Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Deer Hunting with the AR-15

In recent years, many states have begun to allow hunters to use the AR-15 (or modern sporting rifle) in .223/5.56 for firearms season deer hunting.  It makes sense since it is currently one of the most popular weapon platforms and is well suited for hunting medium size game animals.  Since the season is quickly approaching, we will use this post to give information on products from DTI and other manufacturers that can help make using your AR for hunting a successful endeavor.

Expanded Barnes TSX
Online blogs and forums are full of debates regarding the practicality of the this caliber for deer hunting. Making a quick, accurate, humane "kill" should be a priority for anyone who hunts.  Ammunition manufacturers produce cartridges that will ensure this goal is acheived with proper shot placement.  "Solid" bullets like the Barnes TSX and Hornady GMX are great choices and can allow hunters to use an even lighter weight bullet than is typically used for deer in this caliber because of their reliable expansion and very high weight retention.  Older, but proven bullets with reliable expansion (like the Nosler Partition) are also a good choice for hunting with your AR-15.  Shot placement and knowing the limits of range for your weapon and skill set are more important than ammo choice, but ammunition selections like these are a great contribution to confidence in the field.

Any of the rifles in the DTI product line can be successfully used as a quality deer hunting rifle.  Even economical, "base" models like the DT Sport have the features necessary for filling your tag.  Clicking on the highlighted "DT Sport" above will take you to a related article from a recent, major periodical about hunting with the DT Sport model.

Depending on the environment in which you hunt, "iron sights" may be all thats needed, but an optic will allow you to confidently extend the range of your rifle.  DTI offers optics from EOTech, Aimpoint, and Trijicon that have been proven useful in both tactical and hunting applications.  If you choose to use a magnified scope, keep in mind that it may be necessary to use a riser or taller rings on the flat top picatinny rails in order to have a sight picture with which you are comfortable.  The standard AR front sight base might be visible in the optic's sight picture (depending on the position of the mounted scope and its magnification) and some hunters may find this distracting.  Most "red-dot" or holographic optics are designed so that this is not problematic; they position the dot on the front sight and tend not to disrupt target acquisition.  Purchasing and installing a "gas block" to replace the front sight base can alleviate this concern completely. Gas blocks with a rail or flip up sight on them will still allow use of iron sights, should that be necessary.

If you would like to add a dimension of "camo" to your hunting AR-15, alternate color choices for stocks, handguards, and grips are available at DTI that can make the "black rifle" a little more subtle in the woods.  These parts are available in colors like Olive Drab and Flat Dark Earth and can help your AR blend into most hunting environments. 

It is important to check the laws in your state regarding the minimum caliber for deer hunting, magazine capacity restrictions, and for other regulations that may determine if or how you can use your AR-15 rifle for hunting deer and other animals. Thanks for reading our blog.  If you have any questions about the parts and rifles we produce and sell, or anything about the AR-15 in general, please contact us.  We hope you have a successful and safe hunting season!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Flash Hiders, Compensators, & Muzzle Brakes

Its a very small part on the rifle, but a proper muzzle device can enhance your weapon in practical and aestheic ways.  There are three main types of muzzle devices for the AR-15: Flash Suppressors, Compensators, & Muzzle Brakes.  While there are some differences of opinion on what qualifies a muzzle device to "fit" in the mentioned categories, and manufacturers sometimes blur the defining line even more, we will use this opportunity to define each category as best we can and show what DTI offers for those interested in selecting the best device for their weapon.  As with any part you choose for your rifle, your application (how you will use the weapon most of the time) should be the determining factor.

Vltor A1 Flash Hider

Flash hiders or flash suppressors do reduce the muzzle flash in comparison to a plain muzzle or most muzzle brakes.  Depending on the style, they may or may not offer benefits in reducing "muzzle climb" (when rounds are fired, the muzzle of the barrel tends to rise off target).  Models with vents on the top of the device would be best at providing this benefit. A1 flash hiders have vents all the way around the device, while A2 flash hiders have vents only on the top of the device. DTI offers these standard flash hiders as well as popular models from manufacturers likeVltor and Yankee Hill Machine.

YHM Phantom 5C2 Compensator

Compensators almost always have features like a heavier weight or vents positioned to fight muzzle rise.  Due to their design, they may not reduce the flash signature as well as flash hiders, but they still reduce it better than a plain muzzle or a muzzle brake.  Their main benefit is to reduce muzzle rise and keep the weapon on target for fast follow up shots.  Some people consider the standard A2 flash hider to actually fall more into the compensator category of muzzle devices, and there is some merit to this when one considers the design.  Like many current muzzle devices, the YHM Phantom 5C2 compensator pictured here has a crenulated end for use as an impact weapon.

Troy Medieval Muzzle Brake
Muzzle brakes are designed to reduce recoil.  This is typically accomplished by venting the gas that follows the bullet out of the muzzle in a sideways or rearward direction.  The vents or ports are designed to direct the gas in this manner and as a result, flash signature and noise are significantly increased with most muzzle brakes.  This directing of the gas or blast can also provide the benefit of fighting muzzle rize and keeping the weapon on target. 

Some states are still "under" the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, and a muzzle brake is the only allowed device.  It is usually required that these be pinned and welded (permanently attached) as well.  Local gun retailers or your state's Department of Justice website should have information as to what is required in your locality.  Many muzzle devices like most in the YHM line are also long enough to make a 14.5" barrel a legal 16" if pinned and welded so a prospective owner can have a shorter barrel without violating NFA laws and registering the weapon as a SBR (short barreled rifle).

Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about muzzle devices, the parts and weapons we sell, or anything about the AR-15 rifle please feel free to contact us.