Friday, January 30, 2009

Pullin Archery

I had heard of Pullin Archery but wasn't really up on everything that David Pullin (and there are about 9 David Pullins in this area but that's him in the photo) has done. I'd say he's a pretty remarkable person and seems like a nice guy in person. I can say that last because I got to meet him yesterday. I think, also, that he has to be a special person because of the little extras he does for handicapped hunters and The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America.

E.g. Mr. Pullin gives 4-6 day hunts with use of residence and property to disabled members free of charge. This hunt takes place on Mr. Pullin's own property in Highland County in Virginia and the residence is his second home! Hunters and their assistants need only provide their own food and leave the house as clean as they found it. Mr. Pullin will even provide a bow and arrows! While it is advertised as a Pullin Archery activity, this is really Mr. Pullin's doing.

Aside from the products he's created and sells through Pullin Archery, Mr. Pullin is a long time contractor and has built many houses and worked on some major building projects in our area. He also publishes a free outdoors magazine which he is trying to grow. "My Outdoors Virginia" is on the desk in front of me and has among the articles one about a hunter who fell from a tree stand who now uses the bow tensioning system.

This is a pretty remarkable system. Mr. Pullin was telling me that he tried to sell it to every compound bow maker and all of them turned him down. Several flatly told him that such a thing was impossible. You can buy a complete bow or the system can be adapted to nearly all compound bows. Here in VA lots of handicapped hunters have used crossbows. Not all of them like crossbows even though the crossbow is now legal here (with an additional license) during archery season.

Mr. Pullin is also working to help disabled veterans. If you have any questions or comments you can e-mail Mr. Pullin at

Mr. Pullin has reportedly sold his business.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Need Parts? Where to look...

If you have anything mechanical and use it it will break. This includes guns, by any maker, and you will then need parts. Newer guns are usually not a problem, just go direct to the manufacturer or return the gun for warranty work. But where to go for the old ones? I've tried to bring all the good places to look first to one location. Good luck.

Bear Creek Guns
Bob's Gun Shop
Chas Jones
Evolution Gun Works
Good Guys Guns
Havlin Sales and Service
Hoosier Gun Works
Midwest Gun Works
Numrich/Gun Parts Corp.
Poppert's Gun Parts
Trapdoors Galore
VTI Replica Gun Parts
Wisner's Inc.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Armalite AR180B

I've been looking at the AR180B.

That's because there's been an AR180B at the local for over 2 years. This gun has set out on the rack all through the EBR buying craze and seen all sorts of SKSs, ARs, Keltecs, HiPoints and Mini-whatevers fly by with nary a try at a buy. I'm a sucker for orphan guns but I do have difficulty with the concept of polymer receivers, sort of an antipathy towards them. Anyway, I am pondering, pondering...

One might note that the 1:9" twist would be compatible with the Winchester 64 gr. load I've pretty much settled on pursuing. I've ordered 1000 of those bullets as the price was right and I've been using the 63 gr. Sierras anyway (in both the old AR-15 and the TC Contender). that bullet did very well for me but the Sierras are a bit pricey for quantity production.

The gun has a lot of parts in common with the AR-15 now including magazines.  That would be very important if one was counting on this as a pair with an AR-15.  With a folding stock as from Ace (see the links below) it would be as compact as a 16" AR-15, perhaps more so.  The price is right.

The design stems from an attempt to make an AR-15 type gun while both avoiding violations of patents on the AR-15 (sold to Colt) and reducing production costs and complications (hence the stamped upper receiver).  Later the AR-18 was developed to use AR-15 trigger parts and unaltered AR-15 magazines.  This is the AR180B of today. 

- ACE Sidefolding Stocks for the AR180B
- Armalite AR180B
- AR180B Manual
- AR180 forum
- Folding stock adapter from StormWerkz
- review of the AR180B
- ArmaLite AR-180B Semi-Auto 5.56mm Rifle, Revisited from
- StormWerkz Folding Stock Adapter & Picatinny Rail for the ArmaLite AR-180B Semi-Auto Rifle
- Savvy Survivor article on the AR180B

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Concealed Handgun Permit

I applied for renewal of my Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) today.  It expires on the 9th of February.  Some folks think I'm cutting it close but the Judge will see it next Tuesday. Then the Clerk of the Circuit Court will contact me and I'll present my drivers license and pick it up. Cost was $50. No fingerprints (Which was once a standard part of the process despite every application since 1989 or 1990 being a renewal.). The countdown begins.

Some decry the CHP as an unjust imposition on what should be a right. They refuse to go through the motions. That's fine. I understand. One's life is full of choices. Every choice has consequences. Too many people are depending on me to be there for them so I can't allow my pride to cause me to put myself in a position such that I wouldn't be there. That's my choice. My consequences are that I can legally buy more than one handgun from an FFL holder in a 30-day period (still an issue here in Virginia) and I can legally carry a handgun concealed. The consequences of illegal (note that I am not saying the choice is immoral) concealed carry could be many and far reaching. Not be able to legally buy more than one handgun from an FFL holder in a 30-day period would be a relatively small consequence.

Of course, I had to empty my pockets of all the accumulated nuts, bolts, knives, keys, cell-phone, camera, etc. that I seem to have accumulated this week. You see the courthouse must be pretty scared of somebody out here. It mattered not at all that I had to walk a block from the parking lot to the courthouse stripped of my self-defense options. However, the form and process is now much simpler and I was able to fill out the form and leave it without a couple of visits to the local Police Department for fingerprints, etc. The new form is pretty much a combination of the 4473 and the state equivalent (the number escapes me at the moment). This makes sense as presumably anyone who can legally own a firearm should be able to legally carry concealed.

* * * * * * * * * *

Renewed CHP was available today. That's fast service.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Colt Commander vintage 1969

The Colt Commander was born in 1949 of a desire to produce a lighter version of the 1911A1 or Government Model. To that end the frame was made from Coltalloy. This did result in substantial weight savings of 12.5 ounces. Guns were produced in .45 ACP, .38 Super and 9mm Luger.

Some thought that the slightly more vigorous recoil was an indicator of reduced life expectancy for the frame. However, Skeeter Skelton did a published "torture" test by running 5000 rounds of ball through a Commander with nary a bobble. If I remember correctly the most difficult part of the test was loading the magazines.

This .45 ACP gun was made in 1969 and has endured a life mostly spent in a drawer. As is with true with an unboxed life in a drawer, there are some scratches and a nick or two. Frankly, though, in person it looks much better than my poor photographic skills can show you.

I took it to Mom's for a quick shooting test (it is cold today). It ran through several magazines of hardball without a bobble. It is pretty much as accurate as my Combat Commander.  I got it home and field stripped it for a good cleaning. This gun hasn't been shot much, yet.

Of course I had to switch to a flat main spring housing of which I have an aluminum version in hand. I will install ASAP this evening.

Buying Black Powder

If you shoot percussion or blackpowder cartridge guns much you need to get powder in quantity. Most gun shops nowadays don't carry it. So, what to do? Why order on-line or by phone!

Back Creek Gun Shop, Inc.
Graf & Sons
Maine Powder House
Powder, Inc.
Powder Valley, Inc.

and courtesy of Eddie S. in Roanoke, this source of GOEX:

Bob Moates Sport Shop
10418 Hull Street (US360)
Midlothian, VA 23112

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ithaca M66 Single-Shot Shotgun

Once upon a time I was a long way from home in a town far, far away known as San Angelo, Texas. I remember very little about San Angelo except for the "no dogs and no airmen" sign on a club, two gun shops and one steak place. I spent most of my time on base, Goodfellow Air Force Base, learning the trade of voice intercept operations.

But that isn't to say that I never got out to enjoy life (the steak house is one example), I even got out to go hunting! Unfortunately I didn't have a shotgun. Fortunately I did have a friend with a shotgun. Perry Fuller and his lovely bride Angela were stationed there at the time. Perry not only showed me every gun store in close proximity to base but stored my purchase at his home until he was transferred. A true friend he even had scoped out the public hunting in the area.

Lake Nasworthy is something less than it was then, according to my sources, but it was surrounded by public land and we went out there to shoot my Lyman New Model Army reproduction and hunt quail. Got one, too, and that was with the Ithaca 66 single-shot in 20 gauge. Sadly, I got it on the first rise with the one shot and we didn't find another covey! Angela cooked that succulent morsel for me and it certainly was good food for my soul.

Just as good for the soul was a chance to walk in the "wild" with a gun and to hunt. Although it was inexpensive and simple, the M66 was a fine companion. It worked and was easily handled, it came to the shoulder well, and good stock design made recoil inconsequential. The under lever appears to be awkward especially to those accustomed to the now traditional top lever. Only the H&R button next to the hammer is handier. I liked the lever and felt it was natural and simple in operation. The mechanism is simple and seems to be pretty sturdy. Don't turn one down on appearance, these are good guns.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has a troublesome website. I know this because I recently tried to navigate it looking for a particular piece of information.

You see, the recent election of an avowed anti-gunner as President of the United States has put the fear in many thousands of Americans and they've been buying guns by the many thousands above the usual rate of sales. Firearms purchases require completion of a form 4473 (as well as some other things, including the NICS check based on information provided on the form and accompanying identification). Thus, many forms more than expected were used and the BATFE can't supply the demand.

The BATFE's response to this shortage is practical and reasonable. Photocopy the forms now for use in this short-term shortage. This doesn't impede commerce, doesn't deny anyone their rights and puts reproduction costs on the dealer. Unfortunately, the open letter permitting this act is buried in the BATFE web site.
ATF Seal U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives

Assistant Director
Washington, DC 20226

January 6, 2009

Notice to All Federal Firearms Licensees
Regarding ATF Form 4473 Shortage

As a result of an unprecedented increase in demand for ATF Forms 4473 (5300.9) Part I Revised August 2008, inventory of the form at the ATF Distribution Center is running low.

As a temporary measure, ATF is allowing FFLs to photocopy the form 4473 in it’s entirety until they receive their orders from the ATF Distribution Center.

A notice will be posted at the expiration of this temporary authorized change.
Thanks to poster Rimfire McNutjob at the leverguns forum for the link.

The +P Phenomenon by SaxonPig

I was a little surprised when I began visiting these Internet forums and saw so many questions regarding +P .38 Special ammo. It seems each new day brings yet another post asking about the safety of using factory +P ammo in one gun or another. I always assumed the short answer was that if you had a Star, or Ruby, or some other gun that might be questionable as far as strength is concerned, then stay away from +Ps. But many shooters seem concerned about using this ammo in quality guns of recent manufacture* and I didn’t expect that. I saw many inquiries about K frame S&Ws using +P and I found it odd that anyone would worry about using factory +P ammo in such a gun. Then I started seeing postings from owners of .357 Magnum revolvers asking if +P .38 Special ammo would harm their guns. One forum member was concerned that +Ps would damage his Model 28 S&W.

Come again? I don’t know what caused such a mystique to surround +P ammo to make people with N frame Magnums think it’s too much for their guns, but it strikes me as overblown all out of proportion. The fact is that +P isn’t “all that” anyway. Winchester, Federal and Remington list the velocity of the 125 grain +P at around 925 FPS. These velocities are actually fairly mild. I have shot many rounds of Remington 125 grain +Ps in a 1942 S&W Military & Police revolver and I can literally shake the fired cases from the gun without using the extractor. In my opinion these loads are actually pretty mild and show no sign of even moderate pressure in any of my guns.

As underpowered as I thought the Remington ammo was the PMC proved worse. I clocked a box of the El Dorado 125 JHP +Ps and from a 4" barrel I got a pathetic 890 FPS. Fired from a 2" M&P (made in 1949, BTW) this ammo ran 795 FPS. How can such puny loads cause so much hysteria among shooters? I also tried some Winchester 110 grain +P+ "Law Enforcement Only" ammo. I was expecting around 1300 FPS but all I got was 1100. Big deal! This load was very mild and easy to shoot through the 2" gun and I fail to see the reason for the fear of +P (or +P+ for that matter) that so many shooters express.

Why is everyone so terrified of +P? I believe that the reason +P exists is twofold. First, it is a marketing ploy used to sell ammo by misrepresenting it as powerful. But any perception that this ammo is powerful is a myth. Second, it gives the ammo companies legal cover should anyone blow up their inexpensive gun because they can say "We warned you not to use +P ammo!" Of course, +P is nothing more than what standard pressure ammo used to be and they created the +P moniker to protect themselves.

The factory ammo made back in the 1970s and earlier was hotter than that made today (see chart #1). I have seen the specifications for standard .38 Special ammunition from a 1940 catalog listing the velocity as 960 FPS with a 158 grain bullet. This load would clearly develop higher chamber pressure than the current +P load and yet it was used for decades in all models from Colt and S&W without incident. The current +P is really about what the .38 Special should be in standard form. But note that today's standard load is no longer what it once was, either. In 1940 it was the 158/960 that was considered standard. During most of my youth I recall the load as advertised at 158/870. I have a copy of the specifications for S&W/Fiocchi ammo that was packaged with new guns that appears to have been printed in 1970. It lists the 158 lead .38 Special load at 910 FPS. It also includes a 158 JHP at 1140 FPS (equaling the mighty 38/44 load), a 125 JHP at 1380 FPS and a 110 at 1390 FPS**. I have seen a ‘70s box of SuperVel .38s with the package labeled as containing a 158@955 load. This was the standard load in the early 1970s (although I didn’t recall SuperVel offering standard velocity ammo). Note that none of these loads were marked as +P, but were considered standard pressure and the ad bears no mention of not using this ammo in older guns or revolvers with alloy frames.

These loads are probably similar to those +P loads offered by the specialty ammo makers like Bear Claw, Cor-Bon and others that exceed the levels achieved by the mainstream ammo company loads. Bear in mind that this was ammo bearing the S&W name and sold through their dealer network for use in their guns. They are now advising against using the rather meek current +P for their revolvers when they used to advertise and sell ammo that was much hotter. Compare these velocities to those offered today and tell me they haven't reduced the loads! Current specifications on the lead 158 are pretty wimpy at 158/750 (some are now showing 730). Again, we see the ammo companies reducing the loads over the years. The current +P (which means +Pressure if you didn’t know) is really only +P when compared to current standard loads. Stacked up against past standard loads the +P looks pretty anemic and the current standard load is truly pathetic.

The fact is that +P is only called +P in comparison to the current standard .38 Special loading, not because it exceeds the pressure limits set for the caliber. I believe the SAAMI pressure limit for the .38 Special is 21,500 PSI (the .357 Magnum is 35,000 for comparison). The standard load for the .38 Special as offered by Winchester, et al, generates 16,500 PSI. This is so far below the maximum allowable as to be ridiculous but the ammo makers fear lawsuits from people using the ammo in cheap guns. The +Ps from these manufacturers run about 18,000 PSI. This is more than the standard loadings (hence the +P designation) but is still far below the maximum allowable pressure. Those "really hot +P loads" from the specialty manufacturers like Cor-Bon, etc., are simply loaded to the caliber's full potential of 21,500 PSI and should be perfectly safe in any quality arm in good condition. Sellier & Bellot sells a 158@975 load that is obviously more powerful (and therefore generates more chamber pressure) than the 125@925 +P yet this ammo isn’t labeled as +P. It’s likely simply loaded near the 21,500 PSI maximum allowed for the caliber and this company eschews the ridiculous +P label on ammo that is within industry standards.

So why are we seeing these less powerful loadings? Because there are some guns out there that are not well made. Because of liability concerns the ammo makers must load their products to pressures that are safe in these lower quality guns. They mark the "high pressure" loads as +P (even though as I noted they really aren't high pressure) to give them legal cover should someone hurt himself shooting this ammo in a cheap Spanish S&W knock-off of dubious quality.

S&W ran advertisements in the 1930s and 1940s specifically stating that the .38/44 load, which pushed a 158 grain bullet at an advertised 1125 FPS making it far more powerful than the current +P load, could be used in the K frame revolver. Colt ran similar ads for using this ammo in the Detective Special. If these 1930s-era medium frame revolvers could handle the 158/1125 Heavy Duty loads, why should anyone worry about the same guns shooting the current 125/925 loads labeled as +P? One former police officer told me that between 1958 and 1960 he fired 2,000 rounds of factory 38/44 ammo through his duty Model 10 without any effect to the gun. If all that shooting with the 158/1125 load didn't harm his K frame I don't see how the 125/925 +P can hope to do damage.

Lee Jurras started SuperVel in the 1960s. This was maybe the first of the specialty ammo companies and he offered truly high performance .38 Special loads. I have some of the 110 grain loads and they clock around 1300 FPS. Based on this I would guess his 125 loads would go around 1200 or so. This would be a true +P load but it’s still lighter than the old .38/44 load. I don’t recall seeing or hearing of guns being damaged by this ammo.

Check out a reloading manual from the early '70s. The Speer #8 from 1970 has a load listed for the .38 Special pushing a 158 JHP to 1,250 FPS, one for the 125 grain bullet at 1426 FPS and one for the 110 grain bullet at 1536 FPS! A 1971 Sierra manual shows a load for the 125 grain .38 Special at 1250 FPS. Sort of makes that factory +P at 925 seem less intimidating, doesn't it? Now, of course, new manuals don't include listings that are this hot. Now they stop at about the same levels as the factory +P. Why? Lawyers and lawsuits are the reasons why. The reloading manual publishers are just as scared as the gun and ammo makers about being sued. Fear of lawsuits is the same reason the gun makers caution against the use of +P ammo. They also say don’t use reloads. They have to say this on advice of counsel to protect themselves.

I load 125s at 1,100 FPS in my .38 Special carry guns. This load came from the 1970 Speer manual and is not the top load listed. I have shot many rounds of it through both K and J frame guns and they seem to work just fine. Recoil is slightly more pronounced than with standard ammo, but the cases fall from the cylinder with no sticking and I see no signs of excessive pressure. Just for fun I once put 6 rounds of this ammo through an old small-frame Rossi revolver. Nothing bad happened although I wouldn’t advise using this ammo in such a pistol. I once loaded some 110 JHPs to a clocked 1400 FPS from a 4" Model 10. These were hot, let me tell you, and I backed off. But the gun showed no immediate effect from having fired a small amount of this ammo.

Ask yourself this question: Would any ammo maker in today's litigious environment sell any ammunition that would be unsafe or harmful to use in the typical gun that a consumer may own? If factory +P were really hazardous would Winchester, or Federal, or Cor-Bon sell it to the general public?

With all the many, many questions regarding the safety of +P ammo, there must be many reports of blown-up guns, right? How many guns blown-up by factory +P ammo have you seen? How many guns blown-up by factory +P ammo have you heard about? I have been participating in the shooting sports and studying firearms since 1967 and I know of absolutely NONE. I have heard second and third hand accounts of one or two guns that were said to have been damaged by factory ammo but I think it more likely these guns suffered failure due to some manufacturing defect. It happens. I have a S&W .357 Magnum that was returned to the factory for a new frame. Something went wrong with it.

Certainly, using a gun causes wear. A gun is a machine and using any machine will cause it to wear. Using hotter ammo will likely accelerate the process to some degree. But a quality gun from S&W or Colt or Ruger will not blow up with +Ps. Nor will it excessively stretch the frame or split the barrel in my opinion. It will possibly wear a little faster, and I doubt if anyone could predict how much, but I think the added wear on a good gun will not be all that much. The gun would probably still last longer than the man who owns it.

I admit to some paranoia about warm loads in an alloy-framed gun but factory +P is not a warm load. I do not have any alloy revolvers but if I did I would stick to standard ammo (such as +P) and avoid my warm hand loads. In an alloy gun of good quality I have no concerns at all about +P on a regular basis since I consider factory +P to be nothing more than standard pressure (or less), anyway. Also, in 1955 Elmer Keith wrote of shooting the 38/44 load through the alloy J frame guns and he said that it did them no harm but recoil was pretty fierce. Keith favored big guns with heavy recoil so such a comment coming from him is quite meaningful.

This is just my opinion based on personal experience and research. There are differing points of view. Some replies to the +P question are quite adamant about avoiding regular use of this ammo. Others advise occasional use. Some say only carry +P for defense but don’t use it for practice at all. Some say S&W guns with model markings are OK with +P*** (what about the Colts?) while others say only use it in guns specifically approved by the factory. The fact that there are so many answers to this question tells me that there is great confusion on this matter. I’m a simple man and I take a simple course to the truth. I do basic research and try to find the facts. I have presented the facts as I see them. All one must do to find the truth about current factory +P ammo is look at the specifications. I submit that a 125/975 load is hardly high performance, and certainly nothing to cause concern for owners of quality revolvers. All are free to disagree.

Some forum members have accused me of being irresponsible in recommending the loads I mentioned. Of course, I am not recommending anything, only stating what I do. Also, all of the loads I use came from reputable reloading manuals. If the loads were safe in 1970 I don’t see why they aren’t safe now, but I don’t recommend anything to anyone. Each of us has to make our own choice. If you think any of the loads I mentioned are too hot then avoid them. If you are in any way uncomfortable with +Ps then stick with standard loads.


* The manufacture and tempering of steel was imprecise before around 1930 or so. Any of my guns made before this date get reduced loads just to be on the safe side. Note that early S&Ws, those made before around 1918, had cylinders that were not tempered at all. A similar situation likely is true with Colt revolvers but I have no specific knowledge of when Colt began tempering their cylinders.

** This same document advertises a 125 JHP .357 Magnum load at 1775 FPS. Current factory ammo in this caliber with this bullet usually clock around 1250-1300 FPS. Apparently the Magnums have also been "downsized."

*** I never understood using the "model marking" on S&W revolvers as the cut-off for +P. As far as I can tell the last S&W made without the model number stamped on it was exactly the same as the first revolver to have the model number stamped on it. They didn't improve the steel or strengthen the guns in any way. All they did was start stamping the model numbers. Also, how could S&W have intended for the model marking to be a benchmark for +P when the ammo wasn’t invented until 25 years later?


This same situation that has affected the .38 Special occurs with the .38 Super. The original loading for the Super was a 130 FMJ at nearly 1,300 FPS. But the Super cartridge is the same physical size as the old .38 ACP, just loaded to higher pressures so the ammo makers started fretting over some yahoo stuffing Supers into his 1905 Colt in .38 ACP and spreading parts all over the range. That’s why Super cases were nickel and the .38 ACP were brass until a few years ago, so shooters could instantly recognize which ammo they had. I was curious a few years ago when I noticed that they stopped doing this and I saw Super ammo in regular brass cases. I guess there’s no need any longer since factory Super ammo now clocks about the same as .38 ACP. The last box I checked ran 1,120 FPS, only 40 more than the ACP. They have down-loaded the Super to nearly the same level as the ACP. No lawsuits. Of course, the Super isn’t so… super… any longer, is it?

Some people claim that the standard .38 Special load today is the same as 30-50 years ago and the only difference is the claimed velocities in the past were greatly exaggerated by the test barrels they used. Everyone back then knew real-world velocity would be a little lower but not as much as some would have us think. Below are some actual measured velocities of various vintage ammunition.

Chart #1:

Some .38 Special velocities actually measured (not claimed by the manufacturer) from a 4" Colt Official Police:

Remington 158 grain lead made in the late 1960s-early 70s...840 fps
Peters 158 grain lead made in the 1950s...800 fps
Western Super-X 158 grain lead made in the mid-late1960s...810 fps
Western 150 grain metal-piercing made in the mid-late 1960s...1000 fps
Remington 158 grain lead "Hi-Speed" made in the 1950s...920 fps

The 158 loads from the 1950s-1970s are clearly more potent than the current offerings that achieve a claimed 730-755 FPS velocity. The observed 800-840 FPS is consistent with the manufacturer claims at the time of 870-910 FPS since they used a 6" "pressure barrel" to achieve the claimed velocities and actual velocities from 4" revolvers ran somewhat lower. But clearly not the huge difference some people claim in their assertions that factory .38 Special ammo has not been reduced in power. Also, bear in mind that the ammo being tested was all 30-50 years old and may have exhibited some deterioration in the powder which may have caused lower velocities than the ammo developed when new.

The bottom line:

Each man must do what he thinks is best. After a great deal of research and testing I do not consider factory +P ammo to be very warm at all and it concerns me not one bit in a quality revolver.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winchester 1876 SRC NWMP Reproduction - Revised

I'm making every effort to keep this post as the up-to-date and complete accounting of this rifle/carbine. If you see something missing, please, drop me an e-mail.

For many years I have been entranced by the stories surrounding the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a predecessor unit, the North West Mounted Police. The idea of the lone Mountie (trooper) patrolling vast reaches of the rugged Canadian heartland with his odd mix of English and American firearms simply caught my imagination. Canada has some beautiful country and I could easily imagine myself and my dog team out in the middle of that wild country.

Look at these fellows on the left. Fit, proud, why wouldn't I want to emulate that rugged individualism in service. Note that these fellows, as are the men in the next photo, are holding the 1876 SRC!

Of course the reality of the times was different. Mounties often worked together, sometimes in rather large (for Canada) units. They not only patrolled the back country but kept order in towns and along routes to the gold fields and they suppressed insurrections. I'm sure that the 1876 Saddle Ring Carbines (SRCs) that they carried were well worn for a reason! Still, I wanted one of those carbines.

Back in the day, Winchester was producing the very popular 1873 rifle and carbines which were chambered for the .44 WCF (aka .44-40) cartridge which moved a 200-220 gr. bullet at about 1200 fps. Experienced hunters know that this isn't exactly the first choice for game such as elk, bison or grizzly bear. Ned Roberts reports in his "The Man and the Boy" stories how his .44-40 was not nearly as good as his .45 muzzleloading double rifle in killing black bear due to the heavier bullets and larger powder charge of the "old fashioned" gun. So, hunters out in the western US were demanding and buying rivals of the Winchester just for hunting. Winchester wanted to compete in the marketplace and hence the 1876.

Produced from 1876 until 1886 approximately 63,871 1876s of all types were built. The last 1876 rifle left the factory in 1897 and was likely made up of various unused parts. Most popular among collectors (and bringing the highest prices) are the SRCs and the Express rifles. Some of this is due to the relative rarity of the two types. E.g. only 1600 SRCs were produced for the NWMP and at one point they reported only 970 some were functional! The English Express rifles (those in .50-95 often referred to as "cat guns") are even more rare.

Like all Winchesters of the era, a multitude of options were available. Some were produced in one configuration and returned to be modified (adding the dust cover to early guns was one popular modification) to another configuration. In some cases, they were pulled from stock and modified to meet an order. Add to that all the "parts guns" that were made up after regular production ceased in 1886 and one should expect a startling array of variations.

Longer (and heavier) than the 1873 but still using the same basic action design, the 1876 (called the Centennial because it was introduced in the 100th year of the USofA) couldn't handle the .45-70 Government cartridge. Winchester's fix was to use a fatter, bottle-neck cartridge of .45 caliber using a lighter bullet to nearly match the .45-70-405 cartridge's terminal ballistics. This it did. Winchester later produced the 1876 also chambered for 3 other cartridges as shown. Of course my gun had to be a .45-75 as were the NWMP guns. Unfortunately, this will make brass and ammunition difficult to find and more expensive than the .45-60 which can be formed from the cheap .45-70 Government cartridge.

When the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada authorized the North West Mounted Police on May 23, 1873, to stop the liquor traffic among the Indians, they had to have rifles. The single-shot Snider-Enfield breech loader was sufficent cause for them to want a replacement and 50 of the 1876 Saddle Ring Carbines (SRCs) were tried in service. These were acquired through the I. G. Baker Company and 50 were in use by 1878. In 1880 another 100 guns were received. 300 of the SRCs came in the 1882 order and another 100 in 1883. In 1885, the largest group of SRCs was received by the NWMP, that being 446 guns. More were likely purchased but the records are incomplete. The marking shown in the photo to the right (as on the reproduction) wasn't uniformly applied so it might not be legible and some carbines don't have it at all. Later carbines had the "Spanish meter" sight which is very similar to the "military wind gauge" sight but not identical. Range markings on this sight are in meters. My reproduction has this sight as well as the NWMP stock stamp.

Now that I've received my gun I can tell you a little bit about it. The rifle weighs 8-1/2 lbs, has a 22 inch barrel and is otherwise as described. Of course it has the Italian proof markings but they are on the bottom of the receiver. Also on the receiver bottom are the serial number and rifle catalog number. The cartridge/chambering is marked on the barrel between the rear of the back sight and forward edge of the receiver. The barrel is also marked with the patent dates and the importer and maker name. Some folks might not appreciate their location or form but they are pretty unimportant to me.

The finish of the gun is pretty good. The oiled finish on the wood (walnut?) stock is average and seems to be in keeping with the original guns. Only the made-for-the-English guns had varnished furniture. The bluing is even and looks pretty good. There is a finish flaw on the loading gate where the rifle was loaded and test fired. This is mostly due to the different material/metal used for the spring steel loading gate. It should eventually wear to look like an original. The finger lever latch is very stiff. I haven't been able to turn it into position yet. Then again, I'm not forcing it and it isn't used when shooting.

Spanish Meter Sight
Sights are critical on any rifle and experience has shown that the issue sights on this gun need improvement. They might be correct as to dimensions compared to originals but they don't suit the rifle. The gun shoots way high and needs a higher front sight. This was initially remedied by building up the front sight with JB Weld and blackening it with a Sharpie. Classy, huh. I'd like to install a penny from the period of the same total sight height but haven't gotten to it. That will be some work and I want to know exactly how I will do it before starting any cutting. The rear sight is the Spanish Meter sight as specified by the NWMP. However, all the edges are a bit "soft" or rounded. I expect that it is a casting/injection molded part which was not so carefully buffed before bluing. I might take a file to it to "sharpen" the edges on the sight notches. It should look like this one on a Turnbull restoration.

Reloading/handloading is almost a requirement with the .45-75. Brass is the most critical and difficult to find component. There is properly headstamped brass out there. However, the influx of reproductions has created a surge in demand and stripped the market of most of this brass. If you find cases it might be a good thing to buy them then and there.

Of the properly headstamped brass, Venturino reported that the Bertram brass (which came un-necked) had to be reamed and fire-formed before use. I understand the the Bertram brass now comes formed. His fireforming load was 12 gr. of W231 under a .457" roundball. Mr. Venturino also notes that COL is critical. You can't be very far off before experiencing feeding problems.

Jamison International made a run of .45-75 brass and supplied both Buffalo Arms and Ten-X with the brass they use in making their ammunition (note: Ten-X is now using Bertram brass with a corresponding rise in cost). It has a good reputation for working in original and the Chapparal reproductions. Unfortunately for the .45-75 shooter, Jamison has some big government defense contracts and is concentrating on supplying those now and for the forseeable future. Usable brass can be made from several other currently manufactured cases.

The cheapest of these, although it is a seasonal production item, is .348 Winchester brass. Nonte says to do this: "Expand neck to hold .456" bullets: Trim to 1.88" length; Size full length; Fire form; use .456" bullets" but it is a bit more complicated than that. The details are what will get you on this and you can lose quite a bit of brass in the forming if you don't pay attention to the details. Venturino addresses this in some detail in Loading Leverguns of the Old West.

Brass can be had in two ways. One is that .348 Winchester cases can be formed by full length sizing them in a .45-75 die.

Venturino also says that these will get the shooter by, but are not perfectly correct for either the Model 1876's chamber or its extractor. The cases may form a slight bulge about 1/4 inch ahead of the rim, and sometimes an extracted case will fall back on top of the cartridge lifter instead of being ejected from the action. So, I don't know if results will be entirely satisfactory for all shooters in all guns. I think that you can do it relatively easily it being necessary only to trim to length, form, fire-form and load and the cases work in my carbine.

Paco Kelly gives his instructions thusly:

It is not a hard conversion because the .348 case is smaller by a hair in all dimensions except length. The only catch I found was after trimming when running the cut down .348 case thru the 45/75 die; first do it without the primer/neck sizer rod, then the second time do it with the rod in. that way you remove the small part of the tighter neck left after trimming without ruining the case. Also use a super slick case lube inside the neck area.

The 45/75 case length is 1.895" so the .348 case must be cut back to 2.0 inches. you need the extra 1/10th of an inch length because the case will shrink slightly in fireforming. so remove approx. .250" off the .348 case neck, chamfer well. Then run it thru the 45/75 die as described above.

The other dimenstions of the .348 case are very close to those of the 45/75. .348 rim diameter is .603", the 45/75 rim diameter is .616", the head diameter (just above the rim) of the .348 is .547" and the 45/75 is .560". the difference in size in both these measurements for the two above is about the same .013", the thickness of a thick human hair. So no problem.

Just like the rim thickness of the .348 is 065" and the 45/75 is .070" which is less than half a human hair difference. So then use a fireforming load. The .348 cases's beauty is its strength once made then it will last forever at 45/75 pressures. Remember, once fireformed the cases set the resizing die so it doesn't touch the new shoulder, ever.

HEAD DIA. .560"
RIM DIA. .616"
Another brass source or alternative cases for forming the .45-75 are the .50-70, .50 Alaskan and .50-90 Sharps cases from Starline. I think the .50-70 forms up as too short (see far right case in the photo below) but the .50 AK case is 2.1" long and requires trimming only .22" and is cheaper than the much longer .50-90 Sharps.

Here's some dimensional info.

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

Ok, to summarize the steps...
1 - trim .50-90 or .50 AK case to 1.90" using tubing cutter. Be careful because technique is required here as well.
2 - lube the case.
3 - run the case into the .45-75 full-length sizing die.
4 - anneal
5 - run the case through the expansion die
6 - remove lube (I use alcohol pads, I like ALL the lube off my cases).
7 - final trim
8 - LOAD!

Properly lubricated, a .50-90 case trimmed to 1.88" and run through the Lee full-length sizing die lengthens enough for a final trimming back to 1.88" but requires no fire-forming. Once a quantity of cases is made up one can do as Paco suggests and reset the die to just resize the neck (partial full-length resize) thus lengthening brass life. One important note about the .50-90 cases is that the rim diameter must be turned down to function through the magazine tube.

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

Anyway, dies are needed to work that brass. As I write this the Lee Pacesetter 3 die set is $25.99. Lyman's Classic set goes for $41.99, RCBS wants $229.99 for theirs. RCBS has the forming die set for .348 to 45-75 for $412.99. CH Tool & Die offers the 45-75 3-die set (includes FL sizer, expander and seater) for $101.45. For forming 45-75 brass from .348W, CH sells three step sized expander plugs for $13.30 each and $8 shipping. The expander die body only is $13.30. That is a total of $61.20, incl. shipping for the complete form die set.

Bullets are, of course, also a requirement. I was planning to use the Lyman 457122 (I understand that the FP mold number was 457192 and the HP is the 457122) from Mt. Baldy Bullets but will likely cast them myself. This is a hollow point, plain base bullet and 330 gr. but is of the correct length with the crimp groove in the correct place. I went ahead and purchased this mold and have high hopes for both the HP version and perhaps a solid/flat point version. The Lyman 457122 HP weighs 336 gr. cast of 1/20 alloy and as somebody else noted would, if not a hollowpoint (that is the Lyman 457192), duplicate the original bullet very closely. the good news is that we were able to get together a limited run of the Lyman 457192 and Lyman will be using the original cherry. Now that I've received my Lyman 457192 I'll be casting some bullets soon.

Venturino tried the RCBS 45-300FN and RCBS 45-325FN the latter of which is about the best weight 345 gr. cast from 1/20 alloy. BUT he says he got groups measured in FEET! One has to wonder why. I think .458" bullets are more likely correct. Venturino says that even the old originals all had .457" groove diameter. and so I've got some on the way from various sources. Other possible molds for this rifle are Lee's 457-340-F and 457-325-F. I've got one of the latter which I received via Chris C. They seem to do well but I've not yet done any group shooting. Will be switching to SPG to lube all bullets when my current stick of lube in the sizer runs out. Until then the cast bullets I lube will be used with smokeless only.

A short note about lube. Some correspondents are telling me that 1.5-1.7 gr. of lube will work with blackpowder. I suggest switching to SPG as that lube will work with all possible powders and simplify bullet preparation.

Powder is another requirement. I plan on using IMR SR4759, AA5744, IMR 3031, IMR or H-4198 and good old black powder. The action will not permit nor will I try to push velocities above original velocities. That would probably be 1200-1300 fps in the short 22 inch carbine barrel. I know that there is a lot of discussion out there about the choices of powders for this cartridge with some decrying the use of any smokeless powders and even some foolhardy individuals pushing the envelope. It seems to me that the loads used should not exceed 18K CUP although Brian Pearce expresses a different opinion in Lyman's 49th edition. Therein he states that the modern reproductions (he uses Chaparrals) 28K CUP is the upper limit. One should be able to duplicate original velocities with like weight bullets and thus equal original performance. That should be good enough for deer and black bear even if the ballistics aren't impressive by today's standards.

Crimping is another concern particularly for shooters using original bullets over smokeless powder. Why? Because the original bullets are designed to be crimped over the front band and the bullet supported by a case full (and compressed) charge of black powder. Smokeless won't fill the case and some fear that the bullet will be set back in the magazine resulting is an unintended and disastrous pressure increase. Orville C. Loomis in his article, "Shooting the .45-75 Model 1876" in the Summer 2001 issue of Blackpowder Cartridge News says that the crimp made by his original tool is very similar to that made by the Lee Factory Crimp Die (FCD). That being the case, one can order a FCD from Lee for less than $30. Chris C., Grizzly Adams and I have ours.

Suggested Loads (these come from various sources including Cartridges of the World, The Home Guide to Cartridge Conversions, The Legacy of Leverguns, Shooting Leverguns of the Old West, Blackpowder Cartridge News)and Lyman Reloading Handbook, 49th ed. however, I am not responsible for either the data presented or for your use thereof. You are on your own as to what is suitable and safe. Many experts recommend only blackpowder be used in original rifles and the reproductions are so new that I've not seen any comments on the subject from commonly accepted authorities.

BulletWeight PowderCharge Weight Velocity Energy
Lyman 4571223302400

Lyman 457122330XMP5744

Lyman 457122330IMR4198

Lyman 457122330AA2015

Lyman 457122330Trail Boss

Lyman 457122330H4895

Lyman 457122330Triple7 FFG

Lyman 457122330GOEX FFg

Liberty 458-300FP 350IMR 3031

Lead300IMR SR4759

Hornady HP300IMR SR4759

Lyman 456192350IMR 4198

Lasercast FP300IMR 3031


I now have quite a bit of ammunition together and need to do more shooting! I've had the gun out shooting the fireforming loads as well as a few using bullets from an original Winchester mold sent to me by Grizzly Adams. Those bullets weighed 364 gr. lubed and sized and both they and my fireforming loads using 300 gr. jacketed bullets I normally use for the .45-70 seemed pretty accurate. While I didn't shoot them at targets I did use the crotch of a 3" diameter Sycamore about 80 yards distance on the upper bank of Mom's farm pond. This is a tree I'm going to have to take down anyway so topping it with the NWMP carbine was no problem for the environment and it was no problem with the rifle either. The sights held for horizontal dispersion as I could see the tree shake with every round but it was a bit difficult with that sighting point and the sights to hold the vertical. Now that I have a stock of 20-1 alloy, I'm looking to get some more bullets cast and take my current stock of 500+ cases and really give the gun a workout.

Because of the popularity of NCOWS and SASS cowboy action shooting and reenacting, Chaparral and Uberti have decided there is a market for reproduction rifles and carbines, and some producers have stepped in the breech as it were and offered the things necessary to cartridge reloading. Many resources can be found on the net. Here are a few.

On-line articles on the 1876 Winchester:
- The Winchester Model 1876 by Kirk Durston
- John Boy's info on forming and loading with BP
- Winchester Toggle Link 101 by Larsen E. Pettifogger

Books on the 1876 Winchester:
- The Winchester Book by George Madis
- Shooting Lever Guns of the Old West by Mike Venturino
- Winchester by R. L. Wilson
- Winchester Lever Action Repeating Firearms Volume 1 The Models fo 1866, 1873 and 1876 by Arthur Pirkle

Sources for all things 1876 Winchester:
- Buffalo Arms - brass, loaded ammunition (smokeless and blackpowder), bullets, dies, rifles
- CH Tool and Die - dies
- GAD Custom Cartridges - loaded ammunition
- Graf & Sons - brass, dies
- Midway USA - brass, dies, molds
- Mount Baldy Bullets - Lyman 457122 cast bullets lubed with SPG
- Nevada Western Firearms - exclusive sellers of the NWMP carbines in the USofA.
- Old West Reproductions - custom, authentic copy of NWMP saddle scabbard
- Ten-X Ammunition - loaded ammo (smokeless and Triple-7)

Please send your corrections, comments or additions to me, Hobie via e-mail.

UPDATE -- Rowdy Fulcher has made a neat video concerning his 1876 rifle. It is worth a look and posted here for your enjoyment.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Modifying .22 Rimfire Ammo

The cost of all ammo is up, even .22 LR. Folks are finding they feel to make do with the lower priced offerings. Some of these bullets are solids or not so effective hollowpoints. While this is fine for plinking and marksmanship training, the ammunition is less than effective on game. Consequently, some modification is needed. This is an old problem. One of the approaches was to create the "small game bullet" or SGB.

The SGB is simply a standard lead round nose (LRN) with a tip flattened. This dramatically increases effectiveness and some say, it improves accuracy as well. The concept has been so successful that CCI produces the SGB load for the .22 LR that uses a swaged bullet. There are other methods which shooters can use.

The first method used was filing or cutting the nose off. As you can see in the photo, different sizes of flat on the meplat (tip or nose of the bullet) can be achieved. The first tool available was the Hanned SGB Tool. Sadly, the Hanned Line has gone out of business and the tools are no longer available new. However, the concept is simple and a tool like the Hanned SGB Tool or Beljan Tool (shown here) is easy to make.

Using steel, round bar stock, cut to the length of a .22 Short, Long or Long Rifle round (as preferred). Drill/bore a hole the diameter of the cartridge through the length of the round. Counter sink one end for the cartridge rim. Adjust length as necessary to give the desire meplat size. Harden to resist file damage.

Actually, depending on how much use you actually want to get from the tool, most any material can be used, even wood. Also, you don't have to counter-sink for the cartridge rim. Beljan, who manufactured the tool shown, did not but instead created a nylon base which was cupped on both sides/ends and counter-sunk (that is the BASE had the counter-sink) to different depths to provide different meplat sizes (as you can see in the first photo).

These tools sold for $12-$39 but neither is available now. So, what is a fella to do? Well, there is an alternative!

Paco Kelly's ACU'RIZER is the thing. Using a die and plunger/piston, this die swages the bullet, still in the case, to both uniform OD dimensions and reform the bullet nose. There are more possible permutations than I can imagine. For me, the big hollow point, or Nasti-nose, and very slightly cupped flat point are the two biggies. Just as important is the ability to size the bullet to a size appropriate to your firearm. This can be particularly important to shooters of the convertible Ruger Single-Sixes which have bores better suited to the .22 WMRF.

Paco has redesigned his tool and had to redesign the fixtures at the same time. This is a great tool with great flexibility.

- article Paco Kelly's ACU'RIZER

Dave Deering's Custom Bullets up and running...

Many folks on the various shooting forums know David Deering as StoneFence and have been using his custom swaged bullets for the .38-55 with complete success. That's a .38-55 Marlin 1893 that took down this deer with a Deering bullet in 2008.

Photo by Grace Koch

David started swaging his own jacketed .378" (also .375") bullets about 4 years ago as a hobby, because what he wanted wasn't available (at least at a decent price) in the marketplace. He's since added heavy .357 (190 grain) bullets for .357 Max, a .401" TCFP for .38-40 and 10mm, and new .431" 270 grainers for Marlin .444's. I've not seen the latest bullets but the .375" .38-55 bullets are beautiful in that they are well made, consistent, accurate bullets. They're so good that I just ordered another 300 and 300 of the 190 gr. bullets for the .357 Maximum. David is also thinking about doing a boat-tail spitzer (with small flat) in .338 cal for the new Marlin .338 Express-- there seem to be NO .338 levergun bullets out there anymore. I know that if you're a .33 Winchester shooter, you should drop David a line..

Custom Bullets
2528 3rd Ave. N.
St. Petersburg FL 337

Also, look for David's ad in the January issue of Handloader Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Kirk Durston

There are no better bullets out there for the .38-55 than Dave's ESPECIALLY at that price! For years we couldn't find them at all (even the Barnes were practically unobtainium). I'll get 'em while I can!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sources for Bullet Lead

My interest piqued for some reason and I went on a search, a quest perhaps, for a less expensive source of properly (not done by me) lead bullet alloy. I found the following:

- Mayco Industries
- MidwayUSA
- Rotometals, Inc.
- Sharp Manufacturing
- Widener's Reloading and Shooting

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

.45 ACP (also 9mm and .40 S&W) Charter Arms Revolver - UPDATED

Gun Pundit, Guns, Holsters and Gear and elsewhere but not at Charter Arms

A small, Bulldog sized .45 ACP revolver would be a good thing. If the Lipsey's .44 Flattop becomes a reality in my safe, I'd like to get a Bulldog .44 Special as well.

From PJ at MKS Supply Inc., Marketer for Charter Arms comes this
The rimless revolvers will not go into production until the first quarter 2009; expected delivery should begin in late February or early March (this is one of the reasons why there’s nothing on the web yet). Just like any other new innovations, it takes more time to make sure everything is as it should be. You’re more than welcome to check back with us at a later date to see if there are any updates to the scheduled production.
and this
Charter Arms’ New Revolutionary Rimless Revolver

Charter Arms, Dayton, OH, December, 2008 – Charter Arms announces the Charter Arms Rimless Revolver (CARR) a revolutionary new rimless revolver for popular semi-auto cartridges.

Problem: The major drawback to rimless semi-auto cartridges in revolvers is they require specially made revolvers. These low production, somewhat scarce and highly specialized revolvers are limited to sometimes fragile and expensive moon/half moon ammunition clips. Generally, only revolver aficionados and collectors bother with (.45 ACP and 9mm Parabellum) rimless revolvers. While they may sometimes be fired without the specialized moon clips, generally the ejector rod will not eject the free floating fired cases (got a pencil?).

Solution: Charter Arms has come up with an affordable revolver that chambers rimless semi-auto rounds in the same manner as a standard rimmed-cartridge revolver.

Available Calibers: Charter Arms will first offer the .40 S&W chambering (see availability below) followed by the .45 ACP and 9x19 mm Parabellum (the 9mm Parabellum revolver will also chamber factory .380 ACP). All three of Charter Arms’ Rimless Revolvers (9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP) are rated for higher velocity +P loadings.

The advantage is now the average gun owner can own an affordable, trouble free revolver chambered in these popular semi-auto rounds without the need for specialized ammunition clips and a specialized gun.

Back up and self defense: For law enforcement work the always ready-to-fire, fiddle-factor-free revolver is the back up to have; especially if is the same caliber as the officer’s carry gun. As a primary self defense carry gun, these three calibers mean reliable protection in popular semi-auto self defense-calibers.

If more power is needed, step up to +P ammo. The advantage with Charter Arms Rimless Revolvers is they will fire any mix of cartridges while maintaining 100% reliability. For plinking with .45 ACP or 9mm surplus and discounted military type ammo, the affordable Charter Arms Rimless Revolver will prove to be very economical and it’s also a .380 ACP revolver. Now that is fun!

The secret is the patent pending Charter Arms Rimless Revolver Round System. Basically, when a round is loaded into the chamber a specialized spring engages the cartridge’s ejector groove. When the cylinder is opened and the ejector rod operated, it extracts and ejects the fired cases.

Models: Initially snub barrels (2” 9mm and 2.2” .40 S&W and .45 ACP) as these revolvers are designed for self defense and back up. The 9mm is built on Charter Arms’ compact and lightweight undercover platform featuring an aluminum frame and weighing only 12 ounces. The .40 S&W and .45 ACP built on the popular and robust Bulldog frame due to the larger diameter of these cartridges while maintaining a compact profile.

Availability: First quarter of 2009 the .40 S&W will be available, about 90-120 days later the .45 ACP and 90-120 days after the .45 ACP will come the 9mm. Please see above models for more information.

Warranty: Charter Arms has an industry exclusive lifetime warranty on its revolvers.

MSRP Prices: 9mm $399.00, .40 S&W $449.00, .45 ACP $449.00

The debut of this model has been delayed (quel suprise!) reportedly due to delays in patent filing. I don't know about that, but it is a concept that many like and we hope that Charter can pull it off.

Still no sign of this gun and don't hold your breath.  Apparently Charter Arms discovered that they would be violating a patent held by a competitor.  I suppose that will kill it.   We'll see...

I heard it is on again... Might turn blue waiting though...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Merrill Carbine

A poster on leverguns mentioned that he'd shot a Merrill carbine this past weekend. It sometimes pays to have one's chronograph out and working!

The one illustrated here comes from a listing at Sharpsburg Arsenal.
Merrill Carbine 2nd Model
Serial #156xx. 54 Caliber. All metal surfaces with the exception of the rear sight are void of any bluing. Markings are all sharp and clear. The rear sight has approx. 80% of original blue. The lock is dated "1863". The brass butt plate, trigger guard and barrel band do not appear to have ever been cleaned. Walnut stock is in good condition with the normal handling marks that come with issued carbines. There are 2 good visible cartouches on the stock flat. The bore is very good. All components are 100% original. Overall an above average example.
$3295.00 - DG101
I wanted to include a good close up so that you might have a better idea about appearance and function.

According to Rifles of the World, a metallic cartridge version was tested in 1865. By all accounts that I can find, the Federals didn't like the carbine (although it was considered "accurate") but the Confederate States soldiers did and used them throughout the war (after 1862) as they did many other captured arms.

This nattily dressed (probably in Jaguar skin pants and holsters) gentleman is Captain Samuel J. Richardson, commander of Company F, 2nd Texas Cavalry (2nd Mounted Rifles).  Captain Richardson's photograph is housed in the collections of the Museum of the Confederacy and was reproduced in The South Besieged; The Image of War 1861-1865 by the National Historical Society (1983). He appears to have a Merrill carbine!  While it is likely that the photo was taken early in the war, before he wore out the pants, it is possible that he has one of the carbines captured in the vicinity of Harpers Ferry.  Even if it isn't a Merrill, the photo is just too darn interesting due to his attire to not post.  You've got to admit, that man has a certain "style"! 

- Shooting Merrill's Carbines by Tony Beck

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What is old is new again... flashlights on pistols

Developed and patented by George Seeley in 1912, hence the big S. There were similar designs marketed by other folks, including one that clamped on top of the barrel and had a mercury switch in it so that when the gun was unholstered the light came on. I have old advertisements from Europe that shows candle mounts for revolvers. (courtesy kwill on the Colt Forum)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Unarmed Self-Defense

While I've talked about guns and knives I've never mentioned unarmed self-defense. While I fully support avoiding any problems as a first step and have no problem with somebody using gun or knife to defend themselves, sometimes one isn't able to have a gun or knife with you. It might be in a government building such as a school or courthouse (or enroute in or out to your transportation) that you are attacked. Knowing how to resist might be the difference between life and death for yourself and others.

Today, I had a short conversation with somebody on another subject and Imminent Threat Defense Systems, LLC was mentioned. Located in Ransomville, NY, they will go anyplace where 12 or more are gathered together.