Plastic Lever Rifles

It’s not often a photo makes me go “WTF?” (unless it’s of the latest incarnation of a Kardashian’s ever-expanding ass), but this one made me choke on my breakfast gin:

Let’s list the atrocities:

  • plastic stock
  • red-dot sight
  • suppressor

…on a lever rifle?

Great Vulcan’s bleeding hemorrhoids.  As any fule kno, a proper lever rifle should look like this:

or this:

and be fired by men who look like this:

…which is as God, Oliver Winchester and John Moses Browning intended.

THAT SAID: the article which accompanies that first (appalling) photograph is extremely interesting.  Hie thee thence and read it.

They’ll be putting scopes  on lever rifles next.  Oh wait, don’t tell me… aaaaargh:

I think I’ll have another gin, just to steady my nerves.  What the hell, it’s almost sunrise.


Over at American Hunter  there’s an article entitled Top 5 Underrated Deer Cartridges, to whit:

6.5x55mm Swede / 7mm-08 / .250 Savage / .338 Federal / .257 Roberts

Longtime Readers will know of my love for the 6.5x55mm Swede, so ’nuff said on that topic (although a recent chat with Combat Controller reminded me that in a stiff crosswind, the otherwise-excellent 6.5mm boolet will get blown around more than a little).

I have no issue with the 7mm-08 either;  in fact, I kinda prefer it to the .308 Win simply because it seems to kick my aged shoulder a lot less, for about the same result at the naughty end of its flight.  Here’s an approximate comparison, using the same bullet weight:

The Savage 99 rifle chambered in the .250-3000 cartridge might be one of the best deep-forest small-game combinations available.  Trouble is, not many other  rifles are chambered for the old cartridge anymore (if ever).

As for the .338 Federal, I’m kinda leery about “new” cartridges which don’t do much more than existing ones, and this cartridge almost defines the breed.  Let’s just do a quick comparison of (say) three different cartridges, all shooting the .338’s 200-grain pill:

Okay, the .30-06 has just about reached its upper limit with the heavier 200gr (as opposed to its most-common 165gr weight), so let’s ignore that one.  The .338 is best compared with the .300 Win Mag, methinks, and it’s not bad in that regard — and the per-box cost for each is about the same (a little under $40 for the premium variants).

Finally, we come to the venerable .257 Roberts.  I happen to like this cartridge myself, but let’s face it:  it shoots a bullet of .25x-inch diameter, which means it’s up against our old friend the .243 Winchester.  Ballistically speaking, a sample shows the following: 

It’s not quite an apples-to-pears comparison (despite the 10-grain bullet weight difference), because in the long run, the .257 Roberts costs more than double the .243 Win and that makes for expensive practice.

Which brings me to the summary of the whole issue.  You’re not going to go wrong  with any of the above “underrated” cartridges:  all will do the job as advertised on pretty much most deer in the lower 48.  The problem is that underrated, in the cartridge sense, means nobody shoots them much — which means that all of them pretty much fail Mr. Free Market’s Availability Test (Cliff Notes:  if gun and ammo are separated in transit, will you find a box of your ammo in Bubba’s Bait ‘n Tackle / your guide’s glove box?).  Even in this company, I think you’re more likely to find any of the above ahead of the .338 Federal (which, to my mind almost defines a “fad” cartridge — i.e. invented by a rifle company to drive sales), so even though it’s a decent cartridge, it’s deservedly underrated by the market.

It also means that the ammo for all the above will be way more costly than their ballistic equivalents, and you won’t find too many rifles thus chambered, either.

All that said, if I were to find a (decently-priced) Savage 99 lever rifle in .250-3000, or a bargain-basement Savage Mod 11 in 7mm-08, or a cherry pre-’64 Winchester 70 in .257 Roberts, would I ignore the deal?  Would you?

Update: I fixed the typo which made the .257 Roberts bullet of .243 diameter. Now please excuse me while I go and beat the shit out of my incompetent proofreader…

Silence In Court

The good folks at sent me a link to their article on silencers (suppressors, moderators, what have you).

If you don’t know much on the topic (I didn’t, until recently), it’s a good one.

Favorite stat: of the ~1.5 million suppressors extant in the U.S., Texas accounts for well over 260,000 (plus one more when I get my act together).

Mr. Free Market has one of these moderated sweetie-pies (because while guns are hated by the elites in Britishland, amazingly, “moderators” are not only allowed, but encouraged  in their use — he has five or six, as I recall).

S&W M&P 15-22. Want.

Thanks to Reader Dave S. for the link.

Not My Favorite

Over at CTD, I see this article:

II have to confess that I’ve owned several “Bisley-gripped” revolvers, and I was never able to shoot any of them for shit.  Something about that upright grip angle made me shoot high — not the first shot, but by the third trigger-pull I’d be missing way high.  The Bisley grip never felt quite comfortable in my hand, and so over time I got rid of all of them because there’s no point in keeping a gun you can’t shoot accurately, is there?  (Especially when someone else absolutely loves shooting my old Ruger revolvers and has never stopped thanking me for swapping them with him. )

As a matter of fact, I shoot the “regular” Ruger grips a lot more comfortably (and hence more accurately), and ditto the Smith & Wesson’s.  Here’s my GP100:

…and my Model 65 (sob):

I have the same issue with the Luger-style (which is raked too much in the other  direction) and the 1911:

The Luger doesn’t work for me, and the 1911 does.

It’s strange how just a couple degrees’ difference of rake in the grip can make such a difference.   Then again, I seldom shoot “hot” loads (as Roberts does, apparently).  The hottest handgun round I’m prepared to shoot is the “regular” 240-gr  .44 Magnum (in the right-sized revolver, i.e. Blackhawk/Redhawk).  Forget that .500 S&W nonsense:

Yeah, I’m a recoil wussy.  Sue me.

AAR: Ruger PC-9 Carbine (9mm)

Some feedback from this post, wherein Reader Brad_In_IL solved his “What pistol-caliber carbine to buy?” problem:

Brad writes:  “Indoor.  Off hand.  50 feet.  Need to get a sling.  First shot was the head shot.  The other 24 were insurance.”

Amen.  Adding a well-adjusted sling to the mix would have resulted in a single palm-sized (or smaller) hole for the 24 insurance shots.

The Shorter The Length, The Lower The Performance

No, this isn’t about comparing the sexual prowess of the late John (“Mr. Eleven”) Holmes with that of the average male Gender Studies college professor.

We’re talking guns and bullets.  Specifically, we’re talking about this guy’s article, in which the following statement stands out like a turd on a tablecloth:

[In shorter-barreled handguns]…averaging out a spread of .357 Mag self defense loads essentially produces 9mm terminal performance.

I truly want to carry a revolver for self defense… but I can’t ignore all the drawbacks of .357 Magnum at zero increased benefit vs. 9mm.

In other words, if I’m reading his results correctly, a .357 Mag boolet fired from a 2″-3″ revolver barrel performs about the same as a 9mm boolet fired from a pistol barrel of 3.5″ length.  So if yer going to carry a .357 Mag revolver and you want the maximum performance from the cartridge, you’ll want to carry a 6″ barrel on that revolver — i.e. it’s not going to be concealable.

Quite frankly, I feel faint.  I know a number of gunnies — very knowledgeable ones, at that — who carry .357 snubbies because of the cartridge’s assumed superiority over a 9mm.  If the tests are to be believed (and I think they should be), these guys have been wasting their time.  And, to make it worse, they’ve sacrificed cartridge count (five in a snubbie vs. eight in a 9mm subcompact) in so doing.

I’m just glad that both my primary carry guns (Browning High Power and Springfield 1911) have full-length barrels, and my S&W snubbie is purely a backup.  I’m not being smug;  I’m just relieved.

And for the record:  I’ve never enjoyed shooting a .357 Mag snubbie, because owie.

Addendum:  also note the following conclusion from the article:

In terms of FBI terminal ballistics, [the .45 ACP is] the runaway champ.  Individuals will need to consider limited capacity and felt recoil vs. less powerful calibers, and how that translates into making effective hits on a bad guy in a timely manner.  However, with a quality .45 ACP self defense round, I sincerely doubt any failure to stop a bad guy can be blamed on the choice of caliber.