Category Archives: Gunsmithing

Posts that touch on gunsmithing topics such as improving function, finishes, changing parts, and anything else that alters a weapon

PSA AK-V Part Three: Changing the Brace, Adding a Red Dot and Installing A Quick Takedown Pin For The Dust Cover

Out of the box, the AK-V is impressive. The trigger is decent, the grip and handguard are functional but there were three things I really wanted to do – move to a SBA4 brace, install an optic and create a quick takedown pin so the dust cover could be removed (the big reason I bought the AK-V from a business perspective). So let’s step through each.

Replace The SBA3 Brace With An SBA4

Yes, they are both adjustable braces but that comparison ends there. The SBA4 is much more sturdy and has five length of pull adjustment positions. The SBA4 does go on sale and that is the time to buy one. I got mine for $99 at PSA’s July 4th sale and there was free shipping!

The SBA4 is the top brace and the SBA3 is the bottom. You can instantly see the SBA4 has more bracing and is bulkier. The back end does not flop around either unlike the SBA3.

Now PSA did something with the SBA3 that is a best practice. They staked the castle nut to the receiver end plate. Now, I started thinking about what would be my easiest option and it dawned on me that if I was SB Tactical and wanted to control cost and complexity, I would try and have as few inventory parts as possible and that means as few buffer tubes. Guess what? The SBA3 and the SBA4 both use a Mil-Spec 6 position buffer tube. Problem solved. You can remove the brace just like most AR/M4 stocks – lift up on the locking pin and slide it right off.

The Castle Nut has two real solid stakes in it. Kudos to PSA.
Ta-da! Under the brace is a Mil-Spec buffer tube or “receiver extension” depending on who you talk to. The SBA3 and SBA4 use the same tube!! Note, the weapon is upside down for this photo.
Here’s a good shot of the receiver. See that small vertical slider switch just above the mag catch? That’s the bolt release. The M4 buffer tube / receiver extension they are using is rock solid. If it is made by someone else, I don’t recognize it.
Here’s the tail end of the SBA4 on the left vs. the SBA3 on the right.
The SBA4 uses the same buffer tube and slides right on in place of the SBA3 brace.

The result is a very sturdy brace. After comparing the two, I will only use SBA4 braces going forward.

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Optic and American Defense Mount

I doubt I will ever go past 100 yards with the AK-V and a much more likely engagement distance is 50 yards so a red dot is perfect. I’m a huge Vortex Optics fan and this was a perfect situation for their Crossfire Red Dot mounted on an American Defense AD-T1-L STD quick detach mount. They are my favorite combination of price and performance these days.

By the way, be sure to keep a couple of spare 2032 Lithium batteries in your case or range bag. Nothing dampens a range trip like dead batteries. It’s also why I use a quick detach mount – if the batteries are dead or that optic fails, I am yanking that optic off.

With the AD-T1-L STD mount you are a tad higher than the AK-V’s sights. I plan to watch how they relate at the range so I can ballpark where to aim if the battery is dead and am in a rush. Practice, practice, practice and not just when everything works.

Here’s the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot on the American Defense AD-T1-L STD mount. If you wonder why I use American Defense, it’s for the quality. Cheap Chinese/import quick detach rings shoot loose, don’t return to zero and bend/break over time. AD stuff is rock solid made from aerospace aluminum. Note, you can see our Quick Takedown Pin just above the handguard and I’ll cover that next.

The AK-V Dust Cover Quick Takedown Pin

I had to look up — I built my first Yugo M92 in 2012 and instantly hated the hinged dust cover. I drilled out the rivet and came up with a stainless pin with a ball detent and pull ring to secure the cover. The rest is history. I wound up making pins for the M92/M85, Tula and Bulgy Krinks use the same pin, Vepr shotguns and now the AK-V.

The reason for wanting a quick takedown pin is plain and simple, when you want to clean the weapon or work in the receiver, the hinged dust cover is in the way. To remedy this, you can install our AK-V quick pin and it’s about a 10 minute job if you know how to strip down an AK. This is a quick overview:

  1. Ensure the weapon is empty.
  2. Field strip the weapon like you would any AK, remove the gas tube and the lower handguard so they are out of the way. 
  3. The AK-V’s hinge is simply a 5/32″ roll pin that needs to be tapped/punched out so use something like a bench block to support the weapon and create a hole/gap for the pin to exit into.
  4. Use a 5/32″ roll pin punch and a hammer to tap the roll pin out.  You can save it for the future in case you ever want to use it again for some reason. 
  5. Put the dust cover back in place with the hinge holes lined up and slide in our quick takedown pin.
  6. Re-assemble the weapon.
  7. Done
Here, I have the rear sight block fully supported by the bench block behind it and am using a 5/32″ roll pin punch and hammer to drive the roll pin out.
What makes a roll pin punch different from a normal punch is the dome in the middle that centers the punch on the pin and makes driving the pin out very easy. It also reduces the risk of a regular punch slipping off what you are working on an scratching the finish.
So this is what you wind up with once the roll pin is removed.
This was my first attempt because I am right handed. Having the pull ring there right next to the gas tube locking lever was just too much. I flipped it around and had the pull ring on the other side of the gas block.
This is how I am running it now. The pull ring is on the left / non-operating side and the ring is tucked just behind the handguard.

We have the pins up for sale on our website now. Click here to order one.

Summary

Looking good!

The AK-V was almost done at this point. I still needed to lubricate the weapon and put it in a suitable case. I’ll tell you about that part of the journey in the next post.


This is a four part series on the PSA AK-V 9mm:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Upgrading To Truglo TFX Pro Sights On Your Glock Compatible Pistols Including Polymer80s

The factory sights on Glocks leave a lot to be desired in my opinion. I like fiber optic sights but also want sights that generate their own light at night. Fortunitely, TruGlo has upgrade sights for Glocks that can do just that. They are the TFX Pro model sights.

The fiber optics use daylight and are very nicely visible. I know there is a trend for red dot optics on pistols but I would rather opt for simplicity. The other really nice thing about these sights is that they use tritium to generate their own light at night – some sights make you charge them with a flashlight but not these. The only issue to bear in mind is that the Tritium isotopes with flouresce for about 10 years and then be dead. My thinking is that is a loooonnnngggg time from now plus it just would affect the night use at that time.

So, let’s get to it, Installation has two discrete steps – replacing the back sight and then the front sight. Both of these can be done by most home gunsmiths because the Glock design is pretty forgiving. Some pistols require a top notch MGW sight pusher to be removed but not the Glocks. The below is based on my experience installing these sights both on my Polymer 80 based Glock 17 and 34 Gen 3 compatible pistols.

Tools & Supplies

I’m kind of like Tim The Toolman Taylor, if you remember the show Home Improvement. I like tools and don”t need much an excuse to buy one in order to try and do the job the right way. When it comes to the rear sight, some guys use a 3/9″ piece of Delrin or wood dowel to tap the old sight out. Because of my hand tremor, that’s risky for me so I looked into sight pushers and decided to go with the Wheeler Engineering Armorer’s Handgun Sight Tool.

For the front sight, a dedicated Glock front sight tool can make the job a ton easier because they are shallow and have a magnet that will hold the tiny screw in position while you get it started. A regular nut driver is too deep and the tiny screw will fall into it vs. being held nicely in position.

You will need some medium Loc-Tite to secure the front sight screw.

Tape to wrap the slide and protect it is a recommended. I use painter’s tape.

Getting Started

  1. Make sure the weapon is unloaded and clear – no magazine and nothing in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide
  3. Remove the spring and the barrel to get them out of the way – you don’t need to remove anything else.
  4. Wrap slide with painters tape to protect it from scratches leaving the two sights exposed.
  5. I did my back sight first and then my front sight.

Procedure – Back Sight

  1. To remove the back sight. I followed the instructions with the Wheeler unit and flipped the pusher over to use the angled face. Mine was set for straight-edged sights from the factory.
  2. I also oiled all of the threads on the Wheeler.
  3. I secured the slide in the Wheeler unit taking care to make sure the slide was the right height so the pusher would engage the sight and not bind on the slide.
  4. The factory Glock rear sight pushed out incredibly easily. I can see why some guys just drive them out. However, I really liked the control the Wheeler gave me.
  5. I then lined up the replacement sight and pushed it into place – checking over and over and making minor adjustments to ensure it was in the center.
  6. The Truglo has secured by a set screw that I backed out, put a dab of blue/medium Loc-Tite on and then tightened down.
  7. That was it for the back now on to the front.

Procedure – Front Sight

  1. Turn the slide upside down and you will see a small hex head screw that must be removed. I used my Glock Front Sight tool for that.
  2. Push or tap out the original sight.
  3. The replacement TruGlo unit is a tight fit I had to firmly press it into position. It is an interference fit so don’t remove a ton of material so it just falls into the slot cut in the slide. It needs to be pressed in as this helps with alignment and retention.
  4. Put blue/medium Loc-Tite on the screw before reassembly. This is mandatory. If you do not, it will shoot loose over time and you will lose your front sight.
  5. Use the Front Sight tool to reinstall the screw with the Loc-tite and tighten it down.
  6. Done.

Conclusion

I really like the TruGlo TFX Pro sights. They are very visible both during the day due to the fiber optics and at night due to the Tritium. They were well worth the investment. I hope this helps you out.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Amazon product links are at the bottom of the post.

Three Simple and Inexpensive Must Have Upgrades on Glock 17 Gen 1-3 Type Pistols To Improve Handling

I am learning a great deal about Glocks via the Polymer80 frame based Gen 3 model 17 and 34 pistols I built. In working with the pistols, I found there are three upgrades that were required immediately for me to more readily operate the pistols. Anybody can do these three – replace the slide stop, slide release lever and the magazine release. Fortunately they are relatively inexpensive so let’s step through each in this post.

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Slide Lock Lever

Okay, when I started the Glock 34 compatible pistol using the Polymer80 PF940v2 frame, I had never really stripped a Glock before. As soon as I was working with the slide I absolutely hated the barely protruding OEM Glock slide lock lever. Because of my carpal tunnel and years of abusing my hands, I could barely feel the blasted thing let along get enough grip to easily pull it down. Seriously – I hate that little part. It turns out that I’m not alone. A ton of groups make a replacement unit and they just make the slide stop a hair longer and it makes all the difference in the world. I ordered one off Amazon made by Fixxxer that has worked just fine for me.

This will take about five minutes. Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide
  3. Before you remove the slide stop, note which way the depression is oriented at the top of the slide stop – the new one will need to face the same way.  The hooked face should face rearward.
  4. Use a Glock takedown tool or a small screw driver to reach in and depress the spring that pushes the slide stop up.
  5. When you push the spring down, the existing slide stop can slide right out
  6. While continuing to press the spring down, slide the new one in.
  7. Confirm the orientation is correct – the hooked surface should face rearward.
  8. Test by pressing down on the release – it should spring back up. If not, look to see if the spring fell out or there is debris in the spring channel preventing it from pushing the release back up.
  9. Re-assemble and test your pistol.

Slide Release Lever

The Glock 17 has one of the worst slide releases I have ever felt. It’s a vertical tab that gives you virtually no surface to really push down on. Now, the 34 came with an extended release and that’s where I learned that it is a way better design than what the 17 has. A ton of vendors make and sell their versions. I just bought and installed a Glock 34 slide release on my 17. If you’re keeping count, this means the 34 really on has two upgrades I would recommend as it already has the improved slide release.

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The first slide release I tried to do was a pain and took probably 15-30 minutes as I tried to figure things out I’d not seen a Glock’s insides before first hand. The second one took about 10-15 minutes and the third time (when I actually replaced the 17’s slide release lever with the 34 model), it probably took me about 5-10 minutes. In short, there is a learning curve.

Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide.
  3. Use the first punch to push the trigger pin almost all the way out from right to left when you are looking down at the pistol with the front facing away from you. This should not take a ton of force. I find some light taps with a small hammer help me but some guys do it entirely by hand.
  4. I said stop short of pushing the pin all the way out because you just need to get it out of the slide release. You thin pull your pin punch back out of the release also but still capturing the trigger.
  5. The slide release lever will lift right out.
  6. Put the new slide release lever in its place.
  7. Push the pin punch back into the release lever to orient it. This worked for me vs. trying to get the pin itself back in. Keeping it all aligned was the trickiest part when I first started.
  8. Push or lightly tap the trigger pin back into place while driving the old pin punch out. Again, the punch is there keeping everything aligned so it’s acting like a slave pin. As you tap the real trigger pin in, the punch backs out.
  9. Re-assemble and test your pistol.

Magazine Release

The other issue I found was that the OEM Glock magazine release was too short for me to easily reach forward with my thumb and drop the mag. Again, found I was in good company because a ton of other people feel the same way. Now, I opted for the Tango Down Vickers extended magazine release because it just sticks out maybe an extra millimeter or so and it makes a huge difference. Some other magazine releases are really only suited for competition because they are easily bumped and the mag released.

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This is another quick and easy one. I did it one with a screw driver, once with needle nosed pliers and once with curved hemostats. All three work but I think the curved hemostat is easiest.

This will take about five minutes. Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide so you have a clear view down into the magwell
  3. Remove the spring wire from the magazine release by working it out of the groove cut in the side of the mag catch. Look at the replacement unit and you will see the slot I am referring to in the middle of the magazine release that is just big enough for the wire to slide into.
  4. Remove the old unit and slide in the new unit
  5. Move the wire back into the slot and test – it should spring back out when you depress it,

Conclusion

I hope this helps you out. I find my two pistols a lot more manageable with the above upgrades and well worth it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Amazon product links are at the bottom of the post.


Tips For Building Smooth Operating Polymer80 Glock-Compatible Pistols

Folks, Polymer80 is making some solid 80% frames that you can easily machine into a lower receiver that accepts Glock parts. The design of the frame and jig are elegantly simple and the quality of the end product is really up to you. The great news is that you don’t need to be a machinist to do the work. You just need to be patient, follow instructions and pay attention to details.

In my last post, I linked to a number of resources you can use to guide you through your build. My aim is to give you a bunch of tips that can help you turn out a quality receiver. Let’s hit the four categories of things you will need to do.

Drill Six Short Holes As Labeled On The Jig

If you are concerned that this will take a ton of work, Polymer80 has designed a frame (what will ultimately become your pistol’s lower receiver). Folks, you drill six holes – the jig is marked with the exact spot and which size drill bit they supply that you should use.

The jig is clamped standing up and a hand drill is used to make the holes. Polymer80 supplies the drill bits for you. Note, my Ryobi cordless has a level indicator and it made it a lot easier to get things square.

Tips:

  • Stand the clamp on its side and secure it in a vise. It was not designed to be drilled laying on its side.
  • You want the jig to be held firmly at its bottom by the vise but do not crush/deform the plastic.
  • Using a drill with level indicators can greatly aid you in making a hole at right angles to the receiver.
  • Do not drill the holes straight through. Because the frame is relatively thin, it is forgiving if you drill a short hole slight off square, meaning not perpendicular. If you go straight through then you are way more likely to be way off, ruin the geometry and have just ruined the receiver, So, drill three holes on each side, six holes in total, being careful to line them up as best you can.
  • Take the time to read the jig markings – the M3 holes are for the pins that hold the blocks in place. The larger M4 bit is for the trigger pin.
  • After drilling, blow out your frame to get all the little pieces of plastic debris out. A common problem guys run into is having a small piece of plastic down in the slide stop spring channel that the recoil spring can hang up on. So, blow it out. I use compressed air in my shop but do what you can even if it means blowing with your mouth and visually inspecting the frame to make sure all the plastic scraps from drilling are gone.
  • Use a deburring tool or razor to carefully remove any waste plastic sticking out from either side of the plastic surface that you drill.

Remove the Tabs From The Top Of The Frame

This seems to freak people out because they think they are going to need a milling machine. You definitely do not need a milling machine – you can use a Dremel or file to remove the tabs. The trick here is to remove the tabs and have the end result look decent and not like a hack with a file went crazy and turned out something fugly.

My dad’s nail nippers – this tool is probably almost as old as me so maybe 40-50 years old. I’m using it to “nip” off each tab to reduce the amount of plastic I need to file or Dremel down.

Tips:

  • The first step is to get rid of as much of the tabs as you can with nail nippers. The idea is simple, snip off a bunch of the material so when you either Dremel or file the remainder down, you have less to deal with. On my Glock 34 build,I used an old pair of nail nippers (in the photo above) that belonged to my dad – my way of remembering him. On the second one, I took a cheap set of nippers and ground the head down so they would cut the tabs off even closer to flush. Either way works.
  • Leave the jig on if you want to play it safe. When you see red filings or dust from sanding, you know you are going to deep and need to stop,
  • You can either Dremel or file the balance down but when you get down near the surface start using a sanding block. Just take a piece of wood, wrap a strip of sand paper on it and then sand the receiver using even pressure. Start with 100-120 grit sandpaper and then go to 220, 440, and then 800. If you want to go higher, go right ahead but at some point your plastic is as smooth as it needs to be.
  • I use the little rubberized abrasive Dremel bits to smooth things out. You then apply a drop of oil and you will never know the tabs were there.

Clear Out the Barrel Channel

Again, the dreaded need for a milling machine seems to exist and again, you don’t need one. It is really important you do a nice clean job with a smooth finish or you will have seemingly random jams as the operating spring catches on some part of the frame that is still in the way.

Tips:

  • You want to only remove the designated slot they show in the instructions plus what needs to be removed is marked in the casting. Like I said, they put some thought into this.
  • DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE IT ALL AT ONCE!! You remove the material in sections.
  • If you decide to use their supplied end mill and put the frame in your drill press, do not treat the end mill but like a drill bit. An end mill bit requires a very rigid machine and that the operator has carefully and firmly secured the work piece. In short, you can’t plunge the end mill into the plastic with your hobby drill press without considerable vibration. The trick come down with the drill press (if you have one) and cut off a little crescent at a time. If you have mill, just ignore me – you know what to do I bet.
  • Some guys will use regular drill bits and drill a series of holes in the area that needs to be removed.
  • Unless you are a machinist and know what you are doing, don’t try to mill or drill material right up to the line where they say to stop at. Instead, remove material just shy of the line and then use a sandpaper to do the rest. I wrapped 100 grit sand paper around a dowel to rough in the shape and then went to 240 grit to finish up. You really do not need to go beyond that unless you want, The goal is to have a smooth surface that the barrel and spring will not catch on during operation.

Polish Metal Surfaces

When people make parts they usually get them close enough and call it even. This means there are small tooling marks, grooves, bumps and rough areas left in general. When you look at a firearm made by a high-end shop, you will notice that the surfaces are incredibly smooth – sometimes polished to a mirror-like surface.

Have you ever bought a firearm and at first it was really rough and over time in “wore in” or maybe somebody said “broke in”? What is happening is that the rough spots are smoothing out with wear. We identify the surfaces and do the same thing very easily.

These rubberized polishing bits for Dremels are awesome and you can get sets of them off Amazon.

Tips:

  • With polishing the goal is always to remove as little material as possible using polishing bits, stones or really fine 1000+ grit sandpaper.
  • Polish the hardened locking block rail system bearing in mind how it contacts the slide. You just need to polish the parts that engage the rail and not everything.
  • Same goes with the rear rail module that is just stamped stainless steel
  • Look at the trigger and polish all surfaces that rub against each other – the connector, trigger bar, etc.
  • When you are done, lightly grease these surfaces (I like SuperLube) and then cycle the action by hand a few hundred times and the same goes for squeezing the trigger. You will find that the action will smooth out even further … unless you do an awesome job polishing and everything is already mirror smooth.

In Conclusion

I hope this helps you out. My two Polymer80 built pistols are the smoothest cycling pistols I own now.

6/20/2019 Update: The Glock 34-style pistol is now my favorite. It is a tack driver and I plan to replace the trigger at some point this summer or at least go with some reduced power springs to lighten the pull.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Great video on Doing a Polymer 80 Pf940V2 Glock Build

In the previous post, I told you about my finding Gunstreamer for firearms videos. What brought me there was that I was searching on Google for Polymer80 build videos.

On Gunstreamer I found this great video of a guy, who is obviously experienced in building Glock pistols, showing a build on a Polymer 80 Pf940V2 80% frame. He steps you through what needs to be done in terms of sanding, filing and drilling with the supplied jig and then he goes on to actually assembling the pistol.

I learned a lot watching the video – he has a solid informative style and shows you what he is doing.

Here’s the Video


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


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Check out Gunstreamer for Firearms Videos

Folks, if you are like me and are sick and tired of the assault by liberals on our second amendment freedoms, you are always looking for sources of firearms advice. Youtube used to be a great source for videos on firearms – everything from reviews, to gunsmithing to build-it-yourself (BIY) guidance. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case – Youtube has turned anti-gun also and I resent it.

So, where can you see videos about firearms? One promising source is Gunstreamer – http://www.gunstreamer.com. I’ve watched a few videos there now and find the site easy to navigate and there are definitely some quality videos showing up there. Definitely check them out and consider supporting them – I am.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


How to Defeat WiFi censorship around Firearms, Military and Law Enforcement with VPN Apps on Mobile Devices

I am sick and tired of businesses and other groups telling me that something that is perfectly legal is not acceptable. Have you ever tried to use your phone or mobile device in an establishment and got some kind of message like the following instead of the web page you wanted:

Or perhaps something like this when you know full well the website is working:

What is happening is some pain in the butt liberal is blocking your web access based on the website address you’re going to.

I’m really sick and tired of messages like these when I try to access websites from my phone or tablet that involve firearms, law enforcement, military, or anything else perfectly legitimate that the provider of the Wi-Fi services feels is inappropriate. Screw them.

What happens with Wi-Fi is that your phone is connecting to a wireless network which in turn passes through any number of devices that can subscribe to what is known as a “block list.”

The block list is provided either by the vendor of the network device or from a service provider and is updated regularly with a list of websites with different categories that the subscriber can then block. So if you try to go by name to my website like the above image shows, you will be blocked at many public venues.

Use Virtual Private Network Apps

The way to get around this is to run virtual private Network (VPN) software on your phone or tablet. It basically works by using an application that encrypts all of your phone’s WiFi data traffic to the VPN provider who then routes the data on their servers and network to your desired destination. The group trying monitor your traffic has no idea where it is going or what the contents are due to the encryption in the VPN

There are free providers that can be very slow and your security might be in question or, like me, you can use a commercial service.

I prefer a service called “IPvanish” and I’ve been using it for a year and a half. I have no affiliation with them and get absolutely zero money for this recommendation. It just so happens that I’m at a major theme park right now and I’m royally pissed off because they are blocking my access to sites I normally go to that are perfectly legal. This is censorship.

So I’m sitting here ticked and figured writing a blog post to help you guys out so you can get to these sites whenever you want would be my best revenge.

IPvanish

I have a Samsung Note 8 phone that runs Android and IPvanish makes an app that is very affordable. You can get it through the Play Store for Android plus other platforms are supported such as Apple and they are in the Apple store.

Getting going is pretty easy.  You simply sign up, pay, install the app, enter your user ID and password and you’re ready to go.  Yes, you do pay but this means you have fast connections because they can afford to have adequate capacity.

If you want to read more first go to their website at http://www.ipvanish.com

Some interesting options

There are a few interesting options to point out to you. You can have the software start automatically if you wanted to, you can tell it what country or maybe even what city you want to say it’s accessing from. For example if I wanted to make it look like I am in Canada, I can do that. If I am in another country and I want it to look like I’m in the United States, I can do that too. It gives you some interesting capabilities if you run into a situation involving digital rights such as situations where content you normally use in the United States is not licensed for people outside of it and so forth.

In summary

If you are sick and tired of being blocked, get yourself some VPN software. Ipvanish is my preference but you definitely have others to choose from. Don’t let other people dictate to you what you can and cannot do when it comes to perfectly legal topics such as Firearms, law enforcement and Military websites.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Wheeler Tool Makes AR Trigger Guard Installation or Removal a Breeze

I was asked how I install AR trigger guards to minimize scratching up the receiver or even risking snapping an “ear” off.  On one hand, you can use a solid backing block to support the ear and then use a roll pin punch to drive in the pin.  That’s what I used to do but it’s a headache to be honest.  As some of you may know, I have a tremor that makes fine motor stuff a headache so finding methods that are simpler really helps me get work done.

This is a Brownells Billet 7075 aluminum trigger guard (078-101-164) and it has a bulge to accomodate gloves.  The set screw goes in the end with a blind hole.  The roll pin goes through the end that is drilled all the way through.

A few years ago I started using the Wheeler trigger guard tool and it works great.  Here’s the link to it at Amazon – click here.

This is how I use it:

  1.  Install the end of the triggerguard that uses the set screw.  That’s the end with the blind hole – the roll pin goes in the end where a hole goes all the way through.
  2. I lightly oil the pin to make things easy and tap it with a small hammer just to get it started.
  3. I then use the Wheeler tool with the shorter starter pin.  The starter pin has a nipple that centers it on the roll pin.
  4. Keep the parts aligned and turn the knob to drive the pin in.
  5. Stop when you have inserted the pin – it’s that easy.

Note, Scott Igert of Modern Antique Firearms recommends you put a business card or something between the frame and your receiver to protect it from scratching.

It has two tips – here you can see one installed and one stored in the frame of the tool.  The short one is for installing and the long one is for pushing a roll pin out.
Simply stop once the pin is flush.

Note, I actually have one from another maker also.    I’m holding it in my hand.  It does the same conceptually but is heavier made.  I’ve built probably 4-6 ARs with the Wheeler unit and it seems to be holding up fine.  The other is a Little Crow unit from Brownells for about $39.99 + S&H and its built like a tank but you do pay more for it.

Little Crow Trigger Guard Pin Pusher

I hope this helps you out.  


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Fitting a Csspecs Steel Magazine To A SDS Lynx 12ga Shotgun

Csspecs makes wicked steel magazines for a variety of niche weapons. They make a well respected magazine for 12 gauge Saiga shotguns. That meant it would fit my SDS Lynx 12ga also.

I placed my order on their website and within a week receive to magazines that were built like a tank. I had a problem with some of the plastic SDS 10 round magazines in terms of the follower going all the way to the top. The Csspecs follower shot up in the top so fast I think you could take off a body part 🙂 just kidding but it is very well done.

You have to love a magazine that is so heavily made it can be used as a defensive weapon all by itself 🙂  Seriously, Csspecs makes some wicked mags and they tell you right up front that you may need to do a bit of fitting and I did.

Fitting The Magazines

The magazines come with a small instruction pamphlet for fitting that makes perfect sense to anybody who’s ever had to fit AK magazines. Step one is to make sure that the magazine fits correctly from front to back. If it does not you trim a little bit off the back tab of the magazine.

In my case it set right in. You can see how the mag stops are coming right against the bottom of the receiver.  This is good!  If I did need to trim it, I would have carefully filed a bit and tested over and over until the mag stops contacted the receiver, polished the surface and applied cold blue per the details in the next step.

In my case, the magazine locking lever would not engage the mag’s tab at all. That means that little tab was too thick and needed to be filed down. This is really a situation where you want to use a fine hand file and take off a little bit at a time and test – don’t rush this. Take care to maintain the slight angle. This helps with the lock up.  Do not make it flat and try to keep it as straight across as possible.

I can’t stress enough, take your time.  The above was done with a single-cut file where one edge was ground down so I can make cuts like this with out damaging the surface.  You can sometimes buy files like I show below with one or both edges left plain.  In my case, I used my belt sander to remove the teeth on that side.

This is not a situation where you want to rush. Take a little bit off at an angle and test over and over. It probably took me about 5 minutes per magazine. You want the magazine to lock into place firmly. If it is really loose I would recommend welding some material back on and fixing it.

After the filing, I did use a fine rubber abrasive polishing but in my Dremel to smooth the surface out so the lock up process would be smoother.

After I had the fitting correct, I use the little bit of Brownells Oxpho blue liquid on Long dobbers and blued the surface followed by some oil.

That is all there was to it. I hope this helps you out. Kudos to CS specs for making some very nice magazines. These things are rock solid and I may very well pick a couple more up at some point.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.



Tuning SDS 10 Round Magazines for Saiga and Lynx Shotguns

Well, Scott, Brooks and I went shooting a few weeks back. I was really excited to take my new SDS Lynx out and I had bought four brand news SDS 10 round magazines that I took out of the wrapper and threw in my range bag. That turned out to be a mistake. The photo above is of Scott trying to clear yet another jam from the Lynx with one of the 10 round magazines inserted – they had feed failures constantly.

One of the things I was told years ago was to test everything before you rely on it. Now granted I was just going to the quarry to shoot with my friends but I really should have tested those magazines. Of the four, only one kind of worked. The followers were all hanging up about an inch from the top. The five round SDS magazine that came with the shotgun ran great but five founds at a time is not the most exciting thing. It was frustrating and disappointing at the same time.

The Lynx and the mags went back in the gun case and I felt pretty stupid for not checking the mags before going. On the other hand, they were brand new and should have worked. I was more than a bit miffed also – clearly there was a manufacturing issue, Followers should spring to the top of a magazine like a rocket – not get stuck part way down. A person should not need to buy magazines and then tune them inside – getting them to fit an AK-style weapon, sure that happens all the time, but not needing to redo the internals.

In the following photos notice how the followers are not all the way to the top compared to the small 5 round magazines.

At that point I made a decision – the SDS magazines really did look well made and rather than send them back, I decided to tune them and document what I did to share with others.

The Lynx shotgun uses Saiga magazines so this design is common and writing up what to do might very well help others out. So with my mind made up, it was just a matter of finding the time to do it.

A couple of weeks went buy before I could dig in but finally the time came. I’m going to try and show you what I found and explain what you need to do to correct it. You’re going to need a Dremel (or similar rotary tool), rubberized polishing bits, felt/wool polishing bits, and a plastic polish – I use Plastix a lot but even toothpaste would work. Yes, toothpaste is a very fine grit polish – you can even use it to polish plastic headlights.

Disassembling a SDS Magazines

The SDS magazine comes apart just like any AK magazine – you push the button on the bottom with a screw driver and slide the floor plate off of the magazine body. Now take a look at it. It can only push off one. All of the magazine Parts in the SDS can only go one way.

So push the button down and shove the floor plate in the direction of the opening. You may need to use a small Mallet or something hard to give it a little bit of a whack to get it started.

Now once you get that floor plate off the rest is going to want to spring out so use your thumb to keep it from flying across the room or in your face.

Fixing The Problem Area

The problem area in the magazines seem to be in the upper inch to inch and a half. You’ll see a mold seam that needs to be erased using the Dremel tool with the rubberized abrasive tips as well as it being tight in general all the way around.

So the first thing I did was to use a small rubberized abrasive tip to erase the mold seemed entirely that runs around the inner area of the magazine. In the next two photos you’ll see a shiny protruding lip inside the magazine that is just above the follower — that is the mold seam I am speaking of. It’s important to note that the follower is binding even before getting to that seam.

I used a small rubberized fine abrasive tip in my Dremel to literally erase the mold seam flush with the rest of the mold body.

At this point I blew out the magazine body with compressed air and the overall fit of the follower to the magazine body was just too tight. It and the body needed to be thinned a bit – not a bunch, just a bit.

In terms of the trimming, I would definitely recommend that you use the abrasive tip to remove just a little and test over and over. I can’t stress this enough – don’t try to do it all at once. As the saying goes, it’s easier to take more material off than to try and put it back on.

I wound up switching to a bigger rubber abrasive wheel when I did the follower and as far as I could reach in with the bit on the Dremel. The bit is still fine, I would not recommend using anything very aggressive. I used this bit on the follower and the inside of the magazine body. You just need to take a little bit of material off. I went all the way around the magazine body and the follower in that top area. You’ll see just below the scene there is a little elevated area inside the magazine that guides a follower up into position that is too tight.

Now I found I needed to do a second step to really smooth things out. The abrasive bit leaves a rough surface and the next thing I did was to use a felt bob/bit with felt on the end in my Dremel along with Plastix polish to finely polish all the surfaces. I tried skipping this step with a couple of the magazines and the end result was so much better that I went back and polished the surfaces I worked on in all of the magazines.

The polishing with the Plastix really made a big difference and I would recommend you do it as well. You could tell the parts were smoother. Definitely wipe everything down and do not leave the grit in the magazine.

Next, I sprayed the Dupont Teflon dry film lubricant in the magazine body and on the follower. I would not recommend using oil or anything that leaves a residue that dirt will stick to. Instead you want something that is going to leave a dry film behind. This really fixed everything once and for all.

I then reassembled the magazines. As mentioned the parts can only go one way. I never took the spring off the bottom plate so I didn’t have to worry about its orientation.

I went ahead and did one final spray of Teflon around the follower and let it run down in. While it is still a liquid, the lubrication will not be very good. You need to let it dry. In my case, it shot up like a rocket. Job done.

End Result

The magazines all seem to work fine now. I think the problem was a combination of the mold seam and that inside area being just a tad too tight. I hope this post helps you out. Small side note to SDS – you really ought to fix this.

10/15/18: First thing this morning SDS reached out to me and is sending replacement magazines. I will test them and report back. They have sold over 3,000 magazines with just a few problems so I might just literally have a bad batch.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Amazon links are at the bottom of the post.


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