Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Winchester Model 1907 Comes Alive!


If you have seen AMC’s new series “The Son” you’ll notice the real start of the show, the Winchester Model 1907 rifle with a 10 shot magazine. In the early 20th century, the Winchester Model 1907 rifle in 351 Winchester caliber was a formidable weapon for close range combat. Originally designed for hunters in thick vegetation, the 351 Winchester Model 1907 rifle soon found a niche as a self- defense arm.  The availability of 10 shot magazines increased the rifle’s firepower which easily outclassed the traditional lever action rifles of the period.
Two Winchester Model 1907 rifles, The Lebman Model (top) and the standard model (below).


The traditional lever action rifle chambered in in revolver cartridges like the 38-40, and 44-40 are excellent fighting rifles. However, the Model 1907 with preloaded magazines is quicker to reload, and the 351 Winchester cartridge is superior in range and stopping power to the older rimmed revolver rounds. In fact, the 351 Winchester significantly out performs the more modern 357 magnum with the same weight bullets and barrel lengths. In ballistic gelatin tests under 50 yards, the 351 Winchester outperforms the 5.56 NATO. Beyond 50 yards the 35 caliber round nose bullet decelerates considerably.

The US Army, French, British, and Russian armies used in very limited numbers the Winchester Model 1907 during the First World War era.  The rifle was also a favorite of outlaws and law enforcement during the 1920s and 1930s. The vast majority, perhaps 99% of the rifles used on both sides of the law were standard rifles off of store shelves. In the late 1930s, Winchester developed a police variant with a heavier stock and sling swivels for the law enforcement market.   
French Army motorcycle messenger armed with a Winchester Model 1907 in WW I.

One of the more interesting variants, which number no more than six to ten original examples are the “Lebman 1907 Winchester” rifles. “Gunsmith to the Gangsters” Hyman S. Lebman equipped these rifles with an aluminum handguard which mounted a Thompson vertical fore-grip, 10 shot magazine, and a compensator of his own design.  Lebman converted at least some rifles to fully automatic fire.
The Lebman Model 1907, only about 6 of these rifles were made but they were in the hands of Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and Homer Van meter. They can be custom built today for collectors.


Shooting both a Lebman and standard Winchester Model 1907 rifle is a trip back in time. One surprising trait of both rifles is how heavy they feel for their size. The large counter weight under the forearm contributes to the rifle’s heft. The weight and power of the rifle inspire confidence and helped the rifle’s popularity. 

While the 1907 does not have the magazine capacity of the far more famous Thompson SMG, it is a rifle which can make quick hits out to 100 yards. Law enforcement used the Model 1907 very heavily in the 1930s. The FBI used a small number of Model 1907 rifles until about 1950. One of the largest users of Model 1907 rifles were  several state prison systems. The range and firepower of the Model 1907 were ideal for prison guards. The Ruger Mini-14 replaced the last Model 1907s in service during the early 1970s.  
After market 10 round, 1930s police 10 round, and standard 5 round magazines. 


For modern shooters, the Winchester Model 1907 is an elusive pleasure. This early semi-automatic suffers from a lack of factory loaded ammunition and hand loading components. This is obviously due to low demand.   Unfortunately low demand is very different from no demand. There are many thousands of Winchester 1907s languishing in gun racks simply in need of ammunition. Fortunately, Captech International (formerly Jamison) manufactures occasional runs of .351 Winchester brass. Graf & Sons sells excellent  quality .351 diameter 180 gr bullets.  This brass and bullet combination on top of an 18 gr charge of IMR 4227 will get a Model 1907 shooting. This load is quite accurate and should perform well on targets or game. It would be nice if JHPs were available to hand loaders for higher performance loads.

Another dogging issue is the availability of replacement magazines. Currently offered aftermarket magazines are not as reliable or as well made as the original OEM magazines or the period police style 10 round magazines. On the aftermarket mags, they usually need the feed lips adjusted and the magazine follower  trimmed to function properly.  
The follower must not interfere with the magazine catch notch or the rifle will jam. the right leg of the follower must usually be trimmed on aftermarket magazines.
  

There are several issues with Winchester Model 1907s today. First is most examples have a cracked wooden forearm. The walnut factory stocks were thin and somewhat frail to begin with. Sometimes nearly 100 years of use or neglect has resulted in cracks, sometimes running the length of the forearm. The action of the large counter under the forearm and improper disassembly procedures also contribute to these cracks.  Repaired stocks will last, but will almost inevitably crack again in the same place. Lebman solved the cracked forearm problem with a painted aluminum forearm which also mounted a Thompson style vertical fore grip.
The aluminum forearm and Thompson style vertical grip on a Lebman model 1907

Second, the chambers of these guns are usually fouled or even pitted. If a rifle is exhibiting difficult extraction, thoroughly cleaning and even polishing the chamber with JB Bore brite will help immensely. Third, the rifle should be checked by a good gunsmith and have the recoil buffer checked and the trigger assembly inspected. These rifles have difficult trigger pulls which take some getting used to. However, they should be inspected to insure proper operation. The recoil buffers dry our and wear out and should be replaced, especially the early ones which may be 110 years old.
Lebman recoil brake on a 16 inch barrel.


These rifles and the .351 cartridges are ideal for whitetail deer sized game at 100 yards or closer. Although heavy for it’s size the rifle is fast handling and given the trigger and sights, quite accurate. Offhand 3 shot groups at 25 yards consistently have all 3 shots holes touching. 
Winchester model 1907 standard 20 inch factory barrel.


The Winchester Model 1907 is an overlooked but historically important part of firearms history. It is a rewarding rifle to shoot, but it can present some obstacles in terms of ammunition and magazines.

   

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

ATI STG-44 .22LR Carbine

The ATI STG-44 .22 LR Carbine

The STG-44, a Second World War icon, lives in an affordable version!  The German made 22 LR carbine is available through a number of dealers. The rifle, is a remarkable replica of the German WW II legend which was decades ahead of it's time. The original STG-44 was chambered in a 8x33 mm intermediate cartridge, the new version is in the humble but affordable .22 LR.

The ATI STG-44 uses a AR style firing group which is proven reliable and durable.


The .22 chambering has a number of advantages. The cost of such a rifle today in it's original caliber would be prohibitive to both buy and shoot. The 22 LR is much easier to produce and far cheaper to shoot.   It is also not subject to some of the more onerous and illegal "Assault Rifle" laws in certain parts of the country. The design also allows the use of modern materials such as polymer magazines and cast metal instead of steel stampings. However the appearance is very authentic and almost indistinguishable from the original.

 The magazine is polymer and features a cartridge counter, which was not in the original STG-44 design. The magazine holds 25 rounds and during our trial was absolutely reliable.

The rifle was tested in dry cold weather, there was not a sing malfunction if 200 rounds of mixed ammunition. This is an astounding performance as much of the ammunition was standard velocity. The rifle is quite accurate and hit point of aim at 25 yards from the off hand position. This carbine, could be used as a defense weapon under certain circumstances.

  The rifle's appearance will have a deterrent effect on intruders.

The .22 LR is a lesser choice for defense, but it can be reasonably effective with high performance ammunition and a high capacity magazine. The main use of the ATI STG-44 is it's historical appeal and fun as a recreational rifle. It certainly attracts attention and is has a pleasingly dramatic appearance. Purchase one before production ceases.
   

Friday, July 8, 2016

I Warned You

The war on police has come home. The sickness and violence of Baltimore and Ferguson were going to spread. Now it's Dallas: an organized team of Radical Black Extremists have attacked society. They are no better than the Orlando terrorist and ISIS. These cockroaches are terrorists. We must fight and defend ourselves.
A good self defense carbine, it will protect you and your family.
Although they want to make it one, this is not a race issue, like other terrorists and criminals, these Radical Black Extremists have victimized black citizens in their own neighborhoods. I'm sure many good citizens of all races want to see these bastards stopped.


For now, avoid crowds and protests,  arm yourself and "harden your home". Be vigilant, report things that look wrong. Thugs can't operate if citizens report suspicious behavior.


Drive defensively and take less crowded or traveled routes. Ensure you vehicle is filled with fuel at all times. maintain a low profile.  Informally talk to your neighbors about some collective neighborhood security and a neighborhood watch program.


Do not accept politician's rationalizations or excuses.  many of them have endorsed or inflamed the War on Police, and they bear moral responsibility for their actions.
A serviceable handgun for home/ vehicle defense.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Last Gun of Frank James


Alexander Franklin “Frank” James (1842-1915) survived two of the most hazardous jobs of his time. Civil War Confederate Guerilla and bank robbing outlaw. He lived to the ripe old age of 72; I’m sure his proficiency with arms contributed to his longevity.  As a boy, Frank James started shooting percussion rifles, shotgun and “cap and ball” revolvers. Frank was an expert shot and undoubtedly killed many men. As the older brother of the famous Jesse James, Frank was a public figure after his retirement from crime and his subsequent acquittals. Frank was “Scott Free” but he still had enemies.   

In 1904, while lecturing in Butte, Montana, a supposed relative of the cashier killed in the Great Northfield Raid threatened to kill Frank publicly at the theater where Frank was speaking. The man was either drunk or mentally unbalanced, but armed with a 45 caliber revolver. The police subdued him just before Frank arrived. The old guerrilla, even over the age of sixty, was still a formidable man.  By this time, Frank James was carrying his last gun in an overcoat pocket, a new Colt 1903 hammerless .32 caliber automatic pistol. Frank called this pistol his “Gatling Gun”.


The police asked Frank to get out of town. Frank replied "I will go when I am ready." It is amazing to think Frank started out with percussion cap and ball pistols in the Civil War, moved on to cartridge revolvers for his outlaw career, and ended up with a semi auto pistol.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Turkey Struck by the Religion of Peace and Islamic State

Fools in  our Government like Representative John Lewis of GA, must realize the magnitude of the threat. Our leaders want to disarm us in the face of the enemy. They are just beyond stupid. The gun controllers in congress are evil liars who will push their agenda  at any cost. their actions are dangerous and treasonous.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

America's First Battle of the World War



US Soldiers going into Mexico after Pancho Villa and his raiders attacked Columbus, NM

The Allies, France, Britain and Russia fought the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, various rebel leaders fought a bloody battle for control of Mexico.

The Germans, under the rule of Kaiser Wilhelm II, sought an ally (Mexico) in North America to threaten the Southwest United States. This would prevent the United States from joining the Allies on the Western Front. German secret agents approached the exiled General Victoriano Huerta who agreed to help Germany if they would aid him in overthrowing Venustiano Carranza, the de facto leader of Mexico. Mexico would end up allied with Germany against US. Huerta traveled from his meeting with the Germans in Spain to the U.S.; he was arrested and incarcerated in a Texas prison, where he died in January 1916.


The Germans now sought an alliance with Pancho Villa who, with German weapons, attacked Columbus, New Mexico in March 1916, prompting the U.S. military to enter Mexico to search for Villa. Then the final attempt. On January 16, 1917, the Foreign Secretary of Imperial Germany, Arthur Zimmermann, sent a telegram to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt, to seek a rapprochement with the government of Carranza. 

US Solders with Benet-Mercie machineguns used to repel Villa's raiders.

In the famous Zimmerman Telegram, the German government asked its ambassador to speak with Carranza to convince Mexico to go to war with the U.S., and in return, Germany would inject funds into the Mexican economy and would return to Mexico the states of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, lost in the war of 1847. When Venustiano Carranza learned of the German offer, he organized a special commission to investigate the matter and make a decision. 
Villista raider firing a cut down Mauser rifle during the Columbus Raid.

Regaining lost territory would have been a good opportunity for the country, but that would mean war with the United States at a time when Mexico still faced internal division, so Carranza refused. The United States declared war on the Central Powers and sent troops and material to the Western Front, which enabled the Allied victory. The Great War ended on November 11th , 1918 at 11am. In Mexico, Carranza ruled with a new constitution.

Friday, March 18, 2016

1916 The year of Great Offensives

Verdun, The Somme, Jutland, on the land and sea 1916 was the year of offensives. Both sides tried to break the stalemate on the Western Front.  One of the relics of that time is the British Webley revolver holster shown below. the revolver is from 1918, but the holster is from 1916. Was it at the Somme? it's anyone's guess.


Note the date and broad arrow mark in the middle of the flap.

    The 1918 Webley is a good fit for the holster.  

British recruiting poster prior to the Somme.