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

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Larry Vickers on The Myth of Over Lubrication


Larry Vickers on 'over lubrication' of weapons. Before saying he is stupid I recommend a quick google search. It's fair to say Larry Vickers has forgotten more about all things guns and fighting with them than most people reading this know. His thoughts mirrors my personal experience, doubly so with the AR-15 platform which runs best wetter than other weapons. As far as I am concerned this is the last word on the matter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

From Around The Web

Inspired by my Ballistic Baller on a Budget post TEOTWAWKI Blog talks about their 1k firearms battery. Alexander went with the $550 complete upper and stripped lower build plan as well as a Glock 9mm. I certainly agree on the Glock; if you find one that meets price point I would take it over an SDVE-9, Ruger P85, etc all. As to the AR I'm a touch leery about low end AR's but can certainly see the sentiment.

Incidentally Bayou Renaissance Man has been trying to get some low end AR's working right.
My thoughts on general AR problem solving
-If it is a feeding related issue swap out the magazine. Try a different one and see what happens. IF the old mag, which is usually the culprit has problems just toss it as they are so cheap they are functionally disposable.
-Anything else. First conduct a good and thorough cleaning of the weapon. Next lubricate it heavily (just short of dripping). After that try it with some good known ammo like PMC X-TAC M855 (incidentally available at the excellent price of $359/1k at Lucky Gunner).

The first two should clear up the vast majority of generic AR problems. Beyond that depending on exactly what is wrong if it's a new gun it might have been assembled wrong or (new or used) you might need to swap out specific parts related to the problem.

Communists have taken over the parliament in a state that is part of (formerly East) Germany. Needless to say people tortured and imprisoned by the communists are not thrilled.

Oleg Volk does a good job explaining the terrible law I-594 which the lefties in greater Seattle shoved through.It is so openly written that almost any gun owner is a criminal.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

AR-15 Build vs Buy: Unique AR Platform Characteristics, Quality, Economics, Value and Customization

Commander Zero wrote a post called Stripped Lower Deals that put this into motion. I was going to write a comment but that was not sufficient so it stewed in my head for awhile and turned into a post. In this post I am going to share some ideas about the benefits of building an AR-15 as well as the potential downsides where just buying a rifle turns out better.

Bottom Line Up Front: The unique characteristics of the AR-15 can let an individual looking to maintain privacy yet still own specific weapons, interested in a rifle configuration that is not currently available or looking to secure potential options/ profit do better by starting with a stripped lower than a complete rifle; provided they are able to make reasonable parts choices and stay on (or close to) budget.

Two specific traits of the AR platform make this conversation very different than most other weapons. First as I read someplace online AR's are not so much built as assembled. What I mean is  that assembly does not require lathes, presses, significant mechanical aptitude/ knowledge or fine fitting of components. A person with lower than average mechanical aptitude and a few basic hand tools can put together a totally functional AR-15 at the kitchen table. Sure they will lose a detent pin and a spring, plus there will be a couple tiny scratches by the roll pins but that's about all that will happen. Second the serialized part of the AR which is for all legal purposes the firearm is a small, cheap piece of aluminum. For reference I spent more on the muzzle device for my AR than the (stripped) lower receiver. These two reasons make the discussion very different than with say an AK or M1A.

Now we will talk about the specific areas that will be discussed: Quality, economics, value and customization.

Quality: Quality in an AR comes from using serviceable, or even good parts and putting them together properly. I'm sure there are some total AR guru's out there who do things with fit and small amounts of thoughtfully applied gunsmithing that can make an AR more accurate. However I will submit that unless a total guru or buffoon are putting together a gun the difference is going to be negligible. What I am getting at is that a complete rifle from whoever is not going to perform differently than if the owner put together the lower and slapped the manufacturers upper onto it.

Of course people can totally screw up AR builds. Zero's example of an AR built out of all of the cheapest random parts is manifested in more than a few rifles. Go figure some of them just don't work well. This is my surprised face. Then again companies totally screw up some rifles too, it just happens. An advantage of buying a complete rifle from a reputable company is that if a problem happens they are usually pretty good about making it right. Some guns just have phantom problems and often a company will just give you a new rifle. If your Franken AR has problems fixing them is on your dime, basically you are hosed.

In terms of quality I'd say Project AR is certainly as good as comparable (BCM, Colt, etc) complete rifles.

Economics: This is an interesting discussion. The way to get the cheapest possible AR would be to shop around and find the cheapest individual items. Thus a person could say you can save 60% by building your own. This is not accurate because to compare value we have to talk apples to apples.

Saying "I built a $524 AR so that is a 50% savings over a Colt 6920 LE" is stupid because your budget build is almost surely not in the same league as the Colt. The point I am trying to make is that you need to compare the total cost to build a given quality rifle with the cost to just go out and buy one.

The other problem is people who spend a ton of money buying all sorts of random parts. I regularly see 2K+ AR's up for sale where the guy spent that much or more on parts. These guys read all kinds of stuff and get their roll pins from one guy, their trigger spring from another, etc. They
 really do believe they are building great rifles. In reality they are spending Ferrari money on Fords because they do not have the experience to actually know what matters. These very expensive guns are nowhere near as good as a comparably priced rifle from Daniels Defense or LaRue. Heck, some of them aren't on par with Spikes or S&W.

The 'A La Carte' model of AR building can work in some situations but you definitely have to keep an eye on the bottom line and compare that bottom line to a similar quality complete rifle. Situations exist where you can save money building but there are also others where the numbers do not work. I would say you also have to consider shipping costs as part of the total cost. This makes ordering parts from fewer places advantageous.

Comparing sale items is problematic because it depends a lot on what is on sale today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Looking at normal prices is probably a fair indicator. It is often, though not always, possible to save ten or even twenty percent by getting a stripped lower, LPK, stock and upper vs getting a complete rifle. I did this once. The difference in that particular case was closer to 30% for getting all the parts vs a complete rifle. Exact same parts from the exact same company. Found an acquaintance who put the lower together and I was good to go. That was a good rifle.

Recently with Project AR I probably saved some money. It gets hard to really compare equitably because I upgraded some components and got a less expensive LPK.

Customization: This is really where building makes a lot of sense. The AR is really a grown up male lego set in that a normal guy can pretty much make one into whatever he wants. In general I would say that all other things being equal if you only want to change a superficial thing (furniture, charging handle, etc) there isn't a huge need to go out and build a rifle. On the other hand if you want a configuration not currently available or are otherwise going to change more than a couple things it might make sense to build your own. If you want a different barrel or whatnot the cost of buying all that stuff once then changing it out can get silly fast. When building your own you can avoid duplicate costs for stuff that's going to be thrown into the AR parts bin.

For people with specific tastes who like private party anonymity building is a good option. I say this because while you can (except in panic times and even then if you're willing to pay panic prices) buy AR's PP no problem finding a 16" BCM Middy with a certain barrel twist is going to be really hard. If you get a lower (complete or stripped) then it is easy to build what you want without the high expense of buying a complete rifle you do not want.

Various Thoughts:
Do you want to build a rifle for the fun and learning experience or do you just want to get a gun and be done with it? I wanted to build my rifle to have that experience and am glad I did it. Other people might not be interested in doing that for it's own sake and should probably just buy a rifle. Down the road if / when in the market for another carbine I will probably just do like Max Velocity and buy a Colt 6920 LE. As to other AR configurations I will run the numbers to see which makes the most economic sense.

In Closing:
Depending on your wants, needs and budget there are times when building a rifle makes the most sense. If you choose to build be sure to keep an eye on part quality while simultaneously staying within your budget.

Thoughts?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Do I Need an Assault Rifle?

Do I Need an Assault Rifle? is an interesting thread I stumbled into on Survivalist Boards. The question asked was:
Hello I'm new to the forum and would like some input. as of now this is my arms list; Mosin Nagant
Mosberg 500 with scoped rifled barrel and 20 in smooth bore
Nylon 66, 22lr autoloader
RIA 1911 45acp
taurs ultralight .38 stubnose
22lr/mag single action revolver
My question is would it be best to save for an "assaault" rifle or put that 500-1000 bucks towards other preparations. I live in a very rural area, nearest town is 8 miles away with a population of less then 2000?

The comments to the post ranged from, and I am being slightly satirical here, "You don't need an Assault Rifle the Mosin Nagant is the best rifle ever" to "You must have an AK/ AR/ PTR-91 or you will die tomorrow." In between those two extremes a range of reasonable points were made.

Note the term "assault rifle" is used where 'magazine fed military pattern rifle such as an AK or AR' might have been more accurate. 

My thoughts:

I really wish this guy gave more information about his overall level of preps, general income and the specific type(s) of situations that primarily concern him. That really would have let me make a much more informed answer and frame this discussion better. From some comments and the general trend of the discussion it seems this guy has made some good effort towards the initial stages of preparedness. Moving further on.

I do not think "Do I need an assault rifle" is the right question to ask. The questions I would as are
1) Based on my overall level of preparedness (which I would explain in broad strokes) should I purchase a military pattern rifle now or should I purchase X, Y, Z instead and get a rifle in 6 months or a year?

2) Based on X scenario is a military pattern rifle a prudent purchase?

Beyond this individuals scenario to the broad question. Two mutually opposing and equally valid points govern my thinking here. First for the vast majority of  realistic civilian defensive situations as well as gathering protein sources you do not need a military pattern rifle. I do genuinely believe a modern, relatively compact military pattern rifle is the absolute best CQB and defensive option available today. However situations where a guy packing an AR makes it when he would not have using some sort of a riot shotgun are few and far between.

In a wide variety of realistic situations, even pretty ugly ones I would feel fine being armed with a MILSURP or sporting bolt gun and or a good ole 30-30, a pump shotgun, a .22 rifle and a handgun or two. I was smack in the middle of the LA Riots, Katrina or Rita [ are arguably the ugliest situations to occur in the US since Japan invaded the Aleutians and bombed Hawaii in WW2] with those guns I would feel reasonably, if not optimally, well armed.

That being said......

The standard for modern personal combat weapons is a modern military pattern self loading rifle. This is for a really valid reason. Simply put the capacity of these weapons to put rapid accurate fire onto targets and sustain that fire through a fight is not paralleled by shotguns or bolt/ lever rifles.

Take any realistic or semi realistic defensive scenario (El Presidente, 2 rounds per target x 3 targets, whatever) and an AR/ AK/ Mini 14/ etc will smoke a Mosin, 30-30 or lever gun stone cold. If you want to point out the best bolt gun shooter or whatever there is some guy in the AMU who would crush him.

The way I look at it if fighting a person (or more) armed with modern rifles I face a serious disadvantage being armed with anything less. If I am fighting people less well armed (likely) then I have an advantage which is excellent. Basically you don't NEED a fighting rifle unless you do at which point you really need it. People worried about particularly ugly situations would be very well advised to have a modern fighting rifle in their collection in case it is needed.

To the question of timing.

I think a persons preparations should generally move forward in a balanced manner. Put energy into different areas a bit at a time proportionately. Off the top of my head it might look something like this:

1 week/ black out/ storm- Food and water, some emergency lighting plans, a radio, some spare batteries, a basic kit for your vehicle. Weapons- whatever you have with a few boxes of ammo. If you had no guns I'd say a pistol that works for carry and house use plus a pump shotgun would work fine.

2 week bad storm/ black out- Same as the first but more consumables.

6 week regional disaster- Food for 6 weeks for everyone in your family with some overage for guests or helping others, water and the ability to purify and store more water. Hygiene stuff, clothes, batteries, maybe some local Motorola type radios. A real plan to mitigate the local climate ie cold in the north and hot in the south. Weapons- A pistol and a shotgun would get you by but I would want more like 300 rounds per weapon. I would feel a whole lot better if I had a rifle with about 300 rounds and a .22 with 1k of ammo. At this point consider some ammo for helping friends and neighbors. Lots of folks have a pistol, shotgun or hunting rifle but only a partial box or maybe two of ammo. At this point I would stock up on calibers I am vested in that I know or reasonably expect neighbors have.

This is where regional preferences and local considerations matter. .22lr and 12 gauge are common everywhere.  30-30 is common especially in the dense eastern and southern woods, distance guns like .300 win mag are common in the wide open west and .44 mag is common in bear country.

3 months- At this point things are going really bad. A regional disaster is totally hosed or there is a wider scale one. Obviously you need more consumables and in this time frame stuff is going to start to wear out. Repair parts, a serious plan for cooking food over the long term, etc all need to come into play here. As to weapons and ammo I'd say this is the first point where I'd really be adamant about a military pattern rifle, a dozen mags, a war belt or chest rig, a couple cases of ammo and some spare parts are really necessary.

 [Note: I am working under the assumption people are choosing a rifle that is reasonable for their situation which they can afford to purchase ancillary parts such as mags and ammo for. A family man who makes 35k a year cannot afford a SCAR-H with a Night Force scope, a silencer and an IR laser. If that guy can somehow swing it that rifle will be a curse not a blessing as he is almost surely shorting his family and preps. He needs to be realistic and get a good middle of the road AK like a Yugo PAP or basic but not junk AR like an S&W M&P, Bushmaster or DPMS. Working forward I will presume people apply common sense and select a gun that fits their economic and life situation.]

I would also want a rifle that could 'reach out and touch someone.'

Honestly I do not see this as a really logical milestone because IMO if things aren't fixed in the broad 6 week range we'll get to the point where Humpty Dumpty cannot be put back together again. I include it as a mile marker on consumables more than anything.

6 months- Same

12 months- You get the idea.

So unless I already owned one or had a big desire to buy one earlier based on this off the cuff methodology about the time I was working to progress from 6 weeks of preparedness to 3 months I would look towards purchasing a modern  military pattern rifle.

Well those are my thought on that. What do you think?





Monday, July 7, 2014

The Riddle of Steel and Home Brewed AR-15 Lesson

Commander Zero as well as Conan can be credited with the Riddle of Steel becoming part of my vocabulary.

I was at a shooting range yesterday. Was going about my business there when a guy pulled up and went to a bench near me. He had an AR-15 of the M4 variety with a pretty big scope on it. I didn't think much of the whole thing. He set out a target at 50m when it was cold then shot a little. His AR jammed in short order and I sat there watching him become increasingly frustrated trying to clear it.

I normally do not do this. I find giving folks unsolicited gun advice is almost as jack assish as giving unsolicited critiques of someones exercise routine. Aside from general shooter talk I leave folks alone to their business. However this guy was clearly stuck. There was no way he could solve that problem. Also since I've been shooting AR's for over a decade I figured the odds I could fix the problem were pretty high. Anyway I felt bad enough for the guy that I wanted to help him.

After waiting a couple of minutes, to the point where he had taken a break from even fiddling with it, I walked up to him.

"Sir, would you like some help?" I said. He was probably 40 so certainly not old enough to justify the formality age offers but I figure men, who all think we are gods gift to weapons as well as general athleticism, who are having trouble with a gun will respond well to a respectful tone.

I do not remember what he said but it was an enthusiastic yes.So I took a closer look at the rifle.

It was  a bolt override, in this case there was an expended round above the bolt and another in the chamber. I 'pogo sticked' it which got the bolt back far enough to get the first round out. At this point another guy came over to join the discussion. I used a screwdriver to pry the brass casing from above
the bolt.

 The guy was pretty frusterated about the whole thing. Turns out it was a new gun and he fired 2 rounds before it jammed. Not a good sign. I had noticed the gun was bone dry. The other dude had some gun oil and offered it up. I uncharacteristically did not have oil since it was just a quick trip. I explained to the guy that AR's run optimally with far more lubrication than other rifles.

After lubrication I stuck a magazine in it and went to test fire. It shot 2 rounds then failed to feed. Took the mag out, it was some cheap aftermarket BS. So maybe it was the mag. Looked at his pile of mags, there were a couple more of the junk ones and a decent metal mag of some sort. Metal mag did the same thing. Not the mag. Not good.

At this point Other Guy brought over his AR. I hadn't brought one. After some process of elimination we figured out it was the buffer spring. He had a commercial tube and what appeared to be a mil spec, probably heavier tension, spring. Other Guy put his standard commercial spring in and the gun worked just fine.

I told him to hop onto midway and order a standard buffer spring.

It turns out this guy's rifle was home built, I strongly suspect by someone he knew personally. Needless to say he was not happy and was bringing it back to that person to fix the problem.

I felt for the guy. He surely paid a decent amount of money for an AR with a quad rail and  Burris scope with a back up fast fire red dot site. Aside from the scope having way too much magnification for a 14.5in barrel (it was a 3x9 or maybe even a 4x12) it was set way too far back so you couldn't get a decent site picture. I recommended he move it up.

What are the morals of this story.

1) Unless you know what you are doing and have a specific reason to deviate from the military or factory specifications for a working part of a firearm it is best to stick to the standard option.

2) You can spend a lot of money on a gun and still not have a damn clue what you are doing. Get training from guys like Max Velocity, John Mosby or other experienced combat based trainers to fix your deficiencies. Remember that the root word of gunfight is not gun but fight.

3) Get out and make sure your stuff actually works when the worst consequence is an annoying range day.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

RE: "You Win, Andy, I Registered my AR"

Captains Journal brought this to my attention. A radio personality named Bob Lonsberry who is a syndicated to be honest I've never heard of ultimately decided to register his AR-15 in the closing days of the NY "SAFE Act" registration period. He wrote a blog post about it. The main themes were upholding the constitution which he believes this law clearly violates and his belief that a citizen should obey all laws and work to change or remove the bad ones. He also mentioned a fear that since he is a fairly public person who has mentioned owning an AR-15 on multiple occasions over the years and is not well liked by some in local politics/ law enforcement the odds he would get SWAT'd a day after the registration period closes then prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law are high (my words not his) . Mr Lonsberry he did go over some of the obvious available options to sell, move or alter his rifle. None of them were particularly appealing so he ended up just registering said rifle.

Now to my thoughts:

I feel for gun owners in these situations and am hesitant to criticize the personal decisions they make in regards to complying with various blatantly unconstitutional laws including the 'SAFE Act'.

The two options that were not covered are moving and hiding your newly banned guns, in the attic or a cache or whatever. Moving is a pretty hard sell for this one. Honestly the writing has been on the wall about New York for a long time. I'm not saying there aren't pro freedom folks there; just that legal adults willing to move to achieve more freedom probably did so awhile back.

As to just hiding the gun(s). That option has validity in some situations. If a guy bought an AK/ AR decades ago that he has little desire to shoot regularly and few people, none of whom are problematic, know he owns it's simple. Take the gun out of a safe, grease it up and put it into a cache along with some mags and ammo. You can't get at it daily or take it to the public range but you would have the rifle in case of some sort of SHTF type need. On the other hand for a person who is known to own said gun(s), especially if he is not in favor with local law enforcement that is probably not the best plan. These laws are ignored for well known liberals, vigorously enforced on well known conservatives and more or less universally if lethargically enforced on the common man. Also if you rely on a gun as part of your current (vs magical SHTF time) defensive setup having it greased up in a PVC pipe 3 feet under the ground in the woods 400m from your house is not a good plan.

An option for an individual who might have multiples of the same type of gun (specific such as 2x AK/AR or general such as an AR and a Mini 14) might be to register one and stash another. If some of the purchases were discrete private party transactions that would make this option a lot easier. This way there is a legal weapon in your home that can be used to train, enjoy and defend yourself and another stashed in case your state gets grabby. Something to think about anyway.

As to one thing Mr Lonsbury said I have to disagree.
"The fear is that registration leads to confiscation. We shouldn’t fear the consequences of that, Andy, you should. Because when you come for the guns it won’t be the Capitol in the dark of the night, it will be Lexington green in the full light of day. We won’t think of Abraham Lincoln, we’ll think of Charlton Heston.



So we’re clear, Andy, the next step is cold, dead hands."

That sounds really nice. Also I genuinely hope this terrible law is repealed in it's entirety. Hoping for New York to swing back to the conservative side is probably unrealistic, akin to hoping for Kentucky or Texas to go blue. 

It is not an absolute that registration always leads to confiscation. Then again I am not aware of any exceptions. It would probably be reasonable to say that most widespread registration schemes have led to at least some firearms being sold/ transferred/ confiscated/ destroyed.

In New York the question of what could happen is pretty clear. We can look at what happened to our friend Commander Zero, a New York native, way back in the 90's. They sent him a piece of paper and since he'd moved to Montana he scrawled Molon Labe on it then sent it back. Ya know what they did, sent cops to his old address in NY. The bottom line is that it's not going to be a field full of militiamen (unless you know a bunch of them willing to violently resist confiscation, unlikely in NY) awaiting the British; it is going to be a couple of cops showing up at your door. Instead of people you probably don't know and have never trained with at your side it will be the while the Mrs and your kids are sitting in the living room in the line of fire.

I have my own personal beliefs about gun confiscation in America. This is one of those places where states are seeing and I believe will continue to see increasingly divergent out comes. As a matter of fact New York has actually sent armed men to normal peoples homes to forcibly take their private property (in the form of newly verboten weapons). I think California has done the same thing. This is something I cannot see happening in Oregon, Idaho, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, etc all. In many of these places I am unsure how much government and law enforcement would participate. I suspect such confiscation would be widely ignored in these sorts of places and in some cases maybe actively opposed.

Unlike some who talk a big game on the internet then do whatever the cops say if something actually happens I have never really been in this situation so I'm not a hundred percent on what I would do. Also if I did know and had plans to potentially violate a law it would be foolish to say so. One could look at my posts on private party firearms though the form 4473 isn't that huge of an issue really and caches, such as an operational cache and draw their own conclusions. The choice on what to do in a situation like this certainly has a lot of factors. At the end of the day it comes down to a choice everyone has to make for themselves.

Thoughts?

Edited to include: On the topic of gun confiscation in the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia. I am not entirely sure of the status as to whether that has really happened. Sort of hinted at that with the 'I think' in the first post but as Aesop noted for the sake of intellectual honesty that is sort of a question mark. As to a full on ' you are on the list' a la NYC thing baring compelling evidence from a legitimate source I've got to say I cannot confirm that sort of thing happened. That being said I have heard enough whisperings here or there to say there could be some truth to the matter. The shades of grey as to how much confiscation has been clouded in 'mental instability' or 'anonymous tips' or whatever I cannot say; there could be enough wiggle room there to pick the answer that fits your mood and purpose. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Deals at PSA

If you know anyone that needs a trunk gun...

PSA is selling their bargain basement PTAC (read:  el-cheapo kind of junky) uppers for $189.  

They are selling a PTAC kit with optic, everything sans lower, for $449.

I would prefer a higher quality AR but for a trunk gun or someone on a serious budget I'd prefer a PTAC AR-15 to an SKS.

Chris

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

AK and AR Initial Entry Prices

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=F1CAKO-PAP

I know you were an AK guy for awhile...  Aim has M70s for $529.

Of note, Palmetto State Armory has been running some deals that would let you assemble a sub-$500 AR.  Looks like the AK price advantage has finally been crushed.

Cheers,
Chris
 
Ryan here: We talked about the AK vs AR price situation awhile back. Prices have changed slightly upwards since then but the point is still valid. Since it's almost a wash just buy what you like.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Reader Questions: Getting into the AR-15 Game

Hey I am in the market for a rifle chambered in 556 preferrably semi-auto. I have been rocking the an AK variant for several years but would like to increase my range performance and enter a new tier of weapon performance. Ive been scouring armslist in Washington and there seems to be quite a bit of options out there. Would you recommend purchasing new or looking for quality used? Any info or tips will help! I am new to the AR game.
-G

Ryan here. As I see it we can break this down to 2 different questions.
1) Buying new vs used.
2) My thoughts on different types of AR-15's currently on the market. This will be broken down further to general configuration and make/ manufacturer. I will answer them in order.

New Guns- There are pro's and con's to buying guns new. The biggest advantage is that you can get exactly what you want. That is followed by the gun being new with which means there are fewer potential issues and manufacturer support for ones that do pop up. Lastly if you are a person who cares about getting a gun without any scratches, dings, wear marks, etc this is the best option.

The con's of buying new are the ATF form 4473 which some have called defacto registration through record keeping happens. Depending on where you stand with private party firearms that may not be an issue or could be a deal maker. Also you are going to pay retail price and tax.

Used Guns- Of course there are pro's and con's here also. For the sake of simplicity I am going to talk about used gun sales from private party's not via a shop. The biggest pro in my opinion is the lack of paperwork. A private party gun or two might be real handy some day. The second is that is the best place to find deals. This works best for the seller's also. Instead of selling a gun to a shop for $300 which they will immediately put on the shelf for $400 we can split the difference at $340 and both win. 

It is worth noting here that most gun owners do not shoot much so their weapons have very low round counts. They get a gun, test fire it with a couple mags then put it into the closet/ safe. It stays there till they decide on something else or run into money trouble. So you're more likely to face a few scratches and nicks from handling than actual wear on the parts that matter.

The biggest downside of used guns is the difficulty to find what you want. Instead of a local shop having it or ordering it you need to find an individual who owns one that wants to sell it. If you are looking for a Glock 17 or a Remington 870 that's not a big deal but if you want a Wizzbanger 900 X2L3 in Multicam or a limited edition 2 tone Sig .357 with night sights and short run factory grips it can be a big problem. 

The next biggest downside is guns hold their value really well. Part of it is that some folks pay a premium for non papered guns which drives up the marker. I definitely saw this phenomena in Arizona. In any case expect to pay more like 85-95% of the new price for a like new gun while other items tend to be in the 60-75% range. Of course guns do occasionally pop up cheaper when somebody needs cash fast but those cannot be defended on. 

The last downside is that the gun could have issues or be stolen/ linked to a crime. Some people cobble together and clean messed up guns then sell them used to unload the problem onto another person. [Don't be that guy, there is a special place in hell for these scumbags.] Also some guns were stolen previously or whatever. Even if you buy from a good person the guy who had that gun 10 years ago may have made a shady deal or whatever. A guy I know had a pistol taken by the cops because it was stolen a long time ago. Both of these happen rarely but they do happen.

To roll up this question. If you are not patient or want a really specific gun new is probably the way to go. On the other hand if a paperless gun matters to you that is the way to go. Occasionally a person who has cash handy can get some real deals in used guns.

As to different configurations as well as makes/ models of AR-15's. For a general use type rifle I favor a 14.5inch barrel of standard weight on a flat top AR with an adjustable butt stock. I favor chrome lined barrels and everything as mil spec as possible. As to rails I'd only bother with them if you plan to mount enough stuff to justify it. [Honestly in substantive ways I don't see myself varying from this much unless I build a pistol. You could go with a 20" barrel and a fixed stock to make it a SDM type gun but honestly for that role I'd probably get a .308.] 


To manufacturers. I'll break this down in 2 ways. We will talk guns by approximate price range and then I'll talk what of this is based on personal experiences and what is a general consensus of others. Please note that my discussion of manufacturers is not all encompassing. Part of the limitation is that I'm trying to stick as much as possible to stuff I know and part is due to time/ length limitations. Not saying those manufacturers are good or bad but there is only so much time in the day. Please don't get all butt hurt if I do not mention your favorite brand; let's stick to the big picture here.

First we will talk about what I would consider on the more expensive side. Probably closer to "a good job and some spare cash" than "assistant night manager with a young family barely getting by" territory. In this range you get professional grade guns. I hesitate to say an exact price but we are probably talking $1,100ish on the bottom end up to around 2k. The difference will be brand as well as specific features/ variants, obviously a gun with a $250 rail will cost more than an otherwise identical one with $40 hand guards.

Manufacturers in this price range include Colt, Knight Armament, Daniels Defense, LMT and Bravo Company. I have personal experience with Colt's at work and own a Bravo Company rifle that I love. John Mosby is running an LMT. Knight stuff I have anecdotal experiences with at work. DD is just a great company.

These are just great guns that can be used really hard. One can reasonably expect a genuine go to war gun right out of the box. The downside is that nothing is free. To some degree a customer is paying for better design, materials and workmanship which is worthwhile. Also to some degree they are paying for a name as well as the cool guy's they pay for endorsements. If you can afford the tab one of these rifles will suit you well. On the other hand if this sort of rifle is our of your reach do not despair as there are other options.

The second category of rifles I am going to talk about are closer to the "assistant night manager with a young family barely getting by" territory. This isn't ARF so I won't bash folks who can not or simply will not spend a mortgage payment or two on a rifle. The manufacturers in this category include Bushmaster, Olympic Arms, DPMS which I have varying degrees of personal experience with. Depending on exactly where the lines are drawn basic models from Stag Arms and in Smith and Wesson M&P series could fall in here also. While exact prices are fuzzy I'd say $600-900ish is about the right range.

As a general rule these are fine rifles, perfectly suitable for all needs average or even not so average Joe has. Fit and finish are less than the fancy brands but that is OK. To be blunt these companies do produce more lemon's than the professional grade manufacturers. However for every lemon there are a bunch of guns that work just fine. On this one the upside and downside are pretty obvious. You get a gun that is affordable but may potentially have some issues.

Personally I think we should consider option #3 which is to order the parts you want (complete upper, BCG, etc all) and put it onto a lower receiver purchased via private party. This way you circumvent the difficulty of finding specific stuff via private party basically get whatever rifle you want without the 4473 hassle. If this option doesn't appeal to you....

I recommend that you buy a gently used professional grade AR-15 from a private party. 

As always reader input to this discussion is welcome.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

RE: Why The AK-47?

12:13 said "Don't understand you. If you got trained with the AR and your abilities are in that gun. Why then chose something that you can pick up after exercising all the muscle memory whit the AR? I believe you said before that the AR is more precise and of course got longer range.
Are you contradicting yourself, like when you dump the 30-06 and chose the 30-30?"

Ryan here.  This comment on yesterday's post seemed worth discussing here in a broader venue. Also it will take enough time/ energy that depending on how the rest of the day's packing and cleaning goes it might just be the post. So here we go.

Maybe there is some confusion. I own both guns. We could debate the need or utility of that but it's where I am. This isn't a purchase and a lifestyle choice; it's choosing a sweatshirt from the closet instead of a fleece.

The primary reason I  chose an AK for this trip are it's compact nature due to the folding stock. It can go in a normal duffel bag ready to go. Granted an AR can be broken down and get a bit smaller but then it has to be reassembled to fire. That I could discretely slip it into a bag to take into a hotel is an appealing idea. The second reason is that it is a weapon I am far more willing to risk being stolen/ whatever than an AR. AK's have come up in price considerably over the last few years but I don't have much cash into this gun.

I am better with an AR but still sufficiently capable with an AK. Like the quote from Lord of War "It's so easy a child can use it, and they do."

 For the reasons listed above I chose an AK for this trip. The AR is better at distance. I do not think anyone would argue that point. My AK is a roughly 3 MOA gun. Not precision accuracy by any measure but shooting faces at 100 meters and chests well past 200 is sufficient for my needs. For this particular trip my need for a compact package is higher than my need for accuracy at 300 plus meters.

As to the 30'06 and 30-30. That is a much longer discussion. To sum it up. I owned rifles in both calibers then ended up selling both rifles in 30'06 for different reasons. Ultimately my plan is to shift our "precision" caliber to .308. Probably with a bolt gun next year some time. While the '06's left and have yet to be replaced with a .308 the 30-30 stayed around. Why the 30-30 is in the collection is something I'm not fully able to express. The cowboy assault rifle is unlikely to be targeted by any sort of ban and ammunition is widely available, that it is a non "evil black rifle" caliber is an advantage there.

Guess I'm not entirely sure how I am contradicting myself. Is it that I've talked about X being nice yet own Y? While I have fewer guns than the average Montana Sportsmen (26) the collection is pretty decent. Everything has advantages and disadvantages. Since I got into the writing fairly early my opinions have changed over time. Also invariably if you write about different gun type stuff often enough, for long enough, one thing will not match with some other thing.

So I hope that explains my thinking.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Many Good Options

I've been thinking about different guns lately. Specifically AR's and AK's but we could extend that same line of thought to HK-91's, FN-FAL's, M1A's, the newer Mini 14's as well as Glocks, M&P's, Sigs etc all. Cost differences vary and various factors including logistical support should be considered. Also we need to look at current prices not historical ones, case in point AK and AR prices are a lot closer now then a few years ago.

They all have different good and bad points. Some have more parts availability than others. Sometimes you pay hundreds of dollars for a name. Some have superior ergonomics. Some are in more common calibers than others. Some are more modular than others. All of these matter to varying degrees for different people.

Back to the AR and AK for a minute. I think both of their cliche weaknesses, accuracy on the AK and reliability on the AR, have been greatly overstated. That is my fairly informed opinion from shooting a few AK's and a ton of AR's.

In terms of accuracy the AK's I have shot are 4 MOA guns. Not amazing but lets put that in perspective. That is the important part of a head at 100 meters and solid chest shots well past 200m. At about 300 it starts to slip from minute of man to minute of SUV but for most situations that is not a huge deal. Also the cartridge drops pretty fast around there anyway.

As to reliability the issues with the AR platform come from two places. First there was 'Nam when the myth that these rifles did not need to be cleaned was perpetuated for awhile. Second was the Battle of Wannat. During that battle those soldiers essentially used their selective fire M4's as suppressive fire weapons at close to cyclic rates for prolonged periods of time. I am not faulting them for that choice, they did what they had to do. The thing is these rifles are simply not made for that. To put it into perspective if you go cyclic mag after mag in any burst or automatic weapon it will fail at some point. The M4 is pretty reliable

The reliability requirement for the M4 is 600 Mean Rounds Between Stoppage (MRBS). The demonstrated current reliability is over 3600 MRBS as a result of our continuous improvement program.

If you keep an AR lubed they will shoot almost indefinitely.  I put lube on them to just short of the point where it will drip off. There just isn't a downside to it. Keep them lubed and occasionally give them a quick cleaning and you are good to go.

Moving forward.

I am more concerned about what people can do with the guns they have than with their choice to carry an AK and a Glock 9mm or an AR and an M&P or a PTR-91 and a .45. If everybody spent a bit more time training and a bit less on the internet arguing about guns they would be a lot more capable.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Gun Related Tab Clearing

Rotating your carry ammo. This is why I carry a (though less so today) nice affordable federal load vs 2-3 dollar a shot magical titanium diamond crusted ammo. Every few months I shoot the ammo in my mags and reload it. Would be a lot less inclined to do that with super gold plated stuff.

How reliable are US Small Arms?

Patrice from Rural Revolution talks getting a Utah CCW Permit. It always takes guts to share our failures in public. Thankfully the lesson only cost our friend a bit of embarrassment. Solid reminder to TRAIN AS YOU FIGHT! This way you can figure out problems on the square range.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Project AR Completion: AR-15 Rail Questions

So I'm looking for a free floating drop in rail to finally finish Project AR. Looking for a free floating drop in rail for a mid length AR with the existing standard front sight post. Do not like or need a full quad rail, in fact I prefer the ones with a full top rail where you can bolt (or otherwise attach) small sections of rail to fit needed accessories.

The first and most obvious answer is the Troy Delta Rail. Another option that came to my attention recently was the Samson Evolution, though installation while not a full on gunsmith task will be more problematic than the Troy. After watching the installation video for the Samson I am leaning hard towards the Troy.

If there are any other options that meet my rather complicated criteria (mid length, free floating, compatible with existing front sight post/ gas block, not a huge quad rail) please enlighten me. Also if you have first hand experience with either of the two models mentioned please share it with me.

Edited to include: Little problem. The Troy rail that would be prefect, though listed in their catalog and having a 'buy now' button, actually do not exist yet. They are currently being engineered.

-Ryan

Monday, June 10, 2013

Crazy Days- Walther .380's, Benchmade Auto Knives, Shotgun Ammo and Trading

So I owned a Walther .380 for about a week. You might have guessed at that earlier. I had given up on finding the gun I was looking for and the classic small carry auto seemed like a good alternative. One came up and I snagged it. The .380 was a great gun. It was easy to carry and shot like a dream, certainly the most accurate gun of it's small thin size I have shot. Anyway the day after getting it a trade popped up out of nowhere for a slightly wider but otherwise similar sized gun that suited my logistical trail much better. The .380 was screwing up my logistics, had just became redundant and needed to go. Also I sort of spent money on it I probably shouldn't have (not like spending the rent, more like project AR money). Started floating it out there then ended up swapping the .380 off today.

In trade I got $200 cash, a Benchmade 5000 Auto Presidio with the black  partial serrated blade (like a used car with 500 miles it had a a few small scruffs/ scratches but otherwise like new), 100 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot, 100 12 gauge slugs, a Magpul CTR stock and 20 5.56 tracers. We also swapped my remaining .380 ammo for 35 rounds of 00B and 200 rounds of #7 shot.

The cash will let me pick up the rail I need to finally complete project AR. The knife is something I have wanted for a long time but have never been willing to pay for. Honestly I just haven't been able to justify it despite trying to do so and really wanting one. Nothing wrong with a Kershaw Blur or a Benchmade Griptillian. No real NEED to spend more on a knife than that which is why I didn't. Anyway a good deal popped up so I took it. Really it is what sealed the deal on this trade. As to shotgun ammo I was semi in the market for it, half because we can use more and half because it's the ammo that is currently available at prices that are reasonable for stocking up. The stock I didn't need, it might end up on my rifle but worst case a nice back up stock isn't a bad thing.

So anyway I spent a good chunk of the day figuring out the deal then after work went and made it happen. Between a cool new knife, a few bucks in my pocket and some more ammo I am pretty happy with the deal. Also the renewed simplicity of my logistical trail is nice.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Close Quarters Carbines, Square Ranges, CQB, Weapons Manipulation and Tactics

Max Velocity wrote an interesting post called The Great Tactical Training Con. I agree with him in some regards but disagree in others. This stumbles into something I have been thinking about for awhile.

Over the past few years or maybe the last decade the role of the rifle in close quarters fighting has changed.  What used to be considered almost solely shotgun territory has become dominated by AR's, AK's, etc all. These rifles hold 30 rounds and reload themselves which is pretty handy. Not taking anything away from shotguns but their primary benefits are low cost, legality in non permissive environments and versatility, not capacity or reloading. At the same time these rifles have come into prominence CQB (close quarters battle) has become the buzz word and all the rage. Though really SRM (short range marksmanship) is probably more accurate. There are all sorts of courses, classes, video's and such to teach you to be a super cool Sammy Seal type guy.

We need to realize that firearms training is a business. As a business the firearms training industry wants to sell people on paying money to take classes. They want to be able to offer classes in as many places as possible, with the lowest overhead possible, to as many customers as possible. Many of them are genuinely good people who want to train people to use weapons to defend their selves but they also like making money.

The average American range is probably a hundred meters wide and a couple hundred long. They have a safe backstop but limited capacity for movement and very little capacity for shooting in different directions. These ranges can support shooting from 0 to whatever meters strait downrange. People can move a bit left or right as long as they still shoot downrange. They can move forward and back also but still shooting must be in the same downrange direction.

Shooting in multiple directions while moving or static is significantly more complicated. Instead of needing a relatively safe backstop in one direction for a fairly narrow arc you need a lot of space. I'm talking roughly 2+ kilometers in any direction you will shoot in to support shooting rifles. Of course a backstop like a rock quarry or a cliff cuts that down a but but we are still talking a lot of space. Due to the lack of spaces that can readily support this type of training it is a lot easier to gravitate to what we call the square ranges. Folks do this because there are many more ranges that can be used for training that way.

CQB as the cool kids call it is simply using rifles to engage targets at close range, we'll say under 50 meters to keep things simple. Lots of ready up drills, turn and shoot, etc. Reloads are of course mixed into all of this. There is movement but it is usually limited to a few steps in whatever direction. This is good stuff. If you use a rifle for home defense you have to know this stuff (if you use a shotgun do the same thing with it).

A person who is not trained in this stuff can make huge strides in a day of instruction. Part of the business side of the firearms industry is that trainers can leave people feeling good about what they learned wanting to take another class. They can offer Cool Guy CQB Sammy Seal Classes 1-6 or whatever.

CQB is important. I have heard it described, I think by American Mercenary, as a survival skill set. That is true I think in that it's how civilians are going to realistically fight with a rifle. Joe the Engineer who lives in the Burbs or Frank the Farmer are not going to get into 300 meter gunfights. They are going to hear something that shouldn't be in the garage, grab their gun then check it out. People start moving and a 7 meter fight becomes a 50 meter fight but we are still within CQB ranges.

Like anything it is too easy to get overly focused in on one thing. The Tactical Tommy types can practice regularly andgo to 20 classes yet never shoot past 50 meters with a rifle capable of 400 meter accuracy. On the other end of the spectrum there are some high power types and sniper wanna be's who are hyper focused on long distance shooting.Which one of them is right? Neither of them are right. They are wrong on the opposite ends. The CQB Ninja needs to learn how to reach out and touch someone. Mr. High Power needs to learn to rapidly engage targets at close range.

There have been some interesting discussions by Mountain Guerilla and American Mercenary about how much of each skill set you need. In general I am a fan of balance. Instead of being great at either end of the spectrum focus on being competent engaging targets at close range quickly all the way out to putting accurate hate on folks a few football fields away. However if I had to get pegged into a more specific answer I would lean towards CQB for civilians whose rifle concept of use is defensive. The reason is that they are far more likely to fight up close than far away. Yes if you stand in the middle of the road in front of the house you can probably see pretty far, however the odds of you being there with somebody on the other end 400 meters away shooting at you are low. On the other hand getting in a gunfight with somebody in your house or trying to jack your car is considerably higher.

I agree with Max that most 'tactical training' is a bit square range  focused. However I look at it differently. This training is weapons manipulation. Teaching folks to engage targets, reload and clear malfunctions, etc. While some folks sell it as such this is not IMO tactics. It could be argued this is teaching you how to fight as a civilian in a close quarters situation to which I would agree. However if you want to remove some qualifiers, maybe add some friends and such you get into what I consider tactical training. How to move and engage targets, alone or as part of a team.

The two things are sort of different. Think of weapons manipulations as punching and tactics as boxing. Both are important. Weapons manipulations are essential but they sort of happen in a vacuum.  Tactics and small unit training like the stuff Mountain Guerilla and Max Velocity teach to be able to put use your weapons manipulation skills into the realistic environment of the two way range.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that.

5 Guns

It's well past midnight but I'm still rocking gun porn Friday. The 5 gun topic came up and I feel like chiming in. To make things a bit interesting I will do our family (Wifey and I, kids aren't near age yet) setup then what a hypothetical bachelor setup would be.

Family. Sort of like we talked about before Glock 19, AR, .22, Wifey's .38 and a Remington 870 12 gauge. With that setup I/we can hunt pretty much anything in North America (.223 can kill deer sized game an 12 gauge slugs will kill anything albeit at limited ranges), and defend ourselves.

In a hypothetical batchelor scenario Wifey's .38 would be swapped out for a Glock 26. The rest of the setup G19, .22, Rem 870 and AR would stay the same.

That's my .02 on that.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Firearmagedon and Garden Update

Today I had some idle time around mid day. Decided to go out to all the local gun shops kind of inventory/ price checking. Here is what I found

Gun availability- A wide variety of guns were readily available. All sorts of AR's plus other military pattern rifles. Of course lots of hunting/ 'precision' rifles, shotguns and .22's. Pistols were available though you might not be able to get a specific model. Part of that I think is just that a lot more variance is in the pistol market. [EX I wouldn't notice the lack of a 16" mid length BCM rifle when they had a half dozen various AR's on the wall. I would be far more likely to notice a Glock 19 not being there.] You could probably get something pretty comparable though. Lots of XD's and M&P's present. Glocks were sort of hit and miss.

One guy was definitely trying to get some pre panic prices (they may be consignment at which point he doesn't determine the price) on a few military pattern rifles but I've been seeing the same guns there for awhile so there do not seem to be any takers. However broadly speaking prices were OK. They are probably around 125% of normal or so.

Mags- Lots of AR mags. Prices for PMAG's, Lancers, etc were about $21ish. TAPCO AK mags from $15-20ish. Glock mags were semi available with prices around $30. That's not too bad since they were $26-27 retail in a local shop before this. Bunches of XD mags available. Didn't see ANY .Ruger 10/22 mags and only a few off brand AR .22 conversion mags. The shop that had the silly rifle mag prices had some silly prices for AK (unambiguous used steel @ $30) and M1A mags (unambiguous metal @ $50) . Hell I guess you can't fault a guy for being optimistic.

Ammo- Prices are generally coming down but availability is spotty. Saw .223 at a couple places. It seems to be running .60c a rd or so for brass cased range meat. .308 everywhere but it's running a buck to a buck and a quarter for brass cased range meat. No 9mm/ .40/ .45 ball to be found. The stuff is coming in a trickle then going out just as fast.

Full availability of shotgun ammo. Target loads, small game hunting, turkey and buck/ slug are all available. That in and of itself might be a reason to own a 12 gauge shotgun.

.22 ammo. Availability was limited at best. The shop that had the optimistic rifle and mag prices had a few inflation adjusted 325 round bricks of Federal Auto Match for $40. That price was probably optimistic guess somebody might need .22 ammo who will pay that. (In the last month and a half or so I've purchased 3 of them, 1 at $21 and 2 at $17.)

At other places I saw a few various 50-100 round boxes of .22lr. Some Winchester and some CCI. 

Well that's the firearmagedon update. In general things are getting better which is good. Unfortunately ammo is lagging behind. Hopefully that will get better in the coming weeks.

As to the garden. The strawberry plants did not die but they were definitely not going to bear fruit. They went into the trash today. The tomatoes are going well. Except a bird ate the two almost perfectly ripe tomatoes I was waiting to pluck from the vine and put into a meal. That filled me with more rage than was probably reasonable. Talked to some folks about it. Apparently you need nets to protect the maters from birds here. I'll do that tomorrow. The taters and beans seem to be doing just fine. The cherry tomatoes are good. The peppers just haven't done anything, not dead but haven't grown or anything. I'm kinda thinking they might have been in too small of pots. Stuck em in the larger ones the strawberries were in so maybe that will help. Well that's the garden update. Some good, some less good, lots of time outside and learning.

Anyway I hope you all have a good Saturday.

How is the firearm/ mag/ ammo situation in your area?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guns Aren't Going Away

Every now and then some gun grabber or gun grabber group starts talking about how all the guns are just magically going away. Typically the mechanism is some sort of confiscation. I find that unlikely on a wide scale but it doesn't matter. We could also certainly debate what that world would look like, personally I think it would be a very bad place, however that is not the point.

There are so many reasons any sort of gun confiscations scheme wouldn't work. You can purchase a piece of metal and with basic tools turn it into an AR-15 lower receiver (considered the gun) without any records (especially if you pay cash).

Folks came up with a new version of the Liberator using a 3d printer.  As AM noted recently it would be difficult to overestimate what a skilled machinist with access to the normal tools of his trade could do. 
For someone who builds complicated, precise tools and components for a living guns would not be magically different.  Barrels, stocks, parts and even basic guns like the old school Liberator, Sten and such would certainly be realistic.

Of course there are the usual variety of Zip guns typically just seen in correctional facilities and places with serious anti gun laws like Britain.

The point is that I am not particularly worried about being able to get my hands on a gun if one is needed. Of course I do not recommend relying on plans like this. Right now all manner of guns can be purchased by normal folks. Many basic guns are quite affordable. Picking up a few for a rainy day if you can afford it would be a good idea.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Range Report: Glock Test Fire, Burris MTAC, Tula .223 and Commie Guns

The Glock 19 with steel guide rod and 3.5lb trigger connector was great. The lighter trigger connector really makes for a great shooting package. I do not think it's unsafe or anything, just a cleaner more crisp trigger. Wouldn't want to get some 1 pound gamer trigger or whatever but this setup is just fine IMO. I would guesstimate the increase in accuracy based on this modification is 30%. The PMC 115gr FMJ's I was shooting were great. The only sad point in this area is I only had 1x 50 round box to shoot. Along these lines I noticed Lucky Gunner has Glock 19 mags for $31 which is a good deal these days.

Brought the .22 Browning Buckmark along for the ride. I have no legitimate reason it has not been coming along more frequently. Anyway I brought it along today. The gun has been sitting well lubricated for probably 4 years, I just took it out, loaded a mag, started shooting. It was great, the odd dud but that is .22lr for ya. Being able to shoot a pistol until I get bored without consideration of the cost was big fun. I know .22 ammo is hard to come by these days though it is out there. I've stashed about 1,500 rounds of .22 during this whole mess without paying silly prices so it is out there.

The pistol shooting went better today than last time, pretty good for my current skill set/ level of practice. I credit the 3.5# connector and a half dozen mags of .22 to warm up.

I was updating some inventories yesterday. Glancing through them I found out we have a bit more than 2x the .22 ammo I thought put back. For whatever reason the number in my head was really wrong. Glad it was wrong short not long. Now I feel better about having the 3 inflation adjusted 333rd bricks of .22 ammo I got recently be range meat.

Speaking of range meat I shot that Tula 223. It functioned fine, no misfires or jams. At the risk of speaking without even semi scientific evidence I will give some impressions. It seemed to be slightly less accurate than Lake City or PMC. Sufficient for putting lead into targets but not what I would want to have loaded for the stereotypical movie shoot the guy behind the hostage scenario. If the price difference between Tula or Wolf steel cased .223 vs brass cased stuff was sufficient I would not hesitate to purchase it again.

As usual the MTAC was great. Have found it works better during the day with the illum turned off. The large heavy circle that surrounds the reticle lets you get onto target really fast, sort of like an Eotech. The only downside is I shot half the .223 I brought along at 200-400m without realizing I had the scope set at 1 power. Obviously I do better at distance with 4x magnification.

Since I was with some people the opportunity to shoot their guns came up. Played with an SKS a bit. We briefly touched on them in the Basic Guns series. The SKS is a classic import case of studs and duds. Some are awesome and others completely suck. The sucky ones could probably be fixed by a competent gunsmith familiar with the platform but it destroys the economic benefit of the SKS. Sort of like putting $ 5k into a car that once it is running will be worth $5,500 it probably isn't a great plan. The one I shot was great and had a pretty nice finish to boot. At the right price they are a decent rifle to have as an all around gun or a backup/ giveaway gun. This makes even more sense if you already have an AK and a bunch of ammo put back. Sort of like I said before my evaluation of the SKS as a rifle for $200ish is very different than for $500+.

Also got to shoot a Mosin Nagant carbine, think the guy said it was a Chinese Type 53. That gun was a hoot! Solid potential for accuracy despite very mediocre sights and reasonable scoping options are available if one wants to go that way. Best of all it's in a centerfire .30cal rifle cartridge that normal folks can afford to go shoot a hundred rounds on a semi regular basis. Aside from being a useful backup/ trade type gun it's a range toy at a reasonable range toy price. I really want one; maybe for my birthday.

Well that is what happened this morning at the range.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why the 50 Meter Zero?

Rourke linked to an excellent pictorial about ballistic trajectories from different zero's over at M4.com.

Let's look at the trajectory using a 25 meter zero.
If you look the bullet path is 8 inches high from roughly 125m to250m. This is a real problem. This is enough of a problem that folks will miss targets. In fact that is what happened.

My informal understanding of the development of the 50 meter zero is as follows. Dudes were missing Tango's in the 100-150 meter range which was pretty close to the max range guys found themselves fighting at in Iraq (yes there was that occasional long tail fight which was further but lets not get into the weeds). After some consideration, or quite frankly I'm not quite sure what, the SOF community began to transition to a 50 meter zero. This trickled to varying degrees into the conventional Infantry guys and the shooting community at large. That is how the 50 meter zero came about in my understanding. If anybody (John Mosby, K or Lizard Farmer come to mind) has a better understanding of that development through something other than reading on the interwebz I would be interested in hearing it.

So let us look at the 50 meter zero.
As you can see this zero is much flatter. From the muzzle out to 250 yards or so (varying slightly by barrel length, twist, etc) the bullet is at +/- 2 inches. This is what matters. Granted I might need to hold over a little bit at longer distances but inside 250m it's just muzzle on target, relax, squeeze trigger. Since the vast majority of military engagements happen well inside that envelope to me it is a very easy decision to make.

I use a 50m zero for my fighting rifle and recommend it to others. I do not think your choice of optic should affect the zero chosen. The 50m would be my choice for iron's, a red dot or a scope. It's pretty awesome on my Burris MTAC. Really the only reason I can see going with another zero would be a gun with a concept of use other than a fighting rifle. For a DM or varmit gun I might look at a 36 meter zero to keep it within 4" out to about 350 meters.

The way I personally execute a 50 meter zero is to just do a 25 meter zero then back out to 50 and adjust the point of impact down to be on at 50m. The reason I do this is that it's a lot easier to get onto paper at 25m saving ammo then back it out to 50m. I think it's faster and certainly saves ammo by starting closer to zero (due to distance). Suppose I could move the sights sufficiently then confirm but I've been lazy and redneck adjusted (fire a group, move the sights, repeat as needed till on target).

Anyway that is why my rifle is zeroed at 50 meters and I suggest you do the same. That is my thinking on that.
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