Friday, May 13, 2022

Lucky Gunner Video on the High Standard Sentinel

I've previously written about the High Standard Sentinel R-101 I picked up earlier this year. Yesterday, Chris from Lucky Gunner posted a nice video about the Sentinel revolvers. Check it out:



 

Sunday, April 03, 2022

.357 Magnum / .38 Special Opinions

Over on Bushcraft USA, a member posted the following:

So, I've had this whole .357 magnum revolver idea stuck in my head about long enough now that it's kind of becoming a serious consideration.

I have no interest in concealed carry, this would be strictly a woods bumming gun.

I've owned very few handguns over the years. the two longest running are, a Contender in 7-30 Waters scoped bull barrel for about twenty years. It was fantastically accurate, but awkward to carry and shooting offhand was difficult at best. It was very barrel heavy. I traded it for a milling machine about ten years ago and as much as I enjoyed shooting it I don't miss it. It never really fit my hunting style. For deer I've always been a still hunter in very thick cover. 

I have a Ruger Bearcat .22 that it's only redeeming quality is it is light weight. I hate the fixed sights, to me that ruins the whole gun package. Also we don't have grey squirrels or cotton tails around here except in town pretty much. We can't shoot grouse with anything other than a shotgun. So snowshoe hares are the only thing to shoot with a .22.

In comes the .357.

I seem to think it would be fine for the heavy cover thick brush highly mobile style of deer hunting that I like with shots of 40 yards or less.

Loaded with .38 special it would be enough for the odd coyote or even more rare fox.

Maybe some wadcutter for small game if I wanted or just plinking and fooling around.

And realistically fooling around would probably be its primary job. 

I have most of my reloading stuff yet, so handloads are an option if I decided to go back down that rabbit hole again.

...

To which I replied:

My favorite handgun cartridge is .38 Special. It handles everything I need a pistol to do, with mild recoil, useful power, and excellent accuracy.

In my opinion, the most versatile handgun you can have is a medium frame .357 Magnum double action revolver with a 4" barrel. They a full sized guns but small enough for concealed carry with the right holster.

With the right ammo you can use them for target shooting, hunting game up to deer sized, training new shooters, and self defense.

Reloading .38 Special and .357 Magnum is relatively easy because they are straight walled, rimmed cases. Carbide sizing dies eliminate the need to lubricate cases. They are usable with a wide variety of powders (even black powder, since the .38 was originally designed for it). There is a huge variety of bullets available in cast, swaged, plated, powder coated, and jacketed flavors.

If you're OK with limiting yourself to single actions, Ruger makes the Blackhawk Convertible that comes with .357 and a 9mm cylinders, further increasing versatility. Taurus sells the 692 double action that comes with .357 and 9mm cylinders.

Check out the articles by Ed Harris about the .38 Special (among other things) hosted at https://www.hensleygibbs.com/edharris/backcreekdiary.htm.

And of course, a .357 revolver makes a dandy companion to a lever action in the same caliber. Even full house .357s are mild to shoot in a carbine and firing .38s in a carbine is much like shooting a .22.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Applications for Licenses to Carry a Firearm up 600% in Philadelphia

This is both remarkable but not really surprising.

https://crimeresearch.org/2022/03/concealed-handgun-permit-applications-soar-in-philadelphia-up-600-from-recent-years/

As of 11:59 last night, Philadelphia is up to 115 homicides for 2022 with no signs of the violence slowing down.

We live about 5 miles outside Philadelphia and my wife often has the local Fox affiliate on before work, and every day there is a report about an armed robbery and/or shootings. On Friday morning, the story was about a hold up at a Dollar General at 9th & Girard, which ended with the store manger killing the perp with a head shot. The reporter mentioned that law abiding citizens are applying for LTCF in droves and I thought the tone was actually pretty positive.

Some notes about PA firearms laws, which are generally pretty good:

Pennsylvania has a robust gun culture.

Article 1, Section 21 of the PA Constitution reads, “The right of the people to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.”

In PA, a carry permit is called a "License to Carry a Firearm." It applies to handguns and “firearms,” which under state statute includes short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and AOWs. It does not apply to knives, not does PA have a preemption law for knives and switchblades are illegal statewide.

PA has a strong preemption law that prevents local municipalities from enacting more restrictive laws than the commonwealth. Sometimes Philadelphia or Pittsburgh tries to do so and gets slapped down by the Supreme Court of PA.

Pennsylvania is a shall-issue state with applications and renewals handled by each county’s sheriff’s department. Note that in PA, the sheriffs otherwise basically provide courthouse security and prisoner transport, they are not involved with day-to-day law enforcement. That’s handled by local PDs or the PA State Police.

The state gives the sheriffs a fair amount of leeway in how they handle applications and renewals. For example, in Philly it’s my understanding they almost always call the character references provided by the applicant. In contrast, I live in Montgomery County, which borders Philly to the northwest. I’ve had a LTCF since the early 90s, renewed several times (they are good for 5 years), and never had a reference called. Regardless of the county, applicants do go through a background check administered by the State Police (the PA Insta-Check System), which is also used when you buy a gun from an FFL. PA doesn’t use NICS.

There are no training or qualification requirements for issuance of a LTCF. If you are legal to possess a firearm, you are legal to carry it once you have a LTCF. 

There are no restrictions in PA on “assault weapons,” magazine capacity, ownership of body armor, or possession of night vision gear.

Most of the state is Title II friendly. I.e., silencers, MGs, SBRs, SBSes. Large bore Destructive Devices are legal in PA (i.e., you can have a 20mm cannon) but explosive DDs are not. 


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Birchwood Casey Adjustable Width Target Base Stand

Last weekend I was upstate camping. As usual, we did some target shooting.

We've used a few different target holders in the past but none have been ideal. The problem we run into is that the ground is very rocky so it's hard to drive any kind of target holder into it. This time we used a Birchwood Casey stand (Amazon affiliate link) that we're very happy with. 

I added two four foot long 1"x2" boards. For the backer, I cut open the box it came in and stapled it to the boards. It's more than wide enough to hold a military SR-1 rifle target.

The Birchwood Casey base has holes in it so you can secure it to the ground with stakes, but when we need to do that we'll probably just weight it down with a couple logs.

If you do target shooting at an informal range, this definitely gets two big thumbs up.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Ruger SR22 Deep Clean

Today I gave my Ruger SR22 pistol a deep cleaning. The last time I shot it I had several rounds which failed to go off on the first hit, but which went off on the second hit on the same spot on the rim. This isn't too unusual with .22 rimfire ammo but neither of the other two pistols I shot in the same session had the same problem. So, I think I was getting the occasional light strike.

First I field stripped the Ruger and cleaned the barrel, paying particular attention to the chamber. It had some build up in it which I removed with a bronze brush and Kroil. After I was done I pushed a few dry patches through the bore. The barrel is made from stainless steel and in my environment doesn't need any oil to prevent rust.

My final check for the chamber's cleanliness was to drop several rounds into it (Remington Golden Bullet, CCI Standard Velocity, and Aguial Super Extra SV). I tried with 2 or 3 examples of each and most freely dropped all the way in. A couple required a slight touch. I expect this kind of variance in .22 rimfire ammo.

The next thing I did was to detail strip the slide so I could ensure the firing pin channel was clean and dry, and that there weren't any burrs on the firing pin itself. To do so I used the instructions here:

https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=429069

If you remove the breech block from an SR22 slide, be careful. There are several small parts and springs. I dropped the firing pin safety and had to get on my hands and knees to find it.

While I had it apart I lightly polished the sides, top, and bottom of the firing pin on a gunsmith's stone.

After blasting it with solvent and then with compressed air until everything was dry, I reassembled it. To prevent any oil from migrating up into the breech block I removed what oil I had on the slide and rails, and put a small dab of white lithium grease on the slide rails before putting the gun back together.

I wanted to remove the lockwork from the grip frame but that pin was really stubborn and I did not want to really wail on it at this time.

It may be a week or two before I'm able to test fire the Ruger. I'm hoping for better reliability.


Saturday, February 19, 2022

An Ultra Compact Pistol Cleaning Kit

Several years ago I put together the first version of this cleaning kit to accompany an M1 Carbine I used as a road trip gun. I updated it today to keep with my Beretta 71.

Contents:

  • 1 pull through with loops on each end to hold a cleaning patch. This was made from two of the conductors stripped from a piece of CAT5e network cable. It's plastic coated so it won't damage the bore, and coils up to fit in the plastic bag at lower left. A boresnake or sectional cleaning rod could be substituted. I might make a short brass cleaning rod for the kit because then I could use it to push out bore obstructions.
  • 1 plastic bag containing some .22 - .270 cotton flannel cleaning patches, and two pipe cleaners.
  • 1 "Norton's Universal Cleaning Stick" from Countycomm.com. This is a thin plastic bar that can be used for scraping or pushing a cleaning patch through crevices.
  • 1 USGI-type gun cleaning brush.
  • 1 plastic bag containing a 1 oz. bottle of Rem Oil and a rag torn from an old T-shirt. Rem Oil isn't the best gun oil but it works well as a CLP for short term use and the bottle size is handy. Use your favorite gun oil or CLP.
  • 1 USGI Vietnam-era surplus "Chieu Hoi" bag, into which everything fits. These were originally intended to use as covers for 20 round M16 magazines in Vietnam. The idea was that they'd be discarded on the battlefield to induce any Viet Cong who picked them up to defect. They are still readily available and make good storage parts for small parts or kits like this one.

Naturally, this isn't a comprehensive maintenance kit. Rather, it's intended to be an ultra compact cleaning kit to keep in the pistol case to keep it running as part of a grab and go kit.



The pistol, extra magazines, and cleaning kit all fit into this US Peacekeeper attache-style gun case (Amazon affiliate link). A 100 round box of .22LR ammo should also fit.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Twenty-Two Palooza

This weekend I got to the range with a few .22 pistols:

  • Ruger 22/45 Lite
  • Ruger SR22
  • High Standard R-100 Sentinel


I'd recently remounted a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight on the 22/45 and it needed to be zeroed. It wasn't too far off at 7 yards so zeroing it didn't take long. However, my plan is to do the final sighting in at 25 yards. The piece ran flawlessly through a mix of CCI Mini Mags, Federal Game Shocks, and Remington Golden Bullets.

Next up was the SR22. The last time I shot it I had a few rounds which required more than one hit on the rim to go off. That's not terribly unusual with .22 rimfire ammo but the SR22 seemed to be a bit more prone to it, so I gave it as thorough a cleaning as possible with removing the breech block from the slide. Unfortunately, I had a few rounds which required more than one hit, both Federal and Remington. From what I can tell, the SR22 would benefit with a slightly stronger hammer spring.

Finally, I put a few different types of .22LR through the High Standard that I bought a week previously. These included Aguila Super Extra and CCI, both standard velocity, Remington Viper Hyper Velocity, and Remington Golden Bullets. 

Except for the final cylinder, I shot the Sentinel single action. It whacks the case rims with authority and I had no failures to fire. It seemed to give slightly better accuracy with the standard velocity ammunition.

I only put 9 rounds (one cylinder-full) of Vipers through the H-S. After a few shots the gun became more difficult to cock as the cylinder rotated. I think what happened is that on one round brass flowed back and was dragging. When I went to eject the empties it required a lot of force, unlike the other types of ammo. So, no more Vipers for that gun.

I really wish someone could design a small framed double action .22 revolver that would be reliable without a ridiculously heavy DA trigger pull. My medium-framed S&W Model 18 has a tolerable DA pull but if someone was able to come up with something smaller that reliably ignited rimfire ammo and had a similar DA, they'd have a real winner. And no, the Ruger LCP ain't it.

As an aside, I've had positive experiences with Remington Golden Bullet .22 ammo manufactured in the past 6 or 7 years. Overall in my experience, CCI has been the most reliable .22 rimfire ammo, but in the 5 years or so prior to their bankruptcy, Remington really improved the quality of their .22 ammo. I hope that now that Remington ammo is back in production the quality will be high.

My Remington 550-1 and Nylon 77 rifles both shoot Golden Bullets really well. Also, they are loaded noticeably hotter than CCI Mini Mags. I haven't shot any game with them but a friend gave up on GB hollow points for squirrels because they are too destructive. To paraphrase, "They blow the guts out."

Today I spent a little time playing with my Beretta Model 71 "Jaguar," and found a used factory 10 round magazine on eBay for the Model 73, 74, 76, and 101. These fit the 71 but stick out a bit from the butt. The price was about $70 but for a real Beretta mag it should be worth it. While I had the gun out I painted the front sight with a bright green. I've been doing this on many of my pistols because it makes the sight much easier to see.