TAC range in Knoxville is under new ownership

The range time is reasonably priced, the facility is clean and well-ventilated, and they offer courses for improving proficiency. This time of year (and during the hottest summer), I’d rather shoot indoors. And they rent submachine guns (Uzi, Sterling, Sten, MP40, S&W M76, Mac10 and some others, I think). And the staff are friendly and competent. A gunsmith shop is conveniently adjacent to the range building.


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New articles up on AllOutdoor

Push Knives

Comparative Performance of Three Rifle-Caliber Pistols:

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Maturity isn’t just a function of age.

Sydney is a competitive shooter. I’d rather have her around than many chronologically adult people who haven’t a fraction of her maturity, education and ability.

Of course, there are times when she acts like the 14 year old that she is. “More ammo please, Mom!” Then again, she’s getting more and more sponsors, so that particular bottleneck might get addressed before too much longer.


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Concealment holster for HK VP9

Avenger model from Nelson Holsters, quite comfortable.

Posted in holster, pistol, weapon | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A question for friends who borrow guns from me.

I am not seeing my bullpup Remington 870 or the Kel-tec sub2000 with quad rail on it. It’s very possible that I am overlooking them right in front of my face, but it’s also possible that I lend them out for somebody to try and forgot about it. If you have one of those on hand, please let me know privately.

I had a similar mystery recently, when a pistol disappeared. Turned out that a helpful friend put it into a case with another pistol going to a gunsmith for repair. The gunsmith didn’t ask me what the second pistol was for until I called about it.

So, just in case, I am checking on the two items I temporarily can’t locate.

Posted in advice requested | 10 Comments

Higher capacity magazines for M&P15-22: new on AllOutdoor

Spend more of your range time shooting, less loading magazines.

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New ammo and gun accessory search engine

Iron Sights is run by my friends from another, unrelated site. They web-crawl retail sites and organize the best deals for you.

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Selecting a black powder revolver

I got the black powder bug last year. Wanted top play around with cap and ball, but the loaners available to me were not quite what I wanted. For one, I didn’t want to ruin someone else’s gun by accident if I ever failed to clean it properly. For another, it’s not much fun to shoot a gun that doesn’t shoot close to point of aim and, with fixed sights, the chances of either .36 or .44 I had in the studio having POA=POI were not great.

Enter Pietta .44 Target model, imported by Traditions. A fairly close replica of the  Remington New Army produced from 1861 on, it’s not completely authentic and I am OK with that. For one, none of the originals were stainless. For me, this is a big plus, as gun cleaning isn’t my greatest competency.

For another, I am pretty sure that none of the originals had adjustable target rear sight or Patridge front sight. Typical cap and ball revolvers either use a notch in the hammer or in the topstrap. Topstraps are usually convex and shiny, leading to specular highlights right in the sight picture. Eight inch octagonal barrel gives ample sight radius: if I am going to deal with slow reloads, I might as well make each shot count. The choice of .44 caliber was made with the same thought.

I am also not a fan of loading five chambers out of six available for safety. This gun has historically accurate safety slots between chambers, so loading all six is just fine. The gun design makes cylinder removal fairly each, so I would be able to use an external loading stand for added convenience.

The basic load is a Pyrodex pellet equivalent to 30 grains of powder: by a happy coincidence, that’s the recommended load for 140-grain roundball with this gun. I am lazy and somewhat clumsy, so one pellet is easier for me to handle than loose powder. 0.454″ ball is slightly oversized to ensure tight obturation. And a percussion cap to set all this off. Expected muzzle velocity would be just under 900fps. Not much velocity is gained by going with round ball over a heavier, more effective conical bullet…but I am doing pure target shooting at moderate ranges, so easier loading and less recoil win over better terminal performance.

In theory, Pyrodex is a bit less sensitive than black powder. In my use, that’s a minor issue amply compensated by increased convenience.

For the same reason, pre-cut Wonder Wads are preferred as a sealant over messing with petroleum jelly. Just as I prefer digital cameras to film, I am a fan of results over process and not willing to go beyond what little concession I am making to historic authenticity by using a cap and ball in the first place.

Given the unusually cold weather around here, I wonder how much success I would have trying to cap a nipple with gloved hands. I now have enough ingredients for 100 shots. Since the solid topstrap makes the revolver more sensitive to fouling around the forcing cone, I wonder how  many times I would have to clean it to go through all that powder and ball. The mildly OCD side of my mind also notes that 100 isn’t divisible by 6 without a remainder.




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A theory about bad laws

There’s a perception among the Democrats, that gun laws affect Republicans most. In a 50/50 state, passing anti-gun laws harasses enough Republicans into leaving to guarantee future electoral majority for the left. There’s also a perception among Republicans that most drug users and sellers are Democrats, so prosecuting the “drug war” brands enough of them as disenfranchised felons to guarantee future electoral majority for the Republicans.

These perceptions are probably cultivated by those who have something to gain from enforcing these laws, just like the Inquisition got a new lease on life once asset forfeiture became a standard practice. So these ridiculous laws criminalizing possession of plant leaves or bent metal washers more harshly than assault or rape are probably here to stay. Too many cops, lawyers, propagandists and bureaucrats are playing into the worst prejudices of bigots who are convinced that they won’t get swept up in the frenzy of vicious prohibition enforcement.

With guns, there’s also an angle of control. Firearms are subject to excise taxes, which are presented as a sort of “luxury tax” but historically have been levied on life-sustaining essentials. For example, salt and alcohol have been highly taxed through most of modern history. Both taxes were collected with deadly force readily used, and both untaxed salt and alcohol have been poisoned by tax collectors to prevent their use by humans.

The importance of salt before refrigeration cannot be overstated. Likewise, alcohol was one the only available method of disinfecting water besides less field-expedient boiling. So restrictions on these substances were meant to affect essentials for healthy living. Guns fit right into that category, being extremely useful for maintaining personal safety. Unlike salt and alcohol, guns are also useful for fighting the tax collectors and other government impositions, so the main fury of modern revenuers is on weapons more than it is on salt or alcohol.

When we see bad laws viciously enforced, we need to look past the official justifications and see who profits…or merely think that they profit. Blue laws have more trade than religion behind them, as do other apparently nonsensical restrictions. Without an understanding of evil, it’s difficult to eradicate it.

Posted in civil rights, food, rkba, weapon | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Unexpected terminal ballistics

A year and a half ago, I reviewed Rossi revolving 45LC carbine (also capable of chambering 410 shotshells). I wan’t all that impressed with the accuracy, the handling or the terminal ballistics.

Yesterday, one of my models brought her Circuit Judge to the range and we shot a few rounds through it. Shooting 45LC lead bullets with a red/green dot sight, I was able to overlap all five shots at ten yards. That is substantially better than my results with the previous gun using the same ammunition.

We also tried Winchester PDX 225gr JHP load in Clear Ballistics gel. From 18.5″ barrel, velocity was just over 1000fps, and this was the terminal result. Much better!

About 13″ straight line penetration with 11/16″ expansion from the original .45″. Minimal felt recoil and dull report. Empties extracted easily, though the one closest to the receiver sometimes butted up against the wood of the stock.

We also tried two 44Mag handloads for Henry Big Boy first mentioned a couple of years ago. One load used 240gr Hornady XTP, the other Sierra 240gr JHC, both provided by Brownells. 24.5 grains of H110 move either at just under 1750fps. The impacts on gel were pretty spectacular with both loads: explosive fragmentation upon impact with about 15 degree spread. I am generally not a fan of fragmenting bullets for defense, but these loads had one important difference — deep penetration ranging from 16″ to 24″! Apparently, the relatively large size of each fragment combined with efficient cutting shape and high initial velocity of impact made all the difference. When I cut the block for re-melting, the “wound track” parts of it were not re-usable. For close-in defense against soft-skinned foes, this appears nearly ideal.

Hornady lists recommended velocity for 240gr XTP as 1350fps from a 7.5″ revolver. So, fired from a carbine, this load would have conventional expansion at 100 yards. Given the impressive accuracy of this lever action (under 1.5MOA), it can be used to good effect out to at least 150 yards. With 100 yard sight-in, the trajectory doesn’t rise above 2 inches nor drops below 6.

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Good government is like a strong immune system.

It protects the body from external aggression. What most countries actually have is a raging case of auto-immune disorder, with the putative protector preying on the members of its own body.

Posted in civil rights | 2 Comments

Firearm designer position open in NH

My readers may find this help wanted listing useful.

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A mix of classic and new

Last year, I was curious what happened to KD Holsters and discovered that the brand was no longer. But some of their designs live on through Nelson Holsters. James Ervin Nelson took the most popular designs from several old brands, improved them, added several of his own, and now makes comfortable and well-made leather for everyday carry.

Making a comfortable but discreet holster for an L frame revolver is a tough task. This one worked out great.

The main advantage of custom makers is their ability to make something unusual for a common gun or to accommodate something uncommon. Boberg XR9-S in a concealment holster.

Very stable despite the short slide which proved a challenge to some other leather-workers.


This is how it sits on a curvy hip:

It disappears under shirt or a blouse.

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Ruger PC9 carbine: new on AllOutdoor

Police Carbine that works for everyone. Written by my friend Frank Stratton, illustrated with my photos.

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Vintage “Terrorist Alert” posters


A friend is selling off a small number of vintage posters that he designed during the 1980s. These posters are inexpensive (three for $13 shipped!) and their message is pretty sensible. Take a look.

Posted in self-defense | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Update on 22TCM

While I hope to try a 5″ pistol, a bolt action rifle and a semi-auto carbine in that caliber, I do not have them on hand yet. What I have is a 4″ 1911.

I brought it to the range to test penetration on armor plates and had a chance to chronograph it. The 40-grain soft point exits at around 1910fps and consistently expands to about .3″ in gelatin. Penetration is about 17.5″ with a mostly straight path and the bullet remaining mushroomed front first.

Considering that 9mm Luger ball penetrates considerably further and starts about at .355″, 22TCM would seem an inferior performer. The magazine capacity is the same between the two calibers. The difference is in the felt recoil and speed of follow-up shots. 22TCM has no muzzle flip to speak of and can be fired very rapidly. It also has a flatter trajectory, with nearly half the drop of the 9mm at ranges under 300 yards. It’s a niche round but appears quite useful for small game hunting using the same 9mm sidearm with a different slide, or for self-defense by the recoil-sensitive.

Posted in ammunition, hunting, pistol, weapon | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Bullpups Unlimited 870

If you have one of these shotguns, please email me privately.


Posted in advice requested, shotgun | 1 Comment

G2 Ammunition Range Report: new on AllOutdoor

Clarifying the brand image of a controversial ammunition maker. 

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Movie review: St.Ives

A very approximate adaptation of Stevenson’s book, this movie is a modern romantic comedy in Napoleonic era trappings. What it lacks in authenticity, it makes up in the sheer amusement and cute acting.

Acting: 10
Visuals: 8

Overall: recommended.

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A point worth re-visiting.

The only question worth asking about any gun control push is: “What’s their end goal?” The answer is usually a subjugation of a disarmed people along with imprisonment or extermination of defenseless dissidents. Sometimes disarmament is pushed along ethnic, religious or political lines. More often, it’s government on a warpath against the governed.

Posted in civil rights, rifle, rkba, self-defense, weapon | Tagged , | 8 Comments