Category Archives: Shooting hardware

Rifles and their parts

Sig Sauer MCX 5.56

You may have been hiding under a rock if you’ve not heard of the new Sig Sauer MCX Spear, the MCX family of rifles has been a popular stalwart in the Sig Sauer lineup for some time. The industry giant has been bringing all kinds of developments over the decades they have been manufacturing firearms, and the MCX is one of them. At a glance, the MCX appears to be just an AR-15, but a deeper look into the rifle will show something quite different.

The Dawn of Modern Sporting rifles

Since the first Stoner variant of the AR-15, a buffer tube protruding from the rear of the lower receiver has long been commonplace. The buffer tube serves two purposes; first it houses the buffer and spring which are vital parts of the function of the action, and second it serves as the base structure for the buttstock of the firearm. Buttstocks are typically attached around or to the buffer tube itself, which has dominated the design of all the various available buttstocks for AR patterned rifles.
The design of the MCX migrated the buffer spring and its associated hardware into the upper receiver, an in doing so has changed several aspects of the platform itself. Gone are the days of fitting your buttstock to the tube, in fact, you don’t even need a stock with the MCX. There are “pistol” configurations that don’t even utilize a buttstock.
This tubeless design makes the MCX stand out from the AR crowd, but there is more to this gun than just the buttstock.

The MCX

The MCX shares a great deal of parts with most AR-15 style rifles. Magazines, triggers, and such are compatible, but there are also plenty of differences. The bolt carrier in the MCX is driven forward by a pair of springs that ride just above the carrier inside the receiver. The charging handle also sandwiches into the same area as the recoil springs and bolt carrier. The handguard is attached to the upper receiver and features a very skeletonized keymod attachment section, newer models also have MLok compatible handguards. There is a small window in the front of the handguard to access the two-position gas valve.

Bolt carrier and receivers detail

The lower receiver is very similar to traditional AR lowers except where the buttstock attaches, and additionally features an extra magazine release on the left side of the receiver. There is also a small spring plunger mounted behind the trigger, it appears to be an accurizing add-on to reduce the play between upper and lower receivers. The buttstock itself is a skeletonized design with a built in folding hinge allowing the stock to be stowed to the side of the rifle, this of course doesn’t effect the operation of the rifle. All the mechanics of the operating system are contained within the receivers, so the rifle can fire regardless of the stock position.

Rangetime
As soon as I could, I prepared the MCX for the range. I mounted up a fresh Tango MSR scope also from Sig Sauer, the 1-8 power scope would be an excellent compliment to the MCX. I also grabbed a suppressor because I wanted to see how the rifle functioned suppressed. I packed up some PMC Xtac 55 grain ball ammo to shoot in the rifle, as well as a Magpul MS4 sling to use on the rifle. I also brought a couple assorted P-mags and GI magazines to try in the rifle.

After boresighting the scope, I cracked off the first few rounds and they were quite close to my point of aim. It only took minor adjustments to get the scope zeroed and then it was go time. Shooting the rifle at a hundred yards I quickly gained familiarity with both the rifle and scope, hits came easily as the MCX churned away smoothly. The weight felt surprisingly light, I believe they were advertised at six pounds though I think that is a little under what this one weighed naked.
The three-pronged flash hider seemed very effective at reducing muzzle flash, and the recoil of the 5.56 cartridge is very easy to handle in a rifle this size. The rifle was very comfortable in maneuvering and made for a very enjoyable time spending my money. I stretched the rifle out to the three-hundred yard line where I found it to be still quite accurate, I imagined an errant coyote who might have wandered into range would have been easily dispatched.
Shooting from P-mags and GI metal mags both functioned flawlessly as I would expect from this rifle, I figured it was time to install my suppressor to see how the rifle performed suppressed. This required removing the factory flash hider, and installing my suppressor mount. Sig uses a taper on many of their muzzle devices to aid in alignment, since I wasn’t using a Sig suppressor the taper was unneeded. I mounted up my Yankee Hill Machine Turbo 556 suppressor and went right back to town on the targets.

note handguard and gas valve detail

Suppressed shooting made the MCX really shine. The increased weight seemed to calm down the recoil impulse even further making it easy enough to spot my own hits at 200 yards. The reduced noise is always welcome, and hearing steel targets ring without hearing protection is always better.
Accuracy
Accuracy shown here from the MCX wasn’t spectacular, but I can certainly explain that. The included picture shows five shots from 55 grain PMC Xtac ammunition, it shot much better with Hornady Black 75 gr match but I didn’t get it on paper. Shooting from bags at one-hundred yards with an eight-power scope shivering in below freezing temps may not have given the MCX a fair shake. Continue Reading Here…


Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan

Powerful revolvers carry more than just a cylinder full of cartridges, they also carry some mystique. The hero of every old western film always had a big iron to deal justice, while that may not be our purpose here today it’s nice to keep it in mind. Today we are taking a closer look at the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan.

Alaskan?
The Super Redhawk line of pistols from Ruger has a long history of performance, but what does the Alaskan do you might say? I suppose the Alaskan model was purpose built thinking of those who might spend time up north, and prefer not to be without six doses of bear medicine. The Super Redhawk Alaskan is a stainless steel double-action revolver, a hammer forged 2.5 inch barrel, and comes with a Hogue Tamer grip to keep a good hold of the gun. You’ll need a good grip because the Alaskan’s robust cylinder has holes bored for six cartridges in only three calibers; .44 Remington mag, 454 Casull, and .480 Ruger. These powerful choices in chambering are nothing to shake a stick at as my father would say, and certainly enough to make even a brown bear reconsider you as a snack.

Loading 300 grain .454 Casull rounds

Considerate size
Despite the large chamberings for the Redhawk, the pistol isn’t so big as to be cumbersome. The short barrel makes it a reasonable gun to carry in a holster, even if you are engaged in other activities. The Alaskan would be a great choice for fisherman who anticipate potential close encounters with awnry eight hundred pound salmon fishermen, or just someone who is out in rough country.
The Alaskan is big enough to stand up to the tasks of bear country, and yet small enough to bring along on a fly fishing trip. And even if you aren’t in the cold white north, it alway gives some solace to have a good strong pistol close. I’ve spent enough time in the incredibly dark and remote forests of northern Montana and Idaho to appreciate the comfort of that heavy steel piece riding on the hip. The extra 2.75 pounds is worth having to me.
A pair of Super Redhawks, note fluted cylinder of .44 Mag model

Shooting time
Shooting the Super Redhawk Alaskan was going to be expensive in today’s market. Especially since I had both the .44 Magnum model, and the 454 Casull to feed. Both pistols are dual chambered to allow for shooting lighter loads with .44 Special and .45 Colt cartridges. But I didn’t have any of those, so it was full house power loads from Hornady to test these guns.

I have shot plenty of .44 Magnum over the years, so shooting the Redhawk wasn’t significantly new. I did immediately notice the comfortable grip, which allowed excellent purchase to control the pistol. The 454 Casull pistol had a bit more power behind it, and you could feel it. Recoil and muzzle blast from the two are fairly comparable, with the Casull showing a bit more unsurprisingly. I was shooting 225 grain Horandy FTX ammunition in the .44 Magnum model, and in the .454 I was shooting Hornady’s 300 grain flat point.

Considering the purpose I initially mentioned for these pistols they shoot quite well, a dangerous game defensive pistol like this certainly needs to hit what your aiming at. I found both pistols to be easy enough to control despite the significant recoil from the heavy loads. Obviously that would change if an angry sow was charging at me, but I’d like to think I could shoot them well enough to hit a moving target at danger close distances.

The impressive power of the Super Redhawks wasn’t the only thing that stood out when shooting them. Both models felt fantastic in the hand, the soft rubber Hogue grips made them very comfortable to shoot. The quality of the operation also struck me, smooth controls and very clean breaking triggers added to the superior feeling of these pistols. The adjustable sights of the Alaskan aren’t exactly huge, they come across as pretty simple and no nonsense. That said I found them to be more than adequate for the purposes of relatively close shooting, that is to say anything inside of fifty-yards or so that rivaled the size of a paper plate was bound to be perforated with a big hole.

Ammunition for this article was supplied by Gun Mag Warehouse

Pros and Cons
I have always been a fan of Ruger’s revolvers, so it should come as no surprise that I found a great many things I like about the Super Redhawk Alaskan. First of all, it’s just a plain handsome design. It has all the classic and sexy features of the hero’s gun from the old westerns we watched as kids, and yet it has just enough modern flair to make it appealing as a modern firearm as well.
The simplicity of the Alaskan’s design also makes it very quick to put into service, the double-action design makes it ideal for a gun that needs to be jerked from the holster and immediately fired at inbound danger. The reliable operating system rolls the next chamber full of wrath right into position to deal one blow after another of heavy hitting power.
The quality finish of the pistol also makes it built to last, the Alaskan is built from stainless steel to protect it from the rough weather you’d be sure to encounter up north. The clean breaking trigger, triple locked cylinder, and modern transfer bar allow the gun to serve its power with finesse, precision and safety.

I had a really hard time coming up with cons for this pistol, it has a fairly specific purpose and it serves that purpose extremely well in my opinion. It wouldn’t be ideal for day to day carrying in places where dangerous predators over five-hundred pounds aren’t expected, it would be a bit heavy for a purpose like that. Though I won’t deny having conceal carried one of the Redhawks on multiple occasions, it’s not ideal for that purpose.
There is the obvious downside of having to feed these large and expensive cartridges to such a large pistol, but if you truly need a pistol like this I’d wager you are willing to pay quite a randsome to ensure it has plenty of ammo. Continue reading here

Century’s WASR 10: an AK-47 for the streets…

Few firearms are more recognizable than the Kalashnikov family; in this article will be looking at a descendant of that family, the WASR 10. It is a Romanian-made AK-47 imported by Century Arms for the American market.
The formidable AK-47 design is the blueprint for the WASR 10; Century Arms manufactures them from Romanian parts kits. The post-Warsaw Pact production of rifles in Romania created a vast number of highly sought-after imports that are still coming into the US distribution circuit.

Much like its Kalashnikov cousin, the WASR 10 uses an extremely simple and robust construction. The receiver is made from stamped steel, folded neatly into the proper shape, and fitted with the barrel and trunnion. The bolt carrier and piston assembly ride on two rails fit into the receiver, with a captured operating spring assembly fit into the rear of the bolt carrier and secured into a blind slot at the rear of the receiver. The gas tube is secured between the gas block and the trunnion with a cam pin.

The barrel is chambered in the 7.62×39 Soviet cartridge, the hitherto low cost and proliferate supply of this ammunition is also an attractive aspect of the rifle.
Wooden furniture is used in both the foregrip area and buttstock, though the pistol grip is a polymer blend. To be honest, the whole thing gives the feeling of an infantry weapon in post cold war Soviet states, which makes a lot of sense…

The finish is almost non-existent, particularly on the wood, and you can tell that the original manufacture of these guns wasn’t exactly focused on luxurious looks. I’ve seen a great many of these types of rifles, and there is quite a variation in the grading of quality, at least from an aesthetic perspective.

All that aside, these rifles and their extended family are famous for being incredibly reliable, like a lead pump that knows no defeat. All over the world, they can be found in terrible conditions and disrepair yet still functioning.

The availability, low cost, and that incredibly seasoned service record make these rifles very popular and favorable to American gun owners. For all the pitiful parlance I’ve mentioned regarding the WASR 10 so far, this is the part I love the most about gun reviews. The WASR 10 is exactly what I expected it to be, a lightweight, fast-moving mag siphon.

And just like every other similar AK variant I have shot, this one is an absolute blast to shoot. Low recoil, easily aimed, and way too easy to use up all your ammunition.

The 16.5-inch barrel makes the overall length of the gun quite short and easy to maneuver. The iron sights are straight out of Moscow with no frills, just the traditional adjustable ramp sight hilariously incremented out to a thousand meters. That said, while I have always found it relatively easy to get hits on target with these sights, I really wish I had an optics mount to try using a small scope on the rifle.

Reloads are not as simple as AR-type rifles; perhaps the only flaw in Mikhail’s design was the lack of a lock-back mag catch. This requires you to remove the magazine and insert the new one, followed by drawing back the bolt to chamber the first round of the new magazine. It’s not a huge deal to me, and if you look on Instagram you can see a whole bunch of tier-zero dudes running the drill faster than I can spill my coffee.

The magazines themselves are another great part of the design. Seated properly in the rifle, they feel almost like a solid piece of the receiver; you can hold the gun by the mag and shake it violently with no concern for failures of any kind. The WASR 10 now comes with polymer magazines, nothing wrong with that, but I do prefer the old steel stamped ones that I used to be able to buy for $7.00 each back in the 90s. Continue Reading Here…

CMMG Dissent 5.56 Pistol

I recently wrote a review of the CMMG Banshee, and I was very impressed with nearly everything about it. So I decided I wanted to try another gun from CMMG, and reached out to see if I could get my hands on one of their Dissent pistols. After some waiting I was happy to see the little CMMG box show up at my desk.

The Dissent
The Dissent is not your typical AR-15 type pistol, it utilizes CMMG’s buffer-less compact action. This means that it doesn’t need the bulky buffer tube that comes standard with most AR-15 patterned rifles. The compact action instead utilizes a dual spring pack that runs right above the bolt carrier itself, it carries in between the spring set a rubberized stop if the carrier should reach a full stroke to the rear. The two uneven spring guide-rods are keyed into a steel boss at the back of the upper receiver, but remain independent of the receiver itself. The front of the two springs are captured in a T-shaped housing that appears to be part of the bolt carrier itself.
From there the Dissent is almost the same as a standard AR, using what appears to be a standard bolt, cam pin and firing pin parts. I say almost because there are a few other differences.

Because the spring assembly sits where the charging handle would normally be, they had to move the charging system to the front of the action instead. There is a steel charging block that rides in a groove inside the handguard at twelve o’clock, the charging handle itself slides in from the side of the handguard and rides in its own grove from there. A claw is attached to the front of the charging handle to keep it from reciprocating, and as far as I can tell it is reversible to either side of the handguard but requiring you to purchase a right-sided charging handle. The charging block only pushes on the bolt carrier when pulled to the rear, but remains captured during the cycling of the bolt carrier.
The Dissent is available in 5.56, 300blk, and 5.7.

Initial impressions
As I pulled the gun from its packaging I have to say I was impressed. The Dissent came to me in a handsome charcoal green Cerakote sporting CMMG’s muzzle device and a pair of Pmags. The buffer tube hole at the back of the lower receiver had been covered by a vertical pic rail, to allow for a brace or stock installation should you choose to be infringed upon by the NFA.
The Dissent comes standard with a Trigger Tech AR-D two stage trigger which was crisp as the air on a December morning. I found myself triggering the gun over and over in anticipation of shooting it. Fairly standard controls, with a 45 degree safety and ambidextrous mag release buttons. I found the left side mag button to be a little close to the bolt release for my taste, it seemed like it might be too easy to drop the mag when your trying to drop the bolt. But we’ll see about that at the range. Continue reading here

A Solid Season: hunting with Cayuga solid Bullets

You may have seen me talk about Cayuga solid copper hunting bullets before, but today we are going to go in a little deeper into these very high quality bullets from Patriot Valley Arms. I have always been a match bullet shooter, for targets or game. I suppose I didn’t know what I was missing out on with these solid match-grade projectiles.


What’s so Special about solid bullets?

If you’ve never looked into these or any other solid bullets, let me explain why they perform so well.
Cayuga’s are turned on a CNC Lathe from a solid bar of copper, this precise fabrication allows consistency and concentricity to be perfectly matched from one bullet to the next. So for one they are more consistent than jacketed bullets, even the open-tips are perfectly uniform. But there is still more to it. Solid copper bullets are lighter than jacketed bullets of comparable size, for example the 7mm 170 Cayuga is about the same size as a 7mm 195 jacketed bullet. The design of the Cayuga gives it a superior Ballistic Coefficient, (A mathematical score of the bullets efficiency in flight) This high BC gives the Cayuga it’s better than average flight characteristics for long-range shooting. The efficiencies of the BC also allow the bullet to cheat some of the effects of wind, high BC bullets like the Cayuga are affected less by wind as they fly through it on their way to the target.

An average 5-shot group. Accuracy comes standard with these bullets.

But there is still more:
The lighter weight of the Cayuga bullets when compared to jacketed bullets means that they can be shot even faster. So not only are they more consistent, and high BC, but by increasing the muzzle velocity you can further increase the energy they carry and the range to which they are effective. And higher speed means they will arrive at the target faster, giving the wind less time to affect their flight path.

The owner of PVA and I have been talking for years about everything from terminal ballistics to airplanes, Josh is a bit of a mad scientist crossed with a pitbull who doesn’t let go.

A couple years back, he sent me some of his first Cayuga solid bullets, they were the 122 grain 6.5 Cayugas. We used them to take down a pair of cow elk from 475 and 520 yards from a 24″ 6.5 Creedmoor, both of them dropped in their tracks never to move again. Watch the video here

Last year, I tried the 6mm flavor of Cayuga bullets, they came in at 100 grains. We again used them to take down a couple small mule deer bucks, though taking them down from 680 and 1000 yards is no small feat for a little 6mm. Both bucks went straight down, and never got back up. The Cayuga’s fired from my 24″ 6MM GT were extremely accurate and very impressive.

This year, I wanted to get even more data on the Cayuga’s as a hunting bullet. We had plenty of ballistic data on how they fly and such, but more terminal data was needed to better illustrate the benefits of these bullets as a hunting projectile. So we loaded them up in a few different calibers to see just how many animals we could kill with the Cayuga.
First up was my son Leo’s antelope hunt. Since the GT performed so well last year, I thought we’d give it another chance. And 6mm’s are great for antelope hunts on the open prairie.
You can read the whole story here, but the salient facts are these; We took two mature doe pronghorn antelope from six hundred-ish yards, and the 100 grain Cayuga did an excellent job of dispatching the animals.

One reason I like using cartridges a little lighter than most, is because I hate loosing meat to bullet damage. The 6mm Cayugas did just the right amount of damage in my estimation, enough to kill the animal clean but not take too much of my delicious meat with it.

The next hunt up was the general season mule deer hunt. We had the whole family hunting with Cayugas solids this season, in 6mm, 6.5, 260 rem, 270 wsm, 7SAUM, and 300WM. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get them all in the right place at the right time, but does it ever work out to plan?

We did manage to take a few deer with the 6.5’s and .260’s though. The first 6.5 shot was on a small buck from a distance of approximately 175 yards, the shot placement wasn’t as good as I would have hoped and he made it about forty yards before laying down to die.
The second one fell to the same 122 grain Cayuga fired from a 16″ .260 Remington owned by my son. He made a quick shot on an escaping buck to drop him right in his tracks, the shot passed through the shoulder, disconnected the coronary plumbing and sailed through the other side. The distance of this shot was three hundred and thirty yards.

My other son put the moves on a small spike using the 6.5 Creedmoor and 122 Cayuga. This little buck was around 300 yards away when he took a Cayuga through his liver. He made it a little farther than I would have liked, but better shot placement is the only fix for that.

The last deer we shot was with the same 6.5 Creedmoor, this time it was my wife’s buck. He thought he had given us the slip, but he didn’t know we were waiting quietly for him to step out.
When he did, we were ready with another 122 grain Cayuga. The shot was just over two hundred yards, and it hit him like a copper train. He jumped a couple times into the brush stumbling around until his feet were in the air.

The Cayuga absolutely wrecked his heart, I’m always surprised to see an animal move at all after an impact like this.

The season wasn’t over just yet, I still had a cow elk tag to get before the end of the year. In the last few days of the season, we were able to close in on a couple cows. And being so short on time I wasn’t going to be picky when the opportunity was presented.
I carried with me that day my SRS M2 again, this time using the 7 SAUM barrel I’ve had for years. In the magazine were handloaded 151 grain Cayugas with a modest muzzle velocity of 3100FPS. I’d shot them with very predictable accuracy beyond one-thousand yards, so I was prepared for about anything.

A young cow elk taken with the 151 Cayuga

As it turns out, the shot presented was only 250 yards away. The elk was quartering away but looking back, the shot impacted the right shoulder passing through both lungs and exited just in front of the left shoulder. She ran a short distance before expiring but the damage of the impact was very apparent as we butchered the animal. I would consider the minimal meat damage to be better than average, which I also consider a big plus.

The destroyed lungs from the elk

As I had anticipated, it has been a season full of bounty. From the very first time I killed an animal with a Cayuga, I had a good feeling that these were essentially bottled-lightning. And after this successful season, I can again confirm that the flight-performance and terminal performance of the Cayuga is outstanding. If you are looking for something to enhance your hunting performance, give them a try.

-CBM

Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus 12 Gauge

It’s hard to imagine an autoloading shotgun without thinking of one of the popular models from Beretta, like the A400 Xtreme Plus, which we will review today. The Italian company has been in the business as long as anybody. Sure there is something about a name, but there has to be more than that for dedicated shooters and hunters to pick a shotgun from the rack.

I often mention that my father is more of a shotgun nerd than I am, so I frequently look to his guidance regarding such topics. Several of the many high-end shotguns he enjoys shooting come from Beretta. For me, shotguns are a bit more utilitarian than anything, more of a hunting tool than the expensive rifle toys I play with more often. And hunting waterfowl has been one of my favorite hunts since I first started hunting.

Enter the Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus, a gas-operated 12 gauge shotgun with a 28-inch barrel and 3.5-inch chamber, one of the better all-weather hunting shotguns available. But just how good is it? And why would I choose it over something else? We’ll get to that in a moment, but I can tell you that the Xtreme is reliable, robust, and durable enough for whatever your hunt may have waiting.

Reliability
The A400 is one of Beretta’s leading hunting model shotguns, so reliability is an absolute must. During the course of the 350-400 shells I’ve fired through the gun, I’ve yet to have any issues with it.

We get some pretty crummy weather around here this time of year, but the Xtreme just keeps pumping shells and steel. Rain, sleet, and snow don’t phase this shotgun. A dunk in muddy water is never good for a gun, but this one quickly recovered from the dreaded dunk.

Accuracy
The various chokes that come with the Xtreme give you the option to customize the patterns it shoots. I found the Xtreme very easy to be effective on birds. The right choke and lead would nearly always result in a puff of feathers. I suppose there isn’t a turkey out there that wouldn’t fall to the Xtreme’s tight full pattern.

Overall Feel
Like most Beretta shotguns, this one feels like a perfect fit when it’s against your shoulder. The Kick-Off stock absorbs much of the recoil, which allows for tight cheek welds and follow-up shots.

The quality finish of the gun looks as handsome as it operates and protects it from vicious elements like salt water. Shooting with gloves is easy, and the controls are the right size and allow easy manipulation. Continue reading here

IWI Tavor X95 5.56 Bullpup

Your first reaction to the IWI Tavor X95 might be wrinkling your nose and wincing at the word bullpup. After all, the short and stubby design is not as common in America and is typically frowned upon by many.

But those that look down their nose at these rifles do so at their own loss, as there are many benefits and even superior features to some bullpup designs.

Today we will look at one of the flagship rifles from the Israeli arms giant IWI, the Tavor X95 bullpup. Like all bullpups, the X95’s breech and firing mechanisms are behind the trigger. This shortens the overall size of the weapon by utilizing the space in the butt of the firearm that is normally vacant.

I’m no stranger to bullpups, so prepare yourself for some perspective as we go over this very popular and robust little rifle.

The first trip to the range with the X95 included a hundred or so rounds. I’d brought a few magazines to run through the rifle of various types. I had only installed a red dot as a sighting device with plans to shoot with a riflescope at a later date.

After loading a few magazines and a quick preflight inspection of the rifle, it was time to go hot. Charging the rifle is a very familiar process, seating the magazine and running the charging handle to chamber a cartridge. The safety selector is easily operated with the thumb, making the rifle ready to fire.

I fired a few magazines through the rifle, adjusting my sight a few times for a better point of impact. My initial impressions of the rifle were better than expected. The rifle shot smoothly and reliably. The trigger was a bit mushy for my taste, something common with some bullpups. But I could still shoot properly and get hits where I wanted them.

Reloading the rifle is different than a typical modern sporting rifle. Stabbing the magazine into the rear of the rifle can take some getting used to if you are new to bullpups. The bolt release is centrally located behind the magwell, allowing you to actuate it with your thumb upon seating the magazine. I would have liked to see a more flared magwell, but it could have just been my familiarity with this particular model.

The controls and ergonomics of the rifle seemed to fit me well. The charging handle does have a claw to capture it under recoil. I would have liked a slightly different configuration that offered just a smidge more purchase but again, this is just my preference.

One thing I did find a little annoying was during a reload motion; my trigger finger would often migrate behind the trigger. This made for an awkward transition back to shooting, but again it is likely just a lack of practice with the rifle that could be overcome with some training. Continue reading here

Colt M4 Carbine

The AR-15 is perhaps one of the most well known rifles in America, enough to even be known as America’s rifle. And of all the many different AR-15 configurations perhaps one of the most popular is the M4, or one of its clones. Colt has been one of the longest standing manufacturers of this type of rifle, so it feels a bit daunting to try and revisit this as a review. After all, what could I possibly have to offer that hasn’t been said a thousand times over the past twenty years?

The Colt M4 Carbine
The M4 Carbine I received for review is as familiar as Mom’s bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning. The rifle uses all of the standard features we have come to know, a mil-spec two-stage trigger, detachable Stanag pattern magazines released with the push of a button. Charging handle at twelve o’clock above the buffer tube, with a collapsible CAR type buttstock. A single sided safety operated by the thumb, and a bolt-release on the left side of the receiver.
This model came with a sixteen-inch seven twist barrel, threaded 1/2-28 at the muzzle and you guessed it; a bird-cage flash hider on the muzzle. Also included were sling attachment rings front and rear, as well as a fold down rear sight assembly to use with the gas-block mounted front sight.
This is almost exactly the rifle we have all seen in the movies and magazines since childhood, with its flattop receiver designed to take whatever kind of sight you’d like to install there. Commonly you’d see an Aimpoint, Eotech, or ACOG in this position. The only thing left to investigate was to see if it lived up to the expectation.
I prepped the Colt for a range trip, which consisted of mounting up a Trijicon MRO and some ammo to feed it.

On the Range
The M4 is configured for a fighting scenario, or for civilians like myself lots of shooting and maneuvering at relatively close range. Surely it can be used at further distances but for the most part two-hundred yards or less are a most likely where it will be used. A red dot sight like the MRO works great for that scenario.
After sending a few test rounds, I zeroed the sight at 75 yards. Shooting for accuracy is a little easier for me to do with a riflescope, but I was able to shoot some inch and a half groups at seventy five yards. I don’t imagine it would open up too much more at one hundred yards, but it was certainly accurate enough for hitting forty-five percent IPSC targets all over the range. The XM193 ammo flowed through the rifle like a Vegas slot machine payout, and it felt just as valuable to watch it disappear.

Shooting the Colt M4 was as pleasant as you might expect. The mild recoil of the 5.56 cartridge makes shooting the rifle soft and easy to control, muzzle rise is minimal and easily reduced by adding a different muzzle device. The collapsible stock is easily adjusted to fit smaller statured shooters or to accommodate body armor. I’ve never envied left-handed shooters that had to operate an AR, and yet my oldest who has been given by Uncle Sam the opportunity to shoot the M4 extensively using his left-handed stance seemed to not have any issues. He even likes it to my surprise.
Hitting targets for both of us was great fun while using the MRO, I am definitely a scope kind of guy so using iron sights always comes with its contrasting results. It would likely serve me very well to spend more time shooting through these sights if only to improve my capabilities. The Magpul rear sight that came with this rifle was easily used through the Trijicon, I just need to up my iron game.
The M4 comes with pretty much no embellishments, a standard trigger, Magpul Pmag, single-sided safety and so on. That came as no surprise for a service-grade weapon, but I found it didn’t significantly inhibit the performance. Making shots and reloads went as smooth as I could go, and only slowed by my skills or lack of them anyway. Continue Reading Here…