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Monday, November 28, 2011


As usual Colt nowadays is letting me down. I really wanted to whip out a new Mustang .380 for this weeks Blogshoot so we could compare the new with the old. No such luck after checking 3 wholesalers and the largest honking gun store here.

Guess I will make do with what I have!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

100 Years of Evolution UPDATE!

Here is a better pic of the Smith and Wesson Double Action .38 Fourth Model along with its younger sibling (click to you know):

In the interim, the S&W VTAC 9mm bullet hose underwent some mods as well. Note the stippling on the front and back straps as well as the magazine release.

This was accomplished with a soldering iron! I did not do this. My friend did and all I can say is wow. It does make a difference in the way this pistol handles. Not too much to feel you are getting beat up, but allows a great grip! The workmanship is awesome and had to be time consuming as well. 

To further my appreciation, he made this Kydex holster for it as well: 

In and of itself it is awesome. The fact that he made the angles of the belt loops to match my El Paso Saddlery and Leather gun belt precisely is icing on the cake!

If you want one, drop me a line. I am sure he would be willing to make you one.

So the Blog shoot is coming. Well, these things will not make themselves! 

Friday, November 25, 2011


Thursday, November 24, 2011

No one got hurt!

In my previous post it seems some were concerned about my personal safety. I am pleased to report no fatalities. Much Turkey was consumed. So my big time waster tonight has been the fact that I can search youtube on the satellite TV. I came across two versions of the same song.

Here is the first. 

Here is the second.

I like the song for many reasons. If it matters I like the first version better. If you went to an ELO concert and remember it you were doing it wrong! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If you are going to hang out with toy trains...

Go large. Tam and Brigid sported around town and had a great shot of Chewie hanging out on a train.

Time to get the curmudgeon out. If Chewie is going to hang out on a toy train, I think he would prefer this power source.


Pre lawed up. Lionel ZW transformer for O gauge. Circa 1950's. I think you can electroweld with this thing, I have not tried it. 275 watts, runs two trains and has two variable voltage supplies for accessories. Rebuilding is not difficult, but there are much more reliable modern substitutes for the disc rectifier that runs the whistle. 

Well OK, maybe I will back off a bit, going green and all of that. Maybe this:

Lionel KW transformer, 190 Watts. No variable voltage for accessories, but two fixed voltage ones. 

Of course I will run this train:


The train I had WAY back then. I have not even thought about it but as I will put a track down around the Christmas tree I have a new in the box Southern set from Monroe Hardware before they went out of business. When MPC was running Lionel.

I have not considered running it, but perhaps now is the time.

If I do however, I need a Chewie to ride in it! Anyone know where to get one?



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

USS Laffey UPDATE! She is coming home!

The bad news is.....due to USCG Regs, we will not be allowed to ride her home. But ... WHO CARES....THE SHIP WILL BE BACK AND OPENED TO THE PUBLIC.
She is going to be put where the Clamagore is now. They are pulling the sub out and putting her where the INGHAM was and the LAFFEY will now be front and center for all to see.
This operation will take a few days to complete. They have to remove a section of the pier, pull the shub out and pull the Laffey back into that berth. This means cutting all power, water, internet connections and sewer connections to the Yorktown. This will shut down Patriots Point during that period. People will be allowed to watch from the shore.
Further details to follow.
Sonny Walker

Monday, November 21, 2011

100 Years of Evolution

Remember this little revolver? A person I am honored to call a friend picked it up yesterday. He gave it to his 86 year old Father to have a look. Here is the picture I got back via text messaging. 

She is back in battery and the timing is fine. The M&P is not mine, it's my friends. So thankful to have friends such as this.

Better pictures later this week. And yes, we are going to shoot it after modifying some rounds for reduced powder loads.

Oh yeah, he does have a habit of "Pimping 9's". Two tone backstrap, stippling them and the front strap too. I just got mine back. It does make a difference! 

A talented young man! Awaiting call up for OCS with the USN after completing a EE degree. 

100 years of Evolution indeed. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

North Carolina CCH Reciprocity Clarification!

That got a lot of comments! Here is the deal. It used to be that "if you show me yours, I will show mine". Meaning that if you accepted a NC CCH, we would accept yours. If you did not we did not. That is gone now. 

"North Carolina will honor any valid Concealed Carry Handgun Permit from another state, regardless whether the state recognizes the North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit". 

I did not mean to cause any confusion! States we had Reciprocity with will remain in effect!

It is a minor change on one level and yet not on another!

To Defend....

This is the pact.  Once again the third Weekend of the month is here. A task I take to willingly. I will teach new shooters tomorrow and the CCH class Sunday.  I truly enjoy "paying it forward". I am honored to perform these tasks. 

If anyone here has a current CCH permit from the State of North Carolina, important changes will be in effect starting December 1st. If you need to know what they are, shoot me an email. I will send you the NCDOJ instructor summary of these changes in PDF form.  They are good changes IMHO!

Makes this weekend class a transitional one, but that is OK!

Oh, BTW, if you have a valid Concealed Carry Handgun Permit or license from another state, we will honor it, period after December 1!  (G.S. 14-415.24) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tam Nails it!

Remember this little Smith revolver? Tam got it right. I have 3rd party verification:

So its a wall hanger. Does anyone know of anywhere to get a nice walnut or oak mount for it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Colt .380 Mustang is Back

So it appears that Colt is trying to get back into the consumer market. I fear that they must to survive as soon as the .gov contracts expire. So here is the NEW (not really) Pocketlite .380 review. I don't have one. I do have this one though, acquired used several years ago.


The disassemble lever scratches are not mine. I can forgive hitting the frame somewhat but not the slide! The first thing to do was to replace the plastic recoil spring guide rod with a stainless one. I am old school in that steel vs. plastic, steel will win. I know the arguments about weight, but come on! We are talking about a pocket .380! Replaced all the springs and took it to the range. Went to slide stop on every round. 

If you get an older one pay close attention to the slide stop spring! Positioned it correctly and she now works fine. 

So I recently visited the Colt Website. Ordered some magazines for the Mustangs. Here is a long overdue if somewhat overdone enhancement; a magazine with a grip extender:

It serves the purpose, but adds greatly to the profile of the pistol. I look forward to shooting it with this magazine. 

So, I am somewhat torn here. With a MSRP of 670 and very little wiggle room I am disappointed. This is a crowded market with the Kel-Tek P3-AT, the Ruger LCP, and even the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard and others. The S&W has all the controls that anyone handling a 1911 would recognize, the others are cheaper to boot. I will assume a dearth of aftermarket accessories as well for this pistol.

I love my Mustangs, they all shoot well and if I had to chose which I would carry I trust the Colt's hands down over a Kel-Tek. I hope Colt figures the consumer market out soon. So far in my opinion, they have not. 

I like my Colts, but simply having a Pony stamped on the side now will not garner a premium price for a pistol such as this. Colt needs to figure that out. For that MSRP, I am well on my way to a used Python! 

Colt, If you want to get me to throw money down for a new pistol, make it a Python or a Woodsman. Hell, Ruger is eating the market on target .22's. Python's are revered for the action. Not Walther made and Colt stamped either. Or have you forgotten how to make really nice, marketable Firearms under the Blue Dome? Or is that little UAW seal on the boxes I have from long ago pricing you out of the market the same way it drove you to Bankruptcy?

Will history repeat itself? I hope not, but I have little faith right now. Sad really.    

Monday, November 14, 2011

Retro Monday- Rail Passenger Travel

I have been remiss in my "Retro Sunday" posts. So here is the Southern Railway. I am fortunate in that I live in the heart of the land that SR traveled through and it is not a "dead flag" carrier, its name lives on in the Norfolk Southern line now. As I am writing this post, the sound of a CSX train diesel horn moans in the distance. That sound calls me. I have heard by luck or happenstance a train nearby since I left my parents home.

I am a member of the SRHA and here are some scans from the magazine. I really appreciate the effort these people put into "keeping the green light shining". I hope you do too.

(1941 ad)

Passenger travel by rail in a bygone era has always fascinated me much like airline travel long ago.

The Southern Crecsent Limited still runs now under the governance of AMTRAK. I fear that although this is still the route:

I don't think this is pulling it anymore:



The print is one of my most prized possessions obtained in an antique store here some time ago.

So would you rather have 8 peanuts thrown at you for 2 bucks while in a barely pressurized tube or be presented with this:

in the diner car by someone like this:

 I have to choose the latter! 

And back in the day you could actually send a child off alone to travel. Unlike now. Don't get me started on that! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rimfire Therapy

So the Smith and Wesson M&P *cough* *cough* Plastic 9mm bullet hose is off site for some secret stuff right now. 

Next weekend is Basic Pistol and Concealed Carry classes. That usually means I don't get to shoot on that weekend unless goaded into it during lunch by students. So for today I decided to revisit both old and new .22LR stuff (you know about the click thing, right?).

Pony's all. Two Woodsman's, one a Match Target I ran around with in my youth, the M-4 is the newest, the one with the black grips is the oldest. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Blog Out There!

For a bit more on today's events, go visit Anna's Clue Tank. I find her Blog interesting and eclectic enough to keep me interested. From Her post for what happened on November 11th through time:

It's good stuff! 


To all the Veterans out there I want to express my humblest  thanks for what you did and still do!

Especially to my family members that served:

I don't know if it is more appropriate to thank whoever brought these items back now or Memorial Day, but thanks.

If you are still active duty I hope you don't see a lot of these on a regular basis:

Again my thanks to all that took the oath and wore the uniform!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

EAS Test

Meh, I have heard this before. I'm not impressed FEMA!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Cripple Creek Line

My friend at Random Acts of Patriotism posted about the New River Trail. I felt I had to add more information about that little section of long abandoned and removed railroad. It is in Southwestern Virgina, home to both of my parents. This line came to Fries VA where it was the end of the line. A cotton mill town was there. It also went to my Fathers home town.

The town was built on the New River. The town is named after Col.  Francis Henry Fries. I  happen to have his autograph (click anything to well, you know):


This little piece of paper ties my home town with my parents. 

The cotton mill was powered by a dam, and the same power plant provided the town with power.

The view from my Grandparents home is breathtaking now  just as much as then except that the mill is long gone, then it was just a given and as constant as the Northern Star:

Sorry for the quality of the photo. It was taken long ago on a Kodak 110.

So, if anyone wants to, it has been several years since I posted about the last Family reunion. I have picked up a *cough, legion, cough* of followers since then. 
Here is a link to the reunion. Part one, Part two, Part three

Part of my attraction is nostalgia, and increasingly now is the fact I long for some space. To live simpler. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sellier & Bellot .45 Auto Review Part Two

On a beautiful Fall day, I watch the air show from my front porch while drinking coffee and then proceed to the range for live fire testing of the S&B .45 ACP ammo.

If you remember from part one, I disassembled a round to check measurements. Today we go at it! 

First the Colt Commander. Here are the Chronograph results:

Good enough and well within specs! A low of 775FPS to a high of 814.

So now we move to the Smith and Wesson Model 625-8:

Here are the results:

Good enough!

So now we go to a Springfield Armory TRP 1911:

Again, acceptable performance IMHO.

Now to the HK-45:


Again, good enough! 

Then we have the "fire everything" string to clean out the box of ammo:

Again, not bad! 

So now a peek inside the high tech testing facility:

Accuracy? It seems the bullets will end up where you shoot. One string at 15 yds:

My thoughts? You can do far worse in ammo than this. I find it perfectly acceptable and we had NO failure to feed or fire across all platforms. The brass reloads well to boot. 

I have no dog in this race, I make my own ammo. You can do MUCH worse than this stuff on the commercial side in my humble opinion!

Go check out Website is easy to navigate and they did ship fast! 

My thanks to my friends at the home range! 

FTC stuff: I was compensated for this review with the box of ammo. My opinions are mine. Your mileage may vary. Offer not good in Alaska or Hawaii. See store for details. 


Saturday, November 5, 2011

AAR Report- The Winchester Model 94

So I travel north to the home of my dear friends. I am so eager to show my friend the recent acquisition. Being the curmudgeon at large he really is, he says to stay right there as he moves off to somewhere else in his home (muttering something about kids these days thinking they have discovered something).

His Wife continues to feed me coffee (so if you get posts from me tonight around 0 dark thirty, its not my fault). 

We load up to go to the range. He has a rifle case with him this time. So first up we shoot the Model 94, offhand and at 25 yds. Four rounds for him first and 4 rounds for me. The rifle worked well and did not make us look bad. What was in the rifle case he had? Well this (click to well you know):

Same thing only different! To preemptively quash comments about the obvious I will say that his is bigger than mine right now. By about 6 inches. That is his box of ammo for it, more on that shortly.

So after that we shoot 100 rounds of .45ACP, 100 rounds of 9mm, we go get a cheeseburger. It was a little dive, seats about 15, and was the best I have had in a while!

So about the ammo? And why is his rifle here now? First take a look:

Yes that box says $4.15 American for 20 rounds of 30-30 We are NOT shooting it! I am sure it would work fine knowing how scrupulously my friend stores ammo, but still. I paid 23 bucks yesterday for nondescript Remington stuff for us to shoot. 

So why is his rifle here? "Well you need to make mine look like yours and the thing has not been shot in 30 years or so".

A task I will undertake for my old friend. Even if you do get the occasional "GET OF MY YARD" from him.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sellier & Bellot .45 Auto Review Part One

So Steven at shoots me an e-mail asking if I would review something. I ignored it. Hey I'm a busy guy and what's in it for me? Besides there can't be that many people wandering by here to check on my pedestrian ramblings right?

He sends another email a couple of weeks later. I say sure this time around and several days later a box of 50 S&B .45 auto shows up at stately manor.

First I have to say I have a history with this Czech Republic ammo. It is sold at the home range. I reload brass recovered from same. I have shot it many times. This is the hardest I have worked for a box of ammo!  The selection they have for this caliber is here

I will of course use this for testing:

I will run it through a Colt Combat Commander with a 4.25" barrel. While I am at it I will run it through a Para Ordinance 1911 too.

I am interested in seeing how the physical dimensions measure up on this ammo and never had a chance to do so. So, I take a round apart. 

First, OAL. Well within specs!

Then, since I don't know what powder is used I was curious to see what the load weight was. This powder looked totally different than powder I use for reloading. Weight was almost identical though. 4.1 grains or so. 


230 Grain bullet? Let's find out!

Dead on it!

Brass Length? Well within specs:

Bullet diameter? Much the same:

Brass? Looks great!

So I hope to run some through the chronograph Sunday. I have to make a day trip tomorrow to shoot this:

My home range can't handle rifles unless in handgun calibers. I perhaps played a part in that. On the plus side I get to see old friends. 

FTC Stuff: Yes I did get a free box of ammo in exchange for this review. I spent more time so far on this than the box of ammo is worth and if the ammo sucks, the next review will accurately report it!