Monday, October 31, 2005

GUNSITE Wrap-Up...

I did have a great time! Part of that was the great class, including Wayne Novak, Gary Paul Johnson, Denny Hansen, Wily Clapp, Dick Williams, Frank Brownell (yes, that Brownell's!), Brian Tucker from Davidsons, Bobby McGee and Tom Crawford from Blade-Tech and the unsinkable Jane Ann Hulen, marketing director for GUNSITE. The other part was the great instructors — Ed Stock, Chris Weare, Sharon Wachter and Il Ling New. Thanks to Buzz Miles, Ed Head and Jane Ann for inviting me!

I got to thinking about why I really liked the S&W GUNSITE 1911, and I reached some interesting conclusions. I've been lucky enough to shoot literally hundreds of John Browning's great invention over the last three decades. I've shot 1911s from every major manufacturer, original and replica guns from WW1 and WW2, 1910 Commercial copies and the high end stuff from the top makers, in calibers from .22 to .45 Magnum. I've handled the original guns submitted for testing to the military by John Browning, handled and shot Jeff Cooper's personal 1911 carry guns, shot the first "pin guns" built by Jim Clark Senior and the first comp guns from Charles Kelsey, Wilson and Mike Plaxco. At various times I've owned 1911s built/overhauled by Richard Heinie, Bill Wilson, Bill Laughridge, Wayne Novak, Mike LaRocca, Bruce Gray, Ross Carter, Dane Burns, Bob Cogan and several lesser known but excellent 'smiths.; spent time in factories where 1911s were being made; consulted on new 1911s for several companies and blown up two — that was fun!

So what's the difference between a "good" 1911 and an "also ran?" Well, I made a list of sorts:
1) A good 1911 is more than a collection of parts, no matter how good those parts are. I've built 1911s from parts, and, sure, they went bang, but they were far, far, far from world-class handguns!
2) Just because all 1911 parts are "interchangeable" doesn't mean that all of those interchangeable parts work together. The One From Column A; One From Column B approach seldom yields the best gun. I know some really good manufacturers who've gotten stung by this one!
3) Component selection is as much an art as a science. For example, a collection of the "best" parts won't necessarily yield the "best" gun. I've shot guns that, using objective criteria, might qualify as "junk," but that shot as well or better than some of the top end 1911s.
4) The ergonomic relationship between the grip safety and the cut underneath the back of the trigger guard is instrumental in how the gun will feel. The ergonomic relationship between the short or long trigger and the humped or flat mainspring housing will determine how the gun points.
5) Different frame materials have a different subjective feel in handling/transmitting recoil. If you ride a lot of bicycles, you can really feel a difference between steel, titanium, carbon fiber and aluminum is not necessarily better than the other, but rather it's a different set of compromises for the rider to adjust to. Ditto for 1911 frames. A ploymer-framed STI, an aluminum-framed Colt, a scandium-framed S&W and a steel-framed SIG will all transmit different recoil impulses to the hand.
6) Your hand size determines what set of compromises will feel best to you.
7) Be prepared to change your criteria as you shoot more. I still like razor-sharp checkering, a habit I picked up when I was competing seriously in Florida, where my hands were always slick and sweaty. If you choose sharp checkering, be prepared for a little pain. That thumb safety that looked so cool in the Brownell's catalog might not be nearly so cool once it's on yout gun.
8) Grip safeties are a pain in the butt. I hate them; perversely, one has probably saved my life (a cocked 1911 thrown up in the air by a woman after an accidental shooting, me running toward the inevitable train wreck; the gun landed on the hammer, barrel pointed at the center of my didn't go bang). My competition guns have pinned grip safeties; my carry guns have grip safeties set so light a thought can disable them. Brother Wayne Novak has a grip safety/mainspring one piece unit that solves the problem.
9) No matter what the experts, pundits, gunwriters and me say, YOU are the final authority on the ergonomics of your 1911. Don't stop 'til you get it right!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Nice Poster!

From Oleg Volk...go buy something from him!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Wuss, James Wuss...

I'm going to do a wrap-up of my week at GUNSITE and the S&W GUNSITE 1911 as soon as I have one full night of sleep, but I wanted to make sure everyone sees this item on the "new" James, courtesy of our pals at the Carnival of Cordite:
New Bond: I hate guns

By This is London
25 October 2005
Daniel Craig will have a problem playing the new James Bond - because he hates guns.

The actor will wield 007's famous Walther PPK in the movie Casino Royale.

But he revealed in OK! magazine: "I hate handguns. Handguns are used to shoot people and as long as they are around, people will shoot each other.
Golly, another SCUMBAG WEASEL EGG-SUCKING JERK-OFF WHORE actor looking to make a few bucks off our culture...there's a surprise! I say that when Casino Royale comes out, let's give Danny Boy a good ole American one-finger salute, to make sure he knows he's "NUMBAH ONE" in our book!

Dammit, George! Listen to Us for a Change...

More from the writings (courtesy Instapundit) of Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski, considered one of the foremost legal minds in America, an acknowledged expert on Constitutional law, the classic American success story of an young immigrant made good and the man George W. Bush should be on the phone to RIGHT NOW about that Supremes slot:
Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that “speech, or . . . the press” also means the Internet, and that “persons, houses, papers, and effects” also means public telephone booths. When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases--or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we’re none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as spring-boards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it’s using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences. . . .

All too many of the other great tragedies of history— Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few—were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. See Kleinfeld Dissent at 5997-99. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars. My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history.

And Judge Alex, as always, thank you for your sevice in our behalf!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Lay Down More!

The S&W/GUNSITE scandium Commander is still percolating along — no stoppages of any kind — although today was a painful reminder that I need to spend MUCH more time on "positional" shooting...kneeling, prone...especially prone. Tomorrow is the Playhouse and some simulation stuff on one of GUNSITE's signature donga courses. Big Fun coming!

Been spending some great catch-up time with old pals Wayne Novak (think Novak sights) and SWAT Magazine editor Denny Hansen, who I used to write for back in the day. I've also been able to hang with the guys from Blade-Tech. Hopefully, by tomorrow, I can convince them to make me a nice crossdraw driving holster.

Also, in our YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST, BUBBA department, S&W is introducing a fixed sight .45 ACP N-Frame revolver, the M22. It's YET ANOTHER Thunder Ranch special, except that the logo is small and ONLY on the grips (which are, amazingly enough, square butt). HMMMMMM...who says big companies don't listen to us little people, even if someone else gets or takes the credit. Next, Thunder Ranch milk and cookies! This gun ought to be a MONSTER for IDPA competition, as well as a bedside gun extraordinaire. It's going to have to wait before coming to my house, though, because I ponied up for the S&W GUNSITE special I've been shooting, which pretty much shoots the HELL out of the new gun budget for awhile. Besides, I must order one of the new Rugers...oops, can't say that yet!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sore Fingers!

A couple of quick notes before I crash:

• GUNSITE is the best training facility in the United States, period. There is a tremendous reservoir of talent and information here, and you owe it to yourself to attend a class here if you'd like to kick your shooting up a notch. If you can't make it here, not to worry — I plan on continuing SHOOTING GALLERY's special relationship with GUNSITE and give you at least two GUNSITE training episodes every season. I want to make sure SG has take-home value! I think one of the things I really like about GUNSITE is the attitude of all the trainers. They seem genuinely concerned with your learning the material presented, and they do an amazingly consistent job with presentation. The other thing is that GUNSITE''s training is the baseline, the core of techniques that so much else is built on. No, I don't agree with everything they teach here, but more than once they've forced me to re-examine my own preconceptions!

• The S&W scandium-framed Commander-sized 1911 is an amazingly well set up gun. When I was out here last time, I shot Col. Jeff Cooper's personal carry gun, a lightweight Commander (in, duh, .45 ACP!) with S&W revolver sights. I thought at the time that a 1911 set up the right way did a super job of reducing the felt recoil from the .45, even in the lightweight frame configuration. The new S&E GUNSITE Special is perfect. I put about 300 rounds of Black Hills 230-grain .45 ACP ball through mine today...I say "mine" because even though I had resolved not to buy the gun, it's rock-solid performance turned me around. I can't pass this one up! As long as I do my job, the hits are right there, and the gun isn't particularly punishing — although, yes, my right hand is sore! No failures of any kind...I like the "speed bump" grip safety, which has worked well for me even though I have a nasty history of failing to hit the grip safety because of my girly-man hands. I also like the Novak sights (the dovetail front has a gold bead, which is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE front sight configuration). Brother Novak is shooting with us, so I get to make fun of him whenever he screws up (which is, in all honesty, very rarely).

Sleepy time now!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lucy Lawless, Vampire Bats & GUNSITE

Am I the only one who can't wait to see Lucy Lawless in VAMPIRE BATS on CBS this Sunday? Xena goes batty! All right, I'll stop! I love bat movies, though.

I did have a great time at Kirkpatrick Leather filming an episode of COWBOYS. Mike and Jason Kirkpatrick do fantastic work, made all the better after my sour experience with El Paso Saddlery. They're also nice guys. Kirkpatrick is what custom leather is supposed to be. I can't way to see the holster they're putting together for the .454 Casull; they got started on it when I was there. Basically a Threeperson-styled crossdraw.

I've got the rest of the week at GUNSITE in the 350 pistol class sponsored by S&W, with us filming on Friday for SG. We'll be working with S&W 1911s, I assume. I brought along a Blade-Tech vertical Kydex holster, an ancient Davis double mag pouch and a Wilderness Tactical belt. It'll be fun, and quite honestly, I need the tune-up with a semiauto. I've been on a revolver binge for the last few weeks, but I figure shooting a 1911 is like riding a'll come right back to me. Or else I'll suffer the Halloween Curse of Jeff Cooper, which will cause my follower to nose-dive, my recoil spring to go limp and and my magazine to fail to fully seat.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Duke Kicks Butt!

Since I spent all day on the site of the 1958-59 filming of John Wayne's The Alamo, Happy Shahan's Alamo Village, I thought I should impart a small bit of DUKE WISDOM from The Alamo:

[JW as Davy Crockett to Linda Cristal, "Flaca," on the secret of life]: "To feel useful in this old world. To hit a lick against what's wrong or to say a word for what's right, even though you get whalloped for saying that word...There's right and there's wrong. You're gonna do one or the other. You do one, and you're living. You do the other, and you may be walking around, but you're dead as a beaver hat."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Just In Case of RHINO Charge!

So I'm here in the No-Tell Motel in Uvalde, TX, filming a couple of episodes of COWBOYS. One of those episodes is on master cowboy holstermaker Mike Kirkpatrick in Laredo. I decided to bring him a gun to make a holster for — an old Seville 5-shot single action in .454 Casull. In fact, the Seville was the first production .454. Mine was a gift from my pal Hank Williams Jr. a thousand or so years ago; a couple of years ago I had the gun completely overhauled (barrel shortened, everything checkout out, bead-blasted finish, action job) from master'smith Dave Clements at Clements Custom Guns. It's bigger than a Super Blackhawk, however, and so it needs a custom holster.

Since I absolutely refuse to be in Texas without a LOADED GUN, I grabbed a plastic case of ammo for the single action and tossed it in my luggage. Since it was early, I ended up with 350-grain absolute screamers designed as Big Medicine For Bear Country. Perfect for self-defense! If I'm attacked tonight by a road grader, it's meat...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Letters, Letters...We Get Letters!

This arrived in my mailbox today, and I thought it was interesting enough to post and ask you guys (and guyettes, of course!) for your responses!
Hi, Michael: We met when you did a presentation to the Mystery Writers of America, and I've followed your blog ever since. BTW, I agree about Lucifer's Hammer.
I'm just starting to work on a mystery series about a parole officer in the near future, circa 2050. How do you think the police will be armed 45 years from now? I'd appreciate any thoughts on the matter. Feel free to make it a blog entry if you wish.

Thanks for your attention.

Bob Tinsley
Colorado Springs
Hi Bob! Now that's an intersting question! Just off the top of my head, I think I'm going to go retro here and cast my chips for an updated 1911 in .45 ACP ("Just like the one my Daddy, who was in Special Forces, was issued in Gulf War 3 in '09...and the Mexican Uprising of 2021...and the California Rebellion of 2022...etc!"). It's too good a design to fade away, too ergonomic to ignore and there are too many of them out there in too many experienced hands, who will be training the next couple of generations of gunmen and gunwomen.

And I fall back on the Robert Heinlein dictum from Beyond This Horizon (where "An armed society is a polite society" came from, me thinks), which is that if you've got to shoot someone, to heck with this phaser crap! Stick with a BIG BOOM and a HUGE CHUNK OF LEAD!

Okay everybody...PILE ON!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Protection of Lawful Commerce Act Passes House!

We have won yet another major victory, maybe one of the most important victories ever:
Today the United States House of Representatives passed the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” (S. 397) by a bipartisan vote of 283-144. The legislation now moves to President Bush’s desk for his expected signature.
I'm glad we got something out of this election cycle. As I predicted, we've pretty much disappeared from the radar since we "libertarian swing voters" WON THE DAMN ELECTION FOR THE REPUBLICANS, washed away by a host of "social issues" that nobody I know gives a friggin' crap about. Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land — GET OVER IT! Sometimes men fall in love with men and women fall in love with women and they'd like to spend their lives together...unless you're one of the involved parties, it's none of your business — GET OVER IT! There's pornography on the don't have to partake — GET OVER IT! Sometimes people who are in a lot of pain and can't keep food down want to ingest a mild drug to help them over both's none of your business — GET OVER IT! For that matter, sometimes adults want to ingest substances that turn their brains into warm lime long as they're not driving, who cares? — GET OVER IT! GET OVER IT! GET OVER IT!

There are real and serious dangers to the Constitution RIGHT NOW — the gun confiscations in New Orleans; the relentless attacks on the First Amendment under the guise of "hate speech" or "political speech" legislation; the collapse of the entire concept of personal privacy; the endless procession of cameras that monitor our every move; the push for internal indentification cards/passports and the liberalization of the police's right to demand the same; the continued and very real threats of domestic and international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction...

SIGH...rant mode off! At least we got one decent law...

The End

It's the end of the world as we know it It's the end of the world as we know it It's the end of the world as we know it And I feel fine

Hurricanes! Earthquakes! Tsunamis! Plagues! Wars!

Yes folks, as they say on Iron Chef, it's O-VAH! Thta's's time for the Big A, End Times, the Apocalypse, the Great Big "-30-" on Earth's Short Story. And this time, there's plenty of evidence on the internet. This from
So close is the correlation between recent events and the biblical prophecy of the Second Coming, by the reckoning of, its "Rapture Index" has been hovering around 160 — the highest levels since just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to the Web site, "the higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the ... rapture." When the number is above 145, it advises: "Fasten your seatbelts!"
Well, my seatbelts are fastened, but I hoping I can get at least one more snowboarding season before we're beset by big rocks falling from the skies and savage satanic Rottweillers heralding the coming of the Anti-Christ, or Hillary Clinton, whichever comes first.

As you regular readers know, for the last year or so I've been pointing out some of the Signs of the Apocalypse, most of which have to do with Demi Moore [my favorite DM photo is above] and those mysterious lottery numbers on "Lost"4 8 15 16 23 42, and, no, those numbers did not win the big PowerBall Jackbot this weekend!

I've started compiling a reading list for people with the End Time Jitters. Lately, out of sheer perversity, I''ve been grinding through Robert Jordan's epic 11-book Wheel of Times series, which is, at its core, an Apocalyptic story. It's riveting, but not nearly grim enough. Instead, try these:

The granddaddy of them all, Steven King's The Stand. Brilliantly written and ultimately both uplifting and profoundly depressing. Perfect for Christmas reading!

Two of my favorites from my Impetuous Youth fascination with the Grandmaster, Robert Heinlein, the wildly politically incorrrect Farnham's Freehold and the quirky If This Goes On, which speculates about an America ruled by a fundamentalist religious cult.

My current favorite giant earthquake book, The Rift, from Walter Jon Williams. I grew up along the New Madris Fault in Memphis; it's about time soneone shook up Graceland.

The ever-popular Lucifer's Hammer, the ultimate Big Rock from the Sky book from larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Filled with such trivia as the fact that at one time in the past, pepper was worth more than gold and jewels.

Check out more at Lenny Bruce's blogsite, "Endies" and Amazon's ListMania,

Oh yeah, I blotted out Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley, made into what may be one of the worst movies ever coughed up in Hollywood. although Jan Michael Vincent rules!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Stossel on Gun Control...

...proving that not all MSM guys have their heads up their butts! This is a great piece from John Stossel:
Myths About Gun Control
By John Stossel

Guns are dangerous. But myths are dangerous, too. Myths about guns are very dangerous, because they lead to bad laws. And bad laws kill people.
"Don't tell me this bill will not make a difference," said President Clinton, who signed the Brady Bill into law.

Sorry. Even the federal government can't say it has made a difference. The Centers for Disease Control did an extensive review of various types of gun control: waiting periods, registration and licensing, and bans on certain firearms. It found that the idea that gun control laws have reduced violent crime is simply a myth.

I wanted to know why the laws weren't working, so I asked the experts. "I'm not going in the store to buy no gun," said one maximum-security inmate in New Jersey. "So, I could care less if they had a background check or not."

"There's guns everywhere," said another inmate. "If you got money, you can get a gun."

Talking to prisoners about guns emphasizes a few key lessons. First, criminals don't obey the law. (That's why we call them "criminals.") Second, no law can repeal the law of supply and demand. If there's money to be made selling something, someone will sell it.

Read the whole piece.

The Little Nazi In Us All

You know, I can occasionally go months without remembering I live in Boulder County, known nationwide as "The People's Republic of Boulder." We are, after all the community where by city ordinance we must refer to pets as "companion animals" and pet owners as "guardians." Boulder has its own nuclear policy (NO!), has banned circuses, although no group of clowns — with the exception of the councilpeople themselves — has been through Boulder since the 1930s. We are four-square against genital mutilation of women (I wonder how many urban communities are in favor of genital mutilation of women?), against the war in Iraq nand/or any other war that involves agents of democracy against human vermin, and, of course, definitely against hate.

Accordingly, last week, Boulder launched it's very own Anti-Hate Hotline:
BOULDER - The Human Relations Commission on Monday night allocated $8,000 so a private group can start an anti-hate hot line, which encourages residents to telephone if they have been victims of discrimination or witnessed it.
Think of it — finally, we have a place to report our neighbors, our family, or even total strangers if we witness them doing something, or saying something, racist, sexist, ageist, genderist, humanocentric or against our Beloved Brothers in Space Who Will Show Us the Way as soon as They land! This is wonderful news!

I'm hoping that Boulder's teachers, who have already shunned Dead Europen Males and all that crappy literature written by the punks and thieves who founded this mysogenistic, racist, genocidal society that we live in, will help our children understand that it is right and societally proper to turn in parents or even grandparents for even the slightest slur against even the most obscure Society of Victims. And it's important that we expand that Society of Victims, because Boulder is 95% pure-D lilly white, a town with few minorities and lots of "Celebrate Diversity" bumperstickers.

Perhaps over the door of our schools, our public buildings — except, of course, the library, which we will soon be referring to as, "the Public Barbecue Pit" — and our new "Anti-Hate Orientation Camps" we can inscribe something appropriate to inspire us all. I'm voting for:
Arbeit Macht Frei
Work Leads to Freedom!
Here's a good example! quickly we forget, and how blindly we follow! If you don't want to have to use the protections of the Second Amendment, you need to unconditionally and unequivocally protect the First Amendment! There is no such thing as "hate speech;" there are only words you don't agree with!

And, yes, Jon Benet Ramsey is still dead and her killers are still free. First things first!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Quick Food Guide to Santa Fe

I didn't want to let the day go by without giving you a quick list of must-eats in Santa Fe:

Blue corn cheese enchiladas with red sauce at the Shed. Here's a review and here's the site for the Shed. Red sauce to weep for; what all chilis dream of while they're hanging around Chamayo. Get the enchilada plate with pinto beans and posole. When you eat the pasole, DO NOT make hominy jokes, no matter how tempting.

Chile Rellenos at Maria's. I haven't been to Maria's in more than a decade, and it's still one of the great Southwestern restaurants on earth. The chili rellenos are beyond amazing, piquant local chilis stuffed with a tangy cheese. I got mine with green chili, and I'd suggest you go that way as well.

Chocolate croissants at La Fonda. Get there early, like before 9 AM, or they're all gone. Get, like, 50 of them; lock yourself in your hotel room with a gallon of coffee and knock yourself out. Insulin shock has never felt so good.

I can't even begin to sort out the margaritas! Santa Fe is ground zero for the gods of tequila. Every tequila ever distilled by man on earth is available somewhere in Santa Fe. The guys at Maria's like to point out that they quite literally wrote the book, which is true. They offer 100 margaritas...I tried two, and they were both REALLY HONEST TO GOD WORLD CLASS. The Shed's were not exactly chopped liver...I went with Silver Coins, although I really like gold margaritas made with a s...m...o...o...o...o...o...o...t...h, smoky Reposada.

So anyhow, how come I didn't buy new boots? I saw a set of Rocket Busters I really liked, but for $1895? With some judicious shooping, that's an S&W 329PD, 2 of the new Ruger Flattop 2006...oops, I didn't say that!...and a used SIG 228, for god's sake! I saw a couple of red Luccheses in the $800-900 range, but all I could think of when I tried them on was that it was either the boots or one of the new Detonics CombatMaster mini-.45s. My Sweetie says I've got to either buy a pair of high-dollar cowboy boots or GET OVER IT and stop kicking tires. The last pair of cowboy boots I bought came to $150, and I've worn the heels off 'em. I'm talking to Caboots about a pair of 15-inch custom black boots with Chinese dragons snaking form the toes to the tops, a little something special for SHOT Show. Good taste is, after all, timeless. Or maybe I'm still kicking tires.

I did however buy two things...a black cowboy shirt with embroidered macaws (tactical, of course) for the SHOT Show episode of SHOOTING GALLERY. I'm also going to get a balaclava embroidered with happy faces. The other thing I got was a tactical non-tactical (or non-tactical tactical, I get confused) oilcloth duster-type vest from Outback Trading Company. Sucker's perfect for concealed carry! Just to be sure, I got a size larger than I needed, and it's perfect for belt carry with my SIG 225 and Alessi CQB snap-on, to say nothing of various and sundry IWBs. Got about a billion pockets and is waterproof to boot. Plus, you don't look like a refugee from a National Geographic photo shoot!

Two Thousand Zero Zero Party Over, Out of Time...

While we wait patiently for the avian flu pandemic, a few data points:


• HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy attempted to rescue six men who had become trapped by high tide on a jetty off Hyannisport on Sunday...HELP! I'm trapped in the water and Teddy Kennedy is coming to save me!

Destroyer series Canada-ized; drifts left...Warren Murphy decides to kick ass again! Brother Murphy wrote the intro to my novel, ALL NIGHT RADIO; is a big time gun guy and an all-around good guy. Here's hoping he recaptures his legacy from Our Dim Bulb Neighbors In The North.

• Singer Prince needs a hip replacement...American pop star Prince is to have a hip replacement operation after years of dancing in high heels. The 47-year-old has been told that years of energetic dancing and strutting on stage may have taken a toll on his joints. Tonight we're gonna party, our grandparents...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig...

Okay, am back at Rancho Deluxe from my orgy of Southwestern food in Santa Fe!

So more tomorow on red sauce and margaritas at the Shed, chili rellenos and drop dead margaritas at Marias, pastries from La Fonda, seafood burritos at Orlando's in Taos and my only real purchase — a non-tactical tactical vest. NOOOOOOOOOO, I punked out on boots and hats AGAIN!!!! Good I a closet frugal-ista?

I also bought my Sweetie a beautiful, really cool ring (of the non-wedding kind) for her birthday...strangely enough, stainless steel.

PLUS PLUS, an update on one of the coolest high-end gunstores I've ever been in!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Green Chili World!

Had a pretty good meal last night at Orlando's in Taos — shrimp burrito smothered in hot green chili sauce, along with a Negro Medolo. Tolday will be art galleries and shops in Taos; then on to Santa Fe, O'Farrell Hats and the Luchasse Boot store.

I don't know — this relax thing has me confused. What am I supposed to be doing? SIGH...when did I start working so much?

My pal Mark came up to babysit the house and Alf the Wonder Dog, plus use my range to get in some shooting with his own guns. I left him out the S&W M21 to continue wringing out.

In assorted other news:

• The illustrious gunwriter Patrick Sweeney is being coaxed by Yours Truly to do a magazine article on the bizarre resurrection of the .38/40 cartridge (I've even offered him my upcoming Bowen .38/40 N-Frame S&W to test, but god help him if he scratches it!). I believe the .38/40 is the New .44 Special, a quirky obsolete cartridge that is developing a following for no particular reason. I've even been thinking of a cowboy set-up in .38/40...there are a bunch of rifles lying around, from the European limited edition Winchester 92 that's now in the discount markets at a reasonable price and all the Italian clones. Ruger did a VERY short run of .38/40 Vaqueros (I believe), and there's the occasional .38/40 Blackhawk around from a special run for a distributor a few years back. Obviously, there's a flood of Italian clones. My best, but priciest, bet would be the Turnbull U.S. Firearms Single Action Armies, but at more than a grand a pop it makes me sweat. Larry Crow has offered to rechamber a couple of .357 Rugers on the grounds that most .38/40s' chambers aren't quite up to par. His main Guild Gun, the gun he built to be admitted to the prestigious Pistolsmiths' Guild, was an 7-inch octagonal-barreled .38/40 that shoots as well or better than any revolver I've ever handled. It is, indeed, a masterpiece. HMMMMMM...two Ruger New Vaqueros in .38/40...where is that credit card??????

ALSO...a belated apology on my email situation. I'm getting a staggering amount og email every day, and I can't seem to catch up. So if you've sent me an email and I haven't answered, I'm getting there, honest!

ALSO ALSO...the new SHOOTING GALLERY website/blog community is ALMOST operational! I hope to be able to coax people like the illustrious Sweeney, gunwriter Walt Rauch and a whole host of other whackos you've seen on SG to contribute their own blogposts in the SG community. I believe this will be YET ANOTHER groundbreaking contribution to the World of Guns (of course, I have no ego issues, either!).

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Doug Koenig is not 100%, but is very interested. I think he'll find this match irresistable!

Onl;y person we're waiting to hear from is TGO, Rob Leatham.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mr. Whiney...

You know, my hand still hurts from popping off all those GIGANTIC BOOMERS! Makes me wonder about those gunwriters who talk about shooting "manly guns!" Wow, I wish I was "manly." Maybe I can take a course at CU...

I gotta say, I think I might shift priorities on the old "Michael's Gonna Buy It" list. As you know, I was planning to add one of the long-discontinued L-frame S&W 696 5-shot L-frames .44 Specials to my S&W collection, but, perversely, I really liked the S&W 329PD 26-ounce .44 Magnum...and they're available all over the place pretty cheap because people buy 'em because the studly gunwriters said they were cool, fire a couple of cylinders' worth of full-boat ammo through 'em and put 'em on consignment at the local gun store for kibbles and bits.

I'm getting ready to stage an expedition to Santa Fe to get my fix of world-class Mexican food and maybe buy a new cowboy hat or some Luchasse boots. I'd almost move to Santa Fe if for no other reason that the proximity of Ten Thousand Waves, the greatest Japanese health spa in the country. Ten Thousand Waves is where God goes when She needs to relax. Hot tubs, saunas, freezing cold dips, a zillion maggase therapists (including one involving hot rocks and feet, which reduced me to whimpering rubble). I used to go there when I was climbing; bust your ass on the rocks all day, then soak it out all night. I've also stayed in the Japanese cabins there; had I stayed one night more, I'd have never left. If you're looking for a romantic weekend because the loan on the tennis bracelet didn't come through, Ten Thousand Waves is it.

Gotta go fee my goldfish...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hamilton Bowen Trip

SUPER day today with revolvermeister Hamilton Bowen, although I gotta say I need to take gunwriter John Taffin's advice and cut down on my diet of BIG BLASTERS! A couple of more .475 Linebaughs and 300-grain .44 Magnums out of scandium-framed ultra-lites and my wrist is going to sue me for damages.

One cool thing, then more when I get home. Hamilton has a really neat line of J-frame snubby fixed sites coming out — perfect for thoise weird alloy guns where it's impossible to get a clean site picture. On seeing his arrangement, I was amazed noboyd had thought of it before. He's also in beta on his S&W Rough Country sites, which give you the same picture as Bo-Mars...a boon to competition shooters.

Also, my .38/40 N-frame S&W project is coming along nicely — I got to watch them chamber the cylinders. I'll take pictures and post 'em when the gun is done!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

No More Pretending...

...that summer's still hanging on, since it's snowing to beat the band. I put the Boxcar down at the base of the driveway so I wouldn't have to get up at O-Dark-30 and shovel snow. Am going to spend Tuesday with revolver-meister Hamilton Bowen for SHOOTING GALLERY, which will be undeniable fun. He's been working on an S&W M28 .357 conversion ot .38/40 for me. As one of the only people on earth who actuallylikes .38/40, I'd like to say a couple of words in its defense. It's accurate; I never had any problems reloading it, desite it's skinny case mouth and bottlenecked shape, and it was pretty versatile, from popgun to rivaling .41 maggie speeds (don't try that at home, either!

A few interesting data points:

• Kimber is making a premium .45 1911 magazine, the Kim-Pro Tac-Mag. Okay, somebody at Kimber PR and Official Product Naming Office got into the Ritalin — sounds like a publication for Korean restaurants specializing in dog — but the magazine looks pretty good. The kicker is that for $29.95 you get three interchangeable mag bases, including a plain old stainless steel plate, a thin pad for carry and a thicker pad for mag wells and competition. Since I've been playing cowboy, I haven't had a chance to take the sample to the range, but I'll be at Gunsite the end of the month and I can torture it there. Be nice to see something rattle the Wilson Combat Hegemony.

• I got my order from El Paso Saddlery — two Tom Threeperson holsters and one of the shoulder holsters they made to John Wesley Hardin's specs back in the Wild Wild West. It's lucky they didn't give this holster to Mr. Hardin (who perhaps, as Mr. Bob Dylan once opined, never shot an honest man), cause he would have shot their sorry butts on the spot. It looks like one of those holsters you buy at cheesey souvenir shops for plastic guns, except in nondescript leather. Looks flimsy; feels flimsy; cost a lot of money! The Threepersons holsters are serviceable, but without the attention to detail or precise fit that is the primary raison d'etra of custom holster shops, which is how EPS bills itself. This stuff isn't even in the same UNIVERSE as the premiere cowboy leathercrafters like Kirkpatrick, Shelhart, John Bianchi and Mernickle. I now understand why they ding your credit card before you hang up the phone. Oh well, live and learn. Always nice to have loaners available.

• The .44 Vaquero/44 Marlin Cowboy combo worked very well at the cowboy match in Utah — I didn't work all that well, but the guns rocked! The Winchester .44 Cowboys were a bit hotter than most of the other ammo at the match (considering that one hapless .38 Special actually exited the barrel, fell to the ground and rolled toward the targets), but it it fiercely accurate. The Marlin, which was new out of the box, was stiff, but began settling in by the end of the match. Since winter is setting in (an inch now), I'll send it off to Steve Young for a tune-up and a one-piece firing pin. He did a similar job on my Sweetie's Marlin .32 H&R, and it has to be shot to be believed. The man is a genius with lever guns! I'll overhaul Vaquero #2 myself, since it's not that far off. The Coyote Cap Winchester M-97 Chinese clone is a stone workhorse. Unfortunately, it does not have a winking LED to remind me to PUMP THE DAMN ACTION! Operator error is a sad and pathetic'll see it next season on SG! Feel free to laugh, too.

I can only hope that I escape from Bowen Classic Arms with my credit card balance and my voice — which has been badly battered by a seemingly endless head cold — intact! News from the front later...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Huntsmans Cowboy Match!

So I shot nine pretty good stages...and one so bad I thought evil aliens had invaded my brain and replaced me with a Pod Person! I shot that stage like a chimpanzee, and you're going to get to see it on SHOOTING GALLERY in March! Sigh...

The guns worked great (NOTE TO SELF..."pump" shotguns require that you pump them in order for them to work!)

Thursday, October 06, 2005


The cat's out of the bag on this one!

In short, we're going to hold the shooting match you always wanted to see;


When: February 18, 2006
Where; The GUNSITE Academy, Paudin AZ
Match Director: Dave Arnold
Exclusive Targets: Action Targets

Already on-board are:

Todd Jarrett (via Para-Ordnamce) — IPSC World Champion; USPSA National Champion; Steel Challenge Limited World Champion, etc cetera
Max Michel — Steel Challenge Open Champion, USPSA National Champion, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit
Jerry Miculek — World Revolver Champion; USPSA National Champion, Multiple World Record Holder
Dave Sevigny — IPSC World Champion; USPSA National Champion; IDPA National Champion


Monday, October 03, 2005

A Crummy End to a Pretty Good Day

Spent the day out with Hawes Outfitters in Kansas getting ready for Tequila's big buffalo hunt in Kansas. Man, these Hawes guys are great, the real deal! When Bat Masterson gave your granddad a gun, and the family ranch dates from the 1880s, you've got some serious cowboy cred!

We're using a couple of Doug Turnbull's amazingly beautiful rifles, including one of the lever-action Winchester Teddy Roosevelt replica .45/75s. If you're quick and have a LOT of portable money, you can order one of your own! The other is an 1886 in .50/110, a real thumper.

I headed back to the hotel, 'cause I gotta go to Utah in a day or so. On the way back to the hotel I got dinged for 82 mhp in a 65 mph zone...yes indeed, a tragic failure of awareness! What really sucks is the KHP cop (is that "chip" or "kip") hands me the ticket and says something to the effect of, "I'm sorry we had to meet this way, Mr. Bane. I like the show."

Well, no more donuts for you! Kansas Bloody Kansas!

Contact Toto...Stuck in Kansas...

Well, not exactly stuck, but here for a couple of days for a buffalo hunt for COWBOYS. We'll be with Doug Turnbull, using his beautiful (and expensive) restored rifles.

Meanwhile, you can take a look at our latest experiment, a revised SHOOTING GALLERY website that I hope will become the coolest — and most useful — on-line firearms magazine. Right now, it's just a DUMMY (much like myself!), but in a few weeks it will be, essentially, a blog community. I'm inviting various and sundry people in the industry to be regular (or irregular, as befits the person) contributors.

So far, I've been really gratified at the'll be able to get information from and interact with the great trainers and shooters we've featured on SG & COWBOYS. Plus, I'll browbeat you into buying my books! Or else! I mean it!

Seriously, I think this has a tremendous opportunity to become the first place you hit when you tourn on your computer — after, of course, the Wicked Weasel bikini site and/or Boys Gone Wild

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Joss Whedon is God...

Went and saw SERENITY this weekend.

It's what REVENGE OF THE SITH might have been if someone had hidden George Lucas' thorazine — a rip-roaring funny-as-hell space opera, from the pen of the sainted Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffy-verse. The man can write dialogue like there's no tomorrow. Essentially, Serenity is the movie version of the short-lived Firefly series, which I never saw for some reason — odd, since I saw every freakin' episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for five years. I just remedied that, thanks to the miracle of Amazon.

One of the cool things about Whedon's writing, as my Sweetie has noted, like Buffy, all Joss Whedon's women kick ass. Even the hookers will shoot you.

But the reason that the readers of THIS blog need to drop what they're doing is the GUNS of Serenity. Mr. Whedon is a closet gun person, and it shows...ripping through space with a Mare's Leg Winchester 92 shortie and a M97 Trench Broom with a laser; you got your usual space stuff, and you got a huge collection of MP-5s of various flavors.

I loved this movie!

Here's the Serenity thread from The High Road gun forums; there's also a thread on the guns of Firefly.

Read this review in Slate, then go to the movies today instead of hanging around the house watching crappy football or cleaning your admitedly filthy firearms. Trust me; you'll be happier. This is a science fiction movie for grown-ups.