Sunday, January 30, 2011

People with guns collection # 33

Thought I would start off 2011 People with Guns with something a little different. This fellow qualifies. I don't know a thing about him, but the Lee-Enfield Mk III rifle would certainly suggest he served one of the many protectorates of Great Britain. Although that could be anywhere couldn't it? "The sun never sets on the British Empire." Unfortunately, the photo is printed on a heavily textured photo paper that makes it very difficult to get a detailed scan. How about some help from my readers. There has to be someone out there seeing this that knows about military uniforms or has a book on the subject. The photo is from the WWII era if that makes it easier... Little help?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Twenty-five years

Seems like yesterday. I was working my first job as a stockboy at a local department store. Went to take an early lunch that morning and watched it live there in the employee breakroom... where does the time go. Rest in Peace - Francis R. Scobee - Mission Commander, Michael J. Smith - Pilot, Gregory B. Jarvis - Payload Specialist 1, Christa McAuliffe - Payload Specialist 2, Judith A. Resnik - Mission Specialist 1, Ellison S. Onizuka - Mission Specialist 2, Ronald E. McNair - Mission Specialist 3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

People and their dogs

Here's another in my continuing posts featuring prized old photographs from my personal collection. "This is King my favorite dog with me" What a great photo of a young woman and her loving dog. Except for her clothes this could have been taken today. People love their dogs and dogs love their people. That doesn't change, ever...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Kobayashi is gone

On the January 2nd another great character actor passed away. Academy Award nominated British Actor Pete Postlethwaite lost his battle with cancer. With his slightly odd high-cheeked looks and distinctive voice you couldn't help but notice him whatever he was in. I've been a fan since first seeing him in The Last of the Mohicans and he has been in numerous memorable films since that time. Films like In the Name of the Father, Romeo + Juliet, Brassed Off, Æon Flux and my personal favorite (and of many others), his role as the mysterious lawyer Mr. Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects. In 2010 he appeared in two critically acclaimed movies I've yet to see, Inception and The Town and it will be bittersweet when I finally do get around to watching them knowing that he is now gone. Without a doubt he made every production he was in better.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Your ammo is in the mail...

It arrived yesterday, late in the afternoon. A heavy package (58.4 pounds according to the UPS shipping info) containing 1000 rounds of this. I ordered it last week for the M1A I just recently purchased. It has been a few years since I owned a rifle in 7.62 NATO and while I did have a small amount still stored it wasn't enough. I needed some good quality, all around general purpose ammunition for it. Ammo good for anything I might need it for and yet cheap enough that I could regularly practice with it and not break me financially. For 7.62 this German surplus is probably the best bargain around right now. You can find it for sale several places but I bought mine from Sportsman's Guide over the phone and they made it very easy. This is the first ammunition I've ever mail ordered and had delivered. They made the purchase quick and painless and sent it right to my door. I like that. I can't believe that I've been shooting over 20 years and I am just now doing this. I've thought about it a long while but never got around to it, always staying with my local sellers. My need for 7.62 finally fueled this, buying the ammunition at my local Wal-Mart or gun shop would have cost me at least a third more (or purchase much less) and I would have to drive to them to get it. Yes this was the first time I did this, it won't be the last.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

M-S-A-R = F-U-N

Yesterday I had a day off so I decided to go shooting. It was cold out but sunny, not a great day but good enough, so I headed off to some farmland I occasionally use to try out some guns. I have four that I need to check out, today I took two. I went with my MSAR rifle and my Colt Commander that I received as a Christmas gift.

I started out with the MSAR because I've been wanting to shoot this since the day I got it back in November. Today I was more concerned with checking out the rifle's reliability than anything else. This design is completely new to me and I was hoping it would prove as dependable as the AR-15, which is what I have most of my 5.56 trigger time on. I am happy to say that by the end of the shooting session I was quite happy with the little bullpup's performance, the day didn't start out that way though. For about the first 30-35 rounds the gun experienced numerous malfunctions, mostly failures to extract. I've got to admit that I was getting a bit anxious there for a while. I was starting to think my new rifle might be a lemon and was more akin to an expensive paperweight than a working gun. I took the MSAR apart beforehand and lubed it as per the manual, I was hoping that I put it back together correctly but wasn't sure. Fortunately after a couple of magazines through the rifle it loosened up and started acting right, it didn't give me another problem the rest of the day. All told I fired 320 rounds through it yesterday, the last (approximately) 285 rounds without a malfunction of any kind. I used three different brands of ammo in it, 260 rounds of Winchester and PMP (55 grain FMJ) and 60 rounds of Sellier & Bellot (55 grain SP). All of the malfunctions were with full metal jacket ammunition. I didn't get around to firing the S&B soft point hunting loads until the end of the day but didn't have a single problem with them. Another issue that I was checking was the magazines. One of the reasons that I bought this rifle was because it uses standard AR-15/M16 mags that I already have plenty of. I took four different magazines with me and they all functioned fine. I took 30 round Pmags (with and without windows), aluminum G.l. 30 round mags and Colt 20 round mags. As I said all worked fine although the Pmags are certainly easier to use. The Pmags can be inserted and removed from the MSAR with much less effort than the aluminum mags. With the Pmags I could hold the rifle with my strong hand and could then with the thumb of my weak hand engage the magazine catch and easily remove the mag, never having to change my shooting grip. Both types of aluminum magazines required me to change positions and use both hands to remove the mags. While it will function with any magazines the little MSAR definitely has a preference for Pmags! As for the sights, right now the rifle has an old Tasco red dot on it. I didn't bother to sight it in because I knew before the gun was even running right that I was going to replace it with something else. Which brings up the only real issue I had with the rifle, the charging handle. The handle is on the left side (for right handed shooters) just under and to the left of the top optic rail. Every time I had to use the handle to extract a round I would drag my knuckles across that big Tasco scope. It didn't take too long before I had the knuckle on my left index finger sore and finally bleeding trying to deal with the gun's malfunctions early on. That problem is unacceptable and leaves me with two options to correct it, buy a newer and smaller red dot sight (my preference) or buy an aftermarket charging handle that is supposed to fix the problem. I think the smaller sight will correct that particular issue but if it doesn't I have seen an aftermarket charging handle that is supposed to, and is inexpensive and easy to replace yourself. Once I got the malfunction problems resolved I started checking on the accuracy. First there is the trigger, it is mushy and a little heavy but didn't seem to effect accuracy much that I could tell. There are aftermarket trigger fixes that I am looking into and should only increase accuracy. As I said earlier I didn't even bother to zero the sight because I know that it's coming off soon. Even though the sight wasn't zeroed it was close enough that once I figured out where it was hitting I could use some "Kentucky windage" to start putting rounds right on target. After I figured it out I was easily able to keep my shots in the black (5-Inch EZ See targets) at 100 yards even when firing as fast as I could pull the trigger. By this time the MSAR was running fine and was by now effortlessly chucking out empties while punching hole after hole in the black. Using the roof of my car as a rest and with slow deliberate fire the gun was shooting 1-2 inch groups with numerous holes actually touching. Can't wait to see what it will do using a real rifle rest and a sight that has actually been zeroed in! Despite the initial problems the MSAR turned out to be a fun gun to shoot and is most definitely a "keeper."

Next up was the Colt Commander that I received for Christmas (sorry no pictures - oops). I had owned this pistol before but never got around to shooting it the first time I owned it. Fixed that real fast this time. I fired 100 rounds through it today, all shooting was using a Weaver stance and at 10 yards (30ft). Was easily able to maintain 2-3 inch groups with all type of ammo, which included Winchester and Remington 230gr hardball and also included 20 rounds of Federal 230gr hollowpoints. Experienced two malfunctions with the Colt, both were failures to go completely into battery and both were with FMJ round nose ammo. Both incidents occurred with the same magazine and I believe it to be the culprit. I will keep an eye on it and check it again next time I take a 1911 shooting, see if it acts the same with other pistols. This Commander is a great gun but I'll have to put some more rounds downrange with this one to make sure that it is totally trustworthy for carrying.

All in all, in spite of some minor problems, I had a great morning shooting yesterday and hope to do it again real soon. If old man winter will cooperate!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Gone in 2010

Some celebrity deaths in 2010 that for whatever reason I didn't comment on at the time, but wish I had...
Barbara Billingsley - I grew up watching her (in reruns) on TV. With her perfect hair, dress and pearls she was the flawless television Mom in the fairy tale suburban world of the TV series Leave it to Beaver.

Tom Bosley - Actor that was in many productions in a career that lasted over 50 years but is best known for his work on television series like Murder, She Wrote, Father Dowling Mysteries and for many of us his role as father Howard Cunningham on the long running comedy Happy Days.

Maury Chaykin - Wonderful character actor that appeared in numerous productions but is best known in a rare starring role portraying legendary detective Nero Wolfe in the television series A Nero Wolfe Mystery. A favorite of mine would have to be his small part as a wacko neighbor in A Life Less Ordinary.

Dino De Laurentiis - Italian film producer that brought us many memorable movies, some of them include - Death Wish (1974) - The Shootist (1976) - Conan the Barbarian (1982) - The Dead Zone (1983) - Blue Velvet (1986) and Army of Darkness (1992)

Patricia Neal - Great actress, and one of few that could go toe to toe with John Wayne and be believable. Some of my favorites from her include - The Fountainhead (1949) - Operation Pacific and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) - A Face in the Crowd (1957) - Hud (1963) and In Harm's Way (1965)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 - The year in Guns

For 2011 I don't have the intention of buying many guns (like that mattered) and only have three that I really want to get. This year I want to buy another Ruger .22 semi-auto pistol (wish I hadn't sold mine a few years ago) and a light weight 10/22 carbine to complement the heavy barrel target model I already own. Since this year is also the 100th anniversary of the model 1911 pistol I am also thinking of buying another, this time an adjustable sight target model which is the only kind not represented in my collection. Then I've wanted a .357 Magnum lever action rifle (or maybe pistol?) for a while now. I keep flip flopping on that one, can't seem to make up my mind on it. Then there are the what I like to call the "Good deal" guns, if I see any of these for sale at a reasonable price I would probably have to get it even though I certainly don't need it. Another M1A - a Garand in .308 - a Manurhin MR73 revolver - and of course any S&W N Frame .357 at a "bargain" price. Of course all of this also doesn't take into account any other "deal" you might run into at a gun or pawn shop, or at a gun show, guns you suddenly discover that you "had to have." But mainly my plan for this year is to spend much more on ammunition than guns, I don't see prices going anywhere but up and I won't have a repeat of 2009. That year, because of a shortage and nationwide buying panic I actually had guns that I had no ammo for. That will not be happening to me again!

Happy 2011!

A happy and prosperous New Year to everyone reading this! In 2011 wilsonblog will continue on just like it has been, mostly guns, cool old photography and the occasional pointless rambling or stupidity thrown in too. As for my novel, at the rate I'm progressing I expect to have it finished some time in mid or late summer. Now if you'll excuse me I have a little work to do on this blog and then I'm going to take the rest of this first day of the year off. Maybe watch a few movies that I have been wanting to see for a while, then later in the day there is a family tradition of having black-eyed peas and hog jowl (and cornbread with real butter) because if you don't you won't have good luck in the New Year (and it's very tasty too!). Bet you didn't know that, did you? Have a great one!