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, " 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


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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Range day...

FINALLY got to shoot both the adjustable sight Bearcat and the Single-Seven .327 at the range today.

98 rounds downrange of the Federal 85 gr. load with somewhat mixed results. The gun will apparently group but not from the bench today, oddly I did MUCH better both for grouping AND for proper placement (horizontal and vertical) from standing! My eyes are not up to 50-yard sight target alignment, at least in today's light (overcast and some light rain) and groups ran from about 6" to about 2 feet (the later from the bench and those way to the left of the target in as much as one could determine the group center). I tried busting clay target parts on the berm but couldn't quite get the range and missed them all. One thing I noticed was the gun was rough, sometimes really dragging as the cylinder turned and the ammo seemed "uneven" as in chambering it seemed as if there were tight spots in the chambers or fat spots on the brass. After the 98-rounds there was NO turn ring.

The Bearcat suffered through some old Russian steel-cased Junior "target" ammo and did some better with Federal American. The steel cases ejected with effort but the brass cases slid out slick as snot. I did about as well on the clay pigeons on the berm with the little (should I say "tiny") Bearcat as with the Single-Seven actually hitting a piece or two from 50-yards. 50-rounds of each was fired and the old Junior ammo was obviously suffering from age.

All in all a fun time!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Recent shooting experience...

First thing, on the 21st I took my daughter shooting. Her favorite gun is the S&W M422. It is light and always works. Well, it always works when used with good magazines. I just bought a new magazine, OEM, and it was defective and not just in exhibiting poor feeding with ammunition every other magazine used AND new (I'd bought 2 new magazines) but in construction. The darn baseplate is "sprung", that is it's bottom half is out of the magazine body. Kinda disappointing. Yes, I'll be contacting S&W.

Burris Fast Fire
We also tried the Burris Fast Fire on the Tactical Solutions .45 to .22 conversion. OH YEAH! Your aunt doesn't much like the 1911 frame because it is large and heavy but she sure could hit with that sight. I have trouble seeing red but with the sight on the brightest setting I could easily see and hit targets on out there including some bits of clay bird at 50 yards! Darn impressive.

Aunt Deanna also shot the Webley MKIV. I had a partial box of OLD .38 S&W ammunition that apparently wasn't reliable in the gun for which it was originally purchased. 3 rounds were in the box with clearly struck primers AND their bullets. No, the primers hadn't ignited in whatever that pistol was. EVERY round went bang the first time in the Webley and did so with very good accuracy, easily hitting aforementioned clay target bits at 25-30 yards. My eldest particularly liked that it was light and that the recoil was light. However the DA trigger pull was a bit much for her.

I've also been busy helping our club with the annual youth shoot. We'll have to wait until next year for Kirk as the minimum age for participants is 11. This year we will have about 39 attendees, age 11-17, male and female as well as their parents who must observe as we teach. Every instructor is NRA certified. We even provide lunch as well as prizes including a Parker Bow (courtesy of Parker Bows).

It has been a busy time.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Trip to Alabama 2015

We got up the morning of the 19th of February to discover that it was 2.2°. We decided to wait to leave until it “warmed up” and once it got to about 10° we loaded Nana’s vehicle and left to go see your Uncle David. As it turned out, the temp varied from about 12° in Staunton to 7° at the Tennessee border to 15° when we got to Sevierville to overnight.

Lucy, has had quite the time. She did well riding in her crate, we had it arranged so that she could see us and she napped most of the ride. However, every time we stopped, she got to sniff for a bit, despite the bitter cold. Sometimes she was so excited about sniffing that she forgot (?) what she was there for. I had to cut things short a couple of times to ensure that neither of us got frostbite.

Frostbite has been a real concern with the temperatures in the single-digits and the wind blowing at 25+ mph. I’ve been in such weather before but that doesn’t make it pleasant!

It was supposed to get down to -7° the morning of the 20th. Actual temperature was 2° which is cold enough. By the time we left it was up to 9°. Note all the talk about how cold it was. We were afraid that we’d have ice on the roads. Apparently, part of I-75 north of Knoxville was still covered with ice and one lane closed but not on the southbound, south of I-40. We had clear sailing all the way albeit with crystalline trees (all covered with about ¼” of ice) down to Birmingham.

We did have a bit of excitement, the left turn signal bulb died AND we had a thump develop for some unknown reason. Detailed examination of the vehicle failed to determine exactly what was causing that and a trip to the dealer appeared to be necessary.
On Saturday we enjoyed 70° temps in Atmore and Cantonment while we visited with our son and got some things cleared up. Sunday was also gorgeous and while the women went shopping, Mickey and I went to see the sights going to Red Eagle’s grave, Hubbard’s Landing (and a bunch of other landings, i.e. fish camps), Fort Mims and Blakeley. That was pretty interesting.

Monday we were back at David’s and discovered that he hadn’t actually been paying rent since January 2014. Normally this is an automatic deduction from his weekly check but some small glitch had stopped the process and neither he nor we caught it. A trip to the credit union fixed that, lunch and some grocery shopping later, we left him for another dinner with friends at our every gracious hosts’ home.

Mickey and Sue go all out every visit. They don’t need to but they do. We always have a great time.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Winchester Model 47 in the basement...

It ain't got nuttin' to do with cool revolvers, doesn't involve a white-out, and no hogs were harmed but my Winchester 47 is a fun gun. This is especially so on a cold (for Virginia) day or night, in my basement with ammo the wife can't hear fire even though she is only one solid wood door and a floor away.

The penny is for scale. 5 shots each of Aguila Colibri and CCI Quiet 22 solids (not the segmented bullet) at 27 feet from standing using a Winchester Model 47 with the issue open sights and with light on the target and behind the shooter. There is one pulled shot but the gun is backyard squirrel-head capable with either load.

I mostly shoot the Colibri and this has deposited some crud at the front of the chamber. It is highly advisable to clean the chamber before shooting ammo with a "regular" bullet in it. For those who might not know, the Colibri bullet looks more like an airgun pellet and it is commensurately short compared to the standard 40-grain RN of the Quiet22.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Spring ahead...

No, it isn't the day we set the clocks forward for daylight savings time (an archaic response to old infrastructure deficiencies) but rather the time of year I change from my hunting guns to my range shooting season guns.  Out comes the varmint pistol and 50BR rigs and my summer time carry guns. The squirrel rifle, muzzleloader, etc have had their final maintenance and been safely locked away.  Another change of season has come and gone. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Grandchildren's military ancestors on their father's side...

I have a fairly good idea of my ancestors who served but hadn't made a list of those of my son-in-law's family. Thought I'd do that.

Of course, his dad served (as did his uncle Fred). I thought I'd go back a bit to see what I could document. I will make additions and corrections as I go along...

American Revolution
Rel CodeNameYOB-YODRankCountryUnitDates of ServiceNotes
GGFMartin RupleUnknownWagoner?USAUnknownmay have been wagoner

American Civil War
Rel CodeNameYOB-YODRankCountryUnitDates of ServiceNotes
GGFGivens McDowell Kirkpatrick1848-1923PrivateCSACompany C, 14th Virginia Cavalry
GGFJames Henry Mohler1819-1877PrivateCSACompany H, 58th Virginia Infantry
UNCDavid Mathew Shelton1824-1865PrivateCSACompany G, 18th Virginia Cavalry- 7 Aug 1863FT Delaware POW camp
UNCThomas A Shelton1839-1863PrivateCSACompany G, 18th Virginia Cavalry- 29 Jun 1863KIA McConnelsburg, PA
UNCWilliam Henderson Shelton1824-1865PrivateCSACompany H, 42nd Virginia Infantry- 27 Jan 1865of pneumonia at Elmira POW camp
GGFBenjamin Reid Swisher1841-1893PrivateCSA1st Rockbridge Artillery3 Mar 1862 - 9 Apr 1865
GGFDaniel Brown Swisher1838-1884PrivateCSA1st Virginia Artillery
UNCAdam Shaner Trevey1836-1864PrivateCSACompany C, 1st Virginia Cavalry - 19 May 1864died of wound to right lung received at Yellow Tavern
UNCCyrus Augustus Trevey1840-1881PrivateCSACompany C, 1st Virginia Cavalry
UNCDaniel Jacob Trevey1827-1897PrivateCSACompany H, 14th Virginia Cavalry
UNCJohn Joseph Trevey1825-1865PrivateCSACompany H, 14th Virginia Cavalry- 9 Feb 1865POW at Camp Morton, Marion, Indiana
GGFJames Preston Tolley1816-1895PrivateCSACompany C, 58th Virginia Infantry
GGFJohn Bailey Wade1835-1870PrivateCSACompany D, 5th Virginia Infantry21 Mar 1862 - unknown
GGFWilliam Johnson Zimmerman1824-1880PrivateCSACompany C, 108th Virginia Regiment of Militia

Relationship codes:
COUa cousin, i.e. not an ancestor
GGFa great-granddfather, i.e. direct ancestor
UNCan uncle, i.e. brother of ancestor

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Reloading supplies...

I feel very fortunate today to be able to buy 8 lbs of Reddot and 4 lbs of Bullseye for $14.71 a pound. 12 lbs of powder, powder which will go a long way in pistol or certain rifle cartridges, for $171.26. What a deal! Many thanks to Bill M______ of The Stonewall Rifle and Pistol Club for helping out fellow club members on this club buy. Bill puts in a lot of hours working for the club.