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The Colt 7.62X39 Carbine ( R6830)

In 1993 Col introduced a new caliber into its AR15 line up.  The gun was marketed  as a hunters carbine chambered in 7.62×39  a round more or less identical to the .30-30 WCF.

The R6830 was a 16 inch barreled carbine . The barrel is not really what we think of as “lightweight ” these days and is closer to what many would call heavy. Probably good because the x39 round  has noticeable recoil compared to the 556. The barrel does not have a chromed ore on these.   The upper  is  a A2 fixed carry handle type.

The sights are the same as the A2 except the lack the markings found on 556mm guns since they would obviously not match.

The gun was made during that weird period before the 94 AWB and after the important ban.  This was a time when a lot of pressure was put on Colt by the feds and  gun rights were being pushed back.   The result is this model has the sear block  and no bayonet lug. But it does have a flash hider.  The hider is the A1 style and  not the A2 style with the closed bottom.

The bolt and barrel are really the only major changes.  The carrier is the same  as a standard AR15 and most other parts save the barrel etc.

 

The front sight base is standard with all the usual markings for its era .  The only difference is of course the milled off bayonet lug. This was done in a wasted effort to get the antigun kooks to back off. Since  a bayonet can not work on a 16 inch barrel carbine with a carbine length gas system,  the lug is pointless anyway except for making leftists twist their panties.  The front sight is the A2 post.

The Carbine also came with the A2 buttstock and pistol grip.  The solid stock was a good choice I believe as it helps with the recoil and comfort for a gun meant to be sold as a hunting rifle.   A 762×39  carbine AR15 with the collapsible stock  is not comfortable for  the casual user.  The hand guards are the  slimmer CAR15 type.

You will see some people online talk about how the 762×39 ARs don’t work reliably.  Seems when I read this  or see some one in a video talking about it, they are holding some frankenparts gun built up by bubba.    The colt carbine  has been nothing but reliable when using the factory mags or the one Cproducts 30 round mag I tried.

The mags  that came with the gun are nothing more than  30 round mags with a blocker in it that limits it to 5 rounds  and a floorplate marking it as  a 7.62×39 magazine.  You can see the installed block in the picture below.  In a pinch you can load about 5 or 6 rounds of x39 into any AR15 magazine and it will work.  Though more will cause problems due to the geometry of the commie case and the magazines not playing well together.

So how does it shoot? It shoots pretty good.   It  is an AR15 after all  just one in a round not exactly known for being  a match winner.  But that can be over come some what with careful ammo selection or hand loading.

 

Groups were shot from bags using iron sights only.  I did not have a carrying handle mount available to me for mounting a optic for precision shooting so I was limited by my own eye sight,  iron sights and distance.   Real accuracy with most 7.62×39 loads becomes  iffy pat about 200 yards anyway and I feel it  was reasonable to not shoot beyond that anyways.    Handloads, factory loads and import wolf was  used above for testing.   This hsould give a good indication of what the gun can do and what the ammo can do  depending on quality and care put into it.

I did shoot at the steel gong below  at 300 yards using the iron sights and  wolf ammo.   All shots stayed on the steel plate.   Very acceptable combat accuracy.

 

These  7.62×39 carbines are sweet little guns.   Again, I think it was a little ahead of its time.   Back then  no one wanted an AR15 in  x39.   Especially for hunting. Most everyone was still stuck on the stupid idea that you have to use something at least .30-06 class to kill a 90 pound deer.   Not that we don’t still see that today.     Add to that 556 ammo was dirt cheap back then  and AKs could be had. so why buy what would be considered like a premium  gun just to shoot commie crap?

Now, this model isn’t the only one Colt offered.    There was a 20 inch( R6851) barreled rifle with A4  “flat top “upper.  There  was also a  flat top upper carbine ( R6850) which was sold as a complete  gun or sold as the upper only as a “conversion kit”  The conversion kit uppers are the  ones you may have seen with  “Colt 7.62×39  roll marked on the left side of the receiver.   The two conversion kit  uppers came with  a rifle scope and mount.

 

If you  want  one  of the Colt 7.62×39 carbines and can’t find the conversion kit upper models and you plan on using it, I would not hesitate to  just buy a Colt A4 upper receiver  from Brownells and put the barrel  on it.     Yes it will ruin any collector value  but If you want it bad enough..    One of the flat top models with an ACOG would be one heck of a short range hunting carbine for  any game you wanted to hunt and would make a nice choice for defensive use if you are one of the unwashed who still thinks the 5.56mm won’t kill a man.    Recently  some  Colt 6940 uppers chambered in 7.62×39 have turned up for sell online.  That would really be the ultimate  AR upper in x39 as far as I am concerned. As you likely know I am 100 percent sold on the Colt monolithic upper guns.  The free floated barrel  with the  6940 barrel nut would bring out all the accuracy that could be milked, I would love to see  what one would do with good ammo.

C-more Sights/Colt Optics

For a while during the 90s, Colt  and Cmore sights worked together to bring to market optics for Colt rifles and pistols as well as some competition parts for M1911s.

The first year these optics were introduced was 1997. This is the same year the Colt Accurized Rifle  CAR-A3 HBAR Elite was introduced ( CR6724).   The CARA3 as you can see above, was pictured with a tactical 10x optics with Mildot and target turrets.  By all accounts it was a very nice optic. Though now the idea of a fixed 10X optic  wouldn’t find much favor with discerning shooters.  The rings and mounts available for most users of the  flat top AR15s of the of the day left much to be desired.  At this point in time, few civilian shooters did not have many options available to them.

The 10x was an optic I hunted for years to acquire and have still not found one.   You can see blow its features.  An adutable objective lens, tactical/target turrets and plenty of internal adjustment for longer range shots.  In the inserts can be seen a spotting scope and three smaller optics  more suited for hunting.  I have never had my hands on any of these.

Being Cmore was the maker of the optics it is no surprise that they also offered their most well known AR15 optical sight with the colt name.  Pictured below is the the red dot/A2 rear sight combo.  If you want more details about this sight Howard has already written about his earlier this year. While not the Colt branded one it is more or less identical.  While I have seen the Cmore sight before, I have never seen the colt marked units.

 

You can see the cantilevered version below.  Also are two other smaller optics. One a carry handle mounting optic that brings back memories of the original 3x and 4x Colt scopes and a 1x-5x variable power illuminated reticle  scope. The “ring and dot” is very likely to be similar to the system used on the leupold  MK AR 1x-4x optics.  The 1x-5x  seems a little ahead of its time  since now a days a variable power optic in low magnification with  a dot has become the current hot choice for carbine optics.   I would love to find one of those.

You might be asking right now”did these ever hit the market or were they just advertised vaporware”?      Good question and It would be reasonable to think they never sold.  They did though.  I have  seen at least 3 pictures in the last 10 years of shooters  who posted them online who have the 10X  optic  and a couple others.    Here is an image  I saved years ago of one of the 10x optics up for sell.   Too late for me to buy it of course.   Sad panda.       It seems there was either a change to the 10x optics at some point before it was discontinued or there was more than one version of it.  As you can see below this one is slightly different and doe not have an AO.

Sorry to say I don’t have much more info on this stuff for you.   I wish I did.    I will update if I turn up more.

OPTIC OF THE WEEK Leupold VARI-XIII TACTICAL 3.5x-10X

This scope has a lot of history.   Leupold made these in the 90s and for a long time, it was the standard scope that came with the Remington M700 police sniper rifle package sold to countless LE departments across the country.    The scope is the  Leupold VARX-III 3.5x-10X tactical with mil-dot . It has a one inch tube and  comes with the target turrets used on most target and varmint optics from that time.

Adjustments are 1/4 inch per click with  60 clicks in one full rotation.  Being a leupold, the adjustments are solid, repeatable and accurate.This scope is over 20 years old and it has not failed me.  The turrets have set screws that can be loosened to reset the turret to have the index line  and the “0”  line up  where you want to set it.  You can also remove the turrets and replace them with a large version that can not be covered by the turret protective caps that screw on and protect the turrets. If you don’t like either of these, leupod will install the M1 tactical turrests for $130 yankee dollars.

The scope comes with the tactical mild dot reticle.  The glass is clear as is usual for leupold.

The power is 3.5x at the low end and 10x at the max end.  The power ring is also marked like all variX-IIIs in that you can use magnification and the reticle to range a target within hunting distances. Not needed with a mil-dot, but  was marked anyway.

 

It is a long way from the ultra modern long range tactical optics found today with its once inch tube and  no side focus knob or illuminated reticle. It does have enough internal adjustment for long range shooting.  It has a reticle that is useful still especially for those of us older guys who grew up with it and not the various christmas tree reticles now popular.    It is a tough and dependable optic so much so that I still use it on my MK12 MOD1 and have no plans of replacing it.

Mounted on the most excellent Larue SPR base it is a favorite combo for me.   If you see one some where used at a good deal I give it my highest recommendation.  Even if its too”cold” or not tactical enough for you, or you are ashamed to show it at the gun prom it would still serve you perfectly in any thing you see fit.

 

 

 

SO, WHAT DID HAPPEN TO UNERTL OPTICS?

As you may have noticed my love o vintage target/varmint weapons and optics have been on my brain recently.  Last night I got thinking about Unertl again after a friend asked me something about those old beauties and remembered some years ago there was a forum discussion some where or other about what happened. As usual with most gun forums, few of the poster new much about much and were posting all kinds of BS about Unertl and US Optics ( which did some shady stuff after Unertl went into limbo and got sued for their troubles irrespective of what you may hear otherwise) until most unexpectedly John R Unertl himself popped up to set the record straight.  I saved his comments as they were a peak into the history of a legendary firearms industry company.   I have long forgot where I got it from but a clever googler I’m sure could turn it up.  No need anyway.  I saved Unertl’s only post on the matter and the rest of the posts were nonesense. AS one forum “expert” even made the idiotic claim that the Unertls were made in a barn.. 

 

Gentlemen, Let me clear up some inaccurate or most likely a lot of bogus information out there regarding the Unertl Optical Company and make clear some facts about the rifle scopes themselves. I have the authority to discuss the intimate details of this since I AM the last John Unertl that worked at the company you are referring to.

My grandparents started the company, my parents worked at the company, I worked at the company. All of the personalities involved here were strong personalities in their own right. Each conmtrbuted to, and detracted from the business. I don’t plan on writing a book here so I will condense this discussion to it’s bare bones form. My grandmother being a company founder was quite reluctant to leave the company even though she was getting up in years.
This gradually built a resentment within my father and their relationship began to fall apart. My father John Unertl Jr., was a brilliant engineer, but frankly didn’t care much at all about ‘marketing’, relegating this to mostly bullshit.
He also had quite an abrasive side and could alienate people fairly easily. I was schooled as a mechanical engineer because that was what was expected. Going  into the late ’70’s several issues were at play. Family discord for one. Secondly I could see that my father was not doing the necessary training and improvement for future development and expansion. I elected to resign at that point and move on. I took a job with Leitz, a well known optical instrument company. We used Leitz autocollimators and related equipment in our optical testing. Ultimately I became a Division President for that organization.

When my father died, my mother (who did not have a clue about the technology here) asked if I was interested in coming back to run the company. When I went back, I saw the company in the shape I figured it would be in. Not much had changed. It would have needed a small fortune to bring it up to speed. I had neither the time, inclination, and didn’t want to make the financial
commitment. I already had another business. I must say it was a sad moment. My heart strings pulled, but the realities of the situation were compelling. I suggested to my mother to pursue other alternatives.

Enter Rocky Green. My understanding is that he had two different involvements in the company. One as a liason to an initial group of buyers. They couldn’t handle the project, so the second time around he was a principle. I met Rocky one time when he came to visit me with the 1911’s. At that point I knew they were not
going to make it building scopes. I fear that anybody who wasn’t involved directly with the company couldn’t know the painstaking manufacture and care that went into building them. They were assembled, taken down, re-assembled,, numerous times. Hand fit parts meticulously assembled by true artisans. I can only assume the guys that bought the company just figured to buy some drawings,
program a CNC machine, stamp it Unertl & watch the money roll in. Sorry, didn’t work that way. I’m not sure if any of you out there were aware we made very sophisticated optical/mechanical instrumentation, optics for military jet gunsights, fire control optics (military stuff, not firemen) and wind tunnel instrumentation. Unertl Optical was far from operating out of a barn. We made the money with the high end optics, not making scopes. The scopes were that
labor of love because that’s how the company started. The scopes had the benefit of this financing. I fear the other guys missed this key ingredient.
The Unertl employees were true atrisans that made these rifle scopes. I doubt you can find guys like this any more with this kind of skill and dedication. The marine corps sniper scope was the last offering that my father made for Rocky Green when he was still in the service. At that point our old guys started dying off, and with them closed a page in the anals of the shooting industry.

I still have the opportunity to get together with the few remaing
company people. They have all played an important part in my life and I hold  special reverence to each and every one of them. They are truly the last of abreed.

Enjoy those scopes, I would have no reservation saying they are STILL probably the best scopes out there.”

John Robert Unertl

There it is from the man himself.  I only wish he would have written a book or an article about the company in some form for posterity.

If you didn’t know, this Rocky Green fellow did market a few  M1911s made with the Unertl name on them  and they were a take on the  older USMC  used 1911s  before MARSOC. I never touched one but I did see a couple.   They were pretty meh if  you are a real 1911 guy. Around that time a few scopes trickled out.   Some years ago I got in touch with a fellow who did work at the original Unertl and had bought out the rest of the bases and accessories  that were on hand when the real Unertl closed its doors.   I regret that I have since forgot his name and lost his contact info.  I do agree with Mister Unertl.  They are pure art and they  are still some of the best optics ever made.   A man can only dream about what they would have made had the younger J. Unertl had taken over the company and expended it and moved into modern designs.   The original Unertl closed its doors in the mid 1980s.  You can see in the image below what a high grade riflescope with all the trimmings looked like.  Box included.

J. Unertl Sr.  immigrated to the US from Germany and  worked for J. W. Fecker. Fecker scopes was a company that built the highest of quality target scopes which started selling his optics in 1922.  How high quality? Well, in 1926 when a Winchester Model52 rifle cost $36 yankee greenbacks, a Fecker optic would cost from $30 to $50 yankee dollars.  You can do the math on what the equivalent to 30 dollars   in the mid 20s  would be to today.   Unertl worked there as one of Feckers most talented and skilled engineers  until leaving to start his own optics business in 1928. In the early days of the Unertl Optics Co.  J. Unertl even supplied his scopes with Fecker mounts ( or what you would think of as “rings”) until developing his own.    Below is a Fecker advertisement and you can see the resemblance.  Fecker as a rifle scope maker more or less ended July 1956 as it was bought out by some one who had no interest in shooting. The company was purchased for its advanced designs for missile tracking and guidance systems during the cold war.  As of 2002 it still exists as a division of Contraves Co.    But the story of Fecker scopes will have to wait for another day.

AS mister Unertl said above, the last Unertl to  be developed and sold  as a new design was the USMC  10X sniper scope. A very tough optic that was the first to use the Mil-dot crosshairs.  A model was also made for use on the M82, 50BMG sniper rifle.  The original was developed for use on the M40A1 sniper rile and was in use even through to the M40A3 and A5  models though it is now probably complete phased out.  The USMC sniper 10X was a fixed power scope but it had some pretty trick features, especially for its time.   I promise that there will be  a longer upcoming article about it. The 10x was much loved by  Carlos Hathcock himself as he was one of the original  testers of the optic for adoption  to be used on the M40A1.   He even told of using the scope to pound a tent stake into frozen ground one day and the scope  was unfazed. 

It is a little sad to me that today few younger shooters even know the name.  A few years ago I saw a post on TFB where one of their worthies ran into a guy who had a Unertl optic and he was shocked as he had never seen nor heard of one.  Though I would expect  that from TFB.    Unertl optics helped set many world records,m win matches and make history in wars.  All of the  who’s who, of the shooting world used Unertls and knew  John Sr. back in the day and John Sr. was very active in the shooting community. He tried to give shooters what they wanted and offered nearly anything the heart desired.  

John Unertl Sr. pictured below, top row second from left. If you know who the other famous shooters are witout me telling you I will be very impressed. You can see  how well they thought of Mr. Unertl’s  product. The picture was taken in 1948 in Johnstown, PA at an important event in precision shooting history.

Scattered Shots 7-30-2018

Due to having to take my Father to a doctors appointment today and some other things, there won’t be any detailed technical article or historical  writing.  Instead   I will be letting my mind wonder a bit and share a few things that have caught my interest over the years.  I hope it will be a fun post for all.   If there is any “theme” for today’s post it wold indeed be scattered shots.

A few years  ago I ran across the pictures taken during the  war in SE Asia.  They are from a news article reporting on the young girls of RVN training to fight the communists.   When ever I rear or see a video on youtube of some hot, big name expert firearms trainer ex-marine SF trooper advising people about how hard it is to control the recoil of  the .45ACP and the M1911. I think of these pictures.  Having spent  many years around Vietnamese, I can safely bet you not a one of them is over 5foot 4 inches tall  or barely break 100 pounds. ( apologies for not using the metric system for all of you who do and have yet to land a man on the moon).

Speaking of Vietnamese ladies using big bore handguns we have a great picture of Trần Lệ Xuân. Maybe better known to you as “Madame Nhu.” She was the sister in law to RVN’s first president, Diem and in this man’s opinion, both of them got a bad rap.  Had the left in the US not had their way and Diem was not allowed to be killed, the country would still exist to this day.   In the picture Xuân is putting on a shooting demonstration   and she was well known at the time to be an excellent shot capable of rapid and accurate shooting and pulling off some impressive trick shots.  She always used a large bore or magnum powered pistol for her shooting and would turn down offers for something less powerful. It was said she was a big fan of the .357 magnum.

There has been a lot of talk hereabout the M1903 Springfield rifle  in the last month.  Many aren’t aware of the M1922 training rifle.  Developed to  closely feel and look like the’03 but in .22long rifle. It has an interesting history that will have to wait for another day. Some very fine sporter rifles have been made with its barrel and action.   That action by the way is ultra slick.

The RIA post about the trench guns the other day reminded me  another US martial shotgun.  This one used during the Vietnam war.  The Remington 7188. The 7188  is/was a select fire combat shotgun used in small number mainly by the SEALS.   Based on the 1100 the shotgun was of course full auto.   It suffers all the usual drawbacks of using a shotgun in combat,  lack of range show to reload, limited capacity and empties too fast.   It would have been an amazing wall of lead while it lasted though. Combined with the “duck-bill” shot spreader, it would have wreaked havoc in close range jungle fighting..for a few seconds.  Which may have been all that was needed in an ambush or to break out of one.   Reliability may have been an issue in the jungle with ammo at the time.  Below some one has posed the shotgun with some ERDL uniform,  a Vietnam era shotgun shell pouch and bata type boots.  All things that would have been used by the people who carried the 7188. While the 7188 had to bow out from history, the 1100 went on to be a classic shotgun and developed into the 11-87.

With shotguns now on my brain, I have to talk about my personal favorite sporting use shotgun.   I could only be talking about the most excellent Remington Model 31.

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Like many  good things in this world the M31 owes its existence to John Browning.  An altered version of JMB’s Remington Model 17, the Model 31 was brought out to compete against the Winchester model 12.  It didn’t quite  match the  popularity of the Model12 and so the M870 came about and we all know how that  turned out. The Model 31  action went on to be changed slightly and used as the base for the very reliable Ithaca Model 37 and  a cheaper simplified version known  as the mossberg 500.     The model31 is in my opinion the ne plus ultra  of pump shotguns.   It is hard to describe to you how smooth and slick the action of a 31 is. It almost cycles itself.  Mine is a 16 gauge because I don’t think it gets much better than the 16 for most hunting uses.  The model 31 can be found in 12, 16 and 20. If you ever run across one, my advice is to buy it.

I don’t recall where I found this picture  below. Obviously  taken on some island in the pacific in WW2.  Two Marines pose with their newly acquired war trophy, a Japanese officer’s chest. The now dead man’s wife in a variety of pictures stuck to the lid. The level of hate both sides had for each other in the Pacific theater is probably hard for many  of current generation to understand  when thinking about how close an ally Japan has been since then.  I have often wondered if  anyone who was shown that chest at the time paused for even a second over those pictures of some Testsuo’s wife and thought maybe they were just people too.  Even monsters can love their wives.  It is fascinating to me that the same military that raped or killed everyone in china it could find had officers that had such tender pictures of their own women.    Just goes to  show the ability of many ( and you better believe it is MANY) humans to be loving and tender with some and on the other hand still  commit atrocities against other people and their loved ones as if they aren’t anything other than insects.

I have always loved the idea of the “assault kit”or the “deployment kit” when it comes to guns.  You can’t take everything you have with you as bad as you wish otherwise.  But, thanks to the unlimited modularity of the  AR15 you can take one gun and some carefully chosen accessories with an upper or two and have  the ability to tailor a rifle for several needs.

Thanks to modern tactical optic mounts, you can now have optics pre-zeroed for  an upper, or just left on an upper and swap them as needed. Then, with a choice of uppers you can have a  plan for several mission needs.  Going inside a mud hut? Put the MK18 upper on.  Maybe need to take a long range precision shot?  Put your MK12 upper on.  Or just swap optics around before you leave.  Maybe even possible to swap optics  hours or minutes before  needing it depending on circumstances.  Add to that kit a handgun or two, a suppressor and some odds and ends and you could put together a kit you could grab and travel with that would  be very versatile.   I know some like the barrel swap but this never had much appeal to me. It is a lot faster to swap uppers and changing the upper doe not require tools nor re zeroing the optic or iron sights.   No one in the real world swaps barrels on a rifle/carbine or swaps uppers in the field on a “mission” anyways so size and ability to carry a spare upper compared to a barrel is irrelevant.

In the1980s  it was still possible to buy some pretty neat stuff from other countries.  One of those I wanted but never got my hands on was the semi auto imported Valmets.

I saw and handled a couple back then but this was before I had the money to buy one. It was the M76FS.  Which is to say the folding stock model.   They are as rare as hen’s teeth now a-days and I have given up on owning one unless I win the lottery but I still think back fondly on them and how close I came.  I have said to Howard a few times  how back then we had a much larger selection of  foreign rifles, the Ar15 options were  a small fraction of what we have today.   I would give up those options from other countries gladly for the development that went into  the AR15  and the result of it today.

 

Last is a picture of my assault wheelchair.   I sometimes write reviews for movies at grindhousefilms.com and one of the guys over there  asked if I could make him a machinegun wheel chair.   I took a stab at it and produced this.   Any gun person knows it is absurd and is completely non-functional but it does look cool if I do say so myself.

 

Sorry for the lack of a normal article or review today as I said.  But I hope this was some what enjoyable for  you and a fun few minutes while you are goldbricking at work.  Hopefully things will be back to normal tomorrow.