Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Brownells Reintroduced the Legendary BRN-180

Brownells Reintroduced the Legendary BRN-180

It is hard to believe the AR-180 has become a somewhat forgotten firearm, however Brownells is bringing it back to the market in a complete BRN-180 upper format. The BRN-180 was a collaborative design effort between Brownells, PWS, and FM - Foxtrot Mike to bring back a modernized version of the often forgotten short-stroke driven AR-180. As a writer for Primary Weapons Systems and Brownells, I was privileged to have very early knowledge in 2018 of the new BRN-180 development. I was excited then, but have been thrilled with my long-term review of the flawlessly operating BRN-180 upper. For those interested in short barreled rifles and pistols, Brownells now has a short 10.5-inch barreled BRN-180S as well. What makes these unique guns so cool and why is the AR-180 style platform getting hot again? The short answer is the insane short-stroke piston driven reliability of the platform.

The original AR-180 is sort of like an AK and an AR hooked up and had some type of weird love child that has more AK DNA than AR. On the outside from a distance it looked a lot like an AR with similar ergonomics down to a very similar handguard front sight...etc. Up close, it was apparent that nearly every part was based on stamped steel construction similar to the AK but to a level far more detailed and complex than the simplicity of an AK. Though the AR-180 starts with AR it was not cross compatible with the AR15 platform, however the design of some parts was carried over in to a cost effective likeness. Of note the use of stamped construction was extensive including nearly every firing and operational control of the AR-180 gun in addition to the visible proprietary magazines and receivers.

The platform also has the ability to get really short with a folding stock like an AK thanks to the dual captured internal spring and rod set nestled inside the upper receiver and the obvious omission of a buffer spring. Internally there was also a very short and light bolt carrier with a reciprocating right handed charging handle again like an AK. One of the extolling features was an exceptional buttery smooth operation of the mini-carrier sliding on the dual spring and rod configuration. The AR-180 bolt is an AR15 style bolt and barrel lockup design, but the overall AR-180 or BRN-180 design does not permit barrel swaps. The AR-180 was also incredibly simple to operate with a large easy to find right handed reciprocating bolt handle to the similar to an AK.

The AR-180 was also one of the first short stroke piston driven AR-style platforms and it was famous for literally running forever without maintenance. With zero debris blowing back into the action, the gun stayed clean and could run perfectly between very long extended cleaning intervals. Allegedly, there are still some original AR-180 that have never been cleaned and run perfectly. In essence, the AR-180 was the Americans stamped steel receiver set equivalent to the AK but with a short stroke piston system. Today the AR-180 are prized collector items and many future guns based their design on the short stroke piston system including G26, SCAR, and 416 rifles and continues to influence many modern rifle designs including some aspect of very futuristic guns like the Tavor.


The original AR-180 gun was budget focused, not super sexy and had the stamped, folded and welded quality of a very average AK. At that time, the vast majority of manufacturing was based on old stamping and folding machines that offered cheap production. At the same point in time, the milling required for the AR-15 format was quite expensive. Today that cost equation has flipped due to the old stamping tooling technology becoming discontinued and the greatly reduced cost efficiencies of current production CNC milling. The reality of the original budget friendly AR-180 was it was a bit crude with proprietary firearm parts and magazines, but it worked flawlessly. 

Brownells, PWS and FM delivered an updated AR15 compatible upper which carries through the functionality and DNA of the AR-180 in a complete BRN-180 upper. The BRN-180 features modern billet machining, design, finish, quality, and accuracy all in a AR15 lower compatible format which represents a giant leap in quality over the old AR-180 design. The AR-180 was circa 1960s industrial looking where the BRN-180 could be mistaken for one of the most modern looking AR-15s on the market. This is a premium-tier upper that is extremely reliable long-running and cross compatible with any AR15 lower you have in your safe. The BRN-180 design is something that the market has been asking for… a 5.56 AK upper for your AR.

If you were going to redesign a piston powered rifle such as the AR-180, the market leading Primary Weapons System would be the clear choice. Dean Sylvester is widely regarded as the industry expert in AR format piston systems including developing their own PWS long stroke piston rifles famed for incredible reliability and elite tier quality. From my perspective, Brownells make the best choice of who to partner with.

The DNA of the AR-180 was preserved in the BRN-180, including some parts so similar they are hard to tell the difference between them. The dual springs and guide rods are still there as is the short stroke piston system, reciprocating right-handed bolt handle, easy disassembly, buttery smooth action, three-pronged flash hider, and no need for any buffer tube assembly. The biggest departures from the original design is that the BRN-180 is only a complete upper and not a complete gun and a design based on modernized AR15 compatibility. That modernization includes a free-float handguard, 5.56/.223 compatible match grade .223 Wylde chambered barrel, adjustable gas block, and of course the precision fit of modern machining.

Having the BRN-180 mate to a standard AR15 also allows customers to do all the customization they want an a standard AR15 without having to worry about compatibility of yet another firearm platform. According to Brownells, the AR15 compatibility greatly reduced the cost and instead of a full $2700 gun, they are able to retail a complete upper with match grade .223 Wylde chamber for around $800. This is not bad considering many piston ARs are easily retailing over $1800. Brownells has now introduced a BRN-180S, for “short”. The 180S will feature a 10.5-inch barrel and a slightly modified gas block to accomodate for increased dwell time and more adjustment for suppressor use.

The take-down is similar to the original, but has a buffer block that is friction fit to the rear of the upper receiver. That buffer block is easily popped out during the bolt removal process. Remove the rods and springs, pull back the bolt, remove the reciprocating bolt handle, and remove the bolt carrier group. According to Brownells, that is really all the typical maintenance requires. Advanced maintenance is also simple - remove the handguard u-latch, slide off the handguard, remove the linkage rod, the piston cup, and then the piston rod assembly for deep cleaning. Notably after several thousand rounds, I still see no need for any bolt cleaning and certainly nothing that needs cleaning on the piston side… this is one extremely clean running gun. The barrel is permanently mounted using a trunnion system to 180 ft/lb.

For my build I used my BRN-M16A1 prototype build from a few years back. The Brownells lower was originally completed with Magpul furniture, Clark carbon fiber handguard, HyperFire, and Ace Stock all around the concept of what could have been from a manufacturing perspective, but with modern design ideas. 

New updates to the build were a Brigand Arms Carbon Fiber stock and PWS ratcheting castle nut which are still things that could have been. On the BRN-180 upper a 34mm Burris 1.5-8 XTRII with a Geissele Super Precision mount.

The accuracy results were impressive with solid 1-inch 100-yard groups and several groups nudged into the .75” range. What I really love about the BRN-180 is that I can hand it to anyone and within a few seconds, it is obvious how to charge and operate the gun. For new AR shooters this can take a moment or two. I also like that the BRN-180 is absolutely an AK-gunners paradise in an AR platform with over or under bolt operation that mimics the AK function. Functionally this upper is a tank that has yet to see even a patch pull through the bore after my initial cleaning - wonderfully reliable.

BRN-180™ has 16" barrel with matte black Nitride finish
BRN-180S™ has 10.5" barrel with matte black Nitride finish
Ultra-reliable AR-180 piston operating system
Compatible with current mil-spec AR-15 lowers
Machined 7075 T6 aluminum receiver & handguard - hardcoat anodized finish
.223 Wylde chamber
Button rifled bore; 1-8" twist
1/2"-28 threaded muzzle
Replica 3-prong AR-180 flash suppressor
Molded polymer ejection port cover
The BRN-180™ and 180S™ upper receivers are fully compatible with any standard, mil-spec AR-15 lower receiver


Gasblock: Adjustable
Barrel Length: 10.5"
Length: 18.57 inches
Weight: 4 lbs
Gasblock: Adjustable
Barrel Length: 16"
Length: 24.57 inches
Weight: 4.65 lbs

Short Stroke Gas Piston: Designed for maximum reliability, the short-stroke gas piston keeps fouling out of the receiver and lets the bolt run cool and clean. The BRN-180S™ has a fully-adjustable gas block for shooting either suppressed or unsuppressed.

Bolt Carrier & Recoil Guide Rods: True to the original, the bolt carrier rides on twin recoil guide rods for a smooth, light recoil impulse. The recoil system is completely self-contained in the upper.

Bolt: The BRN-180™ bolt features a matte black oxide finish for easy cleaning and corrosion resistance. Classic multi-lug rotating bolt ensures reliability and repeatable lockup.

BRN-180S Flash HiderFlash Hider: The 3-prong flash hider gives an authentic look, while also effectively reducing both muzzle flash and rise. The closed bottom reduces the amount of dirt and debris kicked up by the muzzle blast.

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Friday, November 8, 2019

10mm Is Coming Back and is Smart for PCCs - Pistol Caliber Carbines

10mm Is Coming Back and is Smart for PCC - Pistol Caliber Carbines

If you know the background development of the 10mm round, you might know that it was developed as a high power semi-auto round ultimately selected by the FBI. The problem was that the 10mm round was actually too powerful for the majority of the agents to actually carry, train with and shoot comfortably. 

The 10mm round has a cult following that is increasing with the Glock G20 still being a strong seller and other manufacturers like Rock Island, Para, Wilson, Sig, Kimber, and others all offering 10mm models as well. With the popularity of PCC - pistol caliber carbines, the 10mm power makes a huge amount of sense for very short PDW type pistols.

The development of the 10mm round is actually an interesting story which dates back to the 1970s. The idea was for a high power flat shooting semi-auto cartridge that would run in a 1911 format pistol which would basically deliver .357 to .44 Magnum (midweight loads) ballistics. In the end, Jeff Cooper, yes the scout rifle guy, was involved in the development at which point Norma began producing ammunition in the early 1980s. The FBI felt a little outgunned on the streets and briefly adopted the 10mm round, but with the full bore kick ass loads that were first released, they felt it was just too much.  

The reality was 90% of the agents felt uncomfortable shooting and handling the larger dimensioned and significantly more powerful 10mm powered guns.  The ammo manufacturers responded with the 10mm Lite rounds which in essence dropped the power all the way down to really hot .40 S&W loads around 550 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. 

The FBI and the public wanted a smaller format with less power than what the 10mm round delivered. Smith & Wesson thought this was a waste of unused powder space on the longer 10mm brass and developed a 10mm Short or what we now know as the .40 S&W.  The round delivered everything the FBI specs wanted in a format that would fit in a smaller 9mm sized pistol format.

The current crop of 10mm rounds from Hornady and others are not neutered to the degree the "LITE" rounds were, however they could certainly be loaded hotter as we see with the higher power 1,350fps and 728 ft. lbs of energy Buffalo Bore rounds and the very unique LIbery Ammo with a 60gr bullet screaming along a 2400 fps delivering a whopping 780 ft/lbs.  The current neutered 550  ft/lbs of energy 10mm rounds are still much more powerful than the average 360 ft/lbs of energy found in the .40 S&W.  .40 S&W usually deliver around 360 Ft/lbs of energy and the normal off the shelf 10mm Auto loads typically delivery around 550 ft/lbs which is nearly 40% more power. 

Today the 10mm cartridge still does have a following in Special forces and Special Law Enforcement and is growing as a hunting cartridge due to the capacity of the firearm and power. It is a favorite pistol for those hunting hogs and venturing into bear country.

5.56 7-inch Barrel vs 4-inch barrel 10MM
The 5.56 round is a wonderfully flexible round, however as with most shouldered cartridge rifle rounds, they are optimized for longer barrels and lose a ton of velocity with barrel lengths under 10-inches. In the case of a 5.56 7-inch AR15 pistol muzzle velocity and energy take a huge hit down to 2000-2200 fps velocity and 500-700 ft/lbs energy. A super short AR15 still delivers big power, but in contrast the 10mm is actually a better option. 

Depending on the round, 10mm rounds were designed to deliver 500-770 ft/lbs energy and 1000-2400 fps out of a 4-inch barrel and out of an AR15 equivalent 7-inch barrel the round picks up about another 10% of velocity and a bump in power. The heavy fat round is designed as a pistol caliber which means it really will not pick up a lot more power with a longer barrel, where the light 5.56 round loses about half of its power in a 7-inch barrel. Of course there is also that deafening concussive blast out of a 7-inch barreled 5.56 AR15 pistol which makes it really impractical for home defense. With these points in mind, the argument could easily be made that a very compact 10mm PCC with a 4-inch barrel has the same or more power, in a smaller & quieter format, and that also accepts G20 pistol magazines is a better choice in micro PDW formats.  

The 10mm PCC build pictured is based on a Glock G20 magazine compatible New Frontier Armory receiver set & .40 Caliber bolt, KAK 4-inch 10mm barrel, SB tactical brace, Hiperfire EDC trigger and Sig Sauer Romeo 5 red dot. At under 20-inches, this little PCC is a thumper and can get my steel targets rocking - a feat any of my AR15s cannot accomplish. With a LAW Tactical folding stock adapter instead of the SB Tactical brace, this little rig could be under 14-inches. 

If you are not in the mood to build your own, New Frontier and others offer complete 10mm uppers and C45 lowers that have a combined cost of just under $1000 that only require you to push in the take-down pins. Retailers like Joe Bob Outfitters also have a variety of options as well for a DIY option at a reduced price.

Check BROWNELLS for the best deals on firearms and accessories


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Airforce Airguns - Is PCP Worth the Cost?

Airforce Airguns - Is PCP Worth the Cost?

A few years ago I wrote a few reviews on the Airforce Airguns and loved the features Airforce’s PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) line delivered, but what about from a start-up cost and long term perspective? Initially most shooters new to the premium side of airguns may be a little sticker shocked at both the initial price of any of the premium PCP guns and also all the required initial support equipment. I can assure shooters, the cost, accuracy, and convenience is worth it if you are an avid backyard, hunter, and airgun shooter.

QUICK REFILLS - With the the more typical springer (spring or gas spring piston) airguns, the shooters cocks the gun, drops in a pellet, shoots, and repeat the process. On PCP airguns, the gun is either filled with a special high pressure hand pump (which is a workout) or a quick scuba tank refill (about 2 seconds of stress free reflection on life), generally a lot of shots can be taken between refills and the shooter can just keep feeding pellets and shooting before going back for a refil. Shooting a PCP airgun like the Airforce lineup becomes more like just continually feeding a single shot firearm and less like a trip to the gym with enough arm movements from cocking to signal most aircraft. In a hunting situation, PCP airgun follow up shots are far more stealthy, faster and generally wildly more accurate. 

MULTISHOT - What I have enjoyed most is that I can shoot for fifty or so full power shots between refills, walk over to my scuba tank ($15 for a refill at my local scuba shop), connect the line, and in a few seconds I am ready to reshoot at full power. If I really am not that particular on power levels and just plinking or junk bird/rodent shooting, I can continue to shoot for a few hundred shots before refilling. The convenience of the refill with the scuba tank is really amazingly. For the larger calibers such as .25 to .50 pellets, more frequent refills are required to deliver appropriate power levels.

POWER FLEXIBILITY - The other big benefit is the adjustability of the pressure levels via Airforce’s on airgun power wheel which goes from neighbor friendly backyard shooting noise levels on setting 0 to power levels that are typically far outside the abilities of springer guns at level 10+. The on-board air cylinder can be charged to maximum for a lot of power and high number of shots or lower power levels if quieter shooting is prefered. The on-board power setting can also further tune that pressure as well. The versatility in power is one of the benefits of Pre-Charged Pneumatic airguns and one of my favorite capabilities. The TalonSS with a 1000 PSI charge on lowest setting is a bit quieter than you average Daisy Red Ryder BB gun while still delivering a enough pop from a .22 caliber pellet to drop rodents and junk birds within the confines of most yards. With a full power 3000 PSI charge, both guns have more than enough power for consistent 50-yard accuracy and the TalonSS delivers upwards of 25 ft/lbs of muzzle energy and the TalonP can deliver a whopping 55+ ft/lbs. These models are not even Airforce’s big bore high power hunting models which can deliver upwards of 500-ft/lbs of energy

ACCURACY - Many will argue that there are a host of super accurate airguns on the market, but the Airforce guns equipped with Lothar Walther barrels are just phenomenally accurate beyond what anyone would imagine. Single hole 25-yard groups are common and aspirin sized groups at 50-yards are typical once you find the ammo that works well for your selected power level. My favorite pellets for the TalonSS are .22 Predator PolyMag 16.0 gr and for the TalonP JSB Match Domed Diabolo Exact King .25 Cal, 25.39 Gr pellets. Though I have been a pellet gun shooter for over 40-years, I have never had as much fun with the precision shots I am able to deliver with either of these guns. 

COST VS FUNCTIONALITY VS QUALITY - The Base Airforce TalonSS (Suppressed) models are priced just under $700 and the TalonP (Suppressed) just under $500. Add in optics, mounts, universal fill adapter for a scuba tank and a scuba tank and the first time shooter has invested over $1200 in the initial setup. Airforce also has kits available which include everything except the air tank for just under $1000.

The initial setup of any PCP rifle will be more than spring piston but the above advantages deliver something a spring piston gun cannot. With that noted, nearly every PCP airgun I have handled and shot has been at the high end of quality and workmanship and the Airforce models have lead the pack in the US on quality since introduction. My blue anodized TalonSS is one of my prized guns. The other point is that these are not “just airguns”, because to safely handle, meter, and deliver pressures up to 3000 PSI, they have to be extremely high precision. The customer service also has to be exceptional and with the small problems I have experienced, Airforce has delivered great support.

This cost tier may not be for every shooter, however the Airforce airguns has been on the marketing since 1994 and provend both their exceptional quality and high reliability for a lifetime of use with very little maintenance or replacement parts. There is a payback model if you are trying to justify this in your head and for your wallet, but you have to look at the cost of similar accuracy delivering .22LR Rimfire round like Lapua Center-X which can exceed 20-cents a round. That payback model is 20-cents per .22LR round X 20 shots per day X 200 days a year shooting = about a two year payback for displacing .22LR shooting. I personally look at the investment from a perspective that I am able to shoot in my backyard any time I want without disturbing neighbors which is delivering me more time shooting.


I will on occasion pull out my pump and spring airguns typically to just recheck zeros, however once you start to shoot PCP airguns, you never want to go back. The power range adjustability, insane accuracy, quality, convenience, quick shooting, and zero recoil have all made my TalonSS and TalonP my go to airguns.

I initially purchase both the TalonSS and Talon P in the kits that included optics and fill accessories. The Condor and many other Airforce models are more powerful, however both of these models features suppressors which does make them quieter. The TalonSS being incredible quiet. There are a few modifications I have made along the way. Generally I shoot on a very low #3 power setting on my TalonSS with frequent 1000 PSI charges. This delivers a shot which is more than enough to drop junk birds and rodents in the backyard that is about as loud as a quit cough and the sound of the click on the trigger. The Airforce optics included in the kits are really very good but huge. I upgraded to a bit more clarity to Nikon Prostaff, EFR Target Rimfire 3-9 variable scope. I lost the multi-color reticle, and some power that the Airforce optics delivered, but I drastically decreased the overall optic size while drastically improving clarity and increased field of view across the magnification range.

No way around it, TalonP is freaking loud even with the integrated suppressor. With that pop comes a ton of power (55+ ft/lbs) that will match and potentially beat a .25ACP handgun round. I typically just leave this at power level #10 with a 2500 PSI charge with a 25-yard zero for larger nuisance rodents we have in our area. A single snap of the TalonP’s report is loud but not enough to get lights to start turning on in the neighborhood and is more than accurate and powerful to get the job done on the first shot. I added an option TalonP tank stock to give me a bit more comfort behind the scope. I found the original optic mounts a little high for the size of the TalonP and remounted the Airforce Optic with Nikon Medium Rimfire rings. A lower power optic was considered, however due to the precision accuracy, the original 3-9 power Airforce optic was retained.

On both guns I added a home-made 10-round adhesive back foam pellet holder on the left side of the gun. If there was one thing I would love to have is an auto feeder for the Airforce guns. This simple foam add on at least puts 10-rounds right at my fingertips for fast follow up shots and is an effective and secure pellet holder that I crafted from spare ½-inch foam.

Check BROWNELLS for the best deals on firearms and accessories

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Affordable Precision Riton RT-S MOD 7 5-25X56IR & Savage 110 Tactical 6.5 Creedmore Review

Affordable Precision Riton RT-S MOD 7 5-25X56IR & Savage 110 Tactical 6.5 Creedmore Review

Having owned several $3000-$5000 precision rifles, the quest for accuracy can be expensive. The goal of this build was a rig with fine precise accuracy with a price tag most shooters could afford. At full MSRP this complete ready to shoot setup is under $1800 including gun, optic, rings, and magazine and easily delivers sub-.5-inch 100-yard groups all day long. 

A very long time ago, I had an amazing long range shooter tell me that the secret to great long range shooting on a budget was to spend all your money on the optic, because if you could not see the target, your certainly would not hit it. He went on to note that what seperates good optics from great optics is the clarity at 500-1000 yards where lesser optics drastically fall off delivering detail at that distance. This is a perfect case in point where a great affordable very accurate Savage rifle is paired with a high tier Riton optic in an affordable solution that allows a reasonably prices option to jump into precision shooting. Savage does not offer this as a combo, but everything can be easily dropped in the cart at Cheaper Than Dirt.

Riton was founded in 2013 by Law Enforcement and Military Veteran, Brady Speth, and his wife, Carrie Speth with the simple goal of delivering quality and affordability to the optics industry with customer service as the biggest focus.

According to Brady Speth CEO Riton - “There are certainly great optics companies making great optics, but our frustration was that the optics industry as a whole really was not delivering the value, quality, and service without a big hefty price tag attached. The optics technology is already out there and is just getting better and better every year as we can see even in the quality even camera phones are able to produce, but prices are really not dropping in hunting sporting and military optics and we started to ask why.”

When you consider that nearly every optics company in the world from budget to premier optics all source from the same small number of manufacturers in Japan and China such as Nikkor for glass and assembly. The term “quality” has been extremely subjective and really comes down to quality control processes commitments of the company, marketing, and the profit the company is willing to make. “We just felt the higher-tier optics prices were really over inflated and saw an opportunity to deliver a premium tier optic at a mid-tier price point” noted Speth.

Riton optics designs the optics in Tucson AZ and leverage overseas manufacturing relationships where they can assure complete quality control. All Riton optics are Dry Nitrogen Purged and Sealed, feature premium Riton HD Glass, Riton (Multi-coated) Performance Coating, and rugged 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, CNC machined one piece tubes, Type III Hard Coat Anodized construction and quality control tested by Riton’s certified technician in Tucson, AZ. 

Handling the $1100 MSRP Riton RT-S MOD 7 5-25X56IR reviewed here, the 34mm tubed optic has the feel and durable heft of optics in the $1300-$1800 tier. This did not feel like just another $500 or $800 optic attempting to imitate the look of a $1500 optic without the specs to back it up. The optic is amazingly clear throughout the entire magnification range without any visible edge distortion, turret adjustments are consistent and defined and lockable with reference indicators, and the MRAD version delivered shots consistently after calibrating my ballistic calculator to this rifle and optic. The optics passed a simple box test and precisely returned to zero. For a sub $1000 optic the glass is phenomenally clear with a rugged durable construction what will certainly last a lifetime. The illumination is tuned for low light use and was appropriately dimmable at night and still visible if needed during daylight.

The intent of this build was to allow the $769 MSRP Savage 110 Tactical 6.5 Creedmore to achieve its precision potential which is well documented as a sub-MOA capable rifle with many shooters achieving sub-.3-inch 100-yard groups. The Savage 110 format is well known to be incredibly accurate and the 6.5 Creedmore adds to the precision with what many describe as an accuracy “cheater” round. The Creedmore rounds were designed to optimal accuracy and they certainly have proven themselves from nearly every gun chambering them. The Savage 110 in 6.5 CM delivered impressive sub-.5-inch groups for me 100-yard groups only a dozen rounds out of the box, however it was the the ability for me to easily hold 5-inch 500-yard groups which was due to the brilliantly clear Riton RT-S Mod 7 5-25x56IR. 

The optic was mounted simply with an available set of 34mm Tactical 6-screen Weaver rings which I believe were the weakest link and could be improved upon with a set of high quality precision Seekins or APA rings. My experience is that investment in precision matched rings will mechanically deliver a jump in accuracy and prevent failures in the field. I do also feel the Savage really could use a picatinny rail for a more substantial bipod attachment, however it certainly performed well without that feature for me.

The Savage and Riton both performed amazing for such an affordable precision rifle rig. Notably the Savage 110 is very well appointed considering its price. Savage’s “Accu” Stock, Trigger, and Fit systems all work very well. Savage also includes some nice out of the box features on this 110 Tactical like 10-round AICS Magpul compatible magazine well, tactical bolt knob, 20-MOA EGW rail, and is threaded for suppressor attachment. I easily attached my APD Suppressor which has shown to be one of my more accuracy improving .308 suppressors while delivering a more pleasant shooting experience. This Riton Savage setup an excellent combo for the shooter that want premium tier precision without sacrificing a house payment to do it.

Dry Argon Purged and Sealed
Utilizing Argon gas, the optic is purged and sealed to ensure superior performance in all weather conditions for the life of the optic.

Precision Quality Assurance
Every Riton product goes through a rigorous quality control process by a certified technician in Tucson, AZ. Each product you receive has undergone a thorough dual inspection process, being tested and inspected twice prior to making it to you.

Riton Advanced Turret System
The Riton Advanced Turret System incorporates push/pull locking turrets, as well as windage and elevation reference indicators for repeatable tracking and accuracy.

Riton HD/ED Glass
The Riton High Density (HD)/Extra Dispersion (ED) glass delivers 99.5% light transmission with extra low dispersion for an enhanced color spectrum. This high quality HD/ED glass provides optimal clarity and an improved sight picture.

Riton Performance Coating
Incorporating proprietary fully multi-coated lenses, all Riton optics feature low light enhancement, full wide band, anti-scratch and anti-reflective coatings for increased light transmission and overall lens performance.

Riton Rugged Construction
The Riton Rugged Construction incorporates the application of 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, CNC machined one piece tubes, and Type III Hard Coat Anodize.

Unlimited Lifetime Warranty
Gone are the days of two or three month optics repairs and harsh warranty requirements that are typical in the optics industry. Riton notes they have the industry’s best warranty on all of our products with an Unlimited Lifetime Warranty requiring no proof of purchase or registration. If you have an issue with a Riton optic, you send it back to Riton with an Warranty Claim Form and they replace it for you with a brand new product. You will not receive any repair or refurbished products from Riton and they are committed to sending out replacement product within 48 business hours.

Advanced Turret System with Push-Pull Locking/Zero Reset Turrets
Aircraft Grade Aluminum
100% Waterproof
Fog proof
Shockproof (tested up to 1200 G’s)
1/4 MOA or 1/10 MRAD Quick Windage and Elevation Adjustment
Fast-Focus Eyepiece
Assembled in EP-Level Clean Room
Magnification: 5-25
Parallax Adjustment: Side, 10-infinity yards
Tube Diameter: 34mm
Objective Lens Diameter: 56mm
Focal Lens Position: First Focal Plane
Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated, Full Wide Band, Waterproof Coated, Low Light Enhancement
Reticle: Riton Illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle
Field of View at 100 yds: 22.5ft @ 5x – 4.5ft @ 25x
Material: 6061-T6 Aircraft Grade Aluminum
Weight: 37oz/1049g
Length: 15.5in/393mm
Eye Relief: 3.9in/100mm
Exit Pupil: 12mm @ 5x - 2.3mm @ 25m
Click Value at 100 yds/mm: 1/4in/6.3mm – 0.1 MRAD
Adjustment Range: 73 MOA or 20 MRAD
Mounting Length: 6.7in/170mm
MSRP: $1099

SPECS - 110 Tactical Desert - 6.5mm and 6mm Creedmore
AccuFit system lets shooters quickly adjust comb height and length-of-pull
User-adjustable AccuTrigger
AccuStock rail system secures the action three-dimensionally along its entire length
Detachable 10-round Magpul AICS magazine
Threaded heavy barrel with end cap
20 MOA EGW rail
Synthetic stock
Soft grip fore-end and pistol grip surfaces
Model 110 design and ergonomics
Tactical oversized bolt handle
MSRP $769.00
Action Bolt
Barrel Color Black
Barrel Finish Matte
Barrel Length 24"
Barrel Type BA
Bolt Release Type Side
Caliber 6.5 CREEDMOOR
Magazine Capacity 10 Rounds
Hand Right
Length of Pull In 12.75"-13.75"
Magazine Detachable Box Magazine
Overall Length 45.5"-46.5"
Rate of Twist 8
Receiver Color Black
Receiver Finish Matte
Receiver Material Carbon Steel
Type Centerfire
Stock Color Flat Dark Earth
Stock Finish Matte
Stock Material Synthetic
Stock Type Law Enforcement Beavertail
Threaded Barrel Yes
Weight Lb 8.87

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

BMW R80RT Badlands Cafe Racer Project Part 2

BMW R80RT Badlands Cafe Racer Project Part 2

In Part 1 of the MajorPandemic BMW R80RT Badlands Cafe Racer Project the background of the project was covered on why I choose the BMW R80 Airhead. Take a look at the previous Part 1 article here. In this article I will cover the interim status of the project, cost and the specific upgrades.

The Before Picture
The overall strategy for converting any groovy older bike to a sleek badass cafe racer is to strip off the bodywork, remove all the unneeded parts, swap out old giant subframe for a short cafe racer subframe and seat, add on clip-ons, billet rearset, update the electrics, and finish it all off with some pretty high-tier billet goodies. Add in inspection of all the seals, a new set of tires, swap out all the fluids and filters, some fresh powder-coat and paint, and some shock upgrades. 

Weight Reduction - As each discarded part was weight after pulling from the bike including all wiring and large parts including battery. The net result of this conversion was a 150-lb weight reduction over the original 517-lb weight. With the new Vonzeti subframe and seat and other net new components 32-lbs were added back, however it still remains just under 400-lbs. Honestly the bike feels feathery compared to its original mass and is significantly quicker. Although it only has 50HP and 43 ft/lbs of torque it feels quick after all the weight reduction.

Tires - Knobby Continental TKC 80s - $200 set. I love the look and also love the concept that the TKC 80 tire has no limits and still handles great on the road. The tire has proven itself globally as an all terrain on and off road tire even at 80+ MPH highway speeds and was perfect for my Major Pandemic Badlands Cafe Racer concept. They look awesome but was so difficult to install that I had to take them to garage to get them on. 

Tubes - Michelin Ultra Heavy Duty MX Tubes - $70 set. The 1983 R80 was not designed for a tubeless setup and I replaced these as they did look like they were pretty aged. Here I went wrong according to me local shop and should have just purchased standard tubes. They noted that I really get nothing other then some potential balancing issues problems. Unfortunately these things will probably last another twenty years.

Clymer Manual - $40 Clymer Manual was expensive, but the most important tool you can purchase when working on any bike. For the most part, these older carbureted bikes are both simple and frustrating at times with most issues caused by either rushing or overthinking the issue.

Motogadget m-Unit Blue (Bluetooth Enabled) $379 - As builder, if you are going to this level of care with a build then a complete Motogadget m-unit electrical system upgrade is smart to improve reliability & looks while increasing features to a very modern level in the process. It does requires a full rewire of the bike, but the wiring is world more simple than anything OEM. Really unless you are some type of self inflicting sadist, one of the m-Unit models are the way to go and the m-Unit Blue is so features rich I have no idea why they even sell any other models. The features are just too vast to list here to list. See my other article here on wiring a Motogadget m-Unit.

Motogadget M-Blaze Disk Bar End LED Indicators - At $223 for a set, these are extraordinarily expensive, but I will say are worth every penny. They are just freaking cool and disappear visually into the handlebar ends. I would totally buy these again.

Motogadget Multi Conductor Cable $18 & m-Unit Cable Kit $78 - Hands down this was some of the best money spent on the wiring. All this Motogadget wire coincidently matches up perfectly to all the listed Motogadget color code wiring diagrams. I would not wire again without these particular kits. The Multi Conductor Cable is a tiny little 3/16-inch bundle of nine tiny wires that the can be used to run the input controls on the m-Unit… and hide all the wiring with ease.

Revival Cycles LED Supernova Brake and Turn Signals - $30

Bikemaster 7” Headlight and Bucket - $80. Technically, I only needed the headlight bucket, but for the price it was the same price including the light as the other similar headlight bucket shell. I sold the headlight for $20 on ebay.

EMGO Universal Polished Aluminum Side Mount Headlight Mount Brackets - $36 - These supposedly do not fit 36mm stanchion tubes, however by mix and matching the included shims a workable tight fit is achieved. They are not super great quality, but they look great and do the job.

HogWorkz LED 7" Halomaker Headlight For Harley 1994-2019 - $270 This is crazy bright and the halo LED light delivers an amazing look like few other lights. 

Antigravity Small Case 8-Cell 240CA Lithium Ion Battery - $180 To further clean up looks, most builders opt for a tiny Antigravity lithium battery pack. These tiny battery replacements are about 1/10th the weight of OEM batteries and less than ¼ the size all while being easy to tuck out of sight. Upgrading to lithium batteries also has a cascading requirement to upgrade the rectifier so the new Lithium battery does not get overcharged. These old bikes are money pits, so be prepared.

Drag Specialties Battery Clear Cable - $33 - I wanted a clear 12V- main ground wire so it would disappear a bit visually. It did the job and looks good.

Custom 48” 12V+ Power Cable - This had not been received yet for this article. Expected price $40.

Waterproof Bussmann CB285-40 Surface-Mount 40-Amp Circuit Breaker - $28 The Circuit Breaker was added inline instead of a main fuse. For the record, I freaking love this circuit breaker especially through the wiring process. Instead of the numerous times of unscrewing or disconnecting the battery, I can just punch the breaker button and I am electrically safe to play around with wiring. When I am done, I just flip the breaker back on and I am ready to roll, plus on the road a blow fuse will never happen. I made a custom aluminum mount for it to sit in an accessible under the tank.

Antigravity Micro-Start XP-1 / XP-3 Battery Harness Kit - $19. I already own an Antigravity XP-1 Microstart, so it makes sense to add in the hardwired kit in case I do need a jump. I carry the XP-1 on every trip to keep my cell phone charged, however you never know when you might need a jump. 

Vonzeti Seat & Subframe - $453 After a month of agonizing over a myriad of upgrades, styles, and looks, the start of any cafe project is getting the seat and rear subframe right. I decided on a Vonzeti cafe racer T92 subframe, T67 seat, and seat base to deliver the cafe racer look. Vonzeti products are very highly regarded, all handmade with options for various seat fabrics, cowl colors, and are also available in completely custom subframe designs. I choose the T92 subframe and T67 seat but upgraded to a synthetic microsuede with a custom square sewn seat pattern. Vonzeti also sells a matching flat metal seat base which allows an otherwise rounded hollow seat cowl house ugly electronics out of eyesight under the seat and allowed the Antigravity battery, some wiring and the license plate lights to be hidden away. Vonzeti is based in England and will ship anywhere to most countries around the world. About two months after ordering, I had my custom made order in hand and it is gorgeous.

Horn - The dual OEM horns were tossed in favor of a single Denali Soundbomb Mini Horn $30 which is OMG freaking loud and still hides under the tank.

Revival Cycles Universal Under Tank Ignition 2-Position High Security Switch - $30 - Lets face it, thieves have gotten more bold and a lot smarter since the low security keys were made in 1983 for this original bike. This Revival Cycles 2-position High Security 7-pin round key ignition switch is not something thieves will be able to pick with a hair pin. I mounted this inside the engine casing, so you need to partially disassemble the bike to even get to it. 

Motogadget m-Grips - $35 - There are a lot of grips on the market, but I really like the clean premium look and grid pattern on these soft rubber grips. Motogadget does offer aluminum versions of these exact grips as well, however I knew whatever grip selected had to fit over the Demon Heat grip heaters I selected and still transmit some heat. Really happy with the quality and how these look. 

Motogadget m-Rear Bar End Mirror - $260 Set. Again the Motogadget accessories are not cheap, however they are amazing premium quality. These mount around the outside end of the handlebars and a perfect complement to the m-Grips, and m-Blaze LED indicators. They did take a bit of adjustment, however once set, they are everything I could possibly need for a peek behind.

Symtec Heat Demon Heated Grips - $54 - These were hard wired from the AUX2 output of the m-Unit Blue with a custom mount hidden just under the left side of the tank. Even if I forget and leave them on, the m-Unit turns of all the Aux 2 power after the ignition powers off. The High/Low/Off switch is easy to work with my left gloved hand and initiates an amazing night hot grips for cooler weather riding - even cool summer evenings they are really nice. I could ride on a wooden seat before I would give these up. 

Revival Cycles Rick’s Combo Regulator Rectifier - $129. The best electrical charging upgrade a vintage bike builder can do. This solved basically all my charging issues and still gives me enough power to run my heated grips. 

Oshmo for Motogadget /5 /6 /7 BMW Billet Triple Clamp - $299. 
Oshmo is not the fastest, but he almost always picks up the phone and delivers jewelry quality parts. Due to variety of specs, these parts are milled and finished in small batches … kinda like bourbon. This is an aluminum upper (top) triple clamp machined from 6061 Aluminum Billet has an inboard clamping feature that captures and clamps the stanchion tubes. The outer round contour follows the BMW factory profile for Airhead vintage look while the rugged design and clamping feature makes for a super rigid steering reinforcement component. 

Oshmo Rear Set Foot Controls - $369 - These are again amazing quality and look stunning. The only issue I had was that on the later BMW R series there is a brass bushing which is sweated into a mount on the frame. The Oshmo mount, unknowingly requires drilling out and removal of this brass bushing for installation. The rear brake switch also requires some relocation as well. 

Motogadget MST Tiny Speedster Speedometer - $277. Like all other Motogadget accessories this is a thing of beauty. Despite the tiny sub-2-inch size, the MST features high beam, oil pressure, neutral, and indicator lights, precision stepper motor speedometer, digital speedometer, mileage, trip, time and many other features. The only thing it lacks is a tachometer.

Bob’s BMW Repro Valve Covers - $120 - Not installed yet, but I have them ready for install. I wanted that older style peanut valve cover and for $120, it is hard not to opt for these newly precision manufacturers versions instead of used vintage parts for the same price. My plan is to mirror polish these.

Bob’s BMW - Exhaust Nuts - $60 - The old versions were in pretty good shape but had taken a few rock hits and I wanted these parts to look as new as possible. 

Monza Billet Fuel Cap - $184 - No vintage cafe racer project is complete without a vintage looking Monza style billet fuel cap. 

Exhaust - The net of the exhaust upgrades was a huge weight savings and an aggressive throaty sound with a look that screams MajorPandemic Badlands Cafe Racer. The Exhaust wraps are a project yet to come in Part 3.

19.5" "Mini" Norton Commando Style Muffler - $160
8" Stainless Steel Tie Wraps - $32
DEi Black Titanium Fiberglass Exhaust/Header Wrap - $79.95

Apex Cycles Master Cylinder Billet Brake Reservoir Cover - $20 - Probably the least expensive upgrade on the bike, but it really brings a bit of silver to the hand controls. The $2 master cylinder o-ring was also replaced at the same time. 

Misc Parts & Tools - $300 is probably a generous amount for all the zip-ties, wire split loom, degreaser, heat shrink, Chinese LEDs for license plate illumination, connectors, crimpers, and misc bolts and nuts purchased for the project.

Paint/Wrap & Finishing Touches - The next steps after all the components were fitted and needed mounting tabs were added, removing any extra OEM factory tabs were ground off to clean up the frame, the frame will get powder coated… but not for a while. In the case of this old BMW’s which has a few areas which have been brush painted over the years, powder coat will be a substantial upgrade to the finish. In an effort to keep my marriage intact, I elected to removed the seat and tank, wrap the engine with plastic wrap, did a light sand, and I touched up the frame with a quality semi-gloss black spray can finish. Not ideal, but it cleaned up the look of the frame enough that I did not swear every time I walked up to it. Eventually the bike will get a powdercoat, but for now… I ride. For the fender, seat cowl and tank, I also elected to shortcut the finish with a wrap. I saw a demo at the SEMA trade show on vinyl wraps and I have been wanted to try this ever since. Yes, apparently vinyl wrap deliver an amazing look even for the DIY’er. I used the VViVID Electric Blue Carbon wrap, 3M Silver and Black and after a dozen hours of Youtube how-to videos, I managed to work through this DIY wrap install with the help of a buddy. Although the pictures do not show it, I have added on new BMW badges on the tank.

Final Total for Upgrades - Just under $4500
Cost of the Bike - $1900
Stripped parts sold on eBay - ($600)
Net total on project $5800

Still To Do in Part 3
Polish all the appropriate billet pieces
Deep engine detail clean
Replace all the brake pads
Replace brake lines with some new awesome looking braided line
Brake line flush
Spark plug wire replacement and potentially coil replacement
Finish a few of the wire loom run.

Still To Do in Part 4
Bare Frame strip and powder coat
Full bearing replacement on frame and rims