Battlefield 4 [UPDATE]

Battlefield 4 [UPDATE]

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Battlefield 4 is one of the two big shooter titles out on consoles and PC. I have been playing it on the Sony PS4 and I am breaking it into categories and some sub categories within the larger ones for ease of reading.

CAMPAIGN:
First I must say that I am not a person that normally plays campaign. In BF4 you unlock weapons just by playing the campaign. I won’t reveal which ones but I will say it’s a shotgun, pistol, assault rifle and a light machine gun. This campaign is VERY short. 6 missions to be exact. I guess it’s a little better that each mission is 20 minutes and some a bit longer. Again, I don’t like campaign so I only played to get the guns so I don’t mind how short it is.

MULTIPLAYER:
There are very large differences in the online play between the two huge shooter titles. The only bad thing I have been through on multiplayer is the amount of time it takes to rank up. It takes a while and I am currently only on level 14. So just imagine how long it would take to get way up there in rank.

Everyone knows Call of Duty is only small warfare with 6v6. BF4 in the other hand has what Call Of Duty has but it also has game modes that takes it way beyond. Here are a couple game modes I will be talking about.

TEAM DEATHMATCH:
TDM is essentially what Call Of Duty is. You just run around a smaller version of maps and just kill enemy soldiers till you have killed 100 as a team to be victorious. There are no vehicles present in this game mode. These games don’t last too long and is a good way to rank up on classes because you always see the enemy. You don’t respawn on solders, rather just wherever the game spawns you in the map. Being spawned near enemies is sometimes an issue but nowhere as bad as it is in Call Of Duty so I’ll take it.

RUSH:
This is almost the same as TDM but you actually have an objective. At any given time there are two places that you can plant a bomb on. Every person on the attacking team had a bomb. Once planted, you have to protect it from the defending team defusing it. It’s the defending teams goal to stop the attacking team from planting and blowing up the target. The attacking team has a number of “tickets”. Tickets are lives of soldiers. If you deplete the attacking team of their tickets before they can blow up the objective then the defending team wins. When the attacking team blows up a target, the map expands. The base of the attacking team moves up and there are two more objectives to blow up. This continues to three locations and after the third, the game is won by the attacking team. In this game mode there are some lighter vehicles and the occasional helicopters.

CONQUEST:
Conquest is the largest game mode in BF4. 32v32 adds a total of 64 players to this map. There are vehicles of all kinds including jets and helicopters. The point of this game mode is to capture the bases, capture flags, eliminate enemy soldiers, and bring the enemy’s ticket count down to zero. The best way to do that is to make sure you own a majority of the available flags on the map. Since this mode is so much larger, you may get less kills but also have the potential to get a lot more. Team work is very helpful in conquest. This brings vehicle warfare to the max.

COMMANDER MODE:
Being the commander is interesting. You are not physically playing as a person. You see the whole battlefield in a map form and from your teammates getting points you get to use UAV’s, EMP’s, vehicle drops, gunships, tomahawk missiles, etc… you still receive a score that goes towards your commander ranking and rank score. You also can kill people from what you call in but you can never die. If commander mode is used, it will help your K/D ratio. Very cool feature and glad the makers of BF4 made this mode.

DESTRUCTIBLE TERRAIN :
In most games when you’re behind any kind of cover you’re safe. The Frostbite 2 game engine from BF3 changed that forever. No longer was anyone safe. If you had the right equipment you could drop a whole building. BF4 uses the new Frostbite 3 engine, the upgrade to the Frostbite 3. For example, if you know someone is in this building laying down and aiming towards the only foot into the house, you can throw CQ on the outside and blow them to make your own door. You can drive a tank clear through a building, no problem. When a sniper is laying on top of a house, a rocket launcher can take what he’s laying on and make it disappear in a fiery explosion which will also probably kill the sniper while shaping the environment for the remainder of the game. The building and terrain never return to what they once were until you start a brand new game. What started as a nice city at the start of the match turned into many piles of rubble and building and roads with giant holes in them. This brought another whole level of realism to playing this video game that has yet to be matched or even challenged.

CUSTOMIZATION:
You can’t really customize your person, but the weapons you use, that’s a different story. You can put anything you can think of on all your weapons including your pistol. The classes you can use are Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon. With any class you can use some of the same guns like shotguns, carbine rifles and dedicated marksman rifles. Each class has their unique items you can use. Assault has a defibrillator to revive fallen teammates if done within a certain amount of time from death. Engineers have a torch that fixed vehicles. Support has a mirror system you can set up and remotely fire. Recon has a Portable Laser Designator that paints a target with a laser and allows a teammate in a jet or helicopter to fire missiles and hit what’s painted with the laser. You actually rank up each class individually and unlock things within that class accordingly.

VEHICLE:
There are many vehicles. Jeeps, armored personnel carriers with cannons on it, main battle tanks, boats, helicopters, almost anything you can think of. All vehicles can hold at least one other teammate and most have guns the passenger would use. The vehicle use takes this game way beyond any other first person shooter game out there.

There is just so much to do in this game. You can’t reach max level on rank and be done. No. There’s ranking up on rank, each class of vehicle and each gun class too. This allows you to not get bored being stuck in leveling limbo for a longer time then in other games.  The realism this game has is amazing right down to the bullet drop. I would definitely recommend this game to others. Especially if you have the PS4 or Xbox One since those consoles have the 64 player ability..

Bullseye Camera Systems 500 Yard Edition review

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I contacted  Bullseye Camera Systems a few months back to review their Bullseye Camera Systems 500 Yard Edition.

The company was founded in 2012 and I rate it as one of the best new pieces of shooting gear for 2013.

While Panzer was prepping for an elk hunt this past October, we spent day after day at the rifle range to hone his distance shooting skills with his new rifle. Before starting to talk with Bullseye Camera Systems, we were utilizing every binocular, scope and spotting scope we had, to judge each shot taken. Every 10 or so shots we had to walk the 200-300 yards to cover previous shots with stickers to get clean readings.  The back and forth trips down the range kills a good 15% to 50% of your day at the range.

The Bullseye Camera Systems is just that… a target viewing system that sits near your target.

“No more walking back and forth to the target! Spend more time shooting!” – Bullseye Camera System Facebook page.

The system comes with:
– Weatherproof camera w/night vision
– 5-hour rechargeable battery
– Router and antenna
– Tripod and connectors
– Secure carrying case
– Bullseye Target Manager Software on a flash drive
Works with any laptop running Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.

I know a few “purists” who believe that when it comes to shooting, old school is best and not use any tech. The two “purists” that I showed this system to, both thought this was a great for young and old alike since most people can’t see a .22 caliber hole in a paper at 200+ yards away.

The system is practically no maintenance  other than keeping the batteries charged and periodic free software updates.

During use, twice the system battery lasted longer than the laptop, so we just had to make a quick change of laptops by simply switching the flash drive. No download needed.

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After every shot you make, by hitting the spacebar on the laptop, the Bullseye Target Manager Software takes a still shot of the target. The software then flashes between the two most recent still shots comparing them. 

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The set up is as easy as setting up the tripod, mounting the camera, plugging the two USB cables into the battery pack, connecting the flash drive to your laptop and running the program.

Bullseye Camera Systems has two options:  500 yard or 1000 yard with an upgrade option for 1 mile. Both systems are similar, aside from the antenna which boosts the Wi-Fi range on the camera.

The base systems (without laptops) are $449 for the 500 yard and $549 for the 1000 yard system. Both are more an affordable option than some of the higher end spotting scopes that have clear glass to see at ranges like that.

The software lets you record all the data regarding each individual target; allowing for comparisons between days at the range. You can set different profiles for different shooters so everyone can use the same program to track their shots.  The software has a mark shot button that lets you cover your shots with a colored mark on the screen so you can use a target that has a few holes already in it.

Overall Thoughts:

This system is amazing! The company is still young so I expect to see them really starting to make waves in the next few years as they grow. The long range shooting part of the industry has needed something like this for years and as the tech becomes better and better so will this system.

Vivani 100% Organic Dark Chocolate – Orange (70% cocoa)

Vivani 100% Organic Dark Chocolate – Orange (70% cocoa)

I love chocolate… WAIT! Let me rephrase that. If I buy expensive chocolate for myself do not touch it if you plan to keep all your digits. Yes I love chocolate that much. I am not a chocolate connoisseur but I might call myself a chocolate snob at times.

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Where I live there are two Central Markets (they offer an unmatched selection of domestic and imported foods) near me that my family and I like to shop at for all of our non staple foods. My father and I have a game of sorts where we each pick out a chocolate bar and then try them out to help feed our love of chocolate.

Last trip we made together we picked up a  Vivani 100% Organic Dark Chocolate – Orange (70% cocoa). For 70% is it a little sweeter than I had expected and the aftertaste was a smooth hint of orange. The bar is scored in rectangles which made for easy breaking to enjoy just a few bites at a time. 

  The chocolate is made in Herford, Germany.

Overall Thoughts:

The orange is not overwhelming and very tasty. I found it to be a more refined taste to the Terry’s chocolate oranges that come in a ball that you tap on a table to split the chocolate “orange slices”  apart.

Rating:

(out of 5 stars)

Smoothness:  ****1/2

Richness: ***

Orange: **1/2 

Chocolatey: ****

Lack of Graininess: ****

Zagg invisibleSHIELD for the iPhone 3GS and 4s review

I upgraded to the iPhone 3GS early 2010 and I was very excited to have one because I knew how awesome they were (why yes! I am an Apple fan thank you for noticing.) I picked up the phone at my local carrier and then went straight to Best Buy to get a screen cover. First I’ll say I would have normally done a search on the screen cover product before I buy the phone but this was my first phone screen protector and I never really thought about it before that day.

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I walked in found a $15 cover (Zagg invisibleSHIELD iPhone 3GS front only cover) to put on my shiny new phone and I never really thought much about it until I stated seeing my lady friend tap the icons on my phone with her very sharp claws nails. I would find little finger nail imprints in the screen cover which drove me crazy until I noticed that the imprints would start to disappear over the next few days as I used the phone and I never found cuts in the cover. Since that discovery I have been sold on this cover.

My father owns a decorative flooring business that I worked for full time before I broke my back in 2010, In this line of work I tend to look like Pig-Pen from Peanuts because of all the concrete dust we make from grinding and concrete scoring so my clothes would get very coarse by the end of the work day. I never liked carrying my phone on job sites since it would always scratch the living hell out of my old phones screens.

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Flat out, this cover isn’t a thin film of plastic that gets torn off after a month of use or scratched up like the screen does without a cover. This is like a rubberized (for lack of better word since it isn’t rubber) type screen cover that stays pretty much smudge and scratch free all the time.

I am one to always get my Apple Care Plan on my products because I know that my device is going to someday give me problems and it is just easy to go into the Apple Store and get a new phone. When that happens the old Zagg cover is toast and for the cost of shipping (per replacement) Zagg has a lifetime guarantee that if the cover gets damaged or the phone gets replaced with the same model they will replace it for the life of the device.

If you are looking to protect your device whether it is a tablet or a phone it is very hard to go wrong with the Zagg invisibleSHIELD. This is a company that not only stands behind the product it makes, but helps you out by replacing your cover when have to replace your device. That to me makes this cover worth the $15 each time I upgrade my device.

Battlefield 4 First Impressions

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I preordered Battlefield 4 along with the PS4. I have played about 6 games of this title on the new generation of platform. The only game mode I’ve played is team death match and its pretty straight forward and like all the other games with this same mode.

I first thing I noticed in the upgrade is the crispness and detail in the graphics from what I have personally watched with the PS3 version. The game runs very smooth. Multiple explosions at the same time from different angles works flawlessly together. You won’t find yourself safe in many places. The entire world you play in is destructible. With the right equipment in the hands of the enemy, walls mean nothing.

Besides team death match and one conquest game, I did play around with the Test Range mode. I first saw something similar in the latest Ghost Recon game. You pretty much spawn on an island that has no “live” enemy players and you test your weapon load outs, practice flying helicopters, boats, ground vehicles and stationary weapons. It’s all practice practice practice. Flying in helicopters is no joke. It take some skill or at least an understanding of what needs to be done at the same time for the helicopter to do what you want. Sadly there aren’t any fighter jets you can toy around with in this mode but overall, a great feature to utilize.

Every game has their own different way to rank up your character. In Battlefield you only rank up a particular class when you play in that class and earn points using it. The same goes with vehicles. You have to use the tank or jet, earn points within the vehicle to unlock certain weapons or armor that can be used with the particular type of vehicle. It takes a bit longer because you have to do everything separately but it actually keeps you in the game longer and gives you more things you can achieve before maxing out.

As far as I have played, if you’re familiar with Battlefield it follows the same guidelines with just a better game engine, new maps, guns and vehicles. So far a very good game to play. The realism is awesome. I’ll have a more in depth review as I play more in the upcoming weeks.

Zombie Annihilator ZA-15

Back in April 2012 I was involved in a Zombie shoot in Dallas, TX the grand prize sponsor was American Weapon Systems.
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After seeing the grand prize I contacted them and had a chance to talk with them about doing a test and evaluation of the ZA-15.
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SPECS:

American Weapon Systems Forged Zombie Annihilator® Lower and Upper, Machined from Forged 7075-T6 Aluminum
AWS 16″ Mid-Length LW-50 Stainless Steel Barrel 1:8 Twist Polygonal Rifling, With .223 Wylde Chamber.
AWS Nickel Boron Coated M16 Bolt Carrier
Two Stage Trigger: Geissele
Magpul UBR (utility / battle rifle)
Magpul MIAD (Mission Adaptable) Grip
Magpul MOE Trigger Guard
Surefire 60 round high Cap Mag
Forward Grip: TROY Industries, Modular Combat Grip
Samson Low Profile Gas Block
MechArmor TacOps-1 Charging Handle
A2 Flash Suppressor
Samson FFS & FRS Quick Flip Sights
Samson manufacturing, Evolution series 12.37” Forend

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Old Man Lefty and I had a few chances to take it out to the range and put it through its paces.
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Safe-Zombie-SHTF (S**T HITS THE FAN)
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I buy guns based on need such as a new hunting rifle for larger or smaller game, or based on performance like handling, ease of use, and how it feels to me.

As seen in past posts I do own a few different types of .223/5.56×45 rifles

FN-H FS2000
Kel-Tec SU-16CA
Sig 556 DMR
Sig 556 SWAT
Smith & Wesson M&P-15
I have fired many different AR-15 Platforms from Colt, Daniel Defense, DPMS, STAG, AAC, and BCM.

The Smith & Wesson M&P-15 I own is stock. I have not made any modifications to it, outside of adding a scope.

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The S&W M&P15 is a nice rifle that is well built. It has more felt recoil than the ZA-15.

The stock model M&P15 is boring and if you want a M&P15 you may end up changing quite a few parts just to get it to the point you like it.

The ZA-15 can be customized before it is even shipped to you so you know the rifle you are buying is going to be the rifle you want.

I have met a a few people who believe an AR is an AR is an AR but that simply is not the case. Not all AR-15s are made equally and this becomes very apparent when firing the ZA-15 next to the M&P 15. You can feel the time spent hand assembling the ZA-15 and it is obvious that this is not another factory line gun using the the same stock rifle with the same parts time and time again.

As Built

American Weapon Systems has built a very high quality AR-15 rifle and and you are going to pay for it. Depending on the build you are looking at $2000.

AWS builds the rifle to your spec to insure you get the rifle of your dreams.
The GEARS crew and friends shot about 1000 rounds of .223 and 5.56×45 though this rifle and it preformed exceptionally well under all the conditions we put it through .

The barrel of this rifle is chambered in .223 Wylde which lets you shoot .223 Remington and 5.56×45 rounds through with no problems.

The bolt carrier group is a full auto bolt carrier group which I am a big fan of because it reduces (by the bolt being heavier) the the speed the bolt carrier goes into full battery (the status of a firearm when the action has returned to the normal firing position. Bolt carrier group locked in the lugs of the barrel). The reason I like that is it slows the action down making the extractor have enough time to eject the spent brass reducing the chance of stove piping(the rifle is NOT full auto). A heavier bolt increases your control over your firearm.
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I made this stove piping for the image by putting spent brass in the rifle like that.

Magazines

AWS shipped us the rifle with a Surefire 60 round magazine which is fun to fire and just looks cool.

Zombie!

They have dressed up the rifle with the Zombie killer dust cover and all of the Engraved Biohazard Logo and Zombie Annihilator® painted in neon green so it shows up really well. While this doesn’t make the rifle anymore accurate or function any better it does make the rifle a nice conversation piece out at the range.

Personal Thoughts

I personally do not buy firearms because of aesthetics. I don’t buy a gun just because it was branded with the latest trend, but that being said I am always excited by anything that helps the firearm industry. This is a well built gun and it has a fun factor thrown in that makes taking it to the gun range a exciting way to meet other shooters. Everyone wants to come see the Zombie gun and talk to you.

First I have to say I had no input about what went onto this rifle. They built the rifle and shipped it to me and when I opened it at my gun shop it was the first time I saw and knew what was on this rifle.

APPEARANCE:

This model is engraved with ZOMBIE ANNIHILATOR and a biohazard symbol which makes this a GREAT zombie killer. Without the paint and engraving the rifle looks like a standard AR-15. More than that the gun has a number of features that make this a great gun.

STOCK:

They put the UBR (utility / battle rifle) stock on this rifle which is a bit bulky but has a great feature, the cheek rest, which does not move with the rest of the stock. This lets the shooter have a nice full cheek wield. It comes with a compartment which holds (6-7) .223 rounds. I didn’t want to take all of my EOtechs apart and pull the batteries out but it will hold a few CR123 batteries or a few AA or AAA batteries. The storage compartment in the stock is removable and the door is reversible.

Sling mount specs:

Front/Rear – Reversible QD swivel sling mounts fit up to 1.5″ push-button swivels (swivel not included)
Bottom – 1.25″ sling loop
[Found on the Magpul website]

FELT RECOIL:

The felt recoil is low and of the few people outside of the GEARS crew that shot it only one person disagreed, but everyone has their own opinion. Old man lefty made the comment that it had lower recoil than the Kel -Tec SU-16CA. Gun Bunny made an observation that you can hear the buffer tube (action) spring when the rifle is fired. This did not affect the rifle but it was a curious thing to hear.

MAGAZINES:

The magazine they sent with the rifle was the 60 Round surefire magazine. Since we are out of Texas this magazine is legal (if you want your rifle to come with this magazine please check with your local laws). The magazine had no problems and functioned perfectly. Since I am not a competition or tactical shooter I do not have any comments about using this magazine in a competition or in a tactical situation. I fired 60 rounds in as fast as I could pull the trigger and the rifle shot normally. I did like having the 60 rounds to sit and shoot without having to reload or change mags.
Reloading took me 120 seconds to pull each round out of my loose .223 ammo box and hand load. All 60 rounds fed with about the same (felt) spring tension as the 1st round loaded. I did not use a maglula (speed loader) with this magazine because I do not have one at this time.

FIELD STRIPPING:

Since this a a standard AR-15 there are not any special things that have to be down to field strip this rifle.

ACCURACY:

From 25 –50 yards the rifle held tight groupings with 10+ shots in a quarter size hole. I did not test it at any longer ranges.

SIGHTS:

The Samson FFS & FRS Quick Flip Sights are spring loaded which makes popping them up fast and easy from the rifle hanging on your side from a sling.
The sights were on target when I got the rifle so I didn’t need to adjust them. They are an all metal construction so they are solid when you are walking around with the rifle from a sling and they fold so you are not getting the sights caught on your gear.

RAILS:

The standard ZA-15 comes with 18′” rail on the top (2) 1 3/4” on the left and right sides and one 4 3/4” rail on the bottom that has the TROY Industries, Modular Combat Grip.

WEIGHT:

The weight is around 11-12 pounds (unloaded) which is on the heavy end of the mid length 16” barrel AR-15’s weight. (for comparison my M&P15 comes in at just under 7 pounds with a 16” barrel). The rifle uses a heavy barrel for improved accuracy. I wouldn’t want to be firing from an unsupported or standing position all day with this rifle but with support this rifle is an okay weight.

CASE:

AWS sent the rifle in a SFR 5013 Double Rifle Case which is a TSA approved case. By shipping in this case it protected that rifle better than the normal cardboard box and packing peanuts.

Fore-Grip:

The TROY Industries, Modular Combat Grip AWS put on the rifle is nice. It unscrews so you can change the size for your shooting preference.

TRIGGER:

The Two Stage Geissele Trigger has a nice clean break when fired and one of the most smooth and clean triggers I have ever had.

Charging Handle:

The MechArmor TacOps-1 Charging Handle has a charging handle latch on the right and left side of the handle making it easier to charge the firearm left or right hands and while the rifle is in different positions.

HAND GRIP:

I liked the Magpul MIAD hand grip because you can change the back and front straps. This allows you to find the most comfortable grip for shooting and reduce hand fatigue from shooting all day.

DUST COVER:

This made most of the people I showed this to at the range smile.

NiB-X NICKEL BORON:

While I did not have any issues with it, I would like to do more testing with the nickel boron before I make any more comments about how good or bad it is. Two different shooters and gun smiths I respect both have completely different takes on Nickel Boron so I need to test more for myself and my own understanding before I would recommend it.

PROS:

 

  • Fun to shoot
  • Low Recoil
  • Easy to shoot
  • Easy to clean
  • Stock is adjustable for different shooters
  • Candy cane breaking trigger pull (clean snap)
  • Draws attention when at the range
  • CONS:

    Weight is heavier than I like.

    OVERALL THOUGHTS & COMMENTS ON THIS RIFLE:

    Overall I loved this rifle and would love to own this rifle.

    The price is high but when you put all the parts together into one rifle the price is reasonable.

    Great gun, fun to shoot and worth the price for the time and care American Weapon Systems puts into each gun.

    While AR-15s and AK-47s are two of the most copied designs of guns that doesn’t mean they are all the same. American Weapon Systems is not a mass producer of AR-15s which lets them devote the time to customizing rifles to their clients wants and needs.