Archive for the 'AR-15s' Category

ARs For Deer Hunting

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Outdoor Hub:

There’s no question – the AR-15 doesn’t look like your daddy’s deer rifle. Of course, the Winchester Model 94 lever-action rifle your granddad used doesn’t look anything like his father’s Hawken, either.

However, we see progress all around us. The smartphone is nothing like the rotary phones I grew up with, and if my grandpa stepped in my pickup truck, he’d think it was a spaceship.

The American hunter is experiencing this same thrust into the 21st century. While it might not have the lure, feel and warmth of walnut and blued steel, performance matters over nostalgia. I’m not suggesting you trade in your old .30-30 on an AR, or regulate your bolt rifle to the closet for all eternity. What I hope you will do is consider the many factors that make the AR-15, and its bigger brother the AR-10, ideal for deer hunting.

We’re living in a brave new world and the AR is the hunting rifle of the new millennium – and here’s why.

He goes on to describe a number of things my readers already know about the AR that make it a good choice, including man-machine interface, modularity and adjustability, reliability, etc.  Then there is this.

There does exist more powerful options for those who demand it. Nine of the 41 states permitting centerfire rifles for deer hunting prohibit the use of the .223 Remington. If you hunt in one of those states, the 6.8 SPC or .300 Blackout are an option, as is the new .25-45 Sharps, which duplicates the performance of the old .250 Savage. If you want to stretch your range or just think you need more power, you can step up to an AR-10 and choose a cartridge like the .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and in some cases even magnum cartridges.

The semi-automatic AR-15s that shoot anything but the 5.56/.223 or 300 Blackout are non-existent to my knowledge, and the AR-10s that shoot anything else can be very pricey (except for .308).  Or in other words, designer cartridge black guns are very expensive – even the AR style bolt action guns.

But I do like the idea of the 300 Blackout, where I can swap out an upper receiver quickly and easily and have a larger round, slightly slower muzzle velocity, but better long range ballistics than the 5.56/.223 (while I would also assert than the 5.56/.223 is ideal for many situations that don’t suit the 300 Blackout).

So in summary I would say to the old time hunters with puzzled looks at the kids bringing out the new fangled black guns, you need to welcome them and perhaps even learn something.  They are carrying on a proud tradition.  To the Fudds who refuse to accept it, I would say get over it.  Your opinions don’t matter.

But here is a word of caution for the AR hunters.  Know you rifle, know your round, and know your limitations.  Make ethical shots.  Only make ethical shots.

Springfield Armory Releases New AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

The call it the Saint.  For the moment I’ll hitch a ride on The Firearm Blog, and then criticize some of their commenters.

Patrick R reviews the gun for readers, and generally has nice things to say about it.  It seems to fit into the low to medium cost AR-15, and it’s always good to have competition.  It makes everybody better.

Patrick discusses what he perceives to be the accuracy of the gun, but as you read this, remember my claim.  A few shots cannot reveal the true accuracy.  I reject claims of 1 MOA, or 0.75 MOA from any gun manufacturer or shooter unless the sample size is large.  Any gun manufacturer or shooter, not just SA.  The placement of shots for any gun should be able to be represented by a standard distribution – excluding variations caused by the shooter – with a standard deviation that is small enough to be less than the mean (because a standard deviation larger than the mean only makes physical sense and is only allowed when the mean can go negative, which cannot happen in this case).  Three shots, or five shots, means that the sample size is too small to accomplish this and meet the central limit theorem.

It has a keymod rail, and the commenters savage this rail system, and Patrick even says there are better options.  Well, I don’t know about that.  It depends.  It’s weak and tends to break, say the commenters.  Well, I have some exposure to a RRA competition rifle, 18″ SS fluted barrel, with a slotted rail that is much lighter than others (right, I understand that we aren’t reviewing the RRA competition rifle).  Most readers have a black gun with a quad picatinny rail.  Me too, excepting that awful boating accident where all of my guns, including this 3-gun competition gun with the light slotted rail, went to the bottom of the lake.  I cried a river of tears over that accident.

It’s forend heavy because of that quad rail, isn’t it?  Just say yes.  You know it is.  Don’t lie to yourself.  My former Marine son Daniel’s experience in Fallujah put him at odds with heavy equipment, including heavy forend guns.  He dislikes the quad rail for that reason.  He told me “The first thing I would do with that gun is remove the rails and replace it with something light weight.”  I wonder how many of TFB commenters who think the lighter rail system sucks had to raise it and conduct room clearing operations for 24 straight hours in Fallujah while they were dehydrated in 120 degree heat, with nothing to eat, people shooting at you, and stomach cramps from drinking the local water?  That’s what I thought.

Look, I’m not saying that you have to have a quad rail.  I’m not saying you have to have a lighter rail competition gun or a keymod rail.  I’m not saying you have to have or do anything at all.  I’m saying that you find the tool that works best for you for the purpose you intend, learn it, take care of it, and appreciate it.  Rarely should you listen to the counsel of folks who make categorical statements.  A heavy quad rail is okay if you don’t intend to conduct long term operations of any sort with it, and it can handle all sorts of attachments that you might want.  A lighter rail has the advantage of not over-rotating the gun when attempting target acquisition moving laterally (not over-rotating is the main reason behind the thumb-over-bore grip that has become so popular).  Each tool has its own purposes.  I’ve actually seen complaints by people when they used their butt stock to beat up something and it broke.  Folks, your gun isn’t a hammer.

The gun doesn’t have a floated barrel, and I wonder how much that affects accuracy (it does some by adding a fundamental node [or an eigenvalue] in the vibration, we just don’t know how much).  But there is one feature that will be problematic for Springfield Armory.  The top of the rail is polymer, and melts with heat generated from long term operation of the gun.  This absolutely must be fixed or that’s a fatal flaw.

Common AR Rifle Handling Errors

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago


At our Urban Rifle (Carbine) Courses, most students bring ARs, as you might imagine, but we see dozens of other types/brands, some of which I was heretofore only marginally aware, so many are the companies, worldwide, making small arms today.

But my colleagues and I, Dave Spaulding, Tom Givens, Mas Ayoob, James Yeager, Frank Sharpe, Manny Kapelsohn, Jeff Chudwin, Clint Smith, Freddie Blish, et al continue to see repeated handling errors, which during a genuine encounter for which we train, will be fatal!

Some students pick it up right away. Others fumble repeatedly. Most “get it” eventually, training themselves to avoid common AR rifle handling errors!

We instruct students to grab the 30-round magazine (which most use) with the support-side hand as they would a pop-can and smartly insert it into the magazine well. Then, strike the bottom of the newly-inserted magazine. Then, grab it and tug downward, trying to pull it back out.

When the magazine stays in place, it’s good to go.

Conversely, when it comes right back out again, it was never locked in place correctly!

I’m not trying to cast doubt on experts and their recommendations for gun handling, but perhaps this has to do with poor quality guns and poor quality magazines.  But I’ve put thousands upon thousands of rounds through ARs, and I’ve never once had a magazine fail to seat, and I don’t routinely strike the magazine on the bottom.

What about your experience with the AR?


So Why Isn’t Someone Talking To Him About Barrel Harmonics?

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

At this reddit/guns post?


By mounting the light directly on the barrel, he’s adding a secondary harmonic, possibly exacerbating a primary node or creating an anti-node, or creating nodes completely out of sync with other nodes, and fundamentally changing the way the barrel vibrates.  Someone needs to tell him to remove the light and figure out another way.

$3000 Versus $1000 AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

Informative video.  In the end, if you make it that far, I think they reach the right conclusion.  AR-15s (and their parts) have become so reliable that it makes little difference now.  The point of diminishing returns is reached very soon (the sweet spot is < $1500).

A Lot Of Love For The Rock River Arms Rifle

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

This reviewer has a lot of love for the RRA rifle.


Rock River Arms’ new Fred Eichler Series LAR-15 Predator joins a growing number of AR-platform rifles and carbines specifically configured for the serious coyote and bobcat hunter. Sporting a medium-weight 16-inch stainless steel barrel, it represents the top of Rock River’s current four-model line of ARs specifically configured for coyote pursuit.

It was developed and field tested with the extensive help of Fred Eichler, host of the television show Predator Nation. The Fred Eichler series embodies not only the basic functionality of the AR platform that has made it so widely popular with predator hunters in the first place but also an impressive set of individual custom touches that elevate it to a pack leader among this category of guns.

Anyone who is at all familiar with AR-15 rifles understands why they are virtually perfect predator hunting tools and why predator hunters were early leaders in the mass migration of AR-platform carbines and rifles from the world of tactical, military and law-enforcement applications into full status as “modern sporting rifles.”

This is an interesting article, but this bit caught my eye.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding out in the world about the relative “inherent accuracy” of long barrels and short barrels. In reality (all other things being equal), short barrels are inherently more accurate than long barrels because they are stiffer, don’t flex and vibrate so much while bullets are passing through their bore and experience less muzzle displacement shot-to-shot due to variable harmonics.

In other words, the vibration amplitude isn’t as great with a shorter barrel.  This is a very interesting point, and one that I’ve overlooked before.  Although it could also be observed that the longer barrel is necessary at times to get the full potential out of the muzzle velocity of the round.

In the picture above I have to think they are shipping that rifle with a Pmag or Hexmag if you bought it today.

C. J. Chivers On The AK-47, AR-15 And Terrorism

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 3 weeks ago

C. J. Chivers writing for The New York Times has an extensive piece entitled Tools of Modern Terror: How the AK-47 and AR-15 Evolved into Rifles of Choice for Mass Killers.  I recommend that you read it.

Chivers has the usual (for him) admiration for the AK-47 as a weapon that never fails.  “The Kalashnikov line was shorter and lighter than traditional rifles. It was inexpensive to manufacture, built for durability and reliable to an extraordinary degree. With few moving parts, and a design that made its disassembly and reassembly almost intuitive, its basics could be mastered by all manner of combatants — from traditionally instructed conscripts to almost wholly untrained guerrillas — in very little time.”

But fail it does.  I blogged on OIF and OEF long enough and had enough friends and acquaintances who had done combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan that I heard some horror stories about AK-47s that wouldn’t fire more than a round or two and have a FTF / FTE, and that a shooter couldn’t hit the “broad side of a barn” with it.  I’ve shot one, as have you, and those complaints may be exaggerated, but they are about as exaggerated as the complaints against the AR-15.

Chivers focuses some of his time on the initial failure of the Stoner weapon system in Vietnam, while not spending much time on the Molly-Chrome or Stainless Steel barrels found today in AR-15s.  With upgraded buffer springs, enhanced extractor springs, etc., that make the M4/AR-15 weapons so reliable today, we really do have the professional soldier’s weapon that can be used by the masses, or in other words, the tight tolerances, accuracy and recoil-along-the-axis design (as opposed to coupling around the shooter’s hand with the angled buttstock) that makes it such an admirable carbine for shooters of any skill. We’ve had virtually every imaginable torture test, and the high end AR-15s outperform not only AKs but the Garand and Garand variants (M-14).  My Rock River Arms AR-15 could be beaten with a sledge hammer, soaked in paint, and dropped in sand and it would still eat and shoot everything I fed it.

But it’s true that the AK-47 found ready acceptance among terror-producing nations and peoples, and Chivers makes no attempt to diagnose why that is.  Take a long look at his maps of AK usage versus AR-15 usage.  Neither does Chivers make any attempt to diagnose any other element of weapons and terror, such as the possibility that use of the AK or AR for such things marks a shift to CQB versus standoff sniping as with Charles Whitman (with a bolt action rifle).  In other words, what if the problem isn’t the AK or the AR, but the heart of sinful mankind that causes these things, with the weapon of choice being a function of tactical choices the shooter makes?

Chivers disappoints me with this paragraph.

Governments have done little to stop the spread of this class of weapons. Often, as in the case of the United States, they have contributed to it. Acts of crime, terror and oppression with Kalashnikovs and AR-15 descendants, endured by civilians under withering fire, have been hard-wired into our times. There is no end in sight.

“Stop the spread of this class of weapons.”  As if stopping the spread of any class of weapons among peaceable people who need means of self defense is a bad thing.  Chivers is a legitimate military journalist who did a wonderful job on coverage of the campaign in Afghanistan and is a voice for the men in uniform.

But with this one paragraph it appears to me that he has placed his politics squarely on the side of gun controllers who believe that laws, regulations, governmental actions and policies effect behavior and catalyze moral righteousness.  Matthew 15:15-20 teach us that weapons don’t defile the man, any more than alcohol makes a drunkard.

But from the end of the gun comes self defense, and Chivers would do well to consider the millions of men, women and children who have been slaughtered as a result of not having means of self defense.

Massachusetts Attorney General Wants To Ban Semi-Automatic Weapons

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

The Boston Globe:

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Wednesday she was cracking down on the sale of guns that, she said, were designed to skirt a state law banning assault weapons.

Healey said she had put gunmakers and sellers on notice that they were not allowed to sell the guns, which she said were intentionally designed to circumvent the ban by incorporating “small tweaks that do nothing to limit the deadliness of the weapon.”

The attorney general said at a morning news conference that the law remained the same, but her office would change the way it enforced it.

While manufacturers have deemed certain weapons in compliance with state law, she said, her office had looked at the issue and concluded that they weren’t.

“The gun industry does not get to decide what’s compliant,” she said during the event, where she was flanked by law enforcement officials, community leaders and anti-violence activists. “We do.”

[ … ]

Healey spoke after penning an opinion piece in Wednesday’s Boston Globe, in which she said the gun industry was taking advantage of a legal “loophole of potentially horrific proportions.”

She said her office had begun looking at the law in the wake of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, where a gunman killed 49 people.

Healey said the recent killing of police in Baton Rouge and Dallas, along with the fatal shootings of black men at the hands of police, have only added to the urgency.

She described her action as “a step” toward reducing gun violence.

“It is not a total panacea, I recognize that, but it is a step,” Healey said.

She said her office had notified dealers in the state that they cannot sell guns whose “operating system is essentially the same as a banned weapon.”

Operating system.  Got that?  That means semi-automatic weapons of all kinds.  She doesn’t mean DI systems as designed by Eugene Stoner for the AR-15.  All semi-automatic weapons can discharge one round for every pull of the trigger.

Ms. Healey has declared herself the only sovereign potentate who gets to adjudicate on everything and anything she wishes.  She’s queen.  And gun owners should willingly bypass, smuggle, and disobey this edict however and whenever they can.

AR-15 C-Clamp Grip

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 1 week ago

Or otherwise called, “thumb over bore” grip.  As I’ve pointed out, it started in the gaming community, and it was taken up by SpecOps, and so you see folks like Chris Costa and Travis Haley using it.


I ran across this report today of a 3-gun competitor who is also using the C-clamp grip.


The folks at Magpul explain why they like the grip.

Amanda Marcotte On AR-15s

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 1 week ago


But while the ostensible pitch is self-defense, it’s also hard to escape the sense that they (sic) marketing pitch is building on the fact that the nation just got a full eyeball of what the AR-15 is capable of doing: Mowing down dozens of people in the space of minutes.

After all, they know full well that their customer base is people like Stokes, who doesn’t even really bother to hide that he includes “mass shooting capabilities” in  his assessment of what makes this gun so cool.

“The rifle’s popularity is almost certainly the main reason why mass shooters increasingly reach for it when they go on a rampage,” Stokes writes. “Think about it: if you’re planning to shoot up a room full of people, are you going to reach for a rare, exotic weapon that you have little experience with, or will you select the familiar option that’s easy to train with and that you have plenty of practice time behind? The answer, for anybody who shoots, is the latter.”

It speaks volumes about how all sense of reason has escaped the pro-gun lobby that they think that “capable of destroying a room full of people in minutes” is a defense of a gun, instead of an obvious reason why the damn thing should be banned immediately.

Well, Amanda, let’s talk about this for a moment.  First of all, you don’t really believe what you’re saying, and you know it and we know it.  If you really believed your own propaganda, you’d advocate disarming the police.  But you don’t, and you won’t.  Because you believe in a monopoly of force, despite your undertones of pacifism.  You want the state to be armed as it sees fit, so you want some people to have access to the weapons of their choice, just not all people.  Because all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than other animals.

Second, your propaganda drips with hatred and sarcasm, as if you know all about when and why someone would need a certain kind of weapon.  But I’ll bet that you’ve never shot the weapon you criticize, have you?  If so, please tell us all about it.  Otherwise, get an education.  Start by searching on the words “home invasion” every day for a month on Google news or some other aggregator, and see how may home invasions are perpetrated with two, three, or four or more men at a time, and you’ll see why Mr. Stephen Bayezes needed his AR-15.

Finally, you focus on self defense, but we all know what the real issue is, don’t we Amanda?  You know the second amendment wasn’t written about hunting, or the shooting sports, or even individual self defense (although that would be included under the rubric of what it does include).  We all know, however uncomfortable it might be for you to admit, that the second amendment is all about amelioration of tyranny.

That’s right Amanda.  Are you shocked?  Are you stunned that I said it?  Weapons are the surest means of maintenance of our liberties.  But you don’t want people to have liberties, do you?  Like all good collectivists, you want the state to decide right from wrong, issue the necessary orders for social stability, and ensure cradle to grave sustenance and security.

Don’t you, Amanda?  That’s why only the state can have guns, isn’t it Amanda?

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