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.


A Few Shots With The Hand Cannon

We had an event at a local gun range today and I was able to take a few shots with the new (to me) Hand Cannon.

I have to say that when loaded with .357 Magnum rounds this is a pretty exciting little gun. Now, I like shooting snub-nosed revolvers and I don’t mind recoil but this little guy raises the bar…a lot.

First thing I noticed is that the Crimson Trace laser grips are way off and I will have to spend some time at the range to sight it in (if I decide to leave them on). The second thing I noticed is that the trigger is fine. I had no issue with it probably because of all the dry fire practice with the Model 360. I didn’t have enough time to check night sights for accuracy as I only had a few minutes free between presenting and visiting with customers but I was able to keep my last group of .38 Specials within about a three inch spot on the target.

Now, let’s get back to the recoil…

This thing hits the hand hard when loaded with .357 Magnum rounds. It is not painful but it does sting. By comparison, I was able to shoot a nice .44 magnum with a six inch barrel side by side with the little hand cannon and while the recoil on the .44 was slightly more it didn’t snap or sting like this little guy did. Of course the .44 Magnum probably weighed in around two pounds heavier than the M&P 340.

With all that said, I had no issues keeping a good grip on the gun. I didn’t have to readjust between shots and it never wanted to jump out of my hand but like I said I like small revolvers, I practice with them a lot and enjoy the recoil. At the same time I will admit going through a box of 50 .357 Magnum rounds would be about all I could handle.

I let a co-worker try it out and based on the video evidence (since he denied it) he did have some issues with control; both of the firearm and the trigger:

He is a fairly experienced shooter (or claims to be anyway) but really only has experience with full sized, metal framed 9mm semi-autos. You be the judge.

Anyway, those are my first impressions. I hope to get out to the range again soon when I have time to send more than 15 or 20 rounds downrange.

God bless!

Range Report

For Father’s Day I ordered myself a new Spike’s Tactical lower receiver. It is for a new build that I am planning and has an image engraved that I particularly liked:

Well, the lower finally came in and I was eager to pick it up. Wonderful Wife suggested I get some range time in too. I sure do love that woman but I suspect it may have had more to do with her wanting to go shopping for the grand kids than me getting some time on the range. Regardless of the motivation behind it I was eager to get back to the range especially after the challenges I had last time out.

First and most importantly, whatever was affecting my shooting last time out seems to have been resolved. No idea what was causing my inaccuracy last time out but I was able to tear the “X” ring out of targets at 3 and 7 yards pretty easily. It was obvious that I still need to get back to practicing more regularly but I was back on track with both the Glocks and the revolvers.

My secondary goal for this range trip was to test out the new ETS magazines for the Glock 42 and 43. I loaded the Glock 42 magazine first and immediately had issues. Two or three malfunctions per magazine. I repeated the test and got the same results. As a test I tried one of the Glock factory magazines I had with me and although it seemed slightly more reliable I still had issues. I only brought one box of .380 (Sellier & Bellot FMJ) but I did have a full magazine of my carry ammo for the G42 (Hornady Critical Defense) which seemed to run fine. This is probably an ammo related issue but until I can bring some different ammo to the range and test it out the G42 goes back in the safe.

Short Revolver Rant

This is one of the things that I truly appreciate about carrying a revolver. I know revolvers can fail and when they do it is rarely something that can be fixed in the middle of a fight but with a revolver I don’t have to worry about magazines failing or wearing out, ammo that doesn’t feed right, or weak extractor springs or any of the other small parts that can affect the reliability of a semi-auto. Semi-Autos are pretty darn reliable these days when it comes to feeding and extracting but they are still not as reliable or worry/hassle free as revolvers when it comes to feeding and extraction.

So, it appears the issue with the feeding on the Glock 42 was not related to the ETS magazines. The G43 (9mm) magazines from ETS all seemed to perform well and none had issues with and feeding or extraction issues. They all dropped free when empty. However, the big selling point for me on these magazines was that they are advertised as carrying an extra round in flush fit magazines. For whatever reason I could not seem to be able to get that extra round in there. Here is a photo of the 12 round magazine loaded up but only holding 11 rounds:

It is possible that after the springs wear in a bit I will be able to load the extra round but in the meantime, other than cost, I don’t see any reason to use these magazines instead of Glock factory magazines.

All in all, it was a really good day at the range.

God bless.

Note: I did call ETS support and they suggested loading and unloading the magazines a few times or leaving one loaded for a week or two and then trying again…


Range Report

I finally had a chance to make it out for a much needed trip to the range last weekend. I wanted to sight in the new Ruger American Predator .308 my home defense AR and get some practice time with my handguns. For the most part I accomplished my goals although not quite in the way I had hoped. First, a lesson learned.

Test Your Gear

I say this all the time and try and live by it as much as possible but received a refresher in the lesson this weekend. Working with my home defense AR, the one that sits in the safe next to my desk all day was one of my top two priorities. I had used a laser bore sight on it to set up the red dot optic a month or so ago but had not had a chance to verify the zero on the range. I bore sight rifles all the time but never have I been this far off. At only 25 yards, the point of impact was almost two feet off to the right! Within my house I don’t have many shooting angles at this distance but the point still remains that had I needed this rifle in the last few weeks I would have been in real trouble…to say the least.

I typically have a light mounted on all my home defense weapons, both pistols and rifles. I have had a habit of removing them when I go to the range. Doing so make it easier to pack them into their cases for travel and I feel kid of silly with a light on my gun in the bright sunlight of an open range. Most of the lights mount straight onto the picatinny rail but this new rifle has MLOK attachments on and I used the MLOK to attack a small rail and then mounted the light  to the rail.  Three shots into the range session the rail piece dropped off the rifle. Either the MLOK wasn’t properly secured (likely since this is my first experience with it) or the mounting hardware is flawed. I won’t know until I make it back out to the range and test it…again.

In the meantime I am a little wary of using this rifle for self-defense.

Other Observations

I purchased a “lead sled’ from Caldwell to make sighting in rifles easier (and cheaper but consuming less ammo). Maybe I am doing something wrong but so far I am not all that impressed. I don’t think it saved me more than a couple of rounds in the whole process. I can do just as well with sandbags…

On the other hand I am pretty dawn happy with the little Ruger .308 bolt gun. It took me about four rounds to get it dialed in at the twenty five yard line and then I was able to put two rounds into the same hole in the bullseye. Even at only 25 yards that’s pretty good shooting for me (I am not much of a rifleman).

I prefer to work a bit more methodically and go from 25 to 50 to 100 yards when sighting in a new rifle but the 50 yard line was under construction so I went straight out to 100.Using the lead sled I was all over the paper. It appeared to be more of a pattern than a group. Finally I dropped the lead sled and went with plan old sandbags. I still wasn’t getting a consistent grouping but at least the pattern tightened up. The four shots 2 inches down and one to the left were all off sandbags. I adjusted the scope a bit and put the last one in the bullseye. It was a hot day and getting hotter and my blood sugar was starting to tank so at that point I called it a day with the Ruger.

As I said, my initial observations on the Ruger American Predator in .308 are pretty good. From what I can tell this rifle is probably more accurate than I am. It is lightweight, about 6 lbs without the scope, and handy with an 18 inch barrel and an overall length of 38 inches. So, it should be an easy gun to drag through the brush but still more than accurate enough to reach out from a stand well beyond my typical shooting distances.

Being so light the 150 grain rounds I was using and will probably hunt with pack a punch and my shoulder was complaining a bit the next day. I also tested a 180 grain rounds and I could feel the difference in recoil. Shooting one or two when the adrenaline is pumping shouldn’t be an issue but a long range day would be a bit of a challenge. This is definitely a fun gun to shoot though I wouldn’t hand it off to Wonderful Wife or my grandson.

Next, I walked over to the pistol range for a few minutes.

One of the nicest things about carrying a revolver is the reloads (on speed strips) are very thin and light. One bad thing is that they are so thin and light I have, on occasion, forgotten them in a pocket and they ended up going through the washer. While I would not rely on them for self-defense I was curious if these rounds would still fire…yes, they all fired with no issue.

Unfortunately, my shooting was not as reliable as the ammunition. Using two different revolvers I was consistently shooting to the right by almost six inches. I tried changing my grip and changing the positioning of my finger on the trigger all to no avail. As I mentioned it was getting pretty hot and my blood sugar was getting a bit low so I didn’t spend any more time trying to fix the problem and packed my stuff and headed out.

All in all, it was a productive and much needed trip to the range. Now, to get back out there…

God bless!

The ChapStick Trick

Greg Ellifritz, over at Active Response Training posted a great trick for those who have lights mounted on their weapons.

A quick, cheap fix
A quick, cheap fix

Long training sessions can leave a nasty carbon buildup on the lens of the light which can be darn near impossible to clean completely. His trick? A little ChapStick on the lens. Makes clean up a breeze and doesn’t affect the output of the light in any significant way.

You can read more about this little trick and find out where he discovered it here.

God Bless and have a great weekend!

The Old Girl Barks Again!

Webley Mk II
Webley Mk II

For the first time in about fifty years this old Webley MKII barked and sent lead downrange. The old girl tossed 255 grain copper coated (not jacketed) lead bullets with the grace and style befitting her age. Given that she is now close to 120 years old, those rounds didn’t move with the same speed or punch they once might have but then again she wasn’t battling the Boers and their allies for control of Southern Africa, facing a charging Zulu warrior, a “Hun” in the trenches of the Somme or a Nattack at Dunkirk. She was punching holes in paper at 30 feet on an indoor range.

She served her time, through countless regional conflicts and two World Wars until she ended up on these shores, cut down to accept the more common (and cheaper) .45 ACP instead of the .455 Webley cartridge she was designed for.

File_000 (1)She was my grandfather’s before she was mine. From sometime in the 1950’s until just a few years ago she protected three generations of my family that lived and grew up in his home. She was the first center fire firearm I ever laid eyes on. I was taught that this was a tool for a very serious purpose and I learned that lesson along with the lesson that it is a man’s responsibility to protect and safeguard his family.

Her trigger is long and heavy but smooth from over a hundred years of service and use. She is heavy, built to withstand the rigors of a much harsher time. The rounds I used were built by hand with very precise and light loads so as to not inflict any damage on the old girl’s frame or cylinder. The slow burning powder and light loads combine with her heavy frame to give her a very unique recoil impulse; a slow roll rather than a snap. Her bark is still strong and warns of an ability to inflict damage that is only slightly diminished by time.

With well over a hundred years of history protecting an empire and a humble southern family it was an honor to take he out to the range. It was a connection to history and a connection to the man who raised me, who was a father to me that I cannot be described with mere words. I am truly blessed to have been able to do so.

She will make another trip to the range before too long. On that trip a fourth generation of our family will be able to make that connection. I hope it means as much to them as it does to me.

God Bless.

Monarch (Prvi Partizan) .38 Special

I have been buying .38 Special Monarch (re-branded Prvi Partizan) as practice ammo for several months now so I thought I would share my my experiences and thoughts.

Monarch (Prvi Partizan) .38 Special
Monarch (Prvi Partizan) .38 Special

I started practicing with the Monarch for ammo for several reasons. At $18 for a box of 50 it is fairly cheap for .38 Special. Despite the price, it is a semi-jacketed hollow point. for me, that is an added bonus because, in a pinch, I could use it for self-defense as well as practice.

So far, the quality has been fine. I have not had a malfunction in in several hundred rounds which is better than the Federal ammunition I was buying before. It seems to be plenty accurate and I don’t notice my groups opening up at all with this ammunition. I don’t have a chrono so I don’t know how consistent it in in term of performance but, based on my groups, it doesn’t seem to vary too much. Unlike some ammunition from former Eastern Block nations it doesn’t seem to be any dirtier than any other round I have used.

The brass seems well made and the first fifty I reloaded all worked fine. They probably worked a little better than the reloader did. I buckled two cases but those were my mistakes and had nothing to do with the brass.

God Bless