Saturday, August 1, 2015


I haven't had anything to share in almost a year.... and this blog still generates over 15,000 pageviews a month.

Maybe I'll take it up again.... one day.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Grey Man: Payback

Just finished Jim Curtis's newest book, The Grey Man: Payback

My thoughts:   Buy it.  Read it.  It's worth every penny and more.

Jim is a life long shooter, and one of the good guys.  He's a man who keeps his back covered, and his experience shows through in his books.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

AR Parts kit....... thoughts?

 Anyone have any experience or thoughts on this kit from AIM Surplus?

 I have a lower receiver that's wanting built...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Storing a weapon close to hand..... an attractive option.

(It has taken me a year.... but I finally ordered more of these magnets.  Home circumstances have changed, and there is opportunity and reason to be creative in tool storage.)

So... when I was a kid, my buddy (both of us were shooters) mentioned his dad kept a .357 under his mattress.  Being kids, we had to go look.  This involved lifting the corner of the mattress and just looking... NEVER touching..... Oh My God.  That was unthinkable.

More to the point, keeping a weapon close to hand during the night was something just understood by everyone I knew at that age.  Whether it be a handgun in a nightstand, a shotgun just inside the closet, or a S&W under the mattress like my buddies dad, pretty much everyone had a weapon nearby in case something went KaBump in the night.

True to my upbringing, I've been steadfastly that way myself since the first .22 came into my boyhood life.  The only thing that's changed are the weapons themselves, and how much more careful I am about where I keep them.

The idea I'll show here is not one for people with immature folks in the house.  Be they children, or just those who forgot to grow up, weapons need to be kept from those without judgement enough to be responsible and safe.

That said, there's ways, and then there's ways.....  and here's one of them.

Setting up a new bedroom, and bed, in our home, I was thinking of exactly what and how I wanted to keep there.  The room is minimalist, and will stay that way.  Being so, anything extra would simply stick out like a sore thumb.  There are only a couple logical places to keep a weapon, and one of them is the tried and true "Under The Bed".

The thing is, with the room design and the bed design, the firearm could not go between mattress and box spring, as this bed does not have both.  With the polished wooden floors, simply putting something under the bed isn't going to work either.

Whatever I decided to put there.... it needed to be mounted under the bed, and attached to it.  That left a number of options, and I settled on what might be the most versatile one.

I ordered up a Flat Magnet from Amazon, for dirt cheap.  (PLEASE NOTE:  If you order from that link, you get ONE magnet, not two as shown!) Able to support way more weight than I needed, it offered a very comfortable margin of strength for this job.

With the magnet mounted to a small wooden board, it went between mattress and metal platform, giving me a 3" round high strength magnet mounted under the bed from which I could hang any blessed thing I please.

While it's strong enough to hold a riot gun all by it's lonesome, stability would require two magnets.   At this time, I stayed with just the one, which will nicely hold almost any pistol I own. The Ruger with a stainless slide and alloy frame, that one is a bit sketchy, but just about everything else clamps on beautifully.

While there are manufactures out there making magnetic units designed specifically for mounting out of sight and holding a handgun, they can get rather pricey.

The magnet I used here is less than $10, and careful shopping can beat that price too. Designed to be mounted by way of a bolt hole drilled in the center, they can literally be put wherever imagination suggests.  Held on by bolt, screw, or even double sided mounting tape, the magnet can be attached almost anyplace out of sight that a person can reach.

Under a desk, behind a cabinet, on the inside of a closet door or inside the closet over the door.  Under a bed, behind a head board, or maybe the back of a sock drawer.

Some care should be taken to protect the firearms finish, but this can be as easy as a 4" square of wax paper between magnet and firearm.

Obviously, if small children are in the home or come to visit, the weapon should be retrieved and locked up.  

As for me, I think I'm going to order another eight or ten of these, and get creative......

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sometimes the decision is so easy......

It was marked $299 in the case.  Used, on consignment.  Minor holster wear... not a safe queen.  It has been carried a bit, but not abused.  

The box is not the original, but I believe it's correct for the model and (roughly) for the build date.

Do I NEED another snubby?   No.... 

Could I pass this one up?   NO....

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Chuck busting on the cheap... the Savage 93r17

'Tis woodchuck season again here in the Commonwealth, and those fat crop munchers are swarming with a vengeance this year.  They are literally everywhere, slowly and inexorably mowing their way into newly planted fields and pastures.

The Fat Man has been punching out chucks since the tender age of 12, with dad cheering him on.  Every woodchuck smacked in the ear with a .22 was one less digging holes for horses to step in, or leaving cleanly mowed pathways through the fodder.

This season, I'll be keeping this little rifle in the car, along with ammo and a decent pair of binoculars. A Savage 93r17 of some years age, it's one made before the accutrigger came into play.  With it's bull barrel, this 17hmr laser is just plain accurate.  One hole groups at 50 yards are common, given a good rest and some trigger control.  Half inch groups at 100 yards are it's normal offering, using Hornady 17 grain polymer pointed ammunition.

This rifle retailed at $199 a few years ago, and comparable rifles can be had for $250 any day of the week.  Add in $50 worth of Weaver steel rings and bases, and an $80 BSA scope, and it's a 150 yard woodchuck killing machine for under $350 out the door.

.17hmr ammunition is available, and not expensively.  Typically around $13 per 50 rounds, it's almost a steal given the performance of the round.

To put the cartridges performance into perspective, the first 50 round box purchased with the rifle accounted for 38 woodchucks, one shot each, and also the initial sight-in with a new scope.  Those shots ranged from 30 feet to 125 yards, and in every case the creature never more than quivered after the hit.

The BSA scope is a new addition this season, replacing the 4x32 Simmons cheapo bought with the rifle.  The 3x12 BSA is a cheap one itself, retailing around $80.  No, it's not a stellar optic.... but it's perfectly fine for a rimfire trunk gun that is likely to see more than a little indifferent handling.

A nice feature on the BSA 'Sweet 17' optic is the adjustable objective, offering the ability to dial in a decent focus on the target.  Many scopes that are preset to focus at 100 yards fail miserably in clarity when shooting at 25 yards.  The reverse can be true of dedicated rimfire scopes which don't offer adjustable focus.

Of somewhat less usefullness, but of a certain..... 'optimistic quality', is the  bullet drop compensating vertical adjustment turret.  It STARTS at 100 yards..... for a cartridge I consider to be effective out to 150 yards at best.  Yes, hits can be made at farther ranges..... but it's pushing the envelope to shoot game past 150 with the .17hmr.  That's my honest opinion, for what it's worth.

In any case.... there it is.  The bargain basement chuck buster that will live in my trunk over the next few months.  Cheap, accurate, dependable, cheap, fun, and cheap.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Enjoyed a few moments today with 'No Excuses', an exceptional rifle.

 This is the rifle/scope combo that allowed me to shoot a 238/250 on the Appleseed course....

This afternoon I enjoyed a simple moment on the back patio, putting a few magazines-full down range onto paper.

Townsend Whelen said "Only accurate rifles are interesting".  While I may not go that far, I will agree that rifles of this accuracy are fascinating.

When the Ruger 10/22 Target model came home with me from The Collectors Gunshop, the idea was the rifle would be my ticket to Appleseed nirvana. After all it has a target bull barrel, a great trigger, a super stiff laminated stock perfect for sling use, and is already set up to mount an optical sight... something my aging eyes require.

The day it came home, an Eotech found it's way onto the Ruger's included Picatinney rail, and immediately the rifle began demonstrating an amazing capacity for accuracy. So much so, in fact, that not mounting a quality optic on the rifle would almost be a sin. Towards that end, the knowledgeable folks at Collectors guided Carteach towards a new offering from Nikon... Specifically, the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40.

The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40 is designed for the .22 rimfire and Air Rifle market, and is an exceptional piece of work. Investigating the scope, I discovered Nikon makes an 'EFR' model, so named for it's 'Extended Focus Range'. Th
at's a feature The Fat Man can snuggle up to, being able to dial in and focus a crystal clear sight picture anywhere from 15 yards all the way out to 300 yards. In keeping with it's intended use of relatively close range target shooting, the scope has click adjustments equaling 1/4" at 50 yards, or 1/2" at 100 yards.

Obviously, the scope will also work just fine for other calibers than .22, and I have read of them being used on varmint rifles in the .223 category quite succesfully. I have my
own plans on buying another and mounting it on my Savage .17 HMR, to enhance it's already substantial ground hog eradication powers.

Do I like this scope? Oh... I don't know.... Is it possible to fall in love with an optic? YES! I Like this scope! I want a few more exactly like it for other rifles!

Now.... how to mount this spectacular scope on the tack driving Ruger 10/22 Target? Here again, the folks at Collectors had an answer, as they introduced me to the DNZ 'Reaper' mounting system. This one piece mount is specifically machined to fit the rifle, and eliminates the idea of mounting bases on the rifles, and then rings to the bases. Improper alignment is all but impossible, and the rings need not be trued to fit before bolting in the scope.

The Fat Man contacted the owner of DNZ mounts down in North Carolina and talked with him about the mounts history. It
seems it all began back in the 80's when he wanted a quality mount for a muzzle loading hunting rifle. In the finest American tradition he machined his own.... and the 'Game Reaper' mount was born. Last year they shipped 60,000 units...... yes, I said 60,000 units.... and Carteach had never heard of them till Collectors hit him with a clue bat.

The DNZ Reaper line has about sixty different offerings in it, each designed and built to perfectly fit a specific rifle. The
y also have a number of offerings built to fit AR carry handles and Piccatinny rails. Now that I have seen how well this mount works, I'll be swapping over a few other rifles to DNZ setups. The pricing on them makes this reasonable for the quality you get, and the one piece design is strong and stable.

Carteach's Ruger proved no hassle at all in mounting the DNZ mount designed for it. In fact, it took less than five minutes to unpack the mount and have it secured to the rifle using the provided hardware and
tool. Installing the scope took another ten minutes, what with all the fussing about eye relief, levelness, rechecking everything, etc... etc.

It almost seemed too easy, but not twe
nty minutes after unpacking the scope and mount, shots were going down range as it was all sighted in. Less than five rounds put the bullets hitting exactly where they were pointed. The Nikon's specially designed adjustment knob made this even easier, and once the scope was zero'ed, the dial was simply lifted to unlock and then set to 'zero'. Targeting adjustments from there are a snap. The idea is... get the rifle dialed in, and then set the adjustment knob back to '0'. After that, it can be dialed up and down as needed depending on the targets range, but always returned to the original zero.

Five rounds to sight in.... and the next five rounds did THIS:

After shooting this group (while simply resting the rifle on the porch rail out back), the scope was then adjusted through it's power range, shooting three more groups... each at a different setting. The groups looked like the targets had been run through a copier.... each exactly the same size, in exactly the same place.

The Ruger 10/22 target model is spectacularly accurate. The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire is startlingly clear and precise. The DNZ mount is rock solid. Put it all together, and the package is.... perfect.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Brightening the darkness......

There is something to be said for commonality of equipment.    That something is this:  "Keep all the widgits the same from one weapon to the next, and maybe you won't forget how to work them when the SHTF."

Towards that end, The Old Fat Man has caused his defensive shotgun to grow a flashlight pretty much in exactly the same place as his carbine.  Not only is it in the same place, but it works the same and feels the same.

Of course, it took different hardware, but in today's age of rail that's not a big deal.

It began with the rail mount, and this one is a LaserLyte unit made for 12 gauge shotguns.  It clamps to the magazine tube, and so far I have not managed to budge it after several large handfuls of heavy buckshot through the weapon.

The mount provides three rail positions; right, left, and underneath the tube.

After that, what more can one say about it?  It's simple, reasonably priced, easy to put on, and tough enough to do the job.

Next, the flashlight and mount.   In this case, both are Fenix made, and procured from

The mount is a well thought out rig that allows for flashlights of different diameters to be fitted.  The center bolt tightens the mount to the light, while the outer bolts tighten the mount to the rail.

Mounting the flashlight to the rail mount is nothing more daunting than sliding it in and tightening the bolt!

If the flashlights bezel and cap are too big to slide into the mount, simply unscrew one and then slide the flashlight in.... reassembling the light after it's in place.

I found it best to attach the mount to the rail first, and then install the light in it. All three bolts are then tightened with the supplied tool.

The rig fits solidly.... VERY solidly... and does not move at all under heavy recoil. 

In use, the flashlight's rear activation button lines up very nicely to the shooters thumb as the fore hand controls the slide.  I have no issue controlling the light this way on either shotgun or carbine.

Remote switches are available, and can be screwed on to replace the flashlight's tail cap, with a short cord and a pressure switch mounted to the slide.  These work...... but....(and it's a BIG but)..... I have problems with cords and wires hanging off the side of a weapon.   Biggest of these is the 100% surety that I will rip it the hell off at the very first opportunity.  There is no 'chance' involved here.  I KNOW what will happen.

No..... The Fat Man will stay with a simple button to turn his light on.  Even then, a back up flashlight will be at hand..... just in case I knock the weapon light clean off it's mount by 'accident'.

So now all three home defense weapons have lights mounted on them.  Pistol,  Carbine, and shotgun.   BRIGHT lights.  BLINDINGLY bright lights.... and I practice with them often.

Next, I will be mounting one on the S&W 15-22 play/training rifle.... and increasing the commonality factor just that much more.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review: The LaserLyte V4 rail mounted laser....

Some time back, I took a look at the LaserLyte FSL-3 itty bitty rail mounted laser.   Now I'm doing the same with the latest/greatest version, the LaserLyte V4 Laser .

There are a bunch of rail lasers out there, so it's really all about the features. With both these units, size is the key.  Both the older FSL-3 and the new V4 are pretty much the smallest effective rail lasers on the market.  In terms of taking up landscape on a weapon.... they just don't use much.

The V4 is slightly larger than the FSL-3, but not enough to make a big difference. In trade, it's edges have been rounded off and it's a very smooooth gadget, offering no nasty sharp bits to dig in while carrying.

Like the FSL-3, the V4 has a feature I approve of greatly.... it is programmable for either a solid red laser, or a pulsing beam.

Personally, I find the pulsing beam to be a much quicker pickup to my eye.  I just see it faster, and can align it to the target faster.  That's a good thing, right?

Using the pulse beam also doubles battery life, a healthy 10 hours even with the tiny itty bitty little watch batteries this thing uses (LaserLyte includes spares with every unit!).

The V4 also maintains the auto-off feature of the FSL-3, giving a flickering warning of impending offness after five minutes of solid use.

I think LaserLyte has also made an upgrade on the adjustment system of the V4, since I found it dead easy to get a perfect sight alignment with it.  Much easier in use than the FSL-3, which I found a bit persnickety in how it needed to be adjusted.  Both hold adjustment... well..... forever, but the V4 was easier getting there to start with.

The V4 uses two activation buttons on the back of the unit.  One on each side, so righties and lefties are both served equally well.  For me, either are usable, depending on where my trigger finger is.  When I mount the laser on the rail of my M&P 15-22, it's buttons fall under the thumb of my support hand.

What to use the teeny little rail lasers on?

Well.... just about anything you want, I suppose.  Being as small as they are, they just don't get in the way much.

Given the right holster, use on a regular carry pistol would be perfectly fine.  The Fat Man keeps one on the spare backup auxiliary house gun (more on that later), and another on the rail of his 15-22 rifle.   Mounted on the rifle, it makes low light can busting in the backyard a ball.... and whoa betide the raiding raccoon who gets into MY trash cans!

For those on a budget, the very LaserLyte V4 is a reasonably priced, feature rich, and robust little laser that will work on anything with a bit of rail.  Not overly fancy, and nothing to gloat over on the BBQ gun.  It's just a simple working mans laser sight.  I've loaned my M&P 15-22 to teenage boys for a week at a time, and they couldn't manage to break the laser unit.  Now..... that's saying something about durability!

I own a couple.... and glad of it.  They are handy little buggers.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Building an AR-15......... This could be addictive.

The AR-15 platform, more so than any other rifle in the world, is an utterly American creation.  Born in controversy, raised in battle, and matured into the 'Hot Rod' of gun owners all over the nation. 

Much like a hot rod, the AR-15 takes customization to a unique level.  Buildable with minimal tools and just some basic knowledge, these rifles can be assembled by almost anyone with a moderately decent mechanical ability.  In fact, ten minutes on the internet will supply all the instruction manuals (and videos!) one needs to construct a service quality AR-15 from the ground up.

Options?  Accessories? Choices?    Oh MY........  as many as there are fish in the sea. The ability to build the rifle exactly as one wishes may be the single best reason for a shooter to assemble their own AR.

Cost savings?   Perhaps..... perhaps.   Certainly some money can be saved in building ones own AR-15 if shopping is done carefully, some used parts are (luckily) found, and absolute top quality is not insisted upon.  As this is written, it's possible to build a perfectly serviceable rifle for less than $600.

The thing is..... also as this is written.... it's possible to buy a brand new entry level AR-15 from a major manufacturer for about $650.  

So.... why build?    One simple word..... customization.  In building the rifle from scratch, the entire AR universe can be drawn on to make a weapon exactly suited to the shooter.  Caliber, length, sights, features.... all can be changed, mixed, and matched to serve a particular use.

To that end..... here's The Old Fat Man's recent build....

Beginning with a Rock River Arms stripped lower, and an RRA lower parts kit, a complete lower was assembled.  Using only a few simple hand tools, an AR armorers wrench, and a video supplied free by the fine folks at MidwayUSA, the lower assembly process took no more than 30 minutes.  This includes some trial and error during the adventure, and taking it all apart again just to be sure it was right.

For a buttstock, the Fab Defense Mako was chosen, along with it's buffer tube, spring, and buffer.   This stock is solid, doesn't rattle, has a storage solution for batteries, and importantly to me.... has a rubber butt pad that looks like it was stolen from a snow tire.   I LIKE the way it sticks to my shoulder while firing.

Installing an adjustable AR buttstock requires using an end plate between the stock and receiver.   This gives an opportunity for a low cost but valuable upgrade..... a sling plate.  This widget allows attaching a sling at that juncture, just behind the grip.  Perfect for use with a single point sling, and generally costing less than $15 for a simple one.   Sure.... $50 name brand sling plates are available... if one just HAS to have something fancy (g).

The RRA lower assembly kit comes complete with a standard AR plastic hand grip, which is serviceable.  The Fat Man, on the other hand, favors a Hogue Monogrip on his AR's.  They fill my hand better, are 'stickier', and I think help aid in accurate shooting.

When it comes to the upper end of the rifle, I wished a 16 inch barrel of fairly heavy and stiff contour. Accuracy is one of my goals, and I value it somewhat higher than light weight.  I also wanted a flat top receiver for mounting a holographic sight, but a standard A-2 front sight post to use with a back up iron sight.  Also.... a midlength or full length (dissapator style) gas block placement to give me a longer sight radius when using iron sights.

Decent quality should go without saying..... and such an upper unit as I describe could be built from scratch for under $600 including the bolt carrier group and charging handle.  To my fortune as I was building this, AIM Surplus had a sale on Spikes Tactical uppers, complete with bolt carrier groups, for only $519 with free shipping.  That was a deal too good to turn down.  It's only downside, which most shooters (myself included) might consider a good thing, is a minimum spec chamber.  Reloading for this rifle requires small base dies.

For forearm furniture, I chose a Magpul MOE handguard.  I like the fit and feel, and the internal heat shields are excellent.   In addition, bolting on a rail section allowed attaching the one 'gadget' I wanted on this rifle..... a really bright light.   It's 300 lumens right under my thumb as I grip the forearm, and I appreciate having that option.

As main sighting optics, I installed my trusty old EOTech 512.  This unit has been on rifles of mine for years and years... and still keeps working perfectly.  I've even handed it off to teenagers for a weekend at a time.... and it still works!  The fact it takes cheap AA batteries is a plus.

Backup iron sight?  A Magpul MBUS unit (Gen 2), mounted backwards..... yes, I said BACKWARDS.... as described here.

That's MY AR-15.... as assembled by me.  It's hard to say 'built', since I just put parts together like a semi-trained monkey..... but whatever it is, it's all MINE.  At 8.8 pounds, it's not light, but it is handy.... and quite accurate.  As for dependability, I really can't say.  A thousand rounds in, and I'm still waiting for the first hiccup.

Accuracy?   Well..... it's okay... even without a magnified sight.

Damn..... I thought it was clean!

Today I was moving a few things around, including a small stack of mil-surp rifles too long for the safe.  As is my habit, when I pick up these particular rifles, I pull the bolt and check the bore, as they are often shot with corrosive ammunition.

Click.... yank.... bright window.... shiny.
Click....yank...... bright window...shiny.
Click... yank... bright window..... SON OF A B!#@$

My old 91/30 Ex-Sniper had a bore gone dark.   Thinking back, it had been over a year since I fired this rifle, and I am CERTAIN it was cleaned well before being stored.  I am also certain I have checked that rifle no more than a few months ago as well, since ..... well..... mil-surp corrosive ammo.

Anywho, it called for immediate action, and a whole bunch of Ballistol*.   This 'gun oil' has been my go-to solvent, cleaner, lubricant, and preservative on mil-surp rifles for about 20 years now. 

30 minutes of vigorous scrubbing, and the old beast once again has a shiny bore.  Hopefully it has escaped serious damage from my poor stewardship.  Sorry tovarishch, I'll be more diligent from now on.

Lesson learned...... 

* Ballistol has a long and honored history. It was the black powder cartridge shooters who clued me in to it's goodness.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Calling the mathability enabled readers....

Okay you brilliant people..... how does one solve for this question?

Say the rifle is 36" long, and pivots from the butt end.  How far (in thousandths of an inch) must the muzzle deflect to change the point of impact 1moa at 100 yards?

Yes, I know it is simple math.  No, I am not having the knowleging of the mathiness ways.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Well.... THAT was different...... and scary

A few days back, I was allowed some 'quality time' on the range with this PSL.  I'm fairly certain it was unfired, and here is how I know.....

A couple rounds in, I was greeted with this when I sent one. It sounded weird, felt weird, and locked the action up pretty tight.  The top cover was bent up, and the bolt took some finagling to get open.

Examining the other spent rounds found every one had a problem.

Lesson learned:  NEW don't mean GOOD.  Also, QC is a little less than impressive behind the former iron curtain.  ALSO also..... wear the damn eye protection!

PS:   Why ain't you folks chewing on me about the misspellings?   Good friends would show no mercy... sheesh.