- Lorcin Engineering
- Davis Industries
- Sedco Industries
- Cobra Enterprises
- Sundance Industries
- Heritage Manufacturing
- Talon Industires
- Kel Tec CNC
- Taurus Manufacturing Incorporated
- Harrington & Richardson Incorporated
- Magnum Research Incorporated (some people know magnum might have something to do with guns)
- Sturm Ruger & Company
- Kimber Manufacturing
Monday, July 19, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Milled Recievers are the nicer AKs. They're just too expensive. The cheapest milled AK on the market right now is a Polish model available from Century Arms for about $650. These guns feel much more solid than your average stamped AK. the bolt carrier just feels so much more solid.
The other design features a stamped reciever. Stamped reciever guns are less expensive than milled guns. These are available from several countries such as Bulgaria and Romania. because they are made utilizing a flat piece of steel that's then bent, welded, and riveted into shape, the whole gun is much cheaper to build than a milled gun. It may sound like a lot of work, but the cost of materials and machine work is still cheaper than taking a block of metal and having it sit on a series of expensive milling machines that drill out all of the necessary gaps in the metal.
It is widely held that stamped AKs are not nearly as accurate as milled reciever guns. Milled guns don't twist and flop around like stamped guns do, which leads to better accuracy.
If you're on a budget, go ahead and get a stamped AK. They're a little loose feeling, but they're much cheaper, costing only about $400.
Saigas are made in various calibers including 223 Rem, 7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, 7.62x51mm (.308 Win), and shotgun calibers .410 and 12 gauge.
I don't understand why people convert Saigas unless they're in 308 or shotgun calibers. Doing a Saiga conversion on a gun in 7.62x39 or 5.45x39 seems like a total waste. For what it costs (in both time and in parts) to make a Saiga look like an AK, you could've bought an AK instead: a gun that is what it is, not trying to be something that its not. If you want to get an AK pattern gun in 7.62x39 or 5.45x39, go for it! get a real AK, a WASR for $400 out the door or a Polish Tantal AK74 for just a little more. The WASR and the Tantal are real AKs, not some fooled around with wanna-be AK.
I totally understand converting AKs in .308, .410, and 12 gauge because you can't get an AK pattern with that evil pistol grip. The conversion itself is rather involved, not just dropping in a few parts. The conversion requires drilling out rivets, grinding out welds, and refinishing the unfinished portion of the underside of the reciver. If you have one of the .308s, .410s, or 12 gauges, go for that conversion! If you've got one of the other calibers, go ahead and get a real AK. No conversion required for the same money or less.
The Albanian SKSs are easily identified because of their forestocks which have a longer section of wood covering the gas system than other SKS models. The bolt handle on these models feature a smooth hooked place for the operator's finger to chamber a round while all other SKS bolts have a rounded, knurled bolt handle.
Romanian SKS rifles are rare. They look like Chinese SKS rifles, but are imported from Romania.
Chinese SKS rifles were made by Norinco. The Norinco company is still in business, but they don't import many models to the United States, thanks to trade agreements by former president Bill Clinton. Norinco SKS rifles are the cheapes in the US makret because there were a ton of them sold in the 1990s, imported by various countries. The market is still rather flooded with them, hense the low price compared to other SKS variants. Worthy of mention are the SKS-M and SKS-D rifles, which accept double stack AK magazines from the factory.
Yugo SKS rifles are a strange design. Either you love them or you hate them. I used to hate the look of the Yugo SKS rifles, but the design really grew on me. The grenade launcher attachment as well as the jungle gym styled grenade launching sights make the gun look particularly busy towards the muzzle end. Yugo guns are the only guns currently being brought into the country and can be had for about $325 at gun shows, but they often sell out quickly.
Russian SKS rifles are in my opinion the most beautiful SKSs ever produced. Many of them had laminated stocks which often exhibit great coloration. Russian SKSs have a reciever cover with a star and the year of manufacture, so its easy to date a Russian SKS as long as that cover hasn't been replaced.
SKS rifles in general, no matter what country of origin, are a great way to get into shooting the 7.62x39mm caliber. For $300 to $450, you get a milled reciever rifle capable of surprising accuracy considering the distance shortfalls of the 7.62x39mm cartridge.
For 9mm handguns, it wouldn't really matter what, as long as the gun works well and is relatively high capacity. When i say high capacity, I think 15 rounds or more.
I like AK rifles because they don't need any upkeep and they'll always work with whatever garbage cheap ammo you can find to feed through them. The reliability in adverse conditions is unparalelled. Covered in mud, sweat, blood, and more, it'll still work just fine. I want a gun with a near zero failure rate if the shit ever hits the fan.
The other popular assault style weapon in this country is the AR-15 platform. These guns have something going for them: ammo availability. If we were in a situation where the military was deployed stateside to try and wrangle the populous, there would undoubtedly be 5.56mm ammo floating around. Having a self defense firearm that takes the same ammunition as the cops and military have would be a huge benefit in such a situation.
The lee Classic Loader is very basic. I chose to reload the 38 special round because the overall length of each cartridge isn't important because they're being used in a revolver. Other cartridges, such as those used in semiauto guns, sometimes headpsace on the overall length of the casing. If your handloaded cartridges are too long, the base of the cartridge can protrude from the barrel and cause an explosion because that rear section of the brass is not adequately supported while firing, often causing case ruptures. 38 special isn't a necked cartridge, its straight like a piece of pipe, not tapered. This means that i can reload with little effort and reuse the same brass many times before stressing the brass ot the point of failure. Being held into the cylinder by a rim, the overeall length of the 38 special really isn't that important because they'll still fit in the cylinder.
The Lee Classic Loader requires the use of a hammer to produce loaded ammo. The process is loud and slow, but it works. My initial loads did not function well, but i'm still unsure whether that was an issue of a poor burn rate of powder, partially contaminated primers, or a crimping issue. There are two schools of thought on my possible crimping issue. Either i way overcrimped the brass, causing a big pressure buildup before the brass lets go of the projectile, or I did not crimp the brass enough to let the necessary pressure build up.
In all, it has been a great way to get into handloading and being cheap doesn't hurt either.
7.62x39 is a necked down caliber used in soviet firearms such as AKs and SKS rifles. There have been a few bolt action offerings, but the majority of the guns available in this caliber are semiauto.
Both the 7.62x39 and the .30-30 have proven themselves as good deer killing caliber.s They each have their pros and cons. The .30-30 is more expensive and almost always brass-cased. Because of this, most of the .30-30 brass is boxer primed, and therefore reloadable. .30-30 is perfect for a shooter who's reloading. For one who doesn't reload, go for 7.62x39mm.
7.62x39 is everywhere. Its at every gun show, right alongside .223 and 5.56mm. This ammo is cheap too, costin ga little over $200 for 1,000 rounds. That sure beats the $12 minimum spent for a box of 20 rounds of .30-30. The cheap steel cased ammo broguth into this country is not reloadable in most cases (except for Golden Tiger) but its cheap. The ammo is so cheap that it outweighs any benfit from buying brass-cased ammo, holding onto the brass, and maybe reloading down the road. My advice is to go with the 7.62x39 because you can shoot a real rifle round for the same money as shooting cheap 9mm.
9mm Largo is a completely obsolete cartridge. No one currently manufactures loaded ammunition for this caliber. Some poepl ehave reformed brass from other calibers to work in 9mm Largo barrels and others acquire and shoot surplus ammo.
The surplus ammo on the market right now is stuff made by the Santa barbara Ammunition Factory in Spain in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The earlier stuff is corrosively primed. The Largo ammo I've seen has had extremely hard primers. Even after being shot, the primers don't show a dent. The primers do have a mark on them, a scuff on the metal, but they aren't indented like the primers of any ohter ammunition I've ever encountered. I assume the Largo ammo I've been exposed to was designed for use in machine guns because machine guns often are fed ammo with hard primers to prevent a double-firing condition.
As with any surplus ammo, there are bound to be some click bangs and duds. This was apparent with some of the Largo ammo I've shot, but one vintage in aprticular caused more trouble than others. I assume my friend got a bad batch or the ammo was stored improperly sometime during its 40+ year existence.
I like 9mm largo, but there's really no reason to have it. Other calibers have come out such as 40 S&W, 10mm, and .357 Sig which take the place of this obsolete caliber.
I've got some experience with the Marlin 39 as well. the Marlin 39 has been in constant production by the same company for over a hundred years now. The 39 is a great, expensive-feeling 22 rifle. This gun is also tube fed with a nice feeling lever, but not as smooth and slick as that of the Henry rifle.
The Henry is less expensive than the Marlin, but there's a reason for that. To take apart the Henry, you need a screwdriver, hopes, and prayers. The guns truely aren't designed to be taken apart. The manual says that you just need to clean out the ejection port and clean the barrel as you would with any other gun. I'm sorry folks, I like guns i can clean. I take apart my guns. That's just how i am and there's no changing me. I took apart the Henry Golden Boy once before i sold it back to the guy iI got it from. It came apart like your average BB gun, with plenty of pins, springs, plastic bits, and cast aluminum. I got the gun back together, but it took a while and i felt like i was performing heart surgery the whole time.
The Marlin is more expensive, but it is a nicer gun. You get what you pay for. Its better thought out and better laid out than the Henry. The Marlin comes apart, bolt and all, with no tools. That's a great design and I applaud them for their design. You can tell they spent some time at the drawing board designing a gun that can be easily taken apart for cleaning. With 22LR being a drity round, the ease of disassembly is a huge factor that I keep in mind when gun shopping. A gun loses major points in my book if it needs tools to take apart or if its horribly complicated once taken apart.
If you want to save money, get the Henry. It looks great and the lever action is by far the smoothest i've ever felt. The Henry shoots fine, but the Marlin seems like its a gun that you can pass down to your children, a gun that'll outlive you. Being made of all steel and not utilizing any Zamac aluminum (same alloy used to make "saturday night specials"), i feel that the Marlin is the most soid 22 on the market. Its horribly overbuilt and consumers are obviously willing to pay a premium for that or else it wouldn't be in production. The henry on the other hand is a very nice, slick gun, but the reciever is made of aluminum, along with some small interior bits. I just don't see those little parts lasting as long as parts made of steel.
If you don't mind spending real money on a sub caliber gun, get the Marlin. It'll outlive you.
The Star BM is the only gun in Star's lineup that i have much exposure to. Its a short, compact 1911 style pistol. It utilizes a single stack magazine and holds 8 rounds of 9mm. They were used by some police departments and military units in Spain. Because of that, some BMs have made their way to the states as surplus through Century Arms in the 1990s. These guns were in OK shape, but often times sported plenty of finish wear.
There were also plenty of good Star BMs made by Star specifically for the US market. These guns have no duty wear and the bluing on the guns is of a much higher quality than that of the surplus guns. I have also shot a 1911 style Star pistol in 9mm Largo. The interesting thing aobut their 1911 clones is that they lack a girp safety, something seen in more traidtional 1911 designs. The lack of a grip safetey doesn't bother me much. A grip safety is one less thing to break in my eyes. The best safety is keeping your finger off the trigger. Its pretty hard for a gun to go bang if your finger isn't even in the trigger guard. Long in short: keep your meat hook off the bang switch and you'll probably be fine.
When it comes to calibers, I choose guns chambered in calibers that are easy to find. 9mm and 22LR are my favorites. Every gun shop, sporting goods store, and walmart has it. Everybody and their brother makes it, and its inexpensive. On the other hand, oddball calibers such as .45 GAP are never cheap. 9mm is cheap because a huge part of the world uses it. Its a NATO spec caliber and has been adopted by most armies worth their salt around the globe. Because of this, the whole world makes ammo. You've got choices: and with choices come competition for sales. Compeittion brings the price down because people are striving to sell a lot of their product. If you sell cheap 9mm, you might only make a few cents per box on the stuff, but if you sell it by the truckload because people want cheap 9mm, you're raking in the profits.
Why would you ever get a gun in 45 GAP? There are very few guns to choose from anywya. Springfield came out with the XD in 45 GAP, but it was discontinued a short time later due to poor sales. Who else makes a gun in .45 GAP? Of course! GLOCK, because they're the ones that developed it.
New calibers are conjured up for one of two reasons: the manufacturer is either trying ot make a superior product (in size, recoil, accuracy, power...) or they're trying to make money. If they can, both of those facotrs (superiority over other calibers and a chance for profit) will be met. I'm not really sure what GLOCK expected with this one, besides to make money on the deal. By getting customers to buy their highly-revered GLOCK pistol chambered in an expensive caliber means GLOCK is making money not once, but twice. Sure they made money when they sold the gun, but they're going to make more when people go out to buy ammo. There is an Achilles heel to this situation: when people wise up and don't buy the gun.
GLOCKS sell well. Its a well-known fact. Their GLOCK pistols chambered in 45 GAP do not sell well at all though. I've seen them brand new for $400 at gun shows as well as being advertised in Shotgun News about 7 or 8 months ago. The guns must not sell. I bet FFLs who ordered them are now trying to just get them off their hands. A gun on the shelf doesn't make a penny. Selling a slow-moving gun and freeing up that cash to spend on other (hopefully faster-moving inventory) would better suit any business conscious gun dealer. I bet the FFLS that were selling off 45 GAP pistols were taking a loss on each and every one of them.
Why would anyone buy one in the first place? I don't understand why a gun owner would curse themselves with getting a gun in a rare caliber. It never took off as the designers originally intended. GLOCK wouldn't have invested millions in developing a new caliber to just have it in their gun. With offerings such as .45 ACP, .357 Sig, and .40 S&W, there's no reason to buy .45 GAP. If the ammo was as cheap as 9mm, they'd sell a ton of guns in that caliber. Sadly, that is not the case. They need to recoup their research and development costs somehow. Now, for the poor guys who actually bought guns in .45 GAP, they're stuck with buying overpriced ammo from only a few sources.
Even though they may be the cheapest deal in the GLOCK lineup, don't buy one. If you want a similar ballistic profile, get a gun in .45 ACP or .357 Sig. As far as I'm concerned, the .45 GAP is already an obsolete caliber.
Our gun industry is great. As a country, we produce some of the best guns in the world. I just hope that tradition continues. A major factor keeping the American gun manufacturing industry alive is import regulations on firearms. We simply can't get pocket guns from overseas anymore, which is why companies like Jennings, Bryco, Calwestco, Davis, Lorcin, Republic Arms, Leinad, Cobra, and Jimenez are in business.
I like to buy American. I have an American-made vehicle and i chose to buy domestically produced firearms whenever possible, especially when it comes to purchasing new guns. I own very few imported firearms. I've never purchased a foreign-made gun brand new, ever. Why? I want to do my part to keep America Working. Why should my dollars be going to an overseas company? Even if some of those dollars are being retained by a middleman or importer stateside, the vast majority of the expenditure is not contributing much to our economic figures.
Who is going to buy this rifle? the late 20s, maybe early 30's meat head male who wears Tapout or Ed Hardy shirts. The kind of guy who makes decent money but drives a cheap car and goes to the gym a little too much.
I certainly won't be buying one. Even if i were in the market for a $1,500+ rifle, it wouldn't be anything offered by Kel Tec. Its not that they have a horrible reputation, but think about it like this: they're known for making inexpensive, decent quality handguns. They've never made high quality (or high dollar) guns, certainly not top-shelf black rifles. If i'm going to spend my money on a high-dollar rifle, it'll have an established name brand.
When i think of this new rifle, i can't help but compare it to cars. a $1,500 Kel Tec rifle would be about the same as spending $60,000 on a Hyundai. Sure, Hyundai may make a decent car, one step up from a Kia, but its still not great. No one in their right mind would pay $60k for anything made by Hyundai. While approaching the guy at the valet line (at your favorite country club or nice restaurant), he's going toask you what kind of car you've come to pick up. Well, do you want to tell him you have a Mercedes.... or a Hyundai? my point exactly. There is something to be said for buying a Mercedes: they've made luxury cars for decades. That's what they do, they do it well, and that's what they're known for.
Sure, a $60,000 Hyundai may be a tremendous value, it could be like a Maybach on the inside, but as they say in the south "It is what it is": still a Hyundai.
Some may ask: Well what does Kel Tec have going for itself in this situation? well, they might have a pray in getting a government contract for special ops or SWAT teams on a local governmental level, but that's only giving them a leg up on others because the Kel Tec is made in America. That will win brownie points with a lot of government workers.
Kel Tec has gone out of their comfort zone with this one. This is not a $400 Sub2k rifle, its not a small handgun either; its a high dollar luxury tactical rifle. Will it sell? I'd like to see them do well, but i honestly don't see this product taking off with a shocking MSRP of $1,880. Best of luck to them, but if I were them, I'd go back to doing what I know, and what people know me for: inexpensive pocket guns priced right.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
for this project, you'll need a few supplies:
- a book thick enough for your gun (not a children's book or anything interesting looking)
- a few razor blades or razor knife (for cutting the pages, they'll get dull)
- Elmer's glue (to glue the edges of the pages)
- water (to mix with the glue)
- bottle cap (or something else to mix the glue in)
- small paint brush (smaller than mine)
- weights (we used a stack of books and old magazines)
- pen or pencil (to mark where you will cut)
- cardboard (i'll explain that later)
there were also some optional items which really made life easier:
- chip clips (binder clips or big paperclips would work well)
- straight edge (we used a CD case)
ok, now onto the good part; doing the project. We did two books, one for each of us. Both of us love small cheap "saturday night special" type of guns, so we cut out books to fit our favorite pocket guns. Since we were going to be concealing the same model gun, we used the same template. I took out my gun, made sure it was unloaded, then put it ontop of a piece of cardboard and traced around it. I made the template a little bit larger than the line I'd traced. Idid this so the book could accomodate a larger gun if needed. Also, if we'd cut out the book the exact same size as the gun, it would have been hard to get the gun out.
While I was making the template, my girlfriend mixed up the glue. She used Elmer's glue and water (about 50/50) and mixed it in a large bottle cap. A bottle cap was great for this project because there was nothing to clean up, just throw it away.
when opening the book, we wanted to have a few regular pages before getting to the gun. We used thin cardboard (from an old package of crackers) to segregate the pages we didn't want to glue together. the easiest way to glue the pages was to just go around the perimeter of the book, gluing the edges together. After gluing, put the book under a weight. In our case, we used a stack of books and magazines. The stack of magazines was surprisingly heavy. After an episode of COPS (my favorite), the glue was dry and we were ready to start cutting.
Chip clips are good to hold the pages back that you didn't glue together. They're not necessary, but they do make things easier. Binder clips or big paperclips would work too.
Using the straight edge (CD case), I made the first cut with a razor blade. The blades for this project were sharp, brand new blades. Its really amazing how cutting paper can dull a blade in just about no time. We used razor blades instead of a pocket knife or something like that because of the thickness of the razor blades. They're so thin that they're great for detail work. No sharpening either, just throw them away when they get dull.
Both of us started cutting on our books using the same method. we each would cut a few pages at a time, then lift them out. The corners were an issue for us. Its hard to cut contours, especially when getting deep in the book. Tweezers helped get the corners right, but aren't a necessity.
To save time, i used a chisel and a hammer to get some of the pesky corners. By cutting several small lines next to eachother, I was then able to go in with the tweezers and pick out pieces of paper. This was a tedious job, taking us over two hours. We watched TV and talked while working on our books.
After cutting enough pages to fit the gun into the book, its important to glue the inside edges. After cutting all those pages, they started to get curled up towards the top. This made the book appear fat, like there was something in it. By gluing the inside edge of the pages in the same way that the outside edge was done, then placing a weight ontop of it, the pages were glued in place nice and flat.
Total cost for this project was very inexpensive. We picked up the books from a "free" box infront of salvation army. The glue and paint brush were about four bucks together. I had the razor blades, but if you had to go out and buy them at the hardware store they'd be a couple of bucks. Its a cheap project and a good crafty thing to do with your significant other.