Gratuitous Gun Pic: Walther PP (.32 ACP)

From Collectors comes this little peach:

Okay, here’s my take on this classic.

The Walther PP / PPK models are quite possibly the sexiest-looking pistols ever made*.  Those sleek lines and usually-faultless operation make for a tempting package — on the surface — and as James Bond’s gun, it works.

Unfortunately, Reality intrudes.  The .32 / .380 ACP (7.65mm / 9x17mm in Eurospeak) Browning cartridges are not serious self-defense options, and unfortunately I find that shooting the “more powerful” 9mm Parabellum (9x19mm) to be rather unpleasant in the small PP frame.  (My opinion;  yours may vary.)

One would think that it would be fun shooting the smaller .32 ACP cartridge in the PP (as it is with the Colt 1905, for example), but it isn’t — at least, not for someone with large or beefy hands such as mine.

The last time I fired a PP pistol, I became aware of some wetness in my grip, discovered that the sharp edges of the PP’s slide had made two razor-like cuts in the web of my hand, and I was bleeding like a stuck pig.  Painful, and a pain in the ass to clean up (which one has to do immediately, because blood does ugly things to a gun’s bluing).

My shooting companion — the owner of the PP — was a slender woman who had small ladylike hands, and who had therefore never been cut by the recoiling slide.  She loved shooting her little “purse gun”, as she called it, and was horrified that it had wounded me.

So as pretty and sexy as the Walther PP and PPK pistols are, there is a public health warning attached to them.

All that said:  I’d get the above pistol in a heartbeat, because it’s beautiful and sexy.  But I wouldn’t shoot it that much, unless wearing a shooting glove.

*with the possible exception of the Beretta 70-series .22 pistols.

Kim’s Black Friday Half-Dozen – Rifles

Collectors Firearms is publicizing their Black Friday Sale, and I thought I’d shuffle over to the Curio & Relic (C&R) department to see which caught my fancy.  (Not that I can afford any of them, of course, but the 20% discounts being offered make these rifles at least reachable for anyone with a few hundred buck or so to spare.)  Links in description.

Mosin M44 Trunk Gun

Schmidt-Rubin K31 (with bayonet)

Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk1

Brno Mauser K98k

Remington ’03-A3

Venezuela Mauser K98k

And a bonus:  Schmidt-Rubin K11
…because its forged action just sounds better than the K31’s cast action.

Honorable mention:  Chilean Banner Mauser, which looks lovely but is still priced too high, even with the discount.

Anyway, they’re all worth a look.

All the pistols, with the possible exception of the Colt 1903, are too damn spendy.  Collectors only.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Ed Brown Special Forces 1911 (.45 ACP)

I must confess to having mixed feelings about this offering from Steve Barnett:

I know all about Ed Brown’s 1911s:  they’re fantastic bits of machinery, reliable to a fault, engineered way up the quality curve, and so on.

But the problem I have is that “way up the quality curve” thing:  at the end of the day, it’s still a 1911.  And just how much better is a quality offering like this one than, say, a Springfield Loaded 1911?

Four times better?  (Because that’s the price difference between the two models.)

Like I said:  mixed feelings.  As any fule kno, I love me my quality guns, most especially shotguns of the H&H / Abbiatico genre.  But those are hand made (which the Ed Brown isn’t), which has to count for something.

And maybe it’s just because it’s a 1911 — yes, essentially the same as a 1911 Government as used by Our Brave Boys in France, the Pacific, Vietnam and so on.

Finally, I have no issue with super-quality 1911s of the Nighthawk / Ed Brown ilk — several of my Readers own such pieces, I’ve been lucky enough to have them let me shoot their guns, and without exception, they’re wonderful to shoot.

But I have to confess to y’all:  even if I won a lottery, I’m not sure I’d buy a premium 1911 — note, I said “not sure” because hell, I might just indulge myself, much as I might indulge myself with an Omega wristwatch for about the same money.

And maybe it’s because I’ve just been so well served by my plain ol’ Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 (and yeah I know, it’s far from standard issue, with a widened ejection port and polished trigger group).  Maybe it’s because I just don’t see how much better an Ed Brown would work for me.

I must be getting old, for such common sense to have crept into my life.

My Five

The headline was interesting:  Five Rifles You Should Shoot Before You Die, but as it’s behind a paywall, I couldn’t get to read it.

However, seeing as opinions are ubiquitous (like paywalls, it seems nowadays), here are Kim’s 5 Rifles You Should Shoot Before You Die.  I’ve stuck to centerfire cartridge rifles for the purposes of brevity.

1.) 1885 Browning / Winchester High Wall (preferably in a “buffalo” cartridge chambering e.g. .50-70, .45-110 or .45-70 Govt)

Some might argue that the Sharps would be a better choice, but there is no feeling in gundom quite like closing John Browning’s “bank vault” action.  Unless it’s working the bolt of the

2.) Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) in .303 Enfield

Once again, many could argue that the Krag-Jorgensen (.30-40 Krag) is an equal thrill — and I won’t refute that, because it’s fine too — but the SMLE’s action is wondrous.

3.) Schmidt-Rubin K.11 / K.31 (7.5x55mm Swiss)

It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the venerable Schmidt-Rubin rifles are better made than 90% of any rifles ever made;  it’s a marriage of Swiss watchmaking precision with a straight-pull bolt action, and it’s a feeling like few other.

4.) Winchester 1894 (.30-30 / .30 WCF)

The Marlin’s action is similar, but the Winchester is the preferred choice.  In the hands of a practiced shooter, the lever action can be worked with such speed as to make it sound like a semi-auto.  And speaking of semi-auto rifles, here’s my last choice:

5.) M1 Garand (.30-06 Springfield)

The Garand tames the recoil of the powerful .30-06 like no other rifle, and not only is it a pleasure to shoot, but it gives you a lovely little sonic ting!  to tell you that your ammo is all gone.

Honorable mentions:

Ljungman AG-42 (6.5x55mm)

The Scandi equivalent of the Garand, and it’s amazing.  Like the Schmidt-Rubin, its quality of workmanship is astounding, and the gentler-recoiling (but no less effective) 6.5x55mm Swede cartridge makes the Ljungman very close to the Garand in the pleasure of its shooting.

Mauser 1898 (G.98, K98, K98k) in 8x57mm

Of course, one could argue for the inclusion of many of the 98’s clones (e.g. the Springfield ’06) on this list, but the fact that Mauser still makes the 98 action today, unchanged, says it all.  Like the 1885 High Wall above, the closing of the Mauser’s action is a bank vault sound, and it makes you confident that no matter what, that bullet is going to leave the rifle when you squeeze the trigger.  (For those who are leery of the recoil of the 8x57mm, you can substitute the smaller 7x57mm Mauser — in, say, a Venezuelan mil-surp Mauser — and still get the same feeling.)

Now some may say, “But Kim, what about modern rifles?  Aren’t they as good, or even better than the old ones you’ve listed?”

Here’s my response.

One of the joys of shooting old rifles is not just the act of shooting, but the fact that when one does so, there is a feeling that one is touching a piece of history.  In one swoop, one is experiencing our shooting heritage and firing a beautiful rifle,  It is a feeling like no other.

Of course, I like shooting new rifles just fine.  The CZ 550, (pre-’64) Winchester Model 70, Sako 85, Remington 700… I’ve shot them all, enjoyed them all, and would take any of them into the bush with me with complete confidence.

But everyone should shoot one of my Top 5 rifles before they die.  If you haven’t already done so, it’s a bucket list to be pursued, I promise you.

And I have no idea how this list compares to the linked paywall list (perhaps someone could tell me, in Comments), but I’ll stand by my choices, regardless.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: CZ 452 (.22 LR)

Also at Steve Barnett:

Over the years, CZ has upgraded their .22 bolties (I think they’re now up to Mod 457), but I have to say that other than some technical (and cosmetic) stuff, I’m not sure that oldies like this one aren’t just as good as the newer ones, certainly in terms of accuracy.

And even with the Barnett Price Premium, it’s still very good value.

Would this be a bad time to bring back Kim’s BANG (Buy A New Gun) Fund from the old blog?  Probably.  Dammit.