Showing posts with label Project Upgrade AR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Project Upgrade AR. Show all posts

Monday, March 2, 2015

Running, Rifles and Different Things

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

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

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

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

What are your plans for next week?

Monday, February 16, 2015

AR Optics, Caches and Randomness

Alexander Wolfe discusses optics for the AR. He is leaning hard towards a red dot, specifically an Aimpoint Micro. His comment about weight is valid. The weight of my MTAC is listed by midway at 17 ounces. Of course it needs a mount so that is is going to be a few more ounces. Alex's figure of one weighing a pound and a half is not unrealistic. Depending on how heavily you weigh those ounces in your overall equation that could be a significant consideration.

Then again to play devils advocate the way to make a light weight AR is to keep it simple, iron sights, plastic hand guards, etc. The only additional piece I would put on is a light as that is a genuine capability you can't work around. This means no rail, no optic, no fore grip, no lasers, etc. 

Whether this weight is worthwhile as a trade off is an interesting question. Overall the AR is a light rifle so an extra pound isn't going to make it a drag to pack around. Next we have to talk about accuracy. In my moderately informed opinion pretty much everybody shoots better at any distance over 100m with a magnified optic. While it is true red dot's can be used to engage targets out to, and past, 300m that is usually for a basic body shot against a silhouette of a standing man sized target. Also worth noting the ability to really identify an distinguish targets at any distance with a red dot (0 magnification) is nil. Yes you can shoot to 300-400m but you probably can't really tell if that person is an actual threat or not.

The point that a normal civilian (vs a soldier, etc) will not likely need to fight with a rifle at a couple hundred meters is valid. Cases of normal folks getting in legitimate (vs murder) gun fights at or past 100 meters or so are at best very rare. Honestly I have never heard of one but admittedly I haven't done a ton of research into the topic. That being said one can also make a very legitimate argument a normal American does not in fact need a mag fed military pattern rifle at all. A good shotgun set up for defensive use like my 870p or Alexander's 590 is plenty of gun for burglars or to make someone get off your lawn in a hurricane.

The thing is that I did not put the money and effort into setting up a pretty nice AR because I am worried about a couple meth heads trying to steal my TV. My shotgun amply covers that scenario. I own a military pattern rifle because I enjoy them and am ever so slightly worried something really bad could happen. I'm talking riots, civil unrest, EMP, racial crap, war, etc. The kind of ugly scenarios where I might have to fight multiple individuals in a defensive situation or engage in offensive operations against some sort of threat. If the situation is bad enough that I need my AR I might well need to use it at a 2 or 3 hundred yards.

Generally speaking the benefits of a rifle are that they are effective at long distance and hit really hard. For military pattern rifles add self loading and high capacity to the mix. I fear that parts of the 'tactical community', including some big names are so focused on absolute speed in CQB and end up making optics choices that hinder 400+ meter guns from their maximum potential for the trade off of being a bit better at 0-25/ under 100m.. This neuters the power of the rifle to reach out and touch someone. You could make a legitimate argument all CQB type concerns can he handled with a shotgun. If the goal is a rifle set up for a CQB/ home defense or something is great but for a more general purpose rifle, that might need to reach out and touch someone it is not my ideal setup.While the modern defensive rifle is arguably handier than the shotgun the real benefit is that while it can also be used for door kicking it can also be used to shoot people at a quarter mile or more away. I am not anti red dot it is just that a magnified optic brings so much to the table and the low bottom end (say 1-1.5) mitigates most of the down sides. As to CQB speed at in home ranges, say under 6 or 7 meters one could make a legitimate argument it will be front sight them bang. Heck, I've done some pretty decent CQB stuff by reflex without looking at any sights.

On another note our friend Meister wrote about his 'grey man cache.' Very cool stuff. That is something I would like to emulate in the not so distant future.

On a really weird note Bradley Cooper and Betty White made out on SNL. That is so random I don't know what to say about it.

This evening we watched The Interview. It was enjoyable. I would recommend it to others.

Hope you all have a good night.

Friday, February 13, 2015

AR-15's, Ham Radio and Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you all have any big plans this weekend?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

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

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

What worked out well:

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

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

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

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

What I have mixed feelings about:

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

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

What I'm not so sure about:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway I hope it helps Alexander with his project.

What do you all think?

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At LPC survival they have a Mountain House classic assortment on sale for $71.99

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Dowanna Haz AR Pistol?

An AR Pistol has been on my list for awhile now. Came into a bit of cash for Christmas and planned to get started. Now a couple weeks have gone by and I haven't done anything on that. Got to wondering why that is.

Maybe it is just sheer laziness? Maybe it is that the local gun store I planned to get a lower southern 'I own a small business but want to fail' hours where their entire business model is people buying their stuff but they close at 5 pm? Then again it could be something else. I wonder why this goal has been on the radar for awhile but hasn't been completed.

Could be I am not totally sure on my planned concept of use. Maybe it doesn't justify the need for a whole new AR (like that really matters ha ha ha ha)? The whole silliness about the Sig Arm Braces is a consideration too. Odds are it is all silliness but especially since the AR pistol is already on shaky (whether the dealer checks rifle or other is compliant vs a felony) ground it is a concern. Maybe some poor guy's life will get ruined over this mess and I would prefer for the chance of it being me to stay at zero. The advice to only buy an AR pistol that comes from the factory with a brace is conservative, but still prudent, advice.

Also as Alexander Wolfe noted the difference between a 11.5in AR and a 14.5in AR is 3 inches. Those 3 inches put an AR into a solid legal footing and let you have a real butt stock. Plus I already have a pretty nice AR with a 14.5in barrel.

Going to think the whole thing over for a bit. Maybe I'll focus (my firearm efforts) on building up ammo stocks this year. Maybe I'll buy another AR of the 16 or 18 in flavor. These days there are a lot of decent rifles in the $750 range but some part of me says to save a couple more C notes and get a Colt or BCM. I dunno.

Thoughts?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts?

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.



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.

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?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Magnified Optics on Fighting Rifles


Saw this video and found it to be interesting. As a general rule I like 1 magnification red dot type optics for CQB type stuff. They are the fastest thing out there. The downside is they are not great at long range. In fairness you can HIT at fairly long ranges with them (say 300-400m) but the issue is target identification. As Peter noted in Thoughts on Combat Weapon Sights for Civilians this is significant. I'd really like to be sure what I am shooting at since as a Civilian I do not have the type of functional immunity that cops and soldiers who act semi reasonably (or not) tend to get.

Also while folks can often engage targets, albeit with limited identification, at distances beyond 200m almost everybody shoots better with magnification. Without a doubt I shoot project AR with a magnified optic a whole lot more precision than a red dot.

I used to have an ACOG but as affordable rugged optics like the MTAC (John tried like hell to break one and all it did was damage one of the adjustments) have come onto the market I think there are better options. My personal choice for an all around fighting rifle is a low to moderate variable magnification optic with an illuminated reticle. My MTAC is a 1-4x which acts a lot like a red dot up close. I keep it set at 1x but can crank it up to 4 if needed. They also make a 1.5-6x version that John Mosby has. If/ when I end up building another AR I'll likely go this route.

For a more designated marksmen type setup I would either get a scope that starts at a slightly higher power like a 3x9 or 4-12 or pay big money for a scope with a larger magnification range like a 2-8 or something.

Thoughts? What kind of optic is on your fighting rifle?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Importance of Spare Parts

I was working on project 870 this weekend. Darned if I didn't take it apart then fail to account for the shell pusher thingie that goes on the end of the spring. Yeah that is probably not the technical name. I realized this after disassembling the weapon and moving it around a time or two over about 3 days, so no way I was going to find that little orange cup.

After some cursing I went to my stash of spare parts and sure enough there was a replacement from a big purchase some years back. In fact it was the spiffy stainless steel van comp one. I got the gun put back together and it seems to be just fine.

While inconvenient that wasn't a huge deal, even if I didn't have the spare. Worst case I'd have just ordered another one and had it in a few days. At least in normal times.

At some point I remembered a similar thing happened during Project AR.Without spare parts on hand both of these guns would have been dead lined (though technically the AR would shoot) for parts that cost less than a 6 pack of craft beer.

That both of these parts losses occurred while guns were disassembled is not lost on me. I suspect more parts are lost that way then broken during use. As a take away you absolutely have to consider small parts that can get lost as well as pieces broken through use. Additionally I would be very careful about detailed stripping on guns in emergency situations. Like empty hard floored room with a white sheet careful.

Got spare parts?

Friday, January 24, 2014

RE: Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon

Max Velocity wrote  Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon.

Personally I think the conversation got too bogged down in the term "primary". The comments section was disjointed with people talking apples and oranges because they were all using generic terms like SHTF to describe different scenarios. I do not plan to weigh in on whether a handgun can be "the primary weapon". Instead I plan to discuss the times and circumstances where one might choose, if only by process of elimination, a handgun vs when they might choose a rifle.

Before we go any further it is worth noting that any firearms battery that is smaller than a basic 4 of handgun, shotgun, .22 rifle and a centerfire rifle is a compromise that is inevitably missing some important capability. One could take that a level further and include the next logical 3guns (dedicated CCW pistol like a 642 (presuming the first pistol is larger) or a baby Glock, a bolt gun if your first rifle is a semi auto or opposite if rifle #1 is a bolt gun and a .22 pistol) in that argument. Anyway this isn't a what to buy first discussion though I am on the record about that. Also a lot of that sort of discussion is touched on in my basic guns series.

For a home defense gun Chris Costa makes an interesting case for the utility of handguns.  Personally in our Sentry Safe Home Defender I keep a Glock 9mm with a light and a Project AR which has a light as well as Wifey's .38. Next to the safe sits my plate carrier and battle belt. In any case for home defense use whatever you prefer.

So when does a handgun make sense? A handgun makes sense all the time. I carry one as much as I am functionally and more or less legally able to do so.

To further define that question. So in what SHTF/ disaster type situations does being armed solely with a handgun make sense? Basically being out and about in any sort of situation on the continuum between normal everyday and Mad Max thunder dome time. This could include riots, natural disasters including large regional ones, economic collapses, etc all.  While my default answer to most problems is to avoid them by staying home that is not quite realistic. Say the figurative drunk driver that is our current economy takes a turn a bit slow then over corrects and ends up in the ditch. I am almost surely still going to work and will be seeking to continue purchasing food, etc all. In this case I might upgrade from the S&W 642 to a Glock with a light. Might add a couple extra mags to my belt or even stash a couple of those big 33rder's in a cargo pocket. I might even choose to wear soft body armor or a stripped plate carrier. However I'm not going to get away with walking into the store to buy $20 milk and $5 banana's with an AR-15. I'll keep the AR handy at home and might even start keeping a long gun in our vehicle but when I part and go to do errand's it is going to be the pistol that I'm relying on to defend myself.

Conversely when is a rifle useful during a SHTF type scenario? Well they are always handy things to have around the house. For fun shooting as well as a handy capability to throw accurate hate down on somebody multiple football fields away nothing beats a rifle.

Having one at home is handy. Having one in a vehicle can be quite comforting. I like my odds against the EBT deprived hordes much better if my AR and battle belt are sitting under an old blanket in the floor of the back seat. 

When would a person carry a rifle around? I have heard of people doing it during various Hurricanes. Folks doing neighborhood watch type patrols armed with long guns during Katrina and the like. We all know the Korean grocers found rifles and shotguns pretty handy during the LA Riots.


Obviously in your Red Dawn/ Mad Max/ Civil War type scenarios rifles are pretty darn important. If you are in a fight with a person who has a rifle and have anything less capable you are at a real disadvantage. Also a rifles range is pretty darn handy. At this point the odds are you won't be going many places anyhow. The issue of taking my AR to the grocery store is moot if the store is empty and closed down if not burned. Also if things genuinely got that bad folks would probably carrying guns a lot more anyhow.

In conclusion.

1)You genuinely need a pistol. Right now the hard truth is that it is the weapon you are most likely to defend yourself with given that it can be readily carried outside of your home/ property.

2)There are many realistic situations where even though you might WANT to carry a rifle you will not be able to do so. One could argue these numerous realistic situations are more likely and more of a concern than the largely apocalypse porn fiction based  'Mad Max without rule of law shit hit the fan time'.

3) All of that being said you do need a rifle. Look at it like this. Most of us probably carry a folding type knife to do normal everyday tasks. However sometimes that knife will not cut it and we need a big butcher knife. The butcher knife is the rifle. You don't need it very often but when you need it you really need it. However while you do need to own the butcher knife you don't need to carry it around all the time to open envelopes and cut string, that is what your folder is for.

You need a rifle to TRAIN now while you still have the chance. If the day comes when you need to grab a rifle and a chest rig/ battle belt to go protect home and hearth then no other gun will substitute and the pistol takes a much less important role.

Thoughts?


Monday, December 30, 2013

Quote of the Day and Discussion

"I don’t (necessarily) have a safe full of handguns because I'm awaiting the end of the world, I have them because I’m awaiting the end of my ability to acquire them."
-Commander Zero

Something Zero said awhile back has stuck with me. "What if the stuff (specifically guns/ mags/ ammo/ parts but I guess it could be whatever) I have now IS ALL I AM EVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET?"

Honestly the need to stock guns uuber deep for some SHTF scenario is in my mind iffy. Aside from the ability to have weapons cached or in different kits multiple redundant guns do not play much of a role in my SHTF preps. That I could dig out rifle #3 to defend my home is a moot point (beyond arming another person) in my mind. More likely than not I'm coming home with rifle #1 Project AR, plus maybe some other guys stuff or on my back.

However lets say life went on without some Max Max collapse but for whatever reason I was unable to acquire more guns (etc) in the future. Could be a ban or an economic collapse that made a used Glock worth 2 months wages at a good job or whatever.

Unlike some end of the world scenario there is a distinct possibility I could be alive and kicking but suddenly without a gun/ magazine/ etc. Things happen. A gun falls in a creek, your truck gets broken into, the cabin where you store your hunting guns burns down, etc all. Say I'm that guy who has ONE mag for their gun. Mags can be lost or misplaced and even with the best accountability and maintenance they are a product designed to wear out and be replaced. That single mag for my sweet 1911 is now gone and I am screwed. I'm either going to live without one or pay dearly for another potentially dealing with shady characters or taking legal risks to get a replacement.

I bought my first firearms during the 1994-2004 AWB. I chose a Glock because I'm a smart guy. Ended up disregarding the 9mm because full capacity mags were unobtanium unless you had em prior to the ban. A friend of mine had ONE full cap factory mag that he paid $160 or something silly for. The full sized .45 model 21 was a bit big for my hand (they didn't make the SF model yet, which are nice) so I got a .40. Figured with a limit of 10 I might as well get bigger bullets. In hindsight I could have bought a Beretta 92 and got reasonably priced milsurp mags but I digress.

The years went by and thankfully that silly ban went away. I picked up some mags.

More time went by and I became a full fledged survivalist. I got to working an adult job and had some cash to spare. Around that time President Obama became the President elect and the last round of gun ban madness happened. I swore to myself that I would not let myself be in the position I was in 2004 again. I didn't control when I was born so nothing I could do about the first AWB but if I got caught in a second one it was really just my fault. So over time I spent some cash. A spare mag here, a dozen there, a Glock for my birthday, a case of ammo there, Project AR, etc all. While I'm not where I want to be the odds I will find myself without any sort of handgun, shotgun, .22 or rifle are very low.

My wife stays at home with our kids and while I make a decent living it is nothing amazing. If I can put some mags, ammo and even extra guns away over time with some sacrifice and planning the odds are most of you can too. Note that empowering sentence included the words sacrifice and planning.

Friday, October 18, 2013

John Mosby Talks Iron's vs Optics

Optics Options For The Fighting Rifle

Interestingly I have been around the Army long enough to see the transition first from iron's to Aimpoints and \then to ACOG's. With Aimpoints people shot about the same at distance and much faster up close. With ACOG's folks shot about the same up close and better at distance. Aside from occasional anecdotes where somebody failed to zero the optic before shooting for whatever reason nobody shot worse.

As to ruggedness/ reliability optics have come a really long way over the GWOT period. EOTech's, Aimpoints (probably the most rugged of the bunch) and ACOG's are almost indestructible. Not saying they never break but rifles break as much or more often than the optics on top of them.

For a do everything type rifle a low to medium variable power optic is an excellent option. I like basically having a red dot up close and the ability to magnify for improved target selection as needed.

I really like the Burris MTAC. If money was no object I might get a fancier brand but this scope works great. Next time around I'll probably go with the 1.5x6 version to get a bit more top end magnification.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Reader Question: Rucking Weights, Fighting vs Approach March Loads, Afghanistan, etc

Rucking 101 Part 2 Training Plans got a comment that I thought was worth replying to on the main page:
I question the sense, even the rationality of trying to train up to the military 65 lb load. Training should have a purpose. What is the purpose of the 65 lb load? The military does it? So effing what. The military is losing in Afghanistan to poorly trained, poorly equipped light infantry in part because those heavy loads give the Taliban the choice of when to engage. And then when they do engage our troops carrying 65 pounds of gear cannot catch them when they disengage. The bulk and weight of the loads, to a great extent, limits our troops to roads and trails where they can be ambushed or hit with ieds. So why would you want to copy the military when what the military does doesn't work?

Ryan here: I am going to ignore the slightly condescending tone of the reply  so we will just stick to the issue at hand. First I have to say the plan I pretty blatantly stole is the brainchild of John Mosby. I am not going to try putting words into his mouth; all thoughts that follow are my own. In no particular order here we go:

-Let's talk about system levels first.

Level 1 is your survival load. I everyday carry mine.

Level 2 is a fighting load. A way you carry plenty of ammo, some water, a bit of food and medical stuff, etc. Level 2 can vary widely in weight depending on whether or not you choose to wear body armor. Even a stripped down set of plates with a plate carrier weights in the fifteen to seventeen pound range. Add side plates and it will be more. Choose a full on vest with class IIIA soft armor, side plates and front/ back plates and it's going to be more like 30 pounds.This is also called a fighting load.

Level 3 is a subsistence load. This will have food, shelter, water, spare clothes, ammo, etc all. This is a rucksack or something similar. It is also called an approach march load.

-Where you confuse things is by arbitrarily linking 65 pounds being the end weight of this program with what you perceive to be soldiers fighting loads in Afghanistan. These two things are entirely unrelated in my mind.

-As to taking lessons from our combat forces. Who else would you propose taking them from?

-To the single point issue of whether soldiers loads in our current operational environment, particularly high altitude mountainous Afghanistan are too heavy. One can make a legitimate argument, as I noted a couple years back in Thoughts on Insurgencies #1 that the current focus on wearing heavy protective equipment no matter what decreases mobility. Years and a trip to Afghanistan later I would argue in particular that it greatly limits our ability to do the long multi day presence/ movement to contact type patrols and SKT/ ambushes that would really deny the Taliban safe haven everywhere an MRAP/ Cougar can't drive. This means the Taliban have functional control of these areas only needing to worry about SOF types occasionally popping out of the sky to hit an HVT. Day to day that terrain and it's populace are theirs. You just can't haul enough stuff to survive for 3-4 days and wear full on body armor.

If I were El Supremo General Ryan I would delegate authority to forgo protective gear in order to increase mobility to the Company Commander, with review by the first 0-5 in the chain of command which is typically the Battalion Commander. Moving on.

-Beyond that to the larger question of whether our overall success, or very arguable lack thereof in Afghanistan can be attributed to our troops efforts (or even more arbitrarily the weight of their fighting loads).  One could argue that seperating military and political objectives is arbitrary. After all as Clausewitz said "War is a continuation of politics by other means".

The conditions determined to be success and by implication failure, as well as the limits of troops and force allowed being defined by civil leadership largely put success in a venture such as Afghanistan into the political spectrum. For example, our soldiers could stop the Taliban in a couple weeks simply by killing the known bad guys and their major supporters without waiting to catch them in the act with evidence that can convict them and subsequently gathering intel to go kill their buddies but it would not be pretty. In fact it would probably remind one of The Battle of Algiers.

Of course any legitimate effort to route the Taliban would need to include significant incursions if not outright occupation of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal areas. Taking it a step further our military would be quite capable of killing every human being in Afghanistan to end the problem that way. However we are not as a society willing to accept those costs; which is probably a good thing.

In closing on this point I'd argue our soldiers are doing a decent, though inherently less than perfect, job in pursuit of what could be argued to be an inadequately resourced, poorly defined and unrealistic, out right fantasy based often changing end state.

-You mentioned training having a purpose. So let us work backwards in terms of how much weight one might want to train up to carrying.

My fighting load including M4agery weights in around 20 pounds. Toss in body armor and it is closer to 35-40.

My sustainment load AKA BOB weights about 42 pounds (wet).

Carrying a light (sans armor) fighting load and my BOB puts me right around the 65 pound weight hack. I don't worry to much about a full on load out of fighting kit, armor and ruck. The reason is I can't see myself realistically carrying that for a prolonged period.  Where I can see myself sucking under a ruck is in some situation trying to get home. Often for long trips I toss my BOB and a rifle into our vehicle. Walking home a long distance would suck but it is my realistic walking worst case scenario.

The point I am trying to get at here is that 65 pounds is not out a crazy weight for a multi day sustainment load and some fighting gear. Instead of being an arguably bloated fighting load it is a lean fighting load and enough stuff to somewhat comfortably live for 3-4 days in realistic field conditions. Really add up the stuff and if your weights come across drastically different I'd recheck the packing list.

While not intentionally planned 65 pounds is just about right for me. Knowing John Mosby that probably isn't a happy coincidence. If you do the same math as I just did and come up with a drastically different weight then adjust accordingly.

That being said as one wise commenter noted "If you can carry 65 you can definitely carry 35" so maybe training hard even if you do not plan to haul a heavy pack has some wisdom after all.

Anyway that's my thinking on that. Hope it helps or entertains somebody.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Life Update

Baring any sort of cataclysmic issues in the next few days Wifey and the kids are headed home this weekend which is excellent. Our time in Arizona is winding down. In a couple weeks or so we will be out of here. I have mixed feelings about that. We like it down here a lot but getting to a place where we will be stable for awhile will be nice.

There are a lot of things you don't do in a temporary (say under a year though this was really close to that) place. Painting or any sort of home modifications are pretty much out. Also you just don't put in that much effort to really get settled in, make friends, etc all. This is also sort of self defeating. You do/ don't do things because it is a short term place; so it feels even more short term.

Socially we got some good family time which was nice. That was sadly disrupted by the trip home that never ended. We got a dog which was probably a mistake but at least it was a fun one. Being back in America is pretty awesome so that has been good.

In terms of preparations some good things happened. I built a nice rifle. We stashed some food. Got a lot of work done towards our systems. Overall some solid prep work was done so that was cool.

Anyway in conjunction with the move not a ton is going to happen with preps for a bit. I'll still be writing but doing less stuff generally means a bit less fuel to make for interesting writing. I suppose in all long ventures (somewhere around 6 years I think) there are ebbs and flows.

So that is what's going on. Please excuse me, it is time to make a monster taco salad, except without all the really unhealthy stuff.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Range Report: Burris MTAC Dialed In!

This morning I had some plans so woke up fairly early. Things sort of fell apart so I came home to get myself together. Decided to grab some stuff then go shooting. My only real goal was to get the Burris MTAC on Project AR zeroed at 100 meters. Max Velocity likes the 100 meter zero. Personally while the 100 is a fine option I favor the 50 meter zero. However since the BDC on my scope is based on a 100 meter zero that is just what makes sense.

Got to the range and it was a ghost town. It was full this morning but I guess nobody felt like shooting outside in the desert in July. Anyway the couple people there cleared out pretty quickly so I had the whole place to myself. Since I was the only guy shooting the Rangemaster said it was fine for me to shoot a group, go check, repeat as needed. So I was able to it really dialed in which was great.

After a couple rounds to get used to the BDC I put 3/4's of a mag into the 300m steel without a miss. The 400 was a bit hit and miss but that is much more me than the gun. For my purposes as a practical defensive rifle I am pretty happy with where things are. Need to work on the chuckle head behind the gun with some good training but that is another discussion.

Now I'm at home drinking water to rehydrate. Shooting is fun. 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Basic Gun Variations

I have talked about the basic 4 (rifle, pistol, .22, shotgun) before. My basic 4 would be Project AR, a 9mm Glock 19, a Remington 870 and a Ruger 10/22. We also did our Basic Guns series. A person who went that way would get a good used  revolver in .38 or .357 mag, a pump shotgun in 12 gauge, a decent .22 and some sort of rifle like a Mosin Nagant, Bolt 30'06 or lever 30-30.

Today I thought it would be fun to talk about some possible variations from the general basic 4 theme. I have a hard time going below the basic 4 setup and anything less than 3 has some definite limitations but not everyone has the same needs. Here are some possible combinations of between 2-4 guns that will potentially meet different needs. In no particular order here we go:

Defensive Minimalist:  The setup is a handgun like a .38 or 9mm and a pump 12 gauge with an 18.5-21 inch barrel. This person thinks it is prudent to have weapons around but is not a hunter or shooting enthusiast.This person has a pistol for the house or CCW and a shotgun in case of a break in or there is some sort of riot or disaster. Realistically for a normal person who doesn't hunt or shoot this setup is sufficient. The downside is that Joe cannot really reach out and touch somebody if needed and the lack of a .22.

Guerilla: AR-15 and Glock 9mm. To me both choices are very clear (especially the AR in 5.56 due to logistics) though other semi automatic pistol and a military pattern rifle combinations could work. A good ole 7.62x39 AK 47 and an M&P .40 or a mighty .308 'Battle Rifle" and a .45acp 1911 would be fine also though the logistics would be a bit harder. The downside is that Mr Wanna Be G really needs a .22 and the versatility of a shotgun would be nice also.

Joe 6 Pack Hunter: Joe has a centerfire hunting rifle, could be a .243 or a .308 or whatever depending on the environment and the game he hunts. He has a full sized revolver like a .357 mag or .44. and a .22 rifle. Joes rifle does hunting duty and his revolver is carried in the woods and serves as a house or truck gun. (Note If Joe is in bird territory his 3rd gun would be a shotgun instead of a .22lr.) The downside is Joes big ole wheel gun is too big to realistically conceal and he could use the versatility of a shotgun.

Dave Canterburyesque Woodsman: A Mosin Nagant M44 in 7.62x54R, a 12 gauge single shot or pump shotgun and a .22lr revolver.The downside of this setup is that it lacks a center fire pistol, also if you go the single shot 12 gauge route there is not a viable close quarters (under 50 meters) defensive weapon present.

Defensive/ Tactical Well Set Up: CCW pistol, tactical pistol (both compatible ex Glock 9mm M&P .40, etc), AR-15, precision rifle. The main downside of this setup is not having a .22lr.

Anyway those are some possible variations of the Basic 4. They all have strengths as well as downsides that may work well for different people. Also it is Friday gun rambling day so this is time to talk guns. Your thoughts are always welcome.




Rail Discussion Continued

Well I did a bit more research into the rail issue. Turns out the Troy rail I was looking at is not in production yet. The folks at Troy were real good about responding promptly and giving me good information. It will be available in 'mid summer'. So that is a viable option. However I got to thinking.

Got to looking at replacing the gas block and putting on a real rail. The issue now is that I have a full gas block/ front sight post and a pinned// welded muzzle device. The only way's to replace the gas block are to cut it off and put on a 2 piece gas block or cut off the muzzle device. Since it's a Battle Comp cutting is a no go. Honestly I messed up and should have done this to begin with. So that leaves the Gas Block. Did some research and it looks like cutting off the front sight portion to essentially make your own low profile gas block is not too difficult and is done pretty often. Honestly the worst case is I end up cutting off the gas block and replace it with a 2 piece which was  the better of the initial options anyway. Going to sleep on it but plan to do that and put a standard VTAC rail on it. The only question is 11' or 13".

Cost will be cheaper if I get a basic front BUIS (which I do not plan to do) about the same if I go with a fixed troy front sight with trijicon or $40 more of I get a folding one with Trijicon. I definitely made a mistake and should have done this earlier, it's the setup I want. The mistake based on my ignorance about this stuff will probably cost me $100 or so, not the end of the world.

Anyway I'll sleep on it then baring new information pull the trigger on the order pretty soon.

Thoughts?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Project AR Completion: AR-15 Rail Questions

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

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

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

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

-Ryan
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