5.56 Timeline

A Van Orden ( Evaluators LTD.) Model 70

Yes. We are on one of my pet topics again. The Van Orden “Sniper” M70. Which was never a sniper rifle and was never bought from Evaluators LTD by the USMC to be used as sniper rifles in RVN. This is a myth that persists for a variety of reasons and I am going to revisit it later this week. But first, I got a rare treat. One of the specialized facebook groups for serious researchers of such things a lucky SOB posted this up a few days ago.

Above is a legit Van Ordan spec’ed model 70. Sold through his shop for use by the rifle team in the national matches. One of the ways you can tell is a lack of checkering on the stock and the profile itself. Again, I will go into this more later in the week. These guns were ordered up as Van Orden’s ideal configuration of what the USMC should have adopted as the official sniper rifle. He was not wrong either BTW.

The owner bought this at action for a price that makes me cry. This model tracks back to a two time winner of the matches. I won’t name him yet as it is still being confirmed to a certainty. On the left side of the receiver you can see the mount for the match iron sights used for the across the course national matches. I’m sure you noticed the 8X Unertl. This one is very noteworthy since it is a legit USMC contract 8X Unertl ( really a 7.8X) bought for use during WW2 and later used in Vietnam.

The windage and elevation turrets are blacked out and the return to battery spring is removed which is proper for a USMC Unertl. A lot of myth about the spring exists but the truth is USMC armorers wrongly believed sand from pacific beaches would get between the spring and scope and score the tube. That’s the truth and it is that simple. Without the spring a shooter had to manually pull the scope back into position after each shot. Snipers came up with several impromptu solutions to this like using inner tubes cut up.

This is a rare thing to see regular Joe stumble across and buy these days.

Below is some paperwork from Evaluators that came with a different rifle to give you an idea of the attention paid to the details.

PSA’s Pre-Bubba’ed AK47

PSA has a great deal for you AK guys. You can even get one custom made to look like bubba had his hands on it for a weekend of mild drinking.

You asked for it, you got it. The Palmetto State Armory Custom Series has taken the best American Made AK-47, the PSAK-47 GF3 and given it a unique Battle Worn Teflon finish to give this legendary rifle a unique appeal.

The PSAK-47 GF3 was designed from the ground up to be the standard in AK-47 rifles, utilizing all new precision manufactured parts. Thoroughly tested in development, we tortured tested to 10,000 rounds to ensure a quality product. Not to be satisfied with just a good AK-47, we kept improving and developed the PSAK-47 Gen3 Hammer Forged (GF3) rifle with a hammer forged bolt, carrier, and front trunnion.

The 4150 barrel is nitride treated for accuracy and durability and is pressed into a new hammer forged front trunnion to ensure the longevity AK-47s are known for.  The hardened steel 1mm receiver features a mil-spec style single hook trigger, and side rail mount. The front trunnion and bolt carrier are engraved with GF3 to designate the GF3 hammer-forged model. The rifle is finished with an enhanced aluminum upper & lower handguard with Picatinny top rail, Magpul Zhukov stock, and Magpul AK-47 polymer grip; Rifle ships with 30 round Magpul magazine (where allowed by law).


PSA Custom Series Battle Worn finish

Gas Nitride 4150 steel treated barrel

Stamped steel receiver

Hammer Forged Front Trunnion

Hammer Forged Bolt

Hammer Forged Carrier

Std. 800-yard rear sight leaf

Enhanced Aluminum M-Lok Upper/Lower Handguard with Picatinny Top Rail

Wow. Amazing. Whats that old chestnut about a certain type of something being born every minute?


I ran across this little piece over at tinfoil hat constant doom website extraordinaire, zerohedge. Sometimes there is some pretty interesting stuff there and this is one of those times. It’s amusing to look at these prices and the cost for a legally transferable Class 3 M16. I won’t mention the tax payer money spent to buy these originally since its so close to tax season.

In 2017, Statista put together an infographic about the price of an AK-47 on the black market and the weapon had an average cost of anywhere between $1,135 in Belgium and $2,100 in Syria. Calibre Obscura, a fascinating website and Twitter account devoted to research on arms in the hands of non-state groups, has now published data on the average price of an M16 in various countries.

Focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, the price levels are based on local sources, focusing on the M16A2 and A4 variants of the American assault rifle in late 2019. Those weapons end up on sale in a variety of ways from the Taliban capturing them from Afghan army and police units to those same security forces themselves deciding to sell their weapons to various groups. It is also likely that U.S.-manufactured weapons have been captured from Saudi forces in the Yemen conflict where they have subsequently gone on sale.

As the chart shows, perhaps the great arbitrage trade in the world is shipping M16s from Syria to Lybia… just be careful…

Infographic: The Average Cost Of An Illegally Purchased M16 | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Across the Middle East and North Africa, the gun has the highest average price in Tripoli where it is said to cost in excess of $12,000, though it is thought to be practically unobtainable there.

Elsewhere, it’s far cheaper, however, fetching between $2,500 and $3,000 in parts of Yemen.

In Helmand province in Afghanistan and Idlib in Syria, the weapon can be purchased for less than $1,000.

Silencers and Semi-autos – A Parable

Imagine that you have a friend who is ready to buy his first AR15. Instead of following any reasonable advise, they go to a gun show and buy a random AR from one of these fly by night companies no one has ever heard of before or will hear of again.

Then they have some issues. Not being the sort to just settle, they work them out. Now your friend goes online and is is an “experienced expert” on the AR15. They go into great detail on how you have to take the gas block off and open up the gas port with a drill to get the gun to be reliable. How you need to take a file and open up the back of the mag well so that magazines will seat correctly. How there are so very many things you need to do to make an AR15 a reliable combat worthy firearm.

You try to tell them that none of that would have been necessary had they bought the right AR15 to begin with, but instead they insist that this work needs to be done to ALL AR15s.

Wouldn’t that be pretty damned infuriating? In the good ol’ days you might punch a man in the face for being so obstinately wrong, but we are more polite than that now.

There are people out there who claim that you have to use an adjustable gas block with a silencer. That all silencers cause excessive back pressure. That you need to switch buffers or change the gas system when running a silencer on an AR15.

This isn’t a matter of someone buying a cheap junky silencer to put on a cheap junky rifle, this is a matter of compatibility. Someone can buy a top of the line silencer and throw it on a semi auto and run into issues because the silencer was designed with bolt actions in mind. It might be the best silencer to put on a bolt action, but no consideration was made as to back pressure with that design. So when they throw it on a semi-auto, suddenly they have an over gassed gun. Now this expert tells everyone that every silencer will cause an over gassed gun. No, your bolt gun silencer will cause an over gassed semi-auto.

I saw a post on a forum today where someone was wanting to suppress a standard M4 configuration AR15. They said that they knew that a mid length 14.5 would be better for being silenced (WTF did that come from? Someone show me the research that says that.) This person was worried if it would even work at all, or if they would have to get an adjustable gas system and tune the buffer weights, etc.

Fortunately several people responded that they had the same setup and didn’t have to change a thing.

Yes, all guns can be tuned and improved, and that isn’t what I am talking about. I’m talking about those loud mouthed know-it-all’s, that once tried to make a soup sandwich and failed, that now claim that all sandwiches are bad.