Sunday, February 7, 2016


The club rules vintage sniper Remington 1903 fires excellent groups at 300 yards. I do find the high scope mount a problem but I used a towel to comfortably position my head. This will be corrected by an improved cheek pad in the future.

The scope performs well for it's 1940s technology, like the Soviet PU and other military scopes of the era,  The Weaver K6 does not have a self centering reticle. This means the windage and elevation must be set with the scope rings to keep the reticle in the center of the scope. The scope internal adjustments are for small corrections only.

Happily this is the case and the rifle easily keeps all rounds in the 9 ring of an NRA 300 yard rifle target at the aforementioned 300 yards, with ball ammunition, I expect match loads will  work even better.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Club Rules Vintage Sniper Rifle

I shoot our club’s vintage sniper matches. I used an original M1D, but I found this was too difficult to single load in the prone position. As a collectable rifle, it just did not seem smart to put match wear on this rifle. Plus there was always risk of an out of battery ignition. At our club’s longest distance 300 yard, the 2.2 power, 70 year old, M84 scope was a challenge. Frankly, the optics are not that good.  While wonderfully accurate, the M1D just did not fit the bill. 

So I started with a Frankenstein Remington Model 1903 made in late 1942. The gun has a matched barrel and receiver, as well as Remington trigger parts. The rear sight and bolt are USGI replacements. The barrel has excellent rifling but does contain one patch of minor pitting, this will never be a collector grade barrel.

The stock is a repaired WW II vintage Keystone “C” stock. It has a full pistol grip and provides a comfortable platform for this rifle. The stock was cracked, sanded, and repaired. Its reasonable price and close color match made it a natural fit. The cheek pad helps with the high rings needed to ensure the opening and closing of the bolt clears the scope.     

The Remington M1903 does shoot very well and the minor pitting does not affect accuracy.  The S&K Instamount is an excellent product, its every bit as solid as a drilled and tapped scope mount. I was initially skeptical that any “no drill and tap”scope mount would actually work. I’m very pleased that this one does work so well. The instructions don’t have any pictures (important for a visual learner like me) but they are well written and easy to follow. Of course, the most difficult part of mounting a scope is aligning the cross hairs. It’s easy to cant the scope when tightening the ring screws. This job takes some care and mistakes can be avoided by using a scope mounting kit.

The scope is a 50s vintage Weaver K6, a popular commercial scope and can be found on auction sites, usually reasonably priced. While the optics are not perfect it is adequate for our club matches at 300 yards.    

One the spring weather arrives this rifle will be on the firing line with a purpose. We’ll have a further report then.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Don't blame the Confederate Flag!

It's a part of history. It's a symbol of pride for the New South and many people of ALL races.
 The Confederate Flag deserves respect just like  these two iconic revolvers do.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Excellent taste in Firearms!

Governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry has excellent taste in firearms.

Just like me!!
And Winston Churchill!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Underrated Beretta M9 Pistol

The M9 and newer 92FS pistols are made in 

One of my favorites, the original “Die Hard” with one of my favorite actor Bruce Willis as policeman John McClain.  It’s set at Christmas during a terrorist attack at a large multinational corporation.  Of course the real star is the Beretta 92 pistol.  With it Bruce dispatches several bad guy terrorists. 

The pistol became a Hollywood & Television Icon in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Beretta became an icon of the late 80s in that movie, the same way the S&W Model 29 became an icon of the 1970s in “Dirty Harry”.  The Beretta 92 became the archetypical wonder 9 pistol, even equipping the U.S. Military since 1985.  The 92 is a great gun, and Die Hard is a great movie.
I never liked the Beretta 92SF (the military M9) since it replaced one of my favorite handguns, the iconic M1911A1 in US. Military service.  Like many soldiers at the time, I heard the rumors which stated the adoption of the M9 was a NATO payoff to the Italians.  Or the pistol was inferior to the other entrants in the trials such as the SIG 226 or the Czech 75. None of these were true. After three deployments to combat zones with the M9 and experience with other contemporary 9mm handguns, I think the M9 may be the most underrated 9mm pistol of all time. The M9 is exceptionally accurate for a service pistol and is a delight to shoot. It’s often criticized for a large grip, but the grip is contoured and comfortable for my medium–small hands.

The Beretta with 15 and 20 round Beretta factory magazines.

The Beretta 92FS has the smoothest action and cycle of any pistol. The slide almost feels like it is ball bearings.  The pistol’s feel and performance inspire confidence. The pistol is roundly criticized for its grip thickness, magazines, open slide design, locking block design, and finally “weak” 9mm cartridge.

Modern holster and ammunition choices make the M9 and excellent combat pistol.

These are complaints which are really not specific to the Beretta M9. The M9 grip, like any grip is comfortable to some and uncomfortable to others. This is a common complaint with widely issued pistols. Some newer designs have interchangeable back straps, so the user may select the most comfortable. While this may work in Police departments, I doubt it the military, beyond Special Operations Forces, will use this feature. The military has subcontracted for non-Beretta magazines. Some of these are poorly performing, others are just fine.   Aftermarket magazines cannot be blamed on the pistol.  The open slide, used in many very successful designs such as the German P.38, is proven and is not a liability. The same goes for the locking block, many critics illustrate it as failure point, except it rarely if ever fails. No more than any other part in competing designs.

The M9/92FS has served with distinction in the harsh conditions of the War on Terror

Finally, the weak 9mm cartridge, while at its best with hollow point bullet designs, has been successful for over 100 years. The performance of FMJ bullets in any caliber is a matter of wide and heated debate. The number of shots fired by pistols in modern combat is miniscule. Therefore many of the “reports” made by returning combat veterans really are based on perception and not facts derived by use. FEW Soldiers or Marines fire pistols in combat, when it happens, the Beretta M9 performs to the standard. Obviously, the military thinks the same this, and has delayed trials for an M9 replacement by at least another year.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The First 72 Hours

Baltimore burning at night.

For the second time in just over a year, we’re seeing a wave of riots and it’s associated violence and destruction in large cities. This blog does not concern itself with the politics of these uprisings. In fact, I don’t really care about the causes and how some attempt to justify these horrific actions.  The public servants in both Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland can’t and won’t protect their citizens from this chaos. By the time they “call in” the National Guard and order is restored, at least three days pass, otherwise known as the first 72 hours. These cities, at least for a time, have become a Fergadishu and Baltadishu, like Mogadishu, a city in perpetual turmoil and violence.
Ruined buildings in Baltimore

All I can say if the old cliché “Forewarned is Forearmed”. The disturbing part is this violence is not localized to a single inner city, its spreading. Sympathizers in other cities are spreading and enabling the violence. It is only a matter of time until they isolate and engulf suburbs or a small town.  At some point, if the unrest is widespread enough, government control and assistance will not be able to meet the demand, and we’ll be on our own for a period of time. It seems unbelievable but in the continental United States, the time for government response to reach citizens “on the X” is about three days or possibly longer.
Of course, the same holds true for power outages or even riots caused by a professional sports team winning or losing a championship. However, racial and political violence has particularly vicious aspects. Innocents are targeted at random or solely on the basis of their race. These riots and mob attacks are enabled by social media, which mobilizes large groups of hostile of hostile people and concentrates them faster than the police can respond.   The savagery of mob rule and actions make the first 72 hours very dangerous, as dangerous as any place on earth.   
There are some must have essentials. Three days of food, water, and of course weapons for defense.    Since this is a firearms blog, the question is which kind of weapons are the most useful.   In viewing the violence, it seems an urban rifle may be the most appropriate.
The shotgun, while very powerful and intimidating, has limited ammunition capacity.  It’s a good but maybe not the optimal choice. Shotguns are also very cost effective in terms of purchase  and ammunition price. If a family has more than one armed member, as shotgun is a good second weapon.
The Thompson comes in two carbine models and a pistol model. The carbines are the best choice for self defense. 

Handguns are certainly portable, concealable, and some have respectable capacity. The limited  effective range of the pistol constrains its’ usefulness.  Most people are unable to hit distant targets under stress. But at close range the pistol is very effective. Everyone should have a pistol in addition to their long arm.
Many people would choose the intermediate cartridge rifle.  ARs and AKs are a great choice. They only negative is the power of the cartridge. When fired indoors or in a confined space the noise and flash are a problem. This especially true if no hearing protection is worn.
The Thompson carbine is heavy but it is also a strong deterrent.
This leaves one of my favorite types of weapons, the pistol carbine.   There are many available pistol carbines. A small list would include  High-Point, Ruger PC9, Marlin Camp Carbines, Thompson Semi-Auto Carbines, and the M1 Carbine. Some of these are no longer in production but are available on the used gun market.  The list would also include the dozens of military lookalikes such as the Uzi, the PPSH series, the Finnish Suomi, and pistol caliber AR carbines. Finally, the pistol caliber lever action rifles are good choices for defense and are widely available.
The Suomi M31 has excellent capacity, a 71 round drum, but it's a heavy weapon.

Magazine capacity is always an issue and should be a major consideration. Simple sights or optics are both excellent options for the citizen.  Since most targets (hostiles) are engaged at ranges well under 100 yards. Simple iron sights are adequate. Low power combat optics or red dot sights are useful in low light situations, but may increase the cost of the complete weapon.    
The Ruger PC 9 is a simple, rugged, and reliable carbine. Designed for law enforcement, it would serve the average citizen well. 

As a rule I don’t care for added complexity or prone to fail batteries, or even flashlights. Remember, the point here is purely self-defense not a dystopian world where offensive combat or police actions take place.  With the effects of adrenaline and seemingly a million things running through one’s mind, simpler is better.
On the matter of ballistics, pistol rounds and the 30 carbine perform well in 16 inch barrels. I would use +P rated ammunition for serious pruposes, and regular ball for practice.  

The 30 cal M1 Carbine is a powerful weapon for it's size, original and newly made carbines are an excellent choice  with 15 or 30 round magazines. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cordite: The British Propellant of two World Wars

The following pictures are from a 303 British rifle round of ammunition. I have to say the pleasure of shooting cordite ammunition during our ANZAC Day Rifle Match was a great experience. The sound, the smell, and the clean up are all unique to cordite ammunition. I was surprised by the  mild recoil and consistency of the ammunition. Cordite was used in everything from rifle ammunition to cannon shells. It was last used in small arms ammunition in the early 1970s. I sure plenty of cordite ammunition was used in the Indo-Pakistani Wars of the 1960s and the 1970s. It's interesting that some is still around today.
   A surplus .303 British round with a 174 gr bullet and cordite powder