Thursday, May 17, 2018

Diamondback Truck Bed Cover Review

Securing your firearms while traveling can be a nerve racking thing.  All serious gun owners avoid calculating the total investment spent on their guns and accessories and will never tell their spouse what the actual value is.  On my last three pickup trucks I've used tonneau covers to secure my "items".  So on my latest truck, when it was time to select a bed cover I went with the Diamond Back cover over the traditional fiberglass covers I previously used.

Browning 1919, machinegun, 1919, beltfed, texasnative00, predator hunting, coyote, hunting, nictaylor00, texas

What immediately attracted me to the Diamondback cover was the rugged look and the ability to support a claimed 400 pounds.  This is a great feature for me, since we usually stand on the side beds of our trucks or tonneau covers to fill deer feeders on our Texas deer leases.  Standing on a color matched tonneau cover is not the best thing to do since the paint can be easily scratched and the weight of a full grown adult plus 50 pound bags of corn can damage the cover.

Constructed of diamond plate aluminum, the Diamondback can be purchased in either a glossy bare metal finish or a black spray on finish.  I selected the black finish since it goes better with my grey 2017 Toyota Tundra.  I was assured by the sales person on the phone that the spray on coating would hold up over time.  The coating is claimed to be the highest quality spray on coating you can get when it comes to spray in bed liner material.  I've seen so many truck beds with chalky bed liners degrading in the elements that I can only hope Diamondback is correct with this claim.  Only time will tell, and having mine for year now at the time I write this review, it shows no sign of degradation.

I selected the DiamondBackSE model due to the door panel configuration.  Other models like the 270 and 180 are geared more for tool boxes and I would mainly be hauling guns and ammo.  I passed on the HD (Heavy Duty) version of the cover since I would not need the extra strength and the additional $400 up-charge for the HD.

Being a dude, I still have a collection of tools that are used on a semi-regular basis but not for my occupation where half my truck is tools.  So I ordered the SIDE BOXES tool boxes for my bed cover.  The side boxes are small and mount up above the bed so they do not take up any floor space.  For me they provide the perfect amount of space for my tools and tie down straps.
tools, gunsmith, shooting range, diamondback, side box, toyota, tundra, bed cover, tonneau, secure, weapons

LED lighting, truck lights, tool box, bed cover, mounting, clamps
The cover went on very easy for one person.  The SE model is in 3 panels, two doors and one mid section that clamps to the bed rail of your truck.  The mid section is the only section that requires tools to install and remove.  The door panels come off easy and weigh around 40 pounds each.  Having the ability to remove the door panels is a huge plus for me.  When you need to haul something tall, they can be removed by just one person.  My last fiber glass cover required another adult to help and then the problem of storing the huge cover without scratching the paint was a problem.

Since the mid section is relatively permanent, I figured it would be a great place to mount some lighting.  These bed covers are really dark on those early morning hunts when you are trying to gear up before the sun rises.  I found some water proof LED light strips on the web that run on 12VDC and figured they would be perfect for the 12V electrical system on the truck.  Since my Tundra had bed lights already (I wanted more), it was easy to tap into the bed lighting wiring so the new LED strip lights come on at the same time.  Click HERE to see a link to the LED lighting I used. 

I installed the cover in the summer sun and had to use gloves to handle the metal panels.  The silver under side was impossible to touch with bare hands while adjusting the fit.  Once closed up, the summer heat and sun heated the contents of the bed as if it was in the cab of the truck.  As mentioned my last bed covers were fiber glass with carpet on the underside.  Over heating was not an issue with that design.

My other issue was the middle panel on the SE model that clamps to the side of your bed.  I must have over tightened the bolts since the two folding doors sit up at an angle and prove difficult to close and get a good water tight seal (see pics).  This must be a common theme since I see pretty much every other Diamond Back cover on the road looking the same.
Toyota, tundra, bed cover, tonneau, diamond, plating, aluminum, texasnative00, nictaylor00, BF Good, KO2, Tires

The locking rods have a plastic sleeve on the ends where they engage the under side of the truck bed.  In order to get the door panels to seal nicely, you have to get the end of these rods snug against the bed rail.  In my case the rubber sleeve slides off the rod just enough to not allow the door panel to open.  In some cases the rubber sleeve slide all the way off and would not stay on (see pics).  Getting these rods just right can be difficult.  Once they are adjusted you are good to go.  BUT once you put some weight on the bed cover, the door panels tend to flex some and cause the adjustment of those rods to change.  Not a super big deal since you can open the door panel and grab the corners and flex the panel back with your hands.
diamondback, bed cover, install, adjustment, assemble, truck bed
diamondback, bed cover, install, adjustment, assemble, truck bed

I tend to focus on the negative aspects as I see it since you assume the product marketing fanfare is all true.  With that said, I can stand on this cover with confidence knowing that I will not jack anything up.  Locking up my gear (mostly guns) in such a secure cover gives me piece of mind, knowing my weapons and gear are secure when I stop at that road side cafe after a day at the range.

Out of 5 stars I give it 4 just because of the negatives I mentioned above.  And as long as you can live with the negative points I mentioned, I think you will not be disappointed.  I would recommended this cover to others with my main complaint being the heating of the contents.  So far no ammo has cooked off in the Texas heat.

texasnative00, nictaylor00, hunting, predator hunting, coyote hunting, machinegun, 1919, beltfed, browning 1919, tripod, diamondback, bed cover, texas

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bump Stock "Slide Fire" Bump Fire Stock Review

bump stock slidefire slide fire machinegun las vegas ar15 ar-15 bumpfire
Originally posted on YouTube in 2013 as an informational video, it was removed from the server by the company after the Las Vegas Shooting in October 2017, citing that the video promotes violence. This video only speaks to the operation and installation of the right handed version of the slidefire stock for the AR15 and is purely educational. In the video you can expect an honest review hitting on both the positive and negative aspects of the device along with simple operating instructions.

In my opinion, the stock is a fun device to have in your collection. However it can burn through ammunition quickly and drive up your shooting budget. Operating the stock takes some practice which translates into even more rounds sent down range and less money in your pocket. When shooting, you need to focus on the forward pressure on the upper. Too much or too little will cause the rifle to stop firing. The pressure on the upper in conjunction with attempting to keep your sights on target create more things to think about that when shooting semi auto rifles and carbines. In-fact I find shooting the bump stock more cumbersome than shooting a full blown Class 3 Machine gun. But with the price tag associated with a civilian buying a legal fully automatic gun, the bumpsfire stock is as close as you can get for a great price.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Epic 3-Gun Competition Hosted by

The AR15 Targets "Epic 3-Gun" match was a high round count, fast paced shooting event where the competitors used all three guns on most of the five stages. My weapons of choice for this match was my M4 style AR15 with pinned 14.5 inch barrel outfitted with an Aimpoint red dot. My shotgun was my Remington 1100 12gauge with a 4 round extension tube for a total of 9 rounds in the gun. My sidearm was my trusty Beretta 92f in 9mm loaded with 15 round magazines. Below are the videos of the match using self filming and POV methods to give you that First Person Shooter FPS feel. Following the videos are a few photos from the match including the written stage descriptions and photo of my billet lower from the prize table.

The match itself was held in Marble Falls Texas at Hidden Falls Adventure Park where the hosting shooting range is located. Copperhead Creek Shooting Club was the hosting range and they provided some very nice shooting bays and an extremely well kept club house complete with air conditioning. Hidden Falls Adventure Park is known for it's off road attractions where 4-wheel drive enthusiast can put their vehicle to the test on the 2100 acre park with miles of trails.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Clay Targets "on a stick"
Remington 1100, Nictaylor00, 3gun, 3-gun, multigun, 3-gun nation, 12 gauge, epic 3-gun

Grounding the Shotgun
Remington, Remington 1100, 1100, 12ga, 12 gauge, shotgun, autoloader, nictaylor00, 3-gun, 3gun, multigun, copperhead shooting club

Stage 3 began with a helicopter ride in an MD-500 provided by HELIGUNNER
MD-500, hog hunting, aerial shooting, extraction, insertion, special forces, nictaylor00, heligunner, ar15targets, ar15

Lunch for the match was included in your entry fee and was brought to the stage you were shooting at lunch time. My stage happened to be the helicopter stage so lunch was flown in. A true "Air Drop"
MD-500, hog hunting, aerial shooting, extraction, insertion, special forces, nictaylor00, heligunner, ar15targets, ar15

The view from the business end of my M4 carbine.
M4, AR15, AR-15, nictaylor00, aimpoint, red dot, reflex site, 556, 223, 3gun, 3-gun, multigun, POV, FPS, match, competition

Stage 4 had an array of steel poppers mixed in the trees. They proved more difficult that I expected but my Beretta 92f did the job.
9mm, nictaylor00, m9, 92f, 92fs, double tap, fps, pov, pistol, shooting, engage, multiple targets

Stage 5 was a bunch of shotgun with arial targets. You never know how your stage will go so you always bring extra shotgun shells.
Remington 1100, blackwater, armband, 12gauge, nictaylor00, shotgun, california competion works, belt, gear, rounds, shotgun shells, arrial targets, clay pigeons, activator

This is one of the poppers that flipped up a clay pigeon when hit.
steel popper, ar15 targets, clay pigeon, epic 3-gun, 3-gun, 3gun, multigun

The view of Copperhead Creek Shooting Club from the helicopter
copperhead creek shooting club, combat bays, shooting, shoot, rifle, pistol, shotgun, aerial view

Hard core 4x4's taking on the trails at Hidden Falls Adventure Park
drone, Jeep, 4x4, off road trails, rock crawler, weekend, camping, extreme, aerial view

The Copperhead Creek Shooting Clubhouse
match results, club house, gun club, clubhouse, get way, man cave

Jeremy from reads off the winners. My prize was a Billet lower from AR15Targets, SEE BELOW
match results, club house, gun club, clubhouse, get way, man cave

nictaylor00, jeremy, ar15, ar-15, stripped lower, lower, rifle, carbine, pistol, multi-caliber, 556, 223, 6.8

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Magnesium AR-15 Light Weight Lower

The Mag Tactical Systems magnesium AR-15 lower is about 2oz lighter than one of my typical forged aluminum lowers. I know that does not sound like much and it is not, but if you can shave off a few ounces here and there on your AR15, the end result will be a lighter more maneuverable rifle. In my particular case I was wanting a light weight hunting rifle in the Modern Sporting Rifle configuration (MSR). So on my shopping list of parts for the 300 blackout build I went with the magnesium lower over the polymer lower. The polymer lowers just feel cheap to me even though they are lighter. The only issue I had assembling my MAG lower to the upper was the need to remove some material on the lower near the rear take down pin. This was not painful but it is nerve racking when you file on your gun. However, the end result was a perfectly fitted upper and lower with no movement between the two. Below is some comparison photos of the magnesium lower compared to a polymer, forged aluminum and billet aluminum receivers. The differences are subtle, but differences none the less. The most striking is the extra long trigger and hammer pins that came with the lower. I hear that the lower needed to be beefed up some at the pin holes. The end result is a hump where the pins pass through.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AR15 Bolt Bounce & Case Head Separation Caught on Video

While doing some high speed camera work for a video on the aluminum AR15 bolt carrier from Whiskey Arms, I had a malfunction in my 3-Gun Rifle. The brass case broke in half leaving the front part of the case in the chamber while extracting the rear portion. This problem is due to me using re-manufactured ammunition. All the brass was submitted by me for reloading. I can't say if all the brass I sent in was all mine because I pick up range brass all the time. So I do not blame the reloading company for this. However, for my multigun matches I now use only new manufactured ammo. Below is a photo of the brass as well as another cracked round I found before I shot it.

Also included in the video is high speed footage of AR-15 doing Bolt Bounce. This is a condition I created on my own by removing the weights inside the carbine buffer. I personally can not feel the bounce but my Casio EX-F1 picked up the movement. Additionally I show how the bolt should react upon closing by using a non altered buffer. By comparing the two slow-motion video clips you get a pretty good idea what bolt bounce is.

A similar thing happened to me while I was shooting from the open door of a helicopter. Fortunately the next round had lodged into the front part of the case making it easy to remove with only my knife. I was able to clear the malfunction and get back on the gun without having the helicopter land.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

M9-22 Compared to the M9 / 92f Beretta - A Five Star 22 Pistol!

If you are familiar with my horror story on my Chiappa M9-22 you will be glad to know I have found a replacement. Not going to the Shot Shot makes it tough for me to search out new and interesting guns. So when a fellow youtuber told me about the Beretta M9-22 pistol, I had to take a look. Within 10 minutes of reading the specs and seeing probably the only video online of the gun (a useless video of the creator rambling and providing no real true info on the gun), I bought one from Buds GunShop. You can see my more in-depth video on this gun HERE (A MUCH BETTER VIDEO I MUST SAY) as well as some detailed pictures of this rimfire and the center fire version below.

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

When my M9-22 arrived I was immediately impressed. It felt exactly like my Beretta 92f 9mm pistol that I use in Production Division to shoot USPSA matches. If you have not seen USPSA or IPSC style shooting you can see some heart pounding first person shooter video on my YouTube channel. Anyway, right out of the box, the pistol felt the same in my hands with the exception of a few missing ounces in weight. Additionally the trigger feels the same with no changes in geometry. The decocker works just like any other but is a bit harder to disengage. It's unclear if it is just stiff due to the newness of the parts, or if its plastic construction has more friction than the metal parts found on the 9mm version. Either way, the controls work exactly the same. The take down lever works in the same manner as the 92 series pistols separating the slide, barrel and recoil spring from the frame. Different from my 92f 9mm model is a captured recoil spring with a plastic guide rod on the M9_22.

The gun itself is not made by Beretta, but made by Umarex who makes many other 22 clones, like the Colt 1911-22 and Smith & Wesson M&P22 pistols. My gun came with one 15 round magazine. I deem this a High Capacity mag since most .22lr pistols have only 10 round factory mags and require special UPGRADE KITS to get additional rounds in the magazine. At the time of this article, finding replacement magazines for the M9 22lr pistol might be challenging but we found some HERE.

Also a very note worthy aspect of the mags, or rather how the magazines fit into the frame of the pistol... If you shoot many rim-fire pistols you know how delicate the insertion of these magazines can be when putting one in the gun. The narrowness of the magazine in conjunction with the opening in the butt of the pistol make inserting a mag less fluid than with a center-fire pistol. The M9-22 does not have this problem. The 92 series pistols have a rather large pistol grip to accommodate the double stack magazines and this 22 version is nothing different. However, Beretta has made what I like to call an internal magwell inside the pistol grip. When looking at the opening for the magazine, it almost looks as if a full sized double stack magazine might fit but the opening narrows down quickly like funnel. This funnel or internal magwell allows this shooter to insert a fresh magazine much more quicker than traditional 22 pistols.

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

Sights on the M9-22 are just like what came on my 92f way back in 1989, a plain and simple 3-dot system. Just like my 9mm version, my new 22 caliber M9 would not hit for me. Mine shoots low and even after putting on a shorter front sight (the gun came with two front sights of different heights), mine still shot low. I guess my only option is to fit it with an adjustable rear sight or file down one of the plastic front sights.

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

At a quick glance the internals look very similar to the centerfire models but I'm sure they are not interchangeable. You can not put a 22 slide on a 9mm frame and vice versa. The barrels can not be switched between guns and the trigger can not be swapped. I'm sure that was done for safety reasons but I find the similarities between the 22 version and 9mm version the coolest. Even though the parts are not the same, it's clear that Umarex closely followed the 92 series design.

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

Another cool feature of the M9 22lr is that the grip panels are interchangeable with centerfire panels. This is a good thing since my 22 pistol came with what I can only assume was lesser quality plastic grips. Yes they were branded with the Beretta logo and all but the trigger bar spring on my gun that sits behind the right hand grip pushed my grip out and away from the gun. This created an unsightly gap that was quickly fixed by putting on an old pair of plastic grips I had sitting around. It should be noted if you plan to "bling up" your M9 with some after market grip screws, they appear to NOT be standard to the normal 92 series pistols. So you may need to find (if you can) some screws that are specifically for the 22 version.

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

M9_22, M9A1_22, 92FS_22, 92f, 92fs, M9, M9-22, M9A1-22, 92FS-22, Beretta, 9mm, .22, .22LR, trainer, 40S&W, Military, weapon

My pistol shot everything I put it in from inexpensive bulk ammo to the high dollar CCI Mini Mags. Only failures was a couple of misfires with the bulk ammo where the round failed to go off when the hammer fell. This is easily fixed with the pull of the double action trigger with the hammer down on the dud. The second pull of the trigger set off the rounds. Having the ability to pull the trigger again on a dud is a great big positive for me since I love to shoot the least expensive ammo I can find. My only regret is that my gun does not have a threaded barrel for a suppressor. Hopefully that will be an upgrade offered in the near future. Aside from my love of the Beretta 92, this is one of the best 22 pistols I have run across in a very long time.