Oldie But Goodie

I saw this ad a couple days back, and it brought back fond memories.

The Silvertip has been around for donkey’s years, and I recall that of late, its effectiveness has been somewhat derided by the usual tests (ballistic gel, whatever).

Here’s what I know.

Back in the early 1980s, I saw an autopsy of a corpse in a police morgue (long story, not important) of a man who had been shot once with a .45 ACP Silvertip.  The entry wound was, well, .45 inches, and the exit wound about double that.  Nothing much to report, there.

What really impressed me was what damage the bullet had caused along the way.  It hadn’t hit any rib bone on the way in, but the guy’s insides still looked like they’d gone 5 seconds in a commercial blender.

After seeing  that, I carried Silvertip ammo in my carry guns exclusively until the early 2000s, when it just got too expensive.  I see that Lucky Gunner, among others, now has the 9mm Silvertips on sale for about a buck a round, which is expensive but not massively so, in today’s Bidenflation World.

In .45 ACP, however, the cost per squeeze (IF you can find any in stock) is between $1.80 and $2 (!!!), which is definitely too spendy for my wallet.

But if you want to put only the best ammo in your carry gun for those unexpected antisocial occasions (and there’s nothing wrong with that), do consider the Silvertip as well as your usual suspects in premium self-defense ammo.  I’ve seen first-hand what it does, after all.

And of course, I get no kickback from Winchester or anyone else from my recommendations.

Range Report: Howa HCR (.308 Win) & Meopta Optika6

Here’s this year’s Boomershoot rifle — headed towards one lucky Reader after the event:  the Howa HCR 1500 (.308 Win), topped with the Meopta Optika6 3-18x50mm glass.

So postponing my Breakfast Gin, I hie’d me off to the range.

Some background:  I popped the scope on last night without boresighting it — just bolted it on, and trusted to luck and the several craftsmen who had built this rig.

Here’s the gun’s very first target (point of aim was the black diamond, at 100 yards):

Explanation:  Shot #1 was actually an accidental discharge because the trigger caught me by surprise (despite having dry-fired it a dozen times the night before).  Anyway, I cursed a little, and then took some care and touched off the next 9 shots (#2-#10).  I should remind everyone that all these came from an unsighted scope and a cold virgin barrel.

So I adjusted the scope, and of course Stupid Kim can’t tell right from left, hence the appearance of #11 and #12 way off to the right.  So I said some Bad Words again, and clicked back to the original setting (#13), then adjusted the reticle to the left this time, and a tad upwards (#14-#16).

The target was starting to look a little cluttered, so I put up a new target, sent it out and popped off the last four boolets in the box — but alas, at this point the barrel was hot — way too hot, because I was getting excited — and the group opened up with the last two shots.

Lesson learned:  in future, only five shots at a time before letting the barrel cool properly.

Still, I was moderately pleased.  I came home and gave myself a reward:

Some additional thoughts:

Holy crap but this Howa is a sweet gun.  (Here’s a pro’s take.)  Everything works as advertised, BUT:  the stupid plastic adjustable stock is a little loose, and I can’t get it tight.  (Wouldn’t have happened with a proper wood stock, of course, but these are the times we live in.)  Still, I’d prefer a regular-style stock over this “chassis” thing… even a plastic one like the Hogue:

There is apparently little difference between this gun and the Weatherby Vanguard as they’re made in the same factory. No prizes for guessing which one I’d like.

Okay, enough about the gun.

The Meopta scope is likewise a gem.  Crisp, clear sights (I forgot the battery, so no illuminated reticle, but it didn’t matter), and the clicks are positive and accurate.

Ammo was the excellent PMC Bronze 147gr FMJ/boat-tail.  I’m not going to try anything else, for obvious reasons.

The entire rig cost a tad under $1,500 — and I have to tell you all, I would have to spend a LOT more to get even marginally better results than I did, because it’s far more accurate than I can shoot it.

In Mae’s words, if war were declared, I’d take this rig off to battle, without hesitation.

Not Another One

Ah, jeez… just when I thought I’d seen everything I wanted to see about old guns (thankee Othias/Mae at C&Rsenal, and Ian McCollum on “Forgotten” Weapons), I came across 9-Hole Reviews

…and good-bye to the rest of my so-called free time.

My favorite so far:  the K98 and the K98 mounted with what Gun Jesus calls “the worst German sniper scope of WWII” (or something like that).  Of course, in the hands of a decent (!) rifleman with good eyes, it’s pretty damn good.  Note how his accuracy improves over iron sights, with a simple 1.5x scope and a German #4 post reticle.

No need to thank me — or curse me, for that matter — it’s all part of the service.

Belated Recognition

I have to say that I have not been remiss in not talking about Othias and Mae at C&Rsenal before, simply because I only recently discovered this outstanding EeeewwChoob channel.

That said, an impossibly-long amount of watching has since followed — I probably spend about two hours a day watching this pair talking about, and shooting, the old rifles that I love so much.  Between Othias’s historical background on the guns’ development and manufacture, and Mae’s well-informed opinions on the guns’ actual operation, it’s just about a perfect show for an old gun geek like myself.  And when they’re talking about a gun which I own, I feel an irresistible urge to get it out of the safe and work the action while I’m watching.  (I won’t even talk about the irresistible urge to go to the range afterwards.)

Between this show and Ian McCollum’s Forgotten Weapons series, there is a veritable encyclopedia of information about guns — so much so that from now on, I’m not going to do any lengthy exposition on the guns I feature in my Gratuitous Gun pics, but simply hand them over to one or the other of these two channels where they are covered.  (If I do a range report, however, I’ll put my two cents into the mix.)

Damn, I love this gun thing.

Three Old Farts Walk Into The Range…

So I took myself off to the range yesterday, accompanied by these two other old guys:

Here’s the final five-round string for the Mauser, at 100 yards, bench rest (elbows, not sandbag), shooting Sellier & Bellot 195-gr FMJ:

I’d noted in earlier targets that the gun was shooting high, hence the low hold.  However:  while I could sort of make out the front sight, the back V sight (tiny, as all Mauser shooters know) was simply an amorphous blur, and I had absolutely no idea whether I had the sight picture properly aligned, or not.  Here’s a rough idea of what I’m talking about:

…only the rear V was even more blurred than that, making it impossible to get a clear and consistent sight picture.

It’s not the rifle;  it’s me;  although I am a little concerned that it’s shooting so high, it might just be that I was shooting with sight pictures #2 or #5.

I need to get my eyes fixed, pronto.

Anyway, on to the (post-’64) Winchester 94.  This time, I set the target at 50 yards, and figuring that it would shoot high, I held the same point of aim.  These were all fired offhand (standing, unsupported), because I doubt very much whether I’ll ever benchrest it.  Ammo was Winchester Super-X 170gr SP:

Unlike for the Mauser, I fired no “warm-up” shots, just loaded some rounds into the tube and let fly:  I know how to shoot a lever rifle.

Just not this one.  The first five shots were all over the place because I discovered that there’s absolutely no take-up in the trigger:  once the hammer is cocked, apply about 3lbs of pressure, and off she goes.  So I took my time with the last two (#6 and #7) and was amply rewarded.

For some reason, the little “buckhorn” rear- and brass bead front sights were a lot easier to line up properly, compared to the Mauser’s V/conical setup.  Also, the Winchester’s sight radius (distance between back- and front sights) is 17″, compared to the Mauser’s 20″, which means that when I’m focusing on the front sight, the lever gun’s rear sight is a lot more in focus than that of the K98.

I should also admit that twenty rounds of 8x57mm took quote a toll on my shoulder, whereas the .30-30 was an absolute breeze by comparison.  Next time I shoot the Mauser, I’ll use either a shoulder pad or a removable rubber pad to help my ancient shoulder handle the recoil.

What fun.

Note:  Ammo for both rifles came from J&G Sales.  I paid a small premium for the S&B for two reasons:  I hate shooting corrosive ammo, and I trust the Czech ammo to be consistent (as it has been for me in the past).  Likewise, I bought the Winchester ammo because the thought of shooting Winchester ammo through a Winchester rifle gave me a warm & fuzzy feeling.

Questionable Choice?

I have to say that while I’m intrigued by this new cartridge development, I’m more than a little skeptical, in principle:

Featuring a deep-penetrating bullet that Federal says “makes the popular rimfire cartridge a viable self-defense option,” the company’s new .22 LR Punch Personal Defense has hit the market.
Part of a 2021 expansion to Federal’s ammo line, the rimfire Punch uses a 29-grain nickel-plated lead-core bullet, pushed at maximum velocities (1,070 fps through 2-inch barrel handguns) for the deepest penetration when coupled with short-barrel handguns.

The concept comes from the fact that people have carried .22s for personal protection for generations. After all, the cartridge dates to the 19th Century, so why not actually provide said mouse gun users with a valid option to stoke their carry piece with?
“We’ve talked about making a 22 LR defensive load for some time. We finally decided that people are already carrying 22 LRs, so we might as well build a .22 bullet optimized for protection,” said Compton. “After much research, we decided that for a .22 LR defense bullet, penetration was more important than expansion.”

Watch too the embedded video from .22Plinkster.  (When he says “Stanger”, he is of course referring to the venerable CCI Stinger.)

Ordinarily, I would dismiss the entire concept out of hand, mostly because if you shoot someone with a little-bitty 29gr (!) bullet, he’s going to get really angry at you once he realizes he’s been shot.

However, I want you to note how quickly Dave was able to get the shots off, and how accurate he was because his target reacquisition time was minimal.  And here’s the thing.  I once taught a lady how to shoot (hi, Dee!) and after a single one-hour training session, she was able to empty a 10-round magazine into the head of a silhouette target in about 2.5 seconds, at seven yards.  While a single round of .22 LR may not stop a goblin, I would suggest that five or six (let alone ten) rounds of .22 buzzing around in his skull cavity like angry bees may cause a change in his plans for a weekend picnic.

And going back the Plinkster’s video, note the penetration and wound cavity made by the Federal Punch bullet fired from a longer-barreled handgun, which is what I’d choose over a 2″-barreled mouse gun.


I’m not going to drop the 1911 and start carrying a Ruger .22 pistol anytime soon, of course.  But if it ever comes to the point where I’m too old and feeble to work the 1911’s slide and handle the .45’s recoil, you can bet that there’s be some kind of .22 handgun strapped to my wheelchair.

Because any gun is better than no gun.

Food for thought, yes?

Update:  Peter Grant agrees with me.