Thursday, February 23, 2017

Winter is Back, Dammit!

How could this happen, I ask? No more casual afternoons at the range for a while…was really nice to have almost a month of spring in the dead of winter, right about the time when we all start coming down with cabin fever ("I shot six holes in my freezer" as the song goes).

Spent yesterday shooting/videoing for the SGO GP-100 special. Was especially fun plinking with the GP-100 .22 10-shot and CCI "Quiets." Could barely hear a "tink" when the bullets hit the 60-yard silhouette.

Today is V/O for the AMERICAN MARKSMAN finale and some planning for next week's podcast. Since the first segment is video'ed I'm trying to put together a more visual piece for the filming. Next week I fully intend to wear pants, however.

I've done a little juggling of guns for in-house carry. Normally, I stick a .380 in my pocket when I get up in the AM, since I dress comfortably when I'm going to be working in the office all day. Note the dripping understatement in that comment...anyway, with people working outside on the new video studio most days (today being a Snow Day exemption), and me having to occasionally race to a store to pick something up, I wanted something a little more definitive to have on my person. Rather than buy a G43, I settled on the Ruger LC9s I put a couple of hundred rounds through a while back. I have a nice Simply Rugged DEFCON belt holster that is comfortable and easy to carry all day, so I'm going to go that route for awhile.

I never had any trouble with the older long DA pull LC9, especially after Galloway Precision overhauled it. As I said earlier, the LC9s has the best striker-fired trigger I've ever felt. I'm going to replace the Ruger guide rod and spring with a stainless steel captured spring version from Galloway just as a precaution. Still, when I leave the house, it's the red dot G19.

I guess I'll go ride the Spinner for an hour or so...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Great Circle of Life...

...Ruger style!

Been out shooting me some revolvers, filming for SGO. Aren't they just as cute as a passel of puppies? From top-dead-center, going clockwise, GP-100 .44 Special, Alaskan Super Redhawk .454 Casull, SP-101 Wiley Clapp version, GP-100 .357 Wiley Clapp/Gemini Custom, and .44 Magnum Redhawks by Hamilton Bowen.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fun Day at the Range

Yesterday we began filming for an SGO episode centering on the new Ruger GP-100 .44 Special…I want to talk a little about the history and the enduring appeal of the .44 Special. Since yesterday was B-Roll Day, I got to haul out a bunch of cool guns to shoot, including my Taylor's Schofield .44 Russian top-break, an S&W M-21 .44 Special and a plethora [use "plethora" 2 more times and it's MY word!] of GP-100s in multiple calibers.

As I've talked about on the podcast, I was never a particular fan of the GP-100. I have and had Smiths and Colts in .357, and because of my fascination with big bore handguns, .357 guns didn't much show up on my radar. That changed when my friend Ken Jorgensen at Ruger convinced me to try one of their Match Champion GP-100s. Ken is a revolver specialist and an enthusiastic ICORE competitor, and I know he had a lot of input into the Match Champion (so named as it was designed for IDPA revolver competition).

I got the gun just before I headed out to GUNSITE for a week of filming, so I took the Match Champion and a case of .38 Special ball along with me. In between filmings I had a great chance to run the gun and really liked it. Initially I wasn't crazy about the Hogue grips, but they feel really great in the  hand. I bought the gun and ran it in USPSA revolver competition…no, I didn't win the Cadillac, but I had a lot of fun.

It only got worse from there. We did a SHOOTING GALLERY episode on the ICORE Revolver World Championships, and I used a "vintage" GP-100 6-inch I bought off GunBroker and had overhauled by my friends at Cylinder and Slide Shop. I shot in the"classic" division, which requires speedloaders instead of moon clips.

From there I added a Wiley Clapp 3-inch (customized by Gemini Custom) and a 5.5-inch 10-shot .22 GP-100 for easy practice. I had trouble with my first .22 GP-100…one of the chambers was, in my best guess, not cut quite deep enough, causing the cylinder to bind up. I ended up returning that gun to Ruger, and the second has worked without a hitch. I plink a lot with CCI Quiets, which are…quiet.

One of the things we filmed yesterday was a recoil comparison with self-defense loads in the 3-inch .44 Special, the 3-inch .357 and a 2.75-inch Redhawk. I'm also doing a little history of the .44 Special, working up through .44 Russian (hence the Schofield) to the .44 Magnum. The other 2 parts we need to film are a comparison with other mid-frame .44 Specials (a Hamilton Bowen custom S&W .44 Special "Mountain Gun," a S&W 396 AirLite, a Charter Arms Bulldog and a Taurus 431 stainless steel. As you know, most of my revolvers have been "dinked." The Bulldog was redone by MagNaPort and has been a consistent problem child. The old Taurus, which was a gift from my father decades back, ended up in my safe because my father said it had the worst trigger in history…which is did. Jim Stroh from Alpha Precision completely redid the gun, rounding the square butt and going through the action with a fine-toothed comb. The result is one of the best .44 Specials I own. So the Ruger GP-100 has a lot of competition there. The final part is going through the GP-100 line. I'll do accuracy testing next week.

FWIW, in the last few years I have gone to "designer" cartridges for self-defense carry in both .44 Special and .44 Magnum. In the Specials, I've defaulted to Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel 200-gr wadcutters at 1000 fps; in the Magnum, as I've mentioned before, I've sett;ed on the Garrett Defenders, 310-gr at roughly 1000 fps.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Is It Friday Yet?

I need to parse this:

13 pounds of horse genitals concealed in woman's luggage; claimed it was for medicinal purposes

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, 
And no one can talk to a horse of course 
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse 
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse. 
He's always on a steady course. 
Talk to Mr. Ed.

"Oh Wilbur! Put down that knife!
I'm filming another episode of SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE today, if I can get past a flood of nickel and dime stuff. Like little bitty ducks nibbling at my testicles...

The initial run of the video podcast is a big success, and we will go forward with it. Essentially, we'll be videoing the first segment of DOWN RANGE Radio, which will go up on DRTV Wednesday afternoon. The regular audio version will go up Wednesday morning as usual.

Friday, February 10, 2017

I'm Not Sure, But I Think It's Friday...

Had a GREAT day Wednesday filming episode 13 of SHOOTING GALLERY Season 17 at the Liberty Firearms Institute (LFI) in Johnstown, CO, with John Carter producing/directing and my good friend Mark Passamaneck as guest blatherer. We shot a bunch of pistol caliber carbines (PCC) and, as Mark coined, pistol caliber pistols (PCP, a gateway drug). Was Big Fun! You'll see it around mid-March on SG.

LFI is one of the new generation of "guntry clubs," about as far away from the old dingy basement ranges from the Old Days as you can get. They have 2 25-yard ranges, a 50-yard range,  a 100-yard range (with televised targets so you don't even need your spotting scope), a steel range (frang only), a spectacular retail facility, classrooms, in-house training and gunsmith, an executive lounge, safes for rent, a coffee shop, space for a full-fledged restaurant and even a substation for the local cops on premises. Very impressive! I'm looking at doing a lot of my shooting there until winter loosens it grip.

The guns we had for the episode include, my JP 9mm GMR-13, a Stag 9mm carbine [not currently in production, but slated to come back at some point in the future] set up as a 3-Gun "trainer" Mark's home built (on a QC-10 lower) competition 9mm carbine, a Sig Sauer MPX, an Angstadt Arms pistol, my now-ancient Spike's Tactical 9mm pistol, a Kel-Tech Sub-2000, my QC-10/Dead Foot Arms 9mm pistol build, an IWI X95 9mm and a CZ EVO carbine that we ran out of time before we could shoot!

This is obviously not a survey of all PPCs! SG is now 19 1/2 minutes of edit (for a 30-minute program). I couldn't get in another gun on a bet — no diss on the Beretta CX-4 Storm, the Hi-Point, everybody's favorite cereal box, the KRISS, the AR-ish carbines/pistols (Aero Survival Rifle from TNW, Thureon's GA Carbine, Just Right, Tresna Defense's JAG9G, Flint River Armory's CSA45 (in .45ACP) and the upcoming FightLite MXR) and the insta-carbine, Mech Tech. I reached out to Mech Tech Systems, since I've used them in the past, but we couldn't get anything put together in time. Ditto the "oldies but goodies:" Marlin Camp Carbine, Ruger PC9, the lever guns, the bolt guns (Seen the Rock Island .22TCM bolt guns converted to a suppressed 9mm? Cool!), the other AR-15 platform manufacturers (the uber-AR 9mm was from Olympic, I believe, which just folded; Rock River Arms is still big into 9mm pistols and pistol caliber carbines, as is CMMG). Finally, no Auto Ordnance Thompsons (although I own a great one, rebuilt by Stan Andrewski years ago) or any of the current flood of MP5 clones, including the one from H-K and assorted different flavors of Uzi,  the Chiappa 9mm M1 Carbine that I have NEVER seen in the wild, or the great granddaddy of them all, the Colt 9mm SMG in its semi auto version, the Colt 6951. Oh, or pistol-to-rifle conversions...I already mentioned the Mech Tech, but there's also C.A.A.'s RONI system and the Sig Adaptive Carbine Platform. Did I mention specialty guns, like the 9mm carbine from Trojan Firearms that feeds from an STI 2011 magazine; Nordic Components' interchangeable magazine well carbines, Glock specialist Lone Wolf's Glock magazine carbines and components and a bunch of other pistol caliber lower manufacturers. This is why I launched SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE on

The ultimate feral cat whacker...

Wow! I need a nappie!

I talked to the TNW Corp guys at SHOT, and I am interested in the Aero Survival Rifle in 10mm, which should be a wicked-good home defense weapon...the 200-grain Buffalo Bores are closing out at almost 1200 fps, according to their website. A Brethren MP-5 has been in my sights for a while, but the price tag is still daunting. In all likeihood, my next "pistol caliber carbine" will be an M1 Carbine in .30 Carbine. I have a Hamilton Bowen .30 Carbine Ruger Blackhawk from the Old Days, and it is a very loud hoot to shoot. I'm set up to load .30 Carbine, and I always meant to get a M1 Carbine to go with it. When we were filming the Finals of AMERICAN MARKSMAN, one of the guns our finalists had to use was the M1 looked like a lot of fun to shoot.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Margarita Monday Home Run!


Check this out…

• The juice of 3 "sweet limes" and 3 lemons.
Tequila Reserva 1800 Silver
Contreau Orange Liqueur

Mix using my secret formula (2 1/2 shots tequila; 3 shots lemon/lime juice; 2 shots orange liqueur…don't tell a living soul!)

You will be the THE TOAST OF THE TOWN!!! Good grief these things are good! yes, it's hard to find sweet limes…you're going to have to go to Whole Foods, which means you need to armor up and risk running into snowflakes, although they make a pretty good guacamole, too. Trust me…make this for your Spousal Unit for Valentine's Day, and she/he/ze/ve/per will weep, weep I tell you, with joy. Trust me on this!!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

New Gun Day!

Not home yet, but on the way!

My good friend Jason from Lipsey's called me to say that their exclusive .44 Magnum/.44 Special Ruger #1s are in! I love Ruger #1s…back when I was a kid and couldn't afford anything, I was enamored with single shot rifles. I lusted for a Rolling Block (Hi and Lo Walls were so far out of my reach I didn't even imagine owning one), but ended up with a beat-up cut-down Trapdoor 45/70 that I shot the crap out of.

By the time the Ruger #1s appeared 47 years ago, I'd drifted pretty solidly into handguns. About a dozen years ago, though, I was at a Ruger event in southern California (back when you could have shooting events in southern California) and had a chance to shoot a #1 in .450/400 3-inch Nitro. It was, quite literally, a blast. By the end of the event, only Diana Rupp from SPORTS AFIELD and I were left to shoot up a case of the heavy recoiling cigar-sized cartridges…Diana, because she's a dedicated safari hunter; me, because I'm an idiot who likes the big boomers. I went home and ordered my own #1 in .450/400.

Predictably, the #1 laid around the gun safe until Ken Jorgensen from Ruger, Ron Stein from COWBOYS and I had a chance to go to the Order of Edwardian Gunners' Vintage Cup competition for SHOOTING GALLERY. Most of the rifle event focused on double rifles, but there was one for single barrels…a running impala stage. I put all 4 shots in the kill zone of the running target from 25 yards (I think…one was a neck shot, which would have worked well), the big boomer bucking and roaring. I also shot it in the SG Safari Rifle competition in Montana a couple of years back. It is great fun to shoot it you like recoil, but it's a bit like shredding $10 bills and throwing them out your car window.

So I decided to reload for it, maybe do some lighter loads for practice…bought the dies, bullets appropriate powder…then read Ross Seyfried's article in Double Gun Journal (sorry…I can't find it on the Internet) on downloading the .450/400 and it scared the crap out of me. I short, the big Nitro cartridges don't lend themselves to powder-puff loads.

At the same time I had a chance to get a #1 in 45/70 — HA! A cartridge I understand! I cartridge I've loaded for pretty much forever! I jumped at the chance. Eventually, I fitted a Picatinny rail segment to the top and fitted a long-eye-relief Leupold Scout scope to it.  That was going to be my go-to gun for New Zealand a couple of years ago, but oddly enough, when I submitted the #1 and my Ruger GUNSITE Scout rifle for permits, only my Scout rifle was approved.

The only other #1 that I really wanted to add to my battery was a .44 Magnum (another cartridge I'm pretty much intimately familiar with). Ruger had made some #1s in .44 Magnum, but the vast majority of .44s were the #3 Carbines, a little utility single shot that was discontinued sometime in the mid-1980s. I'd off and on looked for a #1 but never stumbled into one at the right time at the right price. The #1s have always been very low volume specialty items, and right now all the #1s are only available through Lipsey's.

When Lipsey's announced that they were going to add the .44 Magnum to that line-up, I jumped at the chance. It has taken a few months for them to get into the pipeline, but, hopefully, mine will be here next week!

Friday, February 03, 2017

Mandatory Read on Silencers

From my friend Kel Whelan writing for RECOIL:
If you want a suppressor, buy the ticket, take the ride. The HPA Bill may or may not pass in the two year Congressional class it is now in. While things actually do look positive, the firearms legal community has more widely-impacting laws it may burn its clout on to pass (notably nationwide reciprocity for concealed carry). Support the HPA and the ASA – they need your help since this *isn’t* a done deal. The best thing for supporters to do is to call and email legislators in support of the HPA, and ask to bring the bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.
By all means read the whole thing!