Showing posts with label gun porn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gun porn. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From Around The Web

Tam is about halfway through her now standard 2k with no lube or cleaning test with her sweet 1911. So far there are two failures (one of which might well be attributed to questionable random ammo she had) which is pretty solid. Without doing math in public that is well under .01%. Also it looks good.

This has me really wanting to do some sort of 1911 project. I wanted a cool pistol to go with my FAL and have been thinking about different ideas. A nice 1911 would fit the bill. I kind of want to build a cool old school (well to me anyway) 80's era Colt 1911 with Pachmyr rubber grips and Novak low profile sights. Or I could go with the Longmire and get a plane jane one with Elk grips.

[Don't have a clue how I would fund it. Also it would not be the best way to spend that money which if I shopped hard could get a serviceable but budget M4 pattern AR-15 for a truck gun and another Glock for a rainy day but I digress. Thinking about what we want to buy/ build is half the fun anyway and 2-3 times a year money has a way of appearing so who knows. On a serious note I will get a case each of 5.56, 7.62 ball AND a truck gun M4, though maybe not in that exact order, before thinking about it.]

Oleg Volk talks about Selecting Handgun Pairs for Carry and Home Defense. My thoughts on the subject:
-Oleg makes a good point about similar methods of operation, especially for an inexperienced shooter. Commonality is good as one system is easier to become proficient with.
-The two guns need to be different enough in size to really be distinguishable. A full sized handgun and a gun on the top end of the compact range (I'm talking to you G19 and Commander Sized 1911's) do not really offer much in terms of different options.
-Magazine and caliber commonality is good if you can get it. 
- Modern upwards compatible handgun systems (Glock, M&P, XD, etc) that offer sub compact if not quite pocket sized models as well as larger compact to service sized handguns offer really good possibilities in this area. A G26 to carry and a G17 at home with a light on it by your bed is a heck of a set up.
-If wheel guns are your thing the classic combo of a little j frame .38 and a big ole .357 mag is a great option.
-I know a couple guys who have a full sized .45 for a house/ woods/ range gun and a little .380 pocket rocket to carry. This is a pretty decent set up; the only criticism I could bring of it is that they probably carry the .380 when they should have a real gun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

From Around The Web

Tam is doing one of her 2k tests on her sweet custom 1911. This should be interesting. On a somewhat related note my inner non financially responsible gun nut has been whispering about 1911's in my ear for a couple weeks. I might just cancel my queued mental order for a stainless .357 mag (which has long been on the list) and go that way. A .45 wouldn't be a bad BBQ/ woods gun. Maybe at some point I will treat myself.

Our friend Harry, who has been around for awhile, wrote a couple of excellent posts recently.

-Well buckets for drilled wells

-If I could only have a few survival books on the shelf

Good stuff. I will add the books I don't have to the list for sure.

Reid Hendricks talks his current EDC

My light summer EDC

The Basics of Handgun Shooting in 60 Seconds

Normal posting will resume this weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

7.62 Battle Rifle Thoughts and Tattler Lid Deals and Directive 21

I have been thinking about 7.62 battle rifles a lot lately. Not buying one any time soon. Honestly over the rest of this year my gun goals are to perfect my systems, save enough cash to take another CSAT class and close out a few odds n ends. Specifically I want to buy a case of 5.56, a few boxes of 150 gr .308 SP ammo and a couple of .380 auto plus some various magazines. That will pretty much take all of my projected gun money for the rest of the year.

About a year from now I will be looking at a semi auto .308 unless I sell some dead weight to get the ball rolling which is a possibility I am pondering. The PTR-91 offers some big advantages and is the forerunner. A couple other guns do interest me.

The new DSA SA-58 Voyager brings in a big name FAL for about $1,100. These are to the DSA FAL what the Kahr CW line is to their P series. A gun with some, largely insignificant modifications, that ends up bringing a high quality gun into peoples hands at a more affordable price. This has the up side of giving me the most popular (at least world wide) 7.62 battle rifle with very deep options for customization or scrounging spare parts. This could also be handy in some potential survivalist scenarios as those evil foreign troops might well be packing FAL's. The down sides are 1) parts are fairly expensive and 2) The only reason the FAL is still alive in the US is DSA. It is for all intensive purposes a one manufacturer system as the old rifles, parts kits and mags dried up a long time ago. The logistics of the FAL are only going to keep getting worse. [This could also be said for the G3/PTR-91 though it is ten years or so behind the FAL.]

The DPMS 3G1 7.62 is pretty much everything I would want in an AR-10. Shipped to my LGS it would be in the $1,450 range which is more money but this gun has a lot of cool features and relative to the AR-10 market is a good buy. Mags are the same price as for the FAL ($20ish) and parts, which not cheap are widely available. My extensive training with the platform would help considerably with the learning curve. The downside is cost: For the price of a 3G1 I could get a PTR-91 with 30 magazines and a full spare parts kit. Since I'm just barely realistically in a place to look at a 7.62 semi auto good for anything but bubba dumping at the gravel pit this is a significant consideration. The biggest plus in the AR-10's corner is they are currently being made by a wide variety of manufacturers. The logistics for AR-10's will improve in time while the others are getting worse.

My gut says I'm too late for a FAL to make sense. They are so iconic and cool but arguably offer some of the worst of both worlds being expensive to procure and a 1 manufacturer show with a dwindling surplus of .mil stuff stateside. Sure the G3 stuff isn't getting more common but it is fairly cheap and definitely out there. For $500 one could buy a lifetime supply of mags and spare parts for a PTR. As to the AR-10 I think the market is going to keep getting better as it moves towards a standardization of parts along the M110/SR-25/ DPMS lines. Also I think prices are going to keep slipping down. There is no reason an AR in .308 costs twice as much as a similar one in 5.56.


On an unrelated note Directive 21 is offering 5% off Tattler Wide Mouth Lids and ten bucks off their regular mouth lids.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CSAT Tactical Pistol Operator Course Review

Today I am going to be reviewing a pistol course I recently attended. I went over to Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT) for their Tactical Pistol Operator Course.

The good:

A significant reason why I chose to train at CSAT was it's owner and primary instructor Paul Howe. Without overly 'tooting his horn' there is not anyone involved in modern tactical firearms instruction with a significantly better background to do what they do than Paul Howe. [Though he has a few peers such as Kyle Lamb, Pat McNamara, Larry Vickers and Frank Proctor, plus surely some Navy guys with similar credits.] He spent over a decade in a tier one Special Operations unit as an NCO. He was either doing bad things to bad people, or training others to do bad things to bad people for over a decade. When it comes to tactical weapon employment and self defense arguing anyone has much, if anything, on Paul Howe is an uphill battle.

This class starts with a brief introduction to firearms safety as well as the procedures they want you to use for clearing, loading, etc handguns. At this time the rules of the range and administrative considerations were discussed.

We also had a brief discussion of gear options with a focus on a tactical, assault type set up.
After the admin notes we had a period of instruction on drawing, gripping and firing a pistol. We then moved in to a drill based on the instruction.

The way the class worked is that we would come together for a period of instruction. After the period of instruction we would execute a drill. This broke pretty evenly into modules that were 45-50 minutes long. After a module we would reload magazines and ‘fluids in/ fluids out’ then move to the next module.

The class flowed in a logical, cumulative sequence. We took a break at lunch to eat then got back at it till about 4pm. The next day we got together at 8 and began again in the same format as the day before. It ended around 330 on Sunday.

I cannot necessarily recall every single drill or the flow of them but it all worked really well and built on itself. We trained on a variety of drills and the kneeling position.

Instructors were present and walked the line giving reminders and additional guidance as needed. They did a real good job of tempering this to the individual students experience level which varied widely. The DPS SRT member was on a different level than the eager, but decidedly new to guns, couple from San Francisco.

Day 1 ended with shooting some standards and being videotaped.

Day 2 began with watching the video from the end of Day 1. Being able to watch ourselves was a valuable visual of our shortcomings. Reminders were given. Following that we discussed some tactical issues and went over some real world shooting cases. Additionally we had a discussion about concealed carry gear, rifles and active shooter type bags.

After building fundamentals on day 1 we moved into different scenarios for day 2. First we worked on moving with hot weapons around people and shooting for precision in a hostage scenario. Next moved around/ between and shot from vehicles. After vehicles we worked on point of aim on a target wearing a t shirt and shot standards. After that we shot from behind barriers. The class culminated with us shooting the CSAT instructor standards to receive a score which can be used as a reference point for the future.

Specific take aways. Way too many to mention.

Draw to high ready and firing was trained. It was in line with the modern isosoles method but not strictly speaking a ‘4 step draw’. Paul said the reason for this is a fixation on sub steps (between holster and shooting) leads to artificial stops in the middle. This lead to a draw with the hands coming together at the high ready then pressing out fast into position, prepping the trigger while extending the arms, and shooting once you get the front sight. The result was a smooth movement that was natural.

Draws started from what Paul calls ‘interview stance’ in a natural athletic position with your hands together at roughly chest level. The reason for this is it’s a good universal position for a potentially violent situation. You can fight with hands, block, etc from there.

From other life experiences this is a good compromise between some sort of fighting stance which is aggressive and can be seen mistakenly by witnesses and being ready to get clobbered with your hands at your sides. In the past I have used the open hands towards people stance but Paul’s option is just fine. Really the difference between a fighting stance and these other stances is fists being closed and slightly higher. Either way the point to have your hands up and ready to react is significant.
Natural point of aim was a big point of the class. Going from a natural athletic type stance such as ‘interview’ through your draw should put the front sight on target at pistol fighting ranges. We still used sights but the goal is through proper mechanics that when you make the decision to shoot and your pistol leaves the high ready it lands on target.

Since we decide to shoot when leaving the high ready the trigger is being prepped from that point to full extension where you shoot. This movement is quite fast. The goal was under 1 second to hit a 6X13 vital zone at 7 yards. I achieved this goal albeit dead on with no margin for error.
The point to do things consistently was significant in the class. Example, every time you work the slide on a pistol grab it overhand. I was definitely guilty of using a ‘pinch’ technique for administrative stuff in the past so this was a point of improvement for me. The point of this is to be consistent across the board.

Dove tailing from that point the key that shooting is really all about consistence was pressed.
Both in the course of instruction and on the spot corrections to shooters Paul made a big point of only adjusting one thing at a time. I believe in the course of instruction the reason for this is to isolate a variable and guide shooters to the right answer FOR THAT VARIABLE. Over the course of instruction we worked through these in a logical sequence to end up in about as good of a place as a person can get in 2 days. For on the spot corrections Paul did the same thing. The reason was that a person can only really focus on changing one or maybe two things at a time.

The importance of automatically re acquiring your site picture after a shot was made. The reason for this is that it saves the time of doing so and thus speeds up the follow up shot if needed.
In a tactical sense we discussed managing encounters. The basics being awareness, verbal engagement [“I don’t want to talk with you today. Get away from me, do it now” doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity. If somebody ignores that they are deaf or planning something bad.], the use of objects such as vehicles or gas pumps to create space and such. This also lead to some interesting discussion on use of force with currently serving LEOs in the room.

Use of force is a really complicated discussion and I would not hesitate to give any form of legal advice. That being said one might want to look at how their state treats civilians in use of force scenarios. In say Texas the odds are a person who acts reasonably is going to be OK, not so much in California. Just another thing to think about.

So much more stuff than I could remember. Honestly it was 2 days of drinking from a fire hose.
The Bad: I wasn’t able to take this class last year. Was signed up but work messed it up. Something came up and it was going to be OK, just narrowly. Our schedule was delayed 3 days out (from the class) and I was stuck in the Middle East. Paul said no big deal and cut me a full refund. A year later it worked out for me to take the class.

The Ugly: I didn’t take this class a decade ago.

Pistols- The class was probably 40% Glock, 30% M&P, 15% Sig and the rest were a mix of different pistols (a couple of those new H&K’s and I think some sort of new Walther.) Two of the SIGs were duty guns for Texas LEO’s and the other was a guy from San Francisco. He had a real hard time managing the DA first shot on that gun. Darn near pulled every one of them. He is going to buy a Glock.

Most folks shot compact or full sized handguns. A couple guys had subcompact Glocks. One swapped out in favor of his G19 and the other has a young guy (like under 18) who shot Dads Glock 30S the whole time. His had was pretty darn sore. Most guns were in 9mm, there were quite a few .40’s, about 3 .45’s and one guy using the Texas DPS issued Sig in .357 SIG.

Most shooters were using some sort of OWB kydex belt holster. A few like me had drop type rigs. The LEO’s were wearing their Batman Belts with Safariland holsters.
I used a TT Duty Belt, my Safariland 6125 with a ghetto rigged leg strap, and a TT double mag pouch. Would have used my HSGI rig but I wanted to keep it simple. From here on out I will practice mostly with the HSGI Costa Leg Rig.

Planned Gear Changes:
Pistol- Grip force adapter to let me get a slightly higher grip and have more surface area on the gun.
Gear- I could use a couple inch longer leg strap for the Safariland. Otherwise I think I’ll stick with that rig for awhile and see how it goes. I need some of those belt keepers to keep my inner belt and duty belt together, especially if I’ll be wearing it for awhile.
Conclusion: The class rocked and I strongly recommend it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From Around The Web

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Firearm Selection Criteria: Concept of Use, Reliability, Commonality, Affordability, and Personal Preference

Today I want to talk about a methodology for selection of firearms and arguably other tools. I put these in order intentionally; the way I did it was working through the perspective of a person trying to decide on a type of weapon to purchase. It is also worth noting I am focusing on weapons for practical, predominantly defensive, use. For sporting weapons reliability is less important as the worst case is a ruined day of hunting or whatever your hobby is. Weapons purchased for enjoyment of shooting or collecting can fail to meet any of the criteria and still be your thing. If you like shooting black powder rifles or surplus Swiss Schmidd Rubens in 7.5x55 which is currently on sale for .51 cents a round at Lucky Gunner then roll with it, the act is it's own reward. So here we go.

The first category is concept of use. It took a lot of consideration to put this one first. The reason is that it is going to decide the general type of weapons you are going to be looking into.

I will explain in a brief tangent. A gun can be great but entirely wrong for what you want it to do. A Glock 22 is the pistol most likely to be in an LEO's holster in any town USA. A fishermen in Alaska might very well be packing a Ruger or S&W .44 mag. A normal guy down in Florida who wants a discrete summer CCW piece he doesn't need to dress around might be packing a tiny .380 like a Ruger LCP. Lets say they all rotate leaving the fishermen with the Glock 40, the cop with the Ruger LCP and the guy down in Florida with the big ole .44 mag. Obviously this is a big old ball of fail.

Think of it like walking into a big well stocked gun store. The fishermen would go to the racks of big bore revolvers, specifically the double action ones. The LEO would gravitate to the racks of semi automatic pistols specifically looking at the compact and full sized models. The guy from Florida would go look at the smaller semi automatic pistols and revolvers.

While you obviously need to look at the general type of weapons that fit your need I would urge against being TOO SPECIFIC. The reason for this is a tendency to create artificially specific requirements to lead you down a path to a gun you want and feel justified in getting whatever you want. One might say this is fine. I disagree for two reasons. First people do not look to justify a decision they inherently know is sound. They are looking to justify a decision because it is too expensive, entirely unneeded or has other various downsides. Second by putting these arbitrary specific criteria at the beginning of the selection process (vs at the end) they may come to a conclusion that has some fundamental problems.

The second category is reliability. Guns owned to save your life in an emergency need to be reliable. I'm not talking 'this gun is reliable if it has been cleaned the day before, is lubricated just so and has special ammunition made of unicorn horns and big foot bones' but under all manner of conditions.

Generally the easiest way to get this is to buy a firearm made to a professional standard. As such it might not be a bad idea to look at weapons used by the military (not just ours) and law enforcement. I don't want to get into any arguments but we're talking big, quality companies like Ruger, Glock, Smith and Wesson, Remington, Sig Sauer, H&K, etc. Avoid fly by night manufacturers and 'price point' brands. Of course even the lowest end Saturday Night Special manufacturer probably, if just by luck, managed to put out a couple guns that work really well. If you happen to have one of those then rock with it. That being said generally after one digs into the 'my Ghetto Blaster Pimptastic Model' works perfectly they find the gun is actually used very little. They haven't tested their guns enough for anything to happen.

Next comes commonality. Commonality of manufacturer, model and chambering. There are a lot of reasons for this. The biggest single one is that common manufacturers/ models and cartridges are common for a reason. Glock hasn't sold millions of 9mm Glock 17's  because it is a piece of junk. Winchester Model 94 30-30 stood the test of time and stayed in production for over a century because they were great rifles and people loved them.

Additionally commonality of a weapon tends to mean more accessories, holsters, custom parts, etc are available for that weapon. Pretty much every holster company makes every model for say a Glock 17 or Sig P226. You can't say that about a Broomhandled Mauser.

Commonality also goes a long way in showing you what sort of support there is for a firearm. Support in terms of spare parts should something break, continued availability of mags, etc all is largely dictated by a weapons commonality. It is a lot easier to find a spring or pin for an AR-15in 5.56 than for an FN-FAL in 280 British.

These are considerations for any firearm owner. A preparedness inclined person is going to weigh availability (which is linked to commonality) of mags and spare parts a whole lot higher than a normal shooter. In an ugly situation I would be able to find say a spare part for an AK-47 or a Glock 17 9mm in my community. It would be a big hassle and I would pay dearly for it, which is why I stock spare parts, but I could get it. On the other hand if the guns were a new boutique rifle  in 6.8 and a Makarov pistol there might not be spare parts within 500 miles which I would not be able to find them in an emergency or realistically get them. Commonality and the ability to trade/ cross level/ scavenge parts/ mags has been weighted heavily for me in recent years and has been a seriously limiting factor in my weapons choices.

Hate to be a buzz kill but affordability matters. We all have budgets and competing demands. I believe owning good modern weapons is important but we have to be realistic. If you are on a $500 Glock/ S&W M&P/ Springfield XD budget there isn't much point in looking at $950 stainless steel SIGs, let alone 3k custom 1911's.

Look beyond the cost of the gun. Consider the cost of mags, spare parts, ammo, etc all to equip the gun however you deem necessary. For example for a fighting pistol like my Glock 19 I like to have at least 10 mags and 1,000 rounds of ammo.  The cost difference figured this way between say my G19 and an H&K .45 is going to be significant.

Awhile back Commander Zero broke down exactly how long it would take to save enough money for a Glock and an AR-15 earning just minimum wage. A couple months of delivering Pizza's a few shifts a week after work would do it. Granted that would suck but if you really want some decent guns and money is tight it would be a way to do it.

Personal Preference comes last. We have already narrowed down the pool of potential options that fit our concept of use to reliable, fairly common models within our budget. Now we can look within those options and make personal preference decisions.
James Yeager talks personal preference. In short he thinks it is a bunch of crap. I agree with Mr. Yeagers general point that personal preference can be taken to extremes. In some circles it is an 'everyone is a unique and special snowflake' sort of thing. This is doubly true with inexperienced shooters. The truth is that your unique choice might in fact be stupid.

Where I disagree with Mr Yeager is that, within an intentionally selected pool of options I see no issue with people making choices based on personal preference. Maybe a person is in the market for a defensive shotgun and logically narrowed their choices down to the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870. Say that person is a lefty so they go for the Mossberg 500 whose controls are easier to handle. Say a perspective LEO was looking for a duty weapon and for the sake of this discussion he had free reign to carry any non single action compact or full sized 9mm, 40 S&W or .45 acp .That young man might handle all of those pistols and rent the three or four he liked best to shoot.

So to close out on personal preference I do believe personal preference has a valid role in firearm selection so long as it is within a pool of weapons that meet some logical pre determined criteria.

Anyway I hope this gives you a way to think about future purchases and hopefully save the hassle of buying the wrong gun(s).


Monday, March 9, 2015

My Go To 3 Guns For The Walking Dead

Want to do something fun today. The Walking Dead is back on. They are in the almost boringly predictable scenario of a safe situation that is just a little too good to be true with hints of how it could go bad. Also Rick shaved his beard and has taken a practical, if not very humanistic, stance on looking after his group or just maybe is losing his shit. Time will tell. Anyway I've been thinking about what my top 3 guns for the Zombie Apocalypse a la Walking Dead would be.

AK-47 with fixed wood stock. Don't especially care what model though a good one would be nice and a chrome lined barrel would be good too. I do not want to get deep into the AK vs AR discussion. They both have a lot to offer and some marginal up sides over each other. The things that really put the AK above the AR, for this very specific scenario, is that it's capacity to use as a bludgeon to kill those darn Zombies is much better than the AR. Yes you  can butt stroke someone with an AR but you could bash in Walker skulls all day long with an AK with a fixed wood stock! Also they are more durable and physically rugged than AR's, if by a small margin, and close to comparable in terms of the amount of mags n ammo floating around to scavenge.

Glock 19/17 with threaded barrel and silencer. Mod's don't really matter but if I had the options it would have supressor sized  night sights, a stainless steel guide rod and a 3.5lb trigger connector. I would choose the Glock because they are super durable and probably the most common caliber/ platform out there.

Bolt action rifle with iron sights and a good scope in a flat shooting caliber. Due to commonality .308 would probably be the way I would go and one of the new Savage rifles like their Hog Hunter or Scout would be great but any old common bolt gun in .308/ '06 is just fine too. The goal of this would be reaching out and touching someone at 200+ yards with a fair element of precision.

The caveat to this is if I was able to really use one a bow (non compound variety) that would be a great option. One of those plain fiberglass 40ish pound recurve bows you see at garage sales all the time.

Busse TGLB sage with tan micarta grips. All the coolness of Daryl Dixon but with an easier to maintain finish

What are your walking dead guns?

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?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Shooting an AK-47 Under Water!!!

Apparently you can shoot an AK under water. Can't see it ever coming up for me but good to know all the same. HT to Arctic Specter for bringing this to my attention.

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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Saturday, December 20, 2014

AR Pistol Thread

I have been toying with the idea of an AR Pistol for awhile now. Other more pressing matters have bullied their way in front of it but with those knocked out it's back in the 'next gun' slot. I do not regret that decision. Needed a better EDC solution which came in the form of the Kahr CW9 and a longer distance rifle.

Anyway I have been doing some looking at parts as well as running numbers. Also just generally mulling the whole thing in my head. To prioritization I want to square up some other things first. A case or two of 5.56, a case of 9mm and some .308 ammo are strait up higher on the order of priority.

That being said I do plan to purchase a lower to put this project on very soon. Had one awhile back but it went out in a deal. Also since the 'firearm' is a $50-100 part it makes sense to purchase it and have on hand. Won't help if the world ends but if a ban happens (under current law) the other parts for an AR don't matter at all.

Aside from planning to drop a grand or more on ammo before really starting this project I have been thinking if it's really a worthwhile endeavor. Do I just want an excuse to build another AR and snub my nose at our silly federal gun laws by (totally legally) exploiting existing loopholes to essentially make a paperless short barreled rifle?

My planned design is something like this; build a 10.5-11.5in AR pistol by putting together a lower then ordering a complete upper probably from BCM or Spikes and outfit it with one of those Sig 'arm braces' and a tac light. Eventually when finances allow I would like to put an EoTech on top but would probably rock irons for awhile. As to budget all said and done it will run about a grand. As to timeline from a legitimate start point it would take 6-9 months to fund unless I sold stuff to raise money. Don't really plan on selling anything.

My concept of use is as a wicked worst case scenario home defense gun. Maybe there is a rise in crime or a hurricane or a black out, whatever. If Project 870 sitting in the Sentry Safe Home Defender by my bed was not comforting an AR that holds over 3x the rounds which is very easy to maneuver around the house might be the ticket. Also since it is technically a pistol if I for some reason felt the need to have it loaded in a backpack/ gym bag or my vehicle that would be permissible in most places while a rifle might not be. Also it is another AR on inventory which isn't a bad thing. Lastly the oddity that lets these weapons be on their current legal standing might some day change. If previous firearms laws are any indicator already existing weapons would be grandfathered in so I feel like if I might every want one it should be purchases sooner instead of later.

Is this a worthwhile endeavor? Do you own an AR pistol? If so why did you get one and how do you like it?

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.


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.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Single Stack 9mm Winner Is..................

The Kahr CW9. There has been a lot of discussion about this. I have spent tons of time watching and reading reviews as well as combing over data points on different handguns.

So why this one?

As to caliber- I did  consider a .380 but given the proliferation of decent to good single stack 9mm's into the Walther PPK size range that used to be .380 domain something like a PPK or a Bersa did not make a ton of sense. The micro (KT P3AT, S&W Body Guard, Kahr P/C 380, etc) sized .380's are, aside from being chambered in .380 not typically guns most people shoot real well. I see them more as a non permissive environment/ deep carry type gun than a regular all the time carry piece.

Since the option was available I chose 9mm because it is a cartridge already on inventory and sufficiently potent for the task at hand.

As to size- This is about as small of a handgun as I can really get a good grip on. For shorter pistols you can get larger extended mags but the idea of getting one knowing you will use an extended mag all the time is kinda missing the point.

Quite a lot of guns fall really close to the specs of this one. The Kel Tek PF9 is very close though slightly (.88 to .9) thinner and considerably lighter (12 ounces to 15.8). The Shield is little bit thicker at .95 (due to a more curved grip vs the slab side Gen 1 Glock like Kahr. Both of these guns have 3in or close barrels while the Kahr has a 3.5in. Of all the ways I was going to be going the guns were really close in dimensions.

Why Kahr?- The three guns that showed real promise were the Kel Tek PF9, the S&W Shield and the Kahr CW9 (CM9). For the Kel Tek the lemon rate comparable to a bad used car lot was a real problem. In my mind the Kel Tek PF 9 is a price point gun. Given the modest difference between it and other offerings (a hundred bucks or a bit more) I pretty much eliminated it as an option. That is a shame because it manages to be very nice in the hand while still being a smaller package than the other options.

As to the Kahr vs Shield that is a more complicated conversation. I prefer the grip angle as well as ergonomics and controls of the Kahr; probably because they are very Glock like. Could give or take the Shield safety but do not like the big take down lever and am not in love with the trigger.

Kahr's QA/QC is not quite up to the level of S&W and they produce some guns that have issues. However worst case once those issues are addressed they seem to be good guns. This somewhat higher than it should be lemon rate [Though still probably better than Kel Tek which is probably better than Diamondback which is probably better than Jimenez Arms.] was initially off putting to me. However I realized that this isn't my first/ only handgun. Heck it isn't my first/ only CCW type handgun. I'll do some shooting and if it has issues get it fixed.

Also I could get a CW9 today for $50 less than an M&P Shield.

So far I am pleased with the purchase. Fit and finish are great and it is a a pretty little gun, well at least as pretty as a polymer striker fired pistol can be. It carries very well.

I hope to take it shooting tomorrow to make sure the thing goes bang.

So that ends the quest of the week. Maybe this winter I'll be in the market for a little .380.

Friday, September 5, 2014

American Mercenary on His Survival Firearms

Our friend American Mercenary started talking about his Survival Firearms. He did a series of posts. Since I would probably comment on every one anyway and cannot think of anything to write today I'll talk about his posts. By tomorrow I hope to have some developments or motivation to do a more unique post.

The Siaga .308 is probably a lot like a Druganov in terms of reliability and accuracy. The Ruskies put out a lot more SDM's [squad designated marksmen AKA not quite a sniper but a better rifle with some more training though the Ruskies called em a sniper.] a lot earlier than we did. A very realistic 'several hundred meter minute of man' rifle. Don't know the spare parts situation but honestly semi auto .308's are relatively rare anyway so unless you stash em I wouldn't expect to find em.

 As to Pistols our friend is rocking a 1911, a Beretta M9 and a .22 cal 1911 clone. All 3 are fine weapons. The only hole I see here is the lack of an easy to conceal pistola. The kind of thing you could carry every day if inclined or realistically conceal during a bad scenario to go to the market for milk and bread.

His ARs are A2 style with HBAR barrels. I am neutral about that AR variant. Wouldn't mind one but in my mind by the time you really need to go to that trouble it is pushing the top end of the 5.56 cartridges capabilities (against people, paper targets are another issue). My AR is more of an arguably improved M4 but at the end of the day both rifles are quite useful. Mine is better for going in and out of vehicles and structures but if I was in a wide open prairie or set up on a hill his would be better. However at the end of the day the real difference between the two rifles capabilities is probably not all that huge. My thoughts are to build the AR that makes sense for you and accept it's limitations.

His Shotgun is a Norico Ithica Model 37 knock off. The Ithica Model 37 is a tried and true design and generally NORICO makes serviceable guns. The concept of use that is a duality of home defense gun and game gathering sort of hits at the utility of the pump shotgun. My only concern here is about spare parts. With say a Rem 870 or Moss 500 you stand a reasonable chance of digging up a spare extractor (and paying dearly for it, stock spare parts now!) from someones tool box of a broken gun. However the odds of finding parts for a Norico clone anywhere without a fully functional society (internet, postal service, credit cards, etc) is about nil.

Anyway those are my thoughts on American Mercenaries survival firearms. Comments are open as always.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How Many Guns Do You Really Need?

I was chatting with a co worker about carry handguns and my upcoming purchase of well, something or another, and this topic came up. He asked myself and another guy (both gun owners, the question guy has a pretty good collection of a couple ar's, a few pistols, a shotgun or two, a .308 bolt gun and some other stuff. The second guy has a Glock 17, a .45 and a Sig 556.) how many guns we feel like we really need to have all the realistic bases covered.

They both laid out what they thought. I can't recall exactly what each said but both said some sort of defensive rifle, a hunting rifle, a pistol and a shotgun. Each had other stuff on their list but I can't exactly remember.

Of course this does not consider redundancy or caches. I will realistically keep buying guns as long as the process does not become too much of a hassle and I can afford it. I would like to have a room like the one in The Matrix in my house, a few Sara Conner Terminator style caches and numerous operational caches well, everywhere I can find to put one. Maybe it is better to call this a discussion on how many types of guns I think you really need but anyway. Do note that I am not going to get bogged down into models of guns or even caliber unless it specifically applies and then I'll give more of a general range.

My list in the order they popped into my head (so not by priority):
-Rifle, scoped hunting type. Something fairly flat shooting with a decent punch for big game.
-Rifle, defensive. Something military pattern and mag fed; AK, AR, etc.
-Handgun, service. Good old house gun. Caliber 9mm/ .38 special or larger. My preference would be for a modern double stack semi auto.
-Handgun, concealed carry. Options vary wildly based on environment, body size and such. Caliber 9mm/ .38 special or larger though a .380 isn't terrible I guess.
-Shotgun, pump in 12 gauge due to commonality. If restricted to 1 barrel it would be a 20-21 in and accept chokes. Otherwise I would have 1x 18.5in riot barrel and a longer hunting barrel that took chokes.
-.22 rifle. Something that is rugged and is accurate enough to train and pot squirrels if needed.

That's it for the 'need' list and really it has some luxury with two rifles as well as a dedicated CCW pistol.

Now for the 'nice to have' list:
-Handgun, .22lr. For training and pest erradication.
-Handgun, tiny. I'm talking Beretta .22/.25, NAA .22 revolver, etc. Arguably the difference between the CCW pistol and the tiny one can be split. I know a couple guys who have full sized handguns and little .380's they carry around most of the time and all things considered that's not a bad setup.

So my 'must have' list is 3 rifles, 2 handguns and a shotgun. The 'nice to have' list adds two more handguns.

What is your 'must have' list? What is your 'nice to have' list.

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?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bolt Action Rifles for Survivalists and Patriots

The discussion of bolt guns can really go in 3 directions.

The first is your old surplus guns and their use as a combat weapon. We discussed this in Part 4 of my Basic Firearms series (rifles). They did win (and lose) both world wars but they were also fighting against other bolt action rifles. The biggest benefits of these rifles are low cost of ownership (really just the Mosin Nagant) and widespread legality. If you can only scrape up $200 for a rifle and a bit more money over the next few months for ammo get yourself a Mosin and a few spam cans of 7.62x54R ammo. I have a lot more respect for the preparation and common sense of a person who rocks an old bolt gun because it is what they can afford than one who has a half built AR lower in the closet or an envelope that says PTR-91 with $300 inside. Our friend Hermit talked more about MILSURP Bolt Action Rifles some time ago. His thoughts, and my emphasis to stock ammo DEEP in preparation for supplies to dry up due to bans and consumption are both still equally valid.

The next area is as sporting and recreational firearms. Not much to say here. Get a gun in the right caliber, preferably a common one like .308 and rock on.

The last caliber is as a 'precision rifle'. I consider there to be a whole lot of overlap between this and the previously mentioned category of sporting and recreation. In fact I would seriously consider lumping them together entirely though part of this posts purpose is to facilitate a specific conversation.

The survivalist and 'patriot' goal to have a rifle that can really reach out and touch someone is valid. It bring a significant capability to a person or group. However we are guilty of a couple omissions on the topic.

The first is that we fail to define precision in a meaningful way. For the sake of this conversation I will define a 'precision rifle' as "A combination of rifle, optic and ammunition capable of achieving 2MOA accuracy out to 600 meters chambered in a cartridge that moderately resists the pressure of side winds and can penetrate moderate cover". 

The specs to facilitate that are going to be a bolt action or semi automatic rifle chambered in a relatively high velocity cartridge over .26 caliber for which modern match grade type ammunition is reasonably available. We are talking .270, 7mm mag, .308, 30'06, etc.

One could note that 2MOA is not amazing accuracy. One could further note that some modern rifles such as the Savage 10/11 [Savages stupidity of model numbering is out of control. They basically make a bunch of variations of one rifle with all sorts of different model numbers and names. They need to unscrew themselves and standardize to the Savage Model 110, Savage Model 110 Tactical, Savage 110 Long Range, etc all. Stop the madness.] are capable of sub MOA accuracy right out of the box.

I say 2MOA because I got to thinking about what, personally, I would want out of a 'precision rifle'.

Personally if a rifle is capable of head shots at 200m and bodies out to 600 with high consistency and the ability to penetrate some moderate cover (the only thing that absolutely knocks a good AR out of it, though wind's impact on the light bullet is problematic too.) is what I want.

A significant part of my apathy about absolute mechanical precision is the realization that 1) Most guns are more accurate than the person shooting them. Honestly I cannot out shoot a 2MOA rifle so no point in paying for Accuracy International or Steyr when a used Savage 111 will do and 2) Aside from the shooter accuracy issues in mechanically sound firearms being used reasonably for their make/ model/ chambering come from ammo and the lack of sufficient optics to harness the guns accuracy.

It is possible that a Military Surplus rifle could be used in this context. During WWII the standard sniper rifle was the countries standard bolt gun with a fixed power optic and maybe better ammo like 7.62x54R 7N1 sniper. These guns worked well within a semi reasonable concept of use. The real maker would be accuracy. If you happen to have a rifle with sufficient accuracy one could consider options for upgrading sights/ optics and utilizing it in a precision role. On the other hand some of these rifles, due to age and shoddy servicing/ rebuilds ain't what they used to be (or never where). You could easily spend enough cash to buy a new Remington 700 SPS trying to turn a 4 MOA milsurp rifle into a 1-2 MOA precision rifle and still not be successful. If your rifle is shooting 3+ MOA with decent ammo just save the trouble and enjoy it for the collectible fun gun it is.

So often folks will fail to put money into an optic and ammunition. They'll buy a good rifle, slap a the cheapest high power magnification scope Wally World has on it, buy the cheapest ammo and are surprised when their good rifle groups like OO Buck at 10 yards.

Presuming a mechanically serviceable bolt action rifle in a reasonable chambering it is good ammo that will let the rifle work up to it's potential and a good optic that will let the shooter work up to theirs. While Wolf .308 is great for a day plinking at the range it is not going to perform like a 168gr Remington Premier Sierra Match King BTHP. Also just about everyone will shoot a rifle with a good scope better than a cheap one.

If given $650 to build a rifle I'd rather have a $250 used rifle with a $400 scope and rings then the opposite.

Personally unless you are seeking a very high level of close range precision (like shoot them in the eye not the head) or really want to reach out past 600m without slipping from minute of man to minute of SUV 'area fire' AND HAVE THE SKILLS TO HARNESS THE EQUIPMENTS CAPABILITY; I see no reason why most standard big game bolt action rifles cannot fill the 'precision role' in a survivalist or 'patriot' battery. A $2k Steyr is great, don't get me wrong I would love an SSG but a $400 Savage or even a $200 Husqvuarna can probably meet all the necessary requirements.

Furthermore if the goal is really to reach way out you probably need to shift calibers to 300 win mag, .338 Lapua or .50BMG.

Anyway that is what's floating around my head today.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Rethinking Bolt Gun; Maybe AR Pistol and Single Stack Compact Auto?

So I have been planning to buy a bolt action .308 for awhile but well I haven't for no particular reason I could identify. Could go get a Savage Hog Hunter and 500 rounds of 7.62 ammo tomorrow, the money is sitting in the bank.

I have had three realizations:
1) My planned concept of use for a bolt action .308 is largely nullified by living in Louisiana. Without intentionally gaming a scenario (train tracks, etc) the odds of finding a shot I need to take that my AR can't make is pretty slim.I could definitely hunt deer down here with rifles already on inventory.
2) In terms of stuff that could potentially become scarce/ be targeted prior to 2016 I am not at all worried about bolt action hunting type rifles.

The other guns on my mid term horizon are an AR Pistol and some sort of very concealable single stack auto.

3) I am finding myself looking for a shootable CCW piece; and quick to reload handgun I will carry down here. Some sort of single stack auto in either .380 or 9mm. Logically a 9mm has benefits but I really, really want a Walther PPK. The .380 is a bit diminutive and adds to my logistical train but they are small, super cool and I can confidently engage targets with them far better than my little J frame.

I am going to sleep on it but think I want to get a PPK and start saving hard for an AR pistol. That will probably bump the bolt gun almost a year.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Project 870 Almost Complete!!!

This is where it all started. A Remington 870 Police Magnum wearing express furniture. Best I can tell this gun pulled Cruiser duty for the Kentucky state Police, was sold probably through Bud K then ended up in the Desert. That is where it ended up being saved from a life of neglect and generally not being owned by yours truly.

I was pretty annoyed with the guy that day. Drive for a ways to meet him and it turns out he was not entirely honest about the guns condition. Ended up leaving with the gun and a couple more 20's than I planned. A combination of cruiser duty and lack of maintenance in that guys care left the finish in terrible shape. It looks just fine at 15 feet but up close you can see significant discoloration and oxidization. The gun will almost surely rust if not slathered in oil. So after test firing it I kept the gun slathered in oil for awhile.

I thought about getting it professionally Keracoted or something. However the cost of that PLUS what I wanted to do to the gun was slightly prohibitive. Just more than I wanted to spend.

Once I got down here I wanted to get this project done so it could be our home defense long gun. The reason for that is largely legal in nature. Guns are common all over the South and non hippie parts of the West. However in particular shotguns are very common in Louisiana. The combination of duck hunting as well as short engagement ranges due to line of site for all game make them particularly handy guns down here. If I have to shoot somebody I would prefer to do it with a gun that is the same or very similar to ones in the prosecutor, judge and juries safe/ cabinet/ closet.

While I prefer an AR of the M4 flavor for close up work this advantage to the shotgun is considerable. Also while I like the M4 better a short barreled pump shotgun is amply capable of any home defense long gun task. There is the added benefit that if something happens I am, at least temporarily, losing a shotgun package worth $500 not an AR that all said and done I probably have 2k into.

Another consideration is that I am far more willing to carry said $500 shotgun as a "truck gun" than a semi automatic rifle. Even if it's an AR/ AK/ FAL you got a great deal on back when those were available it is still important to consider replacement cost. The pump gun is about the bar of value I am willing to risk potential theft of on a trip during normal times.

So my philosophy of use for this project is a home defense shotgun that can also serve as a 'truck gun'. I want to use quality components and do it right but budget is a consideration. First as Alexander Wolfe noted if you get much above the $600 range you are pushing hard on decent entry level AR-15's. Of course those would need ancillary gear like a sling, mags and lights too so upping it to $800 is probably more realistic.

Depending on your budget it is entirely possible to make a $2,500+ fighting shotgun. We are a consumerist society and there is nothing wrong with that. However as American Mercenary noted you can pay Ferrari money for a Fiat in projects or gun builds.

In my mind one of the biggest benefits of the pump shotgun is that they are realistically affordable for anybody but homeless drug addicts. I'm not saying everybody can afford to spend $300ish on a used Remington 870/ Mossberg 500 today but with a little planning and some saving they can afford one in a reasonable amount of time.

We could have a hearty discussion about the benefits of both Rem and Moss platforms. Both are very rugged. The plane Jane Mossberg 500's and their off brand Maverick 88's are cheaper than Remingtons so they offer more value. Then again you have a lot more parts and accessory support with the Remington. I'll close this phase of the discussion by saying they are both fine. Pick one type and buy 10 of them.

As I got to dreaming/ window shopping for this project TEOTWAWKI Blog's excellent Project 590A1. Alexander Wolfe does a great job on research and testing to find the best gear and setup for a particular gun.

So anyway I wanted to get this done in 2014. Running the math if I did the finish myself it wouldn't really cost that much money. Thankfully 'H' recommended Alumahyde II vs plain old spray paint. So I figured out my plan. Some money came in and I ordered the stuff. It showed up in a few days.
The biggest piece of this project was the refinishing for sure. Thankfully Brownells has a series of videos 1, 2, 3, etc. After some reading it seems that preparation is at least as important as the spraying.

First I disassembled the gun. Since I was putting on a sling mount I had to take the stock off anyway so I just did it then instead of covering up the stock with tape and a plastic bag or something.
I cleaned the gun and degreased it. Since I'd been using the 'wetter the better' theory of gun maintenance that took some doing.

Next I used masking tape to cover up the parts I didn't want to paint. No pics of this but I covered the trigger guard and the front sight as well as both ends of the barrel. Filled the receiver with used paper towels from the cleaning then taped them into place.
It was too cold to paint in the garage but since I had the place to myself there were options. It was also a happy accident that I had a bunch of scrap carpet lying around. Laid 2 big pieces down on the kitchen floor (the easiest to clean worst case) as a ground cloth. Brought in a lawn/ patio chair that already had a bit of paint on it from another project to lean the pieces on.

I did the sling mount so it would match.

Then I painted. Overall it went pretty well. The only real sad face was a run on the barrel I foolishly tried to wipe off with a paper towel. It smeared and was really unattractive.
I tried painting over it but that didn't work. Ended up just sanding that part down and repainting. That time went better. At least enough so that I decided not to try my luck messing with it anymore.

This brings us to a point of discussion. I simply was not in a hurry to put the amount of cash into this gun to get it professionally refinished. That meant doing it myself. Do it yourself projects well, have do it yourself results. I'd say the shotgun looks fine but you will not mistake it for being professionally finished. Honestly I am OK with this. After some deliberation on the matter I figured worst case if I hate the paint job I can get it redone professionally later or try again myself. The advantage of destroying a gun's original finish (or getting one that is rough anyway) is that you can't do it twice. Sort of like murder after the first one the rest are free. 

I let the parts dry overnight then put it back together. In doing so I installed the GG&G sling mount and Elzetta light mount with a streamlight light I was using as my handheld tactical type light. Got to replace that now I guess.

After some consideration I decided to replace the old generic 5 shot neoprene shotshell holder with an Essetac card. Just pulled it off, slapped some velcro tape on and then a card on top. Not 100% how durable the velcro I got from the hardware store will be. Worst case I'll order a bigger heavier duty piece later if needed.
When I went to put a card on the side of the receiver I noticed the standard 870 Express forend goes too far back onto the receiver for a card to fit. That led to a Bleg on where to find another oneCommander Zero, the great American survivalist he is had a spare black plastic one lying around. He sent it my way along with a few other goodies gratis. So sometime in the near future I'll be swapping that out and hopefully getting the sidesaddle card put on. I really want both because there is a decent chance if I grab this gun it'll be 3am and I'll be wearing running shorts so all the rounds I'll have will be on the gun. Sure it sits by my cobbled together shotgun fighting load, which I will discuss in a future post but I might not have time for that so more rounds on the gun the better.

I took it out for a quick test fire to make sure it still goes bang. It still does. So now it is loaded up and in the Sentry Safe Home Defender with the Glock.

Pleased to say that Project 870 is finally done or at least within spitting distance of done after the forend swap and sidesaddle card installation. Total expenditure was roughly $500. Would like to get an SOE shotgun micro rig to go with it but am not in any particular hurry to do so. As I get a bit more experience with the different new pieces I may write about them individually.


Edited to include: I went to swap out the forend this afternoon. Before taking off the Essetac light mount, the extension and barrel I decided on a lark to lay the new plastic forend Zero sent me on top of the old one. They look identical in size. So now I'm looking at just taking a finish saw to the wood forend to cut it down. Worst case on that the 870 Express wood furniture is dirt cheap so if I ruin it that is fine. Thanks to Zero I'd have a functional forend for the duration. It's either that or just buy a shorty plastic forend like the Magpul, Hogue or whatever. Do have a couple ebay auctions pending for dirty cheap 870P furniture but I'm not too optimistic about any of them. Going to sleep on it before doing anything I cannot take back. So finishing this project is slightly stalled. Story of my life.
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