We’re All Thumbs on Safeties

Reader P.S. points out that safety manipulation on our July test rifles requires thumbs, not fingers. Also, reader Kettering removes a little metal to solve light primer strikes.


Re “7.62x39mm Semiautos: Three Alternatives

to the AR-15 Rifle,” July 2010

Thank you for recognizing that not every gun-magazine reader wants to read all ARs, all the time!

My comment pertains to the safety lever on the SKS rifle platform. In your article, you noted that using the trigger finger to deactivate the safety is less than ideal, due to how the finger must arc the same motion as when the trigger is depressed. I agree—so I use my thumb, like one is supposed to.

If you look closely at the stock, just above the trigger guard, you will note a recessed portion. If you place your right thumb inside that inlet portion of the stock, you will note that it is sloped inward, so that it guides your thumb downward, where it lands on a portion of the safety lever that is a horizontal shelf when the safety is engaged. From there, it’s quite easy to disengage the safety by rotating your thumb downward. The movement is dissimilar to pulling the trigger, and your trigger finger is out of and away from the trigger guard at all times.


Alexandria, Virginia

Your recent test of rifles in this chambering parallels my observations, for the most part. Noticed while reading the review that troubles were experienced with some ammunition in various rifles. Your article alludes to light primer strikes, producing failure-to-fire situations. I also use the Yugo SKS, Romanian WASR, CZ 527, and DPMS chambered in this cartridge. Similar experiences occurred with light primer strikes in some rifles among various lots of Wolf ammunition. At first, just thought it was faulty ammunition, until several cartridges were disassembled. Following that, I determined the light firing-pin strikes were not the problem, but rather faulty engineering on the manufacturers’ part. Whether this was done purposely could be debated, but it does seem strange that U.S.– manufactured ammunition had no troubles, but foreign-manufactured ammo, especially Wolf, there was a problem of seemingly light primer strikes.

This was especially apparent in the DPMS rifle. Solution was simple, once the cause had been determined. The bolt and firing pin design in the AR prevent sufficient firing-pin travel, thus producing what appears to be light firing-pin strikes. Firing pin was chucked in a lathe, and the shoulder at the tip ground back several thousands of an inch, allowing the pin additional travel before bottoming. It then becomes necessary to chuck the bolt and remove several thousands from the bolt-tail protrusion. After these simple modifications, no further problems have been experienced with Wolf or other makes of ammunition.

Your conclusions concerning accuracy of steel-case ammunition may have some merit, but your testing doesn’t specifically prove it, since several rifles shot the ammunition accurately. Needing hunting ammunition that could be shot, ejected and left laying inspired me to look at the Wolf ammunition as a possible solution. It makes a good candidate for my requirements. FMJ bullets were pulled, powder dumped and remetered with good Nosler, Speer or Sierra bullets seated. Since I was shooting these in my SKS and WASR at the time, I used .311 diameter bullets, which resulted in excellent accuracy. Later, when the CZ was added, it also exhibited excellent accuracy. These are all European-made rifles which have the correct .311 bore required by this cartridge.

When I acquired my DPMS and finally figured out the solution to light primer strikes, accuracy became a second issue. Dawned on me one day that this is an American-made rifle, which would have a .308 diameter bore rather than the European .311. Next batch of Wolf ammunition I pulled bullets from were run through the resizing die, sizing necks down for .308 diameter bullets. Again powder was remetered and bullets from the three manufactures seated. Shooting these cartridges in the DPMS rifle yielded excellent accuracy. These were tried in the SKS, WASR, and CZ, resulting in poorer accuracy than previously experienced. My conclusion is bullet diameter determines accuracy potential more than whether it’s a steel case.

—Keith W. Kettering

Mellette, South Dakota

Re “Red Dot Sights From Aimpoint, Insight

Technology, and Vortex,” July 2010

I enjoyed reading your article on red-dot sights, but I found the photos of your test shooter firing a Marlin 45-70 from the driver’s seat of a car to be rather odd. In all my years of reading Gun Tests, I can’t recall having seen a photo of a gun tester firing through an open car door. What target was he shooting at? Was this because the Marlin is a lever action, or were all the bench rests taken?

—Tom Hayden

Tucson, Arizona

The photo does not illustrate a clinical test fire position. It was a character shot, wherein the shooter is taking his first cover position upon exiting the vehicle. Tactically, this is not the perfect place to defend from, but as we all know, there just aren’t that many perfect places to take cover. The purpose of this photo was to show that the MRDS red dot scope can minimize bulk when used on a long gun in a tight situation. Had the shooter himself been facing a Marlin 45-70, the car door would likely not have been enough to stop a single round. —Roger Eckstine

Re “Anti-Rust Test: Boeshield T-9, Slide-Glide

Lite Are Our Picks,” July 2010

Great article, but there was one obvious product omission, at least in my opinion—Eezox. There are several well-known rust tests published on the internet, and most of them that include Eezox proclaim it to be the winner by a country mile. I have been using Eezox for about five years now on my large and varied gun collection. I have no rust problems on any of my pieces, and I live in a hot, humid area in SC. And the wife even says it smells good.

I have no connection with Eezox. I am merely a satisfied user.

—Wade in SC

Your article on anti-rust oils did not include a product that I have used successfully since 1992. I have used Mil-Com TW25B on all of my personal firearms, which have been stored in a damp Kentucky basement since 1992. It is a grease/oil that if applied properly will prevent rust better than anything else that I have used. I have had .45 1911s treated with the product, left untouched for five plus years with no rust and in a fire-ready condition. It is absolutely critical that it must be applied to a totally bare metal surface devoid of all oils and cleaning materials because it is a metal treatment. It does wonders for sluggish machine guns and other semi-full automatic weapons.

My son, in his third tour in Iraq, swears by the product and will use nothing else. Worth a look; try it and let me know. I use it exclusively on my Wilson 1911s.

With warm regards and thanks for your fine publication.

—Name Withheld

Re “Firing Line,” July 2010

I also own a P22 which is plagued by the problems Mr. Fleck experiences. Cleaning it regularly is a must. Unfortunately, the P22 is not cleaning friendly. I used CCI’s Mini Mags during break in, and now it seems to eat almost any high-velocity (over 1200 fps) round. The grade you gave the P22 was at least one too high.

After many frustrating days at the range (though my family, particularly the girls, like to shoot the P22), I decided to buy a CZ Kadet. This gun has shot almost flawlessly out of the box, has a “big gun” feel (same frame as the CZ 75), and is more accurate than the P22. The CZ’s split slide is some inconvenience, making it hard to rack, but reliability is more important in my grading scheme. If you have small hands, the P22 is the way to go as long as you are patient with the feeding/firing problems and don’t mind the tedious cleaning process. Otherwise, if you want accuracy and reliability, the Kadet is in another league compared to the P22.

The P22 definitely should not be relied on for self-defense purposes (of course, 22 LR is probably too small to be considered a viable self-defense weapon anyway). From a training standpoint, though, the P22 will give you plenty of failure-to-fire, stovepipe, and failure-to-feed practice. Also, don’t throw away those failure to fires, they’ll shoot out of the CZ or a revolver.

—Jan E. Beran

Lincoln, Nebraska

Re “Downrange,” July 2010

In this issue, Mr. Woodard’s “Downrange” article reported that a GunReports.com survey asked the question, “Is the 9mm sufficient for self defense?” Then he goes on to suggest that our first choice of handgun round should be something with a little more gumption.

Of course a bigger piece of lead would be preferred, but that wasn’t the question. The question was, will the 9mm do it? My answer: Yes it will. Would we prefer something else? Yes, we would. But those are two totally different subjects. Has Mr. Woodard ever considered a different field? Maybe politics?

—Tommy Steadman

Hey! No trolling the editor! —tw




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