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Troubleshooting A Pride Mobility GoGo Elite Traveller Scooter’s Power Problem

My mother-in-law is getting older and so are my wife and I. Let me tell you, It was a lot easier pushing around a wheelchair 10+ years ago compared to today. With this in mind, my wife and been watching for a good deal on one of those little electric mobility scooters. Finally, one day she saw one posted on Facebook at a local thrift store so we want and took a look.

The owner of the store buys abandoned storage units and a Pride Mobility Elite Traveller scooter was in one of them. It looked to be in great shape but it wouldn’t run. He could turn the on/off switch and a light would come on the little dashboard but that was it. He said he tried charging it for an hour but nothing happened and thought it was the batteries — this is a great example of someone giving you their diagnoses and then that affects what you do.

At any rate, it came with the original Pride Mobility charger so I figured it was probably the batteries and did a quick search on them and replacements ranged in price from $51-89/pair. With this in mind, we settled on a price of $250 and brought the scooter home.

Here’s the GoGo Elite Traveller scooter. It’s remarkably well made. I was impressed the minute I started critically looking at the fit, finish and serviceability.
Note: Pride Mobility puts all of their manuals online. I really appreciate it when firms do this. You can get the brochure, owner’s manual, specification sheet and more on their website – click here. Just FYI: They do not provide a repair manual or technical guide.

A few days went buy before I could work on it. The first thing I did was plug the charger into the wall, then the cord direct to the power pack, turned on the switch and the little red power light came on. The charger’s second indicator LED was supposed to turn yellow that it was charging. It did not – it stayed off. Also, the cooling fan never started. Hmmm…. interesting but I had run into problems before with smart chargers not starting if batteries were dead.

Now, this mistaken assumption cost me some time but I learned a lot in the process that I’ll share.

Removing And Opening The Battery Compartment

Based on what I saw, the engineering and build quality of the scooter was excellent. I’ve seen people driving them around but never had the need to look at one up close or take one apart. Everything is built heavy duty with reliability and resiliency in mind not to mention they put fuses all over the place to protect the electronics. With that overview comment done, my focus was on getting to the batteries because I thought that was the problem.

The battery pack is the black plastic “box” with a molded handle directly underneath the seat on the floorboard of the scooter and is held in place by a tab of 3M Dual-Lock fasteners on each side. Dual-Lock is a stronger than traditional velcro and it does a great job of holding the battery compartment in place both for the sake of safety as well as to prevent rattling.

To remove the battery box, lift straight up – there aren’t any bolts or clasps – just a combination of weight, the way the pieces fit together and the Dual-Loc. If you try to lift at an angle, you’ll be surprised how it will not want to budge – straight up is what you need to do.

That black molded plastic object with the handle in front of the silver set mast is the battery compartment. It comes off the scooter by lifting straight up. FYI – the white label on the seat mast has the date of manufacture.
Between the way the compartment sits into the molded floorboard and the 3M Dual-Loc tabs, the unit is very secure.

The battery compartment is very well made and to disassemble it, you need to remove six philips head machine screws. This is just an example of where I thought the design and execution was excellent – these are threaded machine screws that go into brass female inserts on the other side – they didn’t just go cheap using some self tapping screw. You flip the compartment upside down and remove the screws. The batteries are held securely in place by Dual-Lock also.

The 12 Volt Batteries Themselves

I’m going to step you through some details on the batteries but I did not change them yet. I’d recommend you read this whole post because your “problem” may or may not be the batteries.

Our scooter is powered by two 12 volt 12 amp hour batteries wired in series to provide 24 volts. In the compartment is a wiring diagram and everything is done very nicely to avoid confusion – red wires to positive tabs on the battery and black wires to the negative tabs on the battery.

These are the 12 volt 12 amp hour batteries that are hooked up in series to provide 24 volts. If you look to the right of the silver plug, the two red wires white plastic connector is on a fuse assembly that protects the charger circuit that you will want to check and the far right side has a circuit breaker that is also worth checking. Pride says they can go up to 6.7 miles depending on factors such as the weight of the passenger and cargo. Note how everything is so well labeled, the wiring is very neatly done and they even provide a handy wiring diagram above the left battery. Whomever designed and then built this cared about what they were doing.

For those of you unfamiliar with direct current (DC) batteries, these two batteries are hooked up in series to produce 24 volts. This is done by connecting the negative terminal of one battery to the positive of the other and then the opposite as well. In the scooter, this is done at the wiring block in the middle. You don’t need to worry – just note the wires when you take it out (a photo helps) and do a battery at a time – black wire to negative and red wire to positive,

Note, there are at least two sizes of batteries used – their standard battery pack is rated for 6 miles and uses two 12 amp hour (Ah) batteries. There is a 9.7 mile bigger 18 amp hour (Ah) battery and it correspondingly uses a bigger cabinet so if you decide you are going to replace your batteries, confirm what is in your battery compartment first. You can change cabinets – or even buy entire battery packs ready to go. From what I have seen, the cheapest bet is to just buy the batteries and swap them out in your existing compartment. I also see batteries with other capacities like 15Ah and over 20Ah, I’d recommend you confirm that their physical sizes will fit whatever battery compartment you have.

Troubleshooting the HP8204B Charger

The batteries hold the charge that runs the scooter but they must be recharged by using a battery charger. I should have checked this first but didn’t because I assumed it was the batteries but let me step you through what I did.

I put a voltmeter on each of the 12 volt batteries and they both read just a tad over 4 volts. So, not absolutely dead but boy were they spent. In doing automotive work, I would have expected the smart charger to sense the voltage and begin. Okay, something was fishy and it wasn’t adding up. It was time to look at the charger again.

The scooter came with a Pride Mobility HP8204B charger rated for 24 volts DC at 5 amps. That would mean that if I took my meter and put it on the pins, I should read somewhere around 28+ volts (the exact volts is an “it depends” – I would have been cautiously happy with anything over 24 and stopping somewhere around 30).

This is the original charger. Only a solid red light would come on. That indicated it had power. The cooling fan never turned on and the second LED that should turn yellow for charging or green for fully charged never turned on.

I used my multimeter on the batteries with the Pride charger connected. Only the red bulb on the charger was lit. No fan, no yellow light and no additional voltage detected on the battery terminals. I should have read 13-14 volts when doing the positive and negative tabs on each individual battery with the wires connected but I read just the 4 volts (by the way I word it like this because it was 4 and some decimal but I didn’t write down.)

The fuse you can see outside of the battery pack between the plug and a circuit breaker on the front of the battery pack looked fine and tested okay for continuity.

In looking at the battery pack, I unplugged the pin 1 should have been positive and pin 2 should have been negative. I cautiously touched my probes on the two tips because I didn’t want to unnecessarily short the system out by accidentally touching positive and negative together. Guess what? Nothing – not a thing. My auto-ranging digital meter was doing it’s usual millivolt reading garbage but there was no real voltage coming through.

The next thing I did was to turn off the original charger and remove the fuse from the end of the charger with the lights – undoing the round cap will produce a glass tube fuse. You can usually see if the wire running from one end to the other in the middle of the clear glass is intact or burned out. It looked okay and just to be sure I ran a continuity test with my meter and it was okay.

I also pulled apart the plug that goes into the battery pack just in case something was lose and it read zero volts too. In case you are wondering why there are three pins (I wondered why) – pin three provides voltage to the scooter so the little computer knows the charger is still attached and will not let the driver move the scooter – pretty good idea.

Okay, it was time to Google the scooter and the charger to learn more. The fact that only the red light was coming on but not the fan and/or the yellow charging light was making it look the the charger had failed. I did the “sniff” test to see if I could smell if anything had burned out but if it had, it must have been some time ago as I didn’t detect anything. In short, the charger was history.

There are tons of charger options on Amazon but I want to caution you against the little sealed chargers. They do work but they are going to get hot and they will probably fail at some point due to all of that heat. There’s a reason Pride went with the a fan cooled charger – they get hot converting AC (wall outlet) current to 24 volts DC (direct current).

Companies like Pride rarely make their own chargers. They will either use an existing charger on the market and not bother covering up the name of the maker or they will pay for it have their brand name on the decal. Pride opted for the latter or at least that’s what I think they did. The trick to realize here is that by searching on HP8204B, you can find either the original maker or another firm who did the same thing – had their name put on the charger. Regardless, you can save a bundle off a new Pride charger.

In my case, I found a seller named “ENCAREFOR” on Amazon selling what seemed to be the exact same charger but with the label “High Power” on it. Besides the label, the rated output is at 4 amps vs. 5 which means it will just charge a tad slower. It was going for $89.99 with Prime One Day shipping but I held off as I realized I needed to test the batteries and the scooter before I spent more money. In other words, I knew the charger was bad but didn’t want to spend more money if the scooter itself was burned out – if it was just the batteries, I could still order them.

By the way, you can buy used OEM Pride chargers off of eBay. I’ve had mixed experience with used chargers in general so I tend to just buy new. If you don’t mind gambling on a used one, they are on eBay.

Used a Noco Genius Car Battery Charger For Testing

At this point I was pretty sure it was charger and also thought that the batteries might be okay. Why? First off, there is a sticker on the mast pole of the seat that said the scooter was made in 2019 – that meant it was three or just under three years old (especially given I was doing my troubleshooting in mid-February 2022). Batteries can last maybe five years give or take. If the voltage was zero, I’d bet they were junk but since I was getting just over 4 volts from each battery independently, they weren’t completely dead. I started to wonder if a good reconditioning and charge might work to bring them back to life. I had just the charger to try.

I’ve written in the past about Noco products – I think they are great and I use mine regularly. Not only are they excellent smart chargers with a number of safeguards built in but they can also recover/recondition deeply discharged batteries as well. My big Noco G26000 can do 12 or 24 volt batteries but since I was planning on a battery at a time, I just needed the 12 volt option. Indeed, I have three Noco Genius chargers of varying sizes (meaning the amps they put out) and they all could have done the job although the smaller 5 amp charger would have likely taken longer.

Any 12 bolt charger can do the job provided you charge the batteries one at a time.

I undid the battery cables from the first battery only and directly connected the Noco to it. I charged for one cycle and then ran a repair cycle. During repair, the charger pulses the battery to desulfinate it.

Don’t let all the wires intimidate you. I hooked the plus (red) clamp of the Noco to the plus (red) terminal of the battery on the left, I then hooked the negative (black) clamp from the Noco to the black terminal of the same battery. I have a small voltmeter that clamps ,on attached also so I could monitor progress — that’s strictly optional.

Results

When the charging was done with both batteries, I connected the scooter’s cables back and seated the battery back into its cradle. I then turned the key on for the scooter and moved it forward and backward. It worked just fine. I checked the batteries and the voltage was holding – it wasn’t dropping down.

This is what I wanted to see — the batteries were fully charged. I drove the scooter around the house and the charge never went down. I also learned that scooters are bizarre little things to drive – their turning is like sitting upright on sensitive go cart.
Other than the decals and the lower 4 amp output, the new “High Power” charger looks identical to the Pride unit. Note, I’d opened the front of the unit up to inspect the inside — the front panel is what is dangling in the bottom left of the photo.
As soon as I plugged in the new charger and turned it on, the red power light and yellow charging lights came on.

By the way, the charger’s fan will make a pulsing or surging sound as the speed changes as it nears the end of charging. This is normal and will give you an indicator that charging is almost complete.

When the scooter’s batteries are fully charged, the yellow light will turn green. The fan will make a pulsing sound as the charging nears completion.

Bottom line, the batteries and scooter were fine – it was just the charger that had failed so I ordered the replacement above from Amazon and it topped off the batteries. I drove it around the house some and everything was working just fine.

In Conclusion

So I learned a few things. The scooter was exceptionally well made is my first comment. Second, I should have started from the wall and worked towards the scooter vs. focusing on the batteries to start based on what the fellow told me.

I should have confirmed power to the charger, then that there was no power from the charger to the scooter and ordered a new charger. I’d bet a new charger could have recovered the batteries – they documentation says they can recondition a battery but who knows. Even though I started with the battery, at least I could run the Noco charger through charging and repair cycles – I’ve used it to recover a number of really compromised batteries over the years.

The scooter is ready and now we need to wait for warmer weather to let my mother-in-law practice in the driveway. I hope this story 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.


Still Nuking Mosquitoes and Ticks With Talstar and The Ryobi Power Washer

A reader dropped me an email and asked if I am doing anything new this year for mosquitoes as he read my past posts. I’m still very happy with the effectiveness of the Talstar insecticide plus the combination of the Ryobi 120350 Power Washer and 10-gallon tank strapped to a dolly continues to work fantastic.

Here’s the full write up I did last year about the combination – click here.

I hope everyone has a great summer and be sure to nuke the bugs before they get to you 🙂


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.


June 2021 Lest We Forget Event Was Held in Benton Harbor, MI

Lest We Forget is an organization dedicated to keeping the memories of what our military has done for us. The 2019 event was the last one for WWII, 2020 was cancelled due to COVID and 2021, this year’s event, remembered Korean War veterans. They have static displays, food, vehicles you can ride on and re-enactments.

We arrived a bit late on June 19th due to family commitments but I did have a chance to snap some photos of the various vehicles on display that including a M3 halftrack, a DUKW 6×6 amphibian, an M37 dodge and a M59 APC to name a few.

Here’s the slideshow:

If you ever get a chance to attend a Lest We Forget event, I highly recommend it. The atmosphere is family oriented and everyone there wants to share and have a good time.


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.


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.


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

Hi folks – this is my second Rock Island Armory (RIA) 15 round 10mm 1911 high cap-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.


Top Four PSA AR-15 Kits

Hi folks. I like building AR rifles and sometimes I just want a kit with all of the parts. Sometimes I will then swap stuff out and the original parts go in a bin but they are nice to have as spares and sometimes I will build the kit with the included parts – it just depends on my mood and budget to be perfectly honest. For years now, my main source for kits has been Palmetto State Armory (PSA) headquartered in Columbia, SC.

I almost always get my stuff off their website but they do have some very cool retail stores scattered around South Carolina. I had an opportunity to go to one a couple years back and it was very cool. Unfortunately, I lacked funds at the time and just picked up a couple of items. A person could put a serious dent in their credit card by going in one of their stores … or their website for that matter 🙂

People used to complain that they were slow to ship and to respond. First off, I always knew they were trying to keep costs low – they always shipped and they did respond – just not right away. For over a year now, I have noticed they are far faster at shipping – sometimes even the same day – and they are also faster at responding. So, if you hear bad stuff about this, I wouldn’t worry about it.

I’ve also heard people question their quality. Folks, if you want a tier one rifle, go buy a tier one rifle or the parts from them. Palmetto gives you a decent combination of quality and price. For folks planning on hunting and target shooting with their friends, I have no reservation to recommend them. If you are shooting in competition or planning to use this rifle in some kind if law enforcement situation or somewhere that requires high reliability, I think you probably need to look at the higher end ARs that are designed to handle tens of thousands of rounds. Look, I’m just being candid – the PSA AR rifles and pistols are solid but they have a different intended audience. There are reasons besides “coolness” where certain buyers must move to suppliers like Daniel Defense, BCM, Knights, LMT, H&K, LWRC, etc.

At any rate, back in April of this year (2021), I asked what their top four complete kits were (meaning everything except the lower receiver) and they had a list! If you like building AR kits like I do, I thought you might find this interesting in terms of what is included:

PSA 16″ 5.56 NATO 1:7 MIDLENGTH NITRIDE 13.5″ LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK MOE EPT RIFLE KIT W/ MBUS SIGHT SET (Model 516446780)

Noteworthy here is the entry level Magpul MOE buttstock and grip plus Magpul MBUS flip up sights. They are also including a PSA EPT fire control group – this means that the trigger and hammer have nickel boron finish causing them to move easier because friction is reduced.

It has one of the PSA 13.5″ long handguards set for M-Lok attachments. Everything else is typically found in any of their AR kits with a collapsible stock. They make and restock these kits all the time.

The price as of this writing is $669.

PSA 16″ M4 CARBINE-LENGTH 5.56 NATO 1:7 NITRIDE 15″ LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK FREEDOM RIFLE KIT (Model 51655106915)

PSA Model 51655106915

Despite a cool looking 15″ handguard, this is a basic AR and you can replace the grip and buttstock later if you want. It’s selling so well that PSA is out of stock right now but you can be notified when it is back in stock. They tend to make and restock these kits all the time.

The price isn’t listed right now since they are out of stock but I would expect it to be slightly less than the first kit – unless they are charging a premium for that handguard.

PSA 16″ M4 CARBINE-LENGTH 5.56 NATO 1:7 NITRIDE 15″ LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK FREEDOM RIFLE KIT (Model 5165450384)

Definitely a basic 15″ railed rifle kit. Everything looks entry level but you can always customize it down the road if you want.

Again, no price as they are out of stock. I’d expect it to be cheaper than the two kits above. You can sign up to be notified when they do get it in stock if you want. They tend to make and restock these kits all the time.

PSA 16″ MID-LENGTH 5.56 NATO 1:7 NITRIDE 15″ LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK CLASSIC RIFLE KIT WITH MBUS SIGHT SET (Model 5165491598)

This one has the Magpul BUS sights, an interesting looking handguard … and that’s about it. Everything else is what you tend to see in any of their basic AR rifle kits with collapsing stocks.

The price as of today s $649.99

What rifle is in the top photo?

It started out as a PSA 16″ kit. It had an Anderson lower, WMD bolt, and a Magpul ACS-L stock – I like those because they lock in place and don’t rattle. It had a BMC Mod 3 charging handle, Vortex 1-6x scope on a Vortex 2″ offset mount, YHM extended push pins and a PSA ambidextrous selector lever. The fire control group is one of the PSA EPT sets – I do like them for basic triggers. I like Geissele SSA-E triggers the most though. I honestly don’t recall who made the offset sights.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to build a decent entry-level rifle from a kit with all of the parts you need other than the lower receiver, the above should work great for you. At a minimum, they will all give you a foundation to start with.


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.



Changing Springs and Buffers in My Beowulfs To Improve Reliability

Okay, so the last range trip went a lot better. The new Lancer L5AWM mags with Tromix followers worked great. The reliability on the pistol was coming along but not where I wanted it and the rifle was disappointing still but I knew what was going on.

7.5″ Beowulf Buffer Spring

My 7.5″ Beowulf pistol is running pretty well but I wanted to increase the forward force of the bolt carrier to strip the next round and chamber it. I was already running an H2 buffer but an other wise normal carbine spring. I upped my game to a Sprinco Red Extra Power Carbine buffer spring that they say is made with the “thumper” cartridges such as the .458 SOCOM, .450 Bushmaster, .50 Beowulf. I bought mine from Primary Arms.

The Mil-Spec Carbine Buffer Spring is on top. The Extra Power spring is on the bottom with one end painted red. That’s handy for knowing what spring is in the weapon at a glance.

I cleaned the pistol, lubed everything and installed the extra power spring and the H2 buffer that was in there. It definitely slammed home harder when I released the bolt.

When we go to the range next, I’ll be taking a standard carbine spring, an enhanced Sprinco spring and the carbine already has the extra power spring already installed. I’m also taking standard, H2 and H3 buffers with me.

Changed the Spring and the Buffer on my Full Size Beowulf Rifle

This rifle was built using an Alexander Arms DIY upper.

When we were shooting this, it had a hard time stripping the next round and chambering it. It dawned on me that they hydraulic buffer that I originally used wasn’t driving the bolt carrier forward hard enough. You see, a Hydraulic buffer has a piston inside that has a controlled leak down rate and, for whatever reason, it was dampening the stripping of the next round properly.

With carbine tubes, you have tons of sling and buffer options. Not so much on rifle length tubes. I did opt for a Geiselle Super 42 rifle-length buffer spring and a slightly heavier Expo Arms 5.4 oz rifle buffer –I bought both from Primary Arms.

Top: KynSHOT hydraulic buffer and Mil-Spec rifle-length buffer spring.
Bottom: Expo Arms 5.4oz buffer and Geiselle Super 42 Rifle-length buffer spring
The Kynshot buffer is very nicely made but I don’t think it’s the best choice for this application. I will save it for future projects.

When I cleaned the rifle prior to installing the new spring and buffer, the one surprising thing I found was that it was fairly dry. Why? I have no idea and this would have impacted functionality at the range also as I assumed I’d lubed it already before putting it away. Yet another example of my memory not being what it used to be.

Given that surprise, I went through and applied Super Lube oil and grease before installing the new Geiselle spring and Expo buffer. Afterwards, the action slammed home very easily.

I will take the hydraulic buffer with me back to the range for testing but am somewhat skeptical of it right now. The rifle is set for the next range visit at this point. Another Mil-Spec spring and buffer will be in the bag as well.

Conclusion

We have a ton of snow right now and I’ll have to wait to test my hypotheses. I expect that with the above changes, the two Beowulfs will run very well now.

I 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.