Friday, July 13, 2007

Back to Work!

Back to filming today for DOWN RANGE, a voracious maw that devours media. I'm working on a series of short-form videos for people who want to or are getting ready to buy a firearm. I forget sometimes that not everyone lives, eats and breathes this stuff. Here's a question — how should I balance the mix of videos on DOWN RANGE, vis-a-vis expert vs. beginner?

I think there's some utility in getting some of the top people in the industry to step back in time and remember how they started.

A second question...looking at the sweep of Gun Universe, how much emphasis do I need to be placing on all those old military rifles in SHOTGUN NEWS, the C&R stuff? It's frankly out of my venue...I've got a couple of Mausers, but in truth I haven't shot them in years. I need to get a sense of how large that market is..growing or shrinking...that sort of thing. I am going to go back and re-examine some of the older pistols like the Walther P-38/P-1, the CZ-52, the 1895 Nagant revolver and the like.

I'm having trouble putting these guns into context, so to speak. For example, yes, you can pick up a serviceable 8mm German Mauser 98 for a couple of bills or a Mosin Nagant for less than a hundred...but in my eyes those guns are either for plinking, informal target shooting, collecting or, for some of the guys I know, hunting...I'm not denegrating ANY of those activities, either! Remember, I'm the guy who thinks 38-40 is such a great cartridge he had a custom one built!

But if someone were to ask me for a suggestion for a good cheap bolt-action hunting rifle, my answer would be a used Savage or Ruger — in other words, a modern gun made with current steels — rather than one of the older military rifles. If you asked me about a "do-everything" or a so-called "social" rifle and you wanted a bolt gun, I'm going to send you out for any one of a half-dozen modern .308s. If you wanted a fast-handling carbine and were allergic to ARs, I'd point you toward a Marlin 30-30 lever can getone that was run over by a train and it will still work great. But the 50-plus year old military rifles I see as "fun guns," much like I see my 38-40.

My exception to the "fun guns" would be the Walther P-38/P-1 pistol. If I had only a single 9mm and it was a P-38 (actually, I prefer the alloy-framed P-1), I'd be just fine, heel-mounted magazine release and all. I've put a lot of rounds through various and sundry P-38s and P-1s, and I've found them to be accurate and reliable. I've shot some WW2 relics that surprised the heck out of me on accuracy. I've actually half-way planned to get one, have Tim Wegner at Blade-Tech or Brian Hoffner make me a modern plastic holster rig for it and shoot it in IDPA just to see how it suspicion is that it would work just fine.

I will confess that I'm planning on finishing a Siamese Mauser .45-70 project my father started and like so many other things in his life never finished. It's been rechambered from the original rimmed 8mm round, rebarreled and partially refinished. I tracked down the gunsmith who did the original work back in the early 1970s — Ed Mason in Memphis — and my plan is to get them to finish the job. Like I said, a fun gun...

Am I full of elephant poopers or what?


Anonymous said...


Good idea to make "How to" videos on gun purchase!
For the milsurplus type of rifle information go to This site is a must see for anybody interested in old military guns
For the first time gun buyer I would recommend to start with .22-singleshot rifle or revolver. Those are the foundation of every shooter's arsenal anyway.

Not Available said...

I posted this on Downrange back in Feb.
What I'd like to see on Down Range...

...self defense for women - how to carry, how to train, how to get a mindset

...history of firearms by manufacturer

...from target to defense to hunting (one gun three purposes)

...proper gun maintenance - rifle, pistol, revolver what products work which ones don't

...a behind the scene look at Shooting Gallery and Cowboys from concept to showtime

...interviews,interviews, interviews

...ballistics - charts, charts and more charts (ie, is the .357 that much more than .38?)

...shoot things (aka the box of truth)

Anonymous said...

The crufflers ( C&R license holders ) will have to zumbo you now.

All your Mausers are belong to us ...

Anonymous said...

New shooter recruitment is our best long term hope for continuing this addiction we call a hobby. So, I guess looking at the big picture, some beginner stuff would probably be good once in a while. One a month maybe?

As for the mil-surp stuff... to each his own, but, it doesn't interest me at all.

Anonymous said...

I am a milsurp owner and shooter.

I even used to have a C&R FFL.

What's so hot about milsurps?

I've got a 50-year-old M39 Finnish Mosin Nagant with which I can make 300-yard head shots on B-27 silhouette targets with almost boring repeatability.

And that jewel cost me $79.95 back when I bought it 10 years ago.

That's what's so hot about milsurps.

Oh yeah, I've also got an Ishapore 2A Enfield in 7.62X51 that now wears a black synthetic stock, a Leupold Scout Scope, and has the barrel shortened.

It's a very capable "pseudo-scout" rifle that holds 12 shots for less than $400 total.

That's another great thing about milsurps.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd like to see more on C&R guns. It's not that 50 year old rifles are better or worse than a new weapon, it's the engineering and history associated with them that I like.

Big sweaty guy's named Gus working by gas-lamps in steam powered factories producing weapons designed by slide-rules and candle light. ANd you never know if that gunk on the buttplate might be Nazi-brains.

Whats not to like?

Anonymous said...


Great ideas. Especially gun cleaning. What I know I learned in the military 30+ years ago. I have levers that I'm not sure how to clean. How far do you strip a gun down? Do you dump or spray solvent in the trigger mechanisims of semi-autos? Questions, questions.

Other good ideas of yours;
...from target to defense to hunting (one gun three purposes)

...proper gun maintenance - rifle, pistol, revolver what products work which ones don't

...interviews,interviews, interviews

...ballistics - charts, charts and more charts (ie, is the .357 that much more than .38?)

...shoot things (aka the box of truth)


Anonymous said...

I was just thinking of another feature I would like to see.

The "Notable people of the gun world".

Though I am 53 and have 10 years of military background there was a LOOOOONG lay off between then and when I got back 'into' guns.

Many of you have been around the field forever and talk about experts I have no real knowledge of. Heck, when I first heard of the Col he was already gone!

There are many out there that have laid the foundations that I don't know.

I short segment each week on SG or DRTV on one with a history and maybe a book / blog list would be a great resource.

Unknown said...


If the huge rise in price of these rifles is any indication then surplus is very hot. The Mauser in particular is the action that all others envy. Hell the CZ rifles are all Mauser actions as is the Rem700. You can't go wrong. As for the Nagant, well it will be my hunter this year. The 7.62x54r is a wonderful round and my M38 with new stock and scope are ready to blast away.