The Semi-Auto Revolver

Being a bit enamored of revolvers in general and of the Webley revolvers in particular (second only to snub-nosed revolvers) I found these videos about the Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver to be pretty cool. The first is a bit long and outlines the history and function of the firearm:

The second includes some video of firing the weapon on the range which I have never seen before:

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

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Range Report: Ruger American Bolt Action Rifles

OK, first off, I was a bad boy…

A Very bad boy…

We’re not sure how we are going to cover all the costs of repairing our home and replacing the stuff we lost in the flood and I bought a new rifle. I could not resist the temptation and I purchased a Ruger American Rifle Ranch Model in 7.62×39 (Darn It Ruger, Why Now?). Then I broke down and ordered a Vortex 2×7 scope for it along with a set of rings. Oh, and I also ordered two extra magazines and they should be in shortly…

My New Rifle

Yes, I feel a little guilty about buying a new rifle…

However, I do plan on selling another rifle I have had for a while and that should cover the cost of the rifle, scope and magazines. There might even be a little left over.

First, a quick refresher on this rifle. Bolt action rifle based on the budget “American” series of rifles from Ruger. The Ranch variants all sport short, medium weight barrels. The barrels are cold hammer forged and threaded for suppressors or the muzzle device of choice. The 7.62×39 feed from standard Ruger Mini-30 magazines. These rifles also come with a scope rail already installed and the actions are set in lightweight polymer stocks.

How do I like it?

Well, let’s start with the bad.

The action on the 7.62×39 is nowhere near as smooth as on its .308 counterpart. I don’t know if this is a function of feeding from a magazine designed for a semi-auto or if it is because I bought one of the first ones manufactured or what. I will say that as more rounds went down range the action did get much smoother but still not up to the standards of its bigger brother.

I also had some feeding issues. There were times that the rounds didn’t feed properly. That could have been operator error as I tend to tilt bolt action rifles a bit when cycling the action. It was definitely operator error when it failed to feed an entire magazine of ammo, each one jamming up before it entered the chamber. That was because there was already a round in the chamber…Doh!

The action seems to work best when worked quickly and with some force (you are chambering a Russian designed round after all).

I tested a couple of rounds of dirt cheap TulAmmo and it seemed to feed and run fine but I would need to run more rounds through the rifle to really determine how well it works in the little Ruger. I didn’t test any American made ammunition either although I am sure it will work fine. I sent almost 100 rounds of Brown Bear (Barnaul) 123 Grain soft point down range today and there were no issues with feeding or extraction.

This is a good thing because I like this ammunition. It seems to be very consistent, accurate and reliable. In side by side testing it has been just as reliable and accurate as American made ammunition but with significantly more punch. The manufacturer loads this round close to the maximum specifications for the cartridge. Plus it runs less than a quarter of the price of American manufactured 7.62×39 ammunition!

How about accuracy?

First five round grouping

I used a laser boresight to “get me on paper” before my trip to the range so I wasn’t expecting much from my few first shots. I started out at the 25 yards line to get started and to my surprise the fist shot was on the upper edge of the bullseye. Thinking it was a fluke I dropped four more shots into the target and ended up with a single ragged hole. I am not a great shot with rifles and, to be honest, this was one of the best groups I have ever shot at this distance.

Next up 50 yards:

4 Shots, 50 Yards

Again, this little rifle was right on target.

How about 100 yards?

Six shots, 100 Yards

Again, I am not a great rifle shooter and 100 yards is a long shot for me but again this rifle helped my put together on of the best groups I have ever shot at that distance. So, yeah, I think the accuracy is there.

All in all I like this rifle. The action could be smoother but I can live with that. The accuracy is there, It is lightweight, around six pounds including the scope. Since it uses the same magazines as the Mini-30 I have the option of 5, 10 or 20 rounds magazines and although they are not as cheap as AR or AK magazines they aren’t super expensive either. It would be a fine rifle for hunting deer or pigs, especially in the East Texas Piney Woods where shots would rarely be more than 100 yards and would more likely be less than half that. At around $400 it could serve as a truck gun for whatever needs a medicinal dose of lead applied around the property.

For me, this rifle will probably spend most of its life at the range. It is essentially identical to the Ruger American Predator I plan to hunt with this year but the ammo costs are a fraction of what .308 costs. It’s already topped with the same scope as I have on the .308 and the trigger is identical. So this will be my go to practice rifle allowing me to get a lot more range time at a lower cost.

So about that Ruger American Predator…

I did a quick range report on this rifle back in June (link). The action is very smooth and at 25 yards I was able to do pretty well but at longer distance I was really having trouble with it. My groups were a bit more like patterns, although still better then the Marlin 336 I used to hunt with. To be honest I was getting pretty frustrated with it once I moved over to the 100 yard line.

After a fair amount of frustration, I noticed that there was a tiny bit of play in the scope. Upon further investigation I finally discovered that the scope rail (attached at the factory by Ruger) was loose. I didn’t have the tools with me needed to remove the scope at the range so I packed it away after only about 10 or 12 rounds.

Once I got it home and took the scope off I found that all four screws holding the scope rail to the rifle had backed out. It didn’t appear that any sort of thread locker had been applied at the factory and the screws had backed out under recoil (which is pretty stout in such a light rifle). Needless to say they are now secured by Loctite now and I doubt they will back out again and I can’t wait to check the accuracy now that the scope is mounted solidly.

That’s it for this little range report.

God bless.

Darn It Ruger, Why Now?

Apparently while my world was under water (OK, only partially underwater) Ruger made an announcement; they released a Ruger American Rifle Ranch Model (say that three times fast) chambered in 7.62×39 (link).

Like the other Ranch Models it features a picatinny rail and a short (16 inch) barrel that comes threaded from the factory for mounting either a suppressor or muzzle device. Like the other Ruger American rifles it features a polymer stock and free floated barrel. For the really cool part, this rifle uses the same magazines as Ruger’s Mini-30 so magazines can be had in 5, 10 and 20 rounds sizes.

I’m looking at tens of thousands of dollars for repairs on the house but I really want one of these little rifles!

Darn it, Ruger!

God Bless…

Avoiding The Kaboom

One of the concerns I had when adding a 300 Blackout upper to my inventory of firearms was the possibility of a kaboom. Since the 300 and 5.56 rounds are so closely related and use so many of the same components it is possible that a round will enter into the chamber far enough that it is able to be fired resulting in some rather unpleasant results for the AR and, potentially, for the shooter.

The safest way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to only bring one or the other to the range on any given day. I plan on following this rule as much as possible but even with this approach there is still some chance of a mismatch. As a secondary measure many companies make and sell bands and other markers for magazines that help flag possible mistakes. These are a bit pricey ($10 a pop) and may not work on all magazines so I started to look for other options. For a good bit less money I think I have found a pretty good solution. A package of electrical tape in various colors is about $7.

A band of red electrical tape on the magazine (for me) means 300 Blackout. I have also used a paint pen to mark the magazine to further ensure that it is clear what caliber is to be loaded in what magazines. 

Here are three different types of magazines (one PMAG, one aluminum GI magazine and an ETS magazine) and the tape seems to work pretty well on each one. I don’t know how durable this is going to be in the long term especially with the high humidity here on the Gulf Coast but, hey, it’s worth a shot.

I also decided to go ahead and mark my 7.62×39 magazines (with yellow) to ensure there is no mix-up there either. Now, I just need to figure out how to mark the uppers to match.

God bless

Say Hello To My Little Friend (Part 2: Range Report)

I guess I should have said range reports in the title since I have been to the range a couple of times already…

Range Report 1

I was able to sneak away for a quick range trip while Wonderful Wife was taking a nap. I was back at the house a bit more quickly than I had expected though.

My first test was with the 7.5 inch 5.56 upper. I have had this little fire-breather and I know it works. It’s just really loud and obnoxious. The first round chambered properly and fired as expected. The second round chambered but the trigger was dead. I ejected the round manually and the next round fired but the subsequent round did not.

I switched to the 10.5 inch 300 Blackout upper and the results were the same with both subsonic and supersonic rounds. Just to be thorough I even tried swapping the bolt carrier groups between the two uppers. No change. It seemed like maybe the hammer was not being reset properly. I figured I had just reversed a spring or something.

Once I got home and took the trigger group apart I couldn’t find anything wrong with the way I had assembled it. I did notice that both the trigger and hammer springs seemed a little lighter than some of the extras I had laying around and the parts were not as well made. I also noticed that some of the rounds that I had ejected to clear the dead trigger had very slight indentations like it was a light strike which was odd since the trigger was dead so there should have been no marks from the firing pin. So it looked like the hammer was being reset but something wasn’t catching it to hold it in place so it would just bounce back and strike the firing pin with enough force to sent the primer but not enough to fire the round. I was surprised it didn’t go full auto on me at the range. With a stronger hammer spring it probably would have.

Rather than spend a lot of time replacing one part at a time I replaced the whole trigger group with one I took out of the 7.62×39 AR when I installed the ALG trigger (link).

Range Report 2

After my trip to Portland I took a day off to rest and recover (flying and sitting in airports for about 12 hours wears me out). What better to do on my day off than to head back to the range for some more AR pistol testing!

With the trigger group replaced everything worked perfectly.

Again I started with the 5.56 upper since it was a “known good” piece.

As you can see from this video, everything worked fine. You can also see how crazy the muzzle flash is on this little monster. What you can’t tell is how loud it actually is. Even with ear muffs it is a bit painful to shoot at an indoor range.

Next, I switched to the new 300 Blackout upper using supersonic ammunition. It also worked flawlessly. With the slightly longer barrel and the quicker burning powder I expected a lot less drama with this upper and I was not disappointed.

Almost no muzzle blast and although you can’t tell from the audio it is a lot quieter to shoot. The recoil was about the same as the 5.56, no change there.

Next up, the same upper with subsonic ammunition

You probably can’t tell from the video but the subsonic ammunition is a good but quieter than the supersonic stuff and orders of magnitude quieter than the 5.56 out of a 7.5 inch barrel.  The recoil is also noticeably less.

This little gun will primarily be a range toy for a bit until I get a lot more experience with it but I like everything I own to be capable of delivering hits when I need it to should something really bad hit the fan. I sighted it in at around 21 feet since that is about the longest shot I could possibly take within my home and I was able to put shots on target pretty quickly with this little guy but I also discovered something interesting.

While I was a little high at 21 feet (bottom targets) when I moved out beyond that my groups migrated north several inches. I was a bit confused at first but after checking a few resources I was able to confirm what I suspected, the bullet begins to rise after 21 feet and does so pretty quickly.

Left side supersonic/Right side subsonic Bottom at 21 feet/Top at 50

The other thing I found was that within these ranges there was no real difference in the impact point for supersonic or subsonic rounds. Which is something else I was very curios about.

All in all I like this little set up but I need to spend a good bit more time with it before I would bet my life on it.

God bless.

Say Hello To My Little Friend

I have had a fascination with AR-Style pistols for a while (actually, more with SBRs but I am not willing to deal with any NFA items for now). I have had a 7.5 inch barreled pistol upper in 5.56 for several years now but rarely shoot it. The noise and muzzle flash mean that many ranges don’t allow it on the firing line and to be honest I feel a little bad for anyone standing anywhere near me even at the ranges that do. To be honest, I had wanted a 10.5 inch upper when I bought this one but they had already sold out of the longer barrels and I was impatient…

Not long after that I ended up selling my pistol lower (the buyer was willing to spend a lot for a lower when lowers were in short supply) and the pistol idea was pushed to the back burner.

For a variety of reasons my interest in an AR Pistol has been renewed. For Father’s day I bought myself a Crusader lower from Spikes Tactical and over the last few weeks I have been collecting the parts to complete the lower. I finished gathering those up a week or two ago and last night I made the time to actually complete the lower. It went well with only one spring and one detent pin launched into the ether. Once Wonderful Wife made it home she was more than willing to lend an extra set of hands and the we finished the build in less than a minute with no more parts launched into space (patience is a virtue) and here is the result:

Say Hello To My Little Friend

No idea how it shoots yet. It handles well and the KAK shockwave pistol brace can be moved back to extend the buffer tube and allow for a better cheek weld. It also helps to balance the gun a little better. One thing I don’t like about AR pistols is that they tend to be a little nose heavy and this brace seems to help.

I am curious to see how the recoil and volume levels on the 300 Blackout compare to the shorter 5.56 upper. Unfortunately, I will be travelling for business for a while and won’t be able to range test it anytime soon.

God bless.

What Did You Prep This Week?

There not much point categorizing my efforts for this week. I just didn’t get that much done.

Our monthly order of Thrive dehydrated foods arrived. This month we added #10 cans of Seasoned Chicken Slices and Red Bell Peppers. We also ordered a pantry can of potato chunks to try out.

We also restocked our emergency pantry with canned and dried goods from the grocery store and rotated some items from the emergency pantry to the regular pantry.

I also bought some ammunition. Remington is offering a rebate of $5 per box of their CoreLokt brand of ammunition so I picked up a couple of boxes of 150 grain .308 ammunition. We’ll see how the little Ruger likes it as soon as I can get out to the range. I also picked up two boxes of 300 Blackout ammunition; one subsonic and the other supersonic to test out my new AR pistol…once I get it finished. That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

God Bless