I Own Guns

AK-22 machine-gun fun!

Written on June 7, 2016   By   in Machine Guns, NFA

Back in the early 80’s there was a beginning trend of making rimfire rifles look like the rifles that the worlds armed forces where using. One of the more successful companies at doing just that was Armi Jager of Italy.

They started with their AP-74 (in roughly 1974) that was a copy of the very popular M16 rifle used by the US military and others. The rifles where known as being well made and relatively reliable. they weren’t exact copies by any means, but they looked pretty similar, and had a fairly similar manual of arms with only slight differences in the safety and the magazine release.

The AP-74 proved to be very popular, and was followed a few years later by the AP-80, with the AP-80 being a scaled down copy of the kalashnikov AK47. The manual of arms is almost identical, and with the “large body” magazine in place, only the most observant onlooker would guess that the little gun is anything but a rifle caliber gun.

The AP-80 was imported by several groups into the US, with the earliest guns coming in under Bingham’s banner. There may have been another small importer after Bingham and before Mitchell, but the records are a bit fuzzy, so I’m not certain. Sometime after Bingham ceased importing the guns, Mitchell arms in California (I know, California?) began the import of the AP-80. There were subtle differences between the guns that can be noted fairly easily by the keen observer. The Mitchell guns had a much thicker dust cover over the action, with the front of the dust cover being secured to the receiver by rivets on either side of the “trunnion” for lack of a better term, while the Bingham guns had thinner list covers, and were secured at the front by wedging beneath a roll pin protruding from the trunnion beneath the rear sight.

After the AP-80 debuted, other rimfire clone guns followed from Armi Jager, including Galil copies, Famas copies, and a copy of the PPS-31.

I’m going to focus on the AP-80 for this article, for reasons that will be clear shortly.

Prior to the implementation of the machine gun ban in 1986, there where a number of AP-80’s registered and converted to select fire by enterprising individuals. SWD of Atlanta offered conversion kits, and the services, JD Farmer did conversions as well, but didn’t sell DIY kits. These two are probably the most commonly encountered conversions, but calling them common is a bit of a misnomer.

Both SWD and Farmer conversions used an automatic sear trip, along with lengthened selector lever throw. Most Farmer conversions had the selector stop ground off, while the SWD conversions often had the selector notched for the added travel.

SWD conversions consisted of the auto sear, auto sear spring, bolt anti-bounce weight, cut selector lever, bolt modified for the sear trip, and modified disconnector (so that Semi auto remained an option). The SWD DIY kit consisted of the auto-sear, spring and anti-bounce weight, with instructions on how to install the parts and make the needed cuts.

The Farmer conversions where a little more involved, using all of the things mentioned in the SWD conversion, the Farmer jobs (other than cutting the lever vs grinding the receiver) also lengthened the bolt stroke and added a booster spring to the main (hammer) spring to ensure more reliable ignition.

Today, finding one of these gems as a transferable is fairly rare, with probably less than 5 on the market at any given time. In looking just now, I could only find one for sale. Any of them are likely to need work to make them run right.

I purchased one last summer, and once I was finally able to bring it home from the dealer a few months ago, I began the process of working on it to produce a reliable gun. Mine was an SWD style conversion, though it seems it was likely done at the Bingham (importer of the gun) shop, as that’s who the the maker is listed as on the form 4.

I made a new firing pin, as the factory unit broke fairly quickly. It’s profile is different, and it uses a much thicker body and a shorter spring. I also made the tip slightly sharper to help with ignition.

The hammer spring was replaced with a much stronger unit. The recoil spring was replaced as well, and the recoil stroke lengthened about 1/2″. The dust cover had to be opened up as well for the increased stroke.

The bolt was polished and all of the nooks and crannies were cleaned out with an ultrasonic cleaner and brushes. the extractor was reshaped for improved grip.

Once I had done that work, the gun went from running about 50% to running about 95%

Then it was time to play, so I made an adapter block so that I could mount a VZ-58 stock, I chopped a parts kit barrel down to 5″ (it’s a machine-gun, so there are no barrel length requirements for legality) and threaded it 1/2″x28 tpi for attaching a standard rimfire suppressor. Since the forend would no longer work, I made an adapter so that I could mount the pistol grip from the parts kit as a forward K-grip.

I also made a mount for the red-dot sight so that I wouldn’t have to fab up a front sight. It uses the rear sight position and set screws to hold the red dot in place and supply gross elevation adjustment.

It looks a little funky, but it handles very very well, and it’s a ton of fun to shoot!

SWD M11/9mm another fun gun

Written on March 17, 2016   By   in Machine Guns, NFA

About a year and a half ago, I purchased another SMG, this one being an SWD M11/9mm. There are a lot of them around, and as a result, when I picked it up it was one of the cheaper SMG’s available on the market. According to some estimates there are as many as 37,000 of these little sheet metal guns in the registry. Considering the fact that the ATF says there are only about 175,000 transferable machine-guns total, they represent a large portion of the registered MG’s in the market.

It’s native caliber is 9mm, and it fires from an open bolt using 32 round magazines. I also managed to pick up an early suppressor for it, and the combination is fairly effective. Not quiet, but hearing safe.

But one of the real reasons I wanted the gun was the availability of the .22 conversion kit made by Lage manufacturing. With the kit, you can fire .22 ammo full auto, and I love shooting .22’s!

After having USMG do some custom work, the gun runs like a top with the .22 kit, and with the new shockwave Z-mags, it runs well in 9mm as well. Overall, it’s a very enjoyable little bullet hose.

I have added Lage grips, Mag release, Safety internals and slider, a side cocking upper, a red dot, and a custom made billet Aluminum stock.


El-Faisan Shotgun

Written on April 15, 2015   By   in Uncategorized

This shotgun is a bit of a mystery, It’s a spanish gun marked essentially ‘trademark the pheasant’ and is otherwise very nearly unmarked for maker.

It’s a very nice gun indeed, with selective ejectors, articulated front trigger, beautiful engraving etc.

f1 f2 f3 f4

If anyone knows anything about it, please let me know!

My somewhat ill-advised carry gun

Written on April 14, 2015   By   in Uncategorized

Okay, so saying this gun is ill advised is probably a bit over the top, but I can promise that there would be a lot of internet experts that would lose their minds screaming at me about how inadequate the round the gun fires is.

To them I would say: If you’re willing to let me shoot you with it once, I’ll stop carrying it, and instead use something ‘more appropriate’.

What gun is it? why it’s the S&W model 1 1/2 centerfire. It’s a single action in the .32 S&W chambering, and boasts 5 shots, tiny sights and a birds-head grip. It’s also fairly accurate


The little revolver is lightweight, slim, and otherwise easy to carry. I’m also a pretty good shot with it, and able to put all 5 little bullets into a 2″ circle at 15 yards.

Another 10/22 SBR configuration

Written on January 8, 2015   By   in NFA, SBR's

Okay, so I’ve been playing with my 10/22 SBR for the last year or so, and rather than spending an extra $200 every time I wanted to try something new (and waiting the months for it to come through) so instead I’ve just keep changing the configuration of the one registered receiver.

That’s one of the joys of the 10/22; it’s nearly infinite changeability with nothing more than simple hand tools. want a new stock? buy what you want and 1 or 2 screws and bolts later, all done. Want a new barrel? buy the replacement and change a few turn a few screws. It’s all that simple.

Well, even before filing my form 1 for the SBR, I was aware of the scottwerx 10/22 conversion package. I recently succumbed to temptation and ordered the ‘chicago’ kit. It arrived a few days later, and with no serious issues, I installed it on the 10/22 SBR receiver. The extra front sight I ordered didn’t fit, but it wasn’t designed for this barrel. I’ll whip out some drill bits and reamers and fix that problem. (not scottwerx’s fault)

Now all that’s left is the minor work to make the front sight fit, and deciding if I want to refinish my receiver and barrel black, or refinish the scottwerx kit in silver to match the receiver.


A new configuration for the SBR

Written on December 8, 2014   By   in NFA, SBR's

After spending a lot of time working to make sure that the 3.5″ barreled version of my SBR was working properly, I decided to mess around and play with the configuration of it. I bought a Tactical Inc Barrel. It’s 8″ long and finned for heat dissipation. (and looks) and threaded for a suppressor.

Along with a chopped down Ramline all polymer folding stock (cut to clear the 3.5″ barrel incidentally) A custom added fore grip rail and QR VFG.

I’m using the Kidd trigger assembly in a different build right now, so I went to a Poly factory TG and did a trigger job. Using the Tac-Sol mag release means mag changes are fast and painless. The Kidd charging handle and guide rod have been retained, and I’m using a custom recoil spring. The Docter Optic Red-dot is the same One I’ve been using on the build from the start.

Running CCI SV ammo, it’s very quiet. And in spite of the 8″ barrel length, much of the bulk pack ammo I’ve tried has stayed subsonic for the suppressor as well.SBR1 SBR2

All in all, it’s a lot of fun!

Took some friends shooting Again, August Edition

Written on August 19, 2014   By   in Uncategorized

For some reason, my friends always want to go shooting at the hottest or coldest times of the year.

After spending a few hours shooting with some friends today, I grabbed some video of the always fun 10/22 bumpfire gun. Since I’ve actually been able to grab some ammo lately, I decided we could celebrate by burning through some of it.


Testing Magazines for the Ruger 10/22

Written on   By   in General Gun Stuff, Product Reviews, Repeaters, Rifles

In my ever continuing quest to find the best 10/22 magazines, I’ve tested a bunch of them.

The list isn’t complete, there are a number of mags that I haven’t tried, mostly due to time and budget constraints. My testing is somewhat systematic, but far from scientific.

The short version: The BX25 remains the most reliable magazine over 10 rds capacity that I have tested. Some other mags come close, but the BX25 would be what I would grab if I needed max reliability.

The Long Version:

For the last several years, I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet where I’ve tracked the reliability of the 10/22 mags that I’ve been using. I’ve tracked only magazines fired by myself, and not counted magazines fired by other users (in case their technique played a factor etc.) Failures because of bad ammo weren’t counted against the magazines.

Any magazine that I only tested a single example of should be considered only for anecdotal value, as every brand produces the occasional lemon. Further testing would be required before I would be happy with the results of those.

Reliability Results, in no particular order:

(25 rd) Ruger Bx-25 (4 mags tested) Avg reliability 99%+/-

(25 rd) Butler Creek Steel lips Clear (9 tested 1 problematic) Avg reliability (minus 1 problem mag) 96% +/- (Problem mag averaged less than 60% reliability)

(25 rd) Butler Creeek Steel lips smoke (6 tested) Avg reliability 96% +/-

(30 rd) Ram-line 30 rd Double stack Pre-ban (4 tested) Avg reliability 95% +/- (This was shocking to me based on their terrible reputation, but I had good experiences with them)

(25 rd) Ram-line “Truncator” single stack (1 tested) 0% reliability (literally wouldn’t properly feed a single round, inclluding the truncated cone ammo it was designed for)

(30 rd) Ram-line single stack (opaque black, 5 tested) Avg reliability 25%+/-

(50 rd) Ram-line double stack (7 tested) Avg Reliability 35% +/-

(25 rd) HC3R single stack (3 tested) Avg reliability 90% +/-

(30 rd) Eagle mags (Pre Ban, 4 tested) Avg reliability 50% +/-

(25 rd) Butler Creek “Hot Lips” (1 tested) Reliability 85% +/-

(25 rd) Tactical Inc TI 25 Composite (5 tested) Avg reliability 92% +/-

(30 rd) Bingham Steel magazines (6 tested) Avg reliability 90% +/- (Tried with 3 different adapters, results very similar, though the adapters differed slightly)

(50 rd) MWG / Mitchell Teardrop (Pre-ban, 3 tested) Avg reliability 50% +/- (All the ones I tested were old. Others have had great luck with them, I didn’t)

(50 rd) Pro-Mag drum (1 tested) Reliability 25% +/-

(50 rd) AMT drum (Pre Ban, 1 tested) Reliability 25% +/- (This old drum was modified at some point in the past, not a great example)

(50 rd) Custom billet aluminum double stack (no markings 1 tested) Reliability 65% +/- (This is an odd magazine, likely someone’s shop project, well made, but modified at some point down the line)
Most of the mags I’ve tested:


In the end, I boxed up all the mags that averaged less than about 90% reliability, and Only use the most reliable mags.

Guns YOU should own. Or buy. Or whatever, they’re neat.

Written on August 11, 2014   By   in Uncategorized

First, let me say, none of these guns are mine, I don’t know the sellers, and I’m not making any money on them. I’m posting them here because they’re neat, and if I had unlimited resources, I’d buy them myself. 4 of the 5 we’re looking at today are less than $200.

First, the Savage model 23AA: 23aa

The rifle is pretty neat. It’s an older gun, and being .22 caliber, should be cheap to shoot (when you can find ammo) I also imagine that with the addition of a scope, it would be a great small game gun. Not bad for $160.

Next up: Another Savage.



This one is a Savage model 220. The 220 is mechanically very similar to the Savage 219, and the barrels are often interchangeable. This one is in 12 gauge, but finding a .22 hornet or 30-30 barrel would make it a very versatile little gun. And at $150, a real bargain compared to others on the market

The next one is a cute CVA single shot:



Like the Savage 220, it’s an internal hammer single shot, but the CVA model is a .410 bore. I believe these were made in Italy for CVA. I’ve shot one like this, an they’re very sturdy and good shooting guns. For $125, the price is as solid as the gun is!

The Cheapest gun today is the Butler derringer:



The little .22 single shot was likely made in the 70’s. I’ve owned several of them, and while they aren’t much for accuracy, there’s just something satisfying about shooting such a little gun, and being a .22, won’t break the bank when you do shoot it. The $85 price tag makes it’s novelty affordable.

My favorite, The Ballard Marlin:



In .32 long, the Marlin Ballard rifle is a great example of an old gun in an obsolete caliber. You guys know how I feel about .32’s. Since the firing pins could be reversed on a lot of these old ballard rifles, it’s quite possible that you could shoot this one as well. Since the .32 long RF shares cartridge dimension with the .32 Long Colt, swap the FP and getting some .32 LC ammo, and you’d be in business. Not cheap at $800, still a good price for the rifle.