Sunday, August 12, 2018

Leapers UTG Back Up Sights, review and images

 BUIS:  Back Up Iron Sights.  Exactly what the sign says.  Sight COMMA, Back Up COMMA, Iron.  In words less dramatic and tacticool, BUIS are sights we intend as a backup to some form of optical unit.

Typically these are folding units that tuck away out of sight until needed.  Magpul plastic BUIS are typical of the breed and very common.  Prices for the species range from a low of $30-ish for airsoft toys up to $200 for machined metal and very high quality.  Magpul, IMHO, is a high-middle level of quality.

Here, we have a low-middle offering from Leapers in their UTG line.  These too are folding sights, and made of what appears to be machined aluminum alloy, with steel fasteners and hardware.

The Leapers sights flip upwards manually, but lock in place when deployed.  A button must be depressed to retract the sights to their folded position.  That button is my sole worry about these things, as it looks somewhat... breakable.

The front sight is a typical AR post, adjustable with a bullet point and rotating for vertical adjustment.  It does not seem to require any special tools, excepting something pointy to depress the adjustment lock.

The rear sight, once deployed, shows us a standard style A2 flip aperture.  One hole big, the other small.  Adjustment marks are mostly visible with the small aperture in place, and the sight adjusts windage via a handy knob.  This knob does not lock into place (word to the wise) although the detents it uses are significant and should discourage stray movement.

The metal make-up of these sights is encouraging, and should be fine for the average range shooter and plinker.  Movement while deployed is minimal, and mostly some bounciness against the deployment springs.  Side to side movement, at least in the set I bought, is nil.They co-witness nicely, as do the Magpul sights.

Are these UTG sights, at roughly half the price, better than the polymer Magpul units?  Perhaps.  For typical range use, plinking, mild competition, and household defense I see no issue.  They are, after all, folding back up sights.  In that role, they live tucked up against the upper rail until needed, and thus are less likely to get banged around.  

I suspect the magpul units, being a tough polymer, may take the edge in ruggedness.  Plastic bends a bit and springs right back, while aluminum alloy really doesn't bend much at all.  That said, the UTG units lock in the deployed position, and I really dig that feature a lot.

My call?  The UTG and Magpul units are a toss up when it comes to utility, with the UTG taking an edge on price and the Magpul just leading a hair on toughness.

The thing is, I'm not beating my firearms up.  My AR's don't get tossed down stairs or banged into trucks.  I don't even let our cats play with them!  

For now, I have both style sights in use, with the Magpul being a known quantity for years now. We'll give these Leapers sights a trial for a while, and see if the pennies saved were worth it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


That moment when you Whoops on an order from an AR parts distributor, and order something unintended because it was in the shopping cart from a previous visit..... and then realize 'Hey!  I just did part of my Christmas shopping!'.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Well now.... isn't that a fine mess? (updated)

I ordered in another lower from PSA, this one a complete pistol setup with the SBA3 brace.

Why?  I suspect Herself will want her own, once she shoots mine.   In fact, I'm sure enough I began ordering the components already... thus this lower.

The plan fell apart this morning when I stopped in at Morr's to pick it up.  UPS noted it delivered there four days ago, but I gave time for it to get into their books.  No rush, I figured.

Maybe I should have rushed.  This morning, after a futile search of the backroom, they reported it had been given over to another customer by mistake.   That customer (who I'm guessing figured he'd hit the jackpot), had a stripped lower there from PSA.... and apparently could not 'tell the difference' when he picked it up.  

We'll see how this plays out.  I'll give the store a few days to fix their mistake.  There's no reason to get upset, at this point.  Things happen.  Let's see how Mr. Morrison deals with this.

Update:   Morr's came through, and fixed their oops. Well handled with little fuss, and an apology. I'm good with the outcome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pew-Pew's first date with the range

I'm not smiling.  You can't prove a thing.

See below for what went into Pew-Pew, the fat man's new AR pistol-ish thing.

First 110 rounds fired, and not a single tiny hint of a hiccup. Function is flawless, so far (Also my first time at Morr's indoor range and store.  Darn nice place, and a beut of an indoor range).

Accuracy is surprising, and pleasing, for an AR pistol.  At 25 yards (Indoor range today), the first group to zero the BUIS went into less than an inch.  Four of the holes touched.

This is with my miserable old eyes and bifocal glasses, while kneeling at the bench.  Yeah, I can live with that.

Shooting at speed, double taps at 25 yards, the little beastie proves willing.  All that's lacking is some trigger time for yours truly, to rebuild skills gone rusty.

There was a fair amount of flashing and banging from the wee thing, but with hearing protection and on a well lit range, it wasn't even distracting.  I'll have to observe what it looks like while someone else is is enjoying it.  

I'll be building ammo stores, since this things gonna get some serious range time.   I'll bet money... as soon as Herself gets trigger snuggles with it, I'll be scheduled to build another one.  Probably in pink tiger stripes..... sigh.

Double taps at 25 yards, AFAP.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Quality.... at any cost? At what point is it good enough?

I've had a hankering for quite a while now. More than a couple years in fact. I wanted an AR-15 pistol.  Not any pistol... but one with an arm brace and a longer barrel than most AR pistols.

Okay, lets be honest here.  What I WANT is an AR Personal Defense Weapon, or PDW.  These beasties are characterized by having short barrels (compared to carbines or rifles) and short stocks. The idea is a lot of firepower in a compact package.

Building or buying a PDW means owning a short barreled rifle, or SBR.  That means $200 American in bribery to the feddies, and a year waiting for their permission to take it home.

On The Other Hand.... Sig Sauer put something on the market a few years back, and its that which ignited my Wants.  It was an AR-pistol, with an 'Arm Brace' designed to wrap around the forearm of the shooter and stabilize the 'pistol' for one handed shooting.  With its strap wrapped around the brace, it looked suspiciously like a stock to be shouldered, but NOOooooo, Sig got paper from the BATFIEOU clearly stating it was a perfectly allowable stabilizing brace.

As long as the shooter didn't shoulder the weapon, which would be a federal offense.  Huh?  Yeah.... it was that silly.  Sometime in the last year or two the BATFIEOU recanted that notion, and gave their feddie blessings to all us shooters who wish to touch their stabilizing brace to their shoulder occasionally, without incurring a 20 year all expense paid vacation in club-fed.

This cleared the way for a slew of manufacturers to build exactly what I wanted to own, and removed the road block of egregious licensing fees and obscene wait times on paperwork. It also opened up the AR-15 Pistol to the amateur assembler market. In other words, AR Pistol components became part of our AR-15 'Mr. Potato Head' build-it-yourself world.

Now, yours truly does not own an AR that I haven't assembled myself from dis,dat,and da udder ting.  Frankenrifles all... and they function like champions.  That being the case, why not build my own AR pistol / PDW boomedy boom?

This may surprise ya'll, but this Old Fat Man ain't rich.  In fact, being down for several moons after major surgery, and having my income slashed..... I am downright poor-ish just now.  That means this build had to be financed by thinning 'o the herd.  Yes, I sold some of my collection.  While I was at it, I traded some for a few months rent as well.   In the end, I had enough to live well while healing, and to build meself A TOY!

Building (Assembling?) an AR-15, one is faced with choices.  The quality is all across the board, as well as the pricing.  One must make decisions.   Discerning, intelligent, researched decisions. 

Yes, there are those who will swear up and down that anything built with XXX parts is dangerous junk, which will get you killed, maim your unborn children, and probably start a famine in Vermont at the same time.

Others will say "Hey!  Da boomedy Boom go Bangedy Bang almost every time, and dats good 'nuf".

Me, I'm kinda in the low middle here.  I've owned a bunch of firearms in almost every classification that doesn't require begging for special permission, and I've formed a few opinions.  Pistols, rifles, shotguns.... yeah, quality counts.  AR-15 stuff?  Quality counts, but if they meet basic specs, they will usually perform satisfactorily.

In fact, with all the AR-ish devices that have passed into and through my hands over the years, the only ones that gave me headaches were from what's considered high end manufacturers; Colt and Rock River.

With this pistol build, I believe I'm building something that's going to stay in the family for a long... long.... time.  That being the case, I'm okay with stretching out the wallet and shooting for a little better example of the breed.  But, how much more, and spent where?

In the end, here is what I built.  Meet... Pew Pew:

AR Pistol budget build
  • Yankee Hill Machine bare receiver, bought on sale: $125.00
  • PSA 10.5" upper, with KAK flash can, Midwest Industries Mlok forearm, BCG and Charging handle, and Magpul MBUIS sights: $369.95
  • PSA lower build kit with Magpul grip, Enhanced trigger group, and SBA3 pistol brace: 189.99
  • Sig Sauer Romeo 5 red dot sight bought on Amazon: $129.99
  • Streamlight TLR-1 High Lumen weapon light, bought on Amazon:  $115.70
  • Total on budget build:  $930.63

Now, contrast what I built to what would be a comparable high end weapon, using top of the line components.  You know... the ones some people swear 'won't get ya kilt on the streets'.

 AR Pistol high end build
  • Daniel Defense Mk18 pistol, complete minus sights, on Bud's: $1652.00
  • Troy industries sight set, on Amazon: $168.95
  • Aimpoint Micro red dot sight, on Amazon: $570.00
  • LaRue Tactical Aimpoint Micro optic mount, on Amazon: $148.14
  • Surefire X300 weapon light, on Amazon: $200.00
  • Total on high end build: $2740.09                   
I suppose if I had plans of being a door kicker and entering into running gun battles, I might consider a weapon that costs THREE TIMES AS MUCH as what I built to be a good investment.  On the other hand, every single 'low end' AR-15 I have built has performed flawlessly, without a single hiccup.  That includes taking the cheapest possible budget parts, tossing them together dry, and running 500 rounds through to see what happens.  What happened was.... nothing special.  It fired every single round, accurately, without a fuss, and *without lube*!

By the time I put a sling on it, my PDW build will be a 'tousand dollar toy.  A toy good enough to also be our 'bump in the night' weapon.  In fact, if I can find one local-ish, I'm going to shoot for (get it?) a carbine course I can take with this thing.  Failing that, we will just burn up a case or two of ammo playing.

I guess my basic question is this.  Is there a point at which Cost Vs. Quality tips over and becomes diminishing returns?  

I'm happy with my Pew-Pew build.  It scratches that itch, and serves the uses I have for it.  In a way, It's like my carry pistol.  I've holstered that ugly little Glock for years and years, because it works.  Yes, I have pistols in the safe that cost 3x what the Glock does, but why should I carry them when that ugly $500 Glock performs flawlessly and doesn't hurt my feelings when it takes wear?
Pew-Pew is like that.  Functional.... and I honestly like the way it looks and handles.

Bet ya any amount of cash..... when herself gets around to shooting Pew-Pew, I'll be building another right quick.

Pew..... Pew......

Thursday, July 5, 2018

AR Pistol. I haz a wants.

I put forth this theory:

An AR-15 'pistol' with a 10.5" barrel and a 'Brace' (that is most assuredly NOT a SBR with a rifle stock as the BATFIEO has carefully explained) would make a dandy home defense weapon.  Especially so out here in the semi-sticks where I live.  A place where neighbors are not RTFT on the other side of the wall, and our local po-po ain't local in any way at all.

Equipped with stupid bright weapon light and green laser, both for target ID and rapid sighting.

Maybe something that looks like this:

Only with a few more inches on the tube, and an adjustable 'brace'.  Oh, and sights, just in case there's any sighting to be done.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A PSA regarding Palmetto State Armory...

I have built a handful of ARish devices using components bought from Palmetto State Armory.  Mostly, I've been quite pleased with the products they've sold me.  Decent quality at excellent prices.  In fact, thinking back, I haven't really had a single complaint about anything I've bought from them.

Along the way though, I've learned a few things about ordering from PSA that I'd like to share.

  • Don't be in a hurry.  Really..... Don't order from PSA if you have any kind of time limit before your project idea bursts into flames or something.  They will ship when they ship. It might be a couple days.... it might be a couple weeks.  Remember: Good, Cheap, or Fast.... pick any two.  Fast is not on PSA's radar.
  • Forget about tracking numbers and such.  Somehow, PSA renders them meaningless.  Occasionally they work, but my experience has been hit and miss. More likely than not, my purchase arrived on the same day PSA marked it shipped.  In fact, I have an item still marked 'processing' which arrived here months ago.
  • There's not much point to calling and asking where your stuff is. I only tried this once, but it ended with the distinct impression the organization might be a bit understaffed and over-flustered.  Just have patience.   I have read they will fix any real issues, but understand that ship happens when it happens.
That's about it for the PSA.... um..... PSA.  

Yes, I am waiting on some stuff from them.  
Yes, it promises to be a ball.  
No, I won't tell you what it is.  
You'll just have to wait..... like I am.

I'll share the build when it comes together  (Smile).

Everyday Blades.....

Tam started me thinking about this.

I *think* I've had this Kershaw for about 10 years now. 8 at the least. The Kershaw I bought as backup has been laying in my sock drawer so long the box fell apart. Under $40 at the time, and a squeal of a deal at that.

It's an Onion designed blade, with the 'Speedsafe' opening device. I DO like the fast and easy way the blades snaps out with it's spring assist. It's also easy enough to open against my leg or with two hands so the straights don't wet their panties.

It used to have a more pointier point, but like almost every pocket knife I've had.... something happened to it. I've gotten good at re-shaping blade points, and have arrived at this tiny Tanto profile that just suits how I use pocket knives.

The point snapped off, the anodizing of the scales is worn and dinged, and the edges went shiny years ago. All that just means it's proven itself in some pretty harsh working environments.

A Navy shooter once queried why I was carrying it in my shirt pocket (At the time). I explained I was an instructor in a public school, with high school seniors as students. I had learned that anything in my pants pockets could be lifted or fall out, but not so easily from a shirt pocket. It just took time to learn the draw.

This old bugger still responds to stone and steel, and manages to bear up to daily carry. I've got others, and lot's more expensive ones, but this is what I carry.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Curiosity... what I carry every day.... what do you carry?

As Winter sets in, load outs change. Jackets and vests have 'stay there' stuff in the pockets, and that includes back up guns.

My everyday carry is the same Glock G-30sf .45 I've holstered for.... lets see.... 7 years now.  Give or take.

Not long after buying it, I installed a Lasermax Guide Rod laser.  Crimson Trace doesn't make anything for this pistol, and tells me they don't intend to.  So.... the Lasermax, and after a few hiccups it's been working perfectly all these years.  It's even generated a story or two, which I'll share some day.

The G-30 also picked up a Lone Wolf disconnecter along the way.  That and the laser are the only changes I've made to the basic platform.  Aside from taking a good shot at wearing the finish off from daily carry, that is. 

In the vest, as BUG, my Ruger LCP.  This pistol has lived in one pocket or another for over five years now, removed only to be cleaned and have an uncomfortable box of ammo run through it occasionally.

Both the G-30 and the LCP are loaded with Liberty Civil Defense ammo.  I'm happy with the performance I've seen from it in my testing, but I'm not wedded to it.  One day I'll run out of the stuff, and look around for the next premium defensive ammo I'd like to carry.  Since I tend to shoot very few people..... as in none....I'll have to trust 'statistics' in my ammo selection  (Let's hope I am never forced to add to those statistics).

Alternate BUG, living in the jackets for those really cold days.... a Taurus stainless .357 snubby loaded with 158 grain LHP's  (The classic FBI load).   It too gets fired and cleaned regularly, which is why it wears a decent recoil absorbing grip.  I could see this pistol getting a Crimson Trace grip on it, one day soon.  I'm a fan, when they make something that fits what I have.

Okay, that's the daily carry load, depending on what I'm wearing I guess. The G-30 is rather like my pants.  If I'm wearing one, I'm wearing both.  The BUG's have their place, and generally go along with me anytime it's cool enough to wear a garment.

So.... I'm curious.   What do you chose?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

BlackDog Concealment holsters... a visit to the shop.

A few weeks ago (as I write this), I had the honor of visiting Carl Witt in his dungeon at BlackDog Concealment holsters.  There, I watched as he masterfully crafted my very own IWB hybrid holster.

I found BlackDog holsters through an ad placed in our local gun club's newsletter.  The usual ads, the size of a business card, which local business's use to support a local club and reach out to local customers.

In my case, I noticed just how close BlackDog is to my home (about 10 minutes), and thought to myself "Self... Maybe you can see how this Kydex holster making stuff actually works!"

Contacting Carl, he readily agreed to open the dungeon doors and show me how the magic is made. 

BlackDog is a 'Retirement' business for Carl, who spent his life making machines behave.  Now, he spends time with his son building holsters to, as he puts it, make money to buy beer and gas.  I have a feeling it's gone a bit beyond that at this point.  

I asked how he got started making holsters, and got exactly the answer I suspected.  Carl shoots competition, and just couldn't find a holster he was happy with... so he made his own.  And another.  And another.  And..... before long it just happened.  Asked if he advertises, Carl replied "No, pretty much just word of mouth".  Asked how many holsters he makes a day right now, he says about ten or twelve.   Doing the math on how long it took him to make mine (while I had to keep dancing to stay out of his efficient way), I gather Carl's 'retirement' business is more than a full time affair.

I chose the Hydrid IWB Minimalist holster for my Glock 30sf.  This holster has a leather backing where it touches the body, and a Kydex outer sheath which is molded to fit the pistol.  It attaches to the belt with a springy polymer clip, allowing the holster to be installed and removed easily while fully dressed.  Pistol retention is achieved by the shape of the molded Kydex, and is fairly stiff.

The process of making the holster is pretty straight forward, yet Carl's attention to detail is profound.  There are rows of identical machines, each set up to perform a specific function.  I believe the man orders presses and buffers by the six pack.

When I ordered the holster, I half expected to hear back the 30 'SF' was a no-go.  It has different dimensions than most compact Glocks, and many accessory makers don't work with it because demand is too low.

Silly me..... Carl has that covered.  He has wall full of 'Blue Guns', used to mold the Kedex.  All neatly arranged, classified, and marked.... just like everything else in the work shop.  There is also an impressive collection of lasers and weapon lights arranged in likewise fashion.  They can match up most combinations of pistol and attached light to build a perfectly fitting concealed  carry holster.  In fact, I am now considering mounting a light on my daily carry G-30sf, simply because now I know I can get a holster to fit it.

There is an equally impressive wall full of custom wood and metal dies used to mark off and form the leather and Kydex.   Most appear to be made in house, in separate wood and metal working shops.  Carl is pretty much a jack of all trades, and it shows in the custom jigs and fitting used around the workshops.

So... the real question.... what about the holster?

Like most people who carry for self defense, I have amassed the 'Big Box 'O Holsters'.  Bought at one time or another in efforts to find something better.  That said, I've been been carrying in the very same Galco JAK Slide daily for maybe 15 years.  It's simple, fits, and works well enough I'm willing to let the few down-checks pass. 

I've now been carrying with the BlackDog holster for a few weeks, and find it to be more comfortable than I imagined. It's the first IWB holster I've had that doesn't rub or irritate in any way at all.  It's also at least as secure as the Galco Slide, if not more so.  I like the idea of installing and removing the weapon and holster as a unit, giving me a few less chances each day of having an accidental discharge.

Like any holster, there are a few quibbly things I'd consider changing, and just might ask Carl's advice on.  Those aside, I believe this holster will not be destined for the 'Big Box', but will be worn in rotation with the Galco for quite a while to come.  It's *very* comfortable, quite secure, easy to install and remove, draws nicely, and re-holsters WAY better than the JAK Slide.

I'm happy with it.    

BlackDog holsters gets the Fat Man's approval.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Well, I didn't shoot anyone this morning......

So I've got that going for me.  I mean, not shooting people is on my daily to-do list, and it's always good to get the big stuff out of the way bright and early.

On the other hand, I did put hand to weapon, and was quite ready to go the next step if pushed.

Let me 'splain.   I'll do this in 'bullet point fashion' as chronological order is best I think.

  • I was up at 3am, for a 4:30 alarm.  Blasted leg cramps... so lots of time for coffee, reading, and getting ready for my day.  Towards that end, I was dressed and ready to boogie by 5am. although Herself was not ready till 5:30.... sigh.   By dressed, I mean dressed, and that includes a G-30 in a belt holster and fully charged Fenix flame-throwing flashlight (Which I use all day at work).
  • 5:30, we go out the front door.  My car is parked directly in front of the house. Herself is in a foot cast, and I make that commute to the car as short as possible, both coming and going. Thus the car is 10 feet from the house, along our sidewalk.
  • I 'Chirp' my car unlocked, and open the passenger rear door to toss in a spare uniform for this hot and sultry day.  In the light of the interior courtesy light, a dark lump is on my front seat.
  • First thought.... "What did I leave on my seat?".  Second thought.... "I left NOTHING on my seat".  Third thought.... "I recall not locking my car last night".  Fourth thought.... "Someone put something on my seat".    Now, all these thoughts took place in less than a second.
  • The Dark Lump Moved.
  • .0002 seconds later, the dark something has resolved itself into a white male with a beard, buzzed short hair, a black shirt/jacket/whatever.  Facing rearward, curled up, his face buried into my headrest.
  • I reacted .0003 seconds later.  I stepped back, creating distance, and said the obligatory 'Oh Shit' at the same time one hand went to my weapon and the other to my light. There I froze, waiting movement from the Mr. Dark Lump Dude.  The car interior light was enough to see him by, now that I knew what he was.
  • Thoughts:  "Do I know this guy?" NO.   "Is that one of my sons?"  NO.   "Is that a former student?"  Always a chance.   This took another .0002 seconds.
  • Herself reacts by asking "What's the matter?"
  • I respond with "THERE IS A GUY IN MY CAR AND I'M ABOUT TO SHOOT HIM!".   The thought..... if this guy is conscious that may provoke response.  I've had experience rousting drunks and bums in a former life, and sometimes it takes a real push to get a reaction. They will often play dead just to be left alone.
  • No response from Mr. Dark Lump Dude... except some twitching.
  • I shut the door, backed up to the porch, and engaged my light while keeping a hand close to my weapon.  A few moments looking, and it's pretty clear what I am facing. A scruffy guy who was stumbling down the road, and took shelter in the car to sleep off whatever he's on.  My guess, only slightly educated, would be heroin, alcohol, and weed.
  • Breath, and back down from Defcon 1 to Defcon 2. 
  • Call 911, but first... use my phone to take a few pictures of the guy. I know calling 911 will lock my phone all to hell up and disable every other function.   Mr. Dark Lump Dude never even moves as the flash goes off. 
  • Give a concise description to the operator, get transferred a few times, end up with our State Police who cover this area.  I describe it all again, say thank you, hang up, and begin waiting.
  • Response time was about 15 minutes, as I was quite clear we were in no fear of harm.
  • The nice officers arrived, each took a side of the car, and there was a little bit of 'point the guns' and "Show me your hands!".  Lump Dude had no idea what was happening, where he was, or probably who he is.  To be purely honest, my foremost thought was "Man, please don't shoot him in my car!  That will be a bitch to clean!"  I MAY have said that out loud.  Not sure on that.
  • 6am.... we wiped down the interior with bleach wipes and hit the road to work.
 One lesson learned:  I have grown very complacent on home security. Especially with the passive stuff.  My car should not have been there, should not have been unlocked, and the motion lights should have been working. I should have checked that car before ever getting near it.

Other lessons are coming to light, as I think about it. One is that I should clean my car out more than once a week..... sheesh.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cuz I think weird... okay?

There was a super ball lodged in a shelf below a machine in the shop one day.  It had probably been there for months, casually tossed as a joke after being found in a vehicle fresh from the sale.  Just stuck there..... just a little rubber ball.

My eyes tell my brain, and said brain goes FLASH!  Ah HA!  Chortling like Renfield, I snatched up the ball and scampered.. scampered I say... to my tool box, where I opened a fresh razor blade and sliced that ball clean in two.

Why?  Because it looks like EXACTLY what I need to create a pressure point against the force sensor I bought.  One step closer to a recoil sensing rig for measuring and graphing recoil pulse on rifles!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Amongst my other flaws.....

I may have fallen victim to an entirely human flaw.  That of believing wishful thinking will become reality, given enough strident wishing.

When I assembled a Franken-AR to be an 'accurate' rifle, I made the false assumption it should BE accurate, just because that was my intention.   Thus, I was sorely disappointed on it's first range debut, finding it had at best only average accuracy.

Right out of the box, I expected flights of singing angels, and tight groups, from an untried assembly of components and cheap ammunition.

Wow.  Just bloody.... wow.  Self realization with a blasted big stick.  I'm an idiot.

At the age of 14, I was glass bedding a marlin .22 bolty and polishing it's muzzle in the search for better accuracy as a squirrel rifle.

Decades ago, I was still on that search with big bore rifle.  Bedding, action work, bore polishing, better triggers, better optics, different muzzle cuts, and above all else.... building superior ammunition matched to the rifle.

I have a $79 Turkish Mauser with $200 worth of new parts and untold hours of labor, just to make it accurate enough to suit me.

I have a Bolt action 30-06 Interarms Mauser that's a supremely accurate hunting rifle..... after weeks and weeks of careful load development.

Now I spend a few hours assembling an AR, one from column A and two from column B, and expect it to be a laser from the first shot.     Yes, proof positive I am an idiot, or at least human.

Okay, got it.  Mea Culpa.  I'll get my head straight and get on process to make it work right.  I've a pretty good idea what it takes, and it will happen given enough solid work and careful thought.  The rifle has shown signs it *can* shoot straight, if I do my part.

Let the load development begin, and the unreasonable expectations... end.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Measuring felt recoil.....

I have a desire to measure rifle recoil as felt by the shooter.   Yeah.... It's a mad scientist kind of moment.

I was thinking I may be able to use this force sensor, and my Vantage graphing multi-meter to make this happen.  Fix a thin steel plate to the rifle butt, tape the sensor in place, and fire the rifle with the butt against a fixed and firm sandbag.  Perhaps a thin plastic strip will need to be applied over the sensor to better relay the firce of the recoil.

If it works, I should be able to read both peak and duration of the recoil event graphed out.

My goal is to accurately measure the changes in rifle recoil as related to different muzzle brake designs, and other changes in the weapon.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Last night....

In the rural area I live, gunfire is common.  Many a summer evening I can hear automatic weapons fire coming from three distinct directions, and all it means is people are having more fun than I am.  

Come this Fourth of July weekend, and we add in a host of fireworks; Enough to frighten the horses and drive the dogs insane.

As we relaxed in our living room, listening to the neighbors cute little firecrackers, and the AK and AR fire from over the hills..... resolve set in.  Herself and I shared a look, and the same thought passed wordlessly.

I took myself to the car for hearing protection, and she put something over the nightgown.  The safe opened,  Liberty was retrieved and readied.    Liberty, my M1 Garand rifle, a gift from a good man.  Two clips... enough.

Out back, to the round bale I had dropped there to absorb bullets.  In the dark, Liberty loaded by muscle memory and feel.  Aim taken at the center of the huge white bale...

Blam!  Blam! Blam!  Blam! Blam!  Blam! Blam!  Blam! PING!

Reload by feel in the dark, thoughts on our nations warriors and soldiers who made those same motions in battle, fighting for their lives, their buddies, and in the end our freedom.

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM... PING!  As fast as I could.  Fire belching from the barrel, shell casings raining down, the 30 caliber rifle roaring in the darkness.

In the distance, silence.  All other firing and fireworks had ceased.

As the last clip fell to the concrete, it rang with the clarity and long song of a bell in the clear air of the night.  Herself asked  "What is that ringing?"

Freedom, I replied.  That's the sound of freedom.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Muzzle devices designed and built by Chuck Bogardus (The Bogie)

So, there's this guy. His name is Chuck Bogardus, he's a curmudgeonly old coot, and some kind of magical machinist type person. We walks out into his insanely hot machine shop in St Luis, and dreams up things we can screw onto the muzzles of our rifles.  Flash suppressors, muzzle brakes, hybrids, 'compliance' devices (Pointy things).... you name it, he carves metal til it appears.

Here's the thing now.... the mad Santa Claus machinist could use some sales right about now. There's rent to be paid, electricity is kinda nice, and a powerful need to eat sometime this month.

If you have a hankering for something pretty darn good on the end of your barrel, or think you might want something like that in the future, or hell... Christmas is coming.... I'd consider it a favor if you'd drop a line to Chuck and consider buying some of his products.  I've got three so far, and I'm very pleased with them indeed.

Contact Chuck at, or friend him on Facebook (

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Re-cutting a muzzle crown by hand....

The AR-15 accuracy project rifle displayed a wonky pattern on the muzzle crown after a disappointing first day at the range. Perhaps it was part of the issue with this rifle throwing patterns instead of groups, or perhaps not.  In either case, It's no longer an issue.

Using a chamfer kit purchased from Brownells a lifetime ago,  the first step after cleaning the muzzle was to square the face of the barrel at 90 degrees.

With the .22 pilot fitted to the cutting head, and a bit of lube applied, the cutter was turned by hand while applying light pressure.  Stopping to clean every few turns, it took only minutes to get what I was looking for.

The next step, after cleaning the bore once again, was to set up the 11 degree cutter and repeat the job till the rifling ended cleanly at the muzzle.

Once again, the barrel was scrubbed, and then a thread protector screwed on to.. well.... protect the threads.

The next step is a range test, to see if this work has any effect at all on the fliers and lack of accuracy.

Easy peasy, if this was all it was!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Okay you schmart peoples..... put your thinking cap on for this one.....

The PSA 18" Wylde upper was.... disappointing.... in the accuracy department.  Shoot five rounds at 100 yards, find three holes within an inch, and the other two wandering around within four inches or so.

62 grain Federal green tip made four inch patterns, as it does from every AR I own.  PMC and Federal 55 grain FMJ, as described.  A few exactly on point of aim, the rest go walking away from the party.

This afternoon after work, I began the process.  I pulled the free float tube and checked the barrel nut for being loose.  It's massive, and SO tight I'll need a bench block and a big wrench to loosen it.  That will be happening, but not tonight.

Moving on, I pulled the flash suppressor to look at the barrel crown.  Loosening the cage took hammer blows on the wrench till I got 1/2 of a turn.  After that, finger tight.  Yes, I am not comfortable with what that tension may be doing to the last 3/4" inch of the stainless barrel.

Looking at the crown, I found this:

What am I seeing here?  It LOOKS like the muzzle was crowned at 45 degrees, and then the barrel rifled.  Or..... am I seeing bullet jacket fouling from the 50 or so rounds I fired yesterday?

I'll be scrubbing the barrel, and re-crowning this muzzle before I shoot it again. It won't have a flash suppressor or break on it when I shoot it next.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lego rifles...... mix and match AR-15 Frankenrifles.

What we have here is big 'ol pile of AR-15 parts, gathered over a few years.  What we also have is a graphic example of one reason why the AR-15 has become the most popular American rifle ever.  Used for home defense, target shooting, hunting, plinking, and tyranny ending, Eugene Stoner's  60 year old design still has a lot to offer.

Accumulated over the last few years, this pile *was* two working rifles, and a bunch of parts.  Not even two months ago, it would have been one working rifle, and assorted parts.  Now it seems to be snowballing.

The thing that makes this fun is the design.  A person with minimal technical skill can work on these rifles with a few inexpensive tools and a little help from easy to find expert sources.  From an AR barky pistol up to a full sized long range precision rifle, they can all be 'assembled' by an average person working on a kitchen table over the morning coffee.  Yes, there are certainly levels of quality one can expect from an experienced gunsmith that make their services worthwhile, but with an AR-15 even the common Joe or Joe'ette can do a serviceable job.

To be honest, when it comes to entry level AR-15's, one doesn't really save much moola by building it yo'self.  Even with cheaper parts, $500 seems about the bottom price point to build one.  Right now, a decent quality completely built entry level rifle runs less than $600 out the door when bought right.

The fun comes in making the rifle YOURS, and that's why I call them Lego rifles.  You can swap out furniture with only a couple cheap hand tools.  You can change an entire trigger assembly with nothing but a pin punch, an allen wrench, and an on-line video in only 15 minutes.  You can go so far as to turn a box full of unattached pieces into a complete, safe, and ready to fire rifle in an hour using less than $100 in tools.

Swap out a bolt or barrel, change calibers, make it a shorty carbine or a longish bench rifle... none of it is difficult or daunting for someone with even a little technical skill.

On THIS team are parts and assemblies from:
  • Rock River
  • Palmetto State Armory
  • AIM Surplus
  • CMMG
  • Spikes Tactical
  • Mako stocks
  • Midwest Industries
  • Nikon
  • Warne
  • Anderson
  • Eotech
  • Magpul
  • Hogue
  • Chuck Bogardus (custom muzzle devices)
  • Timney 
  • Ptac
(If ya'll want these linked, let me know)

Of the original two, one was my personal AR-15 with a Spikes heavy barrel 16" upper, a Rock River lower, Timney trigger, and Nikon 3x scope.  The other, a Rock River lower with CMMG guts and a Ptac upper from PSA.  It was an experiment in a cheap slickside upper that Herself liked so much, she declared it hers.  The Eotech is on that upper.

The newest upper is a PSA 18" stainless barrel with a .223 Wylde chamber, NiB bolt, tactical charging handle, and 3.5x14 Nikon telescope on a Nikon P223 base.  I expect this to be accurate.... or I'll damn well know why (shooting it tomorrow).

The newest lower was built from the Anderson receiver and a PSA kit in about 10 minutes while I sipped my morning coffee. It seemed a useful way to spend a lazy Saturday morning before everyone else got out of bed.

Looking at all these bits and pieces, it seems obvious the Lego rifle assemblies needed to hit the blender.

Out came a RR lower with Mako stock and Timney trigger, supporting the PSA 18" Wylde upper and big 'ol Nikon scope.  I'll be mounting a Harris bipod on this rifle, and working up an accuracy load.  Nothing over one MOA will be accepted.... and I expect better.

The Spikes 16" upper, decked out with the 3x fixed Nikon on Warne QD rings, and rail mounted flame thrower flashlight got fitted to the other RR lower with CMMG insides and basic M4 stock. It also has Magpul BUIS that are sighted at 100 yards. My 'house' gun, and just plain fun shooting rifle.  It will do 1.5 at 100 yards all day, and has never once missed a beat in thousands of rounds.

The Ptac upper (With the dangerous Bogardus 'Compliance' muzzle device and Eotech holo sight) was setup on the Anderson lower with PSA innards and M4 stock.  This is still Herself's rifle, and lives where she can grab it if needed.

There are still a few stray parts in the pile, and another stripped receiver to be built up one day.  I've had thoughts of building one for each son, and maybe another as a spare..... but at this point which one would I give up? 

These are MINE!

Assembling an AR-15 Lower Group..... over morning coffee.

Yes.... exactly that.  This morning, over my *second* cup of coffee (because I am not a complete idiot), I assembled an AR-15 lower unit.  The receiver, an Anderson bought from AIM, and the lower kit being a PSA house-made budget ensemble.

Using a video instruction put out by Larry Potter of MidwayUSA, as I always do:

My tools?  Minimal.  I'm comfortable doing the work over a towel spread on the living room floor, while sipping coffee and half listening to the parrot singing at me from her perch.

A decent screw driver set, since I'm not above using such as a pin punch in a panicked pinch. An AR multi tool, to install the stock nut. A small hammer, to tap in pins. Forceps, to hold said pins till started. A tiny tap, with matching threaded plugs to install behind the take-down pin detent spring. Finally, a needle applicator of CLP to apply a drop here and there as I go.  Masking tape is optional, but a good idea.  The video explains why.

Following the handy video, pausing at each step and replaying as needed to be 100% sure I've got it correct, it took me approximately .5 cups of coffee to get the job done.

The towel on the floor is *supposed* to keep parts in order, and prevent the tiny detents and springs from going too far.  In actuality it becomes the ONE PLACE we can be ASSURED that we won't have to look when a Tiny little %$@!&# detent goes flying.  The parrot laughed.  Ha ha.... very funny.

In other news, MidwayUSA sells a very nice essential small parts kit for AR builders, which has several spare detents and springs in it.  

After what seemed like only a few minutes, a box of parts became a fully assembled and functioning AR-15 lower receiver group.   Next step...... Lego rifles!