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What is a Lightweight Modern Sporting Rifle? TPF takes a look!

The origins of the much enjoyed AR-15 platform started back in the mid-1950’s with Eugene Stoner’s 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle design, the Armalite Rifle Model 10, also known as the AR-10. In 1957, Mr. Stoner and two engineers, Jim Sullivan, and Bob Fremont, were tasked to design a scaled down version of the AR-10 to use a .22 calibre cartridge and the result was the Armalite Rifle Model 15. Due to poor marketing of the AR-15 design, Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation, the parent company of Armalite, sold the AR-10 & AR-15 designs to Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company in 1959. Starting in 1962, the AR-15 design was utilized and adopted by the military of the United States in both the original and a fully automatic version, the M-16; and saw the design’s first true widespread usage during the war of Vietnam. There were many issues, which were found during those years of abuse and extreme environmental usage. You may have seen the movies and videos of soldiers of that era equipped with an AR-15/M-16 who religiously cleaned their rifles in every moment outside of actual combat. There is a bit of truth in that, hence why those scenes were so common.

Fast forward, a half a century and the AR-15 platform has become the measuring stick for determining what construes the Modern Sporting Rifle. The widespread definition of a Modern Sporting Rifle, to be called MSR henceforth, came about in 2009, as Mr. Randy Luth, then retiring President and Founder of DPMS firearms, continued to promote the AR-15 platform as a viable firearm to the hunting market in the United States. A MSR is one of which has most, if not all, of the following features:

  • Semi-automatic in operation. The redirection of a portion of generated energy to enable self-reloading allows for lower recoil, and thereby faster recovery and follow-up shots.
  • Mounts a pistol grip. This allows for more comfortable hold as well as having more ergonomic access to operating controls of the firearm (safety, bolt release, etc…)
  • Utilizes a detachable magazine as a means of reloading the firearm both simply and easily.
  • Has an adjustable stock which enable the ability to allow for personalized “fit-up” for individual users.
  • Incorporates accessory mounts that allow the installation of optics as well as possibly multitude of other accessories that are customized to the individual’s requirements.

With over 50 years of history and production of a wide variety of AR styled rifle platforms, it has become such a popular design that a seemingly endless number of manufacturers offer their own versions. With prices of a few of these ranging up to several thousand dollars before even buying a magazine, the AR runs the gambit for value for the consumer’s ability and desire to purchase quality and performance. The balance point for the individual user is the issue, but stereotypically firearms owners in Canada are somewhat frugal in nature. The old saying of “Knowing is half the battle”, applies to O’Dell Engineering, a Canadian distributor of firearms and accessories has taken that to heart with their recently launched Lightweight Modern Sporting Rifle, or LMSR. It incorporates modern polymers and proven designs to bring a quality AR platform rifle to the firearms community of Canada.

Here at Tactical, Practical & Fantastical; were delighted to acquire one of the original entry level LMSR’s offered by O’Dell Engineering and have brought it to you, our readers.. So without further delay let’s take a look at the intro level LMSR available in Canada.

LMSR-Intro

The Lightweight Modern Sporting Rifle, aka The LMSR, has a polymer lower receiver and a selection of uppers. This is the LMSR – Intro package (Optics not included)

Recessed Crown

With a recessed crown, the muzzle is protected from damage

The LMSR is an AR-15 platform rifle, which incorporates all the features mentioned about for defining a Modern Sporting Rifle, and like a typical AR-15 has three primary components. A lower receiver, an upper receiver and the bolt carrier group. The lower receiver in this case is manufactured by American Tactical and is comprised of injection-molded polymer and is machined to exacting specifications. The standard AR15/M4, six position polymer stock is mounted on the commercial diameter buffer tube and factory trigger comes set between four to five pounds of force. The controls are the standard common versions found on most basic AR platforms.

The upper receiver is an anodized black, A3 flattop profile, that is machined from cast 7075-T6 aluminum which is roughly 50% stronger than 6061-T6 aluminum for superior wear, stress resistance and fatigue levels. The barrel of the reviewed LMSR is hammer forged and 406mm (16.0″) in length. The barrel itself has a surface treatment known as Melonite Nitrocarburizing Process, which not only adds surface hardness, but also improves corrosion and wear resistance as well. Chambered in 5.56x45mm and sporting a 1 in 7″ rate of twist, the barrel also has a protected crown, also known as a recessed crown; and a bolt-on low profile, picatinny railed gas block located at the carbine positioned gas port. The receiver rail and the gas block rail are not co-linear in height however, so prospective users should be aware of this fact.

LMSR-Intro Gas Block

Bolt-on railed gas block on the Intro’s barrel

The furniture is basic and black, with a standard A2 grip and two-piece, carbine length, hand guards. With the rear take down pin movement being extremely snug to insert and remove; the upper and lower fit together so securely that there is absolutely no need for an accu-wedge or shimming to have a solid, rattle-free, assembly.

LMSR-Intro fire controls

The LMSR’s polymer lower has all the typical AR-15 controls in the standard places

The Specifications of the LMSR – Intro level (as reviewed)
Classification: Restricted firearm
Action: Semi-automatic, direct impingement gas system
Calibre: 5.56x45mm/.223 Remington
Lower: Black polymer, 6 position M4 style collapsing buttstock, commercial diameter buffer tube, 4-5 lb trigger
Upper: Anodized black 7075-T6, A3 picatinny rail flat-top profile
Barrel: 16″ black melonite finish, carbine length 2-pc hand guard, picatinny gas block, recessed crown, 1:7 twist
Mass: 2.6kg (5.73lbs) w/o magazine & optics

LMSR-Intro Staking

The bolt carrier key is heavily staked to prevent loosening over time

As this specific rifle is to become the test rifle for many future accessories to be reviewed here at TPF, it was only fair for the author to put this rifle through it’s paces and season it. So over the course of the last year this rifle has had several hundred rounds fed through it, both to test accuracy and durability of what is a value priced, entry level AR platform for the Canadian marketplace. For our labour of love the author mounted an Eotech 512.A65 far forward on the upper’s picatinny rail to ensure that there was minimal possible distortion. Once dialed in, the rifle spit 45-55 grain projectiles downrange and consistently was able to shoot 20 cm (8″) diameter steel plates from offhand shooting positions @ 91m (100y) and engage all forms of targets in local 3-Gun scenarios. TPF’s LMSR in the factory configuration has been tried with a variety of magazines, several hundred factory and reloaded rounds of ammunition and has suffered zero failures to fire and eject at the time of this TPF installment.

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Running the LMSR extremely wet for the first few hundred rounds. The bolt carrier group after a short bit of range work

The LSMR (Intro Level) comes with a 16″ barrel length, which has an MSRP of $899.99 CDN and is assembled and distributed throughout Canada by O’Dell Engineering Limited. To find a retailer near you access their Dealer page. There is a premium version available that is outfitted with a High Standard, chrome lined barrel in 16″, 14.5″ or 10.5″ length options; all of which have a 1/2″-28 threaded A2 flash-hider “birdcage” mounted and sport an bayonet lugged A2 gas block with a fixed front sight for true co-witness ability. The question is whether you the reader feel that the LMSR is Practical, Tactical, or Fantastical.

P.S.: The LMSR has, as of mid-2014, been upgraded with a second generation lower with added features and manufacturing advancements. The new rifle designation is the LMSR2. If you want to ask the Distributor questions you can reach them on facebook HERE.

LMSR-Intro lower guts

The LMSR Gen 1 polymer lower showing the standard internal components after several hundred rounds

Not irons, optics, red-dot, nor holosight; just what is the See All Open Sight?

If you want to shoot at a target with repeatable accuracy you need some form of sighting system. Thankfully every type of firearm has a sighting system already installed on them or comes with the ability to mount them in some fashion. Even most short barreled handguns use a have a form of sighting system on them. So then the question for some is what type of sighting device do they want to use on a specific firearm. Is it to be used for self defense, plinking, hunting legged or flying game, competition? What range or ranges will targets be engaged at? How much? How heavy? How well does it work? That’s a lot of options and unfortunately unlike the storyline of The Lord of the Rings, there is no one single sighting device that rules them all.

So first TPF will break down the basic types of sights for firearms:
Iron Sights:

Iron sights are simple sights. That means that they are mechanically a simple in design. A notched rear blade sight with a post-style front sight are the most common iron sights used on firearms with rifled barrels. Aperture, or “peep” sights use a ring instead of an open notch. In general, iron sights are very simple and cost effective while being lightweight.

Telescopic Sights:

These optical sights use lenses encased in tubular mounts, in order to place an superimposed reticle on the target. The aiming pattern appears to be at the same focal point as the target which allows for a single required focus. The construction of these sights is far more complex than iron sights, but allows for magnification effects which make the target appear closer. This obviously allows for longer target engagement ranges and greater accuracy.

Reflector Sights:

Reflector sights are a version of optical sights that are more commonly known as reflex sights. The most common versions currently in use are red-dot scopes which use a light emitting diode (LED) to project a single dot image on a mirror surface of the objective lenses that reflects the reticle image back towards the user. A closed style reflex sight is mounted in a tube akin to a telescopic sight and can use filters and shades to prevent glare and such. The open style reflex sight is simply the objective lens mounted in a simple encompassing ring and are lightweight compared to tube versions. These LED powered sights can operate for extended durations due to the minimal power requirements.

Holographic Sights:

The most advanced optical sight commonly available are holographic sights. Holographic sights use a laser to project an aiming reticle onto the surface of an objective lens which is then observed by the shooter’s eye. While they are similarly to open style reflex sights as they have a single objective lens mounted, there are more electronics contained inside. Usually have a slightly a finer aiming reticle than reflex sights.

Unfortunately we are all growing older. In the case of the author of today’s TPF installment, wearing corrective lenses has been the norm for over twenty years. The usage of fibre-optic enhanced or tritium embedded iron sights has allowed for faster target acquisition and better sight alignment, but sometimes an upgrade in sighting systems is desired. For many that means magnification optics for greater target resolution at range, or electronic sights that have a red-dot or holographic aiming reticles. So now enter the See All Open Sight, to be referred to as SAOS subsequently.

SeeAll-02

A new style of target acquisition systems. The See All Open Sight is designed as a rugged, fast, simple and in-expensive alternative

The SAOS is an attempt to create a lightweight, cost effective, accurate sighting device which is accurate at short and longer ranges. Built into a compact package the SAOS masses in at just a hair over 55 grams (1.8 oz) which is a fraction of most optical and electronic sight masses. Measuring 57.5mm long, 25.7mm wide and 25.4mm height (2.26″ x 1.01″ x 1.00″), the SAOS has an incorporated weaver/picatinny mounting profile. Unlike many such mounts however, the SAOS needs to be slide overtop of the rail into it’s desired position. Instead of the common bolt clamping though a groove of the rail, the SAOS uses a pair of set screws to secure its position via tension. This means that the SAOS can be mounted regardless of number and positioning of slots in the rail.

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The sighting mechanisms and components which are situated inside the black anodized aluminum body are as follows:

  • An optical lens
  • An aiming reticle mounted on a light gathering polymer block
  • Elevation and windage adjustment screws
  • Set screws for mounting

The fixed optical lens is plano-convex in shape and by looking through it, magnifies the reticle image on the polymer block. The reticle itself consists of a horizontal line with a triangle, which is less than 1.0 mm (0.04″) wide. These are scaled up depending on the user’s eye proximity to the lens itself. The contrast of the triangular reticle and the green polymer block was very easy to distinguish and very easy and fast to acquire. The design in itself lends itself to the claim of being parallax-free in that you do not need perfect eye/sight alignment.

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Even in the shade, the contrast allows for very easy target acquisition. Line up the tip of the triangle…

Usage of the SAOS is akin to using a holographic sight, but with the size of an open reflex sight and the contrast of fiber-optic enhanced iron sights. Various other individuals have mounted and tested the SAOS through a variety of firearms including hard recoiling Mosin-Nagants, AR platforms, shotguns, in addition to centre-fire handguns as well as the plethora of rim-fire firearms out there. TPF, used a tried and true Ruger 10-22 to be the basis of this evaluation. The SAOS was mounted on a dovetail to picatinny adapter and torqued down by hand. Initial shot impacts centered roughly 50 mm (2.0″) up and to the left at 23 m (25y). Very acceptable starting accuracy out of the box. This could be attributed to the length of the mounting rail which runs the whole length of the sight in aiding initial sighting alignment. Approximately 250 rounds later, the SAOS was still holding it’s point of impact, and underlined its ease of use and the bright, easy method of acquiring your target and also establishing your sight picture.

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Mounted on an old favourite, the See All Open Sight is very simple and easy to use.

Are there smaller reflex sights out there? Yes. If the user is willing to spend several hundred dollars for an electronic sight. Which brings up another feature that may get overlooked; the SAOS doesn’t use any electronics at all. It’s rugged aluminum body has large protective sides and protects the sight from most handling abuse. The light gathering block allows for lower light conditions. The result? A very capable, short range, sighting system.  It is an excellent accessory for use by those who want a simple, high contrast, fast targeting sight, and the ease of use  makes this an especially valuable accessory for firearms used to introduce children and other people new to shooting.

The positives are pretty substantial for the SAOS:

  • Small and lightweight, yet rugged
  • Fast and easy to acquire a sight picture
  • Excellent contrast
  • No electronics/batteries and good low-light ability
  • Adjustment is 2.3m (90″) vertically and 3.8m (150″) horizontally at 91m (100 yds)

The SAOS does have a couple things which may be a detractor for some who read this.

  • Tension mounting system. In some applications, use of a thread locking method may be a mandatory addition, and over-torquing is a real possibility
  • No adjustment clicks, may make re-zeroing the sight difficult (centering)
  • No field of view through the sight itself. The large block the reticle is mounted on cannot be seen through

The See All Open Sight, as manufactured by Oversight Shooting Technologies has an MSRP of $98.99USD and Canadians can purchase this sight directly from their website SeeAllOpenSight. As is commonplace here at TPF, it is up to you, the reader, to determine if the SAOS is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical!

Author’s note: The newer generations of the See All Open Sight have since removed the “See All” logo from beneath the triangle reticle to minimize any distractions while trying to acquire target alignment.

Designed over 125 years ago, this bit of history made modern once again…

While beat out in the origins of lever actions by nearly 20 years, one of the grandfathers of lever actions, the Winchester 1886, was designed by the legendary John Moses Browning. Seeing a trend towards bigger and heavier ammunition trends, Winchester commissioned for a newer design and in 1884, the conceptual action for the “future” 1886 was adopted and put into reality. The rifle was built to handle the larger cartridges available in that time period, which included the venerable Government 45-70. For nearly half a century the Winchester 1886 was produced in numbers that exceeded 150,000 units. By the end of it’s run in 1935, this workhorse of a rifle had been chambered in several different calibres and had proven its worth to firearms owners across North America.

Chiappa's Model 1886 Rifle

The Venerable Winchester 1886. Still suggested by many to be the best lever action design to this day.

U.S. Patent 306,577, was granted October 14th, 1884. The design in very simple terms added a set of moving locking lugs which ensured the solid lock-up of the breech block, and thereby allowed higher pressure cartridges to be utilized in a lever action design. Previous actions were locked up via toggle links which were insufficient to withstand the more powerful cartridges that were appearing and desired by the firearms enthusiasts of that era.  When the first production of the 1886 rifle was started there were only three calibres available for it. These were the .45-70 Government (1873), .40-82 WCF (1885), and .45-90 WCF (1886).

A lesser known fact is that in 1886, the first smokeless powder cartridge was created for military use by the French in the form of the 8mm Lebel, but this would take time to filter over into the North American market.

In 1887 several more cartridges were introduced specifically due to the 1886’s popularity, and those were the .38-55 WCF, .40-65 WCF and the .38-70 WCF. The large .50-110 Winchester was added in 1899, and a few short years later, after the turn of the century, the first cartridge without a black powder history, the .33 WCF, was added into the lineup of calibres.

Chiappa-Title

Created in 1958, Chiappa manufactures everything from Cowboy Western Shooting, Hunting, and Reproductions/replicas of classic firearms

Chiappa-ArmiSport-1886

Made in Italy by Armi Sport, a branch of Chiappa

So now that TPF has gone down a but of history of the classic Winchester 1886 lever action rifle, it is time to fast forward nearly one and a quarter centuries later and Italian gun manufacturer, Chiappa Firearms, has endeavoured to produce a reproduction of the venerable Winchester 1886 with modern craftsmanship and quality materials. That means that parts will be 100% interchangeable between the original 1886’s which were all hand fitted for each firearm manufactured. What fit perfectly in one 1886, could just as likely be too loose, or very tight on another 1886 which meant a lot of labour and “fiddling” was required to ensure a perfectly smooth action and precise lock up. The rifle being looked at is a full length 1886 reproduction with a full octagonal barrel chambered in .45-70 Government.

Specifications of the Chiappa 1886 Lever Action Rifle

  • Calibre: .45-70 Government (Modern loads)
  • Barrel: 26″ (66cm) Full Octagon, 1-18″ twist rate
  • Receiver: Case coloured frame
  • Capacity: 8+1 (Shipped with internal plug to 5 as per Italian law)
  • Mass: Approximately 9lbs (4.1kg)
  • Overall Length: 45″ (115cm)

What is case colouring? In the past when firearms were manufactured from softer iron, they needed to harden the outer surfaces of receivers to improve the wear and toughness of the components. Hardness of a metal is usually determined by the amount of carbon that makes up the metallurgy of the metal. In the distant past, to surface harden iron products, was accomplished by packing the iron in a mixture of ground bone and charcoal or a combination of leather, hooves, salt and urine, all inside a well-sealed box. This package is heated to a high temperature, below the iron’s melting point, for a sufficient time to have the carbon infuse/permeate the iron surface. The longer this carbonizing process, the harder the surface becomes due to greater levels of carbon penetrating into the surface.  The resulting case hardened part, due to the impurities in the packing mixtures, created an oxide surface which had patterns of colours and hues ranging from orange to dark blue. This surface was harder and showed better wear and corrosion resistance which was usually the sign of a higher quality firearm in that bygone era. That was known as “Case Hardened Colouration”, yet in modern manufacturing steel, an iron and carbon alloy, is used which has inherent hardness levels and much better resistive properties than the old school materials utilized. What this means is that while the components are no longer case hardened the old fashioned way, the colouration, as if the parts had been produced as such, creates a very attractive decoration.

Alsmost everything is case coloured

Even the butt-stock plate is case coloured

The modern day 1886 manufactured by Chiappa obviously falls into the latter category and has applied case colouration to nearly every major external metal component except for the barrel, magazine tube, breech block and feed gate. That is correct; the butt-stock plate, the lever arm, trigger, hammer, and even the fore-stock cap are all case coloured. The nearly black bluing on the barrel and magazine tube and the wonderfully vibrant walnut wood stock and forearm make for a wonderful visual piece of eye candy. Necessary? No. Beautiful? Yes.

It is a nice looking rifle

Sandwiched between the nice walnut wood, the case coloured receiver and action parts are very distinct and attractive

Chiappa-1886-08

The .45-70 Government. At over It is still a big cartridge

The firearms itself is pleasant to shoot, TPF took the 1886 to a local range and proceeded to lob small ashtrays down range. In all seriousness, many thanks to The Gun Centre, located in Kitchener, Ontario; for providing TPF-Online some ammunition to perform actual field tests on this rifle. Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 300gr, Remington Express Rifle 405gr SP, and Hornady Leverevolution 325gr FTX were all used, sixty (60) rounds were fired with no issues and acceptable out of the box accuracy. Using 15cm (6″) steel targets at 45m (50yd), the author was able to hit several runs of five consecutive shots, at least until a flinch started to develop. While quite enjoyable to shoot offhand, the author of this piece will likely not shoot 405gr rounds. or anything similar, from the bench ever again.

Chiappa’s Model 1886 lever action rifle, is a modern day reproduction of the classic Winchester 1886 design chambered in .45-70 Government. With an MSRP of about $1,500.00 USD it is not for the cheap and frugal, nor those who penny pinch on ammunition. Chiappa firearms are distributed through Canada by North Sylva, so if you are interested, retailers akin to Barton’s Big Country Outdoors, located in Grande Prairie, Alberta, should be able to order them for you.

It is a serious rifle in a beautiful package. However if you were looking at this rifle and debating to purchase it or even look at one; ask yourself this, is it Practical, Tactical, or Fantastical! Then go buy one anyways, because more guns = more fun!

The best design?

A close up view showing the beautiful case colouring and the locking bars

NOTE: The basic 1886 rifle featured in this installment of TPF is scarcely available nowadays. The trend has been the Chiappa Kodiak which has a synthetic stock, and a stainless steel constructions, with a shorter barrel.

 

Banning guns – Abuse and idiocy….

For anyone in Canada who is remotely interested in both firearms and politics, the actions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have not been stellar, and their image of fair, and honourable representatives of Canada’s national law enforcement has been drawn and quartered.

One needs only look at recent firearm seizures during the 2013 High River crisis to know that legal firearms owners were targeted specifically by the RCMP upper echelons. Seizing firearms in the name of public safety, by breaking down the locked doors of homes of the victims of this natural disaster. Tracks of mud from the front door, straight to closets, all under the guise of looking for survivors.  Videos with audio which mentions firearms at the location, no rescue equipment present in the boats going to addresses. Gun owners are targets, and unfortunately it appears that the RCMP has declared open season on us all.

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/3272438235001

The Rolex of rifles

The Swiss PE90, called the Rolex of rifles

So for those who are not caring about politics in general, well have a timeline and breakdown for you regarding the Two primary re-classifications which impact legal firearms owners across Canada.

  • 13 March 2013 – A Swiss Arms PE90, “Classic Green” was submitted to the RCMP by a firearms dealer under the reasoning that it was manufactured as a converted automatic firearm which is prohibited. Other “Classic green” rifles were sent to show the differences.
  • 24 May 2013 – RCMP “discover” that some rifles have questionable characteristics
  • 16 July 2013 – A 38 page report originating from Swiss Arms itself regarding the design lineage and characteristics of the firearms are submitted to the RCMP
  • 26 February 2014 – RCMP reclassify ALL PE/90’s as a variant of the prohibited (SIG 550). Firearms which have been sold in Canada for nearly 13 years, with an average price of roughly $4000, and were all non-restricted. Total affected numbers? 1,800-2,000 firearms. Did we mention NO compensation was offered to owners of this firearm.
  • 27 February 2014 -The Firearms Reference Table (FRT) has all PE-90 classifications shifted to Prohibited status. Firearms owners across Canada complain loudly. Emotional outrage is fanned and given no direction.
  • 28 February 2014 – (first thing in the morning) Minister of Public Safety, Mr. Steven Blaney,  released this statement

    “I am upset by this unacceptable decision regarding Swiss Arms rifles. This decision was made by bureaucrats, not elected officials. I have therefore ordered an urgent review of this unfortunate situation. All options are on the table to ensure that no firearms owner who acted in good faith suffers any consequence as a result of this situation. All options are being explored on an urgent basis. We will continue to take steps to make our country one of the safest places in the world, without penalizing honest citizens.”

  • 28 February 2014 – (afternoon) The RCMP reclassify another firearm, the CZ-858, imported after 2006 as converted automatic, aka another rifle switched to prohibited class. Because these rifles were much cheaper to purchase and ammunition was also plentiful and relatively inexpensive, the decision effect roughly 10,000-12,000 rifles currently in the hands of Canadian firearms owners.
  • 03 March 2014 – Mr. Steven Blaney, initiates a 5 year amnesty from prosecution for owners of firearms that were reclassified. That is a good beginning, except that NO prohibited rifles owned by an individual has been allowed to be taken to a range to be actually used since mid-2005 (That is another story…).

So what we currently have is the following situation.

  1. Somewhere around 10,000-13,000 individuals who are instant criminals due to the RCMP’s inept classification abilities. They, the RCMP,  either are wrong now, or were inept a decade ago, both of which are unacceptable.
  2. An amnesty is a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction. All these individuals effected by these re-classifications had followed all the required laws and regulations regarding firearms ownership and purchased these firearms legally! Literally they were legal firearms owners at 11:59 pm, and at 12:00 am (midnight) there were criminals. The amnesty prevents being charged with possession of illegal property for 5 years.
  3. These guns are now no longer usable for the most part. They can no longer be taken to the range or to hunt with as they were on February 25th 2014. They cannot be transferred legally. They are safe queens.

This is wholly unacceptable. Now some of TPF’s readers may be wondering what they can do. It is very simple and can be done in many ways.

  1. Do NOT Email. Email is worth the paper it is printed on, meaning nothing. It is like arguing on the internet, it may feel good, but does absolutely nothing.
  2. Call/meet with your local MP regardless of political affiliation (If you do not know who that is, click HERE)
  3. Write a letter/fax to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney and your MP. Thank them for showing some initiative at protecting responsible Canadian firearms owners regarding the reclassification and the abuse at the hands of the RCMP. The amnesty is a good first step, but more must be done to correct these attacks against those whose only crime is following all the rules set forth by the Firearms Act. Tell them that compensation is NOT an acceptable solution.
  4. Join the CSSA or another pro-firearm organization and bolster their numbers to work for change.

What to say or ask for is simple? Always use a multiple-step approach. Address the issue, praise the efforts, note that more must be done. Do not threaten. When you threaten something you force people to react defensively. Now people may say they need to force politicians to react defensively, but the secret is continuous pressure which guides the opinion/attitude of politicians. Demanding government action or issuing ultimatums without being civil has two major flaws. It usually comes over as being equivalent to a child having a temper tantrum, and secondly, if you don’t have the ability to significantly follow through with your ultimatum, it is worthless.

Now the authors of TPF do look at Facebook pages and web-forums and sees that many firearms owners are irate at the situation and are demanding the repeal of C-17/C-68. They proudly display “No Compromise” and state that anyone who is not suggesting the same level of commitment is compromising or acting like a sheep. This author has a question to those who continually spout “No Compromise” in this endeavour. We know that the collective efforts of firearms enthusiasts are impacting the current government to do something beneficial for firearms owners. So lets say they actually change only some portions of the act.

We’ll use Rob Anders’ petition as a basis and say they remove classifications & mag capacities, decriminalize (removing S91 & S92 from the CC), eliminate CFO’s (S 58.1), and remove safe storage and transport sections as well. However licensing will still exist….

It that a win? According to the basic statement of “No Compromise”, it is not. So will those people who spout “No Compromise” right now, later  say it was due to their efforts that changes were completed, despite not repealing the entirety of C-17/C-68? Time will tell.

Until we find out the outcome, which could be weeks or even months down the road; Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical urges you to continue to write/call/meet your MP’s and do so on an ongoing basis (reasonable, not daily) and continue to press for change which benefits the firearms owners of Canada.

The ultimate knife? TPF lets you know who thinks so!

Edward Michael Grylls.

USF-01

The Ultimate Knife

Many of our readers may not recognize that name, but if TPF were to mention “Bear” Grylls, you may recall that he is the United Kingdom’s version of Les Stroud, and a worldwide adventurer! In truth, if you are a long time reader of TPF, you would have known about this person from previously reviewed products. In this installment of TPF, yet another Gerber/Grylls collaboration was done on what is titled the “Ultimate Knife”. As always however, we here at TPF will give you the facts and details and leave the decisions to you, the readers.

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Thes are the components of what the Ultimate Knife contains:
Knife, Sheath, Fire-starter, Survival guide

The Ultimate Knife is supposedly the only knife you would need in a survival/adventuring excursion. The knife and sheath come with a myriad of features and requirements that would provide many basic necessities for outdoor use. Gerber Legendary Blades has a whole realm of Grylls’ survival equipment available, but of course there is never enough space to describe everything.

USF-07

A signal whistle is attached to the knife’s “Hammer” via a lanyard

Contained within the 254mm (10.0″) overall length of the knife is a 122mm (4.8″) drop point blade. This half serrated, hollow ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17Mov Stainless Steel which allows for good edge retention and extreme ease of cutting rope when required. The blade’s serrations start from the choil of the blade and run approximately 47.5mm (1.875″) in length and with a spine thickness of 4.8mm (0.19″) this knife is fairly robust and meaty by massing 318 grams (11.2 oz).
The handle is manufactured from an orange coloured polymer and is embedded with TacHide™ rubber to ensure a secure and comfortable grip on the knife when in use. Add to that a hammer/pommel measuring 32.4mm x 21.5mm (1.28″ x 0.85″) to the hilt of the knife and it becomes easier to see why Gerber and Bear claim this is the ultimate outdoor knife.

USF-06

The TacHide grip is very comfortable

There are actually even more features of the knife which are included for additional survival requirements. On the back edge of the knife spine, is a 19mm (0.75″) section which is machined down as a striker for the fire-starter, to be mentioned later in this review. As well are three through holes measuring 4.9mm (0.195″) in diameter, two of which are at the front edge of the guard and one in the pommel. These three holes are present for if and when the user wishes to mount the knife on a shaft for a spear.  An emergency whistle is integrated into a lanyard cord which is threaded through the pommel’s hole, but it is the sheath and all it’s features which add to the collective exuberance of features in the whole package.

USF-08

Attached to the polymer sheath is a diamond grit sharpener

The sheath and secured knife mass a total of 418 grams (14.7 oz) and measure 278mm (10.9″) overall in length when worn. The knife retaining portion of the sheath is manufactured from a injection molded polymer which houses the fire-starter. This fire-starter is a Ferrocerium rod which is embedded into a small plastic handle that snaps into a specific area on the polymer sheath. By striking.scraping the fire-starter against the “striker” located on the knife’s spine, the user can generate high temperature sparks and ultimately fire which is always a great benefit to those who adventure outdoors. The remainder of the sheath is manufactured from ballistic black nylon and contains additional items of interest. The nylon sheath has two (2) Velcro straps on it. The first one is to secure the knife’s handle more fully when fully sheathed, and the second strap holds the plastic knife sheath portion against the nylon sheath backing. The first question to pop into your mind may be why bother? Mounted to the backside of the plastic sheath is a diamond grit sharpening insert of sufficient size to resharpen the knife’s plain edge.

USF-05

With vertical and horizontal belt mounting, the small slide-in pocket on the back also has signal instructions.

With survival in mind, the mildew resistant sheath has two more features to help the adventuring outdoorsman. The first is a sewn in pocket which depicts various land to air rescue instructions and signals. This pocket also contains a tightly folded, water resistant, basic survival guide which contains Bear Grylls’ survival essentials. The sheath can be worn two orientations, the tradition hanging belt loop orientation, plus the sheath has two additional loops which allow for a horizontal wearing. For the second method, it is likely that the handle Velcro strap would not be used for additional securing of the blade.

The “Ultimate Knife” as reviewed, was released in late 2010 by Gerber Legendary Blades under product number #31-000751, and is still available to this day at an MSRP of $62.00USD. It can be found all across Canada both online and at real storefront locations such as Wholesale Sports, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. So depending on your requirements, how would you class this “Ultimate Knife”? Tactical? Practical? Or fantastical?

USF-09

Everything stowed away and ready for the next outdoor adventure!

Additional Notes: there are newer options  for the Ultimate Knife such as a pure fine edged blade instead of the partially serrated one, as well as a Pro version which uses a higher quality and denser steel for it’s plain edge.

SHOT Show 2014 – The first official CSSA Canadian Industry Gathering

Las Vegas

Canadians enjoyed good weather at the 2014 SHOT Show

Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada. Home of the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; a.k.a. 2014 SHOT Show. This years show was held once again at the Sands Convention Center from January 14th to the 17th and would once again draw people from all over the world.
TPF Online arrived Saturday to an absolutely brisk 20°C with nary a cloud in the skies. This type of weather would continue for the entire duration of TPF-Online’s presence in Sin City.

Fast forward to Monday morning at Media Day, where TPF Online was on site and shooting suppressed .308 AR platforms by 8:05 in the morning, Kriss Super-V fully automatic suppressed SMG’s around lunchtime and followed in the afternoon by shooting trap with KSG’s and Beretta tactical shotguns… TPF also got to play once again with the IWI Tavor akin to the one being raffled off by Gun Owners of Canada; sign up and you can win!

After the extreme joy of Media Day, the next four days are purely SHOT Show and many kilometres of aisles. Over 1600 exhibitors were present and displaying their wares and sales staff across 5.3 hectares (13 acres) of floor space and divided by 20.1 Km (12.5 miles) of aisles. As a tidbit of information, note that the SHOT Show is the 16th largest trade show in North America, and attracts exhibitors and attendees from every US state and over 100 countries. Canada’s hunting, shooting, and outdoor trade industry is valued at roughly one billion dollars annually, and at the SHOT Show the value of the products on the show floor is equal to that. Most people do not realize that Canada is a huge marketplace for firearms, especially for manufacturers from the USA. For every 1,000 guns that are manufactured in the USA, approximately 96% are for domestic usage; sold via retail in the USA. That leaves roughly 40 guns that are exported per 1,000 produced, and Canada imports 35-37 of those. So in 2010 there were 5.5 million firearms manufactured in the USA, which roughly translates into roughly 150,000 US manufactured firearms imported into Canada annually. When you add in all the remaining imports of firearms from other countries, plus the few remaining Canadian manufacturers, it becomes apparent that the Canadian firearms industry is alive and well.

SHOTShowBlogImage

Borrowed from http://www.shotshowblog.com, this is a panoramic view of the chaos of SHOT Show.

Gunny

R. Lee Ermey, aka “Gunny” is almost a staple of these shows.

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association decided to host an event during the SHOT Show as most of the industry would be in Las Vegas that week to renew contracts and create new ones regarding firearms, ammunition, accessories and all things similarly related. TPF was present and from discussions with attendees and CSSA representatives, the event was beyond expectations. Hosted at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, the event was originally to be held in the Reno Room, but was shifted at the last moment to the Laughlin Room. There were representatives that reached across the gambit of the Canadian firearms industry. Manufacturers, Distributors, Retailers, and Media were present for the event which had 150 or more attendees at its peak. Both Gun Owners Of Canada and CanadianGunNutz, the two largest Canadian firearms web forums were there as was Calibre Magazine, the only firearm magazine published in Canada. Other media celebrities were there as well such as Scott Funk of YouTube famous Funker Tactical, and Brian Lovig of the Daily Split, among others. There was some nicely present food trays of meats, vegetables and fruits, and the CSSA was fairly liberal in giving out drink tickets that evening. Unfortunately a couple of people left a bit early, but most attendees were present for the 9pm prize draws. Given away at the draws were several shirts, a bottle of Champaign, a heavy-duty backpack, and the grand prize, a Bug-A-Salt. This event had come a long way from the informal resort/hotel room get together with a score of individuals. So many thanks should be given to the CSSA for their initiative in hosting such an event, to the sponsors for making the event possible, and for all the attendees who made this first Canadian Industry SHOT Show reception as smashing success.

The Sponsors of the event were the following:

Obviously many thanks should be given to the sponsors of the event so please feel free to click the links, buy their products or products offered by them and help our industry become even better. To those in the industry, TPF recommends you join the CSAAA if you have not already. Why? As the CSSA is roughly the Canadian equivalent to the American NRA, the CSAAA is the Canadian equivalent to the NSSF in America.

Survivorman

Canada’s Les Stroud draws a crowd at his sponsor’s Booth

Enough about the single greatest Canadian event at SHOT, let s get back to the SHOT Show itself! If you happened to be around and observant enough at the right times and locations, attendees of the 2014 SHOT Show could have seen all sorts of celebrities either at an exhibitor’s booth, or wandering around the show itself. As always nearly every top competitive shooter in the USA is there, nearly every hunting/outdoor channel personality, plus all sorts of celebrities including the following:

  • Acting: R. Lee Ermey, Steven Segal, Les Stroud, Joe Montegna
  • Racing: Bobby Labonte
  • Military: Kyle Lamb, Robert Brown, Chris Costa, Larry Vickers
  • Online: Colion Noir, FPS Russia, Hickok45, GunBlast, Funker Tactical
  • Other: Jeff Foxworthy, Ted Nugent, Craig Morgan, Governor Rick Perry

The lists of people of greater than average fame, whom are present at SHOT Show are in the several scores of numbers. The number of attendees increased by 5,000 above last year’s total, to an excess of 67,000 attendees. As always there are literally hundreds and hundreds of new product launches at the show as well as celebrity endorsements for them. Whether the items are existing, revised, revamped, resurrected or truly new, the SHOT Show is where dealers will see it for their respective customers. TPF Online is lucky in that this was the eighth (8th) SHOW Show that was attended, and not a year goes by that something new is not learned or brought back to Canada. Hopefully you will be able to attend a SHOT Show in the future if you have not already.

SHOT Show 2015 is once again held in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Sands Convention Centre once again from January 20th-23rd, 2015. We at TPF are looking forwards to it and the next CSSA Canadian Industry Gathering.

JoeG_at_Troy

The latest products, the newest gadgets and the most effective equipment, like that shown by Joe at Troy Industries

How to improve on success? Add powder and pour – Hornady L-N-L AutoCharge

The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame for this review of Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Auto Charge. Hornady and The Korth Group were kind enough to provide TPF-Online with this product for reviewing and Mr. Craig gladly provided us with his viewpoint and writing style for this dispenser. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:

When it comes to reloading there is only a single step that is as big and as important as getting the powder charge right.There are many ways to do this, but few that roll it all into one easy step. Hornady recognized there was a need for a more economical solution to weighing and dispensing powder, and introduced their own version of an automated powder dispenser a few years ago. I finally received the opportunity to sit down with one recently, and, the results were both interesting and impressive.

AutoCharge-01

Everything that you see in the image comes with the Hornady Auto-Charge

Out of the box the Auto Charge includes the integrated scale/dispenser, powder silo, universal power adapter, two check weights (10 & 50 grams), flash pan, and a long thin brush for dusting out powder. Included with the manual is a comprehensive quick-start guide that allows for getting the Auto Charge up and running in a matter of minutes. If you do choose to jump right in with the quick-start guide, be sure to read both sides completely, as, the instructions for calibrating the scale are quite specific, and need to be followed in order to get under way quickly.

AutoCharge-Masses

A pair of calibration masses

The Auto Charge has a powder silo large enough to hold 1lb of powder. The guide recommends at a minimum that the silo be filled to the top of the base of the unit, in order to ensure there is enough powder in the hopper to dispense accurately. I had a small amount of Varget that just managed to fill the hopper to the top of the base as indicated, and after following the calibration instructions, quickly began to dispense 42.0 grain powder charges.

Dispensing powder was as easy as entering the charge weight into the keypad, and pressing “enter” in order to set the machine to the desired charge. All that was necessary then was to press “dispense”, and the machine took care of the rest. The Hornady Auto Charge is essentially a digital scale combined with a powder trickler. The powder tube is internally threaded, and angled downwards slightly, so that as it turns, powder is scooped up and moved along the length of the tube, subsequently falling into the flash pan below. As the dispensed powder reaches the desired charge weight, the Auto Charge slows down and enters into “trickle mode”, where it pulses a fraction of a rotation at a time in order to drop the desired charge weight one or two kernels at a time.

AutoCharge-03

A pure touch screen control panel with an LCD display to control the dispensing rates, and user-entered or programmed dispensing masses

There are three different speed settings for dispensing powder, slow, normal, and fast. Depending on the type and quantity of powder being dispensed, there is an ideal setting. I found that the bulkier powders were able to be dispensed on the fastest setting, whereas your finer, ball type powders tended to prefer the normal. Really fine powders, such as those used for shotgun or handgun really didn’t dispense well, or, required the machine to be set on the slowest setting, which meant a significant increase in time between charges. This really has to do with how the machine operates. During dispensing, there are in fact two speeds. An initial, high volume rate of dispensing, which varies based on the selected speed, and then a final trickling speed, which is more of a pulse. Depending on which speed you choose, the trickling mode will kick in sooner or later, so as to allow for as much powder as possible to be dropped into the pan before the final trickle to the desired charge weight.

For testing purposes, I used both Varget, and Ramshot TAC. The Varget was able to be dispensed at the fastest rate, as, it is a bulkier extruded powder. It had a tendency to remain in the trickling tube and only drop one or two kernels at a time during the trickling mode, allowing for a very fast dispensing time, with minimal overcharge errors. The Ramshot TAC on the other hand is a much finer, ball type powder. It was far more likely to cascade out of the tube, resulting in the machine having to be run on the normal speed setting. I found on average that the dispensing time for 43 grains of both Varget and TAC to be 20-30 seconds. As I mentioned, the Auto Charge will result in an overcharge error if it’s run on too fast of a setting. I found that Varget only returned an overcharge error 1 in 10 times on the fastest setting, which meant having to re-dispense the charge. TAC resulted in an overcharge error almost every time on the fast setting, but had no issues when set to the normal speed setting.

Once you’ve settled on a desired charge weight, and dispensing speed, you have the option of running the Auto Charge in either a manual, or automatic mode. Manual simply means that you have to press dispense each time, whereas, on the automatic mode, all you need to do is press dispense, and start dumping powder charges into your waiting cases. Each time you place the empty flash pan onto the scale, the Auto Charge will dispense the next charge as soon as the weight reaches zero. I found that with the machine set to its fastest setting, in combination with Varget, I was able to keep up an almost constant pace of charging cases, with only a short wait between dumping powder into the case and waiting for the next charge to be dispensed.

AutoCharge-04

A very effective powder drain cap system

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Auto Charge worked. It’s a nice clean, simple unit, and was very easy to operate. I found that its ideal use is for load development, where you might have a number of different charge weights that you want to try. It is equally suited to regular reloading duties as well, however, a standard powder measure is still faster, and capable of dispensing most powders within the same accuracy range. What’s nice about the Auto Charge however is that you know every single time just how much your charge weights, and that there’s no potential for a mix-up, or double charge. Additionally, the Auto Charge can dispense close to a pound of powder, and not need topping up in order to maintain its accuracy. Having a scale built right in ensures you get the exact same, consistent charge weight.

Submitted by: Andrew Craig, Host of Canadian Reload Radio

Hornady is a very much renowned reloading manufacturer based out of Grand Island, Nebraska, and Korth Group are a Canadian importer and distributor of many manufacturers and brands such as Hornady. Again, thanks to Andrew Craig for his submission on the Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto Charge powder dispenser. The product as reviewed has an MSRP of $317.21 USD. This and other Hornady products can be found in a variety of brick and mortar shops across Canada as well as online venues such as Grouse River (which has both!). TPF’s standard clause still applies to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.

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