Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP


.25 ACP
Striker fired
Six round magazine
2’’ barrel
Grip safety, magazine safety (1917 and after), and thumb slide-lock safety.
A bit over 420,000 pistols were manufactured from 1908 – 1948.
Corporately, Colt referred to this pistol as the Model N.
The pistol pictured above is vintage 1923.

IMHO, when Colt introduced the
Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP it was the first serious challenge to the reign of the .41 rimfire Remington Double Derringer as the preferred discreet-gun for both the polite and the nefarious of society. As its name implies, it easily carries in a man’s vest pocket. We can be sure that many of the “fairer sex” found that it stowed well in purses and undergarments.

Dieudonné Saive of FN used the European version of this pistol (Model 1905) as the basis for the Browning Baby, which began production in 1931, arguably finishing off the Remington Derringer, and in turn perhaps sounding the death knell for the Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket. What did Saive do to make the Baby more popular than the Vest Pocket pistol? He kept much of the original John M. Browning design but eliminated the grip safety and made the pistol smaller and lighter (Colt =12 oz / Browning = 9.7 oz) while keeping the magazine capacity of six cartridges. In a word, Saive made the Baby look and feel “sexier” than the Vest Pocket pistol.

Along with it being a couple of ounces heavier, there is a bit more of a grip on the Vest Pocket pistol than there is on the Baby, making it easier for some to shoot. However, unlike the grip safety of a 1911 pattern pistol, the grip safety on the Vest Pocket takes a deliberate forward flex of the web of the hand; a few shooters I knew (both men and women) could not get the hang of it. My guess is that many shooters found the grip safety an untenable feature. As for me, I like it.

Many old cops who happen upon this page will remember either carrying one of these little pistols for undercover work or as a backup gun. Other old cops may remember confiscating them from criminals.

There is some
collector interest in these old pistols. If you have inherited one, it certainly is worth more than the money any municipal “gun buy-back” will offer. As for using an old Colt Vest Pocket for concealed carry, that choice is for you to make. There are many similar sized modern pistols available today that have a more potent chambering than the .25 ACP.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A lesson on fighting dirty


On three occasions during the Civil War, Confederate Captain Shade Wooten of the Twenty-seventh North Carolina regiment successfully used what is probably the most prehistoric weapon on earth. He resorted to throwing dirt into the face of his assailant.




Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Del Fatti Seecamp pocket holsters available 9-22-2009



This is a time sensitive post. Due to workload,
Matt Del Fatti has not been taking new orders for well over a year now. However, he recently put quite a number of beautiful high-end items on his in-stock list (click here) that are worth a look. They likely will sell out in very short order.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Illinois State Police advises women not to resist attackers

David Codrea has it covered (click here); the ISP advises women to puke during an attack.

Possessing no credentials, I am wary of offering advice on personal protection. However, it is my humble opinion that a string of bullets fired from any meek pocket pistol has more potential to be an effective defense than does projectile vomiting.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Personal and home defense


Do most people give priority to personal protection? It is obvious that some people do so as a matter of practice while others seek to do so only
after suffering a violent attack. I will assume that many people give personal security little thought.

One of the blogs that is an essential daily read for me is
Gun Watch, which covers news media accounts of citizens using firearms to defend themselves against criminals. Mike Pechar and Johnjayray (of Australia no less) keep the site current. I offer them a tip of the hat for a job well done. The accounts are an interesting study and I often find myself pondering many hypothetical questions on tactics. Why did the homeowner leave the doors to his home unlocked, or why did the homeowner open the door to a stranger? Why did the homeowner need to run to the upstairs bedroom to retrieve his firearm instead of having it with him when he answered the door? Was it necessary for the crime victim to go to the bad side of town for a carwash at 3:00 a.m.? The citizens in the articles often appear to be untrained and sometimes poorly armed. Most of the defense shootings appear to be righteous but occasionally one will appear tainted by questionable judgment.

We all know many people, but none of us knows “most people.” Many people make statements about what “most people” do and what “most people” think or feel. If survey results or statistics are available for substantiation, referring to “most people” probably is acceptable otherwise it implies an expertise that the speaker or writer may not possess. Many people who I know do not lock their doors when they are home during daytime hours. Many people who I know do not own any guns. Many people who I know give little thought to personal security, in or out of the home. What do “most people” do for personal and home protection? I often wonder, because I believe that many people would be quite surprised at the amount of crime occurring in their safe little area of the world. Most of the crime reports that I get for my area are from listening to the local police radio frequencies; the local newspaper only covers the crimes they (or the local police) consider extraordinary.

The wife of an employee called the plant one day wanting to speak to her husband. I told her that it would take some time for me to hunt him down, but I would have him call her back. With some urgency in her voice, she said that it was important, that she thought someone might have come into her house while she was taking a nap, that she had heard some noises and that the family dog was acting strange. Politely but firmly, I told her she must hang-up the phone, immediately dial 911, and that I would get her husband and personally drive him home. She affirmed that she would call 911 using her home phone and asked that I have her husband call her cell phone ASAP. When he returned her call, she told him that the police dispatcher had instructed her to gather the children, to leave the house immediately, and to wait for the responding officers at the curb. Once the police arrived, she said they checked the house, found that there were no invaders, and guessed that the wind had probably caused the noises that she had heard. In this case, everything turned out just fine. When asked, the employee told me that they did not lock their doors during the daytime hours if someone was home. I asked if he felt secure in doing this, and he replied that he believed that burglars don’t bother occupied homes in good neighborhoods. Being as diplomatic as possible, I said that home invasions occur in the best neighborhoods, and that the difference between burglary and something worse may only be whether the invader finds someone at home or not. I asked if his wife had a gun for protection and he said she did not, that they did not like guns. No wishing to lecture, I ended the conversation by suggesting that they might want to do some research on how to improve their home security.

How far should each of us take personal security? I have no answers. Doing something often is better than doing nothing.
Click here for glimpse at a couple using pump shotguns to practice taking care of business. I’d say that they have a good handle on their personal security.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Pre-Model 29

Elmer Keith created the .44 Magnum and Dirty Harry made it immortal. To shooters of my age or beyond, mentioning the .44 Magnum will most likely trip memories of the writings of Elmer Keith. Most of the younger folks will think of the big revolver used by Inspector Harry Callahan. Smith & Wesson first made their .44 Magnum revolver in 1955; the first Dirty Harry movie was in 1971, followed by sequels in 1973, 1976, 1983, and 1988.

I know what you're thinking — "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But, being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

You will not find me buying one of the snub-barrel, super light, .44 Magnum revolvers that are available today. I have fired many of the designs and they do not agree with my sensibilities. I have only owned three .44 Magnum revolvers in my lifetime, two of which I sold; one was a Colt Anaconda, the other was an S&W Model 29 Mountain Gun. This old pre-Model 29 I favor over all others. The balance and weight of this revolver feels just right to me and the factory trigger pull is smoother than what I have ever found on any other S&W revolver. The Goncalo Alves target grips fill my hand perfectly and are still beautiful after all of these years. Artisans built these old revolvers back in the days when attention to detail was not an expendable commodity subject to cost cutting. While this revolver is not durable enough for the super-hot, super-heavy, big-game loads, it will handle loads that many people will find too intimidating to shoot on a regular basis. Although I find the best protection against black bear attacks is to hike with someone who I can outrun, many available factory loads would offer suitable protection when chambered in this old gun. If I need protection from something the size of a Grizzly, I would prefer to cower behind someone who is carrying a more formidable caliber. If I were to use this gun for home or personal defense (which I don’t), I would choose the .44 Special 240-grain Winchester Silvertips shown in one speed loader above. The other speed loader contains .44 Special lead round-nose practice rounds, which were somewhat affordable before the current ammo shortage. The empty cases are from Winchester white box 240 grain .44 Magnum jacketed soft-points.


The variety of factory loads available for the .44 Magnum helps to keep it popular. For this photo, a random grab of some ammo boxes from the rack shows only a tiny sampling of the many .44 Magnum loads that are (or were) available. For those who get lost hiking in bear country, having a couple of boxes of .44 Magnum birdshot in their kit could provide the option of bagging small game for dinner. I’m not sure that CorBon still has their mild (less noise and recoil) 1200-fps 180-grain self-defense loads available. While not loaded to the max, the erstwhile 250-grain Winchester Black Talon was quite substantial, probably more suited for hunting whitetail deer than for personal defense; the same could be said for the 240-grain Federal Hydra-Shok. The 180-grain Samson cartridges (made by IMI) are very hot, generating plenty of recoil and noise. They also have very hard primers. I never suffered a misfire while using them in any of my three revolvers but the spent primers always looked barely dimpled by the firing-pin strike.
Once upon a time, long ago, handguns were not demonically possessed and department stores throughout the USA commonly sold them. The original owner of my 1957 vintage pre-model 29 S&W said he purchased it from Marshall Field’s. While I don’t doubt the story, there is no way to verify it; according to Roy Jinks, S&W shipped the revolver to a large distributor and dealer, Rex Firearms of New York, which is now out of business. There are no records to verify where it went from there.







Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001 plus eight years



It has been eight years since September 11, 2001 and nobody has forgotten; time has not healed any wounds. My parents taught me not to hate but today I fail to be a righteous man. It is hard for me not to hate those who hate us. It is impossible for me to understand cultures, governments, and religions that sanction “honor-killings” of female family members. It is impossible for me to understand people who claim a right to kill those choosing to leave their religion.

When people declare a “holy war” against us, I do not understand why we do not ruthlessly obliterate the ground that they walk on and burn their assets beyond recovery. It is impossible for me to understand many things, for only the righteous can love beyond hate, and only the righteous can possess the wisdom to understand the absurdities of life, and only the righteous can forgive. As long as I carry the images of September 11, 2001 in my mind, I can never be a righteous man.

We have not had a major incident or attack in eight years, mostly thanks to good fortune, and thanks at least in part to the efforts of the FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, ICE, and many other agencies. We give it to them in the ass when things go wrong; we owe them no less than a salute when things go right.

“Thank you” often is an insufficient expression of appreciation. For lack of better words, I will offer my humble “Thank you” to all members of our armed forces for taking the fight to the enemy, a war our enemies started over here. “Thank you” to the families of those in our armed forces for their immeasurable sacrifices. “Thank you” to all countries standing with the USA in this war against terror and hate.

Even though I am not a righteous man, I do pray that all of what has happened will someday be nothing more than pages of text among the countless lessons learned by those who found a way to make the world a place of peace.




Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Snubgun Stops Grizzly Bear Attack



Heh, I guess I should mention that the revolver was chambered for something more substantial than the .38 Special
(if you haven’t already seen it, click here to read the story at Steve’s site, The Firearm Blog).



Man against nature

What’s eating Mulligan? Every critter in his backyard.
"what do the critturs here in Texas eat when they can’t get cornfed yankee? there’s more creeping, crawling, flying, jumping, biting stinging stuff here than I’ve ever seen before. It’s like a Stephen King novel in my backyard."
Click here to read of his hilarious battles.







Sunday, September 6, 2009

Holster maker R.J. Hedley has passed away…



It is with great personal sadness that I announce the passing of another good friend.

The following is a notice from the RJ Hedley family via the
L.W. Seecamp forum:

One of the Greatest Holster Makers that ever lived, Robert J Hedley, (1931-2009)



On Friday September 4, 2009 we lost a great man, father, friend, teacher, and holster maker. We thank you all for your constant thoughts and prayers that brought us peace and hope through the many months of Dad’s illness. But we thank you most of all for the respect and love you showed to our Dad. He made a lot of genuine friendships through the forum. Services will be held at Kersey’s Funeral Home in Auburndale, FL on Thursday September 10th, at 6pm. Our family is asking that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to the Good Shepard Hospice, they were a true blessing on that final day. www.goodshepherdhospice.org



Sincerely,

Lou Ellen
Lyle Keith
Cass Kevin
Lisa K
Samantha Jo






ROBERT JAMES HEDLEY, 78

WINTER HAVEN - Robert James Hedley, 78, born February 17, 1931 to Edith and Norman Hedley in Winter Haven, Florida, passed away on Friday September 4th at Auburndale Hospice from cancer.


He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Lou Ellen Watson Hedley and sons James David of Dayton, TX, Philip Van Estes of Bander, TX, Lyle Keith of Lakeland, Cass Kevin and his wife Susan of Auburndale, one daughter Lisa K. Stebbins and one granddaughter Samantha Jo Nicole Stebbins of Winter Haven, one sister Patricia Ann Jackson of Winter Haven, and one brother Richard Norman Hedley of Lake Alfred. One son Robert Dennis preceded Robert J. in death.

He served in the Army during the Korean conflict and was awarded a bronze star, authorized by Major John Eisenhower. His most rewarding venture has been as a designer and maker of pocket holsters.

In lieu of flowers please donate to Good Shepard Hospice. We will gather with friends to celebrate his life from 6-8pm Thursday, September 10th at Kersey Funeral Home, 108 East lake Stella Drive in Auburndale.



Saturday, September 5, 2009

Winchester Model 1906 .22 Short





Several years ago, a friend who I had bought many guns from gave me the Winchester Model 1906 pictured above. It is a Frankenstein “parts gun,” the upper assembly was made in 1908 and the lower assembly was made in 1913; when and why that mating took place is lost forever in time. The beaten old South Dakota barn gun was inoperable when I received it; the entire firing pin assembly was missing from the bolt. Further, the stock was loose at the wrist and had a long crack. Someone had glued the crack and carefully inlaid a groove in the wood in order to seat a wrap of
baling wire to tighten the stock. The wood was so old and dry that it was brittle, the metal covered with rust.

For some reason I took fancy on this old utility rifle. Its condition was too rough for me to consider spending the money needed for a professional restoration, but I was determined to return it to shooting condition affordably. First, I removed as much rust as possible with light gun oil and righteous scrubbing. I did not want to buff the pits, dings, and scratches from the metal since I considered them historical; a farm or ranch gun once was a tool subject to heavy use and some abuse; its scars are its testament. As for the condition of the wood, all I could do there was to soak it several times with a good wood oil and replace the baling wire with a nylon wrap; again, the dents, scratches, and gouges were left to honor its past. Back when I got this rifle there was no internet to use for hunting down parts. To make the 1906 functional, I transplanted the bolt assembly from the skeletal remains of a Winchester Model 62A (also in the above photo), found by a friend who owned a gun store. A great number of the parts for the Winchester models 1890, 1906, and 62 are interchangeable.

If you are considering restoring an old 1890, 1906, or a 62, be forewarned that parts are expensive and sometimes hard to find. You could easily wind up spending more on restoration than you could sell the gun for. Conversely, if you have an old rifle that cannot be restored, don’t throw it out; offer to sell it to an individual looking to salvage the parts.

Winchester produced over 800,000 of the John Browning designed Model 1906 slide action (pump) rifles from 1906 through 1932. For the first two years of production, the 1906 was chambered for the .22 Short, thereafter if was chambered to handle the short, long, and long rifle cartridges.

Some of us tend to be overly sentimental about old guns; we feel they carry untold tales of people, places, and things from long ago. This rifle is not unlike many dozens I have seen on farmhouse porches, or propped up in a kitchen corner, or hanging from pegs inside a barn, or wedged under the seat of a farm tractor or an old pickup truck. The rifles were there for contingencies, for deterring barnyard predators, for potting a rabbit or a squirrel for dinner. So, forgive my silly reverence when I handle weathered old guns; they were used to feed and protect those that came before, they are connections to our past.

Click here to read JayG’s review of his Grandfather’s Model 1906.

Click here for a Numrich listing of Model 1906 parts.

Click here for a Homestead Firearms listing of Model 1906 parts.


One year of abstinence

In 1997, after 35-years of smoking, I quit for health reasons and toughed it out until Memorial Day in 2006 when I again took solace in tobacco. With the help of nicotine gum, I am again in a period of abstinence from smoking that so far has lasted one year.

It is common for people with life-long depression to be life-long smokers. Without a doubt, I will someday again enjoy the comfort, and suffer the consequence of bad health, from smoking cigars. I love tobacco smoke, I was hooked from the first puff, and the addiction will stay with me until I die. In the meantime, I am choosing to give it a rest.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fucking, Austria



I have always dreamed of buying a huge plot of land in Illinois, developing it, and eventually incorporating it as a village with the name of “Fucking.”

“Come to Fucking, Illinois. Shop at the Fucking mall, gamble at the Fucking casino while your kids are having fun at the Fucking amusement park.”

Well, it turns out that my idea is not original after all; the name has been taken.
There is a Fucking, Austria.

What do the Fucking people want most?
They want the British tourists to quit stealing their Fucking signs.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I picked up a Trojan, or not.

The internet sure is not as much fun as it used to be. This afternoon, while visiting some of the blogs that I usually follow, IE started acting weird, sometimes slow, sometimes locking up, sometimes giving me “not found” errors.

Then my McAfee alarm went off saying that it had caught a Trojan on my computer; said it removed or disabled it.

According to the log, the Trojan’s name is JS/Exploit-Packed.c.gen, which meant nothing at all to me. I deleted the sites from my sidebar that I had recently clicked fearing that they may have been the cause. This evening I had some time to research just what the Trojan was, and MacAfee had this to say:

“McAfee Avert Labs has found a false detection with JS/Exploit-Packed.c.gen and will be releasing the 5729 DAT Files to correct this issue. The false detection is being seen on websites containing certain types of javascript obfuscation.”

Oh goody. My protection alarm may have read a false positive. My files are auto-updated, but I don’t know if McAfee’s note on this Trojan is current or not. If the alarm was true, I am almost certain it was from visiting (or trying to visit) a blog site. If the alarm was false, I deleted some sites from my sidebar for no reason. Ah hell, maybe I am spending too much time on the blogosphere anyway…

I gotta say that the quirkiness of my old computer, the quirkiness of Blogger, and the quirkiness of MS IE8 is really wearing thin. Yeah, I know that Apples are less prone to this nonsense, but I would be doubly pissed off to have this happen after spending the money and time on a brand new system.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

High Standard Derringer





The nickel, type-3, High Standard .22 L.R. Derringer pictured above was assembled around 1973, which put it at about 22-years-old when I bought it used back in 1995.

There are guns currently manufactured under the High Standard (AKA Hi-Standard) name, but this blog entry is traveling back in time to touch on the old High Standard Derringer not made by this new company. For information on the old High Standard line of guns, we are grateful to have John Stimson’s High Standard Information Website. Go there to date your old guns, download manuals, or take part in forum discussions.

The original company produced these derringers from 1962 through 1984. There was a time when this derringer was de rigueur among the well heeled. Many felt this design was “the derringer done right.” Easy to conceal, they are thin guns but not petite; they have 3 ½’’ over-under barrels and a fair sized grip. Having no awkward hammer to thumb-cock before firing, its double action makes two shots available as fast as you can squeeze the trigger. According to
this site, for many years the Louisiana State Police purchased the .22 magnum version of this derringer as backup guns for the troopers.

Unlike on most pistols, the grip-panels serve no mechanical function; they can be removed to provide an even flatter carry. Some shooters find the shape of the grip-frame awkward. As an alternative, provided it is not long enough to extend past the end of the barrels, instead of using your index finger for the trigger try placing it alongside the barrels and using your middle finger for the trigger.

Click here for a 1967 Shooting Times magazine article by Skeeter Skelton where he discusses, in part, the virtues of the High Standard Derringer.

Click here for former Border Patrol Officer Glenn Bartley’s review of the American Derringer Standard.