back behind the trigger again

For those keeping score at home, the Remington 700 has been sold, to someone who was even aware of the whole story, no less. 

W00t. 

While I was waiting for Remington to unscrew themselves, I concluded that a Savage Model 11 Long Range Hunter in 6.5 Creedmoor would be my next choice for a Boomershoot-able rifle, and went ahead and ordered one from Dragon Leatherworks

Oh, did you not know?  Dragon Leatherworks is presently a fully-operational FFL, from which you can order firearms and parts online.  Obviously any firearm you purchase has to go through a local FFL, per the relevant federal laws, but here is the cut-above-the-rest detail for working with Dennis – he is planning on personally inspecting everything people buy from him before he sends it out.  In the case of my rifle, he shipped it first to himself, checked it over, and then sent it on to my FFL; at least that way, I was sure I was getting a rust-free rifle. 

The extra step added a few days, but given my last experience with mail-ordering firearms, it was worth it. 

Atop the rifle I decided to mount a Vortex PST 6-24x SFP MOA optic by way of an EGW Heavy Duty 20MOA Scope Mount and EGW 0.990” Tactical Scope Rings

If you have not heard of Vortex Optics, they are worth a look based on their warranty alone, and aside from that, their upper-end stuff gets consistently good reviews.  Admittedly, I purchased the upper end of their middle line, but I have been pretty happy with it so far. 

Evolution Gun Works Inc. is kind of an interesting company, if only because everything they make is serialized (well, that I have seen so far, at least).  Sure, the scope mount is serialized, and that is not too surprising, but the scope rings are serialized as well – all four parts.  Front and rear rings are made together, on the same machine, at the same time, so they are as close to “matching out the box” as you can possibly get. 

Assembly of all the parts was about as easy as it is supposed to be.  I ended up getting a Wheeler FAT Wrench to properly torque the mounts – I figured if I was going to spend that much on glass, I might as well do it right – and a couple of cheapy bubble levels to get the scope properly lined up with the bore.  Amusingly, the leveling was the most annoying aspect of the installation – I would get everything more or less where I wanted them, torque down on the screws, and then see that everything shifted ever so slightly.  I must have tightened and loosened the screws… honestly, I lost count. 

The only other slight hiccup is that, while it does come in a Accustock, the Savage was not fully free-floated.  The very tip of the stock touched the barrel, and apparently this is an issue that Savage has been aware of for a number of years now.  I called up their customer support line, and they said I could send the stock back and they could fix it, or I could simply sand down the offending part of the stock and call it a day.  30 minutes of effort later with a piece of sand paper and a metal punch I had out in the garage, and I figure it is good enough for my uses. 

With the rifle and optics sorted, the only thing remaining is ammunition – I went with Hornady’s Match 140gr A-Max rounds just based on their impressive (on paper, at least) performance, which, coincidentally, is exactly what Savage recommends for the rifle as well. 

Alright, enough with the yammering; how did it actually shoot?  Once I got the optic mostly sighted in (I ran out of ammo to get it really where I wanted it) and after I did shoot-five-swab for 50 rounds, these were the best three groupings in increasing awesomeness (all of them are 5 shots at 100 yards at an indoor range with a sandbag under the fore-end and my hand under the buttstock, and the squares are 1″): 

IMG_20141221_193326228

  0.88” grouping center-to-center if you include the flyers, which I did not call, so you probably should.  0.2” without the flyers. 

IMG_20141221_193235583

1.1” grouping with the flyer, 0.47” without. 

IMG_20141220_160752428

0.45” group, period. 

If this rifle is starting as a 0.5 MOA rifle with my sorry arse-who-has-not-seriously-pulled-the-trigger-on-a-long-range-target-since-the-last-Boomershoot behind it, I think this is going to work out just fine. 

I did have some interesting notes from the range…  24x allows me to self-spot my own hits without a spotting scope, which is something 16x did not.  And after fooling around with glass at the last NRAAM, I realized I honestly cannot tell the difference between a $5000 scope and a $1000 scope in terms of clarity and color, but I definitely can tell the difference between a $850 scope and a $160 scope (I am trying to work up a post with photographs of the differences, but taking pictures through rifle scopes is annoyingly challenging).  The adjustable comb on the Long Range Hunter model is nice, but I need to remember to try it on while wearing hearing protection before going to the range next time.  I am never going to mix MOA and mil measurements on an optic again; the PST has an MOA reticle and MOA adjustments, which makes life so much easier.  Apparently the muzzle brake on the LRH (which I left open – I will examine how closing it changes the point of aim later) makes the rifle quite loud, according to other people, though the noise was not that bad right behind it.  Likewise, the recoil for the new round really was not that much worse than .243 Winchester – I know there was more energy being thrown downrange, but apparently the muzzle break counteracted it or the new rifle is heavier or something.  And I have no idea if this is a normal characteristic for 6.5 Creedmoor, but the barrel never really warmed up (i.e. it was never uncomfortable to touch), and the brass was hardly even warm straight out of the chamber.  Honestly, it was kind of strange, though I am not strictly complaining. 

And, in reality, I think I am pretty happy with this outcome.  Now I just need more trigger time. 

i do not get it

I understand muzzle brakes – they are intended to capitalize on the gasses being ejected out the muzzle in such a way that dampens perceived recoil, often at the expense of the ears of everyone around the firearm.  And I understand things like the Noveske KX3 – in addition to “suppressing” flash (i.e. directing it all forward), it also has the added benefit of forcing all of the muzzle blast forward as well, reducing the perceived noise for the user. 

I do not really understand why you would take the two concepts and wrap the former in the latter

kinetitechmuzzlebrakeIt has been a while since I took Statics and Dynamics, and S&D is only a very, very rudimentary proxy for Fluid Dynamics, but it would seem as though if you took a gas, vectored it out one direction and then right into a wall connected to the very thing doing the vectoring, you would be counteracting exactly what you wanted that gas to be doing. 

On the other hand, I have started building out a bare AR lower into an AR pistol, and the idea of a muzzle attachment that reduces the perceived noise for the user is something that appeals to me greatly, especially given that I am eyeing 7.5” barrels*.  I had been considering a Levang Linear Compensator for the purpose, since I am a little cheap for the KX3, but I have to wonder why companies do not make something like the Kineti-Tech “Muzzle Brake with Sound Director”, only leave out the “Muzzle Brake” part in the process? 

(* – No, I am nowhere near badass enough to sport one of these, much to my chagrin.) 

(Found by way of The Firearm Blog.  Image borrowed from Kineti-Tech.) 

not like i could compete with it

As I said on the Facebooks and Twitters a few days ago, one of the fun advantages of making your own holsters is the ability to do crazy things you would never actually ask someone else to make for you.

And, sometimes, they work:

IMG_20130404_220705

Obviously this is not an everyday carry holster, but I contend that neither is that an everyday carry gun (though a friend tells me they are increasingly popular with folks on account of their affordable price (both the gun and the ammunition) and ease of use). Once the new-production Zastava M57s (with their actually usable safeties, unlike the POS I still need to remove from mine) start hitting our shores in greater numbers (I actually saw one at the last gun show I went to), I might change my opinion though (especially if they start importing the 9mm variant).

Enough parentheses? Shiny.

IMG_20130404_220719

Flat gun, flat(-ish) holster. I actually heated up the back sheet of kydex and put it on top of a couple folded t-shirts in my press, rather than straight on the metal or not forming it at all In retrospect, I should have used the cheapie low-density foam that came with the press for the top sheet, rather than the high-density foam I prefer for its better definition, but it still came out ok.

Well, mostly ok. I made a few glaring errors – which you will have to pick out for yourself – but this is all part of the learning process, right?

Oh, and why did I spend $50 (at least when I bought it; the price has gone up) to put a silly-assed muzzle brake on a $200 gun?

Because fireball:

tokarev fireball

Also, the brake/compensator does actually help with perceived recoil and post-shot recovery… but, really, fireball. I am taking my high-speed-video-capable new toy to a shoot this weekend, so maybe I will have some better pictures of the effect soon…

the slippery slope of gun control

I would like to take a moment today to extend my sincere thanks to the legislatures of both New York State and Connecticut for proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that "gun control" is, in truth and fact, a slippery slope.

Anti-rights cultists come absolutely unhinged every time you mention the possibility of "gun control" itself being a slippery slope, and tend to immediately decry such mutterings as prima facie logical fallacies; it is true that the slippery slope can be a logical fallacy, but when you are seeing those trees whipping by your head, reality has to step in. Unfortunately, that reality is the slippery slope has been greased since at least 1934 and we pro-rights activists have been steadily losing ground in the name of "compromise" since at least then, if not beforehand.

The "gun control" extremists have always wanted more, more, more… First it was the National Firearms Act, then it was the Gun Control Act of 1968, then it was the Lautenberg Amendment, then the Brady Law, then the Assault Weapon Ban, then… then… then… Oh, we pro-rights activists have certainly made headway in the past few years, but even with all of the thousands of firearm-related laws on the books, there are still useful idiots clamoring for more! More! More!

Slippery slopes stop being fallacies when you can point to the obvious pattern.

Which brings us up to the modern examples. The state of New York already had an assault weapon ban – any rifle that could accept removable magazines and had two "military" features was prohibited. New York already had a "high-capacity" magazine ban, where "high-capacity" was arbitrarily and capriciously defined as "more than 10 rounds". New York already required all firearm dealers and gun shows to perform background checks on all firearm transactions. New York already had licensing requirements to own firearms.

In other words, New York already had a large number of the "common sense", "reasonable" "gun control" measures most anti-rights cultists out there want. They should be happy with that, right?

Wrong. Consider S2230-2013: Licensure, suspension and revocation of firearm licenses, which just passed the New York Senate [update] and was just signed by Governor Cuomo into law [/update]. It is a long read, but the low points are:

  • The two-feature aspect of the NY assault weapon ban is tossed and replaced with a one-feature test.
  • A ban on all new semi-automatic rifles that can accept a removable magazine and have at least one of: a folding or telescoping stock, a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, a second handgrip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor / muzzle brake (they spelled it "break" in the legislation, amusingly enough) / muzzle compensator / threaded barrel, grenade launcher.
  • A ban on all new semi-automatic shotguns that has at least one of: a folding or telescoping stock, a thumbhole stock, a second hand grip, a fixed magazine in excess of seven rounds, an ability to accept detachable magazines.
  • All such existing "assault weapons" must be registered with the state within one year of the effective date, and registration is subject to "a review of disqualifiers by the State Police."
  • If they are not registered, possession of such "assault weapons" is a crime.
  • All such existing "assault weapons" may only be sold to dealers or out-of-state.
  • All magazines that can hold more than 7 rounds are banned.
  • This ban includes previously-"grandfathered" magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
  • Magazines that can hold more than 7 but not more than 10 rounds are "grandfathered", but may only hold 7 rounds.
  • All ammunition sales must be processed through firearm dealers.
  • All ammunition sales must include an NCIS check on the purchaser.
  • All ammunition sales must be recorded and logged.
  • All firearm ownership permits must be renewed every five years (some counties had permits that never expired).
  • All private sales of firearms must be executed through a firearm dealer.

And, like I said, those are just the low points.

So, let us see here… it is still possible to own an AR-15 in the Empire State, but it would have to have an unthreaded bull barrel, some kind of non-pistol-grip grip, and a fixed stock, and you can only feed it 7 rounds or less. Amusingly, though, an M1A without any kind of muzzle attachment would be 100% legal, despite throwing a larger bullet farther and with more energy; but that is about the only funny thing to be found.

At least 75% of modern semi-automatic handguns are functionally banned. What is that? They only banned handguns with certain features? Well, that is great… except they also banned all new magazines over 7 rounds of capacity, which means your Glock or XD or S&W is only useful for as long as its magazines last – the only <10 round magazines I am aware of are for single-stack firearms that already do not have capacities in excess of 10 rounds. Oh, I am (fairly) sure that enterprising companies will step in and start producing 7-round double-stack magazines for common firearm platforms, but let us consider something for a moment.

At some point in the past (hell if I know when), New York had no limitation on the size of a firearm’s magazine. Then, on 13SEP94, New York banned the sale of any new magazines that could hold in excess of ten rounds; however, old ones were grandfathered in.

Now New York is arbitrarily banning all of those pre-’94 magazines, even the ones previously grandfathered, but graciously telling you those greater-than-seven-but-less-than-11 round magazines of yours are grandfathered under the new law? Yeah, and how long will that "grandfathering" last until it, too, is arbitrarily legislated out of existence?

And this is all without even touching on the fact that registration has invariably preceded confiscation, even here in the United States.

Oh, you think I am sliding back into the realm of a logical fallacy again? I guess two data points are insufficient for you to be happy, huh? Well, recall that I mentioned Connecticut in the opening line of this post. The ironically-named Constitution State has an assault weapon ban (No, really. I have to wonder how the mother of the Sandy Hook murderer owned hers.), but does not have a "high capacity" magazine ban; they attempted to pass one in 2011, but it got nowhere.

Apparently State Senator Edward Meyer is unhappy with this situation, given 2013 SB 00122 he proposed:

That the general statutes be amended to establish a class C felony offense, except for certain military and law enforcement personnel and certain gun clubs, for (1) any person or organization to purchase, sell, donate, transport, possess or use any gun except one made to fire a single round, (2) any person to fire a gun containing more than a single round, (3) any person or organization to receive from another state, territory or country a gun made to fire multiple rounds, or (4) any person or organization to purchase, sell, donate or possess a magazine or clip capable of holding more than one round.

Read through that again. It makes it a crime for you, as an average citizen, to own a firearm, of any type, if it can fire more than one round or a magazine if it can hold more than one round. Every semi-automatic firearm of any type, every revolver, and almost every rifle, pistol, and shotgun would be banned by this legislation; no grandfathering, no registration, just outright banned. Granted, this is just a bill at the moment and has a long way to go before becoming a law, but still.

Hell. With. That.

Hell with State Senator Meyer, hell with New York, and hell with any other politician who would propose any other similar legislation.

That little pleasantry dispensed with, however, this is why the "slippery slope" has been, and continues to be, a valid concern when applied to "gun control"; those who would unjustly deprive us of our rights and property are never happy until they are entirely successful, and they will keep chipping away, using different tactics – all in the name of "compromise", mind you – until we are left with nothing at all. First it is 10-round magazines… then seven… then five… then why do you need magazines at all? Then one shot rifles. Then why do you need guns at all?

"Gun control" is and always has been a slippery slope, precisely because those who advocate it want control… not over guns, mind you, but over you.

because it is shiny

I have, and need, no better excuse than that for this: 

IMG_5595-001

What’s that, you say?  It looks remarkably like something from some movie or television series you might have seen once upon a time? 

I have no idea what you are talking about. 

IMG_5611-001

None at all. 

IMG_5629-001

In all seriousness, this is far from an every-day carry rig, for a variety of reasons, but the TT-33 is far from an every-day carry firearm, for a variety of reasons as well (most notably its complete and utter lack of anything even approximating an “internal safety”).  However, there is something particularly compelling about putting a firearm in like that in a holster like that.  Obviously it is not a perfect rendition – for instance, the thumb break was impossible with a semi-automatic firearm, and the direction of the buckle on Mal’s rig bugged the hell out of the guy who made mine, so he turned it around – but I dare say it gets the point across. 

If you want one of your own, contact [email protected] at “oldradartech (at) hughes (dot) net”; he can obviously make them for TT-33 platforms, even ones with the whacky-arsed muzzle brake attached, and I imagine you could talk him into something similar for 1911s or a couple other different firearms as well.  From what I understand, this rig design is better-suited for revolvers than semi-autos, if that makes a difference to you. 

(Union of Allied Planets Standard Mineral Claim Form borrowed from here, in compliance with their Creative Commons licenses.  ‘Verse money borrowed from here.) 

(Thanks to Better Half for the latter two pictures.) 

product of a bored sunday

So I spent most of yesterday blowing the not-insubstantial mass of leaves provided to our not-insubstantial back yard courtesy of the not-insubstantial forest behind our house, and I vacuumed the downstairs this morning (when the cats start sneezing on their own dust bunnies, it is about time to do that); the upshot of all of this is that my right hand has been functionally reduced to a “mewling quim”, to quote the inimitable Loki (look up the phrase if you like, but not on a work computer). 

The good news is since I cannot do anything else, I get to bring you pictures like this: 

IMG_5578-002

Yup, that gun I picked up at the show last weekend is a Norinco Type 54 in the traditional 7.62x25mm (there was a 9mm version there too) – a Chinese clone of the Soviet TT-33.  The airship ticket I shamelessly stole from here, the holster is what the gun came with, and the muzzle brake… well, I figured it looked awesome on the gun, and supposedly it even helps a little with the recoil (you can procure your own here).  Yes, I know nothing in that scene is chronologically concurrent, and yes, I know the gun will not fit in its holster any more, but I am working on that part, at least. 

and this is why you wear eye protection at the range

IMG_20120712_190220

No, thankfully, that is not mine, but there is a story. 

I was at Coal Creek Armory sighting in Better Half’s new Magnum Lite rifle (more on that tomorrow) when Gunsmith Shannon emerged from their shop to test-fire another Saiga-12 short-barrel shotgun* (I wonder if I helped with that sale…).  He cranked off a few appropriately noisy rounds next to me, and then disappeared again, only to re-emerge as I was wrapping up. 

It turns out the muzzle attachment had decided to detach from the firearm in the process of test firing.  He had no idea why it had parted ways, given that the threading was accomplished by means of a tap, and if the attachment was fabricated anywhere near to proper specifications, it should have been snug enough to remove finish from one or the other as it threaded on. 

He was right – it did thread on and lock properly, but that does not help when the entire device suffers a rather catastrophic structural integrity failure. 

The best everyone could figure is that either the brake/flash suppressor was just of crappy quality (no one was sure of the brand, but it resembles this one), or it was designed for the pressures inherent in an 18” barrel, and the blast from an 8” barrel was enough to cause spontaneous disassembly. 

In either case, that chunk flew about 20 feet down the firing line and one of the other shooters found it; what became of the other chunk – about a third of the brake – no one knows. 

Now, imagine that three-ish inch chunk of metal massing somewhere around an ounce or two full of sharp edges and pointy bits smacking you straight in the eye, and imagine what kind of damage that could yield without proper polycarbonate between you and it.  The little piece would arguably be flying even faster, given equal energies and given that it peeled off first, and judging from its shape, it could easily penetrate soft and squishy things. 

So do not be stupid like I was in my Saiga videowear your eye protection.  Your gun may be just fine and never have a structural failure of any kind, but you never know about the other guns around you. 

(* – I feel certain the gun was post-prepping and pre-finishing, but the “heavily worn” look seems like it was specifically designed for the AK-pattern platform; the irregular finish highlights the purely functional aesthetic of the firearm in a way that cannot help but to be attractive.)