Monday, February 27, 2006

Another Gunnie Weekend with No Shooting

Can you believe it? Bill (Yosemite Sam) and I’ve gone two weekends in a row now without shooting. Last weekend I whined about how cold it was here. Well, let me tell you Saturday and Sunday made the previous weekend seem balmy. A low of 5 degrees is nothing to sneeze at (cheap pun intended). Despite the weather, we still managed to engage in a little gun-nuttery.

Saturday we went to our favorite local gun shop, State Line Gun Shop located about 24.8 miles from where we live. The weather man predicted snow would start falling about 3:00pm. Being good transplanted New Englanders, we knew enough to beat the storm.

We drove about 7 miles when the snow began falling around noon (so much for weather men). We kept going to State Line and noticed the road was getting slick and snow was accumulating on the verge. No worry yet. We live in New England. Snow’s our friend. We got to State Line without problems and noticed a constant stream of customers—people here are hardy and most had thought they could beat the storm just like us.

We had a couple of gunnie goals for this visit. I wanted the guy at State Line to take a look at a Steyr-Hahn made in 1917 I recently won in an auction. It arrived the other day and I was overall delighted with it though it has one drawback. A previous owner thought that splotchy cold blue looks better than normal holster wear. Hmmm. Also, it takes an obsolete cartridge, 9mm Steyr. Guess who had a box of it? Yep, State Line.

The owner likes to pick up a few boxes of obsolete cartridges. He just happened to have 9mm Steyr made by Fiocchi. Of course, I snapped it up for the princely sum of $47.95 per box of 50 cartridges. I won’t be shooting my Steyr-Hahn much, not at almost $1.00 a round. Still, I’m lucky to have found any ammo for it at all.

Our second goal was to buy a shotgun for Bill. Spring is almost upon us and Bill needs a decent trap/skeet gun. His pump-action Winchester 1300 just doesn’t cut it. He’s now the proud owner of a very gently used 12 gauge Benelli Montefeltro semi-auto.

Well, I’m making a short story long here so I’ll finish up. By the time Bill passed the NICS check and we paid for Bill’s shotgun and my Steyr ammo, the road was well coated with slick snow. It’s a so-called road. I think it’s a cow path even if New Hampshire calls it a state highway. It’s a nice drive on most days. It runs along a picturesque stream, through thick woods and fields. Even though you might see it in a New England travel book, it’s still a two lane cow path with no shoulders and rough paving.

We inched our home in driving snow with about a quarter mile visibility. We dreaded that someone would rear end us and damage Bill’s new shotgun in the trunk (we must be gun nuts). We lucked out when we got behind a snow plow and it led the way to a wider road.

We wanted to go shooting Sunday, but the thought of going out in 15 degrees dissuaded us. We may be gun nuts, but we ain’t stupid. We’ll do a “One From the Vault” on my Steyr-Hahn before too long and we really want to get out and play with the new shotgun. Winter please end.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #34 Is Up

Carnival of Cordite is up. This is the 49th Carnival, just short of a year. Gullyborg of Resistance is Futile may be looking for a new permanent host. I can't take it on with my current work responsibilities, but someone out there might have the time (or Gullyborg will be able to keep going). Now, make yourself comfortable, click over there, and give it a read.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Interesting Survey Results

How do you like that, a magazine ran a survey and didn’t consult me, although its results do seem to represent my views handily. I stumbled on a post about a Field and Stream magazine survey of over 2,000 respondents. While far from a scientific survey (whatever that truly means) it’s interesting reading. What’s even more interesting is that it’s written by Field and Streams’ blogger, David E. Petzal, “The Gun Nut”. Who knew they had a blogger? Here’s my take on the survey’s results.

The first of several sections revealed people’s choices in guns. The venerable Remington 870 was high in all categories in which it could be considered. It was the number four deer gun (there’s a lot of shotgun hunting in the east), the highest ranking gun for waterfowl and turkey hunting, and took second place for upland bird hunting. No surprise that respondents also named it their favorite shotgun.

The Remington is an old model that several generations have used--it's no johnnie-come-lately to gun store shelves. Plus 870s are reliable, sturdy, and perfect workhorses. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg so no one will fear dinging it up in a hunt. No surprise here. Surprisingly though, the Remington 700 won out as the best big-game and deer rifle. I would have thought the Winchester Model 70 or even the oldie-but-goodie Winchester 94 would’ve surveyed higher.

Most respondents preferred the 100-year old .30-06 for their Whitetail deer cartridge. No wonder Winchester got into trouble when too few people bought its Ultra-Short Magnum rounds. Why buy a new gun and expensive fodder when an old reliable and time tested cartridge is at hand? I was surprised again when the .30-30 only ranked number three in the respondents’ hearts and minds. I guess not enough curmudgeons responded.

Handgun selections were no surprise. John Moses Browning’s wonderful 1911 took the favorite handgun prize with only a little competition from Colt’s Peacemaker and Ruger’s Single Six.

So far, what we have in common is blued steel and real wood, which lightens the heart of gun traditionalist like me. Now, I grant you survey respondents are readers of a magazine dedicated to hunting. If “Tactical Fantastic Fanzine” had sponsored the survey its results would’ve been totally different.

Let’s leave guns for now and look at peoples’ attitudes. Referring to my last paragraph, 60% of respondents don’t mind polymer and exotic metals. Now, I feel abandoned. My love of wood and metal guns leaves me in a minority. Sigh. (I do own and shoot a couple of black guns, but….)

96% of those surveyed have never had any gun-related problems with ATF, TSA or local police. I’m guessing here, but I think that most of the remaining 4% had dealings with TSA while shipping hunting guns by airplane. Of course, 4% of 2,000 means 80 people had unpleasant dealings (hopefully with no serious repercussions) with public servants. That’s too many people, but a lot better than I might have suspected given news about ATF’s probable mendacities, TSA’s incompetence, and local police being gun grabby (looking at you here Chicago).

Political attitudes include one or two mild surprises—25% thought gun control supporters might have a good idea or two. Harrumph, get real and get educated you people. However, 57% did write their representatives about their gun control stands (hopefully that 25% don’t have access to stamps or can’t write or something).

Finally, 72% of respondents like the idea of Cowboy Action Shooting while another 14% think their mamas dress 'em funny. 14% said something like “Cowboy what?”

There are many more questions I didn’t cover here and the post includes comments that are worth a read. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Readings for the Day

Work’s kept me busier today than usual—even through lunch. But fear not although I don’t have anything original, there’s a lot of good reading below.

Here’s a scary proposition; have the Federal government mandate steel shot for all migratory birds including dove hunting. Anyone who has ever hunted doves knows that it’s a boon to ammo makers. Those little devils are fast and you end up wasting most of the shells you take out to the field. If you had to use steel shot, you would have to sell your first born to afford a season’s worth of shells. It’s not official yet, but there is some noise that such a thing could happen. There’s scant evidence that lead shot actually hurts doves that ingest it, but there’s more research in the works. The researchers better not be anti-hunting types who’ll make the science come out the way they think it should.

Speaking of shotguns, My Science Project looks at the Dick Cheney wounding incident. It concludes that the account of the incident was accurate especially the distance between Cheney and the wounded attorney, Whittington. My Science Project investigates how much damage a 28 gauge shotgun will do to a variety of targets, including paper silhouettes, supermarket-bought Cornish hens, turkeys, and a half pig. If you want to see melons being blasted into a fine spray, well they’ve got it too. In all seriousness, it’s great that someone went to the time, trouble, and expense to give us reliable information. (thanks to an e-mailer).

Speaking of reliable information on ballistics, be sure to check out Box of Truth. I ended up clicking on nearly everything last night.

Finally, Mr. Completely posted Rimfire Roundup #3. Go there and enjoy its gunnie goodness.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

House Gun

Well, I got nothing today. There’re days when posts scream to be let out. Other times an idea that perks below the surface until it becomes an essay. Then I have those days when a news story sets me off. Today, I got nothing except writer’s block.

So, what does a writer do when they she can’t write. She goes to other blogs and answers memes. Say Uncle started a house gun meme that other gun bloggers have picked up. Alphecca talked about it today, Tam at Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks covered it, as did Jay G and South Park Pundit.

Each blogger added something significant to the discussion, so I’ll probably muddy the waters, but here goes. I have a house gun that sits quietly by my bed just in case Bill and I hear an ominous bump in the night.

I know some people think that anyone who keeps a gun at hand is a paranoid gun nut. I also keep a fire extinguisher in my kitchen. Does that make me a paranoid extinguisher nut? Or does it make me a realist? No one will ever truly win that argument so fine, each to their own. You can choose to not have a gun, but don’t try to tell me not to keep one.

Here’s an example of why I keep a house gun (thank you Bruce of mAssBackwards). And, here is my house gun:
Smith & Wesson 340PD

You’ve met this gun before. Yep, it’s my snub-nosed Smith & Wesson that I’ve nicknamed Feather because it’s so damn light. I chose a snubby for a house gun after careful consideration.
First, if that ominous bump happens while I’m asleep, I may be groggy. I’ll need the simplicity of a revolver and a revolver is reliability personified.

Second, if I wake up with someone on top of me while Bill is sleeping next to me (the man could sleep through an earthquake), I need a gun that I can point and click quickly without it being taken away. A long gun doesn’t fit the bill.

Third, I need a gun that has enough power to stop someone. I keep Feather loaded with .38 caliber +P hollowpoints. I have a speedloader full of .357 Magnum cartridges in case I ever face more than one person or perhaps one person who just won’t stop.

Like Tam, Bill and I plan on forting up in our bedroom provided the “bump in the night” is not in the room with us. Our condo has three levels and a basement. A thief can get ourtelevision or anything else on the main floor or basement. It ain’t worth the risk for Bill and/or me to go hunting a possibly armed burglar in the dark. Further, my television isn’t worth the hassle I’d have to go through if I ever shot someone.

As part of our fortification strategy, if the bad guy decides his pickings are too slim and wants a little more action upstairs, I’d shoot him as he was coming up the stairs. For bleeding hearts; yes I’d feel bad if I ever had to shoot someone. Now here's a question for you. How would you feel if someone raped you or killed a loved one (you wouldn’t feel anything if they killed you) while you were waiting for the police to show up?

My strategy will not work for everyone because houses are laid out differently and there are different circumstances (I have no children, for example). This is only what I’d do, so make your plans accordingly. And you should have a plan just in case you wake up to a thief or worse in the night.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Weekend Things and Gun Auctions

How was everyone’s weekend? I had a pretty good one primarily because I didn’t have to work on President’s Day or George Washington’s Birthday or whatever it’s called today.

I know you’re thinking that Bill (Yosemite Sam) and I went out shooting. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to a range, not even an indoors one. It’s cold here people. The temperatures on Thursday and Friday were in the high 40s. They plummeted over the weekend into the high teens with an occasional foray into the low 20s. I also had great horking sinus problems thanks to rapid weather changes (I’m prone to sinus problems and if you are too, then you know that horking is a word).

As far as gunnie fun, we visited a gun store on Saturday and stocked up on ammo and cleaning supplies. I also participated in a gun auction at Gun Runner Auctions which Alphecca mentioned. I want to thank him for bringing it to my attention. You may want to check out the auction because about half the lots are still open.

I bid on a handgun and its auction ended last evening. I managed to place the winning bit even though someone tried to snatch it away at the last minute (thank heavens for proxy bids and a fast internet connection). I’m now the proud owner of a Model 1912 Steyr-Hahn, although it’ll be awhile before Gun Runner Auctions mails me the gun. I have a Curio & Relics license so it’s legal for them to do so (it shouldn’t be illegal in the first place, but that’s another story). I’ve wanted a Steyr-Hahn for awhile although I won’t be shooting it much.

I also read a book over the weekend that I’d thought I would mention. But because the post will be too long even by my standards, I’ll put up a separate post in a few minutes. I plan on jiggering the time so that this post will appear above the one that will be coming soon--so scroll down.

Prayers For the Assassin

In a previous post I talked about my weekend and winning a gun auction. My other big accomplishment of the weekend was reading Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin. If you haven’t heard of it, here’s a synopsis. In 2015, Washington, D.C. and New York City were destroyed by terrorist nuclear bombs and Mecca was hit by another one. Investigators tracked the terrorists to Mossad.

The psychological shock and ensuing economic problems led to most of America becoming an Islamic Republic. Nevada split off to become a banking and “sin” center for the nation. The southeastern states formed an independent nation of Bible belters. The Mormons carved out an enclave in Utah and part of Idaho. Catholicism is reluctantly tolerated, but its adherents are in a dhimmi status except in Southern California where they are a minority but get more respect. Civil war had raged, but a reluctant peace has ensued.

There are tensions between Muslims as some divide into fundamentalists while others identify themselves as “moderns.” Of course, fundamentalists try to bring the moderns to the “true faith.” Women have a diminished role and society’s technological prowess and infrastructure are deteriorating.

In 2040, a historian and niece of the head of the Islamic state’s intelligence services uncovers evidence that the bombs may not have been Mossad’s doing. The book follows her and her lover while they try to find proof and try to dodge an assassin sent to find them.

That’s enough about the plot. If you want to read it, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Now, a gunnie’s point of view. There’s one mention of the Second Amendment. The mullahs and imams realized that they couldn’t allow an armed populace and made owning handguns a capital offence. Many people grumbled, but they turned their guns in anyway. The book mentions that a lot of people fled the Islamic Republic for the Bible Belt and Nevada, so I imagine (hope) that many gunnies made that trek. There are few mentions of how people in the Bible Belt live although Vegas is, well, Vegas.

I couldn’t put Prayers for the Assassin down and read it in about two days. I highly recommend it for a variety of reasons not the least of which is its role as a cautionary tale.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

One From the Vault

Sig/Hammerli Trailside (Xesse)
Most of Ten Ring’s “One From the Vault” posts reflect my collecting interests, mouse guns and military guns. Frequent commenter, Seth from Massachusetts, asked me to feature my bullseye pistol because of my frequent mention of a bullseye league Bill and I shoot in (here's a sample). Seth wanted to know more about the gun I use (we’ll discuss Bill’s gun in another “One From the Vault”).

So, without spilling any more bits, here is my Sig/Hammerli Trailside pistol:
Sig Trailside (Note: we do not use backdrop target in our league)

And the other side:

Sig makes a family of Trailside pistols including plinkers, target pistols, and the Xesse competition model. All are .22s. Sig went to Hammerli, one of their subsidiaries, and asked them to design an accurate pistol that costs hundreds of dollars rather than one in Hammerli’s usual $1,500 to $2,000 range. They came up with the Trailside. It’s a straight blowback with a fixed barrel. Target models sport sights capable of fine adjustments.

As you see by the picture, I stopped using these fine iron sights although I have no quarrel with their design. I blame my aging eyes, which do better with a red-dot sight. I was reluctant to do so because I like the old ways in gun design and shooting, but one must change with the times. Because I wasn’t sure how I’d like a red-dot I bought a cheap BSA sight. I must admit it improved my scores and made shooting much easier. I'll probably buy a better quality red-dot sight before next year’s bullseye season.

My Trailside is an Xesse model with ergonomic grips. Out of the box, the grip was too large for my hand so I had to take a Dremel tool to the right grip. It comes with a weight at the end of the barrel to reduce recoil and keep you on target. One can buy various accessories such as lighter weights, dry fire plugs, and magazines. The latter two deserve separate paragraphs.

The Trailside’s manual states it’s not safe to dry fire it without a plug. The dry fire plugs are made of soft plastic that covers the chamber mouth and protects it. To me, it’s surprising that a modern .22 pistol can’t be dry fired (that is aimed, and "shot" without a cartridge) because dry firing is a great practice regimen. Older .22s were made without a stop on the firing pin thus allowing a dry fired pin to peen the chamber mouth. Over time, a firing pin strike could fail to compress the cartridge correctly and not ignite its priming compound.

A Trailside magazine is made of high-impact plastic—no metal in one except for a spring. The magazine that came with the gun had a problem that led to occasional failure to feed, but Sig, through my gun dealer, replaced it. That’s the only problem I’ve had with the gun. After several thousand rounds it’s proved very reliable.

A dedicated bullseye gun must be accurate. Trailside is a tack-driver partly due to its fixed barrel and a fairly light trigger weight of 3.5 pounds. Its pull has no stacking with a crisp let-off. Because the competition model is heavy there’s little felt recoil and I’m able to get back onto target rapidly.

I bought my Trailside for under $550.00. Remember this is for a gun made by a quality maker and designed by a firm that specializes in target pistols. There are a couple of drawbacks. The magazines are expensive (about $45.00) and being plastic they could break if dropped onto the lips. Disassembly is easy, but not with a red-dot sight installed. The sight prevents me from removing the slide. A Bore Snake makes the chore possible without removing the slide completely. Even with these drawbacks, it’s been a great gun for me to own.

There’s a rumor that Sig will no longer be making the Trailside partly because they have a new plinker in the Sig Mosquito and perhaps because of a large government contract for law enforcement pistols. I don’t know if the rumor’s true, but the Sig website’s Trailside page has an ominous note: “Available Models: Updated product information coming soon.” Better buy ‘em while you can.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Women in Shooting Sports

First, a personal news flash. Bill (Yosemite Sam) and I attend a bullseye pistol league every Thursday. I’ve written about those days when I could barely hit the target, those bad days. Yesterday though was a good day. Everything came together and I blew past my average by over 40 points. It’s a good feeling when one shoots well. Nothing quite like it. There, that’s the end of my news flash. Back to real blogging.

I’ve talked about women in shooting and hunting more than once (here’s a sample). I come by my interest honestly because I’m a woman who shoots and hunts and I’ve been shooting since I was eight years old. During many of those long years, I’ve been an anomaly on occasion—the only woman on the firing line, in the duck blind, on a trap field. Even now, I’m still the only woman in my bullseye league and I still don’t see that many women in cami clothes in November.

But things are changing for the better as shown in The Cleveland Plain Dealer's “Outdoors Notebook,” which is a compendium of short news items about the outdoors. This edition, includes a blurb confirming that women are hunting or shooting. Here’s the entire text that deals with the topic:
Women's numbers growing in outdoors
February 17, 2006
D'Arcy Egan
Plain Dealer Columnist

Women are in the hunting industry's spotlight these days.

The numbers of women who hunt or shoot has jumped in recent years, said Christine Godleski, vice president and general manager of ESPN Outdoors. She was attending the National Shooting Sports Foundation's annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show last week in Las Vegas.

Participation has increased from 4.2 million to 6.3 million between 1999 and 2004, said Godleski. She predicts the growth will continue as television shows, magazines and grassroots programs cater to women in the outdoors.

'It's the grassroots initiatives and volunteers that encourage women to go out and try it,' said Godleski. She pointed to women's programs that range from the National Wild Turkey Federation's Women in the Outdoors to the National Rifle Association's Women on Target and the Becoming an Outdoorswoman program, which is hosted by the Ohio Division of Wildlife."

As a female shooter you can’t imagine how happy this makes me. Finally I’ll have sisters on the firing line. I’ll have someone to chatter with in the duck blind. I’ll be able to compare trap shooting techniques with someone who knows what it’s like to have a shotgun’s recoil hammer a bra strap into your shoulder.

But, there’s something else that makes me happy. Attracting women and children to the shooting sports is our future. We must pass on our skills and passions for shooting to our children and their children and on down the line. Women constitute slightly over half of the population. We can’t alienate or ignore them. Women in shooting and hunting will add to our political clout and help us stop anti-gunnies. If we don't we will lose our cherished rights.

So, take a woman shooting. Buy her a gun (like Bill did for me last Christmas). Take your daughter out and make sure she knows how to shoot safely and well.

Let’s also not forget to take a woman or daughter hunting. I know that guys want to be by themselves sometimes (I admit there are times I crave the company of women). Get over it. Women have a place in the hunting camp too. You can always schedule a poker night so you can be with the guys (whoops, never mind).

Carnival of Cordite #48 Is Up

Hear ye, here ye. The Revolutionary War Veterans Association is sponsoring ye olde Carnival of Cordite. Get thee over there and read of the gunnie goodness therein.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New York Times and Homicides

A loyal Ten Ring reader asked me to comment on last Sunday’s New York Times article on rising homicide levels in a few cities. Here at Ten Ring we always try to make our readers happy (and Seth, if you’re reading, I haven’t forgotten that you’ve asked for a “One From the Vault” on my bullseye gun—soon).

Yesterday David Hardy at Arms and The Law took a look at the statistics in the same article. Be sure to give it a read too.

The article, written by Kate Zernicke, focuses on Milwaukee. Police there are befuddled by a rise in homicides stemming from seemingly minor arguments. People have been shot for dirty looks, arguments over cell phones, etc.

Zernicke mentions that part of the problem could be lax sentencing. Cops complain that people who were jailed are released too fast. Still, she includes the usual support for gun-control quotes so beloved by New York Times reporters. Here’s the worst example:
“A large part of the problem, the police say, is simply more guns on the streets as gun laws have loosened around the country. In Philadelphia, Commissioner Johnson said, since the state made it easier to get a gun permit in 1985, the number of people authorized to carry a gun in the city has risen from 700 to 32,000.”
Philadelphia has failed in attempts to exempt the city from statewide carry permit laws, so Johnson’s statement is just sour grapes. The 32,000 people with gun permits are doubtlessly Philadelphia’s most law-abiding citizens and their guns aren’t on the streets in the way the quote implies.

The article goes on to discuss different approaches to dealing with rising murder rates in a handful of cities. Boston is doing sweeps of people who have warrants, Kansas City follows up on all aggravated assault cases, and Milwaukee police recognizes that only a handful of criminals are likely to commit murder. They call them MVPs (Major Violent Players).

Hidden in plain sight on (web) page one is a very important statement for us gunnies:
“The police say the suspects and the victims tend to be black, young — midteens to mid-20's — and have previous criminal records. They tend to know each other. Several cities said that domestic violence had also risen. And the murders tend to be limited to particular neighborhoods.”
This statement is similar to Charlton Heston's interview in Bowling for Columbine in which Michael Moore, using clever edits, made Heston imply that black people create out gun violence problem. Now here a New York Times reported is saying that much of the homicide problem in America is primarily limited to people of color who live in poor neighborhoods. Now I know that someone will claim I’m racist for pointing this out. But, let me also point out that white men tend to be over-represented in serial murder and serial pedophilia.

There are many reasons that crime is found in one neighborhood but not in another. There’s America’s legacy of racism, which people of color struggle against in ways few white people can understand. Slavery is only a handful of generations gone and history does affect the present. Other reasons exist as well, but I’m not qualified to explain them. The article quotes someone who is:
“’We're not talking about a city, we're talking about this subpopulation, that's what drives everything,’ said David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.”
So, if mainstream media, police, and sociologists realize the problem stems from a small group of people, why do we as a society persist in taking guns away from people who are not the problem? I hear crickets chirping out there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quick Hello and "Duck" Cheney

Work and appointments have kept me fairly busy yesterday and today, so I only have time for a quick, semi-edited post.

I did find time to meet with an accountant about our income taxes yesterday. Bill and I got married this year and we bought a condo together. That's really changed our returns and we needed help figuring out what we could deduct and other fun stuff. Don't even get me started on the complexity of our income tax system. Also, we both work in Massachusetts and have to pay MA taxes. That states's tax forms and laws are even more crazy than federal tax laws and forms.

We all know that Dick "Duck" Cheney accidentally shot a hunting partner who didn't announce that he was joining the group. My view: the shooter is ultimately responsible for his shot. You have to know what your target is and what's beyond it before you press that trigger. Yes, other factors such as visibility, placement of people and dogs, etc. can create the conditions for an accident, but the responsibility lies with the person who shot the gun.

It's also been said that Cheney didn't have a proper Upland Bird Hunting stamp. Our hunting laws are too damn complicated. You need a stamp for this, a permit for that, a federal number for that. Even a person with a staff as large as Cheney's can't get it right all the time. We need to simplify these laws so that a regular lay person can follow them without a problem.

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to a dentist appointment (such fun, wish we luck). Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Biathlon and Shooting

The Untied States is a nation of crack shots or so we’re told. You can't always tell when you look at what countries win medals in Olympic shooting.

Yesterday Jay Hakkinen of Alaska placed 10th in the Twenty Kilometer Individual Biathlon; the first time an American athlete placed in the top 10—ever. Four years ago in Salt Lake City Hakkinen placed 13th in the same sport—then the highest American placement.
Jay Hakinnen

First a brief description of the sport. There are several variations of Biathlon in the Olympics and each has different rules, but it’s basically a skiing race coupled with shooting.

In Individual Biathlon, competitors cross country ski and stop at four shooting stations. They unlimber a .22 caliber rifle they carry on their backs and shoot at five small targets fifty meters away. They must shoot twice from the prone position and twice from offhand (standing). There are no bench rests, no scopes, no red dot sights although sophisticated peep sights are used. Competitors are assessed a one-minute penalty for every missed shot.

A competitor must engage in an aerobic activity using lots of muscle groups and then stop, calm the quivering muscles, and shoot. When you watch close ups of the shooters on the line, particularly when they’re offhand shooting, you can see their rifle muzzles bouncing to their pulses. It’s considered by some to be the most difficult winter sport.

Hakkinen skied the second-best time, but had too many misses to medal. He had bad luck in his event when one of his bullets split on the target and failed to knock it down. Had the target counted he would have won the bronze medal. He’s a great athlete and deserves our accolades, but I have to ask why doesn’t America dominate all the shooting sports?

I think one problem is that Americans don’t seem to concentrate as much on precision shooting as do Europeans (we also struggle in Summer Olympics shooting events). We do a lot of action shooting (which should be an Olympic sport), plinking, and other gun sports. It’s possible that our freedoms make it more difficult to concentrate on one precision shooting sport.

Shooting’s fun and in the United States we don’t have to specialize if we don’t want to. In my own shooting, I can shoot an action sport or I might shoot bullseye or skeet or test reloads or just plink cans for the heck of it. Europeans on the other hand tend to concentrate on getting really good at one sport and then win the support of their governments and societies. In fact, Biathlon is Europe’s most televised winter sport.

I’d like to see America win more medals and do more precision shooting, but I don’t want to give up my gun freedoms to do so. Still, it would be nice to see an American up on that podium one of these days.

Friday, February 10, 2006

An Answer to A Non-Gunnie's Question

The story of Jacob Robida is over. Nothing is left but questions. By now, it even needs a quick recap. Robida, who was only 18 years old, went into a gay bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts armed with a gun, a hatchet, and a knife. He wounded three people using first his hatchet and then his gun. If the bartender had had a shotgun or one or more patrons had been armed, the story would have ended right there.

Instead, Robida went on a cross-country flight and he killed a semi-retired cop in Arkansas. As he was being captured he killed a woman companion (seemingly a former girlfriend) and then shot himself and died a couple of days later. There are still a lot of questions for law enforcement to investigate.

There’s one question though that Anara Guard, in a letter to the Boston Globe asks and I’ll answer for her. She wants to know how Robida got his 9mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol.

I don’t know specifically how he got his gun, but I’m sure Robida didn’t go down to the local gun store and buy it legally. For one thing he wasn’t old enough to buy a handgun. For another, Massachusetts has onerous licensing and registration requirements and he didn’t go through those.

No, betcha dollars to donuts, he got his gun illegally. He probably found someone who sold guns illegally, gave him money, and walked away with a pistol and cartridges. It probably took him less time to make an illegal purchase than it does for me to buy a gun legally (and I always do so legally). If you have enough money, you can buy almost anything; drugs, sex, counterfeit Louis Vuitton purses, you name it.

Who knows where the illegal dealer got the gun, and it doesn’t really matter. An illegal dealer does his business on the black market where there’s no accountability. Guard might suggest that if guns were banned then there would be no supply. Such action might inconvenience illegal dealers, but it won’t stop them. Civilian ownership of handguns is totally illegal in England, but there is still a supply and gun crime is increasing.

Guard wonders, “Will anyone be required to take any responsibility for allowing a handgun to be possessed by such a hateful and violent person?” She doesn’t understand. No one “allowed” Robida to get a gun. He got one illegally and presumably without the knowledge of parents, police or others.

Guard wants us to examine the role of the gun. What role? A gun is a simple machine that only does what it’s designed to do. It didn’t cajole Robida into anything.

That Robida got a gun is unsurprising. That he was so full of hate and violence is the question.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Testing Ammunition for A .22 Pistol

Mr. Completely posted the first Rimfire Roundup. I sent in a post, which is also on Ten Ring. In it I mentioned that I’ve been doing a lot of .22 handgun shooting in formal bullseye competition. It’s really improved my shooting.

I bought a bullseye pistol last year, a Sig/Hammerli Trailside, because I didn’t have a .22 pistol suitable for this sport. I spent a little time sighting it in, getting comfortable with it, and generally just shooting it for fun. Then I got more serious and last year I found out what ammo it really likes. I came across my old target sheet and notes and thought you might be interested in my results.

I tested six different ammunition types. I didn’t test any high velocity or hunting ammo since I won’t be shooting it out of my Sig. All except one of the six, CCI Blazer, are sold primarily as target ammo. I included CCI Blazer as a sort of control (don't I sound scientific). I’ve included current prices of ammo (all prices are taken from MidwayUSA). I couldn’t find a price for one of them as noted below.

I put six three-inch diameter shoot-n-sees on the back of an “Official NRA 25 Yard Slow-Fire Pistol Target.” I put the target at 15 yards figuring this would be a test of ammo and not marksmanship. In retrospect, I should have placed it at the whole 25 yards, but live and learn.

I propped my pistol on a rest—not a fancy rest that locks everything up tight, just something that would help me hold the gun steady and avoid too much deviation in the results. It’s not a perfect way to test ammo, but it is cheap. I fired five shots at each target.

First up was CCI’s Blazer (1.25/50 or about 2 cents per round). As you can see, the group is open and somewhat to the right.

I followed that with CCI Green Tag ($10.49/100 rounds more than 10 cents per round). The group was well centered, but for $10.00 bucks I hoped for a tighter group.

Next up was Federal Gold Medal ($2.99/50 about 6 cents per round). It tended to string vertically.

I tested CCI Standard Velocity next and was pleased with the results ($4.59/100 between 4 and 5 cents per round). I had a nice group all touching the ten ring.

I followed up with Eley Standard ($3.89/50 or almost 8 cents per round) and found my tightest group even if it shot a touch to the right.

I finished with Federal Gold Medal Ultra-Match and was disappointed in the results (this is the only product for which I couldn’t find a price). My gun didn’t like it at all. It shot way to the left.

Since my test, I’ve stuck with CCI Standard Velocity. It’s surprisingly accurate for the price. I don't know how it'd compare with the super top-of-the-line like Eley's Match ammo, but it's served me well.

My ad hoc tests proves to me that for any type of precision shooting you must test a number of different brands. Each gun is different and likes what it likes. It’s up to you to figure that out.

Gunnie Art on Sale

I was thumbing through a recent American Rifleman (NRA's primary magazine) this morning before work. For those who like chapter and verse it is the January 2006 edition. On page 50 (again for those who like specificity in all things), I found an editorial about classic rifles shown in this Winchester poster from about 1954.

The poster came from an Internet store called Winfield Galleries. I went to the site this morning and really liked the artwork they offer. It features Winchester and Remington poster art depicting guns, hunting, and outdoors life. Here's another sample:

If you're looking for an ideal gift for a gun nut you could do worse than buying gunnie art. (I have no dog in this hunt, I just enjoyed a few minutes browsing art from a different time.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Guns, Cartoons, and Freedom

I blogged about the “row” over cartoons in the Middle East and have had more thoughts about it. First, I don’t think we should offend for the purpose of offending and we should respect other people’s beliefs. But, we can’t let that respect become a bridle on our own freedoms to think, to write, to draw, and to believe as we see fit.

I’m sensitive about freedom because I own guns and I hunt. People have told me either to my face or in editorials that I’m selfish, I’m a “gun fetishist,” and I deserve no respect. Hunting’s the same way. Even my eating of meat is condemned.

Anything a person does can offend someone else’s deeply held beliefs. Something as innocent as grilling steaks outdoors (maybe indoors too) could offend an ardent vegetarian or a Hindu. Granted, I should take steps to mitigate any offense (not grill while a vegan neighbor is on his porch, whatever); however, such steps might not be possible. In that case, my neighbor will have to develop a thicker skin; otherwise, I would need to change my life and my beliefs to accommodate his beliefs.

There are devotees of excessive multi-culturalism, mavens of political correctness, and the perpetually offended who refuse to develop a thicker skin and expect that change. The cartoons are just a very public example. A moderate Muslim like Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai says, “Any insult to the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, is an insult to more than 1 billion Muslims and an act like this [publishing the cartoons] must never be allowed to be repeated.” (Emphasis mine.)

Who will prevent another act in the future? How will it be done? What will the punishment be?

The problem is not cartoons, or eating meat, or hunting, or owning guns. Instead it lies with those who find offense in someone else’s liberty who then tries to legislate that offense out of existence (or kill the offender). Trying to take another person’s freedom (or life) away is wrong and there are better ways of dealing with offense anyway.

For instance, I may see a neo-Nazi cartoon calling for the completion of the Holocaust, and I would be offended. I can cancel a subscription, blog against it, and if the cartoon led to a real attempt to complete the Holocaust I could struggle against that attempt. But, I would not censor the cartoon even if I had the power to do so.

Freedom to think, to speak, to own guns, to hunt, to believe as you will is messy and my hunting or gun ownership might offend you. I could even write something on Ten Ring that might offend your heightened sensibilities.

If I do offend you, write your own blog where you can try to convince others that they should not own a gun. Write a newspaper editorial that shows hunters in a cruel light. You can even insult my religion (what little I have). That’s your right. I won’t try to stop you, or pass laws against you, or burn your office, or threaten to kill you. Just give me the same courtesy.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Improve Your Shooting with .22s

(NOTE: Mr. Completely is doing a Rimfire Roundup. In the interests of contributing to it and advertising it at the same time, here's a post that's been kicking about in the back of my head for a couple of weeks.)

I like guns with a lot of recoil. I don’t want to shoot a gun that doesn’t kick me back. I like 12 gauge shotguns. I’m not a fundamentalist about this; other people can be devoted to their 20gauges and .410s and I won’t hold it against them. I’m also an equal opportunity recoil junkie. I like pistols in .45 caliber and rifles chambered in at least .30-06.

The only gun I’ve ever shot that proved too much for me recoil-wise is my Smith & Wesson 340pd fed with full .357 magnum loads. I come by my recoil habit honestly as I explained in one of my very first posts.

So, given that I love recoil, why have I been shooting hundreds of .22 long rifle rounds every month? I’ve mentioned that I’m involved in a bullseye league every Thursday night where I shoot a .22 rimfire pistol at a target 25 yards away. I have an abiding love of shooting and thought that would help during long winter months in frozen New England. Most of the time we’ve had fun doing it (despite a few bad days at the range), but Bill (Yosemite Sam) and I both have seen a noticeable improvement in our shooting.

Many people, unlike me, started shooting with a .22 and it’s a great way to start. I ended up with my own .22 rifle on my 13th birthday and since then I’ve shot untold thousands of the little rounds. Not only can you can learn how to shoot with a .22, but you can also correct bad habits by practicing. There’s nothing like practice, done properly, to get something down pat.

Feeding a .22 costs pennies compared to the bucks you’ll shell out for centerfire ammo. A .22 pistol helps you concentrate on shooting fundamentals without the distractions of recoil. Those distractions include noise, muzzle flip, muzzle flash, and having to recover after recoil for a second shot. You can concentrate on making sure your sights line up even while you slowly draw that trigger back. You can make sure of your grip, your stance, and your breath control.

Rimfire guns can be bought quite cheaply or quite expensively. You have a lot of choice and many quality used guns are available. Ammo is plentiful and can be found in virtually every gun store, Wal-Mart, and similar stores throughout the country. You can buy a brick of 500 rounds for less than $15.00 and still get good quality. If you really want to, you can spend that much for 50 premium target rounds.

I bet you can guess what Bill and I did this weekend. We spent a couple of hours shooting (big surprise, huh). I fired my M1 Garand and got my recoil fix (granted it’s a little on the mild side), but we also broke out our .22 target pistols and staged our own mini-match. Without the pressure of actual competition, I’ll be damned if we didn’t do better than we do in the real matches. We both got almost every shot on that Shoot-n-See.

Because of our noticeable improvements, I’ve found a new appreciation of my .22 guns. So, if you’re a new shooter, get yourself a .22 rifle and a pistol and then work up to centerfires. If you’re a long-time shooter, break out your .22s and let your classic 1911 or your tactical fantastic rest for a few sessions. If you shoot .22s a lot, well I’m preaching to the choir.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Denmark and "Men of the West"

My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails; when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship... but it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the Age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!
In the movie Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Aragorn made this speech to his men when all looked hopeless. It’s a moving moment in a great movie based on an even greater book.

I’ve made few posts on Islamofacism, but all my work here is based on my freedom to own guns and to shoot them. I believe in individual rights, in freedom, while respecting the rights of other people. It’s my choice to exercise freedom and so long as I do it in a way that does not hurt others, then it's nobody's business but my own.

Recently we’ve seen a storm of protest in Middle Eastern states over cartoons that originally appeared in a Danish newspaper in September 2005 (Michele Malkin has many posts on this issue—here is one example). Danish Embassies have been burned, many flags desecrated, and threats of beheadings and death have been made. While Muslims have protested, Europeans have joined together in support of free speech.

While we should respect the rights of other people to practice their religion as they see fit, Islamofacists don’t see it that way. They believe that they alone are not subject to criticism or to change. They believe that their way is right and if you disagree with them, they must kill you in the name of Allah. It is a manifestly atavistic belief and has no place in any modern society.

This cartoon illustrates what is at stake:

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Festering anger at 12th Century fanatics who now live in Western countries may have come to a head and Denmark is in the vanguard. Terrorists attacks that kill 100, 1000, 3,000 people don’t raise Europe’s ire, but Islamofacist overreaction over a handful of cartoons of Mohammed do. Interesting. But small things have always led to big things. World War I was started when an anarchist assassinated an archduke in a city located in a region that many British, French, American, and German citizens couldn’t locate on a map.

We may not be looking at war against Islamofacists, but we may be seeing the start of an awakening. We may see scales falling off of European and maybe even American eyes. People may be realizing that a handful of savage religious fanatics are a threat to our freedoms. If these riots are the start of something bigger, Men (and Women) of the West keep your powder dry. It’s going to be a long battle.

Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I support the Danes and other Europeans who are beginning what could be a violent struggle. We are raising a Support Denmark mini-banner on our sidebar and are leaving you with this one, courtesy of the “Dissident Frogman.

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UPDATE (9:45pm): Blogspot had problems this weekend and a few words of my post were cut from my rough draft when I pasted it into Blogger. I put these back and corrected a couple of mis-spellings (can't blame Blogger for my lack of typing skills).

Friday, February 03, 2006

Colt and Making Guns in New England

I was over at Michael Bane’s site reading about the probable sale of Colt’s military division to General Dynamics. He hasn’t heard what will happen to Colt’s already small civilian division. Another company may buy it or perhaps its tools and equipment may simply go on the auction block. Who knows what may happen to Colt’s horse logo and name.

Bane makes a very significant comment to his own post (comment number 3):
“What I would NOT be interested in is the facility itself, Connecticut, the unions, etc. I would downsize the heck out of the facility and use it only for 'boutique' manufacturing and/or custom runs, or just outright sell it off to USFA/Hartford.”
Colt would not have to go very far to sell itself to United State Fire-Arms located in Hartford, Connecticut. USFA already uses many of Colt’s patents to make cowboy action guns and is in fact Colt’s direct heir in these guns. They are moving into 1911s with reproductions of Colt’s old designs. I suppose if anyone bought out Colt’s civilian operations, USFA would be a good choice.

But, as I sat here and read Bane’s comment, I had to ask myself one question that I’m sure many of you have already asked. Why in hell are so many gun makers still in New England? (I live in New England now and I ask myself a similar question many times.) I’m a gun nut and most people in this region don’t like gun nuts. We still hold out in New Hampshire, Vermont, and part of Maine, but forget Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York with their huge populations.

Those populations could one day impose Massachusetts-type gun control on the rest of New England. They may be able to make business miserable for gun companies in “their” area such as Ruger in Connecticut, Smith & Wesson in Massachusetts, Sig’s American arm in New Hampshire, whatever’s left of Winchester in Connecticut, and of course USFA. This list does not include small gun makers, boutique shops, etc.

I know there are practical reasons for staying. Most own their physical plants. Their employees, many of them highly skilled, live here. Other reasons include the inertia of history, after all New England once armed the United States and welcomed its arms makers. It’s hard to wrap your mind around how much has changed since then.

As a reluctant New Englander, I second Michael Bane. I’d tell gun makers to get out of New England. Go to the sun. Go to places with fewer taxes. Go where your product is appreciated. Go to the American West or the South. Build a factory in New Mexico, or Utah, or Idaho, or South Carolina. Just get out of New England where high taxes, overly strong unions, and anti-gunnies make you spend time, effort, and money defending yourself. Go before the gun-grabbers tax, sue, or legislate you out of existence.

Solve the problems with moving. Help your employees come with you (they’ll do well if the own their own houses and can sell them for more than they’ll have to spend on new homes). Make favorable tax agreements with places that want you.

Forget history. Most of your neighbors in New England already have; at least when it comes to guns.

One Final (I Hope) Banner Post

I revised the banner. I got rid of a couple of photos that didn't work out that well. I included a picture of Annie Oakley and tossed in another picture of one of my guns. After all, I do want to personalize the blog. I also re-sized the banner and reduced the colors. These actions should help it will load faster for those who are still on dial up. Unfortunately, I lost a little clarity and the pictures became a little elongated. Ain't computers grand? You change one thing and that allows the software to do something completely unexpected. I may do one more tweak this weekend, but this is pretty much it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Rant About a Movie Review

[Semi-edited Rant Mode On]
I don’t write many non-gun posts, but when I do it’s usually because something pisses me off. Today I’m flabbergasted at the ignorance of Tom Shales of the Washington Post who wrote a snarky review of A & E’s Flight 93 which aired on January 30th.

First I have to describe why I’m pissed off. I admire the heroes of Flight 93, the passengers who fought back on 9/11 leading to the plane’s destruction in a Pennsylvania field. They had the advantage of time that passengers in the other three planes didn’t have. Flight 93 was the last plane to be hijacked which allowed its passengers to learn of the fates of the other three planes. That knowledge led them to fight back.

Second, I might be called a 9/11 Democrat although I’m no longer a Democrat (nor am I a Republican). I once supported the party even while I nervously ignored its growing fascination with gun control. Even Clinton’s gun bans were not enough to dislodge me from my ancestral party. But, 9/11 ripped off my willful blindfold. I began questioning and while I don’t agree with every Republican talking point, I haven’t voted for a Democrat since then and I always vote.

Third, I didn’t see the show, so there are many of Shales’s specific points I have to accept at face value.

So that’s where I’m coming from, now let’s go back to Shales’s ignorant review. Shales’s tone is snarky beginning in his first sentence, “Who will profit the most from exploiting the obscene tragedy of Flight 93?” Why in the world, does he call it an obscene tragedy? It’s a tragedy if the plane crashed due to an engine malfunction or pilot error, but people taking over a plane to use it as a weapon was an act of war. I’ve never heard Pearl Harbor described as an “obscene tragedy,” although I’m certain someone will Google it for me—so I’ll say now, whatever.

Further, why describe A & E’s production as exploitation or profit? Were movies filmed right after World War II exploitative or done for profit? Are movies like Schindler’s List exploitive because they remember the Holocaust? Did M*A*S*H (movie and series) exploit Korea? Did those movie's or show's producers and crews not deserve to make money for their work?

Wow, two paragraphs for one sentence. At this rate, my rant will be a book so I better summarize. Shales dismisses an earlier Discovery Channel movie about Flight 93 with “…no doubt that film was meant as a ‘moving tribute’ too” (after dismissing A & E’s description of their movie as a “moving tribute”). I saw the Discovery Channel movie on 9/11/2005 and I was moved to tears and I rarely cry. It was damn well a moving tribute and not something that can be so glibly dismissed.

Earlier, I called Shales ignorant. He talks about the movie showing passengers, crew and hijackers of Flight 93 getting ready for their day. To quote, “…and the terrorists shave -- one of them even, for some reason, shaves his chest.” I’m not a professional writer, journalist, or scholar, but even I know that many jihadis shave their body hair before going to Allah. Why is Shales surprised—is he ignorant or disingenuous?

One more point and I’ll conclude. Shales says the pilots received warnings of cockpit intrusions and yet opened the door to the terrorists. I don’t know how much or what type of warning the pilots got. They may not have been told that terrorists were crashing planes into buildings. Granted pure speculation, but I know the attitude of pilots and passengers before 9/11 was to cooperate with hijackers. We know now that was terrible advice. We know now that you must fight against those who would hijack a plane, because you’ll most likely die while your captors achieve their twisted goals.

So many people seem to want us to forget 9/11 as if we will heal or should. We don’t see televised footage of the Twin Towers on fire. We don’t see pictures of smoke rising from a hole in our Pentagon—the seat of America’s military might. It all seems to be shoved into that “not-nice” compartment.

I don’t want to forget and I don’t mind if A & E makes a little profit reminding me of what happened on that day. You see, I don’t want America to go back to sleep, because I don’t want to wake up one day after the Islamofacists win and struggle into my burka as I begin a new day.
[/Semi-edited Rant Mode Off]

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

One From the Vault

Smith & Wesson New Departure
By now we gunnies know that Governor Doyle’s veto of concealed carry in Wisconsin was sustained. Wisconsin’s citizens will have to try again next year to get concealed carry.

Doyle and his ilk forget that carrying weapons, often openly, is an American tradition. Our not too distant ancestors carried Colt Vest Pocket pistols, small imported pistols, and a variety of American and foreign made revolvers.

Men and women pocketed these guns as routinely as putting on shoes. They recognized that they were responsible for their own defense. (Of course, we’ve become more “civilized” and ended crime. Oh wait, I’m in the wrong dimension. In this dimension, criminals are still with us.) If you need evidence for my assertion, I’ll point to the huge numbers of concealable handguns that were made from the middle of the nineteenth century until World War II (and up to the present day for that matter). Someone bought and carried all those guns, or at least put them in a handy drawer.

Today’s “One From the Vault” features just such a gun. Smith & Wesson made their New Departure revolvers as self-defense weapons and built about 261,000 of them chambered in .38 S&W. They made about 242,000 very similar revolvers in .32 S&W. That’s over half a million of these little guns and someone was buying them. (NOTE: Don’t confuse a .38 S&W with the longer and more powerful .38 S&W Special [also known as .38 Special].)
S&W New Departure

The first New Departure revolvers were made in 1887 and the last ones rolled off the assembly line in 1940 when Smith & Wesson began making guns for the British who were already desperately fighting World War II. These guns were made for 53 years—a successful product indeed.

New Departures are small, relatively light, and reliable as a brick. They are top-break revolvers. You pull open a catch near the rear sight and pivot the cylinder and barrel assembly down. As you do so, a rod activates and pops empties out of the cylinder.

The revolvers earned a popular nickname, “lemon squeezers.” They were also called “Safety Hammerless” revolvers. The two names are descriptive. This double-action-only firearm has no visible hammer and sports a grip safety—who says revolvers don’t have safeties. You had to squeeze the gun firmly to fire it.

There’s a legend that Daniel B. Wesson, the burly company president, ordered his gunsmiths to make revolvers safer because he had read of an accident that occurred when a child wounded himself with a Smith & Wesson revolver. The legend may be apocryphal, but the gun is certainly designed with safety in mind.
My New Departure and Original Box

First, there’s the grip safety. Second, there’s the lack of a hammer for a child to cock. Finally, the New Departure deserves this name if for no other reason than its trigger. The heavy trigger has an inordinately long travel that suddenly seems to hesitate. This hesitation allows a practiced shooter to aim carefully before finally releasing the shot. A child who tried to fire the gun would find the trigger pull daunting even if he or she could hold the grip safety closed.

My New Departure is a Fourth Model built between 1898 and 1907. New Departures went through five different models. The first three models are differentiated mainly by their break-action catches. The fourth model saw the perfection of the catch. The fifth and last model centered on design changes to make production easier and stayed the same from 1907 to 1940.

I found my revolver in a gun store sitting in its original box. I had to buy if for no other reason than to get its box. The box is in decent condition, but needs a little tender loving care. Relateively few boxes are left because too many owners tossed them away when they bought their new gun.
End of Box

The gun itself is in wonderful condition. I’m not sure that it’s ever been fired. There are drag marks on the cylinder, but there is no erosion on the forcing cone and the rifling looks as sharp as when it left the factory. Someone thoughtlessly dry firing it could have made those drag marks (incidentally it’s inadvisable to dry fire these guns because the hammer sleeve can break—use a snap cap).

My gun has been well cared for overall, but there are a few places where acids in the pasteboard box spotted the finish. It’s possible that I could ameliorate these places with a piece of wood dipped in oil and a little patience, but I don’t really want to monkey around with it. The finish is otherwise great. The old gun makers knew how to create a finish so blue it’s really black and so deep it’s like looking into a pool of oil.

I haven’t shot my gun so I can’t give you a range report. Given that it may not have been fired, I’m not sure I will. It might just go on back into the vault sitting next to its box and remain a possible virgin. Still, it reminds me of a time when people were not burdened with laws and regulations that don’t work. It makes you wonder if Governor Doyle’s ancestors ever packed a New Departure.

Blog Header

I appreciate the comments I received on the new masthead. As I said in one of my comments, it is a work in progress. Two comments stated that Netscape and AOL cut off the top of the banner. I viewed it in Firefox and Exploder Explorer and it seemed fine, but each browser is a little different.

I can't see exactly what happens in those two browser "dialects" and I'm not an html wizard, so bear with me a bit. I went into the template and lowered the banner's position. That leaves a sliver of a gray bar on the top (hey, it's a design element). That action might lower it enough that those browsers won't cut it off. Let me know if it's now low enough to view properly.

A more difficult comment was dealing with the banner's size, which makes the page slower to load with a dialup modem. I've used dialup and don't miss it now, but "I feel your pain." I'm not completely satisfied with a couple of elements on the new banner and will soon remove and replace them. Doing so may reduce a “busy” feel it has. I will also see if I can reduce the banner's size by just a little. These changes may help. I'll probably make the changes this weekend or next.

For those who like the banner and/or had no browser problems, I'm on the right track and will only be tweaking it a little.

Thanks again for the comments.

New Masthead (More Prettification)

UPDATE: Because not too many of us read blogs on weekends (we have errands to run and shooting ranges to visit), I decided to jigger the date of this post to allow anyone who wants to comment a chance to do so. It will stay on top until Wednesday, February 1. Originally posted at 10:38 A.M. on January 28.

Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I are posting our new masthead. We felt we needed a gun-centric design and I cobbled this one together. I am not a graphic artist, nor am I an html coding whiz, but we think it might give a new dimension to Ten Ring.

I know there are a couple of glitches. There is a second "The Ten Ring" that appears in the upper left corner. I found the code that places that, but when I edited out, it really created a mess--back in it went. It also appears on archives pages as an active link. The pistol shooter in the lower right hand corner got a funky smudge when I blended lines. I don't know if I'll edit that yet, but I'm aware of it.

Please look the masthead over and let us know what you think. If you see anything else wrong, please comment on it.

Bill and I have really enjoyed blogging this past year and are gratified at the interest all of you have shown in the blog. We hope to prettifiy the blog with more photos, the new masthead, and in general make more improvements as we go without getting too annoying.