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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!


  1. Jack, enjoyed going to the Gun shows as well with you. I always learn a lot! To me, I love looking for unusual guns, esp in good condition. I'm still thinking about that neat little break action .25-20 single shot with the " splinter" fore end!

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