Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why in the world was your first purchase a .300 Winchester Magnum?

Once upon a time I had a friend who had dream of Black Bear hunting. He owned 2 rifles, a replica of the Springfield Armory 1873 Trapdoor Carbine in .45-70 and an abused war trophy 7.7 Arisaka. In this dream a friend would back him up with the Arisaka as he took the bear with the .45-70, as the .45-70 Trapdoor is a single shot weapon. I was elected to be the friend but I found the Arisaka to be junk and unsuitable to rapid aiming and firing necessary to back up such a hunt. I studied balistics tables and decided .300 Winchester Magnum shot very flat and had plenty of energy for eastern Black Bear. As would have it, A and P Arms (local gun shop of the day) had a Ruger Model 77 in the desired caliber of .300 Winchester Magnum. So I, being capable of such purchase at the time (several hundred dollars) bought it and took it home. A trip to Best Products added the Bushnel Banner riflescope 4-12 x50mm. Once we got it on the range and tweaked in, it shot postage stamp groups at 100yards. I still have that rifle and treasure it and the fact that it was the 1976 version stamped on the barrel "Made in the 200th year of American Liberty" makes it extra special. Oh, that bear hunt? We never did go. As it turned out I would much rather punch paper than shoot critters so in the long run that was for the best too.

How did I get here?

In a Galaxy far, far away......Nah, it has been done before and undoubtedly better. I have always liked weapons. Almost any kind, guns , knives , swords, bows, and many more exotic things. I have always been interested in how to make them work and how the introduction of new or different weapons could change the course of a battle on the battle field. I grew up in the 60s watching Combat, and Rawhide, and Rescue 8, and Dragnet and Maverick, and Have Gun, Will Travel. Guns factored heavily in my entertainment. We had no guns in our house, in the suburbs. My father owned a shotgun (a .410 bore side by side) that was kept at his parents house in the country. He carried it for snakes when we went stomping around my parents acreage in North Carolina. My brothers had no interest in it and I was the youngest so shooting it just did not happen. When racial strife hit North Carolina my Grandfather decided he needed a gun and purchased a .22 caliber rifle, the Remington 552 Speedmaster. On future visits to the "country" I would get to experience it. We went out behind the farm house and had to be sure of our direction of fire. There were neighbors "over there" and these bullets "can go a mile". I think my first targets were wooden blocks and tin cans shot from perhaps 20 feet. POW! POW! POW! I do not remember wearing hearing protection, since there was none in the family until I purchased some in my teenage years, I doubt we had any to use. I am pretty sure we used .22Longs. The 552 is fairly unique in that it feeds Shorts, Longs and Long Rifles. I imagine that we fired less than 30 rounds, but, I HAD FIRED A GUN!!!!!!!!! Other visits would get more shooting in but it remained rare and special. After my Grandfather died and I had friends at home, who shot, and places we could shoot, the Remington became mine. Many hundreds of rounds of ammo from Kmart went through it. It shot well, we plinked and had fun. Some of the most fun times that I recall from my teens and 20s included that rifle in my hand. My friends led me to handguns. One friend acquired a Ruger Mark 1 and another a Ruger Single Six. More handguns were added to our "shooting club", A Colt .45 ACP (Now I would call it a 1911) and a Dan Wesson .357 Magnum. I made my first rifle purchase a Ruger Model 77 in .300 Winchester Magnum. Other folks joined the "club" bringing Black Powder rifles and pistols and more rifles and shotguns came with them. I would not purchase my first pistol until I was in my 50s but I had owned one that was a gift for more than 20 years. Early in my marriage, I took my wife shooting at the Carolina property. .22, 12Gauge and .38 Special were expended. She shot well but firearms were not of much interest to her. in the intervening years we raised a family. When my youngest was about 12 I took them all to the range. It was the start of my reawakening. I had missed shooting. I had missed those people who shoot. I was back among them to stay.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ammo tests

Tried a few kinds of ammo over the past weekend. In the wife's .40S&W we tried Gold Dot hollowpoints and all functioned well. Then for giggles we tried the CCI shot shells. Good news and bad: they fire fine, they do not cycle. The shells do not attempt to extract. You will have to fully rack the slide to clear them out. They do have no trouble loading. I remember trying them in my .45 and they worked flawlessly, no issues no failures. I did try my new Corbon DPX 185Grn +P solid copper hollow points in the .45 and it did not notice that I had changed ammo. It felt no worse than 230Grn hardball at standard pressure. I mix rounds in the mag when testing so it cycles into and away from the round in question without "wasting" large quantities of expensive and sometimes scarce defensive ammo. My wife reaquainted herself with the .45. She shot well but loves her .40

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An anthem for the Tea Party.

Thank you Krista Branch. The movement has an anthem.