COLT 901 M.A.R.C. Accuracy Test & Review PART 1


Review of the new  modular rail

As readers know, Colt Defense sent me the new 901 variant a few weeks ago called the  Colt 901M.A.R.C.. The new gun is different than the first version in that it has a modular rail.  The forearm is monolithic and free floating just like the LE901. but now gives you the ability to bolt sections of picatinny rail, where ever you like and its lighter.


The new fire arm is  very nice and slim.  I like the quad rail and have no problem with full railed guns at all. I like having it all on already.  But, this does make for a handier sleeker rifle than the original model.  The top is a solid rail for mounting optics or other sighting devices,as it should be in my opinion, not modular.  The sides and bottom is where you get your ability to mix and match.

The fore arm is machines in a way that it matches into the bottom side of the rail sections, and the holes have the helicoil. The coils take any damage or cross threading instead of the aluminum fore arm and are easier to fix in case of an oopsie.


The gun has the same QD sling points in the same places the LE901 had. Of course you can also attach a rail section and add a sling point to the rail anywhere that may suit you.  Also you can note the difference in the cooling slot on the rail.



Another difference form the LE901 is the way the bottom of the rail comes off. The older model came off just like the 6940  but also needing you to remove to screws on each side of the front of the rail.  Another large screw has replaced the detent the older model and the 6940 used.  While obviously this is not as fast, It locks up even more solid than the other system which was already super solid. You could trust this to hold a zero if you needed it to after you got it in place and screwed down. Obviously if you take it off, the zero will likely change, but that the way it is for anything if you take it apart after zeroing something on it.


Above is the front right side screw for the removal of the bottom of the monolith rail and the now familiar and excellent in my opinion, Colt folding and locking, front sight. Like the older 901, the front sight locks up unlike the older 6940s.  You can also see a closer view of the large allen head bolts used to secure the rail sections in place. The test rifle came with four rails of three different lengths. I do not know at this time if this will be factory standard or the gun will come with or less when it hits the stores. The rail sections are made to the same quality and specs of  the rest of the gun with the same milspec finish.



The lower is no different than the LE901. It has ambi controls and of course uses the conversion block that lets you use any upper or any caliber that will work on a lower meant for 5.56, or 6.8 etc.  and use any magazine that will fit and work inside the mag well the 5.56 guns use. Now with the the modular rail and modular mag well/caliber conversion,, the 901 lends itself to even more user configuration.


For the accuracy testing of this new 901, I did things a little different this time around. Instead of using the stock trigger, I replaced it with the Geissele  S3G trigger. I didn’t do this because the factory trigger was so bad, or I think it has to have some match trigger, but it was a 2 birds with 1 stone kind of thing. I will have more testing on the trigger as time goes by.  I wanted to see how it worked out in a 762 gun and to make the long range shooting a little easier on myself since I had less time to shoot due to the weather.

As I am wont to do, I started out shooting the gun at 100 yards for groups in 5 shot strings, I used Federal match ammo in 175 and 168 grain bullets, The Federal 165 grain TSX solid copper hollow point made by Barnes for hunting ( I used this load to kill the deer), Black Hills 175 grain match and my own handloads.

I set the gun up with my trusty test mule Leupold 18X target scope and used a front rest and bags. I used a bench and the caldwell BR type front rest.


Going the extra effort this time, really allowed for better groups. The front rest and bags with the match trigger tightened things up a bit from the results from the first LE901 test gun.

I shot 5 rounds of each at 100 yards, then I fired a 20 round group at 200 yards with the Black Hills match with 175 grain bullet.


No surprises here I think., As usual the Black Hills 175 is the winner of the factory match ammo I used. My hand loads being tailored to the gun do maybe a tiny bit better, but that is normal. No factory load will ever be able to do better than a hand load you tailor to the gun. I fired just enough hand load to test the rifle since I get nervous with using hand loads in a writers demo. If something were to happen, I would not want to get the blame even if it was not my ammo that did it.  had it been a gun I paid for. I would have given you more data from hand loads, I may still email Colt about using hand loads to make sure its not something they would rather I not do. So I may offer up a large variety of bullet performance at a later date.

The dots are all 1 inch dots for the 100 yard shooting, and the 200 yard dot is a little large than 2 inches. The 200 yard group  was something I am pretty proud of. A milspec non-match barrel shooting a 20 round string and keeping that tight is pretty impressive. It did take me a little over 30 minutes to shoot that string, but shooting small groups is hard work, and its even harder  when the string is long and things heat up and eye strain sets in.  I do not think i could have done much better than this though without some major changes to the bench rest set up and ammo.

Last but not least for this part of the review is the 1,000 yard accuracy testing.  I had a tough time with it this time around with the wind being strong at a certain point in the day, then dying off. I also had to fight sun then cloud cover, sun, then cloud cover. Sunlight and the lack of on a target is a huge hurtle to long range shooting few people talk about. But believe me, it makes a big difference when it is shifting.

I did have the help of my trusty steel gong to get me zeroed before I started my “record group” again this time.


Being able to shoot and get on the steel with instant feedback, is a giant help for trying to shoot a gun at 1,000 yard for accuracy in tests like this for me. It saves ammo, you get immediate feedback and you get to dope the wind before you start slinging expensive match ammo down range just to find out later you did not hit anything.

On a whim, I placed a NRA 50 yard bulls-eye target behind my  normal “bad guy” target to see what the “score” might look like. I thought this my offer a different perspective than the normal  bad guy photo. I then tacked those two against a card board Q target. I then placed a blob of bright orange dots on the chest of the bad guy to make it a little easier to see this time. The sun and clouds made it hard to see a dark target so I cheated a little and made it easier on myself.


As you can see from our notes, I fired 30 rounds,  I got 16 hits on the paper itself, and then I had 10-11 hits on the body.  I saw 10 to 11 because one hit the earlobe/cheek.  I will leave it to you to decided to give me credit for that hit or not. Once again, the center hit is pure chance, or luck if you prefer, I did not call it as a center hit and I certainly did not aim for it and expect it, But sometimes, often actually, when you shoot a fairly long string at something this size, I find you will luck one in to look like a great hit,


Above in the NRA 50 yard pistol slow fire target tacked behind the bad guy target just for the fun of seeing how It would “score.”  It may look good, but with 16 hits out of 30 rounds, maybe the score is not all that great,  the wind was very strong the day the 1,000 yard test was conducted. Also keep in mind, it is a 16 inch Milspec barrel on a battle carbine, Not a sniper rifle and not a precision rifle. nor meant to be.


Finally the Q target the paper targets had been tacked to.


Testing for the 1,000 yards was also done with my 18X Leupold test scope and the S3G trigger was installed.  I did not use the front rest shown.  Because of the weather and wind conditions, I did not try shooting the new gun to 1,200 yards like I did the original LE901. I do intend to test this one to 1,200 as soon as I can see a day  that the weather will allow it.  This is not a sniper rifle as I said, so the 1,200 yards shooting needs as close to perfect weather as I can get. Otherwise it would just be a waste of time and ammo. I will update this post as soon as I do get the 1,200 yard test done as well as make a dedicated post as well as try to soot it even further.

My helpers for the day of long range testing remarked how they noticed the difference in how the gun handled and felt form the LE901 and its weight. It may not seem like a lot, but you do feel it.  With the sleeker fore arm and lighter weight, you can handle this gun like a M4 with a heavy SOCOM barrel on it.  It certainly was easy to hike up the mountains all day and then was lively in the hands when I settled in to make my 247 yard shot on the 8 point buck.  It handles like the battle carbine it is but does not shy away from being used as a DMR if needed.



For those who see the carbine as only for fighting use, I did test some military ball ammo with the gun. The use of the gun as a fighting tool will be covered in the next post along with some Gopro footage of the gun being fired to show how little recoil it has and its ease of control. As a teaser and a fast little bit of info, I shot the 901 MARC with Lake City Ball at 450 yards at a Q target for a quick idea of how it might do, I aimed at a clear spot on the target and fired off a fast group from prone using bipods. Even with ball., the gun did very well at the middish range. I will be testing it to 500 to 800 with ball on the targets using a red dot and precision optics to work out how it will do on the longer shots in a combat role.   The 450 yard group below.


To end this part of the review I would like to post a picture of the first T&E LE901 from early 2012 along with the 901MARC as a comparison to how it has evolved and changed for those new to the 901 model.


LE901 above.  901MARC below


Magpul MS1 Sling


In the past, I hadn’t ever paid a whole lot of attention to the Magpul MS series slings for a variety of reasons. I’m not a fan of single point slings so the MS 2/3’s 2 to 1 point convertibility was of no use to me, nor were the hooks/clips/rings that went along with the convertibility. I also never cared for the loop pull sling length adjuster as it always seemed to be a snag hazard. Combine that with a price slightly higher than your basic BlueForce Gear Vickers sling and the Magpul slings didn’t make my radar.


That changed recently while ordering some AR parts from one of my go to AR parts vendors.  In need of another sling, I clicked on their sling page. Seeing they didn’t carry my standby BFG Vickers sling, but wanting to order everything from one place to save on shipping, I checked out the other slings available. That’s when I noticed Magpul had introduced another sling called the MS1. Upon seeing it was a dedicated 2 point sling lacking all the hooks/snaps/rings, the loop pull had been replaced by a plastic slider, and it was priced quite economically I thought what the hell, let’s try it out.


Upon receiving the sling I found it to be a fairly straightforward 2 point design featuring the sling strap, three tri sliders and the plastic length adjuster. It seems well made and the stitching looks good.   A digital scale shows it to weigh 5.9 oz not counting the Magpul Paraclip I added.  Also immediately apparent upon handling the MS1 is the strap is made of a much softer and more flexible material than the BFG Vickers sling.






At 1.5″ wide the MS1 is also slightly wider than the BFG Vickers, with its 1.25″ width.





I added the Magpul Paraclip as an interim way to attach the front of the sling to the rifle until I get around to putting a rail on it.  As you can see I clip it to the factory front sling swivel.  It’s a quick and dirty way to attach the sling with a side mount orientation and not too much rattle.  It you’re ever in need of some type of hook or clip sling attachment I’d recommend trying them out.







I’ve been using the sling for over a month now and have been pleased with its performance. The sling material doesn’t seem to bind, catch, or twist when donning/doffing or adjusting the sling. The length adjuster slides very smoothly, to the point I questioned if it would always hold tension or if I would find the sling slowly lengthening itself under weight. So far this has not been the case and the sling length adjuster has always held tight no matter its position. I will update if this starts becoming an issue.


In summary while I wouldn’t necessarily say the MS1 is better than any other sling out there I would definitely say it is a solid choice and should be considered if you’re in the market for a sling. I plan on picking up a few more.

XM148 Under Barrel Grenade Launcher


Today we have another post from Moore Militaria.  You can visit the page and buy Vietnam war clothing and gear at







The Vietnam War saw the first practical use of dedicated grenade launchers versus the rifle grenades of WWII and Korea. The M79 Grenade Launcher was revolutionary. It was light weight, accurate and had a range of up to 300 meters, well beyond the range a man can throw a hand grenade. The inherent problem with the system was that your Grenadier was a dedicated grenadier and not a rifleman as well. Grenadiers were issued a sidearm as well for personal defense but the quest to combine a rifle with a grenade launcher was born.  In an attempt to solve this problem, several designs were submitted, but the most widely used and recognized development was by Colt Firearms and their XM148 Grenade Launcher. The Colt XM148 mounted under the barrel of an M-16 rifle, allowing an infantryman to have both a primary weapon and a grenade launcher.

The Early Years

CGL4 LauncherThe first successful prototype grenade launcher for under barrel mounting was the Colt CGL-4. The CGL-4 was manufactured by Colt on an extremely limited basis. They made 30 total launchers based on a March 1965 contract. The launcher is very similar to the XM148 in appearance with the primary visual difference being a a round cocking knob at the rear of the receiver. Failures in the extractor and allow for the housing plagued the initial trials at Aberdeen and Fort Benning and a short list of quick improvements was given to Colt. (An interesting side note is that despite the failures of the CGL-4 in stateside testing, units did make it to Vietnam and can be seen in photos. The round cocking knob is a dead giveaway in a photo).

The changes to the CGL-4 were combined into the Colt XM148 and test production started immediately. There were some issues with the sights working loose and castings cracking. It took months to correct these basic problems and no real attention was paid to the basic functional issues. With the basic durability issues corrected, the first shipment of 1764 launchers and spare parts was sent to Vietnam in December 1966.


Issues and Limiting Factors


Most of the XM148′s issues were simply a result of a rushed design process. The launcher’s designer, Karl Lewis, claimed to only have taken 47 days to write the specifications, design the launcher, draw all original prints, and build a working model. Without time to conduct proper field trials and testing, the issues with the launcher had to be learned in combat. Some of the  XM148′s more dangerous and frustrating issues stemmed from the basic design. The sight was a very primitive quadrant sight, that was mounted off to the side. The lack of accuracy and off positioning of the sight meant most soldiers operated without it. Another major flaw was in operation of the launcher. The XM148 had a cocking handle and an extended trigger that allowed the weapon to be fired without removing the users hand from the rifle’s pistol grip. In theory, this was an excellent idea, but in reality the extended trigger was extremely fragile and prone to snagging or breaking. The trigger pull was also fairly light at six pounds on average and resulted in accidental discharges when the trigger was snagged.

Short Lived Legacy

sasr6Initial combat reports from Vietnam were positive, but they would be short lived as major issues began to appear by March of 1967. By May 0f 1967 it was recommended that the launcher be withdrawn from use in Vietnam. Despite this order, the launcher would continue to see use in combat with infantry units as well as Special Forces. The SEALS would continue to use it up through late 1969.

Colt had their foot in the door with the XM148, but the issues with the launcher kept the hunt open for a replacement. Colt had already lost manufacturing contracts on the M-16 rifles to H&R and GM Hydromatic, and did not want to lose the contracts for a new under barrel launcher.  The need for a robust and reliable under-mounted launcher was great and the recommendation to remove the XM148 from combat in 1967 created panic in the company.

The XM148 had proved the concept viable, it had just failed in application. Colt quickly created a revised prototype, the CGL-5, to address the problems relating to the XM148 Launcher. They delivered 20 units to the Army free of charge in 1968, but it was too late. A new design from AAI Corporation (formerly Aircraft Armaments Inc.) had a solid lead in the testing department and seemed to address all of the issues of the Colt launchers. The AAI design was designated as the XM203 and an order for the initial 600 units was placed to be delivered to Vietnam for further evaluation. Production started in 1969 and the XM203 launchers would be delivered to Vietnam later that same year. With successful field testing completed, production was increased and the launcher was classified as standard. The “X” designation was dropped and the name changed to M203.

Though Colt would lose out on the design process for the M203, they did benefit from their large scale manufacturing ability. AAI Corporation made the first 600 XM203 launchers and then completed approximately 10,000 M203 units, but as a research and development company, they were not equipped for mass production on a scale the armed forces required. As a result, the technical data package for the M203 was sent to Colt and they were awarded contracts for mass production. In the end, the M203 would still wear Colt’s prancing pony.




Colt Defender vs. Glock G26 Size Comparison


While taking a break from testing the new Colt 901 Shawn and I put his Colt Defender and my Glock G26 together for a quick comparison.

Colt lists the Defender as having a 3″ barrel, with an overall length of 6.75″ and weighing in at 24 oz.  Glock lists the G26 as having a 3.42″ barrel, an overall length of 6.49″ and weighing in at 21.7 oz.

Having held both you don’t notice the 2.3 oz. difference between the two and the Defender feels more balanced in the hand while the Glock comes off more muzzle heavy.







Note that while the G26 has a shorter grip, with the finger grove extension on the mag, they are very similar in grip length.  I consider the extension a non negotiable necessity on the subcompact Glocks so I’d call this a wash.




With the rubber Hogue grips installed on the Defender, grip width is very similar.




Slide is slightly narrower on the Defender…




and with a much more rounded profile.






Time to take a second and turn back the page of time for a bit. If you have followed us for any amount of time, you have heard the name Unertl. A long gone very high quality rifle scope maker. The optics  were the best made for the time.  Unerlt was the maker of the 10x scope the USMC used on the M40A1 and some are still in use.


This is a picture of the best of their day.   John Unertl, is second from left in the top row. He is the gentlemen with the tie and mustache. He stands among the top placing winner and all of those worthies are well known shooter, handloaders, experimenters  and industry people of the day. the man holding the target is Harvey Donaldson, a man mush responsible for bench rest shooting and a lot of the accuracy improvements we enjoy today.  All use Mr. Unertl’s precision optics on their winning rifles.

UnertlScope6A Pi




The third day of the Ky modern gun season  started out cold and dreary with light rain mixed with sleet. All morning I had set around debating with myself on if I should suffer the weather , the climb  up the mountain and the hours and hours of boredom.  I had stopped hunting deer over 15 years ago. I found after killing several, it seemed more work than fun.  The difference this year was I had in my hands the new Colt 901 M.A.R.C.  carbine with the new modular rail.  The 7.62 gun is a new variant of the LE901 and was sent to me just a few days prior for T&E and writing about.  I REALLY wanted to do something special with it and since season was so close. I decided it would be nice to be possibly the first person to take a head of big game with it.   Around noon I decided to try it again for the fifth day after all.

I had been to the same area over the last few days and knew there was deer in the area. While I do not deer hunt anymore, I do small game hunt and shooting squirrel is a favorite fall pastime for me,  I had noted the heavily used game trails in the area I like to shoot the tree rats and it had passed my mind to tell my friends who do still hunt deer about it and maybe they could use the area.  They lust for the horns more than I ever did, The area also had the advantage of being 3/4 of the way up a mountain and there is no way an ATV could get to it.  Now a days, hunters are lazy in my areas. They will use the 4-wheel drive ATVs to drive to the toilet if they can get it through the door.  Most will put out feed for the animals year round and have a tree stand that set above the feeding section.  I am told by hunters with a straight face that none of that makes it easier to kill the deer though.  I often add. “then why do you do it”?  I never get an answer.   I hunt from the ground by walking/stalking and watching over areas they will travel or eat. If I can get on a large rock I will, but never a tree stand. I do not think of it  as a real hunt to me, nor would I feel any bit of real accomplishment if I shot one from a tree stand.   That is just my feelings and opinion on the matter, not a rag on anyone’s system.

I knew the spot would be free of the average hunter since no ATVs could get to it.  And, no ATVs means no one would be willing to climb up a mountain carrying a tree stand. So that means no other hunters.  Never mind it is my own private land since locals rarely let something like private property stop them,

I was lucky in that it had rained all night and the leaves had become wet and soft. The days prior had been warm and dry and I had spooked deer in the area just trying to sneak close to where I had in mind.  No such problem that day,.


The mountain is a pretty good climb, so it took me a while to get to where I wanted to be moving slow enough not to spook everything within a mile.  Finally I arrived and leaned up against a large beech tree, and pulled the gortex hood over my head and got out a paper back book.  In my experience its best to have something to help with the boredom.  I settled the rifle across my lap and double checked to make sure a round was chambered.   The ammo used this trip were loaded with the excellent Barnes Triple shock X  solid copper hollow point. The 308 bullet in this load being 165 grains,  One of the perks of the TSX is the 3 rings cut down on surface and the bullets will get slightly higher velocity with less pressure and cut down on copper fouling.  I use the TSX bullets in everything I intend to shoot something live with. I use them for deer, varmints and  they are my choice in my personal self defense 5.56 and .45ACP rounds.

To my surprise I had not been setting 20 minutes when I heard movement on the opposite hillside to me.  I was setting almost all the way to the top of a finger that runs off a ridge line and another finger ran parallel to the one I was on. I could see most of it and down the middle of the two.  It took me a few seconds to spot a doe.  Not being able to take a doe in the county I live in,  I had to watch it pass.  To fight the boredom I watched the deer through the optic for a while I thought about what a great shot it was giving me.  The scope used is the Leupold 3x-9x TS-30 with a Mil-dot and it was clear on the over cast rainy day.   Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small bush shaking, I moved the scope to see what the deer was and to my surprise it was a buck!   Instantly I was tensed up and excited. It had been 16 years since I last saw a buck while hunting for one. And with the new gun in my hands just for this reason I had to take a second or two to calm myself and not get a little too excited.

The next three hours were torture.  The game was 240-250 yards away and I could only see them through small under growth and tree branches.  No clear shot I was confident to take presented itself. There is not such thing as a “brush busting” bullet. Even the smallest twig can send your bullet in any direction other than what you want and I was not willing to try it out anyway and mess up the chance with this new Colt.   the buck and two doe walked around in a large circle.  About the time I thought I  should have risked a shot, I would hear a grunt or snort and around they would come again.  it was agony I had to admit. I wanted to kill the thing and it was getting cold. The wind and sleet had gotten worse and I had my gloves in my pocket.  I took them off on the way up so I would not sweat too much and no the metal of the gun was hard to hold in the cold weather. I could not risk the noise and movement to get them out.

About 90 minutes before dark I saw some rapid movement near where I first spotted the buck and directed the optic that way.  I almost laughed out loud as I saw the buck mounted on the doe doing his level best to make another young buck,  This went on a while as I watched trying not to feel like a pervert.  The doe would sometimes tire and move off a bit and the buck would walk after her,  At this point I knew I could have done just about anything and gotten away with it.  When the rut is on, the bucks don’t care if you detonate a nuke. They only got one thing on their mind and its not worrying about getting shot.  If don’t deer hunt, imagine two teenagers on a date looking for some place private.

I watched this bit of romance for a while as the two slowly started going up the hill and toward a large amount of brush I knew I would lose them in as the sun was going down.  I knew I was running out of time.  At last the buck started humping the doe and they moved into an area open enough for me to figure now is as good as it is going to get.,   As he was on top of her, I put the Mildot cross hairs on his shoulder and fired. it was  almost a 250 yard shot and was exactly what I was hoping for.  I have always been a long range shooter so the short 40 yard or 10  yard shots always felt like a let down to me. A rifleman needs some distance to add to the sense or pride from making a clean kill and fine shot.  Nothing shows skill like a clean hit at some real distance.

As soon as I fired I listened and did not hear any noise of movement or running  and not even stumbling and branch breaking. I knew he was dead and dropped instantly.  I looked through the scope and saw a few legs twitching, I set for a few seconds with the intentions of letting ti die where it is but it seemed to be trying to get up,  I started to move to the down animal but it rolled down the hill crashing through brush.  It did this three more times until it came to rest in the middle where the water runs off.  I walked down to it and saw I had hit it a little high because of the angle and severed his spine,  He had been trying to move but was only getting his upper neck going enough to cause him to roll down hill.  He was dead but just did not know it yet.   I almost felt bad about shooting him during his romantic love making, but decided if you gotta go……


I rolled him over and was pleased to see he was an 8 point, This was the biggest rack I have taken, the next largest being a 6.  I was never a trophy hunter and never will be, so this was very nice for me. I am just as happy with a button buck, a spike or a doe. The way I hunt is not easy and getting one while being on the ground with them and not baiting them with feed all year is hard, and anything killed that way is something to be proud of in my mind.  This was icing on the cake,

I got him gutted after I snapped the above picture ,filled out the tag for it walked off the mountain  and got some help to drag him the mile off the hill. Two fine neighbor hood teenage boys came and dragged it off the hill for me. Finally well after dark, we got him in.  I gave the meat of the animal to one of the boys family that needs the food. I sawed the horns off to keep for myself. The memories of the earned kill , a fine rifle and fine shot are all I need to enjoy it, I am not much for having the head mounted any more.



The Rifle.

The Colt 901 MARC was all I hoped it would be for this hunt.  The lighter weight made it easier to carry straight up hill all day. The original LE901 was a little heftier than this new model. Not a lot, but when you are carrying a lot of stuff up hill, it helps a lot more than you think.  Fighting though low brush is a lot easier with the 16 inch barrel as well. Having the handling of a carbine but in 7.62 was a nice feature.  I hunted with a 5.56 for years and have taken deer with it, the 7.62 is not something you have to have.  The 5.56 is just fine for deer sized game as long as you use a decent bullet. I don’t want to give the idea I think the 556 won’t do this job, so keep that in mind. Had this gun been some kind of 556 I would just as happily used it with the same amount of confidence.

I did not use anything but the factory trigger. The milspec trigger is just fine. People who say  you have to have a match trigger to make precise shots are just not that good of shooters,  Yes it helps if you are already a decent marksman, but for most it is trying to buy skill with equipment, I used much maligned factory milspec trigger to make a 240-250 yard one shot kill. Practice.  The stock was also the stock that come with the gun

You may note the 20 round magazine in the picture. In some states, and Ky being one of them, you can not have more than 10 rounds in your gun.  I used a small block of wood to block it off myself for the hunt. It held 9 rounds while blocked off in this way. I wanted a little wiggle room in case some how it moved in a way to allow one more round and I got checked by the conservation officers. That would have been a bad day.  So without a factory 10 round mag in hand in time for the hunt, I blocked it myself and went to the side of caution.

The ammo I used was the Federal premium 165 grain Barnes TSX ammo. The TSX bullets are always my choice. The will expand at even low velocity and retain all their weight. The bullet went clean through the deer shoulder and spine  from 250 yards and shot through. they are superb bullets, Accurate and always perform as advertised. You can handload them or buy them as factory ammo. Normally I would hand load them in what I want but did not have any .30 cal  TSX on hand when I got the gun, so I used factory this time.

The optic was all I could ask. The nice compact TS-30 A2 optic was small and light and did not get in the way or snag on anything. You do not need a huge scope with a huge objective,  You also do not need a large amount of magnification. 3x-9x is plenty , IF the glass is quality and crisp and clear. You can make a very long range shot with low magnification but you will be hard pressed to make a very close shot with high X.   It is always best to leave the optic on its lowest setting when moving since you may get a close shot on a moving target. You can always zoom it in later.  And if you do see a far shot but do not have time, You can still make the shot at the low setting,  If you think otherwise you just have some kind of mental block.  The optic has an illumination feature, but I did not have a battery in it.  When it got close to dark I really missed that glowing red cross hair. It is indeed a handy thing to have when it starts to get dark and you are holding a black cross hair on a a dark animal in the shade.  In my opinion the illuminated cross hairs is never a waste on quality optics.

After 16 years I finally bagged another deer. It was a long hard hunt and I feel it was earned and it gives me a great amount of satisfaction. All of the things came together from scouting during small game hunting, to the hike in, to the marksmanship and the final shot with a fine rifle.  If not for the rifle I would not have even went hunting deer again,  the Colt 901 MARC may be meant for other things, but it is also certainly a fine hunting rifle for the modern rifleman.

This is not the actual review of the new Colt 901 MARC but a bonus side test. The start of the full review will start this week with the first part of the full testing and review coming soon after




Body Armor: Vietnam Use and Development

Again today we have  a post from Moore Militaria.  This time about body armor and its development.   You can buy all your Vietnam war super accurate and authentic reproductions uniforms and real gear at


helo 1

Body armor and flak jackets have been something sought after by armed forces around the globe to protect their troops from arms fire and shrapnel. Developed to prevent death and lessen injuries, body armor has been used in war combat since as early as world war one. Even from the first mediocre attempts at development, body armor has seen generations upon generations of revisions and weight reduction to provide the most efficient way of stopping rounds. This article however, will focus mainly on the creation of body armor for the Vietnam War for pilots and ground infantry.

Armor in the Air

early war aircrewDuring the Vietnam war, one of America’s top strategies in combat was high air mobility. Army pilots often conducted low flying reconnaissance, rescue, and insertion missions which made the pilots vulernable to small arms fire. As hostilities increased, so did casualties to pilots and aircrew. The only protection these pilots had from enemy fire was the M1952A Fragmentation Vest from the late Korean War era. These flak jackets (the M1952A) which provided no real protection from small arms fire and were also standard issue to US Army infantry at the time.

As information came in from the field, a new hard face composite was looked at to replace the previous DORON plates. This new lightweight (relatively speaking) ceramic composite was made into chest shields and issued in the TRECOM Aircraft Armor Kit from Natick Laboratories.  Despite the protection offered from the new shields, both the Hard Face Composite and Doron shields where too uncomfortable for pilots to wear for any length of time, and as a result saw little usage in the field. Another side experiment by Natick used a curved torso shield made from 13 ceramic tiles bonded to a reinforced plastic shell. The shell then rested on the seat between the pilot’s legs. Defense Advanced Research Projects testing found that the new system reduced the weight to the pilot, but it interfered with the operation of the aircraft and was quickly scrapped.


Natick Labs continued working on prototypes for new armor to be used in helicopters and soon came up the experimental T65-1 cloth back carrier that was mated to a prototype curved front torso using female snap fasteners. Padded shoulder sections helped distribute the armor’s weight and a cloth wrap around straps with a Velcro fastener held the vest in place. Natick Labs members and AMC armor team members visited Vietnam in 1965 to obtain reception of the concept armor and found that combatants responded well to its use. The only drawback from the field was that aircrews stated the plates were too large and not ergonomic making them uncomfortable. Pilots and aircrew both overwhelming stated they would sacrifice protection and risk increased exposure to small arms fire for comfort. As a result, the HFC vest was reduced in size by 3 inches and made more contoured in the shoulder and arm area. Coupled with the T65-1 cloth back vest, this Aircrew Body Armor set became the infamous “chicken plate” that would serve Army aviators for the next 30 years.

AC Vest 1  AC Vest 4

Infantry Armor in the Field

The first use of efficient body armor by US infantrymen was the USMC-M1951 vest. The vest, like all of its contemporaries, offered protection against shrapnel and fragmentation, but did not offer any protection against small arms fire. The Marines and the Army both developed body armor of roughly equal efficiency, but their development paths would follow different routes. The Army would introduce the M52 and soon M52A which would feature “soft” armor made of ballistic fabric. The Marines would use hard Doron plates that would give their armor a rigid quality.

The Marines

The USMC M-52 Fragmentation Vest had three primary variants with minor modifications during the Korean War. Design improvements were quickly incorporated and by the third model, you can clearly see the basis for the M-55 that would serve throughout the Vietnam War and well into the 1980′s.

M-52 Type ISAMSUNG DIGIMAX 420M52 Type 3
Based on the final M-52 design as shown above, the M-55 series was born. The basis of the M-55 was a cotton shell with zipper front and 23 Doron Plates in the main body with ballistic fabric in the shoulder areas. The vest also included a rope ridge sewn into the shoulder area to help prevent a rifle butt or sling from sliding off of the face of the vest. The first version had a single, small pocket on the left chest area. In 1967 the vest was modified and a “second” version was introduced with large pockets located on the lower front area on each side of the zipper. The pockets were nylon and offer a contract to the cotton fabric of the shell. The final version of the vest included a body made of nylon to match the pockets. This change was aimed at addressing wear issues with the cotton body of the vest. Of note, there are versions with a single rope ridge as well as a double rope ridge (as shown) on each shoulder.

M55 1st pat M55 2nd Pat M55 3rd Pat

In the later part of the 1960′s, both the Army and Marines recognized the limitations of fragmentation vests and the benefits of being able to field armor that would actually stop a .30 cal AP round. They both looked to the success of the Aircrew Body Armor and used the ceramic plates as a basis for infantry armor. The Marines developed a carrier made of rough ballistic nylon in ERDL camo print. The carrier had an integrated “haversack” on the back and pockets to hold the ceramic plates in both the front and back. This system, like the Army Variable Body Armor, was deemed insufficient for several reasons, primarily weight, but it did help to pave the way for the Interceptor Vests of the 1980′s. As a result, the standard M-55 would carry on for another 15 years before technology would allow the weight reductions necessary for a Grunt to have bullet proof armor in the field.


The Army

The standard Army infantry vest at the beginning of the war was the M1952A from the late Korean War era. It would be the most commonly seen fragmentation vest in Army use through 1966. The vest is easily distinguished by its brown color, lack of a collar, and epaulettes on the shoulder. It features a zipper front with nylon over flap. This style of vest would remain popular with vehicles crews as the lack of a collar make it more comfortable to wear with a helmet.
M52 S

When looking at ways to improve the vest, the first thought, aside from more effective materials was to increase the area of protection. The new vest was very similar to the M52 in basic design: zipper front, two pockets, lace sides, etc. but it featured a collar. Hence they were labeled as Armor, Body Fragmentation Protective, With, 3/4 Collar. The first six months of production saw a version with epaulettes on the shoulder. This is the first vest with the “823″ specification on the label.

Flak e 11966 Label 823 Epeaullettes

The next variation in the Army Flak Jacket came when they decided to simplify production of the vests and dropped the epaulettes on the shoulder. The resulting vest is the iconic Army flak vest of the Vietnam War. At this point, no other changes were made and the spec tag still retained the 823 designation. The vest would continue production in this manner through 1968.

DSC022961968 Label 823

There were some minor issues with the design, chief among them a tendency for the armor to bunch up inside the vest. As a result, in late 1968, an improvement was designed into the internal ballistic filler in an effort to prevent bunching. The new model was cosmetically identical, but featured a different contract specification number to reflect the change in material. These changes would take place in the production year of 1969 ending the 823 contract series production and replacing them with the 122 series as the code for the new anti-bunching inserts. At this point, it was still referred to as Armor, Body Fragmentation Protective, with 3/4 Collar Fragmentation and featured the zipper front.

1969 Label 122

The final changes to the 3/4 Collar Flak were ordered in late 1969 for production to start in 1970. The vest would retain the 122 designation and the new anti-bunching inserts, but they would change the zipper front closure to a velcro closure. The thought process was that zippers could be damaged in combat by shrapnel or fragments making the vest difficult to remove from a wounded solder. This was the first cosmetic change since the epaullettes were removed at the end of 1966. These vests began production in 1970 and had a nomenclature change as well. At this point, the vest was renamed Armor Body Fragmentation Protective Vest with 3/4 Collar, M-69.

M69 Dec 12 11970 M-69 Label 122

While production and design improvements were being made on the 3/4 Collar vests, there was still a push to apply the technology from the ceramic plates of the Aircrew Body Armor (chicken plate) for infantry use. The concept was a bullet proof vest for infantry use was intriguing and the need for it became more apparent as casualties grew in Vietnam. The result of Natick’s efforts was Variable Body Armor. The armor set consisted of a nylon felted vest with a front and rear ceramic plates. It was named Variable Armor as the carrier could be worn alone for protection from fragments, the plates could be worn alone utilizing Velcro and buckled straps, or the plates could be worn in conjunction with the vest carrier to provide maximum protection. The system did provide protection from .30 cal AP rounds, but due to its weight at 20 pounds and the bulk of the system it was never popular in the tropical heat and humidity of Vietnam. Variable armor could be worn with the carrier as shown or the plates could be worn together without the carrier. Due to the weight, 20 pounds, the system was very unpopular with Infantry and was never widely used.

Variable 2014 1  Variable 2014 6




If you follow are Facebook page, you will have known for a few weeks I was getting the new Colt 901 variant from Colt Firearms for T&E.  The new gun is the 901 M.A.R.C.   It is a modular rail carbine.   It has all the same features standard on the LE901 but with a few perks and upgrades for those who want more than the quad rail.

The rail on the new guns is of course still monolithic, but this time it is modular.


The piece came with four sections of MILSPEC rails sections to bolt onto any section of the rail if it is something you want to do.


I bolted on a couple for first impression pictures and in anticipation of what I will be doing with it later.  I know already I will be shooting it to 1,000 yards so I installed a section for bipods.   I also installed a side piece for a light.


The forearm is smooth and feels very, very good on the hand.  It is hard to describe just how well this new 901 balances and feels in the hand. The gun is lighter than the first model and it shows in handling.  Really. It is a wonder how well it feels. Its easy to forget it is a 7.62 rifle.


Even with optic on it, to me, it really feels like all you want to do is run it like its your M4.

The gun is already a big hit with me. And I really dig the modular rail.


This is just my first thoughts on the rifle and of course, only the first part of the full review. I will be doing a full T&E of this gun just like the LE901.  The gun will be shot for accuracy at 100 yards and I will shoot it out to 1,000 and possibly 1,200 yards just like before. Also there will be more pictures of the gun and its parts.   So check back in over the weeks to see the fuller review and testing of this rifle to come.