Friday, August 31, 2007

Lead Pots

I've come to the conclusion that it is an uphill battle to continue to try to cast large lead bullets with my itty-bitty Lee lead pot. Dad gave me this pot for my birthday. I suppose he didn't think I'd really use it or maybe he was just too careful with his money. I need something to cast quantities of the larger lead bullets for my .45-75. That thing is going to eat some lead.

I've been looking at the Lyman and RCBS pots. Most good words have been said about the Lyman pots and they should have it down pat by now! However, RCBS seems to be made by the same manufacturer. I wonder why they are not so highly rated? Not enough experience perhaps? And the prices! Good gracious the prices on these things have gone up. Oh, I know that it is reasonable given the value of the dollar but it is a shock to the system.

Lyman Mag 20 Furnace
In any case I'd like another pot/furnace. A couple of years ago I cast up a quantity .730" round ball and tried to cast some .575" "minies". It was soon apparent that the upper limit for the current pot was about 300 gr. Bullets requiring more metal just weren't easy to do. Why? Because the pot couldn't melt enough metal to keep the mold(s) hot and produce good bullets. The small 4 lb capacity was soon exhausted by casting these large bullets of around 450-500 gr. then the mold would go cold while waiting for the next pot full of metal to reach casting temperature. This does for a lower volume shooter (maybe) but not for me.

So, I guess I'll be getting a new pot. I'll just have to save some money or luck onto a good used pot at a yard sale or something...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Range Busted

Well, not exactly. I went to Hite Hollow range this morning but all the pistol points were full up and not likely to be vacant for a while. Only took the little .22 kit guns, the M34-1 and Bearcat, so wasn't for the rifle range which also had a crew. This at 8:30!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Watch Your Toodles!

I hope that if I'm that old, infirm and in a chair somebody will give me that opportunity! Make a note kids. Let me do this before I go in the home and every other weekend.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Russian 3-line 1891 Rifle - UPDATED

I was given this rifle for services rendered. It is a Russian/Soviet M91. I won't bore you repeating the history of the firearm you will find in the link. This particular gun was obviously manufactured at the Tula arsenal in 1917 and property marked by the USSR. I was reading an article, "The Moisin-Nagant in Finnish Service" by Harris R. Bierman in Guns of the World - THE Complete Collectors' & Traders' Guide (ISBN 0-517-225182) and lo and behold I find a photo of a rifle like mine with sling swivels and sling like mine which Mr. Bierman ascribes to Finnish service. I need to relook all the marks and see what I can decipher. Knowing though that the Finns might not have marked rifles needing few to no modifications prior to re-issue to their army this might not be a big deal but it sure is interesting. You can find more about the rifle at whence I acquired the following video.

Usage of this model all over the world is interesting, too. Most interesting to me is the use by AEF troops in North Russia and Siberia 1918-1920 (yes, to 1920 in Siberia). However, I've had a hard time finding photos on-line despite these links.

Related links:
- American Troops in Siberia
- My Grandfather in the AEF Siberia (not MY grandfather...)

So, I finally got some photos of the rifle and they were reviewed by Cubrock. I quote
The sling may be Finnish. I’d have to see more of it to be sure. Finnish slings of that style have been around for sale for several years, so it is possible someone added that on. The sling swivels are definitely not Finnish and are of the style associated with Balkans service. Of course, anyone can bend a piece of wire to use as a swivel, so it could have been another country that did it.

The MADE IN USSR marking and the general mismatching of parts still makes me think that this gun went to the Spanish Civil War. The Soviets supplied a lot of weapons to the Spanish Communists who fought Franco. The Spanish guns also commonly have a flaming bomb proof on the stock or “MP-8” or both. The flaming bomb looks similar to the US flaming bomb, but is normally quite large and often has “MP-8” stamped in it. If your stock has such a mark, that removes all doubt where the gun went. I suppose it is possible that the gun went to Finland , but I don’t see any Finnish markings or modifications that would indicate that.

I've received a proper bayonet and cleaning rod for my rifle. I still need the cleaning rod extension. I also need to find a source of brass. I can get Winchester Metric 7.62x54R from MidwayUSA but I'd rather just get brass and load 150 gr. bullets to service velocities. Then again, I've found that stripper clips aren't the easiest thing to run down. I'd like some of those as well.

I think my gift is quite nice. I saw another, also sans cleaning rod, at a show today asking $149 but the guy was willing to take $125. M91/30s were asking $99, there was also one M38 and 3 M44s asking about $125 each. So assigning a value of $125 + $80 for bayonet and cleaning rod, makes me a happy camper. Now, to the range and see if it shoots!


I got to the range today (8/29/07) and got to shoot the rifle some. Recoil is moderate with 180 and 206 gr. bullets. Rock busting at 25-50 yards was easy despite the open sights and my bifocal wearing eyes. The rifle would do for deer hunting, that's certain. However, that barrel heats up fast!

There was no indication of excessive headspace or other problems. One thing I know I need now is screws for the barrel bands.

2nd UPDATE...

Today I received my order of accessories from For the 1891 I bought 5 stripper clips, oiler and cleaning kit with bag, chamber brush, rod extension/jag, "T" handle and muzzle protector. I now have one complete "stand" of arms with a value of about $250. While that about does it for me for the 1891 Mosin-Nagant series (I would never have bought the rifle), it certainly is an interesting item with many historical connections.

Here's a photo of US soldiers, Company D 23rd Infantry Regiment NYARNG, armed with the Mosin-Nagant.  These are likely rifles contracted by Russia and abandoned after the 1917 Revolution.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Men and dogs have a relationship that likely goes back tens of thousands of years. Man (yep including women) has such a close relationship with dogs that we think those who fear dogs are abnormal.

I like dogs. Every dog that has been a part of any household I've known has been loved, cared for and considered a member of the family. Some have stayed outdoors with suitable shelter because that is where they have room to live and or it is most suitable for them due to their work and/or temperament/habits. I've never had friends who beat, starved, or denied their dogs water. I've never known a friend to ignore his/her dogs medical needs regardless of cost.

For certain, standards have changed over the years. People really dote on their dogs now. Most people don't let their dogs run loose any more than they let their kids run through the neighborhood without a watchful eye. Animal rights groups have changed how we use leads and collars. Where a choke collar was once very common it is much less so now. Many dogs are in harnesses to lessen the chance that a collar can damage their throats. Food specifically for dogs is probably better and more easily accessed than at any time in my life. Few people feed their dogs table scraps although there are some who get the dog his/her own burger when they go out. Veterinary medicine has made huge advances in dog care and people pay for surgeries that can significantly lengthen a dog's life and improve the quality of life. Tail docking and ear cropping are increasingly seen as unnecessary and unfortunate (at best) acts.

Yet, part of man's partnership with dogs is that the dog has to give something back. Aside from simple companionship, many dogs actually work. They use their inbred talents to sniff out explosives, drugs, cancer, and escapees/fugitives. They find and chase animals for hunters. They herd and guard sheep. They watch over property. They help the blind and deaf and those whose physical movement is limited.

There has recently been some news about a celebrity or two and their dogs. Because of all this attention to the subject and because hunters are sometimes thought to have conflicting feelings on the issue, I wanted to set forth my thoughts on the subject.

Let's be blunt, it is wrong to torture any living thing. Yes, I hunt and in hunting I kill animals. I make every effort to do so quickly and to cause as little pain as possible. Unlike some wild predators, I don't ever toy with my game. I always, circumstances permitting, consume what I shoot. I like dogs and am able to own a dog. I don't see hunting and caring for dogs as mutually exclusive. I don't see it has forcing me to abandon decent treatment of dogs.

The first of these two people was raising pit bulls as fighting dogs. Those that didn't perform adequately were removed from the kennel. In this case they didn't try to adopt out these virtually unadoptable dogs, they killed them. But they couldn't just put the dogs down. Neither drugs nor a carefully applied bullet were used. These dogs were hung, choked to death, or drowned. There could only have done this because they enjoyed hurting these dogs. That really points to this individual's lack of character.

The full story is not out on the other fellow. Apparently, this fellow has been away from home and somebody else was charged with caring for his home and animals and he might not be responsible for the immediate situation. Photos show that these were also pit bulls. What happened here is that the dogs weren't adequately fed or watered (in Arizona in the summer!) and were chained outside. How would you feel if you couldn't get water for even a day in the Arizona summer heat?

This whole thing has disgusted me. I know it disgusts a lot many most hunters. I've seen men cry about a lost dog and forswear ever having another dog in their home after having a beloved companion die in their arms. I've seen men come to work bleary eyed after a sleepless weekend sitting up with a sick dog. An I-lost-my-dog thread in any Internet forum will garner the most reads and responses in that forum. Stories of old friends and their passing will be repeated endlessly and with a feeling that the event only just occurred although it may have happened 30, 40 or 50 years earlier. One of the last topics I discussed with my father the last time we spoke was about his English Springer Spaniel Donna who passed while Dad was in Italy in 1946. 1946 and Dad still missed that dog and Donna was among his last thoughts on this earth. I myself think of the dogs we had in our home, Duchess and Belle, and never fail to smile even though Duchess went to live with somebody else in 1963 and Belle died in the 1970s while I was in Korea.

Ummm, I had one vision of what I'd write when I began, and now I have another. It must seem disjointed, even illogical. I don't know that we can be logical about our friends. Can we? Should we?

After some reflection I'm moved to add that any person who could betray the trust of a companion animal deserves the worst we can legally give him. That they are celebrities is of no concern.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Army Sniper rifle, It Is About Time...

Yes, it is past time for a new Army (or other services) sniper rifle. I can understand that there were accuracy and support problems for the M-21 system but to go back to a bolt action was sort of short sighted. The thing isn't accuracy, bolt guns and some semi-auto guns can be tuned to equal levels of accuracy. More importantly, there is a usable level of accuracy that is fully attainable by several semi-auto designs. Cost might have been an issue but I don't see how. Availability was an issue as no one was making the AR-10 copies when the current M-24 system was selected/approved. Now, everything has come together and the new XM-25 (hopefully the M-25 soon) has been approved for procurement. From Soldier of Fortune, "The Army's New Sniper Rifle" by Gary Paul Johnston (August 21, 2007) lays out the specifics on the system.
Based on Eugene Stoner's original AR-10 design, the XM110 is the latest word in the SR-25 and Mk 11, which evolved from that 60-year old design. However, the original wellproven design is only refined and is not really changed.
Using the finest materials available, more than thirty of the most modern CNC machines produce the components of the XM110 and other rifles, as well as the KAC XM110 Sound Suppressor and other KAC products, such as the company's family of night-vision optics. All components are accordingly heat treated and finished in-house in order to maintain 100% quality control. The finish on the XM110 is the Army's new Flat Dark Earth (FDE).
but the most interesting thing to me is that they are finally including a sound suppressor in the system.
A key component of the XM110 package is the quick-attachable Knight Armament suppressor designed for it. Locating on the flash hider, this suppressor extends back to the gas block where its yoke-like locking device is pressed down to secure the suppressor to the gas block. Once mounted, the suppressor is sealed and provides a sound reduction of 30 decibels.
Knight Armament Corporation seems to have produced a winner. This rifle should be very effective in dealing with concentrations of enemy fighters in the urban (heavily populated) environment.

As Mr. Johnston points out in his article, the XM110 is a development of the Knights Armament Corporation M11 used by certain special ops forces. That gun was a development from the AR-10 which was also developed into the M-16 series rifles. This will give a commonality of operation which should be beneficial.

A side benefit is that this adoption might make the SR-25 a more desirable gun and spawn some copies such as exist for the M-16/AR-15 guns and improve availability.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Been married 22 years and happily! OOOOOOOO rah...

Big Guns are Interesting

Saturday, August 18, 2007

But before the gas and recoil MGs there were...

the manually operated guns like Dr. Gatling's invention. Here is one of the .22 LR guns with the Accles drum. These things are just too cool. They are cool mechanically, cool as an example of the machinists art, and cool as an expression of frivolity. There is absolutely no practical use for such a thing. Thank God we're so blessed as to be able to be frivolous.

I Love Firearm Oddities

Come on, that's what Tippman's scaled down 1919A4 is, let's face it. Absolutely no practical use but it does appear to be fun and a fine way to further the shortage of .22 LR ammo. Enjoy!

and another...

Concealed Carry Works...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Trip to Reedville and Tangier Island

I'm back from a trip to Reedville, VA and Tangier Island which the wife and I took 7-12 Aug 2007. I don't publicize my departures for obvious reasons but sure did miss being home. I did, however, get to eat plenty of seafood, went to Tangier Island, visited the Reedville Fishermen's Museum and did some boating. Had an interesting time driving Missus Hobie (who returns to school today). This photo shows a typical Tangier Island crab shack and working boat. You can't see the dwelling portion of Tangier Island in the photo as it looks out away from "town" and the wharf.

Tangier Island is an interesting place. Discovered by John Smith, there are now 600 year-round residents, it now gets it's water from 5 artesian wells, electricity from the mainland, everything else by boat. The policeman (one) is a retired Marine who just moved to the island to take the job. There are a couple of places for sale and you too can move there. Watch for flooding in September but not too bad a place. Folks are friendly. There is an airfield but no shooting range...

One goes about on foot, bicycle, golf-cart, moped or Kawasaki Mule type vehicles. We saw TWO (2) actual vehicles. One was a compact truck and the other was a compact car that was the Police car. The streets are just two golf-carts wide and there really isn't anywhere to go but the heavier vehicles are used to move loads of soft drinks and such to the restaurants.

The food was excellent! I think that some of the ladies spend quite a bit of time cooking. There are several choices for the tourist. The restuarants are likely open mostly when the tour boats are in port. Tour boats run out of Crisweld, MD and Reedville (Fairport), VA. Arrival times are staggered to aid management of the tourists on the island. There is also a "mail" boat that carried passengers out of Crisweld, MD.

There is a school on the island with 8 students per teacher. A new medical facility is planned and will soon be built. Air evacuation, if required, is provided free to residents. As I said before, there is police presence and we saw a Coast Guard helicopter at the air field. So, if you want to move there, there are facilities and it is great for boats (drawing less than 6'). I told you the streets weren't wide so if you like you can do without a car on the island and do as the other residents do maintaining a car on the mainland.

Reedville was also a fun place, if you like relatively slow paced life! We ate at the Cockrell Creek Deli and Crazy Crab which are two places with a slightly different take on presentation of the same excellent seafood. We certainly ate our fill. Scallops, crab, oysters, and flounder were all devoured with gusto. We also ate at Lee's Restaurant in Kilmarnock and it was another great meal.

Ok, so I've talked a lot about the food. The weather was just so hot, heat index was 112 degrees a couple of days, that we just didn't go outside more than necessary. But the short story is that we'd like to go back and we were looking at properties there. That might be a done deal if I win the raffle of a boat from the Fishermen's Museum!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Arkansas Now Recognizes Virginia CHP

That Arkansas now recognizes Virginia CHP is great news. These states now honor Virginia's Concealed Handgun Permit.

Places Where Carrying Concealed is Prohibited
NOTE: In most, but not all, locations where concealed carry is prohibited, open carry is also prohibited.
Federal Property (concealed carry with CHP and hunting exempted in National Forests) (18USC § 930)

- General Assembly Building & property (open or concealed carry OK for CHP holders only) (JRC Rule)

- State Parks (concealed carry w/CHP legal but open carry prohibited)

- Virginia Commonwealth University (8VAC90-10-50)

- Courthouses (§18.2-283.1)

- Detention Facilities (§15.2-915)

- K-12 school property (unless unloaded in a closed container). CHP holders may possess a loaded concealed handgun while in a vehicle. (§18.2-308.1)

- K-12 school buses. (§18.2-308.1)

- Property used exclusively for K-12 school-sponsored functions (§18.2-308.1)

- Air carrier airport terminal buildings (§18.2-287.01)

- Places of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held "without good and sufficient reason" (§18.2-283)

- Restaurants & clubs serving on-premises alcohol (concealed carry prohibited, open carry NOT prohibited; owners & employees exempted) (§18.2-308.J3)

- Private property when prohibited by owner (§18.2-308.O)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

GunsAmerica and Auction Arms Move to Exploit eBay's "Safety" Decision

You might remember that ebay decided to, on the basis of safety, remove most if not all gun parts and ammo components from their allowed list (aka ban these items). Never mind that they are legal, never mind that eBay allows the selling of auto parts to those untrained as mechanics, or pornography (belying the company's underlying anti-gun owner prejudices). So both GunsAmerica and Auction Arms have begun a marketing blitz to exploit the disaffected sellers leaving eBay. So far this has been limited to e-mails to those already registered. However, they have some good selling points. GunsAmerica is going back to their Gold Seller program which will allow members free listings of gun parts and such and Auction Arms will permit the transfer of the User ID (and feedback?) from eBay. I'll be doing my selling elsewhere than eBay now but might maintain an account for the purpose of staying informed about this on-line auction giant. After all, I've been there since they started! Good loyalty to the customer, huh?

I suggested in my previous post that sellers immediately migrate to one of the big three gun sites, Gunbroker, Auction Arms or Guns America and I hold to that. I do believe they want your business and will work for it. I know that in the past I've had very good experiences both with the site management of all three sites and with sellers there.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Primers and Ammo

I bought CCI Large Pistol primers the other day at $33.60 a thousand (with discount). Bought CCI Large Rifle primers shortly thereafter at $25 and change a thousand (no discount). Then today I bought Winchester Small Pistol primers at $20.50 a thousand (with the discount. All from the same dealer. Also, a brick of Winchester Super-X .22 LR 40 gr. "solids" was $24. Again with discount. Prices on components and ammo are rising.

I was asked if I was "getting ahead" on primers. Without giving me time to answer Ernie said it would be a good thing. He said that Federal had told him that they didn't expect to put new primers in the pipeline for two years as their entire production was going to ammo and much of that to the US Government contracts. I suggest that if you're a Federal primer user you get what you can while you can.

There are a lot of reasons prices are going up. #1 seems to be metal prices. Chinese demand is a big nfluence in the market for these and other raw materials such as cement. #2 seems to be energy costs. Energy to mine, smelt, and ship both refined metals to the plant and ammo and components to the wholesalers and beyond. #3 is ammo and component producers are experiencing huge demand for and are contracted to produce prodigous quantities of ammunition. Not only is ammo being used by our own forces in the war but the US is contracting for ammo for Iraq and Afghani forces and stockpiling for contingencies.

This last, #3, reason is the reason Jamison International is giving for not producing .45-75 brass. Phooey!