Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wildlife can be more than mildly amusing

but I am just as amazed at those who might know just what tune to match up with animal antics. Jim Taylor put us on to this fella. I hope you enjoy.

Smith and Wesson 49

Produced after the Model 38 or Bodyguard and the same as that gun except for the heavier steel frame, this round-butt, J-frame, shrouded-hammer 5-shot .38 Special revolver is an excellent concealed carry revolver. These were produced from 1959 through 1996.

Mine is the blued steel version (they were also factory nickeled) and has the usual 2-inch barrel (3-inch barreled guns are rare).

Friday, October 30, 2009

An Alternative to PayPal?

I just got a link to via a notice by Perhaps we finally have an alternative to PayPal.

If anyone here has some insight on this I'm sure we'd all appreciate hearing/reading about it.

Colt Combat Commander

The Combat Commander is an all steel version of the Commander, a 4-1/4 inch barreled version of the Government model on an aluminum frame. Whatever I've said about Colt's .45 ACP semi-auto pistols applies here including that this particular gun has the Colt Series 80 modifications. As has become my usual course of action, the main spring housing was replaced with a flat version. I simply prefer the feel of the flat MSH.

I bought this .45 ACP chambered gun about 1985 or 1986, I'm not exactly certain now. I got it from LBW Shooter's Supply in Staunton. I had an opportunity to buy a Lightweight Officer's Model but got a good deal on this one so bought it instead. I wish I'd gotten the other as well!

I used this gun for concealed carry for several years. While a lighter pistol might have been more comfortable I was in good condition and much thinner than now and it didn't bother me at all. It did take a while to find the best way to carry concealed but once I did nobody knew and I carried all the time.

For a long time the gun wore Pachmayr rubber stocks but there was really no reason for this. The factory wood was entirely satisfactory and I shoot equally well with either. The wood does have the advantage of not "grabbing" at clothing the way the rubber does.

It is sufficiently accurate with any number of combat capable loads and feeds most with the necessary reliability. However, I always felt most comfortable with the standard ball or Remington's 230 gr. +P Golden Saber. That is what has become standard for my carry use in .45 ACP guns.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Notes from the gun shop...

The hunting season rush has officially begun. It seems to me that we only had a month's break from the election rush to the hunting season rush. In any case we were full up this past Monday. Here in western Virginia it is the early muzzle loader season that is causing all the excitement and just around the corner. One can learn a lot from serving folks in a rush to get ready for this or that season.

For instance, many folks don't unload and clean their guns from one season to the next. I can't tell you how many breech plugs for in-lines we've sold. Still, we've sent many away empty handed or with new guns. Many don't even clean their guns if they do unload or fire them. They bring them to the gunsmith for cleaning. I find that amazing. I thought everyone cleaned their own guns. They buy cleaning supplies. What do they do with all that stuff?

There's a side-bar to this. Knight Muzzleloading (not to be confused with Knight Armament) has closed shop.
We would like to thank all of our loyal customers: past, present and future. Knight Rifles is no longer producing or selling any guns. However, we will continue to produce and sell parts and accessories for your Knight Rifles. We plan to continue in this role for the foreseeable future.

To express our appreciation for being Knight customers, we would like to announce that ALL ORDERS PLACED ON THE WEBSITE will receive a 10% discount over retail prices. This will take effect immediately and will continue until further notice.

We would also like to restate that our Technical Support and Warranty departments are still fully operational.

Customer service can be reached at or (641) 856-2626.
Unfortunately, many owners of Knight in-lines don't know that. They are surprised, disappointed, and a bit upset about it. I'm surprised at how many bought what were fairly expensive rifles and never cleaned them. This small effort would have ensured a life-time of use even if there was no spare parts supply. Apparently they couldn't be bothered. If you are a shooter of Knight's product(s) I suggest you get all the shooting needs you can forsee using now, while still available.

Another continuing (from last year) situation is the lack of a favorite bullet or bullet/sabot combo. Many is the tale told of 200 yard sub-MOA groups with the favored combo and their trusty 2 or 3 50-grain Triple-7 charge. Of course this sacred load wasn't so wonderful that they laid in a supply of the projectiles. Nope, I guess they thought it would always be there and they only bought one blister pack of 20. Right now the Shock Wave and Power Belt are dominating the market. If you want anything else they are tough to find. Shops just don't sell enough to make stocking them worthwhile.

Primer deliveries are up. The shop now has nearly 30,000 primers of all types on hand with one exception. Large rifle. We have no large rifle primers of any make except for Remington 9½M.

.380 ACP ammo is also in short supply. I think all of it in the supply chain has been bought up. All that remains are forgotten cases here and there around the country. Perhaps as demand for other ammunition dries up manufacturers will be able to make a run of .380 ACP.

My dealer says he can't get new supplies of CoreLokt (Remington) ammo. I don't know why. Of course, that is what the customers suddenly want. I think that price (it having been among the lower priced brands) is the key. As the economy goes down the tubes the lower price point product will get the demand.

And so it goes...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Handgun Hunters International

Many years ago, I forget which year but I was in Korea about 1978-79, J.D. Jones began Handgun Hunters International (HHI). This was long before the internet and when I saw a notice in some magazine I was intrigued. Now, I wasn't experienced (unless you call a couple of hundred starlings killed with a Crosman 130 .22 pellet pistol experience) but I was eager. I sent off my money and became charter member 500. Soon I was receiving my copy of "The Sixgunner", the publication of HHI.

I was well pleased with the many stories of hunting adventures in exotic (to me) locales. It was exciting, interesting and in that nether region of English language entertainment that was Korea at the time, an important refuge for me.

I was so excited that I was motivated to write my first article for "The Sixgunner" on my search for the perfect first revolver. In that article I tried to give the specifics on a personal search or journey to my choice of a Ruger stainless Security-Six with 4-inch barrel as my first center-fire revolver. J.D. Jones published that first effort, albeit heavily edited (and rightly so). I was over the moon.

Unfortunately, some 2½ years later and I was home but without much money and my family demanding more as the children aged, I didn't continue my membership/subscription. Later, I didn't have the resources to pursue getting a new subscription. Then, gradually, I kinda lost interest despite my pursuit, during this entire time, of handgun hunting.

I'm pleased to say that's changed. I was recently reading a post on a shooting forum where the poster mentioned receiving his latest copy of "The Sixgunner". Thinking that there were no longer any excuses I found the website for HHI and printed out the application. The next day I mailed it off with a check for the subscription and today "The Sixgunner" once again started a periodic journey to my door.

What a pick-me-up! I've already read it twice and am now thinking of the many possible handgun hunts I could do this fall. It is as if 30 years has been wiped away and recovered at the same time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


A way back in 1963 or 1964 my dad got interested in leather work. I think he was particularly interested in the tooling of leather and made many belts, purses and such. I still have a couple of his pieces. The hobby relaxed him and I think the artistic outlet was secondary to the mental R&R he got.

Some 30 years later he traded his leather tooling tools (and there was quite an accumulation) to my friend Mike for the 10" Ruger MKII .22 LR pistol. I don't know what Mike did with those tools but I have the pistol. I treasure it as it is one thing that was used and enjoyed by both my father and very good friend, Mike.

Dad got most of his supplies and tools from Tandy Leather Company. Hermann Oak is one of the best. Also try, Brettun's for small/odd lots, Siegels if buying sides, and Montana.

Leather working can be very satisfying and the associated smells will stay with you for life!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Remington Model 12CS

The Remington Model 12CS is chambered for the .22 Remington Special (Winchester Rimfire). Originally this model was designated "The New 22 Repeater" and did not have an actual model number assigned. The Model 12 was made from 1909 to 1936. It was first chambered for the .22 Remington Special cartridge in 1914. Designed by J. D. Pederson, approximately 832,000 guns were produced (in all chamberings). The grades offered were the 12A Basic Model, 12B Gallery Special, 12C Target, 12D Peerless, 12E Expert, 12F Premier, 12C N.R.A. Target Grades, 12CS, DS, ES, FS chambered for .22 Rem Special cartridges and quality of finish.

I acquired this example (apparently built in 1914) from a west coast collector who decided to move on to other collections. He remembered that I had expressed interest in the rifle when he got it. While I've never owned a Remington Model 12 before, it is really the cartridge and the tang sight that attracted me to this example.

Quite obviously the tang sight will help improve accuracy. It both doubles (or nearly so) the sight radius but I also find the aperture sight easier to use.

The cartridge is a whole other story. The .22 Winchester Rimfire was introduced with the Winchester 1890 rifle (a John Browning gun). It is interchangeable with the .22 Remington Special (which is how this rifle is marked). The big difference between this and other previous rimfire cartridges was the inside-lubricated bullet rather than the heel-type outside-lubricated bullet such as used in the .22 Long Rifle. The primary difference in the Winchester and Remington loadings is that Winchester had a flat-nosed bullet and Remington had a round-nosed bullet. Although it was declared obsolete after WWII, it seems to have made a comeback, mostly as a sub-load for .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire guns. CCI still produces the cartridge and there are large quantities of a recent special run by Winchester still out there. CCI's load offers a 45-grain JHP at 1,300 fps and Winchester's is a 45-grain, Lubaloy coated, flatpoint bullet loading at 1,300 fps.

I am most fortunate to have come into a large quantity of the Remington Special cartridges. This will likely feed the rifle for its entire life with me.

This particular rifle has another feature that is of interest. It is threaded for the Maxim silencer. Now called suppressors, in that halcyon age of practicality over hysterics, the silencer/suppressor was viewed for what it is, a practical method of reducing sound signature which might disturb neighbors or game. It has the added value of reducing hearing damage. I don't know how much that figured into the motivation to pay for such a thing, but it is certainly apropos today. Why this country has/persists in such a paranoid regard for suppressors can only be attributed to ignorant viewers of equally ignorant Hollywood films.

I'd like to find a "silencer" for my rifle but don't know if I will be able to. I think it would add immeasurably to the gun's usefulness in pest control. These are once again being made, for the US Maxim Silent Firearms Co. by Yankee Hill. I am still investigating as to whether or not Yankee Hill will thread their Maxims to the original 1/2"-20 thread.

As to handling characteristics, these rifles are not "boys" rifles but man-sized rimfire rifles. While compact and lively they don't have abbreviated butt-stocks. I think they are comfortable to shoot. I am excited to get this example and hope that it has a long life in this house.

Immediately after I picked up the rifle I took it out for some shooting. This baby is easy to hit with. It would be a great groundhog gun and a fantastic defender of the house garden with plenty of accuracy to head shoot rabbits and such. This is a wonderful firearm and I'm pleased as punch!

- Remington Model 12 variations 22 RF
- A Brief History of Remington Rifles and the Model 1
- What's with the WRF? It's back and it's still viable by Holt Bodinson
- Rimfire that wouldn't die: new ammunition from CCI sends the vintage .22 WRF back into the game fields by C. Rodney James
- On the Control of Silencers in the United States
- The Remington Society of America

Monday, October 19, 2009

Smith and Wesson Model 696

The first .44 Special on the L-frame, the 696 was introduced in December 1996 with serial prefix CBS2xxx. Shipped in the blue plastic case and fitted with Uncle Mike's Combat rubber grips. The gun has adjustable rear and red ramp front sight. Barrel length is 3". The 5-shot cylinder will accept ammo up to about 1.63" in overall length. One can handload this a bit above factory pressure levels. I thought that the Skeeter Skelton load of 7.5 gr. Unique under a 250 gr. Keith bullet should be acceptable. Glenn Fryxell thinks otherwise and I'm inclined to take the hint and move in that direction. There is a lot to recommend 200 gr. at about 900-950 fps and it is much better to take care of these fine guns.

I was fortunate enough to get this representative example from a long-time dealer. The photo shown is his.

As you can see, this particular gun differs from the factory norm in a couple of aspects. First, it has been Magnaported. Hardly necessary for the .44 Special cartridge, this change does reduce the value of the gun to a collector but doesn't affect usefulness. The second change is in the stocks/grips. These would appear to give much the same feel as the old style magna stocks with a Tyler-T grip adapter but not quite so. They kinda expand fore and aft at the bottom giving the feeling of a walking cane handle. The gun apparently also had action work done by Magnaport. This could spoil me as I've never had a gun with other than a factory trigger. I've considered myself pretty inured to the standard trigger but this is so very nice.

I am fortunate in that this is a pre-MIM gun sans lock and with the hammer mounted firing pin. I am prejudiced against the internal locks. I also achieve an illogical comfort level when I see the hammer mounted firing pin. It just makes me feel good.

I recently saw a similar gun, without the Magnaporting, asking $950 on I got this gun for something less than that but it will be a wonderful representative example of an interesting platform for the .44 Special cartridge. Now to get a good holster for it...

Limited range testing with the "Skelton load" showed me that these stocks aren't quite the best for my use. I swapped on a pair of Pachmayr Compacs and those were somewhat better. The problem with the Smith and Wesson stocks that came with the gun is that they curve a bit to the front at the bottom of the grip. This seems to accentuate the feel of recoil.

Sights were right on and I was able to hit my favorite cinder-block face target at 80 yards for 5 of 5 shots. For those concerned about the "thin" forcing cone, no cracking can be seen. I didn't intend to use anything heavier than the Skelton load. That may change. I might use something a step below the Skelton load. I've had several people tell me that a regular diet of this load might not be in the best interest of the gun. I have a feeling they are correct. I think that loading 180-200 gr. something at 950 fps will be more than adequate for my purposes and better for the gun.

What I need to do now is find an appropriate bullet mold or supply. More later...

I've decided on the Gold Dot bullet and factory loads using that bullet. I got some in the Blazer aluminum cases and they are pretty darn nice. Will likely switch back to the original grips. These loads aren't quite as hot as even the Skeeter Load I tried at first.

- Smith & Wesson Model 696 - .44 Special Revolver
- The Arms Room - Sunday Smith #37: Model 696-1, 2000
- Saint Wesson: S&W model 696 .44 Special
- The .44 Special Revisited by Glen E. Fryxell
The 696 as it came from the factory.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What ammo to buy or load...

I've been noticing for several years now that many shooters buy "range" ammo and use specific ammo. Sometimes they call this "range" ammo, "blasting" ammo. There are variations on the theme but a good example is this glut of 130 gr. FMJ .38 Special stuff when most thinking people load their "carry" or "bedside" gun with some sort of +P hollowpoint. They seem to do the same sort of thing with their AR-15s and mil-surp guns.

For my own part, I tend to buy or, more likely, load ammo for "using" or practice the same. I don't have "range" ammo much less "blasting" ammo. I want all my ammo to be usable. I want my practice to be with the ammo I use (for hunting, self-defense, etc...). I do this because it hits to the same point of aim, because a problem with it will more likely become apparent the more it is shot, because I don't want to spend money on something that is only good for the range, because I don't want to have to sort through my ammo to find something useful when I need it right now.

I've tried to feel out the customers at the shop where I work. Most don't reload. They buy the high dollar stuff for hunting or self-defense but will "practice" with just about anything, price being the deciding factor even if the point of impact will vary widely from their "using" ammo.

I can see the idea of "plinking" ammo that is cheaper to buy or produce that duplicates the exterior ballistics of the "using" ammo. However, if it fails to shoot to point of aim at all ranges at which the particular firearm will be used, it seems a waste of time shooting and of money. The thing is that "plinking" ammo (probably much more apropos to .22 LR than anything else) isn't as useful in a pinch as the "real" thing.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Smith and Wesson J-Frame Model 36-1

Back in 1985 I'd just gotten divorced and paid the expenses of that (or bought food, depends on how you look at it) with the proceeds of sold firearms including my first revolver, the Ruger Security-Six. The only handgun I had left was my Lyman branded Pietta made 1858 Remington New Army reproduction. I needed a cartridge revolver and the primary purpose now was self-defense. The first gun I found which meant the requirements at the time I had the money for the expense was a new Smith and Wesson Model 36-1 with 3" barrel.

The Smith and Wesson Model 36 is a .38 Special chambered revolver made on the "J" frame. The "J" frame was developed from the slightly smaller "I" frame used for .32 S&W chambered revolvers by slightly lengthening the cylinder window to hold a longer cylinder needed to chamber the .38 Special cartridge. These have been around a long time now. The gun was introduced at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 1950, as the Chief's Special. When Smith & Wesson went to a number system in 1957, the Chief's Special was designated the Model 36. They have a good reputation for reliability but aren't considered extremely accurate.

The .38 Special chambering was good for me as I had a quantity of ammunition I'd loaded for the Security-Six. At the time, much of it was 148 gr. wadcutters over 2.7 gr. Bullseye. These worked great for practice and as a small game load. Yes, I hunted with the gun. My other load was the Speer swaged 158 gr. HP over 5 gr. of Unique. This is a good solid load and the one which was kept in the gun when fulfilling the self-defense role. A couple of squirrels fell to this gun and load. The range was very short but it still gave me a good bit of confidence.

Over the years I did try Pachmayr Compac rubber grips but returned to the factory wood and then got a Tyler-T grip adapter. Good move on my part as this improved the grip while maintaining a compact grip profile that was slick and didn't catch on clothing.

I really liked this gun. It is a good one and was later augmented with the Smith and Wesson Model 13. In the back of my mind was the idea that I'd be willing to get another. I don't know why, I just liked the model. It is small but capable.
The Smith and Wesson M36 3" barrel is one of my favorite guns.  I think it has perfect balance for the frame, has adequate ballistic performance for the .38 Special cartridge, gives a better sight picture, is as easy to conceal (unless you're putting it in a pocket) and has the feel of a full size revolver. 

What you see here is a pair of 36-1s.  The earlier one is the bottom of the two (without the Tyler-T grip adapter).  It has a pinned barrel and was made about 1977.  The upper, later 36-1 was made in 1982 and shows the un-pinned barrel.  There is little else to distinguish the two.

M36 history begins with the very popular .38/32 (.38 S&W) Terrier I-frame revolver. The I-frame was a 5-shot hand ejector double action revolver. Its great popularity was the result of small size and light weight, but it wasn't strong enough and cylinder was not long enough for the more powerful .38 Special round. Popularity of the Detective Special demonstrated a probable demand for a gun the size of the Terrier but able to handle the .38 Special. Smith and Wesson lengthened the cylinder and frame of the I-frame, and beefed it up a bit. They dubbed it the J-frame. Within the past few years the cylinder has again been lengthened to handle the .357 Magnum cartridge.

The Model 36 was produced to compete with the Colt Detective Special.  It does have a slight size advantage but gives up 1-round capacity as it has a 5-chamber cylinder compared to the Detective Special's 6-chamber cylinder.  Both have positive hammer blocks which make them safe to carry with a loaded chamber under the hammer.

The 36 has had "derivatives" which have become very popular. The Bodyguard (Model 38, the Airweight version and 49), the Centennial (Models 40, 442 and 642) and in .22 LR (Models 34, 43 and 63), some of which I've written about earlier.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Scotchbrite Pads to Clean Up Stainless Guns

There's an art to this and one sees a number of posts on the subject. However, there's no centralized repository of Scotch-brite knowledge that I can find so I've tried to create it here.

One thing that you should do is stroke in one direction with even pressure. Also, if need practice, you can do that on some parts covered by the stocks (grips).

- GREEN - reproduces the factory "brushed" finish on stainless guns
- General Purpose, maroon, 6x9x1/4 inch Hand Pad The General Purpose Pad is equivalent to a 0 or 00 steel wool. It will leave a low, satin sheen.  Use with honing oil.
- Ultra-fine, gray, 6x9x1/4 inch Hand Pad. The Ultra-fine Pad is equivalent to a 4/0 steel wool for polishing to a higher sheen. On the S&W forum it seems to be agreed that the grey colored pads come closest to the factory brushed finish.


I'd like to update this information as a resource. Any information you might have would be a great help. Please e-mail me.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

So where's your politics Mr. Gunblogger?

I got an e-mail today asking where I, as a gunblogger, posted my political views.  Well, aside from the links to gun owners' rights organizations in the side-bar and an occasional post about a gun-rights vote in D.C. or here in VA I don't post about political subjects in this blog.  This blog, Shooting with Hobie, is intended to be a journal for my grandchildren's edification, that is, if they are ever interested!  My political posts are on Lady Liberty Defended

That blog is mostly informational, sometimes a rant, sometimes commentary (short of a rant) but unfortunately I'm not exactly "snarky", clever, or nutty.  I don't cuss there either, at least I try not to.  I've just got to have a place to make my displeasure with the direction this country has taken at all levels of government.  Yes, I do need such a place and I've got one.  I hope you'll visit.