Fresh Air

| April 28, 2020
Eastern Sierra
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

The Eastern Sierra Mountains are a great place to clear your mind and get fresh air amid the corona virus crisis. Aside from truly necessary visits to the grocery store, hardware store, and post office, I’ve been inside my home working.

My workload has actually increased quite a bit during the crisis, and while I am grateful for work, I am jealous of the many folks outside, getting fresh air whilst collecting some combinations of unemployment, SBA, and stimulus checks.

I’d probably be less bitter if I was also dipping my hand in the cookie jar, but I am not. While we will all pay for the stimulus and bailouts, in some form or another, at least some of us will have had an extended spring break on the taxpayer’s dime, whilst others, myself included don’t get that government sponsored vacation time.

I had to get some outside time, so I scouted a large meadow with aspen stands above a peak that I had been interested in visiting, and had previously investigated via satellite photos.

The break made me feel much better mentally, and even physically. My work desk posture is not the best and the consequence is discomfort and dull pain.

Being outside gave me an opportunity to appreciate a time in the future when we will be able to get out more freely. It gave me a mental break from work. It also gave me an opportunity to physically loosen up, as well as get some vitamin D.

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Super Slim A2 Sights

| April 12, 2020
UTG Rear SLim Sight 0
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

UTG Rear SLim Sight 2
UTG Rear SLim Sight

I needed sights for my recent AR15 build, so I decided to try UTGs Super Slim A2 sights. I wanted a reliable, and solidly made fixed sight set. I didn’t want flip ups. I also didn’t want to spend nearly as much on sights as I did a budget AR15 build. After a bunch of reading, researching, and price comparisons, I bought UTGs Super Slim A2 sights.

The Super Slim A2 Sights by UTG were exactly what I was looking for. They are solidly built, mount squarely with included Torx screws, and use standard heights for flat top handguards and uppers.

Rear Sight Features:
Tool free windage adjustment
With dual aiming apertures
Precision Machined Aircraft Aluminum
Matte Black Anodizing
Square-Shaped Integral Recoil Stop
Securely Attaches to any Picatinny Rail
Includes a T20 Torx wrench, and extra screw
Price: $32.97

UTG Front Slim Sight 0
UTG Front Slim Sight 1

Front Sight Features:
Machined forward and rear-forward facing glare reducing serrations
Matte Black Anodizing
Adjustable A2 Front Sight Post
Interchangeable with aftermarket posts with equivalent dimensions
Square-Shaped Integral Recoil Stop
Securely Attaches to any Picatinny Rail
Includes a T20 Torx wrench, and extra screw
Price: $15.97

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Free Float M-LOK Handguard

| April 12, 2020
NBS M-LOK Handguard
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

NBS M-LOK Handguard

The NBS Free Float M-LOK Handguard is an American Made handguard. It features a monolithic rail, and is machined from a 6061-T6 extrusion. The finish is type 3 hard coat anodizing.

The handguard is nice and slim, feels nice in hand. It fit nicely over my low profile gas block, and features 7 sides of versatile M-LOK attachment slots. The handguard also includes a barrel nut, and its non-indexing! It makes it easy to properly torque the nut and even easier to install the handguard over it.

The NBS Free Float M-LOK Handguard is a great value, backed by a lifetime warranty, Made in America, and uses a non-indexing barrel nut. It is equal or superior in quality to handguards, that are 2 or even 3 times the price. It looks great, and works with nearly any AR15 build budget.

Includes barrel nut
6061-T6 Aluminium
Type 3 Hard Coat Anodizing
1.35″ ID
Installed Weight:
7″ – 7.3oz
12″ – 10.9oz
15″ – 12.9oz
Made in the USA
Backed by the NBS Limited Lifetime Warranty

Available in 4″, 7″, 12″ and 15″ lengths
4″ Price: $49.95
7″ Price: $59.95
12″ Price: $64.95
15″ Price: $64.95

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Fat Comp 2

| April 12, 2020
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Update 4 29 2020: There is a considerable noticable reduction in recoil, compared to a rifle with nothing mounted to the end of the barrel. I initially though it was my imagination, or I just got way tougher while staying at home due to the COVID crisis. Well it turns out I am in no way shape or form tougher, and there is actually a 34% reduction in recoil. Somebody has done the experiment…and recorded the data. If you are interested in reading the experiment, click here.

The Fat Comp 2 by Strike Industries is 1 of 4 compensators in the Fat Comp line of compensators.

They are meant to work with Strike Industries Cobra Dummy Suppressors, and will fit inside most free float handguard rail systems, as well as directly attach to any AR barrel with a 1/2”x28 thread pitch. They are machined from steel, and feature a mate black finish.

First impressions were good. It’s matte finish is nice, and the quality of the machined steel is very good. Installation onto my AR barrel was straight forward, and the fitment very good. The price of a Fat Comp, is a fraction of other higher priced compensators for very comparable performance. I also managed to achieve the look i wanted.

– Length: 2″
– Weight: 7.8oz
– Outer Diameter: 1.5”
– Inner Diameter: 0.254″
– Thread Pitch: 1/2×28
– Caliber: .223/5.56

Price: $35.00

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Reloading Ammo

| April 11, 2020
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Why should you be reloading ammo? There are a few reasons to be reloading ammo, and if you can afford the upfront costs, you should look into it.

Reason #1: Cost Savings
If you are looking to save money, it will take some volume before you really benefit, but you’ll be able to develop and load high end rounds for cheaper than you could buy them. Range finds, and buying things in bulk or on sale can make reloading ammo more cost effective than store bought ammo. However, cost shouldn’t be the only focus of reloading.

Reason #2: Precision Ammunition
You can produce more accurate, and consistent ammunition, versus off the shelf ammunition.

Reason #3: Availability
You can produce a specialty round that isn’t commonly available, or create a round that is in low supply at retailers

Reason #4: Freedom
If you live in California, you can avoid the ammo background checks and fees. (This is a big perk for me in California, where legislators and idiots are constantly trying to take away or infringe 2A rights). Background checks add to the cost of ammunition, and upfront fees to buy ammo from a store you aren’t on record already is an egregious 20 dollars.

My Big Game Hunting Round. Used for examples below.
I experimented with powders, seating depth, and settled on a load for my 270. It’s a 140g Barnes TSX, doing 3100+ fps and around 3000FPE at the muzzle. It doesn’t recoil badly, isn’t even the hottest load I could run, and is producing accurate results. When I put a highend name brand round with similar ballistics through a chronograph, it performed over 300fps slower than advertised. So even when you pay for a premium round, you may not be getting ammo that is nearly as good as you could create.

Equipment Cost Breakdown(All Available in one stop at Brownells)

Equipment Cost Link
Lyman Press $89.99 Buy It Here
#3 Shell Holder $5.98 Buy It Here
Priming Unit $11.99 Buy It Here
Powder Funnel Free I designed and 3d Printed my own.
Powder Scale $29.99 Buy It Here
Digital Caliper $38.99 Buy It Here
Dies Set 2 Piece $40.00 Buy It Here
Total $216.94

I bought stuff on sale, price shopped a couple other places, even 3D printed stuff, and got all of the above for $172.65.

Consumable Cost Breakdown

Consumables Cost Link
RE 22 Powder 1 lbs (120 rds) $28.00 Buy It Here
Bullets(50) $28.00
Primers(1000) $33.99 Buy It Here
Primers(100) $3.99 Can be bought in smaller 100ct amounts

 

My Specific Example Ammo Reloading Costs
$0.24 powder, $0.56 Copper 140g Bullet, $0.04 Primer, 270 Cartridge(I have a bunch that I’ve saved)
Box of 20 = $16.80 or 84 cents per round

Compare the above to Lead Free commercial round: Hornady Superformance GMX 130g
Box of 20 = $29.99 or $1.50 per round

So for a ‘specialty’ lead free hunting round, my reloaded ammo cost a little more than half that of a commercially available round, but I can be assured of performance, and quality.

My example focused mostly on a centerfire hunting round, that uses premium bullets and a magnum rifle powder, and not bulk shooting rounds. For bulk reloading it’d be wise to read what you can about a turret press, which is faster at creating bulk ammunition, than a single stage press would be. Reloading ammo in smaller calibers like 5.56/223 could be much cheaper, based on powders, and the use of copper jacketed lead bullets.

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Featureless AR15 Build

| April 2, 2020
Ca Legal AR15
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Legally own an evil AR, even if you live in California, just build it featureless! The general rule is no features, no problems. Hence the name featureless. Or you can register your AR for 20 bucks, and be on a DOJ list forever. Or you can refuse to comply, and risk becoming a felon.

None of this is news, but for all the FTGBs(first time gun buyers/builders) out there, this is meant to be a simple breakdown on how to build a featureless, CA legal, rifle on the AR platform in California.

First question that you may have, “But what if I have a bullet button?” The rules keep changing to match the engineering of firearms. Even the idiot politicians and anti-gun lobby manage to trail behind the tech as it changes. Basically, unless you detach the upper from the lower, (IE: disassembly) you are non-compliant. There are workarounds, but why roll the dice with a law enforcement officer within a narrow margin of the law, and/or constantly wearing down your takedown pins.

Keep in mind, these are guidelines, that at the time of writing April 1 2020, are accurate to the best of my knowledge. They are guidelines, and not legal advice. You do what you are going to do at your own risk.

So what the featureless rules mean, is get rid of the following:

  • Pistol Grip, Thumbhole Stock
  • Folding/Telescoping Stock
  • Grenade Launcher or Flare Launcher
  • Flash Suppressor
  • Forward Pistol Grip

What to replace:

  • Pistol Grip, Thumbhole Stock This, I must admit is the worst, most stupid part of the rules. If you can’t wrap your thumb around you grip, at an angle under the receiver at the trigger line, California lawmakers are somehow happy. The fin-grip or featureless grip, is the awful alternative. It prevents the safety from being easily accessed via the shooting hand thumb, and creates an awkward feel. What does help is an ambidextrous safety selector, like this one here. Also, when Freedom Week 2 rolls around in California, SHTF and there is complete unrest, or boogaloo, 20 seconds with a standard screwdriver and you can swap that featureless grip with a more ergonomic one.
  • Folding/Telescoping Stock Fixed Stock, because you aren’t getting any taller, nor your arms any longer. Get a fixed stock, or fix/pin an adjustable stock to your length of pull.
  • Grenade Launcher or Flare Launcher These are fun for D-bags to use in Call of Duty, but you should stick to Call of Duty if you think you have a practical situation for these. Don’t take that the wrong way, I love COD, but I think we all know who we are talking about.
  • Flash Suppressor You probably aren’t waging an all night battle. So reducing the chance of temporary blindness isn’t the end all for you. Get a muzzle brake, or a compensator. Trade out that marginal flash suppressor for something that will help you maintain control and increase your accuracy, whilst also decreasing your felt recoil. If you ‘need’ some form of stealth, go through the ATF process, get a suppressor, and run subsonic 300 Blackout.
  • Forward Pistol Grip I like a more modern m-lok handguard that’s easy to grip anywhere. If I need more positive contact, I’ll add a completely legal angled foregrip/handstop(AKA ‘commando foregrip’ for you COD couch ninjas).

So skip the CA DOJ BS of registering. Unless you trust they’ll take you off a list later, should you ever get to completely exercise your Second Amendment rights, in the Golden State ever again.

When you are looking for parts check out those who support our rights, even in California, where its tough. (Some links are affiliate others are just because they are great, and may not have an affiliate program). Support them because they are great companies, support our 2A rights, and some are largely veteran owned or operated.

Brownell’s
Palmetto State Armory
Aero Precision USA
Midway USA
AR15 Discounts
AR15 Handguard

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