Reviewing:
firearms, shooting equipment, and outdoor gear for the average enthusiast.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

airsoft as an alternative way to practice

Long time no blog- no real excuse for it, just busy with work.

Recently, I went to evike.com with the intention of spending some money. I had wanted to get an airsoft pistol for indoor practice for some time, and finally decided to bite the bullet.  Ordering from evike was a
simple affair, and though my order was well packed and as described - I thought they took a long time in processing it and putting it together.  Maybe I'm  unreasonable?

Their pricing was fair, and they always have a multitude of coupons available to further help keep costs down, so overall I feel pretty good about them as vendors and would give them business in the future again.

The gun I selected was the WE CQB Hyper strike. It has an obnoxious strike plate, dual rail system (a by-product of the strike plate dress), and an STI-like wide body frame. The gun feels surprisingly good in the hand, and even though there are casting lines throughout it has good heft and reasonably good construction for the price of 88 dollars before discounts.

The WE Hyper Strike is referred to as a 'high capa' style gun, holding 30 rounds in the magazine and enough green gas / propane to match. One of the deals that were ongoing when I ordered this gun was a second magazine special for 3 dollars, so I ended up with two mags for the HS. More on why this is important later.

To charge the magazines with propane (I use a 1lb walmart cylinder) you need to secure a propane fill adapter. They run around 10-15 dollars, and are simple in design. Adding a few drops of silicone adds to the longevity of the gun, and is recommended to run with the propane through the adapter. To charge, screw on adapter, and fill magazine as you would a butane lighter- with the canister inverted on the magazine. I did two 5 second bursts, and that seemed adequate on my mags.

Apparently, WE has a reputation for magazines that leak- this was not the case with either of mine which have been holding a charge fine for several days.  In firing, the mags cool down quite a bit (unsurprising when working with compressed gas) which can adversely affect performance if high speed sustained strings are fired (because really, who wouldn't want to do a mag dump or two?).

 Switching between the mags half-way alleviates the problem entirely, but frankly I'm slow enough on the trigger it wasn't a significant problem anyway.

In feel, the gun hefts like a very weakly sprung, Friday-afternoon 1911. One with borderline unacceptable tolerances, but seems to work adequately enough. The sights are bomar copies and quick to view. The trigger pull light but lacking that crisp 1911 let-off, and the safeties marginally fitted but functional.

Obviously, that is a pretty luke-warm description of the HS, but I must say- it is an absolute TON of fun. I would buy this thing again in a minute - the tank of propane cost me 3.50 from my local wal-mart, a thousand .20 g BBs ran right around 2 dollars, and the lubricant was 4. For less than 10 dollars at the time of this writing, you can fire this thing about a thousand times (assuming the propane holds up, which I suspect it will).

The gun cycles lightly and quickly in the hand and is smooth transitioning between targets. It is loud, but not oppressively so and can be fired indoors without hearing protection with only mild annoyance to others in the same room.

magazine changes are fast (I would not recommend letting the mags drop to the floor), and the only tedious part of the whole endeavor is refilling the mags with the actual BBs. it is a slow affair, though I am told that cheap tools exist to expedite the process.

For right around 120 bucks delivered, I got the gun, spare mag, fill adapter, BBs, propane and lubricant. some things were sourced locally (propane) because ordering it is obnoxious. Refilling the 1lb canisters is apparently a simple enough process, and can lower costs even more. As can buying BBs in bulk. Next time, I will likely get some bio-degradable BBs for outdoor use.

The gun is a bit aesthetically ridiculous, but the price was right. Also I'll never own an STI fat body so this was my chance to buy something truly unnecessary.  Different varients of GBB (gas blow-back) airsoft guns can be had from companies like evike or pyramidair for as little as 80 dollars, and coupons are always in abundance for these companies.

Copies of most major platforms are plentiful and all are priced at less than half of the guns they mimic. The brand I went with (WE) has mixed reviews so do your research. Tokyo Marui seems pretty universally accepted and has plenty of options for 200 or less.

Overall, getting an airsoft GBB pistol of any reputable style is a great way to practice indoors for little cost and effort. Deciding what company to order from and which model to select is best left to the discretion of the reader, but I can say I have no regrets about the HS or Evike.com.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Taurus PT 22

Well the Taurus 22 poly didn't happen - my shop ended up with a polymer PT22, which is a slightly different beast. I've been playing with this gun for a bit now, and 400 rounds in, I feel comfortable giving some thoughts and impressions on it.

First- I have run a variety of ammo through this gun, and not all has been created equal. Lets get that out of the way up front.

In those 400 rounds, I have had 3 jams - all of those jams have been failure to eject, and all of them have been with Remington golden bullets (in the 100 pack and the larger loose packs). All said and done, I fired 150 Remington GBs through this gun, so its not a 'constant' problem, but no other ammo had any issues.

the remaining rounds were 50 Mini Mag (CCI) solid points, 100 federal bulk pack HPs (red box), 40 Federal American Eagle, and the remainder being Winchester bulk (not dynapoint). One of the jams occurred in the first mag, and I did no prep to the gun other than take it out of the box and load it up.

For a new gun with no additional lube or inspection, I consider that a pretty solid run.The gun is very light, weighing about 12.5-13 oz loaded, yet still provides enough gripping area for my XL sized hands.

The trigger pull is long but manageable, and surprisingly smooth. The sights are VERY usable for such a small gun, though they are not particularly fast. I shot the gun mainly at 10 yards, and had no issues keeping palm sized groups or busting clay pigeons at will and at speed.

The grip and safety are both easily manipulated, and the gun is actually really fun to shoot. I picked up a Remora ankle rig for this gun, and made a kydex AIWB holster myself for it. I've been carrying it for a few weeks and the finish seems to be holding up fine, though I won't be surprised if some surface rust starts forming on the slide.

Disassembly and reassembly is a snap - tip up the barrel, slightly retract the slide and lift up to free it. I have also found that flipping up the barrel and slightly depressing the trigger will free the slide as well, but that is not manufacturer recommended procedure.

Complaints: I'm glad its not super ammo picky, but I would have liked slightly better performance with the RGBs. Additionally, I wish the gun shipped with 2 mags. Taurus mags for this gun are unreasonably expensive right now, but having a spare would be nice. I also would have liked the option to pay for a big dot front sight or a FO insert type front. I know these guns are cheap, but some modularity in this regard would go a long way from taking a nice little shooter to an exceptional one.

For my first Taurus, I'm very pleased. The gun market in my locale is still pretty crazy, so I gave 225 OTD for this gun NIB. Overall, I'd buy it again - but I don't know if I would prefer it over the newer Taurus Poly. I may still try to pick one of those up so I can do a side-by-side comparison.

The gun has definitely proven itself reliable enough for me to carry, and even if some people don't like 22lr as a defensive caliber - I say 'so what'. Its a light gun that is exceptionally easy to carry and conceal, and it can be shot quickly and accurately enough for defensive encounters. I'd give this gun a definite buy recommendation, and with the Mini-mag offerings or some of the other higher end CCI lines, I think it makes a very adequate defensive gun if used within reason.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gun Comparisons

An interesting resource on gun comparisons was recently sent to me by Liana of Findthebest.com. They have expanded their site to include a gun section found here.  The website is searchable by a variety of categories and gives you a rough idea on some of the characteristics of a few guns on your 'to buy' list. They are still adding to the list and at the time of this writing guns.findthebest.com has about 2k of firearms that you can compare.

What I like: friendly user review interface, easy to navigate menus, clean design, IP based automatically generated list of FFLs. 
What I think could be improved: I wish comparison photos were to scale so you could get a sense of size differences between firearms. 

Why I like it: Mousegunner was a great resource for comparing pocket guns for carry. Regrettably, the site owner Dr. Marshall Carlisle St. John passed in september of 2011 after a battle with cancer and the location and site information was under threat of being lost. SouthernOutdoorLife (click mousegunner on my sidebar for redirect) took up the charge and are rehosting the content.

Findthebest Guns is working along the same spirit of Mousegunner, and I think extending it to a broader base with a slightly different (and I think more accessible format).  I don't think they are 'copying' St John's work at all - rather I think they are pressing it forward in a very interesting and useful way, and I'm grateful for their contribution to the gun community. 

I like them enough to add them to the sidebar, so feel free to check them out. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Taurus Poly Review inbound

Shop has secured a taurus poly. Price was 225 OTD.  Will pick up soon and get a review together. In other news, need to put in fresh clutch plates on the bike, and have (I think) a clogged starter jet on one of the carbs.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Random shops you see out riding

Freshly repainted to hide your shame!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Neglected blogging

It happens to everyone eventually. Life gets busier than expected and certain projects, despite being enjoyable, get pushed to the wayside. Sadly, this blog has been getting that treatment lately. I started two new jobs at my University, both of which are quite lucrative and beneficial to my future employment. Additionally I have been working on my dissertation and publishing a few more pieces in my discipline to improve my chances on the job market. I rarely blog about it, but my odyssey of a PhD is coming to a close fairly soon.

My poly p22 from taurus remains backordered, the hi-power remains a fantastic shooter that points ubber naturally, and rifles have fallen much to the wayside in light of NY SAFE. I am still here. I live, I breath, and soon- I shall blog.