Monday, May 31, 2010


Genealogy has fascinated me for years. However, when younger I was well indoctrinated to wait on my elders to speak before I asked questions. They never talked about these things enough and there was a lot I didn't know when they left this world.

One thing I learned is that in every family there seems to be one person in each generation who becomes the guardian of the genealogy. In my generation it seems to be me and in my father's generation it was his sister Virginia. On Mom's side of the family it was Mom, her mother and her father's mother for their respective generations. That light has now been passed to Laura H____ who is well into it.

Recently, we've seen some rather well done television shows created by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Lisa Kudrow (of all people). Aside from their (sometimes radical) political bent, these folks produced similar shows for PBS and ABC (respectively) that seem to have inspired some people to pursue their family roots.

There are assets/sources now available thanks to the digital age that weren't available as well as many professional genealogists such as One of the big dogs in the genealogy game is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS for short). The LDS have pursued this in the belief that they can bring even deceased relatives into the church and thus to salvation. Additionally, DNA can provide a lot of data as shown in Dr. Gates' show, "Faces of America". In that show Dr. Gates was able to show the genetic connection between several of his eleven guests as well as some surprising results as to their genetic makeup. This is a tool I'd like to use in my research.

Every researcher has their own goals and those goals change over time. For me, I simply wanted to know "where I came from" and now I want to know about the families. It is a daunting task, if one looks at it that way, because for each generation we go back, the number of direct ancestors doubles. E.g. 1 - 2 - 4 - 8 and so forth. At the 10th generation one has 512 grandparents PLUS all their siblings and other relations.

Those siblings and other relations can be critical in our research. This is because we can use their presence as documented in a census or other document to confirm that we are looking at the correct family. It is because there are inevitably some family members who are better documented than their brothers or sisters (brothers are particularly better documented than sisters the further back we go). Those neighbors, in the agricultural areas particularly, are often the source of marriage partners and so it helps to pay attention to those people as well.

In doing this it is impossible not to learn something of the history of the place in which your ancestors lived. For some of us this becomes just as interesting as the genealogy.

In my family's history, I've been able to take many lines of my grand-children's ancestors back to the time they came to North America. Most of them arrived during the colonial period, but not all. We've seen some fascinating patterns in the naming of children as well as differences between families. We've found proof of name pronunciation and for the traditional diminutive (nick-name) for my own given name. We've been able to document as well as debunk some treasured family stories. In our knowledge of our own ancestry we've been able to find connections to those we befriend today.

We've also found that every generation who has lived when this country was threatened had those who stepped up and offered their service. As I write this it is Memorial Day, 2010. We thank them all for their service that has made this country our safe refuge.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fieldstripping The Winchester/Miroku 1886 Tutorial

 (photos and text by Steve Barrett)

Field-stripping The Winchester/Miroku 1886 Tutorial
By: Steve Barrett

The following is not new information, or information that cant be had from a firearms disassembly book, but I have not found any information with pictures of the process as far as field-stripping the Winchester/Miroku 1886. I also ordered a video from AGI(American Gunsmithing Institute) on the 1892/1886 Winchesters. I am already familiar with the 92 design, so I bought the video just for the 86 material. The video mentions nothing or shows nothing on the procedures of field-stripping the Winchester 1886. I thought it might be helpful to those who own these fine leveractions to have a field-stripping tutorial, (some body's gotta do it! ). I hope this helps and I sure had fun putting it all together....Steve.
P.S. This contains lots of photos and may load up slow, so please be patient

STEP ONE: Remove the upper and lower tang screws and pull buttstock straight off the rear of the receiver. The upper tang screw goes all the way through and screws in the bottom tang. The lower tang screw is a wood screw.

STEP TWO: With the action closed pull the hammer to rear and remove the receiver (hammer) screw. You want to captivate the mainspring before removing the receiver (hammer) screw. This coil mainspring is strong and may fly to the next room if not held in place. You can use a paper clip or similar item to hold the mainspring in place.

STEP THREE: After removing the receiver (hammer) screw, open the lever and pull the lower tang straight back out of the receiver. At this time the hammer will drop out as well.

Pictured below is the hammer and lower tang assembly. The trigger assembly was not taken apart


STEP ONE: Remove the Spring Cover Screw from the right hand side of the receiver.


STEP TWO: Unscrew the carrier stop screw and remove the carrier stop from underneath the upper tang.

STEP THREE: With the action part way open, unscrew the locking bolt stop pin screw from the left locking bolt. This will allow the locking bolt pin to be pushed out of the lever and locking bolts from right to left. Now pull out both locking bolts from bottom of receiver

If you have trouble pulling the right locking bolt out of the bottom of the receiver, move the cartridge guide up or down, whichever is necessary, to allow the locking bolt to be pulled out.

STEP FOUR: Lower the finger lever and slide the Breech Bolt out of the receiver far enough to see the lever and Breech Bolt Pin. Use a punch to drift out the Breech Bolt Pin out of the Breechbolt.

After removing the Breech Bolt Pin, pull lever out of the bottom of the Breechbolt and slide the Breechbolt out of the receiver.

Be careful when pulling out the Breechbolt as the Ejector, Ejector Spring, and Ejector Collar is now loose and can fall out the front of the Breechbolt. Once the Breechbolt is out of the receiver remove the Ejector, Ejector spring, and Ejector Collar out the front of the Breechbolt.


The firing pin is of the inertia type and can be removed by using a punch to drift out the Extractor pin. Once the Extractor pin and Extractor are removed the inertia firing pin can be pulled out of the rear of the breechbolt.

STEP FIVE: Slide the Lever, Carrier Hook and Carrier out the back of the receiver. Notice how these parts go together for reassembly. The Carrier Hook connects the Lever And Carrier by the lower hole in the lever and (rides in the middle of the Carrier) a channel cut out of the Carrier

I didn’t take the rifle down any further, but if need be you can remove the Cartridge Guide and Cartridge Stop from the receiver.

To remove the cartridge guide simply unscrew the cartridge guide screw from the right side of the receiver and remove the Cartridge Guide from inside the right hand side of the Receiver

To remove the Cartridge Stop, unscrew the Cartridge Stop Screw from the left side of the receiver.

(The Cartridge Stop is highlighted in the picture below.)

Now to get all these parts back in the ’86!


Reassemble In Reverse Order

To get the Lever, Carrier Hook, and Carrier to stay together for reassembly it is much easier to use a rubber band to hold these parts together. If not, you can become frustrated in short order.

STEP ONE: Slide the Breechbolt assembly partway into the receiver. Slide the Carrier, Carrier Hook, and Lever into the rear of the receiver.

Lineup the Lever and Breechbolt and insert the Breechbolt Pin into the Breech Bolt. You will need to make sure the firing pin, and Ejector is both pushed in far enough into the bolt, and that the lever is lined up at the same time so the Breechbolt Pin can be pushed into the Breechbolt. Fun isn’t it? This is just about the time you wished you had a third hand, but in no time you will have these lined up and the Breechbolt Pin inserted.

(Lever and Breechbolt pin hole lined up and Breechbolt Pin inserted)

Slide the Breechbolt, Lever, and Carrier on in the receiver. Once you get these parts into the receiver far enough discard the rubber band. Now on to the Locking Bolts.

STEP TWO: Insert the Locking Bolts in from the bottom of the receiver and install the Locking Bolt Stop Pin and screw. Again if you have problems inserting the right Locking Bolt, move the Cartridge Guide up or down whichever is necessary to allow the right Locking Bolt to go up into the receiver. The right Locking Bolt has a groove cut into it to move the Cartridge Guide up and down while the action is cycled.

STEP THREE: Install the Spring Cover Assembly.

STEP FOUR: Install the Carrier Stop and Carrier Stop Screw to the underside of the Upper Tang

STEP FIVE: Install the Hammer and Lower Tang Assembly back in the rear of the receiver. Again this is somewhat of a juggling act and a third hand could come in handy at this point. You need to keep the Lower Tang pressed in while making sure the Trigger is pulled back while aligning the holes in the Hammer and Carrier. Use a punch to help align the parts.

When you get the Receiver Screw pushed halfway in take a punch and align the carrier so the Receiver Screw can be pushed on in and screwed in the Receiver. If you removed the Mainspring during this process it needs to be captivated. An easy way to captivate the Mainspring for reassembly is to install the hammer in the Lower Tang outside the Receiver, then insert the Receiver (Hammer) Screw into the Lower Tang, then allow the Hammer to fall as far forward as possible and insert the Mainspring and Hammer Strut in the Lower Tang. Pull the Hammer back compressing the Mainspring. Once the Mainspring is captivated, pull the Receiver (Hammer) Screw out of the Lower Tang. (Thanks for the tip Griff!)

STEP SIX: : Install the Buttstock.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ruger LCR Kaboom or Timing Issue?

Posted by Mike Lewis at LMS Defense Forum ...
I was conducting a Concealed Carry Handgun class on 1 May 2010. There was a student training with a Ruger LCR that she stated had less than 100 rounds previously fired through it. She was using CCI Blazer 158 grain TMJ +P ammunition, and had fired approximately 25 rounds so far in the course without any cause for concern.

The student was in the middle of firing a two round engagement drill under my supervision; she fired one round then informed me that she thought her trigger was “stuck”. I took the firearm from her, assuming that she had possibly taken the cylinder out of battery, and attempted to put the cylinder back into battery. Upon looking, I noticed that part of the frame subassembly (the barrel sheath portion) was blown off, and the barrel split. I checked to see if the cylinder was stable, and the cylinder turned slightly in my hand before apparently being bound by the split barrel. I was able to clear the weapon, at which point we removed it from the firing line and inspected shooters for injuries. As there were no injuries resulting from this failure, we examined the firearm and replaced it on the firing line with one of my revolvers a S&W J Frame that performed flawlessly), so she could continue training.

In my opinion, this was most likely not a shooter or ammunition-induced failure. I checked the owner’s manual to ensure that this firearm was rated for +P ammunition, which it is. The cylinder and topstrap show no visible damage; neither does the right side of the firearm.

It appears that the chamber was not properly aligned with the bore when the round fired, and that the bullet struck the forcing cone out of alignment. The bullet most likely took the path of least resistance, leading to the catastrophic failure of the barrel and frame subassembly.

I have spoken with the VP of Ruger, as well as sending a letter to him concerning this failure; he seemed to be very interested and understanding of our concerns.
I'd go along with the timing issue but that makes it a non-"kaboom". The bullet merely struck and destroyed a portion of the handgun "structure". You can see in the photo that the barrel didn't "explode" but the left side of the "sleeve" was struck off.  I think it is a critical issue particularly with .357 Magnum LCRs but given the many thousands of guns out there it doesn't seem a likely occurrence. I know some shooters who cycle the gun as fast as they can whenever they shoot and they haven't replicated this event.

The consensus is that what happened was that a squib (or two) was fired followed by a full-power load which bulged the barrel (as happens in such circumstances).  In this instance a bulged barrel "bursts" the outer sleeve.  It was not a timing issue. 

I don't think this particular effect would have happened with a revolver of more traditional construction.  In that instance the barrel bulges but there is nothing of different ductility to fracture off the outside of the barrel assembly. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smith and Wesson K-Frame Model 66-7

The Model 66-7 2½-inch
I recently came into possession of this Smith and Wesson Model 66-7 2½-inch.  The Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson doesn't mention this version and says that the 66 was discontinued in 2005.  This one was originally sold to some Puerto Rican police agency and  was recently traded-in by them to Smith and Wesson as part of a deal for Smith and Wesson M&P pistols.  Refurbished by Smith and Wesson, these were then sold to Lew Horton and then this one made its way to Virginia.

Smith and Wesson apparently worked these over well as they are tight as a tick, timed right and every one of them has the 2 piece barrels.  I thought the counter-bore might have been done to repair muzzle crown damage from cleaning but this is the manufacture method used on the 66-7.   They have the lock (which you could see in my original photo) but did not come with the key nor did any literature accompany them. 

When I got it it had the original Hogue grips.  They are entirely too long but apparently that police agency used the same grips on all their revolvers.  Every one of them I've seen has the grips, 2½ or 4-inch it doesn't matter.  Anyway, I replaced those with a pair of wood stocks that were previously received in trade.  They fit well enough, are more compact, and don't stick to my clothing or make me nauseous.

I had the gun up to Mom's and shot 3 cylinders full of my .38 Special load of the 158 gr. Speer swaged HP over 5 gr. Unique.  Worked a treat.  These tensioned 2-piece barrels apparently have quite a good reputation for accuracy.
The two piece barrel was developed by Herb Belin, S&W Handgun Product Manager for the X-Frame 500 to add strength for the big new cartridge it fires. A conventional S&W barrel is supported only at the barrel/frame interface with a crush fit while the two piece is supported at both ends. Since the interface at the forcing cone is not stressed it is also stronger there. The better accuracy is an additional benefit.

Muzzle View - 2-piece Barrel
I don't know if I'll keep this gun.  It has the lock, the profile isn't the classic 19 and 66 profile and the muzzle has the counter-bored appearance.  That all bugs me a bit, particularly the lock.   What I'd really like to have is the 3" version of this gun, before the lock and MIM parts.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Winchester 1892 Survey

Our friend Michael _____ is doing some research on Winchester 1892s. If you are willing to have your 1892(s) included, email Michael.

In his own words...
I have begun a survey of the production variations of the Model 1892 and intend on covering the entire production range of just over a million rifles. Yeah I am sure I'm nuts to take this on but being a science kind of guy, collecting data and analyzing it is just part of me. So far I have looked at 535 rifles for the survey and hope to have several thousand down the road. The furthest rifle so far is from New Zealand. If you have one or one dozen and would like to make some data available for the project that would be great. I will be glad to let you know how your rifle fits into the serial number range around it. All data will be kept confidential and eventually I intend to publish a long article documenting the variations as they pertain to serial number and date of production. I have reference material and a spread sheet with easy instructions to help you. Any photos will gladly be accepted.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Notes from the gun shop...

Yesterday was no great shakes for sales. While we did about 7 transfers/background checks, we didn't have a lot of people in the shop. It was raining fairly heavily on and off and that probably slowed traffic but even the regulars weren't in so much.

The Virginia State Police have a new on-line computer system for doing the background checks. The front end is unwieldy and much slower to use in some ways. It uses data from BOTH the state and the federal 4473. It also requires "certification" by typing one's name and checking yet another box. One now enters the VA CHP number when that ID is used as the second ID for purchase of a handgun. That is a good thing. Unfortunately, it doesn't streamline the process in that it is not used by the computer to verify the individual's identity but only by the state police "checker" after the computer delays the sale. The two delays we had yesterday were back to the previous 4-hour length. Maybe a lot of people were out sick.

We received a number of S&W M66s traded in by some Puerto Rican police agency to S&W for M&P pistols. Both the 4-inch and 2½-inch 66-7s have the counterbored muzzles. Presumably this is done by S&W to eliminate any muzzle crown damage from cleaning rods. All these guns that I've seen have the lock. That really put me off the guns but I did work a deal on one. I figure I'm not into it for so much that I will get hurt on the deal. If I don't like it I'll move it on. The 2½-inch 66 is in demand locally and Boss Man has sold 2-3 already.

He still has the 2-inch Model 10 and now has a neat pre-MIM Model 37. He's also still got the blued and stainless Ruger .44 Special Flat-tops. There was also an Argentine made Hi-Power.

Winchester Polishing Room Records

Bert Hartman has been a moderator on Gunbrokers "Ask the experts" for many years.  For the past 5 years he has spent at least two weeks a year with a volunteer at the Cody Museum of Firearms research room.

This is a post that he has made and I hope you find it as informative as I have.

A bored mind is a terrible thing to waste, so having some free time to kill, I finally put together a fact sheet on the true production ratios and the verified DOMs for the Winchester Model 1894/94.

As many of you will undoubtedly note, the figures I have compiled below vary significantly from the numbers published by George Madis in his tomes "The Winchester Book" and "The Winchester Handbook". All of my statistical numbers were derived from a detailed survey (conducted by the Cody Firearms Museum) of the first 353,999 serial number records, and from the Polishing Room Serialization Record Books (held by the Cody Firearms Museum).

Unfortunately for all of the many collectors and interested people, all of the remaining pre-64 factory warehouse records (serial numbers 354,000 - 2,600,000+ were destroyed in a fire in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Undoubtedly, all of the caliber, and the Rifle versus Carbine production number ratios would change drastically if the records were available for serial numbers 354,000 - 2,600,298. The Polishing Room Serialization Record Books (PRSRBs) which contain nothing more than just the serial number, fortunately survive up to serial number 1,352,066, which was manufactured on December 29th, 1945.

For all of the many people who collect the Model 1894/94, this information should be both very enlightening and useful, and I highly encourage everyone to save a copy of it.

Production ratios for the first 353,999 Model 1894s made:

4:5 (78.19%) were Rifles (276,780)
1:5 (21.20%) were Saddle Ring Carbines (75,075)

1:2 (45.92%) was a 30 W.C.F. (162,568)
1:5 (22.80%) was a 38-55 (80,734)
1:9 (11.31%) was a 32-40 (40,023)
1:9 (10.45%) was a 25-35 W.C.F. (36,999)
1:11 (8.77%) was a 32 W.S. (31,050)

1:13 (7.60%) were Take Down Rifles (26,934)

9:10 (91.6%) had a full length magazine (324,270)
1:13 (7.51%) had a 1/2 magazine (26,579)
1:688 (0.15%) had a 2/3 magazine (515)
1:770 (0.13%) had a 3/4 magazine (459)
Just (1) gun had a 7/8 magazine

1:20 (5.02%) had a shotgun butt (17,768)
1:584 (0.17%) carbines had rifle butt plates (606)
1:1655 (0.06%) had a Swiss butt plate (209 rifles, 5 carbines)
1:3308 (0.03%) rifles had carbine butt plates (107)

1:26 (3.88%) rifles had pistol grip stocks (13,703)
1:34 (2.97% had checkered stocks (10,512)
1:718 (0.14%) carbines had pistol grip stocks (493)
1:4023 (0.025%) had carved stocks (81 rifles, 7 carbines)
1:9567 (0.01%) had a cheek piece (37)

1:69 (1.46%) had a double-set trigger (5,153)
1:70800 (0.0014%) had a single set trigger (5)

1:3026 (0.033%) were nickel plated (117)
1:3978 (0.025%) were silver or gold plated (89)

1:668 (0.15%) were inscribed (530)
1:998 (0.10%) were engraved (355)
Just (1) gun had a matted receiver (on the frame ring)

1:1744 (0.057%) had a matted barrel (200 rifles, 3 carbines)
1:3000 (0.033%) rifles had interchangeable barrels (TD) (118)

1:2255 (0.044%) had a case hardened receiver (155 rifles, 2 carbines)

1:88500 (0.0011% had a factory installed scope (4)
Just (1) rifle had a factory installed Maxim silencer (Teddy Roosevelt’s)

(2067) records are blank
(184) were sold as receivers only

Serial number 53,941 is the last “Antique” number based on the information in the Polishing Room records.

For the years 1894 through 1945, the DOMs published by George Madis (and copied/republished by nearly every other reference book or internet website) do not agree with the original surviving factory records (the factory warehouse ledgers and the PRSRB records), and they are inaccurate by nearly four years in the 1896 - 1914 timeframe.

Winchester began producing Model 94s at an accelerated pace starting in 1935. By the end of the year 1935, Madis' published DOM list and the PRSRB records only differ by just (17) serial numbers (1099625 versus 1099608), but they rapidly begin to diverge in the ensuing years.

Winchester's production of the Model 94 averaged about 35,000 units per year for the next (7) years (1936-1942 inclusive), and once again, Madis’ published numbers diverge from the PRSRB records. The PRSRB records end at serial number 1,352,066, which is listed as the last Model 94 serial number recorded on December 29th of 1945.

Following WW II, Winchester averaged approximately 100,000 Model 94s per year from 1946 - 1953, then about 55,000 per year through 1963. The numbers I have listed below are estimates that are based on my research survey, and they should not be relied upon to determine an "exact"  DOM.

1946 ended at circa serial number 1,411,000
1947 ended at circa serial number 1,470,000
1948 ended at circa serial number 1,560,000
1949 ended at circa serial number 1,660,000
1950 ended at circa serial number 1,760,000
1951 ended at circa serial number 1,875,000
1952 ended at circa serial number 1,960,000
1953 ended at circa serial number 2,045,000
1954 ended at circa serial number 2,100,500
1955 ended at circa serial number 2,156,000
1956 ended at circa serial number 2,211,500
1957 ended at circa serial number 2,267,000
1958 ended at circa serial number 2,322,500
1959 ended at circa serial number 2,388,000
1960 ended at circa serial number 2,453,500
1961 ended at circa serial number 2,510,000
1962 ended at circa serial number 2,564,500
1963 ended at circa serial number 2,600,300

Winchester changed the designation from "Model 1894"  to "Model 94"  very shortly after a "Change in Manufacture Order"  was issued by Frank F. Burton on February 2nd, 1919.

The following list contains verified Model 1894 dates based on the factory warehouse ledgers (held by the Cody Firearms Museum). The actual DOMs listed in the PRSRB will typically precede the "received in warehouse" date by an average of 4-weeks.:

EDIT: I recently added a very significant number of new serial numbers to this list. It should now very clearly show the progression of verified dates of manufacture. I do not plan to add any additional new serial numbers to the list on this post. That said, I am still updating my personal database survey with additional verified numbers. If anyone would like to contribute to the survey, please send me a PM.

Serial*** Received Date
22 - 10-20-1894
61 - 11-27-1894
90 - 12-7-1894
136 - 11-1-1894 (1st Takedown received)
137 - 11-14-1894
139 - 11-14-1894
165 - 12-8-1894
170 - 11-2-1894
204 - 12-1-1894
257 - 11-13-1894
266 - 11-12-1894
309 - 11-6-1894
338 - 1-5-1895
563 - 11-21-1894
603 - 11-22-1894
604 - 11-23-1894
624 - 12-10-1894
679 - 11-24-1894
734 - 2-2-1895
814 - 12-8-1894
832 - 2-16-1895
988 - 12-10-1894
1296 - 12-26-1894
1368 - 12-29-1894
1673 - 2-4-1895
1835 - 3-5-1895 (1st engraved)
2465 - 8-12-1895
3314 - 5-29-1895 (1st 30 W.C.F.)
3559 - 4-26-1895
4176 - 4-18-1895
4598 - 6-10-1895
4762 - 6-29-1895
5014 - 7-18-1895 (1st 25-35 W.C.F.)
5044 - 8-1-1895
5047 - 9-6-1895
5579 - 9-13-1895
5860 - 8-29-1895
6506 - 10-3-1895
7566 - 10-17-1895
11020 - 12-10-1895
12356 - 3-26-1896
12695 - 11-4-1896
12962 - 7-30-1896
12970 - 5-21-1897
13135 - 4-14-1896
14311 - 7-28-1896
15315 - 6-29-1896
15332 - 8-7-1896
15488 - 10-9-1896
16259 - 10-31-1896
16400 - 10-26-1896
16582 - 10-3-1896
17819 - 3-11-1897
17862 - 12-16-1896
20041 - 3-11-1897
20492 - 8-30-1901
22905 - 6-5-1897
25762 - 10-13-1897
26639 - 10-1-1897
26831 - 9-10-1897
27056 - 10-26-1897
27122 - 10-27-1897
27158 - 3-4-1902 (1st 32 W.S.)
28202 - 10-25-1897
32192 - 3-24-1898 (Factory engraved)
32246 - 1-27-1898
35925 - 12-9-1899
38802 - 4-20-1898
39555 - 7-20-1898
46056 - 8-13-1898
46821 - 8-30-1898
46831 - 9-19-1898
46882 - 12-22-1900
47142 - 9-15-1898
47176 - 9-23-1898
47431 - 9-29-1898
47856 - 10-20-1898
48116 - 10-22-1898
48468 - 10-15-1898
48466 - 10-15-1898
49796 - 12-28-1898
49809 - 11-10-1898
49980 - 12-19-1898
50840 - 9-13-1899
50909 - 11-17-1898
54160 - 9-8-1899
59367 - 5-23-1899
59668 - 5-22-1899
60584 - 4-4-1899
60879 - 4-17-1899
61710 - 5-8-1899
62652 - 5-12-1899
63274 - 8-3-1899
64043 - 8-10-1899
64406 - 8-19-1899
64872 - 9-1-1899
65056 - 10-18-1899
66200 - 8-25-1899
67776 - 9-26-1899
67952 - 9-19-1899
69622 - 10-10-1899
70126 - 10-19-1899
70788 - 10-20-1899
71479 - 11-4-1899
71560 - 11-1-1899
73342 - 7-3-1900
74059 - 11-24-1899
77924 - 3-29-1900
78333 - 9-12-1900
79036 - 1-8-1900
84801 - 3-24-1900
85249 - 8-9-1900
85741 - 4-24-1900
85816 - 6-20-1900
85930 - 7-7-1900
86623 - 7-24-1900
87767 - 9-1-1900
88624 - 7-2-1900
89924 - 12-28-1900
96641 - 1-8-1901
96800 - 1-9-1901
97581 - 4-25-1901
97869 - 11-2-1900
98829 - 3-1-1901
99126 - 12-7-1900
100621 - 8-3-1901
100955 - 2-4-1901
100994 - 3-11-1901
106970 - 2-25-1901
107731 - 10-5-1901
109921 - 5-25-1901
108346 - 6-1-1901
111524 - 4-2-1901
112916 - 4-24-1901
113997 - 5-18-1901
115623 - 10-22-1901
116570 - 7-29-1901
118828 - 10-5-1901
118446 - 8-6-1901
119046 - 8-2-1901 (18-inch Trapper Carbine)
119244 - 9-3-1901
119959 - 2-5-1902
120238 - 8-20-1901
122029 - 9-27-1901
122466 - 10-24-1901
124883 - 10-17-1901
125858 - 10-7-1901
128249 - 3-10-1904
128693 - 3-11-1902
131170 - 11-15-1901
131497 - 11-19-1901
136647 - 1-31-1902
139319 - 12-13-1902
139676 - 3-14-1902
142899 - 5-10-1902
145358 - 7-29-1902
145643 - 7-21-1902
146235 - 9-2-1902
150670 - 8-29-1902
152631 - 10-6-1902
154488 - 10-16-1902
154905 - 9-17-1902
155354 - 10-25-1902
156875 - 10-17-1902
164526 - 12-16-1902
165264 - 12-11-1902
167894 - 2-24-1903
168355 - 5-29-1903
168865 - 2-10-1903
176427 - 5-23-1903
176792 - 4-17-1903
177990 - 5-1-1903
180787 - 6-12-1903
182665 - 7-20-1903
186261 - 7-24-1903
187561 - 8-17-1903
189302 - 11-3-1903
190079 - 8-28-1903
199578 - 12-5-1903
203012 - 1-11-1904
203606 - 1-9-1904
203617 - 12-30-1903
206055 - 3-4-1904
206175 - 2-1-1904
216183 - 6-21-1904
222901 - 3-30-1905
225852 - 7-2-1904
226254 - 12-19-1908
227057 - 7-15-1904
235840 - 9-20-1904
239193 - 10-27-1904
240596 - 5-9-1905
244142 - 8-23-1905
249157 - 12-24-1904
249665 - 5-8-1905
250113 - 2-5-1906
256862 - 4-28-1905
257652 - 4-11-1905
259195 - 4-22-1905
260056 - 7-15-1905
261228 - 9-5-1905
261408 - 8-29-1905
265717 - 8-12-1905
274317 - 8-24-1905
274648 - 3-21-1906
275004 - 10-7-1905
276723 - 9-25-1905
277476 - 10-25-1905
280853 - 10-22-1906
282746 - 4-25-1906
288514 - 1-30-1906
299679 - 4-2-1906
301737 - 4-1-1907
302051 - 9-26-1906
303891 - 5-18-1906
304600 - 7-21-1906
309409 - 3-13-1908
311943 - 8-11-1906
311946 - 8-31-1906
313571 - 9-14-1905
314210 - 8-30-1906
314870 - 9-11-1906
318034 - 10-6-1906
324134 - 1-9-1907
324386 - 11-24-1906
324596 - 1-8-1907
325531 - 5-20-1907
326869 - 8-20-1907
327349 - 12-12-1906
330989 - 1-5-1907
335602 - 2-2-1907
336447 - 3-16-1907
337827 - 2-26-1907
340492 - 3-7-1907
353136 - 6-20-1907
353512 - 11-4-1907

Significant serial numbers;

1,000,000 was engraved and presented to President Calvin Coolidge in 1927
1,500,000 was presented to President Harry S. Truman on May 8th, 1948
2,000,000 was presented to President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953
2,500,000 was assembled in 1961
3,000,000 was assembled in 1970

All told, by January of the year 1980, 5,200,000 Model 1894/94 Rifles, Carbines, and Commemoratives had been manufactured at Winchester’s New Haven factory.

As I was going through some of the recently posted questions on the forum, I realized that I had neglected to address the dates and serial numbers for the introduction of the various calibers... the following list should help rectify that.

edit: I received a request concerning when and what the first Saddle Ring Carbine (SRC) was, so I have added this new information;

38-55 Rifle - serial number 24, 10-22-1894
38-55 Carbine - serial number 46, 3-36-1895 (by serial number order)
38-55 Carbine - serial number 471, 11-1-1894 (by date order)

32-40 Rifle - serial number 692, 12-14-1894
32-40 Carbine - serial number 1409, 1-18-1895

30 W.C.F. Rifle - serial number 3314, 5-29-1895
30 W.C.F. Carbine - serial number 4787, 6-24-1895

25-35 W.C.F. Rifle - serial number 5014, 7-18-1895
25-35 W.C.F. Carbine - serial number 6506, 10-1-1895

32 W.S. Rifle - serial number 107731, 10-5-1901
32 W.S. Carbine - serial number 22967, 8-27-1902 (by serial number order)
32 W.S. Carbine - serial number 142889, 5-10-1902 (by date order)

The above information should allow anyone with a letterable Model 1894 (serial 1 - 353999) to very closely estimate the DOM. For those who are interested in adding your Model 1894 to my database, please get in touch with me at


Monday, May 24, 2010

Changes to Gun Law in Virginia

You can keep up with all this at the VCDL site but I wanted to mention the following changes and I'm quoting from the VCDL release...


Starting July 1, CHP holders can carry concealed in restaurants and clubs that serve alcoholic beverages for on premise consumption, however the CHP holder cannot drink alcoholic beverages while carrying concealed. Police officers, on and off duty, as well as Commonwealth Attorneys, can carry concealed and drink responsibly.

There is NO requirement to notify anyone that you are carrying concealed in a restaurant or club and VCDL recommends taking a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The restaurant or club has the right to notify customers that guns are prohibited, or that a particular type of carry is prohibited (such as "no open carry" or, perhaps, "open carry only"). Regardless, if there was no obvious signage posted or you were not told verbally that guns are not allowed, you are NOT required to ask
permission and I suggest that you don't - just go about your business.

Open carry remains unchanged by the new law and allows for responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages.


For those who do not have a CHP, starting July 1 they can have a loaded handgun with them concealed in their motor vehicle or vessel as long as the handgun is secured in a container (such as a zipped bag, closed gun case, closed briefcase, etc.) or in a compartment (glovebox, console, etc.).

NOTE: Remember that if you don't have a CHP, you generally can't carry a handgun in such a closed container OUTSIDE of your motor vehicle or vessel.


The new vehicle carry law, above, has an additional benefit for BOTH CHP holders and non-CHP holders. Under the law effective July 1, a loaded handgun can be kept in a secured container or a secured compartment in a motor vehicle while on K-12 school property.

The new vehicle carry law (18.2-308 B 10) is in the list of general exemptions from the concealed weapon law. Police officers and Commonwealth Attorneys, for example, are listed in 18.2-308 B. The key is that in the third paragraph of the K-12 school weapons law (18.2-308.1) it says that anyone exempted from the concealed weapon law
is also exempted from the ban on guns on K-12 school property.

Thus, as long as your loaded handgun is in a secured compartment or a secured container BEFORE you pull onto school property and REMAINS SECURED in that compartment or container UNTIL AFTER you pull off the property, you are legal.

In case those of you with CHPs are wondering why you can't carry outside of your vehicle on K-12 school property, that's because the CHP wording (18.2-308 D) is NOT in the list of exemptions to the concealed weapon law (18.2-308 B and 18.2-308 C). Instead, you can think of your CHP as a "get out of jail free" card. You are not actually exempted from the concealed carry law, but you have an affirmative defense against any prosecution.

I think we should be working to exempt CHP holders from the concealed weapon law.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mernickle Holster for FA-97

A few months ago I managed to acquire a Freedom Arms 97 in .44 Special. I really liked the gun and thought it needed an appropriately fancy holster to match its fine construction. A lot of thought went into this. Even after deciding on the Mernickle P6SA it took me a while to commit to the carving. In the end it just didn't seem right to put this very fine revolver in just some plain old piece of leather.

Ordered in March, Mernickle apparently received the order on March 22nd. It arrived here on May 14th while I was at the NRA Annual Meeting. I'd been worrying the week before it arrived that I hadn't actually ordered it. I had decided to call Mernickle to ascertain if I had ordered it after coming back from the NRA meeting but, of course, it was waiting on me!

I have had a chance to wear it a bit, I already have one for my USFA single-action, and it is very comfortable and stays in place. The guns almost snap into place just as with a kydex holster but of course, there's none of that polymer in the holster. To my eyes the brown in the holster is a near match to the stocks on the revolver. I like that, too.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Color Blindness and Hunting or Shooting

Many years ago many of us didn't have access to color televisions and had to watch the black and white version. I was unusually good at "guessing" the colors of the clothing being worn as was determined when neighbors actually purchased color TVs. I didn't think there was anything wrong with my vision other than I was nearsighted and had some astigmatism. I could see color but sometimes couldn't differentiate between maroon and brown. The extent of my color deficient eye sight was revealed when I took the U.S. military entrance physical and took the Ishihara color vision test. I could not see any patterns past the first page!

Color blindness is not just monochromasy or seeing in shades of black and white.
The human eye sees by light stimulating the retina (a neuro-membrane lining the inside back of the eye). The retina is made up of what are called Rods and Cones. The rods, located in the peripheral retina, give us our night vision, but can not distinguish color. Cones, located in the center of the retina (called the macula), are not much good at night but do let us perceive color during daylight conditions.

The cones, each contain a light sensitive pigment which is sensitive over a range of wavelengths (each visible color is a different wavelength from approximately 400 to 700 nm). Genes contain the coding instructions for these pigments, and if the coding instructions are wrong, then the wrong pigments will be produced, and the cones will be sensitive to different wavelengths of light (resulting in a color deficiency). The colors that we see are completely dependent on the sensitivity ranges of those pigments.
This is the sort of color blindness my maternal-grandfather had. It kept him out of the service but it didn't stop him from wiring his home. He simply had my grandmother tell him what color the wires were and he would "flag" them with tape so that he knew which was which.

It appears that I likely have Protanomaly or "red-weakness".
Red, orange, yellow, and yellow-green appear somewhat shifted in hue ("hue" is just another word for "color") towards green, and all appear paler than they do to the normal observer. The redness component that a normal observer sees in a violet or lavender color is so weakened for the protanomalous observer that he may fail to detect it, and therefore sees only the blue component. Hence, to him the color that normals call "violet" may look only like another shade of blue.
I consider myself fortunate because my maternal-grandfather was colorblind and saw only shades of black and white. Because almost all forms of colorblindness are congenital and permanent, having some color vision seems to me to be a bit of a reprieve from what might have been.

How has color blindness affected my hunting and shooting? Well, in several ways.

First, the red dot and Crimson Trace sights relying on color to stand out against the background can be a problem for me. I find it much easier to see the black post against most backgrounds. The red-dot and red lasers are particularly hard for me to pick up no matter how bring they might be. Red flashlights are usable in that one isn't seeing the color for any purpose, I do see and recognize the light unlike some animals. The green lasers now made are relatively easy for me to see. Green and blue filters on flashlights are a big help to me in increasing contrast at night. Handy for finding bugs in the basement!

It has affected my cooking in that when cooking meat I can't tell for certain when meat is well done or not because I can't see the "pink" in the middle.  I use a thermometer when cooking for others to get around this.  When cooking for myself I'm not so picky. 

It is difficult for me to spot some game unless there is movement. Looking for horizontal lines to stand out against a mostly vertical backdrop helps but isn't the sole technique I use.

I don't think that the blaze orange stands out for me the way it does for others and so I am very cautious about my bullets' impact area and take my time before the shot. Sometimes I have to pass up a shot or lose an opportunity because I just don't know for certain what is in the impact area.

Aside from that, I don't really see much in the way of a negative effect, but I can see how my grandfather lost a lot of the "spice" from life.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gun sales slowing...

At least the number of background checks has declined...

Why? Because of the buyers finally running out of money? Because the regime hasn't really done anything yet? Because the guns people want aren't available? Because they are spending their money on ammunition and components instead?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NRA Politics

On several of the firearms forums I've been reading of an intense dissatisfaction with the NRA leadership. This is not a recent development, but has existed for many years. I'd like to take some time to express my thoughts on the subject and I might also take the liberty of adding to or editing the comments I make here because I want to be absolutely clear about my thoughts and accurate as to statements of fact.

First and foremost it seems that vote eligible NRA members don't vote. From the NRA report on the voting results it seems that no more than about 80,000 voted. I don't know the percentage of members who do (or don't) vote but somebody does. I do know that there are more people than just me who only vote for those nominees they think will actually do what they want. What they won't do is get behind a write-in candidate.

No write-in candidate received more than 250 votes. The secretary doesn't report those who received less than 250 votes and consequently doesn't report write-in candidates nor how many votes they received. It may be that the leadership doesn't see it as necessary as there are, no doubt, votes for "Mickey Mouse" and such. However, I would like to know if there was any real support for candidates like myself who offered our names as protest votes for those who are so outraged at the NRA board. Is it possible that those who express outrage aren't in fact going to rock the boat? No doubt that applies to some.

There's the rub. You can't have change (and I suppose that change might not be what some want considering the change that the Federal government is experiencing) unless you are willing to hang it out there and support that change with a vote. Even the current leadership about whom many complain lauds the "revolution" Neal Knox led that led to the current organization including leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox. My question to those disparaging the current NRA leadership is "WHY WON'T YOU PICK, VOCALLY (ON-LINE) SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR A CANDIDATE EXPRESSLY AS A PROTEST?" It sure doesn't have to be me or a friend of mine. It does have to be one legitimate, honest, and dedicated person who will attend the board meetings and speak to the other board members and at least try to execute the changes you want. I would personally like to see one such candidate get more than 250 votes and be considered for the 76th board member position at the annual meeting. I think it will wake up the NRA board as to the actual discontent (if it truly exists).

Now, lest you think that I'm a rabble rouser, I recently upgraded my NRA membership because I fully support the NRA. I've been considering doing so again.  I do wish they would work "harder" on some state-level issues and I do think that the leadership is responsible for those decisions but I am not privy to the reasoning behind them. I do think that more transparency would be a benefit.

One thing is certain, the attendees at this year's annual meeting were dominated by supporters of the current leadership. They received standing ovations at every introduction. I would say that the qualifying rank and file attendees at these events are more likely to have been voters than not.

I'd also like to say that I think the current leadership has had some notable successes and that I think they are genuine "believers". They think through the problems they encounter, do their homework and create plans of attack. There is very little if anything done off the cuff. In other words they are dedicated and competent. We could be much worse off.

This was demonstrated at the annual meeting by both the excellent planning and execution of the annual meeting and by the well-delivered speeches (multiple speeches) by the various leaders. In fact, my careful and considered observation of these men at the annual meeting have improved my opinion of all of them.

If you still think that the NRA needs a change and thus needs a change on the Board then you need to start now in working towards that goal. If you aren't now you must become a voting member, i.e. a LIFE member. You must select a candidate and campaign for them, first to be nominated by the nominating committee and if that fails as a write-in candidate. I am willing to be such a candidate but I am not going to unreasonably attack or denigrate the NRA leadership. My military experience tells me that one can lead from a non-leadership position.

That said, there are definitely some folks who've been elected to the Board or nominated by the nomination committee who aren't the sort that I'd support and I haven't. I fully believe that the 2nd Amendment applies to ALL arms from knives to "assault" rifles (and short-barreled rifles). I don't believe there are legitimate limits on the bill of rights and that includes the 1st as well as 2nd amendments. There are current and former board members who apparently do believe that some guns are reasonably restricted. They need to be gone. There was one who left the Senate for reasons such that we shouldn't have him on our board. 

Having been on another board, I'm well aware of the value of celebrities on the board but I do think that those celebrities should be genuine supporters of the organization's mission. I think that Ted Nugent, Oliver North and Tom Selleck are such people. I am NOT a supporter of having celebrities named to the board solely for the sake of their celebrity.

These are my views on the politics of the NRA.

This is a current, I believe, list of the NRA board members.  The year of the end of their term is shown where known.  I do not believe that all officers are also board members.  There are supposed to be 76 board members.  Somebody is missing.  Not sure which it is.

Joe M. Allbaugh
William H. "Bill" Allen
Thomas P. Arvas
Scott L. Bach (2012)
William A. Bachenberg (2012)
F. E. "Buster" Bachhuber, Jr.
M. Carol Bambery
Bob Barr
Ronnie G. Barrett (2012)
Clel Baudler
David E. Bennett III
J. Kenneth Blackwell
Dan Boren
Robert K. Brown (2012)
John Burtt (2012)
David Butz
J. William Carter
Richard Childress (2010)
Patricia A. Clark
Allan D. Cors
Charles L. Cotton
David G. Coy
Larry E. Craig
John L. Cusman (Cushman?)
William H. Dailey
James W. Dark
Joseph P. DeBergalis, Jr. (2012)
Manuel Fernandez (2012)
Joel Friedman
Sandra S. Froman
Thomas F. Gaines (2012)
James S. Gilmore III
Marion P. Hammer
Leo A. Holt
Stephen D. Hornady (2012)
Susan Howard
Roy Innis
H. Joaquin Jackson
Curtis S. Jenkins
D. Cynthia Julien (2012)
Tom King
David A. Keene (1st Vice President) (2012)
Herbert A. Lanford, Jr. (2012)
Karl A. Malone
Carolyn Dodgen Meadows (2012)
John F. Milius (2012)
Bill Miller (2012)
Owen P. "Buzz" Mills (2012)
Cleta Mitchell
Grover G. Norquist (2012)
Oliver L. North
Johnny Nugent
Ted Nugent
Lance Olson
Timothy W. Pawol
Peter J. "Jay" Printz
Todd J. Rathner
Edie P. Fleeman Reynolds (2012)
Carl T. Rowan, Jr.
Wayne Anthony Ross (2012)
Don Saba (2012)
Robert E. Sanders
Ronald L. Schmeits (President) (2012)
Harold W. "Budd" Schroeder
Tom Selleck
John C. Sigler (2012)
Dwight D. Van Horn
Robert L. Viden, Jr. (2012)
Harold L. Volkmer
Howard J. "Walt" Walter
J. D. Williams (2012)
Dennis L. Willing
Robert J. Wos (2012)
Donald E. Young

No 2010 list was seen by me but of those on the ballot we should know who WASN'T elected. Those were:

Donn Diabiasio (was on list for election as 76th board member but appears in roster...?)
Caroll B. Hallett
L. Kenneth Hanson III
Leo A. Holt (was on list for election as 76th board member but appears in roster...?)
Marion Townsend
Steven C. Schreiner (for whom I voted as the 76th board member)

Officers are (although they may or may not be listed above):
President, Ronald L. Schmeits
1st Vice President, David A. Keene
2nd Vice President, James W. Porter II
Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre
Secretary, Edward J. Land, Jr.
Treasurer, Wilson H. Phillips, Jr.
Executive Director General Operations, Kayne B. Robinson
Executive Director, Institute for Legislative Action, Christopher W. Cox

This is the most complete and up-to-date list on the internet that I know of.  I have been told that a complete list comes out in each September issue of the official NRA publication(s).  I can't understand why, if one accepts that we share these with others, the NRA doesn't have an internet resource for biographical and contact information for the board. 


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trip to the 2010 NRA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, NC

I've always wanted to attend an NRA annual meeting but either couldn't take the time or couldn't afford to go or simply was too far away or learned about the dates too late to make arrangements. Such is the life of a married soldier! This year I could go. I did. Took my dear wife with me, stopped the mail and boarded the dog (I hate doing that).  As you can see, we got to meet some people (that's Nana and me with Oliver North) and we got to see a lot of firearms products we never would have gotten to see otherwise AND we got to listen to a lot of rather famous if not down-right influential people speak.  Very interesting.

We left on Thursday evening and stayed in the Blake Hotel in Charlotte. Poor planning leads to poor performance and although we had no problems getting anywhere or walking back from the convention center I could have picked a hotel closer to all the venues. Never mind that the NRA changed some things. Never mind that insufficient information was provided. I could have looked at the venue plans and downtown maps and figured it out. I didn't.

If you are going to attend an event at the Convention Center AND you want to walk but not further than necessary, you would likely most prefer the Weston, Hilton or Hampton Inn and Omni in that order (disregarding cost). If you have an event at the Aquatics Center, the Blake, Hampton Inn and Hilton. If at the Time Warner Cable Arena, perhaps the Omni. I didn't go for the restaurant tour but if that is what floats your boat, move to the Omni or other hotels immediately adjacent to the arena. That area is teaming with all sorts of restaurants. I should point out that the NRA had plenty of shuttle service.

Now, back to the NRA event...

The Foundation dinner was Thursday night. We didn't attend. We'd gone to the local friends of NRA event and Nana was enforcing the budget (thank goodness, there's lots of ways to spend money). We also didn't attend the ILA dinner and auction on Friday night. We did attend, and this was a major draw for Nana, the Freedom Forum Friday afternoon together with 9,466 of our best friends. Speakers in attendance (and there were two who had recorded messages) included Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox, Ronald Schmeits, Governor Bev Perdue, Governor Haley Barbour, Senator John Thune, US Rep Heath Shuler, Ken Blackwell, Senator Jim DeMint, US Rep Dan Boren, Ambassador John Bolton, Governor Sarah Palin, Michael Reagan, LTC (USMC Ret.)Oliver North, US Rep Mike Pence, Senator Richard Burr and Chuck Norris.

I would like to take a moment to comment on the notable, for me, speakers. Wayne LaPierre really fired us up. This one speech (although I heard him speak a couple of more times after that) really changed my perception of the man. I had never heard Chris Cox speak but I thought he did well. Governor Haley Barbour gave an excellent speech which took full advantage of his "accent". But there was more to come!

Ken Blackwell isn't well known being the former Secretary of State for Ohio, but he should be. He gave a good, fire and brimstone speech which like the waves on the beach rose and fell in tempo until the big wave came in. He was right on and got many a standing ovation.

So did Ambassador John Bolton (who Nana met after the forum). It was apparent that this crowd knew of and appreciated his service and points of view. And then, there was Governor Palin.

Clearly Sarah Palin was the star of the "show". People had come to hear her talk (and many left immediately after she was finished. Her speaking style isn't polished and it might not sell well to some who think that polish is the substance, but she was well received here. More and more standing ovations for her.

Michael Reagan gave the sort of fire and brimstone speech I expected. It wasn't really notable but for some excellent stories about his father. I have the feeling that he is a genuine believer.

LTC North roused the crowd with a pro-USA and pro-military presentation that had most on their feet at least 3 times.

Rep. Mike Pence is somebody I've seen on TV quite a bit. He was an excellent speaker and really wound the crowd up.

Chuck Norris talked about his Kick Start program. What he talked about wasn't as important to me as what I learned about Chuck Norris. I got the feeling that he's a genuine person and has earned all his successes. In his manner he is one of us.

Getting out of bed early Saturday morning we went right on up the street to the Convention Center for more of the exhibits. I also got my voting credentials and went to the annual meeting. I'll talk more about NRA business later but I want to say here that after almost 3 hours of speeches Nana was ready for more exhibits (and my company) and less sitting alone in the crowded hall. I left the meeting and didn't vote on any of the 10, presumably, questions that were going to be considered and voted on by the membership.

Somewhere in the exhibit hall on Friday and/or Saturday you could have met any number of the shooting sports important people. Charles Kirkland of Dixie Gun Works, Anthony Imperato of Henry Repeating Arms, Michael Bane of the Outdoor Channel, Ted Nugent, Wiley Clapp, Joel Dortch of Happy Trails Children's Foundation, Gray Thornton of the Wild Sheep Foundation, R. Lee Ermey (Gunny) of "Mail Call", and Boge and Jeff Quinn of I know there were more but I wouldn't just shove my mug in and interrupt.

After about 2:30 Nana was beat and hungry and we got some chow and took a nap (yes, I'm at that age even if it was Nana's idea) and then at 5:15 headed over to the Time Warner Cable Arena for the Freedom Experience.

Now the Freedom Experience was something else. The arena didn't fill up but there were 11,754 attendees. It was lead off by the Randolph-Macon Academy Band and Chorus. The crowd was more than receptive to the patriotic music and there were several times when the music selection had nearly the entire audience on its feet. All this before Wayne LaPierre stepped to the dais. After the NRA leaders warmed up the crowd Glenn Beck came to the microphone and his taking down of the teleprompter started a talk which I intended to time but didn't, it was too interesting. He did go over his allotted time and had to push on through repeated standing ovations. I believe from this experience that the NRA members, at least those in attendance, are fully aware that they have to become political leaders in their communities (if they aren't already). He was followed by LTC Oliver North whose speech was even better than the one he gave on Friday night! And then came Charlie Daniels. The place was WIRED! What a night!

The NRA's well-run shuttles got people out of there and back to their hotels quickly and comfortably. We had a good sleep and were out of there and headed home by 8:30 or so.

Overall, I was very impressed by the whole operation. Charlotte easily handled the crowd. The locals were, without a single exception, pleasant and helpful. From hotel housekeeping to the police to the NRA volunteers to NRA staff we didn't interact with anyone who didn't know what they were supposed to know or was in any way less than enjoyable to work with. I think that's outstanding for some 72,128 NRA members (and who knows how many family members.

Again, we both had a great time so much so that we are planning to attend the Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh April 29-May 1, 2011. We hope we'll see you there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Notes from the gun shop...

What a day. It seemed as if every fella that heard the boss man had gone to the NRA "convention" had to call today to ask a question. Then the instant on-line check system went down for several hours. Good news was that when it came back on line approvals were instantaneous.

I did manage to convince one doubter that the .223 Remington can kill a coyote and thus sell one of the new Mini-14s.

We got 20 1 lb bottles of IMR 4350 last Monday and they are all gone. I sold the last one today and this at $27.99 each.

I had one fella come in looking for a .357 Magnum Marlin 1894 Cowboy but he never could get the nomenclature down. They are still cataloged but I have doubts that we can get one. He looked at the standard 1894C that we have (we have 3) and while doing so told us about his previous carbines. He'd had a .45 Colt which was apparently an Italian repro of some type and it was a real killer. Then he thought that he'd get a step up and got a .44-40. It "kicked like a mule". This is the sort of show you have to pay to see elsewhere.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ethanol in Gas Ticks Me Off!

Why am I angered by ethanol in gasoline? Let me count the ways...
1 - it hobbles my mileage thus raising my cost above what I'd pay for straight gas AND limiting my range between refills.
2 - it has destroyed at least one lawnmower. The ethanol isn't good with Tecumseh carburators and destroys some seals.
3 - it COSTS more money and energy to put in the gas than it can possibly produce.
4 - use of ethanol in gasoline raises the price of corn for foodstuffs.

So, I'm looking for gas sans ethanol for use in, at the least, my lawnmowers, weedeater and chainsaw. I discovered some information such as a map of the areas where the reformulated gasoline is mandated. There's a site that lists places you can buy ethanol free gas.

I discovered that Southern States sells ethanol free gas (E0 gas). Their pumps are a pain though. One central card reader and no instructions. I imagine it saves them money.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Outdoor Writer Suicides

My recent interest in Phil Sharpe was instigated by a wide-spread belief that he had shot himself. Apparently, many other outdoor/shooting writers have done so. How many? Why? I had a morbid curiosity about the subject. A search ensued...

Jacques P. "Jack" Lott (b. 15 Jul 1920 d. 12 Aug 1993) - Writer, gun crank and inventor of the .458 Lott cartridge.  Author of Big Bore Rifles. Friend of Frederick Russell Burnham's family and owned many of his guns. Jan Libourel has said that it was because he was "he was old, alone and in failing health".
- Buff Busters by Kevin E. Steele
- Why Magazine Big Bore Rifles are Best Part 1 by Jacques P. Lott
- Why Magazine Big Bore Rifles are Best Part 2 by Jacques P. Lott
- Don't Send Your Guns to an Early Grave by Jack Lott
- Big Bore Rifles by Jack Lott

Captain Edward Carthart "Ned" Crossman (1889 - 1939)- was a very prolific gun writer and the only writer of his era to make a living of writing for magazines. He was the dean of gun writers for the period from WW1 to his death, which is impressive as the era included Whelan, Hatcher & Klephart. His first magazine contribution was in 1904 and he was a regular in "Arms and the Man" and its successor "American Rifleman" from that point.

Born in Iowa, son of Leander C. Crossman whose was born in 1853, soon after his parents John Alexander Crossman and wife Mary Cathcart emigrated from Pennsylvania to Iowa in about 1850.  Leander was raised on the western frontier and, like most boys of this era and his age, learned to use firearms early in life to gather food, provide protection, and on occasion, recreation. By the time he had grown to adulthood he had become a well known rifleman of his day, making his name as a member of the Muscatine Guards-Company C of the 9th Regiment of the Iowa National Guard.

"Ned" followed in his father’s footsteps as a rifleman.  The family moved the California where Ned first came to public notice, at the relatively young age of 23, when his first contribution to Arms and the Man, the predecessor of the National Rifle Association’s flagship publication, The American Rifleman was published in 1904. He was a prolific writer, with a fund of information and interests that was both broad and deep, allowing him to write for a wide variety of magazines from outdoor publications to Scientific American. Once he had tasted the life of a free lance outdoor writer he never looked back and never really had any other main means of employment to support his family.

He was very active in the establishment of the Los Angeles Rifle and Revolver Club and served for many years as its secretary. He met and married Blanche Brown. Their only child Edward Bishop Crossman, called Jim for reasons unknown, was born on July 8, 1909. The family’s domestic life was a bit out of the ordinary as the trio often left their base in Los Angeles to roam the wild back country of the west ranging from New Mexico to Oregon in pursuit of game, adventure, and material for Ned’s columns.

April 6, 1917 General Peyton March, Chief of Staff of the Army, signed orders creating “The Small Arms Firing School of Instruction of Officers and Enlisted Men in Rifle and Pistol Shooting” with Lieutenant Colonel Morton Mumma as commandant. In recognition of his skill and knowledge as a marksman Crossman was ordered to active duty as a captain where he would join the great smallbore rifleman T.K. “Tackhole” Lee, long range specialists the likes of William Leusher and James Keogh and a host of others at Camp Perry, Ohio. After the war, Crossman stayed in the Army while still penning articles for the popular outdoor press. He was recognized for his technical knowledge and writing skill and so, in 1919, detailed to Daytona Beach, Florida to serve under Lieutenant Colonel Glenn P. Wilhelm in checking the range tables of the 30 caliber M1 cartridge and determining its actual maximum range. Crossman was able to publish the program and conditions for the first smallbore national matches in the June 28, 1919 Arms and The Man.

Crossman had been mustered out of the Army soon after his tour at Daytona when it was discovered that he had developed stomach ulcers, but his attachment to his days in the service were so strong that he would often use the honorific of ‘captain’ in the ensuing years. He branched off into a relatively new field of firearms forensics. He soon became associated with the Bureau of Forensic Ballistics, eventually dealing with over 200 cases. When his son Jim graduated from California Institute of Technology in 1931 he joined his father in his practice.

On the 18th of October in 1938 Ned was driving home through a blinding dust storm. In the limited visibility their auto was broadsided by a truck near Indio and Ned, unhurt, was horrified to see that Blanche had suffered a broken neck. She passed three days later. Ned was disconsolate and blamed himself for his wife’s death. He slipped into depression. Three months after the accident Ned closed the doors of the garage at his 142 South Rockingham Road home, slid behind the wheel of his car, shifted into neutral, set the brake, turned on the ignition, and calmly sat back awaiting the inevitable.

Paul Curtis -  is among the first “modern day” gun writers. Curtis was the Arms and Ammunition Editor for Field & Stream. Curtis wrote three books: Sporting Firearms of Today in Use – 1922, American Game Shooting – 1927 Sportsmen All – 1938. Game and Gunning was printed in 1934 and contributed to one other.

Curtis Wife, Mrs. Mabel Curtis, is the lady written of who on an extended hunt in Canada in 1935 stuck a tang sight in her eye while shooting a Model 99 Savage uphill. She had to ride out of the wilderness to seek medical attention and had to be one tough person. Elmer Keith wrote about this incident several times and it made a lasting impression on me.

M. A. Eibert - Drowned himself in Fleigel Lake, WI.

Ted Trueblood (b. 26 Jun 1913 - d. 12 Sep 1982) - wrote for over 40 years about natural resources and conservation demonstrating an ability to attract readers from across the country.  Called "The Dean of Outdoor Writers." Ted Trueblood was born in Boise, Idaho. He grew up on his parents' farm near Wilder, where he later graduated from high school in 1931, the same year that he sold his first article. Trueblood attended the College of Idaho for two and a half years. He married Ellen Michaelson in 1939. Together, they had two sons.
He moved to New York to work with Field and Stream, where he served as fishing editor.  In 1947 after the death of a neighbor he returned to Idaho  "determined to hunt, fish, and write about it." He wrote, "Why work hard and save money and then die before I had a chance to enjoy the things for which I had been saving?"  Trueblood wrote and published  The Angler's Handbook (1949), The Fishing Handbook (1951), Ted Trueblood on Hunting (1953), The Hunter's Handbook (1954), and finally, The Ted Trueblood Hunting Treasury (1978.) Trueblood was also well known for his conservation efforts, as evidenced by the number of awards he won: American Association for Conservation Information: Award of Merit (1963), Idaho Wildlife Federation's Conservationist of the Year (1973-74), U.S. Department of the Interior: Conservation Service Award (1975). He was also involved with the Save Our Public Lands project, and served as president of the River of No Return Wilderness Council, and was a member of several other conservation groups.  He committed suicide after a long bout with cancer.

Henry William Herbert - (b. bef. 1831 - d. 1858) perhaps the most popular outdoor sporting writer before the Civil War under his pen name Frank Forester.  He came to the United States in 1831 and he spent the following eight years working as a professor of Latin and Greek.  He co-founded the American Monthly Magazine in 1833.  In 1839 Herbert began writing for the American Turf Register under the alias “Frank Forester.” As Forester, he published The Warwick Woodlands, or Things as They Were There Ten Years Ago (1845), My Shooting Box 1846, The Deerstalkers (1849), Frank Forester’s Field of Sports of the United States, and British Provinces, of North America (1849), The Quorndon Hounds; or A Virginian at Melton Mowbray (1852), The Complete Manual for Young Sportsmen (1856), and Frank Forester’s Horse and Horsemanship of the United States and British Provinces of North America (1857). These books also highlighted Herbert’s artistic ability--he drew many of the illustrations found within them. Herbert committed suicide in 1858. His wife left him after only a few weeks of marriage and her departure brought on a fit of depression, which ended when he shot himself.

Guy Waterman - (b. 1933 - d. 6 Feb 2000 ) Born in New Haven, Conn., and educated at George Washington University, Waterman worked his way through college as a jazz pianist. He spent the 1950s in Washington, D.C., working for the Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Senate as an economist and legislative assistant. Waterman moved to New York City in 1961 and worked another decade as a speech writer for General Electric Co., also contributing speeches to three U.S. presidents. In 1973, Waterman moved with his second wife and co-writer, Laura Johnson Waterman, to East Corinth, Vt., to live on a 40-acre farm where they grew their own food, chopped their own firewood and made their own maple syrup without electricity, plumbing or central heating. Together they wrote the books Backwoods Ethics: Environmental Concerns for Hikers and Campers and Wilderness Ethics and had worked on A History of Mountain Climbing in the Northeast. Waterman also co-wrote Woods Trails, a monthly column in New England Outdoors, and contributed articles to various outdoor magazines. Despite losing two of his three sons in fatal mountain-climbing accidents, Waterman climbed all 48 of New Hampshire's peaks higher than 4,000 feet in the winter and from all four points of the compass, according to a friend. Found to have committed suicide near the summit of Mt. Lafayette in New Hampshire.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Major General Julian S. Hatcher

Julian Sommerville Hatcher (June 26, 1888 – December 4, 1963), was a noted firearms expert and author of the early twentieth century. He is credited with several technical books and articles relating to military firearms, ballistics, and autoloading weapons. His premier works are Hatcher's Notebook and Book of the Garand, along with Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers and Pistols and Revolvers and Their Uses. He was also a pioneer in the forensic identification of firearms and their ammunition. Hatcher retired from the United States Army as a Major General. Afterward, he served as Technical Editor of the National Rifle Association's "American Rifleman" magazine.

Hatcher was born in Hayfield (Gainsboro), Virginia and graduated with honors from Annapolis in 1909 after which he voluntarily transferred from the Navy to the Army's coast artillery. He married Eleanor Dashiell and together, they had three children. As Chief of the Small Arms Division in the Ordnance Department and the Assistant Commandant of the Ordnance School before and at the beginning of World War II, he worked closely with Springfield Armory as an engineering trouble-shooter in resolving early production issues associated with the early iterations of the M1 Garand Rifle.

In 1916, the Hotchkiss M1909 Benet-Mercie machine gun was in general use with the U.S. Army and was seeing action during the Punitive Expedition against the bandit Pancho Villa. Reports of its use in Mexico indicated the gun was not functioning properly. Investigation revealed that the chief problems were the 30-round metallic feed strips used in the gun and inexperienced gunners. It was Lieutenant Hatcher who was sent to the border to solve the problems. Finding the cause in a lack of gunner training he established the Army's first machine gun school and trained crews. Soon, the Benet-Mercie proved to be an effective weapon.

Canfield says Hatcher was later instrumental in developing a solution to the vexing problem of brittle metal in early M1903 receivers built by Springfield and Rock Island Arsenals. His solution was to drill a hole in the receiver adjacent to breech. Dubbed the "Hatcher Hole", the modification was typically added to receivers at overhaul.

- Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers
- Machineguns: Mechanism, The Practical Handling Of Machine Gun Fire, Machine Gun Tactics
- Book of the Garand
- Hatcher's Notebook or the digital copy
- Firearms Investigation, Identification and Evidence
- Reloading Information from the American Rifleman Vol. 1

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marlin Model 62

Marlin Model 62 Rifle
Chambered for the .256 Winchester and .30 U.S. Carbine, the Marlin Model 62 (as well as the Model 56 .22 LR and 57 .22 WMRF) was an attempt by Marlin to produce a 'modern' levergun at a better price-point.  These guns were made from 1955 to 1969.

To disassemble (from the hang tags for the Marlin 62):

1. Remove magazine, open lever, loosen front takedown screw (69), and front screw under lever ((70). Barrel and action may now be lifted out of the stock. NOTE: The trigger plate (78) is permanently attached to the stock. DO NOT try to remove it.
2. Remove the two front assembly screws (5) and the rear assembly screw (3) and post (1). Swing the rear of the action out of the receiver completely. Spread the front ends of the side plates (64 & 65) apart to disengage studs from receiver and remove action. To reassemble, reverse this procedure.
3. By lifting the front of the breech bolt (11), all working parts are exposed for cleaning and oiling without taking side plates apart. It is not recommended to take the side plates apart for cleaning or oiling.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Notes from the gun shop...

Second day of gun shop work this week.

Interesting guns included a Winchester Model 55 .22 LR Semi-auto single shot... Yep. It has a "tap" or gate on top with groove. Push on it with bullet nose to expose chamber and insert. Safety is automatically engaged. Release safety, push forward on button at rear of receiver, and fire. Fires from OPEN bolt like many submachineguns. Round will be automatically ejected through port in bottom of receiver. 48,000 made from late 1940s through 1953 or so. I had never seen one until today.  Not the one shown above, the one our shop has is in much better condition. We took in a Winchester Model 59 .22 LR bolt gun from the same seller.

He promises to bring in a Leman muzzleloader in about 3 weeks. Charles or Henry and what form I do not know. The rifle was used by a fellow in West Virginia from about 1840. They have the provenance recorded which he will bring with him. I love this sort of thing.

The background check system had some more tech problems this morning and they never seemed to catch up. At one time we had 5 purchases delayed. I don't know what was going on there.

The shop also has a 2" Model 10 roundbutt in stock. NICE gun but no box. I mulled over that one for a while.

Raid at Martin's Station

I love history. Living history is something for which I've never had available time to devote to participation. Martin's Station is one of those key places that nobody knows about. Near the Wilderness Road, access to Kentucky, many famous Americans passed through the area in their exploration, exploitation and settlement of Kentucky.
The original Martin's Station played a relatively short but significant part in the history of southwestern Virginia and the early settlement of Kentucky. The station takes its name from Joseph Martin, who was born cir. 1740 in Albemarle County, Virginia. Following a somewhat restless early life which included service in the French and Indian War, Joseph Martin became the overseer for a wealthy relative who was closely connected with Dr. Thomas Walker. This connection with Dr. Walker proved valuable for Joseph Martin, who would eventually be selected by Dr. Walker to lead an expedition into the Powell's Valley.

To help assert the legitimacy of his land claims to the Powell's Valley region, Dr. Walker organized an expedition and promised Joseph Martin 21,000 acres if his group were first to settle on the land. On March 26, 1769, after an arduous journey through the wilderness and a literal race with a rival expedition, Joseph Martin's group entered Powell's Valley - two weeks ahead of the others.

Joseph Martin and the members of his expedition identified a tract of land near the present-day village of Rose Hill, Virginia. They erected a stockaded fort, some crude cabins, and planted a corn crop. These efforts at settlement proved to be useless, as an Indian attack occurred in the fall of 1769 and the station was abandoned before the corn ripened. Joseph Martin and his men returned to Albemarle County, but retained title to their land.

Joseph Martin would not be long absent from the station, and in January 1775 returned to Powell's Valley with a party of 16 or 18 men. They set about to build a more permanent station, which included four or five cabins for the men and a stockade, on the site of the old station. John Redd, one of the men with Joseph Martin in this endeavor left the following description of the 1775 station:

Martin's Fort was on Martin's Creek. The fort was located on the north side of the creek. There were some 5 or 6 cabins; these built some 20 feet apart with strong stockades between. In these stockades there were port holes. The station contained about half an acre of ground. The shape was a parallelogram. There were two fine springs near the station on its north side.

The importance of the station greatly increased when on 17 March 1775 the thirty-two million acre Transylvania Purchase between Judge Richard Henderson and the Cherokee Indians was finalized at the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River. Joseph Martin was appointed by Henderson as an agent and entry taker, a duty that would keep him constantly moving in and out of Martin's Station. As the last fortified station along the Wilderness Road prior to reaching the new lands Henderson was opening in Kentucky, Martin's Station was a well-known stop for the early settlers.
One can read more about it in Mark A. Baker's "Sons of a Trackless Forest".