Optic of the week: Aimpoint T-1

“It is probably the perfect optic for the AR, isn’t it.” -Shawn.

I stumbled across an old email from 2013 where I told a friend that I thought the T-1 was the king of reflex optics.  Despite there being the newer T-2 and similar optics like the Trijicon MRO, I still stick to my statement.

What makes the Aimpoint Micro T-1 great is very small size, light weight (3 oz with out mount) and long battery life of up to 5 years.  That makes a combination that is hard to beat.

There isn’t much not to like about the T-1.  Now if you wanted to start a list of complaints the first would be cost.  After that is that the stock mount is low profile so you would need to either add a riser or use an aftermarket mount if you are attaching it to an AR15.  I prefer the Larue QD mounts for the T-1 but that does add to the price of the optic.

When people talk about the massive battery life of modern optics like the Aimpoints, they are referencing the possible battery life at about three quarters maximum brightness (a normal operating brightness).  When the T-1 is set to maximum brightness, this battery life is shortened to about 10 months.  But to put it in perspective, the Trijicon MRO also has a battery life of 5 years on setting 5 of 8, but only 25 days on the brightest setting.  Many older optics and cheap optics will only run for a few days.

The T-1 is available in 2 and 4 MOA models.

I have a hard time getting the reticle to show up well when I snap photos of them.

Here is a picture of a 2 MOA T-1 with the brightness on max so the dot would show up in the picture.  This one has an IO/Tango Down cover installed, and a KAC battery cover.

This is a 4 MOA T-1 on a Larue LT660 mount.  The dots show up clearly and bright in person, I don’t know how to get them to show up in pictures well.

Adjustments are 1/2 MOA.  Adjustments require a tool, which is provided as the cap for each adjustment.  Be careful as it would be easy to lose the adjustment caps.

Flipping the cap upside down allows you to use it as the adjustment tool.  It shows you which direction you need to turn for the adjustment.

Now I would say that the only real downside to the T-1 is cost.  But if you run it co-witnessed with fixed iron sights, the small window makes it a little harder to use.  You might want to consider a larger optic if you are running it with fixed iron sights.

It is normally recommended to go with the 2 MOA models.  You can turn up the brightness if you want a larger visible dot, and it is suppose to look better if you are using a magnifier.  I have a mix of 2 MOA and older 4 MOA models, and much to my surprise when I was using them size by with with a magnifier the 4 MOA dot was crisper under magnification.

For a long time I said I never saw an Aimpoint fail, but more recently I have.  Both cases were user error.  The first was an used T-1 I purchased where the previous owner cross threaded on an aftermarket KAC battery cap.  When they attempted to remove it they put a wrench on the stuck cap and turned the brightness adjuster past its stops.  I sent the optic back to Aimpoint and while it took a while, they repaired it and sent it back at no cost.  The second case was my fault, and a really simply error.  I have a KAC battery cover, and this cover has a space so you can put a second spare battery in it.  I didn’t have the second battery under this cap, so then under recoil the battery would pop out of place and my sight shut down.  Installing a second battery (as per the aftermarket cap requires) solved this issue.

I love how small and light the T-1 is.  When used you can sort of see around it when you keep both eyes open and it takes up much less space in the view than most other reflex sights.  I’ve bought all of mine used, as they are hard to screw up and and you can save a good bit of money getting it used.  The Micro T-1 is easy to use and I highly recommend it.

Optic of the week: Trijicon TA01NSN ACOG

The TA01NSN ACOG is a classic at this point.  A compact fixed 4x scope with a bullet drop chart calibrated for M855 out of a carbine barrel.  People assume it is calibrated for a 14.5 inch M4 barrel, but every time Trijicon has given numbers it sounds like the Bullet Drop Chart (BDC) was based around a 16 inch barrel.

The main thing that sets the TA01NSN ACOG apart from the majority of the other models of ACOGs are the iron sights mounted on it.

The iron sights on this ACOG are more for emergency use, for example should you manage to break the ACOG, or for use in heavy rain at close distances, etc.

The front sight is adjustable for windage, the rear sight is not adjustable.  This front sight also has a vial of Tritium in it allowing it to be seen at night.  In the past, there have been people who expressed a concern about this revealing their location.  If this is a concern to you, the sight can be removed, or simply taped over.

I’ve found some of the TA01NSN ACOG iron sights to shoot massively off left or right, so you will want to check it out before you rely on them.

Older ACOGs have 1/3 MOA adjustment that requires a tool like a coin to adjust.  Newer ACOGs have a 1/2 MOA capped turret that is tool less.

The adjustment caps on the TA01NSN are not tethered.  On some other models they are.  When I was zeroing this old ACOG, the O-ring used to seal the elevation knob broke apart.  I notice this O-ring is amber, while ever other O-ring on the ACOGs I own (and on the windage) are orange leading me to believe that this was a replacement done by the previous owner.  You can see the failed amber colored O-ring in the picture above.

I have seen the adjustment cap threads cross threaded or stripped from abuse.  While ACOG scopes are tough, nothing is impervious to user error. & abuse.

ACOG adjustments can be very annoying.  First, don’t try to turn the adjustments to the extremes, that can damage the scope.  Second is that the scope adjustments can hang.  The scope is compact due to a prism and the adjustments rely on the prism moving against a spring.  This means that sometimes when you dial in an adjustment the scope prism won’t actually mode until you smack the scope or fire a couple of shots.  Normally this would be considered very unacceptable in a scope, but in this case it is considered a quirk of the compact tough ACOG.

The center of the TA01NSN crosshair is meant to be zeroed for 100 meters.  Then each hash mark represent a 19 inch width (a mans shoulder width) at the distances of 200 to 500 meters.  The very top of the bottom thicker bar is the 600m mark.

The 4x magnification aids in locating and identifying targets.  When used on a rifle with a fixed front sight base the shadow of the base will appear in the field of view.  Personally I don’t think it seems as bad as it shows in the picture, but I know it really irritates some people.

I took this opportunity to try the Elcan Specter DR in 4x mode and the TA01NSN side by side.  For speed of acquiring a target, or moving from target to target I felt they were the same.  I would say the increased eye relief of the Elcan may make it a far better choice for a .308 or other higher recoiling rifle.  But for shooting 4x on a 5.56 I didn’t feel one offered any significant advantage over the other.

A last point, the ACOG scopes have tritium illumination.  There are some newer models that use batteries.  The idea behind the tritium is to provide battery free illumination of the reticle in low light situations.  I’ve found that often when it is dark enough to use the illumination, I can’t see the target.  Since the half life of Tritium is about 12 years, some of the older ACOGs got gotten very dim.  Trijicon will relamp a scope for a price, but it will likely be more cost effective to sell an old ACOG and just buy a new one.

I really love the old TA01NSN, but now variable 1-X scopes are taking over that nitch.  While the newer 1-X power scopes tend to be larger, heavier, and far less durable than the venerable ACOG, the capability they offer are leading more people to choose that over the ACOG.  If you are primarily expecting to identify and engage man sized targets at 100-600 meters the ACOG is hard to beat.  If you need the fastest speed for up close, or precision sub-MOA shooting, look elsewhere.

Let’s See Whitworths Shoot!

In our ongoing tribute to our now deceased friend “Hognose” , owner of weaponsman.com , we repost   his best articles.  Kevin O’Brien   US Army Special Forces  Veteran passed away in April of last year.

 

 

Let’s See Whitworths Shoot!

Last month we had a couple posts on the Sharpshooters of the Civil War, and on the Confederates’ unique Whitworth rifle.

Fred Ray, who’s written an excellent book on the Rebel Sharpshooters, sold us a copy of his book (highly recommended, and it’ll be in the next review roundup), and also linked us to a few videos of modern Whitworth shooters. Fred has forgotten more about this stuff than we’ve ever learned, so you can read what he writes with confidence.

Let’s take them in the inverse order from the way Fred posted them: hardest first. Here is a guy trying to hit a target at 1,300 yards with a Whitworth.

That kind of hit was credibly reported by both Rebel and Yankee observers of the Confederate marksmen. (The English Whitworth rifle was only used by the Confederates).

One of the real problems is seeing the target. While many of the wartime Whitworths were equipped with high-tech (for 1860!) Davidson telescopic sights… …this marksman is shooting over irons. One of the real problems at that range is seeing the target. Since more of you are familiar with more modern rifles, consider that the front sight post of an M16A1 rifle subtends just enough arc to match an E-type silhouette at 175 meters.

Another fact that should be evident is the sheer power of the Whitworth. Look at that thing kick! The recoil is visibly greater than that of an ordinary rifle-musket.

Reproduction Whitworths

The class of the repro field is the long-discontinued Parker-Hale, but they are few and far between. After Parker-Hale went the way of all flesh, there was a EurArms repro which used the Parker-Hale barrels with its own lock and stock. Here, Balázs Némeththe proprietor of CapAndBall.eu has gotten his hands on one of them, and not only fires it, but provides a good run down on its unique and remarkable technology.  “The Whitworth,” he notes, “pushed the limits of aimed fire out to 1½ miles.”

Pedersoli is making a new version of the Whitworth. It is available in Europe, but not exported to North America (yet, we hope). Here is his video rundown on the Pedersoli Whitworth. The Pedersoli has hexagonal rifling, but it’s cold hammer-forged. The rifle also has much simpler sights. He did not have a hex bullet mold, so used a .451″ cylindrical round, and still got quite good accuracy at 50 and 100 meters.

The finish on the Pedersoli rifle is, like many of their premium muzzle-loaders, very good.

His enthusiasm for these rifles, so far ahead of their peers that they seemed ahead of their time, is infectious.

Finally, here’s a special treat. It’s our friend from Cap and Ball again, but here he’s firing an original Civil War vintage American target rifle, of the sort that many sharpshooters mustered in with.

If you go to the Fred Ray post that we linked way, way up there, you’ll also see another one about the Civil War buck-and-ball cartridge — the only loading we’re aware of that has its own statue at Gettysburg. But that’s another story!

 

Optic of the week: AK sights

Ok, so this week is sort of a cheat for me as these are iron sights and not an optic.

I’ve found that people unfamiliar with the AK tend to be surprised at how narrow the rear notch is.  AK sights can be quite fast to use if you are used to them, but I have seen novices struggle to line them  up.  It is not uncommon to see AK owners here in the states widen the rear notch.

The AK rear sight is adjustable for distance.

You zero by adjusting the front sight.  It is adjustable for elevation and windage.

You will need a tool to adjust AK sights.  Adjusting elevation requires rotating the front sight post.  1 full turn of the front sight post is about 8 MOA.  You could turn the front sight post with needle nose pliers, but it would be better to use a tool made for it.

Windage is adjusted by pushing the rear sight drum.  This is a friction fit in the front sight base and can be a real pain to adjust.  You might be able to get it to move with a hammer and punch, but it is preferable to use a sight pusher.  It is also not uncommon to hear about cheap sight pushing breaking on AK or SKS sights.

I use the Magna-Matic sight tool, it is the best one that I know of.  While not obvious, the top of the tool is cut to go over the front sight post for adjusting elevation.  The O design instead of a C shaped design helps prevent it from slipping off the sight or breaking while it is in use.

How much windage  adjustment you get per turn of sight pusher will depend on what thread pitch the sight pusher uses.  Rule of thumb is that it will be approximately 1 MOA per 1/10 a turn of the sight pusher.

It is very common for AK sights to be canted, and for them to require excessive windage adjustments to zero, such as this Arsenal AK pictured above.

Some AKs use the “RPK” rear sight.  This has a windage adjustment built into it.  The knob on the right side of the rear sight is spring loaded and can be pulled away from the sight and rotated to adjust windage.  I have no clue how much adjustment per click, but they are very easy to use.

There is also a rare rear sight for suppressed AKs that has a cam for switching between different ammunition.

AK have simple and effective sights, but sometimes they can be a real pain in the ass to get zeroed.

REMEMBERING KEVIN O’BRIEN

We are coming up  on the 1 year  point of the passing of our friend Kevin, also known as “Hognose” the owner and writer of weaponsman.com.

If you have not been to his website which is now preserved as is by his brother as a monument to Kevin, you are missing out on what was honestly the best gun culture blog on the internet.  I will let Kevin’s own words on his website speak for themselves below.

The Best of WeaponsMan Gun Tech

http://weaponsman.com/?page_id=11760

 

Since his passing he has been sorely missed by his family and many friends and readers.    You will have noticed that we often repost a lot of Kevin’s technical articles in an attempt to save them in case something happens to the weaponsman website and to help others discover his writing,

After Kevin died, his brother  had to sell Kevin’s collection and take care of his estate.  When he announced this sad fact of life, he made a post about it on his brother’s website with a list of the many fine firearms Kevin owned.   I was very keen to buy one of Kevin’s guns as something to remember him by and to keep in his honor.

I had just at the time spent a large amount of a few pistols so I was not able to buy  some of the highly desirable pieces like the Johnson rifle.  I was able to buy an old vintage .22 rimfire bolt action rifle.

It is a Springfield single shot from a time before series numbers.

It is in pretty rough shape with several parts missing.  I have been looking online  for the parts needed to restore it to shooting condition.

Much of the parts are missing and it has a pretty tricked out tack to act as a means to keep the bolt knob down.

The rifle was clearly sold as a cheap offering likely for boys. It was made with no buttplate. I know because it has none and has no holes for where the screw to hold one would be.

 

I don’t know the back ground story of how Kevin got the gun or how long he had it. I liked to think he owned it as a boy and imagine him running around the New England woods shooting chipmunks and cans imagining his future  self shooting commie  as the Army Green Beret he became when he grew up.

I hope the gun will get restored by me soon but if not thats ok. I didn’t buy it for that.   I bought it to honor a man I much admired.  And it is one of the most valuable guns in my safe.

If any of you purchased one of Kevin’s  guns from his estate, please let me know and share with the rest of us.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

A CALL TO ARMS

Today I am sharing  a rallying cry from  “Miama_JBT”     a member of ar15.com,  mod there and a FL police officer who  has worked hard and sacrificed much to  protect the  rights of  all gun owners.    As we watch state after state   make attempts to pass unconstitutional gun bans and restrictions  and the media make antigun darlings of  teens not even legally able to vote things are inching closer to what the left has wanted for decades.  It is time to do more than bitch online to each other , make jokes  or wait for the NRA  or even more  laughable, the GOP, to stand up for your civil right.  No more excuses unless you simply are willing to  make you into a monster then  make you into a felon with their “laws.”  

 

The 2nd Amendment is a very simple premise. It is 27 words.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, the current events across the country on the local, state, and federal level say that such a simple statement is very hard to understand by a number of elected officials and unelected bureaucrats. But what does that have to do with gun owners losing?

Real simple. THEY DON’T FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS. Gun Owners as a whole do not fight for the 2nd Amendment. Instead they want someone else to do it for them. Across the web and society all I see are gun owners making statements of anger at government, at the NRA, etc… yet I don’t see Gun Owners attending rallies at their Capitols. I don’t see them beating down the doors of their elected officials. I don’t see them attending Republican Party meetings and Raising Cain about the sudden turncoat actions by the GOP. I don’t see any of that.

Instead, what I see are people that want someone else to do the heavy lifting for them. They want someone else to do the fighting. I’ve spent a good portion of this decade burning my vacation time to fight for the 2nd Amendment in Florida. What do I see at the Capitol? Marion Hammer of the NRA, Eric Friday of Florida Carry, and maybe if I’m lucky, someone from one of the Libertarian groups in Florida. That’s it.

I don’t see anyone meeting with their elected Representatives or Senators. I don’t see them scheduling face to face meetings with the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, the Majority Whip, or the Governor. I don’t see Gun Owners speaking at Committee Meetings when Pro and Anti gun bills are in discussion.

What do I see? I see 7,000 fellow gun owners going to the Tampa Gun Show on Saturday alone to buy more stuff to horde instead of going to the Capitol or their elected officials offices. I see people complain that the NRA isn’t doing anything. I see gun owners claim that the GOP betrayed them. But when I ask these people what do they do, let alone if they know their elected officials. I get blank stares and gaping mouths in return.

Paying a yearly membership to the NRA doesn’t do much. It just gives them a member due. The NRA is only 5 million in the USA as a whole and only 300,000 in Florida. There are 1.8 million active CCW permits in Florida. That means there are six times more people that carry guns in Florida that are NRA members. But even then, the NRA is just one organization. They have their own goals and their own mission. But people believe that the NRA is a like their parents and will keep all the bad meanies away from their guns.

Far from the truth. The NRA backs Gun Violence Restraining Orders that violated the 4th Amendment. Marion Hammer, Chris Cox, Wayne LaPierre, and now another NRA lobbyist by the name of Rick Armitage have all stated at one point or another since October 2017 that they support the ban on bump stocks and similar devices.

Yet people either blindly support them or outright hate them. But I can tell you they don’t take any action to correct the issues within the NRA. Issues that can be solved by voting in strong Pro 2nd Amendment Gun Owners to the Board of Directors.

Folks like Tim Knight and Adam Kraut.

Gun Owners do the same with their elected officials. They don’t question their elected officials. They blindly pull the lever and vote for any candidate that has an (R) by their name on the belief that such a person if Pro Gun. And that if we’re lucky. A good portion of gun owners don’t even vote. You know it, I know it, and the politicians know it.

Just as a quick recap for history. The following Republicans Governors have passed gun control.

    • Ronald Reagan banned open carry and made a waiting period mandatory in California.
    • Mitt Romney signed the assault weapon ban into law in Massachusetts.
    • George Pataki signed the assault weapon ban into law in New York.
    • George Deukmejian signed the first of many assault weapon bans into law in California.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the ban on .50 BMG caliber firearms in California.
    • Rick Scott signed the ban on Bump Stocks, pushed Gun Violence Restraining Orders, and prohibits anyone under 21 from buying a firearm in Florida.

But gun owners don’t raise the issue until it is too late. Even with President Trump. They elected him into office with the belief that they don’t have to fight for their rights now. Someone else will do it for them!

The common excuse I hear from gun owners is “it’s too far away“, “I can’t afford it“, “that’s why I’m a member of XYZ group“, “why vote, my voice is outnumbered“, “it’s too hard, we don’t have the numbers“, “I don’t want to be on a list/registry“, etc…

The majority of Gun Owners are much like Homer Simpson.

I write this to raise awareness and stir the masses. We only have ourselves to look at for these failures and assaults and on the 2nd Amendment. I personally burn my vacation and sick time from work to fight for the 2nd Amendment. I put myself out there and at the same time put my own marriage on the side to fight.


Me speaking in support of Stand Your Ground.


Me speaking in support of ending gun free zones.


Me speaking against the passage of SB 7026 in the Florida Senate.


Me speaking to fellow gun owners willing to rally at the Florida Capitol.

I put my career on the line when I speak up for gun owners at the Capitol. I put myself on lists when I enter public comments on websites like the Federal Registrar’s public comments for BATFE’s revisal of Bump Stocks or when I email or write to any elected official in Florida due to our public disclosure laws.

I’m not afraid. Our Founding Fathers put their wealth, property, lives, and most importantly their honor on the line to fight for our independence from oppressive government. Many lost their wealth and some lost their lives. But they saw the sacred duty that they swore to and fought for liberty.

I ask that you, my fellow gun owner, stop being the sunshine patriot and instead bear the true duty that is needed. Stand up and fight for your rights and those of your fellow man. Do not make boisterous statements of “from my cold dead hands” without actually fighting.

Stand up and take notice! Stop relying on others and do the task that is needed. Go to your elected officials. Meet with them, make your voice heard. I’m just one man, but if I knew I had an army of fellow gun owners independently doing the same as I.

WE WOULD BE AN ARMY

Reach down and find the pair that our Founding Fathers had. MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!

 

Optic of the Week: C-More Tactical Reflex Sight

C-More ARW-4.  Black aluminum body, 4 MOA dot.

Around 2003ish I learned about the C-More Tactical Reflex sight which paired a C-More Reflex Sight along with a cut down adjustable rear sight carry handle base for the AR15.  I’ve wanted one since then.  Back in 2017 I learned they were discontinued, so I found a used one and purchased it.  I fully expected to have it for two weeks before deciding that I didn’t like it, just to turn around and sell it.  Instead I really love it.

The C-More sights never seemed to gain much ground in the tactical market as they were seen as fragile and unreliable.  Yet they were very common place, and still used a good bit on the competition side of things.

First thing of note with the C-More sight is that there are a huge number of variations of them.  The body can be plastic or aluminum.  It can be a rail mount, slide mount (for pistols) or a bridge mount (for pistols).  The sight can be purchased in different colors, Black, Grey, Red, Blue, and Green.  Also you can change the dot size by replacing a module giving you the choices of 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, or 16 MOA dots.  Then there are also differences in the battery compartment and, the intensity switch between models.

I think the C-More is popular in the competition market for several reasons.  Being able to choose a dot size that works best for you(E.G. larger dot for use on a pistol) is a major plus.  Some of the C-More models are rather inexpensive, down to about $240 list price right now.  Also being able to get them in a color that matches your competition gun doesn’t hurt.

Now I don’t know for sure why the C-More Reflex Sight never really caught on in the tactical community.  From what I’ve read it sounds like early on the Army and some individuals tried the polymer C-More and decided it was not durable enough for combat.  I believe this was also done back in a time before reflex sights had become mainstream for combat weapons, and they were still rather untrusted.  In any event, the C-More seemed to have found its home primarily in the competition environment.

For me, my C-More sight found a home on a Colt 6933 upper.

This C-More model gives me a standard rear sight.  If I wanted to I could remove the optic from this base and attach it to a rail mount base.

The Iron Sights provide a lower 1/3 co-witness.

Looking over the sights give an awesome sight picture with a crisp red dot in a thin circle.

Brightness is adjusted by a knob behind the emitter.  On this model the brightness knob has distinct clicks and the first couple of settings are for night vision.  On many C-More models this is just a click-less rheostat.

The battery compartment is in front of the emitter.  On this model there are 2 non-captive thumbscrews holding the top plate on.  Other C-More models use Allen screws.  I don’t think these screws would come loose on their own, but if they did they would be easy to lose.

Windage and Elevation adjustments each have a locking screw.  Neither adjustment has clicks, so you just turn the screw the amount you hope is right, lock it down, test fire, then adjust again.  While click less adjustments are sometimes heralded as superior due to the ability to make smaller adjustments than a set click value, but in reality it tends to just make the zeroing procedure guesswork.

When I came up with the idea of doing the optic of the week posts, I planned to do side my side speed and handling comparisons of the various optics.  For example, in years past it used to be considered common knowledge that the Eotech was “faster” than the Aimpoint.  I believed this for a while and that is why I started with Eotech.  Finally the multiple personal Eotech failures drove me to Aimpoint.  Now when I try these various optics side by side, I don’t notice a measurable speed difference, they all just work (with a few notable exceptions).

I really love this sight, but in the end I do not recommend it.  It has been discontinued, so that makes it hard to recommend in the first place.  Now days we have newer and smaller optics that have proven to be very durable and have much longer battery life(such as the Aimpoints) that render this old design obsolete.  The open design of the C-More allows the chance of dirt or debris to block the emitter.  In the past the light from the emitters of reflex sights were often considered a major deal breaker as it might compromise your location to the enemy.  Over time the massive force multiplier that optics function is considered to well offset the risk of your location being revealed to the enemy by the sight.  I find the C-More red emitter and glare from the lens is very visible from in front of the optic.  It seems more so than newer alternatives.  I tried to get some pictures of this but I was unable to get it to show up well.

I think the C-More is a really nice sight, but it has been eclipsed by newer, better options.

Okay Industries “Surefeed” Magazines

Okay Industries has been around for along time.   Most people familiar with them know them from the surplus magazines sold at gun shows or stores.   They are a major supplier of M16/M4 magazines for the military.  In my opinion, they make the best milspec USGI aluminum standard mag.   I have used them over many many years and have never had one have even the smallest issue.   My friend and myself spent many hours driving mile and miles to find USGI mags after the ’94AWB became law and the Colt and Okay magazines were much sought after by us

One thing many people don’t know is that they likely already have an Okay ind, mag.     Okay was and probably still is the company that manufactures the Colt factory magazines in 30 and 20 round versions.  Years ago, colt rifle manuals fine print about reliability and warranty lawyer speak  always had the statement that Colt only garauntees their rifles to work completely reliable when using Colt and Okay Industry brand AR-15/M16/M4 magazines.   Why OKay? Because they made both.   Anyone in the military that carried a rifle/carbine as their primary job has probably seen plenty of the Okay brand mags.    Other than being issued some,  buying Colt magazines or surplus Okay mags on the civilian market, until recently it has not really been easy to buy brand new Okay brand mags.    Then recently, Okay has started finally selling their excellent USGI mags on the civilian market for everyone not in a communist state to purchase.  Rejoice!  The “Surefeed”  Okay magazines were born.

The mags come in the typical ziploc type plastic bag with nice backing with information and  instruction about the magazines.

The backs give the pertinent info  buyers may want to know abotu the specs of the magazines.

Not very often do you see a company care enough to include info like that in  plastic baggies for magazines.

The side of the mag bodies are marked with  the logo and you can see the milspec finish.

The mags being milspec, are up to the current specs and have the up to date tan follower to aid reliability  and to better feed the M855A1 service round.  The follower is the now standard anti-tilt type . The spring is stainless steel and made to the current milspec as well as he hard coat anodized finish.

The floorplates are marked with the new  logo and markings. A little different than the older Okay Industries markings but no change in quality.  I don’t know if this is the new logo for all mags or just the ones to be sold on the civilian market, I wouldn’t doubt  if it is just as change for marketing for non military buyers with the old markings and name still used for gov. contract magazines.  Either way  the important thing is that if you want to buy new, never used Okay mags you can.  I  paid $11 yankee green backs for these, A great deal as we have been living the salad days since obama left the throne. My advice is to buy  them in bulk and buy them often while the price is still down.

 

I tried these mags in  several ARs and they worked as expected.  All of my ARs are Colt which of course  has the magwells made to proper mil spec so its no shock the mags that are made to work  within that spec do.     I fired the mags, loaded them with stripper clips, loaded the mags with the lula loader and  they are living up to opinion I have of the older USGI surplus Okay mags I have.

I would not bother with a review of a plain old USGI magazine  normally but the Okay brand mags are a bit of an exception for me. I have always held a very high opinion of them and  always carefully horded the surplus examples I accumulated over the years.  Seeing them finally  brought  to the wider civilian market  was something I was very happen to see.,

The following branded USGI mags are the ones I stick with to ensure reliability.   I will save arguments over if they are all actually made by the same company for another time. I offer the list only as a way to reference the  USGI  I personally trust for 30 rounders.

  1. Colt
  2. Okay
  3. C Products
  4. NHMTG
  5. Adventure line

I do  often use and trust  the surefire 60 round magazines as well.

For completeness  non aluminum mags I use and trust are below.

  1. Lancer AWM ( the finest magazine on the market in my opinion)
  2. P-mag
  3.  DD  32 round magazines.

I also like the Pmag 40 round magazines.   That is  pretty much my short list of mags I use and trust  in the 30 rounds plus.     As for 20 rounders I have found most surplus military 20 round mags in good shape are reliable as well as the Pmag 20s and Pmag 10 rounders.

 

 

 

Vintage Marbles Cleaning Kit

Gather around children and I will show you something from a world long past.  During it’s day it was one of the best of it’s type.   Sold in a metal container that had a place for all its items.   A place for everything and everything in it’s place . It was made in a time when things were meant to last and look good. To give you a little pride of ownership.

I am a known fancier of vintage  target gun,. gun  and shooting accessories and various  related  paraphernalia.  One of those items that falls within my interest is the older vintage cleaning tools.  In particular the Marbles brand cleaning kits.   Anytime I get a chance to  buy one I will.    They are a treasure in my opinion.  They are well made  and I love the tin they rod and various items it contains.   They  were considered pretty highly in the day and the USMC even provided a Marbles cleaning rod as  the cleaning kit with m40/M40A1 rifles for a time.   So lets have a look.

Getting a complete kit in good shape with all or most of its accessories is already hard enough.  getting one with the cardboard outer wrap is almost a miracle.  Luckily a miracle happened for me.

Below is a picture of the kit with the outer wrap as it would have been sold.

 

Taking out out of the slip cover you see the  tin  that holds the rod and other parts.

For something that was made to be sold in general stores or sears and gun stores, the metal box is impressive.  There is  no  way something like it would even be sold as a mass market item now a days.  Maybe a reissue to cash in on an anniversary maybe, but  that is it.

Opening it up and first thing you see is another miracle.  Maybe one even bigger than the slip case.  The little paper sheet giving a few tips about the kit , why it does not come with brushes and how to apply the gun bluing on the back side.

As you can see , the kit contains  a rod that will work on 22 caliber rifles up to 10 ga shotguns.  It has a clever rotating tip that allows the brush and patches to follow the lands and grooves.  You can see the  adapter for shotgun brushes and mops and as well as a loop jag. The rod itself is  a sectional rod.  Not idea for cleaning a rifle bore especially if it is a precision barrel. As I have mentioned before a sectional rod will  wear the  bore and scratch it at the sectioned breaks.  The gap between each section will also retain small particles or dirt, sand  or other things that will scratch the bore as you move it  to the muzzle and back to the chamber.  It is  best to use a coated single, solid rod with a bore guide.   But back then, few people knew or cared about such things and others likely couldn’t afford or find a solid rod.     All that aside, the Marbles rod is well made . It has an attractive wooden handle  pinned to the rod that is sturdy enough.  As I said above the end of the road that the brush or jag attaches to  rotates easily and freely to allow brushes and patches to follow the groves of the bore.

To the upper right you can see the Marbles brand oil and bottle. Something  very hard to find.  The oil is advertised as an all purpose type and it smells like no other weapon lube I have  encountered.

To the left is the small bottle of blueing . I have a few other Marbles kits that are not complete, but the all did come with a bottle of the blueing.   Out of curiosity I have tried it on  some of my training guns with worn finish and to my surprise it does work and it works great.  It was pretty impressive how well it worked to me.   It is way more effective and better looking than anything you can buy  now.

Beside the blue in the tin you can see the box of cotton flannel Marbles cleaning patches.   The box is still full with the original patches.

The box has the Marbles logo and artwork. Clearly from  a time when companies had more pride in the art design of their products.

To give an idea just how old this stuff is,  take a look at the printing on something as small as this box.

The inside lid of the tin has various tips and info.  It looks very well done.  Also of course it has the company logo and info about various things.  For those new to guns and maybe buying their first cleaning kit,  it gives instructions on how to clean the bore of  your rifle or shotgun, pistol etc.  Not my preferred method but..    It also has  tips for cold and hot weather.

The lid folds down and secures nicely.  It makes a nice compact  little rig.

One of the trickest parts of the kit is the insert inside of the tin box. It can be removed if you want  to do away with it.   If you do remove the fitted insert you could store considerable more items in the box if you need to.     Leaving it  in place gives you a fitted insert with  sections made exactly for each cleaning item and secure them with metal tabs made as part of the insert.   They are strong and sturdy and with a little effort can be squeezed to hold tightly against the various parts.  It holds it all secure and keeps the rod etc from rolling around inside it or coming loose when moving it around.

 

These old vintage  cleaning kits are real beauties from a time long past.  It may be silly to use the word craftsmanship for a mass market item but I can not help but use it.   It is well made and clearly was meant to be something that you used for many years once you bought it.  Not  use once and toss away  chinese made walmart junk  you will see in modern times from the likes of Hoppes and outers.

A nice relic from  days gone by.

 

 

Optic of the Week: Elcan Specter DR

I was going to review the Glenfield 4×15 scope.

But when I went to remove the cap on the elevation adjustment, the whole set of adjusters broke right off the old scope.  Guess that means I don’t have to say that I could see better with out this old cheap scope than with it.

So, I guess I’ll have to review some other scope, something less interesting.

The first thing people tend to notice about the Elcan Specter DR is the price tag.  With a MSRP a little over $2200 it puts well above the cost of the majority of carbine optics.  What isn’t as obvious until you pick it up is that is fairly heavy.  That said, nothing else offers quite the same capability.

The main draw to the Elcan Specter DR is the ability to quickly switch between 1x and 4x with the throw a of a lever.

It is very easy and quick to flip between the two settings.  A spring pushes the lever up and holds it in place.

Zeroing is easy, adjustments are in 1/2 MOA.  A coin or screw driver can be used to adjust the windage screw on the left front of the scope, elevation is adjusted via a dial that has a lock on it.

 The lock on the elevation wheel slides up and down to allow for adjusting elevation.

Glass clarity and brightness are excellent.  Raytheon Elcan uses great glass in these optics.  While the eye relief is longer than an ACOG, it is still rather unforgiving like an ACOG.

There is a combination reticle, 1-600 has hash marks for either 5.56 or 7.62 depending on the model.  700-1000 marked for use on squad automatic weapons.  On the civilian and military models the reticles differ slightly as the civilian models add circles in the 700-1000 markings.  The civilian Elcan Specter DR is also a different color tan than the military model.  The calibration is only accurate on 4x.

Using the scope at 1x with the red dot illumination it feels very much like using a reflex sight.  But if you move your head away from the sweet spot, it becomes very apparent you are not using a reflex sight.  Yet it is still quite usable with out ideal head positioning.  Keeping the optic on target during rapid fire is easy in both 1x and 4x.  The added weight of the optic even helps reduce recoil slightly.

It even comes with emergency sights for use in case the optic is damaged or heavy rain.

I found at 25 yards the iron sights hit on for elevation, but about 4 inches left.  I don’t know if they are adjustable for windage or not.  It looks like the front sight might be adjustable.

The reticle can also be illuminated, I found this illumination option photographed poorly doing the day, so I put my hand over the object lens so it would show up in the photo.

So many awesome features are stuffed in the Specter DR.  I owned a Gen 2 Military Model in the past, and got rid of it over 2 reasons.  First were the built in ARMS throw lever mount, the second the Elcan base.

In the past I’ve seen the levers on ARMS mounts break, and have had multiple issues with ARMS mounts not fitting on various firearms.  The first ARMS scope rings I had would either be too loose or so tight they couldn’t be mounted on my various firearms.  When I asked about this, I was told that my firearms were out of spec.  So I asked if my Armalite, Bushmaster, CMMG, Colt, Daniel Defense, S&W, and etc stuff was all out of spec.  Now this was some years ago, and I had this issue with several different ARMS mounts including the Elcan Specter DR I owned.  Now I own a set of ARMS rings that work fine on multiple brands of uppers, and I tried this Elcan Specter DR on multiple brands of rail (including some Russian stuff) and it has worked fine.  While ARMS thrower levers would not be my first choice, I could settle for them now.

I really don’t like the external adjustments on the Elcan.  It relies on a spring to take up all the slack.  I worry that grit or debris could get in the external adjustments throwing off your zero.

This is a really cool optic with a couple of built in weaknesses.  Price, weight, ARMS mounts, and external adjustments are what I could say are the downsides.  It is up to you if the capability of the Specter DR are worth it to you, but I’d bet the majority of people do not be using their carbines in a way that would get them their monies worth from the Specter DR.