Oct 212016

I mentioned this little carbine a while back:

Pistol Caliber Carbines from TNW Firearms

I finally managed to get my hands on one in 10mm and dragged it out to the range together with my longslide Glock that takes the same magazines.

I really like the concept of this carbine: it is easy to take down and it is very handy.  Also, a 10mm cartridge out of a 16mm barrel is a pretty potent beast.

Now, I understand that firearms need some break in, so I am not going to form any major conclusions yet.  However, of the three ammo types I brought with me, it only fed with one: 180gr FMJ Armscor.  I had two Double Tap loads with me, 135gr HP and 230gr Hardcast and neither would feed.

The trigger is quite possibly the worst I have tried on any modern firearm and the grip it comes with must have been selected specifically to be so uncomfortable that I do not pay too much attention to the trigger.

Once I got a round in the chamber and muscled my way through the trigger, the gun went boom every time and ejected a spent case every time.

I chrono’ed the velocities and they were within expectation.

I will take it apart and take a close look at what is happening inside.  I can see where the cartridges are getting hung up and causing failures to feed, so perhaps I will need to do some minor surgery to that spot. That will wait a bit though since I will first get a couple of hundreds of rounds through it as a break-in process of sorts.  If it still gives me issues, I will give TNW a call and see what they say about it.

Stay tuned…

 Posted by at 7:57 pm
Aug 132016

Written on 8/13/2016 by ILya Koshkin

I see this question pop up a lot: “I just bought a “fill in the blank” rifle and I want to learn to shoot it out to 1000 yards, what scope should I use?”

Many people much more qualified than I am have written on this subject, so there is a lot of material out there.  To top it off, I am not that great of a shot.  I do know a fair bit about gear and I am definitely up to speed on just about all the new developments in the riflescope world.

Unfortunately, with the internet being what it is, so is everyone else.  Not enough information is a bad thing.  Too much information is a bad thing as well.

There is a nearly uncountable number of different set-ups (rifle/caliber/optics combinations) that will get you to 1000 yards.  The thing that will hold you back the most is your skillset (ask me how I know…).

Developing the skills to shoot long distance consistently is difficult, timetaking and expensive.  It requires a lot of practice. As you go through this exercise and this practice you will figure out what kind of gear works well for you.

With that in mind, what I want to do here is make recommendations on what you should start with.  It will take you to 1000 yards and if it is a good fit for you, it will serve you well for a long time.  However, chances are you will change something along the way.  All I want to do is suggest some equipment that will not hold you back as you learn.

If you are just starting out, looking at the best shooters in the world are using and copying that is not necessarily your best option.  Their requirements are not the same as yours.

First, let’s talk about caliber.  I still keep on hearing people say: “just get a 308! There are so many loads for it!”  That will work, but I think that makes things complicated.  If you reload, it almost makes no difference which caliber you get as long as there is a good quality brass for it.  If you do not reload, match quality 308 ammo is not cheaper than some others.  Generally, if you do not reload, stick with 6.5 Creedmoor.  That is the least expensive high quality ammo out there.  Match 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is actually cheaper than Match 308Win ammo most of the time.  Generally, various 6.5s are a good way to go: 6.5Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, 260Rem, etc.  If you reload, any of these will work.  If you do not reload, go with 6.5Creedmoor.  At the moment, these calibers offer the best combination, flat trajectory, low recoil and barrel life out there. Yes, some 6mm calibers have flatter trajectories and lower recoil at the expense of barrel life.  Some magnums have exceptionally flat trajectories, but they beat you up with recoil and burn barrels.  Pick a caliber with decent barrel life, low recoil and external ballistics that let it stay supersonic to at least 1200 yards.

Rifles: the simplest is to get a Ruger RPR.  If you prefer a more traditional stock, get a Savage 12 Long Range Precision in 6.5Creedmoor with a 26″ barrel or a Tikka T3x CTR with a 20″ barrel.  If you want this rifle to do double duty as a hunting rifle, get the Tikka since it is the lightest.  Otherwise, it is all the same.  Yes, there are other rifles out there that will do the job, but in my opinion these three will do so with the least amount of fuss right out of the box and on budget.  If you can afford it, you can always get a fancier rifle, of course.

Optics: Virtually every competitive shooter out there is running a 5-25×56 or 6-24×56 or something along those lines, so I might get a lot of flack for suggesting you do not go that route.  Not in the beginning.  Learn to shoot with your scope at 10x or 12x.  It is very difficult to develop the right skills if you reticle is jumping all over the place, which is exactly what will happen if you set your scope to 25x.  The best starter scope configuration is a good quality variable of approximately 3-15x or 3-18x or similar configuration.  Use the highest magnification to read the conditions.  Then do most of your shooting at lower magnifications.  If you decide to learn to shoot from non prone positions as well, that 3x on the low end will come in pretty handy.

Aside from magnification, here is what I recommend you do: make sure the scope has a FFP reticle.  Yes this can all be done with a SFP reticle, but that complicates things.  Make sure the scope has turrets that track.  Zerostop is a good thing to have, although it is not a necessity.  Christmas tree style reticle is a good thing to have, but I suggest you first learn to do this with turrets.  Later you can decide if you want to primarily use the reticle for your holds, but starting with dialing is a good practice.  It instills discipline.  Make sure the reticle and the turrets match, i.e. both are in mrad or both are in MOA.  I strongly prefer mrad, but that is a personal preference.  Make sure that the scope has the means to correct for parallax.

If you are on a severe budget, get a SWFA SS 10×42 with Mil-Quad reticle for $300 will get you going.

If you can afford to spend $700, stick with SWFA 3-15×42 FFP.

$1000: Burris XTR II 3-15×50

$1500: Bushnell Elite Long Range Hunter 4.5-18×44

$1800: Steiner T5Xi 3-15×50 or Sig Sauer Tango 6 3-18×44

$3k or more: Tangent Theta TT315M  I just got done testing one.  Overall, this is the best scope I have ever used.

Make sure you get high quality mounts.

Now go practice!



 Posted by at 12:52 pm
May 082016

As we get closer to the presidential election my various politician induced paranoias bubble up to the surface and make me think about survival guns.  Now, I do not think that the end of the world is coming just, but anything that gives me an excuse to get another gun is fine with me.

All jokes aside, I am in the process of building myself a long barrel Glock chambered for the 10mm round.  I am building it with a 6″ barrel and slide from Lone Wolf and with a red dot mount from the good folks at sight-mount.com.  Here is an image from Sight-Mount, but my gun will look a bit different since it is a lot longer:

10mm is a pretty potent round and a 6″ barrel gives it a notable energy and speed improvement over shorter barrels.  10mm is a new caliber for me, so I figured I should research its ballistics a bit more.  As a part of that researched I stumbled onto the fact that some of the peppier 10mm ammo achieves really impressive speeds from longer barrels.

I had looked at getting a pistol caliber carbine in the past, but at the time I mostly looked at 9mm and 45ACP versions and they do not offer enough of an advantage in energy for me to mess with,  They are definitely easier to shoot accurately and they do go faster, but it always seemed like higher pressure rounds make more sense in a carbine like that.  I had considered getting a 357Mag levergun, but since Remington bought and ruined Marlin, that became an iffy proposition.

I had looked into 357 Sig carbines, but the only viable offering I saw was getting a Mechtechsys conversion for my Glock frame, which is an interesting solution, but it is not as compact as I want.  Also, since I live in California, I would have to mutilate mag release on a perfectly good Glock to make it legal (look up “bullet button” if California gun law perversions are new to you).

I let it go at that, but now I stumbled onto a company called TNW Firearms.  They make a switch barrel pistol caliber carbine called Aircraft Survival Rifle (ASR) that can be configured for both 357Sig and 10mm (and other calibers).

On top of that, they chrono’ed the velocity of some of the peppier ammo from Underwood and Buffalo Bore among others out of their 16″ barrels.

If these numbers are true, this is exactly what I was looking for: 357 Sig carbine, 10mm carbine.  I did a little more digging and I am pretty impressed with what I see.  The basic weapon design is clever and a few minutes of web surfing yielded a number of positive reviews.  The trigger is reputed to be decent as well.  After some consideration, I think I will get a 10mm version of the carbine and test it thoroughly.

Now, considering what my interests are, I started giving some thought to the best sighting system for such a carbine.  It comes from the factory with some sort of an inexpensive 4x scope.  If it is the design I am thinking of, I fully intend to chuck it into the trash bin as soon as it gets here (well, I suppose I’ll look at it briefly to be certain).

Since this is ostensibly a survival tool, I would like to set it up with a dual sighting system: that gives me both unity magnification and some sort of a 2x to 4x magnification for a bit more precision.

That means either a low range variable, or a combination of simple iron sights with a compact fixed power scope or  red dot with a magnifier (or a red dot and  magnified scope in QD mounts pre-sighted in).

Once I get my hands on the carbine, I will do some experimentation and see what works best.  The trick is to keep the whole sighting arrangement sufficiently compact and light weight to make sure it does not upset the balance of the carbine.  Also, since the rail is fairly short, I need to give some thought to what kind of iron sight arrangement will work best.  Most AR sights are designed with a longer sight radius in mind, so I do not know how well they will work on the ASR.  Most red dot sights with magnifiers are probably too heavy, which raises another concern.  It is the same concern for most quality low range variable scopes.

Anyhow, this will be an interesting challenge.




 Posted by at 4:01 pm