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Steve133

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About Steve133

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    Finally read the FAQs

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    Houston, TX
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    Eric Prehn

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  1. Thanks, the direct comparison between options is really useful. I'll definitely keep an eye peeled for good deals on them. But having said that.... I think I am actually leaning towards the Athlon at this point, if only because the price from that vendor linked above is crazy-good (I think that model might have been discontinued or something?). It seems like the option that's the closest in look/feel to the Razor that I typically use in matches, which is reinforced by your feedback data on it....
  2. The last time I checked, Red Hill Tactical was about the only place to go for an active retention holster specifically made for the TSO. The Safariland GLS models will also mostly work, but will require some judicious Dremel-ing to fit without hitting the mag release on a draw. Neither will accommodate the thumb rest, though RHT can build you a holster without active retention that will fit the thumb rest. I'm still working on it, but I've almost figured out how to hack up a Safariland holster to work with a frame-mounted optic, so you might be able to make that work with the thumb rest as well if you put some work into it. To the best of my knowledge, there are no "off-brand" options for mags like the Mec-Gars that work so well in the standard CZ-75 guns. They're going to run $50 a pop pretty much wherever - about the only way to find a discount is to catch them in stock at Midway or Brownells (which is more difficult than it sounds like) while they're doing a site-wide discount promo. Greg Cote, LLC is another good source - they're pretty much never discounted there, but almost always in stock.
  3. Thanks for all of the input. My use case isn't exactly the same as yours, so I won't have all of the same priorities, but the information that you've supplied is very useful. I am doing my homework and researching each option, but the head-to-head direct comparisons are a little difficult to find, so first-hand knowledge of more than one of the possibilities is great to hear about.
  4. That's useful information. One more question: since the reticle was the deciding factor for you, is it safe to assume that you didn't see any major difference between them in terms of general optical quality (clarity, brightness, etc.)? I'm especially interested in the performance at 1x, since it'll be staying there a decent amount of the time. Were any of them substantially more or less distorted on the low end?
  5. Yeah, that all makes sense. Like I said, I don't plan on using one of these in a match or anything, just training with a rimfire upper on a bunch of stuff inside of 100 yards. I could honestly run everything at 1x and be fine. You said you used all 3 of the ones I listed - which is your favorite? Why? Are there things about any of them that stand out as being especially good or bad?
  6. Oh, that's a really good suggestion. I've heard pretty good things about Athlon optics from PRS guys who use them on their rimfire trainers. I'll have to add that to the list for consideration, thanks.
  7. I keep ALMOST buying one of these, but lack of aftermarket support keeps frightening me off. They come up in discussion surprisingly frequently. Seems like someone could build a fairly successful niche market modifying all the CZ and Tanfo parts that are kind of sort of similar but not quite identical to fit....
  8. There are TON of variables that go into answering that question. Are you using irons, a red dot, or a magnified optic? If a magnified optic, which one, and does it have a reticle with any kind of holdover markings (BDC, mils, MOA, etc.)?
  9. So, I think I might actually have stumbled across a use case for all of those cheap optics that everyone (including myself) always tells newer shooters not to buy. I've got a .22 upper that I use for a decent amount of rifle training. It started out as a way to practice quickly building positions - my local range has a rimfire-only line with a bunch of pretty small NRA smallbore steel targets out to 100 yards or so, so I threw an old fixed 3x optic that I had lying around on the .22 upper, threw the .22 upper on my match rifle lower, and had a pretty good way to train on quickly getting into a position and breaking the first shot at a small-ish target. Recently, I've run into some issues trying to schedule range time around work, and now about the only practice time that I can get involves time frames when all the rifle lines at my local range are closed except for a rimfire-only bay with a bunch of steel targets. Applying similar principles to the positional drills that I'd been working on, I figured that I could train some offhand rifle drills that similarly didn't involve any elements of recoil control or multiple shots - first round on target from low-ready or port arms, transitioning from one target to another and breaking a single shot, position entry/exit, that kind of thing. When I built the .22 upper, I went out of my way to make sure that it was as close as possible to my match upper in terms of weight, dimensions, ergonomics, balance, etc., so it "feels" pretty similar, other than the obvious lack of recoil. The 3x optic wasn't really much use for that, so I started swapping back and forth between that and a cheap red dot that I also had lying around. Here's the issue with that: since there's not really an eyebox to consider with a red dot, I caught myself getting a little bit lazy, and when I swapped back to the match upper with a 1-6 on it, I noticed that when I brought the rifle up out of a starting position, I tended to land with head alignment that wasn't quite good enough for a magnified optic on 1x, but was fine in a red dot. So, I think the solution is an upgrade... but frankly it doesn't make sense to do too much of an upgrade. I've found a cheap-ish mount that matches the height of the mount I have on my match rifle now. With that taken care of, I think basically any LVPO would be close enough to provide decent training value. Being something that will experience virtually no recoil, will not be chucked into any dump barrels or banged around during a course of fire, and will only be used between 10 and MAYBE 100 yards, the cheap 1-4x that everyone has to get talked out of buying when they start shooting would probably actually work in this application. Poor optical quality and a narrow eyebox don't concern me that much, and might actually be a benefit, since it would make training conditions more difficult than match conditions. As an admitted glass snob, I actually don't have much experience with the entry-level optics. Anyone have any suggestions? I normally run a Vortex Razor 1-6 with the JM-1 reticle, and while I obviously don't need anything identical, something vaguely close would be nice - a general crosshair-ish reticle (so, I've ruled out, for example, the Primary Arms rimfire 1-6, since the horseshoe/chevron reticle is probably a tad faster/easier to use on large targets than just the dot I'd be using on the Razor); an illuminated center dot and BDC (or BDC-like) hash marks would be bonus features. Since this is a trainer optic that will only ever be used for plinking in controlled range environments, I'd like to keep cost down - $200 or less, ideally. I'm currently going back and forth between the Vortex Crossfire 1-4x, the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x, and the Atibal Striiker 1-4x. Anyone have any experience with any of those, or any other suggestions for "lower-tier" optics that aren't complete garbage?
  10. No problem. Hope my long-winded rambling winds up being useful. One more thing I'll say is that your ultimate goal is to develop a table like the one that you found in the scope manual. There are tons of variables that go into the ballistics of a particular round, so you're probably not going to have the exact same results that they had if you're shooting your particular ammo out of your particular gun. Once you get your chrono, you can use your velocity data and the ballistic coefficient of the projectile (should be available on the manufacturer's website - though it might be the manufacturer of the bullet itself instead of the manufacturer of the complete loaded cartridge) to come with a similar table using a ballistic calculator. There are tons of options for those out there - JBM Ballistics is a decent web-based option; I use the Strelok app for Android (though there's an iOS version now also), and I've also heard good things about Applied Ballistics.
  11. The Strike Eagle has a BDC reticle, doesn't it? If so, then you can either use a nice, round number for your zero distance and just memorize whatever random ranges your BDC hash marks correspond to, or you could try to find a zero that plays nicely with the BDC reticle. I'd recommend the latter - this is the process that I've used (not the only way to do it or anything, but it works okay-ish): Find ammo that you like for long range (sounds like you've done that) Measure the muzzle velocity. If you don't own or have access to a chronograph, put targets up at two known distances, shoot at each with the same sight picture, and then measure the drop between the two distances, and you can reverse engineer the velocity from that Play around with a ballistic calculator to find a zero distance that results in the bullet drop lining up nicely with your BDC (for example, with my optic and ammo, a 230 yard zero means that the 300, 400, 500, and 600 hashes line up almost perfectly). Still using the calculator, figure out the difference between point of aim and point of impact at a distance that you can shoot at the range (again, for example, I can't set up a target at 230 yards at my range, but I can set one up at 200 yards. I know that a 230 yard zero means that impact is about an inch high with a center-target hold at 200 yards, so I just dial the optic to do that) Iterate if required - there's not a nice solution like that for every single round out there. I'm a mediocre shooter at best, but none of my issues come from mis-zeroed rifles, so there's that. Steel-cased is not an issue, but the only problem is that a lot of steel-cased options (like Wolf) have bullets that are either steel-cored (will destroy steel targets and are not allowed at matches), or, even if they are lead-cored, have a bi-metal jacket (steel washed with copper), which is bad for two reasons: 1. it will erode the chamber and rifling in your barrel faster, and 2. probably still won't be allowed at matches because it's attracted to a magnet, which is the main way that the folks running matches weed out ammo that will destroy their targets. Some manufacturers, like Hornady, make cartridges with copper-jacketed, lead-core bullets in a steel case, and those are fine... but I'd check everything to make sure that the bullet (JUST the projectile, not the casing) doesn't stick to a magnet. If it doesn't, then it's fine. But I think you'll find that most of it will. "Acceptable accuracy" varies by situation. For long-range ammo, you probably want something that groups at 1 MOA (or as close to it as you can get) - about 1" at 100 yards. Cheaper, lighter stuff for close range doesn't need to be as accurate. If I recall correctly, the armorer's standard for accuracy in the M4 is 4 MOA (about 4" at 100 yards), and that would probably be fine to get hits on the targets you're likely to see inside of a couple of hundred yards or so.
  12. I'd recommend using the hotter loads for the break-in process. In fact, I'd probably recommend a slightly hotter load just in general - an 1140 fps load is going to be awfully light to get the gun to cycle reliably even after it's broken in, much less ensuring that it functions well before any break-in. Stoeger recommends 3 dram equivalent or better, which translates into about 1250 fps with the loading that I typically use (1 1/8 oz of #7.5 shot). Lighter loads will cycle, but not with 100% reliability. Like Snausages said, it's an intertia gun; unlike a gas gun, double-barrel, or pump gun, it needs a certain amount of recoil energy to function, so it's going to need slightly stouter loads than other types of shotguns. But, since that recoil energy is going into cycling the action, the actual felt recoil isn't too bad, so don't let that scare you or encourage any buyer's remorse. Your desired birdshot load probably won't run with a stock gun - you might be able to get it to work with the lighter recoil spring or heavier bolt carrier that MOA sells, but I've never messed with those, so I can't say that with certainty. I don't know about the Fiocchi low-recoil slugs, since there are a couple of different varieties and I've heard mixed things about them. The low-recoil 1 ounce Federals run fine for me also, though.
  13. It's not exactly a night and day difference from other brands, but there are two main things that I like: First of all, the design of the shell clips themselves result in nice, smooth release of the shells, with fewer fumbles and "bowed" stacks of shells. The flip side of this is that retention isn't quite as good as some other models, and that might be an issue. I personally have never had a problem with it, but that's just me. Your mileage may vary. Secondly, I really dig the modular design - there are lots of configuration options, and they sell the individual components and hardware to set things up exactly the way you'd like. For me personally, some of those options, like the newer 12-round setup, strike the best balance between minimizing belt real estate occupied while keeping individual groups of shells easy to grab. Plus, they support the sport well and have good customer service. Most of those things are true of a few different manufacturers - it's not like they're the ONLY game in town or anything, but I've basically settled on those.
  14. Not surprised by the lack of feedback out there - I can't recall ever seeing anyone use the DAA caddies at a match... but then again, I wasn't really looking for them, and even if there really is no one using them, that doesn't mean they're a bad product or anything, but maybe folks are just set in their ways using other models. I can, however, personally vouch for the Invictus. I've mostly seen a roughly even split between Invictus, Carbon Arms, and Safariland - I think I like the Invictus the best of those options, but I have a Carbon Arms chest rig that I'm perfectly happy with, and none of my buddies who use Safarilands have ever complained about them.
  15. That all checks out, thanks for passing that along. Like I mentioned earlier, the WRS hood that they use in their level 2 holsters is a standalone component sourced from Bladetech. I wouldn't worry too much about voiding the warranty on the hood - even if you manage to completely destroy the hood, you're probably not going to damage the holster itself, and replacement hoods can be ordered from online shops that sell kydex holster-making equipment for ~$20. Looks like I'll be breaking out the razor blades before next season starts....
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