Tag Archives: AR15

Retro AR15 & Cleaning

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Ever since I acquired this Colt SP1. I had it in mid to get some of the Vietnam era military cleaning gear to go with it. Not so much to use, but for display. I have a fairly large military display of Vietnam war era items and normally the cleaning stuff  is among the other things displayed. It took a while to track down each of these thing in new mint condition, but it was worth it and it makes a nice picture of the items in common use at time the rifle was originally made.

Mud Testing Service Rifles From InRange TV

The  fellows over at InRange TV  have been posting a series of very popular  mud tests on various service weapons. Most recently a mud test of the fragile AR15 that “everyone” knows can not take even a microscopic speck of dust and has to be cleaned every 3 rounds.    I like to think out regular readers already know how this video is going to turn out since it is one of my pet subjects.

https://www.full30.com/embed/30a1f036a5143172f5da39cf50f46360

I am sure this will still come as a shock to some people who see it.  The truth is the AR15 and its DI system can take a lot more filth and abuse that some of the guns out there with reputations for being unstoppable. Years of military personnel repeating handed down myth and  misinformation over decades combined with the civilian gun communities habit of believing everything a vet  says as if it was gospel that can never be question  and gun media with their own slick ads and and agenda has made this particular BS myth last longer than it should have.

 

Below is the dirty duo’s  mud test of the AK47 . The mythological unstoppable killing machine that is infallible.

https://www.full30.com/embed/753d617d16a9cb6c09526519a0740313
And here is a much enlightening ( for some) video with mud testing some of the other popular service rifles.

https://www.full30.com/embed/9eef6b3a4eb6c8846a4c8dc4b8968bc4
M1 Garand.  mud test .

https://www.full30.com/embed/a9145047584c659d45aacc4e1392d2e3
 

 

You can find all of there videos  following the links below.

https://www.full30.com/channels/inrange

You can also find the other channel Forgotten weapons at the same website http://www.full30.com

 

 

 

Home gunsmithing

It is said that people who own Harley Davidson tend to think ownership means qualified to work on them.

Same thing for gun owners.  Not I am not saying that you can’t work on your own guns, but you really need to know what you are doing.

All the time at the range I see failures in AR15s from not installing the stock correctly, fire control group springs in the wrong places.  Firearms unable to be zeroed due to improper sights and sight installation.  1911 and revolver triggers get tuned to the point of unreliability.

I have to be honest, I have done this my self.  Had the buffer retaining detent pop up and cause the hammer to not hit the firing pin.  Had a connector sold to me as “glock brand” cause reliability issues.  Broken screws and bolts using improper torque values.  The list goes on.

Many modern firearms are simple to work on.  However simple to work on does not equal fool proof.  Make sure you know what you are doing when you work on your firearms, and if you are not sure, get an experts help.

On Back Up Sights

I have seen many arguments online about the necessity of back up sights on a rifle using optics.  The general concensious seems to be that they are needed on military rifles, but not on civilian rifles.  This is not the case.

In the military people work in teams and are almost never alone.  Should a rifle go down it is not really an issue as you still have many other people capable of continuing the fight.  For the civilian and the police officer this is often not the same.  If someone wakes up in their home and finds the battery dead in their reflex sighted rifle it helps to have iron sights.  However if a Marine’s optics fails, he is only reducing his squads fighting ability by 1/13 its firepower.

So do you need back up irons?  First needs to consider if the rifle is a toy, or a tool for fighting.  If it is a toy, back up sights are not necessary.  If it is a fighting tool, look at its role and how it is set up.  If you are running battery powered optics or magnified optics on quick detach mounts, I would suggest back up sights.  So if you need to use a wrench to remove your optic, back up sights may not be practical for you and you may be better off switching to a different weapon.

“Damn, the batteries are dead.”  Is not an uncommon saying at the range I work at.  Not only among cheap optics with poor battery life, but often about Eotechs.  Batteries discharge, cheap batteries and cheap optics drain even faster.  Even the best optics can be broken.  On the range this is just an annoyance, for the Soldier or Marine it means that their buddies will have to take up the slack.  However if you, as a lone civilian or law enforcement officer, have this happen in the fight, the results can be costly.

I highly recommend back up sights on the individuals fighting rifle.  If you are fighting by your self, being able to keep your weapon in the fight is crucial.

On that note, also make sure to keep your back up sights zeroed.

On Throwlevers

For rifles like the AR15 I prefer to have my optics on quick detach (QD) mounts.  These are useful for a number of reasons including, the ability to quickly remove a damaged optic, quick access to iron sights, and being able to switch optics for different roles.  Accessories also benefit from being QD so I can add and remove bulky bipods, lights, forward grips easily.  The only real downside to quality QD mounts is the price.  For me, the price is easily justifiable when I can take off the Aimpoint from one of my AR15s, and put on an NightForce scope and a bipod, and retaining my previous zero.

For optics mounts, I recommend LaRue Tactical.  Their mounts have worked well for me.  Recently I have been using ADM mounts on my bipods and while I find I have to adjust the mount to fit each rifle’s rail each time I move it, it works well.  I didn’t like the new Surefire throw lever on their newer lights as I would accidentally bump it and it would come loose.  I do not recommend ARMS mounts due to their being either too loose or too tight on various brands of uppers.

Colt nostalgia / Black Dog machine QC Fail

Waaaaaay  back before I hit puberty, I made sure the 1st thing I did before I worried about girls was to make sure I had a colt AR15.  Being a college kid later on I was like every other college kid, I was poor. Liking guns plus  being poor equals only one thing.  22 Long rifle.   In an effort to get more out of my AR15 trigger time, I found and quickly bought  this colt .22 conversion kit.

22LR
colt conversion kit

well, not this one, but one just like it.  The first one I had was identical.  I shot it thousands of times and it never failed me.  It was a dream come true for a kid that could not afford new 5.56 ammo and had no way to get surplus ammo. It was easy to put in, take out and needed little cleaning, The only down side was the one 10 rounds mag that came with it.  Later one, once I got older and got a job and a little money, I lost interest in it and sold it off.   Fast forward to a few years ago when ammo prices  skyrocketed.  Conversion kits sprang up every where and became hugely popular again.  This made me remember my humble old colt conversion kit and all the fun I had with it.

After looking around online and spending a little money I managed to get two more of my fun little buddies.  I even got lucky enough to find an extra mag. 30 rounds!!! and I only had to reload 2 times!! But, one was in such good shape I just opened it and made sure it was fine. The other became the work horse for plinking.

new and used
NIB with used

After using the kit for fun I started thinking in terms or using it to train with in place of 556 ammo, and of course in doing so, the 10 round factory mags just would not cut it.  Around the time I started thinking this, a company known for making 25-30 round mags for various conversion kits became known to me. The company is Black Dog Machine. They had a rep for making some pretty good stuff an I wished for a 30 round mag for my ancient colt kits. One day on a gun board they maintain a forum in, the rep posted they would be selling a mag to fit my beloved kit soon. about three years passed before  they actually had something ready. Sadly it was billet aluminum and was 60 bucks a pop. Waaaay to high for me to bother with. i mean 60 bucks a mag? Who would? That is 6 USGI mags. But they did promise a plastic mag that would soon follow. A couple of years later it finally did, and it was priced right so I got on the phone and ordered one.  When it finally arrived, I popped in my kit and loaded the mag. Went outside and went to chamber a round and ….FTF..   tried again..FTFeed again.   I did manage to get  maybe three rounds in a row to fire and cycle but had a lot more problems.  SO after waiting for around three years for this mag, when I got it, it was a complete piece of garbage.

colt kit with working colt mags and garbage BDM mag

I tried to Email the company to see if I could get help. Nothing. After a few emails and phone calls and even IMs on ar15.com  I still have gotten no response from them. I do not know if they do not sell enough to feel the need to service these mags or what, but I was very let down.  Looking at the mag which holds around 25-28 rounds, it has some nice features. It is solid, has steel feed lips, the ability to take spring tension off for easier loading and just feels well made. It however, does little more then look awesome. Now, I have used the BDM in other brand conversion kits and they did fine. But this mag is so out of spec its crazy. The kit is not the problem  because it works with all the factory mags and they are what the BDM tries to copy. The factory mags are built like tanks and are  the very definition of reliable.  Sadly to this day no one at BDM has deemed it, or me worthy of a response to help me fix the mag. I do not want a refund, I want a hi-cap mag for my Colt conversion kit. But I suppose it is not to be, and BDM will have no more of my money.

Now for the kit itself, if you can find them they do not work with the old airforce mags, the ceiner kits or the old military conversion kit mags. They always come with a 10 rounder though since it was intended for plinking and hunting.  You will not get benchrest accuracy out of any conversion kit and a 1/7 twist does less to help, but thats not the point.  However, it is squirrel hunting accurate within 25 yards with a SP-1 or M16 1/12 twist barrel.  Mine have never let me down ( not counting the BDM mag) and have been the 1st rounds fired by my girl friend and younger kids. If you can find one of these fine old Colt kits and the price is right, I highly recommend it. It will be a lot of fun thats cheap to shoot and a nice example of colts past and the early days of the AR15 making its first inroads to the sporting/civilian world.

On muzzle devices

Various Surefire muzzle devices.

We have a multitude of wonderful options in muzzle devices now for our rifles.  However I have been seeing some odd trends that disturb me.  First I run into many people running muzzle breaks on short barreled rifle (SBR) variants. These short 5.56 rifles only gain marginal recoil reduction, and the cost of a large increase of flash and blast, almost always annoyingly so.  Several of the owners of these short rifles tell me that their rifle is their home defense gun.  I do hope that they never need to fire those rifles indoors with out hearing protection.  Pronged flash hiders are also coming back into style.  These tend to be more effective then closed ended flash hiders, but many will ring like a bell when tapped or as the rifle is discharged.  Sometimes prongs can be bent, or they can bloom like a flower.  I recommend against pronged flash hiders on full length rifles, and on firearms that are going to be used in think brush.  However these pronged flash hiders are an excellent choice for the sub-16 inch .30 cal rifle and for SBRs as they mitigate flash and blast better then many of the enclosed flash hiders.  One last note, some flash hiders have sharp edges, points, and/or barbs for use as a impact weapon.  I highly recommend against these as standard flash hiders work well in that role, and the expensive specialized ones end up just cutting holes in your range bags and cases.