Category Archives: Guns

Shooting Irons!

Rule Five Friday

2014_02_07_Rule Five Friday (1)Let’s look at a few gun stories today – the first, from our own Colorado.    GOP Attempts to Repeal Colorado Background Checks Law.  Excerpt:

Colorado Republicans revived the most contentious debate of the last legislative session when they tried to repeal gun purchase background checks.

State Sen. George Rivera, the Republican who replaced Democrat Angela Giron when she was recalled from office because of her support of this and other new gun control laws, sponsored the bill.

Most of the testimony revolved around the question of whether or not the new law — which requires background checks not only for gun purchases at retail stores but also in private sales between individuals — will help reduce violent crime. A background check is also required if a gun is loaned to someone for more than 72 hours, such as for hunting, sport 2014_02_07_Rule Five Friday (2)shooting or safekeeping.

What’s interesting about that article and the controversy around it is found in this line:

Opponents of the repeal pointed to 104 instances of potential gun buyers failing background checks during attempted private transactions since the law went into effect on July 1. The reasons ranged from previous convictions for homicide to sexual assault.

Ok, then; one hundred and four people have committed a Federal felony, in attempting to illegally purchase a firearm.

Where are the arrests?  Where are the convictions?  Why did the gang of Mensa dropouts we call the Colorado Legislature pass this law, which obviously nobody intends to enforce?

2014_02_07_Rule Five Friday (3)One of the more idiotic provisions of this piece of legislative stupidity is the requirement to undergo a background check if you borrow a firearm from a neighbor or friend, say for a hunting trip.  This provision is utterly unenforceable and will be roundly ignored.  Combine this with the total ignoring of people who fail the background checks, and we are left with one question:  What the bloody hell was this law meant to actually accomplish?

While we’re on the subject of abject stupidity:  School Officials Deeply Troubled Over Guns Appearing ON SIGNS BANNING GUNS.  Excerpt:

Nolan stressed that she is very concerned with “safety and security” and concerned that, somehow, someone could wrongly interpret an image of a gun emblazoned with the universal sign for prohibiting something.

2014_02_07_Rule Five Friday (5)“I think the general public will be alarmed by it and wonder if people have been allowed to bring guns to school in the past,” Nolan also fretted.

She said she would prefer “something more subtle.”

“You can’t look at this (sticker) and not think about Sandy Hook,” the principal added.

Let’s be honest:  Principal Nolan is a hypersensitive nitwit.

One more, this one a piece of good news; the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the pro-sportsman SHARE Act.  Blind hogs and acorns, as they say.  Excerpt:

2014_02_07_Rule Five Friday (4)(The National Shooting Sports Foundation), along with a number of its partners, has been working closely with members of the House to ensure inclusion of a number of legislative priorities in the SHARE Act including provisions that will protect the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle by hunters and anglers, provide greater flexibility for states to utilize Pittman-Robertson funds to create and enhance public shooting ranges and facilitate greater access to Federal lands and waters for hunting, recreational fishing and shooting.

Of course, this legislation still has to get through the Senate in one form or another, and be approved by the President, who by all indications is no friend of the shooting sports.  But, as mentioned earlier – blind hogs and acorns.  We’ll see.

2014_02_07_Rule Five Friday (6)

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks once again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five linkage!

An interesting weekend here in the upper Midwest, passed in my possibly-futile quest for one of two items:  a Browning Sweet Sixteen (the small-frame version of a 16 gauge Auto-Five) or a 1940s vintage solid-rib Model 12 Winchester in 16 gauge.

Why those two guns?  And why in 16 gauge, a bore size many American shooters consider all but obsolete?

Auto-Five
Auto-Five

As for the two guns, I do have 12-gauge versions of both arms.  My Auto-Five is a 1943-44 American-made (Remington) version, originally a plain field gun, picked up with little or no bluing left and a badly worn stock.   With a polish and reblue, refinished stock, a Simmons ventilated rib and Carlson choke tubes, the 70+ year old Browning is now as modern as an iPad while still retaining it’s 1940s – era craftsmanship.  My 1940-made Model 12, bought with slightly worn bluing, a barrel cut for an old Poly-Choke and a rather ugly stock, is now in the process of being polished and deep blued.  A new American black walnut stock is in the works, and that gun will also be cut for choke tubes to replace the bulbous Poly-Choke – a touchy proposition, as Model 12s have notoriously thin barrel walls.

Model 12 - Before
Model 12 – Before

And why the 16 gauge?   One of my oldest friends is a 16-gauge nut, and Mrs. Animal shoots trap and birds with a 16-gauge Browning White Lightning.  The 16 is a great mid-range gun – large enough to pack nearly 12-gauge wallop, but often found in smaller-framed, lighter guns, like the Sweet Sixteen.  It’s one of those rare things in the gun world; a compromise that works.

To carry on this search on this weekend just past, I visited several local gun shops and a 300-table gun show up in Elkhart.

Now, mind you, I have no particular sense of urgency in finding either of these two sporting arms.  If and when I stumble on the right example of either, I’ll probably buy it.  But since I can think of fewer more enjoyable ways to spend a weekend than bumming around gun shops and shows, talking with people who like guns and like to shoot, I took the opportunity.

The 300-table Gunslinger show in Elkhart was a tad disappointing.  While Mrs. Animal and I each own an AR-15, we have both resisted the “tactical” craze that seems to be sweeping the country.   The gun show circuit, however, has largely been taken over by the proponents of all things “tactical.”  That’s fine; the market is at work.  But it makes it a bit frustrating for those of us who prefer old shotguns.  I’m something of a traditionalist; I like old shotguns, large-bore revolvers and precision bolt guns for big-game work, although I do favor my Glocks as carry guns.

Back to the weekend:  While I didn’t in fact find any prizes, I will give a shout to a couple of fine gun shops here in northern Indiana that are well worth patronizing if any True Believers are in the area.  The first is Gun Town, on Highway 30 in Grovertown.  They have an extensive selection of used and new guns, including a 1942 small-frame 20-gauge Auto-Five that tempted me for a few long Splashing-Bearsmoments.  The second, right here in Warsaw, is the very fine Eagle Creek Firearms, who also have a decent selection and whose owner is a Model 12 aficianado no less than yr. obdt. – and, again, while there I was briefly tempted by a very nice 1897 Winchester, but I resisted.

It’s always fun, popping around to old gun shops.  Who knows what treasures you might find?

Rule Five Friday

2014_01_17_Rule Five Friday (1)I had originally intended to spend today’s bandwidth talking about secular arguments on gay marriage, but something else captured my attention – something breathtakingly stupid.  It seems Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein and actress Meryl Streep are planning a movie taking aim (use of metaphor deliberate) at the NRA.  Excerpt:

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein announced for the first time on Howard Stern’s radio show that he is making a full feature drama to try to destroy the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Stern asked Mr. Weinstein on Wednesday whether he owned a gun. The Hollywood heavyweight replied that he did not and never would. “I don’t think we need guns in this country. And I hate it,” the producer said. 2014_01_17_Rule Five Friday (2)“I think the NRA is a disaster area.”

Mr. Weinstein then revealed his secret project about the gun rights group. “I shouldn’t say this, but I’ll tell it to you, Howard,” he said. “I’m going to make a movie with Meryl Streep, and we’re going to take this head-on. And they’re going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.”

If you’ll allow me to make a prediction, Mr. Weinstein (and even if you won’t) I will make one, and also an observation:

  1. The NRA will be just fine, in fact they may gain members because of you, and
  2. You’re an idiot.

2014_01_17_Rule Five Friday (3)In the first place, political movies never go down well, whether they are Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth or the right-of-center American Carol.  The American movie-going public wants to be entertained, not to be lectured or harangued – yr. obdt. included.   These kinds of movies attract pathetically low audiences made up almost exclusively of viewers who already agree with the political statements being made in the film.

In the second place, the NRA is nothing like the silly caricature Mr. Weinstein seems to have in mind.  (Full disclosure:  Mrs. Animal and myself are both Life Members of the NRA.)  The NRA is not a sinister organization run by a cabal of masterminds; it is, honestly and in every sense of the word, a true grass-roots organization boasting 2014_01_17_Rule Five Friday (5)more than four million dues-paying members.   The NRA’s officers and Board are elected by their members, and the organizations by-laws and organization priorities are likewise decided by the members.

How many other civil-rights organizations can make that claim?

So, the NRA is powerful because its members give it the power.  Through memberships starting at $35 a year, they empower the NRA to act on their behalf, not only to provide training, insurance and a host of services but also to protect their Second Amendment rights in Washington and the several state capitols, because they believe it’s the right thing to do.

So, this film, assuming it gets made, will amount to naught.  But it’s worth examining Mr. Weinstein’s credits as a producer, which include violent, gun-filled films like Django Unchained and 2014_01_17_Rule Five Friday (4)Grindhouse.   Weinstein is a hypocrite of the worst sort.

And, incidentally, this won’t be his first act of cinematographic futility.  Does anyone remember 2009′s Capitalism – A Love Story?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Me neither.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Halfway to Friday!

Not many people know that the United States’ oldest corporation is a gunmaker, namely the Remington Arms Company.  From 1918 to 1927 Remington made the Model 51 pistol, a small pocket piece in .380ACP and .32ACP.  The Model 51 was a popular pocket pistol; George Patton owned one, and reportedly used it to fire at German bombers attacking his North African headquarters in 1943.

Remington 51
Remington 51

Incidentally, even though General Patton is one of my personal heroes and was a warrior without peer, shooting at an attacking bomber with a .32 is pretty much the definition of futility – but, knowing Patton’s flair for the dramatic, it’s likely the motive was a bit of inspirational showboating, rather than effective fire.

Now, in a bid to enter the fast-growing concealed-carry market, Remington has given the Model 51 an update and redesign, and is re-introducing it as the R51.

Remington R51.
Remington R51.

The R51 is a neat-looking piece of hardware.  It’s a 9mm rather than the .32/.380 of the original, which gives it a little more punch.  Better still, the R51 is rated for +P ammo, which gives it quite a bit more punch.  The layout looks simple and usable, with a 1911-style trigger, a grip safety and a slim grip wrapped around a single-stack magazine.

What’s best about this new Remington?  Quite possibly this:  The price tag.  Suggested retail is $420, which means the gun will probably retail most places for $375-400.  Upshot:  Remington is going after the mid-priced compact 9mm market in a big way, and the R51 has the Ruger LC9, the Beretta Nano, the Taurus PT709S and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield squarely in its sights.

Remington went through some bad times in the past, particularly during the phase of importing some truly awful Russian-made P.O.S. shotguns and putting the Remington name on them.  The R51 would seem to be an indication that they are on the way back.  Let’s hope that trend continues.