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.


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.

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!


Quote of the Day – 2012-03-07

From commenter Richard on a post at Sharp as a Marble.

I don’t care who wins. I’m buying more ammo.

Buying more ammo is always a good idea. You can never have too much, and if for some reason you do, getting rid of it is both easy and just plain fun. Unfortunately, I fear very much that the time when we will need more ammo is coming far, far sooner than we want.


Emily gets her ammunition.

Emily Miller has successfully navigated that labyrinthine laws regarding how to legally purchase ammunition in Washington, D.C. The trick is that you can’t. You have to go somewhere else.

The guide says the sale and transfer of ammo is prohibited unless the seller is a licensed firearms dealer. Well, there’s only one legal gun dealer in the District, Charles Sykes, and he doesn’t sell ammo. He just transfers guns.


The registration packet does not mention the possibility of ordering ammo online. When I explored that route, I found many big retailers don’t ship to the District. […] It’s not against the law for retailers to send ammunition through the mail to D.C. residents*, but it seems these stores are all afraid of running afoul of the jurisdictions with the stiffest gun-control laws.

Mere possession of a single round of ammunition for a gun you are not registered to own is punishable by up to a year in jail. This has nothing to do with public safety or crime prevention. As Emily says, “What’s the worst I could do with ammo, but no gun? Throw it hard and knock a tooth out?”

Also note how the DC Police feed her misinformation about Virginia’s gun laws. I am convinced that it is done deliberately. They don’t want the peasants to have guns, so they make the process of legally owning one as onerous and fraught with peril as possible.

The other big trick is lawfully possessing and transporting the ammunition.

In Washington, D.C., it is illegal to posses ammunition if you don’t have a gun registered. It is also unlawful to have ammo that is not in the same caliber or gauge as your legal gun. The penalty for holding a round of the wrong caliber is up to a year in jail — as stiff as the punishment for illegal gun possession.


Officer Harper told me that ammunition had to be transported in a separate container than locked gun and out of reach of the passenger seat. I put the ammo in a bag in the way back of my SUV.I was still concerned about correctly following D.C. laws, but I needed to save a few rounds to take home so that my gun was no longer just an expensive paper weight.

Check out her whole series, “Emily Gets Her Gun“, if you haven’t already. She illustrates just how the gun laws in our nation’s capital are ridiculously restrictive, and place an onerous burden on the exercise of a Constitutional Right.  They need to be abolished.

* One commenter at the article points out DC Code Title 7 Chapter 2502.02, under which it is probably is illegal, but there is the question of whether this DC law can be applied to an out of state retailer. I can understand why the retailers don’t want to find out.


[Source: Washington Times article by Emily Miller, retrieved 2/28/12]

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.


Legislative Alert: McCarthy’s Magazine and Gun Ban

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has introduced her bill to ban the sale and transfer of standard capacity magazines and some guns. The bill is H.R. 308 (current full text here).

It’s worth noting this part:

(30) The term ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’–

(A) means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition; but

(B) does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

This law would mean that many antique rifles and pistols, such as the Henry Repeating Rifle, would have to be destroyed when their owners die, because their children would not be able to legally inherit them. Any rifle with an integral magazine that holds more than 10 rounds, other than a tube-fed .22, would have to be destroyed.


(v)(1)(A)(i) Except as provided in clause (ii), it shall be unlawful for a person to transfer or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

(ii) Clause (i) shall not apply to the possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise lawfully possessed within the United States on or before the date of the enactment of this subsection.

The penalty?

(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(v) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

Also note that, unless the Federal Code defines the word “transfer” in another section, simply handing any 10+ round magazine (or something with an integral 10+ round magazine except a tube-fed .22) to a friend at the range would be a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Contact your Representatives now to kill this idiocy!

(h/t SayUncle)

Quote of the Day – 2010-05-24

From a comment at The Firearm Blog:

The phrase “warning shot” was surely coined by the first guy who missed.

Which came up in discussing the new “not-as-lethal” ammunition designed for the Taurus Judge – a .410 shell with 3 rubber buckshot pellets. Stupid. Notice how even the manufacturer isn’t going quite as far as saying it’s “less-lethal”? It sounds like a lawsuit/manslaughter charge waiting to happen.

(h/t Caleb at Gun Nuts Media)


I figured I’d join the crowd. We get regular bonuses at work, and since I just got one, I went out to my local gun shop to take a more in depth look at some of the toys I’ve been eying for a while. Well, the two model 1898 Mausers I’d been eying for the last two months had, of course, been sold (this morning, too, dang it!), but they do have a Lee-Enfield rifle that looked interesting. It looks like a No. 4, Mk. I. I could use a good rifle. I’ve also been debating between getting either a Rock Island 1911 that they have had for a while, or a Ruger Mark III. I need a .22 pistol for practicing the basics without breaking the bank, but I really want a 1911.

I didn’t buy any guns today, but while I was there, i got this:

I like my local gun shop. They have apparently started holding back a few boxes of .380ACP off each shipment for customers who bought .380 pistols from them, and to sell to customers when they buy a new .380 pistol. That last part’s just good business sense. It keeps them from losing a sale when somebody might otherwise decide not to buy that Kel-Tec (or whatever), because it’s no good without ammo.

This gives me both carry and practice ammunition for the Kel-Tec, and twice as much practice ammunition for my PT145 as I usually get. Of course, this purchase set me back $118.00.

I was leaning towards getting the Ruger anyway – need over desire, and all that – but this helped push me even further in that direction. The Ruger is cheaper than the 1911 (about $345 for the Ruger, $425 for the 1911), and I tend to get frugal after I lay out a bunch of money on something.

And I really do need a .22 to practice with. Sigh.

The "Wal-Mart’s out of ammo" meme

Well, to join the others, you see here the selection at my local Wally World.

Most of what you see there is rifle ammo. The rest is .22 and revolver ammunition (.44 Magnum and .38 Special). Nothing for semi-auto pistols at all. (The shelf on the far right, that you can only see a corner of, is shotgun shells.)

And, this seems to be a growing phenomenon, too (click to embiggenate).

I don’t normally buy ammo at Wally World. It’s actually my fourth choice when I’m looking for ammo. I try to support my local gun shop. Unfortunately, he’s been out of .45 and .380 for a while, now. He actually has a waiting list for certain calibers, and when he gets a shipment I don’t think he gets all the way through the list before he’s out again.

The other local gun shop (that’s a little farther away than my usual guy) had some .45 last month, but was completely out of .380, too.* The distance isn’t really a problem – it’s not really very far, comparatively – but their customer service is not as good as my usual place, so I don’t really like to go there. I’m just as likely to go to Dick’s. I expect a lower level of customer service there, so I’m not as disappointed.

It’ll sure be nice when this shortage is over.

* (This was before I traded the Colt .25 for the Kel-Tec, so I did get to feed both my guns on that trip. I also learned why Wolf ammo is so much cheaper than everything else – and how badly it sucks.)

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