I’ve owned expensive rifles from top-end gun makers like Rigby, Jeffrey, and Griffin and Howe, but rifles don’t necessarily have to feature superb walnut, skilled engraving, or lots of hand work to be functional and pleasing.
I recently bought a little sporterized Model 1898 .30-40 Krag carbine for about as little money as you can spend these days and obtain a rifle that shoots.
What prompted this particular purchase was a lot of Krag carbine shopping on on-line Gun Auction sites in order to replace an old NRA Krag carbine my father acquired decades and decades ago. That old Krag must have a shot-out barrel because it produces 2-foot groups at 25 yards.
I have tried cleaning it and then shooting it again several times, but its accuracy didn’t improve. I have often thought of getting rid of it, but its action is so smooth, its carbine length is so handy, and the whole ensemble has a historic charm so potent that whenever I handle it, I can’t bring myself to part with it.
I thought of getting it sleeved or rebarreling it, but it seemed obvious that I could go and buy replacement Krags all day and spend less money. So I decided to buy another Krag carbine.
This one is sporterized, i.e. someone removed the upper handguard and the military ladder sight, then added a Redfield 102 aperture receiver sight which required no drilling. The Redfield just inserts into the hole used by the magazine cut-off and then locks into position with a set screw.
It’s probably my specific age that causes me to find guns from the period of the early 20th century, a few decades before I was around, terribly romantic and evocative. These old Krags were very popular out West. Krags shot best with round nosed 220 grain bullets and made good rifles for elk and bear.
The Krag gets a bad rap in the literature. The conventional wisdom is that the Spaniards’ 7×57 Mauser was the better rifle. And people generally find the Krag’s box magazine, sticking out on the right side, unprepossessing. Myself, I seem to have a weakness for the Krag action. Sure, Mausers and Springfields are better, but the Krag is slicker. That action may be weaker, but the fewer the bolt lugs, the smoother it works. And the action is certainly strong enough for the cartridge it was built for.
As to the box magazine, I absolutely love the crisp, military sound it makes when you snap it open or slam it shut. It is not the most intuitively obvious or logical magazine design, I will admit, but I suggest looking on it as a luxury item. Can you even begin to imagine what it would cost to get that magazine manufactured today, all that milling, all the hand-fitting?
I watched this amusing video yesterday. You know, there is a certain distinctive PING! associated with working the action of the Krag.
Bob Owens tells us that rush to stockpile guns is still heavily underway where he lives. People are lining up at the local gunshop and the shelves are empty.
I took my daughter to preschool this morning, and on the way back I drove past my local neighborhood gun store.
The owner was standing out front talking to the first customer in line as the clerks inside finished setting up for the daily rush. They would open promptly at 9:00 AM. The speed limit is just 25 MPH in that part of town, and I caught a red light as well, so I had plenty of time to count the number of people in line.
There were 25 souls patiently queued up from the front door down the sidewalk into the parking lot. This is the new normal, and has been for months. Sometimes the line is shorter, sometimes it is longer, and on days that it is cold and rainy, people sit in their vehicles until the store opens, but there is always a line.
I drop in every few weeks or so. Some of the more senior clerks there know my face if they can’t recall my name; this is the FFL (federal firearms licensee) that I most often used when a manufacturer transfers in a rifle or pistol for me to test and evaluate. I haven’t been inside in two weeks, but the last time I was there was the same as it has been from mid-January onward.
There are no AR-15s, no AK-pattern rifles, no M1As, no FALs, nor anything else that might reasonably impersonate a semi-automatic rifle. For that matter, there are no Garands worth their price, nor Enfields, nor Mosins.
Likewise, the glass handgun cases have largely been empties of service pistols. There are still a few, but most tend to be painfully expensive or the dogs that no one wants. Magazines for all of these are gone, of course, as are most common calibers of ammunition.
How much longer will this go on? ...
In my estimation, this is the most heavily-armed the American people have ever been. I’m including the World Wars.
This video is hamming it up a bit by using footage of ladies who have obviously not been properly familiarized with how to hold or use those shotguns, but it certainly delivers an effective rebuttal to the Vice President. Obviously, not every woman who one day finds herself needing to defend herself and her home is going to have previously acquired good shotgun handling skills.
All over the country people have been stocking up on guns and ammunition, leading to inventory shortages nobody has ever seen before.
It has only gotten worse recently, post-Sandy Hook, but even back in December a gun rights blog was reporting that inventories were at astonishingly low levels.
Ammunition Stock levels have fallen by more than 90% from the pre-Election Day levels. Less than 10% remains available. Available Ammunition links will be updated throughout the day.
Handguns are down by 80%, Long Guns by 63% for an overall 72.2% reduction in firearms inventories.
AR pattern rifles are becoming particularly difficult to source.
The Chattanooga Times-Free Press reports that this month, ammo shelves are commonly empty, police departments report months-long delays in receiving their ammunition orders, and it is becoming difficult to source reloading supplies.
They didn’t know when they’d be getting anything back in stock, from magazines to rifles to pistols. Manufacturers were running full-bore, but couldn’t come close to keeping up with market demand. It wasn’t just the AR-15s, the AK-pattern rifles, the M1As, and the FALs that were sold out. It really hit me when I realized that the World War-era M1 Garands, M1 carbines, and Enfield .303s were gone, along with every last shell. Ubiquitous Mosin-Nagants—of which every gun store always seems to have 10-20—were gone. So was their ammo. Only a dust free space marked their passing. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Every weapon of military utility designed within the past 100+ years was gone. This isn’t a society stocking up on certain guns because they fear they may be banned. This is a society preparing for war.
Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein and the rest of the Statists have done more to promote gun ownership than the NRA ever did. Well done,
One journalist reckoned that if Munden had been at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, on October 26 1881, the gunfight would have been over in 5 to 10 seconds. He could whip out his Colt .45 single action revolver (as used by John Wayne), shoot a target and replace the gun in his holster in .0175 seconds, and over his lifetime he won more than 3500 trophies, 800 championship titles and bagged 18 world records in speed-shooting.
Munden’s accuracy was deadly. He could burst two balloons six feet apart in what sounded like a single shot and split playing cards — edgeways. He might not have been quite as fast as the French cartoon character “Lucky Luke”, the cowboy who could “draw faster than his shadow”, but Munden’s audiences sometimes needed slow-motion action replay to convince them that what they had just seen was not a trick.
Munden was so fast that it was generally agreed that he could draw and easily shoot down an adversary holding a gun on him every time. In fact, Munden was so fast that he could have drawn his gun from his holster and shot down an opponent who was actually in the process of pulling the trigger. The other guy would still have lost.
George Armstrong Custer’s Personal Army-Issue Model 1865 Spencer Carbine
A good friend from Yale, Tom Slater (JE ‘72), is Director of Americana at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. An email update from that auction house reports that Tom has outdone himself in putting together a really spectacular group of offerings for Heritage’s December 11th & 12th Western Americana auction
The undoubted highlight of the sale is George Armstrong Custer’s personal Spencer repeating carbine, bearing his name scratched on the buttstock, and frequently mentioned in his accounts of hunting. The bidding starts at $50,000; but, even with recession clouds still lowering over Obamistan, it will probably go much higher.
[T]he Spencer carbine offered here pre-dates his Fort Abraham Lincoln period, it does date from the Indian Wars, and could quite possibly have been with him at the Battle of Washita.
It was part of the legendary collection of Dr. Lawrence A. Frost of Monroe, Michigan, who at one time had what may have been the most extensive private collection of Custer artifacts and relics ever assembled. A signed identification tag in Frost’s hand which accompanies the gun identifies it as a “Spencer Carbine – Saddle Ring / Cal. 50, No. 3658, Model 1865 / ‘G. Custer – 7 Cav USA’ cut into wooden stock…Used by Gen. Custer in Kansas in 1867 campaign.” ...
Dr. Frost purchased the carbine in 1955 from Howard Berry. A notarized bill of sale describes the gun in detail. In a 1973 letter (a copy of which is included in this lot), Frost refers to purchasing various Custer items from Berry, whom he describes as “a former 7th Cavalryman”. Frost states that he showed them to James Calhoun Custer (a nephew of Gen. Custer and son of Nevin Custer), and that Custer assured him he remembered these items which had been shown to him by his father who stated that they were the General’s.
Custer used a wide range of military and commercially available firearms over the course of his career, but he had a special familiarity with Spencer carbines. During the Civil War his Michigan regiments were armed with Spencers (Carbines of the U.S. Cavalry, John McAulay, p. 32). As the war ended, a new Spencer model was issued to the army with a more powerful 56-50 cartridge (Spencer Repeating Firearms, Roy Marcot, pp. 80-81). When the 7th Cavalry was formed in 1866 (Bugles, Banners and War Bonnets, Ernest Reedstrom, pp. 1-2), the Spencer Carbine became standard issue (Carbines of the U.S. Cavalry, p. 88), and was in use by them until replaced by the Sharps carbine in 1870 (Carbines of the U.S. Cavalry, p. 95). In his 1980 book, Nomad, George A. Custer in Turf, Field and Farm, Brian W. Dippie reproduces an 1867 article written by Custer in which he describes in great detail a buffalo hunting expedition. He describes learning that pistol shots “only seemed to increase (the buffalo’s) speed.” Accordingly, Custer wrote, “I concluded to discard the use of my revolvers and trust my Spencer carbine” (p.117). The example offered here, serial #3658, is the 1865 model and should not be confused with the Spencer rifle gifted to Custer in 1866; that gun has never surfaced (Spencer Repeating Firearms, p. 152). The presentation gun would have been the 56-44 sporting model.
Custer’s regard for his Spencer carbine is evidenced in his own words in his autobiography, My Life on the Plains, where he writes: “Leaping from my bed I grasped my trusty Spencer which was always at my side” (p. 77).
Found in John Alden’s house, built in 1653 using material from an earlier house erected in 1632, at 105 Alden Street in Duxbury, Massachusetts “in a secret protective cubbyhole near the front door of the home” during a 1924 renovation, this wheel-lock bears makers’ marks on the lock and barrel indicating it was made by the Beretta, family of Brescia, Italy, known to have been in business since 1526.
It is the only firearm brought over on the Mayflower known to have survived and it is preserved today in the collection of the National Firearms Museum operated by the NRA.
A highly-provocative, must-read thread for those likely to go fishing or hunting in Grizzly Bear country from the Box O’ Truth’s discussion forums. (Firefox misinterpreted this as an attack site, which it is not. I just ignored the warnings.)
The bear came upon us on a creek at about 50 yards from the ocean. We were sitting, shooting the breeze. My friend fired first, hitting the bear in the left upper chest, it turned and ran at full speed around a bend. I popped up and shot as it passed through a small opening about 20 yards after it was first shot, about 1 second later. I hit it low in the left shoulder as it was running with it left paw extended towards the rear. The bear rolled another 15 or 20 yards, but was out of sight from our position. He let out a death bellow shortly after my shot. We waited 15 minutes before turning the corner and we found him dead.
We were both shooting the .375 H&H. CM was using the 260 Nosler Accubond and I was using the 260 gr. Nosler Partition. CM’s frontal shot hit high on the heart and my shot was low. ... Both bullets exited from the same hole. ... Remember, after a shot through the heart the bear went from a standing start to 35 MPH and had covered 20 yards in 1 second. Only after a second shot through both shoulders and the heart did it stumble.
CM’s bullet disappeared into the rear of the animal and mine went through the left shoulder, not breaking the bone, hit a rib, went through the heart/lungs exited the chest and stopped in the right shoulder, not breaking the bone.
We were in a race with the tide so we quickly skinned the bear and ran (staggered) a mile back to the cabin. The next day I went back to perform the autopsy. Something (many) had been feeding on the carcass and had eaten the bloody portion of the right shoulder including the bullet – one big bite. The next day another bear came and picked up the entire carcass, several hundred pounds, and walk off with it with out leaving a drag mark, presumably up the creek and into the alder where visibility was about 10 inches.
So, I think a grizzly bear is tougher than ballistic gelatin and a bullet that would penetrate 12 inches of jello would not penetrate 12 inches of bear shoulder. Therefore a side shot on a bear through the shoulder with a handgun cartridge would not make it into the chest or, if it did, would not have enough energy left to do much damage. Same bad news from the front. Even if the bullet eventually killed the bear it would not die in your life time which would only be another few seconds.
It has been determined the factor which determines your survival after a bear encounter – death vs being mangled – depends upon if the bear can get your head in its mouth.
They go on to discuss whether a hail of pistol bullets from a conventional large magazine handgun would work in such a crisis. I had John Linebaugh build me one of his 5-shot custom Bisleys chambered for the .500 Linebaugh cartridge. That pistol can send a 450 grain bullet downrange at 1300 fps, but the recoil is ferocious and I’m not sure exactly how fast I could hope to get back on target for a second shot. Not all that rapidly, I expect. All this is a very intriguing, and potentially a matter of life-and-death, debate.
Whenever a murderous shooting spree like the recent movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado hits the news, liberals don their tall, pointed thinking caps and start prescribing more gun control.
It escapes the liberal thought processes that disarming peaceful law-abiding citizens is pointless, and anyone prepared to violate laws against homicide is going to be willing to ignore laws prohibiting firearms possession as well. Liberals theorize in an imaginary setting, completely different from the real world, in which it is only necessary to adopt a regulation or pass another law, and “So let it be written, so let it be done!” Pharoah’s will is totally effective and accomplished. No one simply ignores it.
In the real world, of course, banning things that people want, liquor, drugs, gambling, prostitution, cheap immigrant labor, or guns, never works at all because people then go and buy the illegal good or services on the black market. Large American cities with the strictest gun control laws typically also have the highest crime rates.
People like NYC Mayor Bloomberg believe that the problem is that their authority just isn’t wide enough. If their gun bans could only be spread across the country, then there wouldn’t be any guns. It escapes Mayor Bloomberg’s attention that drugs are banned across the country, and you can still find plenty of illegal drugs in NYC.
A universal gun ban would be widely resisted and evaded. People would hide guns in their houses and bury them in their backyards. You’d have to invade and search every house, office, factory, and garage in the country to search for and confiscate guns, and you’d still never successfully get them all.
Liberals do not seem to realize that you can make a primitive gun which will actually fire from an old automobile antenna, a board, a rubber band and a couple of nails. In Afghanistan, in primitive village operations, people successfully fabricate working copies of bolt action Mausers and Enfields, full-auto-capable M-16s and AK-47s, grenade launchers and full-sized machine guns using simple hand tools, producing most parts by hand filing. An American with a garage workshop and Dremel tool set could do even better.
Mark Gibbs, in Forbes, however, reports that notions of restricting access to guns by fiat have just lately become even more preposterous and out-dated than ever. We have reached the tipping-point of technology in which the ability to produce physical objects like the receiver of the AR assault rifle will soon become effectively within everybody’s reach.
A fellow writing as Have Blue used a readily-available and not-terribly-expensive 3D printer to produce the lower receiver (the part that counts as the machine gun, the part that you have to register and pay tax on to the BATFE) of an AR in plastic resin. His example was scaled down in size to .22 caliber, and he may only have printed the semi-auto version receiver not requiring the full-auto federal registration and tax, but the principle has been demonstrated.
We are momentarily going to be living in a world in which it will be perfectly possible for the private individual at home to produce the same fully automatic weapons which once required factories to manufacture using a personal computer, a 3D printer, and a few dollars worth of materials.
Hat tip to Glen Reynolds (who is still the best in the business).
A photo of a gun-wielding, bikini-clad woman standing on a crowded Tel Aviv beach has become an Internet sensation, with thousands of viewers curious about whether the brunette beauty is part of Israel’s military and why she wasn’t in uniform with her weapon in tow.
The young woman, dressed only in a black-and-white string bikini, was captured chatting with a friend, rifle (with its magazine removed) slung casually behind her back. Though there’s no uniform to identify her, the woman appears to be part of the Israel Defense Forces. Two years of IDF service is mandatory for most Israeli women at age 18. Men serve three years.
The photo was viewed 650,000 times in one day and was posted on sites including Facebook, Reddit and Gizmodo under titles like “Only in Israel,” and “Badass Chicks in Israel Don’t Go To the Beach Without Their Assault Rifles.” It garnered a series of lascivious comments from male admirers but almost as many questions about the IDF’s weapons policy for off-duty soldiers.