Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Spacegun runs like a top! It was the RIA frame causing the problem the whole time.

After a short chat with one of our resident gunsmiths, I took advantage of a slow moment and detail stripped the frame. What I was after was the disconnector; the advice was that if the disconnect made contact with the magazine, it could be enough to hang it up. So, I carefully and slowly used a fine file to whittle away the surface that sticks out into the mag well until it was relieved and smooth as silk.

And yet it still showed the malfunction. I took it back apart again, looked over everything carefully... and determined the trigger bar was riding the magazine pretty hard, it was warped a bit. Bent it square, filed some burrs off, slid it back in... hesitation. Hrmm. Repeatably. So I removed a little bit more material at a time until it fit smoothly, no drag yet no play. Reassembled the frame, tried to replicate the problem again... and couldn't. Success!

The acid test came on the range, and the mechtech CCU performed flawlessly. Case closed. Soon though I want to re-disassemble the frame and put some manner of coating on the bits I filed to avoid rust later on.

Now, getting the thing working wasn't the big success. The big success was, I'd never detail stripped a 1911 before, and had only glanced at instructions how to about 6 hours before. What a beautiful design :) The only catch is, you can't expect a $399 version of it to run perfectly without *some* work... and now, I feel comfortable enough to venture building a new frame for the slide and barrel I have, without assistance. I will need to email Mechtech back soon, and let them know it's not their upper with the issue.

New blood....

Since it's payday and everything else is sorted out, I went on the hunt and have two scopes coming in the mail, eventually. I found a Tasco Pronghorn 2.5x32 for the NEF rifle, and I've got a Bushnell 3x9-32 on the way for the Marlin .22.

Not even $60 in 'em. Nice. So we've gone from cheap no-name scopes to cheap "name" scopes, and I hope these stick, otherwise I'm reaching right for the Nikon Prostaff and Leupolds.


My MechTech CCU is giving me a headache. I have two major issues going on;

1 - It has failure to fire malfunctions with anything more than 7-8 rounds in the magazine. I'm still diagnosing the why but the what is pretty clear, the disconnector is somehow hanging up... first round fires, the bolt cycles, strips the next cartridge and gets it into the chamber no problem, hammer is cocked, safeties in fire position, ease finger forward for reset.... nothing. I have to run the bolt, ejecting a perfectly fine cartridge, to get it to fire again, and then it FTFs again. I get every other shot until there's 7-8 left and it runs like a top.

This is more likely an issue with the frame than it is the CCU though; I need to do two things for "proper" troubleshooting... I need to borrow another frame for a bit, either another double stack or a single with an extra strong spring, and I need to remember to dig the original slide and magazine for the RIA frame and shoot it as a pistol.

2 - the base level stock is downright damned uncomfortable for me. By all means, spring for either the extending stock or the AR collapsible stock adapter, I'll be getting one of either shortly, or making something custom for myself. It looks easy enough to do...

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Ho ho ho. :)


Side note: I was just looking at my bound book. I bought my first gun on February 16, 2004.

Before that, I had little interest or real knowledge.

Amazing what can be done in 4 years, yes? 4 more firearms and I'll pass the 50 mark.

Monday, December 22, 2008


After some inspection and a short internet search, I know what I've got as far as the M16A1 upper goes.

It's a late '71 to 1974 production Colt, 1/12 twist chrome bore. This is from the marking "C MP B" on the barrel.

That's about all I've got for tonight, I'm pooped.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Failure is success.

The NCStar experiment comes to a close in failure. The initially good-looking 4x30 scope shot on the paper right out of the box, elevation dead on and windage 2" right at 25 yards. I go to adjust... nothing moved. I didn't overtorque the rings either, it's just flat busted. The NEF itself performed flawlessly, interlocking shots at 25 yards with some cast-off Rem 125 JSP .357mag I found.

Haven't tried the .22 scope yet, but my spirits toward it have darkened. I did notice that the BSA scope I had on there is *exactly the same*, just better dressed and with a longer tube for the magnification feature.

The mech-tech is a partial success; cranking on the red dot a bit got it where I can see the hit on the paper while aiming, but I stopped there with other issues to deal with... with the mag loaded more than 7-8 rounds it doesn't disconnect the trigger properly. Odd. Less than that though, and it runs like a scalded dog, very little recoil and incredibly controllable. That stock, however, will have to go... even with very little shock I've got a red patchwork on the front of my shoulder where it rubbed around. I need to find something that lowers the cheek weld/raises the body of the carbine, it's very hard to aim comfortably and I don't want to elevate the sight.

Win some, lose some... and I can say with certainty that the Chinese scopes are indeed junk after all; I just wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, and for $19 I got my answer. If I ever feel like it, I'll get a warranty replacement and see if it was just a bad unit or if recoil killed it by trying it out with light .38 specials instead of warm-hot .357mag.


Asides from the busted scope, on top of the NEF rifle is a nice set of Warne 1" high-profile quick-detach rings. I'm already set up for whatever else I put on, provided it's a 1" tube. Pricey, but very sturdy.

The Marlin 444 got your usual $20 set of Weaver scope-scratcher single side clamp rings. Again, carefully tightened with finger and thumb only on a regular screwdriver, no tube-crushing here.

I also took the opportunity to toss a few rounds through my freshly-repaired 50's M&P, and lead the bejeesus out of my Ruger SP101 by shooting 18 rounds of old .32S&W. Looked like there were two steps in each chamber afterwards, just horrible. Fun though :) I would have stepped out with Frankengun but it was here and I was there...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scopes are here.

I'm actually rather impressed. I bought a couple NCStar scopes on OpticsPlanet.com for super-cheap, expecting something to play with for a while until I figured out exactly what scopes to go looking for what gun. I may actually be stuck with these.

First is a 4x20 .22 rifle scope with rings. It feels fairly solid, but the adjusting mechanism is in a block that's screwed to the tube from the outside. Doesn't look bad, but I can foresee some possible issues. It still "feels" better than the cheap BSA that's on the Marlin 60 now, which came from walmart and cost twice this did. The tube and optics are good and solid, picture's clear, only beef I have quality-wise is finding some flash around the inside of the hole where the adjusting wheels are. Cost: $8.

Second is a compact 4x30 for the NEF. This is solid... appears to be nitrogen filled, again nice and bright with clear reticle, no quibbles over the level of detail. The lenses are coated, which I didn't expect. Adjusters are 1/4MOA per click, reticle is a P4 "sniper", all in all I'm pleased. Cost: $19. $19!

If they survive and perform, I'm stuck with 'em, and that may not be a bad thing. Even if they don't last I may still be stuck with 'em, they both have a lifetime warranty.

Not a Leupold or even a Nikon by any means, but for low-recoil, 50-100 yard plinking, I think they'll do.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fast answers to fast questions

Some Q&A that's occurred on the blog over the last few months:

1 - Why .32 Magnum in a snub for a carry gun?

Several reasons. First, I wanted a little extra capacity. Second, I'd studied up on the round itself and was rather impressed with it's capabilities (as far as a .312 bullet goes). The load I carry should be capable of pushing a 100gr hollowpoint to 1000fps, even with the tiny littel barrel. Third, followup shots are faster, since the recoil is less. When I first started carrying it, I proved this to myself by unloading the revolver full of Federal's 85gr load into a 4" circle at 7 yards in about 15 seconds. Could have been faster, but the accuracy would have suffered... but a human target at 7 yards would have accepted a lot of suffering and still been suffering. Fourthly... it's a little odd, perfect for Doc Strangegun :)

2 - "Now for a question that ties this and an earlier post together. Any recommendations on a scope for a Marlin 1894 in .357?" Well, if I'd had my druthers I'd have a 2x20 or 2x30 fixed power with the same ballistics marked reticle on the .444. I'm not big into optics, yet... but from what I gather, a 2x or 3x fixed is just about perfect for hundred yard shooting, and that's what most .357 is going to be. Any more power, and the field of view is going to suffer, as well as light levels. That said, there's a compact 4x30 coming in the mail which will live on top os my NEF .357. That's slightly overkill; but what I wanted foremost was a nice big aperture for light collection, and the fact that the scope was well reviewed and only $25 helped it along.

3 - "Please do as much testing as you can with your new .357 handi-rifle and publish the results." Ok, not really a question, but the rifle is in the shop, and I've already shot it... and it has impressively negligible recoil and an alright trigger for a cheap out-of-the-box smokepole.

4 - "What's the provenance on that upper? It's got a lot of...character." (In reference to November, AR15 assembled with A1 upper) Well, I'm not sure how to check, but it's supposed to be a vintage original A1 upper. If someone could clue me in on how to check, I'd be grateful.

5 - "What's the PPSh kit for? Building a semi conversion somehow?" Yes. Unfortunately, "somehow" is operative, as apparently I'm ahead of the curve on this one and may be sitting on it for a while until an "easy" receiver and barrel kit roll along.

Christ, I went back to May, and that's it? You people need to ask more questions :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Did I mention...

Did I mention that alongside the scope that arrived wednesday was my Tennessee handgun carry permit?

Finally. Yes, I waited a long, long time to get one... mostly because it wouldn't be that useful.

See, I'm drowning in work. I have been for years... I wake up in the morning and head for federal property, no guns allowed. As well, for years I've left that property and headed for the gun shop, private property, with the owners explicit permission to grab my S&W 432 in it's paddle holster and arm myself. And then I put that in the locker so it's available the next day, and I go home. Two, may three hours a week I'm puttering around in a grocery store in the "good" part of town. And when home, well, you've seen the collection, and at least two of those are ready condition 1 at any given time, on me or not. I don't go "out" . I don't wander around the city on foot. I don't drive a particularly valuable or even theft-attractive vehicle.

But the possibility always remained, so there's the permit. Coverage where lawful can now be at 100%.

The usual new permit-holders anxieties? I don't think they apply. I'm not particularly worried about "being made" and I've always wandered around with my eyes open (most of the time). What I am worried about? Forgetting... that one day getting almost all the way to work and remembering, to turn around and go home and empty the truck before heading in, drastically late since it's 50 minutes one-way. I like my job, for the most part, as well as liking my freedom and not having a felony charge leveled on me for an innocent mistake. But, that's an anxiety, not a truth; just one more sliver of responsibility tossed my way that I'll keep up with just as well as the rest of them.

In reality though, all this really means to me is when I go to the grocery store on the weekends I can toss one more piece of kit in my pocket and be truly prepared for the worst, instead of mostly prepared and lacking.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Ok, firstly, Cabelas rocks... I found one of their Pine Ridge scopes set up specifically for .444 Marlin, and it was on sale.

And not only that, they shipped ASAP without a hitch. All I need now are rings and time to zero it in.

Yes, I know that's a lot of scope for a .444, but the aperture is huge, the reticle is set up with ballistic marks, and field of view should be outstanding since I'm leaving it in 3x permanently. Did I mention it was $50?

Now, the dejected sighing part. Yesterday I called the company responsible for sending me the ITM AK74 receiver, since it has been squarely a month. This time, I got someone reasonable, who said it left on the tenth. Wha? So I scour the boxes at the range, and find one from the initials of the company, with nothing close to my name on it. Pop it open; there it is... one receiver, stamped, pre-finished, looks to be well hardened, says 7.62 on the side.


Yeah, they sent me the wrong one, and thanks to some jerkoff telling me it'd be weeks before it arrived, it's now well past the point of no replacements available for months. I'll be keeping it anyways... a $60 AK receiver is still no poor deal, even if it's not what I wanted. But dammit, no receiver for the '74! My options are to either make a plate or guides for the 74 mag in the 47 receiver, wait until 74s show up again, or bend a 74 flat up and make my own. None are terribly attractive options.

At least I got word that the RIA pistol is only a week or two off, and I should have an NEF rifle very, very soon. The only thing left to wait for will be the two el-cheapo NcStar scopes that are on backorder. Oh, and the PPsh41 kit arrived yesterday too.