Category Archives: Product Reviews

CMMG AR15 .22LR Adapter Field Test Results

                                                                          CMMG 22LR Adapter in my AR

Sometime between this past January and April, when the lock down was getting into full swing, Brownells had the CMMG 22 Adapter with three 25 round magazines on sale for $174, down from $225 or so.  So I bit the bullet and bought it.  I really had held off on buying one for a LONG time, as I had some experience with the concept on active duty, as back in 80 and 81 there was a shortage of 5.56 rounds for any use other than, ‘the real thing’.  At the time, I was a combat instructor for the Air Force’s ‘Air Base Ground Defense’ school at Camp Bullis, Texas, and we probably went through 25 to 30K per month in 5.56 on the various live fire ranges with the students, and this didn’t take into account our own fam fire (USAF speak for, “I wanna go to the range and shoot…”).  Well, somebody came up with the 22 adapter for our M16’s and 203’s.  They weren’t very reliable, and the ammo they gave us  was really the worst we could get.  Problem with ours were that they wouldn’t extract all the time, and when that happened, as we couldn’t get into the chamber, the rifle was useless unless we could get the jammed 22 case out of the adapter chamber.  For whatever reason, they didn’t want us popping the rifle open, removing the adapter, and taking a section of cleaning rod and popping the casing out.  Article 15 offense if you were caught.  Anyway, they gave us long brass rods, probably 30 inches, and had us insert it into the muzzle, run it down the barrel, and push it out of the adapter chamber.  Another instructor had to hold the charging handle to the rear to open up the adapter so the case would come out.  Then you were back in business….till the next time.  It would happen a dozen times during the firing of  4K rounds or so.  PITA.  Well, I figured manufacturing QA had come a long way by now (40 years) and thought I’d take a gamble.

In this case, it worked out well.  I did a mini reliability test on the range yesterday and fired 4 mags of 15 rounds as fast as I could pull the trigger, hoping to replicate the problems of yesteryear.  Didn’t happen.  Worked flawlessly.  I did, however, oil the operating spring as suggested in the paperwork.  Seemed to make a difference.

Anyway, my only nit to pick so far is that it doesn’t have a bolt hold open feature unless you have a mag inserted, in which case the mag follower performs the function.  So, before I was loading a mag into the well, or after I had completed firing or the range safety officer called a cease fire, I had to stick a flag in the adapter, which is what you see in the pic above.

Accuracy:  I shot at 25 yards at a 3 inch ‘Shoot and C’ target pasted on an AQT silhouette.  I had the scope set at 100 yards for 5.56 and didn’t feel like adjusting down for the 22.  Lazy, I’m sure, but anyway, I knew it would shoot an inch and a half to 2 inches low at 25 yards, and that’s why you see two separate groups in the pick below.  I did shoot 10 rounds slow fire once I got the impact point down, and that’s where you see a really large hole in the upper target.  So, it’s pretty accurate, for a 22 adapter.  I would caution that I was using really good ammo, so you get what you pay for in the accuracy world.

If you’re looking to be able to live fire without diminishing your supply of 5.56, this is a good way to do it.  Also great for teaching your kids/grandkids/wives/girl friends/significant others how to shoot an AR without using up ‘real world’ ammo.

I’d like to hear in the comments your experiences with 22 adapters.

 

Why I REALLY Like the ACSS Reticle from Primary Arms…

There are quite a few reasons I like the Primary Arms offerings:  Quality, affordability, durability, eye relief, clarity, and so on.

BUT…..the foundational reason I really like these scopes (I have one on my ‘go to’ AR and one on my semi-precision .308 Savage) is the ACSS reticle.

These scopes are meant to be zero’d at 100 yards, and from there, the Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) for your caliber let’s you shoot your target without making another scope adjustment.  Saves time, which is really important.

The first pic is on my 1X6 ACSS mounted on my, ‘Go To’ AR.

Now, do I believe I’ll make 800 yard shots with a 62gr m855?  No, but I may make 500 yard shots more times than not with this phenomenal scope from a prone and clear line of sight.  I also am very comfortable with the ‘CQB’ donut.  I also appreciate the 5 mph wind holds for both lateral directions.  And the measuring tool on the right is a great range finder presuming your human target is about 5′ 10″ tall.  Below is a great example of how you can range with it, even though the reticle is a ‘dot’ version, vice the chevron, which I prefer.

Then there’s the 4X14 FFP Illuminated on my humble semi-precision Savage Model 10.

I have no illusions about my .308, even with Berger rounds, being accurate enough OR having enough ‘oomph’ to stop someone/thing at 1000 yards.  If this scope was on a 300 Win?  You bet!

You can also determine range with this fine optic, but you’ll have to do the math, which isn’t so difficult, and if you’re a few hundred yards away and camouflaged, unless the target is sprinting, you’ll more than likely have time to do your calculation.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I’m really taken with these scopes.  I’ve been using them for about 3 years now, and I’m not dissatisfied in the least!

Do I still teach the 25 meter zero?  You bet.  It’s great for straight iron sight shooters, or for zeroing your BUIS.  Even a red dot, depending on the application.  But for optics at the price paid and the clear value, I can’t see not using these fine scopes.

*Disclaimer – I am simply a happy Primary Arms customer – I get nothing from this, or any other write I have done on their products.

First Range Report – Savage Model 10 FCP-SR and Primary Arms 4-14 ACSS FFP Illuminated ACSS-HUD-DMR-308

Years ago I used to have a very, very accurate Remington 700 Sendero in .300 Win Mag.  I sold it some years ago and replaced it with a Savage 10 with the 4-14 ACSS scope in 7.62 NATO.  While I miss the long range accuracy of that .300 Win, I’ve not been disappointed with the Savage.

Two weeks ago I took it to a square indoor range and put 30 rounds down the tube to see what kind of groups I might expect without making any adjustments to the rifle or glass.  The only ammo I had on had was some Fiocchi 165gr Sierra HPBT Game King, which is a great hunting round.  I’m fond of the 165gr as a general purpose  bullet as it performs very well out to about 700m, and the Game King is designed as a purposeful hollow point.

I was ok with the results; best group, once it was sighted in, was just about an inch at 50m; so 2 inches at 100 is fine for hunting, however, my projected application for the Savage is to distract and disrupt a ‘zombie apocalypse’ against my neighborhood.

As I hadn’t shot this rifle, admittedly, I did things backwards.  All I did to prep it was to patch the barrel and check the optics for solid mounting.  After I shot it and came home, I took it completely apart, cleaned it, and then used a torque driver to tighten the action screws to the recommended inch pound setting from Savage.

I went back to a square outdoor range with 3 different brands of ammunition in two weights:  168 & 175gr – two with Sierra HPBT Matchking projectiles and one set with Berger projectiles.

All shots from the bench, cool to warm barrel, no cleaning between groups, 100 meters, temperature around 80f, partly cloudy, humidity about 75%.

Suffice it to say that the results, with much higher quality ammunition and having the rifle prepped made quite the difference!

This is the result:

Berger Match Grade 308 Winchester Ammo 175 Grain Open Tip Match Tactical 

This was the most accurate (and most expensive) rounds used in my Inherent Accuracy Test, Phase 1.  As you can see, it’s pretty good ammo.  The small squares are 1/4 inch X 1/4 inch, and this is a really good just under or at 1/2 inch group.  The Berger rounds use the best of everything, to include Lapua brass, match projectiles, special power blends, and match primers.  It shows.  But they’re spendy.  Between $1.30 and $1.50 a round, depending on where you get them, and that doesn’t include shipping!  Add another .40 to .60 a round after shipping.  Sometimes you can get free shipping if you buy lots of 200 rounds.  That may come later for me if I choose these as my primary, but even so, they’re expensive!  That’s about $30 a box or more.

Next up is Federal Gold Medal 308 Winchester 175gr Sierra HPBT Match King.  This group was just over a half inch but under 3/4’s of an inch.  The price point difference between this and the Berger is significant, at about $7 a box cheaper than the Berger.  The Federal rounds are also top quality, with the same Sierra bullet, ‘virgin’ brass (so described by Federal) proprietary powder mix, and really consistent primers.

The Federal is less expensive by quite a bit, ranging from .92 to $1.70 per round (this price had a free shipping note so long as you purchase 200 rounds).  The range is a lot wider, but at the least expensive end, adding shipping to the cost makes it about $1.50 or so a round, or $25 a box, and with the eye of a coupon shopper, you can probably get these for less than $20 a box, shipped.

Last, but certainly not least, as the ammo is MOA capable, is Fiocchi’s submission to the 175gr match market.  Titled, ‘Fiocchi Exacta Rifle Match,’ it’s performance was acceptable, though a bit disappointment as it is about the same price as the Federal, which performed clearly better in this test.

I have some IMI 175gr BTHP SMK OTM Razor Core Match coming, so this portion of the test won’t be complete until that gets expended.

After the 175gr performance comparison is complete, I’m going to do 168 gr as well, same brands (except Berger, as they don’t make 168’s), same conditions as much as possible.  I’m including the 168’s as potential ‘go to’ ammo as I was weaned on them back in the day, and I wouldn’t fee right not giving them a chance.

Stay tuned.

Product Review: Nikwax Cotton Proof

Updated at AP on 15 June 18.

I’ve used this product in all seasons, hot, wet, and cold.  Still have enough left in the large container to either re-impregnate the items below or to put in a few other things.

  • Survival Smock
  • M-65 Field Jacket
  • 2 Pr BDU pants
  • 2 Winter Camouflage Over Jackets
  • 1 Pr Winter Camouflage Over pants

So far, everything has held out beautifully when it comes to repelling water/snow.  In the rain, it takes a very heavy downpour for the material to start taking on any water (the NYCO mix is what weakens the waterproofing property because it’s for 100% cotton…).  When it comes to snow, when body heat starts melting the snow, it flicks off as small water droplets leaving the material dry.  All in all, staying drier keeps me warmer longer.  This is a great product!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Originally published on 11 April 2017.

In the quest for staying dry as long as possible in cold, wet weather, while looking for a Goretex rejuvenator, I happened upon a product by Nikwax, called, “Cotton Proof.”  Now, truth be told, I’m always skeptical of the ‘magic pill’ offered by various companies, but, as I wear a lot of Nyco things, to include field jackets and smocks, I figured, ‘what the hell, it might just be worth trying out.’  After all, cotton is known as ‘the cloth of death’ in anything but warm weather, once it gets wet.

Here’s their video on the product:

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So, I go ahead and watch the video and decide to order it and give it a shot.  I bought mine on Amazon.

Once it arrived, I read the directions and followed them explicitly.  One thing many don’t do is to remove all soap residue from their washing machine prior to treating their items.  The instructions will tell you explicitly to do just that.  So, that’s what I did by running three ‘heavy load’ cycles with only hot/warm water and two ounces white vinegar in each cycle.

Once the machine was clean, I washed the items I was going to experiment with in ‘Sport Wash’ twice, as I noticed residue in the first rinse from previous washings.  I’ve got some Nikwax Tech Wash on the way for next time, but hey, this was an experiment.

The directions will tell you that you don’t need to dry the items once pre-washed, and that’s true.  For 3 to 4 medium & large mixed items, you need to put 7 ounces (I estimated between 3/4 of a cup and a full cup, so I could have been a smidge off) in the washer after it’s completely full.  So, place the items in the washer, start the fill,, and once all items are submerged and completely under the surface, put the Cotton Proof in.  Once you do that, you run the ‘heavy’ cycle as normal, to include the rinse and spin cycles.

When it’s done, put them in the dryer with no softeners on delicate/low.  I put the timer on max, for 60 minutes; everything was dry in about 40.

After everything cooled, the first thing I did was take an item over to the mud sink faucet and turn on the water, letting it pour on the material.

The water bounced off for about 45 seconds with a steady stream hitting the material at a perpendicular angle before the tiniest wet spot was visible!  So, I shut the water off, shook off the item, and it was completely dry again in about 90 seconds or less.  Not bad for a 50/50 Nyco item!  From what their instructions/adds/videos say, it works better on 100% cotton, but will suffice with nylon blends.  Man does it!

So, I give this product 5 stars for those who like to walk around in the bush or rain or whatever and want to stay dry as long as possible.  I’m actually looking forward to a ruck walk in the rain in the next week for a minimum of 5 miles to see how it performs.

Comparision / Contrast: Old v New AR Platforms – Pt 2

Posted at AP on 11 Oct 18.

Before we get into this installment, I freely acknowledge that there are as many people out there who simply loathe the M16/AR15/M4/M4gery platform and would rather throw rocks at an enemy than use one, as recently evidenced by comments not making the cut here (I don’t do vitriol) or seen at other sites posting the first installment of the series.

There are also those who really, ‘don’t know what they don’t know’ about continuous product improvement, and honestly don’t care to compare/contrast older versions with newer versions of anything, and operate on what is known as, “The Law of Primacy,” which basically means, “first learned, longest remembered, revered, trusted, etc (put in your own descriptor..)  I actually was in this category for 20 years after retiring from active duty, so much so that I moved to the 7.62NATO round in a M14 type rifle and didn’t consider an AR until about 6 or 7 years ago.  Of course, a lot has changed for the better since even then.

 

 

So, if you’re one of those who reacts in an unhealthy way at the mention of ‘AR’, don’t bother reading on, as all this will most likely do is raise your BP, your ire, and possibly cause you to violate our comment standards when/if you comment.

For the rest of the readership, as you saw in Part 1, the M-16 and its civilian cousin, the AR15 (exception to the designation was the fully automatic USAF AR15) started out with a whimper instead of a bang.  It took some time for Colt to clear up the problems being faced on the battle field due to poor powder replacements in the round, no cleaning equipment, no solvents, and extreme malfunctions solely due to those reasons.

However, once Colt got on the ball, the problems were fixed and the rifle and carbine kept being put through Continuous Product Improvement evolutions to became the most loved/hated platform in the US.  I was weaned on the USAF AR15 slab side (my first issue rifle had the 3 prong flash suppressor on it).  We had no forward assist available, but the thing was, we didn’t need it.  Colt had fixed the issue, so we were fine with what we were given, not that we actually knew what had been improved (E-2’s and 3’s aren’t the most informed people in the military….just sayin’), we just knew it fired when we pulled the trigger and hit what we were aiming at to the maximum range we were allowed to shoot (usually 200 meters or less, most often 100 meters).  Most of us, including me, hated it though, because we were trained by men who’d used the first generation in Vietnam that had problems.  We all lusted for the M-14, which we would NEVER see as a general issue rifle.

My personal dislike for the AR carried over throughout my career, even though I used another variant or two, specifically, the GAU-5A and the ‘Colt Commando.’  Those were, at least, more maneuverable and as we were always getting in and out of vehicles (trucks, jeeps, cars (armored and standard), a lot easier to use and control, especially if you were a dog handler (like I was for 3 years) or were working a support weapons crew, such as the 81mm Mortar (also like I was for 5 years).  Great also for vehicle patrols and other tasks.  The pic below also shows how we adapted the slings in order to carry in more of a ready position.  We taped our unused sling swivels, though….noise and all that.

When I retired from active service, I decided to go with .30 caliber weapons for my personal use and for competition.  So, in a short time, I had an ’03A3, a nice Garand, and a really nice pre-ban Springfield M1A (later sold and replaced with a Fulton Armory refurbed Norinco with all TRW parts except for the receiver).  Used them for 20 years.  Below photo of yours truly with his Fulton Armory reworked Norinco.

Then, age started to catch up to me, and I knew my days of running around with a 10 pound rifle and 13 magazines of 7.62NATO were numbered.  So, all the .30’s eventually got sold, and I listened to some folks talk about how much more improved the AR was.  I was hearing things about 600 meter capabilities, super-stiff barrels in 16, 18 & 20 inch lengths, double-chrome lining, Nickel Boron coated BCG’s, and some superb triggers.

Usually, what sounds to good to be true actually is too good to be true.

In this case, the upgrades and improvements were, in fact, true, and the AR’s I own now run circles around what I was issued, and, in the case of the Colt SP-1 still out there for sale for collectors when they can find one.  I like the SP-1 for nostalgia’s sake; the one I’ve fired hits where it should hit, but it is limited by the barrel twist, the sights, bullet weight, and issue trigger.  But it is the closest thing to what I used during my first couple tours on active duty, save for the lack of select fire.  In comparison, the AR below is an earlier iteration I had for a couple years; bought it right before the first panic in ’09 for about $1300 and watched it go up in value to over $3,000 almost over night.  I decided to go with the ‘Canadian’ influence of a retractable stock but a full length 20 inch barrel.  I wanted to squeeze the most performance possible out of the 5.56NATO round.  It had a Nickel Boron upper, NiB BCG and bolt, 20 in chrome lined FN barrel in a 1:8 twist (it ate everything pretty well), Gisele trigger, Magpul everything, Vortex flash suppressor, fold down BUIS, and an ACOG.  I regret selling that one.  That particular rifle is shown in the feature image at the top of this post.

What’s available for purchase now?  Almost endless accouterments as well as configurations.  I’ll list just a few of the improvements.  Yes, some of them are expensive, but I figure you get what you pay for, and I know my AR’s are pretty much bomb proof.  They also fall into the definition of ‘practical combat carbine.’  Also available is the very popular AR ‘pistol.’  They’re kinda neat for carry in a car, so long as you have a CPL.  Most states won’t allow a rifle to be carried loaded in your vehicle, but, and AR pistol may be, so long as you have your CPL.  Laws vary, so check out your own state’s requirements.

Here’s some of the upgrades available that I’ve chosen for my latest iteration, one that I’ve had for about 3 years:

  • FN manufactured, double chrome lined barrel.  Very stiff; basically a cut down machine gun barrel.  Able to stay very rigid during long firing periods (equates to a smaller cone of fire).
  • Barrel Twist – 1:7 takes the 62gr, both OTM and M855.  Personally, I’d prefer a 1:8, as it’ll eat everything ranging from 55gr to 77 gr, but I’m not quite ready to re-barrel my ‘go to.’
  • Vortex Flash Suppressor – Nothing says ‘no flash signature’ like a Vortex.  You can still see flash signature with the ‘Bird Cage,’ let alone the 3 prong.
  • Folding BUIS w/chevron sight post to replace the standard – Great for snap shooting and back up should my optics go Tango Uniform.
  • Battery Assist Device (BAD) by MagPul – HUGE debate out there in ‘subject matter expert’ land as to what one might do if they train with a BAD and have to use a ‘battlefield pick up.’  I am not in that camp.  I’ve been using the AR system long enough that if a BAD isn’t there, it’ll take about 3 nano-seconds to revert back to activating the standard bolt release.
  • Nickel Boron Bolt and Bolt Carrier Group – Carbon doesn’t adhere nearly as bad as it does on the standard issue or chrome BCG or bolts.
  • Bravo Company Bolt Upgrades – Rubber donuts, stronger ejector springs, and superb gas rings that last longer.
  • Better ergonomics on the pistol grip, adjustable stock, and fore-grip.
  • 200 lumen mounted light on foregrip; safety bail operated.
  • Geissele trigger.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Vortex Strike Eagle variable scope.  Not top line, but is superb and takes enough of a beating to make it balance out on the ROI scale.
  • American Defense Industries quick release scope base – If the vortex goes ‘kaput,’ I can remove it with a flip of the levers and employ my back up iron sights that are pre-zeroed.
  • Heavier buffer/stronger buffer spring – It’s for the carbine, of course, but it does help keep things non-maniacal during follow up shots.
  • Magazines – Mix between MagPul window and stainless steel magazines.  I like both; both take rattle can camo very well.  The MagPuls are thicker at the base, and therefore don’t fit as well into USGI type double mag bandoleers (which I like for ‘extra comfort’).

All in all, the newest iteration I own, and the ones available from quality manufacturers have long outdistanced what was originally issued and available to the civilian market.

Are there better platforms out there?  Sure, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more versatile platform with as many different configurations, optics, furniture, ammo choices, not to mention cost reductions and availability.  Nicely appointed AR’s are going for $500, sometimes less, and the quality isn’t half bad.

Well, that about does it.  Hope you enjoyed the series.

Comparision / Contrast: Old v New AR Platforms – Pt 1

Posted at AP on 2 Oct 18.

“Ch-ch-ch-changes…..Time May Change Me, but I can’t Change Time…”

Interesting start to a new post, huh?  Kinda sorta ‘Bowie-like’ but different….as you can see by the featured photo, this is going to be a comparison contrast with some history thrown in regarding the quintessential American, ‘Go-To’ rifle, the AR-15.

Let’s start out with a little known trivia fact:  Which US military branch had a fully automatic version of the M16 actually designated as the AR-15?

Drum roll:  The US Air Force. The USAF chose Colt’s Model 604 and had it designated the AR-15.  Same thing as the M16 feature image above (not A1), complete with select fire capability but with all the wonderful improvements (to that time) that Colt had made to ensure reliability in combat conditions.

Colt Model 604 was the AR-15/M-16 model developed primarily for the US Air Force. It differed from the XM16E1 and M16A1 in that it did not have the forward assist feature. The “early” models were built with a Partial Fence Lower and 3-Prong Flashhider, and the “late” models were built with Full Fence Lowers and A1 Birdcage Flashhiders.

From what the records indicate, once powder issue had been resolved and fouling was no longer a killer in the field, and the buffer spring had been strengthened, the forward assist was no longer necessary.  We always thought we were being short changed with the AR-15 version, but in all the time I was in the field in swampy, wet, winter, and dry conditions, never once did my issued AR-15 fail to go into battery when firing, so apparently, Colt did fix things.  They even got rid of the three prong flash suppressor that could, but didn’t normally, get caught on local vegetation.  More often it was used to pop open ‘C Rats’ or ammo cases (the violator getting caught became miserable for a few weeks), and then, ‘poof,’ all our rifles were either retrofitted with ‘jungle tips’ (original reference by USAF Security Forces in the 70’s) properly known as ‘bird cage’ flash suppressors or returned to Depot after new ones had arrived.

    USAF Air Base Ground Defense troop with a M16

Then there’s the ‘forward assist’.  The originals on the M16A1 actually fit the thumb as opposed to the ‘push button’ type seen today.  And, it was necessary, from both a physical point of view (the buffer springs weren’t quite strong enough to deal with the crap encountered in the bush) and there was a more important psychological perspective to deal with:  way too many GI’s were afraid of having to break down their rifle because it wouldn’t go into battery during a fire fight.  Even with the problem fixed, the ‘A1’ was a good idea if only for confidence and a ‘make sure’ tool.  So now, everyone who’s anyone won’t buy a M-forgery or full length rifle without a forward assist.  Every single upper I’ve purchased has one ‘De Rigueur.’  You simply cannot find an AR lower without one (which is kind of ironic, in that buffer springs now are available that when compared to the older ones are on steroids!)  At least I haven’t been able to do so.  Basically, it’s an unnecessary feature that will never be used in earnest, which is to ensure that a gunky, muddy, debris encumbered bolt carrier group will seat so the weapon may fire.  All one needs for this rifle to be reliable is a good, strong buffer spring, and routine cleaning, and it won’t fail.  Maybe your mileage has varried/will vary, but I’m pretty confident in what my AR’s have that makes the Forward Assist obsolete.  Colt had fixed that , too, in the USAF’s AR15, and that’s why the USAF didn’t see them for quite a long time (from what I understand, current issue has them – most likely an economy of scale thing….cheaper to make them with them, than make a separate run without them).

Ok…on to basic history:

Military problems with the AR (M-series) in Vietnam:

  • Original powder used to achieve 3K feet per second velocity produced excessive (and I mean excessive) fouling that caused the rifle to jam very quickly (propellants used in today’s 5.56NATO doesn’t foul the chamber or barrel nearly at all).
  • Fouling led to ‘failure to extract’ spent casings, and that got a lot of people hurt/killed.
  • Barrel and chamber were chromoly, not chrome-lined, and were subject to rust/corrosion if not cleaned often.
  • Cleaning kits were in short supply.  REALLY short supply.  Rifles were supposed to be delivered with them, but Colt and the Army got caught short. Troops wrote home begging for .22 cleaning kits from their families.
  • Colt originally claimed the rifle was ‘self-cleaning,’ (which is why they didn’t worry about the cleaning kits) which obviously was not the case.

By 1967, the M16A1 was issued.  Improvements included:

  • Chrome Lined chamber & barrel:  One of the best things they EVER did.  To this day, until Nitride barrels, a good AR has had a single or double chrome lining for increased barrel life and reduced corrosion and failure to extract (dirty chambers can still cause an occasional problem if ignored, so it’s a good idea when cleaning to clean the chamber and not just the bore).
  • Lubricants – LSA, that wonderful, white, gooey lubricant also known as a something to do with elephants that is not mentioned in polite company.  This is where we all learned it ran better when wet.
  • Cleaning Solvents – Worked like a charm (with a lot of scrubbing – nothing like the wonder solvents of today) compared to letting it clean itself.
  • Cleaning Kits & Training in how to clean the weapon:  Go figure.  Who knew?
  • Charging Handle changed out from the ‘triangle,’ which was hard to grip and pull with wet hands, to the more user-friendly version seen today as ‘standard issue.’

The powder wasn’t changed, though, until 1970, to one that was much less prone to foul the weapon to the point of despair.

The rest, as they say, is history.  I was asked on the range one day not long ago if I was using the civilian version of what I used on active duty.  My answer was something along the lines of:  “Not hardly.  This thing is a ‘space gun’ compared to what we had.”  And it’s true.  There have been so many improvements to the basic AR platform that comparison can be likened to a World War II Thunderbolt compared to a F-16 fighter.

When one compares even the improved version of the civilian model, the Colt SP-1 (the one I owned for a short time was made in 1976), is almost prehistoric compared to my 16″, Nitiride 1:8 twist, NiB Bolt & BCG, flat top, 6 position Magpul stock, Gisele trigger, Primary Amrs optic mounted, 62gr shooting, MOA capable/performing (depending on the ammo…) carbine.  Not. The. Same. Animal.

I like the SP-1 a lot, generally for nostalgia, and if I find another example reasonably priced, will buy it again.  It shoots well, and is a great collector’s piece as most are still in great shape and made by “Colt Patented Firearms”, while sporting the ‘prancing pony’ logo.  If there wasn’t anything else for me to grab, I’d take one and have confidence in its performance within its limitations.  On the other hand, if I have my ‘druthers on grabbing something for a problem, I’m reaching for my modern carbine that has every possible improvement to the platform in the way of reliability, accuracy, and durability.  No question.

Next installment:  Comparison of the current practical combat carbine.

 

 

The Foxfire Series – An Introduction

Posted at AP on 8 June 18.

While many in the prepper world have heard of this amazing book series, many times more folks have not!  In fact, I’d venture that there are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who are concerned about possible hard times on the horizon who haven’t heard about this treasure trove of information!  This post is offered in that light – to raise awareness of what treasure of knowledge can be obtained for small cost in dollars.

These wonderful books contain priceless information that anyone, of any age, anywhere, can use to increase their knowledge of, ‘the old ways’ for that will see them through harsh times, off-grid living, or learning and teaching the ‘old’ traditions.

The book began as an English class project published in a magazine, and eventually morphed into a series of encyclopedic paper bound ‘manuals’ with it’s own website and organization, which, if you have a mind, you can become a member.  Foxfire’s mission is to preserve the traditions and practices of Southern Appalachia, however virtually all the information can be adapted to anywhere in the world, as the practices are time tested and proven and will work anywhere.

The history below is taken directly from the foxfire website:

“In 1966, a new teacher at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School was struggling to engage students in his high school English class. In frustration, he asked them what they thought would make the curriculum interesting. They decided to create a magazine, honing their writing skills on stories gathered from their families and neighbors, and producing articles about the pioneer era of southern Appalachia as well as living traditions still thriving in the region.

They called it “Foxfire” after the glowing fungus that clings to rotted wood in the local hills. This spark of an idea, and the work that followed, has turned into a phenomenon of education and living history, teaching readers, writers, visitors, and students how our past contributes to who we are and what we can become – how the past illuminates our present and inspires imagination.”

The good news is that for those who bargain hunt, older copies can be found for almost the original price (about $4 per volume) at flea markets, old book stores, and, of course, on line auction sites, such as ebay.   The older the copy and the better shape it’s in, the price will be higher of course.  You can also go to on-line sellers such as Amazon and buy single copies, partial sets, and the entire set if you prefer.  It’s all there for you.   I started with the single book, and after reading a few chapters, quickly went out hunting the other volumes!  My first is an original 1972 copy in ‘like new’ shape (at least it was when I bought it – now it’s well-read and a bit worn).

The first volume covers many subjects.  This is from the front overleaf, but is also on the cover as the image at the top of the post shows:  “The Foxfire Book – Hog dressing; log cabin building; mountain crafts and foods; planting by the signs; snake lore; hunting tales; faith healing; moon shining; and other affairs of plain living.”

The books are not dry, either.  They’re written exactly as the words were spoken and/or written by the people being interviewed, and keep your attention, and transport your mind into their world.  Plain speaking; they tell you why and wherefore with no pretense:  “this is the way I was raised up.”

Get the first volume, “The Foxfire Book,” and judge from there.  As you increase your interest, and decide to buy the second, third, and subsequent volumes, consider passing the ones you’ve read to someone who is of like mind….but you’ll want to make sure they return it and get their own!

 

Winchester 670 Range Performance

Posted at AP on 31 Oct 18.

In part 1, here, I described the Winchester 670 and a little bit of its history along with some of the unique features I found:

  • Completely unbedded action.
  • Original ‘Tip Off’ scope ring mounts.
  • A 3X9 X 40 once inch ‘tee vee’ screen scope.
  • Factory iron sights.
  • 19 inch carbine barrel.
  • Exceptional trigger (for an ‘economy’ rifle).

On the weekend of 26 October 2018, I took it to my KDR (Known Distance Range) to check out it’s accuracy potential on a bench.  I took two different brands of ammo with me that had some common characteristics (besides being .30-06).  Both had a 165gr Sierra HPBT Game King mounted on very nicely polished brass.  Brands:  Omega Ammo (now apparently out of business – their link loads with ‘we’re down for maintenance’ and has been doing that since February 19) & Fiocchi; and both loaded to, or close to, match specs.  Temps were in the mid 40’s and it was raining most of the time I was there.  So, it was good weather to check how it’d perform during a hunt.

Generally, the Omega had better (tighter) groups and the Fiocchi was a bit hotter, as it’s point of impact with the same aiming point was about 2 inches higher than the Omega.  I was pretty pleased with both brands, but the Omega edged out the Fiocchi.  You used to be able to find out more about Omega ammo, here, if you wish.

The next image is of the iron sight check out at 25 AFTER the scope was sighted in.  I did this so that when I went to 100 yards, the scope would have been taken off its original zero, and would be prone, if the mounts/rings weren’t solid, of having a different point of impact.

To continue, the upper holes outside of the ‘X’ indicate what I did to bring it center and down on the ‘X’.  The very tight group in the ‘X’ is how it fired at 25 yards with semi-quickly bolted rounds, simulating rapid fire on say, a bear, or something, coming at the shooter.

Now, remembering that this target was shot at 25 yards, I was still pretty happy.  I don’t have the eyesight anymore to shoot iron accurately beyond that, so that’s where it’ll stay for anytime I need to flip the scope out of the way.  And, yes, the scope was tipped off to the left, and re-secured before I went to 100 yards.

Stealing my own thunder, I was amazed at how it kept its zero at 100 after being tipped over.  Very solid mounts, and great performance from a scope that’s about as old as the rifle.

The first target is two groups of 3.  You might find the points of impact as interesting as I did.  The second target with blue lines indicating the group was the first 3 rounds; the second target with the yellow lines was the second string of 3 rounds.

The red dot is about 1 1/4 inches or so in diameter, so all in all, I find this rifle to be a keeper.  One thing I always look for to confirm inherent accuracy potential is the ‘triangle’ shaped group.  It means the barrel harmonics are consistent with the cone of fire; the closer the group, the more consistent the harmonics.  For an economy rifle, this one has superb harmonics, especially when taking into account the lack of bedding and stock features.

All in all, I fired 40 rounds of both Omega and Fiocchi through this neat little rifle.  Its performance, with no custom work on it at all, convinced me that back in the ’60’s, even an economy rifle could perform to match levels.

This one made the trip last November and didn’t need to be used, but it was ready…