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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Ruger Old Army On Range:

Todays Quiz:
Your Starter question for five points: - What is this and do you have to be a complete banana to do it?

That's a "Dry Ball" 
- Yup, - 'someone' loaded six balls into the cylinder - but only five charges of black-powder.- I later "pulled" the stuck ball using a wood-screw.
 
Anyway, - apart from that one small glitch - the weekend went well and we shot some 70 rounds from the ROA over both days..
 
Why Has Everything Gone Misty?
 
I ran one cylinder load over the chronograph and my '35 grain' charge seemed to indicate either a nonsense 1700 foot per second or 260 ft. per sec. with the 140gn ball - but I was getting the false readings from all the ejaculate of paper and globs of grease, unburnt powder etc. going down-range.
 
  - We were out-of-luck to try the chronograph again later, as some poor soul (not me - Hi Col.) then perforated the chronograph body using a modern round - and let all the electricity out - so now he needs to go shopping.
 
- My guess is that the .457" balls are making just below 1000 ft. per sec. - Many folk may think of these old charcoal burners as low powered antiques - but the tales of riding through a herd of  'buffalo' firing to right and left and dropping several bison with single shots from a 44 Revolver are fact.
 
One respected version  of the historic 1865 Hickok -Tutt duel has Hickok use a .44 Colt Dragoon (or was the gun a .36"cal. Colt Navy?) to kill Davis Tutt with a heart shot at a measured 75 yards. This shot was tested and repeated five out of six shots by Mike Cumpston using a replica Uberti Dragoon on an IPSC target in his book Percussion Revolvers.
____________
 
- I've observed that my Ruger SP101 .22 R.F. revolver goes crack, crack .. (8 times)
 - my GP100 .357" Magnum goes BANG (x6),
  - but the Ruger Old Army .44" goes BOOM - YEHAAH!
 
First Cylinder Load at 35 feet Range.
 
The ROA 44 seemed popular and there was a small line waiting to have a shot.. I was calling "fire in the hole" when raising the capped gun onto target.
 
It had been a cold week prior to the shooting weekend - but Sunday was a lovely sunny mild day and we had a good humoured crowd plus guests on range.
 
 - Official first day of Winter here in New Zealand on Monday 1st June - as well as "Queens Birthday" public holiday.
 
- There are both good points and negatives when using the home-made Self-Consuming paper cartridges ..
 
 You certainly can't forget to load the powder when it's attached to the ball eh - but the cup of charred paper left in the chamber meant that I needed to strip the gun down and clear each chamber before reloading. - So what you save in the loading procedure is lost in the stripping-down.
Black Powder Shooting Adds Another Dimension to The Day Out.
- Remember to bring a waste rag for grubby hand wiping!
 
The revolver gets very greasy and sooty all over. - The off range "apres shoot" cleaning may have settled into a pattern of removing the grips (stocks) - take-down and place the cylinder into a boiling pot of  soapy water, - hold the frame and barrel into a sink of hot detergent water and scrub well inside and out.
 
 - Flush with clean boiling water then place all the hot S.S parts to dry - then polish, lubricate and swab the bore. - Re-assemble.
 
You can do most of this while brewing a pot of coffee and drinking same - before elevating the feet for a 'granny nap'.
 
Life is good,
 
Marty K..

Saturday, 30 May 2015

.44" Calibre Combustible Paper Cartridges:

Using Zig-Zag "Rice Paper" rolling papers to form combustibles may be a good idea - but that thin nitrated paper is a worry to work with.


Forming the 'cones' and end-caps was fiddly - but got easier after I smoothed and polished the taper of the dowel former - the paper cones then slid off much easier. - I used the same cigarette paper throughout - rather than soft tissue paper for the base.


- Charging them with 35grains (scooped by volume) Triple 7 powder was easy and I only spilled a few grains. The lead balls 'plopped' into place as hoped - only one proved to be too tight but I persuaded that one to squeeze-in with a little stroking - but sealing the balls into place was a whole new game - messy, and sticky - but it too seemed to get easier as I went. - Hopefully these paper cartridges will work beautifully - but I'm not too sure .. they certainly take time and effort to make!

The .45" Calibre Balls Glued in Place and Drying.

I used a BIC glue stick to glue the cigarette paper cones - and found that the best way to handle them and move them around was by lifting with the dowel former just slipped into the bore - fingers just squashed them out of shape. - Maybe I'm slow -but each conical paper form took me approx. three minutes to cut, shape, and glue.

- But to seal/glue the balls in place I watered-down some PVA wood glue to 'loosen' it - and used a  small artists paint brush.

Ball Gluing Operation - Needed Coffee.

I seemed to need a cup of coffee for every three or four cartridges - and the adhesive outsides had to be carefully kept from contact and sticking to the other cartridges - I imagine that trying to separate siamesed rounds would just rip the flimsy paper and spill propellant everywhere.
____________

These 'combustibles' had dried nicely in time for my black-powder shooting debut on range with the Ruger Old Army - but I'm thinking that although they loaded and fired well - if they don't completely transform the shooting experience and really ease the reloading - I'll probably stick to just using pre-weighed charges.

- Another aspect is that while they work fine - these self-consuming samples do leave a cup of unburnt paper lurking in the chambers that has to be removed before starting the re-load. - Could be I need to try a different glue to the BIC stick - old fashioned flour paste maybe?


Three 'Combustibles' with two of the Unburnt Remains.

Marty K.


 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

'MSSA' BANKS - Police Investigation 'Robust':

A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that the Police investigation into Ex Police Minister John Banks was "thorough and robust".

The Police had decided NOT to prosecute 'The Honourable' John Banks over allegations that he had falsely declared two $25,000 "donations" from Kim Dotcom as anonymous. - Banks was found guilty (but later successfully appealed) - when a private prosecution was pursued and then adopted by the Court system.

Sir David Carruthers - Chair of the IPCA said " The report has found that the investigation held by the police was comprehensive and thorough".

The Authority is satisfied, from its enquiry and interviews, that there was no interference or pressure on the investigation team from the Police Executive or politically."

Marty K.

P.S. - I once complained to IPCA that police policy regarding Import Permits for handguns was in conflict with Firearms Law and Regulations and the Commerce Act.  The IPCA replied, in due time, - that the police Import Permit procedure was in line with police policy.
MK.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Blackpowder Charges & Combustible Cartridges:

I've spent a few amusing hours preparing individual pre-measured charges for my ROA.
I'm getting ready to take the .44" Ruger Old Army for my first weekend shoot with it.
 

I started by weighing 35 grains of black powder onto my scales using a plastic Lee scoop - then I cut the neck from a .308" case and poured that weighed charge into it and marked how high it came on the case, - before cutting-down to that mark.

 -  35 grains dropped back in to check it filled nicely to the top - then I soldered a rough folded copper handle on to the brass measure.


 
This home-made 35 grain measure easily scooped loose powder into some plastic phials for individual charges - each then closed with their own lid.

I picked 35 grains as a starter load - identified by the books as being accurate with a .44" lead ball. - Time will tell, - but it shouldn't be a problem to make a larger or a smaller scoop/measure if needed.

 - I read that if you play about with lighter small charges - you may then need to top-up each chamber with a wad, or loose corn meal or similar inert filler to take-up any air gap.

Pre-loaded Powder Charges.

- I have pre-loaded both 'Holy Smoke' black-powder and some Triple 7 (FFF) 'replica' powder charges for manual loading - but I've also made a start trying to build some combustible paper cartridges..


- These paper cartridges are tricky as the nitrated cigarette papers are flimsy. - Winding them around the tapered dowel former is OK(ish) - but the second that glue is applied they seem to want to stick to everything in sight (apart from what you want them to !).

- Given half a chance they stick to the former - which is marked where it is approx. .465" diameter for inserting the lead ball.

Forming the wee end cap and gluing it into the bottom of the tapered cone is the stuff of nightmares.

Now I say that - as a thirty year smoker (started aged eleven) who should know my way around a "roll-up".  I've been off them now for thirty years too - but once a roll-up fag smoker, you never forget that dark art!

- Anyway - I will get some paper cartridges sorted eventually I'm sure -- but it's not as easy as I expected eh. - It's fiddly!

I don't know how I'll get-on with filling the cones with powder and then gluing-in the balls !

Patience is a virtue - patience is ...

Marty K.







Sunday, 24 May 2015

NZ Perceived as 2nd Least Corrupt Nation:

Way back in time in the late 1980s - 1990s - Glocks excellent Glock17 had the worlds media screaming hysterically and repeatedly calling for BANS because they perceived that this new polymer framed semi-auto was invisible to X-Ray machines used for security screening.

 

- Total nonsense of-course - as all the metal components and the polymer (nylon) frame could be clearly detected by any such equipment.. many of these media 'experts' even stated that their senses indicated that these firearms were made from ceramics.

____________

The 2014 Transparency International  Corruption Perceptions Index  - 'CPI'  - ranked New Zealand second only to Denmark based on how un-corrupt their administrative and political institutions are perceived to be on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Denmark scored 92, New Zealand 91, Finland 89, and Sweden 87.

The most corrupt are listed as Somalia, North Korea, Sudan, and Afghanistan.
_________
 
 In shooting - tumbling bullets might be perceived as effective hits - or as resulting from a corrupted process:
 
 
Interesting things 'perceptions' eh.
 
- As a young shooter I might perceive revolvers as obsolete antiques - later, when a lot of water has flowed under the bridge - I might perceive their design and heft as rewarding and fun to work with. 
 
If we are perceived as the second least corrupt nation in the world - may The Great Flying Spaghetti Monster (Bless his Sticky tentacles)  help the rest of the poor buggers out there!
 
Marty K.
 
P.S. Someone just commented that if we are so un-corrupt - how come we still indulge in the annual Queens Birthday Awards farce?
 
Definition: Farce - A dramatic presentation intended only to amuse, - any event with a futile or absurd outcome.
 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Loading Stand for a Ruger Old Army:

There is more than one way to skin a cat - and there certainly are more than a few ways to load a black-powder revolver. - For openers, you don't have to re-load the complete gun at all - as you can remove the cylinder and work with it on a 'cylinder stand' - replace it into the frame - only then capping it before firing.
Cylinder Stand From Magnumimports.co.nz (Upper Hutt Gunshop).
 
You can load with an over-powder wad, or directly seat the ball (or bullet)(or even a "buck'n'ball" ?) onto the powder and then 'seal' the loaded chamber with grease as both a lubricant and a flash-over seal.

If you look for plans and pictures - many of the loading-stands are modelled as a hinged unit that folds flat when not in use - but I reasoned that I'd still have to carry it around with all the other 'accoutrements' and "necessaries" - so maybe the support-stand could be built-in to a 'necessaries box' that would hold it all.

Box/Stand looks fairly solid.

So here it is - the result of a couple of days bush carpentry in my garage and living room - well most of the time spent was sitting thinking about it!

I tried to build it strong - screwed & glued, on the basis that it would be knocking about in my vehicle and on range - and despite using re-cycled scraps of timber from the firewood heap - I still spent some dollars on brass screws, epoxy glue and a drum sander to fit my power drill - used to cut the semi-circle seat for the curvy breach block - with the hammer-cut-out.

The glue is hardly dry and I'm already thinking that I might make a leather-padded roll on the back-end face of the box to use as a bench-rest for sighting-in ('Group Therapy') - it could work eh.

- But, on the other hand perhaps not - as the box part that I'd be shooting over would likely contain black-powder and paper cartridges that could be ignited? - more thought needed eh.

The only important measurements (for a ROA) are the 3.8 inch height of the stand with the 1.5 inch diameter cut-out and the slot for the half-cocked hammer - together with the 3.75 - 4 inch distance from the mid-line of the stand to the 'notch' cut in the base to hold the heel of the pistol grip frame. Every thing else can be made to suite whatever timber you have got to hand..

"Rough Enough" Bush Carpentry - but it'll work.
- I think the old timber might be Cedar.
 
- So which is going to get shot first - ancient or modern ? - The loading-storage combination works - but it would not need to be much smaller.

 
 Very different technologies for sure - both 9x19mm Glock and .44" cap'n'ball are interesting to shoot and both are capable of seriously accurate work on range.

Marty K.
 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Honourable John Banks Aquitted:

In a just released decision - The NZ Court of Appeal says it was cancelling its earlier order (for a re-trial), and directing a verdict of acquittal be entered.

 Ex-Minister of Police  "MSSA" Banks was convicted last August of failing to declare two donations of $25,000 from Kim Dotcom during his campaign to be mayor of Auckland.

 
Marty K.
 

.45"-70 Government On Range:


The .45-70 rifle cartridge may also be called .45-70-405 - referring to its 405 grain lead bullet, dates from 1873 and looks very impressive when seen on a pistol range.

It is said to push-out double the power level of most .44 Magnum loads - and its approx. 400gn load has got my attention for sure. - That's a BIG lump of lead.

- I know this because cobber "Cutters" showed-up with his new purchase in this calibre, a cut-down Marlin 1895 and set about steadily whacking down range targets with his 340 grain lead hand-loaded cartridges at 1125 ft.per.sec. - Driven by 14 grains of  Australian IMR 'Trailboss' powder.

Naah - That's not Cutters - but it's a better look eh.

This is a long-range capable cartridge - but you'd really need to know your ranges and sight settings to hit anything - as this "big mother" has a trajectory like a cannon-ball. They do actually make handguns for the .45-70 Government cartridge (both Thompson Contenders & Magnum Research Revolvers) and even with a 14 inch barrel you can get that 400 grain slug moving at over 2000 foot per second !

Magnum Research .45-70 Revolver.

Originally used in Springfield Trapdoor rifles and carbines - there were also issued wooden birdshot load cartridges - meant for soldiers to use to hunt extra rations to supplement their field diet.

Life is good,

Marty K.





Thursday, 14 May 2015

Cap'N'Ball Ruger "Charcoal Burners":

Todays quiz - Your 'Starter' for 5 Points: What is missing from this picture?:


- And the answer - is, what did a courier driver deliver three days ago, what is made of stainless steel - what was grubby and neglected, but has responded well to cleaning and oiling?

As it came from the North Island auction - I was rather scared by the look of the bore when I held the gun up to the light - as it was very sooty and rough - looking much like The Homer Tunnel on the Milford Road down South - Scenic New Zealand!

Homer Road Tunnel.


My very own Ruger Old Army .44".
 
But my heart lifted after some scrubbing with hot soapy water (the gun that is!) followed by Hoppes No.9 bore cleaner and a couple of patches - as the tube was now bright and shiny - indeed it seems to be in better internal condition than the exterior - which had some obvious surface scratching and pitting.
 
The beauty of stainless-steel guns is that they can be carefully re-finished by delicate use of fine grade abrasive (emery) paper. - I've been working with this ROA for three days now and it's looking better.
 
Well it is pre-owned and has seen some use - but I put-in a "postal" bid (via e-mail) and have now got something else to waste time & money on - Ooops I mean I have expanded my target shooting hobby into a new-for-me area of muzzle-loading black-powder ballistics.
 
Thanks (or blame) go to JBTFL who arrived on range a couple of months back with his new .36" Cal. Uberti 1851 Navy Model.
 
One thing leads to another - so I'm planning on making some combustible paper cartridges using .457" lead balls and trying my 'bush carpenter' skills to build a loading-stand for the revolver.
 
- Should keep me out of mischief for some time eh.
 
Marty K.
 
P.S. Here's a better picture of the Homer Road tunnel in winter:
 
 
MK.
 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

NZ Hunting Deaths - 'Review' Announced:

It is the 'Duck Shooting Season' here.

Last weekend there were TWO tragic 'accidental' shootings that resulted in the deaths of two young New Zealand men. - One was a fifteen year old youth, who died while climbing a wire fence with his gun.

 - These men should have been part of the future of sporting gun use here for many years.

- Instead their families will need to cope with the sad loss of life - and the Government Associate Conservation Minister Peter Dunne has announced he will review "unsafe and illegal gun use."

A Green Party spokesperson says they doubt that this is an effective way to deal with this matter - while an ACT Party spokesman thought that it might be useful.

I feel that New Zealanders definitely need to take a more serious approach to ALL forms of accident prevention and personal safety - and if these recent tragic deaths can result in improvements in our accident rates - that will be a small blessing.

- But my guess is that this review will be yet another excuse for publicity seekers to call for more "Gun Bans".

Marty K.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

'Percussion Revolvers' by Cumpston & Bates:

Here's a novelty - this paper-back book noticeably weighs nearly twice as much as others of the same size and thickness! - This is because of the dense high quality shiny paper used.

Percussion Revolvers - A Guide to their History, Performance, and Use - written by Mike Cumpston and Johnny Bates. - It is available as an e-book, but much better you get the dead tree version as it has excellent glossy photos and is a quality book - maybe to treasure & keep.

This books second novelty feature is that they tell it as it is:

 - eg. Chapter 2:  Replicas: The Good, the Bad, and the Awful.

-  So many gun books / magazines I've read are not much more than re-prints of the manufacturers advertising agency bullsh*t and only repeat the good news - while keeping quiet about any faults.

These guys appear to be honest and have actually tested and tried the replica black powder guns and then report and compare them to the originals - and they call rubbish RUBBISH. - They detail the weak points such as the old flat leaf springs and suggest remedies and 'tuning' modifications.

- Lots of loading information and velocities with accuracy results all charted.
Rogers & Spencer - Chapter 14
 "often cited as the best percussion revolver ever designed."
 

They describe the Ruger Old Army (Chapter 17) as ".. neither fish nor fowl. It is not a curio, relic, or replica of such." - That is fair enough too, as they shoot it and like it - recognising its strengths and use-ability.

Interesting to note that while reviewing powders and the black-powder substitute propellants (Pyrodex, Goex, H777 etc.) - the authors (and others) use the name 'Replica Powders' - that can be a bit confusing in a book focussed on replica firearms.

- Good book - very informative.

I understand that this style of replica percussion firearm may still be owned and shot in U.K. - not firing a self contained cartridge.

Marty K.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Tavor .223"(5.56x45 NATO) & Aimpoint Sight Video:

- I don't know of any IWI  Tavor Bullpups in New Zealand yet - so I am limited to seeing what I can find on-line. - So far everything I've seen and read points to it being my next 'wish-list machine'.

- At US$2,000. odd over there in the USA - I'd expect them to arrive here in NZ eventually costing NZ$4,000 plus - So if I want to get serious I'll have to start saving my pennies now.

Meanwhile, check-out this video:


They give the Tavor a decent work-out with a range of different ammunition and magazines.

Just talking 'off the top of my head' - I'd say that the NZDF might well be advised to consider these Israeli designed arms in their search to 'upgrade' from the Steyr AUG. - but there is talk that an AR15 clone will likely be the choice.

The one single feature that I see as a problem with  bull-pups is the location of the ejection port for lefties. - maybe there might be a compromise answer - I know that they are convertible right-to left but how about a thicker butt pad option to shift the port forward a bit? - maybe there is.

On a quick look - The Tavor seems to be slightly shorter and lighter than the Steyr AUG.

Marty K.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Earliest Flintlock Revolvers and Repeaters ?:

To start - I should say that I don't know any of this stuff myself - I just came across it and feel that it's well worth passing forward.

 - But SO many people think that Samuel Colt invented the revolver ... (Colts first patents 1835, 1836).

However - Elisha H Collier made a five shot flintlock revolver in 1814 (1818 patent) that worked well by the standards of the day. The cylinder had to be turned by hand and the 'frizzen' contains a reservoir for powder to self-prime the pan.

Collier 5 Shot Flintlock Revolver.
 
This was no 'one-off' prototype - more than 10,000 of these were made between 1819 to 1824 by John Evans & Son, London - and widely used by the colonial British forces in India.

Note: Rod has e-mailed: "There are a very small number of Colliers in NZ (pistols and shotguns).  Tuawhaiki, the chief of the southern Nga Tahu and based on Ruapuke Island near Bluff, was a lover of good guns and the visiting whalers and sealers soon learned to give him nice examples in order to get their concessions granted.  A Collier revolver (which I believe is at the Southland museum) is one of these gifts."
Another Collier viewed from the other Side.

- Now, going back in time -  I recall that the Ferguson Repeating Flintlock rifle dates from 1776 (see my piece 8 April 2015) - and could be fired some six times a minute.

 Next I'm going to mention here the Lorenzoni Repeating Flintlock Pistol of 1680.

Lorenzoni of 1680.

- Not a revolver but this amazing gun has a powder magazine in the stock above the trigger and another mag. for the balls - the video shows how it worked (six to ten shots) better than I can try explain:
(- In the United States the Cookson Repeater of 1750 used the same system..)
____________

- And then there was the Hans Stopler 8 shot revolver of 1597 ..

Hans Stopler 8 Shot Arqubus Revolver of 1597
 
I'm not qualified in any way to write about these very early firearms - other than to say that the history of gunpowder and guns is still being researched and discovered by better brains than me.
 
Don't you love this shooting history ? - A good starting point is to read the Wikipedia entry for "Revolver" - but who'd have thought that they go back more than 400 years?

- I'll take one of each please. - Dream on eh.
 
Marty K.
 
 

Monday, 4 May 2015

.50 cal Self-Steering Bullets:

US Defence Advanced Research Progress Agency, DARPA have announced that the self-steering Sniper bullet has arrived.

The details remain classified but it seems that the .50" calibre projectile has optical sensors that adjust the flight direction to the target by using flexible rubber rings.

- where to next?

- History strongly suggests that every 'measure' leads to the development of  'counter-measures'.

- any ideas?

CNN Video Report.
 
It looks a lot like 'magic' to me - but I guess 'science' covers it . I'm still waiting for ray-guns to appear next!

Marty K.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Silenced Heavyweight 9mm = .38"Special:

I again ran some more of my 158gn copper-plated loads through the Just Right Carbine and my Glock 17 last weekend and continue to be 'well pleased' with how very quiet they are when pushed-out of the silenced carbine - truly they DO sound very like an air rifle.

Just Right Carbine - with New York Legal Stock & Magazine - Plus Silencer.
 
"Cutters" commented that the guns quietness was being enhanced by this lower velocity - some 300ft/sec. below the speed of sound (1,127ft/s).
 
 - This load of-course also works fine through the Glock 17 pistol.
 
Load Details - For Information Only: 
I am loading copper-plated 158 grain flat-nose .358" bullets after re-sizing them through a .356" dia. Lee die.
 
The ADI Sporting Powders AP70N smokeless Pistol Powder is volume metered through a Lee #32 disc cavity and weighs approx. 3.1grains and when fired from the carbine are giving a sub-sonic velocity of 820 - 830 feet per second.
 
That 825 ft/sec average velocity with a 158gn pill looks very much comparable to .38" Special performance.
 
- With my head down on the buffer tube all I hear is the "spong" of the action spring - followed by the "ting" down-range from the steel target.
 
158gn Subsonic 9mm Reloads - Nice Yogurt and Tomatoes eh.
 
Comment: Currently I feel that while this load is working fine - I do think that I will in future use a more 'standard' load with 9mm 147gn bullets. - This would eliminate the resizing operation and help further reduce internal pressures.
 
Marty K.
 

Friday, 1 May 2015