Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Lucked Out

We lucked out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Our power went out last night but was restored after about two hours. This morning I went outside to check the house and yard for damage. Except for a torn snowblower cover, we came through unscathed.

One of my neighbors has some tree branches down.

We’re still getting 20 – 30 MPH gusts, it’s raining, and temperatures are in the mid-40s. About 1.3M people in PA are still without power, 2.3M in NJ, and who knows how many in MD, DE, NY, and New England.

Of course, many others weren’t so lucky. NJ and NY got slammed especially hard. The Jersey Shore got trashed and Manhattan looks post-apocalyptic, from some of the photos I’ve seen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Updates

FYI, I will be posting Hurricane Sandy updates via Twitter.


Waiting for Sandy

Last night over on Survival Preps I put up a post about my last minute preparations for Hurricane Sandy. There's not much more to be done but wait.

Stay safe, people.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Improving the Ruger 22/45 Lite

Last night I started the process of modding the Ruger 22/45 Lite to better meet my needs, by mounting a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight using the rail which came with the pistol.

The TRS-25 was on my Century NDS-2 AK-74, but I hadn't yet zeroed it, so moving it to the Ruger didn't lose me anything on the AK. I had a spare Bushnell Trophy red dot sight that will go on the AK, using a BP-02 low mount.

Anyway, I think it looks pretty spiffy:

I'm hoping to get it zeroed this weekend.

This afternoon I ordered two Tandemkross replacement hammer bushings, which will allow me to get rid of the magazine disconnect. The second bushing is for the 22/45 Mark III that I bought several years ago. This will make field stripping and reassembly easier because it will allow me to drop the hammer with no magazine in the gun. I disklike magazine disconnects; IMHO they provide a false sense of safety.

Next up may be a Volquartsen hammer, sear, and/or trigger. But I first want to put a couple hundred more rounds through it to see if the trigger slicks up enough for my taste.

And of course, the final accessory will be a sound suppressor. I'm still researching which suppressor I want to buy, and have to get an NFA trust in place first.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ruger .22 Autoloader Reassembly

Today I field stripped the Ruger 22/45 Lite that I bought yesterday and fired last night. It’s always a good idea to strip a gun, clean and lubricate before your first range trip with it. This helps you get familiar with the gun and if there are any metal shavings left over from the factory you can clean them out.

That said, all I did yesterday before shooting the Ruger was to run a couple patches through the bore and put some automatic transmission fluid on the bolt.

Today I disassembled it per the instruction manual. After giving it a good cleaning and lube I went to put it back together. I noticed that with some ATF on the internals, the trigger pull is better.

The reassembly process is why I didn’t do it yesterday – in my experience reassembling Ruger .22 semiauto pistols is a major pain in the ass. You have to do things in the exact correct order and it also helps to keep the piece oriented correctly, as described in the manual.

One thing that helps is that nowadays, you can go to YouTube and find disassembly/reassembly videos for many guns, especially if they are popular. The Rugers are no exception. This one and this one are pretty good.

Thankfully, aside from the gyrations you need to go through to put a Ruger .22 autoloader back together, they are really well designed pistols. They are very reliable and it is not necessary to field strip them after every range trip. What I do is clean the bore, especially the chamber, clean the breech face, bolt face, and under the extractor.

I also make sure it’s well lubricated, probably more so than recommended in Ruger’s manual. .22 rimfire ammo is dirty and keeping the gun well lubed will help flush out unburned powder and fouling.

Note that if you live in a dusty environment like the southwestern US, keeping the gun slathered in oil may not be an option. I’d be interested in hearing from readers who have experience keeping Ruger .22 autopistols running in such locales. Please leave a comment.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Night Range Report

This afternoon I went over to Surplus City in Feasterville, PA and sold my PSL and Norinco Type 84 AK. Both are nice rifles but have been gathering dust and taking up space. With some of the money from the rifles I picked up a Ruger 22/45 Lite.

The Lite version of the 22/45 has a thin 4.4” steel barrel surrounded by an aluminum shroud. Combined with the Zytel grip frame, it weighs only 22.8 oz. But what’s perhaps most interesting is that the end of the barrel is threaded 1/2”x28, for the express purpose of mounting a sound suppressor (AKA silencer). From the factory, the threads are protected with a knurled aluminum nut with the same diameter as the barrel shroud.

The Ruger came with two 10-round magazines and a optics rail which allows you to mount a scope or a red dot on the gun. It also comes with a padlock so you can lock the bolt open to prevent unauthorized, and a pistol rug. Overall, it’s a nice package.

After getting the Ruger home I ran a couple patches through the bore, and lubricated it with a generous amount of Castrol automatic transmission fluid. (ATF makes a great gun oil and is a decent cleaner in a pinch.)

Along with my dad I took the Ruger to the range tonight. We put 150 rounds through it. The first 100 were CCI Mini-Mag 40 grain solids. In our experience if a .22 autoloader won’t run on Mini-Mags, it has problems. As expected, it ran perfectly with them.

We also put 50 rounds of CCI subsonic hollowpoints through the Ruger. We experienced two failures of the gun to fully go into battery with the subsonic loads. I’m hoping that if I run a couple hundred more high speed rounds through it, it’ll be sufficiently broken in to offer similar reliability with the slower, quieter ammo.

I noticed after about 50 rounds the the front sight blade on the Ruger, which is held on with one screw, came loose. I noticed before it fell off and tightened it back up with the small screwdriver on my Swiss Army Knife, but tomorrow when I clean the gun I’ll put a drop of Loctite on the screw to keep it in place.

The one thing needs attention is the trigger pull. It’s heavy, with some slack and take up. I’m going to look into something like a Volquartsen trigger to reduce the weight and make the pull more crisp. Aside from the trigger, I’m pleased with the Ruger 22/45 Lite.

Of course, the other accessory I am seriously considering is getting a suppressor for it. My first step with be to form an NFA gun trust, then decide which can I want to buy. For more information on such trusts, check out David Goldman’s blog.

Dad mostly shot his Ruger 1911. He’s had it since shortly after they came out but this was my first chance to shoot it. I have to say that if I was looking to buy a 1911 the Ruger would be right near the top of the list. It is very reliable, has a good sights, a great trigger and if you aren’t shooting one-hole groups at 7 yards with it, it’s your fault. The only modification I’d make to it if it was mine would be to add an ambidextrous safety, because I am left handed.

We also put a 50 round box of PMC 9mm 115 grain FMJ through my Radom VIS-35. Dad bought it when a batch came in from Russia several years ago, and last year he gave it to me. What a neat pistol. If spare parts weren’t uncommon and expensive, and original mags over $100 a pop, I’d shoot it a lot more. (Several years ago Dad bought an aftermarket mag at a gun show but it didn’t work. Luckily, when he took it back the next day he was able to get his money back.)

My VIS was made after the Germans conquered Poland but before they started cutting quality in the latter days of WW2. It was probably made around 1943 or so. It has a good trigger pull but the sights are atrocious – typical for the period. Still, it’s really nice to shoot and if I had to go back in time and go behind German lines, it would be my second choice in a sidearm, second only to a Browning High power.

All in all, a fun night.