Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wet Day at the Range

Today the weather was rainy and in the 50s but I didn’t let that stop me from getting out to the range.  The firing lines at my club are covered and surrounded by walls on three sides, so they are great for shooting in inclement weather.

I took the Century Arms C93 HK-93 clone along with my Century VZ-2008, a VZ-58 clone.

I put 240 rounds through the C93, 80 being Prvi Partizan M-193 5.56mm Ball with the remainder being Wolf .223 55 grain JHPs.  The best thing I can say about the Wolf is that it was cheap.  Compared with Prvi Partizan, Winchester, or Federal ammunition it’s rather dirty, downloaded, and inaccurate.  Plus, it smells bad when you shoot it.  However, my Colt AR-15s, Ruger Mini-14, 5.56mm AKs, and the C93 all seem to function fine with it.

After my first outing last weekend with the C93 I’d cleaned the bore and the inside of the receiver, but not field stripped the bolt carrier group.  I just saturated it in RemOil, wiped off most of the goop, relubed with automatic transmission fluid*, and reassembled the gun.  So, when I took it down for a full cleaning today, after having put 400 +/- rounds through the gun, it was filthy.  It may have been dirty but it ran just fine and showed no signs of sluggishness.  I suspect it could have gone many hundred more rounds without a cleaning as long as it was lubed.

So far, the C93 has 400 to 420 rounds through it with no malfunctions.  I measured the bolt gap before my first range trip at 0.010”.  After a good cleaning tonight, I measured it again and it hasn’t shrunk.

My first Century C93 was a lemon but this one is a keeper.  Unfortunately for my wallet, I’m liking the taste of HK Kool Aid and have been eyeballing the PTR91, Inc. “GI” model, which is a G3 clone.  The first time I ever shot an HK was an HK-91 in .308 over 20 years ago, and I was wowed by the mild recoil.  Several years ago I owned a Century C91 G3 clone but wound up trading it off, even though it seemed to run fine with the 100 or so rounds I fired through it.  Probably should’ve kept that one.

Anyway, a couple of months ago I installed a muzzle brake on my VZ-2008.  The brake was from CNC Warrior and is a replica of the Czech military issue brake.  It’s very effective at reducing muzzle flip and recoil, at the expense of significantly increased muzzle blast (which is typical of muzzle brakes).  The blast is even more noticeable when you shoot the rifle from under overhead cover.  Good ear protection is mandatory.

Because the brake reduces muzzle flip, which starts while the bullet is still in the barrel, I found that the point of impact was lowered by about a foot at 100 yards after I installed it.  So, today my goal was to get a 25 yard zero, then fine tune it at 100 yards.  I wound up only shooting on the 25 yard range.  With the rain I didn’t feel like loading and unloading my truck to move over to the 100 yard line.

I shot 80 rounds of Brown Bear 7.62x39 123 grain FMJ through the VZ-2008 today.  The rifle required a break-in period of about 200 rounds, along with some manual polishing of contact points inside the action after my first range trip with the rifle.  The phosphate finish was so thick inside the action that it caused failures to extract and eject due to short stroking.  This may be uncommon, as I’ve read other VZ-2008 reviews online and I’m the only person who seems to have reported it.

Including today, my past two or three trips to the range with the VZ-2008 have been malfunction-free.  The VZ-2008 and I got off on the wrong foot but we’ve made up. Smile  I now consider it a tested, reliable rifle after about 400 trouble free rounds.

There are two things I’m not thrilled with on the VZ-2008, however.  First is the folding stock.  It’s an original Czech stock and while it’s very sturdy and allows for storage in compact areas, it isn’t real comfortable.  I’m toying with the idea of installing a fixed stock.  Another option would be to install an Ace folder like I have on my Arsenal SLR-101SG.  The Ace stocks are as comfortable as a fixed unit but still allow storage in small areas.

Second is the design that Century chose for the selector.  It rotates backwards from what would be ergonomic.  I.e., rotate it down to put the rifle on safe, rotate it up to fire.  AIUI, Czech-made semiauto VZ-58s like those from Czechpoint USA have selectors which work the opposite way.  I may be able to fit a Czechpoint selector to my rifle (a member of Arfcom reported doing so with his VZ-2008), which would be a big improvement.

A VZ-58 clone a good choice for someone who wants a semiauto rifle generally similar to an AK but wants something a little different.  It’s also a good choice for folks stuck in jurisdictions which prohibit AKs.  I understand that VZ-58s are popular up in Canada (with the magazines blocked to 5 or 10 rounds).  Also, Connecticut bans Kalashnikovs in 7.62x39 (but not 5.45 or 5.56), but does not ban VZ-58s or clones.

Incidentally, I’ve found that Bulgarian surplus 4 cell pouches for 30 round AK magazines work perfectly for VZ-58 mags.  They also work for HK-93/HK-33/C93 40 round mags, but you have to cut a new hole in the tab which secures the top flap.


* I’ve been using ATF as a gun oil for about 16 years.  It’s cheap, a quart last forever, and works really well.  ATF is a decent cleaner for carbon fouling, too.  Just don’t get it on your clothes because it stains.


Cemetery's Gun Blob said...

You used all black powder loads right?


Dave Markowitz said...

The C93's innards sure looked like I'd been shooting BP.