Brownells Will Be the Ruin of Me

I spent a good deal of time last night playing with their AR builder, and I have to say, it’s a great idea.  Brownells should really take time to make a better web site too, which has been one of the reasons I’m not a more loyal customer.  MidwayUSA’s web site is just a lot easier to use, and more useful.  Nonetheless, Brownells will end up getting some of my money for this, maybe a lot of my money.  Here’s what I configured last night:

Dream AR

You can click to get a bigger picture. This assumes I can either buy through an FFL, or make my own AR-15 Lower Receiver. I didn’t include that in the price, though I put a lower on there just to make it look OK. It’s not included in the price tally. My only complaint about the configurator, other than the fact that it will quickly drain my wallet, is that when choosing a barrel band for the front sight, it won’t put itself in the right spot, and I think the picture showing on there is upside down. I also wish you had links in the inventory list, so you could easily review your list to make sure you know what you are getting. Other than that, this is a highly innovative idea on the part of Brownells, and I have to commend them for it.

AR-15 Builder

Via SayUncle, is look as if Brownells is looking to cash in on the built-it-yourself market.  There’s even an option for building your own from a partially completed lower.  I consider it your patriotic duty as a concerned American to learn how to build your own lowers.  If the new administration has designs on outlawing certain semi-automatic rifles, or outlawing private sales, we owe it to future generations to create as many off-paper guns as possible.

It is lawful to build your own rifle for your own use, you just can’t build it for commercial gain (i.e. you can’t build it sell it, that requires an FFL).  So make yourself an AR, AK or two.  You’ll learn something, and create something you can pass on to the kids.

Importance of Cleaning

JR reminds everyone of the importance of cleaning your rifle after firing corrosively primed ammunition.   I can personally attest to this.  I bought some corrosive 5.45×39 before I realized it was corrosive.   I found out the hard way.  Didn’t take long either.   Fortunatly, no lasting damage, but yeah — corrosive ammo is nasty stuff if you don’t clean.

Fun Malfunctions with a Bersa Thunder .380

My understanding is that one of the common failure modes in the otherwise pretty reliable Bersa Thunder .380 is the disconnector spring breaking.  This happened to me when I was on the range one time, and after I got back, I tore the gun apart and stored the parts at the bottom of the safe for 6 years.  I didn’t feel like I could trust it for carry anymore.

When the disconnector spring breaks, there’s nothing to force the disconnector up to engage the hammer release, and the pistol behaves as if the magazine is out.  It’s one more reason why extraneous safeties don’t belong on a carry gun.  But have no fear Bersa carriers, I have found a means for getting around this particular failure:


So you know what this means right?  Now you have to practice shooting sideways.  When someone at the range gives you the evil eye because he thinks you’re fooling around shooting gansta style, you can explain to him that you’re practicing a failure drill.

UPDATE: Tam notes that this is technically an “immediate action” or “malf” drill :)

Obnoxious Reloads

The Arizona Rifleman talks about problematic reloads, namely loads made from demiled components.   You see, the United States government is forbidden from surplussing ammunition these days, thanks to our last gun hating Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton.  But it’s not illegal to dismantle surplus into their components and sell those.  I’ve been using such lake city brass for a while now.  You have to be careful, because as he mentions, the components can get damaged or deformed as they are demiled.

UPDATE: Fixed the link.  But the article on Depression Porn by Virginia Postrel was pretty good.

The Safe & The Contraption

Finally got the safe delivered on Wednesday.  Bought it at The Sportsmen’s Center over in New Jersey, which is the closest Liberty Safe Dealer to my house.  It’s a Franklin 35, with brass hardware.  Picked it up for $1799, and they delivered it for $225.

I also got the progressive press a reader sent me all set up and running, which I have nicknamed “The Contraption” because of its mechanical complexity.  It took a good bit of work, and a few botched reloads to get everything set up correctly.  It’s a Lee Pro 1000.  It took a bit of tinkering and finagling to get it to work.  Mainly the primer system didn’t want to feed reliably.  That problem was solved by applying car wax to the feed ramp to slippery it up a bit.  That seems to have done the trick.  You still have to watch the tray like a hawk though, because if it’s not full, it won’t feed. Did a small run of about 50 .44 Special cases through, went to the range and shot them all, and will reload again.  It seems to work fine once you get it set up, clean the feed ramp, and know what to watch out for.

Safe Purchased

I have purchased a gun safe, with delivery scheduled for tomorrow.  It is a Liberty Franklin 35 in black marble finish.  I got a pretty good price on it.  I have a fair amount of work to do to prepare for its arrival.  I’m hoping that a quality safe will keep my guns safe from theft and fire, but equally important will help deal with the problem of moisture rusting my guns.

The Four Rules

SayUncle had a negligent discharge of his Walther P22 over the weekend, but because the four rules were being followed, no one was hurt.  One thing I need to get, and I would say anyone who handles firearms a lot needs to get, is a clearing barrel.  Every time you load a gun, there is a small chance that the round could slamfire, either from a problem with the gun, a misseated primer, or what have you.  There’s also the chance of human error.  A clearing barrel makes sure no one gets hurt, and you don’t end up having a hole of shame in your floorboards.  It’s one of those things that over time, statistics will catch up with you, as they did with Uncle, so it’s best to be prepared.