Saturday, May 8, 2010

A bit of Blather about My things that go Bang

So I've been neglecting my blog of late, and there are all sorts of reasons for that, but those things are past and I've been pondering a series of posts like this for a while - and since I've had some time this weekend I figured I'd start.

Disclaimer: I only own two firearms, and am the current custodian of three. I am by no means an expert, but I'm able to handle tools just fine, and I'm a decent shot. Most of whats below are thoughts, opinions, and observations after a fair amount of range time.

So first off, the dreaded Arsenal:

The above is a Colt AR-15 Tactical Carbine (LEO Marked) with a flattop reciever and removable carry handle with adjustable forward and rear sights, and an aftermarket ambi saftey (I'm a lefty), and my Springfield Armory XD .45 Tactical, with optional ambi saftey. Compared to most of the shooters on my blogroll, my personal stash of firearms isn't particularly impressive, but its mine. :)

I've owned the XD for almost a year and a half now, and I've been extremely pleased with it - and written about it a few times. Its an excellent - and inexpensive handgun and I have no problem recommending the XD line to anyone looking to buy a handgun for the first time. Maintenance is simple, and you really have to screw up to get this gun to malf, or fail to fire (which, the latter I have done. Talk about that later this weekend).

The AR is my new aquisition, which has been in the works for almost nine months. The Outdoorsman in Fargo is the last place in town with a layaway plan, and I am not afraid to admit that in the scheme of things I overpaid for this AR by a bit - but it was one of the few ARs left in town at the time... and the layaway program was painless. And hey - now its mine. I always wanted to own a Colt AR platform, and now I do (No, I have no particularly important reasons - its just one of those personal things).

And hey, the Colt Defense symbol is pretty dang cool looking. The above shot is a close up of the 'righthanded' controls. I've found that as a lefty, I can operate the bolt release - which is not nearly as tight as some - with my trigger finger quite easily.

Here we have the 'lefthanded controls' - note the Ambi Safety and the lack of etching of Fire/Safe. While its not particularly important (learning the default positions is dang easy, there are only two) I think I'll eventually find someone to etch them in properly. In the shot above the dust cover is closed, and you can make out the Windage and Elevation knobs for the rear sight adjust. And of course there's the LEO markings. For any wonderers - the State I live in has no laws against the sale of LEO marked firarms to civilians. And to be honest, I'm not aware of any state that does (which isn't to say there aren't a few.) Dealer claims it'll help the rifle hold value. Hell if I know - I didn't buy it because it was LEO marked, though it does admittedly make me smile.

You might also notice that the ejector redirect has a bit of brass on it. I've put only about a hundred rounds through the rifle so far, and reports from my friends note that the brass clears my face by very, very little - however with a good cheek weld I've only been grazed once. Might be another incentive to lose a few pounds though...

Since I'm lefthanded, to activate the mag release I have to shift my grip back from my usual fireing position to activate the release with my thumb. I may end up adopting the 'Grip the Forward reciever' position as I get more comfortable, but for now I find having my hand farther forward on the stock as more comfortable, and accurate.

With the rifle, I recieved two steel GI 20 rounds mags, a very basic cleaning kit (rod, bore brush, chamber brush), a well written field/owners manual and a basic sling. I've never run a round through the GI mags, instead I went out and bought 3 thirty rounds PMAGs from MagPul - which I've been horrendously happy with. They feed well, and the covers provided should help keep the feedlips from breaking when left loaded. (Though I have noticed that fully loaded mag that has had a cover on it for a while frequently needs a good slap to the bottom of the mag after loading to get the first round to feed propely.)

All in all, I will be aquiring more PMAGs.

There are a couple things I'm *not* happy with, however, though they're not the rifles fault by any means. First, I'm fairly certain this is not the original rifle I put away. As I remember that one, it had the grenade launcher detent, and a 1/7 barrel. This one has the Colt HBAR 1/9 barrel. The whole detent bit really isn't a big deal, I don't own an M203 nore do I ever expect to, but I had wanted a 1/7 twist barrel. But, 9 months later thats impossible to prove, and I may indeed be wrong and had not paid as much attention as I thought I had. And if its *really* important to me down the road I can swap the barrel easily enough.

Also, this rifle literally swims in oil, from the adjustable rear sight to the bolt carrier group, there is a LOT of excess oil slipping around. This weekend I'm going to settle in and try out a new cleaning kit a friend of mine got for me (which I'll post about, its quite the compact field kit and extremely well apointed) and clean up all the excess oil and relube. If my XD taught me anything, its that while lubrication is important - overlubrication is a bad, bad thing.

So, coming up later this weekend or early next week, expect to see a post about my new cleaning kit, and how I fixed my gunked up striker assembly on my XD (which was an adventure, but not nearly as bothersome as I was afraid it was going to be)


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