Tag Archives: sbr

Short Barrels and Long-Range

One of my all-time favorite rifles is the Desert Tech SRS, the Covert model of the SRS made an already short precision rifle into a ridiculously shorter rifle on par with some SBR’s. The popularity of the SRS Covert speaks volumes about the utility of a short-barreled precision rifle.

Don’t miss the video below!

Why so Short?
Why would anybody want a short-barreled precision rifle in the first place? Like everything else in shooting, your setup depends greatly on the intended purpose. If you plan on shooting from a bench all day, then having a twenty-pound rifle that’s forty-inches long won’t matter. But if you’re planning on deploying from a vehicle, or maneuvering through any kind of obstacles then a shorter rifle is much more practical. And even if you’re aren’t confined to small spaces, a shorter rifle is still just handy to operate. Small pistol caliber and rifle carbines are used almost exclusively for shooting scenarios that require hasty movement through obstacles and barricades, the size makes them ideal.

Having a precision rifle of the same size gives all the same benefits, with the added one of precision shot placement. Law enforcement snipers have embraced this trend in rifles as it suits many of their operational needs. The typical distance used in LE shooting engagements is pretty short, which leads into our next subject.

But the Velocity!!

All else being equal, a short barrel will provide less velocity than an equivalent barrel of longer length. As the propellant burns inside the barrel, the bullet is accelerated towards the muzzle, and almost always it reaches a higher velocity as you extend the barrel. This gives more time for the pressure to accelerate the bullet.

So short barrels are slower, but for many marksmen, it is an irrelevant point. For example, if you’re the police marksman trying to engage a target from across the street, the ignoble target in the window opposite wont know the difference between 2600 feet per second, and 2400 feet per second. And though he wont give the velocity any thought it will likely blow his mind anyways. Many barrel cut-down tests have been shown on the reduced velocity of shorter barrels, the results are interesting. On average, a 308 will lose around 250 feet per second when going from twenty-six inches down to sixteen inches. That is certainly not insignificant, but can you shoot accurately with only 2400 feet per second? And furthermore, can you shoot accurately at long-range?

Other cartridges are similarly affected with barrel length, some more than others. But some would be surprised by what you can do even with these reduced velocity rifles. Looking into ballistic calculation, a thirty caliber 175 grain bullet fired at 2650 feet per second has already dropped to a velocity of 2415 feet per second by the time it reaches one hundred yards. So if your starting out at basically that velocity you’ve only lost about that distance in your overall range capacity. Going sub-sonic is typically where things go amiss, so we’ll call that the end of the line. The above data reduces your effective range from just over nine-hundred down to eight hundred yards, this only matters if you’re shooting that far, and what you intend on doing with the bullet when it gets there. If you are just trying to hit a target, then you’re fine, but if you’re trying to kill something then you may need something a little more portly.

Shooting Long-Range

Shooting long-range with shorter barreled rifles is not as hard as some would make you believe, and much of the shortcomings can be made up with better calibers, bullets, better propellants and so on. Despite the sixteen-inch 308’s reduced muzzle velocity, I’ve still been able to stretch it out to over twelve-hundred yards in good conditions. But if you want a better option there are plenty of them, an 18 inch 300 WM is another one I’ve shot quite a bit. And it is perfectly suitable for crushing targets out to 1400 yards and more, hitting close to a mile is certainly doable, it just depends on your energy requirements. I also have a sixteen-inch .260 Remington, and an eighteen-inch 6.5 Creedmoor, and they are both very useful inside a kilometer.

My SRS Covert with the eighteen-inch 6.5 Creedmoor barrel installed.

A longer barrel with more velocity will have some advantages, but so does the shorter barrel. Shorter barrels will be stiffer than a longer barrel, which will result in less barrel whip. Many people are of the opinion that shorter, stiffer barrels are more accurate than their longer counterparts, and that the benefits of stiffer and more consistent barrel harmonics outweigh the loss in velocity. In the end, you have to dance with who brought you, so make your choice accordingly.

Conclusion

The purpose here today was not to convince you to chop down your barrel, there are pros and cons to both long and short barrels. But I hope we put a seed in your mind, that longer isn’t always better, faster isn’t always best. As you put together your next rifle project in your mind, consider the possibility that going short might be a great option you’ll appreciate later.

-CBM

Eberlestock Cherry Bomb

There comes a time in a guys life, where he has to choose between a couple different ways of living. Whether its gym membership or a hiking regiment we make choices that effect our future activities. While many of these choices are about the mundane and everyday tasks we engage in, some of them can be life-changing, like whether we carry a gun, or a pocketknife.

You clicked on a backpack article right? Well the Eberlestock Cherry Bomb is in fact the subject of this article, but we are going to talk about how a backpack choice can effect your life.

Eberlestock is well known for making top quality backpacks and other outdoor gear. While their products are probably most popular among outdoor types like hunters and backcountry hikers, they are also quite popular with just plain gun-folk. I first heard of them years ago when my brother bought one of their Gunslinger backpacks, so when the time came for this project, my eyes turned towards Eberlestock.

Carrying a gun is a big deal that hopefully everybody takes with extreme responsibility, but there are many who take it to the next level. Your reasons might be professional such as public service or private security, or you might just work in the firearms industry or play with a lot of guns. On a day to day basis, a person not unlike myself might usually have a pistol and a rifle or two. One of those weapons should be ready to party at any given minute, and as a superior option to a handgun I would prefer the rifle. I wanted to see if the Cherry Bomb pack from Eberlestock would be suitable for an every-day carry backpack.
Having a rifle close and ready can certainly provide you with the upper hand should you need it, so after doing some measuring and research I decided to get a Cherry Bomb for my Desert Tech MDRX Micron.


The Cherry Bomb

The Cherry Bomb is a multiple compartment backpack that could easily be mistaken for a nice laptop carrier. It has an internal space of twenty-four inches by eleven inches wide, and has several dividers for storing assorted organized “things” inside. The pack comes with a removable waist-belt should you choose to use it, and it is available in a few different color schemes which don’t scream “Gun Inside”. The shoulder-straps are well padded and adjustable to fit most anyone, I chose to remove the waist-belt mainly because I don’t need it for carrying it on a daily routine.

Like all Eberlestock packs it is extremely well built, strong stitching and tough seams and zippers make it very robust and reliable to open and keep closed. There are two small zippered compartments at the bottom on each side, as well as a cunningly placed rainfly stowed in the very bottom. The interior of the pack has several dividers for keeping things like laptops from getting rubbed against your rifle. It also has some internal pockets for keeping small things like those you’d keep in your pants-pocket, but you have a backpack now. Next to the rigid weapon compartment there are also two pockets that are just right for holding extra magazines, complete with bungee retention.

The Grey man
I wont bore you with the grey man theory but to mention that the Cherry Bomb is a good start to your grey man kit. As I mentioned above it could easily be mistaken for a computer carrier or biking backpack. Carrying a concealed rifle around is easy with this pack, and you can do it with comfort and without attracting attention.

Stowing my rifle
Opening up the Cherry Bomb for the first time, I was excited to see if my measurements had been correct. I had my short-barreled MDRX ready to load up, and I was excited to see that not only would the rifle fit, but even with a shorty suppressor installed I could just squeeze it in. With a low profile red dot installed on the rifle, and a loaded 20 round magazine, the MDRX Micron SBR dropped right in. I stuck two additional thirty-round magazines into the pockets, as well as some other things that go well with a little rifle and zipped it up. The pack features zipper pull-tabs, and they are built well just like everything else. I zipped them both up to the middle-top of the pack, and decided to go for a walk. With a couple water bottles added to the outer pocket, I figure it probably weighed around fifteen pounds with all my gear comfortably stowed. The Cherry Bomb could easily carry much more weight comfortably, especially if you use the waist belt. Using only the shoulder straps for support I found it to be quite tolerable, and without the waist-belt it was still easy to maneuver and quickly remove the pack.

Just as important, I wanted to see how quickly I could pull my rifle from the bag, and be ready to shoot should such a need arise.
With both zipper-pulls at the top, I found it easy to “peel” the pack open like a banana, and the rifle was easily extracted by either pulling at the butt-hook of the stock, or just grabbing the sling and pulling it out. I also tried slinging the pack off of the shoulders and around the front using the waist-belt to keep my entire kit attached, which also worked out as a suitable option. After a little practice, either way I did it made for a fairly quick deployment. This is where the benefits of the bullpup MDRX were most apparent, most AR15 and similar SBR’s need either a folding stock, or be of the collapsible type. This requires an additional step upon removing the rifle from the bag, but my little Micron is ready to go with a slap of the charging handles as soon as its free.

The Cherry Bomb (center bottom) is a perfect fit for stashing your SBR

The Cherry bomb quickly became a briefcase for me, traveling to and from the office with me every day. Easily stored documents and other everyday items were also stashed inside. To be completely honest, it almost seemed like a little bit of light duty for the Cherry Bomb. But the opportunity to put it into another role would soon arrive.

The Hunt
With the local deer and elk hunts inbound, I saw the opportunity to test a couple things using the Cherry Bomb. I have backpacks all over, but my wife would be coming along on this hunting trip as well. I figured the comfy straps of the little Eberlestock might make her day a little more pleasant. So as opening day arrived, I cinched the shoulder straps way down to fit her petite shoulders and replaced the waist belt. We were only planning on being out for the day, with hopes of getting our hands on an elk. But because anything can happen, she loaded up the Cherry Bomb with all kinds of gear.
She wanted her thermos of hot tea, water bottles, plenty of snacks, extra jacket, knives, ammo for her rifle, and of course an emergency shit-kit and so on. All the things she thought we may need fit snugly into the little pack, and she slung her rifle over the shoulder strap.
Its a good thing she went prepared that morning, as she was seconds away from plugging her first elk. But instead we ended up packing out a deer, and by the time we made it back to the vehicles we had exhausted the snacks, water, and even the tea. They were replaced by a rifle and some backstraps. All the while I kept asking her how she liked the pack, and if she was comfortable. It was quite apparent from her attitude that the pack was indeed comfortable, and I had to wrestle it from her the following weekend to take it hunting myself.

Results
Part of the reason I went with the Eberlestock from the beginning was because I was confident I would like it. With their well known reputation for quality, my assumption that they would think it through was correct. The Cherry Bomb is an excellent backpack, whether you are using it to stow your daily rifle, as something to carry your daily effects to work, or to haul pieces of game from the bottom of a steep canyon draw. It’s adaptability to a variety of uses is perhaps it’s strongest point. I love carrying it wherever I go, knowing that readiness waits inside the Cherry Bomb.

-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