Monday, November 27, 2006

Mechtech: Heartache Tonight!

The Columbia Cascade Section, under the leadership of Mac McCarter, has announced that there will be a "pistol-caliber Carbine match" next weekend at the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club Tri-County Gun Club. (Saturday, December 2. Ice, snow, rain ... whatever the weather, we WILL be there!)

We did this a couple of years ago, but then it was announced under the REAL name:


MechTech 3
A couple of months ago I bought The Hobo Brasser's MechTech (which I had used at the last MechTech match, with great glee), and I have .45 ACP ammunition left over from the summer Single-Stack Match ... because at that match I opted to take photographs, rather than compete.

I have experienced rapid degradation of my vision for the past three years, so shooting Single Stack with iron sights isn't as much fun as it use to be.

But I have a Dot-sight mounted on the MechTech, so there's no holding me back now.

If you're not familiar with it, the MechTech is an 'upper assembly' consisting of a stock and barrell, with a few frills attached.

To make it into a complete firearm, you need only remove the slide and barrel from a 1911 (or Glock) gun, slide the frame into the MechTech upper, lock it in place with the slide-lock from the pistol, and you're Good To Go.

The Beloved KimberI'm using The Beloved Kimber, in .45 acp caliber.

MechTechI've jazzed up the combination by adding a Tasco PP1 dot-sight, which makes the concept do-able for me.

The blow-back recoil system of the MechTech (including the bolt) is much heavier than the slide and recoils spring of The Beloved Kimber. The manufacturer recommends a heavy load, which is no problem for me because I load my .45acp ammunition heavy ever since I almost made Minor Power in the 1999 Area 1 match in Reno.

(When I competed in the 1999 Limited Nationals, a month after the Area 1 match, my ammunition chronographed at about 189PF; I haven't significantly lightened the load since then, except now I'm using 200gr SWC or 200gr LRN instead of my favorite 230gr LRN bullet.)

.450 RowlandEven better, The Hobo Brasser sweetened the deal with a bucket of the robust .460 Rowland ammunition. I've already tested it. It feeds just fine in the magazines and into the chamber. I can even mix the .460 Rowland with .45 acp ammo in the magazine, and the gun doesn't hiccup.

AAll the parts you neednd of course, the combination of the MechTech and The Beloved Kimber is much more attractive considering the ease of assembly.

The assembled gun is lightweight, easy to handle and (with the addition of the Dot-Sight) easy to use.

I would be happier if the reloading process was less cumbersome, but I'm not complaining.

basic mech techI would be even MORE enthusiastic if the stock consisted of something more robust than a tuning fork; every time you shoot it, you have to put up with the "Twangggggggggg" in your ear until the spring-steel wire frame quits vibrating. However, the optional stock cover (a vinyl plastic jacket which wraps around the 'stock' and fastens with Velco) at least keeps it from tangling up in my beard.

The badnews is, when I first got the gun I tried to sight it in and I couldn't get it to zero. I ran the PP1 adjusting screws up so far that the came off the threads, and I was still shooting 3" low at 20 yards.

The good news is, when I went to Utah to visit my son Ben and his family, we went shooting and I adjusted the fit of the scope to the mount. Apparently, it wasn't seated into the notch in the rail before, so when I re-set the scope I was able to seat it properly and sighted it in at 30 yards with just a few shots

Ben tried it out, and consistently hit the 4" target at 30 yards. He liked it. It shoots like a .22.

Due to input from Cowboy Blob, it occurs to me that this article could use some more 'straight from the source' information about the Mech Tech.

First, they (the good folks at Mech Tech Systems, Inc.) now have a different design for the stock. Two of them, in fact.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThere's the telescoping stock (shown here with a Glock).
The manufacturer adds $69 to the $339.95 base price for this option. You can also buy the "retro-fit" kit for $119 to fit it on the MT you own now.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usAnd then there's the "PolyStock Insert System" ($22.95), which I would assume provides a more rigid ... and relatively vibration-free ... cover than does the "Padded Nylon Stock Cover ($17.95)) that's on the Carbine Conversion Unit I now have.

Second, in the Technical Section of their website, MT emphasizes that your ammuntion must be 'hot enough' to reliably and consistently move the weight of the blow-back bolt. I mentioned this earlier, although I didn't emphasize it was a blow-back system. The website specifically states:
The first consideration is that the ammo must be 'hot' enough to reliably cycle the CCU with proper ejection. 'Target' loads and other pussy cat loads are too weak to do this and you can tell by the too-frequent occurrence of 'stovepipes' and other fail-to-eject phenomenon.

You can get a better idea of 'how hot' is hot enough by going to their Technical Page and refering to the table. For example, using a 200gr bullet in my .45, I need a load that chronographs to 950fps (although with a 230 grain bullet I can get by with 850fps. This works out to a power factor of about 190. These minimum velocities are measured in your 4-1/2" or 5" barrelled handgun, not through the Mech Tech.
Power Factor = bullet weight X velocity / 1000

And by the way, thanks also to The Hobo Brasser for including the comment that the match will be held in Portland, not in Albany as I had previously said. I have corrected my original error.

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