Monday, March 11, 2019

Reigning Survival Knife Champ Fallkniven F1, F1 Pro COS Steel Review

Reigning Survival Knife Champ Fallkniven F1, F1 Pro COS Steel Review

I have espoused the amazing virtues of the Fallkniven line enough over the years… really, enough already you should buy the best survival knife in the industry. Specifically, I would recommend the legendary F1 model. It is after all, probably the single most specifically recommended survival knife ever and for good reason. The knife was designed over eight years of harsh research and development in Sweden’s subarctic all to assure Fallkniven designed the best survival knives possible for the military. 

The handles are Kraton and the sheaths are made from Thermorun, both materials which were the only materials other than leather to survive the extreme cold without cracking for failing. Though not the prettiest sheath in the world, it was specifically designed to remain functional and allow removal of the knife even when frozen with ice. The spine is specifically a sharp 90-degrees to assure a shower of sparks flies from your firesteel. The blade grind and steels were specially selected, tested and tweaked and eventually laminated for extra toughness. The result is a knife designed from every perspective to be the best survival knife in the world… and it is.

Fallkniven decided not to just sit on their heels and let the cash flow into their accounts, but continued to push the envelope and several of those pushes were based on feedback from customers. The F1-CoS and F1Pro-Cos are both examples of a company listening to customer feedback. The F1 models are available in laminated steel construction in your choice of VG-10, CoS and the 3G super steel. People everywhere love the $140’ish VG-10 models, but yearning for some of the more premium steels, Fallkniven offered a very premium 3G $240 version that literally out-cut any production knife I have ever tested. Customers loved the 3G version but wanted something a bit less expensive and considerably easier to sharpen, thus the CoS steel F1 version which is admittedly a giant leap of performance over the already extremely good VG-10 F1 version. Customers also wanted a thicker more ruggedized version that added some heft to the knife and the Fallkniven F1Pro version was introduced as well.


THE FALLKNIVEN F1 COS & F1 PRO COS - NEW AND IMPROVED
The F1-3G steel will still out cut
the COS version 

Any of the F1s will change how you view a survival knife forever. I am a rabid Fallkniven fan and I am not the only one - Google it and you will find most outdoor folks are enamored to some degree with Fallkniven and the F1. Even the wildly entertaining uber picky Dutch DBK Youtube dudes are in love with these knives for good reason. The F1 is everything you need without the bulk at 3.8oz, a 3.8” blade and slim handle it was developed to be the ultimate lightweight knife option for survivalist. The size, shape, handle, sheath, steel, and edge grind are all optimized for survival and bushcraft. For a street price of under $150 of the VG10 F1 model, everyone serious about outdoor survival should own a F1 survival knife. 

Fallkniven made the F1 better with the introduction of a F1 model featuring 3G supersteel for a street price around $260, but that price was a bit out of reach for most people. After the resounding success of their F1 Pro and S1 Pro knives with laminated COS steel they now offer the F1 in $200 laminated COS. 3G is technically a super steel and higher tech and potentially sharper, however COS is proving itself to one of the best overall compromise premium steels on the market for a survival knife, and easier to sharpen, while being a bit more abuse tolerant than the 3G steel.

ABOUT THE F1 VG-10, COS, AND 3G STEELS
One of the things I really like about Fallkniven is that they take a really awesome design and enhance it by swapping out the steel or introduce limited edition versions to try out a new steel. This was exactly the strategy they did with the 3G super steel and later the COS premium steel. 

Even with a well refined and tested F1 design, steel is a huge factor in the performance of the knife. Though I am focused on reviewing the COS steel, I do not want anyone to get the idea that older Fallkniven F1 VG-10 is not awesome and it is now somehow inferior. The VG-10 steel is a spectacular steel used in many of the most expensive premium kitchen cutlery knives. It has proven itself corrosive resistant, very tough, and takes a razor sharp edge pretty easily with medium effort.

If you are knife novice and are not well versed in using whetstones then COS and definitely 3G are not steels that would be recommended until sharpening skills are more advanced. Chances are you are going to get really frustrated attempting to sharpen a much less forgiving premium or super steel back to the factory hair shaving sharpness. Sharpening these super hard steels is a task that typically requires diamond or ceramic whetstones, polishing strop and dry stropping to get the most out of the edge. Yes, you can just use the Fallkniven combo diamond and ceramic sharpeners, however the sharpness potential COS and 3G steel knives can achieve is well beyond the abilities of that simple but effective $30 sharpener.

--
Steel                         Laminant Steel         Rockwell HRC     Sharpening
3G**                          VG2–SGPS–VG2            62                      Hard
Laminated CoS**      420J2–CoS–420J2 
         60                      Medium
Laminated VG10**    420J2–VG10–420J2        59                      Medium
BG-42                        N/A                                   61-62                 Hard
ATS-34                       N/A                                  60-61                   Med-Hard
CPM S30V                 N/A                                  58-60                   Med-Hard
Cold Steel Carbon V  N/A                                  59                        Easy
AUS 8                        N/A                                  57-58                   Easy
AUS 6A                      N/A                                  55-57                   Easy
1095 - Esee                N/A                                 55-57                   Easy
** Fallkniven
--

When we look at the Rockwell hardness in the table shown, there does not seem like a huge hardness difference, between the three steels, but the how they each hold and edge is exponentially different. If we un-scientifically generalize and say that VG-10 can cut twice as long as a good hard 1095 knife, then COS can cut about four times longer than 1095 and 3G about six times longer. The key is not necessarily just the hardness, it is the elemental composition of each steel including carbon content. Different elements provide different qualities which is another article completely.

In the end, special steel equals special sharpening attention, skill, and time to get the most from that super awesome steel. The more abuse you want to push on the knife, generally the softer and less expensive the steel you want. There are reasons they makes axes and chisels out of forgiving high carbon steel - it is easy to get back in shape after abuse and relatively cheap. Everything with knife steel is a compromise - awesome edge holding steel comes at the cost of harder to sharpen and… a higher price.
The PLX COS folder, F1 COS, F1 Pro COS, S1 Pro COS
Note the beefier Pro model sheaths 

COS - IT’S JUST BETTER
The well loved Fallkniven F1-VG10 is one of those happy compromise steels that sits in the middle between the super steels like 3G and standard 1095 carbon steel - it sharpens with medium effort and skill, takes a beating, holds an edge a very long time, and edge touch ups are fairly easy with most ceramic sharpeners. COS is a lot like that from a sharpening perspective, but it can get a lot sharper and stay that way much longer. 3G is just harder to sharpen altogether, but holds an edge longer. The high cobalt and carbon based CoS steel really is pretty amazing stuff and especially in the F1 profile. If you are an experienced knife person and know how to sharpen then the COS is well worth the upgrade charge.

THE FALLKNIVEN F1 COS
Really there is not a lot to review here on the F1 with COS because it is identical to the F1-VG10 and the F1-3G model. The COS F1 model just carries forward all that awesomeness in a steel which is more forgiving than the 3G when it comes to sharpening but with an edge that holds up longer than the VG-10 model. 
F1 Left vs F1 Pro Right 

Let’s say we were on a one year world tour and needed a survival knife, I would go for the COS steel with a DS4 diamond/ceramic stone and an improvised strope since the 3G can be a bit finicky to get sharp to a COS beating level with those minimal sharpening tools. On a one week trip, I would grab the Fallkniven F1 3G model since it is unlikely the blade will need any sharpening at all during that length of trip. If you are on a budget the VG10 model will work just fine, but will require more tough ups.


THE FALLKNIVEN F1 PRO
The F1 Pro model is basically everything the F1 ever has been giving up nothing, but with more stout construction. Fallkniven beefed up the thickness by about 12% and the overall weight by just over 20%. The cutting edge profile is still very similar to the F1, but the F1 Pro has a taller overall blade. The F1 Pro also adds a stainless finger guard which reportedly is now welded to the tang. Another addition is a larger thicker version of the standard sheath. I really do not thing any more robust is needed, however in theory the F1 Pro is thicker and tough so I guess the sheath should be also.
The interesting thing is that the F1 Pro can be had just a bit less than the F1 3G model which just makes me happy. If you don’t mind the extra weight, my money would go for the F1 Pro over the F1 3G steel 90% of the time. That extra weight does help with snap cuts on saplings and also splitting wood battoning and also screams, the heft seems to scream “I never break this in a million years.” From a cutting perspective, the thicker f! Pro seems to give up nothing because apparently Fallkniven is infusing Swedish magic in the knife. It is fairly mind blowing that this thick of a knife can cut as well as it does.


FINAL THOUGHTS
I am not paid by Fallkniven nor a stockholder, but I sincerely believe that if you are taking any other knife into the wild, you are just playing with toys or sentimentally just not taking advantage of modern metallurgy and knife design technology. If you need a survival knife, a hunting knife, an outdoor trail knife, a camp knife, a fire making knife, and a bushcraft knife that you can stake your life on… the F1 still reigns supreme.




FALLKNIVEN F1 KNIFE SPECS
Fallkniven F1z/3G
Total length: 210 mm (8.3")
Blade length: 97 mm (3.8")
Blade thickness: 4.5 mm (0.18"), tapered
Tang: Broad, protruding
Weight (knife): 150 g (6oz)
Steel: 3G
Blade hardness: 62 HRC
Handle: Thermorun
Sheath: Zytel sheath

Fallkniven F1z/CoS
Total length: 210 mm (8.3")
Blade length: 97 mm (3.8")
Blade thickness: 4.5 mm (0.18"), tapered
Tang: Broad, protruding
Weight (knife): 150 g (6oz)
Steel: COS
Blade hardness: 60 HRC
Handle: Thermorun
Sheath: Zytel sheath

Fallkniven F1Pro-10
Steel Lam. CoS
Hardness (HRC) 60
Edge Convex
Tang Protruding broad tang
Handle material Thermorun
Sheath Zytel
Weight, knife only (g) 182
Blade length (mm) 100
Blade thickness (mm) 5
Total length (mm) 217
Finger guard Stainless Steel

SOURCES
http://www.fallkniven.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

10 Years of Reviews - An Industry Perspective

Have fun asking Ruger for this
Limited Edition Mirror Polished SP101 9mm
10 Years and 650 Articles of Reviews - An Industry Perspective


2019 represents my official tenth year writing with over 650 published shooting industry articles. I was writing for another market for a decade before that, but the firearms and shooting sports industry has been a hoot and insanely entertaining. This writing thing that I do is thankfully not my real job and am not solely dependent on it to make a living. Over the years I started with just a few articles and it was Ruger’s Ken Jorgenson who first reached out to me and said “I love your articles, would you like to write for Ruger as an official writer?” He recommended me to a few other companies and that started snowballed into this whole MajorPandemic.com journey. Today my reach includes writing for Shooting Sports Retailer, Tactical Retailer, Taylormade Media, All Outdoor Magazine, and recently I was also asked to start writing for Hunting Retailer, Predator Extreme magazines as well.  All that and I still have people wonder why I am not all about making Youtube videos full time for a lousy $5K a year in Adsense revenue. It is an interesting industry.


For me it has the equivalent of sitting on the top of a fortress with a cold beer and my binoculars watching everything happen during the zombie apocalypse. There have been some sad, happy and downright hilarious moments.


During that time I have seen pretty much everything from the good guys, the bad, and the grey area most people live in.  I have seen married industry guys “rent” hookers, drugs being done at SHOT, been called by suppliers A, B, and C asking if I knew anything about buyer D going out of business and stiffing them for millions of dollars. I have seen starry eyed me-too manufacturers spring up one year only to be dead broke and mentally crushed the next. There have been sex scandals involving coaches with their under age professional shooters, embezzlement, illegal overseas sales of firearms labeled as farm equipment (twice), and a whole boatload of grey-market and black-market skimming, theft, and embezzlement that occurring during the great firearm and ammo shortage. There is also two ladies fighting about who gets the pot of gold from a polymer gun empire. Here I am on the sidelines eating and throwing popcorn like I am having a night at the movies.


There have been some really great innovative ideas brought to the market including affordable precision rifles, amazing electro-optics, match grade triggers for everyone, and a shocking amount of innovation around our beloved AR format. Some of those truly amazing innovations for me include Proof Research Carbon Fiber barrels, SB Tactical Braces, anything from IWI, Hiperfire Triggers, the evolution of the piston guns thanks to PWS, along with dry feet and clothes thanks to really high tech fabrics. Other accessories I can not longer live without include the MagLula and MagPump loaders, affordable rangefinders, electronic game calls, shooting tripods, AR pistols and pistol caliber carbines.  There are also those sweet wonderful areas that have just continued to evolve like the 10/22 custom rifle market which now allows pretty much anyone to print sub-.5” 50-yard groups with thanks to Feddersen, Kidd, Volquartsen, Timney, and Magnum Research delivering amazing parts and rifles.


In that same time my contacts and industry executives have bounced from one company to another with the speed of a ping pong match. Sometimes it has delivered great things and other times people have just walked away from this crazy industry shaking their heads swearing.


About five years ago we really started to also see a trend with more and more women entering the sport than ever before. Girls and gals have thankfully been in the front line of competitive shooting, hunting, and media which has continued to draw in a the other 50% of the American public. Targeting to the female buyer has also moved the strategy of the yearly SHOT show from an indoor strip club to a real industry trade show like no other.


With the largest buying group since the Baby Boomers, the shooting industry either has a huge opportunity to resurge the shooting sports or the Millennials may be the last generation of gun owners. Talking to many knife retailers, Millennials are now buying knives at a record pace and that is a statistical indicator of future tactical firearms sales. These new buyers are both male and female and they are buying much differently than buyers in the past all based on a purchase behavior around the experience of using the product.


There are also the so-called “D-Grade” Youtube and TV celebrities of the firearms industry which no one really knows unless they are uber-into the firearms industry. There is the Miculek family of celebrity shooters who all seem like the nicest people on the face of the planet… and then there are others which do things like scream “do you know who I am” in the middle of the Ruger booth at SHOT show 2017. There is the beefcake and bimbos competitive shooter boom where anyone with a body worthy of branded spandex was gifted a professional advertiser funded sponsorship and 10,000 rounds a years of ammo to learn how to shoot. Meanwhile there have been some amazing shooters mature and grow up in the industry while doing the really hard work with the support of family and friends like Nate Staskiewicz. I personally sponsored Nate for years and he was invited to be part of the coveted competitive Army Marksmanship team after graduation - that was truly my honor to be a sponsor on his right shoulder all those years.


The last two years for me have been really telling with economist predicting a downturn. The only way for many in the firearms industry to survive by targeting the female and millennial aged shooters.  Without a significant political threat to our 2nd amendment freedoms, the next four years are going to be rough. The AR/MSR business is going to get even tougher with an estimated 1000+ companies manufacturing AR components up from just 29 in 2000. The market is not that big and all the big publicly traded and private companies like Ruger, Glock, Sig, S&W, Vista, and Mossberg are flooding product into the market this year just to keep sales numbers remotely close to previous years. I just bought a Shockwave 12-gauge for $250 which normally sells for $350 on sale, so don’t tell me product dumping is not happening.
Yeah I know, Barrett does not offer
stripped un-anodized lower.
But yet here one... actually I have three


This was an awkward year at SHOT show. Typically we see the little guys bringing the big innovation leaps to the market, but now SB Tactical is now not so small and neither is KAK/Shockwave. The large companies like Ruger, Mossberg and Sig are delivering real innovation on product customers actually want to buy. Companies like Brownells which have traditionally been distributing retailers are now also in the firearms and firearm parts game with innovative guns like Brownells Retro series of AR15s and competitively outselling the big box retailers. According to many other distributors, they are pushing hard for more distributor exclusive products that can retail margin and differentiation. Meanwhile conglomerates like Cerberus Capital Management (Remington) and Vista Outdoor are buying and selling companies at a shocking rate that is sure to destabilize a few of these brands.


The firearms industry is a wacky business run a “unique” cadre of people which it could not survive without. My friends… here is to another interesting ten years with the goal of passing the 1000 article mark. Cheers!

Monday, January 21, 2019

PWS MOD2 Custom Direct Impingement AR15 Pistol Build


PWS MOD2 Custom Direct Impingement AR15 Pistol Build

My all time favorite AR15 based firearms are the super trick looking lightweight forged MOD2 AR15s from Primary Weapons Systems. These long-stroke piston guns have delivered several thousands of trouble-free rounds without maintenance or even a drop of oil and they just keep running - neglect which a DI gun will not accommodate. PWS is most notable for being the long stroke piston operated AR-15 manufacturer and one which heavily emulates the functionality and reliability of the AK-47. The PWS Mod 2 long stroke gas piston system is absolutely incredible and arguably the most reliable AR15 format system made with quality surpassed by none, but I already have two of those and wanted to do something a little different the third time around with just their receivers.

With a sub-MOA premium stainless match grade Ballistic Advantage Hanson barrel in hand, what I really wanted to build a direct impingement gun for my third PWS based gun. PWS only sells piston systems and stripped lower but not their lightweight uppers. Luckily they have a sister company named Bootleg Inc which provides PWS upper parts for the direct impingement market. The result is that you can cobble together a PWS DI gun even though they do not make one. The lightweight forged upper and handguard are both Bootleg parts and the lower receiver is a PWS MOD2 stripped lower. 

PWS Receiver and Handguard - The handguard, upper and lower receivers, and CQB muzzle brake are all PWS. The PWS MOD2 MK107 receivers used for this build took all the great things about the original PWS MOD1 series pistols/rifles and built on top of that with refinements and additional weight savings through some creative engineering. For example instead of cutting a bunch of holes into the receiver to drop weight they designed the deep weight reduction reliefs into their own proprietary forgings while not opening the internals of the rifle up to dirt. 

Yes I did say forgings. The receivers on this firearm are not mil spec receivers PWS has milled down nor billet that has been milled. What we have here is a custom forged upper and lower made from PWS’ own proprietary forgings which come out of the forgings with all the reliefs you see featured. For the record that is a very expensive manufacturing path to develop proprietary forgings, but forging does deliver a stronger part pound for pound vs billet. Forged receivers by their nature are inherently stronger than billet due to hot metal grain structure flowing and aligning to the forging. 

The final metal grain structure is not linear, but instead flows with the contours of the shape which in theory delivers a stronger and more durable part. In the process of strategically lightening the receivers they ended up looking amazingly cool. The lower receiver features an integrated trigger guard, larger flared magwell, and inlets for all the extra ambi-parts. The upper receiver has been trimmed down though the reliefs, but also lightened with the omission of the forward assist. Other nice touches are beefing up certain areas to increase strength such as near the barrel extension union on the upper and also adding a captured ejection port door pin.

To assure the Ballistic Advantage Hansen Profile Match Grade ⅛ twist .223 Wylde barrel’s bark was redirected away from the shooter, a PWS CQB brake was attached. I have used this brake on many firearms over the years and personally believe any AR or AK intended to be shot indoors or adjacent to other shooters should not be without it. Only light earplugs are required for comfortable prone shooting all day. There is magic within that CQB flash hider that I have not found any other muzzle device to deliver. For short barreled guns, the flash hider seems to magically push sound away from the shooter.

The ultralight slim PicMod handguard is yet another PWS innovation which delivers standard picatinny rails which are also KeyMod compatible - Genius! PWS was able to also skim a few more ounces out of the new handguard design. The slim design also sucks in any attached lights into a narrower profile which limits snags.

Ballistic Advantage .223 Wylde Premium Series Barrel - This special .223 Wylde chambered 10.3 inch barrel is machined from 416 Stainless Steel with a bead blasted finish, Nickel Boron Coated Extended M4 Feed Ramp Extension, a proprietary BA Hanson tapered profile, match cut crown, and include a pinned lo-pro gas block. One particular note is that BA tunes their barrel gas ports to cycle reliably without being overgassed and assure this perfectly tuned function with an included gas block. The BA gas blocks are both screwed and pinned for reliable operation which will never loosen. The advantage of BA’s smaller gas port tuning on the barrel is that you really do not need an adjustable gas block to moderate an otherwise overgassed system, but the disadvantage is that these softer recoiling barrel gas ports are not designed to work with aftermarket piston kits as this usually require a bit more gas to operate. 

Over the years I have been writing for BA and using their barrels, they are definitely among the top tier of production AR15 barrel manufacturers and the Premium Series have always delivered sub-MOA. A great example here is that this 10.3-inch barreled rig with just a 1-5 Sig Optic delivers .75-inch 100-yards groups and 1-inch 125-yard groups all with just 40gr Fiocchi Vmax bulk pack rounds I use for predator hunting. If fed the really top tier match grade ammo from Hornady, Federal or Black Hills, the groups shrink further under .5-inch.

Sharps XPB Carrier Group Complete in NiB-X - Plainly put, this is the most technically advanced Bolt Carrier Group available anywhere for the AR15. Sure JP, YM, and Barnes are all the reining top tier Bolt Carrier Groups made with a precision not found elsewhere, but the Sharps XPB takes it a few steps further. In addition to the high precision, XPB adds a whole lot of design and technology upgrades. The Sharps BCG starts with full super premium S7 steel for both the carrier and bolt, 4120 and 4340 steel for pins, and then tested with MPI and HPT. The entire design is float balanced for optimal neutral weight shifting during cycling to deliver a smoother and more reliable cycle. Then they NiBx (Nickel Boron Teflon) coat everything for a self lubricating function. The included Sharps ReliaBolt delivers a design optimized for reliability performance beyond the design capabilities of typical AR15 bolts. In short, if you are not running a piston gun and still want extended operation beyond normal maintenance cycles, then you really should be running a ReliaBolt.  Well worth the $189 Sharps is asking for these complete XPB BCG.

Law Tactical Folding Adapter -  The Law Tactical AR15 Folding Stock Adapter transforms that short little high performing AR15 pistol into something ever shorter that can easily be slipped into most backpacks. The Law Tactical AR15 Folding Stock Adapter effectively allows that pesky buffer tube to be folded out of the way when not in use. Great even on stowable rifle, the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter can be used on any AR15 or AR10 rifle to reduce overall transport length which made it perfect to slip into our Sneaky Bag.

My other two nearly identical MOD2 PWS pistols were equipped with Maxim braces. These are super cool, look really trick, and functional, but cold steel rods also are not super comfortable to check weld up to and lay down behind for extended periods on a ice cold hunt. The Maxim braces also are longer when collapsed than the very packable Law Tactical Folding Stocks which would allow a backpack carry option.

SB Tactical SBM4 AR15 Brace - SB Tactical currently has over a half a dozen different brace options. This one felt like the most comfortable option for a scoped rig that gets shot a lot from the prone position. The SBM4 is SB’s update to the original brace design with an overall slimmer, lighter, and more ergonomic design which slips securely onto any AR15 pistol buffer tube with a light spray of rubbing alcohol and stays put. This is a great option for those that do not want an NFA firearm and retain a pistol designation or those that want to try out a gun before getting married to is with an NFA Tax Stamp.

CMC 3.5lb Flat Bow Trigger - The CMC triggers are amazing and have been for a very long time. The feel of this trigger in this build helps me deliver some rather outstanding sub-MOA groups and full length rifle owner would be proud of. Easy drop-in install makes the CMC triggers one great option for an AR15 trigger upgrade.


Sig Sauer Whiskey5 1-5x20 Optic
- Aftering becoming sold on the value of high quality optics, I am convinced that precision accuracy is more dependant on the clarity of your optics than it is on the gun. Sig Sauer is bringing some phenomenal optics to the market with clarity rivaling optics up to twice what Sig is charging. This $550 street priced Whiskey5 1-5x20 optic delivers stunning clarity and allows me to still easily punch .75-inch 100-yard groups with only 5x magnification - I call that a win.  




For this build I opted for a simple crosshair Hellfire Triplex reticle with center point illumination. I really have no intent to mess with the turrets unless my zero changes considerably from my Fiocchi 40GR VmAx rounds to the Hornady Full Boar ammo. If zero’ed at 100-yards, I can connect with anything between 50-250 yards with less than 2-inch of variance which is good enough and very fast for predator coyote and hog hunting. The Whiskey5 1-5x20 was mounted via a Aero Precision Ultralight 30mm Mount which I found to be one of the best lightweight yet rugged AR15 optic mounts on the market. 

Sneaky Bags 27” SPYDER bag - The SPYDER has the look of a tennis racket bag which makes transport even into after-hunt restaurants low key. Let’s face it, truck cabs off no placed to securely stash anything. The SPYDER was a perfect single sling pack for the fully assembled PWS pistol with 20-round magazine loaded plus offered a ton of storage for up to two PDW firearms, pistols, magazine optics organization and plenty of internal MOLLE and hook & loop for customization. 


Miscellaneous Parts & Cerakote - Other parts included a Phase 5 Tactical ambi charging handle, Magpul Grip, CMMG Pistol Buffer Tube & Lower Parts kit, and KNS Precision anti-rotation pins.  The receivers, handguard, buffer tube, and optics mount were coated with silver grey Cerakote. I certainly could have gone nuts here with all the crazy cerakote jobs now, but I wanted a greyman type gun which was subtly custom without screaming it.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This gun continues to impress me outshooting many full sized AR15’s I own. It really does beg the question why I would want a larger gun. As a strong skeptic of AR15 pistols early on, I now get why so many people like this format. It can be light, fast fun and super accurate.

It may sound a little nuts to us a shorter barreled gun with a bipod, but what I found was that a shorter 10’ish-inch barrel AR15 with stowed bipod is very maneuverable during stalking hunts through tight woods, can still deliver amazing accuracy and energy out to 250 yards, and is a sweet spot for limiting the snap and boom of a very short barreled AR15s. The format also cases and stowes easily and is considered a concealed pistol in most jurisdictions. This transport feature alleviates the fear of leaving the gun in the back seat of the truck to potentially get stolen to and from a hunt. That size is a great compromise for the needs of 90% of shots on hunts where you only have a few hours to hunt. 

BUILD COST

PWS Upper - $180
PWS MOD2 Lower - $220
PWS CQB Brake - $149
Ballistic Advantage .223 Wylde Premium Series Barrel - $220
Sharps XPB Bolt Carrier Group - $189
Law Tactical Folding Adapter - $229
SB Tactical Brace - $120
CMC Trigger - $195
Sig Sauer Whiskey5 1-5x20 optic - $550 
Aero Precision 30mm Scope Mount - $99
Sneaky Bags 27” SPYDER Bag - $180
KNS Precision Anti Rotation pins $30
Misc Parts - $80
Silver Grey Cerakote $300
--
Total $2,741
-----

SOURCES
Primary Weapon Systems - https://primaryweapons.com
Ballistic Advantage - https://ballisticadvantage.com/

Friday, January 11, 2019

Feddersen Bronze Nickel Alloy 10/22 Receiver and Barrel Update

Feddersen Bronze Nickel Alloy 10/22 Receiver Review

Many of your know Feddersen from my numerous articles noting the mind blowing accuracy of his 10/22 barrels and also a review of his stunning Bronze Alloy 10/22 billet receiver I reviewed about a year ago. To catch everyone up in the event you have not read the above linked article, this building included:
- Feddersen 10/22 Receiver
- Kidd 1.5-lb Single Stage Trigger Unit
- Feddersen 16.25” Fluted Bull Barrel - Muzzle Threaded
- Kidd Charging Handle
- Kidd Match Bolt
- Victor Titan Stock
- The orignal Nikon 3-9 ProStaff scope worked well, but was not able to really allow this gun to stretch its legs beyond 75-yards accurately... yes beyond 75-yards.

I will save you the scroll ahead. This rig delivers sub-1" groups at 125-yards if I do my part. See attached 125-yard group with CCI Velocitor ammo. This is great news and allows me to not worry about my zero changing all while still delivered very tiny .116-inch 5-shot 50-yard groups with Lapua Center-X. Insane accuracy. I love this gun.

SHOOTING AWAY AN AFTERNOON
1-inch squares still seem a little large
for the precision of this rifle even at
125-yards
Last weekend I was able to just shoot away the afternoon nestled into a friend's range on a gorgeous 60-degree day with a pack full of ammo. These days do not get any better than that when you are just alone on the range, quietly plunking away with your Ruger Suppressor muffling the snap of the Ruger 10/22 to a quiet "plunk". There is no better therapy.

I had decided to swap to a Lucid L5 4-16 optic with parallax adjustment and a very nice fine detailed BDC reticle design. Really more than anything I wanted a very fine reticle and also wanted the BDC so I could quickly snap shots of various ranges.  The Lucid 4-16 did that beautifully. 

At this point I know that I am zero'ed at 50-yards with SKPlus Standard two hashes down for 75-yards, four hashes down for 100-yards, and six for 125-yards.  It really is pretty handy and the precision is close enough to minute of rodent hits. Super precision is just a click of two off from those reference points. 

I have Kidd, Volquartsen, Tacitacl Solutions, Clark, Stock, Whistlepig, and even Force, but time and time again the Feddersen barrels are just problem free with ammo, consistant, and super easy to just pull a SwabIt through the bore and be done. Obviously the accuracy does not suck either. This is an 1/8" gun at 50-yards with the right ammo. The prefered subsonic ammo just cannot hold it together like a hyper velocity round like the CCI Velocitor which the Feddersen loves. 



ABOUT FEDDERSEN
The company is known by many names; Feddersen, R4, 1022rifle.com, and Gunbarrels.net.  Feddersen is a name people in the industry know very well. The company was founded in 1979 by Fred Feddersen and has become rather famous for his world record breaking patented R4 SIPR .50 BMG gun barrels.  Fred prides himself on offering the straightest bores in the industry all thanks to his patented process and machines. Each and every step of their in house barrel production is unique and in fact their entire process is patented and a trade secret process.

Unlike many barrel or firearms manufacturers, Feddersen is not buying pre-rifled blanks and just finishing them to their own specs, they are producing 100% of their barrels in house from solid round bar stock.  They have a special drilling process, a patented ultra-sensitive lapping/honing process, unique patented and proprietary SEPR - Single Edged Polygonal Rifling, and one of the few companies in the world which offer a barrel with near perfect centricity and straightness between the bore and profile. 

Amazingly enough their 10/22 barrels start at only $145, The voodoo that Fred’s patented design and trade secret process delivers superb accuracy which rivals the best barrels anywhere. The 10/22 is a pet project of Fred and he continues to deliver new products for the platform including a wide variety of barrels including take-down models and also these receivers.

THE FEDDERSEN BRONZE NICKEL ALLOY 10/22 RECEIVER
Fred offers the receivers in two bronze alloys and aluminum versions. Fred decided on a high bronze content alloy to deliver several advantages.

The bronze nickel based alloys are considerably heavier than aluminum which delivers a stiffer and more substantial feeling 10/22 build which in turn should deliver improved accuracy. The Feddersen Bronze Nickel 10/22 receiver is also naturally slick and for the most part self lubricating. I can tell you that the Kidd Innovations Match bolt glides back and forth like it is on bearings - it is amazingly smooth.

Feddersen integrated an extended 1913 spec picatinny rail into the receiver. Another notable feature is the barrel trunnion v-block area is spec-ed to precisely fit a .920 bull barrel profile, so instead of a gap around the barrel, the trunnion actually provides support to assure there is no barrel droop without any special mounting requirements.

AVAILABLE FEDDERSEN 10/22 RECEIVER MODELS
Feddersen now are in full production of the 10/22 receivers in Bronze Alloy, Bronze Nickel Alloy, and Aluminum billets versions.  The Bronze Alloy Nickel Alloy are $350 retail, this silver colored Nickel Bronze Alloy $375, and Aluminum $275 billets versions. All are available on his site - https://www.1022rifle.com

ACCURACY
The Feddersen barrels alone deliver stunning sub-¼-inch 50-yard accuracy which deliver tricks such as like slicing cards at 25 to 50 yards with the right ammo. The receiver did indeed tighten up my groups even further compared to factory receivers. For this build I choose a 16.5-inch fluted bull barrel with threaded muzzle to use suppressed. A Kidd Innovations match bolt, 1.5-lb single stage trigger, and V-block were used to complete the build along with a Victor Titan stock and Nikon 3-9 ProStaff optic with adjustable objective.


My a point of impact did not change when suppressed at 50-yards with my favorite SK Standard Plus round with my AAC Ti-Rant suppressor installed or removed.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The Feddersen 10/22 receiver is something unique, delivers many features expected of top tier receivers plus the slippery benefits of bronze and the full support of a trunnion v-block area. The raw material look of the bronze alloy is also unique as nearly every other 10/22 receiver is aluminum and colored with some type of anodizing. I like there there is another high end receiver option for 10/22 builders to choose from beyond the typical options such as Kidd, Volquartsen, and Tactical Innovations. What I liked most from this receiver was that it delivered a solid tight beefy-ness to the build that no other receiver offers and with that the potential for improved accuracy - I am certainly thrilled with .116-inch 50-yard groups.

SPECS
Nickel Bronze Alloy $375 retail

BUILD SPECS
Feddersen 10/22 Receiver
Kidd 1.5-lb Single Stage Trigger Unit
Feddersen 16.25” Fluted Bull Barrel - Muzzle Threaded
Kidd Charging Handle
Kidd Match Bolt
Victor Titan Stock
Nikon 3-9 ProStaff scope

SOURCES
FJ Feddersen, Inc. - http://www.1022rifle.com/
Kidd Innovative Designs - https://www.coolguyguns.com