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General Gun News
Using a Special .38 caliber Kynoch blank, the MkII Greener could rocket a light harpoon into any mechanical shark poking around Amity Island.
Built by Webley and Scott, the W.W. Greener martini-style action rifle was intended to help fish for large pelagics such as swordfish or tuna, but examples were famously used in a series of films featuring other large sea and interesting life.
The one that Ian with Forgotten Weapons breaks down in the above video comes complete with the original case, five harpoons, several lines, 90 MK II harpoon gun cartridges, a bore rod with cleaning attachments as well as two detachable line holders and is up for auction this month at RIA.
Throw in an M1 and you got yourself a deal.
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Venus Ramey, the first red-headed Miss Ms. America when she was crowned in 1944, graced bombers as nose art, helped sell war bonds, and once stopped a group of scrap thieves with a snub-nosed .38.
Reuters reports the 92-year-old activist died in her homes state on Sunday.
The Ashland, Kentucky native left home during WWII to help with the war effort and wound up as a 19-year-old competitor for Miss America after winning Miss District of Columbia. She went on to tour the country for a year, visiting servicemen and supporting the troops by hawking war bonds during a crucial period in the war when national morale was low due to climbing casualties and the public was souring of the campaign.
According to the Miss America organization, she not only received a special citation from the Treasury Department but “Miss America was seen as a political activist for the first time, as Venus worked with Senator Kaper of Kansas and Congressman Somner of Missouri in publishing their bills to gain suffrage for the District of Columbia.”
Ramey made headlines a decade ago after when, at age 82, she confronted four intruders on her farm while on her walker after a series of burglaries. Armed with a .38 snub nose, she shot out the men’s tires and held them at gunpoint until police arrived.
“I didn’t even think twice. I just went and did it,” she said at the time. “If they’d even dared come close to me, they’d be 6 feet under by now.”
Ramey’s gun use landed her spots on several late night talk shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Arrangements are pending and will be announced later by Morris & Hislope Funeral Home.
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The first Rifle World Championship in IPSC history was held in Russia this month, and apparently, Miculek had to show em how it was done.
The competition, which was open to professional competitors from all over the world, was sponsored by a number of European gun and ammo giants such as RWS, Kalashnikov, Barnaul, and others, but the visiting American competitors augmented heavily by Jerry Miculek and company, placed well in the land of Kalash.
“In all my accomplishments and 40+ World titles I believe the first IPSC World Rifle Championships in Russia stands out as the one for which I am most proud,” Miculek said. What made it so special and meaningful is that along with me, my wife Kay and daughter Lena also had successful matches.”
Other Americans that stood out were Timothy Yackley — who held an impressive 10th overall in open semi-auto out of 357 competitors, Brian Nelson, Ashley Rheuark, and Jose “JoJo” Vidanes who grabbed first in seniors open semi-auto. The events featured almost 600 competitors overall, from 40 nations, showing the increasing acceptance and popularity of practical shooting disciplines on the world stage.
Full results of the Rifle World Championships are here.
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The VSO Gun Channel got curious to see if a fidget spinner had the ballistic guts needed to bring out the best in a .50 caliber BMG incendiary round.
Using 640-grain Freedom Munitions APIs launched from an ArmaLite AR-50, they for sure bring the heat, but it does take a couple of tries before they get a nice “poof”.
Yet somehow, it still spins….what do they make these things out from?
Federal authorities said Friday the gunman in last week’s congressional shooting at a baseball field carried a list of Republican lawmakers’ names in his pocket, according to a report from USA Today.
It’s still unclear if the names on the list — which includes Republican Reps. Scott DesJarlais, Trent Franks, Mo Brooks, Morgan Griffith, Jim Jordan and Jeff Duncan, among others — were intended targets of 66-year-old James Hodgkinson’s rampage at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia Wednesday morning.
“The FBI continues to process evidence collected from various search sites in an effort to assess the potential motivations of the single shooter,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a press release Friday. “The U.S. Capitol Police and Alexandria Police Department internal investigations are ongoing.”
Hodgkinson, who authorities said spent the last few months living in a white van parked at a local YMCA, opened fire just after 7 a.m. Wednesday on Republican lawmakers and staffers practicing for a charity baseball game scheduled the next day.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise took a bullet to the hip and remains in serious condition at a D.C.-area hospital after undergoing three surgeries last week. A staffer, lobbyist and Capitol Hill police officer also suffered gunshot wounds during the attack.
Hodgkinson died at the hospital Wednesday after a shootout with Scalise’s security detail and the Alexandria Police Department.
His social media profile indicated Hodgkinson was a dedicated Bernie Sanders supporter who despised the Republican party and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
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Gun stocks for two major brands rose last week after a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game.
Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands rose 1.79 percent and 1.11 percent, respectively, in the hours after 66-year-old James Hodgkinson wounded four at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday morning — including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Both stocks typically react to shooting incidents “as investors gauge the potential implication gun demand,” according to Seeking Alpha.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed last week a 7.62mm caliber rifle and a 9mm handgun were recovered from the scene.
American Outdoor Brands is the nation’s top handgun retailer and some believe escalating tensions at home and abroad will ultimately bring profits to an industry trying to climb out of last year’s shadow.
“We are continuing to see brisk sales of self-defense and concealed carry firearms,” Justin Anderson, marketing director for Hyatt Guns, told Seeking Alpha earlier this month. “We’re also continuing to see new gun buyers. People are nervous about their safety, and rightly so. It’s a dangerous world we live in and American citizens know that we’re not immune to terrorist attacks. They’re taking the necessary steps to defend themselves.”
Daniel Defense expands its handguard options for both the DD5V1 and DD5V2 7.62 rifles, adding M-LOK attachment technology to securely mount accessories.
Previously, the rifles only came equipped with KeyMod handguard mounts. The addition of M-LOK technology to the Daniel Defense DD5 rifle platform allows customers to choose the attachment system that best suits their shooting needs.
Both the DD5V1 and DD5V2 boast a free-floating 15-inch MFR XS rail. The rail offers weight savings without sacrificing strength or durability.
The DD5 7.62 platform features a four-bolt connection system, optimized upper receiver, improved bolt carrier group, ambidextrous controls, configurable charging handle and a cold hammer-forged barrel.
Tipping scales at just over 8 pounds, Daniel Defense says the platform represents “some of the lightest, most maneuverable .308 designated marksman rifles ever built.”
The DD5V1 and DD5V2 with M-LOK are now available through Daniel Defense authorized dealers with a price tag for both models at $3,044.
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Copper Basin, manufacturers of bags and packs for hunting and hiking, introduced a new low-profile means of firearm storage with the Takedown Firearm Backpack.
Although the backpack appears to be an ordinary bag from the outside, inside it showcases its purpose built, tactical firearm transport capabilities.
The bag offers a quick access top flap fro rapid deployment of firearm components. The quick access top flap contributes to the pack’s complete fold open design. This design allows for unadulterated access to components and gear at the range or in the field.
Constructed to accommodate a variety of guns, the backpack can also work with firearms equipped with optics and bipods. Layers of structural foam obscure any contours or outlines. Additionally, the interior of the pack has been lined with fleece to both protect guns and gear while also reducing noise as they are jostled around.
The exterior of the Takedown Firearm Backpack includes multiple pockets sized for storing a range of gear. Built with rugged heavy duty zippers, the pack also boasts a stowaway strap that allows it to attach to the back of a seat for covert car carry.
“When we created the Takedown Firearm Backpack, our goal was to make it blend in and be as unassuming as possible. We chose nondescript colors and materials and avoided things like molle, solid black coloring, velcro or anything else that gave the outside observer any indication that a firearm was being transported. The backpack is purpose built, ready for rapid deployment and it looks great,” said Gary Cauble, Director of Sales and Marketing for Copper Basin, in a statement.
The Takedown Firearm Backpack touts a price right at $100.
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Leica announced three non-illuminated versions of its Magnus Riflescope series, introducing the Magnus 1.5-10×42, Magnus 1.8-12×50 and Magnus 2.4-16×56.
The new line offers lower pricing than its illuminated siblings, easing the strain on shooters just looking for the basics.
All non-illuminated variants tout light transmission of 92 percent and feature high contrast, enabling shooters to sight in targets even in unfavorable condition, according to the company.
The lightweight Magnus 1-5-10×42 model offers a 6.7-fold zoom factor. The compact riflescope can be used for stalking, hunting and shooting from tree stands. The scope is priced at $1,799.
The Magnus 1.8-12×50 serves up a 50mm objective lens with minimum magnification of 1.8x. Leica says the scope’s minimal vignetting paired with the effective diameter of the lens offers light gathering ability and improved resolution of details “from dawn to dusk.” The riflescope enters the market at $1,949.
The Magnus 2.4-16×56 model features a large diameter front lens with transmission value of around 92 percent. Offering a maximum magnification of 16x, the company says the variant is the perfect addition to long range setups. The last of the new non-illuminated scopes is priced at $2,199.
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These days there seems to be an endless number of small concealable handguns and this trend shows no sign of letting up. The Smith & Wesson Shield, the Ruger LCP, and LC9, Beretta’s Nano and Pico, offerings from Glock and so many others the choices — it’s mind numbing. Regardless, I know of one often overlooked pocket pistol that has been around for almost seventy years and has a proven track record worldwide: the Makarov PM pistol.Basics
The Makarov PM (the correct pronunciation is Mah-KAR-ov) was introduced in 1951 in the Soviet Union as a successor to the Tokarev TT-33 pistol. Essentially the Makarov was a copy of the venerable Walther PP pistol, but the Russians simplified the design and came up with a handgun with only 28 parts.
The Makarov was chambered in 9x18mm, a very capable round, falling somewhere between the .380 ACP and the 9mm Parabellum in terms of power. However, the 9x18mm has a slightly larger bullet diameter, .365 inch compared to the .355 inch of the other two. The standard 9x18mm has a 95 grain FMJ and an average muzzle velocity of about 1,000 fps. While it is no screamer, it is also no slouch. The magazine holds eight rounds and has the European style heel release on the butt of the pistol.Service life
The Makarov PM quickly became the Cold War era issue handgun for several Soviet Bloc countries, remaining so for many years. While the AK-47 rifle became the symbol of Soviet military might, the Makarov was the handgun in every holster behind the iron curtain.
It wasn’t just the Russian military and police that were supplied with the Makarov — it was produced in East Germany, Bulgaria and China as the Type 59. There have even been rumors over the years of Makarovs that were manufactured in Cuba. While the Cuban armed forces and police carried Makarov PMs, no one can say if they were made in Russia or under license. Maybe now that Fidel Castro is in the middle of a really long blink we may get that answer someday. Some say there were also Romanian Makarov PM’s but like their Cuban cousins so far the rumors have never panned out.
There of course have been other handguns produced in 9x18mm, mostly made by Soviet nations who chose not to adopt the Makarov PM. Poland had the small but reliable P-64 and later the P-83 Wanad. Czechoslovakia made the CZ-82 and Hungary made the PA-63. Although this too was a Walther PP copy, the PA-63 used an aluminum frame that is not as durable as the all steel frame of the Makarov PM.
On a more curious side note, the Makarov PM is to date the only gun that has ever (officially) been to space — the pistol was part of the survival kits stowed aboard Soyuz spacecraft.Impressions
My own Makarov PM happens to be an East German version that I found in my local gun shop about a year ago. It came with two magazines, a black East German police holster and a box of fifty rounds of ammo for $350. It was made in 1961 and is in excellent condition. East German Makarovs are said to be the finest of all the variants but they all work equally well. It is not uncommon to see the more common Bulgarian Makarovs for the price of a new Ruger LCP or occasionally less.
I was impressed with the Makarov from the first time I shot it, especially crispness of the trigger. There never seems to be a set trigger pull for them, but the double action pull on most averages about 13 pounds and the single action at around five pounds. The Makarov is of course like most DA/SA pistols: the first shot is double action and all that follow are single action with the safety acting as the decocker.
For a military surplus handgun, I find the double action pull to be very smooth even though it is on the strong side. The single action pull is downright pleasant, something you would not expect on a gun handed out to troops and police in a communist country. All of the Makarov PMs were sighted in at 25 yards and often you will see a faint line on the top of the slide matching up with a faint line on the rear sight which is adjustable for windage. That’s where the gun was sighted in from the factory. The all steel frame, blowback action and mild caliber all make for a handgun that shoots better than you would expect for a service pistol.Safety
Field stripping the Makarov is a breeze. Once you are sure the gun is unloaded, the trigger guard drops down similar to Walther designs, and then the slide lifts off from the rear. The PM also has a free floating firing pin, which on the off chance it breaks, can be swapped out of the slide in seconds by turning the safety up and lifting it out of the slide. Once it’s off the frame, the firing pin comes out and can be swapped for a new one.
For those who wonder if that free floating firing pin is a hazard, the state of California allows Bulgarian Makarovs to be sold within its borders after tests were performed where the gun was dropped upwards of 200 times on a live round with the safety on without a single problem. With the Makarov PM the thing to remember is to keep the safety on if you intend to carry it.Ammo
For those out there who think that because 9x18mm ammunition is not on the shelves of every big box store it’s not readily available, think again. Winchester, PPU, and others make FMJ rounds that work great in all the Makarov PMs. While there is not a huge selection of personal defense ammunition, Hornady makes Critical Defense rounds for the 9mm Makarov with a 95 grain FTX bullet and an advertised muzzle velocity of 1,000 fps. Silver Bear puts out a 94 grain hollow point that also is rated at 1,000 fps.
If you want a round with some real punch, Buffalo Bore puts out a pair of 9×18 +P rounds, a 115 grain hard cast flat nose listed at 1,000 fps and a 95 grain JHP listed at 1,125 fps. For those who want to reload their own ammo, brass and dies are out there and Hornady even makes a XTP bullet that is the correct .365 inch.
One point of note on the Makarov pistols is that even though .380 ACP is close to the 9x18mm round, it is not interchangeable and cannot be shot out of these guns. However there are .380 aftermarket barrels that can be put in the Makarov PM with a barrel press. Shooters can even use the same magazines.A concealed carry option?
So with all that, how does the Makarov PM compare to other small frame handguns that are so popular right now? The Makarov has an overall length of 6.3 inches and a height of five inches, which is only slightly larger than the Glock 43 which is 6.25 inches long and 4.25 inches tall. The Makarov PM is also only slightly larger than the Ruger LC9 in both length and height.
In my opinion, the Makarov PM is a too often overlooked concealed carry alternative. For the price of some new models, you get an all steel handgun in a proven design that did its bid for the state for decades and in some parts of the world, still does. The Makarov PM, while long since out of vogue compared to the new polymer wonder guns with their high capacity magazines, can still do everything today for the average person here in the land of the free and the home of the brave that it did for America’s enemies in the heyday of the Cold War.
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The Propper company has been in the tactical garb business a long time. The company has a new women’s line, and I’ve had the good fortune to test some of those items as well as others. This first of multiple Propper wear reviews covers the short sleeve summer weight tactical shirt and the Kinetic pants, both of which are also offered in men’s styles.
This range test involved two entire days in 90-plus degree heat and bright sun, and yes I wore the items two days in a row before washing. The days involved carrying target frames and weights, shooting, and demos in prone and kneeling. Lots of bending and twisting was included; none of the locations where I work have permanent target materials, so every range day is also furniture-moving day.
First, the shirt. I was immediately impressed by the UPF 50 rating. Sun damage is virtually unavoidable where I live, so the chance to minimize it is welcome. From the moment I donned the shirt, I was struck by its combination of stretch and crispness in texture. It’s constructed of 94 percent ripstop nylon and six percent spandex. The cut is generous, with wider sleeves than I normally choose, but I was soon grateful for the way they let air circulate.
Other features of the shirt include Velcro tabs on the chest pockets that keep them from curling, a large and hidden left-side accessory pocket, and a pen slot on the left chest pocket. All these features make it great for recreational or duty use. I love that the collar will stand up straight all day to prevent neck sunburn, and then fold down like new when the sun sinks low. The pockets have deep pleats, making it not so obvious when small items like lip balm or business cards are in there. Hooray for pockets that are more than just decoration.
In the back, over the shoulders is mesh, hidden by shirt material. As with other shirts of this caped design, I found this to be the place where I sweated most. It’s not logical, but it happens. Remarkably, though I sweated quite a lot over two days, the shirt never had wet spots, including under the arms, and didn’t get stinky — otherwise I’d not have attempted a two-day trial. It gets outstanding marks for odor control!
The fit has a waist cut into it, which proved functional as I never struggled with fabric bunching up above my pistol or mags. I did have to re-tuck the back in once during the trial—not unreasonable considering the work I was doing. The length is about right and thankfully longer than most women’s shirts that come untucked frequently.
The extreme high-performance nature of this fabric where sweat is concerned is a reflection of Propper’s “fast drying” claim. I washed the shirt according to directions — in cold with like colors, followed by machine drying on low. Much to my surprise, in a full load of other wet clothes, this shirt came out of the dryer bone-dry in a mere seven minutes. This thing redefines quick-drying.
Propper made me thankful once again as I pulled the shirt out of the dryer. See, I detest ironing, and was sure that such a crisp garment would be demanding in that department. But no — it came out of the dryer looking ready for another range day. Were I headed to a business meeting in the shirt, I’d iron it, but it’s not at all sloppy out of the dryer for outdoor wear. Propper got the summer weight tactical shirt right, and it’s worth every penny of its $44.99 price tag.
On to the Kinetic pants. Let’s get right to the point: I love them. For years, I’ve chosen men’s pants for range, and more recently casual wear, because of the DUPS (Disappearing or Useless Pocket Syndrome) trend in women’s wear, sadly including range wear. Not these! Propper put two—count ‘em race fans—two front “cell phone” pockets on the thighs. Not only are they there, I can even get my hand into them! This is real cause for celebration in my book.
The cargo pockets include layers of storage, but the main compartment is easy to access and just deep enough to shove rifle mags into during tactical reloads. During the test, I carried my concealment gun in a holster, indexed for drawing, in one cargo pocket. It made no ugly bulge and stayed concealed and in place throughout.
Lovely deep front slash pockets are like any men’s pants. Propper thoughtfully added a reinforced horizontal place at the bottom that kept my folder secure without worry. With traditional slash pockets over my short-waisted body, blades often begin to creep up and out. Not so with these pants. Wearing them, I felt like you do when you meet that friend who finally “gets” you.
An unusual feature is a second loop of matching material over the front belt loops. It’s handy if you need to carry a badge or stow sunglasses.
Like the shirt, the Kinetic pants have some stretch to them. I’ve wondered for years why no one puts just a little stretch in tactical pants. It made my range time so much more comfortable, and getting into prone and kneeling was completely unimpeded. Hallelujah!
The zipper is heavy duty. One feature I’m undecided on is the long satin pull tab. Tucking it back in after nature breaks takes a bit of effort. A couple of times on a very full day, I looked down to see it sticking out from the zipper flap… it’s darker than the coyote brown pant material and rather noticeable.
Pocket lining matches the pants, contributing to a professional look. The 79 percent polyester, 21 percent cotton ripstop, plus what Propper calls NEXstretch (not sure how that math works) washed up clean and dried fast and is ready to wear without ironing. The fabric is treated with a dirt resistant substance of some kind, and it was nice that most debris just brushed off while steel stains from carrying targets washed out without extra treatment.
These pants are my new favorite. Someone at Propper kept real women who do real work in mind when these were designed. Kudos, Propper! The Kinetic Pant is more practical than most of its kind, and priced better too at $54.99.
It’ll be interesting to see if my love affair with Propper continues when I try more of their garments and boots in upcoming reviews.
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Georgia-based ammunition maker Atlanta Arms announced that the popular 6.5 Creedmoor round has now joined the company’s lineup of ammunition.
The 6.5 Creedmoor has seen a boom in popularity over the past year due to its improved ballistics and decreased price over .308 Winchester. The 6.5 Creedmoor round offers a lighter, sleeker projectile that delivers a high ballistic coefficient with less drag. Although the 6.5 Creedmoor load has been around for years, the rise in popularity of precision shooting in recent years paved the way for its booming success.
Atlanta Arms says its 6.5 Creedmoor load uses the 6.5mm Hollow Point Boat Tail 140 grain Sierra Matchking projectile combined with an Atlanta Arms brass casing. The accurate round averages 2,700 feet per second.
The company, who supplies ammo to the Army Marksmanship Unit as well as competition and professional shooters, says the 6.5 Creedmoor load will be offered in quantities of 20 rounds per box for $25 and 400 rounds per case from $500.
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Gun maker Arex continues rolling out new variations on the Rex Zero 1, introducing the Tactical model as the latest iteration.
The Rex Zero 1T boasts two color options, black and flat dark earth, as well as a 4.9-inch threaded barrel with protector. The 9mm pistol is equipped with the Rex Optics Ready System which aims to make the optics mounting process easier through the use of four plates. Each plate works alongside a major optics manufacturer’s optics. The ROR includes Trijicon, C-More, Shield/Jpoint and Eotech/Vortex/Burris/Docter/Insight/Meopta.
The pistol touts an ambidextrous safety and magazine release and its slide stop also serves as the de-cocker. The Rex Zero 1T can be operated either “cocked and locker” or safely de-cocked for double action/single action operation.
Outfitted with full length slide rails, the handgun’s Picatinny rail features a dust cover. High profile white dot steel sights and a large trigger guard for easier access with gloves round out the gun’s attributes.
The Rex Zero 1T ships with two 20 round capacity magazines and is priced at $869.99.
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Guard Dog expanded its series of bulletproof backpacks, launching the ProShield Smart featuring an integrated charging bank.
The ProShield Smart follows the company’s ProShield Pro design, offering expanded features on top of bulletproof protection. One of the backpack’s innovative features is the built-in charging bank, which allows mobile devices to plug directly into the charging bank for on-the-go power.
The bag offers 20 pockets and compartments for organization, including a compartment for large laptops and tablets that meets TSA guidelines for back opening. This permits users to keep the tech devices inside the bag when traveling. In addition to a dedicated laptop area, the ProShield Smart also boasts a RFID protected compartment.
The bulletproof backpack has been tested and certified by the National Institute of Justice and according to the company “weighs on ounces more than a non-armored backpack.”
Available in grey or black, the ProShield Smart doesn’t come cheap. The backpack carries a hefty price tag of $349.95.
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Browning launched the new Cynergy CX over and under shotgun series, designed to accommodate an array of shooting disciplines.
Browning says the Cynergy CX can easily be used for trap, skeet, sporting class as well as upland bird and small game hunting.
Two models kick of the Cynergy CX series — the Cynergy CX with wood stock and the Cynergy CX Composite Charcoal model. The CX model serves up a Grade 1 walnut stock with Inflex recoil pad while the Composite model features a charcoal gray composite stock with black rubber overmolding in the grip areas and an Inflex recoil pad. Both models feature a 60/40 point of impact and either a 30-inch or 32-inch barrel length.
The shotguns tout an ultra-low profile and lightweight design with adjustable length of pull. The CX lineup is equipped with ivory front and mid-bead sights in addition to Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones and three Invector-Plus Midas Grade choke tubes.
The standard CX model retails for $1,7399 while the the Composite model offers a price tag of $1,699.99.
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Rock Island Auction Company preps for its latest iteration of gun auctions, offering an antique French Gaulois No.1 Palm Squeezer Pistol.
The pistol, manufactured by Francaise d’Armes and Cycles de St. Etienne, was manufactured sometime between the 1890s and 1912.
RIA says the palm pistol, chambered in 8mm, is in good condition with minor replacement parts needed and portions of the metal rusted or slightly pitted. The Gaulois gun boasts a hard rubber grip and a 2 1/4-inch flat top barrel.
Like most palm pistols, the Galuois’ trigger is actuated by simply squeezing the gun to fire. Unlike popular palm pistols of that era, the Gaulois model touted a square design as opposed to a circular one. Equipped with a three position safety, the 10-ounce five shot semi-automatic handheld gun fell out of favor around 1911, replaced by Velo Dog revolvers.
The palm pistol comes with no sights as its design is meant to accommodate point shooting at extremely close distances.
The relic is expected to fetch a price between $800 and $1,200 at the upcoming June 22 auction.
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When you think about Smith and Wesson firearms made in 1940, what leaps to mind is the pre Model 10 .38 caliber Military & Police revolvers. What you may not know though is that the Smith half of this duo was also making in that very year a light rifle for an overseas ally in (what was then) a very un-American caliber. What follows is the cautionary tale of the Smith and Wesson Light Rifle.
And it does not have a happy ending.Why the abomination
In 1939, with Europe in a crisis and Japan making noises in the Pacific, Smith and Wesson was busy designing a light rifle to cash in on the crisis. Up until that time, Smith was a handguns-only company, specializing in revolvers. The company had missed more than a few lucrative contracts during the First World War, only picking up a handful sales of its large frame revolvers by default, and they wanted to have a good product ready for the next big one.Design
At the time, some of the most popular types of guns worldwide were the pistol caliber carbine sized, submachine guns such as the US-made Thompson, Finnish Suomi, the German MP28, and the Italian MAB 38. These contemporaries had fine artisanship and finish, an almost full-sized wooden stock, and a detachable box magazine. With the most popular caliber of these guns being 9x19mm Parabellum, S&W took the aforementioned shopping list of design points and created something unlike anything the company had done before or since.
With at least some money advanced to S&W by the British government (who were well aware of what Mr. Hitler was doing in Germany) the company moved forward with the design. Dubbed the 1940 Light Rifle, Smith’s gun used a 9.75 inch fluted barrel coupled to a heavy machined steel receiver. While measuring just 33 inches overall, the gun tipped the scales at 8.59 pounds with an empty magazine due to the solid nature of its construction.
Using a 20 round box magazine, the receiver had an over-engineered and very complicated magazine housing. This led an immediate action drill to be anything but. Like the STEN, Mac-10, Fox, and other submachine guns/carbines that followed it, the 1940 fired from an open bolt. This meant the rather heavy (17 ounce) bolt would slam forward in milliseconds upon firing with a tremendous amount of force. Once there, the action is of the straightforward blowback type but ejection is via a garbage chute style tube that feed empties through the same complicated magazine housing that chambered it.
The gun was designed in two different models, the Mk.1 and the Mk 2. The first model had a movable firing pin and simple safety device while the improved second model used a fixed firing pin and a more intricate safety.Failure to Launch
Problems with the weapon started popping up, only after a few of the guns arrived in Britain for testing. It seemed that the British army’s standard nine milly ammo at the time was on the +P+ side while the stuff the S&W engineers had worked with was much milder. This led to stressing, feeding problems, ejection problems, frowns and head shaking. The nail in the coffin though was that at about 1000 rounds, the receiver tube would snap off like a cartoon brought to life. Smith made design improvements, added a sleeve over the receiver tube, and did other fixes. He even went into damage control mode and courted additional trials. But he never really got the bugs worked out. Meanwhile he submitted the new gun to the US military as well, hoping for more success there.
Overall, the Model 1940 looks like a mechanic’s nightmare. Besides odd ergonomics, its weight, its hard to change magazine, and its failure to properly cycle ammunition with any sort of reliability, it was also more expensive to manufacture than era guns with new design options such as the later model Lanchester and STEN submachine guns — and all without the ability to fire fully-automatic. In all, fewer than 2000 of these guns were thought to be made in both variants.
The US passed on the design, instead selecting a combination of arms that included the vaunted M1 Carbine, the M3 Grease gun, and a redesigned version of the Thompson sub machine gun to do their light work. These designs not only worked better than the 1940, but they did not use 9mm to do it.
The Brits themselves were so unsatisfied with the design that they reportedly torched the 1227 guns they took possession of and deep sixed the remains at sea as if they were hiding Megatron. From a nation desperate enough to put such guns as the Northover Projector (a potato gun style weapon that fired Molotov cocktails) into full rate production—that’s saying something.Collectability and lessons learned
The story doesn’t end with the British donating their Smith 1940s to Davy Jones’ locker. In 1974 S&W inventory control specialists were going through an old warehouse and stumbled across 217 new 1940s packed for shipment in 10 gun crates, of which 137 were Mark-Is and 80 Mark-IIs. These guns were then sold to distributors in the following year and then passed on to the public. These few guns are still floating around in the states today and, having the triple rarity of (1) a S&W rifle (2) chambered in 9mm before it was considered cool, and (3) officially all destroyed, makes them crazy collectable. In the past decade, these nearly new (but C&R eligible!) guns have gone for over $5000 at auction. Keep this in mind if someone ever tries to sell you a funny looking semi-auto 9mm rifle with S&W factory markings that include “Patents 2213348 & 2216022’ for a good price.
In 1955, the first U.S.-made 9mm Parabellum pistol came off the assembly line from an American factory. It was the S&W Model 39 and it had a slightly better track run than their rifle in the same caliber.
And there went the neighborhood.
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We all love the idea of innovation, but there’s often a rough patch between an idea’s initial implementation and a market-ready version of the exciting idea. Doing something different from your peers sometimes leads to spectacular advances in a field, and other times it makes you look like an eccentric dork. The Chiappa Rhino sort of does both. There’s lots of good (albeit not original) ideas with the gun, but it’s far from perfectly executed. Combine that with the fact that it’s competing in a sphere of guns that’s tradition-oriented, and the Rhino is a tough sell.Overview
Designed by Emilio Ghisoni, Chiappa began producing the Rhino in 2010. Ghisoni has a long history of oddball revolvers, and the Rhino is comparatively tame. But it takes many of the key design cues from his previous guns.
The Rhino isn’t cheap, retailing for an MSRP between $1500 and $1100 depending on the model. Sold in a variety of barrel lengths, finishes, and calibers (including rimless cartridges like 9mm), the Rhino is a double-action revolver that mounts it’s firing chamber at the six o’clock position in the cylinder, and places the barrel low on the gun. This, coupled with a futuristic styling, makes it stand out in aesthetic and function. We’ll review both here, using an older 50DS as a test sample.Physical exam
My Rhino comes in at an overall length of 9.5 inches, and only weighs just under two pounds pounds—much lighter than any comparatively-sized revolvers on the market. This is because the majority of the Rhino is made of aluminum, with the barrel, cylinder, and part of the frame being steel. The weight is startling when you first pick the gun up. It has a wooden stock that slides into a small protrusion on the gun’s frame, removable using a hex wrench for cleaning or maintenance.
Speaking of maintenance, if you have to do any serious work on the interior of a Rhino, good luck. I have a lot of experience with double-action revolvers and I’m confident inside any Smith & Wesson. But the labyrinth of delicate, tiny, and mobile components that form the innards of the Rhino are daunting. I’ve taken it apart to deep clean it, and regretted it. While I don’t question the mechanism’s durability or cleverness, you definitely are paying a toll in complexity for innovation.
Placing the Rhino’s side plate back on, there’s some oddities to it’s function on the exterior as well. The “hammer” on the rear of the gun is a cocking lever. Pulling the lever rotates the chamber and puts the trigger into single-action. It also raises a little red cocking indicator on the gun,. rear of the sights. The fantastic rear sights are adjustable for windage and elevation, providing an excellent sight picture and using nice broad screwheads you won’t have to worry about mangling much. My Rhino is an older model that had a basic black front ramp sight; new ones come with fiber optic sights.
The Rhino’s cylinder release is also different—a latch you push down with your thumb opens the hexagonal cylinder, and a small ejector rod works as you’d expect. It takes getting used to, but this mechanism works fine and I’ve never felt it impedes my ability to reload quickly.
The Rhino also sports a broad, square target trigger — an interesting choice for a gun modeled for self-defense like the 200DS or all-around use. I’ve not seen the Rhino marketed as a Bullseye gun, though I wouldn’t discount it in this realm. The trigger is unfortunately sharp on the edges and starts to take a toll on the finger when used for rapid firing in longer sessions.
All Rhino models share the same frame up to about the firing cone, at which point, the barrel shrouds are applied in what appear to be blocks. This means all guns feature seams. It doesn’t bother me—the gun is so unconventional looking that this is hardly an issue, I think. The four inch to six inch models offer a small underslung rail, while the 60DS also offers a top-mounted rail.Aesthetics
This is such a subjective topic. There’s no question the Rhino stands out in a crowd. Some people will love this gun, and others will hate it based on the looks alone, and this isn’t trivial — in the realm of revolvers, where form in some sense precedes function given the abundance of cheap and wildly reliable autoloaders, looks matter.
I think the Rhino looks awesome. I can’t really convince people one way or another. Let the pictures speak for the gun.Performance
No matter how cool (or ugly) the gun is, at the end of the day it has to shoot well. And I can say in some senses, the Rhino is a fantastic shooter, but has significant failings.
Obviously, the low-slung barrel makes a difference compared to most revolvers. The first time I fired my Rhino I started laughing because the recoil impulse is so strange I didn’t know what to think. Does it diminish recoil? No. The gun’s low barrel axis and very light frame mean you just feel it differently (it doesn’t make a .38 Special feel like a .22 LR). It pushes the gun back straight into your strong hand.
Does it allow for some fast splits? Absolutely. Is hot .357 ammo punishing? Very much so, especially given the trigger and trigger guard’s shape, which are prone to biting your hand a bit.
But the low barrel axis isn’t the most notable thing about the Rhino when shooting it; it’s the trigger. The trigger is horrible in double action. It’s heavy and inconsistent, the worst of both worlds. Sometimes I find myself staging the trigger because the pressure required to advance it gets so heavy. I’ve measured the trigger requiring 18 pounds of pressure to drop the hammer. Make no bones about it—the double action trigger is horrible.
It also has a horrible tendency to short-stroke, so you can’t ride the trigger. It will rotate the barrel but not reset the firing pin and when you pull the trigger, you’re not shooting. If you’re trying to shoot as fast as possible this is an easy mistake to make and you have to consciously train to let the trigger reset all the way, with no pressure applied to it whatsoever.
The single action, on the other hand, is one of the best handgun triggers I own. Cocking it isn’t easy; no butter-smooth glide of a hammer down like my Model 27, but rather, hard push accompanied by some mechanical sounds and the cocking lever goes down, then springs back up. But once you get the hang of cocking it, the single-action trigger goes off with a feather touch. I think this may be a surprisingly viable gun for bullseye shooting.
Related to the cocking lever, I removed the Rhino’s little red cocking indicator after a few trips to the range. It’s annoying to see a red stud peeking up every time you pull the trigger and doesn’t help me remember the condition of the gun, as this is purely a range toy. I didn’t need it so I took it out. The gun still works the same.
Also worth noting is that over a session of shooting, the Rhino gets hot fast. Between the thinner frame of the cylinder and the light construction, this is to be expected, but it can sneak up on you. I’d also advise users to be cautious with the ejector rod. It’s spindly, and I haven’t had an issue with it, but I wouldn’t mash it with the confidence I do on my Security Six.
So, the trigger is great, or it sucks. But beyond that and eliminating human factors as much as I can, I also want to say that the Rhino is superbly accurate! In a ransom test, it shoots exceptionally well, better than any handgun I own when loaded with .38 wadcutters. While this is by a narrow margin compared to my next most accurate gun, it impressed me. Usually you can’t blame a gun for poor accuracy, and this is half-true with the Rhino—I’d spread the blame for poor groups between my own ineptitude and the double-action trigger.Conclusions
Normally, I really think hard about what a gun is for, who should buy it, and if it’s a good value. The Rhino clearly sits outside this perspective as it’s a novelty gun. It offers some cool ideas on a platform that doesn’t offer significant improvements over lower-priced, tried-and-true alternatives that are more accessible to most people. But I don’t think anybody is considering a Rhino as their first handgun. If you are, let me say—stop.
But if you’re like me and you’re a bit of a gun hipster, or just love revolvers and want something different, the Rhino deserves a look. Not necessarily because of performance, or filling a role—but because it’s weird and cool, and sometimes that novelty is enough.
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Federal immigration officials on Wednesday announced the arrest of 39 MS-13 gang members in New York City over a monthlong stretch.
A total of 45 gang members were arrested during the effort, according to a press release from U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The arrests were part of Operation Matador, a multi-agency initiative including ICE, Homeland Security Investigations, the Transnational Organized Crime Initiative, and local law enforcement agencies.
All 45 arrestees were men. They were nationals from four different countries: 27 from El Salvador, 11 from Honduras, 5 from Mexico, and 2 from Guatemala.
Several of the men arrested had prior felony weapons charges.
“These individuals are members of a violent street gang actively wreaking havoc in the community,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “This unified effort is about keeping New York citizens safe.”
Two members of the Sureños gang were arrested. Other arrestees were members of the 18th Street Gang, the Latin Kings and Los Niños Malos.
“Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang, have been convicted of violating … any federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity, or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source,” says the release from ICE.
Most of the arrests — 33 of them — happened in Suffolk County, on Long Island. Twelve of the arrestees, all of them confirmed MS-13 gang members, crossed the border as unaccompanied minors. Some of those arrested will be immediately removed from the country, and others will begin immigration proceedings and go before an immigration judge.
Homeland Security Investigations has been involved in the arrest of more than 200 MS-13 gang members so far this year.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions specifically singled out MS-13, telling them, “we are coming for you.”
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The police officer who shot and killed a man during a traffic stop in Minnesota last summer was acquitted of all charges Friday, sparking thousands of people to protest through the streets of St. Paul.
The jury spent just 27 hours over five days deliberating before handing down a not guilty verdict for 29-year-old St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, according to the Star Tribune. He was facing one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of reckless discharge of a firearm.
Yanez, a Mexican-American, shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile, who was black, last July during a traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile told Yanez he was licensed to carry a firearm and then reached for his wallet. Yanez fired his weapon seven times at Castile. Five of those bullets hit him.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live. The video shows a frantic Yanez yelling and pointing his weapon at Castile, who sat slumped over and bloodied in the driver’s seat.
“He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out of his pocket and he let the officer know he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet. And the officer shot him in his arm,” Reynolds says in the video.
“I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off it,” Yanez yells.
Authorities later confirmed that Castile was licensed to carry.
Yanez didn’t react Friday as the verdict was read. His attorneys said they were “satisfied” with the outcome.
“We were confident in our client,” said attorney Tom Kelly. “We felt all along his conduct was justified. However that doesn’t take away from the tragedy of the event.”
One juror said the jury was split 10-2 earlier in the week for acquittal. He said the two holdouts were not the jury’s only two black jurors.
The city of St. Anthony announced after the verdict that Yanez would receive a “voluntary separation agreement” and would no longer serve as an officer there.
“I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota,” said Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, at a news conference after the verdict was read. “My son loved this city and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away.”
Protests late Friday shut down portions of Interstate 94, but there were no reports of any violence.
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