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