Ruger PC Carbine: Update

While doing a little research on the old InterWebz I ran across a number of posts and video explaining that the Ruger PC Carbine would exhibit the same extraction issues I have been encountering under two conditions:

1. They like to be run somewhat dry. Clean them, oil them and then wipe off all excess. Given the heat, humidity and (depending on wind direction) salt in the air around here I tend to run my guns, including the PC Carbine pretty wet.

2. The manual say the barrel adjustment knob should be adjusted when the barrel is mounted. many suggested tightening the adjustment knob while the barrel is off because you can get a bit tighter fit. The tighter fit means better pressure on the blow back mechanism and more accurate cycling. So, I did this as well.

The good news is that the gun does run better now. Previously, the gun would malfunction at least once on just about every magazine, sometimes more. Now it only does so once every two or three magazine loads. Much better but still nowhere near reliable enough for anything but plinking (it is a wonderful plinker).

PC Carbine Extraction Issue

I guess I will have to break down and ship it back to Ruger and see if they can make it work. Otherwise it may just go into the “sell it at the next gun show” list…

Take care and God bless.

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Digital Night Vision vs. Thermal

We finally got opportunity to go hog hunting a few days ago and test out the Photon RT Digital Night Vision (DNV) scope I bought myself for my birthday (along with an AR-10). I also had the opportunity to try out a Thermal scope from ATN that belonged to a buddy of my son in law. I learned a lot and thought I would share my observations.

The first part of the evening I was sitting in a blind about 30 yards from a feeder. I didn’t see any hogs but I had a chance to play with the DNV scope “in the wild” so to speak. DNV works on the same principle as a digital camera but using a wavelength of light that is invisible to most animals including hogs and humans. You are not looking through a glass optic. Instead you are looking at a small screen built into the scope. To ensure that there is enough light, in the right wavelength these scopes use an infrared illuminator (think of it an a flashlight that emits light we can’t see). This is basically like hunting with a light except that the pigs can’t see it and it has many of the same drawbacks as a flashlight in the dark. The light reflects back off of things like brush or even grass. If there is something like that between you and the hogs you won’t see them. For example, I could see the fence and the brush growing along the fence line clearly but I was just as blind past that as I would have been without the DNV scope. So, even though the feeder was only 30 yards away I couldn’t see it. I was aware that this was a potential issue but I discounted it when making the purchase.

Later in the evening we moved out into some open fields looking for hogs (none showed up at my blind) and that is where the other challenge with DNV comes into play. I was constantly having to adjust the beam intensity and focus the optic depending on how far away the hogs were. Scanning the field for them was tough. If I knew where they were I could, eventually get everything worked out but it took a little bit. If I was just hunting over a feeder and in a clear field it would be a non-issue but in the brush or open fields where they might be anywhere is was a tough.

What finally convinced me that this was not the equipment I wanted to use long term happened in one of the first fields we hunted. I was able to scope the pig and see him very clearly. More clearly than with the thermal scope. I was just about to take a shot when Moose’s buddy stopped me. What I didn’t see was a whole herd of cows about 50-75 yards behind the pig…that could have been an expensive mistake. Landowners are OK with people getting rid of pigs that tear up their property and kill calves but to drop a cow because you didn’t see it would NOT make them happy. Worse yet, what if that was another hunter or someone else on the other end of the field?

Don’t take this the wrong way. DNV is significantly less expensive than thermal and a viable option within its limitations. It would be great on our annual hunt in North Texas for example because we can shoot from known distances over feeders from elevated blinds that provide a clear field of view. Perfect scenario for DNV.

With the thermal scope we were using we could see everything from rabbits on up to cows scattered throughout the fields. We couldn’t see them as clearly as with the DNV but we could see them well enough to distinguish between them easily and clearly enough to take accurate shots.

The other advantage of the thermal was after the shot. With the DNV a dropped pig could disappear into the grass or brush making it a chore to find. With the thermal we were still able to spot them for quite a time until they cooled to ambient temperature.

Based on my experience that night, I returned by DNV scope to the store where I bought it and got my money back. I will wait and save until I can afford a thermal…maybe.

We really don’t hunt enough to justify the $1500-2000 price tag of a good thermal scope. The ability to hunt small game like rabbits would be nice but still not enough to justify the cost. There is one other intriguing use, some folks use thermal scopes during the day as well. Game may be well camouflaged to the naked eye but not much hides their heat signature which can really help for an old hunter whose eyes are starting to go south on him.

Will I buy a thermal scope? Maybe.

For now it is back to green lights and my new buddy’s thermal.

Take care and God bless.

The Charter Arms PROFESSIONAL

First off, no, I didn’t buy another gun…

…but I just might once these become available.

Charter Arms has just announced an all new model in their lineup. No, it isn’t a different shade of pink or tiger stripes this time. It is a new seven shot revolver chambered in .32 H&R Magnum called the Professional (or as it is written in the press releases, the PROFESSIONAL). This new little wheel gun offers a pretty nice list of features including a fiber optic front sight, a three inch barrel with a full length underlug, (as mentioned) a seven round capacity and a nice round but frame with walnut grips.

The Charter Arms PROFESSIONAL

This looks like a really nice little revolver for concealed carry and for range time. Being a steel frame and cylinder it should soak up the negligible recoil of the .32 Magnum cartridge although that might mean it is a tad bit on the heavy side for a carry piece. The whole thing is finished in a Blacknitride+™ coating that sounds like it should be very similar to the finish on most Glocks and so very durable.

The MSRP is published at $438 and so it is also a very affordable choice. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on one and run it through its paces and at that price I won’t have to sell a kidney to get one.

Here’s the video from the You Tubes on this little guy:

Take care and God bless!

SRC-308 Modifications

One of the best (and worst) aspects of the AR platform is the ease of making modifications and the huge number of accessories out there. Being a “basic” model the SRC-308 comes from the factory with a very basic set of features. I think the guys at Windham figure that whoever buys the rifle is going to customize it so start with the absolute basics. I am no exception and I am not eve sure this particular rifle made it out to the range before I started making modifications to it.

Stock SRC-308

So, what have I changed and why?

Butt Stock

The basic milspec AR stock leaves a lot to be desired. It’s hard to get a good cheek weld, it rattles and there is no recoil absorption whatsoever. The lack of of a recoil pad is a non-issue in 5.56/.223 but on a .308 I would really like a bit of a rubber between me and the recoil.

(Odd side note: I don’t mind the heavy recoil of an ultralight .357 magnum or a .44 magnum but rifle recoil does bother me. Weird, I know)

Hogue Overmolded Stock

The one thing I did like about the included butt stock was that it had a built in sling loop.

I replaced it with the Hogue OverMolded Collapsible Buttstock. It offers a nice cheek weld, and a but of recoil padding at the rear. It doesn’t lock into place but there is an internal liner that keeps it from sliding around or rattling. It works well and was cheaper than an equivalent Magpul stock.

Hand Guard

The circular A2 style hand guard on the SRC had to go. The diameter is huge for those of us with little sausage fingers and there was no way to mount a rail or a

Magpul MOE Handguard

light or any other accessories to it.

I went with a standard Magpul MOE hand guard. I have them on several of my a couple of my other rifles and they work fine. They are not my favorite but it does what I need it to do at a reasonable cost.

Rail Section

One of the things I wanted in a hand guard was the ability to mount a light or a small section of rail. The MLok slot on the MOE and a small bit of MLok attached rail allowed just that. Now I have the option of mounting a light. I have several high powered white lights I can now mount, if need be. I have a green light for night hunting if the digital night vision doesn’t work as well as I hope or if there is a reason I can’t use it. I can also mount a second IR illuminator should I want a different wavelength of IR, a more powerful illuminator or just a second as a backup.

Muzzle Device

KVP Linear Compensator

In many cases I will be hunting with another person beside me. When shooting at a group of scattering hogs on the run it takes a lot of concentration and care to keep muzzles pointed in a safe direction. With a muzzle device that ejects hot gases upwards and/or to the side you can easily run into a situation where the gases can also pose a risk (at minimum a comfort risk). No one wants the blast of hot gases off a .308 in the face or to be deafened by the sound. So, I replaced the old birdcage with a linear compensator from Kaw Valley Precision. That way all hot gases head towards the hogs instead of towards a buddy or upwards into the line of sight of a scope that uses light in the infrared (heat) wavelengths.

Sling

The rifle came with a basic nylon sling but I went ahead and upgraded to the Magpul RLS sling. It has a little wider strap so it will not dig into my shoulder as badly. It also similar to a 1917 or Rhodesian sling in that there is a loop within the loop that can be used to help brace and stabilize the rifle while shooting from an unsupported position. This is a non-issue when hunting from a fixed position in blind or stand but a lot of our hunting is on foot, stalking through heavy brush and along trails. There is not always a convenient tree branch to help stabilize the shot and this style sling will really help accuracy in those situations.

Magazines

The SRC-308 came with a single Magpul 20 round magazine. I have picked up another of those as well as a 10 round magazine. For whatever reason 5 and 10 rounds AR-10 magazines are hard to find at a reasonable price right now. I will keep my eye out for a couple more as they are lighter and don’t stick out of the rifle as far (to catch brush and briars). We will see how it goes but I don’t foresee many times when I will need more than 5 or 10 rounds for hunting. Even with a suppressor, the hogs start to scatter pretty quickly after the first one goes down.

That’s all I have changed so far and all I plan to change at this point.

Take care and God bless.

Range Report: Windham SRC-308/Sightmark Photon RT

I thought we were going to be able to hunt last weekend with the new hog setup I just bought, a Windham SRC-308 topped with a Sightmark Photon RT digital night vision scope. Since the matching Sightmark quick detach (QD) rings were still in transit so I scrounged a 30mm cantilever mount I had laying around and mounted it up. I was able to get the setup out to the range and (mostly) get it sighted in after forgetting to properly tighten the scope base. Well, our trip got cancelled due to weather which gave me time to do a proper job.

Outdoor Legacy Gear sent a koozie and sticker along with the order

The QD rings came in and I took my time and mounted the scope properly making sure everything was properly tightened up (sort of). The hex headed screws are an odd size and not on the bits in any of my tool kits quite fit. Fortunately, Sightmark included properly sized allen wrenches in with the rings. It worked well enough but I prefer to use a torque wrench to make sure and without the proper bits that wasn’t possible.

The mounts definitely seem sturdy and when locked onto the picatinny rail there is no play or movement in the scope. I am a lot less worried about recoil damaging the scope with these two sturdy rings anchoring the scope instead of the single cantilever mount.

I had a very short window of time to sight in the rifle after work. The rain was on the way in and I had to work fast. Fortunately I was the only idiot willing to risk the weather so I had the range to myself. I could call a ceasefire anytime I wanted one.

25 Yards zero in one shot

I started out at the 25 yard line and the one shot zero feature was once again made it super easy and I was in good shape with only the advertised one shot.

50 yard zero took a couple extra shots

Moving out to the 50 yard line it wasn’t quite as easy but the challenges were my own and had nothing to do with the scope or rifle. It took three rounds to get on on target this time.

I had just enough time to put a sticker on the 50 yard target before the rain started but I still had another quick test I wanted to do. I wanted to try another brand of ammunition out to see how it would work in the rifle. I have been using Remington CoreLokt for quite some time but I wanted to test out the Winchester Power-Point Hog Special ammunition, both in 150 grain weights.

Yes, this is a three shot group…

Based on the three rounds I got to test before the sky really opened up it looks like this will be plenty accurate but we’ll have to wait and see how it performs on the hogs.

Why didn’t I take it out any further?

Two reasons.

-Number one, the sky opened up and there was not time.

-Number two, the property we will be hunting in the near future is pretty wooded and all the shots we would be able to take are right around 45-50 yards.

When I have a little more time I would like to test the rifle and scope out past 50 yards  but I will probably keep it zeroed at fifty since that is where most of our hog hunting will take place. I would also like to zero in the scope I am thinking about using for daytime hunts as well.

All in all the rifle shoots well and seems to be pretty darned accurate (probably more accurate than I am). The scope is a little grainy during the day and nowhere near as clear as an optical scope but within the limits of what I am trying to accomplish with it the clarity and magnification are fine.

I have not been able to take it out on a decent night and spot animals with it. the weather has not been cooperative and it has been foggy or rainy most of the last few weeks. I was able to take it out one night for some testing but the fog was extremely dense. I could see out to 30 yards or so without the IR illuminator turned on but as soon as I switched it on the reflection off the fog washed out the image. Hopefully, I will get a better idea of how it works in a hunting scenario this weekend. To be honest, that will be the “make or break it” test of this scope and hopefully I will be able to post some video of that soon.

Take care and God bless.

Yep, I Did It Again…

All this talk and effort towards saving money I go and do something stupid…

…again.

I went into one of the big sporting good stores with a buddy who was looking for a heavy barreled .308 for long distance shooting and walked out with a digital night vision scope and an AR-10 to mount it on. In fact we both ended up walking out with digital night vision scopes and AR-10s.

We really shouldn’t be allowed out together unsupervised.

We have been hunting hogs with green lights for several years and if you are careful and the hogs are not too skittish it works pretty well. I am hoping to get out into the fields soon so I can test it out and see how much better the DNV works (if it does).

I went with a Sightmark Photon RT 4.5 power scope.

Sightmark Photon RT

The AR is an SRC-308 from Windham Weaponry.

Windham Weaponry SRC-308 with Scope

I have been wanting to give night vision a try for a quite a while. Actually, I tried a low end monocular some time back but it was so bad it was almost useless. I have also been wanting and AR-10 for almost as long. I ordered a quick detach mount for the scope so I can swap it out with a standard optic if I want to hunt under a green light or during the day. If the AR-10 proves reliable and accurate enough it will become my new primary hunting rifle and I will use it for both day and night hunts of both hogs and deer.

WW SRC-308 with 1×6 scope

It is a pound and a half heavier than the Ruger American Predator I have been hunting with so it will get a little heavy for a full day of stalking through the East Texas brush and briars but maybe the exercise and weight loss over the last month or so will pay off and it won’t be too bad.

I was able to do a quick range session the other day. The recoil is not bad and it is actually a pretty pleasant gun to shoot. The scope has a flexible eye piece which helps hide the glow of the digital screen. Which is cool but I just can’t shake the feeling that I am about to get punched in the eye because my eye is too close to the scope.  The scope has a feature called one shot zero feature that is awesome. Simply take a shot with the reticle centered on the target and then go into the one menu and move the reticle over the spot where the bullet hit on the target and it is zeroed.

One shot zero (until it wasn’t)

It works great but after about four rounds my shots began walking to the right. I was pretty upset until I realized that the problem was my own fault. I had been adjusting the position of the scope on the rail and had not properly tightened the scope to the rail and it had worked loose.

I am hoping to get back out to the range one evening this week and zero it with the new scope base. I should be able todial in the optical scope as well. If I can get that done and the weather cooperates we should be able to get a good field test in the following weekend hunting hogs on a property a few hours north of here.

If those things happen I’ll be sure and type up a quick post.

Take care and God bless.

CZ Scorpion And Self-Defense Ammo

The little CZ passed my 500 round test with flying colors. It never hiccuped through 500 rounds of mixed range ammo. I didn’t even clean this thing in any during the test. The next step, for me, before I am willing to bet my life on a gun (and more importantly bet the lives of those I love) is to test it with self-defense ammo. Sure, this thing eats full metal jacket ball ammo like candy but how well will it do with the (sometimes) off shaped hollow point ammunition used for personal defense?

I brought five different brands of ammunition with me:

– Hornady Critical Duty (grain weight unknown)

– Federal 147 Grain Hydrashok

– Remington 147 Grain HTP (Subsonic)

– Speer 124 Grain Gold-Dot (My standard carry ammunition)

– Another hollow point ammo that, to be honest, I don’t know what manufacturer or grain weight. It was loose in my cabinet.

The bullets in the Hornady ammunition have an odd shape to them, very angular and with a very thin wall between the hollow point and the outside of the bullet. I was expecting a malfunction with these as I have see multiple handguns have trouble feeding them. The Hydra Shocks are also very thin at the tips and I have heard that they are problematic in some pistol caliber carbines. The Speer Gold-Dots are my primary carry rounds. I was interesting the Remington subsonics to see if they were a bit quieter even without a suppressor.

Not a stuck casing…

To be honest, I was a bit paranoid about how well the CZ would do in this test. So much so that when when the bolt locked back at the end of the first mag I was sure it was a misfeed. Even though I have seen the guide rod in the open action dozens of time but I mentally saw it as a stuck casing like the Ruger would do.

It wasn’t.

Long story short, the little CZ cycled everything I fed it without a hiccup. Accuracy testing was a little tough as the battery on the Vortex red dot sight died within a few rounds of the start of the session but even with irons all the rounds were within the torso of the silhouette target I was using and most were grouped around the x-ring.

I would feel perfectly comfortable at this point in betting my life (and the lives of those I love) on this little carbine. My Speer Gold-Dots would be more than adequate for the job but I am thinking about going with the Remington 147 Grain HTP (Subsonic) rounds. There were indeed a good bit quieter but should still be plenty potent enough out of a carbine length barrel. Might save my life and some hearing damage that way.

The next step is a new red dot. The little Vortex was fine but I want one of the new red dots with 50,000+ hours of battery life. That way I can leave it on all the time and won’t have to worry about switching it on if and when the need arises. I’ll just swap the battery once a year.

Take care and God bless.