Category Archives: Guns

Shooting Irons!

Animal’s Daily News

Forewarned is forearmed.
Forewarned is forearmed.

Anti-Gun Activists Adopt Anti-Abortion Tactics.   Excerpt:

Foes of abortion and foes of guns have a similar problem: The Supreme Court, which says government cannot ban either one outright. What to do? Increasingly, the two advocacy movements are resorting to a similar solution: targeted regulation.

Abortion opponents started the trend and have it almost down to a science. Instead of trying to restrict abortion itself, they seek to impose rules that either raise barriers to individuals, such as waiting periods and mandatory ultrasounds, or crack down on clinics.

It’s almost surreal – opponents of abortion and opponents of legal gun ownership almost universally come from opposite sides of the political spectrum, and yet they both are employing some of the same tactics to encroach on other people’s liberties.

What is perhaps the most frustrating thing about this – at least from the point of view of a rational libertarian who understands the realities of our two-party system – is the reliance on regulation as a tactic by people who otherwise support the party that, supposedly, stands for less intrusive government.

Angry-BearExcept where the social-issues folks are concerned.  Then government interference is OK, as long as it’s interference in their issues.

The Reason article linked here concludes:

Regulations are problematic enough when they are written for legitimate reasons, such as preventing fraud and ensuring clean drinking water. Perverting their purpose to undermine constitutional rights is a dark, dishonest, and sinister game—no matter who plays it.

Those last few words are key:  No matter who plays it.

My Top Ten Shooting Range Peeves

AR-15 OneThis just in from a fellow member of the Wild Bunch, a nigh-unto twenty year e-mailing list of which I am a proud member:

1) If you see a parent teaching a child (especially a little one) how to shoot, have some consideration about what you do. We agree your .308-muzzle-brake-enabled-tacticool-rifle is the bomb and the cyclic rate of your booger hook is impressive, but do you have to shoot right next to us? Really? Have a heart – move down the line, or do it later! Do it for the children! . . .

 2) Suppressors are civilized and if you can own one – get one. You can do without one more cool gun – get a silencer instead. Plus it’s a great way to get new shooters started and focused on marksmanship basics. When you shoot suppressed you start to realize how much nicer a range experience can be. An added benefit is that you don’t keep yelling at your buddies after the hearing protection comes off.

3) The range signs say “EYE AND EAR PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES” for your benefit. So, put them on before you get to the bay. Don’t walk up to the range without them just because it happens to be quiet. And keep them on when you’re there. There’s really no good reason to take either off. If I care about your eyes and hearing (and you’re a stranger) more than you do, you’ve got a problem.

4) At a self-policed shooting range, calling “CEASE FIRE” once then walking forward of the firing line immediately is stupid. I kid you not, I’ve actually seen guys bleat once then start walking while the firing line is still busy. Bonehead, you’ll be getting a Darwin award shortly. Common practice and courtesy is: a) loudly call for a cease fire, preferably a few times, b) give everyone a moment to unload actions and remove magazines, c) gather items needed from the bench, d) step back and away from the firing line, then e) announce the range is clear…before anyone walks forward.

5) At a self-policed shooting range, when there is a cease fire and the range is cold, it doesn’t mean you can touch the bench, anything on the bench, anything near the bench, or anything remotely next to the bench. Back it up and stay back. I recall a few years ago an older teenage boy was sitting at the bench during a cease fire. He had his lever gun action closed and pointed skyward while the rest of the line was down range completely OK with him sitting there. Crazy!

AUG6) When sighting in a rifle at a public range, do everyone a favor and buy/bring/borrow a spotting scope or, minimally, a pair of binoculars. It never fails to amaze me when the new rifleman brings his rifle, targets, and ammo, but not a means to visualize his hits. You may think it’s totally legit to call a cease fire every five stinking minutes so you can walk out and check your bullet holes, but the guy who’s got only an hour to shoot, well, he’s not thinking highly of you. Maybe somebody will sell a super cheap pair of throwaway binos someday that you can give to these types; kind of like that advice to have a few bucks wrapped around something heavy and kept in your pocket so you can toss it at a potential robber.

7) I understand there may be times when shooting a mag full from an AK or AR at pistol ranges needs to be practiced or maybe as a starting point for a newbie…but aren’t there diminishing returns after an hour and a case of ammo? Sure it’s your right but seriously? Get thee to the rifle range already and then show everybody what you can really do at distance; if you can that is.

8) Call me crazy, but if you have an equal number of holes outside of your primary target as you do inside it, I think you may want to work on the basics. Just a tad maybe? The same applies if the target stand is more wobbly after you shot than before. Similarly, I never understand shooters who keep shooting at a target that has more holes than paper on it. I’m a tightwad, but perhaps you could spare another target once in a while?

9) The guys who think it’s funny to have their unsuspecting female counterparts (particularly those who’ve never shot before) shoot a .500 S&W revolver, a .50AE Desert Eagle, or any belted magnum rifle offhand. Are these guys just not the lowest of the low? Correction. They’re actually one small step above those who do the same, then record it and post it on YouTube.

10) During a CHL shooting test is not a great time to be asking the instructors how your gun works.

In all seriousness, let’s be safe, let’s exercise our rights, and let’s be considerate to our fellow shooters (and soon-to-be-shooters).

Animal’s Daily News

Girls with GunsSo what’s the best state to live in if you’re a gun owner?  Guns & Ammo has the answer.  Seems the top five are:

  1. Arizona
  2. Alaska
  3. Georgia
  4. Utah
  5. Kentucky

No real surprises there.  This isn’t really what you’d call a scientific survey, but it is based on several factors including right-to-carry, Castle Doctrine laws, ease of obtaining a Class III weapon, magazine bans and other miscellaneous items.

Sadly our own Colorado comes in well down the list at #40, certainly in large part because of the legislative idiocy forced on our state only last year.  Alaska, where Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. plan to retire, fares much better – again, no surprise in a state with a long-standing outdoor tradition, not to mention plenty of toothy and dangerous wildlife.

gun control theoryThis is an election year here in Colorado though, and plenty of folks are unhappy with the current powers-that-be – Governor Hickenlooper, I suspect, will squeak by in a re-election but the mood of the country and the state are moving against the party that currently controls our legislature.

Then, True Believers, we’ll see what we’ll see.

Animal’s Daily News

Girls with GunsHas the once and former Mayor Bloomberg overextended his gun-banning efforts?  Maybe so.  Excerpt:

A mere 10 days after former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his new anti-gun coalition Everytown for Gun Safety in the New York Times, former Pennsylvania Gov. and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, one of the most prominent members of its advisory board, has resigned from the group.

No one should be surprised.

“When I signed on as an adviser to Everytown,” Ridge said, “I looked forward to a thoughtful and provocative discussion about the toll gun violence takes on Americans. After consultation with Everytown, I have decided that I am uncomfortable with their expected electoral work.”

It’s an early embarrassment for Bloomberg’s latest effort to buy the Second Amendment back from the Constitution, but one that is sure to be repeated over the coming months — if Everytown even lasts that long.

First of all – thinking people should take issue with Gov. Ridge’s use of the idiotic term “gun violence.”   Guns can  not commit violence; they are not motive agents.  As inanimate objects, firearms are capable of being neither good nor bad; they can only be tools.  People can be good or bad, and it’s important to note that Mayor Bloomberg and his ilk favor acts of legislation that will only affect good people – and which bad people will ignore.

Angry-BearThat, True Believers, is the ultimate fallacy of gun control legislation.  Laws only affect the law-abiding – and the savage hypocrisy of fools like Bloomberg, themselves surrounded by layers of  armed guards, is that they would deprive the peaceable and law-abiding citizens of the country of their best and most effective means of self-defense.

Bloomberg may be losing influence, but what he really deserves is derision, for his thoughtless and foolish stance on this issue.

Rule Five Friday

2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (1)The recent Fort Hood event has reignited the debate on the carry of firearms, which is perhaps predictable; PJ Media has this story on the topic:  Fort Hood and Disarmament.  Excerpt:

The latest active shooter attack at Fort Hood, Texas on April 2, 2014 left three dead and 16 wounded.  As is almost always the case, the killer, confronted with armed resistance, choose suicide, ending the rampage.  The Army has released a timeline  that indicates that the attack lasted something over eight minutes, but the timeline fails to note how much time passed between the first shot and the first 911 call, which means the actual time was likely about ten minutes.

This will become significant shortly.  The gun that anti-freedom forces 2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (2)love to demonize, the AR-15 with its standard 30 round magazine, was not involved.  Instead, the killer used only a commonly available .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun.

As all mass attacks do, this one has reanimated the gun control debate, but this time, anti-freedom advocates have a unique handicap.  It may seem counterintuitive and surprising to many, but continental United States military installations are a gun-free anti-gunner’s dream.  They are even more strictly regulated than many schools.  Soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines are nowhere as thoroughly disarmed as they are on American 2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (3)military bases.

And why, one wonders, should that be the case?  Why – why the bloody hell – should our servicemen and -women, professionals in the profession of arms, be denied the ability to bear arms on the grounds of their own bases?

As recently as the Seventies at least officers and senior NCOs routinely carried sidearms even on stateside bases.  The expectation was simple:  Service members were in the business of bearing and using arms, and it was taken for granted that they would be armed in the course of their duties.

And how is this relevant to the nutbar shooter at Fort Hood?  Or his predecessor, the nutbar turncoat jihadist Major Hasan?

2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (4)There are two possible scenarios:  First, the shooter would have expected armed resistance at the target area, and would have either given the whole thing a pass or, at worst, selected another target.  Second, the shooter would have encountered armed resistance at the target area and been terminated before doing as much damage as he did.

So, the risk analysis is fairly simple; worst case is a diversion to a softer target.  Best case is an aborted mass-shooter.  In either case, the argument for disarming professional warriors in their own bases comes off as what it clearly is:  Idiotic.

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Rule Five Friday

2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (1)Some interesting work done on crime rates vs. regional gun control laws to go along with some summery Friday Rule Five:  An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates.  (link leads to a pdf document.)  Key excerpt from the abstract:

Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).

2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (2)And another from the conclusion:

Given that the average gun related murder rate over the period in question was 3.44, the results of the present study indicate that states with more restrictive CCW laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10% higher. In addition, the Federal assault weapons ban is significant and positive, indicating that murder rates were 19.3% higher when the Federal ban was in effect. These results corroborate the findings of Lott and Mustard (1997). These results suggest that, even after controlling for unobservable state and year fixed effects, limiting the ability to carry concealed weapons may cause murder rates to increase.

There may, however, be other explanations for these results. Laws may be ineffective due to loopholes and exemptions. The most violent states may also have the toughest gun control measures. Further research is 2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (3)warranted in this area.

Further research may be warranted, but the evidence that gun control has little to no effect on crime rates is better supported now than, say, anthropogenic climate change.  The positive effects of liberalized concealed-carry laws is just as well documented.

Which makes the arguments – the tired, stale, old arguments – of gun control proponents all the more baffling.  When Colorado’s concealed-carry law was being debated in the State legislature, we heard them all:

  • 2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (4)There will be shootouts over parking spaces.
  • People will be killed with their own guns.
  • More handguns in the hands of citizens will mean more crime.
  • Carnage will ensue from untrained people carrying guns.

None of these dire predictions came true – not anywhere.  In fact, CCW permit holders are, as a group, some of the most law-abiding folks you’ll find anywhere.

But statistics aside, there is a matter of principle involved.  Studies such as the one referenced above are useful in making arguments 2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (6)for public policy, to be sure, but the fact is that a free citizen should be able to make the choice for him or herself as to whether to carry a firearm for self-defense or defense of others.

I carry a gun for a variety of reasons; I’m too young to die and too old to get my ass kicked, I can’t carry a cop, I’d rather take my chances with twelve jurors than six pallbearers, and so on.  But the primary reason I carry is this:  I am a free, law-abiding citizen and it suits me to do so.

If we truly are a free country – if individual liberty still has any meaning – what other reason should be required?

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Animal’s Daily News

16 gauge Browning White Lightning
16 gauge Browning White Lightning

Our own dear Mrs. Animal takes a deal of pride in being contrary, at times, and her choice in shotguns reflects that; her arm for trap and sporting clays is the Browning White Lightning in 16 gauge.

Why 16 gauge?  Because she likes it, and sees no need to explain herself beyond that.  Doug Oliver, the keeper of the 16 Gauge Society, has a more detailed explanation.  His thoughts were recently detailed in Shotgun Life.  Excerpt:

“The 16 gauge is absolutely the perfect shotgun,” he explains. “It has a perfect load for wingshooting. Plus a 16 gauge will typically be a pound lighter than a 12 gauge if you’re carrying it all day in the field. The 16 gauge shoots like a 12 gauge but carries like a 20 gauge. It’s a great gun.”

When Doug turned 50, for his midlife crisis instead of a Porsche he bought himself a shotgun. It was a 16-gauge F.A.I.R. Rizzini over/under. It was a better gun than he had known at that point.

On a flight from Los Angeles to New York, he had been reading an article in Double Gun Journal about dove hunting in Argentina. Until that point he had every intention of buying a 20 or 28 Beretta, but the article deflected him to the 16-gauge F.A.I.R. Razzing.

Doug found himself smitten by the lovely 16 gauge. In doing his “homework” for that 16-gauge F.A.I.R. Rizini he realized “that 16 gauge was a stepchild,” he explained. “Information at the time was so hard to dig out and that’s where the 16 Gauge Society web site came in. I though I’d just design and throw up 16 gauge web site and maybe sell a couple of hats. The project itself was fun and informative.”

Relaxing BearOne of my oldest friends is a big 16 gauge fan as well; Dave has been insistent on the virtues of the 16 since we were in high school, back in the 1970s, even as yr. obdt. went along with the Old Man’s preference for 12-bore guns.

Browning Citori Satin Hunter and Mountain Quail.

Still; the 16 is an intriguing size.  A round ball of 16-bore diameter weighs exactly one ounce; a one-ounce shot charge fills the bore nicely, without excessive stacking which can, in smaller bores, lead to long shot strings and blown patterns.  But perhaps one of the nicer things about the 16 is that older guns in this bore size are relatively cheap and easy to find, precisely due to the shrinking popularity of the gauge.

I’ve been scouting around for a WW2-vintage, solid rib 16 gauge Winchester Model 12 to accompany my 12 gauge gun of those specs in the rack. It will be interesting to fact-check Mrs. Animal’s and Dave’s 16 gauge advocacy for myself, both on the range and in the field.  If it matches up to my various 12 gauge guns I’ll be well pleased.

Animal’s Daily News

bears-cute-awesome2-12An interesting story out of Selma, Alabama, wherein a would-be robbery perp was taken all the way out by an armed citizen – read here and here.

Money quote from that second story:

Law enforcement officials are calling Marlo Ellis a hero in the wake of Thursday’s shooting at the Dollar General in Orrville.

Ellis shot and killed Dallas County resident Kevin McLaughlin after McLaughlin entered the store, reportedly shouting and waving a gun.

Authorities said that as McLaughlin was leading a group of people into a break room, Ellis turned and used his own pistol to shoot McLaughlin. Ellis’ weapon was concealed according to Sheriff Harris Huffman.

McLaughlin was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting.

Facepalm-bearNow, here’s the catch:  The Dollar Store in question had a “no guns” policy, and the CCW holder and proclaimed (by local law enforcement, no less) hero of the moment may face trespassing charges for bringing his weapon into the store in violation of their posted signs.

It’s unclear whether this is a corporate policy or the local store’s idea.  There are Dollar Stores here in Colorado, but honestly I’ve never been in one.  But in this specific instance, if the company proceeds with charges against Ellis, they would bring to mind the Austrian’s reply to Russia after the Russians helped put down a revolt during the Crimean War:  “We will shock the world with our ingratitude.”

Really, to avoid looking like a gigantic collection of jackasses, Dollar Store really needs to just let this one go.

Rule Five Friday

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (3)Let’s talk about the War on Women.  No, not the infamous, often-abused Democrat claim about Republican policies (or vice versa, as has happened a time or two.)  Instead, let’s talk about the War on Women being conducted by gun-ban advocates.

“Wait, what?” you ask.  Well, have a read of these two articles, both from the Bullets First blog:

Gun Girls of CPAC – Killing the Stereotype

The Brady Campaign’s War on Women

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (1)Money quote from the second article:

The gun is the equalizer that can protect the 100lb girl from the monsters in the night.  From those who would rob innocence and shatter dreams.  The gun levels a playing field for the small and the weak so that we are not a society run by thugs and roving gangs of strong arms.

The Brady Campaign would deny the right of the small to defend themselves against the large.  They would promote reasoning with rabid animals and the moral authority of being raped over killing your rapist.

I would say to use every method possible that would stop one of the most heinous acts from being perpetrated against you.  If you think that the Yale study and the ISP advice is sound I won’t advise against it, it might work.  But I KNOW that 3 shots to the chest with a .45 will work.  If I were a woman I would prefer to have to deal with the fact that I put down 2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (2)a rabid animal than I would dealing with the fact that that animal raped me.

And that, True Believers, is the whole point.

As a CCW permit holder who carries regularly as I go about my daily business, I am on occasion drawn into the conversation about the merits of carrying a concealed handgun, and the likelihood of it one day saving my or someone else’s life.   Two common comments arise:

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (4)Comment: “You know, that gun won’t protect you in every situation.”

Reply:  “That’s true – but it will protect me in many situations, and if I don’t have one, it won’t protect me in any situation.”

Comment:  “I’d be afraid someone would get my gun away from me and kill me with it.”

Reply:  “If I’m ever killed with my own gun, they’ll have to beat me to death with it, because it will sure as hell be empty.”

My own dear Mrs Animal – a small, middle-aged, visibly disabled woman who always has a firearm and usually a blade of some kind concealed about her person – is even more adamant about it, agreeing strongly with the statement above that “3 shots to the chest with a .45,” or in her case, a .380 or a .40 S&W, will sure as hell stop an attacker.

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (5)It’s baffling why anyone could make the case for a policy that denies women the choice to defend themselves with the only completely effective tool for the job – the only one that will enable a small, disabled, middle-aged woman to defend herself against a six-foot, twenty year old, male attacker.

Do they truly, as BulletsFirst observes, believe a woman that attempts to foil a rapist with urine, defecation or vomit – or a woman who just submits – is morally superior than a woman who effectively and decisively defends herself with deadly force?

It’s hard to draw any other conclusion.  Fortunately, every year more and more women are calling “bullshit!”

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Animal’s Daily News

2014_03_12_Shotguns (1)Two ongoing shooting iron projects returned from the Colorado School of Trades today (photo, left.)

The iron to the left in the first photo still has more work ahead.  This is a Winchester Model 12, 12 gauge, solid rib, made in the late 1940s.  The gunsmith school applied a polish and gloss blue and tuned up the action.  Next will come a new stock and fore-end, and then choke tubes – a tricky proposition, that, as Model 12s have notoriously thin barrel walls.  Still, several choke tube installers/manufacturers have thin-wall tubes especially for these wonderful old guns, so while it’s limited to traditional, 2-3/4″ lead shot loads, it’s doable.

Model 12 Action closeup
Model 12 Action closeup

And doable is good in this case; the Model 12 is the gold standard of American pump shotguns.   The gun started in (obviously) 1912 as a redesign of John Browning’s Winchester Model 1897, and had an eighty-year history.  Model 12s saw service in game fields, duck blinds and trap/skeet ranges all over the U.S. and Canada (many other places as well, no doubt.)  They even saw service in the U.S. military from the First World War through Vietnam.

It’s nice to have a nicely restored example of this fine shotgun in the rack.

The second arm, the one on the right in the first photo, is the Sears-marked version of the venerable Stevens 520a, again a 12 gauge, manufactured in 1945 or 1946.  2014_03_12_Shotguns (5)This one is done as is, having been polished, blued and tuned.  Why put the effort into a gun with little or no collector’s value, even if it were untouched and original?

Simple:  This was the Old Man’s gun, purchased with some of his demobilization pay when he came home to Iowa at the end of World War 2.  Again a Browning design, the old Stevens has a lot going for it; like the Model 12 it’s a solid steel action, a breakdown gun that fits handily in a short carry case.  It’s a good solid pheasant-killer, in no way fancy but effective – and durable.

You can pick these old Stevens shotguns up for a couple of C-notes when you can find them, but this one isn’t for sale at any price.