Quick Review: Homefront (PC) 
2011.03.20 21:32 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Entertainment, Microcode, Whining
I finished the single-player campaign of Homefront on the PC. I'm not real enthused.

As John Walker opines over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the single player campaign is scripted in a way antagonistic to human interaction. Walking is slow, and your access to an area is almost always gated by one or more of your companion NPCs.

What I found most obnoxious was the way the game handled weapons. There are two things I found specifically obnoxious:
  • Guns that almost certainly share ammunition and magazines in the real world do not in the game. Which is why I found myself hauling around an empty ACR early in the game, despite being surrounded by M4s and M16s. I'm too lazy to go back in to find out if this problem affected everything in the game that would have taken STANAG mags (i. e. the M4, M16, ACR, SCAR-L, and PWS Diablo), or just some of them. Maybe the M4 and M16 actually work right, and the other guns are understood to take different ammo. Dunno. At the moment, not in the mood to find out.
  • The gun or guns I have at the end of chapter A almost never carry over to chapter B. Which is how the aforementioned ACR disappeared at the end of the first chapter and was replaced by an M4 at the beginning of the second. "What's the matter," one of the NPCs quipped, "don't you like guns?" Actually, I love guns; I was trying to figure out where mine had gone.

And I can't say much good or bad about the graphics. The reviewers claim it's fantastic, graphically, all I can tell you is I needed to turn all the levers down to "Very Low" and it still ran poorly. Also, it's very brown (that's a TV Tropes link; click at your own discretion).

I'm not really interested in the multiplayer. The reviews say it's fine, but I'm not really in need of a multiplayer FPS right this second.
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2011.01.09 13:42 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR
Went out to Knob Creek Range with my sister the Monday between Christmas and New Year's. A little cool, but a pleasant enough afternoon, otherwise: hardly anybody else on the firing line, no wind and no mud or dust to speak of.

Managed to get the Saiga straightened out by swapping the E-Tac Twister Puck and Gunfixer's Gas Plugs for the factory puck and plug. With the factory parts, it seems like it will cycle the rabbit fart Remington bird shot nearly every time. With the aftermarket parts, it just doesn't have enough gas to feed or eject properly. I may try swapping back just the gas plug and see if that can be made to work, as it's much easier to adjust. All that said, I'm moderately certain the problem is at least partly with the ammunition. I picked up a box each of higher-grade, low brass Winchester and Remington shotshells (Winchester AA "Super Sport" #8, 1 , Remington "Premier Nitro") which cycle just fine.

In the meantime, I have a Remington 870 on order. This is primarily because I wanted a shotgun that would eat whatever I fed it: I have a whole bunch of cheap shotgun shells that I'd like to dispose of.

I think I'm likely to purchase an ACR later this year. Bushmaster's 2011 catalog is out, and prices are down a fair bit. With some additional effort, I think I can probably come up with what I wanted for about what I wanted to pay.
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Updated the "ACR is a bummer" post 
2010.01.30 09:27 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Site/Meta
Bushmaster is saying the FCG is pretty much all AR parts, so I've updated the post to that end.
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Why the Bushmaster ACR is a bummer 
2010.01.23 22:00 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity
The short of it is that it took Bushmaster two and a half years to take what should have been a nearly finished design, strip out half the feature set (integral front sight, compatibility with AR-15 barrels and FCGs) to remove the possibility of after-market parts, add some weight to the gun for no obvious reason (Bushmaster ACR: 8.2 pounds vs. 7 pounds for the Remington ACR), and then charge twice the expected price for the privilege of having a barrel twist that people who pay two and three grand for a rifle apparently don't want. Oh, and cheap out on the sights.0

It must look like a brilliant move to somebody, but I have no idea who.

[Update: According to one of Bushmaster's people posting for the company at arfcom, the ACR does use standard AR trigger parts. The barrel, however, is still a new part.]

0. For the record, I like the MBUS: they work, and cost about a third what anything else with the same feature set costs. I'm even pretty sure they're there as much because they're made by Magpul as cost concerns. But, even a set of fixed (i.e., not flip-up) back-up iron sights made of steel costs twice what the MBUS does. When you're asking somebody to drop $3000 for a too-short rail farm and a folding stock, you could throw in a set of Troys for free. It would at least convey a sense that maybe you're not just charging the most you think you can get away with.

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Just as nice for twice the price! 
2010.01.19 07:35 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity, Whining
I hate to sound like all the ninnies that have been getting hysterical over the ACR rumours for the last three weeks, but it looks like the rumors are right and the basic version of the Bushmaster ACR is going to priced at $2700, or close enough to as makes no difference.

I've still got some checking to do, but unless I can come up with one for a lot less, my answer to that question is the following:

Screw. That.

A SCAR, ugly as it may be, includes a rail farm and a folding stock for that price, and the XCR is only a little more than half that. Someone on arfcom claimed that dealer price on the Remington version is $1850-2050, which might be do-able. I'll have to do some checking with my own contacts and see what turns up. I'm sure as heck not paying $3000 for one, though.

[Update: Checking complete. Unless something completely unexpected happens, I am not getting an ACR, at least within the current calendar year. C'est la vie. I hear SIGs are nice this time of year, though ....

I also feel like I should point out that Bushmaster's ACR shenanigans have been a pretty big bummer. I'll have a brief post on why in a bit.]

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