14 Jan 13

2013 SHOT Show, Range Day

It was cold and windy in Las Vegas, NV today, but Range Day went as planned, and I was able to get my hands on a number of items of interest:

Gemtech had on display an FN 240B, which is the 308 version of the SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon). It is a belt-fed, light machinegun. First time I’d ever shot a copy! However, Gemtech had it fitted with a suppressor that not only muffled the sound, but nearly eliminated muzzle disturbance. So, there was scant dust stirred-up in the muzzle area. This represents a significant tactical advantage, as it greatly reduces launch-signature.

Barrett had a similar set-up on their wonderful 107A1 50Cal semi-auto rifle. They’re making their own suppressor, the QDL, and, once again, it eliminates muzzle-disturbance, allowing the sniper to stay hidden. I fired several rounds from it, and it is downright pleasant to shoot!

I also shot a ten-round burst from the US Ordnance E6, which is the current update of the old M60 GPMG. During the Vietnam era, the original M60 was fraught with problems. When I was there, we had a terrible time keeping any of them running. How times have changed! US Ordinance now produces a reliable product that adequately competes with venerable guns like the 240B, mentioned above.

Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF) had two rifles there that I had the opportunity to shoot, the P415 and the P308. Both are gas-piston, and both ran well in single-shot, and full-auto. American made, POF is closely associated with ROBAR and their rifles thus come with NP3 treatment on internal parts, a real advantage.

My friend and colleague, Alex Robinson, was on-hand with his wonderful XCR gas-piston rifles, in 5.56×45 (223), 6.8mm, 7.62×39 (30 Soviet), and 7.62×51 (308). The XCR is, in my opinion, a superior system in every way. With regard to magazines for the XCR-M (308), all twenty-round versions work fine, including Magpul. However, Magpul’s, and all other plastic magazines, are not recommended for use during full-auto fire, because cartridges, rapidly moving back and forth within the magazine body, batter, and eventually crack, the ends. For full-auto fire, metal magazines only! Not an issue with 223, as rounds are sufficiently small and light so as not to produce the same phenomenon.

EOTech, famous for their widely-used reflex rifle sighting system, is now producing the IFL (for “Integrated Forend Light”). It is a one-piece replacement for the Remington 870 shotgun’s forend (also fits the Mossberg 590). It is a slim, plastic forend, with integrated 250 lumen flashlight and switch. It is a great, quick, and easy way to get a powerful co-axial flashlight on an 870. Brilliant idea!

More tomorrow!