Monthly Archives: April 2015

Beretta 92a1 Field Review

by Woodsbum

I went out and tested out the work done to my Beretta just to see how it would shoot. Unfortunately for you, the reader, I have no pictures due to several reasons:

  1. I am TERRIBLE at taking pictures when out shooting.
  2. When I shoot, I do not shoot targets. I normally shoot clay pigeons, potatoes, or tannerite.
  3. Going out and cooking off some rounds is very therapeutic for me, so I don’t pay much attention until after I have started putting things away.

Here is what I can tell you about how well it shoots after all the upgrades and modifications I made to it.

  • The trigger pull is very smooth with much less effort needed in both single and double action.
  • The cases are no longer being flung 10 yards away when ejected. They travel about 10-15 feet and land all in about the same area.
  • The pistol now comes right back to target after each round is expended. It is now a very easy and gentle jump of the barrel. Double tapping or swapping targets while coming right back to a nice sight picture is so easy.
  • The clunk felt when the slide hit the stop was very obvious and deliberate. The recoil buffer I put in really made that less of an impact.
  • This part is hard to put numbers to, but it actually felt like it was quicker to cycle rounds.

All said and done, I am VERY happy and impressed with the final product. Anyone that has been thinking about doing some work to their Beretta 92 should look at all the modifications I made. It will raise your pistol to an entirely different level.

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Low Cost AR 15 Build

by Woodsbum

A couple of weeks ago I ran across some $50 stripped AR 15 lower receivers. Since I already had one that was set up similar to an SPR, I thought it would be nice to do a low cost AR 15 build with this one. The lower is from Anderson Rifles and I went shopping online for some good parts deals to complete my build.

As a disclaimer, I did have a few parts already. This meant that I did not have to buy a buffer tube, buffer, spring or stock. I also had an old milspec trigger group and handle. Total this saved me about $60-$70, so keep that in mind as I go through this build.

First thing I went looking for was a lower parts kit. This landed me on Red Barn Armory’s website. What I liked about their site was that I had the option to build the parts kit and upgrade or leave out parts as needed. Because of the parts I already had, I got the rest of the lower kit and even upgraded my pins as well as added a Magpul sling attachment point for $27. Total price to complete my lower was $135 with shipping.

I then went looking for some upper parts. Since I was more interested in cost than I was anything else, I investigated some complete upper builds. The best deals I found were on the Daytona Tactical site. I found a complete upper (no BCG or charging handle) deal for $235. With shipping it was around $255. This was an important upgrade for me so that I had a free floating handguard build to increase accuracy. The full length of the handguard also left the rifle with a great look that reminds me of the Star Wars T-21 rifle.

For those keeping track, I have now acquired all the parts needed for an AR 15 except a BCG, charging handle, and some sights. This brought me to Amazon for some good deals. The BCG I got was $100 and seems to be of decent quality and seems to function properly. I did splurge a bit on the charging handle. I got a BCM Gunfighter charging handle. The cost of both of these items was about $145.

Last thing I got was a Vortex Strikefire 2 red/green dot optic. Because I get special pricing through several of my group affiliations I only paid $140 for mine. If you get this one through Amazon, it will cost you right at $179 if you have Prime.

The top rifle is the finished build. The bottom one is my wife’s with all sorts of addons and goodies.

New build on top

New build on top

To summarize my total cost of build – $670:

  • Total lower costs: $135
  • Upper costs for free floating handguard/barrel no BCG or charging handle: $250
  • BCG and charging handle: $145
  • Optic: $140

For anyone building this from scratch it would be an additional $100 for this optic and the other lower receiver parts that I had.

Now as a point that must be addressed, I did find complete lowers for $199 at a local gun shop. This would mean that you could actually get a complete rifle done for $500 to not include your optic. This is how this works:

The costs of this build is actually cheaper than you can get an M&P Sport AR rifle. The Sport doesn’t have a forward assist and has an A2 front sight post. It does come with a flip up rear sight, but the MSRP is $739.00. Again, building the AR like I propose is much less costly and already gives you several upgrades from the onset.

Good luck if you decide to do your own build. It is quite fun and fulfilling to know that you literally built your own rifle from parts!

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WDFW In Service Training

by Woodsbum

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife In Service Training for hunter’s education instructors. These happen every couple years where all instructors are invited to go over different subjects associated with teaching hunter’s education. The best way to imagine it is a lot of retired hunters hanging out together while a few people under 60 years old run around helping to keep their elders out of trouble.

It really isn’t quite that bad, but it is no joke that the average age of the participants was probably in the 60’s. This really made me think about how the sport of hunting might actually be dying out. This is actually a quite scary proposition for many reasons. Hunting not only helps to maintain the annual surplus of game animals, but hunting and sporting is the main source of revenue for government conservation programs. If you have never heard of the Pittman Robertson Act, you really should do some research. To assist, I have added this video.

As the numbers of hunters, shooters, and sportsmen diminish so do the funds associated with conservation programs. When bird watchers buy a set of binoculars the funds from that sale go to support, but that is only a single sale. The reoccurring sales to hunters and shooters is where the majority of the funds come from. This is actually a scary realization for most because it means that the harder it is for people to shoot and hunt, the less conservation program funds will be coming in.

Along with the realization that we are seeing fewer and fewer young hunters comes the reality that much of the information being passed along in sporting goods stores and gun shops is not that accurate. Let’s use the increase in wolf population and electronic devices on archery equipment as two examples. People talk about how the wolf population in Washington is growing so quickly that the numbers are almost out of control. Some people claim to have seen wolves in town or near towns, watched them take down an elk, or any other sort of bush story. From what I heard from the WDFW representative that is in charge of tracking wolf populations, this really isn’t going to be the case. There are several packs throughout the state, but the numbers are not high enough to cause enough harm to anything (including livestock) to warrant any special programs to control their numbers. There have also been very few reliable sightings by those outside of the WDFW organization. In regard to electronic devices on archery equipment, the law is quite clear: No electronic devices are allowed on archery equipment (excepted lighted arrow nocks). This means that the sights that have battery powered lighting systems for the pins are not legal. Capt. Mann from the enforcement program did say that a sight that has been disabled will not usually warrant a ticket, but it is still an electronic device by definition. Disabled to him did not include just “taking out the battery” of the device. To him a device must actually no longer function as an electronic device to be okay. He stated that it was easy for someone to just take out the battery, put it in their pocket until in the woods, and then reinstall it.

These were just a couple things that really struck me, but there were many other speakers and subjects covered. There should have been a bit more education on the two subjects that are almost never covered in any great length during a class: archery and muzzle loading. This is especially important since there are a few states that require an additional hunting class to enable them the opportunity to bowhunt for instance. Alaska actually just starting requiring all archery hunters to have an approved bowhunter education class with no grandfather clause for those that have already successfully bowhunted in the past. According to WDFW, there are some “Advanced Hunter Education” classes in the works that might help new hunters to be more successful. I do know that the NBEF Bowunting Class that I help teach does double the success of hunters that take it. Maybe there will be more of a push to teach new hunters these skills. One can only hope.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the IST and do plan on going back. It was quite nice to see all the key players in a single room and gathered for the single purpose of passing along information to the instructors and getting it to their students. I would love it if they happened more often than once every three years, but it really was a hard weekend and I am no where near 60 years old.

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Ray Mears – The Forgotten Forest

by Woodsbum

Every once in a while I get wild hair to go and track down some more main stream bushcrafting programming. One of the few people that I do like to watch is Ray Mears. Although he is a bit goofy at times the cinematography and many locations that they shoot in are just incredible. This episode is no different. I love the shots of all the cattails. They always remind me of playing around the lakes and stock ponds as a kid.

Enjoy this episode. Even if you ignore a lot of the “TV Drama” the images are definitely worth the watch. There are a few good tidbits in there if you keep the sound on….

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Charging Handle Latch

by Woodsbum

One of the first problems I ran into with my AR was the lack of room available for operating the charging handle if a scope was mounted. To fix this issues, I ordered a couple of these Ambidextrous Extended Levers for my charging handle.

Extended Lever

Extended Lever

They are actually quite easy to install and do work remarkably well for the inexpensive price. I paid less than $10 per lever to include shipping.

All you do is drive the pin out of the charging handle latch and then swap out the lever. It takes only a couple of minutes and looks like this after installation.

Extended Lever Installed

Extended Lever Installed

When you do install it, be careful because the actual charging handle itself is made of a soft aluminum. This leaves it quite susceptible to marks and scuffs. Since this is going into my “truck AR” i was not as careful as I should have been. The next one will be done much more professionally.

Oops

Oops

For a quick and easy fix, this charging handle latch actually is quite nice. Not only that, but they are much cheaper than the $60 charged for a Gunfighter or some of the other higher quality ones.

I do recommend these charging handle latches for if you need a little extra room due to optics or bear paws for hands.

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