To be honest with you, I’m still trying to figure out what 47 Products, LLC is going to be. In the spirit of the name (story here), this company grew out of embracing the unexpected. It all started on a cool evening, sitting on the back porch, whiskey in my hand, and thoughts rolling around in my mind…
I’d just recently taken up precision 22lr shooting and was going to be testing some different ammunition in my Ruger American Rimfire to see which grouped best. I’d done this before with my Ruger 10/22, but it was a pain reloading the magazine time and time again. I wished that there was a way to just have a single shot loading tray, like my daughter’s Savage Rascal rifle. This wasn’t the first time I’d wished for such a product. I’d searched many times and I just kept coming to the same conclusion, “Somebody ought to make that!”
Well, that evening it finally hit me… I’m that somebody!
After months of design and many, many failures, I have succeeded in designing two solutions. The first product I finished is the Louse Lips Feeding Tray. To use this device you simply remove the feeding lips, magazine rotor, and spring from a factory Ruger BX-1 magazine. Using the cutouts in the magazine body, you line up the locator pins on the Louse Lips feeding tray, re-attach the magazine cap, and use the cap nut and screw to reassemble the BX-1 magazine body. You now have a Louse Lips Tray for feeding rounds 1 at a time into any firearm that uses the BX-1 magazine.
For those of you who do not want to dismantle your BX-1 magazine, I have a solution for you too! I started working on this one first, but the angles of the magazine made it difficult for me to get the fit JUST right, so it ended up being the second solution I completed. The Mall Rat Sled is a complete magazine replacement. Built to the same dimensions as the standard BX-1 magazine, this elongated magazine replacement fits in the magazine well and provides the same feeding tray capability. I made the Mall Rat Sled longer than a BX-1 magazine to assist in inserting and removing the sled from the magazine well. I wanted the sled to fit tightly to ensure the most reliable feeding of rounds.
Ok, I need to address what some of you are saying… PINK!?!?! Yes, I chose pink because the normal blaze orange is often used as a color for chamber flags. I didn’t want to duplicate that. I wanted a highly visible color, and I have 2 daughters and a pink obsessed horse girl fiance. Pink seemed like the best choice. No it doesn’t need to be pink, but I like it. Some day when it’s a huge hit maybe I’ll do some limited edition run of different colors, but I’ll let the market determine that. For now… they’re pink.
One more thing that needs addressed, “Louse Lips” and “Mall Rat” what’s with the names!?! Well, I’m a bit of a geek. As an IT guy, I’ve been asked to name thousands of computers in my life. Most of the time, some boring corporate policy demanded a regimented naming structure, but every once in a while, I was allowed to be creative. Never was this more true than when naming my own computers. Names like Plank, Husky, Cuneiform, Farmer, and Hopper are all computers I’ve owned over the years, and each one of them has a fitting story behind their name that I remember fondly to this day.
This project started with the Mall Rat Sled. This was the first product I’d ever 3d designed with the purpose of taking to market, and I wanted to share my excitement with a Facebook group that supported me through the design process. I posted a picture of my first semi-functional alpha design, thanking them for all their help, and encouraging the group to chase their dreams. Well, because the picture of my design had a 22lr cartridge sitting on the sled, I was accused of sharing with the community how to 3d print “guns” and was told that my post would be removed. At first I was, let’s say, vocally angry with the administrators, but I soon regained my composure and decided it would be best to just play their game. I immediately removed my picture and uploaded a new picture of my design with a little rat figurine holding a skateboard standing on top. I’ve had this little rat sitting on my desk for almost 2 decades, I’m not entirely sure why. I edited my post to the Facebook group announcing how excited I was to introduce them to the new decorative stand I’d made for my Mall Rat figurine. Many other in the group agreed with the ridiculous admin rules and we spent the next week filling the comments with all sorts of hilarity… well, the name stuck.
OK… so Louse Lips? Well, this one may make some of the squeamish among you a little ill. If that’s you, just skip to the next paragraph and DO NOT google what follows nor look at the picture to the right. Have you moved on? You’ve been warned! All right, there’s a parasite called the Tongue Eating Louse, cymothoa exigua. This bug attaches itself to a host fish, eating the tongue, and replacing the tongue with itself. That way, when the fish feeds, the louse is treated to a meal too. Yeah, I know…it’s the thing of nightmares, but stick with me on this. What we have with the Louse Lips Tray is a product that replaces the feed lips in the Ruger BX-1 magazine with itself and changes the way your firearm is fed. So, Louse Lips Tray seemed fitting to me. Hey, I warned you I was a geek, and the name might nauseate the squeamish among us, so bonus!
OK! No more grossness, I promise!
Now that we know about the products and the genesis of the names, I’d like to share with you a bit about the market I see for these devices. Like many of you, the Ruger 10/22 was an important rifle introducing me to shooting sports; well over 5 million of them have been produced since their introduction in 1968, so they are one of the most common 22lr firearms on the planet. Next to my Crossman Air Rifles, I’ve easily fired more rounds through a Ruger 10/22 than through all of the other guns I’ve shot in my life put together. A Ruger 10/22 was the first rifle I ever purchased, and it was the rifle I first used to teach my elder daughter how to shoot. It is one of the most ubiquitous guns on the plant and has spawned an entire industry of aftermarket components and other firearms built around the 10-shot rotary BX-1 magazine that feeds it.
As with most kids, teaching my daughter to shoot with a semi-automatic rifle was not the best way to teach proper shooting techniques. She soon found that it’s a lot more fun to just fire another round (or 7) than to spend that extra few seconds to make sure she has a good sight picture and proper trigger control. Not long after seeing this in practice, I purchased my first Ruger American Rimfire, chosen because it shared the BX-1 magazine with the 10/22, and a Savage Rascal (for my younger daughter, because of the shorter length of pull). I did this to leverage the slower fire of a bolt action rifle, slowing them down and making each shot count. Not long after purchasing the Savage Rascal, I found that both of my daughters preferred that rifle for every-day plinking on steel targets. For my younger daughter, it made sense because the rifle was sized properly to her, but when I talked to my elder daughter she preferred it because of the simplicity of the feeding tray. There was no need to push rounds into a magazine.
A couple years later, while looking for new ways to enjoy shooting and introduce some competition between my friends and me, I ran across the 22 Marksman Challenge by way of YouTube videos. I purchased one of the Know Your Limits targets from them, and quickly learned that I needed to not only improve my skills but also my shooting tools and ammunition to be able to successfully compete in precision 22lr shooting. Part of the process would be evaluating a myriad of ammunition choices to find THE BEST round through my rifles. This task was painful, literally, with the BX-1 magazine when searching for an optimal round for my 10/22. Spending a few hours at the range shooting small groups of a dozen types of ammunition left my thumbs raw and was not enjoyable at all. I longed for the simplicity of the feeding tray built into that little Savage Rascal.
Beyond my training and ammunition testing needs, I started seeing many more benefits for a single shot feeding solution. Those with arthritis, neuropathy in their hands, or any other finger dexterity limiting factor would greatly benefit from this product. Because of the design, it would also be possible to also feed 22 Short or 22 Long shells into a rifle chambered for 22lr. Lastly, the 22lr precision shooting community would benefit from the reduced stress to both the projectile and case from it not needing to be loaded into a mechanical feeding device. One of my beta testers even commented that a “first round flyer” issue he experiences when feeding from a BX-1 magazine is gone when feeding off the Louse Lips Tray or Mall Rat Sled. I hope by now you see a passion in me and several needs in the 22lr shooting community for this product, because this is where 47 Products, Inc. is headed today.
I have created a storefront to sell both the Louse Lips Tray and Mall Rat Sled. It is not my intention to continue selling this device here. I’d love to partner with a manufacture and retailer to take this product main stream, but for now they will be exclusively available here.
So, if you’ve stuck with me this long… thanks. What do you get for all your effort? How’bout a link to buy before anyone else?