Saturday, March 31, 2007

Range report

Sadly no pictures since our brains apparently run out our ears when we get to any range.  I'll blame it on the uncomfortable humidity today.  Nice temp, but it felt like a bathroom after you take a hot shower.  Ah Indiana, the humidity capital of the midwest.

The M19 shot well, it'll shoot better than I can make it right now.  That's good right?  Full length double action is different for a guy who's main irons are SA Rugers and 1911.  I'll adapt fine with practice.  A K-Frame is about as small a revolver as I can manage, its tough having hands the size of dinner plates.

The 125 grain loads I developed turned out to be too hot for our tastes, the low end is somewhat manageable in the K-Framed revolvers, but in Judge's J-Frame, they are just plain sick.  There is no follow up shot unless you're doing Anti-Aircraft drills.  The hot stuff is uncomfortable even in the K-Frames.  Luckily, I had purchased a box of Speer 158 grain Gold Dot PD rounds.  I shot them for comparison and they are a much milder load than the harsh 125 grain.  I like them quite a lot and I think Judge may just be swayed, especially after shooting them in his J-Frame.

So now the search is on for a good 158 grain hollow point that has good expansion properties.  From what I've read so far, these expand well at the 1,200 fps range which is the ballpark the Speer GD are rated.  I can't find Speer 158 grain JHP online, there are many other makers and I'll just have to pick one, the Hornady XTP has a good rep as does the Winchester Silvertip and Remington Golden Saber.  For some reason though, a partially jacketed hollow point appeals to me as well as Judge.  For me, it may come down to looks, which is a horrible reason to pick a bullet, but I'm flawed.

One thing I'd love to have during this process is a chronigraph so I can know exactly what the speed of a given load is out of different guns and from load to load.  Looks like I'll have to put that on my list of stuff to buy.  Guns is not the least expensive hobby, maybe I should have gone with stamps?

In other news, we also shot our respective 1911s.  Judge's ran fine which makes me happy to know that my hands were all over it and its been dead reliable since the last of the smithing.  Mine, not so much.  The slide stop kept engaging with rounds in the mag, very bad.  I just tried out some of Brian Enos' Slide Glide and while I don't think it caused the problem, I'll go back to something else next cleaning.  I'll polish up the slide stop pin which is what I think is causing it and try again.  Suffice it to say the M19 is now my carry gun.  I hate having no confidence in a gun!

New Look

I changed the template of the blog and I think this is a better look for us. What do you think?

I also added news (left) and video (bottom) feeds of Cowboy action via Google.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum Model 19-3

Well its taken me long enough, but I finally took some pictures of my latest aquisition. A couple of weekends ago, Judge and I went to the Indy 1500 Gun Show and I picked up one of the guns I've been wanting for a while. Judge will tell you that he "saw her first!", well he may have beat me to his wife, but he didn't get the Model 19-3 snubbie (who's laughing now!).

Anywho, what I ended up with is a Smith & Wesson made back in the golden ages of magnum revolver production. The gun was built sometime between 1967 & 1977, that makes it roughly as old as I am and I might say it's held up better. At the show, Judge showed a lot of interest in the old revolver, but it wasn't what he was really looking for, Judge was looking for something in stainless so he can fill the set of magnum wheel guns he's envisioning. Myself, I have no other S&W revolvers, so anything goes, the only thing I was wanting was a more concealable gun for summer carry. The 5" 1911 is a huge hunk of metal to hide.

The gun I ended up with checked out OK, it locked up tight as a drum with no endshake and excellent bore. There were rust spots that I could see in the dimmly lit showfloor, but the gun was original sans grips and that puts it in good to very good range. The seller was asking $350, I paid $325 cash for it. I nearly skipped out of the show because the price of these types of guns in this area run in the $400 range. Once I got it home, my enthusiasm was tempered by the finding of scratchmarks on the right-hand side where the gun was dropped and apparently skidded on asphault or concrete. After testing the gun at the next cowboy shoot, I found that it indeed is a fine shooter, so now I'm back to feeling good.

Next stop was some accessories. I spent almost as much on accessories as I have on the gun itself. A holster, speed strips, springs, ammo, reloading equipment, brass, powder, bullets... After shooting the little revolver, I took to cleaning it up and swapping in new Wolf Springs to make certain everything interally is A-OK. This was maybe the make or break on this gun and the true determiner of whether I got my money's worth. I was very pleasantly surprised when I opened the side plate and cheaned off years of gunk to find an action that was in nearly perfect condition. I mean the sear has NO wear on it and the hammer has just a couple of wear marks on the side. After I cleaned everything up, I really don't think you could tell some parts from brand new. If those scrathes worried me, this put everything to rest.

So I put in the new springs, lubed everything good and put her in the safe while I made up the ammo for the nifty little gun. After listening to Judge extoll the virtues of Federal's C357B ammo and bemoan the fact he couldn't find it locally, I decided to load up my own ammo. I found some Hornady 125gr XTP bullets and looked up a good powder for it and settled on Hodgdon's H110. At 21g of powder, the little bullet is pushed out of a 4" barrel at a reported 1357fps, at 22g, it goes all the way up to 1506fps! I made up 25 at 21g and 25 at 21.7g to test out. Judge and I are going to hit the range Saturday afternoon to see how things go (crossing fingers). I also made up some 158g SWC loads for a milder experience.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gun Shows, Beer, and the First Shoot of the Year.

Jose and I travelled to the gun show on Friday and took a long look around. My wish list didn't get any shorter, but Jose managed to pick up a fine little shooting iron. As a matter of fact Jose had a pretty fine weekend. He snagged a gun out from under me and managed to pick up the bonus to beat me by 8 seconds at the first shoot of the year at Thunder Valley.

My only bright spot came from the three lovely pints of Smithwicks on the Ides of March (At least it felt like the Ides they way Jose treated me all weekend).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Well Said!

Quote from the Washington Post:

While the ruling caught observers off guard, it was not completely unexpected, given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights. Indeed, the D.C. lawsuit, by six residents assisted by the Cato Institute, was filed in 2003, just months after then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said gun bans are unconstitutional.

The NRA predictably welcomed yesterday's ruling. According to its myth, only criminals have had guns in the city and now law-abiding citizens will be able to arm themselves for protection. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) counters that argument with the sad record of what results from a proliferation of guns. As he points out, more guns mean only more violence, and the city already has too much of both. It is important to note that the ban on handguns will stay in effect while the city considers whether to appeal.

Response from Matt Haught on 10-8 Forums:

This editorial disgusts me. Have you even read the ruling? Can you comprehend the legal philosophy behind the majority opinion? This institutional prejudice against the right of citizens to arm themselves against threats of violence is a relatively new thing in this nation. There was a time when self-reliance was considered a noble goal, but I suppose the lazy people who expect the government to sustain their every whim cannot fathom such a thing.

Why, if the DC handgun ban was so effective, is there so much 'gun crime' there? Could it be that gun control is not the panacea that it is purported to be? Could it be that guns are not the problem, but rather people? Some naive souls do not wish to hear that, believing in the innate decency of human nature. Well, take a look out into your streets and you will see the results of the worst of human nature. Humanity is capable of attaining the loftiest heights of civil society, but it is also capable of perpetrating far more grievous wrongs than any animal. Utopian pipe-dreams do nothing but make the situation worse. That's what gun control is: a utopian pipe-dream.

The solution to crime isn't gun control; it's self control. You have to change your societal priorities to emphasize civic duty and goodwill. You can't build a society based on the morals expressed in gangster rap music, just as you can't build one based on the rantings of a 1930s Austrian dictator. You need to have respect for your fellow man, and the ability to defend yourself against him if he doesn't respect your right to live.

The NRA's campaign is not 'unconscionable'. Ensuring the forced helplessness of the citizenry at large is 'unconscionable'. Why should politicians and actors have armed bodyguards while the people huddle in their apartments at the mercy of the very criminals you cannot seem to control? How 'democratic' an idea is that?

If you can answer those questions, then perhaps you will see the light. But then again, you can lead a fool to knowledge, but you cannot make him think.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Gun Safe(ty)

Winchester Gun Safe - 60x30x22After getting my money back from that dead-beat Uncle Sam, I was able to purchase a gun safe.  I looked over the options and settled upon a Winchester safe found at your local Sam's Club.  It certainly isn't the best safe ever, it isn't the biggest, but it fills every need I have and allows me to grow some and I don't worry about breakins while I'm gone.  I'd hate to have some lowlife SOB obsconding with my Marlins and Rugers.

After Judge got off shift, he came over and we wrestled the beast off my truck and into Casa José and into what has become my Cowboy/Gun/Smoke room.  Really its just an extra bedroom in a three bedroom house that I don't use since its just me.

One thing the safe has done is decide for me what that extra room is going to be.  If I've got a safe in it, its now my gun room.  I may see if I can get a more appropriate table/bench for working on guns since I don't like using the dining table that's in there, but I don't want a typical "shop bench" either.  Judge likes to dream that I'll put a couple of overstuffed leather chairs and a big humidor and TV in there.  I let him dream, what can it hurt?

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by José Giganté.
I learned today that we lost one of the good guys this week. Rapid Lee (aka Lee Fisher) passed away this week and he will be sorely missed since he was one of the best guys to shoot with there was and generally, a nice guy. Laid back, friendly, shooting for fun and competition and always lending a hand. You can't ask for any more. Lee always had the coolest guns that he shot, from old beater Colts, engraved open tops, Schofields, Henrys, old '97 with a 30" barrel. Seems he had a different gun every match and it was always a joy to find out what he was shooting on any particular day.

I won't get the pleasure of shooting with him again and that thought saddens me deeply.

Lee is survived by his wife and two daughters.