Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quiet Around Here...

Decided to catch up on some reading and go for a bike ride today, and will be heading to the range momentarily (the girl's been dropping hints that she wants to go again... hooray!)  Hopefully I'll be back in earnest tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Front Sight!

It having been a while since I did any precision iron sight work, I kept having to yell at my self (in my head) to focus on the front sight.  I think it's a sign I need to get the old 10/22 with the Tech-SIGHTS cleaned up and back out for some quality fundamentals time.

Red-dots are sweet, but it just goes to show that skills do suffer when ignored.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I sat down with coffee and attempted to find something to write about, but today's my first day off in about two and a half weeks.  I'm going to go to the range and do some rifle shooting (100 yards... sadly that's the furthest my mediocre range goes) and then turn into a geek later today (Warhammer 40k and Dark Heresy!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

GunUp and Twitter

Tomorrow (June 28) Dan from GunUp will be giving a presentation to industry reps at the NSSF Marketing Symposium in Dallas.

Dan has one simple request for blog readers, mainly those of you who use Twitter-
"I want to utterly and demonstrably show the industry how powerful bloggers can be. I will be setting up a live twitter feed to run in concert with my presentation on June 28th between 1045 and 1115 central time. Would you be willing to rally your readers to tweet a 'I support my gun blogger and want new media events during #SHOT 2012' (or some variation with a #SHOT hash tag) tweet during my presentation? A continuous stream of tweets would be absolutely amazing."
I never got the whole Twitter thing, but if those of you who do could do this, it'd be pretty cool.

Little Magnetic Dudes

We all know that dry fire practice is a good thing.  One of the things you need for effective practice is an aiming point.  Not content with a thumbtack or something stuck in the wall (and sure the landlord wouldn't be a fan either,) I pulled out a pack of magnetic paper I picked up a while back and a black Sharpie, and stuck these guys one the front of my oven.

I've got a good 15 foot or so lane from the living room area carpet.  Not bad for a small apartment, and I can switch them over to the fridge door if I want to stand up and work on handguns.  Of course you can draw whatever shapes you like, and the sheets are 8"x11" and work with ink jet printers, so your target options are quite limitless.

As with all dry fire practice, safety is paramount.  Ensure your firearm is unloaded, and that all ammunition is triple locked in a box in the other side of the building, if not in another building a county away (common sense people...) and do your best to ensure you're directing your gun in as safe a direction as possible (in my building I'm going through a large appliance, utility room, and towards the next apt.'s oven... not the best, but as good as I'm going to get in my building.)

Down the road, it would be nice to add a LaserLyte training laser to the mix. In the mean time, it should help me get back in decent target form.  Cro's been mentioning hitting up some service rifle competitions when he gets back, and I just happen to have an A2 style AR rifle...

G&C at the Front! Commenga Easymag

Cro sent this in from Afghanistan-

So I entered the Connex where my M4 had been stored while I was away and as I always do when entering an arms room, casually glanced around to see what kind of fun toys might be laying around that could make my job a little easier.  The Specialist who had opened the door asked me what I was looking for, and I answered with “just browsing”  We had a short exchange of my enthusiasm for the shooting sports and he reached into a shelf and handed me a small white box saying “ here you will probably like this then, we still have a few left.”  I opened the box and inside was a Commenga easy Mag.   I had seen the magazine advertised in shotgun news for a while and was happy to be able to try one out without having to buy it.  I put it in my ruck sack and began my journey back to my FOB.

After arriving at my tent I was able to examine the EasyMag more closely.  It is an all steel construction, coated black.  The mag is noticeably heavier than the issue GI aluminum mags, and the slot for the magazine catch is milled out of the side wall, but does not create a hole like the Issue mags do.  The magazine is a little longer than the standard issue GI mags, but still fits inside of the standard 2 mag ammo pouch. 

The sliding front section of the magazine can be released by gently but firmly pulling down on the magazine.  When the front section is down it compresses the spring and follower with it, leaving a open tray for the rounds.  The front portion stays in the open position without having to do anything special.  This does make cleaning the interior sidewalls of the magazine easier than the old mags as I was able to take a piece of rag and run it inside instead of swabbing back and forth with a cleaning rod. 

Loading the mag was pretty simple.  I had an ammo can of loose 556 laying around so I just grabbed a bunch of rounds and started tossing them inside of the mag body.  Every 10 or so I gave the back spine of the mag a firm tap with the palm of my hand and the rounds aligned themselves properly allowing me to feed a full 30 inside of the mag.  Once 30 were loaded I grabbed the front part of the magazine and slid It back into position.  It went into place with little resistance until just about fully closed where the spring must have a disconnect because I could feel it releasing and putting the pressure onto the rounds.  

The loaded mag did seem to exhibit a bit more noise than the GI Mags when shaken.  The mag seated with no problems in my M4, and dropped free when the magazine release was pressed.  I was not able to do a range review yet.  It’s a lot harder to schedule a range trip here than back at home, but the mag in my vest and I will run it through the M4 when I get a chance

Did the mag save me time in loading it?  To be honest I don’t know.  I have been loading mags for so long that it’s just kind of second nature to me.  Now did it make it easier to ul-load the mags?  Yes!  I just had to pull the front down and tilt the mag to drop all the rounds into a box.  Now If My ammo is issued on strippers why wouldn’t I just load all my mags on stripper clips?  Well I don’t empty my mags by shooting them all.  Routine maintenance has me un-loading them and cleaning and lightly oiling them along with each round before re-loading the mags.  Believe it or not it’s pretty dusty here.  Now I have never found disassembly of GI mags difficult, but this is definitely easier.  Can the EasyMag be fully disassembled?  I do not know, I didn’t try. 

Would I want them to replace my GI Issue mags?  No.  they are heavier, and they are a little noisier.  But then again I have not completely drank the cool-aid yet and I still use the standard aluminum mags instead of buying p-mags like many of the other guys here.  Why would I stick with GI mags?  Well I have brand new mags in the wrapper that I got at the beginning of the deployment, and I have rarely had issues with Issue mags that I was able to inspect beforehand.  Also I have access to more magazines than I would ever use here,  If I have to leave a mag its not a big deal.  All of the extra ammo I have in my truck is in loaded mags, and it’s a lot of loaded mags. 

Now for a day at the range I think this is a good system if you just have a couple mags and a bunch of boxes of ammo like I often do.  You will save your thumbs a lot of stress with these magazines, and especially if you shoot in sub zero weather in Wisconsin.  The loss of dexterity will not be as greatly affected by this style of magazine.  I personally would not drop this mag  onto a hard surface a lot, but that’s just me.  At $15 dollars a pieces, which is what I found on cheaper than dirt, it’s the same as a p-mag.  Also they do have a NSN for those of you that want the taxpayers to get you yours for trying out before you buy it yourself.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tales of the Gun

Just a heads up for those interested, one of the classic History Channel shows is available from Amazon for a whole $25... The entire "Tales of the Gun" series, all 27 hours worth.  I just ordered myself a copy.

I have returned!

AT 2011 is now a thing of the past, so things should liven up a bit around here again.  I've got a few things lined up, including Cro's review of the Commenga Easymag from far off Afghanistan, as well as some more photos from AT (like the beagle we saved.)

I wish I could say I'm at home enjoying a beer, but that'll come later.  I guess they missed me at work too much.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The state legislature passed it today, and unlike the last two times, the Governor says he will sign it.

Unfortunately it wasn't quite what most of us wanted, there is a training requirement and a licensing fee/process; but it is one step forward in the right direction, and I can see a continual push for constitutional carry from the die hards.

Anyway, back in the pup tent for another night in the field. Not too many days to go before my next (and quite needed) shower. More on CCW stuff next week.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Machine Guns

M249s and M240s. Good times. Hopefully the video works.
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Friday, June 17, 2011


40mm of high explosive full-auto love.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Wisconsin CCW passed the state Senate 25-8 today.

Back to pushing dirt.
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Caffeinated Mints

Best thing found in an MRE possibly ever (at least on the day you missed coffee.)
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Two Weeks...

One weekend a month, and two weeks a year... That two weeks is upon me, so I'll be quite seldom over the next 15 days or so.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Henry Rifles Mare's Leg

Don't know how this one slipped out unoticed, but Henry Repeating Arms is producing Mare's Leg type guns in .45 Colt and .22s/l/lr.

The .45 Colt gun sports a brass frame, and the .22 version is simply a trimmed down H001, however both sport a saddle ring on the left side of the receiver (a feature not normally present on the H001 rifle.)  The .45 version is a bit pricy (msrp $950) and the .22 is listed at $360.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Shooter vs. Mosquitoes!

So, as mentioned, I finally was able to get Fern out to the range.  Up until today, the biggest thing she'd ever shot was a paintball gun (although she does have an archery background.)

A couple weeks ago we spent some quality time in her kitchen covering the basics.  She quickly picked up on the big four, and after a bit was very comfortable dry firing the little Walther P22.  Since then I'd quiz her on the Mr. Cooper's rules and get her used to handling various types of firearms whenever she was over at my place.

Today I felt a strong need to get out to the range and sling some lead, so after she finished work for the day, we headed out.

Unfortunately I forgot the range is surrounded by swamp on all four sides.

We got to the range, set up the new steel target, and did some more dry firing with the little Walther, swatting mosquitoes the whole time.  After a bit I racked one into the chamber, and we got things properly started.  Before too long, the steel was ringing more often than not.

(Left-eye dominance... not blinking)

I really need to find a better .22lr pistol option though, the sites on the Walther won't hold a zero in a mild breeze.

After a bit she was willing to give a rifle a try, so I brought out the M&P15-22, and Fern went 20 for 25.

Before too long we decided the mosquitoes won, and headed into town for some Benedryl and dinner, but in her own words;
The pain from the 27 mosquito bites is slowly fading away and will most likely be replaced by the realization that the "mythical" range is no longer a myth but a very real, very addictive place. Oh, and the smell of burnt gunpowder is good.

On the upside, the supply of DEET has been restocked in the Mayhemobile, and hopefully we won't get out there so late in the day and there'll still be enough of a breeze to keep the skeeters from swarming.

Hi-Point Carbine Facelift

Years ago I purchased a Hi-Point 995 carbine. This was right when ATI announced they were going to produce an aftermarket stock for the ugliest carbine known to exist.  I forget exactly how much I paid for the thing, but I think it may have been under $200 for the gun.

Now don't get me wrong, the Hi-point product line is known far and wide to be, quite possibly, the ugliest guns in regular production.  I have never even been able to bring myself to handle one of their handguns, let alone fire one, but the carbine was cheap, and I like the idea of a pistol caliber long gun. 

The little carbine is nothing to write home about, parts seem to be taken from the spare parts bin at an agricultural machine repair shop (the cocking handle is an honest-to-God hex-head bolt...) and the operating system is just a simple unlocked blow-back using a ridiculously heavy bolt assembly (for lack of a better word) and a rather stout spring.  Disassembly is a pain in the @$$, and the ergonomics are less than ideal.  You're also limited to 10 round mags (the 995 was a product of the '93 AWB.)  On the up side, they are cheap, easy to shoot, and Hi-point does have a 100% guarantee.  The 995 does make for a decent "truck gun" or budget home defense carbine with the addition of a white light.

The factory stock, at the time that I bought mine, has been described as feeling reminiscent of mashed potatoes, especially on a warm day, and as stated earlier, freakin' ugly.  There is nothing good looking about this gun.  So I ordered an ATI stock as soon as they were available on their site.  This started the concept in my head of the "Hi-Point Facelift Project."  I'd take this ugly chick and turn her into a prom queen yet.

At this time, the owner of a certain gun forum I frequented (eventually it evolved into had gotten a lathe, and was looking to try his hand at threading a barrel.  I figured the little Hi-point could use a not-so-naked barrel sticking out of the stock, so I removed my barrel, and shipped it off to Nevada, along with a spare CETME flash hider I just happened to have laying around.  A couple weeks later, the .308 CETME hider was bored out to clear a 9mm bullet, and the formerly ugly little carbine was starting to look better.

Recently Holescreek, another member over at Military Firearm, started making and selling aftermarket CETME parts, including a few new flash hider designs.  I saw his short 4 prong design, thought it'd look pretty good on the Hi-point, and asked him if he could bore one out for 9mm and hook a brother up.  He was game, and I was able to screw on a new flash hider when I woke up this morning.

I know it doesn't change it much, but I think the 4 prong flows better than the old birdcage did with the stock.

The fit and finish on the hider are fantastic, a good, dark, parkerizing.  The new hider also fits much tighter than the surplus CETME hider did, so no more worries of the hider taking an unscheduled downrange flight (the hider needs to be removed to disassemble the gun...)

The prongs are short enough that it doesn't sing too much (if I didn't use electronic ear pro I'd have never noticed.)

I see that ATI's got a 17" top rail for them now... that may be the next surgury for this little thing, along with a new finish perhaps and better optics.

Oh yeah, the ugly little gun does shoot well though, despite the crap-tastic trigger.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's coming...

Took the girl out to the range for the first time rather than write something. Gonna edit photos and get some words up in a bit.
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Got back from the northwoods and went straight in to work overnight. I'm dead, check back this afternoon/evening, I'll try to get something with some substance up.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Out of town...

So here's a pretty picture I took with my phone and forgot about last fall. Back Monday give or take.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More on Mill's Fleet Farm

Yesterday I confirmed that Mill's Fleet Farm (not to be confused with Blane's Farm & Fleet) will be carrying handguns in the next month or so.  I also said I'd expand on why I'm more than a little excited about this.

Mill's Fleet Farm is primarily a farm supply store, however they do stock quite a bit of household goods, clothing, and outdoor recreation stuff, primarily hunting and fishing.  It's kind of like taking a Tractor Supply and mixing it with Walmart, so while they do have camping stuff, it's not the high end stuff you'd find at even Gander Mountain or a similar purely outdoors store.

Fleet Farm has always been more gun friendly than similar stores (Blane's Farm & Fleet expressly prohibits Open Carry in their stores, where Mill's Fleet Farm welcomes it.)  Their prices have never been anything all that special, but they've generally got the largest selection of ammunition in town, and a fairly decent offering of long guns.  They also have an isle full of Military Surplus items, and in the last year have started carrying factory Remington 870 mag extensions and a Midwest Industries AR Carbine sized rail system.  Handguns really aren't that much of a stretch.

Why I'm surprised is that while it's not a big chain (Mostly just Wisconsin and a few neighboring states) it's still a corporate-ish chain store.  Given that within the last year or so some Walmart locations stopped carrying handgun ammo, or firearms all-together, for "image" reasons (they have recently decided to turn around on that decision.  I guess the sales numbers spoke) I am pleasantly surprised to see another chain/big-box type store taking a step in the other direction.

It's not that far of a stretch though.  As I've said, Fleet Farm has traditionally been gun-friendly anyway, and while I can't speak for other locations, the Stevens Point, WI location is poised to fill a decade long, county-wide void in the market (currently the nearest dealer that regularly stocks handguns is a 40+ mile drive down the interstate in the next county north of us.)  Also, it's looking like Wisconsin will have CCW legislation of some sort (Constitutional or Shall-issue) by October, and demand for handguns will increase.  Capitalism at its best.

It's a smart business move, and is probably giving the PR rep an aneurysm.  Personally, I'm mostly happy to only have to drive across town to drool over handguns rather than to the next county.