With the hottest part of the year here many of us are not doing as much shooting as we normally would, that is unless you are lucky enough to have an indoor range nearby. With the forest fire danger at itís highest in the area most of the National Forest is shut down to anyone, shooting or camping. Out here I think it is about 85% of our state is either National Forest or BLM land and when they shut that down it is hard to find a place to shoot. Not having a viable range here we are very limited on places to shoot. But our monsoon season starts in a week and during that time it rains hard every afternoon for an hour or two which helps diminish the fire hazards a bit and hopefully will open up the National Forests again.
I get pretty much all the standard gun magazines every month and with my work schedule it is not unusual for me to take 6 to 8 months to read one. I keep them all and donít remember the last one I threw away. Reading one of the back issues of Handloader I ran across an article that amazed me in the writerís ignorance. He stated that there was absolutely no gain in ďimprovedĒ cartridges. His theory was that you only gain 1/4 of a per cent in FPS for every 1 grain of powder the improving adds to the case. In other words if your improving adds 10 grains of powder you only gain 2.5% in velocity. Looking back over the various ďimprovedĒ cartridges we have in our line up, I donít find that true in any instance. He also states that there is no reason for any new wildcats as there is no niche that they fill, and then he goes on to boast about his new cartridge that he has just developed that is a blown out (Improved) 308 with a 40į shoulder. I often wish the gun writers these days had the knowledge and honesty of John Taffin. Maybe that is why John is such a treasure to all of us.
In another older Handloader (I get my bowl of cereal and sit out on our deck in the sun and eat breakfast every morning, weather permitting. That is where I have a few minutes to catch up on my magazine reading), I found another article by a Gil somebody  And in that article he had discovered something brand new and he was the only human being to ever do this. He took loaded handgun ammo, put the round in a Forster Power case Trimmer and drilled a small hole in the nose. Does that sound at all familiar? He mentioned that by hollow pointing the nose of the bullet he tripled the efficiency of the bullet as far as killing power is concerned. Someone needs to send him a copy of Al Goergís articles from back in 1960 where he hollow pointed bullets to increase their expansion in animals. Goerg also screwed a sheet metal screw down into the hollow points of some bullets to keep them from expanding and to help them to drive deeper into the animal, again increasing the killing power. I guess there is nothing that is really new these days. A month or so ago I picked up a couple of old gun magazines from an internet site that specializes in old gun magazines (www.pastpaper.com). It was a magazine from the 1940s, Ď47 if I remember right. In there was a write up of a brand new cartridge that someone had come up with that was touted as the best thing since pickled monkey nuts. It was the 405 case necked down to .358. Hey, I thought, that sounds familiar. In fact that is exactly the same as our 350 GNR. Apparently the older fellow that developed this cartridge (not the older fellow that developed the 350 GNR) didnít pursue the development of the cartridge. Anytime I come up with a new idea, before I spend the big bucks to go ahead with it, I have Dave Manson, my friend and reamer maker, go thru his books and see if anyone has already developed this cartridge and if they have then I drop the idea. But this older fellow obviously never went any farther than to come up with a cartridge maybe for his own use, and never registered it. So like I said above, there really is nothing new these days.
I get a lot of questions these days about the possibility of using the New Vaquero for some of our older cowboy guns where we used the older Vaquero with the larger frame. There normally is no problem as long as it is just the cowboy guns they are interested in. A couple of years ago we brought back our Ultimate Vaquero in a 5 shot version on the older vaquero called the Ultimate Vaquero 2. It is for those that want a bit more power than the older Vaquero could safely handle but like the old classic lines of the single action Vaquero. We also brought back the Backpacker in a new version called the Backpacker 2. This also is built on the older Vaquero, has a beefier 5 shot cylinder and new barrel along with new internals. We build both of these guns in 356 GNR, 41 Magnum, 41 GNR, 44 Magnum, and 45 Long Colt. I have seen pictures of the older vaqueros with hair line cracks in the upper right hand corner of the frame when chambered in calibers like 454, 475 Linebaugh and 500 Linebaugh so I try to stay away from those cartridges in the Vaquero. But back to the initial question, yes, we can build most of the cowboy series on the New Vaquero but no 5 shot cylinders and no cartridge hotter than the standard 45 Long Colt loading.
I asked the question recently on my forum http://www.reedercustomguns.net/forum/ asking what restaurant the readers thought was the most pro gun. The answer is Dennyís. They may not be the flashiest restaurants with topless waitresses and silk table cloths but they do serve some decent food and welcome the person carrying a gun legally. I donít flaunt my gun when in there but have it covered by a shirt or vest, but I also donít worry about being asked to leave if someone notices the gun. On our trips to the HHCs I always try to stop at one somewhere along the way and eat there once a week or so here at home. It is always good to patronize those that are on ďour sideĒ.
A moment ago I mentioned buying some old gun magazines. There is one that I would like to find but am not really sure what magazine it is. It came out in the early 80s if I remember and had a white cover with an XP-100 on the cover. There were lots of XP-100s in there and the whole magazine seemed to be on that gun. It would have been either Guns & Ammo or Shooting Times I think, although GUNS is a possibility. If any of you have this magazine, I would love to buy it from you, or if you donít want to sell it, let me know the magazine and date of issue and I will order it from pastpaper.com.  We recently received in a couple of XP-100s on trade toward custom work and I want to get back into them a bit. I have my Raptor series of cartridges that would be perfect in the XP-100. Anyone having an older XP-100 that isnít in use and may not be in the near future, feel free to contact me and we can work out a trade toward custom work for you.
One of the new Misfits contacted me over the last week about the incident where a gun went off in Kaseís hands and took the tips off two fingers. He read it on an older Gun Notes and asked how was it possible when we mentioned that we had used oil to kill the primer as much as possible. I guess it is not common knowledge (I didnít know it until this incident) that powder has a point where a hard hit on it will set it off. There is a formula but I donít keep that in my head at all, but every powder will detonate when it receives a hard enough impact on it. The rifle in question was a Weatherby Vanguard and had the wrong caliber cartridge stuck in the chamber and the customer that brought it in had hammered on it and beat the bullet back into the case. he had poured oil down the barrel to kill the primer but that doesnít always kill the powder. There was an iron cleaning rod stuck down the barrel from the front, obviously stuck in the case along with the bullet and powder. we removed the bolt, and Kase took the gun upside down, with his fingers in the action where the bolt would normally go. he turned it upside down and slammed the handle of the cleaning rod down on the concrete floor, figuring it would force the stuck round out the rear of the gun. In fact that is what we all thought. That was when we found out that there is an impact point where powder will detonate. When the rod handle hit the concrete floor as hard as Kase could slam it, the rod hit the powder hard enough to detonate it. The powder fired blowing the rear of the case backwards out the action, taking the tips of Kaseís fingers off with it. The rod didnít move as it was slammed against the floor. We found the head of the case later and the primer was still intact. It had not fired. The powder had detonated and blown out the back. It was the back of the case that cut Kaseís fingers. So remember all powder has a detonation point and hit it hard enough and it will detonate, primer or no primer. A week or so late I researched this to find out what happened and found a report from the powder makers that mentioned a detonation point and how they had to ship powder to keep away from this happening.
I had a person come into the shop recently looking for the 357 caliber silhouette bullets from Sierra, actually called FPJ Tournament Master bullet. The term silhouette was a lot easier to remember. Anyway Sierra still makes these bullets in 357 caliber and in 44 caliber. He had a 356 GNR and wanted to load the 180 grain bullet for deer. He had read our forum where I had constantly touted this bullet as the best made. But I had to go back and eat some of my words here. The silhouette bullets are great for large animals, elk, moose, Nilgai etc. but not for deer. Even on my most recent Nilgai I was using that bullet, the 180 grain silhouette bullet and I hit the animal twice, both bullets went all the way thru. The first shot was with him facing me at a slight angle. I didnít have the perfect shot I like, that being the 4Ē back from the ear shot so I tried the base of the neck shot. It was a decent hit but not immediately debilitating. He was hurt but still able to motivate. As he ran back by me broadside I hit him again just behind the shoulder, again the bullet passed thru. The Nilgai was still moving although very slowly, with the movements of a drunk. With a high speed JHP my gut feeling is he would have been down at the first shot. Years ago at the Y.O Ranch at the meat for the hungry charity handgun hunt I shot a larger Nilgai with my Professional Hunter revolver in 41 GNR#2, using that same silhouette bullet. I hit him just behind the shoulder as he was at a fast walk and the behind the ear shot was out of the question. At the shot he hunched up but kept walking. I hit again and he hunched up again but this time started wobbling and went down on his nose. When I got up to him there were two holes in him about 2 inches apart just behind the shoulder and both bullets had exited. At the time I didnít give it a thought, just figuring the Nilgai was a tuff animal, which they are. I never gave the bullet itself any thought.
On our most recent hunt in March I was up on a steep hill and at the bottom of the hill were two big hogs. Nate Henning, my right hand man in the shop, took one with one shot from the new 401 GNR in his Contender. I decided I liked the other hog so I took a shot at him from about 75 to 80 yards uphill. I had my normal G-2 with my 9Ē 41 GNR barrel and was using the 210 grain silhouette bullet. At the shot the hog squealed and flopped about. Down but not out. I hit again pretty much the same spot. Again not an instant kill but before I could load again and get the scope on him, he rolled over and died. As I got up to him, I noticed 2 large holes in the red clay bank behind the hog. Both bullets had exited fully and hadnít done the damage I wanted. The hog at about 300 pounds, just wasnít the size and bulk that bullet needed. It has passed thru just like a FMJ would, which in theory it is. Nate dug one of the bullets out and it showed no expansion at all. The performance on this hog and the Nilgai was nothing like the performance on 2 Bison, a water buffalo, a 6X6 bull elk and one or two others over the past couple of years where they dropped at the shot, bam flop. No struggling, no trying to get up, no movement, no phone, no pool, no pets. Just dead right there. Bam flop.  The gist of this is, the silhouette bullets work on large animals but is not the best choice for deer size animals and up to Nilgai size animals. On them stay with a hollow point or a soft point bullet.
Letís see, what is new? For the first time in my memory a contract for the military M-4 carbines has gone out to a company other than Colt. Remington got the order for up to 120,000 carbines. Remington is owned by The Freedom group which also owns DPMS and Bushmaster and I am sure one of these companies will do the actual manufacturing at their new Ilion New York plant with the Remington logo on the guns. Taurus, who bought our Rossi a while back has now bought out another company. They now own Heritage Firearms, the company that makes the little inexpensive single action revolvers in 22 caliber.With a strong demand for AR-15 parts and 1911 parts, Colt has announced factory original parts for these guns and for their Single Action Army revolvers are now available right from them and they say shipping will be within 1 day. They say they now have full AR-15 upper assemblies and all parts needed for them also. If interested, 1-800-962-COLT. They also are releasing their new Gold Cup National Match, a fully revised and improved Gold Cup 1911.
Someone somewhere had to do it, and now Rock River has done it. They made a new half breed rifle called the LAR-47. It is half AR-15 and half AK-47. It shoots the familiar 7.62X39 and features the best of each gun. The upper receiver is an M4 receiver while the lower is an AK lower. It accepts the AK magazines. Lots of special features in this one and suggested retail is only $1200. I will let you know more as we go along. Rock River also has their new LEF-T series coming out, which is their AR-15 in a full left hand model for you lefties.
One of the newest shooting game around the country is the Zombie Games. The targets are the normal paper zombie targets and also some more realistic zombie targets, life size that bleed green crap out the eyes with head shots. The shooters are in full battle gear with combat vests that hold extra mags for several guns, combat knives, a special longer zombie sword (you donít want to get too close to these undead monsters),DPMS AR-15 with  Eotec holographic sights across the chest with single point sling,  with tactical scope, laser, extra Aimpoint red dot sight, flashlight and other features, custom 1911 45 with extra mags, Mossberg tactical shotgun with breacher package over the shoulder,special shotgun ammo pouch, extra Glock 17 Gen 4 with several extra mags in the combat vest. Several extra mags for the AR-15 and donít forget the tactical tomahawk.
Our next HHC is now 4 months away. Maybe Alan will have some Zombies there for us. If you are thinking of joining us, by all means do so. Everyone is welcome. More on that next time. And until them, take a lady or youngster shooting. They are our future.
Til next time,
God bless,