Saturday, April 28, 2007

.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire Ammo

Before I was distracted by a fantastic offer on a rifle (carbine) for which I've been waiting pretty much my whole life (see the blurb on the Winchester 1876 NWMP SWC)I was busy pulling together some .22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum ammo. I use the stuff in my Single-Six and Contender 16" barrel. Pretty handy around Mom's place for eliminating various pests in the .5-20 lb range. Properly placed from less than 50 yards it might do well on animals (e.g. coyotes) up to about 40-50 lbs live weight.

Right now I'm using the Remington 40 gr. PSP (Pointed Soft Point). Somewhere along the line I picked up a box and it shot pretty well so the other day I bought a brick. Not sure it is my favorite .22 WRFM load but we'll see.

I'd already used most of a box of this really expensive Remington fodder with the VMAX bullets. Oh, it did a number on the groundhogs and it is accurate but it sure is expensive. Hard to justify a quantity of this as it is nearly $50 a brick more expensive than the PSP ammo.

Some time ago I got a promotional box of 200 rounds of the Winchester 34 gr. HP ammo as shown here. It came in a plastic, MTM type box but the latch broke when I first opened it. It will also do a number on Mr. Woodchuck. However, with the Winchester rimfire plant in East Alton, IL not yet replaced by their Oxford, MS plant, you just have to get what you can where you can find it. A friend reported buying 1000 rounds for $50, I'd say he got a great deal as this ammo is retailing for more than $10 a box of 50.

Both CCI and Federal are producing a premium .22 WRFM load using the Speer 30 gr. TNT bullet. The Federal load is pretty darn accurate in my contender carbine but I've never used the CCI product pictured here so can't report on it. I'm sure the bullet works well but a good load is more than a bullet. The price of the CCI is comparable to other premium .22 WRFM ammo or about $10 a box of 50 rounds.

Todd Jarrett on How to Hold a Handgun

A lesson from 1996 IPSC World Champion Todd Jarrett on how to properly hold a handgun from the 2004 Shootout at Blackwater. This and other ... all » videos available on DVD at

i just thought this was interesting. You learn something everyday...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Are the 1876 SRC Repros Here? - UPDATED

The leverguns forum buddies let me know about these at Nevada Western Firearms and so I've got a message in asking about price and availability. If you are some sort of trogoldyte and don't know, this is the Chaparral Winchester 1876 Saddle Ring Carbine with 22" barrel, full stock, 45-75 caliber, Spanish meter rear sight, and NWMP marked in same serial range as originals.

These are really interesting, historical firearms but the only way I'm going to own one to shoot is to own a reproduction. This is absolutely thrilling. Now, to convince Mrs. Hobie to let me spend that much money!


Price is $1350 + $40 shipping and they only have one available.

- 2nd UPDATE -

The gun is paid for and enroute to my dealer. Good golly! I just couldn't help myself. With so few though, I think it will sell quickly (after I'm dead and gone...) so Mrs. Hobie isn't overly unhappy.

Winchester .22 LR Power-Point

The Winchester .22 Long rifle Power-Point ammunition is my favorite .22 Long Rifle ammo. The ammunition is consistent, the bullet quality is excellent, the design is effective and it is accurate in a number of my guns chambered for the .22 LR. It is the ONLY effective .22 HP in the short barreled pistols and revolvers. However, Winchester has closed the rimfire ammo plant in East Alton, IL and moved to Oxford, MS. The ammo is hard to find and costs an arm and a leg when you do find it. Midway USA shows the item out of stock and no backorder. They expect to have stock the first of June. I wonder. I'd buy a case (or two or three) of this stuff if I could.

In any "case" I've been buying .22 LR ammo. I can either shoot it or, if worse comes to worse, trade it. Prices are certainly rising on all ammo and it is a good thing to lay in a supply against possible shortages/controls.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

British No. 4 Rifle & the .303 Brit Cartridge - UPDATED w/Video

Glory, romance, effectiveness, dogged self-reliance are what come to mind when I lift a British No. 4 rifle. Yes, I like some bolt guns and my favorite is the Lee-Enfield and derivatives. It doesn't hurt that the .303 British cartridge is a great one!
.303 British is a rifle and machine gun cartridge first developed in Britain in the 1880s as a blackpowder round, later adapted to use cordite and then smokeless powder propellant. It was the standard British and Commonwealth cartridge from 1889 until the 1950s, when it was replaced by the 7.62 x 51 mm NATO round, and in the 1980s by the 5.56 x 45 mm NATO (.223 in) in most roles. It is a rimmed cartridge and is therefore not entirely suitable for use in modern automatic weapons, but remains popular due to the large number of surplus military rifles chambered for the round which have been released to the civilian market, many of which have subsequently been modified for sporting use.
Further, the ballistics of the .303 Brit are very similar to our own .30-40 Krag (.30 Army) and the 7.65x53mm Argentine (Belgian) both of which are among my favorites. They all started a 215-220 gr. bullet at about 2100 fps and or a 174-180 gr. bullet at 2400 fps.

AS to loads, I don't think the powder used is all that important as you simply want the 174 gr. or 180 gr. bullet to start at 2400 fps. I've used IMR 4320, IMR 3031 (made for the .303), IMR and Hogdon 4895, IMR and Hogdon 4350, W748, W760, BL(C)2, and H335. All primers are the standard large rifle type except for the Winchester powders. There are several bullets that will do. I like the Sierra 180 gr. but the 174 gr. Match bullets do well for me, too (however some folks have had problems with boattailled bullets in 2-groove barrels). In reloading the .303 British for my rifles I attempt to duplicate factory ball. That's what the sights are set up for and I do not want to mess with the sights. If I need MORE gun I get more gun. That's 174 gr. @ 2400 fps. In creating loads that do so with minimum pressure and heat I believe I'll lengthen the service life of my rifle(s). In that use it seems to me that no ball powder beat IMR 4350. It gets the required velocity at relatively low pressure and seems to produce less heat in that the barrel doesn't heat up as quickly as with ball powders.

I have tried 150 gr. bullets and the fastest load in friend Mike's No. 4 used IMR 4320 under the Hornady 150 gr. for about 2700 fps. That was accurate and Mike used it at least once to head shoot a doe at a measured (and witnessed) 140 yards using issue stamped version sights. What, if anything, he did to his sights I don't know. The bullets I now use for the .303 British are either the 174 gr. MatchKing or the Sierra 180 gr. SPT.

I have two No. 4 rifles, one Mk I and one Mk I*, and Mike had a MK I*. We took these guns to a good location for 600 yard (and longer) shooting. From a seated position we were easily able to keep a magazine (10 rounds) on the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket at 600 yards. Range was checked with his laser range finder and the 600 yard sight setting was used (and it WORKED!).

Of these rifles, one was a Fazerkly arsenal FTR, one a Longbranch and one (Mike's) a $60 wonder (I don't remember the maker) from the old Rose's department store that had a stock that had obviously seen better days. In fact, he sanded it a bit to keep from getting splinters! Again, this gun was accurate enough that Mike headshot a doe at 140 yards (witnessed).

Of course if you want to load these guns quickly, you need to have chargers loaded and ready. Still readily available, the chargers have to be loaded a certain way to correctly function. See the illustration to the left.

We've used several 1¼" slings with these guns but the best sling really is the issue web job. Comfortable, instantly adjustable and durable. There are even reproductions made in Australia that are still reasonably priced for US customers. I'll have to post that link as soon as I find it.

Sights are a concern to many shooters. Not so much with these guns as even the crudest version of the rear aperture sight is plenty good enough. However, I prefer the full capability of the original, milled, sight usable to 2000 some yards. There is also a stamped version of that sight. Of course one could scope these guns and there is a "no modification" scope mount for these guns. But why? I think the aperture sight is fully capable to, as noted, over 600 yards. It would be interesting though...

These guns are relatively inexpensive and so is the ammo. This makes the No. 4 a reasonable TEOTWAWKI armament. Some like the Garands, M14s, M16s or FALs for their ability to put rounds down range without the exercise of working a bolt but the British Enfield will still do the job when necessary.

The .303 British cartridge is an excellent one for sporting use on large game such as deer and black bear. Ballistics with similar weight bullets are very similar to the .300 Savage, .308 Winchester, and .30-40 Krag, without the sometimes objectionable recoil the big magnums sometimes have. The cartridge has indeed been used for hunting since its release and on all North American game as well as many/most of Africa's game animals. It has only come up short on the largest of these.

There are a number of bullets suitable for reloading the .303 British and applicable to a number of uses.
1 - Hornady 150 gr. SP
2 - Sierra Pro-hunter 150 gr. SP
3 - Sierra Matchking 174 gr. HPBT (shoots really well but not applicable to some)
4 - Hornady 123 gr. SP
5 - Hornady 123 gr. FMJ (good for furbearers where legal)
6 - Sierra 180 gr. SP (my personal favorite in the .303 Brit)
7 - Hornady 174 gr. RN
8 - Speer Hot-cor 123 gr. SP
9 - Speer Hot-cor 150 gr. SP
10 - Sierra 125 gr. SP
11 - Hornady 174 gr. FMJ
12 - Speer 180 gr. RN
13 - Woodleigh 215 gr. RN (an outstanding bullet)
14 - Remington 180 gr. RN
15 - Barnes Triple-X 150 gr. Spire Point
16 - Woodleigh 174 gr. PP

I'd like to point out that in WWI, the Germans were convinced (when attacking British lines) that they were running into machinegun positions. This was due to the rate of fire from the SMLEs. Here's a video to give you an idea of what was possible.

Now this video is from R. Lee Ermey's new show on the History Channel. Part of the shooting is with a No1 MKIII.

- Enfield King

7.62x39mm Platforms....

I started looking at the Ruger Mini-30 rifle. I wanted a relatively light, reliable, fairly accurate, self-loading rifle chambered for an available cartridge with a bit more "oomph" than the 5.56mm NATO (aka .223 Rem). I asked on various forums for info on experience with the Mini-30. Responses in that regard were comparatively few.

Jared told me:
Mine would feed reliably with the factory 5rd magazine. I did have a few misfires with Wolff ammo though. I had a couple 10 and 30 round mags and never could get them to feed 100%. The accuracy wasn't anything to write home about, At 50 yards it would do about 3". I really think Ruger dropped the ball with the Mini 30. It has the potential to be a great rifle, but the lackluster accuracy and lack of reliable magazines over 5 rounds killed it's appeal to me.
CJM told me:
I have the "ranch rifle" mini30 special run in stainless steel and synthetic that was made a few years back. The top handguard had a corner broken off during shipping somewhere before the rifle got to me, and I've never bothered to get a new one. I've never tried to put the surplus lacquered steel cased ammo through it, just Winchester white box brass cased ammo. The lacquer on the steel cases supposedly melts in the chamber, gumming up the gun, so I just never used them. Accuracy is poor, 6-8 inches at 100 yards, but as pointed out by others that is still "minute of man" and as good as needed for it's purpose. I doubt that this is the right rifle to go out hunting coyotes, but if you have one in your yard it's good enough. There aren't any factory high-capacity magazines from Ruger, and the after-market ones have been a crap shoot. I have two nickeled and one blue magazines that work - out of the eight that I have bought. At least they are cheap. It's strictly a blasting type rifle, but it is pretty fun to shoot and has been reliable for me.
I've thought about trying to replace the skinny barrel with either a heavy match barrel or one of the carbon fiber wrapped barrels and have the rifle "accurized", but just haven't wanted to do it enough to spend the money. It's the same basic action as an M1 Garand, so there's potential for accuracy, Ruger just didn't build it in on my rifle.
Uncowboy said:
I bought the 30 for a project gun that never happened. It shoots very well. Last time I had it out it would break clay birds at 300 yds. I bought 2 old SKS with the blade bayonet and milled receivers. They were not pretty but I shot the snot out of it out to 400 yards. It was more accurate than the AK, AK sniper rifles and the stamped out sks's that it met on the range over the last 10 years. That being said The mini 30 is still in the safe and the sks's are all gone now. I guess I got a good mini 30. I don't shoot it much but I did shoot the mini 14 a lot more and I got lucky with that one also!
Wildcat said:
Bought one before the ban. Obviously, it wasn't an unkosher weapon, but I was none too impressed by the .223 in Desert Storm. It shot best with cheap Chinese ball. Not as accurate with Russkie ammo. I killed one whitetail with it and Winchester ammo. My dad and another friend also used it and took several head of deer. Keep the shots within 150 yards and it was okay...not spectacular, nor as effective as a 30-30, but okay. Accuracy wasn't great once it heated up. I ended up selling it to a small town police department desperate for something better than their shotguns. I don't miss it, but I got bitten by the leveraction bug, plus as a handloader, I hated chasing empties.
What folks did tell me was their opinions on which AK-47 derivative to buy. Interesting stuff. Some of these guys should post a full article on their blogs or elsewhere.

I knew that there were variations in quality and performance based on where, when, how these guns were made. Some of those differences, good and bad, were initiated due to the 1994 AWB. I'm going to try to organize those thoughts here.

Many contributed the following:
The Romanian SAR-1 uses used parts sets assembled on a cheap US-made 10rd receiver, which is opened for hicap use. The receiver lacks dimples in the side that stabilize the mag against lateral movement. Romanian guns being generally sloppy with many reports of crooked sights and gas blocks. CAI uses TAPCO fire control group would assume TAPCO rivets, which I don't trust either, neither from a material or design standpoint, as the riviting and heat treat is everything on an AK expected to meet the AK legend for durability. A poorly made AK would suffer the same fate as the earliest Russian stamped receiver failures which led to them using milled receivers until rivit shearing/frame cracking problems were solved by using rivits with countersunk buttonhead which dimpled the receiver walls into chamfers on the buttstock and barrel trunnions, which spreads the load and prevents receiver loosening and shifting.
And this about an alternative:
The "inexpensive" Russian Saiga, which should surely be made to spec in that regard (to the rivits). The Saigas wholesale for $215-$225, and should be available for $275-$300.
The main reason for support of the AK type platform over the Ruger is cost. For me, cost is not the determining issue, usability is. I need to be able to train my wife to use the gun. She needs to be able to use the gun. 5, 10 and 20 round mags would be sufficient for her and a honkin' big 30 rounder could be a detriment due to the total weight of the loaded gun.

- Saiga Distributor
- Arsenal
- Arsenal info
- SAR-1 topic

If you care to contribute, send me an e-mail!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bear Grizzly

Dad bought his Bear Grizzly bow after the Browning Nomad II. I don't remember exactly but I think this was for two reasons. One, for hunting, it gave us a second bow that Dad would use leaving the Nomad for my use. It also didn't stack at full draw as the Nomad might have done. Dad was 73" tall and had much longer arms than I have, especially at that age, so I think the Nomad might have stacked for him.

Our Grizzly now has a good coat of Browning camo paint so that one can't read the markings, but it is marked as drawing 55 lb at 28 inches. I really like this bow. It is easy to shoot well and isn't overly long. I've been using plastic fletched aluminum arrows with it and have about worn out 1 dozen so I need to have more made.

I recently looked at a new Grizzly at a local shop and they've left the separate rest and gone back to the shelf rest. It is a good looking bow as you can see in the photo from Bear Archery.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More Knives, Knives, Knives...

Russell Canadian Belt Knife is one I purchased in 1974 on Alvarado Street in Monterey, CA. Yep, a gun store in downtown Monterey, CA. I almost bought a lot of guns there but persistent poverty related to mis-spent youth prevented that. Now there's some regret in there somewhere. It would be much better that I had bought more knives than I ever took a drink or went to parties and such things. One can buy new Russell Canadian Belt Knives and derivatives from the current maker, Grohmann of Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. This is mine next to the recently acquired Cold Steel copy.

Frost Swedish Army Knife is something I bought on a whim a couple of years back. I don't know why or from whom but I got it for about $12 delivered and it is more than worth at least twice that. It dressed out AND butchered a deer in 2005 in one go and was still sharp enough to do another. The handle is plastic as is the scabbard/sheath but neither have given any problems and the grip is non slip even with blood and some fat on it. This knife is strapped to my hunting bag and has yet to fall out of the sheath. It is a pity that the US Army can't provide a knife this good for US soldiers.

This Wyoming Knife was given to me by my late father-in-law for Christmas. Actually, he gave every one of the "boys" one that year. I like it but I've never had a chance to use it. Seems that, just like last year, although it is there, there is another knife twixt deer and hunting bag that jumps up to steal the duty. I'd just love to see how fast this thing will unzip a deer and how well it does to skin one out. It is neat in that the handle comes apart and one can replace the blades. The company is still in business and new knives and replacement blades can be purchased from Wyoming Knife Corporation of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Spyderco's Endura and Delicas, the difference...

Yep, I messed up on this one. Too many knives I suppose. I do indeed have an Endura with the combo edge. An older knife, it has the metal clip on the reinforced fiberglass handle but I quit using it because the clip would tear the heck out of my pants pockets. The newer Endura with the integral clip doesn't do that. Neither does the Delica with the stainless steel clip but that is because the clip has had all the edges rounded so that they don't cut the material.

For those who might be confused, from top to bottom, Delica, Endura w/metal clip, Endura w/integral reinforced fiberglass clip.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Buffalo Bore's Standard Pressure .38 Special Loads

My two recently ordered boxes of Buffalo Bore's Standard Pressure Short Barrel Heavy .38 Special ammo made it to my door today, courtesy of UPS. Very interesting and, for some at least, expensive. The 2 boxes of 20 rounds cost me $53+ dollars. I think this is a boon for the non-reloader who wants to use his non +P rated S&W or Colt revolver for concealed carry or home defense. As you can see by following the link, there are 3 loads but I chose the more traditional 158 gr. LHP load. Looks good so far.

As you can see here, the hollow point of the Buffalo Bore round on the right is substantially larger than of the Winchester 158 gr. LSWCHP FBI load on the left. This and the substantially softer bullet should promote expansion at the slightly reduced velocities one will get from the standard pressure loading. I'm certain attackers won't notice the difference at arms length distance. So, after a quick check to ascertain the gun shoots to POA at self defense distances, I switched from the .45 Auto to the Detective Special.

In the Simply Rugged Silver Dollar with inside out loops, I'm ready to head to work tomorrow and the gun is ready to do double duty as the second bedside gun tonight. One that I'm confident Mrs. Hobie can use as a last resort defence.

Thanks Grandfather

My 10X great grandfather who was here and to whom, along with other of my grandfathers, I owe a debt of gratitude for making it possible for me to live in this country these past 52 years.

Army Weapons I Have Used

I thought that I would document the military arms I personally used during my time in service. I also served as an instructor within my unit and/or a range NCOIC or Safety NCO for these firearms. Many are still in use. Just thought my grandson might be interested!

M1911A1: The M1911 Colt Automatic Pistol is one of the most successful designs in the history of firearms, serving as the primary U.S. military sidearm for about 80 years through two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and countless other engagements. The commercial .45 automatic pistol was designed by John Moses Browning. It won fame in WWI and was re-designated as the "Pistol, U.S. Caliber .45 Model 1911A1" in 1926 when some minor design improvements were introduced. About 150,000 were produced before World War II. Colt, Remington-Rand, Union Switch & Signal and the Ithaca Gun Company manufactured 1,800,000 pistols during WWII. Production ended in 1945 but the substantial inventories were in service for decades afterward until replaced in 1990 by the M9 Beretta 9mm automatic pistol.

M16A1 and M16A2: In 1962, early in the Vietnam War, Colt brought the Armalite AR-15 to the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA). Impressed, ARPA sponsored a combat demonstration of the AR-15 in Vietnam. The AR-15 was chambered for the .223 cal. (5.56 mm) cartridge, far smaller than the then standard 7.62 NATO round or the classic .30-06 but promoted as just as lethal due to its high velocity and tumbling on impact.

According to a report on the matter by the SFTT website:

In October 1961, ARPA provided ten Colt AR-15s to Vietnamese Forces in Saigon to conduct a limited test. The Black Rifle remarks of this test, "The number of rifles might have been small, but the enthusiastic reaction of the Vietnamese and their American advisors alike who handled and fired the AR-15s was just as [Colt's marketing agent] had predicted." Armed with these positive results, ARPA succeeded in expanding the Project AGILE study by procuring 1,000 AR-15s for distribution among select Vietnamese units for field testing. Ezell and Stevens wrote that this approval resulted in " … saving Colt's from almost sure financial disaster and also setting the stage for the most influential yet controversial document so far in the history of the already controversial AR-15."

Although controversial, in 1963 the US Army began purchasing the M16 for use in Vietnam where it was issued to Sepcial Forces. The Army ordered 85,000 rifles in 1963, 35,000 more in 1964, 100,000 in 1965, and 100,000 in 1966. At first they were issued to Special Forces, Airborne, helicopter crews, Air Commando and other special category troops in Vietnam as well as forces in the Dominican Republic.

In 1965 the M-16 became the military’s basic service rifle and was in widespread use by 1966. Troops generally liked the light weight rifle and the ability to carry more ammo, but complained about insufficient range and lethality. Despite Colt's claims that it was maintenance free, there were early problems due to poor maintenance training, and to the jungle climate of Southeast Asia. It has also been claimed that a change in the 5.56 ammo propellant caused fouling until chrome plating was introduced to offset the problem.

Through 2003, the total quantity produced in all models world-wide was about 7 million.

The M-16 is selectable for full and automatic fire. The M16 was to have had the same effective range as the M-14 rifle it replaced, but it was most effective at a range of 215 yards (200m) or less. The M-16 used a 5.56mm (.223 cal.) cartridge in 20- or 30-round magazines.

The M-16A2 was introduced in 1982 with improvements over the M-16 and M-16A1. In the M-16A2 each pull of the trigger fires one shot if single shots are selected. In automatic fire, the M-16A2 automatically fires a three-shot burst for each trigger-pull, considered optimum from Army research. The M-16A2 also incorporates an adjustable dual-aperture rear sight that corrects for both windage and elevation, a heavier barrel to increase accuracy, 1-in-7 rifling, and an effective muzzle compensator to prevent muzzle climb during auto fire.

In 2003 the U.S. Army issued limited numbers of the M-16A3 and M-16A4, which incorporate a rail mounting system similar to the M-4A1 Carbine. The M4 Carbine, a shortened version of the M-16A2 is replacing the longer standard rifle with some troops.

M60: The Machine Gun, 7.62mm, M60 series (Medium Machine Gun) was type classified in 1957 as a companion to the 7.62mm M14 rifle. The M60 is lighter than the .30 cal. M-1919A6 and only slightly heavier than the .30 cal. M-1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) it replaced. The M60 7.62mm machine gun has been the U.S. Army's general purpose medium machine gun since the late 1950s. The M60 fires standard NATO 7.62mm ammunition and is used as a general support crew-served weapon.

The M60 has a removable barrel which can be easily changed to prevent overheating. The weapon has an integral, folding bipod and can also be mounted on a folding tripod. The M60 has a rate of fire of 600 spm. The M60C and M60D are aircraft versions of the basic M60 machine gun. The M60 series is being replaced by the M240B 7.62mm medium machine gun.

M2: Developed at the very end of World War I as the M1918 aircraft machine gun, the Browning M2 'Ma Deuce' fires a .50 caliber round effectively out to ranges in excess of 2,200 meters and can be mounted in most vehicles, on aircraft, or on a tripod. Originally called United States Machine Gun M1921, after a series of early water-cooled, aircraft and tank models were tested in the 1920s, an improved version was adopted in 1933 as the Browning M2 water-cooled machine gun.

Subsequent models, using the same receiver, were adopted by the various services in both air and water-cooled versions. During World War II, nearly two million M2 machine guns of all variations were produced.

When mounted in a four-gun configuration, the M2 was known as the Quad-50, a highly effective anti-aircraft weapon in World War II. It was used extensively in Vietnam for antipersonnel purposes. Click here for the Olive-Drab page on the Quad-50.

The M2 .50 cal. Machine Gun went out of production in the 1970s, and by the early 1990s the capability to manufacture the M2 barrel had virtually disappeared from the U.S. industrial base. An Army inventory of 13,000 "unserviceable" M2s were stockpiled, although they required some level of repair or maintenance before they could be used. With combat operations in Iraq and Afthanistan, the Army identified a requirement for an additional 8,000 M2s for fielding in FY2005. During the summer of 2004, Anniston Army Depot began to repair M2s at the rate of 100 per month, with a ramp up to 700 per month by early 2005, once new barrels and other parts were procured.

Description of the Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun: The Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, Heavy Barrel is an automatic, recoil operated, air-cooled machine gun with adjustable headspace and is crew transportable with limited amounts of ammunition over short distances. By repositioning some of the component parts, ammunition may be fed from either the left or right side. A disintegrating metallic link-belt is used to feed the ammunition into the weapon.

The M2 has a back plate with spade grips, trigger, and bolt latch release. This gun may be mounted on ground mounts and most vehicles as an anti-personnel and anti-aircraft weapon. The gun is equipped with leaf-type rear sight, flash suppressor and a spare barrel assembly. Associated components are the M63 antiaircraft mount and the M3 tripod mount.

Over the years since its introduction, the M2 had been manufactured by a number of different suppliers, most recently Saco Defense.

M202A1 (FLASH): The M202A1 multishot rocket launcher (Flash) is a lightweight, reusable, four-tube rocket launcher. It is half as heavy as the M9A1-7 and M2A1-7 portable flamethrowers, has five times the range against point targets, and requires less servicing and maintenance.

The Flash can be used in both an offensive and defensive role because it is lightweight, has an extended range, and has a minimal maintenance requirement. Due to the weapon's accuracy and the trajectory of the rocket, it can get into areas and enclosures which other weapons cannot enter. It can produce personnel casualties in bunkers, buildings, and covered or open foxholes, as well as damage unarmored vehicles and destroy combustible supplies, ammunition, and materiel.

The M202A1 produces a psychological effect -- the brilliant splash of the bursting warhead makes it an excellent weapon to suppress RPG and Sagger missile firing sites and when fired near armored vehicles, will normally make the crew button-up.

The Flash may be employed like other direct fire weapons with the assault element or with a supporting element as a supporting or covering weapon. The M74 rocket is normally employed by infantry elements in the assault for the same purpose as flamethrowers; however, targets can be engaged at a greater range and with greater accuracy with this weapon than with the portable flamethrowers. Thus, the M202A1 gunner is less vulnerable to enemy fire than flamethrower operators.

The lightweight, shoulder-fired, four-tube launcher is equipped with front and rear hinged protective covers. A folding sight and trigger handle assembly provide compact carrying and storage capabilities. An adjustable sling is used to carry the launcher over the shoulder.

The launcher is loaded with a clip (M74), which contains four 66mm rockets. It can fire one to four rockets semi-automatically at a rate of one rocket per second and can be reloaded with a new clip. The basic load for each launcher is three M74 rocket clips.

Ammunition for the M202A1 rocket launcher is issued in rocket clips of fixed ammunition (the rocket motor propelling charge is not adjustable). The rocket clip consists of four aluminum tubes each preloaded with one 66mm rocket.

Each rocket consists of an M235 warhead, containing approximately 1.34 pounds (0.61 kg) of thickened pyrophoric agent (TPA), an M434 fuze, and an adapter, which adapts an M54 rocket motor to the warhead.

The TPA is triethylaluminum (TEA), a substance similar to white phosphorus, which burns spontaneously when exposed to air at temperatures between 1400-2200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The M434 fuze is a basedetonating (BD), nondelay-action type. It incorporates a graze functioning element which, upon deceleration due to impact, causes the fuze to detonate the burster in the warhead.

LAW: Prior to the fielding of the AT-4 the M-72 Light Anti-tank Weapon (LAW) was the Army's primary shoulder-fired, man-portable, light anti-tank rocket. The M72 66mm LAW (Light Anti-armor Weapon) was developed in the 1960s. It was a revolutionary idea: a pre-packaged rocket which could be fired and the launcher then thrown away. Like the RPG-7, the M72 is capable of penetrating a foot of armor, but its effective range is only 170 to 220 meters. Manufactured by Talley Industries in the U.S. and under license in Norway, it not only became a NATO standard but was copied and produced in Czechoslovakia and Russia (as the RPG-18 and RPG-26). Early versions were frequently inaccurate, corrected by an improved sight and a more powerful rocket motor.

The M72-series LAW is a lightweight, self-contained, antiarmor weapon consisting of a rocket packed in a launcher. It is man-portable, may be fired from either shoulder, and is issued as a round of ammunition. It requires little from the user--only a visual inspection and some operator maintenance. The launcher, which consists of two tubes, one inside the other, serves as a watertight packing container for the rocket and houses a percussion-type firing mechanism that activates the rocket.

Outer Tube. The trigger housing assembly (which contains the trigger assembly) is on the upper surface of the outer tube. So are the trigger arming handle, front and rear sight assemblies, and the launcher's rear cover.

Inner Tube. The inner tube telescopes outward toward the rear, guided by a channel assembly that rides in an alignment slot in the outer tube's trigger housing assembly. The channel assembly also houses the firing pin rod assembly, which includes a detent lever assembly. The detent lever assembly moves under the trigger assembly in the outer tube, locking the inner tube in the extended position and cocking the weapon. All this must occur before the weapon can be fired.

Rocket. The rocket is a percussion-ignited, fin-stabilized, fixed munition. It is attached by the igniter to the inside of the launcher. The rocket consists of a 66-mm HEAT warhead, a point-initiating, base-detonating fuze, and a rocket motor. Six spring-loaded fins are attached to the rear of the rocket motor. These fins are folded forward along the motor when the rocket is in the launcher. When ignited, the propellant in the rocket motor burns completely, producing gasses about 1,400F(760C). The gas pressure pushes the rocket toward the target and exits to the rear of the launcher as the backblast.

The M72-series LAW is issued as a round of ammunition. It contains a nonadjustable propelling charge and a rocket. Every M72-series LAW has an integral high-explosive antitank (HEAT) warhead. The warhead is in the rocket's head (or body) section. The fuze and booster are in the rocket's closure section. The propellant, its igniter, and the fin assembly are in the rocket's motor. No inert versions are available. Appendix B provides information about appropriate gunnery training devices and ammunition. Although the M72-series LAW is mainly used as an antiarmor weapon, it may be used with limited success against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pillboxes, buildings, or light vehicles.

MK 19 MOD III: The Machine Gun, Grenade, 40mm, MK19 Mod3 is a self-powered, air-cooled, belt-fed, blowback operated weapon, the MK19 is designed to deliver accurate, intense, and decisive firepower against enemy personnel and lightly armored vehicles.

The MK19 is classified as a heavy machine gun and is used in offensive and defensive operations and will be the primary suppressive weapon for combat support and combat service support units. A Product Improvement Program (PIP) was initiated in the late 1970s resulting in the MK19 Mod3.

Because of its weight, it is crew transportable only over short distances with limited amounts of ammunition. The MK19-3 shoots a 40mm grenade, which can kill in a 32-foot (5-meter) circle and wound in a 100-foot (30-meter) circle (48 feet). The grenade can penetrate two inches of armor.

The MK19 was originally developed to provide the U.S. Navy with an effective Riverine patrol weapon in Vietnam. The Army was first equipped with this weapon in 1989. The MK19 can be mounted on the HMMWV, M113 FOV, 5-ton trucks, and selected M88A1 recovery vehicles. It is manufactured by General Dynamics, Saco Defense Industries in Saco, ME.

M203: The M203 was designed and procured as the replacement for the M79 grenade launcher, designed to be mounted on the M16 rifle. It consists of a hand guard and sight assembly with an adjustable metallic, folding, short-range blade sight assembly, and an aluminum receiver assembly which houses the barrel latch, barrel stop and firing mechanism. The launcher also has a quadrant sight attachable to the M16A2 carrying handle, used when precision is required out to the maximum effective range of the weapon. Although similar in appearance, the 40mm ammunition for the M203 and M79 are not the same as the 40mm ammunition for the MK 19 Mod 3.

M79: The M79 Grenade Launcher was a short single barrel gun designed to accurately fire a 40mm grenade. It was used extensively during the Vietnam War, giving U.S. troops the capability to engage enemy point targets to 150 meters and area targets to 350 meters.

M9: The M9 Beretta replaced the M1911A1 (‘Colt .45’) as the military’s standard sidearm in 1990-1991. The M9 semi-automatic pistol weighs two pounds and has a maximum effective range of 50 meters. It has a staggered 15 round magazine with a reversible magazine release button that can be positioned for either right- or left-handed shooters.

The M9 is a semiautomatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated, double action pistol, chambered for the NATO 9mm cartridge. The service pistol is a close personal defense weapon. Rifle company headquarters and the gunners of crew served weapons are armed with the M9.

The M9 front sight is a blade, integral with slide. The rear sight is a notched bar, fixed to slide. Its safety Features are an ambidextrous safety and firing pin block.

The M9 was carried by most of the troops in the Persian Gulf War, but not without controversy. The Army investigated reports of slide failures and frame cracks that led to an unofficial return to the M1911A1, especially by Special Forces and other units who could choose their sidearm. In Iraq and Afghanistan there have been reports of other problems, such as inferior magazines produced by vendors other than Beretta. While redesign and better quality controls have solved most of the M9 reliability problems, there is one lingering issue with no clear answer: is the Beretta 9mm handgun as effective a weapon as the M1911A1 .45 ACP?

In August 2005, the DoD issued specifications for the Military Forces Joint Combat Pistol (JCP), a possible replacement for the M9 Pistol. The specification requires the JCP to be chambered for .45 ACP ammunition. The JCP procurement was postponed in 2006, but it seemed clear that the days of the M9 9mm pistol were coming to an end.

M249 SAW: The Belgian Fabrique Nationale XM249 "Minimi" was standardized as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon System in 1982. The Machine Gun, 5.56mm, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon System (SAW) is gas-operated, magazine or disintegrating metallic link-belt fed, individually portable machine gun capable of delivering a large volume of effective fire to support infantry squad operations at ranges up to 800 meters.

The M249 fires the improved NATO Standard SS109 type 5.56mm ammunition. The M249 replaces the two automatic M16A1 rifles in the rifle squad on a one-for-one basis in all infantry type units and in other units requiring high firepower.

The M249 filled the void created by the retirement of the M-1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) during the 1950s because interim automatic weapons (M14 series and M16A1 rifles) had failed as viable "base of fire" weapons.

Chambered in 5.56 mm NATO, the SAW is fed from a 200 round box of linked ammunition, and also accepts standard 30 round box magazines from the M16 family of rifles.

M21: The M21 was the primary Army sniper rifle of the Vietnam War and remained standard until replaced by the bolt-action M24 Sniper Weapon System beginning in 1988.

The XM21 was developed jointly by the Army Weapons Command (Rock Island, IL), Combat Development Command (Ft. Benning, GA), and the Limited Warfare Agency (Aberdeen, MD). The XM21 was an accurized M14 National Match (NM) semi-automatic rifle equipped with a Leatherwood 3X-9X Adjustable Ranging Telescope (ART).

The Rock Island Arsenal converted 1,435 M14NM rifles to XM21 sniper rifles for initial fielding to Vietnam in 1969. The rifle originally had a hardwood stock, walnut impregnated with an epoxy, which was later replaced with a fiberglass stock. The XM21 was officially type classified M21 in 1975, though it had been informally called the M21 since December 1969. It was the primary Army sniper rifle of the Vietnam war and remained standard until formally replaced by the bolt-action M24 Sniper Weapon System beginning in 1988. The M21 remained in use in the Army and other services long after the introduction of the M24.

The M21 was accurate to 750 yards (690m) due to hand-made improvements over the standard M14. The changes and upgrades included:

- The barrel was gauged and selected to ensure correct specification tolerances. The bore was not chromium plated.
- The receiver was individually custom fitted to the stock with a fiberglass compound.
- The firing mechanism was reworked and polished to provide for a crisp hammer release. - - - - - Trigger weight was between 4.5 to 4.75 pounds.
- The suppressor was fitted and reamed to improve accuracy and eliminate any misalignment.
- The gas cylinder and piston were reworked and polished to improve operation and to reduce carbon buildup.
- The gas cylinder and lower band were permanently attached to each other.
- Other parts were carefully selected, fitted, and assembled.

The M21 is described in TM 9-1005-223-10 and other manuals for the M14 rifle, as well as in Appendix B of FM 23-10 "Sniper Training".

Ammunition Used with the M21 Sniper Rifle
The M21 Sniper Rifle used U.S. match grade M118 NATO 7.62mm cartridges, in five-round or 20-round magazines. The M21 can fire long-range ball, ball/tracer and armor piercing (AP) ammunition. Long-range ammunition is produced to stringent tolerances to ensure superior accuracy. AP ammunition enables snipers to penetrate hard cover, such as urban terrain and light armor. The AP (black tip) round can penetrate 20mm of hardened steel at 100 meters.

The long-range ball ammunition uses the M118 bullet, a special 173 grain boat-tailed ball bullet consisting of a lead slug with a gilding metal jacket. The tip of the bullet is not colored. The base of the cartridge is stamped with the year of manufacture and a circle that has vertical and horizontal lines, sectioning it into quarters. Its spread for a 10-shot group is no more than 12 inches at 550 meters (fired from an accuracy barrel in a test cradle).

Scopes and Optics Used with the M21 Sniper Rifle: The M21 sniper weapon system is equipped with National Match rear sights, normally replaced by the telescope.

The M21 Sniper Rifle was equipped with a Leatherwood 3X-9X Adjustable Ranging Telescope (ART). The ART telescope featured adjustable ranging between 300m and 900m. This adjustable ranging feature removed much of the guesswork from aiming at the target. The ART was ballistically matched with U.S. M118 NATO ammunition.

The ART is based on a commercially procured telescopic scopesight, modified for use with the sniper rifle. This scope has a modified reticle with a ballistic earn mounted to the power adjustment ring on the ART I. The ART II has a separate ballistic cam and power ring. The ART is mounted on a spring-loaded base mount that is adapted to fit the M21.

M3A1: The M-3, introduced in December 1942, was a blow back submachine gun that could only be fired on fully-automatic. Often called the "grease gun" because of the resemblance, it used the .45 cal. ACP cartridge in 30-round magazines. It's cyclic rate of fire was 350-450 spm. The M-3A1 was used during both World War II and Korea.

Following World War II, the role of submachine guns was greatly diminished with the introduction of assault rifles and light portable machine guns. Submachine guns are still used by Special Forces, air crews, armored vehicles, counter-terrorist units, and Naval personnel. About 679,200 of the M-3 were produced.

The M-3 was designed specifically to simplify production, compared to the Thompson SMG, by making use of stamped metal parts. A number of deficiencies were found during the initial two years of use, corrected in the model M-3A1.

The M-3A1, introduced in 1944, had a larger ejection port and a stronger cover spring. It was also designed so it could fire 9mm Parabellum cartridges by changing the barrel and bolt and adding an adapter to the magazine. Following World War II, a curved barrel was made for use with the M-3A1. A flash hider was developed for use with both the M-3 and M-3A1.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stolen Guns and Credit Cards ALERT

From the Shiloh Sharps board:’




Too Busy for Shooting Stuff

I wanted to participate in BAG day but all the locals were closed and I can't find anything that is both on my needs list AND affordable. I did just buy the Bearcat on a whim. Can I count that?

No other time for shooting stuff. I've been working on the boiler and Mom's taxes. The taxes are done but the boiler will take a bit, looking for a new gas valve now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Shootings at Virginia Tech - UPDATED

This morning on the campus of Virginia Polytechnical University there were an undetermined/unknown number of shootings by a suspected single shooter. In a residential hall or dormitory and the rest in Norris Hall, the details of these shootings are still not known. However 32 students and faculty were killed by the gunman who apparently shot himself. Also being reported but unconfirmed is that the two pistols had defaced serial numbers so the source is unknown but that they were both 9mm and the shooter had "multiple clips".

I would first like to express my condolences to the parents and families of anyone injured or killed.

Now, I've got to say that if there were somebody on the campus, legally carrying concealed this shooter might not have suceeded in harming so many as were harmed. If I remember correctly, VA Tech is a "no go" zone for concealed carry by school policy and this is one of the contentious points in VA legal circles.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ontario Pilot Survival Knife

Actually, two knives. I thought I'd lost them and I thought they were Camillus made. Ontario is still in business so in that regard, perhaps I'm not so happy that they aren't Camillus knives but I am glad I found them.

They both have good sharp edges, now, and the sheathes have been waterproofed. The left with a common leather waterproofing formula and the right one with a waxy dye. Made in 1986 and 1987 respectively, these once retailed for about $15 but I understand that with these sheathes, these knives now retail for about $60. Yes, I'm glad I found them. They now rest in the bin with the rest of my knives. 19 quarts of knives...

Someday, some grandkids are going to be mighty happy with all those cool knives.

Browning Bushmaster

I bought this from my sister-in-law to give her some much needed money. She no longer needed the bow but I couldn't warm up to it. I tried to get my 3 children to enjoy it but they apparently couldn't warm to it either. It still rests in my home. We did manage to use up the arrows with which my sister-in-law passed it to us and to break, age related to the plastic used I think, the snap on bow quiver.

I suppose that I should use it, that is, not let it go to waste. This will entail a new quiver and arrows and adjusting it to the top of it's draw range or about 45 lbs which will make it legal for deer. It will also likely need a new rest soon. Interesting how the "improved" bow needs as much or more maintenance than the older bows...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

But There is Some Good News, from Ruger...

The Ruger Vaquero Montado is a 3-3/4" barreled, stainless steel, New Vaquero with a sort of Bisley style hammer and grooved forestrap. Oh, and chambered for the .45 Colt. Just too cool and from Davidson's Gallery of Guns for only $714.

Winchester Product Recall


Olin Corporation, through its Winchester Division, is recalling several lots of its WILDCAT® 22 (Symbol Number WW22LR) and XPERT® 22 (Symbol Number XPERT22) 22 Long Rifle rimfire ammunition.

Lot Numbers containing Letters: XN, YA, YB or YC

Through extensive evaluation Winchester has determined the above lots of WILDCAT® 22 and XPERT® 22 ammunition may contain double powder charges. Double powder charge weight ammunition may cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable, and subject the shooter to a risk of personal injury and/or death when fired.

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® WILDCAT® 22 RIMFIRE AMMUNITION WITH LOT NUMBERS CONTAINING LETTERS XN, YA, YB or YC. The ammunition Lot Number is imprinted (stamped without ink) on the outside of the right tuck flap of the 50-round box, as indicated here:

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® XPERT® 22 RIMFIRE AMMUNITION WITH LOT NUMBERS CONTAINING LETTERS XN, YA, YB or YC. The ammunition Lot Number is imprinted (stamped without ink) on the outside of the top tuck flap of the 500-round box, as indicated here:

To determine if your ammunition is subject to this notice, review the Lot Number. If the Lot Number contains the letters XN, YA, YB or YC return the ammunition to Winchester via United Parcel Service (UPS). Securely pack the ammunition into a corrugated cardboard box, write “CARTRIDGES, SMALL ARMS ORM-D” on the outside, and ship to:

Olin Corporation – Winchester Division
Tile Warehouse
Powder Mill Road, Gate 4A
East Alton, IL 62024
Attention: 22LR Recall

Please include your name, address, and phone number. Winchester will send you coupons good for replacement ammunition from your local Winchester dealer.

This notice applies only to WILDCAT® 22 and XPERT® 22 rimfire ammunition with Lot Numbers containing the letters XN, YA, YB or YC. Other Symbol Numbers or Lot Numbers are not subject to this recall and should not be returned to Winchester.

If you have any questions concerning this recall please call toll-free 866-423-5224 (U.S. & Canada), write to the above address, or visit our website at

We apologize for this inconvenience.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife - UPDATE

I promised a report as soon as I got the knives and they came in April 12, just 6 days after I submitted my order. To say that I'm impressed is an understatement.

Look at the photo. The Cold Steel (CS) copy of the Russell Canadian Belt knife is directly next to my 1972-3 made knife. Let's go point by point.

While the original is a full tang knife, the CS isn't. At least you can't see the tang hidden in the molded polypropylene handle. The original has a nice wood grip but I was impressed by the CS handle which seems much denser than I expected. At least that's the impression despite the weight of the knife, much less than the original even though the dimensions are so close that the CS knife can use the original's sheath. However, the CS knife's handle is just a shade larger which is only apparent when the knives are side-by-side. The original does lack one thing the CS knife has, a lanyard hole.

Comparing the blades is interesting. The CS version is clearly a stamped blade and the major shaping of the blade was obviously done in the stamping. This includes the gimping on the back of the blade. There is also a bit of waviness in the grind not apparent on the original. Still, the CS blade is VERY sharp. The blades have nearly the exact same dimensions, the working portions of the blades being nearly identically ground, except... The transition at the heel (ricasso) is angled on the original and perpendicular to the blade edge on the CS knife. One other obvious difference is that the CS knife has a noticeably sharper point.

Frankly, I had to work to get the edge on my original to be as good as the CS knife edge was out of the box. I can't yet speak as to how durable the CS knife edge is but the original's will hold up very well in normal hunting duties.

You might note that the famous Russell elliptical blade, which has won awards for design, is really just a single edge spearpoint blade (the handle off-set gives it added functionality). One can easily stick "things" with it. Note also that the butt has a nice striking point and the grip won't slip in your hand. Gives one thoughts that it might be a bit more versatile than first thought.

The sheaths are different as one would expect for the price difference. My original sheath is a well-crafted leather pouch and the CS knife comes with a nylon pouch that is just good enough for carrying the knife. One could invest in a Kydex pouch but unless one makes it oneself the cost would be more than the knife. As it is this is a good inexpensive knife that should do a fine job for the outdoorsman.

One thing that is clear is that the CS knife is made in Taiwan. This may be important to some users. As to purchasing the knife, I just did a search for "cold steel canadian belt knife" on Froogle and sorted by price. Only because the knife was out of stock at the cheapest provider did I pay $9.31 per knife. Compared to the $16-something MSRP, this is a great price.

Ghurka Kukri (Khukuri)

This is one of those sold by Atlantic Cutlery in the mid 1980s. Real? I don't know. Made from old auto bodies? Again, I don't know. I did reprofile the edge, by hand using the Buck Knife sharpening guide and a good, large stone. That took the better part of 8 hours so I don't think the steel is that soft but at least now it is sharp enough to do some knife work. From the Brigade of Ghurkas:

"The Origin of the Kukri"

Kukri is the now accepted spelling; “Khukuri” is the strict translation of the Nepali word. Either way the thing itself is the renowned national weapon of Nepal and the Gurkhas.

A Nepali boy is likely to have his own kukri at the age of five or so and necessarily becomes skilful in its use long before his manhood. By the time a Gurkha joins the army, the kukri has become a chopping extension of his dominant arm. This is important, because it is not the weight and edge of the weapon that make it so terrible at close quarters so much as the skilled technique of the stroke; it can claim to be almost impossible to parry.

It is important to remember that the kukri is a tool of all work, at home in the hills and on active service it will be used for cutting wood, hunting and skinning, opening tins, clearing undergrowth and any other chore. From this it is plain there can be no truth in the belief that a Gurkha must draw blood every time before he may return the kukri to its sheath.

The oldest known Kukri appears to be one in the arsenal museum in Kathmandu, which belonged to Raja Drabya Shah, King of Gorkha, in 1627. It is interesting to note that it is a broad, heavy blade. However it is certain that the origins of the kukri go far further back. There is one tenable story that Alexander’s horsemen carried the “Machaira”, the cavalry sword of the ancient Macedonians, in the fourth century BC on his invasion of north-west India. Its relationship with the kukri is plain. A third century sculpture, of which only a much later Greek copy exists, shows what is probably a Scythian prisoner of war lying down his arms. The weapon looks amazingly like a modern kukri.

In 1767 Prithwi Naraayan Shah, King of Gorkha, invaded the Nepal valley: In September 1768 Kathmandu surrendered and Prithwi Narayan became the first King of Nepal. That his troops defeated much larger forces must be credited at least in part to their unusual weapon, the kukri. It is reasonable to suppose that this was the beginning of the universal custom of Nepalese troops carrying the kukri, a custom that spread in time to Gurkhas serving in the British and Indian Armies. It was carried also by many other hill units, regular and irregular: Assam Rifle Regiments, Burma Military Police, the Garhwal and Kumaon Regiments. In the Burma campaign of World War those British troops who did not carry a machete carried a kukri, and nowadays the Singapore Police Force also carry them.

Most hill villages in earlier days would have a Smith (or Lohar of the Kami clan) who forged kukris for the people: now there is a good deal of mass production, though the best are still made by skilled craftsmen. In World War II Gurkha recruits were issued with mass-produced government kukris but nearly all brought back their own from their first leave. Weight, balance and fit are crucially important.

The blades of ordinary kukris vary much in quality. Many are made perforce from inferior steel and cannot hold a sharp edge: Good ones are forged from railway track and old motor vehicle springs. The best are forged from the finest continental steel and can be of the highest quality, fluted and damascened. The scabbards are made of wood covered in leather with a protective metal cap over the point. Two pockets on the back holding a blunt steel for sharpening the blade or striking sparks from flint (the chakmak) and a little knife (the karda) used for skinning small game or as a penknife, some also have a little purse for the flint.

Most handles are made of wood, often walnut or pat-pate (talauma hodgsoni). They are secured to the handle either by rivets through a two-piece hilt or by the tang inserted through a one-piece grip and riveted over the cap. In a good example the scabbard (dap) may be adorned with cloth-work or engraving and the hilt made of bone, ivory, horn or metal probably decorated.

Village working kukris are much coarser affairs, often with heavy wooden scabbards and comparatively clumsy blades.

Piuthan in the west and Bhojpur in the east are well known cnetres of kukri manufacture: Choosing examples from east to west and from the 18th Century onwards, we can see many styles and several types. The long, slender blade is characteristic of early work and of eastern Nepal; the shorter, round-bellied weapons are common later and in western districts: but there are exceptions to this rule.

There is no specific set of dimensions, but the standard length of service and general use kukris is twelve or thirteen inches. A Kothimora kukri may be any reasonable size though many of the best are service length.

The most impressive are the ceremonial and sacrificial blades. They must be capable of cutting cleaning through the powerful neck of a water buffalo. They tend to be twice the length and weight of a soldier’s kukri with the hilt to fit a two-handed grip.

One interesting curiosity is the ‘kukri-bayonet’ for the old tower musket. There is a drawing in Perceval London’s book “Nepal”, Volume 1 page 96, of a Nepalese Guard of Honour (of between 1813 & 1837) at the present, muskets complete with kukri-bayonets: But each soldier had his own fighting kukri in his belt. So clumsy a weapon must have been for ceremonial purposes only.

The notch (kaura) in the blade near the hilt arouses much interest. Although it may certainly act as a check to excessive blood on the hilt, and be used to catch and neutralise an enemy blade, it is essentially a Hindu religious and phallic symbol. There is a strong analogy with the hand-guard of the crusader sword, which protected the sword-hand but equally represented the Christian cross and was commonly used as the guarantee of an oath- the right hand being placed on the cross with such words as “by these hilts”. Reference will later be made to myths but it is suitable to say here that the “Kaura” or notch is not an ingenious sight with which to aim an about to be thrown kukri. Except in desperation, as a man might hurl his empty rifles in a last defiance at the enemy; a kukri is never thrown: the Gurkha prefers to keep it in his hand.

The religious significance of the kukri must not be forgotten. In 1948 Maharaja Padma Shamser Jangbahadur Rana, Prime Minister and Supreme Commander of Nepal, wrote, “The Khukri is the national as well as the religious weapon of the Gurkhas. It is incumbent on a Gurkha to carry it while awake and to place it under the pillow when retiring. As a religious weapon it is worshipped during the Dasain (the most important Hindu festival) and other times whenever any sacrifice is to be made.

In the Army Dasain is of the greatest importance: During it the regiment’s arms are blessed, and goats and buffaloes are sacrificed in the process – not now in this country. At home in Nepal goats dedicated to various causes are despatched and then proved and chosen experts ceremonially sacrifice a male buffalo in the name of the regiment. The large kukri “Konra” (in the village) is used because the head must be cleanly severed with one blow. When that is achieved, which is nearly always, the blessing of the gods lies on the people for the ensuing year. If the stroke fails, leaving even so little as an inch of the dewlap uncut, bad luck will follow. It is custom the custom to honour the successful headsman with a “Pheta” (white turban) bound round his forehead, an honour much valued.

Associated Myths & Legends

The kukri has somehow produced a fertile crop of myths and legends in the western world; and the most impossibly wild amongst them are the most tenaciously believed. Two already mentioned are that a kukri once drawn in whatever circumstances must taste blood before it is resheathed. Also that a Gurkha, if he possibly can, will take careful aim through the symbolic “kaura” or notch and then hurl the weapon like a boomerang, snick off the enemy’s head and casually snatch the kukri out of the air as it returns. If the first of these were true no Gurkha would survive to adulthood: He would lose pints of blood every day as he chopped wood, sharpened a wooden peg, opened a tin of beans and slashed down encroaching undergrowth. After each task he would have to shed some of his own blood. The second fails to stand the test of a little thought. Much as anyone would hate to be in the path of a flung kukri, one would hate much more to oppose one in the hand of an angry Gurkha.

Not very different is the story (set variously in China, Italy, Burma and the North West Frontier) of the Gurkha coming suddenly on the enemy soldier. Naturally he struck first – the decapitating blow. “Yah, missed!” said the enemy. “Try shaking your head,” came the reply.

Finally a true story told by General Sir (later Field Marshal Viscount) W J Slim.

“Early in his command of 14th Army he encouraged constant patrolling by all forward units. One Gurkha patrol on return presented themselves before their General, proudly opened a large basket, lifted from it three gory Japanese heads, and laid them on his table. They then politely offered him for his dinner the freshly caught fish which filled the rest of the basket.”

Nepal, the Gurkha, and the Kukri: The three of them are inseparable in reputation, and the Gurkha Soldier keeps his kukri as he keeps his honour – bright and keen.

Cold Steel San Mai Kukri
Cold Steel Kukri Machetes
Khukuri House
Northern Virginia Bando Association

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Leatherman's Products

Original Leatherman tool was the first multi-tool other than a Swiss Army Knife (SAK) that I ever bought. What a joy to have this with me every day. Yes, it was used every day. At the time, and because I also carried a SAK, I seldom used the blade. However, the pliers (including the wire cutter) and the screw drivers were very handy. I also used the can opener because I thought it was sturdier than the can opener on the SAK. That was, unfortunately, untrue as I found out one day while I was trying to open a tray pack meal on the back of a HumVee. The thing snapped off without any lateral pressure. The heavy (?) metal of the T-pack was just too much for it.

The Leatherman Mini-Tool was my second Leatherman purchase was a direct result of my satisfaction with the first tool and a need/desire to have a smaller tool. It was pretty good but having to unfold it to use the pliers and not having the leverage (not quite despite it being advertised as full sized pliers) of the larger tool caused me to put it away.

The Leatherman Wave was my 4th multi-tool. It was a gift from an outgoing commander who felt that I'd been an asset during his command tour (and rightly so!). Best darn gift I've ever received in the military. Many thanks to then Captain Patterson. I really liked the Wave because like the Gerber multi-tool I'd been issued it had rounded handles that didn't test one's ability to withstand torture while using the pliers and unlike the Gerber, couldn't/wouldn't pinch the palm if the plier jaws slipped off the work or when the wire cutters snipped through the work. Quite nice to use and it came in a wonderful leather pouch. Class act all the way. I have to wonder how the market changed so that this tool has been discontinued.

The Leatherman Juice is a series of slightly different tools in size and configuration targeted at more upscale recreational users. They are also treated to anodized aluminum scales in various colors to generate interest in the display cabinet... I've got a KF-4 in my pocket as I write this and am very pleased. If there is any gadget it doesn't have that I think it should that would be scissors. Not to worry, Leatherman makes a juice with scissors and I have one but it hasn't been so important to me that I've bothered to break it out of the vacuum pack! Of course the KF4 or Solar is the one Juice that's been discontinued! I like it because it is about the perfect pocket size tool, the screwdrivers all work, the pliers work as they should, and the knife blades are good enough to replace the SAK.

I bought a Squirt for my daughter this past Christmas. She's an enthusiastic user and says it has proven to be very handy while still being unobstrusive on her key chain!

Tim Leatherman did have a bit of a problem with many in the sporting world when he decided to support John Kerry for President. I e-mailed him about his stand and how it might affect his sales. We started a regular little correspondence for a while and he was always polite but firm in his beliefs. I don't think we'll be well served by boycotting him and based on his buyer demographic, we're not likely to affect his sales all that dramatically. For certain, he makes about the best multi-tool out there. Frankly, I take a bit of pleasure in using his tools to do the good work and support my ideas and the right thought.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Browning Nomad II

The Browning Nomad II is a recurve pulling 45 lbs at 28" and Dad purchased this from a dealer in Verona, VA in 1967 along with a dozen cedar arrows. I think he paid about $75 for the whole thing. I know the MSRP on the bow was about $64.75 in 1967 (only $47.50 in 1966). I can remember being quite impressed!

We used to stand in the front yard of our house in Bridgewater and shoot across the street into a dirt pile in a vacant lot. No, there were no calls to the police or such things. Indeed a couple of neighbors would step out and have a chat as we shot. A different time indeed.

Like all bows of the period one shoots off the shelf. Call me old fashioned but I prefer that. That shelf sure is a lot more sturdy than those little plastic rests they often use nowadays. Some people think they are too short and they will stack at the longer draw lengths. Long draw is not a problem for me so I never experienced that problem. On the other hand, the short length has some advantages. You will also find some folks that don't like the low draw weight but 45 lbs is the legal minimum here in VA and it is more than adequate for deer at reasonable ranges, i.e. ranges at which I can put an arrow into a vital spot on a deer.

I am wondering if I can find out some info about the bow based on the serial number. If you can help, please, write me.

You Can't Go Back

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Project will cater to weekly rentals
By KELLY BRUNI Staff Writer

FLY CREEK - A final site plan review for a special permit may be presented to the Otsego town planning board next month for a motel/hotel complex that could accommodate 140-200 Dreams Park visitors.

The Donney Brook Bungalows are to be located between Rte. 80 and Parslow Rd. in Oaksville. The property is owned by Ken Stabler and the site plan designs have been created by Beardsley Design Associates.

"We've been working on this project close to a year," said Tom Cormier, business manager for the project. "We've worked hard on it. I think it will fit in with this whole area."

The project consists of nine bungalows, each containing four, two-bedroom units, and a recreational center/rental facility. The recreational center would be open to the public as well as guests at the complex for different uses such as weddings or conferences, he said.

The bungalows are geared towards daily to weekly renters.

"It's built for a family," he said. They anticipate placing volleyball courts and horseshoe pits on the property.

Although they are looking to attract the Dreams Park visitors, Cormier also stated that they hope to attract people year-round. He proposed that businesses or organizations may consider the complex as a retreat.

A portion of property to the right of the complex is commercially zoned and designated for future projects, said Cormier.

"Our primary concern is the bungalows," he said.

They hope to begin construction this spring.

During previous discussions, Cormier said they had considered moving Parslow Road, however, because of a potential for public opposition, they have abandoned the idea.
More proof that you can't go back. You see, this spot between Parslow Road and route 80 was once a part of my grandfather's farm. Come summer we'd hunt groundhogs and once upon a time I speared one there, right where they are going to build bungalows. Nobody will know, nobody will care, and nobody will ever know the land in that way again.

You can't see it here but Parslow Road runs just north east of 80 and 28 and parallel to the two roads up to the intersection. We used to come in on 80 from the west and look for the US flag he always flew as we topped the hill.

I've no idea what became of the old house built in the early 1800s that was the Parslow family home for about 40 years. The last time I was there there were already houses down the road towards Cattown and the man who owned the property then had put a new basement under the old building. He has since died as well. I guess I shouldn't complain too much. I couldn't afford the taxes and couldn't stand the gun laws up there.

Handgun Hunter Magazine

Ok, I'm going to jump on a bandwagon, mostly for selfish reasons. Having seen this magazine mentioned on the Sixgunner forum, I ordered the last three issues without hesitation. I'm impressed. Handgun Hunter has more high quality photos (for us illiterates) than any other publication of which I'm aware including Single Rifle and Double Gun Journal. Published in Stafford, VA (another reason to support this fine magazine) by Gary Smith (who I do not know), everything about this magazine speaks to quality. The magazine is a full color publication, perfect bound, printed with a 100# cover and 60# inside pages. Heck I couldn't even find a spelling error (maybe I should read it again). I think that if this thing remains in publication it should be worth taking to the book binder for preservation... Check it out.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Canadian Belt Knife from Cold Steel

I've long been a fan of the Russell Canadian Belt Knife from Grohmann of Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. By the way, that's a nice place to visit. I've had mine since 1973 and it has been well used and well cared for. Today I received my Rifle magazine and lo and behold there is a review of the Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife. Cold Steel cut the cost by using a polypropylene handle and nylon sheath so that the MSRP is a pleasant $16.99. However, you can find the knife even cheaper than the Swedish Army knife or for as little as $9.27. I've got two on order but paid $9.31 each because I wanted immediate shipping. I'll test one and likely save the other for my grandson.

For Guns Requiring Standard Pressure Ammo

Tim Sundles at Buffalo Bore has STANDARD pressure ammo with +P or near +P performance. He's just released this but it is just the ticket for those of us antiquarians using old guns for self defense. He says that the bullets used in Item No. 20C/20 are so soft that he has to take special precautions in shipping the bullets. I've got two boxes on order and we'll see but these should be perfect for my Detective Special.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Knives, Now Hatchets

Axes are just as much fun as knives and machetes. I've accumulated several.

The first are these three. The one I've had the longest is the oldest in style. From the bottom we have a tomahawk I bought from Dixie Gun Works in 1975. I used to take my lunch at Mission Account at FT Hunter-Liggett, CA to throw at an old stump out front of the compound. Then I started hunting the ground squirrels who were mocking me from their holes on either side of the stump. After about 1000 throws I actually brained one of the little buggers! I think that the Native Americans and Mountain Men didn't throw these things, they kept them firmly in hand. Much more certain in execution! Mine is on the second handle. The first I still use as a mold mallet.

I've not used the next two at all although I've had them for some time. The middle hatchet is a common mass produced item from one of the big box stores. Nothing special and apparently not useful as I've not got any wear on the blade!

The second is a Fiskars using the latest in metalurgic and fabrication technologies. The Fiskars handle will supposedly resist destruction even when run over by a truck (shown in one of their promotional films). I got this one to carry in the truck but the Woodman's Pal has generally proved to be more useful. At least enough so that I've never used the Fiskars hatchet. Still it is a cool thing. You might notice some similarities to Gerber's product...

Then, of course, I've some full size working axes. These I've used! Sometimes, although it is a bit more work, it is a bit less trouble to grab the ax than to fire up the chainsaw. One doesn't need to worry with the noise or fuel either. I've single bitted and double-bitted axes. The double-bitted are good because not only do they look cool and let the Walter Mitty in us think that we're Paul Bunyan but each edge can be sharpened differently so that one edge is for splitting and the other for cutting or just to have a replacement edge or one edge that can be used next to "obstacles".

Axes and hatchets are fun but clearly not all that important to me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Roanoke Times Incident Continues...

CNN's Coverage

This coverage is surprisingly even but they get some things wrong. First, while the CHP/CWP is widely considered as a privelege it really is a right.

Also, Trejbal reported threats and there was a police response. This is the WAV of that call...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Winchester Model 72

In looking for background on the M72 I found this in "The Winchester Book" by George Madis.
For years dealers had been asking Winchester to make a reasonably priced tubular magazine repeater. Clip-fed magazine repeaters have the objection of a loose magazine to lose and rarely feed the Short, Long and Long Rifle cartridges interchangeably. In 1939 the model 72 was introduced to fill this demand.

At first production was on a standard rifle with two standard sight combinations. After production of less than one year, a "Gallery Special" was added to the listing. Standard rifles have 25 inch barrels. Gallery Special rifles are the same as the standard models but were chambered for the 22 Short only and are so marked.

Barrels of this model are made separate from the receiver and are threaded into the receiver. A sliding safety was provided. Earlier rifles will have the bolt handle bent downward, later arms have the handle bent downward and to the rear.

Earlier arms have a stock which is 1-5/8 inch thick. When production began after WWII, the stocks were 1-3/4 inch thick and forends were more rounded and tapered with a slightly more beavertail shape in some issues. Production of this model, as with some previous models, ceased in 1941 due to the war and began again in late 1946. Three quarter length magazines are found on this model. Some longer magazines, extending to within six inches of the muzzle, were assembled. Standard magazines are 7-5/8 inches from the muzzle. Attractive bolt handles (knobs) of ovoid shape are standard on this model. The first rifles made had the handles of round shape, but this was changed after production of a few hundred guns (sic).
Pistol grips and composition shotgun buttplates were standard. All steel parts except bolt fronts were blued.

Barrel markings are the same as the 69-A with the model marking changed. Latest of the rifles have a barrel marking:


A few barrels have the "made in U.S.A." following the model marking.

After production reached nearly 100,000 guns, triggers were grooved.

Early in production two sight combinations were offered. First was the number 32 open rear barrel mounted and series 75 front: A tin bead was attached to the front sight. Second to be announced to dealers was the rifle with a series 97 hooded ramp front with an 80A receiver moutned peep sight.
In 1959 the model 72 and 72A were discontinued when production passed 161,000.

This model 72 Winchester was Dad's. I had thought that he may have bought it new after coming home from the Army (the first time) in 1947 but it seems to be an early gun. As you can see this seems to my eye to be a round bolt knob and it isn't swept back. However, the stock is about 1-3/4" wide. The barrel marking is also of the earlier type. The mag ends 6-7/8" from the muzzle. Does this gun exhibit a mix of features or was Winchester's production so varied that this is completely normal? Unfortunately for me, these rifles are unserialed and so it is yet more difficult to date. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish Dad had told me more of the history of these guns as I'm trying to do for my grandchildren.

To my mind the Model 72 is nearly the epitome of the bolt-action .22 LR. The trigger is more than adequate and the stock is comfortable in both carrying and shooting. Complete with the factory peep sight, this gun has taken numerous squirrels and rabbits, more than a few groundhogs and given many years of pleasure to two generations.