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Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

Bushmaster Carbon 15 Follow up Review.

18 Feb

I bought my Carbon-15 on Halloween of 2012. Its no surprise that when I bought it I wasn’t the only person buying an AR at the time. But I didn’t know anybody else with one of these. In fact until about a week prior to buying it I didn’t even know that anybody made a rifle with a carbon/polymer receiver.

 

All the review that I read on line were terrible for the “1st generation” and pretty solid for the second gen rifles. Well I have now had the rifle for about a year and a half and although I have only put about 12oornds through it. So far it is perfect. One of the debates that happens with this rifle as well as many AR-15 style rifles is that you aren’t supposed to run steel cased ammo through it. Well I am here to say that at least 500 of the 1200 I have but through the gun have been steel. While I understand that it is harder on the gun it has yet to choke and if I experience a FTE I will certainly post about it.

The rifle came with a pretty cheap reddot scope that actually worked really well BUT its still a 1x reddot so I want to put a better scope on it for some longer range shooting because frankly I suck without a little magnification. The rifle also came with a hard sized rifle case that is virtually useless because it doesn’t actually hold the rifle with the scope that they provided mounted. Also although the rifle came with 2 steel 20rnd mags I run pretty much exclusively Pmag-30’s.

So a 16months later the rifle is performing great and as soon as I put a better optic on it should be set up as a nice predator gun. Of course my long term plan is to get a nice .300blk upper and use it as my deer gun but that may take a few more days of overtime to accomplish.

 

A Review of How I Spent My Sunday- Washington Hunters Education Class

18 Mar

I grew up camping, hiking and fishing. Mostly through Scouting but my father made sure that I had a fishing pole in my hand by about the time I could walk. However one aspect of the outdoors that I had surprising little exposure to was hunting. This is for a variety of reasons but mostly it was just about not having any adults in my life whom hunted. Then about 5yrs ago I was invited to go hunting with a few buddies of mine. It was a pretty simple task, I packed up my Mosin M44 (the only center fire rifle I owned) bought some cheap Walmart camo and hit the road with them. I learned a lot that weekend, mostly that I am not by nature a quite person. Its amazing how easy it is to make a lot of noise when nothing around you is making noise. I also learned that the ability to nail a 100 yd paper target from a bench really has very little to do with shooting with your rifle resting on a half-rotted stump while your leaning in between two other tree’s.

So in short I knew almost nothing about hunting other than what was legally required. I knew my gun safety from years of shooting but I kept looking at hunting as a shooting sport which it is not. I knew my hunting rules/regs but that was more out of a sense of not wanting to lose my license or gear.

Then a little over 2yrs ago I moved to Washington and become fast friends with a man that is essentially my wife’s grandfather. He is a great guy whom I spend a lot of time with at the trap range, he and I see eye to eye on pretty much everything and I have learned a lot about a lot of things from him. To say that he hunts is an understatement. The proper way to put it would be that he has an unbroken track record of something like 35yrs of continuously having a hunting license and has hunted everything from moose in Alaska to pests around the property. But mostly he is a deer and elk hunter. Logic would have it that if I want to learn how to hunt, this would be a damn good source to learn from. Only one problem, in Washington I need to attend a hunters ED class to buy my license. Again this should of been simple spend a weekend in a class take the test and be done with it. Well except for the fact that the vast majority of my work hours come on weekends. So last year I decided to take the online Hunters-ed course, that WA state offers. Frankly it was VERY boring. Each of the slides has a minimum timer on it and the timers are LOOONG so you end up reading each slide and answering the questions and then having a few minutes to do anything else before you can click, NEXT. Because of this and because I got bored with it for a while since about 1/2 of the online course is identifying parts of a firearm and firearms safety I plugged away at that online course here and there but never just busted it out until last December.

After the online course you are required to do a 4hr field skills evaluation, essentially the practical test of what you learned. No problem, except for that WA state has way too few of those classes so they fill up FAST. Its very difficult to get into one and about 90% of them happen on Saturday’s which normally means losing a days pay to take the class.

But I got lucky I found one class that was offered on a Sunday (my day off), it happened to be about 75miles away from my house but that’s ok it was worth the drive. An added bonus was that it was hosted at a Boy Scout camp. For me there is something special about spending time at a Scout camp. Many of my best memories were formed at camps like that.

So this morning I drove out to Camp Pigott Boy Scout camp and attended the field course. The first half of the course is a 2hr review of the printed material mostly centered on basic firearms safety and basic hunting rules/regs. Actually a very good fundamental firearms safety course in itself. Then we moved out into the field where each student is handed a firearm, you properly show how to load/unload the gun and how to maintain proper muzzle control. You then take the gun and group up with 2 other people and 2 instructors. The 5 of you walk around a trail course of decoys set up as animals. As you come to each animal you have to determine if they are safe, legal, and ethical to shoot. I liked the fact that there was a big variety of setups. We practiced everything from how to cross a fence with a firearm to how to get in and out of a boat with the firearm. We even spent some time talking about animal ID and shot placement.

Overall the class was informative and I regret stalling to long to take it. I will definitely be sending my future children to it even just for the fact that it is one of the best firearms safety classes I have seen in a long time. It was informative and had a lot of actual gun handing, we did fire 3 rounds each from a .22lr rifle where you had to show basic order of operations and how to load and unload. I was pretty happy with myself putting all 3 rounds into the same hole but then again I was using a scoped .22lr at 20yds so it wasn’t exactly a sniper shot.

I want to give a big thank you to the 15 instructors of the course, all of whom where volunteers they did a great job at running a really well organized class with very few hiccups over the course of the day.

Also I wanted to add 2 unrelated notes, first all the guns we handed where Mossberg brand rifles and shotguns fitted with bright orange  stocks. It was very interesting to see how different people react to different guns. Because the students in the class ranged from an old man who has hunted for many years but not in WA and never took a hunters ed course to an 8yr old girl who looked like she weighed about the same as the Mossberg 930 I selected to carry around. Many of the students where not “gun people” but ended up asking a lot of good questions about the guns that they were holding, my thought is that this could turn into some really good marketing for Mossberg since they are the ones offering this 5 gun set specifically for Hunters-ed classes.

Secondly, after talking with a lot of the other students MANY of us had driven quite a distance because this really is the only Sunday class offered within quite a good geographic area. I will be bringing this up with the guy that runs Hunters Ed at my local range and see if we can get a Sunday Class scheduled since this one seemed to be very successful.

 

Shameless free plug for York Arms

23 Nov

Many of you already have had very positive relations with York Arms. Well I just wanted to praise them for doing something that few shops are wiling to do. They suggested I don’t use their service.

I originally heard about York from JayG who has a personal connection with them, on his recommendation I emailed them about some custom parts for my new AR mostly related to the fact that I am left handed. The two things I was looking for was a left handed .300blk upper and a left handed safety.

On the safety I was told, no problem we could get on that once we play catch up for a little bit (especially since they just got hit with a a mess of hurricane.)

On the upper however they said that they are not tooled up for that yet and referred me to Stag Arms. The fact that they didn’t just say “screw off that’s not what we do” means a lot to me.

I can assure you that when it comes time to order parts for my upper since it looks like I will be building it myself I will make sure to order what I can from York. Everybody online seems to agree these guys rock and the response I got today certainly confirmed that.

If you looking for something that they have you can do a lot worse than them.

 

Want a slow and almost unusable holster?

21 Nov

Hat tip to Caleb for showing us this funny video of a rather dumb holster design.

As you can see in this holster you holster your gun with an empty chamber. And then hope that the overly complex holster functions perfect with your odd and unnatural draw stroke to chamber the round that may save your life.

Although I hate dumb products like this I like they somebody is thinking outside the box. I believe in order for new products to come along sometimes we need bad design first. At least the wheels of innovation are moving.

video here

 

Gear review add on- Carbon 15 Rifle

07 Nov

Yesterday I wrote THIS POST which is basically a quick range review of my new Carbon 15 rifle. Granted I still have only 100 rounds through this gun but I feel like I have fondled it enough to be pretty acquainted  with it.  I am going to skip over the vast majority of things specific to the AR-15 platform since I think the vast majority of us have used an AR of some sort in some configuration at some time. It is after all now the most commonly sold rifle in the US.

Specifically the carbon 15 is much lighter than a standard AR platform rifle. This means that the final weight of my rifle with a red-dot scope is about the same as a flat top AR without any optic. I see this as an advantage when I take it out in the field. One thing I will add is that I am left handed but for a variety of reasons don’t buy left handed guns. I do shoot rifles left handed and normally this does not cause an issue. My AR was the exception to this, I have a nice little mark on my right cheek from hot casings hitting me there. However I noticed that ONLY the steel cased Tula ammo actually hit me in the face. Well that’s a mighty easy fix, just run brass cased ammo. Its probably better anyway in a whole host of ways. The second thing I noticed is that recoil on this rifle like most .223’s is pretty light. Not rimfire light but its gentle and not sharp

I do plan on adding on a single point sling to this rifle as well as a set of quad rails. Prior to buying the rifle I did not realize how expensive rails are. But that’s ok the AR is the erector set of rifles so I can always add on something in due time.

It is no secret that the timing of this purchase was not coincidental  I bought it knowing that I might not be able to buy it in the future. The same reason I ordered a bunch of extra PMAGS as I was watching election returns come in.

 

 

Product Review Bushmaster Carbon 15

07 Nov

Earlier this week I purchased a Bushmaster Carbon 15 rifle. Essentially it is an AR-15 with a fully Carbon upper and lower receiver. This makes the gun right around 5lbs unloaded. When I first saw this gun I really liked it but wasn’t sure about the carbon receiver  So I went home and did some research, everybody loved the receiver but complained about earlier versions of the gun that didn’t have the forward assist.

The newest version does have a forward assist as well as other improvements in the ramping of the chamber. I then called bushmaster to confirm that standard uppers will fit and they assured me that its all standard except for the barrel nut which is proprietary. I picked it up at Cabelas for just over $600 and it included a hard case and a Bushnell red-dot scope. The case is less than optimal and will likely be replaced soon. However the scope is pretty great. For a red-dot it was easy to pick up, easy to adjust and held zero at least through my 100 rounds I put in it yesterday.

The rifle shoots better than me, at 50yds my targets were essentially one ragged hole. When I tried it out at 100yds it was not great but I blame that fully on the fact that I was using a red-dot with a 6MOA dot. Which meant that my dot was the size of the target at 100yds. For this reason alone I may swap out the red-dot for a cheap 3-9 scope but not sure yet.

This rifle will eventually get a .300blk upper for hunting season that upper will have a nice scope on it, which means that I might leave this one as the red-dot which will be superior for home defense and most applications at the range. The gun ran flawlessly with the factory 30round mags from Bushmaster. I picked up a cheap Thermold 20rnd magazine and that magazine had issues. So I immediately returned that magazine to the store and ordered a bunch of PMAGS. Once I get those I will run them through this gun and report back.

More full report to come after I shoot it more, and of course being that I bought this before the election I am pretty sure it will have doubled in value by the end of the week. This gun truly is Tactical Tupperware.

 

 

UPDATE- FEB 5TH 2013

I have noticed that this post has been getting a lot of hits lately. Likely simply for the fact that AR’s are selling lot cheap beer on a Friday night. I wanted to convey how much I love this rifle. Its functionally flawless and runs amazing. Its easy to maneuver with and I really can’t wait to use it beyond the range. I think it will be a really great coyote gun and once I get a .300blk upper on it, the Carbon 15 should make a damn good deer rifle this fall. If you have any specific questions about the carbon construction feel free to leave a comment.

 

Final Review of NM collector

20 Aug

So several weeks ago I started toying with the NM collector software. Then my laptop fan started sounding like a coffee grinder. So I have been using my iPad more.

This means that when I am aimlessly killing time I don’t naturally think about the review I have been meaning to complete. So better late than never.

The software itself sets up really easy and without any hassles. My version came on a self contained USB thumb drive. This was a huge plus for me since it means that my inventory is not stored on my PC or any cloud based storage.

Overall I really liked the functionality and although like any data entry system it took some time to fill in all the fields with each piece of information when its all done it is very much worth it.

Right now I have only input my guns and some of my pocket knives just to check it all out and play with the software a little bit but I could see using this software for not only other collections which for me include model gas station trucks (Like you get from the old HESS gas stations).

I think it might also be useful for jewelry. Although at this point my wife doesn’t have a ton of pieces that are hyper valuable since input is easy WHY NOT keep accurate records in case of insurance loss or other disaster.

There is no question that this software is comprehensive and built to handle collections of virtually any size without issue. While my gun collection is small it’s already helpful to be able to sort the data in different ways.

I am going to begin using this software to track ammunition specifically my shotgun ammo that I use for trap and sporting clays.

With all this functionality I must give one warning. If you are going to catalogue all of your valuables and specifically guns, and it’s all going to be in one electronic record. MAKE A BACK UP AND WHEN YOUR DONE MAKE ANOTHER ONE TO STORE OFFSITE. This information is very sensitive so if you store the information on the above mentioned jump drive don’t leave that thing around and don’t store it in the same place as the valuables that are recorded in it.

 

 

A new thumper in the house!!

01 Aug

For those of you who follow the weekly hilarity that is the Squirrel Report you may have heard a few weeks back that I was suppose to get my new Remington 870 Express Super Magnum. Well as luck would have it one thing led to another and the purchase didn’t happen for a while.

Today while running some errands my wife surprised me buy pulling into the local Sportman’s Warehouse and telling me to go pick it up. After much realization that I may have married the greatest woman  on earth I filled out the 4473 (the much awaited revised version where there are two spots that I have to say what ethnicity I self identify as)

I chose the super magnum for no other reason than I may at some point go turkey hunting or deer hunting where I will need the larger 3.5in chamber for heavier loads. I also am of the belief that for a small price difference I get a lot more, heavier built gun.

 

I chose the 26in barrel length because while I do a lot of trap shooting I have yet to see a huge difference in ability to swing a 26″ or 28″ barrel.

After bringing home the gun and looking it over and cleaning it quickly the plan was to go to the range early and pattern it with a few different loads and then shoot my usual Tuesday night trap with it. Well dinner ran late and I got busy so I didn’t have time to pattern it. So I was shooting the gun “blind”

Well at least tonight it worked GREEEEEEEEEEEEAT. I shot better tonight than I have in a long time and I had a lot of in the zone moments. The first game was a little bit of experimenting and searching as I found where the gun naturally shot. The next two games I shot very well and set some personal bests including shooting 19/25 for the first time.

This gun just fits me better than anything I have shot in the past. A few weeks ago I shot a friends of mines 1100 before making the final decision to stick with a pump gun. While the semi action is nice there is something really comforting about knowing that I can use the same gun for home defense, wing shooting and trap/ sporting clays.

I will write up more details as I use the gun more and my first round of sporting clays will tell me a lot about the gun. Tonight was just trap which was the first test.

I will also post the pictures of patterning the gun when I get it out to the patterning board.

Of course hopefully there will be a video of me shooting some big 3.5in slugs out of that light gun.

 

Bolt Bus Review

23 May

This weekend my wife and I took a quick trip down to Portland on the new BoltBus. Essentially this is a bus service with limited service, right now it only runs between Seattle and Portland on the west coast, with Vancouver BC. getting added soon.

The buses are nice new buses with leather interiors, plug-ins and several seats removed so there is more leg room for all. Each bus holds a maximum of 50 passengers. However neither of our trips had more than 30 passengers on the bus so it pretty much meant that nobody had to have somebody sitting next to them. This allowed us all to stretch out and be comfortable.

As to comfort, it was still a bus ride so it wasn’t plush but it was convienient and efficient. Boltbus advertises that each bus is equipped with wifi and power outlets. While this is true both my wife and I found that the wifi was pretty much worthless and we were very glad that we had smartphones. Multiple times on each trip I tried to stream a movie from Netflix on my iPad and and the wifi kept getting so slow it was unusable. About 1/2 way through the trip home from Portland – Seattle the wifi completely died. So I ended up watching my episode of Jericho on my phone rather than my tablet.

The best thing about Boltbus is the price, each bus has a select number of fares for $1 which they call the “bolt for a buck” program however the regular fares are all under $10 as long as you make reservations. So my wife and I went round trip to Portland for $9 each. Which is less than we would have spent on gas getting to our local Cabela’s store.

Doing the match I can not figure out how boltbus will remain in business I know they are at least partially connected to Greyhound but the math just doesn’t add up since our average one way fare was $4.50 assuming that was the average for the bus with 30 people on the bus that is only $135 which does not seem like nearly enough to cover the expenses of getting the bus down to Portland. But frankly its not my job to run their business because it was well worth the price to me.

 

NM Collector Software, first impressions.

16 May

Over the past week I started inputting my guns and a few knives into the NM Collector Software to see how it all worked and while I will continue to play with it over time I have some first impressions that I would like to share with you all. Overall the software is very comprehensive , it includes plenty of fields for adding data and organizing things how you want them. I can not see any data that would be useful that is not in this program. When I add a gun I can also add pictures, the price I paid, who I bought it from, maintenance records ect. Quite possibly the best feature about this software is that it is entirely self contained with no “cloud” component.

Not only does the software never access the internet after setup if you order the custom thumb drive (or I suppose if you installed the software on a thumb drive of your own) you can remove the drive and secure it separate from your computer. I really like this option specifically as a use of insurance records. Of course I should remind everyone dont put the thumb drive with all your records in the same safe as what your recording, I.E if your tracking guns don’t put it in your gun safe.

The software has a bunch of data to assist you in auto-filling out the forms however the data seems either old or incomplete, while it has all the major brands of firearms when it came to models it did not know the LCP or the M&P. This is an easy fix because once you input a model it adds it to the options in the drop down menu.

NM Collector is not at all firearms specific instead it is engineered to work very well with everything from cataloging guns to stamps, to geologic finds and even has a category for nihonto which I will admit I did not know what it was so I had to look it up. (Japanese swords)

I had no issues with the use of the software other than needing to take a little time to orient myself like you would with any software. It is apparent that this software is made by a true geek for other geeks. The GUI is less than pretty but it all works really well and pretty quickly as well.

As I mentioned before the software is not gun specific however it was created by a gun collector so the firearms and ammo sections are the most detailed from what I could tell.

I will certainly add more later as I play with NM Collector more over the next week or so. But at this point I must say that if your looking for a way to catalog just about everything worth collecting this would be your best bet.

Available HERE

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