Sunday, June 14, 2015

Midwest Industries 30MM AK Variant Side Mount

There are many out there who are quite fine without adding a red dot to their AK variant and there are many out there who see the benefit of adding a red dot, which allows for quicker target acquisition & a larger FOV when shooting with both eyes open. Once an individual settles on the fact they want to run a red dot/optic, they then enter the world of options, of which there are many. In my case I had a shelved Aimpoint PRO and required a 30mm mount for my Arsenal SGL 31. My main options were offerings from RS, GG&G, and Midwest Industries, all great companies with excellent products. I decided to go with the Midwest Industries mount because it centers well on Saiga variants, which is what my SGL 31 is built on, and is a robust mount with very few possible points of failure. The MI 30mm mount comes in at around $115 shipped and features:

- Hardcoat anodized 6061 aluminum & melonite coated steel construction
- Patented ADM Auto Lock System for no tool adjustment and repeat zero locking
- Weight 6.4 oz
- 100% made in the USA with lifetime warranty

The mount comes with a hex wrench for the mounting screws and nothing else, simple, just the way I like it.
[Click on images to enlarge]

[1] Checking Fitment of the MI Mount

Before you proceed, visually & physically inspect your firearm's chamber to ensure it is clear/safe before working with it.

The first step to installation is to slide the mount onto your AK's receiver side rail, scope mount to check the fit and to see if it needs to be adjusted. Release the ADM lock button, flip the lever into the open position,  and slide the MI mount onto the receiver side rail. 

Next, flip the ADM lock back into the locked position. If it doesn't want to move into the locked position it is because the tension is too tight . Do not attempt to force it, it needs to be adjusted.

If the lever does go into place, lock it down. Now push from the front of the mount toward the buttstock of the AK to see if you get any movement. If the ADM mount locks into position and the mount is solid, no adjustment is necessary, but if the ADM lock cannot lock-out because the mounting mechanism is too tight or the mount is loose and starts to slide back & off the receiver side rail, then you need to adjust the mounting mechanism.

[2] Adjusting the MI Mount

Adjustment is very easy.  Remove the mount if it is still attached to your AK variant. Take the mount and depress the ADM lever while it is in the unlocked position. Keeping it pressed in, rotate the adjustment nut on the opposite end one position or one flat either clockwise or counter-clockwise to either loosen it or tighten it. It takes only a slight rotation to adjust for correct fitment.

Repeat the steps from section [1] until the mount locks on firmly and easily.

[3] Mounting Your Optic

Once you have correctly adjusted the MI side mount to fit the receiver's side rail, leave it in place on the receiver. If you haven't done so already, remove the screws & the top mounting bracket with the supplied hex wrench. Place your optic in the mount, put the bracket back on, and lightly tighten the screws into place, do not tighten them down. Now you want to verify everything is fitting correctly before committing to the installation.  

For the Aimpoint PRO, the plastic objective cover was contacting the dustcover. As seen below, the easiest solution was to remove some material from the flip cover. I used an Xacto blade and was not overly concerned by the appearance.

I remounted the Aimpoint and removed the dust cover to verify adequate clearance. 

With everything fitting correctly, it was time to bring out the Blue (removable) Loctite. 

Loctite was applied to the screws and they were lightly reinstalled. 

With the screws lightly installed with Loctite, I verified the optic was level, both with a small bubble level and by eye. The problem with the Aimpoint PRO was there wasn't a flat surface area to get a good reading on the bubble level, so I really had to eyeball it by making sure the planes were parallel as seen in the picture above (click on image to enlarge).

Bring out the torque wrench! Yes, you want to use a torque wrench as you never want to just tighten your optic down into place without knowing the correct torque specs. Anyone who says to just tighten it down "monkey tight" is not someone you want advice from. For the MI mount it is between 15 (minimum)- 20 (max) in/lbs. 

Crisscross tighten the screws into place, slightly tighten one screw down, go to the opposite and diagonal screw, tighten it slightly, etc.... You're done with the install.

[4] Zero Your optic

Sight picture: the irons have a low 1/3 cowitness, perfect IMO, because I can adjust based on my DOPE with hold overs and without any obstruction, specifically, the fixed front sight.  

I took my SGL 31 to a local indoor range and confirmed my zero. The first target I fired at was set at 15 yds and was very high & to the right. I adjusted my optic accordingly. I then set the target out at 25yds and confirmed my zero with a 3 shot group, as seen above. 

Final notes. Will it return to zero? Yes, the MI 30mm mount has a near perfect return to zero (nope, I don't have an MOA calculation in difference) for the Aimpoint PRO. In my previous post (LINK) about cleaning a firearm after a range session using corrosive ammo, I completely removed the red dot prior to cleaning. A week later during my following range session I reconfirmed my zero and the group was exactly the same as the target pictured above. The MI mount is very dependable and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cleaning: Corrosive Ammo

In my previous post I'm running my SGL 31 and fired approximately 250 rnds of 7N6 (corrosive milsurp) and about 60 rnds of Silver Bear (non-corrosive commercial) during the course of the day. After running corrosive in a firearm I make it a priority once I get home to clean that particular weapon ASAP.

Before proceeding, first & foremost, clear your firearm! Visually and physical inspect the chamber to ensure it is safe.

[1] Remove Accessories & Strip Down Your Firearm

Remove any accessories that do not require any cleaning as a result of firing corrosive ammo and place them aside.

After stripping down your AKM, release the hammer forward with your fingers. Place all parts in a bucket or a dirty garage sink (as pictured below). Avoid using your bathtub, unless you are a bachelor, because your wife shall hath fury unlike anything you've seen before. 

[2] Boiling Water

Boiling water is the key to removing corrosive primer salts. I will address the use of Windex/ammonia in my final notes at the end of this post. While stripping down your AKM, put the kettle on. 

After the water has boiled, pour it over the internals, down the barrel, through the gastube, and over all affected parts. Use all of the water and immediately remove the parts after dousing. Use caution, as the parts will be hot!

Next I place all the parts on a towel, preferably outside in the sun, and dry off any excess water with a rag or paper towels. If you have any compressed air, this is an excellent way to disperse pockets of water. Additionally, this is the only time you'll want to use WD40 on your firearm. WD stands for "water displacement". Apply and wipe away any residue if used.

After wiping down and drying off the water I discovered orange, corrosive build-up on my muzzle brake, muzzle, and inside the gas tube (as seen below). I ultimately had to do a second boiling water rinse to ensure I effectively removed the corrosive salts.

[3] Let the Scub Down Begin!

Bring out the brass brushes, your preferred lubricant (Breakfree CLP being mine), Hoppes 9, nitrile gloves, paper towels, the bore snake, anything that will get the job done. The corrosive salts have been removed with the boiling hot water rinse, now to clear away excess carbon and lubricate your firearm.

Below are a series of pics on how I usually clean the gastube out. I'll first apply some CLP on the interior, then shove some paper towel in, pushing it through with a wooden dowel (that is thin enough to go all the way through, but not so thin it punches through the paper towel). When that paper towel exits you'll find a good helping of carbon build-up. This is a non issue when using/firing non-corrosive ammo, but it is part of my cleaning regiment after using corrosive.

Below I use a brass brush to break down the heavy carbon build-up on the muzzle & the muzzle brake.

Everything gets wiped down with CLP, applying heavily and then wiping away the excess while leaving a noticeable but fine layer as a corrosive inhibitor and lubricant.

The barrel is usually cleaned last with a bore snake. Insert the brass weight into the chamber & down the bore, then pull straight out of the muzzle. Do not pull it out at an angle as it will generate uneven wear on the crown. Always pull straight out when using a boresnake. I usually only do 2-3 runs and inspect the bore to ensure no debris remains and then call it good.

[4] Reassembly

After everything is cleaned & lubed, most of the parts will go right back into place upon reassembly without any additional attention. If you did want to take the cleaning process one more step, you could break down the bolt and give it a thorough cleaning. Additionally, if you use grease on your rails or FCG, check that it is still there and reapply if necessary. Another corrosion inhibitor I use is called Corrosive-X (LINK). I have used it many times in the past when storing a firearm, especially a firearm that uses corrosive ammo or any firearm that is exhibiting any sign of rust or corrosion. 

I decided to use some anti-seize copper compound on the AK74 muzzle brake as it was a bitch to remove with all the carbon that had built up. I have actually never used it on my muzzle brake, but will test it out to see if there is a difference or added benefit.

Above is a pic of the interior of the muzzle brake with excessive carbon build-up prior to cleaning.

Post clean with an application of anti-seize copper compound.

Reassembled and ready for action or, rather, the safe in this case.

Final notes. Let's discuss the use of Windex/ammonia. First, please read Krieger's advice on the use of ammonia (LINK):

Some copper solvents contain a high percentage of ammonia. This makes them a great copper solvent, but if left in the bore too long, can damage/corrode the steel. Do not leave these chemicals in a bore any longer than 10-15 minutes MAXIMUM! DO NOT EVER use straight ammonia to clean a barrel.

Now, if you do use Windex & it works for you, by all means, continue using it, but at least know that you may be damaging the lifespan of your barrel. Boiling water works just fine when washing away the corrosive primer salts.