5.56 Timeline

S&W Model 19-5 PawnShop Find

Every now and again you can walk into a pawn broker and come across some nifty little pieces for dirt cheap. Last summer I was in the local gunstore/pawnshop with my Dad and he saw this little S&W and asked me to buy it for him. I couldn’t say no to him so I did end up buying it. He carried it in his tackle box when fishing a few times then when he became to ill to even go fishing anymore, it ended up back with me.

As you know, I’m not much of a revolver guy and I still struggle to shoot them well. Even with all the helpful tips from commenters with more experience and love for the 6 shooter. Shooting nothing by the 1911 for 34 years will make a DA revolver trigger seem like hell. I shot this one DA from bench and bags from 20 yards to do my best with it. Loads were a couple different Federal loads of 357 magnum. I feel I did pretty good considering me and DA revolvers are like a monkey doing a math problem.

The after market safari-land larger grips made the gun easier to shoot for me. I loathe the tiny factory wood grips these guns usually have. I’m guessing I’m not alone in that. These are pretty comfy for me though the wood doesn’t soak up the full power magnum rounds recoil very well. The blued finish on the gun is still ( not NRA grading) excellent. Those older Smiths did have some handsome finish. The adjustable sights was one of the main selling points to make me agree to buy it. They are easy to use and see. No surprise there since S&W has been using them since dirt was young.

It’s a pretty neat little gun for a used pawn shop gun find. What I will do with it I have no idea. Probably trade it in on another 1911 some day.

Optic Of The Week : NightForce NXS 5.5-22X56mm

NightForce optics need no introduction or explanation, everyone above 5 years old knows who they are and how good they are. So lets get to it.

The NXS is a pretty big optic. But you get a lot for that size. Now its no doubt considered old and past its prime compared to new designs coming out nearly ever month, it’s still first class in my opinion.

Magnification:5.5 – 22 x
Tube Diameter:30 mm
Reticle Focal Plane:Second Focal Plane (SFP)
Illumination Color:Red
Eye Relief:3.9 in
Exit pupil:2.5 – 10.2 mm
Adjustment Type:MOA
Adjustment Range:100 MOA
Field of View, Linear:4.7 – 17.5 ft at 100 yds
Length:15.2 in
Weight:32 oz

AS the specs from NF say above, the NXS turrets adjust in 1/4 MOA clicks. I know its “obsolete ” to use MOA instead of Mils now a days but I like it. I been using 1/4 adjustments for 30 years, I am comfortable with it, I know it and it works very well for me. The turrets can be loosened and reset at zero like most modern tactical scopes.

The left side parallax knob also functions as the illumination control for the reticle. You pull out to turn it on and push it back in to turn it off. The cross hairs light up red but are not day time brought. There is no brightness control though it can be done, I wouldn’t really mess with it with out much care.

The reticle is the now discontinued NP-R1 reticle. ” 1 MOA elevation spacing and 2 MOA windage spacing are ideal for precision long range shooting, benchrest and all-around use. The fine reticle subtensions are effective for rangefinding objects of various sizes. NP-R1 reticles in Nightforce 5.5-22x, 8-32x and 12-42x NXS models show 20 MOA scale below centerline (at left). In the 3.5-15x, an additional 10 MOA scale below center is indicated on the reticle. “ I find it to be very useful and it’s just what I wanted for what I use the optic for. Not as sexy as current Xmas tree crosshairs but perfect for me.

The rear power ring is knurled for easier gripping. The entire rear turns with the power ring to make it even easier. That is the one thing I would change if I could. I rather the power ring turn and nothing else. But I got over it pretty quick.

I can’t recommend the NXS enough. Howard can tell you, I wanted one for years. I have not be disappointed. They are tough, repeatable, super clear glass and come in a variety of reticle choices. They can take a helluva lot of punishment and shrug it off. As much of a Leupold man as I am, I hold NF in the same regard. it is a bit of a more specialized optic though, so make sure you know what you are going to use it for, It’s not something you stick on an M4 for general do it all use.

Optic of the week: Trijicon TA31I Israeli issue

I came across something I had to pick up. Fortunately I’ve been selling off odds and ends I don’t use so I had a few extra bucks.

At first glance, it looks like any other 4x magnification dual illuminated ACOG.

But the markings are a little different.

I’n the past I’ve seen pictures of the Israelis using TA01NSN ACOGs that have a crosshair with bullet drop chart (BDC). Later pictures show a dual illuminated model. I had just figured they were using TA31F scopes or similar. Turns out they custom ordered a model. It has markings specific to them and a custom reticle.

After getting one of these surpluses scopes, I installed some adjustment caps and a mount that I had laying around. I suppose it helps that I am an ACOG junkie. I threw it on one of my rifles Saturday for test firing.

Adjustments appear to be the standard internal 1/3 MOA. Operation is just like any other older 4x ACOG.

The reticle is a dual illuminated donut. There is a BDC out to 500 (meters I would wager), and horizontal lines. I find these lines quickly draw the eye to center of the scope, and I think this reticle would be rather fast for quick shooting.

I have yet to be able to get a copy of the manual for this model, so I don’t know what the markings and subtensions are. I’ll update this post when I find out.

The Tritium is completely dead on these surplus optics. I wonder if it was removed before they were brought into the US to aid in importation. I imagine it was probably quicker and easier, maybe cheaper, to replace the optics verses having them rebuilt, so that is why these likely have been surplussed out.

M261 Conversion Kit

At one time the US Military used conversion kits for training with the M16 rifle at reduced range. A cost saving measure no doubt. My brother was in the Army National Guard in the 80s and told me many times of them shooting their M16A1s at reduced range targets using the M261 rimfire conversion kit.

You will still see these turn up for sell online and gun shows etc. Now a days there are a variety of conversion kits on the market and just as many that have come and gone. CMMG makes one, Spikes made one, Colt even made one back in the day. The M261 was the one of the main adapters used by the military though.

Using it is as simple as it gets. You take your BCG out of your Ar15 and put this one in. Even AOC could manage it with a little help.

The magazines consisted of 10 round inserts that went into the standard USGI magazine. You just pushed them down inside like you would if you were loading 556 rounds.

pretty simple but at the same time you had to get them in just right to work

I would show you pictures of the inserts but I don’t have access to them. Instead the kit was used with the after market Black Dog Machine magazine. It works so so, has a bolt hold open and offers more ammo than 10 rounds. I have had less than great luck with BDM mags with a colt conversion kit but I won’t recommend them to you.

The adapter goes into the upper and into the chamber of the gun. The position that goes into the chamber is its own .22 long rifle chamber. It of course then uses the .22 caliber rifle barrel to fire 22 caliber bullets.

Once in the gun, you can close the dust cover and everything functions more or less like it would normally.

The kit as it comes for military use did not have a bolt hold open. The black dog machine mag does though to release the bolt the mag must be removed, It doesn’t function like normal. But if you want a hold open you got it. In some form anyway.

So how does it shoot? Not too bad. You won’t have very good reliability with standard velocity ammo. The twist rate will matter. 1/7 twist is a bit fast for 22 rimfire and the chamber in a chamber isn’t exactly match. it is great for plinking though and if you put this in an older 1/12 twist barrel you will get better accuracy. I have found the M261 needs a very light coat of oil. The ones I have used over the years need oil to work reliably. Too much and it won’t work. Too little and it won’t work. It’s a weird Goldilocks zone. Also, high velocity ammo is a must i you want it to work every time.

I fired this one in an M16A2 Colt upper at 50 yards and 100 yards using the iron sights off a rest. I did not bother to “zero” the gun for the kit so its a little off, but you can see the accuracy potential. The non-stop thunderstorms this summer ended further testing. But we will revisit this later this week.

two groups shot at 50 yards
100 yard group

I don’t recommend you buy one of these kits. They are finicky and a bit of a PITA. They are neat little bits of cold war history but thats about it. There are better kits and the S&W MP22 is faaaaaaaaar better if you want to shoot 22LR in an AR and they have real bolt hold opens and function identical to a center fire AR15 as far as fire controls , manual of arms etc. And they have proper 22LR barrels, chambers and twist rates. We will be comparing a couple kits to a MP22 later this week to see how much better it is.

Optic of the Week: 1P29 Tulip

1P29 Tulip, AKA UPO-1 is a Soviet era 4x scope based off the Trilux/SUIT scope.

TexasZen has a great write up on them over on his site RussianOptics.net. Here is the 1P29 page.

But who cares about his opinion, here is mine:

I had been wanting to get a scope for my 5.56×45 SLR-106FR AK for a while. Wasn’t sure what I wanted to get, but this was one of the optics I was thinking of. When I went to order the PERST-4 Laser from IvanTactical, I decided to order this as well. It came straight from Russian in 7 days.

The scope came nicely boxed and in a canvas? gear bag.
The scope came wrapped up to protect it (partially unwrapped in these photos). It also came with a manual, adjustment tool, lens cloth and some caps.

The 1P27, sometimes called the UPO-1 for the commercial market slides right on to your rifles side rail and locks on. AK side rail scope mounts tend to be looked down upon by western shooters, but it is a simple system that just works. Although, it can make optics bulky.

My first thought about the scope is that it seemed a good bit larger and bulkier than I expected. But it is older tech. If you are really wanting the best fighting optic for an AK, you should be buying a newer western optic.

An inverted post provides the aiming point in the 1P29. Tritium illuminates the tip during low light conditions. The tritium in mine is rather dim. Some people have figured a way to replace the tritium in these optics. If you buy one of these optics, don’t expect the tritium to be bright enough to be useful. I had forgotten that these were illuminated, so I was surprised when I saw it glow dimly in the dark.

On the right side, there range finding reticle based off a 1.5 meter height. This is kind of odd as most of that style that I know of use a 1.7 meter height. On average, males tend to be between 1.6 and 1.8 meters tall. Hmm, maybe these were calibrated for shooting women? Might be for vehicles, but still an odd choice for height. Some hunting calibrated range finders use a 1 meter height. So many of the classes I took in the Corps tried to teach us to range find the enemy off the height of a Humvee, and I always asked why the enemy had Humvees and the instructors wouldn’t answer me. So I dunno.

The optic is clear, but has some noticeable fish eye effect. This seems pretty common in Russian optics.

The scope sits high enough to easily use the iron sights under it. The eye piece is centered over the rifle, but the objective lens is offset to the left.

There is a cam, with knobs on each side of the optic ranging from 400-1000 meters in 100 meter increments. In the picture above it is set to the 1000m setting. When I took it out of the bag, this adjustment was extremely stiff. After turning it a few times, it can be adjusted stiffly. No concern of it accidentally being turned. The cams are calibrated for 5.45×39 or 7.62x54R.

We tend to take for granted the idea of center of mass being the center of chest. I’ve seen something when you tell someone center of mass, they assume a point closer to the belt line. The Russians like to do something similar. They use a 400m battle sight zero so that an individual can aim at the targets belt line and know that they will hit the torso anywhere from 0-400m. The people I’ve told this too in person seem to find it odd, but it isn’t really that dissimilar to our militaries 300m zero. If I’m not mistaken, the AK74 400m zero puts the impact about 9 inches high at 100m, and 14 inches high at max ordnance.

I am using a 5.56, so my intent is to zero at 100 yards and hold over for other distances. But I started at 25 yards.

Windage is adjusted by a screw on the right side. CCW for Left, CW for Right.

H (CW) for Down, B (CCW) for Up. When I fired my first few shots, the impact was rather high. The dial was set to about 9.5, so I dialed it down to 4 and that brought my impact close to my point of aim.

There are no clicks, and the adjustment seems rather coarse. I don’t know much each adjustment is, and was fortunate that my random guess got my close to where I wanted to be. I’ll fine turn this zero at longer distance next time I use this scope.

Shooting off the bench with this easy. Rapid fire offhand felt slow to me. That may be more from my lack of muscle memory with the AK over the design of the scope.

If you were looking for a scope for serious fighting use, I would recommend getting something newer. But this is a proven functional fighting scope. It will get the job done if you need it too.