Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Firearms sales and politics...

We recently had a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA and the POTUS almost immediately called for gun control despite the fact that the attackers and their supporters had broken many laws (aside from murder) concerning the firearms to use those firearms, laws that already existed and which they ignored. What good would it do to have more laws that they would ignore?

Meanwhile, it is estimated that Americans commit 3 felonies each and every day, mostly in complete ignorance, because we have criminalized so much behavior. Just how does that help anyone? Does it make us safer? Healthier?

Recently, the Governor of Virginia, in an apparent bid to repay favors given him in his run for the governorship, issued an executive order to "ban" firearms from state offices including rest stops. That this "ban" is unenforceable or that for the time being the only charge could be trespassing, matters not one bit. Only the law abiding will be affected. Then the Attorney General for Virginia unilaterally decided to negate concealed handgun permit reciprocity with 30 other states. In one act he abrogated the rights of citizens of those 30 states as well as Virginians who acquired their Concealed Handgun Permits with the understanding that there would be reciprocity. Again, this affects only law-abiding citizens who have passed background checks to purchase and again to carry concealed those firearms. Meanwhile, criminals are under no restraints. How does this actually help anyone other than the criminal?

The truth is that gun control is an act of political control. Control over one's personal security is the ultimate act of control. So what happened as a result of each of these acts?

Sales of firearms. After each act there was an increase in sales in excess of what we would expect given the holiday season. Sales weren't just to rednecks, they weren't just to hobbyists, they weren't just to activists, those sales were to men and women and couples (of all kinds) who had never owned a gun, have never before carried concealed (but were signing up in droves for the required classes), and who were absolutely opposed to these restrictions. It was reported that on "black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving, over 187,000 firearms were sold. Based on this year's trends 40%+ or about 75,000 of those firearms went to first time buyers. Based on what I've seen these new buyers are not the politically disconnected or inactive, these are voters.

Friday, December 04, 2015

The world as it is, not as we wish it to be...

Things have changed. Compared to what we have today even the Vietnam War period seems idyllic. For the first time since the submarine attacks directly off our shores in WWII we are being attacked by our enemies. They are few in numbers but great in their effect. This state of affairs will not change in the foreseeable future. Some politicians (let's face it, politicians see themselves as separate from the rest of us) are willing to allow us to defend ourselves others are not but nearly all of this class are attempting to find personal advantage in our collective disadvantage. We can not permit this nor can we permit ourselves to be disarmed at home or at work. We need to work with our friends, neighbors, co-workers, customers, service providers, and community officials. We need to be prepared for the worst.

As I began to write this we were hearing of yet another "mass shooting" this time in San Bernardino, CA. Due to the modi operandi we expected one sort of perpetrator but we got another. The norm has changed yet again. A successful man of mid-eastern descent who made $70K+ working for the government, was married and had a 6-month old child apparently also had a bombs in his home and was assisted by his wife in the attack. They were both killed. CAIR immediately trotted out his brother-in-law to say that Islam was a religion of peace and the perp would never have done this and that he just can't understand... Interestingly, the argument he supposedly had with a co-worker was about Islam being a religion of peace (or not). Doesn't anyone else see the irony in this?

The reporting has generally been abysmal with most reporters rushing to push their agenda on the subject of "mass shootings" by attributing the shooting to various groups, blaming a lack of gun control (in California of all places), and being absolutely clueless about any of the applicable terminology. If I were their professor in journalism school judging this as a class assignment they'd have all gotten an "F".

Let's look at what we do know about certain technical aspects that might contain teaching points.
- While they apparently purchased the AR-15s they used in the attack legally, they illegally removed the "bullet button" and illegally possessed magazines with a greater than 10-round capacity.
- They were illegally making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in their home with neighbors on either side of them.
- They tried to deploy one of those devices at the attack site and it did not work.
- They booby-trapped their home but we do not know whether or not those devices were set up correctly.
- They did not try to flee (although it was supposed that they had successfully done so).
- They had body armor (or not, perhaps only tactical load bearing vests).
- They had a reported 2500 rounds of .223 ammunition and 2000 rounds of 9mm ammunition as well as some .22 Long rifle.
- They had GoPro cameras to record their attack.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hunting 2015

Ummm, not so much hunting. Did go up on Leading Ridge Road yesterday. Have to enter the other end from Todd Lake which entrance is closed because they have some construction going on, part of repairs for the 1985 flood. Leading Ridge Road is in terrible condition with parts very nearly washed out. Pickups are generally ok but I'd be wary of taking a car up there. Not one sign of anything but 3 camps. I hope they have a good time. Nowhere near the deer we had there only 5-10 years ago. Sad.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

.327 Federal in the Single-Seven

Last year I bought a Lipsey's Special, Single-Seven Ruger in .327 Federal. This 7-shot gun is based on the frame of Ruger's long popular Single-Six .22 rimfire. The cylinder window dimensions have been slightly enlarged and the cylinder dimensions likewise increased to fill the window which permits the chambering of 7 of the .32 caliber cartridges and handling the pressures those cartridges will generate.

Factory ammunition available since my purchase has been limited to the Federal American Eagle loaded with 85 and 100 grain soft-nosed bullets. While these two bullets are of different weight, the design for both seems to be the same and one can't tell the difference by simply looking at a loaded cartridge. This hasn't proven to be as accurate as I think the pistol should be and so I decided to load a known quality bullet, the Hornady 100 gr. XTP.

BulletPowderPowder ChargeMuzzle VelocityMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPAA-79.4 gr.1462 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPAA-913.0 gr.1572 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTP240011.5 gr.1405 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPH11013.5 gr.1525 fpsMuzzle Energy
Hornady 100 gr. XTPLongshot6.7 gr.1402 fpsMuzzle Energy


However, the gun wasn't shooting well and so I sent it back to Ruger who did some work and returned it within a week. This first is the test target they sent with the invoice. They shot this test at 15-yards.

Today, I shot the gun with the Federal factory 100-grain bullet load. This is what 3 cylinders full looks like after being shot at 25-yards.
 
I also shot some of my reload of the 100-grain XTP over 9.4-grains of AA-7. This is that target.


Needless to say I was not happy. Is my eyesight to blame? Can I not shoot today? Poor trigger management? Had it with me so I got out my Garthwaite CCO and 5 magazines (6-7 rounds each) of mixed brand "white-box" ball. This is that target.

So, I think I can still shoot alright but the gun is just not going to group worth a fig. I did not want a cast bullet gun and I suspect it will be a pain to find a mold to cast a bullet big enough in diameter to work with the cylinder and bore.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Single-Seven and Ruger's customer service

Wrote Ruger about the problems with the Single-Seven and got a quick response. Called as instructed and got an RMA number and shipping label e-mailed to me. Sent the revolver back on Tuesday afternoon. Ruger says 2-3 week turn-around. So far they have lived up to their reputation for wonderful customer service. Not every mass produced item is going to be perfect. I'm optimistic about this and will note progress as it occurs.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Range day...

14 shots at 25-yards, 100 gr. Federal load
Several months ago now I bought a new Ruger Single-Seven, 5½", stainless steel, .327 Federal, single-action revolver. I really haven't been all that enthused with it. I DO like the trajectory of the .327 Federal round and the light recoil and it holds the promise of being a good 100 yard varmint gun to carry in the field with the ability to shoot .32 S&W Long for edible small game. But...

When I first shot it I had nothing but Federal factory 85 gr. bulleted ammunition and was later able to get some of the 100 gr. bulleted ammunition. Both bullets are flat-nose soft-points (jacketed) and look the same while in the case but the 85 gr is obviously a bit shorter. Some cases seemed to be a bit fat near the case head and didn't chamber easily but now I am convinced that one must precisely locate the cylinder to avoid the rim rubbing on the side of the loading cut in the recoil shield. That is not too great a difficulty to prevent me from liking the gun, but...

I noticed with both loads that it seemed there would be 6 or 7 different groups on the target. I am not an "expert" shot but I can usually kill squirrels with pistols at up to 25-yards despite the inevitable vision changes that come with old age and I have to ask, how can I get 6-7 different groups if I can't shoot the gun well enough to get the one group one would expect? I thought perhaps that the chambers differed significantly from one another.

You can see those differences in a couple of ways aside from the 6-7 different groups. One way is in the burn marks on the front of the cylinder. Because of the size of the cylinder and the quantity of gas produced by the cartridge one has distinctive burn marks on the side of the cylinder by each chamber where some gas is directed down the side of the cylinder by the top strap. This is likely where the "spitting" is mostly originating. I don't know if this is avoidable or not but in any case the patterns of these burn marks are different for each chamber and the larger marks come from those chambers with the apparently largest throats.

Yes, those throat dimensions differ for each chamber. I don't have a set of plug gauges, the ideal way to check this out, but I do have a variety of bullets intended for this cartridge and/or its .32 caliber brethren (.32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 HR, and .32-20). I tried the "drop test" in that I took each of those bullets, measured them with my dial calipers (after ensuring they were properly calibrated) and found that there were 2 chambers whose throats were considerably tighter than the other 7. These 2 chambers also had the smallest burn marks on the side of the cylinder. Both the Speer and Hornady 100 gr. bullets marked .312" and measuring .3115-.3112" dropped all the way through every throat but for those two chambers. I was a bit surprised that cast bullets of the same dimensions did not and don't know why this is so but suspect the lube gripped the throats just enough to prevent their passing. The barrel throat does not permit these same bullets to get so far as to pass the ogive.

That's not the only problem with this gun though. Sometimes, especially immediately after shooting, the action will not cycle. My impression is that something has been knocked out of kilter inside. My first thought was that fired primers were dragging on the recoil shield or that the case head itself had hung up on one of the slight hole edges in the recoil shield. However, I was able to duplicate this "freezing" or "locking up" of the action with an empty chamber even without the cylinder installed.

So, what to do? Well, the gun was bought new, has not been altered, has never had other than factory ammo fired in it and it isn't good enough so it is going back to Ruger. It won't be fired again until it comes back from them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adventures in reloading...

I had a bit of an oddity while reloading today. I've been working on loads for my M1 rifle and settled on 48 gr. 4064 with the 150 gr. Sierra Matchking. Since my old Lee Autoprime was getting a bit loose (the cover which would sometimes work loose) I thought I'd try a new one. The new Autoprime has a two stage system to separate the primers you are seating from those in the "magazine" and it takes out some of the feel. Also, in my load search I sought to compare to a widely known quantity, the Hornady 168 gr. AMAX load. All this came together today when I went to charge one of the Hornady cases as I picked up the primed case to pour in the powder charge I noticed that the primer was falling out! Although I had this happen once with a many times fired case about 30 years ago I have never had this happen with a once fired case. None of the other 39 cases had a loose primer pocket and I didn't notice this when removing the fired primers and I think, emphasis on think, that I didn't notice the lack of resistance when priming due to the built in multiple stages of the Autoprime.

About that new Autoprime... The primer "magazine" cover has come loose twice or rather it was pushed off by the first stage primer lifter catching the primer on the cover and pushing it off. There is some slop there and it bugs me. I guess Lee had to do something because somewhere, somehow, somebody managed to set off a primer while priming and thence the whole lot in the "magazine" yet this system doesn't thrill me. I'm thinking of buying an RCBS hand primer.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Range day...

Back to the range this afternoon with the M1 rifle. Easy to stay on a 1/2 silhouette at 100 yards with some loads grouping into ragged silver dollar sized groups. Was able to shoot another 1½-inch group with the .223 10-inch Contender. Took the new Contender with 10-inch .22 LR barrel and even did pretty well with it at 100 yards shooting a 3-inch group with the scope set at 4-power. All shooting with of the .22 LR was done with Winchester PowerPoint ammo. Easy to keep on a squirrel head out to 50-yards.

I am going to switch from H4895 to IMR 4064 for the M1, .30-06 loads. Both versions of 4895 being more difficult to get right now I'd rather save what I have for other cartridges.

We had a bit of a thundershower but while we listened to and watched the fireworks for about 30-minutes we only had about 5-10 minutes of rain and not really enough to wet anything.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Another Contender...

Picked up the $310 Contender. Got the Weaver 92A base, Z-rings, Weaver 1.5-4X scope and mounted same after removing Aimpoint Mark III and base. I don't know why the previous owner felt the need on a .22 LR barrel, but he drilled and tapped it for the forward screws on the base even though he had the rear 4 on the Contender barrel. Anyway, I put in some filler screws. Shot some Aguila Colibri in it. Quiet enough that the wife and dog didn't pay any attention to it 20 feet away from them on the other side of the closed basement door. I now have an understudy barrel for the BR/Varmint pistol AND another frame for Contender carbines.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Range day...

Color me green, with envy.

Today I drove out to the range for the Thursday follies and stopped along the way, about 3 miles from the range, at a friend/co-workers house to drop off some bullets he'd been looking for but couldn't find. I pulled up and he stuck his head out of his "shop" to welcome me.

Now "shop" to describe this place of nirvana is totally inadequate but I am sure it meets the need of maintaining operational security. It is a typical old (about 1940-1950 vintage) outbuilding/garage measuring about 14x18 feet. It now has a period built standard 36" door. Stepping inside is a trip to a shooter's man cave dream world. Just inside to the right is a small wood stove. Behind that is a flat screen TV. Directly in front of the door facing the TV is a nice comfortable looking green easy chair. To the left is some shelving with the first of various shooting paraphernalia. Between the rafters, pasted to the bottom of the "attic" floor are targets and between some of the rafters shelves have been placed on which boxes of bullets have been carefully stacked. A HUGE Ft Knox gun safe takes pride of place along the left wall while on the right is a work bench with a neat little drill press, vices, tool boxes and so forth. Along the back wall is the loading bench with a double hung window just above it. To the right between the work bench and the loading bench are shelves filled with powder, loaded ammo and dies, on the left wall between the safe and loading bench are hung hunting clothes, and other stuff we all seem to accumulate.

I've always wanted such a place and have a very poor facsimile in my basement. My friend doesn't think he's rich but it seems to me that he is very well off indeed.

Time at the range was pretty good. There were already 2 others there shooting varmint rifles. I shot my M1 rifle at 100 yards. I was principally interested in the different points of impact for various loads out of various sorted cases. A clip of ball ammo drifted across the middle of the target roughly centered on the point of aim. The 8-rounds 155 gr. Sierra HPBT Match bullet over 46 gr. of H4895 cut a ragged just left of the point of aim with a group of about 1½-inches total. The rest of the ammo, loaded in Lake City, RP and Winchester brass using the Sierra 150 gr. HPBT Match over 47 gr. of H4895 made a pattern of about 5-inches total diameter centered about 4-inches above point of aim. Since the goal is to use the same point of aim for both factory ball and my reloads I think I'll be reducing the powder charge to 46 gr. of 4895 for my test. However, I've been really going through the H4895 and have about 9 lbs of IMR-4895 to use so may also switch to that. I have lots of brass to load and will likely need at least one more .30-cal ammo can in which to put up clipped reloads.

Shooting the 10" .223 Contender is improving. The load is 20 gr. H4198 under the 52 gr. Hornady HPFB Match (2250). This flat base bullet has been discontinued but it seems to be a good one. I have improved to the point that I can consistently shoot 5-shot groups of about 3" with some half that. I find it difficult to use the long eye relief scope and am still learning how to hold the gun on the bags for maximum steadiness.

I did make a Gunbroker purchase of a used Contender with a 10" .22 LR barrel and intend to use the rimfire barrel to practice more but I haven't received the barrel yet despite having delivered the MO and FFL last Thursday. THAT is a bit of a bummer.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Range day...

Had a good afternoon at the range. Met Frank P________ there and we shot on and off (while waiting for barrels to cool) and sat out a short lived downpour.

I tried some loads through the M1 Rifle and they did ok at 100 but I feel that they are bit too much and so will back off for the next test. I also shot a comparison between the Hornady 53 gr. HPBT and the 53 gr. HP Match bullet both loaded over 20.0 gr. of H4198 in the .223 Contender. It was a bit difficult to see much difference but I think that the flat base match bullet shoots a bit higher than the boat tail bullet. I am getting better with the gun though and think I've finally hit on a comfortable and repeatable benchrest grip for the gun. I did manage to put 5 of the BT bullets into a group about the size of a quarter albeit this out of 20 shots which would have fit on a playing card. Just getting more consistent with the gun and that takes practice. Next week I should be getting a 10" .22 LR barrel which should make practice with this gun and trigger a bit less expensive.

Frank was shooting a 6.5x55 Swedish M94 that had been sporterized with a Fajen stock, Williams FP receiver sight and Williams shorty ramp with gold faced post sight. The trigger doesn't feel like a military trigger but I haven't gotten to look at it to see what might have been done to it. It shot pretty well today and Frank thinks it is good enough to take a deer. It should do that. It is a neat gun and Frank was good enough to buy it before I did.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Range day...

A couple of weeks back I shot in a benchrest pistol/varmint pistol match. In the week prior I traded for a 10" .223 Rem barrel for the Contender, bought a 3-12X scope sight, mounted the sight and set up the pistol, bought some Federal factory ammo to shoot in the match and ordered brass and bullets for further ammo. However, I didn't have time to zero the gun or load any ammo. During the match my scope mount shot loose (the base screws weren't torqued tight enough) and I couldn't get zero with the amount of ammo I had to use. I STILL wasn't the lowest scoring shooter. Since then I've been working diligently to remedy that for next year's matches.

First thing though is to get the thing zeroed. I must be a dang poor shot. It has taken forever to get it right. Today, with help from Frank P________, I was able to get it zeroed. I do believe that as it is now I could be much more competitive than I was at the last shoot.

Also, while waiting for the Contender's barrel to cool, I shot the Webley MKIV a couple of cylinders full. It proved to be much less accurate from the bench than I expected. However I did empty some cases of those 146 gr. bullets.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. Calm to light breeze,75°F,and you couldn't have asked for better.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Range day...

Range day was interesting. Got reminded of something I knew (that loads worked up on one Contender frame MIGHT need to be shot on that frame or maybe the headspace will be wrong and they won't fire), saw my new Fowler target cratered by a .243 Ackley (70 gr. HP at almost 4000 fps), and remembered that my old 7mm TCU 10" was probably last shot at 50, not 100 yards... I did take a couple of photos of the cratered plate. I have to download the photos and the other computer where I do that is giving me fits. That 7mm TCU was shooting about 4" high. The .30 Herrett really shot well once I moved it to the correct frame which also required moving the butt stock since one frame was set up for the 10". Neat that you can do all that at the bench with no more tools than the one TC tool. The 7mm TCU didn't kick too much but I bet this .223 barrel kicks some less. The new scope should be here by Monday (might already be at the store) and we'll see where we stand.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thoughts on Islamic attacks on military facilities...

Yesterday, there was an "lone wolf" shooting attack at a recruiting station and then a Navy Reserve station in Chattanooga, TN. 4 Marines were killed and a Marine and Sailor were wounded. The shooter was killed by local police responding to the scene. He was a Kuwaiti immigrant who had attended high school and college here in the U.S. He used a firearm (purportedly some form of semi-automatic rifle) in his attack.

It appears that the feds need some sort of security arrangements at these military facilities that include armed people. It would be relatively inexpensive for some military units to assign this duty on a rotating basis to personnel assigned to a particular facility just as they have done in the past. It was called guard duty.

I remember that I stood guard duty, armed with an M16 and ammunition, at a small arms repair facility at Fort Jackson before I had completed basic training. Certainly combat veterans can do the same at recruiting stations (the Chattanooga facility was NOT the first recruiting station that had been attacked). However, this will not be a fail-safe solution. Don't expect the military (for many reasons) to reverse the "gun free zone" approach.

The military leadership really doesn't trust the enlisted folks to be armed unless they have officers present to "control" them. This mindset is intrinsic in military thought to the point that for centuries NCOs and junior enlisted have been awarded high level medals for taking charge and leading men in combat without an officer present. This attitude precludes arming of service people all over a base. There is also the unstated thought that a certain level of loss is acceptable. Further, the President does not want to undermine his agenda of civilian disarmament by obviously arming the military in their day-to-day domestic operations.

We know that these attacks will continue and can only hope that something is done, even if on the "down low", so that the Jihadists are stopped in their attacks.

Friday, July 10, 2015

"The Generals" by Thomas E. Ricks

I just finished reading "The Generals" by Thomas E. Ricks. It was an easy read, i.e. it was easy to read, the narrative moved along well and I didn't feel as if I was being bored. This book isn't for everyone, maybe not many people at all. It concerns American military leadership, generals, from World War II to today. Mr. Ricks describes the WWII generals very well (and, yes, we still "knew" these generals during my lifetime) and goes on to explain how influential George C Marshall was on the management/selection/assignment of generals during the world war and how those management techniques were degraded (I have to agree with his opinion) and how this degradation of management and military professionalism among generals is adversely affecting our military performance today. He has some damning things to say about various generals who were pretty much media darlings during their period of ascendance. I'm glad I read it.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Range day...

Got the new steel targets (armor plate, 12, 8 and 4 inch plates) to the range but I only worked on it with the .17 HMR Contender at 100 yards. All bullets simply vaporized against the plate. I'm going to have to try this with other cartridges. Richard P______, Ed C___________ and his son Curtis were there. Pretty warm day with an intermittent breeze but actually less breezy than at home. The Contender .17 shoots very well, I'm pretty impressed.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Range day...

Went to the range today and learned some lessons, or not... Took the Single-Seven, .327 Federal and both Federal American Eagle factory loads, the 85 gr. and 100 gr. bulleted loads. I am pretty much decided to load the 100 gr. XTP so I was using the 100 gr. load to zero/sight-in. I was also using the opportunity to see how much the 85 gr. load POI would differ from the 100 gr. load and to just get some trigger time. A couple of interesting things...

First, this gun has a couple of screws loose, the ejector rod housing screw and the screw in front of the trigger guard both shot loose. I was having to tighten them after every cylinder full. THAT I can fix.

Second was how well it grouped, or didn't. I realize I am not the best shot in the world, my eyes are starting to fail me (cataracts) and I'm certainly not infallible! While I didn't have time to shoot groups with individual chambers it certainly seems as if certain of the individual chambers shoot very well with many cloverleafs but those groups are separated by at least two calibers from one another. Some chambers don't seem to quite stand up to that. My best group from a cylinder-full (7-shots) was about 3½ in a bit of an oval. This at 25-yards doesn't seem so good.

Third, I feel as if it is spitting a bit but it isn't, it is just a LOT of gas working there. It looks as if there is some top-strap cutting but I never bothered to look or simply can't remember if these things have a relief cut there. One thing for certain, the burn rings one often sees on the front of stainless cylinders (due to the contrast) cover the whole front of the cylinder and extend in a neat little pattern to the side of the cylinder. Since this pattern varies slightly from chamber to chamber it is clear that each chamber's relationship to the barrel is a bit different, one very much so. Discoloring due to heat extends to the base pin where it is exposed between the frame and face of the cylinder.

Had a great time, of course.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nana takes the first step...

Nana took her Concealed Handgun Permit certification course today. I do believe that she learned a lot!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Range day...

It was a short range day today. Took the FT Ruger .45 with the ACP cylinder installed and shot up a box of 50 rounds of ACP loaded with 7 gr. Unique under the 200 gr. Hornady Combat Match semi-wadcutter bullet. This stuff was loaded many years ago for the Combat Commander. As expected it shot low as the gun was zeroed for the 255 gr at about 1000 fps. However, I was surprised at how low it shot. The load did group well though.

I also shot the adjustable sight Bearcat. It seemed zeroed for 25 yards as well but each chamber seemed to have its own group. 18 shots fired and there were 6 distinct 3-shot groups. Interesting.

Didn't have much time to do more.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Range day...

Had a pretty good range day but...

First, I took the M1 rifle out with some Lake City M2 and she did pretty good. The weight of the rifle makes it pleasant to shoot from the bench. Then I shot the SIG Sauer 938-22 and got it zeroed with the Winchester Dynapoints. She does ok at 25 yards and practice with the trigger helps a lot. I do NOT like the 3-dot sights. I may black them out as the dots give a confusing sight picture, at least for my eyes. I might black out the dots on the rear sight first, just to see what that does.

Then I wanted to shoot up some .45 ACP somebody gave me that was loaded with a light load under some 200 gr. plated RN bullets. I took my Ruger FT .45 Colt/ACP with the ACP cylinder for just this purpose. No go. The cartridges wouldn't go the last 1/4 to 5/16ths of an inch into the chambers. Poorly resized. No, I won't give you the name of the fellow who did this. I am going to try to recover these but we will just have to see if this will be doable without pulling all the bullets and dumping the powder.

Two of the club officers were out there shooting. One shoots only cast bullets and was trying cast in the 6.5-284 Winchester! The other brought his Schultz and Larsen .22, Anschutz Exemplar pistol and XP100. Lots of fun shooting!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Match Shooting

Feel pretty good this evening. Club had a .22 LR 50 @ 50 yard BR shoot today. I placed 3rd in the factory class with a 420 9x. Winner shot a 445 and 2nd shot a 425. Unlimited class was 490, 485 and 465. A new to us woman shooter shot the 485. We had 28 shooters total and... I took home $22 prize money.

My rifle was the Winchester 52C with Weaver T36 (1/8th minute dot) shooting Wolf Match Extra.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Range day...

Got to shoot today so took the nickeled S&W M34. Shot over 75 rounds, maybe as many as 100 rounds being a mix of 20-year old Federal HVHPs and Winchester Dynapoints and new Federal HVHP. I was surprised to find that the Federal, old or new, required a slight push to fully seat in the cylinder and would drag on the recoil shield sometimes very badly. The Dynapoints dropped right into the chamber and didn't drag at all. I guess this will ensure the Dynapoints get designated for this gun.

Also shot the Browning 1911-22. That gun is about the best one I have to shoot up that old Russian Junior ammo. It seems to love that ammo. Doesn't do badly with the Federal or Dynapoints either. For such a little gun it is pretty accurate. I think it will shoot better than I can shoot it right now. The small sights are a real challenge for me.

After having difficulties with the open sights on the 34 and 1911-22 I thought I would go back to my Tactical Solutions conversion on Combat Commander frame. This has a Burris Fastfire mounted. I think that sight is great for seeing a sight but it doesn't seem to easily give me much precision. While I could hit a head sized target at 50 yards I couldn't tell you where I would hit it. The target looked more like it had suffered several strikes from #4 buck than having been shot with a precision firearm.

When I got there a buddy (he's 75) was shooting his Rock Island .22 TCM. He has 2, one with the 5" barrel and one with a 4¼" barrel. John is a very experienced reloader. He says that he is having problems finding a bullet that is accurate in his reloads. He has tried several. The 5" barrel keyholes! If I understood correctly, I don't think it does this with factory ammo though. He was shooting at a measured 27 yards. His groups were in the 2½-3" range.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Notes from the gun shop...

I know it has been some time since I posted any notes from the gun shop but today was somewhat unique. I don't know if there was a connection to the Memorial Day weekend but today seemed to be a day for military type firearms.

First was a byf 41 Luger that came in on consignment. The owner is convinced that she should get $5000.00 for the gun which is about a $2500.00 gun. However, this gun was mentioned to a good customer who got excited and brought in 4 guns as trading material to see what he could get for them. They were a P90, a Steyr AUG, a Colt 1991A1 and a Colt 100th Anniversary 1911, all unfired and NIB, genuinely NIB. During negotiations another good customer was called in search of a lower priced Luger and brought in a 1917 dated DWM (which I personally think is more desirable than the byf 41) which he promptly sold to us. At about the same time we had a retired soldier come in with a US Postal Meter M1 carbine, a 1911A1 (I think it was a Colt but I didn't get to see it) and ANOTHER Luger (which I also had no opportunity to see). Coming into the shop as a transfer was a Valmet M76 with the folding stock. I hadn't seen one of these in a long time and although I have long wanted one of these "AKs with the aperture sight" I was reminded of why I'd never bothered to spend the money on one many years ago.

PS - got to look at the guns I didn't get to see yesterday. The 1911A1 is a nearly mint condition Remington Rand and I was told it was made in 1942. It was issued to the seller's father and then the seller carried it through HIS army career. BEAUTIFUL. In addition, he sold a 1903A3 which is in "darn good" condition, truly. I don't think it was carried or shot much and while the wood is kinda rough as that is the way it was issued the stamps are clear and sharp. NICE gun.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Smith & Wesson customer service, repair service and a Model 34...

Hard to believe but about 8-years ago I bought a nickeled, Smith and Wesson Model 34 2-inch. While I shot it a bit I held back on my posts as I tried to work out some problems I had with the gun. It may have extracted a bit harder than it should with a couple of different loads but more importantly, to the point that any other problems were completely overshadowed, was that after a couple of cylinders full the cylinder was almost impossible to turn at one point. A not so close examination of the outside of the cylinder showed that there was one point on the outside circumference of the cylinder face was just rubbing the barrel root and this was exacerbated by the buildup of powder residue. After some pondering and the natural distractions of life I decided it would be best to have Smith and Wesson do the repair. I contacted them and got some information on how to send the gun and packed it. Then something else came up and I was further delayed. Another attempt was in order and so off went another e-mail to verify the previous instructions which were now a couple of years old.

I had been trying to get S&W to communicate with me for a couple of weeks on how to get this revolver repaired before finally receiving a message that indicated that they would send a call tag for it. I followed up with S&W on March 3 but didn't hear back from them for a couple of weeks. On my birthday I got the gun shipped to Smith and Wesson via FEDEX. April 25th I received a bill, in the mail, for the charges for evaluation of my revolver ($58.00). Saturday I got notice it had been shipped and they tried to deliver it today but I'll have to wait until Thursday to get it. Communication has been pretty much non-existent on their part unless asking for money. The folks at S&W never bother to let me know what was wrong, work that needed to be done, etc. It was 2-days shy of 2-months since I sent the gun to them.

The gun was FINALLY delivered today after a week of missed meetings, etc. The crane definitely has a changed relationship to the frame and the cylinder has the same relationship to the barrel through a complete rotation. I'm betting I was right about the bent crane. Of course I had to test fire the gun. Then, aw heck, cases stick! Out comes the chamber iron and all is now well. Well, except it shoots a bit high at 21 feet. We'll work that out later. Some of that is probably the nickeled front sight against the particular target. I'm breathing a little easier now. 2 months from first contact with S&W to having the gun back in my hands. No charge aside from the evaluation.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Range day...

Had the Single-Seven to the range this afternoon and put 4 cylinders full through it (I was kinda pressed for time). The first cylinder was all over the place. I shot that first cylinder from the bench, then I stood up and shot from the standing leaning against a range shed supporting post to steady myself and the gun would actually group but still, it is more like several groups in different places as if each chamber is shooting its own group. Further, the firing pin strikes every primer off center. I wonder how much that might affect accuracy. Ammunition today was the Federal 100 gr. load instead of the 85. Both bullets are the flat point soft nose. You can't tell them apart looking at a loaded round. Maybe handloads will be better...

I am not very found of these Federal loads. Some rounds seem to have a "bottleneck" in the case about 3/8" above the rim. When you drop them in the chamber, some will just drop in and some will "hang up" right at that point. Also, when shooting, the cylinder will sometimes drag and I am pretty certain this is a primer dragging across the recoil plate.

The club president was there this afternoon and he thinks the trigger pull is pretty darn heavy. I think I will take it in and measure it tomorrow at work. I didn't think it was all that bad.

I also took the CCI A17 ammo to try in the Contender .17 HMR barrel. It shot quite a bit higher than the standard .17 HMR ammo I was trying earlier but grouped inside of 1 inch at 100 yards despite my use of my old Weaver 1.5-4.5 scope on a standard small-bore target.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

White privilege, etc...

I recently read about a sociology professor at Boston University who tweeted, "white masculinity is THE problem for America's colleges," and "Deal with your white (expletive), white people. slavery is a (asterisk)YALL(asterisk) thing," and "Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible." I can't say that I am offended but I am disappointed and, unfortunately, I am not surprised.

Saida Grundy, who is described as a "black sociology professor", is an example of racism. Not reverse racism, but racism. Simple, straight forward all-encompassing racism. This from a sociology professor, i.e. somebody who has supposedly been educated in the how, why and when of human social behavior. So much training that she's been made a professor and supposedly has earned her doctorate based on her extensive knowledge on the various human behaviors, the motivations/causes of those behaviors and the results of those behaviors. All this education and she still finds it impossible to control her base impulses to exhibit and promulgate her own racism.

She does not know most "white" people. She can't. Certainly there are people all over the world who hold prejudicial views about other races, adherents of other religions and other nationalities and then act on those prejudiced and racist views. There are also those people, all across the world, who choose to or naturally judge others by the content of their character dealing with individuals as individuals.

In my own family I had a great-great-grandfather who enlisted as soon as possible to go to war in opposition to slavery. His father followed some few months later, not to defend liberty for the disenfranchised but for what he thought might benefit himself financially as he apparently care very little one way or another about slavery. Such widely divergent opinions are not uncommon in families of any race.

Professor Grundy should know this and it disappoints me that she either does not realize this or chooses to ignore it. It disappoints me that she was awarded a doctorate despite her obvious inability to learn the subject matter. It disappoints me that she so quickly dismissed as sub-standard any number of her future students. Why would anyone take a class taught by someone who dismisses you. I am disappointed that a college or university would hire somebody who is so obviously unable to teach.

I am unfortunately unsurprised that such has happened. We have converted our schools to instructors of dogma rather than fact. We have set one group upon another for the benefit of the political class. We failed to educate our children about the past or to equip them to think for themselves.

What else can we expect in such circumstances? (that is a rhetorical question) I don't see any good coming from this. History tells us that this is the beginning of our self-destruction as a nation. This country, for all its faults, has been the one continuing exemption to the human condition throughout all the rest of history. That this one shining light of liberty will be extinguished is sad to contemplate but it would seem inevitable.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Range day...

Wasn't all that exciting today. No rain, thunder, lightning, etc., in fact it was a beautiful day, not even very windy. Checked the zero on a rifle and shot the Webley with some odd lot cartridges given to me. Had 4 duds, all OLD Remington-UMC. Had one RWS cartridge that turned out to be loaded with blackpowder! THAT was a surprise but I have to tell you, its performance was somewhat underwhelming. One wonders how those S&W lemon-squeezers did any good. There were also 3 "near"-squibs, i.e. the bullet made it out of the barrel but not very far, certainly not to the target which was 25-yards distant. However, a quantity of brass to load as .380/200 was made available.

I am now looking for some quick turn levers for Weaver type Warne scope rings.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The "Union Pacificator"

Lorenzo David Sibert
I recently received a call from Wayne F_________ asking me to help another friend, Gary S______, to find out some more information about a rifle invented/manufactured in Staunton called the Pacificator or some such. This repeating rifle was supposedly invented and/or built by Gary's 2 or 3X great-grandfather.  But for this request I might never have known of this gun.

An immediate search of on-hand reference materials (books) in my personal library yielded no results. Fortunately, the internet was a bit kinder in that regard.

Lorenzo David Sibert was born about 1804 in Virginia to Charles Francis and Mary Ann (Riddle) Sibert. His father ran the Van Buren iron furnace in Shenandoah County and it was there he learned the trade. He must have been pretty sharp because he had several patents in that field. When the coal-fired Van Buren furnace closed Lorenzo was forced to move and settled in Mount Solon, in Augusta County. A civil war was nearly at hand and that likely motivated his development of the "Pacificator" rifle. The rifle was actually built by William Shaffer (who is more than likely Gary's ancestor) from North River Gap near Mount Solon and Lorenzo was in partnership with J. Marshall McCue. Interestingly, the patent drawings are signed by J. D. Imboden and John Johnson (witnesses) and W. D. Baldwin (Lorenzo's attorney). All of these people are important in Staunton and Augusta County at that time.

Patent drawing of the "Pacificator"
The rifle took a unique approach to the repeating dilemma and combined an 8-chambered cylinder with the magazine approach by utilizing 6 cartridges in each chamber of the cylinder giving a total capacity of 48-rounds. Lorenzo announced in the gun about Apr 1860, exhibited the gun in July, had a patent by September and by November of 1860, a factory to make the gun was supposedly being established.  While the New York Times thought this must be something similar to a roman candle, i.e. firing continuously from the trigger pull until empty, the patent application specifically says, "...as rapidly as the gun can be cocked and fired...", which implies manual operation while other descriptions are more akin to fully automatic fire.

However, his cartridges were more like the breech sections of ancient breech loading cannons, becoming, as they cycled, an extension of the barrel. "... the cartridge shall be exploded in an open chamber and form a continuation of the barrel of the gun, in contradistinction to those devices in which the cartridge is either inserted into the barrel itself or into a tight breech-chamber, or into both combined..." This means that each cartridge would have to have been able to independently contain the pressure of the gas created by the exploding gun powder. This would have made a pretty heavy cartridge in standard .58 caliber.  For reference look at the cartridges Gatling created for the early versions of his gun. Perhaps this is why the caliber of the gun is reportedly .24!  That was a very small bore for the time. 

These guns, of which one (the original?) still exists in the holdings of the Virginia Historical Society, was mentioned in at least one article in the New York Times. Receiving national attention, it was considered an important invention given the political atmosphere.

Lorenzo David Sibert died in Staunton, Virginia of "paralysis of brain" on 25 September 1881 and was buried in a supposedly unmarked grave in Thornrose Cemetery. 

William Bell Shaffer
As I mentioned earlier, the gunsmith who built the "prototype" rifle was William Shaffer (shown as "Shaver" on many census documents and the spelling has changed over time to "Sheffer" for some branches). William was born 25 Dec 1807 in North River Gap (now Stokesville), in Augusta County, Virginia near Mount Solon son of Daniel Shaffer, also a gunsmith. In 1850 he was enumerated on the federal census as a blacksmith but as a gunsmith in succeeding census. He died near his place of birth 9 Jul 1891.

Of course there is a back story, it seems that the Shaffer family tells the story that Sibert stole the credit for the rifle from William Bell Shaffer and then John D. Imboden and John Marshall McCue (both witnesses on the patent drawings) stole it from Sibert. On 23 Jan 1861 legislation passed the Virginia legislature incorporating the Virginia Arms Manufacturing Company in Richmond. More to follow!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Range day...

Had a good afternoon at the range despite the rain (we got ½").

First I shot the Colt Government Series 80 MKIV .380 with a mix of ammo which included most current production. The Tula does NOT feed and will NOT chamber but all the brass and aluminum cased stuff functioned just fine. That stuff also shot to point of aim at 30 feet. Good enough.

Then I got out the SIG Sauer 938-22. This is one of those guns that had promise but doesn't seem to live up to it. First problem I had with the gun is that it only came with one magazine. FINALLY got a couple of more magazines even though SIG has been showing out of stock for months. These magazines are made in Israel which surprised me but might be in part of the next problem, which I had today. With two different brands of ammo/loads, the second round from the magazine wouldn't pick up and every once in a while it would do this on the next to the last round. Supposedly of 10-round capacity I thought perhaps this meant that I should load 9 or 8. Nope, did the same thing. Have to figure this one out. Then I finally got the sights dialed in. This has been a problem as the sights were initially resistant to screw adjustment (this is the adjustable sight version) as in, one couldn't turn the screws. Soaking in oil fixed that but the adjustment seems "iffy". The next disappointment is that this gun is NOT minute of squirrel head capable at much over 25 feet. I suppose that it is only intended as a trainer for the 9mm gun but one would think that it could do better than this. It is fun to shoot but the Browning 1911-22 is more accurate.

Then I got around to shooting, for the first time, my 4" Ruger Redhawk. A friend was cleaning out his stock of no longer needed loading stuff and passed on to me a bunch of brass and bullets including some .44 Mag reloads. Yeah, I know, don't shoot somebody else's reloads but sometimes you just gotta live dangerously. In any case this was in a Redhawk, if ever there was a gun with a margin of safety... Anyway, one load was with the the 240 gr. Sierra JHC and the other with what appears to be the Hornady 180 gr XTP. Well, I guess I haven't shot a big bore sixgun for a while despite my shooting of .44 and .45 Ruger SAs. I was a bit "surprised". The JHC load came back with authority but not too bad but the XTP load was a fire-breather, literally. I was shooting at 25 yards and I do believe that the muzzle blast would dry the target. Quite impressive. No, I'm not going to shoot the rest of them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gunsmithing services - bluing

This fellow was recently recommended to me as a good provider of bluing services. It is a shame that we no have to drive such distances for what should be a common service but so it goes...

Allan Broughman
Broughman's Gunshop
314 Horse Mountain View
Covington, VA 24426

540-962-7957

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Range day...

I had a great range day. Took the .17 HMR Contender to zero. Easy to shoot and quick to sight in, the .17 was right on out to 75 yards with both the 17 and 25 gr. bullets. I can see why some folks just love this cartridge. The factory Contender barrel was clearly accurate despite my shooting from a supported sitting position without a solid rest. This should be an outstanding pest killer. It is almost unfortunate that I have no pests I can use this to eliminate.

I also took the Browning 1911-22 out. I also had a box plus 10 of the old Russian Junior ammo (in the green box). This is not usually the best of ammo. Steel cased and subject to sometime contamination of the powder charge by the bullet lube, it is NOT known for accuracy particularly after all these years (at least 25 years since I purchased it). However, in the little Browning pistol it was surprisingly accurate and functional. There were zero failures to fire, feed, extract or eject which I sometimes have with this ammo from other pistols. I was able to hit fist sized rocks and dirt clumps very easily at 25-35 yards. I think this might be my ammo of choice with this pistol. A good thing because I have a couple of bricks of the stuff!

I also took the Tactical Solutions 1911 conversion with Burris FastFire. I was shooting both Federal and Winchester ammo in that gun but it is dirty and would not function with any reliability for the first 5 rounds in either magazine so I put it up.

Today's weather was not exactly what one would call shooter friendly. While the temperature was a relatively nice 51° at the range, the wind has been blowing 20-40 mph all day long. That really made it feel colder, particularly in shade at the bench.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Range day...

FINALLY got to shoot both the adjustable sight Bearcat and the Single-Seven .327 at the range today.

98 rounds downrange of the Federal 85 gr. load with somewhat mixed results. The gun will apparently group but not from the bench today, oddly I did MUCH better both for grouping AND for proper placement (horizontal and vertical) from standing! My eyes are not up to 50-yard sight target alignment, at least in today's light (overcast and some light rain) and groups ran from about 6" to about 2 feet (the later from the bench and those way to the left of the target in as much as one could determine the group center). I tried busting clay target parts on the berm but couldn't quite get the range and missed them all. One thing I noticed was the gun was rough, sometimes really dragging as the cylinder turned and the ammo seemed "uneven" as in chambering it seemed as if there were tight spots in the chambers or fat spots on the brass. After the 98-rounds there was NO turn ring.

The Bearcat suffered through some old Russian steel-cased Junior "target" ammo and did some better with Federal American. The steel cases ejected with effort but the brass cases slid out slick as snot. I did about as well on the clay pigeons on the berm with the little (should I say "tiny") Bearcat as with the Single-Seven actually hitting a piece or two from 50-yards. 50-rounds of each was fired and the old Junior ammo was obviously suffering from age.

All in all a fun time!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Recent shooting experience...

First thing, on the 21st I took my daughter shooting. Her favorite gun is the S&W M422. It is light and always works. Well, it always works when used with good magazines. I just bought a new magazine, OEM, and it was defective and not just in exhibiting poor feeding with ammunition every other magazine used AND new (I'd bought 2 new magazines) but in construction. The darn baseplate is "sprung", that is it's bottom half is out of the magazine body. Kinda disappointing. Yes, I'll be contacting S&W.

Burris Fast Fire
We also tried the Burris Fast Fire on the Tactical Solutions .45 to .22 conversion. OH YEAH! Your aunt doesn't much like the 1911 frame because it is large and heavy but she sure could hit with that sight. I have trouble seeing red but with the sight on the brightest setting I could easily see and hit targets on out there including some bits of clay bird at 50 yards! Darn impressive.

Aunt Deanna also shot the Webley MKIV. I had a partial box of OLD .38 S&W ammunition that apparently wasn't reliable in the gun for which it was originally purchased. 3 rounds were in the box with clearly struck primers AND their bullets. No, the primers hadn't ignited in whatever that pistol was. EVERY round went bang the first time in the Webley and did so with very good accuracy, easily hitting aforementioned clay target bits at 25-30 yards. My eldest particularly liked that it was light and that the recoil was light. However the DA trigger pull was a bit much for her.

I've also been busy helping our club with the annual youth shoot. We'll have to wait until next year for Kirk as the minimum age for participants is 11. This year we will have about 39 attendees, age 11-17, male and female as well as their parents who must observe as we teach. Every instructor is NRA certified. We even provide lunch as well as prizes including a Parker Bow (courtesy of Parker Bows).

It has been a busy time.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Trip to Alabama 2015

We got up the morning of the 19th of February to discover that it was 2.2°. We decided to wait to leave until it “warmed up” and once it got to about 10° we loaded Nana’s vehicle and left to go see your Uncle David. As it turned out, the temp varied from about 12° in Staunton to 7° at the Tennessee border to 15° when we got to Sevierville to overnight.

Lucy, has had quite the time. She did well riding in her crate, we had it arranged so that she could see us and she napped most of the ride. However, every time we stopped, she got to sniff for a bit, despite the bitter cold. Sometimes she was so excited about sniffing that she forgot (?) what she was there for. I had to cut things short a couple of times to ensure that neither of us got frostbite.

Frostbite has been a real concern with the temperatures in the single-digits and the wind blowing at 25+ mph. I’ve been in such weather before but that doesn’t make it pleasant!

It was supposed to get down to -7° the morning of the 20th. Actual temperature was 2° which is cold enough. By the time we left it was up to 9°. Note all the talk about how cold it was. We were afraid that we’d have ice on the roads. Apparently, part of I-75 north of Knoxville was still covered with ice and one lane closed but not on the southbound, south of I-40. We had clear sailing all the way albeit with crystalline trees (all covered with about ¼” of ice) down to Birmingham.

We did have a bit of excitement, the left turn signal bulb died AND we had a thump develop for some unknown reason. Detailed examination of the vehicle failed to determine exactly what was causing that and a trip to the dealer appeared to be necessary.
On Saturday we enjoyed 70° temps in Atmore and Cantonment while we visited with our son and got some things cleared up. Sunday was also gorgeous and while the women went shopping, Mickey and I went to see the sights going to Red Eagle’s grave, Hubbard’s Landing (and a bunch of other landings, i.e. fish camps), Fort Mims and Blakeley. That was pretty interesting.

Monday we were back at David’s and discovered that he hadn’t actually been paying rent since January 2014. Normally this is an automatic deduction from his weekly check but some small glitch had stopped the process and neither he nor we caught it. A trip to the credit union fixed that, lunch and some grocery shopping later, we left him for another dinner with friends at our every gracious hosts’ home.

Mickey and Sue go all out every visit. They don’t need to but they do. We always have a great time.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Winchester Model 47 in the basement...

It ain't got nuttin' to do with cool revolvers, doesn't involve a white-out, and no hogs were harmed but my Winchester 47 is a fun gun. This is especially so on a cold (for Virginia) day or night, in my basement with ammo the wife can't hear fire even though she is only one solid wood door and a floor away.

The penny is for scale. 5 shots each of Aguila Colibri and CCI Quiet 22 solids (not the segmented bullet) at 27 feet from standing using a Winchester Model 47 with the issue open sights and with light on the target and behind the shooter. There is one pulled shot but the gun is backyard squirrel-head capable with either load.

I mostly shoot the Colibri and this has deposited some crud at the front of the chamber. It is highly advisable to clean the chamber before shooting ammo with a "regular" bullet in it. For those who might not know, the Colibri bullet looks more like an airgun pellet and it is commensurately short compared to the standard 40-grain RN of the Quiet22.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Spring ahead...

No, it isn't the day we set the clocks forward for daylight savings time (an archaic response to old infrastructure deficiencies) but rather the time of year I change from my hunting guns to my range shooting season guns.  Out comes the varmint pistol and 50BR rigs and my summer time carry guns. The squirrel rifle, muzzleloader, etc have had their final maintenance and been safely locked away.  Another change of season has come and gone.