Category Archives: Shooting hardware

Rifles and their parts

Sako 85 Finlight 25-06

In a world of marksmen, there are some names that seem to stick out, or rise to the top. A few of the rifles I dreamt about as I grew up shared a well known and revered name, Sako is one of those legendary manufacturers that can get grown men giddy as a sugared up kid. So when the opportunity came for me to put a Sako in my safe, I was expecting to be pleased.

The Model 85

The model 85 is one of the latest revisions of Sako’s hallowed line of bolt action rifles. It is a six-point-four pound three lug bolt action which requires a shorter sixty-degree throw to operate the bolt. The Finnlight is fed by an all metal detachable box magazine that holds five cartridges. The stainless steel barreled action sits in a synthetic stock with a hunting camouflage pattern. The model I have features a fluted barrel with a threaded muzzle, something I was happy to see. The rifle features a single stage trigger and a two button safety, of which I’ll explain later. Read the whole story on Guns.com

The Hornady 6mm ARC for the Desert Tech MDRX

It seems all too frequent nowadays for a new cartridge to jump to the front of every blog, magazine, and ad campaign.
Ammunition manufacturers are always looking for the next best thing to sell. I cant blame them, and I’d much prefer they spend all the money on R&D so the rest of us don’t have to.
At the top of the ammunition game is the big red H that we have all come to know quite well. Hornady has brought some extremely popular cartridges to market in the recent past, the PRC family comes to mind, as does the revered 6.5 Creedmoor.

Watch the video to see the 6 ARC MDRX in action

You can also read the full article on Guns.com

The Canik TP9 Elite Combat 9mm Pistol

Good friends can often be the catalyst we need to try something new. Whether it be a new activity, or way of thinking, some of our best practices are simply learned from the good people we surround ourselves with.
Im a rifle junkie, always have been. But due to the good influence of friends, I have been exposed to all kinds of additional shooting enterprises. One of them being IDPA style pistol shooting, which if you haven’t tried, you should.

Having tried it a few times, mostly as an informal competition between friends, I was immediately hooked. Steel targets, and fast reloads just seem like the best kind of practice for having a good time. But I needed a good pistol for it, being a rifle junkie, my pistol inventory was very superficial and necessity based (CCW). So I began the search for something that fit the bill.

What do we have here?
It was SHOT Show 2018 that I first noticed Canik USA firearms, they are imported by Century Arms from Turkey. My initial impression was they looked great, and I wanted to run a few mags thru one, but much time would pass before I would. A friend let me handle one, and I immediately fell in love again. It was the TP9 Elite Combat model, which draws on several aftermarket parts from Salient Arms International (SAI). The TP9 EC uses a fluted threaded barrel, trigger, +3 floor-plate, and flared mag-well from SAI. The styling and custom look only enhance the graceful lines of the TP9. The Canik is a striker fired 9mm, with double stack magazines. I purchased the pistol as a kit from Century, which included a host of additional goodies. Two magazines, one of which had the SAI +3 floor-plate boosting its capacity to 17+1. Two different grip back-straps to choose from to better fit your hand. A polymer holster to fit the pistol to your gun-belt. It also comes with the slide pre-cut for sighting devices, the kit included a Vortex Optics Viper red dot, and with several other baseplates, I believe you can mount others as well. The threaded SAI barrel is suppressor ready, though one complaint I had was the thread protector was so tight I nearly damaged the pistol trying to get it off. For that I know no excuse.
The EC also has a chamber indicator on the top of the slide, when a round is chambered, the red indicator is clearly visible. The chamber indicator is also tactile, you can feel it either in the dark, or while looking towards your next engagement. Also on top of the slide is the fiber optic sight (rear sights removed to install the Viper red dot). The fiber optics are interchangeable with others included in the kit.


Several other things are included in the hard-case, trigger lock, tools for assembly and cleaning, as well as different mag release height options you can customize.
I wasted no time, and literally within minutes of delivery, I was pumping magazines through the TP9.

The Vortex Viper was easy to mount, and zero. I was amazed at how accurate the gun was, I wasn’t shooting particularly far, but once zeroed, I could put a whole magazine thru a less than two inch hole at 10 yards. And if I can hold steady enough, whatever you put the red dot on within 30-40 yds, gets hit.
The trigger overall is pretty good, though I was a little bit let down, as mine wasn’t as good as the ones I had felt prior to purchase. The take-up has a bit of stickiness to it that I didn’t feel on other guns. The break and reset however is clean and very crisp. I have taken it apart several times to see if I can clean up the trigger pull, We’ll see if any of that helps.
The EC also comes with an oversized mag release, which I found to be very good for dropping the magazine. And despite its prominence, never caused an undesired mag drop.
Underneath the muzzle there is a pretty standard accessory rail, perfect for mounting lights, lasers, etc.
The magazines themselves are manufactured by Mec-gar, a well known manufacturer of great aftermarket magazines. There are several different models available including an 18 round and a 32 round stick mag.
The holster is about what you would expect from a manufacturer, nice enough to use, but leaving you wanting more. It’s serviceable, but I dont care for the release. Instead of pressure to the side releasing the pistol, you curl your trigger finger in the same action as you would to pull the trigger. This seems a little unsafe, in that once clear of the holster, if your finger continues the curling motion, it could find the trigger before your on target. This is probably just a training issue, but I didn’t care for it none the less.

Shooting the TP9
I mentioned the accuracy of the TP9,I’ll add that the functionality has also been almost perfect. I say almost perfect because I have had a couple malfunctions, nothing a tap, rack, bang wouldn’t fix. And more than likely due to the low budget ammunition I was shooting at the time.
Even so, with the cheap ammo I find it very easy to hit what I’m aiming at.
The flared mag-well made mag changes easy to feel into place, though I wish the flared part had at least two points of contact. As it sits, the mag-well flare is attached by a single screw at the rear, not a huge deal, but it has caused me to re-engineer it in my head.
I bought the gun with the plan of using the red dot on it, though I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I figured if I didn’t, I could just run the iron sights on it and sell the Vortex. But as it turns out, I really enjoy shooting with the red dot. So much in fact that Im considering doing the same to another pistol I love and shoot quite a bit, my Taurus TX22. One thing that I absolutely love, is the way this Canik feels in my hand. It’s a perfect fit with the larger grip back-strap, and it points so nicely and naturally. The way it draws from the holster and lines up perfectly for the shot gives me some undeserved confidence.

Conclusion
It may sound like I’m ragging a bit on the TP9 Elite Combat, but to be honest I really do like it. I’ve never been much of a gun snob, so when it comes to minor issues I tend to look right thru them. I love shooting the TP9, and intend on becoming much better with it, might even take a few classes or training courses to save myself the embarrassment in public.
I think despite the little issues I’ve brought up, the gun is a great option. I may get another holster for it, and I will definitely be getting a bunch more magazines, and ammo.
-CBM

The CZ Scorpion my way

Like many of you, I grew up swooning over guns I saw in the movies. And one of the iconic weapons from all those great eighties movies, was the Heckler & Koch MP5 of one variant or another. The short and rapid stroke of these old roller guns, together with their sexy physique made them the envy of anybody with an eye for firearms. Who would have thought that years later, when the time came to shoot one, I’d feel a little let down.

But this story is about a CZ Scorpion you might be thinking? Indeed it is. Your average gun owner cant afford the real MP5’s, and have to settle for clones, or something else entirely. I find myself in the latter group, and this is my “something else” story.

A co-worker showed up to the office one day, and like we do at my work, when you bring a gun to work, you damn sure go around and show it to everybody else. The gun he brought was the aforementioned CZ Scorpion Evo S1, configured as a pistol, with the short barrel and everything. In short order he had changed out the feature-less rear end, and installed an arm brace. For those that are unaware, the arm-brace is essentially a legal loop-hole around the SBR Tax. For those unfamiliar with the SBR Tax, its part of the National Firearms Act (NFA) that requires certain firearm configurations to be registered and taxed by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms/Explosives (BATFE). And those of us who are familiar with the ATF have been robbed, infringed upon, and inconvenienced enough for all the rest of the gun community that aren’t familiar with them. Gratuitous, stupid, and superfluous are words that come to mind when reading through ATF regulations. The SBR/arm brace debacle is a perfect example of that.
The CZ Scorpion is a 9mm blowback operated pistol. But when a stock, and other accessories like suppressors and larger magazines are added, the Scorpion comes very close to feeling like a valid replacement for the MP5 I always dreamed about as a kid.

I immediately swore an oath to myself that the Scorpion would one day be mine. With disposable income well beyond my reach, I set to finding deals, and discounts. And it wasn’t too long before I found just what I was looking for, and for a decent price.
They even had the SB Tactical arm-brace in stock that I wanted, the collapsable PDW Style. I was off to a great start, but there was much more I wanted to do. The pistol grip of the Scorpion is widely believed to be too steep and angle, and is a bit uncomfortable. So I replaced it with one from Magpul, the pistol grip is mounted on a dovetail, which gives the user the opportunity to adjust it closer or further from the trigger. A nice feature for sure.
Another frequent complaint for the Scorpion is the right side safety selector digs into the trigger finger when firing.

The good folks at Gear Head Works made a fantastic reverse safety option, that shifts the selector above the finger instead of into it.
I wasn’t quite done with Magpul yet, I also bought a few 35 round P-mags for the Scorpion, as well as their magazine release which extends a bit further, and adds a paddle release to the end.

I was getting very close, all that was left I thought was a Midwest Industries 11.5” handguard, it should cover most of my SilencerCo Octane suppressor. It was close, so after running it like that for a couple months, I took an axe to my little Scorpion (actually a lathe) and cut the barrel back another 1.75 inches and re-threaded the muzzle 1/2-28. This allowed the suppressor to poke out just enough to get my fingers on it and tighten it.

One of the great benefits in my eyes to the Cz Scorpion, and pistol caliber carbines in general, is getting my kids on the firing line. The small size of the Scorpion, and its collapsible arm brace/stock make a perfect companion for even my 11 year old to shoot with comfort and confidence.

With all my alterations and additions finally in place, the Scorpion felt like what I wanted it to be. Which leads me back the beginning of our story. I told you I felt a little let down by the MP5, and I’ll tell you why. After shooting my Scorpion for several months now, getting used to the function and features, I was again given the chance to shoot an MP5SD, Which of course I jumped at. But to be perfectly honest, there were a few things I wished the MP5 had. For example a bolt lock-back on empty, and a pic rail.

I guess I should clarify, I LOVE the MP5, its beauty and performance are nearly untouchable. The beauty runs deep with its impressive and reliable mechanics inside as well.
But for all that, I think if my Scorpion was setup as a full auto like the HK was, I might like it just a bit more. This of course after the alterations, and making the gun fit me just the way I wanted it. I know there is a lot of you out there cringing, and shouting heresy over the crowd, but its true. Rest assured however, if ever I get the chance to own the OG HK, I will jump at the chance.
I love everything about this handy little “pistol”. It is compact, but packs quite a load of ammo, and despite being a pistol, it is still quite useful at distances out to nearly 100 yards. The Trijicon MRO is a perfect option to keep sight picture simple and quick to bring on target. While not a true long gun, the CZ Scorpion is an excellent weapon to have handy in my vehicle, bedside, or anywhere your CCW might not be quite enough. The controllability, and high capacity, make it a a good defense weapon. While the compactness and profile make it easy to take almost everywhere.
It may be sometime until I can run around wielding dual sub machine guns, but until then, the CZ Scorpion will be following me everywhere.
-CBM

Suppressed Weapon Systems MISB 308Win for the SRS

I swore off shooting unsuppressed long ago, and I only do it occasionally by choice. The suppressor bug bit me hard many years ago, and I have never vanquished its effects. With that in mind, I am always thinking about better ways to hush the noise of my favorite pastime. Who would have thought that an idea I had depreciated would turn my jaded eye.

One of my most favorite rifles of all time, is my old Desert Tech SRS A1. I have run countless barrels through it, I currently have somewhere between ten and fifteen barrels of assorted different calibers. Factory, custom, and even a few specialty barrels. Even with all those options, I still love my old 16” 308 Winchester Covert barrel. The calm and consistent performance of the 308 is like an old friend, so when I got the opportunity to try yet another great 308 Winchester option for my favorite rifle, I jumped at it.

Suppressed Weapon Systems has been in the suppression business for some time. They specialize in the integration of suppression technology directly into the firearm, instead of making the suppressor just a muzzle device. Their MISB (Monolithic Integrally Suppressed Barrel) is available for many different firearms, including my dearest SRS. The modularity of the SRS family of rifles makes it ideal to pair with technology like the MISB, and with a durable cartridge like the 308, it would last for some time.

I’ve often tinkered with the idea of an integrally suppressed barrel for my SRS, but I was always worried about spending the money on an NFA item that would get burnt out and need to be replaced. A valid concern I had always thought, but the MISB is constructed in such a way that the tube can easily be removed and installed on a new barrel/baffle stack. So with my main concern assuaged, I dove in with both feet.

The Suppressed Weapon Systems MISB for the SRS is manufactured from a Bartlein Barrel blank, well known for great quality and precise shooting. The muzzle is cut at a determined length, in my barrel’s case, around sixteen inches. But the remainder of the barrel blank is then cut into the suppressor baffles. The length of the barrel to the breach of the muzzle is fluted, and drilled, I assume to decrease weight but also to add an expansion chamber for venting high pressure gas.

The outer tube of the MISB is a good fit, but not entirely tight, this was a bit of a concern for me at first but I later learned it was necessary to free-float the barrel. Having the outer tube captured and tightened with the barrel would add stress and torque to the overall structure. The tube is sealed at both ends with what appears to be Viton high temp fluoroelastomer O-rings. The muzzle end of the MISB has a threaded cap also sealed with the O-ring, it is knurled and has cuts for torquing it into place with a tool. Its an impressive example of machining design and ingenuity.

I couldn’t wait to get the barrel mounted in my rifle chassis, and test its performance. As soon as I got home with it, I hurried to my basement man-cave and installed it into my SRS. I found the fit to be a bit snug, perhaps more-so than any other barrel I’ve tried. Its easy to get a burr on the shank of SRS barrels, one must be careful. But that was not the case with the MISB, it was simply just a bit tight. Perhaps a slightly smaller diameter would help, but I found it to be consistent, so it was a minor inconvenience. It was the same when I mounted it in my SRS A2.

Once mounted, I headed for the hills to get the rifle zeroed with this new barrel. As usual, it was an easy process. Most SRS chassis will change POI with a different barrel, but it is rarely off by more than a few inches. So a quick re-zero on my scope was easy, and in no time I was using the rifle to shoot steel at 710 yards.
SWS guarantees sub MOA accuracy for three shots with their MISB system, but suggests that 1/2 to 3/4 MOA is expected more often than not. I found my barrel to be consistent with that.

The suppression quality of the barrel was on par with what I expected. The first round pop was significant, but quickly forgotten with successive shots. The slender barrel looks very handsome in my A1 with the longer handguard. A few inches longer than a standard twenty-two inch barrel which pokes just out of the handguard. When mounted in my Covert A2, it was a few inches longer than the standard Covert sixteen-inch barrel when fitted with the DTSS Suppressor.

Conclusion
I think the SWS barrel offers a great option for those looking for a slender and inconspicuous barrel to keep things quiet. At $2200 for a barrel, it is no small investment. But it’s also not much different than a good barrel fitted with a suppressor would cost you, and SRS owners are gluttons for dropping coin on good barrels. And the fact that you can reuse the tube on a new barrel blank having no interaction with the Federal agency everyone loves to hate makes it even more appealing. I look forward to using it even more in the future.
-CBM