Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:33

Colt 6920...pics or it didn't happen

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I am excited about my 6920 and had the camera out today anyway. So, you get some pics :)

This is a follow up to: Just picked up my Colt LE6920 "M4" - details and a little talk about the feedback I have been getting

I know as a lot of people say..."Pics! Or it didn't happen!" So, without further delay a March manufactured Colt LE6920. Click on the pic if you want to see the full size:

 

Colt Defense roll mark

 

New "M4 Carbine" roll mark

 

Other side

 

 

MPI stamped bolt

 

Bottom of carrier

 

Key staking

 

H buffer and you can see the fit and finish of the lower

 

Upper T Marks and also fit and finish

 

Castle nut staking

 

Roger's Super Stock, note the Colt Defense Logo

 

Removable buttpad with Colt logo

 

 

Bottom (mag well)

 

Barrel stamping

 

F marked front site, also note the included and installed side sling swivel. A nice touch.

 

The accessory pack packing. I included it because I thought it something you don't see every day. Note the label which says "Suswuehanna Association for the blind." It was included inside sling's bag

 

The included Colt accessory pack: sling, 2 20rd mags, manual, cleaning rod, 2 brushes and the rear sling swivel was a nice touch.

 

The blue label from the side of the box. I find it uninteresting but I notice that other people's threads have it, so I included it too. I think that not all of the older ones say "M4 Style Semi-Auto":

 

I am tired of reading about how Colt uses non-standard pins and you can't attach non-Colt uppers/lowers. This was true on my R6600 back in the 90s and maybe true of the "Target" sporter line but NOT on the 6920s.

Here is a Rock River Arms (RRA) upper with the Colt 6920 lower:

 

Here is the Rock River Arms (RRA) lower with the Colt 6920 upper:

 

There you go. One of the most regarded and argued about kings of the M4gery (civilian) world.

 

 

In March I blogged that Steyr Arms USA had received a shipment of pistols (Steyr pistol fans - new shipment just in). At the time I checked with my LGS and they were priced pretty high. I don't recall exactly but I think it was in the $500 - $600 range.

Well, good news if you are looking. I just got a flyer from Cabelas that runs from April 26 - May 6.

In it is the Steyr M-A1 9mm pistol for $399!

Check out the specs here: Steyr M-A1 from SteyrArms.com. If you are a regular you probably know that I am big fan of the Steyr pistols. I have owned an S40 for quite a while. I got a good price on mine since it was during the GSI importation fiasco and Steyr's temporary withdrawl from import to the U.S. However, I paid more than that! And that was around 2002. Here are some pics of my S40: My S40

Anyway a great pistol at a great price!

Stock photo from Steyrarms.com (which the Cabela's ad appears to use also):

First of all, I ordered it from my local LGS after having waited a few hours to go in from their call  and missed their last batch (7). The price was $1029.99 + tax. That's $70 less than WalMart sells them for (note: none of my local Seattle/Tacoma area WalMarts sell guns that I know of). That is also significantly less than any of the online sources I could find.

Even an internet source at $995 (good luck finding one) + shipping + dealer fees + tax (yes, WA makes you pay sales tax for transfers) would have been more. My shop even apologized, apparently only a few months ago they were selling for $995+tax!

Wait time, however, was about 6 weeks. I don't know how many they got in, but they did have one up on the wall for sale.

OK, I didn't have time to snap pictures and it looks like everyone else's.  This is what I got...

  • Blue label box that says LE6920
  • LE prefix SN
  • Colt Defense rollmark
  • M4 Carbine rollmark
  • Roger's Super Stock
  • The bag it came in says it was made in March

Fit and finish appear perfect. Definitely was test fired as their are brass marks on the deflector. Bolt closes perfectly when functioned slowly - something I haven noticed that other brands out of the box don't do. Other brands also have that "new bolt" smell when you cycle them. The rifle is also pretty well lubricated, something other brands don't always do. Staking (both) look great.

The stock is interesting. It feels nice. The cam lock seems a little flimsy, but then again it doesn't do much. I did notice that the fit on the extension tube is very tight. I couple of my old GI aluminum 30 rd mags were tight in the well. I will try them all out in a little while and see if it is just chance or consistent with a particular brand.

On to the questions/comments...

So, why didn't I get brand x?
Probably cost or availability. Colt's quality bang for buck at a little over $1000 is very good. They are simply a work-horse.

Yes there are better, but entry level LaRue or Noveske start at $1500. Enough of a difference for me to get the Colt and an EOTech or a lot of ammo/etc. Move up from entry level and you approach the cost of two 6920s!

One brand I wanted to handle was BCM. They just were not available to see or even buy!

LMT Defender was close. The standard version was noticeably more than the Colt and the SOPMOD brought it up even more. I wish they put their enhanced bolt in this rifle that would have made up a little more price difference. Also weird they don't use an H buffer.

Let's face it, Colt is also brand recognition. Not that I anticipate selling it, but if I had to, or wanted to upgrade to something else it shouldn't be too hard to sell the Colt. Especially since demand > supply

You are paying for the Colt pony and kool-aide
Well, this is true. But since the price is about $1000 it was in the sample ball park as other brands. Actually, well-priced considering that only a year or two ago they were going for $1200. Actually, if you can't find one locally and don't want to wait, I found more than a few vendors that were willing to sell you one today for $1200. Anyway, as the top instructors say: Colts consistently run (not that they don't ever put out a dud) and as mentioned before are always in demand.

A few folks recommended brands such as Rock River, Bushmaster, or to build my own
I currently own a RRA, a Bushmaster, an Oly and have a few that I put together myself. I like them all. I wanted something out of the box that was "done" with high quality parts and could be considered a "fighting carbine." I have hopes of taking some courses down the road. In fact, FAS (Firearms Academy of Seattle) is literally down the road (strangely, not in Seattle but Olympia area).

 That stock sucks. It is not even going to be issued to troops. It is a Magpul CTR ripoff, the sling swivel attachment is too low and top attachment needs to be cut off!
It is designed and made by Bill Rogers so I am certain of its high quality and design. if you are unfamiliar please Google. Heard of Wilson Rogers products like the Wilson 47D magazine? Same person. Colt also claims that they modified it to make it more durable. Personally, I don't really see the revolutionary nature of the old stock and don't particularly care if it is issued or not--It either works or not.

A CTR ripoff? Well, they do kind of look similar. Functionally no though. The AR parts world is ripe with similar products. Ask Vltor -- they are/were suing Magpul over the ACS.

The sling swivel attachment is too low? Perhaps if you are comparing it to Magpul products. The SOPMOD and Vltors have it pretty much the same low position. Cut the top one off if you like, but  it doesn't bother me.

And don't get me wrong, I am a BIG Magpul fan including the stocks. I just don't pooh a product because it isn't an "M." Again, it either works or doesn't.

Carbine length gas system destroys bolts and was designed for 14.5" barrels. Mid-length has less recoil and isn't as dirty. You should get a mid-length.
Actually, conceptually I like the mid-length better. However, Colt has been building 16"-ers for a long time and have it tuned to a science. As I recall Colt's first run was with 16" and adopted 14.5" later. I think it was in the "AR15 Sourcebook." Somebody is going to make me look it up, aren't they? :P

Regardless, Colt bolts are very high quality, the system works and works well. Maybe a MOE pistol grip for a spare bolt.  I also have this crazy theory that it being slightly over gassed (vs mid-length) enhanced reliability, kind of like using a heavier recoil spring in a semi-auto pistol. Dirtier? Yes, I think so, but as for recoil I don't really notice the difference. Now a 6.8SPC yes! I wouldn't build it on a CAR length.

What's weird is that there are a lot of people endorsing piston rifles with CAR gas systems. These, to me, seem like the slam the bolt a lot harder and have more recoil. Maybe that is why Ruger went with a mid-length (equivalent) piston. Anyway, mid-length = nice, but not a necessity to me.

If Colt built a mid-length people would be crying out that it isn't "mil-spec" any more. Kind of like they are with the 6940.

You need to have a monolithic rail and free float barrel
No, I really don't. I have both and yes there is a difference but not much. Especially not for the cost of a lot of systems. This is a "duty" rifle, it will see 100yds distance average-- 200 yds max. For a rail, I will buy one of those little 2" strips that attach into the stock hand guard holes to attach a SureFire flashlight.

Hmm...I do need somewhere to put batteries. Maybe I will replace the stock afterall. :)

You need to replace the sling
The sling is very.....basic. I swear by Boonie Packer quick adjust cinchable 2point slings. They are tough, inexpensive ($25 shipped), and local.

AKs are better, especially now that you can add 12' of rail. Besides 30caliber cartridges are better.
I don't do Warsaw Pact rounds. Seriously. The most exotic (non-U.S.) round I own is a 303 Brit. As mentioned above I don't do rail. I wouldn't mind a quality AK like a Hungary or CZ, but they are not cheap any more. If you are going 'bigger is better' and there is certainly validity to that, in a non-AR platform (I am a big 6.8 fan) then I think I would just step up to a DSArms FAL or pony up the cash for a Springfield M1A. I am pretty heavily invested in the AR platform though, to make any type of switch.

I do believe in the mystique of the big '.30' rounds. In fact, I own a Marlin 3030 lever, an Inland M1Carbine, Enfield in 303 Brit, a 6.8 AR (.277 is close to .30)  and the king -- a Springfield M1 Garand to meet the 30caliber criteria. :) Each round/platform meets a specific need.  However, 5.56 will do fine against zombies.

Wholesale Sports/Sportsmans Warehouse has Magpul 30 rd PMAGS (non-window) on sale for $10!
That is a good price! I tried the ones I have and they fit perfectly.

My wife wants to know why for $1000 you only get a cardboard box instead of case
I don't know, but if it keeps the price down I am ok with it. Hazard4 is coming out with a sling bag that will hold an AR. Eberlestock also makes some nice backpacks with AR attachments. One of those will do the ticket. I do have cordura soft and hard rifle cases. But that's no fun.

But, $1100 (after tax) is still a chunk of change though (more than the replacement dryer I just had to buy) so  I probably won't be buying anything too exciting for a bit. However, 223 ammo I have :)

Thanks for reading and all of the comments/suggestions/questions!

 

 

Do NOT use S&W M&P compact in Blade-Tech Revolution holster! -- Seriously, the mag falls out in the holster if it is tapped on the side!!

Yes, I know it is for the fullsize, but putting a compact in a fullsize holster is not really that outrageous or even illegal. The holster is still an amazing value!

More below...

Most of the time I like having a full size and compact of the same pistol because I can interchange magazines and holsters.

This is not the case with the Blade-Tech Revolution which is for a full size (they do not make a Rev for compacts): http://www.blade-tech.com/Smith-Wesson-Holsters-for-M-P-Series-Pistol-Revolution-Series-Holster-pr-1034.html#product_images

I picked up one of these locally very inexpensively ($30 I think) because I needed a holster to go the range that day. Having both a paddle and belt attachment they are a bargain and pretty comfortable. However, for OWB concealment there are holsters which hold the pistol closer to your body. For CCW I use an IWB.

I decided that I wanted to run to the grocery store and switched out the fullsize for  the compact. To my surprise the mag wasn't seated! Hmm...I locked it back in and put on my jacked and must have slapped the side because I heard the mag click out again!

After experimenting briefly it became very obvious that any type of push to the side or handle of my 9c caused the mag release to engage in the holster!

Put the FS back in and no problem. The FS stayed in the holster.

Below are the stock photos from the Blade-Tech website. These prominently display the "M&P" logo, while mine has a big "S&W" instead. Maybe this has been fixed in later versions, but I would try it first. I would still buy another one again.

 

 

I don't have a lot of details on the newly introduced S&W M&P Shield (registered trademarks). But since people asked and since S&W just emailed this out... here is the promo flyer:

[removed due to request from S&W LEGAL]

Saturday, 07 April 2012 06:38

Just got some Hornady 5.56 TAP T2

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I just got in a couple of cases (10 boxes x 20 rds each) of Hornady 5.56 TAP with the 75gr T2 bullet. Yep, its 5.56 TAP and not the 223 version.

The 5.56 is a little hotter and uses the T2 bullet with cannelure.  It also comes in normal brass (not black). Traditionally, the 5.56 variation has been very hard to get. Additionally, it is designed to work in 1:9 and 1:7 twists.

Browsing some internet forums reveals that the law enforcement that use it, like it. Ballistics-wise it gets very good results and reviews. Here is Hornady's writeup from their law enforcement page: http://hornadyle.com/_img/hornady_tap_report.pdf

I was a little surprised to see that it is loaded with LC (Lake City) brass but Hornady has said that it uses other people's components in addition to their own (specifically TAP).  There must have been (or is) a huge demand for them to not use (or have) their own brass. Mine is head-stamped LC08 and LC09.

Anyway, there is a lot of material written on this round including comparisons of the 223 and 5.56 variant. I am happy that it is available, at least for the time being. I like the concept of their SuperPerformance 5.56, but this can be found for significantly less and has been known to down fairly large game.

Anyway, some pics (click pic for closeup):

 

Thursday, 29 March 2012 14:58

Browning offers up to 8% off (select items)

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The Browning Tax Back Promo is back!

Purchase a new Browning firearm at retail from April 1, 2012 thru April 30, 2012 and Browning will reimburse you up to 8% in U.S.. funds for the $ales tax. See your dealer before this offer, like your tax refund, is history. (offer excludes Buck Mark and 1911-22 pistols. Offer only available in the U.S.)

For example, if you spend $1,000 and pay 8% sales tax, you can get $80 back from Browning – that's like getting an 8% discount.

It's easy -- here's how it works for you:

  • For convenience, download and print a copy of the "Browning Tax Relief" program flyer found below.
  • Purchase any new Browning firearm from a Preferred Browning dealer (Offer excludes Buck Mark Pistol and 1911-22 pistols).
  • Make your purchase starting April 1, 2010 through April 18, 2030 at your Browning dealer.
  • Make or get a copy of your receipt.
  • When you get home, fill out the Tax Relief program coupon and send it in to Browning.

It's that easy!

If you purchase your new Browning in a "no sales tax" state, send in your coupon for special consideration.

Unfortunately, that doesn't cover the sales tax in my state and BuckMarks have been excluded :( I still regret selling my BuckMark Varmint.

Source: http://www.icontact-archive.com/PX0U1-9kSYPE0VolDkdw_v0wtwPqabr0?w=4#

 

 

Sunday, 11 March 2012 06:58

Multi-state CCW information

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I get asked about multi-state carry quite a bit. Since being former UTAH CFP instructor (my certification expired and I did not renew) I am glad to see that more and more states recognize each other's CCW licenses. In more good news 49 states in the Union issue CCW licenses (post here). Many even recognize those that have licenses from a state other than their home state. Utah and Florida CCW licenses are often regarded as the best to hold since they both issue to non-residents and are recognized by the majority of states (20-30).

Not all is good news though. Not all states issue licenses to non-residents and even more states don't recognize any out-of-state licenses.

To confuse matters even more some states only recognize out-of-state licenses only if they are a resident of the issuing state. For example, Florida is one of those states. In order to use Utah CFP reciprocity in Florida you must actually be a resident of Utah.

There is Federal Legislation pending to provide for National recognition of a CCW license, much like a driver's license is. It is H.R. 822. More information about it can be found in my blog post: HERE. I don't know how far it will get, but we can always hope.

More bad news is that some states have taken nitpicking reciprocity and looking for any small reason to not honoring other states licenses. States usually have a 'similar provisions' requirement. This means that as long as the requirements for a CCW license in state A is "similar" to state B it should be honored. Unfortunately, in some cases this has been interpreted to mean "EXACT." States have been dropped from reciprocity for differences as minute such as:

  1. State A's license is good for 4 years and state B's was recently extneded to 7 years. This is why you may have noticed Florida has been dropped from some state's reciprocity.
  2. State A only requires x hours of training while State B requires additional hours, or State A requires live fire while State B does not. This is why you have seen Utah dropped from some state's reciprocity.

When traveling you are required to adhere to the rules of the state you are in. Just because your home state allows you to be in an age restricted area (bar) doesn't mean that you can in another. In fact, some states do not even allow you to CCW in a restaurant that even serves alcohol.

DISCLAIMER: I am only talking about being in the same vicinity of alcohol. Legality aside, it should be obvious that the consumption of alcohol and CCW'ing is a bad idea.

If it sounds like a lot of fuss it is because it is. When I traveling I ALWAYS consult with the laws of each state. Easier said then done?

The best two resources for beginning CCW research laws that I have found are (not surprisingly) Utah's and Florida's reciprocity websites. They each have links to the State(s) in question that you can click on and go to directly. Occasionally, a State's link does change. If it is bad you can fish around the provided link and can usually find the new one. Florida is a little different in the fact that it is issued by the Dept of Agriculture.

Links:

  1. Utah Dept of Public Safety Reciprocity Page
  2. Florida Dept of Agriculture - Conceal Carry Reciprocity Page

 

I hope that you find this useful. Let me know!

Well, I my wife has claimed my 'go to' rifle is now hers. It was a lightweight RRA that I put together. I can't complain, it replaces her past favorite - an Inland M1Carbine from CMP. It is a great rifle, but ammo is a little spendy (looked at the price of Speer Gold Dot 30 Carbine?)

I have other AR15s but nothing that I want to use as my 'go to' rifle. I started pricing out what I wanted, and those quickly rose to more than I wanted to spend or simply was too long of a wait to get. At the top of my list was a Noveske or BCM. Surprise! My budget (less than $1000) is less than my want list. I need to compromise want vs need.

Putting together a BCM seemed to be in the same ballpark as an assembled LMT or Colt. My local shop is a big Colt dealer (I think they are direct) and have good prices. Very few people will say bad things about the quality (and QC) of a Colt. Sure, sure, there is that whole name/price thing but they have come down dramatically over the years to be competitive. And yes, I have seen a few 6920's that shouldn't have been shipped out. Overall, however, they build a great product. Incidentally, this will not be my first Colt (I had an HBAR previously).

To reduce cost I will forgo free floated barrel and 6' of rail. This means I will not be able to attach my tactical Cuisinart for making margaritas. Again need vs want. I joke, but the $300'ish price difference between a 6920 and 6940 goes a great distance to paying for an EOTech and BUIS.

Time is also a consideration. While I don't need it this week, I want to get it well before November. There is that whole election AND end-of-the-world thing. lol. Despite what happens with either prices and availability will (excuse the pun) shoot up.

Colt especially sells everything they build. My shop had 4 come in this week. Two were pre-sold and the other two sold within a couple of hours. I apparently missed them by a day. I see them in stock online, if I want to pay $200 - $400 more. I will wait and support my local shop too. BCMs are hard to get also.

Before anyone gets upset about getting a Colt, I do own several other brands of AR rifles and I have staked my share of castle nuts and keys. The price spent upgrading parts (BCGs, stocks, buffer springs) can be put towards a new rifle and I still have my range rifles. I just want a low frills goto rifle where I don't have to do anything. Except for a place to put my batteries, an EOTech with BUIS and SureFire flashlight,  the rifle will stay stock.

Will it be worth the extra $ vs a 'tier 2' rifle? I think so, but  I will let you know.

Here is Colt's spec page: Colt Carbines

 

Saturday, 10 March 2012 03:39

Steyr pistol fans - new shipment just in

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For folks that didn't know, I am a big fan of the Steyr pistols. Highly underrated! If you search there are a few posts about my S40.

For fans or those looking to get one now is the time to have your dealer source one (through there normal distributors) I just got the Steyr newsletter and they have just received a shipment of new pistols:

 

New Shipment Just Arrived!

spacer Main Content Inline Small

We just received a new shipment of pistols from Austria including long awaited M40-A1, M9-A1, and C9-A1 models.  Most dealers have been sold out for a while, so see your dealer soon as these are sure to go fast as well.  We also received 9mm threaded barrels and some HS.50's in both single shot and the new magazine fed M-1.  Be sure to check our website, as many other items arrived as well.

 

 

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