Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just order some new arrows!

I am really excited. Got motivated and ordered a dozen fletched 2117 gamegetters from 3 Rivers Archery. About time. I need to get back out there. Now to sharpen some broadheads. Maybe Mike and Dad will be out there with me...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Sig-Sauer P938-22

I had high hopes for the Sig-Sauer P938-22. A parallel development of the P938 9mm subcompact pistol, it was reportedly intended to first be a conversion kit for the 9mm pistol but was actually introduced prior to the conversion. I suppose that Sig-Sauer rightly saw that the market for dedicated .22 Longrifle pistols was larger than the market for conversions. With all the lip-service given to the idea of training with the .22 rimfire that duplicates the full-caliber gun most owners of these guns devote minimal time (and ammunition) to practice and many simply load and carry the guns right out of the box. Certainly not wise but it is the likely reality.

I had been pondering the little P938 but couldn't bring myself to "drop the hammer" on one. However, when given the opportunity to purchase a P938-22 pistol at a good price I impulsively leaped at the opportunity. I should have given it more thought.

The P938-22 arrived at my dealer and I completed the transfer. I took the pistol home. It sat in the box, in the safe, for two weeks. I then had an opportunity to shoot the gun. I pulled some ammo that was available and loaded the single magazine that came with the gun with the first ammo to be tried. That was the old CIL .22 LRN which must have come from the early 1960's that is it is now 40-50 years old and has been stored in unknown conditions. Every round went downrange and produced a group at 33 feet (10 yards) of about 4-5 inches centered about 3 inches to the left of target center. Ok, so the ammo works fine in 3 rifles and 2 other pistols/revolvers producing squirrel killing usable groups but maybe this ammo just doesn't go with this ammo. Well neither did R-50, 30-year old (and carefully stored, tried and true) Winchester 40 gr LRN High-velocity, or Winchester Power Points. Nor did the point of impact change much, if at all. I thought that this would be the time to adjust the "adjustable" sights.

I suppose that age hasn't lessened my naivete. I fully expected the adjustable sights to adjust. No go. Neither right nor left more than one "click". That is, the sight would adjust one click right from the original setting and then one click left from that. Not much adjustment when you need to move it about 3-inches at 10 yards. Nor could I decrease or increase elevation, not at all and I mean, not at all. The elevation screw refused to turn. There are no locking screws, just the elevation screw dead center top of the sight and a windage screw on the right of the leaf. I must be missing something...

Ok, when all else fails, read the instructions. Another fail. The instruction manual is not for the P938-22 but for the 9mm version, the P938. Oh, but there's a P938-22 card insert! All is well, right? No. The card insert is concerned with the peculiarities, compared to the parent P938, of dis-assembly and assembly. No help with the sights.

I mentioned that I loaded the one magazine. That's all they ship with this .22 pistol. That's all they ship with all their pistols. Pistols are around because the advantage they have over revolvers is that one can rapidly reload via the box magazine so it would seem apropos that the pistol would come with at least 2. No. Sig-Sauer apparently can't clear enough profit unless they charge you a minimum of $38 and change (plus shipping because no firearms distributor has these in stock) per plastic magazine. Irritating but it seems to be an industry standard as Browning ships the 1911-22 with just one lonely magazine as well as do other manufacturers. As things stand now, I'm not all that sure I want to invest in my usual minimum of 6 magazines per pistol.

This is a good time to note that you might need more magazines than usual. The pistol slide does remain open on an empty magazine, but only because the bottom of the slide is stopped by the follower. The follower does not push the slide lock/slide release up as the slide lock/slide release's "tab" is made for the 9mm magazines and too short to reach the .22 follower which is in the middle of the magazine and magazine well. Indeed, the wall of the magazine would prevent even a lengthened tab from touching the magazine follower as they are made now. This has to accelerate wear on the follower. However, further wear is caused if one simply removes an empty magazine as the rear of the follower then drags across the bottom of the slide face until there is insufficient contact to retain the slide and it slides forward to close.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Benchrest .22 LR

The "saga" of the BR50 .22 continues. I was really pleased with my shooting today. Despite gusty conditions, I shot a 425. That placed me third of 14, 5 of 20 including the unlimited shooters and I tied with the national 13th seed shooter. The winning unlimited gun shot 465, there were 2 445s (a 9x and a 6x) in the factory class, an a 440 in the unlimited. This shooting a stock 52C, Weaver T36 and SK Standard Plus ammo. I could have done better as I made some form faults and was consistent behind the gun, but I am really pleased. Much better consistency today.

We would have had greater differences between shooters if we scored the targets for this unsanctioned match as they are "supposed' to be scored. I ought to take the time to "correctly" score my targets. That should prove interesting! I went back and re-scored the targets correctly, i.e. by the intended method, and scored 3685 9X. That was a 1760-2 on the first target and 1925-7 on the second target. OFFICIALLY, I think they are only supposed to shoot ONE 25 target sheet/stage. Now I'm interested in how much actual improvement I've made. So I scored my first target and I've had about a 20% improvement. I shot a 1450-2 and a 1535-0 for 2985-2 for that match. I take it that is really not so good but I am just starting. I am betting that my buddy's target would have scored much better than mine. He's shot several/many 50 of 50 at matches. I'm not there yet. But I do love this rifle... We have a 100 yard shoot this Sunday.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

There are many who have served. Many bear scars or rest forever in foreign soil as a result of their service. Many families are forever changed by the loss of these men and women. It is for these cherished national heroes that we take time this day to mark their graves and remember their names.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Those who have been lost in the Global War on Terror.

In remembrance of my grandfathers and father who have served...

PVTJohn BalchEllis' Co., 3d New HampshireAmerican Revolution
PVTJohan Joost BeckerSchoharie Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
CPTJonathan BixbyConnecticut ContinentalsAmerican Revolution
Smith & FarrierFrancis Boole17th Light Dragoons (GB)American Revolution
CPTOrrin Lawrence BrodieWWI, WWII
LT & PVTArchibald CampbellCOL Gage & 1st and 16th Regts Albany Cty MilitiaF&I and American Revolution
PVTCharles Henry FlintCompany H 194th NYVICivil War
PVTThomas FlintMilitiaKing Philip's war
CPLDaniel Ford16th New Hampshire Regiment of MilitiaAmerican Revolution
MAJJohn FreemanEastham Company and 3rd Regiment (Mass)King Phillip's War
PVTCharles GliddenExeter GarrisonAug-Sep 1696
CPTRichard GliddenNew Hampshire Militia1688 & 1696
PVTRichard GliddenCPT Sommersbee's Company New Hampshirre MilitiaFrench & Indian War
PVTRobert GliddenCPT Gilman's Company New Hampshirre MilitiaFrench & Indian War (Apr-Oct 1858)
Horatio GrantUS Army, FT Jay, NY1823
Jacob HeensAmerican Revolution
LTNathaniel HerrickFrye's RegimentAmerican Revolution
MAJEphraim HildrethChelmsford County MilitiaAmerican Revolution
PVTAbraham Jaquith II*CPT Wheeler's MilitiaKing Phillip's War
PVTJacob Kendall5th Regt New Hampshire MilitiaAmerican Revolution
SGTBarent Keyser2nd Regt Tyron Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
PVTHiram H. Kimball10th Hvy Arty & E/69th NYSVCivil War
PVTBenjamin Lewis JrColonel Nichols' regiment New Hampshire militiaAmerican Revolution
1LTBarney Alonzo ParslowCompany D 134th NYVICivil War
SGTDonald Fancher Parslow16th IN 1st IDWWII, Korea
PVT/DrummerHenry Parslow1st and 3rd Regts, COLs Snyder,PawlingAmerican Revolution
PVTHenry Parslow*1812
QM SGTHenry Parslow2nd NY Hvy ArtilleryCivil War
GENFreegift PatchinConnecticut & New York MilitiasAmerican Revolution
SGTJoab PondCPT Oliver Pond's Co. Massachusetts MilitiaAmerican Revolution
ArtificerPeter V. Race15th & 50th New York EngineersCivil War
CPTGeorge Richtmeyer3rd Co. 15th Regt. Albany Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
PVTJacob Schaeffer15th Regt Albany Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
MatrossKoert Van SchaickCPT Barnes ArtilleryAmerican Revolution
SGTAaron ThayerWorcester County MilitiaFrench and Indian War, American Revolution
LTPelitiah ThayerMendon County MilitiaAmerican Revolution
1LTWilliam Hathaway Van Cott102nd Regt US VolunteersCivil War
PVTJacob Van DykeCTP Struback's CompanyAmerican Revolution
PVTJohan Joost Warner Jr15th Regt Albany Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution

* - died in service

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Winchester Model 52C

Introduced in 1920, the Model 52 was considered by many to be the first reliable .22 RF bolt-action repeater built for accuracy. Beginning in 1918, the Winchester company put Thomas Crossley Johnson and Frank Burton to the task of designing the new match rifle. Intended to replace the 1885 single-shot and appeal to the army and returning doughboys for use in target matches (and hopefully, military training), the gun went into production in April of 1920. The gun was produced on machinery originally used to build 1917 rifles for the army.

The 52 action is a rear locking, non-rotating bolt in a cylindrical receiver which is machined from a forged billet. It has dual opposing spring claw extractors which also provide controlled cartridge feeding. There is a fixed, blade type, ejector.

In 1935 the single-shot adapter was introduced. This is a dummy magazine with a shaped top, to facilitate manual loading. My rifle came with one of these as well as 2 standard magazines and a body for another single-shot adapter. In 1951 Harry Sefried's two-lever Micro-Motion trigger was introduced. Adjustable for pull-weight between 2.5 and 6 lbs, and travel between .030 and an almost imperceptible .003 inches, the Micro-Motion was an instant success, and considered the new state of the art in match rifle trigger locks. The Marksman stock, a heavy Laudensack-designed match stock with high comb and full beavertail forearm was introduced in 1936. It outsold the Standard Target Stock, which it eventually replaced. Instead of the standard stock's external barrel band, the Marksman used a light band fixed inside the squared-off fore-end; this would be replaced by a pillar mount after the war (Marksman 1A). There were two slightly different versions: the Marksman 1 for telescopic or high scope-level sights, and the Marksman 2 (1938) for standard-height sights.

I was very fortunate to purchase my rifle from a consignment at the shop. Manufactured in 1955 it came with the scope blocks and Olympic sights. I ordered a Weaver T-36 scope with 1/8-minute dot reticule and a Ken Viani mount.

View of the mount from the left...
The Viani mount utilizes the same threaded holes as the Redfield aperture sight for mounting. I was fortunate in that I got a single-shot adapter and two magazines with the rifle. The Ken Viani mount is a neat piece of work. Very well made it fits as it should and finished as it should be. I am very pleased.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Staff Sergeant James Russell Van Fossen - Staunton, Virginia and Company L, 116th Infantry Regiment

It seems appropriate on this Memorial Day weekend to remember a soldier from our area who served 70 years ago but is hardly remembered today. He might be better remembered, but I believe that his story has been obscured by the incorrect recording of his name.

70-years ago, Bill Shadel reported in an article recently republished by The American Rifleman about the exploits of a Technical Sergeant James R. Foffen of Staunton, VA. There is no such person mentioned/listed in either the Staunton area or in service records in any source that I have researched but there was a TSGT or SSG James R Van Fossen from Staunton. Van Fossen enlisted 3 Feb 1941 and was a member of Company L, 116th Infantry. A diligent search reveals that James Russell Van Fossen was born 13 Sep 1921 to Grover Cleveland Tucker and Georgia (Anthony) Van Fossen in the Pastures district of Augusta County in Virginia (outside of Staunton) and died 31 Oct 1969. He is buried in West Augusta cemetery with his wife, Helen M (Smith) Van Fossen. It is very common for both the "Van" to be omitted from family names which use it and for hand scribbled "s"s to be misread as "f". Put the two errors together and you have "Foffen".

From Mr. Shadel's report:
Technical Sergeant James R. Foffen, of Staunton, Va., was working along a hedgerow as a scout, in one of the larger fields. He spotted three Germans moving out ahead, trying to sneak along to a safer position behind the next hedgerow. Setting his sights at an estimated range of 400 yds., Foffen fired and knocked one down. The other two stopped to pick up the wounded Jerry and Foffen got in another shot. There were now two wounded Jerries, one evidently able to get away under his own power, the other, by this time, dragged to quickk cover by the third German. When our advance caught up, the man first wounded was still there.

This wasn't the only report about TSGT Foffen/Van Fossen. This report was from 29th Division - 116th Regiment - 3rd Battalion - L Company- Group Critique Notes. This critique was held at Brest, France, on 20 Sept. 44. The chief witnesses were Captain McGrath, who was not with L at that time, but witnessed the Company movements, Sgt John W. White, Sgt Herman E. Rowe, Pfc Goodwin P. Dallas, Pfc Tony J. Sokolowski, Pvt Willie J. Ortego, Sgt Joseph R. Daya and Pfc J. O. Davies. All these men were NCOs in the higher brackets by the time of the interview. They were in agreement as to facts.
A BAR man, Pfc Elwood J. Watts, in endeavoring to work up to high ground ahead of the Company, got into the road and drew direct fire. He went on frd, made a brief recon, then rtd to the Company position and told Lieutenant Ira C. Nelson that he thought he had lacated one source of fire. He then went frd again, and was shot through the knees in crossing the road. Nelson, S/Sgt James R. Van Fossen, and two riflemen went on up to him and got him frd to the high ground. There, they got a line on the enemy fire coming from an emplacement at the RJ just short of Les Moulins. They engaged, and remained there all afternoon, directing what fire they had against the enemy. The fire in the meantime had cut across their rear and they became isolated. Boat team N° 4 tried to advance around one flank toward the enemy position, but the attack wilted under heavy fire. N° 1 tried it around the other flank and was driven back. Late in the afternoon, Nelson got back to the Co line; the others remained frd, covering Watts.

I am convinced that Staff or Technical Sergeant James Russell Van Fossen was the person mentioned in both incidents. I think that he should be so remembered and honored for his service.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Snakes do not scare me but they have my undying respect!

When I was a kid I was told this story (the teller of this tale was well regarded and later died when he canoe went over a dam and he was trapped underwater at the base of the dam and drowned). ---- He was fly fishing down a stream in WV and came upon a young boy (about 8-9 as I remember it) also fishing. He noted that the boy was fishing worms and asked how he was doing. The boy said he was doing ok (I guess he showed him his fish) but that the worms were biting something fierce. He was 100 yards further when it dawned on him what the boy had told him and he headed back to help the boy. Unfortunately the boy died. These were reputedly baby copperheads.

When I was a kid about 4 years old maybe a bit younger, I do not recall my sister being there, my parents and I were hiking up near Dolly Sods in WV. I was running ahead down the road and seeing something in the road jumped over it. Curled in the middle of the road, the snake promptly rattled after I landed on the other side. I remember Mom and Dad hurrying up the road to keep me away from it (they had seen me jump it).

We saw many snakes in the woods but because it was ingrained in us to look before we stepped or put our hands someplace we were never really in danger.

One time at FT A. P. Hill we were doing a training exercise and as I moved back along one of my squads to enforce the movement interval I noticed a snake stretched out parallel with the trail alongside the squad. They were a bit bunched up but the tail was at one end of the second fire team and the head at the other end. I had a couple of guys in the squad who were deathly afraid of snakes and we did NOT investigate to discover what sort of snake it was. I just hustled them on down the trail. Later that second team leader told me that he'd seen the snake but had the same thought I'd had about our two fellas with the snake phobia and kept quiet. He got an ice cold Coke at the break (I tried to keep a couple in my ruck to reward the soldiers).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Neighborhood "secrets"...

New neighbors running the re-opened Thornrose House at Gypsy Hill at 531 Thornrose Avenue caused me to recall what I'd been told of the history of the neighborhood. I have seen one photo of the land before these houses were built across the street from Gypsy Hill Park (at 531, 543, 549 and 561 Thornrose Avenue) but no others. If any exist I certainly would like to see and scan them! Anyway, something was not right about those stories. I had researched the family who built our house and so knew some of the background which didn't jive with the supposed background of the builders.

After visiting the re-decorated B and B next door, I was moved to do some investigative work on the neighborhood and specifically, 531 Thornrose Avenue. This is what I have discovered so far.

531 was apparently built in 1911/1912 by Powell Goodman Stratton whose family were wholesale grocers in Staunton. Powell and his brother Richard Haygood Stratton, apparently took over the grocery business from their father. They were quite well-to-do for the time. Richard moved into 561 Thornrose at about the same time that Powell built 531. Of course, when Powell built the house the address was given as "Thornrose Ave near city water works". Not very precise and probably not needed due to the limited number of dwellings out here. The city water works was, at that time, right across the street about 100 yards from the house. Later the address was given as 523 in 1914 and then, finally, as 531.

So, by the late 1920s all four of these houses had been built and were occupied by Powell Stratton (531), Emmett Frank Fishburne (543 built in 1926), Sidney Erastus Matthews (549 built in 1925), and Richard Stratton (561). All were very well to do and with the elegant park just across the street this was an "upscale" neighborhood. That was quite a change from the industrial feel of the area which had been (after being a farm) home to a tannery and the water works. The value of 531 in 1930 was given as $20,000 or about $284,000 in 2014 dollars. The other homes were valued at $13,000 ($185,000), $10,000 ($142,000) and $18,000 ($256,000). In 1926 the Robert E. Lee High School was built facing Churchville Avenue next door to 561 Thornrose (on the other side of DuPont).

In 1936 Powell died and his widow, Irma Lang Stratton (daughter of Henry Lang, the jeweler), apparently sold the home and moved to 522 Frederic Street and went to work as a bookkeeper. The new owner was George Herbert Spalding.

George had immigrated from England, been a baker in Beckley and was a naturalized citizen. He was married to his second wife Julia and they lived there with their daughter Ethel Louise. However, it seems the house didn't suit because, although they were there in 1940, they were living in Norfolk by 1944. In as much as George was retired by that time I don't know why they moved. George listed an income of $6,000 a year for 1939 (about $102,000) but no job/business/work. That was very good for the times as there were many in Staunton who show no more than $300 income for all of 1939.

So who bought it after the Spaldings? I don't know, yet.

Apparently Powell's death affected his brother's fortunes as well as he and his family moved to a much less expensive house at 307 Glenn Avenue where they lived in 1940. Their former home at 561 was then occupied by John and Maud Snyder, both age 54. John apparently had a hardware store and his recorded income for 1939 was $5000. John and Maud moved to 561 from Fayette Street and were still living there in 1942 when John registered for the draft. John died in 1947, Maud in 1955.

Except for the two Stratton brothers, none of these people were closely related which is at odds with the stories I'd been told about the neighborhood. At least some of the story is now right. More would take a look at the courthouse records. We'll see.

Another interesting thing, several of the daughters of the residents of these 4 houses served in WWII. Margaret Wheeler Stratton (later Conway) was a communications yeoman in the US Navy. Ethel Louise Spalding trained in the Cadet Nursing Corps as did Sue Barret Stratton (daughter of Richard Haygood Stratton at 561 Thornrose). This is not without precedent in the family though as Richard Stratton served in the Navy as a storekeeper in BOTH WWI and WWII.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Shell Holder Cross Reference

I often have need for this.

10 mm192715n/a
11 mm Mausern/a22n/an/a
17 Remington4102616
218 Bee61n/a7
219 Zipper3n/an/a2
22 BR2n/an/an/a
22 Hornet71243
22 Hornet201243
22 K Hornet712n/a3
22 K Hornet2012n/a3
22 Remington Jet16n/a6
22 Savage32n/an/a
220 Swift101154
221 Fireball4102616
222 Remington4102616
222 Remington Magnum4102616
223 (5.56 mm)4102616
224 Clark (22/257)2n/an/an/a
225 Winchester10n/an/a18
240 Weatherby23n/an/a
243 Winchester2321
244 Remington2321
25 ACP15293237
25/20 Winchester61107
250 Savage2321
256 Winchester Magnum1n/an/a6
257 Roberts2321
257 Roberts Improved23n/an/a
257 Weatherby54n/a5
260 Remingtonn/a32n/a
264 Winchester Magnum54n/a5
270 Weatherby54n/a5
270 Win S Mag54334n/a
270 Winchester2321
280 Remington232n/a
284 Winchester23n/a1
30 BR2n/an/an/a
30 Herrett3n/an/an/a
30 Luger191128
30 Luger61128
30 M 1 Carbine7171922
30 Mauser6112n/a
30 Mauser19112n/a
30 Remingtonn/a19n/an/a
30-338 Win Magn/a4n/an/a
30-378 Weatherby Magn/a14n/an/a
30-40 Krag57n/an/a
30/06 Springfield2321
30/30 Winchester(30 W.C.F.)3262
30/40 Krag (30 U.S.)5n/an/a11
300 H&H54n/a5
300 Rem Short Ultra Magn/a3813n/a
300 Remington Ultra Magn/an/a13n/a
300 Savage2321
300 Ultra Magnum538n/an/a
300 Weatherby54135
300 Win Short Magnum54334n/a
300 Winchester Magnum54135
303 British577n/a
303 Savagen/a21n/a33
307 Winchester3n/a6n/a
307 Winchestern/a26n/a
308 Norma Magnum54n/an/a
308 Winchester(7.62 NATO)2321
32 ACP [Auto7172322
32 ACP [Universal ]7B172322
32 Colt N.P.4n/an/an/a
32 H&R Magn/a239n/a
32 Long Colt4n/an/an/a
32 S&W4n/an/a36
32 S&W Long423936
32 Short Colt4n/an/an/a
32 Winchester Special3262
32 WinchesterS.L.3n/an/an/a
32-40 WCF32n/an/a
32/20 (32 W.C.F.)6110n/a
32/40 Winchester32n/an/a
33 Winchester8n/an/an/a
338 – 06n/a3n/an/a
338 Laupan/a14n/an/a
338 Remington Ultra Magn/an/a13n/a
338 Ultra Magnum538n/an/a
338 Win Short Magn/a43n/an/a
338 Winchester Magnum54135
340 Weatherby54n/a5
348 Winchester85n/a25
35 Remington29226
35 Whelan232n/a
35 Winchester5n/an/an/a
350 Remington Magnum54n/a5
356 TSWn/a1n/an/a
356 Winchester326n/a
357 Auto Magnum2n/an/an/a
357 Magnum1616
357 Maximum1616
358 Norma Magnum5n/an/an/a
358 Winchester2321
375 H&H54135
375 Rem Ultra Mag53813n/a
375 Weatherby5n/an/an/a
375 Winchester326n/a
376 Styer1142n/an/a
378 Weatherby Magn/a14n/an/a
38 ACP19n/an/an/a
38 ACP6n/an/an/a
38 Casulln/a3n/an/a
38 Colt N.P.1n/an/an/a
38 Long Colt1n/an/an/a
38 S&W162128
38 Short Colt1n/an/an/a
38 Special1616
38 Super Auto639128
38 Super Auto193912n/a
38/40 Winchester1435n/an/a
38/55 Winchester3262
380 Auto4102616
40 S&W192715n/a
40-65 Sharpsn/a1417n/a
40-70 Sharps Straightn/an/a33n/a
40/82 Winchester8n/an/an/a
400 Corbonn/a3n/an/a
404 Jefferyn/a41n/an/a
405 Winchestern/a24n/an/a
408 Winchester3n/an/an/a
41 Action Express6n/an/an/a
41 Action Express19n/an/an/a
41 Long Colt1n/an/an/a
41 Magnum9303029
416 Remington54n/an/a
416 Rigby83717n/a
43 Mauser18n/an/an/a
43 Spanish1722n/an/a
43 Spanish17n/an/an/a
44 Auto Magnum2n/an/an/a
44 Magnum1118730
44 S&W Russian1118n/an/a
44 S&W Special1118730
444 Marlin112814B27
45 Auto (ACP)2321
45 Auto Rim138n/an/a
45 Colt14201132
45 Colt11201132
45 Scholfield11n/a14Bn/a
45 Winchester Magnum2A362n/a
45-70 Government8141714
450 Marlin5413n/a
454 Casull112011n/a
455 Webley538n/an/a
458 WinchesterMagnum54n/a5
460 Weatherby Magnumn/a14n/an/a
475 Linebaugh540n/an/a
475 Wildyn/an/a2n/a
480 Ruger540n/an/a
5.6 x 50 Ri mmedn/a61n/a
50 Action Express11337n/a
50-70 Governmentn/a3122n/a
500 S&Wn/a44n/an/a
6 mm 062n/an/an/a
6 mm Int 'l2n/an/an/a
6 mm Remington23n/an/a
6 mm/2842n/an/an/a
6 x 47 (6 mm/222M)4n/an/an/a
6.5 / 0623n/an/a
6.5 Carcano2n/an/an/a
6.5 Jap1015n/an/a
6.5 Remington Magnum5n/a5n/a
6.5 x 54 Manlicher-Schoenauern/a9n/an/a
6.5 x 55 Mauser3227n/a
6.5 x 57232n/a
6.5 x 57R Mausern/an/a14Bn/a
6.5 x 68Sn/a34n/an/a
7 mm BR23n/an/a
7 mm Rem Short Ultra Magn/a38n/an/a
7 mm Remington Magnum5413n/a
7 mm STWn/a413n/a
7 mm TCU41026n/a
7 mm Ultra Mag53813n/a
7 mm Weatherby54135
7 mm Win S Mag543n/an/a
7 mm/082321
7 x 30 Waters326n/a
7 x 57 mm Mauser2321
7 x 61 Sharpe&Hart5n/an/an/a
7 x 64 Brenneken/a32n/a
7 x 65 Ri mmedn/a2614Bn/a
7.5 mm Schmidt32n/an/a
7.5 x 54 MASn/a2n/an/a
7.62 x 3912323n/a
7.62 x 54 Russian161317n/a
7.65 x 53 Arg.Mauser3n/a2n/a
7.65 x 53 Mauser33n/an/a
7.7 Jap.23n/an/a
7.9 x 57n/an/a2n/a
8 mm 0623n/an/a
8 mm Lebel171n/an/a
8 mm Man.Schoe.23n/an/a
8 mm Nambun/a25n/an/a
8 mm Remington Magnum54135
8 mm x 68S Magnumn/a34n/an/a
8 x 56R Hungarian16n/an/an/a
8 x 57 JRSn/an/a14Bn/a
8 x 57 JSn/an/a2n/a
8 x 57 Mauser2321
9 mm LUGER191128
9 mm LUGER61128
9 mm Makn/a112n/a
9 x 21191128
9 x 23191128
9.3 mm x 74 Ri mmedn/a4n/an/a
9.3 x 62 Mausern/a32n/a

Friday, April 18, 2014


It is spring gobbler season. Consequently, we've had a lot of people looking for turkey chokes and have been sorting through the odd assortment of used and mis-packaged chokes every shop seems to have. I've found this chart useful.

12 Gauge
20 Gauge
28 Gauge   .410" Bore   American
Constriction   Constriction   Designation
.000" -.001"
.000" - .001"
.000"   .000"   cyl
true cylinder
.002" - .006"
.002" - .004"
.001" - .004"   .001" - .002"   skeet
impr cylinder
.007" -.013"
.005" - .011"
.005" - .007"   .003" - .006"   imp cyl
.014" -.023"
.012" - .019"
.008" - .014"   .007 - .012"   mod
.024" -.031"
.020" - .026"
.015" - .020"   .013" - .017 "   imp mod
three quarter
.032" -.040"
.027" - .033"
.021" - .027"   .018" - .021"   full
.028"+   .022"+   ex. full


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A New Game

Well, I've been suckered into shooting in our club's .22 LR benchrest matches. Of course I don't (didn't) have a suitable rifle. Most shoot an Anschutz but a couple of fellows use BSA tilting blocks. I put it off but the combined pressure of the wife wanting me to make the club membership "worth the money" by shooting more and various and sundry urging me to shoot came to a head yesterday when I stopped by the shop to work out some scheduling details (which have yet to be worked out). The boss wasn't there but my co-worker and good friend Wayne pointed out that a Winchester 52C HB target had come in on consignment. I didn't think that I could afford to pay what it was worth but put some money down to make sure it didn't get out the door with somebody else.

Made in 1955, with globe and aperture sights as well as scope blocks it is set up as a small bore rifle. However, these have a big flat forearm which should work well on the rest. Then I got a little research done and was thinking I'd have to D&T for mounts suitable for a more modern scope and also discovered that it was more than I'd initially thought.

So, today, I went in to get my money and put it back on the market. The boss man was there and I fell over when he said he'd let me have it for what the consignor wanted, $825. Now I will have to find an adapter bracket for the Lyman/Unertl block(s) or a mount that uses the rear sight mounting holes. It does need some loving cleaning on the exterior. I will also have to find some better ammo.

- Dewey Greiner's Classic Unertl Scopes
- Evolution Gun Works
- Gary Fellers Sights & Scopes
- Parson Scope Service

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Webley MK IV .38/200 (aka .380 Revolver or .38 S&W)

Webley MK IV .38 opened for loading
The Webley & Scott MK VI revolver, caliber .455, was the standard British service revolver during and immediately following the First World War. It was produced by Webley & Scott of Birmingham (who had been producing Britain's service sidearms since 1887) until 1921, when production of the MK VI was undertaken by the Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) at Enfield Lock. This government production continued until 1926. Despite good service during the war, it was considered by many to be bulky, heavy, and to have excessive recoil. In 1922 the War Office made the decision to introduce a lighter service revolver of reduced caliber. Webley & Scott was contracted to undertake the research and development of the new revolver.

The main reason for the desired change from .455-inch to .380-inch was that handgun marksmanship and handling are training intensive skills. This fact was painfully emphasized early in the First World War after the long serving professional British Army had been decimated in the 1914 and 1915 offensives and replaced by conscripts without shooting experience. The conscript force did not have sufficient time to be competently familiarized and trained with the big .455 MK VI. It was decided that a lighter pistol of smaller caliber would have been more suitable. Webley & Scott submitted a sample .380 revolver to the War Office on July 19th, 1921, along with 200 rounds of modified .38 Smith & Wesson (S&W) ammunition. The revolver was a modified Webley MK III hinged frame, self-ejecting pocket model. New features included a detachable striker for the hammer and a removable sideplate cover. The ammunition was modified to use lead bullets of over 200 grains in weight.

Based on the War Office's evaluation, a new MK IV model was submitted in January, 1922, and received favorable reports from the Army's Small Arms School. The revolver was generally liked for its lighter weight and shorter barrel and was considered to be a better service weapon than the .455 MK VI Webley, provided that a projectile of sufficient stopping power could be provided.

Schematic for MK IV
Since the length of the cylinder precluded the use of a longer cartridge, such as the .38 Special, the Kynoch ammunition concern produced a test batch of ammunition that had 200 grain lead bullets propelled by 2.8 grains of "Neonite" nitro-cellulose powder in a case dimensionally identical to the .38 S&W. This load produced a bullet which lost stability after target penetration, yet maintained a velocity in excess of 570 feet per second at 50 yards. This was deemed acceptable, and became the .380/200 service cartridge.

Meanwhile, all was not well at Webley & Scott. The government Small Arms Committee, on August 30th, 1922, directed RSAF Enfield to arrange the manufacture of the new revolver. This they did, making no changes to the Webley MK IV worthy of note, except eliminating certain manufacturing features to speed production, and a subtle reshaping of the grip. Webley & Scott was understandably upset by this turn of events - when they were shown the engineering drawings of the RSAF Enfield revolver, no design acknowledgment was given to Webley & Scott!

Despite this, two .380 Webley & Scott MK IV revolvers were sent to the Small Arms School in March 1924, and underwent trials from September 4th to 11th, 1924. These guns, one with a 6 inch barrel and one with a 5 inch barrel, achieved 1 inch groups at 10 yards and 2 inch groups at 20 yards.

By 1927, Webley & Scott became aware that their design for the MK IV had been pirated by the government as the "Pistol, Revolver, No. 2 Mk. 1," and that there was no intention by RSAF Enfield to have the new revolver manufactured by Webley & Scott. Webley & Scott sued the government for their development costs, but were denied. They were eventually awarded about 50% of their claim by the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors, but the War Office took umbrage to the claim, and concluded the relationship which had provided Britain with her service pistols for so long.

Manual available from Cornell Publications
Webley was to have the last laugh, though. RSAF Enfield was to prove unable to keep up with the demand for pistols caused by the Second World War. As a result, Webley & Scott was to provide over 120,000 MK IV, .38 caliber pistols to the British and Commonwealth forces, with the MK IV becoming officially approved for British service on September 20th, 1945.

Use of the commercial Webley MK IV by many police forces around the globe, notably those in Britain, Israel, Canada, and Australia, continued as late as the 1970's, and in some places continues today, a fine testament to this outstanding revolver.

While British military .380 ammunition is available, the Webley MK IV shoots well with US commercial .38 S&W ammunition. Although the point of impact vs. point of aim may vary due to the lighter bullets used in the US commercial ammunition (146 grains as opposed to 178 or 200), group sizes can be quite satisfying.

This particular revolver is marked "S P F 5131" on the top of the "knuckle" or grip frame hump, i.e. it was issued to the Singapore Police Force. 5131 is the agency's "rack" number. As received it had apparently been converted to double action only. Not all SPF guns have been so altered. It is an earlier import though and lacks the cross-bolt safety or importer markings made mandatory on later imported lots.

I was certain I could convert it back to SA/DA from DA only. I was pretty certain that this would only require a new hammer with the sear notch. I think it is safe to say that I assumed too much.

I ordered a replacement hammer from Apex Gun Parts and it came right away. Got gun and hammer the same day but a couple of days passed before I was able to mess with it. This is not a particularly difficult gun to work on. However...

The No. 2 Mk. I Revolver
The Apex part does not have a firing pin so I had to move the pin from the original hammer to the "new" hammer. No difficulties there Hammer 1 is never fail to function albeit DA only. Guess what, hammer 2 is never fail to function... SA only. It will not function DA EXCEPT for the first time you try it after installation. And that part of it is really peculiar to me. It will correctly function the first trigger pull but thereafter it only advances the cylinder correctly and will not trigger cock the hammer. Is that odd or what? I haven't beat this but that wasn't the only surprise.

This gun has a hammer safety lever and two related parts (including the hammer safety lever) almost like the Enfield No. 2 MK I revolver. The hammer was modified to function with the hammer safety lever but if you take it out, i.e. omit only the safety lever, then either hammer function just fine. I decided to give it a rest and ponder the problem a bit.

So, one day some friends came by the militaria shop and I pulled out the revolver to show them how simple it was to take apart and reassemble. Using a dime to remove the cam lock screw I showed them how the gun was field stripped. I then reassembled the gun and, intending only to tighten the screw "finger" tight managed to turn the head right off. It was back to Apex Gun Parts for 2 of what they call the "cam fixing screw". It appears that I am now accumulating parts for this model gun. The cam fixing screw/cam lock screw arrived and it is a simple matter of removing the left side cylinder hinge screw and, while holding everything in place with the left hand, removing the cam lever and then using a pair of needle-nosed pliers to turn out the headless screw (the cam lever slipped right off over the headless screw), replacing the cam lever and cylinder hinge screw and then the cam fixing/cam lock screw. All back to normal now, I continued to ponder the work needed to return the single-action capability.

It seems to me that what was wrong with this gun was that there was insufficient room on the hammer for the trigger to engage the sear. Rather than stoning the sear itself, I used the stone to judiciously (I hoped) remove enough metal to give the trigger room to engage the sear without actually touching the sear. This seems to have worked. The gun has now been through 100 single-action dry fire cycles without failure.

This gun is a bit peculiar to the type. While the Enfield has a hammer block (which one can see in the above illustration/schematic) which is a flat metal bar operating in a slot machined to the right interior of the revolver frame from the area of the trigger to the level of the barrel catch, the Webley revolvers made to fill wartime exigencies did not have this nor did many of the revolvers made after the war for issue to various police agencies. This one does. Interestingly, the hammer was clearly modified after production without refinishing although the frame was clearly produced for this modification. To provide a "stud" on which the linkage connecting the trigger to the block could rotate, a screw was added to the right side of the pistol which is unthreaded inside the pistol to provide that "stud" or pin. No effort was made to inset the screw head in the revolver frame and it stands strong and proud. While it is a bit of an eyesore it doesn't interfere with the hand or fingers in firing. The hammer block itself has the appearance of an allen wrench flattened on the short leg with a hole through that flattened portion by which it is attached to the linkage at the trigger. The hammer body holds that part of it against its connecting stud on the link. For what it is worth, the gun will function without this part just as well as with it. It does complicate reassembly of the hammer and trigger but all this can be done without a third hand or vise.

At the gun shop, while on the floor stocking ammo, a fellow walked up to me with the short barrel small grip version of the gun. This has the cross-bolt safety, near the knuckle of the frame. Because of my experience with this gun I was able to educate him on his gun and on the one fault it possessed. The cylinder stop was worn. Webley uses a stop separate from the bolt that locks the cylinder in place during firing to keep the cylinder from rotating when not actually firing the revolver. Thus, his cylinder could easily be rotated when the hammer was forward although it did advance the cylinder and lock up properly when cocked. I think this could be fixed by replacing the part.

I seem to remember that his gun was a .38 (the .38 S&W) but all that I have seen in my research are .32s (for the .32 S&W Long). The Brits don't seem to have worried much about terminal ballistics in their choice of revolver chamberings. However, to give credit where credit is due, these cartridges are at least as good as the .32 ACP, .380 ACP/9mm Kurz or 9x18 Makarov cartridges with which these guns are contemporary in military usage.

Now I can begin acquiring and loading ammunition for this revolver. One of the most intriguing loads is the old Super Police 200 gr. bulleted load.

This is not a barn burner so far as velocity is concerned but it approximates the British .38/200 load that was the rationale behind adoption of the No. 2 MK I revolver (and the Webley war expedient purchases).

I really wanted to duplicate the load but given the current state of affairs I wanted to use a powder which could be stretched to load several hundred cases and would be relatively easy to replace later. Bullseye does the trick and 2.0 grains under a 200 gr. lead bullet from Matthews seems to duplicate the British load quite well. It does seem to hit with more authority than the standard U.S. load using the 145 grain bullet.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Notes from the gun shop...

Yesterday was the first business day in the new shop. Very busy even with 5 people working the floor and register. Lots of visitors/shoppers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Notes from the gun shop...

I think that people are really going to like the new store.  I spent much of the day moving ammo and other items to the store.  Jay S_____ showed me how to turn on all the lights, we pretty much got the gunsmith moved over but not quite set up.  There's lots of work to do still, but we're looking good.

The big quality gun influx has some real treats that continue to show up.  We have a list but it often understates the items.  For example, there is a 3d generation .44 Special Colt SAA in nickel with a 4-3/4" barrel and ivory stocks, several S&W J-frames including a Model 40 Centennial, a 649 and a 60. Looking at them all together in the case is almost overwhelming.

Another fellow brought in an interesting rifle for "appraisal" yesterday.  A Remington Model 30A, Express in .25 Remington with Noske scope.  A neat rifle but he's going to play hell finding loaded ammunition from the major makers.  Custom loaded ammo can be found of course, and he could load it himself.  That is a lot of rifle for the .25 Remington but recoil should be about nil...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Notes from the gun shop...

Busy day moving.  It will be a very nice store.  We had lots more ammo than we thought and most of it will be on the shelves "out front" now.

Saw a first for me, a "flat-band" Winchester 1894 in .25-35.  I've got a flat-band .30 WCF but I've never seen a .25-35.  I had thought that post WWII Winchester didn't produce any .25-35s but there it is.  We also have a fine condition Colt Banker's Special with what appeared to me in my cursory inspection to be factory Colt ivory stocks.  There were also two new in box Colt National Match 1911s of differing vintages.