Friday, August 30, 2013

A Case for Big Bore Guns

.45 Colt Single Action Revolver. A classic big bore handgun.
You may have seen a photo-meme posted on the All For Gun Blog Facebook page of a fellow in a tree with a huge bear climbing toward him. (See below) The bear has teeth bared and appears very angry. The drawing is captioned “Firearms – More useful than a camera.” While humorous, it’s serious at the same time. Over the years I’ve read of several accounts of folks finding themselves in exactly that place, saving themselves with a sidearm. One such account described how numerous shots from a .357 Magnum at near point-blank range failed to discourage an angry bear, but did apparently back it off by the time all shots were fired. I believe it was told that the bear walked away after the encounter. The person writing of his near-death experience with that bear said he purchased a .44 Magnum Redhawk as soon as he got back to civilization.

Hopefully you will never find yourself in such a predicament. But the story illustrates that it takes quite a lot of power, delivered as shock and physical damage to vital organs, for a bullet to quickly stop an angry critter that’s high on adrenalin. If you read my article, “.22’s and Monster Stew,” you saw that even a squirrel can become aggressive and hard to stop when it’s riled. That is, hard to stop if your weapon is not devastating enough for the size animal you may be confronting.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hear Better Without Losing It: 3M Peltor Tactical Sport Reviewed

Are you or have you ever met a war veteran or career soldier who could hear well?  I hope so, but too many have lost their normal hearing. Guns are loud by nature, as are helicopters and other military aircraft. Repeated gun blast exposure and long term exposure to high noise levels can permanently destroy the little features of your ears that allow you to hear normal sound, rendering you “hard of hearing.” One of the worse cases I personally encountered was a fellow I worked with many years ago who had been on a naval ship during WWII. His combat job was to stand on deck with binoculars below a cruiser’s big dual-gun turret to spot where the shells hit, calling in aiming adjustments to the gunnery crew. Needless to say, that is about as bad as it gets for gunfire noise exposure. He had worn earmuffs but in his day nothing stopped the sound of those mighty blasts.

When the OSHA law was passed, my employer appointed me to get our steel fabrication plant into compliance with it. As it turned out, hearing protection was one of the greatest challenges. Forming, punching and stamping steel parts is LOUD – usually far above the acceptable levels set out in the OSHA rules. So if the sound levels could not be reduced, then hearing protection had to be provided for everyone working inside the plant.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Springfield Model 1866 Breech-Loading Rifle: A Frontier Game Changer

The Springfield Model 1866 is famous for the impact it made on the frontier during Red Cloud's War due to the fact that the rate of fire was vastly superior to the standard muzzleloading rifles the Native Americans were accustomed to facing in battle. The bonus of an almost tripled rate of fire in addition to being able to load the rifle while laying in a prone position negated the commonly effective Indian tactic of drawing a volley of fire with distractions before charging with superior numbers to overwhelm the slower loading musket equipped soldiers.

"Originally developed as a means of converting rifled muskets to breechloaders, the [1866] ultimately became the basis for the definitive Model 1873, the first breech-loading rifle adopted by the United States War Department for manufacture and widespread issue to U.S. troops."

Specifically this weapon saw its most significant action during two skirmishes along the Bozeman Trail: The Hayfield Fight and the Wagon Box Fight, where forces vastly outnumbered repelled attacking Natives with the aid of this tool. It is amazing how the slightest adjustments to standard weapons can make such an impact on the battlefield. 

An interesting thing for me personally is that my father was given one of these rifles as a gift from a family friend. I don't know if he has ever attempted to fire it or not (though I would imagine not, because of its age; though his might be the '73 model).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The "Experts"

Today I thought I would make a more bloggish style blog post than we usually do on AFG. Call it a "note from the editor" if you will, since normally we write articles as though this is a full-blown magazine, or at least we try to. However, as more people are reading and responding to our posts, following our Facebook page, and slowly beginning to interact (more of that, please), I feel like something needs to be said.

None of us are ex-military, ex-law enforcement officers, competitive shooters, certified firearms instructors, or in any way tactical experts. If you read the articles on the blog, including our personal bios, you will realize our backgrounds of growing up as outdoorsmen, hunters, and gun enthusiasts. We have certainly self-taught, and in some instances taken courses in tactical or defensive techniques, however. This may not make us the foremost "experts" on all things gun, but it has given us a level of knowledge and skill which - I can attest as having dealt with thousands of customers in firearms retail - is well above the average "Joe Noob."


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