Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year in Guns

This year I did a lot of buying and selling of guns, most of it was done in an effort to rid my collection of a lot of non-shooting "collector" handguns that filled my safe. At the beginning of 2010 I had several of them that I hadn't shot in a long time and even a couple that never were shot at all. Those guns are all gone now and the rifles and pistols I replaced them with are working tools, not collector pieces. I can't say that I will never buy another collector gun but I can say I will never own another "Safe Queen." I will never again own a gun too "nice" to shoot. Over a year ago I also began an effort to simplify my gun collection by reducing the numbers of different calibers in my collection, I continued that program in 2010. Eventually I got it down to these eight calibers - .22LR - .38 S&W Special - .357 S&W Magnum - 9x19mm - .45 ACP - 5.56 NATO (.223 Remington) - 7.62 NATO (.308 Winchester) and 12 Gauge. I also own a rifle each in .30-06 and .303 British but I already had plenty of surplus and commercial ammo for them. Since I knew that I don't really shoot either very much and didn't need to purchase any more ammo I decided to go ahead and keep both rifles, but I won't be buying more ammo for them. I have only kept what I consider the best combination of affordable, available and "useable" ammunition and the guns chambered for them. Every round that I now own (except the aforementioned) I have at least a couple of guns that use it. Doing this has definitely made my life easier, I have more storage room and have really decreased my headache factor. The official numbers for 2010 are - 9 guns bought (1 Gift) and 9 guns sold. I didn't go shooting this year near as much as I wanted, but then that's true of every year.

Pictured above is what I consider my best purchase this year. A Smith & Wesson pre-war "Non-Registered" .357 Magnum. This smooth old revolver shipped as shown with blue finish, Magna grips and a 5-Inch barrel with a gold Call front sight. According to the historical letter this gun originally shipped to an Inspector in the Virginia ABC in December of 1939, and yes it's one great shooter!

Year end stats!

I know that all by regular blog readers (all eleven of you) are just dying to know about wilsonblog's statistics. Well, thanks to Blogger I can tell you...

Let's start with my top ten most popular blog posts ever!

# 1 From the vault - Smith & Wesson Model 4566

# 2 N Frame Carry

# 3 Double Down!

# 4 Gun product review - RB-17

# 5 Continued light blogging...

# 6 Movie Reviews - End of the World Edition

# 7 Gone shooting - S&W 342PD

# 8 Registered Magnum Reading

# 9 My Black Rifle

# 10 People with guns collection # 19

But what about wilsonblog readers? The vast majority of my readers, as could easily be guessed, are in the United States (92.4%). But did you know what other countries love wilsonblog? Here is the count down of the other five top viewing countries - Russia (1.38%) - United Kingdom (1.32%) - Netherlands (1.31%) - Germany (.84%) - Canada (.81%)

What about browsers? How are all those viewers actually viewing wilsonblog? - Internet Explorer 73% - Firefox 16% - Safari 4% - Chrome 2% - Opera 1% - (Jakarta - Java - Netscape - Iron - Mobile - all less than 1%)

Then there are the operating systems. Windows 91% - Macintosh 5% - Other Unix 2% - (iPhone - Linux - iPad - iPod - Blackberry - SonyEricsson all less than 1%)

And finally, since starting on Blogger last March wilsonblog has had 9572 page views.

Now don't you feel better knowing all of this?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Ghost of (recent) Christmas past

Driving through my neighborhood early this morning I couldn't help but notice one of the last remaining vestiges of Christmas 2010 parked along the curbs up and down the streets of quiet pre-dawn suburbia. Of course I'm talking about the Christmas trash. Wednesday is garbage day in our subdivision and you could clearly see it was the (post) holiday season. Heap after heap of overstuffed trash cans and bags filled with rumpled wrapping paper and those cardboard tubes they come on, the tubes wildly jutting out of the mounds of garbage like porcupine quills, and then there were the boxes. Oh the boxes! Every fulfilled Christmas wish had a box that came with it and every one of those wishes was sitting on the curb ready to be picked up and taken to the landfill this morning. Up one side of the street and down the other you could easily see what Santa brought all of your neighbors. There were only a couple of trees today, the real flood of trees will be next week, the garbage day after New Years. Those remaining trees and Christmas displays will start coming down in a week, maybe two, and when they are all gone that will bring to an end another holiday season. Except for that one guy two streets over that refuses to take down his Christmas lights until Easter…

Too much paranoid, or not enough?

One of my regular website reads is SurvivalBlog.com, I try to visit the site at least a couple times a week because there is a lot of good info to be had and I find Mr. Rawles' site (on the most part) entertaining and informative. On my last visit I noticed that he is now posting his actual IP address on the site, and he's not the only one that started doing this. Apparently he (and many others) are concerned that hackers or unnamed government entities will take control of his site. Frankly I am not sure if he and the others doing this are too paranoid or not enough. In general I am in favor of paranoia, it tends to help keep you alive, but I'm wondering if this isn't going too far. Am I just being naive? What do you say readers, do I need to do this too? Is wilsonblog in danger of being taken over by some nebulous "Gubment" agency or some pimply-faced teen hacker?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A gun nut Christmas...

I had a great Christmas this year and got the usual assortment of gifts including clothes and socks, some money, and being a "gun nut" I also received my fair share of gun stuff. The "stuff" I got this year included 3 Check-Mate Industries 25 round M14 magazines, 3 black (no window) 30 round PMAGS (can't ever have enough PMAGS), a small gunsmith screwdriver set and no doubt my best present this year, and maybe ever, a stainless Colt Combat Commander. My Dad was in a gun giving mood this Christmas season and gave me the Colt and my brother a near new Smith & Wesson Model 40 from his massive collection.

The Commander he bought from me a few years back and it's not just a standard, stock Colt. This gun is moderately customized and according to the previous owner the work was done by none other than Ted Yost when he was at Gunsite in the early 1990s. The pistol is not marked by him nor do I have a build sheet to prove that Yost did it but whoever did the work it was certainly done right. The pistol was constructed using "Gunsite Service Pistol" specifications of the time and has the plain Hi Vis sights, a Videki trigger with a 3.75 pull, and other niceties that you might expect to see on a custom 1911 like a contoured and polished feed ramp, precision barrel crown, fitted solid bushing, a tuned Wilson heavy duty extractor, extended thumb safety, fitted Ed Brown grip safety, beveled mag well and a complete external dehorning with a bushed satin finish. The Colt also started life with the Series 80 safety but was at that same time converted to the 70 Series configuration. It's really a super nice pistol and I can't honestly remember why I sold to him in the first place, probably to finance some other gun I "had to have," such is the life of a "gun nut."

I'm really happy to have this Colt back and FREE is always better than paying for it. I am however a little troubled over one of the reasons he gave it back to me, he said it was just "too much" for him now. My Dad is getting along in years and this .45 Auto is probably more than he can handle these days. My Dad has had a .45 automatic as long as I can remember, up till now. I guess you just don't want to think of a parent getting old. Now days one of his favorite carry guns is another Colt, a Government .380 that he also bought from me a few years ago. He really likes that gun. One of my gifts to him this year was a Bianchi 19L holster for the tiny Colt and you could tell he really liked it. 2010 was one great gunnie Christmas for everyone in the Wilson clan, especially me!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Monkeyshines at walmart

This morning I needed a few things so I head out for my local walmart. I went early as I was trying to avoid the post Christmas return rush and thankfully the crowds (and parking) were still light when I arrived at just before eight. While there I decided to buy some ammo and made my way to the very back corner of the store where the sporting goods department (or whatever they call it now) is located. After looking through their showcase a short time the only kind that I could see I wanted was some Federal "Target Grade Performance" .22LR in the 325 round bulk pack. I've never tried this particular ammunition and decided to purchase a couple of boxes. I had spent about five minutes in front of their ammo case trying to decide on what I wanted and during that time one of their employees, an old wrinkled and sour faced woman, and apparently the only one working in the department that time of morning, walked by the isle on multiple occasions taking a good look at me. Although she passed by several times she never once asked me if I needed help. On the sixth or seventh pass I stopped her, "Do you work here? I need to get some ammo out of the case." She looked like she just downed a whole bottle of vinegar as she fished for the case's keys in her pocket. Finally she found them and after a couple of tries retrieved the particular ammunition that I wanted and took it back to the register. When we got there she got on the computer/register and asked me, "Is this for a handgun or rifle?" She had me in a playful mood by then and told her "oh it's definitely for a rifle." I've never been asked that question before and even though I didn't know exactly what it was all about being walmart I just assumed that "for a rifle" was better than "for a handgun." She must have not liked that answer, or maybe she just didn't like my face. She just silently stood there giving me the fisheye. As she did I picked up one of the boxes and with my finger pointed out on the front of it "see, 22 Long RIFLE." After that she just continued to give me the stink eye and finally told me "The total is 32.80." I paid her and with that she bagged my ammo and handed it to me and then I put it in my cart and leisurely shuffled away, all the while her still giving me that eye and me trying not to bust out laughing...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The reason for the season

While the gifts, food and getting together with family and friends are all great we shouldn't forget the real reason for this holiday... Jesus. Merry Christmas everyone!

Top Ten Holiday Viewing

Here is my top ten holiday viewing list. I try to watch these every year although I guess it's inevitable that you miss some. What are your favorites?

A Charlie Brown Christmas 1965

The Little Drummer Boy 1968

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1966

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer 1964

A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) 1951

Miracle on 34th Street 1947

A Christmas Story 1983

Scrooged 1988

’Twas the Night Before Christmas 1974

Frosty the Snowman 1969

Sunday, December 19, 2010

People with guns collection # 32

Here's one last PWG for the year and an old favorite too. Nice WWII snapshot of a Navy Officer doing his best tough guy John Wayne impersonation, standing on the beach with a 1911 in each hand and a Ka-Bar in his mouth!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Seven Point Six Two - Two

Back in August I began looking for another 7.62 NATO (.308) semi-auto rifle to add to my safe because I felt that my gun collection wouldn't be complete without one. The M1A was the obvious choice because I had owned a couple before and liked them and shot them well. I also still had accessories and magazines for them. This time though I wanted a shorter model instead of the standard length, I thought the Scout or Bush model would be a bit handier in the real world. But there were several different rifles I wanted to check out too and I wasn't in a hurry, so I took my time while considering the other possibilities. I looked over a few different brand AR-10 and FAL rifles and a HK91 copy, I also considered the Kel-Tec RFB and the FN SCAR 17s although I didn't get a chance to handle those two. The RFB seemed an interesting design but the company has yet to work all the bugs out of it. The FN was another possibility but it was over my budget and right now extra magazines are scarce. As for AR-10 models I just didn't like the feel of any of the ones that I tried, they just seemed heavy and clumsy compared to the M1A. Some also have magazine/reliability issues. I really did like the FAL I handled but definitely prefer the sights of the M1A. The HK copy also seemed like a nice rifle but I've read too many bad reviews of them to take a chance, if I was going with this design I would get a real HK, which like the SCAR is also out of my budget. So eventually I decided that the M1A was what I needed to fill the hole in my collection after all and with a couple months searching found the one that I wanted. It's an 18-inch Bush model made in 2000 and hopefully should give me years of reliable service. Now all that I have to do is get to the range to zero it in and check for reliability, if we ever get a break in the winter weather!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Please snow go away...

Please snow go away, won't you come back some other non-shooting day.

I have three rifles that I need to take to the range and had planned to take at least one of them this morning. Unfortunately it is snowing here and has been for over a day now. Jack Frost, that SOB, has conspired to keep me in the house by dumping some of his trademark frozen white crud on the entire world (or at least my part of the world), not too much but enough to ruin my plans. I usually only get the chance to shoot on the weekends or Mondays and the supply of those are getting dangerously short for 2010. I'm not sure I'll get another chance to shoot this month so my rifles might have to wait until next year...

Monday, December 06, 2010

CHAPTER FIVE

The fifth chapter of my book is now up. This will be the last one for the year. That's five chapters and roughly 8500 words since October. Starting with this chapter I will be posting a new one on the first Monday of the month, maybe more if they're short. When I started writing this last August I really didn't know if I wanted to put this on my site or not. I times I did but then would quickly change my mind again. After much back and forth on my part I finally did post it, I guess it came down to wanting feedback from others. I know I'm not Hemingway but I thought I had an interesting story to tell and I needed to know if I wasn't just fooling myself. I needed to let others read my words and hear what they thought even if it might be something I didn't want to hear. I have heard from many of you with your comments and/or emails and it has been overwhelmingly positive. So I want to thank all of you that have taken your time to tell me what you thought, good or bad. If you liked my novel so far I think in the new year it will get even better for you, and if you didn't like it hang around a couple more chapters, you might like it yet. But either way thank you again for your kind words or even your constructive critique, both have helped...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old Photos

One of my hobbies is collecting old photographs. I like all types of photography but particularly photos of people and especially those that show my favorite historical era, the 1920s through the 1960s. I've already been sharing some of those photos on this blog with my People With Guns category but I have decided to expand a bit and show some of my favorite photos of people without guns.

I thought that I would start this new feature with a pretty girl, can't go wrong there, everybody likes a pretty girl. How about this stereotypical 1920s beauty? I can just see some guy wanting to get a photo of his pretty girl and his new car together, the two most important things in his life. Extra bonus points for anyone that can identify this car for me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

CHAPTER FOUR

The fourth chapter of my book is now posted. As usual if you have comments you can leave them here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to all

It is my wish that all Americans have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Today is a day to be thankful and everything else should be put aside for that. We as Americans have a lot to still be thankful for. Thankful for the blessings in our own lives and that we are blessed to live in the greatest and freest nation in the history of the world. So have a great day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Rifle!

This is my new rifle that I alluded to in yesterday's post. It's a MSAR (E4) chambered in .223/5.56. I've wanted a bullpup rifle for a while now. I have been thinking about buying one of these for years but it wasn't until more recently with the "E4" model (accepts M16/AR-15 magazines) that I seriously started looking for one. Already owning mags for it and not having to go out and spend an extra $200-300 on more was the tipping point for me. I have read the good and the bad about these rifles on the net but when I found this particular gun at a good price I decided to take a chance on it. My plan is for this to be used as a shorter range defense rifle, from 0-200 yards. I believe it has several desirable qualities that help it in that role. It's lighter than my AR-15 carbine and despite having an 18-inch barrel (compared to the AR-15 at 16.5) is considerably shorter too. It is a very handy little rifle and with the optical sight I intend to install should be very effective for the intended purpose. I want to put a C-more or micro Aimpoint on this one to keep the profile and weight down. I won't be spending any more on it until I am happy with its performance. Right now I have an old Tasco red dot on it and when I'm completely satisfied with the rifle's reliability then and only then will I spend any extra $$$$$ on the gun. Range report coming up, hopefully soon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

AR Update

Lately I have been spending some money improving my "Bush & Wesson" AR-15 so I thought it was time for an update. Originally I had planned to mount a red dot sight on this rifle, probably a C-more, EOTech or Aimpoint. But recently I purchased another 5.56 (a separate post coming up soon) and decided to put the red dot on it and mount a scope to this AR-15. I really didn't want to spend too much on the scope or mount, eventually I went with a Millett DMS along with a LaRue Tactical scope mount and rings. I purchased the scope when it was on sale at Midway so the mount actually cost more than the scope. This was my first purchase from LaRue and I am very impressed with the material and craftsmanship of their product. Even if I decide to upgrade my scope I don't think I will ever need to change the mount. The Millet scope is also quite nice and is a good buy at the price. If you are wondering it is made in China and that's the reason they can keep the cost down, I have no doubt an American made scope of this quality would easily be double (maybe triple) the price. The scope is a 1-4x variable power with a very practical illuminated "donut - dot" reticle. It also has clear glass with little distortion and good eye relief. It's a little heavy for the size but overall a quality scope at a decent price. Everything that I read about them on the net said they were rugged and a good value, and that is my initial impression too, but only time will tell. I do need to get it to the range this year to zero it in and see how it actually performs.

I probably won't do much more to this rifle, I might upgrade the trigger, the stock S&W is okay but there is definitely room for improvement. I was also thinking of changing to a standard fixed stock. This adjustable one I don't ever use except fully extended and it has a rattle that is already starting to bother me. I never really intended to put too much money into this project and I believe that I am quickly reaching that point. But I've decided to put a few hundred more rounds through it before making anymore changes, if I make them at all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Guns

Jason over at Jason's BLOG had a post about Rossi's new pistol the Ranch Hand. I wanted this type of gun bad after seeing Zombieland but quickly lost interest when I found that they cost in the $1000+ price range. This new one made by Rossi has a suggested retail under $500 and can probably be had for $100 less than that. At that price I might have to look into a .38/357 version next year although I freely admit I have no practical use for it at all!

His post also got me thinking about guns that I purchased after seeing one in the movies. There have been plenty of movie guns over the years that I would have liked to have but there were only two that I had to have. I purchased my first Smith & Wesson N frame (a Model 25) because it had a remarkable resemblance to Dirty Harry's big .44 (Model 29). The only other gun I ever bought because of a movie was the Beretta 92 pistol. I purchased one in the early 1990s after seeing Bruce Willis with them in the Diehard movies. I went through a Beretta "phase" in the early and mid 90s and those films (and to a lesser degree Mel in the Lethal Weapon films) really fueled the desire. I had at least one of every model from the 92S through the 92FS. Eventually I lost interest in the caliber and the pistol but I can say they were all great guns!

Did you ever buy a gun because (or partly because) of a movie? If so you might be a gun nut...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Something a little different

This time instead of a chapter from my novel I am posting a short story that I have written. I actually started this after my book. It is just shy of 9000 words (19 pages) and it's a science fiction piece, definitely more good humored than my novel. Hope you enjoy it. Don't worry my book will resume in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

People with guns collection # 31

Since this ending week saw both Veterans Day and the 235th Anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps this photo seemed quite appropriate. Great shot of some tough WWII Marines with their Springfield rifles, and at least one that appears to be enjoying the wonderful aroma of something, coffee maybe? Hopefully...

Friday, November 05, 2010

No more Queens

All of my "Safe Queens" are now gone. Early this year I decided to redo my gun collection a bit, with more emphasis on shooting tools rather than collectible guns that I also shoot (which was a large portion of my collection). I had several guns that I owned for years and maybe shot once or twice, I also had a couple that were never shot at all. Most were Smith & Wesson revolvers that were in nice shape and I just couldn't bring myself to use. I started back in the summer by selling a 3 ½ Inch S&W .357 Magnum "Pre Model 27" made in 1954. The gun was in super condition and in the original box. I had owned it over five years and never once could bring myself to shoot it. It had to go. Several more have gone since then including the only two K frame .38s that I owned and hardly used. Now I have received my final consignment check for the last of them that were sold at auction a few weeks ago, including another nice N frame that I had also managed to never getting around to using in the nearly three years that I owned it. I can't say that I am out of the collectible game completely, there are a couple that I have been looking for and if I find them at a good price I would probably buy them, but that's about it. From now on I will concentrating more on the tools that I need and that includes a couple of rifles that I've been wanting a while now. I will be using that money on those rifles and some optics that I need too.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scary Movies

In the spirit of Halloween I thought I would compile a short list of some of my favorite horror movies, and the winners are...

Best Action horror movie - Predator (1987)

Best Campy horror movie - Theater of Blood (1973)

Best Evil Force horror movie - Final Destination (2000)

Best Evil Object horror movie - Christine (1983)

Best Monster horror movie - The Thing (1982)

Best Old School horror movie - Frankenstein (1931)

Best Psychological horror movie - The Shining (1980)

Best Slasher horror movie - Halloween (1978)

Best Vampire horror movie - Let the Right One In (2008)

Best Werewolf horror movie - An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Best Zombie horror movie - Dawn of the Dead (1978)



Honorable Mentions

Best horror movie title - Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)

Best unknown horror movie - In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

Best creepy children in a horror movie - The Brood (1979)

Best hyperbole in a horror movie trailer - The Giant Gila Monster (1959) ---"What is this black menace that kills everything it sees and hears? No human mind could imagine the enormous destructive power of this maddened killing thing. If you're young people in love, look out! If you're driving a lonely road, you're as good as dead! Never in the history of the United States, a monster of such size and power, and horrifying hatred of man!"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The simple beauty of Mora

A short while back I was ordering from an online outdoors retailer and noticed that they had Swedish Mora knives for sale. For $10 I wasn't expecting very much but I had heard good things about them so I decided to give one a try. When I received my package I was very happy with the little knife that came inside, it was well made of high quality steel and at a bargain price. You can't ask for much more than that. Being me I couldn't stop at just one. I found this gentleman selling a much wider selection of Mora knives and found two more that I couldn't live without. I like them all. As I said they're high quality, made of the best steel and very reasonably priced too. They would make a person a good general purpose or camp knife. They also come from the factory with a very decent edge and are light in the hand and capable of very quick and precise cuts. I like the natural feel of wood so that's what I bought but they are also available with more durable synthetic grips if you prefer. I also favor a knife with a guard and made sure my next two purchases had them. Apparently the Swedes consider a knife with a guard more for children. The one at the top of the photo is actually listed in the catalog as a child's general purpose and wood carving knife. The only thing that I didn't care for were the plastic sheaths that come with them. I just don't like plastic much, but I'll have to admit that they do the job. If you're in the market for a well made, affordable and very usable knife you might want to consider the simple beauty of Mora.

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Experiment

I've decided to stop comment moderation on this blog, at least for now. When I had my first blog I had to begin approving the comments mostly because of spam. When I came to this site I just naturally kept it. But checking every comment beforehand is a waste of time, there is no real reason for it. Since I've been on Blogger there have been only six comments that I didn't approve and five of those were spam. The sixth being a commenter that liked to throw around the F-bomb for no good reason. I still have word verification so that should handle the majority of spam and I can handle the occasional troll after the fact. I guess we'll see how this goes...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

People with guns collection # 30

From my own personal collection!"Photographer Bob Kotalik - Gun collectors convention - Congress hotel - Mrs. Clyde Culver, of Cortland, Ohio, Holding - Left... a miniature of a Hopkins and Allen pistol. The Originals were carried in the 1870's by dance hall girls. They would hide the guns in their garters or bras. Right... An Elgin Cutlass-pistol. 54 caliber. There were 137 made for the U.S. Army in 1837. There are 13 left." Jul 26 1957

Now an expensive collectors item, the Hopkins and Allen "parrot beak" derringer wasn't much more than an oddity even new. Although it is cute you have to wonder about the effectiveness of that tiny single shot .22 pistol. I would have to think that a lady's sharp fingernails would have certainly been as good, if not a better self-defense tool. Even the long hatpins used by the women of the era would have been as useful to defend herself from ruffians. As for the cutlass pistol we still have them with us today, at least their descendants, and if you've got a pistol with a rail you can have one too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CHAPTER TWO

I just posted chapter two of my book. I hope to post at least a chapter a month. Again, if you want to leave comments please do it here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stats

For several weeks Blogger has had a new feature that shows you stats for your site. Looking it over I see that THIS is currently my most popular post, THIS used to be but now is in second place. My blog's readers are predominantly from the U.S. (no surprise) with (surprised) South Africa coming in second place and the Netherlands in third (with France nearly tied for third). The large majority of my readers are using Internet Explorer (84%) with Firefox coming in a distant second (6%) and Safari an even more distant third place (4%). I felt that my readers would sleep better at night knowing all of this. I know I do.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

CHAPTER ONE!

I finally decided to post the book that I am writing on this site. It is a TEOTWAWKI novel if you are into that type of story. Just check to the right where it says "My Fiction". I really couldn't make up my mind to post this or not but then decided that even if my book is no good I am already way ahead of many who want to write and never seem to get started. At the very least I tried and I am enjoying myself doing something I always wanted to do. I will have another blog post every time I put up a chapter. If you have any commentary please leave it here...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Movie Reviews - Let Me In

Over a year ago a friend from work recommended an unknown (to me) little film called Let The Right One In. As I recall he described it something like "a Swedish pre-teen vampire love story". I thought he was joking, it didn't sound like anything I would be interested in. At the time I had also recently been subjected to the horror of Twilight, about 30 minutes worth anyway, and I wasn't vaguely interested in anything that sounded similar. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of modern horror movies as most only seem to me thinly veiled torture porn. But my friend kept insisting and even though it didn't sound very good I finally decided to give it a chance, every other movie that he had suggested I ended up loving. I am glad that I took the chance because Let The Right One In is now one of my favorite horror movies ever. And one of the reasons that I really like it is that it proves again something I have known a long time, that you don't have to be graphic to be scary. Horror is in your head, not in the amount of blood on the walls.

Now 2 years after the original the "Americanized" version has arrived, Let Me In starring Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit-Girl from KICK-ASS) and Kodi Smit-McPhee who played the boy in The Road. Let Me In is not a shot by shot remake of the first film but does borrow heavily from it. It also goes back to the original book Låt den rätte komma by author John Ajvide Lindqvist for inspiration.

Even though technically it's not I'll call it a remake for the sake of this review. Whatever you call this new one the basic plot of all three are the same, a tormented and lonely 12-year-old boy (Kåre Hedebrant in the original and Smit-McPhee in this new version) meets a kindred spirit when a strange girl his age moves next door (Lina Leandersson in the original and Moretz in Let Me In), a girl with a terrible secret.

I was really looking forward to this movie, so much that I went to see it in the theater, which is something that I rarely do anymore. I'll just say that I didn't like this as much as the original film. It's a good film and definitely has moments of greatness, but everything I loved the most about the first one is gone or at least downplayed. Besides being great horror the original film was also a touching and tender love story. You wouldn't think that possible in a vampire movie but the story of awkward pre-adolescent love in the first seemed believable and very real. The remake seems more contrived and creepy. I can't find any fault in the film's acting, Smit-McPhee, Moretz, Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas are all fine actors that did their best with the script given them. The fault belongs with writer and director Matt "Cloverfield" Reeves. His version has removed the best parts from the first production and replaced them with more, more blood, more violence, more brutality. Most of the subtleties of the original are now gone. One thing that we Americans are rarely accused of is subtlety so I'll give Reeves a pass on that, but other matters I cannot. Probably the single thing that bothered me the most about Let Me In was the character of Abby (Eli in the book and first movie). Eli in the original film was a killer but at the same time also seemed tormented by what she had to do in order to survive. Reeves' character of Abby is more a predatory animal that doesn't elicit nearly as much sympathy from viewers, and it hurts the film considerably. Another issue I had with this remake was the effects. The first film proved that everything didn't need to be shown to be scary. Sometimes less is more. But evidently Reeves must have missed that point when he watched the first one as he wants to show everything including some (at times) laughable CGI effects that should have never made it past the cutting room floor.

If you're a big horror or vampire movie fan you will like Let Me In and possibly even more than the first film. If you measure horror by the blood and gore you definitely will. If you have some strange subtitle phobia you will probably like this new version more as well. But for the average moviegoer the original film version Let The Right One In is the movie to see. There is no doubt that Let Me In is a decent horror film and it does entertain, but if you ever should watch the original version then you'll really know how good Let Me In could have been.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Gone Shooting - Old-timer's Day

It was breezy and a little cool this morning but still a great chance to go shooting. Today I decided that I was going to have some old-timey fun so I took my old iron, none of that new stuff. By "new" I mean anything made after the second world war. I decided to take my 3 pre-war Smith & Wesson .357 Magnums since I haven't shot them this year. All of these pre WWII N frames are great handling guns and are just a hoot to shoot! All shooting today was done at 21 feet (7 yards) and using Winchester and S&B 158gr semi-jacketed rounds, which is what these old Magnums seem to like the best and was the original load weight for the .357 when introduced in 1935 (probably not a coincidence). I was shooting double action at Shoot-N-C 5-inch targets and as long as I could keep in the black I was happy. I ended up happy most of the day.

First up was a 3 ½ inch model that shipped to my hometown in July 1939. It's a great shooting gun and despite having the shortest barrel is the easily the most accurate of the three. The reason for the accuracy is the very fine bead front sight. I don't know why the original owner ordered such an impractical sight for a gun that is more intended for self-defense than target shooting. To be honest this front sight would be the last thing I would have considered for a gun that I might use to protect myself or had even the slightest chance that I might carry. But as purely target sight it can't be argued with. Using slow aimed DA fire I can keep the holes nearly touching and even picking up the pace some I can usually keep everything in a 2-3 inch group (I called that flyer so it don't count!).

Next up was a 4-inch gun that originally shipped to the Kansas City (MO) Police Department in 1940. This gun has been well used and refinished at least twice, once at the factory in 1948 and then again a few years ago. This fine old gun has seen a lot of hard use and has seen better days. Even so it will still throw 3 inch groups all day if you do your part. I bet this one has some great stories in it.

And lastly but not leastly is my 5-inch model that was shipped in 1939 to an Inspector in the Virginia ABC. This old revolver probably would also have an interesting story or two if it could talk. The gun just handles and "feels" right. There's nothing quite like a 5-inch N frame although I really like the 3 ½ inch models too.

The day wasn't completely perfect, I did forget my tiny screwdriver and the 5-inch and the K.C.P.D. gun both needed to have their sights drifted slightly (the KC gun down and the 5-inch left). But even with that minor annoyance I still had a great morning shooting some great old Smith & Wessons!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Continued light blogging...

I really haven't been posting as much as usual in the last two months and there have been a few reasons. Work of course, but I also had jury duty that took a lot of my time and energy in August and early September. But the main reason I haven't been writing on this blog as much is because I decided to try my hand at writing fiction and that has been consuming most of my free time lately. Yes, I decided that what the world needed was another TEOTWAWKI novel. I've been writing somewhere, on this blog or on my other websites and blogs since September 2002, but this is my first serious try at writing fiction. I haven't decided if I am going to post it yet or not. I probably will but I'm not completely certain. Part of me would like to let others read my words but there is another part of me that wouldn't want to hear that I'm a hack and I need to keep my day job. Whether I post my fiction or not I expect that my blog output will remain lower for the foreseeable future...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Movie Reviews - Testament

It's been over twenty five years since I watched Testament (1983) so when I picked it up recently on DVD I had forgot just how truly awful this movie is, not awful bad, awful dreadful. Testament is actually a great film and you will find yourself deeply moved by its simple story. The story of a loving mother (Jane Alexander) and her efforts to keep her family together and alive after a nuclear war. In the film her small community is downwind of a large city that was hit with the bomb. The father leaves for work the morning of the attack and never returns and the mother is left to care for her family alone. Their small town was "lucky" in that they didn't experience the immediate effects of a nuclear detonation. But very soon the residents discover that they weren't as fortunate as they thought. Now instead of a quick death they all face a slow one through radiation poisoning and starvation. This is the apocalypse in all its horrible reality without Hollywood gloss. No explosions, no exciting action, no dramatic finale, no big hero or villain, just normal people, people slowly dying and knowing that there's nothing that they can do about it but try to survive another day. This is a difficult movie to watch but it does pull off an amazing feat. This is a film that somehow manages to be both beautiful and ugly at the same time, something you wouldn't think possible. No, Testament is not a "fun" movie, but it is a movie that should be seen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

People with guns collection # 29

From my own personal collection!"Sniper's Delight - This intricate bit of business at the end of a 1903 Springfield rifle was designed during the World War for shooting from a trench without exposing the gunner. The rifleman sighted through a periscope. William L. Murphy, curator at the small arms museum in Springfield, Mass., demonstrates for the cameraman. Watch release date, Sunday, Sept. 29" 8/29/1940

Weapons that soldiers can use in combat while not subjecting themselves to return enemy fire is a recurring theme in small arms design. The Springfield rifle above is just another example; THIS and THIS are more recent ones. Modern technology has changed the look of the idea, and it has certainly become more practical, but the underlying goal is exactly the same as it was nearly 100 years ago.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gone Shooting - Rifle Day

Today I went shooting with my brother and took my AR-15. This is the first chance I've had to shoot it. My brother took his M1A Scout model that he just purchased and wanted to try out too. He also set it up with a C-More sight and spent a little time dialing it in. I might end up getting a M1A similar to his. I am selling several guns on consignment to purchase a few things that I've been wanting, including a .308 rifle. When the money is here in my hands I will start seriously looking.

Today at the range I was only worried about 2 things, that the rifle's iron sights were on target and that it was reliable. It's good to go on both points. The sights were nearly dead on at 100 yards from the factory but did require a couple of right clicks to get it centered. I'm going to get a red dot sight for this but I wanted make sure of the regular sights before I did anything else. I also fired 80 rounds using 3 different brands of ammo without a malfunction. The weather was good too, all told a great morning shooting some fun guns!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Movie Reviews - KICK-ASS

Finally got a chance to watch KICK-ASS on DVD, the movie stars Aaron Johnson and Nicolas Cage. I had wanted to see this last spring when it originally came out but it only ran at my local theater for a week so I missed it. This is a comic book violence fantasy and if you enjoy movies like Kill Bill Volume 1 you will like this one too. I did. This movie is definitely an acquired taste and certainly not for everyone. Chloë Grace Moretz absolutely steals the show as Hit-Girl, if foul-mouthed 11-year-old assassins are your thing. And Cage, in the persona of Adam West Batman hit it right out of the park! Highly recommended!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Double Down!

Yesterday I tried a KFC Double Down "sandwich" - one word - delicious! This last Labor Day I spent most of the afternoon laying around, doing nothing and watching the Star Wars movies on cable and found myself bombarded by commercials for this unique culinary (or is that coronary) treat. By the time Return of the Jedi was over I knew that I had to get one! That's the power of advertising! Since yesterday was also my last day of jury duty that was more than enough excuse for me to stop and buy it. Even though it blew my diet completely! In case you're one of the few that haven't heard KFC's Double Down is made using 2 fried chicken fillets, a slice each of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese, two slices of bacon and a special sauce. Some brilliant KFC sandwich engineer got rid of that pesky bread that was just taking up room that could be filled with more meat! They should get a Nobel prize for this (if there was any justice in the world). If you should want a (slightly) healthier Double Down they also make a version using grilled chicken fillets but I really don't see the point of it. The Double Down is a purely American invention and I can't see them selling this in Europe or anywhere else for that matter. Basically this is for American Men, who are the only ones (in large numbers) that I could see buying and enjoying this. I do have some suggestions - 1) they need to put some red meat on this, at least 1 beef patty is definitely called for and would make this perfect. 2) I know that KFC's schtick is chicken so the beef probably isn't going to happen. In that case I would suggest that the Double Down be re-wrapped in bacon and then the entire thing refried (in batter) making one large fried doughy ball of chicken/cheesy/bacon goodness! Since I'm the one that suggested it I would expect that it be named after me, the wilson-memorial-coronary-heart-disease-special does have a certain ring to it, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Slow blogging...

I really haven't been blogging very much in the last several weeks. There are a couple of reasons for that, one of the reasons was my 2 week stint on jury duty that just ended today. I spent most of my time sitting around, bored and waiting for my number to come up. The only real case that I had was a eminent domain trial that involved the government at 3 different levels, local, state and federal. It was a really convoluted mess with the city government managing highway construction that the state highway board had final say over and was funded with federal money. Like I said a big mess with one lone landowner stuck in the middle of this nightmare. I thought that I knew how bad our government was but it turns out I only had a small idea. We are so screwed...

Friday, September 03, 2010

Gone shooting - Finally!

It has been over 2 months since I've been shooting and I couldn't stand it any longer. So today I took my H&K USP .45 and got some close range practice in. Nearly all my shooting this time was with my weak hand and at a range of 7 yards (21ft). My best group of the day had a 3-½ inch spread. I was shooting tighter groups but every single one had a flyer that opened it up some. I definitely need more weak hand practice. Right now I am using the USP as my "House" gun but I believe I'll start carrying it some this winter. I like this pistol more every time that I shoot it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

3 Years Today!

Although I've only been on blogspot since March today marks my 3 year anniversary of blogging. Originally I had the idea that my blog would only be gun related posts but that only lasted a few months. Soon I became bored with that and started writing about all my other interests. Guns are still a big part of wilsonblog but since I've been blogging about anything that comes to mind I have been a lot happier, and I think my blog is a lot better too...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

People with guns collection # 28

From my own personal collection!"Curio Week 'GUNGIRL!'

Hollywood Calif, Becomingly dressed for the job, pretty Jane Easton will serve as 'Miss Curio' during National Curio Week, October 12-18. Sponsored by the Southern California Arms Collectors Association, the week is intended to stimulate interest in antiques and curios and demonstrate their influence on modern home decoration and commercial designing, as Jane points out with these curio-decorated glasses, featuring an 'Old Gun' pattern. Miss Curio is holding an 18th Century English flintlock pistol and the gun case contains a collection of small cartridge models dating from 1875.
" October 1952

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Movie Reviews - Children of Men

Next up on the Apocalypse parade was Children of Men starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. The movie is set in Great Britain in the dystopian future of 2027 where England is a fascist state and the worst thing you can be is an immigrant. For some unknown reason women can no longer have children and it has been 18 years since the last baby was born. Owen plays an everyman that must help the only known pregnant woman escape the country. Children of Men is a good movie and I certainly have nothing bad to say about it, but it is one of those films that after you watch it once you probably won't ever want to see it again. This is one that you'll want to rent or buy very cheaply as I doubt you will watch it twice.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Give till it hurts...

Average Joe has a great post about a very worthy cause. I just sent them some money and I encourage everyone reading this to go on over and donate too. Even if just a dollar every little bit helps and these heroes need it...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Movie Reviews - The Signal

After watching The Signal I must say that it's a weird one. I'm giving it a marginally positive review and would say if you're a big horror fan to definitely see it. The story is about a TV broadcast which causes the people that watch it to turn into raging homicidal maniacs and then proceed to bash each other's skulls in with blunt objects and/or hack each other to pieces with sharp ones. The film is actually 3 short films with 3 different directors and each has its own feel, although the same characters are used throughout. There is a lot of horror and suspense, and then you throw in a little black comedy and mix it up with some soap opera domestic dispute and this is what you get. Not great but certainly enjoyable enough.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Seven Point Six Two

I have only one more major gun purchase that I am planning this year. I would like a semi .22 pistol but I already have several nice .22s and don't really need another. What I do need though is a 7.62 semi rifle and I have needed one for a long while now. Originally I had just planned to buy another Springfield M1A since I've owned two before and I already have some accessories. But then I decided to take a look at all my options. I am now looking at several different guns including the M1A, some of the less expensive AR-10 models and I also like the RFB although Kel-Tec has had it out over a year and they are still apparently trying to get all the bugs out. I don't plan to purchase a rifle right away, as long as it is before the end of the year. I am in no rush. Just trying to consider all the options here. My criteria 7.62 NATO - Detachable 20 Round Box Mag - Carbine length - And an absolute max price of 2k. Of course little things like reliability and value for the money would be good to. There is the Springfield scout, they also have the SOCOM models but I prefer the full length gas system. Then there is the RFB, AR-10 brands like DPMS and Armalite and I am sure there are others I haven't considered. I am looking for comments from owners here, good or bad, about the aforementioned rifles and any other you think are worth considering. THANKS!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Movie Reviews - Zombieland

Next up on my doomsday movie list was Zombieland and I must say that it is the best end of the world zombie apocalypse comedy that I've seen in a long time. I laughed from beginning to end, except at those parts where I wasn't supposed to laugh, that would have just been weird. If you like Shaun of the Dead you will probably like this one too, its like that movie but hopped up on PCP. This movie has it all, flesh eating zombies, a hot chick with guns, celebrity zombie guest appearances. You'll laugh, you'll cry, well maybe not that much crying but you will enjoy yourself and the movie will even inspire you to start exercising more, REMEMBER RULE # 1 - CARDIO!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Movie Reviews - Carriers

The next movie on my Apocalyptic must see list was Carriers and I thought it was a very good one, not perfect but entertaining, and even thought provoking at times. Carriers is about four twenty somethings (2 brothers and their girlfriends) trying to survive during a massive viral outbreak that has killed most of the population. The group is trying to make their way to a safe area (an old childhood haunt of the brothers) while avoiding close contact with anyone they meet. You see the virus that has wiped out most of the nation is very contagious, special steps or "the rules" must be strictly followed if a person is to survive. Within minutes of telling the audience these rules the group starts breaking them all while knowing that doing so could kill them all. And that story point brings up a very good question for anyone wanting to really think about it. Could you follow "the rules" strictly in a situation like this, where breaking them and having any kind of human compassion or empathy could get you or your entire group killed? Could you condemn innocent people to death to save yourself? I think I know how the average person would answer but would it be a truthful answer or just self-delusion? It is a good plot point and it makes for some interesting contemplation if you're up to it. I won't really go much into the story; I'll let you discover that on your own. I think that most viewers would like Carriers simply as entertainment and you might even find yourself asking serious questions about how "civilized" we would be once the facade of civilization comes off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The horror.... the horror...

After seeing THIS all over the known blog universe I had to be a good little lemming and jump off the cliff myself. To try and make it more scientific I submitted 5 different entries with 5 different subjects. The final toll, I write like H.P. Lovecraft 4 out 5 times! I did write like Stephen King once. Well, I have been told that my writing is horrible. I know, I know, but I just HAD to say it.

Pocket gun update

It's been about six weeks since I started carrying my Smith & Wesson 342PD. I have used the gun everyday and I have been quite happy with it so far. It has been a hot, humid summer and this small and lightweight revolver has really been appreciated. I have many holsters that will fit this but I have been only using it as a pocket gun to date. My Kramer and DeSantis pocket holsters are what I have been using and I have been satisfied with both, although I do use the Kramer more often. While I like the DeSantis it is a little large for how I carry, which is usually in the front pocket of my jeans. The DeSantis is a great holster though, it will certainly never come out when you draw the gun, but I just like the Kramer more. The only modification that I am considering for the gun is a new set of grips. The factory rubber grips have a very tacky feeling and do tend to catch on clothes. I think a set of wood "boot" grips would make this great revolver even better and they will probably be added before long.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My gun bag

At the first of the year I made myself this "grab and go" bag for my handgun. Same concept as a bug out bag but only for a gun and related items. The idea behind it was that if I had to leave the house at a moments notice and only had the time to grab one gun this would be the one that I took. Before I go any further let me also state that I consider taking off to be a very last option in an emergency situation. If something bad does happen I intend to stay put where I am if at all possible. Intentionally becoming a refugee is never a smart idea. But I do accept that there are times, no matter how well you plan, that you won't have a choice in the matter.

I set this kit up only using items that I already owned. Not one additional dime was spent to make this. Everything that I included here was collecting dust on a shelf or sitting in my safe or in a box somewhere. The bag is an old nylon range bag that I have had for years and is still in great shape and very tough. On the inside it has 1 large pocket that will hold any full sized handgun. On the opposite side it has 5 smaller pockets designed for magazines but also perfect for many small items. On the outside of the bag there is 1 extra large zippered compartment that will hold a lot. The contents of the bag include: 1 loaded Colt Government Model .45 pistol, 3 additional loaded 8 round magazines, 200 rounds of 230 gr hardball ammo, 40 rounds of hollow point ammo, 1 folding "tactical" type knife, 1 regular pocket knife, and (not shown) 1 suede Bianchi inside the waistband holster, 1 belt magazine holder, and a small assortment of cleaning supplies (oil, grease, bore brush etc.) wrapped into a small bundle with a cotton rag. I thought this was a very good start especially considering that I didn't put any money into it. It is good but it needs refining, I'm currently looking at getting some type multi-tool for the bag (among other things) to improve it.

I picked the 1911 pattern .45 automatic because it is a full size pistol and yet is still (relatively) easy to conceal, has more than sufficient firepower, and parts and ammunition are widely available. In most of the situations that I considered a powerful, concealable handgun would be what one needed most. And since the thought behind this little kit was about if you could take only "one" with you I felt the 1911 was the best compromise. Of course if I knew in advance that I was going (and had the time) I would take every gun that I own and every single round of ammo to...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thinning the herd... again

Starting last year I began to change the direction that my gun collection was going. A large majority of my collection was (and still is for now) about "shooter" grade older guns, Colts, Smith & Wessons, Winchesters etc., guns that I would collect for their beauty and historic value but could also shoot and enjoy.

Starting last year I began to change some of that. At the time my main concern was scaling down the calibers that I owned and getting rid of some of the more expensive ones that I might only have one or two guns that shoot. By the time it was over I had winnowed my collection down to nine calibers. They are: .22LR - .38 S&W Special - .357 S&W Magnum - 9x19mm - .45 ACP - 5.56 NATO (.223 Remington) - 7.62 NATO (.308 Winchester) - .30-06 and 12 Gauge. I picked the mentioned calibers for their overall usefulness, wide spread availability and price (compared to similar, but less produced calibers). I probably would have got rid of the .30-06 and brought it down to eight calibers if not for a match grade M1 Garand that I own and also already have plenty of Lake City ammunition for. I'll just keep that one.

This year my concern is more for "using" guns, guns that I need for more practical purposes than just target shooting, "plinking" and collecting. I just recently scratched off two on my "Need" list, my S&W 342PD (light pocket gun) and my "Bush & Wesson" AR-15 (5.56 semi rifle) bringing the list down to just two. Before the year is over I hope to complete the list by purchasing a 7.62 semi rifle and a .22 semi pistol (I don't count the Budischowsky I got back recently, I was thinking more like a Ruger). I have also been selling off some other handguns that haven't been used very much (if at all) in years. So far I have sold or traded all my K-frame .38s and all but the few J-frame .38s that I actually use, and there will be more going.

In the coming months I intend to sell off the last few "Safe Queens" and some more low use guns and to use those funds to give my gun collection a much more practical edge. I know that I will never get rid of all my collector guns but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.