Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DPMS GII Recon G2 Redue

DPMS GII Recon G2 Redue

DPMS G2 Recon As Factory Equiped

Ok, I liked the DPMS G2 immediately after introduction and even after a bit of time there are some things I fell in love with about the new platform. It feels in weight and size like an AR15, the recoil is a bit less than most comparable .308 AR formats. Even the trigger is decent right from the factory and of course DPMS has been famous for its out of the box accuracy. There is definitely a lot to love about this format.


Those loves noted, I had some annoyances with the DPMS G2 Recon. The G2 is an awesome format .308 packaged in an AR15 sized format, however I saw room for improvement. 


OPTIC CHANGESYou may set up your .308 semi-auto a little different, however I already have several 0-500, and 200-1000+ yard AR .308 configurations, so I changed my mind to push this .308 G2 thumper to a shorter range hunting and defensive engagement firearm.  


The original Konus Pro optic was flexible however not as fast as I would have liked when distances were really close under 25 yards. The result is I had slipped on a Bushnell TRS-32 for a while which delivered a great inexpensive optic but lacked the faster circle-dot reticle was was wanting. 


Once I saw the new Eotech 518 at SHOT show 2015, I knew that old circle dot AA powered goodness was what I wanted on this build.  The new Eotech 518 delivers all the AA powered reliability of the old 512 including the auto off (4 or 8 hours) features, but with a quick release mount and side operation buttons.  These two upgrades may seem minor, however they are two upgrades we have all been asking for… and asking for… and asking for.  


The quick release option allows users to remove and install a high powered optic as needed without losing zero. So if I did want to clip on my very nice Bushnell first focal plane optic for some precision shots, I could at some point and just swap back quickly as the need dictates. 



The side mounted buttons on the Eotech 518 get the buttons out of the way where triplers and back up sights made changing settings challenging on the original 512 rear-button unit. Everything is better with side mounted buttons and a quick release base, however most importantly the famous Eotech Circle-Dot reticle sight is much faster on target for my eyes.


STOCK CHANGESThe included Magpul MOE stock fit seemed to be getting worse as time went on or at least it became more annoying for me. It wasn’t necessarily the fault of the stock or the buffer tube themselves. Even if the buffer tube and stock are both Mil-Spec or Commercial sized, this situation often occurs where the stock and buffer tube are on opposite ends of the “specification” range and not hand matched during assembly. As this was one of the first 100 G2s to roll off the line, it had a bit of a sloppy fit. I swapped the Magpul MOE out for the Rogers SuperStock which I consider to be the best adjustable polymer AR stock on the market today. 



The Rogers SuperStock is the only stock which offers a perfect fit via a selection of included shims and cam-lock system which tightens down and eliminates all slop between the buffer tube and stock. The Rogers SuperStock also adds two QD mount mounts and a few extra web sling mounts. The shooter gets a rock solid stock platform with no slop or rattle while still delivering a smooth stock length adjustment. Installation is as simple as just slipping off the old stock and slipping on the new Rogers SuperStock. Once you try one of these after having a loose stock, you will never want anything else.


GAS PORT TUNINGVery early on, the very first G2 rifles to roll of the assembly line had gas port sizes which were a smidgen too small. This under gassed issue caused functional short stroking issues only with sticky steel cased ammo which was on the low end of the pressure standards. I noted this in my initial review that some of the inexpensive steel cased ammo was causing short stroking problems on the DPMS G2. With only high quality ammo, I have not had any functional problems, however despite allowing a pretty extended break in period and heavy lubing and I was still having some issues with cheap steel cased .308 ammo ...which unfortunately is what I like to screw around and blast away with at the range.  



I decided to remove the gas block and ever so slightly increase the gas port size on the barrel. This was a simple task of slipping a dowel rod into the bore and using a drill bit which was just marginally larger than the existing hole. Once the gas port hole was opened up, I reassembled and tested. Joy! Even the cheap steel case ammo cycles the G2 just perfectly. DPMS did note this problem to me after the first couple editorial units were shipped and made a tweak, however I would not jump in on this modification with a new gun that has less than 500 rounds through it. In most cases these .308s need a little break in to cycle the softer spec’ed .308 rounds. So is the penalty as a writer sometimes to be the first to get your hands on a rifle too early in the process. 


BRAKE/COMP CHANGESAt this point I do not own a supressor, so the rather inefficient recoil reduction and incredibly loud AAC Supressor compatible tri-prong flash hider was not fitting my needs. After being impressed with the almost magical sound redirection capabilities of the Krink style PWS CQB brake on my AR15 pistols, I decided it would be a perfect option to push the boom away from me on this DPMS G2 .308. 


Bottom line is that even with hearing protection, I would not shoot a .308 indoors or inside a blind without a PWS CQB on the end of the gun unless you enjoy repeating “what, I can’t hear you the rest of your life”. The thump is still there, but the BOOM is just redirected away from the shooter. It makes the DPMS G2 more fun to shoot in tight confined areas like blinds and indoors.


HANDGUARD UPDATEThe factory 1.05 lb heavy weight DPMS billet quadrail forend was a quality made piece but not comfortable for me and was way too heavy for its length. I personally like very long handguards and the Recon Quadrail was not really doing it for me especially at over 1 lb. 

The problem is that this DPMS G2 uses a proprietary barrel nut exclusive to the DPMS G2. 

The G2 barrel nut is somewhere dimensionally between a AR15 and a DPMS LR-308 barrel nut so that makes finding a new handguard option challenging. At SHOT show, I saw that Midwest Industries was now offering a few specific DPMS G2 handguard options including their slim SS and Keymod series handguards complete with a compatible barrel nut. I ordered a 15” Free-Float Keymod handguard which comes complete with a GII spec barrel nut. The factory handguard and barrel nut was spun off and replaced with the MI Keymod handguard in about 10 minutes. 


The handguard is covered with keymod mounting points as well as a couple QD-sling mounts all in a very slim profile.  I did order two extra short rail sections and a Keymod Handstop/Panel kit. The .308’s do heat up quick after emptying a magazine or two, so my hope was that the panel kit would help provide a cooler handguard surface even when things heated up and it does to a point. The Midwest Industries Keymod handguard offers a significantly slimmer profile with a complete de-horned (rounded edges) design which is actually comfortable to hold. 


SLING ADDITIONAny good rifle deserves a nice sling and one which I have been playing around with lately is $45 paracord based Beachin Tactical sling. Hey, having a few extra yards of paracord never hurt and these slings are made extremely well by Jacob Beach, a military Airborne Infantryman who was tired of complex sling systems. 


He designed a simple but beautiful paracord 2-point sling which adds just the right amount of give with a centered buckle and length adjustment. The Beachin Tactical sling is made from 100% US made components and hand made in the US all backed by a lifetime warranty. Judging from the quality of the sling, I doubt it will ever fail. I added two QD sling mounts and can clip the sling in at various point on the Rogers SuperStock and Midwest Industries Forend.



FINAL THOUGHTSI love the DPMS GII format rifle design, size and weight, but now it fits how I shoot, is lighter, more comfortable and even quieter for the shooter. For all practical purposes it feels like a marginally heavier AR15 but packing heavyweight .308 punch.  That noted, no firearm in my possession ever stays stock simply because I can and do change things around to my liking and this DMPS G2 was no exception. In the case of my DPMS GII Recon, I wanted lighter, tighter, more comfort and a shorter range focus ready for everything from stalking brush hunting hogs and deer to a format that will tip over steel targets with authority. The best part is every time I slip a full .308 magazine into the G2 and light it up, it makes be feel all happy inside like the first time someone gave me a piece of chocolate double layer birthday cake.


SPECS

Eotech 518 - $499 Street Price

Rogers SuperStock - $79.00 Steet Price

PWS CQB .308 Compensator - $144.00

Midwest Industries Keymod Forend - $229 + $18 Panel Kit + $18 Extra Rail


SOURCES

DPMS - http://dpms-gii.com/

Eotech - http://www.eotechinc.com/

Rogers - http://www.rogersshootingschool.com/products/superstoc.php

PWS - http://primaryweapons.com/

Midwest Industries - http://www.midwestindustriesinc.com/Beachin Tactical - https://www.etsy.com/search?q=Beachin%20Tactical



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Glock G43 9mm Single Stack Pistol - Its here.. finally!

Glock G43 9mm Single Stack Pistol - Its here.. finally!


We were all supposed to keep our mouths shut until March 20th, however you know... someone couldn't, so Glock green lite the release early. 
This is not a conjecture or speculation article, the G43 is here and I have shot it at Glock. 

After pushing around 150 rounds through the G43 9mm I am in love with yet another ugly Glock. There is more, this G43 single stack 9mm is exactly what “we” the public asked for, begged for, and whined about when the G42 .380 ACP was introduced last year. Everyone said that they would buy a single stack Glock 9mm if it was about the same size at the G42, well prepare to pull out your cash and to fall in love with yet another boringly reliable Glock.

This is not a conjecture or speculation article, the G43 is here and I have shot it at Glock.





Massad Ayoob's Video at Glock on the G43
Source Gail Pepin

With the introduction of the G43, two wondrous things happened concerning Glock. This is one of the first pistols developed almost exclusively to satisfy US market demands/screams of passion. The G43 introduction also coincides with Glock US giving writers a peek behind its factory doors for the first time ever... and I was invited.


The first week of March, I found myself in the midst of ten other writers invited to this exclusive Glock G43 unveiling plus a behind the scenes factory tour, which I must admit was more exciting to me than the “finally” introduction the new G43. For me, being one of the first editors in the world to step behind the previously closed factory doors for a tour was a legitimate and exciting reason to hop on a plane to Smyrna, Georgia. My take on what I saw behind those doors is another article altogether, but I am sure everyone is more interested in the G43 at this point.


None of us were shocked, surprised or stunned about being handed G43 NDAs (non-disclosure agreements). I mean come on, who was Glock kidding. We had all heard the rumors and speculation two months earlier at SHOT show that something else was coming from Glock. In fact, none of us were particularly surprised or animated when Mike Robinson (head of Glock US Marketing) formally announced the new G43 arrival. I was the smart ass in the room who blurted out "well finally, so when do we start the factory tour?"
G26 top vs G43 Bottom


We all should have been chomping at the bit to get our hands on the G43 at the range, however we weren't. None of us wanted to rush to the end of the day to start shooting this glorious new pistol which we knew would feel just like every other Glock we had ever shot. It says something about the confidence a group of cynical writers have in Glock to get it right the first time. Once the pistol was in hand, our gut feelings were confirmed that it was exactly as our minds had imagined it. Boringly reliable that felt and shot like a Glock but in a slimmer single stack design. Image a roughly 1” wide G26 and you have the G43.


At this point I am still waiting on my own testing sample G43, however the two hours I spent with the gun during and after the range time was more than  enough for me form an initial opinion.


SIZE, ERGONOMICS & FEATURES
Upon walking into the GSSF shooting range, most of use immediately noted that in fact the 9mm G43 was indeed nearly identically the same size to the mind bogglingly popular G42 .380 ACP.


The G43 looks and feels like the G42 and G26 hooked up one night. From a size perspective the G43 is just over a 1/16" wider than the G42, only about a 1/4" longer and about 1/16" taller. In the naked hand there is a difference, however I doubt many would "feel" the difference between the two guns unless they had shot both. Actually the guns felt and looked so similar that we all were constantly checking ammo, magazine and gun labeling to assure we did not inadvertently stick the wrong round in a G43 or G42. I did try swapping magazines and I am happy to report from a safety perspective that the G42 magazine will not lock up in the G43 and the G43 magazine will not fit in the G42. Still, with all the 9mm and .380 ACP ammo on the tables, it was easy to get a little confused about whether you were stuffing .380 ACP ammo into 9mm magazines.



Considering that the width difference between the new G43 and the G26 is the same 1/8" increase as there was from the G42 to the G43, I found a little surprising how much fatter in the waist and in the hand the G26 felt after shooting the G43. The G43 proportionally “feels sized better” than the G26.


Glock G42 was not the smallest .380 on the market by a long shot and the G43 isn’t the smallest micro 9mm either, but its a manageable size. For example, Kahr’s CM9 is still smaller than even the G42, 3/4" shorter length than the G43 and 1/4" shorter in height. The size of the G43 is what makes the G43 controllable, shootable, and accurate while still delivering a size that you can comfortably stick in your front pocket. I call it the Goldie Locks principle… its just right.



Much the same as the G42 feels like a Glock, the G43 delivers the same feel. The trigger distance, feel, and reset could all be mistaken for a fatter double stack G26. By my estimate, I ran a little over 150 rounds through the G43 as did all the other writers attending the release and no one had a single jam, but we tried. One writer did an extreme limp wrist test, another shot the gun upside down, and I did a full gangsta sideways shooting test; the net were no jams or malfunctions on any of the three test pistol that we hammer on.


Like the G42, the G43 has significantly less recoil that you would expect from a gun that size. The G42 .380 Glock is a delight to shoot with recoil that seems almost like a rimfire even with hotter loads.  The 9mm G43 is a bit snappier however far less than I have experienced with my Kahr CM9 or Walther PPS pistols. I did not have the opportunity to shoot the G43 directly against competitors, my initial assumption is that the higher Glock grip is closer to the bore and delivers more control and less felt recoil.



Like every micro 9mm I have ever fired, I did find that my hand moved around from shot to shot to find a better grip. It became a fat stumpy hand around small thing gripping exercise which inevitably leads to swapping between a thumbs forward, Israeli tucked thumbs, support hand finger guard grip which I liked the best.  By contrast all the female writers locked in on the G43 and were hammering out rounds. The guys with bigger and fatter hands seemed to all do the unconscious grip shuffle we all do with tiny little guns.


The G43 is very controllable but a bit snappy. After approximately 150 rounds I was done with shooting the G43. This is quite a bit of shooting for a small pistol and I felt it. Comparing the recoil to the fatter double stack G26, the heavier G26 is more controllable and less fatiguing on the shooter. I have and do train all day with the G26 9mm, however I don’t know that I would put past and hour shooting the G43. As much as Glock has done to mitigate recoil and improve control, the G43 still is shooting a hot 9mm round out of a small pistol so Newtonian physics still apply.  I did jump back on the G42 .380 ACP and could have shot that the rest of the day due to the low recoil. Given the size, I think it just comes down to a choice of recoil control between the G43 and G42 Glocks for buyers.


From an accuracy perspective, I was able to deliver a number of brisk 6-round 3” groups on the 7-yard line. More conscious target shooting dropped those group sizes down into the 1.5-2” range with the CCI Blazer brass FMJ ammo provided at the range. Across the board, I noted all the writers shot the pistol very well from fast shooting to slow deliberate accuracy shots.



Under the watchful eye of marketing and GSSF range officers, I slipped the G43 into pockets and in the waistband and did a little shooting from concealment. Glock is going to sell millions of these. The G43 is the slim line 9mm we have all been waiting for. Even without a holster it is slim, nicely radiused, and melts into your waistband just like the G42 did.  Holster manufacturers will come online fast with options. Glock did mention that at some point they plan on offering a pinky magazine extension which will not add capacity and even later on they "may" offer a higher capacity magazine which they hinted would be in the 7-8 round range.

LESS THAN INFORMED G43 SPECULATORS
I wish people without a clue would stop running their mouths as experts as it only causes editors and manufacturers to add supufluous information just to combat moronic rumors. There has been some discussion around whether the trigger is serrated (typical Glock) or smooth and where it will be made as well as specilation about where the internals are made. Let me correct the speculators which clearly know nothing about Glock. The G43 features a standard Glock trigger just like any other Glock, so it sill be a standard Glock serrated trigger to have the right "points" to qualify for import. No matter where the Glock is stamped, the "small parts" which include everything but the frame, barel and reciever are all made in Austria according to my discussion with the head SVP manufacturing at Glock US... yes even if the gun is made in the US factory. It is my understanding they could make them in the US, however they do not at this time. Glock has yet to set the "final" street price, however they are noted it would be somewhere around the G42-G26 price range. Don't let the folks without any first hand experience get you all wored up. Release is expected to hit shelves in April May of 2015. 
G42 (top) stacked on a G43 (bottom)


FINAL THOUGHTS
We live in amazing times of pre-sliced bread, enough technology to product self cooking bacon, and now we have a single stack 9mm from Glock. The Glock 43 9mm will be met with such anticipation and expectation that I will congratulate you for actually reading this far instead of just sprinting to your firearms dealer to place your order after reading the headline. My initial experience with the new Glock single stack 9mm validated that it is everything we all were are hoping for in a Glock produced package, but just like every Glock introduction, I am sure there are many who will wish it was larger, smaller, or offered in a different caliber.


SPECS G43 G42 G26
Length 6.26" 5.94" 6.41"
Width    1.02" .94" 1.18"
Height Including Magazine    4.25" 4.13" 4.17"
Barrel Length   3.39" 3.25" 3.42"
Length of Twist 9.84" 9.84" 9.84"
Trigger Travel 0.49" .49" .49"
Line of Sight   5.20" 4.92" 5.39"
Pistol Weight w/o Magazine 16.19 oz 13.76 oz 21.71 oz
Barrel Profile Right Hand Twist Hexagonal
G43 Magazine Capacity 6+1


SOURCES
Glock - http://us.glock.com

Monday, March 9, 2015

MDT Tactical LSS Remington 700 Chassis System Review

MDT Tactical LSS Remington 700 Chassis System Review

Everything seems to snowball for me and this is what happened when I started looking at Remington 700 Short Action Chassis Systems, so you can now expect a string of reviews featuring and reviewing all the various Remington 700 aftermarket chassis I have amassed for testing.  My hope is to work through all the reviews and then deliver a final buyers guide with all my condensed finding and perspective on pros and cons of each chassis.

The main question everyone will ask is why go to the trouble and expense to move from a factory stock to a billet chassis system like this MDT LSS or a premium target stock? The answer is usually consistency and improved accuracy due to a platform which is not affected by weather and humidity, and provides the same positive and precision grip/bedding on the action from shot to shot. These higher end chassis also free-floats the barrel for the best possible accuracy from your Remington 700 barreled action and in most cases feature positive mechanical bedding which further increases accuracy and negate the need for the mess of resin or epoxy bedding the action. Some of these stocks also deliver integrated AICS style box magazine compatibility which saves you around $200 for a “bottom metal” magazine adapter for your factory stock. If you want the best accuracy possible from your Remington 700 Action and additional features, then it makes sense to look at one of these chassis systems.

I am starting my chassis testing adventure with the MDT Tactical LSS (Light Sniper System) for the Remington 700 Short Action. It is simple and easy to install and about as minimalist as it get for the shooter wanting to improve accuracy over a standard factory stock without the bulk and weight of traditional “match grade” stocks and chassis. In fact the MDT LSS is one of the lightest billet chassis on the market at only 1.6lbs and may even be lighter than your factory stock when fully accessoried. The MDT LSS delivers a very light chassis for the shooter who wants “sniper grade” precision accuracy in as light a format as possible. One feature MDT offers which most billet sniper chassis manufactures do not, are models for many other firearm brands including Tikka, Howa, Weatherby, Mossberg, and Savage. If you have something other than a Remington 700, MDT gives you some options.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
In my case I have the Remington SPS Tactical .308 Short Action rifle which featured a Hogue stock from the factory. Its a good entry level stock, however the SPS can certainly benefit from a more rigid, less flexi, and more adaptable stock. Installation is as simple as removing two screws and reattaching the MDT LSS chassis to your barreled action. No need to remove anything other than the bolt to install this chassis.

MDT offers the modestly priced $399.99 LSS chassis in left or right handed models and a choice of FDE, ODG, or Black for chassis colors.  The buyer supplies the AR15 buffer tube, castle nut, stock and “non-beavertail” pistol grip of their choice thus allowing an almost unlimited amount of customization depending on the wants and needs of the buyer. I used a commercial spec buffer tube with a Rogers FDE stock and standard MilSpec grip on my stock. I do highly recommend the Rogers stocks for this application simply because it has a cam lock system which locks down the buttstock tight and effectively provides the feel of a fixed stock without any wiggle.  According to MDT, other “Sniper style” rifle length buffer tube stocks will work on this chassis, however the intent of this chassis was to minimize weight. Those heavy sniper stocks can be made to work with an adapter, however they go against the design goals of this stock and may not provide the adjustability required to get a proper stock length. Screw on your stock and grip of choice and you are ready to hit the range.


The Type III Milspec anodized finish and fit of the MDT LSS Remington 700 chassis are superb and the machining is all well thought out with an obvious attention to maximizing strength while reducing as much superfluous weight as possible.

Most people want to move away from the reliable but limiting hinged floorplate magazine in favor of a AICS box feed magazine. The MDT LSS Chassis features an integrated magazine well and latch which supports all AICS .223/.308 style magazines such as those made from AICS, Ruger Gunsite (steel only), Magpul’s AICS PMag, Alpha Double Stack (the shortest overall magazine), and even MDTTAC’s own $40 308 AICS style mags. 

Feeding is the same as with the factory floor plate magazine, but now you have the ability to just do a quick mag swap when you want to clear the gun or need more ammo. Considering most “bottom metal” runs around $200, this $400 chassis starts looking like a steal.

A few other features I like about the MDT LSS stock is that it features a mechanical bedding system which MDT claims to be as good as resin bedding.  The open top of the stock does not require the need for a special scope base or extended high scope rings like some chassis I have tested. If your rifle already has a great scope, leave it on and it will fit without interference on the LSS chassis. For some other chassis designs, the scope based and optic rings do need to be moved or raised due to handguard interference.

MDT includes a front swivel stud which can be positioned at several points along the bottom rail or you can mount a standard Magpul 7 or 11-slot picatinny rail to the underside of the chassis instead.  Overall the LLS packs a lot of features into a chassis which is one solid piece of billet aluminum into a price which will likely be the least expensive of the chassis systems tested.

Of note the MDT LSS chassis did seem to move the needle when it comes to accuracy. The accuracy improvement was the same as any of the other chassis I am currently testing which equated to about a 15% improvement in my accuracy over the factory Hogue stock. This basically pushed my best .65”ish groups to just over .5” and my more typical .8”-.9” groups down to the .7”-.75” mark. Not transformational, however it is an improvement. I can only speculate based on my experience, but this stock in combination with a match trigger upgrade could increase accuracy by as much as 30% depending on your trigger.

THIS BUILD
Remington 700 SPS Tactical barreled action, xTreme Hardcore Level Scope Based and Rings, Lucid 4-16x44 Crossover Optic.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The MDT LSS (light Sniper System) Chassis is light trim and customizable based on the needs of the shooter all with top notch quality and machining and finish in a price point that anyone can swallow. For $399, this is one of the easiest, simplest and least expensive options to get all the features and enhancements people want for very little cash.

SPECS
The LSS supports bolt-on MIL-STN-1913 accessory mounting rails on the bottom of the fore-end. Mounting holes are spaced for Magpul style L5 (11 slots) and L3 (7 slots) rails (1.600” / 3.200”). Maximum length of rail that can be used is 6.5".

The LSS chassis is engineered to minimize warping and distortion. The rifle receiver only makes contact with the LSS chassis on it's V shaped bedding and recoil lug area ensuring the best accuracy and repeatability. The fore-end's generous clearance allows OEM standard and Bull barrels to free float up to 1" Diameter.

Supported Remington Models:
Remington Model 7 using .223 or .308 magazines.
Remington Model 700 Short Action using .223 or .308 magazines
Remington Model 700 Long Action using .300WM or .338LM magazines
Remington Model 783 - Short Calibers, using .223 or .308 magazines,

Weight: 1.6lb - 1.7lb
Designed for AR-15 collapsible butt-stocks. Optional adapter can be purchased for fixed rifle stocks
Accepts most AR-15 grips. (We recommend Hogue or Ergo Grips)
Fits AICS / AM Magazines in .223 and .308 (SA), .300WM and .338LM (LA)
Cerakote Finish in Black or Flat Dark Earth (FDE) and Olive Drab Green (ODG)
Also available for Savage, Tikka T3 and Mossberg MVP


SOURCES

Other Products Featured
xTreme Hardcore Gear - http://xtremehardcoregear.com/