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Thursday, 17 August 2017

The "All-Round" or 'Beginners' Handgun:

You can't buy a new Ruger 'Standard' .22" rim fire semi-auto for US$37.50 any more (as you might have back in 1962!) - but the latest iteration - the Mark IV - is still an excellent choice for both new and old shooters.
The Ruger Mk. IV will set you back anything between $500 - $700 nowadays in US depending on the model .. I'd guess comfortably double that in NZ dollars here. But it's a gun than you can learn how to shoot with, maybe use for hunting & pest control where permitted, self-defense, and for competitive target shooting & fun plinking.

A good solidly made 'Two-Two' of this type is a piece that might be passed-on down through generations of shooters. You won't wear-out the barrel of this type of shooter.. A great all-round gun with affordable ammunition. - We shoot "Economy IPSC" at our club using 'two-two' autos.

Going up towards the centre-fire pistols .. this is where personal choice and interests start to direct where you are going. If you get serious about "bulls-eye" ISSF target shooting - (International Shooting Sport Federation) there are specialist pistols that come with special grips - and everything else - including special prices.

 but if you are "into" practical pistol or self-defense you'll likely be needing a high capacity auto-pistol ..
- perhaps a standard Law Enforcement arm such as the Glock 17 or a "race gun" for the enthusiast gamer ..

- There's plenty of choice around - and specialists happy to take your money 😊😊 - but I'd like to suggest that the one gun that has a claim as the most versatile - second only to a 'Two-Two Auto" is a full sized revolver - perhaps in stainless steel:
A Ruger GP 100 357 Magnum.

There's not much that you can't do with a versatile centre-fire revolver. My choice is for stainless steel over blued - as scuff-marks & scratches easily polish-out on stainless. Some folks love S&W or Colts .. some, like me, get tumescent over Rugers 😍 - but any decent revolver is a pleasing work-of-art that is both good to admire, - handle, and shoot.

Shot loads, duplex loads, wad-cutters, lead-nosed hollow-points, can all safely work in the "clockwork" action revolver .. with a double-action or single-action choice.

  A revolver in your chosen length barrel 3",4", 5" or 6 inches - and probably in the most versatile caliber of .357 Magnum (or even 38 Special) will let you shoot light fun, target loads - or when the mood is on you .. blast-off big megaton deafening explosions to rattle your teeth. There is no likely-hood of ammo shortages in .357" - ever - as many millions of these guns have been sold since 1934 - the first magnum.

A close relation to the 357 Revolver is the-new-kid-on-the-block and I reckon that The 327 Federal Magnum is maybe even more versatile than the 357 .. as it will shoot 327 Magnum, 32 H&R Magnum, 32" S&W Long, 32" S&W, and even the .32 ACP. - But the 327 has only been around since 2007 / 2008.
Ruger have made 7 shot GP 100's, 6 Shot Sp 101's,

 EIGHT SHOT Single Actions - and the compact 6 shot LCR..

- All made possible by the 327 Federal Magnum. This cartridge has been around ten years and it's still regarded by many as 'new'.

Marty K.

P.S. Here's a link to video of a guy getting 20 inches penetration from an old Nagant revolver in 7.62 x 38R (a 'thirty-two').

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

32 Or 44 Magnum? Frontal Area & Stopping Power - Pt.2:

Some more rambling thoughts on the possible effects of projectile impact areas:

Typical Handgun Calibers, Diameters and Surface Areas:

32 Caliber, 327 Fed. Magnum  (.312")      = 0.076 sq. inch.

9mm, 38 Special & 357 Magnum (.356")  = 0.1 sq. inch.

44 Magnum   (.429")                                = 0.14 sq. inch.

45 ACP          (.45")                                  = 0.16 sq. inch.

.50 S&W Magnum  (.500")                        = 0.20 sq. inch.

Always remembering that the bullet's area is but one factor in 'Stopping Power' - I'm noting that the two pills from a duplex loaded "Thirty-Two" will more than equal the impact area of a 44 Magnum projectile.

- On the other hand .. the massive .50 S&W Magnum (that needs a very large revolver) standard loading -
                               (I thought X-Frames Are Five Chamber Revolvers)

 - has twice the impact area of a 9 mm or 38 Special.

... while you might reckon that the small 9 mm can produce very similar power / energy levels to the larger cased 38 Special - due to it's higher pressure loading.

Ballistically Similar.

So, maybe, - if two projectiles of a duplex loaded 'thirty-two' round both achieved the FBI suggested minimum 12 inch penetration in 10% Ballistic Gelatin - a trouble-maker like me might think that this compact 'thirty-two' was possibly being as effective at "Stopping Power" as a standard 44 Magnum round - except without the bulky weight, muzzle blast, roar, and felt recoil of the big magnum.

Am I being mischieveous or controversial here?  😈

- No way am I saying that the 'thirty-two' is as *POWERFUL* as the .44" Magnum. It certainly won't knock down a heavy 100 yard steel RAM silhouette target like the magnum..

- But will it do the job on a 'CQC' soft target ?

Again - please pause to consider, that rounds from an 'evil' 7.62 x 39 AK round (or a British .303" SMLE) are exactly the same diameter (.312") and frontal area - as that from the wee "thirty-two" pistol rounds - and there would be no question regarding their 'Stopping Power' - the differences here are Mass and Velocity - relating to kinetic energy and retained velocity.
Marty K.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Frontal Area of Duplex or Multi-Bullet Handgun Loads:

I'm extending my library of old shooting books .. mostly Gun Digests with a scattering of other "digest" type collections. Old friend 'J' is helping by searching online auction sites regularly and bidding on any books that either of us is missing .. whoever eventually nails-down my lid will have a fair tonnage of musty smelling books to move-on from my living room.

- Naturally I read all these ancient writings before they stack onto the book shelves and gain a few ideas (before then forgetting them):

STOPPING POWER: It seems that this question has exercised minds 'for ever'. One early standard was the figure of fifty-eight foot-pounds, which was reckoned by early military ballisticians to be capable of delivering a disabling wound from a .49 inch standard shrapnel ball weighing some 167 grains delivered at 400 feet per second.

Multiple "Experts" have over the years applied themselves to pseudo-scientific formulas that might be applied as a means to confirm their own beliefs .. by combining weight, velocity, and bullet frontal area, sometimes mixed complete with various fallacious 'factors' to give a formula.

We all generally feel that bigger, heavier, & faster contribute to increased chances of an effective hit .. but the exact relationships are in question - Are they linear, exponential, logarithmic, square or - are they even proportional at all - as 'street records' seem to suggest that smaller calibers are recorded as often performing well beyond expectation - and their bigger relations.

Further - there are so many other unrecorded external factors & variations that affect the result of a shot as to make even the actual recorded outcomes confused and at best only indicative.

The next consideration is the obvious limit on the size and power of any practical and portable firearm. It is not possible to just keep-on physically increasing the mass, the caliber, or the velocity "ad infinitum" - but recently advances in technology are managing to increase the FRONTAL AREA by bullet expansion or "mushrooming" on impact.

- Yes I know - if the pill is bigger to start with you don't need as much expansion ! A .40-caliber bullet is 11 percent larger in diameter than a 9 mm projectile and a .45 caliber bullet is 11 percent larger than a .40-caliber one.

- There is a second way to increase the frontal area of impact .. Multiple projectiles.

I have worked-up duplex loads in three different handgun cartridges and they have worked well in my sporting applications. 10 mm Auto, 357 Magnum, and 327 Federal Magnum. These Duplex loads immediately DOUBLE the frontal area of each shot fired - and at practical handgun ranges the individual projectiles separate to a controlled degree.

Links to my earlier stories:

- What reminded me of this topic was a story 'DOUBLE BULLETS' by V R Gaertner that I've just read in the 1978 Gun Digest. This author was making his double bullet loads by cutting bought bullets in half with a hacksaw or a band-saw before stacking the pairs for inserting into the case! He reports good results bisecting jacketed .357 and .44 bullets and experiencing reduced felt recoil.

In his eight page article Gaertner used a simple wooden jig to clamp four jacketed hollow point bullets securely before feeding them sideways through the band saw.. and he thought that he might be effectively increasing the stopping power for defensive application.

I wonder how much of his reduced felt recoil was down to the reduced weight of the duplex load over the original bullet's mass .. as the saw blade's cut would remove the weight of the 'swarf' shavings.

You can buy a Digital PDF version of this Digest for $9.99 from their site linked below:

Here are some representative frontal areas in square inches:

32 Caliber  (.312")                                     = 0.076 sq. inch.

9mm, 38 Special & 357 Magnum (.356") = 0.1 sq. inch.

44 Magnum   (.429")                                = 0.14 sq. inch.

45 ACP          (.45")                                  = 0.16 sq. inch.

.50 S&W Magnum  (.500")                      = 0.20 sq. inch.

Marty K.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Nagant Alternative Revolver For 327 Federal Magnum?:

- I've been at it again - finding things to waste money oninvest in..


CLUE: - Well it's a revolver that's been threaded (half inch x 20) for a silencer .. No front sight either.

Here's another photographic clue ..

- So it's roughly the same overall size as my Ruger SP 101 six shot 327 Federal Magnum and the barrel bore is exactly the same size (for bullets measuring .312") diameter. - But it's cylinder does have seven chambers.

Of course you are right .. it is an M1895 NAGANT revolver - somewhat modified .. and I plan to likely further modify it, as it is not in original condition anyway.. "I used to be indecisive - but now I'm not sure".

My idea (- maybe?) is to parallel bore just a touch (say approximately .343"? diameter) each chamber to a depth of say 1.2 inches and then electroplate (Nickel or chrome) the chambers down (or back 'up' - depending on which way you think) - to the correct clearance fit for the thirty-two caliber brass.. IF I go ahead with this chamber caliber conversion I do believe that there needs to be a 'forcing-cone' cut at the start of the barrel bore too.

The original chambering for the 7.62x38mmR is a little sloppy for the wide range of  'lesser' straight walled 'thirty-two' cartridges - but many shooters have fired these rounds in original Nagants without any recorded disasters.

This altered Nagant was made in Tula in 1934 having the date and an arrow within a star mark.

- So that's my plan .. it seems that 'hard chrome' plating can be applied up to .005" thick and that nickel plate may be even easier to have done?

I don't plan to fire any full power 327 magnum ammo through it. You can frequently read warnings to not use powerful ammo in Nagants due to their age - but I don't see any similar and equally valid warnings about older 1911 pistols in .45" ACP.

Ahhh - here's a thing. - Hands up all of you who have read that the 327 Federal Magnum was so named as to sound much like the 357 Magnum ?

Well I read that anyway .. and it's taken me a year or two for a light to flicker in my Anglo-Irish skull - Why didn't they call it the 337 Magnum - as 337 is actually the measurement of the 32" caliber's brass case: I don't see 327 anywhere .. but I guess it's too late now anyway.

"337" would have had a closer matching relationship to the round than 327 does.

Marty K.
Supposedly Joseph Stalin's Own Nagant Revolver.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Charles Darwin's Guns In Australia:

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) - well known for his theory on the 'Origin of Species' spent 90 pounds buying two pistols and a shotgun one month before sailing off into the blue on the ten gun brig 'The Beagle'the voyage began on 27 December 1831 - and it lasted almost five years.
Charles Robert Darwin.

Darwin's pistols were fairly low cost and may have been second hand - but they were anyway not 'London Made' - said to have been made by provincial gun maker Hanson of Doncaster.

This pair of side-hammer box-lock percussion single shot pistols, fitted with belt-hooks, were of 18-bore (.637") having six inch barrels - and were later given to Syms Covington, - Darwins manservant and assistant - at the conclusion of his service.

 Syms Covington settled on the south coast of  New South Wales some time after the end of the Beagle's Historic voyage - where he became the second Postmaster of Pambula, near Eden.
The above image is not correct as I have been unable to find an authenticated photograph - other than a poor quality shot in the "dead-tree" book 'Australian Antique Arms & History' - a collection of writings by John W Swinfield.

Quote from Charles Darwin:

"In the latter part of my school life I became passionately fond of shooting, and I do not believe that anyone could have shown more zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds. How well I remember killing my first snipe, and my excitement was so great that I had much difficulty in reloading my gun from the trembling of my hands. This taste long continued and I became a very good shot." 

Link to an article claiming that Darwin had an unhealthy obsession with killing animals:

 In August 1863 during a spirited exchange of ideas with Joseph D Hooker, the prominent botanist at Kew Gardens, Darwin wrote:
"About New Zealand, at last I am coming round & admit it must have been connected with some Terra firma; but I will die rather than admit Australia."
The Media Of That Era Were Very Rude to Darwin.

- I wonder which was he defending .. the independent history of  New Zealand - or of it's "Western Island" of Australia eh?

Marty K.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Remington HYPERSONIC Shotgun Pressures:

  12  GAUGE  3-INCH.

During the 8 – 11 June Molesworth Station goose shoot, discussion among the nine shooters inevitably got around to shotgun shells.

Apart from Mark & Col, none of the other shooters load their own shot shells and naturally used only factory loads. As the rules for these goose shoots stipulated only ‘steel shot’ Mark & Col also used factory shells.

One of the shooters mentioned that he was using ‘Remington Hypersonic Steel’ shells which Remington claimed achieved 1700 feet per second.

1700fps???? That’s the highest velocity shot-load that we have ever heard of. What level of pressure was required? The shooter then very kindly gave Col five rounds to chronograph.

A couple of weeks later these rounds were chronographed and recorded an average of 1655 fps from a Mossberg M930 semi-auto with 28-inch barrel.

An intriguing aspect of this is that the hulls are stamped MAX 1050 BAR which equates to 15,229 P.S.I. while the American Sporting Arms and Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) states a maximum allowable pressure level of 11,500 P.S.I. for 12 gauge 2-¾ and 3-inch shells. For obscure reasons, the exception to this is the 12 gauge 3-½ inch shell which may be loaded to 14,000 P.S.I., although still way short of these Remington shells at 15,229 P.S.I. and .410 bore shells may be loaded to 13,500 P.S.I.

If, in fact, these Remington shotshells ARE producing pressures in excess of 15,200 P.S.I. as indicated by the hull-stamp, then that is clearly a matter for some concern.

We are not suggesting that modern well made shotguns will NOT withstand these 15,200+ P.S.I. pressures, as SAAMI allows an average of 19,800 P.S.I. for ‘proof -loads’ for the purpose of testing shotgun barrels.
While on the subject of ‘steel shot’ (which is actually iron) it may be worthwhile to remind shooters of the possible dangers involved when firing ‘steel shot’ through a full choke.

Quite simply, it is NOT recommended and can be detrimental to the barrel and choke tube.

Obviously, ‘steel shot’ does not compress as readily as lead shot and can produce a ‘pressure ring’ behind a tight choke tube. In a worst case a ‘steel shot’ load can blow a tight choke tube completely out of the barrel. This problem is naturally exacerbated with high pressure shells.

Anyway ‘steel shot’ produces tighter patterns than lead shot through any given choke size.

Some shot-gunners may not realize that ‘steel shot’ produces tighter patterns than does lead shot through any given choke constriction.

Additionally, for safety reasons there is less choice of chokes recommended for use with ‘steel shot’. However, this fact does not necessarily restrict the shooter to appreciably shorter ranges.

Assuming a shooter is using two sizes larger of ‘steel shot’ than they would when using lead shot and the ‘steel shot’ load is driven at considerably higher velocities in order to partially compensate for steel’s inherent lesser density, weight and penetration capabilities, it is then possible that the ‘steel shot’ will approximate the terminal effect of lead shot.

Colpepper Aramberri

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Broad Arrow British Markings:

The British 'Broad Arrow' mark used to denote Crown or Defense Department property is perhaps an iteration of the Heraldic Pheon figure that is associated with Sir Phillip Sidney - who was the Joint Master of Ordnance 1585 - 1586 at The Office of Ordnance founded by Henry VIII in 1544.

Broad PHEON.

The Heraldic 'Pheon' is known in connection with the Sidney family of Penshurst from earlier times ... however this broad arrow mark may also be related to a similar "anchor" stamp that was used to mark Naval properties.

I recall seeing many military items marked with the 'Broad Arrow ..
but I can't really bring to mind handling any firearms so marked :

- but they are obviously around.

I'm just not very observant I guess (one of my many faults, - ask my "ex").

Marty K.