April 3rd, 2018 by asjstaff

Americans are ingenious.That’s a well-known fact.Take just one look at the history of arms development in this country and it becomes easy to see what I’m talking about. As a wise man once said, you can’t stop the signalWhere there’s a will, there’s a way. You’d think the California gun-grabbers would have figured that out by now, but I guess not.

What’s one of the easiest ways to get around the definition of a so-called “assault weapon” without having to remove your collapsible stock, pistol grip, flash hider, etc? Give your AR-15 a fixed, 10-round magazine. If it doesn’t detach or hold more than 10 rounds, you’re in the clear. (Makes sense, right? Don’t answer that.)

So, that’s exactly what CompMag did. The way it works is simple. Remove your upper receiver and insert the CompMag in your magwell. Next, put the supplied plate over the screw hole in the mag. Then, attach the mag to the magwell with the screw provided. (They even provide a tube of threadlocker.) Boom, you’re done. Now you’ve got a rifle with a fixed, 10-round magazine. You can hit the mag release as hard or as often as you want; it isn’t going to budge.

Installation was a breeze. Thankfully, I don’t live in a state that requires such silliness, so I opted not to use the threadlocker when testing, which would have created a “permanent solution.” Even so, using it would have only slowed me down by a matter of seconds.

But how do you load it? Once again, the operation is simple. A cover on the side of the unit slides down to provide access to the magazine’s internals. Pushing down a lever and locking the knob under the lip compresses the spring and allows you to load the mag. Simply insert 10 rounds into the mag, close the cover, and release the spring tension. You’re inserting the rounds at the bottom of the fixed portion of the mag, which means that each round thereafter gets pushed up into the internal cavity.

As a bonus, there’s even a round counter on the side that keeps track via the knob as it moved up in the mag.

Function testing couldn’t have been easier. Well, I guess it could have been if the mag fell free and I could slap another one in right away, but considering the circumstances, it was easy. When the bolt locked open after the tenth round, I just slid open the cover on the side of the mag and fed ten more rounds into it. I didn’t experience any issues with feeding, ejecting, locking open, etc.

When it comes down to it, the CompMag is a brilliant – and simple – solution to an annoying problem. Would it be better if California quit infringing on citizens’ rights? Absolutely. Is that ever going to happen? Good question. Until then, buy a CompMag or move out of the state!

Good news for AK owners: a CompMag for your gun is in the works!

Ratings (out of five stars):

Quality: * * * * *
Everything is high-quality and American-made in California. The company didn’t skimp on any aspect of the design or build of the product.

Ease of Use: * * * * *
Installation and loading of the CompMag is completely idiot-proof.

Value: * * * *
At $64.99, the CompMag isn’t exactly cheap. Nonetheless, it is an all-American product and I’m sure it wasn’t cheap to develop, patent, and produce it. At the end of the day, can you really put a price on being able to keep your AR in California? (Again, don’t answer that.)

Overall: * * * *
It sucks that some people have to go to such lengths to keep their AR-15s, but this product makes it suck a little less. It’s super easy to use and incredibly well made. If you find yourself in a situation where you need something like this, I’d definitely recommend it. The price point is the only thing keeping it from a full five stars in my book.

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , ,

March 30th, 2018 by asjstaff

You have to hand it to Ruger – over the past few years the Newport, New Hampshire headquartered firearms manufacturer has transformed their image from “bolt action and rimfire” to “backpack-ready and NFA” (raise your hand if you predicted that Ruger would be making silencers). Seemingly basic considerations like optics and accessory rails, threaded barrels and polymer furniture options are progressive enough to get a younger generation of shooters interested in buying a Ruger. But manufacturing the new Ruger PC Carbine to accept GLOCK magazines is just part of the reason that Ruger’s latest offering is a homerun.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Reports of the death of the pistol caliber carbine have long been exaggerated – a steady flow of companies have announced models that are either new and unique or are update versions of classic guns. The Ruger PC Carbine is a bit of both, channeling the company’s original PC9 that debuted in 1996 as well as modern takedown features from recent rimfire hits.

In simple terms, the PC Carbine is basically an overgrown 10/22 takedown with magazine interchangeability features. In fact, Ruger’s new rifle allows trigger/fire control group swaps with 10/22 mechanisms.


The Ruger PC Carbine comes nicely packed inside a well organized box with all the required tools and components to shoot, adapt and maintain your new rifle. Although the 9mm carbine comes ready to shoot out of the box with a Ruger American magazine well and magazine, included at no extra charge is a GLOCK magazine well – Ruger could easily have left the GLOCK compatibility feature as an added cost.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Ruger’s new long gun is available in three versions: threaded barrel, bare muzzle and a 10 round magazine options for those states where a handful of extra rounds in a magazine can get you in legal trouble (don’t get me started). For this review, Ruger was nice enough to let me borrow the threaded barrel version due to my need to suppress every firearm that lands in my lap.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Specifications – Ruger 9mm PC Carbine


  • MODEL NUMBER: 19100
  • Stock: Black Synthetic
  • Capacity: 17
  • Barrel Length: 16.12″
  • Overall Length: 34.37″
  • Barrel Feature: Threaded, Fluted
  • Front Sight: Protected Blade
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable Ghost Ring
  • Thread Pattern: 1/2″-28
  • Weight: 6.8 lb.
  • Length of Pull: 12.62″ – 14.12″
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Finish: Type III Hardcoat Anodized
  • Twist: 1:10″ RH
  • Grooves: 6
  • Suggested Retail: $649.00
TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

My initial reaction was very positive: The PC Carbine feels like a quality firearm right out of the box, has no visible machining marks and includes a well made polymer stock set.

Safety reminder: Always follow the rules of proper and safe gun handling. If you don’t understand something, stop and ask a professional for help. 


If you are familiar with the classic 10/22 rimfire rifle, you are ready to run the PC Carbine – ergonomics, controls and general operation are basically the same. The only real difference being the magazine well and release button (more on dropping mags in a bit).

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Breaking down the PC Carbine into its two halves is simple and takes less than 30 seconds. Simply unscrew the unlocking ring, push the release lever, then twist the front section counterclockwise and pull.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

The magazine release is reversible; using the included hex key simply loosen the screw and remove it along with the release and the spring. Then install the assembly from the opposite sides and tighten the screw. I’ve included screenshots from the Ruger owner’s manual below (You do read the manual, right?).

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

The charging handle can also be switched for right or left hand side operation.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

The safety is a standard cross bolt design, operated with a push of the index’s finger or thumb. And the bolt hold open mechanism is classic Ruger 10/22 – love it or hate it, at least it is familiar.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Inside the charging handle is a hex nut which can be unscrewed to switch it from the right or left hand side. We will have more time inside the PC Carbine’s instructions to show you the ease of the charging handle swap.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

This pistol caliber carbine ships with two additional stock spacers to adjust length of pull. Truthfully, these little slices of plastic were the biggest disappointment of the entire review. They are shiny plastic rather than rubber or polymer and feel like an afterthought rather than a design feature like the rest of the PC Carbine’s winning personality. It’s a minor issue, just try to ignore the fact that they feel like the fake Legos you used to find at your least favorite cousin’s house as a kid.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

The ghost ring sight set is perfectly suited to the sporter/carbine feel from Ruger. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation with the turn of a screw.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

My only request here would be some side-protecting blades to keep the ghost ring from snagging on gear or clothing.

It takes Glock mags!

Now for one of the PC Carbine’s biggest features: magazine wells that can be changed to allow for the use of GLOCK mags. As of this writing, Ruger’s new Carbine ships with a Ruger magazine and mag well along with a GLOCK well. Time will tell if the company, or even aftermarket manufacturers, will make additional inserts to accept other manufacturer’s magazines.

The PCC’s user manual has an easy to follow set of instructions. Read and follow the steps for a proper installation.

Here’s the box insert with tools and accessories. The empty slot holds the included Ruger magazine.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

There are two captured screws that hold the receiver in place. Loosen them until they pull away from the receiver.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

The form of bare receiver may seem familiar: it’s e beefed-up version of the rimfire classic 10/22 design. In fact, Ruger boasts trigger group interchangeability with 10/22 products, which opens the door to some fantastic aftermarket options.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Looking into the empty stock from the top down shows the magazine insert and a spring loaded tab that is actuated by the magazine release. Simply depress the tab inside the well and lift the insert out of the stock.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Follow the steps in reverse to install a different mag well. In all, the process took about five minutes from start to finish.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

The design simplicity should allow Ruger or other aftermarket manufacturers to make inserts for other popular magazines. Although GLOCK mags fulfill most shooters dreams of carrying their favorite pistol that shares mags with a capable carbine.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Details: Ruger.com

  • Interchangeable magazine wells for use of common Ruger® and Glock® magazines. Ships with SR-Series Pistol and Security-9® magazine well installed and an additional magazine well accepting Glock® magazines is included*. Ruger American Pistol® magazine well is available at ShopRuger.com.
  • Easy takedown enables quick separation of the barrel/forend assembly from the action for ease of transportation and storage. Takedown is as simple as locking the bolt back and verifying that the rifle is unloaded, pushing a recessed lever, twisting the subassemblies and pulling them apart.
  • Dead blow action features a custom tungsten dead blow weight that shortens bolt travel and reduces felt recoil and muzzle rise. Bolt is machined from heat treated, chrome-moly steel to ensure strength, structural integrity and durability.
  • Reversible magazine release and reversible charging handle to support ambidextrous use or one-handed control manipulation while maintaining a proper firing grip*.
  • Cold hammer-forged, chrome-moly steel barrel with ultra-precise rifling provides exceptional accuracy, longevity and easy cleaning. The heavy contour barrel provides consistent accuracy, while barrel fluting sheds unnecessary weight and allows for quick handling.
    1/2″-28 threaded barrel with included thread protector allows for use of standard muzzle accessories.
  • Accurate sighting system with adjustable ghost ring rear aperture sight and non-glare, protected blade front sight.
  • Soft rubber buttpad with spacers allows the rifle to be properly sized for different shooters or varying levels of outerwear or defensive gear (three, 1/2” spacers included).
  • Durable, glass-filled nylon synthetic stock features sling swivel studs for rapid sling attachment and forward mounted accessory rail to allow for a variety of under-barrel accessories such as lights or lasers. The grip features a proprietary texture for enhanced control.
  • Light, crisp trigger pull with minimal overtravel and positive reset utilizing proven 10/22® trigger components.
  • CNC-milled from an aerospace-grade 7075-T6 aluminum billet, the receiver includes an integrated Picatinny rail and is Type III hard-coat anodized for maximum durability.
    Also includes: one, SR-Series pistol magazine and hex wrenches for rear sight adjustment, buttpad spacer adjustment and charging handle removal.

Charging handle swap:

Magazine release swap:

Silencing the Ruger PC Carbine:

Suppressor owners will want to thread on their favorite 9mm capable can as soon as possible (I did, anyway). Caution here: Ruger has included a rubber o-ring between the barrel and the thread protector that could interfere with proper silencer alignment. I just removed the ring from my test unit and set it aside.

Remove the rubber o-ring prior to installing a suppressor

The PC Carbine really is a nice looking gun.

Factory 33 round Glock mags!

Factory 33 round Glock mags!

The addition of a threaded barrel should be an option on all modern pistol caliber carbines. The exploding suppressor market along with a healthy selection of subsonic ammunition makes long guns like the new Ruger really enjoyable hosts.


Fully configured, the PC Carbine can be outfitted with optics, lights and lasers, suppressors and magazines of varying capacities, making it a solid performer in many categories.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

Mounting my Surefire X300 Ultra was slightly inconvenient; the sling stud was in the way of the light’s rear tail cap.

But unscrewing the stud fixed the issue and it could be that I don’t have the correct attachment plate for the X300. So it really is a minor issue.

For optics I used a Trijicon RMR in a Strike Industries REX Reflex Exoskeleton. The setup is easy to setup and functional, giving an extra layer of protection for your RMR. The REX retails for $44.99

RUGER PC CARBINE: Strike Industries REX Optics Mount.

Compact, lightweight, and rugged, the Reflex Exoskeleton provides extreme protection for a wide variety of reflex optics. The precisely drilled holes in the mount enable users to attach various optics of their choice. Included mounting posts securely hold your optic firmly in place – Strike Industries REX.


In all, I put 300-400 rounds through the Ruger without issue. On my steel targets I used the Federal Syntech Range Ammo which I thought performed very well. Even though Syntech is subsonic in most pistols, the 16” barrel in the Ruger definitely gave it a speed boost. But I used a few 147gr ammo types to achieve very quiet suppression levels.

Although I spent most of my time with the PC Carbine using the GLOCK magazine well adapter, the Ruger well functioned without issue. I used many versions of GLOCK mags, to include an older “ban era” variety, a Gen 3/4 Style that included a G26 and G18 capacities and the new Gen 5 magazines. Reload, round feeding and ejection were all spot on. Empty magazines also drop free without concern.

Accuracy was a generic and unscientific 2-3 MOA from a seated and supported position using a non-magnified re dot from the RMR. Better shooters with magnified optics and the right ammo pairing will undoubtedly drop group sizes to excellent levels. But the PC Carbine at its core is not a bench rest or target shooter. And besides small game and pest control, I see it’s hunting role as limited.

Recoil is easily manageable by anything but the smallest of shooters, especially when running suppressed or using the Syntech ammo. Follow up shots are quick and re-acquiring the sights or red dot after a shot is easy to do.


Overall, the Ruger PC Carbine is a winning package that offers a good host of options and accessories for an accessible retail price. GLOCK magazine capability, a threaded barrel, reversible controls and 10/22 trigger group compatibility alone make this long gun worthy of a ‘buy’.

But the aftermarket possibilities really have me excited: magazine well options will obviously increase, but the idea of a Magpul Backpacker-Style stock and integrally suppressed barrel assembly is awesome. Ruger did a great job with this gun and I’m looking forward to seeing what is coming up next from the classic Granite State firearm manufacturer.

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

TFB REVIEW: Ruger PC Carbine

special thanks: Mac Tactical

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , ,

March 27th, 2018 by asjstaff

Only last weekend I was hunting with a borrowed rifle and found myself swearing at its bipod. Dropping prone on uneven terrain to shoot a walking hog at 375 yards across a lake, the non-canting, non-panning Harris model cost me the better part of 30 seconds that would have been a cant-induced miss if I hadn’t taken that time. For owners of Harris style bipods, with or without cant and pan features, ZRODelta has a significantly better solution . . .

It’s called the DLOC-S or DLOC-SS, depending on whether it only cants or cants as well as pans, and it’s compatible with the genuine Harris item or the myriad similar bipods out there.

Replacing the bipod-to-gun interface, the DLOC vastly improves materials, machining, fit, and finish quality in this critical area. As seen above, a single knob is used to secure the QD mount to your rifle with no tools required other than two fingers. This is the same system as on ZRODelta’s superlative QD optics mounts.

Loosened all the way, the knob stops at the end of its travel (it’s “captive”) and is pushed away from the mount via an internal spring.

Simply press the knob inwards to extend the other side of the clamp and install or remove the mount from your firearm. This spring tension system means the mount — and whatever’s attached to it, whether a big scope or a red dot or a bipod — clamps itself to your gun even without tightening the knob.

As a person who has dropped many an optic to the floor due to checking eye relief or reaching for a tool before tightening a mount, I can attest to loving this spring-loaded design. Even under nothing but the spring’s tension, your accessory ain’t moving a millimeter. And after simply finger tightening that knob, it’s rock freakin’ solid.

I own two ZRODelta DLOC scope mounts and one of their DLOC Aimpoint T1-fit mounts, and cannot recommend them highly enough. It’s the same story, as you’d likely expect, with the mount portion of the DLOC bipod system.

If you spring for the DLOC-S, you’ll get a mount (with or without a bipod) that cants. Or swivels, depending on your preferred nomenclature.

However you call it, it allows the shooter to tilt the rifle side-to-side. Lay it over towards the right side or the left side. When compensating for less-than-perfectly-level terrain (side slope), this is far faster than adjusting the leg length and often more precise, too.

You’ll use the large lever (or the tri-lugged SARG Knob, depending on model) on the shooter side of the bipod to adjust the tension — how easy or how difficult it is to cant the rifle. Typically about a quarter turn takes you from loosey goosey to Fort Knox. When somewhere in the middle, cant adjustment is achieved in a highly controlled and extremely smooth fashion.

This would have helped me immensely when engaging that hog, taking maybe three seconds of intuitive motion instead of a half-minute of stretching and struggling. Unfortunately, the fact that the particular Harris model I was using had a tension dial on the front (muzzle side) of each leg made it even worse. Those dials are difficult to reach from behind the rifle — no joke, I tweaked my left trapezius stretching for it — and it’s practically a circus trick to loosen the dial, pull the leg out against its spring tension that’s trying to retract it, and tighten the dial with one hand.

All the way right.

All the way left.

I don’t know how many degrees of cant this actually is, but somewhere close to 45.

If you’re using the DLOC-S, that fantastic QD mount and smooth cant adjustment round out the notable features. If you’ve gone with the DLOC-SS, it has one more trick up its sleeve: the ability to pan left and right.

Up front is a curved slot with a SARG Knob on bottom. Like the cant adjustment, its tension is easily set by hand and will lock down as securely as can be. It allows the entire gun to pivot regardless of forwards or downwards load on the bipod.

Shoot to the right.

Shoot to the left.

Rather than resetting the rifle’s position, a smooth-panning bipod allows easier tracking of a moving target, compensating for changing winds, or bracing against an angled object. While my hog was far enough away that his slow moseying required very little panning to keep up, I had to reset after looking through the scope, seeing the ripples on the water and the motion of the grasses and bushes on the shore and realizing that I’d have to lead the hog’s nose by a few inches to hit his shoulder.

With the exact same bipod that was on the loaner rifle, ZRODelta’s DLOC-SS mount system would have made my life easier. I would have dropped prone, tilted the rifle to the left until it was level, panned right to compensate for wind and to keep up with the walking hog, and tripped the trigger far sooner and more composed.

On the range, I’ve been using the DLOC-SS since fall and have zero complaints. I like to load up a bipod nice and hard, and the DLOC just don’t care. It even operates smoothly while under load.

Engineering complications aside, if I could change anything about the DLOC-SS it would be moving the panning tension adjustment from in front of the bipod to behind it. This would make it more accessible while shooting.

ZRODelta’s DLOC bipod mounting system is a fantastic upgrade to any Harris style bipod that really brings its functionality into the premium category. For those who like the rapid deployment of a Harris but are wanting extra functionality, or smoother canting and panning with much more secure lockup, the DLOC-S or DLOC-SS is a solid solution.

Specifications: ZRODelta DLOC-SS

Fits: Harris-S style bipods (available on its own or pre-mounted to a bipod)
Mount: 6061-T6 aluminum, anodized, QD, 3 recoil lugs
Motion: pans and cants
Weight: 4.8 ounces
MSRP: $189 (DLOC-S is $149, as seen with bipod is $269)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Quality * * * * *
Machining, fit, and finish are flawless.

Functionality * * * * *
I was swearing at that borrowed Harris because it didn’t pan or cant, but I’ve also sworn at bipods that do so too easily and cannot be locked down well, or that loosen up during use. The DLOC-SS functions perfectly. It moves smoothly and precisely and, when locked, it’s locked solid.

Overall * * * *
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the ZRODelta DLOC-SS at all, but it comes at a cost. Other bipods can provide similar functionality for less money, which makes me hesitant to give a full five stars here. However, for users who prefer the rapid deployment and folding of a Harris bipod and want to take its motion abilities into the 21st century, this is your huckleberry.

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , ,

March 14th, 2018 by asjstaff

Osprey Publications has recently come out with a new title in the Weapon Series of books, “The Anti-Tank Rifle”.  It is a light history of the anti-tank rifle from the First World War to the beginning of the Cold War.

For those not familiar with the Weapon Series from Osprey Publications, the series of books are designed to give a well laid out and explained (but easy to read) description of a particular small arm over the course of 80 pages. It is supplemented with artwork and high-quality photographs. The Weapon Series of books isn’t supposed to be a definitive guide, but instead more of a survey for those wishing to expand their knowledge in regards to any particular small arm.

My Takeaway of “The Anti-Tank Rifle”

Steve Zaloga does an excellent job of dividing the book into two sections of information. The first section is concerned with the mechanical and procurement aspects of the anti-tank rifles that each country produced. While the second section deals with the actual effects in combat that each rifle had, both positive and negative.

Through the pages of “The Anti-Tank Rifle”, Steven Zaloga leads the reader through the initial requirement and subsequent development of the anti-tank rifle by a number of the combatant countries that produced them during the two World Wars and the interwar years. Almost to a country, it is readily apparent that there were several central issues that accompanied these heavy, man-portable, infantry rifles throughout the wars.

The first, and most glaring, issue was that anti-tank rifles were only marginally effective, even under the best of conditions. Although they were designed to penetrate an opposing foes tank armor (up to 25mm in some cases), very few of the rounds used would actually finish the job. Hopefully, one of the rounds would have enough energy to kill, or wound, the armored crew (or damage a mechanical feature leading to a mobility kill). The kill was completely contingent on the right conditions being met, the thickness of the armor, the angle at which the vehicle was bladed to the shooter, and the range of the target.

Even with all of those four conditions being met, over the course of the war, countries would upgrade their vehicles to the point where the anti-tank rifle in its original employment was essentially over.  Anti-tank rifles soon found other roles during the war, much like anti-materiel rifles today filling an anti-personal role. 

Another issue was the complete lack of oversight and intelligence when it came to developing and fielding anti-tank rifles. Defense industry completely supported the endeavor, building whatever fit the requirements that the various military procurement agencies blindly set forth. As an example, the .55 Caliber Boys anti-tank rifle was initially adopted in 1936 with a cartridge that was completely inferior to what the German Army had introduced with the T- Gewehr almost two decades earlier (S.A  Armour Piercing .55in W Mk I). In another example of an intelligence failure when it comes to anti-tank rifle design, the entire German anti-tank rifle inventory essentially went obsolete merely a year or two into fielding by the introduction of the Soviet T34 tank.

However much disdain was apparent for the early (to mid 20th Century) anti-tank rifle, it must be noted that, in their early development, they were seen as special weapons. The German T-Gewher was under such secrecy that only the U-Boat programs were held in a more confidential status. In the case of the Polish 7.92mm wz.35, the rifles had the nomenclature of “Uruguay” to confuse Soviet and German intelligence officers into thinking it was an export program to Uruguay instead of a combat rifle. Many of these rifles were treated with such secrecy that they were delivered to their units in boxes under orders not to be opened until a certain command was given. For some units that command wasn’t given until after the war began in September of 1939.

Interesting Rilfes

German T-Gewher

Germany’s entry into anti-tank rifles in the First World War was purely reactive as the British came up with tanks first. Their result was one of the most uncomfortable rifles to shoot, and apparently, it routinely broke the collar bones of gunners using it.

Polish wz.35

Poland experimented with a 7.92x107mm round, trying to make the .30 Caliber round “speed” through armor at great velocity. Unfortunately, this left the Poles with a barrel life of 20-30 rounds. The solution was an odd one when a Polish designer found out that the round wouldn’t have to even penetrate the hull of a tank as long as it knocked spall out from the inside. An odd concept indeed but the wz.35 was one of the most used anti-tank rifles by both the Poles and the Germans in the early years of the war.


The semi-automatic PTRS designed by Simonov and the bolt action single shot designed by Degtyarev were actually competing designs with each other, but the Soviets needed everything they could throw at the German advance so took both trial guns and threw them into production. These were also the most widely produced anti-tank rifles of the entire war, numbering in several hundred thousand. Unfortunately, their effectiveness couldn’t match the German tanks. Zaloga has a quoted account where a Soviet Infantrymen recounts that 45 anti-tank teams (two men per) were killed in a single action over several days in 1943.

Japanese Type 97

This was by far the heaviest rifle of the war used by one of the bigger combatants. Coming in at almost 68 kilograms fully equipped, the Type 97’s 20x125mm round could only penetrate 35mm of armor at 100 meters. Compared to the PTRS/PTRD in 14.5x114mm round that could do 50mm at the same distance.


The eclipse for the anti-tank rifle was the improvement of vehicular armor, vastly improved anti-tank light artillery/field guns, and the advent of the rocket-propelled anti-tank launcher that fired shaped charged explosives. It clearly became apparent that using up several soldiers for the purposes of supporting, moving, and protecting an anti-tank rifle was extremely inefficient when compared to the effectiveness of a single soldier with a Panzerschrek or 2.36-inch Bazooka.

My only real complaint with the book is that it really should have included at least a paragraph or two on the resurgence of the anti-materiel rifle in modern warfare. We’ve seen more domestic, improvised production, and field use of anti-materiel rifles in Syria and Iraq in the past several years than we have almost anywhere else. The author dedicates a single sentence to some PTRD rifles appearing in Ukraine and then another sentence mentioning that anti-tank rifles are the forerunners of the current day anti-materiel rifle.

The Anti-Tank Rifle by Steven Zaloga is available on Amazon for $13.39 in the United States.

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 25th, 2018 by asjstaff

As a hunter with a photography background, I can attest to the difference high-quality glass can make in the field. Seasoned outdoorsmen will invest a thousand dollars or more in a single pair of binoculars or a spotting scope to gain a better view of game. Long range and small-bore (non-hunting) shooters can relate.

Thing is, unless you stabilize the image, the optic is just extra weight (~2-5-pounds). While most binoculars are hand-stabilized, the majority of spotting scopes require a support system such as a tripod — especially with wind or strong mirage.

Oh, but the weight and size of a tripod! The balance between weight, maximum load, size, durability, and price has always been a struggle.

The compact tripod that came with my current spotting scope didn’t cut it this past season, so I turned to Vortex Optics for a solution. Their recently released (2017) High Country Tripod Kit strikes a balance of features designed to accommodate the needs of weight-sensitive hunters, shooters, photographers, and wildlife-watchers alike, making my choice an easy one.

Out of the box, the High Country is a compact 21-inches tall by 3.8-incles wide and tips the scales at a scant 2.2-pounds. A simple zippered nylon (un-padded) carrying case with strap accompanies the tripod, as does an Allen key to adjust the tripod’s head.

With a nice matte black finish across nearly all aspects of the tripod, it’s also visually stealthy. From an auditory perspective, there are no floppy parts to create unwanted clanking sounds.

The tripod’s center column also features a rubber gasket around the bottom, which prevents the legs from banging the column or each other.

The High Country Tripod comes equipped with a nice, all-metal, ball head assembly. The two-piece clamp with thumbscrew allows for very quick adjustments throughout a wide range of positions and secures even heavy optics (up to five pounds) without needing to wrench-down on the thumb screw.

The Vortex ball head also features excellent, extremely smooth panning of the head. The panning ring provides good resistance to keep you from over-shooting your subject when you pan to keep up with its movements.

There is a very slight amount of wiggle at the panning ring, but not enough to cause performance issues. Worth noting: the panning feature cannot be locked in place.

Connecting your optic to the ball head is fairly standard with the provided High Country Tripod Quick Release Plate (above, top). Simply screw the plate into your optic, and then slide the plate (with optic) into the plate platform.

A spring-loaded pin (below) secures the plate to the head and the rubberized tension knob sets the plate in place. To remove the optic, simply release the tension on the plate and depress the button on the side of the plate platform while sliding the plate out.

Additional plates are available for $14.99 each, allowing users to easily swap different optics on and off of a single tripod without the hassle of moving a plate between optics. And Vortex also offers the Binocular Tripod Adapter and Uni-Dapter for those that employ a tripod with their binoculars.

The tripod’s center column allows for 7.75-inches of height adjustment. The center column’s collar (below) allows for adjustable tension.

If you’re using a 4-pound spotting scope you’ll want more tension than if you’re using a 1-pound set of binoculars. Once at the desired height, use the thumbscrew (above) to lock the center column in place.

The bottom end of the center column sports a spring-loaded hook from which to hang a counterweight. Adding additional weight under the center column (above) can help further stabilize a tripod in windy or mirage conditions and uneven terrain. Should the hook not suit your needs, it can be removed.

Underneath the ball head is a bull’s eye spirit level. It is highly visible with a nice, small bubble.

The High Country Tripod’s telescoping, non-rotating legs have four sections apiece and are very lightweight. Flip up the Quick Lock polymer clamps (above) with a single finger to extend or retract leg sections, then flip them back down to secure legs in position.

With everything collapsed, beginning leg length is approximately sixteen inches from foot to hinge. The second and third sections provide an additional 9-inches of length each, while the fourth section extends 9.5-inches. Overall, the High Country can extend from 19.5-inches to 53-inches tall.

Each leg is capped with a lightly textured, rounded rubber foot. These feet aren’t the kind to fall off and they most certainly help keep the legs from slipping.

The coated metal leg hinges feature three rock-solid angle settings. Simply slide the leg release pin (above) to the position of your choice. Each position keeps the legs from further movement outwards, but does not lock them in place.

Its light weight and compact profile are largely noticeable benefits of the High Country. The three-angle position, extendable legs helped stabilize my optics, allowing me to take advantage of better vantage points. The ball head locks-up with little torque on the thumbscrew and panning is extremely smooth and controllable.

Vortex Optics’ High Country Tripod Kit is compact, lightweight and tough enough to handle rugged outdoor endeavors. Whether you prefer to mount binoculars, spotting scope, or camera, this tripod and its quick release plate system will stabilize all while helping shed an extra pound or two off your pack. The ball head provides a very wide range of positions, clamps your optic securely in place, and also pans very smoothly. Additional features such as counterweight hook, multi-angle leg positions, rubber feet, and bubble level help make the High Country Tripod Kit a great mate for any optic up to five pounds.

Specifications: Vortex High Country Tripod Kit

Price as reviewed: $109.99 MSRP ($79.99 via Brownells)

Technical Specifications:

  • Height: 15″ – 52.3″
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs.
  • Maximum Load: 5 lbs.
  • Leg Sections: 4 telescoping
  • Folded Height: 21″
  • Folded Width: 3.8″
  • Case: Zippered bag with carrying strap

Ratings (out of five stars):

Design: * * * *
The High Country tripod has an excellent balance of features, size, and weight. It covers all the major bases and gives you extras like leg angle positions and quick release optics mount.

Quality: * * * *
Vortex Optics uses high-quality metal components in the High Country; all of which are coated very nicely. The ball head with smooth, controllable panning and quick release optics mount system performs very well. The tripod does utilize several plastic parts.

Packability: * * * * *
This tripod weighs a mere 2.2-pounds and is only 21-inches when fully collapsed, making it an easy addition to your pack. The quick release optics mount system allows for easy optics/tripod connection or separation.

Overall: * * * * *
Compact, lightweight, and able to easily stabilize optics up to five pounds, Vortex Optics’ High Country Tripod Kit is a great choice for anyone looking to save some weight and a few dollars without sacrificing quality and features.

Posted in Hunting, Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 14th, 2018 by asjstaff

Whether original Marlin or “Remlin”, there are some easy upgrades that can be made:

Adjust Sights:

While I do like using iron sights on this particular rifle, I admit: The original buckhorn sights aren’t awesome.  They’ve worked alright for hunting wild boar at close ranges, but shots past 100 yards get tricky.  I worked up a table for my 3 primary hunting loads on this rifle as to where their point of impact is at what range on what rear sight elevation setting.  Despite this, I don’t ever want to be fumbling with the rear sight elevator during a hunt.  Back when I was testing out their new extractor claw, Ranger Point Precision was also nice enough to send me one of their front and rear sight assemblies to try out.

barrel with sights

barrel with sights

The RPP rear sight assembly is adjustable for windage and elevation. (MSRP: $72.00 for front and rear sight assembly). Elevation adjustments are made via a hex screw that puts tension on the top of the barrel and moves the main body of the rear sight assembly up and down.  The windage adjustments are made by loosening the aperture and drifting it to the appropriate location.  Once windage is set, the windage screw can be fully tightened to lock everything into place.  The front sight does not need to be drifted for adjustment.  Once locked into place via hex-screw, there are two distinct quick aiming points one can use for quick shots at different ranges.

Top view of the RPP Rear sight. Note hex screws. Front is for elevation, rear for windage


Marlin 1894 sights are pretty easy to remove.  Once the rear sight elevator is removed, the rear sight can usually be drifted out right to left via finger pressure.  The front sight assembly took a few hits with a brass punch to drift out.  The new sights slid right into place and locked down easily with the hex screws.  In direct sunlight, I found the two aiming points easy to use and the sights bright.  It should be considered: if one anticipates frequent use in low-light or at night, there’s no substitute for putting on a red dot sight.

rear sight alternate view

Rear sight assembly, not dovetail for windage adjustment

Front sight; note gap under sight

Something to note: These sights are CNC machined from 7075 aluminum and black anodized. They should therefore be rust-free.  However, there is somewhat of a gap under the front and rear sight assembly above the barrel.  The barrel underneath this gap should be cleaned and inspected for rust periodically.  Check and clean these areas for rust immediately if one is using one’s rifle in humid or icy conditions frequently.  

Trigger Happy:

The trigger on my early-00’s Marlin was just adequate.  It was very floppy, had quite a bit of creep, and the re was a rough hitch before breaking at 6lbs.  The flop of the trigger was also rattly and loud when trying to stalk in on wild boar in the rough lava rock country that I usually hunt them in.  I’ve experienced Wild West Guns’ triggers before, as I have one of their Alaskan Co-Pilots in .45-70.  Knowing their triggers to be excellent, I ordered one of their “Trigger Happy Kits”  (MSRP $100.00). This trigger is a precision CNC-machined 2-piece unit consisting of the trigger and sear held together with a hollow pin.  The trigger can be had in either blued or stainless, depending on the look one is going for.


While actually replacement of the trigger is easy, getting to the trigger assembly in one’s Marlin is a bit of a chore.  There’s no quick way of getting at it, being that to do it properly, it requires removing the stock, bolt, and hammer assembly.  Once done, one can remove the trigger and sear of the stock unit and install the new Trigger Happy Kit.   This is also a good opportunity to do a detailed cleaning and oiling of one’s Marlin.  Make sure to test proper safety, trigger, sear, and bolt function before finishing reassembly, as some later model Marlins may have troublesome interactions with the fit of the new sear, requiring minor fitting.

triggerguard plate

Trigger inserted into triggerguard plate

Improvement was immediately apparent.  The flop and rattle was gone, replaced by a trigger that broke consistently at 2.75lbs, lower than the average advertised 4lbs.  Not only was the pull weight reduced by half, but the new precision made trigger has a very crisp, clean break.

WWG trigger

new trigger installed

alternate view of trigger

the fit and finish on the WWG trigger was excellent

A new Follower:

The original Marlin 1894s have magazine tube followers that are made out of Zytel. While they are ok, mine started to hang up in the tube and the edges on the back of the hollow follower started to degrade somewhat over time.  To alleviate this issue in the future, Wild West Guns’ CNC machined, anodized aluminum follower (MSRP $25.00) seemed like a good upgrade to add instead of replacing it with another Zytel or plastic follower.

View of WWG parts

Left: aluminum follower
Right: Happy Trigger Kit


To install the new follower is pretty simple, just remove the end cap of one’s magazine tube, remove the magazine spring, and the old follower will drop out (if one has removed the appropriate magazine tube/barrel band screws depending on exact model).  It’s also a good opportunity to clean and lightly lubricate one’s magazine tube assembly.

Testing after reassembly showed a definite improvement in loading the magazine tube and cycling flat point, hollow point, and Hornady Leverevolution polymer-tipped ammunition.  Not only was loading the tube far smoother, it was also much quieter, eliminating the creak and squeak of the old follower.

Range Testing:

Upgraded with these three new improvements, I took my Marlin to the range to try things out.  The much-improved trigger shone both in static shooting and for quickly ringing steel.  There were no light strikes, malfunctions, or binding issues.  The pull weight stayed consistent after live fire testing.

The new follower kept the cartridges coming as fast as I could cycle the action, and loading the rifle was markedly easier than in the past. I had no issues with any kind of ammunition hanging up or cycling improperly.

The new sights were nice, though the red on the front sight was somewhat hard to see under shade while shooting off the bench.  I think that in the future, these sights could be aided by a triangular fiber optic insert at the top for more light collection.  The sights were super simple to adjust, and stayed put once set.  There is no separate screw to keep the adjustment in place, and that could be a good future improvement to make.  They held up to more than 50 rounds of .44 Magnum without moving.  To be sure they don’t budge while being rattled around in a side by side or saddle scabbard, some clear nail polish or preferred color of loctite should keep them in place.

Rear sight picture

The aiming line and medium aperture of the RPP rear sight

The two parts of the front sight aiming triangle

Overall, my shooting experience with this rifle was much improved.  Loading and cycling were easier, and the groups tightened up at 50 and 100 yards with the new sights and much improved new trigger.  My best group was .6″@50y, shot seated with the fore-end supported.  The best group at 100y was 1.76″.  I was not able to manage this kind of precision with the factory sights and trigger.  Using the tip of the sight as my 50y zeroed aiming point and the line for my 100y point yielded an average POI at 100 1.5″ high of center with the American Eagle 240gr JSP load.  The 2nd aiming point in my opinion is good for quick shots at these different ranges with the .44 magnum.  Results will vary with different cartridges, barrel lengths and loads.  As always, it’s best to test these things at the range before heading to the field.

aiming points

How to use the RPP sights
Photo Credit: Ranger Point Precision

front sight color options

front sight color options
Photo credit: Ranger Point Precision

I look forward to continue using this Marlin with these enhancements as an excellent game-getter when hunting with friends and relatives in less permissive locales.   Whether one has a nice old Marlin that needs some TLC, or a “Remlin” with some areas that could be improved, these all could be a positive enhancement.  Sometimes it’s nice to update an old gun with some nicer features.  Done right, it can greatly change one’s shooting experience for the better.

For more information, visit Ranger Point Precision or Wild West Guns

Thanks to Ranger Point Precision for the sights

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

February 10th, 2018 by asjstaff

There was a time when SIG SAUER did one thing and did it well. Those times are past. SIG SAUER now does just about everything and . . . still does it well. Over the last decade, the company’s expanded their product line to include ammunition, optics, suppressors, and even airguns. The TANGO6 series are SIG’s top-of-the-line scopes for tactical operations and hunting. The first thing to note . . .

the scope’s aesthetics. In a world where flat black is the default color for scopes (with possibly a gold ring thrown in for flair) a two-tone color scheme is a remarkable if minor improvement. The colors go well with SIG SAUER’s line of rifles, like the 716 DMR 2 shown here.

The TANGO6 scope’s finish isn’t quite as silky smooth as the polished anodizing on older Leupold scopes, but it’s tough as nails and that’s the real money shot.

A lot of optics companies tend to skimp on the magnification adjustment knob. For example, I love the function of the Leupold Mark AR Mod 1 SPR scope, but trying to zoom in for longer range targets in a hurry is like trying to open a can of strawberry jam with your hands coated in butter.Entire companies have been profitable simply by selling clamp-on devices that allow you to actually grip and operate your scope.

The magnification adjustment ring on SIG’s TANGO6 line sports some seriously aggressively knurled segments. They’re grippy enough to provide the purchase you need without turning your hands into hamburger.

A set of fiber optic adjustment markers on the knob reveal your scope’s magnification at a glance. Ye olde tick mark machined and painted into the knob does the same thing, but SIG SAUER’s method is faster.

Next, let’s talk adjustment knobs.

Some scopes don’t lock the knobs into place, allowing them to spin freely at the slightest touch. Go ask Kirsten Joy Weiss how that worked out for her (hint: it probably cost her a spot on the Olympic shooting team).

Having turrets that lock firmly into place when not being adjusted is critical, and SIG SAUER hit the mark with their design. The turrets pull out when the shooter wants to adjust them and lock firmly back into place when complete.

The turret’s outside design is also perfectly judged. The knurled sections provide plenty of grip for pull and turn. The markings on the sides stand out; they’re clearly readable in low light situations.

On the other side of the tube body is the parallax adjustment knob. To my somewhat untrained eye, they match up with the distance of the target as well as could be expected.

Hiding inside that knob: a battery powering awesomeness. The SIG SAUER LevelPlex system.

Instead of having a spirit level (a.k.a., a bubble level) attached to the outside of the tube (like these) or fitted on the inside somehow, SIG SAUER fitted the scope with electronic gubbins that sense when the scope is tilted and instruct you on how to level it.

Making sure the scope isn’t canted to one side is essential for long range accuracy. SIG’s LevelPlex system is a fantastic approach to an age old problem.That said . . .

The battery. Spirit levels might not be that accurate or easy to use, but they will operate for centuries. The LevelPlex battery, which also powers the reticle illumination, will eventually need to be replaced. Hopefully not at some critical juncture.

I slapped the scope on my SIG SAUER 716 DMR and headed out to the range.

It definitely adds a bit of bulk and weight to the rifle, clocking in at damn near two and a half pounds. On a lightweight build — where the rifle itself might only weigh five pounds — a 50 percent weight increase in weight is substantial, maybe even unacceptable. On a heavy long range rifle like the ones I was using it’s not a major consideration.

The clarity of the glass was excellent. Even on a cloudy day I could still see the target and every hole I had placed on it.

The scope is a First Focal Plane (FFP) scope. The markings on the reticle remain the same size relative to the target no matter the magnification. I really prefer these kinds of scopes because I don’t have to make any guesses about how high to hold at a given magnification level to hit my distant target,  I can calculate it and hold directly using the reticle markings.

I also like the way the central aiming point: a single single dot surrounded by open space. A lot of reticle designers like to clutter that area, obscuring the target and making it hard to get a really accurate shot. SIG SAUER’s approach is my new favorite.

FN 15 Military Collector M16

I ran the scope through the usual tests (including a box test for turret tracking) and it performed perfectly. No matter what gun I put it on in the weeks following, the scope made shooting distant targets so easy it felt like cheating.

SIG SAUER wants $2,759 for the TANGO6 4-24X50mm optic in this configuration. There are cheaper scopes in the same magnification and performance range; the Leupold VX-6HD springs to mind. But they don’t have the bells and whistles of the SIG SAUER product.

Is the SIG scope worth big bucks? There’s either something missing on their similarly priced competitors or something SIG’s scope does better — with one notable exception (see Overall Rating). So yes, it’s money well spent. Just make sure you buy extra batteries.

Specifications: SIG SAUER TANGO6 4-24x50mm

Magnification: 4x to 24x
Focal Plane: First
Objective Diameter: 50mm
Focus Range: 50 yards to infinity
Diopter Adjustment Range: -2.5 to +2.5
Body Tube Diameter: 34mm
Weight: 40 ounces
Length: 18.25 inches
MSRP: $2,759 (a couple hundred less via Brownells)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Glass Quality * * * * 
It’s good glass. Not the best ever, but the SIG scope offers excellent clarity and light transmission.

Reticle * * * * *
Love it. First focal plane mil reticle with a surprisingly open center.

Turrets/Dials * * * * *
Crisp and precise adjustments that lock firmly into place.

Overall Rating * * * * 
The price is the only thing killing the score. It’s an amazing scope and worth every dollar. But I can’t justify a five star rating when Jeremy just reviewed a scope for the exact same price and pretty much same specifications that includes a ballistics calculator in the viewfinder.

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

February 7th, 2018 by asjstaff

When it comes to typical range shooting and training, almost nothing beats the ring of a steel target when that bullet hits it’s mark. So while punching paper for those clover leaf groups is cool, practicing techniques like body armor drills is much more useful with proper steel. I started doing my research on quality target kits about six months ago and came up with a few solutions: today we take a look at the Complete Target Solutions – AKA CTS Targets – ABC ZONE AR500 Silhouette.

I. Introduction:

Before we dive in, I think it would be useful to talk about steel and its use in firearm targets. Despite what Hollywood action movies tell us, not all steel is created equal when it comes to bullet resistance. So without getting into the weeds of metallurgy and materials science – steel composition, manufacturing processes, heat treating and other techniques all contribute to a steel’s hardness. Again, as an oversimplification, hardness in terms of steel refers to its resistance to deformation when an amount of force is applied.

Levels of deformation (indentation) are what target (and armor) manufacturers use to determine what rounds in which their targets are rated. When it comes to centerfire rounds, that is commonly called AR500 steel, a trademarked designation. There are other levels of steel used in the manufacturing of targets – AR400, AR300, etc, some of which are used on rimfire-only targets.

A. AR500 Steel:

  • AR500 refers to the hardness of steel on the Brinell Scale. Using a 10mm* steel or tungsten carbide ball at 3000 kilograms of force, the indentation hardness is tested and measured. The 500 in AR500 is referring to a 500 on the Brinell Scale – the higher the number, the higher the hardness. * 10mm fans will love this little fact. 

B. SAFETY BRIEFING – (Read the CTS FAQ here):

  • Eye protection is a requirement for all shooters and bystanders.
  • Steel Shooting Rating: Overall guidelines for minimum shooting distance is 15 yards for pistol and 100 yards for rifle.
  • 3/8” thick plates can handle projectiles hitting plate under 2,700 fps up to 30.06 but if you’re careful and drastically increase the distance you can use higher calibers.

Long story made short, when shopping for steel targets, always read the manufacturers ratings for ammunition calibers, types, and standoff distances. Failure to heed the warnings can result in injury or death to the shooter or bystanders.

II. Unboxing And Setup:

I was extremely impressed with the way CTS fit all the steel pieces, neatly wrappped into a compact shipping pack. Being nearly indestructible metal, it would have been easy to toss the whole kit haphazardly into a box and send it on its way. But the CTS Target ABC Zone Silhouette showed up in a normal size shipping box packed like clever origami. Heavy, but normal.

The ABC target kit came complete in three basic sections:

  • The Silhouette
  • The Pro Hanger
  • The X Ground Base

You’ll need to provide the following tools and supplies:

  • Box wrench set/socket set/channel locks.
  • 2×4 approximately three feet in length

Estimated setup time: 20 minutes


Hardware installation for the Pro Target Hanger

The proper use of most steel targets involves the angling of the target face down towards the ground slightly in front of the target base. This ensures that the bullet deflection is down and into the soft dirt or sand rather than another angle that could cause dangerous ricochets.

In the case of the CTS Target, the Pro Hanger is held at a distance out and away from the stand, with an attachment point 2/3’s of the way up the silhouette. The kit also includes a heavy-duty spring that acts as a dampener as well as keeping the target face slightly forward.


1. Run the bolt through the hole in the target face.

2. On the back, drop on the heavy duty green spring.


Hardware installation for the Pro Target Hanger

3. Now drop on the Pro Hanger

4. And thread the nut onto the bolt


Hardware installation for the Pro Target Hanger

5. Now align all four parts of the X Ground Base so that the “claws” are curving into the ground and the bolt holes all line up with each other.

6. Thread the bolts through the two right side “feet”, through the stand and then through the left side feet.

7. Tighten the two X Ground Stand bolts as needed


2×4 X Ground Base – Installation

8. Drop a 2×4 into the ground base and use the finger screw to hold it in place.

  • The height of the 2×4 should be about chest high, but know your range, if you are shooting on a downward slope, you may want a shorter setup and the reverse for an upward slope.

9. Drop the hanger on to the 3’ 2×4 and use the finger screw to hold it in place.

10. You’re done.

The included instructions were complete, although minimal – but honestly, if the pieces showed up without any guidance at all, most competent shooters could still assemble the kit without issue.

III. Observations:

The CTS kit is very well made, with precision cuts, rounded edges and powder coating to prevent corrosion. The hardware is not off-the-shelf big box, but instead grade 8* bolts, which is important because they hold static loads, endure dynamic impact forces and possibly direct bullet impacts. If I had to guess, the complete setup weighs in at about 50lbs, divided in half (top and bottom) for transport, is heavy but manageable.

Credit: Bolt Depot – Proof Load, min. Yield Strength, min. Tensile Strength

Everything else was straightforward and intuitive, making it time to ring the bell.


CTS TARGETS: ABC Zone Rifle Steel Silhouette


Pro Target Hanger


Pro Target Hanger

CTS Targets

2×4 X Ground Base

CTS Targets

ABC Zone Rifle Steel Target


ABC Zone Rifle Steel Target

As expected, 9mm bullet impacts only removed the powder coating. My hope is that CTS will allow me to keep the ABC Zone Silhouette target for a few more months so that I can bring you a long term report on resistance to rifle rounds and other calibers.


From the packaging to delivery, to set up and shooting, CTS does an excellent job of presenting the shooting community with a high-quality steel target. Obviously, there are a handful of other steel target manufacturers to choose from and we might get a chance for some comparisons, but as it stands, my CTS  experience was overwhelmingly positive and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their products.

Specifications, details, and pricing are listed below,


CTS competition grade AR500 targets. Designed for the competitive shooter and weekend plinker alike! This laser cut, heavy duty, reversible target is designed for years of use The ABC Zone target is adapted from the standard IPSC silhouette to cover only the A, B and C scoring zones. Made of 3/8” AR500 steel to last and with an audible feedback that will not disappoint. Simply apply a fresh coat of spray paint for a new target every time.


  • 3/8” AR500 Steel Construction
  • Laser Cut for Improved Hardness Retention
  • IPSC A, B and C scoring zones
  • Proudly Made in the USA
  • Dimensions: 12”x24”x3/8”
  • 24lbs


The CTS X Ground Base is an excellent option for those looking for a wide, sturdy base for their steel targets. This stand is great for the shooter looking for a mobile target set up or has ground not suitable to pound spikes. It pairs perfectly with our 2×4 Pro Hanger for an ideal steel setup.


  • Heavy Duty Powder Coat Finish
  • Thick Mild Steel Construction
  • Proudly Made in the USA
  • Accepts Standard 2×4 Lumber
  • Dimensions: Approx. 22”x25”


The CTS 2×4 Pro Hanger is the perfect accessory for your CTS targets. The hanger is designed to hold a steel target at a slight angle to deflect bullet splatter downward. The spring assembly helps absorb some of the energy of your bullets reducing wear on your target. Pairs perfectly with the CTS Spike Base or Ground Base.


  • Holds Target at Slight Downward Angle
  • Heavy Duty Powder Coat Finish
  • All Steel Construction
  • Proudly Made in the USA
  • ½” Grade 8 Bolt
  • Steel Spring for Impact Absorption
  • Includes:
  • Hanger, grade 8 bolt, steel spring, lock nut and set knob.

Coupon: CTS was nice enough to give TFB readers a discount on your entire CTS order. Use TFB15 at checkout when ordering

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

April 25th, 2017 by asjstaff

Savage Arms is proud to continue its long tradition of innovation by unveiling an exciting lineup of new high-performance firearms at the 2017 NRA Meetings and Exhibits Show in Atlanta, Georgia, April 27-30. The introductions include bolt-action B Series Hardwood rifles, along with the virtually bulletproof single-shot Stevens 301. Caliber options are also expanded for the popular GRS, BA Stealth and MSR 10 Hunter platforms.

In 2016, Savage took bolt-action rimfire performance to new heights with the B Series rifle. The company adds a B Series Hardwood model for 2017, available in 17 HMR, 22 LR and 22 WMR. All feature a 21-inch Sporter barrel and ergonomic, walnut-stained hardwood stock with unique, modern checkering. A 10-round rotary magazine and Savage’s accuracy-boosting adjustable AccuTrigger are also standard.

The new single-shot Stevens 301 features a crisp, reliable break action and rugged, modern synthetic stock that withstands brutal abuse afield. It is available in .410, 12- and 20-gauge models.

Precision long-range shooters looking for the incredibly accurate, high-speed, low-recoil performance of 6mm Creedmoor will now find it as one of the choices in Savage’s proven Model 10 BA Stealth and Model 10 GRS rifles.

The short-action Model 10 BA Stealth is a lightweight, compact long-range chassis gun featuring a factory-blueprinted Model 10 barreled action mated to a custom version of Drake Associates’ Hunter/Stalker monolithic chassis. For its part, the Model 10 GRS houses a full suite of accuracy-enhancing features firmly within a GRS stock made of 15 percent fiberglass-reinforced Durethan, with 65 percent glass bedding material.

Serious hunters know the fast, hard-hitting .338 Federal delivers the range and terminal energy to topple any North American big game animal. For 2017, Savage adds the hotshot short-action cartridge as an option for its MSR 10 Hunter, a lightweight modern sporting rifle purpose-built for high-powered big game performance.

These products and many more can be viewed during the NRA Show at the Vista Outdoor booth no. 2542.

To learn more about Savage Arms, visit www.savagearms.com.

About Savage Arms
Headquartered in Westfield, Massachusetts for more than 100 years, Savage Arms is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hunting, competition and self-defense centerfire and rimfire rifles, and shotguns. Their firearms are best known for accuracy and value. The entrepreneurial spirit that originally defined the company is still evident in its ongoing focus on continuous innovations, craftsmanship, quality and service.

Posted in Media Releases Tagged with: , ,

July 7th, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

Interview With Mark Gordon

Owner of Short Action Customs

Precision Rifle Series

 Interview by Steve Joseph

Short Action Customs (2)

Bartlein 30 cal, 1 to 10-inch twist, M40 contour barrel, chambered in .308WIN, cut down to 24 inches and threaded 5/8 x 24 with SAC’s custom thread protector.

The American Shooting Journal spoke with Mark Gordon, owner and founder of Short Action Customs. They build precision rifles specifically designed for the ultimate in discerning and elite shooters. Gordon is also the lead sponsor for today’s top Precision Rifle Series shooter David Preston. Here is what Gordon had to say:

American Shooting Journal How did you first get involved with the Precision Rifle Series?

Mark Gordon I got started with PRS as a precision-rifle builder to see what our rifles would have to go through. Most importantly, it was to see what the shooters demanded out of their rifles and what they needed to be successful. The bottom line is these rifles have to work every time without fail, be extremely accurate and practical to use in the field.

Short Action Customs (3)

Manners T5A right-hand stock with a signature SAC rifle-pillar bedding, and finished with desert-digital camo from Custom Gun Coatings.

ASJ What is it that is creating such explosive growth with competition precision shooting?

Short Action Customs (1)

An MMI Tru-Tec Melonite action and bolt, which prevents any galling of the metal and increases lubricity.

MG I believe it’s because these shooters have a desire to be proficient with their equipment and they want to know their limits. With a mixture of classic prone shooting and demanding positional shooting, the competitors are exposed to a large spectrum of disciplines at these matches. Lastly, the best place to do that is under strict time limits and lots of stress while other competitors watch. With many more club and national-level matches popping up all over the country, you can expect the sport to grow exponentially.


ASJ You currently sponsor the number one shooter in PRS. Tell us more about how that happened.

MG We started our first rifle build for David Preston in early 2014 after developing a relationship with him from previous PRS matches. At that time, Preston was familiar with our rifles and what they were capable of. Luckily for me he wasn’t shooting for a team at the time. We spoke on a few occasions, and I offered him a position on our team. After many rounds fired, rifles rebarreled and matches shot, Preston really started shooting to his potential. We do our very best to keep reliable and accurate rifles in the hands of PRS shooters so they can do their job.

Short Action Customs (6)

Short Action Customs Alpha 11 action with an integral 20 MOA scope base, an integral recoil lug and an M16 extractor. The magazine well is cut for Accuracy International AW magazines.

ASJ Your company, Short Action Customs, builds a lot of custom rifles. What is your favorite build?

MG There are two types of rifle builds that we love doing the most. The first is when a customer tells us to just do what we think is best. This allows us to take all of the leading-edge technology and components that we would use on our own builds and build the rifle we would want. It is great to have that kind of trust and confidence with our customers.

The second type of rifle build that we enjoy is when customers have us build rifles using components from manufacturers that we have not been exposed to. The parts industry is growing so fast, and as with any rifle build, it’s only going to be as good as the foundation it’s built on. So we really enjoy working with new components and learning about all the latest products.

Short Action Customs (4)

Timney 520 Calvin Elite trigger with an Accu-Shot BT17 bipod rail and a their model BT10LW17 quick-detach bipod.

My personal favorite rifle build is configured to be agile, medium weight and run smoothly. We run Defiance Machine integral scope base and recoil lug actions called the Alpha 11, Manners Composite Stocks T6A 100 percent carbon-fiber stocks and Remington Varmint-contoured barrels from Bartlein Barrels. We typically finish these rifles with custom paint from Custom Gun Coatings. ASJ

Editor’s note: You can visit Short Action Customs at shortactioncustoms.com.


Posted in Long Guns Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

June 9th, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

Press Release: For Immediate Release.

4d-corner-logo-new4D Reamer Rentals Ltd. is a premium supplier of Savage pre-fit barrels to the shooting public. They offer barrels from multiple makers: Green Mountain, McGowen and Criterion.
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAFred Zeglin of 4D Reamer Rentals LTD said, “There are many companies that sell Savage pre-fit barrels, but we have a huge advantage because we stock nearly 800 chamber reamers. This means that we offer a larger variety of chambers than any other company I know of. We buy blanks directly from the manufacturer, turn and thread them in the CNC shop and then handle the chambering and crown in house to ensure accuracy.”

Folsland_Schultz 163Savage pre-fit’s are a very popular accessory these days, and shooters have discovered that they can buy a Savage, Stevens or Marlin Axis bolt-action rifle and simply change out the barrel for any new caliber they want to try out.
This interchangeable barrel system makes for a very attractive set up for wildcatters and shooters in general who don’t feel the need to buy a gun for every caliber they shoot. Consequently, these shooter save a ton of money and try out new calibers for ballistics and accuracy almost at will.


4-dproducts  announced today that they have added nearly 100 reamers to their inventory this month. Increasing their ability to handle rental volume and are adding over a dozen new calibers to the possible list of chamberings for your Savage pre-fit barrel.
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAZeglin went on to say, “We keep a small inventory of Green Mountain blanks in the most popular calibers. Special orders range from 5 weeks on up for delivery time. The length of the barrel and the twist rate are the main factors in delivery time from the barrel makers. We can normally tell you when you order just how long the barrel will take to manufacture.”
For more information about the wide range of tapers and twist rates that 4D offers visit them at 4-dproducts.com.


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