2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bump Firing

****NOTICE****


I DO NOT ENDORSE THE PRACTICE OF BUMP FIRING OR CONDONE THE FOLLOWING VIDEO!!

The term "bump firing" came up on several discussion boards I have read concerning my AK clone rifle. On his excellent Romanian AK page (link on the bottom of this page) the author demonstrates how this is accomplished.

I DO NOT CONSIDER THIS A SAFE OR RESPONSIBLE WAY TO FIRE THESE WEAPONS!!


I have always been taught to aim my shots. You cannot be sure of what is behind your target if you don't know what your target is. The individual firing in the videos was doing so at a controlled firing event. His purpose of doing these videos was purely for educational purposes. Doing this at your local range may (and probably will) violate local range rules.

Bump Firing Videos
video

video

video

This type of shooting looks cool in a John Woo film or in Rambo, but professionals do not spray and pray when it comes to firing. Even in the military the use of automatic fire is taught to be an aimed proceedure. It is used to either hit a low percentage target with one or two rounds of a burst with the other rounds compensating for elevation and windage adjustments; or to hit multiple targets with one burst in a beaten zone. It is not normally employed in this manner. It is a waste of ammo and money at today's ammo rates. Be a professional shooter!

Shoot Often...SHOOT SAFE!! (not like this!)

~Huey

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm - Beretta on the Cheap!



Hey Shooters,

Picked up at Stoeger Cougar at Vance's last week. A Stoeger? What's a Stoeger you might ask. Well, a Stoeger Cougar is basically a Beretta Cougar produced in Turkey under by Stoeger Industries using THE EXACT SAME MACHINERY AS THE ORIGINAL PISTOL!! Wow! How'd that happen! Well, let me tell you. Back in the 90's, Beretta developed the Cougar to complement its 92 series 9mm pistols which were being used (and still are) by the US military and many other militaries and police forces. It's goal was to be a smaller, more compact and concealable pistol for undercover and security work. The LAPD issued a variant of the Cougar with a 4" barrel for a time. That's a good collectors piece if you can get your hand on one. This probably would of been a winning design and marketing plan for them except for one thing, GLOCK! About this time (late 90's) Glock was gaining by leaps and bounds inroads into agencies and organizations with its polymer frame goodness that traditionally had only used metal frame pistols. Unable to compete with Glock's momentum, Beretta slowed down and then eventually halted production. A short while later they won a contract with the military of Turkey for the Cougar as Turkey's standard service pistol. They were going full bore on the PX4 next-gen pistol and couldn't really afford to divert manufacturing to the Cougar. What they did next was pure genius. They acquired Stoeger Industries in 2000 and placed them under their joint venture company Benelli USA, where it remains to this day. They then shipped all of the original manufacturing equipment to Turkey where it is now manufactured by cheaper, but highly skilled, Turkish workers. Turkey got a service pistol made in their own country by the original equipment to the original specs; Beretta got to keep its contract with Turkey without having to deal with the day-to-day hassles of operating a manufacturing operation while working on their next new pistol; Stoeger got a stronger parent company (it had been owned by Finnish rifle company Sako) and new overseas markets; and thanks to cheaper Turkish labor you and I get to purchase one of these fine firearms for about half of what they went for under the Beretta name with no loss in quality. Talk about a Win-Win-Win-Win situation!!

I had read about the Cougar in a recent edition of On Target magazine and based on its review had done more research on the world wacky web. I was truly impressed by what I found others had to say about this pistol and decided that it would one day make it into my collection. that day turned out to be last Thursday when I went to Vance's Shooters Supply in Columbus for an R. Lee Ermey meet and greet. A pretty good guy and Glock celebrity spokesman. I went there early to make a return on some ammo for my WASR-10 and was looking at Glocks. I had wanted to look at possibly picking up a decent quality hi-cap 9mm for shooting, as .40 rounds are almost twice as much as 9mm. I kind of had my sights set on either a Glock 19 or 26. There was a "sale of sales" on Glocks with the supposedly lowest prices of the year going on. I found out that the discount price I could get for a Glock due to being retired military was still $50 dollars cheaper than the sale price. I also saw that the Stoeger Cougars were on sale for $379, down from their normal retail of about $450. You can pretty much figure out the rest!


Stoeger's Promotional Vid on the Cougar Series

Enough history, onto the Cougar. The Stoeger Cougar 8000 (Model F, or F action) is unique among most modern semi-automatic pistols in that it does not incorporate the tried and true Browning short recoil, locked-breech action. Instead it utilizes a rotating barrel action in where instead of traveling rearward with the slide during recoil and then unlocking, the barrel stays put while the slide travels backward, rotating approximately 30 degrees by means of a cam pin and tracked milled onto the barrel and frame that unlocks the barrel from the breech once a safe chamber pressure is reached. In theory, this should be more accurate as the barrel stays pointed on target and does not travel to the rear and then slightly tip up at the muzzle as in Browning's design. Also, it uses a all metal lower frame in stark contrast to the polymers used by most other modern defensive semi-auto handguns being sold today. If further incorporates an exposed hammer, Double action and single action (Double action on the first pull of the trigger, singe action for every shot after that), a manual safety/de-cocking lever, a take down lever, a reversible magazine catch, a 3 dot sighting system, and steel 15 round magazines. When purchased you receive the pistol, 2 magazines, a lockable plastic case (mine was broken at the hinges but no big loss, I have others to use), an above average users manual in multiple languages, a cable safety lock, a soft plastic bore brush, a stiff brass bore brush and a cleaning rod with a permanent swab jag for running patches down the barrel. Nice touch with the brushes! I got all of this for $379. Keep in mind that 10 years ago the same pistol from Beretta would of run me about $750 in 1990's money. Can you see bargain built into this pistol yet?


My Cougar new in the box. Note the provided cleaning brushes and rod, nice touches!


My first impressions was "WOW!!" as I pulled it out of its case at home. The fit and finish were much better than the best Beretta 92's I had seen in the military (of course those being beat on by the troops this may not be a fair comparison). The slide action was a bit tight, but that should loosen up after a few hundred rounds. The trigger, while a bit laborious, in double action is long but smooth. In single action it is short and crisp with a nice let off. The manual safety should be familiar to anyone who has ever used a 92, flip up to see the red dot and fire, lower to place the weapon on safe and decock the hammer. The sights are a white 3 dot affair and are easily acquired on target. They are fixed so any aftermarket sights will most likely need to be installed by a qualified gunsmith. At this time I do not believe that night sights are available from the factory. Loading the magazine was very tight, with the last 3 rounds being a royal pain. Inserting fully loaded mags on a closed slide was accomplished with some effort to seat the magazine (I like this option to carry with a full mag on any empty chamber and then racking the slide on the draw ala the Israeli Mosaad - thanks Greg for that tip). Just like the slide, I think that these both will be remedied after a bit of use. Mags dropped out without incident. I did have a bit of trouble getting the mag release to go on first attempts, but I think that this is just me needing to get used to it being smaller and more recessed than on my S&W M&P .40. Disassembly is accomplished by clearing the pistol and locking the slide to the rear, pushing a button on the right side of the frame which moves a corresponding catch on the left side that prevents the disassembly lever from moving, rotating this lever downwards, and slowly releasing the slide off of the frame. Now I guess I have been spoiled lately with Glocks and my S&W that initially disassemble into 2 main groups, upper and lower, and then removing the rocoil spring and barrel from the upper frame group. Not happening here. First time I took the slide off of the frame I was rewarded by the recoil spring and what it called the center block crashing to my basement floor. Doh!! Please read the manual before and during both disassembly and reassembly to avoid this mistake. Once I read the instructions and walked through it a few time, it is a piece of cake. Just a learning cure thing.

Disasembled Cougar, notice the take down lever and the center block beneath the trigger

Shooting

I found shooting the Cougar to be a breeze. It feels wonderful in my hand. The grip is nothing really remarkable with a straight front, checkered sides and a indented rear up towards the backstrap, but it worked for me. It pointed easily and while I had to do a bit of relearning with the safety, all controls are easily reached. Recoil was a bit different that on other pistols with the locked breach action, it seemed to (logically) come more back into the web of my hand. It was manageable and had a very reduced muzzle flip from what I am used to. I was, however, unable to make any good groups at about 7 - 10 yards. I think I may have been subconsciously compensating for muzzle flip when there was none, or just yanking the trigger. I will have to go back out and put a few more than 40 round through it I guess. Most other reviewers give it raving remarks on accuracy, so I am assuming that it is just me and my astigmatism! Video below!

Stoeger Cougar range video!
video

Link to the Stoeger Cougar at Stoeger's Official Website

http://www.stoegerindustries.com/firearms/stoeger_cougar.php

Until next post, Shoot often....SHOOT SAFE!!

~Huey

***Follow up - June 2008*** It was just me, after getting used to the pistol the Stoeger is giving me great groups!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Range Report: Delaware Wildlife Area Rifle and Pistol Range, Delaware, Ohio



Delaware Wildlife Area range. Looking down the ranges. Note the forested area and brook running behind the range.. nice!
Hey shooters!

Headed on up North a bit to try out one of the "hidden treasures" of our state park system here in Ohio. The state firearm ranges in the Delaware Wildlife Area are located about a mile East of State Route 23 on State Route 229 near Norton, Ohio. This is a little less than half way between Delaware and Marion, Ohio headed North on SR23. This is great for me being that I can get there in under 25 minutes. Most people I have talked to, me included, assumed that the gun shop in Norton ran the range, but in fact they are just another license facility that you can buy a license to fire on state ranges. The license fees are very reasonable, $5 for a day pass or a can't-pass-it-up $24 dollars for a yearly permit that runs February thru January. Hell, that's only slightly more than you'll pay for a day pass at most ranges. Easy choice there. Buying one at my local gun store was as simple as passing my drivers license and cash over the counter, having the drivers license swiped, and getting a printed range licence handed back to me in a matter of seconds.



Pulled in the parking lot and was met by the range attendant Troy, a very friendly and amiable guy who was glad to talk a bit and explain the rules of the range after I introduced myself and identified myself as a new user to the facility. As opposed to other ranges that I have been too, this state range allows the use of steel casings with ammo. Nice, no more expensive ammo for me! After reading the range rules that Troy gave me and signing in I examined the ranges. Other than he was limited to a small hut for an office and port-o-potty for a bathroom, it didn't seem like a bad place for a guy like Troy to work. Despite his humble outward appearance, Troy has a college degree in fish and wildlife management and seems perfectly at home in this environment. Plus he gets to be around shooting all the time. A little job envy went through my mind more than a couple of times. The range itself is in a very beautiful area of the park with a small brook running behind it (Troy said a 4 pound bass had been pulled from it the spring before! Gun in one hand, pole in the other!!). the area is bordered on most sides by semi dense temperate woodlands, so it seems like it would be very private and peaceful, except for the sound of gunfire of course. The range is open from 9am - 4:30 pm Wednesday - Sunday. Monday and Tuesdays the range is reserved for state and local law enforcement agencies to use.

Rifle Range


The rifle range

The rifle range is a collection of 5 short picnic-like tables against a metal guard rail cut to accommodate bench rest shooters. There is a overhead lattice of wood and metal supports that marks the upper firing limit as you look downrange. This keeps shooters from aiming over the impact berm on the back of the range and shooting into the popular adjacent state park recreation areas, which I think all would agree would be a bad, bad thing. In addition to the benches there are also wooden rifle racks located between shooting points. These racks were obviously made in house by ODNR or possibly at the nearby prison's wood shop. Either way they are a nice touch. The range is approximately 100 meters long with a stone walkway going the length on the left side. Perpendicular paths cross into the range at approximately 25, 50 and the 100 meter points so shooters can place target holders and targets. Oh yes, bring your own target holders as the range does not supply any. I got a cheap pair of aluminum holders for under $15 at a gun shop, so no big deal there. I was the only shooter on the range this particular morning (a beautifully cool morning for May in Ohio, maybe a light drizzle coming down, but overcast so target lighting was optimal as far as I am concerned) so I was able to shoot and move down range at will. That made shooting a lot more fun than what I am used to in the military with a what seems like an hour wait between firing and moving downrange to mark targets. When multiple shooters are there venturing down range is accomplished by coordinating mutual cease fires amongst the shooters. Play nice with others. The range benches worked as needed, I did not bring my shooting rests, wish I would have. The rests would have made this a better chance to try and get a good group with my new AKM clone, but oh well, I was just there to check out the place and have some fun. Which I did!!

Pistol Range


The Pistol Range (Troy is in the BDU pants)

After a quick 60 rounds through the AK and a quick video shoot, I cleared the rifle and moved over to the pistol range. Similar in construction to the rifle range it had a long waist high rail wide enough to accommodate placing most gear and pistols on. A single clothesline ran the breadth of the impact berm with a few mangy clothespins attached for hanging targets. Since I only brought peel and past targets for the back of my cardboard rifle target I moved downrange to place my holders after waiting for the only other firer on the line to finish his current mags - a very nice guy named Tom that had some SERIOUS target pistols putting tight groups on paper.


Looking down range on the pistol range (pistol L to R: 1952 S&W Chiefs Special .38 Special, HiPoint C9 9mm, Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm)

Well, the ground on the pistol range does not take well to having things stuck in it. I bent 2 legs of my holders trying to get them into the ground before finally getting some purchase in the soil and getting my target hung. Shooting my .38 Chiefs Special snubbie, Hi-Point C9 9mm and new Stoeger Cougar 9mm was a lot of fun. Again, I think it was due to the lack of other people to worry about and the fact that my new shooting buddy for the day Tom was a true gentleman and took an interest in what I was shooting, as I did with him. I felt like a jerk when he let me fire 7 rounds downrange in his .22 converted 1911 and I was all out of ammo for my pistols (I had only brought 50 rounds of 9mm and 10 .38 rounds).


Other Ranges

The only range at this location I did not get a close up look was the shotgun range. From the parking lot it seemed to fit in with my general impression of the range as a whole and if I ever get a scattergun, I will have to check it out. There is also an archery range nearby that I again did not check out due to not being a bowman.

The shotgun range from the parking lot

Overall, this seems like a great range. It has all the things I am looking for: Close proximity to my home, use of steel ammo, an outdoor setting, very reasonable rates and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. I look forward to coming to this range many times in the future.

Shoot often....SHOOT SAFE!!

~Huey

Romanian WASR-10 GP 7.62x39mm


First off, lets set the record straight. I have never really been into Russian arms until recently and would not consider myself an expert on them. I have used the M-16/AR-15 series in my recently retired career in the Army National Guard since 1986, the AK has always been "the other guys" rifle. I am not going to start any AR vs. AK comparisons (Lord knows that there are enough to be found on the Internet anyway) other to say that you have 2 designs created literally half a world from each other with their own inherent strengths and weaknesses. I always liked the AR, when taken care of I found it to be reliable and accurate. I am learning to like the AK similarly, I can appreciate its design simplicity and operation as well as its durability. Both were made by competing powers based on their own respective experiences and I can not say one is definitely better than the other. Over the past 40+ years that men have fought each other with them, many AR toting soldiers have been killed by AK's, and visa versa. All other things equal, it is the skill and determination of the man behind the sights that makes the difference, the rifles are just tools to meet his goal of defeating his enemy. A good carpenter can build a beautiful mansion with sub-standard tools; just as a poor carpenter can only make a shabby shack with the finest tools available.
OK, enough rambling, back to the rifle. This particular AKM clone was manufactured in Romania during the later part of the 20th century most likely from spare AKM receivers left over from the 80's and the cold war. It was originally designed to only accommodate 10 round single stack magazines (per the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban that was in effect at the time), but the importer, Century Arms, has since ground out the inside of the magazine well to accommodate the more common (and desirable) 30 round double stack magazines available. This is all well and good except that it presents 2 issues to the end user 1) the lack of support allows inserted magazines to wobble and, and 2) the remnants of all of the grinding are spread throughout the receiver and are left to the purchaser to clean out before first firing.
Romanian AK's are not know as the highest quality model among all countries manufacturing the AKM. There are several common defects that a majority of buyers may come across:
1) the magazine wobble, as described above.
2) the trigger slap, where the trigger slaps a firers finger after firing, really not a manufacturing problem as much as the importer using incorrect parts when replacing the firing control group to meet US import standards for American parts used.
3) The front site post is usually canted off of center
4) Shoddy wood furniture (stock, upper and lower handguards)
5) The most serious of all, a canted gas tube that may interfere with the function of the weapon.
My particular rifle came with the magazine wobble (unavoidable), the front sight post canted to the right a few degrees (I can live with it for now), and pretty beat up and rough wood (I have since sanded down and refinished with stain and polyurethane).
The rifle fires the common 7.62x39mm round which is generally available for around $20 - $30 dollars for 100 round surplus lots. All brass ammo that you may need to meet a local range requirements is generally much more expensive. Do yourself a favor and find a range that will allow you to fire the cheaper, steel or aluminum case ammo. The 7.62x39 is a proven combat round and has both sufficient range and power to take most, if not all, types of small and medium to medium-large game. As always the proper type and load of a round will greatly affect its effectiveness, so you should consult with a knowledgeable source before heading to the woods to bag a deer with one of these (in addition, most states outlaw rifles with excessive magazine capacities for hunting, you will have to purchase a small "sporting" magazine anyway).
My rifle cost $419 at Vance's Shooters Supply in Columbus, Ohio and came with the rifle, a new sling, a surplus soviet style bayonet (of note, the bayonet will only mount "upside down" on the rifle with the blade side facing up, which is opposite of how I was trained in rifle-bayonet training many, many years ago. Also the hole in the center of the bayonet will match up with a metal tank on the scabbard to combine and make a serviceable wire cutter!), a canvas magazine pouch, 2 30 round magazines - the "banana clip", and a combo tool / cleaning kit which is supposed to fit in a small round trapdoor in the stock and be secured in there by pressure from an opposing spring. My spring is pretty beat up and will not work in this manner, so I just keep the thing in the mag pouch, just as well.
Bayonet & Scabbard wire cutting combo

Notice the "upside down" Bayonet, so much for the bayonet slash from pugil stick training!

After disassembling and cleaning the rifle of all the misc grime, dirt and metal grinding bits from the magazine well job the importer did, I decided to refinish the stock. Dis-assembly was somewhat problematic as the weak manufacturing tolerance often left some parts of the rifle more or less jammed together to work, and making some parts function as designed was a matter of using brawn over brains after figuring out what needed to be done. Unfortunately I did not take a "before" picture of the stock and handguards, but they were basically unfinished wood with a light red stain sprayed on and left to dry. A thorough sanding with 0000 steel wool, followed by 3 coats of stain and polyurethane and the rifle is in decent enough shape to show off. A very nice green nylon sling was included, which greatly adds to the overall appearance of the rifle, and is functionally an excellent shoulder sling. In the future I may consider replacing the wood parts of the rifle with modern synthetic parts, but for now I am satisfied with its appearance, and kind of like the "historical" aspect of leaving the wood on it.

Range Report Video


video

..What the target looked like after

WOW!!! I TOTALLY SUCK!! Honestly, totally different sight set up than what I am used to on the AR, plus being accurate was not really the name of the game today. This was from about 50 meters. I was never really any big marksman in the military, but from 50 meters, I thought even with unzeroed sights I should have been able to keep to center mass. And check out that round that actually struck my target stand below the left elbow...ouch!! Guess I'll just have to keep on trying! At this distance, I totally blame this on the artist and not the brush!

Until next post, Shoot Often...SHOOT SAFE!!

~Huey

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Guns And Butter

Get Some!!
Yes, thats me and R. Lee Ermy (GySGT Hartman from Full Metal Jacket and the program Mail Call on the History Channel). 5/15/08 meet and greet at Vance's Gun Shop in Columbus, OH. "The Gunny" is a celebrity spokesman for Glock pistols.


What the hell is "Guns and Butter"? Well, if you were guessing its the name of a tribute band to a certain LA Rock band of the 90's, you're wrong. What it is, is a bastardized way of saying guns or butter, a concept that was given to me in an economics class in college eons ago. As my college education is taking eons to complete, this is not stretching the truth. The concept is basically this (from wikipedia):
In economics, the guns versus butter model is the classic example of the production possibility frontier. It models the relationship between a nation's investment in defense and civilian goods. In this model, a nation has to choose between two options when spending its finite resources. It can buy either guns or butter, or a combination of both. This can be seen as an analogy for choices between defense and civilian spending in more complex economies
Ok, thats that. What does it have to do here? Honestly, it was just the first thing that popped into my head when I was looking to work the word "guns" into a title. That is what this blog is going to be about, my experiences with firearms, both ones I own and ones that I have fired at one time or another.
A little background, I recently retired from just over 21 years of service in the Army National Guard, over 9 of those years in an active status as either a full time AGR member or as mobilized in the War on Terror. I started my career as an Infantryman (11B), but wound up due to my full time job requirements in the Personnel Field (75B, 75D, 42A). I served in the 148th Infantry as a Personnel NCO during Operation Noble Eagle following 9/11 stationed at Ft. Knox, KY. The 148th was one of the first Guard Battalions to be mobilized after 9/11 (we went "hot" on 10/1/01) and the first battalion sized entity to be called up from Ohio since the Korean War. I was later mobilized in 2006 with the 437th Personnel Services Detachment (PSD) and deployed to Kuwait attached to the 3rd Personnel Command (PERSCOM). While in Kuwait I was the Information Management Officer (IMO) for the Kuwait Casualty Area Command (CAC). The CAC was responsible for collecting all casualty reports for all allied entities in the CENTCOM area of responsibilities and report them to higher, as well as act as the theater notification entitiy for all all wounded and deceased Army personnel. I was responsible for maintaining the database that stored all of the names and numbers of coalition deceased and wounded members. Talk about depressing, I had to verify, twice, the total number of deceased US military personnel by name while I was there. Very sobering. Anyway, I have fired a good variety of US military small arms used since the 80's, M-16, M-9 pistol, M-203 grenade launcher, M249 SAW, M60 MG, M2 .50 MG, 81mm mortar......I have even fired a M47 Dragon.
Anyway, I don't think any of this makes me in anyway a "master of arms", but I think it does help me relate and or evaluate other firearms against this base of knowledge.
I currently own the following firearms:

(rifles in Picture top to bottom)
Romanian WASR-10 GP 7.62x39 (a civilian version of the AK-47)
Hi-Point 4095 carbine in .40 S&W caliber with a red dot scope
Russian Mosin-Nagant M44 7.62x54 Carbine

(pistols in picture left to right)
Hi-Point C9 9mm pistol
S&W M&P .40 pistol
1952 S&W J-Frame Chiefs Special revolver in .38 Special

(2nd Picture) Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm pistol

In subsequent posts I will review all of these firearms as well as others that I have fired.
~ Huey