Thursday, December 30, 2010

Midway: Aimpoint Micro R-1 Sale - $299.99

UPDATE 1/1/10: R-1s are sold out and discontinued.  They were in the January sales flier, and I think that finished them off.

Midway is blowing out Aimpoint Micro R-1s for $299.99

Midway: Aimpoint R-1

The R-1 model is the same as the Micro H-1, but in silver.  It is not waterproof as deep as the T-1 model (5 meters vs. 80 feet), and does not have settings to use with night vision goggles.  The normal price from Midway is $564.  The sale lasts until then end of January, but the word has spread on the gun forums, and I don't know how much longer they'll have them in stock.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ultimak AK Gas Tube Scope Mount

I didn't die or anything, I just haven't really found anything interesting to post lately.  Sometimes it pours, sometimes you get a drought.  Right now, there seems to be more of a drought.  Guess it's a good time to knock out some reviews.

Primary Arms Micro onUltimak Gas Tube Scope Rail Mounted on my WASR-10

Ultimak's gas tube scope mount is pretty popular among the AK connoisseurs, particularly when used with a Micro red dot scope.  I ordered mine from Primary Arms, along with their Gen.3 Micro Red Dot sight (which is discontinued, I think, replaced by Gen.7 model) at a reduced price.  The Gen.3 sight doesn't really co-witness, unless I set the rear sight to 800 meters; good enough to get the windage ball-parked.  The Gen.6 and Gen.7 sights are supposed to co-witness properly on the Ultimak mount, but I can't personally confirm this.
The Ultimak mount gives a nice low mount, just be aware that after a few magazines, it will get hot enough to burn your fingertips if you're not careful, and not wearing gloves. I wonder if cheaper optics will be able to take that kind of heat for long.  The Primary Arms sight is holding up so far, but I noticed that the heat was transferring to the Picatinny mount screwed to the bottom of the sight after a few magazines.  By all accounts, the Aimpoint H-1 and T-1 sights take the heat just fine, but then the Aimpoints cost more than a lot of AK rifles.

The Ultimak gas tube mount clamps onto the barrel, which means it's not easily removable for cleaning, which may be a problem if you shoot corrosive ammo, and a lot of the surplus ammo is at least mildly corrosive.  The mount/tube is aluminum, but when it's clamped onto the barrel, you really can't get at the gas block.  I didn't have any trouble installing the mount on the WASR-10 with the K-Var plastic handguard with heat-shield, but the wood handguard that came with the rifle would have to be chiseled out to clear the straps.

The Ultimak mount is way better than most of the dust cover scope mounts, most of which don't hold a zero (stay tuned over the next few months, I want to get the new TWS mount for a 5.45x39mm AK).  It's not as tall as many of the AK side-rail mounts, and it won't interfere with side-folding stocks. It's a good, solid, low mount for AK type rifles, just be aware that there are some trade-offs.

Ultimak Home Page
The mount reviewed here is the M1-B model, Scout Mount without side ports.  Ultimak makes mounts to fit many of the AK variants.  Check the Ultimak site for more information.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Midway Coupon Code from Glocktalk: Expires 12/31/10

Here's the latest Midway coupon code from GlockTalk.

To receive your $10 Savings:

   1. Add at least $50 of regular price, in-stock products to your cart.
   2. Enter 5051210 into the box titled, "Promotion Code" on the shopping cart page.
   3. See the discount applied on the Confirmation page near the end of the checkout.

Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CT on December 31, 2010. Hurry! Special Reminders & Exclusions:

    * Can only be used once.
    * Sale, clearance, out-of-stock and Nightforce products do not count towards the $50 total.
    * Gift certificates do not count towards the $50 total.
    * Can only be used on No phone, fax or mail orders please.
    * Cannot be used with any other promotion code, or combined with Dealer, Birthday or Special pricing.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Random Silliness: Designer Guns

I did a photo search for "XM-25," and, for some reason, it turned up the photo of the Gucci SKS.

You can see more photos in the Geekologie 'Designer Guns Great for Gaudy Tramps' Post.

I don't even know what to say.

Be sure to read comment #10 of the Geekologie post.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Maxpedition 5% Off Coupon

If you've picked up a gun magazine in the last 5 years, I'm sure you'll have seen the Maxpedition ads.  They make the tactical nylon "man purses," gun cases, and some other nylon gear.

The ad in the January/February issue of American Handgunner had a coupon code that will get you 5% off.

The coupon code is: 5AH2011

Official Maxpedition Home Page

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pistol and "Bullet" Shaped Ice Cube Trays?

I was surfing through the gift guide when I found this in the "Someone With Everything" category, along with cookie cutters that make it look like someone's taken a bite already, and a coffee mug with brass knuckles as the handle.

Just thought it was interesting, with images of firearms are showing up in fashion and other pop culture items.

If you're really interested in buying, here's the link to the pistol-shaped ice trays on Amazon.

EDIT:  You can also get ice trays to make ice ammo.

They appear to be modeled after 7.62x39mm rounds, and the ad for the ice trays says "AK Bullet."

Obama's Appointee for BATFE Director *IMPORTANT*

This is the latest Second Amendment Foundation e-mail newsletter.  It is pretty important:
BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today is announcing its opposition to the nomination, by President Obama, of Andrew Traver as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Traver is currently special agent in charge of Chicago’s BATFE field division, where he has a history of working with gun prohibitionists. He served as an advisor to the International Association for Chiefs of Police on that group’s 2007 “Gun Violence Reduction Project,” in cooperation with the anti-gun-rights Joyce Foundation. This project involved several high profile anti-gun-rights advocates, but there was not a single representative from the firearms community on the advisory panel.

“The nomination of Andrew Traver is more proof that Barack Obama has complete disregard for the Second Amendment and the rights of firearms owners,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “We have serious concerns that the agency, under his leadership, will maintain any semblance of cooperation with the firearms industry, over which BATFE exercises considerable control.”

Traver helped develop the IACP/Joyce Foundation report, which recommended banning an array of modern sport-utility rifles and .50-caliber rifles used in long-range competition. The report also encouraged Congress to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment that protects sensitive trace data used by law enforcement in criminal investigations from being misued in frivolous municipal lawsuits that have consistently lost in court, and urged the adoption of restrictive gun show regulations that would effectively force them to close.

“Mr. Traver appears to be joined at the hip to various gun control and gun ban efforts,” Gottlieb observed. “The Citizens Committee, its members and supporters across the country oppose this nomination because Traver’s history clear shows that he is not the right man for such an important job.”
CCRKBA (Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms) is a sister organization to the Second Amendment Foundation.  The article can also be found online at

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brownells Annual Black (Rifle) Friday Sale

Save on your gun related Christmas shopping starting at 12:00 AM, Friday, November 26! Go to at 12:00 AM to get the special coupon code, or be a friend on Facebook, and get early access to the coupon code, and a head start on savings. Entering the coupon code will save you 10% off any order over $150! The exclusive savings run through midnight, on "Cyber-Monday", November 29, so make out your wish list for Santa and get ready to save! And, selected items have special, reduced prices, available all weekend; AND, the 10% offer is good there, too!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Galco's KingTuk IWB Holster

There's one more holster-maker doing a variation on the Tucker Answer/Crossbreed Super-Tuck IWB holster type.  Galco calls their holster the KingTuk.  You can read more about the Galco KingTuk on the Galco website.

Direct Link to KingTuk holster page

The KingTuk is available for many popular handguns (Glock, 1911, Sig, XD, Kahr, S&W wheelies and M&P), and oddly Charter Arms and Taurus revolvers.

Personally, I'm using the Crossbreed Super-Tuck, however I'm on my 2nd one, and this one is cracked too.  If I were going to buy one today, I would order a Minotaur Spartan.  However, the Galco should be available to fondle, and possibly try out at gun shops and gun shows, whereas the Tucker, Crossbreed, and Minotaur holsters you'd most likely have to mail order.  There's definately something to be said for instant gratification, and getting to hold the product in your hands before you buy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Review: Green Eyes and Black Rifles

I kind of promised this review back in January.  I wanted to read it a second time, and try a bunch of it before sitting down in front of the computer to write the review, so it's taken me a while.

The book is written by Kyle Lamb, who wrote based on experiences in combat in sandy places in the middle east, as well as from carbine classes and competition.  To quote Lamb's introduction, "[t]his book, however, is not for the competetion minded; this book is for the shooter who hopes to use ballistic tools to eliminate a threat if the need arises."  Although Viking Tactics is more that just Lamb, you might know him as "the Viking Tactics guy."

The book centers around the AR-15 platform ("America's Black Rifle"), although a lot of the information can be applied to some other carbines and battle rifles.  There really isn't anything specifically AK-47 related. 

The book covers weapon selection, including barrel specifications, buttstocks, handguards, triggers, tactical slings, and sights, optics and mounts.  I like what Pat Rogers has to say about modern weapon selection and maintenance more than Lamb, but that's not to say that Lamb is wrong.  You can read what Rogers has to say in his Keep It Running article hosted by, and he was the expert in the What Parts Break In A Carbine Course thread in the forums of the same website.

I would say that Lamb's area of expertise in the book is more his coverage of shooting positions, particularly the more unorthodox offhand positions, shooting drills, and other tactical type topics.

Some of the topics covered are:
  • Loading, reloading, unloading
  • Speed and tactical reloads
  • Malfunction clearance
  • Proper use of tactical slings (sounds more obvious than it really is)
  • Fundamentals of marksmanship (sight alignment, trigger control, etc.)
  • Selecting the proper zero for your intended use, and ballistics (ballistic charts included)
  • Shooting positions, including head and arm positioning
  • Recoil control
  • Dealing with being right-hand-dominant and left-eye-dominant, or vice versa
  • Transitioning from left to right hand, and carbine to pistol
  • Shooting on the move, including safe and efficient ways to turn with the carbine
  • Night and low-light shooting, including the use of weapon lights and lasers
  • Use of rimfire and 9mm uppers, paintguns, airsoft, and dummy guns for training

I think pretty highly of the book, as a tactical tool.  I've had it in my range bag, so that I can use it as a reference when I'm out shooting.  I also got myself a Viking Tactics 2-Point sling because it seemed to be well thought out (It is.  It works well.).

Although it looks weird, and sounds even more bizarre, I like the "brokeback prone" position shown and explained in the book.  "If it sounds stupid, but it works, then it isn't stupid."  I can use it to make some fairly well-supported shots around right-hand corners, and still be able to duck back behind cover pretty quickly, in addition to using it for shooting under things or though low ports.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hoppe's No. 9 Air Freshener

It's been joked about by gun writers long enough that's it has become real.

Hoppe's recently rolled out a new air freshener that smells like their No. 9 solvent.

I'm not creative enough to make this up folks.  This is for real.

Now, how much longer do I have to wait for cologne with the WD40 scent?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

U.N. Gun Treaty Poll Home Page

Poll is a little way down on the left-hand column.
Do you support or oppose the Obama Administration's plan for a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bushmaster ACR Recall

Bushmaster is realling all ACR rifles.  Some problem with doubling or firing multiple rounds with a single trigger pull, which is something that the BATFE does't like one bit.

Link to PDF file with details on the recall.  It is a smallish file.
Bushmaster Firearms Intentional, LLC has become aware of a possible firearms performance issue that may develop with a small number of ACR rifles and we are requesting you discontinue the use of this rifle immediately, and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can make the necessary arrangements to have the rifle returned to us for inspection and update if necessary.

All Bushmaster produced ACR rifles are impacted by this notification.
Since the ACR has a firing pin return-spring, I don't think this is a slam-fire issue.  I imagine it is a trigger group issue.  The lower being an unserialized part, unlike an AR-15 lower, this would make things a little easier.

UPDATE:  It should make things easier, but they still want the whole rifle returned for the recall service.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Midway Coupon Codes from Glocktalk: Expire 10/24/10

New Midway coupon codes from Glocktalk:
To receive your Savings:
Place regularly priced in-stock products in your shopping cart totaling:
$100 or more - Use Promotion Code 131010
$200 or more - Use Promotion Code 231010
$300 or more - Use Promotion Code 331010
Enter the promotion code in the box entitled "Promotion Code" on the shopping cart page.
You will see the discount on the Confirmation page before placing your order.
Remember, this promotion code is valid for orders placed on
Limited to one per Customer and one promotion code per retail order.
5. Offer cannot be combined with Birthday, Special or Dealer Pricing.
6. Offer not valid on MidwayUSA Gift Certificates, Nightforce, Sale and Clearance products.
7. Offer valid on regularly priced products only.
Hurry, offer ends at 11:59 PM CT October 24, 2010.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bushmaster ACR Observations, Part 2

Other ACR Entries:
Some Bushmaster ACR Observations (Part 1)
ACR Review, Part 3

I had the ACR out for some more live fire.  I discovered that the Bushmaster-branded Flambeau case that the rifle comes in is big enough to hold the ACR with a Millet DMS scope mounted, and a WASR-10 with a Primary Arms Micro red dot sight mounted on an Ultimak gas tube.

I noticed it the first time, but confirmed it this week; there’s no change in sound when the bolt locks open on an empty magazine.

Speaking of magazines, I’ve still not had any form of malfunction.  I was switching off between one of the windowed PMags that my AR-15s don’t like, and a D&H brand aluminum G.I. magazine with an orange (Gen 1?  Gen 2?) Magpul follower.  The bolt has locked back every time when the magazines are empty.  The bolt catch seem to be breaking in a bit, and is not quite as hard to release as it used to be.

I even tried some odds-and-ends reloads, some pretty soft-shooting ammo, and still couldn’t get the rifle to choke or short-stroke.

I pulled out the Lyman digital trigger gauge to check the trigger pull.  In the center of the trigger, I get about eight pounds.  At the tip of the trigger, it takes about six and a half.  The pull is pretty smooth, and there is minimal overtravel, but definitely some creep and slack.  For a service rifle trigger, it’s not too bad, but it’s not a target trigger by any stretch of the imagination.

I moaned when I found out that the ACR was being released with a one-size-fits-some integral pistol grip.  I have Magpul MIAD modular grips on my ARs and I like them, and I find it odd that the Magpul rifle has no modular grip.  I guess it would have made the mold for the lower more complicated, but I would have liked to have the ACR lower compatible with MIAD interchangeable backstraps.

CR123A Battery Core, Batteries Not Included

That said, I guess I can live with the lower as is.  I wear a man’s size large glove.  With a good grip, my index finger hits the trigger just past the first joint, the “power crease.”

I guess most of you have little interest in the fixed stock of the Basic model, but this may be of some interest to those of you in states with “assault weapon” bans.  I measure the length of pull, the distance between the center of the trigger and the center of the butt pad, to be 12 3/8”.  I would have probably adjusted it longer if I could have, but I never had the rear sight smack me in the face under recoil or anything, so I guess I can live with that too.  I’ve read several places that there are spacers available to increase the length of pull of the fixed stock, but I tried to find them on the Bushmaster and Magpul websites, and came up with nothing.

Basic Stock Details, Sling Mounting Points

The Basic stock has sling loops on the top and bottom.  For single point slings, there is a rectangular ring on the left side of the stock, just behind the receiver.  It looks like the single point sling loop could be moved to the right side for lefties.

There is a single QD sling swivel socket in the top rear of the left side of the stock, which can be moved to the left side, if desired.  I’m pretty sure that the ambi socket kit for the Magpul UBR could also be used to put a second QD socket on the other side.  The Magpul and ACR swivels do not have any stops to prevent the swivel from rotating all the way around and tangling up your sling.

The cheekpiece is easy to adjust.  Just pull it back to unlock it, and then you can lift the front end and push it forward again to lock it in place.  I have it adjusted all the way up for use with the MBus sights and the DMS scope on an AR-15 mount.

There is no place to store anything in the Basic stock.

The pistol grip is textured on the sides, but not on the front or back, or on the bottom of the trigger guard.  The grip is compatible with MIAD grip cores, and comes with a core made to hold two CR123A batteries.

I actually like the plastic Basic handguard better than the Enhanced quad-rail handguard.  I’d still like the polymer handguard to be a few inches longer, but it is a couple inches longer than the Enhanced handguard.  The Basic handguard is compatible with the rails and other accessories available to fit the Magpul MOE AR-15 handguards.  The Enhanced handguard has a forward sling swivel, but the Basic handguard does not.

Top/Inside View of Basic Polymer Handguard

I'd prefer one of the longer polymer handguard seen on the ACR designated rifleman prototype rifles.

Room For Improvement
I’d like to see magazine funnels available in a couple different sizes, a medium size for defense/duty use, and a larger one for 3-gun competition.  An ACR equivalent of the AR-15 ASAP plate, an ambidextrous single point sling loop would be an obvious accessory.  It looks like Remington is offering their ACR with an aluminum lower that accepts AR-15 pistol grips, which may add some to the already fairly heavy weight of the ACR but would allow tailoring the length of pull of the pistol grip.  I like the 12” handguards on a couple of my AR-15 uppers, and I consider both of the Bushmaster handguards currently available to be too short.  The QD sling swivel sockets should have stops to keep slings from getting tangled.

A lot of this stuff are things that Magpul has already offered for AR-type rifles.  Sort of aggravating that a $2000 Magpul rifle still needs some improvement.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Some Bushmaster ACR Observations

Other ACR Entries
Bushmaster ACR Obervations, Part 2
ACR Review, Part 3

ACR Basic, Photo Borrowed From Bushmaster ACR Manual

I’ve been fiddling with, and doing a little shooting of a Bushmaster Basic ACR. Here are some of the things that I haven’t seen mentioned in other reviews:

The Bushmaster is a modern rifle of unique design, borrowing some aspects of designs that proceeded it.

The bolt is much like an AR-15 bolt, and the trigger group is mostly AR-15 compatible, but other than that, there’s not that much in common with an AR-15. The upper and lower receivers are held together with AR-15 type captive pins; okay that’s one more thing in common.

Geissele SSA and JP AR-15 triggers have been successfully installed into ACR trigger packs.

The ACR bolt carrier rides on rails, sort of like the bolt carrier of a Kalashnikov variant rifle. The gas piston system is more like a FAL.

The ACR’s stock and handguards can be removed by pushing their own take-down pins.  Unlike a HK G3 or MP5-type firearm, the pins are captive.

Even the plastic handguard of the ACR basic model leaves the barrel free-floating.  Unlike an AK or FAL, there’s really no contact at all between the barrel and upper receivers, except where the two parts are coupled at the trunnion.  The gas piston of the ACR is shrouded by the upper receiver, but they don’t seem to touch.  The gas piston is not otherwise housed in a tube or anything.

ACR Barrel/Gas Piston Assembly (Borrowed From Bushmaster ACR Manual

Front End Details

The barrel is pretty tightly fitted to the trunnion. The barrel nut is pretty easy to remove with the attached lever, but actually getting the barrel out of the upper takes a little bit of wiggling.  The manual says to depress the barrel plunger, but doesn't show or tell you what that is.  See picture above.

The gas piston is a little hard to remove.  When you remove the gas plug, it doesn’t pop out, and there’s nothing to grab hold of.  Removing the handguard doesn’t help.  The piston has to be pushed out of the upper with a cleaning rod from the breech end. That, or you could remove the whole barrel assembly from the upper.

The ACR’s charging handle is an odd duck.  To be honest, I haven’t figured out how it works yet.  When the charging handle is locked forward, it is disconnected from the bolt carrier, and that’s what makes it non-reciprocating.  If you pull back on that charging handle, it connects with the bolt carrier.  If you pull back that charging handle, when trying to field strip the rifle, you won’t be able to remove the bolt carrier.  The two parts are connected, and you’ll have to lock the handle forward, and hook the carrier with your finger from the bottom of the upper, and then pull it out.

ACR Bolt Group

The new-production ACR that I’ve been fondling has a solid steel pin retaining the firing pin and firing pin return spring.  The ACR’s firing pin retainer is held in place with an o-ring.

The bolt cam pin is an ACR specific part that is fitted into the left side of the bolt carrier.  The cam only goes into the bolt one way, so you can’t install the bolt into the carrier the wrong way accidentally.  The cam pin does not quite pass all the way through the bolt.

Bolt Comparison

The head of the ACR bolt is almost identical to an AR-15 bolt.  I didn’t leave the AR-15 bolt to make any kind of point, I just haven’t gotten around to cleaning it yet.

Currently, ACRs are only available with a rifling twist of 1 turn in 9 inches.  “Common knowledge” says that a 1:9” twist will not stabilize 75 and 77 grain bullets, however I’ve heard from several ACR owners that these heavier bullets print decent groups.  Jeff Quinn got a sub-MOA group from Buffalo Bore 77 grain Sniper HP ammo with the ACR he tested for GunBlast.  I intend to find out myself, but haven’t gotten that far yet.

There have been some complaints that ACRs won’t lock back after the last round with certain types of magazines.  I’ve tried a D&H aluminum GI mag, a Lancer L5 30-round magazine, one of those Israeli countdown mags, and a 20-round PMag.  I even tried a new-revision PMag with windows that won’t reliably lock back the bolt carrier of either of my AR-15s.  I tried the stubborn PMag two or three times.  I’ve not yet had any problems at all, although the round count is still pretty low.

The safety (selector) easily snicks on and off.  The bolt catch however, gives no leverage assist, and is still stiff on the new rifle I’ve been working with.

There have been complaints that the support-side safety (selector) lever hits the trigger finger of some users when switching the safety off.  It really doesn’t bother me that much.  I trimmed the support-side lever of the ambi safety on my AR (not shown in picture linked below), but the ACR safety I would leave alone.  The ACR safety levers are pretty small, and made of plastic, and I’m not sure how much you can do with them anyway.  I’ve seen military ACRs with no safety lever on the right-side.  I expect there to be a cap or smaller lever available to replace the right-side lever available from Bushmaster or Magpul at some time in the future.

There’s been some comments on the relative recoil of the ACR.  I went from shooting my LMT/Stag AR-15 to the Basic ACR.  My AR has a 16” M4 barrel with carbine length gas system, standard M-16 bolt carrier, an A2 flash hider, and an H buffer.  I can’t say that I noticed any significant difference in recoil.  I do know that a 7.62x39mm AK has more recoil that my AR, and a 5.45x39mm AK has less recoil, but there’s just not that much difference between my AR and the ACR.  I expected the piston-op ACR to have a little more recoil, but that doesn’t seem to be.

Official Bushmaster ACR Home Page

Saturday, September 25, 2010

YHM Lightweight Railed Float Tube Review

YHM Rifle-Length Lightweight Tube on my RRA 16" 9mm Upper w/YHM wrench
Lots of holes, and the rails are milled out to cut weight.
I wanted another rifle-length quad-rail free-float tube to install on my 9mm upper, so that I could use the 9mm upper as a stand-in for training purposes. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the Midwest Industries T-12 tube, because the rails didn’t seem to be true Picatinny-spec. I have to use a piece of a soda can as a shim to get the Vltor light mount to work with the MI handguard. I was told that YHM handguards are better in this respect, so I bought a YHM rifle-length tube to try out.

I tried the Vltor light mount on the YHM handguard, and it does indeed work properly without the silly shim. Everything else seems to fit fine on the YHM also.

I was afraid that the indexing/recoil lug on Larue mounts would not work with the milled-out rails, but the lug does still engage some of the rails on the lightweight tube. In .233Rem/5.56mm, there’s not enough recoil for the lug of the Larue mounts to really be necessary as a recoil lug.
Larue mount lugs just barely engages the milled-out rails
Along with the handguard, I ordered the YHM wrench. The YHM wrench has a spanner for the lock-ring at one end, and a barrel wrench at the other end. I would not count on using the YHM wrench to disassemble your upper, as you can’t apply much torque with it, although it may be enough to install the new barrel nut. I broke pins off my PRI barrel wrench trying to get the RRA upper apart (related post, PRI barrel nut wrench). When I got a new wrench back from PRI, it took a 3 foot length of pipe over my breaker bar before I finally got the barrel nut to come loose with a crack. The Model 1 Sales upper that I had taken apart before was almost as difficult to disassemble. The torque-spec for the barrel nut is more that 30 foot-pounds, but not more than 80 foot-pounds in order to get the hole or notch to line up properly with the hole in the upper for the gas tube. The RRA and Model 1 barrel nuts were likely overtorqued, the RRA in particular grossly overtorqued.

The YHM tool can not be used with a torque wrench, and would require a very large diameter pipe to use as a cheater bar for more leverage.

The YHM wrench works fine on the Midwest Industries lock-ring also, by the way.

Once I got the barrel nut/delta ring assembly, and front sight tower off the RRA upper, installing the new handguard was simple. It installs just like the MI handguard, except that it has two indexing screws, at 3 and 9 o’clock, instead of just one at 6 o’clock like the MI handguard. The barrel nuts of the YHM lightweight and MI T-Series handguards are nearly identical. The indexing screws for the YHM are slotted, where the MI handguard has allen-head socket screws. There were no tools or threadlocker included with the YHM handguard. The rail covers shown in some of my pictures were not included either.

The only minor issue I had was aligning the barrel nut so that the top rail of the handguard matched up with the rail on the upper. The 9mm upper is blow-back operated, and had no gas tube hole to use to align with the hole the barrel nut. If you are picky, it may take 2 or 3 tries to get the rails to line up just right, but the same is really true of most railed handguards.

The lightweight YHM does not give the full-length top rail effect. Although, as you can see in the photo below, the MI T-Series handguards don’t have a slot over the lockring anyway, so it really doesn’t make that much difference.
YHM Lightweight on Top, MI T-12 on Bottom
You may also note that the slots in the rails on the YHM lightweight tube are not marked ("T-Markings"). The center of the rails are milled out to save weight. This may be a problem for some.

The YHM lightweight handguards have holes at the front end for screwing in YHM’s sling mount. These holes are NOT QD sling swivel sockets for the swivels that release with a push-button. I believe that the top and bottom holes are for the YHM endcaps, and the holes on either side are for the YHM screw-in sling swivel studs, but don’t use either an endcap or a sling swivels, so I’m not really sure. Sling mounts and endcaps are sold separately.

I’m quite happy with the YHM Lightweight handguard. Depending on how the Spike’s Tactical slim handguard turns out, there’s a good chance that I may buy another YHM lightweight for my LMT 10.5” upper. I have no plans to buy another MI handguard until they start cutting the rails to proper Picatinny specifications.

EDIT 1/13/12:  I liked the 1st one so much, I got another for my Spike's 5.45mm upper.  When I decided to put a free-float, railed handguard on my SBR/pistol upper, I bought a mid-length lightweight handguard for that.  Yes, the Daniel Defense Lite handguard is slimmer, but I have not found the width of the YHM handguards to be a problem, and the YHM tubes are about a third the price of the DD Lite.  For me, it's an easy win for YHM.  Have not found anything yet that won't fit the YHM rails.

The Spike's slim handguard that I mentioned, comes with rail covers, and I think has QD sling sockets and an included sling swivel, but costs nearly what the DD Lite does.  I was tempted, but ultimately decided to skip it.

The free-float tubes with bolt-on rails have started to become popular.  My issue with these, is that when you start to bolt on more rail sections, they start to become heavier and more expensive than a quad rail handguard, while still lacking the versatility.  I also think they usually look sort of goofy, but maybe that's just me.

If you are looking for a YHM Lightweight handguard, Primary Arms has the cheapest prices that I have seen, so far, and service from them has been excellent.

Related Links:
Yankee Hill Machine Home Page

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beretta Neos Recall

Beretta U.S.A. Corp. has discovered a potential condition with Beretta .22 caliber NEOS semiautomatic pistols in which the pistol will fire even if the safety is activated and, in some cases, the pistols may fire if the safety is moved from the OFF to the ON position. Chances of either of these situations occurring is extremely remote and no injuries have occurred because of this condition, however, because of safety concerns relating to this situation, Beretta U.S.A. Corp. is immediately implementing a recall of Beretta .22 caliber NEOS semiautomatic pistols. For more information, download a pdf copy of the Recall Notice.
Emphasis Beretta's

Link to Beretta Neos Recall page. Check to see if your Neos may be effected.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 Grand Opening Coupon

If you're like me, the idea of buying ammo 20 or 50, or even 100 at a time is pretty laughable. When I buy ammo, it usually 500 or more rounds at a time.

Well, there's a new bulk ammo website, and they have some decent prices, and they are running a grand opening coupon promotion.

The website is

Use coupon code "GrandOpening" to get $25 off your first order over $200.

The have some decent prices on buckshot, slugs, Tula and Federal .223, and they Winchester Ranger hollowpoints in .40S&W and 9mm (115gr). There may be some other good deals, but those are just some of the items I've priced recently. They even have some oddball stuff like 158gr 9mm Subsonic, and lead-free ammo. If you want to try out a single box, you can do that too, it's not all 500 and 1000 round cases.

I'm seriously considering putting in an order for buckshot, slugs, and some .38Spl FMJ reloads. And maybe some Tula .223 to put away, and .22s, and . . .

Monday, September 6, 2010

Movie Review: El Mariachi

Since Robert Rodriguez' Machette just opened (I think), and I just rewatched his first feature length film, I guess this is a good time to post a review of this movie that few have even heard of.

El Mariachi is the first film in the Rodriguez Mariachi trilogy, with Desperado being the 2nd, and Once Upon A Time In Mexico the third. It doesn't look like there's a Mariachi character in Machette, though I haven't seen it yet. The Wikipedia entry says El Mariachi was intended for the Mexican video market (it was filmed in Spanish), and never shown in theaters in the U.S., as far as I can tell.

El Mariachi was filmed in Mexico, with unknown actors, for only $7000, which I didn't know until doing a little research for the review. There's not a lot in the way of special effects, aside from some blank guns and the singing scenes being overdubbed, but I didn't notice any bad acting from the cast. I would not have guessed that the movie only cost $7000 to make.

The mariachi (who's never named) walks into town with nothing more than the clothes on his back and a guitar. He stops into a bar, looking for work, and orders a soda, but this bar already has a musician. The bar's musician is dozing in the corner. With a whistle from the bartender, the house musician quickly sets up a synthesizer and plays for El Mariachi, flashes a smug look at the wandering musician, and then just as quickly goes back to dozing.

Our mariachi pays for his soda and moves on to the next bar in town.

The man, who you see at the very beginning of the move breaking out of jail, walks into the bar just as the mariachi is walking out. He asks if the men sitting around in the bar are Moco’s men, which they are, and proceeds to wipe out everyone in the bar, except for the bartender.

The movie cuts back to out mariachi sitting down at bar #2, and he orders another soda. The bartender, a woman, gives him a hard time about ordering a soft drink. The mariachi explains that he’s a singer and that he doesn’t want to harm his voice, and tells her that he’s looking for work. She explains that she can’t afford to pay him, and he more or less storms out, depressed and upset, having struck out again.

The mariachi continues on to a cheap motel. The hotel manager tips off the local drug dealer (Maurice, a.k.a. Moco), that a man dressed in black, carrying a guitar case has just checked it. The man Moco is looking for is Azul, the one who broke out of jail and killed 6 of his men in the bar.

The mariachi, caught up in a case of mistaken identity, runs out of the motel, into the streets of town, and manages to evade the hit squad, and kills four of them in the process. I'm not sure how the musician learned how to handle a MAC-10 so well, but whatever.

Not knowing where else to go, I suppose, not knowing anyone else in town, he ducks into bar #2, and explains what just happened. The bartender, who identifies herself as Domino, takes pity on him, and has him hide out in her room upstairs. It’s not long before one of Moco’s men comes in and asks about a man in black, with a guitar case full of weapons. Domino tells the man that she doesn’t know anything about the guy in black, and he leaves. So then, she goes upstairs and gets the mariachi by the balls, literally, until she discovers that what he has in the guitar case is. . . really a guitar.

Domino explains to the mariachi that the bar was a given to her by Moco. Moco’s been trying to buy her love for quite a while.

So now everybody’s on the same page. . . except for Moco’s men, who don’t really know what Azul looks like. Only Moco himself has seen Azul. Between the 6 men killed by Azul in the bar shooting, and the 4 that the mariachi killed in self-defense in the streets of town, Moco is now down 10 men. Moco doesn't know know the mariachi is in town, and assumes that it's Azul who killed all 10.

There’s another run in, between Moco’s men and the mariachi in the town. Azul grabs Domino, who the mariachi has fallen in love with, and takes her at gunpoint to Moco’s hacienda, trying to get the money he’s owed. I’m not going to spoil the movie for you and spell out the 2nd half of the plot.

Desperado and Once Upon A Time In Mexico do refer back to parts of El Mariachi.

If you like super-happy fairy tale endings, you will be disappointed. Personally, I like the ending.

So, for a very-low-budget made-for-video movie, it's definitely not bad. If you really liked Desperado and/or Once Upon A Time In Mexcio, this movie will give you the backstory on the main character.

The action is mostly limited to a couple of scenes, and they're not anything like the lobby scenes of The Matrix or Terminator 2. It's a lot more like No Country For Old Men.

There are a few sort of silly moments. The hotel manager and the synthesizer musician move in fast-motion for comic effect, sort of like a scene out of a episode of The Benny Hill Show.

With the exception of the musician's uncanny knack for self-defense, it's a good movie and worth picking up. The version I watched was dubbed in English, but the ones I see for sale now are only in Spanish with English subtitles, which I know some will argue is actually better. Either way, if you can find a copy of the movie on DVD for less than $10 (there's many showing in Amazon's Marketplace), I'd say it's worth buying. You can also buy the Mariachi trilogy as a set.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thank You Precision Reflex, Inc. (PRI)

A couple weekends ago I broke a couple pins off the PRI AR-15 barrel nut wrench I was using. It's about as tough a tool as the application allows, but the barrel nut of the 9mm RRA upper was being really stubborn. I used the e-mail form on the PRI website, asking for a couple replacement pins, and the next day I had an e-mail from Tony Holdren at PRI. I sent him a few pictures of the broken wrench and he said to send it in, and they'd replace it. So I sent it Priority Mail last Tuesday, and had a new one back via UPS this Wednesday. I've had the barrel nut soaking with Kroil for a while. Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Novel Review: Steven Hunter’s Point Of Impact

Okay, so I’m a bit late to the Steven Hunter party. It looks like Point Of Impact was first published in 1993. I realize now that I’ve got some catching up to do.

You may have seen the movie Shooter (2007). Mark Wahlberg (a.k.a. Marky Mark, I’m sure he’d love the reference) is a sniper who gets framed for taking a shot at the U.S. president. I had seen the movie, but pretty much had forgotten all about it.

The high point of the movie, I vaguely remember. The main character, Bob Lee Swagger, the sniper, cuts down the man who really took the shot at the president, and then mows down a squad of shooters sent by the organization that framed him, aided somewhat by the FBI agent that believes he’s innocent. It’s maybe 12 minutes of shoot-em-up without much in the way of catch-phrases or billion dollar special effects, and it wasn’t enough to make a big impact at the box office. I don’t want to say that this is a minor part of the book, but the kicker in the novel is the surprise ending, which they did put into the movie. In the movie it only fizzles, and falls flat.

Let’s not get hung up on the mediocre movie though.

The novel starts out with Bob Lee waiting for a monster buck, near his home in the Oichita mountains in Arkansas. Bob Lee lives alone in the woods with his dozen or so rifles, a 1911, and a few thousand rounds of ammo, and has very little contact with anyone. He goes into town to pick up his mail, and to buy food now and then, but for the most part he just keeps to himself up in the mountains with his dog.

A few chapters in, you’re introduced to the villain, Col. William A. Bruce (retired), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, who is played by Danny Glover in the movie. Col. Bruce needs a shooter, a real killer. He kicks some names around with his cronies. He rejects the suggestion of Carl Hitchcock (an obvious reference to Carlos Hathcock), because he’s made too much money selling books, and giving speeches at Soldier of Fortune conventions and whatever. Bruce wants “Bob the Nailer.” Bob Lee racked up 80-something confirmed kills as a Marine Sniper in Vietnam, with a few dozen more that couldn’t be confirmed. Pardon me, make that “The ‘Nam.”

Bruce goes up the Bob Lee’s place, along with Jack “Payne-O” Payne. Payne does the dirty work for Bruce, and he comes along to Bob’s place as a bodyguard. . . with a short barreled shotgun under his coat.

Bruce gets Bob Lee to come out to Maryland to do some shooting. He’s conviced Bob that he’s representing an ammo brand called Accutech. He gives some cock-and-bull story about using lasers to make the world’s best rifle ammo. Really what they are doing is laying the framework of a frame-up. They boost Bob’s ego, and then reveal that they’re tied up with Secret Service, and they have information that the Russian that shot Bob in the hip, and killed his spotter, has been hired by terrorists, and is planning on taking a shot at the President of the United States.

So Bob scouts some of the locations that the President will be visiting, and it seems that there is only one obvious choice. Col. Bruce talks Bob into sitting behind a spotting scope the day of the President’s speech, the day that the assassination is to take place. The trap is sprung, and Bob gets shot a couple times, but escapes. They set it up like Bob took the shot, and was shot by a police officer as he was making his escape. As Bob crashes out of the house, he practically lands on Nick Memphis, FBI agent, working with Secret Service. Bob takes Nick's Smith & Wesson 1076 10mm, and his government-owned car.

Nick had been in charge of going through the “Charlies,” random whackos, people who wrote letters to the government with too many exclamation points, people who just barely made it onto the radar of the Secret Service. Allegedly, Bob Lee had sent such a letter, and made it into the “Charlies.” Having been a former FBI sniper, Nick knew of “Bob the Nailer,” and didn’t consider him a real threat, and decided not to bump him up into the “Bravo” or “Alpha” groups.

So now it looks like Bob took a shot at the President, and took Nick’s service piece and car in the process. Nick is in hell, career-wise.

I may have gotten some of the details a little wrong, but that's mostly how it goes.  If I tell you the rest, it will spoil the book for you, so I’m going to end the summary there.

I highly recommend this book. I wasn’t real sure if I would enjoy it at the start. I guess I’m kind of out of my “sniper phase,” but there is a lot of “gun culture” written into the book, besides the sniper stuff. After the shooting, you get to read the newspaper articles as Bob Lee reads them. I got a kick out the inane comments about the “telescopic-powered assault rifle.” Real pro-gun-ban newspaper articles are sometimes that bad.

The book is about 500 pages, and they’re pretty long pages too, but I never thought, “oh, just get on with it already, dammit.” Although I guess I really knew how it would end about half way through, you don’t find out how it happens until like the last 30 pages. There’s a big hint near the beginning, but after a few hundred pages I had pretty much forgotten about it.

If you’re a reader, and you have the time, pick up a copy. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Making Kydex Holsters

This is my first posting to come out of a request.

This is a follow-up on the Custom Pocket Holster post.

I guess the first thing I should do is start with a disclaimer.  If you are going to be forming a holster around an actual firearm, check to make sure it's unloaded three times before you start doing anything.  Be really really sure it's unloaded, and periodically check to make sure it's still unloaded.  We don't want anyone getting shot by an allegedly unloaded pistol.

If you have a blue gun, or a red gun, a resin movie prop gun, or a metal stand-in of the type typically used for making holsters, obviously use that instead of a real firearm.  However, I expect that most who read this, are just normal shooters, who aren't going to go and spend $50 for a solid plastic gun to make one or two holsters.  In case I haven't made it perfectly clear yet, if you are going to be using a real firearm to form a holster around, make sure it's completely unloaded first.

Kydex is a pretty forgiving material to work with.  If you make a mistake, you can heat it back up and reshape it.  One of the only ways you can really go wrong is to cut a piece too small, although you may be able to use that piece later for something else.  If you get too agressive with a heat gun you might manage to scorch or really melt the material.

Kydex is also a very inexpensive material.  At present, you can get a 12x24” sheet of black Kydex for about $15 shipped, which should be enough to make two dropped and offset race holsters for full-size pistols, possibly 3, 4, or maybe even more concealment holsters, depending on the design.

I bought my Kydex and Concealex from  They have expanded their line of sheath and holster supplies to include metal belt clips, snaps and setting tools, a wider selection of rivets and setting tools, leather material and supplies, new colors and camo pattern Kydex, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

.060” thick Kydex is easier to shape, but Kydex is pretty brittle, and all the holsters and belt loops I’ve ever had, made of .06” Kydex have broken or cracked.  The pocket holster for the Kahr is made of .09” thick sheet, and has been beaten pretty badly, but it's still intact.  I made belt loops for the SuperTuck from .09” sheet folded over, and they’ve been hanging in for a couple years now.  I don't have any experience with .08" Concealex or Kydex, or .125" Kydex.  The 1/8" Kydex might do the trick for belt loops, but wasn't available when I ordered material.

There are a few different ways to form Kydex.  I just use a heat gun to soften the sheet, and then I bend and form it as necessary.  You may have seen vacuum forming on Mythbusters, that works with Kydex too, but I haven't bothered with making a vacuum forming set-up myself.  I've heard of people using the oven, or a toaster oven to warm up the Kydex, and then they quickly try to form it before it cools down and sets.  I have not tried the oven method yet, but I can see how it might have some advantages.

If you use the heat gun or oven methods, you'll need some kind of "Kydex press."  You can order a nice, photo-friendly press from or elsewhere for about $85, but I made mine from some MDF I had left over from another project, and a couple layers of foam cut from a sleeping pad.
The top layer of foam is a little scorched, and the cut of the MDF isn't pretty, but it gets the job done.

You may have no choice but to hand-form sometimes.  The Kydex press doesn't really do curves, unless you make some kind of buck to insert into the press with the hot material.

You'll need something to use as a heat sheild to just work small areas of your holster.  I used a piece of aluminum flashing, but a scrap of plywood or something would work too.
I think I had cut the notch in the heat shield to rework the channel necessary for the slide lock lever.

I have used popsicle sticks taped to the pistol to form slots in the Kydex for the slide lock lever, and other controls.  If you don't have any handy, you can find them labeled as craft sticks at Michael's or maybe WalMart.  The wood slats, purchased from the hobby section of WalMart, I cut to make a stand-in belt to make belt loops.  It's not pictured here, because I threw it away, but I once use the handle of a plastic spoon at one point for forming Kydex.  Use your imagination.

Here is some hardware used to make the tension adjustment on the pocket holster for the Kahr.  On top is a tee-nut (may alse be called a t-nut).  On the bottom is a finish washer.  On the right is a rubber bushing, which goes between the layers of the holster.  On the left is a flathead Phillips 8-32 machine screw.

Except for the rubber bushing, this is the same type of hardware used to secure the belt loops to a Crossbreed SuperTuck holster.  Crossbreed seems to have used a rubber washer cut from rubber sheeting to use as a spacer between the leather backing, and the belt loop.

The finish washers I was able to find at Home Depot.  The tee-nuts and screws I ordered from MSC Direct, but they may be cheaper from McMaster Carr, although, if you need a heat gun, it's probably cheaper at MSC.  If you are buying a heat gun, try to get one with the attachments for focusing the flow of hot air.  It you can't get a heat gun with the attachments for a resonable price, you can get them from WalMart in the paint section for under $25 probably, or maybe from PepBoys.

More Holster-Making Links, in no particular order:
FreeIdaho - Scroll down the index on the left until you get to "Holster 1". Sheath Page - It's about making knife and sword sheaths, but there's some useful information that can be applied to making holsters., Vacuum Forming an IWB Holster - Alternate method of making Kydex Holsters.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Update, 8/1/2010

I found the website for the self-defense shows on Spike.  So I updated that post.  I also added descriptions of the shows.

Uploaded pictures of Heinie sights and LPA adjustable sights for Glock, and added them to my update post from July 18th.

August free shipping (for orders over $199) promotion code for DSG Arms = AUGSHIP

Custom Pocket Holster

I had been carrying my Kahr PM9 in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster with an old Blue Cross card epoxied on at the bottom to give it some ridgity.  Well the card broke into several pieces and the holster returned to a floppy, and now very ugly mess.  So I made my own Kydex pocket holster from Kydex.  Here it is:
I made it so that the Kydex covers the mag release, sights, and, of course, the trigger.  The muzzle end is folded over, to try to protect the pistol from pocket lint as much as possible.

I sized it specifically to fit Wrangler jeans pockets, but it seems to fit in most anything else.  Some pocket holsters are made too small, and the pistol ends up sideways, or eventually upside down.  I didn't leave it any room to rotate.

I've been using this holster for a few months and it's working out well.  It took a few tries to get it just right, but the Kydex can be reshaped without any negative effects, and it wasn't that hard.  All in, with the heat gun, materials, foam and MDF to make the Kydex press, I still have less money in the holster than what it would have cost me to have someone else make it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

.223 Remington to .22 Pellet Conversion

Here's something I haven't seen before.  The Sportsman's Guide has a .223 Remington to .22 pellet conversion shell.  It looks like a brass shell casing, but you put a 209 shotshell primer in one end, and a .22 pellet in the other, turning your .223 Remington rifle into a pellet gun.

Pretty neat.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Midway Coupon Codes From

From e-mail newsletter

To receive your Savings:
  1. Place in-stock products in your shopping cart totaling:
    $50 for $10 off - Use Promotion Code 171510
    $500 for $50 off - Use Promotion Code 271510
    $1000 for $100 off - Use Promotion Code 371510
    Enter the promotion code in the box entitled "Promotion Code" on the shopping cart page.
  2. You will see the discount on the Confirmation page before placing your order.
  3. Remember, this promotion code is valid for orders placed on
  4. Limited to in-stock products, one per Customer and one promotion code per retail order.
  5. Excludes Gift Certificates and Nightforce products, Sale priced products and Clearance products.
  6. Offer valid for retail Customers only.
  7. Offer cannot be combined with Birthday or Special Pricing.
  8. Hurry, offer starts at 12:00 AM CT July 15, 2010
    and ends at 11:59 PM CT July 31, 2010.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I got some sights in from Richard Heinie on, er, Wednesday or Thursday, I think.  I got a tall front sight for my Glock 21, which was shooting high.  I also ordered a Ledge rear sight with tritium for the Glock 19, which I bought a couple years ago, but have mostly ignored, except for shooting 1200 odd rounds through it.  The old front sight from the 21 went onto the 19.  The 21 is now shooting to point of aim, and I'm ready to carry the 19.  The 19 will also likely go along for a carbine training class at some point in the future.

I also ordered a tritium sight set for the Kahr PM9, hoping it would fix my problem of hitting high with that pistol.  It didn't.  The pistol still shot 9 inches high (!) at 50 feet.  I can bring it down a bit by filing the rear sight, but probably not enough.

Heinie night sights for Kahr pistols

My Kahr With New Heinie Sights, and Custom Pocket Holster

I shot a Ruger Rimfire Match earlier today at Delaware County Field & Stream.  Although I didn't shoot all that well with the AA Glock conversion pistol, I did pretty good with the 10/22, and it was fun.  The same range is running rimfire pistol plate shoots on Wednesday nights, but I work nights and haven't been able to go.  I now have a legitimate purpose for the 10/22 that I've used to burn through 25-round mags of cheap bulk ammo.  See. . . I can shoot a rifle offhand. . . I just need 40 M.O.A. targets!   :-P 

UPDATE, 8/1/2010:  Looks like I took second in unlimited class somehow, placing just behind the gentleman who set up the shoot.  Don't quite know how that happened.

Oh, and my AA Glock conversion upper is now sporting LPA adjustable sights.  The rear sight holds a zero pretty well.  Although the front sight is much taller than the Glock front sight, and may cause holster clearance issues, I like these a lot better than the plastic Glock sights.  I can now see light between the edges of the rear notch and the sides of the front sight now.  Another issue may be the hinge pin of the rear sight, which is a cheap roll pin.  I've heard several stories of broken hinge pins in Bomar-type sights, and I don't imagine that roll pin will hold up to very many major .40S&W loads.  I'll post more on these sometime later.

LPA adjustable Glock sight set

AA Rimfire Slide with LPA Sights

LPA Adjustable Glock Sight

UPDATE, 11/20/11: The LPA sights are still doing well.  I don't recall ever adjusting the sights, after the initial adjustment just after installing them.  I'm quite impressed, and would buy another set in a heartbeat, if I needed them.

A quick shopping note:  DSG Arms is selling 5 PMags with 150 rounds of Fiocchi 62gr ammo for $109.  I've got lots of AR mags, and I'm reloading .223.  If not for that, I'd probably jump on this deal.  Scroll a bit down this page for a free shipping code I posted recently if you're buying.

I updated the Spike Network shooting/self-defense show post.

Tapco U.S.-Made SKS Bolt

I just discovered this item in the Midway Gunsmithing catalog.  Tapco is making, or at least contracting, replacement SKS bolts.  The bolts are cut so that detachable magazines can be removed with the bolt in battery, which you can't do with origional equipment bolts.  The bolt also has a spring-loaded firing pin to prevent slam fires.  Even better, the bolt is made in the U.S., and counts as a compliance part if you need that, due to a "non-sporting" configuration.

Although my Chinese SKS is a pre-ban, I'd like to get one for use with the detachable Tapco mags, and for the spring-loaded firing pin.  I'll probably pick one up from Midway at some point in the future.  Cutting away the ridges for removing magazines isn't that hard, but I don't want to modify the Chinese bolt, because the rifle is worth decent money in ulaltered condition.  New communist bolts are nearly as expensive from Numrich.

EDIT: Er, on second thought, the reviews on the Midway product page are not completely good.  The price of a Chinese SKS bolt seems to have gone down significantly since the last time I checked also.

PMag Coupler = 50 or 60 Round AR-15 Magazine

California Competition Works has developed a PMag coupler.  It's made of anodized 6061 aluminum.  You remove the baseplates and lockplates from your two Magpul AR-15 magazine and connect them together with the coupler, using the 30-coil magazine spring included with the coupler.  You can use two 30-round magazines (which would be bloody long), or you can use a 30-round magazine and a 20-round magazine.

Although a little on the expensive side, it would definately make for a fun outing with an AR, and it would probably be good for 3-Gun matches.

EDIT, 7/20/2010: I've just remembered that 11 round magazines aren't legal in California, much less 50 or 60 round mags.  I wonder how they do their engineering and T&E.  Drive to Nevada?

also edittedd for speelng

Monday, July 12, 2010

Shooting/RKBA Shows on Spike Next Saturday

I was checking out what's on next week, and I happened to notice some new shows on the Spike network next week.

Sat, July 17th, 10 a.m. EST
Practical Tactical

Sat, July 17th, 10 a.m. EST
Conceal + Carry = Survive

Before those is Because Lives Depend On It, at 9:30 a.m., but the name of the show and the description given by the Comcast Cable DVR is vague, and I'm not really sure what it's about.  I can't find anything about these shows on the Spike network Website.

UPDATE, 7/18/2010: Conceal + Carry = Survive now called Concealed & Carry SchoolBecause Lives Depend On It is a self-defense show, and, so far, is the only one to feature a significant amount of shooting.  Although the shows are pretty short, I like the content so far.  I think they are showing shooters, and those concerned with self-defense in a positive way.

UPDATE, 8/1/2010: Found the website.

Because Lives Depend On It is a tactics show.  This weekend they had Larry Vickers on to show how to work with a pistol and weapon-mounted or hand-held flashlight.  Last week they did drills with 9mm, .45ACP, and .40S&W pistols, and discussed the pros and cons of these calibers for defense.  This show seems to have the most shooting.

Practical Tactical seems to revolve mostly around home defense.  Last weekend they focused on a hi-tech home with a lot of panic room features.  This week they brought in K-9 professionals to talk about the use of a dog for home defense.

Concealed & Carry School
is about what it sounds like.  Mostly it is interviews with people that are going to the school.  Why they went, how they felt about it, what they are getting out of it.

UPDATE, 8/21/2010:  Another show added last week, I think.  It's called What If.  Last week it covered the shooting at the Holocost Museum in Washington, D.C..  This week it was a shooting at a restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown.  The show suggests things you might do if you mind yourself in these kinds of situations.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"CRANE" Extractor O-rings for AR-15/M-16 - $9/100

I was recently reading an article about direct gas impingement AR-15s and reliability.  The author was stressing the need for good springs, and a proper buffer.  It reminded me that I should post about extractor o-rings.

You might have noticed the D-Fender extractor inserts or "CRANE" extractor o-ring upgrades available for AR-15 rifles in Brownells catalogs or wherever.  You can use a pretty ordinary o-ring and get the same effect.

What you want, specifically is:
Viton AS568A Aerospace Standard ID Number: 006 Inside Diameter: 0.125 In. Thickness: 1/16 Outside Diameter: 0.250 In.
That's that description from MSC Direct*, where I bought mine for $8.48 (in November 2009) for a bag of a 100.  The part number from MSC is 09265067.  McMaster Carr has them even cheaper, part number 9464k11, but I needed a 1 1/2" die stock, and MSC had those a lot cheaper.

The D-Fender and "CRANE" o-rings will probably cost you $3 or more each from a gun shop.

Installing the o-ring is pretty simple:
  1. Remove the bolt from the bolt carrier.
  2. If the bolt isn't clean, then clean it. :-)
  3. There are two pins in the bolt, one is solid, the other is a hollow roll pin.  The solid one is the one that holds in the extractor.  Push in on the extractor, and push out the solid pin.  It should not resist too much, and no hammer should be required.  The roll pin holds in the ejector and spring, leave that one alone, it is harder to remove and replace, and if you're not careful when removing the punch from the bolt, the ejector and spring may fly across the room, and you may never find them again.
  4. The extractor spring should be captured in a hole in the extractor.  In the middle of the spring there should be a little rubber insert.  If the spring is broken, get another one.  If the insert is missing, or crumbled, get a new one.  All you need to do to install the o-ring is to roll it over the extractor spring, and seat it up against the extractor.
  5. Reassemble the rifle and test fire.  Make sure it still works.  Just in case.
You're supposed to remove, clean, and inspect the extractor each time you clean an AR-15 type rifle, but I've noticed that some of the instruction manuals have this step out from the cleaning procedure.

On a somewhat related note, I'm also told that a #41 O-Ring over the front takedown lug of the upper receiver will help keep your upper and lower receivers from rattling together if there is a sloppy fit.

* - MSC runs a lot of coupon deals, check for coupon codes if you're going to order.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

DSG Arms Free Shipping Coupon Code

DSG Arms is offering Free UPS Ground Shipping on all orders over $99 for the month of July. Use promotional code FREEUPS99. Apply this promo code in your shopping cart as you check out at
They've got Fiocchi .223Rem for $339/1000 rounds.

Sorry folks, that's kinda all I got for now.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some Glock Mags Cheap

New "Law Enforcement Only" Glock 17 mags from CDNN Investments for $14.99.  Direct Link to LE Glock 17 Mags.  These are, of course, completely legal for those in free states with no magazine limits.  Good deal, but I already have, well I don't know exactly, but more than 20 of 'em.

CDNN also has new Glock 22 mags for $18.99 each.  IIRC, you can get them from Natchez Shooters Supply for about the same price.  AIM Surplus has used G22 mags for $14.95.

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but the cheaper Korean Glock mags don't always drop free, and they jam up with hollowpoints if they are loaded on the long side.  The same hollowpoint ammo runs just fine through factory Glock, Kahr, Berretta, and S&W M&P mags.  I have a bunch, but won't buy any more.

Monday, June 28, 2010

$1.75 Solution to a 9mm AR-15 Problem

I was just about to order a Spike's 9mm buffer, but did a quick search first.  It would seem that someone on the message boards discovered that 7 quarters dropped into the buffer tube, before installing the recoil spring and buffer, make a perfect buffer spacer.

I have an RRA 9mm buffer, but it is standard 5.56mm length.  The 9mm bolts don't need to travel as far back as a .223Rem/5.56mm bolt carrier, and they're heavier.  What happens is the 9mm bolt gets a good running start at the bolt catch.  The bolt catches take a beating.  I had a Model 1 bolt catch in the lower I first ran the 9mm upper on, and the catch quickly got bent to the point that I had to replace it.

You can get longer 9mm buffers from Spike's, Hahn, or Slash, but they aren't cheap.  Spike's also makes a buffer spacer, for people like me who already have an acceptable short buffer, but it's still nearly $30 shipped, for a small piece of machined aluminum who's sole purpose is to take up a little space in the buffer tube.

Sure enough, the American 25¢ piece fit right in both Commercial and Mil-Spec carbine buffer tubes.  Although I haven't tried the quarter trick live-fire yet, it should work just like the Spike's 9mm Buffer spacer.  The quarters won't fit inside the coils of a buffer spring, so I have no reason to doubt those who swear it works very well, and there's really nothing to lose.

UPDATE, 9/12/2010: Tried it out. Seems to work well. Put 4 30-Round mags, and a 20-Round mag through my RRA 9mm upper, with Hahn mag block and RRA 9mm buffer, without any issues. I have, on a couple occasions, had stovepipe jams with this set-up without the quarters, but no problems today. I was running hollowpoints too.

It seems like I could get another quarter or maybe two more into the buffer tube, and still be able to lock the bolt to the rear.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Minisniping started as a game for air rifles, but there's no reason you can't do it with rimfires, or even centerfire rifles.  The way it's done in the article, you sit a 9mm shell casing on a lump of clay 35 yards out from your shooting bench, and pick them off with your adult airgun of choice.

The price of ammo has gone up a lot since 1984, when the article was printed in Guns & Ammo, and even 9mm brass gets sold, so I wouldn't use 9mm brass, but you may be able to come up with steel 9x18 casings or something else entirely to use as targets.

Many of the newer centerfire rifles will shoot 1 inch groups at a hundred yards.  Try putting some low-brass 12 gauge shells out, and try picking those off.

Maybe something like the Rimfire Tactical Precision Match is more your cup of tea.  Put some steel targets out far enough for it to be a real challenge.  Make up some terrorist/hostage targets (if your range rules allow).  There are some more fun targets on the 6mmBR website to play with.

It summer, get out there and shoot.  Make it fun.  Dust off your imagination.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Man Uses Pistol For Protection in National Park

John R. Lott post on the Denali National Park shooting
LA Times Blog post on the shooting

You may have heard that a law passed this year allowing those allowing those permitted by state law, to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges.  It didn't take very long before the law paid off, not that I'm not surprised. . .

A backpacker hiking in Denali National Park in Alaska drew a .45caliber pistol, and fired "about 9 rounds," at a bear that charged the woman he was hiking with.  The bear retreated, and was later found, dead.

Shooting Rampage in England. Bobbies Unarmed and Helpless To Stop It!!!

John R. Lott on shooting
BBC news story on Derrick Bird shootings in Cumbria

An unarmed police officer hears shots, and goes to investigate.  He got into a passing car and followed the suspect, who had gotten into a taxi.  The first Bobby was joined by two other unarmed officers, who joined chase in a police van.

The suspect, Derrick Bird, killed 12 and wounded 11, on a shooting spree in Cumbria, before finally eating a bullet.  The police, not having any firearms, couldn't do much more than watch, and try to give aid to the victims.  It's not their fault.  It's the ridiculous idea that's spread through the U.K., that there's something wrong with self-defense, or the defense of others, particularly with a firearm.  That they haven't figured out that it's not working, is rather sickening.  We need to be sure not to let this happen here.