Speak Out March/April 2019

Not your grandpa’s gun?

I’m tired of hearing or reading the saying, ‘This is not your grandpa’s gun.’ Too bad they’re not, because if they were, they’d cost less and have more quality built in. I’m just sayin’ is all.
Randal Harrison
Pensacola, FL


I want to thank your writers who have shared their knowledge and experience. They often show a way to do something, and since a lot of people new to shooting don’t know even the basics, it’s always useful. And just because we have YouTube doesn’t mean everyone you see there knows how to do something the right or safe way, either! We can trust you guys.

I also like the way your writers offer an opinion that is just that — not to be confused with facts. And if you dare to not like their opinion their reaction is “Okay, I am good with that.” Gentleman and ladies, all!

Thanks also for a magazine covering pretty much everything, without driving a subject like “.45 vs 9mm” or “black rifle vs. old school wood” to death. American Handgunner and Guns don’t harp on the same things all the time, and now and then you pull truly odd-ball things out that even after being a gun nut for over 40 years I haven’t either seen or heard about!
John Fernau
Via email

Cadillac Cap Gun

The cap gun pictured in Dave Anderson’s article (Better Shooting, Sept/Oct 2018) is a Nichols Stallion .45 considered by many to be the “Cadillac” of cap pistols. I bought one of these new in 1959 when I was 14 years old. It came boxed with a set of two grips. One set was black plastic and the other set white (ivory) plastic. Also included was a plastic belt clip holding six 2-piece cartridges. The bullet had a hole drilled through its length and when fired the smoke from the cap exited the cartridge and then the barrel. If one cap worked then two caps was even better. I scraped enough powder from the caps to put about 1/8″ of black powder in the bottom of the cartridge. When fired the result was impressive! The charge split the entire length of the brass case. I was lucky the gun didn’t blow up. These guns are often for sale on eBay and a nice complete .45 will bring in excess of $350. Don’t even ask about the gold plated models. In 1981 I bought a “real” blued 6″ Colt Python for $375. I still have the Python and a complete set of all Nichols 2-piece cartridge revolvers, including the Nichols Stallion .30-30 lever action Saddle Gun.

Eddie Marsh
New Athens, Illinois

Grundy’s End?

I thoroughly enjoyed Roy’s Amos Grundy Gunsmithing story not too long ago (Nov/Dec 2018). At the end of its allotted space it was said to continue on P.96 — but it didn’t. It was a neat story, and I would have liked very much to read the remainder of it. Could you either re-run it next month, or at least print the remainder of the story in the next issue? I’d just like to see where it goes.

I also really enjoyed the various revolver articles in the same issue by Taffin and Venturino. I was very pleased indeed to see in the article “Revolver Extras” you promised your readership the revolver articles would continue. Specifically, I immensely enjoyed the articles by Taffin on the .41 Magnum, the Model 19 info and the Handloading column on wadcutters. The article on wadcutters was especially relevant since when I carry my SW629 I load it with Buffalo Bore hard-cast wadcutter anti-personnel defensive ammo.

Venturino’s article on “Esthetics in Handguns” was great too. Do indeed keep the revolver articles coming. Personally, I wish you would institute a monthly magazine called American Revolver! I’d subscribe in a heartbeat.  

I really enjoyed the article by S.P. Fjestad (“Guns at Auction”) too. I’ve never been to an auction in my life, and I’ve often wondered just how it worked. Finally, it appears Tiger McKee is going to be a longstanding regular writer for your magazines, and that’s great. I look forward to his Tactics and Training column every time. Tiger has a subtle sense of humor that comes out in his articles, and I really enjoy them.
Although it goes without saying, I’ll say it anyway: I really enjoyed the reprint of the article by Connor. How is Connor these days? I do hope he’s at least holding his own. If you would please forward to him my best wishes, I would appreciate it.
Via email

It seems, Hal, we accidently confused a lot of you out there with the ending of the Amos Grundy story. It actually does end on that last page, and the “continued on” is simply to let you know the rest of the Insider column with the gossip, photos and such, follows on the other two pages. But plenty of you want to know what happens now with Amos and the “ghost” they discovered, so I feel a second part coming on! And thanks for your kind words regarding the writers and content. I assure you we’ll continue to cover everything-revolver. As a matter of fact, I hope you enjoyed the Insider (Jan/Feb issue) and the “Magical Model 12!” article. —RH

Armed Teachers

There was recently a letter in your pages (Armed Teachers, Nov/Dec 2018) and the writer claims teachers should be armed as they are the first line of defense for themselves and the students. While I’m not against teachers being armed, I note his letter proclaims “It was only due to a student informing us, police were able to foil the attempt.” I ask — who was truly the first line of defense in this incidence?

To me it’s obvious the first line of defense was the student who reported the threat and who should be the one who gets the credit. Security is everyone’s responsibility and it’s up to us to promote students’ drawing attention to those who need to know when they become aware of a threat. It has been private citizens who have prevented — and continue to prevent — skyjackings after 9-11, and their participation has not cost us a cent. The private citizen can be our greatest and most efficient source of protection. All we need to do is encourage them.
Ed Fowler
Via email

Strange Going’s-On

Dear Mr. Taffin,

You have a lot of experience in the shooting sports, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you have some advice concerning my problems. In past years I have hunted extensively with handguns, won my share of trophies in NRA bullseye, competed in silhouette, taught many others to use handguns and enjoyed various shooting activities. I’m in my 84th year and still actively shooting, although to a lesser degree. Here are some of the problems I’m facing, and they are strange, indeed.

First, my ammunition seems to be loaded to greater pressure these days. I notice my guns kick more now, especially the .44 and .454 calibers. I thought I had some very accurate guns, as my competition guns were built by Bob Day of the USAF Marksmanship Unit. However, I’ve noticed group size is opening up, especially on the ones with iron sights. Even my timer is messing up. It dings before I finish my strings of fire now. Maybe it needs new batteries? The magazines for my autoloaders are different too. I think someone has replaced the springs with stronger ones. And, my guns seem to tire more easily now. They used to fire a great number of shots in one session, but now they want to take a break after just a few rounds. I can’t say I argue with them about that, though, as I’m about ready for a break then too. Even my home range has changed. I think they have moved the firing line farther back 10 yards or so. Only my staple gun works the way it used to, running out of staples every time I use it.

Please, John, can you offer some solutions to my problems?
Buz Chamblee
Via email

Buz, I ran your note by John and he’ll get back to me as soon as he finds his “good” reading glasses. Seems someone keeps breaking into his house and moving his computer screen farther away so he can’t see it. Me too. It’s a conspiracy if you ask me. —RH


Can you tell me what the difference is between match-grade handgun ammo and standard handgun ammo? You’ve got a great magazine there!
Robin Hickman
Via email

Robin, there’s no SAAMI standards for what constitutes “match grade” but generally, the ammo is loaded more carefully. So velocity is more consistent, it might have better/different components (like a match style SWC bullet or something), sometimes different primers, and sometimes the final inspections might entail more measurements to make each cartridge more consistent. Some, like Federal Gold Medal Match (.22 and centerfire) is loaded on special machines to ensure that consistency.

But in the real world, unless you’re “aiming” to reach that final 1 percent better group it’s not worth the money to we mere mortals. 

Federal’s Olympic Gold Medal Match .22 is honestly used for Olympic events and it is indeed exceptionally accurate. But having said that, I’ve also had standard over-the-counter .22 outshoot it in some guns. You just never know. Thanks for your kind words! —RH

Surplus Rocks

Really enjoyed the latest issue of your Surplus special edition. I opened it up, looked at each topic in the table of contents and then decided to start on the first feature. I went ahead and read each article. A really good mix of topics. My compliments. I’ve been a full time freelance writer for 16 years, so I am a little jaded. It’s very rare for me to read anything from cover to cover. Good job!
Gary Lewis
Via email

Thanks Gary. Editorial Director Michael Humphries and his team put a lot of effort into that one. If you missed seeing it, you can find it online at and click on the Surplus title. Or call (888) 732-2299 to get one winging its way to you! ­—RH

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