Showing posts with label FN-FAL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FN-FAL. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

 Ordered another dozen mags for the FAL as well as the sight adjustment tool it needs.

Ordered a Dutch Oven which was long overdue.
Dry fire-
Gear- Glock 19 withBlade Tech AIWB holster.
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.7 seconds.
Extreme low- 1.3
Extreme high- 1.8 seconds
Average 1.35-1.55

This session was better than yesterdays. The overall average was down .05-.1 of a second but the extreme high was down more like 2 tenths of a second.

Oh yeah almost forgot WE GOT A CARGO TRAILER! More on this later. All in all between the FAL, spare parts kit, mags, the case of Federal 7.62x51 XM80 and the trailer this was the most expensive month of preparedness ever. Not intentional, just sort of how things worked out, but still a lot happened. Obviously most months are not like this. 

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Range Report and Sunday Randomness

Took my DSA Arms SA 58 Voyager, which for the sake of simplicity will hereby be referred to as FN-FAL or simply FAL out to the range today. Apparently you need a tool to adjust the front sight. Not like a tool is nice to have but like you need one, or maybe 4 hands. I need to So that downgraded this trip from a zero session to a familiarization fire. The gun was pretty close to zeroed for Federal XM80 149 grain FMJ out of the box though it seemed to shoot a bit left.

Zero is an interesting discussion for 7.62x51 as it's trajectory is a bit more angled than the 5.56. In 5.56 I favor a 50 meter zero though the angles are flat enough one could argue the whole discussion is just mental masturbation. The point for a fighting or  general purpose rifle is to keep the rise and fall of the round inside a fairly narrow box, both up and down, for as long as we can. Of course less up means the down comes sooner but life is full of trade offs.

Generally speaking for 7.62x51 if you are 2 inches up at 100 you will be 2 inches down at 200. Beyond that one will need to adjust their sights (including utilizing some sort of BDC) or hold over about 18 inches for 300 meters and a yard or so for 400. In any case that didn't get done today.

The recoil on the FAL was suprisingly light which makes sense I suppose due to the adjustable gas system and fairly heavy weight of the rifle. The trigger was a little heavy but crisp. It'll do fine, I just have to get used to it.

On a random note in case you weren't already feeling inadequate this guy played (well was drafted and practiced) in the NFL then became an astronaut. Like an actual NASA went up to space astronaut. Talk about excelling at a truly elite level in two widely varied fields.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Over the last week or so I have....

-Bought a case of XM80 Federal .308 FMJ.

-Bought 100 rounds of .380 ammo.

-Rotated 10 gallons of gas. I promptly stabilized the new gas.

-Picked up some zip ties and rebar tie wire.

-Replaced various consumables, 3 cases of TP, some canned goods and the like.

-Learned to field strip the FAL. Man that is a simple weapon. I can see why it was so popular.

What is up for this week:

-Got to fix a better solution to protect my tomatoes.

-Mark the date/ fuel/ add in's for the cans I just rotated.

-Rotate some more gas.

-Be better about dry fire. Today was session 1 of the week and I want to hit at least 4x this week.

-Burn up some 7.62 NATO ball at paper and get the FAL zeroed.

-Confirm zero on another rifle.

-Do a short term grid down test run. Cook with non grid power, dust off the Berkey water filter and purify my water, utilize non grid communications, etc.

-Reengage working on the ham license.

-Probably order some silver.

-Probably order some more FAL mags.

-Maybe get some ammo cans and put away a bunch of ammo for the long term.

-Maybe go cargo trailer shopping. Then again I doubt that will happen unless the range trip falls through. They are both in nearby big towns in opposite directions. The trip to go shoot the FAL near Alex is going to burn most of weekend day. The other weekend day will probably be used to go to grocery shopping and do house keeping/ chores. Trailer shopping may be part of my fun weekend day (maybe hit Academy to look for .22lr, a nice meal out, etc) for the weekend after next.

Today's dry fire
Weapon- FN-FA
Drill- 1 rd from low ready
-Par Time- not established
-Average time window: roughly .68 to .99.
-Extreme low: .64.
-Extreme high: 1.13.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

7.62x51 FMJ Ammo, Greece and the Chinese Stock Market

My primary bank does not have any branches around here. We have been with them for a long time and are happy with it. Still occasionally there are hassles. Needing to get cash into the digital world is one of those hassles. I usually have a relationship with a local bank. That situation was in flux. Tried to establish a relationship with a new local bank but in short order that complete disaster managed to put a mark in favor of every negative stereotype about the speed, motivation, intelligence and competence of rural Southerners. Seriously it was a complete cluster.

[Note to my Southern brethren. I do not mean to disparage you all. I understand this was probably an anomaly. I have lived in some part of the South for long enough to know that while things move at their own pace this sort of total disaster is not a normal occurrence. Still if something ridiculously stereotypical happens it is worth mentioning. If a Canadian logger wearing denim on denim and a fur hat offered me a Molson and french fries with gravy I would mention it.]

Anyway I wanted to get myself a bunch of Federal XM80 149gr FMJ sooner instead of later. Things have been getting weirder and weirder lately and I would like to have at least a start on fodder for the FN-FAL on hand. The boxer primed stuff is a bit more expensive than the surpus Hirtenberger 7.62x51 battle packs which are Berdan primed. The ability to reload the ammo (probably turning it into some sort of precision load) appeals to me. Also since there isn't any cheap .308 ammo out there anyway might as well pay a little bit more for stuff I can recycle.

The situation in Greece is continuing to unfold. American Mercenary brings up good points that 1) massive debt that cannot be paid is more of an issue for the lender than the debtor and 2) bail in's are inevitable and 3) Americans should consider how a potential future bail in one time tax could affect them.

Still it is small time compared to China.  FerFAL talked about it yesterday and so did Bayou Renaissance Man. China's stock market is swirling down the crapper big time. It is down about a third in a short period of time. According to NPR and the BBC, my main sources, most of China's investors are individuals who purchased single stocks. So this means instead of a bunch of hedge funds and index funds taking a 30% haircut a subset of normal people in the market probably lost everything.

The China situation is scary because their economy is so much bigger than Greece. When small countries have their economies go to hell they might cause some economic problems. When big countries have their economies go to hell they have a nasty tendency of getting into wars. Either they go for the little distraction war to inspire nationalism and distract the people, or they say pull a Hitler and try to TAKE OVER ZEE WORLD.

That Chinese curse 'May you live in interesting times' comes to mind. Good thing the plan is  to cut another 40,000 soldiers out of our Army.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Guess What Arrived Today?

My 21" DS Arms SA 58 'Voyager' AKA FN-FAL. It came with the case, sling and three magazines. The whole thing took a bit longer than it should have because my local gunshop messed up in sending their info. They were supposed to write the customer name and order # on the ffl when they faxed it in but (despite me clearly telling them to) failed to do so. It is one of those big extended family things so it is pretty funny to hear them going back and forth. According to each one none of the others A) know how to do things or B) do things right. I think they are all pretty much right. They are nice people but I wouldn't exactly call them organized or overly competent.

Anyway I ended up calling Atlantic and we figured it all out. To Atlantic's credit they got it out the door the next day. Well today I was able to pick it up.

So far I am very pleased with it. True the mags rock in but they actually work decently so it is not a big deal. Love the right side charging handle. The sights are lower than I am used to but that will be a short term fix.

The sling is sufficient for carrying over your shoulder but not for more modern use. It will have to go. Also the sight on this budget model does not adjust for elevation (on the fly like for shooting vs zeroing) so I may change that out. Will move some money around and order some brass cased 7.62x51 to shoot out of it as soon as I can get to the range.

Anyway it is a pretty good day to be Ryan.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Madness

Yesterday I took the family to the airport. They are going home for awhile to hang out with our extended family for awhile. So I spent yesterday driving to Houston and back, about 8 hours of drive time which makes for a pretty long day. Today I slept in a bit then got going and did some deep cleaning. Also organized a bunch of stuff and ran some errands.

Had my birthday a bit ago. For my birthday 'We' bought me an Embel parts kit for the FAL which I am psyched about, a sweet new straw cowboy hat, and nice cup with a straw to drink water from. Other folks got me an amazon gift card and some cash. Also a couple friends (none of us are good at communicating) called and I talked to both of them for awhile to catch up and what not which was awesome. Catching up with those guys was great.

Between the 30-30 sale and my birthday I have some money in the prep fund right now. [I should note that preparedness money is separate from our normal household budget. They do overlap like the $150 we put into precious metals every month, and my $200 a month 'personal money' which goes almost exclusively to preparedness but the point is this stuff is separate from the general household budget of rent/ mortgage, savings, normal bills like water/ electric/etc, food, insurance, fuel, etc all. The blog efforts and such feed into the preparedness funding pool.]

In general I am about to buy a 'Just in case of SHTF case of .308',   another 100 rounds of 150gs SP ammo, probably 10 more FAL mags, a pair of stripped AR-15 lower receivers and a few more Glock mags. My rough math says the available budget will pay for most, if not all of what I want to purchase. That will pretty much put me where I want to be before the fall/ winter mess I see coming.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Handgun Shooting Evolution and Other Things

Since attending CSAT's Tactical Pistol Operator Course I have been working on training with pistols and solidifying my gear setup. I ordered an X Grip adapter for my Glock 19. Got to fiddling with it today.

I would prefer if it was a bit more squared in back but it seems to be an improvement. Certainly it helps me with indexing onto the gun a bit more naturally from my duty holster.

This should work out well. A Glock 19 (obviously without a light and G17 mag) is the largest handgun I can realistically conceal in anything less than a winter coat. With a 5 minute makeover it can go from a duty pistol with a light to a basic CCW pistol. While a Glock 26 and a 19 or 17 would be better I have not gotten there yet. Anyway for a single pistol I really like the versatility of the G19. 

After spending some time dry firing with the Safariland SLS I found that to disengage it I really just need to touch the hood/ thumb break and give it a light flick forward. Previously I was making a very exaggerated (and time consuming) movement. This should let me cut down draw time.

I definitely need a shot timer.
However at over a hundred bucks I have a hard time pulling the trigger on it. Would rather spend the money on mags, stripped lowers and ammo to get the incoming FAL equipped and prepare for the scheduled election based run on gun stuff.

Thanks to Paw Paw I found out there are free aps that serve the same functions. I recently got a life upgrade to a smart phone (though an LT at work told me they are just called phones now) so this might work out well. I will have to play with it but it beats the dedicated timer I don't have.

Sold my 30-30 and 200 rounds of 30-30 ammo.  Still have a bunch of ammo for it, I think 500 rounds and change. When I stumble onto some more of it I'll try to sell it. Will hold on to at least a couple hundred rounds because it is a common caliber that would be good for bartering or helping out friends/ family/ neighbors who get caught short.

So I eliminated a caliber which is nice. Now my centerfire rifle calibers are 5.56, 7.62x39 and .308. Not a bad place to be.

I have given some thought to ditching 7.63x39. There are 4 reasons I am hesitant to do this. 1) At this point in time I like having a rifle that is really cheap to shoot (1,000 rounds of Tula 122 grain FMJ for $225.) and reliable as can be. 2) unraveling selling mumble mumble cases of 7.62x39 and a whole bunch of mags would be a real hassle. Also 3) Even during firearmagedon 7.62x39 ammo was generally available. There are just so many rifles and cases of ammo in private hands in the US it is nice to have a rifle that feeds it. 4) While I am not so sure I would push somebody into the AK platform today since the economics are about a wash with AR's; for a person who bought one years ago at a far more reasonable price could have a nice cabin/ truck gun setup of an AK and a few mags for about what a Glock costs today. I should note there are still some good deals out there in the AK market. The Yugo NPAP is a heck of a rifle in general and especially for the money. Also I have heard great things about the new Century C39 V2's.

Called the local gun shop to see if my FN-FAL had arrived. They didn't have it. Check with Atlantic Arms and it had not shipped. It turns out the local gun shop didn't put my order number and name on their FFL when they sent it in (despite me clearly saying to) so it did not get associated with my order and shipped. My FN-FAL finally shipped. Could be worse but I did want to shoot it this weekend which is almost surely not happening. So far from my various sales and purchases 20 FAL mags and 400 rounds of Federal XM80 149gr FMJ have arrived. I have the cash to buy a case of ammo and am waiting on a possible deal to be confirmed one way or another before pulling the trigger. A parts kit is in bound as my birthday present. As to parts I'll likely order additional spares of the most common to break/ wear out type parts (FAL guys feel free to chime in here).

Would like to get 20 more mags for it and plan to do that over the next 2-3 months.

My plans for the rest of this year (in terms of gun stuff) is to buy ammo. If it worked out so I could buy a case of 5.56 and one of .308 that would be great. I also plan to buy some panic prep stuff specifically a lower or two, a half dozen Glock mags, more FAL mags and ammo.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Selling Stuff

As you have likely noticed I have been doing some spring cleaning. Sold a couple of things this weekend (a brewing kit and a knife) then today sold my 30-30 Winchester and 200 rounds of ammo. Still have some ammo left, will likely sell some around hunting season and keep a couple hundred rounds because it is a pretty common caliber and that's a sunken cost anyway.

I do not have a lever action Winchester any more which kind of sucks but I eliminated a caliber which is cool. The only situation where that old 30-30 would out perform other rifles on inventory is if I needed a nanny state legal rifle.

What am I planning to spend these newfound gains on? Will see how my birthday cracks out then make a decision based on what I get. ? Probably a case of good surplus 7.62 ammo for the FAL.

At that point I'd probably look hard at some sort of mag fed bolt gun or maybe a .357 mag lever action rifle. Down the road I will get some sort of lever action .357 but that is pretty far down the road; like after another AR, 10-22, Glock 9mm and a Para FAL kind of down the road.

Well this has turned out to be a win win. I have cleaned out a good chunk of space in my garage and store areas and freed up resources to buy some things I can really use but can not afford to purchase outright. I am about out of stuff to sell but it has been a very positive experience.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

And The Winner of the Semi Auto .308 Selection Is.....


DS Arms 'Voyager' FN-FAL with a 21 inch barrel.

Why, Well that is a complicated question. Let us look at the common available semi auto .308's.

Fairly unbiased process of elimination knocked out:

AR-10-  The onees in my budget are of pretty questionable quality. The whole market is a mess with a serious lack of standardization. There are weird proprietary parts all up in pretty much every AR-10. To further complicate things none of these rifles (excluding the way too rich for my blood Knight SR-25) are really battle tested. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of promise and I do believe these are the way of the future for the semi auto .308 but it might be a few years till the previously listed issues get unscrewed.

M1A- Honestly these rifles should have never been made. Also the rifles are silly expensive and accessories are even worse.

Completely biased process of elimination knocks out:

The PTR-91. It is the cheapest semi auto .308 made by a reputable manufacturer. Accessories, and in particular mags are quite affordable. Why did it get eliminated? Honestly I am just really ambivalent about the PTR-91. Even if it doesn't make sense paying a grand for a rifle I am not at all excited about is kind of silly.

So we have spoken about the problems (real or perceived) with other platforms. Now specifically why the FN-FAL.

Unbiased Points.
-Proven design. The FN-FAL was to the free world what the AK was to the communist world. Sure the US (and I believe Taiwan) had the M14 and Germany/ Portugal plus some others had the G3 but the FAL was the service rifle for 90 countries.
-Wide parts base. Sort of like say, the Winchester 30-30, so many were made for so long that parts are always going to be out there. Being dispassionate about this was hard for me. I have owned a Winchester 30-30 for my entire adult life and love them. They are beautiful rifles. Commander Zero and Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man brought up a point that really helped with this. Honestly the only situation where a 30-30 would beat a FN-FAL is in a serious nanny state situation. Thankfully as of now I am not in one of those and I hope to stay out of one.
-Away from the FAL in general and specifically to the Voyager. If possible I prefer the budget gun from a quality company (The Kahr CW9 is an example of this) than the supposedly nicer guns from a lower tier manufacturer like say a DPMS LR-308.
-While there is probably a temptation to keep messing with it the adjustable gas flow might be handy for shooting different ammunition or getting a dirty rifle running again in an emergency.

Biased Points.
-The rife has a cool history. The era of the 'battle rifle' was pretty cool. Since they were a post Korea, pre gulf war weapon they mostly saw action in Africa. I stumbled into an interesting post on the history of the FN-FAL and G3 in Africa that is good for a coffee break.
-I sort of made a bargain with myself to sell the 30-30, eliminating a caliber, and pony up for a FAL. Since I am realistically going to have one (or just maybe two, a para FAL would be sweet, gosh I am starting an expensive hobby) or maybe two the price difference over a PTR-91 is not a deal maker.
-I really wanted one. They are a cool, classy rifle. The Voyager put a DS Arms rifle into my realistic price range.
-I love the way a FAL with a wood stock looks.




So anyway I ordered a FAL and some mags. I'd like 50 but 20 is not a bad place to be at. Going to get some ammo and hopefully a parts kit to provide spares soon.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Life's Annoyances and Semi Auto .3088's

Things just have not gone my way this week. Work has been totally ridiculous, not actual real life problems but stupid organizationally imposed stuff. Have been wheeling and dealing to get a mag fed semi auto .308.

 I had a deal set up for a S&W M&P 10, hence the bleg,  but that fell apart. The guy pulled the rifle out of his safe then checked it out and it failed to (manually) cycle rounds. It had problems so he held onto it and said the trade was a no go since he wouldn't pass on a gun with issues. Dude was a complete class act as many people would have done the trade knowing someone would not find that issue on a  quick inspection. I am very happy this guy did not dump a problem on me but still it was a big let down and a pretty sucky situation. I was really excited about this and it fell through.

I am not sure exactly how things are going to crack out but am pretty sure I will have some sort of a mag fed semi auto .308 in the next month or two. Really want to be able to rain down some hate that goes through cars and most other light cover at 400m or so. I am going to sell some stuff to facilitate this general effort.

Sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug. Hopefully tomorrow or the next day I can be the windshield.

I think stuff is going to click and I will end up buying a DSA Voyager and some mags. The AR-10 market is a mess and I am thinking it is best to wait out the Betamax/ VSA fight. I like their controls and ergonomics being the same as the AR-15 I am used to but the darn market is a mess.

So that is what's annoying me today.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quote of the Day- Jim Rawles on the Economics of an M1A

"For the same money as a "Loaded" M1A with one magazine and no scope, you could buy a PTR91-GI rifle (a HK91 clone), AND 100 spare alloy G3 magazines (under $3 each!), AND a Savage Model 10 .308 bolt action that is sub-MOA, right out the box.

For comparison, 100 spare original M14 magazines would cost you around $2,600. And just a spare USGI M14 operating rod ("op rod") now costs around $250. You should dispassionately consider not just the initial cost of the rifle, but rather the full lifetime cost, including magazines and and a supply of repair parts  (my emphasis, TOR)."
-Jim Rawles

I love the M1A. They are beautiful and accurate though if we are real probably not a gun that should ever have existed. It says something about America that we invented an inferior gun instead of just buying the much superior FN-FAL which if I recall beat the M1A twice in our own tests, which were promptly ignored. However some time ago I came to terms with the fact that it was a gun whose price was pegged (inflation, gun cost increases, etc) above what I was ever going to be willing to pay.

Incidentally at one point I planned to get an M1A and even picked up some magazines. They are the Checkmate 20 rounders which are currently being used by .mil. Brand new still in their wrappers. Think I've got 10 of them. Will sell for $25 a piece plus a few bucks for shipping. Will definitely trade for PMAGS or USGI AR-15 magazines and may trade for other mags or gear. If you've got something else to trade we can figure it out. Shoot me an email at theotherryan@yahoo.com if you are interested.

Mags are pending sale at this time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reader question II- M1 Garand Sale


Hey Guys,

Long time reader and huge fan of the blog, it's literally been part of my daily read for several years now. I referenced this great blog since the very beginning of my personal preparedness journey. Quite a bit has changed for me as my life and preparedness goals and life skills have developed.  One of my earliest consultations I had with you guys was regarding my initial choice of a battle rifle in the M-1 garand, and your opinion on some accessories for the kit I would put together for it.


Since that time,  I graduated from College and my wife and I moved home to Texas where I became a Police Officer. My wife finished nursing school and now we live a comfortable life in the City's suburbs. Like yourselves my values over the years became less focused on gear and the pending  choose-your-own adventure apocalypse scenario, and more on financial security and adjusting my immediate family's paradigm towards preparedness.

My profession has given opportunities to me for more training and skill development  and real world experience(this being the most valuable) than I could have ever afforded on my own.  I have access to gear and weapons that are far more in line with practical real world preparedness. Having rifle vests and gas masks and city issued M4s round out my personal survival arsenal of .22s, Remington 870 police magnum which goes with me everywhere at work, baby glocks for my BUG and wife's concealed carry, P226 with TRL-1 light on my gun belt at all times.. the point is, I discovered that as I placed myself on a career path that helped focus myself on personal development of skills, physical fitness and financial independence all the great gear and gadgets and everything else fell into place on their own. As I continued to grow, I realized that all the gear and panic buying in the beginning was simply an attempt to fill my own insecurities with a cheap, rushed sense of peace of mind.

So all this time, I have this beautiful hardly-used M1 sitting in my gun locker. I have purchased a wonderfully made grab-and-go pouch, butt-stock pouches, and hundreds of dollars worth of surplus 30-06 rounds and enbloc clips. However since the '08 election and the great ammo dust-bowl that it brought, I have always been hesitant to bring it out to the range with me. As my combat training became more focused on pistol and CQB shotgun techniques, I focused my spending and ammo purchases towards my 9MM and 00buck, and now with the acquisition of my city issued M4,  .223 rounds.  It became obvious that the M1 because of its gas system is limited to the type of 30-06 rounds you can fire, which directly impacts the amount practice and range time with the weapon, which is the most important aspect.

I was inspired by Ryan's quest to simplify his collection and refocus it towards functionality and redundancy.  The historical allure and once rock solid devotion to the rifle slowly began to fade as I realized that its' cons outweighed its' pros. However, I'm not sure if I'm at the same point as Ryan was and wish to sell the rifle, accessories and ammo that took such a large investment of time and money outright and refocus the funds towards other endeavors. The other day a friend sent me this link.


I really like the idea of bringing the Garand into the world of the carbine in terms of handling and capabilities, which seemingly fixes many of its' current short-falls. Plus with the modification, the rifle's gas system will be able to shoot modern loads of 30-06. This process also opens up the weapon for more Texas focused hunting scenarios…boar/deer hunting.

So to get to the point of this super long email, I would very much like to hear your opinions on the modification process, whether you believe it's worth the $525 and change price tag. Or should I sell the weapon and kit and move the funds towards purchasing and building my own m4.

Also, one final element to my decision process, over the past year and a half I have interviewed, tested and accepted a conditional letter of appointment to joint a federal law enforcement agency. Which is why I was hesitant to purchase and carry my own personal m4 in the field like I do now with my 870. It is my understanding that during training I will become familiarized with a whole new set of weapons and training, which includes the M4 and MP5. So with my work providing the necessary tools of my trade, I can’t quite make up my mind on what to do with the Garand. Sell it, customize it, or leave it as is which is an occasional shooter/heirloom.

Well, thanks again for the patience it took to read this manuscript of an email. I do very much appreciate the blog and yalls' opinion on the matter.

Happy Thanksgiving from Texas-

 TOR here: Putting my money where my mouth is my Garand has been sold (actually sitting in my safe while the guy makes payments). I sold it because the rifle, while cool, didn't really have a purpose. It is not high on my list for defensive weapons, is relatively expensive to shoot so plinking is out, and is worth enough money that at this time I cannot justify it being a collectible safe queen.
 I would not go with that conversion for a host of reasons. We buy common guns from major manufacturers for very good reasons. I just envision an endless problem with the thing. If you want to own a semi auto .30 caliber then sell the Garand and use that money to start an FN-FAL or PTR-91 fund. FWIW I have heard of folks hunting with a Garand using those Hornady TAP rounds.  Heck the old school FMJ will probably work just fine.
 If I were you the Garand would get sold and the proceeds would go towards a more modern practical defensive rifle. Probably as you said building an M4. Along these lines you should check out the Project AR Upgrade series we did recently.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tons of Firearm Manuals on PDF

Check out this great selection of firearms manuals on PDF over at AR15.com. Hat tip to Commander Zero for the find. Even if you do not own them it is probably not a bad idea to have manuals for common weapons like the AR, AK, FN-FAL, and HK G3 as well as pistols like the HK USP, Glock, Sig, 1911, etc. With so many PDF's available for free there isn't a good reason not to have them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More AK Discussion: Accuracy Revisited and Other Rifles

In response to my recent post on AK's (and Mini's) AZRedhawk44 said: I stewed on this over the weekend subconsciously, and it leaped to the forefront of my mind while I was at a High Power match (I shoot an M14 so I don't have any skin in the AK/Mini conflict either way).
One of Ryan's very valid points was the legitimacy of shooting someone more than 100 yards away. At first, I accepted that premise.

At the match, however, an idea jumped out at me. "Hits" aren't necessarily all good. A 200 yard shot with an AK that tags a leg, arm hip or shoulder might still leave someone functional enough to return fire at me. Yes, it's a hit. But despite the fact that I tried damned hard to make that shot count as best as I could... the platform and cartridge dynamics allowed that bullet to drift 8 to 12 inches more off target than a different platform.

No, I don't want to drag a platform war onto your site. I like FALs, FNARs, AR-10's, AR-15's, DaeWoos, Galils, M1's and M14/M1A's. I like lots of gun platforms. I even like the Mini and AK for what they can do.

The price difference between a self-built AR and a higher end AK or a new Mini just isn't that far, and the AR will (typically) put the lead in the center of the target better.

I just think if you're gonna aim at something and squeeze the trigger, the best possible outcome is for the bullet to impact _exactly_ where you intended to hit.

TOR Here: Thanks for taking the time to ponder this question and then write a reply. Personally from informal experience I believe that the AK platform, given a servicable weapon, is quite capable of hitting dinner plates at 100 meters and a torso sized target at 200 or maybe more. There is certainly a range where the weapons inherant accuracy limitations start pulling shots out of the vital torso and into flesh wounds and appendages.

I don't think anyone could disagree with your statement that "if you're gonna aim at something and squeeze the trigger, the best possible outcome is for the bullet to impact _exactly_ where you intended to hit."

I think there are a few universally desirable characteristics of a rifle:

Reliability- It should go bang every single time you pull the trigger, no matter what. Seeing as firearms are mechanical and even the best mechanical things fail now and then we should seek the lowest failure rate available.

Ruggedness- You want a rifle that can take a beating. Most of us generally take good care of our rifles. However we still definitely want them to work if they happen to be banged around, dropped,  not get cleaned as often as they should or get exposed to the elements.

Adaptability- The ability to change a rifles ergonomics, fit, and sights to your preferences and needs. The ability to employ useful accessories.

Commonality- There should be wide access to magazines, spare parts, accessories and such.

Affordability- Outside of gamers and fanboys in forums (there are some good folks there too) the rest of us live in the real world. In the real world instead of theorizing about what the best possible maker for every single component in the world we have to live in a budget. Be it tiny, modest or pretty decent we all have budgets. We need to consider the cost of magazines, optics, ammunition, useful accessories and other ancillary equipment.

Capacity- More bullets and fewer reloads are better than less bullets and more reloads.

Lastly since you already mentioned it accuracy- A rifle that can't hit stuff you shoot at isn't very useful.

It would be great to have a rifle that is devastatingly accurate out to great distances, holds a lot of bullets and reloads quickly, is utterly reliable and rugged under all sorts of adverse conditions, has great adaptability and parts/ ammo/ mags which are widely available. It would also be great if this rifle and its ancillary equipment were so cheap that an average working class guy could get a few rifles, a big box of magazines and enough ammo to fight a moderately intense guerilla campaign.

Ever heard the building analogy that you can have a job be done fast, cheap and right but you only get to pick two? So it could be fast and right but not cheap. Or fast and cheap but not right. It could also be cheap and right but not fast.

Have you ever played the kind of video game where you get to build your own boxer? You get a certain amount of points to divide among different categories (I remember strength, foot speed, quickness, conditioning and toughness or something like that)? If you put all of your points into quickness you could punch really fast but it wouldn't do much and you were really easy to knock out. Put all your points into strength and your boxer will knock people out, when he can hit them. Anyway you get the idea.

My observation is that some foolish and inexperienced people buy a rifle because they saw it in a movie or know a certain group or unit uses it. However smart and experienced people choose a weapon based upon the best balance of the above desirable characteristics prioritized by their own unique scenario with the limiting factor of affordability. Affordability is a limiting factor because in order to have a rifle you have to be able to buy it.

We also need to consider the cost of multiple weapons. After all if things are so screwed that you need a rifle wouldn't it be a good idea for your spouse to have one also? What about your 15 year old child? Sure the idea of arming them is scary in a lot of ways. However if Rorke's Drift is playing out in your neighborhood then the kid needs a damn rifle. Also remember that two is one and one is none.

Price point is an interesting discussion. I think it is important to compare as equitably as possible. For example comparing a bare bones generic AR some yahoo put together in his basement to an AK that comes out of a highly prestigious custom shop is gaming the scenario a bit. Comparing chevy to chevy and BMW to BMW makes more sense. The difference in price between say a WASR-10 at about $550 and an Olympic or Stag AR at say $750 isn't that much. Mags are about a wash. AK's do however have a real cost edge in terms of ammunition. My observation, and YMMV, is that AR's don't really like steel cased ammo. AK's on the other hand will eat anything. Brass cased .223 costs about twice as much as steel cased 7.62x39. So $200 (I didn't check prices today so please don't nit pick) will get you about a half case of .223 or a full case of 7.62x39.

If you look at say a mid range AR with 10 mags, a case of ammo and a few spare parts/ accessories vs a mid range AK with 10 mags, a case of ammo and a few spare parts/ accessories the actual cost is different. Make it two or three cases of ammo and the cost difference is really significant.




As I mentioned peoples own unique scenario is a big factor here. Do they live in the city or out in the country. On the wide open western plains or the primordial woods of the deep south. Do they have a good budget or is money really tight? How important are accessories and their availability? Do they plan to also hunt with their defensive rifle? Do they have problems carrying long heavy rifles? What about felt recoil? Is their plan to have a CQB machine to keep by their bed, an all around rifle or a precision marksmenship machine. What kind of worst case scenario does this rifle fit into?

When we are talking about modern fairly common magazine fed semi automatic rifles such as the AK, AR, Mini- 14, M1A, FN-FAL, HK 91 series, etc. I am becoming less and less convinced there are any  real absolutes. I don't think it is so much about the right rifle but the right rifle FOR YOU. If cost is a concern and you aren't so worried about long shots an AK could be a great choice. If you really like commonality and adaptability but cost is a factor then maybe an AR is the answer. If you like the power of a .308 but are concerned about the cost of magazines and spare parts then an HK 91 type could be the way to go. If love rifles made of wood and steel, you really want to reach out and touch someone accurately and money isn't a concern then an M1A would be a good choice. A great rifle for one person might be a horrible rifle for another.

Personally I like AR's and AK's. In terms of rifles I grew up on AR's. I have more muscle memory with that platform than any other or any two others combined. I have a lot of experience and comfort when it comes to that platform. I also appreciate that they are easy to use and pretty darn accurate without completely breaking the bank. I got an AK for no particular reason a few years back. For a random spur of the moment (made the decision at a gun store) purchase I couldn't have done better. I am coming to like AK's more and more. They are affordable to purchase, very affordable to equip, utterly reliable and as rugged as they come. Also they are pretty fun to shoot.

I urge you to be realistic about your budget and consider what it will cost to fully (however you define that) equip a rifle. Next think about your own unique scenario. Do plenty of research and fire as many weapons as possible. Seriously reflect on and consider your options for this major purchase and you will end up with a weapon that will serve you well.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Brain Says FN- FAL And My Heart Says Garand- What do I do?

With the whole upcoming democratically controlled government coming up and that $1,000 in inheritance money just sitting around I am in thee gun market. This afternoon we went to a gun shop. It was hopping like one dollar beer and topless waitresses night at Hooters. People seemed to be buying semi automatic handguns and rifles, mostly Glock's and AR-15's. I checked out the AK's but don't really want to get another one.

They had a Century Arms FN-FAL and also a CEMTE. The prices were reasonable at about $800 but the furniture on the FN-FAL was total crap. Buying an expensive gun I immediately need to spend more money on to have it not suck does not appeal to me all that much, also .308 ammo is aweful expensive. That being said since I am doing better money wise now being able to eventually purchase reasonable amounts of .308 ammo (enough to make it worthwile to have the gun) is not the impossible task it was in the past. I know these guns are great but for some reason I've never bought one. Maybe the crap furniture on them just turns me off. That is a pretty superficial thing in the grand scheme of things and is easy enough to change. Once that is canceled out significantly higher ammo prices is the biggest single issue.

They had a couple of M1 Garands on the used rack. They were both Springfields and almost surely involved in WWII. At $699 they seem to be a pretty good price. I know someone is going to say it in the comments section but I am aware CMP sometimes sells them for cheaper. My desire to jump through a million hoops and fax all sorts of stuff around is nonexistent. I need another headacke like I need another hole in my head. I love the history of the M1a and that it is a hard hitting semi auto but doesn't need mags. Not needing to buy 10-20 mags is a big plus.

I almost bought the Garand today but I started having some doubt while waiting in line and decided to sleep on it. Now that I am home I'm really starting to lean toward an FN-FAL. My brain says FAL and my heart says Garand. What should I do?
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