Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
I ordered them over the phone and will actually be sending them back. I wasn't satisfied with the gray polarized lenses - the optical properties suffered in the thick bullet-resistant polycarbonate lenses. And at this price point, they better be perfect. If you're in the market for a pair of RE Rangers, I'd be sure to try them on first. They're well-made, but not for everyone.
Looks like I'm going back to a cheaper alternative.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
- Use of poor powder (poorly made 'ball' instead of 'stick' powder)
- Rumor of 100% self cleaning leading to the rifles not even being issued cleaning kits
Thursday, June 10, 2010
For many people locating Aceh (pronounced Ah-tjeh) on a map is difficult or even impossible. Aceh is a small area on found on the very northern tip of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The land of Aceh was somewhat special, especially for two major colonial players at the time - the United Kingdom and the Dutch. Since the area had began to be colonized in the early 16th/17th century the two powers always thought the opposite had hidden motives of pushing the other out of the territory, when in fact, they were complimentary to each other. The Treaty of London signed in 1824 expressed what territory each laid claim to. The British would have claim on the Malaysian corridor and the Dutch - Sumatra and its surrounding land. One important feature of the treaty was that it provided provisions for the independence of Aceh something the Dutch government did not like. This provision was declared in the Treaty as the British government saw the Dutch stepping on the proverbial toes of the UK's commercial ventures in Sumatra and specifically the pepper trade in Aceh.
Between the Treaty of London and the fact that the Acehnese began negotiating with other 'Western' powers the Dutch had become enraged and in 1871 signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty where the British gave the Dutch full control over Aceh in order to gain a more equal trade partnership in the East Indies. This had appeased the Dutch until in 1873 the Acehnese began speaking with the United States - thus provoking the Dutch even further. The Dutch believing that they had full control of the Aceh territory deemed these 'talks' inappropriate and declared war on the providential body. What was to occur during the decades after would be known as one of the bloodiest conflicts in Dutch history.
After declaring war on Aceh, the Dutch sent an expeditionary force under the leadership of Major General Johan Koehler to forcedly take the entirety of Aceh - no simple task. Securing coastal villages was simple however in 1874 Koehler launched an attack on the sultan's palace, thereby eliminating all political resistance. After bombing the palace Koehler sent 3,000 troops ashore to capture the palace. Much to the surprise of Koehler the Acehnese resistance was much fiercer than expected and the army group was driven from the palace back onto the naval vessels at a significant loss. Over 80 Dutch soldiers and the Major General himself had been killed. Many criticize Koehler's tactics and stubbornness and claim he was at fault for the tremendous losses. This defeat extremely reduced the moral of the expeditionary force and resulted in the tarnishing of the otherwise impeccable Dutch reputation. To secure some time to recuperate the Dutch Navy blockaded the area as it was the only tactical decision that could be made.
It is important to note here that Koehler's intelligence on the enemy that he was to fight was grossly inaccurate. Two critical pieces of information arise in hindsight only.
1.) The Acehnese manpower was incredibly miscalculated. The most recent estimates put the total man power at somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 foot soldiers during the two expeditions.
2.) The government in Aceh had modernized their military force almost over night. The modernization, while not a full modernization as the equipment was second rate, occurred at a such a pace that there was absolutely no way they could have done it with out aid from 'Western' powers. Some believe that the UK and Italy both provided equipment and funding to fight off the Dutch, but this is unconfirmed.
Second Aceh Expedition
Soon after the first unsuccessful expedition the Dutch launched another one this time with more extensive preparations. This time the force was led by General Jan van Swieten and managed to capture the palace at the capital city of Banda Acheh. The sultan had been warned and fled before the raiding party could capture him but was found and killed soon after. The Dutch approved and put in power a new Aceh sultan that could be manipulated easily. However the new sultan was looked upon by the Aceh population as a puppet and regarded worse than the Dutch. Control over the territories were almost impossible to maintain and intense guerrilla fighting broke out throughout the countryside. This lasted for almost a decade until the Dutch realized they had to change their tactics.
Every Day Struggle
In 1880 the Dutch changed their tactics from an all out assault on the countryside to try to grab as much land from the insurgents as they could. The problem was it was an unsustainable method of warfare. Every time the dutch would capture a new province, they would lose another, previously held. This was extremely draining on the financial reserves of the colonial Dutch thusly prompting the change in the tactics to a more conservative approach. Instead of trying to capture all of Aceh the military would pull back to the territories that the Dutch had the strongest grasp on - the capital Banda Acheh and the coastal port city of Ulee Lheue. Everyday activities became a dangerous thing in Aceh, and even transportation required armed escort.
For a brief period there was a lull in major conflict in Aceh. This would not last as in 1883 the British naval vessel 'Nisero' was stranded and the crew was taken captive. After being strong armed by the British, the Dutch reluctantly sent a force to rescue the crew who had found themselves in a territory fiercely uncontrolled by the Dutch military. A local tribal leader Teuku Umar was asked for assistance but declined. The British shipmen were eventually rescued but only after tremendous payouts had been handed to the local leaders and the sultan himself.
Once the British crew had been rescued the Dutch minister of warfare once again declared all out warfare on Aceh, not surprisingly it once again had little effect. Even without much success the Dutch kept trying to implement a sustainable warfare doctrine. One of the new ideas they attempted after the 'Nisero' fiasco was to try to buy the help of local tribes and warlords with opium, weapons, or money. One notable warlord who was 'bought' was Teuku Umar, the same Teuku Umar who refused to allow the crew of the Nisero to be released. This is notable because it shows the feeling between the Acehnese and the Dutch as after Teuku built a somewhat respectable army at cost to the Dutch, he used his forces to attack the Dutch instead of helping them maintain peace inside the boarders of Aceh. This was known as Het Verraad van Teukoe Oemar - the treason of Teuku Umar, a significant incident that would assist one major in the Dutch army years later.
This stalemate was not broken until Major J.B. van Heutsz, an up and coming officer in the Dutch Army in the East Indies theater, was appointed Governor in the late 1890s. With the help of an old colleague one last 'new' plan was formed. The Dutch formulated that the sultanate was not the main source of power in Aceh yet it was the local hereditary chiefs. To take the countryside one must win over the local chiefs - whether with diplomacy, bribes, or warfare. This method of counter insurgency worked and by 1904 99% of the territory had been conquered, thus ending one of the longest war's in the history of man.
While Aceh had been conquered in 1904 some estimates put small factions holding out until the Japanese took over the Dutch East Indies in the time up to and including the second world war. While the groups were extremely limited and subject to only living in the greater highlands of Aceh it is an important medium to show the absolute length of the war and insurgency.
Hopefully you guys out there learned a lot about Aceh War - the Beaumont's baptism by fire.
Thanks and stay tuned!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The village of Dundee, Michigan was hit by a tornado overnight and damage was reported in the commercial district where Cabela's is located. Monroe county is currently under a state of emergency and many major roads are closed due to fallen debris and downed power lines. I was able to drive down there (roughly 20 miles south of Ann Arbor) and take a few pictures of the area right off US-23.
Cabela's opened late at 1:00pm today, but there was no readily apparent structural damage to the building other than a few demolished trees and signs. Other buildings in the area weren't so lucky. Most of Dundee's power is out (including street lights) and the whole area is swarming with cleanup personnel and law enforcement officers.
So to all you readers worried about the status of your favorite store, fear no longer. Cabela's is still up and running!
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I read somewhere that Federal Champion is simply Federal American Eagle re-boxed for Wal-Mart, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this were true. The case markings are identical and the rounds are indistinguishable. The prefix of the item number printed on the box is “WM” which gives credibility to this idea. Seeing as American Eagle is my favorite type of practice ammunition, this is a good thing, especially since I can’t find F-AE for much less than $12 anywhere while F-C goes for roughly $10.
The Ann Arbor Gun Guys team has registered for the Handgun I & II classes at the Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute (MDFI). The classes require a combined ammo count of 1100 rounds per student, so needless to say, we’ve been scrounging local Wal-Marts to slowly build up to the couple thousand rounds of 9mm we’ll need by mid-July. This ammo fits the bill for training applications, and we’ll provide detailed range reports after we’ve been through the classes.
On the topic of ammo cost, you may have noticed that we added an “ammo fund” donation box through PayPal on the sidebar of this blog. Not that I we expect anyone to actually use it, but hey, if you ever win the lottery and want to donate to the common people, we’ll be here! For the rest of you, please "follow" this blog if you like what you see!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
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Hey everyone, and welcome to the first video review by the Ann Arbor Gun Guys, covering the Streamlight TLR-1s. This is the newer edition rated at 160 lumens and includes a strobe function. I noticed there’s a general lack of information on this model so I decided this would be a fitting target for our first video review.
Of course the first step after unboxing is installing the batteries. Some people have trouble with this at first, so I wanted to demonstrate the process really quickly. There is a lever on top of the light that is only accessible when it is uninstalled from the weapon. To unlock the battery door, push this lever all the way up and lock it to the forward position, which unhinges the bottom of the door. You can then unseal the o-ring and pop the door open, allowing installation of the batteries. To finish reinstalling you simply following the directions in reverse. You have to lokc the o-ring in there which can be a little difficult at first, but then just push it in while flipping the hinge forward and you’re good to go. Simple, right? Some people complain about the tight-fitting o-ring, but it’s a solid way to make sure the light stays waterproof and functional, so I’m all for it.
The strobe light is only accessible by double-tapping the momentary on switch within 0.4 seconds. A single tap will give you solid light, and the permanent on maintains the solid light. It ‘s advertised as being a programmable strobe, but as far as I can tell from the operating instructions, that just means you can disable the strobe if you wish, so not too big of a feature there.
The light is easily installed on a variety of weapon systems. It comes with an assortment of rail keys to fit whatever configuration you might have. The light is attached with the aid of a single screw that can be adjusted by hand or with a large flathead screwdriver. So I’ll show you how it works really quickly on this Glock 19.
And you just tighten her up, and you’re good to go. You’re ready to light ‘em up. Now I’ll show you a few demonstrations with the lights off and let you know how it goes.
Well, that’s all for now. It’s a great little tactical flashlight and is a great choice for any home defense application. Thanks guys, and stay tuned for more reviews.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
From left to right in the top image: Wilderness magazine pouch, Raven magazine pouch, Ravine G19 holster, MTAC G20 Holster. All on Wilderness Instructor belt.
Raven Concealment Holster & Magazine Pouches
I love the fact that Raven holster systems are modular. I can wear the same holster either inside or outside the waistband by simply swapping out the stock OWB for accessory IWB hooks. I was able to order 1.75” belt loops even though they don’t list them, simply by adding a comment to my online order. I can easily conceal my Glock 19 in this holster under a t-shirt whether it’s worn inside or outside my waistband, though the IWB configuration hugs noticeable tighter to my body. Overall, I prefer IWB carry for everyday concealment and OWB for range use and tactical shooting, but that’s mostly individual preference.
One thing I don’t like about the Raven holster system is the inability to adjust retention strength. Both the holster and magazine pouches are molded kydex and you’re stuck with the factory setting, which is quite strong. I found the gun retention to be nearly perfect, but the magazines are much too difficult to remove for my taste. I have to wear them farther back on my belt to maintain the leverage needed for crisp reloading drills, which complicates things if you find yourself on the ground, especially in the supine position.
Minotaur MTAC Holster
The Minotaur MTAC holster sold by Comp-Tac is a fantastic holster for concealing large handguns like the G20. This leather-kydex hybrid combines the comfort of leather with the rigidity of polymer, and is fully adjustable for retention and cant. In terms of IWB carry efficiency, it’s very close to the Raven holster. You can also purchase addition kydex halves to make the same primary body function with any model of pistol. In the future I’ll probably stick with Raven simply because it can be worn outside of the belt, but if you like the comfort of leather and only desire to carry inside your belt, the MTAC is one of the best options out there.
Wilderness Tactical Belt & Magazine Pouches
I’m generally a fan of products by the Wilderness. They make a fantastic belt: I wear a 5-stitch instructor belt every day, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I also use their slings on two long guns. I hate to say it, but their magazine pouches are garbage. I bought the horizontal style because I thought it would ease concealment, but it’s bulky and wears awkwardly. Even though it was specifically sold to accommodate the 10mm double stack magazines of the Glock 20, the fit is far too tight, and the magazine catches on a seam in the nylon totally preventing smooth draws. So while I recommend most Wilderness products, I’d stay away from their mag pouches.
*The arrangement shown is clearly for illustrative purposes only, and is not intended to be an actual layout for practical carry.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
There are countless subtypes of the 10/22 available from the factory, but I opted for the Sporter (Deluxe Sporter according to Cabela’s) edition, primarily for the high-quality checkered American Walnut stock. When I picked it off the shelf, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the flip-up rear sight and the crisp trigger.
The first day at the range, I shot 675 rounds out of the stock rifle with bulk ammunition without a single hiccup. It was a dream to shoot, and extremely easy to disassemble and clean back at home. It’s no Glock, but cleaning and maintenance on this rifle is just about as simple as it gets. Just one screw to remove the stock, and 2 pins to remove the trigger assembly, and one pin to remove the bolt.
One of the reasons for the huge popularity of the Ruger 10/22 is its customizability and the availability of aftermarket accessories. You turn any run-of-the-mill 10/22 into a specialized hunting rifle, a compact survival tool, a tactical military-style practice gun, or an expensive flashy competition rifle. Most of the 10/22’s out there probably remain in the category of your standard stock weekend plinker, but the potential is there if you want to take advantage of it.
I opted to spend a few bucks optimizing my rifle for hunting small game, since I tend to focus on hunting-style customizations on my long guns. My main addition was a Vortex Crossfire 4x32 scope with Leupold scope rings. The 4x fixed magnification 32mm scope is one of the most popular general-purpose hunting optics ever made, and on a rimfire allows generous accuracy from 25-100 yards and beyond. That’s more than enough for targeting treed squirrels, so I’m happy.
The 10/22 Deluxe Sporter comes with 1” sling swivels, but the availability of slings in this width is lacking. I replaced these swivels with 1.25” quick-detachable swivels and swivel bases from Uncle Mike’s, so I could pair it with a thicker Wilderness sling. If you’re trying to figure out what parts you need to make the same replacement, both swivel taps in the Sporter stock accept ½” wood screws.
All 10/22’s come with one 10-round rotary magazine. Before experiencing this style of magazine I’ll admit I was skeptical about it, but they are incredibly reliable and compact. I’ve shot over 700 rounds through one of my rotary magazines without a single failure whatsoever, without cleaning it at all. I’m impressed considering how dirty rimfire cartridges can get after high-volume shooting.
I purchased a 25-round steel extended magazine by TacticalInc.com, but I can’t comment on this yet. These magazines are adjustable by 4 different screws, and so far I haven’t found a configuration that feeds or ejects reliably. I hope I can tune this magazine properly, since a high-capacity .22 could prove quite useful during a zombie apocalypse. I'll update everyone later on whether this mag is functional or a piece of junk, I just haven't figured it out yet.
The Ruger 10/22 has quickly become one of my favorite guns that I’ve ever shot. It’s accurate at close to medium ranges, useful for hunting and survival applications, and is American-made. It’s light weight in relation to other hunting rifles helps in making it highly portable, but its low mass makes off-hand shooting a bit of a challenge, so a shooting rest or proper shooting position is preferable for ethical kills. The price of .22LR ammunition easily allows high-volume shooting on any budget, and this is the kind of gun you can shoot all day for the price of going out to a movie. A .22 will eventually pay for itself in ammo savings along, but it’s also a blast to shoot.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Just recently I had the opportunity to purchase a
Just recently I had the opportunity to purchase a
History of the
After World War Two the French continued to use the
The new designation for the rifle was
This new variant of the rifle saw much turbulence as
Mechanics of the
At the end of the Great War the French took ideas implemented by rifles of the major participating countries, both allied and enemy. Some of these include the bent curve found on the American P1917 Enfield, the 5 round box magazine of the German Gewehr, and the design of the locking lugs on the bolt from the British Lee
Unlike the early
I had a great opportunity when buying this rifle. The gentlemen whom I bought it from originally purchased it in 1999 and had never shot it. When I picked it up it was still covered in packing grease I can only imagine was from the 1960s when it was taken out of service.
Overall thoughts on the rifle are pretty high. The rifle is built like a tank and the weight for such a relatively short rifle shows it. The sights are crude but allows for a soldier or even untrained peasant to be considerably accurate. The action of the bolt is not smooth or crisp but gives the feeling of robustness. Overall the
That’s it for now, stayed tuned more to come.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
As I described in one of my recent posts, I have optimized one of my tools for hunting game. Spring turkey season kicked off this week, and after numerous failed attempts, I finally harvested my first bird on Thursday. It feels great to put your own food on the table after spending days in the field, and hunting can be a rewarding way to experience an American pastime while giving you a reason to keep your shooting skills sharp.
Turkey sandwiches, anyone?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
My Glock has worked flawlessly with Speer, Fiocchi, Winchester, Federal, and Sellier & Bellot, but this stuff is pure garbage.
Do not buy it.
On the other hand, I got the opportunity to practice FTF drills...
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The platform I selected was the Mossberg 500, because it's and can be configured for any possible purpose. It is pump-action, which brings down the cost, and is easier to field strip. I can use this gun for hunting deer, small game, turkey, and as a home defense weapon simply by dropping in the appropriate load. The 500 is durable and relatively inexpensive. The base model I purchased included a thumbhole Monte Carlo stock and fiber optic sights, with a 20" barrel and a threaded choke.
Like I said, I use my shotgun for turkey, deer, and small game, and I decided to mount a 1.5-4.5 x 20 scope to assist in hunting. If you don't already know, the first set of numbers is the magnification, which is adjustable in this case, and the second number is the aperture size. The larger the aperture, the more light gets transmitted through the glass, assisting in low light conditions.
If you get a Mossberg is like mine, it should be "drilled and tapped," and have 4 screws on the top of the receiver that can be removed to mount a rail. I bought a two-piece Weaver rail, which is just screwed in to allow attachment of scope rings. I got a nice set of rings that I trust to withstand the recoil of my 12 gauge without loosening up over time. Then there's the scope itself. So total, it's three pieces you'll need to get to mount a scope.
My scope setup consists of the following parts:
- Weaver 48473 Matte Top Base Pair For Mossberg 500
- Leupold Quick Release Weaver Style Rings 49853, 1", Low, Matte
- Nikon Monarch Turkey Shotgun Scope 6590, Turkey Pro Reticle
Scopes made specifically for shotguns usually have longer eye relief, which is helpful if you use magnum hunting loads. Also, keep in mind that the eye relief is shortened with a variable power scope at higher magnifications.
Any rail will do, as long as it's drilled for your specific shotgun. The cheaper ones are made of aluminum and the more expensive ones are steel. I just went with aluminum to save a few bucks, and I prefer the two-piece rails for aesthetic reasons. As for the rings, just make sure they match the diameter of your scope. Most scopes are 1" in diameter, but there are other configurations out there so just be sure you match them. I went with this Leupold model because I liked the quick-release style where you don't need a torx wrench to remove the scope, because I remove it for shooting clays. They come in several heights, and "low" should be sufficient for scopes with an aperture less than 25mm.
With the Turkey Pro reticle of this particular model scope, the center crosshairs are very faint, while the circle around the center is heavy. I think this is perfect for switching between shot and slugs, but a different reticle might be ideal for a dedicated slug gun. Nikon's Monarch African Rifle scope looks almost identical, but the parallax is set for 100 yards (vs. 50 with the turkey) and the reticle is a German variant.
There is slight chromatic aberration evident when the sun is positioned just right, but not noticeable unless you're looking for it. It works great with both eyes open and allows fast target acquisition. The optical quality seems pretty consistent at all zooms, and it works well in low light, considering the small aperture.
I don't have a ton of experience with scopes, but I do have experience with camera optics, and you get what you pay for. Nikon is a great trade-off of cost and quality in my opinion, and I have been very happy with this model.
One of the most important aspects of preparing a shotgun for hunting season is a task called patterning. Every shotgun, barrel, and choke will behave differently when fired, so it's important to try a large variety of different shotshells to see what performs best in your setup. After trying half a dozen different kinds, I settled with 3" Winchester Extreme Elite magnum turkey loads in #4 shot because they pattern most consistently in my particular gun.
Shooting trap is a lot of fun. All you need to guarantee several hours of fun at the range is a cheap plastic clay thrower, a box of sporting clays, and a friend. Shooting trap with a scope mounted is cumbersome, so it's best to either take it off or use a dedicated shotgun for this purpose. You usually use a wide choke while shooting clays due to the small shot size and close range.
Speaking of chokes, selecting one will be the topic of a future post. You can use whatever choke comes with the gun, but many choose to upgrade to attain more consistent patterns. I use a Briley Ported Super Turkey in this gun, and it was worth every penny.
I tried to cover a lot of ground in just one post. This was essentially an overview of my gear, why I chose it, and what you need if you're looking to build a similar shotgun. If you have any questions feel free to comment.
Good luck this season, everyone!