Lots of New Things!

I have a number of things from the last week or so to share with folks who are interested…

First up, while I was at SHOT in Vegas, Karl and I had the chance to join Tim from the Military Arms Channel to do a bit of machine gun shooting at Battlefield Vegas. We didn’t have time to really delve into the mechanics of the guns, but it was still a fun time. I got my first chance to shoot a PM-63! Click below to see the full video:

Shooting at Battlefield Vegas

I also was invited to be a guest on the We Like Shooting podcast, along with Karl. It was interesting, as they have a panel of no less than five regular hosts – but we had a fun time talking about a wide variety of gun stuff. You can check the episode out in both audio and video formatย  (not much video of me though; I was having some bandwidth issues on my connection): We Like Shooting Episode 77 – Gone But Not Forgotten.

We also posted a review of the relatively new Masterpiece Arms MPAR-556 Gen II rifle. What makes it interesting to me is that it is mechanically a copy of the Leader T2 rifle, designed by Charles St. George. That rifle, in turn, is a takeoff from the Armalite AR-18, which was a design that never did all that well itself, but was the basis for more than a few designs adopted by major military forces (including the H&K G36 and the British L85/SA-80). The Leader itself was a really attractive (in my opinion, at least) approach to making a simple an inexpensive rifle that didn’t sacrifice the really important elements of a rifle. It had a reliable operating system, good aperture sights, and handled very nicely. Unfortunately, the MPAR-556 didn’t really live up to its progenitor in our testing. If you are interested, here is a whole slew of material on various elements of the story:

InRange TV formal review of the MPAR-556 (20 minutes long, with plenty of shooting, comparison with the Leader, analysis, and conclusions)

Just the split-screen match footage of Karl and I shooting the MPAR-556 against each other

Footage from when I ran a Leader T2 through the 2-Gun match back in 2013

Disassembly and explanation of the Leader T2

My interview with the Leader’s designer, Charles St. George

I should add that after the video review published, we were approached by Phil Cashin, President of Masterpiece Arms. We had a productive conversation, and he is going to resolve the problems we had with the rifle and send us a new version to try out (including a lightened handguard, I was happy to hear).

What I was not expecting to hear was that apparently it was my own video on the T2 (linked above) that was the initial inspiration for Masterpiece Arms to add the MPAR-556 to their product line! That’s pretty cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lastly, I wanted to mention that starting tomorrow, I will be posting a series of videos on some of the guns at Rock Island’s next auction (February 19th-22nd). This is the first time I’ve done video there in association with a Regional auction, and it is worth pointing out that those work a bit differently that the Premier auctions. Most of the lots in the Regionals include multiple guns, and if you want any one of them you have to bid on the whole batch. That can be good or bad depending on the situation, but it’s something some folks might not realize at first. I should also point out that the videos will be available at Full30.com for subscribers there two days before they appear on the blog.

I should also note that a bunch of you have suggested that I look into the James D. Julia auctions, and I have. They have an auction coming up about a month after RIA’s, and I will be heading there to check out some of the guns they have. While the companies don’t always get along well with each other (they are competitors, after all), I am very happy to be working with both now, because it lets me bring you guys the treasure troves of fantastic guns that both auction houses wind up with.


  1. Pity their Madsen LMG seems to be persistently out of action – no go last year, and again this year. That’s one of the few things they had there that I didn’t shot before ๐Ÿ™‚ After scratching MG 13 and MG 15 off the virgin list last year, that is. The Ruger MP-9 also seems to be a teaser only, but their Hotchkiss Type Universe (a French ‘Transformer’-style folding SMG of the 1950s) is OK to shoot.

    • I didn’t see a Madsen…did try the Turkish M1922/24/26 (not sure exactly which) Hotchkiss LMG, but it was having issues. The Universal had a broken firing pin and was out of action. ๐Ÿ™

  2. I approve the choice of the RAK! Though I was a little disappointed you didn’t try the inertia method to rack it, as it’s even more unusual than pressing the front of the slide on something.

  3. While it may have been well designed (being based on the AR18, which I’ve always like better than the 15) I remember the Leaders that made it to the US had a lot of problems. A range buddy of mine in the mid-80s swore that the Leader was banned from import at the request of law enforcement officers who were tired of shooting criminals that they thought were armed, but it turned out they just had a jammed Leader.

  4. This is material for several articles to tell you truth, each on its own. Shooting in Nevada… well it has to be fun! Bang for the Buck, for sure.

    I saw this video on “masterpiece” beforehand so….. oh well. Nova-days fashion seem to be to call things German. Scheisse-stuck might fit. I paid attention to light tap issue and saw that slim trigger… hm, something to learn here.

  5. Really enjoyed your in-depth review of the MPAR-556. I hope you and Karl do more stuff like that, especially since it puts the guns in more adverse conditions than they’d normally see in typical review testing. I’d be especially interested in seeing you guys test a TriStar Tec-12, since it’s a clone of the Benelli M3, which seems to have been forgotten/ignored by the entire firearms industry, given how hard it is to find parts to make it 922r compliant.

  6. I am encouraged by Mr. Cashin’s response. Hopefully they can turn the product around because it is quite an interesting idea in a market flooded with ARs.

    • Yes, and so much more is surprising (up to so far at lest) their lax attitude. To send something untested into market reminds me of early Chinese consumer production, some 20 years back.

  7. Having heard the podcast you linked to, I really wish there was a way to find that paper you did on 3D printed guns. That’s a topic of interest for me and I’d imagine your paper would rate higher on the informative and interesting to read scale than most papers I’ve read.

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