California featureless AR-15 Ruger Precision Stock Mod

Hello for the People’s Republic of Kalifornia, where senseless gun restrictions keep the criminals safer every year and the rest of us oppressed by more onerous laws full of pitfalls designed to toss us in prison.

NOTE: I’m not a lawyer. Do not consider this legal advice. This is only a demonstration of my effort to keep my precision AR CA legal.

As I convert my ARs over to a CA featureless status, so that I can finally dispense with the stupid ‘CA Bullet Button’ method of avoiding California Assault Weapon bans, I didn’t want to swap out the highly adjustable stock I’d transplanted from my Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR).

The stock from the Ruger Precision provides a lot of adjustment flexibility, so you can achieve that perfect cheek weld. Fitting it to the AR itself is another article.

Ruger Precision Rifle stock as it is installed on an RPR.

Part of my featureless build project is centered around using the Exile Machine Hammerhead CA featureless legal (they insist there is a CA DOJ letter stating this) grip replacement. This combined with no foregrip and no flash hider turns the originally ‘destructive / evil’ AR15 in a pussycat.. or so the CA government would have you think… idiots.. it’s just a semi-auto rifle.. nothing more).

Exile Machine Hammerhead.

However, once installed the fixed stock, no longer allows the thumb to wrap around the AR’s lower receiver. Making the weapon harder to hold. Clearly this is not an ideal situation. Now, it’s important to note that when the Hammerhead is installed on a collapsible stock AR (that’s been pinned to make it safe), this is not an issue. Thus, that gave me an idea….. see if I can modify the stock to let my thumb wrap!

Exile Hammerhead and RPR Stock Together

After installing a Hammerhead on a carbine, and seeing that the thumb hold will work, I decided to see if there was some way to adjust aft the supporting bar that runs under the carbine buffer tube. Unfortunately, unless I wanted to drill and tab a new hole at the far end of the bar.. this was not going to happen. But what I did discover is that removing that tube entirely, has not destabilized the stock in any way. Since the RPR is designed to use an AR carbine buffer tube, there is a rail along the bottom of the tube that an adjustable stock rides upon. The RPR stock makes good use of this rail in both the forward and after clamps, where are aluminum. After removing the bar entirely, and re-clamping the fore and after clamps (you’ll need to reverse the cheek rest to clear the changing handle too).. it seems as stable as ever. And….

Final Result after removing the steel bar across bottom of buffer tube.

… you can get your thumb around the receiver. For me, the standard safety is still too far from my thumb to reach when you have your hand weld…. so an ambi safety will likely be in the near future.

Workable – Hammerhead and RPR stock.

I look forward to a day when this inane CA laws are overturned, or I immigrate to a Free State. Until then.. this will do.

2007 Mini Cooper ‘S’ engine overhaul

OH… oh my.. this is not what we want to be doing. I guess the odds might eventually catch up. I never buy new cars, ever; just don’t have any interest in taking that hard of a depreciation hit. So… used it always is…. and generally well used. So, we’ve bought.. 20+ used cars over the years and this is the first to suffer a major failure (in this case, engine has eaten itself).

Article Sections

  • The Engine Damage
  • Replacement Short Blocks
  • The Engine Damage

    As you can see.. it’s in pretty bad shape. Cylinder #4 was down 50% on compression, starting to throw warning lights…. but.. honestly.. they car gave no external indication anything was wrong. Ran very strong, sounded fine… but internally is was in seriously bad shape:







    So now.. what are our options? We did have an aftermarket warranty that covered up to $3000 for powertrain. This is going to cost A LOT more than that… but I’m trying to minimize the financial damage. So.. some research is in order to try to figure out what we’re going to do.

    Replacement Short Blocks

    I did find 1 replacement short blocks on the interwebs:

    Source Price Notes
    MiniMania $2925.00 Factory replacement Engine Block with Crank Gear for the N14B16A engine in the Turbocharged Cooper S.

    Mini Mania returned my e-mail this morning with the following information.. so.. this is sounding more and more like what we are considering doing, provided the cylinder head is not junked out:

    Thank you for your interest with Mini Mania and our products.

    Sorry to hear of your situation with your 2007 Mini Cooper S and I will try to answer your questions accurately as possible.

    The replacement engine short block that we offer are units from MINI and includes everything ‘below’ the cylinder head and ‘above’ the oil pan.

    Basically, it is the block with the crank and pistons installed. It does not include anything that gets attached to the exterior of the block.

    Replacement pistons are available individually from MINI, but only at standard bore. Depending on the condition and mileage of the block, it may be advisable to replace all 4, especially if you plan to keep the car for a while. There are some oversized pistons available from CP Pistons, but only in sets of 4. Mahle offers replacement pistons but only in standard bore.

    Main bearings and rod bearings are also available, but the prices will add up quickly if you replace all of them.

    If your budget allows, the short block is probably the best way to go as a ‘simpler’ solution and perhaps for longevity.

    I hope this helps.

    Best regards,

    More to come….

Some Rifle Ballistics Research

I’m always interested in bumping up my precision shooting game. Over the last few years I’ve built up a couple of beefy rifles on the AR platform. The .223 / 5.56 NATO is a good round.. for a while; but beyond not a great distance it loosed it’s ballistic performance, and with it’s very light weight (45 – 65 gr.) it’s at the mercy of even the mildest of wind.

Fortunately, there are some alternatives when it comes to building out an AR platform gun (Click here for info), but for real long-range precision shooting, the AR platform simply does not offer reasonable options. Thus, something with a longer chamber is in order. And if you are going to shoot precision, to give yourself the best chance, I think, you have to use a bolt action receiver.


The Rifle Search

There are a number of rifles on my short list.
One of them I had the pleasure of shooting (Ruger Precision .308) a few months ago.

Ruger Precision Rifle
Ruger Precision Rifle

Another I handled at a range in Southern California (Savage 110BA .338 Lapua)

Savage 110 BA
Savage 110 BA

Both of these rifles seem to have a pretty good following, so the question becomes; what cambering to buy.. and what are the major reasons for wanting one over the other? A number of factors are at play here, not the least of which is availability / price of the ammunition! I’m already feeling a little bit of the price pain in the AR platform with the 6.8mm SPC costing $1.00 per round or more! :/

Chambering of Interest

These are the 4 chamberings that I’m considering:

Pricing Comparisons

First off… pricing. I’m using Cheaper than Dirt as the source of pricing information, because it stocks a wide variety of ammuntion, it’s a fairly popular source, and will help provide a level pricing field for doing this basic comparison.

Bolt Action Calibers
Round Low Price rnd. High Price rnd. Offerings
.308 Winchester (all) $ 0.38 $ 0.68 175
6.5 Creedmore $ 0.94 $ 1.92 22
.338 Lapua $ 3.41 $ 6.29 32
.243 Winchester $ 0.59 $ 1.89 59
AR-15 Calibers
Round Low Price rnd. High Price rnd. Offerings
.22LR $ 0.07 $ 2.38 88
.223 Rem $ 0.21 $ 1.42 123
5.56 NATO $ 0.31 $ 4.33 38
7.62x39mm $ 0.21 $ 2.73 60
6.5mm Grendel $ 0.99 $ 1.18 3
6.8mm SPC $ 0.67 $ 2.01 23
Ballistics of Interest
Caliber Typical Weight Typical Velocity Typical Muzzle Force Typical Force at 200 yds.
.308 Winchester 150 gr. 2,820 fps. 2,649 ft. lbs. 1,707 ft. lbs.
6.5mm Creedmoor 120 gr. 3,010 fps. 2,414 ft. lbs. 1,924 ft. lbs.
.338 Lapua 250 gr. 2,960 fps. 4,863 ft. lbs. 3,999 ft. lbs.
.243 Winchester 95 gr. 3,100 fps. 2,027 ft. lbs. 1,472 ft. lbs.

Having shot .308 version of the Ruger Precision… I immediately started looking for one! And chambered in .308, ammunition will be easy to come by in quantities large and small. On my last outings to Nevada and Washington (where guns and people live a lot freer than here).. I surveyed the ammunition selections for availability and price. .308 was everywhere… 6.5 Creedmoor was limited to a few choices and .338 was… few and far between. :/

This article really has me re-thinking my original though on buying the .308: ( 6.5 Creedmoor Movement: The Greatest Thing since Sliced Bread — I had though I’d sorted this out in my head… but… the Ruger Precision 18008 seems like the logical decision… if I can find one! But then again… that Savage 110BA has been nagging at the back of my mind as well.

The final wrinkle in this would be if I started re-loading. I really know why I’ve not purchased a rig yet. The prices of ammunition does not seem to be going down, and now with the new insane laws in CA, ammunition is going to be more and more painful to acquire (and pricey too is what I’m thinking). Plus, if I’m really serious about the precision game.. buying cheap bulk ammo would just be wasting the purchase of a good shooting gun; frustrating it’s purpose; begging the question… “Why did you drop 15 c-notes on a tack driver to only feed is wet noodles? Excellent question.

Clearly, I still have a lot of thinking to do.

AR Platform Calibers

There are a lot of caliber options for the AR platform. Here are 5 common options:

Some AR-15 chamberings: (l-r) [ .22LR; 5.56mm NATO; 6.5mm Grendel; 6.8mm SPC II; 7.62mm Russian ]
Some AR-15 chamberings: (l-r) [ .22LR; 5.56mm NATO; 6.5mm Grendel; 6.8mm SPC; 7.62mm Russian ]

There are actually many more, such as .300 AAC Blackout, .458 SOCOM, 9mm, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more.

Some AR Platform Ballistics

Caliber Typical Weight Typical Velocity Typical Muzzle Force Typical Force at 200 yds.
22LR 40 gr. 1,125 fps. 140 ft. lbs. 71 ft. lbs.
5.56mm NATO 55 gr. 3,130 fps. 1,196 ft. lbs. 731 ft. lbs.
6.5mm Gendel 123 gr. 2500 fps. 1,706 ft. lbs. 1,297 ft. lbs.
6.8mm SPC 120 gr. 2,460 fps. 1,612 ft. lbs. 1,121 ft. lbs.
7.62mm x 39mm 123 gr. 2,350 fps. 1,508 ft. lbs. 905 ft. lbs.
.300 Blackout 125 gr. 2,250 fps. 1,405 ft. lbs. 942 ft. lbs.
.458 SOCOM 400 gr. 1,800 fps. *hard to find *hard to find

AR Rifles

Example of a bull barrel 5.56mm NATO rifle. This example weighs in at over 15lbs.

5.56mm NATO heavy configuration AR-15
5.56mm NATO heavy configuration AR-15

Example of a standard 5.56mm NATO rifle. This is a good example of the 2nd generation A2 AR-15.

Colt AR-15 A2 H-BAR rifle
Colt AR-15 A2 H-BAR rifle

Fleet Week 2016 – San Francisco, CA Airshow photos (series 1)

Fleet Week is always one of (if not THE) best Air Show on the West Coast. A large aerobatic box over the San Francisco Bay means a lot more latitude with the types of maneuvers that can be performed.

Here are some of the highlight pics from yesterdays performances.








































#wearefleetweek #USNAVY #NAVY #breitlingjetteam #blueangels #f22raptor #heritageflight #UnitedAirlines #PatriotsJetTeam #FleetWeekSF

Santa Cruz Wildlife – October edition

There have been a few visitors already this week, to the Mountain Home.

These two came by today for a short visit:

mule deer buck
mule deer buck


Even a little interesting reptile life…

possible a rat snake
possible a rat snake

Earlier another buck made an appearance:

mule deer buck
mule deer buck

Another decided that some of the plants on our hillside were not to it’s liking, and proceeded to rip them out of the ground.

rutting mule deer buck
rutting mule deer buck

mule deer buck
mule deer buck

Deadly Encounters with Police – 2016 [by the numbers]

You’ve likely heard about it on TV, or radio, or read it in a bird cage liner… but there is much ado about the number of police related deaths (people killed during police encounters)… and the riots that are raging around these deaths.

I don’t plan to get into the circumstances of these deaths right now… I’m just going to look at some numbers compiled buy some sort of media watchdog that… compiles the news into a fairly handy webpage. The data that I used was located here: ==>

What did I find? You can draw your own conclusions. I’ve broken the data down in to three main sections:

Now for the data..




Racing, Photography, Software and Politics.