Halloween can be a little stressful, when it comes to the conscientious concealed carrier. What may be recognized as a threat any other day, is just someone trying to give their pancreas an extra workout for an evening.
Our friends over at U.S. Law Shield/Texas Law Shield put together a quick video addressing some common issues, and some interesting insight into how we, as concealed carry folks, should approach certain situations on Oct. 31st.
Just a reminder, many of these laws stated in the video pertain to Texas only, and you should always check out your states laws, as they pertain to your individual situation.
As an all-around, go-anywhere, do-anything rifle, the CORE 15 Scout carbine is a top contender. Accurate and reliable, this is also an affordable AR15.
by Bob Campbell
The AR15 rifle is, to me, the Winchester ’73 of this century. Useful for hunting or personal defense, useful as a lawman’s gun, and also a great all-around rifle for building skill, these rifles serve thousands of Americans well. There are more-powerful rifles and a few more accurate, but none as versatile as the AR15. The rifle illustrated is the newest addition to my modest AR15 battery. While “best” is a relative term, I do not own a rifle better made than CORE Rifle Systems CORE 15 Scout. Some have more features, but then so do the higher-grade CORE rifles.
I have been prodded for the last year or so, not to test and evaluate this rifle, but to own and use an example. My oldest son, Alan, can do things with a rifle — and a lathe and press — I could never do, although I can still shoot with the best of them. Alan is also the best shot I know. Several times he has mentioned the fit and finish of the CORE rifle. The CORE slogan, “Where mil-spec is just a starting point” seems to be true.
The rifle illustrated is one of several models offered. The Scout is the base model. However, this is similar to a Colt 1911 Series 70 in concept. If you begin with a great handgun, you may upgrade the barrel and barrel bushing and have a match gun. You may add combat sights and have a good combat gun. On the other hand, you can just purchase a Combat Elite out the door.
The CORE rifle offers much the same options. If you buy a cheap 1911 or a cheap AR15, you will have to replace it at some point when you reach the skill level at which the firearm is limiting your performance. With the CORE rifle, you may add a superior optic or front rail at a later date. In my case, I already own a heavier AR15 with a heavy forend and a good quality scope. I like the Scout rifle for faster work and will probably leave it as issued.
I don’t think it makes horse sense to start with a cheap rifle. I have also seen many, many parts guns that simply did not work. It is fine to build your own if you use quality parts but so many do not. When you consider the amount you will expend on ammunition and training during the course of a few years, the price of a good rifle over a cheap rifle isn’t that great. Besides, the CORE rifle is affordable and well made of good material.
I began my examination by popping open the receiver and checking the bolt. The bolt carrier key must be properly staked or the rifle simply isn’t worth having. The CORE carrier looks good. Next, I checked the trigger. The compression is smooth enough with some take-up and a clean break. The rifle is delivered without sights, so I added a carrier handle with aperture sights. A good fit and all looked well.
The rifle is supplied with a single magazine. I added a stack of Magpul PMAGS and various aluminum magazines from the ready drawer. They have been proofed by previous use, so any problems would have been due to the rifle or ammunition, not the magazines.
Choosing my ammunition wasn’t difficult. The Winchester 55-grain FMJ USA White Box load is a great place to start. Accurate, clean burning, and always reliable, this is my number one resource for checking function in a new AR15 rifle. I lubricated the rifle well and locked the first magazine in. I loaded 25 rounds in the 30-round magazines. These first 25 rounds were far from boring but uneventful. Every load fed, chambered, fired, and ejected normally.
The rifle was sighted in at 25 and then 50 yards. Fifty yards is about the limit of my ability to register excellent groups, but the 100-yard groups are not bad, just below the potential of the rifle. It is no mean trick to keep three shots in two inches at 50 yards with iron sights, which I consider good off the bench rest. I fired a few of the Winchester Ballistic Silvertip loads. These are excellent choices for all-around use in.223. The Ballistic Silvertip is offered in 50- and 55-grain weights.
Frankly, with an iron-sighted rifle, it is almost just making empty brass to test such a load at long range. However, each load proved more accurate by a margin than the FMJ load. I like to confirm zero with a new rifle — just in case I get a shot at a coyote or broad-side a deer. I also fired five rounds of a dwindling supply of the Winchester 69-grain MATCH loading. This is a credible loading with much to recommend at the football-field mark.
Settling into a solid firing position off of the benchrest, I kept the rifle as solid as possible and squeezed the trigger straight to the rear with concentration on the sights. I took about a minute per shot. I usually fire three shots at 100 yards, but fired five and took the long walk with anticipation. I did not earn bragging rights, but three of the five rounds were in two inches, the other two opened the group to a full 3.5 inches. The dog will run, but it needs good glass to see the way.
Once I confirmed the zero, my grandson and I fired four magazines at targets at known and unknown ranges. Paper is good to confirm sight regulation, but firing at this type of target builds field skill. The CORE rifle handles quickly and has proven completely reliable. You cannot ask for more than that.
Bob Campbell is an established and well-respected outdoors writer, contributing regularly to many publications ranging from SWAT Magazine to Knifeworld. Bob has also authored three books: Holsters For Combat and Concealed Carry (Paladin Press), The 1911 Semi Auto (Stoeger Publishing), and The Handgun In Personal Defense (The Second Amendment Foundation).
Don’t waste time and money collecting half-boxes of “loser loads.” Here’s how to start and finish load work-up in one day.
Last time I talked a little about keeping your ammo pressure-safe, under a range of conditions. Quite a bit of that dealt with observations made during load work-up. So this time I’d like to talk more about the work-up process I use.
The reason for the term “work-up a load” is pretty clear: we’re almost always looking to get the highest velocity we can, safely. High velocity, or, more clear, higher velocity, is usually all good. Shorter time of bullet flight to the target means less drop and drift, and a harder impact.
So working up means increasing propellant charge incrementally until we’re happy. Happy with the velocity or happy that the cases are still able to hold water. Ha. As said last time, it’s vitally and critically important to have a stopping place, a goal to be reached, prior to testing.
I also mentioned an “incremental” load work-up method that I have followed for many years, and it’s served me very well. I do all my testing and work-ups at the range. I load right then and there. I take boxes of sized and primed cases, and my Harrell’s powder meter, and a small press that I c-clamp to a bench. The press, of course contains my seating die. And the most important pieces of gear are a notebook and a chronograph.
Before the trip, I have taken the preparation time, done the homework, to know exactly how much “one click” is worth on my meter. It varies with the propellant, but by weighing several examples of each click-stop variation (done over at least 4 stops) I can accurately increase the charge for each test a known amount.
I work up 0.20 grains at a time. Sometimes it’s more if I’m reading a low velocity initially. Since I have a meter with a “Culver” insert, which I trust completely, I actually reference the number of clicks in my notes rather than the weights. I check after the weights when I get back home, and I do that by counting to the setting and weighing the charge. It’s easy enough also to throw a charge into a case and seal it over with masking tape.
I started loading at the range because I got tired of bringing home partial batches of loser loads. And, you guessed it, the partial boxes usually contained recipes that were too hot. The only way to salvage those is to pull the bullets. Tedious. Or they were too low, of course, and fit only for busting up dirt clods. Plus, I’m able to test different charges in the same conditions. It’s a small investment that’s a huge time-saver.
During my work-up, I fire 3 rounds per increment. As it gets closer to done, I increase that to 5. Final testing is done with 1 20-round group. Does 3-round volleys seem inadequate? It’s not if there’s confidence that the rounds are being well-directed and speed is being monitored. If I’m seeing more than 10-12 fps velocity spreads over 3 rounds, I’m not going to continue with that propellant.
Here are a few things I’ve found over the years to better ensure reliable results. Learned, of course, the hard way.
Limit testing to no more than one variable. I test one propellant at a time, per trip. If you want to test more than one on one day, bring the bore cleaning kit and use it between propellant changes. Results are corrupt if you’re “mixing” residues. Same goes for bullets. Otherwise, though, don’t clean the barrel during the test. Don’t know about you, but I fire my most important rounds after 60+ rounds have gone through it, so I want a realistic evaluation of accuracy (and zero).
Replace the cases back into the container in the order they were fired. This allows for accurate post-testing measurements. Use masking tape and staggered rows to identify the steps. I use 100-round ammo boxes because they have enough room to delineate the progress.
Use the same target for the entire session. (Put pasters over the previous holes if you want, but don’t change paper.) This helps determine vertical consistency as you work up (when you’ve found a propellant that shows consistency over a 3-4 increment range, that’s better than good).
Exploit potentials. If you take the lead to assemble a “portable” loading kit, the possibilities for other tests are wide open. Try some seating depth experiments, for instance. Such requires the use of a “micrometer” style die that has indexable and incremental settings.
Go up 0.20 grains but come off 0.50 grains! Said last time but important enough to say again here. If a load EVER shows a pressure sign, even just one round, come off 0.50 grains, not 0.10 or 0.20. Believe me on this one…
Last: Keep the propellant out of the sun! I transport it in a cooler.
A better AR15 trigger means a different AR15 trigger. Which essential type is right for you?
Good triggering mechanics aren’t wasted on a bad trigger, but a good trigger can quickly increase triggering skill. And, no kidding, it’s way on easier to control a shot break with a trigger that’s consistent and at the least not “heavy.”
So you have an AR15… We don’t really much talk about stock AR15 triggers. They’re bad. They’re safe and reliable, but it’s such a “mousetrap” design that it’s really not likely to make improvement using conventional approaches, namely files and stones. The metal is heat-treated and the hardness is shallow. Any intrusion beneath the surface of the sear (the nose-end of the trigger bar assembly) or the hammer hook reveals soft metal, too soft to maintain a geometry change.
So. We rely on aftermarket trigger systems. There are a good many. Problem is that not a many are good. This article will address trigger systems from a more “general” or overview approach. Yes. I have favorites. Yes, also, there are a few I don’t like. I’m more liable to name names in my books than I am here over the interweb in front of God and all the neighbors, and that’s because my preferences are largely subjective.
The aftermarket began addressing AR trigger issues a good long while ago, and the first idea was to produce essentially the same hammer and trigger pieces, but with improved precision and better geometry, mostly improved precision, in the mating surfaces, plus some mechanism adjustment means. The next steps were total redesigns, including adaptations from other systems. I’ll focus this rest on one of those designs.
Now I hope also to answer a question that I get time after time after time. It would be hard to have shopped AR15 replacement triggers and not come across “two-stage” triggers. So, the question is, “What’s a two-stage trigger?”
What it is, is, well, it is what it does: there are two separate and distinct stages or steps to the trigger pull. In a true two-stage, the first stage is free-run, of varying distance and resistance, taking up the secondary sear, and then there’s a stop, which is the primary sear engagement. Then any more pressure drops the hammer. So it pulls back, stops, and from that point, the shooter decides when to loose it. Or not. Shooter can let the trigger back forward, regroup, and go at it again. Being able to get on and off the trigger, and feeling it stop against the second stage, makes for a more competent, confident shooter. We know with certainty when the shot is going to fire. We’re in full control of it. We’re already holding some tension on the trigger. Makes the next bit easy. A two-stage doesn’t have the “delicate” feel of a single-stage.
This style is the preeminent design used in serious purpose-built competition rifles, and this trigger type has also been integrated into previous U.S. Armed Forces rifles, namely the M1 and M14.
Safety is the primary reason a two-stage was incorporated into service-rifle designs. As said, the two-stage gives the operator a clear signal. Unintentional shot release is far less likely.
There are a number of two-stage triggers available for AR15s. They vary widely in cost, and also in quality. Any and all, though, are a radical improvement over stock. For those looking primarily to fire focused, accurate shots, I very strongly recommend a two-stage. They are the bomb for “common” shooting circumstances.
But. They’re not for everyone, not for every application. Here’s what’s bad about two-stage triggers. First, foremost, and most noticeable, is the relatively huge distance-to-reset compared to a single-stage. Trigger “reset” is when the disconnector (which has captured the hammer as the carrier cycles) hands off the hammer to the sear. The hammer can’t fall again until the trigger resets, so the trigger can be pulled again. The trigger resets when it’s let back far enough forward to activate the sear. There is some amount of reset distance in any semi-auto trigger, and the AR15 already has a significant amount. The amount of movement from being pulled fully to the rear and let back forward until reset is what I’m talking about here.
Rapidly successive shots are a challenge with a two-stage. 3-Gun-type shooters, or any who are in wants or needs to fire shots in very rapid succession, are more effective with a good single-stage. All that swing in the trigger, back and forth, back and forth, is not conducive to best performance in hosedown-mode. It’s harder to ride the trigger at higher and higher speed when the trigger travels so far.
Next time I’ll talk more specifically about options and also the “modular” or “drop-in” AR15 triggers, plus a few tips and tricks to make any AR15 trigger better.
A high-school student in Manville, New Jersey was suspended and ordered to undergo psychological evaluation resulting from his assigned classroom presentation on an “anti-gun-control” topic.
Originally reported by News 12 (New Jersey)
Frank Harvey, a Manville High School (NJ) senior says that he was suspended from school and ordered to go for a psychological evaluation after an anti-gun control project he was assigned last year was found on his thumb drive.
He had left the drive in the school computer lab room, and evidently someone found it, saw the presentation, and alerted school officials. That was on a Monday. On Tuesday, Harvey was suspended by the Manville School District for the content on the thumb drive and said that he had to undergo a five-hour psychological exam before he could come back to school. Manville police were called in and questioned Harvey, but cleared him of any wrongdoing.
“I’ve never been a violent person,” said Harvey. “I’ve never had detention in my life.” Harvey’s mother, Mary Vervan, said she will not subject her son to such an evaluation for no reason, and decided to pull him out of school. He turned his books in on Wednesday and signed a school withdrawal form, and Harvey says he will now work towards earning his GED.
Harvey had been assigned the project during his junior year for a College and Career Readiness class. The assignment was to come up with a topic that, according to Harvey, would “provoke class discussion.” He chose an anti-gun control viewpoint, communicated through a video presentation he produced. The presentation was impressive enough to earn him an “A” on the project, he said.
His teacher, Rachel Gottfried, has since denied giving her College and Career Readiness class the assignment and approving his topic, Harvey said.
“It was assigned by the teacher, and I got the topic, which was anti-gun control, approved by the teacher. She said my project would be perfectly fine,” said Harvey, “I presented the video to the class and took a few questions from my classmates. My presentation went over well. The whole idea of the assignment was to expose students to an idea they hadn’t considered before.”
“What the response of the school tells me is that I’m allowed to do my school work as long as it agrees with their point of view on an issue,” said Harvey.
His presentation gave examples where people using guns have thwarted home invaders and argued that people should be able to protect themselves. The presentation also shows political cartoons suggesting that gun-free zones are ineffective.
School officials were contacted for comment, and Superintendent Anne Facendo said only, “The school district is not at liberty to make comment on any issue pertaining to confidential student information.”
There’s more information out there to be found on this story as it continues to unfold, and be debated. What do you think?
Gavin, much like the rest of us, doesn’t like to spend a lot on brass, especially if we’re not looking for dime-sized five shot groups at 300 yards, so the Ultimate Reloaders takes us through a step-by-step guide on how to form .25-45 Sharps cases from .223/5.56 Brass.
Click Here to visit Ultimate Reloader to follow along each of the steps in the process!
Christmas came early for those of us who follow Hornady, with their announcement of new products to expect in 2017. Let’s kick things off with the product launch video. Just a head’s up, it’s a beefy video, with tons of products listed, so if you want to break it down into multiple parts, then Click Here.
WOW! Here’s a few of the big takeaways we’re excited about…
Case Prep Duo:
Let’s start with the Case Prep Duo. Chamfering and deburring will be afar easier process with this handy little tool, with handy being the operative word. The swivel handle allows what is essentially a powered hand drill, to turn into a table top case prep station, stabilized by two rubber feet.
Lock-N-Load® AP Tool Caddy:
Keep your commonly used reloading hand tools in easy reach with the L-N-L Tool Caddy. Swivel the arm to accommodate a righty or a lefty, then fill the arm with whatever tools you need to keep you focused on the task at hand.
Best said by Neil Davies, Hornady Marketing Director, “Without a doubt, black guns are the most popular firearms in America right now…” Hornady took this fact to heart, and began to make ammunition which would optimize the performance of America’s favorite guns. “Loaded with legendary Hornady® bullets, Hornady BLACK™ ammunition is designed to fit, feed and function in a variety of platforms. Direct impingement, gas piston, suppressed, unsuppressed, inertia, bolt, pump, supersonic, subsonic, rifle, mid-length, carbine or pistol – Hornady BLACK™ ammunition delivers superior performance for a variety of applications. Made in the USA.”
One of the most valuable tools to any reloader, is knowledge, and what better way than with over 1,000 pages of well over 1,300 loads, including some new ones, like the 280 Ackley Improved, 7×64 Brenneke and the 338 Federal.
We’ll be reporting, in-depth, on the multitude of new Hornady products hitting the shelves soon, as well as a timeline as to when you can expect them to appear for purchase at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Stay Tuned!
Did you watch the whole video? Was there a product mentioned you’d like more info about? Let us know in the comments!
Always on the lookout for new, and more difficult trick shots, 22plinkster once again pulls off a great shot with what seems like little effort. Our wheels are spinning after seeing Plinkster split his latest playing card. Check out the video below:
He’s always taking suggestions, folks. Any ideas for 22plinkster on how to split his next playing card, or any trick shots you’d like to see?
We’ve all felt the tension in the air as this election cycle winds up to it’s climax. Folks, especially those of us in this sector, are keenly aware of what’s happening in the industry, and the country, when it comes to everything involving our Second Amendment.
Gavin, at Ultimate Reloader, recently started an epic series on the much beloved AK-47. Follow his series right here, and check out the video below!
“After much preparation and experimenting with some new storytelling techniques (see the video below), with this post I’m kicking off a long-term series that will celebrate the AK-47, and go into many aspects of the 7.62x39mm cartridge, including a bunch of content and detail related to reloading 7.62x39mm ammunition for the AK-47 and the SKS. It’s going to be both educational and FUN!”