Thursday, July 02, 2015

Range day...

Went to the range today and learned some lessons, or not... Took the Single-Seven, .327 Federal and both Federal American Eagle factory loads, the 85 gr. and 100 gr. bulleted loads. I am pretty much decided to load the 100 gr. XTP so I was using the 100 gr. load to zero/sight-in. I was also using the opportunity to see how much the 85 gr. load POI would differ from the 100 gr. load and to just get some trigger time. A couple of interesting things...

First, this gun has a couple of screws loose, the ejector rod housing screw and the screw in front of the trigger guard both shot loose. I was having to tighten them after every cylinder full. THAT I can fix.

Second was how well it grouped, or didn't. I realize I am not the best shot in the world, my eyes are starting to fail me (cataracts) and I'm certainly not infallible! While I didn't have time to shoot groups with individual chambers it certainly seems as if certain of the individual chambers shoot very well with many cloverleafs but those groups are separated by at least two calibers from one another. Some chambers don't seem to quite stand up to that. My best group from a cylinder-full (7-shots) was about 3½ in a bit of an oval. This at 25-yards doesn't seem so good.

Third, I feel as if it is spitting a bit but it isn't, it is just a LOT of gas working there. It looks as if there is some top-strap cutting but I never bothered to look or simply can't remember if these things have a relief cut there. One thing for certain, the burn rings one often sees on the front of stainless cylinders (due to the contrast) cover the whole front of the cylinder and extend in a neat little pattern to the side of the cylinder. Since this pattern varies slightly from chamber to chamber it is clear that each chamber's relationship to the barrel is a bit different, one very much so. Discoloring due to heat extends to the base pin where it is exposed between the frame and face of the cylinder.

Had a great time, of course.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nana takes the first step...

Nana took her Concealed Handgun Permit certification course today. I do believe that she learned a lot!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Range day...

It was a short range day today. Took the FT Ruger .45 with the ACP cylinder installed and shot up a box of 50 rounds of ACP loaded with 7 gr. Unique under the 200 gr. Hornady Combat Match semi-wadcutter bullet. This stuff was loaded many years ago for the Combat Commander. As expected it shot low as the gun was zeroed for the 255 gr at about 1000 fps. However, I was surprised at how low it shot. The load did group well though.

I also shot the adjustable sight Bearcat. It seemed zeroed for 25 yards as well but each chamber seemed to have its own group. 18 shots fired and there were 6 distinct 3-shot groups. Interesting.

Didn't have much time to do more.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Range day...

Had a pretty good range day but...

First, I took the M1 rifle out with some Lake City M2 and she did pretty good. The weight of the rifle makes it pleasant to shoot from the bench. Then I shot the SIG Sauer 938-22 and got it zeroed with the Winchester Dynapoints. She does ok at 25 yards and practice with the trigger helps a lot. I do NOT like the 3-dot sights. I may black them out as the dots give a confusing sight picture, at least for my eyes. I might black out the dots on the rear sight first, just to see what that does.

Then I wanted to shoot up some .45 ACP somebody gave me that was loaded with a light load under some 200 gr. plated RN bullets. I took my Ruger FT .45 Colt/ACP with the ACP cylinder for just this purpose. No go. The cartridges wouldn't go the last 1/4 to 5/16ths of an inch into the chambers. Poorly resized. No, I won't give you the name of the fellow who did this. I am going to try to recover these but we will just have to see if this will be doable without pulling all the bullets and dumping the powder.

Two of the club officers were out there shooting. One shoots only cast bullets and was trying cast in the 6.5-284 Winchester! The other brought his Schultz and Larsen .22, Anschutz Exemplar pistol and XP100. Lots of fun shooting!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Match Shooting

Feel pretty good this evening. Club had a .22 LR 50 @ 50 yard BR shoot today. I placed 3rd in the factory class with a 420 9x. Winner shot a 445 and 2nd shot a 425. Unlimited class was 490, 485 and 465. A new to us woman shooter shot the 485. We had 28 shooters total and... I took home $22 prize money.

My rifle was the Winchester 52C with Weaver T36 (1/8th minute dot) shooting Wolf Match Extra.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Range day...

Got to shoot today so took the nickeled S&W M34. Shot over 75 rounds, maybe as many as 100 rounds being a mix of 20-year old Federal HVHPs and Winchester Dynapoints and new Federal HVHP. I was surprised to find that the Federal, old or new, required a slight push to fully seat in the cylinder and would drag on the recoil shield sometimes very badly. The Dynapoints dropped right into the chamber and didn't drag at all. I guess this will ensure the Dynapoints get designated for this gun.

Also shot the Browning 1911-22. That gun is about the best one I have to shoot up that old Russian Junior ammo. It seems to love that ammo. Doesn't do badly with the Federal or Dynapoints either. For such a little gun it is pretty accurate. I think it will shoot better than I can shoot it right now. The small sights are a real challenge for me.

After having difficulties with the open sights on the 34 and 1911-22 I thought I would go back to my Tactical Solutions conversion on Combat Commander frame. This has a Burris Fastfire mounted. I think that sight is great for seeing a sight but it doesn't seem to easily give me much precision. While I could hit a head sized target at 50 yards I couldn't tell you where I would hit it. The target looked more like it had suffered several strikes from #4 buck than having been shot with a precision firearm.

When I got there a buddy (he's 75) was shooting his Rock Island .22 TCM. He has 2, one with the 5" barrel and one with a 4¼" barrel. John is a very experienced reloader. He says that he is having problems finding a bullet that is accurate in his reloads. He has tried several. The 5" barrel keyholes! If I understood correctly, I don't think it does this with factory ammo though. He was shooting at a measured 27 yards. His groups were in the 2½-3" range.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Notes from the gun shop...

I know it has been some time since I posted any notes from the gun shop but today was somewhat unique. I don't know if there was a connection to the Memorial Day weekend but today seemed to be a day for military type firearms.

First was a byf 41 Luger that came in on consignment. The owner is convinced that she should get $5000.00 for the gun which is about a $2500.00 gun. However, this gun was mentioned to a good customer who got excited and brought in 4 guns as trading material to see what he could get for them. They were a P90, a Steyr AUG, a Colt 1991A1 and a Colt 100th Anniversary 1911, all unfired and NIB, genuinely NIB. During negotiations another good customer was called in search of a lower priced Luger and brought in a 1917 dated DWM (which I personally think is more desirable than the byf 41) which he promptly sold to us. At about the same time we had a retired soldier come in with a US Postal Meter M1 carbine, a 1911A1 (I think it was a Colt but I didn't get to see it) and ANOTHER Luger (which I also had no opportunity to see). Coming into the shop as a transfer was a Valmet M76 with the folding stock. I hadn't seen one of these in a long time and although I have long wanted one of these "AKs with the aperture sight" I was reminded of why I'd never bothered to spend the money on one many years ago.

PS - got to look at the guns I didn't get to see yesterday. The 1911A1 is a nearly mint condition Remington Rand and I was told it was made in 1942. It was issued to the seller's father and then the seller carried it through HIS army career. BEAUTIFUL. In addition, he sold a 1903A3 which is in "darn good" condition, truly. I don't think it was carried or shot much and while the wood is kinda rough as that is the way it was issued the stamps are clear and sharp. NICE gun.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Smith & Wesson customer service, repair service and a Model 34...

Hard to believe but about 8-years ago I bought a nickeled, Smith and Wesson Model 34 2-inch. While I shot it a bit I held back on my posts as I tried to work out some problems I had with the gun. It may have extracted a bit harder than it should with a couple of different loads but more importantly, to the point that any other problems were completely overshadowed, was that after a couple of cylinders full the cylinder was almost impossible to turn at one point. A not so close examination of the outside of the cylinder showed that there was one point on the outside circumference of the cylinder face was just rubbing the barrel root and this was exacerbated by the buildup of powder residue. After some pondering and the natural distractions of life I decided it would be best to have Smith and Wesson do the repair. I contacted them and got some information on how to send the gun and packed it. Then something else came up and I was further delayed. Another attempt was in order and so off went another e-mail to verify the previous instructions which were now a couple of years old.

I had been trying to get S&W to communicate with me for a couple of weeks on how to get this revolver repaired before finally receiving a message that indicated that they would send a call tag for it. I followed up with S&W on March 3 but didn't hear back from them for a couple of weeks. On my birthday I got the gun shipped to Smith and Wesson via FEDEX. April 25th I received a bill, in the mail, for the charges for evaluation of my revolver ($58.00). Saturday I got notice it had been shipped and they tried to deliver it today but I'll have to wait until Thursday to get it. Communication has been pretty much non-existent on their part unless asking for money. The folks at S&W never bother to let me know what was wrong, work that needed to be done, etc. It was 2-days shy of 2-months since I sent the gun to them.

The gun was FINALLY delivered today after a week of missed meetings, etc. The crane definitely has a changed relationship to the frame and the cylinder has the same relationship to the barrel through a complete rotation. I'm betting I was right about the bent crane. Of course I had to test fire the gun. Then, aw heck, cases stick! Out comes the chamber iron and all is now well. Well, except it shoots a bit high at 21 feet. We'll work that out later. Some of that is probably the nickeled front sight against the particular target. I'm breathing a little easier now. 2 months from first contact with S&W to having the gun back in my hands. No charge aside from the evaluation.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Range day...

Had the Single-Seven to the range this afternoon and put 4 cylinders full through it (I was kinda pressed for time). The first cylinder was all over the place. I shot that first cylinder from the bench, then I stood up and shot from the standing leaning against a range shed supporting post to steady myself and the gun would actually group but still, it is more like several groups in different places as if each chamber is shooting its own group. Further, the firing pin strikes every primer off center. I wonder how much that might affect accuracy. Ammunition today was the Federal 100 gr. load instead of the 85. Both bullets are the flat point soft nose. You can't tell them apart looking at a loaded round. Maybe handloads will be better...

I am not very found of these Federal loads. Some rounds seem to have a "bottleneck" in the case about 3/8" above the rim. When you drop them in the chamber, some will just drop in and some will "hang up" right at that point. Also, when shooting, the cylinder will sometimes drag and I am pretty certain this is a primer dragging across the recoil plate.

The club president was there this afternoon and he thinks the trigger pull is pretty darn heavy. I think I will take it in and measure it tomorrow at work. I didn't think it was all that bad.

I also took the CCI A17 ammo to try in the Contender .17 HMR barrel. It shot quite a bit higher than the standard .17 HMR ammo I was trying earlier but grouped inside of 1 inch at 100 yards despite my use of my old Weaver 1.5-4.5 scope on a standard small-bore target.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

White privilege, etc...

I recently read about a sociology professor at Boston University who tweeted, "white masculinity is THE problem for America's colleges," and "Deal with your white (expletive), white people. slavery is a (asterisk)YALL(asterisk) thing," and "Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible." I can't say that I am offended but I am disappointed and, unfortunately, I am not surprised.

Saida Grundy, who is described as a "black sociology professor", is an example of racism. Not reverse racism, but racism. Simple, straight forward all-encompassing racism. This from a sociology professor, i.e. somebody who has supposedly been educated in the how, why and when of human social behavior. So much training that she's been made a professor and supposedly has earned her doctorate based on her extensive knowledge on the various human behaviors, the motivations/causes of those behaviors and the results of those behaviors. All this education and she still finds it impossible to control her base impulses to exhibit and promulgate her own racism.

She does not know most "white" people. She can't. Certainly there are people all over the world who hold prejudicial views about other races, adherents of other religions and other nationalities and then act on those prejudiced and racist views. There are also those people, all across the world, who choose to or naturally judge others by the content of their character dealing with individuals as individuals.

In my own family I had a great-great-grandfather who enlisted as soon as possible to go to war in opposition to slavery. His father followed some few months later, not to defend liberty for the disenfranchised but for what he thought might benefit himself financially as he apparently care very little one way or another about slavery. Such widely divergent opinions are not uncommon in families of any race.

Professor Grundy should know this and it disappoints me that she either does not realize this or chooses to ignore it. It disappoints me that she was awarded a doctorate despite her obvious inability to learn the subject matter. It disappoints me that she so quickly dismissed as sub-standard any number of her future students. Why would anyone take a class taught by someone who dismisses you. I am disappointed that a college or university would hire somebody who is so obviously unable to teach.

I am unfortunately unsurprised that such has happened. We have converted our schools to instructors of dogma rather than fact. We have set one group upon another for the benefit of the political class. We failed to educate our children about the past or to equip them to think for themselves.

What else can we expect in such circumstances? (that is a rhetorical question) I don't see any good coming from this. History tells us that this is the beginning of our self-destruction as a nation. This country, for all its faults, has been the one continuing exemption to the human condition throughout all the rest of history. That this one shining light of liberty will be extinguished is sad to contemplate but it would seem inevitable.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Range day...

Wasn't all that exciting today. No rain, thunder, lightning, etc., in fact it was a beautiful day, not even very windy. Checked the zero on a rifle and shot the Webley with some odd lot cartridges given to me. Had 4 duds, all OLD Remington-UMC. Had one RWS cartridge that turned out to be loaded with blackpowder! THAT was a surprise but I have to tell you, its performance was somewhat underwhelming. One wonders how those S&W lemon-squeezers did any good. There were also 3 "near"-squibs, i.e. the bullet made it out of the barrel but not very far, certainly not to the target which was 25-yards distant. However, a quantity of brass to load as .380/200 was made available.

I am now looking for some quick turn levers for Weaver type Warne scope rings.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The "Union Pacificator"

Lorenzo David Sibert
I recently received a call from Wayne F_________ asking me to help another friend, Gary S______, to find out some more information about a rifle invented/manufactured in Staunton called the Pacificator or some such. This repeating rifle was supposedly invented and/or built by Gary's 2 or 3X great-grandfather.  But for this request I might never have known of this gun.

An immediate search of on-hand reference materials (books) in my personal library yielded no results. Fortunately, the internet was a bit kinder in that regard.

Lorenzo David Sibert was born about 1804 in Virginia to Charles Francis and Mary Ann (Riddle) Sibert. His father ran the Van Buren iron furnace in Shenandoah County and it was there he learned the trade. He must have been pretty sharp because he had several patents in that field. When the coal-fired Van Buren furnace closed Lorenzo was forced to move and settled in Mount Solon, in Augusta County. A civil war was nearly at hand and that likely motivated his development of the "Pacificator" rifle. The rifle was actually built by William Shaffer (who is more than likely Gary's ancestor) from North River Gap near Mount Solon and Lorenzo was in partnership with J. Marshall McCue. Interestingly, the patent drawings are signed by J. D. Imboden and John Johnson (witnesses) and W. D. Baldwin (Lorenzo's attorney). All of these people are important in Staunton and Augusta County at that time.

Patent drawing of the "Pacificator"
The rifle took a unique approach to the repeating dilemma and combined an 8-chambered cylinder with the magazine approach by utilizing 6 cartridges in each chamber of the cylinder giving a total capacity of 48-rounds. Lorenzo announced in the gun about Apr 1860, exhibited the gun in July, had a patent by September and by November of 1860, a factory to make the gun was supposedly being established.  While the New York Times thought this must be something similar to a roman candle, i.e. firing continuously from the trigger pull until empty, the patent application specifically says, "...as rapidly as the gun can be cocked and fired...", which implies manual operation while other descriptions are more akin to fully automatic fire.

However, his cartridges were more like the breech sections of ancient breech loading cannons, becoming, as they cycled, an extension of the barrel. "... the cartridge shall be exploded in an open chamber and form a continuation of the barrel of the gun, in contradistinction to those devices in which the cartridge is either inserted into the barrel itself or into a tight breech-chamber, or into both combined..." This means that each cartridge would have to have been able to independently contain the pressure of the gas created by the exploding gun powder. This would have made a pretty heavy cartridge in standard .58 caliber.  For reference look at the cartridges Gatling created for the early versions of his gun. Perhaps this is why the caliber of the gun is reportedly .24!  That was a very small bore for the time. 

These guns, of which one (the original?) still exists in the holdings of the Virginia Historical Society, was mentioned in at least one article in the New York Times. Receiving national attention, it was considered an important invention given the political atmosphere.

Lorenzo David Sibert died in Staunton, Virginia of "paralysis of brain" on 25 September 1881 and was buried in a supposedly unmarked grave in Thornrose Cemetery. 

William Bell Shaffer
As I mentioned earlier, the gunsmith who built the "prototype" rifle was William Shaffer (shown as "Shaver" on many census documents and the spelling has changed over time to "Sheffer" for some branches). William was born 25 Dec 1807 in North River Gap (now Stokesville), in Augusta County, Virginia near Mount Solon son of Daniel Shaffer, also a gunsmith. In 1850 he was enumerated on the federal census as a blacksmith but as a gunsmith in succeeding census. He died near his place of birth 9 Jul 1891.

Of course there is a back story, it seems that the Shaffer family tells the story that Sibert stole the credit for the rifle from William Bell Shaffer and then John D. Imboden and John Marshall McCue (both witnesses on the patent drawings) stole it from Sibert. On 23 Jan 1861 legislation passed the Virginia legislature incorporating the Virginia Arms Manufacturing Company in Richmond. More to follow!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Range day...

Had a good afternoon at the range despite the rain (we got ½").

First I shot the Colt Government Series 80 MKIV .380 with a mix of ammo which included most current production. The Tula does NOT feed and will NOT chamber but all the brass and aluminum cased stuff functioned just fine. That stuff also shot to point of aim at 30 feet. Good enough.

Then I got out the SIG Sauer 938-22. This is one of those guns that had promise but doesn't seem to live up to it. First problem I had with the gun is that it only came with one magazine. FINALLY got a couple of more magazines even though SIG has been showing out of stock for months. These magazines are made in Israel which surprised me but might be in part of the next problem, which I had today. With two different brands of ammo/loads, the second round from the magazine wouldn't pick up and every once in a while it would do this on the next to the last round. Supposedly of 10-round capacity I thought perhaps this meant that I should load 9 or 8. Nope, did the same thing. Have to figure this one out. Then I finally got the sights dialed in. This has been a problem as the sights were initially resistant to screw adjustment (this is the adjustable sight version) as in, one couldn't turn the screws. Soaking in oil fixed that but the adjustment seems "iffy". The next disappointment is that this gun is NOT minute of squirrel head capable at much over 25 feet. I suppose that it is only intended as a trainer for the 9mm gun but one would think that it could do better than this. It is fun to shoot but the Browning 1911-22 is more accurate.

Then I got around to shooting, for the first time, my 4" Ruger Redhawk. A friend was cleaning out his stock of no longer needed loading stuff and passed on to me a bunch of brass and bullets including some .44 Mag reloads. Yeah, I know, don't shoot somebody else's reloads but sometimes you just gotta live dangerously. In any case this was in a Redhawk, if ever there was a gun with a margin of safety... Anyway, one load was with the the 240 gr. Sierra JHC and the other with what appears to be the Hornady 180 gr XTP. Well, I guess I haven't shot a big bore sixgun for a while despite my shooting of .44 and .45 Ruger SAs. I was a bit "surprised". The JHC load came back with authority but not too bad but the XTP load was a fire-breather, literally. I was shooting at 25 yards and I do believe that the muzzle blast would dry the target. Quite impressive. No, I'm not going to shoot the rest of them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gunsmithing services - bluing

This fellow was recently recommended to me as a good provider of bluing services. It is a shame that we no have to drive such distances for what should be a common service but so it goes...

Allan Broughman
Broughman's Gunshop
314 Horse Mountain View
Covington, VA 24426

540-962-7957

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Range day...

I had a great range day. Took the .17 HMR Contender to zero. Easy to shoot and quick to sight in, the .17 was right on out to 75 yards with both the 17 and 25 gr. bullets. I can see why some folks just love this cartridge. The factory Contender barrel was clearly accurate despite my shooting from a supported sitting position without a solid rest. This should be an outstanding pest killer. It is almost unfortunate that I have no pests I can use this to eliminate.

I also took the Browning 1911-22 out. I also had a box plus 10 of the old Russian Junior ammo (in the green box). This is not usually the best of ammo. Steel cased and subject to sometime contamination of the powder charge by the bullet lube, it is NOT known for accuracy particularly after all these years (at least 25 years since I purchased it). However, in the little Browning pistol it was surprisingly accurate and functional. There were zero failures to fire, feed, extract or eject which I sometimes have with this ammo from other pistols. I was able to hit fist sized rocks and dirt clumps very easily at 25-35 yards. I think this might be my ammo of choice with this pistol. A good thing because I have a couple of bricks of the stuff!

I also took the Tactical Solutions 1911 conversion with Burris FastFire. I was shooting both Federal and Winchester ammo in that gun but it is dirty and would not function with any reliability for the first 5 rounds in either magazine so I put it up.

Today's weather was not exactly what one would call shooter friendly. While the temperature was a relatively nice 51° at the range, the wind has been blowing 20-40 mph all day long. That really made it feel colder, particularly in shade at the bench.