Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Conversion Kit (Caliber .22 Rimfire Adapter) M261


Sometimes a person gets lucky.   Sometimes, rarely, it's a special kind of good luck that keeps a man smiling the rest of the day.  Yesterday was that day for Carteach.

Perusing the local Craigslist, what should appear in the 'sporting' section but this.... an AR rimfire conversion kit!

Not just any, but an original 30 year old US army M261 conversion kit, with no less than three magazine inserts, and the operator manual as well.   Yes, I bought it.  I would have bicycled through three feet of snow to be there first, cash in hand.

There are any number of rimfire conversions on the market for the AR platform, and even more rimfire versions of the rifle itself.  Not only are such pip-squeaking shooters a lot of fun, but they make excellent training aids.

The US military is not unaware of this.  They have been buying rimfire rifles and rimfire conversions since the early 1900's, taking their cue from both the British and the Germans who did exactly the same thing.  Today, an early rimfire conversion for a German Mauser, in it's original case, is an exceedingly rare collectable.  The rimfire versions of the full sized military rifles, only slightly less so.

The .22lr chamber, which inserts into the 5.56 chamber
Given the M-16/AR-15 family of rifles already having a bore of the correct size to handle .22 rimfire bullets, the chore of building a rimfire conversion for it is really quite easy.  All that's needed is something that replaces the centerfire bolt, and extends far enough into the 5.56x45mm chamber to give a rimfire cartridge a home.  Also, a magazine compatible with .22 Long Rifle to replace the one fitted to .223 sized cartridges.

Upper, and AR-15 bolt.  Lower, the M-261 conversion bolt
The recoil of the rimfire cartridge is slight enough that a simple blowback action is sufficient, and both bolt and recoil spring can be housed in the space normally taken up by the centerfire bolt alone.

To use the US Army conversion kit, the rifles centerfire bolt is removed (10 seconds), and the rimfire bolt is slid home in it's place (another 10 seconds).  That's it.... the rifle is now ready to shoot inexpensive rimfire ammunition instead of full power 5.56 centerfire ammo.  Simple.

The Army magazine insert, ready to be installed.
The magazines..... slightly less simple.  Not difficult, but still taking a moment or two to prepare.  This difference is what separates the Army conversion from the Air Force version of the same kit.  The Air Force model uses special .22 long rifle magazines sized to fit the AR receiver, and the Army model uses 10 round magazine units that insert into 5.56mm AR magazines, using the centerfire magazines as adapters in a way.

To use the Army style rimfire conversion magazines, one is simply inserted into the top of a standard magazine, depressing the follower and spring, and then slid back home under the standard magazines feed lips.   That's it..... a standard 5.56 magazine has now been converted into a rimfire magazine.

In use, the M-261 conversion kit seemed problematic.  It's quite ammunition specific, feeding some and not others, and firing some and not others. 

Once the unit was stripped and given a thorough lubrication with magic unicorn tears  (That's for another article...), the unit began to feed quite reliably.  Firing uniformly was another story.

Note the size of the firing pin!
The issue seems to be the massive firing pin in the bolt, along with it's very strong rebound spring.  The firing pin is large and heavy, and contacts a huge portion of the rimfire cartridge in use.  Couple that with the heavy spring, and it takes a very solid whack from the AR's hammer to make the unit fire the rimfire cartridge.

However, one brand and type of ammunition tried seemed to have a more sensitive priming compound, and that was Federal's High Velocity Match ammunition.  With the Federal offering, the conversion kit equipped AR-15 settled down and began functioning perfectly.

Accuracy wise, the converted rifle proved to be a shooter, with groups easily matching those of a S&W M&P 15-22.  One inch groups at 25 yards were not difficult in either case.
Upper, 25 rounds from the M&P 15-22, lower group is 6 rounds from the M-261

So..... the kit is kewl.  Very kewl.  Even more since it's a piece of military history that can still be used with great enjoyment.  That said, is a conversion kit worth owning?

There are varying points of view to that.  Some would say yes, certainly it is.... if it works well.  The ability to switch the centerfire AR into a rimfire at will is a certain money saver, and allows shooting on ranges that often don't work well with the bigger round.

The other view point..... instead of buying a conversion kit, just buy a whole new rimfire dedicated upper, or even a strictly rimfire rifle like the M&P 15-22.  That notion has a strong following of it's own.

Now, having had both rifles side by side on the  range..... The Fat Man is still undecided. The kit equipped AR just feels different than the lighter M&P rimfire.  It handles different.   

That said, I can understand the idea of having two entire rifles, instead of one (plus an extra thing to make it different).  On the third hand..... if possible, why not have all of it?

No matter what, there is certainly a great value in having a rimfire trainer, no matter how you choose to arrive there.

What will Carteach's choice be?  It's hard to say.  Hell, given today's insane market, maybe he'll sell the whole batch at crazy high prices and switch over to muzzle loaders.   Especially given the state of home finances.

Maybe... for another day... but for now, there's .22 that needs used and cans that need plinking!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dragon Leatherworks Gunbelt.....

A short while back, Dennis Badurino of Dragon Leatherworks sent out a new product to some folks for review and comment.  The item is a gun belt, and yours truly is lucky enough to be one the reviewers.  That said, lets get this out of the way right now..... I got a free belt here.  There is no trade off.... no guarantee of a good review... just a 'Here's this thing.  Whatcha think of it?"

One more thing to say...... Dennis, you ain't getting this back.  Send me a bill, I don't care, but I am KEEPING this belt. 

Now, lets talk about this hunk of cowhide that Dragon Leatherworks is foisting off on an unsuspecting public.

I wore a leather belt from birth till about four years back.  The store bought junk proved a waste of time, especially when I began carrying a weapon for self defense.   Long ago, I learned the value of buying a belt from a Leatherworker, and not from a department store.  Thus, I gave my custom to 'The Belt Guy' who sold from a booth in a market.  He quite literally measured you, and then made a belt while you wandered around a while.  I paid a.... significant.... price for this, as quality does not come cheap.  I also waited in line, as other hard working men knew the exact same thing.

But..... even that wasn't good enough some days.  The belt just didn't have enough support, and eventually the holster would swivel and move, or hang wrong.  That's what pushed me towards the synthetic 'Tactical' belts sold by folks like Blackhawk and 511.  It's a BLACKHAWK! CQB/Rigger's Belt  which I have been wearing for some years now, and entirely satisfied I have been.

All that.... to arrive at this:  Dennis has pulled off something quite unique and impressive with this gun belt.  It's built of doubled leather, and I suppose there is a band of magical unicorn hide sewn in there someplace, as I have never.... ever..... seen a belt like this.

To be blunt, it's bloody stiff.  To put the belt on, it must be fed through the loops in a circular manner, following the body contour.  Carteach hasn't a clue how Dragon Leatherworks managed to build a belt like already shaped to fit a body.  It's so stiff, that if it's left in the pants when taking them off.... they stay open and bloody darn near stand up by themselves.  It's downright spooky to see.

As for holster carry, I've worn this belt every waking hour for days now, almost always with a Galco Jak Slide Holster and either a G-30 or a Combat Commander installed.   The holster stays perfectly, exactly, unconditionally... right where I put it.  Even with the heavy all steel Colt holstered, it felt as if the pistol was glued to my side all the day is long.

 As much as I truly like the Blackhawk CQB Riggers belt, it does fairly well scream 'Tactical'. and some of my non-shooty friends have made note, although they do seem to like the belt.  The Dragon Leatherworks belt, on the other hand, screams "High Quality Hand Made Leather" and would look quite at home in any board room, or squad room.

Folks.... It aint'nt cheap.... but no serious quality piece of carry gear is.  Dennis pulled off a good'un with this belt.  Two thumbs up from Carteach.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Carrying Garrand fodder in a modern tactical way...

Some time back, a good friend sent me a link to Sipsey Street Irregulars, where was laid out the idea I present here.  In other words, I can't take credit for this.... but wish I could.  It works like a charm!

The idea is just plain simple.  It seems the modern military MOLLE grenade pouches will quite nicely hold two loaded Garand clips securely, while still allowing very rapid access indeed.

The pouches are readily available on E-bay or Amazon.com, or at just about any decent gun show or surplus shop.   Being MOLLE equipped, they can be hung on a tactical vest or a belt.

My preference is the belt, and eight of them can easily find a home on one of my Blackhawk Tactical instructor belts.  This leaves room for the pouches to be moved around until a comfortable position is reached.

There's really not much more I can say about these except they work a treat, are pretty cheap, and beat the dickens out of the old Garand bandoleers.

Find them on Amazon here if you wish: 3 US Military Army ACU MOLLE II Hand Grenade Pouch

Feeling like a Mosin weekend...

It would appear that most of our local degrees have fled South, leaving us gripped in a wintry wonderland of snow, ice, and really, really, chilly breezes.

Perfect weather for a rifle that once saw battle in the snow drifts of Leningrad. 

I believe it time to crack the seal on this here case of Bulgarian Mosin fodder and head out to the range.

I suspect it will not be crowded....

Look for a report on the Bulgarian Surplus, if indeed that's what this is.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Primer Pocket Fixing........ the Lyman tool


Today, hitting the loading bench and cranking out some fodder for a few match rifles.  Going through the motions in my head over coffee, and planning the time to be used wisely, this widget came to mind.

Yes, I do mentally plan my reloading time, and yes.... I do use this Lyman tool thingie......

I hope to finish this batch of .223 today, and move on to a more interesting loading project.  That would be.... finding the load my Lovely Garand likes more than any other. I plan to use Liberty in next months match, and wish for something just a bit better than Greek Surplus to do it with.

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!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Deal alert on a shotgun bandoleer....

Carteach has had one of these for about a year, and likes it muchly.  At this price ($11.95) he now owns a few more.

Carrying shotgun ammo can be a pain in the tuckus.  12 gauge shells are large, heavy, and when shooting the blunderbuss they tend to evaporate quickly.  Keeping a supply on the person, and right at hand, is just blessed difficult at times.  Even more so, keeping a ready reload supply on hand for a home defense shotgun can be even more difficult.

This bandoleer works better than anything else I have tried...... it's that simple.

On sale RIGHT now for $11.95, but you know that can't last....

Aim Sports Shotgun Shell Bandolier/56 Rounds

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And in other news..... Dragon Leatherworks is doing gunbelts!

Dennis Badurino  (Dragon Leatherworks) has been stepping up the bar in custom carry holsters for several years now.   His work is nothing short of outstanding.... which may explain why Carteach fell all over hisself saying yes when Dennis asked for beta-testers on a new gun belt he's cooked up.  I didn't know what was in store, but hey... no way it could be bad!

It arrived today, and here are The Fat Man's first impressions:

   Holy Crap!  How the heck did he do that?!?

Like I said, first impressions and no images yet, but it will get it's first wearing tonight as I carry my trusty G-30 for the evening.  The belt is.... um...... stiff.  Stiff as in Denis managed to double up the leather for most of the belts length, giving a platform which I doubt any pistol in the world will drag down.

To be honest..... you could tow trucks with this thing!  This is not a sissy wannabe gun belt, but a serious piece of carry gear.

There will be a real review of the new Dragon Leatherworks gun belt in a week or two, after I have worn it all day and every day.  First blush?  I may never go back to a 'Tactical' belt again.

(On a more personal note, I may have been a bit 'off' when I gave my belt measurements.  Luckily, I was planning on losing a few pounds in the near future anyway...)

Well.... THIS should be interesting..... (Personal note)

Yours truly has now joined the swelling ranks of the unemployed.   

With luck.... this means the Carteach0 shooting blog will get some badly needed attention now!

No tip jar here, but if you have any shopping to do at Amazon.com I'd appreciate it being done through a link here.   The extra pennies will buy some rice and beans !

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Moisture protection in storage...


As you plan to 'creatively store' your valuable property, moisture can be a problem.  Take steps to protect your investments....

Silica Gel Desiccants 2-1/4 x 1 1/2 Inches - 25 Silica Gel Packets of 10 Grams Each

Carteach uses and approves.......   In fact, he just ordered a big batch, and expects to use them soon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

From an ammo supplier.....

SGAmmo is my favorite on-line ammo supplier.  This is what they have posted on their web site..

Welcome to SGAmmo.com


Friday, January 11, 2013

The Persian 98/29 Musketoon Mauser.... how little I know

(Please note:  If you have any information or thoughts as to the history of this rifle, please don't hesitate to share!)
Right before the German army overran Czechoslovakia in 1939, the Czech arms industry shipped their last orders of weapons to nations around the world.  Amongst these, the Mauser rifles for Persia.   Rare even in that rare company, the 98/29 Musketoon..... a 17 inch barreled battle rifle designed for mounted troops.

Compared to typical bolt action military rifles of the era, the Musketoon almost seems a toy meant for children.   It's short, light, amazingly handy..... and a blast to shoot.

By 'blast to shoot', I mean exactly that..... the severely short barrel means there is a LOT of unburned powder reaching the muzzle.  Ammunition designed for a 24" or 28" barrel simply doesn't have enough room to burn in a 17" tube.  As a result, the Musketoon blows a LARGE ball of flame every time it's fired, along with a stunning muzzle blast.

Look.... to be perfectly honest... shooting this thing (HOLY %$#@) is interesting.  Touching it off (OHMYGAWD) has a way of getting one's attention. The unique configuration leaves one somewhat (WHATTHE ^%$# WASTHAT?) surprised when it fires.  I can only imagine the poor camel..... or the sad soldier who upset his camel with this flame thrower.

Bringing this amazing piece of history home, Carteach hits the books.... and searched.... and searched..... and found almost nothing.  Only a short blurb in Robert Ball's tremendous work, 'Mauser Military Rifles of the World', where I found the flattened and knurled bolt knob showed this 'Camel Carbine' to be the Musketoon it is, as compared to the Czech model 30 carbine it closely resembles.

The search continues regarding the history of this remarkable find, although pickings are scarce indeed.  Till more is ready to report... here are a few photos to whet the appetite...

The Sun lion crest of the Persian Empire

 Farsi script on the left side action rail

 The only non-Arabic notation, a serial number.

 The bottom notation points
towards the Arabic date of 1317, equal
to 1939 I believe.

The unique saddle ring incorporated into the barrel band.
The rear sling mount swivels, also unusual.

The Persian (On top) rear sight as compared
to the same on a Mdl38 Turkish Mauser.

The Persian (Lower rifle) front sight is heavily
shrouded, unlike the Turkish above it.
The front band and bayonet mount 
appear taken directly from a KAR98.

Despite a rather badly corroded bore due to 
poor care at some point in it's grand life, the
elderly Persian war horse can still 
give battle viable accuracy.  Shot at 
100 yards, the short barrel blaster can
still keep it's bullets in a usable group.

Update:  After firing the rifle, I thought another good effort at the bore was called for.  Towards that end, and thinking I couldn't make it much worse, I plugged the muzzle and filled the bore with Hoppe's Bench Rest Copper Solvent.  The rifle was then set aside for half an hour while firewood was moved in a very manly manner by yours truly.

Unplugging and draining the bore, it's next treatment was with a brand new .338 brush, and some armstrong power.  To my surprise... CHUNKS came out, and my honest first thought was "Aw Hell..... I DID make it worse!"

But.... the brushing got easier.... and a few patches run through came out horribly black and disgusting.  Perhaps twenty patches later, I was shocked to find.... RIFLING!

No... still a rough bore, but so much better now that I'm very impressed indeed.  The chunks seem to be jacket material smeared down the bore who-knows-when, and never cleaned out.  

I'm looking forward to the next range session with this 'Lil Beastie, and seeing how it shoots now. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

You see.. there I was.... and......


The universe smiled on me today, and I seem to have acquired a Persian Mauser.

Not just any Persian Mauser, but a Persian-Czech Cavalry model 98/29 Musketoon.

Look for a post or two here as I carefully clean this old warhorse and research it..... but I can tell you right now..... Carteach IS FLOATING ON AIR!

Okay, a little bit of interesting linkyness....

Normally I don't respond (daily) to requests to link on this blog.  To be honest, most are simply not worth passing on, while some are downright obnoxious.

This time, I think it's worth putting out there.  Luck Gunner seems to have run a pretty expansive test comparing .223 ammunition in brass vs. steel casing.  One reason I'm linking it is it mostly matches my own observations, although I certainly didn't blow 40,000 rounds through three sacrificial M-4geries.

So.... here goes the link, and enjoy the reading.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Reloading a snubby..... how do YOU do it?

I have yet to own a snubby revolver that will cleanly eject empties, or allow a smooth reload from a speed loader.  The best I have been able to do is scraping the partially ejected empties out and reloading from a Bianchi Speed Strip.

Do you own a snubby?  Have you figured out a way to reload it quickly?