Category Archives: Weapons

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.



The so-called ‘small arms expert,’ here, as noted in “The Rundown” linked from “The Woodpile Report,” here, is either an idiot, or has had his interview quotes thoroughly taken out of context through selective editing to increase the sensationalization to make him purposely look like an idiot.  If the latter was the goal, the reporter succeeded.

The Navy vet quoted in the piece claims the Dayton shooter (self-identified as ANTIFA) was using an illegally modified AR15 turning it into a SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) which are, in fact, illegal to own unless registered with the BATFE with the appropriate tax paid and owner background checks completed.  Right up front in the article the ‘small arms expert’ is shown to have very little ‘expertise’ by the first quote:

“A pistol/rifle hybrid is completely illegal on every level,” Jack Maxey told The Rundown. “It’s clearly illegal in its current configuration.”

In a word, “NONSENSE!”

It was used illegally to murder people, but as it’s configured, it’s pretty safe to say that it was built as an AR pistol.

So, as quoted, the ‘expert’ obviously NEVER heard of or has seen an AR PISTOL.  Mr. Maxey, if quoted incorrectly, should demand a retraction and subsequent correction, and if quoted correctly, take a firearms identification course and apologize to, ‘The Run Down.’

In the photo released by the Dayton PD, the firearm is easily identified as an AR pistol by ID of the Shockwave Blade Pistol Stabilizer in conjunction with the apparent 10.5″ barrel, which further indicates the configuration as an AR pistol, NOT an SBR, at least by appearances.  The only way it can be judged as a SBR is to see if the lower receiver was registered as a ‘pistol receiver.’  If it wasn’t, then it’s a SBR; if it was, it’s an AR Pistol.

Additionally, stabilizers, such as the one in the crime photo, cannot be installed on AR 15 carbines or rifles, because the installation shortens the overall length of the firearm below the legal minimums, again, making it a SBR.

The stabilizer itself sells for under $25 at most major firearms accessory retailers, and the one in the photo is thusly described:  “The Shockwave Technologies Blade Pistol Stabilizer is a lightweight, ergonomic, BATFE approved AR-15 pistol enhancement. This high-strength polymer brace fits all pistols equipped with a standard AR-15 pistol buffer tube (up to 1.25″ in diameter), for a secure, worry-free fit.”

Again, AR pistols are completely LEGAL so long as the owner registers it as a pistol when he or she meets the legal requirements to own it and follows their state protocol for registration when taking possession through a licensed FFL, who, by the way, is not going to risk legal jeopardy themselves by allowing a SBR to be possessed by a prospective owner that doesn’t have the appropriate clearance and approval.

Once the lower is registered as a pistol receiver, it cannot legally have a rifle upper installed on it without having the legal description changed from pistol to rifle, and then again, the owner must have BATFE notification of intent to change the designation and with their approval.  If the AR Pistol owner doesn’t jump through those hoops and installs a rifle upper on the pistol lower, or installs a rifle stock on the pistol lower, he or she has just converted a legal pistol to an illegal SBR.

From what I understand, it’s a PITA to jump through all the hoops to get an AR Pistol lower reclassified, being much easier to simply buy a new lower and build a new AR carbine/rifle.


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 Sling – It’s for Much More Than CQB or Ease of Rifle Carry…

Excellent opening image above, isn’t it?  It demonstrates the use of a ‘deliberate’ sling on a 1917 Eddystone Enfield, chambered in 30-06.  The image below is an M-14 rifle nomenclature diagram.  Notice the sling is important enough to be included as part of the weapon system, and it’s set up properly for a deliberate (aka, ‘loop’) sling , too.  Following that is an image of a M-16 with one of the older cotton web slings, and it’s set up properly for a deliberate sling as well.  The sling, as taught to many generations of US servicemen, is an aid to accurate shooting.  Even the sling swivels are placed in strategic locations for optimum employment (more on this below).

As mentioned above, the US military (all branches at one point) used to teach marksmanship to include the use of the sling to all recruits (especially the USMC), but, as the years went by and training focus changed from accurate fire to area suppression, less and less time was spent on accuracy, and more time was spent on putting as many rounds into an area or location as possible, to the point that only the Marines continued to teach the sling.  Stands to reason, in the USMC, everyone is a rifleman, first and foremost.

In my own time on active duty, I believe my ‘generation’ was the last to receive any training in the use of the sling, and that was after arrival at our first duty stations, not in Basic Training, and then, not universally across the board.  I was lucky; had a few early Vietnam veterans and cross branch enlistees who took an interest in my shooting capabilities because I was on their squad.  And, about that time, the sling, to most people, became an item with which to carry one’s rifle on the shoulder, and these days, across the chest or abdomen.

HUGE mistake in my opinion.

                   Yours Truly Shooting a M14 Type Rifle with a Hasty Sling

To underscore the point, the primary purpose of a sling is not simply for carrying a rifle comfortably as some may think; rather, it’s an essential shooting aid that allows the shooter to achieve better accuracy in each shot than the shooter would without it.  1907 slings as well as web slings are now mostly used by competitors, re-enactors, and purists (which I count myself as one of the former competitors, now turned purist).  Mores the pity – the generations of younger shooters will most likely not benefit from such superb training as those who’ve gone before did.

Today’s slings (both issue and after market) can be single point, two point, three point, in terms of attachment, as well as variations thereof with slides and buckles to tighten or loosen the sling on the individual for ease of weapon deployment or carrying easier that has a byproduct of letting the troop use both hands for other tasks while retaining the ability to bring the weapon to bear in a threat.  They’re simply an evolution of a need brought about by a major shift in vehicle & airborne insertion into a battle zone.  They don’t have a thing to do with helping the shooter deliberately hit a target a long way away to the back burner.  So, in relation to accuracy, those type of slings pretty much suck as deliberate shooting aids.   One of the reasons is the points of attachment have changed along with the purpose of slings when shooting.

Most military grade or replica of issue rifles have two primary points of attachment for the sling:  On the underside of the forearm near its front end and the underside of the butt stock near its end.

Take the Vietnam issue nylon web sling (above), it’s WWII/Korean War predecessors made of cotton web, and it’s child – black cotton/poly mix (the worst of the lot, in my opinion).  All three good versions were able to be quickly employed as either deliberate or hasty configurations for the shooter to have a really good chance at hitting his enemy at maximum effective or beyond maximum effective ranges, or if closer and under great stress, have a better chance of coming out on top with a first or second shot hit.  In my opinion, the Vietnam issue is the best, because with use it gets softer and does not stretch at all.

Another that doesn’t stretch at all is the Turner Saddlery ‘all weather’ 1907 slings as pictured below.  In my opinion, you can’t buy a better sling than Turner, leather or synthetic.  You might find some just as good, but none better.

                                            Turner Saddlery Synthetic NM Sling in OD

                           US Marine Employing a Deliberate or “Loop” Sling with a M-16A2 Rifle

The front and rear sling swivel locations help reduce any pressure of the forearm against the barrel, which will degrade accuracy.   This can be mitigated, though.  How?  Easy – the barrel must be ‘free floated.’  Back when I competed in High Power, my match rifles, both Garands and M14 type rifles, were free floated to wring the most accuracy possible out of them when using or not using the sling.  Standard issue or replica rifles used are typically upgraded to match level in parts and construction, and the shooter learns how much pressure he can put on the sling before it’s a detriment and not a help in his shooting.  Here’s a very short video on the proper way to install a sling.

If you’re a more ‘modern’ shooter and have a sling installed on the standard USGI gas block clipped in with a plastic or light metal quick release buckle, and you’re putting pressure on your sling, you could easily break your attachment device or put enough pressure on the gas block to cause problems with your accuracy.  If you have a QR release on the side of the forearm, enough pressure may pop your QR swivel right out of its receptacle.   Either of these conditions are not good for your shot.  And Murphy ensures these kinds of things always happen at the wrong moment.  When installed ‘old school’ on older .30 caliber battle rifles or even M16A1’s, through A4’s, these things rarely happen because A:  the sling swivels are reinforced to take the pressure using a sling generates, and B: the sling isn’t putting pressure on anything that will affect the shot.  If you are going to use the current crop of slings, 99.999% of them were not designed to help you attain better accuracy, so it might not be a good idea to try it out on them.  Especially if you’re a ‘CQB’ type – you don’t need the sling for accuracy anyway.  Using a sling is strictly for making accurate shots out to ranges you don’t normally shoot at or when strict accuracy is necessary for a certain shot.

Me?  Sure, I’ve got rifles set up with the more modern 2 point slings, but I’ll always have at least one rifle set up with a 1907 or USGI Nylon sling.  Not so cool looking, but really high up there for making shots when it really counts.

Let’s hear your thoughts on sling shooting in the comments.



Ammo Prices & and Bonus Today



5.56 NATO

24.8 cents per round – Winchester Ammo USA3131W USAW Rifle 223 Remington/5.56 NATO 55 GR Full Metal Jacket 900 Round Case – Carolina Munitions Does not include shipping


27.1 cents per round – Tulammo TA308000 Centerfire Rifle 308 Win/7.62 NATO 165 GR Spitzer 20 Round Box – Carolina Munitions Does not include shipping


29.9 cents per round – Jesse James 9mm Ammunition 9115TMC20 115 Grain Full Metal Jacket 20 Rounds – Outdoor Limited  Does not include shipping


37.4 cents per round – Armscor AC45A10N 45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) 230 GR Jacketed Hollow Point 20 Bx/ 50 Cs – Foundry Outdoors Does not include shipping

Bonus – Rifle of the Day:

$469 (Was $699) – FREE SHIPPING! – PSA PA-15 16” NITRIDE M4 CARBINE 5.56 NATO CLASSIC AR-15 RIFLE WITH 13.5” M-LOK RAIL, BLACK – Palmetto State Armory





A Designated Marksman Rifle & Cartridge That Won’t Break the Bank

First, let’s understand what I mean by, ‘Designated Marksman Rifle.’  Simply put, it’s any rifle that can reliably hit to and beyond the maximum effective limit of the riflemen being supported.  That means if you’re going to support ‘off the rack’ AR’s or iron sighted .30 caliber rifles being used by your NPT, you’re going to need something that can hit consistently between 550 and 650 meters and be effective.  Effective means ‘put the target down.’

                                            For Illustration Purposes – Dead German Soldier circa WWI

Extrapolate that to mean the platform and cartridge chosen must be able to do what it needs to do at the specified range typically with the first shot (that doesn’t necessarily mean kill, either.  If you have 3 zombie bikers coming, and you gut shoot or hip shoot one, and they actually care about their buddy, it’s going to take the other two to get him out of the line of fire).  That can buy time for you to dislocate to another shooting position for further support or cover the egress of your NPT from the situation.  Most folks think of the 7.62NATO round or even the .300 Win Mag to fill the role, but I’m  thinking of a now, for the most part, ignored cartridge that when originally introduced, was used as a 1,000 yard cartridge.  Over the years with advances in bullet design, propellants, primers, and all things ballistic, as well as the excitement new rounds and platform design causes, it has all but been relegated to the dust bin of history other than for hunting excursions.  Don’t get me wrong, I dearly loved the 7.62NATO round; at one time had a Fulton re-worked Norinco M14 that was MOA with irons and really enjoyed the .300 Win – I spent about 5 years doing precision with home rolled 200gr Sierra HPBT Match Kings from a very, very accurized Remington 700 Sendero that routinely stayed sub – MOA at 1,000 yards – awesome rifle and cartridge to load  and shoot experiencing its capabilities.  But it was real expensive!  The base rifle was $650 off the rack, then there were the accurizing modifications, such as cryogenic treatment to relieve all stresses in the steel from the manufacturing process; the re-crowning of the barrel to a perfect 11 degrees (ensures consistent gas release) then the action was trued, the trigger replaced with a Timney, a Leupold M-8 Fixed 10X

I’m sure the older and very experienced shooters have now surmised I’m thinking of the 30-06 Springfield.  Excellent round, and very  versatile.  It can be loaded up to 220 grain bullets and down to 110gr bullets.  It can have a .22 caliber ‘accelerator’ projectile loaded by way of a sabot.   Amazing round.  Developed and deployed in 1906, over 113 years ago, it still packs a HUGE punch and is very accurate when either purchased as a match round or loaded as an extreme performance round, usually by an experienced hand loader.  Personally, I’m a Sierra HPBT Match King 175gr guy, but 168’s work just as well.

The platform to choose for a DSM rifle, in these days of wanting to do everything for a dollar, is a now seldom pursued used hunting rifle with a 22 inch barrel called the Savage 110.  These things come cheap, and many don’t know that Savage accuracy out of the box beats many high end competitors in the rifle business at a price point that can defy belief.  Do a few accurizing modifications as described below, and you’ve got a really good DSM.

Yes, I like Savage rifles.  I’ve got two right now.  One is a project rifle, and the other a Scout.  They are out of the box extremely accurate.  That’s not the point, though.

The point is tuning a John Doe ’06 bought OTC for comparably few dollars into a very precise over-watch or support rifle that a reasonably trained rifleman can make sing.  Especially in times of emergency conditions or circumstances.  If, for whatever reason, the rifle is ‘lost,’ it is inexpensive enough to have an identical copy (or two) at the former owners finger tips.  If you already have one languishing in your safe or you can get your old uncle or grandpa to give you theirs, you’re ahead of the game.

To be clear, this is not a ‘sniper’ rifle, either (and a DSM is not a sniper – a DSM is simply a rifleman who can shoot extremely well and has the calling to provide ‘pause’ to an approaching enemy).  The barrel is pencil thin; the stock is standard; the trigger may be polished, but it’s not going to be in any stretch a ‘precision trigger’.  The optics are not going to be anything to write home about, either.  In fact, I’d consider using the optics the rifle came with, so long as the glass is clear, doesn’t fog, and provides at least a 9 to 12 power magnification.  It probably won’t have mil-dot reticles, either.  The standard “thick-n-thin” reticles will do nicely, especially when the rifleman learns how to use them to estimate range against a known target’s size.  Here’s an example of what might be on a scope coming with a used rifle like this one.

All that has to be done to the Savage 110 ’06 after you’ve purchased it and taken it to the range to see what ammo it eats best (you’ll want to save your targets for comparison later when the accurization project is complete) is to, first, assess the trigger pull.  If it’s not at about 3.5 lbs, and isn’t adjustable, take it to a competent gunsmith and get it done now.  Once he’s done his work, take it back to the range and see how it performs again.  Save these targets as well, and mark them “post trigger smoothing.”  Then, the next step is to completely strip and detail clean/degrease it, recondition the barrel (easily done with JB polishing compound, some boiling water and dish soap (hint – do this outside to ensure you don’t hear the high pitched war cry of your spouse unit when she sees you doing this in the sink….ask me how I know).  I’ll outline the method I learned for conditioned a barrel in another post (this method works so well that with a new out of the box rifle, your break in is done in about 10 rounds without cleaning between rounds).

Once the rifle is completely clean and the barrel has been reconditioned, the next step is to polish the bolt lug raceways in the action.  JB’s is good for this as well, and all you do is smear a bit on the bolt lugs and work the action smoothly for about 30 revolutions all the way in and locked and all the way out.

Then you clean the action again….really clean it.  Boiling water helps get all the crud out. While your at it, clean the bore again against anything that may have moved in during your action cleaning.  And make sure to clean the lug recesses, too.  You don’t want any gunk in there.   You want the chamber pristine, as well.

Purchasing one of these kits, or something similar, will make you a happy camper.Once it’s clean, dry it thoroughly.  Don’t worry about oiling it just yet.  If you just have to for your own peace of mind, run and oily rag through the action and almost dry oily patch down the bore.

Now comes the hard part:  You have to free float and bed the barreled action.  Why?  You want to ensure that the harmonics of the barrel steel when the round is fired is as consistent as possible from one shot to the next.  This consistency means that the “Cone of Fire” (every rifle fires in a cone – no BS) will be as uniform and as small as the rifle’s inherent accuracy will allow.  It’s usually evidenced by a triangular group when firing 3 shots properly (meaning breathing, sight picture, trigger depression, firing, and follow through all come together at the same time).

I am partial to atomized stainless steel bedding, but will also use Devcon fiberglass bedding material.  So long as you have proper release agent.  Pictured below is Brownell’s Steel Bed Kit, now about $60 or so at Walmart.   Follow the directions precisely, especially as it involves applying the release agent, or you’re going to have a permanently affixed stock.  And I mean permanently.

                    A bedded Savage stock after releasing the action from the bedding compound.

When you insert the action into the bedding compound, a simple way to free float the barrel is to have a pre-cut piece of coffee can plastic lid, about 2″X 3″, to place between the barrel and the stock near the front end of the stock.  Once the action is secured into the bedded stock (and presuming the action has been thoroughly coated with spray or brush on release agent), the plastic will keep the barrel about 3/32’s or 1/8th inch at the most up from the stock.

Once the cure time has passed, you can unfasten the action retaining screws according to the instructions, and tap the action out of the bed.  C.A.R.E.F.U.L.L.Y.  Clean any excess bedding compound and painters tape from the stock and action, clean their surfaces, and reassemble your rifle.

Then paint it to match the area you may be operating in….then go back to the range.  The example below should have the action, barrel and scope painted as well.  Remember, looking cool isn’t the object of painting a rifle or any piece of equipment.  The main objective is to break up the outline.  Ugly is your friend.  When you’re done, you might do a simple test:  Lay your rifle down in some  typical vegetation around where you live and walk 5 to 10 yards away.  Can you easily see it?  If not, you did it right.

That’s the ‘in a nutshell’ on how to get a DSM rifle with a spectacular cartridge that packs a punch.  There are still components out there from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam that make interesting hand loads for range experimentation.  Due to our current laws, however, make sure you are in compliance with your local and state (as well as federal) before you buy or load any surplus components.

What’s your choice for a DSM rifle and caliber?


Disclaimer:  This article is for educational purposes only; any misuse of the information contained herein is the sole responsibility of the reader.

Essential Skills: Achieving “Zero” on Your Rifle in 7 Steps – UPDATED

Originally posted in March 2015.

Just over 4 years ago, I spent an enjoyable visiting close friends in the Appalachian Redoubt and enjoyed a special treat by being unexpectedly asked to attend a Basic Marksmanship course as a ‘guest instructor’ (Range Safety Officer/Coach) by one of the primary instructors.  Every shooter participating was new or somewhat new (consciously skilled – can perform a task with either a checklist, coach, or with pre-thought on performance) to the platform, which were primarily various AR series rifles and carbines ranging from the most basic to complete ‘bells and whistles’ models. The home cadre did a great job teaching the class the ins and outs of basic nomenclature, the cycle of operation, malfunction drills, admin, tactical, and combat reloads, and so forth.  What became very apparent was that many in the class weren’t familiar with the zeroing process to include iron sight and optics windage and elevation adjustments, as well as the math to compensate for condensed ranges (1 click at 100 equals 4 clicks at 25), so folks with 1/2 MOA at 100 wheel clicks on their chosen optics had a difficult time figuring out how many clicks that would equal at 25 to move the strike of the bullet 1 inch.  Some were firing their AR’s for the first time.  Most of the AR’s were run dry; a few of the more experienced had lubed their pieces, and it showed by lack of malfunctions.  Personally, making sure the weapon is cleaned and properly (not overly) lubed before it’s shot the first time is part of ground school when I train folks, but not being there for ‘ground school’ I can’t say whether it was covered or not, but I digress.

AR Lube Points

Bolt lube

As is the case many times, the new shooters and a few of the not-so-new shooters had a hard time zeroing their rifles.  If coaches and new shooters follow the steps below before going to a rifle drill class, it will most likely be a much more enjoyable experience, and will get shooters in the habit of having their rifles zeroed at all times, against no-notice, ‘failures of civility’ as there won’t be time to zero then! For NPT members using a military pattern platform (AR, FAL, M14 type, Garand, AK etc), the  ‘general purpose’ zero, or ‘battle sight zero’, is defined as having the round impact on a torso sized target (20 inches X 20 inches) from the muzzle to the farthest point away from the muzzle that the bullet flight path crosses the line of sight and still effectively hits the target without adjusting the sight.  This is the definition of ‘point blank’ range.  Typically, that distance is about 250 to 300 meters with either the 5.56 or 7.62 NATO cartridges when shot at either 25 or 36 meters.  Other calibers mileage will vary.

Battle sight zeroAccuracy OCD Patients:  Many folks want their chosen platform to operate as if it’s a precision rifle and shoot MOA or better groups with surplus or non-match ammo.  Not a realistic expectation, and the shooter is bound to be disappointed.  While sub-MOA (Minute of Angle) accuracy is great, remember, you’re not shooting a precision instrument, especially if it’s “off the rack” (practical accuracy is what we are focused on as the objective of this post).

So forget precision shooting for now.

The idea is to get your rounds on target hitting vital zones as far away as possible without further sight adjustment.   Your groups will tighten with your dry and wet fire practice, learn to use a sling (hasty configuration is the most practical for NPT employment) especially if you perform dry fire 3 or more times a week for 10 minutes religiously.

Taking the time to navigate the ‘zeroing process’ will really help the new and not-so-new shooter to learn their rifle or re-familiarize themselves with it and it’s inherent accuracy (what it’s capable of based on it’s quality and how it was built/manufacctured) potential, strengths, and weaknesses.  Know that it will take a bit of effort, and more than 15 minutes, so don’t plan on zeroing your rifle the morning of a NPT qualification shoot.  All you’ll end up doing is annoying everyone else who’s done their homework prior to training.  An aside:  When holding a NPT qualification check (match), the participants must shoot their rifles without  benefit of ‘zero confirmation’ because that’s what’s going to happen in the real world.  You’re NOT going to have time to check your zero; you’re going to dance with the one ya brung. Here’s a sure way to make sure you can zero your rifle so you start hitting where you want to hit in your training:

Step 1:  Detail disassembly, cleaning, lubricating, reassembly, and function checking (especially with a new rifle, even if it’s just ‘new to you’).  Take your time.  If it’s a new rifle, get a manual or have someone who knows how to take it apart come over and teach you.   I don’t recommend YouTube videos unless it’s been made by a well-seasoned shooter who knows the platform your using inside and out.   Make sure you oil (thick or thin liquid) and lubricate it per specs (lube is typically grease or a semi-paste).  In the AR’s case, this includes the buffer spring and buffer tube. Get the best you can afford.  We prefer light coat of Gunzilla, but there are other really good ones out there, too.

Step 2:  Check the sights.  Make sure they’re mounted solidly with no ‘play’ in them. Set to mechanical zero.  On iron, this entails running the windage adjustment all the way to right or left, counting the clicks all the way across, dividing by two, and bringing it back half way.  Same with elevation.  New optics generally are already at mechanical zero, but used ones may need to be reset.  That may take more than just a few minutes.  You need to run both the windage and elevation wheels to their maximum at one end (take care with these, as over tightening the wheels can cause damage), and count ALL the clicks all the way to the other end of the adjustable space.  For both.  Then, divide in two, and move the wheels back to center.  You’re now mechanically zeroed and can move on to the next step.

Step 3:  Make sure your zero ammo is the same you would carry if SHTF.  Different manufacturers and different bullet weights will make your job harder.  If your SHTF ammo is 55gr Lake City ball, zero with that.  If it’s 147gr South African ball (7.62NATO), use that.  Later, after your rifle is zeroed and you’re doing drills, it’s a good time to start mixing the ammo with others of the same caliber, but with different bullet weights and countries of origin you have together randomly (that means don’t look at what you’re putting in the magazine) and see how your rifle shoots when it’s fed whatever you can find.  You know, the old, ‘any chair in a bar fight’ mindset.  That’s why I typically make sure my ammo is from only one or two manufacturers and it’s performance is similar.

Step 4:    Known Distance Range Familiarization Fire (AKA ‘getting it dialed in on paper’).  This is the only time I recommend bench shooting prior to actual training. Set the piece on either sandbags or a rest. Start close. 10 meters is fine. Make sure you’re hitting approximately where you think you should be. Use a smaller target, say 2 inches square, especially if you’re shooting irons. Shoot 3 shots, making sure you do a complete cycle as described below for each round.

  • Breathing Cycle – Deep, regular breathing, two in, two out, stop midway through the third.
  • Aiming – Get the sight on target and start to adjust your sight alignment and sight picture.
  • Sight Alignment – Top to bottom/side to side (irons); No side or top ‘shadow’ in optical picture.
  • Site Picture – Sight aligned on aiming point on target (some folks use different aiming points, but the principle is the same). Focus is on the front sight or the reticle, NOT the target.

Site Picture

  • Take Up – On a two stage military trigger, this is called, ‘taking up the slack’ and it will not discharge the piece. Make sure you know whether or not you have a two stage or single stage. Single stage trigger users MUST skip this step, because you’ll inadvertently discharge the piece.
  • Trigger Depression – Ball of the finger, straight to the rear, space between the rest of the finger and the pistol grip (otherwise, you’ll ‘drag wood/plastic’ and cause your round to hit in other areas than you desire).
  • Follow Through – Ride the recoil all the way until the rifle settles back into the rest or sandbag. Don’t take your face away just yet.
  • Target Reacquisition – Get eyes on the target again.

Repeat for two more rounds before you look at the target. Check the target, and if you’re on paper near the 2 inch target, you’re on your way. If not, adjust your sights using whatever increments multiplied by 10 (at 10 meters). If you have to move the sights 3 inches up, that’s 30 clicks for a 1 inch at 100 elevation adjustment. If you have to move the sights 2 inches left, that’s 20 clicks for a 1 inch. Your adjustment at 10 meters, though, will most likely be minimal.

You may have a group on the target that’s low, high, left or right. That’s ok. You’re on the paper. Now move the target to 25 meters and repeat the cycle.  Now you can start adjusting your iron sights or optics realistically. Remember, 3 shot groups is all you really need with semi-automatic piece for basic zero. Remember to let the rifle cool every once in awhile, because you’re also checking it’s inherent accuracy (all things being equal, the shooter, the rifle, and the ammo, how tight it shoots and the shape of the group) looking for that tell-tale triangular group indicating a consistent cone of fire.

Step 5: Achieve Battle Sight Zero. Once you’ve put three 3 shot groups center at 25 from the bench, it’s time to move off the bench and get your practical zero.   Set up a clean target, go back to your firing line, and take up a prone position. Support yourself with a ‘hasty’ sling wrap.  If you don’t have a sling capable of providing you with support, for this step you can use sandbags or whatever you have as a second choice. prone supported

Shoot another 3 shot group without looking at where you’re hitting, following the basic steps above. After the group is shot and you’ve cleared and grounded your piece, now go check your group and determine any sight adjustments necessary. Fire two or three more groups to confirm.  Once achieved, no more sandbags.  All you get is your sling.  You can effectively increase your accuracy using a 1907 or USGI surplus web sling installed on traditional sling swivels from any shooting position you’re likely to use.

Step 6: Practice at ranges out to your ‘point blank range’ with a 20×20 inch target. Note the different points of impact at different ranges. You’ll still be on target, but will most likely note that at about half distance to max battle zero, your rounds will impact high. This is simply because the round is at the highest point in the trajectory necessary to hit the target at the max point blank range.

Step 7: Do your dry fire. Make sure you do it painstakingly correct. It’ll make a difference come ‘Basic’ or ‘NPT Qualification day.

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…

Looking for a Fairly Inexpensive ’06? Try the Winchester 670 Carbine

Posted at AP on 27 Oct 18.

You read that right.  Carbine.  19 inch barrel, and it’s a medium heavy that keeps it stiff for much longer than typical ‘pencil’ barrels.  Check out barrel in the main image above – that’s a 670 carbine in .243.  The word, ‘robust,’ fits it well!  My 670 in ’06 is just as robust, and you can’t tell the difference from the profile, save for the scope and mounts.  More on that below.

Now, you may be wondering just HOW inexpensive, and why the ’06?  First, a little back story is in order.  Over the last year, I’ve been helping the brother of an incapacitated vet liquidate the vet’s estate to offset his increasing medical bills.  In that estate sat this little rifle, and was offered to me as a ‘thank you.’  The brother wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I grateful accepted, and took it to the range  on 28 October 2018 and had a good check out session.  My plan was to use it on a hunt last fall, so zeroing and group checking was definitely in order (I ended up using it as a back up, so it didn’t see any ‘action,’ but I’m very confident in its accuracy and capabilities, so this year, who knows?).

The rifle itself was made by Winchester in the olden golden days.  The carbine was only built from ’66 to ’70, so if you get a carbine, it’s got some age on it, but not necessarily excess wear and tear.  This particular example looks just about new internally.  I have a suspicion it went on some hunts, but didn’t have more than a box of ammo every few years put through it.  Anyway, so long as the barrel checks out, she should serve your needs.   They seem to run anywhere from $200 from private sellers up to $600 on auction sites.  Me?  I’d go with the private seller.  Just sayin.’

The 670, in general,  was the ‘poor man’s Model 70.’  The carbine was a very nice innovation with a barrel at 19 inches, while the rifles had barrel lengths of 22 inches.  I suspect they took standard Model 70 barrels that were either flawed at the muzzle or in their finish and cut them down, which would account for the stiffness on the carbine chassis.  The barrel appears to be almost a ‘medium heavy’, but the rifle weighs just under 7 pounds.  Could be the stock is birch, and is light weight.  I have know way of knowing this, but it makes sense.  Really, why make new barrels for an economy rifle that is not a guaranteed seller when you can take stock you might not otherwise sell and get them on the market for some return on investment?

The carbine inspires confidence, if not awestruck wonder at it’s appearance.  There’s nothing special in fit or finish; you can tell this was for the shooters who wanted a good, reliable Winchester, but couldn’t afford the Model 70 at the time.  Wood finish is nothing to write home about, either, but it’ll serve.  Bluing is excellent, especially for it’s age, and the apparent lack of careful storage by the last owner.

The iron sights are good to maybe 200 if you have a larger target, and the tip off scope rings make it a viable ‘dangerous game’ up close rifle.  Basically, you simply grab the scope tube and flip it to the left side of the action.  The irons are right there, and it takes about a half second to get your sight on the target.

(I can hear the intake of breath and see eyebrows hitting hairlines about the rings!!)  Take a breath; this isn’t a ‘precision rifle.’  It’s a ‘grab it and go’ fairly accurate rifle that packs a punch with a good ’06 round’ out to reasonable ranges.  It’s also a great rifle to gift to a young man ready to take on a deer or Elk. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’ve already got a set of new bases and decent rings ready to go if these things aren’t as good as they need to be for the carbine’s intended purpose, but I’m willing to at least check out what kind of group I can get at 100 meters, and then take it hunting once before I make a decision.)  Update:  The rings are solid and do not affect accuracy.

The rings are Interesting in that they lock right up very tight.  Until I looked at the rings closely, I thought they were standard Weaver rings.  To be honest, I had never seen or even heard of tip over scope rings until I examined this rifle.  Old timers (and I mean OLD timers – I’m in my early 60’s) I asked about the rings were like, “Oh, yeah…those were popular for awhile….” and then changed subjects.   So, there you go.

There are a lot of budget priced, very good rifles out there; one never knows when one might find something useful for a new or younger shooter, or for a camp or truck rifle.   Here’s a story from 2017 where someone took an old 670 ’06 and made it into a very accurate little rifle.  As my wife likes to say about our house, “It’s got good bones…”  Just time and attention is all it’ll take.  We’ll see what mine does in the configuration I received it; I’ll post some results after I put a few rounds down range.

More to follow next time.