As I mentioned in a previous post (Back and Building), I had some plans to build a 300 Blackout in the furture so that I could punch bigger holes in paper, experience some subsonic love and still have the ability to go super-sonic simply by changing up the ammunition. Well, once again the guys at TrueNorthArms came through. They helped me out with everything, other than the barrel which came by way of Alberta Tactical Rifle. Both of these companies deserve a good long look when planning your next build. If you want super affordable and good quality, pick True North Arms. For absolute premium products (at premium prices), Alberta Tactical Rifle is where it's at. My new 10-inch match Lilja barrel will group well under 1-MOA, but now I'm getting ahead of myself.
That beautiful little stubby polished stainless pipe pictured below my 18-inch upper is my new 10-inch .300 Blackout match barrel with a 1:8 twist. It's really short and hard to believe that qualifies as a rifle here in Canada. For those of you in the USA, we have no SBR tax up here. We can build as short as we want without issues. I just wanted to point that out.
The barrel is extremely short and will only have 1.2 twists in the length of the tube and it's quite important that it has enough grip on the bullet to give it a good spin. The guys at ATRS made sure that this barrel was up to the task and it should fire lead and copper ammunition, both light 110gn and heavy 220gn projectiles without any issues at all.
When ordering a barrel from ATRS, you get the option of picking everything: barrel profile, gas port size, location, contour, thread and finish. The guys were extremely helpful in setting me up with a great barrel that will last me a lifetime on this upper. Speaking of the upper, as mentioned before, I snagged the parts from TNA and once again was very pleased with how it all worked out.
As you can see in the images above, I indeed broke out the gun coating this time around. As Duracoat won't ship to Canada, and Cerakote is pretty much a dealer exclusive, I used a fantastic product from an Alberta Arma-Coat dealer. Arma-Coat has all the same properties of the previous two mentioned coatings, but it has a much longer shelf-life than Duracoat. The only downside is their color selection is quite limited, but they had the color I wanted, so it wasn't a big deal to me. A simple airbrush application and either days of cure-time, or an hour in the oven at 240°F and it was good to go.
I used a 12-inch quad-rail handguard on a 10-inch barrel and added a flash-pig that extends the muzzel past the handguard. The flash-pig also helps create a bit more back-pressure so the rifle cycles reliably. The beatiful thing about this build is that when using the pig and subsonic ammuntion, the shooter can comfortably shoot without hearing protection. It makes a big of a "thud" for sure, but it's not a sharp crack like that of a 5.56, nor is it deafening like rifles with muzzle brakes or large caliber rifles such as a .338 or .416.
The handguard is bulkier than my 12.5-inch 5.56 build, but the shorter barrel length means that this unit weighs in at a mere 1.2oz more than my last build. It is very managable, very manuverable and an absolute pleasure to shoot. I've had more than a little fun with it already and will have much, MUCH more as time marches on.
If you have any build questions, please feel free to comment on the post and I'll be sure to answer technical questions as best I can.
Get out, take the scope-cover off and get shooting!
While it's true that I hunt to feed my family, it's also true that I love nature. There is something amazing about being out doors and seeing God's beautiful creation and observing the wide open spaces around. This is why I love Alberta. Within minutes of my home, you can easily see herds of mule deer, whitetail deer, elk and the occasional moose – and I live on the prairies. This, of course, is in addition to the badgers, squirrels, prairiedogs, coyotes, eagles, hawks, falcons and a myriad of other creatures.
I do love Alberta. God. Nature. Hunting. Guns, and the freedom to partake in these pleasures on my land and around the area.
This young guy was quite curious, but has a few more years ahead of him before we invite him over for dinner. In the meantime, he gets to follow around some ladies, shed, scratch his antlers on the trees (which I heard him do while I was quietly working at the edge of the clearing). It's a good day to be alive – even though it was super windy.
It has been far too long since I've graced the front page of my Blog with a post. To say that life has been busy would be an understatement, but also a poor excuse. I've been thinking about posting something for a while now – but other than senseless drivel, I wasn't sure what to post that might be interesting. I think I've got it.
I'd like to start off by saying that I'm a shooter. When I was 9 years old, I received a .177 caliber pellet gun for my birthday. I still have it to this day. When I turned 10, I received a single shot .22LR rifle that I wore out. Times when by and I was without any firearms for many years, but in the last 3-4 years, I've take up the sport again with my boys as well as my father. It's been a great sport, a lot of fun and a way that I've managed to put at least 700lbs of food on my table. Don't get me wrong, I do love nature, but I also like to feed my family.
So this is where the building comes in. A while back a friend of mine from college days helped me out with a full upper receiver for my M4 (Armalite Rifle – aka AR-15). It is super accurate, super beautiful, super amazing and weighs in at a touch over 7 lbs thanks to the heavy spiral-fluted stainless barrel. This is a great varmit gun and a fantastic medium range (100-600 yard) shooter. The downside is that it is a bit bulky and heavy for things like 3 Gun and CQB training.
This is the "problem" that drove me to build my first upper receiver. I've previously built a lower receiver and that was a great experience. Doing the upper receiver shouldn't be any more difficult, but it's something I'd never done before, so I thought I'd document the process. I'd like to thank TrueNorthArms for the hardware and a little bit of advice along the way.
It's actually quite amazing at how few parts there are in an M4 rilfe. Other than a single pin and a few screws to hold the handguard in place, everything you see above is what is required to build a complete 12.5-inch upper receiver. Of course you can swap out any of the parts for those of your own choosing. I went for a mid-range build as I wanted something short, sleek and easy to handle. As I won't be putting a ton of accessories on this unit, I opted for a very slim and lightweight keymod handguard that is barely wider than the upper receiver itself. Let's jump in.
The first thing I mangaed to do without screwing up is putting the barrel in place and tightening down the barrel nut with my AR-15 wrench. I greased the threads of the receiver and proceeded to use a couple of shims in order to try and make the holes in the barrel nut line up with the screw holes in the handguard. A couple of attempts later, I got it done. You'll want to make sure to torque the barrel nut to at least 30 ft.lbs in order to keep things straight, true and ready to roll. After that was done, I installed the gas block and gas tube – after losing the pin and hunting around my shop for something about the size of a small grain of uncooked wild rice.
You'll notice above that the upper receiver is not black like the rest of the parts. When I bought the upper receiver, I didn't realize how much different it would actually look (will be remedied with Duracoat in the future), but the grey color is not simply there for show – it's actually a dry film lube that is really nice to work with. I just wish it was black…like my slim keymod handguard which I managed to install. Once that handy thing is in place, I screwed on the muzzle brake, making sure it was properly aligned and BAM!
In the end, we have a very short, lightweight build that shoots like a dream. Because of the short barrel lenght – and the muzzle brake – every now and then you may feel some debris on your cheek, but it's nothing more than unburnt powder and the like. I will be posting some images of how this groups with a cheap red-dot sight in the near future. Suffice to say, it's more than adequate for CQB or 3 Gun. Way more than adequate. While I absolutely love my 18-inch spiral fluted stainless upper, this new one is equally loved as it is short and to the point. I'll post a couple of size comparisons on the way out.
Both are fun to shoot and this unit was a lot of fun to build. I can see this being like crack cocaine as I already have plans for a 300 Blackout build – or maybe a 7.62×39 build – or both in the future. Until next time, enjoy life, hit the range and be safe!