Friday, December 21, 2012

The U.S. Model1917 Rifle part 2

U.S. Soldier with a Model 1917 Rifle
Firing the P-14 and Model 1917 rifles are a pleasant experience. The P-14 is highly accurate and has mild recoil. The 303 British cartridge is less powerful that the 30-06 and very pleasant to shoot in a heavy rifle like the P-14. The five-groove rifling of the P-14 and Model 1917 contributes to fine accuracy. The British and Commonwealth military used the P-14 in both World Wars as a sniper rifle. The Model 1917 sniper variant was a prototype only.
Afghan soldier with a German Stahlhelm and a P-14 rifle in post WWI Afghanistan 

The excellent combat sights of theP-14 and Model 1917 were superior to any other Great War rifle. The aperture rear sight and protected front post sight were years ahead of their time. In pre-1945 rifles, only the Model 1903A3 and M1 rifles best them.
British soldier with P-14 Rifle

The Allies in early World War II used both rifles primarily as training and home guard rifles. The Philippines, China, and France received Model 1917 rifles as military aid. British P-14 rifles were supplied to Afghanistan after the First World War and to Greece, during the Greek Civil War, as late as 1946.

Surprisingly, both rifles were available to civilians between the world wars. The 1918 United States National Matches used the Model 1917 rifle where it was critsized for a lack of a quick windage adjustment capability.   British rifle competitors used the P-14 with great success in the interwar period. The Model 1917 was available as a surplus rifle in the 1920s and 1930s for the sum of $35 dollars from the director of civilian marksmanship.

After the Second World War, the United States and Britain, warehoused their remaining stocks of P-14 and Model 1917 rifles. Both governments disposed the inventory of these rifles through surplus channels over the next several decades. Model 1917 Rifles in British use were marked with a red stripe on the stock to prevent ammunition mix-ups.

The P-14 and Model 1917 are wonderful pieces of history and capable if fine accuracy on the shooting range.  They are sometimes the forgotten rifles of both world wars.    

Merry Christmas!

Christmas With Jackson and Stuart

Thursday, December 13, 2012

U.S. Model 1917 Rifle Part 1

World War I, it should have been the “War to end all Wars”.  It had the brutal combination of trench warfare, weapons of mass destruction, and the widespread use of machineguns and bayonets.  In the soggy cold ground of central Europe, it was hell on earth. 

The environment brutally tested men and equipment.  Early tanks were either broken down or stuck in the mud and soft earth.  Artillery rained down on a daily basis.  Out of this misery came a miracle of design and production that remains largely unrecognized today. This was the U.S. Model 1917 Rifle.

It’s a familiar World War I story, war is declared, and there aren’t enough rifles, period.  The Allies, Britain, France, and Russia, turned to America to remedy this problem.  U.S. industry was turning out French Berthier rifles and Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles quickly, supplying those countries.  For Great Britain, two companies, Winchester and Remington, were producing an advanced design rifle known as the “Pattern 1914” or P-14, three facilities produced these rifles in 1916 to 1917.  Winchester, in New Haven Connecticut, Remington in New York and Eddystone Pennsylvania were the factories involved.  The British were less than enthused about the P-14’s performance in combat.    The P-14 had been designed for a small caliber rimless cartridge, however at British instance, it was chambered for the standard .303 cartridge.  Thus it really didn’t have any advantage in the trenches over the SMLE Enfield .303 which the P-14 was to replace.  It’s most outstanding attribute was accuracy, as a consequence the P-14 was used as a sniper rifle.

As it became apparent after the declaration of war in 1917, that the United States did not have, and could not produce enough Model 1903 Springfield rifles, other options were examined.  The French Berthier and Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles were distinctly inferior, as was the Model 1895 Winchester also being supplied to the Russians.  Fortunately, the British designed  P-14 was easily redesigned to fire the American 30-06 service cartridge.  Thus was born the U.S. Model 1917 rifle. It eventually equipped 75% of the American Expeditionary Force in France.  It was THE U.S. rifle of the first world war.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Costas is an Idiot

It's time for Mr. Costas to go. He blames firearms for the crimes of one Jovan Belcher.  He and his poor toupee should go.

Poster child for poor judgement.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

USS Enterprise

The "Big E" will retire on December 1st 2012. All I can say is thanks to her and her crews through the years. We will never forget you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Lee Enfield Jungle Carbine

The name "Jungle Carbine" was never an official designation for the No. 5 Mk I Rifle. It was nicknamed the "Jungle Carbine" by British troops during World War II, the Malayan Emergency and possibly the Korean War.
This rifle was a shortened and lightened version of the venerable Lee Enfield, the workhorse of the British Empire. The No. 5 Mk I “Jungle Carbine” was about 4 inches shorter and 2 pounds lighter than the earlier British No. 4 Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) from which the “Jungle Carbine” was derived. In order to help absorb the increased recoil; the rifle had new features like a flash hider and a rubber butt pad. The result is a compact rifle that is accurate and powerful.
The “Wandering Zero” problem with the No. 5 Mk I “Jungle Carbine”. There are claims, and even a conclusion by the British Army, that the “Jungle Carbine” has a problem holding its zero during sustained firing. In other words, the impact of the rounds shift with the same point of aim. Actually this is bunk, pure and simple. The guns shoot well, however the increased recoil and shooter fatigue can easily cause the rounds to shift impact. The No. 5 Mk I “Jungle Carbine” was abandoned because the British military did not want a bolt-action rifle when most other countries were upgrading their arsenals to semi-automatic infantry weapons.
What the British created with the Jungle Carbine was remarkable. The rifle was fast handling and powerful. It was the model on which the “Scout Rifle” concept was built. In fact, most scout rifles are not as good as the Jungle Carbine. I’ve had one in the past but the examples in the photos belong to a British firearms collector I know. One example is a true Jungle Carbine, the other is a converted No 4 rifle. These conversions were made by dealers to sell rifles, they shoot just fine.

Monday, November 5, 2012


It's almos election day! Get out and vote! It's your duty as a citizen. Help an older or disabled voter get to the polls. This election is too important! Romney / Ryan will save the nation!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Eye Witness to History

Colonel Gustavus W. Dorsey, CSA
As told by Frank Dorsey, Baltimore MD, December 20, 1902, I will now give an account of that great calamity to the South, the mortal wounding of General Stuart, in the terse, soldier words of Colonel (then Captain of Company K, First Virginia Cavalry) ‘Gus’ W. Dorsey, as taken from a letter written to me on April 21, 1902, and as printed in the Staunton Spectator. ‘I was stationed on the Telegraph road with my company, K, numbering about seventy men, and the first I knew about our troops being whipped and driven back on the left was when General Stuart came down to my position, with a view of ordering me back; and just as he rode up to the company the Yankees charged. He halted a moment and encouraged the men with the words: “Bully for old K! Give it to them, boys!” and just as K had repulsed the Yankees he was shot through the stomach. He reeled on his horse and said: “I am shot,” and then, “Dorsey, save your men.” I caught him and took him from his horse. He insisted I should leave him and save my men. I told him we would take him with us; and, calling Corporal Robert Bruce and Private Charles Wheatley, we sent him to the rear. No other troops were near General Stuart when he was shot that I saw.’ “Gus” W. Dorsey was Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the First Maryland Cavalry, Munford's Brigade, April 28, 1865.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1SGT William Wallace Burgess, CSA

W.W. Burgess 1841-1913
To the Editor of The Sun: Sir,—An article in the Literary Digest, with the title ‘ Stuart's Last Battle’ and credited to The Sun, is so wrong as to the facts leading up to the engagement of Yellow Tavern and so imaginative as to the circumstances of the wounding and death of General Stuart that I, who happened to be there in the humble capacity of a corporal in the ranks of the First Virginia Cavalry, feel impelled to state the truth about the wounding and death of our general. My own opinion has always been that his reckless bravery led to his untimely death. I suppose there are reports in the proper archives, both Federal and Confederate, of this action of Yellow Tavern and of the movement of troops preliminary to it, but I know nothing of them. I state what came under my observation and hearing as a soldier in the ranks. It was not at the beginning of the Wilderness campaign that the movement of the cavalry culminating at Yellow Tavern took place, but in the campaign more than a year later (May, 1864), in which the terrible battle near Spotsylvania Courthouse was fought. It was the current talk of our army that that conflict was by far the most desperate of the war. I have heard our men say that so near did the Yankees come that they could look into their eyes and even club them with the butts of their guns. It was in this battle that trees were torn and cut through and fell from the steady hail of Minie bullets. So desperately did Grant's men press their assaults that, as the gossip in our army was, a portion of our line faltered and was giving way when General Lee himself rode up, but his men made him go to the rear with cries of ‘ Lee to the rear!’ and they soon drove the enemy off. The morning following this desperate battle and repulse of Grant, our cavalry, which had been only partially engaged, was put in motion and headed south toward Richmond. We in the ranks did not know what for, but as we became extended on the way south word came along the line that the Yankee cavalry had been dispatched on a raid to Richmond, that city being, as it was supposed, but weakly defended. We were to follow up the Yankees and put them out of business before they got to Richmond. I will say here, to dispel any idea that we were worn down by Sheridan's troops, ‘hanging on us like a troop of wolves,’ that Stuart's cavalry was at that time in the best of condition. We were well clothed, well fed and well mounted. For many of our horses we were indebted to our friends the enemy, to whom we looked when in need. I myself was then on my third mount derived from that source. I remember this march after Sheridan as a very pleasant one, our only fear being that he would get away, as usual. That we would not whip him if we caught up with him did not enter our minds. I remember that we pressed the rear so closely that in Louisa County we came on a detachment of the enemy. I being in the leading column joined in the pursuit with visions of a fresh mount; but alas! there were others who wanted those horses more than I did, and they were soon appropriated, while their riders were sent to the rear. As I remember, the enemy's cavalrymen were an insignificant looking set of men, but their horses and equipment were excellent. I would like to emphasize a fact not sufficiently dwelt on by the Southern historian: that is, the contempt in which Stuart's men held the Federal cavalrymen and the great respect the Southerners had for the horses and equipment of the enemy. Our command neared Richmond, and soon we knew from the booming of cannon that an engagement had begun between the two cavalry forces. Now, as to this engagement, I can say little, because I saw little of it. When a soldier from the ranks undertakes to tell about a battle extending over a mile or two in wooded country you can set him down as a man ‘talking through his hat.’ I did see a battery or two or ours located on a hilltop firing away, and did see squadrons of our cavalry moving forward near those batteries, but I saw none of our forces retreating. When our regiment reached the field the squadron to which I was attached was ordered to dismount and to deploy as sharpshooters, which we did, one hundred or more of us scattering along the edge of a wood. I heard rifle firing to the right and left and in front; this firing did not approach our position, but rather receded. What the dispositions of the forces severally were I never knew. What I did see, after being in the position say twenty or thirty minutes, was a solitary horseman approaching us through the thicket. He was riding slowly. We soon knew from his black plume that it was our general, and the exclamation came from four or five of us: ‘That is General Stuart and he is wounded. ’As he rode slowly toward us we of course rushed up to him. It was but too true; he was wounded, and mortally, as we knew when we saw where the bullet had entered his side and torn his gray jacket. He spoke not a word nor uttered a groan as we assisted him from his horse to the ground. He was borne away on a stretcher or blanket, I forget which, some of the more stalwart of my company doing that duty. Charles Wheatly, of Georgetown, and Bob Bruce, of the Relay House, near Baltimore (both now dead), were two of the men. Ours was a Maryland troop. The writer of this article was from Howard County. The troop was commanded by Captain, afterward Colonel, Gus Dorsey, of Montgomery County, Md. I remained in the line of skirmishers a short time and we were ordered to mount and return to our regiments. I remember that we joined the main command on the Telegraph road not far from Yellow Tavern. The battle was over; in fact, so far as I could see or hear, it was not much of a battle anyhow. Of course, as soon as the Federal command realized that we had caught up with him his raid was at an end. We went quietly into camp near Atlee Station, a few miles from the field of battle that night, grieving for our dead general. He had died a few hours after being carried from the field. W. W. Burgess. Orange, Va., December 23, 1908 William Wallace Burgess ended the war as 1st SGT of Company K, 1st VA Cavalry. He settled in Orange, VA. His father was War of 1812 veteran Thomas Burgess, his grandfather was Revolutionary War Veteran, Michael Burgess. He was the youngest brother of my Great Great Grandmother Alcinda Maria-Dorsey Burgess Day and the first cousin of Col Gus W Dorsey.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Love Movie Prop Masters

Here is a shot from the SCI-FI classic “Planet of the Apes” Starring the great Charlton Heston. Of course, his spaceship survival capsule contains a Colt Model 1903! What better weapon to conform space aliens with! It’s a great movie but to see that 1903 made my day.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Zoot Shooting World Championships 2012

They converged on the high plains of Colorado, square jawed men in suits and fedoras along with an array of flappers and molls. Both the men and ladies were packing iconic weapons of the 1930s including the legendary Thompsons and 1911 pistols. In the blink of an eye it was the early 1930s, the law and the lawless again appeared at the same time and place to keep an appointment with destiny. Names like Capone, Dillinger, The Hustler, Dutch, Hammer, G-Man and many others, did battle, not against each other, but rather in a contest of fun and skill. Ladies also participated in side matches of skill highlighting different types of period firearms and main match stages, called “capers”. These capers, which could be from a script of a Hollywood gangster film or a Dashiell Hammett novel, challenged the shooters’ skills. During the first day of the match, a number of side matches took place including long range rifle and some close range pistol matches. The second day was the venue for four capers and some speed matches for rifle (Thompsons or similar pistol caliber carbines), pistol or revolver and shotgun.
The second day consisted of the remaining four capers and the awarding of prizes. There was a long list of outstanding sponsors; including Auto-Ordnance, Aimpoint, Bushnell, Cylinder & Slide, Mernickle Holsters, D Bar J Hat Company, Rim Rock Bullets, Chey-Cast Bullets, Surefire, Tuffy Security Products, Run-N-Iron Customizing, FMG Publications, Aspen Filly’s Merchandise and Slickbald Customs.
While the altitude and heat were challenging for us out of towners, the comraderie and fellowship of the zoot shooters was amazing. About 40 shooters participated in the match. One Zoot Shooter (“Dutch”) traveled from The Netherlands to participate, others came from around the U.S., Washington state, Nebraska, and Kansas were represented. There was plenty of help and assistance as well as great conversation. The refreshments and lunch vendor was a local 4-H shooting club, their support was excellent.
Of course, there are not enough words to thank the organizers of this event. Their detailed planning and hard work was reflected in how smooth everything went, from registration to the end of the match. The host club, The 1st Precinct, did an exemplary job in supporting the match. The small but growing community of Zoot Shooters have a great deal of talent and experience which translates into great events. Special thanks to Ike Hildum for the photos.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012 AZSA World Championships!

They’re history! A grand time celebrating one of the most exciting and flamboyant periods in the unique American experience. The 2012 American Zoot Shooting Association World Championships was a huge success. It was amazing to watch a cast of 1930s and 1940s era characters converge on the high plains of Colorado and participate in a challenging match that tested skill with period firearms. I can personally tell you there is no feeling quite like ringing 16 metal targets with a Thompson. A larger and more detailed write up will follow.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Maltese Falcon

I’d love to see a sequel to Dashiel Hammet’s “The Maltese Falcon” which involves gritty action and of course Thompsons. It could be set in the late 30s or 40s and involve Model 1928s or M1s. The sequel would also need some exciting locales and of course intrigue. I’ve always enjoyed fast paced film nior type of shows and books. I think it’s about time for fedoras, stylish cars, and Thompsons to make a comeback in prime time television.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Guns of the War of Secession

I had the honor of giving a presentation at the James Farm (Home of Frank and Jesse James) on the guns used in the American Civil War. I realized that there are not enough of these type of these presentations. Gun enthusiasts must get out and share our hobby if we expect our gun rights to endure. Through barrowing I was able to get some reproduction handguns and a few things to make a great display. The lesson is get out and share the hobby! Take a new shooter to the range! Show a child how to shoot! Volunteer at a local gun club’s youth program. Share your knowledge and share your time and energy for the good of the hobby!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

150 Years Ago

The C.S.S. Alabama began the most successful naval raid in history. She captured or destroyed 65 union vessels in two years at sea. The Alabama was a beautiful ship and thankfully her crew escaped after her last unsuccessful battle with the U.S.S. Kersearge.

Friday, July 27, 2012

O'Reilly is an Idiot

I hate commenting on politics but Bill O’Reilly is an Idiot.
I always thought this guy was full of manure, and I’m right. He is an arrogant and ignorant fool with the IQ of a cucumber. I don’t buy his phony books; including the ghost written and flawed Killing Lincoln or any of the other trash he’s peddled over the years. You see, some years ago, he tipped his hand, and on his TV program stated “all semi-automatic guns should be outlawed”. I have never forgotten that statement. I know he is a fraud and a bullying ass. O’Reilly needs to man up and learn the FACTS about gun laws before he opens his stupid mouth and spreads his ignorance. Others can reply to his statements pointing out the inaccuracies. I see the big ugly picture. In his latest disgrace, O’Reilly showed he does not command the facts on firearms laws or the ability to debate civilly. This faux conservative is trying to fool everyone. However I will never be fooled, I know O’Reilly is just another media turd out for his own aggrandizement. He stinks, his show stinks, and his books stink. Don’t be fooled by this charlatan. It’s about time the “Number 1” show on cable news is put on the bottom where it, and he, belongs. If you want to see what a nice guy he really is just check out his “do it live” routine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Zoot Shooting Group starting in Kansas City!!

Interested in participating in Zoot Shooting in the Kansas City Area???????
If your're interested email A couple of individuals want to gage interest. There is nothing concrete, but SEND A MESSAGE, and lets get something started here in the city called " The Paris of the Plains". Look for a Facebook page and Google Blog comming soon.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wild Bunch Makes a Positive Change

It appears that SASS has made a very positive change in the Wild Bunch Shooting Rules. The Winchester Model 12 is in! This is an intelligent move! Most of the Winchester Model 97 shotguns is use are actually Chinese copies. It’s great that an original American made shotgun is now permitted. Model 12s may be America’s greatest shotgun. The Model 12 is made out of high quality steel and was basically hand built in its early years. Over 2 million Model 12s were made in over 50 years of production. Another fact is the Model 12 was used in the movie the Wild Bunch. I’ll have to get my Model 12 project gun going now.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

AZSA World Championship

2012 Zoot Shooter World Championships Schedule This is the latest info and I’ll keep it updated as more becomes available.
Map and Accommodations information can be found at:
Match fee: 1st Shooter $50 Additional shooters: $25 Approximate Round Count: Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun: R200/P175/S75 Rifle/Pistol: R250/P175 Pistol Only: P450
Friday Aug. 31st Noon: Check in / Registration open 1PM: Long range and Belly gun side matches Ranges available for shooter tune up No Main Match capers.
Long Range rifle events: Bolt Action Semi Auto Lever/Pump Action Carbine (semi auto/pump/lever. pistol or straight wall rifle case)
Belly Gun events: Vest Pocket Pistol (Less than .30 caliber and smaller than 5 Inches) Snubbie (2" or less barrel length revolver, .30 caliber or larger) Pocket Auto (.30 caliber or larger, must fit in a Marsh Wheeling cigar box)
Saturday Sept. 1st 8 AM: Check in / Registration open 9 AM: Shooters meeting 9:30 - 3 PM 4 Main Match Capers 3 Main Match gun (rifle, pistol & shotgun) Speed Events
Sunday Sept. 2nd 9 AM 3 Main Match Capers (no speed events) 1:30 PM Awards / Prizes

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Best Gun Handling Actors: Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine passed this week. He reached the age of 95. It’s amazing to think that in 2012, a man was alive who joined the U.S. Navy in 1935! Ernest joined in 1935 and rejoined after the Pearl Harbor sneak attack (yes that’s what it was) think about that before you buy a Japanese car. He spent the war on anti-submarine patrol duty and training.
Ernest Borgnine obviously learned to handle weapons in the Navy and he translated this skill to the big screen. Ernest was very convincing with any weapon he touched. Movies like “The Wild Bunch” made Ernest a screen legend. I also remember Ernest as the likable LT CMDR Quinton McHale in McHale’s’ Navy in the 1960s. One of his most famous lines comes from his academy award winning performance in “Marty”. “Whatever women want, I ain’t got!” Well, whatever screen legends needed, Ernest had.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

More on the Thompson!

There is no other weapon as “cool” as the Thompson Sub Machinegun. Its iconic image can be seen in the hands of Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Pretty Boy Floyd, Johnny Depp, and thousands of others. A Thompson SMG just means business. Forget the facts that it’s heavy, underpowered for longer ranges, and the drum magazines are tricky to use. The Thompson is robust, reliable, and at fighting distances under 50 yards, very effective. The Thompson is a legendary firearm. It was used on both sides of the prohibition, plus it battled the axis in Europe and the Pacific. Its one weapon the G.I.s never complained about. The Thompson’s looks are so distinctive; it may be the most recognized firearm in the world. The Thompson SMG is the star of every movie or television show it’s in. It’s the only gun capable of upstaging any actor and stealing the scene. The old Hollywood axiom should be updated to “Never work with children, animals or a Thompson!” Whenever a Thompson is on screen, the audience waits for the hero or villain to fire and “let somebody have it”. The psychological impact of the Thompson should never be underestimated. The movies have taught us the Thompson is the ultimate hand held weapon. The sad part of this story is the Thompson SMG types seen in the movies are unobtainable for most people. Due to restrictive laws and deep pocket collector interest, the original guns, Models of 1921, 1928, M1, and M1A1, sell for large amounts of cash. Since the manufacture ban in 1986, no new fully automatic Thompsons have been made for the civilian market. So what is left? Fortunately there are some alternatives. This includes reasonably priced legally compliant Thompsons which fire in the semi-automatic mode ONLY. The semi-automatic Thompsons are different in internal design from the earlier fully automatic models and cannot be converted to fully automatic fire. These legally compliant models feature the basic look and feel of the earlier fully automatic models. One change is the use of a 16 inch barrel. Some people are turned off by this, others just accept it as reality. A compromise is the “Short Barrel Rifle” (SBR) option, whereby a Thompson can be legally equipped with an authentic 10.5 inch barrel and registered with the BATF. Not all states allow this option and of course, it entails additional expense, and paperwork. Once reconciled to semi automatic fire and the 16 inch barrels, the current Thompsons are fun. After all, isn’t that the point of most firearms? Few guns will transport its user to another place and time as quickly as a Thompson. From Chicago to Normandy and points in between, Thompsons made their mark in history and adventure. The Thompsons garner attention on the gun range. The nascent sport of Zoot Shooting is a great venue for all sorts of Thompsons and their accessories. Zoot Shooting spans the period of 1920 to 1950, clearly the hay day of the Thompson on both sides of the law. Current production Thompsons fall into two general groups, the Model 1927A1 series that is reminiscent of the Model 1928 manufactured 1920s and 1930s; and the M1 military model that is like the Thompson M1A1 of World War II. These guns use a lot of the same parts and function in the same manner. The Model 1927A1 is really a hybrid of the Model 1928 and Model M1A1 with the same controls and butt stock. The major differences are the location of the actuator handle (cocking lever). This is on top of the Model 1927A1 in the manner of the Model 1928. On the M1 it is located on the side and is Model M1A1. Also the M1 model will not accept drum magazines. Another difference between the two models is the rear sights, the M1 has a simple stamped fixed sight protected by ears, and current Model 1927A1 has a modified Model 1917 rifle sight which is adjustable for elevation. Early Thompsons such as a Model 1921, 1928, and Model 1927A1 had a finely made and fully adjustable Lyman rear sight. Auto Ordnance, under the ownership of Kahr Arms, has added some great options to the line including a detachable butt stock Model 1927A1; and factory manufactured Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) variants, ready for registry and transfer through Class III dealers. The current Thompson is a great piece of Americana. Buy one while you still can!