Misc Chatter, Muzzle breaks on SBRs, AR Mags, Height over bore, MGI Hydra

Last weekend I was shooting M855 out of a 8 inch barrel with a muzzle break.  Each shot I saw a muzzle flash that extended past my peripheral vision.


Recently I saw a video where someone was doing rifle pushups with an AR15.  I was going to reference that video in this comment, but I don’t recall where I saw it.

Rifle pushups involve holding the rifle and balancing your self and it on the inserted magazine while doing pushups.  So the rifle and magazine have to support your weight and you have to balance your self on that single point of contact between the rifle magazine and the ground.

Here is a video of someone performing them with an AK:

First time I saw these, I recall the person explaining them telling us how you could never do this with the flimsy AR15.  I never thought to try it.  So I got a chuckle out of seeing someone to rifle pushups with an AR.

That got me thinking about the olden days.  For so long it was known that the weak point of the AR platform was the magazines.  That is why it was known that the AUG, G36, XM8, Galil, etc were superior weapons because they had superior magazines.

I think part of this came from the mentality caused by the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB).  During the AWB we were buying beat up old mags at very high premiums.  It didn’t help that the military just loves to never throw out old mags.  I’m fairly sure that while I was in Marine Corps, my self and my peers were issued mags older than we were.  Go to the Armory and try and swap out a mag that had bent feed lips where the rounds would just spill out like a water fountain and you would be told to fix the mag your self or they would charge you for a new one.

So for so many years I remember people talking about how the AR mag was the weak spot of the gun.  I think it was around the time Magpul started making the P-Mag that people starting throwing away their old beat up mags and buying new mags and we stopped hearing that saying.

Now it seems that people want any new 5.56 rifle design to use AR mags.

Now, to add the ultimate insult to injury, groups like Definitive Arms, Texas AK designs, and Zastava setup AKs that use M16 mags:

Oh what a world we live in.

~25 rounds fired at about 10 yards, point of aim was the red dot.

I also remember critics of the AR damning it for the height of the sights over the bore.  Because of that you couldn’t get a good zero, it was unsuitable for close quarters combat, etc.



While I was writing this, I remember the MGI Hydra.

The Hydra (which I think was also sold under other brand names) had a modular lower and a quick change barrel upper.  You could buy them separately.

The upper allows for true tool less quick change of a standard AR15 barrel just by flipping two levers.

The lower is modular allowing you to replace the front section with different magwells allowing for AK mags, 9mm mags, etc.  A M14 mag well rifle was shown, but I don’t think it was ever sold to the public.

In the past, I really wanted one of these lowers.  I thought it would be an excellent host for a SBR.  Out of curiosity I looked up the price of them while I was writing this.  The extra modular magwells are $275 each.

At that price, you could buy separate lowers and a tax stamp for each one.

No wonder I’ve never seen anyone own any of these.  It would be cheaper just to have whole new guns.

But, maybe if I win the lotto, I’ll buy one anyways.

Brownells 308 Barrel Extension Torque Tools. . . sucks

I have a Geissele AR15 reaction rod and while I think it was pricey, I have gotten my moneys worth out of it.  Since I bought it the price has gone up to $100.  If I had to replace it I would probably just buy the Magpul BEV Block at half the cost.

Recently I wanted to get something similar for the 308.  The Geissele AR10/SR25 reaction rod is $200, which seemed a little high to me for a splined shaft.  So I looked around and saw that Brownells had a knockoff for $50.  At one quarter the price I quickly purchased it.

I learned the catch.  I guess Brownells wanted to change the design to avoid copyright or patent issues, so they removed the vise flats and put in a square drive.

Their instruction tell you to put muzzle device or barrel nut wrench in the vise, install a torque wrench or breaker bar into their reaction rod copy, slide their reaction rod knockoff into the action, and precariously balance the upper between your wrench in the vise, and the wrench in the reaction rod knockoff, and torque it all down with out dropping anything.  Good luck with that.

I found I could sometimes clamp the round rod in the vise tight enough that I could use it like a Geissele reaction rod.  I finally ended up just milling some flats in it so I could secure it in a vise.

Unless you have the capability to put a flat on the Brownells tool, I’d recommend passing on it.

When Guns are Outlawed only Outlaws will have Video Games

I am not so old as to have gray hairs, but I remember long ago listening to people rant about the problems caused by Rock and/or Roll.  They would preach how the world was formed perfect, then the taint of this loud profane music ruined everything.  Before, there was no war, violence, premarital sex, venereal disease, or Islam, but all was ruined by Lucifer’s words leaking out of Elvis’ lips.

Sadly, these well-meaning elders of ours were wrong, they picked the lesser of two evils.  They did not have the insight and technological prowess to realize the real scourge of the earth, video games.

Some of the foolish misguided few might talk of silliness like security, mental health, or personal responsibility, but they are wrongly shifting the blame from the true threat, Q-Bert and company.

People were too trusting and did not realize that evils such as the transsexual Ms. Pac-Man was teaching people to pop pills and believe in the paranormal ghosts.  These poor victims of the arcade were being robbed of their quarters while their head was being filled by the excrement of Satan’s anus.

People will always be quick to point fingers away from what they care about and unto the things they don’t, but we need to band together and point out the real threat to our perfect Christian society; the Nintendo Entertainment System.

I really wish I didn’t have to hear and read crap like this constantly.

There has been a resurgence of this in my local media after a shooting at a video game competition in Florida.  They were playing an ultra violent football game called Madden 19.  Where are the cries to ban football?  For the children, of course.  The Connecticut State Attorney showed that apparently school shooter Adam Lanza was a big fan of the horrifying violent game Dance Dance Revolution.  Where are the cries from the Mothers of America demanding that dancing be banned?

Back in 2012 our loser rep LaPierre tried to blame violent video games for school shootings.  Even back in 2012 Trump tweeted blaming video games.  President Trump has backed off from that stance.  On the other side kids and adult who play games are pointing fingers at gun owners claiming that firearms are the source of all evils.

There are a few simple parts to this:

  • Blaming video games makes us look stupid.  Very stupid.
  • Blaming media helps promote fans and creators of these forms of media to blame us.  They already want to shift the blame and they would gladly point it at us.
  • This doesn’t help SOLVE any issues.

I think many would rather blame someone else then look at the real root causes of problems, or taking responsibility for security and self defense, etc.  It is the easy way out.  I think all the Call of Duty and similar violent games helped make a whole lot of people who have grown up to be gun owners.  I used to hear of people who bought a Beretta due to Lethal Weapon, or a .44 due to Dirty Harry.  Now I meet many a person who bought an ACR or SCAR due to Call of Duty.  Hell, I’d bet that half the public sales of the Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR and the FN SCAR come from people who fell in love with them from using them in video games.

In the end, trying to blame a form of media is just going to make things worse for us.  It doesn’t help anyone.

Update on my firearm project.

Back around Hurricane Irma I got thinking about what I would get if I were starting my firearm collection from scratch.  I still have an unfinished article based off my musing I might post someday.

I’ve wanted a light weight .308 semi auto with a long handguard for a while now.  I really like the Colt 901 and would love to have one with a long handguard, but Colt doesn’t offer that in the US, so I went with Larue Tactical.

Larue Tactical offers what they a call an Ultimate Upper kit.  This is a somewhat customization kit that including everything necessary for a functional AR minus the serialized lower receiver.  These kits are a great deal for the money, but they tend to have a very long lead time so don’t get one if you are impatient.  If you buy one of their upper kits, you can also order a lower.

I place an order from LaRue on 6/21.

I held off for quite a while as the large frame Larue rifles are Keymod and I’d much prefer MLOK.  But after thinking about it I realized that I am just going to mount a QD mount for a sling swivel and a couple of rail sections, and never take them off.  For me, in the big picture, it doesn’t really matter which system it is.

The upper kit arrived on 8/10.

It is a nicely packed up kit of everything for a rifle except for a lower.


There is the option to purchase a couple more of Larue mags at a discount when you buy one of their UU kits.  These are mags are well made and are designed to allow for a little longer overall length on the rounds in the mag over other brands like the Magpul P-Mags.

I also purchased a Surefire Warcomp.  It reduces recoil but is not as blasty or loud as a proper muzzle break.  It will reduce muzzle flash more than a muzzle break, but less than a dedicated flash hider.  The other main benefit is the ability to mount my Surefire silencer.

I wrote a little bit about the Larue RAT stock here.

I decided to go with a light weight profile barrel, the same as on the PredatAR rifles.  The barrel with gas block and gas tube weights 2 lbs 5.6oz.  I choose a light weight barrel as I know I won’t be doing high volume fire through this gun, and I do know that Larue makes accurate barrels.  The 308 rifles have plenty of weight in other areas, so I think this will be a good compromise.  Worse case scenario, the gun can be re-barreled, but I doubt that will be an issue.

To put it in perspective, the Proof Research lightweight barrel is advertised to be 2 pounds 3 oz at $940.  I don’t think 3ish ounces is worth that premium.

Barrel is marked Rearden Steel.  That’s for those of you who get the reference.

The gasblock is keyed the barrel for alignment.

Three setscrews hold the gas block in place.  Flat bottomed holes are cut in the barrel for these set screws.  I used Rockset to help secure them.

The match two stage trigger and pistol grip that comes with the kit is installed on a dry fire trainer so you can test the trigger as you wait for a lower.

I have no idea how much longer I am going to have to wait for the matching Larue lower I ordered for this kit, but I will write about it when I get it.

Where are they now? Monolithic Uppers


I was looking at a picture of the LMT MARS-L as adopted by New Zealand and I was remembering how not that long ago I read all sorts of people saying that the future of the AR was going to be monolithic uppers.

Greater rigidity, accuracy & precision, no top rail gap interfering with optics mounting, simpler and less parts, and all manner of other improvements were the reasons why the monolithic upper was the future.

I tended to point out that if the handguard got damaged, then you had to replace a whole larger more expensive assembly.  Don’t get me wrong, I like monolithic uppers and I own a few.

For example this Colt LE6945 pictured has a monolithic upper.

So what was it we were suppose to have by now?

There was going to be this M16A4 Product Improved(Sometimes referred to as M16A5).  This was going to be the USMC new rifle which would be a collapsing stock(Some sources said VLTOR A5, others Magpul UBR) and a VLTOR monolithic upper.  It might have looked something like this:

Photo found on AR15.com

The USMC ended up moving to the M4 and the M27 IAR.  We don’t know how seriously the Corps ever really considered the Product Improved M16A4.  But that didn’t stop rampant speculation by gun nuts.

Anyways I think that the ultimate customization available to the AR is what killed interest in the monolithic upper.  For example some years back Noveske barrels were extremely popular on high dollar custom AR15s.  The more popular monolithic uppers like the LMT MRP used proprietary barrels and so people couldn’t use what ever is the flavor the week.  Similarly preferences in handguards changed.  We went from people wanted a M4 barrel with KAC RAS, to a long free float quad rail, to long slick tubes.  Now MLOK and Keymod are everywhere(but it looks like MLOK is winning).  Someone who bought an expensive monolithic upper is locked into their choice.

I think the monolithic upper has lost out in the AR market, but I expect most any new competitor to the AR15 will likely have a monolithic upper with perhaps something like a removable or interchangeable side/bottom section.