Used DryLok To Stop Brick Spalling And Sealed a Chimney Cap

Our home was built in the early 1970s and someone decided to use same relatively soft red brick at the threshold of the door as the rest of house’s exterior walls. I noticed in the fall of 2020 it was really starting to spall – meaning the brick was starting to flake apart. This happens when water gets in, freezes, expands and causes parts of the brick to crack and split. The above photo gives you and idea of what it looked like.

I did what I normally do – I started reading about how to stop spalling brick. The consensus was that sealing the brick before spalling started was the best approach but you know what – that really didn’t help me much because I already had spalling going on but the core of the bricks was intact.

Let me tell you something – there are a ton of brands of masonry sealer and based on the forecast, my procrastination was forcing me to get something applied within three days of cold weather really setting in. This meant and I had to rush and get something on-hand at a local store.

The closest hardware store to me is Ace so I want to the section where they had masonry sealers and started googling and reading reviews of each one that they had in stock. Again, I was pressed for time so I had to move. What I wound up buying was UGL DryLok Floor and Wall Masonry Sealer.

This is what I bought.

I got home, read the instructions, cleaned the brick off, put down a piece of cardboard to catch the drips and applied it fairly thickly with a painbrush taking care to daub it into all of the corners. The stuff seriously reminded me of Elmer’s Glue but not such a bright white.

This is the second coat. I applied the first coat the day prior and I took care to make sure I worked the sealer into all of the cracks.
I literaly laid down on my side and worked the sealer into every crack – including where the masonry was gone. I did this for both the first and second coat.

I let it dry overnight and then applied the recommended second coat . After drying, the bricks had a “wet” look to them – they were slightly darker and shinier than before but they appeared sealed. So, I crossed my fingers and hoped it would at least make it through the winter and I would plan a new approach if it failed.

Okay, I am now writing this in June of 2021, about seven months later and the DryLok worked. Not one bit of new spalling and even more surprising, the sealer looks the same. I can’t say that I see any wear in teh shiny finish. I guess now I will just wait and see how long it holds up.

THis photo is from June 21, 2021. No new spalling and the sealer does not show any sign of wear. You can see that the wet look faded as the sealer dried but the bricks are still slightly darker and shinier than the uncoated bricks. All of the bricks in this photo were coated by the way both the top protruding threshold and all of the bricks underneath it.

I Was So Impressed I Used It On Our Chimney Cap

A project on my list for this June was to seal my poured concrete chimney cap. It was starting show some surface cracks and when I ran my hand across it, I could feel loose grains of sand. It definitely needed to be sealed.

Guess what I used? I bought a gallon of the DryLok to do the threshold and only used a tiny amount to do it. I went and got the gallon and used over half of it applying two decents coats to the chimney cap and flue covers. We’ll see how long it holds up but I suspect it will be a few years at least given the threshold.

You want to protect the integrity of your chimney cap as it prevents water from running down into your chimney and causing the bricks to crumble. We replaced the original cap with this new one about 3-5 years ago and the sealer I applied then was long gone. I honestly don’t recall what I used.
That crack is what got my butt in gear to get up and seal the cap. As with the threshold, I applied the recommended two coats and I do put it them on iberally. It was scorching hot up there so the sealer dried fast but I still waited until the next day to put on the second coat.
If I can take an easy path I will. I noticed the caps to the flues were starting to rust so I sealed them as well. I was there … I had the sealant … it just seemed a lot easier than going down to the shop, getting black Rustoleum, climbing back up, etc. We’ll see how it holds up – that is a pretty brutal surface when you think about it – full sun and heat in the summer and full sun and cold in the winter … time will tell.

In Summary

The UGL DryLok Floor and Wall Masonry Sealer did a great job stopping the spalling of our front door’s brick threshold and it made it through one winter. Given how it performed, I just used it to seal our chimney cap and we’ll see how long it lasts there as well.

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 Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

The M103 and M60 Tanks At The Dowagiac, Michigan, National Guard Armory – Cold War Armor

My wife and I like driving around and war memorials, VFW displays, and military tributes are always likely to cause us to stop, read and take pictures. Dowagiac, MI, is about 45 minutes from where we live and one fine summer day we decided to stop at the National Guard Armory there and take pictures.

It wasn’t until I was researching for this post that I found out that Dowagiac was the “Home of Armor” for the Michigan National Guard. From sometime in the 1940s until October 2006, the armor batallion was located there. Click here if you want to read more about the armory’s history.

Today, when you drive by the armory you will see two tanks and lets start with the M103 Heavy Tank stands at the corner West Prarie Ronde Street and Middle Crossing Road.

The M103

The 120mm Gun Combat Tank M103 began with the designator “T43” and was meant to counter Soviet armor at a distance. It suffered from an underpowered gasoline engine and then they moved to a diesel to try and improve matters. The M103 served with both the US Army and Marine Corps – 80 units with the Army and 220 with the Marines. They were in use from the late 1950s until 1963 when the Army started switching to the M60 Main Battle Tank and with the Marines until 1973. Wikipedia has a good history if you wish to read it – click here.

The following photo gallery lets you see some different angles of the M103 on display and you can see its current shape as well. The following is a gallery so if you click on a small photo to begin, a larger photo will pop up and then you can navigate through the larger photos:

The M60

The M103 at least sits by the corner displayed with a bit of aging pride. Behind a fence on the Middle Crossings Road side of the armory you can see an M60 sitting in the weeds sinking into the ground. I realize there is probably little budget or time to put much care into these tanks but it is a shame to see their current state at an actual armory no less.

The M60 was a second generation main battle tank that evolved from the M48. Over 15,000 of them were built by Chrysler. The first combat usage of a M60 was Israel in the 173 Yom Kippur war. The largest US deployment was in the 1991 Gulf War. The tanks were phased out from front line use after that and even retired from national guard use in 1997. The M60 is still in use by a number of militaries around the world. Wikipedia has a through write up on the history and evolution of the M60 and its various models – click here to access it.

Because the M60 was behind the fence at the armory, I was limited to the photo angles I could get. The following is a gallery also so click on a small photo and a large one will pop up:

In Summary

Dowagiac is a neat town to visit. They have some very good restaurants on their main street plus a number of memorials – we still need to stop and get photos of some of their others – I did do a post about their German trench mortar a few years back.

The history of armory was interesting to learn while researching for this post plus seeing the two tanks is always pretty neat.

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 Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

I Found Some Surprisingly Good Coated Carbide End Mills On Amazon

Hi folks, I’ve been doing plunge cuts on Mec-Gar magazine tubes to remove an indent they have to limit rounds. Mec-Gar magzines are high quality and the tubes are hardened high carbon steel. I dulled two uncoated carbide bits that I had bought from either MSC or McMaster before I decided I better try something else.

A quick safety note: For readers unfamiliar with machining, this is an end mill meant to be used in a millling machine in this case. Carbide is interesting in that it is very wear resistant but it is also very brittle. Because of this, the workpiece you are cutting must be very rigidly held in place or the vibrations will tear up the mill and potentially send pieces of carbide flying at you. So, #1 – wear safety glasses. #2 – only do this type of work with a mill. #3 – to be explicit, I would not recommend doing this in a drill press. End of safety brief .

I suspected part of my problem was the heat being generated and adding cutting fluid made for a messy clean up that took longer than I wanted. This made me start researching coated carbide end mills and they get pricey fast.

I decided to check out Amazon because it was a Friday night and I really needed to get some center cutting end mills in ASAP to keep producing magazines.

I ran across a listing a listing for “Speed Tiger ISE Carbide Square End Mills” and started reading. It has an Aluminum Titanium Boron Nitride (AlTiBn) coating that they claimed improved wear resistance and provided better heat resistance as well. Given the number of good reviews they had,I ordered in three to give them a try.

Well, guess what? I am still using my first end mill after 60+ plunge cuts into approximately 18 gauge hardened hgh carbon sheet metal with no lubricant. Make all the jokes you want about dry cutting but it is saving me a bunch of clean up time.

I plan to keep using the first bit and still have two in reserve. Given the very deceent price to performance ratio,I thought I would pass along the report. The following has links to a number of Speed Tiger’s products:

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 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 Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

FX Impact Compact .25 PCP Powerhouse – Initial Findings

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

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

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

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

The DonnyFL “FX” Moderator

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

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

Element Optics Helix 6-24×50 Scope

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

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

Air Source

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

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

Some Photos For You

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

In Summary

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

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

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

FX Impact Compact .25 PCP Powerhouse – Doing The Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TalonTunes & The FX Compact Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Placed The Order

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

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

In Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pics or it didn’t happen


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

Hope this helps you out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Then Reality Hits

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

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

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

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

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

Solution: Use A Small Engine Valve Compressor

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

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


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

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

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

When Strength and Quality Matter Most

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