Category Archives: Guns

Shooting Irons!

Rule Five Second Amendment Friday

This is a good, thoughtful piece from the American Thinker’s Robert Curry:  How to Defend the Second Amendment.  Excerpt:

On one side of the debate, there is the left.  The Founders’ understanding is certainly not to be found there.  The left rejects the thinking of the Founders and is determined to take the Founders’ republic down.  On the other side, the defenders of the Founders do not even use the language of the Founders – and do not seem to realize how far afield they have wandered.  James Madison, who drafted the Second Amendment, would be astonished by this strange post-constitutional, even post-American, debate.  

How would any of the Founders have made the case for the Second Amendment?  Why, in terms of unalienable rights, of course.  The concept of unalienable rights is the key to understanding the American Founding.  The Declaration of Independence declared that we have unalienable rights.  It went on to declare that securing those rights is the very purpose of government – “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”  According to the Declaration, any government that deviates from the noble purpose of securing those rights is illegitimate.

And:

Now, let’s consider the First Amendment before moving on to the Second.  Please notice how it begins: Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press[.]”  The very first words of the very first amendment are “Congress shall make no law.”  No rights are here granted to the citizen.  They cannot be because those rights are unalienable, that is, already possessed by the citizen. 

The First Amendment follows the logic of the Constitution as a whole; it restricts what the federal government – in this case, Congress – can do. 

So does the Second: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  That “shall not be infringed” is strong language and perfectly clear.  To infringe is to trespass, to intrude, to encroach.  “Shall not be infringed” in plain language means “No Trespassing.”  And it is the government that is warned to keep out.

I’ve used practical, utilitarian arguments myself in arguing against various legislatures, city, state and Imperial, wasting their time and my money with gun control laws.  Such laws have been largely ineffective at reducing crime rates or preventing mass-casualty situations; indeed, in the United States the opposite has been shown, as gun ownership and concealed-carry are at all-time highs, while the violent crime rate has dropped to a near-historic low.

But, as Mr. Curry points out, the Second Amendment, which very plainly puts forth the intent of the Founders, should be all the argument we need.  But the argument he makes, and its comparison to the First Amendment, has one flaw:  There are those among the Left who don’t much care for the First Amendment, either.  Take a look at the various “hate speech” proposals, or just take a gander at any left-wing protest and note the “hate speech is not free speech” placards.

We are in a time when basic freedoms and basic rights are very much under attack.  I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Animal’s Daily Second Amendment Scholar News

Forewarned is forearmed.

Here’s a bit on the background of the landmark Heller decision I wasn’t aware of.  Excerpt:

In the hours after February’s school massacre in Parkland, Fla., Joyce Lee Malcolm watched the response with growing annoyance:

“Everybody seemed to leap upon it, looking for a political benefit, rather than allowing for a cooling-off period.” As a historian, Malcolm prefers to take the long view. As a leading scholar of the Second Amendment, however, she is also expected to have snap opinions on gun rights, and in fact she often has engaged in the news-driven debates about violence and firearms. “Something deep inside of me says that people never should be victims,” she says. “And they never should be put in the position of being disarmed by their government.”

And:

At a time when armies were marching around England, ordinary people became anxious about surrendering guns. Then, in 1689, the English Bill of Rights responded by granting Protestants the right to “have Arms for their Defence.” Malcolm wasn’t the first person to notice this, of course, but as an American who had studied political loyalty in England, she approached the topic from a fresh angle. “The English felt a need to put this in writing because the king had been disarming his political opponents,” she says. “This is the origin of our Second Amendment. It’s an individual right.”

There are all kinds of practical arguments for the Second Amendment; the general failure of gun-control laws to have any meaningful impact on crime rates (you could in fact argue just the opposite, holding up some of our major cities as examples) as well as the increase in American gun ownership set against the near-historic low violent crime rates nationwide.

But while all those articles are useful, it’s Heller and the Second Amendment that is our strongest argument.  We are either a free people or we are not; the primary measure of liberty is the degree to which the people are armed.  The armed citizen is the bulwark of liberty.

Dr. Malcolm, hardly a right-wing agitator, understands this.  It would be great if some of our pols would heed her words.

Animal’s Daily Savage News

No, not that kind of savage.

Readers of these virtual pages will know from long acquaintance that I have a fondness for old guns, especially those that are icons of American gunmaking.  The Savage 99 is one such.  I’ve been watching for a good example for the gun rack here, preferably an older version in .300 Savage, .308 or .358 Winchester.

Introduced in 1899, five years after the better-known Browning-designed 1894 Winchester, the Savage had two key advantages over the Browning-designed rifle:

  • The striker-fired 99 has a faster lock time than the hammer-fired Winchesters – lock time, for those not in the know, is the time between the moment the trigger releases the sear and the moment when the firing pin hits the cartridge primer.  A faster lock time means less time for the rifle to wander off target once the trigger pull is completed.
  • The husky Savage action allowed for more powerful cartridges to be used; the original versions of the 1894 Winchester and its counterpart, the 1893 Marlin (which later morphed into the 336) were limited to lower-pressure rounds like the .30WCF, while the Savage would handle rounds like the .308 and .358 Winchester.

The old Savage is a neat old rifle.  This gun was also one of the introductory arms for the .250-3000 Savage cartridge, the first commercial rifle cartridge to break 3000fps velocity (this the name) but if I do procure one of these, I’ll probably go for the more common .300 Savage, which packs nearly the punch of a .308.  The proprietary Savage round seems appropriate for this iconic old Savage rifle.

I’m keeping my eye on the various auction sites.  There are still a few open spaces in the Casa de Animal gun racks.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Moving on: When first I cast my optics on this piece, I thought it had to be a gag; but no.  Someone really has made an M1 Garand in the .458 Winchester.  Holy crap!  Excerpt:

Back in early 2000’s, McCann Industries (known for their M1 Garand Gas Trap Adjuster) manufactured an M1 Garand in .458 Winchester Magnum. Not made anymore after the passing of McCann’s primary gunsmith, the rifles are a fine example of ingenuity and practicality applied to big-game hunting.

At first, I flinched just thinking about it, but the few videos of it shooting shed some light on how this big-game cartridge is tamed. While the base rifle was identical, McCann added an aggressive muzzle brake and a mercury cylinder to the stock to absorb and deflect the recoil.

While I haven’t heard of any catastrophic failures of these guns, I’m a little concerned about the conversion of a gun specifically designed for one and only one cartridge, that being the time-honored old .30 USG, Model of 1906.

Having messed with a few military Mauser conversion – my favorite hunting piece, Thunder Speaker, is one such – I know the issues that can arise when converting the standard Mauser/.30-06 case head to a magnum case head in an action.  It involves removing metal from the bolt face; such conversions also involve removing metal from feed ramps and sometimes even receiver rings.

I’m not up enough on the M1 action to know what this conversion entails.  But boy howdy, would I want to be careful with one of these.  It would no doubt make an impressive thumper, and I stand by my conviction that you can shoot little stuff with a big gun but you can’t shoot big stuff with a little gun.

But holy crap.  Holy crap.

Animal’s Daily Predictable Mess News

I won’t rehash most of the particulars of last weekend’s “please take away our rights” march.  Most of those details have been beaten half to death in other venues.  But there is one aspect of this thing that I was waiting to see, having predicted it from the after-effects of other leftie AstroTurf protests:  The mess.  Excerpt:

The Democrat funded March for our Lives protests were held Saturday in cities across the United States.

The largest gathering was in Washington DC where approximately 250,000 people turned out to protest gun laws.  (Color me skeptical on that number.)

The anti-gun protesters were also little Hoggs.

Image from the linked story.

Anyone surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  I wasn’t.  See the linked Gateway Pundit story for more photos of the mess.

The reason this isn’t surprising is simple:  Left-wing protests predictably leave these sort of messes.  Remember the Keystone pipeline aftermath, where tons – literally tons – of garbage and human waste had to be trucked away when the “environmentalists” finally left.  Remember the messes after the Women’s March the day after President Trump’s inauguration.  Remember the horrible messes left after the “Occupy” sit-ins.

On the other hand, remember the messes left after the various Tea Party protests?  No?  Neither do I.  There weren’t any.  Agree or disagree with the Tea Party folks all you like, but they cleaned up after themselves.  Not so the gun-banners in the Imperial City.

The First Amendment, of course, protects the right of these folks to peaceably assemble and protest.  Of course it does, and no sane person would argue that.  But the First Amendment doesn’t give them license to leave behind a ton or so of garbage to be cleaned up at taxpayer expense.

As for the protesters themselves:  They seem to have a Self-Awareness setting of zero.  And that’s OK – one of Murphy’s Laws of Combat states “when your opponent is doing something stupid, let them.

Rule Five NRA Founding Friday

Stupid, easily disproved statements are not, sadly, exclusive to the political Left.  Lately, with the gun control debate again hotly contested in the news and on the interwebs, I’ve seen an old one recycled, which I will paraphrase as “the NRA’s attackers are racist because they don’t know the NRA was formed to arm freed slaves against the KKK.”  Even though I would find the actions of anyone in those times seeking to do exactly that to be laudable, that’s not why the NRA was founded; indeed, it’s just stupidly easy to show otherwise.  From the “About the NRA” page:

A Brief History of the NRA

Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.

After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. senator, became the fledgling NRA’s first president.

An important facet of the NRA’s creation was the development of a practice ground. In 1872, with financial help from New York State, a site on Long Island, the Creed Farm, was purchased for the purpose of building a rifle range. Named Creedmoor, the range opened a year later,and it was there that the first annual matches were held.

Political opposition to the promotion of marksmanship in New York forced the NRA to find a new home for its range. In 1892, Creedmoor was deeded back to the state and NRA’s matches moved to Sea Girt, New Jersey.

The NRA’s interest in promoting the shooting sports among America’s youth began in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones urged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies. By 1906, NRA’s youth program was in full swing with more than 200 boys competing in matches at Sea Girt that summer. Today, youth programs are still a cornerstone of the NRA, with more than one million youth participating in NRA shooting sports events and affiliated programs with groups such as 4-H, the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion, Royal Rangers, National High School Rodeo Association and others.

We only embolden our adversaries when we use stupid arguments like “the NRA was founded to arm freed slaves.”

Readers of these virtual pages know that I have long attacked the gun-grabbers for their abysmal lack of knowledge of the very items they want to regulate out of existence.  Many on the Left fancy themselves the party of “science” and “reason,” but when it comes to firearms, they are anything but; it’s all about the feelz, and they can’t be bothered to actually learn anything.  Take Senator Feinstein’s bleating on how the 5.56mm NATO round fired by the AR-15 is “more powerful than a typical hunting rifle,” for example, or the famous “shoulder thing that goes up” remark.

So let’s co-opt their science and reason for ourselves.  When it comes to firearms, we are the ones who know the specifics.  Please, please, please don’t ruin it by making stupid claims like the one above that can be dis-proven in a ten-second web search.

Full disclosure:  I’ve been an NRA member since the late Seventies.  Mrs. Animal and I have both been Life Members for over twenty years.  I know damn well why the NRA was founded.  So do they.  So should everyone.

Animal’s Daily Civil War News

Here are two takes on a possible second American civil war:

Why Democrats Would Lose the Second Civil War, Too

And:

Think They’ll Never ‘Come and Take’ Your Guns Without an Armed Revolt? Think Again

Here’s a relevant excerpt from the first:

There are two Civil War II scenarios, and the left is poorly positioned to prevail in either one. The first scenario is that the Democrats take power and violate the Constitution in order to use the apparatus of the federal government to suppress and oppress Normal Americans. In that scenario, red Americans are the insurgents. In the second scenario, which we can even now see the stirrings of in California’s campaign to nullify federal immigration law, it is the blue states that are the insurgents.

The Democrats lose both wars. Big time.

And the second:

So what will you do, dear AR-15 owner, when the ‘Cheka’ comes for your neighbor, and you know the laws are on the books to prosecute? Will a “buyback” and “amnesty” be enough to convince YOU to acquiesce? You’ve got a job, a wife, kids to raise. When they “come and take it,” is your family worth risking? 

No, when they take your guns there will be no civil war. There will be no large-scale revolution, because liberals are experts at pushing that Overton Window enough not to shock the system. Like frogs in water that’s about to boil, people won’t jump until it’s too late.

Of the two scenarios, I am (sadly) inclined to believe the latter.  Why?

Because I honestly don’t believe most American gun owners are quite ready to join an armed insurgency.  I’d like to think I’d be willing.  I know quite a few of my fellow veterans would be, enough to make things pretty hot for the would-be tyrants.  But in the end?

Fifty years ago we were a nation of outdoorsmen, farmers, tradesmen and woodsmen for whom strength was their stock in trade and for whom marksmanship and woodcraft were taken as a given.  Now?  We have a generation grown up on the Internet and game consoles, and while many of them are ardently pro-Second Amendment (yes, really) how many of these mall ninjas would give up their homes and all their possessions, taking the risk of being shot on sight, to go forth and join a cause where the odds are stacked against you?

I sure hope I’m wrong.  I sure hope we never have to find out.

Rule Five Gunsplaining Friday

Apparently now “gunsplaining” is a thing, and raises objection to the idea that people advocating for public policies should actually know what the hell they are talking about.  Excerpt:

Pointing out inaccuracies in your opponent’s arguments is a cynical ploy to stop discussion. Or so I gather from Adam Weinstein, who just published a Washington Post op-ed taking gun control critics to task for “gunsplaining”—Weinstein’s name for when one is “harangued with the pedantry of the more-credible-than-thou firearms owner” after one makes some incidental factual error about guns, such as calling AR-15s “high-powered” or confusing clips with magazines.

“Gunsplaining,” Weinstein declares, “is always done in bad faith. Like mansplaining, it’s less about adding to the discourse than smothering it.” Were it not for those condescending gun snobs picking apart every rhetorical misstep, we would spend less time arguing over little details and more time having reasoned discussions over just which firearms restrictions we should implement next.

What an asshole.  It goes without saying, of course, that “reasoned discussion” is the last thing Weinstein wants.  But it gets better:

More recently, there’s the bump stock ban introduced by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R–Fla.) and Seth Moulton (D– Mass.) after the Las Vegas massacre of October 2017. Their bill was written so hastily, and so vaguely, that it not only retroactively criminalized the possession of bump stocks; it banned “any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle”—which could include anything from binary triggers to heavier recoil springs.

Something similar happened after the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012, when the New York state legislature passed a bill banning non-existent “muzzle breaks” (as opposed to muzzle brakes), semiautomatic pistols that are “semiautomatic version[s] of an automatic rifle, shotgun or firearm” (it was unclear what this was supposed to mean), and loading more than seven rounds in a ten-round capacity magazine. These provisions were later struck down by a U.S. District Court Judge for their incoherence. The difference between “brakes” and “breaks” may be a mere typo on Facebook; in legislation, it’s enough to undo a segment of a law.

With few exceptions, proponents of strict gun control laws know bugger-all about guns.  Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid laws like these mentioned above are are ample evidence of that; as a legislator, if you write a bill which is made law and then overturned because your language was sloppy because you couldn’t be bothered to take ten minutes to research the topic, then you deserve the gales of laughter that should accompany your resignation in disgrace.  Unfortunately, that almost never happens.

I’ve gunsplained to would-be gun banners before and I’ll continue to do so.  Public policy should only be decided on the basis of accurate information.  If someone doesn’t approve of that, then they are welcome to fuck right off.

But here’s the real gem in all this:  Gun control is almost exclusively an issue advocated by the political Left.  The Left loves to claim they are the side of science and reason.  And yet, on this topic alone, they repeatedly argue from pure emotion, and so many of their claims can be shown so easily to be… well, bullshit.

So much for their science and reason, eh?

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks from our Tokyo lodgings to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  Housekeeping note:  While Mrs. Animal and I are here in the Land of the Rising Sun, our various bits of totty (Blue Monday, Hump Day, Rule Five Friday) will reflect that location, although Saturday Gingermageddons will continue as usual.  Enjoy!

Remember last week’s Rule Five Friday?  At the end of that post I asked for your thoughts, and blogger pal Andrew from the Barking Moonbat Early Warning System blog replied with some thoughts on the origins of the Tacticool movement:

3. There is no good looking hardwood left in the USA. Plastic guns don’t need any. The skills of inletting, hand checkering, and stock fitting are nearly lost until you get into the rich guy custom rifle market.

3a. Nobody wants to treat their guns with respect anymore either. So let’s buy the All Weather flat black plastic wondergun, then leave it out in the rain or in the mess in the back of the truck.

4. It costs very little to spray and bake some finish onto a chunk of steel. Highly polished blueing takes time and skill.

5. Americans are pussies recoil sensitive. Anything with more zoot than a .243 is frightening and scary to shoot. Also, they’re weak, and always pushing for lighter and lighter rifles (which recoil harder) to put in the trunk of their ATV to carry out to the shooting range where they only shoot off the bench from the seated position. Just about the best real world hunting cartridge ever made, the .358 Winchester, languishes in obscurity. Too much recoil!!! But few can be bothered to roll their own, and make light loads with soft cast bullets, which also drop deer like magic at realistic woods ranges and have very little recoil.

6. Americans bought Roy Weatherby’s BS hook line and sinker, and continue to worship muzzle velocity as the ultimate firearms panacea. Therefore they “need” 3400fps to go into the woods and shoot a deer at 80 yards or less.

So a big factor may be the loss of the art in pursuit of mammon, and another factor may be that men are an awful lot softer than they used to be.

The comments on the .358 Winchester are particularly apt.  This fine old cartridge was one of the best woods hunting rounds ever devised, being just the .308 Winchester case with the next expanded to take a .358 bullet.  It hit like a sledgehammer and would put down big north woods whitetails with great reliability out to about 200 yards.  Out our way it was popular for dark-timber elk, as well.

When was the last time you saw a rifle for sale chambered for the .358 Winchester?

But comments 3 and 4 catch my eye in particular, as they call attention to a general loss of personal craftsmanship in firearms.  Readers of these virtual pages will know of my affection for old Winchester and Browning shotguns.  Therein lies a good example; take an old Belgian-made Auto-5, run the bolt back and let it go forward.  Those old actions are smooth, like glass.  Now try the same with a new manufacture gun; they feel gritty.

The times they are a’changin’, folks, and not altogether for the better.  It’s true that optics and projectiles have improved a great deal in the 40+ years I’ve been messing about with various shooting irons. but the overall craftsmanship hasn’t improved; it has instead become an expensive luxury.

Maybe that is part of the genesis of the tacticool movement.  There’s some logic to the thought, and that’s for sure and for certain.

Rule Five “Gun Culture” Friday

The whole internet, this site included, have been talking a lot about guns lately.  Readers of these virtual pages know my stance on gun control; I think most of the proposals are useless, would have no effect on crime or the occasional (and yes, RHEEEing from the usual suspects aside, these are occasional) mass shootings.  I also think that regulating firearms based on their appearance or purely irrelevant features (bayonet lugs?) is well to the left of stupid.  I think the Second Amendment means what it says, and while I would prefer a Constitutional carry law in every state, I’ll settle for the trend towards liberalized concealed-carry permitting that has pretty much become the rule nationwide.

Politics is, after all, the art of the possible.  We aren’t going to get Constitutional carry in California, no matter how much the pro-gun folks in that state may want it.

But with that said…

I’ve been involved in hunting and the shooting sports for well over forty years now.  Forty years ago, when I was a teenage kid just beginning my current collecting hobby, the gun trade was different than it is now – and the anti-gun movement was different than it is now.  The firearms industry forty years ago was focused on hunting and plinking guns, handguns for holster carry, and formal target arms.  The anti-gunners focused their ill-informed ire on handguns.

In 1978 the AR-pattern rifles were curiosities, and not many were sold.  Colt had the original SP-1 sporter version of the AR for sale, and if you looked really hard you might find a semi-auto version of the AR-180 for sale somewhere.  The service match shooters mostly used M1s and M1As, with some still fielding Springfields.

In 1978 handgun manufacturers were mostly focused on target shooters, recreational shooters and outdoorsmen/women who wanted holster guns.  There were some guns suitable for concealed carry, but permits in most places were difficult to get, and that portion of the handgun market was focused a lot on retired and off-duty cops.

Now, in 2018, the AR-pattern rifle is ubiquitous, with dozens if not hundreds of manufacturers offering complete rifles and upper receiver groups in a wide range of calibers, and there are endless accessories available.

Now, in 2018, concealed-carry laws are liberalized, and there are handguns designed for easy and convenient carry in hundreds of variations, from the always-popular 1911 pattern to the popular striker-fired Glocks to everything in between.

Now don’t misunderstand me here.  I’m in favor of free markets and free choice, in firearms as in every other product.  I’m an enthusiastic supporter of concealed-carry, I hold a permit and don’t leave the house without my Glock 36 concealed on my person.  I also own an AR-15, as does Mrs. Animal, and we enjoy shooting them – they are great fun.

But I’m also intensely curious about almost everything.  The changes in the handgun market are almost completely due to the changes in laws around concealed-carry permitting.

But what drove the change in the long-gun market?  What drove the “tacticool” craze?  When I first started attending big gun shows in the early 1980s, you saw lots of antiques, hunting guns, some old collectibles, target arms, and so on.  In recent years a 700-table show would often be 698 tables of AR-15s and the like, and maybe two tables with other stuff.  That’s moderating some now; at the last big Tanner show here in Denver the tacticool stuff was reduced to maybe half of the tables.

The RHEEEing from the left on “assault weapons” is just as silly as it ever was – but we have to understand that the explosion of AR-15 pattern guns on the market and the entire tacticool craze has fed their whining.

So what is the genesis of all this?  When and why did the AR-15 replace, say, the Winchester 94 as America’s rifle?  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’d just like to know what drove it.  I suspect two factors are involved:

  1. Increasing urbanization of our population.  When the Old Man was a boy in the 1920s and 1930s, most of the population lived in rural or mostly rural settings, and most of those folks kept guns for pest control and meat hunting.  The Old Man was never really a hobby shooter, although he was known to enjoy a round or two of skeet; he viewed his old shotgun as just one more tool among many around the place.  Nowadays, more gun owners are collectors and hobby shooters, with more emphasis on “cool” and less on pure utility.
  2. The increasingly high-tech nature of our military and police forces.  Lots of shooters are veterans, and handled the AR-pattern rifle in their service.  That can have a big impact; after WW1, in the American shooting scene, there was a big shift towards bolt-action hunting rifles at the expense of the lever-action, in great part because so many doughboys had experience with the Springfield and Pattern 17 Enfield rifles.  That affected the market as a whole, not just with veterans, and I wonder if that’s the case here as well.

So.  Thoughts?