Sunday, March 3, 2013

Old School

Many years ago, I purchased my first handgun for home defense.  At the time, I was living in Beaumont with The Happy Texan in a small apartment complex.  Our neighbor's car was stolen in the early morning hours.  It was close to Halloween, and we had decorations hanging outside our door.  One of the decorations was a ghost made of a pillow case.  After hearing about our neighbor's car, we found that our ghost had been used to wipe the blood from the thief's hands after he had broken the glass to gain entry to the car.

So, we went to Walmart and purchased a Taurus .357 magnum.  After shooting it a few times, we became comfortable with it, and as a result, a bit safer in our little apartment.

Since then, I have become quite addicted to firearms.  I have bought, sold and traded more than I can probably remember.  I have owned polymer and steel, and while polymer is lightweight and inexpensive, steel is simply a work of art.

About three years ago, I convinced myself to buy another Taurus.  This time, I bought a PT1911 DT.  It was a well made 1911 chambered in .45 ACP, and it had a LOT of features for the price.  It shot well, too.  While I carried it often, I never really used it to compete with.  That changed in January of 2013.   I shot it in one of my IDPA matches.  I did not shoot it well.  It was very difficult for me to call my shots.  I had a very hard time calling my shots.  This made for a very rough day.

So, I sold the Taurus.  But I kept a lot of 1911 gear, including brass, bullets and some primer.

Around mid February I noticed something very nice on the various firearms sites around the internet.  The Sig Sauer 1911 "Texas Edition".  I showed the pictures of this pistol to momma, and she agreed that it was eye catching.  At the time, I never expected to purchase one.

Well, I did.  And I have to say, I don't regret it one bit.

The Taurus I had was alright.  It did receive more abusive comments than I thought it deserved.  However, after holding the Sig, I can understand how the Taurus fell short.  The Sig is truly a well designed and assembled pistol.  It feels the entire palm of my hands, whereas the Taurus did not.  The Sig is far better balanced, too.  The Sig just plain ol' beats the Taurus in every area.

So, here is a short range review of the Sig Sauer Texas Edition 1911.

After picking up the Sig from Full Armor Firearms in Katy, TX, I came home and disassembled the pistol.  Disassembly is the same as any 1911.  Push the plug in and twist the busing to allow removal of the plug and recoil spring.  Draw the slide back far enough to remove the slide stop, and then remove the slide by sliding it forward and off of the frame.  Don't forget to catch the guide rod, which in this case is quite short.  Slide the barrel out of the front of the slide after removing the bushing, and the pistol is field stripped.

After wiping everything down, I covered it in Frog Lube and reassembled it.

The next day, I took it to the range.  I fired eight rounds from seven, ten and fifteen yards.  These targets were shot in very high winds while standing.  No rest was used.  The wind would blow so hard at times that it would cause me to almost lose my balance.  Still, the results are shown below:

Moving on from the paper targets and accuracy check to the plate rack was MUCH more fun.  The first few rounds had trouble finding their mark.  But once I adjusted to the trigger, the steel was falling with every stroke of the trigger.  Steel at my range is shot at a distance of about twelve yards.  There were very few misses.  I was hoping for video, but it was very windy and cold, and my photographer protested greatly about being out in the weather.

While on the plate rack, I fed several different types of ammunition to the Sig.  Some 230 grain FMJ hand loads, 230 grain Blazer brass and other mixed "off" brands, 230 grain Wolf, and 230 grain hollow point hand loads as well as some 185 and 200 grain hand loads.  All ammunition fed without incident and ejected without incident. 

The plates fell fast enough that I had a couple of spectators from a nearby bay stop and watch for a bit.

Fit and finish is nice as well. There are no rattles on this pistol, save for grip safety, and that is just a slight rattle. The slide is very easy to draw, and I am sure it will only get better as it is broken in.

Of course, the main reason I purchased this pistol was because it is the "Texas Edition" from Sig.  They have released other Texas Edition pistols in the past, such as the P226R and the P220, but this one really caught my eye.  And how can you blame me?  The thing is gorgeous and shoots very, very well.

Coming soon...
I will do my best to really put this pistol to the test.  I have ordered a Mernickle P6 holster, which should arrive in about six weeks.  I will also be using it in an IDPA match in March (hopefully more than one).  So, check back often for more updates complete with video.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Citadel

The past few months have been a little slow in the armory.
I haven't shot an IDPA match since July, and really haven't been to the range since then either; save for a few sporadic twenty minute trips here and there.

In August, I acquired a Glock 23.  It was used, but not heavily.  The price was right, too.
It was very light and plenty accurate for a carry gun.  But it was really thick.  For summer time carry in Houston, that can pose a problem.  I typically wear little more than a t-shirt, and the Glock would poke out and print considerably.

So, I traded it for a Citadel 1911.  Here it is the day I picked it up.

Not a bad little pistol.

I took it to the range the next day to see what it could do.
I had mixed emotions.  I had several failures, and they were all failure to return to full battery.
It also shoots a bit high and to the left.  The accompanying targets show the groups I shot from twelve yards....
The target on top was shot with my Taurus PT1911DT at the same distance.  This problem is 
easily reconciled.  Just need to purchase a new front sight.  The sights on it now are standard black sights and are very hard to see.  They need to be changed anyway. 

The pistol is a bit heavy, but it carries well.  It stays tight to the body and doesn't move in my Don Hume holster.  I also discovered that the recoil spring wasn't the OEM strength, so I replaced it with a proper spring.  Feeding seems more reliable now, but I haven't had a chance to get it back out to the range to make sure.  

Until the sights are ordered, I added the old standby of skateboard tape to the front grip.  I also found an old magazine well, and added it as well.  It will stay as simple as possible.  It's a carry gun after all.  As of now, it looks like this:
This is truly not a bad carry option.  The price is right (I gave $400).  And it functions quite well.  After replacing the recoil spring, I am able to cycle rounds by hand without any problems.  The trigger feels very smooth.... I would estimate the break at approximately 4lbs.  Reset is very nice, too.  The only knock I have on it is the sights.  They are really hard to acquire.... But black on black sights may do it for some.  I prefer fiber optics in front, so I'm halfway there.  Another benefit is that it receives ant standard 1911 mag.  So, while it came with two seven round mags, the aftermarket Chip McCormick mags work well also.  All in all, it works very well for my needs.  

If you're in the market for a decent carry weapon and you aren't among the pretentious crowd, take a peek at the Citadel.  True, it's not a $3,000 1911..... And that's probably the best part.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Coming Soon....

Always a nice title.

This blog is mostly a spot in cyber space that is neglected.  I will do my best to keep it updated more frequently.

In the coming months, I will be reviewing at least one new pistol.  I will also be giving a synopsis on my first 3gun match, as well as more reports on various matches in the Houston area.

The past couple of months have seen me being fortunate enough to introduce several new shooters to IDPA.  I have acquired a couple of new firearms and sold a few.  My collection has dwindled somewhat, but it has also improved in quality as it has diminished. Overall, it is still quite nice.

So, look for a new feel to this spot on the web.  More videos, more in depth reviews, and more sharing about the shooting sports and firearm ownership in general.

Thanks for hanging out.
More to come.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

Looky looky!
For the past several years, I have focused on pistol shooting.  Anything tactical, or anything geared toward self defense.  I still love playing the shooting games.  I still carry daily.
Things change from time to time.

My daughter is dating a young man who is an avid hunter.  He has come to our home more than once bearing gifts of wild game.  Venison, fish, hog.  Recently he mentioned that I would be able to accompany him and his father on a hunt this fall.

When I was a kid, my dad took me hunting all the time.  We also fished quite a bit.  I went on a couple of deer hunts with dear ol' dad, but I never shot one.  I've never even seen a deer shot before.  We hunted duck and dove mostly.  And if we weren't in the field, we were on the water.  Lots and lots of good memories.

So, when my daughter's suitor asked me to go, I said, "yes", of course.  And I knew that I would have to hit the range to make sure that I would be able to hit what I was shooting at.

So, I dragged out and dusted off my Springfield Armory M1A.  I bought it the day that Obama was elected.  What a terrible day that was.  Since purchasing it, I installed a tri-rail that replaced the original upper hand guard.  On that rail, I placed a Burris 3x9 scout scope.

Kelly and I got to the range early on Friday morning.  I had to chronograph some newly loaded .45 ammo, and then I went to the rifle range.  I started at the 35 yard range to get the scope on paper.  I shot my AR15 first, and then followed with the M1A.  I was able to hit the holes I made shooting the AR with the M1A.  This put me in a wonderful mood.

As I was packing my gear to move to the 100 yard range, a friend of mine called me to his shooting station.  He has a Remington 700 LTR.  He asked me to shoot it (because he's an awesome guy).  The trigger was so nice that it scared me when it discharged.  When I looked through the scope, it appeared as if I had missed the target entirely.  That is until my friend said, "no... you hit my hole".  What a great rifle!

Then we moved to the 100 yard range.  Things here went south quickly.
Kelly was my spotter.  After the first shot, she reported that I was at 9 o'clock.  The second shot was just a little above the first.  The third was just a little above the seond.  I was pretty stoked.  When I looked through the spotting scope, however, my rounds were not grouped as I had imagined.  Instead, they were about an inch and a half from each other.  The best I could manage was about a 3" group. 

Granted, I had a tri-rail mounted to the rifle, and it was touching the barrel.  I was also shooting military surplus ammunition.  But I still feel I should be getting better groups than that.  And after shooting my friend's rifle, I was quite disappointed.  So, we left the range and I went home to read.

After reading for a while, it was clear that, while the M1A is a fantastic battle rifle, it wasn't designed to be a precision rifle.  It can be a precision rifle, but it costs quite a bit of money to make it so.

So I sold it.
To make room for my new one.
Now, I do a lot of shopping around before buying a rifle.  I read article after article, and talk to as many people as I can.  I even flip flopped between a rifle like this and a short barreled AR15.  I found a rifle at a very large firearm store in Houston, and they quoted me a wonderful price.  So I called another store, a newer one in League City.  They said they would match the price of the other shop.  Then, on a recommendation from a friend, I called The Scope Smith
Actually, I emailed him.  It's hard to talk on the phone while at work.
Jose, the owner of the store, emailed me back in very short order.  His quote beat the other two quotes by more than twenty dollars.  We emailed back and forth most of the day.  I told him I would be there the following evening to pick up my rifle.

Let me say, Jose is a breath of fresh air.  You've read my experience with the people at Primary Arms (below).  When I arrived at Jose's shop, he had everything picked out.  I told him that I didn't want to spend much more than $1,000.00, and he had priced out a package that totalled 990, tax included!  We discussed different scopes for a while, and I chose the Nikon Monarch.  It's a 2-10x scope, and it was a little more than the Leupold that Jose had quoted, but that was alright.  I exceeded my original budget, but only by $125 - and it was my decision to do so.  The Leupold would have worked just fine, but I liked the reticule on the Nikon better.

The only problem was that he didn't have the scope in stock.  So he ordered it late Tuesday afternoon.  The scope arrived Thursday and was mounted that very day.

Jose's shop is not large.  It is very cozy.  He greets you with a smile at the door.
There's a lot of cool stuff inside.

Jose emailed me as soon as my scope arrived.  By the time I arrived at his shop, the scope was mounted partially.  He then had me look through the scope to make sure that the eye relief was alright.  After a few minor adjustments, he torqued everything down. 
To say that Jose is a professional would be an understatement.  He mounted the scope and bore sighted it for free.  He even printed out a rebate form so that I could participate in Nikon's rebate program.  This is a first class operation.

If you are even considering purchasing a new firearm or any accessories, you would be well served to give Jose a chance to earn your business.  I know he has mine.  I will be a customer at The Scope Smith for years to come... and as often as my checkbook (and lovely wife) will allow.

Next update: Range time and pictures of the new 700

Friday, February 10, 2012

AR-15 (re)Build - Final Test

 It was a good week at the Haus of Schu.  I managed to sell the crappy Troy Claymore "compensator"... and I use that term loosely.  Don't get me wrong.  I've said it before; if I kicked in doors for a living, the Claymore would be perfect.  I don't do that, though.  I shoot paper targets that don't shoot back.

So after selling the Claymore, I ordered a Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 5M1 compensator.  It arrived Thursday of this week.  I installed it, with the help of my lovely bride. 

Here is the new comp, installed on the end of the Yankee Hill Machine 1:7 twist barrel:
It was my intent to hit the range bright and early Friday morning to burn a few rounds with a friend of mine.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.  It rained all night Thursday and most of the morning Friday.  I texted my shooting buddy around 0545 to tell him to grab another cup of coffee, that we would shoot in about a week.  I will be heading to his place this Sunday to watch him start a new batch of home brewed beer.

This morning I also had a doctor's appointment.  In November I had knee surgery.  In January, I injured my knee again.  At least I thought I did.  I had some pretty bad bruising on the inside of my thigh after catching my toe on the carpet whilst turning.  Doc said that I didn't hurt my knee.  Instead I tore my groin muscle.  That would explain the pain and bruising.  Nothing major though.

After that, Momma and I were gonna drop daughter off at the mall for an afternoon with her buds.  We stopped to eat lunch, and in the parking lot was a baby Muscovie duck.  Poor little critter was blind and couldn't find momma.  So we took it to the Texas Wildlife Rehabilition Center in the west Houston area.  Yeah.  Tough guy with guns helps rescue duckling.

By this time, the rain had stopped.  I didn't have much time, what with the ducky taking so much time.  So, after dropping daughter off at the mall, Momma and I headed home to pick up the AR to do a little shooting.  And I mean a little.  I checked into the range at 1455 and left at 1545.  Less than an hour. 

After getting the C-More zeroed at thirty-five yards, I moved to targets at fifty yards.  This little AR does a fine job.  With no magnification on the optics, double taps still came easy.  Below are two targets shot in quick succession while standing.
Overall accuracy was fine.  These rounds were shot as quickly as possible.  The compensator really does work.  Recoil feels like shooting a .22LR.  The noise, however, is NOT like a .22.  Still not as bad as I thought.

I really cannot wait for the next carbine match in the Austin area.  I also found out today that the range where I have membership will be putting on 3gun matches soon.  Look for the first of my 3gun match reports within the next two months.

In other firearm related news, some goodies came in the mail this week.  Monday I received the parts I ordered from Dawson Precision.  I purchased the "EDGE" trigger kit, four basepads, and a Dawson ICE magwell for my Glock 34.
Here are the goods:
Not sure if this will become my go-to pistol for IPSC / IDPA, but I am seriously considering it.  Ammunition is a lot cheaper, recoil is easier to manage, plus it's just plain fun to shoot.  It doesn't look too bad either.
Nor does it shoot poorly.  Seventeen rounds at twelve yards, as fast as I can pull the trigger.  With control, of course.

Next week will be the first IPSC match I will shoot with the Glock 34.  I have a carbine match tentatively scheduled for mid April.  Looking forward to that with great anticipation.  Wish we had something like that locally, outside of the 3gun matches offered around the area.

Until then, stay safe.

Friday, February 3, 2012

AR-15 (re)Build Range Report

Two posts in a week's time? Amazing.

I took the Bushmaster/Yankee Hill mutt out to the range this morning to see how it would perform. Last night I used my Laserlyte to help me sight the C-More sight so that I could save a few bullets at the range.

We got the range early, about 0800. It wasn't crowded at all, but that was in part due to the fact that the weather was dreadful. The range was pretty soaked, too.

After getting all setup at the thirty-five yard range, I fired the first shot. The recoil was so much more than I expected. My first thought was that I had set the gas block incorrectly. I rolled the rifle to check if the bolt was closed, and it was. So, I lined up for the second shot. The rifle barked, so I knew the gas block was set properly. But the recoil (and muzzle rise) was far worse than it was when I had the old Bushmaster barrel installed. The shots were falling relatively close to my aim point, so I decided to fire a five shot group and survey the results before trying to move the optics.

The third shot went off, and the fourth. But something wasn't right. The recoil was too much, and the muzzle rise so high that the target was out of my line of sight briefly. What could it be? It was the Troy Claymore muzzle brake. And I use the term "muzzle brake" loosely.

I packed up my gear and headed home. I was a little irritated because I wanted a different muzzle brake to begin with, but the shop that I purchased all of my parts at was out of stock at the time. Well, they had one in stock, but I was told that they had already sold it through the internet business they have. The guys there were more than happy to make a recommendation. They brought out several for me to see, but having no prior expertise in this area, I asked their advice. With their advise, I chose the Claymore.

It looks mean on the end of the barrel. The price was right (about fifty-five bucks). But it didn't do what it claimed it was supposed to do. So, I drove up to the shop (Primary Arms http:\\ to see if they would work with me in getting another compensator. One that would work.

Now, I know that this comp was already installed on my rifle. I had placed four rounds through it. But it truly did not live up to the recommendation. So I had hoped that we would be able to work a pro-rated deal out for store credit or something. No dice. The fella behind the counter told me that I might consider installing it on a different rifle. He was really sorry, but since it was installed already, there wasn't anything he could do for me. "Not even for store credit? I don't even need a full refund. Just a little help towards something else." "Yeah, geeeezzz.... sorry", was the response.

As I was walking out the door, he made one final suggestion. I could check around and find what I wanted and he would get pricing for me.

So, I got home and contacted them via their website. I let them know I was displeased with the service.

Surprisingly, I got a phone call. They wanted to talk about what they could do to help me out. I was really pleasantly surprised.

Everything was going along swimmingly until I was told that the only reason they were doing this was so I wouldn't "run around telling all my friends". They also let me know that they would never do this again, that this was a one time "deal".

The general attitude really rubbed me the wrong way. I've dealt with a lot of retail establishments in my short forty-three years. This is the first time I have ever heard this.

Not wanting to put this company in a bind, I decided to cut my losses.

It's sad, to me anyway, that they were so anxious to take my money, but so unwilling to help afterwards. Then, when they decided to help, it was begrudgingly.

So, I am still in the market for a compensator. If you have recommendations, I would be glad to hear them. I will more than likely eat this one, although I will try and sell it. I just don't expect much of a response. There's probably a reason they had this one in stock in the first place.

What saddens me more is that this place was so close. Less than fifteen minutes away. But, I can't do business with a place that makes recommendations and then doesn't back them up. I also don't want to feel like I am causing financial problems with said establishment.

I let them know that, and they did reply. I really don't think they took the time to read my entire reply, but that's okay. If I can get out of any future problems and only lose fifty-five smackers, I'll take it. Next time I will do far more research. Live and learn.

I will post another range report later on. I may as well shoot the rifle with the current compensator on it.

Until then, be safe.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bushmaster AR-15 (re)Build

I'm baaaack. I got really lazy with the blog updates. Lazy for two years. That's really, really lazy.
I've been busy, though. Lots of stuff going on. I've been doing a lot of shooting, and my wife has been doing a LOT of running. She even ran a half marathon at the end of last year! She's pretty awesome, really.

Well, I focused on the pistol for the past year. I've sold and purchased many pistols over the past year. I did something I never thought I would do - I bought a Glock. Yep. A G17. I quickly fell in love with it. I stippled the grip on my own, changed the sights, and changed the connector. Then I bought (and sold) three or four different Glocks. I finally settled on a Glock 35. That purchase was quickly followed by the purchase of a Glock 34.

Sadly, I moved on from the Glock line to the Para Ordnance. I still have the Glocks in the safe, but my weapon of choice is easily the Para Ordnance P16.40. I absolutely love it. The last IDPA match I shot in November was the best I've shot to date. I placed first in the match, with top honors in accuracy as well. You can view the scores at should you choose. And you really should consider shooting an IDPA match. Don't be nervous. Just go do it!

Now - on to the AR-15 build.
A week ago, Kelly ran a 5k in Austin. It was called the Austin Gorilla Run. A little over 1100 people gathered in Austin dressed in gorilla costumes and ran through Austin. Check out Kelly's blog post at

While we were in Austin, I met with a high school buddy of mine for dinner at The Salt Lick. Sunday morning, we all met in Bulverde at Cedar Ridge Range for a carbine match. A carbine match is similar to an IDPA match except one shoots a rifle instead of a pistol. We also carried a sidearm in this match, and at times we transitioned to the pistol. It was one fun time.

I learned a lot shooting that match. Among the things I learned was that I needed to do a few things to my AR before I could be competitive shooting a 3 gun match. I thought for the longest time that I wouldn't need to worry about a flash suppressor or a compensator for the AR. I also had an EOTech 512 HWS mounted on my AR. All of these things I thought I wanted, but it turns out that I was wrong. So, I sold a couple of things in order to quickly raise money to change up my AR15.

Fortunately for me (unfortunate for Kelly), there is a shop in Pearland called Primary Arms. You can visit their website at GREAT group of guys there.

Here is what my carbine looked like this before I started (note the lack of flash suppressor/compensator):

After spending two hours at Primary Arms, I was anxious to get started. I spread an old sheet over the dining room table and got ready. I did the normal; checked to make sure the rifle was unloaded, and started taking things apart. I removed the handguards first.

Then it was time to remove the front post sight. This was frustrating at best. I am not sure what Bushmaster does when they install these, but I worked on removing it for at least an hour. I got out the Dremel tool and tried grinding the pins down. I was able to remove the sling mount, but gave up removing the pins holding the sight to the barrel. I removed quite a bit from the front sight before giving up.

So, the only way for me to remove the barrel and use the same upper receiver was to cut the gas tube in the middle and remove one half from the reciever side. Easy enough. I called Primary Arms to make sure they had one in stock, and Mr. Loomis placed one aside for me. When I arrived to pick it up, we pulled an assembly diagram to make sure I didn't need any additional extraneous parts.

Gas tube and barrel removed, I could now start assembly. I purchased a Yankee Hill Machine barrel with a 1:7 twist. Barrel twist selection is one of those topics that is discussed ad naseum on many forums and everyone has their favorite. I chose 1:7 so that I would be able to shoot a variety of available bullet weights reliably.

Barrel installation was a snap. I used a cheesy 3" clamp on bench vise (I will be purchasing a much larger bench vise for future AR builds). Among my purchased items was an 11" Troy free float hand guard. It was supplied with a replacement barrel nut and the tool with which to install said barrel nut.

Next was the gas block installation. The gas block sits over a small hole in the barrel and routes gas from the burning powder back to operate the bolt. In order to keep the gas block where it needed to be, I used a liberal amount of loctite red on the barrel and on the hex keys. I also drilled small recesses into the barrel so the hex keys would have something to keep them put.

With gas block in place, there was little left to do. I slipped on the Troy free float hand guard. I chose this one (the TRX Extreme battle rail) because it is a bit thinner than most. It's also not covered in rails. I like to attach gadgets to my rifle as much as the next guy, but in reality I am not going to use 44" of rail. The troy came with additional rail pieces that will allow me to attach a few things such as lights or lasers, and placed the two shorter ones on either side of the rail close to the muzzle. There I can hang a light on one side, and a swivel sling attachment on the other.

Also purchased were Troy flip up BUIS (back up iron sights). I chose the HK style front sight, and the Di-Optic rear. The Di-Optic rear because it's different. It's not the standard circular aperture. This one is diamond shaped and has markings at the corners. I feel it help line up the front post more quickly. For longer range, a variation of pistol sight is used for the rear. It looks like this:

With the sights installed, I moved the C-More sight a little farther forward than it sat previously. I had an EOTech 512 for the longest time because that is what everyone else used. After shooting a match with it, I found it difficult to concentrate on the holographic image. My eyes wanted to focus on the scope itself. The C-More is smaller in size than the EOTech and the dot is brighter. It's also easier to activate and increase the brightness of the dot. Of course, these are just my opinions. Your mileage may vary. I also installed a polymer Magpul MOE trigger guard. This guard is just a little larger than the standard "straight" trigger guard. And I installed a Troy Medieval comensator on the business end of the barrel. The hardest part of this entire build was crushing the provided washer that came with the compensator.

The finished product:
It was a fun build. I learned quite a bit in the process, namely that it's not difficult to do this. However, should you not feel comfortable with something like this, there is probably a qualified gunsmith in your area. Just look them up and they will be happy to assist in your build. They will even help you decide on various configurations and so forth.
Next up will be the range report from this build.