Monday, December 1, 2014

Feddersen Magnum Research Timney Custom 10/22 Long Range Tack Driver

Feddersen Magnum Research Timney Custom 10/22 Long Range Tack Driver

Back when I was doing all the Ultimate 10/22 builds, I felt like I was rushing a bit to get through some of those builds and reviews, however after looking back I had some favorite components. One of the builds I did not get to work up was a high precision long range 10/22 with higher magnification optic and one specifically setup for long range rimfire field work. In all those previous builds I used more reasonably powered optics which matched to the typical sub-50 yard ranges shot with a .22LR.

The requirements for this custom 10/22 build are little different from what the Ultralight Magnum Research Graphite barreled 10/22 I reviewed or the high dollar sports car finish of the Kidd, or the style of many of my other featured 10/22 builds. All of those previous builds really were designed as 50-yard guns. This build requires precision and field durability. I also wanted to have some way to make the already minimal concussion of the .22LR round a bit quieter for the shooter, but wanted to avoid either a long barrel or suppressor.

Boyds Pro Varmint Stock - Of all the stocks I tested, the Boyds Pro Varmint (previously named the Tacticool) delivered the most comfortable stock to lay down or sit behind. At only $100 for a laminated 10/22 stock, it is a very hard stock to beat and one which is ready to paint. I chose to create a simple and easy Krylon Camo paint job and then coated it with multiple coats of spray lacquer to add a durable topcoat  with protection against harsh cleaning chemicals. I have used this technique before and it has proven to be a great option for colorizing and painting a stock. The final finish turned out great and looks awesome with the all blacked out components.

Feddersen 10/22 Barrel - I have heard many precision .22LR shooters claim that 18”, 20”, or 22” barrels will shoot better than my prefered 16.25” barrel length. That may be true with some barrels however I was already shooting essentially single hole .2X”-.3x” groups at 50-yards with all my other Feddersen 16.25” barrel guns with plain old CCI Standard Velocity ammo. I also have an 18” Feddersen barreled 10/22 and I technically the 16.25” shoots better for me. It makes it hard to justify a longer 2”-6” barrel length, added weight and decreased maneuverability. The Feddersen barrels are not picky about ammo either where I found that most other tight grouping match barrels do not necessarily shot the high velocity ammo as well as match spec standard velocity ammo. Feddersen barrel shoot the extremely hot CCI Velocitor .22LR ammo exceptionally well even shoot other HV rounds very well which of course is what you want when you are building a longer range gun that can reach beyond the 50 or 100 yard mark. Feddersen offers many options including including flat basic blue finish, threading, and fluting. I choose the 16.25” barrel fluted and threaded in the basic flat blued finish.

Timney Trigger Unit - There are a several great triggers on the market including Kidd, Volquartsen, Force, and a few others however for a fielded trigger, I really like the Timney 10/22 trigger’s sub-3lb trigger.  It is crisp but not so light that it creates worries in the field. The entire assembly replaces the stock Ruger 10/22 assembly with just two pins. In this case I pinned up the Timney trigger unit to the Magnum Research receiver. The Timney 10/22 trigger delivers auto-bolt release functionality as well as a precision all billet aluminum trigger assembly and extended magazine release oaired with an exceptional trigger. If you want to get fancy, Timney also has silver anodized frames with various trigger shoe colors. For this build I stuck with basic black.

Magnum Research MLR-22ATU Receiver & Bolt - I have seen a bump in accuracy with billet 10/22 receivers and trued bolts and one of the best deals in the industry is the Magnum Research receiver and bolt. The bolt is available separately, however currently the receiver is currently only available as a complete rifle. It does help when you have parts sitting around and in this case I had just finished a review of the MLR-22ATU. I started with a complete stock MLR-22ATU rifle, however I really wanted the weight and the barrel threading that the Feddersen barrel provided over the MLR barrel. The MLR Receiver is a top end precision billet receiver however I wish it had a built in 10 or 20 MOA drop into the integrated picatinny mount. The included MLR trued billet steel bolt is every bit as good as any of the other “premium 10/22 bolts” on the market and at only $70, it is one of the best deals out there. I do think that Magnum Research is missing a pretty huge opportunity to offer just their billet upper receivers in the market. I am betting they would be one of the most competitively priced stripped precision 10/22 upper receivers on the market.

PWS CQB Brake - One of my primary concerns was that I really did not want to wear ear protection in the field, however I didn’t want to be exposed to the snap of the .22LR round either. The .22LR round already has such a mild report from a rifle that many people do not use hearing protection, however I wanted to be extra cautious. Most people immediately think of increasing barrel length or using a suppressor to reduce noise levels, however frankly I didn’t want the paperwork headache or the added barrel length.

One of the unique and newer products on the market are modern AR15 pistol Krinkov style muzzle brakes. These new updated style of chambered brake have shown to deliver three basic features; a braking effect, added cycling back pressure, and physical redirection of the harsher concussive blast forward of the shooter. Performance-wise there is one big difference between this style brake and a suppressor, they do not reduce/quiet the front of muzzle sound level and from my experience can make it even louder up front. The sound level is still there just going a different direction and the reason why they do not fall under a sound reduction device according to the ATF.

Since I could care less about increased sound levels down range and these devices are perfectly legal to purchase right off the shelf it seemed like the perfect fit for this build.  One of my favorites of this new Krink design is the CQB from Primary Weapons Systems. This brake works wonders to push the deafening AR15 pistol blast forward away from the shooter and I thought it would be an interesting use here. Using a smartphone app, I did some informal sound level testing and it would appear that adding the brake actually increases the front of the muzzle sound levels on the .22LR, however behind the gun the report was noticeably reduced to a level where I would feel very comfortable not using ear plugs. On this build I did not see a zero shift without without the CQB brake installed. The brake is heavy especially for a .22LR build and I would not use it on all builds, however in this specific build it works outstanding.

Nikon Monarch 8-32 ED Fine Dot Reticle - $699 - Some will say I went totally overboard on this $700 optic for a freaking 10/22 build however I disagree vehemently. Once you get past the 100-yard mark and want to deliver high precision shots on tiny little critters or targets way out in the distance you need extreme clarity and high magnification and the Nikon Monarch delivers.  To be fair this is the same Nikon Monarch 8-32 ED which I have reviewed and featured for the last two years in many...many articles and thought a final home on this build was the right fit for this well used optic. Another great option would have been a Burris Timberline 4.5-14 however I think 20X+ magnification is required for precision distance shots.

The power and clarity of this Nikon Monarch optic deliver down range big time. I have bested my best groups with my other Feddersen barrels and was shocked at my 100-yard groups due to the magnification advantage, but more on that in a minute. The only limited factor of this optic which would make me consider a lower power option for a .22LR is that is that the side focus only really allows clear focus down to the 50-yard line, so this optic does make short shots less precise and challenging.

This build is extremely stable and solid in the prone position or off the bench. That stability equals accuracy down range. All the little things add up on this build from the Boyds Stock to the Timney trigger, Feddersen barrel, Magnum Research bolt and receiver, PWS compensator, and Nikon optic. Every component on this build adds up the single most precise 10/22 rifle I own and also on of the most pleasant to shoot.

One of the things I have found is that Feddersen 10/22 barrels only shoot better as time goes by and on this build I have seen the same thing. A previously untested Aquila Ammo Match and rifle Match ammo performed very well delivering .125" 50-yard groups. The 50-yard groups from this rifle have been my personal best 5-shot group of a measured .00” with Lapua Midas. Yep this was a single hole-er at 50-yards. At 100-yards I managed a .24” group with Lapua Midas. Now that is an awesome shooting rifle. Even better at 200-yards I was still able to stay easily under an 2” and at 300-yards I was under 6" on a regular basis and ringing the 12” 300-yard gong was thoughtless process. With a better shooter behind the gun, I am sure those longer range groups would improve considerably, but I am thrilled with what this gun delivers as is with me behind the gun.

This 10/22 build delivers everything I could possible want for a precision sniper style fielded gun. It has the durability to put up with bumps and bruises of the field and the precision to really reach out more accurately and further down range far beyond what most consider the 10/22 capable of.  None of the previously tested parts on this build were a surprise with the exception of adding the PWS CQB compensator. For the shooter the CQB brake makes shooting all that more pleasant, however at the front of the muzzle it may get a little more noisey, but that is OK. It is not acting as a supressor, however it does what I needed it to which is redirect the sound pressure away from me. The PWS CQB does the job it was intended to do and all for far less than what a $200 tax stamp plus a $200-$300 supressor. The build has been amazing and I cannot wait until a nice sunny and warm spring day to really see how far this build can shoot.

Feddersen 16.25” Blued Fluted and Threaded 10/22 Barrel - $190
Timeny 10/22 Match Trigger - $220
Boyd’s Stock Pro Varmint Stock - $99
Magnum Research Bolt $60 & MLR22-ATU receiver (Estimate $175)
Primary Weapons Systems CQB Compensator - $120

Nikon Monarch 8-32 ED - $700

Timney Triggers -
Primary Weapons Systems - PWS - PWS -

Walther PPK .380 ACP Review

Walther PPK .380 ACP Review

There is one and only reason I own a Walther PPK and that is simply because of the Bond films and every boy eventually wants to just like Bond. Its a cool and sexy pistol, but hardly a modern defensive firearm. The allegedly underpowered and supposedly unreliable PPK with goofy operational requirements is still the embodiment of of a “10” on the hotness scale.

Icon’s are like that sometimes; sometimes they infallibly awesome and other times they are just fun to look at. The PPK for better or worse has that reputation of a fun gun because of Bond.  Part of that reputation has been the constant churn of manufacturers carrying the PPK manufacturing flag. Almost everyone agrees that the old German made Walther PPKs were the best and most reliable. Both Interarms and S&W were well meaning, but did the PPK moniker no favors with reliability problems. The PPK requires a certain attention to detail to make reliable however a high production paired with cost sensitive street pricing made for a gun that was less than reliable. Today, Walther is again attempting to return the PPK’s reputation as a solid and reliable handgun which still delivers the sex appeal we all know as the “Bond Gun”.

The Walther produced PPK is far better than any of the Interarms or S&W sample I have seen. I will be the first to say that the I would like to see even more refinement of the venerable PPK. The fit is excellent and very tight on the Walther, the finish is very nice, however the feel is where I think five extra minutes during production could have made a really beautiful gun even better. My complaint is that there are a lot of sharp edges on the Walther PPK, some of which are pretty darn sharp. One extra finishing step to work around all those edges with a polishing bit would do wonders for the final feel of the PPK and greatly improve carry comfort or at least avoid scaring up a ladies beautiful purse. I have spent a few minutes with a Dremel to soften all the edges and also add some contour to the beaver tail for added carry comfort and it made a world of difference.

From a features perspective, the PPK is either the most confounding design or elegantly simple depending on who you are talking with. The PPK has a unique safety, the magazine release in an odd place, and charges in a unique way thanks to the absence of a magazine release. Dropping the safety decocks the hammer and locks the firing pin and offers a totally safe carry option, however I only use the feature to decock the gun. The PPK does lock back on the last round, however you need to train a bit to have your thumb remember the high placement of the magazine release on the grip and then remember the overhand slide charge move to release the slide after a new mag is inserted. If I am carrying the PPK, I am doing so due to a need for a very compact concealable gun and pretty much consider it a disposable 6+1 round gun. If I am that worried that I may need another magazine, I will carry a higher capacity gun. The PPK for me is more of a mindset of “I have a gun” vs “I have the ultimate gun” as I run down the street to the grocery store.

For the record I carry my PPK regularly when I need a small concealment pistol which means that I consider my stainless PPK reliable, however to get it there took some work and some precautions. The Walther produced PPK is very tight, especially the stainless model, and really starts to shine after running a hundred or so rounds through the gun. The PPK needs to be broke in to really run well and some cheap .380 practice ammo will have you grinning like Bond after each range session. I have also worked the gun over internally and externally with a polishing Dremel bit and hard red polishing compound to slick up all the surfaces and improve reliability.

Despite what I am about to note as a serious reliability issue I have experienced with the wrong ammo, the Walther PPK has been highly reliable for me both as a defensive and fun plinking gun. The pistol has digested hundreds of rounds of ammo from inexpensive to expensive without an issue or bobble with the exception of two specific brands.

That noted, there are some precautions from an ammo perspective. Like so many of the older pre-hollow point semi-auto designs, the PPK was historically designed to function and operate best with round nose FMJ rounds and it does. Start stuffing hot loaded max sized SAMMI spec hollow point rounds and feeding problems can occur if you have not done your testing.

Hornady Ammo runs fine however these DPX
and Sig Rounds jam.
As long as the rounds feed from the magazine, I have not have any reliability problems. The one problem I have experienced has been some .380 hollow point rounds jamming in the magazine. I was testing some potential replacements to my Hornady 90gr cone shaped HP defensive rounds. The proposed replacements were the DPX and Sig Sauer .380 round nose HP ammo. Both brands generated the first, second, third and fourth Type 3 jams (gun is operable) I have ever experienced with a handgun or rifle and it shocked me that this occurred on a fairly high end defensive pistol with high dollar defensive ammo.

The jam was actually caused by the ammo jamming in the magazine, so standard “Type 1 - tap and rack” and “Type 2 Jam - full clearing and mag swap” maneuvers did nothing to resolve the issue. A mag swap was done and I had the same problem with the other magazine. This is a really bad jam which should cause you to reach for your pocket knife.  To resolve the issues, I had to bang the magazine on the tailgate to dislodge the stock rounds in the magazine while poking them with my knife blade. I had the same problem with the DPX ammo. So I had the privilege to experience one of the single worse firearm jams four times in a row.  

This is not necessarily the PPK’s fault as I have worked at least 400 rounds through the PPK and never had this issue with my defensive Hornady rounds. What I did find was that the shape of the Sig and DPX rounds did not fit with the front of the magazine contour, so the rounds would hang and tilt in the magazine and then jam. Always run at least a box of your new favorite untested ammo through your gun before you bet your life on an untested ammo and gun combo.

From an accuracy perspective, I have been extremely impressed with the Walther PPK. The gun naturally shoots better than pretty much any small compact pistol I own. 25-yard shots on my Action Target steel silhouette are easy and in fact hitting the 6” steel swinger is pretty easy.

The PPK has been around for quite a while with a few refinements including chamber loaded indicators and stainless options. In some cases the versions we have seen from manufacturers other than Walther have delivered the novelty, but not guns which offer the reliability of the original German versions. I think the new Walther produced PPK version puts a lot of quality back into the design. Shooters just need to spend a little time breaking in the pistol and assuring the ammo they want to stake their life on works in the pistol. I have no reservations about my PPK’s reliability when fed with Hornady 90gr FTX Critical Defense.

The PPK is an icon and I feel like I am carrying a legend when I carry it and a bit like Bond. I can hear you screaming at your screen right now saying “Hey stupid carry a real gun with more reliability and get over your Bond issues”. Well usually I am carrying some other full capacity firearm or even Walther’s own single stack 9mm PPS, however on occasion the romance of this gun grabs me and I end up stuffing it in my waistband and walking out the door to save the world.

Caliber: .380 ACP
Finish: Stainless
Trigger Pull: DA: 13.4 lbs / SA: 6.1 lbs
Barrel Length: 3.3″
Capacity: 6 rnds +1
Overall Length: 6.1″
Height w/Magazine: 3.8″
Width: 1″
Sight Radius: 4.2″
Weight (empty mag): 1.4 lbs


Saturday, November 29, 2014

MultiTasker AR15 Pocket Toolbox Review

MultiTasker AR15 Pocket Toolbox Review

Often times I find myself at the range testing a newly built AR15 or an AR which needs a little tweaking, tuning, or tightening and I am without the right tools to bring the gun back into adjustment.  Usually this means begging for tools up and down the firing line, however when out in the field far from someone you can conveniently ask, "hey can I borrow a...?"  that can be an issue and make for a challenging day.

I ran across the MultiTasker a couple months ago on and it has been far handier than the tool would seem from a distance. shipped quick and effeciently answered a few pre-purchase questions about the tool for me.

The Multitasker picks up where the other multi-tools leave off. Where most of the other multi-tools focus on either resolving some functional issues afield or are simply just multi-tools with a wrench in the belt pouch.

The MultiTasker offers all the tools required to assemble and AR with the exception of a barrel wrench tool. So even if you find yourself with a loose buffer tube castle nut, the MultiTasker has the on board tools to get everything tightened just as you would back in your shop.  Recently I had the opportunity to use the MultiTasker for two separate ground up AR15 builds.

All the tools are extremely high quality and not “Chinese knock off”. The Pliers are CNC machined pliers (D2 tool steel) - Not investment cast, the grips are non-slip G10 scales (available in Black or Tan), 3/8” hex wrench for LaRue mounts, 1/2” hex for scope rings, Dual lug M4 castle nut spanner wrench + screwdriver, 3/32" pin punch with 8-32 male thread for OTIS cleaning kit compatibility, Radiused tip carbon scraper, 3" D2 tool steel knife blade - Plain edge or partially serrated, Pocket clip (removable), and 1/4" magnetic bit driver with M16A2 FSP adjuster. Each and every part is high quality.  Separate non-integrated ¼” hex shaft No.1 Phillips, 3/32 Slotted, 3/16 Hex, 9/64 Hex, 1/8 Hex, 7/64 Hex, 3/32 Hex, T10 Torx, T15 Torx bits are included in a bit carrier, however you can swap out any of your typically used bits in the carrier.

Generally the blade and blade geometry suck on tools like this, however the MultiTasker features a 3” D2 tool steel blade in either plain or partially serrated edges.

The MultiTasker is a great tool and delivers all the tools required to service your AR15 or other similar rifle/pistol in the field including aggressive carbon removal and support of Otis Cleaning systems.  The price on the $180 MultiTasker may seem steep, however the quality of this fully CNC (non-cast) tool set and high end G10 grips deliver a supreme top end multi-tool with quality above even the top end of name brand MultiTools.  

If you have an AR15 you need the MultiTasker to resolve nearly any problem which could occur in the field with the exception of a muzzle brake coming loose. An outstanding tool which will not leave you to hoping the guy’s tool box next to you might possibly have the right tool to get you up and running.

CNC machined pliers (D2 tool steel) - Not investment cast
Non-slip G10 scales (Black or Tan)
3/8” hex for LaRue mounts
1/2” hex for scope rings
Dual lug M4 castle nut spanner wrench + screwdriver
3/32" pin punch with 8-32 male thread for OTIS cleaning kit compatibility
Radiused tip carbon scraper
3" D2 tool steel knife blade - Plain edge or partially serrated
Pocket clip (removable)
1/4" magnetic bit driver with M16A2 FSP adjuster
Includes these commonly used hex bits and a convenient bit carrier: No.1 Phillips, 3/32 Slotted, 3/16 Hex, 9/64 Hex, 1/8 Hex, 7/64 Hex, 3/32 Hex, T10 Torx, T15 Torx
MSRP $179.99

Manufacturer Site: MultiTasker Tools -

MultiTasker Tool sourced from:

Purple Passion AR15 for Mrs. Pandemic

Purple Passion AR15 for Mrs. Pandemic

After you have been married for decades, it is funny we guys can twist little casual comments from our girls into rational for more equipment, tools, or in this case a new AR15. While utilizing Mrs. Pandemic as my style consult for custom and charity AR15 builds, she made the comment that a purple AR15 build at some point "...would be cool, but ya know, you never have any extra time for things for me."  Knowing that purple was her favorite color and her birthday was coming up, I took this backhanded comment and translated it as "I need a brand new custom purple AR15"... which for the record was not at all what she meant.  By the time I am dead I should it figured out that what a wife says is not what she actually means. Just like the iPad she never wanted for her birthday and his and hers Glock 19s for our 19th wedding anniversary, this too also worked out and became a thoughtful gift; somehow.

The project started with the Black Rain Ordnance NY Compliant AR15 which I reviewed knowing that it would eventually be destined for other projects. Mrs Pandemic loved the Black Rain Ordnance AR15s from the Mercury One events and the story and guys behind the company so I thought this was a great base platform for her custom build. The Black Rain Fallout 15 is loaded with all the custom features you could ever want... or in this case "she" could ever want.

Obviously, removing the NY compliant components was not simple as the entire concept of these “compliance features” is not to make them easily convertible back to a non-NY Complaint gun with things like evil grips and adjustable buttstocks. That noted there is hope for NY compliant AR15 owners once they move to a “free” state. I had to grind off and destroy the buttstock grip nut to remove the special NY Compliant stock to install a grip and buttstock. Also destroyed in the conversion process was the muzzle thread protector in order to install a muzzle brake.

Once freed of those restrictive NY Compliant parts, I installed a PWS FSC brake, Magpul grip, and Ace Doublestar Ultralight stock. The base features of Black Rain Ordnance Fallout 15 AR15s are impressive with billet upper and lower receiver sets, NiBo BCGs, extended billet charging handle, match BRO trigger, billet extended charging handle, anti-rotate pins, match grade .223 Wylde stainless melonited black barrel, and adjustable gas block. Black Rain Ordnance rifles are loaded with all the components you would expect on a top shelf custom AR15s right out of the box.

My challenge was that I was a little unsure about coatings and how to get to the purple theme going. The answer came to me while cruising ALG Defense site where I saw their gorgeous Ergonomic Rails were available in bright purple... perfect.  These are excellent rails for the price and actually one of my favorite new lightweight rails on the market. I have even used them on several charity and custom editorial reviews and love them.  Order placed and I had my first purple component and I felt I was half way there to delivering a purple themed rifle.

After a bit of pondering, I decided that custom lacing the Ace UL stock with some purple paracord would deliver the Purple Passion AR15 look I was going for... erh, I mean that she wanted.

Mrs. Pandemic does already own an AR15, however I wanted to make this a fun gun which delivered near recoiless shooting. A huge piece of this equation was tuning the stock Black Rain adjustable gas block. Another part of recoil reduction was going to the ACE UL stock's rifle length buffer, spring, and tube. A rifle length buffer assembly will also drastically cut and soften felt recoil. Another component which drops recoil is a very aggressive (read that as loud) muzzle brake. I have been extremely impressed with the braking effects of the PWS FSC brake for AR15s to take the bite out of any recoil. Between these three components the final recoil felt about like shooting a .22LR with almost no recoil and is crazy fun and comfortable to shoot. Actually this rifle is one of the softest shooting AR15s in my... I mean, "our" safes.

Sure I could have gone all high rent with a top shelf red dot, however the $80 Bushnell TRS-32 has become a favorite durable, clear, fast shooting, and reliable red dots that does the job and is easy to use.

I did want to add a bit more bling to the gun and really struggled with what emblem I could add to the side of the receiver. In many of the charity builds I have used challenge coins on the sides of the receivers and the look has been amazing. My wonderful wife would have loved a pewter or sterling silver skull on the side of the gun. Really should would have. After a month of searching turned up nothing that would fit or look good. Then brilliance struck me as I was picking up a few 1oz silver coins which were just gorgeous. Why not just use a 1oz silver coin on the side of the receiver with Ms. Liberty? You would think that a coin of this stature and quality would be expensive, however it was just $3 over the $22 spot price per ounce. $25 and I had my unique little add on bling for my wife's Purple Passion rifle which was easily affixed with just a dab of Devcon 2-ton two part epoxy.

Another little custom tweak was using her favorite purple sparkly nail polish for color fill on the logo. If you Youtube color filling, there are many how to demos on using nail polish for color fill. Basically just clean the area really well with nail polish cleaner an a Q-tip, dry and then brush a couple coats of polish on the area, let dry “a little” and then wipe off the extra with a nail polish soaked Q-tip. A little patience delivered a custom touch which looks far better in life than in the pictures.

Well... like almost everything I seem to buy or make her as a gift, it took some warming up. Of course walking into the jewelry store can light up her eyes, however other things do not elecite the same excitement initially. The Purple Passion AR15 was presented to her on her birthday along with a custom set black diamond. She was excited over the diamond, however a bit "less excited" over the AR15. “Appreciation” would be the term her excitement that is until I got her out on the range. It is true that the way to a girl's heart is diamonds, however you can at least put a big smile on her face by handing her five magazines full of 5.56 Nato and a new soft shooting custom AR15.

About three magazines in with the barrel smoking a bit and she had that sparkle in her eye which told me that she loved it and began noting all the custom little nuances I had added such as the paracord stock, silver coin, and purple handguard. What she loved was that it had virtually no recoil. Girls are funny, however the smile still on her face an hour later told the story that yet another creation by yours truly was a another awesome gift that grew on her.

Black Rain Ordnance -
ALG Defense -
Ace Doublestar Stock - -