also a rear sight. I will buy the same folding one we use at work. That way eventually if/ when I put an optic on it the transition will be easy.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

AR-15 Build Discussion Continued

This discussion merited a follow up. So in no particular order:

-Commander Zero brought up a good point. Unless you are truly starting with a box of parts, which I generally would not suggest for value, parts compatibility and user error issues, assembly is a more accurate term than building.

-The issue of a decent but budget conscious back up rifle vs a 'cheap as I can get' throw away is one I am still mulling over. I need to make a decision this week.

-I need to take a better look at the exact cost difference of a basic PSA (about 3 bills) and one more fitting of a back up rifle.

-An all PSA build might be sort of fun. Also it could be a fun project.

-I can see myself doing both. The question is in which order.

-My gut says the right answer is the back up rifle. 


Monday, May 16, 2016

AR Build Discussion

So I am looking at building an AR. For $400 ish I can get a basic upper. For $600 ish I can get a BCM upper. Thoughts?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Life Updates

Not Dead, just distracted.

One of the things I am busy with is working on myself trying to get healthy. Think that some good long term personal growth is happening. Don't want to say anything now as that is a shot you can't take back. However suffice to say I am tacking a long term personal shortcoming.

Beyond that I am looking at how I want to go about making my back up rifle once the lower gets here. I am looking at the cheapest option (which I am comfortable with anyway) which is probably a barreled PSA upper with one of their premium FN made barrels vs a more mid to upper mid shelf option. The difference might be less than one would think.

Also I have been re watching Jericho on Netflix. Some interesting lessons there. Of course the primary goal was entertainment but it brings up some thought provoking stuff.

Bike rides and jiu jitsu as often as I can plus the usual boring Army PT.

What have you been up to lately?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Complete AR Lowers and Kenny Escapes the PRK!

It looks like the Democratic Party machine is jamming Hilary Clinton down their parties collective throat. Her thoughts on guns are pretty well documented. Needless to say a second Clinton presidency would be very bad for Team 2A. Our window before the almost inevitable election related hysteria gets going is short. As such I picked up two of those PSA blemished lowers on the $189 sale. Thanks to Commander Zero for the heads up. I will be able to build Project AR's slightly cheaper brother off one of them. Of course you have to compare the cost of building vs just buying a rifle but I think it will work out well.

I may do some other things in the next month or so. Without going into a bad spot (digging too deep into savings let alone using credit) I will do the best I can to get my gunny house in order. You should consider doing the same.

On another note entirely Kenny is officially in Tennessee!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Terrorism, Urban Unrest and You

With the recent events in Europe I have been a bit worried. Our borders are not secure and there are almost surely some bad people inside American. Also the potential for some sort of 'black lives matter' type flash riot is there. Who knows.

So what am I tangibly doing differently?

In my sleepy little small town western central Louisiana life I am not doing anything differently.  Terrorism or whatever is not a concern here. My risk of being involved in something beyond normal crime is very low.

However when I travel to a bigger town I am doing things a bit differently. For Thanksgiving I went to visit my sister in greater Houston. Like always I had my trusty get home bag and Glock 19. I did intentionally fill up (Houston is a half talk away) before going to my sisters place. I also brought my fighting load and  my AR-15 with 7 magazines.

In the not so distant future I would like to get a dedicated vehicle gun. A budget AR or AK would fit the bill. I think an AK with a folding stock would be ideal as it would fit in a gym bag for discrete transportation. Also 7.62x39 does better with vehicles which is a consideration. That being said an M4 style AR will fit in a tennis racket bag. Paul Howe has a set up like that which is pretty handy. I will probably get whichever I can find a deal on.

What changes have you made based on recent events?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

When Your Optics and AR Platform Rifles Break? Part 2

I had planned on When Your Optics and AR Platform Rifles Break? being a stand alone post. Then a couple things happened.

First our friend Meister did a good post on the subject and I thought you should check it out.

Second after reading Meisters post then looking back at mine there were some glaring omissions in my first post. So I intend to address those.

Iron sights. This is really only a discussion with AR pattern rifles as the current fad is flat top rails on the receiver (a good idea) and low pro gas blocks to allow the full length rails (a questionable idea IMO) which everyone seems to like today.

Fundamentally I start with iron sights then potentially add an optic. So the end is that I have a set of redundant ZEROED sights for my rifle. Why do I do this?

The first reason is cost. Lets say a budget AR costs $650ish and a baseline professional grade (BCM, Colt, LMT) is $950-1,200ish. After digging deep to buy a rifle you might need to save for awhile to get an optic. Presuming you have an A2 style front sight/ gas block the only cost to a BUIS is the $40-100 for the rear sight.

Note: You do need to make a decision here to go with a fixed site or a folding one. The decision is made based on the type of optic you plan to eventually use. In general magnified optics necessitate a folding site while red dot type sights let you go either way.

Second is redundancy. With sights a rifle is effective to a quarter mile or so with the biggest limiting factor being the shooter. Without sights a rifle might be good to 25 yards or so. If there was a convenient affordable option to have a second extractor and ejector for just $50 I would!

Third to look at the other side; why not have iron sights? To save $50-100 cost and an ounce or two of weight? Pshaw. New topic.

Magazines. I made a critical error in not touching the topic of magazines.

In magazine fed weapons most feeding issues are caused by magazines. Before going any further my immediate test is always to try another magazine. The vast majority of the time it solves the problem.

Mag issues come from crap mags and wear n tear. Don't buy crap mags. Get either OEM or military contract mags. The only exceptions that come to mind are Magpul rifle mags (I am not sure their Glock mags are ready for prime time yet) and various quality brands of 1911 mags. Removing crap mags from the equation we are left with wear and tear.

Magazines really need to be thought of as a semi disposable item like say tires for a car or socks. They just plain wear out. Once they hit the end of their life span feeding issues pop up and get worse over time until you either totally rebuild it or toss it.

Meisters point about feed lips, etc is valid. That being said unless you have an oddball special snowflake rifle (Valumet .308, etc) or are in one of those states where mags have to be pre ban mags are cheap enough one might consider what their time is worth and just replace bad mags.

Right now PMAGs are well under $15 a piece (10 or more PMAGS @13.25 per at Lucky Gunner). You can consistently find military contract type aluminum (C products, etc) under $10 per, as low as 6-7 is not uncommon.

I believe in stocking mags pretty deep. 10+ per pistol and 20+ per rifle. The biggest reason for this is the darn things wear out. Since I can not say 100% replacement mags will always be available at today's very affordable prices I have some spares factored in to my stocking levels.

Anyway I think that hits the points I really wanted to add to the conversation.

Friday, October 16, 2015

When Your Optics and AR Platform Rifles Break?

John Mosby wrote When You Break Your Optic which is a very good article discussing the ruggedness of quality modern optics. He brings up some excellent points. Modern quality optics designed for combat use (vs deer hunting, airsoft, etc) are pretty darn rugged. I hesitate to name brands and get too deep into that debate but brands like Trijicon, Aimpoint, Eotech and the Leupold LEO/mil line come to mind. Also the Burris MTAC is hell for stout (albeit with a weight to match).

Before going on I should talk about my background because it applies to this conversation. I have over a decade of service in the Army. Some reserve and some active. Split among various types of units but all people who use their weapons for hard realistic training on a regular basis and in ground combat. I have been to so many ranges, live fires and field problems it would take too long to list. I have also deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The point is not to brag or some junk but to illustrate that I have used/shot a whole bunch of AR type rifles and been around a metric shit ton off them being used/shot. Ditto for optics.

Based on personal experiences and direct observations on combat optics:

-I have seen a handful of Eotech's and a couple of Aimpoint's fail. The Eotech's half strait up failed and half failed to hold zero/ take adjustments. The Aimpoints all kept functioning but failed to hold zero/ take adjustments. These optics were just plain worn out. They all had at least 2 deployments (aprox 27 months of combat time in Baghdad) as well as lots of training and range time. The use these optics took exceeds what any civilian user would do in a lifetime. Except just maybe John who trains a lot and likes to throw his rifle all over the place.

-The screws that hold the batteries in Aimpoint's tend to occasionally get mis threaded or lost. A couple spares (with the spring etc) per optic in the safe and maybe one per every several rifles in say a squad rifle repair kit would address the problem. They are about the size of a small gumball and I suspect fairly affordable.

-Eotech's. While I would agree with the consensus that they are the weakest of the big 3 (Aimpoint, Eotech, ACOG) they do not seem to have a single weak point. I should note being the weakest of those 3 is like being the #3 heavyweight power lifter at a major regional meet. Yes you are weaker than the two who placed higher but you are still ridiculously strong.

-ACOG's are damn near bombproof.

I also got to thinking about the AR-15 platform of rifles. Mostly this is based on military experience but I have a fair bit of experience on the civilian side as well.

Based on personal experiences and direct observations on the AR-15 platform:

-The receiver extension AKA buffer tube on adjustable stock (M4) type rifles is a weakest link of the chain. I have seen several break. They can take very little pressure at an angle before breaking. That IMT junk where you use the butt to break your fall does not work with this setup. Note if you want to whack someone with your M4 buttstock do it in a strait thrust.

-Lots of ejectors and buffer tube springs causing problems. We could debate whether this is a direct failure or a lack of adequate preentative maintenance but all the same. Stock spares of these parts.

-Tons of little pins getting lost during cleaning. So many pins, springs, extractors, etc. Even a few firing pins. My advice is that unless you have a decent place inside with an honest to goodness floor AND access to spare parts in a combat/ survival situation I would only strip an AR-15 down to the complete bolt carrier group, charging handle and the receiver. Clean the barrel with a rod or boresnake, wipe down the inside of the receiver and the BCG to get the crud off, relube and you are good to go.

[As an aside I have often wondered how long I could use an AR-15 with only this method of cleaning. Unless Lucky Gunner decides to send me a few dozen cases of M193 ball we are unlikely to find out but I suspect a very long time. Certainly long enough that a survivalist/ G would rotate back to some permissive area where a detailed cleaning would be safe and prudent.]

-Occasionally extractors strait up break. Again we could debate if preventative maintenance should catch it but I have seen it enough I would say the part is a fairly weak link.

-Once in a blue moon a bolt breaks.

Anyway I hope that my ramblings give you some things to think about and just maybe use to feed your stock spare parts, etc.

The comments section is open as always.

Monday, October 12, 2015

AR-15 Twist Rate Breakdown

This article on AR-15 barrel twist rate over at Stag is excellent. For the less initiated who are only going to shoot the most common 55 grain M193  and  62 grain M855 (or similar wt bullets) just get whatever twist rate is cheapest for a given brand of chrome lined barrel.

It is only at the margins where things start to matter. To briefly summarize faster twist rate favors heavier bullets and slower twist lighter ones. If you want to shoot the newly popular 77 grain open tip match ammo which are well reputed for both long range accuracy and terminal ballistics you want a 1/7 or 1/8 barrel. If you are a varmit shooter always using those light 50 grain bullets go 1/9.

Good info to have.

Friday, August 21, 2015

State of the AR-15 Union Summer 2015

The other day one of my soldiers brought up buying an AR-15. He knows I have one and so does another soldier who works with us. He asked my thoughts on buying one.

I asked what his budget was and he said about a grand though he would like to have some room in that for accessories, maybe swapping furniture, etc. I got onto the computer and did some digging.

There are so many AR's out there at really competitive prices. We saw a Bushmaster Patrol for $650. Not a brand that you can brag about (like LaRue, Noveski, DD, etc) but a good Chevy/ Ford tier  work horse gun. Rugers new DI gun comes in around $700. Heck we saw a Colt 6920 for $850. To be fair I am talking internet dealer prices so add $60-80 once you pay shipping and a local dealer to do the paperwork.

He talked about potentially building one. I said I'd help if he wants. However with the price of these new, solidly decent guns it would be hard to justify.

Mags can be readily had for $13 and under.  PMC M193 is 37 cents a round at Lucky Gunner.

Anyway there are a lot of good guns out there at awesome prices. Ammo and mags are readily affordable and affordable. Heck 10 years or so ago I paid $850 for a no name budget tier rifle and money was worth a lot more then. If I had left that money in a mayo jar today I could buy a Colt 6920LE which is a whole lot more gun.

I expect the non politically correct gun situation to get bad this winter, heck maybe this fall, as the election madness gets going full force. Inevitably prices will go up and availability will go down. This means almost inevitable panic buying followed by shortages and scalping. What I a getting at is that there is going to be a period, say several months on the short end and a year on the top end, where the market for AR's and such is going to be bad. Best front load purchases planned for the next year or so to the coming 3 months give or take.

Better get while the getting is good.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Response to Reader Questions

(1)Blogger tpals said...
Showing my ignorance: what exactly is a stripped lower?
July 17, 2015 at 5:10 PM
(2)Blogger Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Ryan here:
1) A stripped lower is technically the serial numbered part of an AR-15. It is the metallic piece of the lower without the internals gut and such.
 This is all the parts for an AR-15 lower receiver (and a sight/ carry handle). Put this all together and you have an AR-15 lower. Note the trigger, hammer, springs, take down pins, receiver extension, butt stock, etc. All of these are put together to have a functional AR-15 lower.
The stripped lower is shown in the picture above this text. Saying it is 'stripped' just means it is without all the pieces (trigger, hammer, takedown pins, receiver extension, etc) attached or included. You need to order a lower parts kit, receiver extension, buffer and buffer spring to make this into a complete lower that you could attach an upper to and make a complete rifle.

I said before that the lower is the serialized part of the firearm. In the eyes of the law that little block of aluminum is the gun. You can buy the rest of the pieces anywhere and just walk out or order it online, then get it shipped right to your house.

Stripped lowers are quite affordable. They are regularly available under $50 and always under $100. I don't care about brands much though I do avoid polymer lowers. As Chris said "the most important part of a lower is the roll mark (that shows brand). Brands only really matter to brag to your friends that you have a Noveske, LaRue, Daniels Defense or whatever lower. If that matters to you and you have the extra cash then by all means do it. I would rather put that money into P mags, and start saving for a case of 5.56 ammunition.

The specific advantage a stripped lower has is that under most past US gun laws older pre existing stuff is grandfathered in. So if a gun ban were to happen which I think we are safe from for at least a few years that stripped lower is 'the gun' and is grandfathered in. You could order the stuff to finish it later when you can afford it.

This probable grandfathered status plus the affordability of stripped lowers makes them pretty handy. For a likely gun ban scenario a stripped lower is in effect a physical version of a stock option to have an AR in the future. Maybe you cannot afford to buy an AR today but want one down the road. Most folks can probably scrape up sixty or eights bucks to get a lower then just put it away. Case in point I would like to be able to have a rifle for each of my kids but right now I do not have 1,600-2,000 dollars to do that. On the other hand I could buy a pair of lowers and build the rifles in the future.

A person looking for profit who found a good deal on lowers and mags could do very well in the gun run I have tentatively scheduled for this fall/winter or even better than that if a ban happened. A 'AR party pack' of a stripped lower and 7 new in plastic PMAGs could probably triple their money.

(2)Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Yes my thoughts on ammo are on the record.

My thoughts on mags are also but to briefly recap:
 Core Defensive rifle-20
I stock AR-15 mags

Core Defensive pistol-10
I stock Glock 9mm magazines

That roughly correlate to 3x combat loads rounded out a bit. My general thinking is one set to use, one set to replace those when they are worn out/ damaged/ lost and one set for trade/ charity. Lots of people have a rifle and 2-3 mags or a pistol with two. I am happy with those numbers though more is of course merrier.

It is worth noting those numbers are PER WEAPON not per weapon type. So if you have 2 rifles it would be 40 mags. Buy a third rifle and get another 20 mags.

I hope that answers both questions. If not hit me up in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From Around The Web

Lucky Gunner's Guide to the S&W .38/.357 Mag revolver. A pretty cool resource to wade through their myriad of different frames, configurations and model numbers. 

Two Commandments by Kenny of Knuckle Draggin My Life Away. Beware. Clicking through the link is fine for anybody. Wading into the general blog will expose you to foul language and pictures of beautiful women in bikini's, thong underwear, etc. Depending on your perspective that might be awesome or offensive.

Captains Journal talks M4 reliability. Looks like we are going back to industry, which makes some great rifles, for suggestions on improving the standard service rifle.

Mike Pattone and Defense Review talk The Big M4 Fouling Myth. They make a compelling case to swap out a few simple, user level, parts to improve the rifles ability to feed and cycle. Specifically a heavier buffer/ buffer spring and an upgraded extractor spring with crane 0 ring. Good to think about and not too expensive to impliment. Keep existing parts as spares.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2016 Gun Buying Plans

I talked about getting ready for the upcoming (pretty well scheduled) 2016 Election Hysteria awhile back. Figured it is time for an update.

Since writing that post I did order a stripped lower.

Would like to get 2 more, maybe this weekend. I look at these as a stock option. For $40-60ish they give me the option of buying an AR down the road at a pretty normal price, despite whatever AWB type stuff could get passed. $200 in stripped lowers in the safe would let me buying that 20" M16 A4 style tack driver I kind of want, build a pink AR for Wifey and one for each kid.

I got a 3rd mag for the LCP. Probably good enough for now.

Also want to get some of those new Glock magpul mags to try out. A half dozen of them would go a long way to testing the (almost surely great) new product and getting ahead for when I eventually get another Glock.

Have not picked up any more .380 or .308. These are pretty low on the list as tiny pocket pistol ammo and deer hunting rounds aren't going anywhere any time soon. Still on general principle over the course of the year I want to get some of each, bare minimum 200 rounds each .380 ball and .308 150gr SP.

The proceeds from my spring cleaning sale are going to be turned into a case of 5.56. Honestly I fear some day we will be laughing about $350 a case the way folks are talking about SA 5.56 at $200 a case in the early 00's. I have habitually been short of my self identified goals for 5.56 so this year I want to get closer to, if not achieve, my desired goal of 3k (per fighting rifle).

Beyond that in no particular order I plan to pick up some HK G3 mags and if I get a windfall of some sort a full spare parts kit for a G3. Bet you can guess what my next years goal is?

I should note that hysteria aside I see the chances of anything meaningful happening at a national level to limit our 2A rights as a no go. I'm not saying to go out and charge everything you will ever want on the visa because this will be your last chance ever. What I am saying is that next years market might be wonky so it is prudent to front load some firearm and firearms related purchases and not plan on much happening next year. Honestly if I had the cash to buy all the stuff listed plus a PTR-91 today I would do it and just be done for 1.75 years  but well I don't so some stuff has to wait.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Priorities, Opportunities, Knives and Whatever

Today I was in an auto accident. I was stopped in a turn lane with my blinker on waiting to turn thinking about getting lunch and the rest of my days plans. Out of nowhere some guy nailed me from behind. He couldn't have been going over 15mph but the jolt was pretty good.

My first thought was a 4 letter word. My second was that I seemed to be OK. My third thought was "Could this be my fault?" After realizing I was in a turn lane and stopped there was no way being read ended could possibly be seen as my fault. I got out of the road into a parking lot and the other vehicle followed. I was pretty hot when I got out of my vehicle probably due to adrenalin. The guy was immediately apologetic about the whole thing which calmed it down fast, since he wasn't being a jerk I chilled out also. He said he swerved to avoid something or another and boom we had a crash.

After getting out to look at it my vehicle was OK. The bumper was a bit out of whack but I figured I'd be able to put it back in place. Their vehicle was OK also. I felt fine. Copied down all their information and whatever. Aside from the bumper being slightly off whack there was a small mark from paint transfer on my bumper.

I told the guy that it didn't seem like a big deal. So long as I could put the bumper back in place and didn't wake up with a wrecked back or something we could call it even; I didn't see a reason to deal with insurance and  cost some decent guy a bunch of money just for a mark and a little scratch or two. If it  was a Lamborghini or  a Chevelle SS maybe I might look at the matter differently but for a normal commuter vehicle I don't see  the reason to bother.

This week I found an excellent opportunity then capitalized on it. There are  some items  I keep an eye  out for and will always purchase at the right price. The keys to doing good at this sort  of thing are regularly checking on available items, having the cash to buy  a good  deal on no notice when it pops up and patience.  Every once in awhile if you do all that  stuff  a  smoking deal will fall into your lap.

I have taken to carrying  my Benchmade Griptillian on the  left hand  side. This puts it in the ideal place if I get in the  dreaded fighting  while trying to retain my handgun situation. Having it there all the time gets me used to grabbing it and opening it with my left hand. Not perfect  but in terms of a real world knife  fight  it is big muscle movements that manifest their selves in a lot of close short stabs and it leaves  my strong hand to retain my weapon.

I have also taken to sharpening  my knife  weekly. Better to keep up on it then let it get dull. My current drill is that on Friday when I'm having a  drink and watching whatever show I am watching the knife  gets a quick touch up. My Benchmade Griptillian is pretty darn sharp  these  days.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Running, Rifles and Different Things

Last month I only ran 27 miles. An improvement over the last months 22 but not ideal. I started out too hard to be honest. Did 18 miles in the first 12 or 13 days then hurt my knee. Maybe I pushed it too hard (I know I did) ignoring the standard 10% rule. I could have fudged it some since Feb was kind of a slow month but still. I got a little over exuberant I guess. For about a week I think I ran 2 miles as I was hurting. A reminder that I'm not 21 any more and even though I'm far from over the hill there are a lot of miles on my body. So finished up the short month at 27 which wasn't terrible. Would have made my (adjusted) goal of 30 but family stuff got in the way.

This months goal is at least 35, if I feel good It's a total of running and rucking so it's not too bad. This morning I did 4.5. A target of 9-10 a week will give me a little buffer in case things fall short at some point.

Alexander Wolfe posted a pic of his sweet new AR-15. Very cool stuff. While we did some things differently with me opting for a standard weight barrel and a variable powered scope and him for a light weight barrel and an Aimpoint micro it is a nice rifle and I hope it serves him well.

This weeks plans are to do some research on a decent defensive .380 load, keep reading the ham radio book and do a few things towards the food storage record keeping. Also I'll look to put together a set of stuff for the saw and generator to keep them together in a big tuff box.

What are your plans for next week?

Friday, February 13, 2015

AR-15's, Ham Radio and Life

Alexander Wolfe bought himself a fancy new Bravo Company AR-15. We talked about this before and he was fortunate to pull the trigger before they stopped the free BCM bolt carrier with every upper special which ran for a pretty long time. He went with the lightweight barrel, while I chose the standard weight on my rifle, but for most civilian applications the difference is probably academic.

On the plus side for him our mutual advertiser Lucky Gunner hooked him up with some 5.56 ammo to zero/ test fire the new toy with.

Alex doesn't buy guns often so when he does it is usually well thought out and a significant event. The topic of optics came up. It looks like Alex is planning to upgrade. He mentioned the Aimpoint micro. There are a lot of really good scopes in that general price range. I tried to throw out the topic of low power variable scopes. For a do everything rifle a low powered variable with an illuminated reticle has a lot going for it. Best of all even if you run out of batteries you still have a day optic.My Burris MTAC is pretty darn nice. However I do find the 4x max a bit lower than I would like. As Alexander noted 1-6's are great but really expensive. Burris makes a 1.5-6x MTAC which I've heard good things about. Also Vortex recently put out their 1-6x Strike Eagle with a projected street price under 4 bills.

Am helping a friend do an AR build. They got a deal on a lower now we are looking for an LPK to put it together. The goal is to get a decent to good duty type rifle at a reasonable price so while not necessarily the cheapest gun out there it should be a lot of gun for the money. This means no derp tier 'Bubba's Basement Armory's rusted thrown together 2nds LPK' is out. Any recommendations? Any smoking deals going on right now?

I've decided to finally get off my duff and get moving on the ham radio thing. There is a club that meets once a month in a bigger town not so far from here. So to get a license I need to pass a test. Any recommendations on how to study? Good websites you have used?

Tonight I'm watching the new episode of The Walking Dead. On the downside instead of a parade I think tomorrow there will be a trip to the hospital as Walker seems to have an ear infection.

Do you all have any big plans this weekend?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reflections on My 14.5in BCM Mid Length Carbine "Project AR"

Alexander Wolfe of T Blog is thinking about upgrading his AR-15 to a BCM upper. I started a comment at his place then decided it was going to turn into a post of it's own. I built a BCM 14.5in mid length a couple years back. It's a great rifle and I love it. Some reflections on the overall experience of setting up and using this rifle might help my buddy out, plus also everyone, myself included, loves to talk about their cool toys.

What worked out well:

-The choice of a BCM upper and bolt carrier group. It's great. BCM is IMO a producer of legitimate professional grade rifles on par with Colt. That being said they hit that mark without getting into the stratospherically expensive boutique semi custom range of Daniels Defense, Knight, Noveske and Larue with 2-3k plus price tags.

-Standard weight 14.5in barrel. I toyed with the lightweight barrel idea but decided against it after a couple very experienced people (former SOF NCO's) said to go with a standard weight. Upon reflection after a couple years with the gun I am glad I did it. I can shoot all day long in 100 degree temps without barrel heat being an issue. There are lots of places to shave weight on an AR but A) the barrel is not the place to do it and B) fundamentally it's a light rifle anyway.

As to length 14.5in is as short as you can get without  treading into the (now especially nebulous) AR pistol territory. This is good for moving in and around vehicles as well as structures. Before the barrel length and velocity argument starts our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed enough bad guys out past 400m with M4's that, at least as far as this guy is concerned, any debate about this not being an effective fighting rifle is moot.

-Upgrading the muzzle device. Call it a flash hider, call it a comp, call it a break, whatever. There are a lot of really good options out there at a variety of price points. The BCM comps look good and come in at a wallet friendly price. The only reason I can see not to upgrade the muzzle device for a pinned/ welded barrel, where it is a lot harder to do it later, would be for a really budget conscious build.

What I have mixed feelings about:

-Mid length gas system. It's a bit softer but not like these things are shoulder busters anyway. It makes replacing parts a bit more complicated. I like it but from both the accessorizing and scavenging parts angles a standard carbine length has advantages. My half hearted current answer to this problem is that I'm keeping the one I have but do not plan to get another mid length system on a future rifle.

-Battlecomp. Don't get me wrong I like it a lot but it is worth noting my concept of use for this rifle was 'build it so I won't go back and do it again in a couple years' so budget was not a primary driver. Also looking back I'm not sure those funds wouldn't have been better spent going towards an upgraded trigger or a rail (we'll get to that). Then again I wanted the BCM comp but they were between versions or something so it was perpetually out of stock at the time.

What I'm not so sure about:

-Not buying a rail right away. I was trying to keep the price sane and the fixed front sight of a normal A2 style gas block appealed to me. That combined with a pinned receiver made putting a rail on it down the road a problem. Combining that with my rail preference (free floating and not a quad rail) made it a downright hassle. I ended up with a nice and surprisingly affordable free floating MIDWEST INDUSTRIES S S G/2BLACK 12rail but it was a big hassle that could have been easily avoided. 

To the specifics of Alexander's situation:
- You can't go wrong with a BCM build though I do recommend a standard weight barrel.

-If you choose to run with this plan I would build a whole rifle. The upper is at least 75% of the cost, more if you factor in rails, optics, lights, etc. Would you have two trucks and swap a set of rims and tires between them.

-I am solidly in the 'keep the old rifle for a rainy day' camp. Use the older cheaper rifle as a 'truck gun' or make an operational cache.

-As an outside of the box idea if the only thing that really bothers you about the current rifle is the carbine length handguard why now just change/ cut down the gas block then put on whatever length rail you want?

Don't get me wrong, the last thing I'm trying to do is talk him out of buying a great AR. I have a very similar rifle and love it. If there are other reasons, including just wanting something shinier, to purchase the new rifle then roll with it. However if the hand guard is the only problem with the current rifle that is an easy fix. Instead of being a several hundred dollar project it would be 2 or 3 bills.

Anyway I hope it helps Alexander with his project.

What do you all think?

From our sponsors:
500 rounds of Brown Bear 7.62x39 for $109
An update on the MVT Shield from Max Velocity
Camping Survival has sandbags starting at 35 cents a piece going down to 27 in bulk
At LPC survival they have a Mountain House classic assortment on sale for $71.99

Friday, January 16, 2015

From Around The Web

Mike Pannone: Making an M4 run like a Gazelle

Hoss USMC went and set himself up an Operational Cache. Good stuff. I did this awhile back and it is a comforting thing to have done.Hoss also stashed the same chest rig I did. Like that thing a lot and might end up getting another one down the road.

Hoss stashed some pretty nice gear and was able to put away a Glock, which I couldn't at the time. Hopefully when I'm in my cache area next I'll be able to stash one there. Do not get discouraged and fail to cache because you do not have a surplus of cool new gear, put away the stuff you do have. Take a couple guns that are collecting dust and put em away. Get some ammo for them and ancillary stuff. Throw in some way to carry ammo and whatever spare field gear you've got and put it someplace outside of your home/ 'retreat'. Just do it.

In sad news for the gun community:
New ATF fiat declaration ruling on the Sig Arm Brace. Apparently that the second order effect of this 'brace' being a decent stock and many people using it as such has caught the eye of the ATF. Shoulder at your own risk.

In positive news for the gun community Magpul announced some new products:
AK accessories/ furniture
60rd AR drums that should be reasonably priced ($100ish) and actually work and best of all
Magpul Glock Mags!!! MSRP is just under $16 so street price SHOULD be in the $13ish range, which is what half of factory Glock mags cost. When they come out I'll definitely buy some.

From our friends at Lucky Gunner
250 rounds of Seller and Bellot #4 Buck for $119
Tula 9mm for $205/1k
Federal 5.56 XM193 $173/500

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From Around The Web

Euro at 9 year low vs the dollar.  I wish it would have been 1.19 to a dollar when I was in Germany.
Deflation in Europe
The Greeks elected a leftist government that is anti austerity which could lead to them breaking the current agreement. The problem is once a country enters the IMF death spiral there really isn't a way out. Some smart people have argued that is intentional.

From Weapons Man
Some predictions for 2015
The Big Lie about Wanat (AKA why M4's aren't jamming and getting soldiers killed)
Wars to Study, to Study UW

From American Mercenary
Fake cell towers, IMSI grabbers, and how to secure communications through an unsecure medium

From Max Velocity
Max Velocity Riflemen training plan
1978 Nuclear Holocaust: March or Die 40 miles with 40 pounds in 24 hours is a darn good goal yet, for a healthy adult who is willing to do an extensive and deliberate train up, a reasonable goal.

From Sheriff Jim Winson
If You Can Shoot AKA why the gun famed border patrolman, shooter and writer would bury for bad times is an S&W Model 19 with a box of shells.
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