Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rare Footage of Naval Railway Guns in France, 1918

Neither of my grandfathers served in WWI. One was too young and the other tested positive for TB. My great-grandfather, already intimately familar with NYC's water supply, guarded it from saboteurs for the duration of the war. Only one of Grandmother's cousins went to war. Daniel Merrill Van Cott was a medic (medical orderly) in France. This film has absolutely nothing to do with him except that he was in this same area at the time this was filmed.

Artillery is nothing more than big guns. However, the logistics, mechanics and techniques used to manage big guns is fascinating. We've come a long way since 1918. However, it is clear that the basics have changed little since then. We have used technology to reduce manpower requirements, we have computers to calculate charges and the laying of guns but the basics are the same.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Diamondback Arms DB380

The DB380 is the only gun that Diamondback Arms makes. It is a .380 ACP chambered small pistol designed to compete with the Ruger LCP, Kel-Tec P3AT, Taurus PT738, S&W Bodyguard 380, Kahr P380, SIG P238 and Magnum Research Micro Eagle.

It is a striker fired, locked breech, .380 chambered, polymer framed pistol with an MSRP of $430. Likely street price will be something less. I've heard that it will actually retail for about $350 which is competitive with the LCP.

I haven't shot one but I have gotten to handle one a bit and dry fire it. It has several features going for it. The first is that the size is about perfect as it is small but I can easily get a grip on it. Also, the sights are actually usable. Neither would be great shakes for the gun if the trigger wasn't also lovely. It is no great trick to keep sights on target all the way through the trigger pull. This is the first pocketable .380 that I have actually considered buying.

An interesting aside. It was suggested that the Kel-Tec P3AT magazines would work in the DB380. While the baseplate is much smaller on the P3AT magazine, it does work in the DB380. By the way, the first magazines were made by Mecgar. Quality mags are needed in a semi-auto pistol and Mecgar makes a quality magazine. The pistols are now shipping with magazines of a different make but no problems with these magazines have been found.

- Diamondback Firearms DB380 Semi-Auto .380 ACP Pocket Pistol by Jeff Quinn

Addendum - I got to test fire one of these with a mix of ammo. The owner was complaining that it wouldn't feed anything. With me shooting it fed everything, mixed or not, hollowpoints and FMJ. I think he's limp-wristing it. I like it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

.22 Hornet

While it isn't the smallest the .22 Hornet is the smallest common centerfire rifle cartridge. A rimmed, bottleneck cartridge with a SAAMI working pressure of 43K PSI it was developed from the black powder .22 Winchester Centerfire by some famous wildcatters including Col. Townsend Whelen and Captain G. L. Wotkyns. This first commercial centerfire varmint cartridge was adopted in 1930. Remington and Winchester factory loads use 45 grain pointed soft point or hollow point bullets at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2,690 fps and muzzle energy (ME) of 723 ft. lbs.

The Hornet's caliber has been a confusing issue. The original Whelen/Winchester specification called for a .2233" diameter bullet, the caliber of the rimfire .22 Long Rifle barrels in which the cartridge was developed. Early commercial .22 Hornet rifles were bored to that dimension. However, virtually all subsequent .22 centerfire cartridges including the Hornet were a .224" bore. Modern Hornet's are .224". The SAAMI-spec standard twist rate for the .22 Hornet is 1:16 inches as a result of Col. Whelen's experiments. This is fine in with the Hornet's standard 45-grain or lighter bullets but does not do well with bullets weighing 50 grains or more. Accordingly some makers, such as Kimber and Ruger, used 1:14 twist rates.

Several years ago I was heavily into the Thompson Center Contender, having sold my Colt SP-1 to purchase my first one, and had an urge to get a .22 Hornet. Coincidentally, one came available and I got it. My barrel is a factory 21" and I have a 4X ____ sight mounted. Most all loads including factory loadings will shoot into 2" or less at 100 yards. However, there are some handloads which will do much better.

My loads:
Winchester46 gr.unknownunknown2640 fps712 fpe
Hornady VMAX35 gr.Lil'Gun12 gr._______________
Hornady VMAX40 gr.Lil'Gun12 gr._______________

Friday, January 22, 2010

Has this story been told before?

First we had the .36 caliber percussion revolver which really had a .375-.377" groove diameter. Then we had cartridge conversions which used heel type bullets of correct diameter for the bore which led to the cartridges being called .38 caliber. Then we had the inside lubed bullet due to Russian influence and practicality and the bullet fit in the same case came out to about .358". Then we had bores to match the new bullets but the cartridge name didn't change. Then the .38 Colt was lengthened and eventually we have the .38 S&W Special, .357 Magnum, .360 Dan Wesson and .357 Maximum. Of course the .357 Max is very similar to the .38 Extra Long but not to confuse things...

In between, in years of transition we experimented with hollowbase bullets which got even more "bumped up" due to BP's characteristics and even using the same bore for both the .38s and the .41s...

Isn't life interesting?

What IS really interesting is that the .38 Colt eventually won the .38 (actually .36) revolver cartridge war and the .32 S&W (actually .312) eventually won the .32 revolver cartridge war lengthening to become the .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R and now the .327 Federal whereas the .32 Colt and .32 Long Colt have only now been given a new lease on life due to the vagaries of the cowboy action shooters.

 So, what is the real "genealogy" of the various .38 cartridges?  Well...

There once was the ".36" caliber Colt revolvers (which established a standard of sorts), with .36" (nominally) bores but .375" (nominally) groove diameters.  When brass cartridges became the in thing and the guns were converted, the cartridges used bullets that approximated the groove diameter.  Due to the technology of the time, these were outside lubricated, heeled bullets like our modern .22 Long Rifle (and shorts and longs and CBs...)  These bullets had drawbacks such as leaving lube in pockets where ammo was carried, picking up dirt and other trash, or worse, being wiped clean off!  Also, when carried a lot, the bullets would come loose from the case.  Something was bound to change.

The Russians might have been the ones to get the ball rolling when they ordered a bunch of Smith and Wesson pistols but insisted that the cartridge for which they were chambered carry an inside lubricated bullet (the .44 Russian instead of the .44 American).  The advantages of inside lubricated cartridges were obvious and immediately in demand.  Makers at first tried to use these inside lubricated bullets in the old cartridges resulting in bullets severely undersized for the bores in which they were being shot.  After a bit, the bores of the revolvers were adapted to the new cartridges by being reduced to .357" (nominal groove diameter measurement) but were still referred to as "thirty-eights".  The .32s went through a parallel development but the cases were made a bit bigger to accommodate the necessary .312" bullets.  Of course, the peculiarities of the market, relative popularity of certain firearms, and so forth worked to bring certain cartridges to the forefront.  The .38 Colt became the .38 Long Colt became the .38 S&W Special (S&W's co-opting of the Colt military cartridge to their own benefit) which became the .357 Magnum which became the .360 Dan Wesson and the .357 Maximum.  S&W tried their own .38 centerfire with the 36/38 caliber in the "Baby Russian" in 1876 (using .36 caliber bullets and .380" diameter brass and later referred to as the .38 S&W beginning about 1877) but it didn't achieve the same level of popularity (again, it uses a .361" bullet) nor did it become a military cartridge in this country which is why S&W didn't use it to create the "Special".  However, the S&W cartridge did get military, para-military and police use elsewhere mainly in Great Britain and its colonies (and former colonies) as the .38/200 or .380/200 later known as the .380 MK I or MK II and I suppose somebody might find ammo marked with the metric designation as 9.1x20R.

On the other hand, S&W had started early with .32s in their rimfire .32 for the Model 2 and had so much market share that Colt switched from chambering their revolvers for the .32 Long Colt to the .32 New Police (a .32 S&W Long with a flat meplat on the bullet), so called to avoid putting the S&W name on their revolvers.

The cartridges from these two design paths have different case diameter so one has to know what is what when buying or reloading ammo.  To further complicate the issue, there are rimfire equivalents and the cartridges were also used in various rifles.  For example, the Marlin 1892 .32s chamber the .32 Colt Long and came with firing pins that could be used with either the centerfire or rimfire versions.  However, some of those rifles have been rechambered to use the more easily found .32 S&W Long. 

So, to run the .32s down (for the centerfires) we have the .32 S&W which begat the .32 S&W Long which begat the .32 H&R which begat the .327 Federal.  So far as I know, the .32 Colt begat the .32 Long Colt and then the line died.

We should note that many of these older cartridges were on the razor edge of absolute death until cowboy action shooting came along.  That game certainly excited a lot of interest in the old cartridges both for reasons of nostalgia and because they are very mild recoiling and period correct.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Death

I think that at some point brought on by age or illness or perhaps both, you will know when you're going to die. My dad knew he was going to die. He told me so. I tried to do the "brave face" thing for him. I didn't want him to die. When we were called and told that he had gone into a coma we immediately went to the hospital. He was struggling to breathe. I encouraged him but somehow, I realized that it was a losing battle, a struggle of great effort without hope. I was holding Dad's hand when I told him it was all right to let go. He did. I know he heard me. He heard me and responded to try to breathe. He stopped when I said it was ok to do so.

Now Mom is in that way. She's been afflicted with Alzheimer's for about 8-10 years. She's only had to be in an assisted living facility for a little over a year. This past couple of months has been bad for her. She had been gaining weight. Last week I was sitting with her talking about whatever and she said something. I couldn't hear her. I leaned forward and asked her to repeat it. She said, "I want to die. I can't take this anymore. It's too hard." I told her I loved her and she said, "I know," and slipped back into the abyss.

On Tuesday night she had a bit of blood in her mouth we could not find the source of but it appeared to be some gum bleeding. I took her to the bathroom to brush her teeth. She said, clearly, "it is too hard." I asked, "Are you ready to go back to bed? "Yes," was the reply. Weighed today we discovered that since the 14th she's lost 13 pounds. Yesterday morning she told a caregiver that she was going to die. I was told that she again had sounded very lucid.

I think that people in such circumstances know the time of their passing. I think her doctor suspected as much when we took her to see him just before New Year's day. I suspect it is near her time. I hope I am wrong and I hope I'm right.

I don't want her to die. I don't want to think that maybe, if I had done something differently, asked different questions, brought her different food or toothpaste (or something), if I had convinced her to see the doctor about her memory loss sooner that she might have lived longer. BUT, I believe that when that time comes she'll go to a better place, that she'll be with the people she loves, that she'll be without limitation. She's been a great mother and she deserves that.

Mom passed from this world to the next at 10:25 AM on 23 January 2010. She was reasonably comfortable, had been commended to God, and was in the company of her loving family. While she was apparently aware she was dying, we didn't know until very close to the end. Even as debilitated as she was she reached out to us telling us we had done well, that she loved us and we were good people. She continued to teach us lessons of forbearance and patience to the end.

Many expressed their love and respect by way of their calls, notes, food, fellowship and attendance at her graveside service. We are deeply appreciative of everyone's contribution(s).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Notes from the gun shop...

One thing I've seen at the shop which somewhat surprises me is the number of single, professional women who are bringing in their pre-teen and teen-aged sons and actually encouraging their shooting interests.  You can tell that some of them seem to feel a bit out of place but they come in anyway. (of course there are exceptions, one young man's mother sits outside in the car)  It seems to be the norm that these mothers were raised by fathers who shot and hunted.  In other words, their own childhood years were with guns in the house even if they themselves don't have an interest in shooting.  It is also interesting, I think, that they seem to be more conservative than their sons with most (all?) preferring traditional blued steel and wood stocks to the modern stainless and composite stocks. 

Primers and powder seem easier to come by now.  We seem to be able to provide most types of primers and powder (other than Winchester labeled powder).  The boss man did put a 200 per customer limit on primers to give his non-hoarding low-quantity buyers a chance to get primers. 

Likewise handgun ammunition other than .357 Magnum, 10mm Auto and .45 Colt seems to be in fairly good supply.  Some rifle ammunition has been impossible to get as available stocks have apparently been ordered by or gone to states with current big game seasons.  However, prices seem to have reached a level that has diminished demand so that at least some sort of ammunition is available for just about any chambering. 

Coyote hunting has apparently hit a high point in our area.  We had 4 customers come in just to buy ammo or reloading supplies for yesterday evening's coyote hunt. 

I finally met another customer (other than myself) who wanted a .44 Special Flattop.  I half-heartedly offered him my 5½" gun but he was not interested in it at the price offered even though I included the El Paso Saddlery holster in the deal.  He apparently expected to pay about $375 for the gun although the MSRP is $557 and the dealer's price is $360 or so.  He wasn't aware of the Bisley version nor was he aware of the stainless version.

We are starting to see better guns brought in for sale, many times to pay bills.  It is an unfortunate truth that hard times can be opportunities for those better prepared. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In Memoriam - Jeff Stamper

Jeff Stamper is reported to have died in his sleep of natural causes.  I would like to take a moment for a few words about Mr. Stamper.

I knew him through a couple of internet forums.  We did business a couple of times and for his part, all was satisfactory.  He was a good person with whom to chat/correspond and with whom to do business.  I know that he truly loved his family and his life.  If you believe that the good die young, then that might well explain why he was so soon taken from us.  I think he had indeed learned what he needed to learn from this life and can only hope that he was needed elsewhere.  I was looking forward to actually meeting him this spring.  That won't be for a while.  I believe he's gone to heaven and I do so hope that I will, too.  We will then have quite a bit to discuss. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

7mm Thompson Center Ugalde (TCU)

The 7mm TCU is one of a series of cartridges developed by Wes Ugalde for Thompson Center. It was first offered as a standard chambering in 1979. The single shot Contender has been offered with standard barrel lengths of 10, 14 and 21 inches. Based on the 223 Remington case necked up, the 7mm TCU dates back to 1980. It was very popular for metallic silhouette pistol shooting. Might also be referred to as the 7mm x 223. The cartridge has a reputation for exceptional accuracy. Aside from metallic silhouette it is also known as a good varmint cartridge in the T/C Contender pistol. Many consider it to be marginal for deer or other medium game. It is usually recommended that only commercial 223 Remington brass be used as the base for forming cases. Most/many don't/won't use military brass. Cases can be formed simply by running into the full-length resizing die once it is properly adjusted. Proper case length is given as 1.740-1.760 inches.

My rifle is a Thompson-Center 21" factory barrel on either of my two Contender frames. It was one of the first barrels purchased for the Contender due to its purported versatility. However, I think the strong suit of the cartridge is that brass is based on the VERY available and inexpensive .223 Remington. I am one of those who doesn't mind using military brass and find it gives very similar results to commercial brass both in forming and in performance. The only reason I prefer commercial brass is that the primer pockets must be swaged to remove the crimp on military brass. My barrel is an early one with only one dovetail lock for attachment of the forearm. That has not been a problem as this is a low recoil cartridge.

I liked the cartridge so much that I later acquired a 10" barrel, the metallic silhouette standard, to see how it would perform in the shorter length. True to expectations the short barrel gave approximately 400 fps less velocity compared to the 21" "big brother". Unfortunately, I'm not that enamored of the short barrel. It works and that's about all I care about it. I really concentrated on the 21" barrel as you can see in the tables below.

10" factory bull barrel
Sierra SSP130 gr.H489529.420401201

21" factory carbine barrel
Sierra HP115 gr.H489529.023371395
Hornady SSP120 gr.H33530.024461595
Hornady SSP120 gr.H32226.022341390
Sierra SSP130 gr.H489529.424601747
Hornady FP139 gr.H489529.020241260
Hornady FP139 gr.H33529.021171383
Sierra SP145 gr.240010.01385618

While I still have a quantity of these bullets remaining, the Sierra and Hornady SSP bullets have been discontinued as has the Hornady 139 gr. FP originally intended for the 7-30 Waters. Not to worry. John Haviland in Handloader Magazine #264 tested the Sierra 140 gr. SP, Sierra 150 gr. BT and Hornady 162 gr. A-Max and found that they all expanded at only 1000 fps striking velocity. This means that any number of 7mm/.284" bullets are usable in the cartridge.

Although I didn't use it due to lack of availability, AA2460 seems to be the powder to use giving top velocities with bullets of all weights. Regardless of powder I've never been able to attain "book" velocities in my 21" barrel. I'm not sure why, but I hit signs of excessive pressures before I reach the velocities the manual says I should be getting.

- Shooting A T-C 7mm TCU by Junior Doughty

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THE BRITISH BULLDOG REVOLVER; The Forgotten Gun that Really Won the West

"THE BRITISH BULLDOG REVOLVER; The Forgotten Gun that Really Won the West" by George Layman is one of those wonderful books on what has been, heretofor, a somewhat esoteric subject.  The hardcover, 191-page book is well worth the purchase price of $34.99 and is available direct from the publisher, Mowbray Publishing

I have long had a passing interest in the subject, late nineteenth century large bore pocket revolvers.  As followers of my blog know, I have really enjoyed their modern descendents, the "snub-nosed" revolver.  I've also been enamoured of certain Webley products.  I was recently struck with the idea that I didn't have one of these early guns, either a Bulldog or a Webley.  It occurred to me that I could kill two birds by way of getting one revolver but the fact is that I knew too little to make a judicious purchase.  You see, I want to be able to shoot this little gun, too.

Now "The British Bulldog" doesn't spend very much time on putting these guns in shooting order or loading for them but it does provide that basic information.  What the book focuses on the beginning to end history of these revolvers from their inception as a development by Philip Webley & Co. from their Royal Irish Constabulary revolver,  It describes, as best the author has been able to discern, the history of the many European copies as well as the two major manufacturers of the type.  A detailed description of both the Iver Johnson and Forehand & Wadsworth versions of the gun is given. In so doing, Mr. Layman manages to throw in some useful information for the collectors of other arms in the description of makers and proof marks as well as a description of the guild system in Belgium where as many as 2 million of the guns may have been produced.

Mr. Layman makes a good case for the idea that the Bulldog, not the Colt, won the west.  In doing so he touches on history more than a bit.  He actually has photos of some "famous" Bulldogs as well as their background and correct identification. 

The photos are another thing that sets this book apart from others.  Wonderful photos, wonderfully reproduced, large enough to permit one to discern the details and with extensive, descriptive captions.  Mr. Layman and Mowbray have done really well with the photos in this book and if you're "photocentric", i.e. like to see what's being described you won't be able but to like this book. 

As I said, the book is well worth the purchase price.  It is a fun read, I read it all in one evening, but has the necessary details and illustrations to make it thoroughly informative as well.  I suggest that you buy it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stolen Firearm Alert

These guns were stolen from Doug Turnbull at the Dallas SCI show this last week.   If you can please be on the lookout for these and don't hesitate to pass the word around.  Anyone with any info can contact the office at Turnbull's.

Thanks in advance for your help.

1) 3002 - Colt 1902 .38 ACP s/n 40760

2) 3031 - Colt 1911 .45 ACP s/n 474114

3) 3130 - Colt 1911 s/n 315222

4) 3603 - Ruger Vaquero revolver 4 5/8 inch barrel .44 Special s/n 520-17265

5) DT242 - Turnbull Mfg. Open Range revolver 5 1/2 inch bbl. .45 Colt s/n 104

6) DT325 - Turnbull Mfg. Open Range revolver 4 3/4 inch barrel .45 Colt s/n 130

Flattop Crazy!

Lipsey will have a Ruger .44 Special Flattop again this year. A Bisley! $629 MSRP. Good luck!

Pistol-Packing Pastor Quits to Work for Gun Rights, Protecting Churches

Jim Taylor got the call to go to Mozambique and sold nearly everything to go do that. Ken Pagano got the call to defend Christians by defending 2nd Amendment Rights (might be a very timely calling, too) and that's what he's going to do.
A pistol-packing pastor who drew national attention earlier this year for hosting a "God-and-Guns" event at his church is stepping down from the pulpit to serve his flock with a new mission.

Pastor Ken Pagano ended his 30-year career last month when he resigned from the New Bethel Church in Louisville, Ky., saying that he wants to focus on church security and Second Amendment rights — a crusade he insists is better fought outside the ministry.

"Thirty years was a good, long run, but it's time for a change," Pagano told the Washington Times. "If I can write my own ticket, I want to get involved more in Second Amendment issues as they affect the church, and I can do more from outside the pulpit than from behind it," Pagano told the paper.

About 200 people attended Pagano's "Open Carry Celebration" at the New Bethel Church in June. The event commemorated the roles of religion and gun ownership in American history, and included a handgun raffle. Attendees were also provided with firearms-safety information.

While Pagano says the event drew mostly positive responses, it made him realize that he might have another calling — keeping worshippers safe.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Webley Bulldog, an old fascination and a new project

MANY years ago I had acquired some books on guns one of which was a recap of the famous Stagecoach collection. In it was a Bulldog revolver. It looked purposeful, sturdy and interesting. Years after that came the movie "The Wind and the Lion" in which a character pulls his Bulldog revolver to defend the heroine and uses it to good effect, until he empties the cylinder.  How unfortunate that it looks like it was really an RIC or Metropolitan Police!  No matter.  These two things have put the love of the Webley Bulldog in my soul.

Of course, the Bulldog shows up in other movies. In "Joe Kidd" Helen arms herself with one and holds her Webley Bulldog on Sheriff Bob Mitchell (Gregory Walcott) in the courthouse. In "Unforgiven" English Bob has to give up his Bulldog to the Sheriff before he's beaten.  In the recent movie "Sherlock Holmes" Doctor Watson and Sherlock Holmes manage to fire a cylinder full of ammo each.  There's even a hint of black powder smoke. Apparently, Peter O'Toole carries one in a 2008 movie, "The Iron Road". 

The ammo?  A great example of the type of cartridges for which the bulldogs were chambered is the .455 Webley.  Ok, so these were mostly chambered for the .44 Webley.  Still this was a short stubby, large caliber cartridge producing rather sedate velocities from even longer barreled guns, these are cartridges for sitting room distances.  These were guns for self-defense.

Most all of this ammo used black powder, the propellant of the time.  Most all of the bullets used were lead and most likely swaged projectiles with round noses.  Neither black powder nor the lack of hollow-points (or, alternatively, a big flat meplat) would be accepted by modern users.  Perhaps something could be done about this, but not in original guns.

It is also an unfortunate truth that President Garfield was killed with an American made copy of this gun.  Long a resident of the Smithsonian, it has been on the MIA role for almost an equally long time now. 

Perhaps it is this fascination with the Bulldog that is manifest in my accumulation of modern snub-nose revolvers. I certainly have been accumulating quite a few of those lately. Unfortunately, I seldom see one of the Webley revolvers much less one for sale.  I want one.  Moreover, I want to shoot it.  I might even want to carry it!  How to do this?  Perhaps a project is in order.  How about building a new Webley Bulldog from modern materials?

Now before you go ape on me and point out that Charter Arms has just such a revolver let me reiterate that I want to re-create the Webley British Bulldog.  I think the .44 Special is a bit long a cartridge for what I want.  Maybe the .44 Russian will work, maybe the .45 AR, maybe the .45 Cowboy.  I think the original .455 Webley and predecessors are just too hard to get brass for and also, the appropriately sized barrel blanks might be much easier to acquire with .451"-.452" groove diameters.

I got Mr. Layman's book yesterday and read it last night after work. Worth every penny for the excellent illustrations as well as the information some of which is applicable to other interests! I also discovered that Mr. Layman and I had some things in common other than gun interests. Great read but I've already started to go back over certain sections, there was a lot to absorb! I'll have to write a detailed book review.

-Webley Solid Frame Revolvers - 2008 by Black, Ficken & Michaels
-THE BRITISH BULLDOG REVOLVER The Forgotten Gun that Really Won the West by George Layman
-Those Confusing .455s by Chris Punnett

R. Lee Ermey

I like R. Lee Ermey. He's a hoot on TV and I've no doubt he was a good NCO. I like the guy, as I've said before, even though we haven't met and I'm glad he's found success in media. I would like him to use some different terms sometimes as I don't think he always correctly identifies certain things but overall his shows are excellent and I enjoy them.

While looking for a video of him shooting some full-auto shotgun I found this video of outtakes from his show, Lock'N'Load on the History Channel. Thought the blog readers might enjoy this.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Freedom Arms Model 97 .44 Special

Well, I've been putting together a sort of collection of different single-action guns but it has gone askew and I need to re-think it. However, one "goal" of the collection was to have an example of the Ruger, USFA, Colt and Freedom Arms in .45 Colt. I might be switching that chambering to .44 Special. You see, a Freedom Arms Model 97 in .44 Special came my way. Sort of. It got my attention and then hung around for months until I managed to cobble together the readies (one way or another) all the while thinking it wouldn't be there. It was. It has found its way to my greasy mitts. (the photo shown was taken by the former owner)

First thing about it that struck me was when I lifted the package. Very light. I expected more heft. Must have been thinking of the 83. It seems quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Lipsey's Flattop and more like the Smith and Wesson Model 696.

A bonus was that it came with two other front sights (they are interchangeable on this gun). The fit and finish on this gun surpasses anything else I own except for fit on my old Parker shotgun.

The company could produce/use a better box than the cardboard used. If stored in the safe, the gun will have to go into an MTM Case-Gard long-term plastic storage box. I don't know that it will spend much time in the safe once I get a holster for it.

The grip form on this gun is a bit unique. It has a different form than the Colt or USFA and is wider than the USFA or Ruger plastic stocks. It is as broad as the USFA Henry Nettleton but feels good in the hand. I think it will handle recoil well.

As to loads, my intent is to use the same load of 7.5 gr. Unique under the 250 gr. Keith bullet. This gun will allow a bit more oomph but, in deference to the other .44 Specials, I'm going to stick with the one load. This load as well as the Buffalo Bore product is pretty snappy in the little gun. Those that really want to ramp up the performance would likely need to practice. For myself, I see no need for more than the Buffalo Bore or similar handloads provide. If I need more I'll get out one of my .44 Magnums.

- Gun Digest Book of the .44 by John Taffin
- Freedom arms Model 97 .44 special by John Taffin
- Freedom Arms Collector Association 
- Bitterroot Trading Post in Hamilton Montana, 406-363-2525, Bill Neustrom

Tactical Shotguns

A friend wrote and asked me to help with a particular video. While looking for that video I found this one. I'd never seen the show, don't know who has. I don't think I can get it on my service. So, I posted here.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Ithaca Numbers

Ithaca Model 37 Repeater Serial Number Listing by Year
Year All Model Guns
1937 1 to 3,500
1938 to 10,000
1939 to 18,350
1940 to 34,400
Standard Model Solid Rib* Skeet* Trap*
1941 to 50,900 70,000-71,500 80,000-80,400 88,000-88,150
1942 to 62,900 71,501-72,199 80,401-80,899
1946 62,901 to 69,999 72,200-73,150 80,900-81,899 88,150-88,300
90,000 to 115,350
1947 to 157,150 73,150-74,700 81,900-82,499 88,300-88,760
1948 to 202,950 74,701-78,300 82,500-83,414 89,065-89,619
1949 to 302,500 78,301-79,999 83,415-83,964 89,620-89,969
Special Serial Number sequence for Solid Rib guns discontinued 310,000-310,099
1950 to 348,000 83,965-83,999 310,100-310,179
1951 to 413,000 84,000-84,169 310,180-310,404
1952 to 504,000 84,170-84,189 310,405-310,429
1953 to 544,000 84,190-84,399 310,430-310,619
509,600-509,649 509,650-509,699
All Model Guns Model 37-S discontinued
after 1953 Special Serial Number sequence for 37-T guns discontinued
1954 to 574,000
1955 to 602,000
1956 to 652,000
1957 to 704,000
1958 to 727,000
1959 to 759,000
1960 to 777,000
1961 to 797,000
1962 to 820,000
1963 ** to 867,000
1964 to 891,000
1965 to 927,000
1966 to 966,000
1967 to 999,500
1968 to 1,042,000
1969 to 371,091,500
1970 to 371,150,500
1971 to 371,211,500
1972 to 371,275,000
1973 to 371,339,000
381,000,001 to 381,030,000
1974 to 371,405,500
1975 to 371,517,500
1976 to 371,596,000
1977 to 371,626,000
1978 to 371,648,000
1979 to 371,678,000
1980 to 371,709,000
1981 to 371,728,100
1982 to 371,758,700
1983 to 371,850,800
1984 to 371,871,500
1985 to 371,882,000
1986 to 371,889,000

* In 1941, the Company reserved blocks of serial numbers for the Solid Rib model, the Skeet model, and the Trap Model. The initial sequence for the Solid Rib model gun was 70,000 to 79,999 - 80,000 to 89,999 for the Skeet model and 88,000 to 89,000 for the Trap model. The special sequences for the Solid Rib model was abandoned by 1949 when they were included in the general Pump listing. The Trap model was returned to the general list by 1954 as the Target Grade. The Skeet model was discontinued after 1953.
** Ithaca introduced interchangable barrels commencing with serial number 855,000

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Remington ACR Video is Going Viral

And we are going along for the ride...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Falconry always interested me and I read a few books on the subject.  Fortunately, I realized early on that it was an impractical sport for me.  I had neither time nor space to care for and/or train the birds.  Still, I find it fascinating.  I'm sure PETA hates it.  Reason enough to post this video and description from
In western Mongolia, an ancient tradition of hunting with Golden Eagles is still alive. We know from history that Genghis Khan had 1,000 hunting birds - eagles, falcons and gyrfalcons - and so did Kubla Khan. There were protected areas in the steppe marked with stones where only the khans were allowed to hunt. The Kazakhs of Mongolia train their eagles to hunt and here the bird of prey is often considered a family member. The Berkutchi is a falconer who hunts with the Golden Eagle. The training of this bird was seen as difficult and even perilous even by the experienced Synchy. the bird is never a slave of its owner, only a partner in hunting. From ancient times, berkutchi-falconers in the nomadic herder societies had the role of preserving and stocking furs. The high social status of the berkutchi and his family was conditioned by the climate, as warm strong and durable clothing for the people during the winter seasons was a vital necessity. Best-suited for this were the pelts of wolves and foxes. Apart from hunting, berkutchi can give spiritual support to pregnant women, who experience or may experience difficulties in childbirth. Through the owner of the bird, which in the imagination of Asian peoples is a symbol of well-being and power. According to folk wisdom, a berkutchi is the indisputable authority in the sphere of childbirth or of renewing fertility. In the cultures of many nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples of Asia, it is said that a berkutchi, regardless of age, can make pregnant a woman who for a long time had not had children.