Inland MFG M3 Carbine

We have seen a few really nifty M1 carbines out of Inland the last few years. It was just a matter of time before they offered us the version the least known or seen. The M3 was the variant done up to mount a huge active IR night vision “sniper” scope and a huge battery to run it. It didn’t really pan out at the time but it’s existence did mean the carbine Colt version of the M16 would forever be known as the M4.

Now, if you add some normal day time optic to the handy little carbine that is another story. Above you can see the base/ring mounting system Inland has developed for the mounting of optics. Simply put, the base uses the redfield/leupold turn in front ring and dual windage screw rear ring system. any rings you want to buy that work in this manner will fit and work. And it works really well. I chose to put a vintage Weaver K4 on the gun as it is more evocative of the time period this gun had its short heyday.

The machine work Inland put in on this is kinda of amazing. My friend and partner in crime when it comes to our more insane long range shooting ideas is an experienced machinist and when I showed it to him, we both at first thought the base was part of the receiver and machined into shape. It took a surefire light and a closer look to see that it was indeed not part of the gun. It really is a beautiful job.

One of the things that sticks out on the M3 was the cone flash suppressor. Inland did not forget this iconic attachment. And it is attachable. As you can see above it is a simple system. You can chose to put it on or leave it off. I found it did not really impact accuracy any amount I could determine while on and shooting at ranges the 30 carbine round was meant for. There was slight changes when shooting with our without though and depending on the mood or whichever gun you may have, the amount of re-zeroing could vary. I did not bother to re adjust the optic as it was less than 3/4 inch impact change and I was shooting for groups and location on the target did not matter to me.

As expected, being able to use some magnification helped with group size at longer ranges. The Inland M1s have been accurate for me over years since starting to test them.

Group above was shot off bags from bench at 100 yards. The group is a 10 round group and the one flyer I offer no excuse for other than I just touched it off without being ready. The group below was fired at the head at 150 yards.

All groups were fired using federal soft point LEO ammo. I have no idea where I ever got this ammo from but it is pretty accurate. Unfortunately I used all I had left for this test. Target below was fired at center body of target from 300 yards. With the optic it was pretty easy. It is still a carbine meant for combat but I can’t imagine anyone with any sense really having much to complain about its performance at this range. But I am sure some one will in the comments.

Hey, what more could you ask for considering the limitations of the round? Pair the optic with a Korean era 30 round magazine and you got one heck of a neat little carbine for something. Walking around the farm shooting ground hogs or maybe short range coyote gun. With proper bullet selection maybe even white tail at shorter ranges. I don’t know, your imagination is the limit. It doesn’t need justification if you want it. if you think it’s neat then buy one. The quality won’t let you down, nor it’s looks.

I apologize for not having a full glamour shot of the gun with optic for this review. Something went badly wrong with my camera during the uploading process. The camera decided to die after 9 years and it took the remaining pictures with it. This includes the rest of the groups shots and the glamour shots of the gun posed with period militaria collectibles and all that crap you are used to seeing when I do these. That is also why this review seems shorter than normal. It’s not just your imagination or my laziness. I have been trying to recover those photos and if so I will update this review ASAP. To add to that this was the first time I didn’t bother to back up every picture by taking the same pictures with my Iphone just in case.

Watch out for scams

Saw a case recently where someone saw an ATN night vision scope on a website for sale for $40 instead of the usual $700-800. They asked online if it was a scam, many people told them it was. They ordered it anyways. After a while the site went down. They did receive a toy lightsaber from the company, so I suppose it wasn’t a total loss.

Another person ordered a Surefire light from Amazon. They received a Surefire knockoff from Amazon. Not sure if the seller was selling knockoffs as real, or if someone bought a real one, returned a knockoff, and it got resent to this person.

I’m starting to get a little worried because I bought something on Gunbroker and the seller wanted a certified check. After they received it they have stopped contact and have not shipped it yet.

So be careful out there.

DSG Duty Grade 8″ Upper

There are two things that really annoy me, and I must confess that I did both of them in regards to this upper.

I really dislike it when some reviewer reviews some product, but modifies it first.  I think it make it not a true review.

I also strongly recommend against people customizing their guns until AFTER they function check them.  When you make modifications, even little ones, you might void your warranty or make it much harder to get help from the manufacturer.

Well I did both with this DSG upper, but fortunately it worked out great for me.

For years and years I used to see ads for cheep 7.5 inch AR15 uppers with fixed iron sights.  I often wanted to buy one for a fun plinker, but I didn’t didn’t trust the quality of some of the manufactures making these.  (Yup, I had become a gun snob).  At other times I sort of liked the idea of having a very short AR with a muzzle break as a fun gun for annoying people next to me.  Neither of those reasons were enough to get me to buy one of those cheap questionable quality uppers.

A little while back DSG had a sale on their 8″ barreled 5.56 Duty Upper.  It came with a bolt carrier group (but no charging handle) and a good quality hand guard, the Bravo Company KMR.  I had a little cash burning in my pocket and I knew that DSG has a good reputation so I went and picked one up.  They shipped it out quickly.

These uppers can be had with a Keymod or MLOK hand guard.  I’m not planning on mounting anything on the modular hand guard, so I picked Keymod so I could use the sling mount and rail section that came with it on a different rifle I have.  If someone wasn’t invested in one system or the other, I would suggest MLOK as it appears to be winning the modular hand guard competition.

I heard that DSG has Ballistic Advantage make their barrels for them.  Their Duty Grade uppers come with a nitrated barrel and a Nickle Boron coated receiver extension.  1:7 twist rate, heavy profile, and a very nice target crown on it.

Now here is where I did something I advocate against doing.  Before I ever fired the upper, I unscrewed the stock A2 flash hider it came with and installed a Surefire Muzzle Brake I had laying around.  The Surefire Brake can reduce recoil up to 54%, but it does greatly increase flash and blast.

I find this a fun combination, but not what I would consider a practical one.  Because I did this, I don’t think this is a proper review as I’m not talking about the upper box-stock as a person would receive it.

A minor disappointment I had with this combination was that I had hoped I could mount a Surefire Warden on this muzzle brake when I wanted to do more serious shooting with this upper.  The Surefire MB556 mount puts what ever is mounted on it closes to the hand guard compared to other surefire muzzle devices.  And the BCM KMR hand guard extends out farther than the average 7″ rail.

So as it stands, nothing could be mounted to this muzzle brake.  Not really a problem, as this isn’t going to be a high volume gun for me.  More like something I pull out once in a while for shits & giggles.

The muzzle brake eliminated the muzzle flip when firing this upper.  The gun stayed level on target making rapid fire extremely easy.  30 rounds fired in pairs and triples were extremely easy.

30 rounds M855, rapid fire at 10 yards.  Double and triple taps.

Firing M855 with the muzzle break created a fireball that extended out to my peripheral vision with each shot.

Tried to snap a photo of the muzzle flash.

If I were planning to use this upper for serious use, the muzzle brake would come off and be replaced with a flash hider.  I could see my self in the future replacing the keymod hand hand guard with a quad rail, but there is no hurry to do that.

The sub 10 inch barreled 5.56s would not be anywhere near my first choice for a fighting gun due to the increased flash & blast along with reduced terminal performance.  That said, I feel that the DSG Duty Grade upper is a well made, reliable, and if I was forced to use a really short AR for a fight, I’d feel fine with this one.  But I would wear double hearing protection.

LaRue, Colt, KAC Battle Carbines Compared Part 1

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Today I am thankful that I got to try a few different rifles this morning.  I did side by side shooting of a Larue 7.62 Ultimate Upper rifle, Colt LE901-16SE, and a KAC SR25-EC.

It isn’t really fair to directly compare these as there are some major differences between them.  Sort of like comparing apples to apples to oranges.  But that never stopped me from being critical about things before.

This first comparison will be short.  I had these three rifles available to me so I decided I would start with 20 rounds each rapid fire with an Aimpoint T-1.  I would do some rapid engagements of a target at 10 yards, and do some double taps at 10 yards.  I ended up firing 32 rounds from the Larue due to functioning issues, and only 20 from the others.  Not exactly a comprehensive test, but a start.

From top to bottom, KAC, Larue, Colt.  20 round groups rapid fire off hand at 10 yards.  Mostly rapid pairs.

I shot the Colt LE901-16SE first.  When Colt release the 901, they first released the LE901-16S, which was a full railed model.  I believe they sold a few -18S with an 18 inch barrel.
After that, they release the -16SE.  They shaved a pound off the rifle by replacing the quad rail on the monolithic hand guard with a proprietary modular rail.  This model appears to have been discontinued and the newest model, the CM762 adds an ambi safety, longer MLOK hand guard, and an ambi charging handle.  The new model is also available in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 18 inch barrel.

The rifle is is stock configuration with a Aimpoint T-1 added to it for the comparison.  With the exemption of the lack of an ambi safety, I found the controls on this rifle to be the best.  The right side bolt release is easier to hit, the larger and lower left side mag release gives more leverage and is easier to use.

The list weight on the -16SE is 8.4 pounds.  When I shot it I found it tended to recoil straight up.  I felt that it was fast and easy to shoot, but my performance on paper was the worst with it.  Back when I the 901-16S side by side with the 901-16SE, I found that that 1 additional pound of weight made the fully railed 901-16S have much less felt recoil.

The Ultimate Upper is an economy large frame rifle kit from Larue Tactical.  You can purchase the upper kit in SR25 or DPMS pattern.  If you buy a kit you can buy a Larue lower for it.  This isn’t really a fair comparison to the others as I added a Surefire Warcomp to this rifle.  The Warcomp can drastically reduce recoil.  I think this gave the Larue the major advantage in shooting.  But I had multiple short strokes when shooting the Larue.  I fired an additional 12 rounds at another target trying to diagnose the issue and trying out the offset sights.

The Larue lower is the only one of the bunch that isn’t ambidextrous.  I find the bolt catch on it harder to use than the one on the 901.  Not hard on its own, but less easy than the 901.  The receiver extension on the Larue is AR10 pattern, but doesn’t have the hole locations to collapse the stock completely.  The photo above shows the stock as closed as it will go.  This made the UU kit rifle longer than the others.

The Safety Level that Larue includes in their parts kit is horrible.  I have two of these Larue safeties and they don’t move positively.  Several times when I was bringing the rifle up for a fast aimed shot, attempting to flick the safety off it would only move half way.  I did not have any issues with the safeties on the other rifles.

The recoil spring on the Larue is much lighter and easier to work the action than the other two .308 rifles.  Felt more like racking a standard AR15.  When firing the action felt like it moved much slower than the other rifles.  I think this also made it feel more controllable and easier to shoot well it – when it worked.  Compared to the others, shooting the Larue Ultimate Upper kit felt like shooting one of the other rifles in slow motion.  I’m going to start calling this the LTUU762 for Larue Tactical Ultimate Upper.

Unlike the others, the KAC SR25-EC uses a rifle length gas system on the 16 inch barrel.  I had always heard that the KAC SR25 were so extremely smooth shooting.  Much to my disappointment it didn’t seem any better than the others.

The SR25s for a long time not have come with ambi controls.  The right side safety is scalloped and the rifle has a right side bolt release.  The rifle weighs about 2 pounds heavier than the other rifles.  This was noticeable in the handling and recoil characteristics.

When shooting the SR25-EC it recoiled straight up.  Settles right back down on target.  To me it seemed like it had similar recoil to the 901, but the 901 is about 2 pounds lighter.

I think it was the lighter two stage trigger on the KAC that helped me shoot it rapidly better than the standard AR15 trigger on the 901.

So?

Right now, if I had to pick one for a fight it would be the 901.  Even thought I shot it worst in this side by side comparison, it is far lighter than the KAC, and the LTUU7.62 is currently unreliable.  I previously had a Warcomp and match trigger in the 901, and it drastically reduced recoil and made it easier to shoot.  I returned it to stock before this comparison.

I’ll be talking more about these rifles in the future.

A look at the 5.56 Larue Ultimate Upper

Some years back I wanted a Larue Tactical PredatAR upper.  They didn’t sell the uppers separately so I bought an entire rifle and sold the Larue lower.  I sold the lower for $500 and it sold in 15 minutes.

Guess I should have priced it higher.

At first mounted a muzzle break on it, and while that pretty much eliminated recoil on that light gun, but made for a gun I didn’t really enjoy shooting.

Later, I replaced the Surefire MB556 break with a Warcomp and the upper quickly became one of my favorite setups.  I later had it Cerakoted.

Light weight, smooth shooting, and accurate.

 

So I wanted more like that.  First, a similar rifle in .308.  So a while back I picked up a Larue 7.62 Ultimate Upper kit.  I ordered it about 4 months ago, I also ordered a lower to go along with it, which I am still waiting on.

I thought about picking up a second PredatAR.  But I saw there was the newer cheaper Ultimate Upper line.  The Ultimate Uppers are the newest in Larue Tacticals line.  You get a customizable kit including everything except a lower.  You have a variety of caliber options, barrel lengths, profiles, etc.  They have small frame options (AR15), and Large Frame.  In the Large Frame they have SR25/AR10 options and DPMS pattern.

So while the Larue 7.62 Ultimate Upper is pretty useless to me until Larue Tactical gets around to shipping me a lower for it, I have been really impressed by the kit.  So I bought a Larue 5.56 Ultimate Upper.

 

Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to snap photos of the 5.56 kit when it arrived.  So here is a couple of the 7.62 kit.

 

The 5.56 kit was similar.

I dunno why, but I decided to go with the standard weight 16 inch 5.56 barrel instead of the lightweight PredatAR profile.  I choose the MLOK over the Keymod hand guard option.  It seems to me that MLOK is winning the modular handguard war.

 

Larue added some sort of additional seal on the gas tube and gas block.  To quote Mark Larue, “It’s the new style – gas leaks bug me.”

The hand guard profile is quite small and narrow.

The upper kit was quick and easy to assembly.  I replaced the Larue muzzle break with a Surefire flash hider mount.

I initially threw an Aimpoint on the upper, made for a pretty handy configuration.

But I decided for the second outing that I would throw a Leupold MK6 on it and see what it could do.  I found I had a few rounds of Black Hills 75gr BTHP Match left, so I gave that a try.

I fired 3 rounds of M855 to get on target, then a couple of 3 shot groups (as I am very low on Black Hills match ammo).

Shooting at these 3/4 inch dots at 100 yards, my two quick 3 shots groups measured about 7/8 and 3/4 inch respectively.

So, I think it has potential.  I am going to have to do some more shooting for groups with this upper before I decide how it is going to be set up.

If the Leupold MK6 were to stay on it, I would move it forward as I prefer to shoot nose to the charging handle and I can’t do that with the current setup.

I really like the UU upper, and I think it is a great deal.  But I do need to point out a few things.

The UU upper is like a budget high end gun.  Larue changed the profile of the upper to something quite angular, most likely for ease of machining.  Less steps in the mill means faster and cheaper.

This angular profile is new to me.  I can’t think of anything similar from other brands.  The VLTOR MUR was similar, but didn’t take it to this extreme.

So, for example, it doesn’t have any profiling to blend into the curvature of the rear of the lower.

And the chamfer is extreme enough that there is a gap between the upper and lower above the mag catch.

So, if you are one of these nuts where fit and finish is the final say on if you like a firearm or not.  You have to decide if these little things would bug you.

Buying a UU upper lets you order a Larue lower.  But apparently on the factory assembled rifles they hand match the uppers to the lowers.  If you buy them separately with the kit, that won’t happen.  So once again, if you are a fit and finish freak, caveat emptor.

If not, I think the UU upper kits are a tremendous deal.  It does take away from the fun of picking each part your self, but you know you are getting quality and parts that will work together.

I really like mine.  Enough so that I ordered a Larue lower to go with it.  Now it is just to see how many months it will take them to ship it out.