A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Comment Moderation

I have had to initiate comment moderation here because of a cowardly member at The High Road who disagrees with the moderation there and who wishes to type foul mouthed comments anonymously here. I regret the inconvience.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Clark Combat Colt 1911

Long before Bill Wilson ever checkered a front strap, James E. Clark had found a way to glue a pistol into a competitor's sweaty hand. Jim Clark had been customizing pistols for eighteen years when Ed Brown decided to become a part time gunsmith. Jim Clark was a founding member and the first President of the American Pistolsmiths Guild. As a competitor, perhaps he was proudest of being the only civilian trained national bullseye champion. In 1950, Jim Clark founded Clark Custom, and began a career of producing no bullshit innovative and competitive pistols based on the 1911. One must remember that surplus GI pistols were the raw materials of building a race gun then. There were few parts on the market to augment a gunsmith's ability. If a man could not weld, fabricate and create, he could forget being a gunsmith. In this environment, Jim Clark flourished, laying the groundwork and ideas for the many permutations of the 1911 pistol that were to follow. His son, Jim Clark Jr. continues his father's legacy at Clark Custom, but as a North Louisiana resident, I always hoped to find a gun made by Jim Clark the Elder. Even in the piney woods of North Louisiana they are precious heirlooms, as rare as turtle teeth, or priced like golden boudin when they appear.

Finally, after years of perseverance, fortune would shine on me, and I found a Jim Clark the Elder gun that I could afford. This pistol was ordered from Jim Clark by an anesthesiologist in 1981. It is built on a Colt Mark IV Series 70 base gun. He shot a "box or two" of ammunition through it and put it away. Even though this pistol does have a Safari Arms extended safety and slide stop, they were impeccably fitted by the old man himself. The lockwork on this pistol snicks back and forth with a precision and an ease that belies it's close tolerances.

In this gun Jim Clark was not attempting to build a beautiful gun. It is almost ironic that he inadvertently did. Nickel was laid across this pistol not to provide additional glitz, but to effectively prevent rust in the sweltering Louisiana heat. When Jim Clark Sr. needed a competition trigger, he simply took the original Colt trigger, drilled and tapped it for a set screw, and then adjusted the length of the stirrup by welding a polished shim at the back to achieve a zero take up, minimal over travel trigger. The pull was adjusted through polishing the trigger stirrup, adjusting the sear angle, hammer hooks and sear spring. This pistol has a trigger that breaks consistently at three pounds with no wiggling around in the trigger guard.

To cement the gun in the shooter's hand, Clark applied his trademark "Tiger Tooth" stippling to the front strap and mainspring housing. Clark's technique is not as pretty as Ted Yost's perfect checkering, nor as fashionable as Ed Brown's reptilian scales. Clark's stippling is incredibly effective however. Grasping it is like holding a rasp in your fist. When the little metal teeth created by Clark's chisel bite into one's calloused hand, this pistol is not going to shift under recoil.

In 1981, Clark Custom offered low mounted Bomar adjustable sights, or Smith & Wesson K frame adjustable sights. Like many early shooters, my anesthesiologist friend opted for the S&W sights. They were a known quantity with an available parts supply, and when mounted correctly, they compliment the lines of the 1911. Indeed, they almost look like the Gold Cup's Eliason sight. It is indicative of Jim Clark's craftsmanship that not a hint of the original rear sight dovetail remains to be seen through the nickel finish. Unless the hammer was placed beside an original, the bobbed hammer is just as stealthy. Clark paired the Smith & Wesson rear sight with a ramped hardball front sight, into which he grafted an orange plastic insert. The orange portion of the front sight precisely fills the rear notch. There is no more nor less than necessary.

Today, when Clark 1911s are mentioned, many people visualize the incomparable Clark Meltdown. Clark Custom is not founded on the Meltdown, but rather on guns that work. Jim Clark was not known for building beautiful guns. Indeed, Armand Swenson was the man to go to for a beautiful custom Colt in those days. Jim Clark was known for building effective guns. When I purchased this pistol, the seller also supplied me with the original paperwork. This pistol received Clark's "Combat Conversion", consisting of an accuracy job, trigger job, the S&W rear sight, front strap stippling, ramp work, lowered ejection port, and mag well bevel. The seller had also requested the extended safety and slide release, stippled mainspring housing, orange sight insert, and white outlined rear sight. The 1981 base price for the pistol was $352. The Combat Conversion and extras cost $393.50, for a total of $745.50 in 1981 money.

Even today, Clark guns are commonly the homeliest gun on the line at any competition. Their effectiveness, however depends solely on the shooter. They allow no excuses. Jim Clark guaranteed a three inch ten shot group including "first shot flyers" at fifty yards. Today, other manufacturers, most notably Les Baer, make the same guarantee. They, however, manufacture their own frames and slides on CNC equipment. Jim Clark honored his guarantee on a Colt 1911 that he peened the rails on, and welded up and refitted the factory barrel on himself.

When I took this pistol to the range with a couple of boxes of 230 grain hard ball, Jim Clark's work spoke for itself. This pistol shot like a hellcat. It had no stoppages and tossed the empties neatly to my right. The pistol shot every bit as well as I was able. It came to sights quickly and accurately. It placed every shot exactly where I aimed it. In 1981, Jim Clark created a pistol that continues to impress twenty five years later. That is nothing short of amazing.


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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A "Chromed Out" Colt

After work today, I drew some money out of the bank. I then took a drive to make a new friend and purchase a pistol that I had long hoped I would someday find. The pistol in question is a S&W sighted Colt 1911 built by the founder of Clark Custom, Jim Clark Sr.

In my neck of the woods, Jim Clark Sr. is still a legend, fondly remembered by many friends and associates. Owning a pistol crafted by his hands is being a caretaker of a small part of his legacy. I'm honored, and I plan to shoot the fire out of this gun. More later......

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From Volk Studio.

If you are not familiar with Oleg Volk, give him a visit.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Katrina Report from Firemen


Found It!

On Saturday, I heard about a man who brought an interesting 1911 into a pawn shop to sell. I mentioned it at work today, and lo and behold, the seller was known to a colleague. I obtained a telephone number of a retired anesthesiologist with a fancy gun to sell. I just got off the telephone with the old gentleman. He apparently had Jim Clark build him a pistol back in the early eighties, and he simply wanted to get his investment back. He had visited Kenny on Saturday, was rebuffed, and left muttering invectives to himself.

He described the Colt to me over the phone, and I explained that his pistol was likely worth more than he was asking, but the old doc would not hear of accepting more than he paid. We finally agreed on a price of $850, and I made arrangements to meet him tomorrow after work.

This is another Holy Grail gun.........Crossing my fingers.........

Sunday, August 27, 2006

NO! Say it ain't so!

What could be worse than a potato gun? Click here to see how to transform your feminine hygiene products into tactical fun.

Hattip to TxGoodie.

My God........How depraved can arts and crafts become?


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pawn Shop Circuit: Missed Opportunity

I went back on the pawn shop hunt today, stopping first at Neil's place. Deep inside, I was hoping the High Standard .22 pistol was still there. I was in a haggling mood. Neil had sold the old plinker though, and probably gotten close to his $250 asking price. In it's place, beside the Glock and Sig, was a RG six shooter. I was kind of relieved the High Standard was gone, I suppose. Even though Neil gives me a 100% money back guarantee, I was slightly skiddish of the pistol. The condition of the magazine is crucial on old .22 caliber guns, and I believed the magazine in the High Standard was an aftermarket replacement, giving it questionable reliability. Oddly though, I would have purchased the High Standard pistol in a heartbeat over the RG revolver I was looking at.

It is rare that I will call a gun junk. Even with the pot metal RG I am hesitant. The people who squeeze out these turds should be buried in a pit of fire ants with a pink straw hat on their head. The pot metal cap guns of my childhood were sturdier than these crapola guns. If you or your friend needs a gun and can't afford much, leave the RG on the shelf. Buy a Hi-Point instead. There, I said it. RG=Crapola. This is one case where a cheap pistol whips a revolver's ass in reliability.

I moved on to Dave's place. Dave had sold his Essex framed 1911. Under Dave's glass though, was a familiar looking pistol. I believe I saw the same Astra Constable at Neil's shop in January. It was still in it's original box. I wondered how it made the trip from one pawn shop to the next. Dave did not have anything else new.

I thought about driving over to take another look at the round butt Model 10 I had found, but I turned towards Kenny's shop instead. "Man, I wish you had been here," chirped Kenny as I bellied up to his counter. "You like those chrome guns, well I almost bought a pimpin' chrome Colt from this old dude. It was messed up though."
"How so?" I asked.
"It was all chromed out with revolker sights and it looked like barb wire on the front of the handle."
"Barb wire?"
"Well it felt like it. Some dude had taken somethin' and poked all over it."
"Why didn't you buy it Kenny?"
"Well, I ain't all the way dumb Xavier. It said Colt on it but it said Keithville Louisiana too. Now I know they got that ammunition plant over there what's explodin' bombs right now, but they ain't got no Colt fact'ry. That thing had to be fake."
"Ummmmm........How much was he wanting Kenny?"
"Six to seven hundred. I told him no damned way!"
"Did you get his name Kenny?"
"No........Did I miss sumptin' Xav?"


Pre-War M&P Grip Identification

Marcas Registradas

In May, 1948, Smith & Wesson changed their simple "Made In USA" rollmark to a more complex four line bilingual version. This was to combat the many Spanish counterfiet revolvers being produced.

For collectors, the 4 line rollmark indicates a definite post war gun.

The "Made In USA" mark appeared in May, 1922. Prior to that date, there were no markings placed on that area of the frame by the factory.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Idiots With Guns #46

Astute S&W collectors will note that this is a Model of 1905 Fourth Change. Astute shooters will note it is a loaded Military & Police revolver, pointed in their direction.

The purpose of Idiots with Guns is not to humiliate, but to educate. Over the years we have seen photos of people who, upon picking up a gun, just cannot resist pointing it at something they should not, with their finger on the trigger. This is usually the camera, another person, or themselves. These photos are often difficult to google up, because of the pages they are shown on. If you have archived any of these photos, feel free to send them in to bayouroversATjamDOTrrDOTcom

The Four Rules
1. All firearms are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it


Thursday, August 24, 2006

First Aid

Being a nurse and all, what do you think should be included in a first aid kit? I would like to put one together for my wife and myself, to carry in our car. We are both average folks with a basic working knowledge of First Aid. I just believe in being over prepared and hoping we'll never need this stuff. Also, given our situation, it might be preferable to buy a kit rather than put one together ourselves.

The most important thing is not in any kit. That thing is knowledge and the willingness to use it.

My own kit consists on various gauze sponges, 4 inch silk tape, a couple of oral airways, some cord, a 12 inch piece of broomstick, a CPR mask, a pamper, a pair of "cut anything" scissors, a couple of opsites, a bottle of NTG, and an analphylactic kit containing epi, benadryl, and decadron as well as a couple of syringes. My "kit" is kept in a ammo box in the back of the car.

If you can only chose one thing though, choose knowledge, and supplement that with a creative mind that can improvise under pressure.
Best regards,


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

National Guard Among the Looters after Katrina

Twenty-one soldiers in the Louisiana Army National Guard have been court martialed for looting some of the very stores they were assigned to protect during the aftermath of the hurricane Katrina. Brigadier General John Basilica states, "We are very disappointed in these few because they breached a sacred trust, as we're there to help and support the citizens and they should not have taken advantage of their position, and they did." Over half of the guardsmen charged belonged to the 527th Engineer battalion of Ruston, Louisiana.

All twenty-one, including eleven officers were court martialed, and received separate sentences. Twelve received bad conduct discharges. Fifteen, including some who were given BCDs received a reduction in rank, while fourteen were given jail time.

One Guardsman, former Private Trey Battaglia, who was not charged with wrongdoing, recalled being on foot patrol in Chalmette, Louisiana. Outside Chalmette Shooting Specialties L.L.C. he heard a disturbance and found three soldiers looting the gun store. States Battaglia, "You know, we're lookin' for looters--that's what we're out doing, so I went to go scope it out, and when I arrived, I saw my platoon sergeant and a couple of my squad leaders rummaging through the weapons, the guns." Battaglia stated he saw Sergeants Patrick Platt, Christopher Barlett, and Matthew Maggio each take firearms from the empty gun store. All three sergeants were punished for misconduct. Others court martialed were Jeremy Foster, Chad Evans, James E. Holmes, Prater White, Ron Ellison, Christopher Figaro, Jeff Holloway, Theodore Chapman, Joseph Dunn, Michael Wohlfarth, Leopold LeBlanc, Jerrod Cooper, Johnny Boyette, Corby Moore, Ernest Miles, George Babers, and Glen Wallace.


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Monday, August 21, 2006

Pawn Shop Circuit: Shops Less Traveled

I went by my usual pawn shops today, Dave, Neil and Kenny, and none of them had any new stock. I had some extra time on my hands, so I decided to try a few shops less traveled.

First up was a pawn shop run by a father and son, with a regular clientele of blue collar workers. A couple of carpenters were inside jaw jacking with the owner as I walked over to the gun counter. I was pretty much ignored. The case contained inexpensive new handguns, fairly priced. I made a note of a Ruger MKIII in stainless steel for $308. There were also Charter Arms revolvers, Heritage revolvers, RG revolvers, and a rack of used deer rifles. I gazed at a RG10 revolver a bit. I could not remember if I had ever seen one new. Even new, it was a turd. As I turned to leave, the owner asked if he could help me. I thanked him, but said no as I walked outside.

Next was a pawn shop favored by the biker crowd. It was a dusty place filled with big black speakers, guitars, motorcycle parts, tools, bongs, and a case of handguns. Last year, in desperation, I had checked this place and the long haired counter jockey had just gotten in a Colt Series 80 1911 that someone had grafted Bomar sights onto, put in a full length guide rod, and some "lamo camo" checkered grips. I had looked it over back then, but handed it back when I saw the $1000 price tag. I was not surprised to see it still in the case today, a year or so later. It is still priced at $999. There were some other handguns in the case, but nothing memorable. Strangely, there were handwritten signs saying "Guns Sold to FFL Dealers Only" posted all through the shop. It seems a tail must have gotten pinched in a crack at some point. I did not ask.

Finally, I decided to try one more pawn shop. This one was cleaner than the biker pawn shop, but it had a distinct thrift store flavor geared to the new divorcee. Playskool toys were for sale. There was a long counter dedicated to rings and assorted jewelry. A young woman was behind the counter debating bitching to a girlfriend about the man in her life. Under the handgun glass was a Model 10 Smith & Wesson with a round butt and a pinned barrel. I'm a Model 10 aficionado, and there are a few types I am still looking for at the right price. I would like a heavy barrel, a three inch barrel, and a round butt Model 10. Ideally, I would like to find all three (or at least two) of those features on the same gun. The example in this case was a 4 inch pencil barrel. It was tagged $229. I decided to look at it anyway.

I jingled the change in my pocket as I stood in front of the counter. The woman continued her conversation. I took out my wallet and counted the bills inside. The woman continued her conversation. I cleared my throat. She looked my way, and then turned back to her conversation. I bent over, copied down the serial number through the glass, and walked out of the shop. I might return to purchase the revolver, I might not.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Call Me Crazy........

I was reading about these demilled Victory Models in John Henwood's book last night. In 1979 they sold for $8.95 each or ten for $75. Call me crazy.......I want one, or two, or three......

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First Shots

I found this on You Tube.
This is not how you teach someone to shoot.
Send them to a qualified instructor instead.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Smith & Wesson Model 17-4

There once was a time that I did not understand. I favored high capacity 9mm handguns back then, and eschewed revolvers all together. Revolvers were guns for fat old men in khakis and Oldsmobiles. A .22 caliber revolver was doubly stupid to my way of thinking. It was an underpowered, overpriced antiquated anachronism.

Finally, one day, I crossed the line, and discovered the pleasures of the wheelgun. It was not easy. The double action revolver trigger is unforgiving. It is perhaps the most difficult trigger to learn to use. Smith & Wesson wheelguns taught me trigger control. The S&W triggers improved my shooting across the board.

Having the immediate and undeniable feedback of holes in a target is a crucial training aid. Being able to launch a bullet for a couple of pennies suddenly began to make sense. The Smith & Wesson K-22 and subsequent Model 17 are .22 caliber revolvers built to the same standards and specifications as every K framed Smith & Wesson. Thus, by shooting a K-22, for pennies you can improve your shooting not only with the double action revolver trigger, but every trigger you use.

I found a S&W Model 17-3 with a six inch barrel, and it was good. Even so, I did not hesitate to purchase this Model 17-4 when I found it at a fair price. It is a pinned and recessed Target Masterpiece with an eight and 3/8 inch barrel.

I was forced to simply admire it for a few days, until today, when I could finally take it to the range with a box of Federal bulk ammo. The trigger had not been lightened, but it was a smooth consistent pull all the way back.

I was not prepared for the accuracy I tapped from this revolver. The extra sight radius made it a precision hole puncher. I am not certain I like the big assed target grips, but they did not hinder me. For now, they will stay on the gun. I paid $400 for this revolver. It is worth every cent of that price.


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Not Forgotten

Michele (Du Berry) Beale, age 37. Director of Conferences with Risk Waters Group. Mother of two children, Joe and Lizzi. Resident of Essex, Britain (USA).
Died: World Trade Center, Sept.11, 2001.

Michele Beale joined Risk Waters Group at the end of 2000 as Director of Conferences. Before her arrival, the conference team was warned that their new boss was a highly experienced business woman who wouldn't stand for any nonsense and who was going to turn the department around. Naturally this news was greeted with a mixed response. When Michele arrived, however, everyone quickly discovered that while she was a consummate professional and obviously very knowledgeable about the conference industry, she was also very approachable, funny and kind. She had a great sense of humour and loved to go out with her team after work.

A mother of two, Michele was devoted to her children and always bought them presents whenever she went away. Despite not having been at the company very long, Michèle had already had a profound effect on the conference department and her efficiency, intelligence and good-natured personality will be sorely missed by everyone she worked with.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Idiots With Guns #45

Charlie is an uber cool ninja pimp dragon, preparing for the end of the world as we know it. In typical zombie annihilator fashion, Charlie has armed himself with a high capacity 9mm handgun and a blade. The respirator will help prevent the zombie farts from taking his breath away while simultaneously protecting his secret identity.

Joining Charlie in his EWOKI fantasies are Sabrina, Jill and Kelly. While Charlie remains back in the bunker on speaker phone, he will send his angels out on forays to obtain Vienna sausages and Cheetos to sustain themselves. I hope they don't get a pimple.

The purpose of Idiots with Guns is not to humiliate, but to educate. Over the years we have seen photos of people who, upon picking up a gun, just cannot resist pointing it at something they should not, with their finger on the trigger. This is usually the camera, another person, or themselves. These photos are often difficult to google up, because of the pages they are shown on. If you have archived any of these photos, feel free to send them in to bayouroversATjamDOTrrDOTcom

The Four Rules
1. All firearms are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Motion to Dismiss Gun Confiscation Lawsuit Denied.

Judge Carl Barbier of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied a dismissal motion by the gun confiscating government officials dirtbags of New Orleans yesterday.

"We're encouraged by this latest ruling," said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. "For almost a year, we've been fighting the city's delay tactics, which included outright lying by city officials that any firearms had been seized. Only when we threatened Mayor Nagin and Superintendent Riley with a motion for contempt did the city miraculously discover that they actually did have more than 1,000 firearms that had been taken from their owners."

Ray Nagin and his gun grabbing cronies illegally seized over a thousand firearms from hurricane victims in their hour of need. They now seek to absolve themselves of the responsibility of their actions, and to continue to deprive law abiding citizens of their property. Help prevent this from happening. Make them face the music. Hold them accountable. Support the NRA and SAF.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Smith & Wesson Model 34-1 .22/32 Kit Gun

When I went to the gun show, I was hoping to find an affordable S&W K-22. I found a Smith & Wesson in .22 long rifle, but it wasn't a K-22. The revolver I found was a Model 34-1, or a .22/32 "Kit Gun". A "kit gun" is a small handgun designed to be taken backpacking, camping, or hiking. In other words, it can fit in one's "kit" or knapsack.

The first .22/32 Kit guns were built on an I frame in 1935. The inexpensive ammunition and high quality craftsmanship made the little shooter an enduring combination. There were some improvements over the years, and in 1957, the .22/32 Kit Gun was assigned a model number of 34. In 1960, the J frame was adopted.

My Model 34-1 is easy to date as a 1968 revolver because it has no diamond on it's grips, and it does not have a letter prefix on it's serial number. That combination only occurred with the Model 34 in 1968. In addition, it is a round butt, pinned and recessed gun. When one considers that it can be carried in a pocket, and it digests the cheapest ammunition available, it is amazing this revolver can still be found for sale! The closest revolver offered by S&W today is the Model 317. Even so, the alloy framed modern rendition cannot hold a candle to the older gun.

Due to work constraints, I had to wait a few days to try out my new kit gun. After work today, I finally had the time. I thought about taking it to the range after work, but that just did not seem appropriate. Instead, I tossed the gun and a box of cheapo Federal ammunition into a rucksack, and I headed for a secluded spot along the river. I loaded up the revolver and walked among the willows looking for moccasins or at least a couple of dangerous tin cans to dispatch.

The snakes were avoiding the hundred degree heat, but I soon came face to face with a tomato can. It was a large Italian son of a bitch. It stared at me with an empty heart and piercing eyes. I took aim with the micrometer adjustable sights on my precision can killer, and I ventilated that empty can with a full cylinder of red hot .22 lead from a distance of 20-25 feet. The can tried to escape as I quickly fumbled six more rounds into the cylinder. I blasted away again as I approached the can, dispensing cold hard can justice on the soggy riverbank.

Because of it's size and caliber, it is inevitable that the S&W Model 34-1 will be compared to less expensive revolvers such as the H&R 923. The Model 34 Kit Gun is indeed a premium handgun for the person who wants a .22 pistol in their pocket. I paid $300 for this Model 34. A used revolver similar to this H&R 923 usually sells for $50-100. There is a huge difference in the craftsmanship, trigger pull, and ease of use that elevates the Smith & Wesson above the H&R. The H&R, however, carries nine rounds instead of six. Is the Smith six times better than the H&R? Hardly. The Smith, however, is worth $300. I have a feeling it will be traveling with me for a long time to come.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

America's Right Arm

The Smith & Wesson Military and Police Model 10 revolver is perhaps the most pervasive, widespread and successful revolver in history. From 1899 to the present day, the K frame Hand Ejector with fixed sights has been the staple of Smith and Wesson's offerings. It has ridden in the holster of many a patrolman, and stood watch on many a naval deck. It has protected US Marine's at Guadalcanal, and rested on their widow's dresser on the home front. America's Right ArmThis Smith and Wesson is American history.

Like many relics, The Smith & Wesson Military & Police revolver has been taken for granted. They are so plentiful that high quality Model 10s are still very affordable to the collector. Still, they represent a mere footnote in most volumes of firearm literature. One author though, has given the Military and Police revolver the recognition it deserves, in it's own volume of historical and collector information.

John Henwood first published "America's Right Arm - The Smith and Wesson Military and Police Revolver" in 1997. It is a 296 page comprehensive resource for all questions concerning this gun. Do you wonder what de-milled Victory M&Ps sold for in 1979? It's in this book. Have you ever wondered why stainless S&W revolvers used flash chromed lockwork? The answer is in there. Have you ever wondered if that Model 10-6 chambered in .357 magnum was authentic? John Henwood has the answer.

John Henwood's authoritative resource on the S&W M&P is not available from the usual sources. It is self published, and is available through his gentle wife Katherine. It is chock full of illustrations and information that can not be found elsewhere. If you are a Smith & Wesson M&P fan, this book is indispensable. Buy it.

Contact: John Henwood
819 Linda Mar Blvd.
Pacifica CA. 94044-3450

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back to the Gun Show

I went back to the gun show this afternoon. Yesterday I was called away for an exploratory lap, and today I was eager to see if I had missed anything. As I walked through the aisles, I saw all the guns I had noted the previous day were still for sale at the same prices. Of interest, I spotted a Smith & Wesson "pre-Model 36 that was a three screw gun in nickel with a nickel hammer and trigger. Obviously a fake. I also saw a Colt Agent for $250, and a Series 70 Colt 1911 with Bomars poorly fitted for $725.

I came upon Cowboy Bob inspecting an odd lever action Winchester at another dealer's table, and he flagged me over. "I think I've got something for that little girl of yourn," he said. About that time, a pudgy teenaged Rambo walked past in BDU pants, sneakers, a black T shirt, and a olive drab doo rag around his head. Both Bob and myself stood there slack jawed as this fantasy warrior waddled past with a little Rambo behind him.

Behind the table was a long tressed woman wearing black lip liner and pointy sequined stiletto heels. Between gum smacks, she asked Bob if he wanted the rifle. Bob told her he would think about it, and we went across the auditorium to his table.

Bob's table was being minded by his assistant, who excused himself to go smoke. I looked across the table and spotted several Smith & Wesson wheelies that were not there yesterday. Bob smiled as I went right to a pinned and recessed J framed revolver. It was a Model 34-1, or a Model of 1953 .22/32 Kit Gun. In plain English, it was a .22 snubbie on a J frame with adjustable sights. Bob had seen me coming. He had purchased it from another dealer yesterday and priced it at $350. I did the March Revolver Check Out on it and it checked good. I told him I would give him $300 for it, I figured that was fair. Bob agreed.

As I was filling out the paperwork, I noticed another revolver in target stocks with an eight and 3/8 inch barrel. It was .22 caliber. I picked it up and saw it was a Model 17-4 with very little use. Bob said he had bought it from a walker yesterday after I left. Damn. He had it priced at $435. This revolver was hardly used. I looked Bob in the eye, and said "Package deal. $700."
"Plus tax," Bob replied.
"Done." said I.
We finished the paperwork, transferred the guns and money and I walked them out to my car satisfied in my fortune. While it would have been nice to purchase these revolvers for what Bob no doubt did, I still did not get skint too badly. More on them later as time allows.


Is It or Isn't It?

Here is a possible self defense encounter caught on tape. It's veracity is in question, but it is none the less fascinating. What do you think? Language may not be suitable for work.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #69

A Day at the Gun Show

I arrived at the convention center early this morning, prior to the doors opening. Usually, there are several people loitering outside waiting on the ticket booth to open. Usually, they have guns to sell. Often deals are made before the show even opens. That was not the case today. I was one of two people waiting for the doors to open, and neither of us had guns to sell. When the doors finally were opened, I paid my five bucks and walked inside.

I have my route pretty much laid out based on past experience. I pass by Larry and Hutch's tables on the way to check out Cowboy Bob's wares. Larry and Hutch usually have some used guns, but old Bob has the good stuff in back. Bob knows it too. As I passed Larry's table, I made note of a used Kimber with a plum slide. $700. Hmmmmm, interesting, I bet it's a Series One, I thought as I passed by.

I arrived at Cowboy Bob's table to find his usual eclectic assortment of used arms. This morning he had a variety of Safari Arms 1911s, with baroque protrusions sticking out of the front straps and trigger guards. Cowboy Bob also had a Model 48 .22 magnum K-22 Masterpiece. Then I saw it. Laying atop a blue S&W box was a K-22 Combat Masterpiece. This was the revolver that was later to become the Model 18. Bob's example was a four screw gun with a triggershoe and Tyler T. It came with a Model 18 box that was serialed to another gun, a holster, and two speedloaders. Unfortunately, Bob had the entire package priced at $575, and the revolver had to much surface wear to call it mint. Ray Charles might have called it excellent. I looked it over, and placed it back on the table. I started to offer Bob $450 for just the gun, but this early in the show, I knew he would take his chances. I moved on.

At one of the long gun tables, I spotted an absolutely amazing gun. It was a Winchester Model 12 circa 1962 that was still NIB, right down to the corrugated cardboard dividers, and the original hang tag that read $130. The 2006 price for this fine shotgun was $1995. That was pretty cool.

Like a sailor gauging the economy by the price of a beer, I gauge a gunshow by the price of a Colt NRM 1911. Hutch had a selection of Colt 1911s Commanders, Defenders and Government Models. A new blue Government Model NRM gun was tagged at $689. Hutch had Springfield GI45s in various sizes tagged between $450 and $470. On other tables I found a nickel Model 15 with Stile grips for $350, and a nickel Model 19-5 for $450. I guess I did OK on the nickel Model 19-4 I bought recently. A Colt Agent was on display by one dealer, priced at $250. There were several Model 10s, overpriced for this area between $275 and $400. I found only one Military and Police revolver, a five inch post war "S" serialed gun priced at $400. I purchased the same gun on my Pawn Shop Circuit for $89. Next, I saw a Kimber Eclipse Custom II in 10mm, used, for $850. Then it dawned on me......I wondered if that Series 1 Kimber was a Clackamas gun. I went back to find it. It was gone. There were many Series II Kimbers at this show, new, in the $700 range, but the Series 1 pistol sold first.

I continued to mill around, looking for the walker carrying an old Smith. Frequently the real deals come not from dealers, but from people arriving at the show hoping to sell a gun. These sellers are easy to spot, but you have to watch the crowd, not the tables. Unfortunately, the more I watched the crowds, the more I saw fingers all over triggers every time a gun was picked up. Next, I saw a nimrod pick up a rebarreled revolver race gun, and hold it by both the grip and the barrel, like a rifle, to look through it's scope. The dealer just rolled his eyes. Finally, my beeper went off. Damn! Time to go to work.......


Friday, August 11, 2006

Gun Show in Town!

It's almost like the circus coming to town. A week prior to opening, huge billboards and trailered signs appear all through out town announcing the arrival of "the gun show". Like a circus carnival, a band of gypsies roll into town to lay out a cornucopia of wares in the hope of catching a local's eye. The freaks will arrive too, from the mustachioed white supremacist hawking fake Nazi trinkets, to the woman in skin tight polyester passing out flyers describing the benefits of vinyl siding. The patrons are no less bizarre. No doubt Rambo will show up in his camo BDUs and black 101st Airborne T shirt, his beer belly jiggling away.

So what will ring my chimes at this gun show? I'd like to find a 5 screw P&R K-22 for a take-me-home price. It doesn't have to be in the box, and it doesn't have to wear the original grips. The bluing can be worn as long as the bore is good. I do want it to have a sweet trigger and good timing.

Next, I'd like to find a S&W M&P or Victory Model that is in decent shape and priced right. I have a feeling that may be even more elusive than the K-22. More likely, I will locate a butchered and chromed Victory Model converted from .38 S&W to .38 Special. Chances are the seller will want over $300 for that booby prize.

I will keep my eyes open for a good Colt 1911. I always do that. A GI M1911 is still on my wish list, but I doubt I will find one in my price range at a gun show. Perhaps, though, I may run across a private seller before a dealer does. I may meet a friend who has a friend of a friend..... How John Holbrook finds these guns, I'll never know! If I see somebody selling a Colt 1911, I will take a look whether it is a M1911 or a Colt Gunsite. You never know what may be showing up in a Colt case.

Like a kid who has seen one too many tigers jump through flaming hoops, over the years the circus atmosphere of the gun show seems to lose it's mystique. The expectation of a new and unfamiliar prize dwindles, as cynicism creeps into place. Still, all it takes is some free cash and a show in town. The die hard gunnie will stand outside the ticket booth and be near the front of the line to reawaken the enchantment of his first, deliciously seductive gun show. I wonder who I will meet at the door in the morning........


Idiots With Guns #45

Carmen was hesitant at first. Her finger massaged the trigger lightly as she contemplated her next move.

Finally, the temptation was to great to resist. Carmen closed both eyes and pointed the pistol for posterity.

The purpose of Idiots with Guns is not to humiliate, but to educate. Over the years we have seen photos of people who, upon picking up a gun, just cannot resist pointing it at something they should not, with their finger on the trigger. This is usually the camera, another person, or themselves. These photos are often difficult to google up, because of the pages they are shown on. If you have archived any of these photos, feel free to send them in to bayouroversATjamDOTrrDOTcom

The Four Rules
1. All firearms are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pawn Shop Circuit: EZ Deals

After work today, I drove out to investigate a pawn shop I had noticed in a nearby town. From the exterior it seemed to meet my criteria for a place where a deal might be found. I found a parking place, patted the Model 38 in my right pocket, and went inside. The counter was being managed by a statuesque black lady who seemed more at ease selling jewelry. She was talking trash with a girlfriend about some "playas' they knew. I smiled and nodded at her and her purple lips parted to reveal stark white teeth.

I walked down the counter to the firearms. In a rack behind the counter were a selection of filthy rifles and shotguns. There were several pot metal specials under the glass, along with a much used Glock. Not much that I wanted to see. I took a quick look at the electronics on the way out the door and drove away.

I took the long way home and swung into Neil's shop on the way. The Glock and Sig were still in Neil's case, but added to the mix was an old .22 plinker. I waved Neil over and asked her to remove an old High Standard .22 caliber pistol for me to inspect. He handed me the pistol without opening the chamber, so I immediately locked back the bolt and removed the trigger lock. It was a High Standard Field King, or so it appeared to be. This pistol had a fixed rear sight, and the Field King was supposed to wear an adjustable sight. On close inspection, I believe the entire bolt had been replaced at some point. It just did not match the wear on the rest of the pistol. The grips were Franzlite period replacement grips. The barrel had pitting on it, although the bore still looked pretty good. Neil had priced this pistol at $249. It was nice, but no dice. I would have offered $150 if it had been priced nearer to my offer, but I knew I would never get Neil to drop the price by 40%. Besides that, a gun show is coming this weekend. I handed the pistol back to Neil and bid him a good evening.


Monday, August 07, 2006

The Best & Brightest

LTC Randolph C. White Jr. delivers the graduation speech for the newest batch of Infantrymen to complete training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, on April 21st, 2006.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Smith & Wesson Model 19-4 Nickel

In 1954, Smith and Wesson asked Bill Jordan of the US Border Patrol to design the ultimate peace officer's sidearm. Jordan simply took the K38 Combat Masterpiece and directed S&W to chamber it in .357 magnum. The Model 19 Combat Magnum was born. Over the years, the Model 19 was available in blue and nickel, with wood or rubber grips. It was truly a wonderful compromise between a midsized carry gun and a powerful magnum revolver.

As with all compromises, some problems did occur. The Model 19 developed a history of cracked forcing cones, usually occurring at the 6:00 position, where the barrel is relieved for the cylinder rod. The cracks occur much more frequently with 125 grain .357 magnum ammo, as does flame cutting of the top strap. Over time, problems with excessive endshake will develop on a steady diet of full house .357 magnum. The Model 19 was meant to be carried with magnums, but it needs .38 specials for practice. Smith and Wesson later concurred with this opinion. Today, there are no more Model 19 barrels at S&W. A cracked forcing cone means the demise of a fine gun. Care must be taken not to use 125 grain .357 magnum ammunition.

A couple of weeks ago, I found this pristine example of a nickel Model 19-4 Combat Magnum in a local pawn shop for $279. I did not hesitate to place it on layaway. The seller even threw in a suede lined holster to go with it.

Today, the Model 19 remains the epitome of S&W craftsmanship and design to many shooters. It is built on the beloved K frame, and has all the features of the hallowed K-38, with the addition of occasional .357 magnum capability. Yep, I finally got my nickel Model 19-4 off layaway. It's a good 'un!

Butch Kent's research on the forcing cone issue.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Idiots with Guns #44

How much do you trust your buddies?

The purpose of Idiots with Guns is not to humiliate, but to educate. Over the years we have seen photos of people who, upon picking up a gun, just cannot resist pointing it at something they should not, with their finger on the trigger. This is usually the camera, another person, or themselves. These photos are often difficult to google up, because of the pages they are shown on. If you have archived any of these photos, feel free to send them in to bayouroversATjamDOTrrDOTcom

The Four Rules
1. All firearms are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Over the years, I have heard gunnies say some stupid things. One of the dumbest statements I have heard gunnies declare is that hammerbite with the 1911 is a myth. I hear this over and over again from people who adopt a low grip on the 1911. They often go on to talk about hitchhiking and opposable thumbs in an attempt to insinuate that a man who grips his pistol as high as possible is somehow wrong for doing so. Here is an example:
People who THINK they get hammer bite on a 1911, actually get cut by a sharp edge on a grip safety. The correct solution to that one would appear to be to break out a honing stone, not to put on a bigger aftermarket part that adds nothing but bulk to the weapon. Look at the mil spec 1911 with the hammer in the cocked position. Its impossible to get "hammer bite" from it, unlike say, the Hi Power, which actually extends out and down PAST the tang.
Others theorize on the cause of hammerbite with no empirical evidence to speak of.
Also, I'd bet the term "hammer bite" is a "catch-all" for cutting, bruising, etc the hand. Meaning, a lot of people will cut and bruise themselves because of the frame/beavertail edges impacting your hand on recoil and might call it hammer bite. It's not the hammer, but the effect is the same...basically.
Apparently these folks have held a pistol loosely and have felt the unrestrained recoil. It is impossible for a tightly held handgun to impact your hand, just as a properly shouldered shotgun will not bruise your shoulder. Saying that hammerbite is a myth because it never happened to you is like saying bones don't break because you never had a fracture. It's incredibly egocentric and ignorant. Here's another statement fresh off a forum:
I would probably pay cash money to see anybody get "hammer bite" with a stock 1911 when shooting it with their thumb DOWN in the proper position. If you stick your thumb in the air like you are hitchhiking when trying to shoot so you can imitate some idiotic gamesman who never survived a gunfight in his life, that's YOUR fault, not the guns.
Yep, there goes that hitchhiking accusation, and a little name calling tossed in for good measure. Is my thumb pointing at the clouds in any of these photos? Arrogance based on erroneous presumptions often makes the speaker appear more ignorant than he would like. This quote though, is my favorite.
I have loose fleshy hands that are on the large side, and the only gun I ever got hammer bite from was a Model 29 with stock factory target grips. But then again, I realize that I have an opposable thumb and what nature intended it for. Grasping, not hitching a ride...
How the hell does a person get hammerbite shooting a revolver? Oh, and there goes that opposable thumb thing again.

I have shot a Sistema in my usual high shooting grip and taken the photos above for one reason. Proof of hammerbite's existence and it's cause. In the first photo, the hammer can be seen pinching the flesh of my hand. In the second photo, with the pistol moved forward, the impression of the grip safety can be seen with no abrasions present. The pinched flesh wound can be seen immediately proximal to the grip safety impression.

These same people who deny the existence of hammerbite hate the beavertail grip safety. They declare that it is a trendy contrivance not needed by real men who know how to grip a handgun properly. Bullshit. The proper way to hold a handgun is to get the web of your hand as high as possible behind the bore axis. Doing so changes the recoil impulse from a lever action to a push straight back. The recoil of the properly held pistol is unable to act as a lever against the wrist. Follow-up shots come quicker, and they are more accurate. A beavertail grip safety effectively eliminates hammerbite, allowing the pistol to be held as high as possible, giving better control and enhancing accuracy. The beavertail grip safety is a simple, elegant, and permanent solution. It adds no bulk, and it allows the pistol to be shot without pain for a long period of time. The beavertail grip safety solves the hammerbite problem. It works. Period.

Failure to recognize this and calling the beavertail grip safety trend chasing is what psychologists call projection. That's right. The insistence on a GI style grip safety is as trendy and fashionable as the desire for a beavertail ever was. Those who refuse to accept the reality of hammerbite also lack the insight to see their advocacy of the GI grip safety for what it truly is. Reverse elitism. Snobbery. It is true that some pistols look better with a GI grip safety. I keep a GI grip safety and a Rowell hammer on my Series 70 Commander because I like the way it looks. Yes, the rounded Commander hammer occasionally nips my flesh. I like the looks of the GI grip safety on my Commander, so I keep it. That's fashion. If I were to install a beavertail grip safety, I would be responding to my needs to shoot this pistol more effectively. That is form following function, not fashion.

There are those who will say that all a person needs to do to eliminate hammerbite is trim the hammer. They would be right. I have done this on pistols. Still, there is a huge advantage for many people, as I stated above, to adopting a high grip on a 1911. The thumb sitting on top of the thumb safety provides leverage to prevent what little muzzle flip is left after raising the web of the hand behind the bore axis. The pistol pushes against the web of the hand rather than levering against the wrist. As a result, the sights stay closer to the target, and the target is reacquired quicker. That is not inconsequential. The improvement is measurable in split times. Some beavertail grip safeties get the hand higher on the pistol than others. I prefer the Ed Brown grip safety. It gets my hand a full quarter inch higher on the pistol than a stock grip safety. It also prevents hammerbite. That is not fashion. That is form following function. That is the evolution of design and an improvement worth keeping. All else is just fashion.