Gratuitous Gun Pic – Champlin Sport (.416 Rigby)

Browsing through Collectors with nothing but gun lust on the brain, I come across this vision of loveliness:

An octagonal barrel in a dangerous-game rifle?  Have mercy.

People often talk about horse-racing as “the sport of kings”.  With all due respect, I think the appellation more correctly applies to big game hunting.  Why so?  Because rifles as fine as this Champlin Sport cost a king’s ransom, that’s why.

Granted, this is a handmade number — and a quick scrutiny of, say, James Purdey’s wares will show you how kingly a sport that  is — and I should also mention that I can never venture up I-35 to Enid, Oklahoma because that’s where danger lurks, in the shape of the Champlin Firearms establishmentTheir  wares are positively Purdeyesque, and the $7,500 asked by Collectors for the above rifle barely comes close to the average gun in  Champlin’s inventory.

Lemme check those lottery numbers quickly… ah, shit.

One-Track Mind

Over at The Daily Timewaster, C.W. often posts scenic pics like this in his “Open Road” series (click to embiggen):

See, others are going to go into raptures over Nature’s Incredible Beauty etc. etc.  Me, I look at it and say:

“Yeah, beautiful.  I bet that little ridge on the extreme right would make a great backstop if one were to set up some targets and steel plates so that one could blast away in relative comfort from the truck (or next to it), without causing any damage or noise issues (it being somewhat Remote & Desolate).”

Am I the only one who thinks like this?

And a tangential thought:  does anyone know where that pic was taken?  I’m guessing Utah or maybe Arizona…

Update:  Reader RichK emails:

The location is in the Alabama Hills, part of the Owens valley of California, and is looking at the Sierras.
The high peak left of the road is Mt. Langley. The far one is Mt. Whitney. I have climbed both multiple times. Stunningly beautiful country. Sad to think it is part of California.

Gun Game

Here’s a quick game for us to play.

If someone gave you a voucher for a free new gun at your friendly neighborhood Merchant Of Death, what gun would you buy or order?  (Restrictions:  one gun only, nothing costing more than $2,000 and nothing not currently in the catalog.)

Answers in Comments.


Mine: 
That’s a Colt New Frontier Single Action Army, in .44 Special. Cost:  $1,995.  (I need a gun for the Governor’s BBQ.)  I’ll spring for the DeSantis holster out of my own pocket…

Still Relevant?

I’ve been thinking about the SHTF thing recently (as one does), and a random thought occurred to me:  is the venerable AR-7 Survival Rifle still a consideration for inclusion in Ye Olde Bugge Out Bagge?  Here’s the original Armalite AR-7:

I tested one of these puppies many years ago, and I was seriously underwhelmed.  I tried at least half a dozen different types and brands of .22 LR, and I got either flawless feeding and crappy accuracy, or decent accuracy and a 1:3 jam rate.  So I wrote the thing off as a waste of time — just another gimmick.

However, time has passed and the AR-7 has now become the property of Henry Repeating Company — and they’ve made some changes, all for the better.  So the question comes up again:  is the little AR-7 still relevant as a SHTF option?

Apparently, it is — or at least, these guys seem to think so.

And I really like what Henry’s done with it.  The component stowage has been tidied up:

Of course, the packed-up rifle is still not only waterproof, but it floats as well:

…and the addition of a high-viz front sight and scope rail, in my opinion, has made all the difference.

So the original concept has been refined enough so that it is, at least, a viable little firearm — and Henry’s creation of an accompanying mini-bug-out pack (see the first link) has made it all the more appealing.

Nevertheless, I’m still a little dubious about the AR-7, and here’s why.  If one is wandering around in the wilderness after the S has HTF, the whole palaver of having to assemble the rifle into an operating firearm is somewhat time-consuming — and given the exigencies of such a scenario, wouldn’t one want the thing to be ready at all times?

(And I’m not going to get into the argument about whether the .22 LR cartridge is a viable SHTF option because it is, in the function for which it is intended:  popping small game for the pot.  No problem with that.)

My question is that since a modern SHTF scenario involves not only wandering around in some post-apocalyptic landscape looking for squirrel snacks, but avoiding (or at worst, fending off) feral critters of the human persuasion, would the .22 requirement not be better served by a longish-barreled handgun such as the 10-round capacity S&W 617, worn on the hip?

Sure, the 16″ barrel of the AR-7 is always going to be more accurate than the 6″ barrel of the 617, but in reality, if one is potting critters over unscoped sights, the shorter distances in practice make the issue somewhat moot, I think.  And if we’re going to insist on a semi-auto .22 firearm, then there’s always the Buckmark URX Contour, with a 7″ barrel (and rail for a scope/red-dot arrangement):

Here’s what I think, at the end of all this.  I like the AR-7 concept, a lot.  I think that as a “stow away and forget about it” addendum to the trunk of your car or storage space in your truck — especially with that survival pack — it’s a winner.  Henry’s rather clever payoff line for the AR-7 is “Don’t leave civilization without it”, and I sorta-agree with that.

But I think that as a SHTF tool, the .22 LR function would be better left to a handgun, while the actual survival  function is delegated to an AR-15 or AK-47.  But that  said, there’s nothing wrong with having an ultra-lightweight rifle in your hands or in your backpack, either.

As you can see, I’m hopelessly conflicted about the AR-7.  Feel free to untangle, explain or even cast insults upon my thoughts, in Comments.  All such would be quite welcome.

Marriage Made In Heaven

Longtime Reader DarrellM sends me this snippet from Dan Wesson:

It started as an experiment — a grand melding of Dan Wesson and CZ pistols. Borrowing the crisp single action fire control group of a DW 1911 and combining it with the ergonomics and capacity of a CZ, the resulting pistol emerged as something great.

Designed initially for competition use, the DWX has evolved into much more than that, with both full-size and compact variants. Its locked breech barrel system is simple, ditching the standard 1911 link system and using CZ-style takedown via the slide stop. The easier take-down will be familiar to any hammer-fired CZ owner, as is removing the Match-grade barrel due to the bushing-less barrel system that resembles a P-10 or P-09/P-07. Double-stack magazines boost the capacity of the full-size to 19+1 with flush bases, and many standard 1911 parts enable gunsmiths and competitive shooters to tune the X just the way they like it. Sights are easily customized, using a 1911-style dovetailed sight in the front and a CZ Shadow 2 style sight cut in the rear.

Here’s what it looks like:

Apart from the front-slide serrations (ugh) and the somewhat gay red accents (double ugh), this “marriage” pushes all my buttons.  Reader Darrell admits to being a fanboi of both the 1911 and CZ 75 (as am I), but the only thing that puts both of us off is that the suggested retail price for this lovely thing is not a true marriage:  it’s too much Dan Wesson and not enough CZ,  i.e. at nearly $1,800 it’s out of reach for both of us.

That said:  a 1911 single action with 20-round capacity and easy takedown?  Hand me mah smellin’ salts, Prissy…

Put some lovely wooden grips on it, lose the cherry-colored trigger and resist the urge to carve out the front serrations, and I’d be very  tempted to sell a kidney or something.

On the other hand, there’s always the CZ 97 B:

…even if it does only hold 10 rounds of .45 ACP.  (Full disclosure:  I once owned a CZ 97, and loved shooting it.  But it’s no carry piece, lemme tell y’all — it’s a heavy beast.  Still, I should never have sold it, because now that I think about it, the 97 would make a perfect bedside gun.  Oh well.)

Gratuitous Gun Pic: S&W Mod 48 (.22 WMR)

We are all familiar with Kim’s #1 Principle of Guns:  a .22 gun is not in fact a gun;  it is a household appliance (and every home should have one, be it a rifle or a handgun).  The corollary thereto is that .22 ammo is likewise not actually ammunition, but a household commodity like salt or sugar.

And while this is absolutely true for the venerable .22 Long Rifle, there is a higher level of household commodity, if you will — not salt or sugar, but, shall we say something that could also be classed as a commodity but has a tad more spice to it — something that makes life more enjoyable, like BBQ sauce, or mustard, or Tabasco sauce — which adds to the enjoyment of life, and I don’t think anyone is going to argue too much with me on this point.

Which brings me to my favorite cartridge of the small ones, the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, a.k.a. the.22 WMR or still more simply, the .22 Mag.  I love this tangy little rimfire cartridge with a passion, and it remains a mystery to me why it’s not more popular among shooters (the lack of popularity no doubt being the reason why it is priced as high as it is today).

Basically, the .22 Mag does everything that a .22 LR cartridge can do, only with a 50-yard longer reach and an impact that makes it more deadly without adding in the slightest to felt recoil.  You want numbers?  Using a 40-grain bullet, the.22 LR ammo runs at 1,200 fps, while a .22 mag leaves a rifle barrel traveling at 1,800 fps.  That 50% increase in velocity creates a significant difference in muzzle energy : the .22 LR typically weighs in at around 140 foot-pounds at the muzzle, but the .22 Mag. generates more than double that — around 300 ft-lbs.  Without the huge cost difference, the Mag would leave the LR in the dust — at least, it would in my case.

I have one rifle (Marlin 882) and one handgun (Ruger Single Six) chambered in .22 Mag, but I want more.  Which brings us to day’s GGP, the S&W Model 48:

This particular little beauty is at Collectors Firearms, and the only thing that’s stopped me from getting one is the nosebleed price.  (At Bud’s Gun Shop, the 6″ barreled model is over $100 cheaper… stop me before I do something foolish.)

“So Kim,” you may ask, “why do you want another .22 Mag revolver?”

Because I can, because it’s double- and not single action, and because it’s beautiful.  And in case I didn’t mention it earlier, because I love the .22 Mag cartridge.