Friday, May 28, 2010

If you camp in N.C.'s national forests, don't go "Naked", wear a .22LR

I used to camp when my kids were young, but now they're grown and gone and I oughta be camping with my grandkids. But I got a good excuse.

My sweet wife thinks camping out involves a motel room. And now I got an even better excuse. The best places to camp in North Carolina are in the many national forests, almost all of which are also designated as state gamelands, meaning residents can hunt there.

But according to state wildlife officials, that also means that national forests are not the same as national parks, therefore those citizens like me with concealed-carry permits are not legally allowed to carry despite the new national law that authorizes concealed-carry in national parks. So sez Fear & Loading, as reported in the Whiteville newspaper.
A change in federal law that allows firearms in many national parks does not include state parks and forests or other state recreational areas, including North Carolina’s game lands. According to the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of Interior, people who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. This pertains to anyone with a concealed carry permit.

National parks should not be confused with national forests. In North Carolina, the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan national forests are also designated as game lands.

“Concealed carry permits do not supersede the other regulations that apply,” said Maj. Keith Templeton, with the law enforcement division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “It is up to the individual with a valid concealed carry permit to know the law and obey it.”

Under game land regulations, it is unlawful to possess a firearm or bow and arrow on a game land at any time, except:

• During the open hunting seasons for game birds and game animals

• When the firearm is cased or not immediately available for use

• When possessed and used by participants in field trials on field trial areas

• When possessed and used on target shooting areas designated by the landowner

• When possessed in designated camping areas for defense of persons and property

Game land regulations allow .22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition, to be carried as a sidearm on game lands at any time, other than by hunters during the special bow and arrow and muzzleloading deer hunting seasons.
So bad news is I can't carry my defense pistols concealed. But good news is I can carry my S&W 22A target pistol openly. Or my Sig P229 or P220 as long as I have the .22LR slides installed.

Oh well, I guess that's better than going "naked." As I heard one instructor advise a lady shooter who carries a .32 pistol, "Better shoot 'em in the eyeball."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Neil Young rocks Constitution Hall with solo concert of old and new

When the Good Lord was passing out musical talent I musta been behind the door. I can't even play a radio without help.

But whatever lack of talent I got, Neil Young got a double dose. Like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and a few other old rockers, the man just keeps writing new songs and performing them when most of their contemporaries are either dead and gone or content to play their "oldie goldies" in concert.

Young played a solo concert in Washington, D.C., Monday with an even mix of the old and a full dose of new ballads.
He sang about war in the '70s, went electronic in the early '80s, formed a grunge superpower alliance with Pearl Jam in the '90s and sang about war again in the '00s. He'll play his hits, but you can tell his heart is always with what's next.

His solo performance Monday at Constitution Hall -- where he toggled between acoustic and electric guitar, pump organ and piano -- was a sort of compromise. Half of the set consisted of '70s classics: "My My Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)," "Tell Me Why," "Helpless." (And that was just the opening trio.) The rest of the songs were brand new, unreleased compositions that have been debuted on his current week-old tour. 
 I don't agree with his political views, but it sounds like Young doesn't even agree with himself sometimes.
"I sang for justice and I hit a bad chord/But I still try to sing about love and war," he offered in his standard warble on "Love and War," a meandering acoustic number that almost seemed like an apology for his 2006 Iraq war protest album, "Living With War."
But you gotta admire a man who has battled with epilepsy his whole career and signs in at hotels as "Bernard B. Shaky." He laughs at himself and the world and just keeps on rocking. Rock on forever Neil.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ruger Bearcat: 24 ounces of "elegant" stainless steel and rosewood

The revolver bug has truly bitten yours truly. Today I put a stainless Ruger Bearcat .22LR single-action 6-shooter on layaway.

Somebody traded in a barely used Bearcat that doesn't have a mark on it and may not have even been fired. And I couldn't resist. Let me quote Ruger on the Bearcat.
Understated Elegance. The Ruger® New Bearcat® is different from other single-action revolvers. Smaller, lighter, and based on older Remington® single-actions of the 1800's, it has a one-piece cylinder frame that also forms its compact grip. It has been described as "a mechanical jewel," and is the smallest and lightest .22 LR caliber single-action made by Ruger.
Compact and perfectly proportioned for .22 LR caliber ammunition, it is easy to carry and fits comfortably in a backpack or tackle box. Fulfilling the ideal of a smaller "kit gun" style .22 LR caliber single-action revolver, it is perfect for hikers, campers, boaters, small game hunters, or just about anyone who needs a dependable .22 LR revolver for the trail.
It's 24 ounces of stainless steel and rosewood with some of the best "understated elegance" I've ever seen. It's probably a bit too small for my big mits, but I think I can manage it. And I'm betting it's gonna be just right for my three grandsons, all of whom are already big enough to shoot, plus my two granddaughters who will be there before I know it.

How could I resist? If customers at the gun shop don't stop trading in such delightfully beautiful firearms, I'm gonna be broke for the rest of my life.

But you gotta spend your money on something, it might as well be something beautiful and functional as well. And I'm just being a responsible grandfather, taking seriously my responsibility to teach my grandchildren how to shoot, right? Whatever, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Camfour honors Texas Gov. Rick Perry with "Coyote" LCP model

Steve at The Firearm Blog posts about the Ruger LCP .380 special edition pistol called the "Coyote Special" in honor of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who shot a rabid coyote with his LCP while out jogging. The coyote attacked the gov's dog and he did what any good Texan would do, pulled his gat and took care of business.

As they say in Texas, if you ain't packin', you oughta be.

But Steve's speculation about the Coyote LCP is a bit off the mark.
The mainstream media got wind of these engraved Ruger LCP pistol that are selling in Texas and honor Gov. Rick Perry's shooting of a coyote during an early morning jog.
I have not seen any evidence to suggest that Ruger is manufacturing the pistol. I think some clever company is buying up Ruger LCPs and etching them.
That "clever company" is Camfour, one of the biggest distributors in the firearms industry and guess how they get their special-edition Coyote LCPs? Would you believe from the Ruger factory?

Camfour is like Lew Horton, Talo, Lipsey's and many other distributors, they don't make their own special-edition firearms from Ruger, S&W, Colt and other manufacturers, they just order them up from the factory with special specs. Camfour sent out a flier last week to the gun shop where I work offering the LCP Coyote Special.

Clever? Yes. Buying up Ruger LCPs and etching them? No. Distributors are like the Kenmore brand of appliances, Sears doesn't make anything, they just put their brand on various manufacturer's products.

But Camfour missed the mark in one regard with the Coyote Special. Gov. Perry's LCP was equipped with the Crimson Trace Laser Sight like the one shown at right. If you're gonna honor the Texas gov, do it right.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Two new LCR models by Ruger raise 5-shot snubby bar higher

Ruger's not resting on its laurels since the introduction of its LCR, Light Compact Revolver, which really is a new wrinkle in double-action-only .38 Special+P 5-shot wheel guns.

It's almost heresy for a Smith & Wesson lover like me to say it, but the LCR has a better out-of-the-box trigger and shoots more comfortably with +P loads than any Airweight J-frame Smith currently offers.

According to reviews I've read of the new S&W Bodyguard .38 Special with an integral lasersight, this new Smith will also include a new and improved DAO trigger, but I haven't seen one yet so I'll reserve judgment on whether it measures up to the LCR.

At least for now IMHO, the LCR has raised the bar for snubbies. And the two new LCRs being introduced raise it even higher, a model in .38 Special+P with an XS Tritium Dot front night sight and smaller, slimmer boot grips, and an LCR .357 Magnum.

American Rifleman reports on the two new LCRs.
Ruger has updated the LCR for faster acquisition and better concealment with XS® Sight Systems 24/7 Tritium Standard Dot front sight, and the lighter LCR Boot Grip.
The new front sight increases low-light acquisition and offers users a flash sight picture to increase shot speed in self-defense situations, while the LCR Boot Grip is smaller, lighter (by ½ oz) than the standard grip, and features smooth side panels and a smooth bottom contour, making the grip less likely to snag on clothing. 
The other new LCR is a .357 Magnum version with a lightweight steel frame to handle the heavier loads.
Previously only available in .38 Spl., Ruger has created a .357 Mag. version for shooters desiring more power and versatility in a compact revolver. The double-action LCR-357 weighs only 17.25 ounces and features the same friction-reducing cam and accessories as the original LCR, including optional Crimson Trace grips. 
"The new LCR-357 is perfectly optimized for the .357 Magnum," remarked Joe Zajk, Ruger's Chief Engineer for revolvers. "Its 17-1/4 ounce weight is just heavy enough to make shooting full-house .357 loads manageable, yet it is still small and light enough for discreet carry."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Sad Day at Black Rock: The last Robert B. Parker Western novel

The library called today with what is probably the last book by Robert B. Parker, which I had put my name on their list to read when it came in.

Blue-Eyed Devil is Parker's Western shoot-em-up series with the lead characters Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a pair of lawmen both officially and unofficially as they make their way through various adventures. Sometimes they're on the side of the law, sometimes not, but they're always on the "right" side of things, by their own set of inner rules.

The same is true of all Parker's characters, Spenser and Hawk in the Spenser Boston, Mass., private-eye series, Sunny Randall in the female Spenser-like series, and Jesse Stone in the Paradise, Mass., police chief series.

Parker died in January and unless he left behind more novels finished and yet unpublished, Blue-Eyed Devil will be his last book. I'm sure I'm but one of his legion of fans who will sorely miss his work. I've got a shelf-full of Spenser books and I may reread every one of them again when I get caught up with other current books.

In honor of Parker, here's a quiz on Spenser and Hawk you can take if you're familiar with his works.

1. What's Spenser's full name, and is Spenser his first name or his last?

2. What Hawk's real name?

3. Hawk once told Spenser that when he was a teen, his entire vocabulary consisted of five words, if you count what as two words?

4. What concealed-carry gun does Spenser normally have on him?

5. What gun does he keep in his desk drawer in case of a charging Rhinoceros?

6. What gun does Spenser carry when he thinks the occasion calls for a high-capacity pistol?

7. What gun does Hawk carry on all occasions?

And here's the answers to the questions above.

1. Nobody knows.

2. Same answer.

3. Initials of Hawk's two words are "M" and "F".

4. S&W .38 Special J-frame Chief's Special, no model given.

5. S&W .357 Magnum, no model given.

6. Browning 9mm, no model given.

7. .44 Magnum double-action revolver with 6" barrel, no make or model given.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sexy .44 Special with pretty wood grips almost upsets Nightguard plans

My plans to save up for a Smith & Wesson Nightguard revolver almost jumped the tracks this week. My job at the gunshop where I work is to take photos of new and used guns and list them in auctions on gunbroker and what should I find waiting on me but a S&W 296 AirLite Ti Centennial .44 Special with a beautiful set of wood grips.

I'm a sucker for .44 Specials and nice wood grips and this one has both of those fine qualities. But thankfully I have already experienced the laws of physics in motion with another S&W AirLite Titanium/Scandium alloy .44 Special revolver, the S&W 396 Mountain Lite, at bottom in the second photo which I stole from John Taffin's article on .44 Specials in Gun Digest.
Two S&W .44 Specials that
 command high collector prices now are the five-shot 696 and the 
Mountain Lite.

I got a chance to test-fire a S&W 396 I found in a gun shop in Wagram, NC, and after 15 rounds I understood why one gun writer said it should have been called the "Mountain Bite."

I test-fired it with .44 Specials of 200 grains or less as it says right on the barrel and decided against that purchase. I fired it right-handed and left-handed and either way, she bites.

So the temptation to grab the S&W 296 was one I managed to resist. Yes it's light as a feather and great to carry. But IMHO it's too light for .44 Specials of any more potency than Cowboy loads and I just don't want a carry gun I can't also enjoy shooting regularly.

I believe Tamara has mentioned on her blog that a S&W 296 lives in her purse, but since she also carries a full-size 1911 IWB, she's obviously more man than I am when it comes to both carrying and shooting pistols. 

I've only got one "carry a lot, shoot a little" pistol, my Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm and that's enough. I do enjoy shooting the PF-9 but with hot loads it is a bit snappy, plus Kel-Tec's small pistols are not built to be range guns. I've heard some complaints that after 200+ rounds they start falling apart, but that is not the case with the two I've owned, PF-9 and P-11, both of which have managed 200+ just fine.

Anyway, the plan for my first Nightguard goes forward. They are light, but not too light, with steel barrels and cylinders to go with the alloy frame and from all reviews I've read, they're also eminently shootable.

Now if I could just sell my S&W 469 "Mini" 9mm and Dan Wesson .22LR Revolver to finance the purchase of a Nightguard, whatever the model I decide upon. Anybody who wants to help me out with those sales would be appreciated.

And thanks also to all who have voted thus far in the poll at top left on which Nightguard model I should choose. There's only been one vote thus far for the S&W 396 Nightguard .44 Special and that vote was mine. It also just happens to be the only model in the poll that we actually have or have had in stock at the gun shop where I work, so that may be what I buy, not being terribly long on patience when it comes to waiting for a gun on special order. The jury is still out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rock a while with Charlie Daniels in "This Ain't No Rag It's A Flag"

It ain't quite Wear Red to Support the Troops Day yet, but in anticipation of R.E.D. Friday (Remember Everyone Deployed) rock on the morning with Charlie Daniels and "This Ain't No Rag It's A Flag"

You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

S&W Chief's Special goes with Bodyguard to Centennial celebration

It's time again for the Smith of the Week and this time I've got a triple-header, the Smith & Wesson Models 36, 38 and .40, all .38 Special snubbies and all three are "No Dash" models meaning they are the first series of manufacture before engineering changes led to 36-1 et c.

First up is the S&W 36(No Dash) known as the Chief's Special, presumably because police chiefs liked it. It's an all-blue-steel square-butt J-frame with an exposed hammer, making it a double-action/single-action 5-shot revolver.

It's later progeny are the S&W 37 Airweight, same snubby with a blue alloy frame, and the 637 Airweight, same with a stainless-finish alloy frame.

Then we have the S&W 38(No Dash) Airweight Bodyguard, a blue-alloy-frame snubby with a shrouded hammer, the little nub of a spur sticking up above the shroud allows you to cock it for single-action but protects the spur from snagging when you need a fast draw. So far as I can determine, there was no all-steel version of the Bodyguard, it began as a blue-alloy Airweight. The later stainless-alloy version is the S&W 638.

Then last you have the S&W 40(No Dash) which is called the Centennial Model, which means it musta come out 100 years from something, I have no idea from what in S&W history. It has a fully enclosed hammer and is double-action-only. It's all steel with a grip safety. The alloy version S&W 42 Airweight kept the grip safety, but the stainless-alloy version, the S&W 642, eliminated the grip safety. Don't ask me why 'cause I don't know.

So there's your quick tour of the three hammer styles of S&W snubby revolvers, Chief's Special with the fully exposed hammer, Bodyguard with shrouded hammer and Centennial with fully enclosed hammer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A10 Thunderbolt live fire training, whispering death from above

It's called unofficially the Warthog, officially it's the A10 Thunderbolt. If you're unfortunate enough to ever be in the sights of one of these deadly ground-attack jets, just lean over and kiss your behind goodbye. Enjoy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A strange long weekend for Gunbroker sales with Sunday as holiday

Gunbroker sales for the gun shop where I work run in spurts but this weekend has been even stranger than usual. Starting on Friday and through 7 p.m. Monday as I write this, we have sold 12 guns for a grand total of $9,073.95, not including shipping, credit-card fees, et c. Not too shabby for a mom and pop gun shop in the little town of Wadesboro, NC, which most folks couldn't find on a map. It probably helps that we currently have more than 700 auctions going so there's a lot of choice stuff to choose from.

And here's the strange part, that four-day period is actually only three days of sales. For some unknown reason, our gunbroker customers all got religion at once and not a single firearm was sold on Sunday. Weird.

There were several high-dollar guns in this spurt, the biggest of which was a Lew Horton Special Government Colt engraved in gold "God Created Man, Col. Colt Made Them Equal" for $1550.

In second place was a Kimber USA Shooting Team Match II 9mm 1911 for $1,399. Frankly I figured that 9mm would sit for a while, but what do I know?

Third place was a fairly well used WWII Springfield Garand with a crack in the stock for $850.

Ted Nugent speaks for 100 million law-abiding gun owners across U.S.

I missed the annual gathering of Gun Nutz 'R' Us (AKA the NRA) in Charlotte (to go shooting with friends and family) but here's a sample of what Uncle Ted Nugent had to say to the 100,000 fellow gun nuts gathered there, on behalf of the 100 million law-abiding gun owners across America.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) was formed 139 years ago. Members of this ultimate "we the people" grass-roots family organization dedicated to the self-evident truth of self-defense will gather together in Charlotte, N.C., May 14 through 16 for our annual meetings to celebrate good over evil. It is a beautiful thing. I will be there.
With NRA memberships increasing and gun and ammo sales and concealed-weapons permits surging at unprecedented rates, never in the history of mankind have more people possessed more firepower and, most significantly, carried more concealed weapons on their persons than today across America.
And the inescapable truth - as FBI crime reports and numerous law enforcement and academic studies conclude - is that more guns clearly equal less crime. Where there are more guns per capita, violent crime goes down, particularly crimes of assault, such as rape, burglary and robbery. This is good. This is what the NRA stands for. Anti-gunners, not so much.
It is indeed Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's gun-ban dream of "gun-free zones" that have proved to be the guaranteed slaughter zones, where the most innocent lives are lost every time. Think Columbine, Virginia Tech, Lane Bryant, Northwest Illinois University, New Jersey, Salt Lake City and Omaha malls, Luby's Cafeteria, Calgary University, Toronto, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Flight 93, the mayor's office in San Francisco, ad nauseam. Peace and love will get you killed, and unarmed helplessness is a welcome matt for evil. It's common sense unless, of course, your anthem goes "baaa ... baaa ... baaa."
So why in God's good name would any human being wish to force unarmed helplessness on another? That level of cruel indecency and forced victimization is incomprehensible to me and about 100 million Americans who own guns and believe in self-defense. The lunatic-fringe left won't dare touch the issue of gun control. Self-defense is the most powerful, driving instinct in good people everywhere. To deny this is evil personified.
Write this down: Gun-free zones are a felon's playground. Ban gun-free zones now. Join the NRA. 
 You're welcome. Ted Nugent for President!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

All the true patriots ain't dead yet and at least one is a gal in Indiana

"Life, liberty, and the purfuit of happiness are enshrined in our founding documents and are about the only things worth getting shot for."--Tam

Alexander Hamilton didn't say that, but he shoulda. Me too.

Ted Nugent raises the roof in Charlotte at Gun Nutz 'R' Us meeting

My biggest regret on not making the NRA annual meeting in Charlotte is not seeing Ted Nugent speak.
Few events here at the 139th Annual Meetings & Exhibits have the ability to pull people out of their chairs like a session with Ted Nugent. Uncle Ted, the Motor City Mad Man, Sweaty Teddy, all these people and more were wrapped up in the package that is Nugent for all those lucky enough to find a spot on the floor to see.
“Fix them,” he said. You have a friend that doesn’t like guns? Spend an afternoon with them at the range. Your wife doesn’t like hunting? Take her to the woods until she lands her first deer. To paraphrase Uncle Ted, there’s no one out there who can’t be saved, we just have to fix them.
“He was spectacular,” said a member from New York. “Maybe more raw than some were expecting, but hey – that’s Ted. Might not like all the words, but the message is always on target.”
Bringing people to their feet time and again, The Nuge wrapped up the event with a handful of tunes and a plea for those who protect and serve. Be they firemen, policeman, or soliders, you should treat them. Treat them to an NRA membership. Treat them to a meal. Treat them to anything and everything because these are the people who protect our lives and freedoms so we should do everything within our power to protect them. 
 Does that pose remind you of Charlton Heston? I'm sure that's what Ted had in mind.

What I did when the annual gathering of Gun Nutz 'R' Us came to N.C.

So what did I do when the biggest national organization of Gun Nutz 'R' Us (AKA the NRA) held its annual meeting in my state? I had plans to go to Charlotte to become one of the 100,000 or so at that celebration of our Second Amendment rights.

But then my daughter called and said let's go shooting. So that's what we did, her, my grandson, shown shooting my S&W 22A-1, my son's father-in-law Steve and me, having fun in my son's backyard shooting into the woods. My son was at a ballgame with my other two grandsons. That's Steve in the red shirt holding his Kimber CDP II Ultra .45 ACP and me in my shorts and Crocs, watching my grandson shoot. Big dude burned up about 200 rds. of .22LR ammo and I loved every minute of it. Loaded his own magazines and every now and then announced he needed another box of ammo. Warms the cockles of a grandfather's heart to see another gun nut growing up in the family.

I hate I missed the big NRA doings, but actually shooting with friends and family is way better than just looking at guns and stuff and talking about it. Maybe the next time the NRA is in driving distance I'll go.

Anyway, a fun time was had by all.

My daughter was interested in a home-defense handgun to go with her S&W 638 .38 Special with Crimson Trace Laser Grips, so she tried out my Taurus 65 .357 Magnum and liked it. It's been slicked up by some unknown gunsmith with a bobbed hammer, a very slick trigger job, custom wood grips and a ported barrel. The porting certainly helps with recoil and she tried it out with some Hornady Critical Defense 125-gr. .357 Magnums and declared it about the same in recoil and manageability as her S&W 638.

So she's happy and I'm happy that the Taurus has now changed homes and hopefully will get the job done if something ever goes bump in the night at her house.

And I finally got the chance to try out my new Sig P220 Compact Elite, which I picked up almost a month ago and couldn't find the time to shoot it.

The P220 Compact is a special Single-Action-Only limited edition that I got from CDNN with  ambi safety for this lefty, Elite high beavertail frame, night sights, aluminum grips and perhaps the Sig Short Reset Trigger. I wasn't sure about the SRT until I shot it because Sig's labels on their factory boxes are pretty short. If a pistol has more than one or two extras, it doesn't print on the label, it just runs off the end unseen.

But now that I've shot it, there is no doubt whatsover, this Compact P220 definitely has the SRT. I fired a few double taps and a fast string and that trigger can reset way faster than I can shoot it. Yowza!

I even compared it to what I previously have said is the best compact .45 ACP I've ever shot, Steve's Kimber Ultra CDP II. I shot them both back to back and honest to God, I'd hate to have to live on the difference between the two. They're both the very best of compact .45s on the planet, IMHO.

And the P220 Compact shoots with typical Sig accuracy with 230-grain loads, for which the sights are dead-on. At one point in slow fire, I put two .45 slugs overlapping the same hole in the red bull of an 8" target at 10 yards. Woulda took a photo but I left my camera at home.

As usual, it ran without a hiccup and even passed my ultimate test for an auto-loader, an 8-rd. magazine of four different hollow-point loads mixed up. Like Sig says, reliability to hell and back, it ate the whole magazine without a stutter. I have yet to have a jam with any of the four Sig pistols I've owned thus far (not counting the .22LR slide conversions). It's hard to complain about a record like that.

I put about 75 rds. of hardball and about 25 rds. of mixed hollowpoints through it and I pronounce it now ready for carry duty. I suspect it's gonna be first on the duty list henceforth when I load up for work.

I only have one complaint. Those 6-rd. magazines for the Compact P220 are just way too short. And same for the 8-rd. magazines. I take a shot or two or three and all of a sudden that darn slide is locked again. Is that six already? Or eight?

I gotta get me some of those Sig 10-rd. P220 magazines.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ted Nugent for President! Or Profiler-In-Chief, or King of the World

Ted Nugent is on a roll and them vicious Dalmatians better watch out!
Word on the streets of our otherwise quiet little neighborhood is that random packs of Dalmatians have been attacking kids all over town. Numerous eyewitness reports, video, citizens' testimony and documentation conclusively identifies these black-and-white-spotted dogs violently biting, maiming, and in some horrific instances, actually killing children and then viciously attacking responding animal-control officers.

In typical bureaucrat disconnect, city officials have sent pudgy, undertrained "professional" animal-control officers to the scene of the crimes, I mean "alleged" crimes, with their nets and long-handled nooses. Now mind you, all reports state clearly that in every instance, the offending animals were extremely vicious and extremely aggressive, demanding - by all common-sense considerations - a more prepared response than nets and nooses. On more than one occasion, the responding officer was overwhelmed by the sheer ferocity of the attacking animal, and being unarmed so as not to alarm the citizenry, the helpless and hapless officers were severely injured.

Go figure.

And, again, in each and every instance the attacking canines were Dalmatians, the identifying black and white spots uncontestable.

Further complicating the life-and-death need to get these dangerous animals off the streets was the official directive by the czar of animal control, that, in an effort not to offend or hurt the feelings of any innocent Dalmatians, no officer can single out or "profile" any dogs based solely on the graphic makeup of their coats. In many instances, officers have passed up opportunities to capture and neutralize Dalmatians while they looked into reports of collies and Irish setters said to be running free in the neighborhood.

Here's how the Motor City guitar player would have, and in the past has, handled such situations:
First rule from my hometown of Detroit - you don't bring a net to a dogfight. You bring a silenced .22 Magnum scoped rifle and take out the dangerous animal with a head shot at the very first opportunity.
Call me weird, but I prefer saving human lives to protecting "feelings." The alternative is extremely dangerous.
My name is Ted Nugent, and I profile. And it is good. 
In case you ain't figured it out yet, Ted has a point and it ain't on the top of his head under his beanie hat like those politically correct idiots in charge in Washington who refuse to even say we're in the war on terror.

Read the whole thing, but don't do it with a mouthful of coffee or your keyboard will be toast.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Smith of the Week: Model 52-1 .38 Spl. Wadcutter Target Pistol

It's time once again for the Smith of the Week. I bet I got one this time you've never seen and maybe never even heard of. It's the Smith & Wesson Model 52-1 .38 Special Wadcutter semi-automatic target pistol.

The sample shown is missing the original factory wood grips and instead has a set of special target grips, Fitz Accu-Riser black synthetic grips with adjustable butt hand-rest, but the rest appears to be original.

Here's my description for the gunbroker auction which I took these photos for:

Very Good Condition: Smith & Wesson Model 52-1 .38 Special Wadcutter Single-Action Semi-Auto Competition Target Pistol, 5" stainless-steel barrel, black steel slide and frame, Fitz Accu-Riser black synthetic grips with adjustable butt hand-rest, adjustable target rear sight, ramp front sight, trigger-stop adjustment screw, thumb safety, checkered rear grip frame, milled front grip frame, (1) 5-rd. magazine. Serial number is 100671. No box, no papers, original grips not available.
Here's what Bluebook says about it:
- .38 S&W Spl. Wadcutter only, similar action to Model 39, except incorporates a set screw locking out the double action, 5 in. barrel, 5 shot mag. Approx. 3,500 mfg. 1961-63.
Frankly I never heard of it either until the gun show crew brought it back from a recent show. I found an article on Shooting Times that gives the history of the Model 52.
In 1960, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Training Unit was so impressed with the performance of the Model 39, it requested that Smith & Wesson produce a similar model chambered for a proprietary cartridge it had developed, the .38 AMU, which was little more than the .38 Spl. Mid-Range wadcutter load but using a semirimless case. The new pistol was designated as the Model 52A, and approximately 90 pistols were delivered. They were used by the Army's pistol team for a short time.
S&W saw possibilities for this type of pistol, and in 1961, the company released it on the commercial market as the Model 52. It was similar to the Army pistol, except it was fitted with a longer, 5-inch barrel, used a setscrew to lock out the double-action option on the trigger, and it was chambered for the standard .38 Spl. Mid-Range wadcutter cartridge.
The company saw the Model 52 as the target pistol of the future, and great pains were taken to ensure quality. The company wanted to make sure it was the most accurate out-of-the-box target pistol available to the American shooter. One of the most prominent design features was the barrel shape, in that it increased in diameter at the muzzle so as to lock into a special threaded bushing that was screwed into the front of the slide and secured in place by a spring-loaded plunger. The setup removed all play in the barrel.
According to History of Smith & Wesson by S&W historian Roy Jinks, "To insure the accuracy of the pistol, extra rigid inspection was incorporated by having the Model 52 machine rest tested at 50 yards to insure that the pistol would shoot five-shot groups having maximum spread of two inches. Any pistol that could not meet this standard was returned to production for reworking."

Insistence upon such tight tolerances meant that production was slow, and only 3,500 units were produced by 1963.
In 1963, the Model 52-1 was introduced; it incorporated a steel frame, a new single-action trigger mechanism, and a different hammer. With its innate accuracy, excellent balance, and the ergonomic perfection of its grip frame, the Model 52-1 was an immediate success with competitive handgun shooters. Smith & Wesson labored mightily to meet demand but without sacrificing quality.
The Model 52 was fitted with a rugged-but-precise, fully adjustable rear sight. Much of the Model 52’s accuracy was derived from its precisely fitted muzzle bushing, which was held in place by a spring-loaded pin.
Now you know everything I know about the S&W 52-1, which admittedly is not much.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ruger LCR Revolver tops S&W for shooting comfort and light trigger

Brought a new friend home today, a new-to-me gently used Ruger Light Compact Revolver, or LCR .38 Special+P revolver.

There's a reason the NRA gave the Ruger LCR its Golden Bullseye Award for 2010 as new revolver of the year to "honor excellence and innovation in firearms."
The 13.5 ounce, small frame, 5-shot Ruger LCR has three main components: a polymer fire control housing, an aircraft quality aluminum monolithic frame, and an extensively fluted stainless steel cylinder. The LCR’s lightweight, chemical-resistant polymer fire control housing contains the entire fire control mechanism and provides a reduction in perceived recoil. The fire control housing’s grip peg allows for a variety of grips to be installed, and the LCR’s standard Hogue® Tamer™ grip reduces perceived recoil even further. A joint effort with Hogue, the LCR’s standard grip was designed using US military anthropomorphic data on hand shape, so the LCR can be comfortably held by a broad spectrum of hand sizes. An available Crimson Trace® LaserGrip® model offers the advantages of a laser sighting system.
Ruger LCR RevolverThe LCR’s monolithic frame is an aerospace grade, 7000 series aluminum forging treated with a black synergistic hard coat that is applied after machining. Successfully tested with over 30 different aggressive chemicals, this synergistic hard coat exceeds mil-spec salt spray tests, and offers performance considerably greater than hard coat anodizing. The monolithic frame provides sturdy, rigid support for the cylinder and the barrel. The 1-7/8″ long barrel features a 1:16 twist.
The extensively fluted 400 series stainless steel cylinder is lightweight and compact. Treated to an advanced form of Ruger’s Target Grey® finish, this stainless steel cylinder is strong, durable and designed to handle .38 Special +P loads. The Ruger LCR’s patent pending cylinder front latching system uses titanium components, optimized spring tension, and enhanced lockup geometry to ensure that the LCR’s cylinder stays locked in place during firing.
The LCR’s double-action-only trigger pull is uniquely engineered to minimize friction between the fire control components. This friction-reducing cam fire control system results in a non-stacking, smooth trigger pull. This results in more controllable shooting, even among those with smaller hands or less grip strength who find traditional DAO triggers difficult to operate.
One of the perks of working at a gun shop is getting a shot at almost-new products after somebody buys one and then changes their mind. Thus I acquired my new-to-me LCR after waiting somewhat impatiently for the first used one to come in. I say impatiently, because I already got the chance to fire an LCR and knew exactly what I was getting and why I wanted one.

A customer bought the Ruger LCR Crimson Trace Lasergrip model and for some reason the lasersight was not properly set at the factory. So I volunteered for the job to take care of that, which took an entire box of Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special+P to get the job done right at the firing range.

It was a dirty job but somebody had to do it. And along the way I learned to love the LCR, even with .38 Special+P loads, which is something you really can't say about the former head of the class in lightweight snubby revolvers, the Smith & Wesson Airweights. After about five rounds of +P with an Airweight, you're either close to done for the day or wishing that you were.

And in addition to handling those hot .38+P loads with ease, the LCR also has a better double-action trigger than any S&W out of the box, unless it comes from the S&W Performance Center.

I'm a Smith & Wesson lover, but I gotta say, this LCR tops the Smith Airweights and I'm proud to own one. I could say the LCR is the most significant new development in revolvers since Mr. Smith met Mr. Wesson. But it's not really. It is a great new revolver and it's even about $50 cheaper than any of the new S&W Airweight revolvers. It really hasn't caught on big with our gun shop customers yet and the revolver buying public as a whole, but I predict it will soon. Better trigger and more comfortable shooting for practice and when it counts, what more could you ask from a lightweight compact revolver than the Ruger LCR?

Pistol grips that work and grips that don't: Pretty wood vs. ugly rubber

There are grips that work and grips that don't. Just cause a set of grips looks good has no bearing whatsover on whether they actually work, that is feel good in the hand when you do what you're supposed to do with a handgun, shoot it.

Exhibit 1: Smith & Wesson 29-3 .44 Magnum. Came with a beautiful set of factory walnut checkered target grips.

The beauty lasted until I touched off the first round of .44 Magnum. Ouch! The checkering dug into my palm and the steel frame bit the web of my hand. Off came the factory grips and a set of square-butt Pachmayr Decelerator took out the bite completely. Not as pretty, but a lot more comfortable.

Not having any need for the factory grips, I donated them to the cause at the gun shop when we got a S&W 29 that had a set of hand-carved factory grips courtesy of the previous owner. Factory target grips sell S&W revolvers, anything else, including custom-carved factory grips, detract from sale value.

So I traded grips and brought the hand-carved ones home for a try. They had been slimmed down to finger-groove grips on the front and smoothed down from the aggressive checkering. Look a bit weird but they passed the big test. I shot them last Saturday with some full-house .44 Specials and they felt great. Haven't tried .44 Magnums yet, but so far so good.

Exhibit 2: My Charter Southpaw .38 Special came with a set of factory rubber grips. Shot fine. But I had this set of Charter wood grips I bought just because I saw them on the Charter site and they looked good.

So I tried them on the Charter Southpaw last Saturday same time I shot the S&W 29. Fail.

The knuckle of my middle finger took a beating. I might need that finger for obscene gestures, so off came the wood grips and back on go the rubber grips.

Just cause it looks good is no good reason to have grips that don't shoot good. But now I have no idea what I'll do with the Charter wood grips.

Wait, I got an idea. Charter makes .22 revolvers. They even have a convertible .22LR/.22 Magnum in a 4" barrel target model. I bet those wood grips would look good and shoot good on a .22 Charter, whataya bet? I predict there's a Charter .22 somewhere in my future. But not right now until I can get though my S&W Nightguard obsession phase.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Which S&W Nightguard is your favorite? And which should be mine?

Working in a gun shop is really bad for your financial health. I've been drooling over the Smith & Wesson Nightguard series of revolvers for some time and have finally decided I gotta have at least one of 'em.

I was leaning toward the Model 310 first, being a big fan of 10mm, then my head was turned by the Model 325 'cause everybody loves .45 ACP right? But both those have the failing of not being able to perform magic. You gotta use moon clips for any auto-pistol caliber in a revolver, no way of getting around it. That is unless you shoot .45 Auto Rim, which is really, really hard to find.

So now I have pared down the list to two calibers, well four anyway, .44 Magnum/.44 Special and .357 Magnum/.38 Special. In particular there's the Model 329 for .44 and models 327 and 386 for .357 Magnum.

The 329 is a 6-shooter that I would probably shoot only .44 Specials in. I can't imagine how little fun shooting .44 Magnums in such a light revolver would be. I don't even shoot .44 Magnums very often in my Model 29.

The 327 is an 8-shot N-frame .357 Magnum and the 386 is a 7-shot L-frame. Rounding out the list is the Model 396, a 5-shot .44 Special L-frame.

I created a poll directly above this post that will remain at the top of the page for the next week. I'll probably do something entirely different in the end, but anyway, cast your vote and give me your reasons why, if you want. My readership is paltry compared to all the big gun blogs, but I value the opinions of all 12 of my loyal readers. Or maybe it's up to 13 now. Don't be shy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Webley Mk. IV .38: World's ugliest snubby revolver ever made?

I just listed a gunbroker auction that has got to be the world's ugliest snubby ever manufactured.

It's a Webley & Scott Ltd. Mark IV .38S&W "War Finish" top-break hinged-frame 6-shooter with a 2-inch barrel.

It's a bit of a mystery as I indicated in the description in the listing.

If this Webley "War Finish" ever had any bluing, it does not now. The bore is worn but unpitted and lands and grooves are clearly defined. The cylinder locks up but not very tightly, perhaps enough to fire anemic .38 S&W safely. We have not test-fired this Webley and will not.
We don't know when it was manufactured, but according to BlueBook, production began after World War I and continued through WWII and into the '70s, so it would seem the "War Finish" refers to WWII. But it does have a very low serial number, 7010. BlueBook's listing does not include a 2"-barrel Webley Mark IV .38, but that's what this is. No C&R licenses, we ship to FFLs only.

- .22 LR (scarce), .32 (scarce), .38 S&W, or .380 cal., 3, 4, 5, or 6 (Target) in. barrel, 6 shot, wartime production exceeded 125,000, commerical production approx. 50,000. Mfg. early 1920s to late 1970s. 
 Whenever it was made, it sure is ugly. I showed it to the sweet wife after asking her if she wanted to see the world's ugliest snubby and she agreed, saying "That looks like something somebody hammered together out of spare parts." Pretty much. If this ain't the world's ugliest, I'd hate to see a snubby that's uglier.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gun Safety Rule No. 2, Russian version: No guns up booger pipes

Gun Safety Rule No. 2: Keep your booger hook off the bang switch.

The Russian cop in this story took that rule a step further, Do not use your gun to scratch your booger pipe.

An armed 23 year old policeman in Moscow fell victim of his own carelessness. He decided to scratch an itchy spot on his nose with a gun and accidentally killed himself, the Moskovsky Komsomolets reports. 

The tragedy happened in the court security facility. At 6pm the officer’s supervisor tried to connect with him over the phone to check on him. The sergeant did not answer his phone and the supervisor had to go see him with other officers.
The police found a locked door they had to break and the body of their colleague behind the door. The policeman’s body with a wound in the head was found under the desk.
The investigation ruled out a murder. There was no note that would indicate suicide.
The victim had been serving in police since 2007. He was single and was not registered with the staff psychologist. He was reported to be in good spirits on the day of the accident.
The sergeant allegedly scratched his nose with his gun and accidentally pulled the trigger.
 I'll try to remember this one for the next gun safety lecture in my concealed carry classes. H/T

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sony Ericcson K750i goes into retirement, W518a phone incoming

I said goodbye to an old friend last night and hello to a new one. I finally, after four years, bit the bullet and decided it was time for a new cell phone. I bought my current phone, a Sony Ericcson K750i, in May 2006 as an unlocked phone without a SIM card because at that time it was the only 2-meg camera-phone available in the U.S.

All mega-pixels are not created equal and I found the reviews to be correct about the Sony camera in the K750i, it takes great photos of sufficient quality to make a very good 8x10" print. Try that with your cellphone, I dare ya. It's really a great camera-phone and I have the photos to prove it.

But as you can see from the first photo here, the K750i a candy-bar design, which I had to learn to live with. As my gut has since expanded further over my belt than it was in 2006, the problem of "gut dialing" has grown worse. I gut-dialed the preacher one morning at Oh-Dark:30 while I was fixing breakfast. He is not an early riser and laughed about listening to me crack eggs, but I'm positive it did not make his day. The buttons on the sides of the K750i will speed-dial anyone and everyone on my contact list sooner or later. I check my call list daily to find out who I gut-dialed.

So after trying many different styles of belt cases and finding that none of them will stop this annoyance, I finally decided yesterday to bite the bullet and get a new phone. I had two features that were non-negotiable. Can't be candy-bar design and must have a 2-meg or better camera.

I got on the AT&T wireless site last night and picked out a new Sony Ericsson, just because I like to stick with a brand if it works. Also, I discovered to my chagrin that clam-shell phones are going out of style in favor of the candy-bar design with touch screens. Imagine what my gut could do with a touch-screen. I'd be calling China hourly.

But AT&T did offer a Sony Ericsson in a clamshell design with a 3.2-meg camera. Done deal.
My new Sony Ericsson W518a was shipped sometime last night by the folks at the website who apparently never sleep, according to an email I got this morning. The "W" stands for Walkman as this model is also a music phone, but all I want it to do is make calls and take good photos.

As it has a 3.2 megapixel Sony digital camera I'm hopeful will be as good and maybe even better than the long-lived

And maybe the phone will also work in West Virginia and New York state, which for some unknown reason the K750i would not. I guess it doesn't like hill billies and Noo Yawk Yankees. Being as I have some cousins in West Virginia and my wife's family has a summer home in Noo Yawk State, that little quirk was definitely an annoyance I can do without.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

When in Chicago, lean over and kiss your *** goodbye

It's so obvious any fool already knows it -- except the pointy-headed liberal gun grabbers -- when guns are banned, only criminals have guns. Case in point, the city of Chicago.

The city's troubles are so extreme that a pair of state lawmakers are calling on a fellow Democrat, Gov. Pat Quinn, to deploy the National Guard to help restore calm. The latest figures show that Chicago had racked up 122 homicides for the year, exceeding the 116 killings over the comparable period in 2009, a very bad year. Among the top 10 U.S. cities, Chicago is within shooting distance of advancing from second place to win the dubious distinction of being the U.S. murder capital. It's no coincidence that the Windy City is already the U.S. gun-control capital.

Since 1982, Chicago has banned the private ownership of handguns and rifles by requiring a convoluted registration process designed to be impossible to complete. Exceptions to the rules enable politicians and their personal friends to own and even carry handguns - but nobody else. This unconstitutional scheme has been a colossal failure. Before the ban took effect, Chicago's murder rate had been falling relative to the nine other largest cities, the 50 largest cities, the five counties that border Cook County, and the United States as a whole. After the ban, Chicago's murder rate rose relative to all these locations. During the first 19 years of the ban, there were just three years when the murder rate was as low as when the ban started.

And what grand and glorious mecca of utopian idiocy does our feckless leader-in-chief call home?

XM-25 25mm next-gen rifle headed to Afghan battlefields

The Army's on-again, off-again XM-25 "game changing" high-tech small-arms wonder weapon is finally on again, headed for it's first test on the battlefields of Afghanistan, sez.
ABERDEEN TEST CENTER, Md. -- The Army is set to send its high-tech "counter defilade" weapon to the war zone in the next few months, the first real-world deployment for the much-anticipated XM-25 Individual Airburst Weapon.

Officials announced May 5 that a group of Army Special Forces Soldiers will take the weapon with them to Afghanistan sometime this summer.

During live-fire demo here, Soldiers shot the Heckler & Koch-made XM-25's high-explosive rounds through the window of a simulated building, showering "enemy" mannequins inside with lethal metal fragments.

Afghanistan veterans who fired the weapon for the first time this week predicted it would be a "game changing" weapon, a gun that can engage Taliban insurgents using distant ridge-tops, thick mud walls and tree lines as cover.

"It brings, right now, organic to the squad, the capability to defeat targets that we're seeing everyday in Afghanistan -- targets that we can't currently hit," said Col. Doug Tamilio, project manager for Soldier weapons with the Army's Program Executive Office Soldier. "It will save Soldiers' lives, because now they can take out those targets."

While labeled a grenade launcher, the XM-25 is much more than that, Army officials say. It's a precision direct, and indirect, fire weapon system that combines an array of sophisticated sensors, lasers and optics with a microchip-embedded 25mm high explosive round.
I'll probably be waiting a pretty good while before we get one of these in the gun shop. And then waiting an even longer while until the new wears off and we get a good used one I can buy. Who am I kidding, I couldn't even afford the 25mm ammo for this high-tech terrorist killer.

But I can dream. And our troops will be kicking some Taliban hindquarters well and truly.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remington returns to the pistol business with yet another 1911

For those who love 1911 pistols, and their numbers are legion, Remington has finally jumped back into the pistol business after an absence of eons.

Remington made 1911s under military contract during World War II, but the last handgun it made for the civilian market was in 1926, according to BlueBook.
MODEL 51 SEMI-AUTO- .32 ACP or .380 ACP cal., 8 shot (7 in mag., 1 in chamber), hard rubber 2-piece grips with company's name, black finish. Approx. 65,000 mfg. 1918-1926.
So now Remington has introduced the new model 1911 R-1, a plain Jane military throwback and launched a new website to promote it.

We haven't got one yet at the gunshop where I work but frankly I'm not exactly on pins and needles waiting for it. I'll take my 1911s with double-stack magazines and ambi safeties, thank you very much. My pair of Paras, small P12 and large P14, both customized by C&S, are about all the 1911s I want at the moment. Of course, there is that Para Carry 12 with the LDA trigger...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Advice on concealed-carry from Mas Ayoob and Clint Smith

Massad Ayoob begins at the beginning in this excerpt from his book on concealed-carry handguns.
One can’t carry a concealed weapon without having a concealable weapon. Some are suitable for the concealed carry task, and some are not.

We can’t cover every possible choice here. A swing through the Krause catalog will show you whole books on the 1911, the Glock, the SIG-Sauer, the Beretta, the Smith & Wesson series, etc. al.

The competent shooter loses little going double-action-only  with a snubby.
The competent shooter loses little going double action only with a snubby. This old M/36 Chief Special with Herrett stocks made 5 out of 5 head shots at 20 yards single action (left) and double action (right)
Other good choices from Paladin include Living with 1911s and Living with Glocks by Robert Boatman, and the outstanding The Snubby Revolver by Ed Lovette. I think Lovette’s book should be read by anyone who owns or is thinking of owning a “snub-nose.” It puts the whole genre in perspective.

As noted earlier, it’s more convenient to have a “wardrobe” of concealable handguns, but it’s not entirely necessary.

Generations of young cops have learned that it’s cheaper to buy a concealment holster for their full-size department-issue service handgun than to purchase a whole new gun and leather set for off-duty carry.

Similarly, many armed citizens have learned that the full-size handgun they bought for home protection is concealable if they set their mind to it.
My personal favorite illustration of that last point, conceal-carry of a full-size handgun, is Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch. Clint's choice for a pocket pistol is a S&W 29 .44 Magnum 4"-barrel wheel gun with a bobbed hammer. Obviously Clint likes cargo pants with great big front pockets.

As Clint sez, "It's a big gun when I put it in my pocket and it's a big gun when I pull it out."

Sorta like the famous saying that everybody wants a .25 ACP to carry but a .44 Magnum when they pull it out. But I gotta admit, I ain't man enough to tote my Model 29 in my pocket.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Smith of the Week: Model 57 .41 Magnum Part Deux

Now I'm really confused. To follow up on my Smith of the Week, here's another Nickel Model 57(No Dash) .41 Magnum I just listed on gunbroker, identical to the nickel one in the previous post.

Except for one thing, the grips. It has walnut checkered target grips, vs. the smooth glossy wood grips of the other Nickel Model 57.

And I still have no idea which one is the "special oversize Goncalo Alves grips" referred to by BlueBook.

And who the heck is Goncalo Alves, and are his special oversize grips smooth or checkered? Or is Goncalo Alves a kind of wood instead a guy who makes grips? Is Goncalo Alves to Smith revolvers what Pau Ferro is to Sig Sauer pistols? Lemme ask google.

Yep, sez Wikipedia, apparently it grows in the same South American clime as Pau Ferro.
Goncalo alves is a hardwood (from the Brazilian Portuguese name, gonçalo-alves). It is sometimes referred to as zebrawood or tigerwood — names that underscore the wood’s often dramatic, contrasting color scheme, that some compare to rosewood.
So I'm guessing based on that info that the smooth grips are the Goncalo Alves and the checkered grips are the traditional S&W walnut target grips. So is BlueBook wrong about genuine Model 57s only having Goncalo Alves grips? If I have to type that name again, I'm gonna puke.

This wouldn't be the first time I've found BlueBook's info not to be all inclusive. With so many models and variations of guns made by so many manufacturers, it would have to the Blue Set of Encyclopedias to cover them all. If any of my minuscule circle of readers can help me out here, feel free to chime in. I'm definitely proving that I'm no expert on S&W .41 Magnums.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Smith of the Week: Model 57 .41 Magnum DA N-Frame Revolver

Once again it is time for, drumroll please, the Smith of the Week, in my continuing self-education program on the many and varied flavors of Smith & Wesson handguns.

This week I have a sampling of a Smith I don't own and may never own unless a rich uncle dies, the S&W Model 57 .41 Magnum N-frame double-action/single-action 6-shot revolver.
- .41 Mag. cal., N-Target frame, 6 shot, 4 (disc. 1991), 6 or 8 3/8 (disc. 1991) in. barrel, blue or nickel finish, micrometer rear sight, special oversize Goncalo Alves grips, shrouded extractor rod, "S" ser. no. prefix 1964-68, changed to "N" prefix during 1969, 44-52 oz. Mfg. 1964-1993.
The Model 57 is the upscale version of .41 Magnum by S&W with adjustable target sights, versus the Model 58 with fixed sights. And the three 57 samples I am showing, blue and nickel 4" barrel models and a blue 8-3/8" barrel one, are all "No Dash" models meaning they are among the first Model 57s made before any engineering changes.

Note that one has smooth target grips, the other checkered target grips. I have no idea which one is the "special oversize Goncalo Alves grips" referred to by BlueBook, the checkered grips or the smooth grips. I am fairly certain the Pachmayr rubber grips on the 8-3/8" barrel model are not factory grips. But seriously, I have some Pachmayr Decelerator grips I bought for my S&W 29-3 and they sure make shooting .44 Magnums a lot more fun than the factory target checkered walnut grips.

And the last one shown in a S&W 57-5 Mountain Gun, which is different from the other Model 57s by a skinnier barrel, making it lighter and easier to tote on mountain hikes where you might encounter a four-legged or two-legged creature with murderous intent.

The three "No Dash" 57s all share pinned barrels and recessed chambers which are highly prized by Smith collectors.

Exactly why someone would want a handgun which has no engineering changes, which are presumably done by the engineers to make a handgun safer and more effective, I ain't got a clue. Maybe it's the famed Winchester Model 70 syndrome, wherein after 1964 engineering changes were made to lower production costs.

Never mind that level-headed gun writers who have tested and hunted with post-'64 Model 70s all acclaim it as a more accurate shooter than the pre-'64 models.

So on that basis, and the basis of a very skinny wallet, I shall stay away from "No Dash" Smiths and purchase the less-expensive dash models, as funds allow.

Let me sum up with some numbers.

The S&W 57(No Dash) Nickel 4" barrel can be yours for a mere $995.95. The S&W 57(No Dash) Blue 4" barrel can be yours for a mere $950. The S&W 57-5 Mountain Gun 4" barrel can be yours for a mere $800. And the S&W 57(No Dash) 8-3/8" barrel can be yours for a mere $900.

On the other hand, which has five fingers, I purchased my S&W Model 29-3 .44 Magnum for a mere $450. No pinned barrel, no recessed chambers, but she shoots like a dream. Plus I can shoot .44 Specials a lot cheaper than .44 Magnum, not to mention a lot more fun.

If I should find a S&W 57 I can afford, I'd still have the problem of ammo. The cost of .41 Magnum is even higher than .44 Magnum and not as available. And there is no such thing to my knowledge of factory .41 Special ammo. I'd have to become a handloader to do that and quite frankly Scarlett, I have neither the time nor the inclination to venture into that arena, not to mention the scariest words in the English language to me being "Some Assembly Required."

I'm a tool klutz and I know it so I very seriously doubt I'll ever be a handloader. I'm not sure I want to trust somebody else's handloads but I know for sure I wouldn't trust my own life to my own handloads. One absent-minded second and Boom! Whatever happened to that Myers guy?

And even if all that's aside, I already have way too many pistol calibers I'm trying to feed, .22LR, 32 Short and Long, .32 H&R Magnum, .327 Magnum, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .357 Sig., 9mm, 10mm, .44 Special, .44 Magnum and .45 ACP. I need another pistol caliber like I need another hole in my head.