Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

After deciding to add a scope to my AR, I had to get it zeroed in and see how it worked.  With the local ranges being closed until May and living in an urban area, I had to find another place to go shooting.  My dad’s was the only logical choice.  His backyard is where I did all my shooting when I started this blog and its the place that inspired the name as well.

20140315_170805I took my AR, my SKS, and my SR22, as well as enough ammo to last all evening.  The weather stayed decent most of the time and the only time it caused a problem was when the wind blew the target around.  We ended up shooting for an hour or two and managed to get the AR zeroed in as I had hoped.

I set up my AR using the CMMG 22lr conversion kit so that I could get the scope sighted in relatively close before making more adjustments with the more expensive .223 ammo.  It worked pretty well and everything was going pretty good for a while.  Unfortunately at some point my Millet Tactical scope mount came loose and we spent several minutes and a dozen or so rounds before realizing it.  We then had to undo all the changes we made and it was a mess.  It took about 40 rounds to get it set up because of that mount not being tight.

When we finally got it close I switched over to the .223 and zeroed it in a little closer.  I had assumed that at 50 yards 22lr and .223 would have hit the target closer together but they were about 1.5″ apart.  The .223 was hitting that much higher.  I spent about half an hour going back and forth between 22lr and .223 to find a decent middle ground so the scope will be close for both of them.  I’ve got it set up now so that at 50 yards the 22lr is about 1/2″ low and the .223 is about 1″ high.  For now that’s good enough but once the other ranges open up and I can shoot out to 100 yards or more I’ll probably focus more on just the .223 zero.  I’ll probably zero the iron sights for the 22lr at a range of like 40-50 yards or so.

SKS TargetThe highlight of the day though was shooting the SKS.  It always is.  For a gun with no attachments and few tactical applications, the “peasant rifle” is always a blast to shoot.  Everything about the gun is perfect to me.  While I would love to have a scope on it, its incredibly accurate using just the iron sights.  My dad, his friend, and myself, all shot the rifle from a resting position and we were hitting pretty close to center.  My first two shots were just a hair below the bullseye and all our following shots were equally spaced along the outside of the center area.  If it had been a 6″ plate we would have hit all around the edges and everywhere in between.  I took a picture after the first few shots but after that we let loose with it.  I think with a good bit of practice I could be deadly with it even out to 100 yards.

Overall we had a good time.  My guns are still shooting good and my skills have only deteriorated slightly.  I look forward to many more trips to the range like this.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here before but if not I’ll say it again:  I have a lot of hobbies.  I like to shoot guns, take pictures, draw, read, play video games, and cook.  I also like to sew.  I’ve only completed a few sewing projects but its fun and relaxing every time.  I definitely think sewing could be a survival skill and no man should feel too embarrassed to try to learn.

I decided to use my manly sewing skills to make a stock pouch for my SKS.  Here’s a look at the completed piece after I managed to get it secured in place:

20140316_194636

It wasn’t easy that’s for sure.  It took a few hours and I had to start over from scratch more than once.  The measurements were the hardest part to get right since the stock of the rifle features curves and angles.  Even after I got it finished I struggled to get it to stay in place.  The weight of a 10 round stripper clip was too much for it at first and I had to adjust the button locations to make it tighter.

20140316_190631I’m happy with the end result.  It does what I needed it to do and looks pretty good (Ignoring the poor edge/seam work) at the same time.  As it stands though there is no “lid” to the pouch so holding the gun at the wrong angle will cause the contents of the pouch to spill out.  I might add one to it but most likely I’ll just use this pouch as a model for an improved version in the future.  Maybe I can use some thicker, softer material so I get a nice cheek rest as well.

Just because you can buy something pretty cheap doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it yourself.  I had all the material for this already in the house but even if I had needed to buy everything it would’ve cost less than $5.  My only investment was my time.

What do you think?  How did I do?  Do you have any suggestions for improvements?  On a related note, have you made something similar for your weapons or survival gear?  Let me know in the comments!

I was talking to a friend the other day about whether or not I should sell my AR.  He was against the idea and told me if I wasn’t enjoying shooting it anymore that maybe I should change it up a little.  He suggested I reconfigure it with different attachments or come up with some challenges to make it more interesting.  I agreed to give that a shot before giving up on ol’ Frankenstein.

20140314_203021The next day a co-worker asked me if I knew anyone who would be interested in a rifle scope or two.  He was going through the attic at his dad’s and they came across 3 brand new Tasco scopes from 1984.  The good Tascos that were made in Japan and not the more inexpensive ones they sell now.  His dad was, and still is, addicted to auctions and estate sales, so they’re always coming across stuff they can’t remember buying.  I said I might be interested and he offered to let me try one out for a while and then we could discuss a price if I decided to keep it.

He brought it to me today and right after work I went home and immediately began the changeover.  I had assumed the rings from my red dot scope would work on the Tasco scope, but I was wrong; they were way too big.  I ran back to town real quick and bought a scope mount made by Millet Tactical.  It was way more expensive than just some basic rings but it definitely looks like its built better and is more reliable.

AR15_Mar14_2014The scope went on really easy and its all set up.  Now I just need some good weather and a place to do some distance shooting (the outdoor ranges in my area are closed until May).  I’m not 100% sure I like the way it looks but that might just be because I’m not good with change.  I’ve had that red dot sight on the rifle for a while now and I had really grown fond of it.  Now, to me at least, Frankenstein looks like the monster it was named after.

What do you think?  Does it look good?  Should I get a different mount?  Paint the mount?  Paint the scope?  Let me know in the comments below because I really need some outside input on this.

Mini14_Mar14_2014P.S. – The Mini-14 is now rocking the red dot and looking oh so sexy.  I do think it will be staying that way for now.  Besides making it looks more appealing it’ll almost certainly improve my accuracy.  I think the Mini-14 would look much better with a long scope than the AR, the trick is just finding a good way to mount it without having to modify the rifle.

Difficult Decisions

Posted: March 11, 2014 in AR-15, Guns
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been a while since I posted so I figured it was time to bring up something I’ve been thinking about for a while now.  I’m the kind of person who gets very attached to his things.  I love my material possessions, and while I know I could live without most of them, if I have the choice, I will continue to live with them.  That said, I’ve run in to a problem that I need some suggestions on.

Black and White AR15I’m thinking of selling my AR-15.  I love the thing like its a member of my family, but I hate shooting it with .223/5.56.  Its too loud and it kicks more than I would like.  Its just too light and the noise drives me (and everyone around me at the range) insane.  Shooting it with the .22lr conversion kit is a dream, but with the money my AR would bring I could buy an AR dedicated to 22lr and still have lots of money left.

Norinco SKS

Besides, the SKS I got from my friend has quickly become my favorite rifle.  The thing is incredible to shoot.  Smooth trigger pull, no kick, and really quiet.  So maybe I’ve just spoiled myself too much to enjoy the AR lately.  That said, there are lots of firearms out there that I would love to own, but its hard to buy guns without money.  I could probably turn the AR into 2 other guns and some ammo, but should I?  Could I?

How do you lose your attachment to a firearm which you’ve built with your own two hands?  How do you give up such a thing without it leaving a deep pain?  The money certainly helps the healing, but there’s something to be said for having that emotional connection.  And once its gone, its gone for good.

Give me some advice.  Let me know what to do.  Keep it and accept that I’ll not be buying another gun for a few years, or sell it, mourn its loss, and buy something different?

My resolution for the new year was to get out and do some more shooting this year and I started out strong.  I spent the first Saturday of 2014 out at the Hite Hollow range near Staunton, Va.  My neighbor had a new pistol to shoot so we loaded everything up and headed out.

I was very surprised at how well I did.  Considering I hadn’t shot any of my rifles in months, I was lucky I could even hit the target.  I really don’t like to let skills sit idle for that long, but I guess it was ok this time.  I managed some pretty tight groups with my two 22 pistols and was hitting extremely accurate with my AR at 50 yards with both 22lr and .223.

The only gun I shot poorly was my neighbor’s pistol.  I don’t think that’s a personal failure either as the gun is nearly the size of my head and I could barely wrap my hand around the grip.  At about 7 yards I was hitting the target close enough to be considered deadly, but the time and effort involved in lining each shot up would definitely have cost me dearly in a real-world situation.  I will definitely need more practice with a gun this size if I intend to ever use one, but for now I think I’ve decided that a 45 just might not be for me.

My SKS, as I expected, was the most fun to shoot.  There’s just something about the 7.62 round being fired from a gun with some wood on it that I really enjoy.  I would love to try shooting an AK47, but I’ll settle with the SKS for now.  It doesn’t kick, its very accurate (even with open sights), and it just looks so cool.  I used to consider my AR to be my #1 choice if things got bad, just because it can shoot two types of ammo.  I think I might be starting to change my mind.  After all, that Bayonet will be very handy when the zombies come . . .

 

From the time I first started delving into the world of firearms, one thing was abundantly clear:  The 1911 is the king of of the handgun jungle.  There have been many guns that have come and gone with little or no impact on gun culture.  The M1911 was clearly not one of those.  I decided to do some research and look into why this particular design is still so widely used and admired all around the world.

My first research came in the form of a poll.  I asked my readers to vote whether or not they owned a 1911.  If they didn’t, I asked if they wanted one.  Of the 30 people who voted, 20 said that yes, they in fact owned a 1911 of some form or another.  Beyond that, 5 people who didn’t currently have one wanted one.  Only a few noted that they didn’t want one at all.  I know that most of my readers are gun owners  and they probably own a variety of different weapons.  Not everyone likes the same things, and yet 2/3 of those who voted owned a 1911.

I decided to cruise the web in search of more information.  I found more than I could read in a lifetime unfortunately.  Every gun forum has threads dedicated exclusively to the 1911.  On some of those forums I found people just like me who were trying to find out exactly why everyone loves them so much.  Other forum members were trying to understand why nobody could accept change and innovation, preferring to stick with old designs rather than newer ones.  Many answered by simply saying, “If you have to ask, you’ll never understand the reasons”.  Others gave long answers that detailed every little aspect about the firearm and how it was still superior to most modern firearms.

Besides forums, I found plenty of articles and web pages dedicated to the 1911.  Over on The Truth About Guns they even have an article called “Why The 1911 Doesn’t Suck”.  Others, like Browning.com, have pages reserved for detailing the history of this great firearm.  And of course there is always Wikipedia with its collective knowledge of all the users who contribute.

I read a lot over the past few days and here’s what I learned about the 1911:

History

The 1911, designed by John Browning, a famous firearms designer in the United States, was conceived right around the turn of the century.  In the early 1900’s, the United States Government was looking for firearms to replace those it currently had in service.  Browning answered the call with his semi-auto handgun design and in 1911 it was adopted by the U.S. military as the M1911.

The M1911 saw service for almost 80 years and was with us through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, as well as several other conflicts.  Even after being officially replaced in 1990 by the M9, the M1911 still found limited use in the military.  Outside the military however it still remains a popular firearm to this day.  Many police departments still use the 1911 as their service pistol.  Outside the U.S. the M1911 saw service in countries including Brazil, Canada, China, the U.K., the Soviet Union, and many others.

Currently the majority of users appear to be civilians.  There are many different reasons people love the 1911 (which I go over a bit more below) but one reason that stands out a lot is its accuracy.  As a result of this, many competition shooters choose to go with a variant of the 1911 as their competition handgun.

Why Its Loved

  • Reliability – Almost everyone who talked about the 1911 mentioned its reliability.  It holds up to repeated use with virtually no complaints.  
  • Parts Availability – Anywhere gun stuff is sold you can find parts and accessories for 1911’s.  From barrells and frames to sights and grips, you can find almost anything you need to buid or repair a 1911.
  • Customization – As I mentioned above, accessories are available everywhere.  You can customize your 1911 to look and feel however you want it to.  For example, there are wider grips if you have big hands and brighter, easier to see sights if you have poor eyesight.
  • Appearance – Many people cited the way the gun looks as the reason why they loved it so much.  In my opinion it certainly is an attractive handgun.
  • Accuracy – The trigger on the 1911 is apparently very well made and easy to pull.  That, combined with the length of the barrel, provide the gun with exceptional accuracy.
  • History – Because the 1911 served with the U.S. military for 80 years it has a good following with military buffs.  Other people look at it as a patriotic firearm that demonstrates our innovation and inventiveness.  Others just like the nostalgia that comes with it.
  • Ergonomics – The 1911 seems to fit well in the hands of just about anyone.  In addition, the handgun’s weight is neither too much or too little.  Its light enough to be held and fired but heavy enough that recoil is reduced more than on other handguns.

Conclusion

Are there handgun designs out there that are better than the 1911?  Probably, but “better” is simply an opinion.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  The 1911 certainly has a lot of positive features, but its not right for every situation.  However, finding any one gun capable of filling every role is probably not likely to happen.

The 1911 has been around for over 100 years and has a following all over the world.  I doubt we will see its popularity decline for a very long time and that’s perfectly fine by me.  If I had the money to buy another handgun it would be a 1911 for sure.  My Sig 1911-22 is a lot of fun but shooting the real deal would be a whole other beast entirely I’m sure.

I’ve been promising to have more videos soon, and this is just to let everyone know I’m still working toward that.  I’ve created a new youtube account as well as a new email address for my blog.  This will help me keep personal emails and blog related emails separate.

The new youtube account is BackyardShooterBlog.  I’ve brought over most of the shooting videos I had on my other page.  Right now there are four total.  The newest is featured below.  You can watch it here or over on the youtube page, or not at all, its your choice.

Please forgive my appearance.  I was rather shaggy.  The next day I shaved my beard and buzzed off 90% of my hair.  Back to my normal look.  As I mention in the description of the video, this was a test of both my new camcorder as well as my new 10 round Black Dog Machine magazine.  I hope to get a review of the magazine up in the next few days so watch for that.

**  Updated on 3/21/13  **