BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle

Duncan Larsen AKA FailureDrill-P099 submitted this article.

 

Recently I was asked if I would do a review of two Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) Gunfighter charging handles for looserounds.com. This all came about after having numerous conversations with Shawn Thompson. We recently discussed the BCM Mod 4 medium Gunfighter charging handle. I have been using the BCM Mod 5 small charging handle for several years now and had recently purchase a BCM Mod 4. Shawn said he had used the BCM Mod 3 large charging handle and found it too large causing it to hang up on his gear.

Top View
Side View

I originally purchased the BCM Mod 5 because I did not want a latch that might dig into me or my gear. I had a lot of experience with the Badger Ordinance Gen1 square latch years ago when I was a police officer and patrol rifle instructor. I remembered during several rifle instructor courses, training days and SWAT trainings how the Badger latch would hang up on gear and dig into you hard. When purchasing one of the three sizes of the BCM Gunfighter I did not what a charging handle that was going to be overly large. The smooth profile of the BCM Mod 5 charging handle appealed to me.

Grip on standard AR-15 charging handle
Grip on BCM Mod 5 charging handle

The BCM Mod 5 has been great. The BCM Mod 5 latch is slightly larger than a standard AR15/M16 charging handle latch. I have always used my support hand, with my index finger and thumb to work the charging handle. The BCM Mod 5 gave me just a little more grip surface over the standard latch. For someone who really wants an as close to standard size latch with just a little more surface area to grab, the BCM Mod 5 might be for you. With the BCM Mod 5 you will not have to worry about it hanging up on gear or digging into you. But, when I think about why I purchase the BCM Mod 5, it was because I had a hangover from that huge Badger Ordinance latch. I was being hyper sensitive about a charging handle that was going to hang up and dig into me as I was moving or transitioning to a sidearm.

Top view of the BCM Mod 5 charging handle
BCM Mod 5 (top)
BCM Mod 4 (bottom)
BCM Mod 5 (left)
BCM Mod 4 (right)

With my next charging handle purchase I decided I needed to give the BCM Mod 4 a try. Wow I sure am glad I did. I was surprised to see it was just slightly larger than the BCM Mod 5. For as large as it looks it still does not dig into my chest or hang up on my gear as bad as other latches. I won’t say that it’s not going to hang up on some gear, but I find it is not as frequent. I think part of this is due to the angle of the latch. As far as function, for me it is the same as the BCM Mod 5, with the technique I use. As it is slightly larger you get that peace of mind of a firm grasp of the latch. For someone who uses the blade of the support hand to charge the handle it is superior. You can fully charge the handle aggressively with or without gloves. I would suggest gloves if you are training hard. The smaller BCM Mod 5 just is not up to the blade of the hand charging. I just can’t get a good, full, aggressive charge on the BCM Mod 5 with the blade of the hand technique.

Using the thumb and forefinger to work the BCM Mod 4
Using the palm to work the BCM Mod 4

Now that I have run both of the BCM Gunfighters for a while I find the BCM Mod 4 is my personal favorite. Both BCM Gunfighters will serve you well but, the BCM Mod 4 holds a slight advantage over the BCM Mod 5 for positive aggressive use. If you are going to spend the money on a BCM Gunfighter for a patrol, entry team or home defense rifle, I would go with the BCM Mod 4. Your just getting more bang for the buck. Either way a BCM Gunfighter charging handle is a must have piece of gear for a serious fighting rifle .

Duncan Larsen.

Loosrerounds on the Web

In case  you came to this site through google or by chance, the blog was referenced in a recent New York Times front page article about CCW clothing.  This drew quite a bit of attention to our little blog.  After this happened our friends over on Tactical Gear news  talked to me about it and about the blog.  If you never been to that website you should give it a look. They have some good stuff going on over there and its better then a lot of other so called  gun related news websites.

www.tacticalgear.com/news/ccw-fashion-firearms-a-chat-with-gun-blogger-shawn-thompson/

There is a link to the article featuring me and talking about looserounds. And of course you can explore the whole website form there.

Like Looserounds  tacticalgear.com reviews  clothing and gear (of course)  and features video reviews and a lot of other cool stuff on training, guns and the usual things that fill all or thoughts while we should be working.  Of course make sure you come here first but then check them out.

Home made Rifle Tripod. cheap precision

Bipods are great.  I love them. Years ago  I when I was under the wings of two older gentlemen who had become accomplished highpower and benchrest  shooters, I was told that there was no need for them. That  if I laid prone the weeds or grass would obscure the shot and if I was in any other positions I could find something to rest on  anyway. Like a fence post, tree limb, mother in laws back etc.  And I was told rifleman used a sling to shoot with.  I found this odd coming from a BR shooter that used a rest  when not in the field but thats another story.

Of course years later and a lot of rounds later  after college I had enough money to buy a harris bipod. Once i had it, I could not see how I ever lived without it.  I believe firmly that rifleman should know how to use a sling. but, I also think to not used ever method of making yourself as steady as possible to make a precision shot is simply foolish.   To me a sniper, no matter how accomplished, that has a chance to use a bipod and a rear bag or even a front and rear bag and does not is not the kinda guy I want taking a shot  a inch past my head. It is not cheating.  Cheating wins fights, not honor and fair play.

With this in mind I had seen camera tripods modified for years to be used in a myriad of sniping situations and instantly saw the brilliance of this simple rig.  Lately after seeing more and more of the expensive camera tripods being used for the Larue OBR and the adapters to make them  work together I got thinking about it again.  Where we shoot it is often covered in knee high grasses during the warmer months.  This makes it hard to get a shot at a coyote laying down and there is no  handy tree branches or fence posts to use while standing up as I had been told years ago there would be.

I lusted for the   more elaborate setups for a while  but of course the price is pretty daunting. So I decided to use the my usual method of making something I want.  And that is to get my Dad to help. He is of the generation that can do anything when almost nothing to work with.  I am an idea man where my Dad is the one I go to that can actually make something of my crazy ideas. So together we  were able to come up with a  simple but highly effective  tripod.

A trip to the local flea market and  8 bucks later, I had a very nice used camera/video tripod  that was completely adjustable in every way and very high quality.  It can be adjusted to be very short and tall enough to use standing  with plenty of room left over  for more vertical adjustment. The top will swivel and rotate and can be locked. The arm or moving the top fixture can also be swapped for a lefty or righty.

After getting the tripod, A half of a PVC pipe was  secured with screws and epoxy. Then to make sure the forearm would be snug I glued on foam padding. This made a nice little rest without adding any weight.  After it was dry I used krylon to  subdue it with tan and OD green so it would not be shiny black and silver.

After everything was done I had to test it a few days later to make sure it was stable enough.  I was not worried about stability when low to the ground, but when it is high up in the air thats when wobble starts.   After taking it to the usual place and shooting it from a variety of heights and angles  i have to pronounce it a success.  I was able to hit skeet out to 300 yards using it and my rifle.  It may not sound like a big deal but to do this while standing straight up is pretty nice.  It is not as steady as bipods in prone and I don’t think I could make hits every time on a man sized target  past 700 yards when fully extended but thats OK.   No one takes shots at people shooting back at them from a full exposed standing position unless you are in a hollywoood action movie.   As steady as it is even when at its lowest setting i would not use it for zeroing.  The more the gun weighs  of course the more it helps steady things but it has no way to support the firing and alternate killing hand when shooting.  These are pretty big factors for precision and its a drawback with a tripod this high.  When  used to a tripod locked down with a rifle in it, the thing can pull off some amazing hits  and give some serious versatility  but nothing will beat sandbags and all the traditional stuff for zeroing and pure accuracy work.

But if you can find a good used tripod I say give making one of these a try. They are not hard to make and the components are not expensive. Why not add something that can fill a need like the tripod can. At least if you want something more specialized or better quality you can make one to try out if you really want/need this tool before you spend huge amounts of jack on the higher end  models.

Remington XR-100 thoughts

The Remington XR100 was trotted out a few years ago after big green saw that the .204 ruger was a hit.  The guns heart is actually the old XP100  piston action. A scaled down bolt gun action in a bolt action pistol chambering the .221 fireball. Which the fireball is a wonderful round for varmint hunting and wildcating.  The XP100 was well thought of by serious boltgun-pistol shooters it was ahead of its time in a lot of ways.

The 204 ruger was developed by Hornady and ruger  from the older .222 magnum  round.  If you care and  can not find brass like me when it first came out, you can neck down 222 mag brass the fire form it in your 204 chamber then  full length size. No need for that these days, but it can be done if you get some 222 mag brass really cheap.

The 204 is a 20 caliber round that fires a 32 to 45 grain bullet and velocities that rival the 220 swift but with less barrel burning and pressure.  The 204 compared to the 17 remington has less fouling, less pressure, longer case life and longer range all with better accuracy.  The 204 usually has  around a 4200 fps muzzle velocity  but can be loaded a little hotter wit handloading.  The 17 remington is the closest caliber to compare to the 204 when it comes to terminal effects on varmints. With the 17 you either get a dead animal with not a mark, or immediate disassemble of the target. The 204 is always impressive on the target. Crows look like a grenade went off inside a feathered pillow and the flatter trajectory of the .204 allows dead on aiming to ranges that you would not believe if you are used to 22.250s and .223s.

The XR-100  is  the same action as the xp100 pretty much, but thats where it ends.  The Rifle comes with a laminated stock with a thumbhole grip that feels great in the hand. I was never a thumbhole stock fan but this is nice. The barrel is free floated  and the fore arm has the cooling slots. I have not clue why because it is a single shot bolt action and it would be real work to heat it up enough to really need them.   The stock is  sadly not bedded in any way which is typical for remington in those type stocks. It does not effect the accuracy of the gun in any practical way though.

The gun using my handload of Vit powder and  a 32gr Vmax shoots 1/2 MOA to 3/4 MOA depending on me. One thing I notice is people tend to  think their groups are worse when looking at the results of the 204 on paper. The holes are smaller so the space between holes in the group sometimes makes some people mistakenly think its not shooting up to par.  On the surface it can look so so until they stop and think about the size of the holes and measure the group. A 3/4 MOA 100 group with a 20 cal looks horrible when shown beside a 3/4 MOA group from a 308.

I usually zero the .204  so I can hold dead center of a crow out to 300 yards and they have yet to let me down. That is the real benefit of the round to me more so then its terminal effects. It is easy even for a beginner to use  since they have little experience judging distance and using hold.

The XR100 comes with  the standard remington 700 trigger but it is adjusted to be very very light. Some feel less then 3 ponds and break like a GI Joe action figures thumb. This makes the gun a pleasure to shoot when you out good glass on it and consider its accuracy and trajectory.  Opening the bolt shows the guns  solid no magazine action. The gun is single feed. This is not a big deal for what it was meant for  but some people would want a repeater.

The gun has a  leupold VX-II 6x-18x scope on it. This scope with the target turrets has long been a favorite of mine when it comes to none tactical uses. It is attached with leupold bases and rings.

I have some strange habits when varmint hunting that some find odd but I am always trying to make it easier to hit at long range but not have to carry a lot of stuff with me.  I have other uses for a back pack and if I need something out of the pack to help me usually the time has passed for the shot by the time I get it out and in play.  One of my little tricks is to keep a caldwell rear bag attached to either my belt  or a strap by 550 cord so it can not get lost but it is always there when I need it and has freedom to be adjusted. Since this gun has a thumb hole stock I looped the cord around the hole and kept it with the gun. It worked out a lot better then I imagined. When I move it is always with the gun and I wrap the extra cord around the stock. This is not the kind of rifle you are running around with over mountains or hanging by a 3 point sling so this works nice. And its already with the gun if I see a shot and I need to just grab the gun and get ready fast before the shot passes.

Bag is filled with  foam beads so it weighs nothing but works as great support.

I always try to keep a simple set of bushnell laser range finders with the gun so I can get a fast reading if I am in land I am not used to estimating range  in.

And like all of my working varmint guns I have a set of harris bipods. This rifle has the BR model which although is not the best all around model, is my favorite if the grass is not too high.  The leupold sunshade is also something to consider when trying to nail crows that are smarter then your mother in law. Depending on the sun position, a little flash is all it takes for a crow to go into counter sniper mode.

The XR100 is a nice target/varmint gun and the 204 is a wonderful killer that can make you look like a better shot then you deserve. If you can find this combo and want a varminter, this is a good choice if the price is right.  I have for years been a 17 remington fan but dumped it as soon as I got to work with the 204 ruger.  Sure it does not have the performance and range as my 243 WCF or the complete familiarity of the 5.56  but it is worth having in every ones arsenal. And as far as varminting goes there is few things coyote sized or smaller it can not take.

Gear Tree/ PC Stand

A lot of people have a ton of tactical gear with no decent way to store it. It is hard to find hangers that will support the weight of plates and mags already loaded plus all the extras.  After seeing a few versions of this handy system me and my Dad put a couple of them together ourselves to hang gear on. It keeps it ready and not tangles up.

The first is the one I keep my TAG  Banshee on.

It holds the Banshee loaded with plates and armor, three 30 round mags and 3  ten round 1911 mags.  Also  it holds my warbelt with x2 ar mags, 1 1911 mag my pistol holster, IFAK and dump ouch and GPO pouch.  On top rests my ACH MICH helmet. When making them if you want it to hold a hat or helmet you have to remember to have the main support be tall enough to hang the head cover on.

The beauty is you can make them as tall and wide as you want. And they are strong enough to hold every bit of gear you own if  the gear has a way to hang off of it.  It does not cost much to make them either since all you need is a few 2x4s and some paint and nails.

Be sure to make the base well enough to keep the stand balanced when loaded down.

The base is the one part  that you can not make too small. But you do not need to make it huge.  Make it big and you can always trim it down. We always just make them a little bigger then we think we will need just to be safe.

The second lacks the helmet stand but holds a full riflemans kit MOLLE II FLC and a Source WXP. This is quite a bit of weight but the stand handles it with ease. This one was made a little smaller but with wider “shoulder” so to keep the weight even across the vest.

On a side not the MOLLE II FLC is an excellent fighting kit that is often over looked.  they can be found in coyote, ACU, Woodland and DCU all over the web at very affordable prices. They are made my gov contractors for the military> They are not  the coolest new stuff but they can take a ton of abuse and hold more then you can stand to carry.  They do not hold armor but can fit over armor carriers just fine and the vest area is  mesh so it is much cooler then a lot of chest rigs. it can also be configures as a chest rig as well as the vest system.  I will do another full article on the FLC later.

The only downside is the gear tree does not easily fit into a closet or hide as well, but it is a safer way to store you armor and it is always ready for you to don in a hurry. Nothing gets tangled and your gear is not laying in a corner getting peed on by the family cat. Another bonus is if airs out and drys faster when wet or sweaty with your manly funk.