Reviews & articles for shooting sport enthusiasts.

Posts tagged “rifle

Is this the cure that prevents countless hours of suffering?

“The cure to what?”, may be the first question popping into the thoughts of TPF’s readers. In this case, it is the cure to the single most complained about, biggest headache for anyone who reloads rifle cartridges. Besides the tedious task of collecting range brass and cleaning it through various means, there are many steps to preparing a spent rifle case before ever assembling a new cartridge for use.

The Steps for reloading rifle cartridges:

  1. Collect spent cases: Go pick up your brass and if you are lucky, everyone elses!
  2. De-prime cases: Can be done after step #3 depending on cleaning methods and press types
  3. Clean cases: Degree of cleanliness is dependant on the reloader themselves. Wipe off, dry or wet tumble, ultrasonic cleaning?
  4. Size cases: Full or neck only sizing is another factor dependant on the reloader’s desires.
  5. Trimming brass: Cutting to length and possibly chamfering inside and outside of the case neck.
  6. Re-prime case: By hand or by press
  7. Powder charge: Check the type of powder, as well as the levels in the hopper/scoop. Also do not under or over charge the case!
  8. Bullet seating: Make sure your OAL allows proper feeding!
  9. Bullet crimping: If necessary and do not over crimp!

So the biggest headache? Step 5. Trimming…

Trimming is the simple procedure in cases preparation that involves the shaving of brass down to specifications for most calibres as set out by Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, aka SAAMI. IF you perform step number 5, there are a huge number of methods available for an equally broad range of retail pricing. However the product on today’s TPF plate for reviewing is the Trim-It II.

The box!

The trim-It II as packaged

Direct from the website the features of the Trim-It II are listed as:


  • Built-in micrometer adjustment for cut-length control
  • Interchangeable die system, allowing you to trim a wide range of cases with one unit
  • Adjustable cutting tool with 3-sided carbide blade that allows for a 15 degree inside case mouth chamfer and 45 degree outside chamfer
  • Machined from 6061-T6 Aluminum. This baby is built to last.
  • 100% Forever (plus 90 days) Guarantee. 
  • Made entirely in the good ole’ US of A!

The Trim-It II that TPF obtained came is a small, compact cardboard package which contained everything needed to start trimming. OK. Almost everything… Like most reloading apparatuses, the basic unit does not come with the calibre specific components such as sizing dies and the like. This product is no different, and offers calibre specific bearing dies for many of the most common hunting calibres, pistol calibres, and some of the more popular long range benchrest calibres that are used.

The kit needed

What you get in the box, plus a calibre die

The original Trim-It had a micrometer adjustable depth ability and a four bladed flush cutting head that did just that, trimmed cases to the user’s set length. The secret to both the Trim-It and the Trim-It II? The calibre bearing die. For this review, TPF-Online decided to use the ever popular .308 Winchester round for trimming. Having many, many hundreds on hand to be converted from fired brass condition into usable ammunition was just a stroke of luck as we would never just go out and discharge .308 Win by the scores just for reviewing a trimmer… OK, maybe we would… Alright… We did… And it was worth it! So lets start by explaining the components that you receive in the package when a Trim-It II is purchased… Plus the .308 Win Calibre Die.

  • Instructions, 2 pages double sided
  • Allen keys, 4 of varying sizes (0.050″, 1/16″, 3/32″, and 9/64″)
  • The cap/barrel assembly
  • 3-way cutter
  • Calibre die, .308 WIN (sold separately)

Instructions:

These are likely the cheapest component of the entire set. Now these two pages seem to be simple double sided photocopies that are folded into 1/8 the original size to fit into the box. One page contains the product warranty details and a fillable sheet for returning defective/broken products. The other sheet is the one that is most important to everyone that is reading… A parts list and instructions on how to assemble, tune, and utilize the Trim-It II. The instructions for this are only on a single unfolded side and also contain the instructions for refitting the original Trim-It with the new 3-way cutting head. Opposite the instructions is a parts list diagram of both the Trim-It and Trim-It II.

Allen Keys:

The L-shaped hex drivers for adjustments and locking in components with set-screws. You knew this already however, so not going to say any more on these parts…

Cap/Barrel Assembly:

So the cap serves two purposes, both of which are important for the functionality of the Trim-It II. First is the mount for the 3-Way Cutter that is secured along the cap’s centreline with a set screw. This forces the cap to rotate with the cutter when under power. The second purpose is to act as the threaded mount for the barrel part of the assembly. The barrel houses the Calibre Die, and because it is threaded into the cap, allows for fine distance adjustment for cutting brass to the proper overall length. The barrel has numerous openings which allow adjustment to the cutting head as well as a path through which trimmed shavings can be removed. The barrel has an external o-ring groove which holds the clear polycarbonate sleeve in place to prevent shavings from flying everywhere when in use. A set screw locks the barrel depth into place as well as locking the calibre die into its groove.

The 3-Way Cutter!

The miniature boring head with carbide insert

3-Way Cutter:

The three way cutter is a miniature version of a milling machine’s adjustable boring bar. The cutter insert itself is a simple triangular insert whose corners have been cut to a V shape to trim both inner and outer chamfers and thereby also the length of any brass casing. TPF-Online did not remove the insert, but the V shape is on all three corners of the insert meaning that if you even wear down one of the cutting profiles, you can rotate and have a new cutting profile to be used. Twice… Since these are only trimming brass versus the insert’s carbide, it is likely to last for generations of shooters. The mounting head of the cutter is adjustable itself, with the insert able to be shifted towards or away from the centerline of the cap/barrel. This allows for different diameter necks to be trimmed, but unless you have several of the cutters pre-set, re-adjusting the cutter for each new calibre introduced is required.

Calibre Die:

These are sealed bearings that are modified by machining a custom inner ring to accurately position brass for trimming. These are precision tolerance bearings which are aligned by the barrel groove machined to exacting tolerances. with the outer ring of the die secured with a set screw in the barrel, the inner ring is free to rotate independently of the cap/barrel/cutter assembly.

A .223/5.56 and .308 examples of Calibre Dies available

How it works… Aka steps for using the Trim-It II:

  1. Install the 3-way cutter into the cap/barrel assembly so that it is as close as possible to the cap and secure with set screw against the flats in the shaft of the cutter.
  2. Tighten barrel into cap until it stops (“Zero”) back off until you alight the barrel index line with one on the cap. Unscrew barrel for one full revolution and lock in place with a set screw.
  3. Insert desired calibre die into place in barrel and lock it with set screw.
  4. Insert desired brass piece into calibre die.
  5. Loosen cutter set screw and move cutter until it touches neck of brass. Re-tighten setscrew.
  6. Slightly loosen cutting head set screw and adjust the position of the carbide insert so that the neck edge will touch the base of the V shape cutout on the insert. Re-tighten cutting head set screw.
  7. Loosen barrel set screw and adjust for height. Re-tighten. Each mark on the cap equals 0.002″ travel.
  8. Install into a drill, drill press, dedicated rotary tool, etc… Ensure the drill turns clockwise, otherwise cutters will not work properly.
  9. While drill is running, insert brass case into calibre die. If not trimmed to the right length shut down and adjust barrel as per Step 7.
  10. Go trim happy… When you don’t hear the inserted brass being trimmed, time to put in the next piece.

It is a lot of work for setting up the Trim-It II, but once the tool is setup, the unit is spectacularly fast in doing it’s job. For those who only have a hand drill however, the entire setup will be hard on the hands.

Pros:

  • Fast once setup
  • Nearly forty calibres available
  • Easily adjusted for OAL
  • Ease of cleaning due to the polycarbonate sleeve
  • Rock solid
  • High quality
  • Not expensive like a GTC Giraud Power Trimmer

Cons:

  • Adjusting the V-notch could be easier to tune
  • Hard on hands if using a hand drill
  • Handheld brass case tries to spin while cutting
  • Not cheap like a Lee Zip-Trim

Recommendations:

  • Table top drill press, or dedicated drive unit for the Trim-It that allows for two hands to manipulate and hold brass.
  • Design change for the carbide insert adjustment. Use a fine thread screw for adjusting distance from centre line.
In pieces

The components ready for assembly and adjustment. Soon to be followed by copious volume brass trimming…

The Trim-It II as reviewed is available from brick and mortar store locations such as Select Shooting Supplies in Cambridge, Ontario. Their listed prices are, at the time of this review, $189.95 CAD for the Trim-It II, and $29.95 CAD for each calibre die. Is the Trim-It II a worthy addition to one’s repertoire of reloading tools? Does it fall under the category of Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical devices for firearms owners?  That is a simple question that only YOU, the reader can answer.

TPF-Online wishes to thank Mr. Chris V. for his comments and additional input on this review. Between his efforts and those of TPF-Online, nearly 2000 pieces of .308 Win brass was trimmed in very little time.


Bill C-42, Royal Assent and Coming Into Force

Another late story from TPF Online and a continuation from a previous entry!

Bill C-42
An Act to amend the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code and to make a related amendment and a consequential amendment to other Acts
AKA: The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act or CSFL Act

CSFL_Act-Royal_Assent

Slow to start, but a mad dash to the finish….

The First Reading of this bill was introduced back on the 7th of October, 2014. And the bill itself generated much controversy even among the firearms community and we at TPF gave our opinion on the Bill way back then in October 2014, soon after it’s first reading in the House of Commons. Second reading was originally supposed to be done on October 22nd, 2014. However that morning Parliament hill was assaulted by a gunman armed with a hunting rifle and Bill C-42 sat in hiatus. That is until April 20th 2015, nearly 6 months after the first reading. What followed was a political whirlwind in terms of speed with which this bill made it’s way through the legal system.

House of Commons

  1. First Reading   2014-10-07
  2. Second Reading   2015-04-20
  3. Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
    Committee Reporting the Bill with an Amendment   2015-05-06
  4. Report Stage   2015-05-25
  5. Third Reading   2015-05-29

Senate

  1. First Reading   2015-06-02
  2. Second Reading   2015-06-04
  3. Referral to Committee   2015-06-04
  4. Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
    Committee Report Presented without Amendment   2015-06-15
  5. Third Reading   2015-06-16

Royal Assent   2015-06-18

WOW. Two months from 2nd reading in the HoC until receiving Royal Assent. That is faster than the speed of light in Political terms… Some portions of the act were to be effective immediately and others were to be enacted in the several months after the bill was passed.

IMMEDIATE PROVISIONS: (as of June 18, 2015)

  1. Mandatory classroom participation in firearms safety courses for first time applicants (aka no more test challenges for new people whom have never had a POL/PAL)
  2. Chief Firearms Officer’s authority is subject to regulations (of which there are no regulations at this time, so no allowed changes)
  3. Increasing penalties for convictions of domestic violence (firearms prohibitions)
  4. Provide the Governor in Council the ability to classify a firearm as non-restricted (Previously only able to classify as restricted and prohibited)

The first point of these is one of the most contentious as it is a technical increase in “gun control” legislation by removing a method of which to enable individuals to acquire a firearms license. This is wholly true, but from a familiarity standpoint, it also means that every single new firearms applicant will be familiarized with a common knowledge set regarding firearm ownership and utilization. From a numbers game, 95+% of all new licensees took the full Canadian Firearms Safety Course , aka CFSC (and restricted version, CRFSC) versus those that challenged the test. The numbers of those who challenged the test has been continuously dwindling over the last decade.

The CFSC supposedly includes information regarding the following topics (The CRFSC is focused towards restricted firearms):

  • the evolution of firearms, major parts, types and actions;
  • basic firearms safety practices;
  • ammunition;
  • operating firearm actions;
  • safe handling and carry procedures;
  • firing techniques and procedures;
  • care of non-restricted firearms;
  • responsibilities of the firearms owner/user; and,
  • safe storage, display, transportation and handling of non-restricted firearms.

The second point is a good thing as it ensures that CFO’s cannot just make up stuff on the fly and force conditions on firearms owners regarding licensing and authorizations to transport.
Point three is a good thing in theory, but to be given a possible lifetime prohibition would hopefully be dependent on the severity of domestic abuse charges. No the author is not being soft on domestic abuse, but take this example; A yelling match regarding finances by a couple that is reported by neighbours and police arrive amid the yelling with no physical violence involved. Police Charge someone with domestic violence as yelling at another is a form of abuse/violence. In that scenario is a lifetime firearms prohibition warranted?

Allowing the government to reclassify firearms as non-restricted, and the fourth and final immediate provision enacted by C-42. Two words, Hot Damned! Since the introduction of C-68 back twenty years ago, the only direction available to government bodies was to be able to classify firearms to Restricted and/or Prohibited classification. This was used extensively back then to make sure that the scary black guns back then were not easily available to firearms owners. Twenty years later, the ability to classify to non-restricted is now an option. If only there was a couple firearms that they could start using this with….

SA_and_CZ858

Classified back from prohibited!

WHAT FOLLOWED! (as of July 31, 2015)
The next activity that occurred was the re-classification of the CZ858’s and Swiss Arms rifles from prohibited status to their original status. The FIRST time that any firearm has been reclassified to a “lesser” classification in over 20 years. The models that were targeted?

  1. Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ) Model CZ858 Tactical-2P rifle
  2. Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ) Model CZ858 Tactical-2V rifle
  3. Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ) Model CZ858 Tactical-4P rifle
  4. Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ) Model CZ858 Tactical-4V rifle
  5. SAN Swiss Arms Model Classic Green rifle
  6. SAN Swiss Arms Model Classic Green carbine
  7. SAN Swiss Arms Model Classic Green CQB rifle
  8. SAN Swiss Arms Model Black Special rifle
  9. SAN Swiss Arms Model Black Special carbine
  10. SAN Swiss Arms Model Black Special CQB rifle
  11. SAN Swiss Arms Model Black Special Target rifle
  12. SAN Swiss Arms Model Blue Star rifle
  13. SAN Swiss Arms Model Heavy Metal rifle
  14. SAN Swiss Arms Model Red Devil rifle
  15. SAN Swiss Arms Model Swiss Arms Edition rifle

These fifteen rifle models had been re-designated as converted automatics back in Spring of 2014, and affected roughly 12,500 firearms owned by Canadians to a retail value of over $13,000,000. These rifles were previously classified as non-restricted and restricted due to their barrel length according to the standard classification system enshrined in law. These rifles, on July 31, were reclassified back to their former statuses, yet they are still technically converted automatics. Huh? A WTF!? may spring to our reader’s mind. The FRT, Firearms Reference Table, currently lists the above firearms as converted automatics whose classification is set as non-restricted or restricted by an Order in Council. They are now Prohibited devices that have been government granted non-prohibited status. Not quite the same as being fully reclassified, but it is a start, and since that also means they can be used fully and wholly akin to over 2 years prior, it is a very good start!

Bill C-42. It is here and being implemented in steps…

The next part to the evolution and implementation of Bill C-42 will soon follow!

P.S. Images stolen from the internet as the crew of TPF does not own either of these fine rifles. Thank you Firearms Blog!


Feeding the hungry 10/22…. HCMag provides the buffet!

The most common .22 semi-auto rifle in the world; the Ruger 10/22 is a fully customizable firearm which can be modified nearly as much as the AR-15 platform. Relatively cheap to shoot, and fun to shoot, the biggest chore of owning this popular little rifle is feeding it. The .22 long rifle cartridges are notorious for being hard on the fingers for manually loading in past the 10th round, and unless you have a loading tool, the owners of all of these 10/22 magazines likely will not enjoy shooting off a brick (500 rounds) of cheap rim-fire.

So if TPF were to tell readers that there is a new magazine for the 10/22 which has a 25 round capacity, metal feed lips, an easily controlled follower for loading, they may say that is a good thing! Now, on that same magazine, add in a 20 round pocket and a built-in stripper clip to speed load those extra rounds in just a few seconds. The answer is “TAKE MY MONEY!”. There is good news as such a magazine exists in the form of the HC3R magazine from HC Mags. The HC3R is a short form from HC Rapid Rifle Reload, and just from that title the designed product’s end abilities are fairly obvious.

The HC3R Magazine

HC Mag’s High Capacity Rapid Rifle Reload magazine

The HC3R magazine actually has several features which have been desired over the years in a 10/22 magazine, and while many aftermarket magazines have one or more of these features, very few, if any have all of them.

  1. Larger round capacity than factory magazines
  2. Steel feed lips for enhanced durability and increased lifespan of the magazine for feeding ammunition
  3. A means of dis-assembly for cleaning the magazine
  4. A follower retraction stud, large and lockable into retracted position for spring free loading

Loaded with 25 rounds of .22LR…. But is that it?

Point number one. More rounds readily loaded equals more fun and less time between shots for extended periods and the HC3R has an increased capacity over the original ten (10) round Ruger rotary magazines. While its twenty-five (25) rounds is not among largest capacity magazines available for the 10/22, with one hundred and ten (110) round drum magazines topping those available, it is in line with the majority of aftermarket magazines. The author finds that even a couple dozen rounds can go downrange extremely quickly… What joy!

Steel Lips

Stainless steel feed lips

Feed lips are essential for two reasons, they align the cartridge into proper feed positions and ensure a smooth extraction from the magazine into the firearm’s chamber. Older plastic/polymer feed lips have a history of wearing out after a few thousand rounds. Current generations of polymer are improved in durability but steel, or alloy, feed lips are a heavily desired feature as it greatly enhances the lifetime of a magazine before extraction issues become noticeable. HC Mags knew this and incorporated stainless steel feed lips into the HC3R magazine design.

As anyone who shoots thousands of rounds of .22LR will attest, it is a very dirty round which leaves soot and carbon all over, and if left to build up over time, can cause malfunctions and possibly damage to the firearm itself. Magazines are no exception to this and it is a problem that many 10/22 aftermarket magazines fail to address. With extended usage and hundreds, even thousands, of rounds cause magazines to accumulate crud and can even trap water and dirt and it becomes nearly impossible to clean if the magazine is manufactured by fusion processes, such as sonic welding two plastic halves together. The HC3R is a fully bolted together magazine which allows for unparalleled access to clean every nook and cranny from dirt, carbon, and water. A great plus

A well-known feature in most if not all .22LR magazine fed handguns due to the small component manipulation. In this respect the HC3R shines ever so brightly. The huge thumb stud allows for easy tension control as you load ammunition the common method of through the feed lips. You can easily hold it slightly back to allow for the next round to be loaded without worry of misalignment, or lock it completely back at a fully collapsed position. Be aware that rounds, if not inserted properly, can experience misalignment and stack incorrectly with the cartridge perpendicular to the feed lips instead of parallel.

With all of these features, readers may think that these magazines by themselves are very desirable due to the comprehensive features included in the magazine. So here comes the additional bonus. On the side of the magazine is a slot which stores twenty (20) rounds of ammunition. The back component of the HC3R magazine is a speed stripper clip which has two features. The first is as a cover to retain the side stored ammunition when mounted onto the magazine. The second feature is that in addition to aligning loaded rounds in the magazine, it functions as the speed loading strip for quick reloads. So on a fully loaded magazine you will have a total of forty-five (45) rounds available from a single magazine.

More ammo

Look! An extra 20 rounds in a side pocket!

Spring loaded base for securing the Speed Clip

Notched top for locking the Speed Clip in place

HOW?
Lets start with how to fully load the magazine to maximum capacity by following these steps:

  1. Take a quantity of your preferred .22LR ammunition, at least 45 rounds obviously and have them readily available. Have the empty HC3R magazine present.
  2. Using the thumb stud on the magazine, retract the spring and follower completely and rotate the stud a quarter turn to lock it into position.
  3. Take hold of the speed stripper on the HC3R magazine and pull it away from the magazine. The bottom edge is retained by a spring-loaded guide.
  4. Load up 20 rounds into the clip. The speed stripper clip has a pair of guide channels on the inside of its curved profile. The indicator for a total of twenty rounds is easily visible on the inside of the clip. Loading the clip to 20 rounds is very easy and fast with no need to use force or leverage, as the rim of the .22LR round simply slides into the clip’s aforementioned channels. Loaded rounds can only enter and exit the clip on one edge. Ensure that the clip is oriented such to prevent rounds from falling out of the clip due to gravity and movement.
  5. Ensuring that the rounds do not fall out of the clip, place the rounds into the side storage pocket of the magazine and slide the clip down and away. Now ensure that the orientation of the magazine is such that rounds do not fall out of the magazine.
  6. Load up another 20 rounds into the clip as per step 4.
  7. With the magazine positioned to not drop any of the side storage rounds, and so that rounds do not fall out of the clip, insert the clip into the magazine by pushing the bottom end into the spring-loaded guide, and snap the clip into the retaining notch. That is forty (40) rounds so far!
  8. Turn the magazine over to ensure rounds in magazine are aligned and release the thumb stud. This is the hardest part to ensure that the rounds sit properly in the feed lips. It is due to the rim overlap and position in the magazine. It took TPF several attempts to get it to work properly every time, by practice makes perfect.
  9. Use the thumb stud to relieve tension and load the remaining five (5) rounds to maximum capacity. Total time for the author to load up with practice? Under 90 seconds.

Side pocket rounds retained by the edge of the installed speed clip

Now that the magazine is loaded to full capacity with reserve twenty rounds:

  1. Install the magazine, and shoot the first 25 rounds. FUN!
  2. Remove the magazine. Why? Spinning the 10/22 around to ensure magazine orientation is sure to give you many funny looks if not yelled at for unsafe firearm manipulation.
  3. Using the thumb stud on the magazine, retract the spring and follower completely and rotate the stud a quarter turn to lock it into position.
  4. With the magazine held with the stripper on top, take hold of the now empty speed stripper on the HC3R magazine and pull it away from the magazine
  5. The side storage has twenty rounds waiting for the clip to slide over. Remember the channels holding the rims of the cartridges? It is that easy.
  6. Retract the loaded stripper clip, then with the magazine positioned so that rounds do not fall out of the clip, insert the clip into the magazine by pushing the bottom end into the spring-loaded guide, and snap the clip into the retaining notch.
  7. Turn the magazine over to ensure rounds in magazine are aligned and release the thumb stud. Voila! 20 seconds and another twenty rounds ready to shoot.
  8. Install the magazine, and shoot the remaining rounds. MORE FUN!

Loading forty-five rounds took 90 seconds. Reloading to use all 45 rounds extended that to under two minutes. How long would it take to load two typical 25 round magazines? Longer than a couple of minutes without any tools or loading accessories. Plus the ten seconds to reload. The HC3R is all about time and thumbs saved in loading magazines so that 10/22 users can enjoy more time putting rounds downrange with the least amount of effort loading. The only negative possible is the width of the magazine with the side pocket which may limit the fit up of some aftermarket 10/22 rifle stocks such as the previously looked at Archangel Stock.

But wait! There’s even MORE!

HCMAG's Tactical Pack

The Tactical Pack

If your 10/22 is an extremely hungry rifle like the author’s, chewing through a brick of ammunition per session is not unheard of. The balance of buying multiple magazines versus loading them to go through several hundred rounds in a session of rimfire therapy is an eternal dilemma. Or rather was… HC Mag’s understands the need to feed the rimfire hunger, and released the Tactical Pack for the HC3R magazine.

Space for ammunition galore!

Inside the Tactical Pack

The case itself is thermo-formed with a robust zipper and has both a flexible carry handle as well as a pair of shoulder strap rings on its exterior. The internals are two-fold, with the base filled with EVA foam that is pre-cut to hold all its contents securely. The battle pack contains one complete HC3R magazine, 5 extra speed loader clips with retaining caps, and a quick strip loading box for fast loading of the speed loader clips. Plus multiple pocket cutouts for typical small boxes of .22LR ammunition and a small cutout arrangement for the included set of hex keys for magazine dis-assembly. The upper portion of the case has a zipper closed mesh pocket that encompasses the entire case cover in size, and can be used for targets, bore snakes, and other items that you may wish to include.

The Speed Loading Block – Waiting patiently

The loading box for fast speed strip loading takes couple minutes to fully load up with 100 rounds, five rows of twenty, and setup for usage. Once setup, it takes less than a half minute to load up the five speed loading clips.

Buffet of .22LR ready to load

If fully loaded up with ammunition, the entire case securely holds 545 rounds of .22LR, which makes the Tactical Pack heavy enough to warrant the usage of the shoulder strap included in the package. Of those rounds 245 are ready to use, with an additional 300 rounds in reserve. Unfortunately the reserve ammunition box cut outs are designed for use with paper boxed ammunition, not plastic boxes which are larger and may not fit properly if at all.

The Tactical Pack when fully kitted delivers:

  • One fully loaded magazine with side pocket filled. 45 rounds ready to use
  • Five fully charged speed loading clips. 5 x 20 = 100 rounds ready to use
  • One filled loading box. 100 rounds ready to use
  • Six 50 round factory boxes of .22LR. 300 rounds of reserve

That should keep those hungry 10/22 rifles satiated for the meantime, and with the Tactical Pack having an MSRP of $89.00 USD, and available from Canadian vendors such as Wanstalls Online. What do you, the readers think? Is the HC3R magazine and the corresponding Tactical Pack by HC Mags Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


A mission is necessary to achieve one’s goal! TPF brings furniture to the table.

Furniture. No, it is not the type you would park your derriere on, snuggle up with a significant other, or watch an action packed movie from.  Furniture in this case is the nickname for the swappable ergonomic components which are used to customize a firearm to a particular owner, or to make the firearm “universal”. These components may vary depending on the individual rifle’s design, but normally include the stock, grips, fore stock, and some accessories. In this edition of TPF, we talk about furniture and a recently looked at firearm.

Mission One: Should the TPF team choose to accept it. Outfit the LSMR with a complete set of fully adjustable and customized furniture. Queue the Mission Impossible theme song….

Challenge Accepted!

We are taking our LSMR Gen1 Intro Rifle and outfitting it with some alternate ergonomic hardware that is offered by Mission First Tactical, aka MFT. The LMSR has a commercial sized buffer tube, standard A2 grip, and mounts a carbine length, two-piece, captive hand guard. All of these are of course in the factory colour of the night sky. Black. The majority of the MFT components used for this build were produced in their newest colour, “Scorched Dark Earth” which is a light brown more suggestive of the desert, but provided a great contrast to the original LMSR and it’s corresponding components.

The stripped LMSR

Factory installed furniture removed from the parent Gen1 LMSR Rifle. Unadorned the AR-platform has an odd appearance.

The New Components:
BUS – Battlelink Utility Stock – MSRP $124.99 USD
The first component to be incorporated is the simplest to change. The Battlelink Utility Stock is an adjustable stock manufactured from high impact polymer that is a slide on replacement for the original collapsible butt stock. There are a few features which set the BUS apart from the factory LMSR stock. The BUS has a slew of sling attachment options available, including front and rear positioned quick detach rings accessible on both left and right sides. These are in addition to the trio of dedicated sling slots incorporated into the stock’s lower cage. A non-slip rubberized buttpad is angled for universal usage and is hinged at he base of the stock’s cage. Normally locked in place by a spring loaded release latch, the opened buttpad exposes a water tight stowage compartment in the stock itself. The Compartment comes with a set of foam inserts and a pull cord that is available for customization and rattle free component storage if required. Additionally, there are various grooves and attachment nooks and patterns incorporated in the BUS to accessorize with other MFT products. BUS mass: 255.7 grams (9.02 oz)

MFT's BUS

The Battlelink Utility Stock

BUS's compartment

BUS’ watertight compartment

BACP – Battlelink Adjustable Cheek Piece – MSRP $29.99 USD
As mentioned in the description of the BUS, the Battlelink Adjustable Cheek Piece is an accessory which securely attaches to the BUS and allows for full customization of the stock for a cheek weld for using a sighting system of the user’s choice. The BACP comes with an Allan key and a knurled screw adjustment tool to be used for installation and securing height adjustments respectively. With a full travel range of 31.8mm (1.25″), the BACP has a wide range of possible positions. There are markers on the BACP which show where position will interfere with standard charging handle operation, but since this item is likely to be used with those who are running magnified optics for long range shooting, this likely will not be an issue. BACP mass: 77.1 grams (2.72 oz)

MFT's BACP

The Battlelink Adjustable Cheek Piece

G27 – Tactical AR15/M16 Pistol Grip – MSRP $24.99 USD
The standard A2 style plastic grip, while functional enough, is not an ergonomically styled component. We at TPF chose to utilize MFT’s Classic G27 Tactical pistol grip. The G27 has several enhancements over the standard grip. The G27 adds in finger grooves, palm swell, upper hand-web support and a contoured back-strap which allows for a more secure fully seated grip, which in turn allows for increased operator comfort, control, and reduced hand fatigue. The G27 also has varying surface textures which allow for a secure grip even in wet conditions. The grip also has a secure watertight compartment. The end cap for the grip compartment is secured with a quarter turn cam action locking system. G27 mass: 96.4 grams (3.40 oz)

MFT's G27 Grip

The fully contoured G27 pistol grip

G27's Compartment

Positive locking, watertight compartment

M44S AR15/M16 Military & Police 4 sided rails – Carbine – MSRP $59.99 USD
Ditching the standard two piece forearm guard, TPF mounted another MFT Classic component in it’s place. The M44S is another polymer manufactured part which, unlike a typical upper and lower two-piece hand guard, actually splits on an angled plane 45 degrees from the norm. When the components are secured between the delta ring and the gas block’s hand guard cap, they are solidly in place with no noticeable play or twist. The M44S is a “fatty”, meaning that it is a thicker profile that the standard tapered hand guards common with many AR platform rifles. This means that the inner sides of the guards are further away from the barrel and lack the otherwise required heat shields for sustained shooting. When properly installed, the quartet of picatinny rails, which are part of the molding, are situated top, bottom, and both left and right sides as most other railed systems. The rails themselves are surprisingly resilient to clamping forces and damage and are fairly sharp. Also included with the M44S are a set of four, full length, thermal rail covers. These covers are manufactured from a softer rubberized, non-slip material that is easily cut to desired length if needed. The only interesting detail other than the perfect fit onto the M44S, is that unaltered rails can only be installed fully in a single way; they are uni-directional. Not a big deal if one uses a full cover, but possibly an issue if the cover is to be sectioned off for other rail mounted components. M44S mass: 210 grams (7.4 oz)

MFT's M44S

A carbine length, two-piece rail hand guard set with rail covers

M44S' details

The rail covers fit perfectly and give positive grip

RSG – React Short Vertical Grip – MSRP $24.99 USD
The addition of a vertical grip is supposed to enhance the capability and control when in close quarters battle, aka CQB. While TPF thinks of this build of MFT components as more of a long range platform, the React Short Grip was included. A simple rail mounted grip, the RSG is indeed fairly short but adds yet another small watertight storage compartment. Like the BUS, the RSG compartment has an insert for rattle free storage. It differs however that the insert is specifically designed for holding batteries, three (3) AA or two (2) CR-123 batteries. The RSG also incorporates a texture similar to the G27 pistol grip for a secure grip in wet conditions. The end cap is rubber and can double as a short mono-pod for supported firing positions. RSG mass: 56.7 grams (2.0 oz)

MFT's RSG

React Short Vertical Grip with compartment parts

RSG mounted

Seamless and secure, the RSG mounted on the M44S

BP1 – Universal Equipment Mount – MSRP $24.99 USD
For a stable long range shot, a bipod of some sort is usually required and the Universal Equipment Mount offered by MFT allows for a slide on, rail mounted, metal sling stud. Secured in place by a spring loaded position locking detent, the BP1 is very easy to attach and detach to any available rail. The unit itself is made from the same polymer as the other components and while reviewed in Black colour, is available in all the same colours as other components offered by MFT. BP1 mass: 53.8 grams (1.9 oz)

MFT's BP1

The Universal Equipment Mount has a quick install/removal ability

Bipod mounted

Using the PB1 for a bipod mount

Magazine Coupler – MSRP $14.99 USD
What build would not be complete with out a way of holding more ammunition close at hand for increased fun factor. Please recall that at the present time in Canada, the only legal usage of the AR platform is at an approved range. So while making your handicapped thirty (30) round magazines look cool, a pair combined with these couplers still only gives you an additional five (5) rounds instantly at hand for reloading. Supposedly fully compatible with magazines for the AR-15, Mini-14 as well as for Magpul P-mags. Coupler mass: 39.7 grams (1.4 oz)

MFT's Mag Couplers

When you need more ammo on the firearm… Mag Couplers

The Package Complete

Too bad those mags combine for 20 rounds in Canada. The couplers are good for fast reloads

As this TPF installment is specifically for Mission First Tactical products, no additional information will be made about the other accessories used for this build. Changing the furniture on an AR platform is almost ridiculously simple if you have the proper tools.
Com-Mil-Spec Stock ExampleThe collapsing butt stock is removed by simply pulling the stock position index pin out to it’s maximum amount. The adjustment lever normally incorporated on collapsing stocks only lifts the index pin out a limited distance to clear the buffer tube indexing holes. The only concern for components is whether the rifle you are planning to swap components out of has a commercial or military specification buffer tube. The diameters are 29.67mm versus 29.16mm (1.168″ vs 1.148″) respectively. A commercial buffer tube has an angled end, and the mil-spec tube has threads that protrude outside the buffer tube diameter.
The grip is held in place with a simple hex socket cap screw. Use a 3/16″ hex wrench that is at least 150mm (~6″) in length for removal and installation of grips. Make sure not to lose the spring or the detent for the safety mechanism. If you lose the detent, but install the spring, the safety will not operate due to binding. Readers need to just imagine how we at TPF know this… Trust us that you will only ever do it once.
For the hand guard it is tricky if you do not have a proper tool as the D-ring is help in position by a set of fairly strong springs. Now some individuals may be strong enough and coordinated enough to compress the D-Ring enough to remove existing hand guards and/or install new ones. There are hand guards which are free floating, but to switch them out normally requires the removal and/or replacement of the front sight/gas block plus the removal of the D-Ring and the retaining assembly. That information is easily found through your favoured online search engine such as Google, and may be featured in a future installment of TPF.

The build challenge completed

CHALLENGE COMPLETE! Outfitted with the above listed MFT products, LMSR has been customized for an individual’s specific requirements and purposes.

MFT QCB version

The MFT build, slightly modified to a CQB version

A complete furniture replacement with Mission First Tactical products used in this build has a total MSRP of $304.93 USD. These products are available at various firearms retailers across Canada such as the Fredericton Gun Shop, located at 81 Sunset Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick, or Bulls Eye Sports – London, located at 820 Wharncliffe Rd South – Unit 32, London, Ontario.

The question to you the reader is very simple as always. Is customizing your firearm with these MFT components Tactical? Practical? Or fantastical?


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.

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

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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

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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.

 


The heart and soul of a 10/22, the skin of G-36.

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The Ruger 10-22 is the most widely sold rifle in North America

The Ruger 10/22 is perhaps the most popular .22 LR calibre rifle ever invented. Yes, Canada happens to have scads of no longer produced Canadian manufactured Cooey .22 rifles, but overall with sales volumes and sheer commonness, Ruger Firearms’ nearly iconic 10/22 has sold more units, spawned off more accessories, and has been the mainstay of nearly all shooters with a .22 rifle. In today’s instalment of Tactical, Practical and Fantastical, we take a look a one of the myriad of aftermarket accessories for the 10/22. TPF will cover the Nomad stock, manufactured by Pro-Mag Industries under the Archangel line of stock replacements. For those readers who are unaware of Pro-Mag Industries, the company initially started as an aftermarket magazine supplier for numerous makes and models of firearms. Pro-Mag has since evolved into one of the leading aftermarket stock and firearm accessory manufacturers in North America. The Archangel product-line is the newest addition to Pro-Mag’s repertoire and encompasses a variety of rifle makes and models with these alternate stock chassis’. In this specific case this aftermarket stock transforms any 10/22 into a near clone, visually, of the Heckler & Koch G-36K Carbine.

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ProMag Industries has created a very interesting stock kit for the 10-22

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Sights are not optional and must be removed to install the kit properly

Due to the widespread availability and popularity of the iconic Ruger 10/22, it is the focus of multitudes of aftermarket accessories and gear. The Archangel Nomad conversion kit is just one of the many offered for 10/22’s but this kit does completely change the silhouette and physical size of the firearm by fully encapsulating the 10/22 in a shroud manufacturered from reinforced polymer. In order to mount the kit you do need to do some alterations to the standard 10/22 rifle. These include the following steps:

  1. Removal of the original stock from the action (retain the screw). This includes barrel bands.
  2. Removal of the rear dovetail sight (With muzzle pointed away from you drift punch right to left).
  3. Removal of the front dovetail sight (With muzzle pointed away from you drift punch right to left).
  4. Removal of the scope mounting rail
  5. Replacing trigger assembly components (Magazine release and bolt hold-open lever)
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Other than the main Nomad chassis/stock, there are several additional pieces that are required for a complete build

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With the new magazine release and bolt hold-open lever installed in the trigger group, assembly is ready to commence

TPF would like to recommend that if you do decide to install this kit, that you take some time prior to installation to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of your 10-22 rifle. The installation of the Archangel Nomad stock is pretty straight forwards other than the trigger assembly rework. The barrelled receiver is installed into the lower stock portion with the cross-bolt safety put into a middle position. The fit may require some inner material removal to accomodate larger barrel blocks used on some 10/22’s. but once installed, the receiver is secured via the original stock retaining screw.

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The 10/22 receiver is held into place by the standard retaining screw just in front of the magazine well.

The upper portion of the stock kit has three attachment points which consist of seven (7) socket head cap screws. A single large button head screw secures the rear portion to the top of the lower Pro-Mag stock component with a pair of screws securing at the front of the lower component. Four small bolts are then used to secure the upper stock portion to the 10/22 recieiver (in place of the previously removed scope rail). That was the difficult installation areas, which is telling as it is very straight forward to assemble. Slide on and secure the forearm and the upper rail with the remaining bolts and associated hardware provided and the your 10/22 now has the facade of a Heckler & Koch G-36K Carbine, with a slightly extended barrel.

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The secondary piece uses four small bolts (via the receiver’s scope rail mounting holes) and a trio of larger bolts to affix the top half of the G-36K shell

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Drift punch the sights to the left (away in the image) to remove

The final component for mounting onto the 10/22 is the barrel attachment. Pro-Mag includes two options for the Nomad, both which require the removal of the front sight as mentioned earlier. The first option is an aluminum four prong flash hider for the more aggressive look and the second option is the fake silencer sleeve. Both are a tight fit over the barrel and corresponding front sight, but the included roll pin firmly secures the respective sight into position with nary a wobble or wiggle. This is the ONLY true issue that TPF had however with this installation. The four prong flashhider has a blind hole for the retaining roll pin, which means that removal is impossible without some form of metalworking involved.

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Snugly fitted over the front sight mount and kept in place with a roll pin, this flash hider is one of the two included options for the barrel aesthetics

The completed installation of the Nomad does indeed make a 10/22 into a formidable looking G-36K clone, and the included 25 round magazines have a full sized shroud which makes them complete the appearance. There are some additional included features which are most likely overlooked on cursory glances. The attached upper picatinny mount, while primarily manufactured from polymer has an integral aluminum stiffener moulded inside for very good rigidity and minimal flexing. The included iron sites are surprisingly robust and working with the rear sight being adjustable for both windage and elevation, and incorporating two aperatures of different sizes and a shrouded fixed front post. Both front and rear sights are removable but should not interfere with most optics. The front underside picatinny rail is much the same as the upper one and comes with an aluminum sling clip mount which is removable/adjustable. The stock itself masses only 1.4kg (3.0 lbs) and has numerous quick detach sling swivel mounting points on both left and right sides.

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The G-36 skin completely installed. Note the pair of Pro-Mag 25 round magazines, one which has the shroud to complete the G-36 imagery

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Just like the original it copies, the Nomad includes a folding stock

What kind of G-36K would be complete without a folding stock, and this conversion kit does just that. The completed Nomad 10/22 is fully functional with the stock in extended or collapsed position. The Pro-Mag Nomad magazines, with and without the shrouds, functioned very well with no feed issues that were not ammunition releated (misfires). Original Ruger ten (10) round capacity magazines feed and were removed from the gun without issues and some aftermarket 25 round magazines were successfully tested as well. With that being said it is unlikely, due to the G-36K magwell shape that any teardrop shaped magazines or drum magazines for the 10/22 will have enough clearance to be installed fully, however TPF did not have the opportunity to test these hypotheses.

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Hidden compartments in the body and in the handle

Like the old TV commercials, there is more! The Nomad does not waste any unused space as it incorporates a pair of storage areas in the lower half of the reciever. The compartment in the grip is accessible all the time and is typical in size for an optic’s batteries or a small cleaning kit. The larger compartment is only accessible when the stock is folded and has nearly enough room to hold a small container of .22LR ammunition (nearly 50 rounds). The entire process of taking your existing Ruger 10/22 and fully installing this kit will take less than two hours if you have the proper tools onhand.

The Archangel Nomad Conversion Stock Kit by Pro-Mag Industries, Model # AAM1022, as reviewed has an MSRP of $204.00 USD, and is available from the fine Canadian establishment,  High Caliber Services Corp. which is located in Mission, British Columbia. The kit contains the stock, one 25 round shrouded magazine and the pair of barrel end attachments. As always however it is a question of if you, the reader, feel this product is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
 
 
P.S.: in the next day or two TPF will be adding video of an installed Archangel Nomad and checking functionality. Thanks for reading and enjoying TPF-Online!