Sunday, July 23, 2023

PSA Rock Range Report

Last night I took the PSA Rock to an indoor range along with 100 rounds of ammunition, one box each of American Eagle 40 grain FMJ and AAC 40 grain VMAX.

Out of deference to range rules each magazine was loaded to only 10 rounds. The cartridges loaded easily into the magazines without the use of a loader. Loading them to full capacity may be easier with one, however.

It's worth noting that the magazines are of the double-stack, double-feed type, like AR15 magazines. To load you simply press the rounds straight down into the mag.

I shot the American Eagle ammunition first, and experienced no malfunctions. The AAC ammo was loaded noticeably hotter with a bit more muzzle flash.

Speaking of which, the gun was not as loud as I was expecting. Certainly, it has more blast and flash than a .22 or the .32 S&W Long ammo I shot in my Colt Police Positive afterwards, but it wasn't objectionable. I found it less obnoxious on the indoor range than some .40 S&W and .45 ACP I've been exposed to.

As expected, recoil was extremely light even with the hotter AAC ammunition.

There were two malfunctions with the AAC ammunition. In both cases the slide locked back prematurely with one round left in the magazine. It's possible that this was shooter-induced. I need to shoot it some more and pay more attention to which magazine I was using when the malfunctions occurred.

All cases ejected vigorously to about 4 or 5 o'clock.

I was shooting at 7 yards and kept my rounds within a few inches. The gun's heavy trigger pull makes shooting tight groups challenging. I am hoping that with another couple hundred rounds it will improve somewhat but it may need a trigger job.

I won't make a final judgement on the pistol until I have 500 rounds through it, but my initial impression remains favorable.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Got a PSA Rock 5.7 Pistol

After doing a lot of research, last Sunday I ordered a Palmetto State Armory Rock 5.7 pistol, and I was able to pick it up from my local FFL on Wednesday.

A picture with my Beretta M9 for scale:

(The Beretta has slimline grip panels from LOK Grips, which I can't recommend highly enough. They really improved the feel of the gun for me.)

5.7x28 is a bit controversial among shooters but I decided to try it for a few reasons:

  • The ballistics from a handgun should be similar to .22 Magnum from a rifle. Obviously, from 10+" barrel 5.7 will have significantly better ballistics. Based on what I've seen on YouTube, the AAC 40 grain loads should give me around 1800 FPS from this pistol's 5.2" barrel.
  • Mild recoil.
  • The pistols have the reputation for being easy to cock, which is good for people with hand problems.
  • Very high magazine capacity.
  • Lightweight, compact ammo. A 50 round box of 5.7x28 is not much larger or heavier than a 50-round box of .22 Magnums.

This picture shows a CCI Blazer Brass 9mm 115 grain FMJ round next to an AAC 40 grain VMAX 5.7x28 round:

Here are the specs of the package I bought:

  • Two-tone sniper green/black
  • Optics ready
  • 5.2" threaded barrel (1/2x28 threads)
  • 10 x 23-round magazines
  • A soft case.
  • Gun lock.
  • Chamber flag.

The cost was $599 + tax and shipping. My FFL charged $30 for the transfer.

This will be my first foray in 5.7x28-land. At some point I'll probably add a Holosun 407K but first I want to try it with irons.

After I I ordered the pistol I also ordered 300 rounds of AAC's 40 grain VMAX load (they were out of stock of their FMJ loads) and one box of American Eagle 40 grain FMJ. When I picked up the gun I also bought one box of FN SS197SR 40 grain VMAX loads.

Yesterday I got a restock notice from PSA and ordered 250 rounds of their AAC FMJ loads.

Fiocchi is now selling 150-count bulk packs of 40 grain FMJ rounds. At some point I'll get some of those because they end up being the least expensive practice rounds.

My initial thoughts without having fired it yet:

  • The grip is nice. My hands are on the small side but I have no problems gripping it comfortably. The grip reminds me of a S&W M&P-9.
  • Good three-dot sights made from metal. The gun can be fitted with any Glock-compatible sights.
  • The trigger pull is heavy but has minimal takeup and a short reset. No noticeable creep. With some lubrication and dry firing I'm already noticing an improvement.
  • The finish on the slide is nicely applied.
  • The magazine catch is a bit stiff but is already breaking in. The mag catch is reversible but even though I am left handed, I will leave it as-is. I used my middle finger to push it.
  • The takedown procedure is the same as a Glock but easier because of the design of the takedown latch. Putting the upper back on the frame is a little different because of the takedown latch.
  • Field stripping and reassembly are easy. The takedown catch is much easier to use than on a Glock.
  • The zippered case that it came in is very nice.
  • The owner's manual is very nice and printed on good quality, glossy paper.

I will shoot it first with iron sights but plan to mount a dot in the near future. I should get to shoot it this weekend and will post a range report.

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Follow up on the homemade percussion caps

We've been having some unpleasant weather here in SE PA recently. Hot, humid, and rainy with thunderstorms. However, yesterday I managed to sneak out for a couple hours to Boulder Valley Sportsmen's Association and shoot some targets on the woods walk course.

I took the Slotter-style plains rifle (which has become my favorite rifle) and aside from a capper full of CCI No.11s, a also brought along 6 of the homemade percussion caps from last month, in a 3D-printed star capper.

When shooting a caplock rifle it's always good to make sure the flash channel is clear before loading. This is most commonly done by popping a cap while holding the muzzle near a blade of grass or a leaf. If it moves you know the channel is clear.

Note that if I'm loading the rifle prior to a hunt, rather that popping a cap I'll use some rubbing alcohol and compressed air to ensure the channel is clear, especially since I may be loading (but not priming) the rifle at home. This is not a bad idea nowadays anyway, since No. 11 caps are hard to buy.

I did that with one of the homemade caps and it moved a blade of grass. However, when I loaded the rifle I found that the homebrew caps would not ignite the main charge unless I primed the nipple with 4Fg black powder first. That slowed the lock time down so that it was comparable with a flintlock.

(I keep a nipple primer in my shooting pouch in case I encounter ignition problems. This was the first time I actually needed it.)

Having tried them and found them wanting for use in sidelock rifles, I plan to make up another batch but add more priming compound.