8mm Mauser “Realistic Snap Caps” Are Great For Testing

I’m tuning a bunch of Yugo M76 magazines so they no longer nose dive when the bolt hold open (BHO) follower is hit from behind. It involves welding a small tab of 20 gauge sheet metal behind the follower and is straight forward – I’ll write a post about it shortly. The challenge I ran into was the need to reliably test ammunition feeding safely.

I had to add in the “safely” comment. I would tell you to never use live ammo when you are doing this kind of work because an accidental discharge could happen for a ton of reasons. There are a number of companies that make dummy rounds to enable folks to safely test their weapons. You’ll hear these rounds called things like “dummy rounds”, “snap caps”, “action proving rounds”, and probably tons of other things.

They tend to be made either from machined aluminum or from real components – such as real brass cases and jull metal jacket (FMJ) bullets – that are asssembled without powder and usually something rubbery in the primer pocket to protect the firing pin during dry firing. Assuming you are using a reputable vendor who is making the rounds to accurate dimensional specificaitons, either will work. The issue is longevity – especially in a big semi-auto rifle.

Aluminum is inherently soft. I’ve used a number of makers’ products over the years and some get chewed up real fast by heavy actions that slam rounds into the chamber with force. I’ve literally had chips/shavings of aluminum fall out after soft aluminum met hardened steel.

So, in order to safely test the feeding of the M76, I knew I could not go with aluminum rounds. I did some searching around and found “Realistic Snap Cap” brand and they take the route of producing an inert round (meaning not “live” because there is no powder and primer).

For reasons I’m not clear on, the firm makes two 8mm mauser snap caps – one with a blunted nose and one with a full size FMJ bullet that is the normal length. I did not know this when I ordered a package of five off Amazon because I mistakenly assumed the product photo shown accidentally did not show the top of the bullet.

You can see the blunt snap cap vs. a full size one. Do not use the blunt rounds to test a M76.

I really do not know why they made the blunted rounds. It might have been for people wanting to test hollow points, soft points or maybe wanting an even more positive identifier that it was a test round. Whatever the reason, they work horribly in a semi-auto M76.

I couldn’t blame the maker or Amazon because I knew better that to try a shorter than spec round that had a blunted nose vs. the curvature of a FMJ round that assists with feeding. I was too caught up in the “let’s get this done” mindset so it was my own fault.

The short rounds were made well so I did some digging and they did make a full size 8mm Mauser model described as “Advanced Tactical 8mm Mauser” that I ordered. Ok, now these work great.

They are well made and the patina is a pretty quick visual indicator that they are snap caps but never ever have live ammo anywhere near a firearm you are working on or you are risking an accident especially if you are tired.

Thanks to the right snap caps, I could then test all of the magazines and the snap caps held up great. Just be sure to get the full size snap caps and not the blunted ones if you are testing an M76.

Amazon has stopped carrying them unfortunately but you can get them off eBay.


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 EZRed MR34 Extendable 3/4″Socket Wrench is a Beast With Two Quick and Easy Tweaks

I have both SAE and Metric 3/4″ socket sets that come out once or twice a year when I am working on big bolts on cars and trucks. As you may know, the longer the wrench, the more torque you can apply. Back when I was younger would would slide a piece of pipe or heavy wall tube over a ratchet or breaker bar to get even more mechanical advantage. We definitely snapped some socket wrenches while doing this as we exceeeded their design specs.

You see, a ratcheting socket wrench has limits as to how much torque the mechanism can handle before something either bends or breaks. Quite often, the rathchet pawl would bend/crumple and no longer be able to engage the teeth of the gear. When that happens, we’d toss the cheap wrench.

This is why breaker bars were made by the way – they have no ratcheting mechanism and, thus, can handle more torque. There’s one problem though, there are times where you can’t get the breaker bar into position because you can’t turn the handle relative to the socket. So, what is a person to do when they need a ton of torque and a ratchet mechanism?

The short answer is to get a wrench with a long handle that is designed to handle a ton of torque. A ton of companies make socket wrenches with longer handles. I have a couple of these but what I find really handy are wrenches with extending/telescoping handles. When you are working in a relatively tight space, you may not have room for the fully extended handle or you have need to work it into position before you can open the handle.

The EZRed MR34 Wrench

So, when I need a ton of torque and mechanical advantage to help me get there (I’m at the age where I need to work smarter because my body doesn’t support harder any longer 🙂 – I break out the wrench I affectionately call “The Beast”. It is a beautifully made and chromed giant 3/4″ ratchet wrench.

The wrench is sold in the US by a firm called “EZRed” with a lifetime warranty and, like many things, is actually made in Taiwan. When you do some digging around, there are a lot of guys using this wrench for heavy equipment, farm equipment, trucks, steam pipes and more. After reading about the real world experiences with the wrench, I ordered one in.

Here is the wrench closed and you can see it is about 24″ overall.
Here is the MR34 fully open and about 40″ long overall.

The first things I noticed was that it’s a big wrench even without the handle extended. Next, it’s a heavy wrench and weighs in at about 8.5 pounds. I have to be honest, I don’t usually pay much attention to looks but the chrome finish is gorgeous.

Pull the collar down and a detent is released that allows the handle to telescope out. The handle then locks into position in the next available hole. The locking feature is definitely nice.

I use this for 3/4″ sockets and also have a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ reducer for those times I want to apply a ton of torque to a smaller bolt.

Here’s the wrench with a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ adapter.

So far, I am very happy with the wrench. As you can tell, I haven’t used it a ton yet but for the few quick jobs so far, it worked great.

Two Big Tips

A fellow recommended apply Blue Loctite to the head screws and grease the wrench while it was open. He was spot on – the screws were surprisingly lose. Even though they have blue thread locker on them from the factory something seems odd and guys have reported losing the screws. I really think if Ihad not followed the fellow’s advice I would have already lost mine as well – they are that loose.

The screws come out and then the head is very serviceable. You can see the two pawls and their springs plus the selector in the middle. What you don’t see is any lubricant! I must say I am a bit surprised.
You can see the faceplate and the 24 tooth geared head.

So, I used a brush and lightly applied SuperLube grease to everything, reassembled the wrench and put Blue Loctite on the two head screws before tightening them down. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes start to stop including taking the photos.

If you ever need it, the EZRed sells a rebuild kit – part number RK34.

Summary

I really like the wrench. It’s worked great so far but I really haven’t done anything super stressfulso far – just breaking some very rusty 1/2″ diameter carriagle bolts free off my plow. It’ll definitely get used this upcoming summer a lot more.


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.



My Cool New Kalashnikov Coffee Cup

Guys, I must confess that I have a coffee addiction 🙂 As most of you know, I am into AK rifles as well. As part of that interest, I have read every biography I could find of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov to try and better understand what led to the creation of the AK-47 and the eventual family of Kalashnikov designs.

Recently I was searching on Amazon and surprisingly found a coffee cup with a great photo of a young Kalashnikov that was tastefully done and, of courcase, had to order it. I had to wait a few weeks as it shipped from Germany.

When it arrived, I was surprised that the graphic was a different color than what the Amazon ad depicted. I thought about returning it but I do like the cup. The following shows you the cup that arrived – it is pretty cool and the color has grown on me.

My wife’s reaction was “Why did you buy another coffee cup?” To which I answered “But honey, this is Kalashnikov” at which she just turned around while shaking her head 🙂

In case you are looking for a conversation piece, check out this cup. Here’s the listing on Amazon.

7/3/2019 Update: It’s holding up just fine. It does make for a cool conversation piece when people use it. “Who is this guy?” is usually how it starts 🙂


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 Best Websites To Buy Ammo From

A common question I’ve been asked over the years is where to buy ammo from online. I can definitely understand the question – there is a bewildering number of online vendors that sell ammo and some offer great deals and service and others don’t – plain and simple. I’ve been involved with firearms since my dad held a .22 for me in the 1970s and have been involved with the Internet since the early 1990s. The combination of the two really took off around 2006 when I got interested in AK rifles and started frequenting the AKFiles, the AKForum and other boards as part of that.

It’s been an amazing ride to say the least. A lot of great guys have helped me over the years and part of my blogging is me trying to give back some. So, back to the topic at hand – where to find ammo? The short answer is that there are a ton of places and it does pay to shop around, wait for sales when you can, sign up for vendor newsletters to get discounts and sales info, etc.

Remember that ammo is heavy. I’m not joking – be sure to look at what the delivered cost will be when comparing vendors. One group might have a great ammo price but real steep shipping charges that nullify the savings. Likewise, a vendor might have a sale one weekend where they have a discount and free shipping and you may only know about it if you sign up for and read their sales emails. I can’t stress signing up for the emails enough – some places will send you a coupon code right away.

What I am going to try and do is list the websites/vendors that I’ve had very good luck with. I’m going to split them between Highly Recommended and Recommended. I’m not going to disparage any vendors but I’ll say that if they are not on my list, just do some searching around and see what others say about them. There are tons and tons of great vendors out there who I have probably never heard of and never will but there are also some not so great groups out there as well.

What follows is my trying to give a bit of guidance about things to consider and sites to go:

Is Buying Ammo Online Legal?

Guys ask me if they can legally buy ammo online – meaning from a website. The problem is that the answer to this question depends on federal, state and local laws. At a federal level it is ok. For most states it is ok. Once you get down to the county and city/town level, it depends. You need to check around and find out the answer to that question. Use the Internet to research, ask your local gun club, sheriff’s department, etc.

Are Websites Always Cheaper Than Buying Locally?

The short answer is a very strong “Not always”. A lot of gun stores can be very competitive. Ammo is heavy and local gun stores can buy in bulk plus they can do a number of things to lower their cost. For example, Modern Antique Firearms in Benton Harbor, MI, is owned by my friend, Scott Igert, and they regularly get great deals on ammo that they then pass along to their customers.  They will also group special orders together to further lower cost for people looking for relatively rare ammo.

Speaking of, if you are in an area that lacks competition or are looking for specialty loads or relative rare calibers, online is probably your better option if not your only option. For example, I had a .50 Beowulf. You aren’t going to walk in a store and find that ammo. The same tends to be true for my .338 Lapua.

One other shout out I want to give to the local gun shops is customer service. Again, pointing to modern antique firearms, you can go in there and get a lot of advice about how to select ammunition and what would work good in your situation. Never underestimate the value of good advice.

Highly Recommended Websites For Ammo

Websites in this category are ones that I have bought from many times and are usually the first ones I check when looking to buy ammo. I have no hesitation in recommending them to you as you start your journey to find ammo.

By the way folks, I get no money at all from any of these places. I’m telling you purely based on my experience. All the vendors on this list are groups that I’ve ordered from at least 10 times.

  • SGAmmo – this is a family-owned business that has been around for a long time. They were recommended to me many years ago and I have ordered a lot of ammo from them over the years. They have very good prices and are quick to ship. When I thought who to list as my number one go-to, it was these folks hands down. You absolutely need to subscribe to their email newsletter. There’s no two ways about it.
  • J&G Sales – I first ran into J&G Sales many years ago. People were recommending them as a place to get combloc ammo from and I bought a lot of 7.62 x39 from them over the years. They have expanded their offerings to include a lot of ammo from different companies such as Wolf, S&B and many others.
  • Midway USA – Midway has a huge online presence selling gun parts, ammunition, and many other things. I have bought so much from these folks over the years my wife knows those boxes on-site 🙂
  • Sportsman’s Guide – this is another big online website. Sometimes they do have good deals on ammunition and are worth checking out especially when they have sales and free shipping.

Recommended Websites For Ammo

Groups in this category I have ordered from a number of times and have been very satisfied.  The websites below are listed in order they came to mind,

  • Palmetto State Armory – Palmetto is a interesting low-cost vendor out there. I have bought a lot of AR parts from them over the years and been very happy. Once in a while they will have a great sale on some popular ammunition in a given caliber. You definitely want to sign up for their sales newsletter.
  • Cabelas – sometimes these folks have good prices on ammunition but they are good to remember because sometimes they will have inventory when other groups do not.
  • Buds Guns – they often have competitive prices and are definitely one place to check. Another good example of a place that may have in unison in stock when others don’t. For example I recently bought some S&B 124 grain 9 mm ammo from them.
  • Able Ammo – definitely one vendor to check. I have bought firearms and ammunition from them over the years.
  • AIM Surplus – they carry quite a selection of ammunition, magazines and so forth.
  • Mile High Sports – these folks are a good source for match ammo. For example, I bought 338 Lapua from them.
  • Gunbroker – if you have never used it, GunBroker is an auction site for all kinds of firearms, ammunition and related items that are for sale from literally hundreds of sellers on their site. You really have to do some research before you bid to know whether you’re getting a deal or paying a fortune. Never assume you are looking at the lowest price just because you are on an auction site. I have gotten some fantastic deals on GunBroker over the years but I have also seen a lot of ridiculously high-priced items as well. One last comment, as I mentioned earlier, ammo is heavy. Find out what your total cost will be before you buy.

A Recommended Ammo Purchasing Strategy

If you are new to firearms, bear in mind that ammo is not all the same even within a caliber or bullet type. Each different type of round is designed for a specific use be it plinking, self-defense, hunting and so forth. Decide what you want the ammo for. For example, you would not want to buy a boat load of very expensive self-defense hollow point ammunition just to go plinking. Conversely, you ought to consider spending the extra money to buy some really well regarded self defense hollow point versus Full Metal Jacket range ammunition.

It is interesting how fireams can still can differ even within a model. For example, you could have to virtually identical pistol sitting next to each other and find that one likes a particular type of ammunition more than the other pistol does.

Certainly it pays to research recommendations on ammo for your particular firearm but bear in mind that you must always test ammunition before you buy a bunch of it. I can’t stress this enough. Your gun may not function at all or it may have horrible accuracy with a particular type of ammunition. Do not leave it to chance. You sure do not want to buy ammo and go straight out hunting or rely on it for self-defense. Test test test test. Also, be sure to test it with the magazines.

Once you have an idea of what you want to buy, then check the various websites listed above.

Ammoseek

Have you ever wished there was a website where you could search across many vendors to see what prices are? I found a service called just that – AmmoSeek.  It’ll help you get an idea of pricing for a wide variety of ammo.  Again, look at total cost – product + shipping + insurance when comparing vendors.

If you see a vendor you have never heard of before, do some searching with Google and see what people see.  Try phrases like “Is vendor X any good”, “vendor X reviews”, and so forth.

Summary

Like I said before, a lot of guys helped me out when I first got started. It began with my dad and his friends, then my friends and their fathers and it just grew from there. I truly hope this helps you enjoy your firearms and be prepared.


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.


There is a Surprising Amount of Russian Ratnik Gear on eBay

Russia began evolving the weapons and gear their infantry were using in 2013 as part of an ongoing program known as “Ratnik” that translates as “warrior”. Gone are the days of throwing poorly trained and equipped soldiers into battle. What they are developing rivals any modern first world military force.

6B45 Ballistic Vest
6B6 Tactical Vest
6B47 Helmet
6sh117 All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment

In researching about Ratnik for a blog post I just did, I was surprised at how much gear has already found its way onto eBay. It goes to show how efficient the surplus market is I suppose plus that the program has been in effect for nearly six years at this point.

What can you find on eBay? In digging, I have found:

  • 6B38 MPL-50 Shovel
  • 6B38 60L RAID Backpack
  • 6B50 Ballistic Goggles
  • 6B51 Knee and Elbow Pads
  • 6E1 Water Filter and Pouch
  • 6E4-1 Watches
  • 6E4-2 Watches
  • 6E6 Multi tool
  • 6SH117 Tactical Vest
  • 6M2 Active Hearing Headphones
  • FSS-014 Flashlight
  • GSSH-01 Active Headphones

There are also a lot of hats, coats, uniforms, gloves and more. So, if you are wondering where you can find the modern Russian Ratnik gear, you definitely need to check out eBay and I created a live link to eBay where you can see posts that you can order:


Live eBay Feed You Can Order From

The following are live posts on eBay. If you click on a listing, it will appear with more details and there will be links to others as well:


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.


Photo source: By Vitaly V. Kuzmin – http://vitalykuzmin.net/?q=node/524, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29469738


The Russian Ratnik Program – The Evolution of the Future Infantry Combat System

In past blog posts, I have featured the modernization efforts of the base Kalashnikov rifle that resulted in the 5.45×39 AK-12. What many people do not know is that this was just part of a much broader Russian program to create a future infantry combat system. The name of this program is “Ratnik” (Ратник) that translates as warrior.

While R&D started ear;lier, prototype Ratnik kits for the first generation components were delivered in 2013. Firearms, optics, communication, navigation, uniform, load bearing and body armor elements were accepted into service on October 23, 2014. Approximate 200,000 sets were delivered by September 2017, and 100% adoption is estimated in 2020 of the Ratnik-2 system. Ratnik-3 hasn’t been released yet but the suit will include a powered exoskeleton to improve strength, speed and stamina.

Overall, what you are seeing is a concerted move away from the Soviet doctrine of volumes of relative untrained and marginally equipped armed forces personnel (all branches exclude Spetsnaz) to that of a professional modern force of trained and well equipped soldiers.

Soldier with an AK-12 rifle with a blank firing adapter. He is wearing a 6B45 ballistic vest, 6sh117 lightweight individual carrying equipment, and, 6B47 helmet.

Soldier with an AK-12 rifle with a blank firing adapter. He is wearing a 6B45 ballistic vest, 6sh117 lightweight individual carrying equipment, and, 6B47 helmet. 6B50 Protective goggles, 6B51 knee and elbow pads were part of Ratnik also.
Better view of the 76B47 helpes with covers and the 6B50 eye goggles.
This is the 6B46 tactical vest
Improved communications capabilities.

The Videos

The following video is in Russian but affords the viewer a really good opportunity to see the Ratnik-1 and -2 equipment first hand.

The following is a brief video showing Russian Paratroopers doing drills in Pskov.


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.


Please note that any images shown were extracted from the videos and remain the property of their respective owner(s).



The Best Step-By-Step Book For Building a Glock-Style Pistol With a Polymer80 Frame

This is a really valuable book I had both it (the Kindle version) and the Polymer80 step-by-step guide open for every step I did.

The book’s author steps you through everything with very good illustrations to boot.  Combine this with the guidance from Polymer80 and you are going to be very well armed to enjoy building a reliable Glock-style pistol.


Polymer80 and Glock Parts Vendors

When you want to customize your Polymer80 or Glock, or you need replacement parts, there are a number of solid vendors you can go to and I have dealt with all of the one’s listed below and can vouch for them:

Those are all reputable vendors and aren’t going to sell you inferior counterfeit products.


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.


Polymer80 Glock Build Troubleshooting

If you haven’t heard about Polymer80, they make a number of 80% receivers including some remarkable Glock compatible frames. Now they aren’t just a cheap gimmick – I like the grip angle, the texture and the finger relief that all result in a far better feeling pistol than an actual Glock in my opinion. Now there are haters that say these are not Glocks – that’s fine, they aren’t. Then again, it’s not like we all buy ARs only made by Colt or Armalite either in comparison.

So I have been posting about how to do the builds [Click here for a Glock 17 using the PF940V2 frame post and here for one on Glock 19 using the PF940C frame post]. They are very straight forward, fun and can generate a reliable pistol. Like all things, there can be challenges and troubleshooting your build to understand why the slide is binding, the trigger isn’t resetting and so forth are all things that may happen. Luckily, there are also lots of videos and posts for understanding how to solve the challenges.

Be Sure to Read the Instructions First

I do recommend you read the instructions from Polymer80 before you do your build. If you didn’t read them and are now having challenges, I would recommend you go back and read the good instruction file they wrote and watch the video:

Troubleshooting Videos



Also, Pew Pew Tactical did a nice series of posts on building and troubleshooting Polymer80 builds. Click here to open a new tab and go there.

My Take On Common Issues

  • The slide doesn’t go all the way back: Check that the recoil spring is not catching on the channel you needed to mill out. Check that the slide stop spring is sitting flush and not catching on the spring. Sometimes plastic falls into that channel and keeps it from fully seating. (It would be a good idea to blow your frame out with compressed air to get all the loose plastic out). [Note, we have a tool to aid in the sanding of the barrel block area, click here to read about it]
  • Trigger not resetting – this is either an issue with how Polymer80 did some of the Rear Rail Modules (RRMs) or how the frame was drilled causing the RRM to move. If this happens, you will need to file a bit off the right side (when looking down at the receiver) of the RRM so the trigger bar doesn’t hit it. I’d also recommend checking that there aren’t burs/machining imperfections on any of the trigger’s metal parts that might cause binding.
  • Slide not cycling smoothly – The rail modules should be equal height. Again, there may have been an issue with drilling causing an alignment issue. See if you can bend/adjust the rail modules so they line up.
  • Trigger feels gritty – remove the trigger and polish all metal surfaces. Blow out the pistol and trigger areas to ensure there isn’t any plastic debris. Expect it to take a couple hundred rounds to smooth out.
  • Action feels gritty – again, polish everything. I like the small rubberized polishing bits for the Dremel as well as working with sandpaper up to 2000 grit. Always remember that your goal is to smooth and polish, not to remove a ton of material. Another option is to simply let the parts get to know each other and wear in. A ton of grittiness will disappear with use.
  • Slide seems to lock open at times – this is likely due to the recoil spring catching on plastic left in the barrel block area. Click here to read more and to see our tool that can help.
  • The pistol doubles, meaning it fires on the pull of the trigger and the release. This is most likely caused by using an aftermarket connector. If you are not using an OEM Glock connector, try using one and see what happens. I did a post about this if you’d like to read more, click here.

So, I hope this helps you out. Polymer80 Glock frames are well engineered and do work. There may be some issues you need to work through due to how you build the pistol and the parts you use but view overcoming them as part of your journey and don’t give up. The end result is definitely work it.

Polymer80 and Glock Parts Vendors

When you want to customize your Polymer80 or Glock, or you need replacement parts, there are a number of solid vendors you can go to and I have dealt with all of the one’s listed below and can vouch for them:

Those are all reputable vendors and aren’t going to sell you inferior counterfeit products.


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.


Please note that any images shown were extracted from the videos and remain the property of their respective owner(s).



When Strength and Quality Matter Most

%d bloggers like this: