Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Matthews Carbine Company 80% Lower Jig Review Featuring ASA 95% Lower

Matthews Carbine Company 80% Lower Jig Review Featuring ASA 95% Lower

Without question the 80% Lower AR15 receiver market has exploded this year and why wouldn't it with our own government and officials threatening to take away our second amendment rights.  On the other hand, many people are really digging the challenge of making their own firearm. Whatever your reason Matthews Carbine Company has an 80% Lower Jig to make completing your home brew AR15 80% lower receiver without any specialized equipment other than a $70 Bench top drill press.
Thankfully making your own firearm is legal assuming you do sell it or are not a felon. 80% AR15 lowers have made this process pretty simple. 80% lowers are simply partially finished AR15 lower receivers which have pre-finished almost to the point where the ATF considers it a register-able firearm instead of a raw material. 
The cool thing is that 80% lowers can be shipped right to your doorstep without going through an FFL because they are still in a raw material state… of course you still need to complete the un-milled areas to make it work.

Matthews Carbine Company is delivering custom billet 80% lowers for that custom cool touch on your home brew AR15.  I picked up two Matthews Lowers and the Jig I am reviewing here. 

Those with longer memories and actively involved on forums may remember Matthews Carbine has some delivery challenges with a group buy/pre-purchase offer a while back. I was one of them.  The founder Keith Matthews indicated he wanted to get that out in the open, versus pretending it didn't happen. Payments were provided and deliver was significantly delayed… for a while. 

The challenge was that the OEM manufacturer who was making the 80% lowers suddenly took on business from a major manufacturer and bumped his smaller job order which meant he was left with orders and no way to immediately fill them and then once he did receive his lowers, there were also delays with magwell broaching and anodizing. 
As you can imagine it all happened at the height of the AR15 shortage.  That same situation happened to everyone in the industry at one point or another however it appears Matthews has taken the right steps to assure that never happens again.

Keith Matthews decided to bring all the machining in house to both assure quality and delivery.  The result is the new and improved Matthews Carbine Company. I know a fairly large number of people including myself who have purchased lower from Matthews recently and have experience fast shipment, so I am happy to report they are far past that initial delivery problem.
The thing that drew me to Matthews was the custom element; custom colors, logo-ing, and they can even laser engrave your own logo in the receiver as I did with my Orange lower.  Those may be pretty but you have to have a way mill out that trigger pocket to actually use the lower and that is where the Drill Jig comes in.
The big problem with making your own firearm is the big “S” Skill required to make the register-able part of the firearm.  Manufacturers have made it easier by offering jigs which can guide your mill or in this case a drill to remove the required material from the lower. The Milling Jig guides deliver a near perfect factory looking AR depending on your mill and skill. 

The Drilling Jigs allow your to drill out enough of the material that it can be finished with hand fitting and a Dremel tool to smooth out the drill cuts. For the everyday average home user the Drill Jig is the way to go versus springing for a $1000 Little Machine Shop Mill that I will be featuring to finish the two Matthews lowers. 

Drill Jigs only really require two things, an inexpensive tabletop drill press ($70 from Northern Industrial Tool) and a Dremel tool.  In this case the Dremel tool will set you back more than the drill press.
Matthews sells their Drill Jig as universal so instead of a Matthews lower, I used a 95% American Spirit Arms lower for the test. It fit perfectly in the solid billet heavy duty jig and I was ready to roll.  Of note, I recommend going for the heaviest Jig you can find, because there can be a lot of torquing force that occurring during the drill process or that is exerted by a vise. Sturdy is better.
Matthews’ Carbine Company Drill Jig is made of thick billet aluminum that started life as a .75” thick piece of aluminum. It features all steel receiver and guide screws and a series of steel drill plates to assure long term use.  The selector switch hole and trigger pin drill holes are on one side of the jig.
The general idea of the jig is to bolt your 80% lower into the jig, drill the selector switch and trigger pin holes and then start the trigger pocket drilling starting with the small hole drill plate.
Each steel trigger pocket drill plate is keyed to the rearmost position and has a bevel which is placed down and to the rear of the receiver. The jig is set up to also mill 80% 308 receivers as well in a forward position; however just assure that on AR15s lowers that you have the drill plates in the rearmost position. 

The only exception to this rule is when removing the last little bits of material from the trigger pocket which you can shift the large hole drill plates forward, but just note that if you drill the forward most holes in this position you will drill into your bolt catch pocket. 
Take you time measuring and understanding what you are removing with each plate and the results are very impressive. The last plate is with the Medium holes which drill out the trigger slot.  
You could I am sure just use a hand drill however it would definitely take a toll on the jig itself but also would not deliver the precision or depth stop that a drill press would. Assuring you have the proper drill depth is pretty key otherwise you could drill through the bottom of the receiver.
In this case everything went perfectly finishing up my American Spirit Arms 95% lower. After all the drilling a couple hours of work with the Dremel to fit the trigger and I had a very nice looking lower receiver. 

Although a drill press is a requirement, this is as low tech as it gets for finishing an AR15 lower receiver. Start to finish this Drill and then Dremel method produced a finished working lower in about 10 hours.
Chronology of Finishing 
The basic steps are as follows for the Matthews Carbine Company jig (your jig may vary). Mount the receiver in the jig and assure all surfaces are level and square and the bolts are all tight. 
Drill the two trigger group pins and the safety selector holes with the jig guide and then use the top guides to drill ⅛” holes, remove plate #1 and install plate #2 with larger drill bit hole in rearmost setting and drill, remove and install plate #3 in rearmost setting and drill, repeat last two steps with plates #2 and #3 in the forward most setting and drill, and then remove and mount the trigger hole guide. All the drilling should be done to the correct dept. 
I used a spare stripped receiver as a template. After the major material removal is complete, now begins the Dremeling with a cutter or sanding bit. This is the stage you will wish you had a mill. It can take many hours to complete this stage. 
Once you have a receiver that the trigger group will fit into, check that the magwell does not need to be loosened up for the mag to drop free, that a standard upper fit and locks in properly (before you mount the take down pins, and install a lower parts kit to assure everything is functional. If it all works you are done.
Like almost every AR15 80% Lower Finish Jig, the MCC jig comes without instructions.  I mentioned this to Keith and he indicated that was on the way.  
With a lot of patience, a lot of measuring, some fitting and definitely some time, I am ecstatic to say I have created my first firearm. This is a great Jig Drill and Dremel option for someone who is not going to sink $1000 is a table top mill and produces results which deliver perfect functionality.
Matthews Carbine Company AR15 Lower Drill Jig
Works with all AR15 Milspec Standard design Lowers and MCC Billet Lowers
Matthews Carbine Company -
American Spirit Arms 95% Lower -

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Roger Streamlight Rail Light Review

Roger Streamlight Rail Light Review

I believe in the use of tactical lights, however I have been challenged with their actual use.  Most of us who are already carrying around a pistol, extra mag, tactical flashlight, mace, and folding knife plus daily items start to feel more like Batman. 

A lot of people now are mounting lights to their firearms, however the problem is that is not always appropriate from a lighting, defensive, or ergonomic perspective. Also, most tactical weapon lights are not especially flat to carry in a pocket or ergonomic in the hand.

Weapon mounted tactical lights are also generally misused. Most people use the light like it was just a flashlight all the while forgetting that it is attached to a loaded gun which is dialed in to shoot pretty much where you are pointing the light. Tactical lights should be used only for final target identification and not general purpose lighting otherwise you end up pointing a gun at you something you do not want to distroy. Pointing a gun at someone without cause in some states is a felony; all be it, a very grey area of law.

Tactical lighting is a necessity whether it be in hand or weapon attached.  Bill Roger took a different approach and developed the Roger’s Rail Light which is simple, small, light and inexpensive option to tactical lighting for the CCW owner.

Bill Rogers is the the chief instructor at the Rogers Shooting School, is a former FBI Agent, police instructor, successful inventor, is well known in the shooting industry as an inventor and product engineer. He has been a world ranked IPSC shooter, a state trap champion, and has over 40 years of shooting competition experience. Bill has invented many of the holsters and equipment used by police and military worldwide, invented the target system and the method of instruction used at his Roger’s Shooting school, and of course invented the Super-Stoc and this Rail Light based on his vast experience and feedback from friends in the military, law enforcement, and competition community. I also learned of an awesome single point sling and gun cleaning Bore Squeeg-E system which DPMS now is also licensing for their kit, but those will be a different reviews.

Bill took the approach that we did not need a billion lumens of light in the same inconvenient sized case, but instead use the advancements in lighting technologies to provide a smaller and easier to carry light option which could still quickly attach/detach from a firearm.  The result was a snap-on and snap-off Rogers Rail Light designed for the industry standard 1913 Picatinny rails we find on all AR15s and almost every mid-large framed semi-automatic pistol on the market.

It should be rather obvious that Rogers is using the LED AAA powered Streamlight Microstream which mounts into the Rogers Rail Light chassis. The light is included as a kit which has a street price of around $35 which anyone can afford. In talking with Bill, making an affordable lighting option was one of his design goals. According to Bill, “We don’t need to illuminate the moon in a tactical situation, we just need to clearly illuminate what is 25-yards in front of us at night and the Microstream does a great job at that very affordably.” The Microstream features an unbreakable polycarbonate lens, machines aluminum body, is water resistant rated IPX4, and best of all it uses inexpensive and readily available AAA batteries. I of course recommend opting for the lithium versions for longer runtime and higher reliability. Although the 28-lumen rating of the light may seem low, the Microstream puts nearly 100% of that light into a very tight beam, so ultimately you end up with a light which seems far brighter than the lumens would indicate.

The mount is high strength polymer which is designed clip on a firearm by sliding it on the rail. Detaching only requires the light side to be rolled downward and it quickly detaches. Simple and easy with no screws, levers or gadgets to deal with.  Depending on the tactical or defensive situation, the Rogers Rail Light could be used in hand or clipped on quickly.

The Rogers Rail light is ambidextrous and does allow the light positioning on the left or right. Generally the light will be placed on the support hand side so that the support hand thumb or index finger can operation the momentary and on/off switch as needed. All that is required for the switch is to loosen the light retention screws flip the light and move the rail lock to the other side.  The light can also be move forward or backward to position the light conveniently for activation. The Streamlight’s button is designed to require fingertip push to click it on/off, however smashing the button with thumb or finger lightly allows momentary operation of the light; very well thought out for a simply button.

The other really cool feature I like is how easy the Roger Rail light can be carried in the pocket.  The Micrstream includes a pocket clip which allows the entire Rail Light to be clipped into the pocket for quick access. Once in hand the light can be used for general lighting operations or quickly slipped onto the firearm.

There are a lot of things about the Rogers Rail Light that really like. It delivers enough light without being bulky, has a pocket clip for easy access, it works well on both handguns and I even tested it on my AR15 and of course the $35 Street Price is beyond affordable in the land of $200 tactical lights.  

There is a note in the p that the Streamlight Microstream never designed as a dedicated weaponlight, however I had no issues with the light on my Walther PPX, PPS, or Glocks or even my AR15s. Technically the Microstream features polycarbonate lens and LED which are both impact proof so I do not foresee any issues as long as it is not used as a dedicated weaponlight you plan on beating up. 

Everyone should carry a tactical light. They are indispensable in day-to-day life and critically important in final identification of someone you have to shoot in defense. At this price everyone should own one. The Roger Rail Light is the perfect solution to the CCW owner who wants a simple and inexpensive working multi-light option and at under $40 there is nothing else like it on the market.

Fits on any Picatinny/1913 rail
Ambidextrous design
Houses the Streamlight
Microstream® and Protac 2AAA®
Positions the tail on/off switch
right at shooters forward thumb
Easy snap on and off installation
Extremely light weight
Made of a heavy duty polymer
External rib design for added
strength and grip
Multipurpose Light
Supporti hand's thumb activated
Momentary and Click on  Off
Can be carried in pocket easily
Made in USA
Street Price $35


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Shot Show

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Shot Show
Ahh another year of dragging myself through SHOT show.  Everyone who is not in the industry always thinks that it would be a blast to attend, however if you are a dealer, distributor, manufacturer, or media it becomes a brutal job.  You start the day at 8AM trek through hundreds of booths and finish at 6PM all while being mentally on the top of your game for meeting, after meeting, after meeting. Then you rinse and repeat for four days. At night you collapse nursing your now throbbing feet that have been subjected to miles of aisles, eat whatever at that burger place downstairs because last year it was really good, close and fast just so you can have a drink and a cigar before hitting the bed early to do it all again.  It is not the party everything thinks and if you treat it like one, the next four days will be brutal.
The uninitiated think that you just get to wander through and talk to everyone you want, but instead most of the time you just missed the "right" person, they are already booked, or end up waiting for the four people in front of you to finish yakking about nothing relevant to the vendor or product.  Blah blah blah.  When you do finally have the chance to talk to the "right" person you are generally interrupted about five times.  That goes on for four days until you want to stab someone in the face with a spoon.
The OEM manufacturers are all trying to sell to the manufacturers, the manufacturers are trying to sell to the dealers all while appeasing the all important needs of the media and sponsored shooters who drive the product demand. In the mix are one off product sales on the floor and all the advertising guys running around selling banner ads, publication ad space, radio, and TV spots. In short it is one heck of a goat rodeo. I would hate to be a manufacturer attempting to actually sell something.
Oooh Glock Pencils
You have the brands that have been in the business since you granddad first started shooting, the brands that are proving themselves as long term manufacturers, and then you have the startups who could either be the next big thing or someone's broken dream of a business. You also have the vast array of overseas manufacturers that stole last years hot design and now offer them for 80% less at 10% the quality of the original.
The "big tent"/main 2nd floor is typically reserved for those that either have been exhibiting forever or are market giants. Getting space on the main floor is kinda like getting Packers tickets were someone has to die for you to get a space. One of the long-term exhibitors a floor down will get a chance to move up if someone drops out of the premium space... its always shifting around.  The saddlebag side halls hung off the main floors are generally the manufacturers that are either not particularly interested in a huge booth or are attempting to move into the big leagues. Floor layout planning for the show must be a freaking nightmare.
And the there is the booth numbering issue. The map will say this is the booth number, however they are not necessarily set up in order, or the vendor was moved at the last minute, or the vendor just didn't show up, or the map is wrong.  Oh yeah that is a blast to figure out that the booth was moved to the other end of the convention center and one floor up when you have meetings stacked up and you are already late because of the last booth that you couldn't find.

As a real life senior level marketing expert for a large fortune 100 company, I can definitively say that the sporting industry has about as much marketing sophistication as your average barber shop. Typically there are no pre-release PR events for the media to stage up new product releases under nondisclosure agreements like you find in any other industry, no customer loyalty programs, email marketing is generally considered cutting edge, and if I bring up “data analytics based marketing and product forecasting” it can actually induce an aneurysm in almost all heads of marketing. 

Ask what their plans are for Social Commerce and service based media and you will have them staring at you like you are speaking Klingon.  Inquire  what their average RFM of their customer base is and they start giving you the finger. Its an immature marketing market generally run on a last man standing in the company approach or by a PR company who used to be a marketing person for the sporting industry at some point. At least the PR folks can piece together decent media buy strategies with pretty ads.
Two years ago someone in the media made a big stink that the tiny little bloggers should be tossed out to make room and time for the bigger media outlets.  I will admit that I have had the same thought as the metaphorical  Timmy Tactical was elbowing me out of the way to do a full length deep product review as thirty other people are attempting to look at the newly introduced product. I believe we should give the little guy a chance after all, only a couple years ago I was that guy. Some print publications would argue even I don't belong there even though has a 200K monthly readrship, and of course the TV guys would say the print guys don't belong and are obsolete.  It may be annoying the guy shooting video with an iphone wants to hold up everyone, but hey they may become the next Outdoor Channel. Variety is the spice of life.
I enjoy a nicely sculpted body as much as the next person, however I don’t think it belongs at a trade show. If you want that go pay for it like everyone else does and let me get on with my business.  To me vendors with a Tits and Ass display says “hey I wanted to get your attention because our products are total crap and there is no other way we can get you in the booth without these Booth Babes… and I know zip about marketing.” Ok, OK if it is your marketing figurehead signing posters... well that's a grey area in my book. What is worse are the total neanderthals literally running people over to get to the next “even hotter” booth babe, grunting, ogling, and yes even handling the scantily clad female masquerading as a feeble attempt at gorilla marketing. You want my attention? Stop using them like perfume girls whose experience with guns ends with the brochures she is handing out.
You have ritechus kick ass female shooters like Julie Golob and Jessie Duff who should be be admired for one thing… their ability to kick all our asses in a gunfight.  I will bet they were really impressed with you portraying females as nothing more than icing on guns. Noting that there were more females attending this year than ever who are buyers, PR, and manufacturers, what do you think their impression of your booth and products are? The gun market will be grown and saved by the huge growing female shooter segment, however the market has a long way to mature before it feels truly welcome to the female shooter and the old swat on the ass “woman get me a beer” mentality is NOT where we need to be. The general rule is that if you would not want your mamma seeing marketing methods, then maybe you should choose a different tactic.
For those that are new to trade shows, I beg of you please do not be a Swag Hunter.  I never really understood this mentality of traveling across country, abusing your body for a week to walk 15 miles of trade show booths just to accumulate 50lb of free virtually worthless trade show swag.  My most loathed creature of Shot is the Swag Hunter. Generally this beast is dressed all in camo or tactical gear usually in a size which makes you ask “good lord I didn’t even know they made fatigues that large… was that special order from a tent company?” This may be a generalization, however the worst of them are almost always eating, attempting to get a date with the booth babes, and riding around bumping into everyone’s ankles with a HuvaRound and interrupting business conversations with “got any free stuff” or “what-cha-givn-away?”  Really a $1000 for a weeks worth of travel and you wet your self in ecstasy because you get a $2 USB drive with a logo on it? Don’t be that guy/gal.
Shot Show “ride-alongs” are a term most use for attendees that have no real purpose for being there. Generally they “ride-along” by knowing a vendor who can register them under their business. It is easy to spot these people as they are not exhausted, unbelievably happen to be at the show, and usually smell like they have been drinking most of the day. Just a note that everyone who actually works the show wishes we could be a Ride-Along attendee.
Source -Julie Golob - I was there when she did this.
There is also the weird stuff that occurs only at Shot Show. The Best Beards of Shot Show, walking by seeing the world famous Julie Golob mounted on a custom motorcycle threatening to take it for a ride, running into James Yaeger, the ATF booth doing Shot show promo videos, the sticker on the vandalized ATF booth that says “come and get them”, a tricked out slammed Swat van, watching most of the media at media day muzzle sweep spectators at least once with a hot gun, the super awesome new overseas manufacturer that you literally get every gun they hand you to jam at media day, and trade show hot dogs… which are not bad, extremely satisfying, but I am really unsure what they are made of.
This year thankfully did not have the big depressing feeling that everyone is coming for our guns, but some from states who had enacted moronic laws were visibly kicking their feet in disgust. There was the typical pronouncements by literally every company that they are twice as tactical, cool, and featured as they were last year to signify they are somehow leapfrogged their competition again. There had to be well over 100 manufacturers of Rmington 700 action billet receivers all claiming to be somehow better than the other 99 I just walked by. There were things I did not get like all the optics guys now offering 34MM tubes on their top tier optics and a 14lb titanium receiver’ed and graphite barreled AR15… both left me asking “why?”  There were also a huge number of manufacturers with virtually nothing new this year simply because they are still behind from last year.
Barring any horrible events that cause people to think emotionally irrational about guns and ammo, I actually think that we will see a glut of ammo and guns this year. There were a HUGE number of new AR15 and other firearm manufacturers that hit the market in the last 24 months and most are just starting to hit their production stride. I would not be surprised if by mid-year we saw the prices fall below the buying frenzy levels due to a huge glut of AR15s being pushed into the market. I also saw a lot of new faces in ammo manufacturing as well which will also drive ammo prices down.  Personally I think this is a custom and custom accessory year for shooters. I believe 2014 will be the year that everyone decide to spice up and customize all the guns they bought in the last two years. Optics, rails, and furniture will be huge, but people will also be be spending all the other parts of their kits like packs, shoes, shirts, and holsters. is locked and loaded for another year of articles and videos, “Green Green”, lets hit the range and see what all this new stuff can do. See you all again next year at SHOT.

Ultimate Mosin Nagant Build

Ultimate Mosin Nagant Build

A while back, I published the "Mosin Nagant - Transforming a Legend" article and my email filled with questions and comments. Most were expectantly excited over transforming their own Mosin, however some cringed at the customization I had done to a fine piece of history.  Regardless of the commentary, the article has been one of my most popular articles to date. For those Mosin traditionalists, cover your eyes because this is an Ultimate Mosin transformation that required cutting on a piece of history with a bit of tinkering and tuning that leaves a freshly uncrated historic firearm unrecognizable as a Mosin

I learned a loads from that build and the final outcome was a resounding success with thousands of rounds of fun shot down range to date. This time around, I wanted to go all the way with an Ultimate Mosin Nagant build using all the best components I could find to make the Mosin feel and maybe even shoot better than even that original build.

I again started with a 1930's 91/30 Tula rifle which many consider to be some of the most accurate surplus Mosins made.  The price was far from the free rifle my buddy supplied before, but still a very affordable $129 from Aim Surplus, the purchase hardly broke the bank.  The rifle then patiently waiting for something fun to happen, but it didn't have to wait long.  

Once again to upgrade the trigger, I turned to Timney for its rather incredible match grade trigger. A Rock Solid scope mount was the obvious choice and I picked up one of their bent carrier bodies to provide bolt handle clearance with a scope attached. I also picked up a new production Rock Solid  firing pin spring which has been noted to improve accuracy and consistent detonation. At least from initial looks, the spring appeared to be a huge craftsmanship improvement over my 1930 vintage version.

Rock Solid now has two additional Mosin Nagant scope mount options; the original scope mount, and now a M91/30 Scout Rifle Mount and MI-24C extended rail scope mount modeled after the US Army's MI-24 E1 sniper rifle rail. The MI24C extends from the rear of the receiver for over 12" down the barrel and will have optional 90-degree offset Picatinny accessory rails available. Rock solid wanted feedback on both and sent me samples of each to test for this and other builds.  Rock Solid has smartly kept the receiver mounting holes all the same between all three mounts. This allows the builder to swap to a different mount at some point if they want to transform a "sniper style" build to a "scout rifle" style build.

Actually this entire crazy project was caused by Bluegrass Gun Stock who shipped me a new fuller featured model of their original Tactical stock I originally featured in the Transforming a Legend article. Typically they offer the stock in hard rock maple, however my version was solid curly maple. I had provided some feedback on stock design and some of my ideas such as integrated monopod and easy knob adjustable cheek rest were incorporated into the new SF (Special Forces) Tactical stock. You know how it goes, once you have one upgrade component, a new build begins almost involuntarily.

Both of these companies are delivering the pinnacle of aftermarket upgrades for the Mosin Nagant tweaker, tuner, and builder. Luckily they are working very closely together on the development of products. Even if you just want a scope mount or stock upgrade to your original un-altered Mosin, they have a host of products available to improve accuracy, reliability, looks, and enjoyment of your Mosin.

Rock Solid was the first to offer a real drill and tap scope mount for the Mosin which remains the most stable and reliable method of attaching a scope.  All other competing mounts simply attach using the rear sight mount as the mounting point which is not enough to support an optic properly.  For those fearing the drill and tap, I was recently introduced to Devcon 2-Ton Epoxy which I am positive would deliver a drill-free permanent mounting method for Rock Solid scope mount to a Mosin and is likely to actually be more secure than a screw mounted scope mount Even if it didn't hold, you could always still install via the drill and tap method. Rock Solid is also where you will find bent handle carriers which provide the clearance once a scope mount is used as well as pillar bedding, and other accessories designed to enhance accuracy.

Bluegrass was the first to offer a quality wooden thumb-hole target stock for the Mosin Nagant, however they have expanded that line to include a host of options as well as developed the Tactical and SF Tactical stock which is an amazing stock for the money. The company is working on a 10/22 target version of their Tactical stock which I am hoping to be first in line for.

The build was simple and relatively painless as before with the exception of some barrel crowning problems. The first task was freeing the Tula Mosin from its bondage to the original stock and then slipping it into the new curly maple SF Tactical Bluegrass stock. On the early original Tactical Stock versions, I had to epoxy in the two aluminum pillar mounts, however Bluegrass now provides the stocks with them already mounted. This is a good and bad thing. If your Mosin drops in and lines up you just saved about 2-3 hours of pillar bedding work, if not you will have about an hour of fitment tweaking that needs to be resolved via a drill bit which is the route I needed to pursue. After using a drill to correct the cant on the pillars for my Mosin, I was able to get everything tightened down for the test fitting. This is not the fault of Bluegrass but the result of the variances of handmade Mosins.

The action fit great in the stock, so the next task was assuring that adding in the Timney trigger did not require any additional fitting. The Bluegrass stocks are available pre-milled for the Timney trigger and safety, however it is always good to check to assure your Mosin functions as it should once tightened down.  In my case, I had one minute of Dremeling to assure the safety would properly function and the Rock Solid bent bolt fully seated. This is common due to the little hand made variances on the Mosin Nagant platform.

While swapping out the Rock Solid converted bent bolt handle, I also added in the jointly developed Rock Solid/C&R Surplus stainless steel firing pin spring. The spring delivers a consistent 22lb rate a little less than the original Mosin spring. The spring rate and design decreases lock time and increase primer strike ability and was specifically designed to work with Timney or modified/lightened triggers. Each spring is made using high quality stainless steel then load tested to insure spring provides consistent performance.

The Ultimate Mosin also received a several trigger upgrades. Using a match Timney trigger was mandatory from my perspective, however Rock Solid makes a Timney trigger shoe which further lightens the feel of the trigger and provides a more biathlon feeling trigger.  Hey if you are going to go ultimate you might as well add all the little touches as well.  With the spring, trigger and shoe upgrade the trigger feel is sublimely amazing.

For my intended purposes an original Rock Solid scope mount would have worked fine, however the new Rock Solid M91/30 Scout Rifle Mount and MI-24C extended rail scope mount peaked my curiosity and looked freaking cool.  Ths MI-24C requires a rear receiver hole to be drilled and tapped just like the original Rock Solid Mosin mount. Up front both of the new extended mounts join to the receiver via two holes drilled and tapped by the user and also mount to the rear sight base via a cross pin and alignment screw. 

In either case you simply remove the rear leaf spring sight by driving out just one pin but leave the base punned and soldered to the barrel. The scope base is lined up on the receiver and the alignment screw is used to level the base to the receiver. This alignment screw basically just assures there to just offer leveling and alignment support during installation.

At that point the two receiver holes can be drilled and tapped per Rock Solid's instructions. If you are terrified of drilling into a $129 rifle then I recommend considering a permanent mount with Devcon 2-Ton epoxy, but once that stuff is set it is technically welded in place. The last step is to drill the pin hole through the front sight mount. The best way to do this is to drill each size with an undersized bit and then re-drill with the correct bit that fits the roll pin. Dependent on your Mosin Nagant model, you may need to shorten the receiver mounting bolts as some to protrude too much into the receiver and prohibit full bolt movement. A Dremel with a cutoff bit is all you need for that task.

Once you have everything back together, smoothly functioning, and the action back in the stock, you can mount up your optic of choice. In this case I reached for the Bushnell Tactical 4.5-18x40 scope with a Mildot BDC reticle. This optic provides plenty of magnification and can take the Mosin to its accuracy limits which I have found to be around 1-MOA with surplus ammo that will hold out to about 400-yards if I do my part. Additional tweaking and tuning of ammo and the barrel can improve that further.  The Bushnell optic delivers excellent clarity and a $350 MSRP is very reasonable for this quality of optic.

After over three months of tinkering around with this build, I had hoped to already have the action of this Ultimate Mosin finished with something like a Melonite to greatly ease the required post range thorough cleaning and improve the looks a bit, but that will have to be another article. Technically I had the time, however I realized that I needed to get a bit more aggressive with barrel shortening than I had planned. An extra deep Russian factory counter-bore reconditioning was nearly 2” deep. My first chop and muzzle re-crown took the barrel down to 24” and it shot very well with results that matched my first Mosin build however it wouldn't fit in my safe so I whacked it down a bit more to 20” and re-crowned it again with my Pacific Tool & Gauge crowning tool.  I then got a little overambitious polishing and cleaning up the crown. This screw up delivered an appalling 8” 100-yard groups. Yes folks a bad crown will screw up accuracy more than anything else. After a 5th range trip still working our barrel issues, was forced to shorten by ½” and re-crown yet again. Although my work done in frustration was a bit rough at the range, the latest re-crown put me back into a solid sub-1.25” group range with surplus ammo at 100-yards.  In this case the original action and barrel may simply have been a bit more accurate than this Mosin, but that does not make this shorter barreled rifle any less fun.

Of note, I would not recommend going under 22” for the Mosin simply because all you end up seeing through the scope is a muzzle blast with a sub-20” barrel which slows follow-up shots. A shorter barrel woudl be fine if you have a machinist buddy who can deliver a perfect crown and thread the barrel for a muzzle brake to dissipate blast to the side and out of the shooters optic sightline.

As noted above, my Ultimate Mosin delivered accuracy a bit less ultimate than my first build, however I still hold out hope that a final precision re-crown will rejuvenate accuracy. Even with accuracy a bit less than MOA, this Ultimate Mosin still delivers a fun shooting rifle with surplus ammo with accuracy infinitely better than a freshly uncrated Mosin and part of that is due to the re-crown, Bluegrass Stock, and Timney Trigger. As with my first Mosin update, one of the most critical upgrades was the Rock Solid scope mount which allowed the mounting of the Bushnell AR-223 4.5-18x40 scope.  The Bushnell AR/223 allows incredibly clear shot placement and the precision to take advantage of all the upgrades.  The Bushnell Drop Zone 223 BDC reticle allowed consistent shots with my tins of surplus ammo out to the 500 yard steels.

Once I can get the crown set to perfection, the entire Ultimate Mosin action will go to WMD for melonite coating to ease cleanup.  Many would scoff at sinking over a $1000 into a Mosin however consider that I can shoot this thing all day for just $0.20 a round. Yes even in the midst of the 2012-2014 ammo shortage, I could still order up a 440 round surplus spam cans of 7.62x54R ammo for just $90.  In a time that .308 is $0.80 a round, in only 1500 rounds with this tricked out Ultimate Mosin build, ammo savings will pay for every component and along the way deliver more shooting, training, and fun. Ultimate Mosin indeed.

Mosin Tula 91/30 - Aim Surplus $129
Rock Solid Industries Mosin Nagant MI-24C 91/30 Rail System (Round Receiver)    $130   
Rock Solid Industries Mosin Nagant Stainless Steel Firing Pin Spring    $12.99   
Rock Solid Industries Mosin Nagant Trigger Shoe $12
Rock Solid Industries Mosin Nagant Bolt Body with Handle $70
Bluegrass Stock Company Figured curly maple SF Tactical Stock $360
Timney Trigger $98.99 Street
Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40 Riflescope w/ Drop Zone 223 Reticle $220 Street

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Timney Mosin Trigger -