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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that the magpul DVDs have been out for a while and it seems everyone has seen them, I have noticed a few common ideas about them people seem to have especially on internet forums. A lot of people I talk to about them seem to miss some of what I think is the real point and value of them. they obviously can not substitute for real hands on training, but they do have some real benefit despite what some say. Mainly I think the point lost on a lot of people is the video really help with weapons handling and manipulation. Even if you are a long time AR15 user, you can learn some pretty good stuff, even if you do not adopt their procedures it gets you thinking ( if you have enough brain) about cleaning up your own sloppy actions.
If you do choose to use their version of each operation its still some good stuff. Its in style now to rag on them and make all the useless and pointless tier 1 jokes in a worn out attempt to be sarcastic, but in doing so, some real chances to learn are lost. I for one have become a lot smoother with my weapons manipulations and have even modified some of what they teach to better fit me. You do not have to do it exactly their way but it is a great starting point for basic manipulations and smoothing your own self out.
Another thing people seem to get the wrong idea bout is speed, or how fast they can put 5-10-20 whatever rounds out. We have seen a lot of guys shooting at ranges who seem to think the point is to get the mag half empty in 3 seconds even if they hit the dirt 5 feet in front of them!! The videos do not demand 1 MOA groups on target, but a balance between speed and accuracy that is good but not slowfire at the NM good. But it seems that because it is so cool to see those two guys dumping rounds on target in seconds people just forget you also need to actually hit with those rounds. The more the offender seems to blaze away at a break neck speed, the worse they were at just plain marksmanship to start with. The idea being forget precise shooting I will just do a mag dump! Few seem to want to train smooth a slow so they never gain the speed that comes through the repeated movements done correctly.
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.
Got to shoot a Ruger SR556 last Saturday. Recoil was smooth and pleasant, the narrow railed hand guard felt nice in the hand. However when I field stripped it, I found metal shavings under the rear take down pin all the way up under the bolt catch. Bolt carrier tilt was shaving metal from the buffer tube. While shooting the Ruger rifle was nice, it looks like they have not worked out all the kinks yet.