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Citizens Association for Responsible Gun Ownership = CARGO
Hello Fellow CARGO Members,
The next meeting will be held at Napoli’s on Thursday, October 16th.
We have reserved the Napoli's meeting room for dinner:
701 N Highway 78 # A
Wylie, TX 75098
For the dinner portion of the meeting, we will be in the meeting room between 5:30 and 6:45 for food and fellowship.
For the actual meeting, we are moving to a separate building, just down the road from Napoli’s. Member Don Bridges has volunteered his shop for the meeting. There are a very limited number of chairs at the shop, so please bring a camp chair for the meeting. We will meet there from 7:00 (ish) until 9:00 (ish)
The address is
2274 EAST Brown Street in Wylie
While heading east on Brown Street, it is 1/2 mile past stop sign that's at the intersection of Brown Street and Kreymer Lane on the right hand side.
The shop is behind a small white house with a picket fence around the front yard.
Speakers scheduled to attend:
· Armadillo Shooting Range, Lavon, TX
· Affordable Tactical Supply, Sachse, TX
The Gun topics this Month:
· Bug out guns – A police officer knocks on your door at 2:00 am, an accident (traffic, train, plane, ship you name it) has caused a dangerous situation and you have to leave your home in 5 minutes… what gun do you plan on taking if you had to leave your home at a moment’s notice?
· Most reliable gun you own – do you have a pistol that has never failed to function when you needed it, or a rifle that has never let you down? Bring it and share the stories at CARGO!
Additional discussion topics:
· It is election time again, we have some choices to make at the voting booth
· Has all of the news media and information circulating about ISIS, Ebola, drug violence etc. changed the way you do things? - If so what and how? If not, why?
· Do you have a bug out bag? - if so where is it and what is in it?
Do you have anything to sell or trade? Several CARGO members are interested in selling or trading parts of their collections, ammo, magazines or parts. If you have something to sell or trade bring it Thursday night.
If you have any suggestions for future speakers or topics please send your feedback to CARGO@att.net.
When was the last time you visited our web site? Please take some time to go to the newly remodeled CARGO website at www.cargogunclub.org
California Law Allows Family Members to Remove Relative’s Guns for Safety
Jack Linshi @jacklinshi Sept. 30, 2014
First law of its kind in the U.S.
California residents can now petition a judge to temporarily remove a close relative’s firearms if they fear their family member will commit gun violence, thanks to a new safety measure signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Under the “Gun Violence Restraining Order” law, a successful petition would allow a judge to remove the close relative’s guns for at least 21 days, with the option to extend that period to a year, pending an additional hearing, according to Reuters. The law is the first of its kind in the U.S., and will be an extension of existing legislation that temporarily prohibits people with domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms.
“If it can save one life, one family from that agony, it will be worth it,” said Democratic California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, during the bill’s debate. Many Republic state senators argued that the law would infringe upon the Second Amendment, and that there were already sufficient regulations in place.
The new law was introduced after Santa Barbara police in May were legally unable to confiscate the weapons of a man who later went on a shooting spree that killed six people, despite his family’s having expressed concerns to authorities that he would become violent.
How to Prepare for an Ebola Outbreak
By Dave Dolbee published on October 8, 2014 in Camping and Survival
Government officials including the President say there is nothing to worry about. Do you believe them?
Regardless of your political persuasion, distrust of the government is at an all-time high and for good reason. Sure, both parties engage in political gamesmanship in an effort to secure a majority; however, far too many scandals over the last few years simply do not pass the smell test. The records, or lack thereof, in many cases tell a strong tale. People are simply reluctant to believe the official line any longer. The latest government line claim came less than a month ago when the President held a press conference reassuring the American people that we had no reason to worry about Ebola. After all, it was a half-world away, Americans practice better hygiene and enjoy better health care.
How much of that are you buying? As much as, “If you like your doctors you can keep them?” or “There isn’t even a smidge of corruption in the IRS targeting scandal?” It is true that our health care system is far superior to Africa and as a whole we practice better hygiene. However, the danger of Ebola is not a national issue; it is a local issue and when you are in the hot zone. When it reaches your neighborhood, you really can’t count on more than yourself.
Look at Patient 1—what, are we up to Patient 5?—in Dallas. He had recently arrived from Liberia, was exhibiting symptoms and was sent home from the doctor’s office with a few antibiotics. The hospital staff did get it right the second time. Nevertheless, the infected person contacted 100 or so people in the meantime. The people he came in contact with, at least those identified, are now quarantined.
What if you had contact with a person infected with Ebola? Would you be prepared? How much food do you have? Bleach for cleaning? Protective clothing? What if the next breakout was in your neighborhood? Could you afford to simply pick up and move? What about your job, family, school? What if the neighborhood or apartment building was quarantined in the middle of the night—no one in or out? Sure the Red Cross may drop off some food now and then; what else do you need to survive and prevent the spread to you and your loved ones?
Ebola is an incredibly transmittable disease. Thus far, the only patients “cured” have been the doctor and nurse transported to the U.S. So, if you were Liberian or from another infected country, where would you head if you suspected you had been exposed? That’s right, we painted a huge target on American soil and we have a government that has not shown a willingness to stop travelers coming from infected areas.
Are you prepared for an emergency?
Many prepared individuals and full-blown preppers already have a significant stockpile of supplies to deal with the emergencies most common in their areas. For instance, those living in desert regions prepare for mudslides, wildfires and severe droughts, where someone on the Northeast seaboard may be more concerned with blizzards and hurricanes. Whatever the emergency, much of the preparation is based around regional factors.
What about Ebola? How hard would it be for someone to get off a plane and spread it to your area? It does not have to be someone who just returned from Liberia; it could be Grandma coming to visit the grandkids. Unfortunately, the annoying passenger sitting in 3b next to her did not have a cold, and it was not that hot. However, a sneeze or profuse sweat is all it takes. Worse, it may not be the passenger next to grandma, but the passenger who had that seat on the previous fight, or someone who earlier grabbed the handle of the shopping cart at the grocery store or the doorknob to your office.
I am sure there are those with medical backgrounds or who are much wiser to the ways of prepping for communicable diseases, but here is my starting list of items to consider for combating the Ebola threat. I did not come up with the list; instead, I ran a few Internet searches to see products that had suddenly shown significant increases in sales—like a week-over-week 130,000 times increase in the number of units sold by sector in some cases. Are these people getting it right, going overboard or missing key items?
•Bleach – 5 to 10 gallons
•Protective clothing –Tyvek coveralls, hood
•Duct tape — to seal off open seams at wrist, boot, neck
•Protective particle masks – you cannot live in a HAZMAT suit
•Gas mask – not sure if this is necessary, but sales are up
•Emergency food – quarantine will last for 21 days minimum
•Emergency water – 1 gallon per person, per day
•Touch-free soap dispenser – great for washing without creating a community touch point
•Nitrile gloves – medical grade, 2 boxes per person, per week minimum
How about you? Help out the community and post the items that I have missed or you would recommend in the comment section.
With ISIS arrests, Australians wishing they had guns
'I'd feel safer in a country where I was legally allowed to carry around a firearm'
Nick Adams Published: 09/18/2014 at 7:14 PM
Never before have I felt so naked.
Now more than ever, I wish I was armed.
And I’m not alone.
Any and all home-grown Islamic terrorism should be able, if need be, to be met by a well-armed civilian militia. The United Kingdom has had two beheadings of members of the public in the last two years, with neither police nor civilians able to prevent it. It has prohibitive gun laws.
With news of the ISIS plot to randomly abduct members of the Australian public and behead them, Australian sentiment on guns is dramatically shifting.
It appears Australians are finally understanding the importance of gun ownership and craving it at a time when the world is increasingly unsafe.
“I’ll tell you this point blank: I’d feel safer in a country where I was legally allowed to carry around a firearm,” says J. Coughran, 30, a businessman.
In “The American Boomerang,” possibly one of the most important books of our time, philosopher and author Nick Adams explores America through sympathetic Australian eyes.
According to Coughran, media coverage of Islamic State is fueling the change in heart.
“This ISIS stuff is seeing quite a few people changing their opinions.. one of my mates told me today- he’s coming around on the gun issue. He’s 68 years old, been against guns his whole life- now he’s turning around because of these savages,” he said.
With Islamic supremacism a mainstream interpretation of Islam, deeply rooted in Islamic scripture and endorsed by many of Islam’s most influential scholars, Australians are beginning to understand the nature of the Islamic threat and studying their own weaknesses.
Australians are looking to America, and not the U.K. for guidance.
With this sort of threat, the normal calculus of a civilized society with a small, armed (or unarmed) police force upon which the citizens are forced to rely, no longer adds up.
Kyle, 33, believes that Australian gun control is only making Islamic terrorists in Australia safer, and their objectives easier to achieve.
“Our lack of self-defense makes us a prime target,” he said. “It is no surprise to me that homegrown terrorism is most rampant in nations with strict gun control. These guys want to snatch random people in Australia off the street, drape them in the ISIS flag and behead them on camera with an Arabic-emblazoned sword.”
He said, “If I had a gun, I’ll tell you what I’d do with those swords.”
It is times like these that Americans should thank God that they have the Second Amendment and crush any effort or force seeking to weaken or remove it.
Right now, they are the envy of a growing number of Australians who wish they were armed.
From the Anti-Gunners:
Anti-Gun Position Summarized
by Robert W. Hunnicutt | July 25th, 2014
Today’s Chicago Tribune carried a letter to the editor that summarized the core of the anti-gun position so succinctly that I reproduce it here in full:
“Perhaps we could better discuss the issue of guns in our society if we stopped using the mythical term ‘responsible gun owners.’ There is no such thing as a ‘responsible’ gun owner; there are only human guns (sic) owners. And any human can at times be responsible or irresponsible, careful or careless, calm or angry, sober or drunk. To assume that there is such a thing as a human who is responsible 100 percent of the time is just a foolish myth.”
– Kenneth Leone, Deerfield
The error in that statement takes about two seconds to identify. There are 300 million guns in the United States, and fewer than 1% of them are ever used in crime or accidents. So there are a whole lot of gun owners who are responsible 100% of the time, for their whole lives. In fact, the vast majority of them are responsible 100% of the time for their whole lives.
That the idea is false doesn’t change its importance. What the writer is saying is that there is no one trustworthy enough to own a gun. Anyone who owns a gun might get drunk or go loony and shoot up a school or workplace. That, statistically, this happens very rarely is of no import. No one, except perhaps uniformed agents of the state, can be trusted with a gun.
Where this logic leads can be well illustrated with the case of Britain. The United Kingdom has 64.9 million people, and government policy is that not a single one of them can be trusted with so much as a .22 target pistol. For example, there’s a British pistol team that competes in the Olympics or World Shooting Championships, but they have to practice in Belgium. They can carry the honor of the nation on the international stage, but they are not trusted to have a gun inside that nation.
Think about that for a minute. Britain has Nobel laureates, skilled surgeons and physicists and economists and artists. The British are a great people who have given the world Isaac Newton, Shakespeare and Churchill. We are to believe there’s not one of 64.9 million who can be trusted with so much as a single-shot .22 pistol? Apparently, because that’s the law.
People like Kenneth Leone don’t trust the people, and are willing to give a 100% monopoly of force to the state. We are not willing. That, in a nutshell, is what the whole gun argument is about. Do you trust the state or the people? Vladimir Putin is the state. Hamas is the state. Ayatollah Khameni is the state. Kim Jong-Eun is the state. I’ll trust the people, thank you.
Paul Allen: Another Anti-Gun Hypocrite
by Robert W. Hunnicutt | September 15th, 2014
Paul Allen is the less well-known founder of Microsoft, and has used his billions to buy, among other things, the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers. He’s an avid yachtsman, and at one point owned or had owned multiple entries in Power and Motor Yacht magazine’s list of the world’s longest yachts.
He is also an avid collector of military vehicles, which is something all SGN readers would heartily approve if that weren’t contrasted with his support of the Washington State Initiative 594, which would impose a universal background check system and 10-day waiting period on all gun purchases. Allen has chipped in $500,000 to support the initiative, supporting his old Microsoft partner, Bill Gates, who came in with a full million.
Allen’s interest in classic military vehicles came to light when one of his companies, Vulcan Warbirds, filed suit against the Collings Foundation over possession of a Pz.Kpfw. IV tank valued at $2.5 million. The Pz.Kpfw. IV, often referred to as the Panzer IV, was the most common German tank of the war, and the only one made continuously during the conflict.
It was part of the fabled Jacques Littlefield military vehicle collection that was auctioned off last summer for the benefit of the Collings Foundation, which maintains and operates historical planes and vehicles. Allen bought a Soviet self-propelled gun and a Scud missile at the sale, and those were delivered without incident.
That the rich expect to have their guns and tanks and planes while barring the rest of us from them is no great shock. It is standard procedure in the rest of the world, where the very wealthy are often avid collectors while their countrymen are restricted to tear gas pistols or no guns at all.
The late Tom Siatos, a longtime executive at Petersen Publishing Co. and regular columnist in Guns & Ammo, was having a few belts at a Los Angles Safari Club Int’l gathering when he encountered Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler, who enjoyed numerous Africa safaris.
Why, Siatos asked, was the Times reliably anti-gun when its publisher owned and used hundreds of them? “Oh, Tom,” Chandler replied, “we’ll always have our guns.” And tanks, too, it seems.
Bill Clinton: ‘We bought the NRA’s theory’
by S.H. Blannelberry on September 27, 2014
In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, former president Bill Clinton discussed a number of cultural topics including racism and the NRA’s pro-gun agenda.
When asked if they country was more racist now than in the past Clinton said, “I actually think we’re less racist, less sexist, less homophobic than we used to be.”
“I think our big problem today is we don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us,” he continued. “And I think that in some ways can be the worst silo of all to be held up in.”
Clinton addressed a number of high-profile cases such as the recent fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen that was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Feb. 2012.
Clinton said the National Rifle Association’s pro-gun narrative, (The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun) has encouraged violence in the public square.
“I think we have enhanced the risks by changing the environment, basically, because it seems we bought the NRA’s theory that we would all be safer if everybody in this audience had a gun that was a concealed weapon,” the former president said.
“Then if one of them felt threatened by another, they could stand up right here and stand their ground,” he continued. “And we could watch the whole saga unfold. That is what happens.”
Of course, Clinton is wrong. The NRA’s pro-concealed carry agenda has not led to a material increase in crime. Over the past two decades concealed carry rights have greatly been expanded to the point where over 40 states have permissive shall-issue concealed carry laws and no state outright prohibits the practice. Illinois was the lone hold out until it was forced by a federal judge in 2013 to overturn it’s ban; Washington, D.C. is now undergoing a similar transition from complete ban to a may-issue standard. Meanwhile, over that same period of time property crime, violent crime and the homicide rate have all declined.
Bottom line, Clinton is sorely mistaken about the NRA. But that’s nothing new.
EDIT: Hey everyone! I mis-quoted the NRA’s narrative in the initial article which was causing you all some confusion. I apologize. I’ve now corrected it to reflect what NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in the past.
Google Bans Guns in Shopping – Good News for Stocking Gun Dealers
by Administrator on July 2, 2012
by Paul Helinski
This week Google announced a major change in the way it runs Google Shopping, which is the “Shopping” tab on the left when you search. Guns and gun stuff will no longer be allowed. Google Shopping will now comply with the rules for Google Adwords, which has not allowed advertising for guns for several years now. Google is an anti-2nd Amendment company. This is not a new angle for Google. Like all of the Silicon Valley do-gooders without a clue, Google is clueless.
At this point, who cares? As we explained in our Monday Memo that goes out to our stocking gun dealers here, this past week the Supreme Court said it was ok for the government to force you to buy something you don’t need or want. We aren’t going to cure America’s ills here at GunsAmerica, and 2nd Amendment freedom isn’t the worst of our freedom that the government has co-opted in the last several years. But we can explain what losing Google Shopping means for the gun industry, our 2nd Amendment freedom as it stands today, and for tomorrow.
Believe it or not, for long term 2nd Amendment freedom, losing Google Shopping for guns is not a bad thing. It means that less internet bottom feeders will be able to easily steal sales from the shelves of stocking gun dealers. As a consumer this may be difficult to swallow, but if you understand the big picture it becomes very clear that profitable stocking gun dealers mean gun freedom for all of us, and the internet has been for the most part the enemy of the stocking gun dealer for quite some time. This is a slightly long explanation, so if you are standing in line at Subway reading this on your phone, you might want to skim to the end.
Guns are unlike any other consumer product in the United States, except maybe prescription drugs to some extent. You can never just click “Buy It” on a gun, plug in your credit card info, and have a gun shipped right to your door, like you can with a pair of sunglasses, a TV, a cellphone, or guitar. Guns have to be sent to a Federal Firearms Licensee dealer in your state, and they transfer the gun to you. This came about through the National Firearms Act of 1968. Prior to that, you could order guns through the Sears catalog, buy them at Montgomery Wards, or even your local hardware store. Since 1968, every gun that is sold over state lines has to go through a dealer in some way, and anyone doing business in guns at all is required to have an FFL license.
That makes FFL gun dealers, when you think about it, our lifeline to 2nd Amendment freedom. Without people who go through the rigmarole of applying for a license and getting themselves set up, we would have no place to buy a gun. Stocking gun stores are the most invested in our freedom, often risking millions of dollars in inventory on the floor that could be banned individually or in bulk at any time. Think about that. As much as we treasure our 2nd Amendment freedom, how often do we think of gun dealers as anything but another business making money from us? The problem is really that they don’t even think of themselves that way, but it is true. Without gun dealers, we’re screwed.
Guns, on their best day, are a very low margin product. It is not uncommon for the markup portion of the sales price of a firearm to be less than 10%, and 25% is considered exorbitant on most guns. Compare that to traditional retail markup which is usually 50%. Electronics and some other products have been shaved over the years, thanks to the internet, but guns are still considered very low margin in comparison to most retail. Most gun shops are “mom and pop” stores, run by the owners, and even the big multi-stores, like Carter’s Country in Texas are surviving from ancillary sales far more than from the guns themselves. There isn’t a lot of money in guns, and there never really has been. Historically, gun margins were kept very low by what, since 1968, became “tabletop” or “basement” dealers, who didn’t have a store and sold guns on the side at extremely low margins. At their peak, there were over 300,000 FFL licensees in the US, and the overwhelming majority of them were tabletop dealers.
Now, rewind back to the Clinton era, when the Brady Bill was passed. This implemented the national background check, which we call the NICS check. It also changed the fee for an FFL from $30 to $600. The result on the national population of FFL gun dealers was a decline from 300,000 FFL licensees, to 50,000 licensees. Just to demonstrate just how fickle and uninvolved the tabletop dealers were, the changes in the requirements for being a dealer were:
1. A new phone call you had to make.
2. A change in the fee to roughly the profit on 5-7 guns.
The internet gave a new lease on life to the tabletop gun dealer. Suddenly, the whole world opened up, and you could sell as many guns as you wanted to strangers, as long as they had a receiving FFL called a “transfer dealer” on the other end. A few smart entrepreneurs realized that they could put up the entire manufacturers catalogs on their websites and take orders, and the consumer would never know that they were not a gun shop at all. So that is what they did. A few actual gunshops with internet savvy programmers even got involved, and, with no real margin and no inventory to maintain, they could beat the price of the stocking dealer but at least a few percentage points. For gun buyers that was enough, even if they saved little in the long run, and what we call the internet bottom feeder was born.
GunsAmerica started in 1997 and was the first fully automated buying and selling site for guns online. Initially only collector guns, and just used guns in general came onto GunsAmerica, but slowly, especially after Ebay banned guns in 1999, and other fully automated gun auction sites came along, new gun sales crept onto the internet here too, and this was led primary by the remaining “tabletop” or “basement” dealers, while the gun shops languished, trying to just understand how to send email, never mind sell guns online. To this day there are gunshops struggling to survive on purely brick and mortar operations, ignorant that they could be selling pretty much every used gun and most new guns in their store to you folks online. Meanwhile consumers buy guns behind their backs and ship them in for transfers, and the gun dealers have simply never woken up to the reality of the internet and how it has changed the whole world of retail.
This has put the mom and pop stocking gun dealer in a very difficult situation. Without even realizing it, stocking gun shops have become the “catalog showroom” for the internet. Savvy consumers, which now is almost all consumers, go into the gun shops to fondle the guns, then they look for a cheap price online. Everyone reading this is a GunsAmerica subscriber, and many of you have actually stood in gun shops and checked internet prices right in front of the store clerk. I have witnessed this myself on several occasions in both the Bass Pro here and two local gunshops. The buyer is standing there, holding the gun in the store, and simply buys it online and ships it to the very store he is standing in. He doesn’t pay sales tax in most states, so that often covers the modest “transfer fee” that the dealer manages to squeeze out of the sale he never made.
Everyone thinks that “record gun sales” have meant a huge profit for gun shops, but what it really has meant is a huge profit for a select handful of internet entrepreneurs selling hundreds of guns each per day for extremely small margins, far below the prices that the gun dealers are able to sell for. Several of the major industry distributors have even set themselves up to drop ship guns for some of the more well placed discount websites, though one of them claims to have halted the practice after we called them out on it in our dealer newsletter several weeks ago.
Some would argue that the “transfer fees” for stocking gun dealers are a good thing. A recent article in a major gun industry publication claimed just that, but the article was written by the PR director for one of the major gun auction sites. This was conveniently left out of the bio on the writer, and it was treated as legitimate research. Gun dealers have been misled into thinking that the internet bottom feeders are a good thing and that the transfer fees are pennies from heaven. Ask any stocking gun dealer who is not himself heavily involved in internet discount sales and they will tell you that this is completely wrong. Gun shops have become indentured servants to the internet. Those guns on the floor were meant to be sold with real margins, not left to sit while several of that model comes in from online sales as transfers.
I suggested back in a lecture at our booth in SHOT Show 2009 that the dealers modify their transfer fees to better reflect retail margins on guns, and the fake PR research article did mention my ideas (without credit of course). We have also tried to expose all of the distributor inventory to consumers through the stocking dealers with our Guns On Demand system, but getting the industry behind it has been no small task. Meanwhile, partially do to Google Shopping, which is now thankfully coming to a close, the stocking dealers have been left out in the cold, while the industry publications, trade groups, and even their own distributors convince them to continue losing sales to low margin internet bottom feeders. You can only manipulate transfer fees so much, because there is always going to be a new tabletop FFL who will take the transfers for less. Managing whole catalogs of even Guns On Demand inventory is time consuming for a a mom and pop store with limitted resources. Now that the industry has seen what one dogooder anti-gun keystroke decision at Google can do, I hope they will wake up and protect the dealers from having to compete with internet bottom feeders that have no inventory and no overhead.
You won’t find a Gibson guitar for sale on the internet for under what is called “Minimum Advertised Price,” or MAP. You won’t find Oakley sunglasses under MAP (shout out to former Beretta GM Christopher Merritt). You won’t find a SONY television under MAP, and you certainly won’t find a Motorola phone under MAP. All of these industries are protecting their dealers with MAP. It isn’t that the dealer can’t sell for less. They just can’t advertise for less. It isn’t price fixing. It is perfectly legal. And every other major retail industry has had to deal with this since the advent of this amazing communication tool called the internet.
Why isn’t the gun industry enforcing MAP you might ask? We have no idea. GunsAmerica has been beating this drum since 2007 after extensive research involving a few major manufacturers, and personal advice from the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the gun industry. Some manufacturers have indeed caught on. You can’t post a new Barrett for $20 under MAP on GunsAmerica without getting a call from them, explaining that Barrett enforces MAP and that if you want to sell Barrett firearms, you have to raise the price. We just experimented with this using a dealer here and indeed, they got the call. But what about the other manufacturers? Hopefully they will come around soon.
Google Shopping was a major doorway for consumers to find the internet bottom feeders. It was painfully easy to load up Google Shopping with XML data feeds from the distributors, which in turn listed every gun for sale from that distributor in Google Shopping from your online store. We loaded all of the GunsAmerica listings into Google Shopping for our sellers briefly in July of 2011, but they banned us for no reason, probably because they knew this was coming and they would have shut off thousands of sellers who would make a stink, not just the handful of savvy internet mavens they shut off this week.
It is difficult as a consumer to support higher prices, we know. In fact, since we have been beating the drum about stocking dealers the biggest question most people ask is why GunsAmerica even takes this position. We are of course a purely online gun buying and selling website. The answer is that GunsAmerica has since the beginning run on passion for guns, shooting, and 2nd Amendment freedom, not a drive to make more and more money. Guns and 2nd Amendment freedom is a big picture that is the cornerstone and foundation of all of our Constitutional freedoms, G-d given freedoms really, guaranteed in America by the US Constitution. The 2nd Amendment was 2nd for a reason. Gun rights aren’t about hunting. Support your local stocking gun dealers and you support the 2nd Amendment. We saw back in the Brady era how fickle the tabletop dealers are. If the next administration, (and don’t be fooled, Romney is no friend of the 2nd Amendment), passes any new tax or rule on gun dealers, all of those remaining tabletop guys will give up their FFLs, as will the internet entrepreneurs. Then the only ones standing will be the local stocking dealers, and if they go out of business in the meantime, then nobody will be left standing, and like they have had to deal with in Washington DC, there will be no place to buy a gun.
So as much as we condemn Google for their anti-2nd Amendment policies blah blah blah, there is nothing new under the sun here people. Retail giants Amazon and Ebay haven’t allowed guns for over a decade, and Google Adwords have really never allowed guns. The real question is why is it that GunsAmerica is the only ones talking about this, about MAP, and about protecting the stocking gun dealers? It is the same reason you should invite your friends to subscribe to GunsAmerica. There is only one gun website that does not take banner advertising from internet bottom feeders , or “training” scams, or anything else that takes advantage of the gun buying public and threatens our long term 2nd Amendment freedom. Stand with GunsAmerica, and stand for liberty.
MP-5 Clone from Pakistan – Pakistani Ordnance Factory’s POF-5
by Jacob Epstein on October 6, 2014
When I first read about the Pakistani Ordnance Factory’s POF-5, I asked the obvious questions. POF? Is this a company? How come I’ve never heard of them? Continuing to read further, I realized why this name wasn’t familiar–it is foreign. And when I say foreign, I mean foreign. The POF comes from a part of the world I wouldn’t expect to make such a versatile firearm.
The new kid on the block is from Pakistan. That didn’t exactly light my fire. I’ll admit now that I had to get over some of my preconceived notions. Not that I have anything against the people pf Pakistan…. When I was a kid, though, I bought knives made in Pakistan. They were cheap, plentiful, and all-but-useless. That’s why I bought them. They were junk, priced like junk, and that was a great thing for a teenager on a limited budget. And that’s what I expected of the POF, honestly—nothing more than a cheap copy.
The throw-away-knives are easily identified as junk. You can see the (lack of) quality. These guns look good. In the interest of fair journalism, I shelved my prejudices and gave them a fighting chance. Who knows? I thought, Maybe these guns might work. At the very least they would make great range toys.
I did some digging, and ended up talking with Atlantic Firearms. Atlantic is an authority on imported guns, and our go-to source for import industry news. “What’s the deal with these Pakistani MP5 clones?” I asked. “Do they work?”
Atlantic said the POF guns work so well that they’d put them up against any of the other clones on the market. That was good enough for me, honestly, but they were so confident in the new guns that they sent us one to review. Two, actually—the POF-5 and the POF-5PK (a new offering more in line with the MP5-k).
I’ve contextualized my doubt. If it wasn’t clear already, I expected the Pakistani MP5 clones would be best used as paper weights. No offense, Pakistan. I was wrong. The fit and finish on these guns is great. The welds are substantial and smooth, the machining of the internals is clean, and the triggers are crisp. These guns feel right. I have fired many an H&K MP5, and these firearms look and feel nearly identical.
Even down to the disassembly. A great and unique feature of these pistols is their readiness for upgrades; these pistols have pushpin lowers allowing for registered sears and other trigger packs to be easily swapped into action. They also come from the factory with three lug barrels, threaded for the attachment of a muzzle device or suppressor. Along with the other H&K features, these pistols have a paddle and push-button magazine release—features that aren’t exactly standard on the competition clones, and definitely not for this price.
That’s something to note—the POF-5PK is not your average MP5K clone. It goes a step above in an attempt to bring to market the gun people want. It is what’s known as a reverse stretch, which means it has a full receiver with a shorter barrel—in this case a 6inch. This allows for a slower rate of fire in Full-Auto and for more parts interchangeability with full-sized MP5 clones.
So how do they shoot?
This is the reason you’re still reading this review, I assume. These pistols work. Flawlessly. These guns scream freedom, and sling 115 grain balls of lead and liberty down range as fast as you can squeeze the trigger.
I used 1,000 rounds of Freedom Munitions as the control group and 3,000 rounds of steel case wolf as the test group, suppressed and unsuppressed. Out of the 4,000 rounds of ammunition used in this review, I experienced 5 failures to eject, and they all came from steel cases stuck in exceptionally dirty chambers. A basic cleaning solved the problem instantly.
After literally thousands of rounds between the two pistols, little to no cleaning, and some of the dirtiest ammunition known to man, Pakistani Ordnance Factory was not only making me eat crow—they’ve made me into a believer. Pleasantly surprised doesn’t even come close. When you consider the price (or even if you don’t, really), the POF’s performance is astounding.
Lets move on to accessories. The H&K guns with push-pin lowers are built in a factory that is known for its rigorous standards. These MP5 clones are built with the same modularity as those that have rolled out of H&K plants for generations. Accepting nearly all standard H&K parts and accessories, these are the ideal guns for registered full-auto seers and SBR projects.
The guns are threaded up front to 1/2×28. They also have a tri-lug barrel. These guns can easily be suppressed with nearly all 9mm pistol cans on the market, as well as rifle cans.
Lets Say you don’t have a registered full-auto sear, or have no intentions of turning this gun into a SBR. There are still options and accessories for you. Atlantic Firearms has a great product to offer that not only makes the pistols easier to shoot but will instantly turn these over-sized beasts into ergonomic dreams. The AA5-PSB MP5 Style Pistol Arm Brace not only adds function to your weapon, it also adds much need stability. From the forearm or the shoulder, this brace will change the way you feel about this gun. The brace comes with a butt cap, threaded adapter, spacers and a tube to slip the brace on. There is even the option to lower and raise the location of the brace on the firearm giving the end user total control in how there weapon will fit. Some of you may be saying that’s-great-and-all but this compact pistol just became a bit too big. Fear not. A side-folding hinge is available. This really helps when transporting the pistol.
POF-5K , POF-5
◾Factory built by POF
◾Fluted Barrel 6 grooves with constant right hand twist
◾Legally imported and Approved by ATF
◾Serial numbers on bolt and carrier match host gun
◾Three lug barrel for original style flash hiders or suppressors
◾Threaded barrel for suppressors 1/2 x 28
◾Will interchange with most standard & aftermarket parts
◾Great platform for your NFA projects
◾Poly rear butt cap with sling point , Optional Arm braces are offered.
◾POF-5PK $1525.00 POF-5 $1449.00
How do they handle?
These pistols just seem to work. I’m not saying they are ergonomic. They are not. As a pistol, words like gigantic, heavy, clunky come to mind. But regardless of how I feel about holding a hunk of a pistol with no stock, the guns work, and work well. They are easily controlled, have little to know rise during rapid fire, and have plenty of surface area to get that second hand on the gun to aid in stabilization.
Adding a pistol stabilizing brace to the equation really makes for a usable and serviceable firearm. Shooting the pistol with the brace attached to your arm isn’t all that odd. It changes a pistol that I would otherwise consider a novelty into a functioning weapon by cutting out even more of the rise.
Political correctness aside… lets talk about the elephant in the room. With the help of the optional brace, shouldering these pistols transforms your experience. Zero recoil, zero rise, ease of use and comfortable controls. These guns become something completely new.
The addition of the AA5-PSB brace takes range guns and turns them into weapons I would use in most, if not all situations.
This is one topic I really have failed to mention. These are not long range bench rifles. They are the exact opposite. Sub MOA is out of the question. So where does that leave us? Check your expectations. There’s no point in obfuscating the issue: these aren’t target guns and they aren’t meant to be. These are guns that are designed to eliminate an aggressive threat.
The guns have iron sights with the option for improvement. Optic rails can be added to the pistol, but were not used during the testing. In a perfect world an Aimpoint Micro would sit atop these pistols, or possibly even a Trijicon RMR. But for me, I’ll keep it simple.
Practical Accuracy, at 100 yards? I was able to connect with my torso plates without question from any traditional shooting position. When bench rested, I saw sub 3 MOA groups. Did I mention I used wolf ammunition and iron sights? That is accurate enough for me. And this was also the same for the POF-5PK–consistent 3 inch groups with little deviation.
The guns are shipped with one 30 round magazine and there are plenty available online at the Atlantic Firearms web store. They cost $42.00 and are interchangeable with H&K magazines that cost nearly twice as much. With the incredible stability of the platform, and the increase in capacity, and the compact size, it is easy to understand why these are going to be popular. The POF-5 would make a great range toy, or a solid truck gun. It is ideal for home defense. It may even have some collector value some day. And hell–who hasn’t always wanted an MP5? It’s a gun I would bet my life on.
How is it that POF pulls this off? When so much of the shit coming out of Pakistan is still shit, how do they make a good gun? The POF-5 is like the ak47 of MP5s. It is built to spec, but just barely and that is the reason they are successful. The guns work more reliably then most (if not all) other clones I’ve shot. Nothing against a genuine MP5, but the tolerances are tight, and they get temperamental when they’re really dirty. These kept chugging along past 2000 rounds.
My mind is made up. Lets hope these are just the first of many great firearms to come to our country from the Pakistani Ordnance Factory. Cruise over to Atlantic Firearms and check out what they got in-stock.
Black Talon and Today’s Best Self-Defense Ammo
By CTD Suzanne published on October 12, 2014 in Ammunition
Quite a few years ago, an IDPA shooter handed me a shiny silver cartridge with a black bullet and said, “Don’t lose this. It’s a Black Talon.” I had no idea what he meant, but he sure looked and sounded serious, so I nodded my head, gave my thanks and accepted the gift. Not exactly sure what to do with one round none of my guns could eat at the time, the Black Talon was soon forgotten and lost in the black hole I call a car. If you are as clueless as I was, the Black Talon is a self-defense round manufactured by Winchester in the early 90s.
I missed a lot in the 90s. I lived in countries where citizens could not own firearms and therefore I was pretty much out of the loop when it came to American gun control and gun laws. By the time I moved back to the States and started shooting again, new stories and legends long surpassed talk of the Black Talon. I had no idea I was sitting on a collectable round that now sells for close to $100 a box.
Introduced at the 1991 SHOT Show, Winchester’s Black Talon was the ammo company’s answer for a more effective self-defense bullet demanded by the FBI following the 1986 Miami Firefight. In a shootout with two bank robbers—William Matix and Michael Platt—eight FBI agents, mainly armed with .357 Magnum revolvers loaded with .38 Special went up against Matix and Platt armed with .223 Remington rifles and shotguns. Despite being riddled with bullet holes from the FBI, Platt was able to continue firing back. In the end of the nearly five-minute shootout, five FBI agents were wounded and two—Jerry Dove and Benjamin Grogan—were killed.
The FBI agents had loaded jacketed hollow-point bullets into their firearms. However, after medical examiners performed autopsies on the bank robbers’ bodies, it was discovered that one bullet stopped just less than an inch from the heart. John Hall, FBI Firearms Training Unit Director at the time called the tragedy “an ammo failure.” The aftermath encouraged the FBI to seek new guns, more effective ammunition and set precedence for the FBI’s protocol on ammunition evaluation and testing. For ammo to pass FBI protocol, it must meet a minimum of 12 inches of penetration in ballistics gelatin, but no more than 18 inches and penetrate clothing including heavy jackets, denim and leather.
Black Talon has a black bullet with six serrations at the nose seated on a shiny nickel-plated cartridge. The round is a traditional hollow-point bullet, but with a then-innovative “reverse taper” (the bullet jacket is thicker at the tip than at the base) and a Lubalox—not Teflon—coating. The Black Talon, like all hollow-point bullets, opens up (commonly called expansion or mushrooming) when it hits soft tissue. What sets the Black Talon’s six sharp pointy edges sets it apart. At the time, Winchester’s Black Talon was one of, if not the most effective self-defense round you could buy.
When a hollow-point bullet hits a soft target, it mushrooms out to what looks like a flower with petals. This creates a wider wound channel. The Black Talon’s petals look more like… well… talons, essentially making the wound channel even wider. The wider wound channel makes the round more likely to stop a threat—something usually referred to as “knockdown power”—when compared to other hollow point rounds. In fact, for the first two years Black Talon was on the market, it received an award from Shooting Industry magazine. Even now, people still claim Black Talon was the best defensive round and search for its modern day equivalent.
Winchester pulled it in 1993 and permanently discontinued the ammo in 2000. Due to all of the controversy, the Black Talon has now become a notorious legend of almost mythical proportions.
Two high-profile mass shootings in 1993 led to the Black Talon’s demise. In December, Colin Ferguson killed six people and injured 19 more on a train in New York. Supposedly, he loaded his handgun with Black Talon. Seven months later, Gian Luigi Ferri loaded his gun with Black Talon and open fired in a law office in San Francisco, California, killing nine people. Gun grabbers jumped at the chance to push their anti-gun agenda. Time magazine described the Black Talon as a bullet “designed to unsheathe its claws once inside the victim’s body and tear it to pieces.” A surgeon in Houston said Black Talon “explode inside a person like a thousand razor blades.” The media called it exotic and “designed to do greater damage than ordinary ammunition.” Many politicians called for an outright ban on Black Talon ammunition. Even a family member of a victim from the New York shooting attempted to sue Olin Corporation for the manufacture, sale and marketing of Winchester’s Black Talon ammo.
The gun community is all too familiar with the lies and language of fear from the media and anti-gun politicians. Those knowledgeable about guns and ammunition know that a Black Talon isn’t any more deadly than other hollow points, just like an AR-15 isn’t any more deadly than a Remington Model 700. Nevertheless, Winchester still buckled to the pressure and in 2000 discontinued the Black Talon, albeit in name only.
Winchester repackaged and renamed the round throughout the years. Introduced in 2007, the Ranger T Series is still available for purchase today. The Ranger SXT is the same bullet without the Lubalox coating. Some say that SXT stands for the “same exact thing.” If you are desperate to get your hands on the original Black Talon, you can find it online, but at a jacked up price. However, not many would recommend spending the money unless you are a collector or a sucker for nostalgia. Black Talon, though innovative and groundbreaking back in the day, is nearly 25 years old. Bullet innovation, invention and design have come a long way baby and there are plenty of effective, accurate, reliable and better self-defense rounds available today.
For a round very similar to the old Black Talon, check out the Winchester Ranger series or the PDX1—though both are difficult to find. Remington will never tell you this, but those in the know say Remington’s Golden Saber has petals designed to expand the same way as Black Talon. A great go-to self-defense round in any caliber is the Speer Gold Dot. For 9mm or .45 ACP, try Hornady Critical Duty. In addition, some recommend the Federal HST. On the more expensive side, the Cor-Bon solid copper DPX in any caliber is a also good self-defense round. Buffalo Bore ammunition also loads this solid copper Barnes bullet in some of its calibers.
First Look: Viridian Reactor 5 Green Laser for Glock 42
by G&A Online Editors | September 22nd, 2014
Viridian has expanded its Reactor 5 series (R5) laser sights to fit the Glock 42.
The new Viridian R5 G42 is the first and only green laser sight currently available for the Glock 42. As with previous Reactor models, the R5 G42 automatically activates once it is drawn from the holster.
The green laser sight for the G42 features a low-battery indicator and has multiple modes of operation from solid laser to pulse mode.
The Viridian R5 G42 green laser sight comes with a free hybrid holster constructed of leather and polymer. The new Reactor 5 laser sight for the G42 is available now for $239.
Viridian’s R5 lasers are also available for the following handguns:
· Ruger LCP
· Ruger LC9/LC9s
· Ruger LC380
· Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
· Kahr Arms PM9/40
Beretta’s ARX100: A Closer Look
by Tom McHale on September 24, 2014
If you made me describe one thought about the Beretta ARX100, it would be something along the lines of “ambi-flex-trous.”
Yes, you can easily reconfigure this rifle in all sorts of ways, which we’ll discuss in a minute, but the interesting thing is you can do all of it with a bullet. Macho, isn’t it? So far, I have yet to use a single tool of any kind for reconfiguration. Well, there was one exception. I did need a wrench to remove the factory flash hider, but I don’t think that counts as it doesn’t fall into the category of routine maintenance. Don’t tell the Beretta folks I applied wrenches and a bench vise to their loaner rifle, OK?
Let’s take a closer look.
The ARX100 looks large and potentially heavy, but it’s not. Judicious use of polymer keeps weight down and unloaded, it tips the scales at just 6.8 pounds. While the stock appears monolithic in design, it breaks into an upper and lower receiver, although the dividing lines are different than the upper and lower components of an AR rifle.
The butt stock is connected to the upper receiver half through use of a hinge, which allows the rifle to operate like a pistol. While the intent is easier transport, shooting with a folded stock feels very Buck Rogers. Since the rifle is piston operated, there’s no buffer tube in the way of pistol operation. The butt stock itself has four different positions to adjust length of pull.
The rifle is covered in web sling attachment points. A rotating swivel is in front of the gas block. The butt has a web sling loop. There are two flat sling loops on each side of the receiver for a total of six.
Rails are also abundant. The entire top surface of the rifle is a continuous rail, so there is no “joint” between receiver rail and forend rail as with an AR rifle. Four-inch rail segments are located up front in the three and nine o’clock positions. There’s a 1 ½ inch rail segment on the bottom in front of the forend cover. If you need to attach a 40mm grenade launcher, remove the lower cover and you’ll find a proprietary rail segment for this purpose. Because military-style rifle. Word is that Beretta may offer a Picatinny adapter at a later date.
The ARX100 comes with polymer flip up sights so you can shoot it out of the box. The front sight features a standard, height-adjustable post while the rear has a rotating aperture dial where apertures are calibrated for ranges of 100 to 600 meters. Be aware that these sights are taller than standard AR models, so they may not co-witness as you like. No worries, by pressing a button on each, you can slide them right off the rail if you don’t want them present.
The trigger is all military all the way. It’s big and wide, set in an oversized trigger guard for easy access with gloves. The pull weight leaves something to be desired, measuring 8 1/2 pounds for me, but at least it was smooth and not gritty. The trigger components are held in place by pins, so assuming demand is there, aftermarket companies like Timney should be able to offer replacements.
Bolt release and hold open
There are four ways to hold the bolt open on the Beretta ARX100. First, the bolt will lock back, as expected, on an empty magazine. Second, there is a button on the bottom side of the trigger guard that, when pushed up, engages the bolt catch. For options three and four, levers on the front sides of the trigger guard can be pushed up with your trigger finger to engage the bolt catch.
To release the bolt, you have three choices. As expected, you can pull the bolt handle back and let it fly. You can also push down on either of the trigger guard levers to release the bolt. The idea is to use your right or left trigger finger for this purpose.
Make sure to practice with this system to become acclimated. If you’re used to shooting standard AR-type rifles, you won’t want to be reaching for a bolt release button on the left side as you might drop a magazine. You also will want to train your fingers to find positions of the bolt release levers and magazine release levers, as they are about an inch apart on both sides of the receiver.
Two-position safety levers are already present on both sides of the receiver. Both are identical, so there is no built in favoritism of righties versus lefties.
The ejection system is brilliant – and arguably redundant. The bolt has two extractors, right and left. A cross-bolt lever in the receiver blocks one, while allowing the other to operate. Depending on the position of the cross bolt, either the right or left extractor becomes live. Since ejection ports are open on both sides, you’ve just changed the ejection pattern. To operate the bolt, simply press a bullet tip into a hole behind the grip. The ejection system doesn’t care where which side the bolt handle resides, so choose your desired configuration and fling brass wherever you want. No need for field stripping or tools. While I chose not to break the eval rifle deliberately, I would think the system offers some redundancy. If one extractor breaks, simply flip the ejection system the other way to use the other one.
The magazine release button is located in the same position as on a standard AR-type rifle, just above the front of the trigger guard. The difference is that the magazine release button is not reversible as it doesn’t need to be. Buttons are already present on both sides of the receiver. No adjustment is required.
You might hear that pushing up on the bolt release levers will also release the magazine. On my current production evaluation sample, not so. Perhaps that was an earlier or Italian model feature not present on current US models.
Magazines and such
Note the magazine release button already present on the left side.
Note the magazine release button already present on the left side.
The ARX100 is designed to accept mil-spec AR magazines. And they do mean mil-spec. I tried several aluminum magazines and they all worked fine. Just for the heck of it, I tried a Magpul Gen M3 30 round magazine, not really thinking much of it, until the magazine wouldn’t seat. It appears that the ridges on the back spine of the Magpul, about 40% of the way down from the top, prevents the magazine from fully seating in the Beretta ARX100. Standard aluminum magazines have no such ridges, so nothing stops the magazine from seating slightly deeper in the magazine well than it would on a standard AR-type rifle. This got me curious, so I tried a couple of other Magpuls and a Troy Industries Battle Mag I had laying around. I found that PMAG Gen 2 and earlier don’t have the aggressive lip and worked fine. The Troy Industries magazine also works fine. While the texture begins at the same point as the PMAG Gen 3, the lip is subtle enough so it doesn’t get blocked by the ARX100 magazine well. The slightly deeper magazine well is just something to be aware of, especially if you have a supply of Gen 3 PMAGs.
Barrel removal, field stripping and bolt handle reversal
One of the nifty features of the ARX100 is the quick change barrel design. The end result is that you can change the barrel completely, in seconds, without any tools whatsoever. Over time, we might see conversion options for things like 300 AAC Blackout, 6.8 SPC and 7.62×39 – not to mention short barrels.
Even if you don’t ever want or need to change a barrel, removing it completely makes cleaning much, much easier. When you have such direct access, even getting into all the nooks and crannies of the barrel extension is a breeze.
Here’s how it works. The bolt handle has a maintenance position used for field stripping and/or barrel removal. Pull the bolt about ⅔ of the way back until it lines up with a mark on the receiver. Pull the bolt handle straight out until it locks into position. At this point, you can rotate the bolt handle forward right into ejection port area itself. That’s the maintenance position. While we’re talking about this, the same procedure is used to move the bolt handle to the opposite side – just keep pushing it right on through. Voila! It’s now on the opposite side.
Some folks aren’t happy with the relatively small bolt handle, but it’s small for this reason. It has to fit trough the ejection port to switch righty-lefty teams. The rumor mill is already buzzing about removable bolt handle covers that will provide a larger grip surface. The idea would be to remove the handle cover when you need to field strip the rifle.
Speaking of stripping, to field strip the rifle, you put the bolt in the maintenance position and fold the stock into the pistol position. Next, rotate the safety lever past “S” while pushing into the back of the receiver, now uncovered because the stock is folded. At this point, you can rotate the pistol grip out of the upper receiver and the major components come apart. It’s a lot easier than it sounds and requires no tools.
What generates more gas than a Mastiff that got into the sauerkraut leftovers? The itty-bitty .223 Remington cartridge, that’s what.
If it’s not already obvious, the Beretta ARX100 is a piston operated rifle. So, unlike a standard AR-type rifle where the mushroom cloud of burnt powder gusts into the receiver, the ARX vents it through a gas tube then out the door. As a result, it runs cool and clean when compared to standard direct impingement AR-type rifles. I think the open ejection ports on both sides help keep temperature moderated as well. Unlike a traditional AR, there is no dust cover over either ejection port and this provides another nod towards cool and clean operation.
Just in front of the forend, an adjustable gas block vents gas from the barrel up into the gas tube. The block features a rotating valve with two positions marked “N” and “S.” My initial guess as to the meanings, “Normal” and “Single shot” (possibly for suppressor use) was off the mark. Turns out “N” represents the non-standard, or adverse conditions, setting as it supplies extra gas to force reliable function in less than ideal conditions. The “S” setting is for standard use with normal power ammunition and clean conditions. I shot a variety of ammo, all on the “S” setting, and the system worked fine – no malfunctions.
The gas piston system is a bit unusual. The gas tube is covered by a captive piston cover that serves as a battering ram. When gas enters the tube, it pushes the exterior tube cover backwards and it Mike Tyson punches the snot out of the bolt carrier, so that the carrier begins its own backward travel. After case ejection, the recoil spring sends the bolt carrier forward, picking up the next cartridge in the process.
The gas tube and gas tube cover are captive to the barrel assembly, so when you remove the barrel for cleaning, you have access to all of it.
At risk of getting into an embarrassing gunsmithing nightmare with the loaner gun from Beretta, I decided to remove the bird cage style flash hider and mount a suppressor. The factory flash hider does have a solid bottom (no bird cage vents) presumably to prevent dust from kicking up under the muzzle when the rifle is fired. The muzzle device is timed to the right position (solid side down) by use of a compression washer.
Anyway, I took the whole mess off, and as expected, the muzzle is threaded for standard ½ inch x 28 attachments. I had a SilencerCo Saker 556 on another rifle with a direct thread mount, so I moved it to the ARX for an afternoon of shooting.
The Saker worked beautifully, regardless of the gas block setting (non-standard or standard) and I had no malfunctions as a result of wonky gas pressure changes caused by addition of the silencer. On the other hand, with each and every shot, regardless of gas pressure system setting, I got more than the normal face full of gas from the ejection ports on both sides. Most AR-type rifles have at least a hint of hot and powdery headwind, but the breeze from the ARX when shooting suppressed was more like a gale. After a couple dozen rounds with the suppressor mounted, I took it off, and washed my face.
Word on the street is that Beretta is working on a more silencer-friendly barrel and gas block as an option. Due to the quick barrel change feature, one would be able to swap a standard barrel with a suppressed barrel in seconds. We’ll keep an ear out on that front.
Shooting the ARX100
In the name of top-flight investigative journalism, I actually shot this rifle. A lot.
Also in the name of tenacious reporting, I tried all of the stated features to verify performance, even at the risk of life and limb. For example, while cranking off rounds, I switched ejection to the left side mid-magazine – just because I could. I thought it was good science, but the folks to the left of me on the shooting line apparently had less appreciation for my thorough reporting. Grumps. Needless to say, the ability to switch ejection at will was cool.
Earlier I mentioned the ease of completely removing the barrel. This is a neat administrative feature, but I was concerned about the rifle’s ability to hold zero through barrel changes. To find out, I shot a number of five shot groups at a target 100 yards down range. I used a Hawke Optics 3-9x Panorama scope so could be precise with my aim. I then removed the barrel and let everything cool down while I apologized for my reckless brass slinging during the ejection pattern tests. After a while, I remounted the barrel and re-shot groups. Guess what? No discernible change in points of impact. I thought that was cool. Clearly if you change barrel types, you ought to plan on a change in point of impact, but remounting the same barrel after cleaning or maintenance didn’t seem to matter.
I shot a variety of ammo types over several range outings and had no malfunctions of any kind. It was clear that I wan’t the first one to shoot this rifle, as it was dirty when I received it. I didn’t bother to clean it at first as I wanted to see how it ran with some fouling. No worries there.
I also did accuracy testing on a subsequent range trip. To rule out filthy bore issues, I did give that a scrubbing prior to accuracy tests. I used a Blackhawk! Sportster Titan III rifle rest and the Hawke Optics 3-9x optic. Here’s what I experienced shooting five shot groups at 100 yard targets.
American Eagle 55 grain FMJ: 2.30”
Black Hills 5.56mm 50 grain Barnes TSX: 1.00”
DoubleTap 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip: 1.02”
Freedom Munitions 55 grain FMJ, Remanufactured: 2.42”
Hornady 55 grain V-MAX: 1.09”
IMI 5.56mm 77 grain OTM, LR, Mod 1: 2.76”
Winchester Ranger 69 grain Match HPBT: 2.98”
I actually tried other heavier bullet loads in a less formal setting, and strangely enough, the 1:7 twist barrel still seems to prefer lighter weight bullets. Go figure. It just goes to show the importance of testing ammo in your specific gun to see what it likes best.
How to Build the Ultimate Shooting Range Bench
by Keith Wood | September 24th, 2014
A recent move put me a short drive from the family farm and the subsequent ability to create something I’ve always wanted: my own shooting range.
I’d have unlimited access 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. Better yet, I wouldn’t have anyone banging away one bench over with an SKS while I’m trying to squeeze every ¼ MOA out of a precision custom rifle. Having the place all to myself was the goal, but building a range also meant building my own facilities, and that included a shooting bench.
I didn’t want a shooting bench — I needed a shooting bench. When I test rifles for publications, I can’t lean over the hood of my Tahoe with the rifle rested on a rolled-up jacket to determine accuracy. A writer needs a dead-solid platform from which to test the accuracy potential of rifles.
No folding table or mobile setup will do. When a rifle shows up for evaluation, I have a duty to the publication to evaluate it fairly, a duty to the manufacturer to shoot it to its potential, and a duty to the readers to conduct an unbiased test. All of this means that everyone is counting on me to get it right: no “wobbly bench” excuses allowed.
Steady benches can be built from wood, and that’s certainly the easy way to go, but I wanted to do this project once and do it right. I live in southeast Alabama, which means lots of sunshine, rainfall, heat and humidity — factors that are hard on lumber.
Did I mention that my range does double duty as a cow pasture? That’s right, a 1,500-pound bull may decide to use my precious bench as a back-scratcher. To do this right, the bench had to be built from poured concrete.
That’s when I set out to build the ultimate shooting bench that would invite accurate shooting for generations to come.
Construction happened in three phases: first creating the slab foundation, then the support pillars (legs), and finally the table. I’ll discuss each phase, starting with the foundation:
First Look: Ruger AR-556
by G&A Online Editors | September 26th, 2014
Ruger’s new AR-556 marks the company’s first M4-style rifle with a direct-impingement gas system.
The best part of all: The AR-556 is manufactured by Ruger in the USA, and you won’t have to refinance your house to own one. At an expected retail price of $599, Ruger is making it easier than ever for people to get into the AR-15 platform without breaking the bank.
The Ruger AR-556 has anodized upper and lower receivers, both of which are forged from 7075-T6 aluminum. Lower components include a single-stage trigger, a beavertail grip, an enlarged triggerguard and a six-position collapsible stock on a Mil-Spec buffer tube.
Its upper receiver features a forward assist, dustcover and brass deflector. The upper also houses an oxide-finished bolt-carrier group with a staked gas key and a 9310 alloy steel bolt.
Chambered for .223 Rem./5.56 NATO, its 16.1-inch barrel is cold-hammer-forged from 4140 chome-moly steel and has M4 feed ramps. The barrel has a 1:8-inch twist, capable of stabilizing 35- to 77-grain bullets. Barrel contours measure .850 inch under the handguard, .750 inch at the gas block and .700 inch from the gas block to the 1/2″-28 threaded muzzle with a Ruger flash suppressor.
The AR-556′s folding rear polymer sight is adjustable for windage, while its A2-style front sight is elevation adjustable with an included front sight tool. A pinned gas block has multiple sling attachment points, a QD port and a bayonet lug.
The most unique feature of the AR-556 is a proprietary barrel nut with a threaded delta ring for simple handguard removal. Ruger’s patent-pending barrel nut design accepts standard handguards and uses a standard-size barrel nut wrench. It’s also interchangeable with Mil-Spec barrel nuts if so desired.
During initial testing, the Ruger AR-556 repeatedly hit a 6-inch steel plate offhand at 100 yards with standard factory sights.
Ruger’s affordable new AR is packed with quality features and also includes a 30-round Magpul PMAG. At an expected retail price of $599, we anticipate users buying this rifle and customizing it as they please with aftermarket accessories and optics.
For more information, check out our exclusive video and photos below.
The Real Threat of Domestic Terrorism
BY TIM SCHMIDT - USCCA FOUNDER
Let’s not sugarcoat it:
We live in an increasingly unpredictable—and oftentimes scary—world.
An amazing world, yes, but with incidents like the recent beheading at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, it’d be foolish not to acknowledge that the landscape—and the threats we face—are changing.
We’ve seen violence in our movie theaters. In our schools. In our churches. In places we’re supposed to feel safe. The truth is, violence can happen anywhere...but lately, it seems like it’s happening everywhere.
But the really scary thing is that the violence we’ve prepared ourselves against—the thug on the street, the drug-crazed home invader—is just the tip of the iceberg.
Singular acts of violence are still prevalent, and we must remain vigilant, but I’m concerned with something even more dangerous: the domestic terrorism that has somehow crept right underneath our noses.
And yet the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge that terrorism exists here, in this country. You’ve likely heard them refer to the beheading of Colleen Hufford as “workplace” violence, “despite strong evidence that shows a progressive conversion to radical Islam through aggressive posts on [suspect Alton] Nolen’s Facebook page.” [Breitbart]
Nolen, who identified himself as “Jah'Keem Yisrael” on several social networks, exhibited a disturbing pattern of behavior in the months preceding the attack, including posting a gruesome photo of a beheading as an example of a precedent bestowed by his prophet.
This is especially concerning when we consider that “just last week, an ISIS leader, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, released a 41-minute recorded speech directed toward ‘lone wolf’ operations encouraging terrorists like Nolen.” [CNN]
And yet, according to Breitbart, “the mainstream media continues to assert that the suspect's behavior was not an act of terror, which is eerily reminiscent of their stance on the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.”
I’m on the same page as CNN columnist Mel Robbins, who writes that ”there's nothing but evidence that Nolen was copying the ISIS beheadings in Syria. So let's drop the political correctness for once and call the Oklahoma beheading what it is—terrorism.”
Now, let me make something clear:
This is NOT a commentary on religion. This is a commentary on evil. It’s a commentary on how the responsible citizens of this great nation can fight back as our government—too concerned with political correctness—refuses to acknowledge the fight in the first place.
According to former CIA Director James Woolsey, “As long as we pretend that [these incidents] are just random acts of violence...we will not be effective in dealing with them.”
So with domestic terrorism a growing threat, what can we do?
Well, at Vaughan Foods in Oklahoma, a savvy armed employee named Mark Vaughan (the company’s Chief Operating Officer) saved countless lives when he intervened with a gun, shooting the terrorist Nolen and ending the attack.
Although the media has paid very little attention to “the good guy with a gun,” responsibly armed Americans like you and me know better.
With the kind of threats we’re up against, we simply can’t afford to go unarmed—or be disarmed.
Take Care and Stay Safe,
Publisher - Concealed Carry Report
P.S. - The NRA suggests that the Second Amendment may be “our secret weapon in the ongoing war against terrorism.” I thought one commenter on their page responded perfectly to the beheading in Oklahoma: “It would be unfortunate if this is what it takes to turn the tide, but after these recent events, I can't see how any sane person could continue to support ‘gun free’ zones, or further restrictions on the right for law-abiding citizens to carry.”
9 Best Ballistics Apps for Every Shooter
by G&A Staff | September 29th, 2014
For better or worse, the digital age has touched almost every aspect of our lives.
Whether it’s in the form of electronic hearing protection, laser rangefinders or the TrackingPoint Precision Guided Firearm (PGF), technology has undoubtedly left its mark on the firearm world.
A major area where technology is advancing our abilities to hit targets comes in the form of software development for smartphones and tablets. There are now a growing number of ballistics apps created specifically for shooters and hunters, and you don’t have to be a computer whiz to use them effectively.
Ballistics apps are designed to help shooters make calculations to hit distant targets or take down game in the field. Determining bullet drop, wind drift, impact energy and flight time in a palm-sized package, ballistics apps are making the arithmetic easier than ever. The real benefit of using a ballistic app is the convenient ability to calculate data that’s tailored to your specific firearm, cartridge and environmental conditions.
If you’re not using ballistics apps, its time to consider pairing your hardware with the right software with our list of the best ballistics apps available now:
· Knights Armament Bullet Flight
· Applied Ballistics
· Nikon SpotOn Ballistic Match Technology
· Shooter (Ballistics Calculator)
· Nosler Ballistics
· Winchester Ballistics Calculator
· Ballistic: Advanced Edition
The Carbine Compromise
by Jeff Cooper | September 29th, 2014
Editors Note: This article by Jeff Cooper was originally printed in the October 1966 issue of Guns & Ammo.
A carbine’s diminutive size and weight may make it handy, but here are a few additional — and surprising — facts you should know.
“A kind of firearm, shorter than the musket, for use by mounted soldiers” is what my dictionary calls a carbine. We don’t have many mounted soldiers anymore, but we still have carbines. The question is whether they serve a useful purpose.
First let’s dispose of the pronunciation problem. It has nothing to do with the weapon’s usefulness, but we ought to use the same terms. “Carbine” rhymes with “bar-wine,” not with “far-seen” or “carbon.” Only the one sound is recognized, somewhat to the amazement of the multitude.
The essence of the carbine, either military or sporting, is handiness. To design a carbine, you start with a rifle and reduce it both in size and weight. (If you wish, you may start with a pistol and work up, but this, in my opinion, is the wrong approach.)
When a rifle is radically shortened and lightened, it becomes a much handier instrument to carry, swing, and pack. These are advantages, but they create attendant drawbacks. The problem is to balance the pluses against the minuses in such a way that a specific degree of efficiency results.
When you cut down a rifle, the following things happen:
(1) You lose power. A shorter barrel means a shorter duration of push. How serious this is depends upon the type of powder used. A quick-burning propellant can minimize or even eliminate this effect, at the cost of increased recoil, but this calls for special ammunition, which is not always available in calibers intended for use in full-sized rifles — as well as in carbines. If a carbine is designed for a special cartridge, as is sometimes the case, this cartridge is usually of distinctly less than full rifle power, and thus distinctly less efficient. (A curious compromise was adopted by the U.S. Army in the late 19th century, which used the .45-70 “trap door” Springfield in both rifle and carbine versions. G.I. ammunition was made up in two bullet weights — 500 for use in rifles and 405 for use in carbines. Either load could be used in either piece, but the lighter bullet was supposed to kick less, making the carbine feel like the rifle to the shooter. If this ammunition arrangement was reversed, of course, they felt quite different.)
(2) You increase recoil. The same load is going to kick harder as you reduce the weight of the weapon. This is obvious. How much recoil an individual shooter can accept, with no loss in precision, is the issue here. It is a personal matter, but since armies must procure weapons suitable for use by the lowest common denominator, ordnance departments must necessarily be recoil-shy. Hence military carbines are inclined to special cartridges of low power while sporting carbines usually take standard rifle ammunition. This is not (necessarily) because civilians are tougher than soldiers, it’s just that they can afford to be non-standard. A man with a powerful frame who shoots a great deal is likely to have a much greater tolerance for both recoil and blast than the average. To such a man, a full-power carbine is no problem.
(3) You tend to lose accuracy. This is a tendency, however, not an absolute. Short-radius iron sights are the rule on carbines, but the reduced precision they afford has nothing to do with the intrinsic accuracy of the weapon. I suspect that superb accuracy could be had from a 16-inch bull barrel properly set up, if anyone wanted to build one. The main factor here is that carbines are just not thought of as precision instruments. Their sights are usually crude, their light weight makes them hard to hold well — on the military models their trigger pulls are atrocious, and their increased bounce (in full-power versions) tends to demoralize an unpracticed or recoil-shy marksman.
Actually, while accuracy is the great god of the rifleman, its single-minded pursuit may occasionally obscure some of the facts of life. The difference between one-minute accuracy and two-minute accuracy is the difference between heaven and hell to the purist, but I sometimes wonder if it matters much in a weapon intended for general use in the field. A one-minute weapon will strike within 1 inch its point of aim at 200 yards, while a two-minute piece will strike within 2. You can’t see that increment with anything but a high-power telescope, and you couldn’t hold that close if you could see it, from any field position. This is by no means intended to disparage the splendid achievements of both our hobbyists and our commercial manufacturers in their continuing search for the ultimate in precision. We should only bear in mind that even three-minute accuracy may be all a hunter can appreciate, and that four minutes may suffice a minimally trained soldier who is shooting at man-sized targets under conditions of great excitement.
So we see that in reducing a rifle down to proper size for use “by mounted soldiers,” we must reduce its efficiency somewhat, but this reduction may or may not be serious. Whether it is or not depends upon the use to which the weapon is put. Carbines of all sorts are generally scorned by riflemen, but they have killed a lot of game. I think it is not a matter of the carbine, but one of which carbine, for examples vary from the useless to the superb.
In preparing this article I chose to examine a random selection of reduced rifles, varying in purpose, design date, and cost, but sharing three things in common: light weight, short barrels, and iron sights (all could be scoped, of course, but while a scoped carbine has a certain charm, increasing its bulk may defeat its purpose).
The weapons picked were:
(1) The M-94 Winchester .30-30.
(2) The 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer.
(3) The US. Carbine, .30, M-1.
(4) The Ruger .44.
(5) The Colt AR-15 (M-16).
(6) The Remington M600, .308.
As you see, these items are very different. They are all, however, carbines, by definition.
The Winchester is, of course, an American classic. Union soldiers were introduced to the lever action repeater toward the end of the Civil War, and since more Americans knew more about the fine points of fighting at that time than any other people, the immediate American love affair with the lever gun is significant. It worked. Europeans eyed it askance, and ordnance boards voiced grave doubts, but it worked. When Winchester married it to a practical, bottle-necked, smokeless-powder cartridge of medium power in 1894 it was an instant and deserved success.
Today the carbine version, with its 20-inch round barrel, is still popular. It’s certainly not in the class with a .28-caliber Magnum in hair-splitting accuracy, range, trajectory, or killing power, but it will kill any deer any time at 100 yards if you can hold it, it is no trouble to pack or carry, it has a nice trigger, it doesn’t kick enough to mention, and it’s very easy and safe to use. It is no weapon for a really keen rifle enthusiast, but a whole lot of riflemen take to the field each year who can’t shoot their $400 combos any better than this humble little piece will shoot. Considering it’s 72 years old come Michelmas, and has a modest price — it’s quite a product.
The one I checked out weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces. It was 38 inches long and had a capacity of six plus one. It takes a variety of loads, but the one chronographed started a 170-grain blunt bullet at an average of just under 2200 fps from its 20-inch barrel. It averaged slightly over 3 1/2-inch groups at 100 yards with its coarse, open sights.
The Mannlicher 6.5 Carbine is the European classic to match the American Winchester. It is about the same vintage — a few years earlier — and takes a cartridge which, if slightly less powerful than the .30-30, is better suited to taking heavy animals. Its 160-grain, .25 caliber bullet starts at about 2100 fps from the short barrel (some old catalogs say this barrel is 18 1/2 inches long but the test gun measured 20 inches including the chamber). The bullet is long for its weight, however, and its original design was round-nosed and heavy jacketed, which gave it great penetration with no tendency to dive.
The classic “Mannlicher” of song and story is this little carbine with its full-length stock, rotary magazine, folding-leaf open sight, butter-knife bolt, and double set trigger. It was enormously popular back in the days when men rarely explored the wild places unless they were at least partially qualified to do so.
The test example was surprising in that it was the biggest of the carbines tested; 41 inches in length and weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces unloaded. Its “unset” trigger action was fine, though odd to the modern touch because of its slack. The set action was nice, though not as light as one might expect.
In the third example we encounter an entirely different sort of weapon, built for a completely different purpose. The .30 U.S. Carbine was an attempt to replace the pistol for military personnel who could not pack a rifle and who couldn’t hit with a pistol. I think it must be conceded that this was a mistake. The piece was admittedly much handier than the M-1 Rifle — until you actually got into a fight.
I remember the first one I saw. It was carried by an infantry major who was something of a gun bug. He had fitted his, at considerable trouble, with a Weaver scope. We were going in on the Attu operation and he had high hopes for his little popper. I met him later at Adak and asked where his carbine was. “In the drink,” he said. “We got into a fire fight up at the edge of cloud cover, and those Nips were getting to us out at a pretty good range. That carbine turned out to be about as useful as a BB gun.”
Of course the .30 caliber U.S. Carbine was not intended for that sort of use, but it was little better up close. I met a man on Saipan who lost most of his right hand playing quarterstaff against a sword-swinging Japanese officer whom he had hit solidly in the solar plexus with one round. He only had that one round because on the first models the magazine release was easily confused with the safety, and he had dropped the magazine out when he pushed the wrong button.
The .30 U.S. is the smallest of the carbines inspected, at 36 inches overall and 5 pounds 6 ounces unloaded. It also has the best issue sights, unfortunately countered by the worst trigger. It does not kick, so our untrained draftee need not fear it. It is a case of going so far in the direction of handiness and ease that the original purpose of the weapon is destroyed. About the best thing you can say about the U.S. Carbine, Caliber .30, M1, is that it’s better than nothing.
The Ruger .44 caliber carbine looks and feels a great deal like the .30 U.S., but it’s a somewhat more sophisticated weapon. Since it takes the pistol cartridge, I’m not sure what it will do that a .44 Magnum revolver won’t — other than qualify as a deer rifle in states that won’t let you hunt with a pistol.
Its trigger is somewhat better than that of the .30 U.S., but its sights are worse. They may be replaced, of course, with something better. It is a bit bigger — 37 inches and 6 pounds 1 ounce — and it also kicks harder, about like a .30-30 carbine.
The Ruger is handicapped by a tubular magazine that is particularly hard to load — an operation calling for three hands. The advantages, if any, of its semiautomatic action would seem lessened by the necessity of calling for king’s-X after each five shots.
The need for a carbine is not met by a small rifle firing a pistol cartridge, even a very powerful pistol cartridge. It seems to me that if you are going to a two-hand weapon you ought to get two-hand ballistics along with it.
Carbine_Compromise_1966_Jeff_Cooper_1The celebrated AR15 was the most “far out” of the carbines considered. Neither Colt nor the Army is willing to call it a carbine; but, at 39 inches and 6 pounds 14 ounces, it falls right in with the other examples.
As everyone knows, the .223 military cartridge was conceived as a means of obtaining something for nothing, in this case killing power without recoil. (Remember those gun-shy little soldiers of ours.) Momentum of both rifle and cartridge ought to be the same (if we can believe Mr. Newton) and momentum is mass x velocity. If only a certain amount of recoil momentum is deemed endurable, we can use it to produce very high velocity by radically reducing projectile mass. Hence, a 55-grain bullet at a personally chronographed 3310 fps. This, as anyone who has used a .222 Remington Magnum knows, is a stinger. At short range its man-stopping properties, even with a hard, solid, spitzer bullet are impressive. At any great distance — after its velocity has dropped off— it naturally becomes just another .22. The Pentagon feels that our people can’t hit anything at those ranges anyway, so who cares? And, of course, it doesn’t kick.
To a conservative rifleman it seems odd to use what is essentially a varmint cartridge in a four-minute-plus combination, but the AR15 will stay on a man at 200 yards and it will strike a mean blow at that range. We clanged one little pill clear through 3/16 inch of cold rolled steel at 240 yards, right alongside a .308 military. That was all the .223 had left (the bullet was laying loose on the ground), but it’s still a pretty good jolt.
As with the .30 U.S. Carbine, the sights on the AR15 are good and the trigger is terrible. I don’t see any sporting potential for this piece, but I may be overlooking something. If one disregards its astronomical price ($200 by the time you’ve bought a couple of extra magazines) it seems a very nice arm for second-line combat or defensive use.
Personally, this ease-of-use angle makes me a little uneasy. The British, heavily outnumbered in the Hundred-Years-War, won by means of a weapon that, far from being easy to use, was impossible for their enemies to use against them. The deadly, rapid-fire, armor-piercing longbow had to be learned from infancy. The French, Spanish and Scots could not order up drafts of longbowmen where none existed.
Today, outnumbered as we are in a struggle that may well take another hundred years, I don’t like to see us counting on weapons which are easy to use. These weapons are easy for the enemy to use, too — and there are more of them. Wouldn’t it be comforting if our people were equipped with weapons of such violent power that only the biggest, toughest, best-trained troops in the world could use them?
The choice I reserve for last is a truly astonishing little gun — the Remington 600 in caliber .308. I sincerely believe that this weapon is one of the rare breakthroughs in modern sporting arms. I have never been a believer in abbreviated rifles but this one has really got me wondering.
The 600 is far and away the most deadly of all the weapons considered, yet it is both smaller and lighter than any of them — except for the foolish .30 U.S. Carbine. It has solid two-minute accuracy (tested with iron sights), a gorgeous trigger pull, and from its 19-inch barrel it puts out exactly the ballistics of the old original .30-’06 load (150 flat-based spitzer at 2700 fps) that Roosevelt and White used in Africa. Its stock is neatly designed to reduce apparent recoil, you can feed it economically with G.I. ammunition, and — wonder of wonders — it sells for just 100 inflated dollars.Carbine_Compromise_1966_Jeff_Cooper_3
The trigger in this little gem is the clincher. How they can get a factory trigger like this in an economy gun when they often can’t in a luxury piece is one of the mysteries of the machine age. At a crisp 3 1/2 pounds — no take-up, no backlash — it is as flinch-proof as a trigger can be. It’s curious that our military arsenals don’t give this matter any thought when most marksmen agree that trigger action is the single most important component of the hitting equation.
It is freely admitted that the 600 is not a replacement for the elegant, gilt-edge, hand-crafted reachers so dear to the pride-of-ownership set (though a lot of them don’t have triggers to match it). No one claims that it is. It is a utility gun — a “knockabout” as the British put it — and as such I haven’t seen its equal.
It has drawbacks, of course. It’s sights are a scandal and it kicks.
The factory sights seem to have been inspired by a trap-shooter acting as a double agent for Winchester. There’s a full-length plastic rib with a great dorsal fin of a front sight surmounted by a gold ball somewhat smaller than a grapefruit. A foot or so back is a coarse, open notch arrangement adjustable by means of an Allen wrench, with large lateral wings ideally suited for being scraped off on a rock. This combination might be well suited for shooting fish in a barrel, but the gun is useful for more things than that.
The first thing that occurs is to get rid of that rear sight and fit a proper receiver aperture. The front sight is too high. A 200-yard zero leaves the cross-bar almost a quarter of an inch above the receiver looking fully as fragile as the original open sight. Of course, the front sight may be sawed off. Since it simply bolts on to the rib, a replacement 3/16-inch lower, with a square white or gold head of reasonable size, is a needed accessory.
A fine scope combination — the Leupold M8-2X and the Buehler code-6 mount — is available for the 600 adding exactly $50 to the price. This glass rides well forward with the ocular lens ahead of the loading port, making for great speed of pick-up as well as ease of handling. In general, scoping a carbine may seem unsound — if you want to get fancy you need a rifle — but the 600 is good enough to serve as a primary rather than a secondary weapon. Possibly its case is an exception.
The 600 does kick, at least in .308 — not dreadfully, but noticeably. You can’t fire a full-sized battle cartridge in a gun weighing 3 ounces less than 6 pounds without noticing it. Whether you notice it enough to damage your marksmanship depends on you. The very straight stock, 13 3/4-inch pull, and forward rake of the comb all help to ease the blow, but can’t eliminate it. I estimate that a 6-pound .308 kicks about like an 8-pound. 300 Magnum. This bothers some people, but not everybody. It does pretty much limit the M600 to experienced shooters. In spite of its dainty appearance, it probably won’t suit most ladies.
I am now a fan of the Remington Shorty — after years of scorn for “little guns.” I am tickled by a gun you can almost stick in your belt, but will also kill an elk, moose, or lion with one shot. And you can feed it from military stores. I was concerned about power loss in the short barrel. I visited the chronograph and found that the .308 cartridge is apparently loaded with a quick powder suitable for short barrels. The 150-grain military ammunition showed just a hair under 2700 fps while the Western 200-grain Silvertips logged 2400 fps. This is “Early .30-’06” and that’s saying a good deal.
The carbine, then, is a very broad category. The term covers both useful and pointless firearms. The 44-pound baggage allowance now in force with airlines calls for careful weight-shaving on the part of the traveler. If a carbine will do almost as well as a rifle (and the best ones will) it will find its place in the air age. Suggested re-definition: “a type of shoulder firearm, smaller than the rifle for use by airborne sportsmen.”
Ruger LCR Now Available in 9mm
By: Elwood Shelton | October 1, 2014
From their simplicity to their reliability, there is a solid case to be made for revolvers as defensive weapons.
Obviously, this is something Ruger has been well aware of, having come out with one of the more popular concealable wheelguns on the market. The LCR’s petite dimensions have made it a choice as a primary and secondary handgun for many practicing concealed carry.
Since its introduction in 2009, the line of revolvers has grown to include the most popular calibers for that platform – .38 Special, .357 Magnum and .22 Long Rifle. But the most recent model to join the LCR family is definitely not the first caliber that comes to mind when thinking about a revolver – 9mm Luger.
For most, a 9mm conjures up thoughts of semi-auto pistols, but in recent years more and more manufacturers have come out with revolvers chambered for the round. The introduction of the LCR in 9mm was made, according to a Ruger press release, due to consumer demand.
This makes sense, given the 9mm is among the most popular self-defense calibers presently. Cartridges of the World places it as the most used cartridge in the United States.
The newest LCR retains all the features of the other revolvers in the line.
The double-action-only 9mm, has polymer fire control housing, an aerospace-grade aluminum monolithic frame and an extensively fluted five-round stainless steel cylinder. These features keep the gun a svelte 17.2 ounces.
The gun appears to be designed for comfortable carry from waistband to ankle with a length of 6.5 inches and height of 4.5. The revolver has a 1.875-inch barrel.
While the dimensions of the gun make it a natural for concealment, it potentially could give newer shooters some trouble. Smaller, lighter guns produce more felt recoil, thus control issues. This, however, can be overcome with practice and becoming familiar with the attributes of the firearm.
To combat some of these issues, the LCRs are outfitted with a Hogue Tamer Monogrip. The rubbery grips give a more solid purchase on the handgun, thus more control. And the grips have attributes that help reduce felt recoil. The LCRs are also outfitted with a grip-peg system, which allows grips to be switched out quickly.
Full moon clips are available for the revolver and it comes outfitted with a blade front sight and a U-notch integral rear. As a bonus, the revolver is sold with a soft case. The 9mm is also available in LCRx external hammer model.
The gun is at the high end of the line’s MSRP, ringing in at $599.
CZ 75 Tactical Sport Pistol Review
by G&A Staff | October 6th, 2014
Every pistol has a defined purpose.
Whether intended for concealed carry, law enforcement, hunting or, in this case, competition, handguns are built for specific tasks.
The pedigree of CZ’s Tactical Sport 9mm comes from the CZ 75 bloodline, which has an athlete’s genes with a dose of adrenaline. Designed around specific parameters defined by the IPSC Standard Division and USPSA Limited Division, it’s clear that this pistol was conceived with winning intentions.
While it’s common for manufacturers to tailor full-size pistols to competition and then market them to shooting enthusiasts, often those enhancements include a few simple drop-in parts that yield little in the way of improved performance. Those simple plug-and-play designs weren’t the answer for ˇCeská Zbrojovka when it strove to target the true enthusiast. Instead, CZ has completely re-engineered the popular CZ 75 into a purpose-built IPSC workhorse.
Bred for Competition
Like a traditional target pistol, the CZ 75 Tactical Sport boasts a substantial weight (2¾ pounds unloaded) for added rigidity and reduced muzzle rise. Don’t let the added weight intimidate you; the extra heft results in a balanced handgun that points where you want to deliver firepower and stays on target for quick follow-up shots that stay in the “A” zone.
The Tactical Sport and its traditional CZ 75 brethren differ in a few key areas. First, the Tactical Sport’s matte stainless steel frame includes a full-length dustcover, adding weight up front and rigidity to help keep rounds on target while reducing vibration during recoil. The frame offers solid control with checkering on the front- and rear straps, as well as at the front of the triggerguard. A beveled magazine well also invites quick reloading of generous 20-round magazines to keep shooters from fumbling when the clock is ticking.
With an oversize frame comes oversize controls for deliberate operation while under the stress of competition. An extended magazine release with a textured engagement surface ejects magazines from the mag well with purpose, ensuring an open space to cleanly accept fresh mags. Ambidextrous safety levers are interchangeable with three different-size levers (included) for a personalized fit. The selectors have a very short throw with positive response in the Safe and Fire positions. The slide-release lever is also swappable with three different sizes (included), allowing shooters the choice of which best fits their requirements.
Competition-inspired hardware continues into the upper components of the CZ 75 Tactical Sport with a 5.4-inch stainless steel barrel that is .7 inch longer than the standard CZ 75B. The longer barrel invites an extended slide and a sight radius of 73⁄8 inches. With the combination of target-style sights and a low bore axis, the CZ 75 Tactical Sport will make average handgunners shoot like experienced marksmen.
CZ designed the Tactical Sport as a pistol that can be taken right out of the box and run in IPSC by shooters of all skill levels.
Like the standard CZ 75, the Tactical Sport’s slide reciprocates on rails that are contained inside the entire length of the frame, completely opposite that of 1911s, where the slide is guided on rails that are cut into the outside of the frame. The internally guided rail system results in a lower bore axis and reduced felt recoil with the only downside being a smaller surface to grip and rack the slide.
CZ’s Custom Shop refined the single-action trigger to a consistent 2½-pound pull with almost no slack to takeup. Its short reset allows for lightning-fast follow-up shots, though it’s recommended that you allow adequate training to grow accustomed to the faint, almost whimsical click of the Tactical Sport’s reset if you’re used to competing with full-size handguns.
During testing with five different factory loads, the Tactical Sport achieved impressive 25-yard groups. Average group size measured just over 3 inches with a standard deviation of 10.1, which is more than adequate for high-performance IPSC handgunning. Velocities average a screaming 1,077 feet-per-second.
The CZ 75 Tactical Sport test gun was used by the Guns & Ammo Shooting Team throughout several shooting matches in 2014. It has run flawlessly without cleaning or lubrication after firing thousands of rounds. It eats almost every 9mm load accurately and without a hiccup, even during hot summer IPSC matches and when distances stretch to 50 yards or more. IPSC match performance has shown that its only limitation rest in the abilities of the trigger puller.
For IPSC enthusiasts looking to step up their game, the Tactical Sport 9mm is a true athlete that’s just waiting for you to say, “Shooter ready.”
Fulton Armory M3 Scout Carbine–Even Better than the Real Thing
by Sam Trisler on September 17, 2014
The little M1 Carbine has been around for over 70 years now. Even though over 6.5 million of them were made, original shooters are getting harder to find and at an increasing cost. Sure, they are out there and there could be even more returning to the states if the government will allow them to be brought over from Korea. The M1 Carbine design was also made by a huge number of arms companies for sale to the civilian marksman. Yet some of those are not very well made. The early ones that used all USGI parts are usually good, but when those parts started to run out, the quality of these civilian carbines went down hill fast.
But what if you want a new one? I am talking about one that looks and functions like one pulled from a crate in 1945. A new-in-the-box M1 Carbine made to the true specifications of the original design. The best source I’ve seen is Fulton Armory. The folks at Fulton are making some great new carbines. These rifles will have an obvious appeal to history buffs and living historians, but they are just as functional for those considering a lightweight rifle for whitetail, or a compact gun for home defense.
Fulton Armory makes 3 different models of the M1 Carbine. The base model is the Service Grade and it looks like the name implies—like the ones issued in late WWII and Korea. They also offer a folding stock Paratrooper model as well. You can select if you want the later style of barrel band with the bayonet lug or one without (like the kind issued during the majority of WWII). These both come with the adjustable rear sights that are a big upgrade over the fixed sights most of the WWII issued carbines carried.
That brings us to the last and review model—The M3 Carbine Scout. If you know your M1 Carbine history, you know that there was a select fire variant of the M1 made called the M3. The original M3 was outfitted with a state of the art, for its time, infrared night vision scope. The Fulton doesn’t have this. But it does have one simple (yet very handy) modern feature: the handguard is a picatinny rail. This makes mounting an optic much easier than it was on the originals. Everything else about the M3 looks like it time traveled from 1951. It has the bayonet lug, adjustable sights and the round bolt that is seen on most post WWII carbine, and all of these features combine into one kickass work of craftsmanship that is apparent even before you pull the trigger.
The Fulton M3 Carbine Scout is chambered in .30 Carbine just like the originals. It has an 18 inch barrel. It is gas operated with an operating rod on the side. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. The carbine ships with a 10 round magazine and will also accept the originals, both 15 and 30 round ones. It also comes with a cloth sling and an oiler just like the ones on the originals. It weighs in right at 5 pounds with an overall length of 35.5 inches. The MSRP on the review gun is $1,599.
Not 70 years old
So what is the benefit of buying a Fulton Armory carbine verses buying an original? The main thing in my book is that it is not 70 years old. Most of the components of the Fultons are newly made in house. Yes, there are some original parts, but the main components are of new manufacture. And they are manufactured to standards that either meet or excide the specifications of the originals. The review model is a very nice gun. It has the slickest action of any M1 Carbine I have had my hands on. The quality is there in spades. From the trigger, to the action, to the way it the steel and wood fit perfectly together, there isn’t a corner cut on this rifle.
With all of that said, this is not a collectors M1 Carbine. It is not meant to be either—at least not in the sense you typically think of with old service guns. I was in a big-box retail establishment recently, and found a museum piece in their used gun rack—an old Winchester complete with faded Korean Hangeul painted all over its walnut stock (which was so well oiled it was almost black). The Fulton is a shooter. It is collectable in the way most modern classics are collectable, but it isn’t meant to be a safe queen.
Think about this way. There were millions of original carbines made and a metric crap ton of parts to go along with them. Yet that is a finite amount of carbines and parts. For those of us who place abstract emotional significance on originality, and imbue objects with importance based on the witness they bear to history, it is better to put wear and tear on a reproduction than it is an original. Some guns feel like they have soul, not because of what they can do, but because of where they were and what they may have done.
And some reproductions provide us with an echo of that significance, and still shoot straight. The Fulton takes it one step further and shoots great.
Fit Finish and Wood
The M3 Fulton is made like the originals and has some original parts. It looks and feels like a milsurp rifle. It is parkerized and you can see tool marks here and there. Some parts are stamped and some are milled like on the originals, and you can see evidence of how they were made when you dismantle the rifle. This is how it is supposed to look.
The wood stock is a new production from Boyds. The review gun’s stock is cut from a very nice piece of walnut. There is some figure in the wood that you don’t typically see on a military style rifle. The stock is finished with linseed oil, just like the originals. Unlike the originals, it is light in color because it doesn’t have 70 or so years worth of grime, dirt and oil caked all over it.
The Fulton M3 made a lot of trips to the range. It never let me down. I ran whatever .30 Carbine ammo I could get my hands on. I found some old surplus ball, Federal, Remington soft point and some Hornady Critical Defense hollow points that it fired and fed without issue. It wasn’t picky on magazines either. The one it shipped with is unmarked but appears to be new manufacture. I used some old surplus mags and they worked great too. Even one that was a little rusty functioned without any problems.
This is the fun part. If you have never shot an M1 Carbine you owe it to yourself to make it happen. They are fun little rifles. The recoil is very mild for a 5 pound rifle. The peep sights were set dead on from the factory. Fulton guarantees 3 MOA with Federal American Eagle ammo and this is in line with what we experienced with all the different rounds sent down range.
The M3 from Fulton has a UltiMAK Picatinny rail on the handguard. So we mounted up a Leupold scout scope to see what we could do with some optics. We sighted it in at 50 yards and were able to put 5 round groups into one big hole. That is well above what this design should be able to do. It did open up some at 100 yards but it was well under the 3 MOA guarantee.
It is worth noting that I’ve shot a number of original M1 Carbines. I can say that the ones I shot were not capable of the accuracy the Fulton exhibited. Maybe they were when they were brand new, but not today. And none of the later reproductions can compare with this one, either.
The above shooting was from a bench on a Caldwell Led Sled. I like to use this set up to see what a rifle is actually capable of. This is not a bench rest gun. But I tried to remove as much human error as I could to see how small a group the carbine could shoot. That being done it was time to get it off the bench.
The true beauty of the M1 Carbine design is how small and light it is. This was made when the battle rifle was the norm. The Carbine was supposed to be used by troops in the rear or as a secondary weapon that would replace the 1911. But it became more than that. It is a great platform to use in confined spaces. I would rather have had a carbine than a Garand if I was clearing buildings in Germany.
We spent a good deal of time firing the Fulton from the shoulder at various distances and while moving. Of course the group size was a lot bigger than from the bench, but it was still good. I would have no problem using this carbine for home defense. Actually, it is a very good choice for this. Loaded with soft point or the Hornady Critical Defense rounds, it would be great for maneuvering through a house. Put a red dot on the rail for low light and you have a nice little package.
This was actually a hard review to write and I mean that in a good way. It is a lot easier to write a review of a firearm that I don’t like than one that I do. I really have nothing negative to say about the Fulton M3 Scout Carbine. It functions as it is supposed to. It isn’t picky with ammo and it shoots a very fight groups for the design. The Picatinny rail helps this old platform be relevant with today’s accessories and gives it a decidedly modern twist.
And consider the potential of the .30 Carbine. The 7.62 x 33 round is no slouch. The rifle will send a 110 grain bullet downrange at speeds approaching 2,000 FPS. Most want to compare the round to a .357, and it is an apt comparison. From an 18 inch barrel, the .357 averages similar speeds, and may match grain weight exactly (or may weigh in a bit heavier).
If you want a M1 Carbine for strictly historical nostalgia and don’t plan on shooting it very often, buy an original. If you want one that you can shoot round-after-round through and also use it as a tool, then look long and hard at the Fulton M1 Carbines. From my experience with originals, the Fulton feels, functions and shoots better than the real thing.
Test Your Marksman Skills with Long-Range Shooting
By: Dick Jones | September 1, 2014
Dick Jones won the North State Regional 1,000 Yard Championship at Camp Butner, N.C., two consecutive years. The competitive shooter relays some of the tricks, tips and considerations of high-performance long-range shooting.
I’ve been encouraged by the recent interest in long-range shooting. I enjoy almost every form of shooting, but precision position shooting has always appealed to me.
While I like the precision of benchrest competition because it involves extremely accurate rifles and ammunition, I prefer a broader kind of long-range shooting, where the skill of the shooter is more emphasized. Most of my competitive shooting career was in the field of NRA High Power, and my definition of long range might be different from someone from a different background.
In High Power, long-range shooting begins at 800 yards as part of the Palma course of fire. Mid-range shooting is done at 600 yards, and 200 and 300 yards are considered short range.
For most hunters and recreational shooters, any range beyond 300 yards is often considered long range, and this comes with good reason. Any shot at a game animal beyond 300 yards should only be attempted if the shooter has a good working knowledge of the trajectory of his rifle, and some idea of the effects of wind.
The primary reason for this is that a properly sighted-in rifle can stay within 4 inches of point of aim out to about 300 yards. In most situations, staying within 4 inches of point of aim is a reasonable goal and will suffice in most situations.
Knowing Your Zero
Beyond 300 yards, almost all rifles begin to require holdover or elevation adjustment, and the effects of the wind become much more critical. The ability to consistently make good shots at long range doesn’t require any special talent. It only requires preparation and judgment based on that preparation.
Once you’ve put the work in, there’s no excuse for not getting the elevation right. We now have range finders, ballistic calculators and even scopes with the elevation knob calibrated to the drop numbers of a specific load.
Even though all this information is quite good, there’s no substitute for actually checking the point of impact at different distances for assurances the numbers are correct. It’s been my experience that the numbers are almost always off a minute of angle or so, in most instances due to weather conditions, barrel length and other factors.
All the elevation information in the world won’t get you on target unless you can figure out what the wind is going to do to your bullet in the time it takes to get to the target.
At 1,000 yards, it takes a 180-grain Matchking from a 22-inch M1A barrel about two seconds to get to the target. By the time it gets there, my match loads were no longer supersonic, and dropped through the target with no supersonic snap. During this time, the bullet is high above the range.
Remember, to hit a target at 1,000 yards, I had to bring the sights up 38 minutes or about 34 feet. The trajectory takes the bullet even higher than this, so the wind the bullet is traveling through is not just a few feet off the ground.
When scoring and coaching at 1,000 yards, a good coach can pick up the trace of the bullet as it drops through the tree line behind the berm at Camp Butner and follow it into the target. This is a lot of exposure to wind. Miss the wind by 2 mph and you’re going to shoot an eight or seven. Miss the wind by 5 mph, and you’re off the paper with little chance of getting back on.
This all means the little wind meter you hold in your hand may not help. It only measures the wind where you’re standing, and that may be substantially different from the wind where your bullet has to pass.
On KD, or Known Distance ranges, there are normally wind flags, but the apparent angle of the flag can fool you based on your position on the range and these can be confusing. Probably the most reliable wind indicator is mirage, the refraction of light waves by heat.
Mirage indicates wind direction, speed in frequency and amplitude. I find it on average to be the most reliable way to gauge wind. Under certain conditions of low light, there can be an absence of mirage, so it can’t always be counted on.
To properly read the amplitude and frequency of the mirage, you need some sort of horizontal line to compare. I like to read the top edge of the target, provided that’s a straight edge, as it is on a KD range. At 600 yards, this is a good representation of the space where the bullet spends the most time.
Remember to read an area above the target because it will give you a more realistic reading. Ground speeds tend to be lower than higher elevations where the bullet travels. When you read mirage through a scope, do so with the scope focused at mid-range to give a better representation of strength and direction.
The common theory is that deflection at short range has more affect because it’s exaggerated by the distance, but it’s been my experience that wind deflection has about the same effect through all the bullet’s flight because when the bullet is further down range, it’s going slower and therefore more affected. In competitive shooting situations, most long-range shooters fire their shots in a very short length of time, reducing the opportunity for wind changes.
Learning to reliably read wind is time consuming, and I don’t think there’s any other way to do it but to shoot in the wind in situations where you know within seconds where your last bullet went. Until recently, the only way to do this was to shoot on a range with pit targets where someone pulls and marks your target on every shot.
Now, there are several companies who make cameras that will transmit your group to your IPad, computer screen, or Smart Phone. Most of these devices even flash or mark the last shot. This is going to make learning to read wind a lot easier for those dedicated enough to actually shoot and pay attention.
Ammunition choices for long-range shooting are different from hunting or short-range shooting. The aerodynamic characteristics of the bullet become an issue of paramount importance, since the bullet stays in the air for such a long time.
Up to about 300 yards, the shape of the bullet has little effect on trajectory. This is because the trajectory at short ranges is based on the bullet at velocities very near muzzle velocity. Once you get past 600 yards, velocity falls off drastically and the falling rate of the bullet remains the same. As an example, the 600 yard zero on my M1A .308 was just 13 minutes higher from 200 yards to 600 yards but I had to add another 28 minutes to be on at 1,000 yards.
Of course, the effects of wind are similar but quite a bit more linear. Obviously, the faster the bullet travels, the less the effect of both wind and gravity because the time of flight to the target is shorter. This is why high velocity rounds are more popular with long-range shooters.
The problem with the extreme end of high velocity cartridges is throat erosion. Most of the hyper-velocity cartridges suffer will burn the accuracy out of a good barrel in under 1,000 rounds while rounds like .308 Winchester might get as much a 5,000 rounds.
Relating to barrel life is the practice among most conventional long-range shooters of not tailoring loads to a specific barrel/rifle. With a practical barrel life of no more than 1,000 rounds, load testing in lots large enough for statistical relevance to find the best load, could possibly use up the entire life of the rifle’s barrel. The normal practice is to find a load that works well and use it without spending time on load development for a specific rifle/barrel combination.
Putting It All Together
As complicated as all this sounds, long-range shooting is still simply a matter of learning how to accomplish a task, and using that knowledge to accomplish it. No two shots are ever quite the same, and successful long-range shooting requires good skills and equipment, but it’s one of the most rewarding of all the aspects of shooting. Once you’ve put a shot exactly where you want at 1,000 yards, you’ll always remember the feeling, and if you’re like me, you’ll want to do it more than one time.
Editor’s note, this article original appeared in the March 27, 2014 edition of Gun Digest the Magazine.
Fact or Fiction: Push-Feed Rifles Won’t Cycle Reliably Upside Down
by Brad Fitzpatrick | September 16th, 2014
For several years, controlled-round-feed (CRF) rifles have been the standard for hunting dangerous game, and almost every article written on the subject makes reference to the widespread belief that CRF rifles are more reliable than their push-feed (PF) counterparts.
CRF rifles such as the Mauser 98 and the pre-’64 Winchester Model 70 offer full-length claw extractors that catch the base of the cartridge as it is removed from the magazine and hold the cartridge against the bolt face throughout the chambering, firing, extraction and ejection process. On the other hand, push-feed rifles such as the Remington 700, Weatherby Mark V and Savage 110 shove the cartridge forward into the chamber, and the small extractor doesn’t “catch” until the cartridge is chambered.
In theory, the CRF action is more secure since it has a bite on the cartridge throughout the entire process (hence the name). One of the oldest arguments against PF rifles for dangerous game is that they won’t cycle reliably when they are upside down and that the cartridge will fall out of the magazine before being chambered, a very bad scenario when you are being mauled and want nothing more than to kill the animal that’s trying to stomp, gore, bite and scratch you to pieces.
For this test, four rifles were used: two CRF (a Winchester Model 70 Safari Express in .416 Remington Magnum with a full-length extractor from the mid-1990s and a Montana Rifle Company XWR in .270 Winchester) and two PF guns (a Weatherby Mark V Dangerous Game Rifle in .375 H&H Magnum and a post-’64 Winchester Model 70 in the same caliber).
Each rifle was fired in three-shot groups from a prone position, and I rolled over on my back and worked the bolt after each shot, a long and painful experience that I don’t recommend to anyone. By the end of the day, my shoulder was aching, I’d burned up a sizable amount of money on ammunition, and I had a clear answer to the question of whether push-feed guns would cycle when they were upside down.
Before I get to the results, it’s worth mentioning that, besides their different extractors, PF and CRF rifles have very different ejectors. Both PF rifles tested used a plunger-type ejector mounted on the bolt face that forces the spent cartridge out of the action. Contrarily, CRF rifles rely primarily on a fixed blade ejector located at the rear of the action. When the bolt is drawn fully back, the cartridge strikes the blade and is catapulted out of the action. Since a spent casing that won’t eject is perfectly suited for causing a malfunction, this was as much a test of the ejectors as the extractors. When you’re dealing with dangerous game, everything has to work perfectly.
Four Tests, One Malfunction
The first rifle I tested was the CRF Model 70 .416 Remington Magnum with a classic full-length extractor. After the first shot, I rolled over, worked the bolt and saw just what I expected: The spent brass whirled away when it struck the ejector blade, and the return bolt stroke slid another massive .416 cartridge into the chamber. I fired the next shot, rolled over, and that’s when things went sour. As the bolt came back and the empty case struck the blade, it flew out past my head just as advertised, but the last loaded cartridge in the magazine did a nose dive out of the magazine and hit me squarely in the chest. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
I repeated the test three times, and in every case the last nose-heavy cartridge flopped out of the magazine, and the loaded cartridge hit me A-frame-first as the bolt came back. It was very disheartening. I’d completed one test and had one failure. Things improved with every subsequent test, and there wasn’t a single malfunction or failure to feed with any of the other rifles, push-feed included. The post-’64 .375 H&H Winchester Model 70 functioned without a hitch while being cycled upside down, and the Weatherby did exactly the same.
Both CRF rifles didn’t seem to know whether they were upside down, sideways, nose-down or in any other position. The Weatherby’s ejector was noticeably springier than the old Model 70, and it kicked the empty brass farther away from the rifle. The Montana Rifle Company XWR, another CRF gun, performed perfectly as well. The old myth suggesting that PF rifles won’t cycle upside down is just that, for both of the rifles tested that had the “less reliable” engineering performed without any problems.
That’s not to say that CRF rifles don’t have their advantages when hunting dangerous game; they prevent accidental double-feeds because the cartridge is controlled from the time it comes out of the magazine until it is sent flying by the blade extractor. Having that sizeable extractor grip the cartridge as it’s drawing out of the magazine offers considerable peace of mind. Both actions are capable of feeding upside down, though.
It should be noted that the CRF Model 70 I tested is not the same Model 70 Safari Express that is in current production. Yes, aesthetically they are the same, but the .416 I tested was made in a different factory, and the fault wasn’t that of the rifle’s action but, in my estimation, a weak magazine spring that allowed the last cartridge to slip out of position. I haven’t tested the new Model 70 Safari Express using this same method, but I believe that it would perform perfectly when cycled upside down. The sloppy spring has always been an issue with that particular .416, an affliction I’ve never noticed while testing the new version of the rifle that debuted in the late 2000s.
However, the failure in this test serves as a reminder that one small problem, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could spell trouble when dealing with dangerous game. If your life is on the line and a very large, aggressive animal is close at hand, it’s good to know whether your rifle will function reliably in a compromising position.
Learn more about hunting dangerous game in this segment of “Guns & Ammo TV,” airing Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The Sportsman Channel.
A Ruger Scout Rifle In 5.56 NATO?
By: Corey Graff | September 8, 2014
The successful Ruger Scout Rifle — originally chambered in the heavier-hitting .308 cartridge — will now be offered in 5.56 NATO, making it both a practical scout-style rifle for tactical use and a sweet varmint hunting rig.
When Ruger first rolled out its Gunsite Scout Rifle, it did so with an eye toward Jeff Cooper’s original vision for the concept, which meant it came in .308 only. But now Ruger is expanding options for the little scout gun, which will be chambered in 5.56 NATO as well.
It’ll feature a hybrid chamber that shoots both 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem. accurately and safely, they say. The rifle, which weighs in at about 7.1 lbs., features a 16.1″, 1/2-28 threaded barrel with a 1:8 twist rate, controlled round feed and is shipped with a 10-round detachable box magazine. The rifle does not accept standard AR-15 mags.
“This is a natural extension of the Gunsite Scout Rifle line,” said Gunsite Instructor Ed Head, one of the contributors to the original Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle design. “Being chambered in a lower cost, universally available caliber, and with the Ruger reputation for reliability and accuracy, this is another serious rifle for those serious about rifles,” he added.
The barrel is cold hammer-forged alloy steel with medium contour, while the receiver sports a very practical matte black oxide finish. The 1/2-28 threaded barrel comes with a Ruger flash suppressor, which can be removed in order to attach other threaded barrel accessories.
The rifle’s trigger guard and magazine well are formed of glass-reinforced nylon. The magazine release is a push-forward Mini-14 paddle-style located just ahead of the trigger guard.
A Mini-14-style protected, non-glare, post front sight and receiver-mounted, adjustable, ghost ring rear sight offer out-of-the-box usability.
Like its big brother, there’s a forward-mounted Picatinny rail so you can mount scout scopes from Burris or Leupold — for “both eyes open” fast target acquisition. However, if the scout gun configuration isn’t your cup of tea, the rifle includes Ruger M77 integral scope mounts and comes with Ruger scope rings for conventional scope use.
The weather resistant black laminate stock, with “Gunsite Scout Rifle” engraved on the grip cap, contains sling swivel studs and a checkered grip and forearm.
A soft rubber recoil pad with three 1/2″ spacers allows the length of pull to be adjusted for different shooters or to give you the proper fit with outerwear or defensive gear of varying thickness.
The little 5.56/.223 Ruger Scout Rifle promises to be an excellent multi-use rifle that’s loyal to Jeff Cooper’s vision for a fighting rifle and yet ideal for predator hunters and recreational shooters alike.
Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle
Model Number: 6824
Caliber: 223 Rem / 5.56 NATO
Stock: Black Laminate
Material: Alloy Steel
Finish: Matte Black
Front Sight: Post
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Barrel Length: 16.10″
Overall Length: 37.00″ – 38.50″
Weight: 7.10 lbs.
Length of Pull: 12.75″ – 14.25″
Twist: 1:8″ RH
Thread Pattern: 1/2″-28
Suggested Retail: $1039.00
Geoshooting: Birth of a New Sport
By: Editor James Card | September 15, 2014
Pursue your target. Track it down. Shoot it.
I was getting closer to the target. I eased off the gas and slowed down to a crawl. According to my GPS, the target was somewhere out there hiding amongst the sagebrush and juniper trees.
I edged the ATV farther along the trail, and there it was about 20 yards away. I dismounted, unholstered my pistol and crouched behind the ATV, keeping it between me and the gnome-sized steel target. I fired and hit. I holstered the pistol, took a look at the GPS screen and fired up the ATV. There were more targets to track down in the desert chaparral and the GPS would lead me to them.
The popular outdoor sport of geocaching involves getting some GPS coordinates from someone that has hidden a “treasure” out in the woods. You plug the coordinates into your GPS and set off to find the treasure. Usually it is a waterproof box where people swap some trinkets and sign and date a logbook leaving comments like, “Great hike with nice scenery” or “Sneaky spot—clever hiding place.”
The great thing about geocaching is that it gets you off the beaten path and encourages you to explore places you normally wouldn’t know even existed. The coordinates could lead you to hidden valleys, lost waterfalls or even a forgotten cemetery.
At Gunsite, the 2,000-acre firearms academy near Paulden, Ariz., Ruger firearms and Yamaha four wheelers were added to the mix. A Garmin GPS would lead you to the treasure and the treasure was the target. The satisfaction was locating and navigating to the target in the middle of the high desert and then making the shot.
Like geocaching, geoshooting can be anything the course designer dreams up. Locating the treasure/target could involve a brutal hike or pleasant walk in the woods. Anything is possible with this new, perhaps unintended, shooting sport.
The Means of Pursuit in Geoshooting
You must reach your target somehow. It could be 200 yards away or two miles. The event I attended and could be used as a geoshoot blueprint had ATVs and UTVs, and they added an element of excitement. The terrain and available space can make getting around half the fun during a geoshoot.
On foot: The simplest of all. This geoshoot could be a hike in the woods or a grueling test of endurance.
•ATV/UTV: Perfect for a geoshoot that requires you to cover lots of ground. Could be timed to test driving skills.
•Backpacker: See you in two days. The geoshooter must carry everything on his back over mountainous terrain.
•Watercraft: The GPS leads you into a dark and maze-like swamp. Pick up your paddle and hunt for the targets.
•Skis: Replicate a biathlon course where the winter snipers must stalk targets in the snowy woods.
•Snowshoes: A perfect match-up with a muzzleloader to mimic a trapper hunting through a frozen forest.
•Horseback: Obvious for cowboy-action shooters. This geoshoot could be a multi-day trail ride or a quick shoot-out.
•Snowmobile: Like ATVs, these are fun, and half the battle is keeping your eyes on the trail while looking for the target hidden in the thickets.
Prepping 101: Piecing Solar Power Systems for SHTF
by GunsAmerica Actual on September 19, 2014
This article is not for the faint of heart. Like many of the overview articles in this Prepping 101 series, the topic of solar systems is fairly simple, but you have to learn the basics to get started. With what is here you should be able to take action and get going while avoiding a huge learning curve and the pitfalls that such a complicated learning curve can entail. In our first article on solar we looked at a very simple do it yourself kit from Harbor Freight. For more than a few light bulbs, that kit is lacking the energy to do much of anything, and it doesn’t even come with a power inverter or battery. The other side of solar is the big money option. Houses are being outfitted with solar every day all over the country. With enough panels and controllers and batteries, you can run your whole house on solar for a totally off grid lifestyle. For preppers, this is not a viable plan. Part of what we are doing has to be kept a secret, because when the system breaks down, we don’t want people to know that we have food, water, radio, and even working lights. We are so outnumbered by the sleeping masses that there will be a huge dichotomy between those that have and those that don’t. A solar array attached to your roof will not only tip off your neighbors that you have stuff they don’t, it also makes you a target for any overflying aircraft who have been ordered to take out survivors “hoarding” resources.
The survival approach to solar is to build a system that will meet your needs for basic conveniences, but that also can be moved in an out of the house. I wouldn’t even put panels out for the first month of a disaster. It is just too risky.
There are two options for that. One is buy a complete “solar generator” system from a company like Earthtech Products that we linked to in the first article. I ordered this kit and added a third panel to it, to be tested in a later article. Per watt this is going to be your most expensive route, but the one that is probably least likely to fail you. It separates out the charge controller from the discharge circuit, allowing you a much higher draw with a lot of circuit protection. The problem is, you can’t expand the Earthtech system beyond a certain point, so it would have to be used modularly within the specifications supplied. As you’ll see if you read below, the actual power that you need for different applications is a little more complex than you would imagine.
The other option, and the one we are going to cover this time, is to piece together a solar system from online suppliers. It will consist of essentially the same things we found in the Harbor Freight kit, panels, charge controller, voltage inverter and batteries. For most piece together systems you will also need to buy or make connectors for all of the parts. This article came about because, as is very common on the first try, I bought some wrong stuff. I’ll explain as we go.
To start, be very careful about buying any solar gear without looking hard at the numbers. One person will advertise a system as 3,000 watts, while another seller will advertise the same product as 10,000 watts. In both cases the sellers are referring to the same inverter capacity, and one is quoting the working load while the other is capitalizing on the peak load rating. Neither of them explain how much solar power you can collect and store in the system, or how long it would take to collect it. The 3,000 watts is usually just the inverter capacity, or how much you can theoretically use at one time, subject to other limitations within the system. We are going to go over the numbers below, and don’t get lazy with this. Solar is a sea of misinformation and ongoing technology development.
There are basically two types of panels, monocrystalline and polycrystalline. I won’t bore you with the differences in how they are made. The takeaway is that monocrystalline are more efficient, so they are generally smaller for the same wattage. This is a moving target however, because pollycrystalline technology is still evolving, while monocrystalline is pretty much done. Because my panels are going to be moved in and outside, I elected to go with the smaller and less floppy monocrystalline. They also work better in higher ambient temperature, and this system is going to be used in Florida.
Panels are rated by how many watts they produce, or could produce under ideal sun at peak efficiency. Your actual results may vary, but the number is handy to compare panel to panel. The “watt” is a measure of power that is voltage neutral, because the amount of power at the 12-18 volts produced by the panel, converted to 120 volt household current, will have roughly the same watts (minus some losses in the converter). If a panel says 100 watts, that equals about 8 amps at 12 volts (8 x 12 = 96), or a little under 1 amp at 120 volts (100 amps/120 volts). Your flatscreen TV probably runs at about 200 watts, so it draws a little less than 2 amps at 120 volts. You won’t be running your TV directly from the panels, which produce DC current and not the AC that most household things run on, but that should give you a basic understanding of what you are buying in terms of power.
I am going to refer to several Ebay deals in this article, but in no way am I suggesting that you buy anything from any of these sellers. To understand the difference in mono vs. poly pricing, I found this guy who has a calculating function on his panels. You can choose mono or poly, flexible or non-flexible, and see the wattages available. Right now poly panels are running at about $1.50 a watt and mono are around $2 per watt. You can of course find exceptions. I did not buy my test panels from this guy and he doesn’t even carry the option I chose, which was to buy hard 40 watt mono panels, 5 of them, for 200 potential watts per hour. It was part of the kit that I purchased, seen here in the pictures (don’t buy this kit!). Remember this number 200 watt number as we go through the other variables.
One thing I should note is that you see I bought this kit directly from Hong Kong. His add right now has a $200 shipping cost, but many of the sellers from China include free shipping. Don’t worry about getting ripped off ordering directly from these sellers. With tens of thousands of ads every day on Ebay and millions of happy customers, there is no danger to buying these panels shipped directly from China. I have bought dozens of things directly from China, including all of this solar stuff. The guys selling in the US are just getting them from China and marking them up. If those Chinese fools are still willing to take by all rights worthless Federal Reserve banknotes in exchange for actual products, let them have the numbers on the screen. When the crash comes their dollars will be worth nothing and our panels will be making free energy.
Once you understand the concepts below, feel free to buy a package deal like I did, just don’t buy that one because the inverter is not in US current as I’ll explain below. The package deals can save you some money, but read well.
Because most of you know what a power inverter is, I’ll start with the charge controller. To review, the charge controller acts as an intermediary between your panels, your batteries, and your outgoing load (usually to a power inverter). It makes sure that the batteries are not overcharged, nor will they be allowed to reach an undercharge status that will hurt their lifespan. The charge controller is not usually expensive in the type of systems we are talking about here, and they even come with some panels. To buy the standard 30 amp controller that everyone is using is usually in the $30 range on Ebay. If you calculate 30 amps at 12 volts, that equals 360 watts. I have seen the 30 amp controller sold with up to 600 watts of panels though, because the panels never reach even close to top efficiency.
More importantly, the outgoing amps are of concern if you intend to power AC appliances with an inverter. A regular refrigerator runs at about 10 amps, at 120 volts AC. That is about 1200 watts. If the outgoing power from your batteries is being throttled at 360 from the charge controller, you won’t be able to run your fridge no matter how many battery banks you have connected or how highly your inverter is rated. When the draw exceeds 30 amps, 360 watts, it shuts off.
This is a very important key factor that you absolutely have to understand. If you connect your inverter directly to the batteries with no charge controller, you could potentially draw them all the way down and cut their life span to next to zero. If you bypass the controller, you have to either get an inverter with its own battery protection (shown below), or manually calculate the power you have stored, the power you are using, and shut the system down manually at 50% used. If you want to test this as you go, unhook the inverter and hook the charge controller back up. It will tell you the current available voltage. Don’t go below 10 volts ever.
There are charge controllers that can handle 80 amps, but even then, running the fridge just isn’t going to happen. That is the biggest difference between a conventional gas powered generator and a solar setup. The solar has limitations that just aren’t present in a gas genny, but the genny runs out of gas, and a solar setup doesn’t run out of sun. Most components with solar have years of guarantee. The panels have like 25 years. If you are going to spend money on a powerful gas genny or a long lasting solar system, for a hurricane or blizzard the gas genny is of more practical use, but in long term survival, mostly for the conveniences of life, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of a solar setup. Just understand that it is expensive to get serious capacity. Whole home solar systems can be built to run high draw applications, but again, this has to be kept on the down low, and it has to be somewhat moveable.
The most common battery for solar power storage is a 100 amp/hour lead acid deep cycle battery. They can be purchased on Ebay for just over $200 each, shipped. In a race to capture customers, these batteries are now being created with higher than 100 amp/hour capacities, but per amp/hour they seem to be the same in overall cost.
For the math, a 100 amp/hour battery is 100 amps at 12 volts, per hour. That is 1200 watts/hours, so theoretically, if you want to deplete the battery not under 50% of charge, you can draw 600 watts for an hour from this battery, or 300 watts for 2 hours, or one 60 watt lightbulb for 10 hours, or five 15 watt LED light bulbs for 10 hours. This is why I tell people to take small solar with a grain of salt as to how much it can really accomplish, especially in those long grey winters of New England and many other parts of the country. On a grey day your panels are only going to be running about about 20% efficiency. There will be super sunny days that you might be able to do a load of laundry or cook with your induction burner, but there will also be weeks on end that you will be lucky to keep the lights on at night.
Most people will daisy chain several batteries together for more capacity in those times when the sun isn’t shining. You do this by connecting them in parallel, all the positive terminals connect to each other and all the negatives connect to each other. This will keep the whole system at a 12 volt output and simply multiply the amp hours stored in the system. Theoretically you can connect as many batteries as you want in this fashion, but I haven’t tried more than 4 at a time.
This is the opposite of connecting the batteries in series, which means positive to negative. When you connect in series, you add the voltages and halve the amp/hours. Therefore, if you want to run a system at 24 volts, 36 volts, 48 volts, etc., you would connect 2, 3, 4 batteries in series. Then, to extend the amp hours at that voltage, you would connect those arrays in parallel. It sounds complicated but it isn’t. Neg to neg and pos to pos you add the amp hours and the voltage stays the same. Neg to pos you add the voltages and cut the amp/hour rating in half.
I went out on something of a limb for this article series and spent a good deal on money on Lithium Ion batteries to test as an alternative to lead acid. After considerable research I discovered that LiFePO4 Li-Ion batteries are the best solution for long term power storage with a constant charge and drain cycle. They are made for abusive high draw conditions and hold top voltage for longer in their discharge cycle, up to 80% draw. This is really important for things like radios and expensive power inverters that balance the entire circuit on a constant voltage. If you wish to read a Powerpoint presentation on the differences between LiFePO4 and other types of Li-Ion, the BatterySpace.com website, where I bought mine, has a very good overview here.
I bought four 100 amp/hour LiFePO4 batteries at a cost of over $600 each from BatterySpace. As a comparison, for $2400 I could have bought a dozen lead acid batteries, so I don’t know if it was wise or not. My feeling is that until you try them, you don’t know. But I do know that people who take this seriously spend the money on the Li-Ion, so take it for what is worth. As you can see on the BatterySpace page, they make LiFePO4 packs that are up to 200 amp/hours, and they do it the same way I described above, with 3.2 volt arrays. Each cell is 3.2 volts, so 4 of them in one pack, connected neg to pos, is 12.8 volts in series. You can then daisy chain them in series for higher voltage and less amp hours, or in parallel for more amp hours at 12.8 volts. These batteries are created for high draw applications, so Battery Space developed their own load balancing 100 amp circuit board that can be hooked to their cells. I just spoke to the tech department there and was told that you only need this under high draw conditions. If you plan to run less than 30 amps in discharge, he said that a regular charge controller should work. Their PCM board is a high end optimization to give the battery perfect even charging of the cells so they last longer. Think electric cars. That’s what it is for. Their 100 amp high end charge controller is individually wired to each 3.2 volt cell, and he said you can run those in parallel and just buy one PCM, but it isn’t plug and play by any means.
This LifePO4 was a rabbit hole I maybe shouldn’t have gone down, so you have to do some of your own research if you plan to go this route as well. I personally have had a lot of lead acid batteries go south on me over the years before their rated time that I thought the Li-Ion battery was safer long term. I am probably right, but there is a lot to learn. You should note that the life cycle of these batteries is listed as 1000 cycles (80% of initial capacity @ 0.2C rate), which means that they will go three years being quickly recharged and drawn down 80% every day for three years. On low drain survival stuff, how long? Indefinitely?? That was my thinking.
By now most of us have had some interaction with a power inverter of some type. Walmart will sell you a basic 12 volt to 120 volt adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter of your car and that can run your laptop. Inverters for solar are not really that much more than that, except that they are generally bought for higher capacity, and they are made of better materials in a better design. I can’t explain to you what the sine wave characteristics all mean, but there is clearly an entirely different class of inverter for running a serious system. And they aren’t cheap.
Inverters are generally sold by watts. The larger inverters you will find at auto parts stores and even Costco generally don’t go past 600 watts, and they may or may not have the sine wave properties of the really heavy duty devices. From solar suppliers, and on Ebay, you’ll find inverters that stretch up to 15,000 watts, with peak power numbers to 60,000 watts. There are levels of technology that apply to these devices, so don’t rush into buying anything. I made a bad mistake when I bought my first solar kit on Ebay because I didn’t notice that the inverter had an output of 240 volts at 50 hertz. That is European voltage. In the US, our stuff runs on 120 volts at 60 hertz, and though you can step down the voltage, you can’t change the cycle rate. 50 hertz will damage most motors that are set up for 60 hertz, so that inverter is nearly useless here.
Recently I found this seller on Ebay that has what seem to be the most advanced inverters of today. If you read through the ad, he shows you all of the terminals and connections, and in broken English explains that the inverter also contains a battery backup function, and that you can use it to charge your batteries from wall socket AC, similar to the EarthTech generator mentioned above. If you buy one of the high power ones, that means you can you leave your refrigerator connected to it and plug it into both the wall and your solar powered battery array. It will automatically fail over to your batteries when the power goes out. Then when the power comes back on it automatically switches back. It also will make sure that your batteries are charged from the wall current even if the solar hasn’t filled them yet.
This battery backup function is probably why his inverters can handle such high peak loads. As he explains in the ad, most appliances, especially those with heater coils and motors, require a giant spike of wattage to get going. Some motors even have a special capacitor on the side that they use to help the motor get turning, and that is essentially what the internal battery is on these inverters. They can punch through a burst of wattage without damaging the toroid transformer inside. Cool stuff. They also have a battery low light, which is helpful if you are using high drain appliances and you haven’t had any good sun for a few days. As explained above, you won’t be able to use a regular charge controller for things like the refrigerator or your well pump, but you could use this inverter. If you want to spend the big bucks, in excess of $1,500, and get up into the huge wattages, you’ll need to run your system at 48 volts. I don’t intend to run anything big so I stayed at 12 volts in, and that limited me to an 8,000 watt inverter. My guess is that the larger units require so much throughput that the cabling would be too big to be manageable, the subject of which we will get to next.
If you can only afford an inverter that is $500, please compare all of your options at that price to this guy I have linked to who is advertising 2014 technology. As you can see from his ad, he shows you the improvements that have been made just in the last year, and in the years before. I included the swimsuit hottie picture here to show you what to stay away from. Read the specs on the other sellers who are selling that visibly look like the same inverters. They have much lower power ratings. The swimsuits are meant to hide the fact that I think they are liquidating old stocks of old technology.
My humble suggestion, and one that I plan to follow myself, is to depend on solar power as little as possible, and at 120 volts even less than that. Several smaller high quality inverters are going to be better than one big one, because if the transformer fails in one, you could always steal one away from another task to go run the radio for an hour or whatever. These high end inverters use toroid transformers, which are in a donut shape. They are much more reliable and resilient that a traditional transformer, but they still do fail. The mosfet controller chips are even more prone to failure, and if you read the docs on the unit, they are only rated for several years of use. Notice in this guy’s ad that the important parts are not made in China. It is weird that a Chinese guy would be say that they get their mosfets from Germany so that they are high quality. I linked to this guy and purchased from him because he seems to be at the front of the pack. But at the end of the day, your inverter is the biggest failure point of a solar system, period.
And again, note that with big powerful inverters like the one I just bought, you can’t run your charge controller between the inverter and your batteries. There has to be a direct connection because most charge controllers can’t handle this much outgoing wattage. Be careful with running too much draw on the whole system. This is not a technology that has been tested under fire. Their primary customer is the construction industry, not preppers, though we are catching up.
Connections and Wiring
The good news about wiring is that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. My “kit” didn’t come with any wiring so initially I did my own research as to what gauge wire I needed to run my system, then I went and bought it at Home Depot. but when I opened up the back of my panels I realized that there was a standard connector for which they are made. It is called an MC4 connector, and they are weatherproof. Most people seem to run negative and positive as male and female on their systems. This is what I am doing because I can just buy pre-made cables and cut them in half to connect to the charge controller. I also got lucky that they sell a 5 way parallel connector, as I happen to have 5 panels, so I was able to get two of these connectors and 10 short cables, plus one long cable to to back and forth from inside to the connectors and I’m all set for the panel to inverter connection. You can also buy the wire in rolls and the connectors separate, but you need to also get the right cabling tool for MC4. It is all available on Ebay of course.
What surprised me most is that the wire gauge used in most of the cabling seems to be one or two sizes bigger than you need. I don’t know if it is just because the cables tend to be out in the sun so you don’t want them to get any hotter than they need to be, or if one person at the beginning just decided to go a size up and it just stayed that way. If you do the math, even a 160 watt panel is only putting out 13 amps of current, and if you look at the wire rating chart, you wouldn’t need 12 gauge wiring unless you were going 50 feet with it. Yet most of the solar is 10 gauge. So if you do plan to make your own connections, be aware that the standard may be a little fatter than you would think from regular ratings charts.
The cabling between batteries is still a complete mystery to me so I’m still going to do what everyone else does. It appears that most people use 2 gauge wire with heavy connectors between the batteries, even though according to the chart, you can run 40 amps 3 feet using 16 gauge wire. That’s like 500 watts, which is a lot of juice to begin with. Even if you were going to say maybe 6 gauge, just to be safe, but 2? I don’t know. It is definitely a topic for more research. There seems to be a lot of crossover between welding cable and golf cart cable and solar cable. Size 6 wire in less than one foot increments between the paralleled or series connected batteries should be fine.
What Can You Run?
Now that you are starting to understand the components in a modest solar setup, you should be able to do basic math as to what kinds of things you can run using what equipment you can afford. I was in an electronics and appliance store today and walked around turning things over to see how many watts they take to run. A 46″ flatscreen is only about 250 watts. A slow cooker is only 250 watts. But an electric burner that you can use to fry with is 1,000 watts or more. Even induction burners run to 1,500. A can opener is surprisingly 1,000 watts and a washing machine is 500 to 700 watts. Your home refrigerator is probably about 10 amps, or 1200 watts, and your cable box and home computer are usually not more than 200 watts.
As you can see, a basic solar system with several batteries could bring a lot of comfort to a mandatory off the grid life. Being able to watch movies, use the washing machine, even being able to run a vacuum cleaner once in a while will bring a lot of convenience to life. Basic cooking can be done with solar periodically if you can store the power, and every sunny day that goes by is yet more free power that you might as well use. Solar power is pricey and not for the light of heart or the mentally lazy, but if you got this far in the article, you aren’t mentally lazy and you probably have done your homework to see that some sort of collapse is extremely probable. Let’s hope it never happens and we just use our solar when we can’t get campsites that have electric hookups for our RVs. That’s as off the grid as I ever want to be, but I am prepared if the need should arise. Once you understand the way the numbers work with solar, the hardware is just a matter of budget, but I hope you at least don’t make the mistakes that I made. Anyone want to buy a 50 hertz inverter? They won’t let me send it back to China.
Prepping 101: Solar Generator Basics – Harbor Freight Kit Review
by GunsAmerica Actual on June 11, 2014
It boggles my mind when someone proudly exclaims that they are free from worry should a disaster strike, because “I’ve got a generator!” That’s great for a hurricane or a blizzard, but what are you going to do if there is a real collapse and your fuel runs out? Did you, in fact, just waste a whole bunch of fuel, which you could have used for cooking for the foreseeable future, to keep a week’s worth of food cold in the fridge? Gas, diesel and propane generators are a complete waste of time in a survival scenario. The only real long-term reality for anything electric is solar, and maybe wind if you live in a windy place. We’ll get to wind generators in a future article, but most of the fundamental concepts that apply to solar apply 100% to wind as well. We decided to use a very basic $189 solar kit from Harbor Freight to explain the basics of solar, and it is also a really cheap place to start.
What stops people from getting into solar is a complete confusion over the components you need and how much electricity you get out of those components. Deceptive online solar stores throw big numbers around, like 5,000 watts, similar to what you’d get from a small gas generator, but even lower numbers like 1500 watts can be deceptive. Watts, amps, volts! It can all be very confusing. When you try to figure out how much electricity the kit makes, the numbers can bog you down.
The electrical measure of the “watt” is the most convenient capacity measurement of electricity because it is always the same regardless of the voltage, and this is important because solar panels produce 12-18 volts. Household current is 115-120 volts, and it is a different kind of current than what is produced by the panels. Solar panels produce direct current, or DC, and your microwave, refrigerator and lights run on alternating current, or AC. The other term you’ll hear is “amps,” but amps change as voltage changes, as I’ll explain. Anything given to you in amps can easily be converted to watts.
Wait, don’t let your eyes glaze over at the boring details! You get watts very simply by multiplying voltage x current, measured in amps. So 12v x 1 amp is 12 watts. 120v x 1 amp is 120 watts. As you can see, when it comes to power consumption or generation, amps can be apples and oranges, depending on the voltage. Buying solar can be confusing because both amps and watts are used for many of the components, so you find yourself having to do the math in your head to try to figure out what you are actually buying.
The solar panels. – We all know what these are, but they come in tons of different shapes and sizes. A solar panel is usually rated in watts, and they produce usually between 12-18 volts. So if a panel is 12 volts, and you see it advertised as a 50 watt panel, that means that at peak production and optimal output it produces roughly four amps… at 12 volts. If you look at the back of your 50-inch flatscreen TV, it will probably say that it uses 250 watts, but remember, that is at 120 volts. So it uses roughly two amps. See, this can be confusing. If they were the same voltage, the panel could power the TV set’ but in real life it only provides about 1/5th of the power required. In practice, panels don’t run at full rating almost ever, so more likely, in order to power the TV for one hour, the solar would have to work at partial power for a full day. That is why all solar system have a storage battery, or batteries. The battery allows you to collect up electricity from the sun, then use it for higher drain devices.
There are, for the record, two types of solar panels, single crystalline silicon, polycrystalline, and amorphous. Generally the single is thought to be better, then the poly, then the amorphous. The single produces the most power for their size. Then the poly, and the amorphous are the largest for how much power they provide. But amorphous panels tend to give you more power under non-direct sunlight.
The poly Harbor Freight panels are rated at 15 watts each. There is a note in the directions that for the first four months of service, polycrystalline panels often lose 20% of their input power. Combined, the system is rated at 45 watts. I doubt that in full sunshine it hits 30 watts, so if you want to watch the big flatscreen, it’ll probably take you several days of full sun to store enough power for one hour. Small TVs use less power of course, but you get the point. Panels can be wired in parallel for more juice, and that is what most kits will do for you. This kit comes with a three-way splitter with internal parallel wiring for the three 15w panels.
The batteries. – All batteries are not created equal. I’m sure you have heard of deep cycle, or marine batteries. These are meant for long-term storage of electricity, where you might not come back to use the battery for a while. They will lose their charge slower than your average car battery, but they are still not the ideal battery for solar applications. The solar stores sell batteries that are rated in amp/hours. Harbor Freight sells a 35 amp/hour battery for $69.99, but I chose to buy 100 amp/hour batteries from a proper solar company for about $250 each. They are rated to last 10 years, and I am in no way endorsing them, because I have only tried them for function as of yet. We also bought some Lithium Iron Phosphate(LiFePO4) batteries to try as well, but they are $600 each for the same 100 amp/hours. This is still a relatively new technology and the 12.8v battery is really 4 cells strapped together. We will be back with a full review of both of these batteries in the future.
◾The charge controller. – This is a piece of gear that many people overlook, and it is one of the reasons why starting with the Harbor Freight System is so useful. The charge controller that comes with this small system controls both the inflow and outflow of current. If the battery is fully charged, the charge controller cuts the electricity off coming from the panels so as not to damage the battery. If you are using the electricity from the battery and the voltage drops too low, the charge controller cuts off the current going out, so as not to permanently damage the battery by draining it too low.
Charge controllers are rated in amps, which you would assume means that they can handle their rating both in and out. The Harbor Freight charge controller that comes with this system is rated at four amps (at 12 volts=48 watts). My refrigerator runs at 10 amps (at 115 volts=1100 watts), so even if I had a lot of batteries and panels to support that much electricity, this charge controller wouldn’t work. For charging phones and tablets, and running 12v fluorescent and LED lights, it is fine though. The kit actually comes with a multicharger, ports for 3v, 6v, 9v and USB, plus two sockets for included 12v lights. Harbor Freight sells a 30amp controller, but at 12 volts (360 watts), that will not even power the fridge. I put the 250-watt TV on this controller just to see what would happen, and it did clip the power so that the TV couldn’t run. The same inverter, directly connected to the battery, powered the TV for several hours.
The power inverter. – When you see an advertisement for “3000 Watts” or any high number in a solar power system, usually they are referring to how large a power converter comes with the system. As you can see from the pictures, I paired the Harbor Freight system with a 400 watt converter that I bought at BJ’s, but it is way overkill for this solar setup. At 12 volts, it would need the 30 amp controller at least. The power inverter merely takes DC power and turns it into AC, while upping the voltage from 12 volts to 120 volts. You have probably used a similar inverter in your car to power a laptop, and many cars have them built in these days. The difference between that inverter and an inverter meant for solar is the capacity. I was not able to power a really butch Dell laptop from my car’s inverter, and its power pack only ran 1.3 amps, which is under 150 watts. Inverters get expensive in the high numbers. There are some very expensive electronics and cooling elements when you get up into high-power handling.
Also note that you don’t absolutely need an inverter if you plan in advance to use 12-volt lights and appliances. This is a good idea, because an inverter is just a transformer, and transformers as a rule eventually fail. If there is one point of possible failure in a solar system, it is in the inverter. And having a backup isn’t always the answer. You could blow your inverter without realizing that you have a short in an appliance, then burn another one right after it. The answer is 12-volt lights and appliances, and we hope to cover that in a future article.
Ebay has become a clearinghouse for solar. You can buy kits or individual components, and there are very good buys on brand name bulk components. For instance, you can buy 16 100amp/hour batteries for $3199, shipped nationwide. Just remember that your charge controller has to be able to handle your outflow, the same as your inverter. Make sure you look at the numbers on all the stuff you are getting. Just because something is sold as a package doesn’t mean the components go together.
This Harbor Freight system is not totally pathetic. For the money, it isn’t a very expensive way to keep your home lit indefinitely once the power goes out for the foreseeable future. Most small laptops run in the 60 watt range, so this system would probably keep up with them. You can’t get into a solar system for much cheaper than this, plus the cost of the battery. This system is underpowered for most household devices and isn’t worth an inverter. But if you managed to charge up your battery over the course of a week or so, you could always skip the charge controller and put the inverter directly on the battery. Just do the math so you don’t use much more than half the amp/hours.
What can you power with solar? That depends on how many square feet you have to put your panels, and how much money you want to spend. You won’t be able to heat your house in the north, or cool your house in the south with solar, unless you plan to spend tens of thousands and make your house stand out like a signal mirror to passing aircraft (no thanks). You also probably can’t count on solar to cook your food, or run your washing machine. There are 12-volt small refrigerator freezers though, and don’t discount the value of lights. If you had to decide between $250 worth of flashlight batteries or this system and the $70 35 amp/hour battery, I would choose the latter. In our next installment of solar, we’ll be testing a much more robust system in the 1800 watt range. Summer is here and hopefully it will mean a lot of sunshine, if Yellowstone doesn’t erupt of course. Gulp.
Prepping 101: Radio Communications – When TV, Radio & Internet Go Dark
by GunsAmerica Actual on August 31, 2014
As you probably have surmised by now, this column is really about taking a global collapse seriously. Radio communication is one subject that I find taken for granted in most of the internet press and supermarket survival magazines, but if you don’t understand the basics of what radios can be used for what types of communications, and go out and actually buy them, you will truly leave yourself in the dark when all of the standard communications go down.
The serious preppers out there have this stuff down, and this is why it is taken for granted in the enthusiast pubs, but if you are starting from no knowledge at all, this is a brief overview of simple radios you can buy, then go learn how to use. There is a whole world of private communications evolving out there, unbeknownst to the general populace. Many of the radios I link to here in the article have hundreds of watchers on Ebay. Get into the communications game as quickly as you can, because like everything else here, ten years early is better than one day late. What disaster movie have you ever seen that didn’t hinge at some point on “getting the radio working.” To get it working, you have to know how to work it.
Just to back up a bit, because not everyone has the money required to go buy a real radio, at the very basic least you should have a solar powered and crank emergency radio. Good ones that really work well can be found on Amazon and Ebay for as little as $30. This will at least give you access to the local TV and radio stations, as well as emergency bands. Barring a total conflagration, something like a nuclear confrontation that may or may not be survivable anyway, systems in the US should come back online and communications will be an absolute priority for those who will restore them. If you are hunkered down eating your freeze dried food and playing dominoes, you’ll have plenty of time to monitor radio stations and TV hoping for good news.
Don’t believe those who say that the internet will never go down, because it was created for the military (by Al Gore of course lol) to survive a nuclear attack. To some degree that fact is true. Internet computers don’t need a central server to connect to each other. Each ISP keeps a copy of internet locations and can connect directly over the IP protocol to another computer. That works, however, only if the ISP servers have power, and the routers in between ISPs have power. At most, those stations have 60 days of backup power, and that is assuming that the people are there to start up the generators and make sure everything transitions smoothly. Murphys Law is always going to apply in what may be the perfect storm. Assume no internet, even if you have your own source of electricity.
Likewise the cellphone network. Your phone is actually a radio, and a very good one. But cell phones are underpowered, and they are made to connect only to proprietary networks. The cell tower transmits your signal over land and satellite lines to other phones. As a radio, your phone is useless, and the cell towers and networks will of course go down.
If you are among those of us who feel that the police are militarizing themselves to round up the troublemakers once “expanded police powers” (ie. Martial Law) take effect, you have to assume that you may be fighting an organized force. In areas of the country where the police are actual patriots and would refuse to fire on Americans, you, and they, may have to contend with UN troops. As this 2010 Youtube video shows, looking down at at airstrip in Jacksonville, Florida, the paddy wagons that say UN on the side are in country and ready to go. Is it smart to fight these guys? No way! Hide! But if there is no choice, one thing that any infantry man or SWAT cop will tell you is that communications are key.
We will get to more advanced radios below, but the problem with good radios that can pick and choose frequencies is that they are expensive. If you have ten adults in your survival group, buying 1 radio for each could get into the thousands (though there is a $40 radio below). For that reason, I suggest a simple 16 channel radio radios I found called the BeoFang BS-888S. It transmits in the 400-470mhz range and I have found them to be very reliable, and strong enough for “around the neighborhood” contact, provided you don’t live in a neighborhood with concrete block houses. All radios don’t like cement. The nice thing about these radios is that they can be bought on Ebay for… drum roll please… as little as $15 each. These radios are 5 watts, and can be compared to Motorola radios costing 5 to 10 times as much.
All About Radios (not really)
Once you get beyond a simple channel radio, including standard CB radios, it becomes a rabbit hole. Once you go down it, there really is no bottom. This is the realm of “Amateur Radio” otherwise known as “Ham Radio.” Why it is called Ham nobody seems to know. Amateur Radio has a huge presence on the web, and you can get a lot of great information for free. But I strongly suggest that you start with the book I bought, Ham Radio for Dummies. The dummies moniker has become a marketing term at this point, and the book is extremely substantive. It explains the basics of Ham talk, and all of the ways that Hams communicate with each other these days.
Amateur Radio covers a span of several frequency blocks in the overall spectrum. You can download a chart of the spectrum at the NTIA website in PDF. The green blocks are Amateur. Frequency blocks are in great demand for a huge array of services, and the Amateur Radio community has had to lobby and fight to keep these blocks over the last decade as wireless communications have exploded. They do that by offering free emergency services help to FEMA and other Federal and state agencies. During the major hurricanes of 2005, Katrina and Wilma, the Hams were the first to be able to get emergency services into the correct locations. Hams take great pride in being part of the government emergency management system, and that has plusses and minuses.
To License or NOT to License
A real Ham station is a powerful communications tool, and therefore it is strictly controlled. You may not “broadcast” on Amateur Radio, even with a license, and there are licensing requirements as to which frequencies you are allowed to communicate on and what methods of communication you may use. It is apparently OK to listen without a license. The licensed Hams who clicked into this article are not going to like that this topic is even covered in this manner, because by and large they are proud to be rule followers by nature. The world of Amateur Radio is controlled by a volunteer organization called the American Radio Relay League, or ARRL. Without them there would be no Amateur frequencies these days. They are the principle lobby group, and by following the rules and getting in good with the government they have retained the ability of civilians to use powerful international radios on set frequency blocks.
There are three tests, and three license grades. The tests are administered by ARRL volunteers. The first test, called the Technician, allows you to use only VHF and UHF frequencies, except for being able to speak and use Morse Code on the 30mhz band, but nothing below that. The next test up, General, allows you to move to the below 30mhz band, the HF bands. Those are the frequencies that you can bounce off the ionosphere and talk to people in Japan. The next license after that allows you to use the more advanced communication tools, including satellite repeaters. Licensing information and a class locator can be found on the ARRL website.
The problem with licensing is that the tests have gotten way out of hand. If you are only interested in Amateur Radio for survival purposes and don’t have a ton of time to spend learning obscure radio jargon and technology that you will never use, it puts the licenses out of reach. In today’s day and age there is no need to be able to take apart and solder back together your radio, or to even know the definitions of electrical components. Likewise, complex antenna theory is not something you really need to know when you can just ask the guy who sells antennas to give you the one you need, and the filters and components to go along with it. The Hams have really just put a huge bar to entry so that their radios don’t have a lot of people jabbering on them. Sadly, most Hams are just old men with nothing else to do. There are young people involved that have been tutored by their parents and grandparents, but they didn’t have to wait to use the radio until they learned all the stuff! It is my opinion that the Hams have shot themselves in the foot by making the fun stuff hard to reach. The hobby has been shrinking for decades and even though there has been a resurgence because of the preppers, few of them will turn into true enthusiasts should the world not actually melt down.
By far the biggest question as to license or not license is if you are of draft age. A war is coming. Even the deepest sleeping sheeple among us see that by now, and when that war comes there may be a draft. Radio men are going to be in big demand, and if you are licensed by the FCC, you will get a knock at your door first. If there is a complete collapse, FEMA may show up at your door to commandeer your equipment. A radio station is a valuable asset, and your name will be on the government list of where they can find one that works and that has someone who knows how to use it.
I personally am going to get licensed, because I’m a nerd and they are coming for me anyway when the SHTF. I found a really cool book on Amazon called simply the Complete Study Guide, but it is a trick book. The tests, you see, are taken from a pool of questions that are made available to the public. His book only shows you the correct answers, so you can sight study them and recognize the correct answers on the tests. The pool of questions changes every couple years for each of the three tests, so make sure if you read this article in the future that you have the right book.
Buying Your First Radio
This is one of those questions where “what’s your budget” has to be the first question. Real Ham radios can be had for as little as $40. The BoeFang UV-5R works great and has all the features you need to get started with a Technician license. It has two send/receive frequencies, so you can use public “repeaters” to get a signal much stronger and further than you could normally get with your radio alone. A small 5 watt radio like the UV-5R can reach out to satellites, but you need to use an external antenna, which I’ll get to.
One step up from that is the Wouxon KG-UVD1P. It has certain features that, once you get acquainted with how repeaters work, you’ll probably want. You can usually find them in the $100 or under range, and they likewise cover the UHF and VHF bands. There are other small radios out there, and as this article ages new ones will emerge, so do some research before you buy. At this level of radio you can’t do much better than these two, but remember, they rely on repeaters to span distances longer than line of sight. Those repeaters will go down.
If you plan to go the full licensing route, but you don’t know when you will do it, I strongly suggest that you buy a radio sooner rather than later that can reach the 10-30mhz range. These are the where the long range Hams reside, and it is where, in a survival situation, you will be able to hear news from across the country and across the globe. The problem is, if you buy a radio from a US seller they will block the frequencies that you are not licensed to use. I found a seller on Ebay that has great feedback and sells unblocked radios direct from Greece. These radios will also allow you to listen to police and fire channels that are blocked on the US radios as well. You can still only speak on the amateur bands, but absolutely do not do so unless you are properly licensed.
Not one word. Because though you may not know it, you are surrounded by Hams. Some very famous people are Hams, and Hams in general are a government boot licking lot. If you speak without giving a proper call sign, one that can be verified online, your local Hams will easily triangulate you and report you to the FCC. Don’t try to fake it. They know their game and they will rat you out. Unless you are licensed, absolutely do not say a word on the air. In a disaster, don’t think this rule doesn’t apply. The Hams cherish their ability to help FEMA and other government agencies, and they don’t want you on their repeaters and frequencies when they can use them in service of Big Brother. In a complete collapse, for a “is anybody out there”type of scenario, your radio will be there for you, and you’ll be able to listen to the chatter from whatever your antenna can pick up.
If you decide to go with a base station and really build a radio station, radios are available on Ebay every day, and at severely discounted prices. Just remember, if it is too good to be true, it isn’t true. Plan to pay $400-$5,000 depending on the unit, the condition, the guarantee that comes with it, and many other factors. The absolute best website to check what each model does is available on EHam.net. I bought a perfectly new working base station on Ebay for $2,000 that new is over $5,000. More importantly, I was able to check on dozens of Ebay radios to see what each did better than the others. When you buy a used radio it is generally from an experienced Ham, and unlocked.
By far, the biggest bang for your buck with radio is how much you put into your antenna. If you decide to buy a hand held, by all means consider upgrading to a better antenna for it. If you buy a mobile, make sure you put a high up antenna at your bugout location, in addition to your travel antenna. The higher your antenna the better, which is why many Hams have backyard towers that actually require zoning approval.
Radio waves can only travel line of sight, except in the 10-30mhz bands that can be bounced off the ionosphere at certain times of day. Radio waves do not bend, and the earth is round, so eventually all radio waves bottom out on the curvature of the earth. If you do the math, that means that a 6 foot tall person at ground level talking to another 6 foot person at ground level can talk about about 7 miles, provided the radios have enough power and nothing is in the way. So when you see radios that say they reach out to 20 miles and more, it is complete baloney. We are all slaves to the physics of radio waves, and that means that your antenna has to be up high, and it has to be tuned to the frequency you are trying to reach.
That subject is yet another rabbit hole that I won’t go far into. I will instead direct you to what seems to be the leader in antenna engineering and sales, DX Engineering. An antenna has to be the correct length for the signal that you are trying to pick up and transmit. That size is usually a percentage of the size of the wave. So when you see hear a Ham say they are on the “2 meter band” (150mhz), that means how big is the wave for that frequency. The antenna for that frequency will be a fraction of that, either 1/2 or 1/4, or 2 meters itself. DX Engineering has several rudimentary antennas in the $200 range that cover several bands on one antenna. You can also see these on public cellphone towers that have been licensed by independent parties. They work fine, but they aren’t for reaching out to far away places, or “DX’ing” as they say in the radio game. For that you need to spend more, and you should read up and speak to the retailer as well.
For handhelds, I found a great cheap antenna on Ebay that you can mount on your roof and that will more than triple your ability to reach out. You buy 5′ of PVC from Home Depot and encase the antenna yourself using the 3/4″ PVC caps they send you. It’s only $30, and make sure you order the Ham version not the commercial version. I have not been able to compare this antenna head to head with the DX antennas, but it was published in the ARRL magazine as a new and successful antenna idea.
Just be aware, when it comes to a survival setup and a radio antenna, public knowledge that you have a long distance radio may become an issue. The government may try to snag it. Your neighbors may want to try to contact places where their distant families reside. All kinds of unwanted interaction with other humans could occur because someone sees your antenna. I don’t have an easy answer for this and am trying to figure something out myself, so please leave suggestions in the comments if you have addressed this issue yourself already.
Ham radios are a lot like guitar amps. A one watt guitar amp is really loud through a 4×12 cabinet, and a 5 watt handheld Ham works really good with a high mounted antenna. I personally did buy a 100 watt base station, but only because I hope to do Ham as a cool old guy hobby (my grandfather was a Ham). If you intend to build a genuine, worldwide, “is anybody out there” station, you are going to need to learn a lot of material, and hopefully get some help from an existing Ham. There are a ton of resources online, but you will save yourself a lot of research time with that Dummies book, and the reviews of radios at EHam. Just remember that everyone starts from zero, and you will learn and relearn and eventually get to where you want to be.
Even if the world doesn’t end, Amateur Radio is a lot of fun, and they could use some younger people in there who weren’t raised to be government boot lickers. Just beware that for now, when you are interacting with Hams that could help you a great deal, don’t overdue it with the “conspiracy” stuff or try to explain to them that things are not going as well as they hear on Fox News. Just take what you can and leave the rest. Radio is hard stuff, and a lot of it, sidebands and whatnot, is really confusing. An hour with an expert will be worth dozens of hours online. And have fun. Fun is good while we can still have it.
Prepping 101: Survival Medicine
by GunsAmerica Actual on August 3, 2014
It is almost laughable when you hear people say “I don’t want to survive in whatever world is left after the collapse.” I promise you that every one of them will be singing a different tune when they are wasting away from thirst and hunger. “I don’t want to die like this!” That is what they are going to be saying. You can bet on it. That also goes for injuries and sickness. Nobody is going to say “Nah, don’t try to stop the bleeding! Don’t give me antibiotics to get rid of my Malaria! I really don’t want to live anyway since the world is so crappy now. Go help someone else.” Nobody wants to die when the time comes. Nobody.
That is why it is vital to include medical supplies in your Prepping 101. You can’t prepare for everything, but don’t let that vapor lock you into inaction. Your medical kit can be simple or it can be elaborate, but being able to stop the bleeding on an open wound is an absolute must. I have researched making your own kit versus buying a stocked kit and my answer is, do both. It is good to start with a stocked kit, and if you search Amazon or, for a huge array of choices, Ebay for “trauma bag,” you’ll see a good price versus what you get comparison. Per item, you pay a little more for a stocked kit, but it gives you little things that you wouldn’t think to buy on your own.
Adding to your basic kit is really up to you. I personally added a whole bunch of stuff using Ebay. There is a “Medical Instruments category, and you can find really anything in there that you would see in an emergency or operating room. Forceps, tweezers and scissors are going to be absolutely required in any trauma situation. Small kits of all of these things go for under $20, shipped. Also search Ebay for “trauma bandages” and you’ll find that surplus battlefield bandages are plentiful and cheap. Add to your kit some zip ties of varying sizes, some duct tape, and make sure you have a stethescope and blood pressure cuff. They are available on Ebay and Amazon in the $50 range and they work great. Taking blood pressure is a big part of triage, trying to figure out if someone is going to make it or not.
This is why I also can’t suggest strongly enough to immediately purchase the book that has the same title as this article, “Survival Medicine.” It covers how to triage and diagnose most common health issues that would happen in a collapse, and it will give you a wealth of knowledge that nobody is going to be able to help you with once this thing goes down. It also has an extensive “for further reading” if you want to invest in a medical library. Even medical doctors haven’t seen a fraction of what might come up in a survival situation. Get a doctor on your survival team if you can, but even if you can’t, should a doctor show up, they can’t do anything with some reference material, and some basic tools.
Fighting Infection & Disease – Antibiotics, Anti-Malarials, Etc.
There is a massive control grid in the United States that feeds the medical industry our money. You can’t get a simple antibiotic for your kid’s ear infection without paying through the nose to see a doctor, or getting yourself on the hook for hundreds of dollars a month for insurance. Obamacare has made the system worse, not better, and we are all going to be on the hook for big insurance and medical bills for the foreseeable future. You can’t just stock up on antibiotics you might need without a prescription. If you want antibiotics on hand to stop infections from wounds, to treat diseases caused by contaminated water, or just regular life sicknesses, you really need to find an alternate route.
Fortunately, you can buy common multi-purpose antibiotics without a prescription. There are two ways. One is to purchase fish antibiotics. Believe it or not, the same drug you absolutely can’t get for yourself is available free and easy for your fish. If you just Google “fish mox” you’ll see many websites like http://www.fishmoxfishflex.com/ come up, all selling Amoxicillin, Metronidazolle, Erythromycin and many other antibiotics legally and directly to the public. The antibiotics given to animals are exactly the same as those given to people. Is it unfair? Yes. Our medical system is corrupt to its core. But from a Prepping 101 standpoint, at least you can get something.
If you want to take it one step further, you can order what are called “Schedule H” medications from India. India has a very lax system to police the export on this special class of non-narcotic pills. Included in this list are all antibiotics, anti-Malarials, birth control pills (you don’t want to get pregnant post collapse for a while), many blood pressure pills, and even ED pills.
Like most people, I am afraid of our burgeoning police state, as well as getting ripped off and my identity stolen online, so I used one website to order a small amount of a blood pressure medication that I had a prescription for. Go try to Google the question asking if ordering these Indian Schedule H drugs in the US is illegal, or what the penalty would be. I have tried quite a lot and haven’t found a reliable answer, so I’m sticking to the fish products. But FYI I did get my medications from India. They were as ordered, in a box that came international air mail, wrapped in cloth. It had come properly through customs and apparently was perfectly legally fine. I don’t know.
The website names from India churn quite a bit because of Google’s cloudy policy of blocking them from search results (they claim to not but it is a complete lie). But I have found that the website http://onlinepharmacysearch.net/ keeps a pretty updated list of which domains are currently online. These are the current websitesfor the store that I tried. Please use it at your own risk and peril. The black helicopters may land in your yard for having too much Tetracycline without owning any fish.
If you are on prescription medications, long term survival is probably going to be a crap shoot. If you can score a couple extra months of meds from your doctor by claiming you lost them, do so. Medicines have a very long shelf life, much longer than it says on the bottle. Non-narcotics are usually pretty easy to double fill for vacation or whatever as well. Your insurance may not pay for them though. If we are in chaos for two months before they bring in the new global currency, it may just be that two months that things are bad enough to not be able to get food and meds. You just never know.
Ebola! Is This the END?
There has been a recent Ebola scare across America because an infected individual almost came to the US, but fortunately dropped dead before he could get on a plane. Currently four countries in Africa have experienced outbreaks, and it is getting a little scary. But keep in mind that the governments of the world have been weaponizing diseases for decades. Lyme disease supposedly escaped from a facility on an island off the coast of Long Island New York. Over a million people per year, mostly African children, die of Malaria every year still. A global pandemic could happen at any time, but so could a lot of other stuff. There has been a great deal of speculation that the occurrences in many cities at the same time with no known human link points to planting of the infection, but who knows. It could be just a test for something they plan for the future.
The important thing to realize is that whether it is Ebola or any of the myriad other deadly diseases that could be unleashed on humanity, we know how diseases spread for the most part. This isn’t the Dark Ages, where half the world’s population was wiped out by the Black Plague carried by rats, and nobody knew. In a pandemic, follow the same rules we have said since the beginning of this series. Stay in the house, or your perimeter, at all costs, and don’t let anyone know you are even alive. Prepare now so that you don’t need to go out to get water, for months at the very least. Buy toilet paper for heavens sake. Think of everything you need to survive, and just play board games and solitare, until things calm down.
Almost every day now something new is popping. It’s a war. It’s a disease. It’s Russia making non-dollar deals with China. It’s a completely phony GDP number this week. It is something. And one of those somethings could erupt any day. Make yourself a good trauma kit and get some basic antibiotics to treat infection from injuries. It is just as important to survival as food and water.
Boberg XR9-S The Bullpup Pistol Review
by Dave Higginbotham on September 21, 2014
Boberg Arms and their XR9-S aren’t household names yet. Those who know the name will understand how complex this pistol is. For those of you who don’t yet know about it, the Boberg XR9-S (and a similar .45 ACP version) are attempting to chart a new course for automatic pistols. The Boberg design moves the grip and trigger forward on the gun, which makes it faster on target as it easier to control. This design also presents loading nightmares. The end result is the fastest and most accurate pistol I’ve ever fired. And the most problematic.
When I say it is fast, I’m not exaggerating. The problematic piece is harder to explain. The early reviews of the XR9-S have been dominated by polarized opinion. Few try to embody both opinions. The Boberg is persnickety, perhaps. Picky. It is certainly a picky eater. It is one of the best shooting pistols I’ve ever fired. It also has the potential to rip rounds in half, and shower unburnt powder all over you. The Boberg may be the most idiosyncratic gun I’ve ever seen. Yet if you get the perfect ammo in the gun, it is outstanding.
Boberg doesn’t shy away from this dichotomy. They understand that the gun is great, and that it can have feeding issues. In the media kit they sent with the XR9-S, there were some very specific instructions. The most surprising was a list of known ammo incompatibilities. There were 23 specific ammunition types (brand, bullet shape, and grain weight) on the list. Failures ranged from case separations to failures to feed to hard primers. Some of these incompatibilities even included failure occurrence rates.
This wasn’t the first impression I wanted, for sure. When this many ammunition types don’t work, it isn’t the ammunition’s fault. Brands from Hornady and Winchester, to Black Hills and MagTech. Yet then it struck me that actually owning these issues, by presenting them upfront, just may be a genuine corporate conscience. Honest and transparent act of corporate goodwill. Think about the crap we have to deal with from some of these companies. Some of America’s largest brands will pretend their guns are solid gold, and will distribute lemons, just to stay on schedule. Not Boberg. They’re handling this incredibly well.
But you have to accept this, early, in order to appreciate the XR9-S. Behind the list of incompatible rounds is a list of 60 that are known to work reliably, including great personal defense rounds from companies like Hornady, Winchester, Black Hills and MagTech.
Boberg understands this gun, clearly. They even include instruction for the application of anti-seize on the unlock block. This is another one of those features that’s unique to the Boberg design. Without the appropriate (and sparing) application of anti-seize during regular cleaning (or whenever it wears away), the gun will be even more prone to feeding and extracting issues.
What does all of this mean, exactly? I’d take a look inside. Are you a fire-and forget sort of person, or are you detail oriented and prone to fine tune machines? I can think of a lot of things that require constant maintenance in order to function. I control the humidity level on my guitars meticulously so the tops and sides don’t expand or shrink. I take care of my old truck because it takes care of me. I’ve managed to stay married for 14 years–something that I consider a bit of a miracle–by fine tuning the relationship and taking the time to work through all of the metaphorical jams, failures, and separations.
The XR9-S is no different. If you pay close attention, this gun should be great. If you want a pistol that you can buy, load, and carry without too much thought–this is not your gun. Keep walking.
Just a warning–this review is going to walk this line until the conclusion. It may get long. We’re going to ask some complicated questions and go way beyond the does-it-hit-what-you’re-aiming-at sort of basics.
I believe that all criticism, in order to be constructive, should begin with what’s working right. The Boberg is an incredibly accurate pistol. It is a joy to shoot. Groups are uncommonly tight. The gun shoots reliably to point of aim. Recoil is mitigated by the forward position of the grip, and this makes target acquisition between shots faster. And the Boberg does all of this while also defining a sense of style. When the guns works as intended, it performs flawlessly.
When the Boberg Works as Intended
It doesn’t perform consistently with every ammo. Haters are going to start hating right there. This is a fact. There are too many pistols on the market that work with every single ammo available. Hell–there are guns that will shoot the wrong caliber, and do it somewhat effectively (not that it is recommended to shoot 9mm through a .40, but I have). But it begs the simple question–why won’t the Boberg work with everything? This is a 9mm pistol–it should shoot 9mm ammo. I’m not alone in making this argument.
Other notable companies have faced similar resentment, and have managed to carry on in the face of criticism. The Kimber Solo comes to mind, and numerous auto-loading shotguns. That the XR9-S has some compatibility issues isn’t enough to dismiss it out of hand. So let’s look here more deeply.
What does the Boberg do that no other pistols do?
When you move the grip forward, as you would on a bullpup rifle or shotgun, you put the control hand closer to the origin of muzzle rise. On a rifle, this may be a benefit, it may not–it depends on your grip style and the recoil generated by the round it fires. I don’t really need a bullpup .22 LR, or a bullpup .223 for that matter.
On a pistol, though, it is hard to get a support hand into action in front of the grip. At best, it rides on top of the shooting hand. Forward hand grips aren’t legal on pistols. Yet this is where you would really benefit from some extra control. Having that extra hand to hold down the muzzle rise of a .357, or a 9mm could be beneficial. So why not move up the grip and trigger, just like you would on a bullpup rifle? When you move up the control hand, you get even more control.
The Boberg, in effect, is like a bullpup pistol. And this is obvious in the speed I’ve already mentioned. This gun flat out flies. No hyperbole. I shoot a lot of guns, and I’d put this gun at the top. After that first shot, I am on target faster and my followup shots are more accurate with the Boberg XR9-s than they are with any other 9mm I’ve shot.
What do you give up?
Ask a bullpup rifle shooter about the one logical drawback of the design, and you’ll hear the same answer. Loading the magazine behind the shooting hand, under your arm, can be awkward–unless that is the way you learn to do it from scratch. At the very least, it is the one element that requires the most practice and acclimation, especially for those who shoot ARs.
The same isn’t true for the Boberg. Mags still load in through the grip. The gun shoots fast, and you don’t have to retrain for mag changes. So….The problem is the actual feeding of rounds. Because rounds are angling into the grip in a traditional manner, they present below the barrel instead of at the breech. They have to be stripped from the mag and pulled backwards, off the back of the magazine, toward the rear of the pistol where they are then caught by the open slide before they’re fed. Watch the video above, it shows you exactly what I mean. Hard to describe–easy to see. Boberg call this the reverse-feed.
Most pistols rely on the magazine’s spring to present the round, and the movement of the slide itself to strip the round and push it into place. Maybe you monkey with a bit of geometry, and add a feed ramp. It is painfully simple, why is why most of us in this industry are so unforgiving of failures. Sure pistols occasionally fail to feed or extract. But what is the percentage of failure? What is an acceptable failure rate? Is there an acceptable failure rate?
I’ll tell you my opinion. A pistol must work 100% of the time. I have very inexpensive, reliably accurate pistols that have never failed me. I still train for failures, but I have to manufacture them, or have someone else do it for me to surprise me. I will not carry a pistol that won’t fire 99% of the time, right out of the box. If I fire 100 rounds, and it fails me twice in that time, I will work with it at the range, but I’m not going to trust my life to it.
Still, the chances of a pistol failing are much higher than the chances of a well made revolver failing. But I’m getting farther off track. I was talking about Boberg. And this is important. The Boberg is amazingly complex. It is beautiful in its complexity. And it is exquisite craftsmanship. Yet I can’t make it work flawlessly, even with proper application of anti-seize and ammo from their recommended list.
What do you give up? It is the question that began this rambling diatribe. After running more than 1,000 rounds through the gun, I haven’t found the round that gives me 100% certainty. There comes a point when I have to ask if the benefit of the recoil reduction provided by the grip’s forward placement is worth all of the design headaches–or rather the reliability issues that come from the design headaches.
What does the traditional pistol have that the Boberg lacks?
Traditional pistols may have a couple of benefits over the Boberg design. For one, they’re typically built so that the barrel extends farther in front of the trigger guard. That means they’re easier to carry, as a holster has more to wrap around. The Boberg has enough surface area to allow for holstering, but I’d be more careful with how I carried this gun than many other pistols. The Boberg looks like it would rock back easily, and dislodge from a holster. This is far from a show-stopper–but it will require due diligence from holster makers.
Boberg’s site lists several makers who are producing Boberg holsters, and some of them seem traditional enough. Others look to be just as original as the Boberg itself.
The second point I’d make is harder to articulate. With more than 100 years of accepted fundamentals, and more than 100 years of consistent innovations, the traditional pistol, especially those in this price range, work incredibly well. There are much less expensive pistols that will work every time, or damn near close. And this is something Boberg has decided to take head on. While the glass-half-full side of me thinks that the Boberg performs incredibly well, the glass-half-empty side feels like it is a proof of concept. This review felt much less like a typical GunsAmerica review and more like an extension of R&D.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m all for innovation. I bet the first automatic pistol makers faced a chorus of derision from the old-school revolver crowd, just like the pioneers of everything else (including odd calibers, modular chassis designs, polymer frames, etc.). Without innovation, we’d all still be protecting ourselves with sharpened sticks.
Still, when I do trip over guns that don’t work, I want to fix the problems. This feeling is amplified with the Boberg, because I want a gun that runs like the Boberg.
Yet this is a pistol that’s being sold for concealed carry. If I could find a carry round that functioned flawlessly, every time, one that feeds and extracts and doesn’t separate bullets form their cases, then I’d carry it. How many rounds would I have to put through the gun before I made such a pronouncement? I think 500 would do. I’d prefer 1,000, but I think I could realistically live with 500. 500 rounds, sequentially, no failures.
We didn’t get that. This isn’t to say that we couldn’t have, had we kept experimenting. But finding that perfect round could be an expensive quest. And remember the Boberg’s predecessors. There are lots of guns out there that can handle hundreds and hundreds of rounds without failing. Thousands, even.
I went to two competing big-box outlets, and three gun stores. I raided my personal stash of ammo, too, and managed to find compatible list ammo, incompatible list ammo, and ammo that wasn’t on the list.
The most effective brand we could find was Monarch 115 grain FMJ. While I wouldn’t chose this as a carry round, it performed very well from the XR9-S (only 5 failures in 200 rounds). In all the rounds we shot, we didn’t have a single brand that ran flawlessly.
Let’s talk through some of the gun’s less controversial features. The stats are a good place to start. The total overall length is just 5.1 inches. It has a 3.5 inch barrel. It comes in under an inch wide, too. This puts the Boberg in line with sub-compact 9mm pistols, yet it performs more like a compact. The extra barrel length, buried as it is, offers a nominal increase in muzzle velocity.
The magazine holds 7 rounds. When it is empty, the XR9-S weighs in just over a pound. It is light, compact, thin, and holds more than a typical revolver. All told, there’s a lot there to consider.
The trigger pull on the Boberg is long. It is designed that way. There is a short pull trigger available for those of you who don’t cotton to intentional pulls on concealed carry guns. Even with the long pull, or maybe precisely because of it, I found it easy enough to stage shots. You pull back and a paddle rocks back at the rear of the slide. That paddle is the hammer. It opens up and then snaps back, slapping the pin. And the trigger itself is wide, which simply feels good on the finger.
There are no external safeties. This is a plus for concealed carry, in my opinion. The rest of the gun is meant for carry, too. The sights are low and snag free, and adjustable. The grip is thin, textured well, and keeps in line with the guns thin profile. The controls are all accessible, though I had to practice with the mag drop, repeatedly, before I got comfortable with the motion (I have to shift my palm off the grip, slightly, to hit the button).
After all of the shooting, there was only one other thing I’d point to as a potential area of concern–and that is how you grip the pistol. Watch your off hand. If you get a solid two hand grip on this, be sure you are clear of the barrel. I can’t hold it like I’d hold a traditional pistol. Instead, I hold it more like I’d hold a revolver. It is just safer. But when I get moving fast, and draw from concealment, I find that my left hand creeps forward. While I have yet to hurt myself with this gun, I can see how easily it would be possible.
In the end
You have to check this out. It is worth it. The XR9-S in the two-tone finish sells for $1,049. I’m here to say that this is something you have to experince, if only to know what is actually possible. Can I endorse it for actual carry? Of course–if you have the right personality. If you are one who trains hard, if you compulsively maintain your guns, and study ammo eccentricity–this is your platform.
The rest of us–where does the Boberg fit for us? Competition perhaps? The speed of the Boberg, and the flat shooting accuracy would be great in any practical pistol competition. And if you have a failure then, the world will continue to turn.
But for concealed carry? Out of the box, this gun ran great. Yet the issues we experienced were confidence crushing and serious. Jams were inconsistent, and harder to clear than they would be on some traditional pistols. I don’t know what to say about this, other than this–you will have to accept the Boberg for what it is, find the ammo it likes, and train like crazy before you carry this off the range.
Out of the Mountains: The SAWS Sniper Rifle
by Gus Norcross | September 8th, 2014
Earlier this summer I traveled to the small town of Whitefield (population 2,306) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire to discuss sniper rifles with Bill Lauze, the owner of SAWS Manufacturing. Bill is an experienced rifle manufacturer who specializes in precision rifles built on Savage actions. I was interested in the reasons behind his choice of the somewhat unorthodox components that go into SAWS tactical rifles and how they were assembled.
When someone mentions the words “sniper rifle” what image pops into your head? For a lot of people it would be an M24-like weapon: Remington 700 action, 24-inch heavy barrel, HS Precision stock. That is surely a proven formula, but what if you started from a blank sheet of paper with your goal being the most accurate repeating rifle possible using current production components for under…say…$2,000 or so. What components would you choose?
Bill’s picks are interesting. What follows is a list of his choices and why he used them:
Action: The Remington 700 action common to many precision rifles was designed for deer hunting. There is nothing wrong with that but we’re looking for the most rigid production action available so we can hang a fat, heavy, free-floated barrel on the end of it without causing the receiver to flex.
The Remington was designed for top loading a blind magazine, requiring much of the steel roof of the receiver to be cut away, reducing rigidity. Loading from the bottom with a detachable magazine eliminates the need for all that metal removal and requires only a small ejection port to spit out fired cases.
Bill’s solution to this dilemma was the Savage single-shot target action. The only hole machined in this beefy stainless steel tube is the small ejection port on either the left or right side (your choice).
Now, obviously, this rifle will be a repeater, so the bottom of the receiver must be opened up just enough to accept a magazine. The action is hard and high quality cutting tools are required. Don’t try this with a Dremel.
Once we have the hole for the magazine cut, we’ll need a feed ramp. The calculations required to figure feed ramp angles are surely beyond the capabilities of your humble correspondent so we’ll just say Bill figured it out.
This is a factory action built to a specific price point so it is blueprinted by SAWS to eliminate any variables. The bolt lug seats, barrel threads, bolt face and the receiver face are trued to a perfect 90 degrees to the bolt tunnel. Bolt lugs are lapped for 100% contact.
Some commercial tooling attaches to the receiver at the barrel threads for lapping lugs, etc. But what if the threads aren’t exactly parallel to the bolt? Bill designed and manufactured his own tooling that runs through the bolt tunnel to eliminate any chance of runout. A friend of mine described Bill as “meticulous” when blueprinting actions.
These actions are supplied with a Target AccuTrigger, barrel nut, trigger guard and recoil lug.
Barrel: A Krieger 5R 1:10 twist stainless steel barrel was chosen for this demo rifle, but there are many options. The barrel was finished at 17 inches, which some readers might find a bit odd. After all, conventional sniper rifle barrels are usually 24 inches or at least 20 inches minimum.
Measuring velocities with a chronograph, I found that only 200 fps was lost comparing this barrel to a 24-inch tube. From a law enforcement perspective, in an urban scenario at 100 yards or less 200 fps is negligible. The short barrel allows a reasonable overall length when a suppressor is mounted. The muzzle was threaded for a suppressor, but testing was done without one since I didn’t have an appropriate can on hand.
Stock: To utilize all the accuracy inherent in a custom barreled action like this one, we need to install it in a rigid stock. You’re thinking maybe McMillan? H-S Precision? Probably the name “Choate” didn’t cross your mind. Choate Machine and Tool has been around a long time as an OEM parts manufacturer for the firearms industry as well as a vendor of their own firearms accessories.
Their tactical stock chosen for this rifle is constructed of polypropylene and fiberglass molded around a stiff aluminum spine, including CNC-machined bedding blocks that extend from the rear tang screw to the front swivel stud.
The barreled action only makes contact with the stock at the V-blocks and recoil lug. Aircraft grade stainless steel socket head cap screws torqued to 65 inch-pounds secure the rifle to the stock.
Length of pull is adjustable from 12 inches to 13 inches with the included spacers and up to 14 inches is possible with additional spacers. Bipods are attached to a rail in the forend, allowing operators to secure them at any point up to 7 inches back from the forend tip. A bipod adapter is included with the stock. Another nice feature is the side-mounted sling swivels for transporting the rifle flat across your back. All this for around $200 if you shop around on line.
Bottom metal/magazine: One of the most interesting features (to me) of the SAWS rifle is the detachable magazine. The bottom metal is manufactured by Pacific Tool and Gauge of White City, Oreg. It drops right into the precision machined opening in the Choate stock, but it did have to be adjusted by milling the top surfaces to align rounds with the chamber at the proper height.
The PTG product is designed to fit OEM synthetic stocks and five- or 10-round mags are available from Accurate Mag or Accuracy International.
One of the major advantages of a detachable mag for LE applications is safely unloading the weapon without cycling rounds through the rifle, avoiding any chance of an accidental discharge. The mags feed a bit differently than a blind magazine rifle requiring more force to disengage the top round from the tensioned feed lips.
Trigger: The Savage target actions come equipped with the excellent Target AccuTrigger adjustable from 6 ounces to 2 pounds. I can’t think of any other production trigger offered on a factory action comparable to it.
Accuracy: I tested the SAWS rifle at 100 yards from a bipod rest with Black Hills 168-grain BTHP ammo and handloads consisting of a 168-grain Sierra bullet over a charge of RL15. Accuracy was awesome; consistent sub-3/8″ three-shot groups when I did my part. It was obvious that shooting this one was more a test of my personal ability rather than the accuracy of the rifle.
Final thoughts: An often overlooked advantage of Savage actions and the barrel nut system is the option to change calibers with nothing more than a barrel nut wrench and a headspace gauge or dummy round.
The owner of this SAWS rifle could easily swap out the .308 barrel for one in .260 Rem., .243 Win. or .22-250 using the same magazine. Or he might have two bolts fitted, one in .223 and one in .308, so with a simple bolt/barrel/magazine swap the same rifle is capable of firing our two most popular calibers without the expense of buying two complete rifles.
Contact: SAWS (Special Application Weapon Systems) can be contacted at 207 754-4577 or email SAWSmfg@yahoo.com =============================================================
Prepping 101: Off The Grid Hand Crank Mixer & Food Processor
by GunsAmerica Actual on September 28, 2014
Little Dutch Maid Mixer
From the beginning this column has been about actually going and doing what most people only think about doing. At the height of the “prepper craze,” when the mindless and completely fake cable “reality” shows were popular, it was estimated that for every 10 people thinking about off grid survival, only one was actually taking actions at all. These days, when survival food is on clearance at Walmart, even more people have lapsed into “it isn’t going to happen here.”
Because as it turns out, prepping is expensive, and very involved. This $479 “Little Dutch Maid” mixer is a good example of what many people would consider taking prepping to the extreme. But when you look at life after a collapse, under the best circumstances, where you actually did put away quantities of food fit for long term storage, you are going to be making all of what you eat. Loaves of bread, quiche-like pies made from egg and milk powders, with freeze dried vegetables, fruit breads, and smoothies will be the most elegant of your food, and a good mixer certainly won’t hurt. Once you begin to grow your own food it will become even more important, especially if you are cooking for a large group.
Can you mix and kneed bread by hand? Of course! If you are prepping on a budget and you have lots of climate controlled space, for $479 you can more than a hundred 5lb. bags of flour. That’s no joke when it comes to real survival. But if you already have a ton of food put away, the Little Dutch Maid is a product you can use and enjoy for a lifetime, that also will come in really handy in a grid collapse. We looked at this mixer a few weeks ago in our overview article “Live Well.” Now that we’ve covered most of the core elements of survival, we are going to take apart more of specific products and test them. You just don’t know until you do, so when it comes to survival, testing your stuff in advance is a good idea. And if the collapse never happens, and hopefully it won’t, at least you got some use out of your stuff.
The Little Dutch Maid is made by a small Amish company and sold through only a few retail outlets. Sales of the mixer don’t survive on prepper business. The Amish walk the off grid walk for real, and the Little Dutch Maid is a lifetime investment that comes with a stack of bulletproof reviews worldwide. It is also popular with the country fair “cookoff” regulars, and even though $479 seems like a lot for just a mixer, the electric version of the same mixer goes for $399. The Little Dutch Made is essentially a hand crank base unit for the Bosch electric mixer platform. But BEWARE, I asked Paul at Cottage Craft Works if it was possible to get extra bowls and stuff cheap on Ebay and he said no. The Little Dutch Maid is one specific version of the Bosch linkage, and it has changed since. Even Heat, the company that makes this hand crank system, retrofits the new Bosch bowls and food process to the old linkage. Pictures of the linkage are shown here so that you don’t go buying extra stuff on Ebay for naught.
We purchased the mixer from Cottage Craft, along with an extra bowl kit ($172.95), the food processor system ($145), and the cookie dough paddles ($29.95), for a total of $826.90. Ouch right? But compared to an electric KitchenAid stand mixer and either the Kitchenaid attachments for shredding, or a standalone extra high end food processor, the costs are not that far apart, if at all. Cottage Craft also does offer a hand crank retrofit for all KitchenAid mixers (and yes, we sent in a stand mixer for a later article), but if you don’t own a KitchenAid already, I strongly suggest the Little Dutch Maid instead.
My basic first test, as you can see from the pictures, was to mix a 5 lb. bag of bread flour into dough. The larger KitchenAid 5 quart can handle this much flour, but once the dough is mixed the motor usually starts to bind. The hand crank Little Dutch Maid handled it easily. The way it is built, there is a platform you can lean on with your left arm while cranking with your right. For heavy doughs like this you can start on fast speed then switch the handle to slow once the ingredients are mixed. Note, however that overmixing is a common error of amateur cooks. Once the ingredients are well mixed most breads will only be hurt by further mixing, and it is something of a trade secret for cakes and cookies that you should mix as little as possible. 5lbs. of flour was not effortless, but my 10 year old daughter had no trouble turning the crank with the bread dough.
I also tested the cookie paddles and shredded a bunch of potatoes with the food processor. If you are cooking for a lot of people and you don’t have electric, the shredder is a huge labor saver. For regular old survival food for a family your money is probably better spent elsewhere, because the food processor doesn’t come with a chopping blade that could be used for smoothies and blending egg powders with solid ingredients. We are going to take a look at a hand blender and 12 volt blender in a future episode of this column as well, and either would be a better investment for those things.
If you bake a lot and have used a KitchenAid stand mixer in the past, you’ll appreciate the fact that there is no machine head blocking the top of the bowl on the Little Dutch Maid. Fans of the electric Bosch Mixer probably consider themselves an exclusive club of those who know better, and the hand crank version is no different. Even the old Magic Mill has an arm on the top, and the current version of that mixer is $799 alone. When you view the Little Dutch Maid in that light, it isn’t so expensive.
And no, we did not get our mixer for free, nor does the company advertise here or plan to. You can thank Springfield Armory, Fiocchi, Daniel Defense and the many other advertisers that spend money to reach you, our readers, here at GunsAmerica. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to cover as much as we do with such depth and care, and that includes this prepper series. Stay tuned! We all hope that there will be a way out of the precipice that anyone who pays attention will find themselves standing upon. Ruthless printing of Federal Reserve notes since 2008 sure looks like it has to collapse at some point soon. But if it doesn’t, I sure have a great mixer, and maybe you will too.
SilencerCo Salvo 12 Suppressor Review
By: Brian McCombie | October 7, 2014
The Salvo 12 suppressor review: a look at a game-changing tool in the world of shotgunning.
I heard the thwack-thwack-thwack! as I approached the firing line, and for all the world it sounded like a loud pellet rifle. But when I got to the line I realized the “thwacks” were from 12-gauge shotguns equipped with SilencerCo’s new Salvo 12 shotgun suppressor.
And these weren’t subsonic 12-gauge loads being shot, either, but Federal Top Gun 2¾-inch field loads with 11⁄8 ounce loads of 71⁄2 shot.
Amazing, I thought to myself.
I was at the new product introduction of the Salvo 12 in July this year, held just outside of Salt Lake City and hosted by SilencerCo. The suppressor manufacturer had invited about three dozen people to the event—media, retailers and distributors—to observe and use their newest product. And my early impression was: it works and could be a game changer, especially for shotgun hunters.
The Salvo 12 has a different look to it. Most suppressors I’ve used are round and slim. Not the Salvo 12, which is long and rectangular. I assumed it would be really awkward to use, especially at the end of a swinging shotgun barrel.
Instead I found the balance point pretty quickly on the Salvo-equipped Benelli Model M2 12-gauge. I missed my first three clay pigeons, but began making hits as I got used to this rig.
What took me more time was figuring out how to truly aim a shotgun with a Salvo 12 attached to the end of the barrel.
The Salvo 12 comes in four lengths, from 6.42 inches long to just a bit over 12 inches, and weighs from 21 ounces at the smallest size up to 34.5 ounces. I used the 12-inch model on two different shotguns, the Benelli and, later, a Mossberg. But something about that extra 12 inches protruding from the end of the barrel had me aiming and looking above and beyond my targets.
“You’re shooting over,” said Darren Jones, of SilencerCo’s marketing department and the range officer at my shooting position. “Bring it down, man!”
Once I did that and got used to dropping my aim point, the pigeons started breaking with some regularity. Other shooters, I noticed, knocked down more clays as they went through the firing line multiple times, many dusting off six and seven pigeons in a row by their third session.
The Salvo 12 connects to a shotgun via the choke tube device, which threads into the end of the barrel. Screw in the connector, and then attach the Salvo 12 to the end of that connector. Connecters will be offered in a variety of choke tube sizes, including an extra tight choke for turkey hunters.
The suppressor is is a modular design of rods and baffles and can be taken apart. So a lot of people are simply going to buy the 12-inch model, along with a kit that has different sized rods, and will adjust the size to fit their particular shotgun or hunting or shooting situation. The rod kit will likely sell in the ballpark of $50 to $70.
Recoil was greatly reduced with the Salvo 12, too, by about 25 percent was my estimate with the 12-inch model. Of the four sizes, the largest three models of the Salvo 12 muffle the sound, measured at the ear, to below 140 decibels—over 140 decibels and the human ear can sustain damage.
The smallest Salvo 12, though, the 6-inch model, is rated at 149.2 decibels at the muzzle, 140.6 decibels at the ear. So shooters using this version will still want to use hearing protection.
The Salvo 12 is designed for use with shotgun slugs, as well as all wadded shotshell loads, and has been tested extensively on a wide variety of slugs. However, not all new slug gun barrels have choke tube-style threading. SilencerCo is working with shotgun makers and its own design crew to come up with various options for attaching the Salvo 12 to slug barrels, smoothbore and rifled.
While at the new product intro, I didn’t get a chance to use the Salvo 12 with shotgun slugs, but I will this fall on a slug gun hunt for deer and wild hogs.
For hunters, the Salvo 12 promises to let us shoot without ear plugs or bulky muffs, communicate with other hunters and hear the game as it is approaching. For volume shotgun shooters, the reduced recoil can only help our shoulders.
All of this does come with a cost, however. The current price is $1,400, though actual in-store prices remain to be seen when the Salvo 12 gets to stores in fall 2014.
Salvo 12 Shotgun Suppressor
Width 2.21 in.
Height 2.96 in.
Attaches via threaded connector, included.
Weight (with connector)
6-inch 21 oz.
8-inch 25.5 oz.
10-inch 30 oz.
12-inch 34.5 oz.
Decibel (dB) level, at ear
6-inch 140.6 dB
8-inch 137 dB
10-inch 134.1 dB
12-inch 132 dB
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