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What is it about the AR?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by kerreckt, Aug 30, 2012.

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  1. RangerHAAF

    RangerHAAF Member

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    The price of AKs would be cut in half overnight if the next president would rescind the ban on Chinese imported ones that was put in place by George Bush the 1st in 1989.

    I own a Rock River AR-10 and it is one of the most accurate rifles in my inventory but I've never liked the AR-15 because of the round it shoots. Fortunately Rock River is coming out with a model designated LAR-47 which takes AK mags and ammo. The magazine issue has always been the problem with ARs that fire the 7.62x39 round, hopefully this model rifle will put this issue to bed.
    http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=558
     
  2. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    The 762 drops, but in a close quarters situation where I want everyone shooting at me dead in under a mags worth of rounds, I'm using that AK.

    If I get to be picky/choosy at mid range, probably AR-15.
     
  3. headoftheholler

    headoftheholler Member

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    For what its worth I've shot a few AR's and I don't care for them. They are too overpriced for what they are, a plastic rifle shooting a varmit caliber. I know, I know you can get them in a plethora of calibers, but most are 5.56. Plastic has no soul. The entire tacticool/zombie/mall cop thing hopefully will end soon and we can move on to more adult rifles.
     
  4. Win1892

    Win1892 Member

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    i have a half dozen ARs and 3 AKs. I have an M16, also. The only one I shoot is a 26" bull barreled AR that is optimized for VLD projectiles at 300 yards. Shoots half inch MOA if I'm having a good day.

    I am not a rifle plinker. I shoot 20,000 handgun rounds a year at steel and paper and enjoy all aspects of burning through 500 rounds in a day.

    I enjoy shooting scoped rifles off of a concrete bench, using carefully handcrafted loads, making little tiny groups in paper. An AK can't do that, nor was it meant to.

    If I were infatuated with spray and pray, I'd take the AK for pure fun. Its a noisy collection of rattling parts that is a blast to shoot. If I were caught up in 100 and 200 yard iron sighted shots I'd take an AR. It feels patriotic to fire the battle rifle that our boys in the sandbox use, and it's politically incorrect, sort of an added bonus.

    They are all wicked cool and we're lucky to have them.
     
  5. RangerHAAF

    RangerHAAF Member

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    I don't understand this thing about zombies and I think it demeans the seriousness of sports shooting and guns in general. I especially hate Hornady's Zombiemax promotion; I think it's especially demeaning & stupid, appealing mainly to mall ninjas and those whose firearms knowledge are limited to the latest movies with cool looking guns.
     
  6. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Cool looking guns and zombie movies and goofy ammo promos get more folks interested in our sport. I for one am grateful.
     
  7. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    I guess I am in the minority here, but I am tired of ARs. I almost can't read a gun rag these days because I am so sick of ARs. Every time you turn the page...

    Eh. I feel like I have to throw up. At first I was mostly indifferent to ARs. Every time I see three different articles about ARs in a gun rag, though, it brings up the taste of bile and I get a little more bitter and jaded. Now I think it would be more correct to characterize my feelings towards the AR as more of a passionate loathing.

    I mean, even a relatively stupid dog knows not to poop wear it eats. Apparently Eugene Stoner wasn't as smart as a stupid dog, though. People rave about the ARs ergonomics. Why? The charging handle esp seems poorly placed. The best you can say about it is that it is equally inconvenient for everyone. And the sound of the buffer assembly? Seriously? Man that bugs me. I can honestly say the AR is the least fun gun I have ever shot. Screw the AR.

    Hehe. Me too. At least the AK doesn't sound like a pogo stick when you fire it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  8. back40

    back40 Member

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    why do people get so bothered about the buffer? i'll admit, the first time a i shot an ar, i found it odd, but honestly if you shoot one enough you forget all about it.
     
  9. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

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    I, for one, like the AR a lot. The 5.56 is a great CQB\urban\HD caliber, and the AR is its natural home.
    The AR itself is light, compact, and ergonomic. The Direct impingement system works, and works, and works. I don't find it any dirtier or harder to clean than an AK.
    The buffer spring/buffer works very well along with the straight line stock and caliber to make the AR easy to fire rapidly and accurately. The sound of the buffer spring becomes un-noticeable after familiarization, other than when it locks back after the last round...a tactile message that it is time to reload.
    I do keep my AR simple..in fact mine is a Viet nam era retro I made using a surplus M16A1 upper. At most, I add a short, low power scope.
    The AR is a design which works very well, and has for a long time.
     
  10. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    If AR-15's only "came in" 5.56/.223, I would have lost interest a long time ago!!
     
  11. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

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    Why don't you tell us how you really feel?!?!?

    These threads crack me up. Most people love or like the AR to differing degrees. Some people dislike the AR (to differing degrees), or are neutral, but these days, they seem to be in the minority. I just think it is funny how they (the minority) can't even fathom its popularity. Even if it isn't "your thing" you have to at least appreciate it for what it is and what it has accomplished. And if you can't do that, show me another gun as versatile at the same price point as you can get a quality AR nowadays.
     
  12. Nanook
    • Contributing Member

    Nanook Contributing Member

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    Count me in the positive camp for the AR. I own one, and I'm considering another.

    With that said, I think the real reason the AR is so popular is because it's like a Barbie doll for men. :D

    All sorts of parts, accessories, and additions you can hang on like that picture somebody made up with all the flashlights, knives, scopes all hanging off one.

    Kidding aside, I really like the AR platform. I also shoot the older military surplus stuff and like them as well. Life is good when there are many choices to make.

    I never did understand the Ford vs. Chevy stuff you see so much of on gun boards. If it doesn't fit your style, it's pretty simple. Don't buy one.
     
  13. Pronghorn19

    Pronghorn19 Member

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    I compete in two different assault rifle matches, and for both I use.....

    The AK all the way. Usually I am only one out of the twenty to thirty people there that day that uses an AK. I chose it because it works, every time. My matches are meant to simulate some of the situations in combat. I have to shoot in difficult positions, under time restraints, at targets at odd distances. Usually the target is moving, and you have a limited time to make your shot count. You are not asked to preform sub-moa, only to engage the target and place hits usually within a ten inch circle.

    I have seen so many AR malfunctions that I could never justify buying one for myself. The guys I compete against run a wide range or manufactures, most using brass cased ammo. If theres one thing I learned about the AR in this time, it never fails to fail. Everything under the sun happens to these guys who are in a controlled environment using clean weapons and quality lube.

    I understand that this may cause some hard feelings, but this is the reason for my preference.
     
  14. mortablunt

    mortablunt Member

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    I don't get the AR either; I'm a dyed-in-the-wool AK man. I really don't like the AR15. I want to be able to like it, but I just cannot make myself. There are few objective problems with any feature of this weapon, but I simply don't like it. I think it's good, but it's not something I'd be thrilled to find in a decoratively wrapped package with my name on it deposited underneath an evergreen conifer tree of modest size during a period a few days after the winter solstice. From my knowledge and experience, I simply know that it will fail eventually if I'm using it under combat type conditions.

    Proghorn 19 has said that he's seen it so many times to so many people using a huge kaleidoscope of builds, makes, and manufacturers. I cannot trust a weapon in which I lack total faith. And one thing that really bugs me about the AR is all the talk and emphasis about quality. The one word that keeps working itself into all of the discussions we've ever had on The High Road about the AR15 is quality. We always drone on and on and on and on and on and on about quality magazines, quality ammunition, quality parts, quality builders, quality optics, quality lubricant, quality cleaning supplies, quality sights, quality springs, quality triggers, quality catches, quality rails, quality slings, quality barrels, quality receivers, quality gas systems, quality powder, quality stocks, quality buffers- quality insert thing here. It appears to me like making attempts to buy enough upgrades in order to compensate for a subpar design, or that it's really about buying shooting aids to compensate for skill. And what does quality inevitable translate into? Ka-ching! All those "quality" things are individually pricey and the costs very quickly begin to accumulate. Yes, the core gun itself might only run you a minimum of $600, but then comes all those quality things mentioned earlier in addition to the need to shoot it. And the ammunition is nearly a half dollar per round. To me, the AR15 seems somewhat like its a gigantic money sink. It might be quite fine for guys who've got the dough to spend on all the things needed to make a "quality" rifle, but why would you want to do that when you could just buy a gun that is good to begin with? It's also not very appealing to those who don't have large budgets to put towards guns.

    I simply prefer the AK platform. I think that the AK is better as a weapon. It's more durable, easier to operate, much easier to maintain, easier to rapidly target with, handles more intuitively, fires a more effective bullet, fits the bill for an individual intermediate caliber weapon perfectly, looks better, and feels better in my hands. I also have absolute faith in both the FAL and the G3, especially in the FAL. But I just don't have any in the AR15. It's an instinctual feeling. That's what I've always thought and that's what I'll likely always think.

    This forum is very much pro-AR. Some of that is probably because the average user here was born at some point during the 1960's and grew up in the Cold War where is was the American AR that was going to stop the Soviet AK (Note: for those of you who use Soviet and Russian as synonyms, be aware that they are not. 75% of the Soviet Union was Russia and 60% of the people were Russians.) I am one of the few members (and probably the only regularly active one) who was born after the Cold War.

    I've got some theories. Warning: if you do not like reading highly-detailed and intensely reasoned posts, then just skip down until you see the next guy. Also, I must warn you that you are about to run headlong into a wall of text posted by a bored college student on Labour Day.

    My complaint about the AR lies more quantifiably with the most rabid wonks in the fanbase that you'd find trolling about on YouTube and Arfcom. These are the people who will insist that the AR15 can do anything because it was invented by Eugene Sto- I mean God, whose infinite wisdom was tampered with by the heathens at Springfield Armory, who tried everything in their power to keep the divine rifle from being given to American Soldiers purely for the reason that they had nothing better to do than just be obstinate jerks simply because somebody didn't like last night's broadcast of the Ed Sullivan show. And if you have any problem with any AR ever then it's because your parents are probably closely related, and you inherited your mother's fondness for the smell of paint thinner. And if you dare think that the AK is anything less than an infinitely bad copy of the MP44, then you are some sort of hellspawn who must be tied to a stake and beaten over the head with a banhammer comprised from copies of The Gun Digest Book of the AR-15 until you admit that the AR-15 is the most perfect gun even and that you were hopelessly wrong for ever daring to consider otherwise. After which, you will be allowed to post for an indefinite but short amount of time as an unperson before being permabanned and sent out into the world to preach the holy gospel of Bushmaster, Colt, Spike, and Daniel. Now from an objective standpoint, other than the rather complex bolt design and the Direct Impingement gas system, there really isn't anything wrong with the AR15. It's got exceptionally good accuracy, the controls are simple enough, it's reliable enough when properly cared for, and the 5.56x45 round ought to be able to kill a large buck at 400Yards while still being easily controlled in terms of recoil so that even a 6 year old girl could use it.

    Cynically, Americans like to think that the way to improve any gun is to make it indistinguishable from the AR15. My personal belief is that the AR15 is an excellent technical achievement.

    Things that the AR15 does remarkably well for a general purpose small bore semiautomatic rifle.

    NOTE: Based on an 18" barrel using 5.56x45 caliber ammunition.

    *Accuracy. The common civillian AR15 can achieve 1 inch groups at 100Yards (the ubiquitous measure of 1MoA, you're welcome for the explanation). To get much more accurate than an AR15, you'd have to spend a lot of money, because you can get fantastic accuracy simply from installing a longer barrel by changing the upper. And then for any other sort of desire you might have, say to use a much bigger caliber, then you needn't worry about changing platforms. Nope, you can just buy a 308 lower and upper in order to shoot 7.62x51 or other full-powered catridges. And even if you want to use something like say, the mighty 50BMG, then dont worry, there's an upper for that. You can fire any cartridge from any AR from just about any barrel length with the right tax stamp and enough money. Theoretically, you ought to never need to buy another gun ever again because with just a few simple steps, you can make your AR15 anything you want it to be.

    * Adaptability. Want to add a scope? Pop it on a rail and tighten the screws. Want to convert from a tactical CQB carbine to a 600 meter sniper rifle? Push out 2 pins, pop on a different upper receiver and push in 2 pins. Want to change the sighting system? Just pop on an optic and tighten the screws. Want to get some practice with a 22, but want to only have 1 gun? Change it to a 22lr upper. Does your Vietnamese friend want to shoot your rifle? Change the stock length. Are you having problems with scope eye relief? Shift the scope until you hit the sweet spot. No other gun is this easily and cheaply adaptable. No other gun has such as modding community (it's called the tactical community if you're anxious to find out what it is) and nothing else has even half the support base that's sprung up around the platform. The last time I was in a gun store, I couldn't find anything rifle-related that would work for any platform but the AR.

    * Familiarity. A huge number of people get brought into shooting because they joined the military or became a police officer. For many urban and suburban shooters, the AR could very well have been their very first rifle, is not the very first gun they ever touched. Veterans get discharged and they want to have their old trusty gun back, so they buy an M4gery.

    * Tradition. 3 whole generations of shooters have been raised under the AR15. The AR15 was invented and introduced as a sporting rifle in 1957, which makes it older than my mother.The AR15 was first brought in for military testing in 1958. The M16 was first issued in 1962 and became widely issued starting in 1965. That's longer than any main rifle has been in U.S. service. The M4 was invented and issued first in 1994, which means that it's the same age as this year's graduating class at my high school. The M4 became Army standard issue in 2007, which made it pretty much the universal CQB gun for SWAT and such. So now it's been the 1'st world gun of choice for 5 years, making it older than kids beginning their mandatory schooling. It pretty much is the traditional semiautomatic rifle.

    * Nationalism. Americans want to buy things made in America and things don't get much more American than a copy of the service rifle used by American soldiers that is made in the United States of America. Many of the criticisms of the AK include a lot of horribly misinformed bashing of the CCCP. This section is going to focus on giving an explanation of the Soviet Military System. There's talk that the average Soviet soldier was uneducated and ill-trained. The Soviet educational system created a near-100% literacy rate across all of its states, and most people from the former USSR have college degrees. In the military, all conscripts served for 2 years, although they could opt for more, just like in the USAF. Their soldiers were definitely skilled professionals. The training was brutal and focused on brute force learning through rote repetition. Only men who opted to stay in past their conscription were called professional soldiers, which partially created the myth of the average Soviet soldier being unprofessional conscripts. The result was that the Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Republic had a very large, well-trained pool of reserve soldiers. Also, the Soviet system had less focus on logistics, favoring having a higher ratio of grunts to auxiliaries. I believe that they had 1 guy doing support work for every 9 guys on the frontline compared to the US putting 1 guy in the rear for every 4 guys in combat. The result was that there was an emphasis on accomplishing the objective quickly before the initial supplies gave out and needed replenishing. Combat doctrine held that troops would be deployed from APC's and use fire support to overwhelm and destroy the enemy. Does that sound familiar? Marksmanship was taught to a satisfactory level and every squad had a designated marksman. Yes, we stole that idea from the Soviets. Optics and accessories were issued, although they were only supposed to be used on command by the squad leader for engaging specific targets. Doctrine states that once infantry had been deployed from mechanized transport, then the AK was to be switched from safe to full-automatic and fired in short bursts of 3-5 rounds aimed at the target. The soldiers were trained to use much more precision than just have everybody hold down the trigger and hope that someone scored a hit. The Soviet command structure gave very little room for what we would call initiative, which they considered foolhardy because it relies upon both an incomplete low-level understanding of the situation and also a degree of reckless impulsivity to go and do something would mesh with the rest of the battle as a whole. How could a single enlisted infantryman know whether or not charging up that hill is a good or bad idea? On one hand, it could provide a vantage point for directing fire support and preventing the enemy from going around your flank. On the other, you could be waiting to spring a trap upon the enemy at the right moment, and ruin the whole thing because some guy in a tank buster saw you and radioed his superiors that there are additional hostile forces to the east. It's the same sort of rationale that causes a guy who works in tech support to get feelings of dread whenever you mention that you're tried to solve the problem by doing anything other than hoping that it will eventually go away and then restarting the computer. Initiative was allowed if it were a better solution than orders which simply not working. The main doctrine of the Soviet Military was that if something was needed to be or ought to be done, then an order would have been issued. If no orders came, then the leaders were supposed to do what they thought their superiors would have most likely wanted them to do. The system was great for making massive armies easy to manage, but made the ground level operations relatively clunky. The AK was meant to be a within-300M gun, which is what science tells us is the longest probable engagement range encountered in modern warfare, with most engagements occurring inside of 100M. The AR and AK are built with exactly the same tolerances, which are in 100'th of an inch. However, the AK has wider clearances between parts for reliability reasons. It either absolutely worked or it failed. There was no excuses about "you have to take care of it" or "keep it lubricated" or "you're never going to need that kind of reliability" or "you need to invest in quality ammo+/mags+/builders". Yes, the Soviets were sticklers for toughness.

    * Economics. You can buy guns more accurate than the AR15. You can buy guns more reliable than than the AR15. You can buy guns rated more highly than the AR15. However, all the alternatives will without exception be much more expensive, or have dramatic shortcomings in other areas. Just about no other 5.56 gun is so accurate, and with a simple 60 second conversion, an AR can take on those properties. To get much better accuracy, you have to delve into the world of up-accurized battle rifles, which are much more expensive to buy and run. They also can't be run as quickly or be as adaptable. AK's are known for being tougher and cheaper, but they are not as easily modified and the accuracy tends to be somewhat worse. I can't even find AK mags in tactical shops and some gun stores. Some of it's due to lack of proper training and an incorrect approach the the platform, but I'll not start a tangent... You can buy a gun considered its superior, such as say an HK416, or a G36, or an FNC, but those are much more expensive, and lack the massive support network that the AR15 has. There is simply no gun that can do everything an AR15 can do at the same price as an AR15 with the same proficiency as an AR15 except for another AR15.

    * Handiness. No other gun is so versatile and does each job even nearly as well as an AR. Also, most semiautomatic centerfire rifles are heavier.

    * Bias. Most other countries are without an AR shooting culture like the US has. Everyone has their own favorite gun. Russians and people from the former Soviet Union, and much of the 2'nd, 3'rd, and developing world, (and also Finns) swear by the Kalashnikov. The attitude of the Russians seems to be: "It's nice rifle, but it's not weapon like AK. The controls are wierd but nice, it's too fragile to take serious use, it's expensive, and nobody can shoot that well in combat. It might be good for Spetsnaz, MVD, or OMOH (OMON is Russia's version of SWAT) guy, but is not for army, or the VDV." Swiss swear by the Sig Sauer 550. Germans swear by Heckler und Koch G3 or G36, depending on generation. The Norwegian guy who was in the Border patrol I met in Germany loves the AG-3, which is the Norwegian Army's version of the G3. As he put said, "It's totally reliable and it's accurate. I've never had a problem with it, unlike the new gun they're giving us. I think it's called the HK416. I've had that one jam up on my more times in 6 month than the AG did in 3 years. It's just not good with the cold, like -50. It just freeezes shut, and then you've got to bring it inside to thaw out. You can run it dry so that it doesn't get freezed solid, but then it keeps jamming. The ammunition is lighter, so we carry twice as much, but we have to shoot guys 4 times to stop them whereas it only took 1 hit- sometimes 2 from the old gun." It seems as though most peoples don't adore the AR15 in the same way that Americans do. Stig, the Norwegian guy from the anecdote didn't like the AR-based HK416 and would prefer that they had just stuck with the old G3 variant or chosen to go with another rifle that's proven for the arctic, such as the Finnish Sako AK variant, whereas many in the American shooting community think that the HK416 is likely the best gun ever conceived.

    Conclusion: To make this whole post a lot more concise, I'll just summarize it thusly: there there are a lot of good points to the AR15. No other gun can match it in accuracy, versatility, practicality, and economics. It is the jack-of-all-trades gun. It can do any task you can envision for it, but it cannot be superb at every task. Most firearms can beat it in at least one area, but there is no one weapon which is superior on all fronts and has the same astronomical level of popularity and support, and comes at an equivalent or cheaper price point and is also trusted by so many military, security, tactical, and paramilitary groups.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  15. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    Great discussion. My son recently returned from 12 months in eastern Afghanistan where he lived at a COP with 80 gi's and similar number of ana soldiers. Anyway his tales of training ana troops with there ak rifles is eye opening if you are not close minded like I am. There maintainance is pitiful but the platform has a lot of shortcomings. It gets the job done up close. Most do not shoot well enough at distance to notice or care that they are inaccurate. I have a wonderful hk91, german made, and I seldom shoot it because it bugs me that I am more accurate than the rifle. I do not like the straight stocks on my AR's as you cannot get a natural cheek weld and scope has to be mounted high but those suckers are almost as accurate as my bolt hunting and tactical rifles. I am an old guy that believes long guns need to be accurate or I will just use my 10mm. I also grew up in cold war era where we laughed at all the junk the commies produced. The cartridge that the ak shoots is what made it a good combat rifle. I am glad so many love ak rifles 'cause it makes the round plentiful for those of us that use it in ar style rifles and pistols.
     
  16. mr.scott

    mr.scott Member

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    It seems to be a national pride thing. It seems a lot of people can't get over their biases and realize both designs are great designs.
    Most of the time when people speak I'll of the AK they basically lie. Flimsy AK? Chinese Junk? The Chinese AKs, SKS, Mosins, Tokarev, and 1911s are while not the prettiest are more than serviceable and reliable.

    And for those complaining about the costs of AKs going up, it's not because they cost more to make, it's because the dollar is worth less, so imports cost more.
     
  17. cacoltguy

    cacoltguy Member

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    "Um, we're a Republic not a democracy. Sorry to get OT, but that misconception bugs me.... Article IV, Section IV, US Constitution.."
    -TrickyDick

    No worries, feel free to be as OCD as you wish lol. When we fought our important wars overseas I guess the term "Spreading Republicanism" didn't roll of the tongue quite so nice.

    To your dismay however, yes we are a democracy. There are no less than a dozen types of democracy of which "Representative Democracy is one. You are only considering the term "Direct" or "Total" Democracy
     
  18. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh boy another x,y or z is the worst/ best everz thread...

    Run what works best for you. Be realistic about your abilities and those of your rifle. Go to the range, or competition, and shoot. And then shoot some more. And then some more after that. Take hard shots. I don't care if I can make one ragged hole at 100y. Anything less does not count. I am far more happy to ring steel at 400+y.

    We have a match in Pueblo West the 4th Sunday of the month. Y'all take a break from all this serious internet business and come out.
     
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