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General Gun News
After running a mix of handloads and factory ammo on a 110-year-old revolver, Hickok45 walks you through the intricacies of cleaning the classic Colt Peacemaker, by request.
The Single Action Army or 1873, which was standard issue for the U.S. Army at the tail end of the 19th Century, is perhaps one of the most iconic “six-shooters” of the Old West, carried by everyone from Buffalo Bill Cody and Teddy Roosevelt to Pat Garrett and General George S. Patton. It’s that legacy that has kept in more or less in production ever since.
Speaking of which, the Colt Hickok has was made in 1907 and to keep it ticking, he reaches for the Ballistol and cleaning kit to show how it is done.
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Comp-Tac Vicotry Gear announced a new holster mount designed for wheelchair using gun owners looking to compete or open carry.
The Wheelchair Holster system pairs Comp-Tac’s International Holster with a hex screw mount, allowing users to easily attach the rig to a wheelchair. The mount attaches using two firm gripping clamp mounts, adjustable to chair frames of various diameters.
The holster itself boats an all-Kydex design, supplying rigidity and retention even while the pistol is un-holstered. Comp-Tac serves up a bevy of gun models, allowing consumers to select between popular companies such as CZ, Glock, FN, Kimber, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory and Sig Sauer, to name a few.
Comp-Tac says the Wheelchair Holster aims to provide more options to shooters.
“This Wheelchair Holster mount combined with Comp-Tac’s International holster fills a real void for wheelchair bound shooters to get out and have some fun in competition or for self-defense use. This wheelchair system is affordable and designed for very easy assembly and adjustment,” Randi Rogers, champion shooter and Comp-Tac’s Sales and marketing manager, said in a press release.
The system ships with the holster and clamping assembly. Available in left or right configurations and with several color choices, the Wheelchair Holster is priced just under $100.
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The Big Apple convenience store in West Paris, Maine was the location of a stick-up that went south for the would-be robber after the clerk didn’t buy that she had a gun.
As reported by the Sun Journal, Paige Tuttle, 26, was arrested Friday on a felony robbery charge after the clerk told the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office she had threatened to shoot him if he didn’t give her the cash from the till.
The clerk told officers he noticed Tuttle had made up her finger in the shape of a gun and stuck it under her sweater before the demand, so after she told him, “I have a gun,” he replied, “No, you don’t,” which resulted in her cursing and leaving the scene.
She was later identified from a photo lineup and arrested once a warrant was issued.
Tuttle is in the Oxford County Jail on a $1,000 bond. If convicted on the current charge, Maine state law allows up to 10 years in prison.
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Optics connoisseurs Trijicon announced a new set of Quick Release Mounts designed specifically for the RMR and MRO sights series.
Trijicon offers eight new models in low, full co-witness and lower 1/3 co-witness heights all machined from lightweight 7075 T6 aluminum. The mounts have been tested by the company and determined to meet MIL-standard requirements.
The mounts allow users to quickly attach and remove sights with the platform featuring return to zero accuracy. Touting 45 degree offset models, the mounts permit users to use the RMR or MRO on the left or right side of the firearm. Trijicon says mounts are slim enough to fit under a majority of magnified optics.
The Quick Release Mounts boast compatibility with Picatinny rail platforms in addition to low mount options available for Weaver bases. Perfect for 3-Gun, law enforcement or hunting, Trijicon says the new Quick Release Mounts are currently available with a price starting at $139.
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Four of eight charged last year as part of a conspiracy to sell gun parts and gear stolen from the Army were sentenced this week in federal court.
The stiffest punishment went to John Roberts, 27, of Clarksville, a civilian involved in the resale of the items, many of which were sold on eBay and shipped overseas. Roberts received 15 years in prison this on Tuesday following his conviction on charges earlier this year that included conspiracy, wire fraud and violating the Arms Export Control Act. The court also ordered Roberts to pay $4.2 million in restitution to the Army for the items.
Roberts was arrested last November as part of a ring that included several active duty U.S. Army enlisted men involved in selling gear removed without authorization from Fort Campbell.
According to court documents, between 2013 and February 2016, the soldiers carried away a varying degree of items from the base without permission, passing them to the two civilians in Clarksville, Tennessee, who resold them. Prosecutors argued Roberts knew the items were stolen and preyed on enlisted men who suffered from a variety of financial problems or serious drug addictions.
The ring moved millions in stolen equipment including full-auto firearm components, sensitive night-vision and communications gear, flight helmets, body armor, medical supplies and even items such as printer cartridges. The two civilian members of the conspiracy allegedly sold the nearly 1,600 items on eBay or to retail outlets, in the process frequently violating export laws on controlled items. Items were shipped overseas to destinations ranging from China and Russia to India and the Netherlands.
Firearm components stolen and sold by members of the conspiracy included sights for M203 grenade launchers, trigger groups for the M240 machine gun — listed for sale eBay for $399 — and a host of parts for the M249 machine gun including magazine adapters, heat shields, buffer tube assemblies, pintle mounts, and barrels. One of the defendants sold 30 stolen M249 barrels to a retail store. Another auction was for an M144 Sniper Spotting Scope.
Also sentenced on Tuesday were three who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges: Aaron Warner, Alexander Hollibaugh, and U.S. Army Specialist Dustin Nelson, who each were given sentences ranging from time served to probation.
The four remaining defendants– Michael Barlow and Jonathan Wolford of Clarksville; Kyle Heade of Fort Campbell; and Cory Wilson of Gonzalez, Louisiana– all of whom have pleaded guilty to a variety of felonies, are scheduled to be sentenced in January.
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Tactical Solutions rolls out a new combo kit, called the AR-LT Bolt and Barrel Combo, designed to covert an AR-15 upper to a .22 LR.
The combo boasts a lightweight construction aimed at allowing AR shooters the ability to practice more without the expense of centerfire ammunition. The AR-LT Bolt is a threaded number boasting a 0.920-inch diameter aluminum barrel with 1/2×28 pitch. Designed to work with most standard AR-15 uppers and handguards, the combo comes with a stainless steel bolt assembly.
TacSol says the AR-LT Bolt and Barrel Combo is a first for the company, who previously only offered the AR-LT set-up in a complete rifle assembly.
“Our industry leading .22 long rifle AR Bolt and AR-LT Barrel have historically been sold only in a complete upper assembly,” TacSol CEO Darin Strickler said in a press release. “Tactical Solutions is excited to offer our customers an AR Bolt/AR-LT Barrel combination package. This will allow our customers a new option and greater flexibility in building their own light-weight, accurate .22 AR rifles.”
TacSol says the AR-LT Bolt and Barrel Combo is currently available through TacSol and RSR Distributors.
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A federal court sentenced the owner of the Utah-based HK Parts on Thursday to four years in prison for dealing guns without a license and filing fraudulent tax returns.
Adam Webber, 40, was convicted earlier this year of violating an agreement to “never” operate as a firearms dealer and hiding more than $800,000 of taxable income over a four-year period.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors described Webber as putting on a front by posing as a humble American entrepreneur selling gun parts out of his basement to provide for his family. In reality, it was all a scheme to conceal illicit activities. He had injected illegal firearms sales into his gun parts business and then covered up the activity by underreporting revenue.
According to court documents, Webber signed an agreement with the ATF in 2007 stating that he would never obtain a federal firearms license or engage in a business with one following a botched machine gun sale. But he went ahead and opened an online business selling gun parts and expanded that business by selling guns.
On its website, HK Parts said it had an FFL, but that statement was false. The business’s FFL was through the entity Midnight Labs and Webber had an active role in managing firearm transfers — often conducting sales in places like parking lots — and would accept payments directly. Then, in two separate occasions, he sold guns to an undercover ATF agent.
Part of that effort to conceal the sales included racking up millions in online credit card transactions and then underreporting them on financial filings and even in some cases reported losses. A search of his house uncovered thousands in cash and silver. In all, Webber failed to pay $800,818 of income tax between 2009 and 2012.
“Rather than run an honest firearm parts business that paid its taxes, he chose to run a firearms parts business infused with illegal firearms sales and capital diverted from the United States Treasury,” prosecutors said in the sentencing memo.
Webber’s attorneys argued that he unwittingly underpaid his taxes and he was simply a poor planner. But prosecutors said he bought a second house valued at $670,000 with cash and other properties, and even sought the advice of wealth managers. They argued that he knew exactly what he was doing when he filed inaccurate tax returns.
Prosecutors advised the court to hand down a sentence of 37 month plus supervised release for tax fraud. In a response, Webber’s defense asked for leniency since he had paid back taxes with interest and penalties to the tune of $1.8 million and had admitted guilt to firearms charges.
His attorneys filed 45 letters from friends and family who describe Webber as a stand up friend, family and business man. They also argued that none of the weapons he sold were recovered at crime scenes. They asked for probation only, but the judge said he was unmoved by the effort given the evidence of Webber’s crimes.
The sentencing ends a more than three-year court battle. The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted Webber in August 2014.
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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has come out swinging against national concealed carry reciprocity, contending it puts police officers at risk.
In a statement issued in conjunction with the Commonwealth’s district attorneys association and police chiefs lobby groups, Healey railed against this week’s successful vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on a measure that would force states to recognize valid concealed carry permits from other jurisdictions.
“In the aftermath of so many mass shootings, it would be tragic for this to become the next deadly loophole in our nation’s gun laws,” said Healey, a Democrat who has aggressively enforced the state’s gun laws in recent years. “This legislation is dangerous for the state of Massachusetts, our law enforcement officers, and our residents.”
In additional comments on social media, Healey warned that 12 states allow constitutional or permitless carry, and painted a picture of police placed in dangerous situations if the practice spills over into the state. Massachusetts borders two states, Vermont and New Hampshire, that do not require licenses for concealed carry.
“If concealed carry reciprocity becomes law, police officers on the beat would have to determine—often in an instant or under duress—whether an armed individual not permitted to carry a concealed weapon under Massachusetts law, may legally carry in the state in which he purports to be licensed,” said Healey.
Massachusetts is a “may issue” state for concealed carry permitting and its laws are among some of the most strict in the country. Non-residents who wish to carry in the state have to apply for a $100 temporary license as the state does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states.
Healey has been locked in a federal lawsuit with gun rights advocates and firearms trade industry groups over her 2016 interpretation of the state’s longstanding ban on “assault weapons” which eliminated a number of guns from the market that had been seen as in compliance with the law. She has also launched an investigation into the safety of guns made by Glock and teamed up with the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide voluntary guidance to healthcare professionals on the subject of talking to patients about firearms.
Healey is among 17 attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia opposed to national reciprocity. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley last week joined 23 other states in support of the measure.
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Senators pressed federal law enforcement officials this week for appropriate ways to improve the databases feeding the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, but received few clear answers.
Fixing NICS became a congressional priority after a former Airman gunned down 26 people at a Texas church last month with a rifle his domestic assault convictions barred him from owning.
The breakdown in the background check system illuminated lackadaisical reporting practices in the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense — a longstanding issue dating back two decades. A review of Department of Justice records in 1997 and 2015 found roughly one third of service members’ criminal convictions were missing from federal databases.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn sponsored a measure two weeks after the shooting providing incentives to states and federal agencies that upload disqualifying criminal and mental health records to NICS — a practice an FBI spokesman told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday already exists, with positive results.
“At the end of 2007, federal agencies had submitted just over 4 million records to the NICS. By the end of 2016, that number had risen to nearly 8.5 million,” said Douglas Lindquist, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Services Information Division. “While recent events have demonstrated that reporting is not perfect, the FBI is committed to working with all federal agencies to help them implement their existing record sharing plans – as it has since NICS’s inception.”
Likewise, he said, state agencies increased disqualifying record uploads by 600 percent over the last decade, with more than 7 million entries available as of 2016.
Despite this, dozens of states and federal agencies still don’t update the necessary databases feeding NICS — the Interstate Identification Index, the National Crime Information Center and the NICS Indices — punching gaping holes in the efficacy of the background check system and blinding dealers and the FBI as to the criminal history of potential buyers.
It’s exactly what happened — at least twice — when 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley bought guns from dealers in Texas and Colorado, despite 2012 convictions for attacking his wife and infant stepson while serving at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Military officials court-martialed, jailed and discharged Kelley over the convictions, but never reported the information to the FBI.
Three years after his bad conduct discharge, Kelley murdered 26 people and wounded 20 others when he shot up the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Nov. 5. Among the victims were nine members of the same family and a pregnant woman.
Glenn Fine, acting inspector general for the Department of Defense, offered a simple explanation for the system’s shortcomings — a widespread and well-known problem that previous audits have identified, with little to no improvements made.
“Inadequate training, inadequate verification,” Fine said. “They didn’t take these recommendations as seriously as they should have.”
Senators pressed the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on best way to punish federal agencies that still don’t comply, noting the Air Force’s intention to order disciplinary action for its own reporting failures.
Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy, apparently frustrated with the lack of concrete suggestions, insisted the agencies should take corrective action against employees that ignore reporting directives.
“Can we agree that training is expensive but bad employees are more expensive?” he said Wednesday during a line of questioning directed toward Fine. “Here’s a radical thought. If you don’t do it, you’re fired. Because no one around here ever gets fired.”
Lindquist said improving records sharing only goes as far as state agencies allow it, admitting the federal government can’t force states to upload records — particularly those pertaining to mental health issues.
“That’s what we are trying to do in our legislation,” Cornyn said. “Not only have the accountability and disciplinary consequences, but also we have the corresponding challenge of dealing with the state governments.”
“It seems to me there is no clearer cause and effect between tragedy and the potential prevention of that tragedy than improving the federal background check system, but as you’ve described it, it’s exceedingly complex,” he added. “We have to have some means of enforcing this.”
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Faxon Firearms launches a new heavy barrel in its Match Series, designed for use with the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge.
The Faxon Firearms 6.5 Creedmoor Heavy Fluted Barrel is constructed from 416R stainless steel, featuring straight flutes machined into the exterior. The fluting, according to Faxon, reduces weight in addition to adding a level of stiffness to the barrel as well as cooling properties. The barrel is 5R button rifled with 1:8 twist, measuring 22-inches in length.
Tipping scales at 2.75-pounds, Faxon notes that Heavy Barrel has been extensively tested and inspected for flaws.
“We put each 6.5 Creedmoor Heavy Fluted Barrel through a battery of tests, including Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI) to ensure the barrel you install on your rifle is free of hidden flaws that could compromise accuracy or service life,” Faxon Firearms said in a statement.
The barrel is available from Faxon’s website, with a base price of $419; though the company does offer a list of upgrades which will drive prices northward.
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In the early hours of Dec. 7, 1941, an aging warship crewed by reservists fired on an unidentified submarine trying to creep into Pearl Harbor. That destroyer has now been found.
In conjunction with the Philippine National Museum, it was announced Wednesday that the privately funded research vessel Petrel has located the final resting place of the destroyer USS Ward in Ormoc Bay near the island of Leyte in the Philippines. Conducting survey operations in the area to discover and chart a number of famous shipwrecks of American and Japanese ships in the region, the Seattle-based ship has in the past located the wrecks of the cruiser USS Indianapolis and Japanese battleship Musashi.
In a statement issued through Paul Allen, who backed the expedition, Ward’s location was confirmed earlier this month and released this week for the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, where the destroyer played a pivotal role.
As detailed by the Naval History and Heritage Command, the Ward was a World War I-era Wickes-class destroyer not much larger than the super yachts of today. Bordering on obsolescence and manned almost entirely by reservists from Minnesota, she was on patrol off the entrance to Pearl Harbor just before the Japanese sneak attack.
Though officially at peace, Ward responded to a report of a periscope sighting in the area and, after a two-hour search, spotted the submarine attempting to enter Pearl Harbor by following a ship through the anti-submarine nets at the harbor entrance. Firing on the semi-submerged vessel with one of her 4-inch guns, she sank the mystery craft which was later confirmed to be a Japanese midget submarine tasked with firing her torpedoes at anchored U.S. battleships in the harbor once the main attack got underway.
As such, Ward fired what is considered the first American shot of World War II, which would kick off for the United States when Japanese carrier planes soared over Oahu later that sleepy Sunday morning.
“The USS Ward found herself in the crucible of American history at the intersection of a peacetime Navy and war footing,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, in a statement. “She took decisive, effective and unflinching action despite the uncertain waters. Now 76 years on, her example informs our naval posture.”
Later converted to a high-speed transport, Ward was sunk by a Japanese kamikaze during the campaign to liberate the Philippines, ironically on Dec. 7, 1944, which brings us to her current location.
While her wreck is a war grave, there is a very tangible piece of the old veteran still in the states on current public display.
Though her “kill” wasn’t confirmed until 2002, Ward’s 4-inch gun used at Pearl Harbor was removed before she was sunk and, in a tribute to the St. Paul-area gun crew that manned it, has been fixture just west of the Veterans Service Building near the Minnesota State Capitol Mall. It is currently set for restoration to keep it in good shape for future generations.
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Pistol Stabilizing Brace inventor SB Tactical continues to grow its product line, debuting the compact SB-Mini and SBL.
Utilizing a minimalist design, the new braces aim to reduce both weight and overall footprint for shooters in need of a smaller package. The SB-Mini showcases the smallest and lightest style, weighing in at just four ounces with a total 3.5-inches in overall length. Available in either standard black or flat dark earth, the SB Mini features a price just south of $120.
Following the SB-Mini, SB Tactical also released the SBL. Touted as the company’s lowest profile, full cavity brace, the SBL offers an overall length measuring 7.8-inches long. The SBL tips scale at 6.25-ounces. Also available in black or FDE, the brace touts a price tag of $149 and will ship before the end of 2017.
Both the SBL and SB-MINI boast compatibility with AR-style pistol buffer tubes. SB Tactical reminds consumers that stabilizing braces do comply with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations.
“The SB-Mini and SBL Pistol Stabilizing Braces are BATFE compliant, U.S. Veteran-designed, and proudly made in the USA,” the company said in a press release. “Installation of the SB-MINI and SBL does not change the classification of the host pistol in accordance with GCA provisions.”
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Italian Firearms Group announced a new addition to the Sabatti line of rifles set to debut in the U.S. market, introducing the Urban Sniper.
Designed for competition, precision and long range shooters, the Urban Sniper pairs long distance capabilities with a shorter 20-inch barrel, according to IFG. The rifle comes chambered in either 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win and features a 5/8×24 threaded barrel.
The barrel is outfitted with Sabatti’s Multi-Radial Rifling which IFG points to as the “next generation in precision rifling.”
Inside the Urban Sniper’s barrel is one of the best-kept secrets in rifle building – Multi-Radial Rifling (MMR),” IFG said in a statement. “Instead of traditional lands and grooves, MRR employs two offset radiuses that impart the spin on the bullet. This process seals the bullet more perfectly to the bore, reducing stress on the projectile while producing less copper fouling, better accuracy, and increased muzzle velocity.”
The Urban Sniper boasts a thumbhole stock made of tough composite materials the company said will hold up through multiple years of use. The stock is both adjustable for length or pull and cheek height, with its style originating from the precision shooting realm. Complete with a Picatinny rail for optics, the long gun also accepts Remington two-piece 700 bases. Additional accessories, such as a bi-pod, can be attached via a rail underneath the forend.
Accepting standard AICS mags, the Urban Sniper ships with one 7-round magazine. No word yet on pricing.
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The gang at the VSO Gun Channel break down why and which suppressor is ideal for hunting at night while explaining how things like “port pop” play into the equation when the lights go out.
Before the Fudd crew cranks up the outrage siren too much, according to the American Suppressor Association, various silencers and sound moderators are legal to use for taking game in 40 states, many of which allow night hunting to control pests and invasive species such as feral pigs, especially on private land.
As detailed in the above, suppressors can help trim muzzle blast at night and the associated bloom out effect on night vision and thermal gear– and apparently, there is a difference between cans on just how much.
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The firearms industry’s trade association on Thursday released a statement arguing the language of a national concealed carry reciprocity bill does not interfere with the Second Amendment rights.
Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the Fix NICS legislation folded into H.R.38 just before it was passed this week in the House is not a gun control measure as some contend. Instead, it simply moves to help ensure the National Instant Criminal Background Check System has all necessary disqualifying records of those who should not have firearms in its database.
“No one who sells firearms for their livelihood wants to put a gun into the hands of a criminal or a mentally unstable individual,” Keane said. “While we know it’s not perfect, we want to work to improve the system – not expand the law – but improve the system. That’s what the Fix NICS Act will do.”
Keane pointed to the NSSF’s long-running program of the same name, poised to enter its fifth year, which has upped the number of disqualifying criminal and mental health records to the system by working with state and federal agencies.
“NSSF’s work has resulted in a 170 percent increase in records submission, to 4.5 million in 2013 up from only 1.7 million in 2013. That is a record of accomplishment,” Keane said.
Introduced in the House as a standalone measure, H.R. 4477, the day H.R.38 was marked up by the Judiciary Committee, the two bills were later merged before a Republican-heavy floor vote this week that sent the proposal to the Senate. Among those who refused to vote for the measure was U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who argued the two bills should have been kept separate.
“Does the NICS background check system have problems? Yes, it results in tens of thousands of unjustified denials of gun purchases every year. But like many bills in Congress, the fix-NICS doesn’t live up to its name – it will likely do the opposite,” Massie said in the lead-up to the floor vote. “It throws millions of dollars at a faulty program and it will result in more law-abiding citizens being deprived of their right to keep and bear arms.”
The National Rifle Association openly sparred with Massie over his concerns, which they characterized as inaccurate, going on to say: “The bill incentivizes states to transmit the records of individuals who, under current law, are already prohibited from possessing a firearm. It does not create new categories of restriction.”
In the end, Keane cautioned that as the debate over NICS improvements and national reciprocity moves through the Senate the NSSF will oppose any amendments offered “that would be truly anti-gun.”
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Demonstrating 6.5 Creedmoor’s stronghold on the rifle community, Springfield Armory just announced a new M1A chambered in the popular Creedmoor cartridge.
The M1A measures between 45-inches and 46.24-inches and features an unloaded weight of 11.4-pounds. Touting a 22-inch, medium weight, stainless steel National Match Grade barrel, the M1A serves up a long sight radius. The barrel opts for a four-groove 1-in-8-inch RH twist and tops off its design with a muzzle brake to “put rounds right where intended.”
Equipped with a NM Grade .062 front post sight combined with a non-hooded .0520 aperture rear sight, the rifle offers 1/2 MOA wind and 1 MOA elevation adjustments. Rounding out the basics is the 2-stage trigger tuned to 4.5 to 5-pounds.
“Having a 6.5 Creedmoor caliber in the M1A lineup gives long-range shooters more choices with the precision and accuracy they require,” said Springfield Armory CEO Dennis Reese in a press release. “They can choose the round they prefer, and take advantage of the legendary accuracy of the M1A platform to make the most of their shooting prowess.”
Shooters have a choice of either a solid black composite stock or a precision-adjustable stock. The precision-adjustable model allows users to dial in fit while offering either black or flat dark earth colors. The M1A ships with a 10 round magazine.
“Our mission is, and always will be, to offer responsible citizens the finest firearm and the most thorough customer support of any brand,” said Reese. “You can see that commitment in every product we make. It especially shines in the new 6.5 Creedmoor M1A.”
The M1A in 6.5 Creedmoor with composite stock is priced at $1,985 while the precision-adjustable stocks knock the price up to $2,045.
Share prices for American Outdoor Brands plummeted 14 percent in after hours trading Thursday.
The sharp drop comes after company executives reported second quarter sales declined more than 36 percent over 2016. Forecasted annual sales shrank to $650 million — well below previous estimates of $740 million — according to AOBC’s financial records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
By comparison, AOBC raked in $903 million last year — an unprecedented season for the gun industry as mass shootings, looming regulations and an anticipated Democratic electoral victory spurred record-breaking consumer demand.
Since the election, however, manufacturers and retailers alike have been struggling to define the “new normal” under a gun-friendly presidential administration and an apparent return to historical sales patterns.
“Our results for the second quarter were within our guidance range despite challenging market conditions,” said CEO James Debney in a press release Thursday. “Lower shipments in our Firearms business reflected a significant reduction in wholesaler and retailer orders versus the prior year, and were partially offset by higher revenue in our Outdoor Products & Accessories business.”
The rugged outdoors conglomerate counts Smith & Wesson as its top-earner in a portfolio of more than two dozen brands including Gemtech, Crimson Trace, Bubba Blade and Old Timer.
“For the second half of fiscal 2018, our focus remains on ensuring that our internal manufacturing resources are aligned with demand,” Debney said. “In addition, we intend to introduce several exciting new products, and execute on long-term organic growth initiatives that support our vision of being the leading provider of quality products for the shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiast.”
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The Senate Judiciary committee heard testimony from victims, law enforcement and gun policy researchers on Wednesday to discuss the legality of bump stocks — devices that allow rifles to mimic full-auto fire.
The hearing was part of an evolving discussion about whether or not lawmakers should advance legislation to ban the device after a gunman used it to kill 58 people and injure some 550 others off the Las Vegas strip on Oct. 1. Using the device, he fired 1,100 rounds into a crowd of about 22,000 in 10 minutes.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have found common ground in their interest to update federal law to prohibit bump fire devices alongside machine guns, but the focus during the hearing was a measure filed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives launched a re-examination of federal law on Tuesday to determine if it does in fact permit the agency to regulate the device.
Acting ATF director Thomas Brandon explained to the committee the ATF’s authority is limited by the statutes that it’s authorized to enforce — mainly the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act — but they do not empower the agency to regulate gun parts or accessories.
Brandon added the agency can classify items rather than “approve” them when they’re voluntarily submitted by companies or individuals for review. “In making a classification, ATF determines only whether the device is a firearm, an NFA weapon, or a part or accessory that is not subject to ATF’s regulatory authority,” he said in his statement.
He clarified that the finding from the new review, under the directive of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will be open for public commenting, as required by law for an agency trying to change its rules. The process will take several months, at least.
Members of the committee commented that the ATF’s effort would be a waste of time since many experts have already clarified that the law does not address bump fire devices. They argued the laws, written in 1934 and 1968, are antiquated and should be updated.
J. Thomas Manger, president of Major Cities Chiefs Association and the Chief of Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, said his organization “strongly supports” the proposal to ban bump stocks and other similar devices.
“The sole and pointless purpose of the bump stock is to accelerate the rate of fire to equal fully automatic firepower — exactly what Congress attempted to stop with previous legislation that bars fully automatic weapons,” Manger said in his prepared statement.
“How can this device be justified for sporting or hunting? The assailant in Las Vegas left 58 dead and over 546 injured within a 10-minute time frame. Major Cities Chiefs are calling upon Congress to act now and give to ATF the authority to stop the carnage which results from a military rate of fire,” he said.
Heather Gooze described her experience witnessing carnage and dodging gunfire during Las Vegas country music festival outside Mandalay Bay Casino and Hotel. She helped carry and treat the victims, and even waited beside one man as he died and hours after to ensure he was properly identified. Based on her account, she said bump stock devices “have no place in our general society.”
When asked about her observations on the hearing and what she would like to see, she said: “Automatic weapons are not allowed, so why is a piece of equipment that turns a semiautomatic into an automatic weapon allowed? Because now it is an automatic weapon.”
Attorneys Stephen Halbrook and Dave Kopel filed statements that aimed to narrow the language of the measure being considered regarding bump stocks.
Halbrook, who has represented both pro-gun organizations and manufacturers, called the language in the bill “disturbing” and argued that it would “ban any part that’s designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire for a semiautomatic rifle.”
“The way (the bill is) written is it would violate the Second Amendment because it would ban commonly possessed semiautomatic rifles,” Halbrook said, adding the term “bump stock” is ambiguous, so legislators would need to be very clear in defining it in order to avoid prohibiting trigger upgrades and other common firearm components.
Kopel, a law professor and policy analyst at the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, clarified that a bump stock ban would not violate the Second Amendment because the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Heller v DC decision — which defined the Second Amendment to include self-defense — that machine guns are not protected items.
“There’s been too much of an effort, I think, sometimes to conflate semiautomatics, which fire only one round when the trigger is pulled, with automatic guns, which fire continuously,” he said. “But bump stocks are something that takes things over the line and turns a normal gun into something that effectively fires as fast as a full automatic. So, legislation, which respects due process but restricts bump stocks would not violate the Second Amendment. And, I think would be reasonable.”
However, they both agreed that if a law were to pass, the government should allow for accommodations like grandfathering bump stock devices already in circulation or waiving current bump stock owners from regulation.
“For less than the price of a crab leg dinner for two,” Magpul is hyping a svelte no-gunsmith enhanced Glock frame magazine well compatible with both OE mags and their GL9 series.
With an MSRP of $24.95, Magpul’s GL Enhanced Magazine Wells come in variants for both the Glock 17 and 19 in both Gen 3 and 4 series. As shown in the above late night shopping channel send-up, the sleek and ergonomic aftermarket mag wells are displayed in beautiful full-color close-ups complete with good lighting and lexan stands.
The company, with its headquarters in Texas, advises the wells are designed to “fully enhance and ensure positive magazine insertion in high-stress scenarios” while printing minimally in a concealed carry situation and providing “positive and flawless removal of a faulty or stuck magazine during reloading or immediate action events.”
They do warn that, while the work with both Magpul’s GL9 magazines and Glock factory magazines with factory baseplates, some aftermarket combinations and magazines more than 10 years old may not jive.
“Now, Rodney, go ahead and flash up that website address for those folks who are wanting to get it through the mail.”
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The shooting in a rural area near Arizona’s border with Mexico occurred last week after agents stopped a group of suspected aliens.
As noted in a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, two agents stopped the group, later determined to be adult male Guatemalan nationals near the Baboquivari Mountain Range west of Three Points, Arizona.
“Two agents were following a group of suspected illegal aliens through a rugged and remote mountainous area in response to a sensor activation. Both agents encountered the group of men 21 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border,” said Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch. “One of the subjects attacked an agent attempting to arrest him and gained control of the agent’s weapon. The other agent shot the subject in response.”
While one agent was reportedly treated for non-threatening injuries at a Tuscon hospital, the other three men in the group were arrested on immigration violations.
The shooting is being investigated by the Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department with support from the FBI, and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
The shooting is at least the second in the state this year involving Border Patrol, coming just four months after a gunfight in Quartzsite, Arizona with the suspect in that incident later dying of his injuries at an area hospital.
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