Ask Foghorn: Staking your Gas Key?


Reader Donald writes:

The one concern I have building [a bolt carrier group] myself is staking the gas key. I have seen a guy on Youtube do it with a $80 dollar tool but was hoping not to have to buy anymore tools for this build. What’s your thought? Can I stake it with common tools like a center punch or should I try and find a gunsmith to do it for a fee?

So, for the uninitiated, two questions here. First, what does it mean to “stake” the gas key, and what does it do? And second, is it a DIY kind of thing? . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Meters v. Yards for Zero Distance?


Jeremy writes:

I don’t know if you guys have gotten this question before, or if it would warrant writing an article, but do you have any feedback on zeroing a rifle on a range measured in yards, and then how accuracy would be affected when shooting that rifle estimating distance based on meters? The difference @ 100m vs. 100 yards is going to be about 9′ so my assumption is that even to the max effective range of a 5.56 round, there isn’t going to be enough of a difference to see a noticeable POI shift. Do you have an opinion?

Good news for the lazy among us: for the typical zero on a 5.56 gun, it doesn’t matter . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Do Indoor Ranges Pose Health Risks?


Matt writes:

I’ve gone to different indoor ranges because I like to rent and shoot different handguns. I can see the fans going, they all say they’re safe. But no matter where, after shooting 200 rounds or so I feel like I smoked three packs of cigarettes. My throat will be hoarse, eyes bloodshot, and I will feel a bit sick. A tissue rubbed in my nose will show powder residue. That’s f’ed up. I also noticed that after spending time at an indoor range, I get headaches like those I got after playing football in high school . . .

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Ask Foghorn: What’s Up With the Ammo Shortage?


John writes:

How about some Information on why there is NO ammunition available? Is it a Govt. conspiracy? Just a “Normal” shortage? How come Wall mart, Cabalas, On line dealers, etc has NONE? It sure would be nice if TRUTH, gave us some believable answers, you could ask Manufacturers, WHY , WHEN, & HOW MUCH WILL HIT THE SHELVES

No, this isn’t a normal shortage. We’ve seen something close to this before, but it’s never been this bad. Here’s what’s going on . . .

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Ask Foghorn: What’s the Difference Between 5.56 and .223?

Ryan asks:

Hello, After reading the reviews on the Smith & Wesson MP-15 from your site, I went and got one. I was torn on which make and model to buy. But your reviews and other info I got sealed the deal. I have one question concerning ammo. I was always under the impression, that what ever was stamped on the barrel was the only caliber to be fired through the gun. Mine is clearly stamped Nato 5.56 there is no stamping that it can fire 223. I was told when I bought it, that it can fire both 5.56 & 223. I hear different tales on what is right and or wrong. Please help clear the air for me.

Believe it or not, I get this question a lot. So let me lay it out for you . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Zero Distance for 300 AAC Blackout?


Seth writes:

What are you using for zero distance for your blackout? I am big fan of the 50/200 zero in .223/5.56 and I am hoping there is something similar for the blackout round. I did a little experimenting on trajectory software, but didn’t come up with anything concrete.

The good news is that the old 50 yard zero works pretty well for 300 BLK as well. Here’s why . . .

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Ask Foghorn: What’s the Best Polymer Handgun?


JoshinGA writes:

Im in the market for a new full size polymer gun, probably in a 9mm. What would you recommend for a polymer duty gun? Thanks.

Funny you should ask, I was planning on doing an article on this very topic. Which is why I rang up the manufacturers of the top polymer framed handguns in the United States and asked them all to send me one. So, which is best? . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Best Rifle to Buy During an AWB Scare

Jeremy writes:

I figure everyone should probably own at least one rifle, shotgun and handgun. I’m hoping you can recommend something for me based off my needs, the current political climate and budget.

In particular, I’d like to get something that I can get now, but maybe can’t get later (esp. ammo) but can also be used for target shooting as well as hunting in case I go someday (and I would eventually like to do so). I like the idea of long-range shooting (maybe even some day up to 1000 yards) but am mostly concerned with sub-500 now. I really like the bolt action stuff but figure that will probably be available for a long time so am looking only at semi-auto stuff at the moment. A friend recommended an FNAR 308 Winchester.

There really isn’t a whole lot on the market right now, but you have options.

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Ask Foghorn: What Parts Should I Use when Building an AR-15?

Many, many many readers have written in over the last couple weeks asking roughly the same thing:

I was reading your article on Best Budget AR 15 and I tried to click on the build recommended links but most don’t seem to work now. Do you have an updates? or suggestions? I am very interested in learning more and trying to build my own.

So you want to know what my build list would look like these days? Let me knock you up a list . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Best Muzzle Brakes/Compensators for the AR-15

Reader Don writes:

I really enjoy reading your reviews and you actually inspired me to try a 3 gun competition at my local range. Even after negotiating through my California bullet button and 10 round mags on my AR, I still have a blast and plan to compete again this month. At the competition, each paper target required two shots. One thing that was obvious is that many guys were able to get that second shot off much faster than I was. Initially I attributed to me having iron (actually plastic magpul) sights on my AR while most of them had red dots. After talking to the other shooters and and them observing them shooting, it looks like the muzzle breaks make a big difference as well (my AR has the stock A2 flash hider). There were a variety of different breaks in use from sure fire to battle comp 1.0. I was looking through your past articles and was not able to come up with much info on muzzle breaks. Could you provide some information and/or suggestions on muzzle breaks? They appear to be expensive (compared to an A2 flash hider) so I wanted to see what others experiences are before I went all in.

It’s definitely the brake and not the sights. People might bash irons, but they’re damn quick if you’ve practiced with them. Let me share with you what I’ve learned . . .

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Ask Foghorn: What’s a Good Beginner Scope for Long Range Shooting?

Reader Luke writes:

I’ve been reading TTAG for awhile now and enjoy your posts on long range shooting for beginners, among others, and was looking for some advice. I inherited a Winchester model 70 xtr sporter chambered in .264 Winchester magnum. It’s a great rifle in good shape, but I would like to upgrade the scope from the old Bushnell 3-9×40 that’s on it. I’d like to start pushing the rifle beyond 100 yards and gain confidence to make a 300 yard shot, as everything I’ve read about the caliber says that it’s adequate for deer sized game out to 500 yards. Do you have any advice on what sort of scope I should look at and what kind of fundamentals I should practice in order to get to that point? Anything at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

The good news, Luke, is that I have some pretty good suggestions up my sleeves. The bad news is that you’re about to open a wallet sucking Pandora’s box…

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