5.56 Timeline

Winchester Model 70 Heavy Varmint

From the late 90s into about 2005 Winchester sold a heavy barrel varmint/target rifle called the “Heavy Varmint.”

These guns were the post 64 push feed action with a heavy barrel and the HS Precision made marksman stock. You can see it is identical to the wooden marksman stock I talked a little about yesterday.

the contour of the forearm getting thicker doesn’t show up as well on the HS marksman stock , perhaps because its black and taken on a cloudy day.

This stock came with a bedding block and pillar bedding. The gun itself was basically a modern version of the old “bull gun” Model 70s from past decades, It had the same contour 26 inch heavy barrel and stock style as the originals. The exceptions being no provisions and pre drilled holes int he receiver and barrel for mounting match iron sights. The guns came in .223 rem, .22-250 and .308 winchester. My heavy varmint pictured above is .223rem. I chose this because it had something no other factory HV bolt guns in .223 had at the time. That is a 1/9 twist. Giving the ability to shoot the heavier weight bullets that I used in AR15s. I suspect it’s slightly faster than 1/9 because it does accurately shoot 75-77 gr. HPBTs.

And unlike all pre 64 Model 70s, match or otherwise, these are actual short action guns

The guns are very accurate and such a heavy gun in 223 is a pleasure to shoot, I used this as my crow rifle for many years. Recently I put this Leupold on it with a BDC to match a load I use with 50gr Nosler ballsitc tips at a velocity too high for me to publicly give out here. It makes for a very flat shooting load for the small black birds out to 300 yards without needing to make an elevation adjustment.

For this post, I ran outa couple hours ago and shoot a 5 round group at 100 yards using the old reliable match load of 77 grain Sierra HPBTs using 24 grains of Vit or Varget. I have used this gun and that load to make 1,000 hits on a steel targets the size of a man’s chest. Even a shot I am not gonna tell you about because you wouldn’t believe me.

as you can see the 1/9 twist in the heavy 26 inch barrel has no trouble with the 77s

These are great guns and if you have a chance to get one I encourage you to do so. They don’t make them like this anymore. Literally.

Kalashnikov USA KR-9

Kalashnikov USA has put out a neat little AK in 9mm. A friend just picked one up and we are waiting on his Brace to come in. I looked it over today and I got to admit, unlike the usual AKs, this one is made pretty well.

It doesn’t have a cheap finish that rubs off by thumbnail and a lot of attention has been paid to details. The top cover has a length of rail for easy mounting of optics.

Removing that pin allows you to swap out the parts to accept a “brace” or a regular stock after you fill out and submit the paper work and tax money to The King.

A nifty little muzzle break/comp that I am 200 percent sure a 9mm doesn’t need.

Everything is pretty much stock AK controls and manual of arms. No surprises there.

The brace and a few other things will be arriving this week. So I will post a couple more parts to this review as it comes together and we shoot it.

Flux Defense MP17 Review

This review was written courtesy of friend @yoitstitus

Ever seen a 400 dollar paperweight you waited 5 months for? Well here it is! “Disappointed” doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling about this Flux Defense MP17.

I’ve tried 5 different FCUs and every single one stops working when installed, it kills the trigger. Not only that but NO MAGs fully seat in the receiver. I ordered this brace September 13th, so a 5 month wait to get a non-working piece of equipment. This looks 3D printed and kinda soft ( not a deal breaker but didn’t know that).

Something is going on in the taje down lever area, though I/m unsure the issue. The trigger is live without the take down lever in and as soon as I inteall the lever the whole FCU stops working. Looks hella fresh though I guess…

1917 (2019 film) Review

I just got done watching 1917 and thought I would share my review with our readers. The new film is Directed by Sam Mendes and is set during WW1 obviously. The plot is basic and I won’t go into it much because there is a a huge surprise about half way through.

Two British soldiers are sent by their commanding general to cross no man’s land to get an order to a prick of a Colonel who is dead set to make an attack on a position that he thinks is lightly held by retreating German troops. In reality this is a ruse by the Hun to lure them into a well prepared line as a trap. Of course the two set off and all manner of things of varying levels of awful happen.

Cinematography is excellent with some long takes that are excellent. The sound track does a good job at building tension and isn’t over done. Special effects are realistic but you can still see the hint of CGI if you look close enough. Nature of modern film making though and I doubt we will ever see a return to the good old days.

The movie does well to recreate the battlefield of WW1 but its still a little too sterile looking in my opinion. I think the director didn’t think the reality of what it looked like during the war would go over too well for modern audiences. The mud, dead bodies, the rot the water is there but no where as much as pictures and first hand accounts describe. There are some nice attention to detail in places though.

The differences in the trenches between the British and the Germans shown well. Above you can see the British trench. Below the main characters clear a German trench.

The quality of the German trenches by all accounts were much better made and it shows in the film.

Above is a freshly dug British position where the troops are about to go out into an attack.

One of the main characters starts to cross a blown bridge at a demolished town.

Above a British soldier crawls across bodies in a river.

The movies is not a a 2 hour long firefight but it is nonstop tension and danger. Not a very big variety of guns in it. The Enfield rifle of course, a Lewis gun scene in the distance in one scene, a Luger and some holstered Webleys are about it.

It’s a solid film. I give it a hard recommend.

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.