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October 25th, 2023

Learn How to Upgrade and Customize AR-15 Platform Rifles

AR AR15 Armalite Black Rifle Book Gun Digest
Photo Courtesy Cabela’s Gun Sports

Kevin Muramatsu’s black rifle book, the Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15, is a great resource for fans of AR-platform rifles. All the AR options you can imagine are covered: suppressors, premium barrels, adjustable stocks, free-float handguards, ergonomic grips, buffer systems, tactical lights and much more. Those planning an AR rifle build will find application-specific suggestions for 3-Gun, Service Rifle, High Power (Space Gun), Hunting, and Self-Defense use.

AR AR15 Armalite Black Rifle Book Gun Digest AR AR15 Armalite Black Rifle Book Gun Digest

Firearms expert Muramatsu offers advice on choosing the right stock/barrel/optics configuration for your particular game. He also discusses the wide variety of options for slings, grips, magazines and other accessories. With over 520 photos, the book includes a large photo gallery of customized ARs, and includes bonus coverage of the FAL and other “tactical” firearms. The Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15 is available from (#ad) for $35.95, and a Kindle eBook version is offered for $14.99. The book is also sold by Barnes & Noble, and most other major booksellers.

As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases.

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May 2nd, 2023

Lawsuit Filed to Block Anti-Gun Law in Washington State

Washington sate HB 1240 semi-auto rifle ban, Lawsuit, second amendment Governor inslee

With the oppressive Washington House Bill 1240 (HB 1240) being signed into law on 4/25/23 by Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, a legal action has been filed in Federal District Court (Eastern Washington) by several plaintiffs to combat this overreaching legislation. The case, Banta et al v. Ferguson seeks a temporary and permanent injunction based on the unconstitutionality of HB 1240. There is an additional action filed by the Second Amendment Foundation. That other lawsuit, named Hartford v. Ferguson, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Full Lawsuit Complaint .PDF Version HERE »

Banta et al vs. Ferguson
The action contesting HB 1240 was filed in the Eastern District of Washington, U.S. District Court. Plaintiffs include Amanda Banta (2012 Olympian Sport Shooter), Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop, The Range LLC, Aero Precision LLC, and the NSSF. The complaint is filed against defendants Robert W. Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington State, and John R. Batiste, Chief of the Washington State Patrol.

“We do not agree with this law and we do not think it is constitutional,” said Scott Dover, CEO of Aero Precision. Dover explained: “HB 1240 bans some of the most common firearms and parts available. It impacts the lawful ownership of products we manufacture and sell to thousands of our customers in the State of Washington. It also restricts the rights of the individuals, Aero Precision employees, who make these parts. We will fight this law in the courts and are confident in the outcome given the clear rulings in multiple Supreme Court cases, including Heller and Bruen.”

Banta et al vs Robert W. Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington State

Description: Aero Precision has filed a lawsuit in conjunction with several other plaintiffs to combat the overreaching semi-auto rifle ban legislation by the state of Washington.

Washington sate HB 1240 semi-auto rifle ban, Lawsuit, second amendment Governor inslee

About Aero Precision
Aero Precision is a firearms manufacturer based in Tacoma, Washington. Aero Precision has been in business in Washington since 1994, originally starting in the Aerospace industry. Today, Aero Precision is the largest firearms manufacturer in Washington, employing roughly 650 employees in Washington and over 200 in other states. Aero Precision manufacturers AR Parts and components, bolt-action rifles, suppressors and more.

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April 29th, 2023

Saturday at the Movies: AR-Platform Varmint Rifles

.17 wsm 20 practical ar-15 ar ar15 varmint rimfire

With spring soon changing to summer, we are in peak varmint season in many parts of the country. In an area with a high number of critters, a semi-auto varmint rifle is a good choice. You get quick follow-up shots, with reliable 20-rd and 30-rd magazines.

For this Saturday at the Movies Showcase we feature a variety of semi-auto, AR-platform rifles chambered for efficient, high-velocity varmint ammo. Cartridges include: .17 WSM, .17 Remington, .20 Practical, .204 Ruger, .22 Grendel, .223 Rem, and 6mm ARC. We conclude with a video that reviews a variety of lead-free .223 Rem ammo types.

Rock Chuck Hunting in Eastern Oregon

This video has some great backcountry footage. The host nails a number of rockchucks with his .223 Rem-chambered AR-15. The shooter says that the default AR-15 cartridge works great for varmints: “The .223 Remington becomes a rockchuck hunter’s friend with the right load: Nosler 40gr Ballistic Tip loaded over a stuffed case of H335 powder. This achieves 3800 FPS with excellent accuracy.”

.17 Remington AR-15 — Small Bullet, Ultra-High Velocity

The .17 Remington wildcat is based on the .223 Remington case necked down to .172″, with the shoulder moved back. High muzzle velocity (4000+ FPS), flat trajectory, and very low recoil are the .17 Remington’s primary attributes. It has a maximum effective range of about 440 yards on prairie dog-sized animals, but the low BCs of the small .17-cal bullets makes them quite susceptible to crosswinds at such distances.

.17 wsm 20 practical ar-15 ar ar15 varmint rimfire

This video was created in spring 2022, just in time for Rockchuck and Thermal Coyote hunts. The host noted: “This was my first experience with the .17 Remington, but I was not unaware of its history and steady popularity among varmint and predator hunters. Although finding an available and affordable .17 Remington bolt-action rifle is nearly impossible nowadays, building one in an AR-15 was simple and straight-forward.” The video has full description of all the components for the build. The .17 Rem is fast — the 25gr bullet runs 3777 FPS from an 18″ barrel (see 01:42 time-mark). READ Full Story.

.17 WSM Rimfire in Franklin Armory F17-L

What’s the ultimate rimfire varmint rifle? An AR chambered for the .17 WSM could be the answer. Eric Mayer of states: “The Franklin Armory F17-L in .17 Winchester Super Magnum (WSM) has a lot of firsts. It is the first semi-automatic rifle in .17 WSM now available to the general public. It is the first gas-piston system, AR-15 rimfire rifle built in partnership between Franklin Armory and Osprey Defense.”

Eric has used the .17 WSM AR shooting ground squirrels, rock squirrels, prairie dogs, and rabbits. Eric notes: “The report of the .17 WSM is nowhere near as loud as most of the centerfire [varmint] cartridges. I found that when I shot the FA-17, it did not cause the other ground squirrels… to run for cover. The lack of recoil … allowed me to see right where I hit [and] if I happened to miss, [low recoil] made for quick corrections for wind, or distance.” READ Full Report

.17 wsm varmint rimfire
The .17 WSM is a much larger, more powerful round than the .17 HMR. See the size difference above.

Eric Mayer created his own custom .17 WSM AR-15 varmint rifle, built with a Franklin Armory F17-V4 Upper, Aero Precision Lower, and Magpul stock. This was used in California and Arizona. READ Full Story.

.20 Practical — Fast, Accurate, Easy to Form

The .20 Practical cartridge is simply a .223 Rem necked down to .20 caliber. This is a great choice for prairie dogs — and probably our favorite wildcat for the AR-15. Just neck down your .223 Rem brass, fit a .20-Cal barrel and you’re good to go. Robert Whitley notes the the .20 Practical “is a perfect cartridge for varmint hunting and general shooting — very accurate and fast! It functions 100% out of an AR-15.”

The .20 Practical offers some notable advantages for high-volume varmint shooters. The .20 Practical delivers very high velocity with very low recoil while still providing outstanding accuracy. The .20 Practical is great option for folks who favor “fast and light” — smaller, lower-mass bullets traveling at very high velocities. This little cartridge can launch 40-grainers at over 3900 FPS, and 32-grainers even faster. This makes the .20 Practical a great choice for an AR-based varmint rifle.

20 Practical.20 Practical Ultimate AR Varminter
A decade ago created a .20 Practical AR15 Ultimate Varminter with a custom 20-caliber upper from Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC. That project rifle was ultra-accurate — every 5-shot group out of the gun was less than the size of a dime. That gun was auctioned off, but Robert Whitley continues to produce custom 20 Practical AR-15 uppers.

You make .20 Practical cases by simply necking down .223 Rem brass to .20 caliber. You can start with standard .223 Rem brass and even load with standard .223 Rem dies. Just swap in a smaller expander and use smaller neck bushings.

Prairie Dog Hunt with .204 Ruger AR — Watch The P-Dogs Fly

The video was created during a 2018 prairie dog safari. It has stunning footage of hits on P-Dogs at multiple distances. You can see over FIFTY hits with some amazing P-Dog aerials. Watch the first flyin’ dog at 00:20 time-mark and there’s a truly spectacular gut-busting hit at 3:13. That shows the potency of a high-speed .20-cal projectile. The shooter was using a custom-built AR-15 chambered in a .204 Ruger. That cartridge was driving 35gr Berger hollow point bullets at a stunning 4050 FPS! The rifle was fitted with a Dakota silencer suppressor and many other custom components. If you’ve never tried prairie dog hunting, watch this video start to finish and you may be hooked.

6mm ARC AR-15 Varmint Rig

This video examines the 6mm ARC cartridge from a varmint hunter’s perspective. Created by Hornady, the 6mm ARC was designed for target shooting and medium-sized game both in bolt guns and Modern Sporting Rifles. Hornady states: “The 6mm ARC … fits in an AR-15-pattern action, functions reliably out of standard-capacity 24- or 17-round magazines. It delivers substantially better ballistics than the .223 Rem[.]” This video examines how the 6mm ARC performs in an AR-15 for varmint and predator hunting. The host reviews available factory varmint loads. The video also examines reloading components for the 6mm ARC — brass and bullets. CLICK HERE for full article.

Cottontail Rabbit Hunting with Suppressed .204 Ruger AR-15

As a varmint hunting tool, the .204 Ruger in an AR-15 is a versatile, worthy cartridge/rifle combo for the job. This video covers a cottontail rabbit hunt. The host states that “We were contacted by a farmer who was being slammed with cottontail rabbits eating out huge portions of his alfalfa fields.” This suppressed .204 Ruger AR-15 proved seriously effective on the rabbits, driving high-velocity rounds with impressive accuracy. See more details on the website.

.22 Grendel-Chambered AR-15 — Impressive Velocities

The .22 Grendel is an extremely accurate and efficient cartridge based on the 6.5 Grendel necked down to .22 caliber. The case can drive 55gr varmint bullets at high velocities — over 3500 FPS. With a faster-twist barrel you can load up to 90gr bullets at 2500 FPS. The tester achieved velocities close to a 22-250. The short, fat case fits in AR-15 magazines, but may not feed as reliably during rapid fire. The tester did experience one double-feed.

Lead-Free Ammo Offerings Tested in .223 Rem AR-15

Some states — such as California — prohibit hunting with bullets that contain lead. If you plan to hunt in an area with such restrictions, you’ll need to find a lead-free substitute. Thankfully a number of manufacturers produce ammo with solid brass projectiles or other lead-free bullet designs. This video reviews .223 Remington no-lead ammunition from Cor-Bon, Hornady, Nosler and Winchester. These ammo types were tested in a AR-15 varmint rifle, used in a coyote hunt featured at the end of the video. SEE Full Story on

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October 21st, 2022

NSSF Sponsors Photo Contest for Hunters with MSRs

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF

The NSSF is running a MSR Photo Contest for hunters. Submit a hunting photo with a semi-automatic modern sporting rifle (MSR) and you can win one of two valuable guided hunts — a Mississippi Deer Hunt or Louisiana Hog Hunt. Through its #LetsGoHunting with MSRs Photo Challenge, the NSSF encourages hunters to share memorable hunting experiences when using MSRs. There are many photo styles that can be submitted — selfies, trophy photos, group photos, and firearms in the field.

Enter by posting an Instagram hunt photo using an MSR, such as an AR-15 or AR-10. All valid entries must include a photo showing a MSR in use such as the AR-15, AR-10, carbine, and similar variants. Entries must be submitted no later than January 31, 2023. Winners will be selected by drawing. Photos are only eligible for this sweepstakes if they contain a modern sporting rifle and depict proper firearm safety. Please read the official Photo Challenge Rules for more information. It is easy to enter the contest:

1. Take a photo while hunting using a Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR)
2. Post the photo to Instagram including #LetsGoHunting in the caption.

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF

Hunting with Modern Sporting Rifles
MSRs, today’s popular semi-automatic rifle designs, are used by more and more hunters. Modern Sporting Rifles are used for many different types of hunting, from varmint to big game. MSRs are chambered for a wide variety of calibers and cartridge types, from 20 Practical to .338 WSM. MSR’s ruggedness and versatility serve hunters well. And MSR modularity allows MSRs to be configured for various applications.

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF
Tactical Life Night Shooter — #LetsGoHunting #nightshooter #hoghunter

NSSF thanks The Confluence Group for donating the prize hunts to help encourage hunters to participate in the MSR Hunting Photo Challenge. Learn more here.

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August 1st, 2022

House of Representatives Votes to Ban Modern Sporting Rifles

U.S. House representatives semi-auto assault rifle gun ban AR-15 AR15 senate washington biden pelosi NSSF
By a 217-213 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill that would ban mag-fed semi-automatic rifles for the first time since 2004, with two Republicans voting for the measure and five Democrats voting against it. This article features the NSSF’s response to this new legislation, which would ban sales of AR-type rifles and some pistols.

NSSF Denounces Unconstitutional Gun Ban Passed by U.S. House of Representatives
NSSF, the firearm industry trade association, condemns the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 1808, the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2022″, as amended. The legislation ignores the Constitutional right, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, for law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms that are in common use. NSSF estimates that there are over 24.4 million Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) in circulation in America between 1990 and 2020.

“This legislation is as dangerous as it is revealing of the contempt for which the House Democrats hold for the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court”, said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Chairman Jerrold Nadler admitted during debate in his committee that he didn’t care the legislation was unconstitutional and defied Supreme Court precedent. Democratic representatives are not fulfilling the interest of ‘the People,’ instead representing special-interest gun control groups that seek to disarm law-abiding citizens and scapegoat them for crimes committed by others.”

The MSR remains the most-popular selling centerfire semiautomatic rifle in the United States today. There are more MSRs in circulation today than there are Ford F-Series trucks on the road. The Supreme Court upheld that commonly-owned firearms are lawful for private ownership in both the Heller and Bruen rulings. Banning of an entire class of semiautomatic firearms can be viewed as nothing short of an outright infringement of Second Amendment rights — rights which belong to the people and not the government. This legislation, however, also includes some semiautomatic shotguns and handguns.

This legislation does nothing to improve public safety, as it doesn’t address criminals acting without regard for law or innocent life. Instead, it will put the lives of those who obey the law at greater risk by denying them an entire class of firearms that are used for home defense.

The previous 1994 Assault Weapons Ban proved to be ineffective at reducing crime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded the “assault weapons ban” did not result in crime reduction. (See Analysis).

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows more murders were committed by individuals using knives, fists and clubs than by those using any rifle – not just MSRs like AR-15s.

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December 31st, 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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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

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 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 »
May 13th, 2020

Shooting USA Worth Watching This Week — Multiple Features

bianchi cup shooting usa tv model 1903 springfield sniper rifle

There is a great multi-part episode of ShootingUSA on the Outdoor Channel this week. This week’s show covers the Bianchi Cup, AR rifles from Colt and S&W, the historic Model 1903 Springfield, Smith & Wesson 10mm Model 610 Revolvers. Plus there is a bonus Pro Tip segment on how to mount and align riflescopes. If you receive the Outdoor Channel, you can see this excellent hour-long show today (5/13/2020) at 9:00 pm Eastern/Pacific, or 8:00 pm Central.

If you miss the show, or don’t get Outdoor Channel on cable, all ShootingUSA episodes are available “on demand” through You can subscribe for $3.99/mo, or watch any specific episode for a modest $0.99 fee. Under a buck for an hour’s entertainment? That’s a lot cheaper than going to the cinema.

Lead Feature: Bianchi Cup

27 years ago Doug Koening, who has won the Bianchi Cup 18 times, set the standard with a 1920 score. Since then, every Open shooter knows that he or she must “clean” this match (i.e. score a “1920”) to have a chance to take the title of “Champion”. The X-Count is the tie-breaker.

Shooting USA Bianchi Cup doug koenig

Feature: M1903 Springfield Rifle

The M1903 Springfield served in both WWI and WWII. The accuracy and quality and service life have clearly made the ’03 Springfield one of History’s Guns.

model 1903 springfield sniper rifle

Feature: Smith & Wesson Model 610

The Smith and Wesson Model 610s are back and now chambered in 10mm. The Model 610 is a N frame, all stainless-steel construction, in a choice of barrel length – four inch, or six-and-a-half-inch.

model 1903 springfield sniper rifle

Pro Tip — Mounting a Scope

In this episode, John Paul from JP Enterprises shows his method of Truing a Riflescope. He says: “If you’re going to be successful you need to lay down a solid foundation. One of those basic foundation blocks is making sure that your scope is true to the rifle.”

model 1903 springfield sniper rifle

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April 11th, 2020

Trigger Tech: Trigger Options for AR-Platform Rifles

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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March 6th, 2020

NRA Fights Anti-Gun and Mag Ban Initiatives in Oregon

NRA lawsuits Oregon Initiative Petition 60 61 62 assault rifle magazine

This week the NRA filed legal challenges against Initiative Petition 61 and Initiative Petition 62, which severely restrict and regulates commonly-owned firearms (and magazines), making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

NRA previously filed a legal challenge against Initiative Petition 60 last Friday. The legal challenges assert that the ballot titles violate Oregon law (ORS 250.035) by not alerting voters of the changes in the law proposed in the measures.

Initiative Petition 60 would enact the separate aims of two related measures, Oregon Regulation of Firearms Initiative (Initiative #61) and Oregon Regulation of Ammunition Initiative (Initiative #62). Initiative #61 would regulate certain firearms, and Initiative #62 would restrict the sale, purchase, and transfer of ammunition magazines that contain more than 10 rounds.

Initiative Petition 61 restricts many commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms it deems as “assault” firearms based on cosmetic features that do not fundamentally change how they operate. In addition this petition bans certain rifle sales to young adults 18-20. The NRA states: “Semi-automatic firearms fire only one shot per action of the trigger, have been available to American consumers for over a century, and are used by law-abiding citizens for a wide range of legitimate purposes. It will become more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights as this initiative imposes a mandatory waiting period, training requirement, and redundant background check before law-abiding citizens can take possession of the affected firearms.”

Initiative Petition 62 bans any magazines with a capacity greater than ten rounds of ammunition. The NRA notes: “Magazines that hold more than ten rounds are standard equipment for commonly-owned firearms that many Americans legally and effectively use for an entire range of legitimate purposes, such as self-defense or competition. While citizens who own banned magazines prior to the effective date are ‘grandfathered’ and are allowed to retain them, the restrictions make them unusable for self-defense. Pre-ban magazines may not be loaded into a firearm during transport and are subject to one-size-fits-all storage requirements.”

NOTE: The sponsor of these anti-gun initiatives, the left-wing Lift Every Voice Oregon, attempted to place similar initiatives on the ballot in 2018 but failed due to legal challenges to the inadequate and deceptive summaries provided on the ballot.

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January 22nd, 2020

Black Rifle Blow-Ups — Shocking AR 15 Kaboom Collection

AR15 AR-15 Kaboom explosion pistol powder accident catastrophic destroyed
AR15 Kaboom big photo
This shocking photo of destroyed AR-15 bits and pieces was posted on Facebook by William Walter, a firearms instructor. William said this was “The worst AR-15 blow-up I have ever seen. The case head literally atomized …you can see the brass residue on the parts. The bolt was split in two also.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with AR-platform rifles (well, except that they run dirty). Over the past six decades Eugene Stoner’s semi-automatic design has proven its merits in military and civilian applications. You may not know, but the original AR from 1955 was a .30-caliber. The Armalite AR-10 shot the 7.62×51 cartridge. Later, at the request of the U.S. Military, Armalite created a smaller version that became the M16/AR15. The rest was history. Now there are millions of AR “black rifles” in the hands of soldiers and sportsmen.

With so many ARs in circulation, it’s no surprise that some get used by folks who don’t know how to hand-load or otherwise fail to follow safe gun practices. The AR is actually a pretty sturdy rifle, but when it’s fed bad ammo, or abused, bad things can happen. Very bad things… commonly known as Kabooms.

Black Rifle Duplex Kaboom

The American Shooting Journal (ASJ) has compiled a set of particularly extreme AR Kabooms. Compiling the “evidence” from various web sites, ASJ has published nine (9) of the most Unbelievable AR-15 Fails. Here are two of the worst “AR-15 Fails”. CLICK HERE to see them all.

Nothing but busted parts after this catastrophic Kaboom…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Notice the bolt is still stuck in the barrel extension … with the rest of the gun in pieces.
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Another view of this sad blow-up…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

These catastrophic AR failures are eye-openers, that’s for sure. ASJ cautions: “Any weapon can fail if given the wrong ammunition, faulty reloads or a plugged barrel. Always be aware of what can happen at anytime if you fail to follow common sense and gun safety rules.”

ASJ Sources: Photobucket, Armory Blog, Pinterest, Northeastern Arms, Eric Nestor

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Tactical, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
September 3rd, 2019

Black Rifle Trigger Fest — AR15 and AR10 Triggers Reviewed

AR15 AR10 Trigger Geissele Timney Elftmann 2-stage ALG Defense modularTrigger images from, 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 $300. 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 Elftman is a drop-in module. At $249.00 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 which starts at around $45.00.

Multiple AR Triggers, including the Elftmann and Geissele, Are Reviewed in this Video

Though pricey ($249.00 at, 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

According 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 nickle-boron coated version. Available for under $45.00, 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

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