Thursday, October 27, 2011

Electronic Bore Cleaning (Electrolysis)

A few years ago I found an article about cleaning a gun's barrel using electrolysis. I must've researched the shit out of that for a while, then totally forgot about it. I do that with a lot of things. I find a subject that's really interesting to me, so I research all I can about it. After a day or two I'm onto something else and have totally forgotten about it. This subject was no different. Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago when I rediscovered the process. After reading up on the subject again, I had to try it for myself.

There are many techniques and variables here that can be changed depending on what materials you have on hand. Some people use a battery charger meant for a car as a power source, while others go with just a couple of AA batteries. For a fluid, there are many mixtures out there including watered down household cleaners, mixtures of vinegar with water, ammonia with water, salt water, and other things people have come up with. Your mileage may vary depending on the materials used.
For this project, I used an electrical tester, rubber stopper, some speaker wire, vinegar, plain old water, a 3 foot rod 1/8th in diameter, a flashlight, a razor blade, and an old 2 liter bottle from some delicious lemon lime soda. I also used a camera to document the occasion, which of course isn't shown. Also not shown are a piece of steel wool, a 6 volt battery (which we switched to later in the process), a funnel, and the Southern Bloomers patches I used to clean the gun.

The process is pretty simple, but it can be a little bit messy at times. My girlfriend helped me with our little "science project" on Sunday afternoon. We stuffed a rubber stopper into the chamber so any fluid we poured into the barrel wouldn't leak out. The stoppers I got for this project were all too big, so I improvised by using a nail (bent at a 90 degree angle) wrapped in electrical tape to seal the chamber.

After sealing up the chamber, we mixed some ingredients. We had read online that many people use vinegar, ammonia, and water mixed together. We didn't have any ammonia, so it was just vinegar and water for us. Using the razor blade, my girlfriend cut the 2 liter bottle so we'd have a sort of bucket for our used fluid. I wanted something translucent so we could see the junk coming out of the barrel.

The picture above shows the barrel of the gun with the funnel taped over it as well as the rod which was wrapped with electrical tape. T
he funnel was a great help when it came time to pour the fluid into the barrel. We wrapped the 3 foot rod with electrical tape in a few spots to eliminate metal on metal contact between the barrel and the rod.

Electrical tape comes in handy, and its cheap too! We took apart a small LED flashlight that houses 3 AAA batteries. I got the flashlight at Advance Auto Parts for like $3 or $4. Even though I used the battery holder for this project, it was still usable in the flash light after the project. The batteries have 1.5 volts each, so it was a 4.5 volt power source for our project. We took a length of speaker wire (any wire will do the trick) and attached one piece of wire to the positive side of the battery tray and the other wire to the negative side. Once again, the electrical tape came in handy. We used my $5 voltage meter (from Harbor Freight Tools) to verify that we had a good connection at the other end of the wires, then connected the negative wire to the barrel and the positive wire to the rod.

Look at the specs of junk in the foam. It almost looks like pepper. The rod was put into the barrel with some fluid. There was enough fluid in there to totally fill the barrel and a little bit of the funnel. Its nice to have some fluid standing in the funnel so you can see the bubbles do their magic.

After about 10 minutes, we weren't very happy with the results. We dumped out the fluid and wiped down the rod. We did this process a few more times, then changed power supplies to a 6 volt lantern battery. We also changed our fluid to diluted Windex (which probably has ammonia in it) and experienced similar results. At that point, we called it quits and got ready to head over to a friend's house.

While my girlfriend was taking a shower, I ran a patch down the barrel of the project gun. The patch came out very dirty and had cosmoline on it. I was impressed that a clean gun was this dirty after our treatment. The treatment obviously loosened up a bunch of junk that was in the barrel. Even though I didn't get a bunch of junk on the rod or in the foamy mess in the funnel, this process obviously worked.

A few days later I went back to tweak our design: using straight Windex with the same lantern battery, which was putting out 4.5 volts. Many online tutorials recommend staying at about 3 volts because that's what the commercial kits use. 4.5 volts worked for me. I cleaned the rod thoroughly with steel wool between treatments which I think helped the process. There wasn't much buildup on the rod, but having fresh metal exposed on the rod must have helped the process.

This is what the rod looked like after a 10 minute process with straight Windex. The picture also shows the patch I used to clean the junk off of the rod. I don't know exactly what the stuff was, but I bet it causes cancer. I later scrubbed the rod with steel wool to get back down to bare metal, then did the process again.

Here is a picture of the inside of the 2 liter bottle. I took this picture with the light to show you folks how much stuff came out when we poured out the fluid between treatments.

Do as many treatments as you'd like, then clean the rifle like you normally would (with a brush and patches) and you should have a much better looking barrel when you're done. I wouldn't personally leave this setup for more than 10 minutes or so. I don't know what kind of problems you might have if you left this thing going for an hour or two. I definitely wouldn't leave it unattended. Some people have experienced some of the fluid evaporating during their treatments, so add as necessary.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, there are many variables that can change when doing this process. The type of rod used, voltage, fluid, and the method used to clean the rod between treatments. Your results might not be exactly the same as mine. I am in no way responsible for any damage you might encounter while doing a project like mine. This blog post is meant for entertainment only. If you chose to mimic my setup, you're on your own.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SKS from the auction

I went to an Auction house near my home in Northern Virginia in mid-October. They were auctioning some guns, so I thought I'd take a look.

The guns were being sold for final bid price, plus 10% buyers premium (maybe it was 15%), plus tax and a $2 background check call-in fee. I had to keep all that math in mind when I was doing my bidding because the price can quickly jump when 15% buyers premium and 5% tax are added onto any of the guns.

I saw a few guns I liked at the auction, including a Squires Bingham 22 semiauto sold by Kmart. I decided to pass on it because I already have a great semi-auto 22 rifle that I shoot frequently. I didn't really NEED another rimfire rifle. I also saw a Ruger double action revolver in 44 that looked interesting, but I didn't need to track down yet another caliber for my small collection of guns. The guns I really went to the auction for were milsurp. I love surplus rifles because they're just so... hearty. A well-worn war hero is the type of gun that you can be a little rough with, the kind of gun you can take hunting or to the campsite and not cry about if a new ding or scratch appears. They're the kind of guns that are great for teaching people how to shoot. There's nothing fragile in a military surplus rifle. Their stout and robust design coupled with a warm feeling of reliablity make them well worth their low cost. The two military surplus guns I was interested in were an M21 SKS and a Yugo Mauser.

There were only a few pictures online. I had to go and see the guns for myself before the auction opened. The SKS looked very well-worn and had some shrapnel damage in the gas tube and barrel. I thought it was probably cosmetic damage and would make more of a conversation piece than anything. To date, I didn't have any guns with that kind of battlefield bruising. The Mauser was still in cosmoline and was numbers matching. It had an import stamp that I didn't recognize, but the gun looked nice, so I thought I'd make a bid on it. I wound up buying both of the rifles I was interested in.

I had to outbid guys for both of the guns, but I left happy. I spent more than I wanted to spend, but that's kind of how auctions go sometimes. I get caught up bidding and have it in my head that that's going to be MINE and I just bid until I've got it. I can get carried away when I see something that I like, which makes me the kind of bidder that auctioneers just love.

On the drive home from the auction, I called my buddy Jack. He's also into surplus guns and loves cleaning up old rifles. He came over after he got out of work and we went to town on my two new rifles.

First up was the ratty old SKS. I had noticed at the auction that it was matching and I didn't see an importers stamp anywhere on the gun. I didn't take the time at the auction to see if the import stamp was on the underside of the barrel, so I pulled the cleaning rod and checked it out when we got into cleaning it. No import stamp anywhere. Interesting. Also interesting was the fact that there is almost nothing about the M21 SKS on the internet. We pushed a cleaning rod through the barrel to get out all the bugs, cobwebs, and general crap that had accumulated in the gun over the years. The gun was obviously cleaned before it was put away, but the thing was probably left in the corner of someone's garage or workshop for ages judging by the small paint specs on the receiver cover and the decent coating of dust on everything else.

After removing the spiders, I went to town with some breakfree on a brush. I could feel something toward the end of the gun, right near the bayonet lug. I thought I might have a blockage in the barrel. I really didn't even want to look down the barrel because I was pretty sure what I was going to discover was a non-shootable barrel. Well, I looked down the barrel and saw a blockage. Some of the shrapnel damage had dented the outside of the barrel so badly that a piece of metal worked its way inside the barrel. No way could I shoot the gun. Great, all that money down the drain.

We finished cleaning up the gun, but I was in a pretty shitty mood. I knew that anyone looking at the gun would see that ding in the barrel and know it wasn't shootable. If I'd only known, I wouldn't have bought it. What a bite. After pricing out a replacement barrel online, I wondered if it was even worth fixing. I decided I would probably just sell it part by part and cut my losses.

After the disappointing news about the SKS, we cleaned up the Yugo Mauser, which turned out to be a surprise. The gun was imported by Mitchell's Mausers, which is why I didn't recognize the import stamp. The stamp itself was something like MMC HB CA. Not only was the gun numbers matching, but the barrel was just gorgeous. I've only seen a couple of surplus rifles with bores better than this one. The cosmoline was a project to remove, but the gun looks great and feels great. It is the first iteration of the M48, produced between 1950 and 1952. It is considered the best of that model because they were made with milled parts, not stamped steel. The quality of the guns apparently went down some when the makers switched manufacturing techniques to churn the guns out more quickly and inexpensively. It looks like I got a good one.

About a week later, I posted a question about the M21 SKS rifle on a forum that I frequent. A forum user suggested that I take my question over to a forum that's dedicated to SKS rifles. I did just that and the SKS forum went nuts.

Apparently I have a super-rare gun and even though it doesn't shoot, its worth big money. I never would have thought. Good thing I didn't try to rebarrel the thing. Within an hour, I had 5 offers ranging from $500 cash to a trade for a functioning SKS, and everything in between. Some people left their phone numbers saying "please call me now"

Hold on folks, I didn't even say I wanted to necessarily sell it when I posted pictures on that forum. These SKS folks were like hungry wolves after my beat up, non-functioning M21. After talking on the phone for over 20 minutes with a guy I know who's really into SKS rifles, he recommended that I keep it because this kind of stuff only comes around once in a blue moon. A gun like mine is so rare that people are willing to pay good money for it now, and possibly stupid money for it in the future when the economy gets better. When the economy improves, hopefully there will be more people floating around that would be willing to spend stupid money on a rare gun such as mine.

I'm still on the fence about this one, whether I should sell it or just hold onto it. One of the first things my friend Jack said about it is that the gun came off of a dead man. The last person to carry that rifle is in a pine box somewhere. How many people can really say that about a gun that they've got in their collection? Not many.

I'm going to contact the auction house when I've got a little free time and see if they can put me in touch with the seller of the SKS. Often times the guns that come into the auction house are put up for sale by widows or children of the deceased. If I could get any information about the person who found the gun in possibly Vietnam or somewhere else in Asia, I could really be onto something. If I could find capture papers or other military documentation for this very rifle, the value could easily double. I don't know if the auction house would be too forthcoming with information about those who've put items up for sale but its worth a shot, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Toys Made From Live Ammo

Here's a good one for ya:
Toys made from real ammo. The primers look like they've been struck, but the article says that they're made from live ammo. Apparently steel core ammunition is more dangerous than lead ammunition according to this article....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Polishing Chrome Guns

As a small project, I decided to polish a chrome gun. The subject in this little project was a Raven 25 that had seen better days. The finish on the gun was intact, but had become hazy and scratched over the years. Considering the style of safety on this particular Raven, it most likely dates from the mid-80s or before.

The gun cost all of $40, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on fixing it up. All I actually bought for this project was a tub of chrome polish from Advance Auto Parts. I wanted Flitz, but couldn't find it in either Wal-Mart or Advance Auto Parts. The tub of Blue Magic chrome polish worked well. I already had the other things needed for this project, which were a microfiber towel (for cleaning) , some q-tips (for spreading the polish), a paper towel (to protect my work surface), and a Dremel tool with cloth wheels (to speed up the polishing process).
I started the project with the microfiber towel, slowly and gently polishing the slide of the unloaded and disassembled Raven. This process worked, but it was painfully slow. I got out the Dremel tool and things went much more quickly. I was able to get into the slide serrations with greater ease using the Dremel. The cloth wheels I used came in a set of accessories and are probably some kind of felt. They are rigid and worked great on the hard edges and valleys found in various locations on the gun.

As far as technique, I made sure to keep applying a thin layer of chrome polish with a q-tip. I didn't want to have too much of the Dremel's wheel touching the chrome with nothing inbetween. I didn't want to burn or scratch the chrome finish, so I kept the wheel somewhat lubricated with chrome polish. I also constantly moved the wheel on the surface to avoid any heat buildup or damage.

After finishing on the slide, the frame looked really bad by comparison. I chose to take the parts out of the frame so I could polish the frame, so I needed tools for that. I used a small pin punch and a screwdriver. The screwdriver handle doubled as a hammer for punching out the pins holding in the trigger and magazine release.

Its really amazing what $7 worth of metal polish and some time can do to an old chrome gun. I'm very happy with the way this project turned out. I worked on it when I couldn't sleep, which made good productive use of my time. The "After" picture of the whole gun was hard to take because of all the reflections. The pictures do not do this gun justice, and bring out more scratches than are really noticeable with the naked eye. Get out there and polish some chrome guns.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

group dynamics of a gun forum

I was posting on a forum tonight and thought to myself that there are a few regulars that post daily, many that find an answer to their problem and leave, and the majority signs up and never posts a thing. The administrator of the forum on which I was posting asked why this is. I might have an answer.

Some forums make you sign up before you can use the search feature. Some people sign up and never post a thing, just so they can use the search function and be able to see attached pictures if the forum supports that feature.

There are always going to be some moochers in the group. I've seen it time and time again on gun forums. People venture into the forum world to ask a question. When that question of theirs is answered, they are gone forever. These people never contribute to the group dynamic, only take knowledge from it and depart.

The regularly posting forum members are the hardcore lifeblood of the group. The dynamic between the regulars can be rough at times, merely because one person may not like another, but still sees that undesirable person posting daily. I am a regular poster on one forum, and i continue to do so because I haven't lost interest in the topic at hand (guns) and I greatly enjoy the positive comradery and encouragement that other forum users tend to offer.

Internet forums as a whole seem to be filled with a lot of know-it-all types and just straight up assholes. There is a certain amount of anonymity involved in posting on a forum, leading to a higher likelihood of attacks against other forum users, patronizing, and generally being mean. The amount of hear-say, especially on gun forums, irritates me. There are some people out there that thing Glocks are amazing and think you're a fool for buying anything else. I tend to disagree. I own guns that I don't carry, I own some guns for the sake of enriching my collection more than anything else.

The group dynamic of a gun forum can draw parallels and contrasts to that of an automotive-based forum. I used to post regularly on Jeepforum, a large forum with sub-forums for each model of Jeep. I stuck to the Cherokee XJ forum for the most part and was banned after mentioning a rival forum in a post. My post was edited to remove the link leading to a rival forum. When I questioned why my post was edited, I was banned. I never went back. I was not trying to start shit with anyone and I had thousands of posts in the technical section alone.

Some people on Jeepforum wouldn't do things the right way, but would recommend it because it worked well for them. Just because their half-assed cheap shortcut worked for them, it is still not the right way to do things. Some people just didn't understand that, and would get mad when I would suggest a fix or modification that was more thorough or more expensive. I had good reason for these recommendations, but those cheapskate shortcut people were not too happy with me. This element of the group dynamic does not really occur in firearm forum communities.

The group dynamic of the forum on which I usually post is unique in the forum world. People don't attack each other, people don't make snide comments, and people don't really argue. Its a utopia among the internet, and I'm proud to be a member of it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crocheted Guns

The person who did this was not only creative, but also very talented. I think we can call these "less than lethal", but they're probably still not allowed in New York City.

Porcelain Guns

I came across these in my internet travels.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gun Show Update

Today, I went to the Fredericksburg, VA gun show with a friend of mine. We go to a lot of shows together because we're both interested in the same kind of guns. We're not into tactical anything, hunting rifles, sporting shotguns, or Glocks. This 320 table gun show was on the smaller end, but there were still deals to be had.

I've heard several times that people don't see good deals at gun shows. I don't know how this can be. If you know what the exact same items are selling for at local gun shops as well as on gunbroker and online gun selling websites (such as AIM, classicarms, JGsales, and budsgunshop) you can better understand the prices at your gun show and see what tables are actually offering deals.

Today, I saw a table that had all hi point models for cheap. The 380s were 119. Good luck finding that gun anywhere else for that price. For $119 it could have been in my hands. Keep in mind, that's a gun I get to see before buying, can handle, check out, then decide to buy. There is no $25-40 FFL transfer fee and no shipping either when you're buying from someone at a gun show.

The sheer number of vendors at a large gun show means prices will go down. People are trying to price items well so they will sell, but they are conscious of their competition. Good deals get snatched up quick and the last thing that dealer wants to do at the end of the show is pack up all that stuff and take it home. If he's taking the stuff home, his money is tied up in the inventory, not making him a dime. If he moves products, he can go ahead and buy more for the next show, giving him fresh inventory.

Gun shows cost money. This one was $8 to get in, but I didn't mind paying that. I'd pay that to go to a movie, so I consider it an entertainment cost rather than adding it to my spending for the day. I have more fun in two hours at a gun show than I do watching a movie.

Keep in mind they don't only sell guns at your local gun shows, they also sell ammunition. Ammo is insanely priced at local gun shops. They have to charge a lot of money for their inventory because they have to keep the doors open, the lights on, and pay for stuff like rent and employees. A lot of gun show vendors operate out of their homes, making overhead next to nothing. Because they don't have a ton of other costs, they can sell things cheaper and still make enough money to live. I only ever buy ammo at gun shows or online. The beauty of buying at a gun show is often times the prices are just as good as buying online (and sometimes better than anywhere on the internet) and there's no shipping required. Ammo can be heavy, so when you're talking about buying 10 boxes of 9mm, not having to pay $15-20 shipping on that case is quite nice.

If i were to buy the cheapest 223 ammo available at Walmart (known for their good deals), I'd be paying $40 for 100 rounds of Federal FMJ 55 grain brass-cased ammo. For the same $40 at the gun show, I bought eight 20rd boxes of Greenshield frangible ammo. This stuff is brass cased, new production, and lead-free. I'll gladly take 160 rounds of frangible ammo rather than 100 rounds of FMJ.

I purchased two boxes of Tulammo 30 carbine at a whopping $12.50 per box. Using the ammunition search engine, I found the cheapest Tulammo 30 carbine ammo going for 11.99 per box at cheaperthandirt. This is a good price, but keep in mind the cost of shipping. On two boxes, I'd be paying $14.10 in shipping. All of the sudden, that 11.99 per box ammo turned into 19.04 per box with shipping included. I'll gladly take the $12.50 ammo in my hands with zero shipping or waiting.

45acp is always expensive. At this show, I found it as cheap as 380. Try finding that at your local gun shop or Walmart. I bought two boxes of Tulammo for $14.50 per box. That's cheaper than walmart or anywhere online. Zero shipping to boot!

Now lets talk primers. I bought a box of 1,000 small pistol primers for $17.50. I got that price just buying one box of a thousand, not buying a full case of 5,000. The cheapest place I could find these primers online was 21.78 per box (have to buy a minimum of five) plus a hazmat shipping charge of $26. I did much better buying just one box and not paying any hazmat shipping either.

I also bought some surplus 8mm mauser ammunition. I bought this from my favorite ammo vendors, JandCsales. These folks are at many of the gun shows I go to and I always buy from them. Look them up if you're attending a show in NC, VA, MD, WV, PA, or OH. They routinely have the cheapest prices on ammunition, even at thousand table gun shows, which is why I've become a repeat customer. They sold me 50rds of Yugo surplus 8mm ammo for $10. This works out to 20 cents per round. I can get Yugo surplus 8mm for as low as 19.4 cents per round, but I'd have to buy 1,800 rounds from a website such as SGammo. I think I did well considering I only bought 50 rounds, not 1,800.

I bought a few other little things at the gun show just because I wanted them. I bought two 50BMG rounds for $3 each (they make great gifts), a box of Aguila 9mm (never seen it before), a box of MFS .380 (also never seen it before), as well as a box of Chinasports Norinco 7.62x39. I got the 7.62x39 just to add to my 7.62x39 ammunition collection.

Here's a breakdown of my spending:

$40 Greenshield 5.56mm Frangible
$25 Tulammo .30 Carbine
$29 Tulammo 45 Auto
$17.50 Tulammo Primers
$10 Yugo 8mm Mauser Surplus
$6 50 BMG
$11 Aguila 9mm
$14 MFS .380 Auto
$5 Chinasports Norinco 7.62x39mm

In total, I spent $157.50 for my small pile of ammo. Someone has to keep this economy going.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

22 Target Stand

I recently got a 22 caliber target in the mail. I purchased it off of for a whopping $14. It is rated for 22LR only, saying the minimum distance for a pistol is 30 yards and minimum distance for a rifle is 100 yards.

I ran across one of these while shooting at The Cove in Gore, VA. Someone likely left it there by accident. The target was great for 22s, but it would keep falling down. The ground at that shooting range was too hard to get the target to go into the ground. When I used my feet to try and push the target into the ground, I wound up breaking one of the welds. I decided I needed one for myself, and at only $14, it was mine.

I had to make a base for it while all of its legs were still in good shape. I knew if I took it out and tried it at an outdoor shooting range, that the legs would be bent in no time. I used a piece of scrap wood and cut two lengths of 16 inches each. I used some of the remaining wood to make crossbars, keeping the two 16 inch lengths parallel. I fastened it all together with plates and philips head screws. I pre-drilled to keep from splitting the wood.

This should work out just fine. I already had the materials, so this quick project only cost me my time. The base that I made is rather thin, so it won't take up much space in the trunk on my next trip to the range. I'm keeping the box that the target came in for ease of transport.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting a Good Deal at a Pawn Shop

everyone is always interested in saving money and getting a good deal. I've seen a few pawn shops that carry guns. When buying something at a pawn shop, always keep in mind that the shop had to get that item from somewhere. It could have been sold outright or it could have been pawned. Either way, it is safe to assume that the shopkeeper paid far less for the item than what the price tag says. Anyone who has ever tried to sell an item to a pawn shop knows that sometimes the shop can make offers that are downright insulting. I don't feel bad for the people walking in to pawn their items because they are free to sell to whomever they wish. No one is making them accept these ridiculously low offers either. basically what I'm getting at is that we don't have to pay what is on the sticker at the pawn shop. There is usually a significant margin on most items, leaving the buyer some wiggle room for haggling.

If the pawn shop says they don't wiggle on prices, leave. There are plenty more pawn shops out there that will work on the price. Keep in mind that your local pawnshop has those items out for sale. It is in their best interest to sell the items they have so they can free up both money as well as space in the store which can be used for other items.

When I go to a pawn shop, I take cash. When you plunk down cash currency, the person behind the counter will be more likely to take your offer. Cash is easy. There is no credit card 3% fee to factor into the equation. When I take cash, I don't put it all in my wallet. If I know I only want to spend like $100 on a gun, I'll bring $100 cash (in small bills) in my wallet. When I take out my wallet, I can show them that's all I've got. Sometimes the pawnbroker will work with you. They're still making money on the deal, but not as much as they would have if they'd gotten their asking price for the item. Other times, the whole "this is all I've got in my wallet" won't work, in which case you can take another bill or two out of a different pocket. You're not liking to them when you say this is all I've got in my wallet, the rest of your cash is just in another pocket.

When haggling, ask for an "out the door" price. That means if you offer the person $100 out the door, that's with all taxes and call-in fees for the firearm paperwork. The guy on the other side of the counter may have to do some math, but its always an easy way to make an offer.

I've found that it really pays to be on good terms with pawn shops. I've got a few pawn shops that I visit frequently and have purchased guns from. I tell them what I like, what into, and what I'm looking for. I've actually had one shopkeeper say to me "Hey look at this, its right up your alley!" I didn't buy the gun, but it was nice that he remembered what I like.

Be reasonable when you make an offer on something. Knowing exactly what the item is worth as well as what you're willing to pay for it makes things easy. If something is priced well already, I might try to get a few bucks knocked off just because I like getting a deal. If its overpriced, don't tell the person that its overpriced, just make a fair offer of what you're willing to pay for it. The person might come back with a counter offer, but you're always free to walk away. If that same item is still on the shelf months down the road, go back to it and inform the shopkeeper that you made an offer on it so many months ago and its still here, why not sell it so you can get a little more space on your shelf? That kind of tactic often times works. The seller does not want to have an item just up on the shelf collecting dust because that's not making him any money. The whole time, the money that he paid for the item is just sitting there not doing him any good. If he had the money in the bank, at least he could be accruing a little interest.

Make offers, most pawn shops will work on the price if you look like a decent person and have cash in hand.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kahr sues Diamondback

Here's some news that broke today. Kahr is suing Diamondback firearms because of Diamondback using a Kahr-inspired design. This may be a coincidence, but I'm sure the coffers of Saelo corporation (the Mooney company that owns Kahr) has pockets much deeper than those of Diamondback. This could seriously put Diamondback out of business. I wouldn't be surprised. Anyway, here is a link about the story:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Broken Kel Tec P32

Some readers of this blog might own a Kel Tec P32. The trigger looks like its double action only, but not really. If the user has the gun empty with the slide forward, the trigger can be pulled. When pulled, the trigger causes the hammer to move from its resting place. The hammer moves rearward, then (should) go forward to the firing pin. After the hammer goes to the firing pin, it stays there until the hammer is reset by moving the slide. When the slide resets the hammer, the trigger can be pulled again to actuate the hammer.

Right now, the hammer does not go far enough forward to touch the firing pin. The trigger can be pulled multiple times and every time it resets itself without having to pull back on the slide. The trigger will occasionally actuate the hammer in the proper fashion, but to get the gun to do this, I have to pull the trigger very slowly while pulling toward the left or right. Something in the linkage is probably broken. It needs to go in for service.

Now I'm not so glad I Duracoated the gun. When it goes back, there's a chance that I might get a brand new 2nd generation P32 in return. I've read online of that happening a lot when 1st gen guns are worn or 1st gen parts are broken that Kel Tec no longer stocks. Apparently Kel Tec will put your serial number on a brand new P32 and send that to you. If they do that, I'm not getting back the slide I just worked on. Oh well.

Jennings J22 Duracoat Refinishing

I got a Jennings J22 for cheap. The finish on the frame wasn't great, but the slide was perfect. After helping a friend assemble his blasting cabinet, I stripped the Jennings' frame and sandblasted it in preparation for Duracoat.

The media we used was black and very fine. That's all I can tell you about it. My friend picked it up at Grainger, an industrial supply company. We used a #4 tip on the Harbor Freight blasting cabinet with 40 to 60 pounds of pressure.

I should've taken the barrel off of the frame to begin with. I definitely hit the outside of the barrel with the sandblaster, which meant I needed to remove it anyway to polish out the roughness. With the barrel removed, I was better able to sandblast all portions of the frame.

I shot the frame with Snow Gray Duracoat. I used my friend's Badger airbrush. The airbrush took forever to spray the paint and got clogged halfway through. The finish went on very thin. I reassembled the gun (aside from the one missing pin that I lost in my friend's shop) and took a photo. I like the look.

I really think I may be the first person in the history of the internet to duracoat a Jennings. This is history folks, history.

Henry Mare's Leg Pistol

In old Western movies, people sometimes had cut down lever action guns. I've never been a fan of that genre of movie, but I do like the guns. Rossi announced a few months ago that they were going to build a lever action with a short stock and short barrel, but build it from the ground up as a pistol. That's right folks, buy it like any other handgun. No NFA registration, no SBR paperwork, no tax stamp, and no engraving.

Building one of these from the ground up as a pistol was something I never thought of doing. Its a classic case of "Why didn't I think of that?".

Rossi isn't the only one jumping into this new handgun market. Henry has announced Mare's Leg style guns in 22LR and 45 Long Colt, also to be sold as handguns. I've got my eye on the rimfire Henry, which is basically a cut down Golden Boy. With an MSRP of $360, I hope to have one in my hands for under $300.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Making A Firing Pin

A friend of mine purchased a Ruby Pistol at a gun show. We went shooting and the gun barely struck the primers of the PRVI 32acp he was using. When we got back to my place, my friend used a punch to push on the firing pin (where the hammer would contact it) and saw that the firing pin barely protruded from the breech face. It was time to make a new firing pin.

This Ruby Pistol is marked "Looking Glass" and was made in Spain probably during the 1920s or a little before. There were a bunch of manufacturers of Ruby Pistols. Quality of a Ruby can be vastly different between manufacturers. The parts from one Ruby to another are usually not interchangeable either, especially if the user is trying to put parts made in one factory into a gun made in another factory. Each factory was a separate business and some of them did things differently, working to unique tolerances and measurements. A new firing pin just couldn't be found, so we spent a Friday night making one.

The old firing pin appeared to be brass or bronze. It was not coated or plated, that part was gold in color all the way through. It looked like someone had made that firing pin and we were about to do the same, except ours was going to work. While talking to the owner of the gun, we kicked around the idea of sacrificing a pin punch to make a firing pin. The owner decided to try pegboard hooks. The diameter looked about right and the material was probably sturdy enough. Why not, right? If anything, I thought the pegboard hook would be easier to work with than a punch.

We used a digital caliper to measure the thickness of the firing pin. The pegboard hook was slightly smaller in diameter, but whatever. Without a lathe on hand to get the slim portion of the firing pin down to the right size, we put the stub of metal into a drill and ran it across a bench grinder, then a file. The grinder worked a little too well. I wrecked a couple of potential firing pins because the bench grinder in conjunction with my spinning drill just took off too much material too quickly. The way to make this firing pin was to use the bench grinder/drill combination to start, then do the final touches against a file, which I had secured in my vice.

It is always easier to take off more material. Its not as easy to put it back on. We ground off a little, then checked the size, then went back to the file to grind off more. After a good two hours of us messing around, we had a finished product. The gun owner put the new firing pin in his gun, then I got out my bullet puller to pull the projectiles out of some 32s. I got a round of Winchester, a couple rounds made by S&B, and a Fiocci. We wanted to try different brands just to see how it would ignite different primers. I didn't want to shoot a full round of 32acp in my basement, so we used my bullet puller to pull the projectile and powder from each shell casing. Then, the gun owner tested the gun by chambering a shell casing and pulling the trigger. Just the sound of the primer wasn't too loud, but was enough for us to know that the new firing pin was capable of lighting off various primers.

It was fun and our first time making a gun part from scratch. My friend from Brookyln had joined us that evening. He had zero gunsmithing experience, but I think he enjoyed himself doing something a little handy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

High Capacity 22LR Handguns: Ruger vs. Excel

A new gun recently came on the market. I haven't seen a single article about it in any magazine or on any of the big gun blogs. This new product has become available but has remained mostly unnoticed.

The new gun is a 22LR handgun that vaguely resembles the old Tec-22. Like the Tec-22, it utilizes the ubiquitous 10/22 magazine, which is inserted in front of the grip. That is really where the similarities end. This new design uses an off the shelf AR15 pistol grip and has a built in rail across the top of the gun.

I first noticed the gun in September of 2010 while cruising Excel Industries' website. I just now decided to look for it online and found a few for sale on gunbroker. I think these guns would sell if consumers knew they existed. I mean it doesn't take much to get thefirearmblog or gunblast involved in a test/review. Traffic to those websites would undoubtedly equal an increase in sales.

Lets compare the Excel X-22P to the Ruger Charger. The Ruger Charger is identical to the 10/22 rifle from which it was based, except the Ruger Charger has a shorter barrel and a pistol stock. The Charger is manufactured and sold as a handgun, differentiating it from the 10/22. Both guns use the same magazines, both are pistols, and both have a similar layout.

The Charger has a lot of things going for it. Everyone who knows anything about 22LR rifles knows what a 10/22 is. A ton of people own 10/22s and are not only familiar, but comfortable with them. There is a whole cottage industry devoted to custom parts for 10/22s, parts which will fit in Charger pistols as well.

The real nail in the coffin for Excel is the price. It has an MSRP of $415 according to their website. That MSRP didn't bother me when I discovered the gun in September, because I know that guns rarely sell at MSRP on the internet. If guns do sell at MSRP, its usually right when they come out, and only if there is a line around the block to buy it. People are waiting in line to fork over their hard-earned dollars so they have the privilege of being the first kid on the block to have the newest gun.

Even this first wave of Excel X-22Ps on the market are priced below MSRP. You'd think if there was a big rush for this firearm, the guns would be getting snatched up left and right, maybe selling for over MSRP to start. The X-22Ps I've found on gunbroker are $379 including shipping. This price is still better than the $415 MSRP, but not low enough to entice buyers away from the familiar 10/22 and into the unfamiliar and untested Excel product.

I honestly didn't think that $379 shipped to my local FFL was such a bad deal.... until I went to look up the current pricing for a Ruger Charger. I was surprised to see the Charger selling for as low as $290 including shipping on the website for budsgunshop. The $89 price differential is just too much to make these somewhat similar products really compete against one another . Hopefully prices on the Excel will go down over time.

I'm a lover of the 10/22 platform and a self-proclaimed rimfire junkie. I'd still be willing to try something new (such as the Excel X-22P) because I like being a little different. I like showing people guns they havn't seen before. I don't have an AR-15, GLOCK, or 1911 and there's a reason for that. Everybody and their brother has one. You'll never hear someone say "Wow, an AR-15? I've never seen one of those before!" I don't want to have the same gun as the guy shooting in the lane next to me at the range. I want to have something that people haven't seen, a gun that spawns intrigue among those on the firing line. I can't get that with the Charger, even if it is $89 cheaper.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

German Surplus Flare Gun

I purchased a box of 10 surplus 26.5mm flares at a gun show about a year ago for $25. Yes, I bought the flares before I bought a flare gun. I thought this would be a good idea because I just buy things when I see a deal.

I was looking through Numrich's website and found a GECO flare pistol for $36 in early January of 2011. I decided that I needed to have one at that price, considering when I see them elsewhere online they're $50 or more.

This flare gun was a better choice for me than buying an orion flare pistol intended for marine use. I have a small boat and have a need for a flare pistol. The feel of the Orion flare pistols feel extremely cheap. Being plastic, I don't have much confidence in them, so I was on the lookout for an inexpensive metal surplus flare pistol.

The flare gun I purchased feels solid, its definitely not a toy. Condition is decent, but not great. If this thing gets a little rusty on the boat, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

The gun had some yellow duct tape on the barrel. The tape peeled right off, but left a white adhesive which just won't come off. I don't want to scrape it because I don't want to jeopardize its parkerized finish. I tried using goo-gone on the tape residue, but it didn't work. I think whoever put the tape on the gun later got it really hot (by shooting it), probably cooking that tape residue into the gun.

The bore has some spots, but whatever. I'm sure it'll shoot just fine for a flare gun.