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AR 15’s and Sniper Rifles

The M1 Carbine

Posted by Gunner on November 29, 2008


Inland (General Motors) M1 Carbine Made in 1944

Most shooters are very familiar with the M1 carbine from old war movies and the lucky ones from owning this great old rifle. It’s very lite, handy to carry and a joy to shoot with very little recoil. If you reload and have a press that only loads handgun rounds you can load this straight walled cartridge.
The history of this rifle is very interesting as well. Many folks credit a man named David(Carbine)Williams with it’s design but in fact Mr. Williams designed the gas system with Winchester designing the rifle itself. Many of us older guys remember the movie about Carbine Williams staring Jimmy Stewart as Williams and his designing the rifle while in prison. The movie came out in 1952 and is sometimes seen on stations like Turner classics. Even though a little creative license was taken with the movie it is interesting and worth watching if you ever catch it on TV.
The rifle itself was designed to replace the 1911 45acp for non-combat troops serving behind the lines but eventually found it’s way into the front lines where many officers used it as well as Marines during the island hopping campaigns in the Pacific. The design was done in 1938 but wasn’t issued until 1940. The original ball round was a 110 grain bullet at a bit over 1800 fps. Muzzle energy was twice that of the 45acp. Seeing service in WWII and the Korean war and even the Vietnam war the little carbine serviced on. Renamed the M2 after WWII when it was converted to select fire the 30 round magazine was also adopted replacing the 15 round mag of WWII. Later designations were the M3 which was the same rifle but had a special fitting for night vision device mounting. These were rather ungainly devices that had a large infra red light with the weight approaching that of the rifle itself. If you ever remember the old Man from Uncle TV series the bad guys always had these devices on the M3 Carbines. There were also some other models that had a folding stock which was widely used by Airborne troops in WWII when the troops jumped into France during the invasion of the continent.


Folding Stock M1 Carbine

The folding stock model is a very short carbine that is perfect for a troop jumping with a large load. Ammo is also much lighter than the Garand in 30-06. That and you can carry a lot more ammo. Many troops loved the fact you had more rounds to use without reloading but it’s obvious shortcoming is the lack of punch of this round. Any distance past 150 rounds and your bullet speed is about like a 38 +P revolver at the muzzle.


M2 Select Fire with 30 Round Magazine

One problem with the addition of the 30 round mag is feeding problems with the early mags. This problem was remedied with a new magazine lip design and follower. There are still old 30 rounders out there that have the old design which cause problems for shooters today.
My M1 is an Inland made manufactured for General Motors. It was made in 1944 and is in very good condition. It uses the standard peep sight standard on most WWII rifles.Somewhat rare in that it has a bayonet lug which many did not have. Generally I only use the 20 round mag because of the previously mentioned reliability issues. I’ve never had a problem of any type with reliability. No jams failures to eject no problems whatsoever. Even with reloaded rounds with a heavier bullet it has proved flawless even though it was designed strictly for 110 grain ball. Plenty of military ball is still available. It can be fairly expensive to buy Lake City ammo.If you reload the cost is about the same as reloading a 38 revolver.

The rifle is surprisingly accurate at distances of up to 200 yards in spite of the relatively low powered round. It is certainly an enjoyable rifle to shoot! Groups of about 4 inches at 150 yards are not uncommon with Lake City 110 ball. Loading your own rounds you can squeeze a bit more accuracy from it shooting groups of 3 inches at 150 yards from a sandbag rest.
A good clean example like this one will run about $500. Not bad for a nice military rifle. Mags are fairly inexpensive as well unless you buy the 30 round military mags which can run up to $40. 15 round mags are $10 to $15 if you search around a bit. At times you can get a pretty good deal on ammo at Midway USA when they have a sale on ammo.
If you get a chance to pickup one of these fine old rifles you won’t regret it.One other consideration is they don’t have that stigma of being an evil black rifle. They are just a blast to shoot!

Posted in M1 Carbine, Military and Police Rifles | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

AR15 From CMMG

Posted by Gunner on October 12, 2008


CMMS AR15

I ran across a new manufacturer of AR15’s named CMMS. They are a small company in Fayette,Missouri. I stopped in to Mark’s Armory and saw this AR and saw that it was a bit different than most run of the mill examples. The lower is a DPMS with collapsible six position stock. The upper is the heavier variety found on match AR’s. The upper is also from DPMS and is the upper used on the Panther Race gun. In fact the upper is almost twice as thick as the steel on a standard model which makes this rifle more stable and therefore more accurate as it turns out.The upper is also made from extruded aluminum alloy. There is no forward assist or dust cover which is fine for the average shooter. The foregrip is a free float barrel type with an M4 chrome lined barrel from DPMS.


In this picture you can see how thick the metal is on the upper

All of the parts used are very good quality. Another addition that CMMS added is a cheek rest from Command Arms. This rest is very easy to add to any AR15 and provides a very good cheek weld when sighting. It also has two water tight compartments for carrying battery’s or other odds and ends. It an excellent addition for your AR.


Command Arms Cheek Rest

After deciding to take this one home with me and hoping my wife wouldn’t kill me I saw some scopes that looked a lot like an ACOG. Not being one who can afford an ACOG I was interested. The company that makes these is NC Star. I know I know they are inexpensive but not cheap if you know what I mean. I expected an $85 scope to be blurry and just not very clear at all. I was surprised to see that I was wrong the optics are very clear as is the Mil-Dot reticle. There is a rheostat on the left side that runs off a watch type battery. Turning the knob clockwise the reticle turns green with one more notch dimming the reticle. Turning it counterclockwise and the reticle turns red. Handy for low light situations. With the power off the reticle is black. It has an eyepiece adjustment for nearsighted or farsighted people at the rear of the scope. They make several variations of this scope but this one is a straight 6X42. At the top is a knob for bullet drop calibrated for a 62 grain .223 round. Range on this 100 to 500 yards. The reticle as mentioned before has the Mil-Dot crosshairs if you choose to use this feature instead especially if you happen to use a different load than what the scope is calibrated for. The knob on the right side is the standard right and left windage adjustment. One click is 1/2 inch at 100 yards. Mounting is very simple since this scope uses a lever to lock the scope in place. Removing it and replacing it had no effect on the zero. We’ll see how it holds up over time and many rounds of recoil. So far it works very well.

After getting it home I cleaned the rifle and lubed it with the usual Militec. I went out to the range and setup at 100 yards to sight the scope in. It only took three rounds to have it right on the money. I fired the group below at 100 yards standing unsupported. The results are pretty good:-)


The circle is about 3 inches across

After this group I used a sanbag rest off the bench and had groups that averaged about 1 3/4 inches using Black Hills 62 grain match ammo. I moved back to 200 yards and had groups open up to a bit over 2 7/8th inches with the same ammo. This is certainly better than the groups I’m used to with the standard AR15 having the stock upper and non free floated barrel. This is certainly not your stock configuration but it looks good and shoots very well. To get a nice AR such as this one for $680 and a decent scope for $85 it won’t break the bank.
With the elections coming up very soon and should Obama win you better stock up on ammo, hi-cap magazines and any “black rifle” you have been yearning for because if he gets in office the push to take away our guns will be a high priority with him or so he has said. If you think the last assault weapons ban was bad you ain’t seen nothing yet!
On the main blog page at the top is a link to Mark’s Armory if you are interested in an AR15 like this one. You sure can’t beat the price especially for what you get!


Troy Single Point Sling With Mount

As always I wish you safe shooting and an enjoyable time at your range. Remember comments and questions are always welcome.

Posted in AR15, Military and Police Rifles | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Masada To Replace The M4?

Posted by Gunner on April 21, 2008

New Combat Rifle Enters the Fray

There’s been a lot of debate recently about the whole issue of small arms, particularly with the effectiveness of the Colt M4 carbine. The Army’s reliability study demonstrated that if well lubed, the M4 performs largely without fight-ending stoppage. But there’s continued argument over the knock-down power of the 5.56mm round, the reliability of the M4 if constant care isn’t possible and on the whole issue of whether or not there’s a better operating system out there.

The debate is just reaching a critical point, with the Army recently caving to pressure from Capitol Hill and agreeing to hold a “sandstorm test” between its M4 and a couple other carbines that fire on a different operating system many say is more reliable. With the end-strength increase in the Army and Marine Corps and the overall focus of budget attention on land forces, momentum may be building to issue a new infantry rifle as the Army and Marine Corps build new brigade combat teams and infantry battalions.

There’s no one in the DoD officially saying this yet, but a lot more people in high places are asking previously taboo questions on whether it’s time to throw the stoner design to the side.

We’ve already taken a look at three of the most popular competitors to the M4: the XM8, the H&K 416 and the FN SCAR – or Mk-17 and Mk-16. Well, a buddy passed along another interesting entrant into the “new carbine” world (that’s not to say there aren’t others out there, but this one’s the new kid on the block) which seems to meld all the best aspects of the previous three rifles into one.

Made by Longmont, Colorado-based Magpul Industries Corp., the Masada does have that “first person shooter” gamer nerd look to it. But look at the specs and it seems the Masada has some interesting aspects that would make operators give it a second look. One thing I noticed was the two interchangeable lowers – one for 5.56mm, the other for AK-47 7.62×39 ammo. So for shooters “going native” in the AO, this could be the ticket – of course, as long as you have a compatible barrel.

The rest of the specs look pretty standard, but it’d be interesting to get feedback from DT readers on some of the more deeply technical stuff. Take a look at the brochure and see what you think.

There are also a couple of cool videos of the weapon being test fired.

Posted in Military and Police Rifles | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

The Universal Gun—The AK-47

Posted by Gunner on January 27, 2008


Romanian WASR AK-47

   The AK-47 is the most prolific gun on the planet. It’s used by good guys and bad alike. Most people are familiar with the history of this gun but here’s a short history. Back in the later years of WWII a Soviet army sergeant named Mikhail Kalashnikov designed this weapon which was adopted by the soviet army in 1947 thus the designation Avtomat Kalashnikova Obrazets 1947. To date there are over 30 million of these weapons in service with many countries; allies and foes alike. Some believe the AK-47 was the product of borrowing design features of the German STG44. The STG44 does have a striking resemblance to the AK. This is an issue that will be long debated. My personal opinion is that Mikhail Kalashnikov designed this weapon on his own and is a bonafied genius in firearms design. Over the years this design has spawned many variations in both caliber and use. Most any Russian rifle/squad automatic now in use has it’s basis on the AK-47 design. The original guns were forged models soon after were stamped when that technology was perfected. This reduced cost as well as allowing for greater production numbers. Some countries are so enamored with this weapon they have it on the nations flag. Mozambique being the most well known. While many liberal types look at the AK-47 as the poster child for the evil of guns. Those of us who’s main hobby is shooting know better. There’s no such thing as an evil gun the person or persons that use it determines whether it’s a tool for freedom from oppression or used to oppress.

   There are more types of AK’s made than I have room to name. This particular AK-47 is from Romania and is the most common in the USA. Prices are very reasonable. This rifle was $379 at Cott Firearms in Marshall, Mo. Ammunition is increasing in price as we all know but the 7.62×39 round at Midway Usa is priced at $109 for a case of 500 rounds. Not to bad at all for a rifle round. Certainly the least expensive large caliber rifle to shoot. Whether for just a fun time at the range, hunting or home defense the AK-47 fills the need nicely. This Romanian model has a chrome lined barrel for longevity. As AK’s go I found this one well made. The rifle also comes with a magazine pouch, a cleaning kit that fits in the butt of the rifle. It also comes with two 30 round magazines and a bayonet.
   When I brought this AK home the first thing I did was take it down to remove all the cosmoline that’s used to pack guns for long term storage. You certainly should do this as well before firing yours. After cleaning and lubing I loaded up and headed for the range. Of course I always use Militec to lube all my guns and I highly recommend it.
   I setup a standard police silhouette target up and decided to fire from the 25, 50 and 100 yard line. Firing from the 25 yard line was what I expected. I was able to maintain groups of 1 inch kneeling. From the 50 yard line I fired from a kneeling position and achieved the below group firing three rounds.

   From the 100 yard line the group opened up. The AK-47 is not known for great accuracy at distance. I do believe it is more accurate than many people give it credit for. This is the 100 yard group.

   The black area of the target is a 5 inch circle. For an AK-47 or any rifle with iron sights I consider this pretty darn good and much better than I expected considering what I have heard about poor accuracy. I completely enjoyed shooting this rifle! It’s just plain fun and handles well. If you’re used to an AR15 you do have some getting used to with the different manual of arms. I shot a total of 160 rounds with no malfunctions of any type. I expected no less considering the reputation the AK-47 has for reliability. I also emptied a 30 round mag as fast as I could pull the trigger and still no malfunctions. It was a blast to, literally:-)
   To disassemble the rifle is simplicity itself. At the rear of the receiver cover is a button that is pushed in then lift off the cover. Then grasp the recoil spring at the rear, lift it up and pull it out. After that just pull the bolt and one piece gas piston to the rear where there is a notch at the rear of the receiver allowing the assembly to be pulled up and out. That’s all there is to it. From this point just clean as usual and assemble in reverse of the take down procedure. It takes about 3 minutes to disassemble!
   I’ve also been in contact with some soldiers in Iraq who in addition to the issue M16/M4 they carry an AK-47 especially when riding in a vehicle. They refer to the fact that many of the hiding places for insurgents is behind a very common building material over there which are cinder blocks(commonly referred to as concrete blocks). From what they tell me the AK-47 round will go right through a cinder block wall providing more effective fire than the issue AR15 5.56 round.
  If you want an inexpensive gun that’s a load of fun to shoot I can certainly recommend the AK-47!


My AK with a Troy single point sling

http://www.ak-47.us/ A great website with tons of AK info.

The AK-47 and US Soldiers

Middle East – AP
>U.S. Troops Use Confiscated Iraqi AK-47s
>Sun Aug 24, 2:15 PM ET
>
>By ANDREW ENGLAND, Associated Press Writer
>
>BAQOUBA, Iraq – An American soldier stands at the side of an Iraqi highway,
>puts his AK-47 on fully automatic and pulls the trigger.
>
>Within seconds the assault rifle has blasted out 30 rounds. Puffs of dust
>dance in the air as the bullets smack into the scrubland dirt. Test fire
>complete.
>
>U.S. troops in Iraq (news – web sites) may not have found weapons of mass
>destruction, but they’re certainly getting their hands on the country’s
>stock of Kalashnikovs – and, they say, they need them.
>
>”We just do not have enough rifles to equip all of our soldiers. So in
>certain circumstances we allow soldiers to have an AK-47. They have to
>demonstrate some proficiency with the weapon … demonstrate an ability to
>use it,” said Lt. Col. Mark Young, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 67th
>Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.
>
>In Humvees, on tanks – but never openly on base – U.S. soldiers are
>carrying the Cold War-era weapon, first developed in the Soviet Union but
>now mass produced around the world.
>
>The AK is favored by many of the world’s fighters, from child soldiers in
>Africa to rebel movements around the world, because it is light, durable
>and known to jam less frequently.
>
>Now U.S. troops who have picked up AKs on raids or confiscated them at
>checkpoints are putting the rifles to use – and they like what they see.
>
>Some complain that standard U.S. military M16 and M4 rifles jam too easily
>in Iraq’s dusty environment. Many say the AK has better “knockdown” power
>and can kill with fewer shots.
>
>”The kind of war we are in now … you want to be able to stop the enemy
>quick,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tracy S. McCarson of Newport News, Va., an army
>scout, who carries an AK in his Humvee.
>
>Some troops say the AK is easier to maintain and a better close-quarters
>weapon. Also, it has “some psychological affect on the enemy when you fire
>back on them with their own weapons,” McCarson said.
>
>Most U.S. soldiers agree the M16 and the M4 – a newer, shorter version of
>the M16 that has been used by American troops since the 1960s – is better
>for long distance, precision shooting.
>
>Two weeks ago, Sgt. Sam Bailey of Cedar Falls, Iowa, was in a Humvee when a
>patrol came under rocket-propelled grenade and heavy machine gun fire. It
>was dark, the road narrow. On one side, there was a mud wall and palms
>trees, on the other a canal surrounded by tall grass.
>
>Bailey, who couldn’t see who was firing, had an AK-47 on his lap and his M4
>up front. The choice was simple.
>
>”I put the AK on auto and started spraying,” Bailey said.
>
>Some soldiers also say it’s easier to get ammo for the AK – they can pick
>it up on any raid or from any confiscated weapon.
>
>”It’s plentiful,” said Sgt. Eric Harmon, a tanker who has a full 75-round
>drum, five 30-round magazines, plus 200-300 rounds in boxes for his AK. He
>has about 120 rounds for his M16.
>
>Young doesn’t carry an AK but has fired one. He’s considered banning his
troops from carrying AKs, but hasn’t yet because “if I take the AK away
from some of the soldiers, then they will not have a rifle to carry with
them.”

Staff Sgt. Michael Perez, a tanker, said he would take anything over his
standard issue 9mm pistol when he’s out of his tank.

And the AK’s durability has impressed him.

“They say you can probably drop this in the water and leave it overnight,
pull it out in the morning, put in a magazine and it will work,” Perez
said.

Update 1/31/08

I’ve wanted to attach a single point sling to this AK like the type I use on my AR15’s. The trouble was in searching the internet I found very little information or hardware to attach this type of sling to the buttstock of an AK. I came up with a simple and inexpensive solution for those who would also like to put a single point sling on their AK.

AK Sling Attachment

I found some parts I had to attach a sling to my Savage 10FP. You start with an eyelet screw. Depending on the size of the screw you drill an undersize hole then place the eyelet screw in the location shown in the picture. After that you just attach the sling attachment and your done. I used a Troy Industries single point sling I have never used. It has the H&K type single snap hook. Just snap the hook in and pull the elastic part to cover the parts of the hook to prevent accidental release which is unlikely even without it.

Troy Sling

This setup is sturdy and holds the rifle in the vertical high ready position allowing you to bring it to your shoulder very fast. It also allows you to let the rifle hang on either side to use your handgun or just rest awhile. I hope you find this inexpensive solution helpful!

Update 4/3/2008

I’ve made some changes to my AK that I have found to be very useful. I changed the wood furniture out with polymer type rear stock and front handguard.

Polymer Stock Set

As it looks now


After Refinishing in AK Black


Troy Sling On Polymer Stock

You’ll notice the rubber butt pad I also added. I have since removed this item finding it somewhat cumbersome to use. It’s just to large and catches on your clothing which loosens it. This is one add on I would not advise adding unless it is the same size as the original butt stock and is attached with screws. Another item I put on was the replacement receiver cover that has the optic riser attached. You can use the iron sights with this model. With a red dot scope it’s rather fast getting on target. The only difficulty with this arrangement is every time you remove it to clean your rifle the sight must be adjusted. It will not hold zero. Since I’m an old guy and have used iron sights for many many years I also removed this because I simply don’t want to have to re-zero the rifle after each cleaning. I have to face facts that with the natural pointing attributes of the AK you don’t really need an optic unless you just really enjoy them. They do look kinda cool:-)

mount

The above mount works much better. It’s very solid and in spite of how far forward it is the red dot view is very good making a fast sight picture a snap. This mount is from Ultimak at http://www.ultimak.com/m1-b.htm. I prefer the Aimpoint type red dot on an AK. Rather than spending the money on a real Aimpoint I have chosen to purchase an Aimpoint clone from http://www.1337tactical.com. The prices vary from $75 to $105. The difference is the $105 variety comes with a lever throw mount rather than the hex mount. For $30 I decided that the type that attached by hex screws would work just fine.


The above is the type which attaches with hex screws

This is the one with the throw lever. Both come with mounts rather than having to purchase them separately as you do with the higher priced Aimpoint.

This pretty much covers the additions I’ve made or am in the process of making. One last thing is the attachment of the single point sling on a polymer stock. The process I wrote above for wooden stocks works better on polymer than wood. It holds the sling very securely. I hope this saves you some time and money by revealing those parts which don’t work very well.

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Posted in AK-47, Kimber 1911, Military and Police Rifles, Romanian AK-47 | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

The FN-Fal/L1A1 "The Free Worlds Right Arm”

Posted by Gunner on October 18, 2007

   The history of the FN-Fal is widely known so I’ll skip directly to the operation, shooting as well as the types of this “Right Arm of the Free World”.
   The United States military came very close to adopting this fine weapon as our standard battle rifle. The M14 won out in the end but over 60 nations adopted this rifle in different variants with some still in use today. There are two general types. The metric or FN-Fal metric version and the British, Australian and New Zealand inch model. On one battlefield in 1982 both versions were used and fought each other. The Falklands war between Argentina and Great Britain. British versions were semi auto whereas Argentina used select fire metric versions made by FN. Some British troops shouldered the semi auto and picked up a full auto captured Argentine model.
   In the USA many shooters prize this weapon myself included. Metric versions outnumber inch versions by a wide margin. Not because the metrics are better but the inch version is just harder to come by. Mine is the inch version imported by Century International in 1994. My L1A1 is very tight and well fitted. Several metric versions made from parts by Imbel are rather loose in some areas. You’ll not find either with all matching part numbers. They are out there but command a very high price approaching $3000! Most of the Imbel part guns are in the price range of $500 to $800. Another choice you have is an Fn-Fal made by DSA Arms and start at $1500 and run to a little over $2000 for the collector models. If you can afford it this is the way to go. Many are made with Austrian parts and come in many variations from standard to Para models. This website is worth a look!
   If you aren’t aware of it any imported rifle is required to have six american made parts in order to comply with current import laws. If you add or change any parts make sure you don’t fall below the correct number of american made parts. If you should your gun will be illegal! If in doubt consult your gunsmith, DSA Arms or Century International.

   As you can see from the above picture this is not a small rifle. The balance more than makes up for the extra weight however. Without any additional optics the average weight is 12 pounds. Takedown is very simple and is very close to the method used to breakdown an AR15. Once a pin is pulled out at the rear of the reciever the front of the rifle hinges down just like the AR15. After that you simply remove the bolt by sliding it to the rear. That’s all you need to do for ordinary care. You clean the bolt as usual. There is a push pin on the bolt you press to the side and remove the firing pin. It is under pressure so it’s best to keep your hand at the rear of the bolt to prevent the firing pin from flying across the room. There is also a tool to remove the gas regulator plug so it may be cleaned as well. This is located just below the front sight. This tool comes with most guns but if you should need one they can be purchased for a small amount at Cheaper Than Dirt along with other useful cleaning items. After removing the gas plug remove the rod behind it and clean with solvent to prevent a buildup of carbon which over time will increase gas pressure in the system. The plug itself serves as the gas regulator for the system. They are marked numerically with 7 being an average setting for standard ball ammo. Most often once the gas system is regulated there is no need to change it for bullets in the 143grn range of weight. If you use something like Federal 308 match ammo you may have to adjust the setting for proper function since this bullet is 25 grains heavier. Another item that comes in handy is a book available from Cheaper Than Dirt and other sources a Google search will locate for you. This is an Australian military care manual for this rifle. Metric or inch doesn’t really matter since the parts are the same only the dimensions are changed. After cleaning the bore from the rear like you would an AR15 you reassemble in reverse order. Since this rifle doesn’t have lugs at the chamber it’s much easier to clean this area than with an AR15. The bolt slides right in and all that’s left is to close the reciever which latches into place. Very simple and straightforward all around.
   The sights on both metric and inch are your standard military peep sight rear and post front. Windage is at the rear sight with elevation at the front. A small screwdriver is needed for the rear sight and the front sight adjustments. The metric sight will not fit on an inch model although I wish it was otherwise. The inch version has a rather large peep rear sight which is not as precise as the metric but is faster to get on target. As far as optics DSA makes a scope mount which simply replaces the factory dust cover at the top of the reciever. It has a standard Picatinny rail which you can mount any aftermarket sight or optic on. It takes just a minute to replace the dust cover with the sight mount then mount your scope and zero. With most of these you can still use your iron sights. These rifles are capable of very good accuracy and a scope or holographic sight really brings out the best of this inherent accuracy. Of course any red dot sight will work but I prefer the EoTech brand 512 Holographic. This sight is fast on target and will work well at distances out to 300 to 400 meters when sighted in.
   There are many available magazines out there for the FN-Fal and L1A1. The metric mags from an FN-Fal will work in an inch model L1A1 but an inch magazine will not work in a metric rifle. Please refer to this link for the difference between metric and inch versions Century Int. Surplus mags are pretty cheap and can be had for as little as $5. New steel mags can run as high as $35 to $40 each. I’ve used both and honestly the cheaper mags work just fine. These mags hold 20 rounds. Thirty round mags are available from DSA but run as high as $70. These are not my cup of tea since they are so long it makes it impossible to go prone without the mag resting on the ground which leaves you off balance.

   My L1A1 and a good day to shoot

   Lets cover ammunition. These days 308 ammo is, like all other ammo, going up in price. Bargains are still out there but you have to look pretty hard to find that good buy. I mentioned Cheaper than Dirt for tools and cleaning supplies. At times they also have ammo specials in 308 for the Fn-Fal/L1A1. One brand of ammo is a BIG no no and that’s ammo from India! It is pure junk and I have heard of over pressure loads that have severly damaged an FN-Fal. The case walls are very thin on this Indian ammo also. Whatever you do stay away from this stuff or any ammo made in the middle east with the exception of Israeli ammo. Wolf is about the least expensive you will find. I know many people have said stay away from the stuff but I have found it to work well even if it is dirty. If you purchase a rifle from DSA don’t use Wolf ammo because it will void your warranty. Personally I’ve never had any problems with it at all and it has not damaged my gun in any way. A short word about slings. With a rifle of this size it’s much easier to carry with a good sling. I use and advise shooters to check Specter Gear’s website for a very nice sling that runs about $35. That’s the sling on mine in the first picture at the top of the page. The SOP is about the best around. SpecterGear

   Shooting an FN-Fal is a real joy. Recoil is very light with followup shots easily made. You can expect to shoot 3 inch groups at 100 yards with the standard sights with smaller groups using a holographic sight or scope. With a Leatherwood ART scope I have shot 1 1/2 inch groups at 150 yards! The flash suppressor that comes with most of these rifles works very well and is a great improvment over the original suppressor on the military version. This is also one of those compliance parts that can’t be changed anyway. The most comfortable way to hold an Fn-Fal is to hold your left hand just above the front of the magazine. This provides the best balance. I would advise using a nomex flight glove or something similar for that rare instance when you get some blow by gases around the front of the magazine. It doesn’t happen often but you can get burned without that glove on! There is no defect involved that’s just the way they work. It is more likely using a metric magazine in an inch model. The fit is not as tight but it is safe except for this one thing. These rifles are also very reliable with about any ammo you care to shoot. I’ve shot well over 1500 rounds in the last two years with only one failure to feed. I attributed this to a defective surplus round that was dented at the shoulder of the round. It happens sometimes even with premium ammo. Just a side note, the bolt does not hold open after the last round is fired. The controls are also very close to the AR15. The charging handle is on the left side as is the safety. The safety operates identically to the AR15 and is very easy to manipulate.
   To sum things up these are very fine rifles and once you shoot one you’ll realize why so many countries adopted it for military service. Sturdy, reliable, easily maintained and just plain fun. The supply is getting low right now so if you find one grab it because who knows when any more will be imported. Of course DSA will always have them unless a certain female is elected president then Heaven help us all !!!!!!!

Note 10/28/07

I’ve had a couple of fellow shooters email and ask if they can shoot 308 ammo in an FN-Fal/L1A1. Yes, you can by all means. The 308 is just the commercial name for 7.62×51 the military uses. The ammo in 7.62×51 is usually cheaper than 308 designated ammo and usually is made for military use. A standard is 143 grain bullets in both. Of course match ammo from Federal is a heavier bullet. For more information click this link to Sniper Central.
More Ammo info on Sniper Central

  

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UPDATE 04/25/2010

Since writing this review in October 2007 prices have increased significantly. The rifles themselves have increased but not a great deal if you shop around. What has increased are magazine prices which now seem to average in the $20 range for quality mags. They are also more difficult to find than when the review was first written.

Posted in FN-Fal/L1A1, Military and Police Rifles | Tagged: , , , | 28 Comments »

The Combat Shotgun

Posted by Gunner on October 6, 2007

The 12 guage shotgun is probably the most useful and effective weapon you can have. I know the current trend of everything AR15 is all the rage for home defense, police work etc. While the AR15 is a very capable weapon system and is a favorite of mine nothing can outperform a shotgun in effective defense at close to medium range. Whether you use 00 buck or slugs you have the most effective weapon there is for CQB. With slugs you have a very large rifle.
In the times we live in police officers need the AR15 for situations where they are faced by suspects with AK47’s or AR15’s. This is a change in weaponry that is long overdue. However, the AR15 should be an addition not a replacement for the shotgun. I once had a Lieutenant that would remind us in roll call to check out a shotgun before we went on duty. I’ll never forget what he said ” If you need a shotgun you’ll need it more than anything you have ever needed in your life”. This is a very true statement!
The Remington 870 was our issue shotgun and my personal favorite. Nothing has a greater psychological effect on a suspect or a large group of angry people than racking a round into a pump shotgun! I have defused many situations on duty by using this very tactic and it does work very well.

Lets talk about which type of shotgun to buy and the best configuration. Many people and police departments have switched to the semi-auto shotgun. I would rate the Benelli as number one with the Remington 11-87 a close second. Semi-auto shotguns are much more reliable than they once were but I still prefer a pump shotgun for reliability as well as the effect I mentioned earlier about racking a round into the chamber. One type of pump shotgun outperforms all others in my opinion and that’s the Remington 870 with the Mossberg 500 series coming in second. The military uses both brands with the Marines using the Mossberg and now the Benelli M4.

Benelli M4 Military and Police Shotgun

Outside of special forces the military uses only pump shotguns (the Marines are purchasing the M4 which will take some time to field). I have used the Remington 870 with an 18 or 20 inch barrel most of my police career. There was a time when I was the entry officer for our SRU team. The weapon I used was the 870 with a 14 inch barrel. Of course these are restricted and for the civilian require a federal tax stamp which will cost you $200 and filling out a bunch of paperwork:-). They are also very specialized guns and have a limited use since the shot pattern on a 14 inch barrel spreads out very fast. Mine also had a factory Remington fold over stock which I seldom used. I believe the optimal configuration is a Remington 870 with an 18 or 20 inch barrel, a side saddle attachment that will fit on the receiver to carry extra rounds readily available and a synthetic stock. A magazine extension that allows you to carry a total of 8 rounds on a 20 inch barrel, 7 rounds on an 18 inch barrel is also handy. That’s the basic configuration and all you really need. Of course there are many items on the market now allowing you to add a flashlight mount, speedfeed stock, lasers, pistol grips to name a few. The only addition I don’t care for is the front pistol grip. I just don’t see the need for one and it’s my belief they can actually contribute to short stroking the gun causing a malfunction.

This 870 is a new one for me and came with fiber optic rifle sights. I like fiber optic sights. I’ll make no bones about it when you reach 50 years old you need some help in the sight department and fiber optics fill the bill. I’m also putting a fiber optic front sight on my Rock Island Armory Tactical 1911( Novak Slide Cut). Make no mistake these sights are fast to pickup and with contrasting colors make the sight picture very clear. I intend to add a magazine extension from Choate Machine and Tool. All the other 870’s I’ve owned over the years came with a bead sight so this will be a new experience. Out to 15 yards I never used sights. We’ll see if this changes with the rifle sights. I did find a new gadget on the net today. It’s a new flash suppressor that is very close to one used on an AR15. Will this cut down on recoil? Maybe, but I’ve never been recoil sensitive so I doubt I’ll try it even though they are less than $20. They can be found at ATI along with many other accessories. Lets cover chokes. Most combat shotguns in the past have been open bore. Currently most shotguns are made with a full choke or improved cylinder choke to maintain a tight pattern at longer ranges. The only down side of this with a shotgun in police use is you can’t use sabot rounds with a choke and you must use the choke with any round. This is not an option because it will mess up the threads in the barrel. I also prefer the magnum option so you can use regular 2 3/4 inch shells or 3 inch magnums. My usual load is the first round being 00 buck followed by lead slugs making it a big ol rifle. At one time we did some experimenting at the range with an 870. Another instructor and I were interested in just how far we could effectively use a shotgun with slugs. We started at 50 yards prone/rested. We had some interesting results. We found that at 50 yards we needed to aim 2 to 3 inches high to hit dead center. We fired approximately 20 rounds and took a rest since our shoulders were suffering since we did all the shooting prone. Then we backed off to 100 yards also going prone/rested. This is where it got interesting. We were not even on target! It took a few rounds to figure it out. What we needed to do was to aim approx. 10 inches low since the round actually climbed rather than dropped. Don’t ask I have no idea why and I didn’t get into making phone calls to figure it out:-). For practice you don’t want to spend your hard earned money to shoot 00 buck or slugs. Just buy some cheap birdshot to practice close in shooting or throwing objects in the air to practice your speed on target. I do prefer Federal brand ammunition. Over the years it’s proven to be consistent and durable. When I say durable I’m talking about rounds that bulge over time which can be a big problem. Federal ammo doesn’t have this problem.
From the pictures you can see I lean into the gun to not only make recoil more manageable but makes it easier for fast follow up shots. I also use the high ready position when searching buildings or woods. This gives you the ability to maintain a good field of view as you search and provides a method that is fast getting the gun to your shoulder.

To sum things up if you haven’t tried a shotgun for anything but hunting your missing out on a great weapon for police, home protection or just a general woods gun. I’ll be posting an update when I get the mag extension on it and give the rifle sights a workout. As always if you have any questions please feel free to comment or email me and I’ll do all I can to answer your questions.

Posted in Military and Police Rifles, Shotguns | 8 Comments »

Rock River AR15

Posted by Gunner on March 31, 2007

M4 Rock River

My newest addition is this Rock River Arms AR15. It has a Yankee Hill free float rail system, a national match trigger and a medium gas system which makes it more reliable and is easier on the gun over time. The barrel is 16 inches heavy profile. The trigger pull is just under 4 pounds and is a two stage type. The barrel is a chrome lined Wilson Combat. The chamber is also chrome lined for greater durability and easier cleaning.
My scope is a Leatherwood ART 3×9 (automatic ranging and tracking). This scope is intended for use with the 5.56 or .223 round on the AR platform. I also have an EoTech 512 Holographic sight for use up to 100 yards. Beyond that and the Leatherwood goes on. I’m going to add a front and rear iron sight set as well as a single point sling. Later I’ll probably change the stock for a Vitor type and put a Magpul grip on it.
I have only been out once and shot about 50 rounds. I found that it is shooting approx. a 2 to 2 1/2 inch group at 200 yards. The barrel is factory lapped so it needs no break in time.

Posted in AR15, Military and Police Rifles, Rock River AR 15 | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Savage 10FP

Posted by Gunner on December 8, 2006


This is the best buy in a quality rifle you will find. The gun itself is $549 with the after market Choate stock (Ultimate Sniper) $135 ( this stock is available at Brownells for this price after you sign up for free).This one is in .308 caliber with a 24 inch barrel. A 20 inch barrel is an option. Choate puts a lot of thought into their designs. The stock itself weighs in at 6 pounds for a total of 14 pounds.The grip is rough but sandpaper is included to soften the grip to make it comfortable for the individuals taste. The butt pad is adjustable as is the cheekpiece. The forward rail accomodates any accessory you can think of (Anschutz style). The barrel is the free float type which simply means the barrel makes no contact with the stock also aiding accuracy. The barrel is also button rifled and has a recessed crown to protect the end of the barrel. You just can’t beat this setup at any price. It shot sub MOA groups right out of the box. My best group is three shots into 1 1/2 inches at 300 yards. This is a real keeper.

UPDATE: 9/26/07

The Accu-Trigger

I have noticed in some of the searches on the blog an interest in takedown and trigger information. First taking a Savage 10FP down is very simple and does not change your scope settings. There are two screws on the bottom of the stock that are unscrewed. That’s all there is to it. You lift the action and barrel out and seperate it from the stock.
You can now look at the trigger group and make any adjustments to trigger pull you wish to make. The trigger is adjustable from 1 1/2 pounds to 6 pounds. If you check the photo above you notice the adjustment screw at the rear of the action. Just below it is pictured the small tool supplied with each rifle to adjust the trigger pull. From this point just play around with adjusting the screw up or down to get a feel for the trigger pull you need for the type of shooting you will be doing. It is perfectly safe to use at 1 1/2 pounds as long as you follow all the normal safety rules. You can place an empty cartridge in the chamber work the bolt to cock the action then just pull the trigger. When you’re satisfied just reassemble the rifle. It’s simple to do and you don’t have to lock the adjustment in it will stay where you adjusted it. Once you have the rifle back together and head for the range check your zero. I doubt you’ll need to make any changes. As far as taking the rifle down anymore there’s really no need to except to maybe remove the bolt. Just refer to your manual for this. It’s very simple as well. People this is again one fine rifle with the best trigger ever made in my humble opinion. It’s certainly the best out of the factory trigger without any debate. I hope this helps you some.

This is a .223 version firing match ammo at 100 yards. This is less than a one inch group after five rounds fired.

Posted in Military and Police Rifles, Savage 10FP Trigger | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

DPMS Lo-Pro

Posted by Gunner on December 8, 2006


This DPMS LO-Pro is a sniper version of the M4 carbine. It has a 16″ Douglas match barrel.I topped it off with a Leatherwood ARTII scope. ART stands for automatic ranging and tracking. Believe me it does.
It would take to long to explain it all but basically you set the cams at the rear of the scope for the type of ammo used. Lock the cams in place then use the markings in the scope view and arrange the magnification for the proper distance.I also added a Magpul MIAD grip along with a Badger ordinace charging handle to make it easier to charge the chamber without the scope being in the way.
This rifle will shoot 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards. Very enjoyable to shoot.

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DPMS M4

Posted by Gunner on December 8, 2006


DPMS makes a great rifle. I built this one from a kit. All DPMS parts of course. I added a sturdy stock as well as a Tango Down battle grip, EoTech holographic site, SpecterGear single point sling, Surefire light and Yankee Hill light mount. I put the carbine length aluminum rail forend on also. I put a chrome bolt group in as well as a chrome lined barrel. I put Magpuls on all my magazines and last a vertical foregrip. It’s very fast on target with the EoTech sight.

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