Are Weaver and Picatinny Rails the Same Thing?

The short answer to that question is “No” but then when someone asks if they can use some Picatinny mount on a Weaver rail it becomes “It depends”. Why is that?

Well, the Picatinny rail does have a true military specification – “MIL-STD-1913″ that lays out the details but nothing like that exists for Weaver rails – when writing this post, I did some digging and I can’t find an authoritative width of the rail, the recoil slot is about 0.180” but their spacing, number and depth can all vary.

The reason that Weaver rings and mounts can typically fit a Picatinny rail is that the recoil slots are 0.206″ wild and spaced 0.394″ apart. However, if you are using rings that were on a Weaver rail, while the bolts or recoil bars may fit the Picatinny slots, the spacing between the mounts may need to be adjusted.

There are plenty of posts out there with more details but I would tell you to only use Picatinny rails and mounts going forward if at all possible. The reason is that because there is the published MIL-STD-1913 specification, the interoperability of parts from different vendors is far, far more likely.

This is the Picatinny Rail / MIL-STD-1913 cross-section view.
It is from the Wikipedia entry about the MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny Rail.
This side-view shows the details of the recoil slots.
It is from the Wikipedia entry about the MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny Rail.

I was unable to find a US DOD direct link for the MIL-STD-1913 but I did find two sites hosting scanned copies – BiggerHammer and EverySpec

Some Photos

What inspired me to sit down and write this is my working on a 5.56 Polish Beryl right now. The actual Beryl optics rails are a both rare and cost a fortune. While there are Picatinny versions out there, I have two of the older Weaver rail design they started with and am lucky that my ADM and Vortex mounts all surprisingly fit – it’s always nice when things work out in a good way.

At first glance, you’d think it was a Picatinny rail with the slots going the whole length. It’s actually a Weaver rail. Weaver rails can have dramatically different numbers of slots and spacing.
The top is a RS Regulate Picatinny rail. The bottom is the Beryl’s Weaver rail. You can see the difference in the recoil slot spacing. By the way, RS Regulate is my favorite AK scope mount hands down.
That is the bottom side of an American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) mount and my goto scope mounts these days when I want quick connect levers. The recoil bar is what may or may not fit a Weaver rail. Now this only has one lever and bar – One piece scope mounts will likely have two recoil bars and the spacing between them could compound fitting challlenges.
The Vortex UH-1 and Crossfire red dot on an ADM base both fit the Beryl rail.

In Closing

Weaver and Picatinny rails are different. In general, you can use Weaver mounts on a Picatinny rail but you may not be able to put a Picatinny mount on a Weaver Rail.

In my case, I got lucky and could mount the red dots no problem. A mount with two screws/contact points may or may not line up – that will just depend on many factors in terms of the spacing between the recoil bars, size of the bars, etc.

Bottom line, go with Picatinny rails and mounts going forward to maximize your ability to move components around.

For more information:


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.


2016 Ford F150 Transit Explorer Conversion Van Custom Fuse Block

We got a good deal at the end of 2016 on a Ford F150 Transit that was converted by Explorer vans in Warsaw, Indiana. It’s no longer under warranty so I’m now responsible for all maintenance. With cold weather here, my wife reminded me that her passenger seat heater was no longer working.

First thing I did was to separate the Molex connector and test for power. The line was dead so that usually means a bad fuse. So…. that started a bunch of hunting on my part – where did Explorer wire the seats in at?

I checked the Ford fuse diagram for the passenger compartment fuse block located just above the accellerator pedal and there weren’t any likely candidates for the passenger side seat. That meant Explorer tucked a custom fuse block somewhere, but where?

I honestly expected it to be on the driver side wall between the first row of passenger seats and the driver seat but it wasn’t there. I started searching on the WWW for an Explorer van manual and found one for a Explorer van but with the same Transit F150 body style but I was not sure about the model year [Here’s the link to the manual I found but I didn’t see a date anywhere in it].

The fuse block was on the driver side wall but behind the first row of passenger seats. The plastic cover was the same color as the fabric and I just never noticed it before.

The fuse block iis on the driver’s side behind the first full row of passenger seats.
The plastic cover just pulls off.

The next is a screen shot from the manual I found and the passenger heated seat fuse location matched at least:

This screenshot is from the manual. Our Ford’s fuse block cover looks like the GM model for whatever reason. It did help me get an idea of what I was looking for though and the 10 amp passeneger heated seat fuse location matched
I actually took this after I replaced the fuse so it’s the second row from the bottom and the middle 10amp fuse.
Normally there would be a meta arc from the left leg to the right leg. Too much current was drawn and the metal arc burned away leaving a gap in the arc. That’s how most fuses work – they can only carry so much load and then the heat being generated causes the metal to melt and break the circuit.
Mission accomplished – her seat warmer once again worked.

We made a 10-11 hour drive to New Jersey and her seat worked the whole time. So, the current issue was fixed but it didn’t answer the question as to why it blew in the first place.

I have a hunch though – somebody spliced in smaller gauge wires from the main harness to the rocker on/off switch on the seat. Right after we bought the van, that seat warmer didn’t work and my best guess is that the local Ford dealer’s mechanic did a questionable splice using solderless butt connectors and the thinner wire. That means there would be a higher impedence that may be what is popping the fuse – we think this is the second time.

I have two options – an easy one and a longer-term “when I have time fix”. I ordered an ATO 10 amp fuse that has an automatic resetting breaker built into it. These act like little circuit breakers – they trip when they get too hot and then reset when they cool down. So, you have protection without a blown fuse. [Click here to see them on Amazon] I will have to see if there is enough vertical clearance because a normal ATO fuse sticks out about 0.48″ and the breaker is 1.16″ and may be too tall. In the mean time I have a spare 10 amp fuse in the glove box just in case.

The correct solution (when I have time if ever) would be to redo the hack-job splice with the correct gauge of wire and I would probably solder them together vs. the old fashioned cheap crimp on butt connector the last fellow used.

I wrote this quick post in case anybody else finds themselves having a “where is the Explorer fuse block” moment. I hope this helps you out.


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Civil War Monument With an Eleven Inch Dahlgren Gun in Saint Joseph, MI

In Saint Joseph, MI, near the intersection of Lake and Broad Streets sits a civili war monument consisting of an Eleven Inch Dahlgren and some stacked shot. The gun is pointing out to the lake and there is a simple sign for curious folks to read.

I’ve read this sign and looked at the cannon many times over the years and realized it was time to write a post about it.

Photo Gallery

The following is a gallery of photos of the 11-inch (XI) Dahlgren. If you clck on one, then you can see it full size and navigate around:

Some History

St. Joseph’s 11-inch Dahlgren gun was built in 1864 at Hinkley, Williams & Co. in Boston, Massachusetts, for service in the Civil War. It and other guns of its type were designed by Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren who wanted to use more more modern design methods to create a safer and more powerful gun. His designs were known as “Soda Bottles” because of their characteristic rounded shapes with additional steel at the rear to strengthen the breach.

Rear Admiral John A Dahlgren – the designer of the Dahlgren guns (Source: Wikipedia)

In total, 465 of the XI (Eleven) inch guns were made at five different foundaries between 1856-1864. That means the Saint Joseph gun was built during the last production year.

The smoothbore gun was cast hollow, bored out and lathed to a finished weight of 15,890 pounds which is marked on the gun. The sign and the reference table from Wikipedia are close but not exact:

The sign says the gun used a 15 pound charge and could hurdle either a 130 pound exploding shell or 200 pound solid shot a distance of over two miles.

Wikipedia cites a reference book on Civil war artillery that the gun used a 20 pound charge to launch either a 133.5 pound exploding shell or 166 pound solid shot a distance of 3,650 yards (2.07 miles) at a 15 degree elevation.

Here is an 11-inch Dahlgren mounted on a pivot mount. This is on the USS Kearsarge, a contemporary ship to the USS Marion that the Saint Joseph gun came from.

There is an interesting 12 year gap here. The gun was made in 1864 and the sign says it was removed from the USS Marion in 1876 and it’s previous use was uncertain. Was it on the Marion the whole time? Let’s try and look at that.

USS Marion

Drawing of the Marion at Hampton Roads circa 1880 (Source: Wikipedia)

From Wikipedia, here’s a quick timeline of the USS Marion:

  • April 24, 1839 – Launched as a sloop-of-war – 25 years before the St. Joseph gun was made in 1864
  • 1856-1857 in ordinary – this means it was in a reserve fleet. It might have needed repairs or overhauling.
  • June 21, 1861 – recommissioned after the Civil War broke out
  • July 14, 1861 – set sail
  • May 1862 – ordered to Boston for repairs
  • July 24, 1862 – ordered to Annapolis for use as a practice ship until 1870
  • 1864 – The St. Joseph gun was made in Boston (according to the sign)
  • 1871 – Rebuilt as a third-class steamer
  • January 12, 1876 – Recommisioned
  • 1876 – The gun was removed from the Marion (according to the sign in St. Joseph)
  • July 5, 1897 – gun dedicated in Saint Joseph – it had to travel there, be installed, etc. (according to the sign)

So, not much we can glean from what I can find. Odds are the 11-inch Dahlgren was getting dated by that time.

Summary

Today, kids climb around on the XI-Dahlgren gun and families take photos but they don’t know much about it. I suppose the Civil War is becoming just a few days, if even that, in history classes. Regardless, it is a memorial for men who served from the area. It’s well maintained by the city and gracefully stands guard looking out at the lake.

References

  1. Information on Dahlgren guns and historic photos of Rear Admiral Dahlgren and the USS Kearsarge are from the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahlgren_gun
  2. Information about the USS Marion and photos of it are from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Marion
  3. USNI article on Dahlgren and his guns https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2013/may/armaments-and-innovations-soda-bottle-shaped-shell-guns

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.


Restoring a Pair of Director’s Chairs

Our church has a rummage sale once a year to raise money for the school and people donate stuff to sell. Maybe 3-5 years ago, my wife and I saw two old director’s chair wooden frames towards the end of the sale when they were just trying to get rid of stuff. The finish showed a lot of exposure to water – probably from sitting on a deck but the wood was solid. The canvas seat and back strap were long gone as well. At any rate, we got both for $5, stuck them in the garage for a “some day maybe” project.

My eldest daughter was getting married and somehow my wife envisioned using the chairs in an area for people to take photos. Armed with this, she talked me into digging out the old frames and figuring out next steps. By the way, I had a lot going on and was truthfully only semi-interested in doing the work but that changed part way in and you’ll see why.

Finding Replacement Canvas Covers

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do it all in a rush so I had time to do some digging. The first big question was what to do about the missing canvas. Well, I found out they are called “covers” and there are two primary kinds – ones that connect to the frame with a round wood rod and others that use a flat piece of wood. Our’s used a flat rod.

The next step was to find out if we could even find affordable covers. Well, I started searching on Amazon and there are actually a lot of premade options [click here to open a browser tab with them].

To measure your chair, lock them fully open and measure from left to right and for the seat – front to back. For the top, I did top to bottom. The left to right measures are really critical because you don’t want the canvas to be super loose – it will stretch and sag with time.

The height of the back cover and the depth of the seat are flexible – your measures are the maximums. At most X inches tall or Y inches deep.

We went with covers from “Everywhere Chair”. Their supplied measures were: Seat Width: 22.5″ and Depth 15.25″. The back was 21.5″ wide and 6.5″ tall. This seemed to match the closest with what I was looking for so we ordered them.

What I don’t have photos of is that we test fit the covers as soon as we got them. This was both in case we needed to return them and also, I did not want to spend a bunch of time restoring the wood that we couldn’t get covers for.

Restoring the Wood

In the summer, my shop extends into my driveway. One afternoon, I took a serious look at the wood and realized there were a number of cracks I needed to deal with. Thankfully they were all narrow because you can quickly and easily fill them with thin super glue – also known Cyanoacrelate or “CA” glue. Lately, I have been using Starbond brand thin CA and it works great.

You can see the weathered finish and a hairline crack in this forearm.
I did 2-3 applications of superglue on that crack. The first application will really soak into the wood grain so you let that cure for a minute or two and then apply another and wait. Another and wait. You keep applying thin CA glue until it stays on the surface. Another option if you have slightly wider cracks is to sand the wood at the same time and pack the crack with the combination of sawdust and uncured/wet CA glue.
I kept walking around the two chairs and moving them around so I could see all of the surfaces. Any time I found a crack, I filled it.

Sanding & Finishing

Next up, I needed to sand the chairs to get rid of the worn finish and the CA glue. I like to use a Dewalt 5″ Dual Action sander and it quickly cleaned up everything using 150 grit sanding discs.

Used a Dewalt 5″ dual action sander with 150 grit sandpaper to clean things up. Also used a fine sanding spong from Ace to clean up the rounded surfaces and spot touch ups.
I went around both chairs fixing dings and removing the old finish.

As I mentioned above, I really wasn’t into it until the next part. I started applying Minwax Provincial stain and just a beautiful orangish brown started coming out. Once I saw that, I was all in – I did not expect the wood to take the stain that nicely or be colored the way it was.

This is the first coat after I wiped down the chair and removed the initial stain that hadn’t soaked in.

Mixwax Provincial stain is sem-transparent and oil based. It really soaked in nicely and I applied two heavy coats. I applied the first using a blue shop towel, let it sit for about 10 minutes and wiped it off. I then did it a second time. I took care to wipe down the metal hardware so the superficial stain wouldn’t turn into a sticky residue.

Installing the Covers

I backed off the screws for the arms of the chairs enough so I could insert the canvas with the flat wood slats in them. That slats sit a tad higher than I wouldhave liked. I debated cutting down the slats to half their thickness but instead figured I’d see what happens over time.

Just back off the bottom screws enough so the canvas with the seat slat can be inserted in the groove behind the hinge.
Notice the chair is not locked open. I needed it partially closed so I could easily insert the canvas seat and slats. In hindsight, I could have stained the ends of the slats but that didn’t occur to me at the time.
The back cover just slides on the posts. Lock the chair open only after both are installed.
I really like how they turned out.
Here’s another view of them at the wedding venue.

Summary

We got the frames for $5 and and then $29/ea for the replacement covers. We then used some CA glue, stain and sanding discs – I’d ballpark each of the two seats cost about $40/ea. I have no idea who made these frames but I think we saved a bit of money but that wasn’t the real goal here – we wound up restoring two chairs and creating some memories with them that we will have even longer.


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.



Fitting a Ronin’s Grips Beryl Grip To Your Rifle

Some time back in 2017 or 2018, I bought some original Beryl second generation grips – the larger one with finger grip cut outs. I then made a couple of molds based on the originals. I thought they would be popular right away, but I’d sell one here and there and then Arms of America started importing Beryls with the AKM-looking grip. Guys started buying my grip and reports started coming back to me this year that my grip was loose on their Beryl rifles. This really confused me as my mold was cast from an original. At first I thought it was occasional issues with the customer or the rifle but then more reports came back and I had to dig in.

A customer, Phillip, sent me a ton of photos and links to posts of guys sharing how they fit my grips to their rifles. Whoa! I had no idea! Thanks to Phillip’s help, I was able to figure out what was going on and write this post.

What is keeping the grip from sitting all the way is the grip nut – the small square forging that the pistol grip screw threads into for securing the grip against the receiver and trigger guard. It’s just a tad too long and the inside top of the grip is hitting it.

The grip nut is hitting the inside top of the grip. That inside top shelf was in the original grip. Maybe they had a grip reinforcement plate or shorter grip nuts when using this style of grip – I’m not sure.
Not all grip nuts are too long – this is a Romy G kit that I built way, way back sometime between 2004 and 2006. I know I did not need to trim the nut. This is what threw me off when guys said they weren’t fitting. In hindsight, different countries and makers of grip nuts having different lengths isn’t surprising – you often see a lot of differing parts tolerances across AK makers and models.

Trimming the Nut

At this point, I can’t change the mold so you need to make any adjustments on your end. You either need to carve open the inside top of the grip using a bur, sanding tip or even a small 1-2″ saw blade. That seems like a lot of work – the easiest seems to be to file or grind the grip nut’s bottom so it is a tad shorter.

If you want to save your original grip nut, you can buy another and trim it if you want. Any AKM-style grip nut ought to work. For the screw though, use the one we supply with the grip.

The left is a Romanian MD.63 nut and the right is a new slightly taller LBE Unlimited nut, The LBE is just a tad taller but either one would need to be trimmed to sit flush. Regardless, it is the part of the grip nut that is face up in this photo that you need to shorten via a file, sanding belt, end mill or whatever. Normally, this flat part is facing downwards the the grip screw slides into it.
It’s that bottom edge that needs to be trimmed.

To fit it, trim off a bit and test over and over. You don’t need to do it all at once. If the threads seem off at some point, run the grip screw in from the other direction to clear the threads.

Trim the bottom of the grip nut until the grip sits nice and flush against the receiver.

By the way, if you are wondering what the grip is against, it is an old AK-Builder bent flat where I messed up the top rails years ago and now use it for mocking things up.

Summary

I didn’t know the grip nut length was going to be a problem and don’t have a way to change the molds at this point. What I’d recommend is either trimming your nut or buying a replacement and trimming it as needed.

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.


Fitting a C39 Micro Orca Handguard

By popular demand we are bringing back our C39 Micro handguard that can also be fit to the Micro Draco. The purpose of this post is to share some fitment issues you need to be aware of and general guidance.

In my honest opinion, installing the Orca requires some expertise with woodworking or machining and is not something I would recommend to a novice. it is not just a drop in handguard like you would expect with an AR handguard for example.

Safe Use Is Your Responsibility – This is a short handguard on a short pistol. Please be mindful of safety whenever you are shooting it. Do not let anyone with a weak upper body, grip or who can’t control the pistol, fire the pistol.

Why You Must Fit the Handguard – A First-Hand Lesson

There are two reasons – first, there are a lot of things that can differ pistol to pistol and the pressure casting method we use has a tolerance that will require you to make some adjustments.

Second reason, the rear of the handguard must butt up against the front of the receiver to transfer the stress of recoil. If these surfaces do not contact each other, all of the stress will be placed on a small #8-32 screw that can’t handle the load and will shear off – I’ll show you what I mean.

Some time early this year, my friend Scott told me the screw sheared off when his wife was shooting his C39 Micro. This caused me to stop bringing the Orca handguard back until I sorted things out.

So, I finally had some time to look at it and the handguard wasn’t fully seated back against the receiver. His was the first Orca I made and I missed it. So, the Orca beat the heck out of the screw until it snapped off.

The handguard is firmly against the receiver and you can see what was left of the screw was towards the front of the hole. This tells you that I messed up installing it years ago and the #8 screw was taking all of the load.
The screw sheared off right at the top of the hol.
I sanded it flat, center punched the screw, drilled a hole and then used a Hanson screw extractor to back it out.
Thanks to Brownell’s Oxpho-Blue, you would never know the original finish was missing.

Fitting the Handguard the Right Way to a C39 Micro

Armed with what went wrong, I dug in. I had the original handguard and I also cast two new ones to test with. For those of you reading this to install an Orca on a Micro Draco, read this for information but there will be a section further down with a video you need to watch.

Safety Brief: Before you do anything with your pistol, please make sure it is unloaded and safe.

Okay, the plastic used is a temperature resistant glass fiber reinforced urethane. It does not like to bend or compress. Think of it as a hardwood with an attitude. It can be sanded, filed, whatever you like. Wear a dustmask to avoid breathing the dust – you don’t want to do that.

The orange areas will likely need trimming to clear your gas block and the purple areas may need adjusting to allow the area around the barrel to seat. The orange virtually always needs adjusting the but the purple may or may not.

To fit the handguard, pretty much all you need is a file or sandpaper wrapped around a couple of paint stir sticks. I just use a file and you’ll see what in the photos.

I use a file and take the same amount off each side. Count your strokes and equal pressure. Don’t try and remove everything at once – take off just a bit and test over and over.

When removing material, do it equally with a few strokes from each side. If you slide the handguard on and the screw hole is off-center then you need to decide which side needs adjusting. Ideally, you don’t want to see that at all – remove material equally from both sides and do it slowly – don’t rush.

The sides need to clear the gas block and gas tube.
When you are trying to clear the front, make sure the barrel is to the bottom of the handguard. Here, it is sticking because it is out of position towards the top.
This test handguard had the waste plastic sawed off but no sanding that’s why the front looks so coarse. I wanted you to see that it is a snug fit up front and the barrel must sit down in the channel during fitting and testing.
You will need the threaded hole to be centered.

The trick is to test fit, remove a bit of material equally and test again. I have a dead blow mallet to tap the Orca on or off but it is not done forcefully – you want snug. If you try and force it, the plastic will snap sooner or later.

The dead blow mallet is there to help me tap it on and off. It is not there for a “Mongo smash” level of force. You want a snug fit only.

Depending on your pistol and how the fitting goes you may or may not need to add a shim. A shim is a thing piece of material that closes the gap between the handguard and the front of the receiver. It can be metal strips or a high temp gasket material. Just don’t use paper or cardboard or something that heat or oil/solvents can destroy.

I had three handguards during testing. One need an 1/8th in shim and the other two needed far less – somewhere between 1/32nd and a 1/16th. I made this one so you could see it.
The shims are 2″ tall and 5/32″ wide – I cut them from a sheet of high-temp abrasion resistant Buna rubber. As mentioned, these are an 1/8th” thick. You just need the sides but if you want to go all around and shim every contact surface you could. You can leave them free-floating or but a dab of super glue or your favorite adhesive behind them once you know they are what you need. Don’t glue them in until you’ve done all the testing, etc.

So that’s pretty much it for the C39 Micro – get the handguard to slide on centered over the threaded hole in the gas block and shim if needed to it seats fully.

Fitting the Micro Draco

A fellow did a real nice job documenting how he converted the Orca to fit a Micro Draco. He created this video and put it on YouTube so everyone can benefit from it:

In Conclusion

I hope this install guide helps you out!

S&W M&P .22 WMR Photo Gallery

As I mentioned in the last post, I am a new owner of a S&W M&P .22 WMR pistol. It wasn’t really planned – I had young nieces coming to visit and nothing really that I would consider a good pistol for them to start with. It worked great – I have no hesitation recommending it based on my experience.

At any rate, the last post goes into more detail and you can click here to read it. I took a ton of photos of the pistol and figured that I would go ahead and share them.

Click on one of the photos and you can navigate around and see others:

I hope you find the photos helpful. I am very impressed by the pistol – that’s for sure.


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.


The Smith & Wesson M&P .22 WMR – What a Blast!!

My nieces were coming to visit from the Philippines, and it dawned on me that they wanted to go shooting but I didn’t have a 22 caliber pistol anymore. It just so happened that Smith & Wesson had released their M&P 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) pistol to the market and my good friend and FFL, Scott Igert, had one at his shop – Michigan Gun Exchange – so I headed over and picked it up.

I had a few reasons for moving fast. #1, I was to take the girls shooting in two days. #2, my nieces were 10 and 12 years old and I was worried about the recoil of any of my 9mms #3, I like the S&W M&P series and it gave me an excuse to try one of their new .22 WMR pistols that held 30 rounds!

Believe it or not – that really was the order of things. I he didn’t have the M&P, I would have gone with a Ruger Mark IV, Browning Buckmark or whatever he had in that I could make work. My original idea was to get a pistol chambered in .22 long rifle because I wasn’t in a rush to add another caliber.

Folks, I don’t know about you but for me, adding nother caliber is expensive. I can’t just buy a rifle or pistol in a new chambering and get a few rounds of ammo – I need at least a thousand rounds to feel comfortable that I am not going to run out. I am certain a lot of anti-gun people simply do not understand that you can have family fun at a range and go through hundreds of rounds easily in one day. They must have a mental image of a bag of musket balls or something.

Bought a Holosun HE507K-GR X2

I wanted the girls to have fun and the only green dot scope Scott had in was a battery powered Holosun HE507K-GR. On my bigger pistols and carbines, I prefer the dual powered Holosuns that have solar panels also but this was going to be a range gun primarily and the battery life of these optics is phenomenal plus they automatically turn off and on based on movement.

By the way, I have had very good luck with Holosun Optics. None have failed on me so far.

One Small Speed Bump

Scott knew I was in a rush so he asked me if I wanted him to mount and sight in the optic while I worked on some rifle he had in. I said sure and oddly enough, none of the screws that came with the Holosun HE507K-GR X2 green dot optic would fit the M&P slide nor were the screws that held the protectve cover on the slide long enough. Hmmm….. The manual didn’t specify the screws to use… great. Ok, so I took it home with a quick stop my Ace Hardware with just the slide in hand to not freak anybody out.

If you are going to mount an optic on a M&P 22WMR pistol. you need to get two #6-32×1/2″ alloy hex head screws. Also, if you don’t already have it, get some blue medium strength thread locker. I am turned off any of the fine screws used for optics that already have the threadlocker attached. I have an M&P 10mm that will likely take an act of God for me to get the screws out if I ever need to.

Ace hardware to the rescue – two #6-32×1/2″ screws were needed.

Read the Manual & Be Safe

I have read so many forum posts over the years where people got themselves in a bind because they didn’t read the manual. Read the manual. Watch a video or two if you want but don’t just dive into trying to disassemble a weapon you know nothing about.

The M&P .22 WMR is relatively unique and the manual does a good job covering ammo, known issues (such as challenges with extraction if it gets too hot), how to disassemble, clean, lubricate and re-assemble the pistol. Of course, you have red lawyer-approved comments all over the place but you do need to read it and all and all, it is a decent manual.

Last but not least, be safe. Make sure your pistol is unloaded before you do anything.

Mounting the Holosun Optic

With the pistol and parts in hand, I set up the kitchen counter to install the optic. I like a nice wide open table to work on small parts and put down a green fiber mat. Folks, those matts are for more than looks – the small fibers absorb the energy of a small dropped part and reduce the odds of a small screw or whatever flying across the room. Out in my shop, I even have a magnetic mat under the green mat but in a rush in the kitchen, I set up shop using just a small parts mat.

The M&P .22WMR comes apart very easily. Here, I have removed the slide, barrel and optics cover – well, technically, Scott removed the cover. You can see the firing pin where the cover was at and the two screws holes that will be used to secure the optic on the slide.

By the way, if you are thinking “why did he take it apart just to add an optic?” First, Scott and I pulled the slide and removed the barrel so I could walk into Ace Hardware with it and not scare anyone. Second, I would have taken it apart to clean and lubricate it before the first range trip. Folks, always, always, always do this before you take a semi-auto pistol, rifle or shotgun to the range or you will likely get frustrated fast by malfunctions.

Here’s a closer look at the RMR-footprint cut out the slide has. Any red dot that shares the same footprint as a Trijicon RMR will go right on the scope. Holosuns, for example, have a RMR footprint. I always find it indicative of the degree of overall quality when you see really clean machining done on surfaces most people will never see. The machining on my M&P .22WMR was really well done.
Installing the optic is easy – set the optic in the cut out, put medium strength thread locker on each screw and then screws them in with a hex driver.. I go for snug and then use a torque screw driver to take each down to 15 inch-pounds – not that is inch-pounds and not foot-pounds. That torque recommendation comes from Holosun. Other optics makers have different specs – for example, SIG recommends 9 inch-pounds and others say 12 inch-ounds. Bottom line, bring it down to whatever spec you are comfortable with and let the threadlocker do its job.
The Holosun was mounted nice and solid.

To save time and ammo, I boresighted the optic in using my SiteLite Mag laser boresighter unit. SiteLites are expensive but they are also the most accurate bore sighter that I have used. The unit centers in the barrel using O-rings and seems to result in the closest initial scope alignments that I have found and I have used a ton of different brands and models over the years.

Moving on to Cleaning and Lubrication

Again, read the manual for details. With the M&P apart, I ran cleaning patches through the barrel, wiped down all of the parts and then lubricated where indicated.

When I first get a pistol, I do use grease on the slide rails and barrel to help with break in. Grease tends to accumulate gun powder and dirt faster than oil but my goal is to have things slide smoother during the initial break in knowing that I will need to clean and oil it later.

Also, I would highly recommend you cycle the slide 200 times by hand. Some guys, typically new guys, look at me skeptically when I tell them this but think about it. When we talk about wear-in or break-in periods, what are we talking about? Almost any firearm needs the parts to move a certain number of times to get rid of burrs, smooth down finishes, etc. By hand cycling 200 times you are jump starting the process. Given how nicely done the machining looked and how the pistol’s action felt after lubrication, minimial break in was probably needed but I cycled it 200 times anyways.

A lot of jams and frustration can be skipped entirely by doing the above. Guess what? My nieces and I did not have any problems of any kind and I attribute that to the above and proper ammo.

Use Approved Ammo

I really wasn’t looking forward to adding another type of ammo. .22WMR is basically a stretched .22 long rifle (LR) rimfire case with twice the charge. .22WMR ballistics are roughly double that of it’s smaller .22LR cousin for that reason.

When I took my nieces to the range, I started them on a .22LR single shot Savage Cub rifle and then we moved up to the M&P pistol. At any rate, I snapped this photo of the longer .22WMR brass right next the .22LR case so you can see what I mean – the case of the .22WMR is twice as long.

When it comes to ammo, the M&P .22WMR does have ammo that works well with it. I’d strongly recommend you click here, go to the Smith & Wesson product page, scroll down the page and on the left will be a link to tested ammo.

Because of the TEMPO gas system, they recommend the use of jacketed rounds only and not ammo that is bare lead, copper washed, copper plated, etc. If the jacket isn’t present, the TEMPO gas system will foul faster and stop working reliably.

Scott had CCI Game Points (which is a jacketed soft point round) and CCI Maxi Mags that are jacketed hollow points. Both are on the approved ammo list and I must mention that I’ve always had great luck with .22 rimfire ammo of all types from CCI.

Range Time

My wife and I, my two nieces and sister-in-law piled in my truck and headed to the range. A few days before I had printed out a 10 commandments of firearm safety that we had talked about and even practiced with the rifle and pistol we would use. During the drive we want over them again – they were nervous but I wanted them to know that a fun time at the range always has safety at the center.

We arrived at the Berrien County Sportsman’s Club on a pleasant day and were able to secure my favorite shooting lane. They all helped me take targets, guns and ammo down to the 25 yard line.

They started with one of our old Savage Cub rifles. We bought two – one for each of our girls when they were maybe 8 and 10 years old – about 15 years ago. I dug one of them out and cleaned it before we went. It’s not been out of the case in years and years so I was very pleased to see it was still sighted in and worked great.

The girls did great with the Savage Cub and were very excited to see their scores on the target. They had to learn the importance of a consistent cheek weld, trigger control, breathing, etc. I like starting kids on a single shot .22 because there is no recoil and I can make sure everything is safe at all times.

Once they were feeling good with the rifle, it was time to move up to the M&P .22 WMR pistol and I fired it first just to make sure everything was good to go. I loaded a magazine with one round and shot it – no odd sounds, barrel was clear, etc. I then loaded up three and shot them slow fire – no problems.

The pistol is very soft shooting. Yeah, it barked a bit louder than the .22LR Savage Cub rifle but I was sure the girls would have no problem controlling it.

We spent a lot of time talking about stances, grips and keeping their trigger fingers off the trigger until ready to shoot.
This is my 12 year old niece and she might weigh 100 pounds. She had no problem controlling the M&P. We were shooting from about 15-20 feet away. Even in the Philippines there are liberal moms who would question why we took them shooting so I am not showing their faces even though I am very proud of them!
This is my 10 year old niece and I’d be surprised if she is 80 pounds. She did a great job by her! This photo was staged by the way – I made sure the pistol was clear and carried it down to the target. She only held it long enough for this photo – what you don’t see is a huge grin going ear to ear.
Here’s the pistol from another angle so you can see she had no problem holding it.

We only put about 30 rounds of the MaxiMag hollow points through the pistol – I forgot about the Soft Points. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and had to pack up to get home in time for dinner at their Lola’s house – Lola means grandmother in Tagalog by the way.

Summary

I really didn’t plan to buy a M&P .22WMR. Now that I have one I am thinking about keeping it. The action cycles smooth, it’s reliable, the trigger is good enough and it holds 30 rounds!! It’s very manageable – even the girls had no problem holding and controlling the pistol.

The range trip was a big success and we all had fun. The reliability and accuracy of the M&P helped make it possible. I have no reservations recommending one and plan on taking it to the range again.


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