Sunday, January 25, 2009

Excel Arms X-22R Rifle and X-22P Pistol

Excel Arms has a couple interesting new firearms.

The X-22R takes Ruger 10/22 magazines and has AR-15 furniture (stock, pistol grip, forend).

The X-22P looks a bit like a rimfire Tec-9. It also accepts 10/22 magazines.

Martha Stewart’s Daughter Granted Handgun Permit in NYC

Handguns are not banned outright in New York City, but they are heavily regulated, and applicants are required to prove a “special need.” I'm not talking about carry permits; this is just what it takes to buy a pistol.

Self-defense alone is not enough justification for an ordinary citizen to get a handgun permit in New York. You wanna know what Alexis Setwart’s special need is? She keeps a gun so she can shoot her aged English Bulldogs if there’s another terrorist attack, and she needs to leave town fast.

Source: John Connor, “Odd Angry Shot: The Glue Ain't All That's Crazy.” Guns Magazine, March 2009.

Information likely taken from The New York Post - "The Mets Are Loaded" article.

I don’t have the imagination to make up this kinda stuff folks.

Murder Free Month in Miami, FL

Remember how the media cried that the streets would run red with blood when Florida passed the nation’s first “Castle Doctrine” law? Maybe you’ve been around long enough to remember when they said the same when Florida started to allow concealed carry.

In October, 2008, there was a period of 35 days in Miami with zero murders. Something that hasn’t happened in 40 years.

To contrast that, in the messiah obama’s old stomping grounds, the city of Chicago, there were 134 murders during the period of January through April 2008. The number of American troops killed during the same period, in the whole country of Iraq, numbered 160. On one Chicago Friday night in 2008 there were 19 separate shootings. July 2008, there were 62 murders in Chi-town.

John Connor writes, "Hey, maybe an enlightened new administration can make Miami -- and perhaps the entire United States? -- as "safe" as Chicago."

Source: John Connor, “Odd Angry Shot: The Glue Ain't All That's Crazy.” Guns Magazine, March 2009.

John Connor on the Heller Decision

“Five to four ain’t grounds for high-fivin’ and back-slapping, folks. And already, nut-clusters like the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are interpreting the majority’s blessing of “reasonable restrictions” to mean virtually anything which denies you the right to keep and bear arms. Hey, to them it’s “reasonable”! That crowd has leaned so far to the left for so long the can touch their heads to the deck on their port sides without lifting either foot!"

That's too funny. I'm going to use that.

Another Child Expelled For Toy Gun In School

This is sort of a "Part 2" of a previous post about a boy who brought a toy gun to school. You can find that post here. This story is even more ridiculous.

An Andersonville Elementary School kindergarten student in was expelled for the rest of year for bringing a toy gun to school.

"There's no tolerance for kids with weapons of any kind," said Anderson County School System spokeswoman, Karen Bridgeman.

Um, a toy gun is not a weapon. If you don’t believe me, check

“A loaded 9-millimeter gun clip (sic) brought to Anderson County High Thursday and given by one student to another.” – I guess they expelled both students. That’s the way zero tolerance works. Well, zero tolerance doesn’t work, that’s the point of these posts, but you know what I mean. A magazine is not a weapon either.

Anderson Expels 8 Students - article
Outraged blogger writes about the incident.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

1911 Build: Adjustable Sight Installed

I drilled and tapped the STI slide today, per BlindHogg's advice, and installed the Wilson BoMar-type adjustable sight. I've posted pictures of the assembled pistol before with the sight, but it was only slotted into place without the elevation adjustment screw.

It went much smoother than I had thought it would. The divot from the larger drill bit helped guide the one that actually drilled the hole. The bit went through the steel with very little effort. The tap cut the threads without breaking off in the hole (ugh, that really sucks). The edges of the leaf of the sight match up perfectly with the edges of the flat on the top of the slide. It was a high pucker factor job because I was working on the most expensive part of the pistol, but I couldn't be much happier with how it turned out.

The front sight is too tall, so it's shooting about 6" low. I ordered a tall front sight blank, so that I wouldn't end up with one that's too short. It's easier to file a tall front sight than it is to add height to one that's too short.

I was only shooting at about 25 feet, but I was able to get a group without much effort. The hardball rounds and the new lead semi-wadcutter ammo that I've been putting together both hit the same spot on the target. I haven't had any functional problems with either the CheckMate/Colt magazine or the CMC ProMag since the first outing.

I've been filing on the ejector of the M&P, and that hasn't been going so well. No matter what I've done, it's still throwing the brass at me. I seem to be shooting it a lot better than I was though.

I tried 15 and 13 pound recoil springs. I had thought that the 13 pound spring moved ejection more to the left, but I shot with the 15 pound spring again today, and I'm not really sure that there's any difference at all, besides maybe the speed of the ejecting brass.

Monday, January 12, 2009

1911 Build Index

1911 Build Has Started, I Guess - First parts ordered. 1911 build intro.
Snag - Midway wanted $60 for shipping a frame.
Frame Ordered, Really This Time - Ordered Basic frame straight from Caspian
Picked Up The Caspian Frame - . . . after waiting two months. First set of pictures.
1911 Build Progress - Barrel lower lugs not hitting impact surface.
1911 Build Weekend Update - Cutting 1/4" radius on frame tangs, fitting the grip safety, slide is fitted.
1911 Build Weekend Update II - EGW parts order lost, barrel timing.
1911 Build This Week - Changed grips. Basic progress update.
1911 Build: Getting Close To Test Fire - Picture of semi-finished pistol, more barrel fitting.
1911 Build: EGW Order Came In - Last few parts arrive.
1911 Build: It Works!! - First outing with the assembled pistol.
1911 Build: Parts List
1911 Build: Adjustable Sight Installed

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1911 Build: Parts List

The frame is a Caspian Basic in carbon steel. I've reported that.

The slide is an STI 5" "Unique" cut. The slide is milled for a Bo-Mar type adjustable rear sight, and a dovetail front sight. It has a flat top and front cocking serrations. It was made to order, and took a few weeks.

The rest of the parts are as follows.


Kart Easy-Fit, 5" non-ramped

Barrel Bushing
Kart Easy-Fit

Barrel Link
Kart Easy-Fit

Barrel Link Pin
Kart Easy-Fit

Extreme Engineering Ultralight
Shooter's Connection

EGW Extended

Ejector Pin
Shooter's Connection

Shooter's Connection

Firing Pin
STI Titanium - .38Super/9mm*

Firing Pin Spring
Wolff Extra Power

Firing Pin Stop
EGW Oversize, Series 70

Front Sight
Yost Bonitz blank

Grip Bushings
Cylinder & Slide

Grip Safety
Chip McCormick Extreme

Grip Screws

Pachmayr Signature GM-45

Guide Rod
Wilson 1-Piece, G.I. style

Guide Rod Plug
"O.E." (Actual Source Unknown), checkered, appears to be dark Parkerized
CDNN Investments

Extreme Engineering Ultralight
Shooter's Connection

Hammer Link Pin
Shooter's Connection

Hammer Pin
Kimber (with groove for "pinned" ambi safety)

Hammer Strut
Ed Brown

Magazine Catch Lock

Magazine Catch Spring

Magazine Catch/Release

Wolff 18lb.

Mainspring Cap
Shooter's Connection

Mainspring Cap Pin
Shooter's Connection

Mainspring Housing
Ed Brown Maxi-Well, 25lpi Checkering

Mainspring Housing Pin
Shooter's Connection

Mainspring Plunger Detent
Shooter's Connection

Plunger Spring

Plunger Tube
EGW bolt-on

Rear Sight
Wilson Bo-Mar type
Shooter's Connection

Recoil Spring
Wolff (16lb., for now)

Extreme Engineering Ultralight
Shooter's Connection

Sear Pin
Shooter's Connection

Sear Spring
Clark 4-leaf

Slide Stop
Wilson extended

Thumb Safety
Kimber "Pinned" ambi

Trigger and long curved shoe insert

Except for the hammer pin which came with the thumb safety, and the barrel link pin which came with the barrel, the pins and plungers all came in a set.
Some parts were borrowed from a Kimber 1911, until I get around to buying the rest of the parts.
Barrel, bushing, link, and link pin all came as a set.
Hammer, sear, and disconnector came as a set.

* - all STI Slides are set-up for .38Super/9mm firing pins

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lee Carbide Pistol Die Set Review

I've loaded something like 10000 rounds of 9mm with these dies, and about 500 rounds of .45ACP.

The decapping pin has never broken on me, knock on wood. The sizing die does a really good job of ironing out bulges, going almost down to the rim.

The flaring die holds onto cases, which shakes the press and causes erratic charges when using a powder measure. The amount of shake varies depending on the brand of brass, and whether the brass is plated, but it shakes the press a lot when used with Remington 9mm brass, which I get a lot of.  I've started using a little bit of Hornady One Shot case lube, the aerosol, which makes sizing and flaring a lot smoother.

The seating/crimp die works well, and doesn't seem to mark up any bullet that I've loaded. I stopped using the Factory Crimp Dies after hearing that they resize the bullet. The seating die does a good job of crimping.

The lock rings don't work all that well with Hornady Lock-N-Load bushings. I imagine the same goes with the new Lee quick-change die bushings. When turning the bushings to remove the die, sometimes the die unscrews a bit, and then you have to reset the die because there's nothing to hold the lock ring in place on the die. I've replaced a couple of the lock rings with Hornady rings, and drilled and tapped all the Lee rings for set-screws.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bought a M&P 9 Pro

My original M&P review

Okay, I did get to try an M&P with a trigger job, a S&W Performance Center pistol. It was a lot better. 

I liked it enough that I decided to get my own M&P 9 Pro. The trigger pull is lighter, and the reset is shorter, and distinct enough to be noticeable.  There is still a lot of mushy take-up, and the reset is a little weak, but it's still a big improvement, and better than a lot of similar striker-fired pistols, although perhaps not at this price level.

I’ve also noticed that the handle of the tool housed in the grip of the M&P kinda guides the magazine into the pistol, about the same way the plugs that I use for Glocks do.

Also took a good look at a new M&P 9 Pro. The contact areas of the trigger bar and sear are nice and smooth. Glock trigger bars, all of them, come as-stamped with rough edges. The feel of the M&P Pro trigger is very Glock-like, with a short and distinct reset, two stages, and a crisp break. Much better than the first M&P that I test fired months ago, although the reset is softer than a Glock. My M&P Pro trigger breaks at 4 pounds, 14 ounces, which is almost exactly what my Glock does with a polished trigger bar and stock 5 pound connector.

The only thing that kind of bugs me is the slide to frame fit, which is pretty sloppy. Not a big deal with iron sights, as the barrel is locked up pretty solid in the slide, but I wouldn’t go making an Open-class race gun out of it.

Although it shoots pretty good, I went from the M&P back to my G17, and immediately noticed that I was shooting noticeably better, even though I was shooting full-power Gold Dot loads rather than the softer practice loads that I was shooting through the M&P.

The M&P was chucking the brass back at me most of the time, which is distracting at best. Not a big deal for me because I've got lots of Glock recoil springs that will probably fix this, but it might be an issue to someone who's not used to tinkering. The guide rod is captured steel unit, by the way, and can be disassembled (although the screw was really tight).

I'm wondering if I shouldn't have bought this one. I'll give it some more time, but it may get traded for something else.

EDIT, 11/22/09: Still have it. It's still hitting me with about 80% of the brass, despite everything I've tried to do with it. I've tried filing the ejector at an angle. I've tried several different recoil springs. I've tried stretching and shortening the ejector. I inspected the extractor, but haven't removed it yet, because it's pinned in place. I'm about ready to give up and send it back to S&W.

UPDATE, 12/11/09: I gave up trying to fix the M&P, and had the shop send it back to S&W for warranty work. It seems to be an extractor problem, and the extractor isn't meant to be worked on (or cleaned for that matter, apparently) by the end user.

UPDATE, 1/10/10: The 9 Pro is back from S&W, and ejection is much better.  Details can be found here.  I'm looking forward to doing some serious testing with this thing.

UPDATE, 2/10/10:  I've put enough rounds through it now, that I'm confident that the ejection problem has been fixed.  It shoots a little bit low, but has been 100% reliable, and is now running like it should.

Mossberg’s Lightning Bolt Action Trigger System

I knew that it wouldn’t be long before another company started to offer a trigger similar to Savage’s AccuTrigger. The Mossberg LBA trigger can be adjusted with a screwdriver to give a pull in the range of two to seven pounds. It has a Glock-type trigger safety, just like the AccuTrigger.

Link To RifleShooter Magazine Article (I can't find anything on the Mossberg website)

Jim and Sarah Brady Living in Delaware

It has recently come to my attention that the Brady’s are living in nearby Delaware. A state where I go, legally carrying a concealed pistol, pretty regularly.

Given that Sarah Brady was on a mission to keep firearms out of the hands of all American citizens, you’d think they’d be living in a state with more restrictions on guns, and a virtual ban on carry. New Germany can’t be more than a half hour from where they’re living, Delaware isn’t very big. Maryland isn’t too far either, and it’s really difficult to get a carry permit there too.

. . . just a bit of information that I found odd and interesting.

2007 FBI Crime Report

This may be old news to some of you; the report came out in September.

The report shows:
  • The national violent crime rate was very close to hitting a 30-year low.
  • The national murder rate was very near a 40-year low.
  • The number of privately owned firearms is higher than it has ever been, and the number increases by about 4.5 million a year.
  • The three major U.S. Cities with the highest murder rates were Detroit, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.. Handgun purchasers in Michigan must first obtain a permit, and all handguns are registered. Maryland’s guns laws are plentiful, including bans on person-to-person handgun sales, an "Assault Weapon" and "high-capacity" magazine ban, a seven day waiting period on handgun sales, and a virtual ban on concealed carry. In 2007, D.C. was still denying all requests for private handgun purchases, and required that all firearms be stored disassembled and locked up.
  • Right-to-carry states had lower crime rates than the rest of the country.
  • For 2007, 32 percent of murders didn’t involve firearms. Rifles and shotguns (all included) were used in six percent of murders, with a pretty even split. Firearms reported as “assault weapons” were reported in one percent of murders.