This old Veteran enjoys reading and viewing Handgunner and especially the latest issue with all those beautiful sixguns with articles by John Taffin and Duke Venturino. Therefore the caption “Eye Candy”. For the latter “Tootsie Rolls” it brings back memories of Joe. Joe and I shared lunch for quite a time and he told me of his service in the Korean conflict. He is sadly gone now but one story I vividly remember was his escape from Chosin Resevoir. He said that it was so cold his Thompson refused to function and he was forced to combat with his trenching shovel. He was still carrying shrapnel from that fur ball. FWIW I lost a very nice collection of early Rugers due to financial difficulties some years ago and it reminds me of John Taffin’s loss of guns from family issues. Please keep up this great mag and don’t forget the single action articles
Fred Shoemake NRA, SASS
Regards To The Nov/Dec 2013 Insider:
Some of us might give you understanding concerning your .32 accumulation” problem, but it’s unlikely you’ll get much sympathy. Anyone who has been a shooter for more than say, a few months, is probably going to have a similar problem sooner or later. In my case, it’s break-top revolvers, especially H&Rs, old S&Ws, and even the odd Iver Johnson. Around our place, the same thing seems to happen with .22 rifles….start with one, and next thing you know, there’s suddenly 30 or more that you find have taken up residence. Hi-Standard .22 revolvers also hold a peculiar fascination. The saving grace is that all of these old guns still work just fine, and because they tend to be ignored by “serious” shooters, they’re real bargains, and are a lot of fun to shoot. I’m often surprised at how many long-time shooters were unaware that Hi-Standard made revolvers, or made them for outfits like Sears.
But the strangest aspect of this phenomenon is that it also happens with tools.
Best regards to you and all of your elves,
Roy, I think you are an extremely devious person. Perhaps so devious, the point I assume you were trying to make — might be missed. Ref: Speak Out, Sept/Oct issue: 1) People who defrost meat on the counter are idiots. 2) You accused Mr. Damjanovic of defrosting chicken on his counter. 3) Oh, so obvious. Well done.
The Sauer Kraut
I just put my baby back pork ribs in the oven to slow bake for two hours before putting them on the grill. Then I sat down in my chair, opened a nice cold beer and cracked the cover of my latest issue of American Handgunner. As always I turn right to Speak Out and what, to my surprise, do I read from a Mr. Peter Damjanovic? He’s upset because his first issue of this first-rate magazine has an article on the proper skinning and handling of game. “It is bad enough to have to look at pictures of hunters crouching over their kills, but why do you have articles like the one by Sam Fadala?” Are you kidding me? Is this some kind of joke? Mr. Damjanovic get a grip! If these types of articles and photos bother you take the advice of Editor Roy and just turn the damn page. Better yet, use your next subscription price and join PETA. I’m sure they would welcome you. I’m just glad someone taught me how to properly handle my pork ribs!
John E. Waldschlager
Wow! I would think you probably received a few complaints about the graphic photos of skinning a rabbit in the article (“Skin ‘Em,” July/Aug 2013) by Sam Fadala. But I was impressed! I have reread the article about ten times, and with the great photos, I think I might be able to skin a rabbit for consumption. My parents divorced when I was three, so my mother raised me alone without a real father figure. So, I never had the opportunity to learn or enjoy the pleasures of hunting. At a later age, I became interested in firearms, but I really wished I had learned about hunting and consequently, about cleaning an animal for consumption. This is the first article on the subject I have ever seen in any of the gun magazines. I am in my 60s now, but I think I will attempt to enjoy the harvesting of dinner, complements of direction by American Handgunner. Thank you!
SP101 Squirrel Gun
Kate and I returned home about 1:00 p.m. yesterday. She picked up the mail and said, “Well, we’ll get nothing done today. You’ll spend 2 hours with these magazines then another 2 hours on the computer looking up stuff about guns.” And that is what happened. I ended up ordering nearly $200 from Majestic Arms, plus more from assorted knife and gizmo companies. Thanks for a great read.
Bragging story: Kate came in from feeding her chickens and goats yesterday. She reached for her .410 and headed back out the door — I followed. She said a squirrel was hanging around and acting odd. The squirrel was on an oak tree. I approached to within two feet, but he had a strange look about him so I backed away. He went up the tree and out on a limb, maybe 60 feet from me. Then he started back toward me. I took a quick shot with my SP101. It was a perfect head shot. I wish I could do that every time! No more odd-acting squirrel — and a happy Kate.
Your feature on ammo was excellent (“Defensive Carry: Is It Caliber Or Equipment,” Sept/Oct 2013), and it applies to other things too. I own a hunting camp in Forest Co., Pa. There’s no cell phone signal available, let alone a police department to call for help. I too have carried many handguns for protection against what goes bump in the night or day. I’m currently carrying a S&W 396 in 44 Special, using a combo of hand-loaded 200-gr. Hornady XTPs at 850 fps, and a 260-gr. hardcast lead factory load (900 fps) from Grizzly Cartridge Company. There are some black bears around.
While this is certainly a capable combination, I believe a semi-auto pistol may be a better option. I’m considering full-sized S&W M&P, Ruger SR and Glock models in .40 S&W, 10mm and .45 Auto. I would greatly appreciate your opinions, please.
Ron, your .44 Special with those loads should work just fine. A hard-cast 260-gr. bullet at 900 fps (the Grizzly load) should likely shoot deeply and give you the penetration you’d need. While most black bears tend to hide or run, if you are attacked and fighting for your life on the ground, the reliability of a revolver trumps more rounds in an auto. Plus, the auto rounds, depending on the load, may not penetrate adequately. RH
The article on stopping power was a breath of fresh air. In typical Handgunner fashion, you guys cut right to the chase with spot-on info, and made it clear and easy to understand. And I have to say it, I’m finally over my worries about caliber selection. I have a Springfield Armory XDm in 9mm for a home-defense gun (with a light) and I now feel fine about my selection. I always felt I should have gotten at least a .40 or a .45, as so many others may feel. Thanks for the confidence-building read. Money I spend on your magazine is refunded to me many times during the year in the form of entertainment, humor and solid info like this. Thanks for being there for us all.
Cutting The Bull
Finally, someone in the popular firearms press had the balls to tell the truth about all the stopping power nonsense. As a retired cop, I saw with my own eyes how our 9mm autos put ’em down just fine. When we changed to the .40, the only thing I noticed different was the fact so many cops couldn’t qualify as easily any longer! Shooting results in the field mirrored what we had with the 9mm. We eventually went back to the nine, as have many agencies, for the simple fact the higher recoil of the .40 and .45 caused many (most?) officers to have trouble with accurate follow-up shots, just as Greg says in the article. Get a good gun, buy good ammo then learn how to use your gun is the solution — not magic calibers or bullets. Well done to you guys!
Love The Lineup
Of course, we subscribe because Handgunner is the leading gunzine, but kudos on another great issue (July/Aug). Of special note: I start to read Taffin’s Sixgunner thinking it’s a short piece on the first DA big bores, but John just keeps goin’ and goin’ until he’s written us a file-it history of US wheelgun evolution. Skeeter and Elmer are gone, but Taffin knew ‘em, loved ’em, learned from them, and now reigns as the industry’s undisputed revolver guru. And for those who don’t care how we got where we are, preferring to focus on the latest autoloader enhancements, here comes Connor with the lead article, “The Boomer Brothers” (yup, Roy, now you really gotta pay him more), and his editorship himself with “Flat and Focused.” Triple wow, seasoned with thanks, for keeping us up with our ever-expanding handgun horizons.
Peter T. Tomaras
Peter, I’m proudly filing your letter in the “shameless self-promotion” file here, and made it a point to send it along to the staffers. We’re all “aw-shucking” here. RH
I’m a guy who likes to carry revolvers for concealed carry. If you would, please suggest a few holsters suitable for S&W 686 models, both 2.5″ and 4″ barrels and IWB and OWB. I think these guns are just great, accurate, reliable, simple and easier to shoot than my J-frames or the Ruger LCR. But, I haven’t yet figured out if it’s practical to carry one of these on a daily basis. Discreet concealed carry is a must and I am willing to dress around the gun. Your advice has always been right on before and I am sure it will be again.
Mike, those are biggish, certainly heavy, all-steel guns and a bear to tote all day. But that very thing makes them a joy to shoot. If you’re willing to dress around them you might make it work. Keep in mind, if you go inside the waistband (IWB) you’ll need pants a couple of inches bigger around the waist to be comfy. A belt holster would work too, but I’d get an open-bottom design so it can carry either revolver, regardless of barrel length. Any rigs from the big makers or custom guys would likely work for you. Also, I heartily recommend a pair of suspenders, like the side-clip ones I wear from Duluth Trading Company. They go a huge distance toward keeping ‘yer pants up and there’s no need to be constantly tugging and shifting your waist/belt/holster up. Don’t forget spare ammo! RH
Happy In Illinois
I live in Illinois and we have just had our constitutional rights returned to us! Concealed carry is here at last. I now read Handgunner with an entirely new frame of mind. It’s nice not to feel left out anymore! I’m open to any and all suggestions from your staff to point me in the right direction about a carry holster. That sure feels good to say it! I own a GLOCK 26 9mm. Thank you all for the best mag on the planet.
Congratulations Tom, we’re all happy to see that big change in your state. On the holster problem, you need to ask yourself some questions: Will you want strong-side carry (belt holster or IWB rig?), pack or pouch carry, shoulder rig or crossdraw, etc.? Look at how you dress, what you do every day, etc. and that will give you a better idea. I find for most, a strong-side, belt-type holster (leather or plastic) works well as a first-try. It will give you some experience and you can then start to get an idea of what you may want to change. I favor open-top holsters, but you may like a thumb snap or passive lock system, like the BLACKHAWK! Serpa line (a great holster). Give my last Insider (Sept/Oct 2013) a read where I cover some basic CCW tips. Prepare to begin to build your own box of “mistake” holsters! RH
Thanks please, to Dave Anderson for a great article on the Kit Gun (Better Shooting, Sept/Oct 2013). I’m sure a book could be (or has been) written on the subject, but your article was very informative. Some time ago a friend showed me his Model 51 and I was a double without losing accuracy, but I tend to shoot guns that go boom, not pop, and hate that long trigger pull. I suspect there are more people who would agree with me than Clint because most double action revolvers have hammers, not de-cocking levers. As far as de-cocking, I guess he’s saying only smart people should use single actions because dumb people have too much trouble de-cocking one? Put your thumb on the hammer, pull the trigger, let the hammer down slowly. Practice with an empty gun until proficient. If too stupid to do this safely, please get a double-action-only or an auto and please, please stop breeding.
Thanks for your note, Carl, but I think you didn’t read my response. All I said was the federal government stopped funding studies — I never said studies were outlawed or banned.
On the DA revolver, I’d bet you’ve never been a cop or held a suspect at gunpoint with a revolver. If you shoot a single action for a recreational gun, that’s great, but Clint is talking about using DA revolvers for defense. I spent two trips at Thunder Ranch some years ago taking week-long courses on how to fight with single-action revolvers, lever guns and double-barrel shotguns. This wasn’t cowboy shooting, and we used full-power .45 Colt loads. While a motivated and trained person can indeed fight with a single-action revolver, it’s dangerous to hold a suspect at gunpoint with a cocked revolver with a 3-pound trigger pull, be it a DA- or SA-only revolver.
I, along with Clint and most of my friends — and thousands of our readers — shoot big bore DA revolvers with full loads all the time. The .45 Colt, .44 Mag and .44 Specials are favorites of all of us, and I’d consider a .357 Magnum to be a minimum caliber in a full-power revolver. Many of us had or have LE careers and spent thousands of hours training with DA revolvers, specifically learning to shoot DA-only due to the need to hold suspects at gun point now and again. I spent 5 years competing in PPC, shooting with a DA revolver. This is very precise target shooting and getting a 3″ group at 50 yards shooting DA isn’t unusual for many competitors. DA shooting is highly effective in trained hands.
I get the impression you might not have had any formal defensive training with firearms, other than perhaps in the military. What Clint says would be common knowledge to anyone who has attended a Gunsite/Thunder Ranch, etc. type school, while training with revolvers. Civilian, defensive shooting training and military training are usually vastly different, and much of the training does not cross over well.
As far as being “too stupid” to de-cock a revolver by simply lowering the hammer with your thumb, well … after a shooting incident or in a high-stress encounter, fine motor skills are often impaired. Using your off-hand thumb as a buffer allows shaky hands and distracted minds a level of safety when performing this task involving fine motor skills — all done possibly with innocent bystanders nearby.
Perhaps before you pre-judge or become “offended” by something like this, a good idea might be to research it further and ask positive questions? We’re always happy to help out. RH
I’m sorry to have to be negative, but I have to take issue with your reader, Ray Fleck, (Speak Out, Sept/Oct 2013) where he opines our First Amendment “…also means freedom from religion…” Nowhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights is freedom from religion mentioned or implied. Our right to express our opinion regarding religion, or anything else, publicly, is protected by the First Amendment, and revisionism has no place in the First, the Second or any other Amendment. Should we permit individuals to revise the First Amendment, the Second, or any others, without using the proper Constitutional guidelines, all the rest are at equal risk of falling apart and providing us nothing but chaos. Even the likes of radicals in certain organizations have the right to express unpopular opinions within the framework set up by our forefathers, though we do not have to agree with those opinions, those religions, or those politics. We have the ballot box, our Senators and Representatives, and our courts through which we should work, rather than unprincipled revisionism.
Thanks for your thoughtful note. I actually exchanged several e-mails with reader Ray Fleck to make sure I understood his meaning when he wrote that letter. His “freedom from religion” was perhaps not made clearly enough in his letter. He thinks what goes on for the general public (government, police, schools, etc.) should not be influenced by a religious-based bias, and I can’t say I disagree with him. He never said there shouldn’t be freedom of religion, simply that he — and others — should be allowed to be free from religion’s affect on how a politician might vote, or how an organization might attempt to influence government, for instance. And, his comments about how the NRA should make a statement supporting all individual rights, and how that would cause the antigunners to loose significant ground, makes sense. If all of us show all rights are important to us, not just the Second Amendment, then the antigunner’s hypocrisy would show in sharp focus. RH
In Duke Venturino’s review of the Liberator pistol replica (Shooting Iron, March/April 2013) he questions if one of these guns was ever used “for its intended purpose” during WWII. As in so many things, it depends on the definition of “used.” The project was begun by the US Military’s Joint Psychological Warfare Committee for the Army. The Army dumped them on the OSS. According to R.W. Koch’s “The FP-45 Liberator Pistol 1942-1945,” a few of these pistols were dropped into Greece, 100,000 into China and an unknown number into the South Pacific. This information is repeated in Ralph Hagan’s “The Liberator Pistol.”
There are no cases, to my knowledge, of these guns being used in gunfights, or to assassinate a guard and take his rifle. The attraction of these guns is that they were dropped to mysterious persons doing clandestine things and few records were kept.
But that is not the point. The guns were created to improve the morale of resistance fighters. There are fragmentary reports of them being carried by undercover resistance fighters. In “The Hitler Kiss” the title refers to the .25 automatic a Czech resistance fighter carried. The little gun encouraged help from locals, who could always tell the enemy they had to feed him — he had a gun. He named the gun, not because he hoped to shoot Hitler, but because it would prevent him from being taken alive. I contend that this was a “use.”
Handguns make us confident enough to venture into the most rattlesnake infested regions of Montana, or certain parts of town. It was the same for resistance fighters.
Kevin L. Jamison
Attorney at Law
I have seen the “Scam” notices on your website and in my copies of American Handgunner. I just got one from “PUBLISHERS BILLING EXCHANGE” apparently in White City, Ore., or at least that’s where their mail drop is. They are asking for $59.95 for six issues. Are they nuts? Why would I pay that when it’s so much cheaper to go directly to you, the real guys? I’m glad to see you’re “arming” us by telling us about these criminals. I hope you crush them. It’s not right they try to fool honest consumers like this. Why doesn’t the US Post Office go after them?
Ray, glad to see you caught the scam. Rest assured we’ll continue the fight at our end. These guys are the lowest of low, taking advantage of a reader’s good intentions to resubscribe to a favorite magazine. When the reader learns they got burned, they either never get their money returned, or if they put up enough of a fuss, only get a partial refund, with “$20 kept for handling.” A few more bucks and they could have gotten a legit 2-year sub to Handgunner! We find an educated readership is good medicine against these slime, so we’ll continue to run the warnings. Thanks for sending us the info on them and we’ll add it to our growing database we’re building on them. RH
Some 44 years ago, I purchased my first handgun, a used Ruger Standard .22. It served me well for years until it failed on the firing line about 10 years ago. Since then, it has lived in the gun safe. One day I was reorganizing the safe and came across the old pistol. I remembered how it had failed and realized I had not done my part by having it repaired. I looked for gunsmiths but couldn’t find anyone who could or would take on the task. I then looked at Ruger’s web page and decided to give them a call. They told me to ship the gun to them and quoted me a price for refurbishing the pistol. I asked the nice lady to repeat the price because I thought I misheard her — $110! She asked if it needed re bluing and I said yes and asked how much extra. She said, “That’s included in the quote.”
I shipped the pistol to Arizona and got it back in less than a month. What was done to the pistol? Replaced disconnector assembly, extractor plunger, extractor, extractor spring, firing pin, rebound spring, rebound spring support and rebound spring assembly. Repaired barrel/receiver, bolt, ejector/rivet, grip screws, mainspring housing, safety, sear and sear spring. Then they re-blued it! They test fired it 40 times, then they shipped it back for $110. And, the return shipping was included!
Did I get a deal or what?
Thank you, Ruger! Way to go in taking care of your customers! By the way, I own three other Ruger pistol/revolvers. I already have my eye on my next firearm — yep, a Ruger!
John Connor’s column (Guncrank, May/June 2013) about being MIA at the 2013 SHOT Show had me running for the dictionary — willingly. Intelligently written, I learned at least five new words and one geographic location:
Hoplophobe: Someone irrationally afraid of firearms.
Hoary: Gray or white with age.
Harridan: A scolding, vicious shrew of a woman; a hag (none of which describe MemSaab Helena!)
Nacogdoches: A town Northeast of Houston, Southwest of Dallas and about 50 miles west of the Louisiana border.
Keep up the good work, Connor. Yee-Haa!
J. Michael Lenninger
Joining The Battle
I’m 65 years old. Since my birth there have been 12 Presidents; six Republicans and six Democrats. Registered voters during those years have been split fairly equally, close to 50/50 between the two parties, with a relative few who swing the vote one way or the other. We too often expend a lot of emotional and intellectual energy trying to “wish” the unattainable into existence; conservatives wish everyone agreed with them and liberals wish the same for their ideals. As Connor might say, “That ain’t likely to happen!” Arguments about politics and economics in the United States have gone on for a long time and will most likely continue far into the future. In an exaggerated sense, one person’s Utopia is the other’s worst nightmare.
In John Connor’s Guncrank Diaries (“Cutting Through The Fog” July/Aug 2013) John says, “When it comes to the Second Amendment arguments, we need to get beyond the endless bickering about left and right, liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats…” all gun owners are in this together. John is right, and his article gave me a big sigh of relief. I’m a Democrat and have been for most of my adult life; that puts me in a category with about 50 percent of registered voters. But, I’m also (nearly) a lifelong shooter and hunter; I love my guns! Dad owned a shooting range and small gun supply store; he started taking me hunting with him when I was 3 years old. I’m with you all the way on the Second Amendment. Am I willing to change my party vote on this one issue right now — yes I am. While I don’t believe anyone will succeed in converting everyone into conservatives, I do believe there are a fair number of Democrats who love their firearms privileges and support the conservative view of the Second Amendment. This is, without a doubt, a time when gun owners need to stand shoulder to shoulder. Thank you John, for inviting me to join you in the battle.
Would like to compliment Editor Roy for having John Connor contribute his words of wisdom in every issue. In the July/August issue he stated facts about the uninformed politico’s, regarding gun control. He asked for those who would, to stand with him for the constitution. I’m an old handicapped guy who happens to believe he’s right, and would deem it an honor to join the fight.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings.
Your recent article on favorite .38 bullets (Handloading, Sept/Oct 2013) brought back a lot of pleasant memories. I started casting my own .38/.357 bullets in the mid-60s, and after the GCA 68 put bullets under its controls, I got serious about it. During the ensuing years, I used all of those illustrated in your article plus several others. Except the round nose bullet — ours was strictly an SWC neighborhood! One of my favorites was the Lyman version of the RCBS #38-150KT, the 150-gr. SWC. It had a shorter seating depth than all my other .38 bullets, so left significantly more powder space in the case when crimped in the crimping groove. This resulted in both lower pressures and lower velocities when loaded with the usual powder charges recommended for other bullets of similar weight.
One load using this bullet was extraordinary. Using the maximum recommended loads from a 1960s Lyman reloading manual, this bullet gave me the highest energy of any .357 Magnum load I ever tried, higher even than the Elmer Keith bullet over 13.5 grs. of 2400 in a .38 Special case. In an old S&W Highway Patrolman with 6″ barrel, I got velocities averaging 1,510 fps for an energy of 760 ft. lbs. The data in that 1960s manual so grossly exceeds current recommendations that I won’t repeat it, but my Highway Patrolman lasted through a guestimated 10,000 of these before having to be returned to the factory to correct crane end-shake. I found the bullet itself to be accurate, but it had a peculiarity that prevented me using it in a mix with other reloads. In changing bullet weights and velocities, most of my other bullets showed changes in vertical dispersion only, but this one also invariably required a windage correction of about 2″ at 25 yards.
When bullets came off the GCA ’68 control in the early 1990s, commercial cast lead bullets became readily available once again, I gave away all my casting equipment, but I always enjoyed making my own.
Okay, so is it just me, or am I crazy? Why on earth would anyone pay $150 (or more!) for a brick of 500 .22s, when just a year ago that same ammo would have cost $25 or so? Ammo shortage be damned — we did it to ourselves. The faster we stop paying this sort of price-gouging robbery from dealers, the faster the prices will come back to where they belong. Just say no!
I concede … uncle … uncle! Last year I wrote to you with a request for more articles on revolvers, or maybe even a whole section in Handgunner devoted purely to wheel guns, and you sure haven’t disappointed me! I know you’re a big S&W fan like me (especially N-frames), and the last few issues have really warmed my heart. The latest issue (Sept/Oct 2013) with articles on .357s, .22s, .38/44s, Kit Guns and thumb-cocking revolvers was outstanding. I just hope the semi-auto guys out there don’t get too upset. On the other hand, maybe it will entice them into exploring the wonderful world of sixguns.
There’s just something about the design and function of revolvers making them very timeless — regardless of whether they’re S&W, Colt, Ruger or others. Thanks again, and please feel free to pack as many revolver articles into Handgunner as you possibly can! Oh, and by the way, I don’t believe Duke for a minute when he says in his article that “I’ll not be buying anymore .357 Magnum revolvers.” Give it a couple of months, Duke, we’ll see!
Merritt Island, Fla.
Hmm … let’s see. The editor likes revolvers. Most of the guys on the masthead like revolvers. Revolver articles appear in our pages. Amazing coincidence, ain’t it? Glad you’re enjoying this revolver renaissance. We sure are. RH
I have a new S&W J-frame in .38 Special, one of the Scandium lightweight models. It’s great to carry, but the action is on the rough side. Should I send it to someone to slick it up, change out the springs or leave it alone? I’m a bit new to guns and simply not sure what to do.
A common malady of the little revolvers is a hard trigger pull, with a bit of roughness tossed into the mix. But I recommend caution when it comes to slicking the actions up. The lightweight hammer needs speed to reliably make the primers fire and lightening the main spring and trigger-return spring will often slow the hammer enough to make reliably an iffy-thing. There are pistolsmiths who can do it, but honestly, I don’t think it’s needed in a gun like that. I recommend leaving it alone, but squirt a bit of good oil into the action and simply dry-fire it hundreds (thousands even) of times. Clear it, stash the ammo in a different room, then simply exercise that trigger finger. You’ll find simply allowing the action to seat itself will smooth things up amazingly. I have several revolvers with wonderfully smooth actions, and people ask me, “Wow, who did the action on this!” I tell them, “Nobody did, I’ve just shot it a lot.” It works. RH
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All letters above published in The November/December 2013 Issue Of American Handgunner.