All posts by RoninsGrips

We're a small business made up of myself and my wife working nights and weekends to hand make items for AK and related rifles as well Nepalese khukuris! We've been in business for over four years and pride ourselves in providing quality products and exceptional customer service.

The ATN X-Sight 4K 5-20x Scope Is Surprisingly Effective But Expect A Learning Curve

I never was that interested in ATN scopes until maybe a two years ago. I was at the range fiddling with something and a fellow pulled in and set up a varmint AR with a big blocky optic on a Bog Deathgrip tripod. I could not help myself – I had to go over and ask what the optic was.

Thankfully, he was a good old boy and liked shooting and talking. He was having a coyote problem and wanted to get the rig sighted in. He told me it was an ATN night vision optic and the tripod was to help him keep it all steady. I looked it all over and headed back to my area. The ATN looked better in person than it did in the ads that I had seen in catalogs that made it look “gimicky”. Between my assumption about the quality and the price, I was never interested but after seeing it in person it was filed under “who knows – maybe someday” category in my head for future projects.

Fast Forward to 2021

I was researching high end airguns and some of the of guys were running various ATN scopes. I wanted to up my game on the computational ballistics front – yeah the calculation of trajectories – and I wanted a computer to do it for me. I really wanted to get surgical and modern with my new .25 caliber FX Impact Compact pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle. This desire brought me to ATN and their latest generation of digital X-Sight 4K optics because they have an internal computer that can crank the numbers.

An Auxiliary Ballistic Laser (ABL) good from 5 to to 1000 yards could be added that interfaced with the scope to provide range to target data to the computer. The computer can take the muzzle velocity of your round, the ballistic coefficient of your bullet (in my case pellet), distance of the optic from the center of the bore, angle and the distance to the target and automatically adjust the recticle. Whoa…. that’s pretty amazing.

Just a quick note on the ABL – based on my experience with laser rangefinders, usually maximum range comments by vendor are a bit of hype because it depends on how reflective the target is. In my case, virtually all of my shooting will be within 50 yards with a possible stretch to 100 but I doubt I will ever shoot beyond that.

Another feature that attracted me was the night vision capability. I’ve not had the capability to eliminate pests at night or at very low light levels.

The X-Sight scopes have a host of other features like taking photos and movies, recording just before and after sensing recoil, etc. Those are nice but not really features I cared about.

I shopped around and ordered an ATN X-SIght 4k 5-20x optic, Auxiliary Ballistic Laser (ABL) 1000 rangefinder, and a quick release mount. It came to just over a $1,000 plus I bought a SD memory card. The optic and rangefinder were from Brownells and I sourced the quick detach mount direct from ATN. A lot of vendors carry ATN products so you can shop around.

In case you are wondering why I would go to such expense for accuracy in a PCP airgun that will mostly be used within 100 yards, I can sum it up with the saying “aim small – miss small.” It’s one of my favorite lines from American Sniper but it is true. If you focus your aim on a very small part of the target then you will either hit it or miss by a small amount. This requires discipline and knowledge on your part combined with a capable weapons system to deliver the bullet or pellet.

The Scope, ABL and Mount Arrived

When the boxes came and I started reading the manuals, I had the same feeling when I read something that says “some assembly required”. I really hadn’t put much thought into how different a digital optic is from a traditional scope. Wow. This thing has a series of setup menus and then you need to learn your away around the scope. So right out of the box there was a lot of fumbling, swearing and my changing things.

So here’s my first recommendation – be sure to watch ATN’s videos about setting up the optic and using it. The manuals help but I found the combination of videos for the overview and the documentation to refer to as a very handy combination. Click here to go to the ATN page with all of their videos and/or click here for the manuals – it actually has links to PDFs videos and guidance on the page itself.

The X-Sight is mounted just like any other scope. Square the weapon then the optic to the weapon to ensure the recticle is level. I use a Wheeler scope mounting kit’s leves to do this. Note that the Impact Compact is being held in a Tipton Standing Ultra GunVise. Man, those are nice.

Here’s an example of needing to read the instructions. The threaded portion is part of a tube that is separate from the body of the ABL. You back off the two screws you see, remove the tube and screw it into the front of the X-Sight scope. You then clamp the ABL onto the tube and position it horizontal to the scope and bore.

Here is everything mounted.
Here’s another angle.

Now let me give you hope – once you start using the scope, it gets easier and faster each time. I turn on the scope so it has time to boot up as I am setting up – not at the last minute when I need to take a shot. Most of the time I am shooting at 14 yards so I dont need to range the target and the scope remembers the last range used. Instead,I zoom as needed, acquire the target and take the shot. That’s it – not a billion menus. So, stick with it – you will probably find it frustrating too at first and then it will get better with time.

Setup and Zeroing In Tips

When you are entering the info for the ballistic coefficient (BC) and the muzzle velocity, try and be as exact as possible, I obtained the BC from the manufacturer of my .25 pellets and the muzzle velocity was the average of 10 rounds fired through a chronograph.

I carefully measured out the range from the muzzle to the target. When I entered the range into the optic, I was precise and not guessing. I was being very careful due to the desire for accuracy.

Set your rifle up in a firm stand and fire a group then adjust the recticle. Their marketing comment of one shot zeroes is something they even mention is “in theory”. Repeat this until you have your zero consistently. This will all go faster and be easier if you have a solid stand – notice I mentioned this twice now 🙂 I used a Bog Deathgrip Carbon Fiber model to help me get the job done.

My Opinion

I’ve been using the X-Sight since late-April 2021 and like it. If I have a new distance to shoot, I range it, take the shot and then reset to my most common distance. I have made a few 35-50 yard shots that would have required some calculation, or at least experience, and hit less than quarter sized targets (squirrel head and heart shots) accurately.

Here’s another angle that gives you a good view of the mounted ABL. It connects to the scope via Bluetooth and you need to follow a zeroing process outlined in the manual. It’s straight forward but don’t skip it.

One thing I had to get used to was looking at a small monitor vs. glass. I’ve been shooting nice glass scopes for a number of years now – notably Vortex scopes – and looking at a monitor with a resolution lower than reality is different. I must admit that I prefer the clarity of good glass but it dawned on me that it was not fair to compare them at this point. I bought the ATN for the ballistics calculation capabilities and the potential for low-light/night-use — I did not buy it to be just another scope, That set my mind more at ease about the image difference – it is what it is with the current level of technology in these scopes.

This is an actual screen capture. The optic allows you to select from a number of recticle choices. Note the range information from the ABL down in the ower right corner. What you see in the scope actually has much more information but the screen capture does not include it.
This is an exciting shot of concrete but it lets you see the recticle better.

The combination of scope and ABL is a bit bulky and the ABL’s head is asymmetrical for the laser transmitter and receiver units. I set the Impact Compact on our tall kitchen table and it fell off onto the hardwood floor about three feet. It definitely made my stomach drop to hear all that money hit the floor. I’m actually happy to report that the rifle and optics system survived without any problems at all.

I was wondering how long the battery would live but that has not proved to be a problem. I fully charged it when I first got it and then again a few weeks ago. Now I don’t leave it turned on all the time. I’d say it runs maybe 5-10 minutes every 2-3 days and it’s not been a problem. I think I will just always charge it when it gets half way down or so plus I could always charge it from a powerbank/portable battery if needed. ATN even sells an extended battery if you need it.

The ABL is still on its first battery so I can’t tell you much there – I only use it as needed for longer shots so its had minimal use. I do have a spare battery just in case.

I wish the menus were a bit easier to navigate with very clear “back” or “cancel” options immediately available on every screen. For example, if you get into the manual ranging section or the part of zeroing the recticle by accident. For the most part they are pretty straight forward but I am not wowed by them from a user design perspective.

I opted for the ATN quick connect scope mount and it is okay but does not have locks on the throw levers. In hindsight, I could have used any 30mm rings I wanted including my preferred American Defense mounts. You have plenty of flexibility because one of the menu options lets you specify how high the scope is mounted.

Here’s a view of the ATN quick dtach mount’s levers. They don’t lock closed but have held no problem so far.

Last comment – I had the scope freeze on me twice. I found that turning the ABL off first, if I turned it on, seemed to cause the problem. Now, when I do use the ABL, I turn the scope off first and then the ABL. I’ve not had it freeze since powering down in this order. By the way, if your scope does freeze, hold down the power button for 10-15 seconds and it will shut off – kind of like notebooks where one push does a controlled power down of the laptop but holding it down does a forced immediate shut down.

ATN definitely tries to label everything outside of the scope to try and help folks learn the controls.

In Summary

I’ve been using the X-Sight 4K 5-20 and ABL 1000 laser for about three months and several times per week – sometimes several times per day depending on what is going on. I really feel like the combination has improved my actual accurage in terms of precisely hitting the target so I am happy with the purchase.

I’d recommend the setup for anyone looking for this type of optics system with similar intentions as I outlined at the start. It’s different from traditional glass lense optics but it brings a different set of capabilities to the table also. Let me put it this way,I would buy it again for my intended use.

I hope this helps you.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


FX Impact Compact .25 PCP Powerhouse – Initial Findings

In the last post, I covered my journey leading up to the purchase and arrival of the FX Impact Mk.2 Compact. The rifle performed beautifully right out of the box. The trigger was definitely very nice and the action was smooth.

For the price though,I did find some features, or lack thereof, annoying and ranked them in order from biggest pet peeve to the least:

  1. There is no “cocked” indicator and it will let you double-cock the rifle thus loading/stacking multiple pellets on top of one another. I have learned over time to carefully pay attention to the feel of the cocking handle about a 1/4-1/3rd as the absence of the spring compressing tells me it is already loaded. I also try to make sure I put the rifle immediately on safe as another flag. While mistakenly double-cocking the rifle has decreased, it still happens. When it does, I open the bolt, remove the magazine and use a cleaning rod to push them out. Come on FX, my $800 Gladius disengaged the cocking lever once cocked to avoid that user error. This my biggest beef.
  2. The owner’s manual is a bit vague. It is concerning that it says changing the power wheel when charged will damage it and void the warranty. WTF. Maybe you should fix your design instead. Putting the blame on the operator is a total cop out. Dear FX, I reached out to your customer service group asking what the power level numbers and letters correspond to with no answer.
  3. The distance from the Foster high pressure quick connect fitting to the trigger guard so long that the purchaser must go out and buy an extended length female fitting? If you find your common length female fitting below human reach once it clicks into place, remove the screws from the trigger guard, remove it, remove your coupler from the rifle and then promptly order a longer one. Tony sent one with my rifle that I wasn’t sure I would need – turns out I sure did. I later ordered an even longer knurled one that DonnyFL sells. Not the end of the world by any means but it is annoying.
  4. Your decocking feature would be nice except it leaves the pellet in the chamber and unless you pull the magazine too and remember that one is in there and shoot it before re-installing the magazine, you will double stack pellets. I’d tell anyone reading this to shoot a pellet into the ground or any other suitable stopping surface vs. using the decocker.

That’s it in terms of things I dont like and I had time to reflect on this list. All in all, it’s a pretty wicked PCP air rifle.

The DonnyFL “FX” Moderator

DonnyFL makes quality sound moderators exclusively for airguns in Oviedo, Florida. While the FX moderator that Tony included did reduce the sound levels, it wasn’t enough. I had a “Ronin” series moderator that could absorb more gas and reduce sound levels even further so I installed it on the special adapter that was already on the rifle. It definitely reduced the sound even further but was still too loud. I added in the 6″ extension and it was quieter but I want even more. I plan to purchase their biggest moderator the “Sumo” and will post about that later. So it’s not really a knock on the FX series moderator but I would tell you to at least get a Ronin of the right caliber and the correct adapter to install it.

This is the DonnyFL Ronin moderator on the left of the seam just above the end cap that is keeping the assembly from rolling. On the right is the optional extension that lengthens the moderator. It was a cheap experiment to see if ot lowered the sound level when firing and it did. I am betting the Sumo will lower it further because the extension is just a hollow tube that serves as one large expansion chamber whereas the Sumo is designed to absorb the compressed air blast the whole length.

Element Optics Helix 6-24×50 Scope

Element Optics is a sister company to FX and their goal is to make quality scopes for airgunners and even firearms. I will say that the glass is remarkably clear but I will also tell you that one day I got my air rifle out and missed the squirrel I needed to dispatch and then I missed another and another. I set up a target and the impact point had shifted almost 1.5-2″ to the right but it was consistent. My best guess was that I had accidentally turned the non-locking windage adjustment knob quite a bit. How? I have no idea.

It turns out there is a zero stop you can easily adjust to return to zero – I wish I realized this up front. It was my fault for not reading the manual up front. What I should have done was to confirm my zero, set the zero stop and then if I had any question, I could immediately return to zero. Live and learn.

Air Source

In December 2020, I invested in a GX CS3 high pressure air compressor off Amazon and it is still going strong seven months later. I run an inline filter to my 18 cu ft Omega tank and use the tank to fill the Impact Compact – I still put a filter between the tank and the airgun just to be safe – quick connects make the plumbing and moving things around real easy – I use all Air Ventury quick connects to avoid compatibility problems – I’ve had to swap out a few generic fittings along the way. Click here for various posts about the compressor and tank.

The GX CS3 compressor is geat. Here it is in refillying my Omega 18 cu ft tank. The small blue cylinder in the air lines is a high pressure air filter. I have a bigger one that I need to replace the generic male fitting with one from Air Venturi and once I do, it will be filtering the air for the tank and then the small blue fiter will filter the air from the tank to whatever airgun I am filling.

Some Photos For You

This is the Impact Compact with the DonnyFL Ronin moderator sitting directly in front of it.
Here’s another angle.
Here’s the power adjuster that I still don’t fully understand. “3” seems like a nice middle of the road setting that works on squirrels without a lot of over-penetration at 14 yards. You can also see the trigger – it’s definitely sweet and contributes to the accuracy.

In Summary

Most of my shooting is within 50 feet and the rifle is an absolute tack driver, It will takke a squirrel or rabbit out with no problem. I’m using the JSB 25.39gr pellets and with the excellent trigger, where ever I put the crosshairs the pellet follows. I’m going to stick with this base rifle for a while but I did replace the scope with an ATN X-Sight 4K that I will write about next.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


FX Impact Compact .25 PCP Powerhouse – Doing The Research

Over the years, I have slowly upped my game when it comes to airguns. My first bb gun was an old Daisy that I shot with my dad and from there I progressed to a Crosman 766 that was my trusty companion — until I got old enough and my dad let me buy my first .410 shotgun and I moved to the world of powder burners (firearms) until about 10 years ago.

For pest control reasons, I moved up from the entry-level airguns and bought a .22 caliber Diana 34P. It did the job but being a break-barrel springer, you had one shot and then had to divert your attention from the critters and reload.

From there I bought a .22 caliber Hatsan Gladius Long and Hill Mk.4 hand pump. I’d started blogging at this point so I wrote a number of posts. The rifle was relatively quiet, had a decent trigger, was accurate enough and packed a punch.

I then added a Hatsan AT-P2 that was smaller and interesting but didn’t hit squirrels hard enough. It’s still sitting in my closet in it’s case. The one thing they don’t tell you about airguns until after you get into them is that the resale value sucks – you have to practically give them away so … the AT-P2 is in the closet.

Getting back to the Gladius, it was and is a solid airgun however, I wished it was quieter so I bought an adapter and DonnyFL Ronin moderator to reduce the sound level. Turns out the barrel wasn’t true in the shroud so the pellets would hit the adapter and accuracy just disappeared so I removed the Ronin and saved it for a future airgun. It was also longer than I wanted and not regulated either meaning whatever pressure was in the tank, that affected the velocity and shot placement at the target … in short, I started to get more and more disappointed because while the Gladius is a good PCP airgun, it’s not a great airgun – at least not in terms of meeting my needs as I learned and changed what I wanted from an air rifle.

I was really leaning towards a bullpup design so I could get a longer barrel in a compact design with a relatively short overall length. I also wanted it to be regulated, have an excellent trigger, accuracy, power and to be quiet. It’s a tall ord to get all of these so I was looking at vendors like Airgun Technology, Daystate, FX, Kalibr, LCS and Taipan. I was really torn between the Vulcan, Cricket and Mutant models so I was reading everything I could – these air rifles were/are expensive and I honestly could not afford to buy one that didn’t deliver.

I usually prefer to read first hand accounts on the web and watch videos on Youtube but due to the level of investment and I am not some guru in the airgun space, I decided to call the Some airgun vendors allow people to take calls who are just order takers – they have nowhere near enough experience with the products they are trying to sell to make a credible recommendation. I’m not going to call any groups out by name but let me just recommend that you call more than one and you do your research before you buy anything – especially a higher-end air gun.

After the disappointing calls, I decided to call TalonTunes and Tony, the owner, picked up the call. Tony is an interesting guy – he has a ton of knowledge and is direct — no BS. I found it refreshing after my other experiences.

TalonTunes & The FX Compact Impact

As we talked and he understood more what I was looking for he steered me towards the FX Impact Mk.II Compact – a short barrelled design I was not familiar with and he explained he could sell me a “tuned” model for $2,499 wherein he would modify the transfer port and pellet probe plus he would dial it in for accuracy with the proper regulator pressure and sight in the scope – provided I bought the scope from him. It also came with a DonnyFL FX moderator to reduce the sound when it fired.

I wrote down the details and told him I would consider it. The answer that really sticks me months later was that I asked him if I should go with .22 or .25 for squirrels, rabbits and a rare racoon. He told me that he had plenty of customers who went with .22 who later told him they wished they had gone for the larger .25 pellet but he did not have a single customer who opted for .25 who later said they wished they had bought a .22. I’d been going back and forth in my head about which to move with and that pretty much sealed it – I would move with a .25.

Again, for this kind of money, I wasn’t going to leap on anything until I researched both the FX Impact Compact and the reputation of TalonTunes. Let’s start with the base air rifle.

FX Airguns is a Swedish company known for making progressive airguns and they seem polarize people into either being fans or not liking them at all. In general though, they are known for quality airguns and you can readily get parts for them.

The Impact was revised in 2020 with an enlarged “power plenum” located before the transfer port. The compressed air is held in it until the trigger is pulled at which time it rushes forward and propels the pellet forward. The speed is a function of the volume of air and the pressure in the plenum. Combine this with an excellent barrel and you have a powerful accurate air rifle.

It also sports a fully adjustable trigger and it uses an AR-15 grip. By using an AR grip, this opens up a world of grip options for you.

It is a bolt action repeater feeding from a 28 round removable magazine. The one thing to look at with these rifles is the magazine – the design that the Impact uses is proven and not a headache to load. Also, not all magazines are removable for quick reloads.

The Impact Compact is fully regulated too. If you aren’t familiar with regulated airguns, this is a critical accuracy selling point. The air tank “bottle”) on a PCP air rifle holds are at whatever the maximum rated working pressure is and then the pressure slowly goes down as shots are fired and air is used. The Impact Compact has a 250 bar (3,625 PSI) fill pressure. Now the regulator is governing the air pressure that makes it to the plenum so that it is a constant – in the case of my rifle it was set to 120 bar (1,740 PSI). As long as the bottle is about 120 bar, the pressure will be about 120 bar at the plenum making the shot velocity much more consistent – for a variety of reasons there will be a bit of give and take on the pressure and the resulting velocity.

In general, a regulated design is far better than an ungoverned PCP airgun that will have a sweet spot somewhere for X number of rounds and then drop rapidly. For my Gladius,it was rated at 200 bar but I would only fill it to 190 and it was pretty consistent for the first 10 rounds and then I would pump it back up to 190. It was a bit of a chore but it served me well for almost four years so don’t get me wrong.

So, for the Impact Compact, it was getting solid reviews with guys amazed at the power and accuract of the small rifle. I was pretty much sold. The only shortcoming I could foresee was the lack of a moderator but the TalonTunes package included one.

In terms of TalonTunes, Tony gets very good reviews. People posting on airgun sites mentioned that there might be a wait but what showed up was as-described and quality. I didn’t turn up any significantly concerniing reviews so I decided to move ahead.

I Placed The Order

I called Tony and ordered the tuned .25 FX Impact Compact, an Element Optics Helix 6-24×50 scope and the requisite mounting rings. Yeah, I did have to wait for Tony to tune and ship it – I think it was about 4-6 weeks but what showed up was pretty wicked and worth the wait.

The rifle arrived in two boxes. One had the FX Impact Compact and scope in a cool cust hard case.The other had the pellets and boxes for the scope, and documentation.
Tony also included a chronograph receipt tape and a grouping in a cool little pamphlet. Yeah, this speaks volumes and that group is real – let me tell you that right now.

In Summary

I’m writing this six months after getting the Mk2 Impact Compact and I was impressed then and still am now. They have now moved on to a “M3” and it’s getting good reviews with an even bigger plenum, twin transfer ports and improved ergnomics. At any rate, in the next post I’ll tell you more about my experiences hands on because there are things I like with my Mk.2 and things that I don’t.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Looking For a Rugged Range Bag For Your Pistols? Check Out Savior Equipment

I’ve had my share of bad bags over the years so I’m a bit of a snob now. I look for heavy materials, a beefy zipper and handle straps that go all the way under the bag (cheap ones don’t and pull out as a result under heavy load). At any rate, for the last couple of years when I need a soft case, I go to Amazon and get a Savior Equipment bag – unless I need something specialized.

The bag I am showing you today is one of their Specialist series. They are made from 600 Denier nylon with a PVC coating to resist water and padding to protect up to two pistols.. The zipper seems solid – I’ve been using this series for two years now with no problems.

  • Overall dimensions are 13x9x5.5″
  • Internal dimension is 12.5×8.5×2.5″
  • Pistol Pockets are 12.5×7.5″
  • Font pocket is 12×7.5×2″
  • Six magazines slots for mags up the 1.75″ x 8.5″
  • There’s velcro on the front for your favorite patch

You can put two pistols in one of these bags but by the time I add mags, ammo, and whatever else, I pretty much go with one pistol per bag. You’ll notice I have three of them. I don’t have anything bigger than 6″ 1911s and they hold them just fine as well as regular 1911s, Glock 17s, 34s, etc.

Pics or it didn’t happen

Conclusion

This is one of those no-brainer recommendations – they are solid bags at an affordable price. They say they have a lifetime warranty but I’ve not needed to use it and I have some of their rifle bags too.

Hope this helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


How To Re-Assemble A 1911 or 2011 Full Length Guide Rod, Spring and Reverse Plug Using A Small Engine Valve Compressor

If you’re reading this then I am assuming you know how much a bear it is to re-assemble the full length guide rod, spring and reverse plug group that many 1911 and 2011 pistols are using. When a takedown paper clip or pin slips during disassembly or re-assembly of the pistol, life gets interesting fast.

Well, if you want to get into an argument with a 1911 guru, ask if the full length guide rods make a difference. The answer tends to be “no” and I am not arguing for them. What I am finding is that bull barrel 10mm pistol makers as of late aren’t using bushings – the slide and barrel mate together directly and the guide rod assembly is captured in the slide, not by the bushing.

This is a Desert Eagle 10mm by Bul Armory with a full length guide rod (the solid circle in the middle).
Rock Island Ultra FS HC – also with a full length guide rod. The silver circle is the end of the guide rod.

To disassemble these types of pistols, you usually need to insert a pin in the guide rod to capture the reverse plug. Some guys bend a paper clip. I got so annoyed by how tacky that looked that I had a ton of takedown pins made from 1mm stainless wire [click here to go to our website].

With the slide locked open, you insert the pin in the hole machined for this purposed, release the slide and move it forward against the pin. I’d recommend against letting the plug slam forward into the pin as it isn’t going to do either piece of steel any favors over time. That’s our takedown pin by the way.
Once the pin has limited the travel of the reverse plug and basically stopped the spring from applying pressure, takedown is a breeze.
With the tension removed, it all comes apart real nice in theory.
Boy, that sure is nice and neat isn’t it?

And Then Reality Hits

Folks, there are a million and one reasons why that pin can get knocked out of the hole and the reverse plus is going to come flying off at the speed of light. This kind of stuff happens to me way more than I care to admit. I can’t tell you how many parts I have lost control of and heard a faint “tick” sound as said part lands on the other side of my shop never to be seen again. Well, that’s not exact true, I did find an AR buffer detent in the tool caddy of my ShopVac last week. I vaguely remember losing one at point.

Big word of advice, if you are working on a spring loaded part, do it in a place were you can find the parts if you lose control. Yeah, you may be laughing now but wait until you hear that “tick” sound of a part landing on the other side of a congested (fancy way of saying “messy”) shop.

In my case, I haven’t launched the reverse plug yet but I did release the tension to see how it was made. Ok, big mistake. The recoil springs for a 10mm start at 16 pounds and are more likely to be 20-24 pounds. With my carpal tunnel, I could not compress the spring enough to reinsert the pin. I had a serious WTF do I do moment? Under no circumstance was I going to ask my wife to come help me 🙂 A second set of hands would have done the trick for sure but I needed to figure out a quick and dirty way to do it myself.

This is the full length guide rod, reverse tube and spring from by Desert Eagle 10mm 1911.

In this case, I carefully inserted the parts in a bench vise and very carefully compressed them until I could get the pin back in. I was really nervous because if either the plug or the rod shifted, I was going to launch parts. It worked, but there had to be a better way.

Solution: Use A Small Engine Valve Compressor

I’ve read, watched and worked on a ton of stuff over the years. I knew there were valve spring compressors for small engines that might work perfect for this so I did some research. The Stens 750-174 looked like it would work perfect and it did.

Here is my new Stens 750-174 that worked perfectly You can adjust the width of the tips and the big screw allows you to very easily compress the spring.
With the two little thumbscrews you can independently adjust the width of the holders.
There’s a trick to getting started – first rotate your guide rod so you will have access to the pin hole once the plug is compressed past it. Now what I did was to start with the base inserted in the tool and it was resting on the table. I then inserted the reverse plug, pushed down and tipped/pivoted the assembly into place so the other tip could grab the plug.
So I adjusted one tend to hold the base of the guide rod and the other to cradle the reverse plug and turned the big crank to compress the spring, reinserted the pin – done!

Conclusion

If you have a pistol with a full length guide rod for whatever reason, I would honestly recommend our takedown pin and also keep a Stens 750-174 spring compressor around if you may need to put it back together solo.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



We Now Have Windowed 16 Round .40/10mm Magazines for Rock Island Armory High Cap 2011 Pistols

I’ve written in the past how I have a new RIA 52009 High Cap 10mm and it’s virtually impossible to find the original OEMP164015B mags right now. Seizing on this business opportunity, I started converting Mec-Gar MGP164015B for use in the RIA double stack/staggered .40 & 10mm pistols (they share the same magazine). Things were going great until all sources of the Mec-Gar MGP164015B dried up too (thank you panic buying). So what to do?

Please note we have moved on from the windowed mags to a new third generation design and they are selling like hotcakes. Click here to visit our website.

I started digging and found out that the Mec-Gar MGP164010B is the exact same magazine except Mec-Gar used a hydraulic press to form dimples in the tube to stop the follower at 10 rounds for folks with Para 16 pistols in areas that had a 10-round limit.

I brought in a bunch of the 10 round mags and converted them for use in the RIA pistols. Then, the supply of the MGP164015B mags dried up and I decided to figure out how to convert the MGP164010B magazines for use in 16 round RIA .40 and 10mm pistols.

To make a long story short, you drill out the dimples, remove the burrs from the inside of the tube and then sand it down. That’s why the mags have 3/8″ windows drilled in them. The fact the magazine bodies were tempered steel definitely made life interesting when it came to the drilling and deburring operations.

Here’s a Mec-Gar 20 round magazine that is about to get the dimple drilled out. I made the jig to securely hold the magazines during the drilling operations.
Folks, I have gone through a ton of dummy rounds prototyping and now testing the magazines. I also use a MagLula to help me load every magazine and with 15 rounds. I am testing that the load and feed smoothly. If they do not then that would tell me something needs more work in the tube.

Bottom line, I was able to make more of the RIA high cap (HC) 16 round magazines. They all have a Teflon dry lube internally and Dawson Precision +100 black base plates. These are really nice and extend just a hair below the funnel allowing you to positively seat the magazine in the weapon.

The Dawson +100 base plate fits very nicely. They make other lengths that you can buy directly from them if you are interested.
Here’s one side.|
Here’s the other side.
Here’s a close up of the top nose.
Here’s a close up of the Dawson +100 base plate. Note, these are Para magazine style base plates.

In Conclusion

Now you know why we have windowed magazines for sale (I had to drill out the dimples). If you are interested, click here to go to our online store and you can see what magazines we have in stock right now.

Please note we have moved on from the windowed mags to a new third generation design and they are selling like hotcakes. Click here to visit our website.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Range Report For The Desert Eagle 1911, RIA Rock Ultra FS HC, and Springfield Armory 6″ TRP Operator 10mm Pistols

Well folks, at one point I had three 1911-style 10mm pistols. A Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10), a Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009) and a Springfield Armory TRP Operator (model PC9610L18). While I like the 10mm cartridge, I didn’t really need three pistols so I decided to take them to the range to decide what I would keep and what I would sell.

The Ammo

I took with me about 200 rounds of Ammo Inc’s 180gr TMC load that I had purchased from Palmetto State Armory during one of their daily deals. TMC stands for “total metal case” – meaning the lead is fully encapsulated by the copper jacket. With full metal jacket (FMC) ammo, the base often has the lead core exposed. Ammo Inc is interesting in that they decided to go the public company route and we’ll have to wait and see how they fare when the panic buying dies down.

I also took about 200 rounds of Sellier & Bellot (S&B) 180gr FMJ ammo as well. It’s been my “go to ” 100 range ammo for years. If you don’t know S&B, they are an excellent ammunition producer located in the Czech Republic dating back to 1825.

That is some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo in the bag and S&B 180gr FMJ in the tray.

To round out the test ammo, I took some Underwood 155gr XTP and 200gr XTP jacketed hollow points (JHP). I only had about 50 rounds of this and I wanted to save it for the final round of testing.

For the past six months, finding ammo has been a bear but suppliers are starting to build up inventory. Judging by my inbox, more and more emails are being sent saying “we have ammo in stock” and even a few sales. These tend to come shortly before prices start to drop based on past panic buying ammo shortages [click here for my blog post on the economics of ammo during a panic].

The Range

It was a beautiful March day when I arrived at the Berrien County Sportsman’s Club to use the pistol plate range. The plates are about 30-35′ feet back from the firing line and I had it all to myself.

BCSC is my favorite range hands down and I have been a member there for many years. Definitely a cool place for a variety of sportsman and family activities.

The 10″ steel plates are located about 30-35 feet from the firing line. I really enjoy these for testing pistols. Note the pull cord to reset the plates.

First, the 6″ TRP Operator

As I have written in the past, the TRP Operator was not reliable out of the box and this was a do or die outing for the pistol in terms of whether I would keep or sell it. The TRP Operator is basically a 6″ 1911 and the marketing would lead you to expect that it would have been stunning out of the box but it wasn’t to be perfectly blunt.

Thankfully, after work both myself and Springfield Armory’s repair groups did, it finally handled the way it should have when I first got it. This time around, functioning was reliable and the recoil was handled nicely by the heavy pistol with it’s 6″ bull barrel.

The TRP put in a good showing this time around. All the kinks had been worked out and it ran great.

I was able to fire round after round at the plates at 30-35 feet and hit them. I really wasn’t shooting for benchrest accuracy – just shooting at plates to decide what to do.

Honestly, I had a take-it-or-leave it mentality on front serrations on a slide until I got into 10mm 1911s. Their recoil spring is stout. All of a sudden, those front serrations are really handy. My RIA 52009 does not have them and is way harder for me to hold when racking the slide from the front that the TRP or the Bul.
I was running both Wilson Combat ,and Tripp Cobra mags in both the TRP and the Bul. Both brands are excellent. You can see a Cobra 9-round magazine peaking out of the mag well in this photo. Their beveled base plate is an immediate give away.

In summary for the TRP, it ran just fine but it did nothing to wow me.

Next – The Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10) by Bul Armory

Okay, next up on the testing list for the first time was my new Desert Eagle 10mm that is actually made by Bul Armory of Israel. Out of the box it had the best trigger of any 1911 I have owned and the action was very smooth.

Now I have written about this particular pistol going to the range before – it’s just that I am finally sitting down to write this bigger post about all three pistols just under two months after the range trip. Here are a few pictures for you:

Here’s the Bul with some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo and a collection of Wilson and Cobra mags – it ran through everything I brought including the Underwood JHPs with no problems.

Here’s the 6″ TRP on top and the 5″ Bul on the bottom. Those front slide serrations make racking their slides a lot easier.

Let me sum it up and say – I really, really like this pistol. It functioned flawlessly and felt great. With the TRP, I was not impressed by the time it finally worked right. The Bul’s performance was nothing short of fantastic.

Last But Not Least: The Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009)

This was the first trip for the RIA Rock Ultra FS HC – let’s just call it the 52009. I wrote a blog post about my first takes and things were looking good so far. At any rate, I knew with the RIA pistols that you needed to clean and lube them plus I slightly beveled the chamber edges and polished the ramp.

I was really curious to see how it would function not only in general but also with the new magazines I was making for them. I also wanted a higher capacity 10mm 1911 if possible so there was a lot riding on the trip.

It looks familiar until you notice the really thick pistol grip and the big mag well funnel.
The 52009 is the bottom pistol and the TRP is the top right. You can see the collection of custom mags I was testing – what you don’t see is that their mag lips are different lengths. I actually found the 52009 very tolerant of different lengths – reliable feeding was a function of how spread open the lips were to point the cartridge towards the chamber. See the magazine laying with it’s back up in the top row? The magazine to the right was the only original RIA ACT-Mag I had to base my work on the shop.
See how short the lips are? By adjusting the lips, it fed surprisingly fine. I have one mag with even shorter lips and it worked.
The stock of 10mm Ammo Inc rounds was dwindling. Let me tell you something – the Mag-Lula universal pistol magazine filler is worth its weight in gold. I really can’t tell you how many 8, 9 and 10 round mags I filled (and emptied) shooting the TRP and Bul pistols but by the time I got to the 52009, my hands were aching thanks to my carpal tunnel issues. By the way, two months later and that loading “finger” you see in the Mag-Lula is now brass colored from all of the magazine test fitting I have done 🙂

To sum up the 52009 – it was starting to wear in and felt surprisingly good. I sure missed having the front serrations on the slide because by the end my hands were starting to ache and my ability to squeeze hard enough to hold the slide and rack it was dwindling.

Once I identified the good mags and problem mags and focused my efforts, it ran great. I was quite pleased with it and I can tell you now that I have cycled it thousands of times fitting magazines, it is quite smooth. The 52009 and RIA 1911/2011 pistols in general are really good examples of parts need to wear in, or get to know each other, to get rid of tiny burrs/imperfections left over from manufacturing.

Would I buy it again? Yes. Was it my first choice? No, actually it wasn’t. I really wanted a high cap 5″ pistol styled after one of their Tac or Tac Ultra pistols that has the forward serrations and a Picatinny rail on the bottom of the frame. The reason being is that they are lighter and more compact than the 6″ Big Rock that I had years ago. Their 56862 model has a 5.5″ threaded barrel (hence the extra half inch) that I would have preferred but with the panic buying, it is impossible to find. Who knows – I may find one some day.

In the mean time, my only wish was that the 52009 hand front serrations – other than that it is a solid pistol.

Final Decision

As you can probably guess, the TRP Operator was voted off the island and my friend, and FFL, Scott Igert sold it for me. I felt pretty good about the decision too.

What’s interesting is that if you go to the Springfield Armory website today – the 10mm TRP Operator is gone. It could be that the demand just wasn’t there. I talked to a fellow at Dawson Precision awhile back about Stacattos (STI changed their name a few months back) and if they had any 10mm pistols because they used to have a number of models including the “Perfect 10.”) At any rate, he told me the demand just isn’t there – everyone is going for the 9mms these days. That might be the case for Springfield though I notice they are offering their Ronin model in 10mm.

TRP at the top, 52009 in the middle and the Bul is at the bottom.
Bul on the left and the 52009 on the right. Note how the 52009 has an ambidextrous safety and the Bul does not. Since I am right handed, I really don’t use the safety on the other side. Some guys train to shoot with both hands just in case their right hand injured and use the safety on both sides as a result so I can understand why it is a feature that some folks want.

That’s it for now. I hope you found this post useful.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Rock Island Armory’s 52009 Ultra FS HC 10mm Is a 10mm 2011 That Packs a Punch

Hi folks – this is my second Rock Island Armory (RIA) 15 round 10mm 1911/2011-style pistol that I have owned. My first one was a 6″ Rock Ultra that I sold years ago because I didn’t really need it. Lately I have gotten back into 10mms for situations where I need to pack a punch such as back country hiking in black bear country.

At this point, I have two 10mm pistols. My 1911-style Desert Eagle and now this 2011-style RIA 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC. FS meaning Full Size – it’s based on a series 70 5″ 1911 in terms of the action. The HC means high-capacity because it uses a staggered 15 round magazine that means the pistol can hold 16 rounds when topped off with one in the chamber.

The following are a couple of listings from PSA and Primary Arms but due to panic buying, you’re probably only going to find the 52009 on GunBroker at this point [click here to search GB – I bought mine off GB]:

In my opinion, Rock Island pistols are work horses. They may have a very plain parkerized finish and be a tad rough but they were made for use – not just sitting in someone’s safe. In terms of the rough action, they do wear in and give you a very good pistol.

In the case of this 52009, the pistol was well assembled and just felt a little rough. Folks, this is just fine in my honest opinion. What happens is that the parts are made and assembled. There isn’t a ton of hand polishing and tuning going on like when you buy a high end pistol but the fundamentals are there.

The way you address this is to clean the brand new pistol, lube it really well and then use it. What happens is that the parts get to know each other – surfaces start to wear together and smooth out. Sure, you could take it apart and do it by hand but just using it can make a world of difference so don’t judge it right out of the box. I use Superlube grease on the parts that slide and their oil/liquid on the parts that rotate.

The only thing RIA honestly did wrong was forget to pack one of the unique 15 round magazines with the pistol. These mags are normally available but with all of the panic buying and COVID screwing up supply chains, they are next to impossible to find. Armscor USA would not even reply to my emails and it wasn’t until Reed Sporting Goods, the Gunbroker seller I dealt with, got a new Armscor/RIA sales rep that I was then able to get a single mag. By the way, Reed is great to deal with if you see them on GB.

The missing mag irked me but I realized there was a business opportunity and made a bunch more for myself and to sell [click here for that story] and click here if you want to buy one. By the way, after hand cycling my slide hundreds and hundreds of times while testing those mags, it is nice and smooth now.

The left magazine is one that I made and it works great. The right mag is an original ACT-Mag. Quick shout out to Dawson Precision for making some great Para base plates!

It came coated in oil to protect the steel more than anything but you always want to take a new pistol apart, clean it and then lube it. The 52009 has been to the range a couple of times now and I definitely like it.

Click here to go to the section of our online store that has all of our current 1911/2011 magazines and related products.

Here are a few more pictures:

Like I said earlier – it’s definitely well made. The parts all fit together nicely without any slop. The set screw in the trigger allows you to adjust over-travel if you wish. It’s factory set and some folks either remove it or put more thread locker on it. I added wicking thread locker and called it even.
It comes with a huge funnel. Folks, I like funnels and you’ll see them on many of my pistols. They help guide your magazine into place when you are in a rush. In my opinion, any funnel, even a beveled mag well opening, is better than no funnel. I also prefer steel or aluminum funnels to plastic.
Here’s the business end – you can see the big bull barrel and because of this, it does not have a bushing. Takedown is accomplished by putting a pin in a drilled hole in the silver guide rod you see when the slide is locked open. In this photo you can also see the fiber optics collecting the light and send it out the end – the sights worked real nice at the range when I was shooting steel plates.

Conclusion

I definitely like the pistol and we are still getting to know each other. I did polish the ramp and chamber. In the next blog post, I’ll tell you about my range trip with my three 1911/2011 10mm pistols and the one that got sold after – which is why I said I now have two at the start of the post.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.