CLICK THE IMAGE for some truth about the truth.
WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNTION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. CAVEAT: THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be long country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are paid for at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online footprints by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Smith and Wesson Model 36 .38 Special Range Session at 5 Star Firearms in Zion, Illinois

Yep, I went into full retro mode and left the original splinter-grips on this 1988 vintage Chief's Special.  I have had it for three-years and just now got around to taking it for a test run.

Yes, the small grips (stocks) do make the revolver more of a challenge to shoot accurately.  These factory original grips are more uncomfortable for shooting than are any copy of Craig Spegel's boot grips that I have ever used (even the ultra bad copies).  This comes as no surprise; I've fired this model many times over the years.  Silly old me bought this one out of a sense nostalgia; S&W still sells this classic model but it now comes with that insufferable lock ...  

Yes, this 20-ounce steel frame revolver should be more recoil friendly than my 15-ounce airweight revolvers ... but it isn't; modern grips on the airweights do attenuate matters.

Yes, with any of my J-frame holsters I could carry this revolver as it is but I probably won't ... I cleaned it up after the range session and put it back in the safe for now.  I'm not looking for another concealed carry option at the moment.

Yes, the single-action trigger on this piece is darn nice, but I didn't use it for any of this session. 

Yes, the long and strong double-action trigger is close to being just as sucky on this lightly used older model as the triggers are on all of the modern J-frames.   It should get a wee-bit lighter and a whole lot smoother with a few years of use (dry and live fire); for now, it is what it is ... I'm not into having lighter springs installed and such ... you might choose otherwise.

Yes, the rudimentary sights (gutter and blade ... sounds very "Chicago" doesn't it?) on this gun are pretty much as shitworthy as those on most of the newer factory no-frills J-Frames ... except these seemed even WORSE.  I was losing sight of the front-sight on some of my Target #2  speed-drills.  I didn't get out the calipers to confirm, but I suspect that the front blade on this gun is 0.1'' wide instead of the 0.13'' wide blade that I believe to be common on modern no frills J-Frames.  

Technical Information
Caliber: 38 Special
Bullet Weight: 125 Grains
Bullet Style: Nyclad Hollow Point
Case Type: Brass

Ballistics Information: 
Muzzle Velocity: 830 fps

Muzzle Energy: 191 ft. lbs.

Yes, in the world of the .38 Special non+P carry loads, this load is kinda middlin' ... not on the hot end and most assuredly it is not mild enough to be called a puffpuff.  With the right grips, I have always found this load to be just wonderful.  It has a decent record of performance in police use.  During the days of old it was nicknamed The Chief's Special load ... allegedly for having a recoil that was manageable in the S&W Chief's Special.  (NOTE:  Just for the record, I have never been in law enforcement.)

Target #1
30-rounds total as follows (typical of an Illinois Concealed Carry qualification drill):
10-rounds @ 15-feet (5-yards)
10-rounds @ 21-feet (7-yards)
10-rounds @ 30-feet (10-yards)
21-rounds of the 30-rounds fired during a qualification must land in the numbered scoring area.
Head shots don't count in Illinois qualifications, only body shots landing inside the numbers.
For Target #1 I used a two-handed hold and staged the trigger (slow fire) for each shot.  After each string of live-fire I dry-fired five to ten times on the empties (good practice for me and long-term it may help smooth the action of the revolver).

Target #2
22-Rounds @ 30-feet (10-yards)
Rarely will I have a good day when my durable zone of snubnose suckiness moves out to 40-feet.
Target#1 declared this to be NOT one of those days so I limited my fundamental drills to 30-feet.
(sometimes my durable zone of suckiness can be 21-feet, 15-feet, or near powder burn distance)  
No trigger staging on this target; I went for as much speed as I could safely muster.
Some of the rounds were fired unsupported weak side (left hand only ... no support grip)
Some of the rounds were fired unsupported strong side (right hand only ... no support grip)
I'm glad I didn't bring more ammo; this little gun beat the hell out of my hands.  

For hearing protection at the range, some folks wear muffs and some wear plugs;  I wear both at the same time.  It helps minimize flinching from the noise of whatever I am shooting as well as from the noise of whatever my range-neighbors are shooting (yeah, I'm talking about you, Missus .454 Casull).  Further, this particular shooting range has much better acoustic design / engineering than does the range closer to my domicile.

The only downside to double ear protection is that whenever someone on the range tries to speak to me I need to lift one side of my muffs away from my ear to hear them and then the range safety officer (not knowing that I am also protected with plugs) gets concerned.  I've taken to informing the S.O. beforehand ...

Frequent Flyer Miles!
Not only is this range nice enough to have discount days for those of us on tight budgets, they also offer a premium via punch-cards.  The bottom card is all punched out and I get a free hour of range time ... on any day ... i.e. it does not have to be on Senior Discount Day.

ADDENDUM 01/14/2019
I failed to mention that I have been using range sessions to practice reloading techniques and I also failed to mention that the grips on this Model 36 were very speed-loader / speed-strip friendly.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

I received an email notification that another Machine-gun shoot in Waukegan, Illinois is scheduled for ...

Saturday January 12, 2019, 11AM - 5PM 
at Caliber Gun Range (FKA GTR Sporting Club)
3059 Washington Street
Waukegan, Illinois 60085

Here is a chance to learn what it is like to lean into a .45 caliber Thompson submachine gun
(or experience it again).


NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNTION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. CAVEAT: THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT.  DISCLAIMER: Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be long country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review.  TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online footprints by using Tor and Duck Duck Go.  Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all!  Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 4, 2019

My newest gun has a 650 ROUND MAGAZINE and an ORANGE BUMP STOCK!

It's all mine, baby!  Finally, the gift I always wanted as a kid and never got.  Merry Christmas to Me, from ME!  This is for the basement shooting range.  I love shooting air guns (and every other type of gun in existence, including machine guns).

Heh, some kids in our old neighborhood back then called the shoulder-stock a bump-stock (TV movies had cowboys and soldiers whacking the enemy with the stocks ...)  Some called it a butt-stock.  My guess is that most folks just call it a stock.

When all firearm safety rules are obeyed, a good time follows. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

View from a westbound Amtrak sleeper car window, exactly five years ago.

The photos above were shot about an hour past Grand Junction, Colorado, enroute to San Francisco from Chicago.

I love Amtrak.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Monthly Weigh-In 12/27/2018 = unchanged at 190 lbs. Destroy All Machine Guns! They make people FAT!

Yep, that's me in March of 2017, using every ounce of my corpulence to anchor a full auto MP 40.  
In 2018 I never once touched a machine gun and I lost 35 lbs.

Still focused and looking forward to 2019.
Wishing health and happiness to all of you.  Happy New Year! 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018

Federal 147-Grain Hydra-Shok +P+ .38 Special Jacketed Hollowpoint P38HS2G

(Intended accent is Appalachian Southern White, i.e., my Grandma.)
(BTW, Whenever Memaw was sleeping, she kept a revolver close at hand.)
Cool down and put your red flag away, Heavenly Ghost of Memaw.
No Federal, State, or local laws were broken regarding my purchase, possession, or use of this ammo. 

Law enforcement agencies have long sought better performance from handguns, and the major ammunition companies have always been happy to oblige by providing them the latest in hot new ammo.  Why the "+P+" and "Law Enforcement Only" designation for these loads?  Well, first off, +P+ is colloquial; there is no such SAAMI rating.  In short, it probably means something like "at the most extreme upper edge of +P where most prudent engineers just don't like to go" but nothing is certain unless a bonafide ammo-industry insider cares to testifiy otherwise.  Selling a product that is deliberately loaded to presssures outside of the industry standards would carry a heavy liability and does not seem like a rational business practice, regardless of any legal disclaimer.   To stay conservative, I treat these particular .38 Special loads as being potentially too harsh (nothing explosive, just accelerated wear) for any of my revolvers rated as being +P or below; in other words, I only fire them from my .357 Magnum revolvers.  Insofar as the origins of "for Law Enforcement Use Only," I'll  be durned if anyone can convince me that he / she / heshe / shehe (etc) knows for certain.  It could have been a simple marketing ploy; exclusivity does sell.   Maybe someone truly believed this load was above and beyond all other .38 Special loads.  Ultimately, "the street" proved this load to be a bit less than equal to the effectiveness of the old-school +P lead-semi-wadcutter-hollowpoints ... its favor (and product life) was relatively short lived.   Perhaps of some historic interest is the fact that (after the tragic FBI shootout in Miami) some agencies had chosen a 147-grain 9mm semi-auto load to replace the 115-grain 9mm load that was in common use.  Law enforcement use of the 147-grain 9mm semi-auto load progressed to a +P load that some agencies found to give better performance.  IT IS POSSIBLE that this .38 Special 147-grain +P+ load was an attempt to bring it to the same performance level as that of the 147-grain +P 9mm load.  Back then some cops / agents carried revolvers while others had moved on to semi-autos; perhaps someone suggested this load as a way of putting all of their agents / officers on an equal footing.

Speculation and hearsay about the evolution, intent, and official use of this load has filled many internet pages.  The short of it is that, although being a good performer, this is no magic bullet and it is far short of being in the power-class of any .357 Magnum load.   

Federal no longer offers this +P+ load and IMHO they never will return it to the product line.

Federal's still offers many other standard pressure and +P Hydra-Shok loads in all popular calibers.

Hollowpoints are meant to expand; the intent is to make a fat hole inside the threat via a skinny bullet.  A mushrooming bullet causes more tissue damage and theoretically ends the threat sooner than a non-expanding bullet and also is theoretically less likely to drill a hole clean through the felonious threat and endanger those beyond.   The problem is getting hollowpoints to expand reliably.   Barriers such as wood, sheet metal, glass, wallboard, and even multiple layers of heavy clothing can mess up the science.  Barrels that are too short or too long will cause velocities that are too low or too high for what the bullet was engineered to do.  Hollowpoints that fail to open, or that open too far too soon, or fragment, are sometimes no better at incapacitating a threat than are the old fashioned solid round nose bullets and semi-wadcutters.  Hydra-Shoks have a great reputation for performing but there are no guarantees. A rifle or a shotgun often is a better bet than a handgun ... 

So how did I originally wind up with a full 1,000 round case of these?  Happenstance; I'm a shooting-hobbyist; I saw them advertised in bulk around a decade (or more) ago so I bought them to add to my inventory for use during my lean retirement years.  Until lately, my biggest use for them was with a Ruger SP101 at the range; the Ruger still carries a full cylinder of them for household self-defense purposes.  These loads are clean burning, don't lead the gun barrel, and my exposure to airborne lead is minimal.  If my handguns happen to have enough barrel length to keep bullet velocity in the range that the design engineers intended, they should mushroom during a defensive encounter, provided that the hollowpoint doesn't plug with debris en route to the vitals of the threat.   

My fervent wish is to never find out firsthand how well any load works in human flesh, from either side of any gun.  

In summary, for range use or personal defense, I have no qualms about using this load in any of my revolvers that are chambered for the .357 Magnum.

My most recent range session used a total of 45-rounds of the subject load.  The first 30-rounds were for a practice Illinois Concealed Carry qualification (10-rounds @ 15-feet, 10-rounds @ 21-feet, and 10-rounds @ 30-feet; of the 30-rounds fired, at least 21-rounds must hit inside the numbered areas in order to qualify).  Nothing pretty, but it was a passing effort.

Another 15-rounds were consumed working on some snub-handling fundamentals at my current durable-zone of suckiness with this particular revolver, 30-feet.  

The remaining 5-rounds (from the box of 50 that I took to the range) went into the cylinder as carry-loads (after I cleaned the revolver upon returning to the domicile).

Anecdotally, the recoil and noise level of this load has never seemed (to me; your senses may vary) any more or less than what I experience when firing the +P 158-grain lead SWCHP .38 Special loads.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Federal Nyclad .38 Special +P 158-grain Semi-Wadcutter XMN38H

Lookee what I found hiding in the ammo-raft; 1,000 rounds of THESE!  I remember buying them many years ago but for some reason I had it in my head they were round-nose ball and standard pressure (non +P).  I use my 158-grain +P lead SWCHP carry-loads sparingly during practice because my inventory is running low on them (<350 rounds or so left) and I have not run across any screaming bargains in my search for more ... that and the fact that I am a bit skittish about my many years of exposure to lead.  These will serve as perfect surrogates for use at the shooting range in the meantime.  There is also a chance that I may just give up altogether on using unjacketed lead bullets and just use up what is left ...  once all of the 158-grain stuff is gone, I may lighten up my practice loads AND my carry loads to the somewhat softer hitting / softer kicking 110 - 125-grain cartridges (+P for the magnum-steel frame revolvers, and NON +P for the standard steel frames and the alloy frames) because of the ever increasing arthritic pain in my hands.

Commonly recognized as range fodder, some old-school cops preferred to carry semi-wadcutters as their duty loads instead of hollowpoints (some municipalities actually insisted on "solids" because they considered police use of hollowpoints distasteful).  I certainly would not feel naked carrying these in a (non-ursine area) woodland walkabout K-frame revolver ... or for most any other self-defense scenario.

Federal no longer offers this load and IMHO they never will return it to the product line.  The law enforcement market has moved to semi-auto cartridges.  The civilian market for a load such as this is pretty lean.

For those unfamiliar with the "Nyclad" moniker, it is a gun industry portmanteau of Nylon Clad; the blue color of the bullet is a Nylon coating over the lead ... the intent is to minimize airborne lead, barrel leading, etc.

 Commercial production run (likely for a municipal police department) February 18, 2001

Sealed primers ... plated cases ... this is some really great stuff!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Nothing is more badass than shoving a loaded handgun into the front of your pants and experiencing the thrill of a gunshot in the meat department.

Aside from an explosive full or partial gender reassignment, your street credentials change from BADASS to DUMBASS as your fame spreads worldwide.

 I'm very pro-choice.  Whatever goes on (or off) inside your britches is your business; not mine.

Personally, I'd rather not chance turning my junkyard into a wasteland.


Not preachin' or prayin'... just sayin' ...