All posts by Shawn

The M1 Carbine Penatration Failures In Korea : True or More To The Story

008

If there is an oft told tale of US service rifle failure more common than the myth of the M16 being UN-reliable, it is the tales of the failures of the M1 carbine in the Korean war, to penetrate the thick coats worn by communist soldiers. Anyone who is interested in US ordnance history of its use has no doubt hear or read about it some where.  Stories of some GI or another in Korea shooting  charging human wave commies in the winter wasteland with his M1 carbine and after the small around failing to penetrate the coat, throwing it away and getting himself a real man’s gun like the M1 Garand.  Firearms boards in the internet thrive on telling each other these stories and they are no doubt popular campfire fodder.   So the .30 carbine has in the past, suffered from a reputation of being a poor performer.   On a side note  I have always been amused by the same people who say the 357 mag is a never fail manstopper also declaring the 30 carbine useless when they are  very similar.

After getting a T&E rifle from Inland, the maker of brand new very high quality original spec M1 carbines( full review to come) and showing it to some fellows, the old chestnut about failing to penetrate thick coats was brought back up. I determined to shoot the M1 into some thick padding to see what I could see before serious testing and evaluation of the M1 got started.

001

Being August, I could not manage sub freezing temps, but I did set up a cardboard target behind a very thick pad that I added extra clothing by stuffing it inside to make it even thicker.  I set up from 200 yards away and fired.

002

The military FMJ round had no problem punching through the thick clothing and padding just as I knew it would.

003 005

Even from 200 yards the carbine and its ammo said by “experts” to be puny. not only went through the padding with ease, it zipped through the wood and damaged it more than I expected.  But it was not done yet.

004

It traveled another 10 yards and tore into the dry hard packed dirt and rocks behind   several inches deep with little deformation to the short stubby 110 ball rounds.

The 30 carbine is not in the same class as a  7.62 or even a 5.56. But, it is better than given credit. With quality hollow points, it is not much different than a 357 magnum. A round few people complain about being under powered.   Those vets who claimed lack of power simple missed or made shots in non-vital places on the body or glancing blows.  We all know everyone is a perfect shot that never misses so any problem has to be the gun.  And no red blooded American military fighting man would ever be anything but a perfect crack rifle shot so it has to be that lowest bidder crap!

A great little story Howard often says illustrates this well.

“When a  Soldier or Marine  is shot multiple times and tough it out to carry on the fight and prevails, he is a bad-ass napalm eating super soldier hero. When an enemy soldier  takes multiple hits from US troops and continues to fight beyond what is normally deemed possible, the issue gun sucks is underpowered and is lowest bidder garbage”.

016

Colt 6940 Piston Carbine Test & Review Part 1

The  idea that the piston operated AR15/M4  would be an improvement that fixes all of the perceived short comings of the weapon has been something that has gained ground in certain corners since the dubious “dust tests” and H&K marketing from a bit over 10 years ago now. Miss-use by users in the GWOT and careful lobbying by certain companies has put the idea that the DI system is sub-par in the minds of some of the lesser educated.   In fact ,if you did not know better you would think the piston operated AR15 did not exist until HK came out with the 416.    Truth is Colt had already developed a piston operated AR15 since the 60s and had been playing around with it ever since. If you look close at the front sight, you will see some details that pop up a lot later.

Colt703-600x163

Later Colt, in 2005-2006 colt started showing pictures of another piston gun they called the LE1020. It was a monolithic railed upper very close to the current 6940 uppers. It lacked the QD sockets,and some other small refinements but it was clear the idea was being refined. All this before others had started with their piston campaign.  Yes, colt had been making and refining piston AR15s for a long time. Getting it the way they wanted it before deciding to offer it.  We did not see the LE1020 hit the market back then because it was found the market and the Military was not that interested in a piston gun.  It took ignorant gun writers and HK marketing to convince a lot of people that they could not like without a piston operated M4.  Never mind some of those early piston ARs chewed up receiver extensions, suffered from carrier tilt, weighed a ton and were not very easy to modify.

If you are new to AR15s you may have missed the bright spike that was the peak of people wanting piston guns because so many believed a little dust caused a M4 to malfunction and History channel documentaries that were more or less HK 416 advertisements.  That has craze has evened out now a days and while some SOF use piston M4s, the rest of the army found out the M4 with its DI worked just fine witht some oil and not trying to use the M4 as a SAW.  But in that time, companies had some time to tweak the piston guns to get them to work right.  Among those was Colt, who refined their piston model from all those years ago before any one else had even thought about making a piston AR15.

With that, we come to the present day. A few weeks ago, Colt once again was nice enough to send me a shiny new Colt 6940Piston for my grubby little hands to test and abuse for other peoples amusement. We will take a look at it in this first part of a longer review and test. just to get to know it a little. stick our nose in its nooks and crannies and put on the old rubber glove and tell it to bend over so we can get to know it a little deeper….

013

The Colt 6940P ( Piston) is essentially a regular 6940 from the outside. The lower is standard Colt milspec minus the full auto FCG of course. The buffer that comes with the P is the H2. This is standard issue with the gun as it comes with the the heavy SOCOM profile barrel we talk about in a moment.  The SOCOM profile M4A1 barrel is always combined with the H2 buffer in Colt models. Piston guns with standard A2 flash hiders will have a bit more felt recoil than DI guns, and the H2 buffer can smooth that out, Though to be clear that it not why it is in the gun.  As I said, with colt, the H2 buffer always is paired with the SOCOM barrel, but it is a nice side effect.

021

Looking at the picture of the buffer you will note there is no shaved metal from carrier tilt or eaten up lowers which was common on some other companies piston conversions.

015

As mentioned, the barrel is the SOCOM profile, which was  made for the use on M4A1 full auto carbines.  The cut flats a few inches from the front sight are for the M203 to mount around. The barrel is free floated in the monolithic upper. The free float 6040 uppers will give you every bit of accuracy the barrel is capable of. I have never seen a Colt monolithic upper that has given mediocre accuracy when using good ammo, but the piston parts may make a difference. We will see in part 2 with accuracy testing.

018

014

The upper rail is standard 6940 and the lower rail removes the exact same way.  You can see just like the DI guns, this one has the QD sling points. The piston parts are hidden under the FF rail.

011

The piston comes out very slick  and is retained neatly with a push pin much like those used for the lower. You simply push it to the side and slide the piston out.No muss no fuss.

012

019 020

The piston is Colt’s design with the articulating link. Not much to say about it since its a piston. Very robust.

010

Since we have a piston, we don’t need a gas carrier key.  The early Colt P guns had a bolt on part, just like the gas key, this was changed to the current model. It is machined out solid on the carrier . No bolts or staking to worry over. Not that you ever really had to worry about a colt stake job in the first place.   The Bolt carrier group fields strips for cleaning just like the standard non-piston   BCG

008

009

The rear of the carrier has rails machined on it to make sure you get no carrier tilt. No tilt means your lower will not get chewed up like some of the early HK416 and conversion kits rushed out on the market.  The truth is, the AR16 was not meant to be a piston gun, so careful changes had to be made for it to work out in the long term. With the rails to the rear of the carrier and a steel block added to the upper receiver, tilt is a non issue on the 6940P.  In the picture below,  you can see the part added to the upper.  Buyers of even DI guns will notice this on newer 6940 DI guns and the 901 as there are plans to make piston 901 eventually and it simplifies production to make them all the same.

013

017

Above is the upper with lower rail hand guard removed with piston and bolt carrier.

026

From the outside, it looks like the regular 6940 until the educated eye looks at the front sight. The gun handles and balances no different, thought the SOCOM barrel adds a little more weight.  To get ready for long term hard shooting, accuracy testing and full auto torture tests, I have added my favorite TD grip and Colt factory ambi safeties.  For drills and general use it now has a CompM4 a B5 stock and a Knights  600 meter BUIS.  Part 2 of the review will be the accuracy testing for group, long range to the weapons extreme limit and more.  Full auto fire may be in part 2, or it may be moved to a part 3 for torture test and taking a look at cleaning the piston gun. Less fouling is often touted as one of  a piston gun’s biggest advantages so it is possible I do a part devoted to that.

015

I like big guns and I cannot lie…

mail.google.com

 By  Cat Lindsay

I like big guns and I cannot lie…

 

This could be the song of my ladies!

At the last Ladies Introduction to Shooting class, while I only had one student, it was one of my best classes ever!

C, a 5’/100lb. 30-something spa owner, came to my class because her business has had 5 break-ins or attempted break-ins over the past 2 years. She no longer feels safe. While she does buzz her clients in and out, she fears someone barging in past one her customers. She was ready to learn the basics of handguns.

Though she had shot a gun once, in her youth, she came to me on Saturday as a clean slate. I actually prefer newbies, because there are no bad habits to break.

When we first started out, we used the replica training guns, as usual.  But, she soon wanted to touch & feel the real thing. For demo purposes, I always use my .45 Ruger SR1911, my 9mm S & W M & P Shield, my Taurus 608 .357 magnum, and one of MAGS rental guns, usually a large-frame 9mm Glock. This gives my students a wide variety of guns to feel.

With small hands, the double-stack Glock was too big.  She liked the feel of the Shield, but liked the weight of the Ruger & Taurus, because they “feel like real guns”.

After the classroom time (safety, how the guns & ammo work, loading magazines, clearing malfunctions, grip, stance, sights), we headed to the range.

The first gun she fired was the Taurus, shooting .38’s.  She liked the weight and being able to control such power. The Shield fit her hand better, but she didn’t like the recoil. She really liked the Ruger, the weight and all the safeties. She fired Will’s (MAGS employee) Gen 4 Glock 19, but had malfunctions. I showed her the difference between locking out and REALLY locking out, and she had better results. The last gun she fired was a Ruger SR .22 (I know we should have started with this gun, but it was a rental and we had to wait). She did not care for the optics.

So at the conclusion of the class, I asked her what her favorite gun was and she said the Taurus revolver and the Ruger 1911 because they felt like real guns. I told her that bigger, heavier guns were great for home/business defense.

BTW, she will be taking the CCW class in later this month!

Federal Fusion Ammo Testing

Fusion
By Andrew Betts

Federal’s Fusion line may very well be the best kept secret in defensive rifle ammunition. It is a bonded soft point (okay, technically it is plated but the result is essentially the same) that bears a strong similarity to the Gold Dot line from Speer. That might seem odd at first glance, but both companies are owned by ATK. The Fusion line appears to be aimed at the hunting market based on the design of the packaging and promotional materials and indeed, it looks as though it would make an excellent load for deer and similar sized animals. It is gaining popularity as a home defense and emergency preparedness load though, and for good reason.

The .223 Rem version of Fusion comes in two flavors: original and MSR. The MSR version features annealed cases, sealed primers, and a slightly higher muzzle velocity out of most rifles but but both use the same bullet. Because this ammunition might be used in a wide variety of situations, we wanted to see how it could perform at the edges of its design limits. To do that, we tested the projectiles with two different hand loads designed for higher than factory velocity and very low velocity and we fired them from 16” and 11.5” barrels.

https://youtu.be/otou1Fws4cQ

The results were nothing short of phenomenal. The higher velocity bullet impacted at well over 3,000 fps and produced excellent expansion, fragmentation, and ideal penetration. As expected, the lower velocity projectile retained more weight and penetrated more deeply. What was really remarkable was that this load, which approximates the impact velocity of the full power load at 475 yards, was still able to produce substantial expansion and it did so almost immediately on impact, with a neck length of about half an inch. This performance is truly incredible for such a low velocity.

There is already a wide array of quality defensive choices for ammunition in .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm but until fairly recently, there were not many well designed defense loads for the 7.62x39mm. Recently, that has begun to change and it was a pleasant surprise to see Federal offer a Fusion load in 7.62x39mm. This is a very capable cartridge for hunting and defense, with a lot to offer and it really shines with the benefit of modern technology.

https://youtu.be/xEo6avZd9ys

Just as with the .223 load, the 7.62x39mm began to expand almost instantly on impact. It penetrated to 15” which is absolutely ideal for defensive use. It also produced huge expansion and a devastating wound channel. It is rarely wise to proclaim one particularly load to be “best” but if terminal performance is the priority, there exists no better ammunition in 7.62x39mm for defense.There may be better choices for other applications, but for defense against human beings, this is the best load available. That it is also more affordable than other premium ammo is a bonus.

Soft points in general and bonded soft points in particular tend to be very good at barrier performance. To be clear, just about any bullet can pass through a windshield, car door, wooden board, or piece of gypsum. Some bullets may not be able to expand and/or fragment as designed if they strike tissue after passing through the obstacle, though. The ability to perform nearly as well after passing through a barrier is referred to as “barrier blind”. It is an important feature to many shooters since bad guys have this funny quirk where they don’t like being shot and tend to get behind stuff. Auto glass is one of the toughest materials on a bullet because glass is much harder than wood or metal so we fired both the .223 Rem and the 7.62x39mm Fusion through a windshield to test its barrier performance.

https://youtu.be/upyDQyr-3Lk

Penetration was reduced a bit, which is to be expected, but the bullets still expanded as designed. It is not really a quantifiable measure, but the high speed video really gives an impressive illustration of just how incredible both these rifle rounds are. Both performed as well as anyone could reasonably ask in some very difficult circumstances. Whether close or long range, whether with a carbine or SBR, and even if one has to shoot through intermediate obstacles, the Federal Fusion will get the job done. What is more impressive is that it is not marketed as go fast, door kicking ninja ammo. It is just quality ammunition at a decent price.

Designated Marskman Instructor Comments on the AR15 at 1,000 yard Article

This is from the comment section from the article about shooting the AR15 at 1,000 yards. The commenter offered some insight into the Army’s marksmanship levels and attitude.  I have offered the commenter a chance to elaborate and post more on the subject.  hopefully this will be expanded and he will come back to share his thoughts and experience in greater detail in more posts.   Below is the original post from Jose

Original post Jose was speaking about here

http://looserounds.com/2013/06/10/ar15-at-1000-yards-can-a-rack-grade-ar15-and-m855-make-1000-yard-hits/

Good on you Shawn. I’ve coached the last three consecutive All Army Small Arms champions. Before that I taught SDM for s number of years, still conduct the occasional course.
I’m not a distinguished rifleman (yet) but I’ve produced a number of them.
The M16A4 and M4 are woefully misunderstood by nearly all Soldiers. There are less than 200 Soldiers in the Army that I would consider “Riflemen” even the “multiple tours, combat arms NCO” is not a guarantee of any real skill at arms AT ALL. Soldiers are universally poorly skilled with their rifles. It’s appalling. But for such Soldiers, first you’d have to admit you have a problem. If they “qualify expert” they believe *that* somehow equals skill. I’d call that “familiarity.” 40/40 is easy, nothing to brag about, and is a ridiculously low standard. Most Soldiers never achieve even that embarrassingly low standard. If an NCO can’t get all of his squad to shoot “expert” he’s untrained.
My point is that most (but I’d wager closer to all) the criticism you may have received from Soldiers ought to be dismissed out of hand. They really are overconfident amateurs. Even in “Special Forces” units, that’s no guarantee of skill at arms.
That about sums it up. If I offended someone, good. Outshoot me.
The thing is that the M16/M4 is an EXCELLENT weapon and there are excellent 5.56mm cartridges. A Soldier doesn’t have to be a superhero to shoot really well with it either. We trained many female Soldiers that had no problem striking a steel silhouette target, 14″ wide and 40″ tall, at 760 meters, with iron sights on her M16A2. I can drop names, ranks, class dates. With the M4 and ACOG, SDM Students routinely hit the same target at 800 to 830 meters – 1st round hits.
In our SDM classes, we spent so much time at 500 and 600 on the KD range, that 300 was a welcomed and easy target engagement for them. Yet in units many Soldiers will not engage the 3 exposures of the 300 meter target, preferring to save those three rounds for the closer targets when they miss the first shot, so they can re-engage the ‘easy’ targets. They’re all easy!
I want to share a couple of things, there’s somebody out there reading this that will heed this advice, I promise it can make you a dramatically better shooter.
When shooting for precision with rack grade Army M16’s or M4’s there is one method that works. DO NOT EVER USE A SLING OF ANY KIND TO “LOCK IN” “SNAP IN” OR OTHERWISE PULL ON THE SLING SWIVEL. The AR in a rack grade condition does not have a free floating barrel. The upper receiver is made of a zinc and aluminium alloy, the barrel is hard steel. Pulling on the sling is like making a giant torque wrench, moving the strike if the round several inches just at 100 yards! Any weight or pressure on the handguards moves the barrel.
Don’t touch the handguards or use a sling if you want the most out of a rack grade rifle.
Use the magazine, preferably a 30 rounder, as a monpod. Place the palm of your non firing hand (not your fingers) on the flat front face of the magwell. Spread your elbows and get nice and low and stable. The non firing palm exerts firm rearward pressure on the rifle.
There’s more to it, but that’s the biggest challenge you’re having now. Great job on the test
Enjoy.

All about those sights…

mail.google.com

By Cat Lindsay



At the last 2-hour weekly training class (MAGS Indoor Shooting Range), it was all about the sights.

I know there are alot of “point” shooters out there, which is fine shooting from retention from 0-5 yards, but if my arm is in lock-out, my eyes are looking for the sights!

After warm up drills (2 to the body, 1 to the head, then the two combined{failure drill}), we shot drills first with the strong hand, then switched to the off hand, making sure to keep the sights in focus during the transition (harder than you think!). Some shots we did on the same spot, some were from right to left, while some were from lower corner to upper corner. We did these drills from 3-10 yards away from the targets.

With shooting one-handed, the stance, grip, and lock-out stays the same as with shooting with both hands. There is a tendency to want to be too perfect with the shot, which leads to muscle fatigue, then slapping the trigger. As soon as any part of the front sight can be seen through the rear sight, on the target, the trigger needs to be released.

I occasionally turned on the safety while transitioning from right hand to left hand, so lost some time on some of the drills. If I ran empty, I reloaded one handed (release magazine, pinch gun between knees, reload, rack slide on belt). At the end of the night, we went back to both hands and it was so much easier!

Speaking of sights, I have been really liking the Trijicon HD Night Sights Mike installed 3 weeks ago. I love the big orange photoluminescent front dot and the “U” shaped back sight cutout. I find that I can pick up my sights quicker with the contrast. I did the one-handed drills with my Crimson Trace laser turned off and felt I didn’t lose much speed. The flat-fronted rear sight made racking the slide much easier, one-handed, as opposed to the slope-front one I had previously. The glow at night on my headboard is also very comforting. These night sights are well worth the cost.

So, the next time you’re on the range, take some time to work on sighted, one-hand drills. You never know when knowing this skill may come in handy for personal protection.