Thursday, April 18, 2019

Range Report I: Ruger PC9 Carbine

As noted a few days back, I picked up one of these recently, and today was time to try it out, and do some sight adjustment.

The Good:
Ruger. I.e. built like Russian tank.
It feels solid, sturdy, and compact.
6# 13oz stock, and mine was about 8 pounds as tested, with scope and sling.
Points well.
Aperture ring rear and protected front blade iron sights, on barrel assembly, adjustable for windage and elevation.
Picatinny top rail built into receiver.
Comes with multiple stock spacers to adjust length of pull.
Breaks into two pieces for compact storage.
(With weapon unloaded, draw bolt slightly back, pull up on takedown plunger, rotate 1/8th turn counterclockwise, then slide barrel assy. out of receiver. That fast and easy.)

Charging handle and mag release are ambidextrous.
Ruger OEM mag well swaps out with one that takes Glock 17/19/26 mags.
Threaded 1/2-28 muzzle w/thread protector, for flash hiders, and/or SHHH! cans, if you've got the federal tax stamp.

The first thing I did was use one of the three included Allen wrenches, remove the factory Ruger mag well, and swap in the included Glock block instead. I already have the above models, and have no desire to buy OEM Ruger mags at whatever the market price is, for something that's been Californicated to hold only 10 rounds. (Hopefully if Duncan v. Becerra is finalized, that'll sunset that nonsense hereabouts.) Meanwhile, since I'm going to be round-limited, I opted to use G26 mags, for minimum profile.
Provided one seats a loaded magazine firmly into place, they work just fine.
(So do G19 and G17 mags.)
If you don't check it, you'll find the magazine now with nine rounds sitting under the weapon after your first shot jiggles it loose.

The second thing I did was swap the charging handle to the left side of the receiver, where it belongs for right-handed shooters with two hands. That leaves your dominant hand on the stock grip, which works just fine. The changeover took about 90 seconds, 20 of which were reading the manual to see how to do it. If you can screw in a light bulb, you can change the charging handle over.

As presbyopia means never having to worry about your iron sights, I acquired an optical sight to make this fully useful. (If I wear my readers, I can see the sights, but not the target. With naked eyes, I can see the target, but not the sights. I still have better than 20/15 vision. It's just that after a certain number of birthdays, it now starts 4' from my face, rather than at the tip of my nose. And my arms aren't that long. So optics.) Given what the weapon costs, I couldn't see blowing $300 or more on optics for a short-range carbine. This is not an M40A3, it's a truck and brushwhacking gun.

So, instead of a spendy red dot, I bought the $39 Chinese-made Barska 3-9X w/duplex at WallyWorld. (No, I don't ever expect to need more than 3X, but fixed magnification wasn't an option.) But, true to form, the Barska came with rings made to mount that thing on top of a 10/22 or Marlin .22, not full-sized Picatinny rail. So I bought a pair of Leupold 1" rings, for as much as the scope cost, and mounted the whole assembly on top.

The carbine as tested. Note charging handle is on the left side.
And yes, that's the finest piece of Chinese glass $39 will buy.


Thus prepared, it was time to head to the range.

It took about 40 rounds to get it centered, shooting 5-shot groups, and at an indoor range with about a 20Y max range.

What recoil?!?
It's a 9mm carbine. Your 10 year old daughter could shoot this all day long.

I started about 2" right and 2" high, but given the relatively short range, the scope corrections were rather bold. By the 40th round, the rifle was more accurate off-hand than I was capable of, and keeping 10 round mag strings all in not just the 10 ring, but the middle of the 10 ring at 20Y became child's play.

To the point that I was able to Have A Nice Day on the last string.

The Bad:
I have the takedown 10/22, which comes with a nice backpack carrying case to stow and tote the weapon broken down, with space for ammo, additional mags, cleaning gear, survival supplies, etc.
The PC 9 does not include such a case. Pity. It should, even if it's sold as an after-market accessory.

I had one stovepipe, which annoyed me, but it's still getting broken in.
As it gets dirty, you may need to assist the bolt to close home on a new mag, due to residue fouling.

I went through 100 rounds in less than an hour, slow-fired. The barrel is fluted, which aids cooling. Which is fortunate, because even that modest amount of firing got things h-o-t.

And though I may or may not have some legally-obtained higher cap pre-ban Glock mags, what this thing wants is the 33-round happy sticks, or better yet, the 50 rd. drum or the 100-round Beta-C mag.

And a place to shoot outdoors where you can practice rapid fire.
On pumpkins, watermelons, and old plastic milk jugs filled with water.
Wear gloves. (Be careful: the piece is hot!)

The worst thing about this weapon is that they aren't yet making it in .45ACP (they have evidently announced a .40S&W version for next year), and capable of accepting M1911 mags. I would buy twelve of those. (I have no idea if Ruger will figure this out on their own and add that choice, or whether it will take them another 20 years to clue in, if ever. But it should be a slam-dunk business decision.)

The Ugly:
This thing comes from the factory with a front sling swivel, and a molded swivel loop at the butt as part of the plastic molded stock.
Ruger was 0-2 on this.
The front sling swivel was 20° out of whack, because some flunky was too lazy to put it on straight. So I had to fix that.
And then the mold job on the rear sling swivel leaves the loop too wide to put on standard QD sling swivels, necessitating some Bubba gunsmithing on one side of it with a mill bastard file, to get the sling ring profile to accommodate the QD swivel and close properly. This tells me that Ruger either didn't check, or doesn't care. Sloppy.

That's it.
I have nothing else to complain about regarding the weapon.
IMHO, Ruger has another winner, and a worthy successor to the discontinued Marlin Camp carbines.
This thing is the poor man's Tommy gun, esp. if you slap 33-50-100 round magazines into it.
If you have a 9MM Glock pistol, you should get one of these to make it a matched set.

Sometime in the next couple of days, I'll take it to an outdoor range, and get it dialed in for 100Y. I may even see about learning its 200Y zero for the scope mounted on it, just because I can. When I do that, Range Report II will follow.

Addendum in re: Comments:
Boys and girls, there are limits to what I'll do.
Putting a $300 (or more) sight on a $600 pistol-caliber carbine is one of them.
No matter how quick and nifty it would be.
Even with just the irons and my eyes, I could still point and hit minute of bad guy out to 100Y, just from muscle memory.
At this point, just on 3X with the cheapie Barksa, it holds minute of X-ring at house and yard-width distances. My group at 20Y slow-fired offhand would fit under a teacup. Tomorrow (probably), at longer range, I suspect it'll be dialed in even farther out, and I'll see what the overs and unders are for intermediate ranges.

At that point, lacking the legal ability to add the can it wants on those threads, and the drum mags I want (yet), the only thing I'm adding is a thumb-buster loading block to make reloading the 10-rd G26 mags even quicker and easier, and probably another handful (6-8) of those, and a pouch or two on the gun case to hold them in.

And in case anyone at 5.11, Maxpedition, Fox, Voodoo, Condor, etc. are listening/reading this, WTF don't any of you guys sell MOLLE pouches cut to hold
a) Californicated 10-rd standard rifle mags for things like ARs, AKs, M1-As, etc.
b) 10/22 mags by the triple or more
(currently I use MOLLE grenade pouches instead, lacking a steady supply of M67 frags)
(Hint: a bandolier that had 10-12 pouches for them? GENIUS!)
c) G26 mags 4-, 6-, or 10 across, on a belt or MOLLE grid???

When Ruger's PC9 case becomes a reality, I'll probably get one of those too, if it stores it broken down.

The only reason now to get an Inland M1 Carbine is nostalgia.
(Which doesn't mean I won't acquire one, or a WWII original, at some point.)
This thing does everything the M1 would do, cheaper, and with far more utility.
I still have a Camp .45 around somewhere in vintage shape, which wants the after-market recoil springs, buffer blocks and such, but the day Ruger does a PC45, that old Marlin is going on the sale block, to help pay for the dozen PC45s I'll want in a ready rack.

And the Ruger PC wants three, maybe four, after market stocks:
One in solid wood. Birch, walnut, whatever.
(That may be a weekend/retirement project someday.)
A wood one with the M1 carbine sling cut and profile.
A plastic one like they make, but with a sliding/folding adjustable length.
A plastic one, with a pistol grip.
I suspect in a year or two CM&T, Magpul, and a dozen other companies etc. will get hot on those last two. If not, they're fools.

Follow-Up: Range Report II: Ruger PC 9 Carbine


Irvin Irving said...

RE: 200 yds. Suggestion: Chrono your favorite social load, compute point blank range(s) for it out to 225M, select distance (and delivered energy level) that works best for your AO. My guess is you'll end up around 125M for a zero distance. 8.5X11.0 copy paper in portrait mode works well as a handy testing target

It'll cost half (or more) the rifle, but illuminated 2.5-3.5X optics with a horseshoe reticle and BDC gradations (aka "dots") is very handy on short range (<400M) long guns (Primary Arms has the 2.5X for $200, the 3.0X is almost twice that, and there are other brands).

June J said...

Thanks for the range report. Your observations mirror mine.
Ruger just announced a .40 cal model.

There is also a takedown bag coming in June that has been designed, supposedly, for the PCC.

Some add on parts. I haven’t modified mine yet, these websites offer a variety of enhancements. Alas, still no replacement stocks.®-PC-Carbine™_c_216.html®_PC_Carbine_MLOK_RAIL.html

Anonymous said...

Buddy of mine picked one of these up.
He had "pre-ordered" it when they first came out and thus, "beat the rush" of people at the local FunShop who were there to paw the 2 they had on hand "for looks".
(The shop said they had 500 "on order" just to meet demand for folk who had already pre-paid)

I want one.
I had one of the Camp 9 Carbines about 20 years ago.
And while it was neat, thankfully I sold it before finding out the hard way its factory recoil spring was lacking.
Also, it was during The Ban, so my magazine choices were limited to CrapTacular expensive aftermarket stuff or the single 10 rounder it came with.

I actually (living in Ohio) obtained a pair of Glock's new 24 shot 9mm magazines when the local FunShop had them for sale, specifically for the future purchase of this.
I might already have a few of the 33 rounders from back when Ohio law said they could be owned but not used, but thankfully that changed.

This thing screams for a Can and a 10" barrel and maybe even a folding stock, amongst other things.

Unknown said...

Plus 100 on Primary 2.5x. All you need on a short range carbine, but has ranging to 600 and is as fast as a 1x red dot.
Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

9mm is the new .22. This would be a great plinker that works for HD. for the price of a 10/22 you could buy a lot of 9mm ammo.

G Russell said...

Lovely. I have a JRC 9mm take down, and it is as much fun.

I want a PCC too. 2moa red dot on a riser here tho.

Unknown said...

Sent from my mobile, oughtsix

dirtcowboy said...

Oooooooooooohhhhhhhh........... .40 at last, yessir I'll own one s soon as I can find one.

Max said...

I bought seven, 32 round ProMag magazines for Ruger SR9. They were 10 dollars less than the Ruger brand SR9 mags. I don't own a Glock. Then I found this on line.

Anonymous said...

For another variation on the theme, check out the Kel-Tec Sub2000
Comes in 9mm and 40 S&W using Glock mags as well.

Aesop said...

Friends don't let friends buy Kel-Tecs.

Anonymous said...

Friend has a Kel-Tec sub2000 and loves it (keeps it on his bike).
They're not as bad as a Hi-Point.
Kel-Tec had some issues with the polymer mag catch, but I think they've corrected that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aesop. Friend has one of the .45 carbines and loves it. Bought a cheapy sight for the same reason.
You've given some food for thought, I'm not a fan of launching pistol bullets from larger platforms ( even the much-loved MP5) but I can see some utility in urban/suburban situations
Boat Guy

The Freeholder said...

Come visit North Carolina. I'll put you in the trust and we'll slap a can on it and go to the range.

Anonymous said...

Only thing keeping me from getting one is that Ruger doesn't yet offer a magwell insert for Beretta 92-series mags. C'mon, Ruger, get with the program. Not everybody has a Glock . . .

--Wes S.

Anonymous said...

Try the Beretta CX4 Storm carbine if you want a great shooter to go with that 92.

Paul said...

I have one in M1 Carbine 9mm that shares mags with my Beretta 92. I believe friends don't let friends get glocks.

I got a hi point in trade for some things I wasn't using and it is my truck gun with a cheap red dot. It works and is unregistered so it is kind of a throw away.

9mm is good to 100 but not much beyond, unless you are lucky. I would rather not depend on luck.

I have been looking at the ruger but beretta.

Anonymous said...

I have a Camp 45 that I've done the mods to make it a great shooter. Wolff 21 lb recoil spring, beefed up the stock around the rear of the receiver with Acra Glass gel and stock pins, cut 3/8" off the mag well, installed a Burris 1x scope.
I don't know if this is typical of 45 acp in a carbine, but my pistol loads are 20 fps slower from the Camp than from my 1911. My pistol load is a 200 gr LSWC with W231 powder @ 860 fps. I would also sometimes get a pop and a puff of smoke from the ejection port. I solved the problem by going to a 230 gr LRN bullet and a slower powder (700X). Now I'm getting 1060 fps, no pops, and it's a tack driver at 50 yards.


James said...

A shout out across the divide and a remembrance of Kevin Obrien today,miss you,RIP.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what happened to my comment. I must have muffed it. But if you need range over 100-150 let me know. I think I'm adjacent to your neck of the woods. Let me know
- BAP45

RSR said...

Ruger is making a mlock version of this gun that might solve your issue on the forend, plus there are other aftermarket.

The Sub2k is about 1.5lbs lighter IIRC. They are solid guns and due to pistol grip mag are notably shorter for same barrel length. No doubt, this ruger is higher overall build quality, but the sub2k is definitely more packable and faster to deploy from folded. Due to weight and presumably lighter buffer, this gun should kick less than sub2k as well.

I'm not particularly a fan of reciprocating left hand charging handles. I find the movement distracting as a right handed shooter. I also have VZ58s, Galils, AKs, and 10/22s w/ the handle on the right side, so muscle memory...

.357 magnum carbines are much closer to .30 carbines than are 9mm carbines. 9mm carbines PBR are roughly equivalent in energy and velocity to a .357 mag pistol at the muzzle, which means 9mm carbines are 1/3rd to 1/2 less powerful than .357 mag carbines depending on loads.(Roughly, .357 mag carbines produce 50% more energy than a pistol).

Comments above, Beretta carbine has polymer internals including hammer and sear. To upgrade, you very quickly make a $600 gun a $1k plus one... Frankly, the juice isn't worth the squeeze for me vs other options.

I tend to increasingly recommend pistol caliber carbines as first or second guns (other compatible pistol/carbine in same caliber and same mags as first choice) to novice shooter friends who want guns for self defense. Incredibly simplified logistics and two 30 cal ammo cans hold over 2k rounds of loose 9mm.
The nice part about the ruger 9mm carbine is that is a close fascimile to stock 10/22 insofar as manual of arms and training.
9mm out of 16" barrel being similarly loud to 22lr is definitely part of it for a gun that could be used indoors...

Anonymous said...

partisan history has shown that auto/semiauto pistol caliber rifles have their place. m3, ppsh41, Thompson, mp40, M1Carbine. if your going to outfit a female partisan with limited range time this is the option. 9mm ammo is half the cost of M1 Carbine ammo and compatible with other firearms. makes more sense. less not forget 38s/357m lever guns.

Aesop said...

@Paul 7:16P

Rethink that range estimation.

I was clanging a chest-sized 200Y circle and pig silhouette, standing offhand, and could do so all day long.
So could anyone I handed it to.

9mm from this carbine is a 200Y cartridge.

The Annoyed Man said...

I bought a PC9 in May, and mine is not "californicated". In fact, it works really well stoked with 147 grain subsonics, with a Rugged Obsidian suppressor mounted in the business end. It’s not only nice and quiet, but the extra weight of the can completely eliminates what little recoil the fun had to begin with.

Like you, I have OED (Old Eye Disease), and a LOT of difficulty picking up the front sight in anything but bright sunlight, against a bright background. I solved it by addition of a Primary Arms Silver Series Advanced Push Button Microdot Red Dot Sight. That works out very well, and the sight sits nice and low over the bore....higher than the iron sights, but only by a small amount.

That said, I REALLY wish that either of the front sight upgrades included in the TALO or Lipseys specials were commercially available in the aftermarket. Perhaps they will be some day, but I dislike being dependent upon a battery in the meantime, just to be able to aim the carbine. The RDS works, but it doesn’t have an etched reticle; and to MY mind, a variable power optic with an etched reticle is too much scope for this gun. The added weight kind of defeats the gun's purpose. I like low-power variable optics for AR15s, and I have two such scopes, but that just doesn’t make sense to me for a pistol caliber carbine.

Regarding the M1 Carbine, there is some temptation to compare the Ruger to an M1, but they’re not quite equals. I also own a vintage (and nearly mint condition) 1943 Inland. The PC9 is a full 1.4 lbs heavier than the M1. The M1 fires a far more powerful cartridge, from a 2" longer 18" barrel, developing significantly better velocity, energy, and terminal ballistics. During the design phase of the .30 Carbine cartridge, mil-spec called for it to be effective to 300 yards. Assuming an average MV of 1950 FPS, that would produce a 300 yard velocity/energy of 1059.7 FPS/274.2 Ft-lbs. Those are still potentially lethal numbers, and far better than a 9mm at 300 yards. But, if you decide you want to zero for point blank range with a 10” target circle, your Maximum Point Blank range for the .30 Carbine is 200 yards. A 9mm can’t even come close to that. The .30 Carbine trajectory would be 5" high at 100 yards, and 3.6" low at 200 yards. At 200 yards, your V/E would be 1251.2 FPS/382.3 ft-lbs....again, MUCH more effective than a 9mm at 200 yards. I’m not volunteering to step in front of someone shooting a PC9 at 200-300 yards, but that still doesn’t put it in the same league as an M1 Carbine at that same distance. The M1, by the way, is an absolute joy to shoot, and it is at least as accurate as the PC9 is.

The great thing about the PC9 is that it stands on its own merits. It doesn’t need to be compared to other carbines, even if it is faintly evocative of them. I have no real regrets about buying mine. I like it very much, and I shoot it regularly. The only thing I would do different would be to pay a little more for one of the TALO or Lipskeys variants, to have the upgraded front sight.

Phillip Kotler said...

Ruger range bag made from heavy-duty Endura fabric, which means that its stronger than the average range bag, while its padded bottom and sides are better able to protect your expensive guns and other accessories from damage. If you’re looking for a range bag that will do the job without any bells or whistles, this is the Ruger range bag for you.