I attended a ham radio swap meet several years ago and at one vendor’s display I saw a very strange flashlight. It used a flat, square LED under an adjustable lens that produced a very bright light. This was my first look at the new type of light emitting diode (LED) from Cree, inc. Now, several years later they are taking the lighting industry by storm. The efficiency and durability of this technology is a game-changer. So when it came time to replace my Surefire G2 on my carbine this was the obvious direction for me. Continue reading “Fenix TK15: Cree LED goodness”
NOTE: this is a follow-up post to my original review of the IO, Inc. AK-47C
Having shot this rifle for almost five years, I’ve gotten to know it really well. I still like it, probably more than when I first reviewed it in 2010. However, over the course of 6-7k rounds I have run into a recent problem that anyone shooting this gun should be aware of. Continue reading “IO Inc. AK-47 update for 2013”
With the addition of a simple bipod the Precision Rifle was ready for the range. I was very interested to see how this would all come together. This project was a study in focus. My goal was to build a rifle that could put 75gr .223 bullets on target at longer ranges and to do so at a very low cost. That being said it would require some key choices. With everything you see in these photos the total cost of parts was right at $850.00. Continue reading “Precision Rifle Part V: Sum of its parts”
With the scope mounted the gun was fully assembled and ready to fire. I had purchased the lower parts kit without a trigger because I knew I would be adding a much better unit than the USGI work-alike that would come in the kit. During assembly I used an old stock trigger I had on hand. This trigger has been used to fire well over 10k rounds and had been treated to the “10-minute trigger job”. Even so it when I dry fired it I was not too happy so I decided to wait on live fire until I could get a more appropriate trigger installed. I had heard very good things about Geiselle’s Super Semi-Auto trigger and I figured it would be ideal for this project. Continue reading “Precision Rifle Part IV: Geissele SSA-E Two-Stage Trigger”
With the base rifle assembled I still needed to put a proper optic on it. After reading a lot of information about scopes I decided that it would be very difficult to beat the 6.5-20x version of Simmons’ Whitetail Classic scope with Mildot reticle. Continue reading “Precision Rifle Part III: Simmons Whitetail Classic 6.5-20x 50mm”
With the new lower completed I was ready to find a new complete upper receiver for my Precision Rifle project. I had been trying to buy a Bushmaster Predator upper for some time. I liked the concept of a longer, heavier barrel, simple aluminum handguard with no rails and a low-profile gas block, all good things for a scope-only rifle. The trouble was they were very difficult to find at a reasonable price right at the time I was building the rifle (August 2012). In fact they were only in stock at a few places selling them for 200-300 more than the normal sources. Continue reading “Precision Rifle Part II: RGuns complete upper receiver”
Eugene Stoner would be amazed at how popular his creation has become over the last 50 years. As “America’s Gun” there are many sources for information and parts. It doesn’t require a lot of tools or even mechanical aptitude so when Brian told me about his plan to build a carbine in early 2012 I figured it was a good time for me to build my first AR-15 as well. I had been thinking about a precision rifle for a while so that would be my project. Continue reading “Precision Rifle Part I: Palmetto State Armory stripped lower”
After finding my red dot had completely lost zero while riding around in my trunk I decided it was time to get my hands on a more appropriate optic for my “truck gun”. What I found was much more than that in the form of the Burris Fastfire II.
I really like my Kel-Tec SU-16c but the challenge has long been to find a good 1x optic for my application. The rifle overall is very small which makes installing a full-sized combat optic very awkward. Sure an Eotech 5.12 will fit on the receiver’s small top rail but it is quite high above the bore allowing no co-witness with the low-profile factory sights. Also it adds a significant amount of weight to the top of the gun. The same goes for the Aimpoint full-sized optics. Visually they look rather silly given their relative bulk compared to the rest of the gun. Continue reading “Burris Fastfire II: excellent low cost/low profile 1x optic”
There seems to be a lot of confusion about the genesis of the CETME assault rifle. The story goes like this: Towards the end of WWII, the Germans developed the StG44
Sturmgewehr, which is considered the first true Assault Rifle. It was late in the war and the gun never saw full production. Also under development was the similar StG45, which would become the basis for the CETME. At the war’s conclusion Ludwig Vorgrimler, a german engineer, joined the development team at Centro de Estudios Técnicos de Materiales Especiales (Center for Technical Studies of Special Materials) Continue reading “CETME .308 battle rifle: a brief history”
Russian ammunition has long been available in the US to anyone shooting the classic 7.62x39R AK/SKS caliber. While much if not most of it may look the same, there are significant differences. The vast majority of this ammunition is produced in one of two plants in Russia: Bear in Bernaul and Wolf in Tula. These are enormous plants that are emblematic of the Soviet military/industrial expansion during the Cold War.
While all ammo produced by Bear/Wolf has been steel cased, early production included a lacquer coating to protect against rust. This is all but gone now (a few pallets may remain in the back of a warehouse here or there) with the new cases sporting a polymer coating instead. This greatly reduces the problems with melted lacquer fouling the chamber. Of course, this problem really was only significant with .223/5.56 cartridges and not with the AK round.
What really sets the Wolf Military Classic JHP apart from the rest for me is the waterproof sealant around the bullet and the primer, the tighter quality control (currently at least) and the hollow point terminal ballistics. Interestingly enough, when considering full metal jacket ammunition, the terminal ballistics for .223/5.56 is more impressive than that of the 7.62x39R round. This is assuming relatively short-range engagements. This is because the AK round tends to over-penetrate (through-and-through) whereas the AR round penetrates a short distance, yaws then disintegrates causing massive wounding. In the case of the 124gr JHP round under consideration, this counter-intuitive condition does not exist. Nothing short of a .308 can outperform the devastating terminal ballistics of this round.
So, why don’t I buy some Winchester White Box then reload this round instead of only shooting factory ammo? Mainly it is an issue of cost. For me, the AK-47 fills the role of low-cost, high-powered, dependable defensive rifle, chambered in the second most common caliber in the Western world. Having a highly-tuned round would be a waste frankly. When was the last time you heard the phrase “7.62×39 Match ammo”? Given that the rifle was designed from the ground up to shoot steel cases (unlike most Western rifles) there’s no worry about broken extractors or ejectors due to the introduction of the steel case. So low-cost Russian ammo is perfect for this application.
There are many great online sources for this round. I normally purchase 1,000-round cases so that I can keep plenty of mags loaded with fresh rounds and still keep proficient with the weapon by shooting it on a regular basis. I probably shoot the gun 60-80 rounds a month, sometimes more in the warmer months. Again, this is just to keep familiar and make sure the gun doesn’t get rusty or full of lint or cobwebs.
So, what about practice rounds? Well, given the low cost of this round, it makes sense to simply use the same round in practice that I would for defensive purposes. It makes it simple to buy, shoot, store and plan for my AK ammo.
Sometimes simple is really good.