Friday, December 28, 2007

CE Gunshow at Augusta Expoland in Fishersville, VA Tomorrow

There will be a gunshow tomorrow and I hope to be there at 1100. Look for the guy with the SpanAm haversack.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lyman 457192A in hand

My newly made mold, Lyman 457192A, arrived today. I'm excited. Now the grease grooves aren't quite as big as I expected but we'll just have to see how she does. No, I haven't cast any yet, it only arrived about 25 minutes ago!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

.25 Stevens Rimfire

I remember reading Elmer Keith and his comments about the .25 Stevens (which I think he liked for small game). Recently I bought Rimfire Rifleman and in the back is a drawing of the .25 Stevens rimfire. That only served to excite me a bit and I started to do a little research.

It seems that most authorities agree that the .25 Stevens was introduced in 1900 despite some references which would seem to indicate 1890 or so. In any "case" this was a joint development of J. Stevens and Peters Cartridge. Stevens chambered the the "Crackshot" No. 15 and "Favorite" rifles for the cartridge. Remington and Winchester also chambered rifles for the cartridge.

The original load was a 67 gr. lead bullet over 10-11 gr. of blackpowder. Later loads were offered with both semi-smokeless and smokeless powders the later being used exclusively when the round was discontinued in 1942 (likely due to to the war). The inside lubricated bullet was offered in both solid and hollow point ersions. In response to the calls by many gun writers for a high velocity load, Remington reputedly did development work on an improved version, the .267 Remington Rimfire, with a rumored MV of 1400 fps with the 67 gr. bullet. Unfortunately, nothing came of it and with the introduction of the .22 WRFM, there was little need.

The cartridge had a very good reputation, even Elmer Keith liked it, on small game without ruining meat. The negatives were the relatively high cost and high trajectory.

Of course, the high cost being a consideration, there was also a .25 Stevens Short which initially used 4.5-5 gr. of BP. It could be fired in any rifle chambered for the longer .25 Stevens.

Interestingly, there were even empty primed cases offered. I'd like to read of actual experience(s) of those who used these and why. I know I've often read of shooters who wanted to try loading their own .22 WRFM or 5mm Remingtons. They almost always seem to believe that they could develope more accurate and effective loads if only they had the chance. Perhaps that was the reasoning here and the ammo company saw a chance to make a sale.

This would be about an ideal small game cartridge, especially today. However, I'm not so unrealistic as to think that the tooling and marketing costs would be prohibitive. Certainly, no new rifles (other than custom conversions of exhisting guns) would be made. Even Contender couldn't be used because the bigger diameter of the rim moves the rim away from the firing pin. I do think that ammo could be sold for the existing guns then again, that may be the last vestige of my rifle loonie self hoping for the best that will never come. After all, if Elmer Keith couldn't make it happen...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

.308 Winchester Die Sets - Hard to get?

Well, that's what I've been told, that, ".308 Winchester die sets are hard to get," and "we can order some in." But they either aren't or they haven't because I just went on MidwayUSA and ordered the die set. Easy as pie and in stock. Must not be a high profit item...

Visit to "New" Local Gunshop

Dominion Outdoors of Stuarts Draft, VA finally moved to their new building near the interstate. They had their "grand opening" last weekend. I finally got to go over today.

First, it is a beautiful building. Everything is laid out neatly and displayed wonderfully. However, (and you knew this was coming) they must have had an illiterate rack the ammo as they have mixed up calibers and cartridges, mixed up handgun and surplus. They have no Accurate Arms powders, few die sets or little other reloading equipment. Oh they have lots of guns. But the prices, well, lets just say they have some moderately high prices. Archery? Yes, indeed they have archery equipment. I suggest that traditional archers save their gas though. Did I mention prices?

Well, the prices are just fine. After all they have prominently displayed advertising for a lending institution so that you can borrow money to pay for whatever you take out of there.

But it won't be me taking anything out the door. I noticed they have a lot of what they had before. By that I mean before the 4th of July. Not anything I want or need. Heck, they didn't even have a set of .308 Winchester dies... Now what's up with that?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thoughts on Reloading the 1876 .45-75 - Smokeless Powder Suitability

There is some controversy about using smokeless powders for loading the .45-75 Winchester cartridge, at least when used in the 1876 rifle. No less authorities than Mike Venturino and Dan Phariss have written and/or spoken out against the practice. Yet, loading "data" has been presented in Cartridges of the World and Ten-X and Buffalo Arms are producing ammunition loaded with smokeless powder(s). Owning a .45-75 in a reproduction Winchester 1876 Saddle Ring Carbine (SRC) this is a subject that naturally interests me.

Let us start by saying that the intent is not to exceed black powder cartridge velocities. As I will no doubt repeat later, somebody will want to "improve" velocities but that is not my intent.

One of the major arguments held by many shooters is along the lines of "why anyone would want to shoot anything but BP as in originals?" This argument has two basis. One is the historical accuracy, i.e. the reason for shooting these old guns and their reproductions, is compromised by using smokeless powders. Another is that there appears to be some sort of cachet attached to the use of black powder as if it is more manly (for want of a better word) to use the "real" thing. I frankly think that these "arguments" are inconsequential. Not all shooters of these guns are wedded to living history. Not everyone has reliving their forefathers' lives as a priority. Not all shooters' egos are threatened by using smokeless powder in lieu of "holy" black powder. There are shooters, perhaps a majority, who feel that at least some use of smokeless in their guns is a practical consideration.

While one correspondent felt that anyone could order black powder in quantities as small as 5 lbs and that therefor there was no "excuse" for using smokeless I have to believe he was wrong. There are shooters or possible shooters of these guns who live where possession of black powder is prohibitive for one reason or another. In as much as these cartridges must be reloaded, smokeless is the only other option.

I know that Mr. Venturino has mentioned in his writing that he felt that black powder was safer in the original guns. I sort of feel the same way but we have to realize that the Winchester factory produced smokeless loads for many of these cartridges and were using earlier powders with which they had less experience. None of those cartridges are known to have destroyed guns. Still, those old guns are now no less than 118 years old and the steels used are perhaps not in good condition for containing even black powder. Indeed, many of them have been used hard over that period of time. That does not apply to the reproductions as they are both newly made and constructed of well developed steels with which we have much experience. Yet another concern is that there is no hard data for these cartridges in these rifles. Certainly that is a concern. There will inevitably be some yahoo who will try to get just a bit more velocity out of his gun and use a powder or charge which is unsuitable. Likely, too, is that eventually some reloader will make a mistake and drastically overload a cartridge. Of course, these things happen now with smokeless in "modern" arms.

A corollary to this is the argument that one voids the warranty on your gun if you shoot these reloads. Interestingly, this is true of nearly every firearm for which we reload and that is not considered a impediment to reloading those cartridges in those guns.

Some of the concern about smokeless powders seems to be a concern that the pressure curve of smokeless powders will more highly stress the gun than the pressure curve of black powder. The idea is that the smokeless powder pressure will spike more quickly thus imparting an especially severe shock to the firearm. This contrasts with the seeming lack of concern for the pressure curve of the black powder substitutes such as Pyrodex or Triple Seven (often referred to as 777). One correspondent, John Kort, had this to say:

Regarding smokeless in toggle link actions, let’s take a look at the Winchester 1873 first. The truth is, that Winchester introduced smokeless ammunition for use in the 1873 Winchester rifle beginning way back in 1895. I have yet to hear of a ’73 rifle that failed using factory smokeless ammunition.

The powder that Winchester initially used for their 1873 cartridges was DuPont No. 2 Bulk smokeless which is similar in burning rate to today’s 4227. Shortly after 1900, they switched to “Sharpshooter” which was initially produced by Laflin & Rand, then DuPont and finally Hercules. Smokeless cartridges for the ’73 used this powder up until the 1950’s. It’s burning rate is similar to today’s 2400.

Note: Alliant has published smokeless data for the .44-40 with no disclaimer that it shouldn’t be used in a ’73 Winchester rifle.

I have a ’73 Winchester that was made in 1882. I shoot both smokeless and b.p. ammunition in it. To date, it’s hammer has dropped on about 2,500 hand loaded smokeless and 1,000 b.p. cartridges. Smokeless cartridges were loaded with slower burning 4227 which were pressure tested at a ballistics lab and produced pressures within the SAMMI MAP (max average pressure) specifications for the .44-40. It’s still working great.

Now on to the ’76.

Winchester began their development of smokeless ammunition for b.p. cartridges in the late 1893-1894 time period. They started introducing these types of smokeless cartridges in late 1894 and development continued over the next few years until all the smokeless b.p rounds were complete….all, that is, except for the ’76 cartridges.

Why? Well, unfortunately, by that time, the ’76 had pretty much run it’s course, so there was no effort made to develop smokeless cartridges for it. The one exception was the .50-95, which was offered in a smokeless version for a short period of time before 1900.

Until such time as there is empirical data for smokeless powder taken in a ballistic lab for the ’76 cartridges, users, unfortunately are on their own.

Some folks have interpolated data from the .45-70, of which there is data generated in ballistic laboratories for lower pressure smokeless loads. Stepping back to the late 1800’s…initially, DuPont No. 1 bulk smokeless was used in factory smokeless cartridges. Under a 400 gr. bullet, the charge weight was 28 grs. and was indicated to produce velocities and pressures similar to 70 grs. of black. DuPont No. 1 was similar in burning rate to 4198. Thus, the 40% rule was born (28/70). In other words, as a rule of thumb, with 4198, use a charge that is 40% of the charge weight of b.p.

Let’s see how that works out.
The Lyman ballistic laboratory recorded the following .45-70 loads for velocity and pressure. The similarity is remarkable!
From the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook:
Bullet weight: 420 grs.
70.0 grs./ FFG / 1,268 f.p.s. / 16,400 C.U.P.
28.5 grs./ 4198 / 1,267 f.p.s. / 13,900 C.U.P.
Interesting that less pressure was produced with the smokeless load.

Even Mr. Venturino in the October 2006 Guns Magazine article "Cimarron's centennial model: at last! The Winchester 1876 .45-60 is reborn. Cowboy action shooters get a 10-shot bio-bore repeater" said,

...if you use some commonsense, there is no reason they can't be fired with proper smokeless powder handloads. Because of their toggle-link breech-locking system these new Model 1876s still are not strong rifles, but shooting smokeless powders in them with loads duplicating black powder velocities and pressures will be no problem.

So how do you go about coming up with a smokeless powder load for a cartridge like the .45-60, for which no recognized reloading manual offers data? First, I looked up the ballistics of original black powder .45-60 factory loads. A reprint of an 1899 Winchester catalog said from a Model 1885 Winchester Single Shot rifle with 30" barrel the .45-60 s 300-grain bullet should be doing 1,271 fps. They also said such a load would penetrate 11 1/2 pine boards of 1" thickness at 15.

My pick of smokeless powder for reloading almost all antique and/or obsolete big-bore rifle cartridges with lead alloy bullets is Accurate's 5744. Therefore, I began working with it and the RCBS bullet. When a charge weight of 24 grains was reached, the 28" barrel of the new Model 1876 gave a velocity of 1,267 fps. I figured that was right on the money and started shooting on paper with that charge and both RCBS and Oregon Trail bullets.
but he also says about the old iron-framed guns

Since originals are so old, and most of their receivers likely forged of iron instead of steel, I recommend they only be fired with black powder ammunition.
Clearly, Mr. Venturino has taken a reasoned and balanced approach to the question. Can we not do the same?

Another comment was made by a restorer of these and other old guns. Known as Colt1849 on the forum, he had this to say:

Had the opportunity to look at a Winchester 1876 that had a serious over charge of smokeless shot through it, causing a complete separation of the case and head. Barrel right at the chamber area was blown out at the bottom, about 3 inches of the bottom half of the barrel was in pieces. This caused a secondary detonation of the cartridge in the mag tube. Mag tube had a “banana peel” split the first few inches, then split along the top seam for about 6 inches. Forend was completely shattered, what remained was toothpicks. Frame had split & expanded in the barrel threaded area to almost the lifter area. What did surprise me as that the links held with no measurable distortion or damage.

Understand that the shooter walked away from this mishap. Someone turned a $4000 gun into scrap very quickly.

Let's return to this concept of pressure "spikes", i.e. a rapid peaking pressure curve. There is a belief that this spike increases breach thrust and thus strains the weak toggle link system. However, I can't see that the pressure maximum, aka spike, if lower (as John mentions above) can create greater shock to the system. That simply makes no sense particularly when we compare one cartridge to itself on the same system. The idea that the more rapidly rising pressure increases the case head velocity in creating breach thrust doesn't bear out on other systems. E.g. in the Contender system, breach thrust is widely held to be important and frames can be stretched. Yet, when chambered for cartridges such as the .50-70 use of smokeless powder is considered no different than the use of black powder. It is the peak pressure that matters, not the pressure curve.

Case body taper does have an effect on breach thrust, we can see this in various cartridges such as the .22 Jet or .25-35 Winchester. Yet, we are comparing one case, one pressure maximum, in one system. If we look at a max pressure of 18K CUP, how does the pressure curve affect the breach thrust?

So what powders are appropriate? John Kort recommends using nothing faster than 2400 and I have to say that I agree. Indeed, you'll not see data using such powders in cartridges of similar capacity. I also prefer loading density approaching 100% as closely as possible (as I do for all cartridges) but at least exceeding 50%. I am not a fan of fillers of any type. So what powders does that give us? Well, clearly we can follow Mr. Venturino's lead of using AA5744 and the tried and true substitute of IMR or Hodgdon 4198 (H4198 is actually slightly slower than the IMR product). Also long used is the very bulky IMR SR 4759. However, I will leave the details for the loading table.

As to the discussion and consideration of smokeless powders in the .45-75 Winchester 1876 reproductions, I'm sure it will continue, by naysayers and supporters alike.

- A (Very) Short Course in Internal Ballistics

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sadness All-Around

I don't know quite what to title this. What I want to talk about is the recent spree killing by a young, angry, disaffected, and possibly mentally ill man in Colorado who killed 4 at two locations before he was engaged and killed by church volunteer, a concealed handgun permit holder, who prayed to God as she moved forward to engage him.

Much as been made of many things and many folks have an agenda in reporting. Ranging from self-serving sensationalism to attempts to minimize her act by referring to her as a former police officer and/or armed security personnel, to trumpeting her as a normal CHP holder or to mention that he was home-schooled by very religious parents.

It isn't my intent to dissect the semantics of the reporting. Rather, I'd like to give my look at it.

The facts are that Matthew Murray, age 24, shot 4 killing 2 at Youth With a Mission, a training center for missionaries in the Denver suburb of Arvada and New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where Murray was shot by a church member acting as security for the church.

The truth about the killer is likely difficult to know. There are likely many contributing factors to have brought this young to the point where he chose to hurt others. Jeanne Assam, a church member who volunteers as a security guard, shot Murray defending what has been reported as many hundreds.

Any person who moves to the sound of gunfire, to defend others, who takes on a rifleman with a handgun, that person exemplifies courage. Anyone who kills innocents for their own selfish ends, that exemplifies evil.

My condolences to the families of all those killed, even Matthew Murray, while the dead are deposed as God sees fit, the living must deal with their own grief.

Friday, December 07, 2007

An Interesting Morning

I had an interesting morning this morning. I say that in a purely sarcastic way as I'd rather it have been the usual mundane workday morning.

At about 0630 I awoke but wasn't quite sure why. It seemed as though I could hear, through the bed, somebody slamming doors or beating on something. Of course my wife was already up and I could see the light from the bathroom. I just assumed (you can see "it" coming, can't you?) that she was in a hurry and POed and just slamming the cabinet doors searching for something. The dog was unconcerned just as she usually is until my wife goes downstairs.

I rolled over on my stomach to try to catch a couple more winks. Then the wife came into the room and turned on the light, picked up something and left. I could hear her go down the stairs and the usual moan from the dutch door to the breakfast room. The dog didn't have time to get up and do her usual shake and whine to be uncrated to go see "Mom" before my wife was back up the stairs "whispering" that somebody was at the back door. Nobody should have been at the back door and the source of the pounding was immediately clear to me. I picked up my handgun and moved downstairs as fast as I could. I had to push back my wife. She didn't do as she should and stay upstairs with the shotgun.

When I got to the backdoor I could see a man standing there and hear him talking to himself. He was talking as though he was talking to somebody in the house but of course he wasn't talking to me. He hadn't seen me yet. As I approached the door my wife grabbed the phone and went into the den. The man started to beat on the door again. I turned on the back porch light which startled him. Then I told him to leave. He said something that I couldn't understand and I again told him to leave. My wife was calling 911 for the first time as I did this. It seemed that he was trying to tell me that we had business and I told him that he was at the wrong house, that we didn't have any business, that I didn't know him and that he should leave now. He seemed to apologize and walked away but instead of going down the walk to the driveway he walked around the other side of the house through yard and garden. I went to look out the window on that side of the house and could hear him talking. I couldn't see anyone and moved to the front of the house.

I then saw that he was standing at the foot of the front steps talking and gesturing. I couldn't quite make out what he was saying but it seemed that he was explaining something. He then left but instead of walking down the walk to the sidewalk cut across the yard and crawled through a short section of rail fence I have at the corner of the property. He then went up the walk towards _______ _________ School. I went to a side window to see if he would continue up the street which it seemed that he did.

I then called 911 to tell them that he had left my property and in which direction he was headed. I gave them a brief description as well. Then two police cars arrived and turned around in the park across the street from the house and went back up the street in the man's direction of travel. Then my wife and I got dressed and my wife got her things together and I walked her out to her vehicle and saw her off. I then went back to the house and took the dog out to do her business. We went back in and I started my breakfast.

The dog then had to go back out. I put her on the leash and we went out the door. She stopped right in the middle of it to alert on somebody in the driveway side of the house. We both immediately went back into the house. I let the dog off the leash and she immediately went to the front door and started barking. The man was back at the front door. I then called 911 again (the third call) and reported that he was back. I gave a more complete description (but got his approximate age wrong I think he looked much younger when I could see his face in full light). I went to the door and turned on the porch lights to mark the house. He tried the door and talking to me and I again told him to leave. He was getting more agitated. This was about 0735 or so and he'd been at this quite a while. he left the porch and went to the back door, pounded on it again and I again told him to leave. He tried to argue with me again but I couldn't really understand what he was saying. I saw him walk over to my next door neighbor's house and I called them to let them know he was there. My neighbor said he'd heard something but hadn't answered the door. I had to hang up because this person was again pounding on my front door.

I went to the front door just as Officer ______________ was approaching him. Officer ___________ ordered him off the porch and started talking to him. I stood in full view in the door (we have a glass door) but didn't interfere or interrupt. Finally I saw that the man wasn't answering the questions put to him and Officer _____ saw me standing there. Because I thought that the man wasn't answering and the officer might be uncomfortable with me where I was I went outside. Officer ________ asked me if I was the homeowner and then asked if I had ordered him off. I said "yes, at least three times." Officer ___________ then told the man that we was under arrest and the man resisted so Officer _________ took him to the ground in the attempt to control him. He then cuffed him and took him to his cruiser telling me to wait for him which I did. I then gave the officer my name. As I was doing that my other next door neighbor came to the house to see what was going on and report that the same fellow had been at his back door and attempted to gain entry.

Observations (not necessarily news to me but it might be to you):

1. As always, you dance with the one what brung you and I had only my usual carry gun (for coyotes and such at Mom's), the Ruger New Vaquero in .45 Colt.
2. The police can never respond as quickly as you'd like them to. Until they arrive you are on your own.
3. The wife was panicky and did not do as she should have done, i.e. putting me between her and the threat and moving back to the safe room before calling 911 and taking other steps. Practice would help this. Still some people can't get over this feeling that simply overwhelms them. Prepare for that as well.
4. At no time did I display or announce that I had a gun. I feel that this could have escalated the situation and/or been threatening to the officer and/or forced me into using it at my disadvantage. By keeping the gun in hand but hidden I retained some measure of control over the situation.
5. I did not come into physical contact with the individual. This was good as when challenged he did become agitated and physical. If I was un-armed he could have been too much for me with my arthritic shoulder.
6. I mis-estimated his age. I thought he was about 40-something but in full light it was clear that he was 30 or younger. I was correct about most other details.

1 - I'm the youngest and only armed person among my neighbors. It is perhaps best for them that he fixated on my house. I think I'm the one who would have most likely survived if this had gone to crap.
2 - I stopped on the way to work for some lunch stuff and my change was $6.66. Does it mean anything? I sure hope not!

The individual has a reputation for public drunkedness and "odd" behavior in his home town but hasn't been prosecuted for more than 2 DUIs.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Skinning Deer

This comes up from time to time so I thought I'd post a video on the subject. One can reverse the deal and tie the deer to the stationary object and pull on the skin with the vehicle...

Peabody Rifles are Coming Back

Some exciting news for single shot rifle fans. Providence Tool Company is coming back (hopefully) withe the Peabody rifle. They will also be reproducing a copy of the Lyman #21 (aka climin' Lyman) receiver sight. Contact information isn't provided on the site but it is:

Providence Tool Company
PO Box 291
Plymouth, WI 53073

Phone/Fax: 920-893-9675

Thanks to the Forum for the info!

CAS City Winchester 1876 Group is Open for Business

The Winchester 1876 Group at CAS City is open! 1876 shooters come on over and visit!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm not ignoring my .45-75

I know I haven't been posting on the subject much. What I've needed is some bullets and I simply haven't had much time to cast. Most of my non-hunting time has been given to doing my Mom's business. Of course I'm always "casting" about for bullets and was put onto a deal for the Lyman 457192. Seems they'll be using the original cherry, too!
Gents, getting back to the bullet ... Learned yesterday, that the Special Run of the 45-75 Lyman 457192 will not be done using the 457122 cherry. Folks at Lyman dug deep and found the 457192 cherry which has the Big GG's that were on the original Ideal 456192's for this Special Run.
Lyman will be using the original Ideal 456192 cherry which was the one that they used for the discontinued Lyman 457192. I have 2 bullets from this mold cast in 1:20 and the bases are 459-460.
To get on the commitment list ... details are in my 1st post of this tread with this link ...

Make sure when you send John Kort the email, you include your name and a valid email address. John will reply back to you with details to contact the Distributor that will be selling the molds. John is maintaining the master spreadsheet of 'who's in' for the Distributor

I was told that Lyman will be making the molds before the end of 2007 which was a surprise.
This is pretty exciting but not moving along as fast as some shooters of more modern guns and cartridges might expect.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hunting and Morality

Why this post? Because today I was upset by a post on a forum I moderate (not by the poster). Why was I upset? Because of the issues direct or implied in this letter/message to a forum member (Edited to add the link to the post mentioned and to correct spelling. Also note that the actual source is in question.).
I am a single parent of a 12 year old who has taken an interest in hunting after watching several hunting related TV shows. There are no hunters in my family and we are not gun owners. I was extremely reluctant to allow this activity but a Mom has to support her child's wishes if she is to ever bond with them into adulthood. I have always thought killing animals was cruel and unnecessary. However, the TV shows speak of the fairness and good nature of hunters that I would like to have seen.

I found your website by searching for a hunt for a complete beginner. I then researched a number of leads including other sites. I found website you referred to on your website, Paco Kelly's Initially I thought I had found a place where gentleman spoke of guns and hunting responsibly. I almost gave in to my child's wishes.

Then I came upon this topic For All Hunters of Domestic Felines. The title struck my as peculiar. How do you hunt Domestic anything, let alone cats? After looking at the conversation, I am appalled! My concerns of hunters having a killing mindset and little or no reverence for animals has been confirmed. I find it disgusting that the participants feel it is appropriate to kill an animal just because it is homeless or unfortunate. How much damage could a few stray animals wreak? Society has created the animal control units to address this type of situation. Advocating the killing on site of animals for no reason, even before the animal is seen doing anything objective is not acceptable in today's society and I feel is wrong and unnecessary. I would not be surprised if it is illegal too!

I would have put this on the website in question, but I refuse to join as a "member" in order to get into the conversation. You seem to have a legitimate family oriented business, so I wanted you to know that you are referring people to a group of blood thirsty individuals that do nothing for your businesses image.

I guess a thank you is in order. My fears have been confirmed and my children WILL NOT be participating in hunting or guns with a group of outrageous animal killers with no conscience!
Not unexpectedly a reasoned approach as stated by myself and others was disregarded and we were lumped in with "outrageous animal killers with no conscience" (wherever else she might have found them). However, I noticed that there were very few such in that topic which is why it will remain up and unlocked. In other words, I thought that the joy killer(s) (there may not have even been one) were far outweighed by the voices of reasoned response. So, it seems to me that this lady was another who made an unreasoned, i.e. illogical, response to the topic. Either she didn't read all the posts or she allowed her personal prejudices to overcome reason. As I pointed out in the topic, the subject matter invariably excites and polarizes those involved in the discussion so why should we expect differently of somebody with no actual knowledge of hunting, biology, wildlife management, or shooting. Of course she would depend on her uninformed prejudices to draw a more comfortable/politically-correct conclusion.

While I'm disappointed that this particular 12 year-old's single mom is unable to raise her son as I wish he was raised, I feel no particular responsibility for her inability to deal with reality.

What concerns me more is that this young man has had and will have a particularly skewed and emotion based world view that doesn't allow for other points of view or support logical thinking.

In my experience many/most such folks who have an unreasoning fear (to use her word) of guns and abhorrence of hunting live lives of innumerable incongruities.

For example, many oppose hunting because of the killing but they ignore the many ways in which their own lifestyles kill wild animals. Whether it is their windmill power generation or gas powered car, their use of leather & wool or synthetics, even their consumption of vegetables and "renewable" resources such as cotton, all these things result in wild animal deaths and/or loss of habitat. Those losses to animal populations are far worse than the number of animals killed by legitimate/licensed hunters. But their inconsistencies extend beyond hunting to their purchase of goods from countries like the People's Republic of China when the PRC is currently polluting at a rate far greater than the US.

As to the subject of housecats, even the State of California has been moved to produce a handout on the subject:
Listen! What’s that rustling in the bushes? It’s not wildlife, it’s a housecat!
Untamed domestic, or “feral,” housecats are commonly found on city streets, and are being seen more and more frequently in our state parks.
Where do they come from and why are there
so many?

Pet owners faced with unwanted cats may abandon them outdoors, sometimes in parks.
Well-meaning people then feed these cats, sometimes following a plan where the cats are trapped, neutered, possibly vaccinated, and re-released in an outdoors location. Problems inherent in this approach include:
• Cats will continue to be dumped where people think they will be fed.
• Catching all cats before they reproduce is impossible, so the number of cats increases.
• A large number of cats in one area, and cat food, attracts predators and other animals and encourages the spread of disease.
• People may stop putting out food, leaving the cats to try to survive on their own.
What is the problem with cats in parks?
Cats catch and kill small mammals, birds,reptiles and amphibians—it is their habit as
predators—and by doing so they compete with native predators. Studies have found
that the typical housecat allowed to roam outdoors brings home more than 50 small
mammals, birds, and lizards per year. This number would be even higher for feral cats
living in our state parks. Additionally, feral cats also pose a public health risk, from bites and scratches to rabies and other diseases that can be passed to both
wildlife and humans. Feral cats live difficult, often painful lives, exposed to a host of dangers including bad weather, accidental injury, intentional harm, predation by dogs and wildlife, injury from other cats, and disease.
What is park policy on feral cats?
Housecats do not belong in our state parks. To willfully abandon any animal is prohibited by state law, and the feeding of feral cats within state parks is specifically prohibited by state regulations. Whenever possible, cats are
humanely trapped by park staff or animal control agencies and removed to local animal
shelters, where they often must be euthanized.
What can you do?
Visitors should report feral cats and feeding stations to park staff when cats are seen in undeveloped areas of the park. Please do not feed cats, or any wildlife, in
state parks.
Clearly feral and released housecats ARE a problem. Indeed, even Cornell University has produced something on the subject.

So what about hunting, generally speaking? Well, hunting has fed mankind for thousands of years. Are we to look back on our ancestors as horrible people? Hunting has protected crops for thousands of years. Are we to look on farmers as horrible people?

I'm going to have to continue this later...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday and Cold Cut Into Hunting Time

I've had a cold which, combined with my sinuses, guarantees coughing which isn't conducive to successful deer hunting. So, I've not done a lot. Have enjoyed the holiday though. Next week is another thing. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NRA Life Membership

Well, with all the talk about the NRA lately I guess I've done decided. I'm going to send in my money and become a Life Member. Maybe you can then vote me onto the board (but of course you have to be a voting member).

I strongly believe there are only two ways to change an organization, control it from the inside or destroy it from the outside. We can't afford the destruction of the NRA.

I've vacillated on this for years. Always a member (with only a couple of lapses) but never dropping the hammer on Life Membership. It is happening now. I want to thank all those who helped me with my decision.

A Savage 99 Purchase Through Guns America & my FFL Dealer

I recently posted that I was looking for one of these 1972-1984 era Savage 99As in .308 Winchester. I found one (the photo to the left) on and here is the description:
We have a Savage model 99 Series A in 308 Winchester. The gun has the straight grip and tang safety. The bluing is very fine and the bore is like a mirror. The butt stock has a crack in it but it doesn’t move when stressed. The wood finish is very fine and the sights are all original. $455 plus $35 shipping in a new hard case and UPS approved outer box.
I took a chance on the crack that it is really nothing or can be repaired and a I bought a box of Acraglas just in case. The gun is otherwise what I wanted. Even if the .308 isn't my cup of tea, it seems to me that this gun is the most likely candidate for conversion to .358 Winchester.

After a couple of back and forth e-mails I sent the money in the form of a USPS MO to Dust2Dollars in Willamina, OR on the Nov. 7th. The money and FFL were sent via Priority Mail and should have arrived in Oregon on Saturday, the 10th which it did. Mark of Dust 2 Dollars contacted me and let me know that they would ship on Monday and forward the details at that time. Things were looking good!

Of course Mark DID let me know that the rifle had shipped on Monday the 12th and was due to arrive the 19th and he gave me the tracking number. Now I only had to wait. Fortunately, this is the middle of hunting season.

On Monday morning, the 19th, I checked the UPS tracking info only to find that delivery will be delayed until the 20th. I'm thinking, "this is just terrible!" Then I go hunting.

The hunting didn't pan out (of course) but the waiting did and today I picked up my rifle at Nuckols Gun Works in Staunton. As described but not exactly as I expected. Expectations are born of the interpretation one has of the copy written for the advertisement.

The main thing is that the crack appears to have been major damage when the toe of the stock was damaged. HOWEVER, it appears that the repair is a good one. My feeling is, that IF the stock breaks, I can properly bed the new stock and properly fit the buttplate and to the top tang. The gun functions as it should (so far, I haven't fired it) and the location of the "crack" shouldn't have any bearing on accuracy. For the price, era in which it was made, and so forth, I feel it was a fair deal.


- The Ninety-Nine - A History of the Savage Model 99 Rifle by Douglas P. Murray

Coyote, Hybrid, Does it Matter?

The link was posted to leverguns forum and the video is fascinating.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gene Autry's Cowboy Code

Good rules to live by...

1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller weaker man, or take unfair advantage.
2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. He must always tell the truth.
4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. He must help people in distress.
7. He must be a good worker.
8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
10. The Cowboy is a patriot.

Son's Birthday

Today is my son's birthday. He's 30 this year. Sure do wish he was going to be here for Thanksgiving. This photo is of us in June 2006. Happy Birthday David.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rimfire Rifleman by Edwards Brown

I recently found Rimfire Rifleman by Edwards Brown and after briefly examining it noted that the book had quite a bit of information about competitive smallbore rifle shooting. Noting the publication date, I thought it would be pretty dry. It isn't. The authors use a story about a typical post WWII family, their neighbors and shooting buddies to provide the information they'd like to provide about smallbore (.22 rimfire) rifle shooting. I think that is a pretty neat aspect of the book.

Although it reads a bit like the screenplay for an episode of "Leave it to Beaver" sans Eddie Haskell, it reads well and it is easy to understand the shooting information provided. One might think it is a bit dated due to the 1947 era information provided, but the basics are all applicable to the current smallbore game. Indeed, some shooters are still using the same equipment.

I really like the book and I'm glad I bought it. I'm hoping that I'll get my grandchildren to either read it or perhaps, I'll read it to them...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Son-in-law Scores

My son-in-law got a 5 point deer weighing about 130 pounds field dressed. Shot at about 7:15 AM the opening day of muzzleloader season (yesterday). He uses a Knight in-line and the Red-Hot 250 gr. saboted bullets. You should see the damage those did on this deer.Got to see his deer and where he hunts. Had a good walk but didn't see any coyotes. His dad shot at one but apparently didn't connect. More reports to follow.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

.327 Federal, the .32 Maximum Comes to Fruition

They've been working on this sometime, or so it was rumored. Now, here it is the .32 Maximum or actually, the .327 Federal and will make its debut in the Ruger SP101. 1/8-inch longer than the .32 H&R, the cartridge is reported to nearly match the .357 Remington Magnum 125 gr. load for energy! Now that's remarkable. I would love to have a Contender carbine barrel for it. However, it would need to have a genuine .312" groove diameter just like the .32 H&R and not TC's usual adaptation using the .308 groove diameter. That would be unacceptable.

There's not a lot out there yet but here's some links.

- Shooting Times Article Lethal Combination - Federal Ammunition and Ruger Firearms introduce the .327 Federal Magnum & Ruger SP101 by Dick Metcalf
- Guns and Ammo Video
- Federal Cartridge Company press release
- The New .327 Federal Magnum in Ruger’s SP101 Compact Six-Shot Revolver by Jeff Quinn
- Freedom Arms Model 97 & Single Action Service Custom Ruger Revolvers Chambered for the New .327 Federal Magnum by Jeff Quinn

The more I think about this the more I like it, as a carbine cartridge. In a TC Contender, the .327 Federal would be sort of a .357 Maximum light. IOW, in some areas it could be what the .357 Max is in my area. That is, a small game (loaded with .32 S&W ammo, nearly silent) to small deer round. It would be a light recoiler, too! Of course it is pretty much a rimmed .30 Carbine or modern case .32-20 but heck, it could be fun. Just as with the .357 Maximum, the .327 Federal could be loaded with a carbide die set and no lube. That's quite an advantage.

A Must Read... A Fortunate Life by A. B. Facey

A Fortunate Life by A. B. Facey, ISBN 0-14-008167-4, was a gift to me from a thoughtful Australian friend, Bruce Scott. Written as he spoke, Mr. Facey tells of his life from 1894 to his wife's death in August 1976. He experienced quite a bit in his life and although he called it a fortunate life, his early years might be thought of as anything but fortunate. Yet, he overcame much to live a long and good life with his wife.

The book is an easy read, the story is fascinating, and I would have loved to have met and personally known Mr. Facey. You will too, after you read the book.

I have to say also that I was immediately put in mind of my grandfather, also a farmer much of his life, who was born in 1898, told in 1917 that he had only 6 months to live due to TB (discovered in his enlistment physical) and yet lived until 1974. It was another generation indeed. One to which hardships weren't disabling. I think that just maybe a few difficulties make life better appreciated.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I'm Was Looking for a Savage 99 Rifle

As some of you might know I'm was sadly lacking a Savage 99 in my accumulation collection of leverguns. Sadly (according to some) I am so reactionary that I can't stand the pistol grips common on the model. I want a straight grip. I'm no Savage 99 purist though, and not looking for a collector model. What I'd prefer is a post 1972 Savage 99A in .250 Savage or .308 Winchester. I know they were made in .243 Win and .375 Win but I'm not really interested in either of those cartridges.

I guess I'd really rather have a .308 Winchester. I have brass, bullets and reloading dies already. I also have a Williams Foolproof for this model. I wanted to get one of these as my first big-game rifle but that wasn't in my budget at the time.

I don't have a big budget, but I've saved some few dollars towards the cause. The gun's condition is a touchy subject for most of us. I want a complete gun, with no serious rust problem, a good bore, and unaltered butt stock. I will know if it is ok when I see it.

If you would, could you keep your eyes and ears open for me? I'd much appreciate it. I've found one and am making the necessary arrangements. I'll post about it later!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chrony Results for the .45-75 Ammo

So, I got to the range and it was a mite interesting... First the results:

The TenX ammo with a nearly exactly 350 gr. bullet averaged 1165 fps.

Buffalo Arms (I have to break one of these down) averaged 1176 fps.

My "fireforming" load of 26 gr. IMR SR4759 under the 300 gr. Hornady HP averaged 1312 fps. I was a bit surprised by this. For some reason I thought it was going faster.

H-4198 under the Lee 457-325 (340 gr.) was 950 fps, 970 fps and 994 fps for 25, 26, and 28 gr. respectively.

Now for the interesting part. I put one more of the 28 gr. loads (I had loaded 9 of these) and pulled the trigger. I will note that I didn't feel a thing and thought I had a misfire. I stuck a Lee 457-325 bullet about .2" ahead of the chamber. Already knocked out with an appropriately sized hardwood dowel and 3 lb hammer I'm still trying to ascertain WHY the load squibed. Moisture? Crappy primer? One other note. 25 and 26 gr. of H-4198 (a recommended load in several sources is 24 gr.) all smoked as well as giving very low velocities.

Now, if the 24 gr. is so widely recommended, why? I can't see it. Gives no velocity, smokes the case, perhaps REQUIRES a filler. Makes no sense to me to use such a load.

The formula of using approximately 40% of a BP load as the starting point for a load using IMR-4198 gives us 30 gr. as a starting point. I'll be moving on up to that, I just want to hit original velocities, reliably, without squibs.

To that end it was recommended that I use magnum primers and I'm going to try that. We'll see. I'll carry the dowel and hammer to the range next time!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TenX Ammo for the .45-75 Winchester

I received my two boxes (for testing) yesterday. When I ordered it TenX was using Jamison brass. Now, apparently, they are using Bertram Brass and the price has gone up to over $75 a box of 20... Let that sink in. That's $3.75 a round (less shipping). Case forming and handloading, even casting one's own bullets, sure does look good now, doesn't it?

The box is Berry's Mfg #111 for the .45-70. It has a 1/2" foam spacer in the top to take up space and cushion the bullet noses as the cartridges are placed nose up in the box. The boxes were packed individually wrapped in bubble wrap and in foam peanuts. These boxes (unlike the Buffalo Arms ammo) suffered no damage in transit.

I had read somewhere that they were using the same European made brass as Charter/Chaparral was importing because Jamison's brass was unavailable. However, this is Bertram Brass. The BB is .564" ahead of the rim and the reformed/fireformed is .546" (interesting, huh?). Other case measurements that are most likely to interest shooters here are:
COL - 2.265"
Rim Dia - .626"
Rim Thickness - .060"
Neck OD - .4835"
Case Length - 1.878" (the case is crimped so it is likely longer after firing)

I got this ammo for testing purposes and today disected one round. If you must do this, don't use your kinetic bullet puller. The hole is just a hair too small to get the case out easily. Trust me on this. Use a collet type bullet puller.

The powder charge (I've not yet IDed the powder) is 19.9 gr. If you blow this pic up you'll see some bits of plastic. Those were not in the powder before the death of my kinetic bullet puller and I pulled them before weighing the charge.

As noted I don't know what powder this is. Recommended charges of IMR-4198 has long been 24 gr. I've used 26 gr. of IMR SR4759.

The bullet appears to be the Magma Engineering 45-70-350 FPD BB. The bullet weighed 350.1 gr. and is lubed with something other than SPG (it seems). I'm not a fan of bevel base designs but I understand how they are easier to produce and load.

Reportedly, this ammo produces very close to original factory velocities. I won't be able to check that until tomorrow at the earliest. I hope to be able to report on many different loads as I've got a bunch saved up!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Three Days and No Groundhog in the Trap

He might be snoozing away our 3 days of rainfall. I doubt he's wet as the earth is dust several feet down... Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Youngest Daughter's Birthday

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday. She's 28 this year and the mother of our grandson and grandaughter. She's a great "kid" and we love her dearly. Happy Birthday Margaret.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Groundhog Hit Squad

Well, it is just me. Mom has a groundhog (aka woodchuck, aka Marmota monax) which has moved in hard by her house foundation. The basement wall is in fact a wall for his burrow. I had no idea he was in residence until I saw him skedaddle across the front yard and followed on foot with my .45 New Vaquero in one hand.

Unfortunately, I couldn't end the problem then and there as he peered at me from the den entrance with his head hard against the foundation wall. I'd rather not put a hole in the wall and couldn't get an advantageous angle. So I backed off without further disturbance. Tomorrow I'll construct a fake tunnel from his den entrance with a Havahart and some black plastic garbage bags. Most whistlepigs will trundle right into such a set up and he'll be there Thursday morning for the "resolution".

Miscellaneous Thoughts, Mostly Reloading

The SPG lube and "manual" arrived today, only 2 days after ordering on-line. That's service.

Speaking of the SPG folks, my copy of the latest issue of Blackpowder Cartridge News also arrived today!

Called RCBS customer service. Wanted to order some O-rings for the Lube-a-matic. Once you get ahold of them the customer service is great. O-rings enroute to Hobie's house sans payment. They cost nothing. Why? Because my 26 year old Lube-a-matic is still under warranty!

I discovered the fault while lubing some Lee 457-325s for the .45-75. Now I'm wondering if the bullet can carry enough lube to work with BP. Guess we'll find out.

Speaking of BP loads for the .45-75, my ammo from Ten-X is enroute and due to arrive on the 29th. It will be interesting to see which brass, bullets and powder charge were used.

Speaking of the Lee 457-325 mold. It seems the problems I have with the left block releasing the bullet may be related to the fact that the sprue cutter has a small portion hanging "over" the bullet base even when open. Going to have to grind that part away. It might release properly then.

But in between dealing with this frustrating mold I've been casting some 100+ gr. jewels for the .30s (I'm going to use them to make my .30 Herrett a .32-20). Nearly every bullet comes out perfect.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

RCBS Lube-a-matic Fun with .45-75 Bullets & More

Well, today I cast some bullets for the .45-75 using the Lee 458-325 mold (another story) and went to lube and size those that were suitable. Well, well. First I can't get lube pressure. Next I find that the O-rings, both of them, are blown. Then I find that I've lost my manual. Fortunately RCBS has one on-line. Now I want to order the O-rings and RCBS's on-line ordering system is down tomorrow and Friday which evidently includes today on their calendar (of course...). So, I got a few bullets done. Wish I could have done more.

Then John Kort posted the following at the forum:
For reference purposes from Winchester's 1895 Catalog:

.45-70-350 Winchester - 1,307 f.p.s.
.45-75 Winchester(350)- 1,343 f.p.s.

The .45-75 was never factory loaded with smokeless powder, probably due to the short life of the 1876 Winchester.

The early smokeless powders used in the .45-70 were DuPont No.1 Bulk Smokeless (1895-1905 approx.) then Sharpshooter (1905,approx) thru 1950's).

DuPont No.1 Bulk Smokeless had a burning rate similar to 4198 but it was loaded to fill the case like b.p. Sharpshooter was similar in burning rate to 2400 BUT it was a disc powder with a hole in the center for more even burning with the airspace in the case.

Both powders were also used in cartridges as large as the .50-110 Winchester.

Based on the early factory development of smokeless cartridge options for low pressure b.p. cartridges, smokeless powders between those burning rates would be ideal. In the middle, is XMP5744, a modern day propellant especially designed for b.p. cartridges. 4759 would be another good one.

Here’s some relatively current data for the .45-70 with 340-350 gr. lead bullets with both XMP5744 and H4198, which I prefer over IMR since Hodgdon ‘s version features a smaller grain for easier metering. Perhaps now, though, since Hodgdon distributes both, they may be the same(?) like they did with H4227 and IMR4227.

340 gr. lead (Accurate Arms Data)
XMP 5744 / 27.0 / 1,314 f.p.s.
XMP 5744 / 30.0 / 1,494 f.p.s. / 14,600 p.s.i.

350 gr. lead (Hodgdon Data – Manual No. 26)
H4198 / 28.0 / 1,159 f.p.s.
H4198 / 32.0 / 1,387 f.p.s.

Since the .45-75 case holds a bit more powder than the .45-70, use of the above data should result in slightly reduced ballistics...maybe 50 – 100 f.p.s at the most.

Time will tell………

I've now gotten most of the old lube out of the tube (boy that stuff is stubborn!) and am about ready for some SPG. Going to order some this morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shooting Far with Black Powder and Iron Sights

Another leverguns forum poster put me onto this. I just didn't want to lose it and want to share the video with friends. This shooting is with an old fashioned gun. The target is 1025 meters (or 1123 yards) from the shooter, and the aiming point (or bullseye) is 16" in diameter. The white buffalo target measures 6x10 feet. This is some shooting!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our Family at Lake George

In the 1880s Americans began to be settled enough that the more affluent actually began to have second or vacation homes in what had been rather remote areas. Not all were referred to as such but might have been referred to as "hunting camps". My great-great-grandfather William Hathaway Van Cott Jr. (his father was Judge William H. Van Cott) was successful enough that he bought a small plot of rocky land on the shore of Lake George in New York and built a small "camp" there.

That original building, which had windows, was about the size of a good sized shed and was the building in which they lived while building the rest of the "facilities". In keeping with the times, the family named this building the "Windigo house". This was 1884 and access to the camp was by boat. The Windigo house was up the rather steep hill behind the building in the center.

Later, these buildings took over as the main living quarters with the Windigo house used as a bunk house for the children. I don't remember a name for the main cottage which housed a separate bedroom for the lord of the manor, kitchen, dining and "living room" with fireplace (the ONLY fireplace, this was not a winter cabin). The Dovecote (the building on the left of the photo) had two bedrooms, each with a separate door fronting the lake and was used for married couples. The camp was rebuilt about 1950.

This photo is from early in the 1960s, maybe 1961, and a new front porch is being constructed for the Dovecote. Likely it is family members doing the work and this was often the case as these folks found it interesting and fun to do.

The property passed from Eleanor Van Cott Brodie to four daughters (Janet, Agnes, Margaret and Eleanor) to whom the cabin passed at his death. Only Eleanor is still living (in Glens Falls near her daughter Agnes).

When the girls were children living in Staten Island, their mother, Eleanor, would pack trunks with canned food and clothing for the summer. After the school year had ended, they would take their trunks to Grand Central Station and board the train to the terminal at or nearest to Lake George Village. There they would board a steamer to Sabbath Day Point (the cottage is just south of the point). From Sabbath Day Point they would move their things in one of the two pulling (rowing) boats.

Here is my Grandmother Janet in Winona, one of the two Lake George pulling (rowing) boats built by Bartlett which they used, in 1962 or 1963 on Lake George. She's out in the bay in front of the cottage and you are looking south down the lake.

Water came directly from the lake with a hand pump in the kitchen and an intake about 50 feet out into the lake. Of course the pump had to be primed and sometimes it was just as easy to throw a bucket off the porch into the water and haul in 5 gallons that way! Great chore for a young boy, let me tell you!

These boats (Winona is shown above) were built about 1904 by George (?) Bartlett of Sabbath Day Point to replace earlier boats. Why those boats needed replacement I can't say. The other of the pair must have suffered some damage and I never saw that one but I have seen photos (for which I'm searching). My grandfather re-built this one, Winona, and the boat now resides in the Mystic Seaport Museum. Plans for the boat can be purchased from the museum.

These boats were rowed, sailed (with leeboards) and motored with an old Evinrude outboard. Winona has been all over Lake George, on Lake Champlain, and even on Barnegat Bay. I should know, that's me with Grandma Janet. I'm all of 5 years old.

Of course, every generation had their own stories about the place and these were sometimes great fun for us to hear as we sat around the fireplace roasting marshmallows or enjoying Grandpa's coffee-ice cream-and-root beer floats.

This place is my major connection to the Adirondacks. All my Adirondack experiences revolve about going to, leaving from or day trips around this cottage. As I gather more photographs I'll be continuing my stories of Pine Lodge, aka Brodie Cottage. This might be difficult as the family sold the cottage in 1994 and gave the accumulated photo history to the new owners! A wonderful thing but copies of those photos apparently weren't made.

This photo shows an aerial view of the cottage as it is now. The Windigo House is gone as is the outhouse (yes, we used an outhouse through 1978). The Dovecote and main cottage have been joined by a wooden walk way. We had to go down stairs from the main cabin and walk across to the Dovecote on a stone and dirt path, mostly in bare feet. It was wonderful in the dark when you had to make a late night run to the toilet which was up the hill behind the main cottage. I don't see the dock either but this is probably a fall-2006 photo and the dock is pulled up for winter and stored under the main cottage.

Sold in 1994 to Mr. and Mrs. Stuart M. Lazarus this inconsequential "camp" is no longer ours but well remembered.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

More on the .45-75 saga

I was out to Hite Hollow Range for a test firing of the .50-90 and .50 Alaskan brass reformed to .45-75 and discovered some things that I might have reasoned out had I taken the time for reason.

- anneal brass before forming otherwise some will split on firing
- .50-90 Sharps brass will feed two rounds from the "magazine", no more, as the rim is too big to enter the mag tube! (now why didn't I think to check that)
- even fireforming loads shoot high at 50 yards, 10" high! They were still high at 150 yards!
- Buffalo Arms ammo was only 5-6" high at 50 yards.

To illustrate in the photo at left you can see how the relatively hard Starline brass, further work hardened in forming, couldn't handle the light 15-18K CUP of the fireforming loads. It was recommended that I anneal after forming and I will likely try that as well. Either way, this is an additional step that I was hoping to avoid. The reformed Winchester .348 Winchester brass starting softer than the Starline, not a single case using .348 Winchester brass has split as these did.

These light bullet loads shoot awfully high with the issue sights, on the order of 10-12 inches high at only 50 yards. Rounds impact about 10" high even out at 150 yards. Calculations by one correspondent show that the bullets likely cross the line of sight at about 25 and 225 yards with the issue sights. Now that is usable for a soldier in late 19th century battles but to somebody who'll be hunting with this gun and is accustomed to late 20th and early 21st century sighting practices, a more usable system will be needed. In other words I expect that I'll either have to raise the front sight height or get a tang peep sight. However, I'll wait on that until I get a good usable load to which I can zero the rifle.

Also, I received another version of the cartridge specification/drawing.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Original Comes Home

by Rob Leahy

Holsters: I purchased a Roy's Original Hidden Thunder holster for my 4" 1955 Target and 29-2 in 1982. This was the first holster that I owned that allowed me to conceal an N frame in AZ easily and comfortably.

Several years later, I was temporarily without a 4" N frame and loaned my Roy Baker holster to a good friend, Elliott.

He mistakenly believed that it was a permanent loan and a few months later, he sold it to one of his brother in laws. I had in the meantime discovered another 29-24" and wanted my excellent concealment and field holster back. Elliot was somewhat taken aback, felt terrible, and soon discovered that his scoundrel of a BIL refused to let loose of his new found FAVORITE holster.

In the intervening years, Mr. Baker passed on to his great reward and being pre web days, there was no other pancake rigs available to me. Having no recourse, I designed and built my own. Knowing I didn't have the skill to fashion a thumbreak and not really liking them, I covered the hammer to project my side. Having read enough Cooper and Bianchi by then and having used several other types of holsters, I decided that a covered trigger guard was a superior idea. This was around 1991, I have built several other designs, but always end up “coming home” to this simple pancake. I have been blessed ,encouraged by several members of this board, actually the old Campfire, I started building holsters full time in 2004 and it has really taken off.


Recently, Elliott contacted me about new holsters for himself and his BIL. I quickly sent him my own personal 3” N frame rig and flatly refused to reward his BIL with one of my holsters.

Shame on me: Today I opened the mail and a padded envelope contained my old original Hidden Thunder holster!

I am wearing it now. It still allows me to conceal a large frame revolver comfortably and easily. Roy Baker really knew what he was doing.

* * * * *

I'd like to thank Rob for allowing me to republish this story here. I like it. It is illustrative of how the world seems to work. A little patience can sometimes be quite rewarding.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Krag Rifle and Sights

A friend gave me a Pacific Gunsight Company receiver sight for a Krag rifle to sell for him. This is a neat bit of engineering in that the mounting point is a replacement cut off plunger (#12 in the schematic) which is part of the sight mount. Of course the sight picture is not different from any other such sight but this one avoids the need for a trip to a gunsmith for drilling and tapping the receiver.

Of course, this initiated a bit of research on this transitional (for the USofA) military weapon. Yes, it is transitional because it was with this weapon that the USofA first had a first-line general issue repeating rifle design. You might argue that the Winchester and Spencer leverguns of the Civil War and later, or Remington-Keene or Remington-Lee rifles were such but they were not an all service, across the board, general issue. The Krag was such a gun but it was also rather quickly superseded by the 1903 rifle.

I suppose it is unfortunate that even the Krag carbines never excited me enough to spend money on them. I could have had some good buys. The cartridge is a good one, mostly a US version of the .303 British or a rimmed .300 Savage. Sadly, the Krag is pretty much operating at the practical limits of the action. Even Uncle Sam, although he tried, couldn't up the performance of the .30 US (aka Krag) cartridge without causing a much increased rate of firearms failure as the single locking lug fractured under use of the slightly "improved", higher velocity military ammunition. While I don't hotrod the cartridge by any means, I don't have to worry with my Browning 1895.

Back to the sight, I have to say it is difficult to find any information on the Pacific Gunsight Company on the net. You can find catalogs, some of Pacific Tool Company's reloading tools (same company?), references to a Redfield sight that mounts in exactly the same way, and a nifty no-gunsmithing peep sight for the Russian M91 Mosin-Nagant but no real history or other information.

I have photos of the sight and will list it with the other items on unless it sells first.

* * * * *

From our friend Charles G. we have the following info...
Hobie.... I have some knowledge and experience with the Pacific Krag sight in question. There apprears to have been at least two versions.

1. The earlier version elevated by backing off the thumb screw and raising and lower the slide. It was a by guess and by god kind of situation and the dickens to remove and get back in the right place. If you are going to remove the bolt of a Krag and clean from the breech, you have to remove the elevation slide.

2. The next version has a screw on the top of the elevation slide that can be used to raise and lower. There is also divot on the top of the base that holds the end of the screw. For that reason it is easy to remove and replace the elevation slide and return to zero.

I don't know when production ceased, but it was before WWII.

My first Krag came with a type 1 (above) Pacific sight that I used for a number of years.

About five years ago I replaced it with a type 2 I bought on ebay for $15.00. Two years ago I sold the older sight to a guy on the Castboolit board for $25.00 plus shiping.

I am heavy on Redfield Krag sights (sorry none for sale) so I have not followed the price of the sights for the past few years. The prices on all of the vintage sights have risen allot in recent years.

If I was selling one, I would ask $70 and take $50. If I were buying I would not go beyond $50.00. Those may not be current market prices, but that is what I would do.

I hope this helps a mite.. Charles

Friday, September 28, 2007

.50 Alaskan Brass for Conversion to .45-75 Winchester

The .50 Alaskan brass arrived from Starline yesterday. I'm chuffed. Great stuff. Although I had Mom here for dinner last night, I grabbed a couple of minutes to trim and run one of the cases through the .45-75 full-length sizing die. Good to go. The one empty case ran slick as snot through the action.

Here's some dimensional info.
.348 Win.50 Alaskan.50-90 Sharps
Rim Diameter.603".6015".651"
Rim Thickness.0665".067".064"
Case Head Dia.546".545".5585"

This surprised me because I saw and was told that dimensions for the .50 Sharps and AK were the same. I'll have to load the cases to get dimensions on neck diameters as requested. The .50 AK case sized in one go and with the smaller case head they are noticeably easier to size than the .50-90 Sharps. Both cases will go in one go.

As to sizing, the shoulders in my chamber seem to be forward of those in the sizing die. This could result in working the brass excessively. I'm thinking that the rifle manufacturers used the original chamber dimensions from original rifles and the die makers used the cartridge dimensions as published by Winchester and, as with many BP cartridges of the time, there's some slop to allow for reliable functioning despite fouling. I will probably partial full-length size these cases. If you look at the 2nd and 3rd case from the left in the below photo you can see just what we are talking about here... (click on the photo to go to a larger version) The fired cases have a different shoulder configuration.

It is a trick to find the right pre-fireforming trim length when sizing this case up from .348 Win or down from one of the big .50s. Some good news is that .50-95 shooters will only need to trim the .50 Alaskan case to length, size and load.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Season

The hunting season is upon us. Another year of wandering about with gun (or bow) in hand and enjoying the few hours available to be away from modern cares.

Years ago, I did this mostly with my dad or some friend like Mike. Now it is just me by myself. What I miss is being able to share the experience. I hope that I'll have several experiences to share here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver

I just received my copy of the Thirty Year Anniversary Edition of A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver by Ron Graham, John Kopec, and C. Kenneth Moore. It is inscribed to me by Mr. Kopec.

I'm afraid this won't be a book review, exactly. Surely, any serious collector knows of the previous editions and so no review by me will be of any help to them. The book is $129.95 plus $10 shipping from Kopec Publications which makes it pretty darn expensive. Kopec Publications does not have a web site so I can't link you to them. There is no on-line photo of the book, so I'll have to photograph mine.

I'm telling you right now that no photo I take of this book can do it justice. This is a tome of incredible quality and well worth the money spent. Not only is the book well made, but there is seemingly endless info and photos of guns. Oh goodness, such photos! Absolutely marvelous. A feast for the eyes. This book is, in a single word, luxurious.

I'll have to find the time to read it. Actually, I'm thinking it will be savoring. This book invites savoring. I might wear a bib as well...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

.50 caliber cases to .45-75 - UPDATED

Well, I received both the .50-90 Sharps cases I ordered from MidwayUSA and 6 .43 Egyptian cases (converted from .50-70 cases) from Don in Fort Laramie, WY. Thanks again Don. Of course these cases have the same rim diameter but are too large for the .348 Winchester and .45-75 shell holders. I went to my dealer and bought a RCBS #31 shell holder for these cartridges. First I tried running the already partially reformed to .45-75 .43 Egyptian case and found another problem. That .50-70 base is just too much for the Lee full-length sizing die. Can't get far enough down the base to fully form the cartridge. I'm for sure not going to try this with the .50-90 as the case heads are the same diameter. Best not to waste more cases than necessary! More thinking is required.

UPDATE 9-18-07

I finally hit upon a lube method that did permit me to both insert the trimmed .50-90 brass in the full-length sizing die and to remove it but the case necks had horrible lube folds. Annealing is next, I didn't want to do that but can't afford not to with brass at these prices!

UPDATED 9-19-07

Man, I'm just so excited! As so often happens a thing isn't impossible to do but one has to hit on the technique to make it possible given the tools available. I knew that I could reform the .50-90 brass but hadn't hit on the technique necessary.

As can be seen in the above pic, I can now reform the .50-90 (and this means the .50-70 and .50 AK as well) brass to .45-75. What's best NOW is that I can do it in a single lever stroke in the full-length resizing die. I think the base is still a bit of a problem, but with differential lubing (and some folks with good lube to begin with won't need to do this) a trimmed case can be run into the die in one stroke and go get 'em. This is without annealing!

So what is differential lubing? Well, what I'm doing is lubing the trimmed .50-90 case with my usual RCBS lube on the lube pad. Then I'm shielding the top half of the case with my fingers (one could use paper if doing a number of cases at once) and spraying with the RCBS spray lube. That lube on the whole case produce the lube dents seen in the case second from the right in the below photo (labeled "with lube dents").  (NOTE: The only thing with .50-90 brass is that the rim diameter MUST be reduced so that the cartridge will enter the magazine tube.)

This really makes using the .50 AK brass more cost effective. With the .348 brass being about 1/2 to 3/4 the cost you can save in a lot of time in converting a lot of brass. I want to have a lot of one load loaded because I want to use the gun as I would any other gun and that means having brass to have ammo loaded for everything from plinking to groundhogs to deer. That's a lot of case forming. I'm not going back to reforming .348 Win unless I run out of everything else. I will have to try the Jamison if it comes back on the market or Starline if they ever produce it but I can see being able to have enough ammo to truly use the gun. I'm really chuffed about it!

I now have 250 of the Starline .50 Alaskan cases on order. These are enough longer than the .50-70 to give me full-length .45-75 cases but cost $.07 less each when compared to the .50-90 Sharps case. Oh, if somebody only made a form and trim die for the .45-75, now that would be usable with this brass. Just as with a .30 Herrett, one could simply lube the .50 AK case, run it up in the die, cut it off with a hacksaw and file, remove, chamfer and load. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Ok, to summarize the steps...
1 - trim .50-90 or .50 AK case to 1.88" using tubing cutter. Be careful because technique is required here as well.
2 - differentially lube the case.
3 - run the case into the .45-75 full-length sizing die.
4 - remove lube (I use alcohol pads, I like ALL the lube off my cases).
5 - final trim
6 - LOAD!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fast Shooting

It doesn't take Rob Leatham long to clear several targets.

Who says you need the repeat function...

Some are noticeably faster than others...

And some guns are designed to shoot a lot and fast. As to usefullness?...

But then entertainment has some value...

Misc Videos - DeLisle Carbine & M2 Carbine

DeLisle Carbine - not a great video but you get an idea of the degree of suppression. These guns shoot .45 ACP and are built on No. 1 MKIII or No. 4 actions.

US M2 Carbine - slightly better quality and editing. This video gives you a good feel for the rate of fire of these guns. They are firing the .30 M1 Carbine cartridge. The snow shots remind me of some of my time in Korea.

Swedish M94 Carbine cal. 6.5x55

I am a fan of the Mauser carbines. Well, not those on the 98 actions. I'm a small-ring action fan. I particularly like the M91 and M94 carbines. They have a sort of transitional-modern-bulldog look that I just like. They handle well for me, too.

Pictured here are several Swede M94 carbines as illustration of the type. This is because I recently came across a sporterized M94 at a local gun shop. The gun is all correct but for the stock which was altered to remove the handguard and give it a schnabel forearm tip. Of course all the iron forward of the receiver is missing as is the handguard (Numrich has one) and it would need a stock. The price? $180.

Of course these guns are selling for about $400 for an unmatched or kinda grungy example to over $700 for a very good example. Add a bayonet (about $50-100 depending on condition) and an original sling and the price starts to climb. It will go even higher with certain marks.

In my younger, less sophisticated days, I wanted one and was going to put an FP-98 on it. In fact this is what I did with my M96. But it isn't a M94 with the short 17+" barrel and military iron. I did run into one about 1983 when Jon Ritenour had one on consignment. This gun had been well done up with the FP installed and original rear sight removed. The handguard was still there and the cut-out for the rear sight had been filled with a spliced in bit of nearly matching wood. Looked very good and the price was $135. Unfortunately, that was $135 I didn't have!

So, for all of you who have read this far in my tale I'll let you know that I can't get this gun at this time. I'll probably regret this one as well but the gun is at:

Nuckols Gun Works
1801 W Beverley St
Staunton, VA 24401

(540) 886-3061

Ask for Chris or Ernie. Tell 'em I sent you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shooting Back - the Charl van Wyck Story

See what terror attack on church looks like - And find out what happens when a Christian shoots back from World Net Daily...
WASHINGTON – In the same week WND celebrates its fifth anniversary as a book publisher, the company announces the release of its first major documentary – "Shooting Back," the story of an armed man who returned fire at terrorists attacking his church, driving them off and saving the lives of hundreds.

Earlier this year, WND Books published for the first time in North America Charl van Wyk's literary version of the story – a biblical case for the right and duty of armed self-defense wrapped in a unique and personal account of what it's like to come face to face with an opportunity to exercise that right and duty.

Van Wyk was just an ordinary Christian man until July 25, 1993 – the day that would become known in South Africa as the St. James Massacre. It was on this date that van Wyk shot back at the terrorists who were attacking an innocent congregation gathered in prayer, and saved many lives in the process.

You need to see this DVD, you need to share this DVD, you need to buy this DVD.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Impressive Handling of a Musket... 3 shots 46 seconds and more...

The land pattern musket, and variants, were used by the British Army from the early 1700s until the 1800s. The gun weighs 9 lbs and fires a .715" lead ball over approximately 80-100 grains of blackpowder (gunpowder). What follows is a video examining the last model of these muskets used by Britain.

And we have the 7th Battalion of the Line demonstrate the firing by a formation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ruger MK II 10 Inch

I've got to thank both my dad and my friend, Mike Mays, for this gun. Mike was the "original" owner (so far as I know) and he traded the gun to Dad for leather working tools Dad was no longer interested in using. Then Dad (and I) enjoyed the gun for a few years before Dad passed and now I have it. So, now I have a gun that really has a connection to a couple of people that I really liked. Makes every time I take it hunting a very special experience.

The Ruger .22 pistols are great guns. Bill Ruger had a great idea and his execution is nearly flawless. These things, in any configuration, are more accurate than most shooters. The 10" guns were intended for silhouette shooters but they are the bee's knees for squirrel and rabbit hunters, too.

Mike got the gun to hunt turkeys. Yep, turkeys. I'm not exactly sure why he abandoned the idea but at about that time he was not a good handgun shot and was semi-convinced that handguns were pretty much useless. One day I took him to Dad's and we shot a few handguns along with the deer rifles and he had his outlook altered by the experience. Soon after all things were possible but I think this was stretching it a bit. Anyway, he then traded the gun to Dad for a potful of leather working tools.

Dad really liked this pistol. I got him some Pachmayrs which better fit his big hands and then one of those swinging metal disk targets. For a while he'd sit on the front porch and shoot at the disks out at about 25 yards. He was doing pretty good until macular degeneration caught up to him and he couldn't see well enough to shoot (or to see what was downrange in the impact zone).

After that he let me take it out squirrel hunting a couple of times and it was a treat. One day he asked if I could find a buyer and I told him he had a buyer, me. He refused! I didn't see the gun again until after he'd died. We, all three of us, Dad, the pistol and me, went squirrel hunting and had a heck of a time. Well, I do believe Dad was there in spirit. If possible, I just don't think he missed that.

I've now removed the Pachmayrs and re-installed the factory grips. These fit my hands just as well or better and I don't find them slippery as some do.

Favorite loads? Well, most anything shoots well in this gun which is pretty interesting but my favorite loads are Winchester Dynapoints run through my Hanned Line SGB tool and the Winchester 40 gr. PowerPoint load. Both rounds are dependable killers out of handguns.

Over the years many squirrels have fallen to this gun and I've always felt camaraderie with my dad and Mike when I'm hunting with this gun. What surprises me is how many folks don't think that you can hunt anything with a handgun.

One day of squirrel season in 1999 (the year Dad died) I was hunting up near Elkhorn Lake. I'd snuck around for about an hour including the 15 minute walking time and bagged a couple of squirrels with the MKII and Winchester PowerPoints. While I love to squirrel hunt nobody in my family is big on eating squirrel and two will make a plenty big stir fry for me. So, I headed back to the truck. I came out on the road about 1/2 mile from my Dakota and started down the road, pistol in one hand (I didn't have a holster yet) and squirrels dangling from the other. I heard a vehicle coming and hied over next to the ditch and it comes by me really slow and both guys in the car were just a staring at me. That was enough to make me a bit cautious as they were headed towards my truck which I could see. Then they pulled in right next to it and didn't move! Well, I just strolled on up there (the pistol was still loaded) and they clambered out of their compact sedan.

Well, long story short, they recognized me from high school. No, I didn't recognize them until they started talking about families and such. You see, at the time, I hadn't put on the weight they had. We sat and talked hunting and such for about 20 minutes and they just couldn't get over the fact that I had killed those squirrels with a handgun. About that time another fairly big old gray gets up in a tree about 35 yards from us and was hanging upside down on the trunk scolding us for disturbing his afternoon reverie. One of the fellows suggested that I demonstrate how it was done by taking him.

Now, I was looking at a full plate already but I couldn't help showing off and without moving from my seat on the tailgate I picked up the Ruger and nailed that old boar squirrel at 35 yards. At the shot he just fell right off that tree. Of course the distance had to be paced off and another 20 minutes was spent ooohing and aaaahing as the bullet had entered his head just above and between the eyes! No, I can NOT guarantee such a shot. I wish I could but it made for a great day and I know those guys told that story 'round and about.

Now the Ruger handguns I have didn't all come with boxes, or at least boxes I felt were suitable for storage in the crowded safe, so I started getting boxes for the guns including this one. The first box I ordered was the correct cardboard box but the fellow sent me a box for a stainless gun. That just bothered me so I bought a plastic box from Ruger for the gun. That box is NOT correct for this gun but it does a good job of protecting the gun.

I've also got a couple of extra magazines for the gun and one of the HK tools to make loading them easier.