06 April 2016

History of Dottie

Dottie has seen almost as many changes as Kaylee.

Dottie's name derives from a line in the movie, "Armageddon". The amateur astronomer who discovers the planet killing asteroid wants to be able to name it after his wife, Dottie, because she's a life sucking bitch from which there is no escape.

Dottie is a "franken AR", her parts are from everywhere. The lower is Spike's Tactical, the lower parts kit is CMMG. The upper is a DIY with a Bison Armory barrel, and YHM folding front sight with an 5/8-24 A2 flash-hider and KAC 600m Micro Flip-Up rear BUIS.

I'm using a Magpul MS3 Single QD sling and Surefire X300 that I share among the go-to home defense guns.  Optic is a Primary Arms PAC5X, more information below the fold.

As she was first assembled: Anvil lower, Cardinal upper and 16" mid-length barrel, YHM Phantom 5C2 flash-suppressor, YHM folding front sight, YHM lightweight 4-rail, Knight's Armament Corporation 600m folding BUIS, UTG rail covers, commercial Gen 1 M4 stock, Magpul MIAD pistol grip and L3 EOTech 552.A65/1 optic.

To get a better picture at longer ranges I added a LaRue PoBoy 2.5x optic.

The commercial stock was both too long and was contributing to the gun being nose heavy. I changed over to an A2 fixed stock.

Based on The Lovely Harvey's choice of a Troy Medieval flash-hider for her Cheyenne, I selected their Medieval Muzzle Brake for 6.8 for Dottie. This change also allows me to mount a standard bayonet, in this case an M9.

The A2 stock just didn't fit the character of the 16" middy upper, so I replaced it with a Mil-Spec Magpul CTR stock. I also added a GG&G "Sling Thing" to the left side rail.

The YHM-9634 lightweight 4-rail with the UTG rail covers was like gripping a coffee can. Marv ordered a YHM smoothie free-float tube for his 6.8 build and I followed suit.

While the smaller diameter was nice, the smoothie tube got HOT when firing. Based on an article I read on Arfcom, I wrapped it with 550 Para-Cord.

Because of Geff's desire to have a fully noncompliant AR in black and because we couldn't order any color but OD green due to the post-election panic buying, I swapped him my black Magpul stuff for the OD green he ordered.

Because I had the lightweight 4-rail laying around and hundreds of feet of para-cord left over, I started playing around with alternative wraps.

And then mounted them on the gun... The smoothie didn't allow the wrap to go far enough to the rear of the gun and I was still burning myself.

The para-cord was better, but still not what I wanted. Here is an attempt to be happy with Magpul's ladder style rail protectors.

The Lovely Harvey needed an optic for her Kevina, she preferred the EOTech and I wanted an Aimpoint Comp M4s so it worked out well.

Because this is a SHTF grab gun, it needed a light. This is a Surefire X300.

The ladder covers were still not what I wanted, so I tried the Magpul XTM modular rail covers. I also moved the light to be easier to activate.

I really like the XTMs, but I was back to the "gripping a coffee can" problem I had back with the UTG covers. Finally figuring out it's the rails and not what I am covering them with I replace the YHM with a LaRue LT15-9 4-rail.

One drawback is the Aimpoint is now too far to rear for the PoBoy, but that hasn't affected my shooting at 100 yards.

I added a Magpul AFG angled fore grip. It's inexpensive so I thought I'd check it out. I rather like it. It does allow your supporting wrist to be at a more natural angle than a conventional handguard and is less obtrusive than a vertical grip.
Right side:
Left side:
Wrist angle:

On the LaRue 4-rail the AFG interferes with the Magpul XTM rail panels. To put the AFG where I was comfortable, I had to remove one section of XTM. In fact, there's no way for the front part of the AFG to put anything on the side rails. The LaRue's bottom rail is closer to the barrel than the top, so there's less room here.

The loss of the third XTM panel bothered me because fingers were hitting rail. It's unpleasant. So I took a teeny lip off the underside of the XTM panel with the Dremel and that leaves enough clearance to get the AFG under it.

I had to move my light from the bottom rail to one of the sides, because of the change in grip angle, this is actually easier than the bottom was.

I took the 'A2' finger stop out of the grip area since, like usual, it was where I wanted a finger instead of between. Even with it reversed.

It doesn't feel at all like I expected it to, but it is more comfortable with Dottie's nose heaviness.

Way back when I had pressure signs from the SSA tactical loads with the Cardinal Armory barrel. I had read that there were things I could do to fix the issue, but just in case those failed, I ordered a new barrel from Bison Armory in June of 2009. It finally arrived last week. Since I am not the sort of person who can leave well enough alone, I swapped the barrels. I like the looks of the heavier contour better.

Contour before:

Contour after:

Plus the new barrel is just slightly longer, letting the bayonet sit on the flash-hider properly!

Removed the MagPul AFG, MIAD and CTR.  The AFG was replaced with the XTM panels it originally supplanted.  Standard A2 pistol grip returned to replace the MIAD.  Genuine Colt M4 stock replaces the CTR.  Move the Aimpoint M4s slightly further to the rear to slightly improve balance.  The M4 stuff didn't last long and I reverted to my Magpul parts within a couple of days.

Ditched the Troy Medieval muzzle brake for a Wilson Combat Accu-Tac flash-hider. Dottie is now FULLY non-compliant with the Clinton Assault Weapon ban! The Accu-Tac also has the cannelures for rifle grenades that the Medieval was lacking.


AFG reinstalled, finger swell front strap returned to service on the MIAD and bipod adaptor mounted with bipod.  Full story here.


Displaced is the Anvil Arms lower and the Spike's Tactical Florida Home Town Forum lower in its place.


Replaced the LaRue LT15-9 with a Magpul MOE handguard.



It's astonishing how taking those 6 ounces off the front make it feel like it weighs nothing up front.


With bayonet:


This little piece of P-Rail replaces covers one of the slots in the handguard.

The back-side:

The Surefire X300 Weaponlight clicks right onto it.

Zero loss of functionality over the 4-rail, still six ounces lighter.  Actually the light is slightly better placed now than before.


The Magpul Illumination Kit came with a short 3-slot section of rail.

I got curious about what use I could put it to and decided to see if mounting a GG&G Sling Thing there would be comfortable.

It is!

The sling location is similar to where I had a QD socket on the LaRue 4-rail.

Links to Midway USA because they're in the NYFS boycott.


Deleted the AimPoint M4s and replaced it with my hoary old Sight Unit Infantry Trilux L2A2 on a hard to find Tapco mount.  A short rail section allows the use of a Harris 1A2 Ultralight bipod.

With the Magpul MS3 Single QD sling and Surefire X300 that's shared among the go-to home defense guns.  I moved the original KAC 600m sight to Kaylee and replaced it with the compact version of the same.  The bipod is actually FuzzyGeff's, and normally resides on his target AR, Olga.  I'm borrowing it to get the SUIT zeroed.


Replaced the battery powered SUIT illuminator with a tritium powered one.  Swapped the Magpul CTR (milspec) stock and H-buffer for a Magpul MOE Rifle stock.  It ups the weight by about a quarter pound, but the balance and cheek weld are much better.  Alas, it costs me an AWB feature though.


Ditched the Magpul MIAD for a Damage Ind A2 ECS grip.  With the narrow back-strap on the MIAD to fit the M12 rifle rack, there's not much difference in feel between the MIAD and an A2.  What an A2 has over the Magpul offering now is it's one piece and doesn't have that odd creaky feeling when the back-strap shifts ever so slightly.  I lose the battery storage though.


Swapped barrels with Valentine.  This drops 0.4 lb. off her and she was such a tubby girl.  Without optics or lights, but with a loaded magazine she trips the scales at 8.6 lb. now.  The front sight is no longer a screwed on YHM a pinned on standard unit sans bayonet lug.  I didn't feel like messing with the muzzle devices, so the A2 style is de rigueur.  Dottie is now has the fewest AWB features of any of the AR's.


Swapped uppers with Valentine, the SUIT stayed with the purple gun.  I'm getting a Primary Arms 4x ACSS scope just as soon as I have the money and they have them in stock at the same time.  Until that day, I will make due with irons.


I couldn't resist the Black Friday Deal that Primary Arms was throwing on their 5x Prism Scope with ACSS reticle.  There's two main reasons, first is the admission that my eyes aren't 20 years old any more, second is a magnifying optic is more befitting the extra reach 6.8 has over 5.56.  A range report here and here.

Better lit pic,

Changed the mount for the PAC5X to a LaRue Tactical LT-681 RCO mount.


The LaRue RCO mount I got for my PAC5X scope put it about on Picatinny notch farther forward than I wanted it.

It hit me that the mount is reversible!  So I reversed it.



The RCO (oriented "correctly") is designed to put an ACOG a lot father back on the rifle and is intended to be used without a BUIS, so the contour of the "tail" matches the top of the charging handle boss on the upper receiver.  That little tail interferes with the BUIS I've mounted if I wanted to put the scope where I wanted it.

Plus it turned out that I didn't even need to re-zero.  The upper, mount and scope are all well made enough that the 180˚ rotation of the mount didn't change the alignment of anything.


Added a LaRue MBT-2S trigger.

After four months of backorder, my MBT-2S trigger arrived from LaRue.

It comes as shown and includes two trigger return springs.

It installs just like a normal trigger, except you don't have to keep the disconnector lined up.

The two trigger springs are different weights, and I think I prefer the heavier one.

Being a two-stage trigger there is, of course, take-up.  That's got no weight at all, then you hit the second stage briefly then it snaps.  No noticeable overtravel.  It just goes.

Using Marv's RCBS trigger pull scale I got 2.5 lb. for the take-up and 4.5 lb. for the break.  Just exactly as Mark LaRue said it would on Arfcom.

For $125 and a long wait or $199 and a shorter one; it's a very decent deal.  It's supposed to be comparable to a $240 Geissele SSA-E, if so it's an excellent deal!

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