Monday, March 31, 2008


For a man with a mere passing interest in firearms, my father has a plethora of good gun-related stories. Some I’ve had him retell, some I remember from my childhood, some he told me for the first time only last month.

Dad served in the Air Force in the late 1950s, and his basic training rifle qualification was with a M1 Carbine. The flip up sight was a problem for him. Every time he fired the recoil would hit the sight against the brim of his cap, knocking the sight out of alignment. Hindsight tells him he should have turned his cap around, but he still qualified. He said the group was ok, if off center.

Dad did a good deal of his service in New Mexico, working on F-100 Super Sabers as an Airman mechanic. One of his fun jobs was to inspect, pre-flight, the turbine blades. This involves crawling into that big intake hole at the front of the plane, and crawling so far into the plane that your feet disappear. Needless to say, this can cause some consternation. What if someone starts up the engine, ignorant that you are in there, and chopping you up into Julien Fries right before flash-grilling you? Simple solution. Bring a flashlight (to see) and a claw hammer. Put the claw hammer in the blades while you inspect and leave it there until just before you crawl back out, and you are safe as houses. But that story isn’t so gun related.

Here’s one that sort of is. Landing gear tires are inflated to very high PSI, and the wheel isn’t like the wheel on a tire. It’s essentially 2 disks held together with bolts. If you don’t bleed off the pressure and loosen those bolts you could eat a big metal disk. When demonstrating this danger to new mechanics they set up a manikin in front of a landing gear wheel and tire and remove most of the bolts and ramp up the pressure until the bolts fail. The manikin gets a bust in the chops and the new wrench jockeys learn a valuable lesson. unless, you ramp up the pressure a bit too fast and can’t stop it. Then you get a heavy metal disk pulverizing a manikin and sailing a mile and a half across the New Mexican desert, like a death Frisbee. Now, if only you could aim those disks…

One job, when working on airplane, is to let the ordnance guys render all the things that go “Boom!” safe before letting the mechanics out. This covers the obvious things like bombs and rockets and missiles, but other things as well. Like the 3 inch shell under the ejection seat. The old style ejection seats didn’t use a little rocket, they used the propellant for what was normally artillery. It wasn’t very friendly to the pilot when he ejected, often severely injuring his back and other things, but the alternative (crashing and dying) was less appealing. Well, the ordinance guys are SUPPOSED to take care of this deadly hazard. And my dad’s crew assumed they did. Dad was working on something low on airplane, and a buddy was straddling the top, above the cockpit. This buddy’s job was to take out the seat. Well, it didn’t slid out so he pulled it a bit harder. It was still stuck so he pulled on it yet harder and…


And everyone’s eyes went to the hangar roof, expecting to see a man sized hole up there. There wasn’t, fortunately. The ordinance guys had disarmed the 3 inch shell, but they had overlooked the little charge that starts the parachute deployment. This small charge was what went off when the seat came free. My dad’s buddy was white as a sheet and everyone was too polite to see if his pants were damp or… ‘heavy.’ But other than the scare he has unharmed. I guess the first rule applies: All Ejection Seats are Always Loaded…

Being stationed in New Mexico in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing much for an impoverished young man to do for distraction. But there were lots of jack rabbits that were considered pests by the local ranchers, and there was a bounty on each dead rabbit brought in.

This is where my father’s gun stories come from.

Him and the buddies would go out with lever action .22s in an old pickup truck, a gunner at each window and 3 in the back, blazing away. Dad sold off the rifle because he didn't know how he'd be able to hitch-hike home from New Mexico with it. I wonder if it was a Marlin Model 39?

Also in New Mexico, Dad got to shoot an old style cowboy revolver. .45 Colt. At a pawn shop he almost bought a .22 pistol, it MAY have been a Colt Woodsman, but the magazine didn't insert well. A buddy went back and just found the grips screwed on too tightly, so Dad missed out. Ah well. Water under the bridge.

Here is the same story, straight from the horses mouth:

"Never have shot a pistol at fixed paper targets, I don't have a feel as to extent of difficulty. My very limited experience was shooting at tin cans and a few jack rabbits in New Mexico. One was a very big 45 six shooter and the other was a 22. I almost bought a 22 with included two clips (I believe held 9 each) and holster that had pouch for the extra clip. When I looked at it at the pawn shop the clip would not slide out very well. So I decided not to buy it. My friend decided he would look at it and found it was just that the grips were screwed on too tight and he bought it. Oh well. I did buy a lever action 22 rifle, but left it in New Mexico with the people that I would go out hunting for jack rabbits. Couldn't figure a good way to transport it home."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sprinting Zombie Vampires

I saw I Am Legend. On DVD.

If the coming zombie apocalypse is gonna be full of well muscled sprinting vampire-zombies with no pain of fear, then I want NONE of it.

But Will Smith had some M4 derivative for a carbine, and a plastic sidearm. It could have been a Springfield XD, but I don't my handguns on sight like some of youse.

The M4, (a shortened M-16 for those not up on what's in the current US inventory,) is not the best deer hunting rifle, but it'll do in a pinch and in the application Mr Smith was using it for.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Potty Mouth

I need to blue it up a bit, clearly, if I want to catch those venerable vituperative veterans.

Hell! Damn! Fart!


So much for my 'family' blog.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Marlin Replacement

Someone suggested popping for a Browning BLR instead of a Marlin 1894C.

I rejected teh lever action browning because it had an aluminum receiver. They also don't make it in .357 Magnum.

I also like the $600 price tag on the Marlin. Otherwise, I'd get a 1894C from Uberti for $950.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another March Range Report

Went to the range at lunch.

My low and right shooting is as bad or worse, though by the end I think I was hitting on a better 'squeeze' technique. Better than my previous squeeze technique. THAT's the bad news. Too embrassing to post pictures, almost. I HATE being this honest about my ineptitude.

The good news is, the .22 conversion works good with 2 new random .22LR brands. Federal cheap stuff, and Remington .22 Thunderbolt. Sure it fails to feed once in 24, and fails to eject once in 10, but that's not too bad considering what it is.

Also, I decided to get cans for my ears. So a stop at my gunstore was in order. Low profile cheap ones to try and don't stick out too far.

While there, I talked to the 1911 guy. He had some recommendations on swapping out the grip safety with the bulge for something I'd like better, and pointed out the part number in Brownells.

He showed me a 1911 from 1914, too. Boy, it was sweet looking. Patent dates all over. The HAMMER looked well made. Just the hammer. Compared to modern 1911s. The rest of the gun was as fine, but that hammer stood out as the standard bearer of quality that the rest of the piece had.

I noticed this trip that the .45 mags tears up my fingertips on loading, so a LULA mag-loader is ordered and on the way.

The next bunch of range trips is just going to be me, the 1911, and at least 100 .45. That's in order to get serious about practice. No .22 to distract me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bad Marlins

I saw this in The Firearm Blog, and he got it from Mad Ogre.

Apparently, more than a handful of people have noticed the latest products coming out of Marlin have Quality Assurance issues.

Oh dear. This might put a damper on acquiring a lever gun that shoots .38 Special Paid for with my Tax 'Refund' check that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Ried want to send me.

Marlin was bought by Remington, and now it seems the Marlin workers have let the quality slough WAY off. My buddy Chuckles bought a Marlin .17 and had to return it for a better version. The finish on the stock of the first one they gave him was peeling and cracked around a screw.

But I don't care about the rest of their customers, but what about ME?! What am I to do?! (Man this sometimes the self-induclgent purpose of this blog is annoying even to me.)

Now what? It'll be years before Remington can improve the quality. What a crying shame. Marlin used to be good. Dang.

My alternatives for "Gummint Cheez", my desired 1894C:

  • ~ Wait. Purchase it way down the line. After quality returns or someone fills the gap in the market.

  • ~ Buy a used one. I guess, but I shouldn't have to. And there aren't THAT many on the used gun market.

  • ~ Find an alternative. Winchester had quality issues their last year or so, but the company that bought them out hasn't ramped up the lever-gun production yet, so a new Winchester is out. I don't like Savage, and don't even know if they make a 1894C. Puma is a brand mentioned in the Mad Ogre article, but one as "Marlin quality is so crappy that people are actually preferring the crappy Pumas, THAT's how sad-crappy Marlin is."

  • ~ Take a chance. Have my dealer get a Marlin in, go over it carefully and reject it if sub par. But that's a pain in my dealer's butt if the findings are negative. I don't like being anything but a good customer to my dealer. But maybe I can squeak in under the wire and get a decent rifle on the first roll of the dice. I hate it being up to Chance.

  • ~ Just don't get one. If one falls in my lap in the future, fine, but I COULD just take it off the list forever. Or bury it in the Tertiary List and just be disappointed. Spend the money on an M1A or something. Not that I can call an M1A "Gummint Cheez" like I planned for the Marlin 1894C. It just wouldn't be dignified.

I'll have to check with my dealer to see if he can recommend anything.

Anyone have any other recommendations? Am I overlooking an obvious solution, not listed above?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Corky's Missus

Corky has a missus. She is not much more than 5 foot nothing, and he is confused as to why she isn't as good as he is with a gargantuan full sized .45 ACP Springfield XD. Double stack and all. She can't get a good grip and he asks:

"But my wife is having some major issues that need work and I have no clue how to help. If anyone has female shooter friends, please throw me a bone.

~ First off, I have no clue what to do when her small hands can not cover the entire grip. What does she do with her off hand, grip the remains of the grip or does she cup the bottom?

~ Seems she is having issues also racking the slide. Do not know if it a strength thing or if she not holding the grip safety correctly when trying to pull it. Might be a combination of the both."

But, at least she is game enough to try it out! That's a good missus you found there, Corky.

Good enough to get a shootin iron that may work better with little hands. He's already hit on that idea and is procuring a SIG SAUER Mosquito. Which might be a sporty little .22 automatic. He'll see how she takes to that.

I'd recommend to him, if the .22 works well with her, that he might have 9mm tryouts in his and her future. If she is serious about it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bible Study

Since I am so ill, and close to death, I've been reading the Bible. Just in case. Talk about a preachy book! EVERYONE's a sinner! Well, except this guy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Gun Blogger

There is a new gun blogger about, and since other bloggers were so kind to me when I started, I figure I should pass the karma on. Welcome to Gun Blobber.

And I hope he writes more.


My Brother is still in the Navy. Making a career of it, he is. And just about everybody in the military has to take a turn in the "Sandbox." And his turn was last summer when I started this blog.

Back then, there was a LOT of boredom in the part of the country he was in. And he didn't have a combat role so he stayed ON the firebase the entire time. Never leaving except to catch the airplane home. He didn't even like to hand around the front gate. The only excitement was the regular mortar and rocket attacks. So he appreciated having something to read like these humble scribblings.

He had something to add after my Pistol Stance entry a few back. Something they taught him in the training leading up to deployment:

"More of a stance with the pistol close to chest for tactical movement in close quarters (i.e. urban), while moving. Not real practical for range work since you probably won't find many that allow anything but static stances. Basically, two handed grip, one around the other, elbows bent with pistol close into the chest pointing down. Ideally you would just have to flick the wrist up a short distance and fire faster than the person you come across. It also helps prevents the target from taking control of the weapon if within arms length such as pushing the palm against the barrel of a 9mm to prevent firing. One of the Israeli Special Forces guys taught us that on the close quarters range in Kuwait."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sick AGAIN?!

February was horrible, and now I've got it again. The Crupe. I've never been this sick for this long. Thank goodness it's a weekend, as I haven't accrued enough sick leave.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stance and Grip

My Dad was telling me about plinking at tin cans while in the Service in New Mexico. He was always more familiar with long guns, but had the opportunity to use a hand gun a bit there. But he definitely feels like a dabbler now. He asked me about what stance I used.

And the preferred stance has changed since Dad was in the service, and you can see some old time shooters in archived copies of Guns Magazine Online. Careful though, they are in PDF format and take a while to download on a slow connection for those that have them. In the old days, people shot one handed from the shoulder or from the hip.

I do a 2 handed grip. It's sort of a Weaver Stance. It might even be called a Chapman Stance, as I lock up the shooting arm, while the Weaver has both elbows bent. But the Chapman Stance is an evolution of the Weaver, so they are similar. I came up with the stance I use all on my own after reading about the Weaver and trying it as best I could. I changed it or misunderstood it and got what I do now as it felt most comfortable to me. I didn't know that I was called the Chapman stance until researching this blog entry. So, lucky me.

Being left handed I lock the left arm straight and pull it across my body at a slight angle. That way the right hand can grip the other hand and bend the elbow a bit. It's as if the pistol had a rifle stock, but in the case the 'stock' is my arm. I'm not shooting straight out where my sternum is pointing, but off to my right so I angle the whole body when presenting to a target. My right foot is ahead a little bit, the left foot points off to the side. You should pull back a bit with the right hand and push forward a bit with your left hand via the shoulder. The purpose of this is minimize muzzle flip from the recoil. Another new thing I have to try is to push the palms together. That might be better than the modified strangle grip I'm trying to do and is messing up my aim.

The grip is wrapping the right hand around the shooting left hand, thumb in top of thumb, both parallel and pointing down range, and fingers on top of fingers. Another way is supportive by having your weakhand cup under the butt, like a teacup. I did that years ago, but I like the wrap-around now.

The other way to hold that isn't old school or some verision of the weaver is both arms straight ahead in an isocelse triangle. The seen a few cops that like this stance. I don't.

None of these stances work if the assailant attacking you is in fist punching range. A good stance will have you resting your pistol OVER his shoulder. But you have to practice a good grip and stance to make it second nature, and you have to practice the close range stuff too. That close range stuff you have to watch you don't shoot parts of yourself or the bad guy doesn't get a hand on your gun. All of that kind of training is still in my future, and first things first is a good grip and stance.

I'll have to think on the other.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Myths About Guns

JayG referenced Ambulance Driver, who had posted about myths about the gun enthusiast community.

JayG is a long time member of the Gun Nut fraternity, I am a mere dabble and a n00b. But I needed blog material, I have an opinion I am unafraid to broadcast, and I wanted to spout off at the mouth, too, on what may become what Al Gore calls an “Internet Meme”

“In your view, what are the most common myths among the firearms community about "stopping power" (now there's a fuzzy term if ever I've heard one), penetration, velocity, caliber, bullet weight and construction, firearms accuracy and reliability? If there are other points of contention I haven't mentioned, by all means let me know”

Stopping power: I always thought that this was the distance you’d carry something before ‘stopping’. Like I can walk for 20 miles toting 5000 rounds of .22 ammo, but I can only get about 200 yards with 5000 rounds of .45 before I am too tired to go on. In other words I stop. Ergo .45 ACP has more stopping power than .22. And for some reason this is desirable. [Not if I have to walk anywhere carrying it –ed.] I don’t know why, yet.

Penetration: Please! This is trying to be a family blog. We will not descend into prurient obscenity.

VeloCity: A city that has been using the Supreme court
Velo vs. City (shortened to velocity) of New London Connecticut Decision to confiscate private land to then give to big campaign donors that promise to build some business on said land that will bring in more tax revenue to the local authorities. This ruling is frowned upon by the small ‘L’ members of the gun community (in other words, most all of them) because of the perceived violations of the ‘takings clause’ of the Constitution. And gunnies hate it when plain constitutional language is perverted in such a way because it means the plain language in the Second Amendment can be similarly misconstrued to better serve our political masters.

Caliber: A beer from Europe. From the Guiness Brewery, no less. Sometimes spelled with a 'K'. No, not 'Caliker.' Jimminy. And, criminally, it's non-alcoholic. Let me just let that sink in... Non-Alcoholic beer. From Ireland. What's next? Non-compensating for a 'shortcoming' paranoid redneck gun-owners from America?

Bullet weight: The time you have to wait between rounds of firing fun when you are reloading magazines at the gun range.

Firearms Accuracy: Is truly a myth. Based on my results at the range there is no such thing. It is impossible for a human to make a bullet punch a target where you want it. It HAS to be a myth. It can’t be MY fault I can’t make the holes show up near the center of that big paper circle.

In your view, what are the most common myths among non-firearms enthusiasts about the same subjects? What are the biggest misconceptions among non-shooters about the destructive power of firearms? [He’s referring to Hollwood here –ed.]

I’ve always found Hollywood to depict firearms pretty accurately. They are diligent truth-tellers out there in California, and would never try to steer us wrong. I’m still not going to try The Matrix style bullet-dodging. Not because it is impossible, but because I’m not as young as I once was, and I don’t think my back is that flexible anymore. But every time I’ve been shot, the force of the bullet has sent me halfway across the room. If there is a window near, I usually go through that. Luckily, the glass has never cut me up badly. Or at all. And all the bullet wounds have been flesh wounds to the shoulder. A sufficiently thin butter knife has gotten the rifle slug out of there. I wore an arm sling for a day or two and favored that side. That’s just how it has worked out for me. Every time. Honest. Pinky swear.

JayG had a good point: “7. Shotguns, presumably with birdshot, are capable of turning people into hamburg.”

True. A Slug round from a shotgun will turn you toward Paris, the City of Light, but birdshot puts you in the mind of Hamburg Germany, birthplace of Roy Croc and Dave Thomas (Wendy’s founder), and a huge port city. And a nice Buckshot cartridge turns your heart to enter the city with Seven Hills… Eternal Rome. I don’t know why, but if JayG says it’s so, it must be.

"Aside from the obvious (the ability to put multiple rounds through a bad guy's left ventricle while under extreme stress), what do you feel are the most important determining factors in rendering someone quickly and decisively dead or incapacitated? I'm talking about the tools here, folks - the weapon and its projectiles - not the training and mindset of the shooter."

Clearly, the only option is to go New York police officer style and unload a minimum of 50 rounds into a subject. Or at least squeeze off that many. Apparently it is a rule in NYC that if you see a guy take his wallet out you have to expend at LEAST 3 dozen rounds from your Glock. Fortunately for Wallet-Boy, there are documented instances of that volume of fire being expended and no one getting hit with anything.

Maybe smart police sergeants in NYC know which officers are the Barny Fifes in their precinct, but instead of issuing them with a single bullet, as Sheriff Taylor did with Barney, they issue them with full Glock magazines filled with blanks. Makes a heckuva racket, but no one gets hurt. Still, it’s bad form when NYC Fifes go at it with the blanks, and New York’s news media is a little more rigorous than Mayberry’s, so when it happens we hear about it in the rest of the world. The Mount Pilot Herald is way over on the other side of the county, and they like Barney too much to print anything in the newspaper too embarrassing about him. As long as no one gets hurt.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

S&W model 625

Now I'm thinking. And that's always dangerous.

Keeping in line with my desire to simplify ammo inventory by restricting the number of caliber types my guns will fire, I can't go out and buy a .44 Magnum. Or a .32. Or .45 Colt. It doesn't fit in with the other calibers. Getting a .380 pistol was an anomaly, and I don't keep more than a couple boxes of ammo for it on hand.

And I want a revolver to play with.

I HAVE a .357... And I HAVE a lot of .45ACP ammo...

Oooo, there is an option there!

The S&W Model 25 or 625, or even an old Colt 1917.

In WWI, the Army's sidearm was a 1911 .45 ACP, but production couldn't keep up with the massive influx of new dog faces. As a stopgap, the War Department looked for alternatives, and the solution they and the gun manufacturers arrived at was to make revolvers that could be cranked out on under utilized wheel gun fabrication machinery but that ALSO fired the same rimless .45 ACP cartidge. Revolvers like rimmed cartidges to better hold the round in the cylinder, but if you make a little metal clip that holds the groove of 3 or 6 .45 ACP cartridge you can make it all work. This is what the .45 rounds clip into:

Now thanks to WWI, and this moon clip invention, I can get a new revolver that shoots the ammo I already carry.

That full size moonclip sort of acts like a speed loader, too. I am pretty sure the current speed record for those "quick draw" competitions is held by a guy that used moon clips. Jerry Miculek, I believe? 12 rounds in less than 3 seconds? I can do that. I just don't want to...

Oh you said seconds. I thought you said minutes.

Anyway, the firearms.

I wouldn't be too picky. All the following statements are my personal conventional wisdom (in other words, there is a good chance I am talking out my butt.) The S&W 625 is the model currently in production, and you MAY still be able top get a Model 25. The difference is, the 625 is stainless steel and the 25 is blued steel. The Colt 1917 (the year they needed/developed all these stopgap handguns marks the model number.) are around. There is even a nice example at my gun dealer, blued, in great shape. But they aren't current production. Smith and Wesson ALSO had a model # 1917 that is pretty much the same thing.

Now this gun is neat and all, and I added it to the Master List but only on the Tertiary section. I have a good revolver in the S&W 686, and another one as backup isn't as pressing a priority. And though I really like the old pre-WWII styling, and wouldn't pass one up if the right one presented itself when I actually raised the list priority on the gun, I bet one won't present itself at that time in the future. It is most likely I'll get a S&W 625 because of availabilyt if/when I do. But a nice vintage version would be the ideal, the 625 would be the realistic choice. Perhaps I'll just hold out.

When in good shape, the vintage Colt 1917 have pretty, smooth, walnut grips, and if I had to choose I'd go for that version over all the others. Here more info abou the 1917 from a couple of fans, and here is a pic:

And here is the S&W modern version, with all the modern amenities:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Heller Arguments

From on high, tomorrow, our masters argue over what priveleges we peons should be allowed. All for our own good, for they know what best for us subjects, us peons. Were that we were endowed with some set of inviolable rights, untouchable by mere magistrates. Rights that imply responsibilities, granted, but rights nonetheless. Better would be for said-rights to be recognized and also our lives left alone from constnant interference by petty potentates that are actually OUR servants. Stop doing things for my own good. I know what's good for me, and I will implement that yummy goodness as I see fit, and I promise not to bother my neighbors', and their yummy goodness, if they refrain from bothering me.

After we get this 2nd Amendment hoo-ha settled, I think I will concentrate my meager share of political will on the 4th. The 3rd seems to be doing just fine, and the 1st has plenty of folks watching it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Trigger Feel

I think I am ruined for preferring only Military Style 2-stage trigger types. Which is probably a good thing.

Here, this is what I got used to. I got used to shooting a double action revolver, which sort of has a 2 stage trigger, and milsurp or military surplus style rifles and the 1911 .45.

Before I go on, let me define my terms and how a Double Action revolver is sort of like a Military 2-Stage trigger to me. A military trigger, in my mind, has some movement of take-up in the trigger that is kind of easy, then you meet stiff resistance right before you trip off the sear. You can take up this "slack" then squeeze for the break at the resistance. And I tend to do it this way. That might be bad, someone chime in if they know I'm hurting myself with a bad habit.

A revolver in Double Action is a firmer trigger pull, but with mine there is definitely a first part where it is easier and a point where it stiffens and I KNOW I am close and do the squeeze thing. In Single Action it's just a light 1 or 2 pound pull, but that's neither here nor there.

What do I have that shoots like this? The .03, the Garand, the 1911, the 1903, the S&W 686 (sorta, as I said). Even the .22 plinker from Mossberg and the Remington Model 11 shotgun (sorta, again) are 2 stage.

So I figured most all triggers worked that way. Take up the slack, then break a glass rod when you hit reistance and the trigger goes off.

But they don't ALL feel that way.

The Glocks I've tried are different feeling. The XD is similar to the Glock, but it, too, feels uniquely different, but i personally prefer it to the Glock. I will need to play with both more to firm up that personal opinion. Both trigger are mushier than I like. I don't know where they are gonna break. And not in a good 'surprise' way. They seem to travel forever. It's hard to get a handle on them.

The S&W Military and Police 9mm I tried was like that too. So are a lot of other models, I understand. Modern models. What was wrong with the old style trigger that these new types want to change? It's probably a reaction to police officers with not enough training, or are accustomed to Double Action revolvers, shooting themselves when the trigger doesn't have a lot of travel. Mushy, long-travel triggers might be a reaction to the abhorent modern trend of trying to make everything safer. Swaddle us in bubble wrap because of contingency plaintiffs attourneys and Gummint mandate. Sigh.

I haven't heard of or experienced a long gun that felt like that. I hope those are rare.

I don't like this new trend. I like the old style trigger.

It's probably just a natural conservative reaction to the new. But it is my preference. I like my firearms designs to have 60+ years of real-world testing, anyway, before I consider them for personal use. I also like to ask "which gun has killed more Tojos, Nazis, and Commies?" and for that you gotta go with older military designs. That 1911 sure is the pistol that has killed a lot of soldiers that meant the United States harm. Compared to any other pistol. The M-16 might have let the air in and the blood out of more commies than the 1911 manage, but only because you fire a rifle more.

Notice there are darn few Commies, Nazis, and Tojos to shoot at? And notice there are plenty NEW bad guys that are persistently sticking around and they became a problem at about the same time we got rid of 1911 as a military sidearm? Coincidence? I think now.

So bring back the 1911 and ban all non 2-stage trigger, rename the Department of Defense BACK to the Department of War and then 'problem aread' will start falling by the wayside again.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I've been remiss

I keep referring to a shooter error analysis chart on Castle Argghhh!, but I neglect to provide the links.

Here it is for left hand.

And for right hand.

I've seen these charts in many ranges but I can only find them online at If you go over to that website, he has some GREAT gun pr0n.

Looking at THESE charts more closely, I notice something else I may be guilty of, and this I beleive. The flaw is "Grip Fingers - squeezing fingers while pulling trigger." THIS I believe I am doing. And it may be why, when I grip the pistols more firmly, my accuracy improves. Because when holding firmly I CAN'T squeeze the fingers much more.

There is another flaw that makes you innacurate in another direction if you squeeze your whole hand instead of just the fingers. I don't see myself doing that, but I do see myself overcompensating in that direction.


Also, on another subject. Apparently I am guilty of making My Buddy the Gun Enthusiast covet another gun. His problem? He's bought too many already this year, causing great consternation to Mrs. MBtGE. Not because guns are icky, but because money ISN'T icky, and she wants more of the latter for other things.

The gun is the Springfield XD in .45. All the talk about Corky's and Chuckles got him to think about it too much, and MBtGE is a big fan of plastic guns. Sorry Mrs. MBtGE.

Friday, March 14, 2008

You Know What I Like?

I like going into gunstores and not remembering the difference between Hi-Point and Kel-Tec. And opening my big mouth about it.

If you have worked in a gunstore for more than 5 business days you know more that I do.

That's why I try, TRY, to pepper my ramblings with qualifiers: "They'll correct me if I'm wrong but that is one of those cool Kel Tec carbines, and it's not that expensive." or "That's a Hi-Point, I THINK, and it takes some caliber of pistol ammo and I believe you can specify which manufacturers magazines it will accept." Like that. I hate it when I throw down a definitive statement and get proven factually wrong. That's why I don't mind so much, in my dottage, when someone calls me on something. Probably because of the qualifiers, and the wisdom of great age, I don't get embarassed by know-it-all isms as much as I used to.

Please feel free to call me on my asinine horse-hockey. It's the only way I'll learn (Shoot it took a commenter to clue me in that there is a groove in the top of snubby revolvers that you are SUPPOSED to use for a sight, and not all revolvers are supposed to have an adjustable sight on the top of the frame there). Expezially with boom-sticks. What do I know? I've put around... what? 1000 rounds down range lifetime, give or take? 3000 max. There is probably a casual reader or two to this humble blog that has put 100,000+ rounds down range, give or take. That much shooting doesn't definitely make them an expert and more knowledgeable than me... but it PROBABLY does. We'll go with that assumption, shall we.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Initial Reloading Prep

Got a coupla new books, the ABC of Reloading and Lymans 48th addition. It's my starter books to get the theory of reloading down. To start to form an opinion on the topic. I'd need more than one reference along with all the accouterments to actually CONSIDER the first reload. Got the tip on this book from various reloading internet forums. The next book thing, according to general consensus, I need to get would be Lymans manual and Hornady. Maybe Speer. Hard to find, but I bet Midway has them.

And just when I think I might be up for seriously boning up on the topica and maybe making so .308 rounds, I read something like this from Clint McKee of Fulton Armoury about abject DISASTER from reloaded rifle rounds. If THAT sorta stuff doesn't increase your pucker factor by an order of magnitude I don't know what will.

Thinking on this as a starting rig. Not shabby. Lee is a good economical value, with a starter kit.

The upgrade for super-duper rifle loads
would be this. It weighs the powder AND measure it out for you. A bit pricy, but the ease and precision intrigues me. Saw it on Smallest Minority (great starter tutorial there, btw), I think. It's not for my initial reloading purchasing forays, and besides, I want to be able to reload without HAVING to have electricity. In case I get bored when a Hurricane Isabel comes to Maryland again. My freezer STILL hasn't recovered.

But if I don't reload for the the M1 or a future M1A, and ONLY perhaps reload for a bolt action rifle, restricting myself to handgun loads with the .45 and .38, perhaps I may start OUT with a progressive press. The device LOOKS more complicated, but there are factors that make it simpler. You don't need to swap out dies on a run. If you use carbide dies you don't need to lube most pistol cases. Gonna have to think on this.

What I NEED is another mentor. A good one.

But with the aforementioned equipment, I'll need:

  1. calipers to measure case length

  2. LEE ZIP TRIM with multiple case length gauges, .45 .357 .308

  3. Tumbler to clean the brass cartridges if I have fired them. This is the most expensive article beside the big kit.

  4. .45 ACP die

  5. .38/.357 die

  6. .308 die maybe (and that's it. I purposely limited my caliber selection on gun acquisition, partly for this reason.)

  7. cartridges, FMJ, primers, powder

  8. BOOK! Haven't gotten a third manual. Plus it would be nice to go over it with someone that knew what they were doing. MBtGE is lacking in this skill, so no joy there. If I beat him to it and reload before he does I'll finally be able to teach HIM something.

  9. Loading block, aka plastic bin to set the cartridges being worked on.

  10. Shotgun Shell Loader? Later maybe...

Aside from Smallest Minority blurb on his website, there is this website to check out too for another summary.

Oh and the LEE Precision website has
instructional videos. And those are fun to watch and get a sense of what is going on.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Browning vs Garand

Who is better? It's a Battle Royale!

John C. Garand


John Moses Browning

I like, and OWN and would own a lot of their stuff if given the wherewithall. If you look at my list and note the previous stuff I have bought you are hard pressed to find something NOT related to either gun maker. The shotgun, the 1911, the 1903, the 1894C, are Browning designs, The Mini-14, the Garand, the M1A are either invented by Garand or use his action.

Garand is the Canadian that invented the 'best battle implement ever devised' according to the best General ever devised, General Patton. And the M1 Garand is the precursor to the best battle rifle in existence, the M1A aka the M-14. (you don't need automatic fire. let your machine gunners do that for you in battle. the semi-auto version is fine.) Mr Garand didn't produce much else of fame and note, but why would he. He made the absolutely best rifle EVER.

Browning is ok, I guess. He did invent a few things.

What am I saying?!!! He invented the best handgun, ever, the 1911 .45, the best Euro-Pellet-Shooter, the Hi-Power, the best heavy machine gun, the Ma Deuce, which is only now being considered for replacement in some applications because it is too heavy to carry by hand. (What is wrong with soldiers today that they can't carry an 85 pound machine gun like it was nothing? Sheesh.) He invented 7 pistol cartridges. A boatload of very nice lever action rifles. One of my favorite light machineguns is the Browning Automatic Rifle, used extensively by WWII soldier and SHOULD have been issued to WWI soldiers.

The Winner?

Garand is inspired on that one superb weapon, but you gotta go with Browning for his exemplary and HUGE body of work. Browning is the victor, but I'm sure both men would shake each other's hands before the cage match started and after it concluded when both were bloodied and missing teeth. They'd of course return any teeth that wasn't there but was embedded in their knuckles. AND they'd buy each other beers at the bar across the street. (Well, maybe lemonade for Mr. Browning. His faith frowned upon alcohol consumption.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Out of State Range Report

MBtGE went the range with his boy, Mohawk. He sent me a report:


I went to the range today with Mohawk. We went to Blue-Ridge in Chantilly, Virginia. He had never been to an indoor range. He likes it.

It's $25 range fee now for non-members. It was crowded, too, when we got there at 10am.

It was a handgun day:

- Ruger Mark III
- S&W 9mm
- Glock 9mm
- Springfield XD 9mm
- RIA .45, Commander size 1911

Mohawk is loving the Mark III. He is Mr. Headshot at 7 yards. He also tried all the 9mm's. He did good with them but is not as spot on as the .22LR. I shot for the first time today the XD and RIA.

The XD was pretty spot on and highly shootable. It was very comfortable and reliable.

The RIA stove piped on me twice in 50 rounds. I also think I have a small hammer bite. The fixed sights hit consistently 6 inches right and 3 inches up at 7 yards.

MBtGE, or YBtGE... whatever"

So EVERYONE is hitting the range lately. Good on all of youse. Or is that 'all ya all'? 'all y'all'? Jeder, auf Deutsch.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Zombies in Lansing

From comes this report:

Police chief ready for zombie attack
A US police chief has stockpiled chainsaws - in case his city is invaded by zombies.
Police lieutenant Bruce Ferguson says his team are ready for any attack on Lansing, Michigan.
"We have been doing mock disasters and cross training for several years," he told the Lansing State Journal.
"People can feel confident, if zombies start invading, we'll know how to close the streets. We can get chainsaws too.
"If a swarm comes in on I-496 westbound, we'll block off the exits so they miss the city."

I have mixed feelings about this. I am glad the chief is preparing for the necropalypse and recognizes the dire need to do so, but don't know about the efficacy of his tactics. How are roadblocks going to slow the living dead and keep the city safe? It's not like zombies are swayed by road barriers when there are meatsnacks on the other side with tasty brains. I guess it might help during the initial panic when the unready panic and flee in their cars, sometimes bringing infected loved ones with them in the back of their minivan. Once the horde of undead is big enough, that Police Chief better have a plan B. Like stockpiles of ammo, food, fuel, the ability to grow MORE food that matches the numbers of the protected population, and VERY stout barrier around his jurisdiction that resists zombies AND the uninfected brigands fighting for survival on the OUTSIDE looking to victimize and plunder what he, and his village, has.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

March Range Again

Yay, I got to the range again the other day, right after work. And I specifically went to work on known issues, as I discussed. AND I am happier with the results. Not ecstatic, but happier.

This time, I wanted to try out the full length guide rod, and did so on the 1st target. I was pretty casual, not concentrating, and you see my typical pattern because of it. The target on top right is Federal Premium jacketed hollow points. 230 grain, just like the FMJ ball ammo I use. EVERY magazine I've shot of the Federal has been low and spread across the bottom, not favoring left or right. Odd. I'll have to try other hollow point varieties.

The ones you see scattered along the middle bottom are from the 1903 Colt Pocket Hammerless. I was aiming for the very center. Too casual, clearly. I had a partial box of .380 I wanted to use up.

I've been happy with my stance, a hair over shoulder width apart, with the right foot forward and straight, the left point out a bit. On the second paper target I concentrated better. I have to CONCENTRATE, as patience is not one of my best virtues. I also tried to lock my left (shooting) arm a little better, so all the recoil force goes up to the shoulder. And I tried to grip the pistol a bit more firmly. Before now I've been holding with "decent handshake" grip. If I shook your hand it wouldn't hurt, but it would be firm. NOW I want to take that up to the "old Marine buddy handshake" grip. Not trying to hurt but definitely more firmness, as he is an old buddy and you know he shakes with gusto and you haven't seen him in a while. Do you get me? Going up to "trying to crush you brother's hand in a handshake" grip firmness is too much, as the pistol will shake with the effort. It's a .45, you CAN be firm.

I'm happy with my sight alignment, for the most part, and I always focus on the front sight. So that's good.

Most importantly, I tried to do a better job on the trigger Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze.

I still go a little low and right, so I can't let up on trying to improve and practice, but I am improving. Here is a pic from the second target, at my best.

See? Better. but if that size group was 2 inches left and 2 inches up I'd be 'done.' Practice from then on would be to retain that accuracy and bump up the speed and maybe the range. Oh, all this shooting is at the 25 foot line.

Chuckles and Corky are better shots than me. Chuckles' only flaw is his speed. He takes a LONG time to get a shot off, but at the end of the day the yellow area in the target above is about gone and there are no holes anywhere else.

Here is the 3rd target of the evening. Also not shabby, but there are some holes in there from Corky and Chuckles trying out my 1903 Colt and my 1911. Looks like they hit the top 2 and the bottom left circles. The light pen marks are around my own groups. The two fliers are mine, sorry to say. I wasn't aiming to the far left or the bottom, off the yellow. Other aim points are the center and top white-bar intersections (I only had these 3 targets. I must buy 4 next time and get a silhouette for just playing around.)

One odd thing. The last clip I fired with the .380 Colt I was getting a lot of failure-to-eject. Now it couldn't have been THAT dirty. It was less than one box. The only other reason I can think of is by this point I was using the firmer grip. Could I have been holding my little gun TOO hard and it needed more flip during recoil to properly eject the spent casings? It sounds crazy, and I am willing to entertain other theories. I couldn't test that as I was out of ammo. You think you are closing in one solution and new problems crop up. That 1903 is a fun little gun, but MAN you notice how small the sights are after using the big Springfield 3-Dot types.

Corky and GunGeek suggests a laser bore sight for dry firing at home. Good idea. I do some dry fire practice, but that may help a lot more. And use THAT to improve my trigger squeeze.

I'd love to get a boresight for the rifle too. Maybe one of those kits is in my future.

I shot Corky's XD. Not too shabby, considering I was back in 'casual' mode, and it was late in the session and we were getting antsy to be done. Man that's a mushy trigger. But it sure points nice.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Reader Mail

PolyKahr asks:

"New Jovian Thunderbolt,Is there a way to shorten the name-like Jove, or Thunder? "

Can you put that up on Still-Store Cambot? Thanks

Answer: Yes, Polly. Some, on various forums and such, have called me T-Bolt or just Bolt. I answer to those readily. I also answer to "Hey, YOU!" and "Who let THAT ugly guy in here."

PolyKahr is also looking at getting a 1911. I recommend Anarchangel's primer on it, if still vacilating on what to get. If you already know, then more power to you, as some folks research their choice WAY too much. Like me. I put too much thought into a what should be a relatively simple $500-$1500 purchase. Anarchangel still a good read, unless you are at a Tam level of expert knowledge or so.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Vault Madness

Remember Chuckles? The same work buddy with .17 caliber madness? Now he has Gun Safe madness.

He bought a 28 gun gunsafe. Not just a cabinet, a VAULT. He owns 4 guns, 2 of them handguns. He has no plans to do more than double that number of firearms, and one of THEM is gonna be a BB gun. He's gone mental!

He got it from Stack-On. It weighs over 500 pounds, and he moved it in all by himself. For moving it, he says "balance is the key."

Apparently there was a sale at Dick's sporting goods, and the next size down was only $100 less, and it WASN'T water-resistant like this one, and he admits he will probably use the shelves so 14 guns and then lots of ammo and important paperwork and stuff and other things will go on the shelf side.

Still! I'm SO jealous. I don't have a place for anything bigger than my 10 gun. MBtGE went years with dozens of guns with a cabinet the size I have. (He is only NOW outgrowing that cabinet.) I can probably manage with what I got and NOT get a hernia dragging a big one to the basement.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Flaws

And there are many...

I've been thinking on my shooting flaws.

Anticipatory jerk or wrist-break. I might be squeezing the thumb, too, for the same reason. Jerking the trigger, especially, as the sight drifts over the bull, hoping to 'catch' it right there, ambushing the bull. Generally rushing and not focusing enough. Also, just generally jerking the trigger. If I could magically hold the gun rock steady I still think I jerk the trigger too much. Bad habit from cap-gun days as a kid, I am sure.

Found a forum post by a Grandpa Shooter that suggested, "If I might make a suggestion? Try putting a dime on top of the frame with your off hand--and then try dry firing. You might be surprised to find the dime moves on the frame from the way you move in holding the pistol. You may be focusing so hard on the sight picture that the gun is weaving without you even knowing it. If you are pushing or flinching in anticipation of the coming detonation (BOOM) the dime will fall of the frame." THAT's sounds like a good drill to try that will address the trigger and the anticipatory jerk.

A firmer wrist is a good idea. It will reduce muzzle flip. As long as I don't put it in a death grip. I don't think a loose grip is my biggest problem, but it doesn't hurt to perfect it.

Gonna try again tomorrow. After work.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

One Bothersome Detail

One detail I have noticed the day after the range, AND the day after that. The beavertail grip safety has a little bump on it. The web of my hand is tingly there, and much more shooting and I bet that bump would actually get around to annoyingly painful.

Swapping out the beavertail is no easy matter. It is generally not a drop-in operation that the use should do, I am told. Great. Now I have to go to a pistolsmith.

The ostensible reason for the bump, apparently, is for more positive grip safety depression. For those that don't grip the safety properly firm enough, the bump helps. You know. Limp wristers. Which means a whole different thing among shooter than around the general population.

So my new 1911 is STILL in kit form until I correct this.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Range Addendum

Coupla three things I forgot to mention on the Range Report yesterday.

That S&W M&P did have one fault: It thought it was that Head On product. It liked to apply spent shells directly to my forehead. If something is gonna make you flinch, THAT is it. BAM! ~bink!~ BAM! ~bink!~ BAM! ~bink!~


Also. The XD was considered a less desirable to me than a Glock because Glock mags go in OTHER guns. But now I have been told that they may be the same as HK mags. Hmm. One less reason to hate HK as much as they hate me. I do need to confirm the veracity of the statement

Ruger makes a .22 that has a grip roughly the same configuration as the 1911. I hadn’t noticed this before, and I might be tempted by such a thing. Maybe on the tertiary list.

Lunchbox got his pretty, smooth, cocobolo grips from Decent price for fancy wood grips at $40.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Range Report, March

I went to the range with some MORE work-buddies. Lunchbox, Frozen, Drake and me. OnTarget was kinda crowded on a Saturday night. There were people there of all shapes and sizes, but I don't think Denise of the Ten Ring showed. I kept a weather eye out for her.

OnTarget is right by an army base, Fort Meade, so there was young people. Including a couple VERY attractive young women. With their boyfriends. Ah, Amore. Nothing says love like the trust you have when you KNOW your beloved knows how to shoot.

Anyway. It was my first time at OnTarget, and it is a decent short range. There is the standard number of holes in the booths that always makes me nervous. The range is very cool and well ventilated it seems and is about 50 yards long. Not too loud, for some reason. I have no idea how they did THAT.

A big purpose for this trip, for me and the other guys, was to function test new acquisitions. This was nice as we could try out each OTHERS guns and get a good mix of models to play with. For me the 1911 I had made all those mods to was my priority. I tried several magazine types in is. A borrowed RIA mag, my factory mags from Springfield, and a couple of Chip McCormick mags I got just to see. The mags and the gun worked flawlessly, and here is a target I saved before they got all munged up with just play shots:

The top two targets are the careful, aimed shots. The bottom two are more speedy. But the flaw is similar. As you can see, I still generally hit low and right. The shots are hitting at "minute of bad guy" accuracy, generally, at 25 feet, but I'd rather those groups were more centered. What causes low and the right flaws? According to various shooter error analysis charts, I am jerking the trigger. I believe that. But how to train myself to STOP DOING THAT?!!! If I correct that specific thing for now and all time, I will be a much happier shooter.

Where was I? Oh yes. I got to try a Rock Island Armory 1911. Tiny little retro-sights on it make it harder to get the initial sight-on, but once lined up it fires as well as the Springfield. I thought it's classic grip safety and hammer would give me the dreaded Hammer Bite! but it didn't. Maybe my grip is such that I am not as susceptible? It was only 20 rounds or so tested with the RIA, if I shot 200 maybe THEN I'd experience the bite. It never bit me on the hundreds of rounds I shot with one in the NAVY. Lucky, I guess.

Lunchbox also had this 1911 called Llama. He said it was cheap, but it is stainless and had nice cocobolo aftermarket grips that made it quite handsome. It shot fine as well. My only complaint on that one was the trigger was rougher. It actually scratched up my trigger fingertip. Apart from that, it was a decent functional 1911. The sights weren't much better than the RIA.

Lunchbox had JUST gotten a S&W M&P only hours before. 9mm. I had always been dubious of this plastic gun. If I wanted a plastic gun I was going to shop somewhere else because all the M&Ps I had handled seemed cheap, and I didn't like the way the trigger felt. Well, when I shot a magazine through it I was more impressed than I thought I'd be. It feels better than I had guessed. I still don't know if I'd ever get one for myself in 9mm or any other caliber, but at least now I don't think it's crap. I think the .45 version of the M&P won "Gun of the Year" in 2007, beating a Kimber .45 and the Springfield EMP. Not shabby.

Frozen's new gun, and the only gun he owns right now, is a Springfield XD in .45. I shot THIS one better than my 1911. All holes touching, 3 inches LEFT of Center. Great. And when he shot my 1911 he shot IT better than he had been shooting his XD. We should trade.

Ok, that's crazy talk. But it makes me respect another plastic gun. I shot it better than I shot MBtGE's Glock 21, for certain. In both cases the pistol was practically right out of the box.

What else. I brought some expensive hollow point ammo to test through my Springfield 1911 to see if it shot any different. Boy am I glad I did that. They were horrible, compared to FMJ Ball ammo. the edge of the target circle and made a half moon around the bottom of that circle. There was no way to account for it. Perhaps I was 'breaking my wrist,' in other words anticipating the shot, but why ONLY on the hollow point? I saved a few rounds to test next time, and I will try them out early in the session in case it was wrist break. If I do tend to that flaw it is usually later in the shoot, when I am getting fatigued.

So, I have trigger jerk and anticipation. Same flaws I always have. My shots would get the job done, but I want to be better. As always, I need more practice.

One more thing I got to try... I brought my .22 conversion kit out. Oh. My. Goodness. What great fun that is. That little tiny pop coming out of a big honking 1911. It fed ok. Frozen had the most trouble with ejections/feed failures, so maybe he needs to work on his wrist grip to make a steadier platform. Of maybe he needs to loosen it.... Anyway. I experience about on failure for every 15 shots. Not too bad and about what I experience with a Ruger MkII or III. But what a joyous little plinker. I'm very happy with it. MBtGE frowns on it, as the much lessened recoil is nothing you want to get used to for when you NEED to be firing .45 through. He's right about that. It's not a PERFECT training aid. But I can certainly improve my trigger work, and breath control. I'll just have to be sure that for every 5000 rounds of .22 I shoot, that I shoot 1000 rounds of .45.

Everyone that tried the .22 conversion wanted to get one for themselves, it was THAT fun.
This range we went to is by work, so I may be taking more lunch breaks there, just for the convenience. And it isn't that expensive. You don't HAVE to be a member to shoot there. If I don't go there at least once a month, I am slipping.
Oh, and I forgot about Drake. He tagged along with Frozen but didn't have a pistol of his own. He's from New Jersey and it blew his mind that he could walk in, fill out some papers, and leave less than an hour later with an AR-15 rifle. And a pistol after the 1 week waiting period (we already know he has a clean record and there is no reason to deny him a weapon via NICS). "What about permits and licenses?" Nope. He had a lot of fun trying everybody's guns and now WANTS and AR like he shot at Basic Training. But this time he wants to get GOOD with it. So we recruited another gun-nut-whacko last night. My quota for March is already met. The NRA can send me my wheelbarrow full of cash now instead of waiting.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Yay! 10,000 visits to this blog. I wonder how many of those are just me?