Sunday, July 29, 2012

Proper Primer Pocket Preparation Practice..... with a Lyman case prep tool


Faced with a large mixed batch of 5.56 brass, in which about 80% have crimped primer pockets, the Fat Man had to make a choice. The crimp has to go..... but how to go about it?

In the past I have used my RCBS primer pocket swaging tool to good effect.... except I managed to bend the small case rod and never got around to getting a new one.

Also in the past, I have used a case deburring tool to cut away the crimp, and that worked quite well. On the other hand, when faced with a pile of little 5.56 cases about a thousand deep, my fingers begin aching at the very thought of using the small tool for all those.

Enter the Lyman Case Prep Multi Tool, recently acquired for just such an occasion.

I was attracted by the large knurled aluminum handle. It just looks comfortable to use. The design allowing the tool heads to be switched at will..... that's pretty cool as well. Now, make the whole doohickey hollow, and make the inside a storage compartment for a good assortment of case prep tool heads.... that sold me. No more digging around inside my loading bench for a handful of case preparation tools.

The gadget comes with tool heads designed for inside and outside case chamfering, primer pocket reaming/decrimping, and primer pocket cleaning. Both large and small primer pockets.

In use, I installed the primer pocket reaming and cleaning tool heads. This allowed me to simply flip the tool over and do both operations as needed on each case.

The results? Well, clicken to embiggen the image below to see for yourself. The reamer doesn't really fell like it's doing much, but looking at each case we see the crimp is gone and a very nice bevel in it's place. Priming the cases now is not only possible, but smooth and easy.

For the price, it's a pretty darn good tool. I've used Lyman case prep tools for ages, but they continue to develop new ones all the time, and the skull sweat that went into this one makes it worth owning.

Carteach: Two (not worn out) thumbs up!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A custom engraved AR..... WWYD?

So.... here I am looking at AR lower receivers for a build project.... and one gentleman reader points out the products of York Arms. On top of all their other attractive features, the buyer can have custom engraving done. It appears... just about anything.

Well friends and neighbors, what say you? What would be proper for a 'Carteach0' custom AR-15 build?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Twofer review: The Mako AR stock, and a BSA 'Tactical' 4x20 AR optic


First of all, here's the Linkies to the items I'll speak about here:

Mako GLR16 Stock and 6 Position Buffer Tube, Buffer, and Spring (Black)

BSA Tactical Weapon 4 x 20mm Rifle Scope with 30/30 Duplex Reticle and AR Handle Style Mount

Okay, that's it for the linkies. Now lets talk about the ARevolution that's happening to my Franken-AR.

It began as a used gun store pick up. The price was right, even throwing in the possibility of it having a shot out barrel. It came to me as (mostly) a Colt post ban heavy barrel upper, and an early DPMS lower, all in an A2 configuration. A few hours scrubbing found that 'shot out barrel' was really nothing more than a heavily fouled barrel.

Once those swirly groovy things were rediscovered in the barrel, a range trip found the rifle to be a good shooter. It did have one disconcerting habit... sometimes when cycling the bolt by hand and easing it forward, it stopped half way before going into battery. This was investigated, and found to be a worn bolt carrier.

One 'Bravo Company' bolt carrier later, and the Franken-AR was up and running reliably. Not willing to leave well enough alone, a Magpul Grip and a Magpul hand guard set were installed... simply because I like them, and it's MY rifle.

Fast forward, and it happens that I did something really, really dumb... and damaged the muzzle. Hey.... stupid happens, and I am their King.

At that point, Brian Parramore of Parramore Machine Works in Orlando came to my rescue, and did some astonishingly good magic with my barrel. He's a wizard with a lathe, and returned my abused barrel to me in excellent (and shorter) condition, now with a perfect target crown as I requested.

With the barrel reinstalled, the rifle was even more accurate than before, and The Fat Man very much digs the rifles much improved ergonomics.

As long as some inches were lost at the muzzle, I concluded a few from the buttstock would not be missed either.... and thus the Mako GL16 collapsible AR stock was ordered. It came with a new Carbine style buffer tube, buffer, and spring. The lock ring and end plate were ordered separately for few more dollars.

Once all those pieces were here at the same time, it took roughly twenty minutes to pull off the A2 stock and tube, and install the Mako unit. The only tool needed was an AR armorers combination tool, purchased on for a pittance.

Friends.... Carteach is LIKING this stock. It's solid, works smoothly, and feels good to shoot with. The buttplate is a very grippy rubber, and Mako has given it a tread pattern that would make a decent snow tire jealous. Best of all.... it's utterly quiet. I mean no rattle. None. The stock slides when you want it to, and then it just stays right where you put it without rattling around and moving. I LIKE that.

Shooting on the range, the Mako stock feels solid, and shoulders easily. The buttplate has been given an angle that makes bringing it to firing position quite natural. Shortening up the stock, the rifle hangs in ready position on a sling freely, while still being quick to bring into play accurately.

One cute feature, a strong tug on the buttplate causes it to swivel down, revealing a compartment especially made to store a few spare batteries for an Eotech sight, or some such toy.

The old A2 stock has been saved, and will become part of a match rifle build.... as soon as Rock River Arms finishes building me a National Match upper unit.

Now, on to part two of this Twofer review: The BSA tactical 4x20 scope.

My idea was to have a simple scope that would attach to the carry handle, allowing better sighting for load development. An AR handle mount donated by a generous reader was tried, but just wouldn't settle down on my rifle. I suspect Colt was a might... overeager... in machining the groove in my carry handle, leaving it a bit wide.

The scope mounts up well enough. That said, there's nothing else really good I can say about it. Yes, Carteach now has a set of crosshairs he can put on the rifle, making sighting during load development much easier. More than that..... I got nothing.

The scope is supposed to have a 'Bullet Drop Compensator turret' tuned to the
5.56mm cartridge. Out of the box, it appears the turret was assembled incorrectly. It had a detent that doesn't quite 'detent', but does manage to stop the turret rotating right in the middle of the range index. Well.... I 'guess' it's right in the middle, as BSA didn't bother to place an index mark on the scope body.

Now that we mention it.... BSA also didn't bother to mark the adjustments for Up/Down nor did they mention how much moving the non-indexed sighting adjustment would move POI. In point of fact, the adjustments are not detented, and I have no faith they won't move in time. The instructions utterly fail to help, seeming to have been written in a far off land by someone with a withering grasp of English and not one shred of understanding towards how firearms work.

I'd send it back for repair under warrantee, but for a problem. BSA warrantee instructions tell me to send it back on my own dime, and include a check for $10 in return postage if I ever want to see the scope again. By my sad math skills, I make that down about $20 to get a warrantee repair on a $45 scope that was delivered incorrectly built.

Sum it up... Mako stock: GOOD.

BSA Tactical 4x20 AR scope: BAD.

Friday, July 20, 2012

An update and a link....

Once again, Carteach has not been making with the free ice cream. Posting has been sparse, and shallow even when it does happen.

My career recently changed, and I'm in a new position that demands an exorbitant amount of time. I suppose part of the reason I was head hunted into the job was the attitude I bring to the table. That same attitude requires I do the job to best of my ability... and that leaves little time for anything else.

One day soon Carteach's life will settle down enough to allow more shooting enjoyment, and more blogging of such. Never fear, and let your heart be light.

Meanwhile, the folks at Lucky Gunner have taken up their own form of gun blogging. In the link they emailed me this morning, I see they took my idea of eye-pro testing via serious destruction and applied two assets Carteach seldom has enough of: Gobs 'O Money and Time (It must be great to be a paid blogger!) In their testing of Eye Protection, they used Styrofoam heads and a shot gun, just as I did.... but they went much farther in testing various makes and types.

I've copied my poor efforts below, and do recommend a trip over to their site to read their work on the subject.

The Carteach version of such testing:

Shooters can usually be found with ear protection and eye protection. Earpro and Eyepro by the slang words. Smart shooters.... are seldom without both.

This post is about eye protection, and what we can expect from it.

In choosing good eye protection, we are faced with an awful lot of choices. So many factors come into play. Price, style, price, quality, price, price, and price. This opinion is based on a decade of buying eye protection for my students. Yes, price has always been a factor, but not the most important. Keeping my students eyes in place and operating is the main goal. After that, price becomes the deciding factor.

In studying the available choices, the single biggest pointer towards protec
tion is clearly the rating of the lens. There, we are faced with three levels. The first is no rating at all. Such 'safety glasses' are little more than cheap plastic glasses... possibly worse than having nothing at all. No-rating glasses offer little in the way of protection. Under impact, they tend to shatter into sharp chunks, rather than deflect and absorb the blow. The resulting fragments can be driven into the eyes, causing worse damage than an unprotected impact might have.

No-rating 'safety glasses' may be the lowest of the low, but that doesn't mean they are the cheapest of the cheap. In fact, price is really not a reflection on the safety rating of the lenses. The highest rated lens may be found in a $5 pair of glasses, and typically is. On the flip side, some quite expensive shooters glasses may not be all that highly rated, trading safety for style.

How does one check lens rating? With a sharp eye and good light... that's how. One must look for some specific figures on the lens itself, or if the lens is part of the glasses, the rating may by on the arm instead. What we want to see is the letter 'Z', followed by the number 87. Put a '+' sign after the Z87, and you have the highest rated regular safety glasses you will typically find.

Z-87+ is what Carteach0 buys for his students every year.... and he pays no more than $5 a pair for them, even in the stylish and effective wrap-around type.

Once we have a Z87 (or higher) rated lens, what kind of protection can we expect? Here, things get pretty impressive.

The no-rating glasses shown above, with the amber lenses, were the first victim of the Cart
each0 testing apparatus.... otherwise known as a sheet of thick metal plate and a S&W K-22. The plate was set up and angled just so, and when fired on with the accurate .22 pistol a swath of bullet fragments would dependably spray to one side of the plate.

As the test board to the left shows, a round or two fired into the test plate would leave nothing alongside it unscathed.

The amber no-rating glasses didn't stand up to a single fragment storm, shattering on the first hit. Both lens and frame came apart, littering the area with testimony of the 'safety glasses' ineffectiveness.

Low budget Z-87 safety glasses bought from the hardware store fared much, much better. Hit with no less than four blasts of shrapnel from the .22 bullets hitting the aluminum plate, they showed not a scratch on either lens. In fact, a paper had to be placed behind the glasses to verify the spray pattern, as this tester couldn't believe they were being hit at all. The frame did show some impacts, but the lenses came away unscathed.

Having demonstrated the difference between Z-87 rated lenses and unrated lenses, Carteach decided to move right up to the big guns.... and testing that was much more fun. Full frontal with 12 gauge shotgun and #8 bird shot. A serious test of any lenses effectiveness.

Leaving the disgraced un-rated lenses behind, the shotgun tests were done with low budget Z-87 EOS safety glasses from the hardware store, and some lenses donated to the cause by a reader, made by ESS and Wiley-X. Surprisingly, all survived shotgun blasts that tore apart the Styrofoam mannequin heads used to support the lenses.

As the following images show, at distances as far as 50 feet, and as close as 15 feet the lenses easily survived multiple hits with #8 bird shot fired from a 12 gauge shotgun.

Clearly, typical Z87 and Z87+ rated lenses hold up to impressive damage. Direct impact from a 12 gauge shotgun at 15 feet... amazing. The lenses, at closer ranges, were driven deep into the foam target, but the lenses themselves were never penetrated by the #8 shot.

Testing was done at this point. A full load of bird shot at 15 feet... If anything more damaging than that happens to a shooter, all bets are off anyway.

The failure point was not the lenses, but the frames. No matter the brand tested for this post, they all gave up pretty quickly. Perhaps that would be a reason to spend significant cash on safety glasses... for frames that would hold up to the same as the lenses.

Carteach's choice? Inexpensive Z87+ wrap around glasses. The same one bought by the gross for his students. In fact, shaded versions of the same glasses can be found in every Carteach0 vehicle, used as driving sunglasses. This makes sense, as the dangers from flying glass and debris in a car accident easily rival that of the shooting range.

Now.... to finish off the test lenses in a way that leaves no doubt. OO buckshot at 15 feet, launched by a full choke 12 gauge tube.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mako Stock... in transit for the latest ARevolution....

Anxiously awaiting the Big Brown Truck of Happiness.......

Mako GLR16 Stock and 6 Position Buffer Tube, Buffer, and Spring (Black)

This goes on the shortski AR that's coming together, while the A2 stock coming off will be saved for the Match Rifle build coming up. That one will have a Rock River NM upper and a lower I'll put together myself, likely using a RR stripped receiver.

Fun 'n Games folks!

Monday, July 9, 2012

GRPC in Orlando..... A reporting I shall go!

Friends, looks like it's a go at this point. I expect to be attending the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando, late in September. There I'll look forward to hobknobbing with the who's who of the most important civil rights movement in a generation.... at least till they notice me lurking in the shadows and escort me out the back door.

Look for daily reports (If I am able...), and some all round reportage on the important happenings there.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bore sighting with the help of LaserLyte...... close enough to start with


Mounting an optic on a weapon isn't really rocket science. Start with an accurate rifle, add in a quality scope, put it together with a decent mounting system, and shazaam.... you are 'almost there'.

'Almost' is the operative word. Volumes can be written about how to properly mount a scope on a rifle, but lets skip past all that for now and discuss bore sighting.

Carteach mounted his first scope when he was 14 years old. Back then, .22 ammo was expensive, there were lots of critters on the farm that needed shooting, and the gift of a lowly used four power scope was a cause for joyous celebration. Putting it on the rifle was left up to me, and at that tender age and wallet condition, believe me... even duct tape was considered.

In the end a set of rings to fit the Marlin Mdl 25 pest eradication weapon system were procured, and scope mounting commenced to happen.

I can still recall the impression I had as a young man, knowing for certain that .22 was going to become a laser-like precision bullet application device the moment the scope was attached. One might imagine the consternation on firing the first round after scope installation surgery, only to clean miss the entire target set across the garden.

Combine a cheap .22 rifle, a very cheap set of rings, and a cheap used scope.... and suddenly thin air seemed to be the only target in danger. It was certainly the only thing I could hit. Not willing to accept that, a plan was quickly hatched to bring bore and scope into alignment. The rifle was firmly bedded on the bench (WORK bench... in the barn), and the bolt removed from the rifle. Lining up my young peeper with the chamber, I looked down that bore and kinda sorta got it pointed maybe about near the target paper way out there. Trying real hard not to move the rifle, the scope was adjusted until the crosshairs were kinda sorta almost maybe like sitting just about near where the bore kinda sorta looked like it was pointed.

Believe it or not, that worked. The next shot from the rifle was on the paper, and from there the point of impact was walked over to the intersection of the crosshairs by turning those mysterious magic thingies under the neat screw on covers on the scope.

Later in life, when rifles with larger bores came into the young man's life, the height of sophistication was reached when said 'bore sighting' now came to involve a fired case with the primer punched out being placed into the chamber, creating an aperture sight of sorts. Oh my, wasn't I just the smartest chubby kid on the block?

Fast forward about (mumble) years, and now the much older, and still rather penny pinching shooter has mounted a lot more optics on shooting irons over time. While the old method of just looking down the bore still works, there are better and more sure ways of getting on paper fast, while saving ammunition.

Enter the Laser Bore Sighter. A device that is simply shoved into the rifles muzzle (after a might bit of fitting), and instantly turns the rifle into the very laser spitting space blaster the young man from long ago thought his .22 was.

Bore sighting has been around for a while, and in much more technically competent fashion than what I did as a young man. Many gun shops have offered bore sighting as a service for generations, using kits that involved small optical devices mounted on expanding arbors mounted in the rifles bore. These were relatively expensive, and not something individual shooters would typically buy themselves.

Now, enter the Buck Rogers future where lasers are an everyday device used to point out things during business meetings and entertain cats. Naturally they were quickly mounted on weapons as sighting aids, and just as naturally some smarty figured a way to shove one in a rifles bore in a fairly accurate way, and use it to align a scope to the bore. Wham! Laser bore sighting for cheap! Welcome to the future!

Today, at a cost of roughly two wal-mart grade boxes of big bore cartridges, anyone can own Their own laser bore sighting unit. Shucks, there is even room to spend a silly amount of money, and get oneself an incredibly powerful super duper brilliant green laser bore sighter that's visible at ridiculous ranges and can probably shoot down Soviet spy satellites.

In use, the regular bore sighting laser is inserted snugly in the muzzle of the rifle, which is then carefully placed solidly on a bench rest. Laserlyte supplies their units with a highly reflective (and effective) aiming target to be placed down range, and it's marked with a grid to help with scope adjustments. The rifle is moved carefully until the brilliant laser dot is reflected back from the target, and then the scope is adjusted as desired in relation to the bore-aligned laser dot. Easy peasy, there you are! Your scope is now bore sighted and on the paper (DON'T forget to remove the unit before firing the rifle! In fact, don't even have ammunition anyplace it can be reached while the bore sighting is going on.)

Does this mean the rifle is now sighted in? Not by a long shot (bad pun intended). There is still the process of dialing it in exactly where it needs to be. Still, the hard part is over once the rifle and scope are both pointed at the same piece of target paper. Everything after that is simple math...... the bullet hits six MOA to the right so dial six clicks to the left... etc.

The point is... exactly what that farm boy needed so long ago, for exactly the same reasons... is available now to every shooter. A cheap and easy way to bring scope and rifle together in rough alignment, without spending a fortune in ammunition and time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CZ452 .22 Rimfire trainer...... sweet!

Sometimes things just happen. Not long ago, a CZ 452 happened to me.

I was browsing a local gun shop I had stopped at on a whim. Not my favorite place, but occasionally has something decent or interesting. Usually overpriced, which is why I under-buy when I am there. That day, they had the usual assortment of new and used, with little turnover in their stock. Did I mention they price high?

I noticed a very pretty .22 rifle at the front of a rack, and asked to see it. A CZ 452 American in .22 magnum. Nice, but not a caliber I am enamored to since I bought a .17HMR. The CZ 452 American comes sans sights, fitted to an American style stock with a medium comb, meant for a scope mounted rifle.
When the clerk put it back on the rack he mentioned he had another one, but not as nice. I was noncommittal, but he still reached to the back of the rack and hauled out what is shown here in the photographs.

It's a CZ 452 Trainer, unusual and not often seen around here. It differs from
the American in many ways, being styled for the European market. The Trainer, and it's fancy brother the Lux, come with excellent quality open sights. The rear sight is a military style tangent that is graduated from 25 meters out to 200 meters. It's also adjustable for windage via two small screws.

The front sight is a hooded blade that is also adjustable for elevation via a ramp and a small lock screw. The idea is to use the adjustable front sight to set the point of
impact for the ammo being used with the rear tangent set at the range being fired. Then the rear sight can be adjusted via a slider to whatever range is desired. It's a nice system, and allows the military style tangent rear sight to be used with most standard velocity .22 LR ammunition.

The stock on both the Trainer and the Lux have a hump back style perfectly suited to shooting offhand with open sights. The Lux has fine grade Walnut, while the Trainer has birch.

It was the sights and stock that sold me on this CZ452, helped along by the reputation they have for startling accuracy. I have been looking at old .22 rifles for the last year or so, hoping to find something set up for offhand shooting with open sights. I'd like to practice for the High Power military rifle matches, and a properly set up .22 would be a valuable practice tool. (and cheap to shoot). I turned to elderly used .22s as no American company seems to service the market for quality open sighted .22 rifles meant to be fired fired from positions. Such shooting seems to be from a bygone era.

Apparently the Europeans still shoot their small bore the way it was meant to be. Open sights, standing up, working on real old time shooting skills. Well, at least as much as they are allowed to by their governments.

To sweeten the pot, this CZ 452 comes with an adjustable trigger and a safety that completely locks the firing pin and bolt. In addition, the barrel is a graceful 25 inches long, giving a nice feel and excellent sight radius.

They test fire each rifle at the factory, then clean and pack it for shipping. The test target is included in the box, and signed by the man who fired it. I like that touch; Shows pride in their work.

At the gun shop, this nice little rifle seemed to fit me well. The stock allowed good fit for shooting with open sights, and the trigger has an excellent feel. Best of all, the sights are serious business and do the job they were meant for. Not an afterthought on a rifle designed to be fitted with a scope.

This one had a few small scratches from rack time, even if it was new. Dickering happened, feelings were slightly impinged, a box of ammunition sweetened the pot, and I walked away with this CZ 452 Trainer for slightly less than wholesale price plus tax. Yes, I was (and am) a happy camper. My shooting club being only a few miles from the shop, I hustled over to try out my new purchase. Settling in to a bench rest and sandbag, the first group at 25 yards could have fit under my thumbnail. Happy dance time!

Another shooter was watching as I set up at fifty yards, and I noticed he was also shooting a CX 452, only an American in .17 HMR with a scope. It took him no time at all to notice the groups from my open sight .22 matched the size of his scoped .17HMR groups. Envy abounded...

Yup..... I'm glad this one followed me home. I've come to realize good firearms are not an expense, they are an investment that always appreciates. The value goes up while we get the enjoyment of owning and using them at the same time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Possible road trip....

I know this blog usually avoids the political side of things, but perhaps this minor straying might be allowed.

Late September finds the GRPC happening in Orlando, Florida. For the first time in some years, Carteach is considering a road trip back to the Sunshine State. If the new career allows the time, and finances fall into line...

In any case, I encourage folks to consider doing the same. A strong showing carries a message all it's own.