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Saturday, January 26, 2008


Well Friday was fun. I suppose.

You see, a while ago I got me a Winchester Model 94. as in 1894. The original 1894 rifles were designed by John Browning - who also made other legendary rifles such as the 1911 .45 pistol, the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle).30 caliber and the M2 .50 caliber "Ma Duce" machine gun.

My Winchester is not an original. It was made much more recently.

The 1911, BAR, and M2 are still in production today, largely as they were designed by Browning way back then.

This is the Winchester Model 94. Back in 1894 it was the latest and greatest. One of the first multiple shot (repeating) rifles mass produced. And it used the then new smokeless powder, as opposed to black powder which makes a large cloud. Also smokeless powder could create higher pressures and therefore develop more power.

But today it is just a curiosity. A replica of a primitive rifle from a bygone era. It can not use high capacity magazines, and it can not rapid fire. The rifle I have can not even have a scope attached.

But it shoots well. The sights are a little off. It shoots to the right of the point of aim. No big deal, I can adjust the sights to correct that. I was shooting 170 grain loads - which are heavy for a 30-30. There may be heavier 30-30 bullets, I really do not know. The rifle is light and it kicks enough with the 170 grain bullets for me. Next time I take it out I will get some 150 grain loads for it. The recoil will be less, and I suspect the rifle will be more accurate. The Winchester lever action rifles like the 150 grain bullets better than the 170 grain bullets.

And while I was going all the way to to the range with the rifle, I figured why not bring the Smith 5903. I was only going to take 2 boxes (40 rounds) of 30-30 ammo, so I had to bring something else to make the trip all the way out to the range worth it.

The Smith and Wesson 5903 is just a 9mm pistol, which could be the most common pistol caliber out there. Originally used in the German made Luger, many armies considered the 9mm to be underpowered. Some people still do. But the 9mm has proved itself. It does not have a lot of recoil, and packs more than enough power to do what it does.

The 5903 has a polymer frame and a stainless steel barrel, slide, spring, and recoil spring guide. The frame weighs almost nothing, all the weight is in the slide and barrel. So the gun feels top heavy. No big deal though. You get used to that quickly.

The gun was intended to be marketed at law enforcement. It has some cool safety features that a cop might want. You can chamber a round, and then either carry it hammer back safety off so the first shot is single action (bad idea, I think that Smith recommends not to do this) or drop the hammer using the safety (gun will not fire this way but the hammer does drop) and then the first shot is double action. What this means is that you pull the trigger and the hammer moves back then drops. The trigger pull is longer than with a single action, and the trigger weight is greater too. MUCH safer to carry in double action / single action mode.

Also if you drop the magazine, the gun will not fire. So if you are a cop and end up fighting over your own gun, all you have to do is press the magazine release button then let go of the weapon and step back. The bad guy gets your gun, but he can not fire it unless he picks up the magazine. By that time you have your backup weapon.

The 5903 can also use a high capacity magazine. But you do not really need one of those. I have one but never use it. There is no point. If you can not hit the target with 10 bullets (plus one in the chamber if you are so inclined) you are not going to hit the target with 15 rounds.

The 9 also shoots well. But it does not like the cheap ass Russian ammo I was feeding it. With the cheap ass Russian ammo every shot required me to push the slide closed. Another range patron let me have 5 rounds he hand loaded using good brass and the gun functioned perfectly.

So no more cheap Russian crap ammo for the Smith. Which is a shame. The Russian stuff is cheaper and therefore more affordable than other ammo. Going to the range can be very expensive.

Also accuracy using the cheap Russian crap is not very good.

Hand loading is the way to go. This is the only way to tune loads to a gun. Bullet weight, powder type, and powder amount does make a difference. A big difference. Once I almost got reloading stuff. I used to go to the range more. But now I hardly ever go, so the expense of reloading equipment and supplies can not be justified.

The only reason I went Friday was because I already had the ammo. Otherwise the expense of buying ammo would not have been justifiable. I need that "economic stimulus" check like 2 weeks ago. But at the same time, I want to refuse the check and instead tell someone to cash my check in pennies, then stick each and every penny up their ass one at a time.

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Blogger Emma Sometimes said...

Hubby was admiring your new acquisition.

Do you really like the 9mm? I prefer the Baby Eagle .40 over any other handgun. AK47 is rifle of choice, but I don't care what it is when its someone coming out of the shadows in a dark parking lot.

I read your comment at Invisible Woman's blog. I think you should be a little more PC and bash Muslims, Mormons and Catholics equally if you have to bring up us money hungry Jesus freaks. Equal Opportunity Bashing please.

Blogger Emma Sometimes said...

By the way, was it Wolf ammo?

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Emma - I think I was making a comment about the mega churches more than any sect.

The 9mm is OK. I really like my .45 the best. That thing is really nice. But it would be a scary carry gun because the trigger is so light. Great for target shooting however. When I pack heat, and this is very rare, I have a Smith .40. More punch than the 9, not as much as the .45, and it is double action for the first shot. So it is harder to have a misfire.

The AK is OK. Not terribly accurate, but very rugged and reliable. I would get a Colt AR-15 if I really wanted a military style gun. I already have a few very nice SKS rifles, only one of which was ever fired. By me. I got three Yugoslavian SKS rifles in unfired condition. Two of them are still wrapped up in paper and clogged with anti corrosion grease. Same caliber as the AK, about the same accuracy, only 5 rounds fit in the magazine.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Oh yea, it WAS Wolf ammo. Cheap Russian crap. I also used some other "I do not remember the name on the box" Russian 9mm ammo that came in 20 round boxes. Little tiny minimalist packages, no foam just a cardboard grid thing and a box. I am all for reduced packaging and all so I got a few hundred rounds at a gun show for cheap. Crap. It causes gun malfunctions.

No more Russian ammo for the Smith. The Ruger 9mm seems to be more forgiving. And then there is the Hi-Point 9mm carbine rifle that does not care if it is fed Russian ammo.

Now talk about cheap - but that is the Hi-Point 9mm carbine. I think I paid $175 for it brand new.

I got too much shit. Really. I have rifles, handguns, and a shotgun. Mostly bolt rifles. Older stuff. Former Military rifles. 8mm Mausers, Russian WWII era long guns (Mosin-Nagants), some Swiss stuff, a British .303, an American made Savage .303 stamped "US Government Property" as a Lend-Lease gun, and so on. It just goes on and on.

I have so much stuff, I have to think about what it is I have!

Blogger Scarlet W. Blue said...

I like a .44Magnum myself. I like when I pull it out and they go, "My, that's a big one."

Blogger Emma Sometimes said...

haha @ scarlet...

I know what you mean about cheap ammo. I don't shoot much anymore. Hubby does occasionally, but has eliminated most of his collection since we left the midwest 5 years ago. 2 M1 Garands, one from '43, original with a refurbished stock. Those things are HEAVY. That cosmoline they pack those rifles in stinks to high heaven. I can't stand that smell. Anyway, collections are impossible with tight budgets and then enter the kid factor. Sell em and be done.

Colorado, we'd go out in the sticks and shoot, but here, you pay range fees $$$$.

I was wondering the other day, do you have any kids?

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Scarlet - my largest handgun is a .357 magnum. That is large enough. Actually I have a larger caliber handgun, but it is another primitive replica of an 1850s era black powder Army revolver. Large caliber, low power. I may get a .44 magnum one day, but only if I find a really good deal on a revolver. REALLY good deal. .44 magnum ammo is expensive. But the recoil on a .44 magnum is not playing games - and really not too fun to target shoot with. It is a hunting revolver, not a target shooter.

Emma - I have a M1 Garand. It is heavy. Ammo gets heavy too. This is one reason the US Military went with the AR-15. The use of composite material makes the rifle lighter without making it weaker, and the ammo weighs less you you can carry more of it.

No kids here. Just stuff. And a few cats. And more stuff. I can not afford stuff and kids :)

Range fees are only $9 here. Not too bad. But still, I do not go very often. I used to go more frequently. At one time I almost got into reloading. If I get back into shooting then I will have to reload. Otherwise - who can afford it??

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

My father used to have a little gadget that could be used to refill spent bullet casings. One year he also made some fireworks out of gunpowder and iron filings in a tin can. It melted part of the sidewalk--no joke!
For a college professor sometimes my father didn't consider all the possible consequences of his actions. However, in his defense, I don't think anyone could have foreseen it melting the sidewalk!

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

CM - Iron filings in a tin can huh? Sure that was not zinc or magnesium? I know that magnesium will burn. It creates a bright white light and burns very hot. The gun powder would be enough to ignite magnesium powder. Hell a match could ignite magnesium powder.

I need to get a gadget to reload spent cases. Maybe one day I will get one. I need dies for the following calibers:

8mm Mauser
.303 British
30-30 Win
7.5x55mm Swiss

I think that about covers it for rifles!

.357 / .38 Special

I got WAY too much stuff.

Blogger Fuzz said...

We can still shoot around here. Just a short walk down to the creek. Shoot, we can shoot in the back yard if we want, but I prefer a better back stop. Ammo is too high though.
I got one of those little 25's that folks shoot themselves in the ass with. It's easy to hide and it's better than nothing.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Fuzz - The range is not too far from me. And the range fees are reasonable. It is a County Park, so it is designed to be open and accessible to the general public.

Ammo is expensive. Ammo costs prevent me from going out so often. Although .22 ammo is pretty cheap. If I want to get back into shooting I will have to reload. Reloading lowers the cost significantly, once you reload enough ammo.

The local range has banned .25 pistols, because the target frames are steel and the slow velocity .25 tend to ricochet off the frames. They also sometimes ricochet off the ground or off the telephone poles / wood things that mark off the ranges. But a .25 makes a very good snake gun for the woods. Load snake shot! Otherwise you could get a ricochet.


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