Monday, April 22, 2013

Once a Sniper, Always a Sniper

I can't add much to this. I can simply say watch the video, and let it sink in just how impressive it is. This man was 84 years old when the video was made in 2009, and the WWII U.S. Army sniper can still make the shots. A nice tribute, and an impressive "he's still got it" piece.

Take a look at the video and article by Shooting USA about Private Ted Gundy, veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, who reportedly still harvests whitetail deer near his home in Missouri.

This is an HD video, please watch full screen by clicking the icon in the lower right of the video box.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Top 5 Useless Guns You Can Actually Buy

Gold Plated Desert Eagle .50
Absolutely Useless.
Walking through a freshly opened Gander Mountain store a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but be guffawed at the sheer number of firearms available for purchase and fondling. They had almost everything you could think of in civilian armament. Almost. However, it also occurred to me that they had something else, too. A whole lot of useless guns. Sure, when it comes down to it, every gun that fires can be used. But consider these questions, and consider that "at the firing range" or "to look at" are not acceptable answers for my argument here:
  • How would I use this?
  • Where would I use this?
  • When would I use this?
 So that this isn't construed as a slam on Gander Mountain, I will say that I did not in fact see all of these there. Some, however, I did. This article and list is about the guns, as always, and has nothing to do with Gander Mountain, or their quality as a retailer or the quality of their products. It has everything to do with these five guns being absolutely useless novelties in the world of civilian firearms. Not to be copying Letterman, either, this list will begin with number 1, and list them in no particular order of ranking:

1 - Gold plated Desert Eagle .50 - "Wow, it weighs only like 50 pounds and it's covered with shiny yellow crap? Sign me up!" Um, sorry, Mr. T., but no. This thing finds its best use as a bludgeon after you run out of money to buy its absurdly expensive ammo. And who needs a gold-plated bludgeon?

FN P90
2 - FN P90 - Ok, so I suppose you can use this as a home defense carbine, but really, why? Its 5.7x28mm cartridge is inferior to the .223 ballistically, is harder to find, and more expensive. You can, however, squirt a lot of it out in a hurry, thereby lighting a $100 bill on fire. There was an episode of "CSI" in which the P90 was featured. They portrayed it as the ultimate high rate of fire weapon that civilians should not own, and stated that they couldn't be found in the U.S., nor could the ammo be purchased. Both statements (which of course helped lead to solving the case) were total crap, as was its rate of fire in the civilian semi-auto version. Semi-auto is semi-auto. The speed is limited by how fast you can wiggle your finger, just like with any other civilian weapon. Regardless, the gun controllers just love this one and think it's scary as hell. Maybe it is useful after all.

Honey Boo Boo in 15 years?
I bet there's a Pink Taurus Judge
under that dress somewhere.

3 - Pink Taurus Judge? [By Jason] - While I was visiting the new Gander Mountain in Florence, Alabama, I saw an adult-sized "Honey-boo-boo" caricature raving to her Bama clad family, "They got the pink judge baby! Can you believe it honey?! I gotta get it, it's pink and it's THE Judge!" She went on and on and on. Her husband was equally impressed. Here is a story that I tend to agree with: The Taurus Judge Is Just Not Very Good. I used to want one when I first saw it, but realized how pretty much anyone would be better served with something else.

[Back to Jeremy] -- I do see value in the versatility of the Judge. I think it could be a decent camping companion. Do I think it would be better at that than my S&W Model 60? No. Plus, the Judge also has numerous limitations, is oddly shaped, poorly balanced, and frankly ugly. The pink "HBB" model, however, made me leave it on this list without hesitation.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

History in the Air

Most people have heard of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Most people know that they were instrumental in exploring, mapping, and ultimately paving the way for the settling of the western half of North America by non-native people. What most people don't know about is the amazing piece of weaponry that traveled with Lewis and Clark on their journey.

The Girandoni Air Rifle, ca. 1803

Who would have thought that in 1804 there would have been an air rifle in existence? But that's precisely what Captain Meriwether Lewis chose, from the company of his many other rifles, to use in demonstrations to impress - and intimidate - the natives.

The Girandoni air rifle, used from 1780 to 1815 by the Austrian Army, fired .46 caliber lead round balls at velocities around 1,000 fps out to a useful range of about 150 yards! What's more, it could send those fast lead balls across the battlefield 21 times without reloading. Truly an incredible piece of weaponry for the day it was used, it would be impressive even today if such a rifle were on the market.

The typically single shot air rifles today boast about their .177 or .22 caliber pellets screaming at 1,000 to 1,200 fps. "Enough to easily take out a squirrel or small vermin at 100 yards or more!" they tout on their websites and box art.  Let's see them fire .46 caliber, probably 120 grain lead balls at those velocities - 21 times! - boasting enough power to take down a whitetail deer! 210 years after Captain Lewis used it to scare the crap out of Native Americans, the Girandoni still stands as a formidable weapon, and something to rightly be impressed and intimidated by. 

Learn more about it:
  • From the wiki page here
  • From a report by S.K. Wier titled "Firearms of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," (PDF. Go to page seven to learn about the Girandoni),
  • From this cool video from the National Firearms Museum (Special thanks to Andrew Bellware and his dad, Dan, for sending me this video. I had read about Lewis's air rifle in the past, but had never seen this video until it was forwarded to me recently.):
Update: For some reason the embedded YouTube video is not working or even appearing on my mobile phone. If you cannot see it below, please click here to watch it directly in YouTube.


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