Finally, American

I’ve owned a couple of lever-action rifles before, but they weren’t in the proper caliber.  Allow me, then, to present you with something I think should be given to every immigrant on becoming a citizen, the Winchester Model 1894 in .30 WCF (.30-30):

I took possession of it a couple days back, was intending to shoot it at TDSA, but never got to it because

I will be taking care of it next week, you betcha.

As for the .30-30 cartridge:

And yes, I now have rifles which shoot each of the above venerable cartridges:

Makes me wanna wave the Flag, or something.

Proud to be American, properly armed at last.

Fun In The Sun

Yesterday I hosted a private birthday party for Doc Russia at the Texas Defensive Shooting Academy, which was supposed to consist of half a dozen of his close friends, but because of pathetic excuses (“I’m in Iowa on a business trip”, etc.) ended up with only three:  Doc, Combat Controller, and myself.

Not that we cared.  Unfortunately, we got off to a late start because Birthday Boy also had a pathetic excuse, something about having to treat patients until midday, which meant that we ended up shooting on a typical July afternoon in Texas wherein lizards fry on the sidewalks and cars melt in the streets.

Not that we cared about that, either.  Doc and CC went off to do some tactical house-clearing training followed by a “drive-by” shoot, while I — not wanting to risk sunstroke, dehydration and heat exhaustion, went off to a nice covered shooting bay to test out various sidearms against metal plates and spinners.

Just so we’re clear on the concept, here’s a partial layout of the TDSA range, with the exercise areas, from top to bottom:  drive-by, houseclearing, metal plates:

There are rifle ranges, pistol ranges and .22-only ranges, as well as the aforementioned combat areas.  There are no chairs (other than benches at the rifle ranges), so if you bring guests, bring field chairs as well.

We took sufficient weaponry with us:  as usual, Doc and CC could have armed a small Third World army, while I contented myself with a few, okay eight handguns.  (Range report to follow.)

I’d wanted to do a little rifle action as well, but quite frankly we were all whacked after three hours in the afternoon heat, so we quit.  (I know, I know, big fat wussies etc.)

My advice for anyone wanting to go to TDSA (and you damn well should) is this:  get there at 8am (when the range opens) and quit by midday.  That’s in summer.  In spring or fall, the weather is generally pleasant, BUT:  if it rains, or has recently rained, bring wellies or similar wet-weather footwear, because what appears to be gravel in the picture turns very quickly into deep, cloying mud — especially inside the shooting bays themselves.  Fee for unsupervised shooting is $30 per person per hour, unless the place is deserted, in which case you can shoot till you run out of ammo.  (I recommend taking at least twice what you would normally take to the range, especially .22 ammo.)

And of course, no description of TDSA would be complete without mentioning its owner, Len Baxley (watch both videos), who is one of the Good Guys in every sense of the word:  a seasoned combat trainer and no-nonsense man.  (Quote of the day:  “If you’re going to shoot anyone, shoot someone who came with you.”   We howled.)

His phone # and email addy, to make reservations (recommended):

(972) 979-2432 and

Happy birthday, Doc.

Errrr Maybe Not

Last week I got a missive from Mr. Free Market which was headed:

My Last .22 

“Just bought this Anshutz: it’s sorta the last 22 that I will probably buy or at least own.”

And a pretty thing it is too (yes, he’s a left-hooker):

Mr. FM being the deadly shot that he is, all I can hear is the sound of disintegrating rabbits in the fields of his estate.

However, that’s not the purpose of this post.  About three days later, I got this plaintive wail from him:

I know that none of my regular Readers have ever had such a thing happen to them, of course.  <eyecross>

However, as I pointed out to him in commiserating with his plight, I once went to pick up a Swedish Mauser at one gun store, then stopped at another store to get some 6.5x55mm ammo (back in the days when gun stores actually carried ammo)…

…and walked out of Store #2 with not only 200 rounds of 6.5mm Swede, but a minty Inland M1 Carbine as well.

Like me, Mr. FM is pruning back (“consolidating, dear heart”) his gun collection (the above impulse buy notwithstanding), and I think about half a dozen or so shotguns will be going onto the block in the next couple of months.

Which brings me, sorta, to the point of this post.

Regular Readers will know that I’m trying to settle on a couple-three “last rifles” myself, and a 20ga side-by-side to “round off” the total number of boomsticks.  As I despair of ever finding that clean 1970s Colt Python for $600, I think I’m pretty well set for handguns.

Doc and Combat Controller talked me out of getting replacements for my two Marlin varmint .22 rifles (880SQ and 882 HB) with the simple comment that if they’re already “one-hole” rifles with the adequate-but-actually-kinda-lousy triggers, dropping a new trigger group into each is all that’s needed.  And cheaper.

Makes sense, which means I’m not going to be in the market for those CZ 457 rifles anytime soon, or ever.  Although…


As Doc and CC pointed out, that money saved would be better spent on paying off a credit card (don’t be stupid, these are my friends we’re talking about) buying that CZ Bobwhite:

…which makes all sorts of sense to me.

Last question:  are any of my north Texas Readers familiar with putting an aftermarket trigger group into a Marlin?

My One Gun

After posing the question yesterday, here’s the gun I would want if I had no restrictions on ammo, availability or money:

FG-42 (FallschirmGewehr Model  42)

The top is the first model — easily distinguishable by its sharply-raked pistol grip, stowable cruciform bayonet and milled receiver — and the lower is the second iteration which was sturdier and lighter, with a stamped receiver and no bayonet.

I would take either in a heartbeat.

Here’s Ian (a.k.a. Gun Jesus) first with the background story, and then on his day at the range.

Want.  Want.

Update:  As do Readers Frognot and Preussenotto, from yesterday’s Comments, thus showing themselves to be connoisseurs of fine weaponry.

Ideal Gun

It all started, as so many of these things do, with a letter from Mr. Free Market which contained this pic:

Now I’ve owned the top two (CETME 7.62x51mm NATO and H&K P7 9mmP).  I didn’t like the P7 at all — that squeeze grip chamber loading thingie made my hand shake from the effort of actuating it — and as Dean Wormer famously said:

So I sold it after only a couple of months.

The CETME was a different story altogether.  I loved shooting it — preferred it to the G36 and FN-FAL, for that matter — but it was the lightweight C model which, although it could handle the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, really preferred the  .308 Win with lighter bullets.  (From memory, I only ever used the 120gr.)  So it was spendy to shoot, and in any event I’d just picked up my first AK, so I sold the CETME too a short while afterwards.

As for the bottom two guns… well, that’s a different story.  Amazingly, considering my handgun preferences, I’ve never owned a Walther P-38 (although I’ve owned a couple of Luger P-08s), but as it shoots the 9mm Europellet anyway, it’s not a serious object of desire other than as a WWII-era gun.  (That’s not to say I’d turn one down as a gift, of course;  but I’m pretty much out of collecting WWI and WWII-era guns nowadays.)

What about the rifle?


Let’s just say I’d get a StG-44 in a very rapid heartbeat, IF I could afford both it and the ammo it shoots (7.92x33mm or 8mm MP).   And that one in Mr. FM’s picture, with the Haenel 4x scope?  Oh be still, my twitchy trigger finger.

And for that matter, that scoped CETME also makes parts of my body tingle.

Which got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing when it comes to guns), and I came up with this question:

If money were no object, the gun was available, and ammo was both cheap and plentiful, O My Readers:  what rifle would you choose to get?

I asked the question of both Doc Russia and Combat Controller, and I’ll tell you their (and my) choices tomorrow.

Here are the rules:  you get to pick one gun, and one gun only;  no “top 3” or “1a” or any of that jive, and no crew-served weapons like the Browning Quad 4.  One rifle, of any era, and yes, full-auto is permitted.

See y’all tomorrow.


I’ve grumped about the cost of .22 WMR (Mag) before, because I just cannot fathom how the Mag can be that much more expensive to make than .22 LR — because it isn’t.  I’m likewise unconvinced by the “small market” argument (i.e. that it’s more expensive to make because there are no economies of scale), because that sounds to me like a self-fulfilling prophecy — the high cost of the ammo makes buyers leery of getting into the caliber, ergo  a small market.

Asking the question of my Readers:  ignoring the people who like me have guns chambered in .22 Mag already, how many of you who own .22 LR guns would like to get into .22 Mag, but are pushed away by the high prices?

It’s not just the ammo.  The guns themselves are badly priced. e.g.

I cannot accept that a .22 Mag rifle requires that much higher a production cost than its LR cousin;  we’re not talking about the difference between a .22 LR and a .308 Win.  Basically, what generally happens is that the manufacturer shuts down its production line for, say, a couple-three weeks, drops the necessary tooling and machinery to make the few parts that differentiate the one from the other, then produces several thousand of the Mag rifles, and then reverses the process and goes back to the .22 LR version.  (At least, that’s how a guy from CZ once explained it to me about their 612 and 612M semi-auto rifles, for which at the time there was a $20 difference in their respective MSRPs.  “The $20 pays for the inconvenience of rejigging the machinery.”)

Not $150, as above.

I think we’re being ripped off.  But I welcome comment from any gun manufacturers out there who can give a credible reason for the price difference.

Ditto for Remington, Winchester or anyone else who care to do the same for rimfire ammo.