Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ruger’s Troubles

Ruger’s sales have faltered recently as noted by the Firearm Blog here. And to help boost themselves it looks like they are trying to join the booming AR-15 clone market in the near future. Time will tell if they are jumping on an already full band wagon. I wish them well, regardless, they are a good company.

But Firearm noted “Not to mention the ‘evil’ 30 round magazine that Ruger will never sell,” and that is a telling throwaway remark.

I discussed in a previous post that Ruger went away from large capacity magazines out of concern for various Assault Weapons Bans outlawing such magazines. (Large means… more than 10 bullets. Sometimes it means more than 5. World War 1 rifles fired 5, generally, WWII fired 10ish, everything since has been 20 to 30.) I thought this a proper reaction for them, and that it made business sense at the time. One of my commenters was disgusted, and it IS, admittedly, a concession on Ruger’s part.

You don’t want to have to re-tool your assembly lines at the whim of a politician. Politicians are expensive. They want your money in the form of donations so they can take your money in the form of taxes, and cost you money in the form of regulation. If you are a business favored by the politician because you paid money to lobbiests to get him to like you, then YOU get money from politicians. Only you don’t really. You just pay less taxes… THIS year. We’ll talk again about next year.

And the business has to get that money to pay the politician from somebody, so they have to convince customers to part with THEIRS by making the most attractive product under the circumstances. Business don’t really give up money in the form of taxes. They pass the cost on to the customer or stop doing business. Simple enough.

Anyway, Ruger, it seems, wanted to get off that merry go round and just make itty bitty truncated magazines and not worry if laws were coming against the regular size mags. They bet that the restrictive laws were inevitable. Well, that is 1990s thinking. And the 90s are over, and the civil right of keeping and bearing arms is finally resurgent, and has been since 1994 (or their would not have been a sunset clause on the federal ‘Assault’ Weapons Ban). Assuming a successful outcome at a Supreme Court hearing, putting the to bed the final disposition of the 2nd Amendment, this resurgence of our principle civil right could be more or less permanent. In that case, Ruger bet wrong.
Now their business is hurting.

I am prejudiced against AR-15s, so I don’t trust my feelings that devoting resources to clone a Ruger version of that rifle is a bad idea. But what WOULD I do, if I was Ruger CEO? What great insight do I have that will come up with something that will get gun buyers to pony up their hard earned dollars to Ruger and not someone else?

Hmmm, what are gunnies clamoring for, even if they don’t know they are clamoring for it?

I’d love to see Ruger go whole hog on lefty guns. Become THE lefty gun source. Mainly because I like the Frontier scout rifle they have, and want it in left hand config. I’m biased here, again. I don’t know if the added production cost would match up with the good will of 15% of the population that has been largely underserved.

Ruger makes a GREAT revolver, and I don’t know if cranking out clones of guns that are already in crowded markets is the way to go for Ruger. (ie. clones of Glocks, sub-compact Glocks, 1911s, AR-15s, 'Sniper' 'Tactical' Rifles).

They do have ONE thing they have done lately, and it’s a bandwagon thing – admittedly, but it is an improvement worth taking. They have made improved triggers on Mini-14s. Savage Arms started a revolution with cheap but VERY good trigger groups on factory guns. Ruger should showcase this improvement in the Mini-14s in their marketing and spread it across the product lines. Lifetime Warranty’s and improvement to fit and finish is also a good marketing strategy, if you don’t increase the product price over much. That is one of Ruger’s strengths. Their guns aren’t too expensive.

The strength of their product line is the 10/22, the MkII and III pistol, the Mini-14s. So, how to build on this EXXPECIALLY if the Supremes rule on Parker Heller that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right as valid as the 1st or 5th? Well…. That’s another post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Know Too Much

I was thinking. I’m geeky on a lot of things. I know a lot more than the average person about military vehicles in WWII. Not so much that a REAL geek couldn’t run circles around me, “of THAT is a grainy picture of a Type 4b T-34 Russian tank with the optional trench shovel rack. That type was only made in the second half of March 1943 by a factory on the upper Volga staffed only with deaf midgets…” I don’t have that much detail on that sort of stuff. I have the same geekitude knowledge about antique tools, computers, literature, comic book superheroes from the 40s, role-playing games, beer making, politics, Roman history, heck - MOST History, and Industrial Processes and Operation. More than average on any one specific thing, but not an expert on any one thing. An eclectic mix. And cursory interest in many other fields

Say: on many subjects I am a mile wide, but only an inch deep. I know about everything, but if you ask me a follow up question, the whole thing collapses like a house of cards.

Same with guns.

But what if you didn’t geekify on a subject like a gun selection. What if Joe Schmoe decided one day that he needed to exercise his 2nd Amendment rights, needed to select a handgun that he would then practice extensively with, but would never delve into it and examine the whole gun culture and history from every angle like, uh… some of us do? Say Joe has a long afternoon to geek out online and then he’ll never return to the subject. What weapon would he select based on the short exposure to the Zeitgeist.

Mr. Schmoe would quickly light upon the top three, I have noticed. The Glock 21, the 1911 .45, and the S&W 686 .357 magnum. Of those I bet he’d select the 1911. It has the most positives, and fewest negatives, assuming an extensively practiced user that he intends to be.

I don’t have to go over the positives.

But what are the 1911’s negatives? It’s heavy, bulky, old fashioned, lacks capacity. Baloney. If you are going to carry, and put up with the weight of any gun and holster that extra poundage shouldn’t matter. The empty holster is inconvenient all by itself. And the 1911 as bulky as any other serious carry weapon. (I like the .380, and the pistols are sleek and low profile, but the power is anemic). Old Fashioned? Hell it’s CLASSIC! A direct connection to the genius of J. M. Browning. And, unless you are a New York City police officer and have to do a lot of missing when you fire your weapon, the capacity is plenty.

So geek out on pistols for the afternoon, and more time than not I am betting a random person will choose the 1911. My opinion, naturally. And we already mentioned how that opinion can be, uh… flawed. Or at least not as in depth as it can be. And choosing either of the other 2 isn’t wrong. Both are fine fine choices. And, in fact, when I did geek out one measly afternoon to make my first gun purchase 7 years ago… I bought the 686.


Shows how much I know.

Monday, October 29, 2007

.30 cal Single Shot Thots

Ok, ok, I chatted about this before, but fresh thoughts have come along about the eventual bolt-action hunting rifle I will one day get.

Well, actually, I'm trying to expand beyond mere bolt action. Something like the Winchester 88. Lever action, but shoots pointy bullets from a magazine instead of a tube. (you need a magazine, as a point bullet can set off the primer cap of the bullet in front of it in the tube, causing a situation of concern that scores about 12 on a the 1-10 scale of the "OHMYGAWRSHIMMAGONNADIE-O-Meter")Why that? Well it's good for lefties, now, isn't it? The lever action, I mean. Not the

MBtGE says, "You are bound and determined to have guns that will be hell to find parts for!" True. I am less worried about that. I like the old stuff and it is not like the old stuff wears out in one lifetime. I'm only going to use it one lifetime worth.

Well a Browning BLR might fill the same bill as a WInchester 88. But it's receiver is aluminum. Boo. Maybe an A-Bolt will do, when I get back on the bolt action path. Browning has better love for lefties, it seems. But I'd take a Browning BLR lever action in .308 or .30-06 if that receiver was steel. Steel would push me over the edge.

But it's hard to pick. Not from a large array of choices, but a dearth. But what alternative do I have, as a lefty? If there was a lefty Remington 700 ultra light (there is), that i could put iron sights AND a 6x-10x scope, that'd be my goal. But I need to know that iron sights are a possiblity. I think that might be possible, but confirmation would be nice. Consider this a bleg. Does anyone know if you can add something like Lyman Sights (gotta assume yes) to a bare bones Remington 700 or similar bolt action, and how much that'll cost me, (gotta assume...well I have no idea... actually)? I guess a company like this as a source: New England Custom Gun, but that doesn't answer my questions.

Plus $200 for trigger work.

Minimum $300 for scope from Leopold.

On top of $950 for a Remington 700 CDL in 30-06, VSF model is extra $200.

The peep-thru scope rings so I can use the iron sights and the scope without modification is a compromise in itself. The high rings make the scope a bit too high in profile, changing your shooting setup and where you put your cheek on the stock. I could get quick release rings, so I just snap the scope off lickity split like all the "sniper rifle in a briefcase" spy types do in the movies. But the Word on the Street is that it's hard to get really good quick release scope rings.

And now the New Winchester company is rebirthing the venerable Model 70 bolt action rifle. Reportedly suffering from quality issues, the really GOOD Model 70s are referred to as pre-1964. I'd be interested in seeing honest review of the new rifle, and if folks say as good as pre-1964, my ear will perk RIGHT up.

And HEY, speak of the devil... Browning, TOO, is coming out with a new bolt action model called the X-bolt. Both is and the Winchester have good out-of-the-box triggers according to initial reports, all because of the accutrigger Savage put out. Both of them intrigue me, and I have time to collect more reviews on them before, ahem... pulling the trigger on a purchase.

I don't like that Accutrigger. It just bugs me. I hope the new rifles have good conventional triggers..

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ruger Mini's

Ruger makes a handy semi-automatic rifle, called the Mini-14. It has a rotating bolt similar to the Garand, or think of it like a M1 Carbine, but with .223 caliber. It is good workhorse of a rifle, originally intended as a "Ranch" gun. It fires the .223 varmint round so popular with the military and used in the modern Army's carbines like the M-4 and M-16. The Mini-14 small and handy as a carbine should be, in not over priced, and the small round is appropriate for a ranch hand when dispatching pests and such.

I think they named it the Mini-14 because it was like a miniature version of the M-14, just not select fire.

Ruger makes a another version in larger caliber called the Mini-30. This weapon intrigued me and I seriously considered putting it on the "List" as a cheaper alternative to an M1A. Until I found out the .30 caliber round it fired was a 7.62x39, and not a 7.62x51. In other words, for the non-gun types reading, it fires the less powerful AK-47 .30 caliber round, not the .308 Winchester which is quite a bit longer and has more propellant in the case. (Mini-30, where the 30 is stands for .30 caliber.) If I ever expand into the SKS market, I may also get a mini-30 for commonality of ammuntition and ease in inventory.

But wait, it might be a good idea on a tertiary list to have a rifle chambered in this caliber? Yes, it might, but... That goes way beyond my original lists or primary and secondary acquisitions, and if I cross that line I will be navigating deep into Gun Nut territory. Not a bad place to find yourself, but I don't think I'm ready for that just yet. Also, while the Mini-30 is undoubtedly a decent gun, if I wanted to shoot something in that caliber there are PLENTY of semi-automatic military surplus rifles coming out of former Warsaw Pact countries that are being sold VERY cheaply. Maybe one fifth the cost of a Mini-30. If I was serious about getting a 7.62x39 I'd buy an SKS today.

If I delved into the idea of getting a .223 I would consider a Mini-14, certainly. In my view it is a more reliable platform than the AR types you all know I don't like, and it is probably cheaper than most alternatives. And they are making a Target version of it now, so it is probably accurized a bit. I'd have to check it all out if I was serious about a purchase sometime.

It's a good 'trunk gun.'

MBtGE (my buddy the...) is a fan of the Mini-14 and notes that a bajillion after market accessories are made for this workhorse, if you want to customize it.

Ruger no longer makes large capacity magazines for the Ruger. I can't say I blame them as they are covering their butt in case more "Assault Weapons Bans" come down the pike. They made a sound business decision if you only consider the business side of the equation, and I don't blame them for that. And you can get after-market magazines, if you so desire, so it is less of a big deal. Ruger wants to survive any super-litigious tsunami that might come, too, so they have many warning labels on their products. Not that warning labels helped the tobacco industry much, when the lawyer got their teeth in.

Ruger came out very recently with a NEW mini, that fires a 6.8 mm round. I don't know if they will call this one a Mini-27 or something? Either way, it's nice to see Ruger pushing new products out the door as they make very sound firearms at affordable prices.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ammo Commonality

Folks that are big, devoted fans of this blog (all both of you) are already aware of my ammo philosophy. For the casual reader it's simple:

I'm trying to keep ammunition inventory relatively simple by limiting the varieties.

So I am consciously avoiding greatly diversifying the ammo types with lots of orphans. In other words, I don't want a 7mm rifle, and a .30-06, and a .300 Mag, and a .308, and a 7.62x54, and a 7.62x39, and a 6.8mm, and 6.5mm Nipponese... and on and on. I want one or two for the rifle.

If I was truly fanatical, I'd stick with just one. Like ONLY .45 Colt, in pistol and a rifle. I'm crazy, but not that crazy.

So if I restrict my self to as few cartridge types as possible, And if you are paying VERY close attention to my fantasy Wish Lists, I try to get more that one weapon per cartridge type.

Sure I'll have one or 2 'orphans' but I am trying to avoid it. The .380 Pocket Hammerless that I will get... I may never get a SECOND .380. (Ok... but that is far down on a Tertiary list. Forget Primary and Secondary).

For example. I have a Garand in .308. I have my eye on a M1A that is a .308. Two .308s. Might get a bolt action rifle in .308. Or perhaps bolt in .30-06 to go with my Springfield 03. You get the point. 4 rifles, but only 2 cartridges. Same with a .22 rifle AND a pistol or two. A .357 revolver AND a Marlin 1894C that happens to fire the same caliber. A double barrel shotgun to go with my Model 11 Remington, both in 12 gauge.

One problem item has escaped the wish list, though. The 1911 style .45 has no companion piece to go with it on ANY of the lists. I'm not about to get a Tommy gun. One of those things cost more than all my guns and all the guns on my lists times 2. At least in the automatic version. I put a .45 Carbine on the Secondary list, but... The Marlin Camp Carbine is intrguing, but I haven't fallen in love with it, or the concept. Big plus, though: they use the same ammo AND THE SAME MAGAZINE as a 1911 .45. I wish they were still in active production.

Orphans of mine might be the 20 gauge single shot. A .380 pistol. Even that .30-06 03 that will end up being safe queen. (Too much sentimental value to sell, too much REAL value to sporterize and make useful. I wish it was an A3 verion with a peep sight...) But that's if I stick to JUST .308.

If I get a .223, I don't know if I'd double up on that type either. More likely to do so with the Russian 7.62x39, and THEN I'd be more likely to get more than one. There is a very sligh chance I'd get something a little heavier, for longer range shooting, but I don't think I'll ever have the skill level to outshoot the range on a .308. That round is fine on 600 yard, even 800 yard targets, and I have no business shooting that far for serious. Not yet, certainly. If I get that good I will have spent many rifle's worth of ammunition attaining that skill and THEN I'll think about some super round in the "Bigger than typical .30 cal cartridge."

But that is low on the Master List.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Range Report

When we tweren't scouting hunting grounds, we hit the Clark Brothers shooting range. I had some new weapons to test out.

First, that new, longer, shotgun barrel for my Remington Model 11. I showed it to the gunsmith and had him check out the home-rifling job some guy did on it. He was entertained, thought it amateurish, but it wouldn't hurt anything to try it out and see how it performed down range. He didn't have high hopes for accuracy, with slug or pellets. So I bought some slugs. I fired 2. Those 2 were close enough to the bullseye to make me happy enough, so the verdict is positive on the new-old barrel. Not bad for a freebie, but I wasn't there to test the shotgun. (Dang, that thing kicks when you shoot it from the bench.)

Next up is a redo of the Springfield 03. It's too nice to relegate to the safe without getting some performance out of it, so I decided to try re-zeroing it, with MBtGE spotting. At 25 yards it was shooting12-15 inches left of the bull, but with fine elevation. It just took some AGGRESSIVE sight adjustment to pull the point of aim around. For those not familiar with the sight on the older 03, it a flip up leaf spring with massive adjustments for elevation, out to 2500 yards +. Windage adjustment has no 'clicks' so you have to not where you are on the caliber scale on butt end of the sight. And Crom help you if the elevation adjustment loosen on you with the elevation leaf down, and when you have an aggressive windage adjustment. That little part is where the rear notch is, and if you are 9 degrees out to starbord side, but the notch slides forward... who knows what correction is dialed in. Not 9 degrees like I want, that's for sure. (I am guessing that they are degrees. It's about that. 9 marks on the little caliber scale. ) Well when everything was going right with the sight I switched from 25 yards to 50 and got some happier accuracy. Enough to make me happy with the 03. Not enough to pick it over the Garand in a hunting situation, but I didn't expect it to.

Thirdly, I got to try out my Dad’s old .22 bolt action rifle, a Mossberg 144 LR target model. What an absolute joy to shoot. It holds stead and just FEELS right. It’s not a top of the line target rifle, but it’s not some fly by night version of a .22 either. It just wants to put little holes in a piece of paper as close to the center as I can expect. Ok, not at first. I had to correct its sight quite a bit. It was also pulling to the left, lie the 03, and required some adjustment. Still, it shot very well for a rifle that probably hasn’t been fired for 50 years. I like the aperture sight on the rifle, but the hole is a little small. It’s fine for well lit ranges. Very easy to adjust, too. And MBtGE gave me 4 bricks of .22 LR rounds, so I have 2000 sitting in the home powder-magazine now.

I’m concerned that all the shooting and sight adjustment on both rifles are for naught. Clark Bros is a fine place to shoot a rifle, but you have to be seated at their little fixed in place shooting benches. There is no real way to establish a natural point of aim. What if the .22 and the 03 were just fine with their sights, but now I’ve shifted them all over and they won’t work properly in a non-Clark Brothers situation? And does this also mean that my Garand, which shoots well at Clark Brothers, will fail to hit the sides of Barns in the field? Pah! I need more range options. Private range options.

I am probably worrying over nothing. MBtGE has fired my guns a few times on Clark Bros benches after I zero them and gets good center groups. You’d think his point of aim would be different from mine and his groups would need vast adjustment to compensate for MY vast adjustments. Well, it’s a theory, at least. By the way, MBtGE get’s much tighter groups on the targets than I do. A function of his depth of shooting experience over mine, certainly.
MBtGE had his own issues to address at the range. He wanted to test out a new brand of .22LR in his Ruger semi-autos. He has found them to be quite particular in their diets. That effort was a bit of a bust for him and he is considering radical measures to address it and allow him to fire a broader array of ammo brands and types. Serious lapping and polishing inside the receivers by a good gunsmith may be on his short term list of Thing To Do.

He also got to try out his new Glock 21, .45 ACP. It needs breaking in. And those sights seem to be a bit clumsy, big, and unwieldy. It’s just not accurate yet. Hopefully a few hundred rounds will settle it down, and this circumstance was not unexpected. I would be a little wary for a carry weapon to not be ready for prime time yet before actually, you know, CARRYING it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Scouting Report

My Buddy the Gun Enthusiast knows people. Relatives, actually, that sit on good hunting land. So we went to check them out this weekend.

His Brother only has a few acres, but his property backs onto a 4000 acre wooded lot that isn't posted. No one knows who owns it, and people have been hunting it for years. It's far enough out in the country that hunting it with a rifle is no big deal. Once you crest the hill behind his brothers property, there isn't an inhabited structure within range. We had high hopes for this land, as his brother has been complaining about the deer being pests.

The woods are way too dense, though. And dense as far as you can walk. You can't sneak into an area in the dark to shoot a deer as it gets light, what with all briars and mountain laurel. You'd trip up and sound like a herd of buffalo rumbling through the leaves. No place was the vegetation thin enough to make a rifle practical, either. Revolver or shotgun would be more appropriate, for any short range opportunity. Maybe with more time we could find a more open area DEEP in the woods, but it is less than practical.

What was neat here was several chestnut trees, still bearing nuts. They looked sick with the Blight, but they were still trying to come back. Eventually they'll get it and we'll have chestnut again.

No deer sign was noticed. Squirrels are eating the acorns and chestnuts, but it doesn't look like deer.

Plan B. MBtGE's Sister has a farm/nursury that backs onto a Civil War battlefield. Stuff is more devopled that close to the suburbs so shotgun only hunting there, but the nursery has several ponds on it, and the fence is such that deer get funneled into a narrow area heading toward these drinking holes. This property has much more promise. Walking it we saw MANY deer sign. Bed down areas, scratch marks on the trees, and plenty of scat all over. There is a deer stand in place, too. I figure we'll go here opening week, and chance are SOMEONE will bag something for the freezer. I was hoping for a rifle hunt, but beggars cannot be choosers. Especially the first time out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Going to scout out a hunting spot this weekend, with MBtGE. Maybe hit the range. I'll report back after.

I'm going to try out the new .22, and maybe try out the 03 again. No Garand this time, which is a rarity.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Range Issue

Ever notice, at the gun range, all the holes in the wall that are not where they are supposed to be? My favorite is the ones on the ceiling right about the station you are standing at. You know what I mean. Someone messed their drawers when they did that. Or they SHOULD have, for such a boneheaded negligent discharge.

And, ever notice how some ranges put down talc on the floor? MBtGE told that this was to show you if your rounds were bouncing off the floor because you had set your target low. It’s ok if your rounds do that, but it is BETTER if your line of fire goes right into the back stop. It’s easier on the range that way, and its often range policy/preference that you do it right. Just line up your paper target better, so the shot goes from you, to the target, to the backstop.

The automated target moving thingys at the NRA Range are COMPLICATED. I’m a slow-head and there are just too many settings and they don’t seem to work intuitively. I CAN get the target to eventually roll down range to where I want it, but… sheesh.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Goal Recap

I started this blog 4 months ago. Let's see about my progress toward my four goals.

To be confident and competent enough with a rifle to be able to hit anything I can see in a Jovian Thunderbolt kind of way.

I've been to the range several times, before and since, with the Garand. I can reliably hit a center mass of a man or deer size target from 100 yards away with iron sights. I need to tighten this group size at this range, practice more, and perhaps measure myself by using something like a Army Qualification Test type target. I should better record my results at any rate, to keep better track of any improvements and perhaps nip problem areas in the bud.

To be able to defend myself with a handgun.

I've practiced some, but less than the rile, with the handgun. I've identified a weakness or two in my shooting and I am working on fixing those flaws. Recording on paper, in a range book, will be helpful with handguns as it would with the rifle. Despite flaws, I am still hitting decent center mass shots (just a little to the right) at 7 yards. The idea is to take these 7 inch groups, center them, and make them 3 inch groups. We'll work on drawing from a holster after the marksmanship improves, since I can't carry in Maryland. (must look into getting a carry permit for Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania)

For both the above goals, getting a raise at work will help with devoting more financial resources to range practice. Actively working on this problem now.

To perhaps harvest some tasty venison with either a rifle or a shotgun, any skin or antler is just a nice bonus, here.

Took the Maryland Hunter Safety course and got a Maryland hunting license. That should make it easier to get an out of state license in Virginia. My Buddy the Gun Enthusiast has 2 potential sites, in Virginia, to go hunting and we are scouting one location this weekend. I put together most of a backpack filled with hunting type supplies, including day glow orange clothing. Hunting ammo bought and loaded into clips. I might not shoot a deer this season, but I'll get to be in the woods enjoying the experience, certainly. I must remember to take Moe the Bartender's advice to heart, too: "You only got room for 3 carcases in truck, so only shoot trophy bucks."

And, if necessary: To Defend the Ramparts of Democracy from a Level 4 Zombie Outbreak or against the Jacobin, Rampaging, Godless, Red-Commie Hordes (or their modern equivalent.)

I've accumulate some ammo, assembled some supplies and much of a bug out bag. I could hole up at home in any weather for couple weeks in a SHTF situation, or be on the road in 15 minutes with plenty of supplies to last as long. No where near read for a TEOTWAIKI circumstance, but is anyone TRULY ready for that? I have some ammo, but need to get more. I need to tune the BoB quite a bit more, too. Not enough food, not enough water, not enough first air, not enough fire, not enough cash, not enough orienteering supplies in the BoB. I possess all proper firearm types at this point; major caliber Rifle, Shotgun, .22, and a major caliber handgun. Any further firearm acquisitions would just be improvements.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book Review: World War Z

Well, more of a CHAPTER review.

Max Brooks wrote a fun little book, World War Z that chronicles and oral history of a MAJOR zombie outbreak and its aftermath. This book is a follow up to Zombie Survival Guide that discussed how to prepare for and then survive a major outbreak.

But I'm not reviewign the totallity of either. I am reviewing the chapter where a reorganized army goes out to try to take back the country from the walking dead, and, importantly, the rifle they used.

The rifle is fictional, and even the soldier character that explains it is speculating on it's origins. And this gun is tailored for its task, but it is made to sound like an excellent weapon for tasks beyond shooting many zombies in the head efficiently.

The rifle is called SIR, short for Standard Infantry Rifle, but also as a term of respect. It's is chambered in 5.56 and is a brand new design that draws strengths from other design. The conjecture with the character is that it owes a lot to the Kalashnikov, or AK-47. I don't see how this can be, as the rifle described is VERY reliable, like a Kalashnikov, but it displayed accuracy that the AK is not supposed to get near. More speculation was that it had some roots in the XM-8, an H&K weapon that is essentially a fancy German designed M-16, with new styling and, more importanly, a gas operated bolt that is an improvement on the direct impingement gas-operation system the easily fouled M-16 uses. (At least, I am pretty sure the XM-8 types, and ANY new rifle, stay away from direct impingement. I may be wrong. Help me out here. I'm still learning. I'm but a n00b. It just seems to me the weight saving advantage of shooting gasses back into the 'work' is not that good idea, or maybe I haven't totally figured it all out...)

Anyway, tactics are much different when you have to shoot vast numbers of slow moving, tactically inept, living dead that can only be killed by destroying the brain. Marksmanship is stressed, and volume fo fire from automatic weapon spray is less valuable. So this new rifle, the SIR, is semi-automatic only. Not a bad system for a replacement of the ACTUAL army's infantry rifle. Except the caliber choice. 5.56 is fine for zombies, get a version in 7.62 for AFTER the Zombie war. Save the 5.56 for squad machine guns, maybe.

The round they used against the zombie was against the Geneva convention. It has a small thermal charge to cook the brain. I'm sure future treaty negotiations with the Zombie Legations will bring this up, but I'm pretty sure those ghouls are not a signatory member.

The army was shooting one round a second, accurately, from a kneeling position. I imagine they were probably in a 100 (at least) yard box formation shooting an additional 100 yards out. The whole enterprise was more of an endurance event, just keeping up the volume to a certain level, for days. There is a described a pile of dead zombies surround the square 25 feet high and 100 feet deep. Meand some buddies at work did a back of the envelope calculation on the numbers that would have to be. I don't remember the specifics, but one of our conclusions was that the ammo necessary for that would fill 2 tractor trailers to the roof. Assuming no misses.

And the author described the qualtiy of soldier as missing very rarely. And the SIR rifle NEVER jammed. No failure to feed, no failure to eject. Hmmm, I don't know about that. ONE bad cartridge had to be in the equivalent of 2 tractor trailer loads.

The character also complained the rifle kicked hard. Huh? 5.56 that wasn't designed to be super lightweight kicked hard? It HAD wood stocks, claiming synthetics were difficult to procure after the breakdown following the initial mass outbreak and societal collapse.

It sounds like they could have gotten by with a version of the Ruger Mini-14 ranch rifle, but more accurized, and with the ability to swap out barrels. I don't see the advantage in swapping out barrels when fighting zombies. Why go from carbine length to sniper length?

As an aside, the OTHER book, the Zombie Survival Guide recommends the M-1 carbine as a good individual anti-zombie survival gun, as the round was adequate for the job, the magazines are high capacity, and the surplus gun were cheap. Well they were when he wrote the guide. They are a bit more expensive now.

I enjoyed both books.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sweet Feeling

You know the feeling?

The feeling you get at the range, when you are still new to the shooting stuff, when you are making holes in a paper targets. That feeling you get when the stance is good, the grip good, you hold your breath just right, and squeeeeeeeeeeeze. And this time you are surprised when the trigger breaks, and there is no hint of flinching. You get that double feeling. The, "that's the way it's supposed to be done, dummy" simultaneously with "hey there is a tiny hole precisely RIGHT where I was looking!"

That feeling.

I like that feeling.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Non-gun related post

Dang this blog. I prefer to use a Verdana font for easy screen legibility, but this app keeps adding an extra line break between paragraphs. Some paragraph go single space when I add images too. The raw code doesn't help me as there is nothing in the HTML that seems to be calling for tighter line spacing or extra breaks. Sheesh. You'll probably see a big gap below this line.

See? Sometimes, after a few tries, I can control that. Sometimes not.

And can anyone tell me why my home boxes show all of Alphecca's People of the Gun images as broken images (little red X instead of YOUR mugs), but on a work computer, I can see the pics fine? I can't peruse the images properly at work for obvious reasons.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ammo Redux

A LOT of reaction to the Ammo post, both on and offline.

I wanted to add a little to the monetary implications. Most, understandably, assert I need 10 times what I have in the primary ammo department for true SHTF major Zombie outbreak situations. Ok, I'll game along with that hypothetical, economically.

For sake of argument, we'll say I need to go from 50 to 500 on my primary handgun, and from 300 to 3000 in the primary rifle. Assume I have lot and LOTS of .22LR.

.45 or .357 costs around $15 for a box of 50. Easy math. And doable. $150 isn't so bad.

.308 is a whole different story. If you are very lucky you can find it now for about 50 cents a bullet. About a $15 a box, but the box is a box of 20. Again easy math, but the final dollar amount is a little intimidating. $1500. I can't even DREAM of spending that kind of money right now. It will have to be a LONG accumulation over time. And i am already doing that as much as I can. It's very slow right now.

An alternative is bargain basement. But I don't want to go TOO baragain basement and have inconsistent, possibley corrosive, or ammo my Garand won't cycle well. I've seen Russian imported 7.62x51 with zinc plated steel cases as low as 40 cents round. So we're still talking $1300+. If I could afford $1300 I could afford $1500.

And next year, all this ammo will be even more expensive. I'll just have to continue going to the range, buying 5 boxes, and shooting 4 of them for practice. Or stop into Potomac Trading to drool on the offerings in the case, but only leaving with 20 rounds. Do that every other week and you got 500 rounds in a year. Slow slow slow. But not too painful.

Good thing I quit smoking.


Ooo, reloading! If I can get someone like Scott Duff and a bunch more experts to agree that: "Yeah if you reload this way, with this kind of brass, this weight of bullet, these kind of primers and this much powder, you'll be fine reloading for the M-1 or M1A." then I could drive the cost down to maybe 30 cents a round. Or about $1000 for 3000 rounds. That's getting better. I need to check out the NRA reloading classes.

[a previous commenter noted the possibility of relaoding for the semi-autos as long as you didn't cut corners with over-used or low quality materials. good. i'm looking for more reinforcement on this.]

Here's another nifty reloading guide someone posted

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Book: A Rifleman Went to War

This man McBride writes the way my grandfather writes.

This book was recommended by Colonel Cooper, and his recommendations haven't disappointed yet.

This books is about the military explois of the author, H. W. McBride, who was an officer in the Indiana National Guard when World War One broke out. He was disappointed that the United States was dragging its feet about getting into the scrap, so he went to Canada and joined THEIR army as an enlisted man in order to get to the front sooner rather than later.

His style is plain spoken, and many reviewers ding him for that. I liked it. It has the flavor of the times. I can hear my grandfather's 'voice' in his style. (My grandfather was born in 1906, the book was published in the mid 30's.)

McBride did 3 things in the War. He ran a Machine Gun Squad, acted as a Rifleman, and acted as a Sniper, and he described all three extensively. Of course he grew up shooting, and joined the army already a skilled armed outdoorsman. He thought the 2 things most valuable about basic training for the general soldier was rifle range practice to get better with your weapon, and marching about to get in shape for the rigors ahead.

It was from this book that I learned why the flip up sight on my Springfield 03 has graduations out to 2000 yards. A single man wasn't aiming at a target 2000 yards away, but a Battalion of men might be directed to, invoking a hail of lead onto a general area to deadly effect. McBride also described how a .30 caliber machine gun can be used to similar effect shoot indirect fire like artillery to a general area, even at night when you can't see your hand in front of your face.

McBride's sniper tips are still valuable. Shooting PAST something to your front at an enemy beyond plays with the sound waves, and the target will think you are shooting from that tree or ledge or building you are shooting past instead of your actual position. Sneaky.

McBride had no time for the silliness that Hollywood injected into war depictions, even then. Too much emoting. The movie then was the Oscar winning whine fest "All Quiet on the Western Front" but it sounds like the XO of my ROTC unit. My XO was a Lt. Colonel in the Marines, and at a screening of the movie "Platoon" was on his feet more often than not shouting "BULLS***!!! BULLS***!!!" at the screen, much to the consternation of his wife.

McBride recognized an army isn't going to have goodly proportion of rifleman as skill as he. Maybe 1 in 20. But it is still a good idea to maximize this number. An Army of McBrides against a modern Army of today, with the today's army armed with modern equipment, and the McBride army armed with bolt action rifles, and I would bet on the McBride Army.

Read this book.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Oh, and you know what? I'm not too fond of plastic guns EITHER.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Never an AR

I didn't mean to be mean to a commenter that made and honest recommendation. It's not his fault, but.

I hate rifles based on the AR-15 platform


Why? Well because Curtis LeMay liked them. And that McNamara guy was involved. Don't trust either of those guys. And they have the taint .223 round on them. (I know, I know, you aren't limited to that horrible cartridge, but you can't wash that off. It's like Angelina Jolie. She may go Ga-ga for me, beg me 'know' her in a Biblical fashion, but... I would never. She has the taint of Mssr. Thornton on her. That kind of taint don't wash off.)

Where was I? Oh yes, the reprehensible AR-15 platform. I just don't like it. Too much Aluminum. ALUMINUM! IN A RIFLE. Guns are made out of steel. Ships are made out of steel. Airplanes and beer cans are made out of aluminum. The AR-15 still jams too much, and after 50 years, you'd think they'd have figured out something better than a bolt assist handle to get it unjammed. And direct impingement gas operation get's a whole lot of bad press, most of if justifiably.

It's not like I have anything against Mr. Eugene Stoner. Au contraie, I respect his design ability. It's just that I prefer John C. Garand's design and think the derivatives of his work is the ultimate in Battle Rifles.

And I'll be dead dead dead in the cold cold ground before I accept an AR style. I'll throw ROCKS first.

Other than that, I have no strong feelings on the subject.

What? YOU want to by 6 of them in various flavor. I'll help you carry them all to your car. You can trust me to do so because, A) I'm honest like that, and B) you know I'd never try to take one for myself. I'm all for YOU getting one of those horrible things. Makes demand for the stuff I want go down.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ammo Stockpile

I just did an ammo inventory in anticipation of going shooting in the coming weeks (hopefully). And also after reading What Would John Wayne Do?

He has 1600 rounds and comments that that sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. It isn't! Especially when you are heavy on .22LR. Which I'm not.

Kim over at The Other Side of Kim says you should have 100 rounds minimum in every caliber they possess. Except .22. For .22 you need a lot more.

~I have ZERO rounds of 20 gauge to go with my Sears single shot.

~I have ZERO rounds of .30-06 to go with my Springfield 03.

Hmmm, not starting off too good.

~I have 60 rounds of 12 gauge, 10 slug, 20 birdshot, 30 or so in double 0 buck.

~I have 200 rounds of .22LR. MBtGE has some in bulk quantities he'll trade me for next time I see him, so call it 200 + 1000 or more. It'll take a long time to puch all that through 2 7-round mags and a bolt action rifle

~I have almost 300 rounds of .308/7.62 for the Garand. Half of that is already in their clips. And half of that is already in a bandolier.

~I have over 50 rounds in the box of a mix of .38 and .357. 18 other rounds are in speedloaders or the revolver already.

Total on hand: 600 with another 1000 of .22 promised (a box of 500 .22 is the size of 2 juice boxes taped together).

Sounds like a lot? Naw. It all can fit on one surplus army ammo can that's a little bigger than a shoe box. Call it hiking boot box sized can. Oh, it's HEAVY, but it all fits. So assume some more gun purchases. I might triple what I have above, plus add .45 in a similar amount. So 3 ammo cans worth of space, max. With only 1800 rounds of non .22 ammo. You can use all that up in an afternoon shooting. Well, I could if I had a padded shoulder in a shooting jacket, that's a LOT of beating on your shooting shoulder from the recoil.

1800 rounds isn't even gun-nut categories yet. I gotta work harder at this.

If the world as I knew it, does end, I'm going to wish I had 18,000 rounds or more.

Ooo, definitions. That last scenario has an abbreviation, for those unfamiliar with survivalist nomenclature. The End of the World as I Know It = TEOTWAIKI. That's when the Asteroid hits and the gov't falls, or the Zombie outbreak is out of control, or a plague kills 50% of the population. There is no going back. You will live in a world of leather clad body builders in tricked out custom muscle-cars, cruising the wasteland looking for auto-gyro pilots to be your comic foil. All in all, a very unpleasant scene.

The lesser scenario is referred to as SHTF, or when the Stuff Hits the Fan. If you lived in New Orlean during Katrina, THAT was SHTF. It is a temporary and perhaps localized breakdown in civil order and it often prompts unrest, migration/evacuation, and uncertainty. Your immediate groups is on your own until order is restored, and a lot of rules might not apply. You might be robbed by a police officer and given spare food from an escaped convict, that kind of thing.

Monday, October 8, 2007

.22 thoughts

I've been thinking a lot about he .22 recently, and now one has fallen into my lap. It's not an ideal bolt action rifle, but it is close enough.

But the .22 is so cheap and common, I probably could save a lot of money by practicing more with .22.

I should maybe get a suppressed Mk2 ruger? Oh yes. One day. Target shoot without hearing protection.

As I mentioned before, there are cheap revolvers, too. And the Browning .22 is pretty sweet. I'll snap one of either up if it comes around at the right price.

What has intrigued me, lately, in the .22 pistol category... a category I now have the biggest gap in... is the .45 conversions where you switch out the .45 barrel for a .22 barrel on your standard 1911 style pistol. It adds up to cheap practice, an easy swap over, and make for good in the BoB AND primary sidearm systems.

There are few makers. Marvel is one. So is Ciener. Those seem to be the 2 bigs ones. It costs around $200-$300, depending on bells and whistles. Update: A commenter told me about another company: Advantage Arms

Now all I have to do is get that .45. April 15th, I'm hoping. Sooner if I am REALLY lucky in the money department.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The List recap

Ok, I going over The List in my head, after this recent spate of acquisitions:

  1. M1A, and leaning toward the Fulton Armory Super Scout, with mags and accoutrement, over $2000+ (ouch).

  2. .45 ACP, leaning Mil-Spec Springfield, $700

  3. Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless, $500-$900

  4. Bolt Action .308 or .30-06 with 9x scope, together, $1200-$3000. Or $500. Hard to tell. Perhaps a Remington 700 series, left handed, tack-driver.

  5. A Marlin Lever action like the 1894C, chambered in .357/.38.

  6. .22 semi-auto with a suppressor, like the Ruger MkIII, $900+, and that's after all the Class 3 rigamarole.

  7. Longer Shotgun, perhaps a double barrel, $200 (this one maybe covered by a longer barrel for my Remington Model 11, and the Sears 20 gauge)

  8. Bolt Action .22, free (covered by the recent Mossberg pick up)

  9. .22 Revolver , $250

  10. Ruger 10/22, $250

And that is pretty much in the order of desire, if not the actual order of future acquisition. If I got a new job next week, I'd hit that pocket hammerless in the #3 spot because I know where a nice one is. And the #2 spot is probably an April 15th purchase for Buy-a-Gun day. The M1A at the top is slow to acquire because of sheer cost and the fact the Garand I have needs tuning and fills its role. #4 may take a while because of extreme indecision and the decision to compromise at a minimum.

Golly, that's a lot of money when you write it down.

Notice the list has blended the primo's with the tertiary selections. I lucked out and got some recent pick-ups that fill the cheap-gun spots. The .22 pistols got short shifted, didn't they. Not really... See the next post.

But do I NEED them? Well, gun enthusiasts will understand the need. Very enthusiastic gun enthusiasts (gun nuts, bless 'em) will think I am short changing myself but not adding 20, 50, 80 more models to the list. Non enthusiast however... yes, for them I have all I need. A rifle to hunt with and exercise my rights, a 12 gauge for defense, hunting, and exercise my rights, a major caliber handgun for defense and exercise my rights, and a .22 for practice and hunting small game. And to exercise m... you get the point. For the gun banning types, I only need... zero. Well I am too far gone for that, now, aren't I?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Beginning Reloading Link

The Smallest Minority blog has a little ditty I saved on reloading ammunition. I thought it was selfish to keep it to myself so I share it with you now.

Heck, people that are reading this and interested in reloading have already seen the original, chances are.

As I've mentioned a few times, reloading .308 ammunition for my Garand, or any future purchase of an M1A, is frowned upon in the literature I've read. Literature from Garand experts and such. Like Scott Duff. The reason? Re-working the brass for reloading causes case fractures and alters the case geometry a timy bit. A case fracture during extraction on a bolt-action rifle is a pain in the arse. It can be an abject disaster with a semi-automatic rifle. At least, that is what more than one expert says. I have no idea if they are right, but prudence says to come down on the side of extra caution when it comes to explosives and projectiles that move at more than 2000 feet per second. You don't want to try to push a whole cratridge into the brass case tube of the prvious cartridge when the extrator has just ripped on the bottom off of it.

But reloading for a future .308 or .30-06 bolt action is a definite possiblity. Same with .38 and .357 in the revolver and the future lever action gun. Probably .45 for future purchases of firearms firing THAT venerable round.

Friday, October 5, 2007

How do you shoot better?

I mean really. How do you get better? Sure you can take classes and such and hope a professional instructor knows what they are doing and can take you to the next level, but that may not work. There are a plethora of DVDs out there. Some might even be good, and useful. These things cost money, of various volumes. If money was no object I'd take a tour of all the shooting schools I could find, asking for the One on One instruction.

Practice practice practice is another way. It's essentially the method I am pursuing. Of course, I'd prefer to do it 3 times a week, but that is expensive too. Even if I did go that often, how do I know I'm not just reinforcing bad habits?

You could luck out and have a buddy that is an expert firearms instructor and is eager to coach you for free. That'd be nice. It'd be nice if it rained jelly-beans over my house, too.

There is free tips on the internet, but I worry I may be getting what I pay for in a lot of situations.

I need instruction material recommendations. Books, DVDs, Classes, websites. Of the 4 people that regularly read this blawg, does anyone have any recommendations?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dad found the Squirrel Gun

My Great Grandmother on my father's mother's side had a squirrel gun. It was a .22LR made by J. Stevens A & T Co., Chicopee Falls, Mass USA and has a patent date on it that reads: PAT APR 17 94.

The A & T stands for "Arms and Tool." The butt end plate says "Stevens Favorite."

The company made shotguns too. Pistols too, it seems. Revolvers to be more precise.

After WWI, the J Stevens company was bought out by Westinghouse and folded into Savage Arms.

This squirrel gun is a single shot and you work the trigger guard to open the breech just like the British had to do with a much bigger Martini Rifle when they wanted to pacify Zulus. Or try to pacify Zulus, as Zulus were quite able to take care of themselve on occasion.

This rifle is 12 year old kid size. Nice and compact. And it has a half octagon barrel. I only knew it as a decorative piece that set over our fireplace when I was a kid. Dad never shot it while I was around, and he says there was noticeable blowback when it was last shot, so... It's decoration or has to go to a gunsmith to double check if I ever am in the position to want to shoot it. If given to me, it'll go over my fireplace as decoration I'm sure.

What is it about the older people in my family? They sure like to put holes in offending rodents. Sounds like I have varminting in my blood. I may have to rethink my list if can ever get a good place to shoot varmints. Maybe a .17 caliber tack driver. Take THAT Ratatouille!

Hey look! They still make it:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mossberg Mags, and Gunstore Luvin'

My local gunstore had magazines for my Mossberg model 144 .22LR target rifle. Two, to be exact. Which is what I wanted. The online magazine sources, like Hoosier Gun Works, didn't have TOO many to choose from, so it is good that Potomac Traders had a couple spares. Their prices were in line with the online stores, too, with one little benefit... I could try the mags out before buying to be sure they fit my rifle. So hooray for the local gun store.

I've tested them out too, they feed and eject, when the bolt is worked, fine. Not super smooth, but so cranky to be disturbing.

These mags only hold 7 rounds. Dad said he had a magazine that held 10. I hope he finds the original magazine, as now I am curious.

Here's ANOTHER thing about the advantages to the local gun store. The guy that sold me my Reminton Model 11 came up and GAVE me a spare barrel. Free. And I WANTED a spare barrel, longer than the one I have. Talk about walking in with my lucky gunstore mojo. You know what? I already LIKED the store, but now I don't think I'll shop anywhere else. With that kind of magic you can't be untrue. At least on any first stop. If I decide someday I need a Ronco Thunderboomer chambered in Blurfle Ought 2, I'm checking at Potomac first. If they have one, I'm going home with it. A week later.

Another thing about Potomac Traders, or Trading... they have a long complicated name... and no website... BESIDES the .50 Heavy Machine Gun, and brass cannon pointed at you as you walk in, and the Norden Bombsight on a file cabinet, and a pretty cool selection of guns that matches my interest to a 'T'... they have a shop dog. The dog is chocolate brown and well mannered. She likes me, at any rate. But I've seen her snap at smart mouth punks trying to look tough at gun store. Me she seeks out and says "Hi" too. Part of it may be the vibe she picks up. The proprietors like me because I am polite and spend money. The dog may sense that. And I bet the proprietors are not fans of smart mouth punks that talk about sawing off shotguns to impress their friends. I bet the dog sensed that, too. Good dog.

I wonder if Potomac Trading, Traders whichever, ever catches on that they have an anonymous fan out here?

Ooo, back to the shotgun barrel. It's longer, like I needs, has a foresight that is a bead, good. That's the good news. The bad news is, someone tried to rifle it. Hmmmm. The sales guys was very up front about it. Caveat Emptor. And the price was right, as I mentioned. You can feel the grooves pushing through on the OUTSIDE of the barrels. Not that they pierced the metal skin of the barrel, but that the grooves were put in my some sort of hammering technique.

It might not be bad news. I need to check with a gunsmith or two to see what they think. A gunsmith may tell me, "Sure, that's what they used to back in the 40's. Perfectly legitimate and works great." or he may say, "Yeah, the gun is fine for shot, but never fire slugs through that barrel." or he may say, "OH MY GOD, Don't even THINK about shooting something through that! In fact, give it here so I can destroy that barrel with a hacksaw and end its suffering!" With my luck it'll be this last.

Then I'll be shopping for another 24" Remington Model 11 shotgun barrel.

Heh, if this barrel IS good, that means another gun is off the longer list. That leaves some version of the M1A, some version of a .45 ACP (1911 style, prolly), a smaller pistol or snubby (maybe one of each), a left handed bolt action rifle with a scope mounted, and that's it. For fun, a double barrel 12 gauge and a lever action chambered in .357, too. All just BARELY fitting in my gun cabinet, arse to elbow.
Anyhoo, here is the barrel:

Monday, October 1, 2007

The War

So I'm watching Ken Burns' "The War" and they are showing some Wehrmacht footage. I think it was in the Hurtgen Forest. It was at least AROUND that time of the war. Some sniper with a BIG ol' scope is filmed. But the footage is off. Then it hits me. The rifle butt is in his right shoulder, and the bolt of the rifle is on the left side.

So it could be 2 things. A right handed shooter is using a left handed rifle (Yay, Lefites!)


A left handed shooter is using a right handed rifle, and footage is a mirror image of reality, inverted by someone along the line, either because of a mistage or because it somehow looked better if the shooter was looking THIS way rather than THAT way. And it wasn't necessarily altered by the Burns documentary people at any rate.

Another note. My mother's father was a Marine signlaman, 1/7, that died on Peleliu, and this documentary did a very good job packaging up a summary of the whole thing. I knew the details, but the show was concise in its explanation.