Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Charles Daly Little Sharps

Everyone loves the Sharps rifles particularly the 1874 model which is all the rage when produced by Shiloh or C. Sharps. Mostly chambered in .45-70 or larger/longer cartridges burning blackpowder and weighing 8½ pounds and more, these guns are the darling of anachronistic hunters and BP silhouette competitors. Still, some wished for smaller lighter guns chambered for smaller cartridges with all the charm of the side-hammer breachloaders. Fortunately, one company had stepped into the "breach" so to speak.

Little Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company has been producing such a gun for a bit now. However, the price has been, well, above the means of some desiring such a gun. $3250 is what they've been charging for their handmade 20% smaller version of the 1874 Sharps rifle. Now, they have an Italian made copy of their gun, at a much lower price point. Just the thing to be in the reach of "the rest of us" who can't or won't spend quite that much for the experience of shooting a smaller Sharps rifle. While the handmade version is available in many suitable cartridges, the Charles Daly version will initially be offered only in .38-55 and .45 Colt, two of the most, deservedly, popular cartridges they could have chosen. The price is right, too. $1229.00.

- Guns of the Old West article, "Son of a Sharps" by Ron Harris
- Charles Daily Little Sharps from Gunblast.Com

Friday, January 25, 2008

S&W 642 joins the family...

Oh, I can hear you now. Nobody is going to rob your store, nobody like that goes over there, nobody would do anything to hurt you, just give them the money, etc. Well, it is just the one person in the store. The store is isolated. There is no view from outside the store. Many of our items are high dollar, low risk to transfer, even on e-Bay. We are just off the interstate and there have been several (many for this area) robberies of hotels and such just off the interstate as opportunistic thieves get their traveling money. There are edged weapons in the store as part of the stock. I get a bit on "edge" every time I show bladed weapons to people I don't know, particularly the "odd" ones. Oh, yeah, every once in a while. But truth be told it isn't the "odd" ones that get you. So for me, it is more important to go home at the end of the day and, frankly, there isn't enough cash in there to bother with, most folks pay with plastic. It is all about going home to the wife.

Something had to be done. Oh, I already have a couple of .38 Special guns but my preference for the 3" barreled guns for shooting has left me without a gun that will drop in my pocket. I really needed such a gun for work which would allow me to be armed with no indication that I was. Additionally, I like all steel guns. Let's face it, those are a bit heavy for the pocket and will flat drag a bathrobe off (while out walking the dog), that can be embarassing and in more ways than one!

The above photo was taken from the S&W site for the 642. My gun is an older one without the lock. That was very important to me. I just don't see a need and don't need the complication.

This gun also doesn't have the grip safety of the original Model 40 as shown in this S&W photo of the Model 40 Classic. This the gun I really wanted but, truth be known, only for my "collection" of J-frame S&Ws. However, this gun is heavier by 6 ounces (a lot in a pocket) just like any other all steel gun, and more expensive with an MSRP of $765, $236 more than the MSRP for my gun and $335 more than what I actually paid for my NEW revolver!

One thing I didn't like was the rubber grips. Not that they won't work. As you can see in the photo, these are shaped right to give one a good grip and handle recoil. But, when the gun is carried in a pocket, those things just grab cloth and make for problems. I switched those out for a pair of old wood S&W stocks from a M34-1 RB and a Tyler-T adapter. This combo looks good enough and works. One can now order a brushed aluminum adapter that will more closely match the finish on this gun.

The ammo, the only ammo, I intend to use is the 158 gr. lead hollowpoint "FBI" load. I've got a couple of boxes of the Winchester and Federal (discontinued) versions. I also provide a good copy with my handload of 5 gr. Unique under either the Hornady or Speer swaged 158 gr. lead hollowpoints.

My 642
Does it shoot? Yeah. No, I haven't had time to put 200+ rounds through it but it worked and put 2 cylinders full on point of aim at 15 yards. No groups yet. I'll be carrying this gun ALL the time now, so I'm sure it will be used to deal with groundhogs, possible rabid animals, and maybe even a bunny or squirrel. We'll see just how it does with time.

Holster? Currently I've got a Simply Rugged Silverdollar Pancake and an old S&W leather shoulder holster but I find I'm just dropping it in my right front pants pocket either in the Silverdollar or not depending on the pocket. Rob Leahy also makes a pocket holster, a better solution, and I'm going to order one of those ASAP. The pocket holster will help break up the outline of the gun in a pocket and make certain it is properly oriented for a reasonably fast draw.

Why the 642? That is a good question. As I said, I've wanted either an original or new Classic Model 40 for a long time. These guns are compact, reasonably accurate, have a good reputation for quality and durability. The design beats the 49 or 649 Bodyguard (shown to the left) because the completely enclosed hammer of the Model 40 or 642 allows less lint and trash into the action. Such things are bad for a pocket gun.
649 aka "Bodyguard"

The big downside, for some at least, is that the gun must be fired double-action but that is exactly how one will be shooting when "stuff" happens. I don't see it as a downside unless I'm trying to hit a squirrel at 25 yards. I'll just have to see just how much practical accuracy I can wring from the gun but what I already know is that it is capable of dealing with 2-legged assailants at 30 feet or less. The gun is with me right now, at work, and I feel much better than I did with my .45 in the truck...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

AR-15s, aka "EBR" get yours NOW...

I know I'll be getting one again soon. I'm pretty much decided on a 1-7" twist barreled 5.56mm shooter and I'm going to have some 77 gr. quality handloads ready to go along with a low powered duplex reticle scope sight on the flat top with fold-em flat back up "iron" sights just in case... It will also have a short 16-and-some" barrel and telescoping buttstock (I'd prefer the old aluminum type). I'm only getting it for one reason...

In any case I'm researching parts suppliers. A friend has an upper from Lewis Machine and Tool. Sounds cool but if the upper works and it is a good barrel it will suit me.

Yesterday, I was over at Dominion Outdoors and saw that they had a few EBRs, specifically AR-15 variants/copies. Looked at them all including an Eagle Arms AR-10. Some money in the pocket and here comes the S&W MP-15, flat-top, folding sights, collapsable (albeit plastic) stock, 1-9 twist. And S&W has a promotion where you get one you can get a Sigma for $99 (about what they SHOULD cost!) $1099 for the rifle + $99 for the pistola + $59.90 tax for $1257.90 and the $2 NICS check.

I then went over the Nuckols' Gun Works and looked at theirs. They have a couple of Bushmasters including a short flattop with carry handle and 1-9 twist. Price was the same as for the MP-15 at Dominion. That's not bad for retail but I think one could do better and now I'm stuck on the 1-7 twist. I walked out with something else instead.

I'm thinking that whatever you do, now is the time to do it.

Ok, Another Neat but SHORT One

I thought this one of the Colt firing was pretty good. I love these things...

Neat 1911 Animation

The parts are to blueprint specs. Pretty darn good modeling but some assembly misses the tricks to get things together in the real world. VERY NEAT so I thought I'd post it here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


REFUSES TO PROCESS TRANSACTIONS . . . Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp. are refusing to process any credit card transactions between federally licensed firearms retailers, distributors and manufacturers -- a move which will severely limit available inventory of firearms and ammunition to military, law enforcement and law-abiding Americans.

The first company to be affected by this decision appears to be firearms distributor CDNN Sports Inc.

"We were contacted recently by First Data/Citi Merchant Services by a June Rivera-Mantilla stating that we were terminated and funds were being seized for selling firearms in a non-face-to-face transaction," said Charlie Crawford, president of CDNN Sports Inc. "Although perfectly legal, we were also informed that no transactions would be processed in the future, even for non-firearms. I find this very frightening."

To voice your concern to Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp., please contact June Rivera-Mantilla at 631-683-7734 or her supervisor Robert Tenenbaum at 631-683-6570.

To change to an NSSF-affiliated credit card processing program, contact Payment Alliance International at 1-866-371-2273 (ext. 1131).

Browning 1895 .30-40 Rifle

Once upon a time I was a 10 year old enthralled by firearms of all types and the history they helped to make. One day, somehow, my dad got a copy of Bill Riviere's paperback on shooting, "The Gunners Bible". In that book was a photo of a customized Winchester M1895 in .30-40. Oh, that gun was to die for. Give me some cold rainy day when I was forced inside and I'd stare a that photo for hours dreaming of hunts for moose, elk and big bears. So this was a gun I'd wanted for a long, long time when money in my pocket finally corresponded to the availability of a new gun, made by Miroku in Japan for Browning in 1985 and in .30-40Krag (.30 US) to boot! What a thrill!

The Winchester 1895 was developed by John Browning for Winchester to load from a box magazine instead of a tube under the barrel. This allowed the Model 1895 to be chambered for military cartridges with spitzer (pointed) projectiles, and the rifle was used by the militaries of a number of nations including the US, Great Britain, and Imperial Russia. The Russian production models could also be loaded using charger clips, a feature not found on any other lever-action rifle. By far, the greatest numbers of the rifles were made for the Russian military. There were also produced in sporting rifle and saddle ring carbine versions. There were some famous users of the 1895 rifle of which the most well known would have been President Theodore Roosevelt. First, he carried one such rifle to Cuba which was chambered in .30 US. Later, both he and his son Kermit used the rifles chambered in .405 Winchester on his famous African safari. Ned Frost, a famous guide out of Cody, Wyoming, carried an 1895 SRC.

My rifle is as we'd expect for a Browning gun. Well made and well finished. She is just beautiful if a bit plain. With her 24" barrel, she's a bit longer than any other levergun in my safe. Yes, she has that distinctive (and advantageous) box magazine "hanging" below the receiver and some will balk at that as an impediment to comfortable carry. However, I find that the rifle balances right at the forward edge of the magazine and so it functions to provide the stop that keeps the rifle slipping through the hand and is in no way as uncomfortable for single handed carry as one might imagine it to be. When shooting the gun is every bit the lovely siren I imagined she might be.

The action is both smooth and tight with no rattling. Cartridges run through with little effort and, so far, no problems. Indeed, this action is about the smoothest of any of the famous Winchester levergun actions I've ever tried. Even new, it is slick and fast. Both round nose and spire point bullets are just the thing with neither providing problems of safety or in feeding. No problems in accuracy either! Groups of factory 180 SP ammo shoots into 2-3" at 100 yards with the issue open sights.

I expect that it will do some better after I get a good aperture sight such as the Lyman 38 reproduction I bought. Just need to get the gun to Jon Ritenour in Harrisonburg to drill and tap it for the one screw necessary to mounting. This sight promises to be both more traditional and to provide a greater range of elevation adjustment. That elevation adjustment might just come in handy with the wide range of bullet weights usable in the .30-40 cartridge. Mine came from a private seller who got this Ukrainian sight from Buffalo Arms. These sights are imported from the Ukraine and may not be currently available except from buyers who've not yet installed their sights.

Loading of the 1895 action is obviously not done the same way as the tube fed leverguns but it isn't quite the same as other box magazine guns either. There's a particular methodology used that ensures proper feeding of rimmed cartridges from the box magazine by ensuring the rim of each cartridge is ahead of the following cartridge.

Ammunition? What about the .30 US (aka .30-40 Krag), is it effective? To what more popular cartridges does it compare? Is it hard to load? These are the questions I often hear.

In fact, the .30 US (aka .30-40 Krag) is extremely similar to the .303 British cartridge in both case form and in ballistic performance. So too, when loaded with bullets of the same weight, it is ballistically similar to the .300 Savage and .308 Winchester.

Of course, then, it is very effective on most North American game. I might prefer something bigger for the great bears such as the Grizzly and Polar bears but for everything else it will do nicely. The cartridge is no more difficult to handload than any other cartridge as there are no issues with the brass whatsoever. Powders suitable for similar sized cartridges as noted above will work in the .30 US as well. Bullets suitable for this cartridge and the 1895 action are also numerous and available. Standard primers are all that are needed to light the fire.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Chaparral 1876 Ammo

Chaparral has released the specs for the ammo they will be importing for the 1876 rifles and carbines. Fingers crossed as to when it will come in...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I wish for all my friends and visitors many safe and happy days on the range, hunting, boating, fishing and with their children and grandchildren. And for those of you doing what I used to do, defending the United States and freedom all around the world, thank you. I live every day to earn this life you've given me.