Monthly Archives: November 2010

Mega Billet Receiver Set

Rainier Arms has kindly provided me with a Mega billet receiver set. I’m still gathering the components for a build, but my initial impressions are very positive. I can appreciate fine craftsmanship, whether it’s with a CNC machine or a whittling knife. These receivers are exceptionally well made.

Bushmaster .308 ORC 1 Minute Review

Normally, when I do a review, I talk, or type…you know, describe the weapon or component that I’m reviewing.

In this case, though, I think this video (and very little text) does a pretty good job of describing how the weapon has performed so far. I’m not giving up on it, mind you.

The third video clip is what I’d like people who say “if it works, it works” to pay special attention to…

Full Auto Fun – Er, Testing

Two quiet, unassuming gentlemen arrived at the range with some serious hardware while I was shooting. Naturally, I pestered them until they let me shoot one of my uppers on a Colt M16 lower.

I was able to take a fair amount of high speed video, which I will be processing a bit at a time…here are two short clips…

Spinoff Blog

Rather than post my political musings on this technically-oriented blog as I have done in the past, I’ve created a new blog for that subject. It’s called Don’t Tax Me, Bro.

This way, I can remain focused on why I created Vuurwapen Blog, and not offend or turn away some people who might be interested in firearms and gear but not my political opinions.

How to Ask a Technical Question on an Internet Forum

I might even make a flowchart on this topic…

Search

Chances are, someone else has either been in a similar situation, or had a similar problem. You might be able to get an answer immediately by searching. Depending on the forum you’re browsing, your search options might be limited – so try Google. Often, you can type a question into Google, and it will bring up forum results of similar questions asked by others. It’s important to spell things, especially technical names or numbers that Google might not auto-correct, correctly – the same goes for terminology. For example, “What LaRue Mount for Aimpoint CompM3″ is probably going to be more effective than “lowry scop mount lazer site”.

Also, don’t forget about “stickied” topics. They’re often full of excellent and helpful information, and are worth browsing before you post a question.

Why is this important? Well, most forums only allow 10, 20, 50 etc topics on the first page (which has the most visibility), so by limiting the number of unnecessary threads, folks with unusual problems can get help fast.

Contact the Company

This is especially true for technical problems. You might be absolutely convinced that your part is broken or that it was manufactured incorrectly, but it may be a design feature or you may be putting it together wrong. If you’re wrong, you could hurt a struggling small business by posting a false comment that will be accessible to anyone with Google for all eternity. If you’re right, you may get a quicker answer or a lightning-fast service offer if you call or email the manufacturer or dealer first.

There are a few exceptions. If it’s the middle of the night, and you’ve got a hunting trip or a shooting match scheduled at 5AM, it’s understandable to ask for clarification on whether or not there’s a problem with your gear.

In addition, if you’ve already contacted the company, and they either blew you off or were unable to answer your question – by all means, post online.

Most of the time, I have very good luck when I call manufacturers and dealers. Most of them realize that their reputation precedes them, and that sales in a cutthroat market are often based on how responsive they are to consumer needs and problems. Give them a chance to fix their mistake or help you out.

Use English

Unless you’ve got a seriously simple question, you’ll probably need to use more than one sentence – so use the period button and the spacebar. No, this isn’t grammar nazi-ism – if the people who are willing and able to help you can’t understand what you’re saying, you won’t be happy with the results. If you never learned how to spell, don’t worry, the readers will probably figure it out – but break up your words into manageable bits. Pretend you’re talking to someone at the counter of your local gun store – you’d stop to take a breath, right?

Describe What You Have

People who are trying to help you can do more if they know what you’re dealing with. My initial thoughts on “failures to feed” with a .22LR AR-15 upper on a registered full auto lower would be different than the same description with a semi auto 5.56mm weapon. Generally, what type of rail covers or what optic you have won’t affect function – but items such as action springs, bolt carrier groups, barrels, buffers, etc will. If you’ve recently changed anything, describe what you changed and how it functioned before the change. If you don’t know what parts you have, just describe where you got them – for example, “I bought this action spring from Hong Kong” will be helpful.

If you’re looking for advice on what to buy, this is also important. Someone with optics experience is probably going to recommend a different optic for a Remington 700 in .308 than they would for that full auto 22.

If You Have a Problem, Describe the Problem, Not Some Acronym

All too often, someone will post something along the lines of “I’m having FTF/FTE all the time, what should I do?”

The problem with this is that “FTF/FTE” are broad terms. Failure to feed? Failure to fire? Failure to extract or eject? You could mean “Failure to Function” when in fact the problem is failure to eject – all the time you and others spend chasing phantom problems will be wasted.

Describe exactly what’s wrong. If loaded rounds stop halfway up the feed ramps, say so. If empty cases are sticking in your chamber and the extractor is ripping a portion of the case rim off, say so. If the extractor is instead slipping off the case rim, say so. Don’t worry about using terminology that you aren’t sure about. Just describe the actual problem to the best of your abilities.

Be Patient, Be Respectful

You may not hear what you wanted to hear. You may not get the advice you wanted to get, or the justification for a purchase that you were looking for. You may not hear back from someone with a lot of knowledge right away. Don’t take your frustration out on the people on the forum. Fewer people will want to help you if you responded to the first few posts in a very negative manner.

 

 

I’ll probably update this, but it covers a lot of the common “mistakes” I see on various forums.

1911 Drop Testing

Although this is the sort of thing that I do occasionally, and have in fact conducted in the past, it is important to note that I had nothing to do with the testing shown below, and am simply reposting it from another location (with permission from the owner of the data). Drake is a law enforcement officer and 1911 gunsmith, and has done some excellent testing here.

1911 Drop Testing
The original testing used a 9mm steel firing pin and a 9mm titanium firing pin. The firing pin hole was then reamed for a .45 sized pin and the tests were repeated with .45 sized steel and titanium firing pins. All of the firing pins were weighed prior to testing. A Wolff XP firing pin return spring was used for all of the testing. All of the cases used for testing used Winchester large pistol primers. The frame and slide were donated by Gary Smith at Caspian. The pistol was built using techniques learned from Larry Vickers and Bruce Gray. The pistol was tied to a section of 550 cord, looped over a pulley, and dropped onto common floor materials. The magazine was loaded with 8 dummy rounds to bring the pistol up to proper weight. Four floor types were selected. Concrete, Pergo, 5/8 plywood, and shag type carpeting. The thumb safety was left OFF as preliminary testing with the safety ON indicated that damage to the thumb safety, slide, and plunger tube would occur with only a few drops. The hammer frequently dropped to the half cock notch during testing.
Firing Pin Weights:
9mm STI titanium pin— 2.17 grams
9mm Caspian steel pin — 4.45 grams
.45 STI titanium pin — 2.36 grams
.45 Colt steel pin — 4.30 grams
I was amazed at how easily a Series 70 1911 could be drop fired. Steel firing pins and concrete are a bad combination. 9mm sized pins and titanium construction will add several feet to your safe drop distance. I will be running Wolff XP springs and a Ti pin in all of my Series 70 type 1911’s.
I have attached an Excel spread sheet with the results. You will notice a lot of “Did Not Drop” entries. I saw no reason to drop test a particular combination of firing pin and flooring if it was not firing at higher distances or on harder flooring. I did several drops at various distances to get an idea of safe drop distances. This was to account for hard or sensitive primers. Each primed case was dropped only once. Just in case you were wondering, the pistol sustained significant damage. The muzzle is distorted from being dropped. I had to turn down the outside diameter of the barrel three times just to keep the slide from locking up. The muzzle, magwell, and grip safety have some serious blending in their future. Nothing sounds worse than a 1911 hitting the concrete from 10 feet!

The Excel file is attached here.

77-Year-Old Mexican Ranch Owner Dies Defending Home from Cartel Gunmen

When Mexican Marines arrived at the San Jose Ranch, 15 kilometers from Victoria, Tamaulipas, the scene was bleak: The austere main house was practically destroyed by grenades and heavy gunfire.

Outside of the home, they found four bodies. Cautiously, and with their weapons drawn, the troops continued inspecting the exterior and found two more gunmen, wounded and unconscious, but alive.

Inside the house only one body was found, riddled with bullets and with two weapons by it’s side. The body was identified as Don Alejo Garza Tamez, the owner of the ranch and a highly respected businessman in Nuevo Leon…

More here.

Easier AR-15 Front Sight Base Removal

Recently, I’ve been removing a lot of front sight bases attached with taper pins – which caused me to think of a different method of removal.

Traditionally, having a friend hold the upper in place on a solid surface and attacking it with a large punch and a large hammer has yielded acceptable results. However, if you’re not careful, or if you get a little carried away, you can end up damaging the front sight base. I’ve definitely been guilty of this in the past.

Now, the method I’ve been using can still cause damage if you’re not careful – but it seems to be much faster and easier. It doesn’t require a third hand, and if you do it right, no damage will result.

Basically, I place the front sight base/barrel assembly in the jaws of a vise at an angle – so that the small end of the pins are firmly seated against the vise, and the big ends are sitting just atop the other jaw, with enough of that side of the sight base clamped in the jaw that it won’t pop out like a zit when pressure is applied. On the other side, it’s important to get the small ends, not the base itself, against the jaw.

At that point, all one needs to do is tighten down on the vise. When enough pressure is applied, a “pop” will be heard as each pin comes loose. You might find it easier to do them one at a time, though the angles involved can be tricky – you may need to remove the sling swivel before you do the rear pin.

Of course, they won’t come all the way out – you’ll still need to use a punch to move them past the point where they’re flush with the surface of the sight base. However, a smaller punch can be used for this – with more precision. It won’t take much effort to get them all the way out.

I have done 5 front sight bases like this, and have yet to scratch one or leave a mark that can’t be cleaned up with a little cold blue. I can’t say the same for some of the FSBs that I’ve attacked with a hammer and punch in the past.

Naturally, the procedure would be much easier with a tool which would hold the barrel/FSB in place, keeping it from the metal jaws of the vise, and applying even pressure to each pin. I hope to have a prototype made soon. But if you’re at your wits end with a pinned FSB, and have access to a vise, this technique might be worth a shot.

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