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106 Days: R-Guns BCGs Arrive

Nickel boron plated bolt carrier groups from R-Guns

Nickel boron plated bolt carrier groups from R-Guns

I have to say that after having read one particular account of R-Guns customer service I was concerned, but here they are without a hitch.  I ordered them in February and they didn’t charge my card until the day they shipped via UPS.

*choke* $1500??!!

Like many of living the ‘firearms enthusiast lifestyle’, I tend to make occasional circuits of pawn shops on the off chance of scoring a deal.  I don’t know about the pawn brokers where you live, but around H-town (especially if the store is part of a chain) the standard pricing for used guns is to take the MSRP of the gun were it new and then add about 15-20%.  It’s obvious that those prices are intended for customers outside the ‘F.E.L.’ and therefore ignorant of market value and pricing.  It’s not unexpected to see Glocks that look like they’ve been bouncing around in the bed of a pickup for a year or two with a tag asking $650, but even so when I saw this:

S&W M&P 15-22 in O.D. green with very optimistic pricing.

S&W M&P 15-22 in O.D. green with very optimistic pricing.

…I actually did a double take.  When I pointed out, to a manager, that it was priced three times what a new one sells for, his response was, “I didn’t price that.”  The M&P 15-22 is not a rare gun; even during the height of the Great Gun Panic of 2013 with folks buying $250 bricks of .22 and waiting hours to get into gun shows I doubt that gun would sell at that price.

Unless maybe that VFG is hand carved from fossilized dinosaur bone…

I See What You Did There: ‘RECOIL Reduction Sale’

DSG Arms is having a “Recoil Reduction Sale”.   Save 10% off the entire order using the coupon code RECOIL10OFF

[Expiration date: 2012-09-17 23:59:59]

Gun Show Oddities

(please pardon the lousy phone pics)

Zombie Killer Saiga 12 with apple-corer/trident* muzzle device decoration and blood splatter paint job

Saiga 12 Zombie Slayer

(BTW, Don’t use a shotgun for zombie defense)

Taurus glowstick colored pistol

And to think, there's a law prohibiting black squirt guns...

Note: photo does not truly convey the brightness of this item; I expect the next version will actually be made of glow-in-the-dark translucent polymer and be illuminated by internal Cree ultraviolet LED’s and sport a titanium rainbow slide.

[*OK, it’s a ‘quadent’ or a ‘tetradent’; but I needed an excuse to use the link.]

Kel-Tec KSG for Sale IRL; Optimistically Priced [pics + bonus]

Saturday (1.07.12) at the GRB Gun Show I saw a Kel-tec KSG for the first time:

A genuine bona-fide KSG in real life

Yes, it is priced a whisker shy of $1800.  The price of $3999.99 for David *name withheld* is a friendly jab at another dealer at the show.

As if that wasn’t the find of the show, look what was sitting next to it: the SRM 1216

Kel-Tec KSG and SRM 1216

And it would appear that for $2500 you don’t even get a recoil pad.

BTW, at the same show another dealer had very lightly used (no wear on action bars) Remington 870 Police Magnums for $325-$375.  Hmm, which to choose…

Somewhat off topic musings: I don’t know about you but I have a slight internal conflict with regard to scalper’s prices on guns.  On one hand, I am a red blooded capitalist and understand and appreciate supply and demand.  If the dealer thinks that they can make an extra $1000 above and beyond the MSRP of a gun (the KSG), hey, more power to them.  No one is forcing anybody to buy the gun and besides there are millions of other shotguns to choose from.  [Maybe you remember the ridiculous prices people paid for Miatas and PT Cruisers when those first came out too.]  Furthermore, if the dealer with the KSG had put it out for sale at MSRP, another dealer would have most likely bought it only to attempt to resell it at an inflated price.  If you want one at MSRP, then you can wait for supply to increase.

The dealer today was friendly and upbeat and had no problem with me picking up the gun to look it over.  I enjoyed talking with them and learned that the KSG was one of the first factory shipment of 250 guns.  This one had a three digit serial number starting with ‘1’.  So to be clear, I don’t have a problem with the price I saw on the gun today.  In fact, I chuckled and wished the dealer well saying, “I hope you get it!” (referring to the asking price) and left happy to know that the KSG is in the pipeline and also happy to have had the chance to finally inspect one up close.

The twinge of conflict I experience is when demand skyrockets (say, for instance, due to a particular person getting elected) and prices increase for the short term that approach the level of gouging.   As I’ve stated before, I whole heartily endorse supporting local business whenever possible, however, with the Clinton Gun Ban having sunset only four years prior, in 2008, some local dealers had AR magazines double in price overnight following election returns.  On most you could still the the original price tags under the hastily applied new ones.   Ammo and gun prices also soared.  On one hand, current inventory has to be weighed in the cost of replacement in order to maintain stock.  Example: If gas prices increase, the stations instantly raise prices even if they won’t have a delivery for days because the gas in the ground has to be sold at a rate that will fund its replacement in order to stay in business.  On the other hand, I have enough friends with FFL’s that told me in the months following November 2008, most prices from manufacturers and wholesalers did not substantially increase.  The producers were playing the long game, while some retailers were playing the short game.  Unlike gas stations, gun dealers won’t be charged with price gouging in ‘times of crisis’ (hurricanes, etc.) nor do I think they should be.  Was the post election price hike a case of simply “making hay while the sun shines” or was it “taking advantage of peoples’ fear”?  Neither really, to consider it is just letting emotion get in the way; it’s still just supply and demand and it’s still just business.  The dealers might have thought there would be forthcoming legislation that would put them out of business or at least severely restrict there earning potential and needed to stockpile capital for a coming downturn.  Even though prices eventually came back in line with most other local shops, the long term result has to do with the customer’s perception towards the business.  Not every customer may feel this way but, every time since seeing 11/08 price increases, I remember it when I walk through the door of that shop.  I still shop there on occasion (and have directed business there too), the sales guys are knowledgeable and friendly, but I have no illusion of the owner’s ‘friendship’ with customers.   When I’m there, I shop based on price only since that’s the rule established by the owner.

What do you think?  Is that justified or just petty?

Predator Style 3 Beam Laser Sight (At Last!)

Well it’s about time someone manufactured a three-laser-beam-in-a-triangle gun sight.  Beamshot has stepped up to the plate to bring us the ‘BS8000S’ laser sight.  They should have named it the “Predanator”.

Tri-beam Laser Sight (helmet mount not included)

From the Beamshot website:

BEAMSHOT® is proud to offer our all new BS8200S Tri Beam Laser sighting system. This all new laser sight emits three dots in a triangular pattern, the center of the three dots being the point of impact. This pattern allows the eye to locate the center mass much quicker making this sight perfectly suited for close quarter rapid target acquisition as well as HOME DEFENSE.

Sweet!  Now all I need is a eye tracking plasma launcher with shoulder mount (or two) to pair with my helmet’s multi-spectrum targeting computer.

Always use a fog machine to enhance the effect!

Gun Shop Review: 10 Ring (NW Houston)

I like to support independent retailers in the gun business whenever possible.  Unlike the big box stores, the small business shops actually (with some exceptions) care about their customers and work to please them.  They also need our help to survive.

Mass retailer chain stores only stock what products are known to make money in a timely fashion and every foot of shelf space is expected to generate a specific level of profit.  The mass retailers have no loyalty to the product, only the bottom line.  When at such time that chain store decides the profit isn’t enough or the hassle becomes too much, that product line disappears.  If that product line is guns and ammo, too bad.  If you only go to a local gun store to glean information (handle the firearms, ask questions, etc.) and then purchase elsewhere (internet, gun shows, mass retailer) don’t be surprised if that shop disappears in short order. Even if it’s just a box of ammo, spare magazine or other accessory, try to buy something often from your local gun store(s).

So, I will from time to time review local gun shops in an effort to give them (a bit) more publicity (when deserved) and help them along.

Today’s gun shop is 10 Ring

I heard about 10 ring via a local radio commercial during Gun Talk.  Located in NW Houston they specialize primarily in reloading supplies and are well stocked with components, presses, dies, boxes, powder and accessories.  Most major brands were stocked including RCBS, Lee, Redding, Hornady, Hodgdon, Speer, MTM, etc.  It appears that they started as a reloading shop and expanded into FFL sales as the dividing wall to the next shop space was open to a firearms section.  A good selection of guns (from muzzleloaders to concealed carry to sporting arms) was neatly organized and plainly labeled with a few unusual pieces to pique interest: a scoped .30-30 double rifle based on a Stoeger side by side, a Martini action .22 long rifle, a pair of .32 Ruger single actions (one bisley, one super single six). Also seen in the case was the (currently) rarely seen in the wild Ruger LC9.  I thought the pricing to be fair for most items with some good specials to be found.  The selection of shooting accessories such as holsters, etc. was well rounded but not too deep which was understandable for a smaller shop.

The staff was courteous, helpful and good-natured.  Case in point: When I was informed about a discount on some closeout lead bullets (20% off), I jokingly asked if the discount went higher the more I bought.  Smiling, the salesman kindly replied, “No, but I’ll give you a hug.”  Laughing, I politely declined.  I did get the bullets though.  I bought a thousand 180gr. truncated cone .44’s – the kind I sighted my Vaqueros in for when I first started cowboy action shooting.

Investing in precious metals: .44 Caliber 180gr Lead Truncated Cones

It was a good trip to visit a store I hadn’t been to before and I’ll go back next time I’m in that neck of the woods.

Seen at the Gun Show – 01/24/10

I had the pleasure of attending the local gun show this past weekend.  It was well stocked and attended, and as a bonus, I was able to visit with a long time friend in from out of town.  All in all I had a good day.

However, what I wanted to share with you is this:

I have a love for historic guns, particularly for those from the Old West.  Furthermore, I have a weakness for curiosities; the classic book Firearms Curiosa has been a favorite of mine since I was a very young.   So when I happened across the sawed-off buffalo rifle seen above, I had to grab a picture of it.

The gun is a Sharps carbine chambered in .50-70 Government that has had the barrel cut down to about 12 inches.  Whoever cut it down went through the trouble to reinstall a front sight (more of a bead actually).  Also, it even has the original sling attached.

Most of us at one time or another have wished that a firearm (or other piece of history) could tell its story.  I really wish I knew how the odd Sharps Shorty came to be and how it was used.

Was the barrel cut back because it was damaged or was it meant to be concealed?  Who carried it and were they a ‘white hat’ or a ‘black hat’?   Just how much flame comes out when something like that it touched off?  [Did Matthew Quigley have a cousin that was an Oompa-Loompa?]

O.K. maybe not the last one.

Of course, I’ll never know the real story behind it but I consider it a real treat just to happen upon something so unusual.

More on the .50-70 Govt cartridge here

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!