Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scoping a CZ 452 Trainer.....


Only one of my sons carried my interest in shooting. When he was of the maturity to handle it, I gave him his own .22 bolt action rifle... a Savage... and in an effort to make it a bit more special, I scoped it with a fine old Burris 2x7 optic I'd had for some years. It was, in fact, just about my favorite scope ever.

Now, many... many years in the future, the same boy is heading off to Marine boot in a few months. As part of that he's thinning his possessions down and putting things in storage. He dropped off a few boxes of shooting and reloading gear, with instructions to use what I want.

In the bottom of one of those boxes.... I found the old Burris scope, still with t
he Burris rimfire rings I'd bought to install it on his rifle.

I can't say if he recalls where he got that scope, or knew it was in the box... but it's mine again now and it means something to me all out of proportion to it's intrinsic value as a fine piece of firearms optics.

I considered mounting it on my own Savage rimfire, to replace the 6x scope already there. Then I had another thought.....

I own a CZ 452 trainer model rifle, and it's hands down the most accurate .22 I've ever had. With it's excellent trigger, extra long barrel, and crisply visible military style open sights, it's been a joy to shoot since the day I found it at a local gun shop.

One thing I've never done to the CZ was mount a scope on it. Not that I haven't thought about it, but the CZ family of rifles uses an oddly spaced groove on their receivers... different than the American standard. That means buying CZ rings, at twice the cost of regular decent rimfire rings. Forking over $75 for rings on a varmint rifle doesn't faze me, but paying that much for rimfire rifle rings rather chafes my old skinflint soul.

Well, 'Ol Carteach just had to try for myself, no matter what the instructions say. I spent a few moments setting up the Burris scope and rings, and then slid it onto the CZ 452 receiver groove. Snugging down the lock nuts by hand, it surely did slide around and appear too loose.

Not wanting to give in quite so I easy, the gunsmithing screwdriver with a proper standard bit was used, and the ring clamp base was snugged quite snuggly....

You can guess what happened then. The rings tightened up rather nicely on the receiver slot, and the scope appeared to be a perfect fit. Schweeeet!

Stapling a pie plate to a fence post way out in the back yard, sighting in proceeded to happen. The first shot landed two inches to the right, and 1/4 inch high. Moments later, and the next round cut the top edge of the hand drawn bullseye dot. The following shots from the five round magazine nibbled the hole slightly wider.

The scope fits the rifle, and they make a fine... fine... combination. All for moments invested in simply trying it for myself.

I expect to send a few hundred .22 bullets across the back yard now each week, more than I usually do, and I'll be thinking of my boy while I do it. He's come up to be a man now, and a good one at that. I can't claim credit for how he turned out... all that came from inside him on his own.

Follows an image of the back yard... and someplace in there is a set of swinging steel targets, each just a few inches wide. It's time for me to brush up on my finer rifle skills, and see I can still ring the steel like I used to.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A new offering from Laserlyte: A side mount unit for the Ruger LCP


(Please note: The fly in the photograph is not an employee of Carteach0, nor were any flies harmed in the testing of this product. The fly was strictly an uninvited guest, and does not represent the views of Carteach0 or it's staff.... meaning me.)

Lasers are fun. There's just no way around that. As sighting aids on weapons, they are fun... useful, and sometimes downright necessary. Wonderfully effective under low light conditions when sighting is difficult, they really 'shine' when mounted on a pocket pistol with minimal sights.

Okay.... Carteach is a fan of lasers. When I'm at work I have a nifty green laser blaster in my pocket at all times, as a means of directing students attention. When I CCW, I have a laser option on my weapon as a means of directing
my attention.... and hitting the correct target. Now, Laserlyte has come up with an interesting choice to make in the pantheon of shiny things.

My regular carry pistol is a Glock G-30sf with a Lasermax internal laser. It was the only choice on that weapon, as Lasermax was the only company that made something to fit it.

My backup weapon, and on occasion the only firearm I can easily carry concealed, is a Ruger LCP. The little .380 pocket rocket has much going for it, but good sights are not on the list. The reasons for this are reasonable and understandable, but still a bit vexing to someone who thinks 'better-than-point-shooting' accuracy is important at times.

Crimson Trace has a solution to that dilemma, a nifty little laser that mounts to the LCP and activates when the shooter takes a normal grip. By all appearances and reports, it's a fine piece of work and does a great job. The one place the CT unit may come up lacking is.... cost. With the best retail price found at roughly $190, and designed to mount on a $290 pistol.... the cost of the CT unit can be daunting. Especially to a cheap old skinflint such as Carteach.

Well...... Laserlyte has seen fit to fill that niche with their own offering... and it will retail for about half what the CT unit does. Like I said.... 'Old Skinflint'.... and the Laserlyte offering piqued my interest tremendously.

Using the vast journalistic powers at the disposal of 'Ol Carteach, I managed to get an early production model before they are even released in bulk. Actually, those powers run more towards 'wheedle', 'whine', and 'beg', but the results are the same. We have one to look at before most other folks do...

The Laserlyte 'CK-AMF' side mount laser for the Ruger LCP (and Keltec models) comes with most of the tools needed to install it, along with a set of spare batteries (
I love the idea of it coming with spare batteries.... that's a nice touch I wish every manufacturer did). The tools not included... a pin punch, small hammer, and some sort of work bench padded block.... these should be in every tinkerers tool box.

Laserlyte has gone to the trouble of uploading a video tutorial on mounting the little laser, as they have done for their other units as well. Nice touch... and much appreciated. It's not a high production value video, which means they didn't spend a ton of cash on it. Laserlytes videos have a homey feel to them, as if the folks there were talking one day, and decided their customers should have simple videos to show how to put the things together.... and they went out the next day and shot some. The good part..... it probably didn't cost much, and that means they don't have to bump prices up to pay for glitzy video productions.

Carteach actually had this video running on his cell phone/pocket computer while installing the unit on the test Ruger. Installation of the laser took only a few minutes more than it takes to run the entire video.

With the unit installed, next came sighting in. Here, experience with the Laserlyte construction has taught a trick. Run the adjustment screws mostly to the end turning counterclockwise (That's
left for you digital kids), and then let the pistol and laser rest in a warm spot for twenty minutes or so. I suspect this allows the buffers inside the tiny laser units to fully expand, making adjustment easier and faster.

Once the pistol is ready to have it's new laser sight adjusted, install the (included) Allen keys in the near microscopic adjustment screws, and slowly dial in the laser dot to appear at the point of aim. Carteach chose to make that distance about 20 feet, a reasonable choice given the expected duty of the little Ruger as a backup pocket pistol. Make the adjustments just a little at a time, maybe 1/8 of a turn, and
always finish with the adjustment by making the last movement clockwise (right hand).

Final adjustments, if required, are done with live fire at the range, although Carteach has never had to do more than the above with a Laserlyte unit. Perhaps one of the tricks I employ helps with that, as I give the pistol a brisk '
swat' with my hand after each adjustment change, thinking this helps seat the adjustment into place.

The Laserlyte LCP unit activates with a push button that falls naturally under a right hand shooters trigger finger as it indexes along the frame of the pistol. The slight swelling bump of the laser unit makes for a perfect line to encourage the finger to fall into the correct place.

Pushing the button activates the laser. Pushing it again shuts it off. The button head is recessed deep enough in a guard that it's highly unlikely the laser will be activated accidentally during pocket carry, especially if a proper holster is used. On the other hand, switching it on on purpose is easy and natural.

It should be noted though.... activating the laser places the trigger in exactly the right place to block the laser beam, and it doesn't appear on the target till the finger is dropped back into proper frame index, or on the trigger.

The unit is programmable, in that there are two laser modes to choose from. Holding the button down for about five full seconds will toggle the unit from 'solid' laser to 'pulsing' laser. Once chosen, that is the mode the laser operates in till the operator does the five second trick again and toggles it back.

Carteach chooses the pulsating laser for a variety of reasons. For one, it exactly matches the way the Lasermax unit works in my regular G-30 carry piece. For another, it nearly doubles battery life. Last.... it just works better for me to see the laser dot since it's pulsating. My theory on that is..... Man is a natural predator. Our eyes and brains are keyed to movement, and we see movement faster and easier than a still object.

With the laser mounted to the little LCP, new forms of training can commence. Like Bill Murray in the movie 'Stripes', I hear that as '

When I holster my regular carry pistol, I make it a habit to activate and test the laser in a safe direction. Every single time. This not only tests the laser, but builds muscle memory towards activating the laser without having to think about it. Likewise, every time I unholster and put the weapon away, I do it as a draw with laser activation... in a safe direction of course (Living in the country at the highly secret Carteach0 headquarters, I have that option).

Now, I can do the exact same thing with my backup pocket blaster. Over a few weeks of doing so, drawing the weapon and activating it's laser becomes second nature. The laser gives instant feedback of the accuracy of the draw/point technique, and with a little thought to the training, the sights come into alignment with the dot as second nature.

My thoughts on the Laserlyte side mount unit for the Ruger LCP? Two thumbs up. It's a welcome addition to my regular backup carry piece, and gives immensely more confidence in my ability to hit what I need to with it.