OSS and Flow-Through

As everyone else seems to be jumping onto the juicy details and videos in the ongoing debate [exaggeration] involving OSS and the company that starts with an ‘S’ but isn’t Silencer Co.

As someone who actually likes the technical side of things, the OSS design intrigues me. Potentially less gasses returning to the shooter, a baffle less design based on radically new ideas, and so on. Even their latest stuff seems to have abandoned aluminum and steel to go for stainless steel and ‘Cobalt’. That seems a little odd, Cobalt is technically the main part of Stellite, but they don’t say Stellite. Silencer Co says they use Stellite, some other places say they use Inconel, and in both cases it’s not unknown which are the most likely alloys used. It’s not really a super top secret which metal is used, the properties and spec sheets are easily found, and cross referencing the requirements of the silencer to the metal information sheet will pretty easily give you a few possible choices. It’s interesting then that OSS doesn’t even slightly narrow it down to a family of stainless alloys or what Cobalt alloy they are using. Did they not get permission to use the Stellite name?

Flow through suppression; now that is a cool concept. Give an expanding gas path that redirects the flow without truly capturing it in the way baffles seem like they would. It’s like the exhaust side of a gas turbine engine, but without moving parts. Surely, with all the firearm innovations that have happened, someone has tried this or a variation of it before, right? Is the OSS that radically new of an idea that came completely out of nowhere?

The short answer is “probably not”. There have been some interesting designs, namely ball and flap suppressor ends that would seal off the silencer while pressure drops while still letting the bullet exit. Then there was the Kitzmann gas tong design that used… well, tongs to seal off the suppressor. Lock the gasses inside it and let them expand in a controlled direction and you’d reduce bolt velocity and gas blowback and various other things, in theory it’s a functional idea. If someone invented valves to make shots quieter, surely someone made what is functionally a helical baffle, right?

Brugger + Thomet and KAC both had helical baffle designs in the 90’s, but as you may note, neither does anymore. The newest B+T VP9 still uses wipes, and those are not exactly new or revolutionary compared to stamped metal baffles. What if we look at something that is not a Welrod in disguise? In that case, we end up at SIONICS, and a little suppressor called the ‘M14SS’ and their later ‘MAW-A1’. Anyone thinking the model numbers of those have something to due with the rifles they were for, you’re spot on. What if I then told you it had helical baffling that was replaceable, was rated for full auto fire and early models had a pressure valve to vent the gas in a specific direction? Well, they did, and they are amazing for their time. If anything, SIONICS seems to have developed the prototype of what OSS refined and made it functional. It’s a shame how unknown they seem, even in car circles at least people know of Turbonique; although the metaphor breaks down in SIONICS seems sane, just revolutionary. MAC-10, 10/22, M14, M16 and many more variants made, and SIONICS is barely known. Perhaps some old collector has a stash, and is waiting a few more years to make a killing on selling them.

And yet, we still use baffles and in a design that remains relatively unchanged. Apart from the occasional monoblock CNC design or oil filter, most of the companies are sticking with baffles. It will be interesting when (if) OSS starts shipping how they truly compare. Maybe this time a helical/flow through design will work. Maybe there is a reason several companies tried and abandoned it. Maybe those companies spent too much money on product development instead of just convincing people their stuff was the greatest ever.

Trackingpoint Again

TrackingPoint has now announced that by buying one of their precision Guided Firearms as they are actually calling them (PGFs) or you know, rifles, you will get a free multi-day trip to Vegas and free training from them on it.

I guess when I got the email from them saying they can help make life changing shots, I guess they were right in ways I didn’t expect. Compared to my normal life, going to Vegas would be life changing.

Hat tip er, fedora… Fedorov tip to Tracking Point there for their honesty.

I’ll be here all week.

Remember Gun Disassembly 2?

Finally, the problems from Gun Disassembly 2 have been fixed with World of Guns: Gun Disassembly. The bad camera controls and imprecise selection of the tablet, phablet and phone versions have been replaced with a free to play version for PC, available for free via Steam. The terrible camera has been replaced with right click to slide, left to pan and tilt and the scroll to zoom. Selecting parts is now the exponentially more precise mouse pointer.

The game also includes shooting ranges, constant updates and new gun models, support for both Engish and Russian, and Steam achievements in addition to basic in game achievements.

Compared to 2, WoG uses an experience point based system, where once you have enough points you can unlock the next model on a branching tree system. Guns get more expensive the further along the tree you go, and they only show you a little in advance what guns you could unlock, making finding the one you want that has yet to be revealed effectively guesswork. The game also includes a purchasable point system to allow you to buy the extras such as skeletons, motorcycles, and cars. Compared to 2, WoG also includes a BMP-3 and a HMMWV for the low low price of 50 credits for the BMP, or $8 USD. The bonus models are only able to be bought through steam DLC or in game purchases of credits, you cannot unlock them with experience. In addition, the experience is greatly slashed and every time you achieve something the game shows your earned experience 9a flat score, thankfully) and reminds you that you could get 2.5x that if only you bought a booster. Boosters last only about an hour and cost about $3. Of course, if the depressingly slow rate of gaining experience annoys you, you can do the gun identifying quiz, where they show you a gun at the worst possible angle and in about one shade of grey, making identification purely based on outline and ensuring you will make mistakes on some of the models, which results in an instant fail and earning none of the experience you had built up from the correct questions.

Luckily, for only $49.99 USD you can buy the lifetime access which unlocks all current and future models, and they say they will release 2-3 models per month which you will have for free. If anything, while it seems like a blatant cash grab, the $50 for a wide variety of guns to learn the basics of assembly and disassembly as well as a fairly interesting puzzle game requiring solving 3D puzzles and figuring out order of disassembly for the perfect score may well make it worth the price.

They say it’s high quality models, but they’re honestly pretty rough. Either the models are not of the highest quality and/or the developers don’t have a 3d modeler, or they simply are terrible at topography of a model. I’m not asking for Star Citizen render levels of quality, but something that isn’t so rough as to elicit a response of “are they even trying with the textures and models?” would be nice.

Finally, the game wants some really weird things done for assembly or disassembly. On the AK model, I was trying to get the perfect achievement on assembly, and one of the tries resulted in me failing it because I tried to put the gas block back onto the rifle before I put the spring back in the magazine. It slashed the perfect score off, notifying me it was the wrong part. I had failed that achievement so I clicked hint, at which point it told me the correct thing to do was reassemble the magazine. In super game that would have been even more annoying, as wrong part click would have lead to an instant loss entirely. That oddness isn’t limited to just the AK model, as several other guns do the same thing. however, I have had good luck tricking it by disassembling a piece at a time, pulling each into sub-assemblies and individual parts before moving onto the next section and reversing that for assembly, resulting in only having to snap together a few pieces to complete the assembly.

For the cost of free however, it can be a pretty good puzzle game or learning game to cover firearm assembly and disassembly. Less blatant grabs for money would be nice and the quiz working like any actual quiz would be nice as the current way just feels like a “screw you, maybe you should just buy some experience instead” especially due to the fairly poor images of the guns used. If you find yourself enjoying the game I would recommend the lifetime access DLC, as the more models they release the better of a deal it becomes, and it will save you from having to worry about earned experience for the next unlock and allow you to enjoy your puzzles/guns. Hopefully they add a lot more guns and especially uncommon ones. Browsing Forgotten Weapons and adding models of effectively every gun on that sight would be perfect, as how often would I get a chance to disassemble a 37mm Hotchkiss, a Throneycroft carbine, or any of the development rifles that lead to the M1 Garand? Odds are I never will even see one of those, so adding in such models would be a nice touch for the firearms enthusiast as well as for the puzzle fan, as finding hints in the form of an assembly guide would be notably hard.

BattleZiP SBR

Remember the ZiP pistol, that tiny little gun chambered in .22 that jams, fails to feed, fails to eject and requires cocking by pushing a plunger over the barrel that is as long as the barrel? Well, there is good news! The company that makes it has released a stock kit to turn it into an SBR. I’m not sure how that addresses the main problem, but I’ll leave being hard on ZiP to everyone else.

The pistol requires a rail accessory to fit onto the SBR stock as well as the registration as an SBR (the NFA needs to die) and then you are ready to go! For convenience the ZiP can be detached and turned around for storage on the stock, which I personally think is a convenient touch. Plus, the stock has a storage pouch on the one side and holds a spare magazine in it, which doesn’t look terribly easy to get at as opposed to pockets or regular magazine carriers. The best part about this is none of that, though. Looking at the ZiP page for the stock there is a “coming soon to Amazon.com”, meaning this stock will soon  be purchasable through Amazon. Talk about a way to get people interested in guns, or who have guns interested in SBRs and such, hopefully leading to them being politically active, just sell the parts for the SBR conversion on a website that is seen by such a huge number of people.

For the rest of it, well, just look at it! It takes the funky looking ZiP and makes it into a full on blocky spacegun and embodies every bit of spacegun design. It might actually look worse when you add the suppressor kit, which I feel like I should mention: they have a threaded barrel kit for adding a suppressor onto it, and no .22 suppressor I have found really looks that great on blocky spaceZiP, which is what I am now calling this.

I also need to thank ZiP, because at $179.99 for the stock (plus the fees) along with the $24.99 rail and $199.99 for the ZiP, it makes a really affordable spacegun and extremely affordable entry into SBRs. The reason I need to thank them though is they made me want to buy one of them now. That price for the whole setup and the use of basic Ruger magazines along with that aesthetic make it something that ends up on my wishlist. At most I would slap a Zeiss Z-Point red dot sight on top of the stock and that would really be it. The best part is at $599.99 the Zeiss would be essentially as expensive as the whole gun itself, although the Zeiss will run its red dot off of the small solar cell while in sun so it doesn’t drain your battery.

Time for me to start saving up about a grand (as I can’t be bothered to add it all up currently) to be able to snag a spaceZiP and a Zeiss red dot.

Ruger Announces 10/22 Design Contest Winner

Perhaps you remember the design contest Ruger had for the 10/22 and the 50th anniversary? Well, They just recently announced the winner, and I must say, they got a really nice rifle from it.

More traditional stock style, but incorporating interchangeable pieces to do what looks like allowing better fitting and in a composite stock so it won’t warp or splinter like wood. Milled rails like a scout rifle, and scout rifle type built in sights with the 10 round rotary magazine Ruger has. Possibly the only bit that looks a bit odd is the flash hider, but for a 50th anniversary firearm it’s a really good blend of old vs new.

Ruger has the MSRP on their website at $379, which seems like a really good deal if you can find any ammo for it anytime soon.


New 12.7mm Bullpup rifle!

It turns out a new 12.7mm bullpup rifle has hit the market in Canada at least, and it isn’t really that terrible looking. Roughly $15,000 (seriously, $14,999 is so close to $15,000 it basically makes no difference) and since it’s a Canadian supplier, I’m going to hazard a guess that the price is in CAD, making it roughly $13,500 USD, which is a pretty neat deal.

As far as specifications, the GM6 Lynx is a 12.7mm semi automatic bullpup rifle with a long recoil action. Apart from the Chauchat and plenty of semi-auto shotguns, this would be to my knowledge the first long recoil operated rifle in a very long time. That should, unless well compensated make it a little bit of a handful to use.

That is the photo tactical imports uses, and while it’s a little chunky the overall appearance isn’t too bad. I wouldn’t call it the best looking 12.7mm bullpup ever made, but looking up the maker of it (which seems to be Gepard) their military supplied version is better in a way.

It’s basically the same, but with a little less blockiness to the shape and a lot more tan, and it is a bit better at the scope mount, the lack of the full length rail no longer makes the scope look like it is rammed down flush with the rails, and looks like it would allow mounting a larger diameter sight without as large or tall mounting rings. Either way, both look much better than that Serbu 50 or other bullpup that seemed to be made of bits of plywood or lego blocks from its appearance, and it looks to be far more available for someone to buy as well, both of which are a plus.

Long story short, congratulations Canada for getting this!

So what’s in the news?

Well, as a part of firearm safety you don’t want to point the muzzle of a gun at things you don’t want to shoot. Which is why tucking a pistol into your waistband is probably not the greatest of ideas without a holster.

Of course, some of that gets ignored, and some people come up with even more creative solutions to concealing a pistol. And while I’m on the topic, I wouldn’t suggest a pistol as a sex toy if the report is completely true. The reasons behind that I shouldn’t even need to mention, honestly.

On more exciting news that I want to mention (look, California trying to ban something isn’t news at this point, is it? That’s all it seems like our legislature ever does) TrackingPoint has announced an AR series of rifles with their system! They expect prices to start at a near enough makes no difference $10,000 ($9,950 to be exact) and…

Well, I have to be honest, I thought black was an overused color but it’s a plain black Ar and I honestly found it looking pretty good. The scope unit is big, but it’s not a really weird or off balance shape, and the stock mechanism along with unit back there looks pretty good.

Delivery is supposed to start October 2014 and you can apply to order one from this link. And I have to admit, after seeing the AR I do want to try one out, although I lack the 10K for one.

Flower Shells: Really?

Well, thanks to browsing Geekologie and the Firearm blog, I encountered this indiegogo project from a design firm.

If “indiegogo” and “design firm” didn’t ring the alarm bells already that it will be either a useless thing, won’t exist, won’t work, or will be stupidly uptight or crazily eco-mental (a bike that contains grass to filter out CO2, but not enough to actually remove what the rider exhales, and yet they insist it will save the planet, anyone?)

This time however, it is a shotgun shell packed with flower seeds.

Imagine a shotgun shell that gives life instead of taking it. Imagine fields of meadow flowers and sun flowers, Imagine gardening as something fun, Imagine a shotgun shell filled with flower seeds.

Okay, the first half is fairly typical eco-mentalist and design firm word spewing. The second bit, gardening with a shotgun I am okay with. I mean, it’s planting flowers, and I really doubt the seeds will survive being shot out of a barrel by exploding powder (hint: most seeds don’t like heat.) But gardening with a shotgun, now that would be fun. You could remove weeds, prune trees and othe-oh, Top Gear already did that. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.

Going further down the thing, it’s of course be a designer/artist at an innovation studio, and they misspell lead. Of course, they just modify an existing shell and then design the all important logo for it. Don’t forget the time coming up with all the “spread life” sayings and quotes about design and the importance of design. “A growing art project” ha ha.

It’s from a place that developed exciting things like: a rocking chair that charges a tablet, an indoor cloud, and a flying lamp. naturally, those all and this fit into their stated idea of creating products that radically change the world. I wish i was making that up. My thought is that $50 for four shells won’t change the world.

Honestly, I know some designers, both industrial and design firms. They’ve designed products, ads, signs, vehicles, and other things. I don’t mean these kinds of impractical or high concept designs, I mean things like bus ads, billboards, surgical machinery like lasik, and that sort of thing. I personally like design-take something, make it look good and easy to use. Practical design that helps people. I don’t get these impractical out there ideas where people just ignore everything about what won’t work as well as science so they can say they are saving the world (like the bicycle with grass in it that will filter all the co2 that cars emit according to the designer but doesn’t contain enough grass to do anything at all.)

The only thing I can think is that this is just a joke.

Forced air cooled AR-15

Remember water cooled guns? Well, YOU probably don’t, but they work quite well and have the side benefit of being able to make tea due to the hot water it generates. Sure, it weighs about the same as a small black hole, but it was a really effective cooling system.

Now, barrels get cooled by letting them sit when they get too hot until the air around them has sufficiently cooled them off. So naturally, someone had to go and build a heatsink and a cooling fan for the AR-15.

Obviously they look very silly, but I honestly must end my nark there, since I was prepared to write something making fun of it until I remembered that the Lewis gun used a finned barrel and was designed that the muzzle blast pulled air through the cooling shroud.

Since this is now the 21st century, we have this marvelous invention called electricity in all of the places, so a small battery fan is easy.

And really, the Lewis gun did it, so I can’t really complain. It’s not like it was first done on a really poor gun design, although it still looks stupid, but not as bad as making the fan require a 110v line feed to run.

Consumer advice

Unlike any other more joking post of consumer advice where I poke fun at some bad product, this one is more serious.

The Counterfeit report has various firearm accessories up on the site, such as Trijicon ACOG sights, EOTech sights, and various other things. I’ve encountered the fakes on ebay as well as just running a google search for the product. According to some research i did previously, various sites such as the alibaba and the other made in china site selling knockoffs are owned by Yahoo…

If that gets confirmed, I would highly suggest being extra careful when shopping and if possible order directly from the maker.