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Topics - Bota-CS1

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1
Reviews / Vortex Razor Gen III 1-10x24
« on: September 20, 2020, 08:04:32 PM »
Vortex Razor HD Gen III 1-10x24


With the range being closed for a second time this year, I’ve had a little more time to dedicate to doing more in depth reviews.  Like the title says, this is my review of the Vortex Razor Gen III 1-10x24.  I’ve seen previous attempts at a 1-10 before and while those attempts were cool, a lot of them had something peculiar about them, that made them outliers.

Like many of you, I’ve not had the luxury to put endless rounds down range so I’ve had to settle with an abbreviated evaluation cycle.  In my last review I started at the front of the optic and worked my way to the back, but I’m going to make a departure from that format for this review and start with the “cons” of the optic first.  This may foreshadow my opinion of this optic, but I think it’ll make more sense that to jump from pro to con and back to pro again.

The first “con” that I came across was the very light bluish hued tint towards the edges of the glass.  I’ll preface it with this, it’s not anywhere as bad as the RMR, so let me just put that out there right now. I noticed this hue more when I was looking at something that was white. For those that don’t know, the tint is there on purpose to increase the visibility of illumination which is often the Achilles heel of first focal plane optics.  You'll see what I mean if you look at the top arc (from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock in the picture below from The Armory Life) there is some slight distortion and coloration of the dirt as well as the insert image of his white and red target that shows a slight blueish hue.  Some may not notice this as much and it may not bother them.

The Gen III does not have parallax adjustment and that can be a deal breaker for some.  Vortex probably has some very good reasons as to why they didn’t work to try and include this in their Gen III, but it is what it is.

My next “con” may sound like me nitpicking, but I was a little disappointed in the reticle size in relation to the field of view at 1 power.  It just seems empty.  There’s a lot of space around the “T” reticle even with the center illuminated during the day.  I might have preferred a much larger “T” that gradually fades out of view as the magnification goes up, eventually leaving just the Christmas Tree.  Otherwise, the glass is decent for the price point with limited distortion towards the outside edges at 10 power.  I noticed a little chromatic aberration at 10x but that is to be expected.  The center reticle is translucent at increased power, and I find myself rather ambivalent towards that.  It’s cool that you can see through the reticle at range while it’s not illuminated, but is that a big positive?  I’m not sure.  This is the last gripe, if I can even call them that, against the scope. 




Photo courtesy of the Amory Life


Speaking of illumination, the illumination dial to me is perfect.  It’s a rather large diameter knob on the left that has a shut off notch between each level of illumination.  Each level is tactile and you can really feel the knob settle on each setting.  This is a pretty common feature on most modern tactical rifle scopes in the past few years which allows the user to set their preferred illumination level, and make a partial turn to shut the illumination off rather than having to go all the way back to 0.

The Gen III runs capped turrets which prevent unintended adjustments when using the scope in competition or in the field.  My preference is for capped turrets, but I know a lot of other shooters prefer exposed turrets.  I believe Vortex intended to market this scope towards the LE/Mil market and is the reason why they went with capped turrets.  I’m drawing my conclusion from the marketing materials that Vortex has been putting out there and the types of social media personalities they’ve been sending scopes to review to.  If you're one who wants to manually adjust your dope based on your own hand loads, simply leaving the caps off isn't a problem and you'll like the very easy to adjust turrets.

The biggest plus in my book, and I’m not alone in my opinion, is that Vortex was able to squeeze all the capabilities of a 1-10 in the same footprint as their 1-6 and still improve on it.  This to me is worthy of an industry award and why the Gen III has garnered so much positive praise. 


In addition to squeezing all that performance into the same package, Vortex has managed to improve the Razor’s already impressive light gathering ability by increasing the diameter of the tube to 34mm.  That 4mm does make a big difference in light transmission which is only going to help you distinguish your target at range.  During the summer months here, light is overly abundant, but if you're going the the Pacific Northwest, or hunt in Alaska where it can get overcast in a heartbeat, that larger diameter will help gather up what light there is.


The magnification adjustment has been significantly tweaked with the Gen III to the point where you don’t have to have the hand strength of Hercules in order to make adjustments.  The Gen II was notoriously sluggish when time came to change magnification.  I’d go so far to say that this has the best adjustment “ring” of any of the scopes I’ve recently had – it’d give my Mark 6 a run for its money.  It comes with an adjustment “cat tail” and I reluctantly installed so I could fully review the scope as Vortex has it boxed, but I don’t feel I need it.


Overall, if this scope is in your range, I won’t hesitate to tell you to give it a moment of your time.  I didn’t want to turn this into a comparison with my Vudu, Trijicon, or Mark 6, but the Gen III can definitely stand on its own merit.  I’m going to go so far to say that Vortex has another “Gold Standard” product on its hands.

Weight: 21.5 oz
Length: 10.1”
Reticle: EBR-9 MRAD   
Eye Relief: 3”- 4”
Focal Plane: First
Magnification Range: 1-10X
Price: $2899 @ Vortex
$1999 @ Optics Planet
$199.99 @ Wish  ;) ;D (j/k)
FOV @ 100 Yds:  11.7’



Here are some “Pro” opinions:






2
Reviews / Leupold Mark6 1-6x20mm LPVO
« on: September 03, 2020, 07:33:28 PM »
Leupold Mark 6 1-6x20mm


It’s been awhile since I last did an optic review.  I haven’t been immune to the Great Ammo Shortage of 2020 to where I can do my typical 1,000 round test.  As many have had to adjust, I’ve had to curtail my test shooting to about half of what I used to do.  Everything else being the same, I’m not connected to Leupold in any way and consider myself neutral and fair when reviewing stuff that I buy.  Overall, this optic has been everything I wanted, but it does have its shortcomings which I’ll get to in a little bit.

First, let’s start with the positives. When I was building my AR-10 I did some research into what LPVO I was going to mount and came up with a list of criteria it would need to meet, and I feel the Leupold Mark 6 1-6x20 meets all those criteria and then some.

The first thing I was looking for was an overall weight savings with the scope and mount.  I had previously run an Eotech Vudu 1-6 which weighed 22 oz. in a Warne Ramp 2 mount that was 8 oz. (1/2 lb.).  The reason why I was looking for this was because I really noticed the weight difference and change in handling characteristics when I changed out the Vudu for another optic.



So I ended up saving half a pound in overall weight by switching to the Leupold and Scalarworks LEAP mount.  While it doesn’t sound like much, I think there is something to be said about good design and how it affects perceived feel when it comes to weight and balance.  A mechanical engineering friend told me that people often mistake weight, or something being heavy, as being durable, when in fact that additional weight is just a backstop against bad design and poor engineering.

When you get behind the scope, you’ll see what I find to be one of the best reticles out there.  The CMR-W 7.62 reticle with BDC:




You’ve got a BDC out to 1200m for a 175 grain freedom seed traveling at 2575 fps.  There are wind holds for crosswind as well as a range estimator.  I realized that some will find the Christmas Tree style reticle too busy and cluttered for their liking.  The center dot is 0.15MIL which is nice and tight for those precision shots.

When you have the scope at 1x the center horseshoe and dot combo is small and is close enough to a red dot for short distance shots.  The Mark 6 is a First Focal Plane (FFP) optic with a very good “true” 1x.  The reason why I say is it’s “true” is because as with most if not all LPVO’s 1x is not really a 1x.  Within say self-defense ranges (30 feet and closer) there is a degree of magnification at 1x.

That aside, the clarity of the glass is amazing and the image is flat with no bending of your sight picture towards the edges.  I tend to shoot with the optic at 4 or 5 power and even then, the eye box is very forgiving to the point where I’m comfortable pulling off snap shots with the optic.

This is where the first of the scopes shortcomings starts – the illumination.  The illumination is nothing to write home about.  At 1x it works perfectly, at magnification, you really need to have your eye at the perfect distance to really see the illuminated reticle.  It’s because of this, I don’t run the illumination during the day, and just us the etched reticle instead.  Illumination in first focal plane optics has often been their Achilles heel, and the Mark 6 is no exception. 

I personally tend to do a lot of work range wise in the scope, meaning I don’t fiddle with the turrets to make adjustments between shots.  I’ll use the holds in the reticle to make my adjustments which just makes sense to me given all the information you can gather from it.  So in the end I’m ambivalent towards the turret system.  It’s cool that all you have to do is depress a button and make your adjustments, but honestly, I’d be just as happy with capped turrets.

Making magnification adjustments are super easy to do with the scope lever, but it’s an additional cost.  For the price of the scope, I think Leupold should have included the throw lever with it, otherwise that’s an additional $125.  If you have super long fingers or hands and can just man handle the adjustment ring, you probably don’t need the lever to be honest. 

If you’re in the market for an intermediate LVPO and aren’t turned off by the price give the Leupold a look.  Just know that if there is anything that goes wrong with your scope, Leupold has a well-earned reputation of taking care of their customers, so don’t fear.


Went to Xring to zero the red dot



Weight: 17 oz
Length: 10.3”
Reticle: CMR-W 7.62 (MRAD)
Eye Relief: 3”- 4”
Focal Plane: First
Magnification: 1-6X
Price: $2859 @ Leupold   
$2199 @ Optics Planet
FOV @ 100 Yds: 19’



A couple of “Pro” opinions on the scope you may find helpful:






4
General Discussion / Action Needed - KHSC action bays
« on: August 09, 2020, 06:58:04 PM »
In an email from The Rangemaster, clubs are prohibited from using Action Bays #1 or #2 until the stage props, targets, and barrels are stored properly offsite.  This affects all clubs that use those bays so lets work together to fix the issues.  If you’re part of one if those groups, or can help those clubs store or transport those items, please do so.  We’re all shut down until we can resolve this issue.  Mahalos for your time and Kokua  :shaka: :shaka:
5
Reviews / WML comparison - Surefire / Could Defensive / Modlite
« on: May 14, 2020, 09:58:54 PM »
A light is the most important upgrade to a defensive use firearm.  The ability to positively ID your target in a low light/no light situation is invaluable.  With this in mind, this review isn’t a versus or comparison review to establish which light is better than the other.  The point is to show you the pros and cons of each and what their actual output looks like before deciding which one may best suit your needs.

First up is the “old horse” of the group, the Surefire M640DF.  The 640DF is the newest version of the venerable M600 line of lights made in Fountain Valley California.  Surefire has garnered a “hard use” reputation over the decades in the industry and is what many consider to be the yardstick by which all newcomers are measured against.  The 640 and 600DF both have the ability to utilize CR123 and rechargeable batteries.  This ability to use both power sources gives the light additional flexibility that the other lights don’t have.  Additionally the 640DF already comes with it’s own integrated mounting options.  The end user can choose between a picatinny adapter or an MLOK one.  This added flexibility is an incremental improvement by itself, but the hinge allows you to position exactly where you want it on the rail, all you need is a simple flathead screwdriver to make the adjustments.  Because Surefire has been around for so long, there’s tons of aftermarket support and accessories direct from the manufacturer and our LGS’.

Surefire M640 DF



Bezel: 1”
Length: 5.5”
Weight w/ Battery: 5.7 oz.
Body Construction: Aluminum
Output:
18650 – 1,500 Lumens
CR123A – 1,200 Lumens
Candela: 12,000 (rumored)
Runtime:
18650 – 1.5 hours
CR123A – 1.25 hours
Waterproof: ?
Cost: $299.00 on Amazon (for the black model)

PROS:
Takes CR123 and Rechargeable batteries
Integrated mounting system
Longest runtime
Lightest model at 5.7 oz.
Tons of accessories

CONS:
Unknown candela output, but the lowest amongst the three

Pro Review:

MrGunsandGear – Surefire M600DF
https://youtu.be/iDNqzix1y8o?t=15

Cloud Defensive is a veritable new kid on the block, but I think they have the right stuff.  The OWL is just a beast.  It’s a tank at a hefty 11 oz. it’s literally twice the weight of the Surefire.  Chonky, thicc, girthy are apt words to describe the light shaft (no homo).  Calm down Changemyoil.  That weight is not all bad since it allows the designers to do things with the body and head that the Surefire can’t do.  First off, it’s completely reversible.  You can swap the end cap and light head which are held in place by a very secure bearing lockup.  The activation button on the top is easy to reach and is much more tactile than the squishy Surefire pressure pads.  I’m pretty confident you could knock someone out with it if you hit them in the head with it.  The OWL uses a Borofloat glass lens, which comes with its detractors whom often say the glass is easier to break than the glass used in other weapon lights.  The OWL is also submersible up to 200 feet, not that I would recommend diving with it, but it would be the light I’d recommend you use if you wanted to get your SUP board back from Jaws.

Cloud Defensive OWL



Bezel: 1.25”
Length: 5.35”
Weight w/ Battery: 11 oz.
Body Construction: 6061-T6 aluminum
Output:
18650 – 1,250 Lumens
Candela: 50,000
Runtime:
18650 – 80 minutes
Waterproof: Yes (200 ft.)
Cost: $369.99 on Amazon (including charger and two batteries)

PROS:
Integrated mounting system (picatinny only)
Waterproof
Reversable

CONS:
Heavy

Pro Review:

Garand Thumg – Cloud Defensive OWL



Along with Cloud Defensive, Modlite is also a relative newcomer to the light industry.  In the short time the company has been in it has made quite the name for itself starting with the OKW.  Now, their current model is threatening to upset the apple cart so to speak.  There has always been a battle between spill and focused beam when it comes to lights.  In the past it was you got a good beam, but not that much spill light, or the complete opposite.  The PLHv2 appears to be a good blend of the two.  Similar to Surefire weapon mounted lights (WMLs), the Modlite uses and aluminum body that uses and end user supplied mounting platform.  In my case, I mounted it to the Unity Tactical Modbutton and light wing for comparisons sake.  As and aside, I have to say California you’ve got some great 2a companies, but your laws are completely idiotic.  The Modlite offers some flexibility in that it offers two body lengths, very much like the Surefire M300 and M600 series of lights are one cell and two cell designs.  You can pick up an 18350 body (one cell) or an 18650 (two cell) body depending on what configuration you want.  Modlite purposely designed all of it’s light bodies to take advantage of all the Surefire accessories out there, so you don’t have to worry about having to purchase a whole new set of pressure pads or clicky caps.  A win for the consumer in my opinion.

Modlite PLHV2



Bezel: 1.18”
Length: 5.25”
Weight w/ Battery: 7.5 oz
Body Construction: 6061-T6 aluminum
Output:
18650 – 1,350
Candela: 54,000
Run Time:
18650 – 75 minutes
Waterproof: ?
Cost: $330-$350 depending on what length body you chose.

PROS:
Highest Candela output

CONS:
Shortest run time

Pro Review:

Sage Dynamics – Modlite PLHv2



So here’s what this whole “review” has been leading to which is a real life example of all three in action.



From the picture I’m sure everyone can see that the Surefire had the most diffuse light, it’s light spill was good, but wasn’t very focused at range compared to the Modlite and Cloud Defensive.  The Modlite had a very distinct, well defined beam out to the tree at 86 yards.  I did this on a partly cloudy night under a gibbous moon.  I honestly don’t know what the hell monkeys have to do with different phases of the moon, but who knows.  I ranged the tree during the daytime with a pocket rangefinder and estimated the overall height of the tree by the height of the lowest branches from ground, which was around 5to 6 feet.

The pictures can’t really do the lights justice since the human eye is so much more sensitive than a camera lens.  The light from the Modlite was very clean, very white and sterile.  I would describe it as clinical.  The OWL is definitely in the yellow range of light and as a result the beam wasn’t as easy to distinguish against the clouds.  Hopefully by seeing these lights compared at the same time under the same conditions, you can decide for yourself which would be best suited for your needs.

The reason I didn’t test these inside is because all did a great job of umbrella lighting indoors.  All three are adequate in providing indoor lighting in a defensive scenario.  But for those of you that are lucky enough to be able to hunt coqui frogs (thanks Puerto Rico!), rats, or feral chickens at night outdoors, this may give you food for thought.

6
General Discussion / 3.7 million NICS checks in March - most ever!
« on: April 02, 2020, 08:09:38 PM »
https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/nics_firearm_checks_-_month_year.pdf/viewb

This doesn’t reflect the total number if firearms sold In the country.  The last time NICS hit 3 MILLION was back in December 2015!
7
Off Topic / Tiger King on Netflix
« on: April 02, 2020, 07:55:16 PM »
8
Reviews / Cloud Defensive OWL
« on: January 03, 2020, 08:47:29 PM »
Cloud Defensive Optimized Weapon Light
Clouddefensive.com

Stats
Width: 2.76” (It's THICCC)
Height: 1.26”
Length: 5.255”
Weight: 9.0 oz (empty)
             11.00 oz (with battery - he's bulking and not show ready yet)
Cost:$369.99 (from Cloud Defensive)
Notes: Comes with case, Nitecore charger, and two 18650 batteries.  One provides higher output, the other provides longer run time.

I've been in the market for a new high output weapon light for a bit.  I was happy with the performance that I was getting from my surefire, but then I came across the OWL from Cloud Defensive.  In the past 2 years or so, high output weapons have come into their own with the advent of reliably mass produced high discharge mAH batteries.

If you’ve ever used a modern handheld cordless powertool, laptop, messed around with RC model kits, Helos, or drones you’re familiar with LiON batteries.  Most of these battery packs are unsuited to use in a weaponlight, until the 18650 came along.  This roughly two CR123A sized LiON battery can provide unreal levels of output rated in mAH.  The higher the mAH rating the longer the battery will roughly last in a high output device like the OWL.  This does come with a safety downsized – namely in a fire hazard if the battery is discharged too low, or the protective covering is punctured, or the battery shorts.  Don’t try and rewire the battery cells yourself!  Last note, you can't interchange some 18650's because they're different dimensions that the ones that Cloud Defensive recommends.  For example, the Surefire 18650s you can purchase for the 600DF are too long to fit properly.  Every woman's fantasy right?   :love:

What you get in the end is 50,000+ candela at the business end of this light.  While most handhelds and wmls measure their output in lumens, it’s usable light that matters the most.  If the lumens aren’t focused enough what you get is great spill light up close and usable light to a certain distance out front but there isn’t as much focused light.  Focused light out front is critical in trying to positively identify something in the dark/dusk.







While you can go onto the Cloud Defensive website and read for yourself all of the features of the OWL, I’m going to focus on the two that I feel that set this light apart from the rest of the lights out there – durability and performance.  I can confirm Garand Thumbs' test at night and at somewhat similar distances.  It really depends on you, but my eye can pick up a little more detail with he "warmer" light of the OWL than the more "clinical" absolute white from a Modlite.

Are you a devil handed because your mother was a witch?  Cloud Defensive has got you covered fam, just switch the head and tail cap.  The OWL doesn’t require any other mounting surface other than a clear picatinny rail.  The pressure pad is sure to the touch and in the past 6 months hasn’t given me any trouble.
   
Since I spent my own money on this light, I couldn’t subject it the durability tests but through the power of the internet, other gents have kindly done so for us.  Skip to about 9:53 to watch them hit it with a hand sledge a bunch of time until it fails.  Now, he didn’t hold the OWL down securely, but this impressive considering they'd dropped it, run it over, and dropped a cinder block on it.



So this light will definitely stand up to the rigors of everyday use and what most of us could throw at it.  Bomb proof for sure IMO.  Bet the guys in this car could’ve used one.  Then again, the only thing left would’ve been the OWL.



In summary, Pros: Performance and durability.  Cons: Cost and weight.  IMO you get a lot for what you're paying for that so far I haven't found in another light of similar price point.


9
Reviews / Noveske N9 - 9mm Pistol Caliber Carbine
« on: October 13, 2019, 05:03:11 PM »

Noveske N9

History:

Noveske Rifleworks was founded in 2001 by John Noveske and is best known for their rifle barrels and AR-15 accessories such as the KX5 Firepig.  Noveske doesn’t get hung up on one particular thing, they seem to do what they feel like doing when they want to – forget what a traditional gun company business model says.  They have military inspired rifles like the Recce, Infidel, and Afghan to more humorous takes on pop culture with their Ghetto Blaster and Space Invader.  It’s as if they purposely refuse to be put in a corner and defined as any one genre of manufacturer.  John unfortunately passed away in a tragic car accident in 2013, but the company has managed to adapt to the loss of such a well-respected person in the industry and thrive.







And this is where I’m going to lose a lot of you….



OAL: 31 ¼”
Caliber: 9x19mm
Barrel: 16” Stainless Steel 12 RH Twist
Operating System: Direct Blowback


First Impressions

Like always thank yous are in order before we get started.  Security Equipment brought these rifles in recently, and I’ve been wanting one ever since they were announced during Shot this year.  Thanks to Jason and Stan for your help.

Before we go any further let’s address the elephant in the room – the price.  $2600 for anyone is steep, and you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the stretch, given its pedigree, and how it comes equipped.

Right away, it’s a 16” stainless steel barrel with a 12 RH twist.  Good quality barrel from a great barrel manufacturing company – check.  Magpul Pro sights included – check.  Magpul stock, 60 degree safety, and K grip – check.  Geissele Charging Handle – check.  Cerakoted billet 7075-T6 upper and lower (inside and out) – check.  Noveske 15” MLOK handguard – check.  Geissele MPX trigger – check.  Billet lower with ambi controls, flared magwell, and paddle release – check.  You have to really look at the entire picture to see what you’re getting.  There’s also an internal tension screw that removes any wobble between your upper and lower.

This is honestly the first rifle I’ve bought where I feel the need to change anything. I thought oh cool, I’m good with everything that’s already included, I just need an optic and a sling.  Would I have spent as much piecing out a build myself – probably not, but I also wouldn’t have ended up with Noveske parts and one of the more functional lowers.

Seeing as how it was a direct blow back, I thought, “Oh, this is will be kind of like the Thompson I shot in Vegas, but not as bad (recoil wise).”  Then I broke it open and was pleasantly surprised.  Inside was a VLTOR A5 recoil system.  Comparatively, the LWRC .45 which costs $3K uses a semi-roller delay action to soften recoil and allow for a folding stock.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, the VLOTR A5 basically takes a rifle length buffer and recoil spring and allows it to be used in shorter lower receiver extensions.  The advantage is reduced felt recoil and more consistent functioning of the bolt.  Why is this important in a pistol caliber carbine (PCC)?  Well most PCCs are direct blow back which means that recoil is going to be harsher than your typical AR – that’s been my limited experience with them.

I’m not sure what kind of unicorn-horn magic fairy dust Noveske did but this thing is a dream to shoot.  The action is smooth, and it ate everything I fed it at the range.  It feasted on everything from 147 down to 115, the majority of which was 125 grn.  The only malfunction was due to me accidentally riding the charging handle forward.  I don’t have a ton of time with the N9, only about 300 rounds so I’m going to keep updating this as I encounter things.  I’m interested to find out if there are any issues with the synthetic heads, or self-defense loadings.

Get good mags if you’re going to get a PCC. The N9 comes with a single Metalform mag, but I happened to pick up a few of the Brownells a little while ago.  If you cruise the other competitive shooting forums you’ll hear horror stories of mag related failures.  We’ll see as the round count climbs if my luck with feeding and extracting issues holds up.

Is this the PCC for you?  Is it really worth it?  It really depends on what you want to use it for.  Could you build something for USPSA for yourself for 3/4 the price, certainly.  Would I run this at a USPSA match, probably not.  I do have to say that this is the first rifle I’ve gotten that I haven’t had to change anything right out of the gate.  I think that says a lot about the team over at Noveske. 
10
Political Discussion / Rep. Cynthia Theilen not running for re-election
« on: October 09, 2019, 08:41:04 PM »
Is there a strong pro-2a candidate to challenge for her seat?
11
Reviews / STEYR AUG A3M1
« on: October 07, 2019, 07:13:38 PM »
“We’re both professionals.  This is personal.” - Karl

Steyr Aug A3M1

History:

“The Steyr AUG (Armee Universal Gewehr – Universal Army Rifle) had been in development since the late 1960s, as a replacement for venerable but obsolete Stg.58 (FN FAL) battle rifles for Austrian army. It was developed by the Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch company (now the Steyr-Mannlicher AG & Co KG) in close conjunction with Austrian Army. The major design is attributed to the three men – Horst Wesp, Karl Wagner and Karl Möser, who developed most of the rifle features. From the Austrian Office of Military Technology the project was supervised by the Colonel Walter Stoll. The new rifle has been adopted by the Austrian Army in 1977, as the Stg.77 (Assault rifle, model of 1977), and production began in 1978. Since then, the AUG gained serious popularity, being adopted by the armed forces of Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Oman, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Ireland and some others. It also was widely purchased by various security and law enforcement agencies worldwide, including the US Coastal Guard. The Steyr AUG can be considered as the most commercially successful bullpup assault rifle to date. Since the 1997, the Steyr-Mannlicher produced an updated version of the AUG, the AUG A2.

In around 2005, Steyr-Mannlicher introduced the most recent version of AUG, the AUG A3. This version is characterized by addition of four Picatinny-type accessory rails – one at the top of the receiver, and three around the barrel, in front of the receiver – at both sides and below it. Therefore there AUG A3 has no standard / integral sighting equipment; instead, any open, telescope or night vision sights can be installed on the upper rail, using appropriate mountings. Lower rail can be used to mount various attachments like tactical front grips, flash-lights, and a specially designed 40mm grenade launcher. Side rails can be used for equipment like laser-aiming devices.”  – Modern Firearms.net

If you really want to go on a deep dive of the history, and you’re more of a visual person, check out the review by Ian of Forgotten Weapons



OAL: 28.25”
Caliber:  .223 cal/5.56 mm
Barrel: 16” Chrome lined heavy barrel 1:9
Operating system: Short stroke gas piston; non-reciprocating charging handle. (did you hear that FN?)


First Impressions

Special thanks to KM Concepts for bringing the rifle in for me. The version I ordered was the A3M1 which comes with a 16” 1:9 chrome lined heavy barrel.  Typically they come with the “tulip” flashider, but I got one with the OEM muzzle brake.

To me the AUG is the most visually appealing rifle out there.  The smooth lines and the way everything seems to come together without any abrupt angles, or sharp edges, it’s as if it was made by an artist.  Looks aside, if the rifle doesn’t function reliably while maintaining a modicum of accuracy, it’s just a polished turd.

The short stroke adjustable gas piston system along with the non-reciprocating charging handle ensures that the AUG continues to run in the harshest of environments.  I changed out the OEM handle for a Manticore Switchback because I found the angle of the original awkward and difficult to lock the bolt back in an expedient manner.  The Switchback makes it possible for me to operate the handle with just three fingers and without having to pull my head off the stock.

I also replaced the front grip with a Corvus Defensio M-LOK Accessory Rail.  This allowed me to use my own vertical grip at a slightly more comfortable distance all the while keeping my light close enough to be activated by my thumb.

A ton of people complain about the trigger.  It’s pretty infamous as being lousy, but is it unserviceable?  No.  The entire trigger pack, except for the springs and a metal alignment tab, are made from the same polymer as the body.  That’s right, the sears and hammer are all made from polymer.  So if your AR trigger was made from the same material it’d feel very similar.

Loading on my version of the AUG is a pretty straight forward, hit the mag release with your thumb or the web of your hand, and yank the mag clear.  On the AUG, the mags don’t drop free like on the AR.  Simply shove a fresh mag in, make sure it’s seated, hit the bolt release and you’re good to go.  On the NATO stock versions though there’s an extra step of locking the bolt to the rear, and releasing it again once your new mag is in.  The fun part is doing the “HK slap” like it owes you money.

I wound up replacing the OEM mag release since I tried to break it in over the past few weeks, loading and unloading mags.  I wasn’t able to get it to a good place where I could reliably get the mag out, so I installed the Corvus Defensio extended mag release. 

A case deflector is a must nowadays since classes and instructors drill switching to the support side.  Unless you want to explain the marks on your face to your boss on Monday, it’s a must have.

The AUG handles just like an SBR AR without all the extra ATF paperwork and waiting periods while maintaining a 16” barrel.  It’s a non-NFA item with some of the same advantages when it comes to ergonomics and handling.  Perfect for tight quarters or maneuvering it in or around a vehicle.  I still don’t know why my wife gets so upset when she asks me to sweep the house and I break this thing out.

Having a quick-change barrel is great, but they only come in .223/5.56. The do come in different lengths if you want to change from a CQB to a DMR type set up, but the barrels aren’t cheap and will run the same as high end AR barrel.  AUG has hinted there is a 300 AAC Blackout version in the works, but this has been teased for years with no release date yet. 

I’ll be adding to this as time goes on as I get more rounds down range.  Ordinarily I’d post a review once I’ve had closer to 1,000 rounds but I’m wasn’t sure what an extended round count would achieve in this case since this rifle has been around for so long and its advantages and disadvantages are well documented.

Now here’s a breakdown of the AUG narrated by an attractive woman…




Is this the rifle for you?  It really depends.  Are you tired of all the ARs out there and want something different? 

PROs
Quick to get on target due to balance point being at the butt
Long barrel in short package – better maneuverability
Gas piston system

CONs
Barrel is proprietary and no caliber changes
Needs a brass deflector
Non-AR control layout/arrangement

12
Reviews / 300 Blackout Project
« on: July 27, 2019, 10:16:52 PM »
300 Black Project

I refurbished my first AR upper (Recce build) and rechambered it in 300 blackout.  300 blackout has been around for a while, and I chose this chambering because after doing some research, I found myself questioning my previously held beliefs about it.

I consider myself unbiased when it comes to doing reviews and don’t pull my punches even when I spend my own money on things – see my Handl Defense lower review.  In this review I’m going to covering like the title states, a 16” 1:6 twist Q 300 Blackout barrel.  The upper was assembled by the Giant Panda at Prime Sports, and I picked up my ammo at Security Equipment from some bald not too good looking hapa dude.



BACK STORY

Before we get into the barrel, I don’t think that this review would be complete without some clarification on the origins of the 300 black cartridge.  It was created and refined by Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC) at the request of a certain military unit that was looking to replace their 9mm MP5’s.  They reportedly weren’t satisfied with the performance of the suppressed 9mm rounds against targets, especially those wearing body armor.  AAC stepped in and furthered the development of what was then called the 300 Whisper into the Blackout.  The end result of this effort was the original Honey Bader:



Based on the familiar AR family of weapons, no additional training would be needed for units to adopt it, but no military orders were forthcoming.  When AAC was sold to Remington, there was hope that the Honey Badger would be sold on the commercial market.  However that was not the case and the Honey Badger was relegated to the “Could have been great/good” heap.

The 300 Blackout round itself proved more commercially successful and was adopted industry wide.  The hallmark of the 300 Blackout round is versatility.  It performs just was well suppressed as it does supersonic.  Bullet weights range anywhere from sub 100 grain self-defense and varmint loads up to 200+ in the subsonic variety.  Contrary to popular belief the round was not specifically designed, aka optimized, for sub 10” barrels.  A lot of shooters were disappointed in the round’s performance when they weren’t getting sub MOA groups at 100 yards, but this round was designed as military round and not necessarily as a national match precision round.  The essence of the round was good performance unsuppressed and suppressed.

For those that are interested in the technical specs of the round Mr. Guns and Gear has a good video explaining the different velocities he was getting out of different length barrels with his chrono:



So fast forward to 2017 and you come to heart of this review, the reincarnation of the Honey Badger at Kevin Brittingham’s (KB) new venture at Q.



I was always interested in the 300 Blackout as a round, given the .30 cal bullet out of a 5.56 mm case, but seeing what my friends had to go through to get their systems to work semi-reliably I shelved the idea until recently.  The main problem was getting the system to cycle properly with the different bullet grains; the heavier the bullet, the more the AR was like a bolt action and wouldn’t cycle properly.  It became a running joke, “You bring your bolt (action) today?”, “Yup!” friend pulls out his 300 blackout upper.

After doing more digging and research I became more convinced the problem wasn’t with the round itself, but the lack of understanding of the system as a whole and what it would take to operate a semi-auto “DI” system.  (I put DI in quotes for those gun nerds that will say the AR is not a true DI system.). So I figured I’d go with the guy who was instrumental in the 300’s development.

So I ended up picking up a 16” stainless steel 1:6 twist adjustable gas block barrel from Q:




THE SPECS

You didn’t misread that the two times I typed it before.  It is a 1:6 twist rate, which is fast.  Why? During development KB found during testing this was the optimum twist rate for BOTH subs and supers.  This is NOT to say other twist rates won’t work like 1:7 and 1:8.  The gas system is pistol length and is adjustable.  My factory block already came adjusted, but you may need to adjust it further depending on the type/brand of ammo you’re using.  I turned my block to the full off position, then kept count of the revolutions as I opened up the block again to about 4 ½ full turns, and hoped that would be enough.

I topped it off with a Q produced Cherry Bomb muzzle device:



Pinning and welding this to avoid the NFA is not recommended since that will screw up the threads and prevent you from running a suppressor or muzzle brake.  KB is a big believer of tapers before threads.  When he first started out he was convinced of the opposite and now realizes how mistaken.  The gas block is held in place by a gas index pin and a jam nut which is easy to tighten to ensuring the gas block doesn’t move and misalign the gas port.

And a Q Bottle Rocket muzzle brake:



For those of you that have mechanical backgrounds you may have noticed something about the two muzzle devices and you’d be correct if you were thinking they reminded you of drive sockets.  The devices were made specifically to be compatible with commonly available drive socket sizes.



You’ll also notice how the carbon fouling is concentrated at the front of the Cherry Bomb around the ports vs. the threads which would cause a can to become stuck.

Here is a good illustration of how the Cherry Bomb and Bottle Rocket go together.  The Bottle Rocket is hollow and that empty space between the end of the Cherry Bomb and the first port cuts in the Bottle Rocket acts as an expansion chamber of sorts.  It’s not a lot of space, but makes a noticeable difference in perceived recoil.




        Just the tip?

FIRST SHOTS

Not sure how the gas system would react, I picked up 150 grain supersonic (supers) American Eagle, and 220 grain subsonics (subs).






I picked up 100 rounds in the supers and 200 in the subs just to see how the barrel and upper just to see how it would cycle.  It….ran….like…..a…..champ.  I had brought my torx driver just in case I needed to remove the handguard and adjust the gas block, I didn’t need it at all.  I let a few other shooters send lead down range so I could check the ejection pattern and it was consistent between the two ammo types. 

My first 5 shot group shredded the left side of my stand with my Eotech 300 blackout.

With the subs, my best 3 shot group at 50 yards was .74 MOA and a 10 shot group was 3.84 MOA.  See attached pics.

Some of you may be wondering why I bothered shooting subs out of a 16” barrel since the round isn’t going to be subsonic when it exits and we can’t have silencers here.  Both are valid points, but perceived recoil is very different between the two.

Just humor me here since there isn’t a scientific way to express this, but let me try by comparing it to the recoil from a 556 and a .308.  If 556 is on low end, and .308 is on the high end of the spectrum, 300 blackout is closer to the 556 end of the spectrum.

                           Super (recoil)                            Sub (recoil)     
                                   X                                                   X   
          556                   I                  .308                 556                   I                  .308

The subs are very mild shooting since they are barely supersonic as they exit the barrel, while the supers are still manageable with a recoil impulse somewhere right in between a 556 and .308.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The Q barrel handled the sometimes temperamental 300 blackout flawlessly.  Not a single issue with the gas system or quality of the parts.  There is an issue with using standard USGI type aluminum mags, particularly with the subs.  The guide wings on the inside of the USGI mags are more pronounced and cause the larger 220 grain heads to cant inwards and thus impinge on the following round causing feeding issues.  This happened the first time I tested the upper, and 3 additional times after.  After the 4th failure to feed, I unloaded all my USGI mags of subs.  As far as I can tell this is only a problem with the subs and not with the supers.  I have a little over a 1,000 rounds on this new upper now, because I wanted to have enough rounds through it to where I feel I could accurately gauge it’s performance. 
13
General Discussion / Let your vote be heard
« on: June 25, 2019, 07:03:28 PM »
And I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny.

You have come to vote as free men, and free men you are.

What would you do with that freedom?

Will you vote?

Aye, vote and you may die. Run and you'll live -- at least a while.

And dying in your beds many years from now

Would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance

Just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our YEET CANNONS!!!


https://www.hi-pointfirearms.com
14
Reviews / Ferro Concepts Slingster VS Haley Strategic D3
« on: June 09, 2019, 08:33:23 PM »
Ferro Concepts Slingster
Price: $48.25 (SKD Tac)
Type of Sling: Two point; open connectors
Features: 1" webbing with shoulder pad; spring loaded cam buckle

** while the Slingster is cheaper at the base, you have to add in the cost of your desired connectors as well, which can easily be another $20.

Haley Strategic D3
Price: $89.00
Type of Sling: Two Point; O and D Ring QDs
Features: 1" webbing with shoulder pad; Tri-glide adapter; sewn adjustment loop



After spending more time on my SCAR I began to really notice the shortcomings of my old single point sling so I started looking into a replacement.  Off the bat I knew it would have to change my set up and go back to a two point sling with a pad since the SCAR was heavier than any of my previous ARs.  As you all know there are tons of two point padded rifle slings on the market so I had to narrow down the field by prioritizing my needs.  In addition to it being a 2 point padded sling, it would have to be easy to adjust.  Simple, swift and easy to change it from slack to tight to support a precision shot would be paramount.  Also, I didn't want the sling to have any kind of unusual/unique connectors like paracord or wire loops that might make it a pain in the ass.  Also, if it could convert to a single point without a lot of hassle, that would be great since I prefer to run my sling attached to the end plate on the lower receiver to the part of the hand guard that is closest to the upper receiver.  I like my gear simple, straight forward, and uncomplicated.  This narrowed my field down to two slings, so I picked up both and have been trying both the D3 and Slingster out on the range and at home doing manipulation drills for the past few months.  In the end I settled on the Ferro Concepts Slingster - sort of.  I took the feature I liked best about the Haley and put it on the Slingster.

What I liked best about the Haley was that you could convert it from it's base 2 point configuration to a true single point by disconnecting the front QD and putting it in the Tri-glide socket.  So I sourced the Tri-glide connector on my own and added it to the Slingster.  I didn't go with the D3 is because it wasn't as easy to tighten as the Slingster.  The webbing adjustment loop is sewn and occasionally I couldn't get it tight after making it slack because I wasn't pulling it at the right angle and would end up jerking my rifle to the left.  I don't have the same problem with the spring loaded cam buckle on the Slingster.  I can adjust that looser to tighter with just my thumb, but I still like the Haley Tri-glide.  In the end I found the Tri-glide by itself and paid the $19 plus USPS postage to get it shipped.

In the end both slings ended up costing the same, but I'm much happier using the Slingster.
15
Reviews / Scalarworks - PEAK
« on: May 13, 2019, 09:36:14 PM »
I saw their booth last year and took a look at a few of their products.  They seemed pretty solid and well manufactured, but I didn't have a lot of time that 3rd day to stick around and ask them a lot of questions.  You may think what's the big deal, it's a fixed front sight, there's a lot of those on the market.  And you'd be right except these are two to three steps above the competition.  What makes them stand out is the quality of the design and the manufacturing.  Rather than having to use a front sight tool to adjust the post, you just simply turn a dial and you're set versus the traditional spring loaded detent.  If you have long enough arms, you can reach the front adjustment dial from the seated position on a bench without having to get up and off your scope.  They use a ball bearing spring combination for solid adjustment clicks that won't budge.  The front post is CNC machined from 7075-T6 aluminum alloy which is the same material as most mil-spec AR lowers which allows it to handle a great deal of abuse.  I just got these in this week and haven't had a chance to abuse them at the range yet, but I'll update that when I get a chance.  It weights in at an anorexic 2.3 oz, which is lighter than a vast majority of the fixed front sights on the market as well as some folding ones as well.

In addition to top notch machining and finishing they included a legit magnetic T25 Torx bit, and the conversion formula to adjust the sight based on your sight radius.  It comes in nice packaging which shows their anal retentive attention to detail.  The only draw back is the price - $139.99 for the front sight.  That can be very steep for a single piece of kit - you can get a lot of ammo for range time for the same price.  What it really comes down to is what your setup is and how you're going to use it.  Is this something for your Heavy Metal 3 Gun Rifle, or a precision iron sights only competition?  If it is, then this might be for you.  It could also be for a "bomb proof" SHTF upper.  *PS they care about you single guys out there.  There's very sage advice hidden in the box.   :thumbsup:
16
https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019/04/28/hawaii-news/isle-gun-group-aims-to-sue-over-red-flag-law/?HSA=1477011af4343cc7f3a314c099bcc47df60d82fb

“None of the constitutional rights are absolute”. OMG no wonder this fool has never had a REAL job.

The real threat comes in the form of comments from gun owners who support this legislation claiming those of us that are against it are “out of touch”.  Constitutionally enshrined tights are not optional.   Our rights are not subject to imperial fiat.  Oh boy 14 states already have red flag laws - and how’s that working out for them?  California has a red flag law and look what just happens SD.  Maybe the other 36 states aren’t deluded by liberal “logic” and “common sense gun control” to believe that 🐂 💩
17
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/man-arrested-after-cell-phone-thrown-onstage-during-trump-nra-speech

Guess someone was pretty upset about Trumps support for the Bump Stock ban.
18
Deals and Sales / Noveske 15% off webstore
« on: April 17, 2019, 08:50:11 PM »
Noveske 15% off everything in their webstore.  Free shipping on orders over $400.  Deal goes until Friday.
19
General Discussion / FIRE MISSION: Star Adv Poll
« on: April 03, 2019, 12:57:05 PM »
Poll on the SA website asking if readers approve of the way the chief is handling permits to carry on public.  If you have access please vote.
20
Legal and Activism / Oregon 2A fight
« on: March 18, 2019, 07:25:27 PM »
Like us our brothers and sisters I the PNW are facing their own slew of anti-2a bills. As a result, Emerson Knives and Noveske have teamed up to raise money.  If you donate $35 you’re entered to win a serialized 1of 1 Emerson knife hand ground by Ernest Emerson AND a Noveske Gen 1 lower with the Emerson logo. These are both 1 offs and 100% of the proceeds goes towards the 2a fight in OR.  Checkout Noveske’s Instagram account.
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