Friday, October 29, 2004

A Political Note

Perhaps some readers won't particularly care for mentioning politics here but I have to express my opinion. I hope that I'll never have to use this blog for political talk again.

Politics is an integral aspect of the shooting sports. Failure to elect politicians who behave positively towards shooters and gun owners (and hunters) will doom the sport and steal the value of collections as well as the sentimental items from future generations. It is is up to each of us to do now so that others who follow will not have to undue the results of our apathy.

The most important event to us today is the Presidential election although we should not dismiss the congressional elections. EVERY person for whom we vote MUST be supportive of our rights. Our rights mean nothing if we are dead so security is the other important measure of a candidate. Social concerns such as Medicare, Social Security, even jobs are secondary. What is important is that the next President and the Congress understand that we are war with Muslim fanatics who wish to destroy us. Indeed, these people are more focused on our destruction than the Japanese or Nazis ever were. Failure to destroy these people is NOT an option.

There is only one candidate that will continue that fight with determination and dedication and that is George W. Bush. I think that in their determination and blinded by their unreasonable hatred of President Bush, the Democrat Party has proven that they are now a party of deceit and treachery. I believe that a vote for ANY Democrat is a vote for the ENEMY.

I hope that every reader will vote, and I pray that God will give you to see and do right and vote for George W. Bush and NOT vote for any Democrat in ANY office.
Well, I have to report that it comes time for each of us to prove himself (or herself) to be very foolish and to get a dose of humility. Today, was my turn to benefit from my dose of humility.

A little background is in order. Every morning I get up, walk the dog, fix breakfast (mine AND hers) say goodbye to the wife (who fixes her own breakfast), eat and then go upstairs to shower, shave (when the mood strikes or circumstances demand) and so forth. Every Friday and Saturday I do the same but have to dress for work (!?!), a necessary and sometimes enjoyable 7 hours selling and talking about militaria, military history and fine art prints for American Art and Antiques, Inc. and One thing that I do everyday when I go out is to take one or more firearms, just in case. Now that it is hunting season (of one sort or another) I generally carry a selection to cover the various possible game in season. This morning, I wanted to carry my S&W 422 6" (for squirrel), my Contender with the 28 ga. shotgun barrel (I know something is in season!), and my Marlin 1894C in .357 Mag (for coyotes, fox, and later for deer, etc.). All was ready except for the Marlin...

I was in a bit of a rush this morning. My son was going to stop by at 9:00, I have to be to work at 10:00, I hadn't taken my shower until 8:00 (the dog was a little off schedule), and I stopped to watch something on Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel. For a news junkie, that can be a bad, bad thing. Anyway, I'm now against the clock and run upstairs, get into the safe and grabe the Marlin and 9 rounds of .357 Mag. Then I stuffed those 9 rounds in the magazine...

You may have guessed but if you haven't, I won't drag it out. I had loaded those 9 rounds into the Marlin, the 336T (in .30-30) NOT the 1894C! Now I can fix this, I just take out the mag tube plug and the forward band screw and dump the contents. So, I've run to the basement for the correct screwdriver and get to work and get it fixed. The main thing is that such a mix up on these two similar but clearly different guns was made by being in a rush and not paying attention to detail. It also started yesterday when I put the "wrong" gun in the spot I wanted the .357 Mag to be in. This morning I just reached in and assumed I had the correct gun. That they look so similar from the loading gate down (including that Marlin pivot "knuckle") let me continue with my self-deception for at least another full minute.

For those of you concerned about safety issues, the .357 Mag ammo doesn't feed in the .30-30 and the .30-30 won't fit into the 1894 in .357 Mag. In short, there was NO safety issue unless you think I should just slow down before I step on the dog, stub my toe, or something.

Now, I'm suitably humiliated, humbled, and my attention has been focused on safety and details. I hope that this relatively painless mishap will enable me to avoid something dangerous, to remember to look and acertain my target BEFORE shooting, to check the background, and to keep my firearms pointed in a safe direction. I hope that anyone who reads this will do the same.

Monday, October 04, 2004

1886 SRC to the Range!

Well, I took my new to me (and darn near NIB, period) Browning 1886 SRC to the range today. Whoooo hooooo. That steel carbine butt had me a bit worried, although the gun seemed to fit fine, but it was no problem being plenty wide enough to dissipate recoil across the shoulder. Most people would compare this gun to their .308 for recoil but some would find stronger loads intimidating.

Sights used were the factory carbine sights. They don't give a lot of definition particularly against black bullseyes. A Williams Foolproof is on order for this gun. The problem isn't the front post but the rear notch. At my age these sights might be more challenging than they would have been 30 years ago.

The target was one of those 8" round Shoot N C things from Birchwood Casey. The sights don't show up particularly well against this target but it is a reasonable size.

The ammo consisted of 4 different loads. They were the Remington factory 405 gr., the Remington 300 gr. "Express" loading, the Federal 300 gr. Express loading with the Sierra JHC and the new version of the Federal load with the 300 gr. Speer HotCore.

The 405 gr. load and the 300 gr. loads all stayed on the target at 50 yards. However, the 405 gr. load was noticeably lower on target at 100 yards being almost 7 inches below point of aim. However, all the "Express" loads shot to point of aim at 100 yards. An adjustable sight would make the 405 gr. factory load usable but it is only marginally so at 100 yards with the factory sight. When I reload for this gun for use on animals heavier than whitetails, black bear or hogs, I'll be using a good 400 or 405 gr. bullet at about 1600 fps. Again, an adjustable sight is probably necessary for this application. Such loads would be for elk, moose and perhaps larger black bear or bison. The factory "Express" loadings using the 300 gr. bullet are sufficient for any use I'll have for the rifle in this area. BTW, the .45-70 can push the 300 gr. bullet some 200 fps faster than the .44 Remington Mag from a rifle and with about 20K CUP less pressure!

Functioning was smooth, positive and problem free. The trigger was not unmanageable. Some might not like it but it was no better or worse than any other levergun trigger. I'm not particularly trigger sensitive and found it to be a good one. Ejection, even when cycling the action VERY slowly, was extremely positive and consistently dropped the cartridges just 2-3 feet directly behind me.

My general impression of the SRC was, in a word, outstanding. If the Browning 71s and 1895s are of the same quality, I'm hooked! Personally, one of these rifles in .33 Winchester would be about PERFECT for many hunters in my neck of the woods. They might not think so, but it would serve them very well indeed. In addition, it is just darn fun to shoot!

Here's a photo of the target used at 100 yards.

If you look at the pic, the black pasters are covering the first 4 shots I ever put out of the gun. Shot at 50 yards, observers were amazed that it was zeroed AND that I could hit with open sights. [?] The top 2 are the Federal 300 gr. Sierra JHC and the bottom 2 are Remington 405 gr.

Every shot seemed a bit easier to control and as you see the group sizes decrease so too I was working through the ammo list. IOW, the smallest group is the last fired on this target.

I'd like to reiterate that the action has a satisfying solidity to it. It kind of feels "hollow" when unloaded but when loaded and worked it feels like a little bank vault. With the hook the cartridges are dragged out, lifted up and placed perfectly for smooth entry into the chamber. Fast or slow, this action works. I'm sure you've run into lever guns (and others) that either wouldn't work at speed or wouldn't work when cycled slowly. This guns surely isn't like that.

With a good aperture sight, this could be the one gun. I'm looking forward to getting a good example of the little brother, the M92. Will probably take a while, but hey, I've had to wait for all the good things in my life.