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Review: Shooting the P226

Review Newsletter
Welcome to GunStuff's newsletter.
Due to technical issues, the newsletters for the past few months have been delayed. Now that the problem has been resolved, we're back! As you can see below there are a few big events around NZ over the next month. So get out there and enjoy them!
Date Name Location
25 Aug Winter Series Round 4 Waiuku
25 Aug 2 Gun Sniper Match Kaitoke
31 Aug - 01 Sept 2013 PNZ South Island 3 Gun Championships Cable Bay
31 Aug - 01 Sept 2013 Northland Open and Graded Whangarei
07 Sept - 08 Sept 2013 IPSC - North Island Championships (Level 3) Hamilton
08 Sept Bolt Action Day Kaitoke

And in the reviews section, we have an in-depth review for the new Tactical Lever Action from Mossberg (no, that's not a typo), a brief guide to improving your pistol shooting skills, and a review of the new chassis system for Remington 700's made by MDT.

Review: Mossberg 464 SPX Tactical Lever Action
Tech: Why Focus the Front Sight?
Review: MDT TAC21 Rifle Chassis
If there are any topics or news you would like us to cover in future newsletters please contact us at newsletter@gunstuff.co.nz
Review: Mossberg 464 SPX Tactical Lever Action
The Mossberg 464 SPX .30-30 is photogenic. It makes a distinct statement. And opinion seems to be split. Some seem inexplicably drawn to the odd aesthetic of the rifle. Others think it is an abomination.

I’ll admit that I was in the abomination camp when I first saw photos of the 464 SPX. But I stopped by the Mossberg booth at the SHOT Show and put my hands on the gun. There, on the massive convention floor, surrounded by thousands of guns, the 464 SPX changed my mind.

The 464 SPX .30-30 WIN

464 spx2

The 464 is, most basically, a lever action rifle without the wooden furniture. Rather than go to great lengths to make the polymer look exactly like the wood it is replacing, Mossberg adopted the tools of the tactical trade. The forend is covered up in rail. And the stock, which is made by ATI (who makes all kinds of stocks) is actually adjustable.

The 464 holds five in the tube. Beneath the flash suppressor, the barrel is threaded. The rail covers the fore-end, but doesn’t extend to the top. A rail section could be added up top, or there are options for a traditional scope mount.

464 spx1

The SPX weighs in at 7 pounds, and has a 16-inch barrel. With the flash suppressor, the rifle is 34-inches long. The adjustable stock offers lengths of pull that vary from 10 1/2 and up to almost 15 inches. There are two functional safeties on the rifle, one on the tang and one that’s engaged by squeezing the lever.

But at its core, the 464 SPX is still an antiquated platform. Or maybe I should say timeless. The .30-30 has outlived all of us. And the lever action is still well regarded for its rugged dependability.

That said, I bet your mind is already made up. That’s the type of gun this is. The 464 polarizes.

464 spx6

Mossberg’s not the first to put a futuristic spin on a traditional gun. One could argue that any 1911 with a rail is doing the exact same thing. Think of the Springfield Armoury TRP. Or the Rossi Circuit Judge. Tactical.

I personally think the 464 has more in common with the TRP, which is still the most duty ready 1911 I’ve ever seen. The dressed up .410s have their place in a pickup truck, but don’t have a single tactical application.

464 spx9

But I don’t think Mossberg is taking the tactical angle very seriously, honestly. This is a hunting gun. The .30-30 is hell on whitetail. It is perfect for the piggy's. I’ve used one for hunting elk. If you can close the range to within 100 yards, the .30-30 delivers flat shooting, hard hitting, dependable accuracy.

So think of it as a hunting gun. I think it is especially well suited for southern hunts. The polymer won’t expand and contract like wood. That’s a real problem on some hunting rifles. You take it from the safe, where the humidity is low, out into the field, where the gun gets wet. Problems arise. Or the opposite. If your safe is too dry for wood, stocks and forends can shrink and crack.

464 spx7

One of my favourite features on the Mossberg is the sight system. My old Winchester 94 had some terrific iron sights. I once popped a skunk at more than 100 yards with that simple black blade. But it was nearly impossible to see in low light conditions, or against dark targets.

The 464 has two vibrant fibre optic sights. The rear is a U-shaped green two dot. The front, a red dot, shines neatly between the green. For this initial review, we worked only with the irons. And they worked very well.

Shooting the SPX

Shooting freehand, at 100 yards, we could hammer a 12-inch plate with no effort. The 6-inch plate required a more steady hand, but was still easily hit. With the rifle braced in a vice, the groups closed up to right at 3 inches. That’s reliable accuracy for iron sights.

And it has the potential for doing even better with a decent scope. This isn’t a target rifle, for sure. Groups are pointless. Yes, they measure a rifle’s potential. Still, I think some shooters place too much emphasis on getting tight groups, and not enough emphasis on being able to hit exactly what they are aiming for. Once.

464 spx5

The Mossberg will excel at that. It is ready to roll right out of the box.

But what would you want to put on it? I’m intrigued by the rail. I guess a weapon light could work, if you were going to use this one rifle for hunting and defence. But what else? A Magpul Angled Fore Grip could work. Other ideas? I’m open to suggestions. I want to dress this thing up properly and test out that side of things before we send it back. So shoot me some ideas.

All said and done

The MSRP on this version is $535. Retail should come in below $500. More versions (one with ZMB in its moniker) are planned. So stay tuned.

I like the SPX. The 464 is a solid rifle at a reasonable price. Shooting the SPX has made me miss my old 94, which I traded long ago.

I know I’ve asked more questions than I’ve answered in this review, but I really feel like the SPX is a curious beast. I’ll leave you with this. Would being seen with a Mossberg 464 be the firearms equivalent of getting spotted riding a Moped?

I think it is. Still, I’ll be ready when Hollywood comes calling.
Source: http://www.guns.com/review/2013/08/07/gun-review-mossberg-464-spx-tactical-lever-action-30-30-video/
Tech: Why Focus the Front Sight?

Improve your handgun shooting speed and accuracy by focusing on the front sight and mastering the flash sight picture. Peter Lessler explains how.

Incorrect sight focus. Note the blurry front and rear sights versus the sharply focused target. This is a common cause of inaccurate shooting.

Incorrect sight focus. Note the blurry front and rear sights versus the sharply focused target. This is a common cause of inaccurate shooting.

The two most important components of sight use are to focus the eyes on the front sight and then verify the alignment between front and rear sights. The eyes can only focus in one distance plane at one point, and the front sight, rear sight, and target will all be at different distances from the eyes. The reason we pick the front sight as our focus object is that this little stub of metal tells us where the gun is aiming.

When we focus on the target, the front and rear sights will both be blurry. In this case, a small misalignment of the gun (which would be visible as sight misalignment) will not be noticed, and the gun will be looking along a different line of sight than our eyes are looking.

It does not take much of an angular misalignment in the gun barrel versus our eyesight line for the shot to miss the target completely, and since this misalignment represents two diverging lines, the amount of error will grow rapidly with increasing distance to the target.

Another form of incorrect focus. Note the blurry front sight and target versus the sharply focused rear sight. This also will cause inaccurate shooting.

Another form of incorrect focus. Note the blurry front sight and target versus the sharply focused rear sight. This also will cause inaccurate shooting.

So, again, we focus on our front sight. This puts the target out of focus, just as it does the rear sights, but, in this case, it’s not a drawback, since just about anything we will be shooting at with an iron-sighted pistol will be easy to see in general.

Any error caused by aiming at a slightly blurry target will only be as big as the blurry edge of the target, which is actually a very small amount of space; truly, it is negligible, especially compared to the potential of the misalignment error allowed by not looking at your sights. So, we focus on the front sight and let the target blur slightly.

Handgunning: How to Increase Speed

Speaking of speed, one goal to work towards is to first achieve with the hands a near-perfect sight alignment with the target as quickly as possible, then visually acquire and judge the correctness of your sight picture as rapidly as can be done. At this point the mind says “good to go” to a good sight picture and commences the trigger squeeze, or says “not yet” to a bad sight picture and corrects it to good one before commencing the trigger squeeze.

This is correct focus. Note the sharp front sight and blurry rear sight and target. This is what you must see for accurate shooting.

This is correct focus. Note the sharp front sight and blurry rear sight and target. This is what you must see for accurate shooting.

This combines two notions. The first is the “flash sight picture,” in which we recognize our sight picture and judge it in a bare instant. The second notion is that the sight picture is the boss, not the trigger finger. In other words, our sight picture is the go/no-go determinant of whether we fire the shot.

No trigger pressure should be applied until our eyes have acquired the sight picture and our brain has approved it. This concept should be burned into the circuitry of your brain: The brain controls the trigger finger based on what the eyes see. This is the basic principle of accurate pistol shooting.
Source: http://www.gundigest.com/handgun-reviews-articles/handgunning-why-focus-the-front-sight
Review: MDT TAC21 Rifle Chassis
I love my Remington 700 AAC-SD rifle, but it had some issues. The lack of a free-floating barrel, the sucky cheek rest, the inability to use Accuracy International magazines…. The totality of those issues had me looking at options for replacement stocks. With the possibility of getting my hands on an XM2010 chassis getting even more remote, I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a McMilian stock when Maarten from MDT dropped us an email and asked us to try out his nifty chassis system. And boy, was I impressed . . .
The concept is phenomenal. Take a standard Remington 700, drop it into this chassis, and you instantly have a rifle that almost rivals Remington’s XM2010 in terms of features. All you need in addition to a rifle and the chassis is a buttstock assembly and pistol grip for the AR-15 rifle and you’re good to go. And thanks to the adaptability of AR-15 parts, the rifle can be adjusted to exactly fit your specific body type.
In concept, that is. In practice, getting the thing assembled takes some work.

The chassis comes in three parts; the receiver block, the trigger guard/magazine assembly and the forend. In order to get your existing rifle into the chassis you’ll need to temporarily remove the trigger and permanently remove the bolt stop, a process which involves drifting out the trigger pins.

I’ve done it before, and watched as my stock Remington 700 trigger exploded all over my workbench when I removed the punch (having forgotten to install the replacement pin that holds the trigger together). If you’re not mechanically inclined, you might want to take the rifle to a gunsmith to have them do the install for you. Thankfully, the chassis kit includes two small pins that will hold the trigger together while you swap stuff around.

To me, the installation process was so daunting that I was only willing to do it after I had saved up enough money to satisfy MDT should they want the thing back. This was going to be a one way process for my gun, win or lose, as I didn’t fancy the idea of drifting the pins out again to send the chassis back.

But once the chassis’s installed, you really wouldn’t ever want to go back.

Thanks to the folks at Magpul, I had a PRS rifle stock to put on the rifle And with the ergos of an AR-15, the gun feel SO much better. There’s a damn good reason why in-line stocks and adjustable cheek risers are popular, and it makes the Remington 700 a much more user friendly rifle.

It even looks sexier. I had people coming up to me on the rifle range complimenting me on my fine-ass gun, asking me what it was. Putting the Remington 700 in the TAC21 chassis makes it look like some sort of spacegun instead of the $600 bolt action rifle it really is. “Why is that guy over here on the 100 yard range?” I heard the guy next to me ask his friend. “He should be over on the 500 yard line, at least.”

While the ergonomics may have been miles better, the real “killer feature” of the chassis for me was the free floating barrel. Charlie Sisk is a big fan of strapping the action of his custom Remington 700 rifles as deeply into a big block of aluminum as he can, and he seems to be doing well with that approach. MDT, on the other hand, has taken more of a laissez-faire approach to the action with only about three contact points between it and the chassis. This lets the action and barrel flex more, but doesn’t seem to negatively impact accuracy. In fact, just the opposite. What used to be a 1 MoA rifle has become a 1/2 MoA rifle.

At the beginning of my range session, I put five or six rounds of Federal Premium into a hole about 1/2 inch in diameter at 100 yards with no problem. But, as the day went on, I started having issues. The rifle would swing wildly from being 2 mils low to 2 mils high without me touching the turrets. I thought it might be an problem with the temperature of the barrel, but when I went to tap the barrel to see if it was hot, it wiggled in the chassis. It had come loose, and I had left my wrenches at home.

One liberal application of Loctite and a severe torqueing of the screws later and the problem has been solved, but it sure was annoying. Just FYI for all you prospective buyers out there.

My second favourite feature, after accuracy, is the detachable magazines. The chassis takes standard Accuracy International mags and I think that’s just damn nifty. There’s no logical reason why, I just think it’s really cool and looks awesome.

Also very nice: the entire back section of the rifle comes off. The stock is attached using a tail cap that slides over the back of the rifle, and is held in place by a chunky rotating pin. This lets you remove the back section for cleaning or transportation, making the overall length of the rifle very small for transportation.

Is it worth the money? In my opinion, yes. No other chassis on the market gives you this level of modularity and adaptability while keeping the weight down to a reasonable level. You’re looking at about $1,700 for the full rifle when complete (well, without optics), but with only the addition of this chassis you can shoot as well if not better than rifles costing twice that price.


MDT TAC21 Rifle Chassis for Remington 700 Rifles
Price: $700 (short action) / $800 (long action)

Ratings (out of five):

Feel & Function * * * * *
AR-15 ergonomics in a .308 bolt action rifle? Sign me up!

Ease of Use * * *
Any time the instruction manual requires you to get out your punch set, that immediately knocks off a star or two. For this chassis, getting everything together was such a pain in the ass that I wanted to knock this down to two stars. But considering how amazingly it works when you’re done, I’ll leave it at three.

Overall * * * *
Yes, it’s a pain to put together, but when you’re done you have a high quality precision rifle on your hands.
Source: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/07/foghorn/gear-review-mdt-tac21-rifle-chassis/#more-240613
Review Newsletter
Welcome to GunStuff's very first newsletter. Every second week the team here will be sending out newsletter's to our members. We will insure to keep you up to date with current news, coming events, firearm reviews, popular auctions and firearm tech guides.
As more and more newsletters are sent out the library of articles at GunStuff will grow, this will be available to you to read at your leisure.
We hope that you will find them beneficial and of value to your firearm discipline.
This week we have three firearm reviews for you, the AR15 Elite Operator frrom Rock River Arms, an overview of the Rossi Wizard Rifle, and a brief report on shooting the Sig P226 Pistol.

AR15 Elite Operator form Rock River Arms
Rossi Wizard
Shooting the Sig P226
If there is any topic's or news you would like us to cover in future newsletters please contact us at newsletter@gunstuff.co.nz
The Hot New Reloading Class of 2013

The single greatest truth of reloading is that it requires a good amount of “stuff.” Mechanized or manual, the process requires presses, powders, trimmers and more, much more. While the actual loading bench top must remain a clear and safe workspace, reloading rooms — mine included — are often packed, piled and stacked with components. What can we add to the reloading bench this year? Many products have just hit the market and a few are soon to come, so let’s take a look at what’s new for 2013.


RCBS Summit Press: $270 retail, $215 at Cabelas.

RCBS Summit Press

Sure, we all have a single-stage press, but unlike presses of the past, the new Summit operates from the bench top. The case never moves; rather, the reloading die comes down to meet the brass. The Summit’s solid steel linkage and cast iron construction will last a lifetime. Like most presses, it’s ambidextrous. In addition to all the regular features of current presses, this one has zerk lube fittings, accepts bushings for 1-inch die bodies, and its design allows full-frontal working access. The Summit is available in both standard and short-handled models, and Kudos to RCBS for making this and other products in the USA.

If new RCBS gear is in your future, take advantage of the current rebate program.

Lyman E-Zee Trim

Lyman is proof that good reloading gear does not have to break the piggy bank. Mass case trimming can be a pain with the old hand cranks, and the mechanized do-all case preppers are cost-prohibitive for many. But Lyman fills the void with their made-in-the USA E-Zee Trim.

Lyman E-Zee Trim

Lyman E-Zee Trim: MSRP is $19.95.

Though not terribly unlike Lee’s Case Trimmers, which have been around for years, the Lyman is a little easier on the hands. It works with standard shell holders from any of the major manufacturers. The trimmer comes with a case locking device, cutter, trim-to-length pilot, cutter head and both hand and power adapters. It literally sets up in seconds, as no measurements are needed, and though dubbed a hand trimmer, the E-Zee Trim’s power drill adapter wins the day. Complete trimmer sets in both rifle (with .223, .243, .270, .30-06, .308) and handgun (9mm, .38spl, .357, 40 S&W, .44mag, .45acp) are available for $29.95/set.

Additional pilots are available in 11 rifle chamberings and 6 handgun for $4.95/each. An E-Zee Trim rubber handle will debut in late April 2013.

Hornady Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner

For those who are either passionate reloaders or who have an unlimited reloading budget, there’s no hotter toy this year than Hornady’s Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner.

Hornady Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner

Hornady Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner: Sticker shock hits at just over $650.

In a year of ultrasonic cleaners, Hornady’s is the biggest and baddest. While most are made for cleaning brass, the Hot Tub does it all. In addition to handling brass — lots of it — the Hot Tub demonstrates the ability to fit and clean an entire 16-inch AR upper. Baskets and trays hold gun parts, brass or both at once. In addition to fully adjustable heat settings, its various functions can degas, clear air bubbles from the solution, and allow various run time settings. The Hot Tub has a 9 liter capacity, though the included 1.7 quart inner tank can be used for smaller batches.

If ultrasonic cleaning is in your future but the size and price of the Hot Tub are off-putting, check out similar (smaller) products from many other manufacturers, most of which are basic case cleaners and available well under $100.

Frankford Arsenal Vibra Prime

Frankford Arsenal Vibra Prime

Frankford Arsenal Vibra Prime: Retail is $74.99, though they are available for less via online retailers.

So you have a slick progressive press that speeds up the process, but still spends eons filling the tube one primer at a time? Enter the Vibra Prime.

Frankford’s new tool can load 100 primers into the primer tube in seconds with its motorized agitator. The Vibra Prime comes with universal tube adapters, a drop pin, and is touted to work with any progressive press that uses primer tubes. It runs on two AA batteries and can handle both small and large primers.

MEC 600 Slugger

It’s hard to beat MEC in the shotgun loaders market. While the majority of MEC models are geared toward clay and scatter-type shooters, slug hunters take notice. The folks at MEC debuted their most innovative — and soon-to-come — product at the SHOT Show. The 600 Slugger is based on the 600 JR, but is a dedicated six-stage slug machine that cranks out perfect rounds without the piles of other equipment usually needed to load a good slug. The Slugger neatly folds the plastic over into the shell for the hard-to-achieve roll crimp.

It will be available in both 12 and 20 gauge, though the price has not yet been released. But if you need something new from MEC right now and also fear the Zombie apocalypse, check out MEC’s Sizemaster Zombie, which retails for $283.50. While it does not seem much different than the original Sizemaster, the Zombie’s colors are certainly eye-catching, though it’s only available in 12 and 20 gauge.

Reloading Manuals

For those who like to stay up-to-date on the latest loads and newest powders, two guidebooks from Hodgdon and Nosler rise to the top of the reloading stacks for 2013.

The “Hodgdon’s 2013 Annual Reloading Manual” is on the cutting edge of new recipes. With just shy of 200 pages and over 5,000 loads, Hodgdon packs in information on the new .17 Hornet and adds data for 19 more cartridges with the new Copper Fouling Eraser 223 powder. The 2013 soft cover also updates load data for 37 rifle and pistol cartridges. Retail is $11.99, though it’s a steal at Midway for $6.49.

“Nosler’s Reloading Guide #7″: The hardcover big book sells at Midway for $19.79.

But for those with no room for more books, a digital download PDF version is also available.

What’s hot and what’s not

The new reloading products available for 2013 are hot. They make reloading easier, faster, and perhaps even more accurate. While I still believe in maintaining the ability to reload both simply and entirely by hand, there is nothing wrong with staying on the cutting edge, and that’s just what the aforementioned manufacturers afford. However, the newest — and not-so-hot — trend in reloading lately is simply finding the components. While reloaders are usually able to circumvent runs on ammo throttled by political climate, some components are also falling victim to the shortage. With store shelves seeming to grow barer by the day, here’s to the hope we continue to find all the primers, powders, brass and bullets we need in 2013.

Source: http://www.guns.com/2013/04/24/the-hot-new-reloading-class-of-2013/


The new FNX-45 pistol.

If you were in the market for a new semi-auto pistol, what features would be the most important to you? Would reliability top your list? How about a high magazine capacity? Perhaps you like guns that are easy to maintain; or maybe accuracy is the most important factor when purchasing a new gun.

The FNX-45 pistol. A Gun Digest exclusive story.

FNH-USA’s line of semi-auto handguns meet all of the criteria listed above, and if you don’t believe me, just ask one of the hundred-plus militaries and police agencies around the world currently carrying FNH-USA guns. FNH-USA’s products have earned a reputation among those who stake their life and liberty on the guns they carry, which is as solid a recommendation as there is as far as I’m concerned. The FN semi-auto consumer line consists of both striker-fired models (which wear the FNS label) and traditional double-actions (those with an FNX designation). The striker-fired semis are available in 9mm and .40 S&W, while the double-action FNX line is available in 9 and .40, and now the .45 auto.

Military-Grade Performance for Civilians

The company’s latest offering, officially debuting at the 2013 SHOT Show, is the FNX-45, a .45-caliber FNX offering modeled after the FNP-45 service pistol, which was introduced in 2007 under the U.S. Joint Combat Pistol Program (JCP). Like the FNP, the FNX-45 is a double-action/single-action hammer-driven semi-auto with a manual safety and decocker.

Both the safety and the decocker as well as the magazine release are ambidextrous on the FNX and FNP, meaning southpaw shooters will have no problem handling the pistol.

Other key features include a stainless steel slide and barrel, checkered polymer frame, multiple interchangeable backstraps with lanyard eyelets and a MIL-STD 1913 mounting rail on the underside that accepts tactical lights and lasers. Atop the FNX-45 are low profile fixed combat sights. In fact, with regard to function and styling, the FNP-45 and the FNX-45 are identical; the only difference is that the FNP models were built to NATO specifications and the new FNX model has slightly different interior dimensions to reliably feed a wider variety of commercial ammunition.
The FNX-45 will come in two color finishes--matte black and silver or flat dark earth and matte black.

The FNX-45 will come in two color finishes–matte black and silver or flat dark earth and matte black.

Built for Reliability

While the FNX-45 wasn’t yet available for testing at the time of this writing, I have enjoyed range time with the FNP-45, the FNX’s predecessor. The FNP-45 I tested was factory stock with no special modifications, and shooting it, I got a glimpse at how the FNX will be received. First, the manual safety and decocker are easy to use and well positioned. You can carry the gun cocked and on safe, then release the safety by pressing the lever down one notch and decock with another, farther push. The whole process is simple and straightforward. I also liked the availability of the interchangeable backstraps, which allow the shooter to choose between a deeper grip and a thinner one.

FNH-USA’s impressive client list, which includes our own Department of Defense, is a clear indication that the company builds guns that keep on shooting no matter what. The FNP-45 I tested ate every type of ammo and continued to cycle smoothly throughout the test. With the FNX designed to be even more accommodating, reliability should be superb.

Throughout the duration of the test, the pistol was fired without cleaning and cycled without a single jam. Of special note was how well the semi-auto handled.

In a tense situation how well a gun handles means more than accuracy, fit and finish or, for that matter, cost. The handgun handled particularly great when fully loaded, balanced nicely in the hand and came to point naturally. It doesn’t take long for one of these guns to become an extension of your arm, which is probably part of the reason other FNH USA models are, and no doubt soon this one will be, popular among the three-gun crowd.

The FNX-45 is also designed to be quick and easy to disassemble and reassemble, which I believe is one of the most important qualities in a semi-auto. Pull the slide back, lock it, rotate the release button in a clockwise direction and slowly release the slide. It slips forward and falls apart in the hand, simple as that.

For the shooter concerned about shot capacity, the FNX-45 is a good gun to have along since it has a double stack magazine capable of holding up to 15 .45 cartridges. The engineers at FNH-USA certainly took into account the weight of the loaded magazine when designing this gun because when unloaded, the FNP I tested seemed a bit front-heavy, but with a loaded magazine in place it really shined.

The FNX-45 promises to be a workhorse made to keep shooting, again and again, over and over. They’ll be on store shelves soon, but it’s a good bet, with the interest sure to follow from avid shooters, they won’t stay there long.

Caliber .45 ACP
Operation Double-Action/Single-Action (DA/SA)
Frame Color Flat Dark Earth (FDE) or Black
Slide Finish Matte Black or Matte Silver
Sights Fixed 3-Dot
Magazines 10 or 15-rounds
Weight 33.2 oz.
O/A Length 7.9”
Barrel Length 4.5”
MSRP $809
Source: http://www.gundigest.com/firearm-gun-reviews/handgun-exclusive-fnx-45
Review: SureFire Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sights
Barry Dueck (pronounced like Duke) is the brains behind Dueck Defense. He’s a competitive shooter who knows the needs of 3-Gun matches. He also works at SureFire, where he’s the Director of the Suppressor Division. Dueck and SureFire have teamed up to handle production and distribution of the Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sights.

The offset sights

The Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sights are easy enough to explain. They’ll be familiar to anyone who has ever used standard M4, or M16A4 sights. The rear ghost ring has one of two apertures. The front post is a fairly robust, and protected by wings. They’re adjustable for 1/2 MOA elevation and windage. These sights don’t try to reinvent anything except the angle of sights in relation to the gun itself. And that’s what makes them truly useful.


The Dueck Defense RTS system is milled from aluminium bar stock. 7075 aluminium, which is then hard anodized. Together, they weigh in at almost five ounces. They are ambidextrous. If you have rail out on the front end of your gun, like the long Samson tube on the Stag 3G, the RTS is a great way to go. They install easily with a flat-head screwdriver and have a very low profile above the rail, so there is very little bulk (2/10″) to interfere with mounting a scope.

dueck 4

And that’s the real appeal of the Dueck Defense RTS. Even great backup sights like the Magpul MBUS that dominate the AR scene require a bit of clearance (more like 5/8″).

But there’s another reason to go with offset sights, and that is the speed of deployment. Shooters who maximize the use of their ARs, shooting at mid-range distances of 200-300 yards, often want scopes with higher magnification, like the Redfield BattleZone on the Stag 3G. Yet they often need to use their ARs at closer ranges, say below 100 yards.

dueck 5

At short distances, a scope is a liability. Target acquisition takes longer when magnification obscures potential threats or targets. This is often common in battle, and replicated in 3G competitions. In these circumstances and sporting events, shooters can’t remove their scopes. The usefulness of the tool is limited.

And it is considered bad form to ask a potential threat to hang tight while you find a wrench, remove your scope, and flip up your backup sights.

The philosophy behind the offset sight

But the SureFire Rapid Transitions allow for rapid transition. That’s the idea. They aren’t backing anything up, exactly, but serving another purpose. The idea is similar to a scope mount that is milled so that the irons are visible beneath the scope.

dueck 2

The roll of the backup sight is more appropriate for AR-15s with low magnification optics and holographic or red dot sights. There, they are good backup. If the optic fails, it can be removed and the gun can still serve the same purpose with the backups.

But even then, the RTS would serve a purpose. The only real consideration would be the extra width of the front sight. On the back end, the RTS fits nicely. On the front, it hangs out to the side. The traditional flip -up backup sight has the advantage of staying very securely out of harms way.

Shooting with the RTS

These sights are only slightly more challenging to sight in than regular iron sights. The difficulty comes from the strange angle of the gun, which isn’t conducive to most vices (which are designed to hold a rifle level). But even standing, holding the rifle braced (as we did with the Stag), the RTS isn’t hard to sight in.

dueck 6

The 45 degree angle of the gun does emphasize recoil differently. The 3G wanted to move down and away. It wasn’t muzzle flip as much as it was muzzle dip.

It takes my brain and my eyes a moment to make rapid transitions. But the RTS becomes habitual. If you’re already looking through the scope at a target, and simply twist the gun, the transition seems very natural. If not, there will be a simple target acquisition, as there is with any iron sight system.

dueck 3

The Dueck Defense sights are the same height as typical AR irons, so it doesn’t feel as odd as it might.


If you’re anything like me, you know you want a pair of these. They are almost bombproof, and uniquely refined to serve that very specific purpose. And there’s nothing else that comes close. You could pick up some offset sections of picatinny rail, and put traditional back up sights on those, but why?

dueck 1

The RTS sights are sold as a pair. Makes sense. Having one or the other wouldn’t do much for your accuracy. The MSRP on these guys is $238. If you lose or damage one (which is technically possible, though no likely), they can be bought individually also. For the quality, that price is logical. They’re built in the US, too. The Dueck Defense RTS is a perfect tool for a very specific job, and there isn’t a substitute.
Source: http://www.guns.com/review/2013/05/07/gear-review-surefire-dueck-defense-rapid-transition-sights/
Review Newsletter
Welcome to GunStuff's fifth newsletter. This fortnights shooting events has picked up, with six shooting events around New Zealand.
Date Name Location
10-12 May PNZ CAS Wild Bunch Nationals Ashburton
11 May 3 Gun IPSC fun Rotorua
12 May Carbine Day/Bench Rest Kaitoke
18-19 May North Island Speed Champs Wanganui
18-19 May North Island Muzzle Loading Champs New Plymouth
19 May Service Rifle Tauwhare

And in the reviews section, we have a review for the new Mark 6 1-6x20mm scope from Leupold , a tech guide on common reloading myths, and a short review on the new shotgun side saddle from ATI.

Leupold Mark 6 1-6x20mm Riflescope
Six Common Reloading Myths
ATI Halo Side Saddle for Mossberg Shotguns
If there are any topics or news you would like us to cover in future newsletters please contact us at newsletter@gunstuff.co.nz
ATI Halo Side Saddle for Mossberg Shotguns

ATI halo side saddle

Advanced Technology International (ATI) is now taking pre-orders on a new side saddle for the Mossberg 500/590 series of shotguns. This new side saddle system allows the shooter to carry up to nine more shells mounted to the receiver. Other side saddle products allow the shooter to carry five or six shells on the side of the receiver opposite the ejection port.

The ATI Halo side saddle is an accessory device that is roughly the shape of an inverted “U”. It mounts to the top of the receiver and is held in place by two screws that replace existing set screws. Users can then mount Add-A-Shell holders on each side of the “U”: three on the side of the ejection port, six on the opposite side.

ATI halo

The top of the Halo system is a Picatinny rail. So, in addition to the extra ammo, the shooter can easily add an optic such as a holo sight.

The entire system carries a retail price of $139.99 USD. Click here for detailed instructions on how to mount the Halo system to a shotgun.

ATI halo
Source: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/04/10/ati-halo-side-saddle-mossberg-shotguns/
Six Common Reloading Myths
One thing is certain — reloaders are a particular sort, with benches chock full of the tools of the trade. The art of reloading is one that must be treated with discretion and a mind to safety. However, do we reloaders hold true some incorrect ideas of our craft, or have we been right-on all along? Lets take a look at some of the topic handloaders like to debate.


1. Smokeless powder does not perform as well in the cold: At least, partly true

We can qualify this statement to say with certainty that “certain” powders do not handle frigid conditions as well as others. While I can’t make the argument for metallic cartridges, I can say that my trap loads do not shoot as well when forgotten in a freezing vehicle. My winter trap team went so far as to leave a box of Green Dot loads in the truck for several sub-zero days before running them through the chrono and on the patterning board. While the results were neither startlingly low nor blown, they were nonetheless negatively skewed from the baseline tests taken with the same recipe in summer. The decrease in performance should not be enough to cause a loss of birds, though it sounds like a viable excuse (I admit to enjoying good excuses for lost birds). It would stand to rise, nonetheless, that velocities achieved with most powders would be at least somewhat lower in the naturally more dense winter air. If a powder creates less pressure in the cold, lower velocity is the general result. Whether the decrease in velocity is due to the bullet or shot’s physical reaction to dense air remains for debate.

It’s also important to note that modern powders, as opposed to old timers like cordite, are much more stable at a range of temperatures, both significantly high and low. The fact remains that all loads will react differently under different circumstances, not to mention the myriad of other factors to consider involving the firearm itself. If concerns remain about a certain powder’s capabilities in extreme conditions, do what meticulous reloaders do best — brave the weather with some fresh loads and head out to the range with a chrono.

2. Factory ammo is more reliable and more accurate than reloads: False, with exceptions

“Factory will outshoot reloads every time. Handloads are not reliable.” I’ve heard statements like this from many folks over the years, usually defensively and always from non-reloaders. It is very true that factory ammo has improved drastically over the years, and today’s factory ammo is far superior in both accuracy and reliability to that available 40+ years ago, especially the match grade varieties. Still, in my reloader’s brain, the majority of factory ammo is no match for meticulous handloads — especially when custom tailored. Factory tolerances are naturally greater than those of a meticulous handloader, not to mention that handloaders have the unmatchable benefit of being able to tune loads to specific guns with a mind to headspace, rifling and all things affecting accuracy.


While the bottom line remains that reloaded ammo is only as reliable and accurate as the individual reloader, it’s safe to say that all good reloaders are meticulous about their business. See how many (read, few) factory ammo brands are on the benches of non-sponsored competitive and long-range shooters. At the Grand American trap shoot, competitors must use new factory ammo for all handicap shooting to negate any (dis)advantages.

Don’t get me wrong. Factory ammo has its place, and I have plenty of my favorite brands on hand. However, the same make and model of gun will oftentimes favor different flavors of ammo, and this simply cannot be afforded for by the ammunition companies.

3. Reloaders storing powder are creating a fire and explosive hazard in their homes: False

The key here is drawing the line between smokeless and black powders. Because of its more volatile and explosive tendencies, many cities limit the storage of black powder to certain light poundages. The majority of reloaders, however, are much more apt to stockpile smokeless powder. When kept in its approved containers, smokeless powder is surprisingly stable. No matter what nonbelievers argue, smokeless powder does not explode. However, it does burn very rapidly, producing gasses and pressures in tightly confined spaces, ala a rifle cartridge inside a barrel. While smokeless powder is not some villain that will jump up and independently ignite a house blaze, it can noticeably accelerate a fire if too much powder is stockpiled in one location. Hoarders beware. Average reloaders with a little common sense will be fine. If nothing else, this myth is a reminder that all prudent reloaders keep a fire extinguisher near the loading bench for any emergencies that hopefully never arise.

4. The higher the shotshell load velocity, the better the load: False

First, we should qualify that “the better load” means faster loads hitting with more velocity and thus theoretically smash targets with more authority. While this myth is true to a point, it becomes incorrect quickly as overloaded rounds can very noticeably distort shot patterns. If you don’t believe me, pump up your favorite load — within safe parameters of course — and head out to the patterning board. Just as metallic cartridge loaders may tinker with rounds for a particular gun, I have a sweet load that my trap gun loves and patterns best with the chokes I prefer. While that load only clocks around 1,275 fps, it is plenty fast to bust birds. The ones I miss have nothing to do with the load, and everything to do with operator error. Yet, I shoot with plenty of fellows who believe that by juicing up their loads to say 1,450-1,500 fps, they’ll get on the target faster, with more power, and won’t have to account for lead. While that is true to a point, for the most part the shooter must deal with increased pressure and recoil as a substitute to utilizing proper shooting mechanics on moving targets. If you feel the need for speed, realize that just because it’s a safe load does not mean it will be a productive load. Sure, you want your hunting charges to be as deadly — and fast — as possible, but make sure the pattern is not skewed by performance.

Round pellets by nature are just not that aerodynamic, though sometimes an overly fast load will hold together better at closer range — say skeet distances — while it will scatter at longer. True to the reloader’s creed of testing and re-testing on the range, this one dictates the same. Jack up your load, but be sure to test it at the board with the choke you will use and at the distance you will shoot. And realize that every gain comes with a trade-off. Is the increase in recoil worth the speed? Once the pattern blows, the point is moot.

5. Vaccuum cleaners don’t belong in reloading rooms: Mostly true

Sometimes myths are true, and for the cautious among us, this is no exception. Many tales circulate the reloading community involving vacuum cleaners exploding while sucking up spilled powder or wayward primers. Can this really cause damage, or worse, personal injury? The answer is usually no, but there’s enough truth to this myth that I prefer not to vacuum around my loading bench. While primers and powder react differently to mistreatment, it’s better to err on the side of gentle caution.

Though I did not witness these events first hand, one friend blew the bag off his old-fashioned cleaner and another gun-shop owner had a similar event with a few unknowingly spilled primers from the shelf. Granted, no serious damage was done other than a sudden dust storm and pale-faced men. I’ve never encountered a primer detonating during the reloading process, and I would rather not have one go off during cleanup.


As for loose powder, I’ve neither tried — nor heard of — any accidents with the vacuum. One group did a test to see if a static spark would ignite a very small amount black powder with surprisingly unremarkable results. That aside, I’d rather not gamble whether a spark from the Hoover would cause a smokeless powder reaction.

The simplest solution is avoiding shaggy carpet around a loading bench because things get lost in the knap — including small pistol primers. On a side note, vacuums make quite a racket and do not enjoy digesting shot pellets. There are enough things to treat with caution in the loading process that I just don’t want to add “cleanup” to the list of potential hazards.

6. Reloading saves money: The debate continues

This is a double-edged sword. Like many, I got into reloading because I convinced myself it would save money in the long run. That may still be true, but the “run” is getting longer, not because reloading isn’t cost-efficient, but because I keep buying new components and toys for the loading bench. Once the initial investment of accumulation is over, a high-volume shooter will certainly come out ahead in the numbers game, especially those who stashed metal casings and the like before they became more valuable than gold bouillon. When pricing actual components per box of ammo loaded (especially for spent-brass/hull scroungers like myself) it is very possible to load for half, or sometime less than half, the cost of factory ammo.

Some reload because they like to shoot a lot, whereas others shoot a lot because they reload. The funniest part of this myth is that the most avid reloaders — myself included — shoot more with all the load testing because they do reload. It’s a vicious hamster-in-the-wheel trick, but we reloaders are passionate about it and become better shooters in the process.

Separating old wives tales from explosive truth

Sometimes the amount of B.S. floating around reloading circles is astonishing. For instance, I’ve come to realize that I will most likely not die a sudden death of lead poisoning from handling cast bullets. Just as shooters reload for as many reasons as there are types of reloading devices, some myths are true and others are old wives (or old reloaders) tales. No matter. Just ensure that safety always takes priority at the loading bench. Load often, use common sense, and enjoy a great hobby that makes better, more attentive shooters of us all.
Source: http://www.guns.com/2013/02/22/six-common-reloading-myths/

Leupold Mark 6 1-6x20mm Riflescope

Ever since the Leupold Mark8 1.1-8x24mm CQBSS hit the battlefield, shooters have lusted after the versatility presented in that optic. Running one platform that can take you from room clearing to headshots at 600m+ is the siren call of the carbine. But CQBSS’s $4,000 price tag left plenty of us outside the store with our noses to the glass.

Then we saw the Leupold Mark 6 1-6 x 20 at SHOT Show this year. It’s slightly smaller and lighter than the CQBSS but provides 70 percent of its cousin’s capability at half the price. Its 1-6 magnification is optimal for close and intermediate distance engagements. This makes it ideal for combat carbines, both light and heavy. The zoom range, size and weight of the Mark 6 is going to have the growing number of 3-gun competition shooters salivating.

Leupold lent us the first unit off the production line for a review, a month ahead of anyone else. So, while other outlets are getting the first chance to put Round One downrange this week, we’re giving you a full-on field evaluation after weeks of testing.

GearScout contributor, heavy carbine SME and SOCOM veteran, John McPhee and I had the Mark 6 for three weeks and ran 2,750 rounds with it during several range sessions on the east and west coasts. The 2,590 rounds of 55gr and 77gr 5.56mm and 160 rounds of M118lr .308 gave us a good chance to see how the optic could run switching between my 16” Mega Arms/Daniel Defense 5.56mm carbine and John’s 16” .308 KAC SASS Carbine.

It’s worth noting that our Mark 6 came with the CMR-W reticle optimized for the M118lr 7.62 175gr round, but the bullet drop compensating elevation dial was set up for M855 5.56 62g rounds. This has no bearing on the accuracy of the optic, but it’s worth mentioning because it allowed us to evaluate the accuracy of both the CMR-W reticle holds and the BDC turret markings in 5.56mm and 7.62mm.

We used a LaRue LT-104 cantilever mount that fit the Mark 6’s 34mm tube perfectly out of the box. Before settling on the LT-104, I tried using a set of rings, but I found the front ring wanted to straddle the joint between my upper and the DD Omega X Rail 12.0 hand guard. I didn’t like the idea of using the hand-guard rail for an optic evaluation. I thought the optic spanning the hand guard would just add a needless complication should anything go wrong, so we went with the LaRue. The LT-104 offsets the base of the mount from the optic and allows it to be mounted farther forward without running off the front of the upper’s flat top. More on the mount later.

After leveling the scope, we torqued the mount rings down to 25 inch-pounds. Nothing bent, cracked or dimpled. Focusing the Mark 6 was painless, and there’s no need to mess with parallax adjustments since there aren’t any on this short-range optic. Eye relief was exactly as it says on the box — 3.7 inches — which placed the objective just above the charging handle on my AR.

Punching paper at 100 meters with no wind and the sun at our backs, we took our time zeroing the optic and measuring the turret movements with the optic at max magnification. Before shooting anything, we ran the dials back and forth a bunch to make sure everything was seated. Using 77gr Black Hills ammo, we zeroed in four shots, slid the turret sleeves to dial in our zero and moved on to verifying the accuracy of the turret movement. We shot the 5.56mm gun from an Atlas bipod and a sandsock at a calibration target.

Holding the aiming point at the base of the target, we advanced the elevation dial 1 milliradian at a time and did the same for the windage. Accounting for shooter induced error, this gave us a dead sexy line of vertical and horizontal holes spaced at 10-cm intervals. This confirmed the accuracy of the mil markings on both dials.

We measured 11.4 mils of elevation travel in 57 clicks using 114 cm of target. Our windage findings were similar: 5.6 mils and 5.4 mils of movement on either side of the zero in 28 clicks right and 27 left.

Leupold specs list the scope as having 11 mils of movement in one dial rotation, lock to limit; we counted 11.4 mils of elevation and 11 mils windage. So, out test scope came with an extra 2 clicks of elevation for free. Our test showed the locking turrets are calibrated precisely, and we later found they could be trusted out to our max engagement distance of 650 meters.

No Military Times GearScout evaluation would ring true without an honest attempt to simulate some battlefield wear and tear. So like a pair of heterosexual males cast as fathers to an inanimate object, up to this point John and I lovingly saw our little “Leo” through the first stages of his life. Mounted, zeroed and calibrated, he was ready to be introduced to the real world. We tossed Leo, attached to my rifle, into the back of a bare metal pick-up truck bed and hauled ass across 50 miles of rural highways and dirt roads.

Leo emerged transformed. His young, anodized skin now bore the marks of teenage years. Like battlefield acne, a few scrapes and rub marks gave the optic some character — but would it indicate some damage beneath the skin?

We set up steel targets at 100-meter intervals out to 600 meters. Working the turrets in fading light with a rangefinder and the BDC turret, we both rang each bell. Then we used reticle holds to go back over the targets. This involved some math as we had to work backward to true the 7.62mm reticle to give us good dope with our 5.56mm rounds. Aside from a couple fliers at 600 meters, the Mark 6 stayed true.

Then we decided to make it less boring.

John dropped the unloaded rifle upside down from chest high onto hard, packed earth. It landed with more of a bang than a thud. Picking the rifle up, I could see a bright mark on the elevation dial where it made first contact with the ground. There was also a little earth inside one of the turret locking screws.

Back on the firing line, we put a three-shot group into the 100-meter paper. Uh oh. It was about 20 cm low and 10 cm right. Crap. Did I just buy a broken $2,000 optic? John and I quickly went through all the emotional stages of a gear test gone wrong: cursing, blame, redirection, blame, dejection, acceptance, conference, supposition. Then we checked the mount.

Sure enough, the mount had moved. It was still quite tight, but it had a tiny bit of play that we could feel and then see as we pushed the mount fore and aft on the rail.

On the initial install, I had followed LaRue’s instructions and tightened the bolts so the levers began engaging the rail at about 40 degrees. Screw that. We pulled out the wrench and cranked lever bolts down until all movement was gone from the system. It took about about 2+ full turns to get the play out of the mount.

We re-zeroed the rifle and were off and running. The Mark 6 and the LaRue held zero through the next 2,600 rounds that included another three-foot drop test and a 24-hour salt water submersion test.

The capless turrets are sealed with O-rings, so there are no caps to unscrew before adjustments are made. Handy. There is a downside to Leupold’s O-ring design. They use larger, more compressed O-rings that make the turret clicks feel a little squishy when compared to some other scopes. Leupold’s stance is they’d rather sacrifice a bit of feel to make certain the optic will perform under the most hard conditions imaginable. But they are sensitive to this issue and tell me that they have been working to get a snappier feel and will continue to tweak their knob design.

Durability recap: The scope took an hour ride sliding around the back of a metal pickup truck bed, two waist-level drops while mounted on a rifle, 24 hours in a salt water tank. Result: No damage.

That’s darn impressive for a device with a magnification erector and a set of reticle turrets that move on a screw with hundreds of threads per inch. This is essentially a supergrade photographic zoom lens. If you don’t think this is impressive, go drop your own zoom lens and see how it does. I can tell you that even if it doesn’t explode into a rainbow of plastic and glass, it will still never be the same lens again.

I touched on mushiness of the elevation and windage knobs already. Despite the feel, the knobs and lock are the perfect size to operate with or without gloves. The locks are set up so they just need to be pushed about halfway into the knob body to release the turret. Markings are clear and durable and even include R and L on the windage knobs to keep you and your spotter in sync.

The BDC turret worked like a champ. As I mentioned earlier, we were dropping rounds on target with no problems. Running the Mark 6 with a rangefinder is a point-and-shoot affair with the right BDC scale on the turret. Leupold tells me their custom shop can make a BDC for just about any round you’d like. Just give them a call.

While we’re twisting the turrets, let’s talk about elevation adjustment. It’s one of the weak points of the scope. It locks at zero and moves one full rotation in. This means you can only run the elevation up. This presents an annoyance in two situations: shooting with a suppressor and shooting at a higher elevation than your current zero. Neither of these apply to 3-gunners and hunters, but it does for guys that switch between suppressed and unsuppressed weapon operation or board aircraft with a weapon zeroed in one region and deplane (or jump from it) at a much higher elevation.

This is a pretty in-the-weeds function for an optic. I can forgive a sporting optic maker from including this feature, but one that is making strides — huge, ball-dragging strides to get back into the tactical market? No. Leupold should consider setting up the lock so you get one or two mils down and take the difference off the top. This will set the scope up to deal with both military specific scenarios. An alternative — but less effective — fix is to add a hold-under feature on the reticle.

The erector for the magnifier is a large, knurled surface that is easy to grab and twist. It’s not stiff, but it won’t move without an authoritative touch. There’s a large tang that orients the 1x position at 12 o’clock so you can confirm your magnification setting without looking at the dial. There’s no accommodation for a cattail. This was not an omission but a conscious decision by the optic’s designer to ensure reliable operation of the magnifier. Spinning the tube with a cattail produces far more torque than twisting it with your hand, and Leupold has seen damage done to the magnification erector system as a result.

The seven-level illumination control works and feels solid. Despite having off positions between every illumination setting, it could be improved with the addition of a lock in the off position. It’s rare, darn rare, that the illuminator dial would turn under environmental interaction alone, but the world downrange is a rough place and strange things happen getting in and out of aircraft and vehicles. As a general rule, anything that emits light in a tactical environment should have a lockout. Aside from light discipline concerns, nobody likes dead batteries.

The Mark 6 will be offered in three flavors: TMR, CMR-W 5.56 and CMR-W 7.62, the reticle we’ve been using.

The CMR-W is a versatile device that presents the shooter ranging tools, elevation holds to 1,200 meters, and course mover and windage holds for 10 mph and 20 mph; 5 mph and 15 mph marks would be a welcome addition. That’s a lot of utility etched in space smaller than the “M” on an M&M. Reticle selection is a deeply personal and subjective pursuit. I won’t put you through the CMR-W employment class. But before anyone cries about the lack of mil stadia on the elevation line, this is not a true sniper system scope and is designed to be used by a shooter without a spotter. So, in-reticle range estimation may be more helpful and faster than doing milling calculations.

The Leupold circle dot aiming point is fast for mid-range targets. But reaching out can be frustrating when the thick circle-top obscures target features, especially when you’re coming up on the target from below, as you would with iron sights. We’d like to see a notch cut out at the top of the circle to help when coming up on target.

The Mark 6 is a front focal plane optic, meaning the reticle and target grow and shrink together as the zoom ring turns. This means the reticle markings are supposedly usable through the entire zoom scale, although the range markings are almost invisible against all but a solid-colored backdrop until you get to the 3.5x+ magnification range.

On the flip side, the lit circle dot is too small to use effectively at 1x magnification. The outcry in the shooting community for a true 1x optic was nearly deafening when the Mark8 1.1×8 came out. Ironically, it turns out that nobody actually uses these things at 1x. Sure, all the buzz about shooting with both eyes open at 1x sounds good, but in practice the reticle on an FFP optic is too small to be seen when used in the real world. Even lit up, the thing is still a 1 MOA dot, and most shooters will just crank the magnification up to 1.5x-2.5x for 0-25m CQB applications. They can still shoot with both eyes open, and they can see the aiming point. Used with a little magnification and illumination the dot is easy to see and the optic is, indeed, very fast.

Ideally, we’d see a red dot aiming point that moves in reverse of the magnification view, starting out large and growing smaller as the magnification rises. Sadly, that tech is out of reach for now, so we won’t hold it against Leupold. But they are using some tech that is new to the rifle scope market in their reticle etching process called holographic grating. Traditional reticles are made by etching a glass lens and filling the etched area with titanium dioxide material that reflects the reticle image. Holographic grating is not new technology, but it is new to the optics market, and Leupold pioneered its use in the this space in the CQBSS.

As a result of using this new reticle etching process, the reticle displays some odd behavior when illuminated. The illuminator has an unforgivingly narrow field of presentation. Getting into shooting position, you’ll find you can move a little left, right, up and down before you can’t see out the other end of the optic. We’ll call the space you have to move in before the tube goes black your eye box. At 1x, with the illuminator on, as you move around in the eye box, the illumination will to flare and dim as you move your head out of the dead center of the eye box.

Leupold has identified this issue as an artifact of the holographic grating reticle technology and has figured out that the angle that the LED sits at in the LED housing is far more critical to illuminator performance than they first realized. They are adjusting their manufacturing to address this issue.

One other issue comes up when the illumination is cranked all the way up. The illuminator catches the edges of all the reticle markings and creates a subtle landing strip or Christmas tree effect when viewed against a dark backdrop. I don’t know why you’d be cranking the brightness all the way up when using the optic in low light, so this is more of a PSA to keep you from freaking out should you buy one of these and notice this behavior.

The 34mm tube collects a lot of light and makes the Mark 6 usable in some pretty low-light conditions. Dusky shoots were no issue. In fact, we shot steel and paper lit up with a set of truck high beams well after dark to see what we could get away with. Turning the optic into a point light source like a headlight or revealed no strong haloing or inner reflections.

Sharpness and resolution were impressive, even at the edges of the lens. The Mark 6 will not be to blame for target identification issues. We saw no evidence of internal fogging after freezing and thawing the scope. We found the internals were clean and dust free.

Durability and waterproofing
Fast and easy to use
Smooth operation
Packs a lot of performance into a small package
Fabulously clear glass
Common 34mm tube size
4 inches of eye relief
Sub-$2,000 price

Unforgiving eye box illumination* (addressed in production)
Reticle undersized for use at 1x magnification
Circle-dot aiming requires shooter to come on distant targets from above, which feels awkward
Turret clicks could be more positive
Elevation locks at zero with no easy way to hold-under


The American-made Mark 6 is a fine optic that fills a gap in the market for short- to mid-range shooters looking for premium quality at a reasonable price. For your money, you’ll get an unquestionably rugged rifle scope that will grin when faced with combat conditions and laugh through a summer of 3-gun events. The Mark 6 maintained its accuracy despite our efforts to break and drown it. With 4 inches of eye relief, the optic is comfortable and fast to shoot, and its shortcomings pale in comparison to its performance on the range. The Mark 6 is in production now and should be on store shelves by late June, early July.
Source: http://blogs.militarytimes.com/gearscout/2012/05/08/review-leupold-mark6-1-6x20mm-riflescope/
Review Newsletter
Welcome to GunStuff's fourth newsletter. This week is a bit of a quiet week, with only two shooting events.
Date Name Location
26-28 April Smokey Mountain Shoot Out New Plymouth
27-28 April 2013 Speed Nationals Rotorua

And from the reviews section, we have a review for the good old Lee Enfield No.1 Mk.III SMLE , a tech guide on beginners Home Cast 12-Gauge Slugs, and a second tech article on Steel and Steel Targets.

Cost Effective, Home Cast 12-Gauge Slugs
The Truth About Steel and Steel Targets
Lee Enfield No.1 Mk.III SMLE (Video)
If there is any topic's or news you would like us to cover in future newsletters please contact us at newsletter@gunstuff.co.nz
Lee Enfield No.1 Mk.III SMLE
Loading, Unloading, Firing and Bolt Maintenance
Accessories and Ammunition
Cost Effective, Home Cast 12-Gauge Slugs
Anyone who has followed my previous articles likely knows that I’m fascinated by the under-appreciated and misunderstood shotgun slug. During the last two years I have conducted numerous projects focused on these big, heavy, slow moving, metal chunks of raw power, examining everything from their potential accuracy to their terminal performance.

While I appreciate the decisive effect a shotgun slug has on targets inside 100 yards, I don’t necessarily appreciate their cost. Presently, factory loaded 12-gauge shotgun slugs range from 80 cents per round for basic, 2-3/4 inch Foster loads all the way up to nearly $4 a round for premium sabot loads.

Similarly, the ready-made slug handloading components offered by various manufacturers retail at a cost ranging from 50 cents to 70 cents each. When the cost of powder, primers, and hulls is added to the cost of the projectiles, the slug shooter ultimately saves little or nothing over factory loads.

Building loads from the ground up: Available shotgun slug molds

Recently, it occurred to me that the only way I would be able to affordably shoot a high volume of shotgun slugs would be to start from scratch and cast my own projectiles using the slug molds currently available for purchase. After scraping together enough spare change and bottle redemption money for the endeavor, I invested in three different 12-gauge slug molds: the Lee 1 ounce sabot mold, the Lyman 1 ounce Foster slug mold, and the Lyman 525 grain sabot mold.
The Lyman Foster slug mold casts a .705 inch diameter, hollow-base projectile designed to be loaded in traditional fashion atop a wad column consisting of a gas seal and an appropriate number of card and fiber filler wads. The Lyman 525-grain sabot mold produces a slug that looks something like an overgrown air rifle pellet. With a diameter of approximately .681 inches, the Lyman sabot slug is designed to employ a variety of common trap wads as a carrier. Similarly, the Lee 1-ounce sabot mold produces a slug of about .690 inches in diameter and uses a trap wad as a carrier. The Lee slug incorporates a lead spoke in its base which, according to the manufacturer, is intended to secure the projectile to the wad during firing, thus improving performance in a rifled barrel.
Both the Lyman 525 grain slug and the Lee 1-ounce slug are designed to be used in rifled barrels. While I do not currently own a dedicated, rifled slug barrel, I reasoned that since both slugs are nose-heavy, they would fly true out of a smooth bore gun or a smooth bore gun with a rifled choke tube installed.


The casting process for the slugs was, admittedly, a little slow and frustrating. Some of the trouble I ran into was undoubtedly due to the fact that I’m still fairly new to the art of projectile casting. However, there seemed to be some challenges while casting the large shotgun slugs not present while casting typical rifle and handgun bullets.For instance, the large cavity of the slug molds required that both the mold and the molten lead be kept as hot as possible and also required the cavity to be filled as quickly as possible. Failing to do either of these things would result in the lead cooling before the cavity had completely filled and the resulting projectile would have a wrinkled appearance.

Additionally, in order to give the slugs a hollow base required for stabilization from smooth bores, each mold incorporated a conical center pin. The cast slugs tended to adhere to these center pins and were often reluctant to drop free. Of the three molds, the Lyman 525 grain sabot mold was the easiest to use. During future casting sessions I intend to try a few different mold lubricants in an effort to facilitate easier release of the slugs from the center pin.


Loading the Lyman and Lee sabot slugs was an incredibly easy process. Once the primed hull was charged with the appropriate amount of powder, a trap wad (in my case the Winchester AA) was seated using my shotshell reloading press. The slug was then placed inside the shot cup and standard, six or eight point, fold crimp was applied. Loading these slugs was easier than the process of loading a metallic cartridge.

Assembling the Lyman foster slug loads was a slightly more involved process. Once the primed hull was charged, a gas seal was seated over the powder. Next, the appropriate number of card and fiber spacer wads were seated atop the gas seal atop which the slug was placed. The load was then closed using a drill press and a roll crimping die.

Both the Lyman sabot and Lyman Foster slugs were loaded in recycled Remington Hulls (the sabots were 3-inch loads and the Fosters were 2-3/4-inch loads) and the Lee slugs were loaded into previously fired Winchester 2-3/4-inch AA trap Hulls. I opted not to chronograph the loads as wild flying shotshell wads are lethal to chronographs, but estimates based on data in my loading manuals put velocities for all projectiles in the 1,500 to 1,600 f/s range.

Close range performance

My first order of business at the range was to gauge the potential of all three slug loads for close-up paper punching and water jug blasting duties. At a range of 25 yards and from the 18.5 inch barrel of my Benelli Nova Tactical, all loads yielded offhand, three shot, groups satisfactory for casual practice.

The Lyman Foster slug loads yielded the largest group of those tested. Two slugs landed essentially in the same spot, but the third impacted four inches low and to the right. The group was certainly nothing to brag about, but good enough to make short work of large or medium sized game.

The Lyman 525 grain sabot load yielded a much tighter group with the three fired rounds landing in a triangular pattern that was a shade over three inches on its longest side. The Lee sabot slug loads were the clear winner at 25 yards with all three projectiles striking along a horizontal line just under three inches in length.

The close range results were encouraging and I would feel comfortable using any of the tested loads for big game hunting applications in situations where all shots were likely to occur at 35 yards or closer. Unfortunately, I found that with a different gun and at twice the distance, accuracy diminished significantly for most of the tested loads.

50 yard results

With the close range trials out of the way, I set targets at the 50-yard line and took to the bench to fire rounds through my scoped Baikal MP94 using both rifled and improved cylinder choke tubes. Results were mixed but not entirely abysmal.

The Lyman Foster slug loads did not agree with the Baikal. With the rifled choke tube installed, the slugs impacted well above the point of aim with one shot striking completely above the paper. Similarly, through the improved cylinder tube the slugs struck high with one missing the paper entirely. I was unable to determine the exact size of the groups, but it’s safe to say they were not satisfactory for hunting game of any size.

The Lee sabot slug loads fared slightly better than the Lyman Fosters. Through the rifled choke, the slugs printed a triangular group that was five inches on its longest side, but through the improved cylinder choke the group opened up to an enormous 7-1/2 inches. Clearly, it will take some more experimentation to find a load for the Lee slug that yields satisfactory accuracy through the MP94.

The Lyman 525 grain sabots yielded accuracy results through the MP94 that were borderline impressive. Through the rifled tube, three slugs landed in a 3-1/4 inch line and through the improved cylinder struck along a 5-inch line. Given that the Lyman 525 grain sabot slugs cast the easiest, loaded the easiest, and yielded decent to good accuracy through both of my shotguns, it is likely I will be making many more of these projectiles in the near future.


Although the Lee sabot slug loads and Lyman Foster slug loads yielded poor to mediocre accuracy at 50 yards, it is important to remember that I only had the time and resources to test one combination of powder, wad, and hull for each slug. Shotguns are notoriously picky about the slug loads they will shoot accurately and I may simply not have found the right combination of components for my gun. As I conduct more experimentation and narrow down what works and what doesn’t I will likely revisit the topic of home cast slugs in a future article.
Source: www.guns.com
The Truth About Steel and Steel Targets

With more and more companies and individuals manufacturing steel targets, the water has become increasingly muddy where accurate information is concerned.

With technical data provided by the American Iron and Steel Institute in Washington D.C., this report is designed to cut through the recent hype and establish a basis of fact for accurate evaluation and comparison.

What Is Steel?
Steel is an alloy metal composed of iron and varying amounts of carbon and/or other elements such as chromium, nickel, tungsten, manganese, and so on. Steel with specific properties and characteristics is created by adjusting the overall chemical composition or by altering the various production processes such as rolling, finishing, and heat treatment. Because each of these factors can be modified, there is potentially no limit to the number of different steel recipes that can be created. Currently, there are over 3,000 catalogued grades or chemical compositions of steel available. Steel can utilize a wide variety of alloying elements and heat treatments to develop the most desirable combination of properties.

Steel Hardness and Quality
For steel targets to be functional and safe, they should be made of high quality through hardened steel that has a Brinell hardness number (BHN) of at least 500. The steel must also provide sufficient strength, toughness, and impact resistance. The Brinell hardness test depends upon the resistance offered to the penetration of a carbide steel ball (1.6 mm diameter) when subjected to a weight of 12.6 kg. The resulting hardness value is computed as the ratio of the applied load to the area of the indentation produced. This test is accepted as a worldwide standard for measuring the hardness of steel.

Truth – There are 2 Factors that Affect the Hardness of Steel
The first is the amount of carbon and other alloying elements in its chemical composition, and the second is the manner in which the heating and cooling of the steel is manipulated. These factors are determined at the most fundamental level, and affect the finished steel as a whole.

[Left] Hard steel with a flat surface will create a predictable splatter pattern. [Right] Soft steel with an uneven surface will cause unpredictable and unsafe ricochet and splatter.

Truth – Steel Hardness is a Critical Issue
[Left] Hard steel with a flat surface will create a predictable splatter pattern. [Right] Soft steel with an uneven surface will cause unpredictable and unsafe ricochet and splatter.

The hardness of the steel is critical because only a smooth surface will generate predictable splatter patterns. Steel that is not sufficiently hard can develop pits, craters, dimples, and other hazardous deformations. When a bullet hits one of these deformations, it is impossible to predict where the splatter will go, thereby creating an unacceptable
training environment.

There are many steel mills located around the world, but only a select few are able to produce steel that is hard enough and of sufficient quality to be safely used for steel targets. HARDOX/ SSAB, Bethlehem-Lucas, Oregon Steel Mills, and NKK are major producers of such steel. Each of these companies may have minor proprietary differences in their production methods, but they all must make sheets of hard steel in essentially the same way. Nevertheless, some suppliers of targets and shooting range equipment attempt to muddy the water and create perceived differences in steel quality where none exist. One particularly misleading claim refers to a certain company’s use of through hardened steel as opposed to merely surface hardened AR500 steel allegedly used by everyone else. We state the following with all possible force:

1. Action Target uses only high quality, through hardened steel with a Brinell hardness rating of at least 500, and we use it in every one of our ballistic steel products.

2. Action Target can also provide through hardened steel targets and other steel products with certified Brinell hardness ratings of 550 and even 600.

3. Despite the inaccurate claims, AR500 steel is NOT surface hardened. It is through hardened. Witness the quotes listed below from steel suppliers around the country.

Chapel Steel – AR500 is a quenched & tempered, through hardened, wear-resistant grade of abrasion resistant steel plate used for severe impact. (SOURCE: http://www.chapelsteel.com/ar500-ar500f.html)

Heflin Steel – Heflin REM 500 abrasion resistant plate is a premium grade wear plate, ideal for extreme abrasion coupled with resistance to impact. REM 500 plate is through hardened up to a 3″ thickness for maximum hardness and abrasion resistance.

Benco Steel – AR500 is a through hardened steel with high hardness for use where there is severe impact and abrasion.

(These companies are steel suppliers, not manufacturers or producers. They buy steel from the actual manufacturers like HARDOX / SSAB, and then re-sell it to their own customers.)

4. Any statements contrary to those above are simply untrue.

Be careful not to get caught up in the “more is better” mindset. Just because a Brinell hardness number (BHN) of 500 is good, it doesn’t mean a rating of 700 is better. While you must use steel that is hard enough for the task, going overboard only impacts your checkbook and not the product durability. For example, ballistic tests have shown that the performance difference between steel with a 500 BHN and steel with a 535 BHN is so small that you can’t tell the difference with a bullet but only with a gauge. Also be aware that you can actually use steel that is too hard and too brittle for ballistic training purposes.
Source: www.ammoland.com
Review Newsletter
Welcome to GunStuff's third newsletter. This week we have up and coming shooting events around New Zealand.
Date Name Location
13-14 April NRA Open and Metallic Champs Whangarei
13 April Bolt Action champs Awakeri
14 April Best of Commonwealth Kaitoke
13-14 April IPSC - River City Open (Level 3) Wanganui
20-21 April Brothel Inspectors Shoot Kaimai
21 April Service Rifle Tauwhare
18-21 April CAS - South Island Champs Central Otago

And from the reviews section, we have a review for the New Sig 1911, something different with multi-barrel pistols, and as requested by Chris the LMT .308 AR.

SIG 1911 TacPac
Multi-Barreled Mayhem: The P333AT
LMT .308 AR
If there is any topic's or news you would like us to cover in future newsletters please contact us at newsletter@gunstuff.co.nz
LMT .308 AR

Despite all the books, magazine articles and movies that have centered around precision marksmanship, for a very long time the Army didn’t seem very serious about it. The Marine Corps, yes. But the Big Green was pretty sure about which tool was best suited for the task. And, until the War on Terror began, a gap existed between basic rifle qualification and sniping.

In Iraq the war changed from fluid combat to ambushes and roadside bombs. Marksmanship—at least for the ground-pounders involved in dealing with these tactics—changed. A sniper team wasn’t always available, so units called for a specially trained designated marksman to be included within each squad with a particularly accurate scoped rifle.

In terms of a 7.62 NATO solution, U.S. Army TACOM developed the M14EBR-RI from M14s mothballed 30 years ago in Anniston Armory, AL. The Marines developed the M39—also out of an M14. They had to face facts: In the role of a squad designated marksman, a bolt-action rifle is utterly insufficient in terms of rate of fire. The British chose a different path: the Lewis Machine & Tool LM308MWS. After being selected by the Ministry of Defense, it was designated the L129A1.

A Purpose-Built Concept
The LM308MWS is one serious piece of gear, enough to engender gun lust at the range. The basic layout is a direct-gas-impingement Stoner system. The low-profile gas block is secured to the barrel and drives back the plated carrier and bolt just as you’d find on any M16. The scaled-up bolt and carrier handle the task of shuttling live rounds in—and empties out—of the chamber without a problem. The carrier cycles into the buffer tube, which has a LMT-manufactured CRANE stock, exactly as made for the U.S. Government.

The upper receiver is the LMT Monolithic Rail Platform, a single sculpted bar of aluminum—receiver and forearm in one. The MRP starts as a huge forging, and LMT machines it down to a fraction of its starting weight, with the rear being a receiver and the front being a railed handguard.

The really trick part of it is the barrel attachment. Lewis simply machines both the receiver insertion shaft and the barrel extension to exacting standards, then uses two large machine bolts to clamp down the split part of the receiver tightly around the barrel extension. That’s why the gas tube is secured to the low-profile gas block and barrel—it comes out with the barrel as an assembly of barrel, gas block and gas tube.

The operation is exactly the same as any other AR. The selector is the same, the magazine release is the same, and the recoil, while heavier, is the same straight-back push as any other AR you’ve ever fired. The two-stage trigger LMT installs provide a clean, crisp trigger pull and reliable ignition, even of surplus 7.62 ammo.

The LM308MWS comes with Magpul 7.62 magazines, which happen to share similar dimensions and patterning (but made out of polymer) as the Knight’s Armament SR-25 magazine issued with the L129A1 and used by U.S. snipers for the M110. Twist on the stainless barrels is 1:111/4; chrome-lined barrels are 1:10. Either will stabilize any 7.62 NATO load out as far as you can hit with it. For those who want a bonus in durability, the chrome-lined barrel is also cryogenically treated for stress relief.

Military-Driven Innovations
Enough of how the LMT .308 is like every other AR. How is it different? Well, there is that barrel. Installation or change is simple: Open the action, remove the bolt/carrier, check that it is empty, then take the supplied torque wrench and unscrew the two screws forward of the magazine well. The torque wrench is adjusted and sealed by LMT, so you don’t have to wonder about how much torque to apply. Here’s an interesting detail: While you have to remove the front screw, the rear only has to be loosened (three full turns, LMT suggests), and you can then pull the barrel straight out the front.

The barrel is relieved at the rear to clear the rear screw, but slotted to allow the front screw to pass through. Not only does the relationship of the screw and slot lock the barrel in place, it orients it vertically so the gas tube lines up with the gas key on the carrier. Additionally, it provides great return-to-zero alignment of the barrel to the receiver.

Now, the overenthusiastic among us will be scheming already. “Cool, do the long-range patrol and march in with the long barrel and big scope, then swap to the SBR and red dot for CQB operations.” Calm down; that’s not why it’s there. Oh, you can swap barrels and count on a pretty darned close return to zero, but it won’t be perfect. And no one who is really serious about accuracy (especially of the 600-yards-plus variety) is going to go swapping barrels without confirming the zero.

No, LMT did it for a different reason: downtime. You see, in military organizations, if the barrel on a rifle goes bad, there’s often a great deal of downtime until the supply chain catches up and an armorer can get it fixed. The senior company NCO has to see that it gets returned to base where an armorer with the tools and the authorization to swap barrels resides. With the LMT MRP, ideally that same NCO can perform a barrel replacement in the field and check zero in an afternoon.

Civilian Advantages
For us, it means something else. As long as you have the tools and another barrel, you can configure your LMT308MWS to shoot other cartridges that utilize a .308 profile and bolt carrier. LMT currently offers barrels chambered for .243, .260 Rem., .338 Federal, and 6.5 Creedmoor.

LMT includes a factory-certified torque wrench with each rifle. If you plan to change barrels, you’ll need this tool to obtain a proper torque setting. Once the proper torque setting has been reached, the wrench makes an audible click.

The MRP and its quick-change barrels requires a same-plane iron sight set, and LMT supplies them. The rear is the LMT tougher-than-nails adjustable BUIS, while the front is a clamp-on that ends up looking very much as if it has a standard front sight forging melded into the rail.

I had no illusions about my ability to use iron sights and ascertain the accuracy of the rifle with .308 ammo. (Hey, there’s a reason I wear glasses.) The British, on their L129A1, use KAC flip-up sights and a Trijicon 6×48 ACOG. I had a chance to use one on an LMT out to 600 yards, and it was superb. But here at Gun Abuse Central I don’t have much opportunity to get out to 600 yards. And I’d like to try it with something a little more in line with the job of Designated Marksman. So I managed to score a Leupold CQBSS, the newest USMC selection, a 1.1-8X scope.

As soon as it arrived, I knew I was in trouble. It has a 34mm tube. I prevailed on LaRue to send me a mount, and in short order I had a great combo: a 1.1-8X optic in a QD mount. Unfortunately, it won’t fit over the LMT rear sight so I did my testing with the rear sight removed. Were I building this up as a defense rifle or a departmental marksman rifle, I’d swap out the LMT rear sight for something that folds flat enough to ride under the scope.

Ammo and Accuracy
When I first started testing the LMT .308, I had a couple of malfunctions. My first thought was, How could I have broken it already? Then I considered the ammunition. I was using my West German surplus ammo to get a feel for the recoil and check the zero. This ammo (loaded in 1993) is Berdan primed and features a nickel-plated mild steel jacket over a lead core. The Bundeswehr intended it for the G3 (which we know as the HK 91) and MG3 (a direct descendant of the MG42). So maybe using it to check the LMT .308 wasn’t the best first step.

I switched to Winchester M80, and the rifle cranked along perfectly. After a few hundred rounds of mixed ammo, drills and some zero work, I tried the German ammo again, and by then it was working just fine. The lesson? Ammo designed for and intended to be used in piston-driven or roller-lock rifles may not be tuned for best effect in a DI Stoner system.

The recoil isn’t a big deal. The straight-line stock and rifle weight make shooting pleasant. You might think that the 16-inch barrel would exact too much of a velocity price, but as it turns out, not so much. The .308 is quite forgiving of short barrels, and you don’t lose so much as to create a problem. After all, you aren’t shoving bullets downrange at 3,000-plus fps to start with, and they are big bullets. So what if you lose a hundred fps or so? A quick calculation showed me the numbers. If we took the Hornady A-Max load and added another hundred fps to it (what we might get with a 20-inch barrel), the drop at 600 yards changes by only 10 inches—a little more than one MOA.

The LMT .308 wanted to shoot better than I was able to. My groups were often as not “four and one” groups, where my rusty bench technique with .30-caliber rifles had me shooting four into a tight cluster, and throwing one out somewhere along the way. A dedicated bigbore shooter such as Dave Fortier could—no doubt—wring out more accuracy from this rifle.

The LMT worked flawlessly for the rest of my testing. The Leupold scope is an eye-opener, and everyone who looked through it wanted one of his own. In fact, everyone at the range wanted both the rifle and the scope.

Oh, and the British model? Why can’t you buy an “L129A1” with the tan-colored stock, ERGO grip and rail covers? Because the Ministry of Defence says no.

But if you simply must have yours look like the British rifle, you’ll have to order the tan furniture on your own. At first, the MOD said it wanted 440 rifles, no more. But LMT has since delivered more than 3,000 for use by the Brits.

Source: www.gunsandammo.com
Multi-Barreled Mayhem: The P333AT (and a Few Other Real Guns)

The Arsenal AF2011-A1 made a hysterical splash in the world of small arms. Very recently introduced, this twin-barreled homage to Browning’s masterpiece 1911 is a true double-stack. The AF2011-A1 merges two 1911s together, side by side, in one double-wide frame and slide assembly. It feeds from a double magazine—two magazine bodies conjoined at the baseplate—and fires two rounds of .45 ACP simultaneously.

Time will tell if the AF2011-A1 will be received as more than just novelty—and if the ATF will even allow it to be imported, since it arguably fires a two-round burst.

And just after we received confirmation that yes, this is a real gun, Sharp as a Marble reported on the Kel-Tec P333AT.

“After the IWA show in Nuremburg, Germany, we realized there was a high demand for multi-barreled pistols like the Arsenal Second Century 2011,” said Clarence Koalapee, PR Spokesperson for Kel-Tec. “George was looking at the monstrosity and was like ‘Hell, if they can do two, why can’t we do three?‘ We came back to the states, got right down to work on a prototype. It’s a little rough around the edges, which means it’s practically ready for production!’”

“The P333AT (pronounced Pee-THHHHHRRRREEEEEEE-Ay-Tee) delivers a stunning amount of firepower, launching three 90 grain projectiles at a time in roughly the same direction. ‘The .380 isn’t known as a one shot stopper,’ continued Koalapee, ‘but three of the SOB’s are bound to really piss someone off.’ With the regular P3AT being diminutive in size, Kel-Tec didn’t seem overly concerned with the major increase in size. ‘We’re adding, what? 6 more ounces? Damned thing will still fit inside a front pocket.’”

Although you might think it goes without saying that this was a joke, some people took it seriously. But we can understand why: it’s nothing new. The idea of mounting a gun onto a gun isn’t so outrageous. (The idea of mounting a gun on a gun mounted gun, on the other hand…)

There have been many multi-barreled firearms made throughout history, and not just to improve their rates of fire. That up there is a C-More Systems M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System (MASS), a bolt-action magazine-fed upgrade to the old KAC Masterkey, which has been in service for quite some time. A 21st-century development, the MASS is being issued to soldiers right now.

Other gun-meets-gun combos have been in use since the introduction of the firearm cartridge. Woodsmen, hunters and soldiers have depended on rifle/shotgun combination guns for a very long time, like the Springfield Armory M6 Scout.

The M6 is a stamped steel survival rifle issued to pilots starting in the ’50s in case they ever were downed behind enemy lines. It is a very simple .22 (Long Rifle or Hornet)/.410 break-open combination gun designed by Springfield but also manufactured other companies including CZ. It also has quite the following in the backpacking and survival crowds.

The Soviet had a similar idea, just bigger. The Cosmonauts packed heat back in the day, in case they had to survive Siberian conditions awaiting recovery in the wilderness.

The Soviet space explorers were issued TP-82 pistols, a triple-barreled combination gun that combined two 12.5x70mm shotgun barrels and one 5.45x39mm rifle barrel. Although they are pistols, they have a detachable buttstock that is almost entirely machete. It can be removed and used for, you know, machete work.

So we understand it if some people took the bait on the P333AT; combination guns are nothing new and in many cases, extremely practical. Well, maybe not all of them. Check out this full-auto double Glock.
Do you have a favorite combination gun?
Source: www.guns.com
SIG 1911 TacPac

I recently purchased a SIG 1911 TacPac sans rail. I’ve long owned a RIA GI model, which I dearly love to shoot, but thought it was time to move up in the 1911 world. The SIG TacPac, with 3 extra magazines, adjustable trigger, (Allen wrench included) holster and loader looked like a great purchase. I picked up the TacPac on a Friday evening, quickly getting down to disassembling, cleaning and checking out the differences between the SIG and the humbler RIA . . .

My RIA has a stainless barrel, new grips and a commander hammer that I installed (I got tired of hammer bite). I noticed the frame on the SIG is longer and its recoil spring is flat. There’s also a firing pin block, the mechanism for which makes for slow reassembly. The tolerances on the SIG are noticeably tighter than the RIA, no surprise there. Of course, the Rock Island has had a few thousand rounds through it.
I immediately liked the SIG’s 3-dot sights and the way the gun felt in my hand. The grips are very interesting, approximating the epoxy sand coating used on concrete. The grips are excellent without being overly aggressive. However, the front strap checkering is very aggressive, but more on that later.
The next morning, I headed to the local indoor range to shoot the ever-loving snot out of the SIG and compare it to my RIA. It took maybe 30 rounds before I put the RIA down and shot the SIG exclusively.

I ran 100+ rounds through the SIG during my initial session with the gun, and it functioned flawlessly. I ran a mixed bag of CCI Blazer, American Eagle, Remington UMC and PMC Bronze through the new gun. After 100 rounds, the gun was filthy, yet running like the proverbial Timex. The sites were off a tad to the left, which I corrected when I got home.

The SIG ran so well, in fact, that I decided to use it in my first USPSA match. Yeah, a brand new gun, only 100 rounds through it and I’m going to shoot my first match with it. What could possibly go wrong? I had planned to shoot the RIA because I’m very comfortable with it, but with the way the SIG ran and shot, I thought I should at least give it a whirl.
First, a brief outline of USPSA, at least as practiced by the club I belong to, 5 Dogs Action Shooters. USPSA allows for some extreme modifications of handguns, such as oversize mag-wells, slide cut outs, etc. The course is timed, from first shot to last. (In my case, a sundial instead of a digital timer would have been more appropriate.) Targets can be engaged in any order, but if you fail to engage, you can’t turn and shoot back at the target. Rather, you need to retrace your steps and engage the target while pointing the gun down range. There’s a 180 degree rule in these matches — shooting at a target more than a 180 degrees from the centerline of where you’re standing, facing downrange, is dangerous and an automatic DQ.

When I went into the match, I had three goals: not shooting someone, not shooting myself and shooting accurately. I completely ignored how much time I took moving through each stage. Fortunately, no one died of old age during any of my runs.

The first stage I shot was the toughest, designed by a person who, I think, may be a distant cousin to the Marguis de Sade. There was a spinning Texas star, a target that swung out from behind a barrier and a no-shoot target on a spring that flipped down, revealing the shoot target and then flipped back up. During the perhaps 1 second the shoot target was revealed, the shooter was expected to double tap it. I got off one shot, center mass, but no more. Among all this, there were clay pigeons to shoot (two of them, not moving fortunately) steel poppers, etc. I went through about 6 8-round magazines during this stage. The rest of the stages were somewhat anti-climactic.
During the match, I went through a little over 200 rounds of ammo. The only failure I had was operator error. I short stroked the trigger, thought I had a misfire and wound up with a stove pipe when I tried to clear the bad round.The Sig was unbelievable out of the box. It ran flawlessly. I shot the same mixed bag of ammunition during the match that I shot at the range the day before. That aggressive front strap checkering on the SIG meant my fingers were a bit raw after the match, but the checkering definitely made a difference in how well the pistol remained on target.
I can’t say enough good things about how the gun shoots and highly recommend the SIG TacPac. But even more, I recommend shooting USPSA or IDPA. Static paper targets are all well and good initially, but I strongly encourage getting used to the idea of moving and shooting at various targets. Don’t worry about how well the people in your squad shoot. Just get out there and enjoy yourself. A final note: I came in fourth in the match…fourth from the bottom.


Caliber: 45 acp
Frame: Steel
Sights: 3-dot contrast
Barrel Length: 5.00″
Length: 8.7″
Weight: 41.6 oz (with magazine)
Capacity: 8+1

Ratings (0ut of five stars):

Style * * * *
I’m a purist and the external extractor detracts from style points.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * * *
The gun has a natural point of aim and feels great in the hand.

Reliability * * * * *
One issue, user related.

Customize This * * * * *
Even though built to SIG’s specs, there are always after market parts for 1911′s.

Overall * * * * *
Outstanding gun. I ran it through its paces and the gun has performed flawlessly.
Source: www.thetruthaboutguns.com
Review Newsletter
Welcome to GunStuff's second newsletter. This week we have up and coming shooting events around New Zealand.
Date Name Location
29-31 March Service Rifle Nationals Waiouru
30-31 March Northern Speed Challenge 2013 Whangarei
05-07 April HMS NI Championship 2013 Awakeri
06-07 April PNZ North Island Service Championships 2013 Hamilton

And from the reviews section, we have a review for the .300 AAC Blackout cartage, the Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Carbine, and a brief explanation between MOA and MRad Reticles and Adjustments.
.300 AAC Blackout
Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Carbine
If there is any topic's or news you would like us to cover in future newsletters please contact us at newsletter@gunstuff.co.nz
Mildot's are the same as MRAD. The trick with either system is to have your reticule graduated the same as your turrets.

For some reason, and I think its because your average American dreads the metric system, MOA turrets have remained pretty much standard, but the American Military moved over to metric hence Mildot type reticules and maps in Km (or Klicks)ect.

I suppose most civvie shooters understand MOA as a 1 click adjustment moving the POI 1/4" at 100yards (give or take a a very small fraction) where as 1 click moving the POI 1cm at 100m is a bit "alien".

The math working with Mil's is much easier as its base10, where as with MOA your stuck doing distance calculations in imperial units, and turrets where 1 click generally equals 1/4 MOA (or sometimes 1/2 or 1/8MOA)

The real problem is having Mildot reticule with MOA turrets as you then have a another set of conversions to do, and unfortunately today, with the majority of scope makers, that is in fact where we are when it comes to tactical style scopes.

The problem for folks who wish to remain using MOA is that very few company's produce scopes with MOA graduated reticules; US Optics is one, and possibly Nightforce is another.

The good news is that more and more company's are offering scopes with Mil based reticules and Mil based turrets.

The beauty of keeping the units the same in both the turret and reticule comes when making shot corrections.

Lets say you guesstimate a steel plate is 750 meters away (you could use yards, it doesn't matter) and you dial the appropriate drop in your scope and take a shot. Observing through the scope you see it strikes low.

Now think of how you would correct for that shot presently. With most methods, there's a bit of head scatching as you work how much to come up at that guestimated distance, and how many clicks you need to achieve that.

If your reticule and turrets are both in graduated in the same units ie Mils, the exact distance to the plate would be irrelevent as would the linear measurement of the low shot, as you would simply measure how far the shot was low using the graduations on your reticule, (lets say 1.5 Mils) and then dial up 1.5 Mils on your turrent. You could either count those 15 clicks, or use the scale on the scope turret and turn it to 1.5.

In theory, it would work exactly the same if your scope had a MOA reticule and MOA turrets, although because 1 click is generally = 1/4 MOA, the dialing and counting is not so "neat" as the base10 Milrad system.

Windage corrections can be done in the same manner, although the changeable nature of the wind adds a big variable what ever correction system you use...
Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Carbine

Weatherby is known the world around as a maker of extremely fine firearms, especially of the hunting variety. But those firearms are generally pretty expensive, so Weatherby came out with their “Vanguard” line of rifles not too long ago priced to meet the demand of the shooter on a budget. The problem is that their first attempt sucked (relative to what they were capable of doing — I still gave it four stars). Enter the Series 2, the next incarnation of the Vanguard that supposedly fixes all the problems. But does it?

There were three main problems with the original Vanguard rifle: the trigger was creepier than Uncle Joey, the stock looked and felt like it was designed by Kia (i.e. terrible and cheap), and the accuracy was more or less “meh.” It was a budget rifle all right, but Weatherby had sacrificed almost everything that makes their guns great to get down to the right price point.

The series 2 is somewhere around $100 – $150 more than its older brother, but that money appears to be money well spent. Even just looking at it, it appears to be made of higher quality stuff.
For comparison, here’s what the old version looked like. The stock is a single piece of injection molded polymer (plastic) that warped and bent with every movement. The new stock is a two-tone affair, the main chassis being a more durable polymer with the areas one would normally grip a firearm covered in a softer and more grippy material. It looks nicer, feels better, and doesn’t warp as much.

There is, however, a problem. One of the main complaints I had with the stock on the original version was that it wasn’t “free floating.” That is, the stock contacted the barrel. This becomes a problem when you’re trying to make precision shots, as it usually has an adverse effect on the barrel harmonics and can apply pressure on the barrel moving it slightly off center. In other words, bad mojo. The Series 2 fixed a number of issues with the stock, but it still isn’t free floating.

This rifle also falls into line with another pet peeve among the writers here. The comb of the stock appears to be designed to line your eyes up with the top of the barrel, but the observant reader will note that there are no iron sights. This rifle was designed to be fired using a scope, but the way the stock is designed means you either need to be happy with an inadequate cheek weld or get yourself a cheek riser to get your eye on the right level. I don’t get why companies can’t just make the comb of the stocks a little bit higher so I don’t need the riser. I’m starting to think they’re colluding with the accessory companies to drive sales of risers…

Moving on, the trigger is also completely redesigned. On the original you had a single stage trigger, but the Series 2 sports a rather snappy two stage affair. The vast majority of the creep has been removed, leaving behind what feels on the range like a very crisp break. Sitting here on my couch I can still feel a tiny bit of creep, but not nearly as much as there was in the original. In short, check the box next to “fix the trigger.”
Which just leaves the accuracy. Weatherby used to break out their Vanguard line into the standard affairs and their “Sub-MOA” offerings that guaranteed 3 rounds in less than a 1 inch circle at 100 yards. Their regular line could do the job as well but thanks to the remarkably crappy stocks, they didn’t guarantee it. The new Vanguard Series 2 rifles, on the other hand, are all guaranteed to be 1 MoA or better out of the box.
On the range, the claim seems about right. I was able to score two rounds touching, then one low but still within an inch before the rounds started drifting. Sorry about the crappy picture — when the range time is free you don’t complain about the inability to retrieve your targets. (Special thanks to Bracken Range in San Antonio, TX for the range time!)

So, it looks like this is indeed a good improvement over the previous design. In addition to the above changes, they also moved away from the high gloss blued finish of the old version towards a bead-blasted matte blue finish on the new gun, reducing the visibility of the firearm and also (in my opinion) making it look a lot slicker.

There is one thing I didn’t like: the safety. The previous incarnation had a standard two position safety, but this version has three — fire, safe with the ability to work the action, and safe with the action locked. It’s a little complex for my taste, and the slightly more flimsy design of the safety selector lever leaves me pining for the older design.

All in all, what we have here is a definite improvement over the original Vanguard. With a better trigger, a better stock and guaranteed accuracy out of the box, this really does make it THE rifle for the shooter on a budget. MSRP is still a tad high compared to some of the other offerings, but its right about on par with the Remington 700 and just feels like the quality is much higher than its Freedom Group-owned counterpart.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Carbine

Caliber: .308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO)
Barrel: 20″, 1:12 twist
Size: 40″ overall length
Weight: 7 lbs.
Operation: Bolt action
Finish: Matte blue
(Rifle DOES NOT come with bipod, scope or mounts)
Capacity: 5+1
MSRP: $599

Ratings (Out of Five Stars)
Remember: ratings are based on the merits of the firearm compared to other similarly priced and marketed firearms. So five stars here is nowhere near five stars on an Accuracy International.

Accuracy: * * * * *
Guaranteed 1 MoA accuracy is nothing to sneeze at. And if you get a better stock the sky is the limit.

Ergonomics: * * * *
An improvement over the previous version for sure. The action and trigger are (as usual) impeccable, but now the stock is right up there too. This would have been five stars if they had raised the comb a little bit.

Ergonomics Firing: * * * *
Everything feels right. The trigger feels great, the stock is all grippy and stuff, and the safety (while flimsy looking) feels pretty solid. Again, the comb of the stock is the main issue with the remaining star.

Reliability: * * * * *
There aren’t many things to go wrong with a bolt action.

Customization: * * * * *
Swivel studs are nice and in place, there are TONS of aftermarket stocks, and the receiver is drilled for scope mounts.

Overall Rating: * * * * 1/2
Raise the comb of the stock and free float that puppy and you have yourself a five star gun. But, until then, you’re going to have to be happy with four point five stars. Threading the barrel for a silencer wouldn’t hurt, either. Something to improve for the next SHOT show, perhaps?
Source: www.thetruthaboutguns.com
Ammunition Review: .300 AAC Blackout

There are problems with the 5.56x45mm NATO round, especially out of short barreled guns — mainly that its loud and underpowered compared to what the enemy is using. Many have tried over the years to fix this problem, coming up with wacky calibers like .300 Whisper, 6.8 Rem Special, 6.5mm Grendel, and more recently Wilson Combat’s 6.8mm offering. They all work, but they all have fatal flaws. AAC has come out with a new round that they claim works with existing AR magazines, bolts, bolt carriers, and fixes all the short distance and short barreled problems of the 5.56mm NATO round while still being as quiet as an MP5-SD. Naturally we asked them to put up or shut up, and they invited me out to their Atlanta, Georgia factory to do just that. The put up part, that is.

I had a chance to sit down with Kevin Brittingham, the founder of AAC, and discuss .300 Blackout for a while. And by “a while” I mean it was a 45 minute conversation. The man was a fountain of knowledge, and it just kept pouring. He started with some history.

300 Blackout, which has turned out to be one of the biggest things going for this company, which we’re totally excited about, that was sort of an accident. Just like I value the relationships here, I have a personal relationship with everyone who works here, and with our customers on the military and government side it’s the same way. And those relationships lead to new products. They came to us about a new caliber and that’s where it started. The 300 whisper concept, we need to commercialize it and there are some things we need to fix with it…


[J.D. Jones] maintains a great relationship with a guy who runs one of the military groups that we deal with. Them working together came up with .300 Blackout. They had tried .300 Whisper, and J.D. Jones delivered this group a few samples that worked great. They delivered them 30, 7 of them worked. [Getting .300 BLK to work better] was one of [those] things – getting it SAAMI approved and standards, figuring out how to get the most velocity out of supersonic, making it accurate, making it feed reliably from 30 round mags…

We were working with Bill Wilson somewhat too, and he thought it was a great idea. Then [he] decided ‘oh, it’s not accurate, I’m going to do my own cartridge.’ And he’s doing… Ours is 7.62×35, he went with a longer case – 40. He only cares about supersonic, where our original requirement was it had to be subsonic as well. I was reading yesterday, like you buy these modified – it sort of gets away from the whole beauty of doing this for an AR-15 in my opinion. His you have to modify the magazines, and will only feed like 15 rounds in a 20 round mag or 20 in a 30 round mag…

These were our original requirements for this caliber: Muzzle energy has to equal or exceed the AK-47. .30 Caliber projectile. Use unmodified 30 round magazines to full capacity. Use unmodified AR-15/M-16/M-4 bolt. Gas impingement system. Shoot super and subsonic. And one thing that was nice, but was not a ‘deal killer’, was non-adjustable gas system. Cycle all four ways – subsonic suppressed and unsuppressed, and supersonic suppressed and unsuppressed.

In addition to the original requirements, AAC makes a couple other claims, Specifically, they claim that their .300 BLK gun is as quiet as an MP5-SD, and more accurate to boot.

So let’s take these claims one by one.

First, does it actually work using standard AR-15 magazines, bolts, and the gas impingement system? Well, we saw it in action at NDIA doing just that.
Following that video, Kevin gave me the magazine we were using to keep. I have it right here in my hand as I write this, actually. Let me snap a quick picture…
In the foreground is the magazine being used in the .300 BLK gun in the video, and in the background is a magazine that Magpul sent me recently for the AR-15 magazine testing. The magazines are identical, something that can’t be said for most of the funky “5.56 replacement” rounds. But it gets better.
The reason all the standard AR-15 parts work when using a .300 BLK round is that AAC used 5.56 NATO as the “parent cartridge.” What that means is that you can manufacture brand new .300 BLK brass using spent 5.56 NATO brass simply by trimming off about a third of the case.
In the video above I walk through the steps to do exactly that – turn 5.56 brass into .300 BLK brass — and it takes less than 10 minutes to go over everything. The only additional tools you need are a set of .300 BLK dies. Right now ammunition is a tad expensive ($0.90/round to $1.09/round), and by reloading spent 5.56 into .300 BLK you save about 2/3 of that cost (it runs about $0.20 to $0.30 per round).

Here’s a nice picture showing the whole progression from spent 5.56 case to loaded .300 BLK (the last step is polishing, BTW). It’s actually not a hard process, but if you’re adverse to trimming your own brass then ready made .300 BLK brass can be purchased at a relatively reasonable price from a number of online vendors.

Speaking of ways to get ammo if actual .300 BLK ammo isn’t available, ammunition compatibility is another reason the .300 AAC Blackout round outperforms the competition. The .300 Whisper cartridge has been on the market for a while now and can be found in most gun stores around me, but .300 BLK is still relatively new and ammunition is scarce. Thanks to the higher chamber pressures and larger cartridge of the .300 BLK round the firearms are able to accept and safely fire most .300 Whisper ammunition. I did an Ask Foghorn article about that very question and it goes into some more detail, but .300 Whisper in a .300 BLK gun is generally cool while the opposite is dangerous and will result in malfunctions.

For the rest, we traveled down to AAC’s factory in Georgia for a live fire demonstration and to see how these puppies are put together. Check this out.

I watched John Hollister pull a random AR-15 bolt out of a 5.56 upper and use it in a .300 BLK upper when I shot with him, the bolts are identical. The gas impingement system is in fact present and functioning. From where I’m (very comfortably) sitting it looks like they met their basic design specs.

But what about everything else?

Two major claims remain, specifically that the gun is as quiet as an MP5-SD and that it’s more accurate. Let’s start with the sound suppression, as that was the more fun one to do.

This clip is in the full .300 BLK video, but I pulled it out as it completely answers this question. It’s only about a minute long. Take a peek.

Is it really as quiet as an MP5-SD? No. Myth busted. Nuh-huh.

But it’s damned close.

Standing in front of the guns the difference is pretty easy to spot. The .300 BLK gun “pops” just a touch more than the MP5-SD. Considering that the gun is basically firing an AK round I’d say that’s a damned fine accomplishment. So while it may not be “as quiet” as an MP5-SD, it’s close enough.

Here’s an interesting fact you can impress your friends with: the barrel of an MP5-SD is actually designed to vent off gas from the 9mm round and turn supersonic ammunition into subsonic ammunition. We were shooting standard, straight out of the box supersonic stuff all day with the 9mm ammo, which means the MP5-SD was actually getting far less muzzle energy than a Glock 19. So when you’re comparing the noise the two guns above are making, remember that the MP5-SD is pushing a 115gr projectile 935 feet per second, and the .300 BLK round is a 220gr behemoth zipping along at 1,010 feet per second. In USPSA speak, that’s a power factor of 109.25 for the MP5-SD and a whopping 222.2 for the .300 BLK. And yet they sound almost equally as quiet.

John also talked about something else. John, for those who don’t know, was in law enforcement for ages. He knows a thing or two about going into dangerous situations and needing to be stealthy. One of the things he kept bringing up was that an MP5-SD might be great for being quiet and maybe taking out a guard dog, a meth dealer who’s been up for three days and is so paranoid that he’s wearing full body armor probably isn’t going to go down to a 9mm round. Thanks to the gas impingement system, instead of suddenly being in need of that M4 that’s conveniently locked in your trunk all you need to do is swap magazines from subsonic to supersonic ammo and you’re able to dispatch Mr. Meth Head with ease. Try doing THAT with an MP5-SD.

In terms of accuracy, the reports are absolutely astounding.

With the 16 inch Model 7 light barrel, we did 10 groups of 5 rounds each with the 155 ammo and it was 0.8 MOA average. That is not a BS 3 shot group picked out of several. No discarded rounds. No flyers. No BS.

-Random guy on a gun forum

For reference, the accuracy of an MP5-SD is approximately 7-8 MoA. That’s “shooting a dog from 5 feet” accurate, not “oh shit that guy on the roof has an AK” accurate. I’ve done some unscientific testing for myself and even at distances most people would consider “long range” it’s a very accurate round.

I may or may not have been sitting in an office when Kevin read off an email confirming that accuracy with an AR and a 9 inch barrel. Not that I’d take his word without seeing the results, but considering the glowing praise this round is getting all over the internet I’m not discounting it either. Rest assured, a request has been placed for a .300 BLK upper to confirm some of this stuff. Along with a silencer. And a T-Shirt. And a trailer hitch. Moving on…

So what about the last part, about being as good if not better than an AK round, and fixing the issues with 5.56x45mm NATO? Luckily I’ve got a chart right here, its name is Paul Revere, and the chart says that if the weather’s clear…
So what’s the final word? What’s my opinion on all this fancy .300 Blackout stuff? My personal opinion is that it’s frankly amazing. By simply changing out your barrel (and JUST the barrel) you get a completely different gun, one with more muzzle energy, able to just about sound like an MP5-SD, and 100% compatible with all of your existing gear. If you own an AR-15 (or even just a short action bolt gun) and you’ve been looking for something that’s easily suppressed, has great terminal ballistics, and is accurate as anything, this is what you want.

.300 AAC Blackout


  • More muzzle energy than 5.56 NATO
  • Able to be suppressed more effectively than 5.56
  • Uses a larger bullet for more damage to target
  • Able to penetrate barriers more effectively
  • Armor piercing and incendiary bullets available (if not completely legally)
  • Supersonic and subsonic ammunition available
  • Swapping between supersonic and subsonic requires no changes to the gun
  • Can be made from 5.56 brass, easy to reload


  • Ammunition is not widely available
  • Ammunition is currently slightly expensive
Overall Rating: * * * * *
I really can’t praise this stuff enough. This is like the chosen cartridge for those wanting to get just a little bit more muzzle energy and a little less noise out of their existing guns. If you’re just running an AR-15 for target shooting and 3-gun 5.56x45mm NATO is probably good enough, but if you’re hunting something, looking for a self defense / SHTF caliber, or needing something that’s quieter than 5.56x45mm NATO ever will be, this is what you need.
Source: www.thetruthaboutguns.com
Review Newsletter
Welcome to GunStuff's very first newsletter. Every second week the team here will be sending out newsletter's to our members. We will insure to keep you up to date with current news, coming events, firearm reviews, popular auctions and firearm tech guides.
As more and more newsletters are sent out the library of articles at GunStuff will grow, this will be available to you to read at your leisure.
We hope that you will find them beneficial and of value to your firearm discipline.
This week we have three firearm reviews for you, the AR15 Elite Operator frrom Rock River Arms, an overview of the Rossi Wizard Rifle, and a brief report on shooting the Sig P226 Pistol.

AR15 Elite Operator form Rock River Arms
Rossi Wizard
Shooting the Sig P226
If there is any topic's or news you would like us to cover in future newsletters please contact us at newsletter@gunstuff.co.nz

AR-15 Review: Rock River Arms Elite Operator

OK, I have to ‘fess up on this one. The ads you’ve been seeing for the Rock River Arms Operator series? That’s due to me. Well, due to me and a couple other of my gun writer compatriots. You see, at an industry gathering where Rock River was showing us the parts and pieces that would go into the new series of rifles, they came up with an idea: name the gun. So, we dutifully took the forms, scrawled our names on them, and jotted down a few ideas for names. I have to confess I wasn’t really in the naming frame of mind. Perhaps I’d had too much coffee.

The Operator stock, a solid, comfortable tele-stock with storage.

Or perhaps I was just itching to get out to the range and actually, you know, shoot guns. I put down all the tongue-in-cheek names I could think of, along with a few obvious satirical ones (there’s a reason some PR people groan when I walk into a room) and to finish it off I added a few that might actually be useful. I’m surprised they didn’t just toss my list when they saw my name. And yes, being a gun writer can be (but isn’t always) just as much fun as you think it is. You guessed it; Operator was one of the last ones I scribbled down. Now, I can’t take full credit for this, as two other writers came up with the same name. Soon afterwards we had rifles to inspect and test. I opted to test the top of the line model, the Elite Operator. The other two are the Entry Operator and the Tactical Operator.

Rock River Arms is located on the western edge of Illinois, right near the Quad Cities area, a location known for its manufacturing capacity in times past, and when rational people ran the country the region was well-thought of as a cradle of manufacturing and arms industry. Rock River also used to make semi-custom and custom 1911s, but when the AR-15 market exploded they set aside all the 1911 tools to concentrate on the product of the age: the AR-15. I had a chance to visit them just as they were transitioning to making just ARs, and it was sad to see the last of the 1911s being worked on, knowing there would be not more for a while.

The buttplate slides down to uncover the storage compartments.

The Elite Operator (or to give it its full title: the RRA LAR-15 Elite Operator) is a tele-stocked carbine in 5.56. The stock is a close-appearing copy of the mondo-expensive SOPMOD stock that your tax dollars buy by the truckload. At more than $100 less in cost than the USGI SOPMOD stock (and a complete assembly, at that) the Rock River stock is more than just a good deal.

It has six positions, and instead of the two battery compartments being opened on the front, with an o-ring to keep them sealed, the two compartments on the Operator stock are hidden. First, you use the push button to unlatch the buttplate, and slide it down, then you pry the two o-ring sealed covers off. They are large enough to grasp, and thus you can really shove them in for a good seal. As a bonus, if you lose the o-ring covers, the buttplate will still keep your stuff in the tubes, albeit without the waterproof seal.
The stock is well-shaped to provide a good cheeckrest, and it slides back and forth smoothly and clocks solidly in place. Plus it doesn’t rattle or wobble.

The Operator series also come with an ERGOgrip, a rubber pistol grip that replicates the shape of the MP5 grip. A lot of people like it. As with a lot of the options on an AR, it can be a very personal thing. When I first saw them, I started out liking the ERGOgrip but have come to find it not suited to my shooting style. If it works for you, good – get it or keep it. If not, it is easy enough to change. A lot of rifles come with this grip, so I have to assume that a lot of you like it.

The Elite Operator forearm, an aluminum tube with integral rails on the front portion.

All the Operator series come with a 5.56 chamber, a forged A4 upper, a 16-inch chrome-moly steel barrel, chrome plated, with a twist of 1:9. The barrel is capped with an RRA tactical muzzle brake, an item I find useful on a competition range but much less so for defensive use. Especially in any kind of teamwork, a muzzle brake makes your shooting easier by dumping hot gases to the side, where your teammate may well be. But muzzle devices are easy enough to change, and if I don’t get too many complaints from the guys on the line at the next LEO class, I might leave it on for a while.
The Operators come with mil-spec side sling mounts, a very useful thing to have.
They also all come with the RRA Star safety, an ambi safety that has a raised, acorn-shaped knob on it. I’m going to have to take the grinder to the right-side acorn, as it rides right underneath my trigger finger. Now, this is not just a personal matter, but a very peculiar quirk of my shooting style. I choke up with my shooting hand very high on a pistol grip. So high that my trigger finger is actually coming down to the trigger on an AR. As a result, I find most ambi safeties on an AR, regardless of the design, to be problematic. This is no slam against Rock River, and in fact their design is less objectionable to my hand than many others. You may not have a problem, and in fact, a lot of the officers in our classes really, really like the Rock River design.
Inside the Operator series is the Rock River two-stage trigger. As a competition trigger, it is great. As a duty trigger, especially if your sidearm happens to have a heavier, longer trigger pull, then the mis-match can be a source of friction. As I spend a lot of time with heavier, mil-spec triggers, I’ll probably get inside and actually increase the trigger pull of the operator, just so it is more like the sidearm I’ll have on.
The muzzle brake, something I will test but probably swap out I’ve found that shooters on the line with you really dislike being pummeled by your muzzle blast.

Last up, but very important, they all have the current USGI front sidemount sling swivel, attached between the legs of the front sight assembly. All three have a fixed, normal front sight tower.

They all come in a case, with two magazines, manual, and warranty.

The Elite Operator differs from the other two in having a special handguard; the Entry and Tactical have M4-type plastic handguards. (The Entry and Tactical differ from each other in the barrel; the Entry has an M4-style profile, while the tactical has a lighter barrel, shaving a bit over half a pound from the full-up weight.) The Elite handguard is a free-floated aluminum handguard with rails on the cardinal points, but rails that are only half the length of the handguard. Most users don’t need rails that go all the way back, so why make them that way?

The Rock River BUIS, with integral rail for mounting a red-dot sight.

As a final lagniappe, Rock River knows that what the end-user needs are options and extras. So when the Operators rolled out, they came with some very nice extras. You could have your choice of one-inch or 30mm scope rings, a one-piece unit that clamps right onto the top rail of the receiver. And you got to pick from four different BUIS/handle setups, from a regular A2 handle and sight to the RRA tactical handle, the Dominator2 that allows you to put a red-dot on the removable rail/BUIS, and a plain old RRA standalone sight that would be an entirely serviceable sight all on its own.

Now, the bonus items may well have been changed, dropped or modified by the time you get this book, so don’t go hounding Rock River for the extras that “Sweeney promised me.”

How does it shoot? Nice would be a word to use. Accurate would be another. An eight-pound (before sights and ammo) AR carbine in 5.56 doesn’t exactly smack you in the chops every time it goes off, and the muzzle brake does a lot to remove what little steam there might be in the recoil. The trigger is clean and crisp, and has a short re-set (for those who care about re-set), so shooting quick pairs or follow-up shots is no problem at all. As with all aluminum handguards, if you shoot a lot, quickly, you’re going to heat up the handguard. So it would be best (if you’re a “heavy on the trigger” shooter) to have a set of nomex gloves in your shooting gear, just in case.

The Operator comes with the Ergo grip. If you like it, great. My odd, non-standard grip makes it not so useful.
Also, the black aluminum will absorb heat from the sun, so if you live in a desert or desert-like area, you’ll want to be careful picking it out of the rack. But that is not a feature unique to the Elite Operator; all aluminum-handguard rifles have that predicament.

The 1:9 twist is plenty good enough for all bullets up to 68 grains, and like the rest, it may or may not like a particular 75- or 77-grain load. Only testing will tell, and I’m not worried. It isn’t like I have a garage full of cartons of Mk262 Mod 1 ammo. It shoots just fine with M855 green tip, so I’m set.

If you like the RRA half-quad aluminum free-floated handguard (that’s what it is called, off of the Elite) you can get one from Rock River. It is a standard stocking item, and they’d be pleased as punch to send you one. You can even get it with the top rail full-length, just in case you want to mount something that can’t or won’t fit onto just a partial upper rail.

The shipping box is a real bonus. A hard case with latches on three sides (hinge on the other), it takes the rifle in its assembled form. You can have it in the case, ready to go (well, not loaded, that would be stupid) and won’t have to slap the two halves together once you’ve opened the case. While it might not survive being run over by a vehicle (and then again, it might) the case will certainly protect your Rock River Operator from normal abuse: dropping, falling off benches, getting kicked across the room by your clumsy buddies, etc.

Did I send this one back? Are you crazy? After all, I named the thing. Now go out there and buy one for yourself, so Rock River thinks I actually knew what I was doing.

Source: www.gundigest.com
The Rossi Wizard

Considering the price of barrels versus the price of a rifle in another caliber, the Rossi Wizard is a great choice for a shooter that wants to shoot a variety of calibers on a budget.

Rossi’s transformer of a firearm known as the Wizard is one gun with many barrels. Overall I liked the little gun outfitted with the .22LR barrel. The Wizard was plenty accurate enough to justify carrying her into the September squirrel woods. And when you consider you get three guns (.243, .22 and .50 caliber) versus just one, all for under $500 – well, that tends to make an attractive offer even more attractive.

Originating in Brazil, Rossi firearms – at least the long guns – are imported into the United States by Braztech International, LC, headquartered in Miami, Florida. In her purest form, the Wizard is a single-shot hammer gun and she doesn’t get much more complicated than that.

How It Works
Beginning with the receiver, Rossi’s Xchange-a-Barrel break-action is opened via a thumb release to the right of and slightly behind the hammer. Press down, the barrel hinges open, simple as that. Interestingly enough, the little gun features not one or two, but three safety mechanisms – a traditional transfer bar safety; a manual toggle-esque S/F safety on the port side of the receiver, which prevents the hammer from reaching the transfer bar; and Rossi’s – or Taurus’, actually – keyed security system.

Locking the system, in the case of the Wizard, prevents the hammer from being fully cocked. Speaking of the hammer, the MZL does come complete with a hammer spur that is very necessary for those, such as myself, who would immediately mount optics.

The .50 caliber MZL barrel features a 1:24 twist, measures 23 inches and is drilled and tapped for a Weaver style base. It comes equipped with fiber optics sights, front and rear. A single thimble secures the ramrod to the underside of the barrel; the remainder of the rod is housed inside the forearm.

The ramrod itself is brass, with a wooden (3-3/8 inch by 3/8 inch) 8-groove handle, and measures just 15-1/2 inches long, but does telescope to a full 23-1/8 inches. The barrel exchange process is as simple as is the gun itself: unscrew the front (forearm) sling swivel, remove the forearm, break the action, and lift the barrel away from the frame.

The Wizard’s stock might best be described as a high Monte Carlo style, with no checkering on the pistol grip and only a black plastic ROSSI-emblazoned cap on the grip.

The stock attachment screw, a metric hex bolt, is located underneath the pistol cap; not in an inline configuration accessed by removing the recoil pad as is typical. The one-inch ventilated rubber recoil pad is substantial, and separated from the buttstock by a wafer-thin white spacer.

Variety is the spice of life, and that’s particularly true with the Wizard. In addition to the .50 caliber muzzloader barrel, the company also offers a .45 caliber barrel. Along with the black powder options, Rossi also makes available three rimfire barrels (.22LR, .22WMR, and .17HMR); 10 centerfire barrels ranging from .223 to .45-70; and shotgun tubes including 12-gauge (rifled and smoothbore), 20-gauge, and .410 caliber. Several different aesthetic variations will be available such as such as black synthetic, traditional wood and blued, and camouflage.
Field Tested
I was impressed with the performance and functionality of Rossi’s .22LR, so the proverbial bar had been set relatively high before the .50 caliber ever got out of the house and onto the range. Perhaps not surprising, I wasn’t disappointed with her performance. Although typically a pelletized powder kind of guy, I decided to test the Wizard with both pellets and granulated powder, basically out of curiosity. Pyrodex products got the nod here; I’ve had nothing but good fortune with the company’s RS granular material and 50-grain pellets over the past decade or so.

For bullets, I chose a variety – 295-grain PowerBelt AeroTips (AT) and Hollow Points (HP); 290-grain Barnes Spit-Fire TMZ (TMZ); PowerBelt AeroLites in a 300-grain format; and 300-grain Knight Red Hot bullets using the High Pressure (black) sabot. Like the powders, I’ve used all of these projectiles over the years, and all with good success both on the range and in the field. Ignition was supplied by Remington’s Kleanbore 209 muzzleloader primers, and the barrel was swabbed clean between shots.

Mechanically, I experienced absolutely no problems throughout the course of the 50-shot run at the bench. Ignition was immediate and reliable and recoil was noticeable, though tamed somewhat thanks to Caldwell’s Lead Sled and a PAST shoulder pad. In terms of downrange performance, it was the 295-grain ATs that won out, printing 2- to 2-1/2-inch three-shot groups at 50 yards; however, I’ve never been extremely impressed with the ATs’ on-target performance in the field on whitetails.

The Red Hots, though a close second with their consistent 2-1/2-inch clusters, provide, it’s been my experience, extraordinary knockdown power on deer-sized creatures – and based on those observations will be what we’re stuffing down the Wizard’s gullet come December. Post-range cleanup was minimal, quick, and easy; pull the plug, scrub the bore, take a toothbrush to the plug, lube, install, wipe, and it’s over.

What didn’t I like about the Wizard .50 muzzleloader? At almost 9-1/2 pounds, she’s a heavy little thing, and quite barrel heavy and unbalanced. The telescoping ramrod, though understandable in this particular situation, does, at least for me, take some getting used to. Afield, my thoughts are to either pack a lightweight 25-inch fiberglass rod with me, or telescope the OEM rod and lay it alongside my pack – just in case I need to reload the Wizard with the quickness.

And I think the transfer bar and manual safeties are a bit of an overkill; in fact, I found the left-side manual switch to be rather inconveniently located for a right-hander, not to mention tremendously noisy when allowed to fall forward by itself. That said, a little practice with manual safety can help overcome both inconvenience and noise. Price? Online, I found the Wizard Matched Set, which includes wood-stocked .243Win, .50 caliber MZL, and 28-inch 12-gauge barrels for – ready?—only $325 (hinterlandoutdoors.com). That, if my math is correct, makes for three very different firearms for just a touch over a C-note each.

Rossi Wizard Specs
Make/model – Rossi Wizard
Caliber – .50 Caliber Muzzleloader
Operating system – Inline; black powder only
Barrel – 23 inches
Overall length – 38-3/4 inches
Weight – 9.4 pounds
Trigger pull – 5.6 pounds
Safety – Transfer bar; Rossi/Taurus key lock; manual SAFE/FIRE safety
Sights – Fully adjustable rear, fiber optic; fixed front bead
Finish, metal – Blued
Wood – Walnut stock/forearm
Recoil pad – One inch ventilated rubber, with white spacer
Accessories – Sling swivels; Weaver style one-piece base
Ramrod – Brass; expandable from 15-1/2 inches 23-1/8
Source: www.gundigest.com

Shooting the P226 by Massad Ayoob

The P-series double action SIGs are all “point and shoot” guns, whose designs do not require manual safeties. Some single action variations, the P220 SAO and the X-5 for example, have ergonomic frame-mounted thumb safeties that allow them to be carried cocked and locked. If you prefer a safety catch with your double action mechanism, you’ll need to look to Beretta, S&W, Ruger, or any of several other makers. On the other hand, if you buy into the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) theory that a safety/decocker on a double action pistol should only be used as a decocker, it should only function as a decocker. Otherwise, there is always the chance of the gun being inadvertently left on safe. An owner who draws and pulls the trigger is in for a nasty, silent surprise, because if he has not been using the lever as a safety he will not be habituated to flip it into the fire position.

If the right-handed shooter fires with thumbs curled down, thumb won’t block operation of slide lock lever.

The KISS principle’s permeation of police training helped boost SIG sales considerably. Beretta, Ruger, and S&W have decocker only models, with their spring-loaded levers mounted on the slides. Many people’s thumbs can’t reach that location as effectively as they can the SIG’s decocking lever, which is located on the left side of the frame behind the trigger. In the right hand, it is actuated by the thumb, and in the left, by the trigger finger. This kind of effective ergonomics is one reason for the SIG’s popularity among people who carry guns constantly and shoot them a lot.

One ergonomic downside, however, is the location of the slide lock lever. As the photos show, it is farther back on the frame than is the case with most other pistols. A right-handed shooter habituated to the high thumb grasp will over-ride the lever and prevent the slide from locking back when the pistol is empty. This problem can be solved with a lower thumb grasp. With no safety for the thumb to be verifying in the “fire” position, there is no need for that digit to ride that high on a SIG-Sauer.

Ayoob has often used the SIG-Sauer as a teaching gun, as have many on his teaching staff. It stands up to heavy and demanding use. Here he demonstrates recoil control at a Texas class by sending a stream of brass upward, and a stream of 230 grain .45 hardball downrange, with P220 SAO.
Mechanically, the pistols are superb. Expect your P226 in 9mm to shoot under two inches with most ammunition, sometimes well under. It may be a little looser than that with the .40 S&W round, which has never earned a great reputation for accuracy. On the other hand, in .357 SIG it is an absolute tack-driver. That cartridge is inherently more accurate than the .40. When testing various specimens for The Gun Digest Book of SIG-Sauer, a P226 fired from the bench at 25 yards put five CCI Gold Dot 125 grain .357 JHPs into an inch.
People will tell you that it’s difficult to transition between the double action first shot and the single action follow-ups with a traditional double action pistol like the standard P226. Actually, it’s all a matter of technique. Use a firm grip, get the index finger to the distal joint on the trigger for more leverage, and keep it there for the whole string of fire. If the first double action shot is giving you trouble, spend a day at the range doing all DA shooting. Fire, decock, fire, decock…a long session or two of this will condition your finger to both trigger pulls.
The short-reach optional trigger helps fit this pistol to a great many hands, including my own. It’s a simple retrofit for a gunsmith or SIGARMS certified armorer to accomplish, or you can just send it back to SIGARMS at Exeter for the retrofit. Magazines? Trust only SIG and MecGar brands. Grips? Springs between the frame and the grip panel are sensitive to incorrectly sized stocks. Hogue grips seem to work out well. SIG grip screws tend to work loose, and you want to pay constant attention to that.
Source: www.gundigest.com
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