Showing posts with label Lucky Gunner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucky Gunner. Show all posts

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Range Report: .308 Bolt Gun and Kahr CW9 Impressions and Trigger

I went out too the range today. The primary goals were to give another shot to my problem bolt gun and put some rounds downrange with the Kahr CW9 in an intentional way. An ancillary goal was to confirm zero on Project AR. I have not shot it for awhile and in that time also put a free floating rail on it.

 The problem bolt gun was brought back out of the safe. Shortly after the last time I shot it that gun got a good cleaning and I double checked that the bolts on the scope mount and rings were all tight. Also tightened the action screws and gave it a solid once over.

Why that gun did not shoot well with Remington Premier Match King 168 grain BTHP ammo I do not know. Maybe it was a bad day, I do not know. Maybe a bolt someplace was loose. Maybe it was hot or maybe it was the humidity. Who knows.

Also to whichever folks recommended trying 150 grain soft point ammunition I am quite grateful. Took a couple different loads to the range.

First up was .308 Remington Core-Lokt SP ammo of the 150 grain variety. This stuff was pretty good. It shot solidly decent groups.

I need to come back with more time and back off to 100m to confirm but this gun is shooting well.  The gun is accurate and has potential to continue an existence in my battery as a viable general purpose sporting rifle.

Next up was some Winchester 150 grain SP ammo, whatever that particular line is called. That stuff was great. Real consistent and grouped great in my rifle. Multiple groups where two where right on top of each other and it was obviously me who pulled the third. The last three groups were two horizontally even three shot strings where the rounds struck on top of each other and the third was more of a triangle. I'm not super into groups or whatever but if the bullet holes are touching that setup is probably a keeper. I plan to get some more of this ammunition. A couple hundred rounds would be an excellent start.

From a budgetary angle I would like to get a box or two of Prvi Partisan 150 grain SP ammo, Fiochi 150 grain SP ammo and some 150 grain American Eagle ball just to see how they shoot.  The goal would be a slightly more economic load that is acceptably accurate to have set away for some sort of contingency SHTF scenario. The kind of thing you stash 500 rounds of just in case.

Put a couple rounds through Project AR and it was way off. I'm talking 4" low and 4" left at 25 yards. Obviously that needed to be adjusted. A couple groups later my AR was back on. Decided to put the rest of the mag into the target to see how many would stay in the little orange circle, did 10/12 with the other two straddling the line. I like that rifle a lot. Goodness gracious I should considering what it cost but still it is  a darn nice rifle.

Onto the Kahr CW 9. I opened up with some Wolf 115gr 9mm. My pistol shot a few inches below point of aim. WTF. Wondered if it was the ammo. Wolf is not precision ammo but I've found it solid for training, plinking, etc. Maybe the sights were set up for a higher velocity ammo?

Next up was Winchester 9mm 115 FMJ AKA White Box. Pretty much your most unambiguous plinking/ training round out there. It was not quite as low but was still low. WTF. I KNOW THIS AMMO IS GOOD.

What I came to realize is that I was shooting the gun all wrong. It's DAO trigger really needs to be treated like a double action revolver. The vast majority of my semi auto centerfire handgun experience is with Glocks, 1911's and the Beretta M9. I have shot a variety of other guns but not enough to really build muscle memory. What I was doing is that I was subconsciously squeezing a bit harder at the point where Glocks 'stack' which was somehow throwing my shots low. A slower and more consistent (vs the stacking Glock and other striker fired pistol triggers) pull brought my shots back to where they should be. Acknowledging the Kahr CW9 is not a target pistol I think it is plenty accurate for reasonable defensive work. The more I shoot it the more I like it.

Put another mag of 9mm Federal Classic Personal Defense 115 grain JHP through it. They shot well. I really need to rotate most of my loaded mags in the not so distant future. Some of those rounds have been sitting in mags for awhile. I'll have to get a box or two of the stuff now or wait till maybe they have another sale and pick up a whole case. Another case of defense rounds would be really nice.

75 rounds in and no failures.

 It was a great day at the range.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stocking Up Causes Shortages?

My post Ammo is Back: Stock Up If You Need It! received a comment today. I do not moderate comments on recent posts but do on older ones. I do this to become aware of them so I can see them and respond, also a high percentage are spam. The comment was:

"People who "stock up" on ammo because they see it in a store are the cause for the shortage. It's like the toilet paper shortage long ago, people make the problem and it's an endless circle."

 Fundamentally this comment is seriously flawed. People who stock up on an item, even to quantities some would consider excessive, during normal times do not cause shortages. These are, minus .22lr totally normal times in terms of gun and ammo availability. Let us try a little exercise.....

Say I purchased all 47 cases of of Tula 124 gr 7.62x39  JHP Lucky Gunner currently has in stock at the excellent price of $219/1k. What impact would me purchasing all that Tula 124 gr JHP ammo have? They would be out of that type of ammo for a little while. Say for the sake of this discussion they did not have cases of Tula FMJ, Wolf and Red Star in abundance all under a quarter a round. 

Impact? For a couple days or a week people looking to purchase 7.62x39 ammo by the case would have to hold off or go through one of many other online vendors. In short while the other guys do not offer live inventories (so you KNOW they have it in stock) and fast shipping there would be no real impact. This type of stocking up does not cause or contribute in a meaningful way to any shortages.

The panic purchases during a shortage can certainly on a large level in fact cause shortages. It is a self perpetuating cycle. People think an item is rare so when they see it they buy a bunch, even if they do not need any. This leads to more empty shelves and more folks feeling desperate and buying all they see of the item. It is a vicious cycle.

However a guy who bought ammo BEFORE THE SHORTAGE does not cause it and arguably makes it a tiny bit better by not being part of the herd of folks looking for a rare high demand item.

Thughts?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

EDC Dump 4 OCT

Decided to do a pocket dump to show you all what I am carrying around these days.

From top to bottom:
-Generic Uncle Mikes holster- small. Functionally identical to the Blackhawk holster line. Tam mocks them mercilessly. These are decently servicable though not exactly the worlds greatest holsters. If $10 holsters were perfect there would not be an industry of folks making $30-several hundred dollar holsters. A better holster is in the works but right now one from the spare holster drawer is working pretty decently. That is one of benefits of these 'one size fits most' holsters. They will work for most guns in a given size range and are cheap enough to have lying around here or there or as spares to give to people who suddenly in an emergency want to carry a pistol that's been pulling nightstand or glove box duty.

-Kahr CW9 loaded with 9mm 115 grain Federal Classic Personal Defense. With the flush mag the CW9 holds 7+1. It would not be my first choice in carry pistols for Peshawar, or for that matter Houston but I am quite comfortable using it for CCW in my sleepy little part of Central Louisiana.

-Al Mar Knives 5HDBT Eagle Heavy Duty Lockback Knife with Textured Black G-10 Handles.

-Edited to fix oversight. My flashlight is a Streamlight 66318 MicroStream C4 LED Pen Flashlight, I believe a Micro stream. It runs on a single AAA battery. It works reliably and is quite durable. Walker hasn't broken it yet and it's been through the washer/ drier numerous times. Might not tactically bedazzle someones OODA loop and make them defecate but it is bright enough to clearly see at 20 meters which is plenty for me.

-Wallet with the usual stuff and cash.

-Cell phone

-Spare mag for the CW9. It is the 8 round one with the extended floor plate.

-Chap stick

-Bic Lighter

-Keys not shown since you can now copy keys with a photo.

So that is what I carry most of the time these days. If I am going to Houston I bump the gun up to a Glock and if I am going to be doing outdoors stuff I might bring a fixed blade knife.

Thoughts?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Buying a .22lr These Days

Wifey asked me a question out of the blue yesterday "Would you recommend somebody around here buy a .22(lr?"

I asked where the question came from or something. It turned out that another wife asked her.

My reply, as best I can remember it, was:

"If you've got ammo to feed it."

Wifey said "What if you don't"

"Then no I wouldn't recommend it. You can't reliably get .22lr ammo at all, let alone at sane prices."

I understand very basic economics and a little bit about the gun industry but the .22lr situation is throwing me for a loop because it just keeps going on. Every time I am at a place that sells ammo, which includes Wally World where we buy groceries and thus go a lot, I look and if prices are reasonable at say 6 cents a round for basic stuff I buy. Obviously premium stuff like CCI .22 hunting ammo or match grade .22lr goes for more than that which is OK. To the best of my recollection in the past year I have purchased approximately 1,000 rounds of various standard .22lr and 1x 100 round box of CCI Mini Mags. That does not make for a lot of shooting and there were dry spells for months.

Honestly the availability issue is probably larger than price for most users. The lack of predictability would make it hard to plan a range trip for Saturday since they can't pick up bullets Friday after work, which is how most people shoot. Price matters too though maybe more for people who are used to paying lower prices.

Generally I would prefer to shoot centerfire ammo and choose rim fire largely for economics, more rounds downrange for my dollar. Still even if I payed 12-14 cents, which I consider quite expensive, it is a bit over half the price of Red Army 7.62x39 and a third the price of PMC brass cased 5.56.
 Suppose to some degree the price is a matter of principle. Also coming back to the availability issue these days I'll shoot centerfire ammo over .22lr because it can be replaced.

Unless a person has a enough of a stash to go shooting once in awhile when they can't find ammo, say at least a couple 500rd bricks though a real high round shooter would need more I will not suggest a .22. Additionally I suppose if a persons finances and stomach allow them to pay $50 for a brick of ammo that is fine too. So if either of those situations fit a .22lr is a fine option. However if they do not I would recommend finding an alternative choice.

Thoughts?

Monday, September 29, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

We got a new dog.

Picked up some extra food for said new dog

Purchased a Stihl MS250 chainsaw and cut up a bunch of firewood

Restocked some consumables

I purchased two boxes of .308 ammo

Also since the last time we had this discussion I've picked up a couple extra mags for the Kahr and got corrective eye surgery.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

From Around The Web

Often I see stuff in blogs, on youtube or whatever that I want to highlight and potentially discuss. These can almost take over the blog as there is so much good content out there. I have decided to roll this stuff up into a 'From Around The Web' series'. This will be a semi regular series 

 Formerly Bayou Rennaisance Man on: Protecting your economic future in a time of chaos. I very much enjoyed this two (at least so far) part series on Protecting your economic future in a time of chaos (see pt 2 here). I noticed this awhile back and meant to talk about it but things got away from me.

My thoughts:
- I am uncomfortable playing fortune teller about the future. However I currently see bad things happening. Inflation is eating at my income, especially in the areas of food and fuel. Our costs are soaring AND things are supposedly just fine. Heck if you watch the news we are in a great recovery.

- I certainly do not disagree with anything Peter said about building skills and food stuff. Generally speaking I think for this scenario (and a lot of others) there are some commonalities. You need some stored food to get through an initial shock period. You also need to be gathering or producing some food. One of these does not replace the other. Obviously urban folks will have a hard time with the food production and suburban folks have challenges compared to rural folks (with some acreage) but we all need to find answers that fit our own situations.

- In terms of work and income I think trying to consciously put yourself in a position where A) your job cannot readily be absorbed by a couple co workers and/ or B) a machine or C) a person in India.

-Furthermore I think building up some sort of income separate from your 'job' is pretty important. This way you will have a little money coming in that will not vanish if your job/ business falls apart. If this side effort is in the type of area that is recession proof. In a recession people may not remodel bathrooms in fancy Italian marble but they will get the broken toilet fixed. People may not pay for a fancy home theater system but will still want a home alarm, especially if crime goes up. You get the point.

-In the second part of the series Paul looks at taking advantage of employment opportunities in boom areas. If you cannot find a job to support yourself at home it is prudent to look at moving instead of sitting and whining. If it's going to be short term maybe a parent moves and the family stays put.

A relative of mine lives in a small town in western Montana. The economy there is in the tubes. The young motivated blue collar men work in the oil fields. A bus runs from North Dakota to town Friday night and goes back Sunday afternoon.

I can certainly understand people choosing to stay in the area of their choice, especially if family is there, and accepting it may limit them economically. If that is the difference between making 60k a year and 40 it is one thing. If it's the difference between long term unemployment and surviving off charity or being able to support your family then be an adult and make the hard choice to move.

NutnFancy did an excellent review on the Yugo M70 N-PAP AK-47 rifle.
This rifle is a darn good AK and an amazing value.The lack of a chrome lined barrel is not ideal but I do not think it is a deal maker either, especially since this is a proven design. They have been letting Slav's kill other Slavs for years and to my best recollection not a single rifle that fought WWI or WWII had a chrome lined barrel.

The AK vs AR discussion is a valid one and as AR prices drop and AK prices slip upwards becomes more relevant. Additionally if your particular flavor of Apocalypse allows for small amounts of ammo/ mags/ parts to trickle out of .mil and .leo hands the AR offers a considerable advantage. That being said I would absolutely take a Yugo M70 over a bottom end no name AR (Franken parts gun or factory). If the goal was an AK pattern rifle and cost was a consideration (eliminating Rifle Dynamics, Krebs and other high end custom jobs as well as the production but uuber pricey Arsenal) I would without a doubt suggest the Zastava M70 PAP.

Would I choose one over Project AR, definitely not, but price wise that is talking apples and way, way more expensive apples.

On a tangent I was drinking beers and BSing with bro in law and building an AR came up in the discussion. I took a minute to roughly tabulate the total cost of project AR and almost shite myself. It was about $2,400 though that includes a Burris MTAC, a LA Rue mount, a Surefire light and a free floating rail. Honestly I built that rifle in a situation where I did not need a rifle but wanted to build a really good one, not totally disregarding cost but going for quality with the goal of doing it right the first time so as to not want to go back in 3-4 years and do it better. While I might drop a better trigger like a Giselle in there I am fundamentally totally thrilled with the rifle.


If I were living on a boat or in a travel trailer so was thus limited on # or weapons and wanted a quality genuine go to war rifle that I wouldn't cry if it got lost the M-70 would be the ticket. A Yugo AK with a dozen mags and a case or two of 7.62x39 ammo is enough defensive rifle for anything I'll face. Honestly if I can't fight my way out of a situation with that rifle it likely will not happen with another rifle.

FerFAL did a video worth watching not so long ago.
There are things in this video I disagree with and others I agree with. Like anyone who has been involved in an event that was very powerful our friend FerFAL may be a bit focused on the specific scenario that he lived through in Argentina in 2001. No doubt his experiences were significant and powerful that being said it is easy for a person to to stovepipe on a scenario they were involved in.

 I am not exactly focused that everyone carries a full sized Glock (or M&P/ whatever) all the time. If we focused entirely on an economic collapse scenario where things were going bad that idea has some merit. The problem is our friend, who is genuinely a good person doing good things, speaks only from the view of his experiences.

I am not against packing  full sized pistola at all. However A) Baring genuinely crazy situations most folks will not carry them and B) Depending on your scenario a lot less gun could work just fine. Down here in CENLA I am comfortable with a single stack 9 or a 5 shot j frame. Granted if I was in Houston or NOLA  all the time I would carry Glock 19 or larger with 2 spare mage and probably have a folding stock AKor AR 'pistol' in my vehicle just in case.

Where I agree strongly with FerFAL is about stuff I have talked before.  Southnarc a said the same things  which mesh heavily with Street Robberies and You. Take away's actively engage people with eye contact. Should that not be sufficient get a good firing grip on your handgun. IMO this matters a lot. First because it shows the crooks you are packing which convinces them to go elsewhere, second it drops your time to draw radically, third because if you should get into a close up fight having a good firing grip on your pistola almost guarantees nobody will shoot you with it.


Anyway that is what I saw around the web recently. Hope you found it as interesting as I did.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How Much Ammo Is Enough?

I was discussing how many guns you really need and Tpals asked for my thoughts on ammo. Also today I saw Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man's thoughts on How Much Ammo Is Enough today. Peters thinking certainly has merit. Take it for what it is worth.

I discussed that matter about 4 years back and again about a year ago.

To briefly recap my thoughts. The kind of scenario you are worried about matters a lot here.  Normal everyday defensive stuff just doesn't require a lot of ammo. If you live on a ranch out by the Mexican border and genuinely might end up in a running gun fight with a bunch of drug runners or could get caught in a Hurricane [While not part of our current topic Peters posts on Katrina and Rita as well as Gustav are definitely worth reading. Learn from others so you can avoid the pitfalls of their mistakes.] or a serious riot more ammo would make sense. If you are worried about progressively darker scenarios add ammo (and of course other supplies) as appropriate.
 
A big part of how much ammo is enough for you is WHAT MAKES YOU PERSONALLY COMFORTABLE. One could say this about preparedness as a whole. Anyway moving on.

Personally I am very comfortable with:
Defensive rifle- 3,000 rounds
Defensive pistol- 1,000 rounds
Shotgun- 1,000 rounds mixed between buckshot, slugs, small game shot like #4 and birdshot
.22lr- 5,000 rounds
Hunting rifle- 1,000 rounds/ 500 rounds*

Wish I could say these numbers were the product of painstaking analysis based on the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as riots, disasters and other events. However that is not the case. Somewhere between my various experiences and an affinity for nice even numbers I decided that the above listed numbers make sense for me. they may or may not work well for you.

* When I posted this a few years ago hunting rifle ammo was a topic of discussion. Anyway when relooking the ammo counts I came up with years ago I generally agreed with them all but the hunting ammo was worth revisiting. With 30-30 at 80 cents to a dollar a round for SP type hunting ammo, .308 FMJ (brass cased) around 90 cents; Federal 150gr SP hunting ammo at a bit over a buck and 30'06 about the same as .308 cost is definitely a consideration here.

Especially since actual harvesting of big game does not require a lot of rounds I can see the sentiment. On this subject Pastor Joe Fox mentioned that the year before writing The Survivalist Family he fired 6 shots, 3 to confirm zero and 1 each for the three deer he killed. Our longtime friend Chris's math figured pessimistically more like a box to zero and more for hunting to total 40 rounds a year.

My specific concern here is for folks who have a hunting rifle as their only centerfire rifle. Guys for whom the '06 or whatever deer rifle is their only real rifle.  The logic of 'I hunt on 20 rounds a year so 3x20 is 3 years of ammo' works sorta OK if the deer rifle is behind an AR/ AK in the safe but it doesn't work if that is the rifle you grab to get into a fight.

If folks have a defensive rifle with a decent stock of ammo and want to keep a bit less ammo for their hunting rifle I wouldn't argue against it. Also I would want to make sure they are not relying on that rifle for long range/ precision as part of a core defensive plan to hold say a long winding road going into a canyon or whatever. If those two conditions are both met less ammo seems just fine. I think 500 rounds seems pretty reasonable to me.  Anyway moving on.

The goals I laid out are not as ambitious as some but more than others. I think that for most folks given some planning they can be met within a reasonable time frame. Also they are generally high enough that if you are most of the way there the situation is pretty decent still. I generally try to set goals that are realistically attainable but aggressive enough that if you fall a bit low you're still in a good spot.

Honestly for all but the darkest scenarios half of what I like would likely be fine. If landed into the LA Riots (aside from that I wasn't shaving yet;) or Hurricane Katrina say visiting a friend or whatever with half of my goals; say an AK with a case and a half of Tuna 7.62x39 JHP, a Glock 9mm with 500 rounds of 9mm 115gr JHP, a shotgun with 500 rounds of ammo and a .22 with 2,500 I would be fine. Whatever issues I had they would not be ammo related.

I should note these counts are for core type weapons. I'm not saying you need to go this deep for every gun that you own. Like many folks maybe you happen to have an oddball (common caliber or otherwise but doesn't fit your plans) like the .38 S&W revolver Grandpa passed down, a .22-250 you shot Coyotes with for awhile or whatever. What it is smart/ necessary to do for that gun depends on how deep you are in core type weapons and ammo. If you have four AR's with a deep stash of ammo and a pair of .308 hunting rifles with a case of ammo between em you can go light on the heirloom/ oddball in the safe. On the other hand if you are a bit lighter on guns then everything matters.

Of course next is the guns overall viability. Say a little heirloom Browning knock off .25 that hasn't been fired since political candidates wore hats is worth a spare mag and a box of ammo while a more viable weapon like a .303 Enfield or .30 Carbine a relative brought back from the big one it would be smart to stash at least a couple hundred rounds.

I should note these counts have some margin for barter/ charity as well as sighting in optics, periodic test fires, etc but do not specifically include training. I keep a bit of ammo above that for training.

Think that pretty much overs my thoughts on ammo. 

Suppose I should touch on mags.

I like 20 per fighting rifle, and 10 per fighting pistol. As to pocket pistols, hunting rifles, rimfire, etc 4-6 seems sufficient. In this context I am more concerned about replacing a mag that wears out than fighting reloads.

Anyway I think that covers my thoughts on ammo and mags. Am interested in hearing the numbers for mags and ammo that make you happy and probably more interestingly the thinking behind it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tiny- A Story About Living Small

We started watching Tiny- A Story About Living Small on Netflix. Pretty interesting. Lots of people living in tiny houses between about 120 to 250ish square feet. Lots of them are built on utility trailers. Their individual reasons vary between environmental and economic with lots of intermix between the two. Honestly the whole thing is pretty hipsterish so if that bothers you it might not be the movie for you.

A pretty interesting concept for sure. However the need to seriously minimize possessions is a bit problematic, especially for us survivalists who tend to accumulate all manner of stuff.  Honestly I am guilty of this. Part of it is practical. Having redundant redundancy to your back up's as well as more than a few guns, cases of ammo and a bunch of food won't work in a house that is smaller than my kitchen.

Wifey mentioned early on a lot of these folks would be better off just buying RV's or travel trailers.

Also noteably they seem to be single or couples without kids.

The concept of having a paid off home is huge. Honestly this is something that seriously interests me and even at the best possible projection I could not have a paid off more conventional, even pretty normal, home inside of a decade. We would have to seriously adjust our expectations to shave that to cash on hand or say a 2 year plan.

This sort of thing certainly is not for everyone. I have difficulty imagining living in such a tiny house for any length of time. Honestly I could do it but would need a shed or big ole barn with a root cellar to store supplies, bolt down the gun safe, etc. That is admittedly sort of gaming the scenario and it would make more sense to just have an apartment in the loft of the barn.

I cannot imagine living in such a place with kids.

I do not think the truly tiny homes are a break through so much as I think the idea of smaller, generally more affordable, homes is. A family of 4-6 in a 200 square foot house would not work but the range of options between say 300 square feet and 1,000 sf has a lot of space to work with.

Personally I can think of two individuals I know who have done things that roughly fit 'in the middle'.

An uncle has lived for years in a roughly 600 square foot cabin. It is well designed with 2 small bedrooms, a bathroom and 'not so' great room with the kitchen and living room divided by a nice big brick fireplace. He loves it though admits if he built it (he is a contractor) it would have a loft.

A friend of mine built a small 1 bedroom house a few years ago. All in it cost him about 40k spread out over 2 years. His place is about 800 sq ft. Next he built a huge 2 story shop. When they had the second kid an always conceptually planned addition of 2 more bedrooms a family room and another bathroom got put into motion. With cash of course.

Anyway that movie was pretty interesting. Also it lead to some interesting conversations with Wifey. You might want to check it out.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

PMAG 30 AK Initial Impressions

Picked up a couple of these PMAG 30 AK mags not too long ago. Fiddled with it a little bit. Initial impressions are as follows:

- A lot lighter than a standard Euro surplus AK mag or even one of the lighter thinner metal ones. This shouldn't be a big surprise but given that it is a relatively heavy rifle anyway ounces count.

-Looks like, like a thicker curvy sibling to a normal PMAG. Like it's brick house but still hot sister.

-While normal AK mags seem to work fine without an anti tilt follower it is still a nice touch.

-Initially fit was a bit tight in my rifle. This was sort of a concern for me as these rifles have been made to so many slightly different specifications in so many places over the years it could be a problem. I honestly had to pull pretty hard to get it to seat. After the first couple times practicing the reload it seemed to shave a little bit off the sidewalls and worked just fine after.

-This does bring up a point of concern for me. PMAGs last basically forever in AR's but the attachment mechanism is a lot less strenuous on the mag. The AK mag style could be a lot rougher on the plastic of the mag, especially the front piece that has to hook onto the rifle before you 'rock' the mag in. Time will tell I guess.

- Value seems pretty good with street prices in the $14-16 range. Lucky Gunner has them for $15. Five years ago I would say $15ish AK mags would be a non starter but with surplus ones rising in price and getting worse in quality every year it isn't a bad deal.

I don't know that you NEED to run out and replace already functional mags with these but if you are short on mags it might be worth looking at them.

Oh yeah and Lucky Gunner is selling a case of Tula 7.62x39 for $229.

Have you got any PMAG 30 AK mags? If so what do you think of them?



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libertors, Emergency Funds and Random Thoughts

I finished the new Jim Rawles book Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse . It was excellent. Started working on the review and should have it done in the next couple days.

TEOTWAWKI Blog wrote an excellent post on Emergency Funds. This utterly non sexy part of preparedness is equally important and ignored in survivalism. The honest truth is you are going to need $500 to pay for a car repair or an unexpected doctor visit or cover a short paycheck than you will need a case of Tula 7.62x39 hp ammo (on sale for $229!) for the family AK or fish antibiotics.

You, yes you, seriously need an emergency fund. I do not care what sort of preps you have put back you need cash. Buckets full of rice will not put a new transmission in the family hauler a hundred and fifty miles from home.

As Alexander Wolfe noted it is prudent for some of this money should be in physical cash and readily available. It doesn't take much for the credit card system to fall apart in a disaster as there are a lot of potential points of failure. How much physical cash should you have on hand? I think for most people a months cash expenses (typically food, fuel, incidentals) is a pretty decent starting point.

It was not an accident that I picked a months cash expenses over a $$$ amount. The reason is dollar amounts do not factor in your situation. Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance is single and lives disability [Due to a medical issue, not the point of this post. Only mentioned it because it speaks to her income and applies to this situation]. $500 would last her a whole lot longer than Justin C's family of 8.

As of late I have started putting a little bit of money into different kits. $40 in various small bills will help in a lot of scenarios. I keep a fair bit of cash in my wallet shooting for around $200 and using $100 as 'zero' but maybe somehow I could end up with my bag but not wallet.

The idea of an S&W Shield is popping into my head again. Maybe next month.

Anyway I've got to go read some stories. Should have the Liberators review out for you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Survivalist Frusteration

I was fortunate to come into survivalism with a decent background that gave me a lot of useful skills. I spent my growing up years tramping around the woods and mountains doing all manner of outdoor activity then the latter part of my teens doing sucky jobs, some of which taught me stuff, while spending my evenings learning to break people in a formal setting then occasionally applying that on the weekends. My young adulthood was spent running around in the woods and desert with guns doing all sorts of things.

By the time I got into college and then survivalism I had a lot of skills folks pay big money to get. Since then my military skills as an individual combatant, leader and planner have increased exponentially. After that I went for a tour in the high mountainous desert.

Yet there are skills I do not have. Honestly aside from the mythical uuber survivalist who grew up on an off grid organic farm then left the farm to become a genuine JSOC Jedi and after the service became a medical doctor we all have holes in our skill sets.

I have been trying to work on those holes. The little stuff was easy like figuring out  world band radio. I built an AR which wasn't too much of  a reach. Now I'm going even further.

The garden has been a struggle. Last year it was OK despite losing a few tomatoes to the birds. This year has been a big giant ball of fail. Due to no fault of my own (didn't think a garden was going to work) I got a late start. Walker killed my seedlings. The potatoes rotted. Got some plants to give it another go. Now my veggies seem to be rotting before they are ripe.

It has been a very frustrating and not at all cost effective year of gardening so far.

Recently purchased a rifle that should be very accurate and fill a much needed niche in my collection. This rifle that should be a sub moa gun has shot like a 30-30 or an AK. Admittedly precision marksmanship hasn't really been my discipline of choice but something is wrong here.

This shit is turning activities that should be making me calmer and happier into very frustrating ventures to say the least.Trying to step past some annoying moments and a long work day I can look or the silver lining in the shit cloud.

The silver lining is that

 1) these failures show I am pushing my boundaries and working on new skills. It is easy to stash cans of food and cases of 62 grain 5.56 (PMX XTAC available for $369 at Lucky Gunner! Smokin deal!) and that is useful as you do need it but you also need other skills. We all have to get away from our comfort zones to round out our weak skills. Some super gardener and canner extraordinaire whose defense plan is a hand me down .38 snubby with the save 5 bullets it's had for 40 years has the opposite problem I do. Also

2) I am having these failures now while they are annoying but honestly do not matter. They are frustrating and humbling but aside from a shot to the ego there is no penalty.

What have you failed at lately?


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fiddling With The Problem Child Bolt Action Rifle

So a particular rifle isn't shooting like it should, even slinging Remington Premier Gold Match 168 grain ammo it is grouping like doo dooo. Sunday I sprayed it down with oil then put it away due to general irritation.

Did some reading about common problems n such during the week.

Today I pulled it out of the safe. First I cleaned it because that is just a good thing to do.

Next I checked every bolt that held the rail to the rifle and the rings to the rail. Tightened a couple up. Next I checked the action bolts and tightened them up a bit. It wasn't like they were finger loose or anything but I turned all three a bit tighter. Not a smoking gun but maybe between a variety of not entirely tight bolts it could explain things.

So hopefully a combination of small things fixed the problem. Or maybe I was just holding it wrong and there was not a problem at all and things will be fine next time.  Anyway this will probably be one of those things that gets resolved without a definite answer on what the problem was. Fine by me, just want the darn thing to shoot at least halfway up to its potential.

In 2 weeks I will be back at a range and may have the opportunity to shoot it again. My plan is to bring a variety of ammo such as some 150 grain soft points and maybe some other hunting type ammo and some American Eagle ball to see what shoots best in the gun.

Also I am going to rest the gun a lot closer to the action bolt as the front of the stock flexes like the morality of a liberal. 

Hopefully next time the gun will shoot more consistently. There are things I want to this rifle eventually (nice mil dot scope, upgrade the stock, etc) but don't want to throw money at a bolt gun which shoots like a 30-30 or an AK.

So that is that.

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?





Sunday, July 27, 2014

Today and Random Thoughts Theiron

I like:
-Waking up fairly early feeling refreshed on the weekend
-Iced coffee
-The Savage Accutrigger
-Shooters. The Rangemaster and a buddy were playing clay pigeons on the berm at 100m with a pair of very nice .22 rifles.  Rangemaster's .22  had a can and a green lens flashlight mounted above the scope. Dude totally killissomething or another at night. As he worked at different types of ammo he asked to look at the box of .22lr I was shooting out of to look at the velocity or something. I said of course he was welcome to take a look. He then asked if he could have a few rounds to see how it shot in his gun.

[The last time I was at this range a 15ish year old teenager (from overhearing a conversation with his mom who dropped him off there) was shooting some sort of a Marlin .22 like the bullets were made of gold. Given availability these days and that he was too young to have likely stocked up in the old days to him those little suckers were very precious. Either they cost a bunch of money or he spent a ton of time and effort looking for them.

It made me sad for the kid. When I was that age .22lr cost nothing. Centerfire ammo cost money so on quarterly family range trips we usually went out with just a box or two of .38 special but there was always a brick of .22 present we could shoot it with reckless abandon till we got bored and wanted to go home. I was not shooting .22 that day so I didn't bring any but really wished I'd had some .22 ammo some with me. I would give him a handful and told him to have some fun. It'd cost me $3-5 in ammo to make that kids day.

Thankfully by a combination of prudence to have a decent stock beforehand and a few finds after firearmagedon I can afford to be a bit charitable. Anyway today I tossed an extra inflation adjusted 300ish round brick into my range bag before going out. Had I seen that kid or a Dad an Son short on ammo I would have given them some ammo.]

I said sure and told him to take a handful, genuinely meaning it. He took 5 rounds.

Later on we got to talking. As we discussed my effort to zero the .308 I confessed forgetting to look up the drop table for my round before going to the range. He came back in a minute with a smart phone and a convenient app to look it up for me. He also gave me some excellent pointers, albeit with occasional tangents and rants, about marksmenship. Anyway he was an interesting fellow. Anybody who comes to the range with a silenced SIG 1911 and a tricked out Savage .22 with a silencer and a light above the scope is worth having a few conversations with.

While that particular shooting situation was frustrating I had a nice talk with a good guy. Suppose there are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

-Jim Rawles's new book Liberators

-The news that DC's exclusively 'only one' carry policy was over struck. Unsure of what it means exactly yet but it seems good for team freedom and could have big implications.
-My gun belt and holster. This setup is working which makes me happy. More on this another day.
-Cold beer after a hot range trip
-That my family is coming home soon
-The part of my garden that is doing well. Should have some peppers and tomatoes around the end of summer.
-That tomorrow I will be near a Whattaburger around lunch time. Going to get the BBQ chicken sandwich. They are so good.
-That Pandora seems to have really figured out my old Country and Southern Rock station.

I dislike:
-Humidity
-That my years of training and shooting based around hitting a man sized target, albeit in different positions,  at various ranges, under various conditions and sometimes stress is not translating particularly well to making nice small groups in a precision sort of way.
-The moment when I realized either A) That an old scope I stored, pretty carefully though it surely got a few bumps, which in no small part made a current project affordable is not taking adjustments and/ or holding a zero or B) In the words of Tam I was 'holding it wrong".

Why I shoot much more accurately with an AR slinging respectable but nothing special   62 grain PMC M855 than a bolt action .308 caliber rifle that is theoretically capable of much more accuracy slinging Remington  Premier Match 168 grain Sierra Match Kings I am not sure. I am well under 2 MOA with the AR at 100 and today was over 3MOA with the bolt gun. Part of it is certainly that I shoot the AR platform a fair bit and am far more comfortable with it. The other part I am not certain about and it is leaving me more than a little frustrated. Really hate leaving the range without all my goals complete and frustrated.

Am going to take it out again in a couple weeks at my next opportunity. Pretty sure today that it was a combination of a long hot day at the range and over thinking the whole thing.

-The part of my garden that is not doing well
-Folding laundry mountain

So that has been my day. Thoughts?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ammo Delivery Day!!!

Today a couple boxes showed up at my door. The first was 200 rounds of Remington Premier Gold Match 168 Grain plus a bit of overage to zero a scope and the second was a case of 7.62x39 Wolf.

The Wolf was sort of an impulse purchase based on the ban on some Russian AK's. It honestly shorted the prep fund which means some other projects will slide to the right but I'm not sad to have my ammo situation a bit better off. In 2 months things will be moving fine and I'll still have the ammo.

It might seem like I've gone into overdrive on ammo lately. In part I am making up for a tendency to not get something squared away before buying the next cool new gun over the years. Also my biggest take away from Firearamagedon was the need to have some ammo for training, test fires, zeroing new optics, etc that is separate from my operational stash. Obviously this meant buying ammo.

Furthermore I have tentatively penciled in some sort of a gun related hysteria for the general period of the 2016 election cycle. It makes sense to purchase a bit more ammo now then go harder into food or the titan ready water barrel system I really want a bit later.

Remember smart people buy when the prices are low then hold or sell when they go up. Suckers miss the low points and only buy when prices are way up.

Have you been taking advantage of the good prices on weapons, mags and (excluding .22lr) ammo?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Russian Siaga and VEPR AK style Rifles Banned by EO

An executive order was signed banning importation of certain weapons from Kalashnikov Concern including Siaga rifles as well as shotguns and VEPR rifles. All of these are basically AK's. Tam's take on it that she is ambivalent about that stuff but concerned about ammo manufacturers being added to the list is in line with my thinking. Personally I have zero desire to get a Siaga shotgun since A) they rarely function well with a wide variety of ammo and B) Anything a Siaga can do an actual AK pattern rifle can do better.

I doubt this ban will be dropped. Heck NORICO stuff is still banned here for absolutely no good reason. As to whether the companies and or weapons involved can be rebranded and get permission to import is an open ended question. Maybe the Siaga could become the Tiaga or something.

My concern is about ammo. Folks running com bloc rifles that shoot stuff like Wolf/ Silverbear/ Tula in 7.62x39 or 5.45 depend on ammo that comes from Eastern Europe to make those rifles economically viable. Additionally the economic viability of the Mosin Nagant depends on readily available low priced 7.62x54R ammo. It is worth noting that much of this stuff is made in other countries such as the Ukraine, Poland and Romania but it is not unthinkable that, due to overlapping company holdings and or political power the ban list could grow.

Personally I am going to take a look at my own situation. I was fine on AK mags and am now definitely good thanks to the help of a buddy. Way above my 20 (per rifle) happy zone. So that is good. As to ammo, you can always use more. If you rely on an AK pattern rifle for defensive use it would be prudent to look at your ammo situation. Hoss USMC's idea to get about 3 years of normal use purchased NOW is a sound one. For me assessing on the heavy side a case of 7.62x39 Wolf ammo would cover it.

Now I urge you to take a deep breath and not panic buy. There are a lot of maybe's here and most stuff banned has competitors from other countries/ brands that can fill the same role. Think about your needs and come to a reasonable decision. If you can use a case of ammo by all means get one but don't blow your life savings trying to make a mountain with cases of Wolf 7.62x39.


Last minute edit to include:
I dug out my inventory to actually see where things stand. Mags, 200% of my stockage goal of 20 per gun on AK mags. Do want to pick up some of the new AK PMAGs just to try em out. If nothing else they are light and not covered in cosmoline, attributes my eastern European surplus mags do not have.

Begin tangent. Personally when it comes to numbers of mags I like 10 per fighting pistol and 20 per fighting rifle. These nice round numbers roughly align (it would be 9 and 21) with 3 full fighting loads per official US Army whatever. These are the numbers where I am comfortable. For a sporting or otherwise not explicitly tactical weapon I would be comfortable with less, say 5 ish.

Do note this is PER GUN. So if you have 4 Glocks it would be 40 mags, 5 AR's would be 100mags.

Honestly these numbers really are not based on anything concrete. A long time ago I thought about it for awhile and these are what I came up with. I figured a combat load of mags, a full replacement load in case the original ones are lost/ damaged/ worn out and some spares for barter or charity.These numbers are where I am comfortable and reasonable people may differ on that topic.If somebody said they were comfortable with 6 pistol mags and 14 rifle mags I wouldn't argue with them. Then again if someone wanted 20 pistol mags and 50 rifle mags I would not argue with them either.

Wouldn't say I have necessarily changed from my thinking on mag numbers over the years. Would however say that I have been trying to front load magazine purchases for guns I plan to buy down the road. This has been an easy decision since I generally stick to AR, AK, Ruger 10/22 and Glock 9mm platforms.  Also the idea of a few mags set away here or there appeals to me a lot. In any case I seem to be vastly over my numbers on most mags. End tangent.

As to ammo I am right about at my stockage goal of 3,000 rounds (per rifle) but decided to order another case of Wolf 7.62x39 JHP for $230 from Lucky Gunner anyway. I had the cash to do it and now, in line with Hoss's idea, I have some 7.62x39 ammo set aside for training.  Interestingly in the time it took to do this post they sold 4 cases of the stuff in a half hour on Saturday afternoon. Folks might be getting worried.

As to spare parts I have a full set (minus receiver) per rifle. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get a few more of the prone to breaking stuff, extractor, ejector, firing pin, springs, etc. Will add that to the list. 

So that is the news and what I think you may want to do about it. What do you think?




Friday, July 18, 2014

Stormy All Over

The weather here in Central Louisiana has been crazy. This morning it poured down rain, calmed down for a bit but was still a cool mid 70's and dark. This afternoon it dumped down rain again. I suspect we've had a few inches of rain today. When it rains like this everything floods down here. The general lack of meaningful terrain combined with the clay soil makes for water pooling up all over the place in fields, slightly low points in roads and the like.

As to the world it is all pretty much going to hell in a hand basket.

Pretty much the entire Arab world is a mess. Specifically Syria and Iraq have significant issues as of late. I have been meaning to talk about them in detail but that is for another day.

The Israelis invaded Gaza early this morning their time. This most current bout of that old fight seems to have started with 3 Israeli teenagers getting killed which lead to various retaliatory measures which were answered with rocket attacks. That led to the Israeli ground invasion.

Oh yeah and somebody, probably Russia backed paramilitary and or Spetznaz rebels, shot down a commercial airliner over Eastern Ukraine. It was a Malaysian flight (talk about bad luck after the Lost plane crash) that seems to have been predominantly full of Dutch people. For one this goes to show  the chaos of that situation. For two this sort of incident can draw the public eye and lead to other nations getting involved. Reference the Lusitania.

Our friend Harry talks about all this stuff as well as how our economy as well as our Southern Border are entirely screwed

Some days are certainly worse than others but this one does not seem good.

Here at TSLRF we recommend investing in canned food and shotguns. For those who already own a smooth bore or two put your money into shotgun shells.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Just One of Those Days



Woke up in a bad mood and everything that happened at work was only successful in making it worse. I knew full well that anything people did would push my buttons and am mature enough to consider that but even then cause was definitely given. Nothing that terrible, especially since I am in a job where people literally die even in garrison, but really annoying stuff.

Today I wanted to pick up a box of Remington 168 grain Premium Match and spent my lunch hour driving to a gun store. They wanted almost $40 for a box! Silly when I can get a box of the exact same Remington 168 gr Premium Match for $30 or 200 rounds of the same stuff for $275.I'll probably buy 200 tomorrow but want to sleep on it plus my luck today is shit so I'm sure the order would get all messed up.

Note: One could potentially guess at an acquisition that has been made as well as a concept of use from this discussion. Will not currently confirm or deny anything. At this point I might be trying to figure some things out and am really not sure where it is all going to settle.  In a couple weeks or maybe a couple months we might have a conversation about something but that is a for another day.

Anyway the day started bad and went worse. The golden girls only laid 2 eggs today and somehow I managed to crack them both. Don't especially need the eggs as the produce way more than I individually eat but it was still annoying.

So to get through the rest of the day I am going to have a couple drinks, work on re watching Justified and probably nuking something for a late dinner. After that I will go to bed and hopefully sleep soundly. Maybe tomorrow will suck less. Hope your day was better than mine.








Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bolt Action and Precision Rifles Continued

For reasons not yet to be disclosed I have been thinking about bolt action and precision rifles. Sort of want to continue our recent discussion on bolt action rifles.

Inescapable Facts:
-The gun you want to carry all day long in the field is not the one you want to use when you need to make multiple rapid accurate shots at distance. A light rifle with a relatively thin barrel is great for 2 shots at an animal, and can even be quite accurate but is not capable of keeping any rate of fire without the barrel getting hot and accuracy going to hell. On the other hand a heavy bull barreled rifle with a huge scope and a massive free floating bedded stock is perfect for shooting but sucks to carry. Splitting the middle can be the best of both worlds or the worst of them.

     Food for thought here. Can your goals all realistically be met with one bolt action rifle? Do you need two of them? Maybe a semi auto that is reliable but not quite precision accurate,
 like a PTR-91 or a nice light to haul around hunting rifle and then a 
big heavy accurate lead slinger?

- Weight, accuracy (particularly sustained accuracy; far more important in a tactical scenario than a hunting one) and price are sort of like that old saying about fast cheap and easy. You really get to pick two.

-While some companies (Burris and the lower end Leupolds come to mind) bend the cost curve a bit good glass costs money.

Semi automatic rifles in a precision context.

Chris made an interesting point about an intentionally set up AR but I think it is an awfully carefully worded one and still has the issue of penetration. It is true newer 75+ grain like the 77 grain Sierra Match King Remington Premier have far better terminal ballistics than M193 or M855. However it is still true that at the 5.56 cartridge can reach out accurately a good bit further than it can hit with authority, paper and people are not the same things.

As of recent years the military and tactical precision communities have been shifting rapidly to semi automatic .308 caliber rifles. We could debate whether this is strictly (I know it is at least partially) out of needs identified in Iraq and Afghanistan or that folks have started making semi automatic rifles accurate enough to really do the job. The second theory is hurt considerably by the M14 having that level of accuracy for some time.

Anyway I would contend that high quality semi automatic rifles, the most common being in the AR-10 SASS/ M110/ SR-25 and M14/M1A varieties are capable of every bit of accuracy as bolt action rifles. So let's talk pluses and minuses.

Positives of semi automatic precision rifles
-Rate of fire. Duh.

-Capacity and reload time. Typically twenty rounds in a detachable box mag vs 5 in a fixed mag for a bolt gun. Simple mag change vs shoving rounds into a blind mag.

-Defensive capability. When carrying bolt guns military snipers would also carry a standard type rifle such as a CAR-15 or M4 for their personal defense, cuz a bolt action sniper rifle sucks in a 50 meter run and gun scenario. With an M1A or an AR-10 they could just carry one rifle.

Negatives of semi automatic precision rifles
-Cost. To get an AR-10 that will equal or beat the 1MOA or less accuracy of an out of the box $500 Savage or Remington you would probably need to drop 2 grand. An M1A would cost even more. I wish you could get that level of accuracy out of a PTR-91, or even a CEMTE or FrankenFAL, but that is just not the real world.

[We could debate the necessary accuracy and if it was dropped to 2 MOA that might open up more AR-10's but as a general guideline the semi affordable AR-10's just do not seem to work all that well. No such thing as a free lunch there.

There may be some exceptions here but to say I am confident a DPMS, Bushmaster, etc AR-10 is A) reliable enough to be a fighting weapon and B) accurate enough for precision applications would be a lie. In fact I think the exact opposite of both of those statements. If your gun is the exception then I am happy for you. I do hope as the market develops and standardization along the M110 pattern shows dividends that we will start to see better and more affordable AR-10's.]

-Weight. Robust semi auto rifles such as AR-10's or M1A's are just heavy.

-Reliability. The need for accuracy in a precision rifle means we are dealing with good guns but there are simply a lot more things to go wrong in one of these than a plain old bolt gun.

Personally for me cost is the biggest single factor working against a semi automatic precision rifle. I can get a good bolt gun for $500-600 while a Bravo Company, LaRue, Colt, etc AR-10 is going to cost around 2k.

So that is what was kicking around my head today. Thoughts?






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.
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