Friday, March 30, 2012

$640-MILLION Lottery

I thought this was interesting enough to post about.  The Mega-Millions lottery is up to $640,000,000 which is a lot of money to most of us.  It is apparently only about 80 some minutes of operations for the federal government.  That said it would pay for 3,000,000 cases of 5.56 ammo, buy my house 2700 times over, get get me a new pickup every day for the next 50 years or allow me gasoline sufficient to drive the old one almost 1,000,000 miles.  However, Odds of winning are about 5X "worse" than getting struck by lightning.  That hasn't stopped some people from going whole hog buying tickets.  Nana and I couldn't help ourselves and joined the fray.  I finally bought 2 tickets myself.  I needed help to do it correctly.  I never play the lottery.

So what will I do if I "win" (is winning really winning)?  I'll pay off all the immediate family's debts (except for your Great Aunt C_____ who has been irresponsibly profligate in her spending).  I'll buy a house near Arlington/Alexandria for Aunt Deanna to live in.  We'll put money away for your education.  I'll give at least 10% to charity and church (which would be something on the order of $46,000,000).  I think I'll be going hunting as well.  Unfortunately, I'd have to quit working and I'd probably need help with security hence I doubt that winning is winning.  Money is NOT everything.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Form 4473 Class

The dreaded wallet holster...
Had a class today on the federal 4473 form.  This is the form one must complete to purchase/receive a firearm from a dealer.  Interesting.  The class was conducted by an ATF inspector.  So what I learned was...

Well, the 4473 is a stand alone legal document.  In effect it is part of the chain of custody for the firearm.  Although, from the federal standpoint, a private sale is acceptable without it, it is an absolute inviolate necessity for each form to be correctly completed for that reason.  Police officers understand the chain of custody. 

The sales clerk can't change any data except on line one he/she can print the name of the purchaser IF it is illegible as entered by the buyer.  Corrections can also be made AFTER the transfer by photocopying the completed form and doing the corrections on the photocopy.  I didn't know these two things, in part because I've never had to do them.

I also learned that a college student's school issued ID is proof of residency for purchase of a handgun just as the serviceman's orders are proof of residency for the purpose of a firearms purchase.

I learned that all of these things are covered in the Gun Control Act of 1968 Regulations and the subsequent rulings by the ATF. The instructor also emphasized the importance of the open letters

I also learned that the wallet holster with gun (as shown above left) is an "any other weapon" and must have the required Form 4.  Either the gun and or wallet/holster separated are legal but put them together...  The same applies to putting a foregrip on a pistol.  Apparently some people are doing this to pistols which have the rails on the dustcover. 

All in all it was an interesting class if only for the few tidbits.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

After a long weekend of birthday celebrations for myself and your Aunt Deanna, I had to get back to work this morning.  I was a bit held up and then hurried up by the arrival of Jack Clem's fence crew and helped to lift his trailer into position to be backed out of the driveway.  Then I was able to get out and gone to work.  Rather more exciting than my usual workday start.

Things slowed up considerably from there.  Except for the ATF post-audit briefing there were few if any people in the shop this morning.  I was busy researching values on Trapdoor Springfields.  These are apparently (because I've only seen photos) an 1884 rifle and a parts gun carbine.  I'd have a little more faith in my price estimate if I'd been able to see the guns.

Another highlight was a fellow who brought in a unique product attempting to sell them to us.  Based on the popularity of the survival bracelets made of woven para-cord, this young fellow came up with the idea of rifle slings made in the same manner.  I wish I'd had my camera for photos.  These are well made and he uses over 100 feet of para-cord in each one.  100 feet of cord is much more useful than the 10 feet of cord in the average bracelet.  Pretty neat.

We had a fellow come in to pick up his 3" Colt Pocket Positive.  This gun had been nickeled outside the factory and had some nice after-market pearl stocks.  The unnickeled hammer was the main give-away that the finish wasn't factory but the barrel markings were also much dimmer than those seen here.

The boss also allowed that he is selling a Winchester 92 rifle in .25-20.  This gun is not a perfect collector's piece but would make a marvelous shooter for somebody.

Later in the day business did pick up and so did sales with all gun sales and layaways coming in a 2-hour period between 2 and 4 PM. 

Tomorrow it will be back to the shop for training by the ATF.  Something new?  I don't know but I'll tell you about it later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wonderful weather, all out of character for this time of year...

The weather isn't "right".  Temps are 70°+ and not a lot of rain, but some, so the days are nice.  Yesterday we had a nice summer time type shower and the sun was full out and shining on us at the same time.  Beautiful.

Needless to say we're out in the yard a lot.  Lots of stuff to do.  Soon, we'll be replacing the fences on either side and inside the yard.  We're waiting for something to happen in the alley behind the house to replace the fence back there.

We putting in new front steps.  Brick this time so that we don't have to paint AND so that they aren't as slick as the wood steps were.  We also think they will better suit the house.

We finally built the shed, as previously noted, after 16+ years waiting for everything to come together.  The round tuit was finally delivered and in went the shed.

Soon, we'll be redoing the driveway and particularly the ramp.  The pothole in the ramp, where the ground beneath has given way, makes climbing the short ramp into the drive like a Land Rover operator's training course

We just power-washed the front walk, sidewalk and retaining walls.  Wow!  Didn't know they were ever that color.  Amazing.

I think I've already mentioned the painting on the exterior, redecking and other repairs to the back porch.  Now there was a burden of dread lifted from my shoulders.  I fully believed that the corner by the basement stairs was in danger of imminent collapse.  Yes, we rebuilt the basement door as well.

Soon, we'll be painting the downstairs half-bath and renovating the den with a different paint and new carpeting.  We also ordered the built-in bookshelves for the "library" where my office once was.

Maybe we can then take a breather.  I need some more time at the range and out and away from the house. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

Wow!  We've been having great weather.  It is the ONLY thing to cut into business.  With the early onset of spring everyone has been out doing yard work and such, just like me, and not in the gun shop.  We were joking that instead of having cold nasty weather in which people spend their tax refunds on guns and ammo we were having beautiful weather where people go out and spend the tax refund on their yard.

Target w/point assignments for 100 yard match
Still, we did a tolerable business even though it started out slow.  I learned that last week there were several days of 10 gun sales and the layawake shelf is starting to clear a bit as well.

Today, I dropped back in after working yesterday (to drop off some targets for consideration in the 100 yard .22 LR match) and they had just taken in a S&W 17-3 with, I'm sorry to say, fake pearl grips.  The gun is beautiful but for that.  I should also note that we still haven't sold the nice, nickeled Colt Cobra.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Remington Model 241

A few days ago I noted that Wayne F_________ told me that his uncle Carl F_________ had a Remington 241 he was wanting to sell.  I've been kinda interested in getting an example of the Browning SA22 for quite a long while.  I like the little short guns but let's face it, full-size guns are easier to shoot.  Anyway, I was told that this was an exceptional example but I thought I'd wait to pass judgement (in the form of exchanging money for gun, or not) until I'd gotten to see the firearm in question.

Yesterday Carl came by the shop to show me this and three other guns.

I'd like to note that Carl is a fine fellow.  A veteran of the Korean War as a member of the 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans), Carl came home to the U.S. and had a career as an over-the-road truck driver.  He's been a lot of places and held his own with a lot of people and managed to keep body and soul together for over 80 years.  I like to think of him as a friend.  He also has and has had a wonderful knack for glomming on to some wonderful guns.

I wish I'd gotten a photo of the first gun he pulled out.  It was beautiful with about 98% condition, this was the nicest Colt New Service I've ever seen.  Chambered for the .45 Colt, Carl said that this would be one of the last guns he'd sell but he wanted to show me, just in case.  I think he's seeing the end of life approaching and wants to be prepared without coming out and saying so.  That sort of makes seeing and handling this treasure a real honor.  This was a later gun with the later version cylinder latch and checkered wood stocks.  It still had its original lanyard loop.  Made me think of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon!

He then took me out to his car to show me two rifles he had.  The first was an early M1 Carbine with the correct wood, sights and safety for early in the war and all original.  The cartouche was still visible as well.  VERY nice.  He also had a G33/40 rifle made in 1942.  This one had some of the wear one would expect from a rifle used in the rugged terrain where these units operated during WWII but the metal was in pretty good condition.

After looking at these play-pretties we got down to business on the rifle that had brought him to me in the first place.  A Remington 241 with some extras.  About 130,000 of the Model 24 and 24A guns were produced between 1922 and 1935 (some say to 1938). Then, coincidental with acquisition of Remington by Dupont, the 241 was designed as a product improvement and more than 107,000 of these were produced 1935 through 1951.  In redesigning the model 24 to the 241, the barrel quick release was moved to the side of the receiver and the parts were made slightly heavier (stronger) to handle the then new high speed ammunition.  This one is serial numbered 748__ (about 1947), has some really well-figured wood, a nifty Lyman receiver sight, the steel butt-plate, pistol grip cap and even an engine turned (jeweled) bolt.  I believe this would have been the Special grade gun with the sight.  Cost in 1940 would have been $42.15 for the gun and the Lyman sight would have been extra.  Just the rifle today would be $685 in our money or about the same as retail for the Browning .22 Auto.  The Lyman sights are often in the $100+ range.  This rifle being in excellent to fine condition, I'm very pleased to have it.

Of course it will go hunting, just like the 12CS and it might even take a turn at the metallic silhouette game.  I've shot it some more now and it will even function with the CCI .22 Quiet ammo!  Almost like having a silenced .22 and self-loading.  You can't beat that. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Zombie Marketing...

We've recently been inundated with a number of "Zombie" gun products.  Ranging from ammunition purportedly intended to have increased effectiveness on zombies to cleaning kits with "Zombie" attached for no other reason than to take advantage of the fad.

That is exactly what the Zombie product lines are, a fad.  A fad based on what began as a joke about having to repel hoards of the living dead.  Those living dead were then equated to the mindless, unprepared, criminals who will leave the cities in the event of a natural or man-made disaster and try to force their desires on people in the places to which circumstance has directed them.  Over the period of evolution of the meme, certain physical characteristics have been popularly applied to the subject matter and the marketeers have adroitly identified and utilized them to sell the goods.  In one 'case' the color of the ballistic tip was the only change to ammunition other than the packaging to make it zombie ready.

I don't know what exactly this says about us, that is, Americans.  It seems to point to a streak of shallow, obsession with meaningless trivialities.  On the other hand, it demonstrates an ability to aggressively exploit opportunities.

I'm not a fan of the zombie stuff although much of it is as effective as the products from which it was 'developed'.  While it is all perfectly usable, I think it feeds a perception of the shooter/hunter (and most folks think of the two as one and the same) as a child-like, irresponsible character given to Walter Mitty fantasy and I don't think that improves the perception of us that some people have.  I do like products such as Hornady's Critical Defense ammunition because I believe the name supports the concept of the thoughtful, careful gun owner.  As a group, we need more of that.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Colt 1911 carried in WWI

I have recently had the unique opportunity to work with, disassemble, clean, a un-messed with WWI Colt manufactured 1911.  The serial is 2838**.  The right side of the slide is marked "MODEL OF 1911.U.S.ARMY". So this pistol was produced prior to the "black army" pistols but it still exhibits some rather rough machine work where careful finishing doesn't matter. 

The first two characteristics of this pistol that leaped out at me were that the firing pin stop was squared off at the bottom as is the currently the rage in some circles (to return to the 'original' design like JMB intended and to soften recoil) and the 19 vertical slide serrations on either side of the rear of the slide (only) are plenty sharp and not only aggressively 'grab' the bare fingers but do so to gloved hands as well. I don't remember this as being true of the well-worn 1911A1s I had in my arms room but I suppose I could be mistaken. 

I also noted the small sights but they aren't really new to me as all the 1911A1s we had in service had very similar sights.

I, being a bit of a curmudgeon, like the flat main spring housing and don't mind that it is smooth.  I have put flat MSHs on my own Colts.  I can get along with the long blued steel trigger but I do prefer the shorter 1911A1 trigger.

This gun has no peening of the locking lugs.  The barrel to bushing fit was so tight that I had a bit of a time separating them.  The inside shows the rapid and rougher machining of wartime production. 

When the current owner first acquired the pistol it was in EXCELLENT condition.  Unfortunately, something happened and the pistol had a bit of fine red rust develop along the exterior of slide and on the frame and trigger.  That has been removed but it resulted in a bit of a finish problem you might see in the photo(s).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

It was another busy day at the gun shop.  10 background checks with a difference.  Today only 1/3rd were "instantly" approved, 2/3rds were delayed.  It is usually the other way 'round. 

Sold lots of stuff as well.  Beautiful day and lots of people headed to the range AND people talking about the coming election.  18 to 80 it was all OMG, i.e. Obama Must Go.  However, they are afraid that he will be re-elected, by hook or by crook. 

One fellow brought in a nice USFA color-case and dome blue Bisley in .45 Colt for sale.  He wanted $850 but didn't bring it in the box.  Boss found that they were selling somewhere at discounted prices of about $600 and wouldn't go for that and the fellow, after allowing that he did have the box walked out in a huff IGNORING me as I chased after him to offer the $850.  He is a fool for allowing his emotions to take over and I'm $850 to the good for not having spent the money.  Good for me and bad for him.

I also made a rookie mistake today.  Fella brought in a Ruger MKIII he said he couldn't get the magazine out of.  For some reason I was thinking heel release ala MKI and MKII and ignored the mag release button.  Of course I should have caught it immediately but didn't.  I think it was only a couple of hours earlier that I'd instinctively cleared a MKIII by using the mag release correctly. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Busy weekend...

Full day today.  First it was west across the mountains to Monterey and the Maple Festival.  The Maple Festival has been on two weekends in March for quite a while and this because they actually have the climate to produce usable quantities of maple sap in Highland County.  Didn't get any of the food but the wife had a good time looking at crafts and scenery and the dog had a couple of really good sniffing excursions.

Then we went to the Green Valley Book Fair and I scored some gun books.

THEN we came home and I went to the store and got some steamed shrimp for dinner.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Went to work today, thankfully, as I need the break...

Since I can't shoot the next best thing for me, for a break from the projects at home, is to go to work.  I put in one day a week at the gun shop and two days a week at The Spoils of War.  You can hardly fault me.  I get to handle and variety of guns, militaria and accessories I wouldn't otherwise get to handle much less see and I get paid for doing so.  Oh, it can be boring.  I mean, how many Chassepot  bayonets can one "play" with and not get bored?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

What HAVE you been doing Grandpa?

Why, fixing things and getting things built...

Had to have a shed...

We also have painted all the windows, cleaned windows, rebuilt the back porch and are rebuilding the front steps (brick for wood).  We will be replacing the fencing, repaving the driveway and building floor to ceiling bookcases in what was my office (now library).  Busy, busy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

Well, yesterday started a bit slow as we had a "surprise" snow fall of about 5". Roads were slick and I was going to walk to work, it is less than a mile, but Boss Man came and got me.

We really didn't have many customers until about 1100 so I helped catch up on processing all the incoming goodies stock by pricing it and putting it out. The visit from the ATF last week really put a crimp in day to day operations. However, I was glad to be busy.

We had a few good conversations but nothing really interesting came in the door except for one guy who brought in his "collection" of two Remington .22 LR rifles and two Ithaca Model 37s. After some negotiation he sold the 20 gauge pump and left with the others. This gun would make a good candidate for a home defense gun as it has been re-blued and there is some rather bad rust/pitting at the muzzle but I think Boss Man might have paid too much for it to sell for a reasonable price for such use.

One other thing had come into the shop, a new Browning Semi-Auto 22, Grade I. One doesn't see these much any more. I think they've fallen out of favor, not just because of the price tag of $700 or so, but because they are "old fashioned" and not easily scoped. Neither makes sense to me but the Ruger 10/22 has taken over the market and is supported by hundreds (at least) of after-market products which allow unlimited customization by the owner. This gun was ordered for a particular customer and there are no more available from our distributors. One has to wonder at the production quantities, another indicator of lowered demand.

I've always wanted a Browning Semi-Auto 22 but I might go for a Remington "copy", the Model 24 or 241. Actually, like the Remington Model 11 shotgun, these were initially made by Remington due to the high import tariffs made importation of the Fabrique-Nationale guns cost prohibitive and aren't really copies but the genuine article. About 130,000 of the Model 24 and 24A guns were produced between 1922 and 1935 (some say to 1938). Then, coincidental with acquisition of Remington by Dupont, the 241 was designed as a product improvement and more than 107,000 of these were produced 1935 through 1951.

I mentioned my long time desire for one of these guns to a co-worker and he said his uncle had one of the Remingtons. We'll have to see. One of the improvements incorporated in the 241 was making the parts "heavier" to stand up to the high velocity rounds of the time. Because I intend to shoot the gun, hopefully a lot, I want it to be in good condition and a later model. Price is also a consideration. If the seller wants more than $700 there is no reason to not get a brand-new Browning SA22.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Trailmanor Update...

Ordered on Tuesday here yesterday were $140 worth of stuff to fix a couple of things on the trailer. I didn't get an "upside down horseshoe pad" (the seal between the two top sections) but at $4.89 a foot it would likely be less than $100. We'll see if we need it after we fix some these other things.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Several friends, family of friends and friends of friends have recently died.  It was thus that I felt called to write this short (I hope) missive on the subject of loss.

Many, most but not all of us are blessed to have some, perhaps many, good people in our lives.  It is inevitable that some or perhaps all will die before we do.  It is only natural to grieve and to miss those people.  Let's face it though, in some cases the grieving is really self-pity.  After all, you don't want to lose somebody you care for.

Our family, my line anyway, don't seem to be given to wailing, gnashing of teeth or the rending of garments in grief.  We tend to the celebration of the life lost.  Even when your Uncle Benjamin died at age 8 we tended to sit around and laugh and talk about the good times we had with him and the funny and nice things he had done and to keep reminders of his life front and center in ours.  So, when an older person died, particularly one in as much distress as your Great-Grandmother Eleanor who spent at least 10 years struggling with Alzheimer's, we tend not to cry too much knowing it is for ourselves rather than for her.  When my mother died, I was truly relieved that her suffering had ended and while I grieved for MY loss, I realized that God had blessed me in allowing her to say goodbye in one of those brief moments of clarity she had.  She knew, she was ready and she welcomed her turn to move on to the next life.

For yourself, you will have to deal with loss as best you can, as you see it.  For others you can only say you are sorry for their loss and lend a ready and willing ear to their stories of their loved ones whenever they feel the need to speak.