Gary's Gun Notes #91
It has been a down day somewhat here in Arizona. A Federal judge knocked some of our immigration bill to pieces yesterday. The bill was set to go into law today. Now we have to go thru a trial and hope for the best there. On the up side, our new concealed carry bill is now in effect. This allows us to carry pretty much anywhere, anyhow, anyway. And with no permit required. We already had the right to carry concealed with a permit and to carry open carry but with the new bill, we can now carry concealed without a permit. Our Governor has more guts than all the other politicians combined. She has signed into law several pro gun laws and of course the immigration law that the judge knocked down yesterday. I really think this will come back and bite the liberals in the butt. With over 80% of the public for this type bill and several states having their version on the dockets for voting on, the liberals have again stepped on their own toes on this. With the elections coming up in less than 100 days, Americans have a good memory and are really ticked off at the liberal politicians right now.
It has been a crazy summer here in the high country. It started out with cold fronts hitting us with freezing temperatures the first week of June, then massive forest fires and when they were finally over, our Monsoon season arrived with flooding. We have had a strange summer and with schools opening back up in less than 2 weeks, summer is pretty much over. The weather people are predicting another heavy snow winter this year, which is fine for most of us as that helps fill up the tanks, ponds, lakes and such and helps keep the forests alive. Also as the days wear down into August that means not long until hunting seasons get here again. It should be a good season in most of the state, except the areas burned off by the forest fires. But those areas will be in tall grass next summer so it will all work out.
Let's see. What is worth telling you about. The firearms market is tight right now with the saturation point being reached this past spring. If you are looking for an AR-15 type rifle, take your pick. Companies like S&W and Ruger have their new models out and priced a bit over half of what they were in January. Other companies like Bushmaster, DPMS, Remington, Rock River, Armalite and all the other smaller companies have lowered their prices drastically trying to salvage some sales of the black rifles.
Glock is changing a few things, not sure the reason but the changes are fairly small and shouldn't effect the average Joe. They are dropping the OD colored guns as soon as the last of the current parts are gone. The RTF guns with the Rough Texture gripframes will only be available to law enforcement once the current inventory is gone. And finally from Glock, commercial pistols will only be available with fixed sights except for the model 34 and 35 (the long slides) which will be shipped with adjustable sights.
In 2008 Ruger took Handgun of the Year with their little 380 LCP. Then in 2009 they also took Handgun of the Year with the SR9 in 9mm. Now they have taken the 2010 Handgun of the Year for their new SR9-C, the compact version of the 9mm SR9. We can always depend upon Ruger to stay ahead of the game.
I saw a new Winchester "assault rifle" today. That had to be one of the ugliest rifles I have ever seen. A truly bastardized rifle. It is the SX-AR 308. The action looks just like a Browning BAR semi auto (Browning and Winchester are pretty much the same company) and has a pistol gripped stock added and a long skinny forend with a piccatinny rail attached under the forend. It was in a baby puke yellow mixed with a pond scum green camo. Comes with a 10 round magazine and has a hammer forged 20" heavy contoured barrel. It was not cheap with dealer price over $1000, but with the popularity of the BAR it will surely sell. The 10 round mag will have to be replaced with a 5 rounder if they plan to tout it as a hunting rifle.
Apparently Nosler is still releasing products after their big fire and explosion back the first week of June, but not anywhere near the amount of bullets as would be normal. If you use any of the fine Nosler products, by all means grab what you can get for this fall. As we get closer to hunting season the available bullets are going to dry up.
As the supply begins to catch up with the back orders, ammunition is very slowly easing back down in price. I don't expect it to go down to where it was 2 years ago before the buying frenzy, but it may drop a bit, maybe 5% or so. The ammo that the manufacturers are heavily stocked up on, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 223, and 308 will come down if they haven't already due to so much of it being on the manufacturer's shelves. The market in ammo such as these calibers has reached the saturation point, just as it has on the black rifles. The public simply has bought up what they have surplus money for. Much of the ammunition is still way up there. One of our distributors called with a "sale" on 5.7X28 ammo, at a mere $22 per 50, or almost $900 for a 2000 round case. To me that is still high, almost .50¢ per round. Using only 4 or 5 grains of powder and a miniscule bullet, there is no way to justify that.
We got a Colt 45 auto in today from a customer and it is the finest Colt 1911 I have seen in many years. The gun is their re-make of the original 1911 in 45. It has all the military markings on the slide, with "Property U.S. Government" on the frame. It is an exact copy (except for the serial numbering method) of the original 1911. It was as close to perfect that I have seen in a long time from Colt. And naturally the customer wants Kase to chop it up and make a full custom gun out of it. Another one we received today from a customer was a very early Ruger Blackhawk flattop in 44 magnum. Very low serial number and one of the rare original Blackhawks, before they switched to the Super Blackhawk designation. The gun is in probably 85% condition and guess what? Yep, we chop it up to make a custom revolver out of it.
If all goes well and good Lord willing, the Reeder stable will have 4 or 5 new series over the next 6 to 8 weeks. We have 4 new calibers coming out and at least that many new series. We are taking some of our old series and totally revamping them and bringing them back, along with some new ones. In the last month or so we have brought back our old ULTIMATE VAQUERO 2 which is now a 5 shot revolver built on your older model Vaquero. We have rereleased the new ULTIMATE BACK UP 2, again built on your older model Vaquero and featuring a heavy duty 5 shot cylinder and heavy barrel among other features. And I hope to introduce several more in the weeks to come.
Those of us that hunt sometimes don't realize how good we have it. Looking back at some older gun magazines, the choices back then were slim indeed. One article told of how they wondered if Americans would like those 9mm pistols as seen overseas. At the time of this article, there were no American made 9mm pistols at all, and very few centerfire semi autos. Rifles, for the most part were military surplus, 30-06s mostly and were sold cheap in any gun shop as military surplus. And back then you could order everything thru the mail, even handguns.
Your choice in long guns rested mainly with Remington, Marlin, Winchester and Savage. Hunting rifles were mainly Winchester model 70, Remington model 721 and 722. Marlin has their 30-30 and 45-70 out along with the model 39-A in 22 LR. Winchester had the various lever guns, mostly the model 94 in it's various chamberings.
Back then if you wanted a handgun and wanted a semi auto, you either bought a 22 from Hi Standard or the Colt 1911 in 45. The various smaller calibers were 32s and 25s mainly from Europe and cheaply made. Ammunition was Remington, Winchester, Peters and a couple of foreign brands. There was a gun shop on every corner and they made their money reworking military surplus guns to sporters.
Selling guns wasn't as strong as it was to become years later as anyone over 18 could call up one of several companies and mail order anything. The gun magazines had no color pictures in them at all. The cover would be color, but nothing else. The hunting stories were few and far between. Mostly stories of who won the shooting matches. Pages and pages and pages of scores and standings. If you were a shooter and were lucky your wife would get you a shooting jacket for Christmas. One of those leather & canvas jackets that weighed 30 pounds.
Most of the shooting ranges had prone shooting sections. It was not at all unusual to see 200 shooters shooting from prone, all the way down the line, and in many cases, it would be a whole family, wife, kids and dear old Dad, all lying prone shooting their rifles with the long Unertl scopes on them.
The American Rifleman was one of the very few "gun" magazines available, and the stories were pretty bland, unless you were into target shooting.
If you were a hunter, your choice of gear was extremely limited. Scopes were just coming into vogue on rifles and the choice was slim at best. Weaver, Leupold, Unertl and one or two others were all the choices we had.
Many of the scopes did not have adjustments on the scopes themselves. Some were a straight tube, the same size in front as in the rear.
In some of them to adjust the scope you adjusted the mounts. Many hunters did not trust those newfangled telescopes so if they had one on their rifle, it was on a flip over mount, one that you could reach up and flip it over to one side so you could use the iron sights.
Redfield hadn't yet started making scopes. Their big thing was their peep sights and everybody knew how to use them.
And of course no cell phones back then. If you needed to use a phone, as long as you were within 17 miles you were ok.
In fact many wore their military OD fatigues, and even the military didn't wear camo. That wasn't to come along for another 15 years. The tiger stripe was our first real military camo. But nothing back then. In many of the pictures of hunters with their game it was not unusual to see them wearing brown wing tip shoes, white socks, and quite often a white shirt. And as often as not they wore a tie while hunting. I mentioned this before, seeing Dad sitting at the reloading bench with a coat and tie on, sitting at the dinner table (supper table for you boys from the South) wearing a coat & tie. There are pictures of shooters at the local range wearing coats and ties lying prone shooting their rifles, and always, ALWAYS, with their hat on. Not a baseball cap, but a dress fedora. And no, I have no idea what a fedora is but there were countless ads in these magazines selling these top quality fedoras. Looks like something Indiana Jones would and did wear.
The prices on the guns were cheap to us today but probably normal for that time. Smith & Wesson's K-22 masterpiece had just been released and were being sold mail order, first come, first served for $65.
Hi Standard's new pistols had just been released, in 22 LR of course, and were $45 or so. A lot of Harrington & Richardson revolvers were around then and somewhere around $40.
The finest scale on the market (so they said although it looked pretty crude to me) was the Redding scale.
Dies were $3 per set. No carbide back then but then there wasn't that many pistol calibers back then. No 44 magnum. Only 38 special, 357 magnum (which was still new to shooters), 44 special, 45 long colt and 45 ACP. Almost every shooter reloaded and most shot lead bullets in rifles and handguns. There were pages and pages of articles on loading lead bullets in 270, 30-06 and more. No magnum rifle cartridges to speak of back then, at least they weren't mentioned. The men who hunted large game did so with the 30-06, 35 Whelen or 45-70. Medium game was hunted with the 250 Savage, 300 Savage, 303 British, 270, 30-30, 25-35, 30-40 Krag, and a few wildcats.
The small game cartridges of choice were 22 Hornet, 218 bee, and a couple of others.
So next time you start to whine about there being only a small choice in powders, bullets, or the guns themselves, remember this article. We really have it great these days (By the way that magazine was from 1948).
Til next time, get ready, hunting season is just around the corner.