Archive for the 'AR-15s' Category



John Lovell On Why Slings Matter

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago

Barrel Length Versus Bullet Velocity For The 5.56mm

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

Via WRSA, this article is a nice summary of what I take to be the delivered wisdom on the subject.  I’ll let the readers peruse the subject material and make comments, but this one graph is worth the work to develop it.

While Pete focuses on the fact that peaks out at about 20″ (and properly so), I’ve usually taken the popularity of 18″ barrels as evidence that there are tradeoffs, and those additional 2″ means added weight to the cantilever for very little increase in meaningful muzzle velocity.

At any rate, take note that your 16″ barrels (or shorter, 14.5″ with a pinned flash hider) are near a flatline in performance, and that the very short barrels on pistol ARs are meant only for CQB.

Each tool in its own shop.  They all have a purpose.

Why I Choose The AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 5 days ago

Georgia’s Democratic Candidate For Governor Calls For Banning AR-15s

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

The Federalist:

“I do not believe like weapons of mass destruction like the AR-15 belong in civilian hands,” she said. “I think it should be prohibited from civilian use. I have shot an AR-15, and I think you probably have too, and while it’s an amazing amount of power, it also is an amazing amount of destruction, and there is very little that can be done to protect vulnerable communities when the AR-15 is present.”

So in other words, the only people who should be able to employ destruction is the authorities.  Okay, I’ve got it.  So much for that pesky little notion of death at the hands of a corrupt state apparatus.

As for that horrible, high powered weapon of war, Charles Whitman called from hell and said you’re full of crap.

Retired ATF Agent Says AR-15 Rifles Should Be Regulated Like Machine Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

The Hill:

David Chipman, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent, on Monday said AR-15 rifles should be regulated like machine guns.

“What I support is treating them just like machine guns,” Chipman, who is now a senior policy adviser at Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.”

“To me, if you want to have a weapon of war, the same gun that was issued to me as a member of [the] ATF SWAT team, it makes sense that you would have to pass a background check, the gun would have to be in your name, and there would be a picture and fingerprints on file,” he continued.

“To me, I don’t mind doing it if I want to buy a gun. These policies just protect the criminal. Like, I don’t think you should be able to anonymously purchase 20 AR-15s at one time, and the government shouldn’t know,” he said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all that you have to pass a background check to own a weapon of war.”

Hmm … it’s a short hop and a skip from “weapon of war” to the Winchester Model 70 used by Carlos Hathcock, yes?  Or the Benelli shotguns used by the Marines for room clearing operations in Now Zad.  Or the venerable 1911 pistol used by John Basilone in his famous battle.

I suppose that Chapman doesn’t want people to be able to defend themselves from multiple home invaders as did Zach Peters or Stephen Bayezes.  Well, honestly, you can tack on others in that category.

So now you know what kind of people populate the ATF.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?  Instead of regulating AR-15s, I think we should regulate people who think AR-15s should be regulated.  They are a threat to liberty.

How To Quickly Oil An AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

AR Accuracy Testing At 10,000 Rounds

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

In a filthy firearm.

As a young Marine captain, I was the new officer on a rifle team and remember asking the grizzled old salts who had shot in many an inter-service championship or Camp Perry what the proper cleaning interval was for those incredible Quantico-built National Match M16s. The answers varied from daily on one end to at the end of the season on the other. There didn’t seem to be any real testing to support any given answer, and I accepted that you punched the bore whenever it seemed right.

I recently thought back on that experience as I finished up an endurance test on a Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) upper receiver. Over the course of a little more than three years, I had logged the lubrication intervals using FireClean to see how far the AR would run as it got dirtier and dirtier. At the end of the test, I was in possession of a barrel through which I had logged 10,000 rounds and had never cleaned in any manner. In shooting the last thousand rounds or so, I had noticed that the rifle seemed to be still shooting quite well and thought it would be interesting to do a formal accuracy workup. I borrowed a Bushnell Elite 4.5-18×44 LRTS riflescope to give the barrel every chance to succeed, and grabbed some quality ammo.

All firing was done from the prone position with the rifle supported by a Harris bipod in the front and some bags under the toe of the stock. The rifle had a Geissele Super V trigger, which is an excellent duty and snap-shooting unit, but not normally associated with group shooting. The BCM wore a free-floated KeyMod aluminum KMR-A rail and the barrel was a basic government profile 16” with a mid-length gas system and a 1:7” twist.

I fired a couple of sighters to get the LRTS on paper and then the very first five-round group of Hornady Steel Match clustered five .224-cal. holes into a tight .84” group that could be covered by a nickel. That was pretty close to prophetic, as the average of all five groups with the Steel Match ran .89 from the filthy barrel, with the series tallying .84, .85, .86, .72, and one lonely group over one minute of angle at 1.17.

That performance wasn’t an outlier. After 10,000 rounds, the BCM barrel grouped Federal Varmint hollow points into just barely over 3/4 m.o.a. on the low end and averaged just over an inch due to one “large” 1.5” group that pulled the average over one MOA.

Black Hills 69-gr. Sierra Match Kings clustered together consistently, poking holes in a tight knot while maintaining polite separation for each hole at just under a minute on average with .79, .82, .90, .92, and 1.25” groups.

[ … ]

I was somewhere between pleasantly surprised and mildly shocked for the barrel to do this after 10,000 rounds and never had as much as a boresnake, brush, or patch run through it.

I’m not surprised.  Eugene Stoner engineered a fine system.  Of course, I wouldn’t recommend doing that – this was a stress test of sorts.  Increased fouling and friction will only increase wear and metal fatigue.  But it’s nice to know that the delivered wisdom may not be so wise after all.

It’s funny how old myths die hard.  My son never had any complaints with the weapon system so I never came into it with predisposed prejudice.

AR-15 Wear And Failure Points To Check

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

From Shooting Illustrated.

So if, like me, you believe in Genesis Chapter 2, you believe in the second law of thermodynamics.  If you don’t but still believe in the second law of thermodynamics, your belief if spurious and baseless but still useful.

Either way, entropy increases.  That means parts rust, corrode, fatigue, wear, fracture and fail.  Always inspect your guns.

5.56X45 Ammunition In The News

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

Shooting Illustrated:

The simplest, yet most important, difference between the two cartridges is their respective pressure limits. The .223 Rem. cartridge is held to a lower pressure than 5.56 NATO. Some of the testing methods to determine these actual pressures can be confusing, as both cartridges have been tested by the ballistic authorities (read CIP and SAAMI) in the same 5.56 mm chamber, and the resulting data will appear to be nearly equal. However, because of the dimensional variations in the distance between the case mouth and the beginning of the rifling, trying to fire 5.56 NATO ammunition in a .223 Rem. chamber is, simply put, just a bad idea.

The reverse is not true. It is, and always will be, safe to shoot .223 Rem. ammunition in a chamber marked for 5.56 NATO. Commit that idea to memory, and you’ll never get in trouble. The pressures that a 5.56 NATO cartridge can generate are too high for the .223 Rem. chamber, and that is based primarily on the leade dimensions. If you feel that the ability to shoot 5.56 NATO ammunition out of your .223 Rem.-chambered rifle is paramount, take that rifle to a competent gunsmith to have the chamber reamed out to handle 5.56 NATO ammunition.

That chamber dimension for the 5.56 NATO is, in fact, slightly larger than the chamber for the .223 Rem.—in order to have the smoothest feeding and ejection, even with a dirty weapon, to best serve as a battlefield implement—but it is the leade dimension that makes the biggest difference. Leade is defined as the area from the bullet’s resting place before firing to the point where the rifling is engaged. The shorter the leade dimension, the faster the bullet will engage the rifling, and the faster the pressures can rise to a dangerous level.

The most interesting thing about the article is that there is a throw-down in the comments over whether the author is perpetuating the alleged “myth” that 5.56mm cases have thicker walls and therefore less volume, leading to the higher pressure.

John Farnam at Ammoland:

After decades of piously assuring us the 5.56×45 round was “adequate” for military purposes, despite mounting complaints (unsatisfactory range and penetration), dating back to Vietnam, the Pentagon has apparently finally changed its mind.

In spite of a dreary series of failed “wonder bullets” that have, every few years, come forth to “upgrade” the 5.56 round, faith that the 5.56 can ever be “adequate” is fading!

Just as the Marines are buying the HK 416 (M27), a gas-piston AR (in 5.56×45 caliber), to replace aging M4s, Congress and the Army are putting the breaks on that project.

After fifty years of pointless hope that the 5.56×45 round might really be “adequate,” a new, bigger military caliber may now be about to make its debut!

When the AR (in 5.56×45 caliber) first reared its head, and garnered the attention of then Secretary of Defense McNamara, it was slated to gradually replace only the M1 Carbine, never the M1 Garand, later the short-lived M14.

The M1 Carbine, manufactured by the millions during WWII, was originally intended only for rear-area defense and police actions. It was never intended to be a front-line, battle rifle, although it eventually found its way into every corner of the campaign during WWII and Korea.

When I was in Vietnam in 1968, M1 Carbines were still around in large numbers. I saw (and used) plenty of them.

Yet, the AR (in 5.56×45 caliber) somehow eventually became the main, battle rifle of all US Forces, and remains in that status to this day. This, despite continuous misgivings about its adequacy that have been desperately voiced since Vietnam.

Up until now, the Pentagon as assured us that these qualms about adequacy were all in our imaginations!

That is apparently about to change.

Of course, the Pentagon will never admit they’ve been wrong all this time. They’ll simply say “It’s time to move on.”

It was time to move on fifty years ago!

You can color me unimpressed with John’s analysis.  First of all, nothing is going to change because Amerika is flat broke and printing money like there’s no tomorrow.

Second, the only real need for caseless ammunition is so that women can be sent into combat.

Third, there is nothing wrong with the 5.56mmX45.  That’s the real myth here.

The 5.56mm round has killed scores of enemy fighters (hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions) in Vietnam, Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and South America.  It doesn’t need to be replaced, and it did just fine for my son in Iraq.

There are exceptions, of course.  He once told me of a time when he had to shoot an insurgent with a nine-round burst from his SAW, only to see the fighter keep coming at him.  It took a grenade to stop him.  He also told me that he and other Marines had to continue the fight with insurgents (foreign fighters) who had lost limbs and continued to shoot or fist fight.

Those kinds of fighters are ideologically motivated and doped up on epinephrine and morphine.  They tested them and learned that information after the fact.  It would take a .50 Sasser to bring someone like that down with one shot.

The better option is to teach Soldiers to shoot, uphill and down, at distance, and supplement their ranks with a designated marksman who shoots something larger than the 5.56mm or employ a crew served weapon.  Each weapon system has its purpose, and there isn’t a do-everything gun.  If anyone tells you that, he’s lying.

On the other hand, if they do actually replace the 5.56X45, I’ll just grin and nod and say, “Good.  That’s just more for me.”

AR-15 Cleaning And Maintenance

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

Shooting Illustrated:

I clean my AR-15 gas systems approximately every 1,000 rounds. Direct-impingement gas tubes are easily maintained by inserting a long [purpose-made] pipe cleaner wet with solvent into the tube, then following it up with a fresh pipe cleaner. The portion that extends through the upper receiver is easily cleaned with a couple cotton swabs. Carbon build-up on the inner surface of adjustable gas-block screws can be cleaned off with a wire brush after removing the screw(s). Operating-rod systems with removable gas regulators also benefit from occasional removal of carbon deposits. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for cleaning them, as they tend to be unique. If your AR-15 has an operating rod that moves through a bushing in the upper receiver, a bit of lubrication on the rod where it passes through the bushing helps to prevent binding.

I guess I haven’t thought much about cleaning the gas system of my guns.  I guess I need to.


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