Category Archives: Shooting hardware

Rifles and their parts

Ruger M77 Hawkeye 308

My first real deer rifle was a Ruger M77, being a bit green and not overly wealthy at the time, I searched out what seemed to be a quality rifle for a good price. The fact that it was priced for clearance that day only helped solidify my decision. More than twenty years later, I still have and love that rifle. Having seen many M77’s come and go over the years I have become quite familiar with their operation and reliability. But today’s subject is a new one to me.

The Ruger M77 .308

The M77 has been around for quite sometime, taking what many consider to be the best features of a Mauser clone. There are quite a few models available now in long action and short, as well the Hawkeye variants such as the one we are discussing today. Continue Reading Here…

The 6mm GT

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.

Continue Reading Here…

Beretta Silver Pigeon

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…

The Tikka T3X TACT A1 260 Remington

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…

X2 Dev Group Orion X suppressor

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.

The disassembled Orion X (from manufacturer website)

First Impressions
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.

Aftermath
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.

Final Thoughts
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.

-CBM

Browning Superposed

I’ve known for years that the Browning Superposed is a dream shotgun, a real clay buster if there ever was one. Maybe it’s because my father has always been a shotgun aficionado, much the same way I geek out with rifles. It was many years ago now, but I remember when dad brought home his Superposed 12 gauge. I thought it must have been something fancy because he was pretty excited. So when I got the chance to play with one myself, I was expecting to be impressed. Continue Reading here…

Yankee Hill Machine Nitro N20

You could definitely say that I am a fan of Yankee Hill Machine, my very first suppressor was a YHM, and my most recent purchase is beginning to show a trend. My experience with YHM suppressors has always been a simple no-nonsense one, but much like some others in the industry, the good people at YHM are evolving their products. This is welcome news for all of us who endure the tiring infringement by authoritative acronyms from the federal government.

Yankee Hill Machine

Yankee Hill Machine has been in the business since the 1950’s, a family business that has grown over the last seventy years. The Graham Brothers have recently broadened the different offerings from YHM, as well as spun off another brand of bolt-action rifle accessories called Graham Brothers Rifleworks

The Nitro N20

The Nitro N20 is a next generation suppressor as far as I can tell, it is following a brilliant trend in the suppressor industry. The Nitro is a modular suppressor, meaning it can be adapted to whatever host you might install it. The back end of the Nitro features the same common threads from other suppressor manufacturers, allowing the user to use an assortment of mounting configurations. The YHM offerings include a direct thread cap in popular thread pitches like 1/2-28 or 5/8-24. You can also install a Nielsen Booster to run on your semi-auto pistol , or one of the Phantom QD muzzle break devices that YHM offers. 

In addition to its diverse mounting options, the Nitro also has a detachable forward segment, allowing the user to run it in a long and quieter composition, or it can be removed to run the host shorter, lighter, and with maximum maneuverability.

The internal bore of the Nitro is cut for 9mm, and its all titanium construction makes it very light at ten ounces. The length of the suppressor is as much as 7.5 inches without removing the front portion, I found it to be more than adequate on pistol calibers without the front segment. The suppressor is rated for up to 308 Winchester rifle cartridges, which makes it an extremely versatile suppressor. It could be used with a QD break on your AR15, or it could go on your 9mm pistol using the booster and piston, or you could direct thread it to your 308 precision rifle. I have done all three and more! The front end cap is even designed to allow the use of suppressor wipes if you should choose to use them.

Unboxing the Nitro N20

My first impressions upon opening the box were how unbelievably light this suppressor felt in the hand. Its simple design and titanium construction make it as light if not lighter than most pistol cans, and it can be used on a rifle as well. The suppressor came with some paperwork and the tools required to disassemble it, I tossed them into my tool kit, and packed everything up for a range trip.

I opted for direct thread caps in two thread pitches because I planned on using this can on my hunting rifles due to its weight. But I also wanted to run it on my pistols, so I also got the booster and a Rugged piston. I was happy to find out that there are a multitude of manufacturers that make compatible pistons and other accessories for this and other suppressors. It may be the best idea yet, for all these suppressor companies to use standardized thread pitches so that end users can accommodate the mounting solutions that best fit their needs.

Nitro Rangetime

I literally could not wait to shoot the Nitro, having brought everything needed to test it out I went directly into the range after opening the box. I installed the booster and piston, and mounted the Nitro to my Canik TP9. After a couple test shots to ensure everything was inline, I started dumping rounds through the pistol. Both sub-sonic and super went through the Nitro, and boy could you tell the difference. Both types of ammo were very quiet, but I decided to remove the front section of the Nitro to see how much of a difference it made. To my surprise it was just as quiet in the shorter configuration, so I left it thus and continued banging away. Several trips into the field with the Nitro mounted to my pistol gave outstanding results, and I was in love immediately.  

I’d be lying if I told you I was already satisfied, I am a rifle junkie at heart, so I had to see how the Nitro performed on an assortment of rifles that I had in store. Most importantly, was my 257 Blackjack, which is my lightweight hunting rifle. The lightweight of the Nitro was a perfect match for this short action wildcat, with its carbon wrapped barrel and chassis. I also ran the Nitro on my 308 carbine and 6.5CM bolt gun, where it worked flawlessly and with hushed results. The Nitro is not full-auto rated, which is fine with me. But I don’t think I’d want to leave it on a carbine if shot duration is expected to be heavy. For pistols and bolt action rifles I think the Nitro is absolutely ideal, and it would be fine on a semi-auto as well, provided you have the self control to not cook it. 

The Nitro added a few inches to my Blackjack, but it also tamed it down quite nicely. The report was very manageable, it could be that I’m deaf but out in the open country of the mountains I found no need for ear protection. It also helped settle the rifle down upon recoil, making it easier to spot hits, and even helping tighten up the groups a bit.  the Nitro will definitely be on whatever rifle I take into the hunting woods this coming fall.

Nitro Gripes

It cant all be rainbows and sunshine every-time right? Well here are just a couple negatives I might add to the Nitro, but they are indeed minimal for at least this guy.

I found the finish on the Nitro to be not as robust as I expected, I don’t know if its a bake on finish or some other kind of material. But I found to be easier to scratch/chip than I would expect. I imagine YHM is aware of the situation, and since my suppressor is a very early production (single digit serial) I’d imagine they may have already corrected the issue. It’s not a huge deal to me, I frequently redo the Cerakote on my suppressors anyways. The other issue I have with the Nitro isn’t so much a YHM thing as it is a titanium thing. Titanium is easily galled or damaged when threading, and having three threading points on the Nitro make the possibility  of screwing something up more possible. This is of course a very minor concern, and I only mention it so that new owners are aware and avoid damaging it.

Overall Impression

If you cant tell already, I love this suppressor. It is still fairly new to me, but after a few months of good use, I still love almost everything about it. The Nitro fills a great place in the YHM lineup, and would make an excellent addition to any suppressor collection. It is only slightly more expensive on the street than some of its competition, and yet much lighter. 

Yankee Hill Machine continues to build quality products right here in America, and they are keeping a close eye on the market so their product lineup is in line with what people want to buy. I cant wait to get back on the firing line with the Nitro, and I’m excited to see what else the boys in Massachusetts come up with.

-CBM 

The Ruger MPR in 350 Legend

Ruger joined the AR 15 market some time ago, and I’d been meaning to see how well they had done on their initial offerings. But life being what it is, I only just recently got the opportunity. Always a glutton for shooting, I jumped in with both feet.

The Legend

No not the Will Smith movie where he takes poorly aimed shots at post apocalyptic deer of some kind as they run through the city with his M4 variant. Im referring to the 350 Legend, and Will Smith would have probably done a little better against deer sized game had he been shooting 180 grain Federal blue box 350 Legend. But hey, zombie apocalypse makes for strange hunting practices.

Continue reading here