P-Mags – Questions for my Readers 

I recently got to spend some time with an experienced Army sergeant, who has spent his share of time in harm’s way. When we were visiting, he noticed my P-Mag supply, and asked if they were all I used.

Naturally I was concerned that a professional would question this, in much the same way if my doctor were over, and questioned my brand of first aid products; they must have a good reason.

As it turns out, he did. He told me that, in fact, he had used them quite a bit, exclusively in fact, for quite a while. He liked a lot of things about them – grip and texture, weight, durability – but he eventually stopped, due to one reason. After a long time carrying them, they started misfeeding, and the followers got hung. He found out they had gotten full of sand, and that was causing the problems. So, since he could, he just switched over to the Army issued metal mags, and had no problems thereafter.

So, that got me thinking: should I get rid of mine and switch?

But before I tell about that I thought I would ask you, O Reader: what is your experience with P-Mags? Please share, and I will continue next week.

Range Report

O’l Painless.

First Shot 2

On Saturday, I got up before the rest of the family and stole away to the WMA shooting range, to fire my new AR, Ol’ Painless.

It was a great morning, and I was at the range in about an hour. I joined a couple of pistol shooters, and a father and two sons who were shooting muzzle loaders.

I didn’t try to do anything very rigorous, but I did want to be observant. First, I set up my video on a tripod, and loaded a single round into Mag 01, and fired it off free handed. A still of the first shot is shown above.

I then loaded Mag 01 with 10 more rounds and fired them in 5 shot groups at the 50 yard target, resting the rifle on my range bag.

VID00004The resulting groups weren’t Olympic caliber, but they were okay to me, probably 3 inch groups.

First Target

The target has two 5 shot groups, plus the first shot. For the first group I held on the red center dot, and for the second I held a little below the top of the target.

My point wasn’t to produce an Appleseed group but to put rounds on target, which I did.

Subsequent targets turned out about the same. I also shot a 100 yard target and put all 30 rounds on the target, which was my goal.

Last, I shot a target standing, handheld, at 50 yards, including the last 10 rounds fired pretty much as fast as I felt comfortable shooting. I found 28 holes on that target, which makes Ol’ Painless a threat in my eyes.

In all I was very pleased with the trigger, and I soon got used to shooting from reset like I do with my Glocks. The single stage military trigger broke crisply, and I felt it was just what I need at this time.

Magazines were PMAGS and were perfect.

I shot a mix of brass GI ball ammo, and TULA steel cased ammo. I can’t honestly tell you anything about accuracy, except to say they both hit the target. It’s interesting to note that all the brass casings flew to one spot aft of me, while the steel cases all ended up about 5 feet in front of the brass.

The brass cases all ended up with a slightly dented flat spot on the case mouth, which was in line with a small indentation about half way down the case. I;m sure this is an artifact of the ejection process. I sure wish I had a high speed camera to see how they were being dented and dinged.

All in all it was a great range trip. I even got to shoot a box of 9mm, using some of my usual range drills.

Now, to save up for reloading equipment . . .

Name The AR

SAMSUNGUp to now, my new AR-15 has been code named Project Vera.

Specs on this bad boy are here.

But now the time has come to give it a real name, and, like my SKS, I would like to ask for your help.

Please suggest a name for my AR, and tell me why, using the form below. Get your entries in by 11:59 PM EDT on March 28, 2013. Then, on Friday March 29 I will post the best, and post a poll to pick the best.

Thanks all!


Project Vera Update – At Last, All Together


With the arrival of the final piece, and some scrounging, I have arrived at the final configuration of my AR-15.

I mounted the Tasco Pro Point red dot sight on the riser mount I bought at the gun show. I also installed an 8 inch piece of Magpul rail to the front handgaurd, so I could install a foregrip.

With that, it is complete.


At last.

For what it’s worth, the whole thing, with a fully loaded 30 round PMAG (yes, I am rich) weighs in at 9.4 pounds.

Late yesterday I used a laser bore sighter to sight the red dot at 36 yards, and then co-witnessed the iron sights to the red dot.

Now, for a cleaning and oiling, and a drive to the range. After all, I bought 4 PMAGs and ammo some time last fall.

Project Vera Update 4


  • The UPS shipping report for the Upper from Palmetto State Armory shows it to be in a truck for delivery.
  • Thanks to a thread on AR15.com where members keep each other informed of available parts, I was able to find a bolt carrier, a bolt, and a charging handle. All from different suppliers. You gotta love the interwebz.
  • As far as I can tell, all the parts are on order and/or enroute.
  • Now all that is left is final assembly.
  • I still have to pick a name. Vera was a stand-in and is probably in consideration, but I am weighing others.
  • I added up the cost, and it’s an astounding number. I will discuss it in future post.

Project Vera – Update 2

I had saved enough money to order an upper for my AR, Project Vera, by Thanksgiving, but, like a dummy, I hesitated ordering.

Then, a maniac coward killed 26 people in school in Connecticut, and the AR world went crazy.

Two days after the incident, I ordered  what I considered to be the perfect upper, and the website said it would only be 1 to 2 weeks for it to ship. This was confirmed by an email from the president of the company.

Sadly, that was 2 months ago, and they tell me they have no idea when it will be shipped.

I can’t say that I blame that gun shop. After all, they are as much a victim of the panic as I am. They are a small shop, and I’m sure they can’t put much pressure on their suppliers.

So, I decided to look for another upper. Finding one that was in stock was difficult, until I found a thread on AR15.com where the latest news of uppers in stock is posted by members. So I stalked it out for a couple of days until I found something I liked.

16in_m4_madnessThis is from Palmetto Stated Armory in Columbia, SC. Granted, it isn’t everything I wanted. It has no bolt carrier group or charging handle, so I will need to buy them separately (First World problem), and I’m not a big fan of the M4 front sight, but I can change that, too.

Here’s what we do get, though:

  • Upper: Forged 7075-T6 upper receiver, with M4 Feed ramps and T-marks.
  • Barrel: 5.56 NATO, 16″ chrome moly vanadium, 1 in 7″ twist rate, with chrome lined chamber, made by FN. Heat and pressure treated, then metal particle inspected, then phosphate coated.
  • F-Marked Front sight post
  • A2 Flash Hider
  • Sling Loop
  • Standard Hand Guards w/ heat shields

Best of all, they say it will be here in 3 weeks, which, coincidentally, is my birthday.

Now, to find a bolt carrier group and charging handle . . . .