LooseRounds.com
5.56 Timeline
Weaponsman.com

SUREFIRE 60 round magazine

The Surefire magazines that hold 60 and 100 rounds have been out for a while now. If you are like me, you have read a few conflicting reports on the quality of the mags all over the internet.  With a possible panic buy situation looming in the future and my own curiosity I decided to try one out. I had no real use for the 100 round magazine since I am not a SAW gunner I opted for the 60 round mag. And as a side note it should be pointed out that surefire now sells MOLLE mag pouches that will hold the mags now.

Once I got the mag, I set out to test it as hard as I could. I loaded it completely full and inserted it into my carbine expecting it to feel like a boat anchor. I was greatly relieved to find that you can not really tell  it is 60 rounds. It really does not feel like any real extra weight. The balance of the weapon still has the same balance and handles just as well as it would with a 30 rounder.  The mag dropped free when empty and I felt no stiffness or friction when the mag release was pressed.  The mag was also very easy to seat  into the gun when loaded full and the bolt was closed. I thought with all the tension from that much ammo it would need some effort but it did not. Another nice discovery was that the 60th round was just as easy to thumb into the mag as the 1st round was. No sore bloody thumbs like was expecting. That was a very nice surprise.

The surefire is pretty much USGI in the feed lips department. The mag body is made from the same metal as the gov issue mags with what appears to be the same coatings. It is pretty simple to take the mag down for cleaning etc.

I went into the testing after all the usual examinations and fondling. I fired the mag empty in one go and it worked fine, locked the bolt open and dropped free while using M855. Next I dropped the ammo into the dirt, loaded them while dirty, shook them up in the mag and ran it dry with the same result.  Next I got into prone and put all the pressure I could on the mag using it as a monopod. I ran it empty with the same results.

I know some mags will give problems from the mag rest so I tested this a lot over two days. I fired another full mag while using it as a rest, but this time pushing it forward as I fired, rocking it forward. I reloaded it and did the same thing though this time I pulled back on it while pushing down hard. It worked great in both cases. I then did the same while holding the gun at an angle to the left then the right. I did both of these tests with a full mag. I did this thinking that some people  may have trouble shooting under a car and not touching the ground with the mag because of the longer length. In any case it did not matter. The mag ran fine with no problems. At this point I had put 400 rounds through the mag adn the gun. I had wiped off most of the lube from the colt to try to make it harder on the magazine. I also made sure to use stripper clips to laod as fast as I could so as to keep the gun hot and the mag warm and dirty. At this point I started using crummy ammo. I tried it with silver bear, brown bear, tula and wolf. Some of it was very under powered but, the mag worked fine. I would have been surprised to have any problems at that point, but I tried them just for the sake of trying them. And I am always looking for an excuse to shoot so it worked out nicely. Most of this testing was done today and a very windy and dusty place. My carbine was coated in a fairly thick coating of dust and I left the bolt open with mag in it to let dust in while shooting other guns to see if I could at least get the mag to feel gritty while working. No dice.

Now I will show a few pictures comparing the mag to a regular USGI and a Pmag and with and without ranger plates so people can get a idea of how long it is.

Here they are side by side. As can be seen, they are not to different in size. To the one guy who does not have a Pmag, they are slightly longer then a USGI.

I think this is a better shot to compare length with out the trick of the  curve of mags making them seem longer.

As can be seen in the picture. The surefire really is not too bad when you see its barely longer then a USGI with a magpul ranger plate on it. A lot of people use the pull tabs anyway, so when it comes to just plain length, it is really not all that much longer.

I know there is a lot of bad reports of the surefire all over the internet, but there is good as well. Mine has run great so far. I plan to test it a while longer before I say it is 100 percent ready to trust my life on it, or even a rifle match. But I am leaning toward that thinking currently. As much as i would like to say “buy with complete confidence” I must hang back. Though it worked great so far, it is not quite mature technology that has been proven enough in real combat in my mind. But, I am slow to jump all over something new. I usually want to see 5-10 years of something being used by the military or some other hard use  group and widespread adoption before I switch to something new. Especially if it is something really different. The surefire mag is not quite as big a deal as a new jet fighter or standard infantry round but, having a mag that fails you in a fight is a pretty big deal to anyone I think.  I will say it is worth buying and trying. if it works fine for you then that is great but take into consideration all the problems we are hearing. I have no way to prove how these supposed problems have happened or how  the mags were treated before they failed so keep in mind that most of the bad mouthing may be BS.  I will say I have heard a lot more good then bad. If you do want one but can not do it right now keep these things in mind.

Surefire will only improve it as time goes on an they will make any problem right. And there is a very very very good chance of wide spread panic buying and price hiking to come over the next few months and is a certainty if you know who is re elected.  So, my thinking was, if it works, great, I got it at a good price and if it give trouble, surefire will fix it and I will have gotten what at a good price before any chance, real or imagined for them to become hard to get, very high priced and sold out. I hope that at least helps you decide on to get one or not. I am very happy with mine and if it keeps performing as is, I will get another one for sure.

Optics report from the range.

Saw a Nikon elevation turret break off today.  There was no visible abuse to the scope, and the adjustments appeared to be working previously.   I have never seen a failure like that before, but it reminds me why paying more for some brands is well worth it.

I got to try a Sightron 6-20 power scope today.  The Sightrons are gaining popularity here as a cheaper alternative to Nightforce and Leupold.  I am not sure which model it was I was given the chance to use, but the clarity was great from 6-about 14-16 power.  As the power was brought up to 20x, the picture clarity and crispness declined.  At this point I do not think I would recommend a Sightron for a fighting rifle.  However for a range gun or target/competition rifle, it may be an excellent economical choice.

Update:

I also got to look through an IOR 2-12 power scope.  I believe the model was the Spartan.  What I thought was most interesting was how compact this scope is.  Many tactical scopes end up being large.  A 3-15 or 5-20 tactical scope can be rather large and heavy on a smaller rifle like an AR15.  This smaller scope would be right at home on a smaller lighter rifle.  The power range is also good for closer range work.  I have found that shooters(including my self) are slower at finding close target with 5x and up.  The top end of 12x along with the scopes clarity allowed me to easily find and see 8 and 10 inch steel targets at 1000 yards.  This compact scope appears to be one of the ideal choices for the compact lightweight 5.56 or 7.62 sniper system.

Aimpoint vs. Eotech for the home defense rifle

Both Aimpoint and Eotech are popular reflex optics for the AR15 family of weapons.  Constantly online and there are heated debates over which is the better optic and many people have differing opinions for different reasons.  There is one major reason the Aimpoint should be picked over the Eotech for home defense.  This is the Aimpoints battery life and run time.  An Eotech needs to be turn on before use, and will run 4 or 8 hours before shutting down.  The Aimpoint will run months to years depending on model and brightness.

The Soldier or the police officer when going on duty or starting a patrol has the time to turn on an Eotech.  You don’t know when you might need to use a home defense rifle, and you shouldn’t want to have to turn on its optic before you can use it.  Even worse would be if your battery is dead when you need it.  The new Eotech EXPS3 has a listed battery life of 25 days on setting 12.  The new $400 dollar Aimpoint PRO will run 3 years on 3/4 max brightness.

Back when I owned an Eotech 512, I often found the batteries were dead when I wanted to use it.  I had to store the batteries out of the optic to keep them from draining.  Not only did I have to turn it on before I would shoot, I would have to check during the day that it is still on.  When working at the range, I have seen more then a few shooters day at the range ruined when the only rifle they bought has an Eotech with dead batteries and no iron sights.

If your rifle is a fun gun, get the optic you prefer.  But if you require a reflex sight that is ready all the time, use an Aimpoint.

Springfield SOCOM II quick review

Today I got the chance to look over and to shoot the SOCOM II rifle a close friend bought. Anyone who knows me , knows I am no fan of the M14/M1A rifle. I will not go into the many flaws it has here, but I will say despite my dislike for the rifle I always give them a fair try and never slam one unfairly just because I do not like them.

The rifle arrived  with the companies 10 round mag. Why not a 20 round mag? I have no idea. The mags when new cost double or triple a USGI  Ar15 mag and I know most buyers would want a USGI 20 round M14 mag to start with. Though I do understand legality can come into play depending where you live.

The stock is a nice touch, it fit well and tight unlike some cheap fiberglass types stocks I have seen with huge gaps. The grip and forearm had a sort of checkering though I felt that other then looks, it was not aggressive enough to be used for real grip.  One thing I did appreciate was the mag well had a nice angled bevel to help inserting and rocking in of the magazine.

After picking it up and handling it, I found the balance to be pretty nice it shoulder well and was short and quick when moving it around tight spots.


The SOCOM was also one of the first M1As I had ever held that the top handgaurd cover fit nice and tight and not rattle around loosely like it normally does on a M14.  On top of the rifle in front of the bolt is a short piece of rail for optics.  This is an idea spot for a T-1 or RMR. I don’t think I would mount something as big as a CompM3 or Eotech, but it is a nice set up for the mini RDS.  Having no optics on had to try out , I can not say anything about  if it would co-witness with irons. The rear peep sight is bigger then the traditional rear sight. i appreciate this since I have never found the normal small peep to be handy for me at close range or moving targets. the frnt sight had a tridium vial and the protective hoods on each side of the front post are nice and wide, protecting it but not so close to cause confusion at night or in a stressful situation.

After shooting it and checking zero, we proceeded to do some faster shooting. the muzzle brake did its job well. Using Federal gold medal 168 grain Match, the muzzle stayed flat and reduced recoil with not much flash at all. However, with lake city ball, the muzzle blast would peel paint from a wall and was loud enough to be a real distraction. The ports on the brake did direct the worst of the flash away from the line of sight enough to reduce it. No night firing was done so I can not comment on how bad it would be at night with Ball ammo.

The gun was very controllable during double and triple taps.  A number or shots were fired at a  IDPA target at 25 yards to test how controllable it was during rapid fire.  A few double taps even manged to cut into each other or a least touch because of the effective muzzle device. Double and triple taps easily stayed on the head while firing as fast as possible  even fighting against the 2 stage trigger.

After having some fun and getting a feel how the rifle generally handled, we decided it was time to test if for accuracy. Since we where not on a range that let us shoot past 25 yards we had to settle for the short range.  two  5 shot groups were fired using the before mentioned federal gold medal 168 match load.  No optics were used nor any kind of tripod/bipod. I know it is only 25 yards and open sighted, but I have to say, it shows some real potential.

5 shot group 168 grain match

Both groups are 5 round strings fired with the Federal gold medal 168grain match load. As you can see in the pictures 3 rounds went into the same hole in both groups. Considering both were shot pretty much off hand, thats not bad at all  even as close as 25 yards!!

Now the downside of the SOCOM II is it suffers the same things as all its other versions. A very slow reload. A safety that is not in a good spot at all. In fact. with the smaller trigger guard and the position of the safety, I found ever time I tried to put my finger into the trigger guard, my finger got hung up  between the two and I had to take a second to make sure I got it in where it needed. Sure this is a training issue, but its a issue that really should not even really be there. Other small issues to me are miner, like having to clean from the muzzle and the gun not having a bolt closure or a better safety but these are all personal, maybe other who love the rifle will train hard enough to over come them and perform beautifully with it.    It is a very accurate rifle from what I have seen and it handles great. Plenty of companies make a rail or a way to mount what else you need on a general purpose rifle so there should be no problem there, And you can replace the stock with a multitude of other options. If you want a battle rifle that is  not too long, this is a good choice and its not as pricey as  some AR10 type .30 caliber rifles though you do not have the versatility of the AR type rifles, you still get one nice sweet rifle that is superior to the normal M14/M1a