Snap Shot: Beginner Black Powder

I traded my Hatsan pump gun for a Pietta 1860 Army. Primarily because I’d just finished reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. If you haven’t read it, be warned: it is a bleak and violent story, with some very intense landscape descriptions. It was a stellar read. Easily my book of the year so far, and features ample use of black-powder weapons in the guerrilla warfare of mid-nineteenth century Mexico.

I may be born and raised around Calgary, but I’m no cowboy. I suddenly found myself curious about a family of firearms I’d never had interest in before. Not enough to spend several thousand dollars on a real antique, but curious enough to try a fully functioning replica of the original Colt.

This is a .44 caliber single action revolver that uses percussion caps and black powder to launch round-ball projectiles.

It’s a ton of fun.

It’s hands down the largest handgun I’ve ever owned. The 1860 Army essentially has a reloading press built into the frame of the gun. You pour powder, insert a ball, and then ram it into place using the lever under the barrel. Then when a cap is place on the nipple on the rear of the cylinder, and the hammer dropped, the whole thing kicks off to make a ton of smoke and put a round down range. The rear sight on this is actually built into the hammer, and consistently puts the rounds about 8″ high from the point of aim.

With any luck I’ll have a more detailed review for you in a few weeks.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

It’s been too long! While I’ve been shooting lots, and keeping up with firearms news in Canada, I have to admit I haven’t been great at keeping this blog updated. So here’s a solid start at some new regular content.

What’s kept me away from the keyboard? Well a few things.

First, we took Zahal’s IDF Tavor course into the United States for the first time, and Lovie and I had an awesome time teaching US shooters how to use their rifles. I finally got some solid hands on time with the IWI US version of the X95, and it certainly does have some interesting things going on. Colorado is a gorgeous space, and we had a great group of students.

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Continue reading What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Robinson Arms XCR-M Review on TFB

My feature on the Robinson Arms XCR-M Micro is up on TFB TV! This is my second feature for The Firearm Blog and they’re great guys to work with.

In this piece we look at the XCR’s origins as part of the USSOCOM SCAR contract, the super short .308 rifle, and put the drone up in Virden, Manitoba.

I’ve been shooting a lot of .308 guns this summer, and hands down the XCR has been my favorite. It’s unbelievably light to carry and surprisingly light recoiling. I wish I could shoot it a little more accurately, but it is coming out of a 9″ barrel.

This unit is using the keymod for-end, which I found a great way to put grips and other accessories on there. I’ve used M-LOK in my magpul handgaurds and found it a very finicky setup with the potential for false positives. I’m much happier using M-LOK parts going forward.

You’ll also notice a stock adapter on here that allows me to mount a buffer tube and Daniel Defense AR-15 stock to the XCR. That’s a part made by Dlask here in Canada and is definitely very handy.

I thought I was all wrapped up with the XCR, and have finally returned the loaner rifle to Wolverine, but I’m getting lots of requests from TFB readers to take a look at the 5.56 version of the rifle, particularly now that they’re starting to add lightweight barrels to the mix. So we’ll see! Maybe 2017 will see some more Robinson Arms action.

XCR-M SBR Preview

All right, so I’ve been playing with a bunch of .308 gas guns lately. Hands down, the XCR-M is my favourite to shoot.

With the 13″ barrel they’re super light, and super handy. 10 rounds of .308 at your disposal will get the blood pumping.

It’s been years since I’d had real range time with an XCR, and I’d forgotten all the handy function stuff they’ve done as far as ambi-mag and bolt release, ambi safety, etc. I’d forgotten that they’re actually easier to disassemble than an AR too.
Continue reading XCR-M SBR Preview

Colt Canada IUR Video Review

Correction! The C9 LMG is made by FN, not Colt Canada. Derp.

Colt Canada, formerly Diemaco, has made a limited number of their monolithic uppers available to Canadian civilian shooters. I picked up one of their “blemished” units back in October and have had a great time shooting it.

These upper receivers that came to the civilian market were overrun from a military contract, possibly with the Danish Army. They were sold without charging handles or bolt carrier groups, but did feature a 15.7″ cold hammer forged barrel and a C9 flash-hider.

The IUR is part of the C7/C8 upgrade program and offers a free floated barrel and rock solid handguard for mounting accessories and optics. We did see a new M-LOK version called the MRR at Shot Show 2016. Complete versions of the Modular Railed Rifle are expected to be available to Canadian civilian shooters this summer.

Norinco Type 81 Classified as Non-Restricted

A new red rifle rears its head over the Canadian wilderness. The Chinese Type 81, after years in the RCMP inspection lab, has been assigned an FRT and is going to be imported in restricted and non-restricted barrel lengths. FRT #160486

Like the Vz58, the Type 81 is chambered in 7.62×39 and might resemble a Kalashnikov from a few hundred meters away. But this hybrid rifle is actually closer to the venerated SKS than the quintessential AK, and as a result has been deemed not a variant of any currently prohibited rifles.

Type 81 Folding Stock Canada
Continue reading Norinco Type 81 Classified as Non-Restricted

Akdal MKA 1919 Reclassified From Restricted to Non-restricted

The RCMP just reclassified the Akdal Mka 1919 from Restricted to Non-restricted! That’s right, the FRT has been updated and this mag fed shotgun is officially no longer an AR-15 variant. I can’t wait to take mine out into the bush and celebrate.

I was wondering how my shotgun would be affected with the announcement back in December that the Derya Mk10 was non-restricted. The Akdal is almost identical to the Derya, but was listed as an AR variant for the last several years. Here’s my video review after a few seasons of 3-Gun.

Now, when you check the legal notes in the FRT database relating to the Mka 1919 you see the following: Continue reading Akdal MKA 1919 Reclassified From Restricted to Non-restricted

[Shot Show 2016] What’s Coming from Robinson Arms

Say what you want about Alex Robinson, his company has done great work for Canadian gun owners. No other manufacturer has been so willing to address the specifics of Canadian law when it comes to barrel lengths, pistol magazines, and getting guns exported to us. In fact, I’ll have a feature in the Canadian Firearms Journal this summer taking a look at various companies trying to make firearms that fit our needs.

At Shot Show this year, the XCR rifles saw another stage in their continuing evolution. The big step for Canadians will be the extended forearm options.

Lime Green XCR Extended Handguard

When your barrel has to be 18.5″ long, it’s easy to get that too long look and feel with shorter handguards. The extended models Robinson is featuring offer an improved sight radius, and keymod accessory mounting.

Keymod is a big deal at Robinson Arms these days, and I can see why. One of the initial concerns regarding early XCR rifles was the forward weight, particularly with the Canadian length barrel. 2015 saw the release of light profile XCR barrels, and substantially lightened Keymod handguards. With the extended handguard arriving in 2016, Keymod is a crucial part of keeping the weight and balance from shifting too far.

The XCR is a rifle platform that’s continually evolving. Particularly if you compare the flashy lime green rifle I snapped at Shot to the original design. Stocks, controls, bolts, gas system, and recievers have all improved in subsequent iterations. I mean, just look at the original. It’s almost unrecognizable from what you see at the top of this page.

That continual forward progression is what keeps me interested in the XCR. We’ll see if 2016 is finally the year I jump on board and start shooting one.

[Shot Show 2016] New Vortex Recce Pro Monocular

I visit the Vortex booth every year at Shot Show. They’ve always got a boatload of new things to drool over. This year a lot of the attention went to their new American made optic, and that’s cool. But I found a cute little guy that got me all nostalgic for when I first started shooting videos.

The Recce Pro: Continue reading [Shot Show 2016] New Vortex Recce Pro Monocular

A Guy Who Shoots Guns in Western Canada