Top Five Things We Liked at Industry Day at the Range

  1. The CMMG Mutant MK-47 KIMG_0039
  2. The Barrett MRADIMG_0006
  3. H&K MR762A1 Long Rifle Package IIIMG_0052
  4. Zenith Roller Locker MKE Z-5KIMG_0019
  5. Springfield M1A SOCOM16 CBQIMG_0024

Notable mentions:

The crew shot 960 meters for the first time with a .308 and rang a 16″ gong.

Silencerco had a .45-70 lever action suppressed, which was fun.

We used the Geissele AK enhanced trigger and made it our new favorite AK (sorry but this trigger is amazing and I need it for all of my AKs).

Otis Tech mentioned they are redesigning their line of cleaning kits. (You know me and how much I love collecting new and exciting cleaning kits.)

That one booth that had mints and they were tasty….

Kriss is talking about releasing new calibers such as the 10mm, 357SIG, .40S&W and .22lr.

My burrito was fairly tasty, minus the fact they put all the guac in the bottom and it wasn’t mixed in. (sad face panda).

 

 

Editorial: Standardizing vs. Proprietary

A few weeks back I reviewed a Windham Weaponry .308 AR style rifle. When I finished the review I contacted my local gunsmith as well as Windham and asked if they knew of any standardization in the .308 AR market.  I wanted to know if anyone had made a pattern for the upper and lower as well as the Bolt Carrier Group (BCG).

standard vs proprietary

The question seemed straight forward, however the answer isn’t. Long story short, no. No one has made a standard to which everyone is following.

(Note: I am using the 5.56×45 and the .223 Remington interchangeably in the article even though they are not the same cartridge.  AR stands for Armalite Rifle not Assault Rifle).

History

In 1955 and 1956 Armalite designed the first prototypes of the original AR-10 chambered in the 7.62×51 (.308 Winchester.)  By 1957, the first AR-15 using the intermediate cartridge 5.56×45 NATO was designed and then sold to Colt due to financial problems that Armalite was having.

Is Anything New Anymore?

Since the AR-10 was designed before the AR-15 it would seem we haven’t taken a step forward but a step back in time. Thanks to Government bans, such as the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban that ended in 2004 and other set backs, the modern sporting rifle world has been trying to play catch up for the past 11 years.

Intermediate vs. Rifle Cartridges

I have never really been a fan of the .223 Remington (5.56x45NATO) and I know I am not alone in this distaste. I have always liked the 7.62x39mm or the newer .300 AAC Blackout when it comes to intermediate cartridges. The .308 win is a rifle cartridge that fits more than just the distance shooting bill. The fact of the matter is that the .308 and the 5.56 have been on the battle field for almost the same amount of time and yet we chose the less ballistically versatile round for civilian and military applications.

DPMS/SR-25 Magazines vs. Proprietary

When building a new firearm platform you have to consider the way your firearm is going to hold rounds. In the the bolt action world we typically use an in-stock style magazine, for the lever actions and shotguns we use a tube and elevator (shell carrier) system, for the semi and full autos we have a choice. Belt fed (seen mainly in past in full auto only but is making it way back in semi auto versions of full auto machine guns) or magazine fed.

The .308 ARs are all based on the smaller AR-15, so you would think after seeing the success of the AR-15 magazine market it would be smarter to stick with what works. But we are still in a relearning stage in the firearm world about supply and demand. The FN SCAR 17 uses a proprietary .308 mag but the SCAR 16 uses STANAG (AR-15 style magazines). When FN released the SCAR 17 to the general population they had problems keeping magazines in stock because they were trying to keep the military contracts filled and just they couldn’t keep up with demand. That’s a problem with proprietary.

The DPMS/SR-25 style magazines are now being made by a number of different magazine manufacturers which means I can order as many as I want.

Standardizing

The AR-15 is known as the Legos for adults. Everything is changeable. If I want a nickel boron BCG I can find a company I like and replace mine in my AR-15.  If I want a new charging handle I get one. If I want to put a .50BMG bolt action upper on my lower I can. This seems to me like a great idea. However in the .308 AR world we have yet to reach an agreement as to what the specs should be.

Final thoughts

Until they all come to an agreement about standardizing, the consumer market for the .308 AR is left with fewer options.  To me, more options means more money back in the pockets of the firearm manufacturers.  More money to the manufacturers means more money can be spent on R&D, which means more advanced guns in the future.

SHOT Show, 2015, Reviews, and Videos

First I would like to say Happy New Years as this is the first post in 2015.

A number of people have been asking where we have been the past few weeks. The Crew has started the New Year with a bang and we have just been busy getting everything ready to go for reviews and some other awesome things we have planned for 2015.

SHOT Show

As some of you may have already guessed by the lack of SHOT Show updates we will not be attending this year.  We had to make some other life choices that kept us from having that week off. A lot of good friends of Gearsofguns.com will be there.  We plan to bring you their updates on our site and social media. Never fear, you will still get your SHOT SHOW FIX!

You mentioned awesome plans for 2015. what are you talking about?

As a lot of these plans are still in development stages and not quite ready to be shared I will just say that we plan on bring you the READER on more interactive reviews and shooting events.

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What kind of reviews does the Crew have planned?

Well I can tell you we are finishing up a number of gun reviews from 2014 and starting a ton of other fun reviews as soon as the SHOT Show dust clears.

We plan to bring more pistols, longer range and competition style reviews in 2015 as well as our standard rifle and shotgun reviews. We also plan more everyday carry items and general shooting accessories.

Social Media and Videos

2015 is the year I have finally given in to producing more videos. I have added a new member of the team who will be introducing himself on video here soon who will be more of a behind the scenes tech guy.

As some of you know well enough we suck at social media outside of our website and I vow to start fixing that problem as well.

What does this mean for you as the viewers?

Well I can just say that it will hopefully be a major content overhaul for you to get your gun and shooting accessories fix.

Stay tuned

Poll: What does your range offer you?

Typically there are three different types of ranges a shoot can go to. A range open to the public, a range that is members only and requires a yearly or monthly fee or land you or a friend owns that you normally shoot on.

Today we are polling about what your range offers you and your shooting experience. If you shoot on your own land or a friends land please only answer that part of the poll.

What does your range offer you polll

The polls have been split between Public and membership ranges. Please select all that apply to your range.

 

New Magpul Black Book data precision rifle data books.

A short look at the Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book & Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book 2.0

 

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book 2.0 (Open)

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book & Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards (Open)

Happy 3 Years

Wow! It has been an amazing three years. Gearsofguns.com was first published on Feb 28th 2011 and we have been growing more and more everyday. For me, being able to write and review for the past thee years, has been a very fulfilling job. I have enjoyed every minute I have gotten to spend researching and reviewing and shooting for this company.  I am very thankful for all of our readers who have made us a successful blog.

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We have had the chance to the meet and work with some truly amazing individuals and companies. We have had a chance to shoot and do some really fun and exciting things these past three years. I know we have more exciting things in store for years to come.

To be able to have the opportunity to make great friends and contacts from all over the world is a true blessing. Thank you again for your support.  I can’t wait to show you all what we have in store for the rest of this year.

TDSA: The new GEARS Range

For the past year I have been looking for a new range to move my company to.

Since before I was blogging I always shot at a public range and after almost 3 years trying to write the best reviews I could with the amenities that range had I was frustrated. I would be working on a review and want to make a video to show the different parts of the gun or how the gun works and when I would get back to the office I would watch the video and it would sound like *BANG* Hi, my name is Attic- *BANG BANG BANG* *ONE SHOT A SECOND!* -sofguns.com *BANG*. that just doesn’t make for quality videos.

This article is by no means a diss on that range or even public ranges in general. I know that they have their place and for most gun owners are the best place in the world.

I will give my pros and cons to public ranges

PROS:

· Range officers everywhere to keep everyone safe.
· Safety rules like one shot a second to keep people from thinking they are Rambo the first time they ever pick up a MSR.
· Public ranges are relatively common in populated areas in the USA.
· Some have pro shops that can help you with basic questions about shooting and there is a good chance they have shooting clubs that meet out there if you are looking to get into that.
· For the gun owner who doesn’t get to the range but just a few times a year this is an inexpensive way to shoot.
· Typically there are experienced shooters who might be able to lend a hand if you are having problems.
· Safe for all types of shooters
(If you have a pro or con I might have missed please comment and share your thoughts)

Cons:

· Gun owners who shoot a lot can get bored.
· Public ranges typically have restrictions on types of guns and ammo that can be shot there (This is for safety reasons).
· Public ranges can get crowded at anytime.
· The noise level can get intimidating for new shooters.
· If you have more than one gun, space for cases and gear can be limited.
· Some ranges have a max amount of time you can shoot.
· If you are a frequent shooter cost for the range fees get overly expensive.
· The length of the ranges may not give you the distance you are looking for.

With all of that being said I have my own cons as a gun blogger that make working from a public range rather difficult.

Cons:
Space for guns, gear and crew.
Cost
Noise
Safety rules that stop us from testing triggers,holsters,over 10 rounds in a magazines, etc.

Since this has been making reviews and shooting more difficult I started looking to friends of the GEARS crew for help to see if they had a ranch we could shoot at and every time the answers were the same. No, we don’t know of a place or sure but it is a 5 hour drive out there.  I googled ranges in my area before and most were unable to help me any better than my current public range and that was when I spotted TDSA.net.

For any of you who follow Colion Noir on YouTube or watch Video Tuesday here on our site you might have seen Colion shooting targets from a golf cart and thought hey that is really cool… Well the cat is out of the bag. He was at TDSA in Ferris, TX.

I had seen when he released his video what range it was and never really thought about it again until I came back across the site when I was searching for a new range again and read the amenities they offer there.

7 Pistol Ranges:

  • Roughly 25 yards by 25 yards in size.
  • Rapid Fire is allowed.
  • Moving while shooting is allowed.
  • Drawing from holster is allowed.
  • Transitioning from rifles to pistols is allowed.
  • We also allow you to set up scenarios using barrels or barricades.
  • ***Upon request you may park your vehicle in the bays and shoot from inside your vehicle. (Remember this is based on request and approval ONLY).
  • ***We allow FULL AUTO FIRE in our pistol bays after a short Shooting Proficiency Test.

Rifle Ranges:

  • Shooting Proficiency Test required at 100 yards.
  • Full Metal Jacket is allowed
  • Steel Core is allowed
  • .50 and .338 caliber is allowed
  • All shooting done from a bench or prone position ONLY.
  • No Tracer or Incendiary rounds allowed.
  • Distances: 25 yards, 50 yards, 100 yards, 200 yards, and 300 yards.

Other Ranges (used for training and shooting matches):

  • 200 yard STREET with multiple cars lining each side.
  • 40 foot shooting TOWER with 4 floors and multiple ports on each floor.
    • TOWER can be used to train sniper initiated entries into STREET and CITY.
  • 200+ yard CITY with multiple rooms all around to shoot into and out of.
    • One large area is designed to resemble and Afghan village commonly seen by soldiers.
    • The CITY can be used for live fire, force on force training, and can take up to and including .50 caliber rifle fire.
  • Both CITY and STREET may be used to shoot from moving vehicles.
  • Rifle range can also be used as 270 degree 300 yard assault course.

Classroom:

  • There is a 1,300 sq. ft. classroom available upon scheduling. A white board and 60 inch TV monitor is included.

Other Information:

  • We allow Binary Exploding targets to be shot UPON REQUEST AND APPROVAL.
  • Night Fire is allowed on a “special needs basis” and UPON REQUEST AND APPROVAL.
  • Law Enforcement Discounts for Individual officers.
  • Corporate Membership Discounts.
  • Law Enforcement Agency Memberships.

[Taken from the TDSA website]

 

After reading all of that I was amazed and had to set up a meet with the Owner of TDSA, Len Baxley.

A few Mondays ago Panzer and I drove down to meet with Len and see this range.  The drive is about 45 minutes from where I live and the whole time I was thinking about the new and different reviews I could post on the website.

We pulled up and met Len in the classroom/his office and we sat down and started talking and getting to know each other. After 30 or so minutes of talking with Len and reading about his range I knew this is where the GEARS Crew would be shooting from. I told him that I didn’t need to see the range that I was ready to just sign up as a member. We talked for another 30 minutes when he said we should go and at least look at the range. He gave us the introduction/safety tour.  About halfway through the tour, I looked around and saw no other members were at the range. It was the most quiet and peaceful gun range I had ever been at!

Len is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He has built a range that is designed with a different kind of shooter in mind. This range is not for the gun owner who doesn’t shoot all that much or for the shooters who aren’t looking to take their shooting abilities to new levels. Len stresses that you are not going to have that range officer to keep you in check, this is the kind of place were you have to be in the mind-set that safety is your job.

I like this range because it opens new opportunities to the GEARS Crew and to the reviews we can offer.

If you live in North Texas and this sounds like the kind of range you are looking for, than CONTACT Len Baxley and tell him Atticus sent you.

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Remington: Welcome to The Rock

Remington has launched The Rock on their site. It is full of YouTube videos of the Remington R&D facility.

The intro video is pretty cool and in my opinion it is a cooler trailer than a number of Hollywood “action” films lately.

It would be fun to see someone do a mash up of some popular action film and replace the shooting from the movie with the clips from this site.

You can visit the site HERE.

Tannerite: Anatomy of a Binary Exploding Rifle Target

Anatomy of a Binary Exploding Rifle Target

Tannerite® paints picture of the category it created

Pleasant Hills, OR (August 9, 2013) – Long-range target shooters are perennially challenged. With a squinted eye, spendy spotting scope or long anxious walk down the firing range, they discover either punctured paper and a bull’s-eye or an unharmed target. An earthly poof of dust, of course, nulls the need to examine the target – um, that’d be called a swing and miss.

Dan Tanner wasn’t satisfied with the paper or the poof. With a clever mind and dogged persistence, the Oregonian and Arkansas native set off to create a target that would clearly (and audibly) reveal long distance rifle hits. Tanner sought out to produce something that triggered the senses of sight and sound but without any byproduct risk of it causing a fire.

So he developed the first binary rifle target. And with a background in mixing elements and catalyzing reactions, it was natural to stir-in a geological “ite” and concoct the name Tannerite®, the brand.

Photo courtesy of Outdoor Life

It’s good to be first. But along with being an inventor, a pioneer, comes the eventual blow of being copied. Far less ingenious sorts bust out the smoke and mirrors in hopes of capitalizing on innovation with only profit margins in mind. Consumers, ultimately, become the casualty.

Because this dreaded down spiraling process is underway, it’s prudent to describe, in detail, the original exploding target, Tannerite®. We surely can’t guarantee what other ingredients the competition blends in, but we can say with certainty what goes into the first and safest binary exploding targets, Tannerite®.

THE ANATOMY LESSON

Before discussing the anatomy of a binary exploding target, we should examine explosives and propellants in general.  Virtually all explosives and propellants such as black powder and smokeless powders are comprised of two components; an oxidizer and a fuel.

In many explosives such as nitroglycerin, TNT, RDX, and HMX, the oxidizer and fuel are part of the same molecule. These one-part systems are extensively used for civilian and military applications. The second class of explosives and propellants are those in which the oxidizer and fuel are different chemicals that must be mixed to form an explosive composition. Examples of these include black powder, binary exploding rifle targets, and variety of ammonium nitrate-containing formulations used in commercial blasting.

Binary exploding rifle targets intended for use with high powered center-fire rifles were invented and patented by Daniel J. Tanner of Pleasant Hill, Oregon. These targets employ ammonium nitrate for the oxidizer. Ammonium nitrate is a very interesting chemical as it contains both an oxidizer (the nitrate component) and a fuel (the ammonia component) in the same compound. Fortunately, it is extremely difficult to initiate the reaction (explosion) of these two components which gives ammonium nitrate the stability to be used in a variety of industrial applications.

Binary exploding rifle targets take advantage of the ability of aluminum to make ammonium nitrate more sensitive to detonation. In the case of these targets, the aluminum can be considered a catalyst which provides a lower-energy pathway to initiate a detonation. The energy required to detonate is low enough to be useful as a shot indicator, but high enough to safely handle the mixed composition. This is the basis for Tannerite® brand binary exploding rifle targets.

Detonation of the target is initiated by impact of a bullet fired from a center fire rifle. The bullet should be approximately 40 grains or larger travelling at 2000 ft/sec or higher. Note that a pointed bullet will be a better initiator than a blunt bullet since the energy provided is concentrated to a very small area. The bullet impact provides sufficient energy to initiate a reaction between aluminum and ammonium nitrate that results in detonation of the composition. This detonation is a very energetic process and binary targets should be treated with respect. Be sure that all observers are over 100 yards away from the target and that no foreign objects are in close proximity to the target that could serve as a source of shrapnel.

Photo courtesy of Outdoor Life

Factors Affecting Target Performance

The major factors affecting binary exploding rifle target performance include the purity of the components, the particle size of the components, the ratio of oxidizer to catalyst, and the uniformity of the mixed composition – Tannerite® brand target formulation is precise in all instances. Changes in any of the aforementioned factors will affect the chemical pathway taken during detonation which can result in fires, increased energy required for detonation, and sound amplitude variations. In addition, the stability of the mixed composition could be compromised.  A properly formulated and mixed binary rifle target will provide a loud report; will consistently detonate on bullet impact; will not start fires; and will be safe to handle. The use of impure ammonium nitrate or aluminum, wide variability in ammonium nitrate and aluminum particle sizes, the wrong ratio of aluminum to ammonium nitrate, and poor mixing can lead to targets that may start fires, may be less safe to handle, and have erratic performance. Again, the Tannerite® brand target formulation is precise. 

Safety Essentials When Using Binary Targets

Given the above discussions, we recommend the following guidelines for a safe and fun experience with binary targets.

  1. Treat all binary targets with respect. Misuse of binary targets could result in serious injuries or death.
  2. To ensure a homogeneous composition, be sure to use a mixing container – Tannerite® comes complete with a mixing container.
  3. Place ½ and 1 lb targets down range at least 100 yards before shooting. Place 2 lb targets 200 yards down range before shooting.
  4. Do not shoot targets larger than 2 lbs.
  5. Remember that the legal use of these targets is as a shot indicator only.
  6. Mix the targets at the range and shoot them immediately. Do not transport, store, or sell the mixed composition unless you have the appropriate explosives endorsements. 
  7. Always wear shooting glasses and hearing protection when shooting.
  8. Be sure to use in a remote area only and respect the adjoining property owner’s right to tranquility.
  9. While Tannerite® brand binary rifle targets will not start fires; many knock-off brands of binary exploding rifle targets are poorly formulated and use lower quality materials that may start fires.
  10. Never place these targets on any surface that could produce shrapnel or within another object.

A Plea for Common Sense

Given the popularity of binary exploding targets, there are a huge number of shooters using these targets in a safe and fun manner. There are, however, users doing unwise things with these targets. Please be sure to use these targets as a shot indicator only and away from populated areas. Continued misuse of these targets may result in restrictions on their use. The future of these targets is in your hands, so please use them properly.

The Tannerite® Advantage

We would like to point out that Tannerite® brand binary exploding rifle targets are the original and the best available. They are properly formulated, use only the highest quality explosives grade ammonium nitrate and pyrotechnic grade aluminum powder, and will not start fires. The safety of the mixed composition has been demonstrated by Myth Busters, and is the best selling binary rifle target on the market today.  Remember that the easiest way to ensure safety is to use genuine Tannerite® brand targets. There is a misconception today that the chemical composition used in all exploding targets is a chemical called “Tannerite” and this is not the case. Tannerite® is the registered trademark for Tannerite® brand binary rifle targets. 

We wish you good, and safe, shooting.   

ABOUT Tannerite®

Tannerite® brand targets employ a binary explosive used as a shot indicator for long-range firearms practice and training. Tannerite® brand target detonations occur at a very high velocity, producing a large explosion and a cloud of water vapor. Small caliber rim-fire or slow moving pistol ammunition will not initiate a detonation.

In use, a long-range rifle shooter places Tannerite® targets downrange, retreats to his firing position, and fires. The shooter does not have to walk down range to see if the target has been hit, as the Tannerite® will detonate and serve as an indicator.

Since the two components that make up Tannerite® targets are not explosive until mixed, they can legally be purchased in the USA without a license. Tannerite® targets are exceptionally stable when subjected to less severe forces such as a hammer blow or being dropped and they cannot be initiated by any kind of flame or electricity.

Tannerite® is the registered trademark for Tannerite® brand targets and binary exploding rifle targets are a patented invention by Daniel J. Tanner.