Sunday, October 07, 2012

A Chilly Sunday

This bout of cold is supposed to break next week, which is hopeful since we have a couple of SHOOTING GALLERY filming days! In between, I want to get a little more range time in before the glaciers move south.

We took the Wonder Beagle on a long hike yesterday, and we had the trail completely to ourselves since it was so cold and wet. Alf looked particularly fetching, BTW, in her red plaid sweater.The neat thing about a day like yesterday is that ice crystals form on the trees and plants, so everything looks like its frosted for Christmas. We even found some ice flowers, perfect flowers of ice remaining when the plants themselves withered from the frost.

In truth, I just grabbed the first gun handy for the hike, which was the Taurus "Slim" 9mm in a Simply Rugged holster. That particular combo carries like it's not even there. The bears are still awake, so I should have probably carried something "thumpier," like one of the .44s, but the Slim was handy. I moved the Ruger LCP to my weak hand pocket, as usual.

I have picked up on one small issue with the Sig Sauer P938 that I probably need to rectify. The gun comes with an ambi safety, which initially I liked based on the idea that the gun could be carried on my left side as a second gun. Generally. I'm not crazy about ambi safeties because, at least on 1911 platforms, they have a way of getting knocked off by carry holsters and in general provide just one more thing to break. The problem with the ambi safety on the 938 is that on speed drills, the offside safety actually pinches the flesh at the base of my trigger finger. Not every time, but often enough that I find myself hedging on the hurts!  I'm gong to do a little grinding on the offside grip...there's a fair sharp edge where the safety meet the grip and see if that does the trick. If it doesn't, I'll have a talk with Wayne Novak about it, because he knows everything.

I got back my Winchester Model 12 from Ken Griner Gunworks, and I can't wait to take it to the range. As you know I'm a fan of the cowboy action shooting subset of Wild Bunch shooting, using the guns of the movie THE WILD BUNCH,  including major caliber lever action rifles (.45, .44, 44-40, 38-40), 1911s and pump shotguns. Originally, the 1897 Winchester and its Chinese clones were the only pump guns allowed. But in Wild Bunch shooting, the pump guns are loaded up and run like pump guns are supposed to be run (in cowboy, '97s are only loaded 2 at a time). Winchester '97s are sketchy at best — they're old, overly complicated (87 separate heat treating steps) and prone to being pounded to pieces. My friend Gene Pearcey (cowboy champion "Evil Roy")  has always said every cowboy shooter needed 3 '97s — one to shoot, one for back-up, the other at the gunsmith being repaired. When I shot '97s in competition, I found this to be gospel.

The Wild Bunch founding fathers decided — wisely, I think — to allow Winchester Model 12s into the sport effective 1 January 2013. Model 12s, one of the most famous and best -selling shotguns ever, was created to solve many of the shortcomings of the Model '97. Secondly, Winchester made about a billion of the things, and they're widely available at completely sane prices. My local gunstore had 7 of the things in the rack, with prices starting at $250. Cheap at the price! Mine's a 1950s vintage gun (as opposed to my 1903 '97) in excellent shape. Ken cut the barrel to 21 inches or so, took an inch off the stock, fitted screw-in chokes and replaced the worn parts.

I think Wild Bunch has the potential, I believe, to be a major national sport, capturing the good points of both cowboy action shooting and some of the other practical shooting sports like USPSA. 1911s remain crazy popular, and the cool thing about a Model 12 is that I would not be uncomfortable at all using my Model 12 as a home protection shotgun (I would use a '97 if that's what I had, but I would worry). The sport took off like a shot (yep...pun alert), but went though pretty typical growing pains that slowed growth.

On the plus side, the founding father have from the beginning insisted on a greater emphasis on marksmanship...the shots are typically harder than you'd see in SASS (or the Steel Challenge, for that matter), and there are lots more of them.  On the negative side, there are some "artifacts" left over from the sports' cowboy roots, such as loading the 1911 mag with only 5 rounds. Still, Wild Bunch is a fascinating and challenging sport, one that I like a lot.

BTW BTW, Rob Pincus has an excellent article on his Personal Defense Network on choosing a carry gun. The focus of my own video is "simplify and demystify" concealed carry, and Rob's article is in agreement. One of the legacies of gun magazines is an apparently endless assessment of ammunition, guns and gear, in search of that elusive (and nonexistent) "best." Rob's article is definitely worth reading.


Obiwan said...

Actually the Model 12 was in the movie! Look in the bank scene at what the antihero was using to hold the bank employees while the rest of the bunch ran out of the bank.

nj_larry said...

I ran across this new website a couple of months ago. It is like a WIKI for movie guns....check it out. You can easily spend an hour or two just browsing....,_The

K. Rihanek said...

Thanks for the holster tip. I ordered one and a mag pouch for my Taurus slim. I like it.