2005-02-21: Range dayLast Monday would have been a range day, except for it having coincided with V-Day. Thankfully, I did have this Monday off, so I spent it doing computer stuff.
My Sprinco parts arrived last week, and were installed - this was the first time I've had a chance to try them at the range. This was also my first time out with the 500-round box of 45ACP ammo I picked up at the gun show. It was pretty apparent why it only ran $75/500; there were a number of incorrectly seated rounds, and the casings weren't uniform; there were steel cased rounds mixed in with brass. In compliance with the regs at Iron Sights, I set the steel cased rounds aside so that they wouldn't be fired. I intend to collect them all into a seperate box for use elsewhere, whether it's Doug dragging me up to San Gabriel or Matt dragging me to Project 2000.
The SKS handled, for once, with every bit of reliability the rifle is legendary for. There wasn't a single jam or case of the receiver catching an extracted casing before it was clear. The rifle also intimidated some folks and drew plenty of "Ooo! How'd you do that?" questions from other SKS guys nearby. I'm not sure whether to credit the new foreend, new gas piston, or new spring for its improved performance. Perhaps it's even a combination of all the above. Either way, it works quite well now. The Sprinco 'wonder buff' did make a slight but very noticeable difference in recoil also. It hasn't magically become a thousand-yard sniper assault weapon, but it works well. The red dot scope was, however, greviously misaligned and shot quite high, plus the calibration on the scope wouldn't drop down far enough to prevent the dot from being off. I'm going to attribute this to the receiver cover mount rocking backwards, which is a known and persistent issue with that design. The alternative is to drill and tap in a scope mount, but frankly I'm not a fan of permanent changes to my SKS, as it would unquestionably void its Curio&Relic classification and require iron-clad compliance to Section 922(r). This may be my 'bubba gun', but it can be fully restored at any time. This leaves me looking for ways to ensure that the receiver cover mount is attached as firmly as possible, without using Lock-tite. This rifle has now gained tactical preference over my PAR-1.
Next up, was the CZ-97B with its modifications. The new barrel bushing did not affect performance, as well it shouldn't. However, the recoil spring did present a very noticeable difference in recoil. There were some failures to feed, however, which caused much consternation until I noticed on one round that the bullet's copper jacket was misaligned and stretched over the casing. That would cause problems with ANY recoil spring, so I'm not too worried. I'm not too sure what the loading was on the rounds either, so it's entirely possible that the '97 was being tested with low-power rounds. Heck, even the Para choked on one. This also affects the assessment of lower recoil as well, come to think of it. You could feel the two-stage spring engaging though, and that's a difference no matter what's being fired.
On a side note, the guy at the booth next to me had a telescoping stock on his shotgun. I really want one of those on my PAR-1 now, although I think I may need to make sure it stays over 30" long, even though it's not semi-auto, to avoid assault weapon classification.