Category Archives: Consumer Alert!

One Cool Tool

US Tool Manual Bolt Extraction Device 556-308Here at the Wile E Coyote Institute for Applied Aeronautics (and Gunsmiting) we occasionally find a tool we really like. Here is one such tool that not only belongs in your shop toolbox, but in your range kit, and that goes double if you’re a unit or department armorer (or a small department’s go-to gun guy), or an SF guy that has to run ranges for the Third World, or a range officer at a range open to the public (almost the same thing).

We’ve all seen the stoppage you get when an overpressure round, or maybe a nasty chamber in an unlined barrel on a bargain-basement AR, solidly stuck. It’s like the thing brazed itself in there! It’s hard to get enough leverage on a charging handle to move the bolt carrier back and unlock that damn-near-welded bolt. If the carrier is fully forward, you can separate upper and lower and attack the carrier from underneath, but if it’s back just a few millimeters it’s hard to separate the upper and lower.

You can get a similar problem with a double-feed, commonly caused by crummy or worn-out magazines. Your gun is out of action until you can reduce the stoppage.

And then there’s the circumstance, when some schmo brings the seized rifle in to the shop after getting the case stuck and then letting it sit for three months in the salty sea breeze, hoping that time heals all wounds.

The US Tool & Design Manual Bolt Extraction Device is simplicity itself: a lever with a yoke at one end that can be inserted through the magazine well and pry the bolt carrier back. That lets you open things up and get the gun back into action, or at least, troubleshoot the problem. Here’s an image showing how it works, with the upper absent for clarity:

US Tool Manual Bolt Extraction Device 02

It’s available in three versions: compact 5.56mm and 7.62mm versions, and a double-ended dual-caliber variety. (Of course these will work with other calibers on the same platform, so order the 5.56 one for .300 BLK, for example; the critical sizes are the bolt and bolt carrier).

US Tool Manual Bolt Extraction Device three versions

The dual-ended one is perfect for the shop workbench, and we could see the other attached by a clip to the rails on one’s field rifle. It would give you a way to clear this kind of stoppage in combat.

US Tool Manual Bolt Extraction Device

Here’s what they say about their tool, for which they’ve applied for a patent:

The Manual Bolt Extraction Device (MBED) is designed to be used in the event of a malfunction where you need direct access to the bolt carrier group (BCG) and the leverage provided by the charging handle is insufficient. The MBED is effectively used to clear the most common stoppages such as a double feed where the second round is wedged above the BCG. The MBED can also be used to clear an over pressured round or any stoppage where the casing is stuck in the chamber and has seized function of the rifle.

The MBED can be used to aide in any stoppage where direct access to the bolt carrier is needed. The AR-15/AR-10 platform does not allow for the user to have access to the bolt like the AK47, M1 Garand or M14 style rifles. The charging handle gives minimal leverage to the bolt carrier group and requires multiple tools and at least two individuals to clear these stoppages. The MBED is a single tool that a single individual can use to get the rifle back into working order in a short amount of time.

This is simple and that’s what makes it brilliant. We’re ordering one for the bench and one for the range bag, at least until we can figure out the rail clip that we want to make. You can buy the MBED here: https://www.ustoolanddesign.com/products/manual-bolt-extraction-device

Five Tips for Gun Shop Staff

Rather than rave about what we see people doing wrong, here’s some “do” bullet points for you.

5. Listen three-quarters of the time.

Your customers are not in the shop for what interests you, but for what interests them. Talking about what interests them is a good way for you to sell them products and services that you can provide. It’s also a good way to establish yourself as an excellent listener, a personality type that is never in oversupply.

4. Know your products and inventory.

We really, really hate to go into your store and be the know-it-all, and we’ll never do it just to kill your sale. But if you’re recommending something entirely wrong, especially to a newbie, we’ll probably set you straight — tactfully, if you let us.

3. Be careful with assumptions about your customers.

The ancient Greeks used to believe that the gods periodically took on human form, often the form of an inconsequential character. The gods would then reward the decent folks who had been kind to what they thought was a fellow human, and punish the folks who had abused them. We’ve never heard of a gunstore encounter with Apollo or Hera, but we’d just like to remind you that among the people who go to gun stores are people who really are experts on some aspect of your inventory.

2. Greet everybody who comes in your store.

No exceptions. Nothing you are doing is more important that a customer who just walked in, especially a new customer. It is the customers that enable everything else; it is the new customers that may need all kinds of nice, high-margin accessories.

1. Always tell the truth.

And stop when you run out of truth. If you don’t know the truth, don’t try to bullshit. Just say you don’t know, and offer to find out. The customer may know more than you do, for one thing.

 

Auction Action

Tomorrow, the Rock Island Auctions regional auction is underway. We’ll be bidding on a few items. Some of the bids are for things we really want, and we bid appropriately. Others, we’d kind of like to have, and so we lowballed. Here’s one we’d like to win:

CZ 36 L

It’s a rare CZ 36, which was made from 1936 to 1945; it’s a compact, DA pistol in 6.35mm/.25 ACP, and that one’s in superb condition. It was replaced by the CZ 45, which is rare in the USA, but not worldwide — it was produced continuously from 1946 to 1970, when it was replaced by a new version, and in 1992, a newer version still; these latter-day versions have never been legally imported to the USA, under the “sporting test” that the Gun Control Act of 1968 borrowed from Nazi gun law.

A lot of the things are auctions for multi-gun lots where we only want one or two guns. If that’s the case, we’ll be selling the extras and thinning out the safe a little. We’re going to keep our own bid amounts secret for now, but here’s what we’re bidding on (we may mention a couple lots we considered bidding on but didn’t).

All the bids and some more photos in a table after the jump. (We may add more photos tomorrow).

Continue reading

10mm Fans Rejoice (Both of you!): The Delta Elite is Back

We missed the announcement at the NRA Annual Meeting that Colt was returning the 10mm Delta Elite to production, but Shawn from LooseRounds.com (who, unlike us, was at the meeting) didn’t. And a couple weekends ago, while we were deep in the trackless north woods hunting paper targets with an array of mostly obsolete Soviet firepower, Shawn was posting about his receipt of a sample DE and his first attempts at shooting it. BLUF: he likes it a lot.

He later would tell us, in an email conversation, that he was planning to buy the test gun from Colt. He really liked it. (This is one of his pictures of the test gun).

Colt Delta Elite Shawns

The new version Shawn tested is like some of the more upscale, customized models of the Delta Elite during its first rodeo, 30 years ago.

For young guys like Shawn, the origins of the Delta Elite and it’s smoking-hot round may be lost in time. In the early 1980s, the 10mm Auto (10 x 25 mm) load was proposed by Jeff Cooper as resolving the weaknesses of the .45 ACP (especially its relatively high trajectory caused by its low velocity). The original 10mm was made from .30 Remington rifle cases, cut to 20mm long and expanded in dies to have almost zero taper.  The round was not new with Cooper, actually, having history as the .40 G&A and .40 PGW, recounted here on The Gun Zone.

10_mm_AutoThe round has remarkable ballistics, even for today, let alone for 1980. They approached that of another wonderful also-ran in the market, Smith & Wesson’s .41 Magnum. The .41 Mag had the lasting problem of being the middle child in a muddled market, but it still managed to build a cult of enthisiasts (thanks in part to the beautiful revolvers Smith chambered in .41), and the same would be true for the 10mm, even as law enforcement turned to the .40 and then back to the 9mm in subsequent decades.

Catalog 1984 01The first gun chambered for the 10mm was the Cooper project, the Bren X aka Bren Ten of Dornaus & Dixon of California. Cooper announced the project in February 1981, in Combat Handguns magazine; Dornaus and Dixon had been working on it since the 70s, and brought Cooper in for his experience — and credibility. The project limped to a close after shipping perhaps 1,500 guns, of which hundreds towards the end shipped without magazines. Seldom has a product launched with a more thunderous bang, or failed with a more miserable whimper. At Peak Bren X in 1984, the company catalog showed no fewer than six models (Standard, Pocket, Military & Police, Special Forces, Dual Master Presentation, Jeff Cooper Initial Issue Commemorative).

It’s generally a bad idea to launch a whole bunch of models of a new product especially if you’re already struggling with production.

 

Despite the failure of the Bren Ten, serious shooters and hunters still wanted pistols chambered for Col. Cooper’s wonder round, and he didn’t stop promoting it, even though there was an interregnum with no claimant to the 10mm crown on the market. The first 10mm handgun to ship to all its customers with magazines was probably the Colt Delta Elite.

The Delta Elite went through numerous variants and versions during its original nine-year production life, from numbered Gold Cups to blued versions to the most common (which is not saying much) stainless version. In 2009 the resumption of production was announced, but we’re not sure how many shipped due to Colt’s then-perilous financial situation; guns are flowing to the market now.

The FBI, seeking to address firepower problems that were only one of several causes of the 1986 Miami shootout debacle, adopted the 10mm circa 1990, but eschewed the 1911 platform in favor of a Smith & Wesson auto. (They also adopted the H&K MP5 in that caliber. Some other Federal agencies also bought 10mm MP5s, but it’s doubtful H&K ever recovered their investment on that project). The FBI wound up having real problems. The 10mm had been selected by a cadre of dedicated shooters who had no trouble mastering the round, but the average street agent who was not a firearms buff found it unpleasant and difficult to shoot. The bureau ultimately had their rounds downloaded, which led S&W to work with Olin (Winchester ammo) to develop a shorter version of the FBI round which became the .40 S&W. Its big advantage was that it could fit in a pistol with a 9mm grip frame, unlike the longer 10mm. With all Law Enforcement interested in this new round, Glock actually beat the cartridge’s inventors into the market with a Glock .40, the Model 22.

Meanwhile, the 10mm, like the revolver equivalent the .41 Magnum, turned into a niche gun.

In 1987, just one model, #O2010, was in the Colt catalog, a blued gun.

Colt Delta Elite 1987 catalog

By 1990, the line had expanded.

Colt Delta Elite 1990 catalog

This 1990 catalog is also for sale on GunBroker.

Returning old guns to production is something Colt is getting very good at. We wonder what could possibly be next? But we do know that Shawn, who has a well-deserved both ways Mutual Admiration Society going with the venerable Hartford gunmaker, will almost certainly be the one to break the story.

Update

This post has been corrected. The Glock in .40 S&W is the Glock 22, not the Glock 20 as we originally wrote, mistakenly. We regret the error.

The story of the Glock in 10mm is told, somewhat journalistically, in Paul M. Barrett’s book on Glock. (Buy it used. Barrett is hostile to gun owners; don’t enrich him like we did).

Update II

The correction has been corrected with links provided. We officially give up on keeping Glocks straight for the rest of the day. Who’s got the beer? (Actually, time to go repair a lawn mower. Joy).

The Five Ws of Buying a Gun on the Internet

For Sale, on the Internet: Colt Gatling gun on Bronze Mount. Don't tell the media....

For Sale, on the Internet: Colt Gatling gun with Eccles Drum, on Bronze Naval Mount. Don’t tell the media….

It surprised us to learn that a lot of people have not done it. Going over our last dozen or so purchases, we haven’t had a single one that we saw in the Big Gun Shop Over the River® and we don’t buy guns from the gun counter in the Anti Gun Gun Store™. We’ve bought, in quantity order, from:

  1. Online auctions;
  2. Real auction houses, but by online or phone bid;
  3. Consignments brought into our Kitchen Table FFL® who then blasts ’em out by email.
  4. Online advertisements by specialty dealers to collectors.

Of course, our requirements are kind of specialized, so we can’t count on finding what we want in a little State of 1.3 million people. As the collection fills in, the rarities we’re still seeking are likely to turn up somewhere else (maybe not even in the USA, but that’s a story for another post).

If you have yet to pop your internet gun cherry, we’re here to help. (NCO traditions never die). Here’s our recommendation for how to make your first Internet gun buy, structured as a 5W — Who, What, When, Where, and Why — with plenty of How. We’ll do it in almost that order, although the How will always be embedded in the 5Ws, and we’re going to tackle Why first.

5W: Why: Why Buy from Some Guy You Don’t Know?

There are several good reasons to buy a gun remotely rather than locally.

  1. The remote seller has something your LGS does not;
  2. The remote seller may have something exceedingly rare;
  3. The remote seller, especially collectors liquidating or upgrading collections, may have a piece in superior condition or with superior provenance.
  4. Basically, online sales let sellers and buyer both extend their reach.

Most importantly, the internet acts to disintermediate the once very obstructed supply chain of rare and low-density firearms, and to let people cross-level these guns across a wider community. This is good news both for buyers seeking rare guns, and for sellers with rare guns that may need time and a wide net to find the right buyer. (Otherwise, as the degree to which a gun is “specialized” or expensive rises, its buyer pool evaporates).

5wsOf course, local stocking dealers let you find guns by serendipity. In the 1970s, we discovered a cool-looking firearm at a local shop, The Gun Room in Shrewsbury, Massacusetts. (Wonder if it’s still there? We believe the proprietor was a guy named Peter Dowd).  We didn’t know what an ex-Finnish Army Tokarev SVT-40 was, but it followed us home and got us started with Russian and Eastern European firearms.

There’s also a reason to buy online that’s potentially a bad reason: to get a new gun for less than your local guy stocks it for. Some online sellers have such market power vis-a-vis the manufacturers and importers that their advertised price is less than the wholesale price that the local dealer pays to to his upstream, whether it’s the manufacturer or a jobber or distributor. Most transfer dealers will transfer these for a fee, but it makes them heartsick to see someone walking out of their shop with a gun they can’t match price on. The problem with saving money this way (and shopping transfer dealers for the lowest price, too) is that you undermine the dealer system.

Some dealers are considering adding a surcharge for guns from these vendors like Bud’s Gun Shop or KY Gun Shop. Some may already be doing it.

So you want to think about whether a $20 savings is worth injecting some sourness into your relationship with your local guy. Because, buying guns is partly about guns, but it’s also all about people. The better your people skills, the happier you and the other two players in the deal will be.

1W: Who: The Three Players

The good news for our Aspie spectrum readers (you know who you are) is that you can improve your people skills by learning rules, if experience doesn’t work for you. There are three players in any online transaction: buyer, seller, and transfer dealer. All are equally important to a good transaction.

question markThe buyer is you. The seller can do things to increase or decrease the probability you will buy from him, which is a another tale for another day; you will contact him online or by phone. We strongly recommend dealing by both email and phone. Email is asynchronous, which is convenient for the many dealers who work part-time as well as for private sellers, and it provides a permanent record. (In any event, if you buy from an online ad or auction, save the ad or auction to your computer; you may want to refer back to it later). Phone lets you ease the trust barrier between stranger buyers and sellers.

The transfer dealer is vitally important. Your firearm will almost certainly originate out of state. We always establish the relationship with the transfer dealer first, rather that surprise him with, “We won the auction, please send a copy of your FFL to.” There are exceptions, but most dealers genuinely like guns and gun people (and are always surprised by the wide range of us out here), so making sure you and the dealer are on

2W: What: The Firearm, and Your Expectations

5Ws2In an online ad, you have limited opportunity to examine the firearm, and many sellers explicitly disclaim any responsibility for the thing after it hits the carrier. “As is.” We’ve never encountered a dealer who was a crumb about it, but things do happen. Understand that online, you’re no longer dealing with friendly Fred across the counter. You’re in a low-trust environment. The seller does not trust you, and you should not trust him too much on the first transaction. That’s why auction houses and online auctions have developed procedures such as feedback to encourage ethical dealing.

Don’t be shy about asking questions. Reputable dealers and auctioneers, especially with rarities and antiques, usually provide lots of good, well-lit photographs. If something about the gun is important, ask. And listen to the answer. We’ve seen relatively few problems caused by dealers, but an awful lot of problems caused by private sellers’ or buyers’ unstated assumptions.

Read the terms, for auctions and online sales. If the guy says money order only, and you call him after the sale to try to wheedle him into taking your personal check, he’s not the one being a [bleeep].

Dealers, especially collector-focused dealers, often include an inspection period. This is customarily from 24 to 72 hours. If you have buyer’s remorse — which is, by the way, the largest single cause of gun returns, with, “my wife flipped out when she heard what it cost” a solid #2 — you can usually return a gun inside this window. Shipping is your expense if you do that; don’t squawk about it, even having an inspection period is a courtesy the seller extends to you. If the gun is not as represented, that is a separate issue.

3W When: Some Time Factors

Interstate 5wHere’s another thing that favors your LGS. You can buy the gun and walk out with it after the NICS check. (Unless you’re in some statist kleptocracy with a waiting period — you know who you are). Immediate gratification beats nervous waiting; that’s how the pleasure centers of your brain are wired.

Let’s start with a baseline of online auction time factors. Here are some rules for success as an online auction buyer:

  1. Before: Have your transfer FFL picked out and pre-briefed before your buy. He will need to send his FFL to the seller (in the case of an FFL dealer) or show the seller how to verify his FFL (in the case of a non-FFL seller). Note that some dealers will not accept transfers in from non-dealers (and some jurisdictions won’t let a dealer do this, requiring all interstate shipments to go to and from Federal licensees).
  2. Before: Set a hard and fast top-line price, beyond which you will not be buffaloed (this is good advice for any auction because in live auctions also, it’s easy to let excitement get the better of you. Don’t ask how we know this).  In an auctioneer, not online, auction, factor in any buyers’ premium, a little fiction auctioneers use to encourage bidding by only tagging on a substantial charge — we’ve seen 17% — to the hammer price.
  3. Before: Pick a price you’d like to get it at. It’s a free country and you might get something for a low ball. (Which is why many auction sellers place a reserve). That is your first bid.
  4. Before: Note when the auction ends, and commit to being there at the end. If it’s a thirty day auction, it’s not going to sell on Days 1-29, so nobody bids then but chumps. The human race being what it is, somebody always bids then. Commit to being there at the end of the auction.
  5. Towards the end of the auction, enter a bid. Like most serious bidders, we usually don’t get into an auction until the last half hour or even 15 minutes. There’s just no percentage in wasting time earlier. Perhaps at the 15-minute point, the bidding is already over our preset stop line, and we don’t bid at all. That’s normal.
  6. If you win an auction, you’ll know just about immediately (online auctions) or within 24 hours (auction houses). You have a limited period for making payment. The terms are usually crystal clear.
  7. You may be able to pick up your purchase, in the rare case of an intrastate sale. Or it may have to ship to a transfer FFL near you. It is your responsibility to ensure the sender has the FFL’s contact information and license, although the FFL will usually prefer to send it himself.
  8. Expect a week from payment clearing for the firearm(s) to be shipped. We have found four to seven days is about standard. (An inexperienced seller can drag things out, and we’ve had to educate on or two).
  9. When the firearm arrives at the transfer FFL, he will unbox and inspect it (for the serial number and maker/importer information if nothing else), enter it in his Acquisition & Disposal record (“bound book” but these days it may be a computer database), and notify  you its in.
  10. At the transfer FFL, you will complete Form 4473, show ID, and (usually)

4W Where: Where to Find these Auctions?

There are three kinds of “places” we go to on the net for guns:

Online auctions. The best in the business is GunBroker, but we are irritated with them for supporting career criminal Trayvon Martin’s family and hangers-on over George Zimmerman. AuctionArms has a smaller selection, but seems to be rising; it’s the one that has a dope deal with NRA.

Live auction houses. There are three, off the top of our head, that offer firearms of great interest to modern arms buyers, shooters and collectors:

Of these, we have bought only from RIA. We’ve been outbid at Julia, and well, we’ll see how we do at Amoskeag.

Specialty Forums. Most every kind of firearm has a forum dedicated to it, and many of them contain a classified section.

5W Why: Hey, we already covered this!

But we’d like to add that, like most things in the gun world, you do it for education and recreation. (We’d be hard pressed to break down which of the two is paramount).

Polymer 80 Spectre: The Unboxening

polymer80_labelHark! What light foot betreads the doorstep?Forsooth, it is the letter carrier. And what bringeth she, apart from the usual boxes and envelopes of gun books?

‘Tis a box that is not of gun books.

 

It cometh from brave, brave Sir Bryan, Customer Service Knight of the castle of Polymer80 in the far realm of Carson City, Nevada, named after the famous night show host Johnny Carson City. Let us breach the seal upon this box, and behold what wonders dwelleth therein.

And what, perchance is in the box? More boxes!

polymer80_box_end

With wisdom inscribed upon them, each and every one. Ah, a sage knight indeed is Sir Bryan, and all the Kingdom, that is so wise in the ways of science.

The box is mark-èd with dark and forboding signs. She’s a witch!

polymer80_box

And what do we do with witches? Let us avaunt and begone, and exit character, stage left.

The underside of the box, of which we’ll spare you a photo, notes that it’s an “80% Multi-Caliber Glock-Compatible Pistol Frame and Jig Kit”. And it lists the configurations, which basically are a nine-cell matrix of Glock configs: service length, “tactical,” and Long lenghts, which in 9mm would be a G17, G34, or G17L in the mothership’s model numbers. (You can also, with appropriate slides and barrels, build the three versions in .357 SIG or .40 S&W). They also proudly emblazon the American flag and “Designed and Manufactured in the USA.”

The opposite end of the box (from the one with the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution on it)  bears a hint of things to come: like Henry Ford’s Model T in 1908, you can get one of these frames right now in any color so long as it’s black. But the box has check-boxes for FDE, OD Green, Tactical Gray, and “Other,” as well. Polymer80 suggests that we may see colors in a few months, when pent-up demand for the black frames is exhausted and the guys at Polymer80, who have been working flat out to ship preorders intra alia, have recovered from the hangovers from the shipped-the-last-preorder party.

Fun fact: This is one of the first, if not the first, polymer frame blanks to be presented to Firearms Technology Branch for an opinion as a 3D-printed mockup.

Back into character.

Shall we open the box? Is this the long-sought Holy Grail, or just a beacon, which she suddenly remembered is grail-shaped? There is much peril here, but we open the lid.

SFX: creaking old door, or retired SF guy’s joints (same thing). 

polymer80_contents

Wizards of Carson City have marked strange figures upon the jig, in an attempt to ward off evil spirits, and idiots using the wrong tool.

polymer80_jig_labeling

The markings are in the archaic measurements of Kings Arthur, Alfred and Canute. Behold the power of sixteenths!

polymer80_jig_labeling_2

The frame is contained within the solid, square jig, like the prince who is to be guarded and not allowed to leave this room.

polymer80_frame_in_jig

Exit character, stage left, again —

Well, that’s interesting. Because of the angles you actually use when working with this jig, there’s no reason not to let the grip protrude from the jig. That is, however, a problem for our plans to work up a GhostGunner solution for this lower. Not an insurmountable one. It just changes the conceptual design of the 3D-printed hold-down jig. A jig that holds a jig — the two worries there are that this is getting kind of “meta,” and more concretely, that we’d be risking a tolerance stack-up.

Back to character…

polymer80_frame_detail

Alchemists must have made this material, which seems strong and, mostly, smooth, but seems to have a metallic powder embedded in it. There is but little molding flash.

polymer80_tools

The tools required are embedded in stones (or plastic containers) in the box, and Whoso Pulleth Out This Tool of this Stone, is Rightwise King Born of this project. There is no need to seek the Lady of the Lake (or MSC or Grainger) for them. The jig is sacrificial and meant for one-time use; the cutting tools might last longer, but it’s a moot point as you get a new set in every box.

polymer80_locking_block

The magical heart of the Glock system is the locking block. This is included with two screws to secure it in place.  (It is also held by the standard Glock locking block pin).

We’re not really thrilled about the screws, but that’s probably the best option the designers had. The locking block seems to be an investment casting or possibly metal injection molding (requires a more careful examination).

To complete the firearm, you need the instructions. The kit comes with a two-sided, business-card-sized info card that has support information on one side and a link to “milling instructions, lower part kit installation, and full rifle (?) assembly instructions”: www.polymer80com/info. At that site there’s rifle-lower information, but also:

PF940 V 1.0 80% PISTOL FRAME:

80% POLYMER PISTOL FRAME INSTRUCTIONS (PDF): CLICK HERE
9MM G17&22 PARTS DIAGRAM & VENDOR LIST:     CLICK HERE
PF940 MILLING INSTRUCTION VIDEO:                    CLICK HERE

Until it is built into a firearm, estimating its handling properties is probably foolish. Our impression was that it is somewhat bulkier, “blockier,” and more angular than a factory G17 G3. The plastic also feels a bit harder, We brought in our assistant Thing T. Thing for a second opinion.

polymer80_thing

His opinion: “Build this article!” (He’s sensitive about calling things, “things.” You understand).

UPDATE

Thanks. You know who. You know why. Owe ya one.

Notes

  1. That remindeth us, gotta replace that Small Dog. Snuck right up on us this time!

Deal Alert: Polymer 80

We’re forgetting that for Muggles, Memorial Day is a time of great sales. We received a very nice email from Polymer80, leading with the right sentiment. We already had a Polymer80 pistol-lower unboxing post roughed out for this week, so it was on our mind, too. We just didn’t check email ’til this morning. Here’s our excerpt from their email — plus the all important code.

Honoring the Fallen

We want to take this time to acknowledge those who have sacrificed their lives for Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.  Your courage will always be remembered.

God Bless America.

Save 20% OFF ALL 80% Polymer AR Receivers, 80% Pistol Frames, and AR Accessories this Memorial Day Weekend*.

At check-out use promo code:  p80memday2016

*Does not include BBS Kits. Expires May 31st, 2016

Shop Polymer80

New Dealer SpotLight

Still looking for the illusive [sic] Glock Gen3 parts for your PF940 Pistol Frame? We have a new source just recently added to our family of dealers.  Visit Trick Glocks and check out their e-store, they currently have 30 kits ready to sell with another 70 on the way!

Their website url is: https://www.trickglocks.com/
You can also visit their Facebok Page: https://www.facebook.com/trickglocks

As we mentioned, we have two Polymer80 Glock-off frames here and were planning an unboxing post. We weren’t sure where we were going to get parts (we were probably going to just strip our own G17), and so we’ll check out Trick Glocks, too, but only after this post goes live. (We’ve got a thing about taking advantage of our readers. To be specific, we don’t do it!).

UPDATE

We’ve just been to parts seller Trick Glocks’s website, and we’re not impressed.

It looks like they spent a lot on the polish and shine. Then when we went to actually buy stuff, the sales cart engine is… unfinished. It looks like it’s working in general, because some things are selling out, but after a flaky dance with registration and prove-you’re-real and emails to click on, it then hissed at us:

Your City must contain a minimum of 4 characters.

We can assure them, our town contains lots of characters; our very dead-end street has more than four characters. But the name of the town has only three, which is not all that rare in this part of the world. At least 14 towns in the Northeast (NH, NY, MA, ME, VT) bear three-letter names, often since some time in the 17th Century. We were jolly well here first, but apparently our money’s no good with him.

To put it in three-letter words: Him? Huh. Fie. Heh.

UPDATE II

And the contact page on their web site doesn’t work, either….

FireClean is Not Crisco

VIDEO Snakes Revenge As Severed Head Bites And Kills Chef

It slices the sssnake, it putss the piecessss in the juicer, it makesss the lotion, it putss the lotion on the gun….

Nope, it’s Snake Oil. As a bunch of stories at Vuurwapen Blog and TFB demonstrated, spectrographic analysis of FireClean is consistent with it being nothing but rapeseed oil, also known as canola oil, and/or chemically similar oils. Some people called it Crisco. But Crisco is a very pure, food-grade rapeseed oil; you can fry your morning hash browns in it, and they’ll taste delicious. Neither we nor the FDA recommend doing that with FireClean, and neither do the makers of FireClean. Your cardiologist would probably be equally distressed to see you frying up with either, but hey, if we all ate right, how would cardiologists ever make their Bentley payments?

Naturally, the guys who were buying 55-gallon drums of this stuff ($800/metric ton) and selling it (and a bunch of hype) in tiny plastic plastic squirt bottles for weren’t happy to have their secret outed, and so they sued Andrew Tuohy, the writer who first broke the news that FireClean was predominantly vegetable, specifically rapeseed, oil. They also sued Everett Baker, a chemistry student who did some analysis of the suspect formula as a college project, and published his results.

Apparently, showing the world the spectrum of FireClean is supposed to be like saying the name of God was to the Ancient Hebrews, as you can see in this clip from a Biblical documentary.

Yes, suing people for factually describing your product is certainly the way a corporation acts if its business model is based on developing advanced technology. It’s certainly not what a bunch of con artists would do when their con was exposed.

Or is it?

You can read the lawsuit — Andrew has posted it — and form your own opinion. (His lawyers’ memo in support of motion to dismiss is located here. If you donated to his legal defense fund you helped make that document, now donate again). We’re not lawyers, but what they’re demanding is, first, that Andrew and Everett be muzzled with respect to Crisco, er, FireClean. (Please Crisco, don’t sue us for comparing your fine cooking oil to the generic version marketed as a gun lube. No defamation of Crisco is intended).

Then, of course, they want money, because, well, for the same reason you might put cheap stuff in a bottle and sell it as expensive stuff: because they want money.

Meanwhile, of course, because the only justice that American courts are really concerned about is making sure that lawyers get paid, get paid off the top of the stack, and get paid handsomely, it’s going to cost Andrew and Everett a bunch of money to defend against this shakedown.

So there are two things you can do: never, ever, ever recommend, sell, or use FireClean, and throw a few bucks the defendants’ way.

Don’t feel bad for the brothers who run FireClean — when their product was challenged, rather that post science defending their product (there’s no scientific substance in their suit, just spectra of motor oils that are not like the vegetable oils at issue here), they went on legal attack-dog attack.

And there is this: we do not now, and we will not ever, use or recommend FireClean. (Even though Andrew! says it’s good gun lube).

Not only will they lose their SLAPP suit, they, and their product, deserve to be sent to market Coventry. We’re talking nuclear Streisand Effect in the megaton range.

Their major malfunction seems to be that even though their goop is, by its spectra, generic canola oil, it’s really a blend of three vegetable oils, so you can’t call it vegetable oil. They’re also really PO’d that people (not Andrew, who has been adamant about this) are calling it Crisco. And indeed, it might not deserve such a comparison, because it’s unfair to Crisco. The FireClean oils are somewhat like Crisco, except probably not food-grade; you can cook in Crisco, and it might not be safe in FireClean.

It gets better. If you read the suit, you find out their blend of three magic rapeseed oils ingredients.

The suit (available here) is simply full of conclusory assertions and outright falsehoods. Here’s just one:

53. The suggestion that FIREClean is not suitable for military use is false.

Here’s what the US Army’s graphic maintenance publication, PS Magazine (Issue. 735, February 2014, inside front cover) says about using snake oil lubricants like FireClean:

army_on_unauthorized_lubricants

Which tells you all you need to know about how suitable FireClean is for military use. The assertion that FireClean is suitable for military use is false, according to the US Freaking Army, who apparently were not consulted by FireClean’s ambulance-chasers. The military people in charge of lubricants Just Say No (to FireClean and to many other snake oil formulations).

PS elaborates:

[I]f you think you can improve on what the TM instructs you to do, then you’re asking for trouble. For example, using … a different lubricant than what the TM lists, can leave you … not being able to fire at all because your rifle jammed.
Also, just because something has an NSN doesn’t mean it’s OK to use.

That tells you that the attorneys who wrote line 53 there, Bemara J. DiMuro, Bureau of Prisons Nº (oops, Virginia State Bar Nº, but the mistake is understandable, given that both numbers say the same thing about a person’s character) 18784, and Stacey Rose Harris BOP VSB Nº 65887, aren’t shy about just making facts up and lying to advance their lawsuit.

Well, what do you expect? They’re lawyers, not people.

What to Do

  • Gun owners, do not buy FireClean.
  • If you bought it, return it and demand a refund. If they refuse a refund, complain to the BBB and your state Attorney General or other consumer authority. They want to play with lawyers, let them.
  • Range owners and stocking FFLs, stock other products instead. Return any FireClean to your distributor and demand a refund. After all, even if the company didn’t deserve the Market Death Penalty™ for this, it’s not like you’re going to be able to sell the stuff now.
  • Most of all, support Andrew’s legal defense. We donated, but it looks to us like fundraising has stalled out and he can use some more lettuce to feed his lawyers.

If they want to know why you’re returning it, tell them you thought it was Crisco. But now that you know this product with uncannily similar spectrum to Crisco rapeseed oil is not Crisco, you don’t want it; you want your money back. Because it’s not Crisco, right?

It’s snake oil.

More Retro/Vintage ARs, This Time from Troy

A routine email from TFB reminded us that Colt’s Retro ARs are not unique after all, but that since this year’s SHOT Show, Troy has been promoting retro ARs. At SHOT they introduced a retro GAU-5A/A, and at the NRA show, an XM177E2.

They are promoting these rifles at the cleverly selected URL, myservicerifle.com. And they’re sensibly priced ($1,200-1,300 MSRP).

Here’s the GAU. A great deal of attention to detail has been applied here. It’s the right color grey.

GAU_5AA_rightThe lower receiver is contoured correctly for the A1-era CAR-15, and has almost exact rollmarks, until you look closely. It even has the “pin” for the auto sear — actually, just an engraved marking. GAU_5AA_right_rearThe pistol grip is an original surplus part — the only one. The barrel is about an inch longer than an original, and the profile of the false “moderator” — which is pinned and welded to make the barrel an ATF-legal 16″ — is a little bit off, but this is the closest any manufactured gun has gotten. Note that the bayonet lug has been milled off (this is correct to the originals).GAU_5AA_left

Care has been taken with the 2-position (period correct) stock. It is made of aluminum and then coated (probably not with the original vinyl acetate dip… that would be asking for OSHA to come a-viking to one’s factory). GAU_5AA_left_extTroy has not forgotten people who dwell within the Moonbat Curtain. You can also get one with the stock pinned in place and with the magazines gelded, and you can even go Full Harem Guard with a California-Legal (at the moment) Bullet Button. And each GAU (and the XM177s as well) comes with a package of accessories.

GAU_Included_accessories

And let’s have a look at the XM177E2.

As you can see, it comes with all the same features and accessories as its Air Force / Son Tay brother, down to the “strap, utility” sling improvised with 550 cord loops….

XM-177E2_leftBut looking at the other side, we see the difference between the GAU and the XM, the yin of the Air Force and the yang of the Army — the forward assist, an Army-peculiar feature, originally. XM-177E2_rightHere’s the forward assist in close-up. Note how accurately they got the part colors, the lower receiver contour, and the dead-on look-and-feel of the stock.

XM-177E2 forward assistIt can’t turn you into Dick Meadows, but it can damn well give you his sight picture:

XM-177E2 sights

Here’s sthe stock with the field improvised sling.XM-177E2 stock

And here’s the other end of the sling showing how it’s attached., as well as the period-correct .625″ barrel OD. XM-177E2 FSB and slingThe moderator looks almost perfectly right.XM-177E2 false moderatorThis selector switch photo shows the false selector markings and the little fake-auto-sear “pin”. XM177E2_SCAR-XM11-14YT-00-autoMarkings-1-1024x512They’re also available with limited-custom, tasteful, laser personalization.

XM-177E2 custom laser engraved

They also include such things as copies of inspectors’ paint marks.

The Charity Angle

But wait! there’s more. For every one of these retro blasters Troy sells, they’re going to make a contribution to an appropriate charity. For instance, the GAU supports the National Leage of Families; the XM177E2 supports — what else? — the Special Forces Association and the Special Operations Association. The SFA is the regimental association of the SF Regiment, and the SOA restricts full membership to veterans of behind-the-lines or cross-border units and

We’re life members of both SOA and SFA, and yet we never heard of these things before so we’re extremely glad we picked up Nathaniel F’s report thanks to the TFB email.

Retro Rejoice: Colt to Reissue “Collector’s Edition” M16, XM177E2

Retro heads, rejoice: You have nothing to lose but your slavish obsession with parts gathering. Because Colt, the original maker of historic firearms like the M16A1 (Colt Model 603) and XM177E2 (Model 639), has something new in the works: the Model 603. The 639. The 602. Maybe even the 601, the 605, the 608, and all those other rarities. Here’s the first two of what is promised to be a line:

colt_retro_guns

We learned this in an excited email from Shawn of LooseRounds.com this weekend, as he shared what Colt spokesmen have told him. (And the photo, a detail of which you see above). He has two posts:

Taken together, they cover most of what Colt has let out about the new vintage reissues. Here’s our distillation of it:

  1. The showing at the NRA Annual Meeting was just a tease, the “real” product intro will come at next January’s SHOT Show.
  2. Colt will make a short run, maybe as few as 1,000 pieces, of two models of these rifles every year for the next 10 years.
  3. Colt will make every effort to accurately produce the weapons as they were produced, except,
  4. They’re all going to be Title 1 firearms — no NFA weapons.
  5. The first two up are believed to be the M16A1 and XM177E2, the two key weapons of the Vietnam War.

Personally, we think this is brilliant. Guitar makers have done it for decades — we believe the first to get on the Vintage craze was Rickenbacker, whose use by the Vietnam War’s contemporaries like the Beatles and the Byrds made them a natural for vintage reissues (but it might have been Fender). Naturally other makers like Gibson and acoustic-guitar specialist Martin joined in. Soon the drum brands followed suit, and the amplifier makers, and by the time the Beatles Anthology was released in the mid-90s, a Ringo, John, Paul, or George wannabe could equip himself with everything but the talent by swiping his credit card at Manny’s or George Gruhn’s. For the guitar makers, this opened up an entire new market — aged-out rockers who had never given up their desire to sound like, say, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, could at least buy a ringer for his 12-string. Unlike today’s starving musician, the aged out former-starving-musician-of-the-70s now has the disposable income to buy the guitar he couldn’t in his Ramen Noodles days.

Your humble blogger may resemble that fictional aged-out rocker, with vintage reissues from Fender, Gibson, and Gibson’s budget brand Epiphone sharing guitar racks with real vintage instruments. (Some of which were merely “old” when put away, but emerged from storage “vintage,” like Schrödinger’s Guitar or something).

It’s not hard to conceive Colt’s marketing move as a parallel to what the guitar makers are doing. Yes, they’re still trying to reach today’s guy but they also want the dollars of the guy inspired by yesterday’s heroes. Colt, like Rickenbacker, ought to be able to survive as a nostalgia, vintage brand, but they are hoping, perhaps, to be more like Gibson — something for everybody, including the free-spending nostalgia buff.

Colt’s representatives promise attention to detail. Another photo Shawn has shows a rep holding an unfinished aluminum buttstock, as all Vietnam “submachine guns” bore (albeit coated by being dipped in vinyl acetate — it will be interesting to see how Colt handles this).  Colt has done something very similar, already, with the Colt 1903 pocket pistol; Colt also, now, stocks parts for the pistol that work in the new reissue and the originals.

We don’t know what this new Colt line is going to be called: Historic, Vintage, Reissue, Retro, or some combination, or maybe something with the model year (M16A1 Vintage ’66?) or a famous fight or hero (“Dick Meadows CAR-15”?). And that shows other paths that open up for Colt now:

  1. They can constantly tweak and reissue the reissues (Fender does this with guitars); or,
  2. They can support a two-tiered market with a standard mass-produced vintage reissue on the entry tier and perfect replicas of a specific firearm at higher tiers. But wait! They can also:
  3. Use the parts engineered for the retro clones to make new and interesting takes on modern AR15s. They could even support mass customization / personalization. The sky’s the limit.

If we have a squawk with Colt’s plans it’s the low production numbers they envision — perhaps as few as 1000 rifles of each model. That more or less ensures that they go direct to the kind of collectors that will keep them new in the box in a climate controlled vault in a salt mine somewhere deep beneath the lair of Dr. Evil.

Because we’re totally going to buy one. Of each.

Do go to Loose Rounds and read Shawn’s two posts if you’re interested in these guns.