Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Get a Grip on Your Ruger 22/45 With Majestic Arms American Walnut Grips

Majestic Arms may be best known for their SPEED STRIP Kit for Ruger Mark Series pistols, but that's only one of many products they offer for rimfire firearms.  Majestic Arms was a Sponsor of the 2015 NSSF Rimfire Challenge shoots this year, and I happened to snag a pair of their American Walnut grips for my Ruger 22/45 pistol when it was my turn to hit the World Championship prize table last October.  Having recently installed the grips, I love the way they feel so I thought I would let you know a bit more about the grips.

The current trend in Rimfire Challenge competition appears to be heading to the line with the lightest pistol possible.  I traded blued steel for black polymer myself this season with mixed results. The thin grip panels on the 22/45 are great if you have small hands, but I always felt like I had more hand than grip surface to hang onto.  I was thinking I may trade out my thin G10 grips for a boring and soulless rubber wraparound grip when these beautiful walnut thumbrest grips found their way to me.

If you are worried about the wider grips adding weight to your pistol, you don't need to be. The Hogue G10 grip scales I removed from my 22/25 weigh exactly 40 grams or 1.4 ounces.  The Majestic walnut replacements weigh an identical 40 grams.  The same grip screws are used with both sets of grips so no weight change there.

For me, these grips greatly improved the feel of my 22/45.  It comes up to eye level more naturally with these grips than it did previously.  I can also get a the heel of my left hand on the grip now when I couldn't with my previous grips.  The photo below illustrates where the new grips add width to the grip versus what I had previously installed.  The change is pretty dramatic.

My 22/45 has the TandemKross "KaneWolf" Slingshot bolt release and Extended Magazine Release installed.  The new grips don't interfere with these controls in any way.  The Extended Magazine Release is actually beneficial for use with these grips as the thumb is positioned away from the magazine release.  The standard magazine release may be too short to actuate without shifting your grip when using these thumbrest grips.

Majestic Arms American Walnut Grips for Ruger Mark III 22/45 RP Pistols can be ordered directly from Majestic through their website.  If you aren't a right-handed shooter, Majestic offers similar grips that are ambidextrous.  They also have similar grip sets available for Ruger Mark II and III pistols.  The current price is $49.95.  If you are struggling to get a grip on your Ruger 22/45 like I was, the American Walnut replacement grips from Majestic Arms might be the solution you are looking for.

The left grip provides plenty of clearance for all controls.
The right grip features full checkering.  Checkering quality is what
 you would expect from a $50 set of grips.
It may look odd, but it feels amazing in my hands.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

ATI Gunstocks Ruger Charger AR-22 Stock System Review

ATI Ruger Charger AR-22 Stock System

AR-22 Tactlite Stock System for Ruger 10/22

Ruger Charger Stainless in stock
The Ruger Charger Pistol is essentially a 10/22 rifle that has been modified into a handgun.  I like the concept and previously reviewed the Charger Takedown model on another blog.  You can find that review HERE if you wish to know more about the Charger.

Just like the Ruger 10/22 rifle, the Charger
handgun can be modified with a dizzying array of factory and aftermarket accessories.  This review focuses on the Ruger Charger AR-22 Stock System from ATI.

ATI Ruger Charger AR-22 Stock System
installed.  Optic, magazine, 
and Charger
pistol are not included.
Taking a similar path as Ruger did with the development of the Charger Pistol, ATI downsized their AR-22 Tactlite Stock System for Ruger 10/22 rifle to fit the shorter Charger pistol.  The Charger AR-22 kit can be easily user installed with a few simple tools and has a retail price of $119.99.

The ATI Charger AR-22 Stock System contains aluminum and polymer stock  components as well as all the necessary hardware to install the stock on your Charger pistol.  The ATI Product installation guide, included with the kit, provides excellent step by step directions that are illustrated with large pictures.  Taking my time to follow the directions word for word, the total installation time was under 20 minutes.

One important note that I wanted to mention because it may not be visible in the pictures. All factory controls on the Ruger trigger guard assembly function exactly the same as they do with the factory stock.  The safety, magazine release, and bolt lock are all easily accessible with the polymer chassis in place.

The kit contains a T2 Style Pistol Grip, AR-15 replicate polymer chassis, 6 sided aluminum forend, FS8 Nosecone, 16 inch Picatinny style top rail, and attachment hardware pretreated with tread locking compound.
The Talon T2 style pistol grip made a huge improvement in feel over the stock pistol grip.
The two piece polymer chassis securely cradles the 10/22 receiver with no wiggle or slop.
The 6-sided aluminum carbine length forend is free floating so installation of the FS8 nose cone is optional.
The only installation tip I can add is to make sure the FS8 nose cone is secure before installing the 16 inch picatinny top rail.  The set screw that anchors the nose cone to the aluminum forend is covered when the picatinny rail is installed.  If it isn't tight the nose cone may shift during recoil and require removing the top rail to gain access to the nose cone set screw.  Learn from my mistake.

At the range, I function fired the AR-22 Pistol Stock equipped Charger with factory Ruger 10, 15, and 25 round magazines.  The 15 and 25 round magazines were easy to use and manipulate.  The 10 round magazines required a little more work due to the longer magazine well, but once in place they also functioned fine.  For those looking for a unique look for their Charger, the ATI stock kit certainly fits that requirement without introducing any function or reliability issues.

I like the full-length 16 inch picatinny rail.  This stock will allow me install aftermarket target iron sights for long range precision shooting.  If I want to shoot with a scope, there is plenty of room to attach one between the iron sights using quick detach picatinny scope rings.  The stock opens up many options not available when using the factory stock and scope rail.  

The polymer chassis includes AR styling cues like mock forward assist, brass deflector, magazine release, and safety lever.
The ATI Ruger Charger AR-22 Pistol Stock System only fits the standard Ruger Charger.  It will not fit the Charger Takedown model.  Additional picatinny rail segments for the 6-sided forend can be ordered directly from the ATI web store.  At time of publication, ATI has a 35% off promotion running that brings the price of the Charger AR-22 Pistol Stock System down to $77.99.  If you have an interest in the stock, now would be a great time to buy.  The promotional code is available on the ATI home page.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Competition Shooter Profile - Aimee Williams

Photo by Jake Wyman
Name:  Aimee Williams
Home State:  Idaho
Years Shooting:  4
Years Competing:  3
Competition Types:  Rimfire Challenge, Steel Challenge, USPSA

Notable Awards and Competition Placements:
2013 10th place Lady’s Division - Ruger Rimfire Challenge, Parma Rod and Gun Club, Parma, Idaho. Competitors 136.
2014 1st place Lady’s Open Division, 2nd place Overall - Shoot for a Cure, (proceeds go to breast cancer screening for underinsured and uninsured women), Nampa Rod and Gun Club, Nampa, Idaho. Competitors 168.
2014 4th place Lady’s Open Division, 35th Overall - Idaho NSSF Rimfire Challenge, Parma Rod and Gun Club, Parma, Idaho. Competitors 136.
2015 1st place Lady’s Division, 28th Overall – NSSF Rimfire Challenge Northwest Championship, Parma Rod and Gun Club, Parma, Idaho. Competitors 168.
2015 1st place Lady’s Rifle Open Division – Season Points Race Idaho Steel Challenge, Nampa Rod and Gun Club, Nampa, Idaho. Competitors 386.
2015 1st place Lady’s Pistol Open Division – Season Points Race Idaho Steel Challenge, Nampa Rod and Gun Club, Nampa, Idaho. Competitors 386.
2015 4th place Lady’s Open Division, 48th Overall – NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship, Old Fort Gun Club, Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Competitors 202.

Photo by Ron Stricklin
NSSF Rimfire Challenge Class Preference:  Open
Gear Rundown:
Pistol – Ruger 22/45 Lite Frame with a Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite 4.5” Threaded Barrel
Allchin Pac-Lite Compensator
Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite Ruger Intergal Scope Base
Tandemkross “Eagle’s Talon” Extractor
Tandemkross Extended Magazine Release
Tandemkross “Firer Starter” Titanium Firing Pin
Tandemkross “Kanewolf” Sling Shot Part Kit
Tandemkross Magazine Disconnect Bushing
Volquartsen  Accurizing Kit
Vortex Optics Red Dot 6MOA

Photo by Ron Stricklin
Rifle – Tactical Solutions X-Ring with Vantage RS Stock
Allchin 22 Rim-Fire Rifle Compensator
Vortex Optics Red Dot 6MOA

Ammunition Preference: CCI Standard Velocity

Tactical Solutions, Vortex Optics, Tandemkross, Larry’s Sporting Goods, and Allchin Gun Parts

Photo by Oleg Volk
Please describe yourself in 200 words or less.
I grew up in Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho where I have resided since 1982.  My grandparents had a 40 acre farm in Nampa where I spent much of my time.  I grew up an only child and believed that whatever I took on I would give it my all and strive to be the best I could be. I studied at BSU where I earned my BBA in CIS.  I got married and had twin boys, who have grown into amazing young adults.  Working full time at a local hospital and raising twins as a single mother didn't allow much, if any free time.  I'm not complaining, I loved participating at my boys' school and attending their school functions as well as hanging out with them and planning varied experiences with them.  I believe in giving anything I do my all and strive to become the best I can be.

Do you enjoy any other hobbies?
I love spending time with my kids and their friends. I love spending time with my friends and my dog. I enjoy taking photos and traveling.

How did you get started competing in Rimfire Challenge?
It wasn't until I got married and my then husband took me out to do a little bit of target shooting and took me on a few hunting trips.  I still didn't really feel compelled to do more shooting and certainly not on my own.  Time went on and I became a single mother of twin boys who, without consent, became independent young teenagers.  Their father took them shooting and hunting and my boys really wanted to share their enjoyment of shooting with me.  In 2012 my boys took me shooting for Mother's Day!  They were very excited and hopeful I would love shooting.  I was more concerned with being safe and felt a little unsure as they lead me through target shooting.  That was the beginning.  I found a local indoor gun range and set up time for myself to learn to be safe and decided I loved shooting.

In the spring of 2013, I started competing at local Steel Challenge Matches.  I shot my first year of Steel Challenge with that pistol and still have it as the serial numbers coordinate with my son’s birthdate.  That fall I wanted to shoot in the Ruger Rimfire Challenge in Parma, Idaho.  Since I only owed a pistol, the same indoor gun range built a 10/22 rifle for me to compete in that match.  After shooting the Rimfire Challenge I was hooked and wanted to learn how to shoot a rifle.

Photo by Nelson Dymond
Any advice you would like to give to new competitors just starting out with Rimfire Challenge?
Make sure that your rifle stock fits you properly and that you have good equipment. Make sure that your guns like the ammo that you purchase. Decide if you want to shoot Open or Limited and buy equipment accordingly. Ask a lot of question. Have Fun.

How do you practice and prepare for competitions?
Practice every week and sometime several times a week; decide what you are going to practice before you get to the range.

What do you enjoy most about NSSF Rimfire Challenge competition?
I am able to shoot two guns, the camaraderie, the feeling that I have a “shooting family”.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize?
I would like to thank my boys for believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dreams and having confidence in my abilities.  Justin especially encouraged me from the beginning even before I knew I even had any talent shooting.  My dear friend Cindy has been a constant support during my indoor practice sessions.  My fiancĂ© Jim’s support means the world to me.  His knowledge of guns and assistance in getting my equipment and being by my side as my gunsmith is incredible.  Mike for helping me get one of my first sponsorships.  I would especially like to thank Ron Stricklin, who is not only my mentor and coach; he has become a dear friend.  Everyone that is supportive of me and believes in me.

I would also like to thank my sponsors: Tactical Solutions, Chet Alvord; Tandemkross, Bryan Haaker and Jake Wyman; Vortex Optics; Larry’s Sporting Goods; Allchin Gun Parts, John Allchin.

If you would like to know more about Aimee and follow her competition updates, you can find her Facebook Page at Aimee Williams – Competitive Shooter

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ruger Announces the SR22 4.5 Inch

New from Ruger is the SR22 with extended slide and barrel.  The original SR22 has been extended by a full inch while maintaining all the original design elements that have made the SR22 very popular with the rimfire enthusiast.

The longer sight radius and forward shift of balance point should make this new model even more desirable to the serious plinker and competitive shooter.

The new pistol specifications are listed below.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

22 WMR Tests | CCI Maxi-Mag and Maxi-Mag +V

If you are new to 22 WMR, I'll try to eliminate some potential confusion that I experienced when I expanded my rimfire horizons beyond 22 Long Rifle.  The 22 WMR name is ammo shorthand for .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire.  You may also see the same cartridge called 22 Mag, 22 Magnum, 22 Win Mag, or some other variation that doesn't pop into my head right at this moment.  Regardless of the name, the 22 WMR is a wicked rimfire round that delivers exceptional terminal performance for hunting small game and varmints at ranges to 100 yards and beyond.

The CCI catalog lists six 22 WMR loads classified as varmint loads.  The main difference between a varmint and small game load is what happens to the bullet when it strikes the intended target.  Varmint bullets are designed to expand violently, fragment, and dump their kinetic energy into the target as quickly as possible.  Sometimes with explosive results.  Small game bullets are designed for limited expansion to minimize damage to the meat of the game animal, while penetrating deeply for a humane harvest.

It is possible to use varmint loads for small game hunting, just as it's physically possible to hunt ducks with a 30-30, but you may not like the condition of your quarry when you retrieve it.  You will be much better off using a small game load on a varmint, than using a varmint load on small game.  CCI simplifies the ammunition selection process a bit by classifying the Maxi-Max as suitable for varmint and small game.    

These two CCI 22 WMR loads are, in my opinion, those you will most likely find available if you buy your ammunition at a large national retail chain.  For this reason, I thought it best to start my 22 WMR testing with these loads.  Initially, I planned to report on each load individually.  After running the tests, I changed my mind because these two loads perfectly illustrated the terminal performance differences between small game and varmint loads.  

Test Protocol
5 test shots for accuracy and velocity.  Measured at 40 yards.

Multiple test shots into a block of Clear Ballistics gel placed 40 yards down range. Test shot velocity is measured at the gel block.

Recovered bullets are weighed and measured with averages recorded in the data sheet below.

Test Videos
Direct Link to Video on YouTube

Direct Link to Video on YouTube

Data Sheet

Click on Data Sheet for a larger image
40 yard accuracy was a bit over half an inch for both loads. 
Test Recap
Velocity - both loads ran slightly faster than the specification from CCI.  Our velocity measured at 40 yards was almost as fast as the 25 yard velocity published by CCI.
Maxi-Mag average velocity 1643 fps
Maxi-Mag +V average velocity 1962 fps

Accuracy - both loads were reasonably accurate in the test rifle.  While a full 50 yard test would have been better, the range was too muddy beyond the 40 yard line on test day. With the rifle zeroed for the Maxi-Mag, it was interesting to see the point of impact change by 3/4 of an inch with the lighter Maxi-Mag +V.
Maxi-Mag 5 shot group size .608"
Maxi-Mag +V 5 shot group size .629"  

Retained Weight - The Maxi-Mag +V travels faster because it is 10 grains lighter than the Maxi-Mag. Both bullets demonstrated significant fragmentation, which is to be expected with a varmint bullet. As you look at the recovered bullets the Maxi-Mags are perfectly formed mushrooms and the Maxi-Mag +V bullets have completely turned themselves inside out.
Maxi-Mag average retained weight 31.6 grains  79% weight retention.
Maxi-Mag +V average retained weight 18.7 grains  62% weight retention.

Penetration - If there was a surprise hidden in this test, it was the large variation in penetration between the two loads.  The average penetration of the Maxi-Mag was more than double that of the Maxi-Mag +V.  On the surface it would be easy to explain away the difference by looking at the expanded diameter differences between the two loads, but that's only part of the reason.  The sectional density differences between the two bullets also played a part in the penetration variation.  If you want to get your ballistics geek on, here's a great primer on sectional density from Chuck Hawks.  Substitute Gel Block for Game Animals, and you will see that the article applies quite well to this test.
Maxi-Mag average penetration 15.3 inches.
Maxi-Mag +V average penetration 6.89 inches.

Expansion - The Maxi-Mag +V bullets didn't just expand.  They blew up and turned themselves inside out.  The recovered bullets are flat discs of lead clinging to a sheet of copper bullet jacket.  The Maxi-Mag bullets have a traditional bullet profile with a bullet shank capped by a flattened and expanded nose.
Maxi-Mag average expansion .328 inches.
Maxi-Mag +V average expansion .396 inches.

In a perfect world, both of these loads would be readily available and you could keep a supply of each on hand for whatever type of hunting you were planning on doing.  If I had to pick one load, due to current ammunition availability issues, I would be totally satisfied with the Maxi-Mag for small game hunting and varmint hunting/control.  In this test it was slightly more accurate, expanded well, and penetrated to a sufficient depth for small game hunting.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Competition Shooter Profile - Brian Lawson

Photo by Oleg Volk
Name:  Brian Lawson
Home State:  Washington
Years Shooting:  22
Years Competing:  3
Competition Types:  Rimfire Challenge, Speed Steel, Trap, IDPA

Notable Awards and Competition Placements:
21st Overall 2015 Rimfire Challenge World Championship
4th Overall 2015 Pacific Northwest Speed Championship
15th Overall 2015 NSSF Idaho Rimfire Challenge NW Championship

NSSF Rimfire Challenge Class Preference:  OPEN!

Gear Rundown:
Pistol – Ruger Mark III Frame with 22/45 LITE Upper “MKIII LITE”
Striplin Custom 90° C-More Mount
16MOA C-More Aluminum Railway
TandemKross Game Changer Compensator
TandemKross Titanium Firing Pin
TandemKross Tool Steel Extractor
TandemKross LCI Replacement Panel
Volquartsen Sear
Volquartsen Hammer
Polished Internals

Photo by Oleg Volk
Rifle – Ruger 10/22 Superlite
Tactical Solutions SB-X Barrel
Striplin Custom 90° C-More Mount
12MOA C-More Aluminum Railway
KIDD Single Stage Trigger
KIDD Buffer
BlackHawk! Knoxx Axiom Stock
JWH Custom Charging Handle
Raven Oversized Trigger Group Pins
TandemKross Titanium Takedown Knob
TandemKross 10/22 Mag Bumpers

Ammunition Preference:  CCI Standard Velocity

Sponsors:  TandemKross / Striplin Custom Gunworks

Please describe yourself in 200 words or less.
I was Active Duty Army for 7+ years as an 11B, Infantry, from 2004 to 2011.  My 1st assignment was with the Honor Guard in Washington DC, performing funerals in Arlington National Cemetery.  I was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008-09, and medically retired from the Army in 2011 out of Fort Bliss, TX.  When I got back to Whidbey Island, I set the video game controller down and hit the range often.  I stumbled across Speed Steel and have been hooked ever since, chronicling my adventures via YouTube as “Lawson11b”.  In November 2015 I will be 3 years free of video games. Shooting matches, cleaning equipment, and becoming a gunsmith fills my days and makes me happy.

Do you enjoy any other hobbies?  YouTube

How did you get started competing in Rimfire Challenge?  Stumbled across a match one day at the range and came to the next one. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Any advice you would like to give to new competitors just starting out with Rimfire Challenge?  Do not buy cheap optics, and buy a LOT of 22LR ammunition.  When it comes time to upgrade your guns, do your homework and read the reviews.  It will save you a lot of time, energy, and money.

How do you practice and prepare for competitions?  My small local matches I do not prepare for aside from confirming zero.  Bigger matches I tend to practice 4-7 days in a row shooting various stages with the help of a mentor.

Is there anything, or anyone, specific that helped you progress from a good competitor to a great competitor?  Yes, becoming sponsored by TandemKross greatly improved my game.  I also have a great mentor, Steve Mooney, who helps me practice for big matches.  We also carpool to the smaller, local matches as well.

What do you enjoy most about NSSF Rimfire Challenge competition?  The people, and the camaraderie.  Nicest group of people you’ll ever find.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize?  Bryan Haaker & Jake Wyman from TandemKross, Steve Mooney, Larry Davis, and Bruce Barchenger.

Want to know more about Brian?  Here are his social media sites.
Lawson11b Facebook:

Special thanks to Shooting Sports Photographer Oleg Volk.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

22 LR Ammo Test - CCI Velocitor 40 Grain CP HP

CCI Velocitor is the fastest of the five 22 LR loads classified as Small Game ammunition.  The heavy 40 grain hollow point bullet is driven to 1435 feet per second velocity, which puts it between the high velocity and hyper velocity CCI loads.  The Velocitor features a unique copper plated hollow point bullet that was derived from Gold Dot bullet technology even though it looks nothing like the 40 grain Gold Dot bullet loaded in the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 22 WMR load.  I've never shot this particular load before, so I was very interested to see how it performed.

Following the previously established test
protocol, I used a Ruger 10/22 as the test rifle and all shots were taken at a range of 25 yards.

I had a little problem with the chronograph catching the velocity of all test shots due to the angle of the sun.  I ended up taking ten test shots to capture baseline velocity and all shots settled into a group of just less than .7 inches.  I usually only shoot five shots for the group.  This load appears to be sufficiently accurate for small game hunting.

After swapping the Clear Ballistics gel block for the target, I ran four test shots into the 6"x6"x16" clear gel.  The high-speed camera captured four very impressive temporary expansion cavities.  Even though two of our four test shots exited the gel block and were not recovered, it certainly appears that all four expanded uniformly across a narrow band of velocities between 1297 and 1317 feet per second.

My Thoughts on this Test
High velocity with controlled expansion and deep penetration are all great things to find in a small game hunting load.  The accuracy of this load in my 10/22 was also "good enough" for the intended purpose.  It may not deliver tack driving accuracy, but it will most assuredly ruin a rabbit or squirrel's day.

Final Verdict
Brick-Worthy  This is certainly a small game hunting load to buy by the brick.  It delivers exceptional down range energy and uniform expansion.  A video recap of the test is included below.
Direct Link To Video On YouTube

Friday, September 25, 2015

Competition Ready Upgrades for the Ruger Mark III 22/45

The 2015 NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship is right around the corner.  Do you know what that means for this guy?  It means it's time to build a brand new gun for the event.  I went through a similar process last year with a Ruger Mark III.  You can read all about that project on my other blog if you wish to do so.  I was working on a review of the Ruger 22 Charger Takedown at the time of our NSSF Rimfire Challenge State Championship this year so I used it for the pistol portion of the shoot.  Heading into the biggest shoot of the year with brand new equipment isn't the smartest thing for me to be doing, but I favor curiosity over competitiveness.

This new pistol represents a big change for me.  I've always shot in the Limited Class using a heavy all-steel pistol with the stock Ruger target iron sights or the SeeAll Open Sight.  Now I'm going the opposite way with an ultralight pistol with all the bells and whistles allowed in the Open Class.  My 2015 pistol weighs more than a pound less than the pistol I used at the World Championship last year and will have a Burris FastFire III red dot sight.  I'm curious if this new rig will lead to more consistent, and possibly faster, times than I've had in the past.

For the base pistol, I started with a Tactical Solutions TSP-4.  Tactical Solutions doesn't list this pistol in their 2015 catalog, but I found out there were a limited number of these pistols produced for one of the larger firearm distributors.  Tactical Solutions replaces the Ruger factory receiver with their PacLite receiver.  They add a set of their G10 grips, Ruger Racker bolt handle, PacLite scope base, Compensator, and a SLAM Mag base pad equipped magazine to complete the TSP-4 pistol package.

I was a bit surprised to find that, aside from the G10 grips, the grip frame was entirely stock.  Factory Ruger triggers are fine for plinking, but for competition I would need to make some changes.  I acquired parts kits from Volquartsen Custom and TANDEMKROSS to complete my 22/45.  There were some overlapping parts in the two kits so the parts installed are shown in bold type

Volquartsen Custom Mark III Accurizing Kit    Retail Price:  $115.00
Target Hammer
Target Sear
Target Trigger
Extended Bolt Release
Trigger Return Spring with Polished Plunger

TANDEMKROSS High Performance Kit for 22/45    Retail Price:  $99.99
Steel Hammer Bushing for the Mark III 22/45
"Kanewolf" Slingshot upgrade

LCI replacement in black OR stainless steel
"Firestarter" Titanium Firing Pin
"Eagle Talon" Extractor
Extended Magazine Release

TANDEMKROSS Victory Trigger    Retail Price:  $34.99
 "Victory" Trigger with Textured Surface

Setting aside several hours one night, I set about making the upgrades.  Since I only attempt projects like this once a year, I tend to be a little slow and methodical with the work.  Using Gun-Guides for Ruger Mark III Series Pistols, instructions included with the TANDEMKROSS kit, and this excellent website I got through the job pretty quickly, but still managed to install the sear on the wrong side of the sear spring.  I make this mistake EVERY SINGLE TIME I work on a Mark III.  Maybe I'll get it right the next time around.  Just in case I forget, I left a Post-it Note reminder for Mr. Dumass in my copy of the Gun-Guide.  I case you were wondering, Mr. Dumass is my alter-ego that does dumb stuff even when I should know better.

My results were right on par with my expectations.  The Ruger factory trigger pull weight of about 5.5 pounds was reduced to slightly more than 2 pounds.  I didn't notice any issues with parts compatibility when mixing and matching parts from the two different parts kits.  I did need to do some fine tuning and testing of the pre-travel and over-travel adjustment screws on the trigger during my first trip out to the range.  I've included a video from my first range trip to demonstrate how the adjustment of the pre-travel screw can have a huge impact on the reliability of the pistol.

Pre-travel Adjustment Demonstration

Direct Link to Video on YouTube

Even though I've only had a limited amount of trigger time with the pistol, I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  With two weeks remaining before the World shoot, I'll be out on the range practicing and becoming more familiar with the pistol as much as I possibly can. 

I hope to meet some of you at the shoot next month.  I'll be the guy with the 22/45 that still has the pink dot stuck to the side of it. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

New Browning Buckmark Mods from TandemKross

The motto at TANDEMKROSS is "making good guns great".  Since their inception, they continue to expand their catalog of add-on or replacement parts for many different firearms.  I was very pleased to see their latest press release on their first two enhancements for Browning Buckmark pistols.  Rather than paraphrase Bryan Haaker, Business Development Manager at TK, I'll let him tell you about the two new products in his own words.

First up is the "halo" Charging Ring for the Browning Buck Mark.  Attaching to the new standardized bolt of the modern Buck Mark, there is no need to be struggling with those hard to grip bolt ears. Speed shooters, juniors or those with arthritic hands can now simply use a single finger and pull back to charge this fantastic pistol.

Second I would like to introduce the "Buck Pro" Extended Base Pad for the Browning Buck Mark. Now Buck Mark users can confidently seat their magazines consistently the first time.  In addition, if they get stuck in the mag well with an accidental soft push of the magazine release, stylish grip pulls make it super simple to yank it free.  Not to mention, they just look AWESOME ;)

Retail prices for the "halo" Charging Ring and "Buck Pro" Extended base pad are $49.99 and $9.99.  These items are currently available from TANDEMKROSS through their webstore.  TANDEMKROSS is currently offering free shipping on all orders that include either of these two new Buckmark items.

You can bet that we will be reviewing these items soon.  Gotta get past NSSF Rimfire Challenge Worlds first.

Monday, September 14, 2015

22 LR Ammo Test - Winchester Varmint HE 37 Grain Segmenting Hollow Point

Varmint HE is one of the newer rimfire ammunition developments from Winchester.  Currently available in 22 LR, 22 WMR, and 17 WSM this varmint load features high velocity for enhanced terminal performance.  The 22 Long Rifle load, tested here, features a hollow point bullet that is designed to expand and segment into 4 pieces.  As described by Winchester, the three forward petals shear away from the bullet shank during expansion.  The petals radiate away from the central wound channel while the heavy bullet base continues on a straight path through the target.  Winchester describes this as 3/1 Segmenting Expansion.

For this test I used a Ruger 10/22 Carbine with an 18.5 inch barrel.

The chronograph and gel block were positioned 25 yards down range of the rifle.

Prior to starting the test I measured ambient air temperature and relative humidity.

The test protocol is simple. Run 5 rounds into a target to capture the average velocity. Shooting
from a rest, I also capture an accuracy sample.

During the second phase of the test I replace the target with a 16 x 6 x 6 inch block of Clear Ballistics Gel. Shooting over the chronograph, I spread 4 shots into the gel block.

The test concludes back at the house where the penetration depth for each bullet is measured.

Each bullet is then recovered from the gel and
weighed and measured.

Each recovered bullet is photographed from top and bottom and displayed with the data measurements from each test shot.

For those less detail oriented, you can jump right into the test video posted on the Rimfire Channel YouTube channel.

My Thoughts On This Test:
I thought these test results were outstanding.  With hyper velocity ammunition, accuracy can suffer in some rifles.  We didn't see that was the case with this ammunition.  While we didn't see the 3/1 segmenting expansion in our test results, all four of our test shots expanded to nearly 2 times their original diameter.  Velocity was a bit "spready" with a spread of nearly 100 fps in our 4 test shots, but they all performed well.

Final Verdict:
Brick-Worthy  This one is worthy of buying by the brick when it starts showing up on store shelves again.  My opinion may change if new batches demonstrate segmenting expansion.  I think this load performs perfectly as tested.

Direct Link to Video on YouTube