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  1. Yesterday
  2. I’m so convinced the Model 12 is a real gun that I bought a third one. I have a 2” square butt version coming. It’s an early one, a 12-1 made in 1961. Any S&W with a 2” barrel and square butt grip is an odd combination, but after getting a Model 15 2” SB a couple months ago, I found I liked it. It was only a matter of time until I got a similar Model 12. Model 12s were made in four basic variations: 2” barrel with square or round butt grip, and 4” barrel with square or round butt grip. I now have three of the four. I can already tell I won’t be able to stand it until I get a 4” SB and make it four for four.
  3. Last week
  4. After posting the above, we had a period with a lot of rain. We had a three-day stretch where we got over four inches. Before that could dry, we got another two days of rain, then another three days. The dirt around our new posts was a hard-packed clay, but it turned into the consistency of pancake batter. The work on the 50-yard berm held up. The 25-yard berm was all-new. The pressure of holding the walls made from horizontal poles filled with heavy dirt was too much. The posts pushed outward, allowing the wall poles to squirm around and get out of shape. It didn't collapse, but a lot of dirt washed out. The 25-yard berm (7 feet high and 23 feet wide) will need to be rebuilt. We don't see a way to do it without digging all the dirt out to re-set the posts and re-stack the walls. Sigh. But it will be nice when done. So we keep telling ourselves.
  5. Earlier
  6. I belong to two conservation clubs with shooting ranges. One has a very nice range, and the other club… is close. The close club is naturally the one I’m a lot more active in, and I use the range often. Unfortunately, this range gets little upkeep, and to be honest, the range never was much to start with. The firing line has only four benches, and even that makes things crowded. There is a nice tall bank at 100 yards for that berm, and the 50-yard berm is OK, but the two shorter ranges of 25 yards and 50 feet are pretty bad. They have very small backstops made of poor material, with small target hanging areas (20” high and 48” wide) of which only some is useable. These close ranges use steel backstop plates instead or dirt, and the mystery grade of steel plates are in poor shape. Although no target is to extend beyond the backstops, we have caught people posting IPSC silhouettes here, even though they extend over the top by a lot. “Oh we won’t shoot at the top part!” Yeah. No rapid fire is allowed on the property due to the small short range backstops. Centerfire rifles are not allowed on these backstops either, so if you want to zero a new rifle you have to start at 50 yards, which is a bit far for my comfort for some rifles (and shooters). I hate those steel plates with a passion. Change is slow coming in this club. Glacially slow. A few of us have wanted these short ranges rebuilt for years and are just now getting it done. Consideration of these changes only happened because a proposed move/land swap fell through and I used that opening to push for upgrades as a necessary concession of staying. It was finally admitted that it needed done, but that was about all. That’s all I needed. Even with that, it has taken 20 months before the first dirt has been moved. I had to really push it through, and more or less went ahead and did it while some in the club weren’t paying attention. Volunteers were rounded up. The “old guard” questioned the need for the work, but plenty of people showed up eager to make things better. It is probably no surprise that none of the regular range users showed up. Clearing away dead trees and years of untamed growth was done before we could get started on the planned work. This alone opened things up a lot, and we gained more useable space at the 100-yard and 50-yard berms. The first big thing to do was to give something to those who didn’t see a need for change. The 50-yard berm was lengthened enough to allow twice the target space. The only match held now at the club is BR-50 (.22 rifle Benchrest at 50 yards). They have four shooters on the line at once, and scatter targets across the range to do it. Only two targets are placed at the actual 50-yard berm. One is placed in front of a pile of spare dirt that’s not quite 50 yards downrange and is a different height than the rest. Any gain this shooter may have is more than offset by this target being among the trees, so it’s shaded and hard to see. The fourth target, well, I don’t even want to talk about. We ended up adding some length to both ends of the 50-yard berm instead of just one end. Widening the 50-yard berm now allows a second target hanging board that’s 24” by 48”; plenty of room for two more 11” wide targets. (Naturally, it drew complaints from the first one to see it.) https://share.icloud.com/photos/0f6oZAtjMEkzL-KKvmDk8lo9w This had to be done first, because the new short range berms will block the space they used for their “extra” targets. We wanted to give them something before taking that away. Next was my favorite part of it all: Ripping the short range steel plate backstops out of the ground. This turned out to be easier said than done, since we couldn’t find the bottom of these plates at first! There was nearly four feet of them buried in the ground (Why???) so they didn’t just pop up. I might have shed a tear when each came loose. The new 25-yard berm is considerably larger than the old 20”x48” steel plate, at seven feet tall by 23 feet wide. It’s basically a box filled with dirt. The box is built from stacked telephone poles which is then filled with dirt. Anything legal for use on the property (anything below .50BMG) can be shot here. With its height, any shot that would go over it should be stopped by ballistic panels hanging in front of the firing line. https://share.icloud.com/photos/077uZ2waJlIcKekJRGlQFBY1A All that's left to do here is to level it by cutting the right side down some, and putting the target boards up. It will have two 4x8 ft target backers. Next up is to build the new 50-foot range berm. This will be located directly in front of the 25-yard berm. It will have a 4x8’ target board. Half of this berm will be cut below ground level, so it will not block any of the 25-yard berm. However, if someone shoots over the top of the 50-footer, the 25-yard berm will catch it. Like the new 25-yard berm, it will also allow anything club-legal to be shot into it. Once that is completed, something else might appear. I have a plan. But that will be a surprise. We have borrowed a 104-hp John Deere tractor and loader for some of this work. In a couple of days I’ll talk to the owner and find out if we have to give it back or have a couple more weeks. If we can keep it a little longer, we can sneak in that last little item.
  7. These have been appearing in the wild. Selling prices vary a lot, with many paying over retail. I’m dying to try one, but I’ll wait until they come down to a sensible level.
  8. Last week, S&W announced magazine wells- oops, sorry… Flexmag Kits- are now available for Sig P320 magazines. https://www.smith-wesson.com/product/sw-response-flexmag-kit-sig-sauer-p320-9mm-mags
  9. I went on the Federal ammunition website tonight. When you go to the menu and click “Handgun”, what comes up is a pitch for this dog. I can’t believe they still have hope for it. Did you know it has been two years? I would’ve guessed only one. Being the target of jokes must be the only thing keeping it in memory The local gun shop has a couple of new .30SC S&Ws in the case. Judging from the faded ink on the tags, they must’ve been there most of that two years.
  10. As always with the SHOT Show, one or two new guns grab all the attention which causes us to miss others. Case in point, this little rifle I only now saw a little blurb about tonight, three days after the show opened. This sounds too good to be true. It looks and sounds really nice, yet has a suggested retail of just under $400? How is that possible in today's economy? It's gotta be made in someplace like the Khyber Pass. They have a couple of .22s from Turkey, so that would be my best guess. But I could be wrong, and hope is made in the USA or in Japan by Miroku. Here's the information: https://www.winchesterguns.com/products/rifles/ranger.html
  11. It's about ten days from marking another year into this project. There is progress to report. Not much, but its still progress. Last week, I ordered the barrel nut wrenches to take the old barrel off the Savage. This past weekend, I attacked it. And it almost took the whole weekend to get it off. That nut was TIGHT. I could not get the barrel vise tight enough to hold the barrel from turning while I tried to wrench off the nut. I worked on it Saturday until I got too frustrated and made myself quit before I did something stupid. I left it soaking in Kroil overnight. Sunday, I approached it with anger. I dusted the vise blocks with powdered rosin, tightened the halves down with a 5/16 Allen wrench, then put a cheater bar over the Allen and gave all all those bolts some more. Barrel nut wrench on, 1/2" breaker bar on that, and a pipe over the bar. Heave! Nothing...nothing...it's turning! Aww, it's turning in the vise again. That's it. I had ordered another barrel nut with the wrench set, making the original nut expendable. Dremel, you're up. Using a cutoff wheel, I slotted the barrel nut front to rear, stopping about 3/16 from the recoil lug. I didn't want to go any further for fear of cutting into the lug. Two slots, about 100 degrees apart. Back on the bar. Nothing. Dremel powered up, and a third slot is cut. This attempt, it finally broke loose. As i turned the barrel nut off, I was getting "crumbs" coming out of the threads. Corrosion. Why and how, when the rifle had seen little use and showed no corrosion elsewhere, I don't know. It must've been factory installed. I spent the next hour cleaning up the receiver threads. I examined the Savage bolt once more. When I was shooting that rifle, it was leaving fired cases in the chamber. I'd open the bolt and the extractor would pull off, leaving the case in the chamber so I'd have to poke it out from the muzzle with a cleaning rod. Only when I backed off the powder charge by five grains, when it was already a moderate charge at most, would the empties reliably extract. OK, so either the extractor isn't working properly or something is up with the chamber causing higher pressures. I would later learn weak extraction is pretty common in these. So I looked at why. It was easy to see. The extractor barely hooks the cartridge rim. It's not the easiest to measure, but it was grabbing only .024" of the rim at its deepest part. And that would only be if the case was tight against the boltface on that side. It was possibly only getting around half that. It's the way the extractor is machined; it couldn't go on any more. So, disgusted again, I put it all aside and cleaned guns. Sigh.
  12. The manual mentions .357 Mag and .45 Colt.
  13. Alternate title: S&W Tries to Match the Kimber K6s Pretty neat. Some much-needed improvements. Centennial models. Enclosed hammer. .38 Spl, and the return of .32 H&R Magnum. No, not .327 Fed. They wanted to avoid Scandium to keep costs from going crazy. Steel and alum alloy frame variants. 642, 442, 632, 432. Useable sights! Pinned-in XS (small) dot front sight with tritium insert and green outline, and a dovetailed rear sight that’s Novak shaped with a wide .160” U-notch. These sights are regulated for 125/130/135 grain +P ammo rather than 158 as in the past. Action modification for a better trigger pull. A quick view in the video looks like the mainspring assembly might be arranged at a different angle. New grips from VZ. If you look at the Centennial frame, you’ll see the backstrap comes up higher on them than on a regular J-frame. These grips come up higher to match, so you get a wider surface up high where it hits the web of the hand in recoil. MSRP $759. Availability late February this year. Per a Lipsey’s rep, this will NOT be a limited edition. However, they have reserved production blocks of 1,000 of each model, so they may be available in cycles rather than there being a steady flow of them. I don’t see any negatives here except maybe they don’t cost $150. I’m a long-time carrier of the 442, and I would like every one of these changes to both of mine. The potentially even better news is that a Lipsey’s rep posted on the web yesterday that they are planning similarly upgraded K-frames. The bad news is, due to S&W’s schedule, this would take until about this time next year. A K-frame Centennial might be too much to hope for, but I can imagine a few current and recent production K-frames I’d like to see with these changes. Model 13 and 65 with 3” barrel. Model 64 snub. Even the old Model 10 would be a much better gun with this treatment. My dream though, would be the Model 12 with the Ultimate Carry treatment. That’s the aluminum alloy frame K.
  14. New lever action rifle from Smith and Wesson. It looks like it handles the big boys, like .500 S&W. EDIT: Nope, just .44 Magnum, at least at first. MSRP $1279. Limited Edition $3499. Why 1854? That’s when the (early S&W) Volcanic came out. https://www.smith-wesson.com/products/1854
  15. The biggest rat has left the ship. Too bad he left plenty behind https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/nra-chief-wayne-lapierre-says-hes-resigning-days-before-trial-scrutinizing-his-leadership-spending/ar-AA1mwB6i
  16. Interesting. He had the same July 19 birthday as Samuel Colt (1814).
  17. Gaston Glock, dead at 94. Born July 19, 1929, died December 27, 2023.
  18. I now have ballz (.454 and .457), black powder, two kinds of caps, a pistol-size powder measure, Wonder Wads, and bore butter. I even have Cream of Wheat to use as a filler in light loads. I am now ready to shoot this thing. But every day I’ve had time, it’s been 32 degrees or under.
  19. This class is always held the first Saturday in December. About a month prior, the instructor sent a message out saying there would be no Low Light class this year. I didn't realize how much I'd miss it until the time came and went. I also see I didn't update my last post, where I was about to use a red dot-equipped gun in the class for the first time. It made a huge difference. I can't put it into words. Rest assured, it simplifies the problem.
  20. A word of advice: If you ever get away from a specialized area of the shooting sports, keep that stuff together. Don’t go robbing things and fail to put them back. If you haven’t shot black powder for a while… just for example… and borrow your powder measure to play around with a BP cannon, put it back when you’re done. Same thing if you use your capper elsewhere (and have no idea why you would’ve done that); put it back. Same with the .454 round balls you know you have. I got lucky with caps. Percussion caps have been a hard to find item for a while. I had some, but donated them to 4-H. When i picked up the Old Army, I jokingly asked the owner if he had any. He found that funny. Later, as I’m about to leave, the owner’s son asked if I needed anything else. Again, I joked “just caps”, but he surprised me by saying he would look. To my shock, he came back with a can. He had noticed it when scratching around in the back recently. That may be the first can of caps sold in a while.
  21. Since I got the Ruger LCR 9mm around the same time as this Bulldog, I’ve generally taken both to the range if I’ve taken either. Therefore, I’ve had a fair amount of side by side comparison whether they are similar enough to compare or not. If you had asked me beforehand which one I’d shoot better, I’d say the Ruger 9mm without hesitation. And I would’ve been wrong. The Bulldog makes smaller groups. I’ve got several loads already that would work well in the Bulldog, but I’m still searching for something better than “OK” in the LCR. Recoil is “friendlier” with the Bulldog. I’ve figured out bullet weights/velocities with the ‘Dog so point of impact is centered but I’m still struggling with the LCR in that area. The only practical difference in being able to shoot them is the LCR has an enclosed hammer so it’s DA only, but it stages easy so I can get a letoff that is SA-like. A .44 Spl that’s only around three ounces more than a 9mm is the easier to shoot of the two. Go figure.
  22. I’ve goofed around some with black powder guns, including revolvers, but it’s been a while. I guess I’m about to get a refresher. I’ve never had an Old Army before. The interest was there, but I never took the leap. A friend and I got to talking about them a couple of years ago, which planted the seed this time around. And this time around, I never let it go. If I watch Gunbroker for something long enough, I’ll find one I can’t refuse. And here we go. Another itch scratched. A stainless steel, 7-1/2” barrel, adjustable sight model should be here soon. I wish I still had some of that black powder stuff I’ve given away over the years. There is the lesson: Never let anything go. Some people may not know these guns exist, since it’s been 15 years since Ruger dropped them. If you don’t know, read on. If you do know, don’t bother. It’s a black powder (cap and ball) revolver made on a modified Blackhawk/Super Blackhawk frame. It’s the only BP revolver I know of that isn’t a replica of an 1800s gun. Bill Ruger, Sr liked black powder revolvers, but wished they could be made with some modern improvements. He owned a gun factory or two, so he made the gun he wanted. It was strong, had adjustable sights, used modern coil springs, and was well made unlike some replicas of the time. The result resembled the 1858 Remington and/or the Whitney and Spiller & Burr. At first, they were called .44 caliber. Later the boxes were marked .45 caliber. The ball recommended for all was the same .457” diameter. Almost all other .44 revolvers use a .454” ball, and most Old Army owners who have tried them say the .454” works and shaves lead like it should when seated. I haven’t read any serious accuracy test comparisons, but I am curious. After a couple of years, Ruger made the gun in stainless steel. That’s where things got interesting to me. Reviews from the time talked about ease of cleaning, and many would clean it by removing the grips and running it through the dishwasher. Thus the appeal to me. A black powder gun for the lazy man.
  23. I took the Bulldog out today. The 240 grain loads all shot high. I had loaded slow ones, fast ones, and in-between ones. All shot from 3” to 4.5” above point of aim at 50 feet. I got 200 and 230s to hit POA. I even got a couple of nice groups. Really, most of the groups were better than I expected. One bullet tumbled. One shot. I’ve read of older Bulldogs doing that, but I thought it was odd that only ONE shot did, and I had mostly decent groups. FWIW, it was a cast Lyman 429421 250 grain SWC. I shot a few other groups using the same bullet and didn’t see it. Recoil? Nothing I shot was all that hot, nor would I want to use such in the Bulldog for safety reasons. Felt recoil wasn’t as bad as I remember. I think it was easier on the hand than the 9mm Ruger LCR I got recently. The LCR probably didn’t recoil any more, it’s just snappier.
  24. Ruger has had the swappable magwell since the PC9 came out SIX YEARS AGO. Ruger, however, is still selling the same three magwells they started with instead of making a variety of them like people have asked since the beginning. But so far S&W has only promised a selection. I have to wonder why S&W didn’t add this feature to the folding FPC they gave us just over six months ago.
  25. Did I just feel the earth move? I can't get too excited about the announcement.
  26. New today is the S&W Response, a 9mm carbine with interchangeable magazine wells. It comes with two magwells, one for S&W M&P magazines (and two 23-rd mags) and one for Glock 9mm magazines. The trigger group is AR. The buttstock is AR (Magpul MOE). The grip looks M&P, including the backstrap system. M-lock forend. It looks like no sights are included. How much, when do we see it, etc? Beats me. https://www.smith-wesson.com/product/response
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