Updated – Safety Bulletin for the Ruger Precision Rifle

New Ruger Bolt Shroud

I received a replacement bolt shroud from Ruger yesterday.  The new bolt shroud is on the left, the original on the right.

If you own a Ruger Precision Rifle, I would highly recommend you check if your rifle falls under the safety notice.  If it does, get the replacement bolt shroud.  It is not good to have a firearm that might not fire when you need it and worse might fire when you don’t want it.

The Ruger Safety Bulletin can be found here.

 

Continue reading Updated – Safety Bulletin for the Ruger Precision Rifle

Zero your damn MRDS.

Before zeroing the pictured mini red dot sight, it was impacting 4 feet high, and a foot right at 50 yards.

Some time back I really got into the piggy back mini red dot sight (MRDS) on top the ACOG.  I’ve also run them on top and offset from higher magnification scopes.

So having started running these offset and piggyback MRDS, I got really curious about how other people were using them.  So I asked people, in person and on gun forums.

“Oh, it’s for close range, so it’s not zeroed.”

Now to be fair, there was one person who said he zeroed his at 10 feet.  All the rest had their mini red dots unzeroed.

The point of a firearm is to be able to place rounds on a desired target.  Be that target a piece of paper, prey, or a hostile combatant, we index our firearm on the target in order to achieve that effect on target.  We use our sights to verify that the firearm is aligned and indexed with the target.

It is pointless to have an unzeroed optic.

“But Howard, I’m only going to use the red dot at super close range.”

At close range is there it is most important that your shots are effective.  If you have a less than ideal hit on a bad guy 500 yards out and they take a few minutes to bleed to death, that would just be a shame.  But if up close you fail to instantly neutralize a target, the result could be deadly for you, or those you care about.

The big downsize to having these secondary miniature sights is odd height over bore or offset issues.  These issues can lead to these offset sights being massively off, like the one pictured above.  Offset sights are usually sitting on a stack of mounts attached to a handguard that may or may not be parallel with the bore.  It can be very easy to be multiple feet off target at close ranges with an unzeroed offset sight.  Your average sight on an AR15 is 2.6 inches over the bore.  A piggy back red dot can easily be 4+ inches over the bore.  This height over bore makes picking a good zero difficult.

There is going to be a part 2 to this article, where I will go over some of your options when zeroing an offset or piggyback MRDS.

Best of Weaponsman Come for the Shovels, stay for the Swords

This is another re-post in our own going tribute to our now gone friend  Kevin, AKA “Hognose” owner of  weaponsman now missed by many . We will continue to put up Kevin’s excellent work as a back up to ensure it is saved.

Come for the Shovels, stay for the Swords

Swords and sword-fighting are a long time issue of ours, and once we’ve gotten past our amusement with the Russian and Russophile fascination with shovel fighting, we know that the art of sword fighting was once the peak of combat effect, and it seems obvious that the best guides to that art would be found in historical materials from that period.

Of course, sword-fighting never went away from popular culture, and it’s been a staple of Hollywood for nearly a century. But one has an instinctive feeling that Hollywood’s choreographed swordfights are as phony as their fist- and gun-fights; and that they’re doing it wrong. Sword expert J. Clements of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts agrees in a long essay:

It is the stuff of Hollywood sword-fights and renaissance-faire fight shows: a swordsman cuts with his or her blade and in defense the opponent lifts their own sword to directly receive the blow at 90-degrees on the center of their blade. The two blades clash in the middle edge-on-edge with a loud “clang!”  There is just one problem. No two cutting-swords—historical or replica, authentic or modern, Asian or European —would withstand such abuse without their edges being severely gouged in the process. This is a problematic issue of historical fencing exploration that can be addressed reasonably and factually.

When it comes to historical swordsmanship, such a description stands in direct contrast to how edged weapons were actually handled and employed. It contradicts the very dynamic of effective and efficient fighting and resembles little in the way of sword combat described in Medieval and Renaissance fencing literature.

via Edge Damage on Swords.

He goes on at rather great length about the historical sources, so it’s worth reading the whole thing. But here’s another taste:

In the chronicle of the deeds of the 15th century knight, Don Pero Niño, we read how in a fight against the Moors, “the blows fell upon good armour, though not so good but that it was broken and bent in many places.  The sword he used was like a saw, toothed in great notches, the hilt twisted by dint of striking mighty blows, and all dyed in blood.”  At the end of the siege of the City of Tuy in 1397, we are also told again how Niño’s sword “blade was toothed like a saw and dyed with blood.”  Later, Pero Niño sent this sword by a page to France, “with other presents to my Lady of Serifontaine.” (De Gamez, p. 196.)  Given the context of this description, where Nino’s shield, armor, and sword are all damaged from especially heavy fighting, it would not seem unreasonable that he then gives his ruined sword away as a token of his chivalric courage. Certainly, we have no way of knowing if his sword edge was damaged from striking armor and shield rims or from striking other blades, let alone from parrying cuts (something less likely if he had a shield and full armor as described).  Regardless, the recognition that Nino’s sword edge had sustained heavy damaged so that it looked “like a saw” and was “toothed in great notches” from use is indicative that such a condition was certainly not a good thing for a functional blade. Above all, he did not enter combat with his prized weapon in such a condition.

Yes, that’s one single dense paragraph in the original.

Now, perhaps some of this is the well-known tendency for martial arts entrepreneurs to see no merit in, and consequently trash-talk, their competitors. An example which seems to be Clements doing just that is here.  But Clements’s approach of going back to period sources is to be commended. There is a great deal more information on the site.

HURSTWIC is an organization which takes a similar approach, not to the combat of the 13th through 15th centuries but to the earlier Viking era. Theirs, too, is an approach that combines archival research (in this case, in Norse sagas, mostly) with athletics. Compared to Renaissance and even medieval European sources, of course, Viking primary sources are few and this gives rise to some problems of interpretation. A page on Sword and Shield Combat Technique is one of many restatements of this problem on the Hurstwic site:

[W]e don’t really know how weapons were used in the Viking age. We don’t have any material that teaches us how Vikings used their weapons. The best we can do is to make some educated guesses based on a number of sources, as described in an earlier article.

This article summarizes some of the fighting moves we believe were used by Vikings when fighting with sword and shield. Not surprisingly, as we continue our research, my opinions on the nature of Viking-age combat have changed. Our interpretation of the moves is always in flux. So, please be aware that the techniques illustrated in these web articles may not always represent our most current interpretation. Notably, in the past, we have depended more heavily on the later combat treatises than we currently do. That bias remains in this and other articles on the Hurstwic site. We plan to edit the articles to reduce those biases as time permits and as our research unfolds.

Our most current interpretation is outlined in the article on the “shape” of Viking combat and illustrated by several videos on that page showing fighting moves from the sagas.

That article s found here and it is fascinating to watch the Hurstwic team grapple with these mysteries, to understand ancient armed combat, as they have only a few sources. Even these few have their limits: the sparse descriptions in the sagas, the known characteristics of Viking weapons, and their own powers of logic. Their own opinions have changed as their knowledge has grown, which is inevitable in a scientific approach to almost anything. They are keenly aware that their scientific approach rests on a foundation of assumptions, but what they’re doing is extremely interesting.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

T.H.E. Wallet J.R.

Back in 2006, while I was in Iraq, I purchased a Spec Ops Brand THE Wallet JR.  I’ve been using it ever since.  This weekend, one of the zipper pulls broke off.  I had forgotten it had zippers.

Over the years I have owned a variety of S.O.B. gear.  It has always been well made, but a little on the large and clunky side.  Their X4 and X6 pouches are excellent utility pouches.  Their lone downside is a fringe around the outside making it hard to put another pouch directly next to it.  S.O.B.’s belts, vest, chest rig, and other products are all excellent.

This wallet is no exception.  Tons of pockets, slots, and places to stick things.  The main compartment is sized for US Dollars and has a zippered pocket.  It has a windowed pocket on the outside and inside of the wallet.  4 credit card slots that can hold multiple cards.  I also stick cards in the folds of fabric for those slots.  And an additional zippered credit card sized pocket on the inside.  The main feature of this wallet is its “shark-bite” closure, which is a sort of rigid flap that holds the wallet close.  Easily opened and closed.

The only downside to this simple, heavy duty wallet it its thickness.  The “shark bite” flap makes the wallet thicker on top of the thick nylon and cordura fabric.  Once you stick a few hundred dollars in the wallet it becomes quite plump.

This is probably not the right wallet for most people, but I love the one I have.

WTF Autoglove?

So I was just informed about the “Autoglove”.

Picture taken from their website, click on the picture to visit their website.

It is a glove with some sort of electronic plunger to press a firearms trigger for you quickly.

First, stuff like this goes to show how stupid our gun laws are.

Secondly, you have to be impressed with how the free market will come up with a solution to any perceived problem.

Third, I am very curious if this will actually be approved by the ATF or not.  Previously they did not allow for the electric actuating of triggers.

I wouldn’t recommend this thing to anyone.  I believe you would quickly see shooters lose control of weapons with it.  What we really need is this unconstitutional NFA act abolished so silly law work arounds would be unnecessary.

Arms Unlimited Shipping

I work at a company that makes a great product at a good price.  We pack our product individually in padded envelops in a cardboard box.  That is one thing I think is rather hokey and could be done in a way that would look a great deal more professional.  One of our competitors sold their product in a box with custom cut foam.  I think that made their product look to be high end.  Now they replaced that with shrink wrapping their product to a piece of cardboard.  Now that cheap, crappy looking, and is just annoying for the customer.

I recently made a purchase from Arms Unlimited.  They have some good prices and they are now also offering a knock off of the Norgon ambidextrous magazine catch for the AR15.

I was very disappointed when I received the parts I ordered loose in a USPS shipping bag.  The bolt carrier groups, gas tube, and forward assist that I ordered were all scratched up from rubbing against each other.  Not very impressive.

But, I did get what I needed, and with any luck I’ll have a review of the Arms Unlimited Norgon knockoff for you guys soon.

Inland MFG “jungle M1 Carbine ” Review & Accuracy Test

Inland Mfg has been on a pretty good roll since they brought the old name back online and started producing weapons that could have been  if only they had continued.    I have already tested and reviewed their M1 carbine and their excellent USGI M1911A1.  If you read those reviews you know I was impressed with both.   The first M1 I tested rated pretty highly with me, though the same gun got a bad rap by some later testers who didn’t mention the hell I had put it through in my abusive testing.   I couldn’t make it fail me no matter how hard I tried while keeping my abuse within reality.  This  Jungle Carbine, as the company calls it is just as tough, possibly more accurate and has a nifty little new feature easy to miss.

The  Jungle M1 Carbine comes in a very nice box that keeps it packed nice and tight. Not really something that matters about the guns function, but to me sometimes attention paid to these kind of details can give you a hint about how seriously the maker takes other aspects.

The inside has the gun snug in foam , with sight and bolt handle protectors.  It came with two 15 round mags and a new Inland 30 round magazine. It also came with the owners manual etc, and the ever present lawyer lanyard.

Looking at the blister pack the 30 rounder cam in, I noticed on the back the specs for other mags Inland offers,  I did not know they had a 10 rounder. But that is good to know.  If you decided you wanted to hunt with the gun, this would make finding a magazine limited to the legal capacity for hunting a lot easier.

The mags all seem to be made to the mil specs of all other real USGI  M1 carbine mags I have seen and owned.  They worked as they should with no problems.  It can be dicey getting surplus mags that work in my experience so its good to know you can get new ones that are up to snuff.

The carbine has all the markings as other models in all the right places,  This mimics the USGI models and the originals.  Just like the WW2 models, this one has all the same small details attended to.

The buttstock has the logo and the slot for the oil bottle  that also works as the mounting point for the sling.  The wood of the stock on the test model is a nice walnut, darker than the first test gun and has the look  you associate with originals with their darker stocks.  Some people I showed the first model , thought the lighter color of the wood some how was off to their eyes.  I had to point out to them that they are used to seeing stocks oiled and reoiled over 60 years.

Of course the new Inlands have something hard to find on originals. A top handguard that actually matches the rest of the stock.

The fire controls are all standard M1 carbine.  These having the button safety as opposed to the lever.  The mag release being forward of the safety. Something some people have said they have had trouble with in the past.  It is what it is though. The guns being made correctly to the originals more than trying to modernize or correct anything.

The bolt operates the same as all others, cycle to chamber a round, with a button at the rear , used to manually lock the bolt back for administrative purposes or light cleaning or malfunction clearing. The mag will not lock empty on a 15 round man but it will on a 30 rounder.

Now on to accuracy testing.

I was able to make a very solid shooting set up for the gun. I took advantage of the slot in the stock and was able to lock it down almost like a vice.

After testing all the option of ammo which is basically different versions of ball ammo and some soft point, I selected the most accurate loads.  I used the PPU ball and some OLD remington soft points.   I then went on to shoot at 100, 125, 150 and some at 200 yards.

I have read a lot about the guns limited range and accuracy.  I get sick of this as it always seems to be more talk than action by those worthies.  I decided to shoot this gun  for accuracy in a way that would better show its potential on a man sized target in a self defense capacity.

First group at 100 yards.  I intended to shoot 10 rounds but lost count as you can see.  I fired this iron sight like I did all groups, and from the bench and bags.  The small peep is not good for my oddball eyes as a larger peep is easier for me.  So to make up for the peep not working well for my eyes and to make sure I got all I could out of it, I made sure to use the sand bagged/locked down set up.

The 125 yard group is shown on the targets “head”.  I have seen some guys who couldn’t do this with an M4 using an ACOG.   Not to say this is some how my ability, as I said the gun was nearly locked into a vice or as vicelike as I could manage, which was pretty good. I simple lined up the sights then worked the trigger while making  sure the gun didn’t slowly move off target.   After seeing this performance, I really wished I could pull the same set up off with other model rifles.

Above is the 150 yard group, Same set up.  The group isn’t much bigger than the first two.  Which ideally is what you would want, but I am sure it may surprise a decent amount of naysayers.   Not as good as a decent AR15 of course. but that is not a fair comparison. This was a PDW meant to replace the handgun.  This is still good enough to make a head shot possible if you could hold steady enough in the field.  Probably unlikely in combat  or any field shooting.  Making tight groups in the field is obviously a lot different than the range but you would be surprised how many seem to never want to acknowledge that little factoid.  Making hits accurately at any distance and in the field in any position  is something I wish we had more competitions that strove to replicate.

Group above is the 75 yard group. This is the closest I fired at this target and the group I set as the zero of the sights.  That is actually a 10 round group. This was fired with the  remington ammo that is so old I am not even going to bother showing because it couldn’t be found anyway. If  did show it, some one would go buy new made remington ammo and when it didn’t shoot as well blame me or be really let down.  The ammo was so old in fact, that some of it misfired.   I show this last because I originally didn’t intend to show it since the ammo can’t be purchased.  But on second thought, it is worth showing just to give an idea of my  zero and how well the gun will do within the range most people think is  “far” for it.

I had only 5 rounds left and fired at this tiny man shaped target at 200 yards .  I fired semi off hand  and hit it twice solid and a glance shot on the top (readers) left.   The other rounds landed so close I thought I hit it.  The entire target is a little bigger than the cardboard man sized Q target’s “head.”    The gun and round will make hits further.  You can find me making hits at 300 with the first test M1 I was sent.   The gun would make a great trunk gun or walking pack rifle or self defense gun if you live in a commie state.  No doubt it is still as handy today as it was in the 40s and 50s.

The reliability and function of the gun was as it should be,  I had no malfunctions other than ancient ammo being duds.  The gun worked though I left it un-oiled.  I fired  an uncomfortable amount of 30 carbine through it. Uncomfortable because of the price.  The gun had a hair over 500 rounds through it. All I could find at cabellas and every local guns store  and some old trashed looking stuff salvaged from a defunct pawn shop that had been collecting rust and dust since Rome fell.

Now to the new feature and something that make it more appealing to some.

The cone like flash hider/muzzle device may look funny to some, or familiar to others.   You may have seen something like it on the Bren, the British Enfield  “jungle carbine”  bolt action and possibly M1 carbines cut down and used by US  advisors, Special Forces  or Vietnamese troops  in Vietnam.   I’m not going to pretend to know the actual history of how any of those came in use and in association with use in jungles. Maybe Dan will have some insight to add or one of the wonderful  commentators who have started posting here more from weaponsman.   I will say that it looks pretty cool and it can be removed to allow you to thread on a sound suppressor. Or, the name it is known by if you are a left wing anti-gun kook, a silencer.  That is a pretty neat little perk I think.  This would allow mounting of a can to a gun that would look just like any USGI M1 but with a suppressor,  That would make for a neat package to me.  Of course you could attach other muzzle devices that  would work with the bore size.

The Jungle carbine otherwise is a gun made  for the smaller niche of Vietnam era Advisor type weapons. In the early years when US advisors and ARVN troops used the WW2 US family of weapons Many SF troops  would modify weapons to make them handier for jungle fighting.  Inland in fact makes a model they dubbed the Advisor which is a “pistol.”  That is to say the ATF  says that is what it is anyway.  It mimics a cut down M1 in a way a Green Beret would have  modifies it for easier jungle carry.

The small size and light recoil of the M1 made it popular with Vietnamese troops.  The communists and RVN troops both appreciated it s attributes.  You can see it in the hands of various units and factions in many pictures of the war.   In a time before the M16 became issued to ARV troop, no doubt it was much desired when compared to the M1 Garand  for the smaller sized Asian users.

No doubt in the hot jungles and hills and rice paddies, the M1 carbine would have been an easy rifle to carry.   Pictured above is the jungle carbine as used by an “advisor” wearing  ARVN airborne camo and using the M56 web gear. The M56 general purpose ammo pouches having been made in a transitional time and will hold the 30 round M1 carbine mags, M1 garand block clips, 40mm grenades, regular fragmentation grenades, M14 mags and BAR magazines. Of course a little later on , they held M16 twenty round mags.  A versatile pouch though it does have its flaws and draw backs.   Uniform and webgear from mooremilitaria.  If you are a collector of vietnam war gear and uniforms or just want some repro to wear and use, Moore militaria is your answer.   If you want a carbine, Inland is your answer to that.

Lastly., some ammo from 1952.  M1 carbine .30cal on  the original strippers. Ball and tracers 30 cal carbine.

 

KAHR ARMS P45 Part 2 Accuracy Test

The last time we took a look at the Kahr P45  in the first part to my review. I covered it’s various attributes and features.   http://looserounds.com/2017/05/21/kahr-arms-p45-part-1/

Now we will take a look at how the gun does in accuracy testing.  I did the testing in my usual manner. I shot 5 shot groups of various ammo I could get my  hands on at 20 and  25 yards from a a bench with sand bags.  Ammo was of the the type to be used for duty or self defense and some ball and target ammo handloads included.   All groups are shot slow fire  to the best of my ability to  try to give the gun every chance to show us what it has.

Per request I also started the practice of shooting handguns meant for defensive use at longer ranges. The idea being the possible need to stop a terrorist who may have explosives strapped to himself.

First off we have the Hornady 185 gr  SWC handloads.  A personal favorite accuracy load of mine that I won’t be sharing the load data for.  The load is a go to for accuracy testing and the gun loved it as much as most others.  The markings are the sharpie drawn square I drew for the target.    All groups are at 20 yards unless  marked.

The next load is my personal carry ammo.  The barnes 185 gr solid copper HPs in a +P load.   My 1911s shoot well with it and the extra weight of the gov model tames it.    The Kahr with its plymer frame and light weight made for painful shooting.  The gun also didn’t seems to like it as much as the M1911s.

The next group is a well know favorite of many.  Many of the local LE officers use it as their duty ammo.  I have never been in love with it to the same degree as others but  that’s just a personal choice.  This was group  is about what all other groups fired with the GD looked like.  I could not get it to shoot any tighter.

Next I tried some 230 grain lead practice and plinking ammo. It is common to use this as a plinking and practice load.  The gun didn’t like it to put it mildly.

Next up is another popular load.  The Winchester ranger T load,  a 230 gr HP that is basically the much hyped “black talon” without the evil black.  It was and is a common and popular police and carry loading that many still like to use.  It was so so.

 

The Federal HST is another common and some what popular self defense rounds at least locally..  I have never used it much beyond shooting it as a test load in pistol reviews, If you carry it and are thinking of a P45, here is how it did in the T&E sample.

The next two are both FMJ 230 gr ball rounds.  Not much to say about factory ball that you don’t already know,

This group is fired from my other self defense carry load.  This is the Corbon  185gr +P solid copper HP.  It is the same bullet as the barnes load without the grey/black coating.  This load shoots great in my 1911s and does well in this gun.   To no surprise  at all, it was rough shooting the hotter loads through the P45. The grip texture and the polymer frame are not comfortable to a guy like me used to the weight of the M1911. But it is an excellent SD load.

This is the Corbon  load in the 165 gr solid copper round.  It is again the same Barnes solid copper HP bullet in 165 grains  but not a +P loading.  This round is tailored for the shorter sub compact handguns with shorter barrels.  I use it as the standard carry  ammo in the Colt Defender.   It also works fine and is much more pleasant in the P45.  If i was going to carry the P45 this is the SD load I would use in it.

Above is a 10 round 25 yard group  fired with the target load of 185 SWCs.    The  loads are excellent in the P45.  Maybe it just likes 185 bullets period? It seems so on the surface anyway.

The same load fired a 50 yards as promised.  I fired two mags at the orange square not quite off hand but nor from bags and a rest.   It was more or less semi-supported as I rested my hands on something while standing up.   I would have shot 50 from bags and the bench but  didn’t realize that was the last of it I had until after I had shot this target.   Anyway, if you had to take an emergency  long range pistol shot I would think you would have to do it without sandbags and a bench anyways.    Maybe you could get into prone  to  steady yourself if you had time but who could really say?   It’s always worth seeing how a handgun or rifle would do offhand anyway.

 

The gun had no problems for me. I fired  896 rounds with no problems using a variety of bullet styles and  pressures.   I purposefully never lubed the gun and never had a problem.  The trigger is not what I would call great as I am of course a 1911 guy but I think it is fine for the striker style.  It took me considerable dry fire practice for 5 nights in a roll to get used to it.  No fault of the gun this is just a fact of life for a guy born with a M1911 in his hand.  All of the controls are easy to hit and I can’t fault it with anything.   It would make a good CCW pieve for the new owner looking for a solid reliable pistol without spending a lot.

 

 

 

Firearms Reverse Engineering : Best Of Weaponsman

Since the passing of our friend Kevin, AKA “Hognose”  we have been  running a “best of” spot of Kevin’s articles.   Best of being a bit of a misnomer as every thing he wrote qualifies.   We will continue posting Kevin’s writing as a tribute to him and an effort to make sure it always exists some where as  we are alive .

 

Firearms Reverse Engineering

One thing about the people of the gun: we’re conservative. By that, we don’t necessarily mean that we want 15 carrier groups back, eager to cut taxes and services, or sorry that mandatory chapel was gone by the time we went to college. There are actually card-carrying ACLU members and ivory tower socialists among us, but they’re conservative about their guns. For every reader who’s up to date on polymer wonder pistols, there’s about three who wish you could get a new Python. (The reason they can’t is that they don’t want it $3,500-4,000 bad, which is what an old-style hand-made perfect Python would cost to make today). Or a new Luger. For every one of you guys following the latest in M4 attachments (hey, let’s play “combat Legos!”), there’s a few who’d buy a new MP.44, if they could.

Every once in a while, gun manufacturers decide to satisfy these consumer yearnings with product. Sometimes, they succeed. Sometimes, the 10,000 guys who told them they were down for a semi-auto Chauchat turn into 10 guys who buy one and the businessmen get to undergo the intensive learning lab called Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The question becomes, if you are raising a zombie firearm from the dead: how? Even the original manufacturers tend not to have prints and process sheets for >50 year old products, and if they do, the documents are ill-adapted to the way we do things now. If your original product was made in Hiroshima or Dresden pre-1945, or Atlanta pre-1865, odds are the paperwork burned. If the company went tango uniform even ten years ago, rotsa ruck tracking down the design documents.

So, you’re sitting here with a firearm you know you could sell. You have the rights to reproduce it, because any patents and copyrights and trademarks are either in your possession or expired or defunct. Your problem is reverse engineering. It turns out that this is a very common problem in the firearms industry, and the path is well beaten before you.

Some Examples of Reverse-Engineered Drawings

People can do this with some calipers, a dial indicator, and some patience. Rio Benson has done that for the M1911A1.

Screenshot 2015-04-03 09.58.55

He explains why he thought a new set of documents were necessary in a preface to his document package:

Historically, when the drawings for John M. Browning’s Colt M1911 were first created, there was little in the way of ‘consensus’ standards to guide the designers and manufacturers of the day in either drawing format or in DOD documentation of materials and finishes. For the most part, these were added, hit or miss, in later drawing revisions. Furthermore, due to the original design’s flawless practicality and it’s amazing longevity, the government’s involvement, and the fact that in the ensuing 100-plus years of production the M1911 design has been officially fabricated by several different manufacturers, the drawings have gone through many, many revisions and redraws in order to accommodate all these various interests. These ‘mandated by committee’ redraws and revisions were not always made by the most competent of designers, and strict document control was virtually non-existent at the time. All of this has led to an exceedingly sad state of credibility, legibility, and even the availability of legitimate M1911 drawings today.

He modeled the firearm using SolidWorks 2009, with reference to DOD drawings available on the net, and his own decades of design and drafting-for-manufacture experience. The results are available here in a remarkable spirit of generosity; and if you want his solid models or his help producing this (or, perhaps, on another firearm), he’s available to help, for a fee.

findlay-stenIn a similar spirit, experienced industry engineer David S. Findlay whom we’ve mentioned from time to time, has published two books that amount to the set of documents reverse-engineered  from an M1A1 Thompson SMG and from a Sten Mk II. The limitations of these include that they come from reverse-engineering single examples of the firearm in question, and the tolerances are based, naturally, on Findlay’s experience and knowledge. So his reverse-engineering job may not gibe with the original drawings, but you could build a firearm from his drawings and we reckon the parts would interchange with the original, if his example was well representative of the class.

Nicolaus M1 Garand bookOn the other hand, Eric A. Nicolaus has published several books of cleaned-up original drawings of the M1 Garand, the M1D, the M1 and M1A1 carbines, various telescopes, etc.

Nicolaus’s books provide prints like the Findlay books do, but they’re not reverse engineering. They’re reprints of the initial engineering, cleaned up and republished. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Sometimes the Industry needs Reverse Engineering

A perfect example is when planning to reintroduce an obsolete product. Most manufacturers that have been around since the 19th Century never foresaw the rise of cowboy action shooting, but now that it’s here, they want to put their iconic 1880s products in the hands of eager buyers. Or perhaps, they need to move a foreign product to the US (or vice versa). In this case, reverse engineering the product may be less fraught with risk than converting paper drawings which use obsolete drawing standards, measures and tolerancing assumptions. You may recognize this reverse-engineered frame:

reverse-engineered_walther_frame

If you are exploring a reverse engineering job, there are several ways to do it. The first is in-house with your own engineers. (You may need to ride herd on them to keep their natural engineers’ tendency to improve every design endlessly in check). The next, is to outsource to an engineering consultancy that does this. The third is to use a metrology and engineering company, like Q Plus Labs, from whom we draw that pistol-frame example. They say:

[W]e offer numerous reverse engineering methods and services to define parts or product. Q-PLUS provides everything from raw measurement data to parametric engineering drawings that correspond to a 3D CAD solid model! We also offer reverse engineering design consulting to point you in the right direction.

  • Digitizing & Scanning
  • Measurement Services
  • 3D CAD Solid Modeling
  • Engineering Drawings

In other words, you can go there to have them do, essentially, what Rio Benson did with the 1911 with your product. They can digitize an item from 3D scanning, or they can take a drawing and dimension it from known-good examples. Given enough good examples, they can actually determine tolerances statistically and substantiate them to a level that will satisfy regulatory agencies such as the FAA. (This lack of a range of parts and statistical basis for the tolerances is, in our opinion, a rare weakness in Findlay’s single-example approach).

Reverse engineering has gone from something in the back alleys of engineering or attributed to overseas copycats, to something firmly in the mainstream of modern production engineering.

 

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).