Friday, July 31, 2015

.223, AR-15 upper from Texas Black Rifle Company

TBRC Upper Reciever
Our Low Price: $85.00

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Brand: Texas Black Rifle Company TBRC-M4-A-L
Item: ARR-1662

This fully assembled .223, AR-15 upper from Texas Black Rifle Company is a great start for any custom build. The flattop TBRC upper incorporates M4 feedramps, laser etched T-markings, forward assist, ejection port cover, and black milspec hard anodized finish.

Man shoots down drone hovering over house

Man shoots down drone hovering over house

Man shoots down drone hovering over houseWilliam Merideth, drone shooter. WDRB-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
We need to talk anti-aircraft weaponry.
More and more so-called enthusiasts are sending drones into the sky. This means that more and more normal humans are becoming enthusiastic about shooting them out of the sky.

Especially, as in the case of William H. Merideth, the drone is hovering over your house.
Merideth, 47, lives in Hillview, Kentucky. As WDRB-TV reports, a neighbor heard gunshots and called the police. Merideth allegedly told the police that a drone was hovering over his house, where his teen daughter (he has two) was sunbathing. So he pulled out his gun and gave it a merry death.
The drone's owner, police say, said he was flying it to take pictures of a neighboring house.
However, Merideth told WRDB: "Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor's house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy that they've got under their back yard. I went and got my shotgun and I said, 'I'm not going to do anything unless it's directly over my property.'"

And then it allegedly was.
Merideth explained: "I didn't shoot across the road, I didn't shoot across my neighbor's fences, I shot directly into the air."
He says that shortly after the shooting, he received a visit from four men who claimed to be responsible for the drone and explaining that it cost $1,800.
Merideth says he stood his ground: "I had my 40 mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, 'If you cross my sidewalk, there's gonna be another shooting.'"
There appears not to have been another shooting. However, Merideth was arrested for wanton endangerment and criminal mischief. There is, apparently, a local ordinance that says you can't shoot a gun off in the city, but the police charged him under a Kentucky Revised Statute.
Shocking Find Made By Archeaologists

I have contacted both the Hillview Police Department and the FAA to ask for their view on proceedings. I will update, should I hear.
The FAA's recommendations include not flying above 400 feet and "Don't fly near people or stadiums." The FAA adds: "You could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft."
For his part, Merideth says he will sue the drone's owners. He told WRDB: "You know, when you're in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy. We don't know if he was looking at the girls. We don't know if he was looking for something to steal. To me, it was the same as trespassing."
It is, indeed, hard to know whether things that buzz in the sky have positive or negative intentions. Amateur drones disrupted efforts to fight recent California wildfires to such a degree that there's now a $75,000 reward for anyone who identifies those responsible. A Southern California lawmaker has created a bill that would make it legal for the authorities to shoot these drones out of the sky.

The CZ 858 cal. 7.69 x 39 mm is a semiautomatic rifle designed for sport shooting


The CZ 858 cal. 7.69 x 39 mm is a semiautomatic rifle designed for sport shooting.

Technical Data

Caliber (rate of twist)7.62 x 39 (9,4")
Magazine Capacity30
pressed wood
Trigger mechanism operationnon-adjustable
Overall length845 mm
Barrel length390 mm
Height255 mm
Width57 mm
Weight2,91 kg
Barrelbroached with chrom-plated bore
The CZ 858 cal. 7.69 x 39 mm is a semiautomatic rifle designed for sport shooting. The weapon comes with two magazines and cleaning kit. The rifle with fixed wood stock version. Available with fixed or folding stock.

Sporting rifles



Tip: Trigger Pull Technique

“Pulling the trigger” is the action the operator performs to discharge a firearm. While very simple in concept, it creates problems for most shooters, even experienced ones.
“Pulling the trigger” is the action the operator performs to discharge a firearm. While very simple in concept, it creates problems for most shooters, even experienced ones.
Let me give you the basics first:
  • Hold the gun firmly with your proper grip
  • Align the sights on the target
  • Place the center of the first pad of your trigger finger on the trigger
  • Begin pressing the trigger rearward, smoothly, without moving anything else (or while moving everything else as little as possible)
  • Once you have created enough pressure on the trigger, it will move (sometimes imperceptibly) until the striker, firing pin or hammer in the gun is activated and starts the ignition process, firing the gun.
Several things happen in the gun to cause it to fire. The part you control is pulling the trigger. If done correctly, nothing moves, not your hands or the sight picture and the pistol fires a round exactly where you intended.
However, if you “jerk” or “flinch” before or at the instant you fire the gun, the shot will most probably head somewhere other than where intended.
In my experience, a good trigger pull is one of, if not the most important aspect of shooting well.
Serious shooters spend many, many hours perfecting their trigger pulling. Top marksmen can pull the trigger so well they never move the gun out of alignment.
New shooters have a tendency to pull the trigger in an abrupt manner that can move the gun quickly out of alignment and cause the shot to miss.
The old adage of “aim and squeeze the trigger slowly” is a perfect place to start for the new shooter.

Tip: Shooting Stance

To a great degree, how you stand may be dictated by your physical condition and surroundings.
To a great degree, how you stand may be dictated by your physical condition and surroundings. However there are a few key points you should try to address when developing your shooting stance.
We feel most comfortable when standing with equal weight on both feet and with our weight more on the heels than the balls of the feet. This is how our musculature is designed to hold our weight, with the joints more or less fully extended, or locked. This requires the least amount of muscle to keep us upright. However, this is NOT the optimal position for controlling and quickly shooting a hand gun.

Arm Position:

Arms should be fully extended when possible, but not necessarily locked out. Shoulders should be relaxed, not up around your ears.

Leg and Foot Position:

Front-to-back: Strong-hand side leg is rearward of other leg about 12 – 18 inches . The amount varies depending on each shooters level of balance, weight and strength.
Side-to-side: Typically, a hip-width distance between each foot is comfortable and stable.
Knees can be bent or locked, although I usually bend mine a little.

Body Position:

Your torso should lean forward slightly with no more than a small amount of bending forward at the waist. NEVER bend backwards at waist, hip or shoulder area. Shoulders should always be forward of the hips.


Your weight needs to have a forward bias to counteract the kick of the gun. The idea is to get in a position that allows you to be active against the rearward force of the gun firing (recoil). This will enable you to control the gun properly and quickly return it from muzzle rise and recoil to the position back on target. The gun should never push you back so much that you become off-balance. If this happens, you need to move your balance and body position forward.


Hold the gun tightly – tighter than you might think. This is, in my experience, the most common problem with new shooters. Grip is covered in detail in a separate blog.

Tip: Sight Alignment

By definition, a sight is a device used to assist aligning or the aiming of firearms, and is typically composed of two components, front and rear aiming pieces that have to be lined up.
By definition, a sight is a device used to assist aligning or the aiming of firearms, and is typically composed of two components, front and rear aiming pieces that have to be lined up.
Very simply put, the sights indicate where the gun is pointed. They are what we use to aim the gun.
The sights are comprised of the little post on the front of the slide (front sight) and the notched blade (rear sight) on the rear of the slide. There are many different kinds of sights, but the iron sights on all Springfield Armory® pistols are “post and notch” and therefore align the same.
Sights come in several sizes, shapes and colors; Some are all black, others have fiber optic tubes, painted dots or even inserts that glow in the dark. Most shooters quickly begin to favor one type of sight over another and their gun choice may actually be determined based on the sights.

Aligning The Sights:

Properly aligning the sights on the target gives you the orientation or exact location / position the gun will shoot the bullet when fired. Many shooters refer to this a the “sight picture”.
So, how do you create the perfect sight picture?
  • Properly grip the gun and hold it at arms length.
  • Visually align the front sight post in the rear sight notch.
  • The top of the rear and front sights should be on the same plane or level.
  • The gap of light between the sides of the front sight and inside vertical edge of the rear notch should be equal.
  • Once you have aligned the sights with each other, place the sights on the target where you want the impact of the bullet to go. You are now ready to shoot!

Adjusting The Sights:

Our guns’ sights are typically regulated so the bullet will impact at the top of the front sight, with proper sight alignment. Many pistol models come with sights that can be adjusted to change the point of impact.

NRA Competitive Shooting Programs

img_blank-portrait NRA's Competitive Shooting Division offers a wide range of activities in all types of shooting, for everyone from the novice to the world-class competitor. The NRA sanctions over 11,000 shooting tournaments and sponsors over 50 national championships each year.
If you have any questions about the division, please call one of the numbers listed in the Competitive Shooting Functions Directory or, for more general competitions information, call 1-877-672-6282. For current information on a particular program, click on the appropriate department below.
We're here to help. For general information, FAQ's, and other relevant inquiries, send an email to with as much detail as possible, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
NRA Resolution on Competitive Shooting
NRA Tournament Sanctioning now Online: Click here to Sanction your tournament online.
NRA National Record Reporting Forms now Online: Use the new updated fill-in form and the updated Check List.
Open and Junior Sectional Sponsors
Due to the increased costs of printing and inventory management, printed copies of the sectional fee reporting forms, score cards, and programs will not be provided. Please click here to download fee reporting forms, programs, and score cards.
Click here for Smallbore Rifle Regional Program, Application, and Fee Reporting Forms.
NRA Club Champion Challenge
NRA Competitive Shooting is proud to offer a new recreational shooting event for clubs, businesses, and civic organizations! Our goal is to create an event that anyone can shoot, beginner to expert. These events are meant to be fun, and will encourage your club members to try a variety of disciplines and courses of fire. Learn more at NRA Club Champion Challenge, or read this informative online guide.

Due to numerous requests, scale drawings of silhouette targets, in PDF format, are available online. Click on Silhouette Programs below.
Air Gun Programs Black Powder & Muzzle Loading
Collegiate Shooting Disabled Shooting Services
NRA Action Pistol NRA Volunteers
Pistol Programs Postal Matches
Rifle Programs Silhouette Programs
Tournament Operations Tournament Reporting
The following NRA Information booklets and Guides are now available to download:
NRA Tournament Operation Guide Includes helpful information regarding tournament planning, range operations,statistics, awards, and much more to help you run an efficient competitive shooting event.
NRA Junior Progressive Pistol Program Includes information and how to get started in the NRA Junior Progressive Pistol Program.
MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup (NRA Action Shooting Championship) General information on the MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup.
NRA League Handbook How to start an NRA competitive shooting league. Gives details on scheduling, awards, etc. A must-read for those just starting a league.
NRA Collegiate Shooting Guide Recommended reading for those competitive rifle and pistol shooters wishing to start a marksmanship program in their school or college/university. Lists contacts for schools currently running a shooting program.
NRA National Trophy Donation Guidelines: Information for those interested in donating a trophy for NRA National Competition may be downloaded here. This includes a brochure and an application to be used by those wishing to donate a trophy.
NRA Rule Books are now available on line in PDF format:
NRA National Records are now available for viewing on-line. To view these records go to:
Tournament and League sponsors may now submitt their applications online by going to /tournaments. You may continue to download, in PDF format, applications for Approved and Registered Tournaments. League applications are also available. Click on "Tournament Operations" above.
Sponsor Score Reporting Cards - Score Reporting Cards are now available in PDF format for sponsors to download. Click on "Tournament Reporting" above.
Competitors may now subscribe to periodic email updates on upcoming program and rule changes along with other information related to competitive shooting. To subscribe to this list, go to Request Email Updates.
Shooter Classification Check - Competitors in NRA Sanctioned Tournaments may now check their current classification on-line. Enter your NRA ID number where indicated, click the "GO" button, and a list of the shooting programs you are currently active in will be shown with your current classification and effective date.
NOTE: Rule 19.9 states that all classifications, except Master, shall become obsolete if the competitor does not fire in NRA sanctioned competition at least once during 3 successive calendar years (5 years for Masters). Files are purged annually.
Please note that the Competitive Shooting Division cannot respond to questions regarding membership or legislative affairs. Membership can be reached at and the Institute for Legislative Affairs at
NOTE: Most of the e-mail we receive requires us to reply asking for a mailing address and, in most cases, a phone number. This information must be included in your request so the information can be sent in a timely manner.
Collegiate & Schools Dept.
Disabled Shooting Services
Division Administration
High Power Rifle
Marketing & Corporate Sponsorship
NRA Action Pistol
Pistol Dept.
Postal Matches
Smallbore Rifle
Air Gun / Adaptive Shooting
Black Powder
Silhouette Dept.
Tournament Operations Dept.
Tournament Reporting Dept.
Volunteers Dept.

NRA National Championships Information & Program Request
National Action Pistol Championship (NRA Bianchi Cup)
National Rifle & Pistol Championships
Pistol & High Power Rifle – Camp Perry, Ohio
National Rifle & Pistol Championships
Smallbore Rifle – Bristol, Indiana
National Silhouette Championships
National Collegiate Rifle Club & Pistol Championships
National Black Powder Target Rifle Championship
National Indoor Rifle & Pistol Championships (Sectionals)
NRA National Junior 3-Position Air Rifle Championships
National Police Shooting Championship


Brookings to host NRA Youth Sportsfest

Brookings to host NRA Youth Sportsfest

BROOKINGS - The 13th annual NRA Youth Sportsfest will be held on Saturday, August 8, from 1-5 p.m. at the Brookings Gun Club, located two miles east of Brookings on U.S. Highway 14.
Various activities for youth to participate in include trap shooting, skeet shooting, air rifle/air pistol shooting and 3-D archery, black powder shotgun and tomahawk throwing.
Animal and bird identification will be presented by the Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Club, reloading demonstrations and range (distance) demonstrations by the National Wild Turkey Federation. The Fire Department and Brookings County Sheriff’s Department will be on hand to allow youth to explore a fire truck and police vehicle.  
All youth ages 18 years and under are invited to attend. The Sportsfest is free of charge to all youth attending and will use monies from a grant received from the NRA Foundation’s South Dakota State Fund Committee to help fund this event.  
Various stations for youth will be set up including a 4-H station where air pistol, air rifle and archery are offered. No experience is necessary, and all firearms, ammunition and targets are provided. This is an event where skilled and experienced volunteer instructors share what they enjoy with youth.
One of the goals is to increase the interest in shooting sports and love of the outdoors starts at a young age.
“Last year we had duck blinds set up where youth truly experienced shooting in a hunting atmosphere. This brought a lot of excited smiles to youth participating and the adults watching,” said Jon Greseth, Chairman of the Sportsfest.
A highlight of this event is Ed Krueger’s hunting dog demonstration. The excitement of the hunt, using well trained dogs, offers knowledgeable advice to those interested in this sport.

Brownells Provides Scholarships for Summer Youth Shooting Academy

Brownells Provides Scholarships for Summer Youth Shooting Academy

American Sportsman Shooting Center
American Sportsman Shooting Center
Grapevine, TX -( Brownells has teamed with the American Sportsman Shooting Center, home of the nation’s only indoor, live-fire cinema range to provide scholarships for the upcoming Youth Shooting Academy, presented by K-5 Arms Exchange.
The scholarship applications are now available to young shooters between the ages of 13 and 18. The American Sportsman Shooting Center’s Youth Shooting Academy, presented by K-5 Arms Exchange, will introduce and educate young shooters between the ages of 13 and 18 in basic rifle fundamentals and safe gun handling.
The weekly session will be conducted from July 20 – August 13, 2015. Students will learn from Sportsman Shooting Center’s experienced NRA certified instructors, utilizing modern indoor electronic range facilities.
In addition to outstanding rifle instruction, students will have an opportunity to win a portion of over $16,000 in sponsored prizes. The top student in each session will win a “Radical AR-15″ rifle provided by TK Tactical (valued at $1,000). The top overall student of the summer academy will win a Blaser R8 Professional rifle package (valued at $4,500) courtesy of Blaser USA, as well as a guided Oryx hunt donated by Droptine Ranch in Trent, TX (valued at $7,500). Total prize value for the Overall Top Shooter is $12,000.
“The chance to introduce a new generation to our sport shooting tradition is exciting,” said Pete Brownell, CEO of Brownells. “Our scholarships to the ASSC’s Youth Shooting Academy will provide help for those who might not be able to afford it.”
The American Sportsman Shooting Center is the only indoor, live-fire shooting cinema in the United States. Conveniently located just north of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in Grapevine, Texas. Our 30-yard indoor shooting range has the state-of-the-art BKE Hitcom® system, allowing shooters to hunt a variety of game from all over the world and tactical targets and scenarios with live ammunition.
For students and parents who would like more information, or would like to register in the Youth Shooting Academy, please visit our website at or call (817)310-8382. The Youth Shooting Academy is sponsored by the generous contributions
Firearm prizes will be awarded in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws. Contact ASSC for more details.
About Brownells
Serious About Firearms Since 1939, Brownells is the world’s leading source for gun parts and accessories, ammunition, gunsmithing tools, survival gear and archery. With a large selection of both common and hard-to-find items, and an extensive collection of videos, articles, and gun schematics, Brownells is the expert for everything shooting-related. Committed to maintaining our great traditions, Brownells has more, does more and knows more – and guarantees it all, Forever.
For more information or to place an order, call 800-741-0015 or visit
About American Sportsman Shooting Center
Our close attention to detail and desire to provide the utmost in personalized service has created a customer service model that challenges the finest venues in the country. Our brand is built around our employees. Our team of professional instructors is comprised of accomplished hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts. Everyone at the American Sportsman Shooting Center is dedicated to providing you and your guests a safe, fun, and unforgettable experience that will have you coming back for more.

Cherokee County shooting club aims for new year

Cherokee County shooting club aims for new year

Cherokee 4H Shooting Sports will be having their new 4H year “Meet & Greet” at 1:30 p.m. Sunday Aug. 9, at the Rusk Civic Center on Euclid St. in Rusk. All parents with children ages 8 to 18 are encouraged to attend and find out more about what C4HSS has to offer. Cherokee 4H Shooting Sports in a project driven 4H club, their mission to enrich the lives of children and strengthen the parental bond through shooting sports. C4HSS offers a safety and controlled environment where they teach rifle, pistol, shotgun and archery. The coaches with C4HSS are certified by the state 4H office and some coaches are certified by other organizations, such as the NRA. The participation cost for C4HSS is very low. The club provides firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows and other equipment eliminating the need for parts to absorb that cost. Cherokee 4H Shooting Sports holds regular range days twice a month with numerous other activities during the course of the year. This past year there were more than 70 kids enrolled in C4HSS. Cherokee 4H Shooting Sports would love to have you and your children as a part of ourfamily. For more information on joining C4HSS you can contact the Cherokee County Extension Office at (903) 683-5416.

Los Angeles passes law banning large-capacity gun magazines

Los Angeles passes law banning large-capacity gun magazines

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban the possession of large-capacity gun magazines on Tuesday, following San Francisco to become the second major city in California to take that step. The ordinance prohibits Los Angeles residents from possessing a handgun or rifle magazine that fits more than 10 rounds.
Residents would have 60 days after the law takes effect to remove, sell or transfer such magazines from city limits in compliance with state law, or surrender them to the LAPD.
The law would take effect 30 days after Mayor Eric Garcetti signs it, a move that he was "eager" to make, he said in a statement.
The legislation comes on the heels of recent mass shootings in the United States, including a movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, last week in which two women were killed by a lone gunman who took his own life.
Similar ordinances in San Francisco and Sunnyvale, California, have so far withstood legal challenges and last year, a federal judge upheld a Colorado law banning magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
"The step we're taking today is not a wild step," said council member Paul Krekorian, who sponsored this ordinance, at a rally before the vote. "People who want to defend homes don't need a 100-round drum magazine to do so."
Around 50 people who have lost loved ones to gun violence attended the rally and vote, many wearing orange t-shirts and ribbons.
Those who were opposed to this ordinance were represented by Chad Cheung, director of the Calguns Shooting Sports Association. "I think it's more of a people problem rather than a gun problem," said Cheung, who uses large-capacity gun magazines in various shooting contests.
"Nobody knows more about firearm safety than I do," he added, underscoring the notion that with the proper training, people could possess such magazines safely.
Calguns is one group that has pending lawsuits against the San Francisco and Sunnyvale ordinances. Cheung said that the organization would discuss during their next board meeting whether to file a similar lawsuit in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles city council next week will take up a proposed ordinance requiring gun owners to lock their firearms at home and consider an amendment to the gun magazine ordinance that would exempt retired police officers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Black Rifles & Tactical Guns Gun Review: STI Tactical Sporting Rifle

STI International is a Texas-based firearm manufacturer that generally conjures a myriad of images involving numerous evolutionary phases of John Browning’s 1911.  
That is, until the company sparked a good deal of surprise within the firearms industry by adding the non-1911 GP6 to its handgun line.
This year STI has proved, yet again, it’s not afraid of attempting something new. It has released not one, but two AR-15 offerings as part of the company’s new Sporting Rifle line. Given STI’s passion for building quality firearms, it piqued my interest. Needless to say, when the rifles arrived for testing, my curiosity was primed. At first glance, both possessed the attention to detail and quality consumers have come to expect from STI. Unfortunately, I could only evaluate one and the Tactical Sporting Rifle won the mental ring toss.
A thorough examination of the rifle revealed a product just as contradictory as its name. Unlike the plethora of other “tactical” ARs on the market, a telescoping stock is absent. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. As the office AR addict, I’ve worked with quite a few M4-style stocks, and none are without flaws. The most noteworthy is a sloppy fit between the buffer tube and buttstock, making a loose-fitting, wobbly and less-than-ideal platform for precision shooting. While the A2-style stock may score low for some on the “high-speed, low-drag” scale of coolness, the truth is it offers a rock-solid base from which to shoot.
The rifle features a Nordic Components Tactical Compensator for faster shot recovery due to reduced muzzle flip.
The rifle’s upper receiver, A3-style with an integral Picatinny rail, adds to its versatility by providing virtually limitless potential for mounting a wide array of optics and accessories. Should primary optics fail, a second strip of Picatinny rail is also found of the top of the Tactical’s gas block as a means of outfitting the rifle with iron sights. The rifle also features a mid-length gas system to help keep fouling to a minimum. One of the biggest clues this rifle is intended for tactical use pertains to its custom STI Valkyrie, free-float fore-arm. The tube contains several pre-drilled and tapped holes, 1 inch apart, at both the top and bottom to accept additional JP Enterprises Picatinny rail sections. I consider this a welcome change from the rail-clad fore-arms presently flooding the black-rifle market. The fore-arm also contains a number of slots, which I first considered a decorative attempt at dissipating heat. It turns out I was only half right. Their design and 1⁄2-inch centers enable owners to mount additional rails at virtually any angle on the fore-arm.
While it’s true railed fore-arms have their place, I find the majority of civilian AR owners collect cool widgets on every rail section like Boy Scouts do badges. Newly acquired whatnots add to a rifle’s wow-factor, but they also add weight. I consider STI’s alternative to the traditional quad-rail fore-arm a much-needed cure for the dreaded AR affliction, accessoritis. To the untrained eye, STI’s Tactical Sporting Rifle may seem rather sparse in its bare-bones configuration, but at just less than 7 pounds neat, I determined this AR possesses a tremendous amount of hidden potential—proving looks can be more than just a little deceiving.
I decided to pull the rifle’s take-down pin to see what other goodies were concealed inside STI’s latest offering. The inclination soon proved worth the price of admission as seen by the presence of a JP Enterprises Trigger Group, which includes a set of the company’s custom springs along with a truncated mil-spec hammer.
The heart of the Tactical Sporting Rifle’s versatility is the company’s Weaver gas block and Valkyrie free-float fore-arm.
Available in either 5.56 NATO or .223 Rem., the Tactical’s 16-inch, 410 stainless steel barrel contains a 1:8-inch rate of twist lending itself—yet again—to versatility through a wide range of bullet weights and uses. The barrel sports a Nordic Components Tactical Compensator attached via standard 1⁄2×28 threads. My only complaint regarding the barrel pertains to its finish. When it comes to tactical firearms, use of stainless steel is generally avoided to reduce glare.
When it comes to shooting ARs, I consider it the ballistic equivalent of “quality time.” Something about Eugene Stoner’s creation resonates with me. My time with STI’s Tactical Sporting Rifle proved equally enjoyable—and surprising.
For optics I selected a Swarovski Z6 1-6×24 mm scope for two reasons: Its low-magnification range, which should prove more than adequate for precision shooting at either CQB or intermediate distances, and because it was my first opportunity to sample the company’s products afield.
The Tactical performed quite well, but unfortunately not without incident. Numerous failure-to-feed-type stoppages occurred with Winchester 50-grain Ballistic Silvertip, requiring me to manually cycle the action for every shot.
Seeing no obvious flaws on the gun’s factory-supplied 30-round magazine, I suspected the malfunctions were a result of STI’s fondness for building firearms to tight tolerances, thinking the behavior would subside once the rifle wore-in.
The author attributes part of the sub-MOA accuracy to the superb JP Enterprises trigger group.
Unfortunately, the stoppages persisted. Despite the rifle ejecting fired cases, the bolt consistently failed to send Hornady’s 55-grain load into battery. Despite the problems, with the aid of the rifle’s divine, 3-pound sear release, the best Hornady group printed at .75 inch.
In the end, the day belonged to the Black Hills 69-grain hollow point, which not only cured the afternoon’s jam session, but the heavier bullets also produced noticeable changes in group consistency.
I talked to STI’s Darrel Bishop, who is responsible for creating the company’s AR line, and he said they use mil-spec buffer components to function with a wide range of bullet weights. He overnighted an identical rifle—to confirm the first rifle would have been one of the few to have ever been returned for work—and I returned to the range to function test. I sent a wall of lead screaming downrange and, as expected, the STI ran flawlessly with the lightweight bullets.
It didn’t start smooth, but in the end STI’s Tactical Sporting Rifle proved to be extremely versatile, and its potential for accuracy is eerily similar to what shooters have come to expect from the company’s 1911 line.
Manufacturer: STI International; (512) 819-0656
Type: Gas-operated, semi-automatic
Caliber: 5.56 mm or .223 Rem.
Capacity: 30 rounds
Receiver: Machined, 7075 aluminum upper and lower receiver
Barrel: 16 inches; 410 stainless steel; complete with Nordic Components Tactical Compensator
Rifling: 6 grooves, 1:8-inch RH twist
Stock: Fixed; A2-style
Sights: None; A3-style integral Picatinny rail for use with optics
Trigger Pull Weight: 3 pounds, 6 ounces
Length: 36 inches
Width: 1 1⁄2 inches
Weight: 6 pounds, 7.8 ounces
MSRP: $1,328

Monday, July 27, 2015


Marine brass endorses infantry plan to ditch M16 for M4

Marine brass endorses infantry plan to ditch M16 for M4

Marine leaders have made the momentous recommendation to ditch the iconic M16 in favor of the M4 carbine as the new universal weapon for infantrymen.
The recommendation to swap the venerated rifle that has served as the grunt's primary implement of war since Vietnam now sits on the commandant's desk, pending his final review and a decision. But, the swap appears imminent and if approved will relegate the M16 to a support role. It follows a similar shift already underway in the Army.
With the endorsement of several major commands already supporting the switch — including Marine Corps Combat Development Command; Combat Development and Integration; Plans, Policies and Operations; Marine Corps Systems Command; and Installations and Logistics — final word is possible in weeks or months.
"The proposal to replace the M16A4 with the M4 within infantry battalions is currently under consideration at Headquarters Marine Corps," according to a jointly written response from the commands provided by Maj. Anton Semelroth, a Marine spokesman in Quantico, Virginia.
The change would be welcomed by infantrymen who say the M16A4 was too long and unwieldy for close-quarters battle in Iraq or vehicle-borne operations in Afghanistan. They tout the M4 for its weight savings, improved mobility and collapsible butt stock, allowing the rifle to be tailored for smaller Marines or those wearing body armor.
"I would have to say my gut reaction is it's the right choice and will do a lot of good for the guys in the infantry," said Sgt. Nathan West, an explosive ordnance technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, who carried an M4 on dismounted patrols and vehicle-borne operations during two deployments to Afghanistan as an anti-tank missileman.
"The M4 is a great weapons system that has done everything I have ever asked of it," he added.
The proposed switch also gets the thumbs up from senior marksmen such as the 1st Marine Division gunner, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Vince Kyzer.
"The carbine is a great weapon system for its time," he said. "...It will increase the war fighter's lethality and mobility."
Ultimately, if the move to the M4 is approved by Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford, the M16 would be used exclusively by support personnel in communities like logistics or admin. Once approved, the swap could happen as fast as unit armories can issue weapons because the 17,000 M4s needed to outfit infantrymen who don't already use one are in the current inventory, said Barb Hamby, a Systems Command spokeswoman. Thus, officials described the move as an "improved capability for the infantry at no additional cost."
Wider adoption of the M4 is part of an overall small-arms modernization strategy that will look at incremental improvements, based on existing technologies as funding becomes available, according to a Marine official who said more details will likely be revealed in the months ahead.
For now, here is what Marines need to know about the infantry's next likely weapon of choice — the M4 carbine.
The call for a compact weapon
The M4 makes maneuvering in tight urban spaces easier with a 14.5-inch barrel and an overall length that is about 10 inches shorter than the M16A4, in a package that is a pound lighter at just over six.
No fight illustrated the need for a smaller primary weapon during ferocious close-quarters combat better than Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004, when Marines fought to wrest control of Fallujah from Iraqi insurgents, sometimes going hand-to-hand.
Rounding corners and getting on target in small rooms was difficult, leading to use of a tactic called "short-stocking," when a Marine places his rifle stock over his shoulder – instead of securely against the chest and cants his weapon45-degrees so he can still use his optics. It helps in maneuvering, but compromises recoil management and follow-up shots.
"We were taught to short stock around tight corners when we got to our platoon for deployment — it was something unofficial," said Ryan Innis, a former scout sniper with 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, who left the service as a sergeant in 2013 after serving on the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit's anti-piracy raid force near East Africa.
Innis trained for shipboard operations — the closest of close-quarters combat — and said he was fortunate to be issued the M4 because the weapon's shorter length proved better for tight spaces.
"I would definitely agree the M4 is the way to go," he said.
The longer M16 was also challenging when hopping in and out of vehicles in full battle rattle, said West, who made his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2012 with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, as part of a vehicle-borne combined anti-armor team.
"Anytime you operate out of a vehicle, something compact makes life easier, especially when you need to get out quickly and engage [the] enemy," he said.
Even when he conducted dismounted patrols on his first Afghanistan deployment in 2011 with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, the M4 he was issued helped in clearing compounds, jumping walls and crossing deep ditches, he said.
West never wanted to go back to the M16 because of the weight savings alone.
He said he started his first deployment carrying an M16A4; a Thor radio-controlled bomb jammer, a metal detector, and ammo for an M240 machine gun.
"There was even a time carrying an M32 grenade launcher, so you can see the amount of weight we were carrying at that time," he said. "Anything that takes weight off and keeps guys from getting tired so they are more aware of things around them is good. It is just a little less weight and just as effective of a weapon."
That is what the Marine Corps found when it began testing the ballistics of its infantry rifles and carbines using their improved M318 Mod 0 Special Operations Science and Technology round.
"The Marine Corps conducted an evaluation of its individual weapons (M4, M27 and M16A4), with specific focus on comparing accuracy, shift of impact and trajectory with improved ammunition, and determined the M4's overall performance compares favorably with that of the M27 IAR, the most accurate weapon in the squad," according to the written responses provided by Semelroth.
Negligible drawbacks
There are a few minor drawbacks to adopting the M4, but infantrymen seem to agree those are insignificant compared to the advantages.
Both Innis and West said trading in the M16's 20-inch barrel for the M4's 14.5-inch barrel does sacrifice some muzzle velocity, which translates into a slightly shorter effective range — although Colt markets both with an effective range of about 650 yards. But that isn't a significant concern given the closer ranges at which Marines and soldiers commonly engage enemy in modern warfare.
To strike the enemy beyond the range of the M4 or even the M16, each Marine fire team already has an M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, which in semi-auto with its free-floating barrel and precision trigger also now doubles as the designated marksman's rifle. It's a role that will no longer be filled by the Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle, a match-grade M16 with a scope.
When the M27 can't get the job done, combined arms doctrine means indirect fire and air assets are just a radio call away, West said.
"As far as accuracy, there is not an effect," he added, saying a longer rifle only really matters when using iron sights.
Greater distance between a weapon's front and rear sights, known as sight radius, makes a weapon easier to aim. But that doesn't apply with the Rifle Combat Optic that the Marine Corps began using in 2005. The RCO is a type of reflex sight with which a Marine only needs to ensure the reticle is on target without regard for sight alignment.
When asked if the Marine Corps is making the right move, preeminent firearms expert Larry Vickers gave a resounding yes.
"I'm the first one to subscribe to this," Vickers said of the M4's increasing popularity as the preferred option for modern combat.
The M4's profile got a boost when the Army, which adopted the M4 in 1994 for special operations, began issuing it more broadly to deploying infantry.
Vickers, a retired master sergeant who served 15 years in the Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, commonly known as Delta Force, dismissed arguments against the carbine based on its shorter effective range, saying nearly all real-world infantry engagements happen inside 200 yards.
"Some argue beyond that the M4 carbine lacks effectiveness versus the M16, but the M16 is like driving a sports car with a six-cylinder engine," he said, because it is limited by the same small 5.56mm cartridge as the M4. "You can shoot 400 to 500 yards away, but you are still shooting a 5.56."
A longer barrel would make sense with a heavier hitting round like the .308, but unless Marines are given a larger caliber Vickers said the M4 is "bringing so much more to the table."
"It is the world's gold standard," he said.

New thermal hunting optics are better, cheaper

 New thermal hunting optics are better, cheaper

Not all that long ago, buying thermal or night vision optics for high-tech predator or varmint hunting usually meant settling for first-generation junk that couldn’t distinguish a sheep from a coyote at 50 yards.
Quality optics, assuming they were available for legal resale, carried such high prices that selling your truck and taking out a second mortgage was about the only way the average Joe could make a purchase.
Times are changing — rapidly.
Today’s hunter who wants to plug pesky porkers or marauding coyotes while “owning the night” can find decent optics at prices about half or even less than they were just a few years ago. Match a thermal scope with a favorite rifle, add electronic callers and a comfortable means of setting up, and you’re ready to rock the night away.
Commercial feral hog hunting operations are increasingly popular throughout the South and Southwest. Price points are dropping on gear, and prospective shooters can watch hours of online videos showing just how successful you can be hunting these largely nocturnal critters when they feel most secure.
If you’re a hunter who might want to do this more than a couple times a year, investing in your own gear may make sense. This decision likely depends on expendable cash and access to places where predators and varmints prowl the night.
Some hunting operations for deer and turkey also sport feral hog populations, and you just might be able to work in some nighttime shooting. That’s what we did down at Great Southern Outdoors near Union Springs, Alabama, and at a number of coyote-plagued locations in Virginia.
Two newer thermal scopes were used. At the lower end of the price spectrum, we matched a FLIR ThermoSight R-Series scope (RS32, 1.25-5x, 60Hz) with a Mossberg MVP Varmint rifle chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO.
At the other end, we paired an ATN Corp. ThOR-640 scope (1.5-12x, 30Hz) with a Remington R-15 VTR Predator, an AR-styled rifle also in .223 Remington.
Our Remington R-15 VTR (about $1,100) sported full Mossy Oak Brush camo, a two-stage trigger, and a fixed Magpul stock and grip. The Mossberg MVP Varmint (about $600) has a benchrest, pillar-bedded laminate stock, 24-inch medium bull barrel and user-adjustable trigger. The MVP rifle lineup accepts AR-style magazines.
Thermal optics are like today’s digital cameras in that the higher the resolution, the better the picture. The FLIR scope, with a suggested retail price of $3,999, had a focal array sensor of 336-by-256 VOx. It offered fine clarity out to about 80 yards. At 100 yards and beyond, the heat signature of a target such as a hog or coyote was readily apparent, but image sharpness tailed off. You could still smack down a varmint at longer distances, but precise bullet placement could be challenging the further out you get.
FLIR has an excellent page on its website that shows the performance of the various R-Series scopes at distances of 50 to 300 yards.
The ATN scope ($6,695) employed a 640-by-512 pixel sensor. As expected, its higher resolution enabled shooters to discern objects more clearly at greater distances. But, the ThOR scope was priced appreciably higher.
Now, before you think, “Whoa, these are still high prices,” consider that variable-power rifle scopes easily can run upwards of $2,000, and any decent thermal scope available just a few years ago was double the price of the current 640-by-512 sensor products.
Similar to today’s televisions, thermal scopes have “refresh” rates usually set at 30 or 60 hertz (cycles per second). That means a 60Hz thermal device refreshes the image 60 times per second versus 30 times per second for a 30Hz model. Unless your targets are moving frequently and at fairly high speed, this may or may not be that critical for night hunting. The FLIR unit had a 60Hz refresh rate compared to 30Hz in the ThOR.
Magnification is nice, but each time you hit the magnifier button, you are degrading the resolution of the image. On units with lower resolution, anything above 2x magnification gets dicey in terms of target identification, especially at longer distances.
Mounting the optics
The ThOR easily and quickly attached to the R-15 VTR’s Picatinny rail. The FLIR units come with a LaRue Tactical mount. We had to swap out the Mossberg MVP Predator’s Weaver-style rail for a Picatinny. This was easy to do, and some Mossberg MVP models do come equipped with the Picatinny.
One thing to watch for when mounting optics to bolt-action rifles is the bolt jamming into the optic base when lifted. To enable full clearance and operability, we mounted the scope slightly farther back on the Mossberg’s rail. Eye relief was still fine.
The FLIR scope has a simple four-button design. The menu lets you adjust zoom in one click and all other settings in three clicks or less. The ATN scope, although slightly more complicated, was quickly mastered.
Zeroing our thermal scopes took a little practice. We stapled chemical hand warmer packets to targets to provide a strong heat signature. It soon became apparent we were not going to be shooting for sub-minute-of-angle groups. Still, our 1.5- to 3-inch groups were easily close enough to enable reliable kills out to 100 yards.
Rounding out the perfect predator package
Constantly looking through the thermal scope mounted to the rifle can be very tiring. Plus, constant operation quickly consumes battery life. A FLIR Scout II thermal night vision camera, which is held like a monocular, was an excellent solution for keeping near-constant eyes on fields when the coyote calls were playing or in spotting and stalking feeding hogs in the dark. These units start at $1,999.
We used a couple of Johnny Stewart electronic calls. For more prolonged setups, the more elaborate Johnny Stewart Bloodhound, which came with 50 preloaded calls and a wireless remote with a range out to 200 yards, was ideal. The big omni-directional speaker had rabbit squeals and coyote pup distress calls blasting across the farms. For closer quarters or running and gunning maneuvers, the smaller Attractor Max, with 10 preloaded go-to coyote calls and a wireless remote operating up to 50 yards, was the ticket.
Carrying gear and ammo, and setting up comfortably and quietly, are critical to predator hunting. Tenzing’s new TZ PP15 Predator Pack, weighing just 7.5 pounds, filled the bill. What makes this pack extremely versatile and reliable are the quick deploying, adjustable, spring-loaded legs and fold-down seat. You can set up anywhere. The pack has an internal aluminum frame with padded backrest, a rear daypack, detachable front pockets and removable electronics/camera case mounts. Totaled up, nearly 2,200 cubic inches of storage is spread across 23 inside pockets and compartments.
Finally, delivering lead on target is the ultimate goal. Winchester Ammunition’s Varmint X loads are designed for everything from prairie dogs to coyotes and bobcats. They’re polymer-tipped, and the lead core has an alloy jacket engineered for fragmentation. While you’re not necessarily hunting at long range at night, having ammunition that achieves rapid expansion helps with the task at hand — namely planting varmints where they stand. Varmint X loads for the .223 have 40- and 55-grain bullet options.
Seasoned night warriors likely will have plenty of their own ideas about what’s desirable for nocturnal predator and varmint hunting. One key consideration, especially if you plan on doing a lot of hog shooting, is looking at rifles chambered for bigger calibers. Many modern sporting rifles are now available in .308 Winchester. As you evaluate thermal optics, verify if they’ve been tested and rated for firearms at these higher calibers. You want the optic’s sensitive electronics to withstand pounding recoil.
Obviously, do some homework and check out new products and reviews. Personally examining and comparing units is the best option, if possible. Also, because thermal optics are expensive, look at the provided warranties and company track records of service.
Finally, if you’re serious about predator and varmint shooting, or you expect to be routinely protecting farms and ranches against these unwanted nighttime visitors, buy the highest resolution you can afford. Enhanced clarity and functionality, and corresponding opportunities for success, will be the reward.