Sunday, July 31, 2011


Back when cartridge firing repeating arms were relatively new one Christopher Spencer up and designed a lever-action repeating rifle/carbine. They are now making a comeback with reproductions being made for the living history and cowboy action shooting crowds.

These guns came out just in time for the American Civil War 1861-1865 and about 200,000 rifles and carbines were made. Almost exclusively used by the Federal army because only the North could produce the cartridges, the carbine particularly made itself felt on the battlefield in cavalry vs infantry engagements such as at Gettysburg. There has long been a great deal of romance attached to this arm and consequently they are a favorite of collectors. That said, a number have been converted to centerfire so that reenactors and other interested individuals can fabricate ammunition using available centerfire cases the original rimfire cartridges having been long out of production. This demand in turn resulted in the production of reproduction Spencer rifles and carbines.

Most all that I've handled, including the two examples that were displayed at the 116th Infantry Museum, have shown signs of hard use. Ammunition was produced through to the 1920s and I have no doubt that was when most of the guns were finally reaching the point that they were irreparable.

Below you can see a couple of videos my friend "Perry Owens" of merry old England has done on the Spencer.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bearcat Cylinders

Carl Laco provided this photo comparing an old model Bearcat cylinder on the right with a new model Bearcat cylinder on the left.  Note the difference in length.

Based on this, I would think that a new model Bearcat would be one to re-chamber to .22 WRFM if one was so inclined.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Henry "Breaker" Morant

Harry 'Breaker' Morant sailed to Australia in 1883 at the age of 19 and became a skilled horsebreaker hence the handle of 'Breaker'. In 1902 he was convicted at a court martial of murdering 12 Boer prisoners and was executed by a British firing squad.

The subject of the film "Breaker Morant" starring Edward Woodward, Somerset-born Morant was among thousands of men from Australia who volunteered to fight against Dutch settlers in South Africa. This was a sometimes savage guerrilla campaign, when numerous atrocities were committed by both sides. Morant and another Lieutenant in the Bushveldt Carbineers named Peter Handcock are said to have intercepted a group of eight prisoners being brought in for questioning and was accused of ordering them to be shot at the side of the road as well similarly summarily executing other Boers who had waved a white flag of surrender.

In 2010, Queen Elizabeth was petitioned to pardon Morant which she refused to do.

I saw the film, "Breaker Morant" while stationed in the Republic of Korea.  Now there's an audience to which to play this subject.  All soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines and all trained, some extensively, in the law of land warfare.  Several in the audience I knew to be field grade officers.  It seems to me, although my memory might be a bit dodgy, that the main facts of the case are correctly shown in the film.  At the time as well as now, I appreciated the apparent accuracy of clothing and equipment used.  The Boer wars have long been an interest of mine and seen in that light alone, it is an interesting film.

However, to that audience, it was certainly a reminder of the duty's requirements when we thought we might at any time be fighting a rather implacable foe proven to have committed many atrocities of their own.  I thought that it was pretty sobering. 

For those of you who might be interested, the Boers used a large number of different rifles and carbines as was necessary.  The British used the Long Lee-Enfield and Lee-Metford rifle and Lee-Enfield carbines (adopted in 1896).  That's a Long Lee-Enfield that Edward Woodward as Morant is holding in the photo to the right. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bailey's Health

Bailey had a visit with the vet today.  After her bout with GI inflammation/diarrhea she's doing well but she needed her annual check up and vaccinations.  Got them all.  Very well behaved and notably different from when I'm not there.  Even let me put a muzzle on for a nasal spray.  Teeth look good.  Weight is good.  Ok, so there is a "but"...  BUT she has a heart murmer.  Doc rates it a 3 on the vets' 1-6 scale (6 being the "worst").  Might mean nothing, might be a precursor to something serious.  Bailey is 11 this year.  We'll see. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Faith

We can't know everything and sometimes we just have to believe in others, that something has happened as we've been told it happened, and so forth.

Recently, the atheists (those who don't believe in "anything") have decided that having a cross in the 9/11 Memorial museum is silly and offensive to them.  One of the plaintiffs wants a "Lutheran" cross.
Atheists have sued to prevent cross-shaped steel girders from the destroyed World Trade Center towers from being included in the official Sept. 11 memorial, saying the religious symbol is unconstitutional because its gives "preferential representation" to Christians who died in the 2001 terror attacks.

Workers found the broken, 17-foot-tall cross-shaped beams two days after the attacks, and they became known as the "World Trade Center cross." Saturday, the rusted cross was moved from its temporary home near St. Peter's Church and lowered into its permanent place inside the museum, which is under construction. A Catholic priest gave it a ceremonial blessing.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday on behalf of four members of American Atheists, argues that including the Roman Christian-style cross at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum violates the First and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the New York State Constitution.

"Many of American Atheists' members have seen the cross, either in person or on television, and are being subjected to and injured in consequence of having a religious tradition not their own imposed upon them through the power of the state," the complaint (pdf) states. If the cross is not removed, the group wants a non-religious exhibit included.

According to the lawsuit, among the 2,792 people killed in the twin towers, 31 were Muslim Americans, approximately 400 to 500 were Jewish Americans, approximately 500 were non-religious Americans, and an unknown number were Americans of other faiths.

USA Today 27 Jul 2011

It apparently isn't important that their statements are offensive to Christians. Nor is it important that the vast majority of those killed were Christian. The idea is apparently to deny others their faith, not to support the non-faith or differing faith of a minority.
"The WTC cross has become a Christian icon," said Dave Silverman, president of the atheist group. "It has been blessed by so-called holy men and presented as a reminder that their god, who couldn't be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross. It's a truly ridiculous assertion."

What really bugs me about this whole thing, apart from the lack of logic, is the statement that religion is silly. It is a matter of belief. They believe there is no god. I believe that there is ONE God, creator of all things, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. We each BELIEVE because, as it is now, as we sit in this existence neither can prove or disprove their belief. This is why both sides are acting on FAITH and BELIEF rather than referring to provable facts. But, I submit, that because I believe and should I come to death and there be nothing on the other side I will have lost nothing through my "silliness". On the other hand, if I am correct in my belief, I will be welcomed into the "afterlife". As for the athiest, if there is nothing they will have no way of enjoying the ego stroke of being correct, but if (when) they discover they were wrong, there will be no way to recover from their "silliness".

In my belief system, just as Mr. Silverman has the free will to not believe in God and the jihadist believes God gives him carte blanche to kill others with whom he disagrees on matters of religion, so too does God give us the freedom to act or NOT act on those beliefs. After all, it wouldn't be free will if God could stop us from doing what he doesn't want us to do. There's nothing ridiculous about God leaving a sign that he prevails regardless of what the jihadist or atheist do in this world. If you don't mind, I'll just take that on faith...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Another slow Monday, well, it SEEMED slow.  However, we sold and or traded 7 guns today.  It was actually pretty busy.  A number of people found their way to the shop at or after lunch.  We had the weather against us though.  Hot and humid before lunch, heavy rain and thunderstorms after lunch.  Boss man was back after a two-week vacation at Myrtle Beach and was tanned and rested.

One thing that was a bit of excitement was locating a particular person's purchase on the security cameras.  You see that person was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.  That person brought it into the shop and took it out of the shop.  Yes, 'they' know.

More people are getting excited about silhouette shooting.  There was a Magnum Research rifle with Hogue over-molded stock, carbon fiber barrel, and a neat scope there that screamed "Hunter class".  A neat gun it is a copy of the Ruger 10/22 and even had a Ruger 10-round rotary magazine.  I was thinking this MAGNUM LITE® rifle would be the perfect lightweight gun for Nana to use in silhouette shooting. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday doin's...

It is hot, but not quite as hot as it has been.  Still, the sound of cicadas in this heat is akin to the sizzling of bacon in the pan and makes you feel as if you might have a front row seat.  Thanks goodness I already mowed all the lawns!  Not much planned for the day except to go to the range, get my orientation and thus my key and membership card.  August 7th will be my first match out there.  I've got the rifle mostly set up for silhouette and the pistol closer to ready. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

What you must prepare for if you are a CHP holder...

It is an unfortunate fact that not all police officers are suited for the job for one reason or another.  Some are in the job for reasons other than service to the community.  Inevitably an unsuitable individual will demonstrate that unsuitability in some way.  In some cases we might be so lucky as to actually see that behavior and remove that officer from the force before something really bad happens.  This may well be the case here.   I will leave it to you to decide what the problem is here.  However, eventually you may well run into one such as this...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Had to have my late 2004 Ford F150 inspected yesterday.  While waiting I walked about the lot looking at new F150s.  I guess you could say I had some sticker shock.  None cost less than Nana's new Jeep Grand Cherokee with all the bells and whistles.  Most were close to double the price I paid for my current truck.  That's not to say they have twice the features or strength or something.  Come to think of it, all that I looked at were 4-wheel drives which pushes the price up, then again, so is Nana's vehicle.  Some of that cost is part and parcel of being in a more remote & smaller market.  Anyway, it wasn't much more truck for a lot more money.

I like my truck.  It has been all around the country, back to Houston, down to Florida (both coasts) several times, up to  Pennsylvania several times, over to West Virginia several times, down to Pigeon Forge and over the mountain in Maggie Valley a couple of times.  My truck is now almost 7 years old and has almost 104,000 miles on it.  There is one small dent from a tree limb in the hood, a slight dent in the right rear door from a shopping cart and the bed is a bit banged up with a couple of paint transfers.  The upholstery has no flaws that I know of.  The carpet and floor mats are in good shape as are the pedal covers.  It just passed inspection and gets about 14.5 mpg in town on the subsidized ethanol fuel or about 16.5 mpg with real gasoline.  It did about 17 mpg towing the RV but that was real gas.  Moreover it is comfortable to drive and to ride.  It isn't too noisy. I think I'll hang on to it for a while at least.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Silhouette preparation...

I've decided that I'm going to shoot smallbore (rimfire) silhouette.  I need a rifle and I've got a couple.  I'll get one set up right away and I have a plan.  I'm wondering if my planning and preparation will result in performance.

What is silhouette shooting?  At our club it is a game in which one shoots at silhouettes of chickens at 40 yards, pigs at 60 yards, turkeys at 77 yards and rams at 100 yards.  2½ minutes is allowed for each "bank" of 5 targets.  One shoots at 2 "banks" of each silhouette i.e. at each distance.  The silhouettes are steel and are set so that they will fall over when properly struck by a bullet.  This gives immediate (or almost so) and positive feedback to the shooter and observer.  The target must fall from the stand to count as a hit.  Slings, shooting gloves and jackets aren't allowed.  All shooting for rifles is off-hand/standing.  In all, this is pretty close to a practical test of rifle shooting. 

I'm going to start shooting by using my TC Contender with "match" barrel for the .22 LR.  I currently have a 4X telescopic sight mounted.  I intend to use Mike & Dad's 10" Ruger MK II for the open sight pistol matches.  I have a couple of brands of quality .22 LR ammo in quantity that will allow testing, practice and competition for a while.  I have an ammo box to organize my ammo so that I can keep track of the 5-round strings used on the targets.  I have found full-size targets on the internet for testing and practice.  There will probably be some ramp up time but the next match is on August 7th so I need to get going.

My plan is to shoot the ammo intended for use to accurately chart its trajectory from my rifle.  I'll then determine the correct sight setting to cover all ranges and zero there.  I'll do the same for the pistol.  That will take more doing I think but maybe not much more.

A rough zero at 25 yards and testing at 50 and 75 yards show that I should be able to use this ammo with a single sight setting on all the targets.  

I'm going to shoot open sight pistol as well and have a Ruger MK II 10" for that. This gun was Dad's and Mike's before that and so it will be good to sort of take them shooting with me.

- correct scale practice targets
- correct scale target patterns
- NRA silhouette rifle rules

Monday, July 18, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

I wish there was something to report.  There isn't much.  I saw a nice S&W Model 12 (an airweight M&P .38 Special), a really nice Colt 1903 hammerless with box, and a really nice Winchester Model 92 SRC with button mag in .25-20.  All do and will continue to belong to somebody else.  Got to talk shooting all day but not a lot of people were in the shop until about 12:00 and then we were busy until about 2:00 and then all was over right up until the last half hour when we had a sudden "run" of folks. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Shooting

It was once fairly common in the U.S. that every Sunday, after services, maybe lunch, there might be militia drill or shooting competitions.  Aside from court day and market day, days when other things took priority, Sunday was the day when neighbors came together. There are still shooting competitions on Sunday but I suspect that some shooters don't stop off at church on the way to the range.

Today I went out to the Stonewall Rifle and Pistol Club range to link up with friend and co-worker Lewis G____.  When I got there it seemed that the whole staff of Nuckols Gun Works was there.  Today the club had two shoots both for .22 rimfires.  The first was a "fly" shoot in which shooters competed to see who could most often hit a printed fly at 50 and 75 yards.  Clearly, good glass is needed but this is also a benchrest competition and being informal, there's no end to the admixture of personal set-ups.  Shooters range in age from the 30s to the 70s.  Some stuck around for second match of the day, rimfire silhouette.  Apparently this match was started at the club by the current club president.  There was some turnover from one match to the other but a good turnout nonetheless.

I didn't shoot but Frank P________ made a point to ask if I had a suitable .22 for the job and I do for the silhouette game, rifle or pistol.  I think my Winchester 320 is up to that challenge and I have the match barrel for the Contender.  Then, I also have the 10" Ruger MK II.  That last was made for the silhouette game.  Silhouette shooting is also much more interesting to watch than paper punching and if Nana is to go with me she needs some visual feedback although that means I'll likely get some entertaining verbal feedback!

I don't think I could compete at all in the benchrest.  I don't have one of the rifles necessary for the game.  These guys start with a $1000 Anschutz, put a $300+ scope on it and spend $20 a box for ammunition.  Frankly, that doesn't thrill me much.  I much prefer a more practical game. 

I'm a new club member, have paid my dues but haven't had my "orientation".  I didn't call to arrange that due to Bailey being sick.  I was certain that Murphy would visit the whole deal if I did make an appointment.  I'll make that call this week.  Once I do that I'll get my club card and key. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nana's gone...

Nana's gone on a girls week out vacation to Pigeon Forge with her friend Criss W______.  She left me with a healing dog and a long list of chores as well as a killer work schedule.  So now I'm wondering what to have for dinner with white rice (for the dog...) and whether or not to take time tomorrow to go to the range and help Lewis with the "fly" match.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bailey sick again...

Our dog, Bailey, is sick again.  This time it is presenting as unrelenting diarrhea.  It started in the midst of doing "her business" a couple of days ago and has progressively worsened since she threw up her breakfast from Tuesday morning.   Last night I was awake nearly all night shuttling her outside or cleaning up if she didn't warn me quickly enough.  She was upset, I was upset.

I'd called the vet yesterday afternoon.  Although she hadn't had any accidents I was taking her out every 2 hours or so and she would pass a lot of gas while passing nothing else but water.  She only urinated a couple of times all day.  This continued, the intervals getting shorter and shorter until this morning she was spontaneously going about every 30-45 minutes.   I lay down right next to her and we still couldn't get her outside in time twice and I had to wash out her crate.  I got dressed at 6 AM and had her ready to go at 6:30 and we were at the vet shortly after the office opened.  I now await the phone call...

She's 11 years and almost 3 months old (b. April 20, 2000).  She has one kidney nearly filled with a stone.  She's had stones removed from her bladder (last August).  Finally she has a rather large lipoma on her right side.  Perhaps that is now obstructing organs or maybe the kidney stone is finally giving her problems.  We haven't seen signs of the back pain that is supposed to become evident if the latter is the case.

Ok, so she's a dog.  But I've had her longer and spent more time with her than I spent with my first wife and we were married 9 years.  I know that she's got problems and nearing the end of her breed's average life span.  I'm worried.

UPDATE - Bailey apparently has an irritated GI track and vet administered Cerenia to calm that down and she will get some oral meds with her meal tonight, a bit of rice and boiled chicken. We'll see. I imagine I still need to give her a bath.

UPDATE 2 - I haven't been able to do much more than take care of the dog and that includes 4 baths!  Another reason she doesn't like having the runs!  She is  doing well with the meds and boiled chicken & rice diet.  She's a bit tired (aren't we all?) and having a good nap now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Autobiography

"Buffalo Bill" with Lucretia Borgia
I recently read William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody's autobiography on my Kindle.  It really was a good read but some might find the language a bit much.  It is the typical for the period formal, flowery form but still very readable.

Much of the book is given over to Cody's life and exploits on the plains and very little to mention of his family although one does get the impression that he cared for them (at least in his "own way").  Among those stories are accounts of his buffalo killing with his 1869 Springfield Trapdoor .50-70 Government rifle, his "needle gun", Lucretia Borgia.

I've been given to understand that this is the only known photo of Cody with that rifle.  It is this rifle with which Cody, on his horse Brigham, made his reputation.

We recently had one of these rifles in the shop and while it seems a bit lighter than the rifled-musket from which it was converted, it is still just as long and, I would think, ungainly on horse or in confined spaces.  Clearly, Cody was extremely competent with that rifle as nearly all the accounts of his witnessed exploits agree in nearly every detail.  In truth, I know of no dispute of his accounts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ruger .45 Colt/.45 ACP New Model Flattop

The Ruger .45 Colt/.45 ACP New Model Flattop managed to find its way to the shop and into my truck.  At first blush it looks very good with fitting on par with the .44 Special FTs I have.  However, as I cocked the hammer I noticed a distinct grittiness.  The "gunfighter" faux ivory grips feel ok but I'll reserve judgement until later.  They do stand proud at the butt but very evenly so.  I may try the black grips that came on the .44 FTs, known as "cheese graters" to some, to see if the fit is any better.  I think it likely that I'm going to replace the stocks/grips on this gun simply to preserve the issue grips as they look as though they will stain or scratch easily.

The idea of a convertible gun is an old one.  In this instance, the price to me makes it a very attractive piece indeed.  In truth though, I seldom convert the guns I have.  I don't know quite why.  E.g. the USFA dome blue CCH SA has a .45 ACP cylinder and it has never even been in the gun. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Full day.  Started slow but in the end many guns were sold, a couple of guns were purchased, we had lots of incoming shipments with which to stock the shelves, there was some new-in-the-shop neat stuff  and THEN I went to the club to meet and, hopefully, pass muster and get voted in.

Shop has a very neat Krag carbine.  Price not yet set.  VERY nice.  Cartouche is about as good as I've seen.  Complete gun!

Got my Lipsey's .45 Colt/.45 ACP flattop today.  I'll write about that some more, of course, tomorrow.

Some really entertaining folks came through the door. Had a couple come in that I'd met up at the other shop.  Lots of regulars.  Bob Driver came in with news of our young friends who farm near Mom's place.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day's Doin's

Eldest daughter visited this weekend, worked, had some friends over this morning before lunch and then updated the maps in two Garmin GPS units.  Wife has gone out to dinner with her co-retirees and I'm at home with the dog.  No time for shooting, hunting, or other such stuff...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Want to load combustible cartridges?

Want to load combustible cartridges for you Sharps or cap-nn-ball revolver?  Need some Potassium nitrate (KNO3)?  Some of us like to do such things but finding chemicals can be a bit of a problem.  Try

Friday, July 08, 2011

"Blow out kit" ?

Tam posted about being prepared and mentioned having a "blow out kit".  What the heck is a "blow out kit"?  Clearly a little research was in order.  From the on-line article " "Assembling a Blowout Kit"came this suggestion of contents:

Res-Q-PakIndividual First Aid Kit (IFAK)
25g Quik–Clot®1 QuickClot, Package, 50grams
Tegaderm 2 3/8″ x 2 3/4″ dressing1 Israeli Field Dressing, 4”
5″ x 9″ ABD pad2 Sterile Crinkle Cottons
4″ x 75″ roll bandage1 Bandage, Self Adherent, 3”x5yds
40″ x 40″ x 56″ triangular bandage1 Triangular Bandage
Two sets 4″ x 3″ cover sponges1 Lip Treatment
Aspirin, two 325 mg tablets1 Tourniquet
Benadryl (R), two 25 mg tablets1 EMT Shears
Combat/Medic tape1 Tape, Adhesive, 1”x10yds.
Nitrile glovesNitrile gloves
Rescue whistle
Mylar blanket

Of course one needs at least minimal training in order to correctly utilize the contents. One also needs a certain mindset. Some folks have particular difficulty working on themselves, others only freak out when working on others.  Training helps with confidence and to mitigate stress errors.

For me the biggest concerns at this time in my life are cuts, breaks and possible gun shot wounds.  Secondary concerns are environmental exposure injuries like sunburn or insect bites/stings.  Having such a kit might be a good idea.  However, commercially assembled kits can be quite expensive.  There are also concerns with certification for use of some possible kit components such as:

• 14-gauge Angiocath Needles (3” or greater in length)
• Size 28 Nasopharyngeal Airway (NPA)
• Hemostatic Agent (such as Celox or QuikClot)

Apparently use of a product such as QuickClot is regulated differently in each state.  Only somebody who knows what they are doing should be using needles and the airway.  While "good samaritan" laws will protect you from errors made in basic first aid you might not have that protection in using advanced medical techniques.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

I recently re-joined, after an hiatus of several years, the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association.  Not certain just why, to be honest.  The magazine lacks something for me, there's no local affiliated club so far as I know and I haven't really been doing much muzzleloader shooting lately.  We'll just have to see how this pans out. 

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Gone where?

Haven't been shooting, hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, biking, hiking or otherwise doing "fun" things (except talking and eating with sister-in-law and her husband) but have been to LA (lower Alabama) since the 25th. Ate seafood, chicken, melons, fresh butter beans and peas (of several black-eyed varieties, NOT "English" peas) and saw a bit of Baldwin and Escambia counties (Alabama). I've got lots to do on Tuesday, more the rest of the week, work next week AND the next (just how is retirement supposed to work?) and much more to do in repairing the RV. Much to do and little time in which to do it. I am glad to be home.