Gun Shop Story: “What barrel length?”

A good story followed by rambling thoughts:

As I have time, I make regular rounds of local gun shops as do most all firearms aficionados. It usually doesn’t take much of an excuse to head out on these rounds but most recently the reason for shopping was to pick up some ammunition in .44 Remington Magnum.

I was looking in particular for jacketed hollow points, not semi-jacketed or half-jacketed but full-jacket hollow points, preferably between 200 and 240 grains.  However, I didn’t have the opportunity to explain to my salesman why I desired such particular construction due to his quick questioning in an attempt to ‘define the needs of the customer’.   By way of explanation, I offer the following recount of the conversation:

Sales: “Hi! Looking for anything today?”

Me: “Hi. Yes. I’m looking for .44 Magnum ammo…”

Sales: “What barrel length?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Sales: “What barrel length is the gun you will use it in?”

Me: “Twenty inches.”

Sales: [Momentary Vapor Lock :grin:] “Sorry?”

Me: “Twenty inches.  It’s for my lever action.”

Sales: “Oh, O.K.”

I went on to explain that I wanted full-jacketed hollow points because they wouldn’t deform as easily in the magazine tube when stacked nose-to-end.  Then, both of us being on the same page, we were able to locate some suitable ammo for me to purchase.  Fiocchi 200gr JHP’s to be exact.

When I asked why the barrel length mattered to him, he told of some new ammo from Speer they had received designed especially for short barrel lightweight revolvers.  Looking at it, the bullet profile seemed normal but the hollow point cavity was so deep that it looked like it was almost drilled through the base of the bullet.  He said this was to reduce weight and therefore recoil while also giving reliable expansion at velocities expected from short barreled revolvers.

Here’s the data from Speer:

Gold Dot Short Barrel Personal Protection – 44 Magnum

Part Number Cartridge Bullet Wt. Bullet Type Box Count Bullet Coefficient
23971 44 Magnum 200 GDHP-SB 20 0.145
Velocity(in feet per second) Energy (in foot pounds)
Muzzle 50 yards 100 yards Muzzle 50 yards 100 yards
1075 994 933 513 439 387
Trajectory if sighted at 25 yards Test Barrel Length in inches Usage
25 yards 50 yards 75 yards 100 yards
0.0 -1.1 -4.5 -10.2 4V 1
Usage Key: 1 = Personal Protection | 2 = Training | 3 = Hunting

By comparison, and roughly equivalent to the .44 SB Gold Dot load, is Speer’s .45 ACP +P [200 gr @ 1080 ft/sec; 518 ft/lbs].

Speer also catalogs a .44 Special load (200 gr@ 875 ft/sec; 340 ft/lbs) and a .44 Magnum hunting load (210 gr @ 1450 ft/sec; 980 ft/lbs)

My thoughts, so far, on the short barrel ammo are:

  1. The Gold Dot line has a well earned reputation for performance and the Short Barrel ammunition line will assuredly continue to uphold that reputation should it be called to defend against predators.
  2. Buying a lightweight  magnum short barrel revolver involves some compromise.  Obviously, increased recoil impulse in trade for ease of carry.
  3. Buying a lightweight magnum short barrel revolver involves diminishing returns with regard of performance if you have to reduce the potency of its chambered cartridge in order to shoot it comfortably (or in this case, less painfully).  Does a hot .45 ACP really equal a .44 Magnum?  Although, I can’t fault Speer in the least.  By producing the SB line, they are facilitating actual utility for those who purchased the Ultra-Light Magnum Snubbies only to find out “Ye canna break the laws o’ physics!”
  4. My rifle weighs more than any handgun but also has ten times the barrel length of a 2″ snubbie. (But then again I don’t wear it on my belt…)
  5. Clint Smith is right when he says “Guns should be more comforting than comfortable.”
  6. On my next outing, I think I’ll have to get some  Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP +P!

Slow blogging…

This week, I have been clearing brush (trees, blackberry, wisteria, and other belligerent vegetation)  in preparation for building a fence.

I’ll play ‘catch up’ here in a little bit.

Wayback machine: Taking API 250 at Cooper’s Gunsite

Stumbling across the interweb, I came across this piece written in 1992 by Barry Needham about his first visit to Gunsite to take the API 250 General Pistol course.  This was at the time when “The Guru”, Lt.Col. Jeff Cooper, was at the helm.

It’s a good read with some great personal insight towards what the experience of studying under Cooper was like.  You’ll also learn the definition of “Tricyclephobia”.

Massad Ayoob: The Mirror Image Match

Massad  Ayoob posted a piece on shooting a complete IDPA match (along with several of his buddies) using the non-dominant hand.  Maybe next time when they do it they could also have an even number of stages with half the courses of fire and target placements be a mirror image to the other half.  That way they could notice some of the (unintentional) ‘bias’ of stage design too.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Southpaw; thus, speaking as a member of the minority of next-evolutionary-step hominids: Good for Mr. Ayoob.  I know Mr. Ayoob’s purpose for his ‘mirror match’ was done for ‘tactical’ reasons (imprinting skills, overcoming the injury of the dominant hand, etc.) but as the only thing made for the ‘Sinistre’ are toll booths, I say, “Welcome to my world.”

Not to say that I disagree with the premise, I’ve shot complete matches right-handed before.  Actually, I did it for about three or four months, (unsupported even – Cowboys call it ‘Duelist’ style) about 10 years ago following the injury of my left hand.  While it was braced and healing, I continued to shoot matches  just about every weekend with lots of dry fire practice during the weekdays. I remember how odd it felt at first, but also how quickly I adapted to shooting with my right hand.  Then it felt odd that felt so natural.  The Man Upstairs did a fine job of designing the human body.  Not only do we have an amazing ability to heal but an outstanding ability to adapt.

In the years since then I’ve tried to make a habit of training ‘to both sides’.  I didn’t retain the ‘natural feel’ when shooting right handed but doing so now doesn’t feel unfamiliar either.  I partially accredit this to being left handed to start.  Being forced to adapt on a daily basis to a right handed world may have given me an advantage in this regard.  That’s the way I choose to interpret the experience anyway.  I’d like to say I have an advantage in something for having to deal with single sided safeties, can openers, scissors, cork screws, books, pie servers, ice cream scoops, and nearly ever other darn tool I’ve ever had to use.

SkyNet Update: Matrix + Terminator = Robot Feeds on Corpses

No joke.

EATR bot scavenger will feast on the dead

EATR bot scavenger will feast on the dead

The picture above isn’t quite accurate.  Take a look at this other diagram of the EATR:

EATR schematic - note the hopper and the...

EATR schematic - note the hopper and the...

The feature I’d like you to notice is the chainsaw.  How else would it be able to dismember bodies to bite size pieces able to be fed into the hopper?  Just take a moment to visualize this little critter in action.

Fox News has the Story:

Robotic Technology Inc.’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot — that’s right, “EATR” — “can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable,” reads the company’s Web site.

That “biomass” and “other organically-based energy sources” wouldn’t necessarily be limited to plant material — animal and human corpses contain plenty of energy, and they’d be plentiful in a war zone.

First off, whose dead are we talking about here? I was under the impression that we recover our fallen soldiers whenever possible and intern them on US soil.  We certainly don’t leave them where they fall for RoboChow.

Second, do we really need ‘biomass’ fueled bots?  Wall-E was solar powered and he kept plugging along for two thousand years!  Although, what a different movie it would have been had he been powered by the CPT Waste Heat Engine used by the EATR…  [Come on kids, the movie is about to start!  Wait, this isn’t Wall-E, it’s Hungr-E!  Aaugh!!!!!!!]

In The Matrix, robots used people for power because the sun was blocked out by the upper atmospheric dust cloud of a nuclear holocaust (intended to STOP the machines!).   Thanks to the developers of EATR, we now know why they chose humans as a power supply.  Thanks guys!!

New Project: Wild Bunch Holster

I have an idea in my head for a Wild Bunch Holster.

For y’all not into Cowboy Action Shooting, a Wild Bunch match (or side match) is where 1911’s are used in SASS competition instead of single action revolvers.  These matches came about due to the movie ‘The Wild Bunch‘ by Sam Peckinpah being a favorite amongst the founders of the Single Action Shooting Society.  They favored it enough to call the SASS Board of Directors ‘The Wild Bunch’. In fact they often refer to it as one of the Hollywood Westerns that the game was founded on and it’s also the reason that Winchester Model 1897 shotguns are allowed as a main match shotgun.

I always thought that was a bit odd as the movie isn’t really a western.  It’s a good movie and I like it but when I think of a defining film for the Hollywood Western genre, Silverado really captures it all.   [No offense to Tombstone, it’s a spectacular western, but is necessarily darker in tone and we’re talking something to base a game on here.]

Anywho, after the Bianchi Holster Mutilation piece, it felt good to haul out the leather working gear and make something.  That’s what got me thinking about other projects, which led to the WB holster idea.  Not so much because I need one but because I don’t have one.

The SASS regulations for WB holsters are:

  • Holsters and magazine pouches must be of traditional or military design and made from traditional materials, (e,g, canvas or leather).
  • The holster must cover the entire length of the barrel and completely cover ejection port. No open front speed holsters allowed.
  • If a holster has a flaps or strap they need not be closed during competition.
  • No metal or plastic “competition” type equipment allowed.
  • No shoulder or cross-draw holsters may be used during competition.
  • Magazine pouches must be worn on the opposite side of the body from the handgun.
  • Magazine pouches must be worn vertical.
  • Magazine pouches can hold either 1 or 2 magazines.
  • At least 2 inches of the magazine must be covered by the magazine pouch.
  • All other SASS regulations pertaining to these items apply.

Rather than military pattern, my vision is for a classic western holster with not too much drop, pattern stamping in saddle tan and maybe with a concho.  I’ll make a sketch or two and see what comes of it.

Must Read: “I Still Hate You, Sarah Palin”

Please read and forward to your friends and congressmen this article from the Nat’l Review Online by David Kahane.  Here’s an excerpt:

Yes, my friends, it’s once again time to quote Sean Connery’s famous speech from The Untouchables, written by David Mamet — the lecture the veteran Chicago cop gives a wet-behind-the-ears Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner, back when he was a movie star) while they sit in a church pew. “You want to get Capone? Here’s how you get him: he pulls a knife, you pull a gun, he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!” If you just think of us — liberal Democrats — as Capone you’ll begin to understand what we’re up to. And we just put one of yours in the morgue.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but maybe now you’re beginning to understand the high-stakes game we’re playing here. This ain’t John McCain’s logrolling senatorial club any more. This is a deadly serious attempt to realize the vision of the 1960s and to fundamentally transform the United States of America. This is the fusion of Communist dogma, high ideals, gangster tactics, and a stunning amount of self-loathing. For the first time in history, the patrician class is deliberately selling its own country down the river just to prove a point: that, yes, we can! This country stinks and we won’t be happy until we’ve forced you to admit it.

In other words, stop thinking of the Democratic Party as merely a political party, because it’s much more than that. We’re not just the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition. Not just the party of Aaron Burr, Boss Tweed, Richard J. Croker, Bull Connor, Chris Dodd, Richard Daley, Bill Ayers, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II. Not just the party of Kendall “Agent 202” Myers, the State Department official recruited as a Cuban spy along with his wife during the Carter administration. Rather, think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

Well said.  Be sure to read it all.