Tag Archives: Rifles

Must Have Upgrades to your AR

Everyone is now getting into the AR Platform.  Either in the .308 size, which we can call the Heavy, and the AR-15′s classic .223/5.56mm size, which we will just call it an “AR”.    We’ve seen people from all walks of life coming in and buying their first AR type rifle.  They’ll come in and look at all the variety and it can be bewildering.  Really when you ask the guy at a well stocked gun counter to look at an AR, that’s like saying you want to look at a “Truck”.  It really doesn’t help the guy – or you – out at all.  Tell him what kind of an AR you want.  “Varminting”.  “Tactical”.  “Basic”.  Give the guy something to work with.   He wants to help you get what you want.  It can be frustrating and a huge waste of time if he hands you a dozen different AR’s and you say no to everything because your wasting his time letting him show you Tactical configurations when you are wanting a Varminting type rifle.  I’ve heard at another gun store the clerk getting fed up and saying “Why don’t you come back when you know what you want?”  That’s a failure from both parties if that happens.  You are the customer, you have the money, you have the control here… so try to guide that clerk and help him.  Most Gun Counters are staffed with guys that either don’t know any more than you do about guns and are just Helpful Sales Staff, or they are dedicated Gunnies that don’t have those Sales Skills.   Very few Gun Stores are staffed with Guys that know how to help a customer and know their way around Firearms.

So you get that cool AR that you want.  What do you need with it?  We can start at the front or back, where do you want to go first?  Front?  Okay…  At the Muzzle, most AR’s are coming with a standard Flash Hider.  This is a device that defuses the muzzle flash and reduces the light that is emitted when you shoot at night.  This is a good thing on a military gun.  Not all that helpful on most AR’s though.  But it looks “MilSpec”.  Many milspec looking flash hiders will help reduce muzzle climb a bit, but mostly they just make the gun louder and “Look Cool”.  There are a lot of different options out there, but I like to go with a Compensator or Muzzle Brake type device.  This is going to redirect the muzzle blast in such a way as to pull the rifle forward for the net result that you feel less recoil.  This is going help you keep your sights on target.   On a tactical gun, where you are buzzing off multiple shots, it helps you keep all those rounds in the kill zone.  On a Varminter, it lets you keep your target in your scope so you can see your hit, even at long range or if your scope is at high magnification.   Either style gun you go with, this is a good thing.

For this, I suggest a BATTLECOMP unit.  They are compact, light, simple, and is designed by a NASA Engineer.  You know those guys… they used Rocket Powered Sky Cranes to lower a Robot down to the surface of Mars.  What more pedigree do you need when it comes to expertise in Vectored Thrust?

Moving back into the action, the heart of the rifle is BCG.  The Bolt Carrier Group.  Really it isn’t so much who’s BCG you use, but how you treat it.  The very best thing you can use for your BCG, is SLIPSTREAM.  Here is a very long thread about Slipstream with lots of people’s impressions after using it.  You can order it from Amazon.com, and if you throw in a couple UPRISING books, then you’ll even get that Free Shipping.  There you go.  What makes Slipstream an Essential addition to the gun is that it makes that BCG so slick, that it increases reliability in all conditions.  Especially in extreme conditions such as with heat and dirt.   You can use it just like a regular oil, and use it generously.  The more you use it, eventually the less you’ll need as the nano particles will embed and become permanent.

Under the BCG is the trigger mechanism, again, Slipstream, but under that is the pistol grip.  Most AR’s are coming with the standard A2 Pistol Grip.  This grip is one of the very worst ever conceived by man. Or in this case, conceived by a very effeminate she-man with tiny girly hands that drinks while holding a pinky up.  This grip should not be on any AR of any type, no matter what.  Ever.  The grip is a more personal thing here.  I can’t tell you specifically which one to get.  But get one.   Magpul has two out, the MOE and the MIAD.  And now there is a rubber coated MOE version as well, so I guess three.  Get the MIAD if you are going to bother.  You can set it up to fit you best.  There is also the ERGO grip, which I like.  And the Hogue grip, which is also a very good grip.  Other companies out there are making grips, and there are some good ones.  Tapco, Mako, US Palm, Tango Down, etc… pic one and get rid of that crappy A2 grip.

Up on top of the gun, you need sights.  Depending on your configuration, you may need a set of Iron Sights for the front and rear.  If that’s the case, the set to get is from Diamondhead.  If you are going to run just irons on a gun that doesn’t come with them, these really are the only option.  But a set of Diamondheads even as a back up is absolutely the way to go.  Don’t think that if you are going to use Irons as a backup to your Optic, that you can cheap out on them.  If you are in a situation where you really need your Back Up Sights – you probably are going to want some accuracy with them as this is probably a very critical situation.  Don’t cheap out here and get the cheap Magpul flip ups… Popular and Good are too different things.  Don’t make me mention Lady Gaga.  Yes, I just said that the Magpul flip up sights are the Lady Gaga of rifle sights.  We don’t like plastic sights on our Glocks, why would we actually want them on our Rifles?  MapPuls are good because they are cheap and light, and that’s it.  They are place holders until you get your Diamondheads.   The Diamonheads are excellent because they actually let you be more precise with your Sight Alignment.  This means better accuracy.  Tighter groups.  And I think they even help you get that sight picture a little faster than standard Peep Sights.

Red Dot or Magnified Optic?  For a simple low cost Red Dot, there is only one option worth spending your money on.  Lucid HD7.  You can pick them up for 200 bucks, and it’s money very well spent.  If you can’t afford the Lucid, don’t buy something cheaper to hold you over… just save your money and run Iron Sights for awhile.  That will get you your Lucid quicker.  If you want something higher end, there are the optics from EOTech and Aimpoint.  Which ever one you like the best is fine.  The Military uses both for a reason.  Tough and Reliable.  Going up from that, there is Trijicon.  They have the SRS which I am quite fond of.  Up from this, we can look at the magnified optics, and again, Trijicon is the Cat’s Meow.  Higher end than that, and you have Elcan, which we at Crusader Weaponry put on our Broadsword rifle for Demo purposes.
Then there are the 1-4 variables.  Burris makes a few good ones.  They make some half decent fixed 3 or 5 power units, but I really like their 1-4′s… but the one to get is Trijicon if you can splurge for it. Really, which optic to pick really comes down to what kind of shooting your are doing, your eyes, and your style.  This is a more personal option here.

The stock.  There is nothing wrong with the standard A2 or M4 style stocks.  But the Magpul MOE and CTR stocks are becoming very common now days.  And adjustable stock can be a good thing, but too many guys are stroking their buffer tubes like a 14 year old boy with a playboy.  Don’t do that.  Set it to a length that fits you and leave it the hell alone until you have a reason to adjust it.  It’s not a toy.  It’s a freaking Rifle Stock.  If you are spending time playing with your stock, you are wasting time that could be better spent, I don’t know… reloading magazines or sharpening your Becker BK9 Combat Bowie knife.
Some stocks have storage compartments.  These should only be for 1 thing.  Batteries for your Optic.  Don’t keep anything else in there.  Everything else can be kept in your pack or vest or LBE, glove box, wherever.  But not on your gun.  I’m not even sure I like storage at all on my AR’s anymore.
My choice for a stock?  Just a basic Magpul MOE stock is good.  It looks sharp, it’s light, and it’s simple.

What do you guys think are Essentials for an AR.

It’s growing on me

This is not a Prop from the set of STARGATE.  This is not Admiral Adama’s sniper rifle.  This is not a mock up for the new HALO game.  It’s the TC Dimension hunting rifle.

It’s “Wash Your Eyes Out With Bleach” ugly.  The option of swapping barrels means nothing to me… So why do I like it?

Well, as stupidly hideous as the damn thing looks… it feels awesome when you bring the gun up to your shoulder.  And the trigger… honestly, it’s one of the best “Hunting” triggers I’ve ever felt on a gun intended for actual hunting.  It has some weight to it… but there is no movement and it breaks as crisp as any gunwriter metaphor can equate.  It’s not a Bench Rest Trigger… but you don’t want that on a Field Gun.  Too many people think they do… and those people are terribly wrong.  You want a trigger that has a touch of deliberate intent, and then breaks exactly at the moment you want it to.  Like this trigger.  The height of the comb is perfect for when you mount any reasonable scope.  This allows a good consistent cheek weld, consistent aim through the scope… and combine with that trigger… this is going to let you make those once in a life time shots all the time.

.22 Rimfire for serious defense?

I’ve always scoffed the use of .22LR for Self / Home defense.  But consider the following.

The HK MP5, in .22 LR.
CCI Stinger, a .22 round at 1640 FPS.

A combination such as the above as a lot of potential for a .22LR House Gun or Truck Gun.  The Stinger is pretty much the hottest thing going for .22LR that I know of.  It claims 1640 FPS, which is smoking for these little Rimfires.  Put 25 of those little suckers in a little carbine such as this HK MP5, or an S&W M&P15-22, or even a good Ruger 10/22, and you just might have something there.

I know I don’t want to catch any of these Stingers, and certainly not 25 of them.  That’s a pretty goodly amount of fire power in a package that even a small child or frail adult or very strange ladyboy could handle with little problem.

We’ve nodded at the value of a training analog using such rimfires to offset the cost of ammunition with 5.56mm and the like.  Ammo is expensive, but luckily .22LR can be had in bulk at the average price of 20 bucks for 500.

As a survival tool, .22LR is a clear winner for sure.  Packing 500 rounds is pretty easy compared to 500 rounds of anything else.  Lots of ammo on hand, cheap ammo, it has a lot going for it.

.22LR is a very lethal little round when used with good accuracy.  It’s killed quite a few things over the years.  And it’s been used with success as a defensive tool as well.  However the point of Defense is not to Kill.  The point of Defense is to Stop A Threat.  The mad man with the knife is the model often used as an example, and perhaps this is unfair for the rimfire, as it’s also unfair to most handguns… only thing that really works there is a 12 gauge anyways and even then you are going to use multiple shots, so what chance does your 9mm have let alone a .22?    The most often “Defense Use” of a weapon is pulling the gun up, pointing it at the Threat and saying “STOP”.  This usually works because even stupid bad guys don’t want to get perforated regardless of caliber.  And a scary looking .22LR like the picture posted is probably going to be every bit as effective for this purpose as anything else.  If not, you have 25 bullet points in your argument to present… I am thinking that this might be convincing enough.

Wild animals don’t speak English, and can be unimpressed with your fancy gun regardless of caliber.  Noise often scares them away and any gun shot can do the trick quite often.  Having a high capacity here is a very good thing though because if the warning shot (ONLY FOR WILD ANIMAL THREATS OUTSIDE OF THE CITY) fails to send the critter running away, it’s going to come at you.  Some animals are much tougher to stop than others.  Badgers for one.  I hit one with a car and then a .45 and it just got pissed. (I was the one that ran away!  Evil little fucker!)

The key here with a .22 LR for Defense is ammo.  You want to use the good stuff for this.  And I’m talking STINGERS or VELOCITORS.  I’d not use anything else.  The cheap bulk stuff is good for plinking and practicing, but for serious use, keep your mags full of the quality made stuff.  Mini-Mag HP’s are the Minimum.  Shot Placement is more critical than ever here because the stopping factors such as hypovolemic shock are not going to come into play here.  The hotter rounds as mentioned are your best bet for penetration and tissue/organ disruption.  Hollowpoints are advised as well.  Not because they expand, because they rarely do reliably… but because the flatter ogive cuts more tissue instead of pushing it apart out of the way.  To get the Shot Placement that is so needed, practice becomes very important and again, the .22LR lets you do this.  So if you are practicing all the time with your .22 and you can make 5 fast hits in a blink at the sound of the buzzer… that’s a pretty solid defensive response.

Feel free to discuss or argue below.

An all Titanium AR.


I was asked if Crusader could do this. WHY? Crusader builds serious use guns. Titanium would be as much as an advantage in a fighting gun as Spinners would be on the Hubs of Police Cars. Besides, Titanium has some problems. Galling and Cold Welding being among them. The rifle according the Nemo’s site is almost 9 pounds. So instead of getting one of these, how about an armory full of Broadswords?
From the video, the guy says it is “Wildly impractical for the End User.”
Hey, if they want to known for making expensive useless crap… They just unlocked that achievement. Using Titanium just to say “It’s Titanium” is rather asinine. Titanium isn’t Magic. But that’s fine for them. Crusader will remain known for making seriously excellent guns and lubricants.

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.

Henry’s US Survival AR-7

The gun shop I work at is now stocking (Well, we got in a few of them) the Henry US Survival AR-7.

Normally, I’d avoid anything having to do with Henry rifles… Not that there is anything wrong with them, I just don’t favor them.  I don’t like Ranch Dressing either.  Nothing wrong with it, I just think it tastes like rotten mayo made for the devil’s own excrement… So it’s just a matter of taste.  Everyone likes different things, and this is why the Gun Industry has such a wide varieties of ways to kill things.

The AR-7 was originally made by Armalite for the US Air Force.  The idea was that this was a part of a Pilot’s survival kit should they be downed in a nice woodland area filled with tasty furry critters so the pilot could have a couple days of hunting before they get picked back up.  (Yes, that was intentionally tongue in cheek) I don’t know how many the Air Force picked up, but they did buy a few.  But not enough for Armalite to hold on to the gun… They sold it to Charter Arms for couple hundred bucks and a bag of roasted walnuts.  Charter made them for a few years and then just stopped.  Henry picked up the old design and is now making a slightly improved version.

Armalite, Charter, and Henry… this is a trifecta of Uncomfortable Dislike for me… As I am not fond of anyone having anything to do with this rifle.   Yet there is something about the little AR-7 that I like.  It’s very light, simple, and it does what its designed to do perfectly.  The gun its self though, is far from perfect… its sights are poor, its action is overly heavy and gritty, and its trigger… well, I have a house full of wall switches that have a better pull… Yet there is something about the collective whole of the little rifle that is most appealing.  It’s not that it is light, because it balances very awkwardly with it’s fat hollow asymmetrical stock.  It’s not that it’s cheap… you could buy a number of other .22 rifles that are more accurate and better built… just better rifles… for the same price as an AR-7.  And it’s not that I am planning on flying over Russian Wilderness on some mission that might get me shot down.  And it’s not that “It Floats”… because I was diving once in a lake and found one of these on the bottom.  (Okay, I had found an older Charter and it was filled with water… Evidently Henry has improved the Floating qualities) I’m not planning on going Kayaking with a rifle.     The AR-7 has an intangible quality to it… something I can’t quantify… but it’s there.  It’s Cool.  The AR-7 rifle is a Cool little rifle.  It’s stripped down and simple, like a rifle version of a Cafe Racer type Motorcycle.  Being Cool, the AR-7 makes no apologies for not having a forearm, good trigger, or decent sights… it doesn’t have to… because it’s Cool.

I’d love one if it had a folding stock instead of the bloated hollow stock.  And I’d love it even more if someone made a version in .22 Magnum.

 

Dear Savage

I really love my Savage 93R17 rifle.  It’s accuracy is staggering. Easily on par with .17 caliber rifles costing twice as much.
Unfortunately you guys have the worst magazines out there. The mag its self is kinda sad, and the way it locks on the rifle is just stupid.  Sharp edges, finicky feeding, and slow to use.
Please do something about that.

Lever Flavors

In one of the comments was the question… What Caliber for a Lever Gun?
This depends on the purpose of the gun. For just having fun, for defense, or for hunting big game? Really it comes down to a Rifle Caliber or a Pistol Caliber.
For a Rifle caliber, you have .30-30, .35 Remington, and .45-70.
For a Pistol caliber, you have .357, .44, .45, or .44-40.
Each option in either category has it’s following. For plinking and defense work, a pistol caliber will do just fine. The .357 is mild and most of those rifles can also run .38 Special. Loaded hot, .357 magnum can be a beast from a rifle barrel… making it just fine for any big game you want to take a bite out of. For defense it’s probably ideal. If you are going to let kids or delicate womenfolk who think they are too sensitive for anything stout shoot your gun, load those .38 Specials and it’s a pussycat.
Stepping up, I really like the .44 option. I’ve killed a lot meat with .44 Magnum out of a 16″ barrel and it’s a bigger push than .357, but very manageable and you can still shoot it fast. With full house loads I’ve made accurate hits out to 400 yards. With Cowboy Action loads, really downloaded lead heads, it’s spot on at 100 yards. I’d have to put an optic on it to really get the accurate out of it that the gun is capable of. But I don’t want to do that. Yet.
I’ve not been impressed with .45 Colt, and .44-40, while a great round, is not one I’ve spent any real time with… only a box or two over the years.
In the rifle options, you can take the biggest game in North America. The .30-30 is the classic and will do most anything you want unless you are Bear Country.
.35 Remington does better on bruin and elk, but has no popularity in the wide open western spaces. A great option for timber country. It shoots much like a .30-30 but does so with a bigger heavier bullet.  It’s a personal favorite as well, but in Utah they are as rare as hen’s teeth.  Hitting with a bigger bullet is always preferred over hitting with a small bullet – when it comes to making loud noises and breaking things.
That leaves .45-70 Government… the authority… the big stick. It can drop anything in North America that has a heart beat, but has some dramatic thump to it… I like the .45-70 a lot… and from recent posts, you guys already knew that.
So for general use and flexibility, I’d probably say a .357 Magnum is the one to go with. This was the original caliber I was looking for in a Rossi Lever with a 16″ barrel.  Waited a year for the .357 before I gave up. But I am glad I did, because I am truly loving the .44 Magnum.  For a tactical, defensive type rifle or a plinker to have fun with… I don’t think the .357 option can be beat.  If you can find one.

My Personal Guide

I had to.  After shooting Evil Jim’s that bloody thing just wouldn’t get out of my head.

I had to join the Guide Gun Club. So I looked at what we had at the gun shop and I picked out this little thumper. It’s nothing fancy at all, just a Marlin 1895GBL in .45-70. It’s going to do just fine for my needs. The Guide Gun has always been a gun I’ve wanted since I’ve had just about all the others. Finally got my own.

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I might have to order some Wild West Guns sights for it… but other than that, I’m keeping it nice and simple and stock.  No rail, no red dot, no “Tactical”.  Just Old School Thumping Power.  Gotta love it.