Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I shot the PMR30 and it was pretty awesome. It barely had any recoil. the magazine release is strange though, instead of being a conventional heel release, the heel has a button that must be pressed towards the magazine as opposed to the normal heel catch magazine release that requires the user to move the release away from the magazine.
Now, onto the P32. I shot my new gun with three brands of ammo. I first tried Prvi hollow points. The gun shot fine. After a magazine of hollow points, i decided to switch to Prvi FMJs. The FMJs did not work well. I went through a couple of magazines full of the FMJs and the gun just wouldn't fully eject. The gun wasn't stovepiping, but the brass was not fully ejecting from the gun. I also noticed a fair amount of unburned powder on the magazine follower after shooting this ammo.
Next, i went to try Fiocci FMJ. This was the cheapest ammo out of the bunch. The gun shot great with this ammo. Zero failures whatsoever. I'll be buying a lot more at 10.95 a box.
I was pleasantly surprised that the hollowpoints worked. I got a box at $16 as more of an experiment than anything else. I don't know if I will carry the gun with FMJs or hollowpoints. I debate the ability of 32s to expand in real world situations. I think an FMJ load would penetrate better. I'm honestly not worried about over-penetration with this caliber.
As far as the actual handling and shooting of the gun, I like it. The gun feels cheap. its very plasticky. If the magazine is not in the gun, I can squeeze the plastic grip panels together. The gun just feels very lightweight and fragile, a feeling I've never gotten from a Jennings/Bryco/Jimenez JA22. I guess I'm just oldschool when it comes to my love of guns that are made from metal and wood.
The trigger on the P32 is vastly different from any other small guns I've shot before. The P32 is double action.... kind of. After the slide is racked, the shooter can pull the trigger. The travel of the trigger is rather long, but it works in a good-feeling sweeping motion. I wouldn't consider it a true double action because when I think double action, I think of being able to pull a trigger, then pull it again. The P32 isn't like that. After the slide is racked, the trigger can be pulled resulting in the hammer going back then releasing it all in one fluid motion, but if you pull the trigger again for a follow up shot, the trigger does not work the hammer. I'm just very used to having a short single action trigger on small guns. This is similar in size to a Jennings or Raven, but the gun is vastly different. This is the smallest gun I've ever shot that doesn't have a fixed barrel. The floating barrel is cool, like a bigger gun would have, but it seems like an expensive way of building guns. George Jennings pioneered the small fixed barrel design in the late 1960s with the Raven pistol. Those Ravens could be made cheaply and cranked out by the zillion. I wish this Kel Tec had a fixed barrel because it probably wouldn't have cost so much.
Overall, I'm pleased with my $60 purchase. I will be carrying it often.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Since that event, I always recognized the woman who'd forgotten to give me back my license. I regularly teased her about it. At a later show, I met her husband. Over the years I purchased a few inexpensive guns from him, including my first Jimenez pistol. Each show i would ask the couple how business was going, what was new, and other small talk. I also saw them at gun shows in other parts of the state.
A couple of mouths ago, I was asked if I could help them sell guns and accessories at an upcming Chantilly show. We did not discuss payment, but I knew these people would treat me well. After dealing with them for several years as a customer, i was quite confident these folks wouldn't screw me. In the gun show circuit, if you screw over somebody, others at the show will definately be hearing about it. Having a good reputation gets a vendor far in this business, often getting referrals from other dealers across the show.
Let me give you a little background information about the Chantilly show. Until a few years ago, there was a waiting limit to buy a handgun in some parts of Virginia. Each county, town, or city could decide whether or not they wanted a wait period on the sale of a handgun. Fairfax County (with over a million residents) decided that handgun buyers shouldn't be able to get their handguns in one single visit to a gun shop. Because of this waiting period, many people interested in buying guns would drive an hour or so to a nearby county that did not have a waiting period. Because of the waiting period in Fairfax County, no one wanted to hold a gun show in the area.
There was change in the legislation of Virginia in 2004 or 2005 that said municipalities and counties could no longer preempt state firearm laws. All wait limits on the purchase of handguns were eliminated, as well as a few other gun rights issues such as the bans on open carry that some areas (such as Alexandria) had on their books for decades.
Shortly after the waiting period was eliminated, the first gun show in almost half a century was held in Fairfax County. The capital expo center (also known as The Dulles Expo Center) was once a Sam's club and a Builder's Square. Both of these big box businesses failed and the land sat dormant for a few years. The two vacant buildings were then turned into show halls sharing a parking lto area. At times, The Nation's Gun Show occupied one building while a vintage militaria and surplus show occupied the other structure. These two-fer gun shows offered visitors over 1,500 tables of guns, ammo, accessories, jewelry, leather, and jerky.
The regular Nation's gun show offers 1,000 vendor tables and occurs about four times a year. Wealthy people from Northern Virginia are known to go into these gun shows with money burning a hole in their pockets. I have observed that the Chantilly show has higher prices than shows in Fredericksburg or Doswell, likely due to the fact that the clientele of a Chantilly show will likely pay the higher prices. People in northern Virginia (the wealthy part of the state) can afford to pay more than people living in other areas of the state and vendors definitely capitalize on that fact.
I worked THe Nation's Gun Show on November 19, 20, and 21 of 2010. The Chantilly shows are always open on Friday afternoon at 3pm while also offering the more conventional gun show times of 9-5 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. I worked all three days, totaling 21 and 3/4 hours of labor. During the course of the show, I sold a few handguns, a shotgun, and countless accessories such as cleaning products and holsters. Many of the business transactions done at gun shows are cash, so by the end of each day working at the show, I had a decent wad of cash in my pocket. This money was my boss's money, not mine, so I had to make sure I kept my money in a different pocket.
On the second day of my 3 days working at the show, my boss and I discussed my compensation for working. The couple I was working for had already given me a Jimenez Arms JA32 as advance payment for the gun show, but he said that he would pay me more. I was doing a great job, required no training, and saved him some money versus him bringing someone with him from his part of the state. When he has brought people from his area, he had to pay for a hotel room and to feed them. Because of the expense of room and board, the workers were only paid $50 per day. Since I was local and didn't require a hotel room, I was told I would get $75 a day or an equivalent trade in guns.
Later that day, I told a fellow vendor that his price on a used Kel-Tec P32 was way too high. The gun had significant slide wear and did not come with a box or any paperwork, but the vendor still wanted $275 for it. Elsewhere at the show, brand new P32s were selling for about $240. After telling the vendor's assistant that his price was high, the vendor lowered the price to $175. I believe the gun was just mismarked. When I showed interest in the gun at it's new lower price, the vendor's assistant said that he could work on the price a little bit because friends help other friends. Although the gun seemed appealing, I also wanted to make some money at the show to spend on Christmas presents.
The following day, I discussed the small 32 with my boss. He said that since my Jimenez JA32 had a value of about $125 and he was planning on paying me $75 per day, he would still owe me $100. He said that if i wanted to (no pressure of course), I could put in $60 of my own money and get the gun. At $160, the gun seemed like a good deal considering I'd only be paying $60 for it. Because of the minimal investment, I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on the deal. Yes, that pun was intended.
I wrote about my negative experiences with Kel-Tec products elsewhere in this blog, but I thought that I might as well give the P32 a try. The gun looked well-used, so I assume it was carried a lot. If someone trusted it enough to carry extensively, I bet the gun functioned well. In hindsight, the gun could have broken and been sold off, but for a mere $60 out of pocket, I was willing to take my chances.
Over the course of that weekend, I learned a lot. I learned that the gun business isn't an easy way to make money. Some of the people that patrons see selling guns at gun shows are doing the show circuit for extra money to supplement their gun shop or pawn shop elsewhere in the state. Others do the show circuit as a way to survive, traveling around the state weekend after weekend for much of the year. I would not like to work over twenty hours over a period of 3 days, then have to drive home a good 4 hours. I have a lot more respect for these gun show sellers than I ever have before.
Many gun show patrons attend shows because they are a fun experience. I have always enjoyed standing in line during the fall or winter months. I would usually get there an hour before the opening of the show, freezing my ass off, waiting with excitement to see the newest models on the market or to see where prices had gone on my favorite calibers and brands of ammo. This stuff interests me. It isn't just a hobby for me, it is a passion.
For the people standing on the other side of the table, gun shows are not fun. They area a way for many hard working and honest people to put food on the table. Being on the seller's side of the table, I really got to see the whole gun show experience in a vastly different light. I used to try and haggle with certain sellers for a better price, whether it was to get them to throw in the tax or get something like a holster thrown in on the deal. After seeing what these people go through every weekend and how low their prices have to be in order to stay competitive, I will never again try to dicker with these people about a few bucks. Their prices are already good to begin with, far cheaper than any of the local brick and mortar gun shops. Yes, $5 off of a gun is $5 saved, but everyone has a right to make a living. I sincerely believe that the majority of the sellers at these shows are there out of necessity, not to just make a little extra money for their business.
I don't know if I'll ever work another show again. I haven't been on my feet working on a concrete floor for many years. Back when i worked retail (and weighed a good 50 pounds less), i could handle being on my feet for 8 hours at a time without hurting too badly. Working desk jobs for the past several years didn't exactly prep me for the gun show circuit. Working the biggest gun show in the state was definitely a great learning experience, but I would like to spend my weekends doing other things. I told my bosses that I would work for them at future Chantilly shows if they really needed me, but I have no intentions of making my employment with them a regular occurrence. Overall, I'm glad I experienced at least one gun show from the other side of the table.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I have a few problems with the GSG-5. The gun has a ton of parts. It is built more like an airsoft gun or a BB gun rather than a real firearm. The number of parts in this gun has got to be over a hundred. Many die cast parts are held together with nuts and bolts. It would have been slightly more expensive to have parts threaded to accomodate a fastneer, but they decided to use nuts and bolts instead. The design utilizes multiple recoil springs that ride on metal studs. These studs became worn down in a short amount of time on my gun. Also, the front sight fell out while shooting. The front sight blade is tiny and so is the screw that holds it in place. I was shooting at an outdoor range, standing in a gravel area while shooting. I never did find the missing parts.
I never would have purchased a GSG-5 if I'd done some research. If i had seen an exploded diagram of the firearm, i would have never purchased it. There are just too many parts, which means there are a lot of possible points of failure. Not only failure, but also a ton of fastenrs to get loose over time. The gun feels very plasticky and the buttstock is not only hollow, but also composed of a very thin plastic that does not fit well. The buttstock has way too much wobble to shoot the gun accurately at long distances. The stock fittment has gotten worse over time.
The gun looks amazing, but it feels cheap and isn't reliable. I will be sending this gun to Rochester New York for warranty repair sometime soon. It has been sitting in my collection, broken, for a couple of years now, so I think it is finally time to get it fixed. If the technicians at the repair center can't get the thing working reliably, I'm going to sell it.
There are a couple of morals to my story: Don't buy something right hwne it comes out. You are likeley to have a problem that didn't get ironed out in pre-roduction. Don't anticipate quality just because of the product's price. Also, don't buy a gun until you've seen an exploded parts diagram.
The PLR-22 really appealed to me. I saw a scary looking 22LR and had to have it. The gun was a huge disappointment. I paid about $315 for it at a local gun show. The dealer i bought it from had only one and i was lucky enough to get it. I wanted to be the first kid on the block with this gun. I wanted people at the range to ask me what it was. I love having the newst thing which everyone is taking a look at while I'm shooting. There is a price to be paid for being the first kid on the block with the newest gun...
I should know better than to buy something right when it comes out. It is a better idea to buy something when it has been on the market for a little while because you want a good, reliable product that works. It sucks when a company uses its first consumers of a particular product as a guinea pig. That makes for unhappy customers and a tarnished reputation. Comapnies just don't spend enough on quality control or research and development.
I really think Kel-Tec dropped the ball on the PLR-22. The design isn't great. When the gun jams, brass commonly goes above the bolt and gets lodged behind the bolt. With a piece of brass behind the bolt, the bolt can't go back far enough to function correctly. Having to take the gun apart multiple times on the firing line to get rid of stray brass was nothing short of embarassing. Also, the chamber is extremely tight. Rounds do not fully go into the chamber. Because of that, the gun routinely fires out of battery, causing shards of brass to fly out of the ejection port.
It is a bad design to make a gun that will fire when the bolt is half open. The firing pin is inside the bolt, but there isa hammer behind the bolt which is part of the trigger assembly. The hammer can be released when the bolt is most of the way open actually. Not safe and definately not cool.
I contacted Kel-Tec to return the gun for warranty service. I explained in my email exactly what problems the gun was having. If i wanted to ship it to them for service, I had to pay the freight to get it to them. Since I am not an FFL holder, I would have to send it overnight to the warranty department in Florida. This would cost me over $50. Wow, $50 spent on a gun that should have worked in the first place is pretty frustrating. My $315 gun all the sudden was going to cost me $365.
THat isn't the only horror story of Kel-Tec. A good friend of mine got a PF9 right when it came out. THe gun was pretty sweet on paper. A relatively high capacity 9mm pocket pistol that's super slim and relatively small in size. It sounded pretty sweet, but it wasn't. The gun's magazine release was made of plastic. Because of that, the magazine would start to release itself while firing after a period of 200 or 250 rounds. No gun should be failing like that at such a low round count. This problem made the gun unusable aside from being a single shot firearm. As a carry gun it was worthless because it would only fire one shot.
The story of the PF9 got better. After my friend shot the 250 rounds or so, he took it apart to clean it. There was a portion of the frame which had broken away. The representative from Kel-Tec told my good friend to not worry about the broken portion of the frame. On newer PF9s, this portion of the frame has been removed. The PF9s I've seen at local gun shows have that portion of the frame removed, but it was obviously done later in production, as an afterthought. The gun looked as though someone had hacked out the problem area with a dremel tool. The finish around this area was obviously hacked away by a small die grinder, after the metal had been finished.
Word on the street is that new PF9s are being sold with a metal magazine release. I guess it took a bunch of pissed off customers to get Kel-Tec to make that magazine release metal, what it should have been to begin with.
Because of the failures I saw between my personal PLR-22 and my friend's PF9, I can't reccomend a Kel-Tec to anyone who asks me about them, soeley because of my first-hand experience with Kel-Tec products.
I still don't know if I can trust guns from SCCY. The offerings from SCCY is basically a knock off of the Kel-Tec P11. I don't trust Kel-Tec guns in general, so I am very hesitatnt to trust a knock off of Kel-Tec. It does look amazing though, and its hard to argue with it's good looks.
I pick up all the brass that I see, even if I don't reload that caliber or even have a gun in that caliber. A lot of brass I see on the firing line is berdan primed, stuff that can't be easily reloaded. The brass is still worth something in scrap value. 7.5 Swiss as well as 7.62x54R brass is rather heavy, so a relatively small number of shell casings can add up to a few pounds worth of brass.
The scrap yard I go to offers a dollar and thirty cents per pound of brass. Even if you save 22s, it can add up after a while. It costs nothing to keep it, aside from a small amount of space. Call me a cheapskate, but I've got a solid $20 worth of brass waiting for the scrap yard that didn't cost me a dime.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
In the box of magazines I found a lot of neat stuff. I don't know about you guys, but I really like rummaging through boxes of shit at gun shows and pawn shops. I just enjoy trying to identify magazines. In the box I saw at least 5 of the single stack AK mags from Romanian clinton-era WASR and SAR rifles. There were a bunch of used Glock mags as well as some old metal magazines. the ones I could identify were Tokarev, CZ52, Star 9 Largo, and some 1911 mags. Also, there were at least five 380 mags for bryco/jennings/jimenez 380 guns. I wish I had seen this box-o-mags when i was buying my friend a new magazine for his bryco 380. I also saw a couple of the Davis/Cobra 32 and 380 mags as well as some 22LR magazines for rifles. I picked out a few that struck my eye and went to ask what they'd cost me.
I put the 5 magazines down in a row on the counter infront of the employee. He asked the boss, who promptly came over. The boss looked at them for a second, paused, then said "40 for all, with tax it'll be 42." I had to think about it for a second. I'm not that quick when it comes to doing math problems. I was quickly trying to do the math in my head to figure out how much that'd be per magazine and then decided I'd take 'em. For those of you who don't want to do the math, that's 8.40 per magazine with tax included. I didn't get the change part of the equation, but I knew they were eight-ish bucks each.
I went to pay for them and my girlfriend said she'd get them for my birthday. Good stuff. Here's a breakdown of what I got: the one on the left is a very late Bryco arms J22 magazine or a Jimenez arms JA22 magazine. The next is an early to mid production Jennings/Bryco J22 magazine. You can tell because it has the large window. Both mags have black followers. Replacements are available through cheaperthandirt (sometimes, they've been sold out for a good 6 months) for like 7.99 each for aftermarket mags. Both of the ones I got are the real deal, not aftermarket. To get mags from jimenez they're either 12 or 13 each plus a flat shipping of $5 per order.
Next up are two Makarov magazines. These are either Russian or Bulgarian. Since they're not electropenceled with a gun's serial number and have a rather good finish, they're probably from a commerical production Russian Makarov, namely the Baikal IJ-70. I know for damn sure they're not German because the German ones have a bumpout where the bottom of the follower hits the floorplate when the mag is fully loaded. These have a notch in that place that goes all the way to the floorplate, no bump. They cost $18 each plus shipping from keepshooting.com.
Next on the list is a Browning 22 magazine. I bought it thinking it was for my Buckmark, but it didn't break down the same way as my other Buckmark mags do. The ones that came with my Buckmark have a slide off floorplate. This one has a crimped floorplate. To get the thing apart i had to slide the follower all the way down, then slide out the little nub commonly used to retract the follower while loading. Because of this, I think the mag may be from the precurser to the buckmark, known as the Challenger or Challenger2. Here's the good part: that magazine costs 27 new from midwayusa, not including shipping.
If I went to buy these mags, I would've paid 24 + 36 + 27 plus shipping on each order. that's $87 plus shipping of 10 to 15. The crazy part is at gun shows I see magazine sellers trying to get like $15 for raven or davis mags and $16 for jennings j22 mags which aren't even original equipment. The prices on mags at gun shows can be totally nuts, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, this pawn shop seller really hooked me up. This was probably because I've been in there at least ten times over the past 2 years. Its good to know people.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
the CZ82 has some great, modern features available at an attractive price. ambi mag release, ambi safety (1911 style), and a double stack magazine. in my eyes, a lot of features for about $250 at your local gun show. that $250 will get you a gun with two magazines and a holster. not bad at all.
the CZ does have some downsides though. there are a lot of parts, so there are a lot of possible failure points. the more parts you have, the higher the chance is that something will fail. fifty five parts, not including the magazine. just the magazine release is five parts. to take one apart for cleaning, you're going to need a screwdriver, hammer, a couple of punches, and a small flat screwdriver, dentistry pick, or thick paperclip.
the beauty of the Makarov PM is in its simplicity. i consider the Makarov pistol basically the AK of handguns. sure its heavy, single stack, and relatively low capacity, but its simple and it works. there are some clever features to the Makarov's design which makes it far superior from an engineering standpoint. the mainspring is also the magazine release. that's one part doing two jobs. another part that does multiple jobs is the ejector, which is also the slide lock.
the really amazing part about the Makarov is how easy it comes apart. remove one screw (the only screw the gun has) holding on the grip and after that, you can take the gun apart without any tools. no punches, no screwdrivers, none of that. if you care to remove the trigger guard you can punch out a pin, but who ever needs to do that?
my hat is off to the designer of the Makarov. truely one of the most simple, rugged, and robust firearms designs ever.
the cz82 can't go without applauds though: it has many modern features at an attractive price, cheaper than any surplus makarovs on the market right now.
Monday, July 19, 2010
- Lorcin Engineering
- Davis Industries
- Sedco Industries
- Cobra Enterprises
- Sundance Industries
- Heritage Manufacturing
- Talon Industires
- Kel Tec CNC
- Taurus Manufacturing Incorporated
- Harrington & Richardson Incorporated
- Magnum Research Incorporated (some people know magnum might have something to do with guns)
- Sturm Ruger & Company
- Kimber Manufacturing
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Milled Recievers are the nicer AKs. They're just too expensive. The cheapest milled AK on the market right now is a Polish model available from Century Arms for about $650. These guns feel much more solid than your average stamped AK. the bolt carrier just feels so much more solid.
The other design features a stamped reciever. Stamped reciever guns are less expensive than milled guns. These are available from several countries such as Bulgaria and Romania. because they are made utilizing a flat piece of steel that's then bent, welded, and riveted into shape, the whole gun is much cheaper to build than a milled gun. It may sound like a lot of work, but the cost of materials and machine work is still cheaper than taking a block of metal and having it sit on a series of expensive milling machines that drill out all of the necessary gaps in the metal.
It is widely held that stamped AKs are not nearly as accurate as milled reciever guns. Milled guns don't twist and flop around like stamped guns do, which leads to better accuracy.
If you're on a budget, go ahead and get a stamped AK. They're a little loose feeling, but they're much cheaper, costing only about $400.
Saigas are made in various calibers including 223 Rem, 7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, 7.62x51mm (.308 Win), and shotgun calibers .410 and 12 gauge.
I don't understand why people convert Saigas unless they're in 308 or shotgun calibers. Doing a Saiga conversion on a gun in 7.62x39 or 5.45x39 seems like a total waste. For what it costs (in both time and in parts) to make a Saiga look like an AK, you could've bought an AK instead: a gun that is what it is, not trying to be something that its not. If you want to get an AK pattern gun in 7.62x39 or 5.45x39, go for it! get a real AK, a WASR for $400 out the door or a Polish Tantal AK74 for just a little more. The WASR and the Tantal are real AKs, not some fooled around with wanna-be AK.
I totally understand converting AKs in .308, .410, and 12 gauge because you can't get an AK pattern with that evil pistol grip. The conversion itself is rather involved, not just dropping in a few parts. The conversion requires drilling out rivets, grinding out welds, and refinishing the unfinished portion of the underside of the reciver. If you have one of the .308s, .410s, or 12 gauges, go for that conversion! If you've got one of the other calibers, go ahead and get a real AK. No conversion required for the same money or less.
The Albanian SKSs are easily identified because of their forestocks which have a longer section of wood covering the gas system than other SKS models. The bolt handle on these models feature a smooth hooked place for the operator's finger to chamber a round while all other SKS bolts have a rounded, knurled bolt handle.
Romanian SKS rifles are rare. They look like Chinese SKS rifles, but are imported from Romania.
Chinese SKS rifles were made by Norinco. The Norinco company is still in business, but they don't import many models to the United States, thanks to trade agreements by former president Bill Clinton. Norinco SKS rifles are the cheapes in the US makret because there were a ton of them sold in the 1990s, imported by various countries. The market is still rather flooded with them, hense the low price compared to other SKS variants. Worthy of mention are the SKS-M and SKS-D rifles, which accept double stack AK magazines from the factory.
Yugo SKS rifles are a strange design. Either you love them or you hate them. I used to hate the look of the Yugo SKS rifles, but the design really grew on me. The grenade launcher attachment as well as the jungle gym styled grenade launching sights make the gun look particularly busy towards the muzzle end. Yugo guns are the only guns currently being brought into the country and can be had for about $325 at gun shows, but they often sell out quickly.
Russian SKS rifles are in my opinion the most beautiful SKSs ever produced. Many of them had laminated stocks which often exhibit great coloration. Russian SKSs have a reciever cover with a star and the year of manufacture, so its easy to date a Russian SKS as long as that cover hasn't been replaced.
SKS rifles in general, no matter what country of origin, are a great way to get into shooting the 7.62x39mm caliber. For $300 to $450, you get a milled reciever rifle capable of surprising accuracy considering the distance shortfalls of the 7.62x39mm cartridge.
For 9mm handguns, it wouldn't really matter what, as long as the gun works well and is relatively high capacity. When i say high capacity, I think 15 rounds or more.
I like AK rifles because they don't need any upkeep and they'll always work with whatever garbage cheap ammo you can find to feed through them. The reliability in adverse conditions is unparalelled. Covered in mud, sweat, blood, and more, it'll still work just fine. I want a gun with a near zero failure rate if the shit ever hits the fan.
The other popular assault style weapon in this country is the AR-15 platform. These guns have something going for them: ammo availability. If we were in a situation where the military was deployed stateside to try and wrangle the populous, there would undoubtedly be 5.56mm ammo floating around. Having a self defense firearm that takes the same ammunition as the cops and military have would be a huge benefit in such a situation.
The lee Classic Loader is very basic. I chose to reload the 38 special round because the overall length of each cartridge isn't important because they're being used in a revolver. Other cartridges, such as those used in semiauto guns, sometimes headpsace on the overall length of the casing. If your handloaded cartridges are too long, the base of the cartridge can protrude from the barrel and cause an explosion because that rear section of the brass is not adequately supported while firing, often causing case ruptures. 38 special isn't a necked cartridge, its straight like a piece of pipe, not tapered. This means that i can reload with little effort and reuse the same brass many times before stressing the brass ot the point of failure. Being held into the cylinder by a rim, the overeall length of the 38 special really isn't that important because they'll still fit in the cylinder.
The Lee Classic Loader requires the use of a hammer to produce loaded ammo. The process is loud and slow, but it works. My initial loads did not function well, but i'm still unsure whether that was an issue of a poor burn rate of powder, partially contaminated primers, or a crimping issue. There are two schools of thought on my possible crimping issue. Either i way overcrimped the brass, causing a big pressure buildup before the brass lets go of the projectile, or I did not crimp the brass enough to let the necessary pressure build up.
In all, it has been a great way to get into handloading and being cheap doesn't hurt either.
7.62x39 is a necked down caliber used in soviet firearms such as AKs and SKS rifles. There have been a few bolt action offerings, but the majority of the guns available in this caliber are semiauto.
Both the 7.62x39 and the .30-30 have proven themselves as good deer killing caliber.s They each have their pros and cons. The .30-30 is more expensive and almost always brass-cased. Because of this, most of the .30-30 brass is boxer primed, and therefore reloadable. .30-30 is perfect for a shooter who's reloading. For one who doesn't reload, go for 7.62x39mm.
7.62x39 is everywhere. Its at every gun show, right alongside .223 and 5.56mm. This ammo is cheap too, costin ga little over $200 for 1,000 rounds. That sure beats the $12 minimum spent for a box of 20 rounds of .30-30. The cheap steel cased ammo broguth into this country is not reloadable in most cases (except for Golden Tiger) but its cheap. The ammo is so cheap that it outweighs any benfit from buying brass-cased ammo, holding onto the brass, and maybe reloading down the road. My advice is to go with the 7.62x39 because you can shoot a real rifle round for the same money as shooting cheap 9mm.
9mm Largo is a completely obsolete cartridge. No one currently manufactures loaded ammunition for this caliber. Some poepl ehave reformed brass from other calibers to work in 9mm Largo barrels and others acquire and shoot surplus ammo.
The surplus ammo on the market right now is stuff made by the Santa barbara Ammunition Factory in Spain in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The earlier stuff is corrosively primed. The Largo ammo I've seen has had extremely hard primers. Even after being shot, the primers don't show a dent. The primers do have a mark on them, a scuff on the metal, but they aren't indented like the primers of any ohter ammunition I've ever encountered. I assume the Largo ammo I've been exposed to was designed for use in machine guns because machine guns often are fed ammo with hard primers to prevent a double-firing condition.
As with any surplus ammo, there are bound to be some click bangs and duds. This was apparent with some of the Largo ammo I've shot, but one vintage in aprticular caused more trouble than others. I assume my friend got a bad batch or the ammo was stored improperly sometime during its 40+ year existence.
I like 9mm largo, but there's really no reason to have it. Other calibers have come out such as 40 S&W, 10mm, and .357 Sig which take the place of this obsolete caliber.
I've got some experience with the Marlin 39 as well. the Marlin 39 has been in constant production by the same company for over a hundred years now. The 39 is a great, expensive-feeling 22 rifle. This gun is also tube fed with a nice feeling lever, but not as smooth and slick as that of the Henry rifle.
The Henry is less expensive than the Marlin, but there's a reason for that. To take apart the Henry, you need a screwdriver, hopes, and prayers. The guns truely aren't designed to be taken apart. The manual says that you just need to clean out the ejection port and clean the barrel as you would with any other gun. I'm sorry folks, I like guns i can clean. I take apart my guns. That's just how i am and there's no changing me. I took apart the Henry Golden Boy once before i sold it back to the guy iI got it from. It came apart like your average BB gun, with plenty of pins, springs, plastic bits, and cast aluminum. I got the gun back together, but it took a while and i felt like i was performing heart surgery the whole time.
The Marlin is more expensive, but it is a nicer gun. You get what you pay for. Its better thought out and better laid out than the Henry. The Marlin comes apart, bolt and all, with no tools. That's a great design and I applaud them for their design. You can tell they spent some time at the drawing board designing a gun that can be easily taken apart for cleaning. With 22LR being a drity round, the ease of disassembly is a huge factor that I keep in mind when gun shopping. A gun loses major points in my book if it needs tools to take apart or if its horribly complicated once taken apart.
If you want to save money, get the Henry. It looks great and the lever action is by far the smoothest i've ever felt. The Henry shoots fine, but the Marlin seems like its a gun that you can pass down to your children, a gun that'll outlive you. Being made of all steel and not utilizing any Zamac aluminum (same alloy used to make "saturday night specials"), i feel that the Marlin is the most soid 22 on the market. Its horribly overbuilt and consumers are obviously willing to pay a premium for that or else it wouldn't be in production. The henry on the other hand is a very nice, slick gun, but the reciever is made of aluminum, along with some small interior bits. I just don't see those little parts lasting as long as parts made of steel.
If you don't mind spending real money on a sub caliber gun, get the Marlin. It'll outlive you.
The Star BM is the only gun in Star's lineup that i have much exposure to. Its a short, compact 1911 style pistol. It utilizes a single stack magazine and holds 8 rounds of 9mm. They were used by some police departments and military units in Spain. Because of that, some BMs have made their way to the states as surplus through Century Arms in the 1990s. These guns were in OK shape, but often times sported plenty of finish wear.
There were also plenty of good Star BMs made by Star specifically for the US market. These guns have no duty wear and the bluing on the guns is of a much higher quality than that of the surplus guns. I have also shot a 1911 style Star pistol in 9mm Largo. The interesting thing aobut their 1911 clones is that they lack a girp safety, something seen in more traidtional 1911 designs. The lack of a grip safetey doesn't bother me much. A grip safety is one less thing to break in my eyes. The best safety is keeping your finger off the trigger. Its pretty hard for a gun to go bang if your finger isn't even in the trigger guard. Long in short: keep your meat hook off the bang switch and you'll probably be fine.
When it comes to calibers, I choose guns chambered in calibers that are easy to find. 9mm and 22LR are my favorites. Every gun shop, sporting goods store, and walmart has it. Everybody and their brother makes it, and its inexpensive. On the other hand, oddball calibers such as .45 GAP are never cheap. 9mm is cheap because a huge part of the world uses it. Its a NATO spec caliber and has been adopted by most armies worth their salt around the globe. Because of this, the whole world makes ammo. You've got choices: and with choices come competition for sales. Compeittion brings the price down because people are striving to sell a lot of their product. If you sell cheap 9mm, you might only make a few cents per box on the stuff, but if you sell it by the truckload because people want cheap 9mm, you're raking in the profits.
Why would you ever get a gun in 45 GAP? There are very few guns to choose from anywya. Springfield came out with the XD in 45 GAP, but it was discontinued a short time later due to poor sales. Who else makes a gun in .45 GAP? Of course! GLOCK, because they're the ones that developed it.
New calibers are conjured up for one of two reasons: the manufacturer is either trying ot make a superior product (in size, recoil, accuracy, power...) or they're trying to make money. If they can, both of those facotrs (superiority over other calibers and a chance for profit) will be met. I'm not really sure what GLOCK expected with this one, besides to make money on the deal. By getting customers to buy their highly-revered GLOCK pistol chambered in an expensive caliber means GLOCK is making money not once, but twice. Sure they made money when they sold the gun, but they're going to make more when people go out to buy ammo. There is an Achilles heel to this situation: when people wise up and don't buy the gun.
GLOCKS sell well. Its a well-known fact. Their GLOCK pistols chambered in 45 GAP do not sell well at all though. I've seen them brand new for $400 at gun shows as well as being advertised in Shotgun News about 7 or 8 months ago. The guns must not sell. I bet FFLs who ordered them are now trying to just get them off their hands. A gun on the shelf doesn't make a penny. Selling a slow-moving gun and freeing up that cash to spend on other (hopefully faster-moving inventory) would better suit any business conscious gun dealer. I bet the FFLS that were selling off 45 GAP pistols were taking a loss on each and every one of them.
Why would anyone buy one in the first place? I don't understand why a gun owner would curse themselves with getting a gun in a rare caliber. It never took off as the designers originally intended. GLOCK wouldn't have invested millions in developing a new caliber to just have it in their gun. With offerings such as .45 ACP, .357 Sig, and .40 S&W, there's no reason to buy .45 GAP. If the ammo was as cheap as 9mm, they'd sell a ton of guns in that caliber. Sadly, that is not the case. They need to recoup their research and development costs somehow. Now, for the poor guys who actually bought guns in .45 GAP, they're stuck with buying overpriced ammo from only a few sources.
Even though they may be the cheapest deal in the GLOCK lineup, don't buy one. If you want a similar ballistic profile, get a gun in .45 ACP or .357 Sig. As far as I'm concerned, the .45 GAP is already an obsolete caliber.
Our gun industry is great. As a country, we produce some of the best guns in the world. I just hope that tradition continues. A major factor keeping the American gun manufacturing industry alive is import regulations on firearms. We simply can't get pocket guns from overseas anymore, which is why companies like Jennings, Bryco, Calwestco, Davis, Lorcin, Republic Arms, Leinad, Cobra, and Jimenez are in business.
I like to buy American. I have an American-made vehicle and i chose to buy domestically produced firearms whenever possible, especially when it comes to purchasing new guns. I own very few imported firearms. I've never purchased a foreign-made gun brand new, ever. Why? I want to do my part to keep America Working. Why should my dollars be going to an overseas company? Even if some of those dollars are being retained by a middleman or importer stateside, the vast majority of the expenditure is not contributing much to our economic figures.
Who is going to buy this rifle? the late 20s, maybe early 30's meat head male who wears Tapout or Ed Hardy shirts. The kind of guy who makes decent money but drives a cheap car and goes to the gym a little too much.
I certainly won't be buying one. Even if i were in the market for a $1,500+ rifle, it wouldn't be anything offered by Kel Tec. Its not that they have a horrible reputation, but think about it like this: they're known for making inexpensive, decent quality handguns. They've never made high quality (or high dollar) guns, certainly not top-shelf black rifles. If i'm going to spend my money on a high-dollar rifle, it'll have an established name brand.
When i think of this new rifle, i can't help but compare it to cars. a $1,500 Kel Tec rifle would be about the same as spending $60,000 on a Hyundai. Sure, Hyundai may make a decent car, one step up from a Kia, but its still not great. No one in their right mind would pay $60k for anything made by Hyundai. While approaching the guy at the valet line (at your favorite country club or nice restaurant), he's going toask you what kind of car you've come to pick up. Well, do you want to tell him you have a Mercedes.... or a Hyundai? my point exactly. There is something to be said for buying a Mercedes: they've made luxury cars for decades. That's what they do, they do it well, and that's what they're known for.
Sure, a $60,000 Hyundai may be a tremendous value, it could be like a Maybach on the inside, but as they say in the south "It is what it is": still a Hyundai.
Some may ask: Well what does Kel Tec have going for itself in this situation? well, they might have a pray in getting a government contract for special ops or SWAT teams on a local governmental level, but that's only giving them a leg up on others because the Kel Tec is made in America. That will win brownie points with a lot of government workers.
Kel Tec has gone out of their comfort zone with this one. This is not a $400 Sub2k rifle, its not a small handgun either; its a high dollar luxury tactical rifle. Will it sell? I'd like to see them do well, but i honestly don't see this product taking off with a shocking MSRP of $1,880. Best of luck to them, but if I were them, I'd go back to doing what I know, and what people know me for: inexpensive pocket guns priced right.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
for this project, you'll need a few supplies:
- a book thick enough for your gun (not a children's book or anything interesting looking)
- a few razor blades or razor knife (for cutting the pages, they'll get dull)
- Elmer's glue (to glue the edges of the pages)
- water (to mix with the glue)
- bottle cap (or something else to mix the glue in)
- small paint brush (smaller than mine)
- weights (we used a stack of books and old magazines)
- pen or pencil (to mark where you will cut)
- cardboard (i'll explain that later)
there were also some optional items which really made life easier:
- chip clips (binder clips or big paperclips would work well)
- straight edge (we used a CD case)
ok, now onto the good part; doing the project. We did two books, one for each of us. Both of us love small cheap "saturday night special" type of guns, so we cut out books to fit our favorite pocket guns. Since we were going to be concealing the same model gun, we used the same template. I took out my gun, made sure it was unloaded, then put it ontop of a piece of cardboard and traced around it. I made the template a little bit larger than the line I'd traced. Idid this so the book could accomodate a larger gun if needed. Also, if we'd cut out the book the exact same size as the gun, it would have been hard to get the gun out.
While I was making the template, my girlfriend mixed up the glue. She used Elmer's glue and water (about 50/50) and mixed it in a large bottle cap. A bottle cap was great for this project because there was nothing to clean up, just throw it away.
when opening the book, we wanted to have a few regular pages before getting to the gun. We used thin cardboard (from an old package of crackers) to segregate the pages we didn't want to glue together. the easiest way to glue the pages was to just go around the perimeter of the book, gluing the edges together. After gluing, put the book under a weight. In our case, we used a stack of books and magazines. The stack of magazines was surprisingly heavy. After an episode of COPS (my favorite), the glue was dry and we were ready to start cutting.
Chip clips are good to hold the pages back that you didn't glue together. They're not necessary, but they do make things easier. Binder clips or big paperclips would work too.
Using the straight edge (CD case), I made the first cut with a razor blade. The blades for this project were sharp, brand new blades. Its really amazing how cutting paper can dull a blade in just about no time. We used razor blades instead of a pocket knife or something like that because of the thickness of the razor blades. They're so thin that they're great for detail work. No sharpening either, just throw them away when they get dull.
Both of us started cutting on our books using the same method. we each would cut a few pages at a time, then lift them out. The corners were an issue for us. Its hard to cut contours, especially when getting deep in the book. Tweezers helped get the corners right, but aren't a necessity.
To save time, i used a chisel and a hammer to get some of the pesky corners. By cutting several small lines next to eachother, I was then able to go in with the tweezers and pick out pieces of paper. This was a tedious job, taking us over two hours. We watched TV and talked while working on our books.
After cutting enough pages to fit the gun into the book, its important to glue the inside edges. After cutting all those pages, they started to get curled up towards the top. This made the book appear fat, like there was something in it. By gluing the inside edge of the pages in the same way that the outside edge was done, then placing a weight ontop of it, the pages were glued in place nice and flat.
Total cost for this project was very inexpensive. We picked up the books from a "free" box infront of salvation army. The glue and paint brush were about four bucks together. I had the razor blades, but if you had to go out and buy them at the hardware store they'd be a couple of bucks. Its a cheap project and a good crafty thing to do with your significant other.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Colt: Challenger, Anaconda, Python, Peacemaker, and King Cobra.
Star: Firestar, Megastar, and Starfire.
Smith & Wesson: Combat Magnum. Let me say that the folks at S&W managed to put together the best name in the history of firearms. Two of the greatest words in the english language put together to name one superb handgun.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Many states have adopted legislation allowing people to get concealed permits. With this, there's been a huge thirst in the market for small, concealable pocket-sized guns. Since there is a general consensus among firearms enthusiasts that .380 is the bare minimum (debatable) for defensive shooting situations, the demand for small guns in this caliber has skyrocketed.
In just the past few years, guns such as the Ruger LCP, I.O. Hellcat, Magnum Research Micro Eagle, Diamondback DB, Taurus TCP, and Sig 238 have come on the market, all chambered in .380. Because of this, the once somewhat obscure cartridge has had a surge in demand, which has caused ammo prices for this particular caliber to go through the roof.
The .380 is the perfect storm. Why? because of its ballistic profile. Using ball ammunition, the round penetrates extremely well in a defensive situation (such as being fired from a relatively short barrel and impacting a target covered in a few layers of clothing). The problem is that it penetrates too well. On the other hand, when hollowpoints are implemented, their expansion is iffy at best. Which would you like when carrying your favorite 380? overpenetration (which endangers those other than your intended target) or questionable penetration? take your pick.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The major players in 9x18 are the Polish Radom P64, Makarov PM (German, Bulgarian, Russian...), the CZ82, and the FEG PA-63. They can all be shot single action or double action and all are blowback. People on this forum are definately fans of blowback guns. Now for a little bit on each:
This gun was produced for the Czechoslovakian military. It has a twelve round double stack magazine. This gun has polygonal rifling, much like a glock. It utilizes bumps in the barrel strategically placed rather than traditional lands and grooves. This gun is also C&R elligible, which is interesting considering most of the examples floating around the United States were made in the 1980s, far newer than any other guns on the C&R list.
The PA-63 was made by FEG in Hungary. The gun holds 7 rounds in its single stack magazine. It has an aluminum frame, but its still robust because of the alloys utilized in its construction. This gun is not C&R elligible, but the two tone appearence sets it apart from the others. This gun can be rather annoying for left handed shooters because the guns usually have a bump out on the left grip that righties use as a thumb rest.
This gun was the military sidearm of much the soviet union for decades. Normal surplus makarovs have an 8 round single stack magazine, but some makarovs produced for consumers rather than militaries had a "widebody" grip to accomodate a double stack magazine. German and Russian ones command a lot of money and ones being offered currently in this country are usually of Bulgarian origin. Some of these guns are C&R elligible, depending on their vintage of manufacture and country of origin. It is widely held that the comercially-produced Russian Baikal IJ70 with its modern adjustable sights does not qualify as a C&R firearm.
Another thing worthy of mention is that all of these guns come apart in the same way. The trigger guard is bent down so that the user can pull the slide back, then tip up the rear end of it and slide it downrange, off of the barrel.