Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

My best wishes to all my readers! I hope you have a happy and prosperous 2015!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

People with guns collection # 78 - Year End Bonus!

1/3/75 - Detroit: Lynne Larivee, of Troy, Mich., could be imagining herself another "Bonnie" of Bonnie and Clyde fame as she readies her machine gun in the bullet-ridden "Godfather" car at the 23rd annual Autorama Custom Car Show 1/2. The show is the largest custom car and hot rod show in the world. The "Godfather" car, a 1941 Lincoln Continental, was riddled with over 200 bullet holes as the Godfather's son, Sonny Corleone was ambushed at a tollbooth, triggering a war between different gangs. Over 400 custom cars, hot rods, dragsters, antiques and racing cars will be shown 1/3 - 1/5.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gone shooting - One last time for 2014

I went to the shooting range this morning, one last time for 2014. Every New Year I make a resolution to go shooting at least once a month but I never seem to make it. Typically it's the weather that stops me but other things, like life, come up too. In the last six weeks I had plans to go shooting three different times and we had rain or snow every one of them. This morning it was cold (32) with some minor drizzle. I went anyway.

I have several rifles and pistols that need to be test fired but this morning I only took my HK USP 45. It is my "House" gun and it has been several months since I shot it. I needed the practice. The pistol light stays on it most of the time now so that's how I wanted to shoot today. It has a different balance with the light on. The USP is monotonous in its reliability, which is what you want from a self-defense gun. I have owned this pistol for several years now with thousands of rounds thru it - not one malfunction - ever. The only drawback to the HK is parts (like magazines) are costly. When I bought this in 2009 12 round factory mags were about $50 unless you could find them on sale. Now they're about $75.

Checking back in my records I see that I did not fire one round of 22 Long Rifle in 2014. I have plenty stocked up but I just couldn't bring myself to shoot any. Not when you couldn't say if you could replace it. Remember when you used to buy 22LR for cheap and regular practice - or even fun? Fortunately, availability is getting better and prices are coming down. I guess all the hoarders are finally getting their fill.

Hopefully I will shoot a lot more in 2015 than this one. But of course I say that every year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

People with guns collection # 77

TWO OF THE OLD SCHOOL -- An old timer in the game himself, Bill Pickett, who has made almost 400,000 barrels since he went to work at Winchester in 1886, fingers his deer gun, a lever-action Model 94 that will be 50 years old this year. The carbine was the first gun built to fire cartridges loaded with smokeless powder. 12/12/44

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Goodbye Ol' Remus

I discovered Ol' Remus in 2008 and checked in for his unique and fascinating weekly outlook on life, past and present, ever since. Thank you sir for the time and effort you put in to entertain us, and maybe even get us to think some too. You will be missed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tribes Redo

Today I have released a revised edition of my third novel TRIBES. The book has been re-edited and has some storyline changes too. If you already own it on Kindle you can get a copy of the new version free. Just log on to your Amazon account, look under "Digital Downloads" and you should be able to update your copy to the new version. Thanks!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

People with guns collection # 76

AMERICAN KIDS AND GUNS - Jillian Szymonifka, age 12, and her dad Mike. She is a member of the Island Lake Junior Rifle Club. - Carteret, New Jersey U.S.A DECEMBER 1999

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day!

Here's a big THANK YOU! to all that served! Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gone shooting

I went to the range first thing this morning, but only stayed a short while. Last month I bought a 1965 vintage Colt Lightweight Commander (45 ACP) and I wanted to give it a quick test drive.

I didn't bring much ammo with me. As I said, I didn't want to stay very long, just long enough to see if this old Colt had any major issues.

I put a 50 round box of Winchester ball (230gr) ammunition thru it without a problem. I then tried some Federal "Hi-Shok" 230gr hollowpoints in it and experienced 2 FTF malfunctions (out of 20). The Federal stopped about halfway in but with a gentle push on the slide it fed the rest of the way. The recoil spring seemed strong enough so it's probably the feed ramp that is at issue. I've had older Colts like this before with the same problem. Since this was made before hollowpoint bullets became popular I really can't blame the gun.

I've had several old Colts that acted the same way, including a 1953 Government Model that I have carried for years. If the profile of the bullet is too flat they just won't feed without modifying the feed ramp. My '53 will load hollowpoints with a more rounded bullet design like the Remington Golden Saber. I expect this Commander will act the same.

Accuracy seemed average for what it is. The stock Colt sights aren't the easiest to hit with. This Commander recoiled more than I anticipated though. I been using steel frame 1911s for years. I wasn't used to this much snap.

This is a nice little Colt but I haven't decided if I'm going to carry it or not. If I was going to carry it regularly I would have to put better sights on it and correct the feeding issue, modifications that would destroy the collector's value of this pistol.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

People with guns collection # 75

DISABLED ARE ABLE SHOOTERS - Cincinnati, Ohio: Despite the loss of an arm and leg in the war, Charles Girard is an expert marksman and a crack member of the Disabled American Veterans National Headquarters Pistol Team. Girard is a DAV national service officer. The team has won numerous honors in local and national competition. 10/3/50

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Tour of duty

I just finished another stint of jury duty. Supposedly the entire selection process is completely random, but when your name comes up three times in ten years you have to wonder, especially when many of your fellow jurors had similar stories. I know people that have lived here their whole lives without ever being called. The only good news is that here in my county jury duty is two weeks while in most of Kentucky it is a month. In one county I believe it's actually six months. Well, I can stop worrying about it for a while, by law they can't hook me again for at least two years.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

If you like historic photos ...

Check out THIS site. It has over 170,000 images from 1935 to 1945. One really nice feature is that you can go to the interactive map and actually search for photos from your area of the country, right down to the county you live in!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Gone shooting - Sig P556

I went to the range this morning. Perfect shooting weather, 65 and sunny. I've wanted to get my "new" Sig Sauer 556 pistol to the range since I bought it in July. I also had a Magpul 40rd magazine I recently bought and wanted to test too.

I brought along Winchester and Federal (55gr) and Federal (62gr) 5.56 ammunition as well as three sizes of Magpul mags. I should have brought some GI mags to test with it but forgot them. It'll have to wait until next time.

I started out the session by zeroing the gun. It was shooting a couple inches to the left for me but it was an easy fix with the Sig Diopter sight. After that, I shot 30 rds thru the pistol WITHOUT using the brace. I wanted to get a feel for how it handled when you didn't use it. I spent the rest of the time firing from a standing position while shouldering the brace.

Most of my firing time was with a standard USPSA/IPSC target. All shooting was at 25 yards.

There were no great revelations this morning; everything was just as I assumed it would be. Firing unsupported my groups were easily 2.5 times what they were when I shouldered the brace. They looked like a shotgun pattern, all over the "A" and "C" zones. Rapid fire (with any kind of accuracy) was nearly impossible.

The groups tightened up considerably when I used the brace. I was easily able to keep my shots in the big "A" zone. With a lot of concentration I could even keep my shots in the small "A" and the "B" area. The Sig has a 2 stage trigger that is a little on the heavy side with a lot of takeup. It is not match quality but once you get used to the feel it is more than adequate.

The gun ran flawlessly. I fired 140 rounds thru three different magazines without a malfunction. This gun really throws the brass though, about 25 feet at the 2 O'clock position.

As you would expect, muzzle flash and recoil with the 10-Inch barrel was greater than a carbine length one. But it was controllable even in rapid fire. That short barrel heats up real fast though!

The only downside this morning was that after I finished shooting I noticed the flash hider (appears to be a standard AR-15/M16 type) had come loose. I not really sure it was on there right to begin with.

I think I can say with some certainty that this Sig pistol is a "keeper" - as it is. But if the laws were to ever change and you couldn't have the brace I don't think I would want it. The thing is just a monster without it.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

People with guns collection # 74

MORONG, PHILIPPINES: The Montagnards, the fiercely independent tribesmen of Vietnam's Central Highlands who fought the communists in the jungles of Cambodia and Vietnam, recently decided to abandon their struggle and seek new lives in the U.S. In this 1969 photo, a Montagnard tribesman heads for his guard post at Tieu-Altar, South Vietnam with his baby strapped to his back. Sept 1 1986

Sunday, August 31, 2014

People with guns collection # 73

AUG. 31st, 1944. -- GIRL UNDERGROUND FIGHTER IN PARIS -- Pistol in hand, a girl fighter of the French forces of the interior, halts a staff car bearing the Croix De Lorraine to tell the driver the news that Paris has been liberated. French underground forces battled the Nazis in the streets before the city was freed.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Publishing milestone

Yesterday my first book Joshua reached a publishing milestone - 10,000 copies sold!

9525 - Kindle
437 - Paperback
37 - Nook
1 - Smashwords

To celebrate, I am offering the Kindle version for free. This offer is only good today and tomorrow (8/15 - 8/16) - just click on the link at right. I also want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone that helped make this possible!

Monday, July 28, 2014

New pistol!

Recently I got a good deal on this used Sig Sauer P566 pistol. I need to get it to the range soon!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Apocalyptic Reminder

Because of a storm that tore through I just went 18 hours without electricity. That's good though; you need to be reminded occasionally that the world is going to suck after the lights go out.

Friday, July 25, 2014

75 years ago today!

On this day in 1939 my Smith & Wesson 357 Magnum shipped from the factory to Sutcliffe Sporting Goods in Louisville, KY. The gun shipped exactly as you see it now although the original grips are long gone. With more research I recently discovered that my revolver was one of a two gun shipment. Both handguns were identical and had consecutive registration numbers. Somewhere out there (maybe) is a twin to this one!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gone shooting

I went shooting early this AM. The temperature was 70 and the sky partially overcast, nearly a perfect day for the range! I have several items on my gun "to do" list and today it was my Remington 870's turn. I have had it a while and needed to see how it shoots and functions. I wasn't really too concerned with function. I have owned a half dozen Model 870 shotguns over the years and have yet to own a bad one. I was more concerned with the stock. It has a factory issue folding metal stock and I didn't know how unpleasant it was going to be to shoot heavy loads through it.

I arrived right as they opened with my Remington and 40 rounds of various self-defense loads, mostly 00 Buckshot. I had some regular Winchester and some Remington LE "Reduced Recoil" rounds. I also fired a box of 1 oz. Brenneke slugs through it too. As I'm sure you could guess the reduced recoil loads were the least punishing, followed by the Winchester, and finally the Brenneke slugs were the harshest. None of them, not even the slugs, were too bad though. The metal butt plate didn't even leave a mark on me. I had thought I might have to switch to a regular synthetic stock but I have no issues with this folding unit.

The Remington shot straight and functioned flawlessly, you can't ask for more than that. The sights were especially good. This shotgun was built by Scattergun Technologies (the original one in Nashville TN) and was equipped with their tall front sight and ghost ring rear. It's a good set-up that makes it lot easier to get consistent hits. I liked the sights a lot and can see why they are so popular. This one is definitely a "keeper."

Sunday, July 06, 2014

People with guns collection # 72

PRESIDENT TRUMAN RECEIVES GERMAN PISTOL -- SPRINGFIELD, MO.: President Truman waves a silver-plated German Luger that was given to him by Dr. Junior Mills, a Springfield dentist and former artillery captain, when the Presidential train stopped in that city, July 5. Someone in the crowd at the station asked the President if the weapon is for use at the convention. "Oh, no, not necessarily," the President replied. "I can use it in the campaign." 7/6/48

Sunday, June 22, 2014

People with guns collection # 71

NEVEH YAAKOV, PALESTINE: A 12-year-old Jewish boy teaches a girl of elementary school age the mechanics of operating a Sten gun. The lad is an expert with the weapon. Children living in this Jewish agricultural settlement learn, in addition to reading and writing, defense measures against Arab attack. Telephoto by staff correspondent David S. Boyer. 6-25-48

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Another Memorial Day is here. Let's stop to consider those that gave everything so we could be free.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Too many guns

Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day oiling handguns. Every time I do this chore I'm overcome with the feeling that I own too many guns and maybe should sell some. Fortunately the feeling quickly passes.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gone shooting - Walther OSP

I went to the range again yesterday morning. The skies were clear and the temperature was 70, nearly perfect weather for shooting! I have several guns that need to be shot, either to try them out a first time or to sight in. It's my goal to have them all done in 2014. I will.

Yesterday I took my Walther OSP. I've owned the pistol now for way over a year and never got around to shooting it. It was time to change that.

The OSP is a competition designed pistol chambered in .22 Short only. The magazine, just ahead of the trigger, holds five rounds. Walther also made a model in .22LR and .32 (GSP) and all of them are known for their superb accuracy. Coming from Walther you would expect nothing less. This is not a gun that I would normally be interested in but in late '12 I had the opportunity to pick up this 1988 dated gun at a good price. I decided to take a chance on it.

I set out for the range with my Walther and two types of ammo just to see what it could do. Well, the Walther could "do" much better than I can. From a rest and with some RWS match ammo I was shooting half inch groups at thirty feet. I'm not used to such a fine trigger and it quickly became obvious to me that this pistol was capable of much more accuracy than I am. I also tried some CCI hollow point ammunition. Reliability was excellent with the RWS, I did have a few hang ups with the CCI.

As you would expect with a gun chambered in .22 short and with a weighted barrel, recoil was nonexistent. The oversized grips were quite comfortable too and made it a pleasure to shoot.

I had a great morning at the range yesterday but I haven't decided if I'm going to keep this Walther yet. Magazines and replacement parts are not cheap or plentiful, and to be honest I think maybe this gun might be too good for me.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Time for another gratuitous gun photo

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

Monday, April 07, 2014

Gone shooting - Rainy day R.A.P.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

People with guns collection # 68

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

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gone shooting - First time in a long time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Black & White America in Color

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

Sunday, February 02, 2014

People with guns collection # 67

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beautiful photos

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My first two books are free!

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's that time once more - my new book is here!

Yes, it's that time of year! Time for my third book! This one is a prequel to my first two. Read about an all new set of characters as they fight to survive in a harsh new world. If you enjoyed my other novels this is a must read! Check my sidebar for the link.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

People with guns collection # 66

55 years ago today! - "1/5/59 - Fort Devens, Mass.: James Murphy, research and development gunner from the Army's Springfield armory, demonstrates the ease in handling the new 23-pound M-60 machine gun during tests here."

Wednesday, January 01, 2014