Saturday, March 17, 2018

Video - More home-made steel AR15 lowers

Saw these on YouTube by user bryan fox.  Homemade AR15 lower receivers made of thin sheet metal, unlike The Flat Spot's lower kits which are relatively thick (not that there's anything wrong with that - The Flat Spot's ar15 receivers are nicely made).

The first video shows that one of the receivers was assembled using screws and silver solder, for those who can't weld.  The screws were cut flush with a grinder.

The second video sheds a bit more detail on the construction.  The buffer tower was assembled via wrapped sheet metal around a buffer tube castle nut and presumably soldered or welded in place.  Seems a bit more complex and time-consuming than my proposed steel lower ideas because I think hammer forming sheet metal takes a lot of trial and error and guesswork - however, I do think that this thin sheet metal method does look more refined and less 'chaotic' than my Home Depot lower.

I'd like to try something like this eventually, and when I do I will report my findings.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Video - An affordable bulletproof shield

When ever I saw footage of the house-to-house raiding in Iraq on the telly, I always thought it would be useful to bring some type of personal bullet proof shield.  Around the time of the Battle of Fallujah (The first one and the expansion pack), commercial bullet-proof shields costed about $2000-$3000 - or about three times the amount an enlisted boot made per month in 2004.  Today, they still cost upwards of $3500.

The one in the video below is the Hardcore Defense Alpha Shield available for $300, available in either left or right hand and rated for up to IIIa which means it will stop most pistol rounds up to 44 magnum.  It's made of a hardened steel similar to AR500 plates.  The Demolition Ranch video demonstrates that it's capable of stopping a little bit more than that, although I would have liked to have seen 7.62 Tokarev, 7.62x39, 5.56 Nato and other rounds used by our enemies.  Pretty sure .308 and 7.62x54 would blow right through it though.

Interesting commentary on getting struck by
bullets with the shield equipped.
I know that personal weapons aren't typically allowed by regular troops, but I don't see why a personal shield would be disallowed, other than being too big, cumbersome and probably blocking the user's field of vision somewhat.  Some modifications i'd like to see made to this would be to make a smaller version of this.  Maybe one with straps that can be worn on the back like a backpack, kind of like Captain America, I guess.  Also make it wrist-mounted and make it so you can use a rifle with it.  Oh yeah, add some molle loops - because you can never find a molle loop when you're mad.  Aditionally, the reason for the molle is that if you're gonna wear it like a backpack, you might as well carry gear in it and honestly - you'll probably look like a mall-ninja idiot carrying a shield around.  The molle and straps would be to disguise it as a backpack.
Strike Industries almost makes something that matches my description - The SI Simple Plate Carrier.  It was $40 when I bought it on Amazon but now it's $135 - and it doesn't even come with a plate.  Those lousy cunts.  Using it as a shield is dumb - the shield handle is quite flimsy and I'd be pissed if I spent $135 + shipping on this garbage.  I pretty much use mine for toting my tablet or small laptop to Starbucks.

Enjoy some pictures of bullet proof shields that I found on the web via Google.
Ballistic mat.  I guess someone somewhere has a use for it.
Tactical frogs with shield.
Hong Kong police with shield.
Looks interesting.  I'd want one in metal.
Robo Level3 ballistic shield.
Remember bullet proof shields from Counterstrike?
They're back.  In pogue form.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Gaming - Trayvon Martin Simulator

Ayo, hol' up.  It seems in late December 2017, a game called One Dark Night was released on Steam for free.  As far as I can tell, this is not actually a game, but a recreation of the night Trayvon Martin was killed in a classic case of self defence (as proven in a court of law by a jury of citizens).
Produced exclusively from real recordings of 911 calls, witness trial testimony and architectural drawings that provide the exact layout of both interiors and exteriors of the condo complex, One Dark Night tells the story of the day teenager Travyon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

By anchoring the piece in accurate and unassailable elements, the user becomes transported inside a reliable, albeit virtual, version of the story as an eyewitness. One Dark Night breaks new ground on multiple levels, including through audio carefully cleaned by forensic specialists Sourcesound and Primeau Productions, with the latter asserting that the reconstructed audio indicates George Zimmerman cocked his gun just before he gave chase. 

I have not played it, nor do I plan to - it seems there's a lot of games on Steam that exist solely for shock value and/or some kind of artistic statement.  Judging from the game's description alone, there's a lot of speculating and assumptions that seem to favor Trayvon's side of the story.  At least the reviews are kind of funny.

Buffertube towers and the $2 receiver

Rants on the Flat AR Lower and Buffer Tube Interface Dilemma
Also – is a $2 lower receiver possible!? (The quick answer is yes, see halfway through post below)

Note: This article is more or less a continuation of my "Home-Depot" lower receiver series which can be chronicled here and here.  My interest in this project continuously waxes and wanes over time.  I wrote this back around June 2017 and added to it over a period of months so this article is kind of a disjointed mess, the links are a little old and the prices are not quite up-to-date.

An ideal starting point for a flat AR.
Concept by elmgrove1765
One of the problems faced with the non-milled AR lower (i.e. a lower made from metal flats, wood, or other laminates) is that no one specifically makes a threaded block to interface the buffertube to the receiver flats.  The Jack Squat Flat Lower requires a lathe to thread the buffer tower piece that comes with it, in addition to welding, so that alienates the typical garage builder who doesn't have access to a lathe or welder.  An AR15 buffer block (pictured at right) would be ideal for the home builder because you could just drill & tap the holes of the sideplate and screw it together.

Recently 80% lowers or even 100% lowers have come down as low as $25 in the past month.  So why would anyone need to cobble together a flat lower when you can get something solid for cheaper? Several reasons:
  • A cheap “throw-away” receiver can be smuggled inconspicuously in pieces and the upper sent through the mail (this would probably only make sense in the US/Canada since in most other countries the law considers that the barrel is the gun, not the receiver)
  • Rapid mass-production of lowers using cheap scrap or sheet metal in an underground, budget workshop
  • Milling out solid lower receivers on a drill press is vastly more time-consuming compared to drilling holes on precut pieces of thin metal sheets.
Stock adapters, left to right: Rifle Dynamics, KeepShooting,
Shockwave, and USMachineGun
 So here is quick rundown of threaded stock adapters for various other weapons where the user would want to use a collapsable M4 stock, but these also happen to work as buffertube towers (or buffer trunnion, if you want to call it that) for our flat lower.
  • Clamp-on, single point sling attachment adapter (requires two castle nuts).  Aluminum.  This is the cheapest solution at $3 for the adapter plus $1.80 for each castlenut, totalling $6.60 for the assembled unit.  This is used as an attachment for adding a sling to a buffertube.  It has a cup where it would slip over the castle nut, but as seen right, it can be modified and used to interface the flats to the buffertube.  The sling loops may need to be cut off, but I got away with leaving them intact.  I’ve actually rigged something even more ghetto (see further below) that doesn't require castlenuts or adapters, but this is the cheapest thing commercially available if you don't want to drill up a buffertube.
  • Another Clamp-on Sling Mount - $8.70, aluminum.  Comes with built-in sling mount that will need to be cut off.  Also requires a castlenut.  Seems better made than the one above, but I have not tested this out.
  • MAC-10 stock adapter of unknown origin - I like these - they’re steel, they’re thick and they’re $30.  I don’t know who makes them or how much KeepShooting has left in stock, but they look nice.  They have flat sides and with plenty of room to mount screws onto them.  KeepShooting has 15% off codes every couple of months during special holidays, so that's worth considering.
  • Shockwave Mighty Mount M11 adapter - $35, aluminum, and it has wide surface area for sideplate attachment options.  Might have to re-profile it to mate with the upper, or you could install it backwards.
  • AngryGunAirsoft SCAR adapter - $40, aluminum.  It’s for airsoft but it uses standard AR15 threads.  It’s a bit too long, length and height-wise, but it seems like it could be put to good use with the right modification.  A bit expensive for me to risk experimenting with dremelwork, but I like the wide surface area.  This could be the basis for some kind of takedown ar15 where the buffer assembly can slip on and off.
  • Midwest Industries Heavy Duty QD Sling Adapter - $50, aluminum.  Wide surface area and lots of metal.  Might need a buffer tube with lots of threaded space.  Have not bought or tested this.
  • RifleDynamics AK adapter - $65, aluminum.  No reason to buy this, but it’s there if you want it.  I don’t think there’s enough metal for my project’s intended use.  It's a really nicely made adapter for the AK.
  • USMachinegun M11 Adapter - $66, aluminum.  This is a bad price for what this is.  Even as an actual M11 stock adapter, it feels like something that was made in China and should be sold on ebay for 10 bucks.
  • photo by backbencher,
    Hera Arms CQR stock
  • Hera Arms CQR stock - $120, polymer.  I am definitely not spending 120 bucks on a throw-away receiver - but again the option is there if you’re into that, I guess.  This idea was from a fellow on the forums named backbencher who posted a picture of an AR15 FCG testing fixture connected to a buffertube via this stock, with an upper mounted to it.  He planned on putting a 5.7mm P90 upper on it, which would solve the problem trying to fit a STANAG magazine well.  This stock is interesting in that it could be useful for repairing AR lowers where the buffer tower has snapped off.
Finally, this is an even cheaper option than the $6.60 clamp-on sling adapter with castlenuts assembly that was first mentioned above.  Using the following method, the receiver doesn’t cost anything but the price of the metal you use.  I am not going to factor in the cost of a carbine buffertube since you would presumably be buying one anyways, however, it does require cosmetically permanent modification to the tube.  Carbine buffertube kits right now sell for less than $20 on ebay or Amazon.  Also check Chinese wholesale websites like DHgate where it’s currently 14 bucks for the kit - that is if you don't mind waiting a month for delivery.  Or you could just get the tube by itself which I've seen sell for 5 bucks at Copes Distributing once.

A six foot length of 1/8” x 1.25” aluminum costs about $6.00 from Tractor Supply, which you could make several lowers from.  Steel would be better, but I wanted to try aluminum first for ease of drilling and cutting.  You simply bolt on the long sideplates to the stock adjustment rail, and locate the holes for the front and rear takedown pins and FCG (I go in depth about aligning the tube with the upper and locating the holes on the sideplate in Home Depot lower part 2).

Step 1: Add the 1/8" x 1/2" aluminum bar to one side (I think it's half inch, might be 3/4").  Make sure it's long enough to accomodate the rear takedown hole.  It probably didn't need to extend all the way to the end like that but you probably will need to bend it later to keep it parallel with the upper.  You can use Cleco pins, small C-clamps, vise-grips, and locking pliers to hold everything in place until you screw it together.

Step 2: Use 0.990" to 0.999" dowel/rod to align the upper to the buffer tube.

Step 3: Close them together snug.

 Step 4: Check other side.  Make sure top edge of the metal bar is parallel with bottom edge of upper.  If not, you can bend the bar a little and screw it in place to the buffer tube.

Step 5: I used a short length of 1/4" tubing with a 1/8" hole to center the 1/8" drill bit.  From there you can use a 1/4" bit to widen the hole in the plate.

 Step 6:  I recommend using 1/16"  x 1.25" steel here to add rigidness and strength to the takedown holes OR 1/8" thick aluminum.  The photo shows 1/16" thick aluminum which was too thin and caused egging of the hammer holes (not shown).  It also serves as a place to drill the fire control group axis pins to.  Remember to keep it parallel to the upper.
  Step 7: There it is so far.  Repeat the process for the other side.  I think you can figure the rest from here.

I never got a chance to make a live-firing model, but I did make a proof-of-concept while I was on leave in May.  This was to see if I could create a stable platform to interface the buffertube to the upper.  To test alignment I installed the charging handle, bolt carrier group, spring and buffer.  With the rear takedown pin in place, the thing is solid.  You can pull the charging handle and feel the bolt-carrier ride smoothly in the buffer tube without any hiccups.

Another idea I had was to attach this to my partially complete Jack Squat Flat lower and just do away with the buffer piece that comes with it since I have no way of threading it.

Further reading:
The Home Depot Lower Part 1 - Video
The Home Depot Lower Part 2 - Instruction
Winter Soldier’s semi-auto, wood and metal lower - I drew some inspiration from here.
3d printed AR lower - 3d printable receiver in small sections, bolted together.  Perfect for small 3d printing machines, I would think.  If someone can produce the threaded buffer block and sell them to me that would be fantastic.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Video - IFC .410 shotshell Upper Receiver Unit (ARU)

I know, unboxing videos are pretty gay, however - I was short on time.  I found that when filming "unboxing videos" it's easier to put thoughts, ideas, closeups, videostills, clips, voiceovers, first impressions etc. in as few takes as possible and edit them in one go later on.

Also known as the International Firearms Corporation (IFC) .410 Shotshell ARU/ARUM Upper. AKA Iron Armi .410 Upper (according to CheaperThanDirt which is apparently run by morons and you should NOT buy from them because they're overpriced).  Also they claim it's made by ATI but it's not - more mis-information from these idiots at CheaperThanDirt.  Interestingly, ATI did import the SafirArms T-14 in 2010 which I believe is more or less the same upper.  The ATI Omni .410 magazines will not work in the IFC upper (have not actually tried this).

GunBlast review - Good look at the Safir ATI-T14 which I believe is the same upper.
CenterfireSystems - Available for sale here
GunsMidwest - Also available here.
International Firearms Corporation - Official Documentation

Friday, October 27, 2017

Demilled SKS Project: A Ghetto Restoration (part 1)

Went to the “Crossroads of the West” gun show here a few weeks ago.  It was about less than an hour drive from Camp Pendleton.  I spent a few hours combing through the of aisles of typically over-priced gunshow weaponry, beef jerky, military surplus, and nazi memorabilia, but it was all kind of like a bizzaro universe where everything was dumbed down because of California gun laws.  Didn’t find anything interesting, except this scrapped SKS that was chopped in half at the receiver, leaving the area where the bolt engages the locking lug perfectly intact.  Is this demilled to ATF specifications?  Who can say anymore, really.  Over the years the ATF changed the rules several times with regard to how to properly demill a rifle to scrap (most of which only actually applies to imports of military weapons).
Crossroads of the West
There’s no telling that this is 100% demilled properly.  If I knew for sure, I would scrub that serial off and turn this into a pistol.  But for all I know, this is probably still technically and legally a firearm.  In that case I should have gotten a background check on it, however, as a native Texan I felt that I am exempt from such Californian non-sense (in my opinion).
The demilled SKS barreled action.
But now more questions are raised - Why was this chopped in half in the first place?  Is it a police confiscation?  Perhaps it was demilled for safety reasons?  The metal seems good and it has import stamps.  The only reasonable way to find out if it will blow up in my face is to restore it and shoot it!
So in order to err on the side of caution (NFA-wise), I’m just going to keep this in rifle configuration. I didn’t bring welding equipment with me, so my plan is to rig this back together using metal plate stock and good ol’ Chinese 10-32 tpi screws.  Also for additional strength and rigidity, it will use a steel Choate siderail mount attached via more screws.

Choate mount on an SKS action (not my photo).
A crude mock-up composite of the first two SKS photos.  The
 red represents my steel plate and the green dots are the
location of the screws.

...TO BE CONTINUED!  Probably after Christmas when ship exercises have slowed down for a brief time.  Also there is now a site index listing my projects in progress (such as this one) and projects to come.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Swing-out action, single barrel shotgun

Saw this auction for an odd .410" shotgun barrel on ebay.  It didn't have a hinge point like usual single-shot, break-open weapons, so I was tempted to buy it because of how unusual it is, but I don't really have the time for another project.

The barrel is from a Firearms International model Garcia Bronco, .410".  Sometimes these skeletonized weapons were known as "bicycle guns," because they could be folded up and stored underneath a bicycle's frame.  The barrel rotates like a modern swing-out revolver.  The barrel appears to be held in place to the rotating sleeve assembly by two pins, but there must be more to it than that?  Perhaps it's pressed in or threaded in?  One flaw I could possibly see in this rotating action is that everything seems to be hanging on a relatively thin solid rod which is also used as the axis of rotation - what would happen if that bent?
It's not really as rare as I had thought because people are finding this thing in pawn shops for less than $100.  The simplicity of the action makes this seem like it would be easy to replicate with simple tools.  Gun Parts Corp is also selling parts for the combo gun.  Chiefly, the barrel sleeve and breach block are relevant to my interests.