CategoriesGun Reviews

Is All 9x19mm Created Equal?

In the caliber wars, everyone has their opinion, from the guys who like 9x19mm because it was good enough for John McClane and Martin Riggs to those who carry a .45 only because they don’t make a .46. I know several guys who carry a .380 and I hear there are even some .40 S&W holdouts around. That doesn’t even count the revolver guys. As far as fanboys go, Riggs was directly responsible for my lusting after and eventually purchasing a Beretta 92. Don’t judge me.

My Beretta 92.

What lots of folks, especially new shooters, don’t realize is that deciding on a caliber is only the first step. Since this isn’t an in-depth discussion of the ins and outs of ammo selection, I’ll skim over that. Suffice it to say that you have to do your homework if you’re going to get the performance you want from your gun in the role for which it’s intended.

In light of this, Paul Harrell gives us a practical demonstration of how 9x19mm full metal jacket ammo does not all perform the same, or even necessarily how it’s advertised.

Like this overview, Paul’s video is not a deep dive into the subject. It is meant to illustrate the point of its title. I took it as a tool for folks who are still learning about being a gun owner to better inform themselves, but it’s good info for all of us.

Paul warns upfront that the topic is kind of dry—and he’s not wrong. It’s mostly him shooting eight different brands of 115-grain 9x19mm FMJ rounds through a chronometer for velocity and then from a bench for accuracy. He uses a Sig M17 for the tests. Paul then compares the results from both tests.

Paul Harrell tests several brands of 115-grain FMJ 9x19mm ammunition.
Paul Harrell tests several brands of 115-grain FMJ 9x19mm ammunition. (Photo: Paul Harrel)

It’s not scientific, but rather a couple of practical tests from a highly experienced shooter. Again, the purpose is to show the admittedly surprising results that demonstrate how different brands, and even different batches, can show significant performance disparities.

9x19mm brands used in this test:

• Remington Green and White Box
• Winchester White Box
• Blazer Brass
• Fiocchi
• Geco
• Battle Born Munitions
• Speer Lawman
• Sellier and Bellot (which he pronounces correctly)

As noted, each is 115-grain FMJ 9x19mm. Only the Fiocchi listed the velocity on the box: 1200 feet per second. Paul fires six or seven rounds of each through the chronometer, gets a mean number for each, and measures the variance.

chronometer test 9x19mm
Chronometer testing the 9x19mm. (Photo: Paul Harrel)

The results:

9x19mm brand comparison chronometer test results
9x19mm brand comparison chronometer test results. Obviously, there is some difference in the mean velocities between the brands, which isn’t all that surprising given different manufacturing capacities and quality control standards.  (Photo: Paul Harrell)

What jumped out at me was the difference in variance from the mean velocities. I don’t know about you, but I value consistency more than raw performance once a certain level has been reached. For instance, the Blazer Brass wasn’t the highest in terms of velocity, but it was the most consistent.

I’ll admit that I was surprised by the consistency of the Winchester White Box ammo. That doesn’t reflect my perceived experience with that particular variety, and Paul echoes that sentiment. Maybe it was a good batch.

The Speer Lawman was the clear winner in outright velocity, but was among the most inconsistent, being second only to the Geco. Also surprising was the utter failure of the Fiocchi, a brand I generally like, to live up to its billing. Not only did it not approach the advertised velocity of 1,200 fps, but it was also only slightly better than average consistency-wise.

Accuracy

Now, that is all well and good, but accuracy is where the rubber meets the road. Let’s be honest, no matter how invested we are in a particular caliber (or not), most of us understand that shot placement is king. We obviously have to do our part on the training side, but consistently accurate ammo is a big part of the equation. It has a direct influence on how well we train as well as getting the job done if we find ourselves in a bad situation. Knowing the ammo will do its job if you do yours builds confidence. And since this test deals with what most of us consider training ammo, this is absolutely relevant to improving our skills.

Again, the footage is of the targets as Paul fires six-round groups from a bench at 25 yards. Each brand gets its own target. There’s not a whole lot to say, other than some held their groups better than others.

9x19mm brand comparison: shot groups from the bench at 25 yards.
Shot groups from the bench at 25 yards. (Photo: Paul Harrell)

Geco was clearly the worst—not surprising since it was also the least consistent in the velocity test. What I did find a bit surprising was the good performance of the Blazer Brass, especially coupled with what it did velocity-wise. That has not been my perception of that brand. I like it fine, but it was just another brand to me. Just to be sure, Paul fired additional 12-round groups with the Blazer and the Battle Born Munitions, which grouped quite well given its less-than-stellar velocity consistency.

Paul refrains from drawing conclusions other than what the data show, which is fair because it was far from a sustained test under ideal conditions. I’ll do the same and close with the observation that the test pretty much does what it was intended to do: show that not all ammo is equal. You have to do your homework and, if you can afford it, your own tests.

Now hit the range. Like you needed an excuse.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Umarex Air Javelin Pro – Ultimate Home Defense Air Gun!

Well, that was the most clickbait title I think I have ever written! I promise I won’t do it again, but you are reading these words which I guess means it worked. The Umarex Air Javelin Pro is a PCP or precharged pneumatic airgun that shoots arrows. This newish class of air rifles is called air bows and, honestly, really murdered my love for crossbows. It completely flips the script on traditional arrow launchers like a bow or crossbow—two items I have spent most of my life screwing around with. Let’s dive a little into the details of this space-blaster-looking rifle and find out what makes it tick.

The main body of the Air Javelin is made of two halves bolted together.

Construction and Features

The exterior of the rifle is made of black and flat dark earth plastic with a grippy rubber butt-pad. The design, due to the plastic shells and price, is a clamshell design akin to what you would expect with most Kel-Tec offerings. Rubber plugs are inserted in all of the screw holes to keep debris out. The rifle is topped with a long rail that goes from the front of where the stock mount meets the rifle to the end of the rail system.

Speaking of rail systems this rifle is equipped with a rail that has M-Lok slots on the 3 and 6 o’clock positions. You can mount a flashlight, side-mounted bipod legs, or if you read further we designed an M-Lok compatible quiver that you can 3D print in TPU or a Flexible Resin, depending on what type of printer you might have. The polymer the rifle is made of doesn’t feel quite as robust as what you might expect from a Magpul stock but is still fairly sturdy.

The charging handle of the rifle is large and easy to grip.
The charging handle of the rifle is large and easy to grip.

The handguard area that surrounds the air tank has no M-Lok slots in it so you won’t be able to mount a vertical grip on it. The buffer tube-like extension the stock mounts to is polymer also with the slightest amount of side-to-side flex. It would be interesting to see a version of this rifle that uses a Picatinny stock mounting interface so some side folders could be mounted, but that might get you into legal hot water depending on where you live.

The buffer tube is a 5-position tube, giving lots of options for length of pull adjustments for both the lanky and vertically challenged. The normal version of the Air Javelin comes with a SOPMOD-inspired stock while the Pro comes with a slimmed-down stock that looks like the hook design you might see from Mission First Tactical with the angled web at the bottom of the stock largely removed.

Umarex Air Javelin Stock
The included stock of the rifle works well and is comfortable to use.

Powering the Air Javeline

The major difference between the two Air Javelin versions is the power source. The non-pro version uses 88-gram CO2 cylinders that cost around $20 USD depending on where you buy them from. The Pro, being a PCP, uses an onboard air tank that can hold up to 4500 psi which is considerably more pressure than the standard model.

With the stock arrow, they are advertised as 370fps and 52ft-lbs of energy for the Pro and 300fps and 34ft-lbs of energy. I don’t currently have access to a chronograph but I would be interested in the real-world readings of the arrow and what it puts out with a broadhead on it. I know from previous experience with airguns that you typically get a bit more energy for the same air pressure with a heavier round.

The pressure difference and power source are the largest differences between the two guns. Otherwise, they use mostly the same injection mold and likely handle pretty much the same.

We talked about the power source difference above but if you aren’t familiar with PCP versus CO2 they have some fairly large differences. With CO2 you use the cartridges and throw them away so it’s fast to swap out but if you shoot a lot, the cost of disposable cartridges can add up. With PCP you need to charge the tank on the rifle. Some people do this with a hand pump. Kudos to them, it’s a great workout—but ain’t nobody got time for that.

I decided on the upfront cost of a high-pressure compressor in the form of a XISCO CS3 compressor. I just hook it up, set the pressure and it stops when it’s done. This compressor can be hooked up to the wall in your house or to a car battery when you are out and about. The tank on this rifle will last around 25-ish full power shots and after that, the drop becomes fairly noticeable until it is empty. This happens because the rifle has a regulator that drops the pressure down to 1500psi giving consistency.

You can see the drop in the arrows as the tank starts to run out of pressure.
You can see how the arrows dropped as the tank started to run out of pressure. Before this, though the shots were extremely consistent.

Accessories

We topped this rifle off with a Holosun HS503CU since the red dot complimented the space-age look of the rifle. What we found out was that it had just enough elevation to hit dead center at 25 yards but not further. Coming from crossbows, I had never actually purchased an optic for them since they all came with usable ones. We have since upgraded to an actual crossbow scope. 

Umarex Air Javelin with scope and 3-arrow quiver
You can see the new scope we mounted along with the MLOK holder for the arrows we designed.

We wanted a way to hold 3 extra arrows on the Air Javelin so, after 15 minutes on Fusion 360 we had a design to 3D print in TPU. We also wanted to test the new flexible resin we got from Monocure to see if it would hold well enough, but that will take some balancing mixing in other resins, as it is too flexible on its own. The M-Lok compatible quiver is designed by installing it perpendicular to the slot and rotating it to lock it in. We put this file up on Thingiverse so if you have one of these you can make one for yourself.

TPU printed quiver
These were printed in TPU and as you can see we need to do a tad bit of adjustments to our printer.

Performance

My last crossbow was a Horton Vision 175 and this rifle comes in at half the weight and is significantly skinnier than the already svelt reverse-limbed crossbow. This means standing and kneeling shots are far easier to achieve.

Speaking of shots you are going to want to shoot the different aiming points on your target or hold slightly off from the last shot because this gun is super easy to Robinhood an arrow. In our first air tank we managed to do it twice and have since learned our lesson to hold off or pick another aiming point.

Arrows that have nearly been split.
It’s starting to get expensive every time we Robinhood another arrow. This rifle is capable of some solid accuracy if you do your part.

This air bow also hits with enough energy that you can hunt up to a deer with it, depending on where you are. Where I am from it is classified as a low-power airgun and is restricted to small game, sadly. We cant even hunt deer with .223 here.

My only major issue with the air javelin is the fairly long takeup in the trigger. However, I am spoiled and use TriggerTech in most things. That said the trigger has an obvious wall and was not a detractor to accuracy.

The smaller thing I would have liked to see was a slight chamfer on the M-Lok slots as they are a bit sharp from the flash. However, you don’t hold this area so it isn’t a huge issue. I would love to see a future model with an adjustable regulator that is able to send the arrows much harder, increasing the options for the game you can hunt. 

I was far more impressed with this handy package than I thought I would be. It has great accuracy, hits hard, and looks cool. If you are coming from a crossbow it also doesn’t require you to manually cock it with a sled or your hands, which is a plus. 

CategoriesGun Reviews

Wolfenstein 2 — A Gun Guy Goes Gaming

I won’t lie, I didn’t play a whole lot of the original Wolfenstein games. I was always a bit more of a Doom guy, but even I know about Mecha-Hitler. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus hit my interest recently. Bethesda did both Doom and the new Wolfenstein games, and who doesn’t love the new Doom games? I went ahead and dived on in.

In Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, you strap into the familiar shoes of William “BJ” Blazkowicz. Blazkowicz is a madman, a gun-slinging monster who takes no mercy on Nazis. He’s not too angry to die like Doomguy, but he’s close. I think there is some easter egg where BJ is Doomguy’s grandfather or something.

BJ—Doomguy’s grandfather? Follow me for more conspiracy theories. (MachineGames’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)

The New Colossus takes place in an alternative timeline where the Nazis won. It’s now 1961, New York City has been nuked, and the Nazis now control what’s called the “American Territories.’ BJ and the team work out of a stolen U-Boat called Eva’s Hammer, and you launch most of your missions from the Hammer. The Hammer acts as a hub that allows you to play the original Wolfenstein, talk to characters, and launch various missions and sidequests.

The plot follows BJ and his team as they resist the Nazis. These Nazis are equipped with futuristic technology—at least futuristic based on the 1960s, including giant robots, armored troops, and even robotic troops. It doesn’t matter what they are, though, you’re gonna rip and tear your way through them.

Wolfenstein — A Shoot ‘Em Up

This isn’t a slow-paced, tactical, realistic shooter. It’s a fast-paced arcade-style shooter that can be frantic and chaotic. You are running and gunning, constantly picking up health, armor, and ammo as you race through the levels. You jump, climb and throw tomahawks and grenades as you do it. Players can go stealth, and sometimes that’s valuable, but it’s really more of a shoot ’em up.

flamethrower in Wolfenstein 2
Sometimes you need a flamethrower. (MachineGames’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)

The controls are smooth and intuitive and allow you to move fast and kill fast. The game encourages pulling the trigger over and over or sometimes just holding it down. Dual wielding is a big part of Wolfenstein. Most guns can be dual-wielded. This includes the assault rifle and shotgun. Dual wielding can be a very valuable tactic in Wolfenstein, and at close range, it’s hard to beat.

The game encourages you to play aggressively. You move from place to place, absolutely destroying every Nazi that dares draw breath around you.

The World of Wolfenstein

You can do so with some seriously beautiful graphics. Even though the game came out in 2017, the graphics still look great. The intricacies of the weapons and the armored enemies just look beautiful. Everything is just a little busy but well-detailed, and everything looks different. There seems to be zero laziness tied to the design of the world and characters.

Wolfenstein 2 nazi robot
The Nazis have more tanks this time. (MachineGames’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)

We also get a number of characters that look and sound unique, with some top-tier voice acting. The characters are deep and interesting, which isn’t what you expect from a crazy, action-packed first-person shooter. They are flawed and sometimes a little stupid, or other times they have interpersonal struggles that get to be seen on screen. We learn about BJ and his abusive coming of age. We see interactions from his past, and they get brutal and uncomfortable. Sometimes BJ gets a little too emo, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of levity in his character.

Wolfenstein 2 terrorists
Your actions have consequences. (MachineGames’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)

The tone can be odd. Sometimes it’s darkly comedic and over the top; other times, it’s very personal and truly dark. It might make you a little squeamish. Most of the time, the game comes off as a bit like a grindhouse B movie, and that’s when it really shines.

What I Like About Wolfenstein

I love the tone when it’s very B-Movie. I love the action and tight shooting. The dual wielding is a ton of fun, and blasting away at bad guys is a blast. There are robots that dual-wield, and with smart, focused fire, you can pop off an arm at a time to keep them from killing you.

Wolfenstein 2 Machine pistols. (MachineGames' Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)
How about two machine pistols? (MachineGames’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)

I do like the guns. They are upgradeable when you find weapon kits. You can add an optic, and armor-piercing ammo, or maybe a drum magazine, a silencer, or more. Each gun has three upgrades, and you can be fairly selective about what guns you prefer. I love the Sturmgewehr and full auto, rotary barrel shotgun.

Dual full-auto shotguns fed from drum magazines in Wolfenstein 2.
Dual, full auto shotgun….fed from drums. (MachineGames’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)

The guns are all fictional, but influence from real guns is present. The Sturmgewehr looks like a battle rifle, which is appropriate for the era. Additionally, the Machienpistole looks like a Walther MPL, and the handgun is clearly a heavily modified Luger. The shotgun named the Schockhammer X is an absolute blast when paired with extended mags and dual wielding.

As a first-person shooter, the game is plenty challenging and a ton of fun.

What I Don’t Like

There are a few things about Wolfenstein I don’t like. There are lots of dull, repetitive grey hallways to navigate and the most interesting levels are often too brief. For example, the daylight Roswell level looks like it’d be a blast to fight through with an odd mix of Americana and Nazi imagery. Sadly, it’s a very short, shooting-free portion.

The same goes for another level in Texas. You are in a dilapidated farmhouse from BJ’s youth when the Nazis ambush you and lift the entire house in the air. This is an awesome but way-too-short portion of the game. The best environments get very little playtime.

Wolfenstein 2 weapon upgrade
I do like the guns. (MachineGames’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus)

Another thing I don’t really like is that even though the weapons are fun, there aren’t very many of them. Half of your guns are ‘heavy’ weapons, and these weapons slow your movement. Essentially, they’re just temporary weapons you ditch when the ammo is dry or you get tired of moving at a snail’s pace.

There isn’t a lot I don’t like, but I think the game could’ve been a perfect ten if they mixed up the environments and introduced some unique, non-type-cast weapons.

The Future of the American Territories

It’s sad that Wolfenstein: Youngblood is apparently a terrible game. Coming off The New Colossus and into the 1980s seemed like a very interesting setting. Even so, The New Colossus is an absolute blast. It’s a fair bit of fun and currently selling for a bargain. I might have to go back and check The New Order and maybe Youngblood.

Are you a Wolfenstein fan? What do you think about the remakes? Let us know below!

CategoriesGun Reviews

African Big Game Hunting with Nosler

People hunt all over the world. It’s just hardwired into some of us. But African hunting…that’s just another level. An African hunt is the pinnacle adventure for many. But if you’re hunting the biggest of big game, your equipment better be right, including your bullet choices. But no worries. Nosler has your back.

In the video below, RECOILtv’s Iain Harrison gives us the scoop on how his Nosler bullets performed on a recent South African hunt. The results are pretty impressive.

Real World Nosler Performance

“Whether you own a firearm for self-protection, for hunting, or just plinking in the dirt,” Iain says, “at the end of the day we’re all interested in what happens when that bullet hits its final destination. It’s always good to see what happens in the real world, in terms of performance, versus what happens in gel.”

Zebra
Nosler’s 130-grain .270 E-Tip retained almost 100 percent of its weight after penetrating both shoulders on a zebra. (pexels.com)

The Nosler 130 grain E-Tip in .270 Winchester racked up most of Iain’s group’s kills. He shows one example recovered after penetrating both shoulders on a zebra from 300 yards. Another bullet entered a nyala’s chest, plowed through the heart, and lodged in the animal’s hindquarters. Both bullets mushroomed nicely and maintained nearly 100 percent of their weight. Iain estimates their velocity at 2,500 and 3,000 feet per second, respectively.

Nyala
Another .270 round did the same after traveling almost the entire length of a nyala. (thehunterkind.com)

Modern Metal vs. Lead Bullets

Iain says he’s a big fan of modern metal bullets because they perform consistently at both ends of the velocity spectrum.  You can get similar performance with an SBR at close range or reaching way out with a longer rifle.

“What I like about modern metal bullets,” Iain says, “is consistency in performance. You’re not going to get that explosive fragmentation that you get from lead bullets. However, you do get the ability to punch through both shoulders, break bone, and probably leave two blood trails.”

Mushroomed Nosler E-Tip bullets
The .270 E-Tip bullets from the zebra and the nyala.

Iain is, however, dubious about modern metal bullets’ supposed other benefits. He believes the uproar over lead fragments in meat to be “completely overblown,” especially theoretically protecting wildlife from ingesting lead from fragments in gut piles. He notes that California hunters have been lead-free for a decade, with no impact on condor populations. If condors get lead poising, it’s likely coming from somewhere else.

Nosler Big Game Rounds

Iain’s group also used 9.3x62mm rounds for bigger game. The .270 might rule the plains, but cape buffalo is another thing entirely. “Our buffalo hunt was perhaps one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done,” he says. The bullet’s performance on maybe the most dangerous of big game animals was “really eye-opening.”

Cape Buffalo
The cape buffalo is generally considered the most dangerous game animal on the planet. (freeimages.com)

Iain used Nosler’s 286-grain Safari Solid 9.3x62mm flat-nosed round. The bullet is solid brass, turned on a CNC machine. “Extremely consistent and extremely hard,” Iain says. Even so, the cape buffalo soaked up two strong shoulder hits that Iain says “would have been lights out” for any other animal. He hit the buffalo with a third shot that entered the hip and exited through the shoulder. They got video of the spent round kicking up a dust plume just beyond the buffalo.

“If you want penetration,” Iain says, “this is the way to go,” though he notes that there’s not much use for it in North America, except maybe for grizzly bears or stopping a Mack Truck. The round hits with about 3,000 energy ft/lbs. with “massive, massive penetration.”

The group also had great success with Nosler’s 250-grain 9.3x62mm Trophy Accubond rounds. The Accubond bullet has “great terminal performance,” and a plastic tip to initiate expansion. Iain says they had “no complaints with any of these bullets, whatsoever.”

Nosler accuracy
“Two calibers for most any game on the planet,” he says: .270 Winchester and 9.3x62mm. “I got no complaints.”

Accuracy

The 130-grain .270 Winchester E-Tips grouped at no more than 1.25 inches from three different rifles at 100 yards. Iain says the .270 had a “pretty strong performance across the board.” Its average muzzle velocity was 3,050 fps, which Iain says handloaders can easily boost by 200 fps.

 

 

CategoriesGun Reviews

Ammo Test — 380 ACP Speer Gold Dot

Since 1995, Speer’s Gold Dot hollow-point ammunition has been a standard of measure in duty calibers such as 9×19, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. In recent years, Speer has updated some of its duty loads to optimize performance in shorter-barreled concealed carry handguns. These Short Barrel loads are available in the same duty calibers. I had good luck with this line’s 135-grain 38 Special +P hollow point. But it seems Speer’s 380 ACP offering did not get the same facelift.

The Load

Speer’s 380 ACP 90 grain Gold Dot load has been around the block a time or two without any perceived improvement. Typical for premium defensive loads, this offering uses a corrosion-proof nickel-plated brass case and premium jacketed hollow point projectiles. Speer claims the Gold Dot has superior bonded properties between its lead core and copper jacketed through their Uni-Cor electrochemical process.

In a round as low velocity as 380 ACP, jacket and core retention is key to ensure enough mass stays together to carry through with enough penetration. But jacket separation tends to occur more often with higher velocity rounds like 9×19. On the other hand, Speer does advertise this 90-grain load at a healthy 1040 feet per second—albeit from a 3.5-inch barreled handgun.

Two complete 380 ACP Speer Gold Dot rounds positioned in front of a black factory box.

The Test

I ran forty rounds of the 90-grain Speer Gold Dot to do a general test for function, velocity, and ballistic performance. I began by running a box and a half through my Ruger LCP. Recoil was smarter than other loads but overall, the function was perfect. It is worth noting the Gold Dot projectile’s rounded profile may give an advantage in feeding from certain pistols compared to flat-nosed rounds.

From a distance of ten feet, I shot a string of fire through my Caldwell chronograph to get some velocity readings. My Ruger 380 LCP, a typical pocket pistol with a 2.75-inch barrel, turned in a five-shot average velocity of 968 feet per second. In my own testing, that is a bit faster than some 85-90 grain loads out there and it gave me some cause for optimism as I set up my 10% Clear Ballistics gelatin blocks fronted with four layers of denim.

Wound tracts from three Gold Dot projectiles intersected in two gelatin blocks on a wooden table.

I fired three rounds from ten feet away into my blocks. One projectile’s hollow point cavity was clogged with denim but managed to partially expand before settling at the 13.5-inch mark. The other two projectiles failed to expand, one coming to rest at the 15-inch and 17 3/4-inch mark respectively.

As I had done previously with my Federal Premium’s 380 ACP 99 grain HST test, I decided to remove the denim barrier and took an additional shot into bare gelatin. Without heavy clothing, the Gold Dot tumbled between the 4-8 inch mark like the other rounds but expanded to .458 inch, stopping at the eleven-inch mark.

Three 380 projectiles suspended in gelatin.
Three 380 projectiles suspended in gelatin.

Three unexpanded projectiles next to an expanded one on a table.

The Bottom Line

In this worst-case scenario, all tumbled readily, dumping much of their energy in the first eight inches of material. The denim barrier did stop expansion of the projectiles, but the Gold Dot load still had enough pasta to achieve good penetration without the excessive penetration and lack of damage one would expect from non-expanding full metal jacket loads. Like other 380 ACP loads out there, the current Speer Gold Dot load would achieve a good balance of penetration and expansion through light clothing when used in pocket pistols while less compact handguns might give just enough velocity to keep that balance through more obstacles.

CategoriesGun Reviews

.22 Long Rifle: What is It Good For?

The .22 Long Rifle is a wildly popular cartridge, but is it actually good for anything? Ron Spomer’s response to that question is “Really?” Yes, the .22 Long Rifle fills multiple roles for many shooters and Ron gives us the lowdown in the video below.

Ron Spomer should be one of your go-to guys on rifle cartridges

If you aren’t familiar with Ron Spomer, let me just say that he knows his stuff. He’s my go-to guy for hunting cartridges. I leaned heavily on him in my recent search for a versatile North American big game cartridge that wouldn’t beat me to death at the range, physically or financially. I eventually chose the .270 Winchester. That may seem ho-hum to some folks, but I concluded that the .270 is popular for a reason.

Anyway, Ron is very knowledgeable, and he makes some excellent points here. The .22 Long Rifle is versatile, inexpensive, available, and more useful than you might think. It will help your training for larger calibers since most platforms have a .22 Long Rifle chambering and you can afford to shoot more.

Rifle and ammunition
Everyone should have at least one firearm chambered in .22 Long Rifle. But why stop at one?

Rimfire .22 Long Rifle

.22 Long Rifle is the most popular rimfire cartridge out there. But what is a rimfire? Glad you asked. Ron explains that French inventor Louis-Nicolas Flobert created the rimfire in 1845, giving us the world’s first fully encased metallic cartridge. He essentially attached a BB to a musket percussion cap. He called it a “Parlor Gun” and intended it for indoor shooting galleries. A later version was .22 CB, which, combined with Flobert’s first effort, became the 6mm Flobert chambering.

Ron Spomer Marlin Model 60
.22 rifles are fun and useful at the same time.

Centerfire cartridges were still years away, so the rimfire was cutting-edge technology. Flobert spun the primer into the cartridge’s external rim. The firing pin could then strike the rim anywhere to ignite the powder.

Smith & Wesson improved Flobert’s design in the 1850s by introducing the .22 Short, the first American-made encased cartridge. Four grains of black powder drove a 29 or 30 grain projectile. The new .22 Short debuted in Smith & Wesson’s first revolver, the Model 1, as a self-defense cartridge.

Smith & Wesson .22 Short cartridge and Smith & Wesson Model 1 revolver
Smith & Wesson improved Flobert’s rimfire to create the .22 Short for their Model 1 Revolver. (The Firearm Blog)

The .22 Short’s success led to dozens of chamberings, ranging from .22 to above .50 caliber. None could be very powerful because the copper or brass rim had to be soft enough for the firing pin to crush, thus igniting the powder. Higher pressures would blow through that thin metal, sending energy back at the shooter. That’s why rimfires are relatively weak and are now mostly relegated to the .22s and .17s.

Hunting With the .22 Long Rifle

My Dad used to tell me that .22s had taken more game than any other single caliber. He was probably right. The .22 Long Rifle is great for small game, varmints, and even pest control. Ron says “don’t discount the little .22. It can handle the job if you do your job.”

Ron Spomer Ruger 10/22 in .22 Long Rifle
The .22 Long Rifle is a great hunting cartridge.

Unfortunately, the .22 Long Rifle and its cousins are effective enough that poachers use them for bigger game like deer. Ron notes that the .22 Long Rifle has also brought down big bears in self-defense situations. He’s even heard of an elephant succumbing to the diminutive round. An African homeowner supposedly shot an elephant in his garden to scare it away. But he hit a major artery and the animal died. Sad story but maybe not as far-fetched as it sounds. But certainly, a lucky shot. Or unlucky, depending on your point of view.

Long Range Practice

Ron says the .22 Long Rifle is perfect for simulating long-range shooting. Many shooters use the cartridge out to 200 or even 300 yards to practice bullet drop and windage corrections. It’s a great way to learn and practice those skills and you won’t break the bank doing it.

.22 Long Rifle long range simulation
.22 Long Rifle is great for simulating long-range fire.

Ron demonstrates by consistently hitting a 10-inch steel plate at 200 yards with just a plain crosshair scope. He just holds over to dial in. Once you master a larger target, go smaller until you’ve got it down. Make it fun by popping balloons or busting water bottles, which looks like a great way to practice that skill.

Learn Shooting and Handling Techniques

The .22 also works for perfecting fundamentals. Practice field shooting positions without worrying about recoil or your wallet. While working on that, you can also practice fundamentals like holding your cheek weld and keeping your eyes downrange while cycling the action.

Ron Spomer practicing shooting from a Sitting position
Ron practices his sitting position with a bolt action gun in .22 Long Rifle. Note he is keeping his cheek weld and eyes downrange while cycling the action and maintaining his base.

Here’s another way the .22 Long Rifle shines. Whether you like bolt actions, lever actions, pump actions, semi-auto, or all of the above, there’s a .22 Long Rifle gun for you.

Practicing pump action fundamentals with a .22
Ron practices pump action fundamentals with a gun chambered in .22 Long Rifle.

My primary deer rifle is a lever action Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. Great cartridge, but I just can’t afford to shoot it as much as I’d like. After watching Ron’s video, I’ll soon be purchasing a lever action in .22 Long Rifle. I won’t have the recoil, but I can practice everything else that will make me a better field shooter.

Practicing lever action fundamentals with a .22
I’ll be doing this soon to get better with my primary deer rifle.

Many popular semi-auto pistols have .22 versions for practicing fundamentals, whether they be trigger pull, handling, or whatever. And again, you won’t be sleeping on the couch because you spent too much on ammo.

Practicing single action fundamentals with a .22
Ron practices his single action revolver skills with a .22 Long Rifle Ruger Single Six.

Lots to Like and No Real Downside

Who doesn’t enjoy shooting a .22? It’s just fun, especially since you can shoot it a lot. The .22 Long Rifle is as versatile as cartridges come. It’s fun, it can put food on the table, and it can make you better with your centerfire guns, whether rifle or handgun. Seriously, what’s not to like? And it’s a fantastic way to bring new shooters into the fold. Take someone shooting and hand them a .22. I can almost guarantee they will come back for more. And we need a lot more of that.

Ron Spomer kneeling position shooting fundamentals
Ron demonstrates proper kneeling position fundamentals. Top left and right: Don’t put your weight on your toe because it’s easy to pivot, making your position unstable. Bottom left: Sit on your heel instead. Bottom right: Some shooters like to switch legs to support the strong side arm.

What do think? Is the .22 Long Rifle cartridge all that? Hit us up in the comments. And as always, happy shooting, y’all.

 

CategoriesGun Reviews

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nicolas Cage might be my favorite actor. If I started listing all the movies I love that star the man, the myth, the legend, Nicolas Cage, you’d see some that are genuinely great, like Pig, and Mandy, some silly like Face/Off and Con Air, and some that are legendary like Raising Arizona. The scope of his career has ranged from earning Oscars to being subversive and strange, and of course, everything in between. His latest flick both reveres and makes fun of him as he plays himself in the Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

The actor has become a bit of a meme in the last few years. He has several over-the-top performances that make you think, is this guy crazy? I’m not just talking about recent oddballs like Mandy, but watch Vampire’s Kiss to see some Cage at peak crazy. At the same time, he makes movies like National Treasure, which were fun flicks, and movies like Pig, which is subversive and odd but beautiful.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent poster
This is one of those times the movie reps the poster well.

Nicolas is quite the character, and he gets to play that character in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. He not only plays himself, but he plays an imagined version of his younger self called Nicky. Boy, let me tell you, those scenes get crazy. It might not be his most dramatic, Oscar-worthy film, but it’s most certainly the peak of Cage’s memedom.

Diving Into the Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

How do I even describe this film? Well, let’s start with the basics. Playing an exaggerated version of himself, Cage is crazy and a little zany. He’s in a career slump and can’t seem to snag a role but keeps his head up and keeps trying. He’s seemingly a very passionate actor but suffers in his personal life.

Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
He’s crazy as a fox and it’s great.

Am I describing the movie or Cage’s real life? We can’t deny the fact Cage had a bit of a slump, with declining movie roles, and tax problems, and he did have to return a dinosaur head to the Mongolian people. Regardless of how you feel about the movie, his role in the film was a courageous one to take.

His relationship with his daughter is bad. He owes a hotel 600K, and he can’t get a role. This leads him to accept a million dollars to go to the birthday party of an olive magnate. Along the way, he gets mixed up with criminals, the CIA, and more. It’s a movie that quickly goes off the walls and does so with a great cast and beautiful scenery.

A Bromance

I won’t kill the plot, but essentially Pedro Pascal plays a superfan of Nicolas Cage named Javi who also might be a notorious arms dealer and psychopath. Nic is tasked by the CIA to help locate a girl Pascal may or may not have kidnapped. We are exposed to a charming, kind, and meek person in Pascal who doesn’t seem like any kind of arms dealer or killer.

The two men develop a bromance, and Cage learns about himself. It’s a charming relationship between two men who share a love of film. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz, who play the CIA Agents and get their own time to shine.

Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal running in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
The bromance involves a little running…

It’s a small cast but a reasonably strong one with great chemistry. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is undoubtedly a tribute to Cage, but it also stands tall as its own movie. Arguably it’s better due to Cage’s personality, but it stands on its own as a fine, fun film.

Nic takes things over the top, but Pascal’s comparatively meek demeanor keeps things grounded. Pascal kind of shines, which is tough to do when your character is calm and quiet around the boisterous Cage. He does a good job playing crazy fan-boy and seems genuinely in awe of hanging out with Cage. They get up to some hilarious adventures, and the film does a good job of making you question what’s presented.

The Guns and Gunplay

Nicolas Cage holding pistols in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
This isn’t strictly an action movie, but it has some thrills.

Nic Cage and Pedro Pascal trip balls while writing a screenplay and Nic Cage plays two versions of himself. Don’t expect Heat levels of gunplay. It’s silly, over the top, and fun. It’s not a movie that takes itself too seriously.

Nic Cage playing Nic Cage is funny, and he’s fairly effective in a gunfight. As an actor, he has been in a number of movies where he’s fired guns, so maybe that translates to his skills?

The custom gold Springfield M1911-A1 pistols pop up from my favorite film of all time, Face/Off. As a Cage superfan, Pedra Pascal has tons of props including a disturbing wax figure and Castor Troy’s famous gold pistols.

Face/Off guns
Oh yeah, the Face/Off guns are back.

These are Springfield Armory M1911-A1 V-12s featuring a gold titanium nitride plated finish. The guns are mentioned as ‘custom Springfields, and they certainly are. V-12 guns feature porting in the slides and barrels. These guns also have skeletonized hammers and triggers, custom dragon grips, ambi safeties, huge beavertails, and Heinie sights.

They are gaudy, over the top, and very Nic Cage. He dual wields the two guns as one should. The rest of the guns in the movie are rather boring compared to these Springfields.

Is the film worth the watch?

Oh, heck yeah. Even if you don’t care for Nicolas Cage, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a fun film. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither does Cage. Pedra Pascal is charming in his fanboy demeanor.

The film won’t blow your mind, but it’s a nice, nonserious, fun flick that lets Nicolas Cage be himself. It makes fun of the main character, and also shows some respect for the man and his illustrious film career. Nic is a force in this world, and some of the references are spot on. He’s treated in a way that makes sure you realize this isn’t just a character. This is the real f****** Nic Cage.

Any Cage fans in our audience? Let us know what you think below!

CategoriesGun Reviews

The Gray Man Movie…Not Quite Inconspicuous

The Gray Man recently hit Netflix. Finally! Netflix has something I actually wanna watch! The Gray Man movie stars Ryan Gosling as Court Gentry/Sierra Six, Ana de Armas as Dani Miranda, Chris Evans as bad guy Lloyd Hansen, and even Billy Bob Thorton as Donald Fitzroy. This balls-to-the-wall action flick got a theatrical release and then, a week later, popped up on Netflix. I grabbed a Guinness, kicked up my feet, and dived in with my lovely wife, and we made a Saturday night of it. It’s a summer action flick that really emphasizes the action and is a fair bit of fun to watch.

The Gray Man Movie

Supposedly Based on the Books

In the gun culture, we recognize the term Gray Man as someone who doesn’t stand out. A gay man doesn’t wear cargo pants, open carry, or have a closet full of Grunt Style shirts.

This movie does not use the term the same way.

The Gray Man is based on a series of books written by Mark Greaney, and the term is accurately used in the books. Court Gentry, our protagonist, is a man who can disappear and blend in anywhere at any time, and he uses that to his advantage.

Gosling’s Gentry is not so Gray. 

In the movie, the term seems to be misunderstood, and it’s more or less used to describe someone who isn’t good or bad, someone who operates in the gray. This sucks because it could be a fun device that makes the movie a little different than your average 2020s action flick.

That’s not the only thing that is different from the books. It’s almost entirely different from the books. In fact, it barely has anything in common with the book series outside of character names. Gentry still works for the CIA, Lloyd is a contractor, and Fitzroy recently retired from the CIA. There is a Mcguffin in the form of a data chip that all the bad guys want, and chaos develops along the way.

Why change the story? I have no idea. The original Gray Man book would be a seemingly easy movie to make but would be more Bourne Identity than John Wick.

How About the Gray Man Movie?

Well, it’s not a bad film by any means. You could have just changed the names and tweaked the story just a bit, and boom, it could be an independent franchise. It starts with a bang and has tons of bangs between the intro and the credits sequence. It’s a rapid-fire movie that constantly accelerates forward. It doesn’t waste time, but it also never lets anything set in. It’s like boom, new character….and boom, another new character. Oh wait, there’s something else!

For a summer action flick, I don’t mind much. The movie has several insane set pieces and action sequences. It’s not grounded in any way whatsoever. In fact, it’s almost Fast and Furious levels of over the top.

Not exactly an espionage and thriller-type film.

These two fellas face off in The Gray Man movie.
These two fellas face off in The Gray Man movie.

The Gray Man has plenty of levity, and a humorous tone pops up whenever anything gets too down. My favorite is that even though these people are killers, assassins, and spies, there is almost an Office-like atmosphere between them. They bicker, argue, and tease each other as coworkers would, and I found it charming.

There is also some stuff shoved in that the movie never earns. Gentry has an older brother/uncle-like relationship with Fitzroy’s niece. We get about two minutes’ worth of relationship building that does nothing to convince me that those two people care about each other.

Cast and Crew

Gosling is great as what is essentially a constantly bored and seemingly inconvenienced guy constantly put into rough situations. Those inconveniences are people who want to kill him.

Chris Evans plays a sociopathic CIA washout turned government contractor who is hired by the CIA. He dresses like a dad from the 1950s. He is hilarious and also a little unhinged.

Evans chews the scenery in The Gray Man movie as Lloyd.
Evans chews the scenery in The Gray Man movie as Lloyd.

Ana de Armas plays a CIA spy who teams up with Gentry and also is forced to constantly save his life. She doesn’t get a lot to do but is charming and enjoyable. The same could be said for Billy Bob Thorton, and he’s underused but typically fun when on screen.

Everyone else flows along. A Bollywood star named Dhanush pops in and makes an impression, but it feels like a franchise setup and tease more than anything valuable. The gentleman known as the cringeworthy ‘Lone Wolf’ call sign features some great fight choreography and has a mysterious edge to him.

Gray Man GunPlay

We see lots of gunplay, and it’s all fun. The Gray Man movie went straight to the School of John Wick gunfights, and they are carefully choreographed to look as cool as possible. Sadly, it’s not to the level of John Wick or Extraction. We see lots of cool stuff, like when two guys are fighting for a gun, and in the middle of the fight, Gosling unloads the gun to end the fight over it. Another has Gentry using someone’s reflection to locate and target them before firing through the floor below him to kill the guy.

Look at that CZ action!
Look at that CZ action!

A lot of the action gets downright silly with that Fast and Furious level of chaos and destruction happening. We see tons of mercs trying to kill Gentry, but he always evades death even when mercs use mounted M32-like grenade launchers, Akimbo.

We see lots of fun guns, from USPs and Glocks to Scorpions and CZ P09s. One scene takes place in Prague, and the police are depicted (accurately) use Scorpions and P09s. We even see a Cornershot in the intro, buts it’s never used.

The Gray Man movie has lots of AR action.
Of course there is plenty of AR action!

There is plenty of plot armor for the main characters, like Ana de Armas sprinting but being able to kill a sniper by hip firing a grenade launcher. The sniper has a bolt action, scoped rifle mounted but apparently could only miss. 

The action is a bit over the top, but enjoyable
The action is a bit over the top, but enjoyable.

One of my favorite action scenes doesn’t even involve guns. It has Gentry killing several bad guys with trauma shears, and I love it.

Worth the Watch?

If you have Netflix, then sure. It’s a fun watch, but I wouldn’t go to a theatre to see it. Nor would I subscribe to Netflix just to see it. It’s not as good as the early Bourne movies and not as action impressive as Extraction. Still, it’s fun and does have great characters with (mostly) good chemistry.

Check it out, and if you’ve already seen it feel free to let us know what you think below.

 

 

CategoriesGun Reviews

Is the Prey Movie a Worthy Predator Reboot?

I love the Predator. Well, the first film at least, and I admit I enjoy the second film too. After that, well, it’s not great, at least film-wise. Predators was okay; The Predator (the latest one with Boyd Holbrook) was not so great. The Predators vs. Aliens movies kind of suck, but the comics are great. So, when they announced the Prey movie, I was cautious. I liked the idea and thought the prequel would be a refreshing take on the idea of the Predator. It’s also a bit of a follow-up from the second film (1990, Danny Glover as Lt. Mike Harrigan) in a few ways.

Anyway, as I type this, I’m about four beers deep and just finished the film, so let’s dive in.

Prey is a Predator movie prequel. It takes place in 1719 (early 18th century) and is filmed in remote parts of Alberta, Canada.

Predator: Prey Movie

The film goes back about 300 years to the early 1700s. We are dropped into a village of Comanches and introduced to a young lady named Naru. We instantly see she is quite skilled with a tomahawk and throws it like a pro. She lives in the shadow of her brother, Taabe, a skilled hunter. Naru wishes to be a hunter and wants to complete what seems to be some sort of rite of passage, something called kühtaamia.

Prey movie: protagonist Naru really likes her tomahawk.
Naru likes her tomahawk.

Kühtaamia is explained to be a hunt in which she has to hunt an animal capable of hunting her in turn. This leads through the series of events where Naru tries to prove herself to her tribe, to herself, and even to the Predator.

As the movie takes place in early in the eighteenth century (1719), we get some gorgeous shots of North America. The woods, the rivers, and landscapes, all of it is breathtaking. The Prey movie was filmed in Alberta, Canada, particularly the Exshaw and Stoney Najoda First Nation regions. “Moose Mountain” and the Elbow River both feature prominently. With just a few cinematic exceptions, the movie is bright and shot clearly, so you can see almost everything without any issue.

If you haven’t seen Prey, then let’s end your part of this article now. I will tell you it’s worth the watch. It’s a solid, entertaining movie that can be a little slow in the first half. However, it’s only my second favorite Predator film. The first still owns a part of my heart.

Anything beyond this will be spoilers.

Spoiler alert gif
It’s obvious that pretty much any of our Saturday Night at the Movies articles might contain spoilers but we’re posting another warning just in case!

Into the Prey Movie

The film Prey starts a little slow. We are introduced to Naru, her brother Taabe, and her mom. We also begin to see her motivations. Her father has passed and she wants to be a hunter and warrior like her brother. She rejects her role as a gatherer and expert in medicine. As this unfolds, the film meanders a bit at the beginning with bits of the Predator shown and how he interacts with the dangers of North America.

The main problem here is that it’s not interesting. The idea invokes the first film. If you recall the first Predator, the movie in the first act is about an elite Black Ops team killing the enemies of democracy. The film follows a similar route with Naru trying to become a hunter. There is a subplot with a mountain lion instead of communists.

The Predator has to take on the Comanche

Even after Naru begins tracking the Predator, the film moves slowly. We do get to see the Predator deal with a rattlesnake, a wolf, and even a badass fight with a bear. About the time the Predator fights with a grizzly bear, the film starts moving.

When it starts moving, it gets ultra-violent. Lots of action, tons of blood, decapitations, and the disassembly of people limb from limb, and we see our hero grow and learn. Prey isn’t about super commandos with 24-inch arms fighting an alien. It’s about a young Comanche who has to outthink the Predator.

She has to be smart, and that’s how she survives. There are a lot of little setups that pay off in unexpected ways, and I appreciated it greatly.

Its a new Predator

A New Age for Prey

Setting the movie in the 1700s changes the dynamics and the weaponry all around. Obviously, Ole Painless wouldn’t make much sense in this film. This brings us to what appears to be fairly authentic weapons for the Comanche. This includes bows, spears, knives, and tomahawks made from stone. It might be one of the only movies to show a character sharpen their blade and constantly perform maintenance.

Additionally, I know very little about how the Comanches fought or used their weapons, so I dived into it. From my research, it seemed like the film did a good job of showing how the Comanche fought and used their weapons. This occurs down to how they retract the firing arm of their bow and how they retain their spears when blasting through arrows.

Look at her hand position, it’s authentic for the time.

The hero in Prey, Naru, is exceptionally skilled with her weapons, even if it doesn’t mean a whole lot. One of the parts of the movie I thought was a bit cheesy is her parkour abilities. It’s just a bit too much to make her like some kind of fantasy ninja.

There are some guns thanks to some French trappers who become easy fodder for our beast of a Predator. I’m not ultra knowledgeable about weapons of this period, but a Frenchman describes the method of firing one, and it’s accurate.

We even see a very familiar 18th-century pistol that Predator fans will most certainly enjoy seeing. With that said, Prey couldn’t have a traditional Predator.

A New Predator

Our new, or well, old Predator is a bit different than what we are used to. It hardly seems fair for a Predator to use a laser weapon against people with muskets, early rifles, bows, and tomahawks. Luckily this Predator prefers to get hands-on. He likes a spear and his claw, and we even see a few new weapons. This includes a shield and arrow launching weapon guided by his familiar laser aiming device.

The new Predator still has the famous heat vision but wears what appears to be an older mask, maybe one made from bone. The Predator is also a bit different in design. We get the mandibles, but he looks different and lacks dreadlocks. He’s vicious, violent, and acts like a monster.

The three dots make a comeback!

Predator is one of those creatures where less is more, and while we get some gratuitous shots, we also earn them. We get teases throughout the film, but for the majority of it, he wears the cloak and clicks away in the background.

Worth the Watch

The film is streaming on Hulu, and since I subscribe to Hulu, it’s tough for me to say it’s not worth the watch. I remained entertained throughout the film; even the slow parts are worth watching. Prey surprised me, and I was happy to be surprised.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Grey Birch Manufacturing — Fusion Receiver and Barrel

Anyone who has owned a 10/22 and changed parts on it has likely had to deal with the V-Block. This was an easy method to attach barrels to the Ruger 10/22 receiver but is finicky and doesn’t lead to the ultimate accuracy you can achieve. Grey Birch Manufacturing said hell no with that garbage and decided to do what the big bore rifles do and have a threaded barrel and barrel nut.

The darker receiver uses the V-Block while the Fusion has the new barrel nut design.

We had previously talked about the LaChassis as it is called now and it had the V-Block version of their barrel and receiver in it. They have since discontinued these items despite the great accuracy we had on our sample. Now they only offer what they call the Fusion LDR in both a 16.1″ carbon fiber wrapped barrel or fatty steel barrel. We picked up the carbon fiber version and got to check out their new bolt at the same time.

The Grey Birch Fusion in the LaChassis has a nice profile.
The Grey Birch Fusion in the LaChassis has a nice profile.

Precision Bolt

You can see the difference between a standard bolt profile and the Precision Bolt here.
You can see the difference between a standard bolt profile and the Precision Bolt here.

We will start off by talking about the new bolt since this removed my main frustration with assembling a 10/22—getting the bolt and cocking handle assembly into the receiver. I find this process overly complicated for what it needs to be. Some people have mastered the cheat code for installing these, but not this guy.

The Grey Birch Manufacturing Precision Bolt simplifies this by attaching the cocking handle to the bolt itself. On a normal Ruger bolt, you have to slot the cocking handle into the top of the bolt with a delicate balancing act. To install this bolt you just unscrew the cocking handle and put the spring guide rod and recoil spring into the corresponding hole in the bolt. Then all you have to do is push back and tilt in. I did this with two rifles as you can see in the picture and the Precision Bolt was infinitely easier to install. The extractor and firing pin are also much cleaner parts than what you get with Ruger.

I did have one issue with this bolt compared to a stock Ruger one and that was a Timney 10/22 trigger that caused a load of light strikes. After doing some research, a lot of people have talked about how the trigger has light strikes, so the Timney trigger seems to have a weak hammer spring. So instead, I did what I had planned to do for a long time—get a bunch of Tandemkross parts into a Ruger BX trigger pack. I tested with both a stock BX trigger and the upgraded one and both had proper strikes every time. I like this bolt so much that I will be buying one for my wife’s 10/22 due to how easy it is to remove and install.

Looking down the side of the rifle you can see the Fusion Receiver with Carbon Fiber Barrel the Precision Bolt.
Looking down the side of the rifle you can see the Fusion Receiver with Carbon Fiber Barrel and the Precision Bolt.

Fusion System

Now that we have talked about the new bolt it is time to get into the hotness that is the Fusion System. The Fusion Systems barrel nut means that your barrel can be consistently torqued on giving consistent results. The only thing is you would need to make sure is the extractor slot is timed right. The Fusion System does come with the barrel factory installed into the LDR receiver and with 22lr it will take a long time to shoot out the barrel.

There is a small but easily remedied issue with the barrel nut. Most stocks are not designed with the added girth in this area of the barrel so minimal work with a file or sandpaper is needed to relieve this area. If you buy a current model of the LaChassis it comes with this area set up for the barrel nut.

the barrel nut runs pretty tight with the chassis.
You can see the barrel nut runs pretty tight with the chassis.

Rail

The rail on the top of the rifle is a 20 moa rail giving you some extra elevation in your scope. This is much needed when shooting 22lr at range due to the heavy drop of the slow-moving chunk of lead. The receiver itself is made from 6061 T6 aluminum and anyone who has worked with 7000 series aluminum can understand why (ask me how I know). The receiver has a clear hard anodized finish which has held up well so far and gives the rifle a unique look showing off the tumbled aluminum below.

We will be ditching the thread protector for a ReddNobb Tuna Can in the near future to see how much more we can dial in the Standard Plus or Rifle Match.
We will be ditching the thread protector for a ReddNobb Tuna Can in the near future to see how much more we can dial in the Standard Plus or Rifle Match.

Barrel

The barrel comes with an anodized blue thread protector and is made from well-machined carbon fiber and 416 stainless steel. The chamber of the barrel is a Bentz chamber made for match ammo and we can certainly say this rifle makes some nice small holes.

I recently took the rifle to the range and forgot to bring a bipod. So I said screw it, I will shoot off the Game Changer bag. I had several types of ammo with me and at 50 yards the Remington Target Rifle made by Eley shot a single-hole group. The next two best consistent five-shot groups came from the RWS Rifle Match along with the SK Standard Plus. Both of these were easily making .300″ groups when the wind picked up a bit so likely on a bipod in calmer conditions this could be dropped further.

Of the five different types of ammo I shot, each was used for a five-shot group five separate times to rule out trigger mistakes. The rifle performed pretty well with CCI Standard Velocity but it was obvious the Bentz chamber preferred match rounds. Currently, we have shot just under 600 rounds of 22lr through this rifle and will update this article later if anything changes or we find a better round for the rifle.

Grey Birch Manufacturing full rifle
The combination of wood, clear hard anodized aluminum, and carbon fiber sure makes for a fancy-looking package.

Now on to the fun part. I keep seeing American friends and other people ask where to get these rifles and parts in the states. Up until now, the rifles had to have loads of paperwork done on them, the sun and moon had to properly align, and then it finally got into the states.

Well, Grey Birch Manufacturing will be doing the big move south of the border to one of the freest (that word looks odd to write) states—Florida—so expect these things to be readily available over the next year. We are excited to see where Grey Birch Manufacturing goes as they continue to release new products in the rimfire world like a stock for the 10/22 Takedown, Tikka T1 or the CZ 457, or even their rumored 10/22 trigger group they are working on.

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