Sunday, August 2, 2009

One Heck Of A Toy...

...can be seen in the accompanying video. It is a remote control model of the Lockheed SR-71 Jet. I guess it is nice to have lots of money and lots of time so you can have your toys and enjoy them too. of course, for all I know this could be a prototype of a remote control mini spy plane; after all the SR71 was a reconnaissance aircraft.

I should point out one thing for anyone who enjoys remote control vehicles that utilize combustible fuel. While it is nice to have someone with a fire extinguisher standing by as you fuel up your toy - it probably is ridiculous to have an idiot a friend standing there smoking at the same time.

All the best,
Glenn B

Biweekly Gun Shots 12 - Charter Arms Undercover Model 13820

My very first revolver, that is the first one I owned, was a Charter Arms .38 Special snub-nosed revolver. I don't remember the model number but I am pretty sure it was called the Undercover, and that was in the early 1980s. Currently, Charter Arms offers several models of revolver in .38 Special such as the Charter Arms Undercover model 13820 Blue Standard. Back then as now (as far as I can remember) it came in blue steel, had a 2 inch barrel, and was a 5 shot revolver. It accepted standard powder charge 38 special ammo, the current one can handle +P loads. The current model comes with a traditional exposed spur hammer as did mine (they also offer double action only with shrouded hammer). I don't remember if mine had a shrouded recoil rod or if it was exposed but the current one is shrouded. The revolver weighs in at 16 ounces and the suggested retail is $365.00.

My opinion about revolvers like this is that they are fair to good home and self defense firearms. Revolvers eliminate some of the stupid factor that can take place with semi-automatic pistols or should I say that come into play because of gun owners who have not become sufficiently with how to operate and shoot their firearms. Guns are not stupid nor can they be, it is people who can be and often are stupid. So what does that translate to about a revolver possibly being easy to become accustomed to than a semi-auto? Well, first of all a revolver is less prone, under most conditions, to jamming. Jamming in a semi-auto pistol require knowledge of how to clear a pistol should it jam. Thus it requires more learning than does a pistol. many types of jams with semi-autos, at least with those of high quality, are shooter induced at that. So not only do you need to learn how to clear a jam with a semi auto should one occur, but you should also know how to shoot said pistols without the likelihood of causing a shooter induced malfunction. Now this is not to say that malfunctions leading to a revolver jamming never take place. They can and do occur but are usually less likely to occur. Of course a shooter should know how to prevent and fix them too but the thing is if a revolver jams during a firefight you can just about forget getting it cleared in time to come out the winner. Hmm, maybe that is a negative on the side of the revolver that needs reconsideration when saying a revolver may be preferable to a semi-auto, but that discussion is for another day.

Allow me to get back to the revolver, such as the Charter Arms Undercover for home and self defense. Revolvers like this are fairly easy to conceal, and fairly easy to shoot, probably are less prone to jamming than a semi-auto (whatever the cause), and certainly do not have a slide to rip open your thumb depending upon how you grip it (never grip a semi-auto pistol with the weak hand thumb on top of the strong hand thumb around the backstrap, if you do you will find out first hand about that of which I write). As opposed to most semis, snub-nosed revolvers carry less ammunition - this one is limited to 5 rounds in the cylinder. The trade off here is that 38 Special +P rounds are more powerful to some degree than are most .38 caliber (9MM and the like) semi-auto rounds. As with any 38 snub-nosed revolver though you are bound to have to put up with a decent amount of recoil, especially if using +P rounds in the current model.

Short barreled snub-nosed revolvers, this one's barrel is 2 inches, are primarily close in weapons. They are best used for shooting at distances from arms length away to about 10 yards distance but you can become proficient with them out to 25 or more yards distance. As I recall, shooting my Charter Arms 38 snub-nosed was fun. It was accurate out to 25 yards although I could hardly imagine using it at that distance in a self defense situation.

I cannot speak to the quality control of currently produced firearms by Charter Arms but as I already pointed out I had some experience with a Charter Arms snub-nosed back in the early 1980s. While I liked how mine shot, I also recall a pesky problem that kept recurring with it. It had a cylinder stop, the current one does not. The reason I recall it had a cylinder stop is because when combat unloading the cylinder would sometimes ride up over the cylinder stop. Easy to fix, but quite the unwanted thing to take place during a self defense situation - did I say something about revolvers being less prone to jamming. I sold that one to a gunsmith who was looking use it as a practice piece for engraving. Of course he would also keep it as a shooter. I liked everything about that revolver except of course for the poor fitting of metal parts that allowed the cylinder to ride up over the cylinder stop. I would have gotten another but for the fact I had heard that said problem was a common one and I had a buyer who knew of the problem but was eager to buy it. As I said above, I cannot speak to the quality control of the currently manufactured models. My guess is that they are not quite up to the standards of Smith & Wesson or Colt but I base that on hunch and pricing alone. Why pricing? Well, because Charter Arms is a lower cost alternative to those more expensive brands. Lower cost usually implies lower quality, but not necessarily low quality.

So, one may be left wondering about whether or not they are quality firearms or not - if only because of the low prices at which their firearms are offered as compared to brands like Colt and Smith & Wesson. Then again I have heard some good things about Charter Arms in recent years, so it is quite possible that their current manufacture revolvers are of high quality with no such problems. Looking through the firearms forums on the Internet I have come across people both praising and complaining about Charter Arms quality control with regard to their current production revolvers. My guess is that they make a viable alternative to a Smith & Wesson for someone who cannot afford the higher priced brands; then again I don't know that I would want to bet my life on it. If you do get one, read the instructions and follow them. Get yourself familiar with the revolver and how to shoot it. Then go to a range and shoot about 400 to 500 rounds of ammunition through it to make sure it functions flawlessly before you depend upon it as a self or home defense weapon.

All the best,
Glenn B
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