Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

It was beautiful outside today.  Its hard to believe that just earlier this week, we received between 15 and 20 inches of snow.  Today it was 65 out and the sun was shining.  Unfortunately there are still areas that are covered with snow, and those that aren’t, are just big mud holes.  Shooting wasn’t really an option.

As I mentioned in a post the other day I was waiting for a warm day to paint my rifle’s handguard.  Today I did it.  I went to the store and bought myself some Krylon Fusion gloss white paint, came home, disassembled my rifle, and started painting.  I enjoyed every minute of it.

The paint says on the can that it dries in 15 minutes or less and that is no lie.  Each coat I put on was dry to the touch in less than 5 minutes.  I painted my handguard, two of my 22lr magazines, and my pistol grip in less than 20 minutes.  I reassembled my rifle, sat back, and admired the results.  I am very pleased with how this turned out.

Black and White AR15

25 and 10 round 22lr magazines

25 and 10 round 22lr magazines

Paint blends in perfect with all that snow

Paint blends in perfect with all that snow!

Sitting on the fence post to dry

Sitting on the fence post to dry

So what do you think?  Did I do a good job? Or does it look stupid?  You can say whatever you want about it, I love it.  And I don’t see that changing.  But I always like to hear what people think about my guns.


The other day I wrote a post asking whether or not most people store their magazines loaded or unloaded.  The more I thought about the vague title, the more I was drawn to a safety rule we’ve always had in my house:

Every gun is loaded.

We always maintain that belief at home.  Never treat a firearm like its unloaded unless you have checked yourself and know 100%.  I know of a few other families and organizations that have a rule exactly like that.  Its just really good practice to assume every firearm you touch is loaded until you can confirm otherwise yourself.

So to go one step farther, even if you maintain the belief that every gun in your home is loaded, are they?  Is it in your practice to keep your firearms loaded at all times?  I’m kinda torn on this issue because I have mixed opinions.  I obviously don’t want someone to get my firearms and accidentally shoot themselves or someone else.  I also feel keeping a firearm loaded is good for home/personal defense.  And as a family friend says, “just in case that big buck comes walking through the back yard again”.

But because of my mixed feelings, the only weapon I keep loaded is my pistol; its always within arms reach and nobody else has a chance to touch it without me knowing.  None of my 3 rifles are loaded where I store them.  I do however keep a loaded magazine close by for an emergency situation that hopefully never occurs.  But where do you stand?  Let me know because I’m really curious.

I placed my rifle case up on the counter and unzipped it.  From it I removed the AR15 that I was custom building for myself.  I handed it to the guy across the counter and asked him to tighten the barrel nut for me.  He said, “No problem,” and took it to the back room.

“That’s an interesting choice of colors,” commented one of the other customers, sounding irritated.

“Yea,” I answered, “I’ve always liked the way black and white go together.”

He then kinda rolled his eyes and went back to whatever it was he was doing when I came in.

The above story is from this past September.  It was my first encounter with a subject that I knew would be controversial.  My rifle (if you haven’t seen it click here) is painted black and white, and I chose the color scheme simply because I liked it.  I wasn’t going for “winter camo” or anything like that.  Just going for a black rifle with a white grip and magazine.

I was really nervous about painting it from the start, primarily because of everyone else’s opinion.  I eventually gave in and decided, this is my rifle and I will make it however the heck I feel.  And I did.  Since its completion, I’ve had many comments on it.  Mostly about its features and accessories, what “brand” it is, etc.  But some of them have indeed been about why I chose to paint it white.

I always tell them the same thing, “I just wanted it to be different, unique in some way.”  They usually drop it if they don’t agree with painting an EBR (evil black rifle) any color besides camouflage.  But the ones who think its neat sometimes talk more about it, or talk more about colorful rifles they’ve seen in the past.

I can understand some peoples’ attitudes about “colorful” guns.  Makes them look like toys, cops might not realize the weapons are a real threat, etc.  There’s an article over on The Firearm Blog where it discusses and shows the colorful guns that were seen at SHOT Show.  Some of the comments left by viewers are below:

  • “Is dangerous and stupid paint a firearm like a toy. OK for camo, but a big no for toy’s color.”
  • “Makes them look kinda like toys, which isn’t too great an idea”
  • “Your car isn’t a toy and can kill people, better keep it functional black ONLY”
  • “it not stupid to paint firearm, All 5 of my guns are all pink I do not see them as a toy ok”







Its very easy to see the differing opinions on the subject just from the comments left on that one page.  I’m certain if I searched through some forums I could find some even more expressive thoughts on the matter.  But I don’t need or care to.

I am of the opinion that anyone can paint anything they own any color they want.  Be it their house, their car, their wallet, or even their own body.  As long as its not offensive, go for it.  Personally, I wish more people painted their Dodge Neons in brighter colors.  I mean, neon colors are usually bright right?  Well why are all the Dodge Neons dull colors . . ?

Anyway, back to the point.  My rifle’s appearance is an expression of my personality and its function.  I don’t hunt with my rifle.  If I did, it would probably be a camo of some sort.  All I do is shoot paper.  I don’t see how I’m hurting anyone by having a “colorful” rifle.

What are your thoughts?  Anyone think its blasphemy to paint a rifle anything unique?  Or is your rifle rainbow skinned?  Personally I could really go for something like THIS.  Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

Today I participated in the “Staunton Shoot n’ Greet” at the Hite Hollow shooting range in Augusta Springs, VA.  I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and I wasn’t disappointed.  I got to meet a lot of people and saw a bunch of different firearms.  It was also my first time at the Hite Hollow range so I was able to get a look around.

I didn’t do a whole lot of shooting during the several hours I was there, but it was enough.  I shot 80 rounds through my Ruger SR22 and 40 rounds through my AR15.  There were about 10-15 people with the group and I didn’t want to take time away from others who shoot there frequently.  I just hung back and talked to everyone, shooting whenever I got the chance.

The wind was pretty bad and most of the targets everyone was setting up just kept falling down.  Eventually Dale (the event coordinator) brought out some plastic colored balls and tossed them across the range.  Everyone had a blast trying to hit them while the wind blew them back and forth.  I managed to hit the balls 22 out of 32 times with my AR and 31 out of 65 with my SR22.  Not bad at all for me.

Safety is a big deal for the group and Dale lead the entire group in a sort of briefing at the beginning to make sure everyone was on the same page.  Even people who weren’t in the group took notice when he blew his whistle and called “range cold” or “range hot”.  It was nice to see everything so organized.  I’m used to several groups of people trying to work together but never really being on the same page.  Dale’s method kept everybody safe and ensured everyone had a good time.

I would highly recommend that anyone in the Staunton or Augusta County area come to one of the meets and have some fun.  Its free and they meet once every two months.  You can find more information over on their website.  Their rules, FAQ’s, and lots of other information is right there and easy to find.  You can also sign up to receive email reminders whenever the group is going to meet.

Thats me off to the left in the brown coat

**  Updated on 3/18/13 to include an image from the shoot  **

I’ve been a fan of dot sights since I first began customizing my Mini-14 almost two years ago.  They’re great.  You get a single point sight that does not require lining up a front and rear sight.  This allows extremely fast target acquisition   Most also feature customizable reticles that allow you to change both color and shape.

My first red dot sight, made by Aim Sport Inc, wasn’t that impressive however.  I went more with cost than quality when I bought it.  It suffered significantly in sunlight due to glare and later in its life it became near impossible to zero.  On a few occasions  it even had some double vision.  These problems eventually became too much and when I built my AR15, I decided to invest in better optics.

My next choice (currently installed on my AR) was far above the first in terms of quality.  I knew that I needed something that would prevent glare.  I also needed something strong that would last.  But I still didn’t have a huge budget.  I ended up purchasing a red dot scope made by CP Tactical for $49.99.  I think it is the perfect match of cost and quality.

Not only does this thing look cool mounted on top of my AR, but it performs spectacularly.  There are 4 different reticle shapes and it works in both red or green.  Each color also has 5 brightness settings to better control reticle size and visibility.  Windage adjustments are extremely simple and clearly marked on the unit itself.  It even came with flip up covers for both the front and rear of the scope.

Zeroing the sight is pretty easy at 50 yards.  Beyond that however, it gets tough.  The reticle inside the scope covers about 4″ of a target at 100 yards.  Making precision shots at that distance is fairly difficult.  But at 50 yards its pretty simple and you can clearly see the changes you make to the sight from shot to shot.

This thing has also proven itself to be very sturdy.  The other day, right after I adjusted the sights, one of my bipod legs collapsed and the whole rifle fell hard onto the bench.  My attempted catch ended up causing the scope to take most of the fall.  But when I set it back up and slapped a magazine in, it shot in the exact same area as before.  I was very impressed.

And to top things off, its very easy on batteries.  My first red dot sight chewed through batteries left and right.  If I went to the range I always made sure to have at least two spare batteries with me.  With the new one, I’m still using the battery I put in it this past September.  Evidently the 5 brightness settings really help manage battery consumption.

So to summarize  if you can’t decide on optics for your rifle, definitely consider a red dot scope by CP Tactical.  I don’t think you can beat its quality for the low price tag.  I’ve been very pleased with mine and I don’t think anyone would regret buying one of these things.

I’ve been wanting to go shoot for weeks now, but I didn’t get a chance until this weekend.  I took the opportunity and braved the cold and wind.  I put on my coat and gloves, loaded up my car, and drove to the West Side shooting range in West Virginia.

When I showed up there were two groups of people shooting.  I was surprised to see anyone there considering the weather conditions.  But by the time I got everything out of my car and over to one of the benches, one group was leaving.  So for about 45 minutes it was just me and two other guys.

They had a whole arsenal of weapons with them.  From pistols to high powered rifles and everything in between.  The most impressive was their gigantic 50 caliber bolt-action rifle.  They only shot it four times while I was there (at more than $5 a shot I can certainly understand that) but it was impressive all the same.  The shock wave from each shot could be felt all the way at the other end of the range, and even with my ear protection, it was really loud.  I can’t imagine being on a battlefield where fully automatic guns this size were going off in rapid succession.

After those guys left I was alone for about 45 minutes before another group came in.  These were younger kids, probably just over 18.  There were five of them all sharing one rifle.  When I told them I was leaving they went back to their car and got the shotguns and skeet.  I was very glad they waited until I left for that since it’s against the posted rules.

How I Did:

During the two hours or so that I was there, I only shot about 150 times.  And that was all spread between my AR15, SKS, and SR22.  I spent most of the time working on being more accurate.  Training better, not excessively.  I can’t afford to just blow through ammo like I used to.

With my Ruger SR22 pistol, I worked on double-tapping the trigger.  I would stand with the pistol lowered toward the ground with the safety on.  From that position I would raise the gun, take it off safety, and quickly fire twice (the first shot double action and the second single action) at the target.  More of a self defense exercise.  For the first time trying that I think I did really good.  All my shots hit the target and most were in the center 6″ of the target.  My closest two were 2.5″ apart and my farthest were 5.5″ apart.  As I get better with that I’ll start with the pistol in it’s holster and repeat the other steps like before.

With my AR15, I used the practice time to zero in my iron sights at 25 yards.  Because my red-dot scope is my primary sight, I keep it zeroed between 75 and 100 yards.  My irons are on the side of the rifle at a 45 degree offset.  With this set up I can quickly switch from mid/long range shooting to short range.  In the event my red-dot scope fails (battery dies, gets knocked off zero, etc) I can also immediately switch to another sight with little to no effort.  With my red-dot scope, my AR’s 100 yard 5-shot groups were 4.5″ each.  Not too bad for the guy pulling the trigger.

Saturday was also the first I spent much time with my SKS.  It’s simply a fantastic rifle.  At 50 yards, my first three shots were all in the exact center of the target horizontally.  Once I got used to how it was shooting, I was tearing up the center of the target.  I even pushed it out to 100 yards which is something I don’t usually do with only iron sights.  Every shot hit the target and I was actually really impressed with how I did.  My three 10-shot groups were about 6″ each.  Four shots were in the center 2″ bullseye and the rest were all right around it.  I was supporting the rifle with only my arms resting on the bench.  This thing is really accurate.  Thanks again to Aaron for parting with it.  I love this thing.

All in all it was great to get back to the range.  I forgot what it was like to smell the powder.  To feel the rifle kick my shoulder.  Heck, even pulling the trigger again felt good.  And since my ammo updates are indicating more ammo is becoming available, I think I’ll be hitting the range more often.  At least I hope to . . .

This post is in response to a post by my fellow blogger, rmactsc, in which he lists his top 3 “go to weapons“.  He then goes on to post about each individual weapon in more detail.  It was a good idea and pretty informative, so I thought I should do the same.

Since I only own 5 guns, my selections are pretty limited.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have my favorites though.  So below are my TWO picks for go to weapons.  If I owned a shotgun (I hope to get one for my next purchase) I would include one of those as well.

For my go to pistol, it would be the Ruger SR22.  I’m forced to pick a .22 caliber pistol since that’s the only caliber I own.  But there are several reason I would choose the Ruger over my Sig 1911-22.

1) Portability:  The Ruger is smaller and more compact, allowing convenient concealed carry, but large enough to feel comfortable in my hand.
2) Accessories:  The Sig has more appearence-based accessories out there but the SR22 has a rail under the barrel.  Great for adding a laser of flashlight.
3) Ease of use:  The Ruger SR22 features easy to use controls which are all easy to reach as well.  Swapping out the 10 round mags is a breeze.
4) Maintenance:  The SR22 is far easier to breakdown and clean than my Sig.
5) Ammo: Not only is the .22 one of the most popular (and therefor available) calibers on the planet, the SR22 is not picky.  Very few brands of ammo have caused malfunctions.  The SR22 functions flawlessly 99% of the time.  My Sig is way too picky to rely on.

For my go to rifle its a hands down win for my AR15.  Even being a custom build this thing is extremely reliable and has yet to let me down.


1) Reliability:  I have yet to have a serious malfunction with this rifle.  I’m very comfortable knowing that when I pick up this rifle, its good to go.
2) Ammo:  Because I have a conversion kit, this rifle is capable of firing both .223/5.56 ammunition as well as .22lr.  Switching calibers takes less than 60 seconds.  This essentially doubles the ammunition I have available.
3) Accessories:  My AR15 has a “flat top” upper which means there is no carry handle.  Instead there is a long rail for adding scopes or sights.  The handgurd also has a bottom rail for things like lasers, flashlights, and bipods.
4) Accuracy:  This rifle has proven itself to be far more accurate than my personal skill can show.  My other rifles are great, but definitely not as accurate.
5) Weight:  I built this rifle with weight in mind and as a result it has a lightweight 18″ barrel and polymer handguards.  Without accessories it weighs just under 7 pounds.
6) Ease of Use:  Swapping mags is a breeze, as is working the safety.  Even the stock and sights are easy to adjust.

So those are the reasons I chose these two guns as my go to weapons.  I’m sure there are other reasons that I haven’t even considered but the biggest reasons are mentioned.  What are your go to weapons?  We’ve all got our favorites, so which guns would you grab in a crisis situation?  And what shotgun(s) should I consider for my next purchase?  Let me know what you think!