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January 19, 2011

An Extended Magazine Ban? OK, But Answer This Question: Why?

I grew up on a farm where we hunted for the dinner table. To me, guns are like 12-sided dice are to Ace...so I figured I'd pitch in my two cents worth on this issue. I'm not dissing The Boss-Man, because I agree with damn near everything he said earlier, just giving a different perspective.

I'm not really a big fan of high-cap magazines on pistols. I've always been more of a "be a better shot and you won't need so damn much ammo" guy, and I know from experience that when you go from a single shot gun to a repeater the temptation is to let your marksmanship skills slide because you can now "spray & pray".

With all that said, I can't come up with a single good reason to use the power of the State to limit the allowable magazine capacity on firearms.

My experience with extended capacity magazines includes several that I use with my Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle, the regular 30-round magazines that come with an AK-47 clone, and a 30-round extended fixed magazine that I installed on the SKS rifle I owned back in the early 90's. I've also used extended magazines with my 1911 clone, and I've also used 20 and 30 round extended mags with a borrowed Taurus 92 (clone of the Beretta 92 9mm). With the exception of the AK mags, I've always found them to be less reliable than standard sized mags. In most magazines, a coiled spring is used to keep tension on the ammuntion and keep it tight to the top of the magazine body. This gives you reliable feeding when the bolt retracts and strips the top cartridge off the mag to be chambered for firing. When you use "extended" magazines, the springs are longer and are susceptible to becoming compressed, causing jamming due to loose rounds in the magazine body.

I also dislike the poor balance provided when you slap twice as much weight into the butt of your handgun than it was designed to operate with. And then there's the complete lack of concealability that occurs when your magazine sticks out an extra 6 inches below the bottom of the grip. And, as I already stated, big capacity means you're really tempted to "spray & pray". Not that this is a bad thing sometimes. Sometimes its fun to take an old paint can and see if you can make it dance all the way down the range.

But ultimately, if I have to be honest, its mostly about economy. Unless you're Annie Oakley gettin' all your cartridges provided for free, ammunition costs money. I'd much rather shoot 50-100 rounds of mostly hits at a target rather than 200-300 flaming misses. I'm at the range to practice marksmanship, not to make noise. Even the cheapest factory ammunition is currently going for about $8-9 for a box of 50 rounds (115 grain 9mm FMJ in non-reloadable steel cases), which translates to almost $0.20 every time you pull the trigger. If I want to make noise, I'll go buy fireworks. They're cheaper, and I don't feel guilty about shooting firecrackers off in my back yard.

Stepping out the back door and dumping a clip from my AK? Well, yeah, that MIGHT be fun....but I don't think the cops responding to the call will be nearly as tolerant as they are with the fireworks.

With all this said, I still return to my original question: Why? Just because I don't consider something to be useful doesn't mean that I need to keep everyone else from owning that item. The last time I checked, the Second Amendment didn't say "...the right to bear arms, EXCEPT FOR STUFF THAT RUSS DOESN'T THINK YOU NEED, shall not be infringed."

You wanna be a safety nanny and scold people for owning extra capacity magazines? Fine. Knock yourself out. Just don't use the power of the State to infringe on the Second Amendment.

Just a thought? If you want to limit something that might be a danger to innocent bystanders? Try limiting the ability of Looney-Tunes wackjobs who rant & rave about imaginary conspiracies to legally buy firearms. I think you might even find some support for that sort of action in the Constitution if you look hard enough. At the very least, make it socially unacceptable to be aware of a Mark David Chapman-wannabee and not tell the proper authorities about it.

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 09:12 PM

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