Sunday, September 29, 2019

Ghost of a Gun Show Past

Here  I sat, on my big rump, while clearing out the documents folder on my thumb drive, trying to get rid of junk I no longer needed and freeing up some space since the drive has only about 13% free space remaining. While I was looking through which folders and or files to delete or save, I came across one titled: Syracuse Gun Show Report.

I was about to delete the file and then the thought struck me like a thunderbolt - how could it have slipped my mind that I just had searched for that report maybe two weeks ago just before attending the Mesquite Rodeo Gun Show in Mesquite, TX! Back then, I searched y blog, my hard drive and my thumb drive but I could not find it anywhere. The reason I had been looking for it right before the Mesquite Rodeo Gun Show was because I had wanted to see what I had paid for a Century Arms WASR 10 at that Syracuse show in 2011. I was going to offer it for sale at that TX show (in fact I did sell it) and at least wanted my money back. Since, I could not find it I figured I never wrote it and that I was lucky to find a receipt for the WASR 10 to find out how much I had shelled out on it. 

If you read my blog, you know I usually do at least a brief and oft times a detailed report of each gun show I attend but somehow, it seemed , I never did it with this one. Truth is I did do one, the proof was staring me in the face. It made me think that somehow I had in effect killed it and dumped its body down the family well. Finding it now had an eerily ethereal feeling about it. I wondered where did that come from - I looked there for it before and never saw it how could it be there now! Was it there all the time and I just had missed it or had it materialized like a spirit from the ether of hereafter! It certainly still seems to me that it appeared where it had not been, much like an ancient ghost that had been banished to spend eternity down the well had finally decided to make an appearance in an attempt to vindicate itself (yes, I am an Abbott & Costello fan). Whatever - there it was and I decided to keep it and read it and thus the ghost of a gun show past was vindicated and freed and allowed to take its proper place here on my blog where it appears below.

So, without further ado, I present that article below:


Syracuse Gun Show Report & 
Our 'Buy A Gun Day' Purchases 

My son and I attended the gun show in Syracuse, NY yesterday. Allow me to start off by saying it was great. I did not even realize it while at the show, my son pointed it out to me later, there were no tables selling beef jerky (at least none we saw). There was a lady at one table selling lousy jewelry and the regular collection of t-shirt sellers, book sellers, knife sellers, and military memorabilia sellers but the great majority of the 1,000 tables seemed dedicated to firearms, ammunition, firearms accessories like parts and holsters and mags, targets and other firearms related doo-dads of one sort or another. This was about the best gun show I have attended since going to a big show, I think 1,500 tables, out in Arizona and I could buy guns at this one so it was the best.

The variety of guns was great, there were a good assortment of [I]black[/I] rifles, AKs, bolt action hunting rifle, target rifles, semi-autos for all shooting applications, black powder antiques, new black powder firearms, old classic firearms, newly manufactured firearms. Lots of rifles, lots of shotguns lots of pistols. The prices ranged from way too high to truly excellent deals, For example, I saw run of the mill Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30s going for $135.00 and another dealer had the same rifles going for $89.00 (remember - no shipping or FFL as would have been the case if bought from an online dealer - so this was a great price).

My son and I had a few different things on our shopping lists. He was looking for a Stag Arms AR, a shotgun and whatever else caught his eye. I was hankering for a Remington Model 8 in .35 Remington, a Remington 700 VTR in .308, an AK-47 and whatever else caught my eye and was within reason price wise.

Somewhere, about an hour and a half into the show, I saw my son at a table looking at AR’s. He called me over and I could see he was hooked. He told me he was eying two different Stag Arms AR-15s. They were either Model 1 or 2, those he was eying were the non-piston versions since he already has a piston model. He was debating between one listed at $975 or so with few if any add-ons and another with added on quad fore rail, pistol fore-grip, red dot sight and some other things for $1250. He took the one with the add-ons for $1,200.

As the dealer was casing it all up, Brendan asked me if I had seen anything good and I said not yet. Whereas he had been round the whole show already, I had progressed only about 3 aisles with many more before me. I was taking my time actually looking hard not merely scanning. He asked “what are you looking for” and I mentioned the Rem. Model 8 at which the dealer perked up and said “I have one on the opposite of side of my display”. I took a look; he was asking about $500 but it was chambered for 32 Remington. I decided to wait to see if ammo dealers had any 32 Remington and found out it is basically a defunct cartridge, so I am quite happy I waited. Excellent Model, original finish probably over 95 percent, excellent wood, all parts attached decent price too but not for me without ready ammo availability. Back to the search for a model 8 in 35 Rem or one of the other rifles I wanted. 

Later on, when I was in the next to last row of tables in the big room, I again met Brendan and asked him if he had been in the back room of the show. He said yeah but that there was nothing worth it back there. We split up again and I went to take a look in the backroom regardless of him telling me there was nothing worth it there; I wound up happy I did so (or at least out some cash because I did so). At the last table I visited back there, there was a Romanian WASR AK-47 going for $450 and I went to again find Brendan. Once found, I brought him back to check it out for me; he was much more familiar with AK type weapons than was I in that he already has a Bulgarian AK. He took it down part way, checked it out, and said it looked like a good deal. I haggled a little, and got another $25 off the price. With tax it was $459 out the door. It came with 2 pre-ban 30 round mags (NY still has a ban on hi-cap mags).

Not a bad deal considering that at this show it was the lowest priced WASR. Others were going from $470.00 up to $509.00. Now $459 (out the door) is not as good as online prices but a typical online price is $410, plus shipping of about $25, plus FFL fee of $25 up my way, and guess what, that $459 equals the price I would have paid online at a place like Classic Arms, for a NY legal AK, and I did not have to wait for the gun.

The gas money we spent and the admission fee to the show of only $6.00 each (that is a great gun show admission price, I paid at least $9.00 in AZ for the big show out there) and what I spent on food was a weekend trip  expense that I chalk up to family fun and do not include in the price of the gun because I would have spent it anyway. So it was a good deal at least in NY. As for the other guns I was looking for, I only saw one Remington 700 VTR but it was in the wrong caliber and I did not see another Rem. Model 8 than that one in the wrong caliber (the search continues and I hope I find one as nice as the one I saw at this show).

By the way, when I went to look for Brendan, to help me look over the AK, I found him carrying yet another gun. He bought a Mossberg pump gun with pistol grip. I don’t know where he expects to shoot it as almost every range near our home will not allow them but there may be one range where he can try it out, so maybe there. He plans to get a regular stock for it sooner or later and I advised him to do so because as I see it, a shotgun with only a pistol grip at the butt end is just about useless unless you are shooting zombies (and then only in the movies) or in very close quarters in a self-defense situation.Even then, I prefer the shoulder stock to that pistol grip. He also had two bags of accessories and had purchased snap on covers for the quad rail on his new AR.

It was about 1215 when I had finished up with my AK purchase. The only other things we got after that were two mortar cans that Brendan wanted at $20.00 apiece. He was antsy and we certainly could not carry much more and we got to talking about leaving. We had gotten to the show at about 9, give or take a few minutes, and probably got inside by somewhere between 9:15 and 9:30, after standing on a long line in the damp and chilled upstate NY April air. There had been hundreds of people on line ahead of us and hundreds more behind us and the place had a steady flow of folks coming and going in the time we were there. There were 2 lines and luckily we got dropped off, by the parking lot tram, on the shorter line. 

While waiting on line, I saw two other guys I know from Long Island. I saw them a few times inside too. They had each picked up one gun apiece before Brendan and I took off and I am sure they will have bought more before leaving; they were staying for day 2 on Sunday. As for us, Brendan was antsy, and wanted to take off at 1230. I reminded him that we would not be welcome at home too early since my wife was going to be having some of the girls over for a wine party. Yet, I was sort of ready to go but only because my memory is not as good as it once was. I did not remember to go back to at least a couple of tables to buy raffle tickets, one from Friends of the NRA and another from a gun club that was giving away a rifle a day for the month of May. At $25 a ticket that was a good raffle on which to take a chance but I forgot to get back to them. I also had been wanting to pick up a Marlin Papoose, being sold as new in red soft case, wood stock, blued steel, for $150. I forgot that too. In addition I wanted to pick up some zombie targets, a case for my AK, and some other stuff. Then there was the used but looking like new Browning BLR Model 81 in .308. It was pretty but I thought the price was high at $625.00 (no optics and missing the screws that fill the scope rail mounting holes, otherwise except for a tiny scratch at the muzzle end of the barrel it looked perfect). I confirmed that when I saw another, in a different caliber, at about $550 in as good a condition. Well, I forgot about that too. Shame on me but being older than half a century, having a muddled middle aged memory, having trudged around through that show with all those other gun nuts and having a son who was eager to go and who kept telling me so, was a combination that led to our premature departure.

Yes, we left right at 1230. Luckily there were trams to take us back to the car which was a ways off in the compound. We loaded up our newly acquired gear into the car and headed out. On the way home we made 3 stops, one a McDonald's (lousy but acceptable food and it was fast), one for gas, and one at Gander Mountain in Middletown, NY so I could buy night crawlers and trout worms for my aquarium critters (fish, turtle,  and newts) and for my land critters (salamanders and tortoises). We got home right after my wife’s party started and I was relegated to the basement where I happily accepted my banishment.

All in all, we had a great trip. Good company, fun time, great purchases, fulfilling my self-imposed obligation to buy a gun for BAG day (which technically is tomorrow but the BAG day thing usually runs at least a few days either side of tax day). Don’t know about BAG day - go here:

Remember, BAG Day is usually April 15th the traditional tax day but this year tax day is tomorrow, April18th, so you still have time to Buy A Gun and send the government a message while stimulating the U.S. economy!

All the best,
Glenn B


Well, that was what should have been published on April 17, 2011, the day after that show in Syracuse. Some things in it struck my eye that convinced me I should publish it today - those things being some of the gun prices being offered back then as compared to now for essentially the same or very similar guns. I think you might find it interesting, amusing or saddening to see how those prices have changed in just 8 years.

Mosin Nagant 91/30 then lowest priced @ $89.99, highest priced at that show $139.99. Recently, at that Mesquite Rodeo gun show I attended, up to $399 but most going for around $300! Wow and they were in better condition back in 2011.I wish I had bought all I could find at the lower price then.

Remington Model 8 (similar in price to Model 81's): Then around $500 for the Model 8; now, now for the Model 81's one was about $800 the other $900 at the same dealer, both were 32 REM caliber; the only guy who had them had two of them. Remarkably a Remington Model 8 in 30 REM went for $575, an excellent price, at the most recent Hessney Gun Auction earlier this month but I must admit the way it was described to me it was not nearly as nice condition-wise as the ones at the Mesquite show. Even though in 30 REM (avalble cartridge today but pretty limited and expensive) I bid on it. I missed the high bid on that one by $25! Oh well...

WASR 10: Then $459 out the door (NY modified version, probably less expensive in freer states then), now up to $800 for used ones and as low as $625 for brand new ones (go figure but maybe different makers or versions). I sold mine for more than I had paid for it back in 2011 and with only one ten round magazine at that.

Stag Arms AR15 Model 2: The lowest I saw now was just under $800 plus shipping and FFL fee. Even with the add-ons that Brendan got with his, I think he got hosed but then again, it was in NY and had to comply with whatever ridiculous gun control was in effect then, such as the - still in effect (in NY) at the time - assault weapons ban. Today, my guess is he'd pay maybe a bit more than he pad then but that is just my guess.

Marlin Papoose used model sold as new in soft red case, wood stock and blued metal: $150 then; saw one that recently sold on at $279.00 in excellent condition, wood stock, blued metal and soft red case.
Remington 700 VTR in 308: No comparison, I don't recall the price in 2011 but now they are going for just under $700 online plus shipping and FFL fee on the buyer's end.

Let's face it folks most prices are not going down.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Soon To Be 90 Years Old

Old age set in decades ago. Even though I feel it in my hips and knees right now, I don't mean for me. I am writing about my Remington Model 29 12 gauge slide action shotgun. They were made by Remington from 1929 through the end of 1933. That's not a long range of production for any firearm and Remington only put out, at most, 39,331 of them judging by their own serial number records (source) ; although, another source  says they only produced 24,000 of them. You would think a gun with that few having been made might be worth a bit more than the high estimated value of $375.00 (you need a subscription to view  the values) as per my pricing guide but that's it with a plain barrel; one with a solid rib barrel is worth about 15% more. I find that odd but who knows, in another couple of years or so that value could skyrocket as the tastes of collectors seems to change with the wind.

A pretty good looker for a 90 year old.

I never thought much about the one I have, at least until today. As a matter of fact, I don't think I have taken it to the range for a test fire yet and I bought mine just over one year ago, in September 2018. As I have said before, I am The Great Procrastinator. I am thinking though, that next month when I celebrate my birthday, I will take it to the range to celebrate its birthday. My Remington Model 29 was produced in October 1929 as per page 75 of Remington serial number records (source). The last made in September of that year was made on September 28th - a Friday (isn't the Internet wonderful, I could easily bring up the calendar for that year) - and had a serial number about 100 or so below that on mine. So, I am guessing probably early October and while there is no way to tell with certainty it is a good guess it was early that month. About 3,327 of them were manufactured during October 1929 up until the 26th of that month when the record was annotated. If you go by an average of 166 (rounded down to nearest whole number) made per day, for that 20 day period (work days including any holidays since I am not sure if Columbus day was a day off for them), then it was likely made on October 1, 1929. Of course maybe not, they may have not made many any for a while in that month. Who knows, maybe we have the same birthday, albeit decades apart, making the shotgun 90 this October and thus decades older than me. How old am I - well, that is my business not yours.

It is not the oldest gun I have, I have a couple of Mauser Chilenos from the 1890s and an Ortgies pistol probably from the mid to late 1920s but it is my oldest Remington as far as I am aware. I have two other Remingtons, both 141 Gamemaster rifles, that while old probably are at least a decade younger that my Model 29. I found out that this Model 29 is a first year production gun when scanning the Remington factory serial number records, for information on my two Remington 141 Gamemaster rifles, at the Remington Society of America's web page. They have a lot of useful information there about Remington firearms, the link to Remington factory records of serial numbers being just one of them. I wish I could afford the cash for a membership but am tight on funds and will be for at least a couple or few months to come.

Not to worry though, I have plenty of 12 gauge shells on hand, it's not like my finances will stymie a range trip with this beauty. While it really does not look very beautiful -with a piece of the stock evidently missing, my guess is it was probably chipped off when dropped and then sanded down and the butt plate ground off a bit at the bottom end to even it out with the stock and it shows its age a bit - it is in otherwise very good to excellent shape and none the worse for the wear as far as I can tell since most importantly, it appears to function properly. Of course, only a trip to the range will assure me of that. 

While I am The Great Procrastinator, and not shooting it in over the year I have owned it was procrastination, waiting until next month to shoot it for my first time is not. Since I've already waited just over a year without shooting it, what's another month! It amounts to nothing and now that I've found out its birthday is next month waiting until then will have made it well worth the wait to shoot it in our shared birth month for its 90th year on the planet. 

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

More Gun Cleaning Today

Used to be I'd go to the range and once I was finished shooting I'd clean my guns at the range (if it was allowed). Otherwise, I'd head home and clean them there. I'd rarely wait until the next day to get that done especially for my carry guns. Nowadays, my bones creak, I don't see as well as I used to (had to put on two pairs of readers yesterday when assembling a Remington Model 141 bolt), I am not as eager about almost anything as I used to be & have become The Great Procrastinator and I sometimes wind up detail stripping & cleaning some of my guns weeks or even months after firing them. It's not that I'm lazy; well yes, maybe it is just that at times but at other times I realize that some of them do not need a complete cleaning, or any cleaning at all, as frequently as after each time they are shot.

Wow, did I just write that? It sure looks as if I did. Truth is, I clean them when I can get around to it and sometimes I just forget when it's gone too long; then I realize I did not clean them next time at the range or during my regular three to four times per year of regular maintenance. Of the 5 rifles and two pistols I brought to the range over the past weekend, I have cleaned only three so far. My carry gun, my Beretta 950BS and the Remington 141 and that took me , maybe an hour and a half because I detail stripped the bolt & putting it back together too 2/3 of that time. I really needed three hands and I don't have a third hand in the form of a vise. 

Anyhow, today I will be cleaning more of them, probably as soon as I finish this post. The first one to get scrubbed with Gunzilla and then slathered with Break Free CLP will be will be my Marlin 36 and I am ashamed to say has not been cleaned yet. It would be a crying shame if I let the remaining case color on it (and it has a lot of it) get ruined because I did not clean it. I'd hate to see a grown man cry, particularly me, but that is what I'd do right after kicking myself in mine arse should I ruin that gun due to neglect - it is a nice one.

Then onto the other rifles which I will clean at my leisure, if not all today then some today and the rest tomorrow. That said, I'd best get going and do it now because as a friend of mine used to say - a clean gun is a happy gun.

All the best,
Glenn B

Potential Upcoming Project - Remington 141 Video

Brendan and I had some fun shooting one of my two Remington 141s this past Saturday. It's an oldie but certainly is a goodie and once I get some better glass for it, I think I will use it or the other for hunting larger game here in Tejas Texas. Tonight, I took it out of its case and decided to give it a good cleaning. I cleaned it last Thursday or Friday prior to the range but wanted to give it a good going over again because until I can afford a new scope for it, it may be put away in storage. Now, I've only taken it down and then reassembled it once before and that was just taking out the takedown screw, pulling apart the stock and trigger group from the receiver, taking out the bolt, cleaning what I could and then slapping it back together. Each time I did it, I watched the below video on YouTube:

I appreciate the gentleman's effort in putting that out there for the rest of us who needed some help with a 141 but I have to say while it helped me a good deal, it also confused me quite a bit. The reason for the confusion was not so much due to his lack of using the correct names for parts but that I did what he said and held - what he called - "a little lever assembly" and also called "that little rod"(the ejector plate) and that did not do a thing to help get the bolt assembly meshed with the action slide assembly (part names as per the book I am about to mention) this second time around. Yes. it did seem to work the first time but now that I have found out a little bit more about the 141 via the book: The Gun Digest book of Firearms Assembly/Disassemby Part IV: Centerfire Rifles - I realize that holding the ejector plate (as the book called it - no mention of a part with that name in my copy of the Remington 141 manual) in place either had little or nothing to do with meshing those two assemblies and that the first time I put it back together the striker (firing pin) was probably cocked. This time it was decocked but I had no clue that was a problem. An assembly tip in my book was that the striker (firing pin) has to be cocked in order to mesh the bolt to the action slide assembly. Once I got that done, meshing the parts was easy.

Now there is a lot more to disassembly and assembly than taking it apart and removing the bolt. I got a bit adventurous and decided that I was also going to completely take aprt the bolt assembly. I mostly did that because I thought for sure there must have been a pin or spring that I knocked out of the bolt, or something I knocked out of alignment, that was preventing me from being able to get it back together. That was after watching that video but before I looked in my book. The ejector plate, in the video, seemed to be under spring tension when he moved it; however on my bolt it was loose as a goose. Well, I figured let me detail strip the bolt to see if i could figure what was wrong.  used the directions in the book along with the, in my opinion, terribly low quality photos they used to illustrate the process. Well, I got it apart in no time. Getting it back together was another story, that took me around an hour or more. I really need to get a vise, that third hand would have been a big help tonight. Anyway, I did manage to assemble the bolt and used all the pieces when doing so (that is a good thing).

Another part of a detail strip of this rifle would be to remove the action  slide assembly and the magazine. That requires a bit more work but looks none too difficult to take apart but may wind up being a bit difficult to put back together. I did not try itt tonight after it having taken me an hour or more to assemble the bolt. I'll leave that until next time.

If I become somewhat comfortable at taking it down and slapping it back together and can do it with some good degree of reliability, I intend to make a video of how to do it. First though, I'll have to go through all my boxes to look for my camera, the one that I can mount to a mini-tripod I have around here somewhere. Then I will set it up with some decent lighting and give it a shot. I promise to try to use proper nomenclature when describing what I am doing and not to call the receiver the chamber assembly nor call it the breech and I will try to call parts by not more than one name so as to avoid confusion. Now, please believe me, I am not ragging on the guy who made that video; I have made a few of my own where I called a part by the wrong name; I am just trying to point out what does and does not make a firearms assembly/disassembly video easier to understand in my experience. I cannot speak badly at all of the man who made that video especially since it was his first such attempt. It's too bad, in my estimation, that he did not make any more informative firearms videos; I am betting he would have improved greatly and gotten very good at it. His heart was certainly in the right place. Anyway, as I said, his video helped me despite it also confusing me a bit and I am grateful for the help.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Beretta 950BS Minx In 22 Short - It's About Time I Do A Critique

What a better way to take a break between firing fairly large sized caliber rifles (.308, 30-30, 35 REM & 300 WIN MAG) than to pull out a tiny pistol with a tiny sting and start blazing away with it. The tiny pistol was my Beretta 950BS and the tiny sting were the CCI 22 Short rounds I was firing through it at the range this past Saturday. I had the pistol there not so much to try it out as I did to try out a new Triple-K after-market magazine I had bought for it. It was not until I picked up that magazine and compared them while getting ready for the range that I realized oof two things about the mag that came with the gun and this new after-market mag - either both of them were aftermarket or Triple-K must have bought out the patent from Beretta and made an almost exact duplicate. I tend to doubt that they made one that close to an original so am guessing my 950BS came with a replacement mag from Triple-K.

Well, as I may or may not have written in my post about my first impressions of the little Beretta, the mag that came with it worked just great. Sadly, the one that I picked up at the Mesquite Rodeo Gun show two weekends ago was a dud. There is no way I can load rounds into properly. One goes in and seems okay but when I tried to get a second round into it, that one would not go in properly. When i looked the mag over with a critical eye, I saw that some indentations on the outside of the mag body near the front left side of the mag's mouth were double indentations as if stuck twice and not aligned properly causing an offset double indentation. The purpose of the indentations seems to be to create nubs (or whatever you would call them) inside the magazine to hold in place a feed ramp inside the magazine; the feed ramp seemingly also continues down the front spine of the mag acting as a bullet nose guide. When I compared the ramp to that on the mag that worked properly, I could plainly see it was set back further from the front of the mag-well than was the one on the working magazine. So, when trying to load the mag, the rounds will not line up properly and even the one (yes only one) that I can get loaded seemingly correctly will not feed out of the mag into the chamber. Not good and it made for a lot more reloading of the one mag that worked. Oh well, I sent an email to the dealer today to see if he will replace it even though he never gave me a receipt nor do I have the packaging since I threw it out on Friday before leaving home on my way to Brendan's in Benton, AR; we hit the range together on Saturday. Time will tell whether he or maybe even triple-K will replace it; I will contact them if the dealer does not send me another.

The bad mag is to the viewers left in each of the two photos.

Okay, that was not so much about the gun as it was about the magazine, so let me get to the pistol itself. The Beretta 950BS Minx is chambered in 22 Short. It comes with a 6 round magazine (at least that is the capacity of the mag that came with mine) and can hold a seventh round in the chamber. This little beast is one of the pop-up barrel types manufactured by Beretta. So, to load or unload one in the chamber you can either do it from the mag by pulling back on the slide and letting it put one into place or you can hit the barrel release allowing the rear of the barrel to pop up and you can manually place a round into the chamber and then push the rear of the barrel back down into a locked position. IThe only point I see to loading that way is that this is a single action pistol and you may not want to load from the mag by pulling the slide back and letting it slam forward because that leaves its external hammer in a cocked position.  Sure, you can always carefully pull the trigger with your thumb on the hammer allowing it to very slowly and gently move into the uncocked position or you can place the safety lever into the safe position which means you would be carrying cocked and locked or you can open the barrel assuring to not let it fly open quickly and eject the round you just pout in in and then drop then carefully drop the hammer with no round and even no chamber in front of the firing pin, or you can load the chamber the way I described by popping up the barrel and manually loading a single round.Which do you think is safer and more practical; take your choice - I prefer to load a round out of the magazine and then safely and very carefully drop the hammer slowly and gently by keeping my thumb on it so it will not fire. 

As for unloading and cycling ammo through it, the Minx does not have an extractor. It operates on blowback and the shell casing is extracted by way of gas pressure and recoil alone. In the even a shell casing ever gets stuck in the chamber, popping up the barrel will give you better access to it to remove it manually. The location of the release for the barrel is on the left side of the slide right about where the mag release wold be positioned in a modern made larger self defense pistol tat does not have the pop-up barrel feature. So where does that leave the magazine release? The mag release is a button positioned within the lower rear portion of the left grip panel (and I think this was the same for the Jetfires as well as best I recall). Depressing it will make a fully loaded magazine fall out of the mag well; however, an empty mag has to be pulled out while depressing the mag release - at least on mine. That may loosen up and it may freely fall out when the mag release is depressed once the release has been used enough.

All in all, I like the Beretta 950BS models of which there were essentially two - the Jetfire and the Minx - with different versions of each over the years such as the non-BS models without safeties and the BS models with safeties. The other main difference in the models was the caliber - the Minx in 22 short and the Jetfire in 25 ACP - probably two of the most useless calibers for self defense or for anything else except maybe shooty goodness kind of fun. I have owned at least three, probably four and maybe even five Beretta 950BS models chambered in 25ACP; I had these while in the Border Patrol and Customs Patrol and carried one in my pocket or boot as a last ditch back-up gun regardless of the less than pea sized caliber. 

I had always wished they would come out with one in 22 Long Rifle but they never did. Instead they came out with a somewhat similar model (pop-up barrel, small size) in 22LR called the Beretta 21A Bobcat (they also make another but larger one in 32ACP). I owned one or two of them as well but despite the fact they were in 22LR, I liked them less than the Jetfire and Minx. The reason for that being that if you take the grips of of a Jetfire Model 950BS in 25 Auto, the gun will function without them. You can also add flat metal grips to the Jetfire allowing it to be more easily concealed in a boot or pocket; one of m supervisors in the Border patrol used to make them out of sheet metal.Anyway, the grips on the model 21A must mesh with the spring that operates its slide. Without the grips in place you can get off one shot and then forget about another loading. I always worried that if I dropped the 21A and cracked one of the grips badly enough, it may have then malfunctioned. At least that is the way it used to be - design changes in one or the other may have changed things for the respective pistols.

Speaking of the grips on the Beretta 950BS - both my Jetfires and now my Minx - had/have what I believe are European style screws securing them in place; that regardless of the fact that my Minx and probably at least some of my Jetfires were made in the USA and not in Italy (where the main Beretta plant is located). European screw heads, at least at one time, have or had very narrow slots in them and thus the great majority of screwdrivers you can find for sale in the US of A do not fit into them. I have some pretty narrowly bladed screwdrivers and they do not fit into the slots on the Minx. This gun was made in Accokeek, MD here in the US (if you consider MD is still part of the USA and not a commie satellite country within our borders). Why they never bothered to changed to screws with a wider slot is beyond me; I know that when I purchased my Beretta 92SB (precursor to the 92F and 92FS pistols) it too came with those screws with the very narrow slots. Some time later, Beretta replaced them for me with the American style with wider slotted screwheads; and Beretta started to manufacture guns, at least in the US, with those wider slotted screws.

You can plainly see the barrel release, the safety switch, the mag release button and tiny size of the 22 Short.
Staying in the area of the grips, the Minx has black plastic grips although the more recently manufactured Beretta 21A that comes with wood grips (and maybe some with plastic grips too). I don't know if the Beretta 950 Minx or 950BS Minx (or the Jetfires in 25 ACP) ever came with wood grips buy my guess is they were probably available. The grips on the older 950 are not interchangeable with those of the 950BS because a cutout had to be placed on those of the 950BS to allow for the travel of the safety switch. The safety is typical of a single action pistol - up to make it safe and down to allow the pistol to be fired.t has a good strong positive click as it goes into either position.It is essentially positioned much like a 1911 safety.

Okay, so much for the idiosyncrasies of the Beretta 950BS Minx. Now as to how it was made and how it functions. This little beauty has a steel slide, barrel, hammer, trigger, trigger guard and magazine; and it has an alloy frame (likely anodized aluminum). I has an external hammer that has three positions - down, half-cock and fully cocked. The fit and finish are excellent. It also has Beretta's pop-up barrel feature. The operation is single action only.

I am happy to say it has functioned flawlessly both times I took it to the range. One odd thing though was that the first time I fired it, it shot a decent sized group the size of my fist, more or less, at 7 yards. This time out that almost respectable rapid fire group size was nowhere to be found. I'd estimate at best, the shots were in an area the size of my open hand and were all to the left of point of aim by several inches. Brendan shot it with the same abysmal result. I tend very much to doubt this was caused by the pistol or by the shooters. I say so for the pistol because it has not been damaged in any way since the last time I fired it and was cleaned well after firing it the first time around and was also cleaned before firing it the second time. As for the shooters being at fault - two with the same results seems unlikely to make it shooter error. Of course, it could have been us. I have to note, those groups were shot while both of us actually tried to use the minuscule sights; I think I'd have been better off just point shooting this thing for how long it took my eyes to acquire the sights. Maybe I only point shot it the first time, I cannot remember. 

If not user error or the fault of the pistol though, the other culprit then is the ammo. While we used the same ammo this time as we did on our first range trip with it - CCI 22 Short HP, 27 grain copper plated - the ammo was not stored well for a few months. In fact, it was stored in much less than desirable conditions inside a non-climate controlled storage shed wherein the temperatures during storage probably reached at least 100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit almost every day for weeks on end. I have no clue if that could affect a round's accuracy but am guessing it may have been the cause. Another range trip with that ammo and with fresh and different brands of ammo should clue me in to that. 

At best, the Beretta 950BS Minx in 22 Short, for me, is a very concealable, 7 round, last chance desperation back-up gun that I'd probably only fire at a maximum range of 15 yards and that I expect would be used at a range less than that if I ever needed it to defend myself. I'd much prefer to use a 45 or a 9mm for self defense but a mouse gun may be better than no gun at all should my primary carry piece fail or should I for some reason not have it with me and only have the Minx. Other than carry as a last chance hideaway gun, the only other uses I can think of is as a fun plinker or a mouse killer if those tiny critters ever decide to move in and overrun the place. I think it is a gun befitting all three of those situations. No matter what, I like it - no better gift than a gun from my son!

All the best,
Glenn B

A New Life In Texas Deserves...

...a new look for my blog.

That is all,
Glenn B

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Range Day Today With It's Ups & Downs

By Tuesday or Wednesday of this week it was turning out to be just another week pretty much full of drudgery & boredom for me here in the Texarkana area. Had it not been for me going to Sam's Club (once my membership expires they probably can kiss my arse goodbye), running a few other errands and going in to see a doc, I would have been pretty much apartment bound all week watching Star Trek Enterprise on Netflix.

Then, when Brendan got in touch with me to tell me he was going to buy a Remington Model 700, in 308 WIN, for hunting this year, I told him if he wanted it he cold have my still new in the box Savage 111 Long Range Hunter. He hemmed and hawed only a little and said that might not be too shabby.

So, I started to get things in order for a trip to see him over in Benton, AR and to bring along the Savage 111 LRH. I also started a thread on Texas Gun Talk, a local to TX gun forum, to see what others thought about the Savage 111 LRH in 300 Winchester Magnum. Some thought it a good idea, others thought it too much gun. With the thought of it maybe being too much gun, I decided to bring along a few others in 3 additional calibers: 30-30 WIN, 308 WIN, and 35 REM. I spent a good deal of Thursday night and Friday morning into the afternoon cleaning guns, mounting a scope, getting ammo ready and so on and that was much better than being bored to tears in Texarkana (not that it is necessarily a boring town, just I have not gotten to really know anyone or the town itself yet).

On Friday afternoon I headed over to his place in Benton, got there late around 645PM or so. I had planned to leave earlier to make it to him by 4 or 5 at the latest but had to make a run to the post office before it closed. On my way there I remembered that I had some Jarlsberg and Cheddar cheeses in my fridge for him and of course, in my frenzied rush to get to the post office before closing, and then to finally shove off to his place, with getting all my guns and ammo together (well almost all of my ammo as you will see), I had left them behind. Back to my apartment to get the cheeses and out the door by 445 or a bit later. Once I got to Benton, we went out to get some burgers at red Robin. They have surprisingly greasy and very tasty burgers - both things to my liking. They also have some very strong mixed drinks of which I only had one. They also have a very cute and oerky waitress that Brendan seems to like - who knows. After the eats, back to his place and more drinking was to be done of Laird's Applejack, Some Knappogue Castle 16 year old single malt Irish whiskey, some 12 year old  Redbreast Irish whiskey, a shot of some liquor that was somewhat like Yeagermeister, and a few Bitburger Pilsners. We woke up late on Saturday morning, had some strong coffee, ate a bit of breakfast, I went to Home Depot to get some packing boxes out of which to make targets and we finally got off to a pretty late start. What the heck though - we went to the range to have some shooty goodness kind of fun.

We drove about 63 miles of so from his place to Pigeon Roost Range i he in his car and me in mine. I sat in his parking lot for 10 minutes waiting for him to come down to his car only to find out he had been right behind me as I went to my car and he had already left. Damn. I wound up turning off the highway, onto the dirt road to the range, maybe a couple of hundred feet behind him. Either he drove pretty slowly or I drove too fast but I am not telling. 

It was nice and sunny ad not too hot when we got there. not humid either. The best thing was that we had the range to ourselves. We got to business setting up targets, sorting ammo and getting otherwise ready to shoot.  I handed him the Savage 111 LRH and he liked the heft of it. Then I showed him the ammo next to a 308 WIN round and a 30-06 round. Both he and I were impressed - the 300 WIN MAG is huge compared even to a 30-06 round. I think maybe he was a little hesitant to take the first shot but he did and he then loaded up another and fired again, he liked it. In fact, he liked the Savage LRH in 300 WIN MAG very much. He only took a few shots with it, because there are no sights and no glass on it, just to check out the recoil. I did not bother mounting a scope to it because Savage said they are sending a replacement stock due to a problem of the bolt hitting the cheek-piece when trying to remove the bolt and necessitating removal of the adjustable cheek piece to get the bolt out. When I get that, I will probably pick up a Vortex crossfire scope for it or maybe something a little better from the same company.

He also tried out the Savage Axis XP. We fired several rounds through it and planned to fire a lot more since I had an abundance of 308 BUT then the glass went kerflooey. One of the internal pieces of glass near the eyepiece turned around sideways. So much for cheap scopes that come packaged on a rifle. Of course, bouncing around in a van moving from NY to AR and then in another moving it from AR to TX could have had something to do with it. A new scope needed, probably also Vortex something or other this next time around. Anyway, he liked the recoil of the 308 as well as that of the 300 WIN MAG. I think he was impressed that the much larger round had about the same kick as did the 308.

On Thursday evening, while getting ready for the trip, I had mounted a cheap BSA scope on my Remington 141, slide action rifle in 35 REM. It was set to be parallax free at 100 yards - not something I usually go for in a scope, I prefer one parralax free at 25 yards or less with an adjustable adjustable objective lens. I picked up that scope somewhere I cannot recall - maybe in a combined lot of items at one of the Hessney auctions I attended and had it on hand so made use of it. Luckily, I had the 141 sighted in at the range, at 25 yards, after only 6 shots after merely having slapped on the scope and having tightened the screws. He liked that rifle too; although, the scope was pure junk. I told him if he wanted it, he could get a better piece of glass for it and he could have the 141 since he needs a hunting rifle for this season. He was undecided. We wound up only firing only 12 rounds total through the Remington 141 and I had wanted both him and me to shoot more rounds out of it but we only had one box of 35 REM being I had mistakenly grabbed an extra box of 308 in my hurry to get going to head his way Friday afternoon and I left the second box of 35 REM on a table in my living room (remember I said I had taken almost all of my ammo). We used the other eight rounds in my Marlin 336.

When we shot the remaining 8 rounds of 35 REM ammo through my Marlin 336 we found it was off maybe 4 inches to the left; both for him and for me. I need to sight that one in again when I bring the right ammo. Seems it must have lost lost zero sometime during my move from NY to AR to TX. Oh well - next time I hit the range with it, I will make sure to have enough ammo to sight it in. Things were getting a bit frustrating what with a scope going bust and without enough 35 REM so I decided to steer things elsewhere because it was getting obvious Brendan wanted to head home.

It was a lot nicer of a day than the last time we got together there maybe a few weeks ago. Back then the temp was in the high 90s to maybe over 100 and it was humid as all hell and had us soaked from sweat - one of those days where if you are not wearing a cap, the sweat just keeps running into your eyes while firing. No we did not have caps. Today though, I am guessing it was around 87 at most and nowhere nearly as humid as the day of our last range trip. So, since we were not sweating buckets, he readily took me up on my offer of a box of 100 rounds of 9mm FMJ and got in some practice with his Glock 43. I too the time to shoot several rounds through my Beretta 950BS in 22 short. Disappointingly, I discovered that the Triple-K magazine I bought for it, at a gun show last week, was assembled incorrectly and that prevented it from being loaded with more than one round. There is an obvious manufacture flaw on one side that I had not noticed when taking it out of the package. I am hopeful Triple-K or the dealer will make good on it despite me having thrown out the clam-shell packaging and not getting a receipt. Time and an email or phone call will tell. Anyway, we also both fired several mags worth of ammo out of my Glock 30.

After we were done shooting the pistols, out of ammo for either of the rifles in 35 REM and unable to aim the Savage Axis in 308 because the scope went belly up, I brightened up Brendan when I told him I had the pièce de résistance yet to come - my Marlin 36 in 30-30 Winchester (and that I had three boxes of ammo for it). No glass on this old timer - just the original iron sights. We both shot it at 25 yards first. Each of us shot a bit to the left of center with group sizes I am conservatively estimating to have been at about 1.5 to 2 inches. Then I moved the target to 50 yards and we tried again. I am guesstimating the group sizes to have been about 3.5 to 4.5 inches across at most, which I am thinking equals minute of pie plate at 100 yards. It also shot a bit more to the left. I think drifting the front sight a bit to the left will help there, that is if it can be drifted. He was very impressed with that Marlin 36 not only because it was a nice shooter but because it still has a good deal of its original case color. I should mention that two rounds did not go bang, I was firing 150 grain Winchester Power Point ammo out of the second box of it and both rounds that did not fire came from that box. It looked like light hits or hard primers. None of the rounds in the other box of 150 grain ammo failed to fire nor did any from a box of 170 grain Winchester power point fail to fire. My guess is the primers but again, time (and other brands of ammo) will tell.

I would have tried the Marlin 36 at 100 yards but as we were firing it at 50 yards, two other guys showed up to shoot. There had been no one else there while we were shooting and the new arrivals helped us make the decision it was time to leave. We have been to that range before and all I can say is each time we shot there - me by myself once and me with him at least two other times - while others were using that range at the same time - we wound up seeing people loading standing well behind the firing line and wound up with guns pointing at us and on at least two of those occasions they were loaded. Going to a public range where there are no range officers can be a scary experience. Sometimes I point out safety violations to others, at other times we just pack our gear and leave the range because sometimes you can just feel that whatever you say will be taken with an attitude of who the heck are you to be telling me anything by the offending party. Today, even though the two guys who showed up looked nice and competent enough, we just did not want to take a chance and we called it a day. For all we knew, they (my guess is a father and son) could have been the safest shooters around besides us but we had shot enough and decided to head to Bubba Brews on route 70 near Bonnerdale for some eats.

We had a couple of appetizers and  a a couple of drinks and called it a day. I truly sucks eggs having to go our separate ways and to have to wait as Roy Rogers used to say "Until we meet again" but that's the way it is, at least for now. I am hoping we can get together in a couple oif weeks either for shooting or maybe for some fishing. Next weekend is out, Brendan already has something planned with his buddies - so maybe I'll get a TX hunting & fishing license and head out to wet a line by myself.

By the way, after a nice day shooting, when I asked him if he wanted one of the rifles for hunting season this year, he told me he might use his shotgun but really liked the Savage 111 LRH. If he wants it, he can have it but he will have to buy the glass for it. Same as for any of them that need a scope, I figure giving him a rifle is generous enough. If he does not want any of them, all the better for me.  
All the best,
Glenn B

PS: I will proof read this later. Sorry no pics today.

Friday, September 20, 2019

I Can Understand Walmart Not Wanting Open Carry But Not The Rest Of It

I recently wrote to Walmart to protest that they have cut back on ammunition sales by eliminating calibers such 223 / 5.56 NATO and 7.62x39mm. That is a knee jerk reaction to the problem of mass shootings. In fact, it is no solution to the problem as those bullets do not fire themselves and others can easily be used in their place to kill. I can understand them not wanting people to open carry in their stores and agree with the reasons they do not want such to take place. More on their reasoning, which I find mostly to be much the same as the balderdash that is spewed by leftist anti-gunners can be seen in the text of an email they sent to me. That email was in reply to my email of protest to them about ceasing sales of certain ammunition (and I am sure they sent the same email to tens of thousands of gun owners who also complained, if not more): 

"Question Reference # 190905-046243


Company Feedback and Questions
Response By Email (09/06/2019 02:54 PM)
Hello Glenn,
We have reviewed your email and want you to know that we have shared it with the appropriate team.

We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand. As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same. Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts. It will include long barrel deer rifles and shotguns, much of the ammunition they require, as well as hunting and sporting accessories and apparel. We believe these actions will reduce our market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of approximately 6 to 9%. We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes.

As it relates to safety in our stores, there have been multiple incidents since El Paso where individuals attempting to make a statement and test our response have entered our stores carrying weapons in a way that frightened or concerned our associates and customers. We have also had well-intentioned customers acting lawfully that have inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond. These incidents are concerning and we would like to avoid them, so we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where “open carry” is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.

We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results. We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates. As it relates to concealed carry by customers with permits, there is no change to our policy or approach. This morning, we briefed your leadership team on how to communicate this change in policy to customers when needed, and they will be sharing that with you very soon. We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and we will have a very non-confrontational approach. Our priority is your safety. We will be providing new signage to help communicate this policy in the coming weeks.

As an additional step, we commit we will work alongside other retailers to make the overall industry safer, including sharing our best practices. For example, we are exploring ways to share the technical specifications and compliance controls for our proprietary firearms sales technology platform. This system navigates the tens of millions of possible combinations of federal, state and local laws, regulations and licensing requirements that come into effect based on where the firearm is being sold and who is purchasing it. We hope that providing this information, free of charge, will help more retailers sell firearms in a responsible, compliant manner.

Finally, we encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger. We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness. We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior. Today, I’m sending letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership that call for action on these common sense measures. As we’ve seen before, these horrific events occur and then the spotlight fades. We should not allow that to happen. Congress and the administration should act. Given our decades of experience selling firearms, we are also offering to serve as a resource in the national debate on responsible gun sales.

We have a long heritage as a company of serving responsible hunters and sportsmen and women, and we’re going to continue doing so. Our founder, Sam Walton, was an avid outdoorsman who had a passion for quail hunting, and we’re headquartered in a state known for its duck hunting and deer hunting. My family raised bird dogs when I was growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and I’m a gun owner myself. We understand that heritage, our deeply rooted place in America and our influence as the world’s largest retailer. And we understand the responsibility that comes with it. We want what’s best for our customers, our associates and our communities. In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again. The status quo is unacceptable.

Thank you for contacting walmart where we are always happy to help!"

There you have it, plain as day under a cloudless sky, Walmart (or walmart as they wrote it in the last line) is marching with the libturds on this one with a barely veiled outright call for an assault weapons ban. Not one mention of doing anything that would really help solve the problem but instead hopping on the band wagon with the left by eliminating open carry and certain ammo sales. Yes, they said that the root causes of these tragedies should be examined but that will never happen in today's political climate and meanwhile what are they doing but what the left wants them to do. Essentially they gave not a word to mention legislated mental health care improvements (we already know must of these killers are out of their minds), no mention of ceasing use of medications that cause urges to kill (we already know many of the killers had mental issues and were taking anti-depression and other drugs that often cause mood swings to violence, not any mention of institutionalizing the crazies who are running rampant and free in our society, zero to say about mandatory harsher jail terms or executions for those who kill - nope just blame it on the guns & the ammo as usual. While I can understand them not wanting people to open carry in their stores, the rest of it is the same old leftist anti-gun twaddle. It is pitiful.

All the best,
Glenn B