Gun Show Report

Pretty much the same as the last time – busy and crowded. Anything semiautomatic and centerfire that takes a removable magazine was going for about twice the normal price. Thirty round pmags were actually pretty plentiful and selling for about $35 at most tables (there were one or two trying for $50 or more). Getting close to any tables with semiautos was an exercise in patience. Ammo dealers were crowded and started running short fairly early on. 5.56/.223 was running about $1 a round.

Dad picked up some ammo, and I found some stripper clips for the Mauser. I almost went for a 10/22 (synthetic stock $213 sticker price), but I restrained myself. I could have afforded it, but there are other things I need that money for a little more. When we left at around 2:00, the line for tickets was still running all the way out the door, which I’ve only ever seen happen in the mornings, before. There was still a lot of anger at Obama, but it’s had time to settle a bit.

Still, we had fun, which was the main point.

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Recommendations Requested – Gun Cabinet

I’ve been needing a gun cabinet for a while now – my current storage arrangements are less than ideal – and recent financial changes combined with the holidays have made the purchase of a dedicated gun cabinet feasible.

I’m looking for something in the $100 – $150 range, an 8-10 long gun capacity, and I would prefer two shelves if possible (one for ammo, one for pistols), or at least the ability to add a second shelf myself. There’s a little flexibility on that price range, but anything over $150 would have to be considered carefully.

Unfortunately, my ability to shop for cabinets is pretty limited to local stores (mainly Dick’s or WalMart, and I’m not giving Dick’s a single penny) and Amazon/online. I’ve found that the online pictures of the cabinet interiors are usually not the best quality for shopping, mainly making it difficult to see the interior layout and construction, so I’m a bit leery of ordering one online. There are a couple of stores I could go to in Roanoke, but that’s nearly an hour’s travel each way – I’d essentially have to dedicate an entire day to shopping for just one thing, with no guarantee of finding anything I’d be interested in.

I’ve considered the Stack-On brand gun cabinets due to both price and availability, but I’m not terribly enamoured of them, though they remain a distinct possibility. So, I’d like to see if any of you have ideas or recommendations that might help me narrow down my selection.

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Busy gun show

The great part about where I live is that the local gun shows are about halfway between my house and my parents. That means that Dad and I have gotten into the habit of meeting at the gun show and spending the day together. Yesterday, we met there and after we had finished wandering around the show I followed him home.

We knew that it would be crowded, and it was. Dad got there first and bought our tickets, after waiting in line for half an hour. Even with tickets in hand we had to wait in line to get in. By the time we made it in it was obvious that centerfire AR type rifles were in very short supply, and of the few that I saw the lowest price was $1250 – and while I’m no judge of AR’s, I think that one may have had something wrong with it. The next lowest was a bare bones model for $1500, that was similar to one I saw at the last show for about $800. Mini-14s were going for $850 minimum for a basic polymer stock model (Dad was irritated. He’s been thinking about selling his – an NRA edition that he paid about $600 for – and he realized he could probably have gotten a grand for it easily even before he got in the door.) The ammo tables were looking a bit anemic by 1:00, with empty pallets and most of the bins only about half full.

And while it was, as usual, full of exceedingly polite people – “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me”, and patiently waiting without a bit of shoving despite the crowding – the anger and concern were also quite palpable. This wasn’t a gun show that people were at to enjoy, it was a show that people were at because they were worried they wouldn’t get another chance. There was also a big fear that private sales will definitely be on the chopping block.

My objective was simple: some stripper clips for my Mauser. I didn’t find any of those, but I did pick up some ammo for it, along with some .45 FMJ for practice.

It was interesting, and a bit fun, but I hit my limit for crowds about halfway through (even if I did keep going). I think any anti-gun politician who wants a second term who saw that would (and should) be shaking in his boots right now.
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Fun Show today!

I expect a new toy. More later.

Basic gun safety, lesson 2: Use a holster!

Otherwise, we see headlines like this one.

SPARKS, Nev. – Police say a man accidentally shot himself in the buttocks at a Nevada movie theatre during a showing of “The Bourne Legacy.”

Police in Sparks, Nev., say the 56-year-old man’s injuries are not life-threatening and no others were hurt.

Authorities say the man had a permit to carry a concealed firearm. The man told officers the gun fell from his pocket Tuesday night as he was adjusting himself in the seat and that it discharged when it dropped to the floor.

Pocket carry without a holster is a bad idea! Especially if your carry gun isn’t one designed to be drop-safe (and even with a good holster, you should upgrade to a gun that is drop-safe, because stuff happens).

Spending a mere $13 could have been enough to prevent this headline. This guy is lucky that his negligence didn’t kill anyone.

Don’t be That Guy. Use a holster!

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[Source: AP article on Yahoo! News, retrieved 8/15/12]

If a bad day at the range is better than a good day at the office…

then what is a good day at the range better than? Because I just had one.

It was a bit warmer than I liked, and the wasps and bees were a bit more active than I like (okay, a lot! But that’s because I’d prefer they didn’t exist at all outside of honeybees in out of the way places.) but I had some quality time putting about 200 or so rounds downrange (various amounts of .45, .380, .308Win, and lots of .22). I decided that my rifle is fully sighted in to 100 yards, within the limits of the inexpensive factory ammunition I was using, at least. I think that getting it any better would require match grade ammo and a bench rest. Three of the 38 rounds of .380 I used were duds (not light strikes – I checked and retried them with no luck), but that’s what I get for buying cheap, off brand stuff. I’ll avoid that brand in the future.

I’m starting to wonder if the wide grouping with my .45 really is me, or if the gun itself just isn’t that good. I can consistently hit minute of bad guy, but at 25 feet I’m all over the target. The P3AT gives me a tighter grouping at the same range, and the sights on that are almost nonexistent. Maybe I’ll look at improvising a pistol rest of some kind, to try and take myself out of the equation as much as possible. On the other hand, I’ve got my grip down and had decent ammunition (Blazer steel cased), so there were ZERO malfunctions with it out of a 50 round box plus 20 rounds of carry ammo. I can at least be confident that it will go bang if I ever need it, and that I’ll be able to hit whoever caused me to need to use it.

As I was leaving, a man was setting up with his two sons for what was obviously their first range trip. From conversation I overheard, he had prepared them right the night before, and was doing a good job with them for the short time I was there. There was one admonishment – in my opinion very well handled – on muzzle control while they were uncasing the guns, but that was it. Here’s hoping for many more good range trips for that family!

All in all, a good time was had. Shooting is fun!

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Weekend Fun Show

Since the local gun shows are held at a point about halfway between where I live and where my parents live, it’s a good time and place to get together with Dad. So on Saturday that’s what we did. This time, Dad had a couple of items on the agenda:

  1. find some spare magazines for his 10/22 (successfully)
  2. find a holster for the Ruger R1 1911 he bought recently (he found one he likes, but held off this time because of the cost. He’ll probably get it next time.)
  3. most importantly, scout out some possible carry guns for Mom, because her current carry gun (a compact 1911) is a) heavier than she likes, and b) has too much recoil for her – her arthritis has gotten to the point that it hurts her hands to shoot it.

Dad was looking at .22′s, mainly looking for either a Walther P22 or Ruger SR22. I was trying to point him towards .380s, like the Bersa Thunder or Walther PPK. This is, after all, intended to be her regular carry  piece, and I would greatly prefer that she carry something in a calibre that is a little more effective than .22. I figure something like a PPK, Bersa Thunder, or even a Sig P238 would have enough mass to bring the felt recoil to a manageable level while not being too heavy for her to carry comfortably.

To complicate things, she has some slow deterioration to her vision, so the nearly rudimentary sights on some of the smaller pistols are unusable. I’d like her to get something she can get CT LaserGrips for, and while you can get them for the .380′s I was of, it looks like they don’t make them for the .22′s.

He’s going to either take her to a gun shop or to the next gun show so she can handle the different options and decide for herself. Unfortunately, there are no places reasonably close for her to rent one to see what she likes best. I really, really would rather she get a .380 than a .22, but then again, if she won’t practice with even the bigger .380s, the .22 might be better for her.

Maybe someone else might have an idea I can pass on?

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Support your overseas soldiers

Just in case you haven’t seen it elsewhere, or as a reminder if you have, Linoge is doing a fundraiser for Soldiers’ Angels, a non-profit charity supporting our soldiers abroad and at home.

“May No Soldier Go Unloved,” encapsulates the motivation behind Soldiers’ Angels.   The volunteers of Soldiers’ Angels work tirelessly to demonstrate active care and concern for veterans, the wounded, deployed service members and their families.

To date, our volunteers have sent hundreds of thousands of care packages and letters to “adopted” deployed service members; we have supplied the wounded with over 25,000 of our First Response Backpacks directly at the Combat Support Hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan and the major military hospital in Germany, as well as provided care and comfort to those in stateside military and VA facilities; we have provided emergency aid to military families in need; we have partnered with the Department of Defense to provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptops to over 6,000 severely-wounded servicemembers, as well as other technology that supports rehabilitation; we have provided flights to soldiers on leave or in emergency situations, and to their families wanting to be with them upon return from overseas; we provided Level III KEVLAR armored blankets to give personnel extra protection in their vehicles when it was needed early in the Iraq war; and we help to honor and uphold the families whose loved ones have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and safety. With the assistance of our generous supporters , the many volunteers of Soldiers’ Angels have accomplished this and much, much more on behalf of the grateful citizens of the United States of America.

What Linoge is doing is a drawing and prize giveaway, where every five dollars to Soldiers’ Angels nets you one “ticket” towards the prizes – and he has a lot of really good prizes, including one of the new (as yet unnamed) pocket holsters from Dragon Leatherworks and 3 Crimson Trace LightGuards! Go to Walls of the City for a complete list and the rules, then go check out the Soldiers’ Angels shops he links to – or just donate directly!

It’s a good cause, and you might even win some good stuff out of it. And we should all thank Linoge for making the effort.

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Range Report – 2011-05-20

Since I’m on staycation for my birthday, I managed to make it out to the range on Friday. The nice thing about going during the day on a weekday is that the range is not so busy – I actually had it all to myself for a half hour or so, which was a great help in getting my rifle sighted in. It’s a lot easier to do when you can simply walk out to the target every couple of shots to see where you’re hitting rather than having to wait for the range to go cold (I don’t have a good spotting scope, and my rifle scope doesn’t give quite enough magnification to tell from 100 yds). I may want to do a little fine-tuning in the future, but I was hitting consistently within two inches of my point of aim when I quit. I wasn’t entirely sure if the variance was the scope still being slightly off, or just me, so I decided to let it rest and move on to pistols. Considering that when I started I was hitting about 8″ low and 4″ left of point-of-aim, I was satisfied. And unlike last time, I managed to do it using only 8 rounds (which is good, since I only had 10 rounds to start with). Now I need to buy some more .308 Win.

I also seem to have gotten the sights on my Taurus PT-145 figured out. In fact, my first magazine of the day through that had a grouping of about 2.5″, not counting two flyers that were at least still on the paper (I had printed targets on regular 8.5″ x 11″ copier paper). This was shot standing, two-handed, at about 7 yards. Subsequent groups were significantly larger, but still with all shots on the paper, except for a couple of magazines where I experimented with my point of aim a little bit trying to figure out the proper point of aim for the gun (I was hitting about 2-3″ above the bullseye otherwise). My essential tremors started acting up a little towards the end, and while I was still hitting on the paper I had a couple of failures to feed that I think were due to grip issues from trying to minimize the shakes.

I considered doing some live practice drawing and shooting from concealment, but someone else showed up at that point so I decided against it. Since I carry the .45 at about 5 o’clock I worry about accidentally muzzling the line while drawing, so I don’t want to do that with anyone else around.

The P3AT was, as always, a tiny little handful. I managed to keep everything on the target, and I think I did pretty well considering the almost non-existent sights and minimal sight radius. I did have several failures to eject that caused some pretty significant jams. That could be because the gun was getting dirty (but I don’t think so), or due to cheap ammo – I could see the marks on the rim of the cases where the ejector had slipped loose, so either the rim was thicker than it should have been and the claw wasn’t getting a solid grip, or the brass was softer than it should have been and couldn’t take the shearing force being exerted, or the chamber was too dirty and held the case too well. I gave it a good cleaning when I got home, so we’ll see if that helps next time (and I still have a full 50 round box of .380ACP for next time). It wasn’t really that dirty though, so I’m suspecting that brand or batch of ammo may have been the issue.

The Ruger Mk III was, as always, far more accurate than I am, and a joy to shoot. I was getting 4″-5″ groups with standing rapid-fire, and 1″-2″ groups with slow fire, which is pretty good for me. I do need to pick up some fiber-optic sights for it, though. It can be hard to see the stock, black front blade against a dark target.

All in all, got some practice in, got my rifle sighted to an acceptable quality, and above all I had some fun. It was a good day.

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Proposal for LaserLyte

Last week, Jay G posted a picture of LaserLyte‘s latest foray into the world of laser sights for the Ruger LCP/Kel-Tec P3AT pistols. The unit shown is an early prototype. Rather than attaching to the front of the trigger guard, it attaches to the side right below the slide by replacing two of the pistol’s pins. It looks like a really great idea, and I would love to get one, but I had two concerns: 1) it doesn’t have a mechanism for automatic activation, like the guard mounted lasers do; and 2) it extends far enough forward that it would interfere with the fit in molded kydex holsters (and possibly molded leather holsters) enough that it would probably prevent the gun from fitting in a standard holster. I made a couple of suggestions, but I don’t think my description lent itself well to visualization. So, I’ve made a sketch of what I had in mind. Keep in mind, this is a very crude rough sketch done in MS Paint, using a heavily photoshopped (but in GIMP, not Photoshop) photo of a P3AT. But I think it manages to get the concept across.

Click to embiggenate.

This would mount using the two pins in grey (the larger for strength, and the smaller for stabilization), and wrap around the back of the gun with the battery mounted on the opposite side. The activation switch would be on a ‘tail’ extending down the back of the grip, and would be pressure activated by a proper grip on the pistol in a manner similar to a 1911 safety. This design would allow for grip activation/deactivation rather than a separate step while drawing or holstering, and keep the unit far enough back on the pistol to allow standard design rigid holsters to be used.

Of course, as I noted over at Jay’s blog, if anyone from LaserLyte would like to send me one – in either configuration – for free testing or review, I would be quite happy to oblige.   :D

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