Category Archives: Guns

Shooting Irons!

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Loves me some global warming.  Single digits here in the Denver area last night, expected high of 11 degrees today.  Normal daytime highs for mid-November here are in the 40-50 range.

But that’s weather for you.  Everybody complains about it, but nobody does anything about it, the maneuverings of Al Gore and his crowd aside.

While we’re on the topic of weather, the three possibilities for new projects right now include locations in:

  • Cleveland, OH
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA

Of the three, were I picking just a place to visit, I’d pick Seattle first, the looney Bay Area second and Cleveland third – but I’m paid to work, not to enjoy scenery and a salubrious climate.  Still, having been accustomed to reasonably mild Denver-area winters, and then having spent last winter in northern Indiana and the one before in Minneapolis, some time in a warmer climate would be nice.

Speaking of Washington; one of the dumber ballot initiatives of this election just past was Washington’s I-594, which (like a similarly stupid and unenforceable law passed by our Colorado Legislature) requires background checks for any firearms transfer, anytime, anywhere.  Why is it stupid?  Because it’s laughably unenforceable and will have no effect at all on criminals, who don’t and won’t give an ounce of rat’s pee about conforming to gun laws.

Girls with GunsA backlash is coming in the form of a protest involving deliberate civil disobedience.  At the moment of this writing over 5,600 gun owners have pledged to gather and transfer firearms to one another, freely, with no background checks taking place – knowingly committing what is now a felony in Washington and daring the state to arrest them.  See the Facebook page for I-594 I Will Not Comply for details.

It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.  Civil disobedience has a long, long history in this country, and if there ever was a ripe opportunity for it, it is for stupid laws like I-594.  Maybe we can get a similar thing going here in Colorado.

Well, at least science has solved our ketchup problem.  (Ketchup problem?  Was there a ketchup problem?  Who knew?)

Animal’s Daily Shootin’ Iron News

Yesterday my 16 gauge Model 12 returned from Briley with a new set of choke tubes, which finished out this restoration project.  The 1941 Model 12 has been given a new lease on life, retaining its WW2-era charm while gaining modern features as ‘today’ as an iPad.  Here, have a look:

2014-11-03 12.43.32 (1280x959) 2014-11-03 12.44.03 (1280x793) 2014-11-03 12.44.42 (1280x306)

And the before:

pix123692347The old gun was made in 1941, and the refit, refurbish and refinish has left me with a short, light, handy 16 gauge grouse or quail gun.  The gun originally had an old Poly-Choke mounted, and after that removal there was only about 24″ of barrel left; a bit on the short side, but that matters less than it used to with modern, fast-burning propellants.  Sight radius is shorter but the addition of a center bead to the old, 1940s-style solid rib should help with that.

To the trap range tomorrow to see how she shoots!  Briley still has my 1940 12 gauge Model 12, in the finishing stages, and they tell me I should have it back by the end of the week – watch this space for more.

And while I’m on the topic, I highly recommend Briley; they do quality work, and their customer service folks with whom I had occasion to interface were outstanding.

Stay tuned for tonight’s election live-blogging!

Another Great Morning

2014-10-31 09.38.13 (917x1280)One of the better aspects of self-employment is the between-projects free time, much of which I spend at the range.  This morning’s outing was a nostalgic one.

The rifle pictured is an old Marlin 783 in .22WMR.  Note the old-style Marlin gold trigger, and if you look on the underside of the repeatedly-refinished stock you’ll see the old Marlin bullseye.  I bought this rifle with money I earned detassling corn and haying in the summer of 1975, and proceeded to kill a tall stack of woodchucks and crows with it around the Old Man’s place in the following years.  It was my constant companion on many a long summer day wandering the hills, fields and woods of Allamakee County.

I’ve kept it all this time and, I’m a tad ashamed to admit, it’s been largely occupying a space in the rack with occasional dustings and touch-up cleaning.

Today I decided to take the old gun out and give it a workout.  I burned up 50 rounds of Federal and another 50 rounds of CCI Maxi-Mags of unknown vintage, and the old rifle still shoots great.  I 2014-10-31 09.13.51 (1280x1197)punched some paper and then spent about 60 rounds breaking clay birds at 25 yards, off-hand, as fast as I could work the bolt.

The target shown is three rounds at 25 yards.  One ragged hole, and that’s from a solid sitting position.

The old gun still has it.  It’s always shot as well as I can shoot it, and the mark of a good rifle is that any failure of performance should be not on gun but on shooter.  I’ll be keeping this old Marlin for another 40 years, no doubt, and it will probably be passed on to one of the grandkids – maybe a great-grandkid.

The Best Way To Spend A Morning.

2014-10-30 11.13.33 (960x1280)This is, of course, at our own Aurora Gun Club.

The rifle is a DPMS 20″ upper on a polymer lower, and I keep the gun zeroed with mil-spec XM-193 55-grain ammo.  It’s a pretty fair shooter, even with a trigger that’s only so-so; a trigger replacement is on the agenda.  Still, we managed a couple of 1-1/4″ groups today after putting a zero on the new Simmons 24X scope.  This should be a great coyote-killer, and I suppose if ISIL ever invades Colorado, I’ll be more than ready.

Animal’s Daily News

Sleepy-BearAnother hunting season over – this one cut short, as the inestimable Rojito developed some sort of electrical trouble and remains even now in an auto shop in Granby.  Mrs. Animal cheerfully drove up from Denver to rescue loyal sidekick Rat and yr. obdt., but we returned to the city with nothing to show for our efforts except, as always, great memories of time spent outdoors.  The one outstanding thing in this abbreviated hunt were the numbers of Shiras moose evident in our mountain stomping grounds; we saw no less than four on opening day, a young bull and three cows.  That bodes well for yr. obdt. if I ever manage to snag a coveted Colorado moose tag.

And, on this return to regular blogging, let me once more thank Robert Stacy, Smitty and Wombat-socho for the Rule Five links.  Appreciated as always, guys!

Speaking of that return to regular blogging, here’s an interesting bit of commentary from Forbes on the United States’ two very different “gun cultures” and how at least one county sheriff sees the two:  How Gun-Control Legislation Is Affecting This Election.  Excerpt:

Actually, a majority of sheriffs in New York and Colorado publicly oppose the new gun-control laws. Sheriffs are in a unique position to speak out, as nearly all of America’s 3,080 sheriffs are elected. These sheriffs aren’t standing alone like Gary Cooper in “High Noon.” Polls show that a lot of the men and women who protect us support the Second Amendment. In 2013, a survey of police officers by the National Girls with GunsAssociation of Chiefs of Police found that 86.8 percent of those surveyed think “any law-abiding citizen [should] be able to purchase a firearm for sport and self-defense.” Also, a survey done by of 15,000 law-enforcement professionals found that almost 90 percent of officers believe that casualties related to guns would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of an active-shooter incident. More than 80 percent of PoliceOne’s respondents support arming schoolteachers and administrators who willingly volunteer to train with firearms. Virtually all the survey’s respondents (95 percent) said a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds wouldn’t reduce violent crime.

Cops – at least the cops surveyed here – are people of uncommonly good sense, probably in part because of the inexorable onslaught of human stupidity they deal with on a daily basis.  An old retired state policeman once told me that every criminal he ever dealt with had a combination of three personality traits, greedy, mean and stupid – that proportions varied but all three were universally present.

These, of course, are the people that will completely and totally ignore any gun control legislation, no matter how well-intentioned, that ignorant state or Imperial legislators may pass.

user-girls-guns-550-29There is a gun culture in the United States, a culture of responsible, law-abiding shooters and hunters.  Some keep guns for recreation, some for sport, some for defense, some (like yr. obdt.) for all of the above.  Of all the nations in the world, only the United States, in its Constitution, recognizes the right to keep and bear arms as an inalienable right that we retain by virtue of being free, law-abiding citizens.  And those of us who choose to own guns, for any reasons, don’t like seeing politicians who are utterly ignorant of the differences between citizen and thug try to abrogate those rights.

That’s why three former Colorado legislators find themselves unemployed now.  That’s in part why Governor Hickenlooper finds himself in a tight race against a GOP challenger now.

Animal’s Daily News

Greatest Pistol Ever Stopped Attackers Cold.  That greatest pistol ever, of course, being the Browning 1911.  Excerpt:

Our own 1911.
Our own 1911.

The history of the M1911 begins in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, when U.S. soldiers and Marines found themselves locked in fierce combat with the Moro, a knife-wielding native insurgency that combined religious zeal and potent drug use.

Much of the fighting was close-quarters battle and the hopped-up Moros took round after round from U.S. .38-caliber pistols while they continued to hack away at Americans.

If anything positive came from the bloody 15-year guerrilla war, it was the realization that the U.S. military needed a better pistol.

A look back at an older weapon pointed the way to a solution. In desperation, the Army had issued Colt Model 1873 .45-caliber revolvers—dating back to the Plains Indian Wars—to soldiers fighting the Moros.

The heavier round began to turn the tide. It often took just one well-placed shot from the .45-caliber pistol to kill a Moro.

Yr. obdt. can only agree with the gist of this article; the Browning 1911 is probably the best martial sidearm ever made.  The safe here contains one, not a Colt but a Rock Island Armory 1911, which is basically a Series 70 Colt in WW2-era 1911A1 style.  It’s a no-frills, very basic military-type sidearm which has the advantages of being BROWNINGpowerful, reasonably accurate and very, very reliable.

But what’s not mentioned in this article is that the 1911 was just one of many near-immortal firearms designs to spring from the fertile mind of John Moses Browning.  Walk into any gun shop anywhere in the United States and you will, without a doubt, encounter several firearms in the racks that are Browning designs.

That’s not a bad record for a man who passed away in 1926.  The DaVinci of firearms’ designs will certainly be in constant use a hundred years after his death.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Here’s another tidbit on a topic that’s near to our Mile High hearts:  Colorado’s Second Amendment Wildfire.  Excerpt:

Last year, in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut, the Obama administration and then-New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg worked to put together a “coalition of the willing” to join them in a war on the Second Amendment and hit upon Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as a likely recruit.

Mr. Hickenlooper, a low-key liberal who went from successful saloon developer to the Denver mayor’s office, was elected governor as part of a concerted effort by liberal billionaires to take over a Western state. In 2010, they not only made Mr. Hickenlooper governor, but they elected “progressive” majorities to both houses of the state legislature. Democrats around the country celebrated the victories and vowed to use the same strategy to change the politics of neighboring states.

And much good it did them.

Only recently in these pages yr. obdt. pointed out one major miscalculation the gun-grabbers made in Colorado; underestimating the political punch of law-abiding gun owners is another.  And it’s all very popular to present the NRA as an Girls with Gunsextremist group, some kind of political monolith, but the truth is something different.  (Full disclosure:  Mrs. Animal and I are Life Members of that organization.)  What the NRA is, is a grass-roots organization in the truest sense of the word; an organization in which the members get to vote for by-laws, officers and policies.  In other words, the NRA supports what its members want supported, and in Colorado, NRA members adamantly wanted no part of the Bloomberg/Hickenlooper gun-control stupidity.

That’s political speech, folks; the First Amendment in action.  And that’s why John Hickenlooper may well find himself out of a job come January.

Rule Five Friday

2014_10_03_Rule Five Friday (1)Thanks to The Daley Gator for the pingback on a recent post!

Speaking of gun grabbers, a running theme lately has been advances in technology that make attempts to ban any kind of firearm increasingly nonsensical.  The latest is a small, affordable CNC mill that makes producing functional AR-pattern lower recievers a snap.  Excerpt:

To show exactly how right (California Governor Jerry) Brown was, and to educate any other state legislature that might contemplate following in de Leon’s footsteps, Wilson and his Defense Distributed team 2014_10_03_Rule Five Friday (2)launched a website today called

Through it they are selling a tabletop milling machine which can, quoting from their FAQ, “manufacture any mil-spec 80% AR-15 lower receiver that already has the rear take down well milled out. ….Lowers with non-mil-spec trigger guards that are otherwise mil-spec are also compatible. Defense Distributed recommends using the 7075 Ares Armor Raw 80% Lower AR-15 Billet.”

Wilson launched the project in response to de Leon’s bill, to “the rhetoric developed out of California of detectability as the norm, of the observability of everything to the modern state. This guy de Leon defined as a ‘ghost’ something not intelligible to the state and that’s a perfect way of talking about it. So this device will cut aluminum and it’s good at finishing an 80 percent lower receiver for an AR-15 in under an hour.” (Roughly, the ATF declares any lower receiver that is more than 2014_10_03_Rule Five Friday (3)80 percent complete as an actual gun subject to all regulations on actual guns.)

Now there is a distinct tendency towards small, decentralized production of many consumer items, not just firearms, and that’s precisely because of of technology like this.  But it is only when 3D printing and small-scale machining tech is applied to firearms that it gives big-government control-freaks a bad case of the bed-wettings.

Why?  Because OMG Guns!

2014_10_03_Rule Five Friday (4)So what reactions can we expect from the gun-grabbers?  Look for a push to restrict sales of AR-pattern uppers, for a start, probably to be followed by an attempt to restrict sales of any manner of firearm components.

These attempts are probably inevitable; the nature of government is ever to grow, to expand, to become more and more intrusive, and more destructive of individual liberty.  But what makes today’s world interestingly different is the Information Revolution we are currently undergoing; this revolution includes fascinating advances in small-scale, decentralized manufacturing and pattern-sharing that will make any attempts to control guns – or anything else – increasingly stupid.

That’s a good thing, for anyone who is concerned with liberty.

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Animal’s Daily Rifle Musings

I’ve been watching some firearms auction sites for one of these.

Winchester 100
Winchester 100

This, True Believers, is the Winchester 100, a slick little semi-auto sporting rifle made from 1961 to 1974 and offered in three Winchester calibers; .308 Winchester, .284 Winchester and .243 Winchester.  I’ve been looking for one in .308, and – this is key – one in decent mechanical condition, but the cosmetic condition is unimportant.  Worn bluing and a buggered-up stock are not only unimportant, but might even be desirable.


The intent is to use my Model 100 for an experiment, once I’ve been thinking about trying for 20 some years now.

Win 100A bullpup rifle, for the uninitiated, is a rifle where the action is located well aft of the trigger guard; the famous Steyr AUG is an example.  But most bullpups come in military livery, and I’m interested in building a bullpup hunting rifle, one in a reasonably powered caliber capable of killing deer and (with proper loads) elk.  Further, I want to equip my bullpup sporter with a decent-looking walnut or wood laminate stock.

The design of the 100’s action will make a few design features necessary.  A bullpup design will mean the buttpad will be right behind the action, so in order to get access to the sorta-flush five-round mag, the stock will have to rise quickly from the toe of the stock to meet the line of the original pattern.

But the real trick will be the trigger.  The stock Model 100 has a pretty fair trigger, but the more linkages and twinks you add to a trigger, the harder it is to get a decent pull.  There may be a number of ways to do it; a cable linkage, a solid steel rod, even an electronic trigger.

Hunt Like a Girl.
Hunt Like a Girl.

So, how to bring, specifically, the Model 100 trigger to well forward of the action and still maintain a decent, clean, crisp trigger pull?  I haven’t worked that part out yet.  Once I find the right rifle, I may talk to an actual professional gunsmith (being just an inspired tinkerer myself) to see if that problem can be worked out.

The appeal of a light, short thumper of a hunting rifle is obvious, yes?  I may even have a target demographic in mind, should I choose to build a few more of these.

Rule Five Friday

2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (1)Paul Allen:  Another Anti-Gun Hypocrite.  Excerpt:

Paul Allen is the less well-known founder of Microsoft, and has used his billions to buy, among other things, the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers. He’s an avid yachtsman, and at one point owned or had owned multiple entries in Power and Motor Yacht magazine’s list of the world’s longest yachts.

He is also an avid collector of military vehicles, which is something all SGN readers would heartily approve if that weren’t contrasted with his support of the Washington State Initiative 594, which would impose a universal background check system and 10-day waiting period on all gun purchases. 2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (2)Allen has chipped in $500,000 to support the initiative, supporting his old Microsoft partner, Bill Gates, who came in with a full million.

There is a slight element of apples/oranges here; the tank in question, along with the other various military vehicles Allen owns, is almost certainly demilled.  But there’s a marked tendency among anti-gunners to refuse to practice what they preach, and Allen’s support of restrictive gun control does seem odd in light off his hobby.

But Allen isn’t really the star hypocrite in this story.  The linked article concludes:

2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (3)The late Tom Siatos, a longtime executive at Petersen Publishing Co. and regular columnist in Guns & Ammo, was having a few belts at a Los Angles Safari Club Int’l gathering when he encountered Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler, who enjoyed numerous Africa safaris.

Why, Siatos asked, was the Times reliably anti-gun when its publisher owned and used hundreds of them? “Oh, Tom,” Chandler replied, “we’ll always have our guns.”

Uh huh.

So, how about we peruse a short list of anti-gun hypocrites?

2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (4)Father Micheal Pfleger.

Dianne Feinstein.

NYPD Chief Ray Kelly.

Mark Kelly.

And, last but not least, notorious liar and blowpig Michael Moore.

Let’s be fair; hypocrisy comes in all flavors, and pols and other public figures on all points of the political spectrum are prone to it; for every anti-gun hypocrite I could point out, it would be trivially easy to find, say,  a staunch GOP social-issues conservative who has had an 2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (5)extramarital affair.

But what does the overt hypocrisy of any of these people tell us?

How about a critical lack of integrity?  Of moral consistency?  Of intellectual consistency?

How about the lack of necessity of ever taking them seriously on these chosen issues, ever again?

Why should we listen to (notorious blowpig) Michael Moore whining about the need for laws to disarm law-abiding citizens when he stands behind a phalanx of armed guards?

Answer:  We shouldn’t.

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