Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Finally finished archiving my posts from the original wilsonblog over to this new one, 70 wilsonblogclassic® entries in 24 days! I decided to go ahead and just get them done in March because I will probably be shutting down that old blog (unless I can keep it up for free) at the end of the month. I wanted to keep a record of some of my favorite posts from "over there" and also wanted to make them accessible on the search engine over here. When I first decided to do this I thought that I would end up transferring 20-30 entries at most, but going all the way back to the beginning in August 2007 I found more and more, the list just kept growing! Now that this job is done wilsonblog can begin April with a fresh start.

People with guns collection # 23 - Originally posted Sunday, February 28, 2010

From my own personal collection!

People with guns collection # 22 - Originally posted Sunday, January 31, 2010

From my own personal collection!"GIRLS IN U.S. COLLEGE RECEIVE MILITARY TRAINING

These young girls are members of the Women's Auxiliary Training Corps, an organization for the voluntary training of American college girls in military tactics, courtesy and discipline. They belong to the first unit of the WATC, formed at the University of Indiana in the U.S. Midwest. The WATC, whose members wear bright red uniform coats and white flannel skirts, is similar in organization and routine to the Reserve Officers Training Corps, which prepares men students in American Colleges for commissions in the Army.

Here an ROTC officer explains the workings of a machine gun.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

People with guns collection # 21 - Originally posted Sunday, December 27, 2009

From my own personal collection!Since this time of the year is about family I thought this 1950s photo would be a great way to end People With Guns for 2009...

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Monday, December 21, 2009

Read late last night where Brittany Murphy died, she was 32. I thought she was a very talented young actress and could certainly be counted on to give an interesting performance no matter what the part. I don't recall ever disliking anything that I watched her in, but I especially liked her roles in films like Clueless (1995), Freeway (1996), The Devil's Arithmetic (1999), Just Married (2003) and The Ramen Girl (2008). She was the best thing about the movie Sin City (2005).

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Impromptu group shotI was wiping down some of my N frames and on the spur of the moment decided to take this group shot. Yes, I know it's a crummy picture but it was the best I could do indoors and without the use of my lightbox, which is much too small for this many handguns.

In case you can't tell Smith & Wesson's large frame .357 is my favorite revolver ever! I like all model 27s but the 3 ½ inch incarnation is my most favorite. I just like the heft of it, the way it balances in my hand, the way it looks. The Model 27 is just an impressive piece of workmanship and has a lot of cool history behind it too. Yeah, I know it is a big hunk of steel, probably too much steel for the cartridge it fires but it does make shooting hot magnum loads easy. All that steel is actually good for something, sucking up recoil.

I've lost count of all the S&W N Frame .357s I have owned over the years, both "Pre" and Model 27s. I've owned every barrel length too except for the 5-inch. All were great guns. Wish I kept them all. Unfortunately being a "gun nut" on a limited budget does have its drawbacks. One being that when you really want some new gun some old gun usually has to go.

When I bought my first Model 27 over 15 years ago they weren't very popular. Revolvers in general were on the decline and it seemed that nearly every shooter wanted a autoloader, especially the high capacity 9MMs which were all the rage at that time. A big revolver that only held 6 rounds and weighed more than those hi-cap nines holding 20 bazillion rounds was a hard sell for most gun stores. Many revolvers spent a lot of time collecting dust on gun dealer's shelves before finally finding a buyer. One of the reasons I originally began looking at S&W revolvers was the value. Even as a new gun person I recognized the excellent bargain that they represented. Used Smith & Wesson revolvers were really undervalued for the level of quality that they had. I paid $220 for my first 27, it was a bargain price but even at that time you could regularly pick up lightly used shooter 27s in the $275-375 range. That was when similar quality (and condition) autos like Colts, Berettas etc. were usually within short reaching distance of the $500 price tag. Of the first 5 or 6 Model 27s I bought I don't recall ever paying over $400 for any of them and that included a couple that were in pristine, possibly unfired condition. As the 1990's continued prices slowly went up, but even as late as 2000 I remember you could still regularly find extremely nice M27s below the $500 mark.

But by the very late 1990s and into the 2000s all of that began changing. I blame the internet. First you had sites on the web starting to sell guns, even ebay sold guns! Secondly, and more importantly, you had gun sites like the S&W Forum (and other gun forums) where S&W nuts like me could hang out and talk about their favorite handguns, SMITH & WESSON! All of this web chatter created new interest in old Smiths and the numbers of collectors looking for those old S&W handguns swelled, driving availability of these guns down while sending prices up. I am of course way oversimplifying here, there are other factors at play but I believe the world wide web significantly changed the gun collecting game forever.

In the years since I first started collecting Smith & Wesson handguns collector's interest has increased substantially, and so have prices. While I use to watch nearly new S&W revolvers languish on dealer's shelves for weeks or months before finding a buyer now they might only sit on display for days, or maybe hours, before being snatched up. On one hand I am glad that there are so many more now that appreciate fine Smith & Wessons. I am glad that these guns are finally getting some of the recognition that they should have received all along. I'm also glad that more and more people are finding out what many of us already knew for some time, how great those old S&Ws were. But on the other hand I do miss those days when I might go into a gun shop and find some hidden treasure in a display case that most other shooters looked right over. Kind of felt like I was in some special little club that only a chosen few belonged to. Like I had special vision and could see diamonds where others could only see lumps of coal...

People with guns collection # 20 - Originally posted Sunday, November 29, 2009

From my own personal collection!"FIRE AT WILL! - These Miami, Fla., bathing girls have the makings of good marksmen as they are showing in a new sport of air pistol target shooting." OCT 26 1941

I don't know why this idea didn't catch on. Swimsuit model shooting competitions seems like a brilliant idea to me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

People with guns collection # 19 - Originally posted Sunday, October 25, 2009

From my own personal collection!"DETROIT, DEC .28 -- GUN THAT SHOOTS AROUND CORNERS -- Sergt. Donald D. Hector, of Muskegon, Mich., demonstrates how a newly developed barrel makes it possible to shoot around corners with a standard sub machine gun. The barrel, which fits on the Army's standard M-3 'grease gun', was developed at the Detroit Arsenal for use by tank crews and infantrymen. It fires a standard 45 caliber bullet at the rate of 450 rounds a minute." 12-28-1951

Somehow, I'm thinking this idea just didn't work out...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

People with guns collection # 18 - Originally posted Sunday, September 27, 2009


Camp Perry, Ohio..... Detective James Parks, Detroit Policeman, who was the winner of the Pangrish Trophy at the national rifle and pistol matches which were held there. Policemen from 43 cities competed in the contest.
" 9-1-30

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Friday, September 25, 2009

Classic TV Collection - From my own personal archives!"ROCKFORDS IN HAWAII -- A free trip to Hawaii turns into a frustrating experience for Rocky (Noah Beery, left) when his son, Jim Rockford (James Garner), is 'shanghaied' into working on a dangerous government intelligence mission, in 'The Hawaiian Headache', on NBC-TV's 'The Rockford Files' Friday, Nov. 23 (9-10 p.m. NYT). The episode was filmed entirely on location in Hawaii. (10/26/79)"

Spanning seven years and 122 episodes NBC's The Rockford Files took the well-known genre of the TV Private Eye and turned it on its head. Private Investigator Jim Rockford, wonderfully portrayed my James Garner, was nothing like the TV detectives that came before him, we had never seen a "Private Dick" like this before. Rockford was an ex-con who dressed in cheap suits and lived and worked out of a rundown trailer parked on the beach. Many times he would find himself with impossible cases, deadbeat clients and quite often left holding the short end of the stick. Unlike previous depictions of screen P.I.s as macho types who never turned from trouble, Jim Rockford tried his best to stay away from trouble, in fact given the chance he would usually run the other way! And although he did have a gun like other TV detectives it was seldom seen or used and spent the large majority of its time hidden away in a cookie jar. Mostly James "Jimbo" Rockford tried to use his brains and instincts (sometimes aided by dumb luck) to get himself out of the dangerous situations that nearly always found himself in. Along with his meddling, but well meaning father (Noah Beery), his long suffering police Sgt. friend (Joe Santos), former cell mate and perpetual con artist Evelyn "Angel" Martin (Stuart Margolin), and often much needed attorney and friend Beth Davenport (Gretchen Corbett) Rockford did have plenty of exciting adventures, although he rarely collected his much quoted "$200 a day, plus expenses". With smart scripts, an award winning theme song and a great collection of guest starring actors over the years The Rockford Files would become a high water mark in TV detective shows that few others would ever be able to reach.

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Sunday, September 13, 2009

By the late 1960s Colt had just about priced themselves out of the revolver business. Handguns like their old model Trooper, which required considerable amounts of time consuming hand fitting to be done during the assembly process, had become too costly to make. Colt simply could no longer compete with other revolver manufacturers. A newer, less expensive method of construction was needed and in 1969 the Colt "J" Frame Mark III was the result. The new Colt was a major step forward in that most of the internal parts were made using a new "sintered" steel process. This process, which was an early version of the MIM (Metal Injection Molding) that is so popular now, formed the internal parts from powdered steel that was injected into a mold and then heated until it fused together forming the basic part. What this innovation did was to allow the new Mark III to be assembled with almost no hand fitting, saving the company in production costs but at the same time still making for a strong and reliable gun.

The double action Mark III was initially offered in four models all with a new (for Colt) transfer bar safety system. The new offerings included the Trooper, the Lawman, the Official Police and the Metropolitan. The Trooper was the top of the line heavy barrel .357 Magnum model with adjustable sights. The Lawman was the same but with fixed sights. The Official Police offered the buyer a .38 Special with a lighter contour barrel, while the Metropolitan was essentially the heavy barreled Lawman but in .38 Special.

Built on Colt's forged steel "41" frame all were rugged and reliable weapons. Many gun experts still consider the MK III Colt and its descendants to be some of the most, if not the most, robust medium frame revolvers ever made. Eventually the Mark III would evolve into the Mark V, which would later turn into Colt's famous King Cobra. While the new handgun didn't have as much "sex appeal" as other Colt offerings like the Python, what the MK III did offer to potential buyers was an accurate, well designed and constructed revolver that could easily stand up to a lifetime of shooting.

I purchased the Lawman shown here over a year ago but then sold it to my Dad when I was trying to raise funds to purchase a Smith & Wesson "Registered" Magnum. I recently re-acquired it in a trade. This is an early "snubbie" Lawman built in 1972. The Lawman was originally offered with a 4-inch barrel only but beginning in 1971 a 2-inch barrel was offered. The 2-inch Lawman in effect looked like a Colt Detective Special on steroids, but having considerably more "beef" the Lawman could easily handle higher pressure magnum loads. Earlier production guns like mine had an exposed ejector rod but this particular style was only in production for about two years before Colt changed over to a barrel with an enclosed ejector rod and a ramp front sight. The size and shape of the grip frame for the 2-inch Lawman was also different than all other MK III guns which does make purchasing aftermarket grips even more difficult. The revolver is built like a proverbial tank and lock up is like a bank vault door. Mark III Colts are solid, under appreciated weapons that offer their owners considerable bang for the buck.

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shoot 'Em Up starring Clive Owen is another in the genre of gunfire and explosion filled, testosterone fueled, male adolescent fantasy action films all in a similar vein to Smokin' Aces, which I recently reviewed. The biggest difference between that film and this one is that here Writer/Director Michael Davis makes no attempt to take himself seriously, this movie is just silly action fluff and director Davis never implies otherwise. The shooting starts very early in the film and doesn't really end. Nearly every movie gunfight cliché that you could think of is written into the script and then taken to the extreme. The rules of common sense, logic or physics are not needed or welcomed because they would just slow down the story. The "story" is about a mysterious gunman named Smith (Owen) and his efforts to save the life of a newborn baby from a fanatical hired gunman (brilliant character actor Paul Giamatti) who is intent on killing him. Monica Bellucci is Smith's hooker girlfriend who is along for the ride and is at least nice to look at in the brief down times when everyone is reloading. I must admit that I liked this movie. I guess that means I'm not over my male adolescent fantasy phase yet. Maybe in the next forty years...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cheap Glock Fun

Even though we had some rain earlier this week today was a really nice day to go shooting, so I did. Recently I have been going shooting on a relative's farmland. I can go there for free but that's not why I do it. Actually this land is an 80 mile drive for me, so counting gas this "free" shooting ends up costing me nearly twice as much as if I just went to the local range. But as I said I don't go for the money, having access to this land gives me more freedom to do things that I wouldn't be allowed to at a public range. I also get the peace and quiet of shooting by myself and at my own leisure. I don't have to wait 20 minutes for the range officer to clear the firing line, I can just walk out and change targets or distances any time I want. And finally I get to miss out on some of the idiocy that you can be exposed to while at a public range. I've lost count of the number of accidental discharges that I have personally witnessed in my years of shooting.

Today I only took my Glock 17 with me. I've had it for months now but haven't had a chance to try it out yet because of the winter weather. I also took the Glock because right now 9mm is the cheapest thing to shoot and I didn't feel like burning up a lot of more costly ammunition today. In center fire 9x19 is about as inexpensive as I can find with the price of 50 rounds of ball ammo hovering in the mid $12 price range.Shooting was done at distances of 7, 10 and 15 yards (21, 30 and 45 feet) and was evenly split between standing with a Weaver stance and firing from cover. As I said being by yourself on private land does have its advantages. I decided to get in some practice firing from a covered position, in this case shooting from behind the back fender of my car.

The Glock performed flawlessly. I only had Remington and Winchester brand 115 grain ball ammunition but the pistol functioned perfectly with both. I have no reason to suspect that it would have been any different if I had been using hollow point rounds.

Firing from a Weaver stance I easily kept all my shots in the "A" zone at 21 and 30 feet. Best group at 21 feet had a spread just under 3 inches and at 30 feet a spread of 5 ½ inches. Even shooting rapid fire at 7 yards (21ft), firing as fast as I could, I was still able to keep all shots in the A with the best group having a maximum spread of 3 ½ inches. As could be expected at 15 yards (45ft) the groups started opening up some. You would think that firing from the stable platform of a Lincoln rear fender would have produced better groups but they didn't. At 15 yards both groups, standing and supported looked nearly the same, almost all shots in the A but two strays landing in the "C".

All told a great day shooting that didn't cost me an arm and a leg. The weather clear and beautiful, and the gun trouble free. What more could anyone ask for?

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009

After watching Smokin' Aces a second time I must admit that I like this movie. I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure kind of thing because there really is no reason to like it as much as I do. The story is full of clichéd, waaaaaaay over the top characters, weak dialog and an unbelievable and contrived script that has to be literally explained to the audience at the end because it's so inept. This film does nothing that has not been done before, and done better. Look no further than Tarantino or Guy Ritchie to see how much better this type of material can be. And yet here I am writing a marginally positive review of it. Despite the many problems with this film it still does hold your attention. Much like watching a car wreck you just can't look away. There are many good actors in this production but that is irrelevant as there is no script. Essentially the actors are flung from one absurd, violent scenario to the next and in that regard whatever acting talent they have doesn't matter a bit, just so long as they are on their mark when the guns and squibs start going off! There are however a few "acting" moments in this film, my favorite would be involving character actor Jeremy Piven. I like him in most everything he's in and this film is no exception. His character is central to the "story" and watching him slowly disintegrate thru this bumbled production is truly a pleasure. So if like me, you're into a lot of inane dialog and overblown violence, caricatures instead of characters, and more guns being displayed than at the last SHOT show, this is the movie for you.

People with guns collection # 17 - Originally posted Sunday, August 23, 2009

From my own personal collection!"International News Photo, Washington D.C. Oct. 8th '40

Quantico, Va. - F.B.I. Agents demonstrate quick-draw, pistol shooting from the hips, at their pistol and rifle range at Quantico, Va. The exhibition was given for students of the National Police Academy.

F.B.I. Agents demonstrating for the crowd and attending press the classic crouching, instinctive point shooting method that was standard law enforcement training doctrine of the time. Note of the eight agents that can be observed six are using Smith & Wesson 357 Magnum revolvers with 3 ½ barrels. S&W had introduced their revolutionary 357 only five years earlier and the new cartridge and handgun, especially in the shorter barrel lengths, was already very popular with many peace officers of the era. The six shot 357 represented the ultimate in handgun firepower in law enforcement circles and would remain so for many years, only being replaced in recent decades when auto pistols of higher capacities became the norm. Also note the total lack of safety measures on the F.B.I.'s live range, no eye or ear protection and in some cases agents firing their magnums within inches of one another! These men were made of tougher stuff than I!

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Saturday, July 25, 2009

70 years ago todayOn this day 70 years ago, Tuesday, July 25th 1939 my Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver shipped from the factory. The gun was special ordered with the 3 ½ inch barrel (the shortest available barrel length), blue finish, humpback hammer, Magna grips and a King red bead front sight with "U" notch white outline rear sight. Further, it was specified that the gun be sighted in at the factory using .357 Magnum ammunition at a distance of 25 yards and using a 6 o'clock hold. The revolver was ordered by Sutcliffe Hardware Co. Louisville Kentucky. It is not known if the .357 was ordered for a specific individual or to use as company stock.

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Thursday, July 23, 2009

Finally got the chance to see Quantum of Solace, the most recent 007 adventure. I liked the film but must admit that it was not as good as the first "new" James Bond movie Casino Royale. The film was good but did seem rushed to the conclusion in an attempt to keep the action non-stop. That is great for action junkies but I prefer a little more story and character even in my James Bond movies. Even so Quantum of Solace was quite entertaining and still superior to many previous Bond films. Although this film wasn't as good as Casino Royale I still stand by my statement in an earlier post that Daniel Craig is the best James Bond ever.

Friday, March 26, 2010

People with guns collection # 16 - Originally posted Sunday, July 19, 2009

From my own personal collection!"Jimmie James F Bonner 12 year old trap shooter - Photo by Bob Dorman Newspaper Enterprise Ass'n" Aug 13 1921

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Saturday, July 18, 2009

Much Loved GunsYou just have to love a well worn gun. A gun that has been used a lot, but not abused, and has seen countless days serving its owner in the day to day drudgery that is the life of a normal working gun. I Bought this little gem off of the web a few years ago. I had put in a bid on the gun at $1 over the minimum and forgot about it, never thinking I would win. Nearly a week later I'm surprised to get an email informing me that I was indeed the winner, no one else had even bid on it! I am sure because of the condition many potential buyers turned their noses up at this one, just too much wear. This fine old revolver wasn't "collectable" enough for them but it was fine for me, I'll take every serviceable old Smith & Wesson .38 I can get for $100!

This is an early production Chiefs Special made in 1953. It is all original and all matching numbers including the grips. The Chiefs Special went into production in 1950 so the model had only been out about 2 ½ years when this one came out of the factory in Springfield MA. This revolver is an early "5-Screw" gun and has the first type trigger guard but has the later ramp type front sight. Very early Chiefs Specials had a round "half moon" type front sight but weren't produced very long before they went to sights like on this example. Later on S&W would change to model numbers and this gun would become the world famous Model 36.

This gun had obviously been used a lot and that was probably the reason that I had absolutely no one bidding against me for it. The gun has considerable holster wear, especially on the cylinder, but the worst wear is on the grip of the gun. The finish is completely gone on the grip frame and both grips are well worn, the right side grip is nearly worn smooth. This gun had clearly spent many years, if not decades, being carried. It showed all the signs of a gun that had spent a lot of time on someone's belt.

This gun also came with a "gun story" absolutely free! Many old guns have stories that come with them, true or not typically they're worth what you pay for them. The story that came with this gun was that it had originally belonged to a NYPD Officer. The gun was used by him in over 30 years of service on the police department and when he retired he took the revolver that had long served him to retirement with him in Florida. Later his widow would sell the gun to a FL gun dealer and that's how it ended up on a national gun auction site and finally in my safe. I have nothing to prove (or disprove) the story, other than the gun was obviously carried quite a bit and has a lot of wear associated with those seen carried by the police, so the story is at least plausible. It's fun to speculate about where a gun might have been or who might have used it, but the only thing that can be said for certain is that this fine old Smith & Wesson served someone faithfully for a very long time.

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pocket GunsPocket guns - they might be praised or cursed, daily carried or a "safe queen", but what self-respecting "gun nut" doesn't have at least one in their collection? I own several myself, most of the Smith & Wesson "J" Frame variety. For several years they were all that I used when I carried in public. A steel frame S&W M649 being my main carry gun from 1997 to 2003. That little .38 Bodyguard traveled nearly everywhere with me and it still sees occasional use right up to today. Despite having better carry guns I still know how useful a good pocket gun can be.

Pocket guns have a lot going for them, ease of concealment being one big factor. Their small size and (generally) light weight also make carrying them all day long a minor chore. But ultimately it is the convenience of the pocket gun that has to be its greatest asset. When your little gun isn't much of a burden on you it is much more likely to be taken when you leave the house. And that's the best thing the pocket gun has going for it, since it's much more likely to go with you, it is much more likely to be there when you need it. How many better self-defense handguns get left at home because they're too much a burden?

But you do trade off the convenience of the pocket gun for other important considerations. Generally, they are much harder to shoot well and to make consistent hits with, more practice is definitely needed. The lighter weight guns can actually be painful to shoot (causing you to practice much less with them) and many pocket guns are in less effective "mouse gun" calibers. But whatever else good or bad that might be said about little pocket guns the most important thing you can say is that they are much more likely to be there when you really need them, and that's probably the most important thing that you could ever say...

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Monday, July 13, 2009

After a couple of viewings of Taken starring Liam Neeson I ended up liking the movie very much, but this is not the usual shoot 'em up action flick. Taken is a little more intense and realistic than what you would normally see in this type of film. It's a very compelling story about an ex-intelligence agent searching for his abducted teenage daughter and willing to do anything to find her. This movie takes on the subject seen in another great (and underrated) action movie, David Mamet's Spartan, the subject of trafficking in young women to be sold in Mid-East nations. As already stated the film takes itself more seriously than the average action movie of this type. The fight scenes and gunplay in this film are (for the most part) much more real to life, usually brutal and over very quickly. Neeson does an excellent job with the part, showing both sides of his character's personality, the caring father wanting to have a relationship with his estranged daughter and the consummate professional willing to do anything to complete his mission. This is not the usual type of role that he is known for but Neeson shows himself to be more than capable. I purchased the 2-Disc "Extended Cut" DVD that includes both the theatrical release of the film and the extended version, which is a few minutes longer and includes some more action and violence. Both are well worth seeing.

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Hey Wilson!" came a shout. Someone was trying to get my attention but I couldn't readily see from where. The jolt woke me out of the half trance that was in. I don't even remember what I was thinking about. I was on the bus at work heading back out to the employee parking lot. It was full this morning, full of tired people trying to make their way home after a long workday. The noise from all the milling of people and the diesel engine made locating the source very difficult. I started looking at every face near me to see if I recognized any but wasn't having much luck. A lot of anonymous faces surrounding me. Man I work at a really big place. "Wilson!" it came again. Halfway across the bus, it was my old buddy Mike. Years ago we had worked together in the same area and in down time we would often talk about guns or other interests that we had in common. Over the years we had both transferred to different departments and rarely saw one another any more, except occasionally in the parking lot or on the bus like now. There was about 15 feet and 20 people crowded between us, standing room only. Doesn't make for a very intelligible conversation. He was ahead of me, close to the door. By the motioning of his hands I knew he was saying that he would wait for me on the other side of the security gates.

Once outside we took a few moments to catch up. It had been at least a year or more since we really talked, aside from the occasional "how ya doing" as we passed each other going to or from work. Several things had changed in his life since we last talked, most notably a divorce. The woman once described as "the best decision of my life" now sounded more like satan's considerably more evil kid sister.

Also his gun collecting days were over, maybe because of the divorce or maybe other reasons, I didn't press him on it. His once admirable collection had now dwindled down to a few "keepers".

Now the conversation moves on to a happier topic. "You interested in a 9 Millimeter?" The question couldn't have come at a better time because I have been seriously considering buying another 9mm pistol for a couple of months now. Top of the list being the Beretta 92 series. I've owned a half dozen of the various flavors of 92 over the years and liked them all. Still have a couple of mags for them somewhere too. They're a bit big for a 9mm pistol but they are well made, and should I say it, just cool looking. Glock? Ruger? Sig Sauer? Smith & Wesson? Springfield Armory? All possibilities. Of course if I could figure out something to trade my Dad for that vintage Browning Hi Power he got from me a few years ago, that would be nice too...

"It's a Sig, just want to get back what I've got in it". The plot thickens. "Yeah, I want to buy another forty five but have to sell this one first." Now I am very interested, but cautious. I remember a few years back when he was trying to sell a 10/22 that looked like it had been stored under the porch of his house. "Nice shape, never shot it much." I wonder if he can read my mind? "$450" he quickly adds before I can ask.

We talk some more. Turns out he's not exactly sure what he is selling and Sig Sauer made/makes several different models in 9mm. From the way he describes it I would say either a P226, P228 or P229. All nice choices. As we talk something else comes up. Seems that he has moved. A year ago he crossed over to the other side of the Ohio River. Although it was a very short trip, only a few miles on the map, legally it's a different world altogether. He lives in Indiana and I live in Kentucky. If he still lived in Kentucky I could just look at the gun, and if I liked it, pay him and take it home with me (I love this state!). But now that he has moved across state lines the FEDS are involved. NO GUN SALES WITHOUT PAPERWORK! Your Uncle Sam doesn't like it when that happens! I quickly figure it in my head; an FFL to FFL transfer will set me back another $30-40. But still not too bad for a "nice" Sig 9mm. I at least have to see it.

I agree to take a look at it and a week later I finally do. It's a P228, a "nice" one indeed! Looks to have been shot very little. Mike was the 2nd (or 3rd) owner and he tells me he has only put "three or four hundred" rounds thru her. From the condition I would say maybe double that total from all the gun's previous owners combined. Hardly broke in yet! Now it gets even better. From a paper bag he produces four factory 13 round magazines, two still in the "Made in West Germany" marked wrappers. It's been many years since I've owned a Sig but I still remember that the mags were never cheap!

I pay the man his asking price, nope didn't try to "haggle", cover the costs of the FFL fees on both sides of the river and we're ready to go. He hands it over to his dealer, who sends it on a short trip across the muddy Ohio. Three days later the gun finally arrives at my local dealer and is ready for pick up. Total trip was about 15 miles with an additional cost of $40 (that's about $2.66 a mile according to my pocket calculator). Despite the minor hassle and extra costs involved, getting a lightly used German made Sig Sauer P228 with four factory high capacity magazines for $490 doesn't seem like too bad a deal.

Much more to follow...

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally got a chance to see Casino Royale, the "new" James Bond picture a few days ago and I must say that it was great! This is now my favorite Bond film.

Yes, I know that I am a little late and that this movie has been out 2 ½ years. So before I go any further please let me explain my relationship with modern pop culture. I have none, or I should say nearly none. I neither have the time nor inclination so I rarely watch TV or go to the movies anymore. It has been over four years since I've set foot in a movie theater and I have none of the "premium" cable movie channels. I don't rent DVD's or buy them either unless they are on sale or until they end up in the markdown bin at the local chain store. So usually a movie has to be out a long while before I finally view it. As you can see that normally puts me at least a year or two behind the curve. But I don't mind because I couldn't care less about seeing the newest "in" movie and this attitude saves me a lot of time, money and aggravation in my life.

But lets get back to this movie, as I said Casino Royale is now my favorite Bond film and with this one performance Daniel Craig has become my favorite Bond. I am a fan of the films and have seen them all, and to a degree, liked them all. Even the Bond franchise at its worst was still tolerable. I have liked all the incarnations of James Bond; even my least favorite (Roger Moore) produced some passable action/adventure films during his tenure. At times though the Bond series, best illustrated with Moore's later films, more closely resembled pure fantasy than anything related to real world espionage. Bond has always had a fantasy element about him, no doubt that is some of his appeal. I have liked the fantasy elements myself, to a point, but with the invisible cars, chase scenes that defied the laws of physics (and common sense) and super villains smart enough to take over the world but not smart enough to just put a bullet in Bond's head the first chance they got you will have to admit that this series has become a bit of a joke over the years. Some films more than others.

This new Bond film leaves all that behind and strips the character of 007 down to the bare essentials. This film is a "reboot" for the series and a fresh start for the character that we all know and love. Is this now a true to life spy film? No, but probably as close as any Bond movie will ever get. Reading other's reviews I note that many have compared this new Bond film to the hit spy movie The Bourne Identity and that's a fair comparison. That film obviously had an influence on this new James Bond. I am sure many fans consider that not to be a change for the better. I am not one of them.

What we get in this new film is Bond devoid of the silly gadgets, the absurd villains and the cutesy one-liners, and he's so much better without them! Ian Fleming's most famous creation has now reached back to the past and James Bond is more like I always envisioned him from the books. At least Craig's Bond is closer than any that came before him. James Bond as a man not a caricature.

Casino Royale is the telling of how Bond became Bond. Not Bond as adolescent movie fantasy, but as brutal reality. Not the Bond who cleanly kills and then punctuates it with a flippant remark, but as a man that has to get his hands dirtied because murder is ugly business. Not Bond as perfect super spy but flawed man. I am sure there are many that lament the loss of the old movie fantasy Bond and hate his imperfect replacement, but the fact is that Bond had outlived his times. Casino Royale is classic Bond updated for this century.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

People with guns collection # 15 - Originally posted Sunday, June 28, 2009

From my own personal collection!"Cosmo Angelo & Buddy 1943"

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Friday, June 26, 2009

Yesterday saw the passing of actress and seventies icon Farrah Fawcett from cancer. She was 62. It's impossible to think about the decade of the 1970's without remembering her. The two are forever intertwined. She had a huge impact on American pop culture of the time, to the point of influencing how the women of an entire nation looked and dressed. How many untold millions of American women asked their hairdressers for "The Farrah"? Like many other boys (and men) I had her poster, watched her every week on Charlie's Angels and read with interest in the movie magazines about her exploits with then husband, actor Lee Majors. Farrah was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and fought it courageously. She even released a very private and revealing documentary of her experiences in the hope that telling her story might help others that were suffering. Even thru the worst of it Farrah never lost her dignity. I doubt that there will be another like her.

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cheese Television - Celebrating underachievements in TV!

From my own personal archives!

Cheesy (che'-ze) - adjective
1) containing or resembling cheese
2) of or like cheese: a cheesy aroma; a cheesy taste
3) slang - inferior or cheap; chintzy

"EXCLUSIVE TO YOU IN YOUR CITY -- Mary McDonough (left) and Melissa Sue Anderson star as two high school girls endowed with the power of witchcraft -- Mary for good, Melissa Sue for evil -- in 'The Burning', 'The ABC Friday Night Movie' presentation, FRIDAY, FEB. 27 (9:00-11:00 p.m., EST) on the ABC Television Network." 2/3/81

There must have been a last minute name change as this movie originally aired as Midnight Offerings. I still remember it to this day, who could forget it! One of The Waltons girls vs. the blind older sister from Little House on the Prairie! Both were witches in the same high school and fighting over, you guessed it, a boy. Queen Bee-itch Melissa Sue rules over her school and everything is wonderful until nicey-nice Walton girl witch comes along and ruins everything. Goody-good is aided by the Yoda-like ponderings of another older, more experienced good witch, Happy Days Mom Marion Ross. While Gordon Jump (bumbling Arthur Carlson from WKRP in Cincinnati) plays Baddy-bad's father, completely oblivious to his daughter's black magic shenanigans occurring upstairs in his very own house (although you would think the satanic shrine in her bedroom might give him a clue). This is some of the best overacting that I have ever seen! Especially by Melissa Sue Anderson who has a veritable smörgåsbord of scenery chewing moments throughout the film. And you thought your high school had drama? Obviously you've never seen two teen-age witches having a telekinetic duel to the death in shop class. Whoever said that a movie had to have acting, writing or directing to be entertaining?

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hollywood Remembered - Olga Baclanova

To most modern moviegoers the name Olga Baclanova has no meaning. Given that her final film performance was in 1943, over 65 years ago, it is quite understandable. It has literally been a lifetime since she last appeared on the movie screen.

Of those that would recognize her it is from the Tod Browning horror film Freaks (1932) that she would get the most recognition, it is easily her most well known film today. Her performance as the conniving trapeze artist and would-be murderess Cleopatra is not easily forgotten and has helped make Freaks the classic of horror cinema that it is. While not a success at the time of its original release Freaks would eventually become a cult favorite and has since be watched by countless movie lovers and students of cinema around the world. Although it would take decades, Freaks would finally get the recognition it deserved. Like many others my first exposure to this fascinating actress was through the film Freaks. And also like many others, after seeing the film I felt the need to find out more about this lady and her work. What I found was an artist with a varied and rich assortment of acting performances in a career spanning over three decades, two languages, and reaching from one end of the globe to the other. Hers is not the usual Hollywood story...Portrait of Olga Baclanova in costume from her role as Duchess Josiana in The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Olga Baclanova (1896-1974), at times simply credited as Baclanova, was also known to movie fans of the day as the "Russian Tigress". She was born Olga Vladimirovna Baclanova in Moscow, Russia in August of 1896. One of six children born to a wealthy family, both of Olga's parents had a strong interest in the arts and encouraged the artistic proclivity of their young daughter. At the age of ten Olga fell in love with the theater, it would be a love that would last the remainder of her life. As a young girl Olga was educated at the Cherniavsky Institute and then went on to the prestigious Moscow Art Theatre (MAT) where she won only one of three available openings competing against 400 other applicants.Olga Baclanova in a scene from Street of Sin (1928)

By 1914 she had begun appearing in short "one or two-reeler" films and by 1917 MAT studio productions which included the works of Puskin, Chekov and Shakespeare. Throughout the late teens and into the mid twenties she continued her stage and movie work with the MAT, her roles becoming increasingly larger, eventually she would star in several productions. But at the same time of her professional successes there also came personal tragedies. During this same time frame came the upheaval of the Russian revolution and the fall of the Czar. It was during this period that she married for the first time and had a son, her father was murdered and the family fortune was lost. But maybe the worst for the young artist was this new Soviet regime that was becoming increasingly hostile to the art and artist of the "Bourgeoisie". More and more Olga could see the artistic freedom that she loved dying a slow death under this new regime. In 1925 the MAT began a long tour through Europe that would end with a stopover in New York City. In mid 1926 when the MAT left New York for home Olga stayed behind. Not knowing if she might ever see her family or homeland again she made the difficult decision to stay in America and pursue her love of acting. In a short while she was able to find stage work and by 1927 was offered her first American movie role.Baclanova, with co-star Clive Brook, in publicity stills from A Dangerous Woman (1929), her only starring role.

The Man Who Laughs (1928) was one of Olga's first films in the U.S., it is also considered to be one of her finest performances as well. Many movie scholars acknowledge it as one of the most influential films of the silent era. The Man Who Laughs, based on the story by Victor Hugo, is set in 17th Century England and tells the tale of Gwynplaine, born to noble blood. After his father is imprisoned for disloyalty to the King the boy is sold to "Comprachicos", Gypsy surgeons who disfigure young children in order to sell them as freaks to circuses. The surgeon cuts a grotesque smile into the boy's face, so that he forever appears to be laughing. The boy then grows up to become a clown famous throughout England known as "The Laughing Man", a man completely unaware of his birthright. Baclanova wonderfully plays the part of Duchess Josiana, a spoiled and beautiful heiress that has no regard for anything except her own immediate pleasures. It is she that now owns the estate that rightfully belongs to Gwynplaine. The Man Who Laughs would become a very significant picture serving as inspiration for an entire generation of horror films. While The Man Who Laughs is not horror per se, its long-lasting influence on the genre is undeniable.In the same year as The Man Who Laughs (1928) Olga would appear in another highly acclaimed film directed by Josef von Sternberg, The Docks of New York. In this picture she gives what many critics consider to be her finest performance portraying a prostitute and discarded wife of a sailor. Throughout the late 1920's Olga appeared in a steady stream of motion pictures with titles like Street of Sin, Forgotten Faces, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Man I Love. By 1929 Baclanova's star was rising in Hollywood and she was given a leading role of her own in A Dangerous Woman. The movie itself was an inconsequential romantic melodrama set in deepest Africa, more importantly though it was the first time Hollywood could see star potential in Olga. A Dangerous Woman was the first film in which she ever received top billing, it would also be her last. With the advent of a new motion picture technology, sound, there also came an end to Olga's chances of stardom in America...

Olga would begin appearing in American movies at the end of the silent era, but even at that time many "silent" movies already had sound tracks with music and singing contained in the film. A Dangerous Woman would not only be her first starring role but it would also be her first "All Talking" motion picture. Olga's English was good but she had a heavy Russian accent that was not only noticeable to moviegoers in the theaters, but to movie executives behind the scenes as well. It meant for the rest of her career in the "talkies" Olga would find herself relegated to smaller supporting parts as well as more "exotic" roles such as foreign Countesses. Although her film career had flourished during the silent age, with the rise of sound pictures it would now begin to decline.In the late 1920's and into the early 1930's Olga Baclanova's movie career continued on its slow decline but she did have solid supporting parts in films, occasionally garnering the praise of critics and audiences alike in movies like The Great Lover (1931) and Downstairs (1932). Also at this time Baclanova returned to her first love, the stage. In 1931 she would begin acting in theatre productions again and her stage work would increasingly take up more and more of her professional effort. Personally during this same time, Olga divorced her first husband and married a second, gave birth to another son, and finally became an American citizen in September of 1931.

In 1932 came what would be the movie that Olga Baclanova will undoubtedly be most remembered for by modern movie audiences, Freaks. Tod Browning's unusual horror tale was deeply disturbing to viewers of the time. It was a critical and financial failure and most everyone involved hoped that it would be quickly forgotten as they tried to continue on with their respective careers. Freaks was forgotten my most, but over the decades it slowly began developing into a cult favorite. New viewers were delighted to find in Freaks an entirely entertaining and engrossing film. Not deserving of the condemnation that it once received but instead worthy of high praise. Over the decades Freaks would finally attain some of the adoration that it originally deserved but never got.

As the decade of the 1930's progressed Olga found her movie work increasingly uncommon. By decade's end it was nonexistent. By this time she was devoting nearly all of her efforts to the stage. In 1940 she took on the role that she was born to play, that of Madame Daruschka, in the Broadway production of Claudia. She would go on to perform the role hundreds of times on stage and finally in 1943 was able to bring the character to life on the big screen in the film of the same name. Claudia would turn out to be Baclanova's swan song. After that she would continue in stage productions for a few more years and in the late 1940's she retired from acting altogether. After decades of performing on stage and screen this talented and unforgettable actress ended a career that had begun over thirty years earlier and on the other side of the world. Finally the "Russian Tigress" was at rest.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Monday, May 25, 2009

The Anonymous MarinesToday is Memorial Day, a day that we stop and honor all of those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country. While we use this day to remember all of those that died serving this country and the cause of freedom, I thought that I would narrow the focus of this post to just four young men.

Many years ago I purchased an old book at a flea market. When I got the book home and took a better look at it I found something extra inside. In the book there were three items carefully pressed and preserved. Obviously someone thought the items worth saving.

Inside the book there was a small worn and faded photo. Clearly it had been handled a lot. The photo showed four WWII era Marines posing for a picture but there were no writing or markings to indicate where the photo was taken. The second item was a very tattered 1940s era arcade type photo of a nude lady standing on the beach. She was covered with numerous creases, folds and ink stains. I would be willing to bet anything that this blonde cutie had traveled from one end of the Pacific to the other, and maybe back again, in one of those Marine's pockets. The third item was a small story that had been torn from a newspaper. The short article was dated July 2nd, 1944 and told of the Marine Corp's Second and Fourth Divisions, along with the Army's 27th, fighting on Saipan in the Mariana islands.

I do not know who put these items in the book. I doubt that I ever will know. Perhaps it was one of the Marines in the photo that carefully preserved these mementos, or maybe a loved one of one of those Marines. When I look at this photo I can't help but wonder what became of the young men in it. Did they survive the war? All of them, some, or possibly none? Did they go on to lead rich, productive lives, or were their lives tragically cut short defending this nation? As I said, we will never know. Maybe we're not meant to know. Maybe just knowing that these men were called to serve their country in a time of need and they answered that call is all that really needs knowing...

People with guns collection # 14 - Originally posted Sunday, May 10, 2009

From my own personal collection!Happy Mother's Day! Take A Mom Shooting!

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Friday, May 8, 2009

Monday, May 4th saw the passing of another Hollywood great, Dom DeLuise. A talented comedian and actor, husband, father of three, gourmet chef, author and according to those that knew him, a genuinely nice guy. His ample comic talents were used in wonderfully entertaining movies like The World's Greatest Lover, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother and Blazing Saddles. My personal favorite would have to be his role as Marlon Borunki, the psycho killer with a Polish complex, in Burt Reynolds' black comedy masterpiece The End. Dom will be missed...

"I'm actually a thin serious person but I play fat and funny, but only for the movies."

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shot in the head with a .25 auto... and really really angry

After the concealed carry piece that I had written back in March I thought that I would elaborate on the incident that finally caused me to give up using a .25 automatic as my primary carry gun. The final proverbial "straw" that broke the camel's back. This incident occurred over a dozen years ago.

At the time I had been carrying a Colt Model 1908 (.25 Auto) and then had recently switched to a Beretta in the same caliber. I knew in the back of my head that my little pistol was not up to the requirements of a main carry gun and that I might actually be in trouble if I really had a need for it. I guess you could say that I was in denial.

My denial did last a while but it wouldn't last forever. You see, while I was living in happy ignorance it wouldn't be too long before it began eroding as I read story after story in gun books and magazines about the lackluster performance of little mouse guns and just how marginal these calibers were. When the local television news reported about a "drive by" where the bullets from a thug's .25 automatic didn't even penetrate the metal screen of his intended victim's front door that was just about all that I needed to hear on the matter. And then came the "final straw".

"Jay" was a friend of mine from work. We were well acquainted but didn't really hang out after hours, he was about 8 years younger than me and we had different interests in life. Jay was in his early 20s, an average guy, and like many young men his age spent a lot of his weekend free time in bars chasing the girls. That is where he found his trouble.

One Saturday night while at a bar Jay got into a conversation with a girl, the guy that was with the girl didn't like that. Words were exchanged and before anyone knew what was going on the other fellow produced a gun and fired a shot. Before he could get off another round though my friend proceeded to beat that man into unconsciousness.

When the police arrived they found the unconscious instigator, a dozen or more witnesses and Jay, who had a minor head wound. The police took him to the hospital. Jay had a cut to his head, which by the time he arrived at the hospital had already stopped bleeding. Although the doctor wanted to take x-rays Jay was feeling better and didn't want to stay. At his insistence they patched it up and he got out of there. Within a couple of days though Jay started having bad headaches. He went back to the hospital and the doctors immediately found the source of his problem, a .25 caliber bullet lodged in his temple.

I won't try to defend the actions of my friend. Knowing him then, I've no doubt that he said things that probably helped escalate the situation. Given the age of the two young men involved, the setting, the abundance of both testosterone and alcohol, I would say that both had a part to play in this drama and neither were completely innocent. The point I am trying to make in this long-winded story is that MY FRIEND WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD AND HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT! In fact at the time he thought the bullet had missed him completely! It wasn't until the fight was over and the other guy lay dazed and bloody on the floor that someone pointed out to him that he had been hurt. Jay told me at the time that the effect of the guy shooting at him (actually shooting him) was only to make him angrier, I am sure that this fellow took a worse beating because of it! I am also sure that if the other guy had a larger caliber gun my friend would have been killed. Having seen the actual bullet wound I have very little doubt of that.

Very shortly after this incident I began looking for a better carry gun, I eventually settled on the classic Smith & Wesson "J" frame in .38 Special. Which I now consider to be the absolute minimum caliber in a main carry gun.

I've not owned many mouse guns since, and never again as a primary carry gun. But even I must admit that they do have their limited uses. If I do carry one as "back-up" it is knowing that I am going to unload the gun into the person attacking me. I have no delusions of "one-shot stopping power" or the effectiveness of these minuscule calibers. I simply acknowledge them for what they are, a desperate last-ditch effort.

Of course arguments can be made for using these small pistols, both for physical, practical, and other reasons. At times I have made these same arguments myself. I will not try to talk others out of their little guns, it is their decision to make, it is their life to live. All I can do is simply relate the very personal reasons why I no longer chiefly rely on them. Why I can no longer accept their role as anything but supplemental. For me, to do otherwise would be to deny the simple facts that I have observed with my very own eyes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

People with guns collection # 13 - Originally posted Sunday, April 19, 2009

From my own personal collection!I`m the kind of girl says it with a smile
That sweet as molasses down home style
I`m whatcha might call real cornfed
Oh yeah I`m a country girl born and bred
- Rissi Palmer

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Saturday, April 18, 2009

In the spring of 1953, pop songstress Patti Page had what would become one of her biggest hits when the delightfully absurd, and yet entirely charming (How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window went to the number one position on the Billboard Top 100 charts. Doggie in the Window was Page's fourth # 1 hit and is, to this day, still one of her most popular and requested songs. The song, written by Bob Merrill and adorably underscored by barking, not by dogs, but by Ms. Page's musical arranger (and others), told the story of a young lady wanting to buy a puppy for her sweetheart so he wouldn't be lonesome after she went away. Doggie in the Window was a cultural phenomenon. The simple yet memorable tune delighted listeners; both young and old alike, substantially increased puppy purchases across the nation, and was credited for an 8% rise in the American Kennel Club's annual registrations. The song would stay at number one for eight weeks and would be on the Hot 100 list for a total of 21, selling over 2 million copies. But nothing last forever and eventually the squeaky clean sound and attitude of early fifties pop music would have to make way for something new, Rock and Roll. Never again would a warm, cuddly puppy be quite enough to satisfy young love.

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggle-ly tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale

I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If he has a dog, he won't be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggle-ly tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale

I read in the paper there are robbers (woof! woof!)
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark

I don't want a bunny or a kitty
I don't want a parrot that talks
I don't want a bowl of little fishies
He can't take a goldfish for a walk

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggle-ly tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale
I do hope that doggie's for sale

Note: Arf! Arf! sounds like a small dog.
Woof! Woof! sounds like a big dog.

Monday, March 22, 2010

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Tuesday, April 2, 2009

1980s Movie Classic!

From my own personal archives!"Keith Gordon, Alexandra Paul and John Stockwell sit in front of Christine, the evil, red 1958 Plymouth Fury whose standard equipment includes a horrific, indestructible vengeance. Columbia Pictures presents 'Christine', a Richard Kobritz production of a John Carpenter Film, directed by Carpenter and based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King."

Great movie! In fact 1983's Christine has to be the best evil car movie ever made! I do have to make one correction though, "a horrific, indestructible vengeance" was NOT standard equipment on 1958 Plymouths, it was an extra cost option that year...