Slow Uncles

Speak Out November/December 2018

I have several of the top break S&W revolvers like those you wrote about (Insider, Sept/Oct 2018). You mentioned the slower velocities you got over the chronograph. Remember though — that was in a slower time. Do you recollect the uncle who we all had, who, when we typed a letter to him, we typed very slowly — because he was a very slow reader? Same concept, I think.

J. Allen Sandifer
Via email

Raven .25 ACP Update

I always read Handgunner from cover to cover, and then back again, and it’s always a great read. I’ve been a working gunsmith for some 30-plus years now and was around when we sold Ravens new for $59 each (“Affordables,” May/June 2018, J.B. Wood). We would buy a case of them at a time, and I would buy an equal number of firing pins. In that design — and all the Jennings’ designs that followed — the firing pin doubles as the ejector and is prone to breakage from either excessive dry firing or using loads generating higher slide velocity.

The issue got better when the MP-25 version was introduced. I’m not sure if they changed the alloy used or slightly shortened the pin, but we saw a decrease in breakage after that. Amazing and very entertaining that you’d devote page space to the Raven. By all means keep it up!

Andrew in Texas
Via email

Shield .380 EZ

We went out and tested an S&W Shield .380 EZ based on your article (Sept/Oct 2018). At 70 years and 90 lbs. — with a touch of arthritis — my wife is the poster girl for this gun! We bought it and have been shooting it for two days and she loves it. Easy to rack, easy to load magazines, accurate — it’s everything you said and more. We even got it on sale for less than $300! Smith & Wesson did indeed have a brilliant idea. Thanks, as always, for timely information on a great product.

Don Hinsdale
Via email

Gun Nut

I received my Sept/Oct issue of Handgunner and have to tell you, I love it! Great articles that get my “Gun Nut/Gun Enthusiast” juices flowing. Loved John Taffin’s article on .44 Mag loads as I have always had a fondness/obsession for the Smith .44 magnums. My first swim in any kind of shooting competition in the late ’70s was shooting weekly bowling pin matches at an indoor range called, Alibi Range in Orlando. I shot a 6.5″ blue Smith model 29. I migrated to a Colt Gold Cup but still loved that revolver. 

This issue was kind of a nostalgic piece for me. After more than 30 years building 1911’s I’m still passionate about guns and trigger time. Life is good even when you’re not a kid. Great job, as usual and thanks for all you do!

Mark Morris
Morris Custom Pistols, LLC

Velocity And Pressure

I have two questions regarding pistol-caliber carbine ammo performance. When velocity increases when shooting pistol calibers in longer barrels, is the pressure increasing commensurately? And, can the W296/H110 class of powder be used? If not, why not?

Craig Hines
Via email

Craig, I reached out to Jeff Hoffman, owner of Black Hills ammo on this one. —RH:

“It does make intuitive sense longer barrels generate more pressure since it is common knowledge longer barrels give higher velocities, but that idea is incorrect. The real answer is barrel lengths do not affect the peak operating pressure. Peak pressure occurs very early in the ignition/combustion sequence. Our testing shows peak pressure by the time the bullet clears the mouth of the cartridge casing, thus barrel length has no effect on peak pressure.  

“The reason longer barrels generally provide higher velocities is due to the fact longer barrels allow powder to burn more completely, generating continued gas pressure to propel the bullet, even though the peak pressure has already occurred. The volume of contained gasses may be increasing as the bullet moves down the barrel — but the pressure is decreasing. Another way to look at this is longer barrels do not increase peak pressure, but they do contain the pressure longer, allowing more time under the pressure curve for the propellant gasses to accelerate the projectile.

“This effect is more pronounced with slow burning powders such as 296/H110 and are appropriate and commonly used in .357 and .44 magnum cartridges. In those cartridges, loaded with full cases of slow burn rate propellants, you can often see a gain of 400-500 fps when firing it from a carbine vs. a handgun. This is due primarily to the increased barrel length. Cartridges such as the 9mm and .45 ACP may only show a 150 fps gain in velocity due to their limited powder capacity. They use smaller quantities of faster burning propellants. You can’t get enough 296 in a 9mm or .45 ACP case to produce a good load from a longer barrel.

“This gain in velocity from large capacity pistol cases, such as the 44 Magnum, produces a real increase in effect when the bullet gets to the target, assuming the projectile is constructed appropriately to perform at the higher velocity. With the Black Hills 160-gr. HoneyBadger, for instance, velocity increases from 1,783 fps in a 7.5″ Redhawk to 2,248 fps in a 20″ Model 94 with an energy increase of over 50 percent. The resulting ballistic gelatin test dimensions are similar to an impact by a .308 180-gr. Accubond bullet.” — Jeff Hoffman

Dealing With Bureaucracy

We just had to share this! It was sent in by a reader. —RH:

The State of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sent a letter to a home/landowner asking for permission to access a creek on his property to document the decline in a certain species of unheard of frogs. The property owner’s response in the second letter is epic …

Original Letter from Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife:
Dear Landowner:

ODFW Staff will be conducting surveys for foothill yellow-legged frogs & other amphibians over the next few months. As part of this research we would like to survey the creek on your property. I am writing this letter to request your permission to access your property.

Recent research indicates that foothill yellow-legged frogs have declined significantly in recent years and are no longer found at half their historic sites. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated and will help contribute to the conservation of this important species.

Please fill out the attached postage-paid postcard and let us know if you are willing to let us cross your property or not. If you have any concerns about this project please give us a call. We would love to talk with you about our research.

Conservation Strategy
Implementation Biologist

Response from Landowners:

To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding accessing our property to survey for the yellow-legged frog. We may be able to help you out with this matter.

We have divided our 2.26 acres into 75 equal survey units with a draw tag for each unit. Application fees are only $8 per unit after you purchase the “Frog Survey License” ($120 resident or $180 Non-Resident). You will also need to obtain a “Frog Habitat” parking permit ($10 per vehicle). You will also need an “Invasive Species” stamp ($15 for the first vehicle and $5 for each additional vehicle). You will also want to register at the Check Station to have your vehicle inspected for non-native plant life prior to entering our property. There is also a Day Use fee of $5 per vehicle.

If you are successful in the Draw you will be notified two weeks in advance so you can make necessary plans and purchase your “Creek Habitat” stamp ($18 Resident or $140 Non-Resident). Survey units open between 8 AM and 3 PM, but you cannot commence survey until 9 AM and must cease all survey activity by 1 PM. Survey gear can only include a net with a 2″ diameter made of 100 percent organic cotton netting with no longer than an 18-ft. handle, non-weighted and no deeper than 6 feet from net frame to bottom of net. Handles can only be made of BPA-free plastics or wood.

After 1 PM you can use a net with a 3″ diameter if you purchase the “Frog Net Endorsement” ($75 Resident or $250 Non-Resident). Any frogs captured that are released will need to be released with an approved release device back into the environment unharmed. As of June 1, we are offering draw tags for our “Premium Survey” units and application is again only $8 per application. However, all fees can be waived if you can verify “Native Indian Tribal rights and status.”

You will also need to provide evidence of the successful completion of “Frog Surveys and You” — our comprehensive course on frog identification, safe handling practices, and self-defense strategies for frog attacks. This course is offered on-line through an accredited program for a nominal fee of $750.
Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you. Otherwise, we decline your access to our property but appreciate your inquiry.

The Landowners

You gotta’ admit, there’s a bit too much truth to their response! —RH

Armed Teachers

Just a short note concerning Ayoob’s article on arming teachers (Cop Talk, Sept/Oct 2018). A fellow teacher was the target of an attempted shooting incident recently. The kid had a gun and planned to kill him. It was only due to a student informing us police were we able to foil the attempt. I’ve spoken three different times with my parish sheriff, superintendent and principal about making a pilot program to arm several teachers, go through training and then use us as a first line of defense. All said if an incident occurred, the police would be there in seconds. And yes, you know the old saying: “When seconds count, cops are minutes away.” I was also told arming teachers would not be good because “What if a teacher had a bad day?” My response was what will I do, be a moron and die for my kids — or throw books, desks whatever at the attacker? I guess it will take another incident to get the message teachers are the first line of defense for our students. Keep up the great work telling the truth — and making us think.

Name withheld by request
Franklin, Louisiana

Revolver Re-Do

There’s lots of reasons to carry revolvers. I often carry a Taurus M85 small revolver. It’s very similar to the S&W M36, of which I’ve had a couple. This Brazilian copy compares quite favorably to the S&W. By its serial number, Taurus tells me it was made in 1997. It’s a little gem.

I am a retired police officer and carry it and a Ruger SP101. I’ve found the Taurus to be tight, accurate and reliable. I bobbed the hammer myself, and even thought it had a decent trigger pull at about 12 lbs., but I installed the lighter Wolff hammer and trigger return springs. The trigger is now at about 8 lbs., DA, and is very smooth. The stocks are Hogue, over-molded rubber. They offer excellent purchase and are quite comfy, even with the Hornady 110-gr. FTX .38 +P rounds, which Taurus says the gun can handle. The Hogues are easy to find when reaching for the weapon from an IWB, open top, leather, belt clip holster. The holster has a nice forward cant and was made for me by Thad Rybka, whom I contacted after reading about him in Handgunner years ago.

Originally, the Taurus sat in my gun safe for 20 years. Then, arthritis in both my thumb joints set in. I can no longer rack the slide on, or load magazines for a semi-auto. I had to put up my faithful Kahr K9 and its little back-up, an Interarms Walther PPK. Now, I carry both the Taurus and the Ruger when I’m going somewhere I think I might need two guns, but on a daily basis, around my little town and surrounding environs, I carry just the Taurus.

Harry Taraskus
Via email

Oopsie …

I’m a 70-year-old retired homicide investigator from the Nashville, TN police dept. That being said I know a thing or two — or at least should. I was reading a back issue and found Connor’s article “The Cheshire Man” (Sept./Oct. 2013). I was reminded of an incident I was involved in recently. It was on the eve of Thanksgiving and about 8:30 PM I was half asleep and dressed in my sweats and house-shoes. The wife needed me to run to the local market for some last-minute ingredient for the next day’s dinner. The store was due to close in the next 30 minutes so I had to hurry. I grabbed my keys and jumped in the car and headed just around the corner, a couple of minutes away. I spoke to the clerks as I rushed in — a small community and everybody knows each other. I went to the back of the store to the dairy cooler and as I grabbed some milk, I saw a young mother with three small children. She came running toward me and said the store was being robbed, so I quickly ushered her and the kids to the back stock room.

I then raced to the front check out, cautiously looking around a display of canned goods. Sure enough, I saw three males, all with handguns, forcing the clerk to empty her cash drawer. I recognized one of the perps had a nickel plated 6″ Colt Python. I reached back for my GLOCK 42, which I always carry — but it wasn’t there. What have I done? How bad is this going to play out? I instinctively grabbed a can of Spaghetti Os from the display, and thought I could bean one, if I had to. Poor choice, but my only choice. They suddenly turned and fled, without any bloodshed. Whew.

I had assumed it was a simple run to the store, and left without my handgun. I never do this, and can’t remember ever going out without one. I was grossly out gunned with my GLOCK 42, so now I carry a GLOCK 19 Gen 5, with an NAA .22 Mag. in my pocket. It is no shame to shoot an armed felon — in the ass if you have to! Complacency and senior brain farts will get you dead! With 35 years of experience under my belt, I knew better. I had simply left all my experience at home.

I hear other retirees talk about never carrying their weapon — bad choice. We are trained, experienced LEOs and there are times we may be the only defense for innocent citizens and children. I know that this is a long story but hopefully somebody will benefit from it.

Keep up the good work you all do, and remember there are a lot of us who learn from your magazine — and look forward to it each month.

M.L. Moss
Retired Metro Nashville Police Dept.
Homicide Div. PO III

Holster Happiness

I’ve been dealing with El Paso Saddlery for a couple of decades, at least. Their products have always been of the highest quality, their service prompt and their prices very competitive. I’ve never had a problem with any holster or belt I’ve bought from them. Recently, my daily carry holster popped a rivet. I was surprised since I have older ones with more use that are still going strong. So I called El Paso and spoke with a very nice guy who told me to send my holster to him and, in the mean time, he’d get a new one coming to me right away. Now, I know their lead time approaches two months normally, but the new holster arrived in about two weeks! That was a couple months ago. Yesterday, I received another holster from them: same kind for the same barrel length, same stamping, etc. — no charge. I thought they’d just made a mistake and was preparing to return it to them until I got to looking closely at it and realized it was my old holster, repaired and refurbished! That was totally unnecessary. But you can be sure they will continue to have my business for many more decades. Okay, maybe only two decades. I can’t imagine living much past 90!

Richard Fortino
Via email

Sharing The Blessings

It’s late Saturday evening and I have been reflecting on how blessed I am. This week has been terrific! I have two grandsons, seven and eleven, who’ve been wanting to get started shooting. I have several .22’s I thought I would shorten for them but I’ve been reluctant to take the saw to those old stocks. This week I took the boys to my favorite gun store to see what was available for young shooters, and ended up buying a single-shot Cricket for the younger one and a Ruger 10/22 for the older one. Then we spent a day handling the guns, discussing firearm safety, trying various shooting positions, learning sight pictures, how to pull a trigger, and finally acquiring site pictures and dry firing at a target I set up in the backyard.

The boys were attentive and eager to learn. I told them if I felt they were ready we would go to the range the next day. The rest of the week has been spent at the range. We are fortunate to have a terrific facility here in town, established in cooperation with our local Army base. The range is staffed with mostly ex-military folks acting as range safety officers. Once I explained the boys were just starting out, the RSOs went out of their way to help. What a joy it has been to see these young fellows I love so much learning and enjoying an activity so dear to my heart. I know this has been a week of first steps into a lifelong activity we will share the rest of our lives. If you have never done this with a young person, I encourage you to find someone to share our heritage with.

Duane Hays
Via emai

Duane, you rock! I try to do the same here and find a couple of hours spent like that is fulfilling and recharges my enthusiasm for shooting, teaching and what we all love to do. Let’s keep it up and spread the good word, as Duane says. —RH


My wife and I just returned from the island of St. Kitts in the British West Indies where our daughter attends veterinarian school. During our layover in Miami I noticed something striking me as peculiar and disturbing. In the book and magazine shop by our gate, they displayed gun mags along with all the other publications, but the covers were obscured by pieces of paper in order to hide the images of firearms. Maybe it had to do with the Parkland shooting, and is only temporary, but it reminded me of when some soft core porn mags were partially hidden — but still popular. I did not know who to reach out to about my feelings so I am reaching out to my favorite publication. I am a sane, loving human being who obeys the law and enjoys the shooting sports. I train regularly, and keep my firearms close by, just in case. Keep sending me my Handgunner, just in case the bad guys remove it from the shelves, entirely.

Scott lindeberg
Richfield, Minnesota

Lever Lover

I really enjoyed the “Duke’s” article on lever actions (“Chicken Or Eggs,” July/Aug 2018). I do not own a lever action rifle, but as any red blooded American boy growing up in the ’60s can attest, we couldn’t wait for our favorite TV western and dream of those Winchester rifles. Over the years I often thought about buying a lever action but left them to the cowboy shooting sport fans.

Now, although, I don’t think of myself as a “prepper,” as a 64-year old (former) Eagle Scout, I do believe in being prepared. After reading Duke’s article, it made a lot of sense to me to have a hand gun and a long gun using the same ammo. I have both a .357 mag. trail gun revolver and a .44 mag. revolver. In case of an emergency evacuation where time and weight/space might be an issue, one ammo and two guns makes a lot of sense. Your “bug out” bag holds one ammo (whichever caliber you decide on) and you grab two guns (long and short) and you can pretty much handle any survival issue until the crisis is over.

Yes, I do have other long and short guns of varying calibers, but .357 and .44 are readily available and you can get many lever action rifles in these calibers. I really would not have thought about this great modern connection until I read the article. I know this is a handgun magazine, but I applaud you for crossing over to the long guns where applicable. I would like to see more articles about lever action rifles and their applications in the modern age, as I am certain to purchase one in the near future and could use a bit more info.

Interestingly enough, Colorado (as well as other states) are facing reckless legislation banning anything looking like an “assault” weapon, even if it is not. Perhaps having a lever action rifle is not a bad idea. It would be interesting to see the left trying to convince someone a lever action rifle is an assault weapon. I’m a Colorado native and love cowboys — but I don’t think lever action rifles are just for cowboys anymore.
Thanks for a great magazine!

Richard Kemerling
Castle Rock, CO

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