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.

Reproducing the Army M855 300m Carbine BZO at 25 yards

There are three most popular ways to zero the AR15s and similar 5.56 carbines.  These three are a 100 yard zero, a 50/200 zero, and the military 300m zero.  Here I am going to talk about the 300m zero.

Unfortunately most people do not have easy access to a 300m range.  Even if they did, it makes sense to start at a closer distance.  Later on I will reiterate that with a demonstration.

Why the 300m zero?  I personally wouldn’t recommend it to most people unless they are already familiar with it from time in the service.  The 300m zero has the round first cross the point of aim at 25 meters, then it raises to about 7 inches over the point of aim at about 173 yards, then it is on at 300m.  At 400 meters you are about 10 inches low.  Still easily on target.  Might be easier if I made this a chart.

Range Drop (in)
Muzzle -2.6
25 yards -0.4
25m -0.3
100 yards 4.4
200 yards 6.5
300 yards 2.5
300m 0
400 yards -9.4
500 yards -31.4

Chart made from info gathered using JBM ballistic calculator.  Figuring firing M855 from a carbine at 2970 FPS at the muzzle and a sight height of 2.6 inches over the bore.

So the real benefit to a 300m zero is that it is easier to use it to hit a man sized target at 400 and 500m just by aiming a little higher.  If you are not actually expecting to shoot those distances, something like the 100 yard or 50/200 zero would likely be the better choice.

The Army used to teach to adjust the point of impact (POI) to hit right at point of aim (POA) at 25 meters.  Some years ago they realized it was better to have the troops adjust the POI to be about 1/3 of an inch low at 25m to get closer to a correct 300m zero.  At reduced ranges small amounts of error will add up greatly at longer ranges.

So what if we are not using a 25m range, but instead the more common 25 yard range?  We can see from the chart above that that we want to be 0.4 inches low if we shoot at 25 yards.

Now to get down to the shooting.

If we are using a sight with ranging settings, we want to set it for 300 meters.

In this case I used a Matech rear sight.  I set it to the 300m setting.  I also flipped it up for the shooting.  Using a target at 25 yards, I fired a well aimed group of 3 shots.  Why 3?  It lets you use the average of the three shots to minimize error.  If you had a rifle and ammunition combination that you are extremely consistent with, you could make zeroing adjustment off a single shot.  But for stuff like this it is better to shoot groups.  The more shots the better, but 3 tends to be the minimum.

I know, from experience, that the M855 ammo I have tends to be about 2 MOA ammo.  That means at 25 yards I should be getting half inch groups.  If the group is larger than 1/2 inch, I am not doing my part.

That group is most certainly larger than 1/2 inch, so I wasn’t doing my part well there.  But it gives me something to work with.  I see that this rifle is shooting 4.5 inches low and 1.3 inches right at 25 yards.

Had I started at 100 yards, I would have been impacting 18 inches low.  I would have been completely off the target.  That is why it makes sense to start up close.

Also note my high quality custom BZO target (black Sharpie on paper).  I wanted to demonstrate you do not need a fancy target for zeroing.

On the AR15 carbine, adjustment of the front sight are about 1.75 MOA per click (1/4 rotation), and wind-age is about 3/4 MOA.

I needed to go 18 minutes up, so I decided to make an adjustment of 10 clicks.  I also needed to go about 5 minutes left, so I choose to go 6 clicks left.  (In hindsight, the math says I should have done 7)  Then I fire another group.

After firing another 3 well aimed shots I find another group that is less then perfect, but still gives me good information.  This three shot group is 1 inch low from point of aim and half an inch right.  So I need to make another adjustment.

Don’t forget, I want the impacts to be a half inch low (0.4 actually).  So I want to dial up 1/2 inch (1 click) and left 1/2 inch (3 clicks).  I make the adjustment, and fire a new group on a new clean point of aim.

There we go, zeroed in 9 shots.

Now, ideally, you tweak and confirm the zero at the full distance.

Optic of the week: Matech BUIS

The Matech sights that come from Colt have the Picatinny marking.  I have not seen this marking on these sights from other sources.

Some time back, I’m not sure when, the U.S. Military adopted the Matech Back Up Iron Sight (BUIS) as the new rear sight for the M16A4 Modular Weapon System and the M4/M4A1 MWS. That could lead one to believe that this was the best, most durable, combat ready rear sight around. Boy would you be wrong if you thought that.

Outside the military, many people have different desires for what they want out of the BUIS. Some people want a sight that locks in place and is as solid as a bank vault, those people tend to like the Troy sights. Other people want cheap, so they go with the Magpul BUS. There are a few sights that are adjustable for range with a micrometer type adjustment such as the KAC 2-600m BUIS.  There are a wide variety of features available out there, and the Matech has a pretty unique combination of them.

The main draw to the Matech is that is had a lever on the side for changing the distance setting.  This lets you quickly set the sight for settings between 200 to 600 meters, but you can not make fine adjustment for range.

An annoyance of mine is when I can not find detailed information about a product.  I know this sight was designed for use with M855 on both the M16A4 and the M4/M4A1 Carbines but I have not been able to find out what the calibration on the adjustment is.  It might have been set for the 14.5 inch barrel, or a 16 inch barrel, or the 20 inch rifle.  It might be a blended adjustment meant to be close enough for the rifle and carbine.  We just don’t know.  But in any event, it should at least keep you on a Echo Target (40″x20″) out to 600 meters.

There is a line (with out a notch to lock it in position) between the 300 and 400m marks for zeroing a M16A4 at 25m.  When zeroing a M4 at 25m leave the sight on the 300m mark.

The sight locks down, but it does not lock in the up position.  This was chosen as to allow it to move should the rifle be dropped.  Sights that lock open can be more likely to break when locked up.  Unfortunately these sights tend to wear out and stop locking in the down position.  Countless discussion and youtube videos can be found about this.

For example:

Downsides to the Matech BUIS are:

  •  It is huge, much larger than most other BUIS.
  •  If you over tighten the clamping screw and bar it will break!  Snug it up and tighten 1/4 turn past that, no more than that.
  •  You are suppose to replace the screw that is used to hold it on if it is removed from the weapon.  Most of us won’t have multiple screws laying around.
  •  It wears out!  The rear aperture latch wears out and will not stay latched down.

Now I wouldn’t say it is a terrible sight, but I do not recommend buying one.  If you already have one I wouldn’t bother to replace it unless it breaks or wears out.  Just make sure you check the distance setting on it before you shoot.