Tag Archives: Firearms

Top 5 Best AR-15 Manufactures.

Question came in:

“Mad Ogre, can you make a list of the best AR 15 rifles according to your expertise? I’ve read you articles and it seems to me you’ve done your homework! Would really like to know which AR 15 manufacturer rifle would catch your eye!”

That’s a good question, but also technically complicated.  Saying “AR-15″ is like saying “Pickup Truck”.   Asking for the best Pickup Truck would require me to respond with “What are you going to do with it?” It’s far easier if I know the specific applications you are going to use it for, because of all the options and configurations out there.   And with AR-15’s there are far more nuances that go with them.   So instead of specific models, I’m going to simplify this.   I’m going to list in order specific manufactures.  Companies that are making production gun sold through dealers… not custom guns.

My TOP 5, Starting at the top and working down:

1.  DANIEL DEFENSE
2.  NOVESKE
3.  LMT
4.  LARUE TACTICAL
5.  BRAVO COMPANY

Runners Up:
ROCK RIVER
SIG

These are the only production AR-15 Rifle Makers that I would personally spend my own money on.    Reason I picked these are due to the overall quality and consistency that I have seen.   These guys are consistently putting out the best products.    Each one of these Brands are worth exploring.  Which specific rifle – depends on your application or the configuration that you are looking for.   These are also companies that I have personally talked with and know there commitment to putting out top quality rifles.   There are a couple other companies out there that could have made this list as a Runner Up – but I just don’t like their finished products…  I’ll give you one example.  Black Rain.  They are making some good products.  BUT.  Their finishes are ghastly and they insist on using a muzzle device that you could seriously use to drill through layers of sedimentary rock and discover oil with.  They have to ship them with a rubber cap over it because the muzzle device will chew through the packaging during shipping.  They WILL tear the crap out of any case you put them in as well.   For what purpose do you need that for?  It’s just tacky.  If they would tone it down – I could take them more seriously.

Now, let’s talk configurations.  For a Jack of all Trades configuration, I like a carbine length barrel, with full rifle length  handguards, and I like a free floating barrel.  I don’t like quad-rails, but I do like the option of putting on an accessory where I want it.  My favorite new rifle on the market that meets this criteria:

The Daniel Defense DDM4V11.

So if I had to pick just one rifle, that would be it.

 

To Refinish or Not to Refinish, that is the Question.

On my page about Firearms Finishes, a question popped in from one of The Horde.

For those new here, The Horde are like minded Readers of MadOgre.com – and by extension as some have said, members of WeTheArmed.com.  I’ll leave that up to you to self-identify as you wish.   

Question:  “Enjoyed the article on the different firearm finishes. I do have a question to ask….
I have come across an old Colt 1911 made in 1913. The seller states it has been refinished with the NP3 finish. Even though it appears to be a professional job, I’m concern that it defaces the value of the gun. Does anyone know if this devaluated the firearm any? I appreciate your responses.”

That’s a great question and an interesting topic.   Here’s the Short Answer:  Yes. Unfortunately any time you refinish a gun, you basically ruin it. Investment wise. Pure collector value issue. However for a working gun, it’s just the opposite. It restores and protects, and in the case of a finish like NP3 – enhances it.  So it really comes down to what you want the gun for.

The long answer:  We also have to take into account the value and condition of the firearm, as well as it’s individual history.  Let me explain.  Let’s say you have a Winchester 94 that your Pops got you when you were a Wee Lad.  It’s your working gun, your truck gun, your ever year deer getting gun…   It’s worn and getting corroded and could use some help.  This gun might be a “Pre-64″ example…. So off the cuff one would say, “No, don’t refinish it!”  However you have a lot of personal history with this gun and you want your kid to enjoy it too… and his kid.   Well, just the old Rub Down With Oil treatment isn’t going to cut it and that gun would get retired quick…. So maybe this example would be a good candidate to get a good refinish done.  Black-T or a good semi-gloss black Cerakote would be good choice for this.  Or, have a good gunsmith do a refinish with a Hot Blueing after some polishing up… So you can keep using it as you have been.

Okay, now say that same gun was your great grandfathers, well cared for, and is in really good condition…  It’s vintage was a lot older.  Well, in that case, it’s value could be quite high and such a vintage gun should be left as it is, or if you want to use it… Here, the decision is yours.

Now let’s say your great grandfather rode with Butch Cassidy and this rifle was own by one of Butch’s boys… or rode with Sheriff John Pope and ended would of Butch’s boys with that rifle.  Well, that gives that gun a much higher value than Book Value.  Of course – such value requires documentation to substantiate the history.  But let’s say you have that.   That changes things…. Refinishing that gun?  HELL NO.  That’s American History and should be preserved.   There will be Collectors looking for that gun.

Now there is another collector type out there… Blood Guns.  Weapons used by murderers.  I’m not going to go into that stuff… but those collectors?  They don’t even want you to clean it, so no refinishing for those guns.

Most modern guns though, mass produced, common types that are still in production… Refinish it however you like.  Really the skirmish line comes down to if it’s in production or not.   If it’s no longer in production – take a moment to think about getting it refinished or not.

Can’t Afford Training.

I get this a lot… Guy wants to train, but can’t afford it.
I understand this.  Ammo is expensive.  Training courses are expensive.  Training Videos are expensive.   (That’s like 2 boxes of ammo!)  And YouTube sucks for serious stuff.
So what’s a guy to do?

There is not secret magic tricks or spells to learning how to run your gun.  Basically it comes down to One Thing.  Keeping your gun running.  That means you need to master two skills.  Reloading and Stoppage Drills.  And most of this is Reloading.  Speed Reloads and Tactical Reloads.   I’ll do a video on this maybe this weekend.
A Speed Reload is when your gun runs empty and you have to reload fast.  Hence the name.  This is your #1 thing to practice.  If you practice nothing else, your Speed Reload is the one to work on.  The next is your Tactical Reload.  This is when your gun is not yet completely empty (something you don’t really want anyway) and you switch mags to a fresh full mag.  You still have a few rounds left in the mag in the gun so you want to hold on to it.  So you pull the partial mag out, and insert the full one, while holding on to the partial so you can use those rounds later.  The Malfunction Drills are important too… but it’s harder to practice those without firing some rounds.
The idea is to keep your gun “Up”.  If you can do that, you are solid.
You can practice your speed reloads while at home… in your apartment… in your office maybe.  While watching a movie or TV.  Clear your gun, empty a couple mags, and practice swapping mags.  It’s important to practice while standing, using your gear you would normally use.  So if you carry your spare mags in a pocket, that’s how you practice.  But I don’t recommend your pockets for spare mags – even though all of us do it at times.

If you get your reloads down, your well on your way.

Next time, we’ll talk about Dry Firing.  This is all about Trigger Control. That’s another critical skill that can be mastered without using ammo.

Glocks and AK’s.

Have to say, the guns I go to the most are Glocks, AK’s, and 870’s.
The 23 in .40, remains my most favored handgun for CCW.  The  model 20, in 10mm is coming in second.  The more I use the Glocks… the more I like them.  Not just an appreciation for the function… but liking them for the way they feel and point, the triggers…  The elegant simplicity of them… I just really like Glocks now.  I don’t know… maybe it’s the crash… but I really dig them and the more I’m around them, the 19 and 23’s stand out as the perfect handguns to me – even more so than the 1911 now.  Yup.  They crossed that line for me.  I like them more than 1911’s.  No they are not the prettiest, but they are still beautiful.  Kinda like the Girl Next Door that you grew up best friends with and there is that moment when you realize “You want that.”   That’s Glock.
My Crusader Kalashnikov is more and more my go to rifle.  I just really feel an attachment to it.  It suits me to a T.  It can hit.  It’s reliable.  Mag changes are getting much faster and everything is “Clicking”.  And I get more satisfaction out of running the Kalash well than running an AR well.
For the 870’s, my adopted Police Tactical is my favorite.  I have my other 870’s and they are cool and all… but something about that old wood furniture.  Nothing says I am going to “Jack You Up” like an old wood stocked gun… You just know you are going to get an old school beating.  The warmth it has when you handle it.  Wood is an under appreciated material to a whole generation of shooters and I find that a sad state.  Poly is fine – but Wood is finer.  Especially nice grained wood with character.  Again, Wood stocked guns have “Soul” that Poly guns just don’t have and never will.  They can’t.  I’ve said that before… And when I pick up that old Police Tactical… You can feel it has a History of Kicking Ass and all that experience is backing you up giving you some extra confidence.  A new 870 Tactical with a plastic stock – it’s like a new Police Rookie with his first pair of Mirrored Cop Shades.  The authority is there… maybe even the skill is there… But not the Character and Experience – that Soul just isn’t there.

These are my Guns of Choice.  What are yours?

Lever Action Collection

A fellow that shall not be identified has brought in his gun collection for liquidation.  Here are just some of the guns.

Winchester Commemoratives, some in .30-30, others in .38-55. Yes, this photo makes an awesome Wallpaper!

If there are any guns you want – Please come to Basin Sports in Vernal Utah, 511 West Main Street.  You have got to see these for yourself.  If you want to pay for one over the phone to have it shipped to your Dealer – Dude, I wouldn’t recommend it.  Some of these guns have the original boxes and they are DELICATE.

The gunfight is going to happen. Bring it.

You know it’s coming. Grab your long gun and your side arm. I think I had that question four or five times today talking to different people. Not zombies, not monster hunting, but a simple good old fashioned gunfight. What will you bring to the fight? And don’t say “Friends with Guns.” Just you. High Noon.
In all seriousness, if I know a gunfight is going to happen, I’m bringing one of my 870 Tacticals… most likely my old Police Gun. It’s slick as hell, being all Slipstreamed and running as reliable as the Sun Rise. It’s going to be loaded with Federal Premium FC 00 Buck. My pistol is going to be my Glock 23 in .40, loaded up with Winchester PDX1’s.
Why? Because they are SIMPLE and they are RELIABLE. Above all, they are going to deliver my violent will when and where I need it. No bells and whistles and tricks to remember. They are potent enough, with enough firepower on tap to end a hostile encounter – and to win that encounter.
I was thinking about my Crusader tuned AR… Gun’s not a problem. But my optic runs on batteries. Will they fail me? I don’t know. My Shotgun’s sights wont. I was tempted to say my Springer GI – because I can hit with it very well. But I like hollow points and I just don’t know for an absolutely certainty that that old 1911 is going to run my PDX1’s as flawlessly as I require. My Glock does, and I have more in the gun with one mag than my 1911 has with two, and that is an advantage.
I trust my Glock. I trust my 870. I trust them with my life. Hype, popularity, online smack talk… I don’t have time for that. It’s about Trust. Also, if I have to go Mele… I’m bringing a baseball bat, a heavy wooden one. A Louisville Slugger. Just saying.

Winchester 94-22M Temptation

We have a Winchester 94-22m .22 Magnum that came in on trade.  It’s sporting a nice peep sight set up, nice checkered wood stocks… really nice looking.  From a distance.  Up close the gun is ugly.  Pitting everywhere and the wood has more dings than I’ve ever seen.  Some are unfortunately too deep to fix, and wood was amazing.  New, this rifle would have been stunning.

The temptation is to restore it.  No collector value, that’s just gone.  This would be a rescue.

Remington R1, another look.

I’ve taken a closer look at the Remington R1 1911 pistol.  Six of them, actually.  When they first came out, my impression was favorable.  I liked them.  And I wanted to still like them.  For 699 they seemed to be a great deal.  And for some, meaning Remington Fanboys, they still are.

Closer examination of the R1 reveals a shortcoming I didn’t expect from Remington.  When I stripped them down and looked closely at the internals, I didn’t like what I saw.  The internal machining was sub-par.  A 450 dollar ATI has better machining.  A Taurus has better machining inside. Though for 699, you do get to beat your chest about “American Made”… right alongside Charter Arms, Auto Ordinance, and Hi-Point.  Great.

The good news is that Para USA is now making guns in the USA.  So if you want a Remington R1… Buy a Para USA Wild Bunch.