All posts by Duncan

Magpul AK74 MOE 5.45x39mm Magazine

Looks like Magpul is about to release an AK74 PMAG. There have been rumors as far back as the 2015 NRA meeting and 2016 Shot Show but nothing concrete ever came out. The new PMAG is designed for Kalashnikov pattern rifles in 5.45x39mm (AK74, MPi-AK-74N, PA md. 86, and others). It is currently listed on Magpul’s site at 13.95 a mag.  It  has all the usual Magpul PMAG MOE magazine features found in the AK47 7.62×39 magazines. There is no further information out there that I can find on the new 5.45 Magpul magazine, other than it should be release this Summer (2016). Places like 44 Mag have them listed on the site. DSG Arms and Brownells are already taking Pre-Orders on the new AK74 5.45×39 PMAG. I’m sure they will be popping up very soon, as it is a highly anticipate product in the AK74 community, so keep an eye out if you are in that market.

Magpul AK74 MOE 5.45x39mm
Magpul AK74 MOE 5.45x39mm

FEATURES

  • Impact and crush resistant all polymer body
  • Constant-curve internal geometry for smooth feeding
  • Anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower for increased reliability
  • Long life stainless steel spring
  • Ribbed gripping surface and aggressive front and rear texture for positive magazine handling
  • Paint pen dot matrix panels on the bottom of the body to allow for identification marking
  • Flared floorplate aids magazine handling and disassembly yet is slim enough for use with most pouches
Magpul AK74 Magazine
Magpul AK74 Magazine

Duncan.

The Accuracy International AE

Submitted by  “G”  a professional sniper and lifelong friend of the Loose Rounds site owners. “G”  will be writing some articles for Loose Rounds in the coming months.

In the by-gone days of 2004 I was hip deep in the word of tactical shooting.  I had been on my departments SWAT Team as a Sniper for a couple years but have been obsessed with sniping since the late 1990’s, when my father was a LEO sniper for the same department.  I read anything I could about the subject, been to a couple schools, and with any free time I had was practicing.

I had been around the typical M700 and other typical sporting rifles my entire life.  I was issued a Remington PSS and had no problems with it but I wanted my own personal “tactical”
rifle.  I looked at companies like Robar, McMillan, HS Precision and others, but when I visited the Accuracy International web site I found what I wanted.  The Accuracy International AW series was way out of my means at the time but the AE, now known as the AE MK1, was just inside reach.  From what the site said it was the same as the AW series without certain benefits and was gear toward the LE community.  It featured a 24″ 1:12 twist barrel, 3.5 lbs trigger, and a very distinctive look.  So off to a local FFL dealer.

Accuracy International AE 7.62x51
Accuracy International AE 7.62×51

Once this British beauty arrived in this my hands I knew I had made a good choice of rifle. It wasn’t setup for the Parker Hale bipod, which I didn’t like anyway, instead a simple sling swivel attachment for a Harris bipod was attached to the bottom of the chassis system.  Its safety was “safe” and “fire” only, instead of the three position safety on the AW series.  Of course it is chambered in  7.62 X 51 (308 Win),  had an overall length of 44″ and weighed around 13 lbs.

7.52x51mm
7.52x51mm

The LOP was adjustable with spacers which came with the rifle.  It was set up with a 0 MOA rail already on the receiver for mounting scopes. The AE came with one 5 round magazine, the Mk1 is not able to use the AI 10 round magazines.  The chassis had four sling mounts, two on each side.  Now a days the Accuracy International chassis system is available for a variety of rifles but then it was AI only.  The stock simply screwed onto the chassis system and its only function was to provide something to hold onto. The bolt handle had a distinctive angle and appearance that even for a left hander, like me, provided easy and smooth manipulation.

Accuracy International AE
Accuracy International AE

I managed to top the rifle with a 6.5-20 MK IV Leupold, it has since been refitted with a 4-14 MK IV. The next step was to find a round for this beast to fire.  I had picked up a couple boxes of Hornady 30 caliber 178 gr AMAX.

AE w/ Leopuld Mounted
AE w/ Leupold Mounted

After doing some load development I found a load that the rifle liked.

-Federal Premium Brass trimmed to 2.005

-CCI LR Primer.  Primer pocket and flash hole uniformed.

-43.0grs of IMR 4064

-178 gr Hornady AMAX and Hornady HPBT seated to magazine length.

10 round group fired from 100 yards
10 round group fired from 100 yards

The AE is comfortable shooting from the bench or prone position.  It does become slightly awkward but not undoable from field shooting positions, as found out by yours truly and Loose Rounds owner Shawn.  The information provided with the AE from Accuracy International stated that the AE model was a 600 yard gun.  We came to find that the rifle was very capable of consistent hits out to 1000 yards.  Many a day was spent with this rifle busting skeet and ringing steel at 800 yards and it may be just me being bias, but this rifle made it seem easy to do so.  I have saved many targets from this rifle that was a testament to its accuracy but through the years they have disappeared.

Over the years I have owned and shot other very accurate rifles but this little 600 yard British rifle will always be my favorite.

“G”

Centruy Arms RAS 47

Century Arms Red Army Standard (RAS) 47.  An AKM variant with some American made modifications.  Century is boasting some 1.5 MOA predictions on this thicker 4150 ESS barrel. We have seen some reviews with impressive accuracy and look forward to Century providing us with a rifle to test out.

Century Arms Canik TP9 SFX

Our guys at the NRA 2016 meeting are doing a great job. One place we really wanted to visit was Century Arms.  We wanted to take a look at the Canik TP9 SF pistol.  As we were looking for the TP9 SF the guys at Century pointed us to the TP9 SFX which is the long slide competition version of the TP9 series.  Like the TP9 SF it has dove tail front and rear sights, so you can add any after marked compatible sights you like and  the TP9 SFX can be configure to handle red dot sights with it extra slots in the slide. Since the TP9 SF models no longer have the docker on the top of the slide, it is a viable defensive or competition firearm, at a very reasonable price.

We are hoping Century Arms will provide us with a test firearm in the near future. Take a look at the video below, its a pretty good looking 9mm firearm,

 

Winchester USA Forged / 9mm Steel-Cased

I am not a big fan of steel-cased ammunition. It has never really been that much of a savings per round vs. the quality you have to deal with. Recently (Ammoman.com) was kind enough to reach out and provided some ammunition to us. One of the rounds sent to us for testing is the new Winchester USA Forged ammunition line in 9mm. The USA Forged line is Winchester’s attempt to get in on the cheap, high volume shooting steel-cased ammunition market, but offer a slightly better product than the foreign steel-cased ammunitions on the market.

Winchester USA Forged Steel-Cased 9mm Amminition
Winchester USA Forged Steel-Cased 9mm Amminition

There are some slight differences in the USA Forged line vs. other steel-cased ammunition. The Winchester USA Forged is 100% USA made and it uses an all lead bullet core with brass jacket (FMJ). There are no bi-metal components in the bullet. It has a non corrosive boxer primer and uses a clean burning powder, per the manufactures markings on the box.

I shot 200 rounds of Federal American Eagle 115grn FMJ before switching to the steel-cased USA Forged 115grn FMJ, just to compare how the steel functioned against a decent brass offering. I used a 19 year old Gen2 Glock 19 and a brand new H&K VP9 to test the Forged ammunition. Each firearm had 100 rounds of American Eagle though it before using the USA Forged ammunition.

068

Function/Reliability/Quality:

I shot 450 rounds of the Winchester USA Forged 9mm. As I was loading rounds I noticed how scraped up and ruff the steel casings were.  The Forged ammo does not have a lacquer coating or any kind of washed finish on it that I could see. Winchester says they have a proprietary surface treatment on the casings but the three boxes I received, most of the casings look pretty rough. The proprietary surface treatment is extremely inconsistent. It looks like plain exposed steel  most of the time. In several images and videos from some of the industry magazines out there, all the rounds looked the same, with a nice even casing coating.  This was definitely not the case for the boxes I received.

Inconsistent Surface Treatment on Casings / Rough
Inconsistent Surface Treatment on Casings / Rough

It took a little more elbow grease to load up magazines as they seemed to not want to slide in smoothly, due to the rough casings. Once loaded up, I quickly started dumping rounds down range at a rapid pace. I noticed a little more recoil from the Forged ammo. The steel casings were really flying out forcefully. I quickly burned through 85 rounds. On the 86th round I had a Failure to Extract (FTE) resulting in a Double Feed. I notice the casing was a quarter of the way out of the chamber and another round had fed into the back of it.  I cleared the magazine  and racked the slide to reengage the head of the un-extracted casing. Once the extractor and slide reengaged the lip of the casing I was unable to rack the slide to extract it.  I ended up having to smack the nose of the slide against the ground several times, to unseat the stuck casing enough to rack it out. The casing looked normal but you can see where the extractor slipped of the rim of the casing.

86th Rounds FTE/Double Feed
86th Rounds FTE/Double Feed
071
FTE/Double Feed

Except for the one (1) FTE resulting in a double feed, I had no other firing function issues. There were a few things that caught my attention as far as the quality of the individual rounds. At the end of the day these did not cause actual function issues but it did make the overall use and enjoyment of the Forged ammunition not as enjoyable. They are a little nit-picky but worth mentioning.

First; This ammunition is dirty. Dirty to handle and dirty shooting. It says clean burning powder is used and I was thinking, compared to what?, sticking my hands into a bag of coal dust. I’ve been to courses where I shot 1500 rounds in a day and my hands were not this dirty.  Second; There was a large noticeable powder cloud after firing each round and from time to time un-burned powder pieces would ignite in the air after firing rounds. It seemed to be as dirty shooting as any other steel-cased foreign ammo. Third; The above mentioned difficulty loading magazines. The rough, dirty and inconstantly coated  shell casings just made loading more difficult.

Support Hand
Support Hand
Primary / Shooting Hand
Primary / Shooting Hand

Accuracy:

I did not spend any time on in-depth formal accuracy testing.  The USA Forged ammunition is 115grn FMJ plinking ammo and I shot it all off hand. I took my target from 7 to 25 yards and all in between. All the hits were there and the round is going to hit what you’re shooting at.  At 25 yards I shot 20 rounds and they were all center mass within an extreme of  4 to 6 inches of center from each other, that’s good enough for me.

450 Rounds on Target
450 Rounds on Target

Final Thoughts:

Overall the Winchester USA Forged ammo worked. It does have a slight edge over foreign/imported steel-cased ammunition as far as the FMJ bullet is concerned. The best thing the Forged ammunition has going for it is the traditional FMJ bullet construction. I don’t think it is worth shooting over any brass-cased ammunition. In checking on Blazer Brass, PMC Bronze, Speer Lawman and American Eagle, all were between .21 and .26 cents per round depending quantity. I found the USA Forged is also going for .21 to .26 cents per round.  At these prices I don’t personally see that the Winchester steel-cased offering is saving any money. Thanks again to (Ammoman.com) for supplying the ammunition for the review.

Duncan.

Upgrading My Outdated Weapon Lights, the Surefire X300

This past week, I sold a few of my older weapon mounted lights (WML) and got some very awesome deals on replacement lights. I sold several, over 12 years old, Insight M3 tactical lights and a first Gen Streamlight TRL-1. I carried some of these on duty years ago when they were the best/newest WML out there.  All were in like new condition and served me well, but with 65 and 80 max output lumens, these lights were very outdated. In fact, they were dangerously inadequate for my needs. I probably hung on to them for a few years, far to long because of sentimental reasons, and I was so use to them.

7-6-14 Cell 059
Old Streamlight TLR-1 / Insight M3 Weapon Lights
Surefire X300 Weapn Mounted Light
New Surefire X300 Weapn Mounted Light

For a pistol weapon light, I personally like lights at or under 200 lumens. I have found that this provides very adequate target identification light, while preserving my night vision, with appropriate use. The new lights at 500, 600 and over lumens, have a negative effect on my night vision, with momentary on and off use indoors and at typical handgun engagement distances. I find that I get several spotting/blinding circles, from the momentary on position with over 500  lumens. While this is great for blinding your adversary, it also creates those hard to recover spots in my eyes.

Surefire X300's
Surefire X300’s / Sig & Glocks
Surefire X300's
Surefire X300’s / 175 Lumens

I was able to sell off all of my older WML’s and broke even with their replacements, (pretty damn good).  I was able to find two (2) new in box, Surefire X300’s and one (1) like new in box, Surefire X300. I have used the X300 before and found the 175 lumen Surefire X300 to be my personal preference, for my home defense/carry handguns. The Surefire’s have a more focused light beam compared to other WML’s. This makes them have a brighter focused beam that extends their range an bit, with a descent cascading peripheral edge light feel.

Surefire X300's off
Surefire X300’s off
Surefire X300's On
Surefire X300’s On

Final Thoughts:

I think  I made out extremely well, replacing my older weapon lights and getting the light output (lumens) I prefer in a home defense or carry weapon light. Now that the Surefire X300 Ultra’s (A and B) are out, you can find some great deals on people selling the older x300’s. I will be replacing some of my rifle WML’s with X300 Ultra’s in the near future. If you happen to find an older quality X300, don’t hesitate to jump on it for your CCW or home defense handgun.

Duncan.

RTF2, the Pinnacle of Glock Production?

Recently Lipsey’s released another Vickers / Glock collaboration,  with the Grey Gen3 RTF2 Glocks, much like the previously released Vickers RTF2 FDE Glocks. While the Vickers Glocks have a lot of  Vickers Glock accessories, these Glocks are mainly focused around the 2009 RTF2 frame and are desired for this frame.  The RTF2 frame  was in production for a very short time and  was not really wanted when it first came out.  Now people pay a premium for the RTF2 framed Glocks. So, is the RTF2 frame the pinnacle of Glock production? I would say yes, for a pure Glock fighting handgun.

Glock 17 RTF2
Glock 17 RTF2

The initial release of the Glock Gen3 RTF2’s in 2009, with the G17 and G22, where met with a lot of visual/cosmetic speculation.  Not so much with the RTF2 frame but with the so called “Fish Gill” scalloped slide serrations. Many hated the Fish Gill look and this cosmetic look was the main focus of dislike on the RTF2’s back then. In reality the Fish Gill slide serrations have never been a functional issue/problem. They worked just as well as the standard slide serrations. Glock quickly stopped production of the Fish Gill slides and continued G17, G22, G19, G23 and G21 RTF2 frame production. This makes the Fish Gill Glock slides the least produced RTF2 combination. Then people started to complain the RTF2 texture was to rough for their delicate hands.  Some time in 2010 the RTF2 line was halted and was limited to large orders (over 2500) or LE agency production only.

"Fish Gill" Scalloped Slide Serrations
“Fish Gill” Scalloped Slide Serrations

In recent years Lipsey’s has release exclusive Vickers RTF2 Glocks in FDE and now in Grey. These Glocks have sold out very quickly and in some cases for extremely large amounts of money. Most RTF2 frames now sell for premium values since they were discontinued.  Why was the RTF2 frame chosen for the Vickers Glock and why are they so desirable now? I do not think the Vickers accessories that are sold with the Vickers Glocks are the main attractive point of these Glock’s.  Also, the FDE and Grey colors are not the main focus of the Vickers Glock’s. You can get these accessories and these colors for your standard Gen3 and Gen4 Glock’s.  The main selling point of the Vickers Glock’s are the RTF2 frames.

Vickers FDE Glocks
Vickers FDE Glocks
Vickers Grey Glocks
Vickers Grey Glocks

In my opinion the RTF2 frame is the pinnacle of the Glock line for a duty, home defense and training firearm.  It is also the best feeling and handling Glock made frame.

Grip/Texture:

The texture of the RTF2 frame is exactly what you want in a fighting handgun. The RTF2 frame has more than 4,000 tiny raised “Pyramids” around the grip. I actually tried to count/calculate one of my personal RTF2 framed Glock’s pyramids and it came out just over 5600 pyramids. The RTF2 frame is not too rough for your hands and it does not beat up or hurt your hands under longs strings of fire.  You can feel the slight bite of the RTF2 pyramid texturing but it’s just enough to let you know it is there for you. I have taken the RTF2 to several multi-day training courses and other than a super positive grip, I have had no issues with the grip texture being too rough. When handling the RTF2 Glock in wet and oily environments, it has vastly superior grip-ability over the Gen3 and Gen4 frames.

RTF2 "Pyramids"
RTF2 “Pyramids”

Now, if you are looking for a daily conceal carry handgun, The RTF2 framed Glocks are not ideal. If you are trying to conceal an RTF2 Glock, having it right next to your skin is not going to feel great.  You will have to wear a layer of protective clothing. Also, the RTF2 frames are extremely rough on all clothing, gloves and even your seatbelt. For a training course, duty carry or home defense firearm, the RTF2 is the best of the Glock offerings, for a very positive grip.

RTF2 Training
RTF2 Training

Gen3 Frame:

The RTF2 frame is built on Glocks arguably most reliable and longest serving Glock frame, the Gen3. I really can’t explain what it is, but the overall grip circumference of the RTF2 frame seems to feel smaller than the standard Gen3 frame.  The finger grooves also look and feel smaller than on the standard Gen3 frame.  I’m not sure if this is due to the RTF2 texture but the size of the grip feels just right.  You feel like you have more hand on the firearm with a maximum hand purchase, 360 degrees around the frame.

Glock 17 RTF2 / X300 / 33rd Magazine
Glock 17 RTF2 / X300 / 33rd Magazine

Availability Today:

The RTF2 Glock general production was stopped in 2010. With some of the Vickers Glocks you may be able to find one  here and there, but you are going to pay for it. There are older RTF’s popping up here and there and you will be paying a high price for them as well. I would suggest looking out for Police Trade-In G22 and G23 RTF2’s when they are available. I recently saw some in the mid 300 dollar range. Since G17/22 and G19/23 frames are identical, picking up a cheaper .40 cal trade in model might be the way to go, to get the RTF2 frame.

Final Thoughts:

If you are someone who likes Glocks, once you have an RTF2 framed Glock in your hands, you will probably never let it go. It is the ultimate in positive grip, in the Glock line. I mainly use the RTF2 Glocks for home defense and training classes. The RTF2’s are also great for your load-bearing, armor carrier, chest rig, or SHTF go gear. You will find yourself wanting to carry it for your conceal firearm, but remember it just chews your clothing up to fast. For a pure fighting handgun, the RTF2’s are the best Glock frames you can get. They do perform better than Gen3 and Gen4 Glocks in the grip feel and function area.

Duncan