Sometimes you have to do things because you can.
I present: the Silenced revolver!:
I should know sometime next week how loud it really is.
Sometimes you have to do things because you can.
I present: the Silenced revolver!:
I should know sometime next week how loud it really is.
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!
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.
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.
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.
All in all, it’s a lot of fun!
I haven’t been able to do much shooting the last few weeks due to inclement weather, and various obligations (like paying the bills…) so I took a few minutes tonight to snap a few pics of some more of my suppressor hosts.
I’ve posted about most of these before, but I figured having some better photos and talking about why I like them would be better than not doing anything at all.
I originally built this ruger charger type pistol to test barrels and such for the long awaited SBR build that I completed recently. Once I was done with the testing, I added a few parts, and built this little gun. It’s quite accurate for such a short barrel, mostly due to the Kidd barrel, but it’s also a reasonable suppressor host. I say reasonable instead of great, because the Kidd barrel is just a bit too long to keep the cheap bulk ammo subsonic, so it’s louder than it would be if the barrel was an inch shorter.
This Contender G2 hasn’t really been talked about a lot yet, but it’s really a great host. Being a single shot, there’s no action noise aside from the hammer falling, and no ejection port noise either. The 16.25″ barrel requires subsonic ammo, like any other .22 rifle, to stay quiet, but it’s very accurate, and I’ve used it to shoot pests out at the old family homestead without annoying the neighbors.
The Walnut stocked Ruger 10/22 started life as a standard pre-warning gun. I still have all of the original parts I took off (barrel and trigger assembly) but I wanted something I could shoot with the suppressor and open sights, so I built the gun using the 21″ custom made SS barrel, and put a polymer trigger group on the rifle because it was already built with the auto bolt release, extended mag release and 2# trigger. I like the rifle a lot, but haven’t had a lot of opportunity to shoot it, as I’ve been working with other guns since I built it.
I’ve talked about this flamed out bump-fire .22 rifle before on the blog, but I don’t think I ever got a picture with the can attached. The Tac-Sol barrel of course is amazing, and pretty central to the build.
A few weeks before Christmas, I took Kevin (my occasional camera man) to the range, and we did some shooting.
There was no particular theme to the evening shooting, but we got a little video of a few of the suppressor hosts in action. In particular, the Mauser 105 that I’ve talked about repeatedly, and the TC contender rifle.
As always, both guns were exceptionally quiet, and very nice hosts. Almost all the shooting was with CCI standard ammo, but the smith 422 shooting was with old stash CCI blazer. Here’s the video for your enjoyment:
After getting my Form 1 back to build this Ruger 10/22 SBR, I didn’t waste much time. I engraved the receiver myself using an old set of gravers. It’s ugly, but readable and conforms to required spec’s.
The barrel is 3.5″ to keep even hot bulk pack ammo and CCI mini-mags subsonic, the sight is a ‘Docter’ optic micro red dot, the stock is a custom built bumpfire stock and the trigger assembly is a Kidd 2-stage unit.
I’ve made some of the last changes to the configuration, and wanted to answer a few questions. First off, I’ve added a Vertical fore-grip and extended the thumb stud. This is what the updated rifle looks like:
And I wanted to explain some of the modifications to the stock.
When I added the choate folding portion to the stock, I machined away the fixed stock to fit the folding mechanism and butt-stock section. I also cut down the front end of the stock. Here’s a comparison next to a standard AA stock:
As you can see the choate folding portion is a good fit, and allows the overall length to be much shorter.
The LMA mechanism is what allows the magic to happen, it’s a series of linear bearings and precision ground rods intended to reduce friction. The photos below show the LMA in the rearward and forward position. The block that is moved in the photos actually remains stationary in the stock, and allows the guns action to smoothly slide forward and back.
I hope that helps to answer some questions!
About a year and a half ago, I bought my first bumpfire stock. It was around the same time that I bought my first machine gun. Of course, buying them at the same time meant that I had the bumpfire stock for almost a year before having my machine gun.
The bump fire stock I chose was the Fostech AA2 springless for the Ruger 10/22. It’s the updated version of the original Akins Accelerator stock. The original stock was approved for sale by the ATF, and then shortly thereafter reclassified as contraband. A number of folks lost their shirts and their cool on that deal. Several years later, Bill Akins made an arrangement with Judd Foster of Fostech, and the new and slightly less cool AA2 became available.
With the original AA, you simply pulled the trigger, and a spring mechanism would bump the trigger back and forth against your stationary trigger finger (this is why the ATF later changed their ruling). With the new version, your trigger finger remains stationary, as with the original, but instead of a spring moving the rifle forward and back, your off hand does by using the vertical fore grip.
At this point I have several of the AA2 stocks, but today I’m talking about one of the first ones I bought. Being young and impetuous, I decided that a .22 sounding like a machine gun might not draw enough attention on it’s own, so I had a local company hydrodip the stock with a flame pattern. The result is one of the visually louder guns that I’ve seen, and what is by far the most visually loud gun I have ever owned, and am ever likely to.
Over the course of the first year that I was messing with the AA2 stocks, I made several modifications that have added to the reliability and enjoyment. The first thing that I found to be important were the magazines. I only have 2 types of magazines that I would recommend for the AA2 guns; Ruger factory mags (BX1 or BX25) and Butler Creek “steel lips” magazines. Tactical inc TI25 magazines work as well, but are quite expensive in comparison and require tuning to make run properly. The HC3R magazines are alright, but don’t like the magazine quick loaders.
Another tweak that really helped with the guns reliability was to remove as much weight as possible. On the photo above the gun is wearing a Tactical Solutions X-ring barrel. The X-ring barrel is an aluminum outer shell with a steel sleeve in the middle that is the actual barrel. The construction provides heat dissipation and light weight. It weighs nearly a pound less than the factory barrel does! I’m also using a custom chamber reamer to chamber the barrels for any AA2 guns. A custom reamer isn’t needed though, just get a ‘sporting’ chamber reamer. The reason I use the reamer is to loosen the chamber slightly to improve extraction and feeding. A match chamber is great when trying to make the smallest group possible, but when attempting to shred pumpkins or knock over a row of steel plates, a loose chamber that causes fewer stoppages is much better.
The Kidd trigger assembly that comes as part of the Fostech kit is really an amazing piece of engineering. The trigger is light, but consistent, with the first stage providing a good tactile sensation to ensure you know you’re about to fire the gun.
If you listen close in the video, you can clearly hear the difference in rate of fire between the high velocity CCI minimags and the less powerful CCI standard velocity ammo.
Some friends and I shooting the Reising M50 SMG over the course of 2 range trips about a month apart.