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The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. More good than bad? Or the opposite?

You don’t even have to be a firearms owner to be even remotely interested in the laws regarding firearms ownership and usage in Canada, but it cannot hurt to be counted as one. There are roughly two million (2,000,000) adult citizens of Canada who have a firearm license of some sort. Most are likely the hunters and long distance shooters having a Possession and Acquisition License, aka PAL, for non-restricted firearms. Those who practice action shooting, whom are more tactical firearms enthusiasts and handgun owners, have a PAL for both restricted and non-restricted firearms, affectionately known as an RPAL. There are also PALs which are for firearms designated for one or more of the several prohibited classes that exist. Currently however there are Possession Only versions of the aforementioned licenses as well, and these are short formed to POL holders.

Now some of you may have heard about the introduction of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.  The new agencies were very tight lipped it seemed about the proposed legislation tabled by the current government as very little news made it into the mainstream media. Perhaps there was too much bad news for firearms owners as good news in the bill to make it unable to bash the CPC government with? The Minister of Public Safety, Mr. Steven Blaney, made the announcement on October 7th, 2014, in the House Of Commons. It has been given the Bill number of C-42 and has passed first reading.

On October 7th, Minister Blaney announced the CSFL Act

On October 7th, Minister Blaney announced the CSFL Act

The bill in itself has many sections and covers a fair range of sections and we at TPF will go into the nitty, gritty summations for both good and bad for those who do not want to wade through legalese of a bill. TPF will discuss each of the points and rate them appropriately, but obviously it is the opinion of the author and please feel free to agree and, or, disagree; aka comment. Please recall that this is the first iteration and the bill itself may change during subsequent readings and from committee recommendations. Also note that the intent of the bill cannot be changed over it’s travels through the procedural system, otherwise the bill becomes null and void.

The following are the main points that are contained in the current iteration of 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; whose short title is the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.

  1. Create a six-month grace period at the end of the five-year license period to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork delays around license renewals;
  2. Streamline the licensing system by eliminating the Possession Only License (POL) and converting all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PALs);
  3. Make classroom participation in firearms safety training mandatory for first-time license applicants;
  4. Amend the Criminal Code to strengthen the provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offense involving domestic violence;
  5. End needless paperwork around Authorizations to Transport by making them a condition of a license for certain routine and lawful activities;
  6. Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers to be subject to limit by regulation;
  7. Authorize firearms import information sharing when restricted and prohibited firearms are imported into Canada by businesses; and,
  8. Allow the Government to have the final say on classification decisions, following the receipt of independent expert advice.

Truthseeker Section:

Lets start with #1. Currently the instant your license expires, all you are in illegal possession of every single firearm you own. ALL OF THEM. This also means that for those with a prohibited class firearm license will instantly lose that status and not be able to renew them as one of the conditions is to have a continuous ownership status. Expired license means a break in that requirement. By including a 6 month grace period, it gives those forgetful individuals time to renew and not be caught by any sudden changes. This is a good thing. No real downsides to this. 3 of 5 stars

#2 is converting the existing POLs into PALs. Back in the original legislation which introduced the possession only aspect of firearms, only those who already had a firearm were able to get a POL. The idea is that for nearly 20 years, these POL holders have not had any sort of notable record of criminal activity or misuse of firearms. Plus it only makes sense to reduce the number of license types and cutting the license types in half is a good way to reduce bureaucratic exercises. There are nearly six hundred thousand (600,000) POL holders in the system. This is a huge added benefit to the firearms industry as it opens up an additional 40% more consumer market for firearms sales. That is a huge step forward. 5 of 5 stars

Mandatory safety training is the third point and is a contentious one.  Removing the ability to challenge the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, aka CFSC, is not making it easier to own a firearm. For urban areas and nearby rural areas the ability to schedule and attend a CFSC is not a difficult task… And for extremely remote locations such as those found in the Territories, instructors are flown into those areas just as they do today. The problem is that you are now forced to take safety training which has never been a means to eliminate irresponsible and accidental misuse of a firearm. The biggest complaint would be that prospective individuals now need to pay more money and more time dedicated to firearms safety training. Where a CFSC challenge was merely $50 and roughly an hour of your time,  the course is 8-12 hours and now also has to pay for books and instructor times which elevate the costs to $75 or more. More of an inconvenience than a negative, but still… 3 of 5 stars

Domestic violence is one of those nasty occurrences that many people to not care to mention. Point four introduces the option for a lifetime firearms ban for those who commit domestic violence on spouses, kin, parents and other household residents. On the surface this sounds like a good addition, but recall that these prohibition can occur to any individual charged with an indictable offense but has not been cleared of wrongdoing. An unconditional discharge will still net you a possible firearms/weapons prohibition order! So don’t be one of those idiots who would intentionally cause grief and damage to others, let alone to family and children. The issue in this case is the duration, as a lifetime sentence for incarceration may still allow the individual to leave prison on parole, which is never ending with a life sentence. It is obviously situational however, an example being if a drunken, stupid nineteen year old and his father have a fight; the teenager subsequently receives an assault charge and an unconditional pardon to it, is it reasonable to punish him for life with some form of restriction, be it a firearm or whatnot, forever? Either make it lifetime ban upon a conviction, or a sensible number that works with our current laws. 1 of 5 stars

Combining ATT’s for common purposes instead of having several individual requests on a recurring basis sounds like pretty common sense. With this portion of the bill, your long term ATT will now be good for border crossings, guns smiths, gun stores, and gun shows and all approved ranges in the license holder’s province or territory. They are also must issue instead of shall issue. That’s a pretty big change for the better. However it is tempered with some changes that have negative effects on some firearms owners. Some provinces already have multi-province long term Authorizations to Transport to various ranges, this bill in it’s current form would curtail the ability of those firearms owners to participate in events and competitions  in neighboring regions. So far this is good in scope but limits others. The biggest hurdle is the fact that non-handgun prohibited firearms will NOT be issued any authorizations to transport to approved ranges. Despite CFOs not issuing a Special Authority to Possess, aka SAP, for the last decade; which means all prohibited rifles have been safe queens for that duration. Bill C-42 states clearly that prohibited rifles will remain safe queens. Great for restricted rifles and hand-gunners in general, but imposes definite territorial limitations and misses two important issues. For transport to and from a post office, plus how it deals with people who travel across a provincial boundary to shoot at their primary range. 4 of 5 stars

Point six is simple yet confusing in nature. Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers to be subject to limit by regulation. What this means is that the Chief Firearms Officer may only impose any additional requirements on a license/ATT/etc… that are specifically allowed in legislation. This means that the CFO cannot attach a condition to an ATT or license such as requiring an invitation in order to attend an compete in matches hosted by another club. Anything that restricts arbitrarily imposed conditions is a good thing. Again however, many provinces have decent CFO. 4 of 5 stars

The data sharing mentioned in the seventh point is a very interesting one and has zero effect on the average firearms owner.  The current problem is that the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) are not authorize to communicate with other for the purposes of data sharing. When CBSA gets firearms imports it needs to ask the RCMP for clarification and data through convoluted channels and the formatting of the information is less than “easily manipulated” to perform customs work. This section is to create a frame work of communication that is easily accessed by customs to expedite information required to process restricted and prohibited firearms. There has been mention of a new undefined form being utilized, which has not been created, nor determined if it replaces the existing customs form. This proposal is both good and bad as anything that helps get firearms through customs faster is good, but additional paperwork is not fun for businesses. 3 of 5 stars

The final point, number 8, is one that is the least explained and the most feared for some reason. If you read all the changes in the proposed bill, the definition of non-restricted is defined and introduced throughout the bill and also creates the ability of a government to reclassify restricted and prohibited firearms into non-restricted classifications. That is HUGE! This becomes the means with which firearms like the newly prohibited Swiss Arms series of rifles can be classified as non-restricted.  This is the first step towards reclassifying firearms which should be non-restricted by the current definition of firearms as set out in law. This is a huge plus. 5 of 5 stars

Total rating out of 40 possible points? 28 out of 40. It is a passing grade but only a C overall regarding the proposed changes contained in the Bill.

CSFLAct_950x390

“Is the CSFL Act a good bill in it’s own? That is for you to decide!

Naysayer section:

There are still issues with the CSFL act in that it does not address the multitude of other issues that are significantly deeper and more fundamentally wrong with the firearms act and it’s associated regulations. These are the more commonly stated naysayer lines that are floating around the online Canadian firearm forums CGN and GoC being the two largest.

  • It is still a criminal offense to possess a firearm, in that firearms are illegal to possess UNLESS you have a POL or PAL of the appropriate class.
  • ATTs should be worded to cover any and all legal purposes.
  • Licenses should be lifetime in duration.
  • Classifications should not exist!
  • CFOs should be abolished entirely or made to assist shooters/businesses
  • It is small little tweaks instead of wholesale change

Unfortunately as the old quote states,

“It’s easier to take than to give.”

Expecting politics to not be about compromise is pretty foolhardy. If there was no such thing as compromise, C-68 would have ended all civilian gun ownership. An additional tidbit of information is as follows.

As part of Mr. Peter VanLoan’s, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons,  statement recently:

“Starting on Wednesday, October 22, the House will consider Bill C-42, the common sense firearms licensing act at second reading. This bill would cut red tape for law-abiding firearms owners and provide safe and simple firearms policies. I would note that this legislation has already been endorsed by a number of key groups, such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, la Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, and the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, among others.”

That is extremely fast paced for a Bill in the House of Commons. Remember that this write-up is about the legislation as written itself, not as a grand overall status of the Firearms Act and the infamous Bill C-68/etc…

As this is a political review of a newly introduced bill, it is hard to give definite evaluations as the bill’s content may indeed change. We can hope that some wording and content will be improved in the future…So, instead of the usual TPF options, we ask if you the reader believe the contents of the bill are beneficial, superficial, or detrimental to firearms owners in the context of the bill.


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

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

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

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

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

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

LMSR-Intro

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

Recessed Crown

With a recessed crown, the muzzle is protected from damage

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

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

LMSR-Intro Gas Block

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

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

LMSR-Intro fire controls

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

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

LMSR-Intro Staking

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

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

LMSR-Intro-06

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

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

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

LMSR-Intro lower guts

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


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

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

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

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

Telescopic Sights:

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

Reflector Sights:

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

Holographic Sights:

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

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

SeeAll-02

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

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

SeeAll-03

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

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

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

SeeAll-04

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

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

SeeAll-01

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

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

The positives are pretty substantial for the SAOS:

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

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

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

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

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


Banning guns – Abuse and idiocy….

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

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

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

The Rolex of rifles

The Swiss PE90, called the Rolex of rifles

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

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

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

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

So what we currently have is the following situation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

AutoCharge-01

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

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

AutoCharge-Masses

A pair of calibration masses

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

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

AutoCharge-03

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

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

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

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

AutoCharge-04

A very effective powder drain cap system

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

Submitted by: Andrew Craig, Host of Canadian Reload Radio

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


The solution to the second most tedious thing about progressive reloading… YES!

The second most tedious thing?” That was surely the question of most readers when looking at the title of this installment of TPF-Online. Yes, the author did mean to say the second most. The number one most tedious job from the majority of reloaders is trimming brass to length and there are a multitude of methods to do exactly that. However this instalment is about the second most tedious thing for reloaders who utilize progressive presses from Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, etc… So what is the second most tedious thing in progressive reloading? Filling the priming system of the press.

There are currently three common methods used in primer feed devices. Tube, Strip, and Box fed priming systems. Lee progressive presses, like the Loadmaster, utilize the box feed systems for their progressive press designs and it is by far the fastest for reloading primers. RCBS progressives now routinely use a preloaded primer feeding strip system since it’s introduction over a decade ago. But for the rest, a primer fill tube is used for the reloading process to be have one hundred primers ready for reloading. This has, for many, been done via the old fashion method of using a primer flip tray and a primer collecting tube and manually forcing each individual primer into the fill tube. It can take several minutes for an experienced user to pick up a hundred primers, and so many people pre-load several of these fill tubes prior to reloading, which is hard on the hands.

Palvik-Italy!

Don’t let the originating country fool you. Italy has made some tremendous discoveries and engineering masterpieces.

Luckily however, the author occasionally peruses the internet for firearms related products and businesses at random, and it was not too long ago that TPF came across a Canadian IPSC shooter, Mr. Nik Papadhopulli, who decided to open up a small business to supply Canadian shooters with various items to help with reloading and equipment to help competitors with the shooting sports. One of these products offered is an accessory to help speed up primer tube filling. Now TPF knows about Dillon’s RF-100 primer filling station, which is a hands free filler. You put a box of one hundred primers in the top of the unit and press a button and couple minutes later you have a full tube. This option is quite costly with a price tag of nearly $400 including the option to be able to fill both large and small primer tubes. However, at roughly half the price of the RF-100, Red Tip Bullet offers an alternative to Canadians. The Pal-Filler, designed and manufactured in Italy by Palvik, is a hand held, battery operated, primer tube filler.

The kit!

Missing only the box and the simple instruction sheet, all of this comes with the Pal-Filler kit

The Tray

Precision machined flipping grooves and fill-tube area on both sides of the tray allow for small and large primers

Smaller, cheaper, and faster, this product already includes the ability to load both small and large primers. Now the Pal-Filler is not some complex, ergonomic and aesthetically beautiful product. It is in fact relatively plain and basic is shape and operation. Included is a double-usage primer tray, where one side is for small primers and the opposite side is for large primers. This tray is attached to the handle/grip and a primer tube is inserted in the appropriate opening. Operation of the Pal-Filler is a simple affair and assumes that the proper primer tube is already pre-inserted into the Pal Filler tool.

  1. A box of primers is dumped into the flipping tray, and shaken until all primers are anvil side up.
  2. Once primers are all oriented properly, the user inserts the retaining lid.
  3. With the unit tipped slightly towards the tube filling hole, the user flips the switch.
  4. The vibration caused by a rotating offset mass vibrates the Pal-Filler and the primers all fall in sequence into the open tube top.
  5. Did TPF mention it was fast? From the primer box to a tube filled with one hundred (100) primers in roughly thirty (30) seconds.
Size matters not!

The Pal-Filler is literally a pistol grip with a primer tray attached to it. It is small, easy to handle and use and it is FAST!

The concept for the Pal-Filler is very simple. Use proven, existing technology in a compact package. The small electric motor is wired in series with the simple on/off switch and the battery holder. The motor mounts an offset mass that creates the high frequency vibrations in the unit itself. It indeed is simple and one may think that should not equate into a high cost. Normally TPF would agree, except the Pal-Filler is completely manufactured on CNC machines. The aluminum grip halves are both machined from a billet of aluminum, inside and out. The tray is CNC machined from a block of high density plastic. The motor retaining bracket is machined aluminum as well. Even the battery holder is given a CNC machined base to be mounted on. The design features for ruggedness and longevity are apparent when looking at the Pal-Filler.

Impressive materials

Other than the typical battery holder, everything about the Pal-Filler is CNC machined and assembled with screws. No cheap plastic clips and glue here!

Made from quality materials, with quality craftsmanship, this is a fine tool for the reloader who does not want to load primers into tubes manually and is especially suited to volume usage as done by many progressive reloaders. The Pal Filler as reviewed has an MSRP of $189.00 CDN and is available from Red Tip Bullets (http://www.redtipbullet.com). The question posed to our readers is if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.

Addendum 2017… We have been informed that Red Tip Bullets has since closed its doors. Which is unfortunate.


Canadian designed rifle scopes? Scorpion Optics steps up.

The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame for this review of one of the few Canadian designed rifle scopes available on the market. Scorpion Optics was kind enough to provide TPF-Online with one of their scopes for reviewing and Mr. Craig gladly provided us with his expertise on optics. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:

Scorpion Optics Venom Hi-Grade 6-24 x 50mm Rifle Scope

Scorpion Optics has a complete line of hunting and sporting optics with a full range of magnification options. The model provided for review was a Scorpion Venom Hi-Grade 6-24x50mm long range rifle-scope with a one-piece 30mm tube.

Statistics indicated for this particular optic:
6-24 Power range
50mm Objective lens
Side focus adjustable from 15 yards to infinity
One-piece aluminum tube construction
30mm One-Piece Main Tube
Fully-Multi coated lenses
Trajectory Compensating Reticle
1/8 MOA windage & elevation adjustments
>50 MOA adjustment range

For this review, the rifle-scope was mounted to a Robinson Armament XCR-M, a semi-automatic, non-restricted, rifle chambered in .308 Winchester. This particular rifle has a picatinny rail running the full length of the monolithic upper which allows for a wide range of mounting positions and optic styles and designs. A set of extra high Weaver Tactical rings were required due to the space requirements of the optic’s 50mm objective lens. With these rings there was just enough room for the scope’s objective bell to clear the rail.

The Venom 6-24x50mm scope

Mounted to the test rifle, the Scorpion Optic’s scope is a very large, long range scope as well as short range capabilities.

Initial sight-in was done at 25 yards, with the point of impact being approximately 4 inches low and to the left. Windage was adjusted by simply looking through the optic and turning the adjustment dial until the cross-hair was inline with the initial shot. The adjustments dials are graduated in 1/8 MOA, which means one click moves the point of impact 1/8″ left or right at 100 yards. This allows for a very fine level of adjustment, which can be of benefit for a very accurate varmint rifle. Adjustment knobs are of the finger click type, and yield both a firm and audible click when being turned. The turrets indicate which direction they must be turned in order to adjust the point of impact, but, are not re-settable to zero once adjusted.

Fine tuning by adjustment

The 1/8″ per click finger adjustment dials are solid and easy to turn.

At 100 yards, the optic was dialed up to its maximum power of 24X. Power adjustment was very smooth and quick, made easy by an oversized tab on the adjustment ring. The Venom line of optics from Scorpion have fully multi-coated lens surfaces, which is a key feature in maximizing the amount of light gathered and transmitted to the eye. This, coupled with the 50mm objective lens results in a very bright image, with it darkening only slightly at the highest magnification setting. When fired at 100 yards, elevation only needed to be adjusted a minor amount, and it should be noted that windage remained spot-on from being set at 25 yards, and after making adjustments to the elevation at 100.

Power adjustment and Focus ring

The power ring is firm yet smooth in operation, an added bonus to those who adjust while on target.

A lot of light gathering

The larger the objective lens, the better the light gathering capabilities of the scope.

This optic includes a side focus dial for parallax correction at different distances. The Scorpion 6-24×50 is capable of being adjusted down to 15 yards. Most optics with this feature have a low-end limit of 50 yards, which usually limits their use to outdoor settings where there is more room to shoot. Having the ability to focus down to 15 yards means that this optic can be used at much shorter distances, such as an indoor range where one might wish to practice at a closer distance. The side focus adjustment is very firm, requiring a fair bit of effort to turn. This level of friction ensures that it wont turn if rubbed up against a shoulder while being carried with a sling. There was a slight bit of backlash noticeable when fine adjustments were being made to the focus, but, this did not take away from the rifle scope’s ability to be focused at any distance desired.

Parallax Adjuster

With a range indicated parallax adjustment from 15 yards to 500 yards, the scope has all range capabilities needed for nearly all shooters.

As a standard feature, the Scorpion Venom 6-24×50 includes an etched-glass “TCR” reticle. TCR stands for Trajectory Compensating Reticle, and includes hold-overs for distances out to 500 yards. When zeroed at 100 yards, and employed at 200 yards using just the TCR reticle, I had no difficulty hitting the 8 inch metal swinger shot after shot. When using the TCR for your rifle, be sure to verify where your rifle hits at the different distances, as, this type of reticle is of a one-size-fits-all variety. This is common, and you should find that your specific load will be within an inch or two of the hold overs at each distance.

Some final things to consider with this rifle-scope include a stated mass of 860 grams (30 oz), and an overall length of 400 mm (15 in). This is no small rifle scope, and will be ideally suited towards a long range varmint rifle where a bipod, shooting stick, or other stabilizing method is to be used. The model provided for review came in a smooth matte black finish, but on Scorpion Optic’s website, there are options that indicate it is also available in a silver finish. Eye relief is a short 75-81mm, however I found there to be plenty of room behind the eyepiece when shooting, and had no issues positioning my head for a clear image.

All said and done, the Scorpion 6-24x50mm Venom rifle scope provides the user with everything as promised. Features that stood out when using the optic included a very smooth, fast power adjustment, making it possible to change power on the fly without having to look up from the rifle scope. The TCR reticle makes it very versatile for a number of different ranges, and being capable of focusing down to 15 yards means that this optic can fill a larger variety of roles for the target or varmint shooter.

Submitted by: Andrew Craig, Host of Canadian Reload Radio

Scorpion Optics is based out of Manitoba and fields a variety of firearm and bow accessories such as the Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. Again, thanks to Andrew Craig for his submission on the Scorpion Optics Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. For the readers notes, the rifle scope as reviewed has an MSRP of $599.99 CDN which is an impressive price point for a high magnification, large objective lens rifle scope. Scorpion Optics can be found in a variety of brick and mortar shops across Canada as well as online venues such as Outfitter’s Supply Online. As always it is up to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.