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March 14, 2021

Gun Thread: Daylight Savings Time Edition! [Weasel]

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What's up, y'all? Did you spring your clocks ahead last night? Hope so, because I'm pretty sure it's a rule. If any of you popped up 2 hours into the Food Thread looking for guns 'n shootin', well, you were late for the Food Thread and early for the Gun Thread.

I went to the farm for a few days this week to do some much needed chores. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to do any video work, but I promise - #twoweeks! Anyhoo, it was a great time and the weather really cooperated with mostly sunny days and temps in the 70s. I spent some quality time with my pals Mr. Brushcutter and Mr. Chainsaw and now have sore old man muscles to show for the effort.

So with that, let's hop below and see what we have this week, shall we?

Whelp, the dumb-asses recently passed H.R. 8, a bill requiring background checks for firearm transfers betwixt private parties, which I suppose closes the gunhole loopshow that has caused the left so many wet diapers over the years. That'll show us! As far as I'm concerned, they can all go suck it. I'm also really not sure how they're going to enforce this thing either. Say you have two parties, let's call them Party A and Party 2, who are shootin' buddies. If A wants to sell a pistol to 2, what's to stop them? I'll be the first to admit I'm not the brightest bulb in the drawer, so if there is some sooper-sekrit law enforcement strategy for dealing with this, let me know. Passing laws which cannot possibly be enforced sounds like b.s. to me.


First we have a most excellent follow up to the photo shared last week by our pal Brave Sir Robin of his grandfather, Wm Greenberry Wright.

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To which our pal Scipio responded:

I am a lurker who has a keen interest in firearms as well as history. I recognize the medal on Brave Sir Robin's grandfather 's left lapel as the medal worn by members of the fraternal order of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).

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The Gun Thread Research Division was able to find a whole lot of information on this group, with two examples here from The Gettysburg Compiler, and the Chicago History Museum.

Great job, Scipio! Thank you!


Next up, we have a great training report from our pal and delightful 'ette screaming in digital who shares her observations of a 2-day NRA class.

Last weekend I took the NRA 2-day basic pistol class in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I'd had a 1-day class in November, so some of the content was a much needed refresher (safety rules, how pistols work, fundamentals of shooting, etc.) With 2 days, we had more time for shooting and additional topics, including federal and state laws, concealed carry law and best practices, shoot/don't shoot scenarios, traveling with firearms, storage, and selecting firearms. We also learned how to clean our pistols. My earlier class was women-only; this was coed. This course was much cheaper, partly because we supplied our own firearms and ammo. There were several instructors and enough coaches for individual coaching.

A demo by an instructor who had 11+ concealed pistols (I lost count) plus a knife was particularly memorable. Not sure if I'll ever carry, but I have a better understanding of the practical considerations, especially for an 'ette (e.g., bathroom breaks).

We had opportunities to handle a variety of revolvers and semi-automatics to get a sense of size and weight. We practiced loading and unloading at least one revolver and semi-automatic.

On day 1 we shot from the bench rest position, which I hadn't tried before. We started shooting one round at a time. This was my first time firing my Sig 365. I have the micro compact version, which has some kick for me. My coach gave me simple, practical corrections I could understand. Once we started shooting 5 rounds, he noticed that I took my finger off the trigger quickly between every shot. He advised me to release the trigger slowly (same movement as pressing it, just in reverse) and not remove my finger from the trigger between shots. My friend had some mechanical difficulties with her pistol, but she did well.

Day 2 of shooting was rough for me. To qualify for a CC permit, we had to hit 4 targets with 5 rounds each. I had trouble loading cartridges in the magazine (tight springs), felt rushed to keep up with everybody else, tensed up, and the anxiety snowballed. At one point I had a 4 shot grouping in the center target, which looked rather lovely until you realized I was aiming for top right. Had a different coach that day, who didn't offer corrections I could apply in that moment. But the range officer was kind and patient. Eventually they handed me a .22, which had virtually no recoil. My stubbornness finally told the anxiety to eff off and I was (barely) able to qualify.

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After qualifying I switched back to my 9mm because I want to learn my own pistol. We took 5 shots each with the Weaver stance, dominant hand only, and non dominant hand only. I was better with my left hand alone than 2-handed. Then we had 10 minutes of open shooting. I was less awful than before, but my hands were sore from wrassling with the magazine. My friend's pistol was functioning more smoothly, and she kicked ass!

Finally we cleaned our guns. I had mechanical issues during disassembly and reassembly. It took several instructors and much perseverance, but we got it cleaned and put back together.

I left day 2 discouraged, wondering if this isn't right for me. But I've decided not to give up yet. I took some comfort and pride that even when I was stressed, I didn't do anything unsafe. What I need next, aside from dry fire practice, is a situation where it's okay for me to struggle a bit without holding up the process for a whole class.

tl; dr: 2 days of guns, freedom, trust, no masks, a little snark. Y'know, America.

Outstanding report, screaming in digital! Don't be discouraged, just stick with it, because you're doing just fine! There is not a thing wrong with your target, and good job on the follow-up (more on this later). One thing I used to tell shooters new to competition is there is no substitute for match experience. Just being there and doing all the things is valuable training. The more you do them, the more routine they become, and this easily translates to range practice. The more you go to the range, the more natural you will feel being there and shooting. Trust me, says the guy calling himself Weasel on the internet. Swearsies!


Next up we have a bigly good range report from our pal CBD on an outing he made with our other pal Scuba_Dude

I met Scuba Dude at The Association of NJ Rifle and Pistol Clubs range in Northwestern NJ this week, on a gorgeous 55 degree day. We had both just mounted scopes on rifles and were in desperate need of some zeroing. Scuba Dude put a nifty and very crisp and clear Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24X on his equally nice Savage 110 .308, and I put his old scope (A Nikon 4-16X) on my new AR-10 .308.

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Scuba_Dude .308

CBD goes on to tell us:

I was lucky and got my first shot on the target, so it was merely a matter of dialing it in, although I noticed that there was no one-to-one correspondence with large changes. But it got there eventually, and firing a few extra rounds from a new rifle on a beautiful day is not the worst thing in the world. This is also my first rifle in .308. I have always fired the men's 30 caliber round...the 30-06, so this was my first try at the lady's version. And I approve! Recoil was negligible, and while I am not thrilled with the AR-style stocks, it was certainly fun to shoot. I did an ammo dump when I had finished and was gratified to find that the rifle returned to target very quickly and comfortably. The one downside is that with a tripod it is pretty heavy. I'll leave humping that thing up and down valleys to the youngsters.

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CBD Target

But wait! There's more!

There are intricacies to the AR platform that I need to learn. For instance, adjusting the gas system is something that I have never done, but I assume it needs doing, because the bolt didn't lock back on one empty magazine. Maybe the Horde can help out! And I am definitely going to fiddle with the stock. I have a mass-market adjustable (that I had to make fixed because of fascist NJ gun laws), and the cheek weld left a lot to be desired. But that stuff is part of what makes shooting so damned fun!

Scuba Dude was less lucky with his new scope, and we had to do some spotting of the dirt clods over the target to figure out where he was hitting. But he got on the paper pretty quickly and was able to dial his scope in pretty efficiently. I think his last four rounds had three touching and one flyer, so that seems like a pretty good day!

He brought a lead sled, but because of the height of the benches it was difficult to use comfortably, so he switched to firing off his bipod.

Neither of us are rifle experts, and having two people definitely helped the process of zeroing. It can certainly be done alone, but it was quicker, and certainly more fun with someone else. Scuba Dude seems to have a goal of consistent hits on steel at 600 yards, and even mentioned something about 1,000 yard shooting! I think long distance shooting is in his bones...

Nice job, both of you! Looks like a great time. And yes, Scuba_Dude is a shooter, I've seen him casually hitting steel at 500 yards with that rifle!


Next up, our pal A.H. Lloyd shares some thoughts on caliber selection.

Americans are pretty much the only people who get into gargantuan self-defense calibers.

Overseas, people are content with far more modest weapons and always have been. True, firearms laws are often more restrictive, but even when they weren't, America led the way in hand cannon development and we've never stopped pushing that envelope. In fact, it has accelerated sharply over the last few decades.

It wasn't always that way, though. If you look at pre-1945 American handguns, they're remarkably small by modern standards. The bulk of the market is clustered in the .32 and .38 caliber range. "Vest pocket" .25 ACP guns were also very popular. Then, after World War II, things begin to change. Maybe it was all the GIs getting trained on Colt 1911s and appreciating .45 ACP.

One cause was clearly the rise of hunting with handguns. It was one thing to 'wildcat' a .38 and turn it into a .357 Magnum, but doing the same thing to the .44 created a true monster - which was in turn superseded by "magnumizing" .45 Long Colt. The .41 Magnum is supposed to be the most refined of these heavies, but it still hits like a freight train.

A second cause of caliber creep was the infamous Miami-Dade shootout, particularly the FBI's response to it. Unwilling to question their bad tactics and poor training, the FBI decided to blame their 9mm handguns for being insufficiently powerful. Strangely, this "underpowered" argument wasn't applied to the multiple agents carrying .357 Magnums who also failed to hit their targets.

The FBI, and its bureaucratic enablers, gave caliber creep legitimacy and thereby begat the .40 S&W boom that peaked in the 1990s.

Smaller, easier to use firearms were derided as "mouse guns" and pronounced insufficient for self-defense. I came of age in the 1990s and the 'gun culture' of the time held that even .38 Special was now puny and underpowered.

The third cause was a little more subtle but more insidious: the ubiquitous 25 yard slow-fire bullseye target. For years this was default paper target and it's still popular because many ranges won't allow anything resembling a human shape to be used. The result of this is that much of the shooting culture was shaped around painstaking accuracy at more than three times the generally accepted range for legal self-defense.

A true pocket pistol is not very effective at that range, both in terms of accuracy and penetration, so naturally they will appear pointless to people only used to this approach. However, if you put them in their proper sphere, they do very well in terms of ease of use and comfort while carrying.

There may be other factors, and I'd love to hear them, but these stand out to me.

All of which is to say that I have come to decisively reject the notion that people should carry the heaviest caliber they can comfortably shoot. Instead, I argue that you should carry what suits you best, period. It should be small and light enough that you always have it on you, and you should be good enough with it to automatically hit your target at seven yards or less. If it turns out that you do best with a .45 ACP, more power to you, but new shooters especially shouldn't feel pressured to choose a heavier caliber unless they're very good at using it.

Careful there, hombre, you're making a lot of sense! Making tiny holes in paper is fun, and I enjoy doing it as much as anyone else, but in a self defense encounter you're likely not going to be worried about making carefully aimed shots forming tight groups, and more interested in delivering rounds on target. Don't confuse precision target practice with practical self-defense training. Great job, A.H. Lloyd!


Next up, we have some thoughts on shooting and a very nice Smith & Wesson revolver from our pal Neon Madman.

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I must confess, I am not a combat or fast double-action handgun shooter. I can do it, but my style is to be one of those slow-fire small-hole guys (hangs head in shame). Hey, ammo is scarce and I have to make every shot count!

One thing that I rarely see addressed in teaching someone to shoot, either handgun or rifle, is the concept of "follow-thru". Simply put, this is the act of holding the sight picture and position for a couple of seconds after the gun goes off, before relaxing. It's a small thing, but I have seen it make a big difference in accuracy, especially with new shooters. I'm quite sure that you are familiar with this concept from competitive shooting.

The gun, by the way, was my retirement present to myself - an S&W model 17 Classic. I am a BIG fan of the K-frames for target shooting.

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Neon Madman makes a really very good point regarding follow-thru. When practicing any sort of precision shooting, and there is nothing wrong with that, you absolutely must consciously and deliberately follow-thru on the shot. Pause for a moment and then allow the trigger to reset. Nice shooting, and great gun amigo! Enjoy it in your retirement!


$10 Glock?

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Next up, we have a very worthy cause sent to us by our pal and delightful 'ette Teresa in Fort Worth

Our youngest daughter's private school - for students with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities - is holding an online fundraiser this year. One of the raffle items is a Glock 45. The school got caught flat-footed by the COVID stuff, so they are scrambling to raise funds this year. This is Rebecca's 12th year at the school, and she will be able to continue here the rest of her life, as they have adult programs in place as well. It has been a life saver for our family!

And here is a related message from the school Director:

Dear Friend,

The success of our Gator Gala each spring is critical to the success of Green Oaks. The money we raise allows us to continue providing exemplary educational services to individuals with intellectual disabilities. This last year has presented all of us, including Green Oaks, with challenges never seen before. Would you consider coming alongside us in our mission to prepare our students to be successfully included in their communities? Scroll through the information below to be part of our fun UN-Gala. God bless each of you in the coming months as we make our way back to "normal".

Jean Jewell
Executive Director

Here's a link to the school website Green Oaks Education and Support, Inc., and a link to the raffle, so get out your credit cards, give bigly by supporting a great cause, and maybe win a Glock 45!


M3A1 Grease Gun

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M3A1 Stock Photo

Next up our pal Gref shares a neat-o article on the M3 Grease Gun in Vietnam

Great find - thanks Gref!


Next up our pal DocinPA shares a Luger from his collection.

A numbers matching 1917 Navy Luger, about 100%, and I have no history at all. The proof stamps are seriously cool, though.

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That's in amazing condition! Thanks DocinPA!


Is it possible we haven't heard the last of the NRA bankruptcy drama?



I'm really very seriously not kidding around anymore. Buy Ammo
AmmoSeek - online ammo search tool
GunBot - online ammo search tool
SG Ammo
Palmetto State Armory
Georgia Arms
Target Sports USA

***Mail Bag***

This week's mailbag entry is from our pal JT who has come up with a real winner this week. Or loser. You know what I mean!

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Please note the new and improved protonmail account gunthread at protonmail dot com. An informal Gun Thread archive can be found HERE. Future expansion plans are in the works for the site Weasel Gun Thread. If you have a question you would like to ask Gun Thread Staff offline, just send us a note and we'll do our best to answer. If you care to share the story of your favorite firearm, send a picture with your nic and tell us what you sadly lost in the tragic canoe accident. If you would like to remain completely anonymous, just say so. Lurkers are always welcome!

That's it for this week - have you been to the range?

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