Sights on pistols are useless!

I’ve heard this over and over. From many people – including my late Father. Perhaps you’ve heard it as well. There is some truth to this claim, I’m sure. That depends largely on the individual arm and the shooter.

The arm itself must be competent in itself. That is, it has to be mechanically able to deliver shots to the more or less same place. Historically, rifled barrels are more precise in this regard than smoothbore. Also, the various parts of the arm must fit together in the same way each time the arm is fired.

In a semiautomatic pistol, the barrel and sights particularly must some to the same (within mechanical limits) relationship time after time. This usually means the barrel and slide must do so as the sights are firmly attached to the slide.

A revolver is not immune from this need. Every chamber of the cylinder must reference to the barrel in the same way.

And sights in any event must be “unmoving” in the sense of arbitrarily shifting location.

The ammunition should be consistent in performance to the point where the various shots impact in more or less the same point of impact.

I must point out the sights themselves must lend themself to alignment as well. The easiest sights to use are “Patridge” sights. Nothing to do with a bird, the silhouette from the shooter’s view was designed by a gentleman named E. E. Patridge in the last decade of the 19th Century. It is the commonest sight used today by U. S. manufacturers and not uncommon around the world.

The rear sight is a square (well, three sided) notch with an open top. The front sight is a upright post with parallel sides, having a perfectly flat top (in profile from the rear). The front sight initially had a flat vertical face. The side profile has been modified by numerous folks for various reasons. (The commonest reasons are glare prevention and internally damaging holsters).

There are numerous details and the study of handgun sights is a study in itself. This is just the barest introduction.

One can safely say no sight is useful if the shooter lines up the sights, closes his eyes and yanks the trigger. Perhaps that is the core problem with many dilettante shooters. Not that I judge others, of course.

I found recently – this year in fact – that I collect vintage .25 ACP ( 6.35mm browning, .25 Automatic) pistols. I now have four. One of those pistols is a Fabrique Nationale (FN) M1906 pistol.

The FN 1906 is designed for concealed carry. It is tiny. Total weight of pistol and magazine (no ammo) is a touch over thirteen (13) ounces. I can get my middle finger on the grip, that’s all. Trigger finger no doubt helps a bit. Shooting two handed is similar to using all fingers to pick one’s nose. At once. Trigger breaks at around six pounds and I cannot really judge creep or such.

The sights on this pistol are interesting to say the least. As I mentioned, the pistol is designed for concealed carry. Pocket or purse carry. Nothing projects to snag, catch or otherwise impede obtaining the pistol. To accomplish this goal, the sights are located atop the slide, recessed into what I describe as a furrow machined top dead center of the slide. The front sight is .002 inches (.0508mm) wide and .003 inches (.0762mm) tall as best I can measure. The rear sight has an opening about .002 inches wide at the top and tapers quickly to an inverted “V” shape. Not only do I wonder who designed it, I wonder HOW they made it.

One would not expect any use or accuracy from this set up. However, I wanted to chronograph a series of five rounds for comparison purposes.

I set a target up at roughly twenty five yards. Not that I anticipated impressing the world with accuracy, but that was where the fixtures are located. It served as the downrange reference for shooting within the proper area of my chronograph was all I expected. The aiming point was a 25 yard NRA “SR-1” center (the target for the Timed and Rapid fire stages of formal target shooting).

I did use both hands and fired slowly and deliberately. It went better than I expected. I did attempt to use the sights in the normal manner.

Oh. The average on the chronograph results was 670 fps. I guess this will not go to Africa on my next safari. Target below


The sights were centered on the target. All the hits were more or less at point of aim. What about the white indicators? They were from a Colt 1903 in .32 ACP I fired in the same session.

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On Cleaning a firearm

Reasons for Cleaning. One cleans a firearm for two general reasons.

One is to maintain the integrity and appearance of the arm. Cleaning removes ‘fouling’ from the arm which can lead to damage (usually rust) to various parts. Proper cleaning also protects the finish from being dulled or ‘clouded’ by stain of the residue of burnt powder or wadding.

A second reason is to remove debris which impede the functioning of the arm. Residue of burnt powder will infiltrate the various joints of moving parts or open surfaces and impede the proper function. It is not uncommon for double action revolvers to be dirtied enough to act sluggish in double action mode. Semi-automatic pistols, rifles and shotguns suffer sluggishness in reciprocation. Parts do not move quite as freely. Dust and sand also blows into the mechanism and do not enhance operation. In some cases and arms, the chamber or chambers can be so fouled as to not allow fresh rounds to chamber properly. Typically, this will be in extreme cases, but it can happen.

None of this is to say a given arm will cease to operate with the firing of a ‘few’ rounds. Most firearms will work for normal sessions of practice or competition without major malfunction. However, any firearm will work better when no fouling is in the mechanism and all moving parts are properly lubricated.

One notes various arms built initially for Armed Forces are designed with filth in mind. Many gas operated designs and quite a few manually operated arms have recesses where fouling or dirt is pushed off the moving parts in order to keep the arm functioning. But there are limits. Any arm works better clean.

Corrosive Ammunition.

One reason to clean barrels and operating mechanisms is the use of corrosive ammunition. That use is historic and well founded. When I was in basic training, the ‘rule’ was to clean weapons for three consecutive days following firing a weapon. I personally suspect this is based on the historic use of corrosive ammunition.

The reason some ammunition – and nearly all ‘old’ (pre-World War II) – ammunition was loaded with ‘corrosive’ primers. Primers have a long history, they as percussion caps, predate cartridge cases. The details of the chemical compositions are detailed, complex and intricate. (Look it up for a chemistry lesson.) The short version is this:

Corrosive primers do not in themselves corrode barrel bores or other metal parts of firearms. The chemical compound in burning leaves certain deposits (crud) on the interior of the bore that attracts and keeps moisture (hygroscopic). That causes the barrel to rust, and THAT corrodes the barrel. I say again, the chemicals in corrosive primers does not attack ferrous metal (like steel) directly like acetone dissolves styrofoam.

This is why one can wait a short period of time prior to cleaning the barrel when corrosive primers are used. However, ‘short’ means an hour or two to get home, not two weeks until one ‘feels like it’.

Modern primers do not have hygroscopic qualities. They do NOT attract moisture in the same way. Yes, if water splashed in the bore, the ash residue would likely stay wet longer, but that isn’t drawing moisture out of the air. However, that idea leads to…

Fouled Mechanisms

Burnt powder does clog up the mechanism. Sliding bits build up some fouling and they don’t slide as well. Should a spring be enclosed in some ‘guide’ (think magazine) they don’t slide as well. Fouling in the bearing parts of a cylinder and a revolver won’t revolve as well. Rounds will not negotiate feed ramps as freely. Too much crud and ammunition will not fit into a revolver cylinder. Get enough gunk into a trigger mechanism and creep exhibits.

Barrels build up either leading or copper fouling. Usually that won’t stop the show, but it can influence accuracy for the poorer. Accuracy is probably affected with lead and copper fouling. But this is a temporary problem. When cleaned out, the barrel shoots as accurately as it ever did.

So far I’ve only mentioned burnt powder. Depending on the area in which one lives, hunts or shoots, environmental contamination will also be a problem. No, I’m not talking about overuse of gasoline or cutting too many trees, I’m referring to dust, sand and anything else from ‘the environment’ getting into and dirtying up one’s firearm.

Essentially there are two basic elements to cleaning a firearm. Chemical cleaners and the action of scrubbing.

Chemical cleaners range from ‘hot soapy water’ to the newest product for cleaning. I am not going to list all the products in order of my preference. They mostly work as advertised and do not leave as much residue as they might. You all have your own choices, I’m sure. Hoppe’s #9 Nitro powder Solvent has been around for years and has been used for years. (Hoppe’s used to contain Carbon Tetrachloride. ‘Carbon Tet’ is remarkably hazardous to living organisms [humans in this instance] and has since been removed from the formula. The product does seem to clean as well, but it isn’t as dangerous as before, either. It still works well.) There is also Kroil oil known as a ‘penetrating’ oil. Like all penetrating oils it will invade corrosion or contamination and work to separate the gunk from the base metal. One of the later of which I’ve used is Break Free brand ‘Bore Cleaning Foam’ (BCF) which is advertised to combine with and dissolve copper from bores.

My point is there is nearly an endless supply of products available. They all work well according to their purpose. No doubt many shooters have their preference. I’m not going to recommend any. I suggest you all choose your own in accord with your arms and ammunition.

I will however, point out the difference between some types of products.

One finds ‘cleaners’, ‘lubricants’ and ‘preservatives. All of these are lumped under the category of ‘gun oil’ popularly, but not entirely correctly.

A cleaner cleans. (Duh.) By action of chemical reaction and accompanied by rubbing or scrubbing, a cleaner helps dissolve the chemical bonds causing the contamination to adhere to the surface of the item. (By the way, common hand soap dissolves the grease exuded from the body to cause dirt to stick. It does not alter the dirt itself. A chemist might be able to describe this in greater detail, but that’s the short version.) One notes, a cleaning removes all the compounds on the metal. It then (should have) has no lubrication or preservative in place. Aha.

To continue the cadence, a lubricant lubricates. One lubricates metal parts ‘rubbing’ on another metal part for two reasons. One is the lubricates facilitates the movement. A slide or a bolt is easier to move when ‘slick’ or lubricated. Reason number two is to prevent wear of metal rubbing on metal. This is actually the same as the first reason, except from a different perspective.

Please notice the types of motions and methods of metal rubbing on metal. Note a Semi or full automatic anything has several moving parts. Revolvers. Bolt or lever action rifles.

In addition to the cleaner is the object for scrubbing or wiping. One first thinks of cleaning rods and brushes. These are for cleaning the interior of the barrel. There are many brands available and all work about as well. Some will last longer in use and some look better to some eyes and so on. However, for either handgun, rifle or shotgun they are needed.

One quick caution. No firearm need be soaked in 30 weight motor oil (or transmission fluid, either) to work well. Lubricate the internal workings where metal rubs on metal. Rub a minor amount on the outer surface of non-stainless steel arm to protect the finish. (For special coatings or finishes, read the owner’s manual.) And a little is usually fine. Too much oil will catch dirt, sand, the odd mosquito and just gum up after a bit. In extreme cold, regular lube oil or grease can stiffen and congeal.

As mentioned earlier, primers are generally free of corrosive properties currently, but deposits from lead or gilding metal (jacketing, largely copper substance) need to be removed. Scrubbing is the best way – along with suitable cleaners – to accomplish this.

The rods are variously made from steel, aluminum, or coated with a plastic surface. Various arguments (advertising claims) are presented by the makers which is ‘best’. They are of varying prices as well.

Brushes, the actual ‘scrubbing’ surface are radially inserted (usually held within a twisted wire frame) short wires and made of steel or brass. Usually the steel wires are more aggressive and used for severe leading or copper deposits. Steel brushes can and do wear on the interior of the barrel. The brass are softer than the steel barrels and will not cause damage by erosion. The brass type do a decent job of routine maintenance. I have steel brushes but reserve them for initial cleaning of older, well used rifles of questionable usage.

Normally, after the use of cleaner and brushing, one employs ‘patches’ small pieces of soft cloth to remove the remains of solvent and debris from the barrel. These range in size depending on bore size and also if a ‘slotted’ tip is used (the commoner sort with the patch inserted athwart) or a ‘jag’ (round, near bore sized pusher tip over which the patch is laid). I prefer the jag type, but the slotted type has been employed for ages.

None of this is to suggest everyone needs a thirty pound supply of cleaning fluids, oils and various gear to clean one’s arms. One needs only what pertains. The person who owns one or two sidearms only does not need a rifle length cleaning rod. One who owns only a .22 long rifle arm probably need not fret about ‘copper fouling’.

The phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is NOT found in the Bible. However, most shooters know cleanliness is of value to keep things working. (Probably shouldn’t be neglected for bodily parts, either.)

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Another Facet to the Collection

No regular – or irregular, considering my frequency – reader is unaware of my various firearm collections. For those of you who don’t know, I collect infantry rifles used in or contemporary with the First World War and .32 ACP (7.65mm Browning) pistols designed prior to WW2.

Now I realize I should add a couple categories.

I have long collected Smith & Wesson revolvers. I started out appreciating them as devices for shooting. An older friend taught me to shoot double action and I found it natural. But they were getting too expensive as a collection. So I decided they would not be a collection. Perhaps ‘using’ arms, but not a collection.

Not too long ago, as such things happen – I bought two revolvers I didn’t expect until I saw the connection.

I found one and thought it would be exemplary of the type and genre of the series. It was used, had some rust spots – that cleaned up into just ‘blemishes’ and I was delighted.
Then about a week later, the same store offered another of the very same type for sale, at the same price. I looked at it and thought, having two of the same is silly. Then I saw something changing my mind. I know have two of the same make, model and barrel length. With sequential numbers. From 1962.

So, I now collect Smith & Wesson revolvers again. Nothing since about 1980 or so. I find a lack of quality since they changed hands at the time.

I fell into another niche. Long ago, I bought – rather on a whimsical note – a .25 ACP caliber pistol. Not that I would carry such a pistol as defensive tool – except for some rather unusual motive. But the arm was made by Beretta and I was quite taken when younger with James Bond’s .25 Beretta. I had long wanted such a pistol.

To avoid much discussion, one must first understand that Ian Fleming (the author of the initial series of books) really didn’t know much about handguns. Most all the technical information he used in the novels were the opinions of others, some who knew something of the subject, and some who didn’t.

.25 Beretta, with manual safety ‘catch’ and ejector.

This pistol and several others by Beretta (in the early 1900s) do not have a model name or number stamped on the pistol. According to what I can glean from the internet, it seems this set of variants were collectively called the model 418. They were made in several cosmetic variations from 1919 until the 1950s. Mine is stamped ‘1958’ following the serial number on the right side of the pistol. (It cannot be seen in this photo.) So I presume this example was made late in the production life of the pistol. The pistol is just under four and one half inches long.

So began this episode.

Colt Model 1908, Vest Pocket Pistol

Then, I found this little beast at a gun show. I felt obligated as it was designed by the worthy John Moses Browning. And it seemed to want a permanent home. This item’s claim to fame is the designer, the serious profit brought to the Colt Patent Firearms Company and the fact it would fit in a gentleman’s vest pocket. If anyone wonders regarding the scoring directly above the trigger, it is the location of the serial number. I blotted it out on the photo (not the pistol) as I prefer not to share that information with the general public. So then I had two .25 automatics. This pistol is also just under four and one half inches long.

I should note the name “Colt Patent Fire-Arms Company” was that used officially during the time the company was owned by the Colt family. First, Samuel and then his wife and heir Elizabeth. It is now officially Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC.

Fabrique Nationale Model 1905

Now, gentle readers, I must move on the fourth of these habit-forming devices I bought. I do this so the story flows. (All these bits I tell about acquiring these things are true; it’s not a ‘story’. Perhaps I should say ‘narrative’.)

One should note this little pistol bears a remarkable similarity to the second – Colt – pistol. There is a very good reason for the similarity. They are the same. It is also four and one half inches long.

J. M. Browning designed many firearms. He did not make guns, he designed them and sold the patents to:

Winchester (rifle and shotgun maker),

Fabrique Nationale (originally Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre – French for National Factory of Weapons of War) and now known as “FN Herstal”; Herstal being a small city near Liege, the location in Belgium (the same place it has always been),

and Colt.

Yes. Browning sold the same patent to FN and Colt. He did the same thing another time. (The 1903 Colt pistol and the FN 1910). Before it sounds too crooked, both companies knew it and they agreed. The three parties agreed FN would only sell the patented items in Europe and Colt would only sell the patented items in the United States (maybe Western Hemisphere, I can’t remember). Both FN and Colt were happy and each made a good profit. Old John sold the same patents twice and he was happy, too.

The pistol made by the two companies seem to be the only instance of a patent being sold to two entities that produced the same product essentially unchanged in the history of mankind. Ain’t that a hoot?

Something may have been noticed. The model number. The arm was patented (confirmed as FN property) in 1905. It was not released for sale until 1906. By U. S. tradition, the model would have been 1905; but by European tradition, 1906. I just report this stuff folks, I don’t always figure it out.

Baby Browning

Now to the third firearm I bought. This was in a pawn shop and was just too cute to pass up. Yes, I said ‘cute’. I’m secure enough in my maleness to call it ‘cute’. From a design stand point is is actually a re-design of the FN 1906. However…

The Baby Browning was designed in 1927. However, J. M. Browning died in 1926. The redesign was either finished or done completely by Dieudonne Saive (DEE-you-don Savf, according to the internet), an employee of FN and functionally J. M.’s understudy. He also finished the design of the High Power, first sold in 1935.

Of note, I cannot find any location of a U. S. location for the manufacture of firearms. Browning brand firearms were all made at FN until the middle 1970s, and the 1968 Gun Control Act stopped importation of ‘small’ handguns. The whole story is even more complicated. Browning didn’t exist as a manufacturer until the middle 1950s when the agreement was reached with FN to market certain arms in the US marked ‘Browning’. (Which explains why ‘Browning’ serial numbers do not exist prior to the middle 50s.)

Being the successor to the M1905 (or M1906 as you please) the Baby Browning was part of the crowd in my mind. Oh, the Baby Browning is just under four inches long.


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The ‘anyone but Trump’ Gang Is Alive And Well

I really hope and pray President Trump is re-elected (as if he wasn’t in 2020) next time around. The current position holder, the obvious shill for the international socialist movement, is seriously and intentionally damaging the United States. I will vote for President Trump next time and I want to contribute to the financial needs. However, I’m blocked from doing so.

Whoever the jackass directing the contributions campaign, that jackass thinks being as irritating as possible is the best way to deflect contributors. It is working. They send me 15 to 25 emails a day to clog my in basket (so to speak) with garbage mail like the traditional Nigerian Prince. I cannot believe President Trump would be so stupid. It is glaringly obvious whoever is doing this is a ‘Never Trumper’ and is working to see President Trump defeated.

I post this rather obviously political message in the (rather faint) hope it will be read by someone who favors President Trump and supports President Trump’s re-election. Quit sending me volumes of junk mail. No apologies, no excuses, no promises, just no more. None. Nil.

Then publish an address to which I can mail a contribution. Not in a con-man email blitz, but on the President Trump website, perhaps.

Once again, I support President Trump and have money to send. But not to a scam email.

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Go Tell it on the Mountain

A number of hymns in protestant (or non orthodox) Christian hymnbooks come from used to be called “Negro Spirituals”. I’m pretty sure this phrase has been ‘upgraded’ in some measure. There are a number of such hymns, I really don’t know how many. They all share the origin of coming from the black tradition (more than likely from the slavery era) of Christianity.

The one most memorable to me is what is commonly thought of as a Christmas hymn, but is really an evangelical song of the Biblical teaching of proclaiming the Good New of Christ to all. It is titled “Go, Tell it on the Mountain”.

The first line starts “Go, tell it on the mountain. Over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is Lord!” I know of no other message so basic and so emphatic in all Christendom.

I appreciate the plain and simple phrasing. At least in modern era English. Perhaps were it presented to the 1611 audience of the King James Version of the Bible, it may not be so straight forward. Perhaps in another 400 years it will not be so understood. (Dr. Stephen Hawking’s work may be hard to decipher in 400 years, as well.) But it – currently – is easy to understand both the message and the urgency.

In the interest of total transparency: I am not of any notable Black heritage. The on line DNA test – eh? – pegs me as of primarily Scots ancestry and a bit of European about the edges. I make no claim of Black heritage. I am not ‘woke’. Knowing of the institution of slavery and all the ills and depredations thereunto pertaining, I am not embarrassed or bear shame for anything done by my remote ancestors. Which includes fighting the Pennsylvania Regiment during the Civil War and the Viking raids of more ancient ancestors.

Instead I am a Christian, a self diagnosed musician (singer) a (again self diagnosed) reader and thinker. The song in question is good music and good theology. It represents the best efforts of human beings and Christians.

Last, it is a song of joy! WE HAVE OUR GOD AND SAVIOR! Jesus Christ in the flesh. If any you sing this in church, remember this. It is a song of joy and happiness. Do not sing it as a funeral dirge.

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Verizon is a pack of nincompoops

They want money. I attempted to speak with them to find how much they wanted (mistake of mine not sending payment). I have to sign in to their website to get any answers.

They refused to honor my pin number. ID number, whatever they call it. I attempted to reset my code number, and they asked me a pre-arranged question to verify. The question was “What was the name of your first pet?” They told me that was the wrong answer. I do know the name of my first pet.

That locked up my account and now I cannot do anything. There is no way to reach a live human being. NONE. They will not even call me.

Pack of twits.

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Who Is This God Person, Anyway?

I never cease to be amazed by those who claim to know ‘all about Christianity’, ‘all about the Bible’ and ‘all about God’ and then proceed to demonstrate their entire knowledge comes from a drunken (not having a drink, but drunk) friend in a barely coherent two minute ramble.

For the record, all anyone knows about God; and all anyone knows about Christianity comes directly or indirectly (as in studying and then processing the information) from the Bible. In my experience the untruths regarding God come mainly from poorly understood Bible passages and the untruths about Christianity from a denial of Christian principles.

There have been and are far too many examples of sinful misconduct in Christian circles including a pastor or two. All those examples are examples of non-Christian (non Christ like) conduct. The choicest and most common claim is that pastor “A” had a sexual affair with a much younger person (female or male, it doesn’t matter) other than the miscreant’s spouse. No Christian teaching encourages or even allows such conduct. No Christian teaching encourages or allows ‘covering up’ misconduct.

Do Christians misbehave? Of course! Does this offend God and cause Him pain? Yes. Is this unforgivable or evidence of not being a Christian? No. Christianity is limited to those who have asked for God’s forgiveness, worship God and follow His teachings. Christianity is not earned (helping little old ladies across the street, kissing babies, giving to ‘good causes’, not going to movies or a varieties of dos and don’ts) but by the gift of God. But it must be asked for directly and knowing such asking obligates one to obedience.

So, who is God? God is the single power behind all discernible powers in the Universe. God is the sole Creator of all things, material and forces – including scientific ‘laws’ – in the Universe. God is the sole concept source, designer, constructor and maintainer of the Universe and all therein.

God is the entirety of the Trinity. The Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost in the wording of the King James Translation). These three are called ‘persons’ (again in English dating from long ago). I don’t particularly like the term, but I haven’t come up with anything better to my thinking. In fact, the usage ‘three persons’ suggests that God is split into thirds at times. Not so. They are One. If that is puzzling, it’s puzzling to Christian Thinkers and Theologians forever. Much in the same way Dr. Einstein’s “Relativity’ would be puzzling to Og, the cave man who invented the inclined plane and everyone thought he was a genius.

Please note: The above qualities are not limited. There is no ‘except for’ limitation. He does Himself ‘limit’ Himself – a weakness of human language and thinking – in the sense He chooses to refrain from some actions for His own purposes. He does not ‘fix’ certain problems as they arise, as He has plans which He will carry out when He gets good and ready.

Of importance: God’s plan supersedes any human evaluation. When the weather is too cold or too hot, God knows what He is doing. When one has the blue kluds, the flying kluds or covid or cancer, God knows what He is doing. Your or my approval is not required. That is hard to accept (I don’t do so well all the time) but is easier when one realizes God really does know what He is about. That in turn gets easier when one knows Him.

God is Eternal. God was not ‘born’. (Jesus Christ as a man was born, but as part of the God Head, Jesus did not begin existence at the moment recorded as His birth.) So God has existed forever. God will not die. Jesus died, but only as a specific case. So God (all three ‘persons’ will live forever. And understand, God did not live yesterday or last week or when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments, but He lives then just as He lives at this moment.

Going back to the third paragraph about Christian misbehavior. When forgiven by God, He forgives totally. All one’s sins. Past, present and future. As He lives Eternally, all of one’s life is God’s ‘right now’.

This also removes all the problem of “Why did God allow (whatever) to happen? That was wrong!” How many times have we – all us humans – said “If I’d have known then what I know now…” God knows now what we’ll know in the future.

To fair, some of this is hard to take. Hard to accept. Hard to believe. No question. Much of that is due to a faulty comprehension of God. God is not a human or humanish being or an alien who is really, really smart and knows a lot and has a lot of tricks. God is the only self existing being in the Universe and has alway lived.

By the way, one doesn’t have to understand this all at once or even understand it all. If you do not know Him, it is enough to know He is on your side and will accept you – on His terms – warts and all. He’ll accept you – on His terms – even if you are perfect.

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The New Rifle

At long last, I bought a ‘new’ (modern?) rifle in .22 long rifle caliber.  I have a couple ‘old’ ones, one that I inherited from my father, and one that came to me from my deceased brother.  And I have a Remington 541 that has been run hard and put away wet.  That’s a ‘modern’ rifle, and I purchased it about forty years ago.  

The new (to me, it is pre-owned) rifle is as the title states.  For those who don’t know, it is a bolt action made like a serious rifle, not an advanced toy.  

I bought it at the local Gun Show from a vendor – with a table.  It has just enough bumps and nicks in the stock to look lightly used, but the bore and bolt face do not look abused.  

It is a rather nice rifle.  It is blued and has a wood (dark finish, not sure what) stock.  It is assembled like a real – centerfire – rifle.  It is for grown ups and long term use.  Oh, yes; the bolt handle is long enough to use without looking.  

The only flaw is the trigger is a bit heavy and is a long pull with a good deal of creep.  I did find a You Tube (I think) video on adjusting the trigger.  I haven’t started that process yet.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  

Upon a suggestion of a friend, I bought an old Weaver K4 ‘scope and mounted it.  As part of that process, I bore sighted the rifle and soon visited my shooting club.  

We (the club) have a fifty meter indoor range.  It is suited for most any caliber used primarily in a handgun – to include rimfires.  Included is a photo of the initial sight in.  

I fired one or two groups and adjusted the scope to center the point of aim.  I fired this group at the fifty meter line, from a bench rest.  I used CCI standard velocity (lead) ammunition.  The target is a NRA 2700 pistol twenty-five yard center.  

Target One

That is a five shot group. The shot high and right of the main group is not called and I cannot explain it.

After a couple weeks, I had obtained some CCI .22 long rifle “AR Tactical” (marketing!) ammunition.  This ammunition is a copper plated bullet of forty grains, muzzle velocity is advertised as 1200 fps.  I find no information on from what arm this result was achieved; nor have I chronographed this ammunition from this rifle.

Somewhat of an aside.  Based on use, I like CCI .22 rimfire ammunition.  My experience with handguns is strengthened with this “AR Tactical” ammunition in this rifle.  The ammunition seems of acceptable quality as to grouping on target and proper functioning. 

Target Two

This is the second occasion target.  It is an 8.5×11 inch sheet of typing – excuse me, ‘copy’ paper.  Fired at 25 yards, from the offhand, unsupported position.  I will add, the first offhand shooting I’ve done on paper in some time.  Aiming point was the center of the paper.  There are fifteen shots in the group.  No adjustment to the sight made.  

This is a closer look at the grouping.  

Close up of Target Two

From right to left, the group measures 2.5 inches (to the nearest eighth of an inch).  From top to bottom, 3.5 inches.  One optimistically observes by discounting the bottom three shots, the top to bottom measures 1 5/8 inches.  Again on a self-promoting binge, the first five shots (string) contains the two bottommost shots and the upper right hand shot.  My subsequent strings were not fantastic, but notably better.  

One notes with some embarrassment one should place a bit of ruler in the photo to give an idea of size rather than mere claims.  

I do need to practice more with this rifle.  The ammunition famine seems to be over, and hopefully will soon be just a memory.  

At any rate, my next foray with this rifle will include the chronograph and targets with aiming point.  Prior to that, I’m going to see about ‘adjusting’ the weight and creep of the trigger.  

Holding on the ‘center of a sheet of paper’ is a rather nebulous aiming point.  As the protagonist of “The Patriot” said, ‘Aim small, miss small’.  

All in all, promising.

Third session.  Dug chronograph out of attic, gathered all the impedimenta needed for my purposes and went to range again.  

Assembled chronograph and stationed it, being sure my rifle would not put a bullet through anything serious.  Turned on lights to enable indoor function of the chronograph.  (Looks okay.)

Loaded rifle.

Fired a careful shot.

The chronograph displayed error code meaning at least one of the sensors could not ‘sense’ the bullet.  Adjusted all components accordingly.  

Fired a second careful shot.  No response.  The same error code, either again or the same one.  

No matter what I did, the chronograph would not work.  Arggggg!

So I finished the ten shot group and had Target # 3.  (#’s 1 and 2 were mentioned above.)

Just for the record, the bullseye in the center is one (1) inch in diameter.  All groups were fired at 25 yards and were slow fire, from a rest.  The rifle had been sighted in with CCI Standard Velocity ammunition.  I was using a different ammunition this time – CCI ‘AR Tactical’ ammunition, with a brass plated 40 grain bullet and an advertised velocity of 1200 fps.  I wanted to get as tight a group as possible and rejudge the scope setting.  

The group is shown in the photo.  On line with the top of the aiming point and about 5/8” right.  But all the rounds were close.  

So I carefully moved the scope setting three (3) clicks to the left (that is, four left and then one right to allow for slack) and fired another group.  Resulting in Target # 4.

Another ten (10) shot group.  Benched at 25 yards.  Excellent results.  As shown, the group is at the top of the bullseye and centered side to side.  Perhaps a trifle leaning to the right, but I don’t think the scope will allow half clicks.  I prefer to have the rifle shoot high at close range to allow for bullet drop at further ranges.  Essentially a version of ‘battle sight zero’.  I suppose ‘hunting sight zero’ could be used, but with me it’s more ‘tin can zero’.

Bereft of velocity information but delighted with the group size and zero, I packed up all my ‘stuff’ and headed home.  

Then I realized two things.  

I have no fiddled at all with the trigger settings, which are adjustable.  I doubt if any prior owner did, either.  The trigger pull is long and creepy; I cannot imagine anyone would want it that way.

I have not at all done anything in relation to the video I mentioned earlier about adjusting the trigger.  

Secondly, I suddenly realize I have a spare Leupold VX Freedom 1.5x-4×20 scope at home that probably will function and fit as well or better than the Weaver on it now.  Now I have to center the aiming point again.  Such is life.

More on this later…

Some time has passed. It is now on the long side of half-past August. I managed to get out the outdoor range again, with this rifle (and another, but that’s a different rifle).

I did make a stab at adjusting the trigger pull. One removes the stock and that exposes the adjustment screws. One screw adjusts trigger pull and the other adjusts the amount the sear is engaged. It seems now to be just over two pounds and nearly no creep.

I decided to take the chronograph again. This time it worked. I think the combination of self supplied lighting and .22 caliber prevented the screens from reading correctly (at all, it seems). According to the Caldwell chronograph, the CCI AR ammunition averaged 1240.8 – call it 1241 fps for a five round test. Not a real barn burner, but seems to be consistent and reliable. I will not likely be hunting elephants or enemies of the Republic with this rifle.

The scope seems to be regulated pretty much. I have a suspicion I will be fiddling with a click here and there for a while.


Filed under Firearms and their use

Chronographs I Have Owned

As noted in these memoirs, I have measured velocities of various firearms and loads thereof.  I have had at least six devices (I have a niggling suspicion I have forgotten one) prior to the one I just purchased.  They are here noted.  Three Shooting Chrony chronographs – two of which I shot, just a little – and one that is of questionable age and doesn’t work right much of the time.  Two CED (Competitive Edge Dynamics) M2 machines, One Labradar unit and I just purchased a Caldwell ‘upside down’ machine with built in LED lights and the potential to get an ‘app’ for a smart phone – which I refuse to buy.

I have not run the Caldwell machine to measure any velocities yet.  Other than being a little difficult to fit together – but it is new and the parts are not used in conjunction as of yet – I have no idea of how well it works or how long it lasts.  Oh, the basic instructions are somewhat vague in parts.  (One must put the light mechanisms onto the base (part that attaches to the tripod) ‘right side up’ so the tripod fits.  It doesn’t say so.)  So I have no real critique.  I do like the idea it has an internal rechargeable battery vice replaceable AAs, AAAs or nine volt items.  ( I fear the internal battery will fail, but that hasn’t happened yet.)

So far, the Shooting Chrony’s have been the most satisfying.  I did shoot two of them (just a little) and the third one seems to be getting old and somewhat unstable.  I used it day before yesterday and yesterday both.  It seems to have changed velocities for a particular rifle and load between the two days.  And it tells me one of the light sensors (the ‘go’ and ‘stop’ signals for the calculator) is failing to register the shot passing over.  I switched to a new battery for the second day and it worked.  For about ten rounds.  The truth is, I think I’ve had that particular machine for more than ten years.  Nothing lasts forever.  I’m not as able as I used to think I was.  I would just buy another, except I cannot stir up anyone at their website and it seems they only deal through contracted vendors.  I quit dealing with Amazon when Mr. Bezos announced he didn’t want us ‘deplorables’ as customers.

The CED device worked well for just over a year.  Then one of the sensors started sporadically working.  As it happens, CED feels the sensors are subject to aging and are not covered under warranty.  So I paid for a replacement sensor.  That worked for a bit and then a sensor quit working.  So I replaced it.  At about the three year mark (perhaps sooner) I bought another CED full unit.  However, the sensors need constant replacement.  Currently the sensors cost thirty-six and change dollars, plus shipping.  So I consider it less than reliable.  Which is too bad, as I like the machine and the readout and such.  When it works, it is a delight.  When it quits working, it is a target forbidden on my range as it leaves shards.

The Labradar.  What a dream!  No timers, it ‘hears’ the shot and tracks the projectile by doppler radar (like a speed trap).  It has a good package look, it has an excellent display and reader board.  It is easy to set up, no wires to string, no light shades to mount.  The operation is a bit involved, but not impossible by any means.

The first three or four times I used mine, it worked quite well.  Then the device started getting confused by stuff downrange (that are part of the range and nothing I can move).  Then it decided it would not track the downrange projectile.  Now it’s deaf; it won’t hear the go signal.  I’ve changed batteries as needed, and now have the rechargeable battery sold by Labradar for the device.  To be fair to Labradar, they have responded to an email in the past.  Didn’t help any, but what they told me – how to make it work – made sense.  I’m getting ready to send them another message; we’ll see how they answer before beginning the lynching.

Now the Caldwell.  It has a simple display, quite similar to the Shooting Chrony.  But I rather imagine ‘multi-section’ readouts are pretty much the same.  I’ll try it out in the next couple days and see how it works.

20200916:  It is the next day.  The Caldwell chronograph gives a read out of each velocity.  I think.  The velocities seem quite low.  The last readings from the Chrony for the particular load and rifle combination were in the middle 2200 fps level.  That was day before yesterday.  Today they were around 1900.  Same range, same (more or less) weather.  Same shooting bench.  The (rechargeable)  battery went down shortly thereafter, so the low battery might be the problem.  I am home again recharging the rechargeable battery.  I like that feature, presuming it works as advertised.  Tomorrow.

Passage of time:  It is now the 27th July of 2021.  I attempted to use the Caldwell unit about two weeks ago – on the inside range – and it didn’t work.  Gave me an error message the sensors are not seeing the projectile.  Usually # 2 but at least once #1.  I did have the lights on.  

To be fair, I intended on checking velocities from a .22 long rifle rifle.  The rifle is mentioned in another blog article.  (Zastava)

I’m planning on cleaning the sensor ‘fronts’ with the same stuff as I use for my spectacles.  Then try it again outside with natural light.  And a larger caliber – probably .38 Special.  

I’m going to publish this. I’ll add more to subject when I get more results. And satisfaction.

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Filed under Reloading Tools and Doo-Dads

Virus Panic is Over, Evidenced by Spending

I went crazy and bought three new guns and traded for a fourth.

Many of the restrictions of the COVID panic are gone as the number of ‘cases’ keep dropping. That means the entities known as “Gun Shows” are operational again. So I have been to three shows – similar to ‘flea markets’ – two gun shows and one ‘militaria’ show. Gun shows are primarily firearms (new and collector) and immediately related items like ammunition, accessories (holsters, replacement grips, telescopic sights and such) and some military related items like books, pictures of soldiers and military activities since the Civil War and Matt Brady and surplus items. (The old style green woolen ‘Army blanket’ was warm, most storable and cheap; they’re all gone. Modern blankets are pretty good, but not as good in my opinion.) “Militaria” shows concentrate on military paraphernalia like training books, uniforms (of as many eras as can be found) rank insignia, decorations, and some military small arms of various eras. They are somewhat connected.

I attended the Grand Island spring gun show on the first weekend of February. I was looking for my typical World War One military rifles, sporting rifles of the era, .32 ACP handguns and one or two modern rifles that may or may not be there. (They weren’t.) I was looking.

I did find a vendor to sharpen my sort of boy scout knife. It isn’t a real Boy Scout knife, but it is of much the same design. Has blade for cutting or whittling; can, bottle openers and leather awl. Made of stainless steel and handy to have in one’s everyday wear pocket. One vendor had fifteen loose rounds of British governmental made and issued ammunition for the British .303 rifles. I bought them for my display; they were older and had cupronickel jackets – which are outdated.

Looked at all the tables of interest, said hello and chatted a bit with a number of old friends, both vendors and other lookers. Literally on the way out, I saw a rifle laying on a table and thought, “There’s a nice looking M1917 rifle.” Then I looked at the tag. It was not an M1917, it was a P14 British rifle. I didn’t have a P14 yet. I haven’t ever to my knowledge seen a real P14 in the wood and steel. (If you do not know the history of the P14 and the M1917 U. S. Rifle, look it up. Great story. They are brothers.) So I took it home. It’s been cold and gloomy, I haven’t shot it yet.

Weekend of the 12th and 13th March was the Militaria show. They had a lot of stuff, but what caught my eye was a 1893 Mauser known as the “Spanish Mauser” carbine. It was in good, original shape. No the nation of Spain was not involved in WW1. They were neutral. But the rifles of the era count in my collection; it is of WW1 era manufacture and type. I have it at home now. I haven’t shot it yet.

Last weekend (19th and 20th March) was the Hastings Gun Show promoted by the club of which I am a member. I had a good weekend. I found a used but well preserved ‘Zastava’ rifle in .22 long rifle. It is a bolt and has one – count ’em – one five round detachable magazine (I do not plan on taking the Rock of the Marne with it). I have just this morning (Tuesday after) shot it – local range has indoor .22 range – with the equipped iron sights. My old eyes demand I get a scope for it. That will probably be easier on both of us.

Also at the Hastings Show, I found and obtained a(nother) Colt 1903 Pocket Pistol in .32 ACP. Very clean, excellent barrel. I shot it this morning the same time and place I shot the Zastava rifle. The sights are horrible, a razor blade front sight to be lined up with a tiny half-moon notch in the rear sight fixture. At seven yards, six shots printed about 5/8 inch wide and about 1 5/8 high. With those sights it was easier to maintain windage than elevation.

So, as to the panic being over. There were people out and about. The gun shows were pretty well attended partially due to being cooped up for so long and not much else to do. Not to mention all that money they have been forced to save because there wasn’t anywhere to spend much. Mostly, I think they wanted to return to anything resembling normalcy.

I started writing this in late March or early April. Many of my expectations have come to fruition. And of course, it is much easier to prophesy after the fact. (I attempt to be honest.) Goods are returning to store shelves. Slower than one would want, to be sure, but returning.

Prices are up. Commonly blamed on ‘hoarding’ and with some justification, much of it comes from the severe lack of transportation to get goods to market. The firearms industry, clothiers and auto parts stores are all having problems getting deliveries to their retail outlets from suppliers.

Not to mention the nation installed a democrat as President. Massive government spending – especially handouts, no matter to whom or why – creates inflation.

But all is not bleak. As Steven King said in one of his stories, “The effective half-life of evil is always relatively short” (from The Stand). And as God says, “I am that I am!” Meaning, He has all the cards.

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Filed under Nation, philosophy