Category Archives: Reviews

Our thoughts on an item.

Federal Gold Medal 73gr Berger .223Rem & Colt Accurized Rifle

Several months ago I  reviewed the Colt  accurized rifle ,the CAR HBAR ELITE as it is  also named,  and said I do a follow up post about how it shoots and further ranges.     So while out this week  testing the new Federal Gold Medal  556 load using the Berger VLD 73 gr. bullet I killed two birds with one stone.

The new GMM load has come out alongside the very popular 77gr Sierra  bullet loaded loading.  Berger has been around a long time but  until relatively recently, if you weren’t a handloader you may not have heard about them.      Berger has been making very accurate and innovative bullet designs for bench rest shooting, high power and varmint hunting for a long time.   It was  a wonder it took as long as it did before some company started using those bullets in a factory load.

The new gold medal load is loaded to 223mm pressures and will feed through AR15 magazines.  Cases are the federal match cases with the bluish water proofing sealant.   The bullet is the “open tip” match hollow point boat tailed.     The Colt has  a marking of “1/9” on the  barrel but don’t let that give you the impression that these will work in your other brand 1/9 twist barrel. The reality is the Colt barrel more closely measures 1/8.5  twist.  So before spending a lot of money on this ammo or buying those bullets, take a careful measure of your barrel twist.  This is easy enough to do with a cleaning rod, a sharpie and a tape measure.

I shot the ammo at 500 yards using a NRA 200 yard bullseye target.

A full 20 rounds was fired at the target for a record group after sighter shots.    I can’t offer up more than one targets because  conditions and light started to change and I was afraid it woud become a matter of me fighting wind and light as opposed to trying to shoot in conditions to give results  one could look at without having to determine how much was error from wind, light or shooter.  I hope the group gives an idea  of what the ammo is capable of as well as the HBAR ELITE.      I ran out of time and light before I could shoot the same ammo in a MK12 SPR.

Optic of the week: Matech BUIS

The Matech sights that come from Colt have the Picatinny marking.  I have not seen this marking on these sights from other sources.

Some time back, I’m not sure when, the U.S. Military adopted the Matech Back Up Iron Sight (BUIS) as the new rear sight for the M16A4 Modular Weapon System and the M4/M4A1 MWS. That could lead one to believe that this was the best, most durable, combat ready rear sight around. Boy would you be wrong if you thought that.

Outside the military, many people have different desires for what they want out of the BUIS. Some people want a sight that locks in place and is as solid as a bank vault, those people tend to like the Troy sights. Other people want cheap, so they go with the Magpul BUS. There are a few sights that are adjustable for range with a micrometer type adjustment such as the KAC 2-600m BUIS.  There are a wide variety of features available out there, and the Matech has a pretty unique combination of them.

The main draw to the Matech is that is had a lever on the side for changing the distance setting.  This lets you quickly set the sight for settings between 200 to 600 meters, but you can not make fine adjustment for range.

An annoyance of mine is when I can not find detailed information about a product.  I know this sight was designed for use with M855 on both the M16A4 and the M4/M4A1 Carbines but I have not been able to find out what the calibration on the adjustment is.  It might have been set for the 14.5 inch barrel, or a 16 inch barrel, or the 20 inch rifle.  It might be a blended adjustment meant to be close enough for the rifle and carbine.  We just don’t know.  But in any event, it should at least keep you on a Echo Target (40″x20″) out to 600 meters.

There is a line (with out a notch to lock it in position) between the 300 and 400m marks for zeroing a M16A4 at 25m.  When zeroing a M4 at 25m leave the sight on the 300m mark.

The sight locks down, but it does not lock in the up position.  This was chosen as to allow it to move should the rifle be dropped.  Sights that lock open can be more likely to break when locked up.  Unfortunately these sights tend to wear out and stop locking in the down position.  Countless discussion and youtube videos can be found about this.

For example:

Downsides to the Matech BUIS are:

  •  It is huge, much larger than most other BUIS.
  •  If you over tighten the clamping screw and bar it will break!  Snug it up and tighten 1/4 turn past that, no more than that.
  •  You are suppose to replace the screw that is used to hold it on if it is removed from the weapon.  Most of us won’t have multiple screws laying around.
  •  It wears out!  The rear aperture latch wears out and will not stay latched down.

Now I wouldn’t say it is a terrible sight, but I do not recommend buying one.  If you already have one I wouldn’t bother to replace it unless it breaks or wears out.  Just make sure you check the distance setting on it before you shoot.

The Galil

After the Six Day War, Israel  decided all the FALs they had been buying and using weren’t all that great after all.  Too heavy, too long, too unreliable!  When the other guy is using an AK47 and you are standing in the desert holding a FAL  and looking the  much handier and lighter gun  the other guy is using   you can understand why the next time around many opted for an Uzi with longer barrel over the FAL.

All those AK  made an impression on the Israelis because it wasn’t long before they decided the FAL wasn’t for them.  I am not going to rehash the history o the Galil, but I will say  the gun was made as a more of less “perfected” AK ( it isn’t) with some ideas from several other popular current service rifles.  You can watch  the developer talk about it in the video below.

The Galil has sterling rep in some places and it seems to be one of those much loved rifles that many of the people who think really highly of has never really even seen one.  With that in mind  lets take a look.

The Galil does have some features that I think are improvements over the AK.  You can see above bolt handle for instance.  It curves up and above the receiver making it possible to charge the weapon with the alternate killing hand without having to do the typical gymnastic required of the vast majority of AKs.  It also make it a bit easier on the back if you have the rifle slung over the back for whatever reason. It is nice not having the  handle jabbing you.    It is a good idea but I find it a little too stubby to use if you have on winter gloves and if you reach over the top and have optics mounted you are right back to the usual AK type manual of arms. Good idea for the 70s, a wash nowadays.  That luggage carry handle is also questionable when it comes to real usefulness.  The magazine and well work the same as the AK, it rocks in from the front. The magazines for the Galil are 35 rounds and a conversion adapter exists to allow it to use M16 magazines. The release is the  paddle in front of the trigger guard

The safety on the right side is the standard Ak safety and selector lever.  They kept this for the Galil but like everyone else in the world with any sense realized it was slow to use.   To remedy this the came up with a safety switch on the left side above the grip to be easier to use with the firing hand thumb.

Above is the left side thumb safety.  Also you can see the stock.  It is an adaptions of the FAL side folding stock. It does lock up tight and is fairly comfortable.

Now to get to the truly useful features.  Was there ever a rifleman with a soul so dead he didn’t wonder .” what if my rifle had a bottle openers”?  Apparently some  one did it Isreal. The Galil  famously has a bottle opener.   I can’t vouch for how well it works though.   All joking aside apparently it was common for the soldiers to use their magazines to open bottles and bend feed lips and ruin the mags.

The rifle also comes with a set of bipods that also can be used as wire cutters. When not in use, they fold back and up into the hand guards. The wood from the fore arms and the bipods make this a very heavy weapon.  It is strange to me that the Isrealis wanted to get away from the wieght of the FAL but ended up with something just as bad.

The sights of the rifle  are not too bad. They also have a set that folds up for night time firing.  The rear sight is a peep that is very well protected with two side protective “ears.”

Above is the day position. and below is the night rear sight.

 

The front sight is adjustable and is also protected by a sight hood.  The front also has a night fold up sight.

The barrel of the gun is supposed to have a 1/7 twist but this one is a 1/9.  The reason for this is the gun is one of the semi auto “Golanis”  that has had a Galil parts kit  used to make it into a more authentic clone.  Century used 1/9 twist barrels as they are wont to do for some reason. Cheaper I guess.

So how does it shoot?   I did not have any where near the time I usually devote to accuracy testing but here is what I managed. I fired from 100 and 200 yards.

Steel was used for 200 yards and the cardboard for 100 yard shooting.

The gun was easy to stay on the steel  but it would have been tough shooting much further on that size target.   Because the gun doesn’t like to work with 55 grain ammo, I used 62 gr green tip for groups at 100 yards.

The gun is about what you would expect from an AK. It is heavy as a  bag of brick s and  suffers from a lot of the drawbacks as every other AK. BUt it has a allure to it for a lot of people. If you think you really got to have one, just remember the IDF ended up using the M4/M16 even after adopting the Galil.

 

 

Optic Of The Week. Colt 3x And 4X AR15/M16 Scope

The colt 3×20 and 4x 20 scopes have been around a long time.  Almost as long as the AR15 it was meant for.   It is one of the first optics to ever be designed specifically for the AR15/M16 and was  used during the Vietnam war.

The optic attaches to the carry handle of the upper by using the hole in the center.   A threaded post protrudes out the bottom  and a lever is used to tighten the assembly to the underside securing it tightly into the carry handle slot.

Once the optic is installed, the iron sights on the rifle or carbine can still be used.

The optics have a BDC turret  that can be used after finer zeroing at 100 is done.  To do this you remove the top cover to gain access to the finer adjustment screw.   Windage  adjustment is on the right side of the scope body  and can be adjusted after removing its cover. ll adjustment values are 1/4 inch per click. The rear of the optic is adjustable for parallax.

Once the optic is zeroed at 100 yards, the BDC can be used for  fast and easy range adjustments.

The BDC does match and work pretty well and it is repeatable on  all of the examples I have tried over the years.  The optic is calibrated for the M193  military load which is the 55 grain bullet.  At the time there wasn’t much else out there.  Even later models  can safely assumed to be matched for the M193 type load.

The crosshairs for the scopes came as a  post of a duplex crosshair. I have never been much of a post fan myself.  The glass is very clear on these optics. Of course you can find some that have been used and abused and see  some narfed up glass.    They are not ACOGs, so they can not take that kind of abuse. But that isn’t  to say they are delicate.  They did see actual combat use from Vietnam to the first Gulf War.

Except for a few  very early makes, the Colt optic is usually marked Made In Japan.   The 4x model is the same size as the 3x.

Other than the older models having a slightly shinier finish than the newer made ones, the y are nearly identical.

Like all carryhandle mounted scopes, there is the  usual  issue with cheek weld.  It is something a cheek rest could remedy,  but why bother.   I think the days of this being  your only choice for an optic for your AR/M16  may be over.    Now they are  too collectible and slightly rare to be out using for much more than fun anyways.  And they are a lot of fun to play with. Or even hunt  deer with.   3x and 4x are still usable and hunters and snipers of years and wars past used scopes not even as powerful as 3x for serious work.  They can be used for some pretty decent precise  shooting in  reasonable conditions.

The copes came in a cardboard box with  leather end caps to protect the glass.  Inside was simple instructions on how to zero and use and take care of the optic.

 

The little scopes are a neat little piece of AR15 history and they are a lot of fun to shoot with. Especially on an older SP1 rifle or M16 clone.   If you have ever wanted to hunt with your old SP1 or clone and  iron sights won’t cut it for you these are just the thing  for getting some real use out of the old retro AR15.

Glock E-Trainer

This my own opinion on the item sent to me for review.

 

In the old days it was common to read of instructors suggesting dry firing at least 10 times for each shot fired.  Now we don’t see recommendations like that.  Part of it is that ammo and ranges are readily available, and dry firing isn’t the sort of sexy action that sells well.

Then comes the issue of damage.  You shouldn’t dry fire some guns.  Most all .22 should not be dry fired due to that it WILL damage the chamber and firing pins.  Other guns may break firing pins or breach faces.  Try doing an internet search for “Glock dry fire damage” to see some broken Glock slides.  Some firearms just should not be dry fired, others can be with a dummy round in the chamber.  Yet there are many that could you dry fire all day every day with out any issue.

Despite the previous issue, dry firing is still the best way to practice recoil control as you are removed from the distracting noise, blast, and cost of live fire.  Not to mention the annoyances of other shoots.  You can dry fire in the comfort of your own home.

So when you are dry firing, unless you have a double action firearm, you have to reset the action between each trigger pull.  This cycling the action can be used as a way to practice your reload or malfunction clearing movements.  This is good training, but a distraction from the trigger pull.

This is where a dry fire trainer is useful, it lets you focus only on the trigger pull and repeat the trigger pull with out any distractions.  I was sent a Glock E-Trainer dry fire tool to try out.  You can get one from glocketrainer.com.  Installation is simple, unload the pistol, lock the slide to the rear, then slide the trainer in place.  With it installed, you can dry fire to your heart’s content with out having to rack the slide over and over.  When you are done, lock the slide to the rear, and slide the trainer out.

The big advantage of this trainer is that you can do countless repeated trigger pulls with out having to rack the slide or risk any damage to your firearm.   This additionally allows for practicing trigger follow through so very much easier than having to hold the trigger back when racking the slide.

The disadvantage with the E-Trainer is that you loose the trigger break of the normal trigger pull.  Unlike when you have a “dead trigger”, this has the full trigger pull, just no trigger break.  I don’t find this an issue, but I imagine that that could be a deal breaker for some.  Because of this you can not practice riding the trigger reset (“rolling the link” or what ever you want to call it).

Out of curiosity, I pulled out my trigger weight gauge (of questionable quality) and did some comparisons.  First, dry firing the Glock 19 gave a result between 4.5 and 4.75 pounds.  (This was a surprise to me as this G19 has a NY1 spring and a – connector which would be expected to give about a 5.5-6.5 pound trigger pull).  I tried the index card trick for dry firing and that gave a trigger pull of slightly over 2.5 pounds on my scale.  The E-Trainer also gave a result of a little over 2.5 pounds.  This seems confusing to me because it doesn’t feel like it.  To my finger, the trigger pull felt just as heavy as a regular dry firing.

EDIT:  Testing was initially done with the trigger pull gauge at the tip of the trigger, dry firing with the gauge at the center of the trigger gave a ~6 pound trigger pull normally and ~4-4.5 pound trigger pull with the trainer.

There are three models of this trainer and between them they cover the majority of the models of the Glock pistols the exception of the G36 and models with crescent serration.  As of the time of this review being published, the E-Trainer is $29.44 shipped.

I would not say this item is a necessity, but it certainly is a major convenience for dry fire practice.  After it was easily installed on a Glock 19, I did a hundred trigger pulls right handed only and another hundred with the left hand.  It did not take long to get some good practice of only the trigger pull motion.

I wouldn’t recommend this initially for the novice.  I would suggest doing fewer repetitions focusing on trying to get that perfect form of the perfect trigger pull.  Don’t practice mistakes.  Once you have that perfect trigger pull, then something like this trainer become valuable as it helps you get the repetitions to make your perfect trigger pull muscle memory for when you don’t have to time to consciously focus on the trigger.  This isn’t something you have to have, but it is rather nice to have.

The novice practices until they can do it right.

The expert practices until they can’t do it wrong.

 

As I have tried to edit and finalize the wording for this review, I have been walking around my place, balancing a coin on the front sight of a G19, dry firing hundreds of times with the E-trainer. I really like this thing.

OPTIC OF THE WEEK WEAVER K4-F

The Weaver K4  is an optic that has been around a long time.   Today we  will take a look at the K4 F, a vintage Weaver that  was made back in the day when a rifle scope with a power much more than 4x or 6x was considered too much for anything other than match use.

The Weaver K4 was  a top end optic of its day and it is easy to see why.  It has a one piece  1 inch tube.  The  fixed power makes for simple construction with only a ring for adjusting parallax.

Later Weavers  were made with the “micro-track”  adjustment. These required the use of a coin or screw driver to adjust the optic for zeroing.   The K4 F used turrets that are finger adjustable.  The clicks are defined and audible.  Like most optics  the adjustments are in 1/4inch increments.

The cross hairs on the weaver K4-F are the fine straight cross hairs.  Hunters later developed a taste and preference the duplex cross hairs and later weavers come with the duplex.  I like the fine cross hairs myself,  but it is not the best for hunting in woods or around dawn or dusk.   The glass on this example is still clear and clean.   Of course it is not as as clear and bright as modern optics but for its age it is still outstanding.  My Dad bought another K4 in the late 70s and used it all the way up until the early 2000s.  It still sees  use on rimfire hunting rifles.

You can find the old weavers  online if you have a vintage rifle  that you want an optic for it from the same period of time  but also want one you can actually use and trust in the field, the vintage weaver is an excellent choice .

THE LEE-ENFIELD No4 (WW2’s BEST BOLT ACTION BATTLE RIFLE?)

Last week’s post about theM1903 and  bolt action battle rifles got some good discussion going in the comment section.  Naturally this turned to comparing and talking about more battle bolt action rifles from the two world wars.    I opinionated on what I think was the best bolt action battle rifle, the Lee Enfield  No 4.

The example shown in the No .4 MK 2, the improved and refined version made afterWW2.  But it will stand in for the older model for purposes of this article.   This one is an example of some of the last ones made.

The No. 4 is made in the British service round .i.e, the .303 British  like its past family members.  This is a rimmed bottle neck round firing a .303 diameter bullet, or 7.7mm. That is the same as the Japanese “7.7mm Jap” round.  By WW2 the standard loading for rifle use was the MK MKVII load.  This was a  174 grain  spitzer bullet with a muzzle velocity of around 2500fps.   The trick part of the projectile is this.  The front tip of the FMJ was not filled with lead. The tip was filled instead with aluminum, (  sorry ,Al-U-min-e-um for you limeys out there) or a type of plastic or a few other fillers.

 

This shifted the  center of gravity to the rear of the bullet.  When the round hit the target it it lost stability and  will yaw.  The wounding of this was  much greater than the normal ball round.  This is not the same as the ” DUM DUM” round. It would however bend or break apart.  The MKVII is also  considered very accurate, and it is or a WW2 era military service round.   There was and is a load for machine gun  use. A slightly heavier 175 grain boat tailed bullet loaded with a higher pressure. The round was made to provide the machine guns with a round that would allow for longer range more accurate fire.  It    would wear the barrel quickly due to its  powder used and bullet design.  It is safe to fire in small arms but the British Army did not allow it to be used unless in an emergency.  Of course this means rifleman quickly grabbed up all the could find to use in their rifles.

The rifle  used a detachable 10 round magazine but practice was to load with 5 round charger clips. The charger /stripper clips are very good designs and sturdy.  The rifle had the usual guide lips made into the receiver for the clips and two of them would fully load the magazine  very quickly in practiced hands. Of course you can also load from the top one round at a time by hand.  Lastly you can of course swap out magazines if you have a spare one.

The rifle is another design that cocks on closing. Some like it , some don’t.   Me and a lot of other people find it very fast.  Working the bolt for rapid fire can be done very quickly. Opening  is easier since  you are not also cocking the action  and when pushing the bolt forward, you already have the momentum and speed   going.  This allows for some rapid bolt action fire with practice. One of the things the design and the British rifleman were famous for.

The safety on the No.4 is on the left side and its a  large lever easy to get to and manipulate in all conditions.   To the rear is safe.

Forward is of course fire.

As you can see above in the picture, the gun can also be cocked by pulling on the   square notched piece on the bolt.  Though it is not recommended.  This would allow carry of a live round int he chamber without the gun cocked.  I have seen some old timers who hunted with these rifle carry them in condition 2 for hunting then reach up and cock the gun  by hand.    I have  no idea why they chose to do this

The above picture also shows the two piece design of the rifle stock. The idea of a 2 piece stock bothers a lot of people and is said to not be as strong,   In this case it is not an issue. The rifle is a combat rifle meant for the roughest of handling.   It will not give you a problem as long as you don’t get hit with an 88mm.

One of my favorite part of the No 4 is it’s sights.   Unlike the forward mounted rear sights of most of it’s peers, the Enfield has the rear sight in the right spot.

The rear sight is a  receiver aperture battle sight calibrated for 300 yd (274 m) with an additional ladder aperture sight that could be flipped up and was calibrated for 200–1,300 yd (183–1,189 m) in 100 yd (91 m) increments.   This is much faster  and easier to use than the  open V notch sight of most other country’s  battle rifles and  more accurate.  This  rear large peep  sight is much like modern combat rifles iron sights and would be very familiar and comfortable even for a user only used to  modern rifles and carbines.

Folding the sight into the up position gives you a smaller peep for more precise aiming for longer ranges. The ladder with range markings is clear and easy to read and use.   And it is in yards!! not  the system used by countries that have not been to the moon.  I have done some very accurate long range shooting using this sight on this very gun over the years.  It is not user adjustable for windage since that is set by the factory and  the rifleman was expected to hold off for any wind conditions.

The front sight is a protected blade .  Two large “ears” on each side kept it safe from being knocked off, bent or broken.  Each protective  ear was slotted to allow  in as much light on the front sight as possible

Now with all those features it is time to see what counts the most. The accuracy of the rifle.   Since this gun belongs to my brother and not myself and it is in such great condition I did not bang away with it for ours using the original service round which is corrosive.  Instead I sued a couple of handload. This was to show what it was capable of  beyond  the service round for those who may want to use it for something other than killing krauts. I did shoot some surplus MKVII loads just to see what it would do .

For the hand loaded  match ammo I shot the gun from a bench with sandbags .  Each string of fire was slow fire with time to allow the barrel to cool as I did not want the heating up of the barrel and wood to affect the gun’s potential for accuracy.    I also used the smaller peep of the long range ladder sight and was able to hold in a way to get the shots close to red dots.  This was a bit of a chore figuring out where to hold odd and then making another aiming point for precise hold off while still  hitting close to the dots.  After I finished I realized the stupidity of  going through the trouble and frustration just to be able to show nice neat photos of  groups by  the  “aiming point” when I should have just shot and took a picture of the groups where ever they happened to pint.    But I like the look of a group close to whatever was ostensibly supposed to be hit.  Anyway, I’m an idiot that worked too hard in 108 degree heat.

First 5 round  group  is  the sierra HPBT  .303 match bullet.  This was some hand loads I had made up for the gun for my brother to use at long range about 14 years ago.   You can see why the sierra match kings have long been favorites of mine.  This group was fired at 65 yards.

This next four rounds group is  the Hornady 178gr A-MAX ballistic tip bullet hand loads.  This was also fired from 65 yards.  Why only 4 rounds and not 5?   Because It was all I had left after shooting up the rest trying to figure out the hold off.

This last group is 5 rounds  was the Sierra  match King HPBTs again. This time at a full 100 yards.   This was the best group fired  at 100 yards. The rest looked  about like this or slightly bigger but in my foolish pointless quest to get the group to print close to the red dot I did not take pictures of them because they were not close enough to the red dot to suit me.   I can only the guess that the reason for this stupid temporary  obsession was the  furnace like heat and what felt like 1 million gnats in my face and the 200 percent humidity.  Mea Culpa.

I had a hand full or original MKVII British ammo left over from a batch we bought back in the mid 90s.  So i used it to  shoot 300yards to see how it did.    I didn’t shoot further because I only had  300 yards available to me where I was shooting and I also wanted to see if the  sight really was calibrated to the load as it is supposed to be.

It was!

It shot pretty good as well.   I shot two targets but this is the best of the two. I would show the other one but i do not think it is fair to the rifle because of the other  10 rounds I shot at it, 4 of those rounds had faulty primer/powder ignition.   I would fire the gun, hear the primer pop the a half second later the gun would fire.  Not very conducive of accuracy.     You can imagine how the target looked. Not to mention how nervous I started to get about  the ammo.

The gun is very accurate and it helps that it is one of those mint UF 55 rifles as they are called, brought into the US in the mid to late 90s.  My brother bought it for  the Arab Princely sum of 139 yankee green backs.   Even with years of him firing surplus corrosive ammo through it , the barrel is still capable of good accuracy though it fouls out fast from the damage he inflicted on it from not cleaning it fast enough after firing the old ammo . As you can see in the following picture  You can also see the dee, sharp lands and grooves the rifles are famous for.  The lug on the right side of the barrel is  for mounting the bayonet. Also note that the  barrel of the No.4 is heavier than the older Lee Enfields which helps it’s accuracy potential.

Several years ago when a few of us here  were on a kick to see the furthest we could shoot surplus military bolt action rifles, this rifle was able to  hold it’s own  against even a K31, which is pretty impressive as the K31 with its  GP11 service round is hard to beat . It was easy to shoot the Enfield out to 700-800 yards  from prone slinged up.

The No.4  is such a good and accurate rifle that it didn’t take much imagination to  select it and turn it into a sniper rifle.  With the addition of the No.32 optical sight and a few other  enhancements the rifle became the No. 4 Mk. I (T) sniper rifle.  The rifle used the same .303 round and it was in my opinion, arguably  the best  sniper rifle of the war.   It served on even after the adoption of the 7.62mm NATO.  Even today if  it turned up on the battlefield in the hands of a competent sniper  with fieldcraft and shooting skills it would still wreak havoc and be very effective.   By today’s concept of sniping and long range precision fire it would easily compete in the DMR role at the least. Losing out only because of its lack of semi auto fire.

 

The No 4 Enfield  is in my opinion, the best bolt action rifle used in WW2 with the No.4 MK 2 being the even more refined version.   If you can find one in good enough condition to be a shooter I give it my highest recommendation.   It served the British Empire for many years before being replaced by the FAL  but  even after that it served other nations faithfully. It is fast, easy to manipulate, durable and tough , the sights are capable of very good  precision shooting at range  and it has plenty of  power in its service round.  Even with its draw backs it was still  a battle rifle that has a record of performance any other bolt action service rifle would envy.

 

SLIP2000 FOAMING BORE CLEANER

I have always  been skeptical  about a lot of snake oil on the  market for gun related uses. Oil, grease, solvent etc.   I have seen very little of it that really does work and work as advertised.

Some  of the products I have used for years and can say that it really does work as advertised are..

  1. TM Solutions Bore Solvent
  2.  Butch;s Bore Shine
  3.  J&B Bore Paste
  4. Slip2000 EWL gun lube and CLP
  5. SLIP2000 carbon cutter
  6. Sweets762 Solvent
  7. Slip2000 gun grease
  8. Shooter’s Choice
  9. Breakthrough  Clean Solutions ( yes it really does work well)
  10.  Wipe Out Foaming Bore Cleaner

And now,  Slipp2000 FOAMING BORE CLEANER.

I been using Slip2000 oil , grease and cleaner for about 10 years now near exclusively for my own personal use when I ain’t testing something new just to review.   I trust it for using on my personal guns and long term care.      I had no idea they had came out with a foaming bore cleaner until a month ago.   I saw it at a cabellas and bought it up.

Now I have tried a lot of the foaming bore cleaners on the market and have not been impressed with any of the usual names.  The Breakfree CLP one works OK if you add using a bore brush and a few soaks and some solvent. The others are really crap.  The Wipe Out foaming bore cleaner being the exception,  It truly works as advertise.

A quick note. Foaming bore cleaner works but it can only do so much.  It works best on a a quality barrel.   Your stainless match barrels. you chrome lined AR15 barrels, modern  factory barrels.  It will not clean your pitted and rusted Mosin barrel or your  shot out ruined by corrosive ammo 1903 barrel or  any other rough as 7 miles of bad road bore.   It will work just fine on barrels that are in good shape but just dirty.

The Slip2000 FBC works.  The Slip2000 has really become a brand name I trust and after trying the foam I would almost say to you I would just about completely trust anything new they make based on its maker alone.

One of the best parts of the SLIP stuff is that is will not poison you or give you a third arm growing out of your head or  render you sterile.  I spent many years  in the 80s and 90s foolishly never caring  much about cleaning chemicals for guns and  getting gallons of CLP  and LSA and military bore cleaner all over my hands.  Not very wise. Damage is probably already done but no need for anyone to follow in my footsteps.

Now , it will work if you just spray it in let it set and patch out and follow with some oil.    That will suffice on most guns depending on what round was being used and how much.  But I still follow a soaking with my normal 20 brush strokes.    As I have said before I  count one through and one pull back to be 1 stroke.   I may even add a little solvent to the brush before I do those 20 brush strokes. Usually carbon cutter or TM solutions depending on which one is closest to me.   I then still patch out with a clean wet with solvent patch  a couple times before dry patching to finish.      You don’t have to do that.  But I do it as it is habit. And it will certainly help if you are cleaning a very dirty or fouled barrel.   Alternatively you can soak the barrel with a 2nd spray of the foam  and a quick brush if you rather do that.      Foaming cleaner is not   a miracle worker it does take time to work.   It does  save a considerable amount of time and work for most cleaning session though.  I find it cuts my cleaning time in half at the least.  Use common sense and don’t expect it to be the gun cleaning version of  the all powerful one  himself.  obama that is.

Like other foams it comes with a  hose to  get into the chamber.   Unlike others, it is a lot tougher and heavy duty and stays put.

I wouldn’t  mention this stuff if it didn’t really work for me. If you like foaming bore cleaners or you have been curious I do recommend giving the Slip 2000 one a try.  Give the entire like a try. You won’t be disappointed  If you are, I will refund you what you paid for this article and beat Duncan with a steel rod for puhishment.

 

COLT COBRA REVIEW PART 1

The Cobra arrived from Colt last week and now that it is in my hot little hands, the long promised review can start.

The Cobra came out  over a year ago and made some noise as Colt’s noteworthy return to  double action revolvers.

A lot of people who want Pythons have griped about it  because it is not the Python they have been demanding in recent years .  All I can say to that is 1)  How many of those people were buying those much desired Pythons when colt was still making them and trying to sell them?  There is a reason Colt stops making a certain model and it is not because they were selling too many of them.  2)  Just hold your horses and see how well this “test the waters”  revolver goes, and you may get what you claim you want later.

Colt  has wisely decided to not jump elbow deep into making DA wheel guns again by making the kind of revolver most people who buy and carry revolvers actually want and carry.   This may seem to not make sense to come people when the look online and see all the clamoring for the Pythons.    Well think about all the times you have  been on a web forum and seen people telling some company “Oh, if you make that, you will get all the money!”   Sometimes they even proclaim they would buy one.  In reality, they won’t.  In fact, most of them saying it won’t.   Fact is a lot of people like the idea of something being out there, even if they have no plans to every buy it.       Or it would not be exactly the way the wanted it.   The barrel would be too long, or too short, or the wrong finish, or it would be too expensive or too cheap, or it would not be tactical enough.

With that in mind I think the new Cobra is a good way to test those treacherous waters.   It does not cater to the guys who want 2,000 dollar Pythons just for collectors value, or the big bore handgun hunters. Neither of which are a majority.  It is meant for the real majority.  People who want to carry a small, compact simple revolver.  Now lets take a look at it.

The Cobra has a stainless steel finish – not a bright polished stainless, but the nice balance of satin and matte.   It has the iconic Colt cylinder release and the always present Colt  Horse  logo.   The barrel has the rest of the Company info on the right side.  If you wished you could get one in a polished mirror like finish, the good news is you can polish this finish into a mirror yourself with some elbow grease and the right compounds.  A lot of  buyers have already done this and you can see how to videos on YouTube and gun forums.   I love the look of that mirror finish polished SS but for carry…      I scratch guns up too fast and the reflection  that polished stainless gives off makes me uncomfortable  with the idea of carrying a gun so ostentatious.  Not so much for fashion, but more for I don’t want it to be so obvious.

The muzzle of the barrel has a very nice recessed crown to protect it from damage.  A very nice touch for a gun meant to be used and used seriously.

As you can see above, the front sight is a fiber optic  red/orange  that shows up well in  daylight and gathers all available light when light conditions would make a plain front sight blade hard to see.

The rear sight is the standard revolver humped  up back with notch for alignment.  Which is what you would want from a gun many will stick in a purse, a pocket, or who knows what else that would make it easy to snag a rear sight on when trying to draw. Or have on a belt, that would allow an adjustable sight to tear the lining out of shirts, jackets, or coats.

The left side of the barrel tells you what you are shooting.  The Cobra is a  .38 Special rated for +P rounds.   I know a few have said they would  rather it have been in  .357 Magnum and at first I agreed. Then I remembered how it feels to shoot a .357 in a gun that small and light and how many people with a .357 gun in this  size never really carry .357 loads in it anyway and just use  .38 Spl and  reconsidered.   The .38 Spl in a modern +P load is enough.  It allows the gun to be a bit smaller and not as expensive as well and it sure is easier on the hand for most people who carry more than they ever shoot.     It makes me wonder how well  Cobra chambered in 9mm or 45ACP would would sell though.    As I said above though, lots of people ask for all manner of odd ball things from gun makers. Usually it’s only something the person demanding it would buy.

With loading in mind, the grip are nice soft comfy Hogue rubber grips but with the Colt logo.    These feel great for shooting hot loads.  Now Colt offers the Cobra with other choices in grips. My favorite being the ones made by VZ Grips with the Colt logo made into the G10 material .

Last on our list is the inside.  Everyone knows what the inside of a DA revolver looks like. That is not what I want you to see.  I want you to see what impressed me. The total lack of tool marks or swirls and all the things usually inside of a gun’s guts hidden from the  outer world.

Other than some burnt powder crud, that is some smooth internals.   It looks like it has had attention to detail lavished on it.  This is what people talk about when they are going on about the Colt revolvers of yore.     If you are a  Colt wheel gun guy, I do not think you will be let down.

 

Now, the stock trigger of a DA revolver usually feels like trying to bend a nail to me.  I am a single action semi auto guy to the core. I will never change.    But this trigger feels good!   Easy to  keep the sights on target through the entire pull, and that is a challenge for me usually.   Hand me a gun like this and I will always opt to cock  it to single action fire  if I have a choice.  But with this one, I am seeing what draws some people to a fine DA 6 shooters.  I have dry fired it for about 1 hour every night for 7 days, and I have  learned a lot about how to quickly fire a DA revolver.    If any of you 6 shooters have any tips for me, please share in the comments.

 

That is the end of Part 1 which is usually my  thoughts on a guns looks, how it works, and the features, etc.   In Part 2, we will get it fired up, see what accuracy it has, and shoot it as far as I can manage.

Optic of the week: AN/PVS-4 Night Vision Scope

The bottom optic in that photo is an AN/PVS-4 Night Vision Sight.

The PVS-4 is a 3.6x scope, usually Generation 2 but there are Generation 3 PVS-4 scopes out there.  While considered obsolete in the U.S. the PVS-4 still gets used around the world.

This scope is sizable, 4 pounds and over a foot long.

The PVS-4 comes with a mount that can be attached directly to an AR15/M16 Carry Handle.  A variety of other mounts, including the pictured rail grabber are also available.  The PVS-4 also has a variety of mounting options for grenade launchers and crew served machine guns.

Operation is pretty simple, everything is clearly labeled.

The PVS-4 originally used a weird battery (BA-5367/U) generally unavailable anywhere.  Adaptors exist allowing you to use 2 AA or 1 CR123 batteries instead.  Many PVS-4 scopes have two places, on the top and on the right side, where you could install a battery.  Only one battery is needed to use the optic.  These scopes have been made by many companies in many places in the world, some have omitted the side battery compartment, others were built or rebuilt to only use 2 AA or 1 CR123 batteries.

The AA battery adaptor shown above can only be mounted on the top of the scope, the CR123 adaptor shown below can use either mount.

The objective lens cap for the PVS-4 gives you 6 different options for varying the amount of light let in.  This lets you use the scope during the day, even during the brightest day in the deserts.

The downside is that your view through the scope becomes somewhat obstructed.  I’ve read that people saying they had zero shifts from zeroing with the cap on then shooting with the cap, but I haven’t had the chance to test that.

Reticles are interchangeable if you can find the relevant reticle cell.  The one pictured above is the M16-M203-M79 reticle.  Other options include a cross hair, M14-M60, M2 Heavy Machine Gun, and some assorted rocket and missile launcher sights.

Unfortunately due to the combination of the illuminated reticle, tube brightness, and the daylight apertures makes initially using the scope a little more complex.  When I went to take some photos, I initially got the tube brightness and focus set up so I could see the target clearly but then when I turned on the illuminated reticle it was too dim to see, even at max brightness.  So I had to reduce the amount of light coming in and put the reticle brightness on max to get the photo above.

The photos really don’t do the optic justice.

Much like with the Darkstar, when I tried shooting clay pigeons at 50 yards offhand I found the optic slow and awkward.  It is really best employed from a stationary position and some sort of rest.

Side note, I found on this PVS-4 someone had cut out the flaps in the eye piece.  Normally these eye pieces have 2 flaps to prevent light from spilling out when the optic is on.  Most people find them annoying because you have to press your face into the eyepiece to be able to use the scope.  Most of this style eye piece that I saw in the military had this same modification.

The PVS-4 is perhaps one of the best Gen 2 night vision optics available, and was quite popular compared to the early 3rd Gens due to how well it handles bright lights.  Early 3rd Gen Nightvision would have large halos around bright lights while the 2nd Gen PVS-4 does not have that issue.  That is why you may find some old recommendations where the PVS-4 is recommended for urban use over Gen 3.  That said, newer Gen 3 is far superior to the PVS-4.

It is a good optic, and still works well, but there are far smaller and better options available to us now.