Happy 10/22

Just taking a moment to wish everyone a great day, celebrating America’s second favorite rifle.

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From Steve Rogers to Captain America – Part 3: Behind The Scenes

A follower on Twitter recently asked me for some details about the paint job I did for Captain America, and I realized I had been remiss in providing those earlier. So, here they are . . . .
Captain America started life as the lowly Steve Rogers, a bone stock Ruger 10/22 I bought at a big box store.
The gun was a good gun, accurate, but certainly with room for improvement. The only real complaint I had was an alarming number of failures to extract, especially late in the day when the extractor was getting dirty. The Ruger factory piece is stamped, and that means one side of the part has a slightly raised ridge on it. Rather than do the gunsmithing,  I replaced it with a Volquartsen extractor. This piece is cut by EDM and is sharp and clean on all sides.  The result has been spectacular: zero failures to extract in almost 2,000 rounds since installation.
I also replaced the factory furniture with a Tapco T-6 stock kit. This provided a very good platform, and the gun performed flawlessly.

 

I shot it several times with the plain colored stock, until I had the opportunity on Memorial Day to paint it. 
The key to any good paint job, as Bob Vila or Chip Foose will tell you, is preparation. One of the problems in the past has been to get paint to adhere well to plastics. For guns, one choice is to used Duracoat, similar to what I did on Lee, my Mossberg 500. However, Krylon makes a paint called Fusion that is designed to apply to plastic, and at about one fourth to cost.
To prepare it for paint, I read the back of the paint can and followed the instructions. First I removed the stock, and washed it with detergent and rinsed it well with water. I then wiped down all the parts to be painted with paint thinner, I stuffed the inside, where the gun action goes, with newspaper, to prevent over spray. I also inserted a foam ear plug into the main screw hole that connects the gun receiver to the stock, since the threads needed to stay clean.
I hung the stock up by a piece of wire and painted the base coat, blue, using long flowing strokes, and light coats. The key is to not add enough paint that there’s enough to run. I let it dry 10 minutes between coats, and put on 4 coats of blue.
I then taped off everything except the area I wanted the red strip to be, and did three passes in red.
I admit I wasn’t sure if I wanted the white stripe, so at this point I stopped. But I did decide on the white, so I had to wait 24 hours before taping it again and adding three coats of white.
Finally, it was done, and after an hour I pulled the tape. I let the paint cure for several days, then installed the gun action.
I didn’t try to install the optics until a full week had passed, because by then the paint has set up to a very hard finish.
I re-installed the front grip and the red dot sight, and now I’m looking forward to a range trip with the finished gun. Stay tuned.

From Steve Rogers to Captain America – Part 2

Some time back, I used a Tapco stock kit, bull barrel, and other parts to turn my Ruger 10/22 from Steve Rogers to the beginnings of Captain America.

Basically I turned this stone stock Ruger 10/22

to this tactical tack driver:

I will tell you, it shot very well indeed.
Well, recently I had some time on my hands while I made barbecue for Memorial Day, so I painted the stock, to turn the gun, at last, into Captain America.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain:
Carried courtesy of the Dauphin

That’s a $10 gun show foregrip, and a Tapco Red Dot mounted Scout Rifle style, which really works well. It lets me shoot it with both eyes open and preserves excellent peripheral vision. Quite a difference from the unpainted version.

Now, to paint the Gun Cart Mark II to match. I have plenty of paint left.

Ruger 10/22 Original Review

                                                         Photo courtesy of American Rifleman

A discussion on Twitter last night about the best .22LR guns of all time poked my memory, so I did a little search this morning, and ran across this review of the Ruger 10/22 that appeared in the September 1964 issue of American Rifleman.

It’s interesting to me that there’s nothing in the review that surprised me, or, for that matter, was different from what you would expect from a modern review of a 10/22 coming off the line today.

H/T The Daily Caller and American Rifleman. And Bill Ruger, God rest his soul.

Range Day

I took a day off last week to head to the range, more for relaxation than for any training or learning purpose. Of course, things being as they are, I managed to learn a few things any way.

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The first thing I learned is that I need to always keep a camera in my gun bag. It was a gorgeous day, and other people at the range had some really good looking guns with them, that I would have loved to documented. And, about halfway into the session, 6 men from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources enforcement division came to the range. It would have been a nice picture to have.

So, when I finished cleaning guns this morning, I dug through our collection of cameras, and found an older one, that I took this picture with. With fresh batteries, it now rests in my gun bag, ready for next time.

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Second, I learned that “customer golf” doesn’t always involve golf. The guy I arranged to meet at the range is in the same line of work as I am, and in between shooting, we had some interesting conversations that could well lead to new business opportunities.

In any case, he’s had a lot more formal training that I have, both shooting, and in our line of work. I plan to make use of both cases.

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Third, I learned something about long distance pistol shooting. I was doing a lot of 100 yard rifle shots with a scope, focusing my eyes on the target, overlaying the cross hairs, and making the shot. Then, I switched to using my Glock 21 for 100 yard shots, and I lazily used the same technique. In fact, it was the same technique I had to use for all my pistol shooting, before I got a contact lens for my right eye that allowed me to focus on the front sight, where I focused on the target (since it was the only thing I could get into focus) and laid the sight picture over it, in a blur.

My shots with the Glock were hitting low and left, or high and right, or full left – none were anywhere close.

Then, I remembered something I had once heard about, or read about, somewhere, and I tried it. I focused, as best I could, on the front sight, lined it up with the rear sight, and put that onto the slightly blurry target picture.

After a couple of shots to get a feel for the hold-over, my shots started hitting the target.

So, while I thought I had learned to focus on the front sight, line up the sights on the target, breathe, and squeeze the trigger smoothly, in fact, I learned to listen to everything I’ve learned before. There’s nothing new here, folks.

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Fourth, I learned a few things about Vassily, my Mosin Nagant. This was the first time I got to shoot it more than about 6 shots in one session.

I have found that the trigger, which at first I disliked, is not as bad as I thought. As Colonel Cooper wrote:

The most essential element of the “shootability” of rifle or pistol is its trigger action. The ideal trigger breaks clean without telling the shooter that it is about to do so. This quality is generally referred to as “crispness” and does not refer to trigger weight. . . . A trigger may be quite light, but still “mushy” in the sense that it moves perceptibly when activated. Such movement is called creep, but it is not “take-up,” which occurs before the trigger has reached the point of ignition pressure.

I added the emphasis, because it expresses what I learned. The Mosin Nagant trigger has a lot of take-up, which I interpreted as mushiness. But, once it reaches the end of it’s take-up, it breaks cleanly. This need for this long take-up can probably be easily be understood if one imagines shooting this gun in full Russian Army gear of a heavy wool coat and thick gloves. It is doubly understood if one does so in the face of a charging hoard of the Kaiser’s best troops, or Nazis in Stalingrad, or even Finnish rebels. I now officially like this trigger.

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What led to that conclusion was as much what follows, as it was due to Jeff Cooper.

One thing I like to do at the range is to place some orange clay pigeons out on the berm at 100 yards, and plink them with Captain America, my 10/22. Usually, the way this works is I shoot them in half with the .22, then shoot the shards.

I decided this trip to take aim at a pigeon with the Mosin Nagant.

I knew before now that the sights on the Mosin Nagant were very accurate, even given my untrained technique. My first shooting experience with the rifle, I had put four shots on a paper plate at 50 yards, then rung a steel sniper target four times at 120 yards.

I lined up on the top of the first pigeon and shot, and the earth exploded on the berm a half a foot above the target. So, I moved to a six o’clock hold, and shot.

The pigeon exploded.

I moved to the next target, and replaced it with a crater. And the next, and the next. Four shots on 4 inch targets from 100 yards, and four craters. For a novice, I was quite proud.

After a day of shooting .22LR, the force of the 7.62x54R cartridge was quite a surprise. Even more surprising was how easy it was to shoot accurately.

I shot up all my 7.62x54R ammo, so I will need to buy more, before I take it to a range with a longer test. But I think I know why this rifle lasted so long in service.

Transformation

Don’t get me wrong. My base Ruger 10/22, Steve Rogers, was fun enough. I loved shooting it.

But even my son complained about two things – how hard the blade sights were to use, and how many times it would jam up with failures to extract.

One thing about fixing a problem is that sometimes you forget you had the problem, and that’s true here. So, I thought I would say bit about them, one last time.

Adding a variable 2 to 6 power scope fixed the sight issue, and will be fine from 30 yards or so, out to 200 or so. For closer in, I plan to borrow a page from 3-gun shooters and add a 45 degree Weaver mount off the front rail, and install a red dot or reflex sight.

If I had to go to iron sights, I think I would install a military style ring rear sight and bladed front sight. In fact, I may do that on a bias on the right side of the gun, and forego the red dots.

For the second problem, I replaced the stamped Ruger factory extractor with a machined titanium extractor, and the difference is extraordinary. Exactly zero failures to extract. I had to remind my son yesterday about how much this change had meant.

I sometimes have extractor problems with the Buck Mark pistol, so I’m also looking to replace the extractor on it.

Overall, the transformation from Steve Rogers to the Super Soldier was profound. With the heavy target barrel there is almost no recoil, and with a T-6 stock and vertical foregrip, what recoil is there is extremely manageable.

Now, add a bipod, and some red, white, and blue Krylon, and Captain America will be complete.

A Day at the Range

There are trips to the range, and then there are Trips To The Range. Today’s trip was the latter.

My son Joey and I took my brother-in-law Mike to the range for his first shooting outing, and we met a fellow Twitter feller, Michael, a.k.a. @RKBArms.

It was a first for a lot of things: Mike’s first time shooting; Joey’s first time shooting an AR-15; the first time we shot the reincarnated version of my Ruger 10/22, Captain America; and my first time to meet and shoot with Michael. It would not be a boring day.

Captain America

What can I say? The gun is sweet. With the heavy barrel, there is almost no recoil. I was able to get the scope set on the side to side axis in my shop, so it was just a matter of dialing in the elevation at the range, and soon it was shooting just about spot on at 100 yards, or whatever distance it was to the dirt berm at the end of the range. There were several tin cans, pieces of cardboard, and clay pigeons on the berm, and we made them dance at will all day.

I wasn’t able to shoot it for a group measurement, since I found it hard to keep steady when I supported it by the foregrip. I need to add a bipod, or bring a chair and a sand bag.

Bucky

Complementing the 10/22, I brought the Buck Mark pistol, outfitted with my Tasco Red Dot sight. A couple of turns at it was spot on at the berm, too. My brother-in-law fell in love with Bucky, and I think he’s going to get one.

AR-15

Back when I went to the Blogger Shoot, I had borrowed a friend’s AR-15, which lasted all of 4 rounds before it TARFU’d on me. I finally bought the parts to fix it, and took it to the range with us.

I got to shoot about 10 rounds from it. My son then commandeered it and shot all the rest of the ammo. He wants one, bad. Okay, time for Project 3, I suppose.

Shotgun

I also took my newly refinished Mossberg 500 along, and shot about 10 rounds through it. I like the recoil pad that Hogue included with the overmolded stock. I’m going to try to go shoot some trap this week with it, so look for another report.

I also shot Michael’s shotgun, a Maverick 88 with an 18 inch barrel. Nice.

Here’s Michael with his shotgun.

Pistols

I also took Bruce my Glock 17 and the Duke, my Glock 21, and shot quite a bit through them. It was a good demonstration for my brother-in-law, to compare them to the .22LR of the Buck Mark.

My son shot a lot with the Glock 17, and I took the opportunity to try to talk him into his first competition, the GSSF Match at Conyers in September. We’ll see.

Michael also compared my Glock 17 to his Glock 19.

Other Stuff

In the middle of our shooting, up walks a small flock of 6 wild turkeys. They were completely -unfazed by all the shooting, but when my brother-in-law tried to call them over, the ran off into the woods.

We also saw a cheap semi-auto pistol whose slide completed cracked, all the way around, about an inch in front of the ejection port. The person shooting it said he had borrowed it from a friend, and that it was cheap, cheap. I guess so.

Ammo Test

Look for another blog post soon about this, with video.

All in all, a very nice trip to the range for us all.