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|Posted on November 14, 2017 at 1:26 PM||comments (107)|
happened, it finally happened..
This is my third time writing this post. Lets just say there is extra venom now...
I very seldom ever say anything bad about a product unless they have earned it. And my info on a subject/ product must be either first hand or come from a trusted source. Most online reviews are posted up by the company selling or making the product and of course come across as shining examples or just come across as sour grapes and written out of spite. Most of these are taken with a grain of salt and the shot of Tequila that should come with it..
So, the company today is Apex gun parts. Not Armory Parts EXchange that I go through for a lot of surplus parts and kits, but the maker of aftermarket pistol accessories. So, if you want to make your Smith & Wesson M&P into some sort of race gun or "Rod it up" they
are pretty much the only game in town.
We here at old troopers are a cynical lot by nature. And aftermarket "performance parts" to us are sort of like a spoiler on a honda civic :WHY?? But we give the customer what they want. I had first heard of the aftermarket parts manufacturer in a gunsmithing trade publication. Some positive reviews, that oddly were all worded identically or incredibly similar. Sort of sent up a red flag there. But then there were some bad. One of the smiths was complaining that an aftermarket sear had worn down after 30 rounds and was causing the pistol to "go Irish auto". Another was complaining of a "match fit" barrel that was bored off center. And some other abnormalities. But we chalked it up to a company having a bad day, or not hearing the "rest of the story" of someone taking a dremnel tool to something that required a stone...
But the damming one was from a former (read former) competitive shooter. She was running the rehalfted Walther ( The M&P) and had before the match installed an aftermarket sear kit. Had another competitor polish the sear. Pistol preformed fine at first, than the trigger pull began DROPPING about 20 rounds in. Upon re holster the firearm discharged. Her fingers no where near the trigger guard. The bullet smashed through her thigh and calf causing extensive bone and nerve damage. Severely damaging or ending her competitive carrier. Not good... But what did that guy do to her sear to get it to do that??
Than I had one come in.. It was a high round count pistol (In the thousands) that the customer wanted "Rodded up". Had a new trigger, sear, and match fit barrel. It seamed to be a rather straightforward job. Just like the many G-lock "speed kits" we have begrudgingly put in. So the impatient client left.
The trigger was rather straightforward. It came with two springs. The sear went in well enough.. That is when the first problems began cropping up. The function check and trigger pull put it at 2.7 lbs and DROPPING. Yeah, I am not giving this guy a full auto... So had to put in the "5 lb spring" That puts it up to 3.8lbs and holding.. Ok, not great, but ok... Said he wanted a lighter trigger pull on a gun with a 5lb pull already.. but, ok..
Than comes the barrel. I would rather do a dozen 1911 match barrels and bushings or three dozen P99 barrels than one of these again.. Apparently "gunsmith fit" means "Send this to Apex because no mere mortal smith could possibly do this to our specifications" fit. It too the better portion of a shop day to fit this dam thing. It was close, so no powertools with the exception of a cloth buffer. All emery cloth an diamond files... And in the process of fitting this barrel and dry firing it about 30 times, the sear began to not engage.. Causing the pistol to have to be completely disassembled (trigger has to be depressed and gun "fired" to release the slide) to get apart. The trigger group was dissembled and reassembled no fewer than 26 times... The "new sear had worn a visible notch in its bearing surface.. Attempted to polish, it did nothing except frustrate me greatly. Had to that fit the old sear to the new parts, that took longer than ever expected.. We tried combinations of parts, old and new, new barrel, old barrel, the thing was a royal pain that seamed to only work when it wanted to.. After burning an entire shop day on this cursed thing it finally passes a function check. Good.. No mag, can not test fire.. Great.. Call the client the next mourning. He had already called about every day the thing was with us... And I am not well known for my tolerance with inpatient people. Sure enough, it did not pass, sear follower forward. I offered if he left me a mag I can get it running, but, being impatient he took it anyways. I charge what would have been a 6 hour job the $60 originally quoted (yes the accountant still has not forgiven me for it) and all of his parts, new and old in a baggie.
A few days later I get a call from the customer again. He had taken the gun to Apex or one of there authorized service centers, really did not matter. But they said I had take off to much metal off the bottom of the barrel and that caused all the problems. And of course there was nothing wrong with any of their parts. It was entirely the fault of the gunsmith that attempted the fitting.. Sure....
So I have to buy Mr. impatient another barrel. And of course the "Can not be fitted by mortal man" barrel is not cheap. Hell two of these bastards you could have bought a new M&P at pre rebate prices! Again another thing that has not sit well with the accountant..
But I got the "defective barrel" back. Wouldn't you know it, bored off center. Hell is not even in the middle of the recess for the "target crown". But I took off to much metal... sure... maybe I did, Maybe it was defective parts, or maybe the pistol was so worn out of spec.....
But somehow I doubt it.
Take my cautionary tale as you will. It is, after all, just MY experience.
So if Ye wish to "rod up" yonder Smith, be warned: There be monsters out there.
old troopers actual,
|Posted on April 27, 2017 at 3:41 AM||comments (220)|
|Posted on March 31, 2017 at 5:25 AM||comments (312)|
I have been told by a few clients who are trickling in for gunsmithing services or transfers that they were told the had to carry frangible ammunition for their daily carry.
Now I am not one to debate/decry another instructor. But this is not only bad advice, it is downright dangerous!
See, as a member of the Obommer era military, I apologize to the American tax payer. We, as a matter of being "environmentally friendly" have to qualify with frangible rounds. The theory behind this farce is that they will not contaminate the ground water due to them being made from compressed powder and a flimsy jacket. Unfortunately as we can tell you: they leave much to be desired.
Let me elaborate. Frangible ammunition was first made in .50bmg for use in ww2 for training purposes. Most of the time it was for Air gunnery practice. The thought was that the jacket would do much less damage to the "tow" aircraft if accidentally sprayed by a careless or inexperienced gunner trainee. Most of the time it was a heavily armored p-39 or p64 "areocolbra" aircraft. An aircraft that was intended for a ground attack role, even if more went to the USSR than our own air forces. So, it could take a hit or two. And in this role the frangible ammunition did quite well. Well enough until something better came along.
Now when they started scaling down to rifle and pistol sized bullets they had some issues. They began to find out that these became quite expensive. And they did not..... well let's just say they do not handle well.
So they had a choice. Make the jacket thicker and risk the chance of unwanted levels of penetration. Or issue them out only before use and restrict the frequent carry of said ammo.
Honestly they really have not worked any bugs out. I have personally thrown hundreds of rounds of this crap downrange. And let me tell you: it has some issues!
First: they damage rather easily. Drop it, have issues loading it, it will deform the bullet. Got a "flyer" during qual? Yep, may actually be able to blame the ammo!
Second: the compressed powder filling. It goes everywhere. We noticed right away, particularly with handgun ammunition. That there were what looked like brass flakes decorating the internals of the firearm. Almost to the level where it looked like a small handful of brass powder was released in the chamber. It was even worse downrange. With 4 shooters qualifying on both rifle and pistol on an indoor range, we swept up what had to have been, I shat thine not: at least six lbs of brass powder from the shooting points to the 25m target. That is a lot of debris!
Operational use: ok, the theory behind the use of Frangables as carry ammo is simple. The fear of collateral damage. The thought is that it will not overpenitrate. Just hit your target and not do much damage if missed. I can understand the thought. The Air Marshals are issued frangible ammo for just this reason. The bullet will not penetrate the pressurized aircraft fuselage. Which would really sort of ruin your day there.
The problem: the air marshals are issued new rounds every month. I want you to think about this:why? Because the rounds, being bounced around in a holstered firearm and ammo pouch, start to disintegrate. Thus leaving all that lovely brass powder looking material inside the magazine and firearm. Not exactly good for optimal performance of Defensive firearm! They are also quite pricey! The prices of frangible munitions on the civilian market is about that of most high quality premium defensive ammunition.
And you would have to buy new rounds every month.........
Than there is their ballistic effectiveness. How much damage do you think they can do? It is a compressed powder in a jacket after All! Rather shallow wounds. Sort of like firing a sandblaster an inch away from skin for 1/2 a second. Throw in some of the jacket, now you have an idea. Me? Well I want whomever has made his grievously horridly, poor lifestyle decision to only take a few of my bullets with him into the afterlife. If your aggressor (read:bullet sponge) is a larger person, wearing a thick coat or frankly not in their own mind it will take more frangible bullets to cause them to reconsider their course of action.
Ok, I am not a complete jerk here. Frangible ammo dose have its place. But not as a daily carry ammo. If the firearm remains stationary for most of its usage, it is ideal. Ideal if you are worried about collateral damage in ones home. In an apartment? Thin interior walls, kids room in the cone of fire. So, if this is your situation and you have a dedicated "house gun" that seldom leaves the drawer. This may be a good choice.
But would I carry it with me on my daily duties? Not if I have a choice. I will stick with my 210gr "Z-max" ammo for my carry pistol.
Would I keep some in my home? Yes.
Some food for thought on carry ammo.
Old troopers actual,
|Posted on February 1, 2017 at 5:10 PM||comments (93)|
|Posted on October 1, 2016 at 5:33 AM||comments (108)|
|Posted on May 17, 2016 at 12:21 PM||comments (296)|
There are some guns that you never realized you wanted until you sold one..... For me that was the metric FN/FAl. We have built a few of them. Had one on our sale rack for a month that went to a good home. It was one of those "if I find one for a good price I will get it" sort of deals. Kicked around the thought for a few years. Only cash out of wallet a few times, but never bought. Well three shows ago there was a man set up behind me that had bought many kits when they were cheap and was selling off his stock. Nice guy, talked to him most of the show. Well, ended up buying at a good discount a Imbel lower receiver and an IDF heavy barrel.
The lower was pretty standard. Unlike an ar15, the upper on a fal is the "registered"(serial numbered) part. It had black synthetic hard wear and a paint over parkerization finish on the metal. The seller had already installed the semi auto only fire control group. So, ready to build on.
That barrel however........
Do not get me wrong, it is an expensive barrel I got at a discount. Turns out the IDF (Israel defense force) had two versions of the FAL in operation. The standard infantry version and the "squad automatic" heavy barrel. Well lucky me, found a very heavy barrel! New and chrome lined! Yeah... Happy until I found out it takes rather special parts to get it to full rifle status. And of course, those cost almost twice as much as standard parts.
. Great, so much for a cheap build.....
Than there is the receiver. Found a "assault weapons of Ohio" new unfinished lower. Dam, those are expensive. Almost $400! For a stripped lower!
Took some time and a whole lot of fitting to get this monster together. And way over budget. But heck, is NOT FOR SALE anyways. Finished it off in dark gray parkerization. And than did something I would never have thought I would ever do: put a bipod on it! The rifle is a very nose heavy 11.7 lbs empty. And it even comes with a convenient carry handle.
Than there is this curious part that has to be pounded in with a punch and a hammer. The "breach block support pin". I have been gunsmith ing a long time now, but the full use of this part leaves me a little perplexed. And the fact they come in apparently 25 different sizes throws me a bit. But I think I have the correct one.
Now we get to the fun part: getting the thing to run!
Turns out there is is almost a darn art form to get the gas system tuned. Read the manual. Turned out there is a lot of room for "tweaking" on one of these! Tuned it in the back shop. With a cosmolined BFA from APEX. Tuned it with Austrian brass case blanks. Than just for giggles, tried the German green plastic blanks. Had to crank the system even further down for those...
With that much room for crud and fouling adjustment, it is a small wonder why if you turn over any 3rd world crap hole a few FAL's will come tumbling out. Heck, we found one in Iraq that had been ran over by a tank! Iranian markings to boot!
So, am going to hopefully be able to throw my face behind this thing soon.
Always wondered how test pilots felt.. Sure it passes a bench test, but dose it work? Yeah, not sure... Go fly/ shoot the thing..,,
Stay frosty Patriots, it is not looking good out there.
Old troopers Actual,
|Posted on February 11, 2016 at 12:56 AM||comments (404)|
Allright kids, buckle up, the old trooper is going to take you into the "way back machine" to a magical time called the 1980's!
A time that started before you were forbidden to register any "new" machine guns, a time when you could get new sks rifles right from China along with their clones of m14's and 1911's. A time back when fn/false and hk91's were everywhere and if you wanted an AR15' it had triangular hand guards or only had a 2 position stock. Where "Tacti-cooling" involved a mini mag light and duct tape.
Ahh...... For some of us old farts (or so, I have been told I am now classed into)these were the glory days. Back when the now ubiquitous glock. Was something novel and was studied with a certain degree of curiosity. Back when us gi 1911's were being surplused out by the pile and could be had for under $100. You know, back when Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson still carried Bereta "S" models..
So, we will today shed light on the seldome known market known as "assault pistols"
I know, some of you follow old timers are groaning at this term. It is right up there with "assault weapons" and other "deamonizing" terms. Sort of a bunk media buzz word.
But these paticular guns were lumped into this unwanted classification. An "assault pistol" was a pistol that was to big for a holster and could not be accurately fired with one hand. These guns were named in the infamous "evil looking features" ban of 1994. But back in the 1980's these were all the rage! And brother there were a lot of them!
One could say it even started with the famous (infamous?) "enforcer pistol. This little gem was introduced in the late 1970's. It was essentially a M1 carbine action placed into a stock less paratrooper style stock and mated to a 9 inch barrel. They were still in .30 carbine and took all the m1 carbine mags. Handy little guns, but had no real purpose. There were a few versions out there, from what I understand, most had some rather bad function issues...
But it was a start!
The door opened to all sort of cut down rifle pistols, sub machine gun pistols (semi-auto of course) and some curious open bolt pistols (yeah, try making one of those now). Out came a dizzying array of UZI, STeN, ingram, tc9 and mac 10 pistols. There were even some "tommy gun" Thompson pistols made. It was a fascinating little sub section of the gun collecting culture.
Were they practical? No...
Do they all feel like they need a foregrip or a stock? Yes...
But were they fun? Oh yes!
Just for sheer range plinking enjoyment they could not be beat! They were big and heavy for the most part. And easy (ish) to keep pointed down range. And most of them took large capacity mags. Many taking surplus SMG mags that were plentiful on the pre AWB (assault weapons ban) days. Jus look at many of the movies of the era. Kirt Russell in "big trouble in little China" carried a pair of full auto dc9 pistols. Heck Chuck Norris alowed himself to be seen with a few in his 80's action movies! And yes, I will admit, yes have fired many. Even owned a few. And yes, these beat any .22 for sheer enjoyment on the range. One can spend an entire afternoon of enjoyment with a few boxes of (at the time) cheap Chinese ammo or the bulk box from k-mart. Heck even an undetermined quality Baggie of soft lead ammo. They were just plain fun!
Alas...... Al, good things come to an end.. With the crackdown of Chinese imports and the crippling blow of the 1994 "evil looking features" ban. Banned the further import or manufacture of many of these big, fun pistols. Many of the company's folded up, were sold or changed production to more "conventional" pattern arms. The plentiful, surplus SMG mags all but dried up. And it was just not profitable for many of the makers to make "compliant" models with a 10 round mag.
They almost killed the class....
A few hung on, the tec series is still made to this day. The DC9 series went on into infamy with the columbine shootings. Many are centerpiece a of the so called "thug culture". Sort of gave them a bad name till recently.
But now, there is a rebirth in the class. Many Ar-15 style pistols. Even kalishnicopy types. Some are even made from ww2 pattern sub machine guns. Then there are even new "tec-type" pistols out there made by Mastrerpeice arms in a dizzying array of calibers and configurations all made to take an off the shelf pistol mag. And there, if you look hard enough pistol versions of the Thompson, M3, UZI and Mp5 sub machine guns. Make us collectors that can not afford he real NFA items happy.
So, if you have never given them a second glance, you may want to give them a look. They are certainly a ball to shoot!
Old troopers actual.
|Posted on September 29, 2014 at 10:58 AM||comments (479)|
I know what your thinking.
You polished a turd. Why would you bother with one of those?
For many this was their first handgun. For a few it is all they can afford. The oft melighined Hi point has its flaws, yes they are ammo picky. Yes the mags are sort of crappy.. But they have proven to be rugged reliable pistols. Would I trade my 1911 in for one? Hell no, but would I take the hi-point over a knife? Yes! If I wanted something to abuse and shoot my jacked up handloads out of? YES!
So, step one. Found one off gunbroker for an acceptable price. Was a little worn. But fire-able.
Two: Disassemble, yeah getting the roll pin out is a big #[email protected]#$. This is probably why many of these are never cleaned well. Remove the firing pin and rear block. This area will need a lot of scrubbing.. Lots of crud settles there.
Step three: CLEAN, clean, clean. These are a pain, but they respond well to being cleaned.
Step four: Remove the pain in the ass mag safety. Honestly this thing is a pos, responsible for many malfunctions: your better off without it. Comes out , heck almost falls out easily enough.
Step five: This is where the fun begins. the polishing and stoneing. Polish the barrel. Not to much, but enough to make it slide nicely. Polish/ stone the areas where the slide contacts the frame, nice and smooth and clean. Oil that recoil spring wile your at it!
Step six: This is probably the most important step: The polishing of the feed ramp. This process is what will make many "ok" pistols rock! I will admit, the feed ramp on the pistol as is was pretty crappy. We Stripped it down, polished with emery cloth. Then finished with a fine stone. The sharp edges around the chamber were tapered to ensure positive feed. Good thing about these hi-points is that they have fixed barrels. They never move, unlike most large frame conventional autos. So, the beauty of it, once tuned these become PHENOMENAL!! And, even though it pains me to admit it, yes, they are rather accurate... Heck, it looks almost like you can put glock sights on these.. Maybe later.
Step Seven: Reassemble and oil. Clean, function check and enjoy. Hate to admit, they are an enjoyable plinker.
Now if I was a total dushe, would put this up on arms list as a custom tuned hi-point race gun/match/zombie killer/ home gun/ glock/ 9mm/ appocolopse/ gunsmith tuned gun... And want some insane amount for it. Because it is "custom" and "tested" or as we call it in the industry: "repaired" and "used".. Will even throw in a crappy $5 nylon universal holster...
Yeah,.... no. We traded this one For much less than a new one would go for. I mainly got it to prove that these are not bad guns for the price. Just need a little basic tune.
So, all I am saying: give Hi-point a chance!
What is the worse that can happen? can resell it for as cheap as you got it for.
In other news. We got cleaned out pretty well. Some of my base co workers. Overlord and the Maddi are going out on the payment plan. Not something we do often anymore due to having a "had to have" ar sitting 1/2 paid for for 9 months.. The less than a week old "IDF" Car-15 rifle sold . Did not even make it to the web sight! Sold the .45. Doing good.. Now to get more pistols.. Still have some more target ar's to add to the sales page.