Category Archives: Scattered Shots

Miscellaneous ramblings.

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.

Tactical Tailor/Mil Spec Monkey Adapt Pack

In the past my go to general use back packs have always been the Eagle AIII and the ATS/Lightfighter RAID but they were somewhat overkill for what I usually needed. With that in mind I recently started looking for something a bit smaller, lighter, and cheaper.

In my search I came across the Adapt pack produced by Tactical Tailor and available through the Milspec Monkey website. The pack is a variation of Tactical Tailor’s Fight Light Removable Operator Pack and priced at a reasonable $99.00

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The Adapt features a 17” tall x 9.5” wide x 5.5” deep main pocket and a 14” tall x 8” wide x 2.5” deep side zipper front pocket for a total volume of 1178 cubic inches.

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Here it is with a .50 cal ammo can placed inside to give you a rough idea of interior size.  There was a bit of room on all sides to put more stuff into the compartment.

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The large main compartment has two elastic pockets built into the sides for holding things like water bottles.

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The smaller front compartment is lined with Velcro for attaching Velcro backed pouches inside.

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The exterior of the pack features MOLLE webbing on the front and sides, the front being four columns wide and three rows tall and the sides being three usable columns wide and three rows tall.

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The front of the pack also has a Velcro portion for attaching patches, and length adjustable elastic cord for securing things like jackets.

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The top of the pack has the industry standard carry handle and two Velcro closure ports for routing cables or drink hoses.

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One of the main features of the Adapt pack and its Removable Operator Pack cousins is the ability to securely attach the pack to a larger ruck sack or the back of a plate carrier and quickly attach or remove the pack. To that end the Adapt comes with two MALICE clip adapters that attach to the host equipment that then clip into fastex buckles near the pack’s shoulder straps.

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There are a second set of fastex buckles designed to have MOLLE webbing threaded through them mounted on the lower sides of the pack to secure the bottom of the pack to its host equipment.

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When being used in this fashion the pack’s shoulder straps can stowed in an internal compartment to reduce clutter. This compartment can also be used to hold a camelbak style water bladder.

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Given that I bought this pack for its compactness I haven’t had a reason to attach it to any sort of larger load carrying equipment, but have found another use for the shoulder MALICE clip adapters. I run a carabiner through the webbing on each and then use those to clip the pack to the head rest posts of my truck seat that way the pack is secured, easily accessed and up out of the floor and seat.

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My only point of concern with the pack is the stitching for the MOLLE webbing on the front of the pack doesn’t seem very substantial. It’s not been an issue so far and there are no signs of the stitching pulling out yet, I just wonder if it may be an issue in the future.

So far I’ve been quite happy with the pack. It’s proved to be a useful grab and go type pack for day trips. Given that the main Loose Rounds test area is on a fairly remote mountain top I usually throw a change of clothes and misc other personal items it’s nice to have on hand in the pack. Clipped to my headrest it holds what I need and keeps it out of the way. I also used it at the recent NRA annual meeting to hold my camera, a second lens, rain jacket, etc. The pack is a nice mix of just big enough to hold what you need for an active day without being overly bulky or heavy.

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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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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.

20 Years With a Model 590 Mossberg

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The Mossberg 590 shotgun has been around a long time and needs no introduction by me.  That is for the best, since this article is not really a historic recounting of the weapon but more of a look back at a shotgun that I and a dear friend have a 20 year history with.

The 590 pictured above was purchased 20 years ago, almost to the day.  My friend bought it during the summer of our sophomore year in college.  For some reason the look of the gun really appealed to us both. Much like today, guns like this really  worried liberals of the time,  thinking things like bayonet lugs endangered western civilization, it was a real plus to have a shotgun that didn’t look like the Clinton approved  “duck gun” fudds would use.

We used this thing hard, I mean really hard. We treated it about as rough as you could treat one without destructive testing.  It took a trip into a swift moving river that filled it with sand and silt.  It fired slugs and buck and the “Dragon’s Breathe” novelty rounds that could be bought at the time.   It was even used as a crutch on a muddy mountain side one day, after I fell and hurt my leg.   It has a lot of memories.   That something like this could have such good memories and sentimental attachment is something no liberal , gun banner could ever understand.

Things have changed for all of us in the last 20 years.  My friend and I have moved on to more flashy shotguns like the Bennelli M4 and the Saiga, as well as an assortment of 870s and more than a few retro M1897 Winchesters.    But now that we have hit the 20 year mark, we decided to drag it out and take a serious look at something we never gave much serious thought to at the time.

We got the old 590 out for a day of shooting and testing to see what it had in it.  We fired it with slugs,  00 Buck and some regular hunting loads just for fun.  You can see the results of  the loads intended for a shotgun like this below.

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Pictured above is a group of slugs fired at the target from about 60 yards.  The bright orange square being te aiming point.  The gun was fired from a rest using the factory bead front sight.  The ammo was federal police slugs.   Noteworthy is the 3 shot group clustered very tightly together at the far left.   Not bad for a smooth bore!

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A close up look  shows just how tight those 3 shots grouped.  The shot to the far right was a (called) flyer. With a red dot or some more precises method of aiming and zeroing, the combo of this slug and the gun would easily make a head shot on an adult male.

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The above picture shows the pattern of three rounds of OO Buck at 25 yards.  The gun, the ammo or the shooter seem to shoot a bit high and to the left.  I don’t have answer for you  otherwise because I had no desire to pound myself with buck and slugs. I have always found the recoil of that 590 less than pleasant so I could not think of a compelling reason to punish myself with it again.

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Above is another three rounds of buck fired at 15 yards.  All pellets easily printed inside the red.  The red sticker was used as it was very close to the chest that covered all vital organs.  At this range, few things on this earth could have survived.

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Last is three rounds of the buck at 7 yards.  No surprises here. The close pattern of the buck would be almost the same as three slugs. The pellets did spread enough to make wounds bigger than a solid slug though and without a doubt would cause massive destruction at such close range.

I went on to shoot the normal hunting loadings of 6, 4 and 9 1/2 shot and worked over the old car left on the range and various skeet.   The gun has always functioned well. It  has proven that over the  years for  various LE and Government agencies in shootout all over the globe.  The Mossberg 500 action is a more simple version of the excellent Remington Model 31  action, a shotgun I have the highest regard for and has spawned other well loved shotguns like the Ithaca M37.

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The shotgun itself is the classic 590 from the time period. As you can see in the pictures our use and time have been rough on it, but other than cosmetics, it has had no effect. It does have the evil bayonet lug that has scared so many over the years. Sorry to say neither of us remembered to bring a M7 bayonet to mount on it for pictures.    My friend, the owner, did have a side sling swivel mounted as he is an evil lefty and needed it.

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The brand and type that side sling swivel has been lost to time and memory but it works fine  and has stood up to the same abuses the gun has.

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This M590 has been in our lives a long time. I can’t even begin to tell you all the things this gun as seen and been subjected to. It has been sidelined into my friend’s safe for a long time now but there was some talk on testing day of maybe a rail mounted to the receiver for mounting of an RMR.  Maybe in the future it will have been updated with more modern sighting and some other little upgrades.  But probably not.  Likely it will go on being our whipping boy.     It is a classic though and we always have a spot for it in our hearts.