I know that we all love having fun shooting our AR’s but when its over, its time to get to the business of cleaning. Having a specific tool like the CAT M4 is an invaluable piece to have so you can get into the nooks and crannies of your bolt carrier group.
With this tool you can clean your firing pin and the chamber area where the firing pin sits. It can still be done without this tool, but with a CAT M4 handy it makes your life easier.
Ok Youtube, I was watching Peter with the Army channel the other day, and he had a tool to help you clean the bolt of your AR-15, and it looked like a quality-made product, so I decided to pick one up, and there’s all their informaton right there on the card, just comes in a little ziplock bag, and then this cardboard. And then in the cardboard, is folded up, is the tool itself, and then instructions on how to use it. Very simple, all the steps you can use to clean it, and then just some literature on the back.
So, figured I’d give it a shot. I literally just got this in the mail, and I haven’t cleaned my bolt in a while. As you can see, it -if it’ll focus in on there- you can tell there’s quite a bit of carbon build-up, and it’s fairly dirty in there as well. Not that it’s going to show up too well. But I thought I’d give this thing a try, and just kinda going step-by-step on it.
The first part’s gonna be to clean the carbon off here. So as you can see, hopefully, this part is beveled and polished just to fit just the specifications of your bolt, so you just slide it in there, and then twist, is what they’re saying. Then off comes the dirt. And it seems to be working pretty good. I mean it’s– I guess this wasn’t quite as dirty as I thought it was. It’s not getting in there as tight. Actually, yeah, it smooths that right up. I mean there’s not a whole lot– you’re gonna see the dirt that’s on there. But it loosened up there.
Now I will say that this has been– the last time I cleaned this, I took a little pick and scraped that, because it had built up so bad. I’d never even paid attention to it, which is my fault for not cleaning it that well, but that tool does a pretty good job.
And now the flat part sticks in there, and you’re supposed to just kinda turn it a little bit, loosen up the dirt, and you can see– that’s gonna be a lot dirtier, because cleaning in there is something I’ve never done. You’re supposed to just clean in there a little bit, and then you can either– you’re supposed to thread this through (if I can do it) there we go, you thread that through and then fold it over to where it holds on, and then do it again. That fits in there snug. Wow. Can you tell there’s some dirt in there? Another option you can do is just fold it over the top and do the same thing. I guess the reason you don’t fold it over the top is so you don’t lose it once it’s in there. But yeah, definitely got some more work to do on cleaning that.
And the other piece is that little cross-shaped cutout. You just stick your firing pin there, as you can tell, it’s got some dirt on it. But it’s supposed to clean right around in here, so you just stick it through that hole, it kinda fits in that recess, and then you just turn it. And actually, it’s getting off quite a bit. Just pull down and spin is all I’m doing, and as you can see there’s quite a bit of junk on that– I don’t think it’s a blade, just that kinda sharp edge that gets right up against it there. Get a new square here… I know this isn’t the best review, but that’s probably the cleanest this thing’s been since I bought it. I mean I guess you could get a little pick and scrape in there, but without having a pick, that works pretty good. I’m pretty impressed at how that scrubs that metal, because it has the perfect tolerances, just to clean that metal just perfectly to where it won’t scrape the metal and remove any metal, but it cleans off all that carbon. So yeah I think it’s a pretty good little product.
And of course, also if you have any little screwdriver bits, it allows you to use that as a screwdriver bit right here. So. But yeah, it’s a CAT M4 cleaning tool. Made in the USA. Yeah, if you’re looking for someone to clean your AR bolt, they also make one for the 762 bolts. Anything that fits in a standard AR-15 bolt like a 6.8 SPC bolt will work in here too. If you need to go to the larger bolt carrier, like te AR-10 bolt carrier, they do have a tool for cleaning the larger AR-10 bolts as well. So just something to check out if you’re interested.
Alright, I’m gonna finish cleaning this and put it all back together.
Sources: The Peruano57 Youtube, Army Channel
Razorback 22LR Beltfed Conversion for the AR15 rifle – Credits go to LSM1213
Tired of stacking up old magazines on your plinker? Lakeside Guns has the solution for you — a beltfed .22 LR. Correct, the Lakeside Machine has a clever transformation for AR-15 style rifles, called the Razorback. This altered upper receiver allows you go through rimfire ammunition by means of a belt. Maybe best of all, it requires no alteration to the lower receiver to slap one on. In general, the Razorback gives off an impression of being for the most part a novelty but be that as it may, what the hell, it would so cool to bring one at the range.
This is a Razorback Beltfed 22 rimfire conversion for the AR15 rifles. No modifications to your lower and totally reversible back to centerfire. Lakeside Machine LLC is the worlds only maker of beltfed rimfires. Compare price and simply the total cool factor of this conversion……simply the BEST value in rimfire out there today!!
Sources: Lakeside Guns Youtube
A gun specialist and a trauma specialist gives us an answer by reproducing a scene from the 1986 war film, Platoon. With the assistance of a fast camera, we will get a good idea on the degree of harm. The M16 slug 5.56 (.223) is known for its “tumble” which is essentially what causes the harm.
Nonetheless, while most lead center slugs do this after they enter the tissue, the M16’s speed also adds to the injuries. From a distance of 30 feet, what will happen to the ballistic gel mannequin? What will be the impact to the imperative organs? Let’s see!
Paul Dalby is a weapon’s expert with more than 30 years’ experience testing firearms and explosives.
“What I’m holding here is the iconic M16 Assault Rifle. This particular example being a Vietnam veteran. It’s a 5.56 caliber weapon, fed from a 20-round box magazine. It’s accurate to 500 meters, and fires at a rate of 700 rounds per minute.”
To show the damage caused by a single M16 bullet to the human body, Paul will fire into a block of Ballistic gel that has the same density as human tissue. A high-speed camera shows the extent of the damage caused by the bullet.
Adam Brooks is a trauma surgeon and expert in ballistic injuries. He’s treated similar wounds on the battlefield and will be examining the extent of the bullet’s impact.
“This Ballistic Gel is very much like incising tissues of the body, and I’ll try and cut along the track of this round, so we can get an idea of the damage that it’s done. So here’s the entry of the bullet, for the first five or six centimeters, very little in the way of destruction or damage to tissues, but then as the round slows down and turns on its side in the tissue, we get this cavitation effect. All the energy’s dumped into the body, and you get tearing and huge amount of trauma to tissues. And then finally, you can see how the round has twisted, turned on its axis to the point where it’s pointing backwards here and come to rest, still within the body.”
If just a single shot from an M16 rifle causes such devastation to a human body, what will be the effect of tree direct hits to the chest?
To recreate the scene from Platoon, this Ballistic gel mannequin will represent Sargent Elias. Inside are representations of the vital organs: The heart and lungs, liver, and kidneys. Paul will be firing in semiautomatic mode from a distance of 30 feet. The same shooting distance as in the movie.
Every one of Paul’s bullets hit their mark, but have they missed the vital organs, as they did in Platoon?
“He’s been hit low down, just taking the edge of the kidney out, and that’s going to bleed, you can see the blood around the model. He’s got two other injuries, here and here. Both of which have caught the edge of the right lung. Although the lung has been deflated a little bit, it’s not an immediately life-threatening injury.”
So Elias could have survived Barns’ assault, to later reappear from the jungle, only to meet his maker at the hands of enemy fire. But after surviving three bullets to the chest, would Elias really have been able to run into the clearing?
“Elias could have got up and run, for a period of time.”
Sources: Smithsonian Channel, Paul Dalby, Adam Brookes
This AR-15 with a two-inch barrel takes it to another level and is just insane.
AR-15 style rifles sporting shorter length barrels are high in demand these days. But how short is just too short on a registered short barreled rifle (SBR)?
Well, try this one. Yes, that barrel is actually only two inches long. When firing the 5.56x45mm/.223 caliber cartridges, the tips of the bullets protrude out of the barrel. This can be witnessed in the video before each shot is taken.
Is a 2″ barrel a good idea on an AR-15 rifle? Maybe not, but it does still shoot. Would you take a chance and shoot this ultra short-barreled AR-15?
Sources: High Caliber ConversionsLLC Youtube, Eric Nestor
The past few years have been explosive for awesome new parts for ARs. Most of the time it’s small details that add up, but sometimes you get one that really shakes things up and gets you to your core.
Enter: Dead Foot Arms MODIFIED CYCLE SYSTEM Folding AR Stock. The first of its kind to be capable of firing even while the stock is folded. Something the AK could do that the AR couldn’t is now AR-capable and ready to roll.
This new stock was displayed at SHOT Show 2016. What do you think? Have you seen it? Isn’t it cool?
Here’s a video to say even more about it.
Or, are you with that crowd that is still sitting on the fence to buy an AR? Or, maybe you decided that you wanted to invest in one but not sure of which brand? Or, you did get one but still not sure if you got the right AR15?
Well, personally as an editor I can’t tell you which on the market is the best, even though I spent over 20 years carrying the military version of an AR and I do appreciate a good piece of machinery. So we’ll let this Youtuber from Wrangler Star explain his reasoning for going with a DDM4V7, yeh its a Daniel Defense brand. Please chime in and let us know if you’re an AR owner and why/how did you choose the AR that you have.
If you followed the channel for any length of time, you all know that I have been on the quest for the perfect AR15. Well, the perfect AR15 for me. My goodness, it has been a hard, hard decision. Now I’ve had an AR15 that I’ve built, years and years ago, that I’ve always been unhappy with. I’m not an armorer, I was not an expert at the time when I built it, I didn’t know a lot when I specced everything out, and it has not been reliable. And the thing about it that’s bothered me the most, as it sat in the gun cabinet all of those years, being my primary home-defense weapon: Um, I haven’t trusted it. I have not trusted it and I have been uneasy about it ever since I’ve owned it. I’ve wanted a high-quality AR15 that I could completely rely upon, that I could– would make me sleep well at night.
So, started digging in, and man oh man is there a lot of experts, AR15 experts, on the internet. And on the forums. I am not one of them, but I wanted to be informed, I wanted to buy the right one, I wanted to make sure that it was going to be the perfect gun for me. I narrowed it down between many, you know there’s great resources out there, I watched videos from Nuttin Fancy, I watched videos from Hickok45, Iraqwatveteran, if I’m leaving you out, HOSSUSMC, there’s so much good information out there; so much bad information out there. What I kinda narrowed it down to was, of course, the colt. The 6920, the M4, the classic military version- ‘mil spec’ if you want to call it- and also the new Ruger was good, I looked at that one, the M&P was good, I looked at that, Daniel Defense of course, TangoDown, RueTactical, so many of them. But I finally decided.
Can you guess which one I went with?
I’ll show you here. I went with the DanielDefense DDM4V7 AR15. And I am stoked. you know, one of the couple of the turning points was, I still wasn’t decided when I went to the gunshop, they had everything that I wanted there, and they even had this one in stock. I knew they had it, I had seen it there before. But I watched NuttinFancy’s review on it, I watched Hickok45, this is what he bought for himself. NuttinFancy bought the very same gun for himself. And man, they are expensive. It’s hard to justify, you know, I could have had almost two of the discount colts, or the Ruger, or the M&P for the price of one of these. Man that’s a tough one, that’s a tough one when you’re sitting there thinking ‘man I could have TWO ARs for the price of one Daniel Defense, but in the end– do I need two? I already have two– in the end, this is he one that I wanted that puts my mind at ease at nighttime.
So I don’t know, there’s a lot of guys that have a lot more experience with these than I do, and I’m not an expert, but I’ll tell you kinda what it is I like about it. So Daniel Defense, I mean, they make some of the finest, you know, some would even argue kind of going beyond military specifications in quality. As Hickok said, it’s hard to find someone that has anything bad to say about Daniel Defense. They’ve been making ARs for what, a decade now? And they just ooze quality and attention to detail. I mean, they are just wonderful for a mid-range– I guess you would probably call this a mid-to-upper range or something– but what you have is you have that their own proprietary stock, which is no-rattle, mil-spec tube, buffer tube, staked castle nuts, you’ve got M16 Bolt Carrier group, you’ve got proprietary handle, you’ve got enlarged kind of weld magazine well, a wonderful rail attachment system, all M-lock, chrome-lined barrel, cold hammer forged, I mean the list just goes on and on and on, it’s just quality, quality, quality. And I’d actually kind of decided when I was– as I was pulling into the parking lot. ‘Ok, I’m gonna buy two colts, and I’m done’. But when I put the colt next to it, and I spent an hour there, I made the poor guy’s life merable, just having my hands on it, feeling it, looking at it, looking at everything, this just was head and shoulders above. Fit and finish, the quality, just the feel of it, it is, it’s wonderful. It’s absolutely wonderful.
One thing of course, you know, that everyone wants to do, is modify their guns when they get them. Personalize it, you know? Make it your own. And I get that. What am I going to do to mine? I’m not gonna do hardly anything. I’m gonna put a trigger in it. I’ve got a RockRiver stage 2 trigger that I have on my other one that I really like, the trigger on this is not great. It’s just your typical trigger. I do not like it. I’ve been used to shooting a nice trigger, and this is not it. That’s it. That’s all I’m going to do on it. I’m gonna put an EoTech on it, um… a sling? I’m not gonna go on and mess it up. I am– that’s what you do when you’re younger, you know? You modify your cars and you start changing everything, you think that you know better than the engineers who actually build these things, and what I’ve learned is, I don’t. I’m just doing things to cut down reliability or– I’m gonna leave it alone. It is perfect as it is. That’s why you pay the extra money to buy something like this, is because there’s very little that needs to be done with it. So, just couldn’t be happier with it. The Daniel Defense, they just make wonderful guns. I would buy another one, I’ve already looked into which one I want next, you know, down the road, but um– I’ll do– I don’t know, this is not a gun channel, I don’t know if I’m going to be doing any shooting with it, or do much further with it, but I know there was a lot of questions, because I already talked about it, and everybody knew I was looking for one, but man, lightweight. What is it, six-point-two pounds? You know, without the magazine on it. But isn’t that cool? Absolutely love it.
So, now the next question is going to be on the optic. I want magnification, because, where I live, there’s predators and pests, long shot. Four-hundred meters from the house. That’s how far away you could shoot. So I want something, growing up in a hunting family, I never hunted, my grandfather never hunted with any more than a four-power scope. And we hunted eastern Oregon for Rocky-mountain roosevelt elk, and many of those shots were in excess of three-hundred, four-hundred yards. Never once did we ever use anything more than a four-power scope. I’m comfortable with that. Three-power, four-power is fine. So, what optic do I want to put on here? I’m looking at the magnifier, the oetech magnifier, since I’ve already got the eotech I’ve got half the investment done, I’m looking at, you know, there’s the Vcog, or do I step up and get one of those, a variable Vcog, there’s some new sights from Leupold, those are very interesting. Oh, I’m gonna put sights on it. So I’m gonna put co-witnessing sights. I’ll probably just throw Mbus on there, maybe Mbus pros. We’ll see. So it’s gonna kinda depend on what optic I use. You know, how that– where it’s gonna fit. So, still fleshing that all out. So give me your take on which AR you bought and why; if you have one of these, let me know in the comments what you think about it, give me some optic options. You know I know eotech has had some bad press and some issues lately, I’ve read about that, I’m aware of that, and the variations in temperature, and losing zero, you know, that’s something to consider too, but I don’t know. I’m not the expert. But this is what I chose, this is what was best for me, I’m not saying this is the best one in the world, it just was the one that I wanted and the one that was the best fit for me. There’s a lot of great ones out there. But this I think is among the top-tier. So, that’s it. Sharing that with you. So thanks for watching, and we’ll see you guys on the next video.
Sources: Wrangler Star Youtube
How often do you get a chance to shoot at a killer robot wielding an AK? Maybe the robot wasn’t a killer, and maybe the AK wasn’t real, but it could have been, and that’s why it’s a good drill.
Larry Vicker of Vicker’s Tactical was at Gunsite to get some lead downrange. Sporting a Bravo Company AR with an 8 point microbe and a red dot sight attach at 100 yard out. His partner Frank used an AI AT308 bolt rifle, at the same distance with his optics at 6x. At longer distances would be set to 8x or 10x. Less than 100 yards you want to see more of target and its surroundings, enabling you to anticipate its movement.
Shooting a moving target is no cake in the park from long distance, but Frank Galli and Walt Wilkinson has some great tips:
On a more serious note ANY chance you have to practice shooting at a moving target you should do it. Remember NO ONE stands still in a gunfight!
My buddy and frequent guest on my shows Walt Wilkinson from GunSite put Frank Galli and I through a moving target drill using one of GunSite’s four robots, with the TAT3D target that’s sold my good friends at Mile High Shooting Accessories mounted on top. Having to shoot at a 3D target moving sideways is always difficult, because of the limited target profile. Great drill.
Larry: Hey Vickers Tactical fans, thanks for coming back. Larry Vickers, Walt Wilkinson, Frank Galley, we’re out here at Gunsight, and Walt’s gonna run me and Frank through a little moving target drill. Walt, take it away, bro.
Walt: Okay, here at Gunsight we shoot moving targets in our pistol classes and our carbine classes, and of course in our long-range rifle classes. We have three ranges equipped with fixed moving targets, and then we have four remote-control robots that we use, which is what we’re going to use today.
Larry: We also got the Mile-High TAT3D target on it. Frank’s gonna go first with the AI AT 308 bolt gun with Schmidt & Bender five by twenty-five. Now Frank, you’ve done this before, why don’t you give some tips or quick pointers for the folks at home?
Frank: Ok, uh, with a moving target –we talked about this off-camera– the time starts from the time you think about pulling the trigger to the time the bullet gets down there. However, I usually go with a rule of thumb of a half-mil per mile an hour. That’ll get me in the ballpark, but it can vary. You might be slightly different, Walt might have a completely different hold. The way you can shoot the moving target is trapping it, you can track it, and you can do a combination where you lead it, track in front of it, ambush ’em that way; the trapping some people call an ambush method. Gunsight uses a pattern method where you work on the pattern.
Walt: Right, our other two– we teach those two– and then in the precision rifle class, we have a track and hold, where we are tracking behind the moving target, and when it stops or slows down, once the crosshairs or the dot get on the target, you touch it off then. The other one would be a pattern timing where an adversary is popping out of a window or behind the edge of a wall, and you pick up that pattern, and you’re waiting, and just as soon as you see the edge come out, you touch the shot off. So those are our four techniques that we use.
Larry: Now you use an S&B Five-twenty-five, what magnification do you anticipate using for this drill?
Frank: Right now because we’re at a hundred yards, I have it set on six power. Generally speaking I’d be back a little bit further, so eight to twelve is my preferred, but I’m opening up my field of view, just because the robot can move a little bit faster and a little bit more erratic.
Larry: Got it. Now, we’re at a hundred yards for this drill, I’m gonna be using my bravo company training carbine with an eight-point micro, and I’m a big fan -especially at specialty distances like this- of a red-dot sight for movers. They are awesome. Get farther out, might not work so well, that’s where magnification may come into play, but you’re a hundred in, you can wear a mover out with a red-dot sight.
Walt: Alright, here we go. Shooter ready!
Frank: Shooter’s up!
Walt: And Ceasefire.
Larry: Alright, Walt.
Walt: Shooter Ready! Standby![Firing]
Larry: Alright. Walt, if you don’t mind, why don’t you run this puppy up here, we’ll check it out.
Walt: Alrighty. Alright. That’s the side we were shooting at, right there.
Larry: Pretty sure these bigger hits, that’s Frank and the 308. The smaller little ones are me and the 556. And then Frank did a number, he had a goal to cut the target in half, and ‘worked like a champ. This is a hit, one of mine, and this is one of Frank’s. They sealed back up, but we’re going off of bullet diameter. This is one of mine. I think that’s one of Frank’s.
Walt: And the nice thing about this, it’s realistic, in that when you’re shooting a target from the side, you’ve only got a small amount of true target, because any edge hits are just gonna deflect off and not really do any damage. So it’s a small target when you’re working it from the side.
Larry: It’s like everything in life, everything kinda balances itself out. If you’re shooting somebody that’s a little wider, he’s gonna be moving slower, he’s gonna be easier to hit. Thin dude like this, he’s gonna be truckin’.
Frank: That’s it.
Larry: Now you held leading edge the whole way, you just tracked it?
Frank: Leading edge, and I tracked ’em, and took it out that way, I just was in the front trying to get that, I did do a head, I came down into the body, and like I said I wanted to get that cardboard to get that effect, and it worked out pretty well.
Larry: I held body the whole time, leading edge, I didn’t even try for the head, that’s one thing about a RedDot, you don’t have any magnification, you know, the way I’ve got it set up, so you need to be looking more center mass.
Walt: Yeah. And as far as technique goes, Frank you adjusted your natural point of aim every single shot.
Frank: Yes sir.
Walt: To set yourself up for success. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be done, just like that.
Frank: I move my hips when I do it, I don’t shoulder it. I shift.
Walt: “Shift”, that was great.
Larry: Alright, Frank, Walt, I think you guys would agree: Train on movers any chance you get.
Larry: You know, Actually, I tell my students ‘try to go out of your way to find opportunities to train on moving targets’. Because in the real world, when the bullets start flying, nobody’s gonna be standing still.
Larry: Well we’re gonna wrap it up here, I wanna thank Adam for bringing the target, Frank for his assistance with the bolt gun, Walt for your expertise with the robot, and Hamburger Head for sucking up the bullets. Larry Vickers, wrappin’ it up from Gunsight.
Larry: Hey thanks for watchin’ the vickers Tactical Youtube channel. To subscribe click here, and to watch some of my favorite videos, click here. Have a good one, LAV out.
Source: Vicker’s Tactical Youtube, Gunsite
A recent Reddit post made me want to reach through the screen and shake the author. This particular issue comes up so often in survival circles, and it can drive one batty:
For as long as I’ve had my AR, I’ve kept it equipped with iron sights only, on the theory that I didn’t want to rely on a battery-operated sight. That’s still true, but I’m rethinking my original choices and considering a scope or fiber optic sight. So, my question is two-fold: –
Good for this guy. He seems to have finally woken up to the fact that an iron-sights-only build for TSHTF is suicide.
Let’s stop and think about this for a moment — really think about it:
The batteries on many modern red dot sights last for 5 years of continuous use. If you somehow manage to survive for five years in a world that is so collapsed that common batteries are no longer in production, then congratulations, Snake Plissken, you now have your pick of iron sights that are laying around, as well as your pick of pretty much every other product of our once-advanced civilization.
Another thing: five years into TEOTWAWKI your gun is way more likely to be out of ammo than your RDS is to be out of juice.
I put it this way in an earlier post:
“And for God’s sake just pick the best tools for the immediate job at hand without worrying about whether or not the batteries will last another 20 years. You’ll need every technological advantage, no matter how fragile and/or short-lived that technology may seem, to fight your way through this temporary phase. If you can afford some good night-vision equipment, then by all means add it to your Phase 1 load-out and quit worrying about whether your grandchildren will still be able to use it to defend the homestead.”
People who limit their SHTF firepower options solely to weapons systems that they think will be fully viable 50 years from now have just handicapped themselves when it comes to surviving the first few years after rule of law breaks down. If society totally collapses, and there’s fighting in the streets, then you know who’s going to get the post-SHTF benefit of your ultra-durable, no-electronics-anywhere SHTF gun? The guy with the fully modern, electronically advanced, tricked out blaster who just ventilated you and looted your Rawhide relic off your corpse for a trophy.
Oh, what about an EMP, you say? Buy a Trijicon. Yep, I know the tritium fades after 5 years, but again, see the arguments above.
By all means, put some collapsible back-up iron sights (BUIS) on your gun if it makes you feel better. But if you plan to survive the initial breakdown, then you’d better bring your A game and the best, most advanced optics and accessories you can afford–anything to give you an edge over the other guy. Save the cowboy action for competitions and historical re-enactments.
Update: Just to be clear, I support the use of back-up iron sights, and I personally have KAC flip-ups on all three of my ARs. I’m talking more about iron-sights-only builds, and I’ve edited the title to make that clearer.
Story by Bilj AllOutdoor.com
Photo by PEOSoldier Flickr
Review and photographs by Oleg Volk
With the proliferation of AR15s and STANAG-compatible rifles, many of us end up having to keep numerous incompatible magazines on hand. For example, 6.8mm SPC and 338 Spectre require one type, 223 Remington, 300 Blackout and 458 SOCOM another, 7.62×39 a third. Keeping them straight for a range trip is half the problem. Changing over chest rig pouches from mostly straight 223 to curved 7.62×39 is more annoying. And the cost of getting numerous magazines for every caliber isn’t trivial, either. The Unimag by Ross and Zheng Engineering solves this problem by using a stainless-steel body shaped much like a regular GI magazine and a clever articulated follower that automatically adjusts to the shape of the cartridge column. It worked well for me in a variety of AR15s, ARAK21, TAR21, RDB, MAD556 (a roller-lock rifle with very fast cycle). The magazine body is treated with slick anti-corrosive finish on the inside and with textured finish on the outside. This design should be of a special interest to 458 SOCOM users, as it holds a dozen large-bore rounds instead of the usual ten that fit in a conventional GI magazine.
Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: 223 Remington, 300 Blackout, 338 Spectre, 458 SOCOM, 6.8mm SPC, AR15, ARAK21, Calibers, MAD556, multiple, Oleg Volk, RDB, Rifle magazines, Ross and Zheng Engineering, RZE, SOCOM, TAR21, UNIMAG
Review and photographs by Norman Gray
Since the weight of an AR-15 rifle varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model, it can sometimes be an undesirable element for women who shoot them. A fully accessorized AR-15 can weigh upwards of 10 or more pounds with a fully loaded, high-capacity magazine. This weight can cause the shooter to lean backwards to compensate, and in turn, makes these heavier guns unenjoyable. If you’re physically fit and do strength training, weight has a reduced affect, but supporting a heavier rifle will eventually affect the shooter causing them to focus more on the weight and less on the target. If you can identify with this, please read on.
The second concern I commonly hear has to do with a heavy trigger pull. This can be just as much a concern as weight. Women, including my wife, have disparaged the heavy trigger pull of an AR-15 as well as some handguns, especially ones with double-action-only triggers. Many old military rifles including AR-15s have what is referred to as a “military trigger,” and on average have an 8- to 10-pound pull. The original reason for this was so that when the adrenalin was flowing, the shooter would not be able to pull the trigger easily, and experience an unintended discharge. A suggestion would be adding a Timney drop-in trigger. They are easy to install (they drop in using the existing pins) and you have several trigger-weight options to choose from.
While walking the floor at the 2015 Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade, or SHOT, Show I met with the representative from Windham Weaponry. I told them my concerns about women having to deal with heavy ARs and how some companies are starting to employ polymers to reduce the weight of both the upper and lower receivers. Their rep walked me over to a display and handed me their Windham Weaponry Carbon Fiber “SRC.” I couldn’t help but notice the reduced weight of the rifle. I was impressed and knew this could serve as a great alternative to the heavier aluminum receivers. I had seen some polymer receivers around, but at the time didn’t know of anyone who effectively used it for both upper and lower receivers.
Windham states that this rifle weighs 5.85 pounds without a magazine. Using a postal scale I weighed the rifle with the factory sling and an empty aluminum 30-round magazine; it came to 6.25 pounds. I weighed it again with the sling and 30-round magazine (full); it came to 7.25 pounds. At this weight the R16M4 was still lighter than most AR-15s. If you were to add Magpul’s all-steel MBUS-Pro sight set, it would raise the weight 3.3 ounces. For this review I added an EOTech model 518 HWS (holographic weapon sight) which uses AA batteries (13.3 ounces) and a G-33 3X magnifier (11.9 ounces). The total weight with a sling, loaded 30-round magazine, sights and magnifier finished at 8.75 pounds. That’s where most AR-15s start stripped. I approached this like I would backpacking: ounces count and can add up quickly.
This SRC starts with a 16-inch, M4-style, chrome-lined barrel which has a 1-in-9-inch right-hand-twist rate that works well for stabilizing bullets from 55 to 75 grains. It finishes off with an an A2 flash suppressor. The gas block sports a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail for mounting any front sight you choose, as well as has a standard bayonet lug and sling swivel. A word of caution: use a sight constructed of steel, as the gas block will heat up considerably and possibly melt other sights. The handguards have a double-layered heat shield to protect from the heat and are constructed of plastic. They are easily grasped and can be replaced with a quad rail handguard.
An A2 pistol grip offers your shooting hand a secure grip and, as with most parts, it can be replaced with a grip more suited to your hand size. The six-position telescoping buttstock is easy to adjust; grasp the buttstock trigger bar by the rear-sling loop and squeeze it while moving the stock forward or backward to the desired length of 6.5 to 10.5 inches.
Now we have come to what makes the Windham Weaponry rifle so unique: the carbon-fiber upper and lower receiver. They’re molded to look much like what you’re used to, yet discernibly different, containing more angles than curves. On the upper receiver the Picatinny rail is also made of carbon fiber and offers a strong and secure point to mount optics. The charging handle, dust cover and forward assist button is metal, mainly because they have moving parts or springs and are high-stress areas. When disassembling a normal upper, you would remove the charging handle by pulling it to the rear until it stops, then lifting straight up and out, allowing the side tabs to clear the cutouts in the upper receiver. With this model, you simply pull straight back and out and reassemble the same way. You must use caution when disassembling or reassembling the upper receiver as the bolt and charging handle will fall out if tipped up, possibly causing damage. All other areas of the rifle are the same as common models. On the lower receiver the magazine release, bolt catch, safety selector and trigger are metal as well. The markings for the safety selector are icons molded into the receiver; a bullet with an X inside means safe (safety selector pointing forward) and a plain bullet means fire (safety selector point up). The serial number is etched inside of a box under the selector and highlighted with silver, so it’s easy to read. The trigger guard is oversized to allow shooting in cold climates with fingered gloves, and there is room on the rail for backup iron sights, optics and a magnifier, but it’s tight.
I disassembled, inspected, cleaned and lubricated the rifle and headed to the range. It did not disappoint. Oh and do not fear, the rifle comes with a detailed “how to” manual on safety and instruction, disassembly, cleaning, lubrication and re-assembly if this is your first AR15. I had some random leftover ammo from other tests and loaded them into the Windham-original magazine first. I fired all 30 rounds with no stoppages.
I then fired the test ammunition through the chronograph using the factory and Magpul’s 20- and 30-round magazines; again, no stoppages. I also wanted to see how the carbon fiber dissipated heat. With the help of my son we fired 120 rounds through the rifle and I carefully placed my finger on the receiver, and while very warm, it did not burn my finger. It also cooled to the touch relatively fast despite being a direct-gas impingement system, which means the gas from the round is tapped off from the barrel and moved through a gas tube and then back to the bolt to cycle the action.
This Carbon Fiber SRC performed as hoped with all the ammunition and magazines tested. The cooling and heat-dissipation properties of the carbon fiber are noticeably better than their aluminum counterparts, and so is the overall weight with the accessories tested. If you wish to keep the rifle as light as possible, use a 10- or 20-round magazine with iron sights.
The only problem I encountered was that the rear takedown pin will walk out if not pushed all the way in until you hear or feel a click. Other than that, I highly recommend this rifle to any shooter who wants a light and dependable M4-style rifle. The choice is yours in the end on how light your rifle will be, but rest assured, you’re starting out with a rifle whose manufacturer is confident enough to give you a lifetime warranty that is even transferable. Lastly, something I feel is very important: Windham rifles are 100 percent American made in Windham, Maine, just outside Portland. –ASJ