5.56 Timeline

The Winchester Model 72 ( A Boy And His Rifle Part V)

I picked this up last week. The Winchester Model 72 is one of the two Winchester vintage rimfires I have wanted for many years, The other being the Model 69A. Both come with peep sights and are essentially the same gun except for one thing. The 69 takes a detachable magazine, the same used by the Model 52 and Model 75 and the Model 72 uses a tube magazine.

For background I am going to let Dyspeptic Gunsmith fill in the background and add a few comments of his own.

“Production of the 72 started in 1939, and was a response to dealers wanting a “boy’s rifle” which was a .22 bolt action with a tubular magazine. Today, we all would ask “Why a tubular magazine over a detachable box magazine?” The Model 69 had a “clip” or detachable stacked magazine and preceded the 72. Why the tubular magazine?

Glad you asked. A DBM has a real problem trying to feed .22 Long Rifle, Long and Shorts interchangeably. With a tube magazine, you can stack .22 LR’s, Longs and Shorts in the tube on top of each other in any order you want, and then just cycle the bolt as you want. They all feed. They all go ‘bang’. They all extract and eject. They don’t all make the same noise, however. More on that later. You also cannot lose a tube magazine. It’s attached to the rifle. This is a consideration when you’re a father or uncle, buying a .22 rifle for a young lad who is prone to dropping things in the woods.

The 72 came with a 25″ barrel, and the barrel was screwed into the receiver (as I recall from one I’ve worked on). This was notable, because in the quest for cost-reduction in .22 rifle manufacturing, some gun makers of the post-WWII era would make the receiver be part of the barrel steel. ie, the barrel and receiver (which was a tubular receiver) were all machined from the same bar of steel. This can make a gunsmith look pretty damned silly when he tries to remove the barrel from the receiver, only to discover that won’t ever happen.

The 72’s were not serial numbered (as I recall), ( he is correct )so dating them might be a tad tricky. There were two models of the original 72 made – one with a LR chamber (in which you could use Long or Shorts as well) and a “gallery gun” which was .22 Short only. It was marked on the barrel as such. They had a magazine that ended a bit less than 8″ from the muzzle or the other, longer magazine that ended about 6″ from the muzzle. They were available with open or aperture rear sights.

Production was discontinued in 1941 as Winchester tooled up for WWII. Production resumed in 1946, and continued until the 72/72A were discontinued in 1959. I think over 161,000 of the 72/72A were made.

They’re plenty accurate for the original price of the rifle – a less expensive, “boy’s rifle” that was used for plinking, squirrel/rabbit hunting and the like. Rifles like the 72, when used with .22 Short ammo, were nearly silent. I killed all manner of raccoon pests with a 72 and Shorts/CB caps when I was a kid.

Now lets take a look.

Above you can see the excellent target type sights for the rifle. The rear fully adjustable rear peep and the hooded front post. Capable of some very fine shooting as opposed to the lame open style barrel mounted sights found on the majority of “boys rifles” from since the dawn of time.

Windage is adjusted by loosening the rear peep, this lets you slide it to the left or right. Not as nice as a redfield rear and takes a little trial and error to know how much to move it but it very workable. It’s more of a set it and leave it alone deal. I think adding a mark on the black piece with a file would allow repeat return of your zero once you set it. Elevation ins made with the small screw forward of the peep on top.

As you can see, it press against the receiver to move the sight up and away or to lower it. Very simple but not repeatable. But once it’s set, its set. The safety is seen on the right side .

The stock of the rifle feels like it should be on a centerfire rifle. This is back when they made them like they still gave a shit and took pride. It shows. The rifle feels like a target rifle. Like most “boys rifle’s ” from the day its realistically too big for a boy. Unless the “boy” is a 17 year old. That’s OK though. It makes it just right for adults.

I took it out and did some shooting to see what the zero was like and how it might group.

From 30 yards it did pretty good with Remington bulk standard velocity ammo. I will need to tweak the zero just a hair to get it dead on. Range dog was not impressed much though.

I will follow up with a part 2 in a few days once the weather allows me some time on a bench and we will see how my stock refinishing job turned out.

A critical look at the M1014/M4 Super 90

I am a fan of the M1014 aka M4 Super 90, enough of one that I have been wanting one for a long time.

If you made a list of pros and cons, the M4 Super 90 has many pros going for it. It is a proven gun, perhaps the semi-auto shotgun with more combat experience as the U.S. Military’s M1014 and as the U.K. military’s L128A1. It is known for reliability, and has shown it self to be fast in competitions like 3 Gun. Most importantly, it looks really cool. It is high capacity, at 7+1+1. The additional +1 comes from the ability to “ghost load” an additional shell onto the shell lifter to cram another round in the gun. It comes with really great Ghost Ring sights, an optics rail, and should go at least 25,000 rounds with out parts replacement. Like the Mossberg shotguns, it has a superior alloy receiver unlike the inferior steel receivers of the Remington 870 shotguns.

1 round in chamber, a full tube, and a “ghost load” round on the lifter.

People rarely talk about downsides to guns. What are the downsides to the M4 Super 90? First would be cost and weight. If someone was looking for a gun for 3-gun competition, they could get a tricked out M2 Super 90, or other guns for less cost than the stock M4 Super 90. The “ARGO” dual gas piston system on the M4 Super 90 add weight making the gun heavier than inertial driven shotguns. (On the plus side, of you are mounting lots of accessories, the M4 will run with all that extra weight on the gun)

Back to cost, the M4 Super 90 comes neutered from the factory. Reduced capacity, and the collapsing stocks are hard to find and even more expensive. It can cost many hundreds of dollars to configure a M4 Super 90 into M1014 configuration.

Personally, I think one of the most iconic parts of the M1014 is also one of the worst parts of the design. The collapsible stock is very expensive to buy, and major flaw. Benelli somehow managed to make a stock that is always wrong. Not only is it rare and expensive, and there are weird 1, 2, and 3 position versions, it adjust at an angle, making the cheek piece problematic.

Like most shotguns, the stock is overly long than what is ideal for many. As you collapse it, the cheek piece get higher and higher, preventing the use of the sights. Unless you have mounted an optic, the sights are unusable when the stock is collapsed. You collapse the stock on this for storage, not to fit you. The stock is also way too short when collapsed. If this was a rifle stock, people would complain about the tremendous amount of wobble in it, but somehow this is ok on an expensive shotgun.

Note how much higher the cheek piece is with the stock extended vs collapsed.

A very minor grip of mine would be the three dots on the sights. IMHO, the two biggest improvements of the M1014 over the military issue pump shotguns are the superior sights and that it is semi-auto.

This picture does not do it justice, but the M4 Super 90 comes with great sights. But being Ghost Ring sights, the white dots on the rear sight are centered around the Ghost Ring. Since you use the top of the white post. If you were to line up the dots you would be aiming high. I’m looking forward to trying this with slugs and seeing how much the difference in point of impact will be.

When people talk about about the M4 Super 90, usually one of the biggest selling points it the absolute reliability across all ammunition types. People love to say how the Marine Corps picked it because it can shoot less lethal loads and cycle them.

When I read that I was confused, because when I was in the M1014 wouldn’t cycle breaching or bean bag rounds. But now I read people talking about how the M1014 does.

Turns out, the USMC contracted a 3rd party company to modify and retrofit all their M1014 to work with light loads. If you buy a M4 Super 90, you don’t have the same gun that the USMC uses. In 2010-2011, SRM modified all the USMC M1014 shotguns to be able to cycle light loads.

So all this talk about how your M4 Super 90 can run anything is bullshit. For example, this commercial M1014 pictured above choked and malfunctioned on light target loads that function fine in a VEPR-12.

Oh, and despite the USMC spending time and money to do this retrofit to their M1014s, they still felt the need to turn their Mossbergs into modular breachers 6 years later with the MEK kits.

I had 4 malfunctions with this light target load in 9 rounds fired. Now, to be fair, this M1014 has a low round count and perhaps might break in more. Hopefully.

Most people don’t seem to like the stock controls on the Benelli M4 Super 90. Enlarged buttons for the safety, and bolt release. In the picture above a Taran Tactical extended button is installed.

Many aftermarket buttons are so very much larger than the little original bolt release button.

On this particular gun, pushing rounds into the magazine was very stiff to get the rim past the catch. I read that this is not uncommon in Benelli shotguns and people will modify the catch by polishing, bending it, or removing material around the two U shaped cuts in it. I don’t recall any of the M1014s I used in the Corps being like that, but that was also a long time ago that I last used a Benelli. I expect that will become easier with use.

I see people say this is the ultimate home defense gun. It is nearly 2 pounds heavier and 2 inches longer than a M4.

I like this gun, that is why I own one. But I believe that if you need or want a semi-auto shotgun, there are many cheaper options that would fit that need just as well. But if YOU want a M4 Super 90, and can afford it, get it.

It is a cool gun. I’ll be talking about mine more later.

There is one more topic I feel it is important to discuss. This is not a gun issue but a training issue. Semi-automatic shotguns have a different manual of arms than most all other semi autos.

On your average semi-auto pistol or rifle, you load the mag, cycle the action, and you are ready to go. On a semi auto shotgun like the Benelli, you can fill the tube, and cycle the action all the day long and you will not chamber a round. You need to hit the shell release to release a round from the tube onto the lifter in order to chamber a round.

There is a bolt handle, a safety, a shell release, and a bolt release. All of which have to be used in the proper order. Now those of you that are familiar with semi-auto shotguns are probably yelling at your screen that any idiot would find that easy. For me, it has been something like 5 years since I last used a semi-auto shotgun that worked like that. I had to read the manual.

I remember in training on the M1014, guys would be on the line, a whistle or firing command would be given and they would raise their gun and *CLICK*. They had failed to load it correctly.

Watch this Marine at the 18 second mark in this video. Again at the 40 second mark.

I’ll withhold commentary on other training issues shown in the video. But it goes to show that this guns manual of arms is not obvious to people not familiar with it. It takes training and practice.

BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle Revisited (Gen2)

Recently I was gifted a new Gen2 Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) Gunfighter Mod 4 medium charging handle, (stocking stuffer). The very first article I wrote for Loose Rounds was on the original BCM Mod 5 small and Mod 4 medium Gunfighter charging handles. see here – (http://looserounds.com/2012/06/09/bcm-gunfighter-charging-handle-guest-writer-duncan-larsen/)

I have been using the BCM Mod 4 charging handles for years and it is my go-to charging handle on all AR type platforms. I have not purchased the newer BCM charging handles since they modified and changed the design about two years ago (to the Gen2 design).

When I first opened the packaging and threw the new BCM Mod 4 into my new AR, I was surprised that the medium latch appeared to be a lot smaller than the older original Mod 4 charging handles. I was immediately thinking I might have to go with the larger Mod 3 charging handle because there might not be the same amount of latch surface I was used to running.

I pulled one of my older BCM Mod 4 charging handles and compared it to the new Gen2 BCM Mod 4. The new charging handle is a lot sleeker/compact and does not protrude out as far sideways or forward with the latch.

After running the new Gen2 BCM Gunfighter in the same manner I have used the older BCMs, I really see no functional/operational difference even though it is slightly smaller. I can still run the Gen2 medium with the flat/palm of my support hand or with my index finger and thumb grip. With a shooting glove it is even easier as you can be extremely aggressive with the charging handle. I would suggest gloves if you are training hard.   

The new serrated cuts in the back of the charging handle latch assist in the index finger and thumb grip, that I primarily use. The additional serrations provide a very positive grip and I can see it working well with a stuck case or having to aggressively charge the handle to clear the weapon or a malfunction that does not require mortaring your AR.  This is still enough latch to kick start the thing if you are unfortunate enough to have to do this.

I do not feel it is necessary to move up to the Mod 3 Large charging handle with the new Gen2 design. With the new lower profile of the updated Gen2 BCM charging handles, I do not feel I am losing anything function wise, but it would appear it is even more snag free on gear.    

Final Thoughts:

Now if you have one of the older BCM Gunfighter charging handles, do you need to switch it out for the new design? No. If you are getting a new AR and want to have the same function and size as the older BCM charging handles, stick with the same size in the Gen2 BCMs. Is the new design an improvement over the older charging handle? I believe it is. The BCM Mod 4 medium charging handle is still the best option for snag free and positive function compared to the other sizes. If you have a G.I. charging handle, upgrading to a BCM of any kind is a must IMO. The Mod 4 medium is the best all around size. I have seen them for under $40.00 dollars at several places. If AMBI charging handles are your thing, BCM has them as well.   


2019 Was a Bad Year for the “Only Cops Should Have Guns” Narrative

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

On December 29, an armed gunman entered the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas and shot two members of the congregation. Within six seconds, a third member of the congregation drew a weapon and shot the gunman dead.

The events were captured on live-streamed video, with the dramatic events — in the minds of many observers — highlighting the benefits of privately-owned firearms as a defense against armed criminals. Moreover, the gunman, who had a criminal history, obtained his gun illegally, and demonstrated one of the central pitfalls of the gun-control narrative: namely, that those with criminal intent are not easily restrained by laws controlling access to firearms.

Nonetheless, many media outlets were unable to bring themselves to admit that privately owned firearms in this case were the key in preventing a wider massacre. After all, had the congregation waited around for the police to arrive, it is unknown how effective a police response could have been. Nor is it clear that had the police arrived quickly, they would have immediately engaged the shooter or even engaged the right person.

These considerations were not sufficient to divert many media observers from their insistence that private gun ownership is helpful in situations like these. Both government agents and their media boosters continue to insist that even well-meaning ordinary citizens ought not be trusted with firearms and that what is really needed are “experts” with government-approved police training.

Elvia Diaz at the Arizona Republic demonstrated this premise well when she wrote :

The reality of Wilson’s heroism is a lot more complex. He wasn’t just an ordinary parishioner, as gun advocates may want you to believe. The church’s volunteer security team member is a firearms instructor , gun range owner and former reserve deputy with a local sheriff’s department, according to a New York Times detailed account.

In other words, he’s exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm. But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas.

And that’s terrifying.

To many people who aren’t left-leaning journalists, it is hardly “terrifying” that some other private citizens of unknown expertise were armed in the congregation. After all, these people never fired a shot once they saw the shooter had been incapacitated. None of them provided any reason to suspect they pose any risk to anyone else.

On the other hand, 2019 has provided plenty of reminders of what sort of “expertise” and heroism government-provided security forces offer.

In the Spring of 2019, the parents of victims of the Parkland school shooting are sued the Broward County school board and the sheriff’s office for failing to take timely action against the school shooter who killed 17 people at the school in February 2018. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel , police officers repeatedly sought to protect themselves rather than the victims in the school. An analysis of communications among law enforcement officers at the site of the massacre confirmed there were “at least two times a Broward deputy urges another officer to protect themselves, not confront the killer.”

Meanwhile, 2019 provided reminders police officers will shoot citizens dead in their own homes for no justifiable reason, as was the case with Atatiana Jefferson on October 12. According to multiple accounts the shooter — a now-former-cop named Aaron Dean — entered Jefferson’s private property unannounced in the middle of the night. He peered into Jefferson’s windows, and within seconds, the officer had shot Jefferson dead. Jefferson had been playing video games with her nephew.

Also in October, former police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison for unlawfully shooting Botham Jean in his own apartment. At the time, Guyger was a police officer returning home from work. She illegally entered the wrong apartment and promptly shot Jean — the unit’s lawful resident — dead.

If there is anything that ought to be “terrifying” to ordinary Americans, it is not the idea that some law abiding citizens might be carrying firearms. Rather, the far-more terrifying thought is the knowledge some police officers are so eager to murder residents in their own living rooms.

More Guns, More Crime?

These facts will no doubt fail to derail the usual media narrative that there are too many guns, and the police — the same people who shoot residents in their homes or cower behind cars when faced with real danger — will ensure public safety through weapons prohibitions and by generally “keeping us safe.”

Fortunately, the facts certainly offer little to support the idea that more legal gun ownership is a problem in terms of homicides.

According to 2019’s gun manufacturing data from the BATF, total gun production and importation in the US has increased significantly over the past twenty years. If we look at total guns produced in the US (not counting those exported) and added to total guns imported, we find new gun production increased from around 4.5 million in 1998 to more than twelve million in 2017.1 Over that same period, homicide rates decreased from 6.3 per 100,000 to 5.3. In fact, after years of rising gun production, the US homicide rate fell to a 50-year low in 2014. This correlation doesn’t prove more guns reduce crime, of course. But this relationship strongly suggests the benefits of increased gun ownership — namely greater self-defense capability on the part of private citizens — are greater than the potential costs.

Moreover, new data on homicides released in September 2019 shows the homicide rate in the US has fallen two years in a row since 2016, and is nearly down to half of the national homicide rates reported during the early 1990s.

Many states with weak gun-control laws are also among the states with the lowest homicide rates. For instance, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine — all of which have few gun restrictions — report remarkably low homicide rates. Other gun-permissive states like Utah, Iowa, and South Dakota all have homicide rates comparable to Canadian provinces, although we’re told Canada only has low homicide rates because of gun restrictions. Clearly there’s more behind the reality of violent crime than is suggested by the usual “more gun control means less crime” claims.

Many anti-private-gun-ownership activists continue to insist that only police officers and other government personnel ought to be carrying firearms, and that the police will protect the people from violence criminals. Yet, it’s unclear why the public ought to accept this rather strained claim. In 2019, police were repeatedly shown to endanger the public while pursuing their own safety. Meanwhile, the end of the year brought another case of private gun owners stopping a murderous gunman far more effectively than police ever could have. Nor was the Texas church case the only notable example we can recall this year. It is entirely possible, of course, that cases like these are not typical or representative examples of police behavior or what happens when armed criminal gunmen attack innocents. But there’s no denying the optics this year were bad for the pro-gun-control side. Faced with the choice of owning a gun for protection, or trusting in police for protection, many apparently continue to choose the former.

Conrad “Ben” B. Baker passed away yesterday.

If you don’t know who Ben Baker was, he developed many special items and program sfor Army Special Forces during Vietnam. Baker was the head of the CISO ( Counter Insurgency Support Office) based on Okinawa, Japan. CISO came up with most of the more famous and unique items used by MAVC SOG teams during the war.

Some of the inventions and items he purchased and/or helped to make:

Inventing Indigenous Rations: “Early in the war,” Baker said, “the Montagnards were getting the runs from U.S. rations. So I went over to Nam, Laos, talked to some key nutritionists there and put together indigenous rations, which consisted of precooked rice placed in a plastic bag, shaped like a tube. The rice I laced with Vitamin B because the ‘Yards had a vitamin defi‘ciency.” Baker went to Taiwan, got pre-cooked rice, then developed several rice seasonings, beef, ‘sh, squid and mutton, to name a few. When he went to the Navy Laboratory, “they told me it would take two to three years to produce it. That’s nuts,” Baker said. He went to a company, placed an order for 30,000 meals for “about a buck a piece.” By the end of the Vietnam War, Baker estimates that CISO had sent at least 66 million individual Indigenous Rations that were used by U.S. allies in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and other lo-cations. Highly respected 5th Special Forces Group Commander COL Robert Rheault “estimated that we may have used more than 80 million…. I’m not going to argue with the colonel,” Baker said.

Inventing “Eldest Son” ammo that exploded when used by enemy troops in their AK-47 or 81 mm mortar, killing or maiming the enemy. “Also, we had old PRC-10 radios,” said Baker. “Instead of getting rid of them, we packed them with C-4 and would leave the battery in it and drop it in enemy territory. When an enemy would squeeze the talk key, it would explode.”

Inventing the fi‘rst SOG Knife: “The ‘first model of it, I used a spring from a Jeep, due to its metallic strength. However, I didn’t like it and threw it into the ocean,” Baker said, “I used the stacked leather handle on it, that was an idea I got from my father’s Marbles Gladstone Skinning Knife…. My design of the fi‘rst seven-inch SOG Knife had a tilt upward edge to the blade for maximum penetration…. I designed it so the weight and balance made it a good throwing knife too. I believe (Green Beret Medal of Honor Recipient) SGM Jon Cavaiani told me he threw the knife at an NVA soldier and it killed him.” The ‘rst order of 1,300 SOG Knives went to Yogi Shokai, the Japanese trading company CISO worked with at that time.

Indig Rucks: “We invented the Indig Rucks because the things the CIA were using at that time were too big for the indigenous troops working with SF and the agency,” Baker said. All SOG teams used those rucks throughout the war.• Improved the jungle boots: “(At CISO) We tried to think ahead, we took trips to Southeast Asia to talk to the men in the ‘eld. We believed that it should be the man in the ‘eld who should determine what their troops need, not some fat-assed bureaucrat sitting behind some a desk at DoD or the White House. When they came out with jungle boots we put the metal plate in the bottom due to the gosh-awful punji sticks the SF men and their indig were encountering in ‘Nam – punji sticks that had been dipped in human excrement, to worsen the infection

Also, there were times that Baker or his staff would send experi-mental weapons to SOG recon teams for testing and opinions. For example, during 1968 at the top secret SOG base, FOB 1 in Phu Bai, CISO staff sent a gyro pistol and a large pump shotgun that ‘red the 40 mm round used in the M-79 grenade launcher. The gyro pistol was turned back, and the experimental pump was turned back after ST Idaho carried it on one mission. It had a bad habit of jamming while extracting the empty cartridge. When it worked, ‘five rounds could be ‘fired in less than a minute, which gave a six-man recon team a lot of ‘firepower, but a lot of extra weight to carry in the ‘eld.Last, but not least, “My name is on that damned Bolo Machete,” Baker said, spitting the words out of his mouth. “That’s a hunk of shit. Some damned general somewhere ordered someone to make it, they did, and because I put the wooden handle on it, my name is on it. That’s one I’m not proud of…. We went out and got better stuff like the Survival Ax Type (produced by Frank and Warren Inc.).”

excerpts from article written by John Stryker Meyer –James Bond had “Q.”SOG had Baker. Ben Baker. -2017