Building an AR15 upper

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Going from a pile of parts to a functioning AR isn’t very hard.  There are countless youtube videos and guides on how to build AR15s.  This isn’t a detailed guide, but a little commentary on the last upper I assembled.

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I find installing the port cover annoying.  I’ve done it enough times I can do it quickly, but it is still annoying.

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The pin can start from the front or the rear of the receiver, but it tends to be easier to work from the front.  Once started, get that spring in place.

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Give the spring a wind and push the rod through.

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Then watch it pop out of place and do it again.

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Then drop the C clip in the carpet and wait till a new one arrives in the mail.

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Then get that little annoying thing snapped in place.

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The forward assist should be simple to install.  Simply depress the forward assist and insert the roll pin.  The notch on the forward assist will keep it captive.

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You’ll note that I don’t have a photo of the installed forward assist as I managed to flair out the roll pin and had to get a replacement.  5/8th inch long, 3/32 diameter, and you can get a 100 pack from McMasterCarr for a few bucks.

Install the roll pin for the forward assist from the bottom of the receiver.  That way if(when) you slip with a hammer and punch, you ding up the bottom of the upper which few people will ever see.

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Fortunately barrel components slide together then screw on the upper and you get a working gun in no time.

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Inland MFG’s National Match Retro M1911

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If you read my review of the M1911A1 made by Inland MFG a few months ago, you know I was pretty impressed with it.  And I am hard to please when it comes to M1911s.  At the NRA show a couple weeks ago I stopped by the Inland booth to talk to the guys and see what they had coming out new.

While talking to the owner of the company, I mentioned how much I liked the look of the old  pistols built up by  military shooting team armorers for competition use  for the national matches etc.   He laughed and walked me over to look at their new 1911.   It is made up just like one you would have seen used by the military shooting teams in years past.

Usually the various service’s shooting teams had guns gunsmithed and built up to match specs by special shooting team armorers.  They would take a USGI  1911 in decent shape and work it over with skill and some NM parts to get its accuracy up to snuff and then add some large adjustable target sights of various makes.    The 1911 above has recreates that look , feel and accuracy.  It has been treated to all the work to make it a NM bullseye gun while giving it the look of one you would have seen in the 50s, 60s, 70s etc.

The front ramp sight really rubbed my nostalgia right as did the placement of the rear. Most impressive is the correct small original  thumb safety lock.  The front strap is still smooth while NM guns would have checkering or hit with a chisel to make it have something to grip. The owner of the company told me he was still deciding on which version of that they may add to it later.  The three hole trigger would have been a part in the later days but it looks fine on this model.   The gun is of course worked over in the same way as the custom carry from Inland and no doubt will deliver at least as good accuracy as that plain USGI   M1911A1 WW2 pistol I tested.   I really look forward to getting my hands on the NM  retro version.

 

Hipoint Pistol & Carbine An Open Minded Look

Normally these firearms are not the kind you would see on this website.  The review below came about after an extensive conversation with Hunter, the owner of http://www.rangehot.com, one night. I was talking to him about asking Inland Mfg. if I could send their recently reviewed M1911A1 straight to him, so he could test and write about it, instead of just sending straight back to them.  Hunter told me he had the two Hi-Points and how surprised he was about how accurate they are. He suggested  he should send them on to me.  I thought about it for a while and decided to give them a try, if for no other reason than to prove we are not total snobs here.

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First I will talk about the carbine.  It is chambered in 45ACP and has a camo finish in the popular civilian, non-military style hunting pattern.  The magazine will work in both the carbine and pistol. The carbine has rails for attaching whatever you might want to attach to it.

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You have one rail under the barrel, one rail under the hand guard and a rail on top of the hand guard, for attaching optics, using the common industry standard rail mounts.

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The sights are adjustable, large and easy to see. You get the peep  rear sight and a front sight post. The rear peep sight is adjustable, with markings to keep track of adjustments and is protected by two “ears” or sight hood.

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The front sight post is a pointed post and reminds me of the front sight of a Type 99 Arisaka. The sight is enclosed and protected. Though the circle in circle sights do not really add anything with the sight picture, I do like that the hood over the front sight. It is large and lets enough light in so you can actually see the thing in low light, unlike some classic much love military rifle sights. It provides protection, does not crowd the sight picture up or make it hard to see.  The rear sight is also very open, lets in light and is very fast to use/pick-up. It however does make precise shots with the iron sights a bit difficult. The carbine is clearly never meant to be your next match service rifle at Perry.

We took the gun out to the range with no oil or lube of any kind and fired a large amount of mid range to low quality ammo through it, to see how it preformed.  It worked fine.  Dirty Remington training ammo and CCI  aluminum cased cheap training ammo ran through it just as well as  the good stuff.  One magazine did give us some problems. It did not cause the gun to malfunction but the follower kept getting stuck.  Accuracy testing was done at 25 and 50 yards.

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The carbine really liked Winchester white box, Walmart ammo.  Really it’s kind of fitting as these guns are aimed at consumers who have a limited budget and are very likely to use what they can get, for the best price.  I am not suggesting the carbine is tuned for such a thing but I am sure this would be a happy result for those users.  The group above was eight (8) rounds at 25 yards, though it does not look like it.

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If the Hi-Poaint Carbine liked the Winchester ball ammo, it found its soul mate in the Speer ball ammo.  The group above was a full mag string shot at 25 yards with Speer training ball ammo.  This is pretty cheap stuff and the result was a shocker to those of us shooting it.  We fired multiple groups with the same ammo but I am showing the groups that are generally representative of what the gun is capable of. They are not the carbines best groups as I always feel that’s a little misleading. The groups shown are not always the absolute best groups shot of the day if the tightest groups can’t be repeated.  So looking at these groups, you can see that these are not cherry picked “best of” groups.  For anyone reading this review, considering buying one of these firearms for budget reasons or just for plinking,  I want to make sure you see what it really does and how it will really preform on any given day.

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Remington 230 grain ball ammo is about as bad as ball training ammo can get but still is made by one of the big name ammo makers.  It is filthy, under powered and not even usually mediocre when it comes to accuracy.  As shown above, its performance in the Hi-Point carbine certainly its not horrible. In a pistol it would still be pretty decent. This one is almost cherry picked, in that the other groups from the Remington ball ammo would often fall off the edge of the target.

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Above is a “Q” target at 100 yards. It is roughly the size of a smallish man.  The group was fired from 100 yards with no rest using Speer ball ammo.  The KRISS Vector did not even shoot this well at 100 yards. Below is another 100 yard Qual target, before we adjusted the sights to hit higher.

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With this carbine, using iron sights, off hand, with ball ammo, I am not sure you can ask for much more, considering what it is and its intended use. It is not a sniper rifle and it is not a M4. It is a light pistol caliber carbine, meant to be as useful as a budget carbine in mind.

Now, handling wise I do not care much for its balance. The carbine is a little rear heavy to me. Another point is, like the KRISS, the stock seems to impart that strange recoil vibration into the cheek. After multiple rapid strings the cheek will start to feel a little sting. The Vector had the same oddity and everyone commented on it.  The trigger is certainly no match trigger and may not even be as good as a decent milspec trigger, but that’s ok.  As I said before, that’s not what this firearm is meant be.  I don’t know if there are upgrades for the Hi-Points or if anyone has any tips on how to improve it.  I honestly do not know much at all about the world of Hi-Points, beyond what I learned while testing these two.

Next up is the Hi-Point pistol, also chambered in the greatest pistol round ever to bless this universe, the .45ACP of course.

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The pistol has a finish that makes me think of something like the USMC desert digital pattern, without actually being the same, due to trademarks. It’s a pretty good looking pattern to me. I have seen some Remington 870s and some other various fireams with what I believe to be the same camo pattern on them.  The pistol has light or laser rail forward of the trigger and takes the same magazines as the carbine.  Much to my displeasure, the handgun does not have a slide release/lock and you must “slingshot” the slide on a slide lock reload.

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The rear sight has red inserts and while it is not really tall it can be used to cycle the action  for one handed manipulation.

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The front sight is not adjustable, it is a fixed sight and has a yellowish insert in it to contrast with the red rear, to make it more visible. I know these touches are meant to make them easier and faster to see but I honestly do not think it helped in my opinion. In bright day light the front washed out for me. It might have been better had the front sight been red and the rear sight blacked out.  That is totally a personal taste and I am sure some one out there likes this combination fine.

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The sight configuration and color did not hurt the pistols accuracy potential as you can see above. All groups fired are five (5) round groups at 20 yards.  I will let the pictured groups speak for themselves.

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All groups fired were from a bench, with sandbags, in very slow methodical strings, using much effort to give the gun every chance I could.

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The top group is a full magazine, fired at 30 yards, from sand bags and from the bench.

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In the above picture, closing out the groups and the biggest irony, the ammo the carbine liked the most and shot so tight, the pistol apparently hated it.  Who knew?

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The trigger on the pistol is not a pleasure to work with when it comes to shooting tight groups. It even takes some getting used to for working with the Hi-Point at any speed. I fired a little over 300 rounds through the pistol and still did not quite get use to using the trigger very effectively,  The recoil of the firearm is very strange for some one use to the 1911 platform.  It seems I could feel the large slide moving back and forth.  It did however work boringly 100%. Nothing really to say. I can’t trash it over multiple failures, because it didn’t fail at all, simple as that.  Will I buy one? No, but it’s not a firearm meant for me.  These Hi-Points already have their niche and are for people who work within certain financial limits/constraints. People who just plain like them will continue to buy them regardless of anyone else’s tastes. Regardless what the most snobbish among us think of them.

I initially did not want to test these two firearms, but Hunter told me to have an open mind and give them a chance. I did my best and was surprised at the accuracy of these two pieces.  I have seen Springfield Armory handguns that shot a lot worse than these two.  They are not great firearms or perfect, but they are not the worst I have ever seen. That would be the LLama , Jennings and Lorcins, running neck and neck for the worst, in my experience. If you think the Hi-Points are for you, then I feel you can buy with confidence. They will work despite what most internet experts say.  This is from my experience and with speaking to other gun writers.  Hi-Points also shoot accurately and everything else you can mostly work around.

If these two firearms are for you, you think they are for you and want to know more about them and others. I highly recommend you go to Hunter’s website, (Range Hot). Hunter has gone in depth about these two Hi-Points as well as other firearms. He does a really good job with them and even though I put aside my own biases, I know many will need more than my opinion. Hunter’s reviews can be found here http://rangehot.com/hi-point-45-pistol-and-carbine-self-defense-on-a-budget/   You can find more reviews on other  Hi-Point offerings, at his website using the search feature .  He puts high accuracy results into a nifty little table for you and usually does some video and ballistic gel testing as well.

 

The Accuracy International AE

Submitted by  “G”  a professional sniper and lifelong friend of the Loose Rounds site owners. “G”  will be writing some articles for Loose Rounds in the coming months.

In the by-gone days of 2004 I was hip deep in the word of tactical shooting.  I had been on my departments SWAT Team as a Sniper for a couple years but have been obsessed with sniping since the late 1990’s, when my father was a LEO sniper for the same department.  I read anything I could about the subject, been to a couple schools, and with any free time I had was practicing.

I had been around the typical M700 and other typical sporting rifles my entire life.  I was issued a Remington PSS and had no problems with it but I wanted my own personal “tactical”
rifle.  I looked at companies like Robar, McMillan, HS Precision and others, but when I visited the Accuracy International web site I found what I wanted.  The Accuracy International AW series was way out of my means at the time but the AE, now known as the AE MK1, was just inside reach.  From what the site said it was the same as the AW series without certain benefits and was gear toward the LE community.  It featured a 24″ 1:12 twist barrel, 3.5 lbs trigger, and a very distinctive look.  So off to a local FFL dealer.

Accuracy International AE 7.62x51
Accuracy International AE 7.62×51

Once this British beauty arrived in this my hands I knew I had made a good choice of rifle. It wasn’t setup for the Parker Hale bipod, which I didn’t like anyway, instead a simple sling swivel attachment for a Harris bipod was attached to the bottom of the chassis system.  Its safety was “safe” and “fire” only, instead of the three position safety on the AW series.  Of course it is chambered in  7.62 X 51 (308 Win),  had an overall length of 44″ and weighed around 13 lbs.

7.52x51mm
7.52x51mm

The LOP was adjustable with spacers which came with the rifle.  It was set up with a 0 MOA rail already on the receiver for mounting scopes. The AE came with one 5 round magazine, the Mk1 is not able to use the AI 10 round magazines.  The chassis had four sling mounts, two on each side.  Now a days the Accuracy International chassis system is available for a variety of rifles but then it was AI only.  The stock simply screwed onto the chassis system and its only function was to provide something to hold onto. The bolt handle had a distinctive angle and appearance that even for a left hander, like me, provided easy and smooth manipulation.

Accuracy International AE
Accuracy International AE

I managed to top the rifle with a 6.5-20 MK IV Leupold, it has since been refitted with a 4-14 MK IV. The next step was to find a round for this beast to fire.  I had picked up a couple boxes of Hornady 30 caliber 178 gr AMAX.

AE w/ Leopuld Mounted
AE w/ Leupold Mounted

After doing some load development I found a load that the rifle liked.

-Federal Premium Brass trimmed to 2.005

-CCI LR Primer.  Primer pocket and flash hole uniformed.

-43.0grs of IMR 4064

-178 gr Hornady AMAX and Hornady HPBT seated to magazine length.

10 round group fired from 100 yards
10 round group fired from 100 yards

The AE is comfortable shooting from the bench or prone position.  It does become slightly awkward but not undoable from field shooting positions, as found out by yours truly and Loose Rounds owner Shawn.  The information provided with the AE from Accuracy International stated that the AE model was a 600 yard gun.  We came to find that the rifle was very capable of consistent hits out to 1000 yards.  Many a day was spent with this rifle busting skeet and ringing steel at 800 yards and it may be just me being bias, but this rifle made it seem easy to do so.  I have saved many targets from this rifle that was a testament to its accuracy but through the years they have disappeared.

Over the years I have owned and shot other very accurate rifles but this little 600 yard British rifle will always be my favorite.

“G”