Monday, April 14, 2014

Time for another gratuitous gun photo

Smith & Wesson 38/44 Heavy Duty (5-Inch), shipped in September of 1938 - Some collectors call this finish wear, I call it character.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Gone shooting - Rainy day R.A.P.

It was raining this morning; I went to the gun range anyway. You see, I have numerous pistols and rifles that I need to shoot, either to test fire for the first time or to sight in. I promised myself that I would get this task done this year and I intend on keeping that promise.

Today it was the R.A.P.s turn at bat. The R.A.P. (Republic Arms Pistol) 401 was a small 9X19 handgun (also offered in 40S&W) made in South Africa. A number of them were imported into this country about fifteen years ago at a very modest price.

The R.A.P. is a small (6.5 inch length) recoil operated pistol that works using the Browning tilting barrel system. It is all steel in construction and has a thumb safety/decocker that allows the gun to be operated in two different ways. The pistol can be carried with the hammer down on a loaded chamber and fired as a conventional DA/SA pistol, in which case you can press down on the safety and use it to decock the pistol. The safety can also be pushed up and with the hammer cocked you can carry the gun in condition one ("cocked and locked") if you prefer.

I purchased this excellent used one a few weeks ago for less than it actually cost new in 2001. Accounting for inflation I guess it has lost considerable value since then. The interweb verdict seems unclear about this pistol, I have seen numerous posts singing its praises and others claiming it to be the worst piece of junk ever conceived. At less than half the price of a used Glock I decided to take a chance on it.

The pistol is well made both inside and out. Fit and finish is excellent and the gun at least appears made to high tolerances, the slide/frame fit was very tight.

Today I just wanted to fire some rounds thru it to get a general idea of reliability and accuracy. I didn't set up a target; I didn't want to get my boots (and the inside of my car) covered with mud. There were a couple of 2 liter bottles that a shooter left on the firing line at approximately 15 yards. I decided that was good enough. I took a bag of loose 9mm with me, leftovers from previous range sessions. There were 110 rounds altogether, mostly consisting of Winchester ball, but also included ten rounds of Remington hollowpoints.

The pistol has a heavy but smooth DA trigger pull and a single action that breaks at about 4.5 pounds. The 3-Dot sights seemed to be right on and I was consistently hitting the bottles. I would say the accuracy was certainly good enough for the intended purpose of this gun. Function was flawless with several brands of ammunition and both ball and hollowpoints. Recoil was light because of the weight (approx. 35.5 oz. loaded) of the all steel gun. The finely textured grips helped in controlling the recoil too.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to keep this pistol yet but it has not given me a reason not to. The only reason I would sell it would be because of lack of support and accessories for it. Although Astra A-75 mags (and some parts) will supposedly work on it that won't help me if something major breaks.

The R.A.P. certainly made a good showing at the range this morning and from what I know about it (so far) I wouldn't have any misgivings about using it in its intended self-defense role.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

People with guns collection # 68

JAPAN - POLICEWOMEN - While no decision has been made to arm the policewomen or not, they have undergone revolver training at the shooting range, and are prepared to go armed if required. 3/68

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gone shooting - First time in a long time

It's been a long miserable winter but I think we are finally nearing the end! Yesterday, I went shooting for the first time this year. The only available range nearby is outdoors and since December every time I wanted to go there would be more rain or snow. I don't mind going shooting when it's cold but I hate when there's 2 inches of mud on the ground.

Finally, yesterday, it had dried out some so I packed a couple of guns and went shooting! It was still a little cool (low 50s) and windy but the weather was good enough for a morning of fun at the range. It was still a little muddy out so I kept the distance short (10 Yards) and brought a couple of guns appropriate to those ranges.

The first was a Ruger Vaquero chambered in .45ACP and the second an old 12 gauge Stevens 311 double barrel that someone shortened to near the legal limit (18 ¼ barrel and 31 inches overall). I traded both from my brother a while back and had to find out if either was a "Keeper." I didn't think the shotgun would be but I had to at least shoot it first to be sure.

Both guns functioned perfectly, no problems in that department. The Ruger however was shooting about 2 inches left for me. Also, because of the grip's shape and their smooth wood construction the Vaquero had a tendency to try rolling out of my hand under recoil. I did not like that at all.

The Stevens, with its shortened barrel and cut down stock, looks like it would be quite unpleasant to shoot. With normal defense loads I'm sure it would be but yesterday I brought a light load that tamed the old gun some. I used Remington reduced recoil LE rounds (RR12BK8-00). They consist of 2 ¾ shells loaded with 8 pellets of 00 (1 ounce) with a muzzle velocity of 1200fps. Supposedly it has 40% less recoil than standard 12 gauge buckshot. They did make shooting this sawed-off somewhat enjoyable. I put 25 rounds thru it yesterday and my shoulder isn't sore at all. These rounds are definitely great for practice and I'm sure people of smaller stature (or with physical impairments) would find them very beneficial. For home defense though I think I might want the hotter stuff.

I was the first on the line when they opened yesterday but I wasn't alone very long. Two younger guys with their ARs and Glocks were about ten minutes behind me. I must have looked like an illustration out of a history textbook with my old double barrel and single action revolver! I saw that one of the guy's Glock was highly modified and after he noticed me eyeing it he let me have a better look. It was a Glock 21 that was customized by Cold Bore Customs. Exploring their website it appears they have made a nice business for themselves reshaping polymer framed pistols. I must say they did a good job on this one I examined. I've owned two Glock 21 pistols over the years and the size and shape of the grip frame was my only complaint about them. This 21 actually felt good in my hand. IF I was ever going to own another full size Glock I would definitely consider having this company whittle it down for me.

All in all I had a great morning shooting. Maybe I'll make it a regular thing from now on!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Black & White America in Color

If (like me) you are a student of both history and photography check out this webpage. It is full of color photos of America in the late thirties and early forties. Unless you're old enough to have lived through the era most of what you know of the time period is from B&W photos and movies. To see it in vibrant color is truly amazing.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

People with guns collection # 67

NAZI-KILLER - Her mild manner and demure smile belie the fact that pretty Senior Sgt. Roza Shanina is a crack Nazi-killer. A volunteer sniper, and a student of the Institute of the lumber industry in Archangelsk, the Russian blonde has shot 54 Germans. She has been decorated with the Order of Glory of the 2nd and 3rd classes. 1/31/45

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beautiful photos

If you're a fan of photography like I am you need to see this lady's work, here and here. She's a very talented photographer; it's hard to believe this woman has only been doing it for two years now. Well worth checking out.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My first two books are free!

To celebrate the release of my third book I am giving away Kindle copies of my first two books for free! Today (1/23) Joshua is free, and tomorrow (1/24) Traveler will be. Just follow the links in my sidebar.