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So it's been a while since I bought anything firearm related, but I recently had the opportunity to acquire something new and different.  My iaido classmate Ron had been toying with the idea of selling his nihonto recently and I may or may not have egged him on into selling them to me.

Although I love all my firearms and see myself using them for a very long time, I've amassed a very large collection, including many I seldom use.  I've imagined one day passing them down to my kid one day, but I've often wondered if he will even take on an interest in firearms, and also if some, if not all of my collection will be obsolete by the time he's old enough to get into the hobby,  

We've all heard people talk about "Grandpa's old hunting rifle", or "dad's old shotgun".  One day it could be "dad's old chassis rifle with that old S&B".  Although I'm not in a hurry to thin the heard with my firearms, I've been thinking about their current value, having all that money tied up in my beloved firearms, versus having something of long term value and inherit ability.

My parents came to Canada with little of their heritage other than their family history passed to me by word of mouth.  They kept very few photos, let alone family heirlooms to pass down to future generations.  I wanted something to pass down to my kid and if he had any interest, maybe he would pass it down to his kids.  Part of the reason I got the Colt Canada SA20 was because I wanted my boy to have a replica of my army rifle, and maybe he'll pass it down to his kid and tell him/her that this was the same rifle grandpa used when he was in the army.  I figured that because I had nothing of my cultural heritage to pass down, it may as well be this rifle.  

Recently though, I have been considering the other side of his heritage as he is half Japanese.  Like a typical stupid gaijin, I asked my wife early on in our relationship if her family were descendants of samurai.   To the best of my knowledge, her family has very few heirlooms or family keepsakes older than from Showa-era.  

I've been fascinated with Japanese swords for a long time, and though far from being an expert, I have a rudimentary understanding of the differences between a wall-hanger and Nihonto.  I once had a gunto, (see https://www.japaneseswordindex.com/showato.htm ) but I sold it 20 years ago and used the money as a downpayment for a car.  About 11 year ago, I began studying iaido, the way of drawing the Japanese sword and my interest in Japanese swords was rekindled.  I started with a bokuto, then got a few cheaper, made-in-China shinken, then my iaito, and then a few years ago, I picked up a Tozando shinken, which was claimed to be made by a Japanese smith, or at least under Japanese supervision outside of Japan.  Though it's likely my Tozando katana has a decent blade, I still wanted something made in Japan, in the traditional method, by a Japanese smith.

As you can tell, this isn't entirely about having something to pass down to my kid, I have a keen interest in it also.  That being said, someone from the Vancouver Japanese Sword Appreciate Club once told me that none of us actually own a Japanese sword.  We are the keepers for our lifetime, then we pass them on to the next generation. 
 
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According to my sensei, Horinori Inoue, the gendaito pictured here was likely crafted around 50 years ago, it is, on a balance of probabilities authentic and made in Japan by a Japanese smith in the traditional way.  In effect, it is likely made with folded steel and water tempered, and it was made from tamehagane or oroshigane.

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There are no tang stamps (Showa, Naval, Mukden, or Seki etc to indicate a gunto blade) and my sensei tells me that he does not recognize the name of the smith.  A lot of fakes will engrave the names of a famous smiths to boost their perceived value, but a possible indicator of authenticity would be a smith that may not necessarily be famous.  My sword is not certified by NBTHK or NTHK, but I am satisfied that it is a gendaito, and I hope that my kid will appreciate such finely crafted swords as I do.  I haven't decided if I will have it fitted with furniture, but it is something I may consider doing because it is the same dimensions as my practice sword (iaito) coming in at about 2.45 shaku.

The second blade that I acquired from Ron was this otanto.  Again, the blade came in shirasaya as my gendaito did.  Actually, I was hoping to buy only this otanto because he didn't mention that he was thinking about selling his long sword as well.  

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According to my sensei, this blade is likely about 200 years old or so.  The smith's name is known to my sensei, but apparently not famous.  Again, there are no certificates from NBTHK or NTHK, but I trust Ron, as well as the opinion of my sensei

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The tip has a slight chip in it, but it's not catastrophic and can be polished out.

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The two toshin on their own.

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My iaito, though made in Japan, it does not have an edge and is composed of a aluminum-zinc alloy.  It simulates the look, dimensions and feel of a real sword, but made strictly for practing iaido.  Many sword vendors will advertise their Musashi koshirae swords, however after a little research, I have found little evidence of any complete swords with furniture that were owned my Miyamoto Musashi.

Edited by peter
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The last sword I have for this post is my Tozando branded shinken. I purchased this years ago from another classmate.  Apparently, these were made in Germany, fittings from Japan,  The previous owner had an Edo-period tsuba fitted to it, however it seems a bit smallish and may have been meant for a wakizashi rather than katana.

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Hopefully my modest sword collection will stay this way, contrary to my firearms library.  I eventually want to get something older, with certification from NBTHK or NTHK, but I will have to study Japanese swords a lot more to make an educated purchase.  The reason I got the gendaito and the otanto was because they were from a friend at a fantastic price, and it was under the guidance of my sensei.

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Nice. I have a Shinwa Chinese made sword from BudK. Looks cool and will kill zombies but still lacks any authenticity.

http://www.budk.com/Shinwa-Damascus-Steel-Red-Knight-Katana-Sword-Hand-Forged-17668

 

As for authentic Japanese steel... I cook with Shun Premier knives! They're very sharp and delicate so I don't recommend them for the novice chef.

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18 hours ago, TangledThorns said:

Nice. I have a Shinwa Chinese made sword from BudK. Looks cool and will kill zombies but still lacks any authenticity.

http://www.budk.com/Shinwa-Damascus-Steel-Red-Knight-Katana-Sword-Hand-Forged-17668

 

As for authentic Japanese steel... I cook with Shun Premier knives! They're very sharp and delicate so I don't recommend them for the novice chef.

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Nice.  I've got a few kitchen knives from the father-in-law.  Though I'm not familiar with the brands, they work very well.  

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  • 1 month later...

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Just came back from the annual Redneck 3gun championships in Lone Butte, BC.  My second time attending, interesting this time around, shooting a match surrounded by forest fires, lol!

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Anyway, some match pics:

 

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3 hours ago, TangledThorns said:

Nice photos, again! I seriously need to buy a shotgun, especially since I never shot one before. I'm looking at a bullpup design from SKO or other Turkish manufacturer.

Thanks guys!  Yeah, shotguns are awesome, and a lot more fun than I figured they would be.  Most people were running semi-autos at the match, but I want to get proficient at my 870.  It jammed a lot, which was a combination of a few burrs and cheap ammo.  It seems to like Federal, but not Challenger. 

 

Next year, I may use my Versa Max.

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And so it begins.......

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Hey look, a muzzle brake, I think I'll build another rifle with it.  I think the last time that happened was with my Mk18 build. 

 

This time, I'm planning on building a Mk12 Mod 1 (ish) rifle, however I'm really starting off on the wrong foot.  I had a 20" Colt HBAR barrel I wanted to do something with, and for a while, I had a really nice PWS rifle build around it.  It was a great shooter, sub MOA, but it wasn't quite the look I wanted.  I've always liked the Mk12s so I figured I'd part out the rifle, keep the barrel and build a clone around it.

 

This is bad news bears, and it will kill my wallet.

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  • 3 weeks later...

That's how new rifles start. Leftover parts from a previous build demands to be built into something.

 


Went to pick up my 35 MOS today.
Brought exact cash so I wouldn't be tempted to get anything else.

They brought it out and took my IDs.  While I inspected it (and tossed the .40 barrel to install my 357SIG barrel), the guy says, hey, it's your birthday tomorrow.  I said yep, I should be buying a 43 since I'm turning 43 instead of this 35.

So the owner brings out a 43 and tosses it in front of me.  I give him a dirty look and he just smiles.  The owner says, it never fails, you always come for one gun and walk out with two.

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The 35 says USA on slide and frame.  Haven't looked at the 43 yet.

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/4/2017 at 5:45 PM, Chowser said:

That's how new rifles start. Leftover parts from a previous build demands to be built into something.

 


Went to pick up my 35 MOS today.
Brought exact cash so I wouldn't be tempted to get anything else.

They brought it out and took my IDs.  While I inspected it (and tossed the .40 barrel to install my 357SIG barrel), the guy says, hey, it's your birthday tomorrow.  I said yep, I should be buying a 43 since I'm turning 43 instead of this 35.

So the owner brings out a 43 and tosses it in front of me.  I give him a dirty look and he just smiles.  The owner says, it never fails, you always come for one gun and walk out with two.

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The 35 says USA on slide and frame.  Haven't looked at the 43 yet.

Nice!  I still have yet to buy a Glock.  Looks like the Gen 5 is out, so I'll wait to see if there's an IOP (individual officer program) or mil discount on the new ones.  

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The ARMS #22 high rings in 30mm.  For the price, I think I would have preferred a unitized mount, but the parts list calls for these.  They seem well constructed, and pretty solid.  I've had the ARMS M14 mount as well as a few Surefire mounts in the past, so I'm familiar with their quality.  

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The ARMS #22 tactical ring cap.  The place I sourced it from was actually out of rails, so I may just rig any spare rail I have in my parts bin to fit.

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The KAC 600m rear back up sight.  I've had this for ages and never even opened the package until now.

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The Allen Engineering brake and collar.

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My buddy Hermes gave me this A2 fixed buttstock from his spare parts bin.  It's missing some hardware like the screws and sling loop, so I had to order those in.  Also forgot to take a picture of the rifle length buffer and receiver extension.  I'll probably use the A2 until I can find a cheap A1 (shorter LOP)

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I've still got the A2 birdcage on the barrel, but it's only there as a thread protector.  I probably won't mount the Allen Engineering brake and collar until the KAC hand guard shows up.


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The lower from my Mk18 clone that I'm using for test fit.  The KAC SR-15 stripped lowers still haven't been shipped yet, so the lower build will have to wait.  As a note, the Aero Precision upper is a seamless fit to the Colt LE6920 lower.  There is absolutely no wobble whatsoever, as if the upper and lower were machined together.  I hope that the upper fits the same on the KAC lower when it comes in.

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The 600m KAC back up iron sight which may never see any use (along with the uber expensive front sight).  Just very pretty and very expensive decorations on a range toy.  Don't mind me, just grumbling about the price because I'm cheap.  I've actually had to resort to back up iron signs at a 3 gun match last year, so it was definitely better to have them.

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The Badger Ordinance tac latch isn't clone correct, but it was the only charging handle I had in the spare parts bin, so when I get around to it, I'll order a PRI one.

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The ARMS #22 rings mount firmly to the rails,  The torque does not appear to be adjustable as with some other manufactures like American Defense Manufacturing, but they don't really need any adjustment and fit perfectly.

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Using the bubble level set I got from my buddy Collin, I tried my best to match the scope to the rifle.  I basically had the barrel (no hand guard yet) sitting on a large beanbag and carefully tightened the screws while watching the bubbles.

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The torque specs for the ARMS #22 ring screws called for 12-14 inch pounds, which seem awfully low compared to other manufactures, but hey, if that's what is called for, then so be it.  Besides, there's not that much recoil anyway, and once torqued to spec, the scope body doesn't seem like it's going to move.

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As with all the KAC products I've encountered so far, when you open the packaging, you get the feeling they mean business.  Simple cardboard box, no flashy markings.  Inside, the RAS was sealed in a simple plastic bag and the instructions folded neatly underneath.

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The fit and finish is top notch, nothing wobbled, no loose or rattling parts.  It was surprisingly lighter than I expected.  I didn't weigh it, but I had it in my mind that the old style cheese graters would be heavy.  Of course, if you want to start saving grams here and there, you can always go with an M-lok hand guard with no rails (until you install them), and likely for less than half the price of this unit, but then it wouldn't be clone correct.  I know, so OCD.

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Installing the gas tube and gas block is pretty straight forward.

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Next, I installed the Allen Engineering brake and collar.

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The collar has a set screw in it, and for my build, it's really just there for looks.  First, we can't have suppressors for which it is meant to align, and second, my barrel profile isn't correct, so I really have no idea where it's supposed to sit on the barrel.

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I set it just under an inch away from the gas block for now.  I could always move it if necessary.

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The brake came with a standard crush washer.

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Then basically install the brake like any other muzzle device.  With the crush washer, I cranked it 1/8 circle turn at a time, backing off, then cranking forward until the brake was timed properly, with the narrower bridge on top.  The best way to do this is using a cresent wrench with painter's tape wrapped around the the surface of the wrench to prevent scratching the brake.....but I didn't bother with the tape.

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Looking at the side profile, it didn't look right to me.  Compared to pictures of other Mk12 builds, the gap between the collar and the brake was far too much so I relocated it closer to the brake.

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Spin the thread protector back on and this part is done.

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It doesn't look horrendous, but the barrel is clearly two inches too long to be considered a proper clone.

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Next, take those pins and drop them in the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.

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Slip the hand guard over the barrel and fasten the end cap onto the hand guard threads.  I just hand tightened, but I hear there are tools out there to crank it down more.  

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Once it was all together, it felt sturdy with no wiggle whatsoever.  Other free float hand guards I've used in the past were all fastened on with some sort of screws or clamp to the barrel nut.  Well, this design has seen plenty of experience so I have no worries about the design.

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I threw my Patrol on there, which looks slightly off, but at least the rings are somewhat correct, lol!  Also just grabbed a bipod adapter and one of my Champion pivot bipods.  I'll spring for the correct mount and a Harris one day, but I'm not in a hurry for those parts.

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Again, I borrowed the lower from my Mk18 clone just to get an idea of what the thing will look like.  Now all that's left is the stripped lower, A1 stock, and KAC front sight.

I really need to find a cheaper hobby.

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Since all I've ever had was ARs with collapsible butt stocks (with the exception of the 20" PWS built that I tore down to start this project), I wanted something with the traditional fixed butt stock.  It's funny, when I first joined the Reserves, I didn't like the fixed butt stock on the C7A1s, and all I wanted at the time was carbine butt stocks, rails and red dots.  

Anyway, I understand that the LMT SOPMOD stocks have been seen on Mk12s, but I wanted this build to look different than all my other ARs so I started sourcing an A1 or A2 butt stock.  I found an A1 for sale online so I jumped on it, and supposedly it was a Vietnam era Colt, along with a Vietnam era Colt pistol grip.  I had no way of authenticating that these were Vietnam era (perhaps I can get the opinions of the folks from the forum?), but I'd been having an incredibly hard time finding an A1 stock in Canada through any retailers, and even A2 stocks weren't easy to come by.  My buddy Hermes gave me an A2 from his spare parts bin, but it was missing parts, so I took a chance and ordered this A1.

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Well, I found parts for the A2 about the same time I found the A1, so I bought those too, lol!

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So, now I have a complete A2 stock, not sure what brand it is, or the exact model.  If I find out, I'll update this post, but again, maybe someone who sees this will be able to tell just by looking at it?

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Also ordered the KAC Flip Up Front Sight (part #99051) in exchange for my left nut.  $239 for a folding sight I likely will never use considering the status of ARs in Canada (can't shoot on crown land so basically restricted to shooting off a bench at a range), it was a lot of coin to drop in the name of clone building.

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A1 grip that came with the A1 stock.  I already have one of these for my Mk18 clone build, and found that I like it, so I grabbed another, and it was fairly cheap so hard to complain.  I've seen a lot of Mk12 builds with Ergos, and I think I may have one of those laying around in my spare parts bin, but we'll see.

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I think the C mark inside the grip is one way to authenticate that it's Colt?  Someone correct me if I'm wrong.


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So, this is the A1 stock I sourced.  What a POS, lol!  The seller said it was from a Vietnam era rifle, and considering all the rust on it, I find that very possible.  Definitely a chargeable offence if seen during inspection.  

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The plastic seems to have expanded and the rubber butt pad was cracked in some places, but more or less intact. 

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Not sure what the spots are on the A1, probably mildew or some other sort of funky growth.  Not sure what the spots are on the A1, probably mildew or some other sort of funky growth.  I've since hosed it down with some G96 so it's a bit darker, hiding the splotches, and it smells nice now.

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The newer A2 stock on the left and the A1 on the right.  I have no idea how to tell if it's a real Colt butt stock as the seller claimed.

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A comparison of the butt pad.  The A2 came with a trap door for an AR tool kit, and it seems to be in excellent working order.  The inside appears to be simple hard foam of some sort.

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I don't think I have the skills to salvage this thing.  I gave it a squirt of G96 so instead of a bright red rust color, it's now a a dark red rust color.

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I swear they dug this stock out from the bottom of some swamp somewhere in Southeast Asia.

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Comparison of the three fixed butt stocks I have now.  I'll probably end up using the A2 stock.  I really liked my PRS stock when it was on my PWS build, and though it makes total sense to use it, but my OCD is not giving me the nod of approval.  And though I've heard some people prefer the A1 because of the shorter length of pull, I'm not sure I want to use that swamp donkey of a stock.  I'll try to clean it up and see if I can get that thing to look a little better.

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So I threw the A2 onto my LE6920 lower (from my Mk18 build) just to see what the assembled rifle would look like with a fixed stock.  I found the length of pull acceptable actually, so I may not even need the A1 stock.  Another consideration was eye relief of the scope.  Since I'm running a non-clone correct scope, it may have different eye-relief than a clone correct scope.  With the Patrol, I found it had very forgiving eye relief and I don't need my face right up to it to see.

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From the side, the rifle looks pretty long.  With the 20" barrel and the A2 stock, it actually is quite a bit longer than your typical Mk12 build.  This is probably painfully obvious to the seasoned clone builder, but to the uninformed, I think it probably doesn't look too bad.

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Pic with my other 20" AR.  

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I'm not calling this build done, but it's pretty damn close (for me), and I am very satisfied with how it looks compared to what I had previously.  There was nothing wrong with the PWS set up I had before, and it was a shooter, but I just wanted something that looked different.  I kept the barrel from it because it produced sub MOA groups, but the heart of a proper Mk12 clone is the 18" Douglas barrel, so I may get one eventually, or just be content that I have something close.

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Do any of you on here have experience with the M249 SAW? To make a long story short, I'm trying to figure out if you can simultaneously put a belt on and have a magazine inserted. Not the belt with the drum attached that blocks the access port for the magazine, but just the belt. Like what mechanism, if any, does the SAW use to distinguish/prioritize one feed from the other.

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14 minutes ago, kajnrig said:

Do any of you on here have experience with the M249 SAW? To make a long story short, I'm trying to figure out if you can simultaneously put a belt on and have a magazine inserted. Not the belt with the drum attached that blocks the access port for the magazine, but just the belt. Like what mechanism, if any, does the SAW use to distinguish/prioritize one feed from the other.

I have experience with the C9 and C9A2, which is similar to the M249, but I'm going to be honest, I have no clue

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I haven't touched one since basic, but maybe this image will help?

440px-Evers_M249SAW&_FN_Minimi_feeding.s

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11 minutes ago, kajnrig said:

Do any of you on here have experience with the M249 SAW? To make a long story short, I'm trying to figure out if you can simultaneously put a belt on and have a magazine inserted. Not the belt with the drum attached that blocks the access port for the magazine, but just the belt. Like what mechanism, if any, does the SAW use to distinguish/prioritize one feed from the other.

A quick youtube search would have given you your answer. No, the weapon cannot be double loaded; it would create a double feed if the bolt could even move at all. The magazine well inserts at sharper angle to place the rounds at roughly the same place as the belt would.  The whole point behind the M249s is that if belt ammo is expended the LMG is not out of the fight. 

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48 minutes ago, peter said:

Calling it done for now.  At least until I get my SR-15 stripped lower for this thing and my Mk18 can have it's lower back:)

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Awesome clone, given legal issues!  I haven't attempted any clone builds, yet; I always get sidetracked with what else I could build for the money. Was planning an A2 clone, that went sideways and turned into an "updated" version of what an A2 might be today: flat-top upper with detachable carry handle, A.R.M.s gas block/front folding sight, Rock River Arms A2 free float tube with Magpul furniture gutted to fit around it.  Presently at a cross roads on current build; 10.5" pistol or just get the stamp and go SBR in .300 blackout. Patience has never been a virtue of mine.

 

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1 hour ago, Wolf-1 said:

Awesome clone, given legal issues!  I haven't attempted any clone builds, yet; I always get sidetracked with what else I could build for the money. Was planning an A2 clone, that went sideways and turned into an "updated" version of what an A2 might be today: flat-top upper with detachable carry handle, A.R.M.s gas block/front folding sight, Rock River Arms A2 free float tube with Magpul furniture gutted to fit around it.  Presently at a cross roads on current build; 10.5" pistol or just get the stamp and go SBR in .300 blackout. Patience has never been a virtue of mine.

 

Pics!

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1 hour ago, Wolf-1 said:

A quick youtube search would have given you your answer. No, the weapon cannot be double loaded; it would create a double feed if the bolt could even move at all. The magazine well inserts at sharper angle to place the rounds at roughly the same place as the belt would.  The whole point behind the M249s is that if belt ammo is expended the LMG is not out of the fight. 

I wasn't asking about double loading per se, though that is part of the question as well. When you equip a drum, the drum blocks access to the magazine well, making it physically impossible to insert a magazine. I was asking about just a belt and a magazine, whether it was possible to insert both at the same time (without necessarily pulling the charging handle to load a round into the chamber).

I wondered what, if any, mechanism the SAW had to stop you from inserting multiple ammo feeds like that. Maybe when you insert into one or the other, the insertion moves a pin that physically blocks the other entrance. Or maybe, as you suggested, the bolt would refuse to move at all until you cleared one opening. I wondered if it might have a way of telling which one was inserted first, then when that one is depleted it switches to the other feed. (Judging by peter's picture, it looks like it doesn't.)

The Youtube videos I looked up didn't address this question.

But I think I have the answer, at least the theoretical one: You can insert both, but the moment you go to load a round, if you CAN load a round, you get a double feed malfunction and failure to fire. Thanks for the help, you two.

Edited by kajnrig
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1 minute ago, kajnrig said:

I wasn't asking about double loading per se, though that is part of the question as well. When you equip a drum, the drum blocks access to the magazine well, making it physically impossible to insert a magazine. I was asking about just a belt and a magazine, whether it was possible to insert both at the same time (without necessarily pulling the charging handle to load a round into the chamber).

I wondered what, if any, mechanism the SAW had to stop you from inserting multiple ammo feeds like that. Maybe when you insert into one or the other, the insertion moves a pin that physically blocks the other entrance. Or maybe, as you suggested, the bolt would refuse to move at all until you cleared one opening. I wondered if it might have a way of telling which one was inserted first, then when that one is depleted it switches to the other feed. (Judging by peter's picture, it looks like it doesn't.)

The Youtube videos I looked up didn't address this question.

But I think I have the answer, at least the theoretical one: You can insert both, but the moment you go to load a round, if you CAN load a round, you get a double feed malfunction and failure to fire. Thanks for the help, you two.

Now I'm curious myself.  I might have some range time with the C9 in about two weeks.  If I do, I'll take some pics and post my findings.

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23 minutes ago, kajnrig said:

I wasn't asking about double loading per se, though that is part of the question as well. When you equip a drum, the drum blocks access to the magazine well, making it physically impossible to insert a magazine. I was asking about just a belt and a magazine, whether it was possible to insert both at the same time (without necessarily pulling the charging handle to load a round into the chamber).

I wondered what, if any, mechanism the SAW had to stop you from inserting multiple ammo feeds like that. Maybe when you insert into one or the other, the insertion moves a pin that physically blocks the other entrance. Or maybe, as you suggested, the bolt would refuse to move at all until you cleared one opening. I wondered if it might have a way of telling which one was inserted first, then when that one is depleted it switches to the other feed. (Judging by peter's picture, it looks like it doesn't.)

The Youtube videos I looked up didn't address this question.

But I think I have the answer, at least the theoretical one: You can insert both, but the moment you go to load a round, if you CAN load a round, you get a double feed malfunction and failure to fire. Thanks for the help, you two.

About 30 secs in your question is answered unless I'm hearing the FN Rep wrong. "One or the other; both will cause a malfunction."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB_D5RGDfuY

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15 minutes ago, Wolf-1 said:

About 30 secs in your question is answered unless I'm hearing the FN Rep wrong. "One or the other; both will cause a malfunction."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB_D5RGDfuY

Yeah, that was the first video I saw, and yes, it kind of answers the question very vaguely, but I was hoping for a more in-depth answer.

EDIT:

Though I suppose the malfunction could itself be considered the mechanism by which the system discourages double feeds.

Edited by kajnrig
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