Friday, January 27, 2012

The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were petty thieves that catapulted into legend. Although know as bank robbers, they actually hit more small businesses than banks. They would not be nearly as famous, except for some photos discovered after a shootout in Joplin Missouri. The gang fled leaving behind a camera and weapons. The film was developed and Bonnie and Clyde’s fame skyrocketed. Their fame took another leap into legend with the 1967 movie, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
Getting back to the raid and shoot out in Joplin, two police officers were killed and a lot of weapons were recovered. Two of the recovered weapons were sold at auction recently. A Thompson submachine gun and a Winchester Model 1897 riot gun belonging to the infamous pair were sold. The weapons were sold to the same bidder for a combined $210,000.
I was able to get close, but of course unable to handle the weapons. The Thompson was sold for $130,000, a bargain price for the only gangster connected Thompson in private hands that I know of. The shotgun went for $80,000, a very high price, but again connected to two bandits. Bonnie and Clyde still hold the publics’ imagination and are larger than life. Their guns are too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Lee-Jackson Day!!!

Stone Mountain. Two great heroes, Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are celebrated this week in areas of the South. These were American military heroes that achieved their greatest fame as Confederate Army Generals.
Lee and jackson's last meeting. Even today, they are held as positive exemplars to our modern military. Neither man was a slave holder, or any of the vicious things that revisionists tout. These were great men who followed their conscious, and did their duty as they saw fit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best Gun Handling Actors: Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy was a hero and already an icon before he became an actor. An underweight kid from Texas, he overcame poverty and tough circumstances. His patriotism and rock hard work ethic, helped transform him into America’s most decorated soldier in WWII. Audie was awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor and an array of other medals for courage, valor, and gallantry. He acted in his own auto biography “To Hell and Back” in 1955.
Of course, he acted in many other pictures, turning solid acting performances. Audie knew his weapons also. He gave some of his friends, such as Roy Rogers, pistols or rifles as gifts. As a shooter, Audie was familiar with a variety of weapons and he could expertly handle them on screen. I especially like the M1 Carbine and Thompson SMG pictures of Audie as he undoubtedly used these in the Army.
Audie was just as large a hero for speaking about PTSD and its effects on some of our veterans. Before Audie spoke out, this was an unknown subject to most of the public. There was national mourning in 1971 when America lost Audie. His courage, patriotism, devotion to duty, and concern for fellow veterans was unmatched, he is still missed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Old Guns and Modern Ammo

Today, shooters have the widest selection of factory and semi-custom ammunition available. This is great for hunting and self defense uses. However a caution must be exercised. Rounds that exceed SAMMI standards are labeled (or should be) +P or +P+. These loads may not be suitable for guns build 100 years ago and chamber the standard cartridges. In fact some more modern guns may be at risk also. My Smith & Wesson Model 29 come to mind. This gun does not do well with heavy bullet (300 grain) or +P 44 Magnum Loads.
The Classic Smith and Wesson Model 29. A lot of this ammunition comes from a perceived need for more power out of existing envelopes for specific uses. With the same bullets, if 1000 feet per second is good, 1200 feet per second is better. More is always better, isn’t it? Well maybe not. Increased recoil, sight regulation changes, increased parts stress, and introduction of bad shooter habits (flinching, anticipating recoil, etc) are a heavy price to pay for an increase in paper ballistics. Instead, invest in practice with regular loads and improve marksmanship, even take a shooting class. This is the best way to make guns more effective. A solid hit is much better than a miss or a peripheral hit on game.
The Colt Single Action Army. If more power is needed, go to a more powerful caliber and gun which can handle it, that’s the answer. Trying to coax more power out of older guns is not the way to go. Get the right tool and the right ammo for the job. Your guns will thank you!