Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!!! The Centenial Year of the Colt Model M1911 has begun.

Best Wishes for a happy and propersous new year for you all!!! I'm working on some great Model 1911 centenial stories for next year. Don't forget this is the sesquicentenial of the start of the Civil War (War of Northern Agression)!! We'll talk aboaut some of those classic guns also! Now I'm going to take the rest of 2010 off........

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vintage Clothes for Zoot Shooting

I've been working on my Zoot shooting clothes in anticipation for next spring and summer. So i'd thought I'd pass on what I have discovered. Here are several places to get some vintage style clothing. Here are the basics as I have discovered them.
1. Most vintage and vintage style clothing is quite expensive, and not durable enough for Zoot Shooting.
2. Reasonable rugged vintage style clothing can be had inexpensively if some research and hunting is done.
3. The essentials are a hat, shirt, tie, vest, pants and shoes/boots.
a. The typical hat associated with the period is the Fedora, prices range from $50 to $400 depending on quality. A great place to look is the Stetson Outlet Store in St. Joseph Missouri. Lesser cost options are the flat brimmed Straw Boater and Newsie Caps. A boater can be had for about $30 to $50 and a Newsie cap is about $15 to $45. It depends on the character’s look, but all of these will pass for period.
b. The next items are easy, a white dress shirt (long sleeve), dark tie, and suit vest . About any bargain brand will do and the shirt and tie can be found in thrift stores or Wall Mart. A skinny tie is preferable. The best deal I’ve found on a vest is in Burlington Coat Factory Stores. I purchased a dark gray suit vest for $10 off the rack.
c. Next are pants and a belt. Wall-mart, Dollar General , and thrift stores are a great source for pants. Dollar General and Wall-mart have new black canvas style work pants for about $10 a pair. These can pass for 1920s-30s pants. They don’t have to be a great fit and baggy is better. They make great shooting pants as they are rugged. Any black dress belt will do. These can be found in thrift stores. If the belt loops on the pants are 1 ½” the Cabela’s leather belt in brown or black is a great holster belt and will pass for a period belt.
d. Shoes. For the 20s and 30s traditional outdoor boots will pass. If shoes are needed here is one suggestion, Kmart sells Tom McAn Kent Leather Dress Oxfords for about $20. This is a great deal. Thrift stores usually sell nice looking dress shoes for $10 to $50 depending on style.
e. Overcoats, plain black wool overcoats can be had for attractive prices at Burlington Coat Factory.
f. Other clothing options can include bib overalls, and a straw hat or Newsie cap , boots. Or a law enforcement type of uniform.
g. Or a genuine “Zoot Suit” not prohibition period but a fun costume.

Other vintage clothing links

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Please accept my heartfelt wishes for a the very best to you and your family for the Holliday Season. I hope everyone is looking forward to a great year of shooting, and reading about great classic guns!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Odd Ball Calibers

Odd ball calibers. Back in the old days we used to call foreign, out of production, and obsolete cartridges, “odd ball calibers”. Usually these were old military numbers like 9mm Glisenti, 7.65 French Long, 8mm Nambu, 7.63 Mauser, 30 Luger, and the list goes on for both handguns and rifles. Old rifle cartridges like the 7.65Argintine, 7.35 Carcano, 50-70 Government, and 577-450 Martini-Henry were hard or impossible to get as loaded ammunition or as components. Now the new term is “exotic” calibers. That’s fine; I never like the term oddball anyway. Looking over my list of “exotic calibers” I own I came up with these, 30 Luger, 303 Brit, 30-40 Krag, 577-450 MH, 7mm Mauser, 7.65 Argentine, 7.5 French, 6.5x55 Swede Mauser, 7.35 Carcano, 32-20 Win, 32 Win Spl, 38 S&W, 380 Auto, 25 ACP, 38 Long Colt, 44 Special, 50 AE, 38 Super, 7.63 Mauser, 7.62x25, 8mm Nagant, 45 Auto Rim. Some of these calibers threw in the towel on because I just don’t shoot them enough to make hand loading economical; examples are 25 ACP, 8mm Nagant, 7.5 French, 7.35 Carcano.
I usually get pulled into exotic calibers because of the gun chambered for them. Watch the movie”Zulu” with Michael Cain and Stanley Baker and you’ll want a 577-450 Martini Henry. Then have a heart attack because of the price of ammo (if you can find any) or hand loading components. Another prize was a good deal I got on a 30 Luger. I made a great deal but when I saw the price of loaded ammo, I realized I’d been had. But since I love these guns and I am very interested in their historical periods, I just take the challenge and enjoy it.
One caliber that defies this model is 38-40 Winchester
Center Fire. The guns available for it are the standard fair for classic revolvers, Colts, Smith & Wesson and the like. I found a Ruger Blackhawk 38-40/10mm convertible, and I just had to experiment with the caliber. I like it very much and I find it useful, but did I need another six gun caliber? No but I wanted to be a member of the 38-40 WCF club. It’s a great caliber and a nice gun.
I also had the opportunity to buy an original Winchester 1873rifle, made in 1889, a number of years ago. I came from a family I knew as boy in the very rural area where I grew up. The only problem was its chambering, 32-20 WCF, another exotic ! Well, its yet another project, and I’m still working on it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Top of the List!!!!!

1. Colt 1911 Pistol. Simply the best. A pistol that crosses the ages, disciplines, and is a genuine legend. Every new auto pistol is compared to the Model 1911. It has ergonomics that have become standard. It served for an unprecedented 75+ years as our service automatic. The Model 1911 has served our military with distinction everywhere, from its first operations in Mexico, to the swan song in Desert Storm It can be a police sidearm (It serves as the sidearm of elite SWART and hostage rescue teams), or is a first rate target pistol, or an uber-reliable competition race gun. It Still one of the thinnest and most concealable full size .45s. The Model 1911 also introduced the legendary and most popular .45 ACP cartridge, the best auto pistol cartridge ever devised. It has been successfully cut down to compact and sub compact sizes. It’s been around and can do it all as the best. It’s something to be said that every manufacturer that has the capacity manufactures a Model 1911 pistol in some form. Each year a new manufacturer introduces a M1911 to the market, incredible for a 99 year old design.

2. The M1 Rifle. The greatest battle implement ever devised. The m1 rifles reputation for excellence is second to none. The M1 brought the Axis to its knees and armed many countries in the free world during the early days of the cold war. It was the backbone weapon of the UN forces during the Korean War, and it served in the early days of the Vietnam War. It lasted until the mid 1970s in the hand of the National Guard was routinely seen in the hands of guardsmen during the upheavals of the 1960s. Once released to civilians, the M1 has become a great target rifle and a historical treasure gifted from the greatest generation.

3. The Mauser Model 1898 rifle. The rifle is the progenitor of all modern bolt action rifles. It’s been produced in numbers that exceed even the AK-47. Mauser 98 rifles served everywhere, China to South America, Europe and Africa. Mauser 98s are still seen in trouble spots around the world. It may be the most durable and reliable rifle ever made.

4. The S&W K frame Revolver. The hand gun for everyone, the K frame in its many incarnations was on the belt of nearly every policeman for 6 or 7 decades. A favorite of target shooters and sportsmen, military aviators, federal agents, and ordinary citizens, it was simply known as a Smith & Wesson .38 Special. Reasonably powerful, uncommonly accurate, very durable and reliable, it’s nearly the perfect revolver.

5. The AR-15 Rifle. Some people hate it, some people love it, and everybody fears it. The AR-15 has become Americas’ rifle. A 50 year old space age design that used new design principles and materials. It has evolved into a world beater that is the most modular and accessorized rifle in existence. The AR-15s ergonomics are second to none, even it potential successors have AR-15 style grips and controls. It also introduced the now nearly world standard 5.56 NATO cartridge. Although produced in smaller numbers that its arch rival the AK-47, the AR-15 trumped the enemy when the AK redesigned to become “AR” like, including a new cartridge which approximated the performance of the 5.56.

6. The Winchester Model 12 Shotgun. The first modern pump shotgun it dominated the market for 50 years. It was discontinued because it was too good (and expensive). The Winchester Model 12 embodied the quality of design, materials, and manufacture of a 20th century classic firearm.

7. The S&W N frame Revolver. This is another copout. The N-frame covers great revolvers from the Triple Lock to the new scandium frame PDs, included are such giants as the Model 29 (Dirty Harry anyone?), the 357 Registered Magnum, the Model 1917, the Model 625, 38-44 Outdoorsman, Model 28 Highway Patrolman, and the list goes on. All these great are based on the great lock work and smooth action of the N-frame. It’s the gold standard of revolvers.

8. The M14/M1A rifle. These two are grouped together because they are so much alike. The M14/M1a was the last great American wood and steel battle rifle. It has the best iron sights, trigger pull, and reliability of the 7.62 battle rifles. Its short range power and long range accuracy have made it the choice of people wanting a versatile, powerful rifle. It’s no accident that the M14/M1A dominated service rifle target ranges for decades. Nor is it an accident that 40 years after it was replaced as the U.S. Military’s general issue rifle, the M14 continues to soldier on during the Global War on Terror.

9. The Luger Pistol. The first practical service automatic sized handgun. The Luger was adopted by Switzerland, German and others in fairly short order. The Luger is also the number one war souvenir pistol all time. Remarkably, the Luger continued in Finnish service until the 1980s. It introduced the now world standard 9mm cartridge and the interesting, but seldom seen, 30 Luger.

10. Colt Single Action Army Revolver. The Colt SAA is the benchmark for all other modern revolvers. It is one of the most recognizable handguns in the world. It has nearly perfect balance, good trigger pull, ease of loading and shooting. It has served as the pattern for subsequent single action revolvers. Every new single action is compared to the 1973 Single Action Army, and usually found slightly wanting, in one way or another.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Only 10 left on the countdown.

11. The Remington Model 700 rifle. This rifle is the great bolt action of the late 20th century. It’s success as a hunting rifle and as a military sniper rifle are storied. The Remington 700 is the gold standard for modern bolt action rifles. Nearly every custom rifle manufacturer has or currently uses the 700 action as a basis. From simple no frills hunting rifles, to cutting edge sniper rifles, the Remington 700 does it all.

12. The M1903/03A3 Springfield Rifle. It’s a legend. The Springfield 1903 introduced us to another legend the 30-06 cartridge. Through two world wars as a battle rifle, and subsequent conflicts as a sniper rifle, the Springfield and its variants performed superbly. It was responsible for introducing millions of Americans to the bolt action rifle, and a high performance cartridge. The name 1903 Springfield evokes rifle excellence.

13. The Model 1847 Colt Walker. This was the first great Colt revolver, built after the success of the underpowered and fragile, but successful Colt Patterson. The Colt Walker and it descendent, the Colt Dragoon were true horse pistols, carried in pommel holsters mounted on saddles. The Walker and Dragoon held powerful powder charges (60 grains for the Walker and 50grains for the slightly smaller Dragoon. They were both sufficiently accurate and powerful to bring down a enemy’s horse.

14. The Model 1873 Winchester. This long lived lever gun was made by Winchester from 1873 to 1920. It was the “Gun that Won the West”. Today great versions are made by Italian gun makers and are heavily used in Cowboy action shooting. An icon of gun collecting are “One in One Thousand” special order Winchester 1873 rifles.

15. Colt Model 1903 Pistol. This hugely successful auto pistol set the standard for pocket automatics for forty years. Introduced in 1903 when the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, the Model 1903 was produced until the dawn of the jet age. It was a movie star in the 1920s and 1930s, appearing in numerous films, and it was issued as personal protection to U.S. Military General officers in WW II.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The next 5, only 3 installments left!

16. Winchester Model 1894 Rifle. The Winchester 94 was the first center fire rifle for millions of Americans, and I’m one of them. Something like 6 million have been produced over 110+ years. The 94 in its iconic 30-30 cartridge, proprietary 32 Winchester Special, and early 38-55 was powerful in a light package. However, it has manageable recoil and is pleasant to shoot.

17. The Sharps Rifle. The sharps rifle and its variants were an early breach loader design that evolved from percussion caps to metallic cartridges. It was the quintessential light weight cavalry carbine in the Civil War, heavy long range target rifle that was victorious at Creedmoor, and destroyer of the great buffalo herds. Quite possible the most versatile rifle ever. It has enjoyed a rebirth, and is possible the finest black powder target rifle ever made.

18. Browning High Power Pistol. This masterpiece was designed by John M. Browning and D. Saive and was produced first in 1935. The BHP was produced and used by both the Allies and the Axis in WWII and served world-wide since. It’s still in the hands of the Canadian Army (and possibly others) in the war on terror. The simple fixed cam design, high magazine capacity, and ergonomic grip have been incorporated in almost every pistol design since.

19. The Mauser C-96 “Broom handle” Pistol. The C-96 was designed when nobody really knew what an auto pistol should look like. As there were no viable designs to copy from, the Mauser C-96 is completely original. It’s simple grip earned it the nickname “Broom handle”. The broom handle looks like a it came to like from Jules Verne or H.G. Wells novel. Although the design is awkward and unconventional, the Broom handle is very accurate and reliable. It was on nearly every battlefield in the world from 1898 to 1945.

20. The double barrel shotgun. There are so many different makers of the SxS shotgun that I’ve grouped them all here. In every western movie, the double barrel graces the stagecoach and saloon. For nearly 100 years from the 1850s to the 1950s the double barrel was the shotgun most people relied on to put game on the table and protect the home.