New cartridges are not so novel these days, it seems as though a new one comes out every few months. But how can devoted marksmen discern between a keeper, and something that is all hype? First thing, lets be honest with ourselves, most everything is hyped up to some degree or another. As consumers we’ve learned to wade through the hype, and find where metal meets the meat. Much of new cartridge marketing these days is just rebranding an older idea with a new twist, see what I did there Westerner?
In this article I’d like to discuss a relatively new cartridge, and separate the sales pitch from the hard facts.
Enter the Tiger
It would be a disservice to discuss the GT without mentioning one of if not the most entrenched parodies of the shooting world today. When the GT was initially released, many were inquisitive as to its ancestry. The GT being its own genesis led many to question what the G and the T stood for, and the internet took over from there. In typical fashion with our community, several actors on social media dug deep into the shadows of their closet for a comical answer to the question. The Gay Tiger was born of an internet meme, and its same-sex partner. The novelty only increased when embraced by the entire community, and even head-stamped brass reading 6mm Gay Tiger was produced by Alpha Munitions. There is no doubt that the satirical gag helped drive notoriety of the GT, and it spread like fire.
We can all agree that firearms are as addicting as any hobby, the only part we might argue with is how long it takes for the newness to wear off from our latest new toy. And as soon as it does, we find ourselves again seeking to justify reasons for another. I often draw a parallel to women’s shoes; sure, any pair of shoes will cover your feet, but ladies often have a different pair for jogging, walking, the gym, fancy walking or walking the dog. And those of us with a firearm addiction might have a similar situation with our guns, we might have three different rifles for deer hunting depending on how we plan to hunt any particular day.
This may be a luxury for some, and a dream for others. But today we are going to talk about how multi-caliber rifles can make that dream a luxurious reality.
Most of us could probably get by with a handful of firearms, for example; a deer rifle, a shotgun, a .22 and maybe a varmint rifle like an AR of some sort. But let’s be honest, none of us would be completely satisfied with a humble collection like that. Most firearm aficionados have many more than a few in similar categories, and others have piles of rifles of every kind.
But today we are talking about multi-caliber rifles, a rifle that can switch from one caliber to another. Multi-caliber rifles have been around for some time, but they have become extremely popular over the last decade or so.
If your lucky enough and work hard you can become one of those financially secure adults that we all imagined becoming as children. And its about that time in a firearm enthusiasts life that he or she decides to start buying up guns that they want more than they need. While that statement could describe nearly any firearm, today we are discussing one in particular.
Beretta is well known for making excellent shotguns, many of which I’ve been lucky enough to play with on the range. The Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon is yet another fine example of Beretta’s prime production, but this one brought up some interesting reflection. Continue Reading Here…
We keep hitting on suppressors here on the blog, partially because we are suckers for suppressors, and also because everybody else is also joining the trend. Some trends are just trends, but the suppressor craze is one I can get behind fully. One of the big questions many new suppressor users ask, and one that often still perplexes those of us after decades is; should I get a direct thread can, or a brake mounted one? Hopefully by the time your done reading this, you’ll have a suitable answer. Continue Reading Here…
Being nothing short of a rifle fanatic, I’ve had a bad case of Tikka Fever for some time. No it’s not from licking hand-rails in the Helsinki Airport, but it does come hands-on experience. I bought my first Tikka a few years back, and it has changed my perspective on a few things. But today we are talking about another Tikka, the T3X TACT. This one happens to chambered in one of my favorite calibers, the .260 Remington. Everything seems to be going my way here doesn’t it? Continue Reading Here…
Almost everything we do with a precision rifle involves a rifle-scope, whether it is target identification or adjusting for come ups and such. We have become so dependent on them that the idea of using iron sights on a precision rifle seems almost foreign or backwards. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I spend a good portion of my time peering through scopes. But how many of us have stopped to think about that expensive miniature telescope we so carefully mounted to the top of our rifle?
Most of you are probably quite aware of the proper way to mount a scope, we take extreme care to ensure the scope is perfectly level, and properly torqued and such. But I’ll bet just as many of you have never done thorough testing of your scope to see if it does what it says it does. I hope you’re not scratching your head wondering what it is I’m talking about, but just in case you are, I’ll explain. Continue Reading here…
Imagine being born before the age of manned flight, and then witnessing man walk on the moon. We live in an exciting age for sure, but even so there hasn’t been any earthshaking developments in the firearm industry for some time. But that doesn’t mean folks aren’t trying to innovate. Today’s subject is about one such product from a group of people with innovation on the mind, the Orion X suppressor from X2 Dev Group. But is the innovation all it’s hyped up to be?
The Orion X
The Orion X is a sound suppressor for centerfire rifles, it is a baffle-less design made from stainless steel, inconel, and aluminum. It is available in three calibers according to their website; 556, 6.5, and 7.62. Instead of the traditional baffle stack that reduces the speed of exiting gasses, the Orion X instead uses their Quantum Flo technology. The gasses that exit the muzzle are directed through a series of passageways that slow the gas down, while allowing the bullet to pass through to do it’s dirty work. The modular core of the Orion X is made of several pieces that amass inside the outer tube, the threaded end that attaches to the host is part of this core, and the outer tube with its threaded end-cap go around the core.
When I first picked up the Orion X, the weight was the first thing I noticed. It wasn’t particularly heavy, and its light construction made it seem lighter in weight than it really is. I have lighter cans for 556, but this one is by no means heavy. The next thing I noticed almost made me think something was wrong, the outer tube of the Orion X is machine-fit to the core. The tube has the slightest movement between it, and the core. The tube is prevented from turning around the core by a square boss at the rear around the mounting point. I could feel a slight rattle when shaking the suppressor, apparently this is all part of the design for no matter how tight you snug the end-cap with the supplied tool the fit is the same. The end-cap itself features a series of vent holes, where the redirected gasses are released. The model I tested had a nice FDE Cerakote, but it is available in other colors.
To the Range
As usual, I was eager to get this new suppressor to the range. I ran the suppressor on a couple different carbine rifles, all in 556. The first rifle had a sixteen-inch barrel, I threaded on the Orion X and got straight to shooting. One of the many purposes of baffle-less suppressor designs is to reduce backpressure to the host firearm, this is accomplished by allowing the gas somewhere to go without spiking the pressure up to unreasonable levels. The obvious benefits to this design is to avoid altering the function of the host, allowing it to function as designed. It also helps keep the host from becoming excessively fouled, which is a common side effect of suppressors.
That being the case, I left the gas setting of my rifle right where it always is. The first few shots through the Orion X went off exactly as expected, the rifle cycled as it always does and no additional effects were noted. If anything the recoil impulse was subdued slightly due to the additional weight and diffusion. Unfortunately I was at a public range which meant I had to wear ear protection, this robbed me of the opportunity to hear the report made by the Orion X. But I would soon get another chance.
With the Orion X in hand, I took another rifle into the country to see what kind of performance I could expect, both rifles this would feel the heat on this trip. With nothing but the trees to hear me, I put the Orion X through several shooting positions and several magazines worth of ammo. The sixteen-inch rifle was much more pleasant to shoot than the eleven-inch one, the bullpup configuration of my Desert Tech MDRX brought the muzzle closer to the ear than a traditional AR style rifle. With the ejection port in front of the face a few inches, and the muzzle of the rifle at least sixteen to twenty inches in front of that, the Orion X was quite tolerable. Rifle function was flawless with zero adjustment to the gas system. But when the shorter bullpup rifles were used, it was a little less tolerable. The sixteen-inch rifle had a fairly loud first-round pop, but was fine after that. The eleven-inch rifle on the other hand was another story, with the ejection port just under the ear and the muzzle only a foot or so from your nose, it was unbearable without ear protection. That’s no surprise I would say, but it is unfortunate because I think that configuration is where the Orion X would shine. And I love it when host/suppressor combinations allow for open ear shooting.
After shooting enough ammo to make my wallet hurt, I decided to check out one of the other interesting features of the Orion X. The tool provided with the suppressor allows the user to completely disassemble the suppressor, giving you the opportunity to see how it works, and clean out any carbon buildup. Holding the square host-end of the suppressor in a vice, I used the tool to engage the end-cap and loosen it off. You can then remove it from the vice and pull the core from the front of the suppressor, and disassemble the various stages of the suppressor core. It is a fascinating design, almost like a puzzle for guys. You can see the way gasses are directed around the inside of the suppressor, and out the muzzle end of the can. I hadn’t shot enough to make cleaning the suppressor necessary, so after figuring out the reassembly I tightened the cap back down for the next range trip.
The Orion X is a great example of innovation in our market. While it may not be an earth-shattering development like rail-guns or case-less ammo, it is still a step into the next generation. I can only wonder what the next step beyond these type of suppressors will be. With an MSRP of $1195.00 it is not an entry level suppressor, but it would be an great addition to your NFA collection to run on your hosts that may be sensitive to suppressors.
You probably read my last story about pronghorn antelope hunting, but if you didn’t I recommend you read Pronghorns and Prodigy Hunting after you finish this one. My wife had two doe pronghorn tags in her possession, and this is the story of one of those two. The day started out on the wrong foot, but who knew things would come back around our way.
It was September, and the cool air that covered the desert prairie was heavy with anticipation. The sun had just crested over the distant hills and as we had planned, we lay there looking over the sagebrush covered flats watching antelope roam. With her shivering hands cupping a warm drink, she smiled an eager smile. She is no stranger to the trigger, but just to make her feel extra confident, we took a few minutes to ensure she was comfortable shooting. The weapon of choice that day was the Desert Tech MDRX, ‘ol meat in the pot as its come to be known. Today the MDRX carried the newest conversion kit I had put together, with the help of ES Tactical I had fashioned a bolt and barrel in Hornady’s Six-millimeter ARC. You can read more about the caliber conversion kit here.
With the MDRX in her hands, and a magazine full of Hornady 105 BTHP ammunition, she lay down on the dusty ground. We had picked out a couple targets in the hillside opposite, where she now placed her aim. She fired a couple shots at three and four-hundred yards, all of which hit deadly close to her point of aim. With just the confidence she needed, we gathered up our gear, and set out to find a group of pronghorn we could hunt.
As the day would progress, we would face defeat after defeat. The wind never slowed down, and the jumpy antelope were ready to clear the county at the first sign of attention. But we pressed on, missing several opportunities for a kill. We made our way around the valley, trying to find a small secluded group that were tucked in somewhere. The wind would nearly peel open your eyelids on the open prairie, so we focused on the deep draws that offered some protection. We were doing great at finding antelope, but they were all nice bucks for which we didn’t have a tag. As the afternoon turned over to evening, clouds began to cover the landscape. The wind that had blown hard all day had brought us in a cold front, and with it was a bit of a calm. As rain drops began to lightly fall around us, we continued our search for a group of does.
We finally spotted a small group at the top of a steep draw, probably four or five does with a nice little buck. I had that feeling, you know the feeling when you just know its going to work out? We scrambled in the direction of a good shooting position, getting our gear out as we moved. While she got behind the rifle, I got my spotting scope up, and ranged the group. The distance was just under four-hundred and fifty yards if I remember right. While I watched the antelope feed on the hillside, she loaded the rifle and prepared for the shot. I could tell she was excited, her hands shook as she moved.
Once she was ready, we focused on the group, and picked the best target and waited for a good broadside shot. The excitement grew as the seconds passed and rainfall continued to escalate. The shot found its mark, hitting the doe and breaking the off-side shoulder. We watched as she stumbled across the hillside, startling the rest of the group who then followed her escape. She didn’t make it far, and we headed down, then up the draw to claim our prize. The Arc had done a fine job, as did the shooter, and we were going to make the best of it.
After dragging the doe to the truck, we cleaner her out and filled her with ice for the ride home. Where she would be skinned and washed before a long and cold rest until it was time to hit the butcher table.
We enjoyed every piece of that antelope, whether its steaks, roasts, or ground into burger. My wife has even taken to finding her own burger in the freezer to make into lovely dinner dishes for the family like meaty lasagna. It is truly a great way to live, sharing the experiences and the tasty prize with family. Thanks for coming along, we’ll see you on the next hunt.