More And More

From the NSSF:

In 2021, according to the findings, more than half of the 21,037,810 total firearms made available for the U.S. market were either pistols or revolvers. In all, 12,799,067 were handguns, 4,832,198 were rifles and 3,406,545 were shotguns. The figure includes firearms domestically produced plus those imported (minus exported firearms).

We should be doing better, of course, but that’s a topic for another time.

Some more good shooty news:

28,144,000 modern sporting rifles (MSRs) have been put into circulation since 1990. [that they know about — K.]

Loyal Readers will recall that I don’t have too much time for that “modern sporting rifle” euphemism but hey, as long as more of ’em are getting into citizens’ hands, you can call them butternut squashes as far as I’m concerned.

Hubba hubba.  Of course, neither of the above are mine, no sir not me.  I’m old-fashioned, as any fule kno.

Just like our Founding Fathers used…

Old-Time Gunslinger

Via Reader JQ, a 10-minute look at one of the greatest pistol shots ever, Ed McGivern.

He probably owned dozens of revolvers in his life, but here are a few of my favorites:

Colt Single Action Army (.45 Colt)

…and another of the same:

‘Nuff said.

Smith & Wesson Model 3 (.38-40)

Apparently, McGivern used to demonstrate his quick-reloads with this top-breaker.

Colt New Service (not sure of the chambering, but I think it’s either .45 Colt or .44 Special)
This one was originally listed at about $20,000 at auction a while back, but it eventually sold for $80,000.

Great guns, peerless shooter.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Holland & Holland Double (.400 Express)

I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but there it is:  scarcely had I finished writing the last GGP when I continued down the rabbit hole that is Collector’s Antique Rifle department, and happened upon this H&H double rifle:

Ah, for heaven’s sake.

As for the chambering:  the .450/400 BPE (in the Gospel According To Frank Barnes) is akin, ballistically speaking, to the typical .450 black powder cartridges of the late 19th century and will put anything down at the shorter ranges.  Calling it the “400 Express”, however, introduces an element of confusion, because no such cartridge exists.  The .400 Nitro Express is the smokeless version of the above, and no doubt the rifle would be capable of handling it (always supposing it fits in the chamber).

Whatever:  this is a collector’s rifle, and as it’s been restored by H&H themselves and (assuming the cartridge confusion can be resolved) is a lovely gun worthy of any collection.

You can expect a lot more of this kind of post in the near future… somebody stop me.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: James Crockhart & Son Double (.450 BPE)

As any fule kno, I am not an aficionado of the black-powder firearms genre, but that doesn’t mean I am averse to pics of same.  This particular beauty was made in the late 19th century — which is very definitely a period of history in which I am interested if not actually addicted to — and I love it.

As the action suggests, this is not a muzzle loader — by then, we’d definitely moved on to brass cartridges [snort of derision from Reader Mr. Lion et al.]  even though smokeless powder had not yet become a thing.  Had I access to a friendly reloader who could make me the ammo necessary, I would jump at it just for the historical sense alone.

Here’s a thought, however, if you didn’t want to shoot this fine old gun.

If you were looking for a piece of wall art — say, for over your house’s mantle piece — and you had a budget of around $12,000 for such an indulgence, would you consider this rifle over a contemporary painting?  Here are a couple of examples of what I’m talking about, by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot:

I have to tell you, I would be torn.

And I apologize if this discussion makes you want to run to the nearest gun store (or art gallery) and buy something.  (See the above two posts for the implication.)

The Idiot Twist

How many times have you seen someone closing a revolver’s cylinder by giving a quick twist of the wrist, making the cylinder snap closed into the frame?  It’s mostly done in movies, of course, as so many shooty bad habits occur, but I’ve actually seen it done at various ranges, shaking my head at the idiocy.

Here’s a quick video which explains why this action is stupid, and how it can damage the gun (often terminally, when repeated often).

A couple weeks ago I went shooting with a Reader at my local killing-practice facility, and one of the guns I brought along was my bedside gun, the S&W Model 65:

Now the thing about a bedside gun, as any fule kno, is that it absolutely, positively, has to work all the time with 100% reliability.  You pull the trigger, it has to go BANG and when you pop the cylinder release to reload (assuming such an action is necessary), it has to open so you can dump the empties… right?

Well, on this particular occasion the first part went as advertised, all six rounds going BANG.  The second part?  Nu-uh:  the cylinder was stuck shut, and required a firm smack to get it to move.  Not good.  But I went ahead and reloaded it anyway, fired off the rounds, and popped the cylinder open — this time, without any problem.

I would have shrugged the earlier malfunction off, except for that irritating “100%” reliability thing.  So I dumped the empties, closed the gun up unloaded — and the cylinder stuck closed again when I tried to open it.


Back at home, I checked the 65 out.  Pawl bent?  No.  Ejector hangup on the frame?  No.  Powder buildup at the forcing cone?  Dirty, to be sure, but after I polished it clean, the cylinder still wouldn’t open every time.

If there’s one thing I hate more than a malfunction, it’s an occasional malfunction.

So I took it over to Larry at SPS Guns, and after a few minutes, his on-premises gunsmith — who looks about twelve years old, but they all do nowadays — diagnosed the problem:  the front of the ejector rod was sticking:

…most likely because it was no longer straight — the tip had been peened in one spot and the ejector rod ever-so-slightly bent out of true, no doubt by someone performing The Idiot Twist to close it up.  This was why the malf only repeated occasionally:  the peening and bend would only cause a malfunction depending on the position of the rod.

Anyway, the problem was fixed by the gunsmith ($$$) because I sure as hell wasn’t going to try, and after about a hundred or so repetitions the problem did not reappear.  He also cleaned up the gun, getting rid of all the crud I hadn’t been able to reach, yeah unto the innards of the gun itself.  (I don’t open up revolvers if I can help it;  I don’t do it often enough to trust myself to do the job properly.)

Anyway, all is now well:  a lengthy range session followed (just to dirty the piece up again, whatever), and the Model 65 could resume its rightful place on the bedside table.

By the way:  I bought the Model 65 secondhand, of course, and not knowing how well it was treated by its previous owner(s), I don’t load it up with .357 Magnums, but with .38 Spec+P:

I do know, now, that at least someone had been using The Idiot Twist in the gun’s previous life.

Do thou not the same with thine.

Good Example

It’s not often I’m jealous of Scandis — I mean, frigid weather most of the time, socialist governments, high taxes:  let’s be honest, this is not a place to be sought out by expatriate Americans.  (Okay, the women are pretty hot, but you can only have so much sex before… uhhhh where was I again?)

No, that’s not the Swedish Bikini Team — in fact, they aren’t even Swedes, but Finns (Miss Finland finalists 2011).

But there is one reason to be jealous of the Finns, apart from the above:

Finland has announced it will open 300 shooting ranges in a bid to encourage citizens to take a greater interest in national defence.

Under the Finnish constitution, every male aged between 18 and 60 must complete national army service but the government hopes that civilians will keep their weapons skills after the period of conscription with the new range proposals.

Jukka Kopra, the Finnish politician, said: “The present government aims to increase the number of shooting ranges in Finland from roughly 600-700 up to 1,000.

“This is because of our defence model, which benefits from people having and developing their shooting skills on their own.”

Note:  not State-controlled/supervised shooting, but individual practice.

And a thousand ranges, in a country that has about 50 square miles of habitable area?  [hyperbole alert]  That works out to about one range every 100 yards, or a Sako behind every flake of snow.

Plus, they’re practicing to shoot Russians, which makes me really jealous.

Or, as the meme goes:

Tiukat ryhmät, toverit!

Range time, Kim?  I think so, in solidarity with our Finnish friends.