5.56 Timeline




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 www.mooremilitaria.com.


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.


Several years ago I ran across some stats and numbers  about shootings in New York City with the focus on the NYPD.  I recently ran across it again and thought I would share it here as a lesson. It should impress those who think the police will always be there to save the day and doubt the need for proper defensive skills.

The numbers are from Combat Tactics magazine 2008  compiled by NYPD statisticians.  Not all of the number are included, just what I felt was interesting or relevant. And, those that make a point for those whose goal is to train to protect themselves.


Shooting Statistics  NYPD  2005

123 Shootings.

166 officer involved

616 rounds fired total

17.3 shots fired per incident



The four types of shooting

Gunfights : when officers exchanged fire with non LE.  16 incidents, 13 percent

Other shootings vs subjects : when police fired at subjects who did not return fire.  43 incidents, 35 percent

Dog shots: when the LE shot at dogs. 32 incidents,26 percent

Accidental:  just like like it sounds, when the LE accidentally fires his gun.  24 incidents, 19.5 percent


Other: misc.  5 incidents, 4.1 percent





The Accuracy of the shots fired at engagement ranges.

Apparently the NYPD’s skill drops off considerably beyond arms reach.

0 to 7 Yards 

officers involved 7

number of shots fired 127

Hits  65

percentage of hits 51


3 to 7 Yards

officer involved 44

shots fired  155

number of hits 68

hit percentage 44


8 to 15 yards

officers involved 40

shots fired 205

number of hits 14

percentage of hits 7



16 to 25

officer involved 7

shots fired 93

number of hits 5

percentage of hits 5


Over 25 yards

officers involved 0

fired 0

hits  0

percentage of hits 0


Shots in incidents.


In Gunfights

total number fired 276

number of hits 23

percentage of hits 8 percent


Shooting vs. Subjects

total fired 196

number of hits 59

hit percentage 30


Against Dogs

shots fired 93

total hits 57

hit percentage 61


Accidental Discharges

Total number fired 25

total of hits 10

percentage of hits 40



total fired 22

total of hits 2

hit  percentage 9



Accidental Shooting Stats

Accidental shooting incidents 24

Total of officers who fired 24

total of shots fired 25

Total number of hits 10

Percentage of hits 42 percent

Shots fired per incidents 1.04

shots fired per officer per incident 1.04


Number of rounds fired in gunfights  276

Rounds fired in one sided gunfights 196

Rounds fired at Dogs 93

Accidental Discharges  25


other ( including suicide) 26



Percentage of hits in (2004)  20 percent       percentage of shots fired in (2004) 352

percentage of hits in (2005)   8 percent        percentage of shots fired in  92005) 616