Saturday, April 08, 2017

Haven't Much Been in the Mood to Write


Well, actually that's not completely true…I'm scripting for GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA, so I'm spending 6-8 hours a day in front of the computer working. Given all the personal stuff that's been whirling around, it's hard to build up a lot of enthusiasm to tackle the laptop after I shut down the desktop.

Plus, it appears there's been a massive reduction of IQ in the various social media, and wading through the crap just makes me tired and bored. I can't even gin up the enthusiasm to be snide. OTOH, I've been shooting alot, mostly the new Ruger Mk IV Competition, but also some of the bigger boomers. I'm getting my Ruger American .450 Bushmaster ready for a SHOOTING GALLERY episode later in the year. Also started moving rounds through my .22 bolt action rifle, to try for some kind of tune-up for Africa.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! As you can see from the above photo, my Magnum Research BFR 45-70 is now home! I'm probably going to take it out this afternoon and continue striving for carpal tunnel syndrome. First off, let me say that the BFR is a superbly made gun [WARNING: Kahr Arms is a sponsor]! This is my first BFR…as I think you guys know I am a connoisseur — or co-nigh-zee-eer, if you live in the South or Detroit or South Detroit, for that matter — of single action revolvers. I have a lot of them, both production and custom, have shot a lot of them in many many different flavors over the years and irrationally love them all. The first gun I ever shot as a little kid was a Ruger Bearcat .22 single action. The first centerfire handgun I ever fired was a Flattop Blackhawk in .357. The first ammunition I ever reloaded went into that Blackhawk. So there.

The BFR is a pleasant surprise. For a beast of a gun, it has a certain proletarian beauty. Machining is top-notch, the trigger pull is a crisp couple of pounds, the sights are excellent and I like the new BFR gripframe, always a touchy thing for single action aficionados…if you want to start a bar fight at a gather of SA fans, bring up plough-handle vs. Bisley, then stand back. I generally don't like rubber grips on a boomer, but the Hogues on the 45-70 are pretty nice, and I suppose I'll be happy with anything that soaks up a little recoil. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. If not, Jack Huntington does a really great looking modification of the BFR gripframe and knows as much about boomers as any living man except Lee Martin…he built a short-barrelled BFR in 50-110, a caliber which I have shot to the detriment of my shoulder in a Sharps!

To be fair, I have shot 45-70 revolvers before, both the old canon-bronze framed Century 100s, an  early BFR (3 shots!), and a 10-inch T/C single shot I had custom built by J.D. Jones, so I'm unlikely to burst into flames on the first shot. In fact, as long as you're using sane loads, the recoil is not nearly as brutal as, say, a .500 Linebaugh or even a .454 Casull, which has a much sharper recoil wave. I plan to start with 405-gr "Trapdoor Safe" loads, then probably move up to Hornady 325-gr Leverevolutions, which I keep on hand for the Ruger #1. I suppose I can build up to Ashley Emerson's dinosaur-killers after a bit. 
Few other interesting tidbits…Standard Manufacturing is now cataloging their color casehardened, engraved 1911 for $1895. That's a good price for such a great-looking 1911! I handled these at SHOT and was very impressed. Considering that Standard/CT Shotguns builds $100k+ shotguns, they are masters at their craft. 

Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training has an interesting article on "deep deep concealment," carrying a weapon in non-permissive — not illegal, mind you — environment. Definitely word a read! Here's his points on non-metallic knives:
When dealing with a walk through metal detector, these tactics won’t work. In the event that I have to go through one of those, I will carry my ceramic Talonz knife (after replacing the metal dog tag chain with a short piece of paracord) or my G-10 composite copy of the same Fred Perrin knife I mentioned earlier. Neither of these are detectable by any metal detectors. 
I would urge anyone trying to carry plastic, ceramic, or composite knives through a metal detector to verify that they are truly metal free. Some companies insert a small amount of metal in the blades or handles just so people can’t sneak them through metal detectors. Pick up a portable metal detecting wand. The ones most security officers use are fairly cheap. You can pick one of those up for less than $25 on Amazon.com (affiliate links). Better safe than sorry.
So I took his advice. I have one of the carbon fiber versions of the Fred Perrin La Griffe, in addition to the steel version, that I figured should be just as invisible as Greg's G-10 version. I also have a Stone River Gear ceramic neck knife that I was curious about. I called my friends at Tall Guns, who train security guards among other things, to ask if I could bring the 2 knives over an run a wand over them.

We all agreed that the carbon fiber La Griffe was going to be a slam dunk…it is beautiful made, weights just next to nothing and, surprise, lit up the metal detector like a Christmas tree. We were very careful to keep the knife away from its sheath, which has metal rivets, and any other metal. For whatever reason, the little carbon fiber La Griffe Carbone will definitely set off a metal detector! Good to know. I ordered one of the G-10 versions, which I'll check before I use it in an environment where I might be wanded or have to walk through a metal detector.
The Stone River ceramic neck knife (above), which we expected to set off the metal detector, instead passed with flying colors. I suggest you take Greg's advice and verify that your own non-metallic weapons are really as invisible as you think they are!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Great News From Apex Tactical!


The world's greatest trigger manufacturer take customization to a whole new level!!!

From tomorrow's presser:

New Apex Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger


Apex is proud to introduce the all new Red Anodized Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger, the one replacement trigger for all (or most) of your custom trigger needs.

What It Does
An industry first, the Apex Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger is designed to provide what no other trigger does, and that’s offer the end user maximum versatility in a custom replacement trigger. Whether you’re working on a Beretta, Colt, Glock, Sig, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Ruger or Taurus, the Apex Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger directly replaces the factory trigger with a bright red type 2 anodized solid aluminum trigger body. Requires extensive gunsmithing depending on model trigger and performance features desired.

Expected Results
– Reduces trigger pull by approximately as much as you’d like it to
– Smooth uptake and reset, assuming you do it right
– Reduces pre-travel, over-travel and reset (same assumption as above)

Applicable To What Gun(s)
Works with nearly all pistols, in any caliber, with factory interchangeable triggers.
Does NOT work in Bryco, Hi-Point, Jennings, Lorcin, Raven, Star or similar handguns (because, well, Apex).

Features & Specifications
– It's a pretty shade of Red
– Block expertly tumbled prior to anodizing to provide that smooth-to-the-touch feel
– Requires extensive machining, so grab that Dremel Tool and have at it

In The Package
1 ea. Red Anodized Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger (in block form)

Installation Resources
There are none. So, good luck with that.

DISCLAIMER

Hello, McFly, this is not an actual trigger and will not work. However, it is actually available for purchase at ApexTactical.com for just $9.95.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Update on Projects


Thought you guys might like to see the progress on my Ruger Mk IV — the grips have been changed from the target grips to a standard set from ShopRuger, a rail has been mounted and the C-More bolted into place. I just started shooting it, and I'll fill you in on accuracy details, hopefully this afternoon after my fun and exciting appointment with the dentist!

On other projects, the Ruger American Ranch Rifle in .450 Bushmaster is definitely going with us to Ox Ranch in Texas for an episode of SHOOTING GALLERY (Shooting tanks and shooting hogs, c'mon! What could be cooler?). Right now it's fitted with a Leupold VX-Hog 1-4X, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a Nightforce NXS 1-4X is in my future!

As I mentioned on Facebook, I am going to tentatively pass on the Ruger GSR in .450 Bushmaster, although it is a beautiful rifle and very true to Jeff Cooper's concept of "Thumper." I've just had a flood of "non-standard" guns/cartridges over the last few months — my .338 Federal Scout and Wilson AR-10, the .458 SOCOM Wilson Combat I built, the .50AE Desert Eagle and the .450 Bushmaster — and a mixed lot of guns coming through the Bunker, so I'm already behind. Besides, now that I've "dialed in" the Ranch Rifle, I'm wondering if I actually need another Thumper!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Okay...Only A Bunch More Conference Calls and I've Made It to the Weekend...

A bunch of wrap-up thingies for the week...

1) Mo' Rugers! Mo' Rugers! Mo' Rugers! Ruger has announced an American .45 Compact. I like the compact 9mm a lot, so I would expect this one to be every bit as good. I assume Brother Ed Head has a review spinning up for DRTV. Ruger also announced 2 more versions of their MK IV .22 pistols, a 22/45 Tactical, based on the upgraded model with the removable grip panels, and a MK IV Competition, which I have on the way to me this week.

This is the pistol I alluded to on Wednesday's podcast. Am looking forward to shoot more Rimfire Challenge this year, and after shooting the Mk IV Hunter version for SHOOTING GALLERY this season, I really want to put the Competition model through the paces. Should be here today or early next week.

It will be fitted with an RDS for this season...

2) Here's Version 3.0 of my EDC:


You may ask yourself why so many versions. Valid question. Just before a match I tanked my untankable Trij RMR06 on my competition USPSA Carry Optics gun. By tanked I mean it stopped holding zero and battery life dropped to minutes...obviously a sick puppy! Plan A was to pop an RMR off one of my other guns, bolt it onto the Suarez G19 I compete with and be good to go. Then Mr. Ham-Hands himself stripped one of the screws holding the RMR in place (Oh come on! Don't you dare tell me you've never stripped a little screwhead!).

Rather than stick with my original plan of screaming and pulling my hair out, I shifted gears on EDC back to my RMR-equipped G26 (not exactly a huge change, to be sure, since my EDC has a G26-sized frame anyway...I didn't even have to change magazines), pulled the slide off the EDC G19 — a very old Glock slide fitted with a first generation Leupold DeltaPoint, and went to the match.

I had always intended to go to a different slide/optic on the ROBAR-build frame, but it was on the back burner. Since I had pieces of Glock scattered all over the place, I decided to move that plan up. I talked to Gabe Suarez and had Suarez International build me up one of their G19 slides in grey with an RMR06 and stacked night sights front and rear. I added a stock barrel and recoil spring assembly. I'll start testing on it today. Once I get around 200 rounds though it, I'll place it into service. BTW, here's a great round-up of Glock barrels from the Victory Gun Blog. I run a Wilson Combat barrel in the competition G19, and it is noticeably different, especially with the Wilson Signature 125-gr Match ammo. If the barrels ever come back into stock, I might even buy a spare! LOL!

And yes, any RDS-equipped firearm that I use for carry is equipped with BUIS!

3) In our Hand Me the Mallet Department..this left me to fix my ham-handed stupidity on the competition gun. Above all things I hate tapping out screws and bolts, especially little bitty screws and bolts. Amazon to the rescue! I have Craftsman bolt and screw removers, but I took a quick look for something a little smaller. I came across Alden MicroGrabits, cutter on one side, extractor on the other. A little pricey, but it looked like what I was looking for. Boom! easiest extraction I've ever done! These things rock...dentists ought to use them. Will have my Trij boxed up and on the way to service today. Meanwhile, I'll stick with the competition set-up I have now.

4) I'll be doing a little big bore stuff next week, working with .44 Magnum single actions for upcoming SGO episode. I admit that part of this is driven by Max Prasac's book I talked about in a previous post. I realized that it has been a while since I worked with the single action blasters, and I kinda missed it. I'm even itching to do some .44 Magnum reloading...maybe it's spring in the air...or a virus of some kind.


5) And one more gun lust point...heard from Big Horn Armory this morning that they are now offering their achingly beautiful big bore lever guns in a 16-inch barreled Trapper version. This is from the presser:
Trapper carbines retain all of the features of the Models 89, 90 and 90A that have made them a resounding hit with hunters and woodsmen who desire a fast-handling powerful repeating rifle that can deliver multiple shots faster than the traditional bolt-action rifle. Receivers and barrels are made from 17-4 stainless steel CNC machined to the tightest tolerances in the industry. All components are made in the USA and assembled by a well-trained staff of gun makers in Cody, Wyoming. Stocks are made from selected American black walnut superbly fitted to the metalwork and checkered to 20 lpi, capped with a 1-inch recoil pad. The generous finger lever accommodates the largest hands even with gloves. Big Horn Armory rifles have the nearly bomb-proof Skinner Sights aperture adjustable for windage and elevation and a post front sight.
In either .500 S&W Magnum, .460 S&W Magnum or .454 Casull...sigh...it would only make my pre-'64 Winchester 94 30-30 jealous!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Inexplicably, It's Not Friday


I'm on my second gallon of coffee to see if I can jumpstart my brain. Fingers crossed...

I've started reading my friend Max Prasac's spectacular book, THE GUN DIGEST BOOK OF HUNTING REVOLVERS. Even if you're not interested in handgun hunting, the book is a wealth of information on big bore revolver shooting (and was Max's previous book, BIG BORE HANDGUNS).

Our SHOOTING GALLERY episode on John Linebaugh's annual big bore seminar in Cody, WY, was very popular. I think a lot of shooters (and I'd include myself in that group) are fascinated with shooting the big boomers. As I said on the show, it is undeniably hard — hard to master that giant explosion so close to your face, hard to handle that much recoil, hard to keep your hand and wrist from crumbling into powder after a hard day of the range. Max is one of the great masters of this arcane art, and it helps that he is an excellent writer. For those of us who love the boomers, the photography is breathtaking.


HUNTING REVOLVERS is the second "significant" firearms book to be published recently — the first is Richard Mann's THE SCOUT RIFLE STUDY. I say "significant" because both the books add new information and impressive depth to our understanding of these 2 niche areas.

Considering that Richard is a pecker-headed West Virginia redneck, the SCOUT RIFLE STUDY is pretty much a masterpiece in multimedia…the only thing I can think of to explain this is that Richard is holding a whole bunch of 10-year-old hackers captive in his basement. I'm pretty sure Richard knows everything about Scout Rifles, and like Max, he knows it because he's put a bazillion rounds through them, tried numerous different configurations, and used them for training and hunting around the world.

I tend to default to people who do, as opposed to people who have carefully examined all the significant Internet forums, blogs (including mine), social media and YouTube — and hell, even taken a class! — to arrive at their conclusions. I know I've ranted about this recently, but it popped up in my head again since Marshal and I have been writing checks to purchase T&E guns.  We tend to buy a lot of guns and gear because we're in the business, and the way to really understand a firearm is to shoot it a bunch. A 30- or 90-or even 180-day test and evaluation period will introduce you to a gun or a piece of gear, but you don't really know it.

I figure Max and Richard have spent the bulk of their disposable income for decades buying and shooting the guns they're now writing about. That would be my definition of "expert."

Sunday, March 05, 2017

OWWWWW…Ickky...

So yesterday I had a wonderful plan…was going to get out the door early, do my various and sundry errands, then spend the afternoon at the range. I'd gotten out my .22 Ruger American bolt gun and a brick of CCI Quiet to do some work off sticks and practice off-hand on close and medium targets. I was darned excited.


Of course the errands ran long, so on the way home I grabbed a turkey sandwich from a little sandwich shop I'd visited before and ate it on the way home. You know what's coming next, right? I'd just stepping into the house and set the groceries down when the cramps hit, and — YEHAW! — they put me on the freakin' floor! Needless to say, I didn't make it to the range…I was lucky I made it to the bathroom…almost.

Bleeeech!

Better today, but if you've ever been through a bad bout of food poisoning you know that it echoes for days. Just what I needed.


Tomorrow on the video portion of the podcast I'm going to be talking .22s. We (me and my shows) sort of drifted away from .22s during the Great Ammo Shortage…it didn't make sense to me to be heavily promoting a type of shooting that was — temporarily — out of reach. With ammo back in the pipelines, I wanted to come back to .22s and to the NSSF Rimfire Challenge, a sport I'm proud to have had a hand in founding. I would like to make the World Championships this year in October.

I'm hearing rumblings of changes in the Rimfire Challenge, and I'm 100% on board in any capacity they might need me.

I'm going to start working with the Mark III I built a couple of years back, the one with the Majestic Arms trigger and the Tac-Sol 6-inch upper. If you recall, that build was one of those "3 Little Piggies" builds where I couldn't get it exactly right. The final product, though, is the absolutely best .22 pistol I've ever shot…until

I was hugely impressed with the new Ruger Mark IV .22 (you saw it on SHOOTING GALLERY this season!). I was tremendously impressed with the 2 Mark IVs I shot — the Hunter and the Target — but especially the fluted-barrel Hunter version. I said on camera that the Mark IV Hunter I'd been shooting was the single best Mark-series .22 I'd ever shot…true. I'm very interested in the Competition model like this Gallery of Guns 100-year commemorative. The Ruger designers when down a similar path to my own…the longer (6 7/8-inch) barrel, but slabbed to reduce the swing weight.

I've got a Mark IV on the way and I'll shoot it against my Mark III. I'm also very interested in the Tac-Sol TLP-22, which I've handled but not shot. Chet, Dan, Mike, Ford and the whole crew at Tac-Sol were able to synthesize the lessons we've learned over the years of the Rimfire Challenge and translate them into a pistol (in the same way they built their X-Ring rifles). BTW, I am lucky enough to have a different sort of X-Ring in the works — on with the cocking handle on the LEFT side…heck, where it should be! I saw Mike Wirth's leftie X-Ring when I was out at Tac-Sol a few years back and put my name on the waiting list if they ever did another run. It's in the oven cooking up as we speak.

I am going all red dot this year, since I'm EDC'ing a Trij RMR. I will probably go back to the old Burris Speed Dot on the rifle…I love that sight! Was cheap, worked great…what can one say? Sort of like the old Tasco ProPoint, one of the first red dot sights I ever bought. The thing still works.

Not sure about the dot on the pistol. I have several options. Right now there's a Burris FastFire on it, but I'm considering a C-More.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Save Your Pennies...



From Swaro this afternoon:
Cranston, Rhode Island - SWAROVSKI OPTIK NORTH AMERICA, a subsidiary of the Austrian based company, announces the dS, representing a completely new generation of rifle scope. This product will highlight the optical features of a conventional rifle scope and combine the technology of digital targeting to form an impressive, complete device. Delivery starts in Europe in July 2017. The launch in the US market will be Shot Show in January 2018. 
The new dS shows not only the correct aiming point, but also the key ballistic data in the head-up display without any distraction and in real time. The key benefit for hunters is that the correct aiming point will be displayed automatically in the rifle scope. With the press of a button, the dS measures the exact distance to the target, having factored in the magnification setting, air pressure, temperature, and angle. This takes into account the personal ballistic data for your firearm/ammunition combination. The windage mark intervals are calculated based on the distance measured, the wind speeds set, and the ballistic data. 
The display shows the distance information, bullet energy, and other features in a high-resolution head-up display that clearly provides you with all the hunting data that can contribute to a successful hunt. The design of the dS with its attractive silhouette will look great on any rifle. 
The scope requires networking with a smartphone. Exchanging data is simple and straightforward via the Bluetooth® interface. The personal data supplied when sighting in the target are input directly into the app and transmitted immediately. 
SWAROVSKI OPTIK has developed a “smart” rifle scope with the dS, which provides hunters with intelligent support. Technical and long-range optical innovations, combined with the hunter’s own expertise, make it possible to remain totally focused even in challenging situations. “This makes an important contribution in terms of allowing hunting to be carried out in a responsible manner all the time,” says Carina Schiestl-Swarovski.
Sure, it's going to cost more than car, probably more than an SUV, but in reality you kid can put him - or herself through college without your help...besides, what's a degree in puppetry worth these days? Get the scope...