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November 27th, 2021

Brownells Black Rifle Specials and Site-Wide Discount Codes

Brownells folding AR stock adapter

Brownells is continuing its popular Black Rifle Friday promotion through this entire weekend. Now through midnight on Sunday 11/28/21, enjoy big savings on uppers, lowers, barrels, buttstocks, rimfire conversion kits, AR optics, magazines and much more. Along with the attractive sale prices, you can save on nearly all Brownells products with special Black Friday weekend Discount Codes. NOTE: These codes are NOT limited to AR stuff — you can save on most products in stock.* But don’t delay, the codes expire soon.

Code RFA: 11% Off $200 | Code RFB: 12% Off $300 | Code RFC: 13% Off $700

Brownells folding AR stock adapter

Most Sale Prices Good Through 11/28/2021 at 11:59 pm CST. The special Discount Codes expire on 11/29/2021 at 11:59 pm CST.

Brownells folding AR stock adapter


*Promo Code Exceptions
Promo Codes are NOT valid on these brands: B&T, Bighorn Arms (Zermatt Arms), Crimson Trace, FN USA, Franklin Armory, Galco Int’l, Glock, Holosun, Kahles, LabRadar, Leica, Leupold, Nightforce, Raven Concealment, Ruger, SIG Sauer, Swarovski, Trijicon, and Zenith Firearms. Also Promo Codes are NOT valid on these product types (and more): barrel blanks, barrels (chambered), barreled receivers, bullets, case tumblers, cleaning rods, progressive presses, reloading kits, rifle stocks, shot, shotshell presses, ultrasonic case cleaners. See ALL Exceptions.

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November 5th, 2021

New Brownells AR Build Resource Site with How-To Videos

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

In the face of growing online censorship across many popular social media sites (such as YouTube), Brownells has launched a new online resource to help customers build their own AR-15 rifles at home. Hosted at Brownells.com/HowToBuild, the new web page features step-by-step, interactive videos. Featuring Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant, the videos show the AR-15 build process with easy-to-follow directions and expert advice. There are currently four AR Build videos: Introduction, How to Build Your Lower, How to Build Your Upper, and Troubleshooting Guide. See all videos at: Brownells.com/HowToBuild.

Access New Brownells AR Builder Video Resource Page »

Each of the videos have an easy search button on the upper left-hand corner, allowing viewers to navigate to specific parts of the video. This will help viewers access key parts of each video and find the information they need. For example, the Lower Video has specific sections on trigger and buttstock installation. There is also a video on how to properly test fire and troubleshoot an AR-15 once it’s built.

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

In addition to the instructional videos, Brownells’ AR Builder Site also provides links to all the parts, tools, and accessories required to build an AR-15 rifle. There are specific links to uppers, lowers, triggers, grips, buttstocks, bolt carrier groups, handguards, barrels, gas blocks, muzzle brakes and more.

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger
Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

“Several social media platforms have banned videos and other content showing how to build firearms,” said Brownells V.P. of Marketing Ryan Repp. “Because of Brownells’ long-time support of the Second Amendment and individual freedom, it made sense for us to create a professionally-produced video and resource center to assist rifle builders of all skill levels make the rifle of their dreams in the comfort of their own home or workshop.”

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November 5th, 2021

Colt Issues Safety Recall for AR-Type Rifles Made in 2021

Colt MSR AR AR15 safety recall double fire trigger issue

Colt has issued a Recall for certain Colt AR-type rifles made in 2021. Here is the official Recall Notice:

COLT’S Manufacturing LLC (“Colt”) has recently discovered a potential safety issue with certain Modern Sporting Rifles (“MSRs”). Colt is voluntarily initiating a recall to protect the safety of its customers because, under certain conditions, it is possible that some of these MSRs may discharge a second round when the trigger is released when there is a live round in the chamber.

For more information go to ColtRepairMSR.com

Colt is committed to the highest standards of quality and customer satisfaction. In keeping with that commitment, during routine quality testing, Colt discovered that hammers that do not meet Colt’s specifications were installed in certain MSRs that were manufactured beginning on March 5, 2021. The issue will be corrected by replacing the hammers in affected MSRs.

The recall only covers a portion of MSRs manufactured beginning on March 5, 2021, and includes the following models: AR15A4, CR6700A4, CR6920, CR6920-EPR, CR6920MPS-B, CR6921, CR6921-EPR, CR6933, CR6933-EPR, CR6960, LE6920-EPR, LE6920MPS-B, LE6920-OEM1, LE6920-OEM2, LE6920-R, LE6933-EPR, SP633784, LE6920SOCOM.

Chart lists all the serial numbers for those models that may potentially be subject to the recall:

Colt serial number recall

Model Marking and Serial Numbers

AR-15 A4: CAR022851 – CAR023250
CARBINE: CR036354 – CR099599
CARBINE: CR713001 – CR722100
M4 CARBINE: CR716801 – CR721500
M4A1 CARBINE: CR021580 – CR022024

To prevent the possibility of death or serious personal injury, Colt advises anyone who has purchased a Colt MSR since March 5, 2021 to stop using it immediately and visit ColtRepairMSR.com or call Customer Service at 1-800-971-3216 to see if your specific MSR is affected. Please note: Not all MSRs within the serial number range in the above chart are subject to this recall and this website offers easy, step-by-step instructions to determine if a particular MSR is affected.

Customer service agents will assist anyone who needs additional help. Our expert craftsmen are ready to upgrade all affected MSRs at our West Hartford, CT headquarters.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 1 Comment »
November 3rd, 2021

AR-15 Rifle Maintenance — How to Keep Your AR Running Right

Barrel cleaning AR15 bolt carrier carbon Jerry Miculek gas key direct impingement

Let’s face it, AR-platform rifles run dirty, at least compared to typical bolt-action rifles. The AR-15 works by piping gas from the barrel back into the bolt carrier, causing the bolt to unlock and the carrier to move the bolt backward. The “exhaust gas” from the barrel contains soot and carbon. The carbon will form hard deposits on the bolt. In addition, the carbon can combine with lube on the bolt carrier to make a nasty, paste-like sludge. This can be particularly problematic when the black paste pollutes the ejector and extractor recess.

This Editor has inspected dozens of ARs over the years. Other than mag-related malfunctions, the most common cause of AR cycling problems I found was oily gunk in the extractor and ejector areas. Many AR owners overlook these critical areas. Look at an AR that hasn’t been cleaned properly and you’ll probably find black gunk (and small brass shavings) in the ejector and extractor recesses.

If you want to keep your black rifle running smoothly and reliably, you must clean it regularly and follow the correct maintenance procedures. Here are three videos that explain how to properly disassemble and clean AR-platform rifles. And then they cover the essential lubrication ARs need to run reliably.

Take-Down and Full Cleaning of AR15 by Jerry Miculek

Here ace shooter Jerry Miculek takes down and cleans an AR-platform rifle belonging to his daughter Lena. This is a good video because Lena’s rifle was “run hard and packed up dirty” so you can see where carbon and grease build up. This 35-minute video is very thorough. Jerry is one of the nation’s top action carbine shooters, so listen carefully to his advice on cleaning and lubrication.

General AR-15 Maintenance and Lubrication

There are various schools of thought on AR lubrication. Some guys like to run “wet” with lots of CLP, while others choose to focus lubrication on the key spots that receive the most friction and wear, such as the contact point for the bolt carrier. We do advice check the ejector recess and extractor spring recess frequently as gunk can get in there, causing malfunctions. Here is a good video from Pew Pew Tactical — a 7-minute guide to cleaning and lubricating AR-platform rifles. This shows important details for both the upper and the lower.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

This video offers very specific advice on the bolt carrier group, which receives the dirty gas directly from the barrel. Be sure to check the extractor and ejector recesses. That’s where old lube, brass shavings, and carbon accumulate. Follow the directions in this video for lubrication, and don’t over-lubricate the bolt carrier — that will only capture more carbon.

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October 13th, 2021

MTM Range Box with Gun Cradle — Very Useful and Versatile

MTM Range Box

One of our Forum members asked us the question: “Does anybody make a good range box with cradles for cleaning at the bench?” The answer is yes — the MTM model RBMC Range Box offers slide-in plastic cradles that provide a reasonably sturdy platform for a quick clean when you’re done shooting. The RBMC box also offers plenty of storage for jags, brushes, solvents, ammo boxes and other miscellaneous gear you need for the range.

Among the many range boxes available, the MTM model RBMC Range Box leads the pack in terms of versatility. It is rugged, it has plenty of storage space, and it doubles as a handy cleaning station. This Editor has used the MTM Range Box to clean rifles and as a “range expedient” rifle holder when adjusting scopes and tensioning action screws. It’s a good product that does the job and stands up to rough handling. The MTM Shooting Range Box is in stock now for $43.80 at Midsouth (green version).

Fitted Cleaning Cradles
The key feature setting MTM’s RBMC apart from most range boxes is the rubber-coated cradle system. Wide enough to fit a 3″-wide fore-arm, the cradles slide into vertical slots on either end of the box. This allows your range box to serve as a maintenance station. The RBMC is really pretty stable in this role, and the cradles won’t mark your stock. The cradles even feature slots on each side to hold your cleaning rods. The MTM Range Box is secure enough to stay in place when you’re brushing the barrel. However, if you’re working on a carpeted bench top, keep one hand on the box when running a cleaning rod through the bore, just to ensure the box doesn’t slide.

MTM Range Box

Versatile Upper Tray with Dividers
The MTM Range Box has two major components — the box base (with cradles), and a large upper tray with hinged top and carry handle. This large upper tray clamps securely to the bottom unit for transport. The top tray has a long section that holds cleaning rod guides, long brushes, grease syringes and the like. There are two, clear-plastic fitted divider trays. These will hold your patches and jags, plus comparators, ring wrenches, and other small tools.

MTM Range BoxMTM offers a black “tactical” version of this Range Box for a bit more money — $48.76 at Midsouth. This Tactical Range Box includes a special bracket that supports AR-type rifles through the magazine well. As show at right, this is red. However, some previous production models had black brackets (see below).

MTM Tactical Range Box


MTM Range BoxWhat Might Be Improved
Though we really like the MTM Range Box, it’s not perfect. First, we wish the box was a bit deeper, to have added carrying capacity. The dimensions of the MTM Range Box are: 25″ long x 11.5″ wide x 8.75″ high. We’d like to see it 12″ high/deep to allow larger solvent bottles to stand upright and to provide more space to carry tools and shooting muffs. However, it is deep enough to hold the large 100-round MTM cartridge boxes that are popular with many shooters (see photo at right).

While we like the twin clear plastic dividers that fit into the removable top-tray, but we wish the dividers had individual hinged tops. This would keep small items more secure.

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October 5th, 2021

Lessons from Camp Perry 2021 — Tips for Service Rifle Shooters

CMP Camp Perry National Matches Long Range Pistol Rifle Commercial Row History

Hi-Lux Optics has created three videos of interest to across-the-course and service rifle competitors. The first video highlights the appeal of service rifle shooting, with comments from 2021 Camp Perry competitors. The second video offers five tips for new service rifle shooters. The third video focuses on the CMP matches at Camp Perry this past summer. If you have ever wanted to share the Camp Perry experience, this last video provides a great over-view of the event.

Four Reasons to Shoot Service Rifle

Service Rifle shooting is fun yet challenging. You need to develop skills with multiple positions and be able to make rapid wind calls. However, the modern AR-based service rifle is affordable and has relatively low recoil. Highly-customizable, modern service rifles can be fitted with adjustable stocks and optional magnified optics. Older military rifles, such as the M1A and M1 Garand, offer different challenges with heavier-recoiling cartridges, greater weights, and classic iron sights. Hi-Lux asked competitors at Camp Perry during CMP’s 2021 summer games what they enjoyed most about competition with service rifles and Military rifles such as the M1 Garand. The shooters’ responses had four key themes: Self-Improvement, Comradery, History (enjoying shooting rifles with heritage), and Challenge.

Five Tips for New Service Rifle Shooters

This summer at Camp Perry, Hi-Lux reporters asked competitors “What advice do you have for new shooters getting into service rifle?” The most common responses, explained below, were: Keep Learning, Don’t Quit, Stay Calm, Practice Fundamentals, and “Get Started!”. These tips will actually apply to a wide variety of shooting disciplines.

00:21 Keep Learning
Every shot you take is a learning experience. There are so many ways to learn — talk to fellow shooters, watch training videos, attend a training clinic such as those hosted at the CMP Regional Games. Don’t be afraid to ask, and never stop learning.

01:38 Don’t Quit
You may hit a performance plateau. Don’t let that stop you. The only way to get better is to continue moving forward. Persevere and continue your training off-season with dry-fire practice.

03:10 Stay Calm and Focused
Go into each shot with a clear and empty mind. While you’re up on the line, it’s just you and your rifle.

04:20 Practice Fundamentals
With the right mindset in place, practice will strengthen your fundamentals. Dry firing can reveal issues with follow-through and trigger pull that might not be noticeable under recoil. This is especially true with offhand shooting.

05:48 Get Started
You’re not too old to start a new discipline. There are many free clinics available, and many local ranges have regular service rifle competitions where you can hone your skills. Learn more about Service Rifle shooting clinics on the CMP website.

The 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry — Return of the Games

After cancellation in 2020 due to COVID, the CMP National Matches at Camp Perry returned in summer 2021 with a full selection of matches for pistol and rifle. This video showcases the unique experience that is Camp Perry — the leading venue for American marksmanship competition since 1907. The video covers different disciplines, including Service Rifle, M1 Garand matches, Vintage Sniper, and more.

CMP Camp Perry National Matches Long Range Pistol Rifle Commercial Row History

History of Camp Perry

“In the year 1907 the machinery of the National Matches, now grown to immense proportions, was moved to the mammoth new range at Camp Perry.”
—James Drain, Arms and the Man, August 1911

Federal legislation originally launched the National Matches. The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches. The National Matches have been held at Camp Perry since 1907. The range is located along the shores of Lake Erie in northern Ohio near Port Clinton. The site was first acquired in 1906, in response to the need for a larger facility for military training and the NRA’s shooting programs. In 1906 Gen. Ammon B. Crichfield, Adjutant General of Ohio, ordered construction of a new shooting facility on the shores of Lake Erie, 45 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. The original land for Camp Perry was purchased in 1906, and the reservation was named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the American naval commander who won the Battle of Put-in-Bay during the War of 1812.

NRA National Matches

On August 19, 1907, Cpl. L. B. Jarrett fired the first shot at the new Camp Perry Training Site. And that year, 1907, Camp Perry held its first National Pistol and Rifle Championship events. This location has hosted the annual National Matches ever since (though they were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID). Typically over 4,000 competitors attend the National Matches each year, making it the most popular shooting competition in the western hemisphere.

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October 5th, 2021

Janna Reeves Explains 3-Gun Competition in Videos

Janna Reeves Brownells 3-Gun multigun video strategie loading

janna reeves 3-gun brownells video female shooterJanna Reeves is one of the nation’s top female 3-gun competitors. She is fast AND accurate, and she knows how to plan her stages to achieve the best results.

In a series of videos produced for Brownells, Janna talks about the 3-Gun game, reviewing the latest trends in 3-Gun firearms and gear. Janna also provides stage-planning tips, offering winning strategies to employ in competition. Though these videos, Janna hopes to help novice shooters. In particular, Jenna hopes to encourage new lady shooters to get involved in 3-gun competition, a fun and challenge sport.

In this action-oriented video, Janna walks through a 3-Gun course, explaining how to plan shots, movements, and reloads. Janna shares tips, tricks, and strategies that can improve your hit percentage and shave seconds off stage times. Janna offers specific advice on target transitions, loading on the move, and stage planning.

Janna Reeves Brownells 3-Gun multigun video strategie loading

In this hardware-centric video, Janna explains how she set up her guns for competition and why she selects specific components and accessories. If you are just getting started in 3-Gun competition, this will help you choose firearms, holsters, ammo caddies, optics and accessories. Janna’s advice helps you get the most “bang for your buck” when assembling your

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September 24th, 2021

Best Guide for Factory Ammo — .17 HM2 to .700 Nitro Express

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

The fall Hunting Season is here. Do you plan to use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book can definitely benefit you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2020 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can also help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

Ammo & Ballistics 6 contains data and illustrations on virtually every sporting cartridge sold in the USA. This 2020 Edition covers 200-plus cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading No Comments »
September 15th, 2021

Watch and Learn — Five Great Shooting USA Videos

Shooting USA video parallax wind reading Sherri Gallagher scope mounting AR cleaning field-stripping

For decades, ShootingUSA has been a leading video resource for the shooting sports and hunting. This popular cable TV show covers shooting matches, and provides expert information on precision shooting, gun maintenance, optics, and defensive firearms use. Here are five interesting videos all worth watching. Learn about wind-reading, gun maintenance, and optics.

1. Reading the Wind — SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher of USAMU

Sergeant Sherri Jo Gallagher of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) shows us how to read the wind in given conditions, and how to apply your wind assessment when aiming down-range. During her time with the USAMU, Sherri won the National High Power Championship, and was the first woman in history to earn the U.S. Army “Soldier of the Year” honors. Sherri comes from a legendary family of shooters — she was raised by Ace Marksman Mid Tompkins and mother Nancy Tompkins, the first female to win the NRA National High Power Championship.

2. Field-Stripping and Cleaning AR-Platform Rifles

Let’s face it — Black Rifles run dirty. On AR-platform rifles, the gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and bolt carrier group. Accordingly, you need to clean ARs early and often, and you should fully disassemble the bolt carrier to access parts and recesses which accumulate greasy lube and hard carbon. This helpful video shows how to field-strip and clean AR-platform rifles. If you own an AR, this is definitely worth viewing. With over 1.9 million views, this is the #1 most-watched video on Shooting USA’s YouTube Channel.

2. MOA Defined — Jim Scoutten Explains Minute of Angle

Minute of Angle (MOA) — this is the most common measurement of group size, and hence rifle accuracy. You hear about shooters hoping to shoot 1 MOA or “half-MOA”, but many folks could not give you a precise definition. In fact MOA is an angular measurement that equates to one-sixtieth of one degree of Arc. In this video, host John Scoutten defines MOA. He then demonstrates how MOA translates to accuracy on target. He demonstrates one-half-MOA accuracy with a Les Baer Custom rifle. This company offers a three-shot, half-MOA guarantee for its rifles.

4. How to Adjust for Parallax

Most precision rifle scopes have parallax adjustment, typically a knob on the left side of the scope. but what exactly is “Parallax” and why do you need to adjust optics to ensure the parallax setting is optimal? In this Shooting USA video, John Paul of JP Rifles defines parallax and explains why you need to set parallax correctly for the distance to your target. The video then shows how to adjust parallax correctly, a process which should start with the scope’s ocular focus.

5. How to Mount a Riflescope

When mounting a scope you want to use quality rings, and ensure that the scope is leveled properly. In addition, you need to adjust the fore/aft position of the scope so that eye relief is correct. Ideal scope position may be different when shooting from the bench vs. shooting prone. In this Shooting USA video John Paul of JP Rifles reviews scope mounting basics.

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August 19th, 2021

3D Cutaway Animations Reveal How AR15 Rifles Work

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

Americans love AR-platform rifles. However, they can be maintenance-intensive, as hot gasses are directed right back into the action to operate the bolt. Because ARs have a somewhat unique (and dirty) semi-auto operating system, we think all AR owners should learn how their rifles operate — from the inside out. This feature provides an “inside look” at the AR, with X-Ray and Cutaway views created through advanced 3D computer modeling.

AR15 Functions Revealed with 3D Computer Animation

Ever wondered how the parts inside an AR15 work together? Just exactly how does the reciprocating bolt carrier feed rounds from the magazine? How do the elements in the trigger group work and reset after each shot? How does the gas system bleed gas from the barrel and operate the bolt carrier? These and other questions are answered in this eye-opening video from 45Snipers. Using “cutaway” 3D computer animation, this 5-minute video shows all features of an AR15 inside and out. This fascinating firearms animation allows the viewer to look inside the upper and lower receivers, into the bolt carrier, chamber, barrel, and magazine.

This video starts off slow and has annoying background music, but it is well worth watching if you own or shoot any AR-platform rifle. It illustrates all the key operations during the charging, loading, firing, and ejection processes. The cutaway animation shows how rounds are stripped from the magazine and then chambered. It then shows how every part of the trigger group works, and how the firing pin strikes the primer. You can even watch the bullet move down the barrel before the empty shell casing is removed from the chamber and tossed out the ejection port. Here are sample frames from the video:

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

How AR-Platform Rifles Work — General Introduction
To help reader understand the general operation of AR-type rifles, this video shows the control functions of an AR and how the upper and lower sections work together.

Cutaway 3D Animation of AR15/M16 Action — Watch Video

Here is an excellent “cutaway” animation by Thomas Schwenke that shows how an AR-15 functions — how the entire loading cycle works from start to finish.

AR platform rifles are semi-automatics version of the M16. These feature distinctive upper and lower receivers which can be readily separated via front and rear pins. The upper includes the barrel, handguard, forward gas tube, and bolt assembly, while the lower contains grip, trigger group, fire selector, and mag well. In addition the lower is attached to the stock which encloses the buffer assembly.

3d firearms modeling gun CGI software encylopedia gun disassembly

The original ArmaLite AR-15 was a select-fire, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle designed by American gun manufacturer ArmaLite in 1956. It was based on Armalite’s AR-10 rifle chambered for the 7.62×51 NATO (.308 Win). In 1959, ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt. Some key modifications were made — most notably, the charging handle was re-located from under the carrying handle to the rear of the receiver. The redesigned rifle was adopted by the U.S. military as the M16 carbine, which went into production in March 1964.

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August 6th, 2021

TECH TIP: How to Take-Down and Maintain Your AR Bolt

AR15 Bolt Disassembly

Accurate, modular, and supremely versatile, the AR15 is America’s favorite semi-auto rifle. But let’s face it, the AR is a maintenance hog. The AR’s gas tube blows carbon and soot right into the middle of the bolt assembly where it cakes on to the metal. The AR bolt also has many tiny parts, and small recesses, which must be cleaned regularly. This author has seen numerous ARs fail simply because there was gunk (dried lube, carbon, brass shavings) in the ejector slot or extractor spring recess.

A Clean AR is a Happy AR — Whether You Run ‘Wet’ or ‘Dry’
There are various schools of thought when it comes to maintaining an AR. Some folks prefer to run their AR “dry” with minimal lube on the lugs and friction surfaces. Other shooters prefer to run their ARs “wet”, with lots of lube. But whatever your preference, you need to clean your AR regularly. And nothing is more important than the AR’s bolt/carrier assembly. Because it is involved in feeding, firing, and extracting, the AR-15 bolt/carrier assembly can be considered the most critical portion of the AR-15 from a maintenance standpoint.

Bolt Take-Down Guide on Top Quark Blog
The editor of the Top Quark Blog has created an excellent illustrated AR15 Bolt Take-Down Guide that shows how to disassemble an AR15 bolt and carrier for regular cleaning. Even if you’re an experienced AR15 shooter, you can learn something from this page (sample at right), and you may want to bookmark it for future reference. The photos are large and clear and there are helpful hints for each step of the process.

The author knows his stuff and offers some important insights. For example, he notes that “Extractor springs in most AR15 bolt assemblies are fairly weak, and this can lead to various extraction-related failures. One of the few high points about Colt assemblies is their usage of higher-strength extractor springs. You can tell the difference by looking at the inner plastic insert. ‘Normal’ springs feature a blue plastic insert, Colt strong springs have a black insert.”

There is one notable oversight on this page — the author doesn’t cover disassembly and cleaning of the ejector assembly. This is actually quite important. A few small brass shavings, combined with carbon and lube in the ejector slot, WILL cause malfunctions. In fact, when this editor is called to diagnose problem ARs, the first things I look at (after swapping magazines) are the ejector recess and the slot for the extractor. Clogged ejectors are responsible for fail-to-ejects and other jams. It is essential that you keep the ejector hole clean. Old, gooey lube residues mixed with carbon and tiny brass shavings in the ejector recess will create all sorts of problems. As shown in the diagram below, it is simple to remove the ejector (#6) and ejector spring (#5), by drifting the ejector retaining pin (#4).

AR15 Bolt Assembly Diagram


NOTE: The original Quark Blog Article appears to be offline (See Quark LINK.) However, this excellent article has been preserved via the WayBack Machine Internet Archives. CLICK HERE to access the Full Quark Blog Article via WayBack Machine Archive.

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June 29th, 2021

6mm ARC Cartridge Featured on Shooting USA Tomorrow

6mm ARC brownells bolts cartridge loaded ammunition hornady

Hornady’s 6mm ARC cartridge will be featured on tomorrow’s Shooting USA broadcast. Optimized for the AR-15 platform, the 6mm ARC (Advanced Rifle Cartridge) was developed in response to a request from the Department of Defense, according to Hornady Marketing Director, Neil Davies: “The DOD guys wanted a platform built that would give them all of the advantages of the .308 [7.62×51] and try to get rid of some of the disadvantages, [such as the heavier] weight of the entire system. So they went from an AR-10 system to an AR-15 system. But they also wanted to engage targets, not just across the street or inside a room, but maybe across a valley.”

SHOW TIMES: This Shooting USA Episode airs Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific; 8:00 PM Central. If you miss the regular broadcast, you can stream the show at any time on Vimeo for $0.99 per episode.

In June 2020, Hornady introduced the 6mm ARC, a new SAAMI cartridge optimized for AR-platform rifles*. The new 6mm ARC is basically a 6.5 Grendel necked down to 6mm, with the shoulder moved back around .030″. That pushed-back shoulder does reduce case capacity (and velocity), but we assume Hornady did that to create a shorter, proprietary chamber so people could not simply neck-down Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass, as has been done for years with Robert Whitley’s outstanding 6mm AR wildcat.

CLICK Image for official SAAMI Specifications:
6mm ARC brownells bolts cartridge loaded ammunition hornady

If you are intrigued by the 6mm ARC, you’ll find the products you need at Brownells — uppers, barrels, bolts, and magazines. Brownells also sells Hornady-made 6mm ARC factory-loaded ammo, but most varieties are out-of-stock right now, as is the 6mm ARC brass. More brass and ammo should arrive soon. Midsouth is also taking brass/ammo backorders. For general information, see 6mm ARC Info Page.

What Is the 6mm ARC Cartridge?
6mm ARC brownells bolts cartridge loaded ammunition hornadyThe 6mm ARC cartridge is a new SAAMI-spec cartridge based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked down for 6mm bullets, with the shoulder moved back 0.030. Yes it is designed to run in AR15-platform rifles. You’ll need a new barrel, bolt, and mags. If you already have an AR chambered in 6.5 Grendel, the ONLY thing you need to change is the barrel. Everything else — bolt, magazines, gas system – is compatible with 6mm ARC.

▶ Official SAAMI Cartridge (not wildcat)
▶ Fits standard AR15-platform rifles
▶ Fits Short/Mini action bolt rifles
▶ Efficient short, fat case design
▶ 30-degree case shoulder

For more INFO, see 6mm ARC Info Page.

What Do I Need To Shoot the 6mm ARC?
Faxon and Ballistic Advantage are already producing barrels, with more manufacturers sure to follow. All the other required components are already on the market for 6.5 Grendel rifles. Aero Precision already offers complete 6mm ARC uppers.

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June 22nd, 2021

AR Platform Video Series from Brownells — Watch and Learn

Brownelss tech tip video AR15 ar platform rifle gunsmithing

Do you own or shoot an AR-platform “black rifle”? Then you know these rifles run dirty, and have some unusual maintenance requirements. On the other hand, the AR “Modern Sporting Rifle” is fun and versatile with a vast range of options among buttstocks, barrels, handguards, and grips. You can assemble a simple 16″ barrel .223 Rem rig for home defense, or build a long-barreled 6mm ARC rifle with bag-rider buttstock and high-magnification optic for long range target work. The choice is up to you.

To help with your black rifle journey, here are four helpful videos from Brownells. These will help ensure your AR rifle cycles reliably and runs longer, with reduced wear. Brownells also explains how to choose the optimal barrel twist rate. CLICK HERE to order AR parts, accessories, and ammo from Brownells.

AR Bolt/Bolt Carrier Lubrication — Smarter Methods

This video shows the proper way to lubricate an AR-15 bolt-carrier assembly. The video identifies the key metal-on-metal friction points where you actually need lubrication: the rails on the underside of the carrier, shiny wear points on top, and just a dab on the cam pin. How much oil/lubricant should you use? The AR-15 is pretty forgiving on that point. Some spots work best with grease, others work best with a lighter oil. Just keep it out of the combustion areas. Those little holes in the carrier are gas vent holes, NOT oil holes!

AR Barrel Twist Rates — What You Need to Know

AR barrels can be ordered with a variety of twist rates from 1:12″ to 1:7″. Basically, the longer/heavier the bullet you plan to shoot, the faster the twist rate you need. For example, Sierra recommends a 1:7″ twist rate for the 90gr SMK. A 1:12″ could work with the small lightweight bullets up to 55 grains. The 1:9″ barrel will stabilize the light and mid-weight bullets up to about 77 grains. We recommend a 1:8″ or 1:7″ twist rate for the best versatility. You’ll find a detailed discussion of AR twist rates on PewPewTactical.com.

Barrel Gas Block Alignment — Key to Reliable Cycling

In this Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains surefire methods to align your gas block. The most common problem with AR builds is poor cycling, commonly caused by misalignment between the gas block and the barrel’s gas port.

Setting Up Gas Tube Systems

This Tech Tip examines AR-platform gas systems, and shows how to select the proper length gas tube, and how to configure multiple tube systems if you change your barrel to different lengths. This is worth watching for anyone re-barreling an AR.

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June 6th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: AR Service Rifle — Focus on Ammo & Reloading

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
The 600-yard target has an X-Ring 6 inches (1 MOA) across, while the 10-Ring spans 12 inches (2 MOA).

The following article is about reloading for NRA/CMP Highpower Rifle competition and is geared toward competitors shooting the AR15 Service Rifle. In Highpower Rifle competition, shooters fire in four stages: Standing slow-fire at 200 yards, Sitting rapid-fire at 200 yards, Prone rapid-fire at 300 yards, and Prone slow-fire at 600 yards. Competitors use a sling for support in all positions but standing. A typical AR15 Service Rifle sports a 20″ free-floated barrel and a 4.5-pound trigger. Service Rifle scopes are limited to maximum power of 4.5X.

Thoughts on Loading for Service Rifles, Particularly for 600 Yards

by Danny Arnold, Team CMP
Article originally published in CMP Shooting News

Before we get started, I want to stress that all of the information that follows is geared toward the .223/5.56 Service Rifle. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing here for anyone else, but the .223/5.56 Service Rifle platform is where I’ve spent the majority of my time, so here we go.

There is only one “Perfect” 600–yard load for my rifle, True or False? This example is more anecdotal than scientific, but it provides some food for thought….

Team CMP spent the early part of March competing in the Orange Blossom Regional. As soon as we got on the range, Sara Rozanski (Team CMP member) started having problems with her 600-yard ammunition. Nearly 1/3 of her cases were exiting the chamber minus the primers. I offered to swap my ammunition for hers, suspecting that my Wylde chamber would be more forgiving than her CLE chamber — a solution that seemed to solve the problem. At least neither of us was blowing primers!

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Sara’s ammunition was a factory load using a well-known 80+ grain bullet with an unknown primer and powder, using brass from a respected manufacturer. My load was a different brand of 80-grain bullet, with my choice of powder and primer, all in brass made by someone else. Given the color of the primers, the only thing that our ammunition could possibly have had in common was the brand of powder… maybe. So, how did we shoot?

Sara and I shot the two-person team together and the entire 2,400 Aggregate, although on different relays. Sara’s combined 600-yard score was 780-28X (97.5%). Mine was a 783-24X (97.87%). Our scores were never more than two points apart on any of the four days. Keep in mind that we were using each other’s ammunition the entire time.

So, we had different barrels, chambers and ammunition, but similar results. That goes back to the idea that a good load will perform similarly if fired in a good barrel.

Are We Too Focused on Ballistic Coefficients (BCs)?
The revailing wisdom has always trended toward loading the highest-BC bullet we could find and pushing it as fast as possible. Back in the early ’90s when I got started with the AR15, the 80-grain Sierra was state of the art. Actually, I picked up all of my Leg points with it, although today it looks a bit dated — kinda like me.

So, the question I’ll pose is this: Would you rather shoot a high-BC bullet that groups 3/4-MOA (minute of angle) or a lower-BC bullet that groups into one-half-MOA traveling 50 feet-per-second faster? The reason that I posed this question is a situation I found myself in a decade ago. Our coach decided that he wanted us to pair-fire some 600-yard for practice. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten the memo and all that I had available was my normal short-line ammunition, loaded with a 77-grain bullet. The shooter I was paired with was using a higher-BC bullet than I was, but in the end, we both shot 198s.

Admittedly, using 77-grainers meant that coach had to work a little harder to keep us together on target, but it was a teaching moment for me. I knew that my upper shot 77s better than the available bullets in the 80-grain range, so I cranked out a windage table for the 77-grain bullet at 600 yards and shot those for the rest of the season. After all, the wind blows ALL bullets around. It’s just a matter of knowing what YOUR bullet is doing.

With the shortages that we’re experiencing right now, a lighter bullet may be all that you have available for the 2021 season. That doesn’t mean that you’re disadvantaged though.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold teaching Highpower Clinic at 2021 CMP Eastern Games

Loading High-BC Bullets
In the past decade, several bullets have appeared that weigh 80-grains or more. One thing that many of them have in common is a very sharp nose profile, whether metal or polymer. The question is: Are you using the right seating stem?

The jacket material in the bullet’s nose is very thin. If you section a bullet, you’ll find that there is a surprising amount of air space in the nose. If you’re using older seating dies, your seating stem may be contacting the bullet nose too close to the tip, where the jacket is the both thinnest and is unsupported by the lead core. This can manifest itself either as a deformation at the very tip of the bullet or as a circular dent around the bullet nose that you can see and feel with your thumbnail. I think we can all agree that denting a bullet is usually considered a bad thing.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

One company goes so far as to recommend their proprietary seating stem for use with their high-BC bullets. Other companies leave it up to you to find a seating stem that will allow the bullet nose to go deeper into the seating stem, moving the contact point further down the bullet where the jacket is thicker and supported by the core material.

Seating Depth and Bullet Preferences
Some bullets don’t mind some “jump” into the lands, but some really do. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t tell you much about that. Your chamber configuration (Wylde, CLE, or some hybrid of the two) and the bullet that you choose will determine your optimal seating depth. Long and short of it, a quality measuring tool to determine seating depth is a necessity these days. Keep in mind that if you’re doing this with a brand new barrel, the throat is likely going to change slightly in the first 200 rounds and may need to be re-measured. Actually, since all of your short range ammunition has to be loaded to magazine length, you’re probably better off developing your short range loads before starting on long range load development. That gives the throat a chance to wear in a bit on a new barrel.

Brass Prep — Why It Is Important
When match-grade AR15s first arrived on the scene, it was amazing how little it took to get them to shoot well. Other than making sure that I had brass from the same lot and running it through a set of match-grade dies, I did nothing. Of course, we were also using a post front sight. Was the occasional bad shot me, the rifle, the load or just an archaic sighting system?

Transitioning to optics has caused me to reconsider how and what I do in my reloading process: That, and having some extra time on my hands to experiment.

A little (or a lot) of time spent with a neck turning tool, a primer-pocket uniformer and a flash-hole reamer will quickly show you how consistent brass is by manufacturer and even by individual lot. That exercise also makes the prices charged for high-quality brass seem ridiculously cheap. That doesn’t mean that I advocate neck-turning or other uniforming practices, nor do I advocate spending scandalous amounts of money on long-range brass. However, our sport is about consistency. The consistency of your brass is a matter of choice, whether you choose to simply segregate cases by weight (cheap option), neck turn (labor intensive) or open your wallet a little wider for premium brass.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Weighing Charges vs. Throwing with Powder Measure
To measure or weigh? For a long time, I used a powder measure to throw all of my 600-yard loads. The powder I was using metered well, and the results downrange didn’t justify the extra time spent with a scale. That was in the day of iron sights though. Nowadays, I’m throwing my charges and trickling up to the desired weight as measured on a scale that weighs to a 100th of a grain.

To quantify the difference between individually weighing each charge versus throwing charges with a powder measure, I weighed six kernels of powder that I trickled into the pan and then dumped them into the hopper. Going through that process 10 times, I came up with an average weight of .08 grains for six kernels. Next, I threw 50 charges for weighing using my powder measure. If I felt the measure hanging up as it cut kernels, I put the charge back into the hopper without weighing it.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
That’s six kernels of powder sitting in the pan — average weight .08 grains.

Those 50 smoothly-thrown charges varied .26 grains from lowest to highest, with the majority varying no more than .16 grains from highest to lowest. If the desired weight was exactly in the middle, at worst you’d be .13 grains (9-10 kernels) low or high, with the majority being off no more than .08 grains (6 kernels) above or below the desired charge weight. Is that enough to send a shot outside the 2-MOA 10-Ring? Probably not.

Has more consistent brass and weighing charges to one-hundredth (0.01) of a grain added up to higher scores? Honestly, this question is hard to answer. Looking at the results on paper at 200 yards, using a powder that meters well combined with a consistent touch on the loading lever doesn’t appear measurably different than meticulously weighing each and every powder charge. Looking back over my 600-yard plots however, I can see a trend toward a group that is closer to X-Ring height.

Since the bullseye is widest at the center, shooting groups that are the height of the X-ring gives you more room for error when the wind is blowing. That can translate into higher 600-yard scores.

How You Load Your Ammunition vs. How You Load Your Rifle
The loading/chambering cycle of the AR-15 is, in a word, violent. You have a relatively heavy bolt and carrier assembly under power of a stout buffer spring slamming forward to chamber each round of ammunition. By design, those rounds were supposed to be held securely by the magazine feed lips until the bolt stripped them off the follower. Obviously, due to their overall length, 600-yard loads can’t be chambered that way. Although the barrel extension is funnel-shaped, it’s also got a lot of “teeth” ringing the inside of it (see below).

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Whether you’re using a standard magazine or a single-round loading device (SLED), dropping a round in the loading port and releasing the bolt is an act of faith in that you’re trusting the bullet to arrive in the chamber undamaged.

Ask yourself, how many times have you seen someone drop a round on the follower, press the bolt release and watch as the bolt jammed on a cockeyed round? If that happens once every 100 tries, how many times did the bolt close on a scratched, dented, or misaligned bullet? Could that be the cause of the occasional errant shot?

My technique is to drop each round on top of the SLED and then push it slightly forward with my finger, partially chambering it before releasing the bolt. Admittedly, some people may be unable to do this due to body configuration or left-handedness, but why go to all the trouble of loading “perfect” ammunition and then damage it on the way into the chamber?

Now that we’ve covered bullets, brass, and assorted errata we can move on to discussing loads for 600 Yards…

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels highpower target
The NRA Highpower 600-yard target has a 6-inch (1 MOA) X-Ring, and a 12-inch (2 MOA) 10-Ring.

Load Development for 600 Yards

Finding a load for 600 yards is a lot like finding a load for short range. Once I decide on a bullet, powder, primer, velocity range and a measured guesstimate of seating depth, I load 10 rounds of each test load, increasing in 0.2 (2/10) grain increments. I test them from the prone position at 200 yards. Ideally, I want to see two loads that are 0.2 (2/10) of a grain apart that shoot almost identical groups. The load that I choose will fall in between the two best shooting loads that I tested. If the first load is XX.2 grains and the second is XX.4 grains, my chosen load will be XX.3 grains.

Why develop loads in 0.2-grain (tenths) increments if I have a scale that measures in 0.01-grain (hundredths) increments? Or, why not test in 0.1-grain increments?

For me, working in 0.2-grain increments gets me to the results quicker. Also, there is a difference between accuracy and consistency in this scenario. Developing loads in 0.2-grain increments gets me to an accurate load. Producing that load using a scale that accurately measures to .01-grain insures a consistent load, assuming that I do my part.

Once I’ve settled on a load, it’s time to play with seating depth, if I choose to. If I’m lucky and the groups are acceptable as-is, I won’t do anything. If I think there’s room for improvement, I’ll experiment a little. Depending on the bullet, changing the seating depth by a couple of thousandths one way or the other may change the group size. During this phase of testing, it’s a good idea to chamber a round and see if the entire round will then extract. If you leave a bullet stuck in the throat, your rounds are too long. Finding that out at a match can ruin an otherwise good day.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold shooting his AR15 Service Rifle, standing position at 2021 CMP Eastern Games.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your barrel is not static. Every round fired has an effect on the throat, vaporizing and scouring away metal until the distance the bullet travels before meeting the rifling measurably increases. If you have chosen a bullet that shoots best when close to the lands, you’ll need to periodically re-measure and possibly change your bullet seating depth to maintain that optimal relationship.

The Elephant in the Room — User Skill Level

There’s really not a delicate way to put this, so I won’t try. There’s little point in spending time and effort developing a load that shoots into half-MOA off the bench if you’re only capable of shooting 2 MOA using a sling right now.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. On the contrary, it just means that your time and effort is better spent practicing with some good short-range ammunition on reduced targets at a 100 or 200-yard range. At that distance, wind is not a factor and your technique can be improved more quickly so you’re in a position to benefit from that ½ MOA ammunition.

About Team CMP
CMP has created a Highpower Team with top competitors. Team CMP competes at several events throughout the year and most importantly, helps to teach Highpower Clinics at CMP Competition Events. Learn from Team CMP at Camp Perry during the Advanced Highpower Clinic, scheduled this year for July 30 through August 1, 2021. Visit the Highpower Clinic Web Page for more information.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally-chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, visit www.TheCMP.org.

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May 7th, 2021

Trigger Options for AR-Platform Rifles — Standard and Modular

AR15 AR10 Trigger Geissele Timney Elftmann 2-stage ALG Defense modularTrigger images from PrimaryArms.com, which sells all the triggers reviewed here: Geissele, Elftmann, Timney, and ALG Defense.

Are you thinking of upgrading the trigger system for your AR-platform rifle? There are dozens of options available, from $45 up to $350. Thankfully, Brownells has created video reviews of some of the more popular AR trigger options from Timney, Geissele, and ALG Defense. And we included a video review of the highly-regarded Elftmann Match Trigger. If you want the best solution for Service Rifle competition, you might favor the Geissele. For ease of installation, it’s hard to beat the Timney, a “drop-in” module. Like the Timney, the super-smooth Elftmann is a drop-in module. At $249.99 from Brownells it’s pricey, but it is one of the best AR triggers out there. If you’re on a tight budget, the best “bang for your buck” may be the “Perfected Mil-Spec” ALG trigger at $49.00.

Multiple AR Triggers, including Elftmann and Geissele, Reviewed

Though pricey ($249.00 at PrimaryArms.com), we really like the Elftmann AR trigger. It combines the best of both worlds — the precision and smoothness of the Geissele with the Timney’s ease of installation. This single stage trigger is user-adjustable from 2.75 to 4 pounds pull weight. It is offered with either straight or curved trigger blade. Primary Arms says: “The amazingly short take-up, glass-rod crisp break and [near-zero] over-travel can be compared to the finest custom 1911 triggers.”

Geissele Enhanced Two-Stage Trigger

Geissele makes a variety of quality AR trigger sets both single-stage and two-stage. Many High Power competitors like the two-stage Geissele trigger. This delivers a repeatable, controlled pull through the first stage with a very clean break in the second stage. The Super Dynamic Enhanced Trigger, shown above, features a distinctive, trigger blade. Reviewer Thomas Conroy says: “The flat surface is very easy to press against. Both stages are light and very distinct.”

Timney Drop-In Trigger Module

This trigger module is available for both the AR15 and the AR10 platform (see above video). Timney triggers are easy to install and come with multiple pin size and pull-weight options. Reviewer Thomas Conroy confirms that the single-stage Timney “breaks cleanly and crisply. This trigger is modular, meaning that the trigger, sear, hammer, and spring are all encased in a bright, shiny yellow aluminum housing.”

ALG Defense Trigger — Higher-Quality Basic AR Trigger

ALG AR15 AR trigger brownellsAccording to Thomas Conroy, ALG triggers “are the perfected version of the standard, non-adjustable mil-spec original trigger. They have the same geometry, but are made to higher quality standards, and come with … hardened and smoothed-out sear contact surface to eliminate all grittiness.” These are also offered in a nickel-boron coated version. Available for under $56.00, the ALG is a well-made, low-cost option for shooters who want a better factory-type trigger system.

For More Information about These Triggers
Learn more about Geissele, Timney and ALG triggers, plus two more AR trigger options (CMMG and Rock River Arms) in a Trigger Comparison Review by Thomas Conroy on Ammoland.com.

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May 2nd, 2021

Sunday GunDay: World’s Lightest AR Rifle — 3.8-Lb OIP Gen 2

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

One of the most radical black rifles ever created wowed the crowd at the SHOT Show Range Day back in 2019. At the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club outside Las Vegas, Battle Arms Development showcased a true “UltraLight AR”. With Titanium and carbon fiber components, the Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 AR-platform rifle weighs just 3.8 pounds unloaded. Compare that to 7.5 pounds (or more) for a typical AR-15.

Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Battle Arms 3.8-Lb Titanium/Carbon OIP 2 — World’s Lightest AR

At the Boulder City Range GunsAmerica Digest Managing Editor True Pearce talked with one of the Battle Arms gun designers who helped created this unique rifle, claimed to be the world’s lightest AR (yes it is lighter than ARs with polymer lowers). READ GunsAmerica Battle Arms OIP 2 Review HERE.

In the video below, True Pearce shows the key features of the $3290.00 Battle Arms OIP 2. Then he tests its function shooting offhand at steel targets. Despite its low mass, and exotic components, the Battle Arms OIP 2 AR carbine performed flawlessly.

The video above features the Battle Arms OIP GEN 2 AR that weighs just 3.8 pounds. To save weight, this carbine features a carbon fiber handguard and various titanium parts including a Titanium muzzle brake. Look carefully at how even small controls have been modified to save ounces.

GunsAmerica reported: “Battle Arms has done a lot of work to find all the ounces that can be spared to make this gun as light as possible.” Even at just 3.8 pounds, the gun is very controllable during rapid fire. Despite a steep $3290.00 MSRP, the first run of Battle Arms’ sub-4-lb GEN 2 OIP sold out. That proves that “light is right”, as least in the AR carbine market.

2019 shot show Battle Arms development 0.I.D. Gen 2 AR chassis system rifles
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Pew-Pew Tactical Review of Battle Arms OIP 2

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

The team at Pew-Pew Tactical also field-tested the Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 rifle. The reviewers were impressed, finding that felt recoil was very manageable, even given the rifle’s very low 3.8-lb weight:

Pew-Pew Tactical Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 Review

The Concept Behind the OIP — Why Go Ultra-Light

Recoil Magazine featured an earlier model OIP rifle back in 2016 (Issue 21). This design was later refined into the current OIP Gen 2 version. Recoil’s writers explained the concept behind this unique design:

Battle Arms OIP Rifle — How Low Can You Go…

“The OIP had its genesis as a simple idea to build a lightweight gun that just plain worked. Dave Lake and Matt Babb of Bentwood Gunsmithing spent years perfecting the concept, incorporating the latest components where they existed and working with companies to customize parts that didn’t. They wanted a well-balanced gun with an optimized operating system and literally no excess — to be as light as humanly possible.

Bentwood didn’t want to utilize polymer receivers and worked with Battle Arms Development to develop a super lightweight receiver set with intricate machining to shave as much weight as they could. They investigated some more exotic material choices, but found them to be prohibitively expensive.”
— Source: RecoilWeb.com

Battle Arms OIP 2 Owner’s Review on TFB

Last year, The Firearm Blog (TFB) published an extensive review of the Battle Arms OIP 2. TFB writer/tester Rusty S. had purchased this OIP 2 rig with his own funds — making a serious $3290.00 investment.

After using the rifle in the field, Rusty concluded: “Objectively, the Battle Arms Development OIP 2 is a very well put together, reasonably accurate and very lightweight rifle. It has proven to be reliable, durable, and soft shooting despite its lightweight configuration. Subjectively, the OIP 2 has proven to be the rifle I most often bring with me into the backcountry with the exception of during deer and elk hunting season. It’s nice to have a 500-yard-capable rifle with me that weighs so little. All that being said, the amount that the OIP2 will lighten one’s wallet by will be a real sticking point for most prospective buyers.” Rusty added: “At this price point, I would appreciate some sort of ultra lightweight flip-up iron sights. I also don’t think the rear of the buttstock is as ergonomically optimal as it could be.”

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Product Description from Battle Arms
[The Battle Arms OIP 2 is] the lightest, purpose-built, no compromise, production ultralight survival carbine[.] It took years in R&D, engineering and multiple U.S. Patents to create the most robust and reliable lightweight AR platform on the market. Building something that is not only lightweight but all the while not sacrificing strength and performance is the ultimate secret of the Battlearms OIP.

Every component, shy of a few detents and springs, are custom built and designed to work together as a complete system. No, you will not find a parts gun here….The OIP utilizes a patented OIP buffer system in conjunction with a lightweight titanium bolt carrier with ArmorTi finish for durability. It is balanced with a custom mid-length gas system and a specially designed titanium THUMPER compensator.

New in Gen 2 is the user-configurable M-LOK carbon fiber handguard and a carbon-fiber pistol grip that weighs barely one ounce. A new titanium billet CNC-machined bolt catch and a lightweight single-side Clutch charging handle are just a couple more of the new upgrades to the OIP. The rifle was designed to be an optics-ready carbine, providing a single stretch of Picatinny rail in the optimal spot for a red dot sight while eliminating the unnecessary weight of the rail elsewhere. The patented, lightweight 7075-T6 billet aluminum receivers are not simply skeletonized and hollowed out but is carefully engineered with structural consideration. The technology and engineering that foes into the OIP® Ultralight Rifle bring forth the next evolution of the AR platform.

Want to learn more? Check out this review of the Battle Arms OIP 2 Carbine on DefenseReview.com.

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March 19th, 2021

AR-Platform Rifle Cleaning Advice

AR15 cleaning procedure

AR-platform rifles run dirty — very dirty. The gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and into the bolt carrier group. That’s why you need to clean your ARs regularly, and you have to pay special attention to the nooks and crannies in the bolt and bolt carrer. The majority of AR failures we’ve witnessed have been from a combination of lube, carbon, and tiny brass shavings that collected in the ejector recess and the extractor spring recess. After that, plain carbon build-up on the bolt can be a gun-stopper too. And you need to keep the barrel extension clean too.

If you’re new to the (dirty) world of ARs, here are two helpful videos from the folks who make Froglube. That line of cleaners/lubes is pretty good stuff, though not our first choice for all AR lubrication and cleaning chores. But these videos do provide many helpful tips. They show the disassembly process and highlight the problem areas to which you must pay special attention.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

How to Clean Your AR-15 Lower Receiver Assembly

NOTE: Froglube also makes a video showing AR upper, chamber, and barrel cleaning. There are practices shown there that we do NOT recommend. Nor do we recommend Froglube products for bore cleaning. We think there are more effective cleaning products.

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March 3rd, 2021

Marksmanship Training — PRO Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Shooting USA Pro tips

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), in cooperation with Shooting USA TV, has created a series of instructional Pro Tip pages covering a wide range of shooting disciplines. All totaled, there are more than 50 USAMU Pro Tips. Most relate to rifle marksmanship but there are also numerous tips for shotgunners and pistol shooters. Each Pro Tip entry includes multiple photos and 6-15 paragraphs, in an easy-to-follow format. Many Pro Tips also include an instructional video produced by Shooting USA. Here are three Pro Tip videos, and links to seven more Pro Tip web pages.

USAMU TOP TEN PRO TIPS

1. Reading the Wind with SGT Sherri Gallagher.
Apart from gravity, wind has the most pull on the bullet as it travels down range. Being able to accurately read the wind and mirage will greatly enhance your performance on the rifle range. National Champion, SGT Gallagher gives you some of her tips.

2. Angle Shooting with SFC (Ret.) Emil Praslick.
SFC Praslick shows you how to determine the angle to your target, and then how to include that to change your data necessary to hit your target on the first shot.

3. Rifle Grip, Stance and Body Position for 3-Gun with SFC Daniel Horner.
Professional 3-gun marksman SFC Daniel Horner, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), give tips on how to properly handle a semi-automatic rifle, including grip, stance and body position.

4. Service Rifle Positions (with SFC Brandon Green)

5. Rifling and Twist Rate (with SFC Ret. Emil Praslick)

6. Setting the Right Zero (with SPC Ty Cooper)

7. Practice Drills (with SFC Lance Dement)

8. Using the Sling

9. Getting Your AR Zeroed

10. 3-Gun Rifles By Division (with SFC Daniel Horner)

USAMU Pro Tips Sherri Gallagher Emil Praslick Daniel Horner

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February 13th, 2021

Triggers for AR Platform Rifles — Single-Stage and Two-Stage

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Some shooters prefer a two-stage trigger because it allows a mental preparation (first stage) before the final decision to “break the shot”.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

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February 5th, 2021

Fundamentals — Sight Alignment and Trigger Control

Marksmanship Fundamentals iron sights USAMU

This video from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit focuses on two key fundamentals of marksmanship: 1) Sight Alignment; and 2) Trigger Squeeze. This video can assist any Service Rifle or metallic sights shooter. The USAMU instructor explains: “You’ve probably heard a lot about fundamentals — Breathe, Relax, Aim, Squeeze… Well that gives a shooter a lot to think about. Here we teach two main firing tasks: 1) align the sights, and 2) squeeze the trigger without moving the rifle. This allows the shooter a much more simplified format.”

The following tips are transcribed from the video:

Task One: Sight Alignment
Sight alignment is the process of putting the tip of the front sight post, the rear aperture, and the shooter’s eyeball all on the same plane. It’s very important to maintain the tip of the front sight post centered in the rear aperture. Just .002″ of deviation can cause a miss at 300 meters. Allow your eye to do its job. While firing, the focus should remain on the tip of the front sight.

Task Two: Trigger Control
Your second firing task is [to] fire the rifle without moving it. This is done through proper trigger control. You’ve probably heard a lot of words about trigger control — “surprise break”, “snatch”, “pull”, “squeeze”… well we teach one thing here: “smooth”. No matter the speed at which I engage the trigger, it’s always going to be smooth. Imagine trying to pull the trigger straight through the rear of the buttstock, holding it to the rear while the gun recoils. It’s important to constantly engage the trigger, never letting your trigger finger disengage from the trigger while firing. This is achieved through natural trigger finger placement.

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