Gratuitous Gun Pic: Benelli R1 (.30-06 Springfield)

Once again, amidst my occasional ponderings about The Gun Thing, several factors have occurred to me, to whit:

  • There are an awful lot of people who think that the venerable (and venerated) .30-06 cartridge is God’s answer to the question “Are there too many deer in the world?” and/or “How best should I kill that Bad Person?”
  • Most rifles thus chambered are bolt-action, and found everywhere in these United States
  • The non-bolt-action .30-06 rifles are pretty much confined to the venerable (and venerated) WWII-era M1 Garand, and the modern Browning BAR.

Not one of these things is Bad.  The .30-06 is a monster when it comes to dealing death, at pretty much any range, as several thousand WWII-era Kraut- and Jap soldiers would attest (if they were still with us);  there are a jillion-odd bolt-action rifles thus chambered, and therefore cartridge availability passes the “Bubba’s Bait & Ammo Store” criterion;  most semi-auto .30-06 rifles owned are likely to be of the Garand genus — and considering that Gen. George S. Patton once called the M1 Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised by Man” (or something like that), there are very few knocks you can make against the Garand, either.  Ditto the BAR.

Except for cost.  M1 Garands can be costly, simply because of their pedigree (and therefore collectability), so the cost of entry, so to speak, can be pretty daunting.  Here’s a typical example from Collectors:

…which runs at just under $1,700.  (And if you think that’s expensive, the “National Match” version costs nearly three times as much.)

So what else is out there, for someone who wants a semi-auto rifle chambered in .30-06?  Here’s the Benelli R1, for example, also at Collectors, for just under $1,300 (about the cost of a new unscoped BAR Mk3, incidentally):

and the R1 has a 10-round detachable magazine, to boot.  From the Benelli website:

(Note its current non-availability, but I suspect that this is a temporary situation.)  The price, of course, is nosebleed because Benelli (as anyone who’s ever contemplated buying one of their shotguns can attest);  but you could buy four extra mags for the R1, and still come out around the same cost of a single M1 Garand.

And yes of course, the R1 is a modern rifle, ergo saddled with a poxy (epoxy?) stock, which sets my teeth on edge;  but if you told me I’d have no choice but the R1 to take out into the field — for any purpose — I would not feel myself short-changed at all.   (“Gimme!”  comes to mind.)

Note too that this particular R1 comes with a very toothsome Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm scope — which alone sells for $700-$750 nowadays.

Other than my distaste for Technik durch Plastik  stocks, if I were in the market for a .30-06 rifle, I can’t think of a single reason not to consider this one.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Mosin-Nagant Rifles

Thinking idly about guns, as I occasionally do [eyecross], I was pondering the current issue of gun / ammo shortages, and while everyone has ideas about handguns, there is always the thought that at some point, one may be asked to shoot something (animal, anarchist, zombie, take your pick) at a distance exceeding comfortable pistol range — say, more than 25 yards.  (Your standard pistol choice of a 1911 .45 ACP or plastic-fantastic Europellet delivery vehicle should be quite adequate at less than 25 yards distance to target, but further out from that, you’re not going to have, shall we say, consistent accuracy grouping to make you confident of taking such a shot.)

And I know:  everyone has their Mattel ARs and what have you, but if you don’t already have one and a sufficient supply of ammo, you’re going to be SOL at your local Merchant Of Death establishment.  And that goes for a lot of guns, yea even unto unfashionable choices like the AK-47.

What I’m saying is that you need a cheap long gun — any gun, really — that can live in your car’s trunk that can be relied upon to work satisfactorily, and for which there is currently ammo available.  And that, for anyone who’s looked at the issue recently, is no longer a given.

Unless, of course, one considers the venerable Russian Mosin-Nagant family of bolt-action rifles, all chambered for the very unfashionable 7.62x54mmR.  Mosins are the Rolls-Royce of bolt-action rifles, in that everything you’ve ever heard about them is true:  you need a hammer to work the bolt, their accuracy is not universally admired, for instance;  but they also work regardless of condition or ill-treatment, and if you do eventually run out of ammo, they make an excellent club or, if you have a bayonet, a wonderful spear, as seen in this old pic of Your Humble Narrator:

As for the Mosin’s boolet, the 7.62x54mmR (rimmed):

…there are millions of German Wehrmacht- and SS soldiers who might attest to its efficacy, but sadly they didn’t survive the Ostfront, so ’nuff said on that score.

Now I see that Century Arms are selling 91/30 rifles for under $400 at the moment — Century Arms guns are very often assembled from surplus parts bins, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to Mosins because there’s almost no such thing as a “collector grade” 91/30 (although the one I’m holding in the picture actually was), so not having matching serial numbers is no big deal.

The one knock on the 91/30 is its length, which can make it quite unwieldy.  Here’s a pic of the so-called “ex-Dragoon” (carbine-length) compared to a “standard” 91/30 (more on that topic here):

But what makes the Mosins so versatile is that because they were Commie rifles, all the Eastern Bloc countries made variants thereof behind the Iron Curtain, most were carbine-length, and many cannot hold a bayonet, if that’s of interest to you.  The M44 carbine does, an integral side-folder (which I also once owned, prior to the Brazos River Canoeing Tragedy):

…and those of Hungarian, Polish and Romanian origin, to name but the more popular ones, are freely available.

Now, as for the ammo:  the 7.62 Russki ammo is not as cheap as it once was, running between 50 cents and a dollar a pop (I know, pick up your jaws), but from what I was able to gather from just a cursory glance, almost all the ammo suppliers have some of the stuff in stock (e.g. here), which is not the case for most of the popular cartridges like 7.62 NATO, 7.62×39 Soviet and 5.56 NATO.  Just remember that the mil-surp Russki ammo is highly corrosive, and you need to clean your guns assiduously very soon after firing — before leaving the range, even.  The modern commercial ammo is much better in that regard, albeit more expensive.  Me, I hate the old corrosive shit like poison and pay the “premium” on non-corrosive ammo cheerfully;  but that’s all a matter of choice.  Note too that many ranges do not allow steel-cased (as opposed to brass) ammo, so make your choices carefully.  From a personal perspective, I’ve always had great results from Wolf, Tula, Prvi Partizan and Brown Bear brands, so be my guest.

As I’ve said many times before in my writings on the topic, I think the M44 is the ultimate “trunk / truck gun”, as it can lie neglected in the back for years, and still be guaranteed to work as promised if needed.  Mine certainly did, whether bouncing around in my F-150 or the Suburban.  In that role, if it’s stolen or (ahem) confiscated, it’s no great loss — and as an added bonus, the Gestapo in places like New York or California will not treat it the same as they would for example, an AK or AR-15.

So there you have it:  relatively cheap, reliable guns which can do the necessary at non-pistol distances, shooting inexpensive, effective (and available!) ammunition.

Every home should have one.

Not That Bad

Via Insty (thankee Squire), I see that our favorite shooting rag has a piece about a new Bond Arms Derringer:

Speaking personally, I think it’s pig-ugly;  but no doubt someone will soon be telling me how matte is the new black, or something, and all the cool kids are carrying it.  Whatever.  I like ’em shiny (and without that sissy trigger guard):

But anyway, it was Insty’s comment which got my attention:


That has not been my experience (remember that I am an infamous recoil wussy).  I’ve had two of these beauties in my time — in .45 Long Colt /.410ga, and in .38 Spec/.357 Mag — and I didn’t find the recoil in any of the four chamberings to be too unpleasant.  Here’s why.

I think that the teeny lil’ barrel helps.  Basically, it seems to me that before the burning powder can get up to full oomph in the chamber, the boolet has already left the building, so to speak.  Even .410 slugs were stout, but quite manageable — especially when you remember that Derringers are “halitosis-range” guns, in that even if the scumbag doesn’t immediately die from the boolet, the muzzle flash should set his fucking clothes on fire to complete the carnage.  And forget the loss of muzzle velocity from the tiny barrel — at 4″ distance from the target, it’s very much a moot point.

I wouldn’t want to let off hundreds of rounds of serious centerfire ammo in a single session at the range with a Bond Arms Derringer, mind — half a dozen would do just fine, thank you — but frankly, even a dozen-odd rounds of .45 ACP wouldn’t be too much of an imposition on one’s shooting hand.

What I’ve always liked about the Bond Arms guns is that they are heavy, baby — which means if you hold it in your hand and give someone a swift smack on the side of the head with it, he is going to go down.

Manly guns.  I love ’em.

Old Rifle, Old Cartridge… Heaven

As everyone knows, I love Old Gunny Stuff — and a good-looking pre-WWII hunting rifle in a proven chambering pretty much checks all my boxes.  Here’s a Savage 99 in .250-3000 (.250 Savage) at Collectors:

As I’ve also said before, I am not a fan of the 99 when it’s chambered in a larger caliber like .303 Savage, .308 Win and so on, because of the stiff recoil.  But a nice quarter-incher like the .250 Savage?  And in a handy little carbine?  (And did I also say before how much I love the Savage’s slick lever action and box magazine which can hold pointy spitzer boolets, unlike the WinMar lever guns with their tube mags?)

The age of rifles doesn’t bother me at all, provided that they’ve been reasonably well-looked after:  I’ve owned many pre-WWII rifles, and honestly, I’ve loved pretty much every single one of them:  Swiss K-11, Swedish 1896 Mausers, SMLE and Enfield No.4s, Mosin-Nagants, gawd knows how many Mauser 98s, and so on.  The one rifle of this genre that got away, by the way, also gives me the deepest regret at its loss:  a pre-WWI Winchester 94 in .32 Win Special (as I recall, made in 1910), which I bought from a dear friend who a year later demanded I sell it back to him because he was missing it too much.  Now I miss that rifle, still.  Here’s one, also from Collectors.

Were it not for their respective price tags — which reflect how many people love these rifles as much as I do — I’d buy them both in a heartbeat.

So yeah:  old rifles and old cartridges don’t frighten me, and they shouldn’t frighten anyone.  These fine old ladies are flat-out wonderful and gorgeous, their cartridges are just as effective as any modern cartridge, and everyone should own at least one.

Touch history, folks, while you still can.  You can thank me later.

Girly Guns

A comment to an earlier post about sissy guns got me thinking about the above headline:

“I’m with Kim. I don’t understand what Sig is trying to do with this gun. It’s like when Kimber came out with the Bel Air Micro.”

I had never heard of the Kimber Bel Air, so I looked it up.  Great Vulcan’s bleeding hemorrhoids.

The only thing I like about this gun is the Novak sight setup.  I think I’ll buy Daughter one for her birthday, because it has to be better than the Taurus thing she’s carrying at the moment.

And she’s never going to get rid of her Buck Mark:

Just looking at all those girly guns makes my breasts start to grow…

I need to top up the old Testosterone Tank, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range.