Sunday, January 30, 2011

Then Again, Maybe It Was

A few days ago I talked about the Taurus 28 Gauge Revolver that died on the vine due to BATF ruling it to be a short barreled shotgun. It seems the jury is still out on that decision. Taurus may be building this new age 'Howdah Pistol' after all.

The finial ruling is still a ways off, but as soon as I know I'll post the results here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quiet Day at Home

Today I celebrate my birthday with a quite day at home. The weather is nice, not too hot or cold. Looks like we can expect rain for the next couple of days, but not freezing thank goodness.

Helene and I have been indulging in an audio book, S.M. Stirling's Protector's War. This is an old favorite, but the audio book is new and we can enjoy it together. For anyone who hasn't read "The Change" series I recommend it highly.

I am breaking one rule this evening. Rather than a cake I am allowing my self an early Cherry Cream Pudding. For those not familar with Cherry Cream Pudding, check my December listing for an explaination and the reciepe.

I remember large, loud parties and friends that tried desperately to throw a surprise party I didn't find out about in years past. I didn't try to spoil the surprise, really. I just kept stumbling into the plans. Helene was successful once in Houston. That day I hadn't a clue.

As nice as big parties are, it's hard to beat a quite day at home with my wonderful wife.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sons Of Guns

Tonight Discovery premiered a new series, Sons Of Guns. The show is based on Will Hayden's weapon shop, Red Jackets. What do they do at Red Jackets? You name it!

It started with a man who wanted a suppressed shotgun he saw in a movie. He had to have one.

While they were still figuring out how to do that a truck pulls in with a Church bell Cannon on a trailer - an original from the Civil War! The guys want to shoot it.

My favorite is the 'Master Key' requested by the local SWAT Team. If it weren't for the paperwork I would want one of these myself.

One of Will's challenges is getting this stuff past his daughter, Stephanie, who runs the business end of the shop. Things like the M-203 he had to buy "Due to the tottle inability to continue life without it". I have written down several such lines for 'debates' with my wife.
Red Jacket deals with a combination of cutting edge weapons and antiques, sometimes restored and sometimes built from scratch. If follow up episodes are as good as what I saw tonight I will be watching Sons Of Guns for a while.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stephanie Plum Comes To A Theater Near You...

I have just learned that the long awaited Stephanie Plum movie, One For The Money, is scheduled to be released this summer.

Expect to see ONE FOR THE MONEY in a theater near you starting July 08, 2011. Helene and I will be there.

Fans of Janet Evanovich have been waiting since the 1990's for her improbable bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, to come to the big screen. Over the years a parade of talented actresses have been suggested for the part, but Katherine Heigl has landed the role. There has been a lot of heated controversy over this choice, but I would advise folks to have some faith.

I screamed bloody murder years back when I learned my childhood hero, Batman, was to be played by "Mr. Mom". I was wrong to doubt Michale Keaton's ability. Based on Katherine's past performances I am expecting a great movie.

No less controversal choice to many fans was the casting of Grandma Mazur. A lot of folks have wanted to see Betty White in the role. At first I was shocked to learn Debbie Reynolds got the nod.

In my case it was the mind's eye not keeping up with current day. I still think of Debbie Reynolds as the stunning actress I had a serious crush on growing up. She doesn't look bad today, but is no longer a 'spring chicken' as Grandma Mazur would say. To those with reservations I have one question?

Have you ever seen Debbie Reynolds turn in a bad performance in anything?

This is going to be a great movie.


Back in 2009 I addressed one of the frequently debated question about ONE FOR THE MONEY. For more click on the "Stephanie Plum" lable in the sidebar and scroll down to COULD THEY...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Alas, It Wasn't Ment To Be

I have got to get to the Shot Show one of these days. Steve at Firearms Blog is having a ball and finding the neastest things.
The above is the Taurus Judge big brother. This sucker is a 28 gauge revolver. Imagine Clint Eastwood leveling this at your face saying "Are you feeling lucky, punk!"
The heart break of it is that Imagining is as far as it will go. The BATF has decided this is not a handgun but is a Short Barreled Shotgun (SBS). The weapon has been withdrawn from the sales line.
Rossie may be offering a revolving shotgun version sometime in the future.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Will There Be a Semi-Auto .22 MP-40

In the early 1970's Auto Ordinance introduced, or I should say reintroduced, a semi-auto Thompson. I loved the very idea until I saw the long barrel that destroyed the lines of the classic weapon. At the time I didn't know about the Short Barreled Rifle option. I didn't have a chance to fire one of the semi auto Thompsons for years.

Not long ago I found a semi Thompson at a price I couldn't pass up and have to say, had I fired one of these in the 1970's I would have gotten it, no matter how long the barrel was. There was also a .22 version released at the same time. I remember thinking, if they have these, it won't take long for someone to come out with a semi-auto MP-40. I am amazed it took almost forth years for that to happen.

A couple of years ago lots of us were tickled to death to see there were plans to market a semi-auto MP-40 at long last. Perhaps there would be a .22 version. I was like a kid at Christmas as I searched for details. Then I discovered the price was between $2000.00 and $4000.00 depending on the source. The sales a realistic price could have fetched were reduced to a trickle. My visions of adding a firing MP-40, be it a semi, to the writers demo lineup vanished.

But there is joy tonight dear readers. Steve at The Firearms Blog announced early in the week that ATI is expecting to import a .22 version of the semi-auto MP-40 starting 2012. What they are going to do about barrel length is not clear at this writing.
I can only hope rather than pricing them out of reach they will offer this long overdue icon at a price that will give it a fighting chance in this market.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Swapping Cylinders in Cap and Ball Revolvers

Recently James over at hellinahandbasket has been running an interesting series of post on increased firepower in the days of cap and ball revolvers. Much of the discussion has been on swapping preloaded cylinders in these handguns. Like in so many other things, the devil is in the details.

Most folks think there were two types of cap and ball revolvers in the civil war era. In truth there were dozens, but the Colt and the Remington were the most popular and best known, so we will discuss those.

These are the two weapons in question, the Colt 1860 and the Remington 1858. In operation they are identical. Both are single action. Both cylinders are loaded with rams mounted under the barrels. Both have percussion caps on nipples at the rear of the cylinder. The difference comes when the cylinder is removed. We will start with the Colt.

All Colt cap and ball revolvers (I can think of at the moment) are of an open top, or open frame design. This means to break it down you have to remove a wedge that holds the barrel and the frame portion of the weapon together. The wedge can be backed out using a screw set above the wedge slot, but I usually prefer a rawhide mallet. Once the wedge has been backed out the barrel can be moved forward until it clears the cylinder pin. I often use the loading ram to assist with this.

You end up with something looking like this. Keeping track of all these pieces in your hands won’t be any problem, to anyone that can juggle nine balls at once. To us common humans the potential for dropping one or more parts is pretty high. Move us to the back of a horse already freaked out and you will spend the next half hour looking for gun parts. Taking all this into account, switching to a preloaded cylinder on this sort of weapon isn’t really practical.

Next we have the Remington 1858. This is a closed frame revolver of the type Clint Eastwood used in the movie The Pale Rider. So, you might ask, how do you remove the cylinder from the Remington?

Drop the ram lever far enough to clear the cylinder pin. Pull the cylinder pin forward until it clears the cylinder. Pull the hammer back far enough to disengage the locking cam that holds the cylinder in battery with the barrel. The cylinder will roll out into your hand. Replace the second cylinder (or the same one for sake of the demo). Push the cylinder rod back into place, and lock the ram lever back under the barrel. You’re ready to shoot again!

With my wife timing me it took fifteen seconds. In my experiments the hardest part is getting the cylinder and rod aligned since you are doing it blind.

There are three other parts of the Pale Rider story. The first is how Clint prepared his loaded cylinders. After the cylinders were loaded and capped his character would run a string through the cylinder rod hole and lower it into a pan of hot was. With a thin layer of wax over the surface the caps were sealed in place and the entire cylinder was protected from moisture.

Would this work? I’m guessing it would but I don’t know. I’ve never tried it. I would be grateful for anyone who could shed light on the subject.

The second part question is did anyone ever carry preloaded cylinders for the Remington? Well, how would they be transported? One of James readers left a comment about the danger of dropping a handful of loose, capped cylinders into your coat pocket, or a saddle bag. The very thought scares the hell out of me. They would need to be kept separated.

Which brings us to the third part of the question; did anyone make belts with pouches for extra loaded cylinders before the movie The Pale Rider? We know dozens have been made since. The answer is, perhaps.

For anyone interested in old west gun leather there is a wonderful book called Packing Iron. It is the best photo collection of authentic western gun leather I have ever seen. Not having an example of this belt in Packing Iron wouldn’t mean they never existed. On the other hand, if there were such belts in the day, there’s a good chance one is pictured and described here.

Now, a well prepared blogger, that had his act together, would consult the book and determine if there was an example of such a belt in the cap and ball chapter. Sadly, my copy is packed away at this time.

So, if anyone out there has a copy of this most excellent book, I would be grateful if you could consult it and let me know what you find.
I got into the storage unit and found my copy of Packing Iron. I did not find a belt with cylinder pouches on it. Again, that's not to say no one ever had such a belt in "the day" but it isn't lister in this book.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Good By Richard Winters

I was saddened earlier today to learn that Richard Winters had passed away January 02, 2011 near his home in centeral Pennsylvania. Mr. Winters had asked the announcement of his death be delayed until after his funural.

This modest man was made famous by the book BAND OF BROTHERS, and more so by the mini series by the same title. On screen the young Dick Winters was brought to life by the English Actor, Damian Lewis.

Known as Major Winters to the millions who have learned his story he represented what was best in the Greatest Generation. In the words he borrowed from one of his men, "I wasn't a hero, but I served in a company of hero's."

I never had the honor of meeting this man, but feel like I have known him for years. I think all of us did. He will be missed.

Extras and Re-enactors

My wife had asked me a question about the Safari Re-enactment in my last post. She was warning me to be careful about inexperienced re-enactors. Truth be told, 99.9999 percent of the re-enactors don't worry me due to the nature of the beast.

Re-enactors strive to relive a point in time. This involves not just learning the history involved but having the proper weapons, clothing and support gear. That can run the gambit from a proper shooting bag and boots to a saddle, tent and other camp gear available in the period. Even cannons get into the game. Some do it better than others, but safety with firearms is paramount to everyone.

Some years ago a gentleman, saddly no longer with us, started providing producers of period films with re-enactors. The advantages were obvious. We would arrive on location with the correct clothing or uniforms, accessories and weapons. As re-enactors we were old hands at camping on location, and didn't have to travel back and forth. Often our camps could be used as part of the set dressing.

Our folks already knew how to march and the manual of arms for the time period. In addition to infantry this gentleman also supplied cavalry and artillery. Counting a scene where I stood in as a gun captain, I worked as all three. With a trip through hair and makeup each morning and we were ready to work.

In addition hair and make up extras had to be issued everything we brought with us. Being ready to work took them three times a long.

The difference between re-enactors and extras without this background showed up when filming THE ROUGH RIDERS a few years ago. Lord knows accidents happen, but they are much more common when handling unfimular equipment. Example - during a battle scene an extra carrying a Spanish Rile with fixed bayonet tripped and put said bayonet through the leg of a re-enactor.

There was no permanent damage. The re-enactor recovered and the extra got away.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Re-Enactment Safari

I recieved this from a re-enactment group this evening. It's not your normal fare. As this is an invation event I have eddited the location and peoples names.

Rather than shooting up Yankees or Germans these folks want to relive the days of the great walking Safaris of Africa 100 + - years ago. Does this sound like fun to anyone else?

Read the following and see what you think. If there is enough interest I'm sure there will be other such events.

Dear Ladies and Gentlmen,

You are cordially invited to attend an opportunaty of a life time by joining a few fellow hunters to take part in a winter safari. This safari will be hosted by XX of X, Texas. The property is a wonderful site for a big game hunt with semi-wooded hills, wet weather creeks and a great camping site.

This will not be just a set around the camp and shoot at a few targets in the open. This will be a walking safari over open ground, into rocky and sandy creek beds, tall grass, and thickets. The targets will be of big African game at verying ranges under verying conditions. You will be guided as a group on this treck and given many opportunaties to shoot at these targets. The firearms shall be of the proper type as used in the period of you choosen time period prior the year of 1940.

In addition, late in the day Saturday you will be given a chance to hunt live wild boar/hog. These maybe taken with your choose of period firearm.

The camp opens xxx xx, xxxx. The site will be close to the most up to date modern coveniences possible if needed. You may unload you equipment of you choosen period on site and move your transport to a safe area nearby.

The large wall tent may be used for quarters. In additon an A frame tent may be used for storage. XX will setup a fire pit and we will have at least two camp stoves for general use. As well as a few other camp items such as tables and chairs will be on site but, more equipment is welcome. You may set up what ever quarters you wish to fit your impression.

Your impression shall be correct for the period of your choose. However, this safari is for the most part based on the 1930's in a cooler area of Africa. The weather could be below 0 deg. or well into the 70 deg. range, damp or very dry. At this time there is a fire ban.

If in the event of heavy rainy weather the event will be canceled due to the possible poor conditions of the roads and grounds.

The county road is an improved hard top with one low water crossing, X and there are a few cattle guards along the way. There is a large two story stone house with a few barns on the left side of the road. The event enterance is a hard to see dirt driveway just past the next cattle guard. There is an address sign X with an old cow skull mounted on the post. You will turn just before the sign.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What The New Year Holds

Last evening we had a number of friends gather here at HomePlace for fireworks in a safe and controlled area. It's best for all involved.

I loved fireworks as a kid. Let us just say the 'Adventures of a Mis-spent Youth' made me uneasy around amateurs with explosives. Out here the kids are able to set off the little stuff in a controlled area under watchful eyes. No one got hurt and there were no fires. Later in the night our son Matt and a couple of his friends put on a better display of aerial fireworks than most small towns in the area can offer.

Later that night Helene and I had our 'Black Eyed Peas' (it's a Southern thing) and turned in around 01:00 AM. Before turning in I reviewed this blog for the last year. I don't complain, things didn't go exactly to plan but lots of folks had a really bad year. Having said that, there is room for improvement.

I gave up on New Years Resolutions some years ago, but I think it's time to try for three.

1. In the past I had tried to say I was going to shoot every day. That isn't practical when one travels, which I am hoping to do this year. So I will settle for shooting every day I am home. I won't bore you folks with all the details, but will mention the high points.

2. I am losing a lot of time looking for things. I need to get both my library and props and wardrobe organized in the next couple of months.

3. I will write every day. I have been neglecting my writing, not just here. I have not submitted an article to a magazine all last year. Thre is no excuse for that and an article will be submitted for publication before the end of January.

So, wish me luck. I'll tell you how it goes.