Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve…and Counting Down the Hours!

A "murder" of 9mms, including from the top the Angstadt Arms/Shockwave Brace pistol (Glock mags), IWI X95 bullpup in 9mm (Colt mags), "ole reliable" Spike's Tactical 9mm (Colt mags) and the newest, QC10/Dead Foot Arms (Glock mags). Note that, realistically, an X95 is not appreciably larger than an SBR'd AR pistol, and much less of a pain in the butt.

Ha! The miserable abortion of 2016 has one lousy day to go! Been a long time since I so passionately wanted a year to end!

Going to post more later, but I wanted to answer some comment/email questions. I also want to thank Greg Ellifritz for including me in his Weekend Knowledge Dump, a weekly must-read, for 30 Dec…and yes, I've asked Greg onto the shows, but no dice!

Build for the 9mm folding stock pistol was pretty straight-forward:

Upper: Quarter Circle 10 complete upper, 5.5-inch barrel
Lower: Quarter Circle 10 stripped lower, Glock mags, with mag release installed
Folding Stock: Dead Foot Arms Modified Cycle System; includes folding system, short buffer tube, proprietary bolt and dual spring system
Trigger: Timney, Targa 2-stage
Lower Parts Kit: Seekins Precision Build Kit, which includes a Seekins Enhanced ambi safety and enhanced bolt release. I opted to install the safety with a 60-degree, rather than a 90-degree throw.
Pistol Buffer Tube: Phase 5 Hex-2 hexagonal pistol buffer tube
Pistol Grip: Tyrant Designs; looks absolutely cool, but I am not necessarily sold on it yet. I must say that TriTech Tactical's pending pistol grip that holds a Glock magazine has some appeal. Use, they look wonky as all get-out (especially compared to the too-cool-for-skol Tyrant), but working with the RONI Glock SBR conversions, which carries a spare Glock mag in its vertical foregrip, proved to me how handy it is to have a spare magazine at hand. I've reached out to them, and will probably meet them at SHOT.
Sight: Aimpoint Micro H-1
Sight Mount: Daniel Defense Absolute Co-Witness
BUIS: TBD, probably Troy flip-ups
Magazines: Obviously Glock; I have noticed that the factory Glocks activate the QC10 bolt hold-open while the Magpuls do not. I have not tried any ETS mags yet.

Couple of points on the build:

• The MCS from Dead Foot changes the operating system for the AR, something you won't notice until you try to take the gun down. Instead of just popping the pins to pul the upper receiver, the MCS has a different sequence! You must first remove the dual springs from the shortened buffer — no big deal…you just unscrew the knurled back-end of the buffer tube. Then it's business as usual.

• Regarding the bolt hold-open, this has never been a huge deal for me. I've run AK, H-K and Israeli weapons without bolt hold-opens. I believe it's more of a training issue than anything else. I recall that Gabe Suarez wrote on this years ago (found it). In short, I won't go into conniption fits if the bolt hold-open doesn't, but that's just me.

Note that with the full-sized pistol buffer folded out, the QC10 is pretty close to the size of the X95. What can we learn from this? If you want an SBR-sized gun to use and shooting off your shoulder is important, go with the bullpup. If you can handle the "cheeking," go with the AR pistol…in both cases, lots less paperwork…as stated by my commenters, much better as an actual "using" guns.

• Two other components for the build are not listed, because I don't have them in place yet. I think a 5.5 inch-barrelled upper MUST have a hand stop, so Mr. Hand doesn't interface with Mr. Flash Hider, or, worse yet, Mr. Bullet. I've typically used Magpul here, but I think I'm going with the Troy Industries stop because it is small and light, more in keeping with the build. Not to mention, cheap. Given the length of the barrel, I've gone back to gripping with my week hand on the magazine well instead for the forward rail, which works fine (you're not slinging a lot of mass around with a 5.5-inch barrel). Accordingly, I've ordered some skaeboard grip tape to cut and fit to the forward and side parts of the magazine well on the receiver. Yes, you can get a grip on the foreend, but I'm not sure it buys you anything over a magazine well grip.

• I have no idea what to tell you about shouldering a buffer tube, except not to do it in front of an ATF agent. There are earlier episodes of SHOOTING GALLERY that show me running the Spike's Tactical 9mm pistol shouldered (shot great that way). This was well before the ATF began their yes-it-is no-it-isn't dueling letters on what constitutes a Short-Barrelled Rifle. I've actually been fiddling around with some old silhouette stances (quartered onto the target, weak arm folded in front of the strong hand and arm, with weak hand gripping the foam rubber part of the tube. The tube never touches the shoulder, and it is dead steady. I'll keep you informed. Once again, check out my earlier post one this whole mess.

On another topic, yes, I finally made a decision on the optic for my Galil ACE 7.62 Nato. After agonizing a bunch over scopes, I decided to keep it simple, stupid, and go with a Lucid P7 4X combat optic.

I like the reticle, and it is available in the STRELOK ballistics app on my iPhone. The Lucid HD-7 red dot has been a workhorse on my Tavor, and I totally support Lucid's mission to provide high qaulity optics at a price that require you to sell your car. The ACE will be fun to shoot 3-Gun Heavy Metal in matches where the long shots don't reach out to the stratosphere. You need to Galil clip-on cheekpiece (provided with the ACE) to get a good cheek weld, BTW.

Okay…gonna stop now and take some pictures, which I'll use to update this post…

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Runs Like a Scalded Dog!

I need to get the Aimpoint on it, sight it in, and start putting rounds through it. It also needs BUIS, as light as possible.

What do you think? Should I SBR it????

The Future, Sort Of

So the big news going into SHOT is that Colt is…finally…resurrecting the Colt Cobra, truly one of the great snubbies of all time. Smith and Wesson is rolling out a 6.5 Creedmoor MP-10. Ruger has ditched the .243 in the superb Ruger Precision Rifle in favor of the new hottness, the 6mm Creedmoor (this is outside my pay grade…I'm very familiar with the 6.5 Creedmoor both for long distance shooting and hunting; zero experience with its 6mm cousin…read this from the Precision Rifle Blog, which will give you the facts from an expert). Plus the Ruger American Compact in .45 ACP; the military Glocks 17 and 19 on the near horizon; "boutique" manufacturers spinning out new 1911s, M1 Carbines, little tiny concealed carry pistols, fill in the blanks.

I think what is happening is that as the market moves toward normal times, manufacturers are going to be filling every conceivable niche…think of it as throwing "stuff" on the wall to see what sticks. To be sure, we all benefit from that. I've said before that we live in the "golden years" for firearms…if you want it, somebody is making it, from the very highest end (a nice, heavily engraved Wesley Richards 4-Bore to go with your Cabot Arms meteorite-made 1911) to the very lowest (concealed carry pistols in the sub-$300, even sub-$200 range that actually work).

You want retro? Pick your time period, from Kentucky long rifles to AVATAR-styled guns. FN's "military collector's series" is selling like crazy, especially their semiauto version of the SAW, which (according to my little cherubs, is selling at an incredible level); Inland Manufacturing is cranking out M1 Carbines at a level not seen since WWII. Concealed carry pistols? Take your pick from hundreds. Tactical rifles? Duh! Hunting rifles? An amazing assortment.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Grinding Long March to 2017

With Santa in the rear view mirror, I'm spending most of this week doing a whole lot of nothing, which means finishing up a couple of projects that have cluttered my desk for months. Yesterday I worked toward finishing off the Dead Foot Arms/Quarter Circle 10 9mm/Glock magazines AR project. I'll finish it off this morning and put some rounds through it this afternoon. To be fair to me, this gun will be featured on the last SHOOTING GALLERY episode, which I cleverly put off until after the SHOT Show…I simply ran out of hours. Our 9mm AR show will feature this build, the super Angstadt Arms pistol (Glock mags) with the Shockwave Brace, the CMMG 9mm carbine (Colt mags), which has been built into a 3-Gun "trainer," my super accurate JP 9mm rifle (Glock mags) and my current fav favorite X95 in 9mm (Colt mags).

The reason I decided to dedicate an entire episode to the 9mm ARs is that I see this as an important rising niche for a bunch of reasons:

• Easy of shooting…like running a stapler
• Ammo costs
• Ability to train on pistol ranges

These 3 points taken together make the 9mm carbine/pistol a powerful tool for training, whether your "mission" for your primary AR(s) is self-defense or competition. I think the training aspect is very important…it seems that everyone has an AR, and I think the more training the better. Most of the high-end trainers I deal with welcome pistol caliber carbines in their classes. I fully expect to see pistol caliber carbine-specific classes, say for indoor or caliber-restrained ranges.

But wait! There's more!

• As a self-defense tool…the 9mm carbines and even the pistols are extremely easy to shoot, moreso than a handgun. Given the tremendous improvement in 9mm ammo, the reason the FBI and a flood of police agencies have gone back to the 9, a light, easy-to-shoot carbine/pistol without the ear-shattering noise and blast of the 5.56, loaded with 30+ rounds of, say, Corbon DPX, Hornady Critical Duty/Defense, or the new FBI load, the Speer Gold Dot G2s…tell me that's not effective for home defense.
• Competition…USPSA's Pistol Caliber Carbine class is a huge success, and I'm seeing carbine-style matches popping up all over. At the NRA Show, I reached out to Project Appleseed and urged them to change their national rules to allow 9mm carbines (right now, the rule is that rifles must be .22-8mm, .32, caliber; the last Appleseed I attended, I asked that since I already has a "Rifleman" patch, could I use my 9mm carbine? They said, "Of course." I shot the 3 highest scores of the day with the JP).

I haven't yet waded into the whole SBR issue. You can ready my (apparently endless) comments on the subject here. There additional issues in the comments, too.

I originally planned to include the other 9mm carbine platforms — the Sig Sauer MPX, the newest MP-5 clones, the CZ EVO, etc., but, as usual, I ran out of room. Maybe in a later episode, or on SGO. I got my first 9mm pistol I think a decade ago as a gift from Spike's Tactical. That gun has hundreds of rounds through it, is accurate and has never failed! I wish I could say that about all my guns!

On a totally different note, CJ wrote this comment on my last post on the Ruger Predator 6.5 Creedmoor:
Isn't the Predator a "hunting rifle"? One and a half inch groups at 100 yards with a hunting rifle seems perfectly adequate. No reason not to attempt better results, just as long as you understand you're trying to get Mclaren performance from a standard Ford motor.
 CJ, of course you're right. An inch-and-a-half at 100 yards is perfectly acceptable for hunting purposes. An inch is even better. If I got 2 inches at 100 off my pre-'64 Winchester 30-30, I would jump up and bark like a seal. I tend to bring high standards to a gun, especially a gun that I am going to use "in the field," either for hunting or self-defense. I believe we are in a golden age of firearms…modern firearms are just DAMN GOOD. I remember my father bragging to everyone that he finally created a reload that got him 1-inch groups at 100 yards from his Sako .264 Winchester Magnum, a round so hot that it would actually cook the little Tennessee whitetails as well as kill them. Nowadays, the idea of an MOA at 100 is the ante.

So I apologize…I believe I can get down to 3/4-inch at 100, and with a little luck down to the half-inch I want to see. But the rifle is fine as it is.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from the Bunker!!!!

My Sweetie gave me a llama doormat so I could feel close to my chosen people!!

Merry Christmas!

May you never have to spit!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Bambi's Dad Takes the Big Sleep

At FTW Ranch in Texas earlier this week, as part of our annual hunting episode on SHOOTING GALLERY. That's a classic Hill Country buck, 11 points. I used a Ruger FTW Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor fitted with a Swaro X5(i) 3.5-18X, probably the best scope I've ever used. Ammo was Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X 143-grains. Shot was 280 yards in late afternoon (why the picture is so dark…it took us a while to work our way down from the ridge where we were camped out). And yes, it was cold…I'm wearing, like, 20 layers…

Earlier in the week I'd been shooting out to 700 yards with that gun/scope combo, except with the Match 140-gr ELDs. One of the big points of this episode (which we may split into 2 parts) is to encourage hunters to challenge themselves to raise their skill levels. If you're steadily hitting at 600/700/800 yards, a 300-yard shot — and most hunting shots in North America fall inside 300 yards — becomes much easier.

To be completely truthful, I wasn't totally happy with the way the Predator was grouping with the Hornady Match, which I have had great luck with in other rifles. I was shooting 1 1/2 inch groups prone at 100 yards…I honestly expected 1 single hole at that distance. I figured I was just having a bad day, but 2 of the FTW instructors — 2 of the finest shots I've ever met — got the same results. We did all the "standard" things you do with a Ruger bolt gun…check the action mounting screws, make sure the scope was appropriately torqued, etc….to no avail. So we switched to the Precision Hunters, and the groups shrank to inside an MOA…still not what I expected, but acceptable.

I'm trying to decide how to go forward with the rifle. I love the way it handles…it's a little beefy at 8+ pounds, but with the 6.5 it has the recoil of a .22. Plus it's the same stock I use on my Ruger Guide Gun .300 Win Mag and my much-used Ruger Gunsite Scout. Yes, I am boringly consistent. My inclination is to give it an EXTREMELY good cleaning, run 100 rounds through it, a second cleaning, foul it and then shoot it for group. I'm also going to be running some other ammo through it to see if there's something sympatico that the rifle likes. I have a bunch of the Winchester 140-gr Match, and I have some American Eagle on order. I'll let you guys know how it works out (on SGO, match).

I can't say enough good things about the scope. I meab Swaro is Swaro (and, sadly, not a sponsor). The combination of 6.5 Creedmoor and 3.5-18X makes this a super combo for most North American hunting (and, no, I'm not talking about the big bears, jeez!). I got the scope with a 4W reticle:

The elevation is dialed, and it's got 2 MOA hold-offs for wind. The X5 has a revolution counter on the elevation turret, which keeps you from getting "lost" if you've dial around for a long shot. Go ahead and laugh, it has happened to me. The zero stop allows you to quickly dial back to your zero.Plus, the Swaro allows you to go "subzero," beyond the zero stop, if you need to. It does kinda take 2 friends and a monkey to initially zero the elevation, but once you get the hang of it, no problemo.

I'm a proponent of dialing the elevation. Like probably most of you who grew up hunting,  all I ever heard was "Kentucky windage," or "just hold up a little if he's way out there!" Of course, in west Tennessee an northeast Mississippi, 100 yards was a looooooooooong shot with that 30-30! Dialing the elevation is more accurate than that holdover, which is why I oped for the 4W reticle. Makes me do what I know is best.

FTW "doctrine," if you will, is to zero at 100 yards, then, in the field, dial to 200, which gives you a "dead on" shot from close up out to roughly 300 yards with the Creedmoor. When we got to the ridgeline where we were going to camp out and wait for dusk, I lasered what I thought might be my closest shot, 220 yards, and my farthest shot, right at 300 yards. Accordingly, I dialed up 250 yards on the Swaro, which worked perfectly for a 280 yard shot.

I know I said last year I was going to stick to strictly mil-dots, but…well, the best laid plans, etc. BTW, the X5(i) is not Swaro's latest entry in the tactical scope market…it is designed from the ground up as a hunting scope. Here's a great review from Jason Keim at Sniper's Hide that sums it up well:
Swarovski truly set out to design, build and deliver the ultimate long range shooting and hunting scope. Did they do it? Honestly, I think they might have, the scope is both optically and mechanically one of the best I’ve used. I personally will have one on my rifle come October when I’m shooting game at long ranges in Colorado this year.
We were working off range cards generated by FTW, and I found their numbers consistent with the Swaro ballistic app.

BTW, I am happy that both Producer John Carter's and my venison will be providing an excellent Christmas dinner for needy families in south Texas! Enjoy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

I'm back! I'm back!!!

The long run is finally over, and I'm…what do they call that place? Oh yeah…home!

Been a long few months, to be sure. Fun though…I put a lot of rounds downrange and learned a ton. I had a great class with LTC (Retired) Mikey Hartman from the IDF and his merry band of counterterrorism experts. What an honor and a privilege! Talk about superb instructors…I would class them among the best in the world, based on sheer Real World experience. And, to be sure, I've been around.

IDF does things differently, and everything is focused, well thought-out and efficient. I found it fascinating.

I also discovered the limits of snark. I've seen the C.A.A. RONI, essentially a chassis system for Glocks (and other pistols)that converts the pistol into — at least in the U.S.— an SBR. Here's what it looks like:
Note the Glock slipped into the underside. Now you've got a stock and a vertical foregrip (that also holds a spare magazine).  Of course you've also got a $200 tax stamp, but, hey. I saw the RONI at SHOT last year, but honestly didn't pay it any attention. Mikey Hartman had a simple way of dealing with my skepticism. "Shoot it," he said. "Make your decisions based on how it runs."

Reasonable…pretty much how I've approached every gun I've ever fired. So I shot it…a lot. Shot it for accuracy; shot it in drills, shot it on the move. Shot it for score (and yes, I passed the basic IDF Infantry shooting course, although I will never in face be a 28 year-old Israeli). Considering I've been putting A LOT of rounds downrange through 9mm carbines and AR-platform pistols, I had a pretty good baseline to work from.

My conclusions? The Mini-RONI is a wicked SBR, easily on par with the Micro-UZI set up as an SBR. I'd happily run it against a CZ Scorpion EVO, and I think it could hold its own against an SBR-ed Sig Sauer MPX, which has become the standard. We were running them with both irons and the Hartman MH-1 reflex sight (which is destined to become my go-to dot). The spare mag in the vertical foregrip makes for super-fast reloads, and you've got your Glock trigger. Given the preponderance of 33 round mags for

I've got a spare G19 around here, and considering the basic Mini-RONI is $250, the additional $200 is not that big a deal. C.A.A. also makes a pistol version with a stabilizer brace. Oddly enough, I shot it well, both cheeked and in single-handed shooting. Still, I don't think it outperformed the folding stock, vertical foregrip version.

The big advantage to me is that you can fill out the paperwork and continue to use your Glock pistol as a…well…Glock pistol until you get that stamp. I'm thinking it's worth doing…

I'll run down my trip to FTW Ranch for long=range training and an excellent Hill Country whitetail hunt tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Friday, December 02, 2016

Cheapest Yet!


From Primary Arms this morning, an Anderson Arms AR in 5.56 with a match trigger and 1 magazine. If you've seen cheaper, let me know! If you don't have an AR (and I'm sure there are at least 2 or 3 of you out there), hey, always a good time to buy when so many outlets are trying to dump the Hillary-Is-Crowned-Queen inventory to make room for CCW  handguns.