Hate Train, cont.

I saw a comment on a forum about Benchmade. Sadly I forgot to screen shot it when I saw it, so I don’t recall who said it or the exact wording. It went something like:

Don’t tell a company you will never buy from them again. Tell them that you will currently buy from their competitors, and in the future reevaluate if this company has changed. If they changed, you will buy from them again.

Poorly paraphrased quote.

There are two companies, I’m not going to go into details, where I once told them, “I hope you go out of business so that your employees can get jobs they are competent at.” Now one of those companies went out of business. The other has changed drastically and I am a fan now. I have purchased a good deal of their stuff now that they have changed and stop making crap. I’ll continue to buy from them as long as they continue to make good a good product.

Might be worth telling these companies that if they support what we want (or at least don’t support our enemies) we will buy from them. As long as they don’t, we won’t. I think many people would argue that Ruger is currently not the same company as back when Bill Ruger said that people don’t need more than a 10 round magazine.

Oh, L3 Eotech donates to Diane Feinstein. If you really want to get mad, look at how the NRA spends money.

FDE SBR

RRA stripped lower Cerakoted burnt bronze.
Larue MBT
Colt FDE Anodized Upper
Colt SOCOM Profile barrel cut to 10.3″
Daniel Defense MK18 RIS II
Surefire Warcomp
KAC Handstop
KAC Sights
KAC Ambi Safety
Magpul CTR with older extended pad
KAC QD End Plate
Arms Unlimited Ambi Mag Release (not shown)
PRI Gasbuster
SU-231/PEQ
Colt BCG
Misc Lower Parts, most likely WOA

If I were to change anything, I would change 2 things. I don’t like the Eotech, I don’t trust it. The Arms Unlimited ambi catch fit and finish is not as nice as the Norgon they copy, and it slightly binds in this lower, I’d rather be using the real thing and not the knockoff there. To a lesser extent, the Gasbuster is overkill on this. Would rather use something like a lower profile Gunfighter charging handle.

My first SBR.

A long time ago, in the ancient barbaric times of 2007, I finally had an approved Form 1 to make a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR).  Back then we didn’t have the pistol braces so doing the paperwork for a SBR was considered the best way to go.

I don’t remember why I choose to go get a SBR, but I have loved the short AR15 ever since.

I decided no expense would be spared, I would build a top notch SBR.  (Tier 1 wasn’t a phrase used back then, but that sort of mentality).

It was common knowledge back then that short AR15s were generally unreliable.  The LMT 10.5 inch upper was said to be the exception.  That it would “run like a raped ape”.  (It wasn’t till years later I learned that was a racist term).  LMT also used a medium profile barrel heavier than a standard M4 barrel on their 10.5 inch uppers.

I wasn’t going to use my old RRA lower for this, I would buy a brand new top of the line lower to build this top of the line gun.

So I went with a LMT lower.  The gun ended up looking like this:

Let me take a moment to explain some of the decisions and setups shown.

I wanted a flip up rear sight, so I went with the Troy rear sight I purchased for use in Iraq.  Troy sights are still an excellent product, but I much prefer to use other brands now.  Not to mention that the Troy Industries has done some questionable things since then.

I wanted to free float the barrel so I had a Larue 7.0 free float rail installed by MSTN.  It made for a very nice configuration.  Back then I wasn’t set up to build uppers, and MSTN was very highly regarded.  I believe they are still around but I don’t hear much about them.  I had him test fire the upper for me.

“YOURS IS BUILT AND GOT SHOT YESTERDAY. A FRIEND AND COWORKER WAS THERE
AT THE RANGE, AND I LET HIM SHOOT A MAGAZINE THROUGH YOUR UPPER.

HE ON THE SPOT DECIDED TO GET ONE FOR HIMSELF. HE WENT AND PICKED UP AN
LMT LOWER FROM THE SHOP WHERE WE DO BUSINESS AND HAS ALREADY SENT IT
OFF TO BE ENGRAVED.” Quote from Wes.

I choose to use a Diamondbond coated LMT Bolt.  MSTN was out of Diamondbond coated LMT Bolt Carriers so I purchased a coated Young MFG carrier.  I also purchased a second coated Bolt Carrier Group.  I’ll come back to this detail later.

A PRI Gasbuster was picked as it was the ultimate charging handle of its day.

I used the SOPMOD stock that came with the LMT lower.  I added a KAC QD sling attachment to the stock as back then LMT stocks did not offer a QD mount in them.

I used a CQD sling for a while back in Iraq.  I decided to go with CQD sling mounts on my SBR.  It was a good while later that I learned the SEALs were using the same mounts, I still think they were copying me.

Back then I think I tried every mainstream AR grip on the market. (No I didn’t use the one that let you put a revolver grip on your AR).  I eventually settled on the old A1 grip.  No finger bump.

For a while I ran the Eotech 512 forward mounted because the weight up front also helped reduce muzzle flip.

 

There were many many things I loved about that configuration, but it had a few fatal flaws.

Lets first talk about mistakes I made.

The LMT lower I purchased had an issue with its finished.  It was flaking off near the safety and the trigger pins.  I should have rejected it and had it replaced.

That sorta worked out ok with due to another mistake I made.

I had a local trophy shop engrave it for the NFA engraving requirements.  They really fucked it up.  I ended up having a pay more to send it off to Orion/TheGunGarage to have it properly engraved, the bad engraving fixed, and the lower finish touched up.  They work they did was awesome, but I shouldn’t have had to have that work done in the first place.

Back then some of the ammo I shot was Norinco.  This Chinese ammo seemed to lack the flash suppressant than most American ammo has.  When I fired my first round through this upper it made a tremendous amount of flash and blast and I instantly knew I was going to get a suppressor.  I wanted a Knights NT4, but my local didn’t didn’t have one and I let them talk me into a Gemtech M402.  The M402 is a good can, but ultimately wasn’t what I wanted.  Had I bought a NT4 I would probably still be using it as my main can today.

One of the biggest mistakes of mine was picking Eotech.  Back then, it was common knowledge that Eotech was great and Aimpoint sucked.  Just like how it was common knowledge that the world was flat.  Everyone knew that Eotech sights were faster, and because it used common AA batteries you could pull batteries of a remote to keep it running.  I didn’t know back then that I would have to room clear to the living room TV remote just to try and keep the Eotech running.

Now lets talk about the issues outside my control.

I had two Diamondbond LMT/YoungMFG bolt carrier groups.  One has been flawless, has seen tons of rounds, and just held up awesome.  It still resides in my favorite AR.  The other is. . . finicky.  That other coated LMT bolt causes random malfunction in what ever gun it is put in.  I was never able to figure out why.  It still sits in my parts bin.  That carrier however has seen tens of thousands of rounds of 5.45 and held up awesome.  Diamondbond is an amazing coating.

Chrome lined barrels can be very accurate.  LMT can make a very accurate barrel.  But my barrel was threaded poorly.  This wouldn’t have been an issue except I wanted to run a suppressor.

Either way this barrel had massive point of impact shift when suppressed.  10 minutes of angle.  That meant that I could either zero the upper suppressed or suppressed.  Since then I have multiple barrels that have had zero POI shift when suppressed, and that is what I have grown accustom too.

That was the ultimate deal breaker for me.  To not be able to quickly switch between suppressed and unsuppressed.  But I still love the 10.X inch barrel length on the AR.

Optic of the Week: Leupold CQ/T

First time I used a Leupold CQ/T it was mounted on a friends M1A.  It seemed to me an impractical combination as it was mounted really high making it awkward on the M1A and I’d much rather have more magnification on a .30 cal.  That aside, I found the CQ/T rather interesting.

The Leupold Close Quarters/ Tactical is a real odd duck of a scope that really came out before its time.  Before the 1-X variable power craze of nowadays, there was the 1-3x CQ/T.  It is fast and easy to switch between 1x and 3x because the entire ocular section of the scope (up to the rail) rotates.  The Leupold CQBSS received rave reviews for this feature, but it was in the CQ/T long before it.

Most of the CQ/T scopes have a circle dot reticle (much like the Eotech) that can be illuminated in amber or red.  The circle dot is always visible.  Before it was discontinued Leupold did finally make some with their CMR reticle, an ACOG like bullet drop chart(BDC).

Reticle is 2nd focal plane.  It is eteched At 1x the Dot is 3 MOA and the circle is 18 inches at 25 yards (~69 MOA), at 3x the Dot is 9 MOA and the circle is 6 feet at 200 yards (~34 MOA).  The math is much simpler if you round to 72 and 36 MOA which I think was the intent.

Illuminated reticle is bright, but still somewhat lacking outdoors.  The adjustment has 12 positions including OFF and night vision modes.  The reticle will blink if you have a low battery.  I couldn’t get a good picture outdoors of the illuminated reticle so here is an indoor one.

Adjustments are a simple 1/2 covered turrets.

The “battery pack” is easily removed or secured with less than a quarter turn.  

Weirdly, you have a removable container to put the battery in.  If you had several you could do quick battery changes, and this also would protect the optic should the battery leak.  It doesn’t slow down battery changes, but makes the process different from other optics.

The mount is rather weird.  The CQ/T has a narrow section so that it can mount to an AR15 carry handle.  Unlike other scopes that can do that, this one has 3 threaded holes to give different eye relief options.

The rail mount is two piece and pinches the scope to your rail.  Solidly mounts the scope but makes it annoying when you are taking it off or moving it.

I am really impressed by the CQ/T and I think it is a good scope, but it is just shy of a great scope.  Leupold seemed to make some odd design decisions regarding it.  For example the rails on the scope, they should have either gotten rid of them, or gotten serious with low profile adjustment so that there would be a usable amount of rails.  The circle is huge, I think they would have been better off with a 1 MOA dot and a 19-20 MOA circle.  A mount that doesn’t get all loose and floppy when you are removing or attaching it would also have been an improvement.  The battery pack was an interesting idea but could be replaced with a simpler cap.  I think the biggest possible improvement would have been an illuminated horseshoe reticle with an ACOG like BDC.

I went and read some old reviews of this scope and the complaints were generally about cost, weight, size, and eye relief.  I think this came out in a time when people were not used to spending a good bit of money on an rifle optic.  Now people gladly spend large sums for AR optics.  This scope is 17.5 oz, so it is heavy, about twice the weight of an ACOG.  But to put it in perspective it is a 1/3 pound lighter than the similar Elcan Specter DR.  To me it doesn’t feel overly large or heavy on an AR.  Eye relief seemed fine to me, but unlike a reflex sight, you still have strict limits on where you can place your head to use it.

I put this scope on my 5.45 AR (pictured in the first picture) and did a little bit of rapid fire and shot some clay pigeons at 50 yards.  I found the CQ/T to be very fast and easy to use.  I like it, but I feel it is just shy of being a great optic.  I would not recommend it because it has discontinued, not to mention there are now 1-6x scopes that are similar size, weight, and MSRP.  I think that is a shame because I think with just a little work it could have been exceptional.  Lastly, there are some being sold really cheap lately, if you want one, now might be the time to get one.

 

Optic of the week – SU-231/PEQ Eotech 553

Around a decade ago it was common knowledge that Eotechs were faster to use and better than Aimpoints.  Just like how not very long before that it was common knowledge that the Earth was flat.

The Eotech sights use a laser to project a hologram of the reticle in the optical window.  This allows for a greater variety of reticle patterns then a diode sight like the Aimpoint.  Most common in Eotech sights are a 1 MOA dot with a 65 MOA circle around it.  A downside to holosights are shorter battery life.  Battery life on the Eotech is advertised to be about 1000 hours.

There are other variations with additional dots to function as a drop chart.  There are also machine gun reticles.

For the life of me, I could not get the reticle to show up nicely in a picture.  Despite how it looks in the photo, the reticle is bright and easy to see.  If you focus on the reticle, you will see that it is comprised of a bunch of dots, it will appear to be fuzzy if you have the brightness cranked up.  That is just due to the nature of how it works.

Windage and Elevation is easy to adjust using a coin or similar tool.  Both adjustments have positive clicks and are easily accessible on the right side of the sight.

Brightness is adjusted using the up and down arrow buttons on the rear of the sight (there are some models where the adjustments are on the left side of the sight).  If the sight is off, hitting one of these buttons will turn on the sight.

The Eotech will automatically turn it self off it preserve battery life.  Turning it on by hitting the down button will have the Eotech turn off after 4 hours.  Hitting the up button will have it off after 8 hours.  Holding both buttons will turn the Eotech off immediately.

Some models, like this 553 have a NV button that will dim the optic for night vision use.  While you can sorta get away with using most optics with night vision by using a dim setting, that can damage nightvision over time.  NV setting reduce the brightness enough so that you will not damage your expensive night vision device.

I did some shooting with this Eotech and with a Aimpoint T-1 on the same rifle.  Shooting from the bench, or rapidly engaging multi targets off hand was quick and easy with either optic.  Both were fast and easy to use, but I would not say the Eotech was any faster or easier than the Aimpoint.  The only real noticeable difference in use was that this Eotech 553 felt much heavier on the rifle than the T-1.  Looking at the stats on them, the Eotech is about 3 times heavier.  That is an additional half pound on the rifle over the weight of the T-1.

I used to be a major fan of Eotechs.  But over the years I saw multiple Eotech Holographic Weapon Sights fail in various ways.  Battery terminals would break, I’ve seen the prism break loose.  Lenses delaminate, and reticles dimming.  The biggest issue was that many Eotechs would drain their batteries even when off.  I found that my Eotech 512 would drain the batteries even when off.  I had to store it with the batteries removed.  I felt the high failure rate of Eotech sights was damning on its own.

Turns out it gets worse.  L3 was aware of issues with their like of Eotech sights, and were covering it up.  L3 paid a settlement of 25.6 million dollars over this.  The biggest issues they were covering up were that the sight wasn’t actually parallax free and that there could be massive zero changes if the optic was exposed to temperature changes and it turns out that Eotech sights also were not as waterproof as they are suppose to be.

Despite these persistent issues, you still see fans of Eotech sights defend them online.    The most often statement in Eotech’s defense is that the Navy SEALs are using Eotech sights.  I point out that the SEALs use what they are issued, are the individuals are not purchasing these out of pocket.  They also have far more range time and funding so doing stuff like rezeroing before a mission or replacing batteries each mission is a non issue.  But even NSWC Crane had to issue a Safety of Use Message about the Eotech warning about a 4 MOA Thermal Drift problem, fading and disappearing reticles, and 4-6 MOA parallax error.  SOCOM acknowledge these sights have issues.

So if you want a known substandard sight, buy Eotech.