Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Ten Ring

Today is a momentous occasion for the Ten Ring. It is our Second Anniversary. I had doubts that we would see our first one, but here is number two and with it the beginning of our third year in the blogosphere.

Anniversaries, especially when they fall so close to the end of the old year, cause introspection. One of the things I find heartening is that we gunnies are winning. That’s not to say that we have no problems. We must continue to be vigilant. Still, Americans seem more skeptical of gun control’s empty promises, Democratic activists see gun control as the kiss of electoral death, more people are buying guns, and more women are joining the shooting sports. All good things.

Also, anniversaries engender a tendency to look back:
Our first post,
Our First Anniversary announcement, and
My favorite post (a parody).

I don’t post as much as I once did. Thinking up new posts gets hard after awhile, especially because I tend to write essays rather than link to news. Still, Bill and I will be around and you’ll see a Third Anniversary post before you know it. Meanwhile, give a click on the archives to the right and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

One From the Vault

Albion Number 2, Mark 1**
I posted my most recent "One From the Vault" last June. It doesn’t seem that long. In fact, I would’ve sworn I did one just the other month. Its true: as you get older time accelerates. Each day seems to flicker by and weeks seem like days. Oh well such is life.

I collect guns mainly from World War II and earlier. I can’t afford many nineteenth century guns, but I can still find bargains on twentieth century war-horses. For instance, the British World War II service revolver can be found as low as $250.00 (and yes you can find them for more too). Most of these guns are still functional and reliable.

This "One From the Vault features an Albion Number 2, Mark 1** revolver. It has an interesting production history if you don’t mind such details. The British military establishment believed it needed to replace the venerable Webley Mark VI revolver chambered in a manly .455 (even though it had a slightly wimpy load).

For whatever reason, the generals and their civilian cohorts thought their soldiers and officers would appreciate a lighter gun with a smaller, less powerful round. They had taken to heart complaints that the old Webley was too heavy (it does weigh over two pounds) and too large (it’s about a foot long). The generals thought extensively and chose a .38/200 cartridge for designers to build a much smaller and lighter revolver around. This is not a very effective cartridge, so I bet those complainers wished they’d kept their mouths shut.

The .38/200 is a British designation for a .38 caliber bullet weighing 200 grains. It was a heavy bullet for a revolver and you would think that its designers would have put a lot of gunpowder in its case. No, the case is basically the same one Smith & Wesson invented in the 1870s only it sported a 148-grain bullet. You can easily fire .38 S&W cartridges in the British revolver; however, the .38 S&W is not the more famous .38 Special. The former is only about 2/3rds the size of the latter.

Once the British military decided on a caliber, they asked manufacturers to submit drawings and prototypes. Webley & Scott scaled down the Mark VI and submitted the new design. Their competitor, Enfield, submitted their own version of the revolver. It looked just like the Webley entrant, but had slightly different internal lockwork.

Albion Number 2, Mark 1** (Click for larger size)

The British government, in their infinite wisdom, chose the Enfield submission—let’s not forget that Enfield was the Royal Small Arms Factory. Webley & Scott blustered about patent infringements, but little came of it. The British military called the new gun the Enfield Number 2, Mark 1 and production began in 1932. World War II was just seven years away.

Enfield ran into a few problems. Tank crews were armed with Enfield revolvers, but if they had to get out of a tank quickly, the hammer could catch on the tank’s hatch. Enfield bobbed the hammer making the gun effectively double action only (no hammer spur, no cocking for a more accurate single shot). The revolver was also cheaper to make this way, which may have been more important than tank crew complaints. The Enfield Number 2, Mark 1* was born.

Because the gun could only be fired double-action, there was a problem with accuracy. The trigger pull had always been heavy so Enfield replaced the main spring with a weaker one. Wartime production called for cutting corners and factories stopping installing transfer bars. This means the gun (unless arsenals added a transfer bar in post-war refits) can fire if dropped. Thus the Enfield Number 2, Mark I** was born.

Enfield faced another common wartime problem. They couldn’t keep up with demand. They licensed the Mark1** design to Albion Motors a Scottish car company. Albion sublet production later to Coventry Gauge and Tool. A company in Australia produced a handful of revolvers under Enfield’s license.

Ironically, the British military issued Webley & Scott a contract to produce their version of the gun and Webley called it the Mark IV.

My gun is an Albion Number 2, Mark I** made in 1943. It has all matching serial numbers and no transfer bar. I’ve ran a few .38 S&W cartridges through it and it works fine. It’s not accurate. The hard, long trigger pull is not conducive to any decent trigger control or good sight alignment. I would not call the cartridge a man-stopper by any means. A 200-grain bullet might hit a little harder, but even then I have my doubts about its effectiveness.

The gun itself is reliable. It’s a top-break action and the spent cases pop right out for speedy reloading. It was slightly rusty when I bought it, but a little Breakfree and elbow grease with a brass brush took it right off.

I am a sucker for old British top-break revolvers. I own a Webley Mark IV and a Webley Mark I. I am looking for the right Webley Mark VI. The funny thing about these top-break revolvers is they really didn’t seem to change much from the 1880s until the British military stopped issuing them in 1963. Maybe it's a "stiff upper lip" thing.

Chistmas and Laziness

I’m writing a "One From the Vault" that I will post later today. It’s been a while since I wrote one. It’s not for lack of inspiration. I t’s due to the rapid passing of time and the bottomless pit of my laziness.

Allow me a second to wallow in personal matters, but I’ve been lazy lately. I’ve been getting less done in more time than I’ve done for a long time. I blame work. I’ve been handed a few tasks there that have been forcing me to think harder than usual, to write more than usual, and to talk to more people than usual. I guess something has to give.

Maybe Bill is noticing my recent laziness a little too. He bought a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner as a Christmas gift (I had mentioned it would be a good idea). We’ve run it several times since it Christmas Day and it is an amazing thing. It runs around the house all by itself and picks up stray cat hair, little bits of the outside that we track in, little bits of food that somehow doesn’t get into our mouths.

Unlike last year, we did not have a gunnie Christmas this year. Oh, we’re still shooting and buying guns (are we ever) and having gunnie fun. But, Bill needed a new watch and I needed the Roomba so I would stop feeling guilty about making Bill live in a house full of cat hair. Besides we're both still sick--walking wounded, but sick none the less.

I hope all of you had a very good Christmas or a nice day off if you don’t celebrate the day.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Bill and I are here at home and both of us are under the weather. Bill brought home a flu-like virus. At least we think he's the one who brought it home given half of his office is sick. We had planned a turkey dinner with all the trimmings--made even sweeter when his work gave turkeys to employees. Now, I think we may emulate Scrooge and eat gruel by an open fire.

Oh well enough whining, we sincerely wish our readers a very Merry Christmas. If you don't celebrate Christmas, we wish you a wonderful day, Here's a Boston-centric picture for the day:

It's the deck of the USS Constitution during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony (from

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New York Yellow Journalism

Yesterday, Bill (Yosemite Sam) posted about a South Dakota newspaper publishing the names of Concealed Carry license holders. Frequent commenter, Drew, sent us an e-mail before Bill posted. We read it yesterday afternoon and wanted to follow up on it.

Drew informs us that a newspaper in New York State did the same thing. In a later editorial, they claimed they removed the list from their site. I believe that open records are a good thing. The laws were written so that citizens could keep track of their governments and ensure those governments were acting lawfully and for the common good. However, that opens up big loopholes for people to mine government records for data that could harm citizens.

Publishing names of concealed weapon permittees is just one of those ways that open records could be abused to harm us. As someone said in the editorial, "As far as I'm concerned, I've done everything legally. I've been fingerprinted and everything's on record...But maybe because we can publish information, maybe it's not always a good idea."

These newspapers must exercise discretion. They don't publish the names of rape victims, but that can be a public record. They don't publish floor plans to their editors' houses and those can be a public record. They can and should exercise discretion, but of course too many journalists believe keeping and bearing arms is suspect if not out right hostile.

Both the article and the editorial mention one other thing that bothers me. They decry the fact that government is not grabbing the guns of deceased license holders. You see, in New York State a handgun owner must register his/her gun and be licensed. When they die, the gun is supposed to be turned over to the police. An heir can claim the gun if he or she has or gets a permit.

This is the danger to these licensing and registration schemes. They allow governments, police officials, journalists, and others to view guns not as private property, but as items that the state allows a person to use for awhile. You see this attitude when the press reports a gun was "recovered" from a felon in possession or found at a crime scene or turned into a gun buyback.

Guns are property and my heirs should be able to sell or use my guns as they see fit. They are not the society's or state's or the people's property. The newspaper in question laments that the government has no good way to track and then "secure" a deceased permittee's guns. Who the hell gave government the right to do that in the first place?

Monday, December 18, 2006

South Dakota Yellow Journalism

Alphecca has a link to an article in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota newspaper that declares the start of the newspaper's jihad against a new state law that protects the privacy of concealed carry permit holders. The newspaper in a fit of pique has compiled its own database of permit holders and is making this database available online.

Here is today's editorial in the Argus Leader.

Notice how he plays the typical anti-gun ploy of saying he is a sportsman and a Marine to boot. I've noticed that all of the recent anti-gun editorials seem to start with I'm an avid hunter/sportsman but.....

Also notice the angle they have of basically saying that it is censorship now that the South Dakota government has passed a law protecting the privacy of permit holders.
Censorship? This from a newspaper that is initiating a campaign of intimidation against legal, law-abiding concealed carry permit holders. The gist of their campaign is that if you dare get a concealed carry permit, we will publish your name and address. Just like when they publish the names of johns in the newspaper. To these elitist bigots, concealed carry permit holders are equivalent to johns.

The usual line that the police need to know who carries is used as well. Any police officer who doesn't assume that the person they are pulling over might be potentially armed is a fool.

It's garbage like this that makes me less than enthusiastic about concealed carry permits. These should never be public information and where they are, newspapers love to publish permit holders names and addresses. The Cleveland Plain Dealer did this soon after the passage of concealed carry in Ohio. This is not just a Blue State problem since most newspapers are anti-gun. The Union Leader here in New Hampshire is a welcome exception. The spread of Vermont and Alaska style carry would put an end to this nonsense. The South Dakota legislature should push for the passage of a Vermont style carry law in order to make the Argus Leader's database moot.

South Dakota is one of the most Conservative, pro-gun states in the Union. The state is ill served by a newspaper who's elitist, knee jerk, anti-gun attitude would be better served in Massachusetts, Illinois or New Jersey.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Police and Auto Weapons

Tam of View From the Porch has posted a very important essay on modern policing. She mentions instances when the police have gotten out of line. She knows that cops perform a valuable function, but wonders if their powers need to be curtailed and hopes we don't tighten the leash too much.

If we do need to tighten the leash, I hope we can. We've given law enforcement a great deal of power recently. We let them dress like ninjas because sometimes they need to. Of course, they determine what that need might be. We let them have automatic weapons and armored vehicles because sometimes they just might need them. We can only blame ourselves if law enforcement doesn't always use these powers and equipment wisely.

In Tam's last paragraph, she says, "I don't care if Johnny Law has a scary looking assault rifle. Heck, I have one, so why shouldn't he?" Like Tam, I don't care if they have rifles, but I've often wondered why police need automatic weapons.

Such guns were invented to shoot at massed bodies of troops. Police rarely deal with massed groups of criminals. If they do, it will be rioters and police wouldn't (I hope) open up with machine guns for fear they'd hit bystanders.

Most of the time, police deal with only a few criminals at a time. They almost always have backups who can carry shotguns or semi-auto carbines. I just don't see their need for automatic weapons.

Then there's the civil libertarian side of me that feels miffed that police departments can buy brand new machine guns for less than $1,000.00 while I'm limited to guns made on or before 1986 and costing $3,000.00 on up to six figures. The police should never have weapons that the average civilian can't have.

Then there's the realization that modern military practices limit most soldiers to rifles that will fire at most three round bursts. In a squad one soldier is equipped with a fully automatic Squad Assault Weapon (SAW). As I understand it, the soldiers use their rifles for precision, aimed fire, while the guy with the SAW uses his gun to lay down suppressive fire when needed.

I really hope we never see a time when our police lay down suppressive fire in an American city.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Universal Licensing--A Modest Proposal

It’s been awhile since I posted. Best laid plans…, press of work, laziness, yada, yada, yada. Oh well.

I made a statement in a post a couple of weeks ago that stuck in my mind. It was about “common sense gun safety.” In the second to last paragraph I mentioned that education is truly the key to gun safety. Unfortunately, that term has become a codeword for anti-gunnies meaning “no guns.”

I’ve been mulling it over and combining it with things anti-gunnies have mentioned. You’ve all heard the litany: Gun owners should be trained, you should have a license and a test before you can buy a gun, and so on ad infinitum. But when gunnies get training or practice through combat shooting competitions, the anti-gunnies claim that such sports prove gunnies are out for blood.

It kinda puts me in a rock and a hard place. You see, I’ve always believed that a person should be trained in gun safety. I’ve heard of gun tragedies caused by the lack of knowing basic gun safety rules. There are certain things that must be learned and no one is born knowing how to handle a gun safely.

Unlike gun grabbers, I believe that training can take many forms. Training could be offered by a paid professional trainer, it could be given by a scout master, or it could be a father teaching a daughter. The rule of thumb is basically someone who knows what they’re doing and passes that knowledge to someone else. You don’t absolutely need formal training and you really don’t need a gun license.

The problem with licensing and training is that gun grabbers would use it to, well, grab guns. After all, if you have a firearms license you very likely own a gun.

So here’s my idea of compromise with the gun grabbers. I’ll support training and a gun license on two conditions:
1) There will be no registration of any gun including Form 4473s that could be used as registrations;
2) That everyone in the country with no exceptions must receive training and a license that cannot be voluntarily surrendered to the authorities for any reason. Anyone with a license could buy a gun.

If we had a universal licensing and training scheme and if there is no registration, then no one knows who owns guns. I’m not going to muddy the waters here and talk about getting guns out of criminals’ hands, but there are ways that could be accomplished.

Talk about a win-win situation. People throughout the country would learn true gun safety and not be confused with anti-gunnies’ buzz words. The already small number of accidental shootings would get even smaller. Anti-gunnies would be introduced to guns and maybe understand that they are simply tools incapable by themselves of either evil or good.

Of course, this idea is a pipe dream. Anti-gunnies would complain that they are being forced to do something they fear and loathe. People would try for a religious exemption (to that I say, what’s wrong with shooting holes in paper, it’s little different from darts). Also, somehow having a universal license would backfire on gunnies because anti-gunnies would find a loophole and continue their lies and attempts to ban guns.

It’s who they are.