Mistakenly, many people associate the AR in the referenced image above as “Assault Rifle”. Which is incorrect as it stands for the originating company of the design, Armalite. The AR-15 is the Armalite, model 15, a gas impingement operated semi-automatic rifle. Usually chambered in or 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington, the AR-15 and its more military based brethren, the M16/M4, is utilized across the globe by armed forces and civilians alike. In fact in the USA it has become one of the most popular hunting rifles ever produced. Modular and with such a huge following, the AR-15 is the test bench for almost ANY conversion kit, optics, stocks, and aesthetic modifications created by manufacturers and hobbyists in North America.Samson Manufacturing has been producing reputable forearm guards and other machine components for various platforms for several years and in 2009 decided to come branch out into the market. What is being reviewed by TPF is the result of several years of development and in fact, at the first SHOT Show (2009) where this product was introduced, TPF was not allowed to take any images of it. Fast forward another year and TPF obtained a production version of this new tool.
Now before any tool details are written about, there was one driving factor with this products design. The tool MUST stay with the gun. However with the huge plethora of aftermarket accessories and such, the question was where and how to attach this tool to the AR platform with minimal protrusions and attachments to the firearm itself. There was a single spot that met this requirement and minimized the space claim by such a tool. The grip. With this in mind and now a set space claim to work in, Samson Manufacturing began the design and subsequent production of the Field Survivor. This tool was design to be unobtrusive when stored, and extremely helpful with some of the most common maintenance tasks associated with the AR-15/M16/M4 platform.
What is very interesting is the sheer number of tools and features which the Field Survivor tool incorporates into its design. nearly every surface, part and bit of this tool is usable for some sort of measurement, adjustment, action to help maintain your AR platform. The FS-001 being reviewed by TPF fits standard A2 grips and Hogue AR15 Rev B grips. The Field Survivor, which is to be referred to as FS hereafter, has two main components. The end cap and the main body. The end cap is the scalloped portion which is visible when installed into the storage position in the grip. Affixed with a #8-32 stud, spinning the end cap either compresses the retaining o-ring, which expands outwards and creates a secure clamp inside the grip. By spinning the end cap in the opposite direction, the o-ring is relaxed and allows the tool to slide easily from the grip. The FS has a total of four (4) tool arms and a few removable components stored with the tool.
Here is a basic rundown on the features and components of the FS for the AR15/M4/M16 family of firearms. TPF will start with the removable component parts first and work around the tool to document all the features of this tool.
- End Cap: Besides retaining the FS in the grip the end cap has several extra features. With scalloped edges the end cap functions as an impact device when the FS is properly stored in the grip of the firearm. A built-in 1/2″ hex pattern allows for the tightening of some nuts on several accessory and scope mount devices. There are provisions for securing two firing pin retaining cotter pins. The two straight slots are for use on metallic magazine feed lips for modifying their shape. The #8-32 stud allows for some Otis products to be attached but is meant to be used in conjunction with the included cleaning cable for swabbing the barrel.
- Broken Shell Extractor: Included with the FS is a broken shell extractor. This extractor has two additional functions in addition to the obvious one. Used in conjunction with the pull cable (see next tool component/feature), the shell extractor doubles as a handle for pulling a bore brush through the barrel of the firearm. Almost as after thought, a spare extractor pin can be stored inside the cavity of the 2 piece broken shell extractor.
- Detachable Pull Cable: Normally stored within the tool body, this 23″ long steel cable has a loop on one end and a female #8-32 end on the other. The threaded end is for attaching and pulling bore brushes through the barrel, whereas the loop side is for running patches through the barrel.
- Lube Ampule: Included in the field survivor is a small metal ampule (container) which has plastic tapered plugs on either end. It is designed to hold a small amount of lubricant to allow for a single application of lube to essential components.
- Sight Adjustment Arm: This sectioned cylindrical tool has 3 prongs which correspond to an A2 front sight for adjustment. the arm also includes a small straight cutout for fine metallic magazine feed lip adjustments. The secondary purpose of this arm is to store the broken shell extractor when within the grip of the rifle.
- The Otis Attachment Arm: This arm is literally a pivot with an #8-32 thread in it to mount the bore brush. Other attachments can be inserted into this spot, but doing such may make grip storage impossible due to space constraints.
- The Hook/Screwdriver Arm: An interesting multiple usage arm, which has a very robust thickness and apparent strength is home to a short straight screwdriver blade and a small hook like feature which can be used to remove firing pin cotter pins from the bolt carrier group. The interesting feature however is the width and machined strip along the edges of this tool arm with crate a Go/No Go gauge for metallic magazines and allow for instant field checking of suspect magazines.
- The Scraper Arm: Another hefty arm, this scraper has edges along both long sides and opposing scrapers on the tip, in fact it reminded the author of cutters used on milling machines. Sharp and made of steel, care needs to be followed when used on the aluminum alloy of the AR15/M4/M16 platform. This arm also houses the lube ampule very securely as it forces the ampule’s plugs to seal via mechanical tension.
- The FS Body: How is this even a tool after all the other components and functions may come across the minds of many. The profile of the body, on the side which mounts the sight tool, shows the proper curvature of feed lips for metallic magazines and a small line shows a very basic “No-Go” limit with a small line show on the curve.
The Field Survivor is compact and masses approximately 100 grams (3.5oz). No sleeve or sheath is offered as the tool itself is designed specifically for installation to a firearms’ grip. The FS-001 reviewed, and all AR platform versions are dedicated for 5.56mm/.223 chambers as that it the primary calibre for the rifle.
There are also 3 other variations of the Field Survivor available and all have slightly differing components and features which are specific to their associated rifle platforms. The FS-002 functions in Magpul MAID/MOE grips, but is otherwise similar to the reviewed FS-001. The FS-003 is made specifically for the AK-47 and as such will most likely not see much demand in Canada. The final version currently available is the FS-004, which caters to STAG/CMMG piston driven AR platforms and sacrifices the scraper arm for a gas piston wrench.
The family of Samson Field survivors are available for purchase from such places as DS Tactical in British Columbia. The FS-001 as reviewed by TPF retails for $156.99 CDN.
Samson Manufacturing Corporation’s Field Survivor (FS-001)? Is it Tactical, Practical or Fantastical?
For the days of July 22-24, Orangeville, Ontario was the host for the latest Huntfest. Hosted by Wild TV, this Huntfest in was held at the Orangeville Agricultural Society building at 247090 5 Sideroad, Mono, Ontario. This building is commonly the home of a local gun show held and organized every few months by Mrs. Monica Wright. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the concept of Huntfest, it is an event which is used by the hunting industry to promote themselves and their new products. It is also a venue for dealers and retailers to sell their wares to the public. It was quite a surprise to the author when the location was slated to host a Huntfest!
Now as a father of two small children under the age of 6, the author is very hard pressed to actually have the time to actually view any Wild TV programming, so TPF cannot comment on the programming, advertising and general appeal of Wild TV. The author does however applaud the decision to hold such an event in Ontario due to the fact that the only level of hunting/sporting event similar in format would be that of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show and their “Hunting Hall”. Yet that is more of a giant retailer sale than a showcase opportunity. As usual the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) was there to promote shooting sports, help educate firearms owners, and of course gather additional memberships. Other organizations such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the National Firearms Association (NFA) were in attendance as well.
The days of the Huntfest were the hottest days in recent history with temperatures making the he facility nearly unbearable for exhibitors yet they did persevere. The author was pleased to attend and help represent the CSSA during the entire show and was fortunate to be working the booth alongside Canada’s number one firearms lobbyist, Mr. Tony Bernardo. Admittedly, due to the layout, the Laser Shot game was mainly the author’s responsibility and as always being able to bring smiles to the faces of people of all ages is well worth the time and effort of such events. Both the very young and the elderly were attracted to the minute or so of relief that the game provided during which the oppressing heat was forgotten. Literally hundreds of individuals stopped by, some repeatedly, to test their skills at Laser Shot. Mr. Bernardo’s speaking and enthusiasm was a constant reminder of how knowledgeable, dedicated , and committed the man is to fighting for the rights of the Canadian Firearms Community. Be it a single individual or a group of them, Tony was his usual informative and enthusiastic self, describing the latest United Nations news and how the CSSA benefits its members, the community and firearms owners as a whole. Just talk to him and you will understand why the author believes that the CSSA is at the top of the pile for pro-firearms organizations in Canada.
During the infrequent lulls between droves of people attending the show, TPF was able to make a few rounds about the facilities and see what was going on and the general overview of Huntfest in Orangeville. This Huntfest was originally supposed to be a grand endeavour with hundreds of companies in attendance but by the end of setup on the scorching Thursday night, there was much rumblings about a lack of participation. This was obvious as the lower than expected exhibitor attendance resulted in some areas of the building being unused. Opening day on Friday was a lack lustre event which was determined to be a poor turnout with some of those TPF talked to. Combined with an extended Friday closing time with nearly zero consumer attendance and many exhibitors were already unhappy with the choice of venue for this iteration of Huntfest. However, the following two days showed far more improvement with many attending exhibitors acknowledging that by the end of the event they were satisfied, if not beaming with the results. On Sunday, just prior to the close of the event, much of that Friday evening dismay had been reversed and the exhibitors and vendors were far more upbeat and positive in their overview of Orangeville’s Huntfest.
For those that are still wondering, the concept of Huntfest is to create an opportunity for consumers to come to a single location and not only see what is available in the Canadian Marketplace, but to find out how to get those products or even acquire then at the event. Huntfest has been described as a trade show and to a certain point it is. Manufacturers attend to display their range of available products and showcase their newest ones, while dealers and retailers of these products are in attendance to support the consumer, that being the attendees. Companies such as Savage Arms, Scorpion Optics, and Trade Ex Canada Inc, took such an opportunity and showcased some of their products and wares. Local dealers/retailers as also in attendance with their wares available for attendees to purchase, some even at lower than store sticker price. Archery, hunting, camouflage apparel, calls, tools, guns and the remaining spectrum of hunting products were on display at the three day event. Add in reptile exhibits, falconry shows and a slew of presenters for in-person seminars and music concert and Wild TV’s Huntfest, Orangeville had everything that the outdoors man, sport shooter, hunter, and hiker could ever need. TPF was proud to be a small part of the event and look forwards to future ones should they occur.
While the author wanted to take numerous photographs and give the readers a visual representation of the quality and variety of exhibitors that were at Huntfest, it was literally too busy for more than small jaunts across the facility for a quick minute or two of discussion before the next rush came in at the CSSA booth. However, we do have some images from nearby events and have included them here for your viewing pleasure.
Wild TV’s Huntfest – Orangeville 2011 may not have been a great success that organizers were hoping for, but if the final days of attendance was an indication, it may very well continue and grow in Ontario’s future. Hopefully next time the weather co-operates and the advertising efforts bring in far more exhibitors and attendees.
Rating of Wild TV’s Huntfest – Orangeville 2011 is a little different than usual for TPF in that:
Is Huntfest, Orangeville 2011
Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical? Great!, Decent event, Needs work, or Complete fail?
That is up to you, the readers, and specifically those that attended the event to determine. Please contact Huntfest Organizers at email@example.com and let them know what you think they need to improve and make the show more successful.
Special thanks goes out to Chris Anderson who stopped by and felt that TPF was worth interviewing a second time, the first which occured during the EESA open house. As an originator of Canadian Reload Radio, Mr. Anderson was part of the first Canadian firearms online podcast created, and has since branched off as part of their network of firearms related podcasts. It is high praise indeed when Mr. Tony Bernardo believed that Mr. Anderson is one of the best interviewers that he has encountered due to his thoroughness and preparedness for interviews.
The author of TPF has been shooting for a short time compared to many, a scant dozen years of firearms experience under his belt. As with most individuals who are into shooting, the entire ordeal started with the acquisition of a single rimfire rifle and a bag of old soup cans and other small items to enjoy shooting at. Since that point in time however, interests change, as does exposure to whole new fields of firearm events and disciplines which are radical changes from plinking at tin cans. A few of those disciplines are those in the category of Action Shooting Sports.
What are Action Shooting Sports? Unlike most shooting disciplines, action shooting mainly does away with static position firing and utilizes movement and strategies which challenge competitors physically and mentally in a safety oriented game in which competitors must physically overcome and avoid obstacles in order to engage various targets with the greatest accuracy in the least amount of time. These games of skill, speed, and techniques have multiple reasons for being popular and showing continued increase in participants. These reasons can be a trial to improve one’s self, have fun in a non-static shooting event, or even strive to be a top competitor in your discipline. As with ALL shooting disciplines safety is the number one rule and must be adhered to at all times. Failure to follow these safety protocols will at best disqualify you from matches and at worst could lead to legal ramifications. Firearms are tools and can be used in recreational activities for immense enjoyment and entertainment, yet unsafe handling can lead to negligent discharges and the possibility of injury. Thankfully, Canada’s action shooters practice levels of safety which far exceed federal requirements as most competitors are extremely safety conscious.
Most action shooting sports practised in Canada are those which utilize a handgun and require a holster for participation of the game, yet several disciplines include rifles and shotguns in their rules and regulations. TPF will only be concentrating on the handgun portion of Action Shooting Sports at this time.Here are some background and details on some of the more popular action shooting disciplines which have captured the attention of tens of thousands of Canadian shooters, the author among them.
Disciplines of Action Shooting:
International Practical Shooting Confederation (aka IPSC)
While it’s origins can be traced back to the late 1950’s in California, the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) was officially founded in Columbia, Missouri, in May 1976. IPSC’s origins began as a competition in a newer realm of action shooting. It is widely considered to be the founding father of all action shooting disciplines due to it’s history and initial departure from traditional shooting sports. Primarily a handgun based sport, IPSC is derogatorily known as running and gunning due to the fast paced action while participating in a course of fire. A Latin phrase; Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas (DVC) is the basis for all IPSC participation. These translate into Accuracy, Power, Speed. These three items are the cornerstones of what IPSC embodies and it’s popularity is evidenced by participation in over 80 countries around the world and having literally tens of thousands of competitors among those participating countries.
IPSC also has addition divisions outside of handgun, these are Rifle, Shotgun and, as of 2010, Action Air. Action Air is controversial as it does not embody the “power” aspect in IPSC and usually only found in countries where firearms ownership is extremely difficult.
International Defensive Pistol Association (aka IDPA)
After many years of IPSC, a group of individuals (Bill Wilson, John Sayle, Ken Hackathorn, Dick Thomas, Walt Rauch and Larry Vickers) believed that IPSC had become an equipment race and the courses of fire had become extravagant obstacle courses. In 1996, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) was founded. IDPA decided to keep the gaming aspect but made the game revolve around real world defensive scenarios. Regulating the firearms to minimal alterations and adopting a more tactical outlook, IDPA became a slower version of IPSC with many technical penalties added in to create a more reality based action shooting game. From the website, “the main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual, not his equipment or gamesmanship.” IDPA has gained acceptance in Canada in the last half dozen years and now has continued to grow to several thousand members in Canada alone. In the last 5 years the number of clubs that practice IDPA has tripled across Canada to number nearly two dozen.
Ontario Defensive Pistol League (aka ODPL)
The Ontario Defensive Pistol League (ODPL) started originally as a Canadian copy of IDPA. Back in the late nineties while IDPA was growing in the USA, several individuals decided to emulate it in Ontario. The Independent Defensive Pistol Association – Ontario was formed without the blessing of the IDPA and decided to use formal IDPA rules and start their own Action Shooting locally in Canada. For nearly a decade IDPA-Ontario existed and then underwent a face lift and converted into the ODPL. There were some rule changes in regards to scoring and penalties between ODPL and IDPA; but the biggest difference was the lack of shooter skill grading and the requirement to be a member of an organization in order to compete in ODPL. ODPL also has incorporated rifles and shotgun usage aspired from multiple gun matches commonly found in the United Staes of America. Officially there are seven (7) clubs in Ontario which host ODPL events and more are in the works.
Canadian Defensive Pistol (aka CDP)
Canadian Defensive Pistol (CDP) originated under the purview of Mr. Dave Burke, who decided that Canada needed a Canadian version of IDPA (prior to IDPA expanding into Canada). The concept was to take those Canadian Shooting Clubs which already hosted IDPA-like matches, but were not officially IDPA affiliates, and give them a set of rules and regulations similar to IDPA but with Canadian flavour to them. While the concept was sound, the execution of CDP dragged and the complete rewording of commonly used IDPA terminology did not translate well. CDP still exists in some clubs, but has fallen to the wayside for a multitude of reasons. The CSSA is determining if it should completely pull out of CDP matches, redesign, revamp and relaunch CDP entirely, or come out with a generic Action Shooting Guide book that would give information to clubs who wish to run action shooting without being associated to anyone.
Action Shooting Sports are some of the fastest growing shooting activities in Canada. The amazing thing about these sports is that their safety records are nearly perfect with injuries only resulting from sprains and strains. That is correct. A game/competition where individuals have their times recorded for completing a given course of fire, assessed accuracy penalties, and are penalized for procedural violations. Several thousands of Canadians, shooting millions of rounds annually, for the last several years and have ZERO firearm related injuries. There are several reasons for that. As with all firearms disciplines, safety is the primary, secondary, and tertiary rule government the usage of firearms. To that effect there are several options which are available for learning the various games and the required safety levels in Action Shooting.
All of these disciplines involve the use of handguns with a minimum calibre of 9mm/.38 Special and are the primary tools for competing in these games. Add in multiple magazines, holsters, and gear, and you can range from under $500 to several thousands just for competition equipment, and that is prior to expenditures of ammunition. IDPA, ODPL, and CDP are usually considered to be a cheaper alternative than IPSC due to the generally greater numbers of magazines utilized, the higher volume of rounds expended, however, one can compete in IPSC using the same equipment that is acceptable for usage in the other aforementioned disciplines.
IPSC’s Black Badge course is the most comprehensive and intense training available for those wishing to learn how to compete in IPSC matches. Usually a 3 day event requiring just shy of one thousand (1000) rounds of ammunition, the Black Badge course is geared specifically for those interested in IPSC and holders of such are recognized by ALL other disciplines in Canada as having acceptable certifications for action shooting. That being said, IPSC ONLY authorizes those who have attained a Black Badge to compete in IPSC events.
IDPA in Canada has a New Shooter Orientation Course (NSOC) which allows competitors to become familiarized with the usage of handguns in a holster and the basics of competing in an IDPA Match. IDPA accepts all accredited certifications in order to participate in official matches. As the author has not experienced this course, it is difficult to tell you how many rounds or what the course entails. By far the least expensive prospect of all available courses. IDPA recognizes IPSC, CDP, course qualifications in addition to the NSOC. To shoot sanctioned matches you need to be a member of IDPA.
ODPL at one time considered creating a training regime but it was decided to allow all other forms of accreditation and not split up manpower and time resources to dedicated training courses. As ODPL has no membership requirements, as long as the individual has an accepted qualification,they are allowed to shoot all ODPL matches.
CDP arranged to have courses to be performed by CSSA instructors, this course is between IDPA’s NSOC and IPSC’s Black Badge. Performed over one and a half days, and roughly 400 rounds of ammunition, the course teaches holster usage and the technical basics for defensive pistol shooting. To shoot sanctioned matches you need to be a member of CDP.
Which one is the best to participate in?
That is a question that can only be answered by yourself. I do recommend if you decide to try it, go to a local club practice night for the related discipline. Not all clubs shoot all, or even any, of these disciplines, but watch a practice or a match and see if it interests you. The camaraderie and friendships developed by the author has made Action Shooting a, hopefully, permanent fixture in his life. As with all firearms related activities, Stay safe and enjoy!
Action Shooting Sports – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Here at TPF we’ve had the pleasure to review a pair of tools built primarily for the AR-15 platform. The TUBE and the Ultralight have been reviewed prior, and showcase some of the quality and design excellence which has become expected by Shane Keng and his Company, Multitasker Tools. Here is the rub however, the tool that is featured in this installment of TPF is not the newest design released by Mr. Keng, it is however the tool which launched Multitasker into becoming so well known for it’s platform specific tools.
Enter Multitasker’s Multitasker Series 2, AR platform field multi-tool. The Series 2 has some changes over the initial build of the Multitasker, which are mainly in regards to tool location and the addition of the now common #8-32 Male thread for OTIS cleaning attachments and the ever present cleaning pick. Unlike many other companies, Multitasker has made it a priority to improve upon their tools and take into account critiques and suggestions for improving their products. The Multitasker reviewed by TPF is in fact a later Series 2 model noted by an alterations to the plier jaws that improved cutting ability and the jaws themselves were upgraded with a roller bearing joint for smooth operation.
The Multitasker is similar in construction to the other quality tools manufactured under the Multitasker brand. All metal components contained in this tool are machined parts with only the Springs and plier-stops being the exception. From scraper to screwdriver the whole mutli-tool is made from stainless steel which is treated with a black oxide finish. The liners, tool arms and springs are manufactured from 420 stainless steel where as the knife blade is 440C stainless steel. The main jaws are precision machined from D2 tool steel and the attention to detail is evident by the nearly seamless nesting of the teeth when the jaws are closed. With the outer handles covered by extremely durable G-10 fiberglass panels, the grip on the Multitasker is very good in form fit and function.
All seven tool arms contained in the Multitasker handles. There are a total of seven tool arms on the MultiTasker Series 2, AR15/M4/m16 specific platform tool.
All tool arms are made to have the position/resistance springs retain the arms in a closed or open position.
Tool #1- The first tool is the versatile and effective Tanto styled blade which has a thumb stud for one handed opening and is the only “tool arm” which has a liner locking mechanism to secure the blade in the open position.
Tool #2- The Larue wrench. A 3/8″ hex wrench for tightening nuts on the very popular Larue Tactical scope mounting components.
Tool #3- The Screwdriver/File tool arm. A large flat blade screwdriver with good thickness for any sort of torquing operation and a combined file for some additional versatility. The sharp edges of this tool allow it to double as a carbon scraper for larger surfaces.
Tool #4- A Castle Nut Wrench for cinching up loose stocks on Carbine/collapsing stocks. Multitasker does warn that the tool is not for assembly and proper torquing, but field fixes.
Tool #5- The 1/4″ hex magnetic bit driver. Originated in the Multitasker and carried over into both the in the TUBE and the Ultralight, it is one of the most acclaimed features of Multitasker’s tools. As always the driver comes with the 4 prong A2 front sight adjusting bit installed.
Tool #6- OTIS attachment arm. With the robust and very effective cleaning pick installed, the arm sports a male #8-32 thread enables owners to connect many OTIS attachments and use the Multitasker as a cleaning handle. As with the bit driver, this attachment feature and pick is carried into the other previously mentioned Multitasker tools.
Tool#7- Form fitting carbon scraper for cleaning the bolt of the AR15/M4/M16 platform. With the tip made with the same radius as found on the bolt, the carbon scraper allows for simple and efficient cleaning. Also with a thumb stud for opening ease, this scraper is another common feature across this line of platform specific tools, albeit slightly differently mounted on the tube.
The pliers themselves are very durable and incorporate a roller bearing for flawless functionality. As discussed earlier, the jaws are CNC machined from a single billet of D2 tool steel which allows for nearly seamless tooth interaction. In addition, the pliers are mounted very securely and allow for considerable pressure to be exerted through the jaws. The cutting surfaces of the jaws are also sculpted to allow for a great effectiveness on a variety of wire types and construction. You will not find any forged pieces or weight relieving cuts which would otherwise reduce the strength of the jaws themselves. This was a mandate by Mr. Keng and his designs; No sacrifices to quality and performance in order to save costs and mass.
Of lesser notation, but still of importance, are the small attentions to details that are shown in the excellent material selection and quality. Machined brass washers between the tool arms for a perfect mating and for durability and survivability. The usage of fiberglass comprised G-10 covers on the handles for durability, resistance to chemicals and general wear are typical of the designs produced by Multitasker. A small ring for attaching a lanyard is also incorporated into one of the tool’s handles.
The Multitasker Series 2 comes with a Molle compatible nylon pouch which has a compartment for holding the additional ten (10) driver bits. The black, 1000 denier nylon pouch is very rigid and has a strong snap clasp for holding the flap closed and retaining the Multitasker when stowed away. The overall size of the Series 2 Multitasker is fairly large and it is not a lightweight in the mass department. However, the Multitasker Series 2 multi-tool is not meant to be used for EDC. It is firearm specific and aside from the utilitarian knife blade, is designed to be a miniature armorer’s kit for the AR15/M4/M16 platform.
Those interested in acquiring the Series 2 Multitasker; can do so through Brownells where it is listed for $104.95 USD. As always however, it is up to the reader to decide if Multitasker’s Multitasker Series 2 AR15/M4/M16 platform specific multi-tool is: Practical, Tactical or Fantastical
If you reload for rifle calibres such as .223 Remington and .308 Winchester, some of the most tedious jobs for such case preparation have to do with physically removing brass from the case to create a uniform case for consistent reloads. Trimming the case to length and chamfering the inside and outside of case necks, as well as any sort of cleaning/lubing done to the inside of the necks for a smother reloading process. This case prep is the laborious process which can make or break the spirits of many reloaders, as it really comes down to the old adage of “how valuable is your time?”
Whether you spent next to nothing on a Bonanza Cricket chamfering tool, or purchased a more substantial Lyman chamfering tool, the big issue for shooters who have larger volumes of brass to prepare for reloading usually end up with sore fingers and hands from the twisting and repetitive action of manually chamfering each case. If you only have a dozen or so piece to do, it may not be so bad, but many reloaders have literally hundreds of cases awaiting these sometimes necessary steps for good reloading results. In this regard, once again Hornady has come through with yet another offering in their newest tools in the Lock-N-Load® lineup. Welcome to the Case Prep Assistant (CPA), a powered unit which drives a threaded shaft at a manageable speed and allows for batch jobs of brass preparation that will not leave a reloader’s fingers sore and their patience at an end. Constructed from an extruded aluminum channel which houses the switch, motor, gearbox and tool shaft the CPA should last for many years. Anodized in typical Hornady red colours, the CPA has 4 rubber base pads to give it a firm slip-resistant footing and shows off 4 nuts which are trapped along the outer tracks of the aluminum extrusion. These nuts are threaded for #8-32 which allows for a multitude of cleaning brushes and attachments to be stored directly on the unit itself.
Hornady’s sales pitch is as follows: “Make case preparation faster and easier than ever with the new Lock-N-Load® Power Case Prep Assistant. Its durable brushed aluminum housing and high torque, low speed motor will provide years of dependable use. Included are chamfer and debur tools, with plenty of on board storage for optional case prep accessories like our primer pocket cleaners, case neck brushes and any other 8-32 thread tools. Unit is compatible with 110V or 220V power.”
While TPF is unable to test for the higher voltage, Hornady’s CPA comes with a standard two prong adapter that is used in many parts of Europe/Russia. When plugged into a 110V outlet and switched on, the motor and gearbox establish a final output shaft speed of roughly two (2) revolutions per minute. Included is a small flat wrench whose jaw size corresponds with flats machined into the output shaft. Use of this tool is recommended for any tightening operation as one should try and protect the gearing mechanism in the CPA. TPF has had much experience in accidentally stripping gear teeth that such recommendations are taken seriously and followed to ensure longevity and secure attachments.
The CPA comes with 4 sliding nuts which are used to mount/store all #8-32 threaded tools that are desired to be used with the tool. The current numbers and such mean that only five (5) tools can be attached to the CPA at any single time. The tool being currently utilized and four (4) additional ones that are secured via the nuts. Now it looks as though additional nuts can be installed by removing a plastic end plate which is secured with three retaining screws. TPF has not endeavoured to test this theory at this specific time, but it may be looked at after the testing for this overview.
With shaft output speed of approximately two revolutions per minute, Hornady’s Case Prep Assistant, is not a high volume production machine. It does however accomplish exactly what it sets out to be; an assistant to make certain case preparation tasks simpler, less tedious, and less time consuming. In this task it succeeds very well and requires a minimum of setup time to operate. The simple linear design means the entire package is small and easily stored when not in use. As stated, the only possible negative aspects of this tool are the lack of additional #8-32 storage provisions and the turning speed which may seem too slow to some users. Remember that the inside chamfer tool which is included has 6 cutting flutes and makes short work of inside neck chamfering, and the three prong outside chamfer tool only is used for deburring the case neck. For the other uses such as case neck lubing/cleaning just how fast does the brush need to be turning to properly be used?
It could be a fair tool for individuals looking to reduce the physical efforts and time used on case preparation, and ultimately requires multiple steps to be done in batches due to the required tool change-out
Hornady’s Case Prep Assistant is available from all retailers which stock Hornady products, such as The Gun Centre in Ontario, Frontier Firearms in Saskatchewan, amongst many others. This tool as reviewed has a listed MSRP of $120.88 USD. As always however, it is up to you, the reader, to make your determination if this tool falls into one of the categories of Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical…