All this talk and effort towards saving money I go and do something stupid…
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.
The AR is an SRC-308 from Windham Weaponry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The basic requirements I had for a Pistol Caliber (PC) Carbine were pretty simple:
1) Chambered in 9mm to match the primary caliber I use in my semi-automatic pistols.
2) Reasonably lightweight
3) Able to take Glock magazines
4) Able to mount an optic.
That is it. Pretty simple and straightforward. Oh, except one other thing:
5) It needs to be reliable enough that I would be comfortable betting my life and (more importantly) the lives of my loved ones on it.
There are a lot of options out there. Many AR manufacturers have a PCC version of their wares out there. SIG has a whole line up of different models to choose from. High Point, KelTec, the list goes on an one.
I initially decided just to go with the Ruger PC carbine as it met all my requirements and I had a high trust level in Ruger LCR revolvers. For a variety of reasons I added the CZ Scorpion to my inventory and so decided to test them out head to head.
Ruger PC Carbine
My first impression of the Ruger PC Carbine was that, like me, it needed to go on a diet. It feels chunky in the hand and feels heavier than I would have expected (it is 6.8 lbs). The adjustable peep sights work very well for me at self defense ranges (out to 25 yards). The fact that this little carbine is a take down model that can easily slip into a back pack nice bonus.
At the range, that heft translated into an incredibly soft shooting carbine. Seriously shooting this thing is like shooting a 10/22 with an oversized stock on it. With an optic the range is extended and the speed to engage and hit targets out to 25 yards is amazing. I absolutely love shooting this rifle, except for one thing…
…it seems to jam about every thirty rounds. Very disappointing, to say the least.
My buddy bought one at the same time and he hasn’t had a single issue with his and seemed convinced that it was because he had changed out the magwell adapater and was running Glock magazines. So I did the same…
It does this with several different types of ammunition from different manufacturers. I cleaned the rifle before I started the test and cleaned it again when changing out the magwell. No help.
The problem seems to be with ejection. Rounds don’t eject fully before the action closed. I even had one instance with two spent casings still in the receiver. This was very disappointing although I had heard a few rumors about this being the case from various sources.
I am very disappointed, not only because this is the only one of the two to meet all four of my core criteria but also because this is such a nice and easy gun to shoot and shoot well. I haven’t sent it back to Ruger yet but plan to soon.
The CZ feels like a lightweight compared to the Ruger even though it is only a few ounces lighter (6.38 lbs). I think a lot of this has to do with the slimness of the carbine. It feels good in the hands (very subjective I know). The stock is adjustable for length of pull without the use of spaces like the PC carbine uses. While the CZ is not a take down the stock does fold making it easier to stow away although not as easily as the Ruger.
I was shocked how easy it is to disassemble this rifle. Push one (captured) pin and the trigger group drops out. Then the bolt assembly can be dropped out. 1, 2, 3 bing bang boom all done!
As good as the sights are on the Ruger, the included iron sights on the CZ are even better. You have multiple apertures for varying levels of precision. They are also serrated on the back side to cut down on glare. At home defense distances (25 yards) they were very accurate and I was able to hit man sized targets at 50 yards with ease. With a red dot optic mounted it was even easier and faster to hit targets. I was even able to make shots out to100 yards and get reliable hits on man sized targets. Not too shabby for a 9mm.
From a reliability perspective, the CZ is amazing and had zero issues through over 500 rounds. I did not clean the rifle at all during the testing but I did clean the two included magazines at about the halfway point. They were running reliably but they were getting harder to load and I wanted to see if they would feed as reliably after being disassembled. They were. An additional 20 round magazine and a 30 rounder also proved reliable in the testing. Magazines are pretty cheap with factory magazines running right around $20 each.
Recoil is not a problem but it does recoil noticeably more than the Ruger PC Carbine. To be honest there is little difference between the recoil of the CZ Scorpion and an AR15 firing 5.56 ammunition. I think that’s where the extra bulk of the Ruger comes into play making it an incredibly light and easy shooter.
The ergonomics of the CZ took a little getting used to and there are areas for improvement. As many have noted the safety lever is in a very bad location on the gun and tends to dig into the hand if you keep a high grip. I will definitely be changing that out. Fortunately there are plenty of options available on the market. There are also plenty of options for upgrading the charging handle, trigger and magazine release. I might change out the magazine release at some point as well but don’t see a reason to change anything else.
Honestly, I really like both of these carbines…a lot.
The Ruger is an incredibly light shooter and easy to handle. It meets all my criteria except for the reliability issue. If it wasn’t for that this would be a 100% recommendation. We will be sending it back to Ruger and see if they can correct the issue. Until then this is just an incredibly fun plinker.
The CZ (in my mind) looks really cool although I wish I had spent the extra few bucks for the one in FDE because after having seen one it looks even better. The Scoropion handles and shoots very well. I could plink away with it all day. With the reliability it showed I would not have an issue betting my life on it either. It doesn’t meet one of my criteria (Glock mags) but it nails every other one into the dirt. I like this little carbine so much I find myself wanting to purchase the pistol version and add a brace or SBR it.
Still To Come…
One test I haven’t had a chance to do on the CZ Scorpion is to feed it self-defense ammo and see how she runs. Until then she is still a plinker and range toy.
I have a decent red dot optic mounted (Vortex Venom) but would like a little larger one with longer battery life. I will probably buy a Primary Arms SLxZ Advanced Red Dot. I have had incredibly good luck with PA red dots and the SLxZ offers 50,000 hours of battery life. With battery lifer like that I will leave it on all the time and just replace the better once a year or so.
As I mentioned I will be sending the Ruger in to see if they can correct the issues. I’ll post an update here when I do.
I hope you found this informative. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.
On a recent range trip I finished what I wanted to accomplish pretty quickly and so I was just basically hanging out with a buddy. It was a good time and I got to shoot some cool guns I haven’t shot before including a Smith & Wesson target .22 from between the wars, a 1980’s era Colt 1911 and a surplus Beretta 92FS. I was also helping him dial in the red dot he had mounted on his new .44 Magnum Ruger. As I was hanging out I noticed a number of folks that needed a little assistance.
Some folks were obviously struggling with making accurate hits that some simple advice on stance, grip or technique could addressed. Others were struggling with manipulating their firearms and could could also have benefited from a few helpful hints. Still others were having issues with their weapons; some that could have been fixed easily on the spot with something I had on hand and others for whom a recommendation on a good, honest gunsmith would have been a big help.
I see this all the time and in the past I would have been helping any of them who were willing to accept it. This time I was in no hurry to help and thinking back on it, I haven’t been overly eager to assist others at the range for a quite a while now.
I pondered this for a bit and I realized something that really disturbed me. I was subconsciously categorizing those around me at the range. Not as 1911 people or revolver people like I have all along. No, I was categorizing them as friend, foe or undetermined. To say it another way, I was weighing which would be most likely to be shooting at me or alongside of me when things turn ugly (uglier).
As the US heads further down the slope towards a violent split between the Left and Right I have already started thinking in terms of friend or foe. On the drive home I also realized I have started thinking of my neighbors in the same way. I have started to think of those who had Beto signs in their front yard as a possible source of risk to me and my family.
I doubt that many of them would attack me directly but I suspect (hopefully incorrectly) that they would be more than happy to point out the local conservatives to those might be willing to do so. I don’t know if this is founded in reality or in the propaganda spewed by partisan news media. Regardless, the fact that I have started looking at people this way is disturbing. I talked this over with a few folks and, apparently, I am not the only one thinking this way.
One buddy strongly suggested ignoring the feeling and remaining open to assist those anyone at the range. In his mind even if this was an Antifa soldier in training it would show him the better side of conservatives and gun people. I get that. I really do but I can’t help wondering how many Germans knew a Jew who had been kindly and helpful but turned on them anyway. I am sure there were some Hutus in Rwanda with positive experiences dealing with Tutsis but that didn’t stop the slaughter. I read an article by a survivor of the siege of Sarajevo who was close to people on both sides of the conflict but within days of the first minor skirmishes his friends had turned on him and he was on his own.
It is a scary time we live in and and increasingly tough time to love your neighbor as yourself…
God, I pray You would help heal the divisiveness in our nation. Help us to overcome our differences and join together as one nation, one people, under God.
I have a crazy fascination with the .327 Federal Magnum cartridge and, to be honest, with .32 caliber revolver cartridges in general. The .327 Magnum was designed specifically to provide similar ballistics as a .357 Magnum and do so with less recoil and out of short barreled revolvers (snubbies). Another advantage of the .327 Magnum is that, out of the same sized cylinder, you can get extra round. For example, my .327 Ruger LCR is a six shot revolver that is the same size and weight as a five shot .357 Magnum LCR. The five shot .38 Special LCR also the same size although a few ounces lighter.
I also love single action (cowboy) guns so when Ruger released the Single Seven chambered in .327 Federal Magnum it immediately rocketed to the top of my wish list…and stayed there.
A single action revolver is not terribly practical in the modern world. As a result, although this little revolver was at the top of the wish list other, more practical firearms were purchased instead of the Single Seven. Then last week something happened to change all that. I was passing time between meetings but browsing a local gun shop and asked about .32 caliber revolvers. They just happened to have received this one the day before. As soon as I held it the die was cast and it was just a matter of how much it would cost me…
I didn’t get a great deal on it but I didn’t get a horrible one either but in any case, Merry Christmas to me!
Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get it to the range.
Unfortunately, all is not roses and unicorns with the little Single Seven. The base pin that the cylinder rides on backs itself out under recoil binding up the gun. It started exhibiting this behavior after a few rounds of .327 Magnum but by the end of the range session it was even doing it with light .32 Smith & Wesson long rounds as well.
A quick call to Ruger an a replacement base pin is on the way. If that doesn’t resolve the issue it will have to be sent back to them for repairs. To say that I am a little disappointed would be bit of an understatement.
This will be a fairly short update because there is very little to report. The little SIG P365 ran through another 200 rounds (199 actually) without only one hiccup and that was an ammunition issue. One round failed to fire. There was a good indentation on the primer and the other firearms I had with me failed to fire that round either so I am chalking that up to a defective round. I should have brought it hope and opened it up but I didn’t think about it.
That’s 500 rounds of mixed ammunition, including Hornady, Speer, CCI, Magtech, Fiocchi, my own reloads, and S&B, and both FMJ and HP with no firearm related failures or malfunctions. It went through the entire testing without being cleaned or oiled.
There were no changes to accuracy or point of impact during the testing.
One note, it does appear that there is a little striker drag happening. I don’t know what this will mean for long term reliability and I will continue to watch it. I will also check my Glock 43 and see if I see any indications of this with rounds fired from it.
At this point the little SIG will get a good cleaning, a touch of oil and then after a function test will start to work its way into my carry rotation.
I really can’t say enough good things about this little pistol. It shoots well. It has proven itself reliable so far and it offers a significant improvement in capacity over similar sized pistols including the Glock 43 that I have carried for several years now. I really like it a lot.
After another quick range session this week the round count on the little SIG P365 is now up over 350 and no issues so far. I brought five different types of ammo along this time out including some of my reloads that are pretty lightly loaded and some Speer 124 Grain Gold Dots and, as I already stated, there were no issues feeding or extracting any of the rounds. The little SIG has not been cleaned yet and I notice the slide doesn’t cycle quite as smoothly as it did a few hundred rounds ago but, again, no malfunctions so far.
I always worry about the reliability of pocket-sized semi-autos. Lint, dust sweat, heat all tend to conspire to generate failures. The Glock 42 and 43 were exceptions to this rule and, so far, so is the P365. That gives me a good bit of confidence in the gun. The Kahr seemed to want to be cleaned and oiled nightly to be 100% reliable.
I plan to put another 150 rounds through it to see if it can maintain that level of reliability. The I will give it a much needed cleaning and check for any signs of wear that would be out of the ordinary after 500 rounds. If it still proves reliable it will probably make its way into my regular carry rotation.
I picked up an additional magazine for the P365 and it ran just fine while at the range. It did highlight one down of the SIG vs. the Glocks, $50 dollar magazines instead of sub-$20 magazines. I have been able to find them on sale so one I bought was $40 and the other one was $30.