All posts by Howard

A look inside the Larue 5.56 PredatAR.

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The Larue PredatAR has a free floating lightweight barrel in a proprietary upper with free floating hand guard.

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The barrel is made in house, the barrel nut is 1 1/4 inch.  The heat treating method that Larue Tactical uses gives it a golden, almost brass like color.

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The upper and rail have mating surfaces to ensure alignment.  4 screws hold the rail to the  upper, with helicoil(or similar) inserts.

So, why did I have this one apart?  I was showing it to a friend expounding on how great Larue stuff is.  When I got home, I was looking it over again and I noticed a very small amount in play  in the barrel.  After removing the hand guards I found the barrel nut was loose.

Now, even more annoying is that I don’t have a wrench in 1 1/4 inch size, I visited several local auto parts stores and hard ware stores and the half dozen stores I visited this weekend didn’t have a crowfoot wrench in that size.

Goes to show that no matter what your equipment, you need to inspect it regularly and have spare or backups.

A look at HK416 sights.

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HK offers fixed diopter sights for their HK416/MR556 rifles.  The rear sight drum has different sized openings set at different heights for 1, 2, 3, and 4 hundred meters.

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There are two versions of the rear sight for different barrel lengths.  They are marked by dots under the 200m aperture.  The model for the 10.4 inch barrel has 1 dot, and the model for the 14.5 and 16.5 inch barrels have 2 dots under the 2.

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The single dot shows that this model is for the 10.4 inch barrel.

The front sight isn’t adjustable, so the rear sight has to be adjusted for elevation and windage.  The rear sight windage adjustment is adjusted by using a screw driver on two screws.

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The top screw is loosen to allow for adjustment and then the screw on the right is turned to move the sight.  1 full turn moves the impact 6 inches at 100m.  Tighten the top screw back down after adjusting to lock the sight back into place.

Inside the drum there are two tabs.  Compressing both tabs inwards allows for the drum to turn adjusting the elevation of the rear sight.  You need to turn the elevation drum in 1/4 turn increments for 1.5 inch adjustment at 100m.

If you don’t have the proper HK rear sight tool, a pair of needle nose pliers can be used.

These sights can be annoying to zero, but they are fun to use.  But if I was going to be shooting any sort of competition or precision I’d rather use A2 sights with their smaller peep aperture and simpler easier tool less adjustments.

Where are they now? -Updated

I’ve been seeing various commentary about how the rights for the AA-12 are going up for sale and it got me thinking about some of the other fad weapons.

AA12

How many sane people thought that the AA12 would ever be considered practical for anything?  Awesomely fun, certainly, but not useful.

I remember seeing people online say how the Barrett M468 would replace the M4.

M468

Most of us figured that was unlikely because the logistical issues of changing calibers for the military.  I never liked the M468 because the ARMS SIRS railed hand guard on it is large, heavy, and obsolete before the M468 came out.  Now it looks like the M468 is discontinued and dead.  It successor the Barrett REC7 switched to a piston design, and is still around but not that common.

What about the Masada?

Masada

I remember when the Masada was announced, and I will admit that I bought into the hype.  It was something interesting and new.  It was amazing to see how much of that interest and popularity faded when Bushmaster got the rights to it.  That certainly says something about what people think about Bushmaster.

The Masada, now called ACR, is still around and purchasable, but you don’t see much fan fare for it.

I’d talk about the XCR rifle but I don’t really know much about it.  The few people I have talked to that owned one loved theirs, but I’d be weary because of how quickly Robinson Arms dropped support for their previous firearm, the M96.  Looking online, it looks like the XCR is still around, but who is buying them?

In the race to replace the M4, two of the big winners have been the HK416 and the FN SCAR.  Both of those appear to have gotten a good fan following and commercial success.

What other modern guns do you know of that didn’t quite make it?

UPDATES:

Some of the commentators tell us that the XCR is going strong in Canada.  All anti-gun laws stem from thought processes far from logical, and the Canadian laws are no different.  Glad to hear that our northern neighbors have options.

KyleNo4mk2 brings up the FN2000.  As far as I know it is still being made.  Now too its credit, it did get a more than a couple military contracts.  Bullpups are sort of a unpopular nitch in the U.S., but the Tavor, FN2000, and AUG seem to be the main contenders for bullpups here.

Franco mentions the XM8.  I avoided it since it was such a failure to start, never even commercially available.  That is a pretty big failure.  I did get to handle one and I liked the charging handle on it.  I am really glad it went nowhere since had it been adopted we might have never seen quad rails take off as it originally had its own funky accessory mounting system.

MR556/HK416 HKParts.net 10.4in barrel conversion kit

HKParts 10.4 barrel

A little while back I came into a couple of cheap MR556 uppers where the barrels had been trashed.  I expected getting a replacement HK barrel wouldn’t be too bad.  That was a mistake.

As I went to shop around for barrels, I found Brownells listed them.  Right now I am unable to find it on their website, but it had a list price of about $800 and was constantly out of stock.

I wasn’t too happy with that price, and even so, couldn’t even get one since Brownells was out of stock.  HK did not respond to my attempts to purchase a barrel from them.

Then I found HKParts.net 10.4 inch aftermarket barrel.  Still very expensive at $589.95 and $49.99 S&H, it is a little cheaper than the unavailable stock MR556 barrel.

Much to my dismay, I found my barrel kit came in pre-rusted for me.  My pictures don’t show it well, but there was rust on the flash hider, crush washer, barrel, gas block, gas block roll pins, and barrel extension.

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Not very impressive for the most expensive barrel I own.  On the plus side, the barrel nut and barrel wrench weren’t rusted.  That counts for something, right?

Anyways, the installation went easily.

Now here is the part I don’t really feel like admitting.

Over two range sessions, using 3 different types of ammo, and 3 different optics, I was only getting 4 inch groups at 25 yards.  I was really not happy.

Well turned out it was user error.  See the HK hand guard has a tang to fit into a notch in the upper receiver.  Since I had just installed this barrel, I had left the hand guard loose so I could quickly remove it.  On each of the 3 optics I used (Aimpoint M4, NF2.5-10X, MK6 3-18), I had the mount run over this tang, and pressure on the hand guards was putting pressure on my scope mounts, throwing off the groups.

Once I finally realized what I had done, I moved the optics back a notch and finally had dime sized groups at 25 yards.  I haven’t any real accuracy testing past that, but it is more reasonable than a 4 inch group.

Ultimately cost can become a major issue with anything HK.  The cost and availability of replacement parts is ridiculous.

Building an AR15 upper

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Going from a pile of parts to a functioning AR isn’t very hard.  There are countless youtube videos and guides on how to build AR15s.  This isn’t a detailed guide, but a little commentary on the last upper I assembled.

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I find installing the port cover annoying.  I’ve done it enough times I can do it quickly, but it is still annoying.

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The pin can start from the front or the rear of the receiver, but it tends to be easier to work from the front.  Once started, get that spring in place.

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Give the spring a wind and push the rod through.

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Then watch it pop out of place and do it again.

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Then drop the C clip in the carpet and wait till a new one arrives in the mail.

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Then get that little annoying thing snapped in place.

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The forward assist should be simple to install.  Simply depress the forward assist and insert the roll pin.  The notch on the forward assist will keep it captive.

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You’ll note that I don’t have a photo of the installed forward assist as I managed to flair out the roll pin and had to get a replacement.  5/8th inch long, 3/32 diameter, and you can get a 100 pack from McMasterCarr for a few bucks.

Install the roll pin for the forward assist from the bottom of the receiver.  That way if(when) you slip with a hammer and punch, you ding up the bottom of the upper which few people will ever see.

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Fortunately barrel components slide together then screw on the upper and you get a working gun in no time.

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A story about a home made silencer.

I once met an old Machinist.  When he learned I had guns he related this story:

Once he read about silencers, and said that it was simple enough so he made one. He then put it on his single shot .357 Maximum.
He proceeds to fire a .38 special hand load, it was a very quiet pop.
Then he fires a .357 Magnum load, and it is noticeably louder.
He touches off a hot .357 Maximum load and the can explodes.