Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 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.


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.


Are you looking for the drill bits and end mill for your Polymer80 pistol build? If so, we have them and a sanding kit!

Folks, we believe we have the right to build our own firearms and have supported the Polymer80 Glock-style frames for a while now. You can build a very reliable and accurate pistol off of their frames

This is my favorite – a PF940v2 was used to make the receiver and it is mated to a Zaffiri Precision custom G34 slide and barrel with a Holosun optic on it. The pistol is accurate and runs like a top.

If you need the 3 or 4mm drill bits that the Polymer80 pistol frames use or the end mill for cleaning up the rails and/or removing the barrel block, we have them.

Given that I like using their frames, I also understood what was needed in terms of the drill bits, end mill and other finishing supplies. We have a number of offerings, but let me highlight our top three.

Our Top Three Selling Tools For Polymer80 Pistols Builders

Click here for the drill bits – they come as a pair.

Click here for the end mill

Note, we also sell a very popular sanding kit that works great for cleaning up the barrel channel so it is nice and smooth with nothing for the recoil spring to catch on. Click here for it.

I hope this helps you out.


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.