Search This Blog

Monday, February 29, 2016

Late Winter Gun Show Sojourn and Gun Favorites

This Saturday I motored to West Lebanon to take in a gun show with two good pals. The company was perfect. The gun show, well, mediocre. We did eat lunch at a Paneras, near Airport Road, as it was handy. But I do not like eating at Paneras because they have instituted a policy against guns in their restaurants. Besides, the food was as mediocre as the gun show. Overpriced, generic, common, and boring.
So, what next? Well, my untiring buddy from Randolph Vermont led me six miles across the river to a gun show in Hartford Vermont. This one, I enjoyed! A to Z for old/new/ammo/accessories, and friendly dealers, and attendees. Good stuff, reasonably priced, and stayed there as long as possible...

I did have a few targets in mind. I wanted to find a decent Colt XSE Commander. Just have to know if it is half the gun the Smith 1911Sc is. I just HAVE to know. Also, wanted to find a fairly priced new Glock 43 and S&W Shield 9 mm for a review and shoot off. I do have a Shield I love, and it would be so hard to beat that if I find the piece that does, I'll buy two. But, while the 43's were abundant, they were ridiculously priced, and as usual, the S&W Shield in 9mm was non-existent. This is because they cannot make them fast enough to satisfy demand. (That tell you something?)
And not a Colt XSE in sight.

On my return home, I had an email query from a blog reader of my last weapon review. His question was what guns do I own? (This is difficult) I gently explained that most gun owners would not broadcast their armories on social media, and that, well, what was his motivation in asking the question. A gentleman indeed, he told me that he was a neophyte to gun ownership, and really liked my reviews. (he owns me) He wanted advice. He wants to 'get' into it. OK. So here goes with a few. Just a few. But there ARE favorites, and they ARE shooters. Serious and accurate shooters...
I have owned and shot many .22's over the years. I was weaned on a 16 inch Winchester model 67 single shot. I could shoot dragon flies out of the air with that little guy...I shot a Winchester .22 lever action, a Marlin, a Ruger 10-22., a Remington...all sold. My go-to .22 is a Browning T-Bolt. The most accurate, shootable, and easy fitting .22 I have ever shot. I have a .22 cal. Leupold on this, and headshots on squirrels at 50 yards is a no brainer. Hard to miss. Fast as an auto.
 Below is a S&W M&P 10 .308 (7.62) rifle. It is the first one I ever owned in this configuration. But I have shot and observed dozens more. After 6 years of research and shooting, this is the one I chose. It is light. It is powerful. It is so, so accurate, less than 1 MOA with 168 grain pills. In fact, with the right load, this rifle with it's 5R barrel, give me REGULAR 1/2 to 3/4 inch groups. Above all, 700 rounds in, it has never stuttered. If you MUST have a large bore battle rifle, this one, for the money, cannot be beat.
 My go-to hunting rifle for any game in North America (and most of the world actually) is below. This is a post 64 Winchester model 70 30-06 with a light weight Macmillan stock. 6.3 pounds. Stock. This rifle from the factory gave me 1.5 inch groups regularly. But I pined. The rifle came up, fitted, and pointed so naturally, that I have never missed an animal with it. But accuracy is my game. Eventually I did a trigger job on it (myself) down to a crisp 3.5 lb. pull. Trimmed a bit of over molding off the fore end tip, and voila! Sub-moa groups easy! It is so light, and so forgiving. With a V-2 Leupold, it will be the last rifle I ever sell. Nothing in the world matches the locking and unlocking smoothness of a Winchester model 70 bolt. All the other rifles out there may be nice. This one is a gentleman and a shooter. If you don't own a model 70, well, maybe, one day you will be a gentleman.
 Below you see a model 28 Highway Patrolman .357 magnum six inch  by S&W, circa 1973. It is one of many, but probably the last revolver I will ever own. Revolvers are essentially passe'. Go ahead, suck in your stale breaths, but they ARE passe'...but this big heavy guy? It was my first duty revolver, and I actually was involved in a gun battle with it. It was always very, very accurate. I did put on those bigger grips, and somewhere along the way I installed a target trigger and did a trigger job. I can tell you, if there is a smoother shooter out there, and as accurate, thousands were spent on it. This rough looking guy shoots like crazy, utterly controllable, and has never failed me. I estimate about 4500 full house magnum rounds through this, and the flame cut on the top strap is barely there. A keeper. Can't buy these now, so if I wanted a revolver, the 6 inch S&W 27 is what I'd buy...and I have owned and shot Pythons, Dan Wessons, and the very 'best'. This is the piece.
Below here we have a Dan Wesson 10mm Pointman Seven. This is a heavy duty target /hunting 1911 with serious power. It is the most accurate pistol I have ever fired. Period. It is extremely powerful, capable of taking all North American Game with the right loads. Up to 830 FPE. It is heavy, some 45 oz fully loaded. Fun to shoot, and I regularly hit 16 inch targets at 200 yards with this baby. As powerful as it is, you can shoot it all day long without fatigue. It is a marvelous piece and I carried it as my off duty piece for a year before the weight got to me. Modifications? I changed the recoil spring from 18 pounds to 24 pounds so that brass wouldn't fly forty feet . Twelve feet now, in a nice pile. And a $2.00 recoil buffer. Because I had one. If I could only keep one handgun, I think this would be it. Except for the S&W 28 above...(-:

Ultra concealable, serious put them down carry?  Single stack M&P Shield. I've had and carried most, Kahr, Colt, Kel-Tec, etc. Buy it in 9. Concealment Express IWB holster. Invisible. Instinctive shooter. Accurate, and capable of handling heavy rounds. So forgiving and accurate that I was dumfounded to see what this little guy can do at 25 yards. Most accurate with the heavy +P loads. (OK by me). Utterly reliable. Cheap. Factory trigger after 200 rounds is THERE! Buy it.

Full size carry for high capacity rigs that are instinctively easy to shoot accurately? Ergonomics eons beyond Glock? Still reasonably sized to conceal? Accurate? Reasonably priced? Aftermarket full support? Excellent factory backing? This is the best modern day high capacity full sized duty/off duty
concealed carry weapon out there. I tell you this as a 35+ year Glock armorer/instructor/promoter. I never would have believed it myself if I hadn't been shamed into buying and shooting one by a fellow Glock educated officer.  It is my primary LEOSA choice for nationwide carry. Kudos to S&W!.

 Below is a Browning Challenger .22 Buckmark pistol. Let us say you have no interest in carry or home protection pistols. Let's pretend you do not want to ever hunt/protect yourself from big game, or crazy homo sapiens. Let's guess that you simply would like to have a sidearm, light beyond belief, strapped to your side while you hiked through the woods. Just in case you meet a rabid fox. Or, maybe just to plink at an occasional target. Or, you just wanted a sculptured piece of machined beauty to hold in your hand once in a rare while. Or, let's get really crazy here, how about you are a gun owner, a shooter, perhaps a police officer, or hunter, and would like to introduce someone to firearms that has never held one/they are dangerous/I couldn't kill anyone/I am born to be afraid of them ad nauseum folks? Buy this one. I have owned and shot thousands of rounds through Colt , Ruger, and High Standard .22 autos. The Woodsman's I love. They simply feel good. The High Standards, nice, but not quite so nice. The Browning Buckmark, at least this one, is the best, hands down .22 pistol I have ever shot. It is cheap, well built, extremely accurate, and strong. Extremely reliable, easy to disassemble (you Ruger owners listening?) and clean. This is a starter gun, and a perfect gun for the veteran gun owner. It is just cool.
Let's hear your comments! I want to learn!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Back to Mid-Winter Nature at Long Ridge Deer Camp

As most of you know, generally right after season ends December 15th I begin a limited cracked corn feeding regimen for a month or so (or until deep snow) to census the deer in the immediate area of the farm. This year I did not start until late January, because of the extremely mild winter (though it is -2 below as I write) . The deer have had no trouble moving or finding plenty of acorns and other natural food, including old apples, and as it was, entered winter with the biggest fat reserves I have seen in years. On top of no snow, we have had absolutely mild fall temps all winter until the last week or so. These deer couldn't be bothered with a little cracked corn. But once we got a little snow, and temperatures returned to normal, they began to show up. These are just a few of the hundreds of pictures I have from one camera up next to the Christmas tree plantation.
Through studying these pictures, I have determined that I have a group of six coming from a big hemlock stand to the South, a group of four (sometimes five) coming in from the East, and a group of three from the West. The bucks shown do not seem to remain with any particular group. Interesting that they still have their antlers in February. Good sign of low stress...I do have a picture of a buck taken one day in late April several years ago with his antlers still unshed!
These are fat, shiny and unstressed deer for sure!
Check the coat and condition of this doe with an attitude (get away from my corn!)
A healthy coat insulates better than any fiberglass we ever invented. That snow will be on her until she shakes it off!

Big boy always shows at night. He wishes these deer would yard up for good!

Just another example of good herd health...
And the raccoons do love their corn meal...
Nice little five pointer..
A close up.
Below is a spike that has shed his..and a four pointer behind him that hasn't.

Here is the four pointer
And the fiver...
Brother/sister? Both fat and shining with health. 
The southern group
They have hammered my food plots in the Far Field to nothing, but still check it every day. Note how many tracks!
In conclusion I note that we have about fourteen regulars showing up in the fields and at the corn. They come within twenty feet of deer camp at night scraping under the apple tree for rotten apples, cruising our back yard and lawns. We have two constantly barking yappy running Shelties, and the deer hardly pick up their heads when they hear the dogs. Got a great pocket camera of them on the corn the other day from 100 yards, with both dogs barking loudly. I'll put that in the next post. In the meantime I guess it's time to host a coyote hunt! Let me know what YOU are doing!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Long Ridge Deer Camp Weaponry Review Inc. (just kidding)

I knew I would get SOMETHING started, with my review of the S&W 1911Sc, which if you read the blog, have figured out that I love it, and am currently carrying it as my go-to.
Well today a good friend couldn't help himself, and dropped off a brand new in the box Ruger SR1911. Those of you in the know realize SR1911 stands for Stainless Ruger 1911 .45 ACP.
With all due warnings to my buddy that I would be completely frank in my review (he WANTS that) I took it in hand. He is forwarding a thousand rounds for a complete wring-out. I know, I KNOW, the mainstream mags all put a few hundred through a gun and review it. But as a professional carrier, sorry, can't I do that. I need a full thousand before I trust a piece. So below you see a few pictures of it. This is a full sized 5 inch barreled .45, and it weighs a hefty 2 lbs. 13+ oz loaded. So right off I can tell you that unless you are wearing full duty rig, or you are a silly 22 year old, you are NOT going to carry this gun for protection. It is simply too heavy. This is a gun you might hunt with, carry in a belt holster for a hike or  protection in the woods or take to the range occasionally to target practice. Mostly, this is a gun you'll keep most of the time in your gun safe. It IS a handsome piece, let's take a look.
Stainless though and through, this gun is built to last, not only against corrosion but for sheer strength. You can drop this piece on cement, and while it wouldn't make it prettier, it will still work. I note in the first picture that it does not have an ambidextrous safety. (I happen to like them on the 1911 platform, because I am required in quals to shoot with just my weak hand) Otherwise quite sturdy. This 1911 has an internal extractor - not good or bad, but they do require tuning and timing. I did note some coarser machine marks on the inside, and the slide lock cut out in the frame looks like it was done with a hack saw. But unseen all, until field stripped. And while this doesn't have the fine machining of the Smith, remember, it sells at retail for 300.00 less than the S&W. It has sturdy white dot day sights on it.
 On the flip side, above, you can see this gun has an extended (though flat, I prefer curved) safety. The flat safeties lend themselves to being activated under stress, when you least want them to, and this was my experience with this piece. Skeleton trigger and hammer, good for pruning a little weight (anything helps on a gun this big) and typical wood grips. Like the Smith, it comes with a 7 and an 8 round magazine.
 Here they are side by side (kinda). The Ruger is a full sized 5 inch, and the Smith is a Commander with a 4 1/4 inch barrel. Otherwise the size is identical except that the S&W is a bobtail.
 Above is the loaded Ruger on the scale. It weighs exactly what my full sized Dan Wesson 10mm does.
Just like the Smith, it fits the Fobus C-21 holster perfectly.
Now, people, before we go cannot write a perfect review in utter silence. A fitting piece is this CD of Mozart's 1st and 4th.  It settles the mind, and puts the cat and pups promptly to sleep so that I can work.
So far, I have field stripped the Ruger. Somewhat interesting, because it takes a bushing wrench like the Smith, but in fact, has no full length guide rod. A lot of 1911s with no guide rods come apart w/o a bushing wrench, so this was a surprise. One might ask what is the advantage/nonadvantage of a full length vs non full length guide rod? None. Two screaming schools of 1911 aficionados out there take the side of one or the other, but neither is superior. Most of your competitive shooters want the full length guide rod. It is said to keep the slide more perfectly aligned on the rails on recoil, less wear, more weight for less recoil etc. The other side thinks no guide rod is more reliable. I am of neither school, and would counsel you to buy a 1911 based on looks, function, and fun. Don't even bother to ask which your model comes with. The top tier of custom 1911 makers don't agree either. Some use one, some the other.
 I did find the gun as dry as a sun dried tomato, so I lathered it (you read that right) up with Slip 2000, and racked the slide twenty five times. By the time ammo ships in, that stuff will have penetrated everywhere.
Dry firing it felt as if the trigger were a bit lighter than the Smith, but when I measured the pull it is just about the same at 5 3/4 lbs. Some grittiness on take up, but that always smooths out with firing. We'll see and re-check after 500 rounds.
Stand by for updates!
OK people! Below you see the Ruger 'heavy' as I call it, a full five inch 2 1/2 pound loaded behemoth ready to have it's mags loaded to set the springs. I always do this with new weapons, especially single stack mags. They can be tremendously difficult to load at first - so, load, and leave to set for a week, and bam! Easy to load, just like that!
 Today it approached 35 degrees, so with the -20 degrees on a tailwind, I decided to hit the range to check the stamina of this rugged looking piece. I should tell you at the outset that I have never been a big Ruger fan. They have made honest weapons, for honest money, always. But I was just never impressed by them. Always worked, mediocre accuracy, fairly priced, a working man's gun. Not one you would take on a serious date if you know what I mean. In fact, in the state academy training in the early nineties, we actually forbid recruits from bringing them. They didn't work, failed the officers, and Ruger was non-responsive. I did own for years a series 181 Ruger Mini-14 that I had as a truck gun. It ALWAYS functioned, no matter what. Ammo, atmosphere, dirt, salt, it didn't matter. It went boom. Trouble was, I could never hit anything with it. No matter the ammo (and I tried them all), I could do no better than 4 inches at a hundred. Did an expensive trigger job on it,  and...four inch groups. Eventually I sold it, though I loved shooting it. Now you know how I really feel, read on.
Below is the piece, 300 rounds through it, and hot. Can't touch the barrel. Dirty. That lube I poured over it oozing everywhere. 300 rounds. Shot it fast ( and I mean fast). Shot it slowly. Shot it on it's right side, shot it on it's left side. Shot it upside down. Shot it one handed, two handed, even shot it holding it so lightly that most pistols would fail to go back into battery. Nope. This baby works. It just pure shoots no matter what you do, as long as you release the safety, and pull the trigger, it goes bang. I am impressed. No failures of ANY kind including failures to lockback. It was so shootable, that after this many rounds I decided to paste a few targets and check accuracy.

 Below is the first magazine in a target I shot. Fifteen yards, cadence fire, one eight round mag. Aiming for the Q but want you to realize that the front white dot sight on this gun is not the best. You almost have to shoot this pistol as you would with regular patridge sights. 6 o'clock hold. I didn't and you see the results a bit high. Remembering my own screaming at officers ' The white dot is your sight, the piece around it is only the sight housing' and I came back to earth. Even so, this target below is completely acceptable in any shooter's school.
 Next target below is a fifteen yard cadence fired head shot target, eight rounds. Would YOU want to be challenging this big ol' Ruger?
 A second eight round magazine fired at same target rapid fire. I am getting used to this Ruger, and I am using a six o'clock hold (or whatever you THINK you do during rapid fire) on the crease. This pistol does shoot a bit high to point of aim. But, let me ask you...want to argue with this Ruger?
 OK, out to 25 yards. I know, I KNOW, the magazines always give you group sizes for pistols at 25 yards. Sand bags, Ransom rests, the whole big job. For what? Who has TIME for that? Let's see what this baby will do in real time!
Below, an eight round magazine, cadence time, 6 o'clock hold on the crease. In other words, on center mass, and behold! Right where you would want these rounds to go! A bit high, and perfect. I am starting to like this gun.
 Let's get picky. Let's do cadence time shots at twenty five yards, to the head. 6 O'clock hold, about on the crease (remember, front sight is clear, target is blurred rule) and true to form, all shots but one a bit high. Again I ask you..want to argue with this beast?
 I could never pull off shooting 500 rounds with the two magazines that came with this gun, so threw in three of my own, and it was made palatable and fun!
 Same target, but this time, let's shoot three 8 round magazines, rapid fire (again, I mean rapid)
at center mass, twenty five yards. Grouping a bit left, but exactly up where it should be. The left stuff is my bad, not the gun. A thousand more rounds here, and I (or you) would 'grow' into this pistol. Do NOT adjust the sights!
 Again, a twenty five yard target. One magazine rapid fire to the head, and the rest of the last 50 rounds rapid fire to center mass. Fast and furious. I have zero issues with the field/defense accuracy of this hand gun.
 Last test. I love the dot torture test, and require it of myself very often and with every gun I ever carry. Isn't easy, but it is probably the fastest way to sight/target engagement trigger pull improvement there is... With a new to me gun, I always start at 3-4 yards with this. Even at that, it is not easy. This target includes two handed, one handed, weak handed only, reloads, draw and shoot, multiple target, and a myriad of other built in exercises. It is a fifty round, no speed required, exercise. Get good at this at 7 yards, and you are GOOD! Anyway, below is the first (and only) torture test I did with the full size Ruger. So much easier than with my lightweight commander. First of all, the Ruger, being so heavy, has a ton less recoil. A TON less. And with nearly an inch longer sight radius, it is much easier to shoot accurately. While this is not a perfect target, it is as good as any I have ever done the first time shooting a new pistol. Except maybe my M&P Shield. Maybe.
Conclusion - Buy it
This is a moderately priced pistol in major caliber, (you can buy this for $650 bucks any day of the week) built to function, and function it does. This is not a carry piece. But if you want a home protector, a chunk on your hip for a hike or hunt, or simply want a gun you can own forever to take to the range and fire 20,000 rounds through it without worry, this is a good buy. I was skeptical, and for my purposes, it will not do. But for the reason you might want a piece as listed above, you just can't go wrong. The fixed three dot Novak sights suck. They are unadjustable  (except windage)
and after a hundred rounds even the front white dot is black from powder residue. So what! Buy a set of TFO's and you are in the major leagues for all light situations. The trigger smoothed out and is acceptable. I did not try a dozen types of ammunition in this piece. I did not need too. I know how to make a gun malfunction, and this little guy simply said 'no'.  Frankly, people, this is the first Ruger firearm I have ever shot, that I truly enjoyed, and wanted to just keep going. They've come a long way these folks in Newport NH (er...Arizona I should say). And, I'll confess. Last year in researching Commander sized .45's, it came down to the Ruger 6711 and the S&W 1911Sc. The bobtail, tritium night sights and scandia frame was the only thing between me and the Ruger. But, I paid a $400.00 premium for that. So there you have it. A GlocklovingS&WM&Ptotingarmorerinstructorswatguy telling you that this gun, this full sized Ruger 1911, is a go! Have fun! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...