Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Smith & Wesson Model 940 9mm Revolver




This is a Model 940 no dash. As far as the Centennial revolvers go, the 9mm S&W Model 940 is a kissing cousin to the .38 Special Model 640. S&W no longer makes the Model 940; apparently, the 9mm DAO revolver fan club was not large enough to sustain big sales numbers. S&W manufactured the 940 from 1991 through 1998 with the 1 7/8’’ barrel, and for a short time during 1991 and 1992 offered the 940 with an optional 3’’ barrel.

Conventional revolver cartridges have a rim at the base of the case to keep the cartridge from moving too far forward in the cylinder and to provide for extraction. The Model 940 revolver is able to shoot the rimless 9mm parabellum (9x19mm) by using a full
moon clip (sometimes called a star clip). What happens if you try to use cartridges without the clip? I never tried it and I don’t recommend trying it.

NOTE: The following is a cut from the S&W manual:
“Whenever rimless pistol cartridges are used in the cylinder of a Smith & Wesson revolver, (except M547) full or half-moon clips MUST be used to both position and extract such cartridges. Failure to use ammunition clips with rimless cartridges may result in malfunction of the revolver.”

If everything works as intended, the advantage of using a revolver with full moon clips is the potential for very fast reloads, much akin to using speedloaders with standard revolver cartridges. The short ejection rod of snub S&W revolvers works better with the short 9mm cases than with those of the longer .38 Special. However, a couple of issues can keep things from working as intended. The first issue is bent clips, followed by spent cases sticking in the cylinder.

Carrying a loaded full moon clip in your pocket can bend it; I found that placing a loaded clip inside a plastic 35mm film container provides protection for pocket carry. After shooting, it takes a practiced hand to remove spent cases from a full moon clip without it bending. As a personal rule, I will reuse an unbent clip for practice rounds only; I trust only new clips for defense use. After many failed attempts at straightening bent clips, I no longer try. Now if a clip bends I summarily toss it into the recycle bin. Why do some people bother trying to straighten a bent clip? Many consider the
Smith & Wesson 640 moon clips somewhat expensive. I found that even a moderately bent clip binds the cylinder, making it hard to close and reopen, and makes trigger pull unusually heavy.

As far as spent cases sticking in the cylinder, I have yet to suffer that problem with this revolver. One of the above photos shows the spent cases of the brand most associated with the problem along with the unfired cartridges of my preferred defense load. Both work well for me but I suspect that premium cases are less prone to sticking.
CLICK HERE FOR A FORUM THREAD ON CASES STICKING IN THE 940 CYLINDERS

NOTE: The following is a cut from the S&W manual:
“In the Model 940 revolver, some brands of 9mm parabellum ammunition may cause difficulty in extracting spent cartridge cases from the cylinder. If this situation occurs, thoroughly clean the cylinder charge holes with solvent. If this condition persists, we recommend changing to another brand of 9mm parabellum ammunition.”

For those wishing to have a J-Frame with something less than a .357 magnum but something more than the .38 Special +P, arguably the 9mm +P in the short barrel 940 looks good on paper. Long term, I would be very surprised if there was not some flame cutting of the top strap from extended use of the high-pressure 9MM loads.

CLICK HERE for a look at the patented Del Fatti 5-round 9mm moon clip pocket carrier.



Monday, June 29, 2009

Recall Notice for Colt Pistols



CLICK HERE FOR IMPORTANT RECALL NOTICE FOR COLT PISTOLS!


Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC has determined that the Slide Lock Safety and the Recoil Spring Guide Pad in certain Colt model pistols were not manufactured to Colt specifications and must be replaced. All of these Colt models were sold after March 2007 and the range of serial numbers affected by this product recall is as follows:

1911 WWI Replica (O1911) From: 4597WMK To: 5414WMK
1918 WWI Replica (O1918) From: 1001WWI To: 3431WWI
New Agent (O7810D) From: GT01001 To: GT04505
Combat Elite (O8011XSE) From: CG10000E To: CG11293E
Defender (O7000D) From: DR33036 To: DR35948
Talo Night Defender (O7000NDF) From: NDF0001 To: NDF0400



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Link thanks

Special thanks to the Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest for linking to my PPK blog entry; it is very much appreciated.

That unique blog name sounded familiar and it took me a while to remember that I saw it posted over at
Jason’s Blog; looks like another super cool blog site to visit often.




Please pass along these links to others

We are what we learn and what we teach.

Below are links to some blog entries that took me back many years, to a time I had mostly forgotten, a time when I was a member of a gang that taught values and skills.

“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty, to God and my Country…”

Click here for the first of the series.

Click here for the second of the series.

Click here for the third of the series.

Click here for the fourth of the series.

Click here for the fifth of the series.

Click here for the sixth of the series.

Click here for the seventh of the series.

Click here for the eight of the series.

Click here for the ninth of the series.

Click here for the tenth of the series.

I hope he keeps this series going for a long time; it speaks to something inside me; it may just speak to something inside you.

A very special hat tip goes to 3 boxes of B.S.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Law and disorder in Lake County, Illinois


A North Chicago police officer has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery after he allegedly pistol-whipped the living snot out of the Waukegan Police Chief.

The incident occurred around 11 p.m. June 17 when off-duty North Chicago Police Officer Carl Sain went to his estranged wife's home in Waukegan. When nobody answered his knocking, he allegedly broke into the home and found off-duty Waukegan Police Chief Artis Yancey upstairs. Allegedly after punching out Chief Yancey, Office Sain then whacked the Chief repeatedly “upside his head” with a handgun. Chief Yancey was “messed up good,” suffering extensive facial injuries, including some broken facial bones.

We are left to assume that Officer Sain objected to his estranged wife working undercover with Chief Yancey.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE LAKE COUNTY NEWS-SUN STORY




Thursday, June 25, 2009

Smith & Wesson Model 640 Performance Center .38 Special





It is no secret that I am a fan of snub revolvers. I didn’t need to open the safe to prepare this review; I just reached into my right front pants pocket. The S&W Model 640 is the heaviest of the S&W Centennial revolvers that I own, but usually I do not find it too heavy for pocket carry.

There is a consensus that snubbies are not a good first gun for most people. If you bought or inherited a snubbie as your first or only gun, you may want to put in some serious range time until you can shoot it proficiently. Your range time may need professional instruction to shorten the learning curve. If you don’t already own one but are dead set on buying a snub as your only gun, try to arrange a range session in order to try one out before you spend your money; consider trying out some other handguns while you are at it. If you ultimately settle on a snub, welcome to the club.

For carry, some people just shove their snubbie in to their pocket. Far be it for me to tell anyone what to do, but I prefer to carry mine inside a pocket holster; it keeps it in the proper position and protects the trigger. My Kramer pocket holster uses a plastic shield to help break the outline of the revolver, but the outline of the revolver grips will still print through a tight pocket.

Today when you talk about the S&W Model 640 many people immediately think .357 magnum; that wasn’t always the case. When S&W first came out with the Centennial line the 640 was a +P .38 Special revolver. For a short time S&W rated it for +P+ loads to satiate those trying in vain to milk magnum performance from the .38 Special. Ultimately,
S&W reengineered the 640 as a .357 magnum.

Factory new
S&W Performance Center guns can be pricey. This old revolver, which I bought used several years ago, had languished on the shelf of a local gun store for more than a year. It was a consignment; the owner prepared a splashy sign stating what he had paid for the gun new, and what a bargain it was marked down to around $750. After a while, the price dropped to $600, then $500. I bought it when it hit $425. Why did I choose to use this revolver for home defense carry rather than put it in the safe as a collector’s item? I felt it was a better shooter than an investment; as I mentioned above, it was on display for over a year and did not draw a crowd.

What could the Performance Center have done better on this revolver? Foremost, the rear edge of the cylinder should have been beveled; initially it was as sharp as a razor, grabbing onto holster-leather or stitching during a draw. I cut my thumb on it once and I don’t have thin skin. Second, although the front sight is actually decent, it would have been classier for them to install one of
Novak’s night sights. Third, since this was a premium revolver they could have at least used real Craig Spegel custom boot grips instead of the S&W standard rubber boot grips. Does the ported barrel improve control when firing hot loads? The port sure looks cool but my unsophisticated shooting hand can’t detect any improvement over non-ported snubbies, the weight of the 640 makes +P .38 Special loads relatively easy for me to handle. The trigger may be a bit nicer on this piece than on a standard Centennial, but IMHO it is nothing to rave about; it may just seem smoother to me because I shoot it more than I do the others.

For this revolver, my preferred defense and practice load is Federal’s 158-grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoints.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Craig Spegel Custom Grips

I was working on a long blog entry about J-Frame grips when I found this article by Stephen A. Camp at Syd’s Snubnose Files. It says it all. There is no sense in my trying to a better job than Mr. Camp did.

However, I will boldly declare that the factory standard Craig Spegel designed boot grip makes the S&W J-Frame the popular concealed carry piece that it is today. Before the boot grip, the J-Frame was not a gun for the masses.

Long copied by others, the boot grip by Craig Spegel has no equal.

CLICK HERE for Craig Spegel Custom Grips
P.O. BOX 387, NEHALEM, OR 97131
(503) 368-5653 (8 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time)

Since we are on the topic of J-Frames,
CLICK HERE to get LeadChucker’s thoughts on the 5-shooter.



Friday, June 19, 2009

So many blogs, so little time

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned.”

Click here for an interesting take on blogging at Chicago Boyz


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seecamp Anniversary Coin

June 20, 2009

Original was post removed by JZ. Seecamp Anniversary Coins are on hold.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby Browning F&N and PSA .25 ACP




.25 ACP
Six round magazine
2’’ Barrel
Striker fired
Cocking indicator (indicates striker position, not whether a cartridge is in the chamber or not)
Standard and Magazine safeties


EDIT 2/16/2011:  CLICK HERE to read a great new article, The Baby Browning by Ed Buffaloe

Click here to date your Baby Browning.

Click here to find Browning Owners Manuals.

Click here for an excellent article by Ed Buffaloe about his PSP Baby Browning.

Click here for a more recent blog update on the PSA.


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Fabrique Nationale (FN) made the Baby Browning from 1931 until 1979. The Baby was imported to the U.S. from 1953 until 1969 when the Gun Control Act of 1968 took effect, killing all import of small pistols. The anti-gun politicians lacked foresight; nothing in the GCA of 1968 prohibited domestic manufacture of the banned guns, which created unintended gun manufacturing opportunities in the U.S. Precision Small Arms (PSA) has made the Baby Browning here since 1984 under FN license. NOTE: PSA was formerly known as Precision Small Parts (PSP).

The Belgium made Baby Browning in the above photos is 1962 vintage, while the other pistol is a new PSA. Pistols made by PSA for export will have Browning grips and the slide marked Fabrique Nationale, while the ones for sale stateside will be marked PSA. How did I get a new pistol with the export markings? I’ll be darned if I know the answer; I bought it from a friend in the business, my guess is that it is a transition pistol or a production overrun. Do I feel the American made PSA pistols are as good as the old FNs? Yes, although I did notice the slide serrations were not well cut on my particular PSA. If I were to choose one of the above as a last ditch carry pistol it would be the new PSA pistol over the 1962 FN. One reason is that the safety on the PSA pistol seems to have more of a positive action than on the older FN pistol.

There is no semi-auto currently in production (that I know of) that is quite as small as the PSA Baby Browning. Although the overall length is matched by several other designs, the Baby usually is substantially thinner and has a smaller grip height. It is exceptionally easy to conceal.

Its size makes it difficult to shoot for some folks. If you are considering purchasing a used FN or a new PSA Baby, you may be well served to ask a friend to allow you to test fire theirs. Not all hands are created equal and if you cannot keep a good grip on this tiny pistol during recoil, it may jam. Even moderately large hands may suffer slide cuts to the fleshy web between the thumb and forefinger; keep your grip deliberately low on this small semi-auto. The recoil of the .25 ACP is surprisingly snappy in the Baby; you may feel some pain from the trigger guard beating on your trigger finger.

NOTE: If you have an old FN Baby Browning in need of repair or refinishing, PSA says that they can handle the job for you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This looks interesting...

Crispin Press is being founded as a short run publisher and printer; offering low volume, color and black and white, specialty, custom, and personal, printing, and publishing services; as well as digital pre-press, and editing services.”

If you can’t find a printer / publisher for your book, blogger AnarchAngel may be able to take care of business for you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mouse Fodder

Before fear of the Obama anti-gun policies sparked ammo hoarding, the .25 ACP was an affordable centerfire cartridge. The 500 rounds of .25 ACP in the above photo just cost me what I used to consider an outrageous sum of money for 500 rounds of .45 hardball. We do live during interesting times.

Even though my increased recreational shooting has slightly dented my ammo reserves, for most of the calibers and gauges, I am still well set and the cache should make it to the end of my years. While still light on .38 Super, I am making steady headway on that front. A recent inventory found I was down to only 150 rounds of .25 ACP. Considering my age versus the actuarial tables and the number of guns of different calibers on the rack that I shoot in rotation, this recent purchase of 500 rounds of .25 ACP should cover my remaining years of shooting my mini-mouse guns; they get light use on their infrequent range visits.

As I have said before, I didn’t raft my cache of ammo as a contingency for the end of the world as we know it. I rafted ammo during my working days so I would have enough on hand during my retirement years to have fun and improve my shooting skills (or at least maintain my mediocre skill level). Ammo was cheap for many years and I took advantage of the prices and availability while I still had a paycheck, a most fortunate move on my part. I would sure hate to pay today’s prices for any sizeable ammo lot. In fact, I have been tempted on more than one occasion to sell some of my inventory at what would be a significant profit; I still believe that this is an ammo-bubble and that prices will someday come back down to levels that are more reasonable.

Whatever tomorrow brings, should I happen to have many cases of ammo available during some unthinkable crisis I’ll consider that a fringe benefit of my being a gun nut. Having said that, please know that I’m reverently hoping to live the balance of my life never needing to fire any gun in self-defense.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beretta Minx .22 Short 950 B and 950 BS



The Beretta Jetfire’s sister is a real Minx.

While the Jefire is chambered for the .25 ACP, the Minx is chambered for the
.22 short. The photos above show a 1960 Italian made 4’’ 950 B Minx (aka M4); notice there is no thumb safety on the left side. Also shown is a post-1968 American made 2’’ 950 BS Minx with the thumb safety. Both hold six rounds of .22 short in the magazine and one in the chamber; the Minx holds two rounds less than the Jetfire. The .25 ACP is a centerfire cartridge and I have found it to have more reliable ignition than the rimfire .22 short. Back in the 1960s, there were arguments over which load had more “stopping power.” While both loads can be lethal, both are woefully underpowered. Since the rimfire is more prone to misfires than the centerfire, and considering that the 950 has no extractor to clear the chamber of a misfired cartridge, the Jefire would appear to me to be the better of two poor choices for self-defense.

Why would anyone prefer the Minx to the Jetfire? One reason I can think of is the cost of ammo; .22 short is far cheaper than .25 ACP. Another reason is that a standard velocity .22 short has a comparatively quiet report when fired, which is something of value if one is trying not to attract attention. NOTE: The standard velocity .22 short may not cycle the action of the Minx properly, you may be better off loading one cartridge at a time via the tip-up barrel. Even with high velocity loads, my 4’’ Minx seems to cycle better than the 2’’ Minx, probably because of the added blowback pressure from the longer barrel. The slide on the 2’’ American made Minx may have more mass than the slide on the earlier Italian gun. The shorter barreled pistol seems to cycle okay after firing a few rounds, maybe due to the added blowback pressure from having a dirty barrel. In brief, I find my older Italian Minx to be more reliable than the one made in America. The Italian guns show some quality hand fitting, including fitting the mag to the pistol. The American made Minx makes good use of “allowable production tolerances.”

The slide on the Italian made Minx is marked “Tipo Flobert”; years ago, I assumed that was the name of some gun-designer working at Beretta. Now I believe it simply means "Type Flobert", “Flobert" being an Italian or European designation for the .22 short, maybe for rimfires in general (
after the Frenchman who invented the metallic cartridge by shoving a lead-ball into a percussion cap. Pronounce it FLOWBARE).

The Minx can be a fun, affordable gun to shoot. I have a bit of sentiment for them; back in the days before guns were evil, my first pistol was a 4’’ Minx.

EDIT:  CLICK HERE TO DATE YOUR ITALIAN MADE BERETTA

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Beretta 950 BS Jetfire .25 ACP



The .25 ACP single action semi-automatic Beretta 950, once commonly called the Jetfire, was made between 1952 and 2003; it has been replaced by Beretta’s DA/SA model 21 Bobcat. On an old 950 B there is no safety like on the 950 BS (I believe this was a 1968 improvement). Some folks think that the 950 BS is okay to carry cocked-and-locked, something I do not feel comfortable doing with this gun. No, I am not an expert and I cannot cite any specific cases of negligent discharge; I humbly just don’t feel it is a very hygienic practice with this firearm. A pin through the alloy frame keeps the safety intact; I have found that this pin can “drift” on some guns, making the safety overly loose or even non-functional. That aside, I have never been crazy about cocked-and-locked on any pistol other than quality 1911 models.

Although not a firearms instructor, on occasion I do make my guns, my ammo, and myself available to new shooters once they convince me they can understand the safety rules. Usually I will bring five or six handguns to the range, a mix of revolvers and semi-autos in calibers from .22 through .45. At first look and feel, some newbies think the cute Beretta 950 is what they want as an “only gun,” but after firing all of the offerings, most new shooters rank the Jetfire as their least favorite. As an aside, I find most new shooters also don’t like the .45 ACP government model but, strangely, most are usually more accurate with it than with the other centerfire handguns in the mix. Never one to advocate a particular handgun, I do suggest that people are best served by shooting a wide selection of handguns over time so they can make their own decisions; one range session where a half-dozen handguns are sampled is probably not enough. Another humble suggestion is, whenever possible, people should seek training from a professional. Caveat emptor, your local gun store clerk is usually no more of a pro than I am; ask to see credentials.

Risking the wrath of some folks, I will offer that the 950 is not as easy to shoot as it looks to be. Its unconventional design takes a bit of study before it becomes familiar. My guess is that many professional firearm instructors cringe when a student shows up for class carrying a Jetfire. If a round in the chamber misfires, a
tap-rack-bang maneuver will only result in a double-feed jam because there is no claw extractor to yank an unfired case from the chamber when racking the slide. To remove an unfired round from the chamber, slide the barrel release lever forward and the barrel will flip up. You can pick the cartridge out with your fingernails if it does not fall free by inverting the gun. Having relatively low recoil and a low level of noise, the 950 usually is not intimidating to most new shooters; they are more likely to develop a flinch from anticipating hammer-bite or the slide-cuts caused from having too high a grip (or from having meaty hands). The sights on the Jetfire are not very good so the instructor may have a challenge getting the student to shoot a qualifying score.

These pistols are available used, in good condition, often for less than $200. The shelves at your local gun store usually will have at least a couple lying around. My guess is that many people bought them new and found that they did not fit the niche they believed they would so they traded them in on something else. Mine has less than 300 rounds put through it over the many years I have owned it. It only comes out of the safe for light range time (empty the two mags, clean and lube the gun, reload), for use as an alternate kit gun, or for self-defense carry around the house when the arthritic pain in my hands has me doubting that I could handle the recoil of anything more substantial.

While searching the different blogs I found nobody spoke in favor of the .25 ACP as a defense load. Of all commercially available centerfire cartridges, the .25 ACP scores the lowest in stopping power. Nothing has yet convinced me that hollowpoints or the hot frangible loads offer much improvement over ball ammo; IMHO, the .25 ACP is just rock bottom no matter how much it is tweaked.

I will speculate than many knowledgeable people will concede that, with eight rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, having a Jetfire .25 is better than having nothing at all.


Click here to download a Beretta 950 owner’s manual.

EDIT: CLICK HERE TO DATE YOUR ITALIAN MADE BERETTA
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kentucky Pastor asks parishioners to come to church well heeled.

Ken Pagano, a Louisville Kentucky pastor, is asking his flock to bring guns to church to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.

The New Bethel Church is requesting responsible handgun owners to wear their firearms inside the church on Saturday June 27. .

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tanks a million Steve.

Steve over at The Firearm Blog (Firearms not politics) was kind enough to highlight another blog entry from here. The referrals from his site spiked the readership numbers for this humble site again into new territory. I am flattered and grateful.

The Firearm Blog is one of my favorite reads; it has guns big and small, long and short, old and new. If you love guns and ammo, Steve’s site is a must.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Survival Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle





Here is another take on the concept of a kit gun. The erstwhile Survival Arms, Inc of Cocoa, Florida made this particular rifle; I bought it new in 1994.

Eugene Stoner designed the AR-7 survival rifle while working for ArmaLite. Production has passed from company to company since 1959 and continues today at Henry Repeating Arms. If you are considering an AR-7 as a survival rifle or a kit gun, my humble suggestion is that you avoid buying anything used; buy a new one from Henry so you have some factory support in case anything goes bad. Notably, Henry uses a plastic for the stock that may be more durable than the plastic used by previous manufacturers. Further, the Henry stock holds two eight-round magazines instead of one. Since I do not own a Henry AR-7, I truthfully do not know firsthand how their version compares to the quality or reliability of older rifles. I have read that the Henry is better.

Probably the biggest advantage the AR-7 has over other bedroll rifles is its weight, a very light 2.5 pounds. I’ll venture a guess that it would not take much force to bend the barrel if you take a fall while traveling rugged country with the rifle assembled; saving weight often sacrifices strength. The rifle floats if lost overboard. With everything stored in the stock, the rifle is small enough to fit into a daypack.

My shooting is not very accurate with this rifle. I figured a survival rifle should be able to bag a squirrel at reasonable distances, so years ago I gave it a couple of field trials. The peep sights of this rifle failed to work with the limits of my vision. While using the iron sights on a Remington Nylon 66 never was a problem for me when squirrel hunting, I could not measure up to the challenge of bagging the mighty squirrel when using this AR-7. Using it for target shooting, I was mediocre at best. It has been years since I have fired this rifle, so before I would again pack it into a kit I would need to re-prove its reliability with some select ammo and see if my cataract surgery improved my accuracy with it. The butt-cap on my rifle is so loose I would need to seal it with electrical tape if I were to pack it for a trip, or buy a new cap and hope that it fits; new parts sometimes don’t fit well on older guns. The safety on this rifle is a pain in my… thumb… to use, something I hope Henry improved on. In fact, since Henry is the only game in town for new AR7s, I wish they would resize and reconfigure the stock so a scope could be included for storage.

IMHO, this is an affordable, expendable rifle. When weight and size are critical for packing, it is something that I can carry for use as a last resort, something that may be just barely enough gun to do get me through an unexpected crisis. It will never be my first choice for a kit gun or a survival rifle; it is an alternative.

Manufacturer instructions state that this rifle is suited for standard and high velocity ammo, but advised against using “super-high-velocity” ammo so I never used CCI Stingers or similar loads in it. I have heard the Henry version has a stronger recoil spring and may not work well with subsonic ammo.

While it will never be as popular as the versatile Ruger 10/22, the AR-7 does have a following. Only you can decide what would be a good fit for your kit.

Click here for AR-7 repair parts and customized accessories.