Sorry, Beto — it had nothing to do with you! And it has nothing to do with gun control. READ MORE
SOURCE: NBC News et al.
Last Thursday, Colt Manufacturing’s announced that it will no longer sell AR15 firearms to civilians. While many gun control advocates celebrated Colt’s decision as a victory, it had nothing to do with a shift in Americans’ attitudes toward assault rifles. The gun-maker said the decision is purely market-driven and made no mention of any public pressure. With poor civilian sales and a multimillion-dollar military contract, Colt’s announcement is strictly business rather than a signal.
In a statement posted on the company’s website Thursday, Colt’s CEO Dennis Veilleux explained that it was stopping production of civilian sporting rifles due to “significant excess manufacturing capacity” in that market and low consumer demand for Colt’s products. The company will instead shift production to fulfill “high volume” military and law enforcement contracts.
“Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world,” Veilleux said. The CEO said the company would continue to supply consumers with pistols and revolvers and did not rule out returning to civilian production of rifles in the future. Colt reportedly has about 110 days of inventory in its distribution network. Its website lists all rifles as “out of stock.”
Shortly after Colt issued the statement, the Department of Defense announced a $41.9 million Army contract with the company to produce M4s for U.S. allies.
Of course, gun control celebrities celebrated what they ignorantly perceived as a victory.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke tweeted the news alongside an image of him as the National Rifle Association’s “AR-15 salesman of the month,” suggesting Colt’s decision reflected declining sales of the weapon. O’Rourke made waves in the last Democratic debate by saying he would take away Americans’ AR15s and AK-47s.
CHECK OUT THE TWEETS @Beto O’Rourke (Colt Firearms just announced they’re stopping production of AR-15s:
March For Our Lives, the student movement founded after the Parkland, Florida high school massacre, tweeted about the news. “This is real life. We’re winning.”
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action cited the “lack of public demand” for the AR-15 tweeting, “The @NRA’s #TrumpSlump is the gift that keeps on giving.”
In fact, despite one of the country’s oldest gun makers pulling out of the civilian rifle market, overall gun sales have increased in recent months and in recent years, so have the number of AR15 buyers and sellers.
Firearm sales have steadily risen in the past two years and last month manufacturers posted their second-best August on record, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
According to a 2018 Gallup Poll, support for an assault weapons ban dropped in the years following the mass shooting in Las Vegas. The poll showed 40% favored a ban and 57% opposed it. The level of opposition was close to the 2016 record high of 61% of Americans who said they did not support a ban.
If you shoot the “same” load for different rifles, here’s a few ideas on getting the most out of it for all of them. READ MORE
I have a few rifles…
Every time I do a new book I have more. This last time around, in writing America’s Gun: The Practical AR15, I built 10 AR15s, and half of those have the “same” chambering (5.56 NATO). My choices that I can case and then uncase any afternoon for some range time might all have the “same” chamber but they’re each and all, in some measured amount, different.
That’s literally in measured amounts, and more in a minute.
If you (like me) really don’t want to load separately, store separately, and use separately, then the only real choice is to employ a “lowest common denominator” tactic. With only one exception, I don’t load uniquely for any of these guns. I pretty much just want a sack-full of ammo at the ready. The one I load uniquely for has a tuned gas system (it’s a practical competition “race gun”).
Assuming all the rifles have the “same” chamber, meaning only that the barrel stamp is the same, there still exist differences. There are differences reamer to reamer, and, depending on the operator, there might (will) be differences in headspace, and leade. They’re likely to be tiny, but tiny can matter. Some manifestations of pressure have some to do with the barrel bore (land diameter for instance).
I measure spent cases for all the different rifles. They don’t measure nearly all the same! Of all the set-by-sizing dimensions, cartridge headspace has shown the most variation in my samples.
That, also, is a very important dimension to set. As gone on (and on and on) in RELOADERS CORNER, the idea is to get adequate case shoulder set-back to ensure function, and also to keep it to the minimum necessary to prolong case life. The minimum necessary runs from 0.003 for a semi-auto to 0.001 for a bolt-action.
To set this dimension for multiple rifles that use the same batch of ammo, the means is pretty easy to anticipate: find the gun with the shortest headspace, set the die to set back the case shoulder where it needs to be for that one, and live with it.
If you don’t want to give in thataway, but rather prefer (or at least don’t mind, two technically different outlooks) running multiple dies with multiple adjustments, and keeping the ammo segregated, then here’s more.
I’ve had really good experiences using a turret press. For most rifle needs, one with, say, four spots will allow the use of two sizing dies, maybe three (depending on what occupies the other locations). These dies can be uniquely adjusted for cartridge case headspace. Of course, it’s easily possible to just swap dies in and out but the turret keeps them put and saves a step.
If you’re a bolt-gun shooter and have a couple or more rifles that run the same cartridge, and if you’re wanting to get the most from your efforts in loading for each, you might consider this next. Redding has long-made a set of five shellholders with varying heights. They allow a shellholder swap on the same die to alter case headspace, for example. There are also shims available that go under the die lock ring to provide for die body height variance. This sort of setup lets the handloader alter-adjust headspace without readjusting the die.
Now. As far as lighting on a load that they’ll all shoot their absolute best with. Sorry to say, but “not likely.” There sometimes seems like there is more mystery than there is known in “why some shoot better” with one load. And when I say “load” I’m talking about the dose, the amount of propellant. What that ends up being mandates at least some effort in evaluating more than one rifle when working up to a point you’ll call it “good.”
NATO-spec ammo is hot and getting hotter! I’m talking about true NATO-spec, not just lower-cost ammo sold in a “plain box.” This isn’t about NATO ammo, but it was for me. The difference between pressure levels of NATO and, say, a commercial-made .223 Rem. “match” load are enough that two of the guns won’t even run with that. I set up these guns from the workbench respecting NATO pressures, and that, in most cases, meant firming up the “back end”: heavier buffers and springs.
My good old “do it all” load no longer exists in my current notes. Amazingly, to me at least, it’s up the velocity equivalent of about a grain and a half from what I used to bust up clods and cans with. It’s also a different propellant (now H335).
No question: pressure symptoms must also define the “lowest common denominator” when loading the same for multiple guns. Since I also have to consider reliable function in my own example, and as just suggested, I’m loading up a little nearer the edge. I carefully evaluate spent case condition from each rifle and anything that reads or appears remotely as an excessive pressure sign means I’ll knock a universal half grain off the group load.
The long-awaited pistol version in the proven SAINT lineup has been announced by maker Springfield Armory. Here’s what they have to say about it: READ MORE
SOURCE: Chad Dyer, Springfield Armory
With the new SAINT™ AR-15 pistol, Springfield Armory brings the same impact of its SAINT platform to a whole new category. The SAINT Pistol is highly capable and upgraded out of the box but in stock-free pistol form.
Instead of a rifle buttstock, the new SAINT AR-15 pistol features a rugged SB Tactical SBX-K forearm brace to reduce size, stabilize recoil, and enhance accuracy in one or two-hand shooting. A 7.5-inch barrel with a 1:7 twist makes the SAINT pistol small, fast, and ideal for CQB. The 416R stainless steel barrel is Melonite® treated to be harder and more accurate than chrome, and is chambered for 5.56 NATO (.223) so ammunition is affordable, versatile, and seriously capable.
The SAINT AR-15 pistol is built around high-end features that make SAINT rifles so popular. Springfield Armory’s exclusive Accu-Tite™ tension system increases the tension between the upper and the lower receivers, ensuring an ideal fit and reducing slop — no shake or rattle. Upper and lower receivers are forged Type III hard-coat anodized 7075 T6 aluminum.
The SAINT pistol’s muzzle is equipped with a blast diverter that pushes sound, concussion and debris forward towards the target — instead of at the operator or fellow shooters — ensuring a more comfortable shooting experience.
The slender, agile handguard is Springfield Armory’s exclusive, patent-pending free-float design, with locking tabs and features a forward hand stop. The rifle’s crisp, enhanced nickel boron-coated GI single-stage trigger is paired with a Bravo Company trigger guard. The smooth-operating heavy tungsten buffer system, low-profile pinned gas block, GI style charging handle, and Bravo Company Mod 3 pistol grip are all well-proven in SAINT rifle models. Springfield Armory is known for no-compromise design and, as usual, the attention to detail is obvious.
To ensure durability, the M16 bolt carrier group is precision-machined from Carpenter 158 steel, shot-peened and magnetic particle inspected and finished in super-hard Melonite®. For ample shooting capacity, the SAINT pistol carries a Magpul Gen 3 30-round magazine.
The compact frame makes the SAINT AR-15 pistol an ideal choice for home defense. In addition to high-quality engineering, the SAINT AR-15 pistol is just 26.5 inches long, and weighs under 6 pounds. This pistol delivers the punch of a rifle caliber in a small, fast-handling frame. It’s highly accurate and it’s seriously fun to shoot.
Almost immediately following the wake of the tragic events in Las Vegas, Diane Feinstein has already introduced a bill that could have devastating impact on the aftermarket parts industry, and on all shooters. Here’s what we know so far…
SOURCE: TheTruthAboutGuns.com, Nick Leghorn
Just this morning [October 5, 2017] we heard that Dianne Feinstein had introduced her “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act,” a bill which would ban bumpfire stocks like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting among other things. In an attempt to make her new law apply as broadly as possible she not only specifically wants to outlaw bumpfire stocks, but also any modification that makes a firearm fire “faster.” But what exactly does that mean?
Here’s the relevant section: Except as provided in paragraph (2), on and after the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a trigger crank, a bump-fire device, or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.
The issue is in the definition of “accelerate.” Bumpfire stocks are an obvious step, and are specifically named. The same with hand cranks for triggers. But the bill wants to make anything which increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle illegal, yet it doesn’t do a good job of outlining exactly what that means.
For semi-automatic firearms the rate of fire is completely subjective. An untrained shooter and legendary speed demon Jerry Miculek will be able to achieve two very different rates of fire with the same firearm. The bill thankfully isn’t silly enough to outlaw training sessions and gym memberships — it concerns itself only with attachments and physical devices. Tools like the bumpfire stock are obvious targets, but other factors can have similar effects.
Lighter replacement triggers are a great example. A lighter trigger in a firearm can allow the shooter to fire faster than with a heavy trigger simply because their finger is less fatigued. We reviewed one such trigger years ago, the Geissele S3G trigger, which absolutely increases the rate at which a shooter can fire their weapon. For that reason, according to Feinstein’s bill the Geissele S3G trigger would be illegal to purchase or possess in the United States.
Another issue: what exactly is the baseline for the rate of fire?
The baseline rate of fire that can be achieved with a finely-tuned competition rifle and a bare bones budget rifle are two very different things. Would there be one baseline for each weapon platform against which all other examples would be compared? Would manufacturers be required to install the worst trigger possible in order to reduce the rate of fire? Or would it simply be illegal to modify the trigger from the factory installed version, making drop-in replacements like Timney and Geissele illegal?
On its face, it sounds like Dianne Feinstein’s bill, as written, would kill the aftermarket trigger industry and make it illegal to improve the trigger on your rifle. We’ll have to see whether this bill makes it out of committee, and what (if any) amendments would be added to give some clarity to the situation.
We have been waiting a long time for Springfield’s AR15 and it is worth the wait, and worth the money. Here’s why…
by Bob Campbell
Springfield’s ads had been teasing us with the introduction of a new product and very recently we learned that the SAINT was an AR15-type rifle. This is the first-ever AR15 with the proud Springfield Armory stamp. The rifle had been described as entry level but this isn’t really true. There are more expensive rifles but the Springfield isn’t cheap — it is simply below the $900 threshold. That is a pretty important price point. The rifle has good features and is built for reliability. The SAINT is intended to appeal to the young and adventurous and to those serious about taking responsibility for their own safety. I agree but older shooters such as myself who are able to discern quality at a fair price will also appreciate the SAINT. As a Springfield fan, the SAINT will take its place beside my 1903 Springfield and the modern 1911 Operator handgun, but there is more to the puzzle than the name. At present I have fewer than 600 rounds fired through the SAINT but the experience has been good. (I fire the rifles I test for real on the range, and not with the typewriter. I know the difficulty in firing one thousand rounds or more in an economic and physical sense.)
Let’s look at the particulars. The SAINT features the A2-style front sight/gas block and a folding rear sight. The rear sight is stamped with the Springfield “crossed cannons” emblem. The rear sight isn’t target grade but it is useful for short-range defense work and snagging predators to perhaps 100 yards, the use I will put this 6-pound, 11-ounce rifle to. The gas system is a mid-length architecture. Without getting into a discussion that would fill these pages all its own, the mid-length system is ideal for use with common bullet weights. The SAINT has a 16-inch barrel chambered for the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. This means you can fire .223 Remington or 5.56mm cartridges without a hint of trouble. Its 1-in-8 inch barrel twist is increasingly popular. Midway between the 7- and 9-inch twist this barrel twist rate has proven accurate with the majority of loads I have tested. So far this includes loads of 52 to 77 grain bullet weights.
The trigger is a GI-type that breaks in my example at 6.7 pounds. This is in the middle-ground for an AR trigger and it is clean and crisp. There is also a special coating that allows the trigger group to ride smoothly. The receivers are anodized aluminum, no surprises there, but the bolt carrier group is also specially coated, and stamped with the Springfield logo. I like that a lot. Springfield has added a new design with the Accu-Tite Tension system. This is a set screw located in the lower receiver that allows the user to tighten the receivers together. I like this feature and I probably will not add any other tightening measures to the SAINT. The furniture is Bravo Company and the handguard is a Springfield exclusive. The three-piece handguard features a heat shield in the lower base, and allows for accessory mounting via a keylock system. The handguard offers excellent grip when firing but doesn’t abrade the hand when firing in long practice sessions. I like the stub on the end of the handguard that prevents the hand from running forward onto the gas block. Optics are not optimally mounted on the handguard since it isn’t free-floated, so the receiver rail is available for mounting optics. The six-position stock utilizes a squeeze lever for six-point adjustment. The grip handle is the famous BCM Gunfighter.
To begin the evaluation I filled several magazines with Federal Cartridge Company American Eagle cartridges. The rifle had several hundred rounds through it and I expected the same performance for this Shooters Log test. These 55-grain FMJ cartridges burn clean, are affordable, and offer excellent accuracy in a practice load. I loaded the supplied MagPul magazine and a number of other various magazines I had on hand. The bolt was lubricated. AR15 rifles will run dirty but they will not run dry. I addressed man-sized targets at 25 and 50 yards, firing as quickly as I could get on target and align the sights. Keeping the hand forward on the handguard (and avoiding the gas block!) and controlling the rifle fast and accurate hits came easily. The rifle is controllable in rapid fire but then it is an AR15… The sights are adequate for the purpose. The Gunfighter grip is particularly ergonomic allowing excellent control. As for absolute accuracy with the iron sights, it isn’t difficult to secure 3-shot groups of two inches at 50 yards, par for the course with an iron-sighted carbine.
For a complete evaluation, you have to go further with accuracy testing and this means mounting a quality optic. I settled down with a mounted Lucid 6x1x24 rifle scope. This optic provides a good clear sight picture and has many advantages a trained rifleman can exploit. I settled down on the bench and attempted to find the best possible accuracy from the SAINT. Hornady has introduced a new line of AR15 ammunition. Since black rifles run on black ammunition the new loads should prove popular. My test samples of Hornady Black Ammunition featured the proven 75-grain BTHP. This is a good bullet weight for longer-range accuracy and it proved to give good results in the SAINT. I also tested a good number of popular .233 loads including a handload of my own, using the 60-grain Hornady A-Max bullet.
I have also mounted a MeoRed red dot with excellent results. For use to 50 yards this red dot offers good hit probability and gets the Springfield up and rolling for 3-Gun Competition.
I like the Springfield SAINT. I drove in the rain to get the rifle and was at the door at my FFL source when they opened. I had to wait to hit the range! I am not disappointed and the SAINT is going to find an important place in my shooting battery.
Bob Campbell is an established and well-respected outdoors writer, contributing regularly to many publications ranging from SWAT Magazine to Knifeworld. Bob has also authored three books: Holsters For Combat and Concealed Carry (Paladin Press), The 1911 Semi Auto (Stoeger Publishing), and The Handgun In Personal Defense (The Second Amendment Foundation).
Understanding the relationship between bullets and barrel twist helps prevent mistakes. Here’s what you need to know…
Why am I devoting this space this time to such a topic? Well, because it’s commonly asked about, and, no doubt, because it influences some of the decisions and options faced in choosing the best-performing load for our needs. Making a mistake in choosing twist can limit both the selection and performance in the range of usable bullet weights and styles.
First, barrel twist rate is a component in the architecture of the barrel lands and grooves. The lands and grooves form a spiral, a twist, that imparts spin to a bullet, and the rate of twist is expressed in terms of how far in inches a bullet travels to make one full rotation. “1-10” (one-in-ten) for example means “one full rotation for each ten inches of travel.”
Bullet length, not weight, determines how much rotation is necessary for stability. Twist rate suggestions, though, are most usually given with respect to bullet weight, but that’s more of a generality for convenience’s sake, I think. The reason is that with the introduction of higher-ballistic-coefficient bullet designs, which are longer than conventional forms, it is easily possible to have two same-weight bullets that won’t both stabilize from the same twist rate.
The M-16/AR15 barrel changes give a good example. Short history of mil-spec twist rates: Originally it was a 1-12, which was pretty standard for .224-caliber varminting-type rounds, like .222 Remington, which were near-universally running bullet weights either 52- or 55-grain. That worked with the 55-grain FMJ ammo issued then. Later came the SS109 63-grain round, with a bullet that was a bit much for a 1-12. The military solution was total overkill: 1-7. That’s a very fast twist.
Commercially, the 1-9 twist became the standard for .223 Remington for years. It’s still popular, but is being replaced, as far as I can tell, by the 1-8. An increasingly wider selection of barrels are done up in this twist rate. I approve.
I’d always rather have a twist too fast than not fast enough. For a .223 Rem. 1-9 is not fast enough for anything longer than a routine 68-70-grain “magazine bullet,” like a Sierra 69gr MatchKing. 1-8 will stabilize any of the newer heavier bullets intended for magazine-box cartridge overall lengths, like a Sierra 77gr MatchKing. An 8 twist will also shoot most of the longer, higher-BC profiles, like the Sierra 80gr MatchKing (which is not intended to be assembled into a round that’s loaded down into a magazine).
Other popular calibers have likewise edged toward faster and faster “standard” twist rates, and that includes 6mm and .308. Once those were commonly found as 1-10 and 1-12, respectively, but now there’s more 1-7s and 1-9s offered. Reason is predictable: longer and heavier bullets, and mostly longer, have likewise become more commonly used in chamberings like .308 Winchester and 6XC.
The tell-tale for an unstable (wobbling or tumbling) bullet is an oblong hole in the target paper, a “keyhole,” and that means the bullet contacted the target at some attitude other than nose-first.
Base your next barrel twist rate decision on the longest, heaviest bullets you choose to use, and at the same time realize that the rate chosen has limited those choices. If the longest, heaviest bullet you’ll shoot (ever) is a 55-grain .224, then there’s honestly no reason not to use a 1-12. Likewise true for .308-caliber: unless you’re going over 200-grain bullet weight, a 1-10 will perform perfectly well. A rate that is a good deal too fast to suit a particular bullet may cause damage to that bullet (core/jacket integrity issues), and I have seen that happen with very light .224 bullets, like 45-grain, fired through, say, a 1-7 twist. At the least, with that great a mismatch you might not get the velocity up where it could be.
Bullet speed and barrel length have an influence on bullet stability, and a higher muzzle velocity through a longer tube will bring on more effect from the twist, but it’s a little too edgy if a particular bullet stabilizes only when running maximum velocity. My failed 90-grain .224 experiment is a good example of that: I could get them asleep in a 1-7 twist 25-inch barrel, which was chambered in .22 PPC, but could not get them stablized in a 20-inch 1-7 .223 Rem. The answer always is to get a twist that’s correct.
Effects on the load itself? Yes, a little at least. There is a tad amount more pressure from a faster-twist barrel using the same load, and the reason is initial bullet acceleration is slower.
Looking for a durable, practical, effective AR15 optic useable over any realistic range? And one that’s not going to break the bank? Read about this Burris…
by Major Pandemic
According to the US Army Laboratory Command (Small Arms Technology Assessment: Individual Infantryman’s Weapon, Volume I, March 1990, to be specific), 98% of all targets across all terrain are engaged at less than 600 meters, 90% at less than 400 meters, and in urban terrain 90% at less than 50 meters. With this in mind we need the ability to be able to reach out to targets beyond the 15-25 yard lines but it is unlikely we will ever shoot out beyond 600 meters in a defensive or even hunting situation.
Adding even a marginally magnified optic enables more precision, faster target acquisition, and will deliver all you need to place hits quickly even way out there when yards adds up. More than a few serviceman and Designated Marksman know that the 4X Trijicon ACOG very positively transformed hit ratios within all ranges of combat engagement out to the 600 yard line; however, it also comes with a steep $1400 price tag. Burris to the rescue with a great $350 option.
BURRIS AR-332 3X PRISMATIC OPTIC
Burris is well known for building rugged, bulletproof optics. The AR-332 is a mil-spec brute of an optic which has stayed compact with a prismatic design. The design is a really nice crossover optic for CQB and scout rifle distances in a durable fixed power optic. Essentially the AR-332 is an ACOG but for 60% less money plus it includes a dual red/green illuminated BDC reticle. According to Burris, with the explosion of AR15 sales, they have been selling truckloads of these along with their 5X model.
FIT, FEEL, FINISH & FEATURES
Like all Burris optics, the AR-332 is excellent quality from the fog- and weather-proof construction through the very clear optics. At first I was wondering what I had committed to with the AR-332, however after a couple range visits I am sold on the design. The “donut” reticle definitely grows on you and in my experience is way faster up close and allows more precision than a more conventional duplex reticle at varied distances.
There are a significant amount of refinements and extras on this scope. The Burris AR-332 comes ready to mount right out of the box with a picatinny base included ($50-$100 extra on other scopes here), scope caps that flip open all the way out of field of view, and wire retained windage/elevation caps. If you have an A2 AR15 with a carry handle, the AR-332 will work right out of the box after your unscrew the included picatinny base. On top of those features, the AR-332 is a very clear optic with an etched reticle visible as a black reticle after the illumination is turned off. The runtime is expected into the months range, but even when the standard CR2032 battery is dead you still have 100% of the reticle to work with.
The illuminated reticle works and is brilliantly bright that can be seen in direct sunlight. The donut reticle is very fast on target even at distances under 25 yards or even at 2 yards. Dedicated points from 100-500 yards can make this a bit more precise than optics with just a single duplex style reticle or wider dispersed hash marks when the yards add up. Burris also includes picatinny accessory rails around the optic to bolt on things like lights or lasers. The circle hold marks for 200+ yards work great and allows small distant targets to be centered quickly.
The eye relief needs to be more forgiving as it does not have a wide workable range compared to others. Plan on mounting the AR-332 at or very near the rearmost position. My stock position is always one detent in; however, longer-armed shooters may have to dispense with a rear back-up iron sight to mount the AR-332 in a proper position.
Burris needs to add a super-low illumination setting as even at the lowest option is still just a bit too glary when the lights go out. The reticle is still perfect for CQB ranges at night using the CQB Optic but a little annoying for shooting night dwelling critters in the pitch black.
With a variety of Hornady and Winchester 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington rounds, the Burris delivered all shots on 12-inch steel plates all the way out to 500 yards;, however point of impact did vary with each round. As with all BDC reticles, the aiming points will get you within a few inches; however, each round’s ballistics is different.
Designed for a 100-yard zero with BDC index points for 100-500 yards. This is a fixed power optic that is actually exceptionally good at CQB work thanks to that glowing donut. The Burris AR-332 is a great all-purpose optic for an AR15 owner to extend the range to allow confident placement out to 500 yards. That big glowing dot provides a great aiming point even at room-clearing distances. The more I use this optic the more I like it as a combat defensive scout optic covering the US Small Arms study ranges.
AN OBSERVATION: We all get older and usually with that comes deteriorating eyesight. I have been incredibly lucky that I still have fairly clear 20/20 vision, however I am starting to do that trombone move to focus in on the small print up close. The point is that magnification and sighting aids help aging eyes. A few of my buddies clearly need magnification and this is where even just a little 3X magnification can make all the difference between making a shot and being frustrated. If you are older, I recommend taking a serious look at what these low-power optics can provide you on your AR platform.
CQB OPTIC TIP: For optics with illuminated reticles, a tip to use them in a CQB environment is to close the front scope cover and shoot with both eyes open like you would with a red dot. With the scope objective cover in place, the eyes and brain will conspire to make the illuminated reticle appear as an 1X lit reticle regardless of the magnification, even if it is a 32X scope.
Major Pandemic is an editor-at-large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival-related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com
Reducing the influence of excessive AR15 gas system pressure is most directly done reducing the pressure itself. Here’s how!
This is the second of two articles on ways to tame down an “over-functioning” AR15 gas system. Aside from running more reliably, reducing the evil influence of an overly-rapidly unlocking system improves cartridge case condition, which means longer case life. The first article talked about ways to increase the time the bolt stays locked, or delay its unlocking, however you want to see it.
Going more directly to the “source,” there are also ways to reduce the actual amount of gas that gets to the bolt carrier key and that’s up now for this one.
An adjustable gas manifold or “gas block” is an effective means to restrict the amount of gas that gets into the system. This device attaches at the port location, replacing the existing manifold (or front sight base if it’s a standard-configuration build) and will have some manner of valving function whereby propellant gases allowed to pass through the gas port in the barrel, through the manifold, and into and through the gas tube are restricted. Some incorporate a valve that regulates the passage dimension. Others provide a vent, more or less, to expel excess gas. I prefer the “valve-type” over the “bleed-off-style” devices.
Installation is straightforward, and these are available from a wide array of sources, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that will fit even a custom-profile barrel. Standard for this area is 0.750-inches diameter. What matters is that the inside diameter of the manifold matches the outside diameter of the barrel at the connecting position.
There are different approaches to using this device but it’s really pretty simple. Figure out the minimum gas flow necessary to function the action and then open the flow-control screw adjustment a half turn more to give a little safety margin. Don’t get greedy. I shut one down all the way (minimum flow) and then open it up until the rifle functions.
The only foible on an adjustable manifold is that it has to fit in with the architecture of the setup you have. A retro-fit requires removing any muzzle device that might be installed and, of course, removing and later reinstalling the gas tube (make sure you check that it isn’t binding).
I have used other products that provide alternate means to do the same thing, like a gas tube with a valved adjustment mechanism. Sometimes something like that is best for anyone wanting to run a more standard gas manifold system. They work just fine, and dandy.
Other gas tube modifications that work have been those formed in a spiral that wraps around the barrel, and I’ve seen tubes with expansion chambers (area of larger volume) along the span of the tube. What’s happening with these isn’t reducing the amount of gas, it’s just giving it more distance or room to weaken its presence.
The best solution I’ve yet encountered is fairly new and is an adjustable bolt carrier key. This requires no modification or labor about the barrel, and also works with virtually any AR15. Remove the old carrier key and replace it with the adjustable key.
A good while back I talked about gas port pressure and propellant burning rates and cautioned against using a propellant on the slower-burning side of “suitable propellant chart” center. To reiterate, I don’t think any propellant slower than Hodgdon 4895 should be used, but I know full well I can safely extend that range one more step to say something like Varget or RE15 is the limit. Slower propellants create more gas port pressure because they peak farther down the barrel, nearer the gas port location. Related: I recommend to anyone who’s going to do a longer custom barrel to request that the builder relocate the gas port another inch forward. There’s more gas contained in a longer barrel for a longer time: more pressure hits the carrier key as a result.
No doubt, if you load up an AR15 with a heavy carrier and related parts then combine that with a gas restriction device, the range of propellants can move one or more steps slower-burning. In any of my full-blown across-the-course race guns, I can construct and successfully deploy loads that would wreck a rack-grade AR15. Don’t mess with that. Enjoy smoother and “softer” function and the assurance that you can run closer to a maximum load without fear of the odd and inevitable “pressure spike” causing problems. That’s why to do it.
The preceding was adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available here at Midsouth, click HERE to order. For more information on this book, and others, plus articles and information for download, visit ZedikerPublishing.com
AR15s can have problems “over-functioning.” There are two essential ways to make your AR15 behave better! Here’s the first…
Right. I know this column is about handloading and reloading, so why am I spending space talking about gas system function? Well, it’s ammunition-related, or, at the least it is influenced by ammunition, and therefore also influences ammunition choices.
First, an AR15 gas system “over-functions” when it fills up too quickly and with too much burned propellant gas. The AR15 uses a “direct impingement” gas system, sometimes called an impulse system, and that means there’s a port hole in the barrel that lets gas out and through a gas tube, and this gas goes directly into the bolt carrier key and sends the whole works backwards. There’s no piston (although piston systems exist that can be fitted to these firearms) or other regulating device beyond gas port hole location and size.
The effect or upshot of over-function is overly quick bolt unlocking. The symptoms include extraction problems, damaged case rims (related), overly-blown cartridge case shoulders, excessive case head expansion, and, generally, accelerated wear on the action hisseff. As with many things, the severity of the excess function likewise increases excess in its manifestations.
What happens is that the case is swelled up under pressure inside the chamber, as it should be, but then it’s still swelled up when the bolt opens and the extractor takes a yank on the case rim to get it out of the chamber.
With respect to handloading ammunition, keeping the bolt in battery a tick longer makes a world of difference in spent case condition. The case has a tick more time to return to closer to normal dimensions and shrink away from the chamber walls. And time is, again, what this is really about. The case will be less stressed and dimensionally nearer original specs, and that means there’s “less” sizing done for next use, in effect. Case life improves and also does longer-term quality for reuse.
So. If we can delay bolt unlocking we’re seriously on to something. The simplest way to slow something down is make it heavier. Heavier things don’t accelerate as fast, they have a greater “moment of inertia,” less resistant to initial movement. Increasing bolt carrier mass is very effective. Keep in mind that what unlocks the bolt isn’t bolt movement, it’s bolt carrier movement. The bolt movement is a natural oucome to rearward travel of the carrier. Minor point but, well, there it is. I run “M-16 style” bolt carriers in all my AR15s. That’s a carrier with a full round section at the end rather than the notched out profile of the standard semi-auto carrier. And, no, an M-16 carrier won’t make a gun full-auto, and, as a matter of fact, carriers with the full-round profile are routinely encountered as “match” bolt carriers. Heavier is better!
Anything contacting the bolt carrier can increase in weight also and be effective. That effectively increases the load against the bolt carrier, and that requires more time to overcome and create movement. The buffer, for instance. I always run heavy buffers in my short guns, and also my hot-rod rifles for Across The Course use. The carbine-length stocks use a shorter spring and also a shorter buffer, and that means a lighter buffer.
More about the spring’s role in all this next time, along with other more major modifications that will downright tame an AR15. And I’ll also run down a step-by-step on ensuring reliable function in a slowed-down AR15.
The preceding was adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available here at Midsouth. For more information on this book, and others, plus articles and information for download, visit ZedikerPublishing.com
Trump’s victory might have slowed guns sales overall, but in California people are scrambling to get into gun stores before January first, here’s why…
Source: Los Angeles Times
Governor Jerry Brown’s approval of sweeping gun control legislation in July has triggered a run on firearms in California, with some stores reporting that sales have doubled since that law passed.
Under this new law signed by the governor, starting January 1, the general public in California can no longer buy a semi-automatic rifle equipped with a “bullet-button” that allows for the quick removal and replacement of ammunition magazines. [Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135]
Guns purchased before January 1 can be kept as long as the owner registers the gun with the state as an assault weapon. As a result, sales have at least doubled at many California gun stores, store owners report.
“When Governor Brown signed that bill, the first 30 days in July were just insane,” said Joshua Deaser, owner of Just Guns in Sacramento. “It died down for a while but now we are back with everyone trying to get what they can before the end of the year.”
Terry McGuire, owner of the Get Loaded gun store in the city of Grand Terrace in San Bernardino County, said people are clamoring to buy semi-automatic rifles before midmonth, given that the state background check process takes about 10 days. McGuire: “We have people lined up out the door and around the block.”
State officials confirm there has been a surge in gun sales. The number of semi-automatic rifles registered this year with the state has more than doubled over last year, according to the California state Department of Justice. In the less than six months since the July 1 signing of the legislation, 257,895 semi-automatic rifles have been purchased, eclipsing the 153,931 rifle purchases reported to the state in all of 2015, the state agency said.
Purchases of all firearms, including handguns, have jumped 40-percent over last year, to nearly 1 million in 2016 year, according to the state agency.
“We expected this,” said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California. “Any time the government comes up with a ban on guns, the public rushes to buy them to make sure they have at least one.”
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), a coauthor of the bill, said military-style weapons “enable shooters to take the most lives in the least amount of time” and there is no place for them on California’s streets.
“All of us should be able to go to work and send our kids to school free from the fear of becoming a mass shooting victim,” Ting said. “The bullet-button loophole undermined California’s assault weapons ban and the shocking loss of life in San Bernardino last year revealed the subsequent threat to public safety.”
Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), another coauthor of the bill, said the new law is important. “We raise our children in communities, not war zones,” he said. Levine downplayed the increase in gun sales currently being experienced by California stores. “Gun sales have trended up for a while now,” he said. “Anxiety and strife are being sowed throughout American society. The Legislature acted to limit bloodshed in our communities.”
In addition to the rifle ban, gun owners are anxious about a law by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) that will require ammunition purchasers to undergo background checks in 2019, and the recently approved initiative by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom that included gun control measures such as a ban on possessing magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
“It’s like Gavin Newsom, Kevin de León, and Jerry Brown are the biggest marketing and sales guys for AR-15 and AK-47-style rifles in the state of California,” Gun Owners of California’s Paredes said. “Because of their actions, people are buying them any way they can.”
Brown, Newsom, and De León did not respond to requests for comment on the run on guns.
Customers who are buying the guns are as upset as store owners, according to Pete Brown, the retail sales manager at American Gun Works in Glendale, where he said sales are “way up.” “People are angry,” Brown said. “They are angry with the Legislature because [the law] doesn’t address crime. Nothing in the law addresses criminals. It’s another way of cutting back on what’s available to law-abiding citizens, and that’s why they are angry.”
Alex Lopez, the owner of Western Firearms in Bell, confirmed that gun buyers don’t like the direction the new laws are taking the state. “They can’t figure out how this is going to affect criminals from getting access to firearms,” Lopez said.
In addition to the rifle ban, gun owners are anxious about a law by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) that will require ammunition purchasers to undergo background checks in 2019, and the recently approved initiative by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom that included gun control measures such as a ban on possessing magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Background: A “bullet-button” is a device used to remove a magazine in a semi-automatic rifle, replacing the standard magazine release with a block which forces the user to remove the magazine by using a tool to depress a small plunger, as opposed to his or her finger. This allows rifles to comply with California’s firearms law. The name came about due to a 1999 California State law which said that a “bullet or ammunition cartridge is considered a tool.” The bullet button was invented and named by Darin Prince of California in January 2007. The 2012 court case Haynie v Pleasanton validated that a bullet-button is legal and rifles that have one installed are not considered assault weapons.
Folks, don’t rest easy… There’s an old and true saying: All politics is local… Laws exist at all levels of government, not just the Federal, and these laws most decidedly can have at least the same impact, and more, on American citizens as anything done across-the-board nationally.
The reloading blog where you can find articles, tips, industry news, gear reviews, and more!