Mae’s Top 10

Some while back, I linked to C&Rsenal’s wonderful series on WWI guns, but then I spotted a little addendum, namely Mae’s Top 10 Rifles.

Now, as the lady in question has fired almost all WWI-era rifles — and certainly more of them than I’ve fired — I think it behooves us all to pay the show a visit.  Here are her top ten WWI rifles, in no specific order (so as not to spoil the surprise at the end):

Mauser K98 TZ (8x57mm)


SMLE No.1 MkIII* (.303 Enfield)


Mannlicher-Schoenauer 1903 Carbine (6.5x54mm)


Ross Rifle MkIII (.303 Enfield)


Arisaka Type 38 Carbine (6.5x50mm)


Ottoman Mauser 1903 (7.65x53mm)


Springfield ’03 (.30-06 Spfld)


Serbian Mauser 1908 Carbine (7x57mm)


Carcano Moschetto 91 (6.5x52mm Mannlicher)


Enfield 1917 (.303 Enfield / .30-06 Spfld)

Some of Mae’s choices are seriously, shall we say, eclectic nay even controversial, but all of them are very well supported (and Othias’s reactions to them are alone worth the price of admission).  Have fun as you pick your way through her arguments.

For the record, I have absolutely no quibble about the composition of her list — I’d shoot any of them without a qualm, and carry any of them off to war.

And by the way:  I actually agree wholeheartedly with her #1.  It is unquestionably one of the rifles I most regret having to sell during Great Poverty Era I.

For those who haven’t seen my own (and I think vastly inferior) take on the topic, see Great War Rifles.

Hickock’s Last Rifle

…in which ol’ Hickock45 goes through a whole bunch of his favorite bolt-action rifles, and decides which would be the last one he’d ever sell.  Here’s the list (in case you don’t have time to watch the video):

  • Krag-Jorgensen 1899 carbine (.30-40 Krag)

  • Winchester Mod 70 (.30-06 Springfield) — a pre-WWII version

  • Mauser Gewehr 1898 (8x57mm)

  • Sako 95 Bavarian carbine (6.5x55mm) — a very “modern” rifle

  • Mauser K98k (8x57mm)

  • Mauser Mod 1896 (6.5x55mm) — “Swede”

  • Springfield ’03 (.30-06 Springfield)

  • Lee-Enfield No 4 Mk1 (.303 Enfield) — (WWII issue)

I have fired every single one of these rifles, some of them scores of times, and I love all of them beyond words.

It was an agonizing choice, and I chuckled like hell in sympathy as he moaned and grumbled during the process.

But given the choice of the rifles he had on hand, I think I’d have chosen exactly the same one he did, for pretty much the same reasons he did.


Gratuitous Gun Pic: Ithaca Flues (20ga)

Here’s a lovely old beauty at Collectors:

A little background:  Ithaca’s “Flues” shotguns were based on that eponymous patented action, and were so popular that they ended up driving Remington our of the double-barrel shotgun business.  Some believe that the single-barrel variant shotguns were the best-selling ones of all time.

For me, the only speed-bump on this particular gun is the semi-pistol grip (rather than the straight “English” stock that I prefer).  That said, I’d get this one in a heartbeat.  Know why?  Here’s its description, from Collectors:

The barrels have 98% blue with just a bit of surface pitting, on the underside, probably from holding them there. Bores are excellent. The receiver has about 60% faded case colors with some light staining and speckling. Stock is very good with most of the varnish and some light marks. A good looking example you wouldn’t be afraid to shoot.

And the kicker:  its serial number places its manufacture (I think) in the mid-50s — when I was born — and the above description could be an answer to the question:  “If Kim was a gun, what would he be like?”

Old-fashioned, well-used, a little battered, but still trustworthy, and deadly.

Quod erat demonstratum.

Another Take On The New High Power

Some time back I looked at the new replacements for the John Moses Browning/Dieudonné Saive P35 High Power from Springfield and EAA Girsan.

At the time, I was unaware that FN Herstal had made plans for their own replacement for the older P35, which, as Ian McCollum pointed out in his latest video on the topic, makes all sorts of sense for FN, in that it makes manufacturing less costly and more modern, and gives FN a platform for future generations of their 9mm handgun.  (It would help if you watched Ian’s as-always immensely knowledgeable analysis of the new High Power compared to the older P35.)

Here’s my take after watching Ian’s video:  I hate the new gun with a passion.  Here’s why.  (To avoid confusion, I’m going to refer to the new FN gun as the High Power, and the older version as the P35.)

The new High Power is big and blocky, with an oversized grip and all sorts of changes to the P35’s disassembly process.  Myself, I have never had a problem in taking the P35 apart, mostly because the process is a lot less fiddly than the (also-Browning-designed) Colt 1911.  The P35’s appeal to me has always been its sexiness — that slim profile is gorgeous, it prints less in a carry holster, and mine works very well — admittedly, after a fair amount of improvement by a master gunsmith (and a reworked hammer to avoid the infamous P35 hammer bite).

I don’t care that the High Power now has a larger ammo capacity (18 vs. 13/15 rounds), because 13 rounds has always served me just fine;  I’m not some SpecOps or SWAT guy, just a civilian who has always loved the P35 for all the reasons stated above.

And by the way:  the High Power now has a longer (plastic ???!!!) guide rod, which means that the once-closed front end of the slide now has an ugly great hole to accommodate the longer guide rod (and did I mention it’s made of plastic?).

My knock on the old P35 has always been that it should been built to handle the .45 ACP cartridge.  My suspicion is that the bigger High Power will easily do so — and mark my words, I bet that FN will soon release a .45 ACP version of the High Power.

Anyway, Ian takes the new gun for a spin, and it feeds all sorts of ammo flawlessly — although I note that he didn’t shoot any +P loads.  My guess is that the High Power should handle them with ease — not always the case with the P35, or at least my P35.

Now I want you all to know that my dislike for the new FN is not rooted in my well-documented dislike of modern stuff.  I just don’t think the new High Power is a proper Browning High Power, but rather a “re-imagining” (their word)  of JMB/DS’s 1935 design.  Which is fine, but they should have called it something else.  And did I already say that the new gun is fugly?


If I were to replace my P35 with a new-model 9mm pistol, I’d rather get a SIG 210-9:


…or else a new-manufacture CZ 75 B:

…or I’d just get a new Springfield SA-35 clone, and be satisfied:

I don’t just buy guns because they can shoot well.  If I did, I’d just buy a frigging fugly Glock.  No, a gun has to be beautiful, and sexy, and fit my hand, and… and… well, you should know the rest by now.

Your opinions, of course, may vary.  (I should point out that Ian, even though he likes the new HP, is quite sympathetic towards people of my ilk, as you can see in the first video.)

Same Old Lesson

Unwittingly following on from yesterday’s post about handguns, there’s this article which compares the 9mmP Europellet with the .45 ACP Murkin [sigh]  which basically tells us nothing new about the merits or otherwise of shooting one cartridge or the other.

What it did reiterate, however, was not the desired purpose of the piece.  What all those stats and indeed the opinions of the shooter showed us is that if you’re going to be shooting a “hot” (e.g. 9mm+P or .45 ACP+P), you shouldn’t be using a lightweight pistol as its platform, either way.  That shows up in both the slower “transition” time (to switch between targets) and “reacquisition” time (to get the next shot off into the same target), which was almost as crappy when comparing the regular 9mm to the 9mm+P to the .45 ACP to the beefier .45 ACP+P, never mind the comparison between 9mm anything to the .45 anything.

Well, color me unsurprised.  We’ve all known about this for ages — see any of the myriad comments or posts I’ve ever written about the inadvisability of shooting .357 Mag loads in a lightweight revolver — and in my opinion, the author’s selection for his test of a lightweight carry piece, even a 1911 clone, proves the same.

I understand why he did it, if the trend is towards ever-smaller and -lighter carry pieces;  but as I said earlier, that trend is not something that should be followed.

Newton will not be denied, folks.  Greater energy requires greater mass to provide acceptable recoil.

Remember, I have nothing against lightweight carry pieces — I carry a .38 S&W 637 Lady Smith myself — provided that it is, as it is for me, a backup gun and not a primary carry weapon.  And my load is a standard .38 Special and not a +P, because I find the recoil of the hotter load unpleasant in that lightweight piece.

If you are going to carry a Europellet gun [sigh, again]  as your primary, that gun should be sufficient to support the projectile you’re going to be using, and shooting it should not be a painful experience.  When I do occasionally carry a 9mm piece (because I haven’t yet cleaned the 1911, or just for kicks), it’s a full-size Browning P35 High Power and not some little 2oz 1″-barreled thing, because not only can the P35 handle any 9mm load I put into it, it is also (in my age-befuddled hands) as accurate if not more so than the 1911.

If I had the funds, I’d undoubtedly retire the S&W 637 and get a 1911 Combat Commander as both a backup- or even primary carry gun, then give the P35 to Daughter to replace her gawd-awful little Taurus .380 ACP.  (It is her late mother’s gun, after all.)

So there you have it:  carry a gun sufficient for the load / chambering if you want good results and wrists that don’t ache for days, and Baby Vulcan will be much pleased.

Here endeth the lesson.