Warning: This is a LONG entry, with numerous images.
The week of January 16th once again saw the Sands Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada; host the the 39th annual Sporting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; also known as the SHOT Show. For those who do not know what SHOT Show is or what it consists of, TPF will give you a quote direct from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) whom organizes the event.
The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show opened its doors this morning at the Sands Expo Center with industry expectations running high in response to the energized market in America for firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Over the next four days, the show will attract nearly 65,000 industry professionals from the firearms and outdoor industry, including 2,500 members of the outdoor press-the largest gathering of outdoor media in the world-and showcase new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement purposes.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, the SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world. The show is open to trade members only and not to the public; consumers will see the products unveiled at the SHOT Show on retailers’ shelves during the course of the year.
You read that correctly, not open to members of the public. We at TPF can already hear our readers rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves, “But we are the consumers!” Which is true, except that the consumers that are mentioned the service companies and persons who are directly related to the industry. Not the end user, otherwise known as the public, but those whom supply the products to the end users such as retailers, trainers, ranges, organizations, etc… That being said, there are ways that the public can attend, and do attend as is evident to many who have attended SHOT know. TPF-Online will not go into details or methods for the public to get into SHOT Show. We apologize, and suggest that you utilize your favourite search engine or firearms forum (for Canadians, we recommend Gun Owners of Canada or Canadian Gun Nutz).
So let us delve into the timeline of SHOT Show.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
You are trapped in your home and you are not alone. You can hear the intruder moving around as though they own the place. This time however you will be defending your self and taking the life from the defiler of your castle. You load up with the salt because you have heard it hurts more. You rack the slide and roughly aim down the sights. Holding your breath, you await the perfect moment to squeeze the trigger. Seconds later you are standing over the carcass of the intruder, grinning from ear to ear, knowing that there is one less piece of vermin to harass other innocents. Hearing more from others in the other room, you rack the slide again and become the hunter in your home, With the yellow and black gun in hand, you go forth to give the scum of the universe a lesson in Castle Law. Now before all of you readers start to A) Scream YES to self-defence, or B) Chastise the author for such fear mongering; please note that there are perhaps millions of these god-forsaken pests that deserve to be eradicated and that could just be those in your own backyard.
You read that correctly, TPF-Online has gotten to review one of the most sought after guns in the last couple years. You may have seen the videos online and you might have dreamed about owning one to complete your arsenal of weapons for removing unwanted guests from your home; but this gun is all about filling the target full of holes. Holes made by salt. Huh?!? That is correct, TPF-Online is pleased to be able to bring our readers a review on the Bug-A-Salt.
Conceived in 2010 by the mind of artist (and surfer) Lorenzo Maggiore, the Bug-A-Salt took several years of conceptual work and testing until it was locked into it’s current design form. It was in late 2012 that Bug-A-Salt became reality, starting with a pre-sale effort on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding website, Mr. Maggiore created a conceptual video and created a goal of a $15,000 to be able to ship the first container of Bug-A-Salt guns from China to California. The response was staggering. Sixty six (66) days after launch, with a viral video, his fund-raising efforts caught the wallets of over ten thousand people across seventy countries, and raised in excess of a half million dollars when the fundraiser closed on September 11th, 2012.
Now it is the author’s belief that nearly everyone has at some point become seriously annoyed with house flies or other insects and bugs in their home. The Bug-A-Salt is a modern version of the fly-swatter. It does cost more and is far heavier, but it very rarely misses the target if used properly, unlike the swinging hands/papers/books/etc… The fact that it is in effect a miniaturized, air powered shotgun, is just an added bonus. Moulded in black and yellow plastic with numerous fly images embossed in the surface, the Bug-A-Salt measures approximately 550mm (21.6″) in length and masses 635.0 grams (22.40 oz) unloaded.
Loading the Bug-A-Salt is very simple. Open the flip-up cap, allowing the “Ammo Hopper” to be accessed. Fill the hopper with ordinary table salt. Close the hopper’s lid. Done! The Bug-A-Salt is now ready for assaulting the forces of the evil empire of insects. Racking the charging handle like a pump action shotgun actually performs multiple internal actions. Not only does it set-up the spring-powered air-piston for the blast of salt, it engages the manual trigger safety and extends the rear sights. The visibility of the orange plastic rear sights is the indicator that the Bug-A-Salt is charged and ready to shoot. With a theoretical bug-lethal range of just under 0.9m (3 ft), the wielder of this weapon does not even need to come near the offensive multi-legged pests as previously required by fly-swatters and flip-flops.
Actual mechanics of the Bug-A-Salt are quite interesting. Upon racking the slide back, a small tower with a cross-drilled hole in it extends inside the salt hopper. This hole is in the same direction as the barrel axis. Gravity causes the salt in the hopper to fill the cavity in this tower. Due to this, it is likely that insufficient salt may be used if held on angles and with lower levels of “ammunition” in the hopper. The racking of the slide backwards is against a spring which powers the pneumatic system, and it also engages the safety level and the rear pop-up sights. In order to fire, the rack must first be pulled back forwards as it is not a spring returned system; then the manual safety must be disengaged. Pull the trigger and the aforementioned tower springs back down in line with the steel barrel tube and the spring loaded piston is released. This causes literally a pinch worth of salt to be expelled from the barrel at sufficient velocities to perforate the targets with at several dozen grains of salt at least.
Fully loaded, the Bug-A-Salt has approximately a 50 shot capacity. If you need to use up the whole hopper on bugs and flies indoors, you may have a more serious problem. TPF-Online asked about the “ammunition” for the Bug-A-Salt and inquired about alternative load-outs. Pepper? Sugar? Flour? The answers a resounding no… Pepper is too thin and gets caught in seams and edges of the internals, sugar is actually too large and has sharp corners which quickly wear down the internals. Flour just gums up everything. So while the Bug-A-Salt is multi-munition capable, the consequences are reduced reliability and a voided warranty. Another helpful tip was to prevent issues with moisture causing issues with function; unloading the Bug-A-Salt between warfare sessions will remove possibilities of clumping salt and failure to feed and fire. Obviously with this product being evaluated during the height of the Winter season, valid targets are scarce for exterminating, but supposedly the corpses of Bug-A-Salt’d flies and insects are pretty much desiccated, meaning dried up therefore an easy cleanup.
FEATURES (As per product description)
- No batteries
- Extremely inexpensive to use
- Excellent for flies on windows
- Excellent for bugs on ceilings and in corners
- Fun—Say goodbye to insect intruders
Of course the whole idea of this product is to eliminate flies and other insects, arachnids, and arthropods. For the reader’s information, arthropods in this context are basically millipedes and centipedes. Being wintertime, TPF was unable to target live specimens to determine actual kinetic effects on actual bugs, and resorted to alternative impact measuring methods. To use a quote from anti-gun Joe Biden; TPF unleashed two “Blasts” from this plastic, salt-loaded, pump-action, miniature shotgun at a sheet of aluminum foil from both 30 cm & 60 cm (11.8″ & 23.6″) distance. At 30cm the salt pattern measured roughly 43mm (1.7″) in diameter, with a few pieces of salt penetrating the aluminum foil target. At the longer range of 60cm away, the salt pattern opened up to roughly 71mm (2.8″) in diameter. While none of the salt particles went through the foil target, there was sufficient cratering to make TPF believe that the odds of an insect’s survival at that distance are non-existent.
Colourful and satisfying to use, the Bug-A-Salt has an MSRP of $34.95 USD. It is available directly from Bug-A-Salt or from Canada’s online source, Fly Shooter, which is the Canadian distributor for the Bug-A-Salt gun. As always, it truly is your opinion if you, the reader, believe this product to be Tactical, Practical or Fantastical.