Soup It Up For Soldiers Step 2: Bull the Barrel

Soup-it-up-for-Soldiers_custom_ruger_10-22_Step-2

Last Week…

Last week in Step 1: Sportify the Stock, we replaced the standard stock on our Ruger 10/22 with a custom Revolution Extreme one, graciously donated by Brownells. This week, we’re going to replace the barrel with a sporty competition model from Tactical Solutions – also graciously donated by Brownells.

Remember, at the end of this series, we’re going to end up with one heck of a rifle. And we’re going to auction it on GunBroker.com so 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Project Valour-IT of Soldiers Angels.

Step 2 Objectives

  1. Take a perfectly good barrel off a perfectly good Ruger 10/22 carbine. Because we can.
  2. Do NOT butch up the receiver. “Butching up” is a techincal gunsmithing term that loosely translates to “gouging metal.”
  3. Do NOT butch up the shiny new Tactical Solutions barrel.
  4. Try to avoid the use of large sledgehammers and/or blowtorches. This might cause the Brownells GunTech Team to resign en-masse and we wouldn’t want that to happen. Who would we call for advice about Step 3?
  5. Make sure that the rifle still feeds and shoots. In a forward direction. Preferably .22LR ammunition.

The Custom Ruger 10/22 Project Parts

Tactical Solutions Silver X Ring Barrel fluted

Tactical Solutions Silver X Ring Barrel (fluted)

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel

The Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel upgrade adds the “bull” part of this step

  • .920” diameter, 6061-T6 billet aluminum construction
  • Threaded end with included matching thread protector
  • Oversized shank (more about this below)
  • 1 in 16” twist 4140 button rifled steel liner with 11° target crown
  • This one is silver. And quite sporty looking.

Tactical Solutions Compensator

Given the massive power and recoil of the .22LR rifle, we opted to include a thread-attached Tactical Solutions Compensator. Ok, to come clean, we didn’t really add this to help reduce recoil, because it’s pretty much non-existent anyway. It just looks cool, OK? Isn’t that a good enough reason?

tactical_solutions_ruger_compensator

The Tactical Solutions Compensator – more genuine coolnesss

  • 360° gas ports allow for even distribution of gasses for optimum accuracy
  • Machined from solid billet of 6061-T6 aluminum
  • No indexing or gunsmithing required to fit on Tactical Solutions ½ x 28 TPI Threaded end barrels
  • 0.920” Outside diameter so it fits exactly flush with the X-Ring barrel

How To Install The Tactical Solutions Bull Barrel

Admittedly, we were more than a little nervous going into this step as our previous gunsmithing experience has been limited to advanced techniques like ordering extra magazines from Brownells.com and replacing the factory grips on a Beretta 92-FS with Hogue Rubber Grips . That one was kind of hairy – we had to remove at least 4 different screws. And put them back.

However, Larry Weeks from Brownells talked us off the ledge and convinced us we could do this without professional assistance. While psychiatric services might be required, there would be no need for professional gunsmithing.

The Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel includes a very easy-to-follow set of instructions. And, as it turns out, swapping a barrel on a Ruger 10/22 couldn’t be easier. Apparently this rifle was designed with interchangeability in mind. As for the compensator, we were able to do without detailed instructions – you just screw it on.

Here goes…

Installing a Tactical Solutions barrel on the Ruger 20/22

The Tactical Solutions X-Ring barrel comes with a great set of easy to follow instructions. Between this article and the included directions, you’ll be fine!

remove receiver and barrel from ruger 10/22

First, remove the stock by loosening the screw just in front of the magazine well. Lift the barrel from the front to remove the receiver assembly. Seems like deja-vu no?

Ruger barrel to receiver mount v block

Just under the barrel, you’ll see two allen screws holding a barrel retainer v-block. Now would be a great time to find an allen wrench that fits these.

ruger 10/22 magazine release

We found that the magazine release lever and it’s corresponding pin like to fall out fairly easily when not contained by the insides of the stock. No biggie, just be aware of this so you don’t lose the pieces. If your magazine is out during these steps, you might also want to keep an eye on the magazine latch plunger.

ruger 10/22 v block removal

Loosen the allen screws and remove them completely. The barrel retainer v-block will come right off.

ruger 10/22 barrel removal

The Ruger 10/22 barrel will pull right out with hand pressure. If you have an older rifle, or things are crudded up, be gentle – this is probably not a great place to use impact tools or recreational explosives.

tactical solutions fluted barrel threaded thread protector

Since the Tactical Solutions X-Ring barrel on this particular rifle is threaded, we went ahead and put the thread protector on so we wouldn’t butch up the threads during the next few steps.

tactical solutions barrel installation ruger 10/22

Using your hands only (no large metal hammers or other tools substituting as hammers! This includes screwdrivers, pliers, and heavy flashlights) insert the new barrel into the receiver.Oh, it probably won’t fit. That’s OK – it’s slightly oversized by design. Tactical Solutions makes the shank just a hair on the large side so you can custom fit this barrel to a variety of Ruger or aftermarket receivers and create a perfect fit for your particular gun.

tactical solutions barrel installation custom fit

Here’s a great time to be really, really patient. If you have to, pretend that you’re in an old 007 movie tinkering with an atomic bomb fuse – except that the clock is not ticking down while the co-star looks concerned. This is an easy step that will have major impact on the accuracy of the rifle. Using some emery cloth, gently sand down the barrel shank. Wipe off the crud, and try the fit. The barrel should eventually fit in the receiver very tightly, but with hand pressure only. Take your time and repeat the sanding, wiping, and test fitting as necessary. Remember, this part is made of aluminum, so it will sand down fairly easily.To the future buyer of this rifle: We were very patient with this step. The fit is rock solid.

tactical solutions custom barrel installed ruger 10/22

If you look closely at this photo, you’ll see that hand pressure has gotten the barrel to fit in the receiver except for the last 1/16th of an inch or so. Leave the hammers in the drawer!

install v block with new tactical solutions barrel ruger 10/22

Place the barrel retainer v-block back in position and tighten the allen screws alternately. This will snug the barrel right up to the receiver.

tactical solutions fluted barrel fit ruger 10/22

Look at that fit. Perfect!

tactical solutions compensator installation

This would be a swell time to screw on the new Tactical Solutions Compensator!

ruger 10/22 rail installation

Now it’s time to put the new barreled receiver back in the stock. See Step 1 if you need a refresher on that.This would be a great time to add the rail that Ruger includes with the 10/22. Simply remove the four screws in the top of the receiver, and fasten the rail using the included screws. Remember to use proper gunsmith screwdrivers here so these very visible screws stay nice and tidy. You can get a set at Brownells.

bushnell red dot ruger 10/22

Since Step 2 resulted in the loss of our factory iron sights (The Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel does not have them) we popped a nearby Red / Blue / Green Dot sight from BSA on the newly mounted rail just to test things out. During a future step, we’ll decide what optic should live on this rifle permanently. Let us know if you have ideas!

Voila!

Custom Ruger 10/22 Tactical Solutions Barrel and Compensator

The custom Ruger 10/22 is starting to look somewhat nifty

Purely as a quality control measure, we took the completed rifle with it’s shiny new barrel to the range to make sure it still worked. After all, one of our Step 2 objectives was to make sure that the rifle still was able to fire .22LR ammunition in a mostly forward direction. We tried a small variety of ammo types and experienced not a single problem with ejection or feeding. Considering we just put a whole new barrel on the Ruger 10/22, that was some very good news.

22LR_ammo_eley_remington_CCI_aguila

The custom Ruger 10/22 worked just fine with a variety of ammunition

Yes, this rifle is already more fun to shoot than should be legal. Golf balls will be at your mercy at most any reasonable distance.

Next Steps For The Custom Ruger 10/22 Project…

Join us next week when things get really hairy. Hairy and triggery. We’re taking apart the receiver to install a new trigger group. Be on the lookout for explosions originating from an undisclosed location somewhere in South Carolina.

Stay tuned!

Soup It Up For Soldiers – Step 1: Ruger 10/22 Stock Upgrade

Custom Ruger 10/22 - Revolution Extreme Stock

The Mission: Customize a Ruger 10/22 Carbine

We’re building a custom Ruger 10/22 rifle. For education and charity. And fun.

We’ve always thought that the Ruger 10/22 rifle is one of the classic customizable platforms out there. It’s so popular, and so extensible, that an entire supporting industry has sprung out out of the (gun) works – so to speak – offering replacement parts, custom options, and various enhancements. That people would build entire companies around Ruger 10/22 customization speaks volumes about the quality, longevity, and flexibility of the rifle platform.

Earlier this year, while jawing with the Brownells folks at the 2012 SHOT Show, we got to talking about all the things one could do with a Ruger 10/22. Dave Bennetts, GunTech Team leader at Brownells even bragged that eventually you could replace every single part on a Ruger 10/22. So we took him up on that claim.

Ruger 10/22 Carbine

It was actually hard to start taking the 10/22 Carbine apart. It’s a sweet handling gun right out of the box!

Over the next 6 weeks or so, we’re going to customize the dickens out of this rifle – just to see what’s possible. And we’re going to document the process here so you can learn how to do it yourself.

With parts and expertise donated by Brownells, a 10/22 Carbine donated by Ruger, and assembly by our fearless gunsmith-wannabe team, we’ll end up with one heck of a rifle at the end. And we’re going to auction it  on GunBroker.com so 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Project Valour-IT of Soldiers Angels.

Step 1 Objectives

  1. Replace the factory stock on the Ruger 10/22 Carbine with the new Revolution Extreme stock.
  2. Do NOT call the Brownells GunTech Team whimpering and begging for technical assistance.
  3. Do NOT send a bag of parts to the Brownells GunTech Team with a note asking if they can ‘fix it’.
  4. Make sure that the rifle still shoots (preferably in a forward direction) after this step is complete.

The Ruger 10/22 and Custom Stock Parts

Ruger 10/22 Carbine

We’ve got a stock Ruger 10/22 Carbine equipped as follows:

  • Wooden stock with metal buttplate
  • 10 round rotary magazine
  • Removable scope base adapter
  • Iron sights adjustable for windage and elevation (gold bead on the front sight)
  • 18.5” barrel

Keystone Sporting Arms Revolution Extreme Stock

The Revolution Extreme stock is just plain racy…

  • Contoured palm swells
  • Vertical thumbhole grip
  • Rubber buttplate
  • Cutouts in the forend and stock to reduce weight

How To Install A Custom Stock On A Ruger 10/22

Well, here goes nuthin.

The Revolution Stocks people must know us well – especially our habit of ripping open packages and tossing the instructions. Directions for changing the stock are printed right on the back of the package. We suppose it can’t be too hard then.

Unload the Ruger 10/22 and remove the magazine

Make sure the gun is unloaded! Remove the rotary magazine, open the bolt and lock it in the open position.

Make sure the Ruger 10/22 chamber is empty

Check again to make sure the gun is unloaded and be sure there’s not a stray cartridge in the chamber!

Remove the Ruger 10/22 barrel band

Now remove the barrel band. This is techno-gun-speak for that round metal thing near the front of the stock. First, loosen the screw on the bottom of the band. You don’t need to remove it entirely – just enough for the barrel band to slide off the front of the rifle. If you want to be professional about this and not butch up the screws, use a gunsmith screwdriver set like this one available at Brownells. It makes a huge difference. Since we are donating this gun, we’re using all the correct tools!

Slide off the Ruger 10/22 barrel band

Now simply slide the barrel band off the front of the rifle. It should pass right over the front sight.

Loosen the Ruger 10/22 takedown screw

Next, loosen the takedown screw. This is located on the bottom of the stock just in front of the rotary magazine.

Remove the Ruger 10/22 factory barrel

Gently lift up on the front of the barrel, making sure that the safety button is positioned in the middle – halfway between on and off. Be careful with this step as the safety can catch on the inside of the wood stock if it’s not centered. Also, there is a notch on the back of the receiver so be sure to remove the barrel end first. We want to keep this nice little stock for a future use after all.

Keystone Sporting Arms Revolution Extreme Stock

Position the receiver and barrel into the new stock, receiver end first, so that the notch in the receiver fits over the corresponding protrusion in the stock. Lower the barrel into place.

Replace the takedown screw in the Revolution Extreme stock

Using the takedown screw from the original stock, fasten the new stock to the action. The front barrel band is not required with the Revolution Extreme stock so store that away.

Ruger 10/22 Carbine with custom Revolution Extreme stock

Go shooting!

Next Steps…

Admittedly, the stock replacement step was a piece of cake. We’ll consider it a warm up exercise for the barrel swap, which we’ve not done before, so if you hear explosions originating from the southeastern US we might know something about that. We’re going to call the folks at the Brownells GunTech Team to get some advice for the proper one for this rifle and some tips on how to do this without breaking too many parts. We’ll cover that next week.

Stay tuned!

Top 5 Coolest Things from NRA Annual Meeting Day 1

Even with a busy meeting and interview schedule, we managed to spot some pretty nifty things during day 1 of the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis. So far, we’ve only covered about 30% of the exhibits, so look for more over the next two days.

Here are some of the standouts from Day 1:

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Smith & Wesson M&P Shield – The much anticipated Shield is out and available for purchase. It’s a compact, yet comfortable little single stack pistol. It sports a brand new trigger design which is, well, fantastic.

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Aimpoint Pro – Previously for LE and Military only, a civvie version is ready. 2 MOA red dot, flip up lens covers, a torque limiting rail mount and typical Aimpoint quality. We’ll be doing a full review shortly.

22 Large

Bore Tips and Swab Its – We first saw these at SHOT Show 2012, but they still make the NRA AM Day 1 cool list. Bore-Tips are foam based cleaning swabs get complete contact with the barrel – and they are washable for reuse. Swab Its are the 21st century equivalent of Q-Tips that don’t leave cottony junk in your gun. And they come in different sizes to do things like reach into those impossible spaces in AR chambers.

gun_storage_handgun_rack_sm_handgun_hangers

Handgun Hangers – From Store More Guns, these simple but amazingly useful hangers mount above and/or below safe shelfs to hang pistols by the barrel. This keeps your pistols organized on any size of shelf. And you can store magazines underneath. They also have some nifty solutions that allow storage or more rifles in the same amount of gun safe space.

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Ruger 22/45 LITE Rimfire Pistol – This fun little .22LR pistol is shockingly light. No really, shockingly light. Oh, and phenomenally cool. The gold receiver and barrel shroud is tastefully colored and the contour cuts are just plain sporty. Look for this in different colors something in the future.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more cool things from the NRA Annual Convention. Stay tuned…

Soup It Up For Soldiers: You Can Get The Ultimate Custom Ruger 10/22 and Benefit Project Valour-IT

Custom Ruger 10/22 - Soup it up for Soldiers - Valour-IT

We’re going to have some fun, learn some things about home gunsmithing, melt the phone lines to the the Brownells GunTech Team, and hopefully not butcher a perfectly good Ruger 10/22 Carbine in the process. And all for a great cause.

At SHOT Show 2012, we got to talking to GunTech Team Leader Dave Bennetts. That alone can be a dangerous thing to do, but we persevered. Somehow we got on the topic of the Ruger 10/22 and what a fantastic platform it is. And we mean platform in the true sense.

Plat ・form [plat fawrm]

The basic technology of a guns design, parts, specifications and operating systems. A platform defines what other components may be used interchangeably or to accentuate the primary function of the gun.

OK, maybe we fudged the Webster’s definition a bit, but in plain English, the Ruger 10/22 is so extensible and ubiquitous (that’s our $.50 word of the day so we can claim to be bona-fide journalists) that an entire industry has evolved to provide quality accessories, replacement parts, and components that are optimized for specific purpose. In fact Dave bragged that Brownells carried so many aftermarket parts for the Ruger 10/22 that if we kept customizing we would eventually replace every single piece on the original gun. And he said that “regular” folks would be able to do this on their own. Yes, that’s people like us. And we’re not certified gunsmiths. In fact, we’re not certified in much of anything except making Twinkies disappear.

So we took him up on that claim.

We’re going to document the transformation process in a series of episodes. Brownells is donating the parts, Ruger is donating the 10/22 Carbine, and our staff is donating the labor and coverage. We’re going to photograph and document each step along the way and post articles here on exactly what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how it worked out. We think it’s going to take about 5 episodes from start to finish. If we’re still posting stories on this in a year or so, that simply means that the Brownells GunTech Team stopped taking our phone calls.

The best part of the deal is that when we’re finished, we’re going to Auction the newly customized Rifle on Ruger’s Auction Site, hosted by GunBroker.com. You’ll have a chance to bid on this fabulous rifle and make it your very own.

And to top that off, you can bid freely knowing that 100% of the auction proceeds are going to Project Valour-IT.

Project Valour-IT is affiliated with Soldiers Angels and helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. It’s a great idea and a great cause. Check out the link to see what they’re all about.

So sit back, enjoy the series, and get ready to bid generously knowing that your money will go to a great cause – and you’ll get a sick rifle out of the deal. “Sick” is what our kids say when something is beyond awesome. Apparently it’s a really good thing.

Ruger LCR .22

Checked out the new Ruger LCR .22 today.

Eight rounds of .22LR and the exact same feel as center fire LCR’s.

The only noticeable difference is that the trigger is heavier and has more stacking than the center fire version to account for the harder primer strike required on the .22 rim fire.

Gun Review: Ruger LCR .357 Magnum Revolver

Taming the Beast! A Featherweight .357 Magnum.

Suggested Retail Price: $575.00 www.ruger.com

 

The Good The Bad The Ugly Our Rating
This is a shootable gun. The polymer frame soaks up some of the potentially aggressive recoil in this ultra-light pocket cannon. We wish that a little more attention was paid to polish and finish of some of the polymer frame areas – especially inside the trigger guard. Our 158 grain .357 Magnum handloads were quite, umm, interesting in this gun. To be expected of course. 3 Nuns Four Nuns!
We gave the LCR 4 Nuns for the simple fact that it has been designed to actually shoot what its chambered for. Something that not all lightweight snubbies can claim.

 

Ruger LCR .357 Magnum Revolver

The Ruger LCR .357 is a beast tamed.

Hello boys and girls, and welcome to Physics Happy Fun Festival with My Gun Culture.

Today we’re going to see what it feels like to fire a .357 magnum out of an ultra-light handgun.

The Ruger LCR 357 launches a projectile at nearly one and a half times the speed of sound, yet weighs just 17 ounces. (Tweet This)

While physics ‘R physics and pesky little concepts like ‘equal and opposite reactions’ still apply, both gun and ammunition manufacturers can perform some nifty tricks to minimize the subjective measure of felt recoil. Yes, the force headed back towards your face is still the same, but if more of it is dampened by the gun, and the power curve of that little firestorm in the cartridge is lengthened a bit, then it can feel somewhat better to the one doing the launching. Or at least minimize blunt-force trauma. Blunt-force trauma is a big deal after all. We saw it on CSI Miami.

First Impressions of the Ruger LCR .357 Magnum

The stand out feature of the Ruger LCR .357 is shootability.

You can actually shoot .357 magnum loads out of this gun. And live to tell about it.

We think it’s some type of voodoo magic related the combination of the polymer frame flexiness and the Hogue Tamer factory installed grip. The other factor we noticed about full power .357 magnum load shootability was choice of ammunition. No, we’re not talking about different bullet weights and velocities. We’re talking about more voodoo magic related to powder selection, burn efficiency, and probably warp drive technology. The LCR did in fact appear to be surrounded by a bubble of normal space-time with minimal traces of anti-matter

Ruger LCR .357 Magnum Hogue Tamer Grip

The combination of one piece Hogue Tamer grip and polymer frame makes a noticeable difference in perceived recoil.

The LCR is fitted with a one-piece Hogue Tamer grip that is firmly affixed to the polymer frame by a single screw in the bottom of the grip – well out of the way unless you use the, ummm, cup and saucer hold. Friends don’t let friends shoot with cup and saucer holds anyway. The Hogue Tamer is firm where it needs to be firm and squishy where it needs to be squishy. The front, sides, and lower half of the backstrap are firm rubber with minimal give. However, there is a section at the top of the backstrap that is quite mushy – and it’s right where the web of your hand between your thumb and index finger falls. We found this to make a BIG difference in comfort and we suspect it is entirely by design. A small detail that makes a big difference. As a side note, the one piece grip has a cutout on the left side which allows unobstructed ejection of empty brass and easy reloading with a speed strip or speed loader.

Just the Specs Ma’am…

  • .357 Magnum caliber
  • 5 round fluted cylinder
  • Barrel length: 1.875”
  • Stainless steel barrel
  • Finish: Blackened stainless steel and black polymer
  • Twist: 1:16”
  • Weight: 17.10 oz
  • Overall length: 6.50”
  • Width: 1.28”

Trigger Talk

The LCR .357′s trigger feels surprisingly light. We think that’s a result of smoothness of pull and from the hybrid-rounded trigger face. What’s a hybrid trigger face you ask? Well the LCR’s trigger resembles a flat face trigger in terms of overall width of the face. However the corners are heavily rounded. There you have it.

Here’s how it felt right out of the box before any break-in: It was almost two stage in nature. A long and smooth pull with a point of barely detectable resistance with about 1/16″ remaining until the break. The last 1/16″ of pull had the smallest trace of grittiness, but this went away after about 100 rounds. The unofficial two-stage nature is a big personal preference issue, but we liked it.

Lot’s of folks talk about the “surprise break” but with any pistol we shoot with regularity, we know exactly when it’s going to fire. With that frame of reference, we liked the tactile sensation of knowing when the trigger was about to break. For slow, aimed fire, you can easily stage the trigger for release when your sight picture is just like you want. In rapid fire, the second stage point is not perceptible. This is neither a good or bad thing, simply an observation of how our evaluation model worked.

The Ammo Report – .357 Magnum and .38 Special

Ruger LCR .357 Magnum ammo and .38 Special ammo

We tested the LCR .357 with a variety of .357 Magnum and .38 Special ammo

Since the big hubbub over ultra-light .357 magnum revolvers seems to be related to recoil and the ability to actually shoot a .357 magnum load, we decided to test a variety of both .357 Magnum and .38 Special ammunition and capture both objective and subjective data from various shooters.

Remington UMC .357 Magnum 125gr JSP
This load was a beast that needed to be tamed. Clocking in at an average of 1,155 feet per second out of the 1.875 inch LCR barrel, we never did tame it though. Rated at 1,450 fps out of a test barrel, this 125 grain load was not only stout, but sharp. Did we mention it was aggressively sharp in the LCR? None of our test shooters wanted to try more than one cylinder full. None of us wanted to be on the other end either for that matter.

Hornady Critical Defense .357 Magnum 125gr Flex Tip
Surprise of the day. This new Critical Defense load from Hornady has more or less the same specs as the above mention Remington load – a 125 grain projectile humming along at a factory rated 1,500 fps. In our LCR, with its uber-short barrel, it clocked in at an average of 1,158 fps. A whopping 3 fps faster than the Remington UMC cartridge. However, the difference in perceived recoil in the LCR was noticeably less. In its literature about the new Critical Defense rounds, Hornady claims to offer reduced recoil through magic machinations like burn efficiency. We noticed it. Bottom line? The Hornady Critical Defense load is perfectly usable in this gun. While aggressive, its controllable. And fierce. See our ammunition test results here.

Cor-Bon .38 Special +P 110gr JHP
This had noticeable, but not unpleasant recoil along with a healthy blast factor. Would not be a bad carry load. It seemed genuinely mild in comparison to the .357 loads, although if we had shot this one first, it might have felt more aggressive.

Winchester Supreme .38 Special +P PDX1 130gr
Very soft shooting round. More of a push than a snap. We’re looking forward to doing a separate evaluation on the performance of this load, but in terms of shootability out of the LCR, it was perfectly manageable.

CCI .38 / .357 ShotShells
What else can you say? it shoots a boatload of tiny shot at man’s worst enemy – the snake.

.38 Special Handload (128gr Lead Round Nose Flat Point over 3.3 grains of Trail Boss)
We cooked this up in the man cave for the LCR’s ‘shoot for kicks and giggles’ load. It was in fact fun. A mild recoiling practice load, made even more so with the LCR’s polymer frame. it clocked in at an average of 665 feet per second. Wimpy? Yes. Totally fun plinking round? Yes. We had to lob it at distant targets though.

.357 Magnum Handload (127 grain Lead Round Nose Flat Point over 7.7 grains of Unique)
This turned out to be a great .357 magnum practice load. It definitely hit back in terms of recoil, so if you’re interested in practicing with at least a reasonable facsimile of recoil of full-power self-defense loads, this load is a good option. Averaging 1,175 feet per second out of the LCR, it yielded a power factor of just over 150 – just about the same as the Hornady Critical Defense load out of the this gun. While noticeably sharper than the Hornady load, this one was quite controllable in the Ruger. We wouldn’t want to shoot an entire Steel Challenge match with this combination though…

To Mag Or Not To Mag – That Is the Question…

Ruger LCR .357 Magnum with Hogue Tamer grip for recoil

See that squishy part of the grip? That turned out to be a big deal – in a good way.

It seems there are two schools of thought with respect to ultra-light .357 Magnum revolvers.

Team Globo-Gym loves them and is prepared to carry and shoot full power .357 Magnum loads in spite of the, ummm, mild discomfort.

Team Average Joe’s also likes them, but for a different reason. Team Average Joe’s says “hey, why not get the stronger .357 version and you can always carry .38 Special +P loads?” The thinking is that first, you have a more durable gun as it’s designed for magnum pressures, and second, that you always have the option of popping some .357 Magnum loads in there if you want.

With an all metal gun, we would sway towards the Team Average Joe’s train of thought. With the LCR, we’re going Globo-Gym and carrying .357 magnum loads in it. Because we can in this gun.

Our Gripe: It Seems There Are Seams

When we tested the Ruger LCP, one of the standout qualities was the attention to finish detail. It’s also a polymer pistol, but in the LCP, there are not detectable seams where sections are joined. This is especially important inside and outside the trigger guard. With aggressive loads, a sharp seam in the polymer tends to irritate the bejeepers out of your fingers as the gun recoils. Our evaluation LCR had seams. End of the world? No. But if we end up buying this one, we’ll take some sandpaper to the inside of the trigger guard to smooth things out a bit.

The Offhand Pilates Accuracy Test

Following in the ‘gun-riter’ tradition of testing mechanical accuracy by shooting at long range targets offhand, we consulted fitness guru Denise Austin to get some help with the proper Pilates-based offhand stance position. Unfortunately, Denise had a prior commitment filming a “Shootin’ to the Oldies” episode with Richard Simmons so we had to rely on our own accuracy testing protocol. For full details, check out our review of the Ruger LCP.  To summarize our findings, let’s just say that the LCR .357 is easily “minute of evil d00d” capable.

Closing Arguments

This is a nice gun. Our test model came with the standard ramped front sight and notch in frame rear sight. The front sight is pinned in place, not machined, so you can replace it with an XS Standard Dot. We’re going to do this next just for kicks. If you’re ordering one new, you can buy a version with the XS Standard Dot pre-installed.

One more totally random observation. There’s something about the finishes on both the cylinder and frame that makes it easier to clean than say a Smith and Wesson 442. The burny-crud just comes off really easily. We have no idea is this was a design goal or not, but we noticed it after a couple of range sessions. It will be interesting to see if this applies over time and lots more crud accumulation.

 

He said She said
OK so I was a little nervous to send some full house .357 loads downrange with this one. But I was pleasantly surprised. I lived to tell the tale. While we did not write about them since I did not get an accurate velocity reading, I made some 158 grain .357 loads to test and they were, to say the least, a handful. But physics ‘R physics and all. It’s a light gun. Find a good practice round and carry the big stuff for emergencies. Love that Hogue Tamer grip! Especially the finger grooves in the front – it makes all the difference in shooting the LCR. A minor detail that I noticed was the natural position for my trigger finger on the frame while in ‘ready’ position. The combination of grip and frame design left a very natural spot to park the trigger finger while not shooting. I shot both .357 and .38 Special loads in the LCR and personally preferred .38 Special +P rounds. Although shootable, the .357 magnums were just a bit too aggressive for my tastes. I bet they were aggressive for him also – he just won’t admit it.
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Gun Review: Ruger LCP .380 Auto – Le Canon Petit

Approximate Street Price: ~ $290.00
www.ruger.com

The Good The Bad The Ugly Our Rating
The standout feature of the LCP was its fit and contour. until you shoot it, you don’t appreciate the importance of smooth finish and curves in all the right places. It’s comfortable to shoot for a pocket gun. Our only gripe with the LCP was inclusion of just one magazine. It’s not an issue of money, but one of convenience. Yep, we’re lazy and it’s just a hassle to go out and find an additional magazine or two to have a complete package. Hmmm. Need to get the Crimson Trace LG-431 laser. Just because it looks awesomely cool. There goes another couple hundred bucks. 3 Nuns Four Nuns!

 

Ruger LCP .380 ACP with ammunition

We tested the Ruger LCP with a wide variety of ammunition. It didn’t care.

Ruger refers to it as the LCP.

Light Carry Pistol?

Little Combat Pistol?

Lilliputian Centerfire, Puny?

Le Canon Petit?

Lowering Criminal Productivity?

Yep, we could go on all day with the Lame Comedic Puns, but no matter. The Ruger LCP fits (most of) those descriptions.

We really like this Lovable & Cute Projectile launcher. OK, no more bad jokes. Promise. Maybe.

The Ruger LCP is a well made pistol and we found that makes a noticeable difference on the range. Yes, it’s technically one of those guns to carry a lot and shoot far less frequently, but we were pleasantly surprised by its ergonomic friendliness over long shooting sessions. No, we would not want to crank off a few hundred rounds of high-pressure self defense ammo at a single sitting, but shooting lower recoil practice loads exhibited a low level of self abuse.

Initial Observations

  • Ruger LCP .380 ACP pocket pistol

    One of the nicest features of the Ruger LCP is the attention to detail in shape and finish. It’s smooth where it needs to be for more comfortable shooting.

    It’s small. Really small. And light.

  • The fit and finish is surprisingly good for this relatively inexpensive handgun. One of the things that has given us grief about similar models from Kel-Tec is the rough seams inside and outside the trigger guard where the polymer frame material is molded. It’s tough on the fingers after a few shots and manicures are getting more expensive by the day. The Ruger LCP was noticeably more comfortable to shoot than the Kel-Tec P3AT.
  • A lot of thought has been put into placement of texture on the frame. It’s smooth where it needs to be, like where your strong hand thumb rides, and rough where grip is needed. This goes a long way to making recoil more comfortable without sacrificing surety of grip.
  • There is a small cutout in the slide which allows you to see if there is a cartridge in the chamber. While it can’t tell you if its a live or spent one, it’s a nice touch to verify that something is in there.
  • The LCP comes with two different floor plates for the single included magazine. One is flat for maximum concealability and the other has a hook shape which allows your ring finger to get a firm grip. We preferred using it with the hooked floor plate. Even with the longer magazine plate, this pistol is effortless to conceal.

The Specs

Caliber: .380 Auto
Weight, unloaded: 9.4 oz
Capacity: 6+1
Length: 5.16″
Width: 0.82″
Height: 3.60″
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish Blued
Slide Material Alloy Steel
Slide Finish Blued
Grip Frame Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon

 

Ruger LCP_Finger-Grip-Extension-Floorplate

The Ruger LCP comes with both flat and extended magazine floorplates.

Features Overview

Weighing in at just 9.4 oz, the Ruger LCP is a reinforced nylon frame gun with a steel slide. The slide features an open-top ejection port design to enhance reliability and ease clearing of malfunctions. The slide also contains integral sight nublets. That’s our word, not Ruger’s. For readers not familiar with sight nublets, that’s a very low profile front sight matched with an equally low profile rear notch cut into the frame. No room for dots, paint, or tritium toys here. The LCP is primarily aimed by pointing in the general direction of evil d00dz. In daylight and lit conditions, the sights are in fact useful for more precise aiming.

The capacity of the Ruger LCP is 6+1 with either magazine plate installed. The hooked profile plate simply adds a little more finger room, not additional magazine capacity. We found the magazine easy to load without loading assist tools – even the last round.

The slide operates surprisingly easily for such a small gun. A great gripping surface and relatively light spring tension make it easy to rack the slide. None of our shooters had any trouble with this. The LCP features a manual slide lock button. This means that it is designed to keep the slide locked in an open position only when the user engages the slide lock lever. By design, the slide will not lock back when the magazine runs empty.

The Ruger LCP is a single-strike hammer fired design. The hammer is cut and designed to be completely shrouded by the slide. At no point in the hammer travel cycle is it exposed, nor is it able to be cocked by hand. Nor should it.

Ruger LCP_Fixed-Front-and-Rear-Sights

While the LCP has front and rear sights, they are not fast to acquire.

The trigger is surprisingly smooth. As its a double action only gun, it’s heavy as expected, but the pull is mostly even with a bit of stacking right before the sear releases. There was no perceptible over-travel.

Shooting the Ruger LCP

We were pleasantly surprised by how soft-shooting the LCP was. That’s a relative description of course. We were expecting handgun brutality at minimum, but it was comfortable to shoot even with defense loads. We shot the following loads through the LCP:

Doubletap 80gr TAC-XP (910 fps – This is supposed to be a 1,050 fps load in the LCP. We’re in contact with Doubletap Ammo to sort out this issue.)

Cor-Bon 90gr Self Defense JFP (1,024 fps)

Federal 90gr Hydra-Shok JHP (850 fps)

Georgia Arms Gold Dot (857 fps)

Hand Loads, 95 grain lead round nose over 3.6 grains of Alliant Unique (925 fps)

The LCP did not seem to have a preference in terms of ammo selection. It shot what we loaded and did not malfunction.

Ruger LCP .380 ACP pistol dimensions

The Ruger LCP is definitely pocket sized!

Our Price Point Theory

We had one minor complaint about the LCP and that was related to packaging. It only includes one magazine. In our view, this means its not yet ready to go. Even a pocket pistol carrier should have at least one spare magazine for either reloads or malfunctions. It’s just a good idea. We’re not sure why Ruger only includes one magazine, but we suspect it might have something to do with meeting a target street price point. With a little shopping, the base model can be purchased for just less than $300. Including a second or third magazine would probably push the street price of the LCP over the $300 barrier. Rather than get in a psycho-analysis of buyer behavior and perceived price ceilings, let’s just say we understand if the price point is the real issue. More importantly in our view however is the convenience factor. We’d rather not have to do a separate shopping and purchasing event to get an extra magazine.

No +P Ammunition

The owners manual warns “Do not use +P ammunition” but offers no additional clarity on the +P issue. The manual does clearly state the following:

No .380 Auto ammunition manufactured in accordance with  NATO, U.S., SAAMI, or CIP standards is known to be beyond the design limits or known not to function in these pistols.

Our Accuracy Testing Protocol

Ruger LCP .380 ACP included - gun case, magazine base plates

Included: A gun! 1 magazine, flat and curved magazine base plates, zipper case, and gun lock.

To test the inherent mechanical accuracy of the Ruger LCP, we shot from a standing position at 25 yards, using a weak hand side hold and balancing on one foot while eating Deep Fried Snickers Bars. We’ve found this to be a great test of a guns inherent mechanical accuracy. Our best groups measured 4 and a half feet, more or less. OK, tongue out of the cheek time. We’ve got a pet peeve about gun reviews by aging gun writers that claim to test mechanical accuracy by sighting in at 25 yards with aging eyes, holding in a weaver or similar stance with aging hands, and firing with an aging trigger finger. Right, that method pretty much removes all potential variables that might impact group size and tells us much about what a gun is capable of. By the way, being off a perfect sight picture by just the width of an average human hair creates over a one inch change in point of impact at 25 yards. If a gun isn’t in a Ransom Rest, don’t tell us about its mechanical accuracy. OK, rant over. Did we mention that we’re sick and tired of reading gun reviews that tell more about the reviewers braggadocio than a guns capability?

Since it would be a bit silly to put the Ruger LCP in a Ransom Rest, we thought a more realistic and helpful commentary might involve documenting our subjective findings on the LCP’s ease of shooting accurately at realistic distances for this gun. We did most of our shooting at 5 to 10 yards at range trash targets such as cans, plastic bottles, and other un-tiny objects that we deemed fun to shoot.

Once we found the right hold (see He Said comments below) it was surprisingly easy to hit with the LCP – even out to 25 yards or so. The sights are small as this gun is designed for up close self-defense use, but they are workable.

Bottom line? We’re confident that the Ruger LCP is “Minute of Evil d00d” capable. That’s why someone would buy it, right?

Bottom line?

We liked it. So we bought one.

 

He said She said
I found that I had to experiment with grip and trigger a bit to find a hold that allowed me to shoot accurately on a consistent basis. I wear a mens large glove so while my hands aren’t huge, they are larger than average. As the Ruger LCP is so small, simply grasping the frame and letting my trigger finger fall naturally caused me to pull the trigger with the fleshy fat between my first and second joints. I found I could shoot this gun much more consistently using the first pad of my finger by deliberately withdrawing my finger further from the trigger. Just a practice issue like with any new gun. Once I figured that out, I was able to hit small targets at reasonable distances with ease. It’s not a ‘shoot for fun’ gun. It’s a ‘gets the job done’ gun. However, it feels substantial for its size. The contours were smooth and comfortable, and while it’s a two-finger gun, I found it easy to control and aim. There are a lot of options for us ‘she’s’ to conceal this gun – Looper Flash Bang, thigh holster, purse, ankle, and waist. It’s thin and light. Lot’s of possibilities to match nearly any wardrobe selection.As a side note, look for a review by me (not Him!) on the Looper Flash Bang paired with the Ruger LCP soon!

 

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Assault Paper (Gun)

Assault Paper Gun

Assault Paper Gun

From HuntingLodge.no comes the paper AK-47 kit. According to Hunting Lodge, designer Martin Postler has “freed the AK-47 from its terrible capacity to injure and kill by deconstructing it into a paper model construction set.”

We’re still trying to figure out if it took more than 10 pages to make this, thereby rendering it illegal in Kalifornia. Those in gun-rights challenged states can always opt for the Ruger Light Origami Pistol (LOP)

 

Gun Review: Ruger New Model Single-Six Convertible Revolver

The Good
This is too much fun to be legal. Great for first time shooters!
The Bad
Upsets the neighbors when I shoot hundreds of Super Colibri’s in my garage. Upsets rats also.
The Ugly
I have spontaneous and uncontrollable urges to sing Roy Rogers songs like Whoopie Ti-Yi-Yo
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns!
Ruger New Model Single Six Revolver Convertible

Ruger New Model Single Six Revolver Convertible

Ruger New Model Single-Six Convertible Single Action Revolver

MSRP: $619.00

www.ruger.com

Yippee ki yay! Get ready for some cowboy fun! While not an authentic cowboy six shooter in the truest sense (Clint Eastwood didn’t use one in ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’), the Ruger Single-Six brings back memories of dime store hats, cap guns, and backyard bad guys. Of all the guns in our modest sized collection, the Ruger Single-Six takes the top prize for most fun. And that’s saying something as it edges out the M1 Carbine, Winchester 9410 .410 lever action shotgun, and Series 1 Colt Woodsman in the “more fun than shooting 12oz cans of Tab” contest.

A single action revolver, with interchangeable cylinders for .22 long rifle and .22 Magnum, the Single-Six is a versatile handgun. The two included cylinders are easy to tell apart as the .22LR one is fluted while the .22 Magnum cylinder is not. While probably not necessary structurally, think “light” for long rifle and “big and heavy” for magnums. Swapping them out is a snap – just press the base pin latch and remove the base pin. The cylinder drops our for replacement or cleaning. One of the things we immediately noticed was that .22 LRs and .22 Magnum’s shot to the same point of aim at reasonable distances, ie 50 yards and less. Or, you might say, the gun shoots in the same “minute of My Gun Culture” cone regardless of which cylinder you’re using.

Roy Rogers

The Ruger Single Six makes us want to belt out some Roy Rogers tunes

The Single Six stainless model is beautiful to look at – fantastic finish, hardwood grips, and plenty of attention to detail. In our home, the purchase was justified as “man jewelry.” And it’s just as solid mechanically. The action is smooth, the hammer clicks are as good as the soundtrack on any high-quality spaghetti western, and the trigger is crisp and light. This is one solid gun. We’re going to be scouring the gun shows to find one of the older Single Sixes in .32 H&R as a result.

Cowboys like the simple life right? If that’s the case, then this cowboy gun follows the simple philosophy to a T.

  • Simple to operate: This is our go-to gun for teaching someone how to shoot. It’s familiar, even if they’ve only seen this style of gun on T.V., it’s non-threatening, doesn’t make a lot of noise, and is safe to operate. For a first time shooter, it’s great to have them shoot, stop, cock the hammer, and shoot again. This built in delay is not only safe, it provides a great opportunity for positive reinforcement and teaching moments between shots.
  • Simple to maintain: The stainless steel finish means you can actually spend more time shooting than cleaning. The cylinder drops out with the push of push of a button, making inspection and cleaning easy.
  • Simple to hit: Our review model had a 6.5″ barrel. That combined with fantastic balance, some actual weight (for a .22 anyway) and a black ramped front sight with an adjustable rear sight (windage and elevation – that’s up, down, and sideways in non-gun speak) made it an easy-to-aim, and easy-to-hit gun. Many golf balls bravely sacrificed their lives for the purpose of this review.

What’s not to love? In addition to keeping the local Wal-Mart sold out of Winchester 555 bulk packages, it makes us feel like singing Roy Rogers songs. Where is Dale Evans when you need her anyway?

Learn more about the Ruger Single-Six at GunUp.com

He said She said
As it gleefully digests virtually any sort of .22 ammunition, I can shoot Aguila Super Colibri low velocity (and low noise) loads in my garage. She loves this. Really she does. I totally agree with everything he says. This is a really fun gun to shoot, but… let me explain something here… I keep my Diet Cokes in the refrigerator in the garage. I have to have one first thing in the morning. I go in there barefoot since I’ve normally just gotten out of bed. Stepping on bullet casings barefoot is not fun. If he leaves spent brass casings in the garage one more time, I’m going to sell his gun!Also I had no idea it had interchangeable cylinders. He never tells me anything!

 

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Cupid Upgrades To Kel-Tec KSG Shotgun

Cupid

Cupid (Image: funny-potato.com)

Recent reports from the Island of Mythical Fairytale Characters indicate that Cupid has decided to make a major equipment change after nearly a thousand years of bow and arrow use.

Numerous sources have recently reported sightings of Cupid at the 2011 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. “I saw him in several different booths” claimed SHOT Show attendee Romeo. “First I saw him in the Barrett booth checking out the M107A1 .50 BMG. next thing you know, I see him at U.S. Armament checking out an 1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun. I asked my fiancee, what’s up with that? Isn’t he supposed to be cute and adorable?”

Those close to Cupid claim that he has expressed frustration with the lack of performance of his bow and arrows on today’s more difficult love connection challenges. “I think his quiver only holds about six arrows” said close friend and confidant, The Tooth Fairy. He has to do two or three reloads just on Snooki and she still hasn’t been able to find true love.”

Kel-Tec KSG Shotgun

Kel-Tec KSG Shotgun

When we caught up with Cupid, he was more than happy to explain the recent sightings. “Yeah, I went to the SHOT Show” he admitted. “But then again, I spend a lot of time in Vegas, although nothing I do there seems to last more than a couple of hours.”

“It was about time that I caught up with current times” lamented Cupid. “My good friend The Leprechaun recently started carrying the Ruger LCBM for protection and he couldn’t be happier with it. So I figured I ought to check out the latest in equipment. I need something new, preferably made of composite materials for light weight. These wings aren’t designed for full combat load out you know.”

After an exhaustive search of the latest gear at SHOT, Cupid elected to go with the Kel-Tec KSG Shotgun. “Who can argue with the innovative dual tube magazine?” wondered Cupid. “That gives me 14+1 12 gauge love slugs without a reload. That might even help me out with challenging people like Paris Hilton without a time consuming run back to the Island for more ammo.”

Sources claim that Cupid has also been working a private label deal with Extreme Shock Ammunition and Safariland Body Armor to address the growing problem of commitment issues.

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