LooseRounds.com5.56 Timeline


I don’t get the appeal of .300 Blackout

Long ago I was at the range and one of the regulars was talking about how he had loaded some .300 Whisper rounds and that they were so super quiet. Everyone was so excited to hear them, that it was suppose to be like shooting a silenced rifle. I was working as a range officer at the time so we arranged for the line to be called hot just for this guy so we could hear him shoot.

A shot was fired. I was so very disappointed because it sounded like any other gunshot.

.300 Whisper was changed slightly, and became the .300 AAC Blackout. Robert Silvers did some brilliant marketing and made it popular.

I have heard and read some really outlandish claims about the .300 BLK. Had someone tell me it makes .308 obsolete. I’ve seen many claims online that a suppressed subsonic .300 is hollywood quiet. I’ve even seen more than one person proclaim that the U.S. Military needs to replace all the rifles, carbines, machine guns, and sniper rifles with .300 Blackout. Claims like that made me even more skeptical about the round.

A more realistic comparison is 7.62×39 Russian or .30-30 Winchester. Both are good rounds, but I don’t see anyone clamoring for the U.S. Military to switch to either of them. .300 BLK does have the advantage of using a wider variety of bullet weights than either of those two other cartridges.

For someone plinking unsuppressed, 7.62×39 is far more available and cheaper. .30-30 has more than proven it self over the years.

It seems to me the best strength of the .300 Blackout is out of short barrels. You can have a subgun sized weapon with better performance than a pistol caliber.

An overlooked plus of the .30 cal bore for special operations would be that the barrel would drain quickly when exiting water. Unlike the issues with capillary action keeping water in a 5.56 bore.

Subsonic .300 BLK provides muzzle energy similar to a .45 ACP. Subsonic .300 BLK is more like a pistol cartridge than a rifle round. But it retains the greater flash and blast of a rifle. With the really short barrels and super sonic ammo, you are talking similar performance to an M1 Carbine firing .30 carbine.

I often see the comment of a short barreled AR15 in .300 BLK as a replacement for the MP5. That makes sense as the MP5 is old, large, heavy, has a worse manual of arms. But if you are looking for the smallest package, a SMG with the mag in the grip would be even smaller than an AR15 style weapon.

I don’t really see the appeal. Certainly not a bad round, but what is the real niche of it?

Red Rifleman Vol 4: The Palmetto State Armory AK47 “MOEkov” Review

American made AK’s have had some growing pains. Case in point is the original Century C39. Much like when the auto industry releases a new model of car, it’s best to avoid the first few generations of that vehicle. It never pays to be a beta tester for vehicles or firearms. That said, when Palmetto State Armory decided they wanted to enter the market, many shooters likely met the news with suspicion. Retailing around from around $499 to $599 means it is one of the most affordable Kalashnikov’s on the market. Has Palmetto undercut the competition and over-delivered on quality? Let’s check it out!

First Impressions:

The PSA-AK is a Magpul MOE Model with Zhukov stock. (AKA the MOEkov) The rifle is clean with a nice shiny satin sheen courtesy of the a baked Teflon finish. Components feel solid and the rivet work is excellent. End to end, the rifle is clean and parts look great. The fire control group? Clean. The furniture fit? Clean. The rear sight? Clean. The front sight and gas block. Clean? You get the point. Workmanship is excellent. No machine marks, no crooked components, no questionable areas on first glance. The bolt reciprocates without binding and feels a good order better than my early 2k Romanian WASR.

The MOEkov tears down easily, and function tested without issues. Again, the gas block and front sight are in-line and cleanly pinned. Color me impressed.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 PSAK47 (12)
Palmetto State Armory AK47 PSAK47 (10)

The star indicates that the front trunion is a machined billet component. Not cast.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 PSAK47 (8)

Very shiny. Very clean. Ipod White? No, give me Darth Vader Black. Every-time.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 PSAK47 (14)

The bolt carrier has some machine markings in the cam track, but otherwise looks to be made with more care than my Romanian WASR.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 PSAK47 (4)

The safety has a pretend full-auto stop before bottoming out at semi. PSA, release a binary trigger to make this marking come to life. Please.

On the Range:

If looks could kill. Well, they don’t. It’s the bullets I am pretty sure. Over the years, any number of gun owners may have been smitten by a good looking piece only to get it out and have it sputter, choke, and turn blue like a COPD patient. That’s life. Sometimes though, sometimes the moons align and a good firearm is born. It looks clean. It functions well. It becomes a reliable friend. Did Palmetto pull it off?

Palmetto State Armory AK47 Review (7)

My first range session was a sight in and basic function check. The rifle was sighted in with a Russian military sight in target which simplified the process quite a bit. So long as you followed the instructions, it will get you in the black at 15 yards. I had the PSA-AK in the black on the 4th round. Moving back to 50 yards for some fine tuning allowed me to finish the sight in. The AK’s front sight was well centered within the protective ears of the front sight and did not require excessive windage for zero.

Once that was done I settled in to the rifle and began to evaluate the feel of the rifle. The trigger was a long rolling break, which is par for the course on a stock AK. The irons painted a clean sight picture and they were as sharp as a notch and post could be thanks to the clean machine work. At 50 yards I noticed some vertical stringing with two separate groups using standard WOLF.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 Review (5)

My sight in and target session was roughly two trouble free magazines. I then began to take aim at various targets around the property with a third magazine, and encountered no jamming or malfunctions of any type on the clean weapon. Extraction was positive and the rifle functioned well. I then began to submerge the rifle in brackish water with moderate particulate. The weapon fired its first round and then had a failure to feed. I remedied this by chambering a new round and the rest of the magazine was emptied without issue.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 Review (8)

I then proceeded to muddy the rifle. I threw mud into the action and decided to push the PSAK to level 10. The mud is a mixture of grass and South Texas clay. It was thick and I knew from the outset that this was going to be too much grit in the action for any rifle to handle. I fully expected the rifle to choke, but much to my surprise I was able to remedy the failures to feed by tapping the charging handle foreward. In effect, the AK became a single shot rifle. After around 15 shots of this, I decided to do what any sane person would do if their rifle became so inhibited. I submerged the rifle and shook it out in a relatively clean bucket of water. I think its safe to say that if any of our defensive rifles became so muddied, that priority number 1 would be to clean it with whatever was available. Canteen water, a cattle trough, VOSS bottled water for the well-to-do… anything to clear out the gunk!

Palmetto State Armory AK47 Review (9)

Unfortunately, despite a quick rinse out the rifle remained a single shot for a few more rounds. Sure that something was in the way (of bolt lockup, thanks Kurt for the lyrics) I did a complete strip and hosed the PSAK down with a real hose and used the high pressure finger nozzle. I then re-assembled and attempted to finish the magazine. It remained a single shot rifle for the next seven-ish rounds and whatever it was that prevented bolt lockup must have been crushed to smithereens or displaced. It was now a functional semi-auto for the subsequent magazines.

So take that for what you will. Mud stops rifles. All Rifles. The PSAK is no different, however It functioned well enough to remain a single shot rifle through some terribly adverse conditions. The final rinse with a hose may have helped and eventually the rifle returned to functional status without lube.


I got the rifle home and let it air dry. I like to do this to ensure we see how the finish holds up to water. The tear down revealed one small spot of rust on the bolt carrier, and one area of concern on the bolt itself. I noticed the presence of possible shear or wear on the firing pin retaining pin.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 Review (14)
Palmetto State Armory AK47 Review (15)

I removed the pin and inspected for damage. None was noted to the firing pin or the retaining pin other than the shiny area. I stoned the top of the pin to remove the rough edge that was created at some point and re-assembled. The action felt smooth. Let’s get back on the range.

Range Session 2:

Palmetto State Armory AK47 (1)

With the next range session, I was focused on accuracy testing. I installed a 1-4x variable from Atibal on a GG&G AK picatinny mount. I used some higher quality ammunition and re-tested for accuracy with PDX-1 Defender from Winchester.

The results were much better with no evidence of stringing. The Magpul adjustable stock was a welcome addition as I needed a longer length of pull for the optic setup. Here are my results:


3.7 MOA is typical of the AK style rifles, and I felt that it was sufficiently accurate for anything an AK could be asked to do. I then plinked with standard steel cased Russian fodder and had no malfunctions though the case. We heated up the AK nice and toasty, and passed it between friends. It remained solid throughout testing.

Palmetto State Armory AK47 (6)
Palmetto State Armory AK47 (15)

 Wrapping Up:

The PSA AK47 is a quality entry into a market where it’s getting harder and harder to find reasonably priced AK-47s. Retailing at roughly $599 is no small feat for all the R&D and tooling it must have cost to release this rifle series. Other moderately priced American made AK’s have had well documented issues… It appears that Palmetto State Armory is not willing to make the same mistakes. They have upgraded once cast components to billet, and now it appears the most recent generation (G3) of the PSA AK features forged front trunion, forged carrier, and forged God knows what else. That shows a commitment to doing it right. You want to see how to do it wrong? Click here. With more and more import restrictions and less motherland made parts kits coming in, American made Kalashnikov’s may be the direction we have to go in the future. 

My PSA MOEkov performed well during my testing. The firing pin retaining pin was an easy fix at home, and it was a minor problem on an otherwise excellent AK. The accuracy was as expected for a Kalashnikov. The PSA AK was sent by Palmetto State Armory for T&E and PSA and I have a financial relationship at www.thenewrifleman.com, my private blog. By posting this article at www.LooseRounds.com I have taken that relationship out of the review as LooseRounds.com does not have a financial relationship with Palmetto State Armory. If you want to show PSA some love for “doing it right” then click here to check out the MOEkov!

Lothaen OUT!

Memories of Shotguns in the Corps

At any given time there are a handful of firearms I really want to purchase.  Usually after a few years of looking I manage to find one, quickly get tired of it, and later sell it for a minute profit.  The newest accusation is a Mossberg 500 MILS.  I’ll post more about it some other time.

Not me.  That is a Mossberg 500 MILS that my platoon used in Iraq.

Prior to joining up, I used to see ads for the Mossberg 590A1 talk about how it was the only milspec shotgun and the only shotgun to pass the USMC tests, etc.  Then when I was in I never saw a single 590.

Every shotgun I saw in the hands of Marines was either a Mossberg 500, or a Benelli M1014.  That had me fairly confused for a long time.  Where were those 590s?  Where did all the 500s come from?

It is only long after I got out that I learned that the USMC does buy 590s and issues them out to various groups.  Also the 500s they buy are pretty much built to the 590 spec.

Now this is my guess on the matter.  I used to think that the 590 was the standard line, and the 500 was the economy line from Mossberg.  Now I think the 500 was the standard, and the 590 upgraded.  I think some years back the USMC wanted a shotgun and they tested the 500 and liked it, but wanted some changes.  Heavier barrel, metal trigger guard, metal safety, etc.  So that became the 590A1.  Military orders 500 built to that spec, and those are the 500 MILS.  Correct me if I am wrong, but that is my guess and I haven’t bothered to do my due diligence and research it..  I did hear that the Army decided that rebuilding the trigger groups was too long, hard. and expensive, so they started ordered the cheaper plastic trigger housing and just replace the whole unit should it fail or need to be rebuilt.

Being a rifleman, my experience in the Corps with shotguns was fairly limited.  I was fortunate to have received shotgun training while I was in, we had a range sessions where we are familiarized with the Mossberg and the Benelli shotguns.  I remember that under stress and pushed for speed plenty of Marines would short stroke the pump actions.  We all loved the M1014 for shooting, but people would fumble the controls or forget how to release the bolt, etc.  Even after using both shotguns for a couple days straight, Marines would still fumble with them.

While I was in, I taught a class on Mechanical Breaching.  How to break into buildings.  Part of that involved explaining how to breach doors with a shotgun.  I’d never done it at that time, I would just repeat the spiel that I was taught.  I was actually attached to be a demonstrator for that class, and after hearing the instructor teach it a few times, one time he had to take care of something so I simply repeated all the things he taught to the students that were waiting around.  After that it was decided that they liked how I taught better and I ended up teaching that class.

The blind leading the blind, it is the Marine Corps way.  I did get to do a little breaching later on in Iraq, but never popped a lock with a shotgun.

Back then, the instruction on shotgun breaching was to place the muzzle on the door or lock.  Later I have seem multiple sources teach to stand off an inch or two, and it even became popular to attach a standoff to the barrel of the shotgun.  There was a long explanation back then of why we should press the muzzle to the target.  I haven’t bother to look into which way is actually better.  It is near the bottom of my to-do list.

When we deployed, my platoon received a couple of Mossberg 500s.  The one that was used by my squad had the bead sight broken off.  It is the one in the picture above.  We had a 0331 machine gunner who was issued the Shotgun because it was decided he was not going to carry the M240 during all our foot patrols.

Our ~combat~ use of the shotguns was rather pathetic.  Our guys issued shotguns were maybe given about 20 rounds total for the deployment.  Early in the deployment the Marine issued the one in the picture at one point had to hand it over for use by the Battalion Commander’s personal security detachment for a patrol, and that guy lost most of the issued ammo.  So for the rest of deploying our guy only had maybe 7 rounds total.

If I recall correctly, my squad never breached any doors with a weapon.  We generally were able to either open a door or smash it open by pushing/kicking.  I do know of one case where a few guys I knew tried to breach a door using a M16A4.  I’m told the shooter fired 3 rounds, and multiple fragments came back and struck other Marines stacked up prepared for entry.  I heard that the lock was not defeated.  I do not know if the fragments were part of the M855 he fired or parts of the door & lock.  I also would not put it past the guy to have missed the lock completely.  Sadly I’ll never know the whole story, all I know is that those guys couldn’t break a lock with a M16.

While I was in, I never saw any ammunition other than buckshot.  No one ever seemed to be able to get their hands on any slugs or breaching rounds.  But that is the Corps, they had a hard enough time providing us water & chow.  Hell we couldn’t even get the guy issued the shotgun more than the 7 or so rounds he carried during the deployment.

We all loved the M1014.  It was kinda odd that we were told it was adopted for riot use, but it couldn’t cycle the less than lethal ammo.  So it was suggested to use the M500 if your shooting bean bags & baton rounds.  I remember guys had a hard time cleaning them because no one ever taught them how to clean it.

One of the SAW gunners in a different platoon that I knew was issued a M1014 for a short while.  He would put his issued M145 Elcan 3.4X scope on it and joke that he had a sniper shotgun.  That is the only case I ever saw of anyone using the rail on that shotgun.

An aside.  I was trying to look up some info on Mossbergs shotguns.  I stumbled across a post on the shotgunworld.com forum where the following was said:

Slam-fire shotguns don’t exist, much less a comprehensive list of them.
Go troll someplace else, most of us here aren’t foolish enough to encourage your fantasies.


The only reason I can see for such a list is to build a fully-automatic shotgun. If that is not the case, perhaps you can explain why you want this rather odd information. If it is the case, perhaps you can explain why any responsible person would help you.


That is part of the problem of doing research.  Not only will the people who are wrong share their knowledge, but will most vehemently insist that they are right.

There are a handful of older pump shotguns that can “slam fire”.  These guns have no trigger disconnect so you can hold down the trigger and just rack the action.  The Winchester Model 12, Winchester 1893/1987, and Ithaca M37 are the only ones that come to my mind that do that.  Modern reproductions of these often, but not always, keep lack of a trigger disconnect so that they can slam fire.  The Mossbergs do no slam fire.  But the stupidity of the above comments forced me to bring this up.  I have no clue how DrMike thinks that a slam firing PUMP ACTION shotgun is going to be converted to full auto.

I’ve heard of Mossbergs modified or malfunctioning being able to slam fire, but those are the exception.

Anyways, that’s off topic.

So often in the Corps, a shotgun was just handed to a Marine with the expectation that they would know how to use it.  That was more often not the case.  I saw plenty of negligent discharges from people with shotguns.  One example, my platoon was going to escort another platoon when they were moving from one patrol base to another.  They had set up in an empty house.  I was the first from my platoon to enter this house occupied by the other platoon so I was sweeping through it.  I was was leaving the threshold of the living room, my team mates were walking into the room.  One of the Marines of the other platoon discharged his M500 into the center of the floor right by the feet of my team leader.  Needless to say some words were said.  On the other hand, I was also the last Marine to leave that building, and I got a whole bunch of free gear that was left behind from the other platoon.  Those guys had a quite the tendency to screw stuff up.

Often guys did not know how to operate the M1014.  The bolt release button on the side of the receiver caused all manner of confusion.  It is not a knock against the gun, but the poor familiarization and training Marines had.

In any event, the use of shotguns in the military that I personally witnessed was rather sad and pathetic.  But I managed to find the exact model Mossberg M500 MILS we used while I was in and was able to buy one at a reasonable price.  That will be a fun item for my collection.  I’ll talk more about that after I get the chance to put it through its paces.

Winchester Victory Series .30-06 Ammo

Winchester continues with  it’s  making of special edition ammo  in boxes meant to recall the ammo as it was used in WW2.   After the .45ACP ammo from earlier this year, the .30 Cal.  is now finally out.

The ammo is of course meant to mimic standard service  M2 ball round.

Like the 45 ammo, the rifle ammo comes in the special outer wood box with some throw back art work.

The case heads marked “M2” is a nice touch I think.

It is not too expensive  in my opinion.  I would recommend buying at least a box of it if you like this sort of thing.

Auto Ordnance Thompson “SMG” Carbine

Dredging up another old post for those who may never dip into our back archives. I know I said we would start doing this back in the early summer. I forgot.  Anyway…  Here is a look back on a review of an utter piece of crap no one should buy.

Howard – I had an Auto Ordnance Thompson back in 2002.  It was garbage.  The sights fell off.  It was unreliable.  Extremely heavy horrible trigger pull, etc.  All the Auto Ord guns I have seen since then have been bad.  The fit and finish and the profile of the wood stocks have improved, but the sights and reliability have not.





A few weeks ago I got my hands on one of the  .45 ACPThompson Semi Auto carbines. The gun is obviously a semi auto copy of the iconic WW2 Submachine gun that every one has seen knows it on sight if not by name.  I have been curious about these for years ,I have fired Class III full auto originals before and it is very fun SMG and very, very easy to use and control.  So when offered a chance with one I was more than happy to get some time with it.  My fun ended very fast once I started to work with it.

The gun is a heavy brute like the original and the 16 inch barrel does not do it any favors. That is to be expected though since it is what it is.  One thing I noticed right off the bat was the butt stock was not made correctly. The angle of the butt plate was at such a degree the gun stock would slide off the shoulder. It was very hard to keep it on the shoulder during firing. It required a very awkward effort to keep it up  while fighting the weight.   The next problem was the tolerances of the gun around the magazine well and breech. When firing the gun, your off hand would get burn up with burning and un burnt powder and anything else it felt like spitting out of the gap. Very hard to concentrate while shooting and not pleasant at all. At times, even with gloves and long sleeves I was had some real painful small burns.

As far as the sights go, the rear aperture was not even close to zero. The POI was often a 10 to 12 inches low  from 25 to 50 yards. Once I used the open notch at the top of the rear sight intended for very close range, I was able to shoot close to point of aim.


The shots at the bottom were aimed at the highest dot. I tried several distance and got no better until moving to the open notch.


This group is fired form 25 yards off a bench with an old bunch of Winchester silver tip .45 ACP. I was shocked to say the least. The gun is certainly capable of very decent accuracy.  The group below was fired at 25 yards under the same conditions but using Federal Hydra Shock.


Both groups are 5 round strings. Of course I had to use the rear sights open close range notch on the top of the sight. Otherwise there was not way to get close to POI or even shoot a group of any quality.


The group above is from 100 yards using Winchester Ranger T   230 grain hollow points. Again I had to use the close quarters notch. Not too bad considering what we are using. Since it was starting to get dar I was not able to move the bench and fired prone using only the old elbows in the dirt method. It is not to bad regardless,and some conclusions can be drawn from this target and the 25 yard groups. I would  expect the gun to be fairly accurate.


Lastly I fired a little over 10 rounds at the head of the Q target from 50 yards off hand, This was very hard to pull off thanks to the improperly made stock and its freakish angle that made holding it on the shoulder for a cheek weld is  an Olympic level event.

Now, the biggest problem in addition to these other complaints is… The gun just will not work.  I was able to sometimes get as many as 10 consecutive rounds to feed before I was clearing malfunctions. Often it was failure to feed, bolt not going fully into battery. Double feeds, failures to eject or any number of strange things. While helping me test the gun I and my friend found that sometimes we could use our thumb to close the bolt  when the gun would not fire and often we would have to pull the trigger four times before the FCG would work. The bolt is small and smooth and hard to get a hold on. Both of us had our thumbs and hands mangled trying to clear it and keep it working. After about 500 rounds and a bucket of oil to try to keep it working we gave up.



Do not buy this “gun” it is pure garbage.  This is typical of my experiences with Auto Ordnance products personally from this POS to the companies “1911” clones.  I have never seen anything good from them.  It really is a shame for a once great name.