DIY and Mods: User Friendly Chamber Flags

Chamber flags are useful safety items and even when not required due to range rules, I’ll use them just as a courtesy to other shooters.  However, some of them are not the most user friendly of devices, often they require a ‘bit of fiddling’ to get them in and out of the chamber.  With that in mind, here’s how I modify chamber flags.  [as usual, click images to enlarge]

Just knock off two corners and shave the sides of the stick.

Before and After.

All those right angles and nibs sticking out make for plenty to snag on.  I trim the outside corner and trim the sides to make it easier to insert and remove.  Trimming the inside corner of the flag provides a ‘finger hook’ that makes removal as easy as swiping a finger alongside the receiver.

Also while the standard flag will fit in a .22 rimfire bore, you can make your own by using a piece of string trimmer line and adding a wire crimp butt connector.  (I resisted the impulse of sophomoric humor; the link is safe)

A piece of weed whacker line and a crimped wire connector makes for a fine rimfire chamber flag

A piece of weed whacker line and a crimped wire connector makes a fine rimfire chamber flag

While the crimp connector isn’t absolutely necessary, I like it there for the peace of mind knowing the trimmer line can’t slip all the way into the bore.

For shotguns, the flags themselves aren’t really unwieldy but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be improved.  I recommend simply drilling a hole and adding a key chain of your choice.

Chamber flags for shotguns don't seem as unwieldy, but can still be improved

“Because I like it” is enough reason for me.

I realize that these aren’t revolutionary, life-changing mods but they make life a little bit easier on the range.  I hope you find them useful too.

[Belated] Memorial Day 2013

[Apparently I fumbled the scheduling for this which should have posted yesterday]

A quote from Abraham Lincoln:

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Freedom is most certainly not Free – eternal vigilance is but one price; the highest price was paid by those we honor today.

h/t Knife Rights

Stop Using Crayons; Use Lacquer-Stik [Color Fill In Paint]

On YouTube there are several instructional videos showing how to fill in the stampings and engravings on firearms with color.  Some use crayons, others use nail polish, paint pens, Testors model paint, etc.  Some of these videos advocate heating items with a brazing torch (!) and use of harsh chemicals.  I have yet to find one that actually uses the product purpose-made for these projects: Laquer Stick.

Color Fill-In with Lacquer Stik.

Color Fill-In w/ Lacquer Stik for easy ID.  [Click to enlarge; Background – Hawaiian Shirt Friday]

Used like grease pencils, you just rub / smudge the compound into the markings you want to highlight and then wipe away with the excess with a cloth.  [I to use 100% cotton patches to prevent any chance of scratching.]  After a while it dries and becomes permanent. You can degrease with rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits beforehand if you want, but I don’t always do that.  The surface of the marker will dry between uses so the next time you need it, just take a knife a slice off the dried layer to expose fresh compound.  And they go a long way; at $5 per stick, one of each color you want to use is pretty much a lifetime supply.

While I generally don’t feel the need to advertise the makers’ marks on my firearms (Flair!), I do enjoy being able to quickly discern which flavor of Glock magazine I’m looking in the back of the safe without having to shine a light on it.  They are also useful for highlighting the round count numbers on magazines or safety selector marks on receivers.  A product reviewer on Brownells website used it to fill in engraving to prevent rusting of the bare metal.

So avoid the ‘Crayon and Flame’ method and do it right.

New AR-15 Bolt Shatters After Only 4 Shots [pic]

A Reddit user posted a picture of an AR-15 bolt (supposedly Bushmaster) purchased through a third party seller that suffered a catastrophic failure after only four shots.  The bolt reportedly has no maker mark on it.  Even though the Great Gun Buying Frenzy of 2013 is tapering off some things in the pipeline apparently were rushed past QC (or are of questionable provenance).

I send this along just as a reminder that you should test parts before trusting them.

Catastrophic Failure of AR-15 Bolt after 4 shots [click to enlarge]

Catastrophic Failure of AR-15 Bolt after 4 shots [click to enlarge]

UK: Muslim Slasher Kills Soldier in Gun Free Utopia

So let me get this straight: In [Previously] Great Britain, two ‘radicalized Islamists’ (i.e. An “Overseas Contingencies”) run down a soldier with a car, begin stabbing and hacking with a knife and cleaver trying to behead the victim and tell bystanders to film it – and they do it while waiting 20 minutes for a cop with a gun to show up to “cut them down in a hail of bullets” (consisting of “up to 6 shots”, from which they survive).  During this time, the only one with the stones to confront the murderers is a lady cub scout leader.

And ‘unarmed subjects’ is the model the Anti-Rights crowd want us to adopt?  Of course they do.  In their eyes, this was a success because the soldier wasn’t murdered with a gun.

[Update: Edited title for accuracy]

Shootrite Katana Update: new specs, new manufacturer

Tiger McKee just released new info regarding his lightweight fighting rifle, the Shootrite Katana:

 I’ve been playing with the new Katana, and it is great.  We’re still fine tuning a couple of things but it should be ready for shipping soon.  We’re still offering the original version of the carbine, and the new version retains all the original concepts except with a couple of different options.  MHT has done a great job with this build.  And, there won’t be any of the problems – such as no customer service – as there were previously.  It will be available in black or the FDE.

MHT will now handle the production of the Shootrite Katana

MHT will now handle the production of the Shootrite Katana

Here are the specs:
UPPER RECEIVER GROUP

  • Forged 7075 AL , flat top upper receiver with 1913 rail and no forward assist
  • Soon to be made in-house with M4 feed ramps, mil-spec hardcoat anodizing
  • BCM Medium or Small Gunfighter charging handle
  • Daniel Defense A1.5 rear sight
  • PRI Gen 3 Delta Mid-length handguard or Hiperform round handguard

BOLT CARRIER GROUP

  • Bolt carrier material is 8620 steel, M16 spec, gas key properly staked
  • Bolt material is Carpenter 158 steel, shot peened, and HP and MP tested
  • Extractor material is tool steel
  • Extractor spring is Colt “gold” type

BARREL ASSEMBLY

  • 16″ lightweight profile with .625″ diameter forged front sight base
  • Barrel material is 4150 CMV, Cold Hammer Forged, 1:7 twist, Chrome Lined, HP and MP tested, and Mil-Spec heavy phosphate coated
  • Mid-length or carbine gas system
  • A2 Flash Hider with crush washer

LOWER RECEIVER ASSEMBLY

  • Forged 7075 AL lower receiver, machined in-house and mil-spec hardcoat anodized
  • ALG Defense ACT Nickel Boron coated fire control group and pins
  • Aluminum winter trigger guard
  • Duckbill pistol grip
  • Magpul MOE Rifle stock or optional CTR carbine stock with H buffer or original style A1 stock

CUSTOM WORK

  • Remove forge flashing, bayonet lug, sling swivel mount, and smooth front sight base
  • Grey phosphate coat all steel parts on rifle
  • Fabricated custom sling mounts
  • Tune action for smoothness
  • Match serial numbered upper and lower assemblies
  • All parts on rifle hand assembled, matched and fitted with function checks and test fire

The MHT Defense website is currently under construction, but does list a contact email.  [MHT will also be offering a Shootrite AR-15 lower receiver].

The Katana to date has had a few ‘hiccups’ with regard to it reaching the marketplace (apparently due to the first shop contracted to build it being more concerned with their TV show than actually serving customers).  This doesn’t diminish the rifle’s concept in the slightest.  All small businesses have obstacles to overcome in order to serve their customers.  I applaud Tiger’s effort to see that the Katana is made to spec by people who respect and communicate with those customers.

Oklahoma Twister: Please Donate to Relief Fund

The news regarding just how devastating the Oklahoma tornado damage is just keeps getting worse.

Please donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund

If you know someone looking for a relative there, check the Red Cross Safe and Well registry.

A tad busy at the moment…

Tune in tomorrow.

Musings on a Lightweight AR Build

A friend asked me about my opinions on building a lightweight AR so in blogger fashion I thought I’d blast my ramblings out on the intertoobz.

First off, lightweight AR-15’s are great fun to shoot.  Beyond that, there’s a renaissance going on as folks are embracing the rifle’s founding concept of ‘lighter is better’.  That really was the whole reason for using plastic and aluminum after all.

Having studied Tiger McKee’s excellent book ‘The Book of Two Guns’, I agree with his recommendation of keeping a fighting gun rugged and light.  His Katana rifle concept makes a lot of sense, coming in at 6 pounds with fixed sights and a lightweight A1 fixed stock.

The consumers’ desire for lighter rifles has other manufacturers answering the demand with such current options as the S&W M&P 15 Sport (6.45 lbs), Colt’s LE6900 (6.2 lbs) and DoubleStar’s C3 ‘Constant Carry Carbine’ (5.5 lbs w/o sights)

Some may want to discuss mil-spec pedigrees, but let’s save that for later and look at the features of the guns listed.  About the only common feature of these three guns is a 16” barrel with a carbine length gas system.  Otherwise their approaches to saving weight vary.  Variations are fixed vs. adjustable stocks, a fixed FSB vs. sights on a free-float handguard and lightweight barrel contour vs. M4 contour (Colt 6900).

After some consideration, here are the high points of my theoretical build list of components for the purpose of having a trustworthy ultra-light rifle.

[Now I just need to place a few backorders…]

There are a few other tricks [adapt an A1 buffer tube to carbine buffer and spring, lightweight bolt carrier, or drill a 9mm upper for a gas tube] to shave an ounce here and there but this is about as light as a standard rifle can be.  Of course, lightweight is good but it still has to work.  I think the above list would satisfy that requirement.

So what do you think?  If you have any suggestions or recommendations for going lighter or increasing reliability, let me know.

BOLO [Reward]: Stolen Plate Carrier, Ammo, FAKs (Houston)

Today I present a request (and cautionary tale) to the internets on behalf of a friend.  For those of you in the Houston area please Be On the Look Out (BOLO) for a plate carrier and kit that was stolen from my buddy’s car about two weeks ago on April 23rd, 2013.  [He only recently told me.]  I realize that the recovery of it an extreme long shot but I wanted to do something to help and maybe something positive will come of it.

Here’s the list of gear taken:

Ammo:

  • 180 rounds of 5.56x45mm Federal 62 gr Green Tip Penetrator (loaded in P-mags; 6 x 30)
  • (10) 20 boxes of 5.56x45mm Federal American Eagle
  • (3) 50 rd boxes of Winchester ‘white box’ .45 ACP
  • (5) 20 rd boxes of Remington .22-250
  • (3) 50 rd boxes of CCI Blazer 9mm

Medical:

  • (1) Chinook Medic Kit (TMK-KE) Multicam – completely stocked
  • (1) Chinook Individual Operator Kit (TMK-IO) Multicam – completely stocked
  • Additional Celox gauze, packs and injector

All of this was in his car but not visible from the outside; the car was parked on the street near his residence in the Midtown/Museum District of Houston, Texas.  The items were actually in a cardboard box with clothes piled on top of it.  There were no overt signs of forced entry (no broken windows) and the car was locked prior to the theft.  The police believe specialized tools (slim jim?) were used to gain entry.  The car is not a luxury model, it does not have any expensive mods or options and is as mundane as any other.  It does did have a single sticker on the back, though.  A basic NRA membership sticker.

The thieves realizing their windfall, returned about 1 week later and gained entry to his wife’s car hoping for another score.

Hindsight being what it is, the take-away of this tale is to Respect the Gray.

  1. Don’t Advertise – even a small identifier such as a sticker can mark you for theft or attack.
  2. Secure your kit – concealment is not enough; car locks are not secure.

I’ve been thinking of ways to secure gear in a car and if you choose to store it there, my recommendation would be a Pelican or similar rugged case to contain the gear.  Preferable the case should be in the trunk (if your car has one) locked with Abloy padlocks and tethered with hardened steel security chain to an anchor attached to the frame.  Some vehicles with removable seats have convenient anchors already.

I can’t offer much but I am personally offering a reward of (2) bricks [1000 rounds] of precious .22 long rifle ammunition* for information leading to the return of the above items; If you can help please send an email to Projectilist AT Gmail

Thank you.

(*and the satisfaction and peace of mind of having helped your fellow man)