Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mauser C96 Bolo



Demons do not inhabit guns. To the eyes of many, no other pistol looks as sinister as does the Mauser C96. In most Hollywood thrillers where the C96 appears, it is usually in the hands of the bad guy. In reality, as with rocks, clubs, knives, swords, spears, arrows, and all firearms before and since, the C96 was nothing more than a tool used by both the good and the evil of our world.

The first semi-auto pistol made in any quantity was the
Borchardt C-93. Soon after, the Feederle brothers designed the first commercially successful semi-auto pistol, the C96 which Mauser produced over one million of from 1896 – 1937. The shape of the ungainly grip helped foster the moniker “Broomhandle Mauser.” By use of 10-round stripper clips to load its box magazine, the C96 was a high capacity, rapid-fire arm that provided for fast reloads. The Mauser 7.63 x 25 cartridge is powerful even by today’s standards, chucking an 88-grain slug out of the barrel at a magnum velocity of around 1400 feet per second. The so-called Bolo variant comprised from one-third to one-half of the C96 pistols Mauser made. They came to be after WWI when the Treaty of Versailles restricted the arms Germany could produce. To be compliant, Mauser produced the C96 with shorter 3.9’’ barrels and smaller grips, which had the unintended consequence of making them easier to conceal. The pistol became popular with the Bolsheviks who bought them in large quantities; some say this gave the variant its nickname of “Bolo.”

If you find a C96 when you sort through your great grandfather’s belongings, check with several sources to ascertain its value. Usually a C96 in the worst possible condition is worth more money than is offered by the so-called “buy back” programs. Some Broomhandle Mausers are worth several thousand dollars. The Bolo that I own, even though all of the parts have matching numbers, has only modest value. However, it does make an interesting collectable and is fun to take to the range for an occasional shakedown.

Today, the Mauser 7.63 x 25 ammunition is hard to find, but is still made by
Fiocchi and Prvi Partizan.

SAFETY NOTES: NEVER use the more powerful 7.62 x 25 Tokarev ammunition in your 7.63 x 25 Mauser; it will fit, it will fire, and the results may be categorically tragic. Many of the C96 Mausers available today have suffered through many years of hard use and neglect. Before shooting one of these relics, it is best to have it checked by a competent gunsmith.






Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Snubgun left-hand reload video (speed loader)


Instructor Michael de Bethencourt has
a new video posted on his site showing how lefties can perform revolver speed reloads. This is good stuff and it is FREE.


Colt .22 Automatic




EDIT 11/27/2010:  From what I have gleaned from different internet sites, Colt originally had plans to market this pistol as the “Colt Cadet.”  Another gun company claimed rights to the name “Cadet,” so Colt settled for the name “Colt .22 Automatic.”  Strangely, I find more information on this pistol by searching “Colt Cadet” than I do by searching “Colt .22 Automatic,” including sources for replacement magazines.

This may be the Colt pistol that, someday, nobody will remember. Searching for it on the web today brings up very few hits. The usually rabid die-hard collectors of Colt handguns have yet to consider this pistol worthy of pursuit.

When this pistol was introduced in 1993 Colt’s marketing department seemingly put no effort into a name, simply calling it the Colt .22 Automatic. The upper portion of the pistol is stainless steel while the lower part is some sort of synthetic; some sources say it is a hard rubber made by Pachmayr. There were two variants of this pistol, both with 10-round magazines. From 1994 – 1998 the original design had fixed sights, a 4 ½’’ vented rib bull barrel, and weighed in around 33-ounces. Colt offered a target model from 1995 - 1999 with adjustable sights, a 6’’ vented rib bull barrel, and it weighed in at around 40-ounces; in 1995 this version was named "Handgun of the Year" by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. Both variants are decent shooters. Someone out there in the wide world of guns knows why Colt gave up on this pistol; so far, the truth has not been shared. It may simply be that big sales numbers never materialized.

Two things with this pistol were very bad ideas. The first major irritation is the location of the magazine release; it is on the right hand side, just above the trigger guard, exactly where I habitually put my trigger finger until I am on target. On occasion, I have accidently dropped the mag because of this. I would have preferred a butt mag release than to have it where it is on this pistol. The second major irritation is that Colt decided to make this pistol with mags similar too, but not quite like the magazines used by the Colt Woodsman. The Woodsman mags fit this pistol, but they will not actuate the slide stop. A minor problem with the mags made for this pistol is that the mag-spring doesn’t put enough oomph on the follower to lock in the slide-stop solidly after the last round. The slide does lock reliably, but the stop usually is barely in the slot; eventually this will wear the slide stop notch.

Everyone should have access to a good .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol; they are great for tuning up our shooting skills and they use ammo that most of us can still find and afford. Most of all, semi-auto .22 pistols are fun fun fun! If you are in the market for a good .22 semi-auto and you run across one of these, you may want to consider that, while it may take many thousand rounds of ammunition, eventually all guns have some part that will break. When a manufacturer quits making a given gun model, the parts that are available for repairs dwindles with each passing year. I don’t know if Colt still services this pistol or carries parts. If I keep shooting it as often as I do, someday I will find out for sure.


CLICK HERE for using Beretta Neos magazines in the Colt .22

.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mag extensions for Seecamp pistols


Some folks may find they can’t quite get a good grip on their little sweetheart Seecamp .32 or .380 pistol.
Sigpower.com is offering what looks like very well made magazine extensions that can provide extra grip area.





Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Taser International warns against chest shots

Taser International has always warned against aiming at the head and neck. Now they warn against aiming for the chest. That shrinks the target zone down substantially.


Fox News isn’t

The Whitehouse says Fox News isn’t a legit news organization. Well, I wish I could argue that point, but in all honesty, I can’t. However, I find it somewhat interesting that the Whitehouse blesses the “legitimacy” of the other “news” organizations for doing nothing more than passionately humping the President’s leg. As a humble citizen, I find that searching for a righteous news organization in today’s competitive market is akin to looking for a Nun in a bordello. ALL news organizations have agendas; they all slant and spin the news. They all say they are doing it for love while the truth is that they all do it for the money. “News” is the third oldest profession, preceded only by prostitution and politics.

Just so that I get this Whitehouse “legitimacy” thing straight, someone like
Rush Limbaugh is a “political pundit,” while someone like Chris Matthews is a “journalist?” Ah, I get it now.

I think I’ll go visit a brothel and see if I can find religion. See you all in the morning.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Congress sucks


One of the many healthcare-package funding-proposals that Congress is considering is to levy a tax on so-called “
Cadillac Health Insurance Packages,” identified as those costing more than $8,000 per year.

Well, I am not, by any measure, a rich man. My health insurance package is not as good as
the health insurance packages available to members of Congress. Although I remain in my ex-employer’s insurance group as a retiree, I pay every dime for the cost of my coverage; my ex-employer does not subsidize any of it. I can choose from three packages while Congress can choose from over three hundred. With the latest annual increase, my health insurance, for single coverage, is now costing me over $8,000 per year. I am in the crosshairs of a thirty-five percent excise tax. That is just lovely.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Cold dead hands

Is “cold dead hands” an archaic and offensive empty slogan or a bold patriotic dare aimed at an anti-gun government? CLICK HERE for Kurt Hofmann.



The essential gun holster


Lawman Glenn B over at Ballseye’s Boomers has a great post on his holster preferences. It is very much worth reading. To me, holsters are almost as fascinating as handguns. How essential are holsters? Ask Plaxico Burress when he gets out of prison. Something as simple as a fifteen-dollar nylon inside-the-waistband holster could have saved him from a bullet wound to his leg, loss of several million in earnings, and a two-year prison sentence. Tucking a handgun into your waistband without a holster may be culturally cool… but chasing a bullet down your shorts is not.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Strange bedfellows or pork politics?

They share a lustful yearning to screw… 300,000,000 Americans.




Illinois unemployment at 26 year high

The banana republic of Illinois unemployment level has reached 10.5%, which does not count those who have given up looking for work. Before the economic crash, the Illinois poverty level in 2007 was 11.9%; I’m curious to know how high it has gone since then. On top of the 11.9% of the population who were in poverty back in the days of “prosperity,” an additional 16.2% were at risk of dropping into poverty; I wonder if they took the plunge with these huge job losses. I shudder to speculate at the numbers an honest count of the Illinois unemployed and impoverished would produce.

It is clear that the
International Olympic Committee did not want the 2016 games going to the third world. Congratulations to our friends in Cidade Maravilhosa; Rio de Janeiro. You earned it.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

VIDEO: 10/9/2009 gunfight at Toledo Rt.66 Bar



Nobody was hurt. Sometimes "duck and cover" works better than "spray and pray."

(CLICK HERE for the story)


2.5’’ Colt Python .357 Magnum



Our memories often paint the past in a more innocent hue than we see in the present. I was sixteen years old when I first saw a snub
Colt Python; it was in the window display of a jewelry store near the corner of Hough and Main Street in Barrington, Illinois. It was as elegant as the gems and fine watches displayed beside it. In view of the obvious facts that I was too young and too poor to purchase anything, the storeowner shooed me from the window. I did carry away the dream of someday owning such a gun.

When I saw this used 1964 vintage Python for sale, the low price reflected its poor cosmetic condition. There were many shallow pits of rust on the surface but I figured it would be a perfect shooter. For a couple of years I used it as a gun to take on vacations and occasionally packed it in a hiking kit.

After a while, the surface blemishes started to bother me; no Python should look that bad. A gunsmith of some local notoriety did only a fair restoration job; many have since told me that I made a mistake by not having the refinishing done by
Colt. The same gunsmith tried to correct a hitch in the trigger action and said that he "almost got it right,” that someone had done work before him and to do a better job he would have needed to put in some new parts. Well, I was more than a little disappointed that he did not call to ask me if I wanted the new parts before he “finished” his trigger job; I would have said to spare no expense. Shooting a double action Colt that has an imperfect action can cause great damage to the revolver. Since that gunsmith left me to question how good his repairs were, the revolver has since seen very little use. Someday I hope to send it to an expert who can make it as mechanically perfect as humanly possible.

I once showed the revolver to my Dad and watched his eyes glow with approval and maybe a little envy. “We have the same taste in guns. If I were to get one, it would be one like that,” he said. Instantly I offered it to him as a gift, which he refused to accept. Still, his fondness for the revolver made me very proud.

There is only limited concealed carry allowed in the world that I live in. The S&W snub J-Frames work better for me as pocket guns than they do as belt guns, while the 2’’ Colt D-Frames can work for me equally well as pocket guns (with suitably sized grips) or as belt guns (when sporting larger grips). The 2 ¼'' Ruger SP101 with standard grips works better for me as a belt gun but can still (barely) serve as a pocket gun. As with its shrunken brother, the 2 ½'' Colt Diamondback, I find the 2 ½'' Colt Python can only serve me as a belt gun. The rub is that I never found a belt holster for the snub Python that suited me; recently I passed on a chance to have a custom belt holster done by a well-known artisan. I decided against that pricey indulgence because my preferences and tastes have changed; should I have the need for a compact belt gun, I would, in all probability, be a heretic and sport a 9mm Glock-26 or a Sig-239 instead of a snub revolver.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hard Times Investing Update 10/07/2009


It has been a while since I did the last
Hard Times Investing Update; it was February 4, 2009 to be exact. On that date, as a patent joke, I predicted a bear market bottom of 675 as a closing low for the S&P-500 simply because all of the experts seemed to agree that we had already hit bottom. It turned out that the experts were wrong and down the markets went. On March 9, 2009, the S&P closed at 676 and has chugged and churned upwards since. My contrarian guess for a market low was nothing but dumb luck; I bring it up only to point out that professional stock market pundits are no better at guessing than we commoners are.

As a hedge, recently I took some profits from a few of the purchases that I made when the markets were ratcheting down into the bowels of Hades; my modest portfolio asset allocation is back to around 46% cash and 54% equities. At its worst point during this market crash, my portfolio value had dropped 25% from its high. Since then I haven’t done too poorly, the portfolio is now within only 3% of being back to its all time high whereas the S&P-500 needs to tack on around a 48% gain from its current level of 1057 to return to its pre-crash high of 1565.

Why was it that I didn’t bet the ranch and go to 100% equities when the S&P closed at 676? For the same reason that I was not 100% cash before the markets tanked; because I have been at this long enough to know that I am only guessing which direction markets are heading, the markets have humbled me many times over many years. My goals for the retirement portfolio are simply to preserve capital while striving for a realistic growth rate. If I don’t try to get rich I will (hopefully) avoid becoming poor. While I have not done badly in preserving capital, obviously I have not beaten the market; I have not yet achieved the growth that I had mapped out. There is still work for me to do and risks that I must take; I am hoping that my dumb luck holds. I expect there to be a substantial market drop soon but I don’t expect to see a return to 676 for the S&P-500 for the near future, barring an act of war or other calamity. So long as there is enough credit available for the major market players to avoid margin calls and the resulting forced liquidations, my wild-ass-guess is that we still have some market upside momentum. Right now, the pundits seem to be evenly split into three camps; “we are in a new multi-year bull market,” “we will ratchet sideways for years,” and “we will return to the pits of hell.” Once the majority of the experts agree on the markets direction, it will probably be best for me to go the other way.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this entry is financial advice.



Monday, October 5, 2009

Snubgun right-hand reload video (speed loader)


If you are one of the many who carry a snub revolver, you may want to check out this Michael de Bethencourt
video showing the mechanics of making a smooth reload while keeping the revolver in the shooting hand. Very cool stuff. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a well-done video is worth no less than a thousand more.



Evyl Robot Kel-Tec P11 Holster

Do you feel the need to pull your carry gun in tight for better concealment? This looks like it can do the job.

(CLICK HERE for the Evyl Robot)




Sunday, October 4, 2009

Three hurt at Florida gun range


“Detectives say the gun fired at least three times after Thourot set it down facing his wife, rather than downrange, which is considered proper safety procedure. The gun began to fire and spin…”

(CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY)