Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blagojevich Gets the Boot!

Vehemently anti-Second Amendment Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been removed with a unanimous vote of the Illinois Senate. With his recent behavior varying from defiant to bizarre including comparing himself to Ghandi, Mandela, and King, the soon to be former governor painted himself every bit the slick machine politician he truly is as he still maintains he did “nothing wrong”. He still faces Federal corruption charges.

Unfortunately these sorts of politicians with absolutely no regard for the rights of Americans seem to be all too common in Illinois politics, and the state is in dire need of a political reorg. Democratic Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn would take Blagojevich’s place as governor with the conviction from the Illinois senate. There are various rumors on Illinois gunboards about his Second Amendment stance, but as of this posting I haven’t been able to find anything concrete.

Only time will tell if Quinn will represent an improvement over his predecessor, but given the blatant nature of the corruption Blagojevich represents, it’s hard to imagine any successor being worse!!!

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Mythical Plastic Gun

When Glock began exporting polymer framed pistols into the United States in the mid-80’s, the hysteria (and misinformation) caught like wildfire. With the media and anti-Second politicians throwing gasoline onto the fire, the public envisioned a scenario where hijackers could sneak undetectable weapons onto airplanes. Unfortunately as we learned on September 11th, all it takes is a couple of box cutters to hijack an airliner – no firearms needed. As a result, the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 was passed and then renewed in 2004 Public Law No: 108-174. Fortunately the NRA had some input into the scope of the bill, otherwise the Glock, Springfield XD, and any other polymer framed firearm would most likely be currently illegal.

Even after the passage of the passage of the 1988 act, "plastic guns" remained at the forefront of public consciousness. Die Hard 2 in 1990 featured villains armed with "Glocks" that would pass right through a metal detector without setting it off (in lines dutifully spoon-fed to the movie going world by the normally very pro-Second Bruce Willis):

"That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me! You know what that is? It's a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn't show up on your airport X-ray machines, and it cost more than you make here in a month."

Notice by 1990 we’ve moved from "plastic" to "porcelain" – that must have been the next planned target. "Plastic guns" are even mentioned during the arguments in the landmark Heller case. Yet one key fact seems to elude the public and many politicians – there is no, and never has been, a commercially produced all plastic or porcelain firearm, not from Glock, not from anyone else.

In fact, the Glocks that started the furory had enough metal in them to light up a metal detector like a Christmas tree (not to mention you need metallic cased ammo). While the frame may be polymer based, the mechanical components of the firearm including the slide, barrel, and nearly all of the firing components are steel. So even if you couldn’t pick up the frame on a metal detector or x-ray, all of the other components would not only be easily detectable, but detectable as gun components. Furthermore, the polymer used to manufacture the gun also opaque on an x-ray, so they show up quite readily going through airport scanners as well.

So why the furory? In many ways it represents an extension of the classic wedge strategy used by the anti-Second crowd to incrementally infringe the Second Amendment by creating phantom threats and legislating them away. As usual, the U.S. government (CIA and law enforcement) are not subject to such regulation, nor does U.S. regulation carry an ounce of weight with forces hostile to our nation. Ultimately "plastic guns", "cop killers" and other mythical firearms serve as a convenient point of attack in a larger strategy, and that larger strategy is to disarm the American public. If they can’t make inroads attacking "real" threats – they’ll invent them to drag the public along.

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

March 2009 Guns & Ammo Snapshot

Just got my March 2009 issue of Guns & Ammo magazine. On the cover is the new Ruger LCR polymer frame revolver. I’d seen some pictures from the SHOT show featuring this firearm, but details past the picture were scarce. It’s nice to see a full write-up on the pistol. Like many of you, I enjoy polymer framed semi-automatics from Springfield and Glock, but this is the first polymer-framed revolver to hit the market. Coming in at a spritely 13.5 ounces and capable of firing 5 rounds of +P .38 Special, the new Ruger sounds like a concealed carry dream.

Unfortunately for me, that was pretty much the highlight of the issue. The Shooter’s SAT is entertaining as always, but the rest of the articles didn’t really peak my interest as much as in past issues. There’s a “gun notes” article debating the virtues of buckshot. There are a couple of interesting firearms that come up with reader questions in the Gun Room (wartime P.38 and an 1863/64 Springfield), but no pictures, unfortunately.

For those of you that hunt with .270 WSM, there is the mother of all reloading articles on this cartridge. With over 30 different reloading recipes featuring a literally dizzying array of bullets, it’s a great reference. Unfortunately the significance is lost on me because I don’t own a .270 WSM. Big game hunters aren’t left out either with an article on the .370 Sako Magnum cartridge (basically a 30.06 with a thyroid condition) .

For you classic semi-auto sidearm buffs, there’s a neat feature on the FN Model 1900. As a fairly avid C&R guy, this is one of those pistols that I still haven’t decided whether I like or not. I’ve seen a few out for sale, but most of them have been in pretty sad shape, which may be coloring my opinion of the sidearm.

Overall an issue clearly skewed to the traditional hunting side of the equation with less C&R – which is of less interest to me, but probably more interest than a feature on the Type 99 Arisaka would be to a lot of you guys. As with any magazine, you get a package deal – some issues will speak to you more than others. Of course, I am going to have to get my hands on one of those new polymer framed Rugers to see how it feels. I wonder how long before people panic about another “plastic gun”!

Until next time!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Montana – Far Reaching Firearm Bills Proposed

The state of Montana is one of the most Second Amendment friendly states in the Union. As reported last year, Montana had even threatened to secede from the Union if the Heller decision had gone the wrong way citing “breach of contract” with the state. A recent thread over at gunsnet has highlighted a couple of bills that will be going through the Montana legislature soon.

The first is HB 228 – some of the highlights:

"A BILL RESTORING THE RIGHT OF SELF-DEFENSE. Among other things, this bill reaffirms the right of Montanans to use firearms to defend themselves or others by providing that:

"(1) A law-abiding person threatened with bodily injury has no duty to flee;

"(2) A person may harmlessly and defensively brandish or display a firearm;

"(3) A landlord, hotel, or motel may not prohibit firearms;

"(4) An employer who bans firearms has a responsibility for protecting the employees;

"(5) A concealed firearm may be carried without a permit unless used to commit a criminal offense; and

"(6) Deadly force may be used in some cases to effect a citizen's arrest."

The first part of this is simply the Castle Doctrine which has been adopted recently by many states, much to the dismay of the groups opposed to the individual right to self defense (interesting how none of their dire predictions have come true, though!). The other parts are a bit further reaching to include liability for the establishment of “defenseless victim zones” (also known as “gun free zones”). I’ve honestly thought that this was a good idea for years. I don’t know how much a chance the law has passing in its current form, but it is good to see some positive action for a change.

The second bill is HB 246 – this is a far more radical bill, but it is an interesting study in the law:

"A BILL ALLOWING GUNS TO BE MADE IN THE STATE. Among other things, this bill states that:

"(1) Based on the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, a firearm, accessory, or ammunition manufactured in Montana which remains in Montana and is marked "Made in Montana" is not subject to federal law or regulation; and

"(2) Raw materials from other states or generic or insignificant parts from other states do not render these provisions inapplicable to what otherwise is a Montana firearm."

Most of the power that the BATFE has to regulate firearms falls under the interstate commerce clauses of the Constitution (though arguably so). Given that those opposed to the Second Amendment seem to go to great lengths to violate the letter and spirit of the Constitution through mental gymnastics, in a way it’s nice to see the shoe on the other foot for once. Quite frankly, though, I really wish that we didn’t have to resort to this sort of legal prestidigitation to protect our Second Amendment rights. I predict that this bill probably has little chance at becoming law, but it does represent an additional legal option.

I urge any readers in Montana to contact their representatives and ask them to support these bills!

Until next time!!!

January Rose City Gun Show Report

Made it to the Portland Rose City / Collectors West Gun Show yesterday – overall it was a pretty decent show. Some of the prices were starting to come down from the “panic” levels of November and December, but there were a couple of vendors still wanting $1300 for an $850 Romanian Dragunov, and $1200 for a $650-$700 RPK. Needless to say, those vendors didn’t seem to be moving a lot of product. A lot of local groups were in attendance – the Northwest Firearms board even had a booth.

Black rifle components were still pretty scarce, and I expect it will take months for the manufacturers to catch up at this rate. Young Manufacturing was at the show – I was tempted to pick up another one of their uppers, but I resisted this time around. I already have one of their uppers with a match grade bolt and carrier assembly – thing shoots like an absolute dream.
C&R firearms were a bit better represented this time around – you couldn’t toss an empty ammo can without hitting a Mosin Nagant at the show. Several of them were pretty nice as well, including a lot of “hex” receiver models and even several converted Dragoon rifles. I ended up picking up an 1895 Nagant pistol that somehow slipped though without a total refurb. Russian capture K98k’s seemed to be in abundance too for some reason. There were several rarer pieces there as well that I only wish I’d had the money for: Lots of Garands, 1911’s, 1903’s, and some really nice Lugers.

I also managed to find some 7.62x54R brass – already primed – at the show. 7.62x54R brass seems to have completely dried up recently, and I was glad to find 150 cases. I also picked up some 30 carbine, 6.5 Japanese, and a few other goodies to keep my vintage rifles well fed.

Overall, not a bad show – I had a lot of fun, and managed to get a few good deals on AR magazines, brass, ammo, etc. I’m hoping that the supply side for AR components will ease up by the next show.

Until next time!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ensuring the Future of the Second Amendment

Given the current political winds, many people are more concerned than ever with the future of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The recent Heller decision was a landmark reversal of decades of incremental erosion of our Constitutionally affirmed rights, but in general, gun owners have been on the defensive since the Roosevelt Administration. The question on many people’s minds is how do we reverse course?

Our first line of defense is education - educate people about the Second Amendment - get people out shooting. GET ONTO YOUR SCHOOL BOARDS! School boards have a great deal of say over the curriculum in public schools. The only reason kids are being taught a BS "collective right" interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is because we, as Second Amendment proponents, have let them. We look at lawsuits and legal action and other "big picture" items, but we forget that schools are where the rubber hits the road. Now entire generations are being raised with an empirically incorrect view of the Second Amendment. We need to change that. It's not enough to "home school" your kids - that just means that your kids will know what the 2nd Amendment is about, and the rest of the kids will have been spoon-fed the leftist "collective" view... and their votes will outnumber your kids' votes when all is said and done. This, above all other reasons, is why all other efforts have delayed, but not reversed, the incremental abolition of the Second Amendment.

Second, we need to be political activists. Many of us have done a good job of supporting political candidates or even giving money to campaigns, the NRA, GOA, or other pro-Second organizations. How many of us have actually volunteered or worked on campaigns? Our political opponents are very good at staging rallies and protests – why aren’t we doing that? I know in general the Second Amendment is more often than not championed by conservatives, and that conservatives tend not to be big on demonstrations, but honestly I believe we need to rethink that position. We need a "Million Patriot March" with rallies across the United States. We need the organizational power of not only the NRA, GOA, but all of the state Pro-Second organizations on board and actively working to make that happen. It won’t happen without strong organization.

We also need to run for office – start at the local level, but don’t be a "one issue" candidate. Make sure that a pro-Second Amendment message is a strong plank in your platform, but don’t make it the entire platform or you’ll instantly be relegated to the fringe. If you’re not elected, at least you’ll raise awareness. If you are elected, that’s one more voice supporting our right to keep and bear arms in government.

If unconstitutional limits to the Second Amendment are proposed, we need to be vocal in our opposition to them. Write your representatives – even if you know that they’re not going to vote in line with their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. If you don’t write – that’s effectively not saying anything and agreeing with the outcome. If unconstitutional laws are passed, be prepared to challenge them in court. Be prepared for civil disobedience.

Really it comes down to a "back to basics" approach. Our opposition is doing better at the grassroots level. They’ve gotten their questionable ideology installed in schools and other high impact areas. It’s time to take that turf away from them. We have to find a way to separate "gun crime" from "gun control". We all understand that limiting the guns does not in any way limit the criminals, but John Q. Public really doesn’t – at least not in large numbers. We need to take a tough on crime stance while at the same time ensuring the preservation of our Civil Liberties. Until we take back the grassroots, the opposition is going to continue to cut us off at our ankles.

Until next time!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kirsten Gillibrand to Fill Clinton’s Senate Seat

In a move that surprises many, ruffles the feathers of the far left establishment, and quite frankly shocks this author, NY governor Patterson has selected Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton’s senate seat. On Second Amendment issues, Clinton and Gillibrand can’t be any further apart, and this represents a clear (and unexpected) victory for people who value their right to keep and bear arms.

Gillibrand was endorsed by the NRA with an “A” rating in the 2008 Congressional election. During her tenure in the house, she signed the amicus brief in support of Heller’s case against the unconstitutional D.C. handgun ban. She has amassed a solidly pro-Second Amendment voting record in the House.

Needless to say, the leftists are up in arms at her selection (figuratively of course). Her selection came under immediate fire (again, figuratively of course!) from leading anti-gun politicians including Carolyn McCarthy. The Brady Campaign has been “disappointed” by Representative Gillibrand – and anyone who disappoints the Brady Campaign is good in my book.

On the downside, Gillbrand indicated McCarthy "provided outstanding leadership in fighting against gun violence and keeping our children safe. I pledge to work with her on her signature bill for updating background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals." If she follows McCarthy down the path of leftist anti-Second politics, that “A” NRA rating will drop quickly.

Here’s hoping that this flip from an “F” rated Senator to an “A” rated Senator will serve as a bulwark against the extremist anti-Second Amendment agenda as put forth by Obama and Biden. It certainly can’t hurt. Although it does drop the “A” NRA-rated majority in the House slightly, gaining one seat in the Senate at the expense of one seat in the House is a small price to pay!

Until next time!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama States Gun Policy – No Surprises Here

The inauguration has come and gone with the masses cheering, and now the official policy has been posed on the White House website. Hidden in the urban policy section, with no more veneer of “I don’t have the votes”, written in plain black and white print:

“Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.”

This policy represents virtually a worst case scenario for anyone who values their freedom and liberty. It is clear from the stated policy that Obama and Biden have absolutely NO respect for the Second Amendment rights of AMERICANS – not gun owners. They first need to stop looking at gun owners as some “fringe group” that lies outside the American mainstream. Current gun owners aren’t the only people with Second Amendment rights. Simply because an individual does not exercise their Second Amendment rights, or because an individual has been brainwashed to be hostile to their Second Amendment rights, does not change the fact that the Second Amendment to the Constitution affirms the inalienable right of the People to keep and bear arms.

Going through his points one by one:

The Tiahrt Amendment essentially forbids “the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives *(ATF) from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation, and any data so released is deemed inadmissible in a civil lawsuit.” This is important because in the United States there is no national firearms registration. Civil Libertarians view registration as analogous to authors having to register their computer or typewriters, or people having to register their faith to practice religion. Many gun owners take a broad view of history and note that firearm confiscation has frequently followed firearm registration. Technically the ATF database itself is in a legal gray area, and as such even the ATF opposes repealing the Tiahrt Amendment – yet Obama and Biden care not one whit. If it sounds like a prelude to registration and worse, it probably is.

Closing the so-called “gun show loophole” has been covered in the past. The overwhelming minority of guns used in crimes come from gun shows (under 5%), and most states already require a background check at gun shows. This is a paper tiger and yet another wedge issue. The real issue here isn’t gun shows so much as it is private firearm transactions – they’re currently legal – “closing the loophole” would most likely make them illegal.

Making firearms childproof is something that “sounds good” but really means changing firearm designs to prevent anyone but the owner from firing them. It’s a pie in the sky idea that, if implemented, will mean the price of new firearms will skyrocket – which is part of the goal of the anti-Second crowd – turn a gun into a luxury item that only a few can afford. Making all firearms childproof could also result in existing firearms requiring modification or dewatting if taken to the extreme.

The so-called “Assault Weapon Ban” has also been covered at length. “Assault weapons” are used in less than 5% of crimes. The original ban had no impact on crime. In light of the Heller decision, a blanket ban on a type of firearm is unconstitutional. However Obama and Biden don’t seem to care.

As expected, the next four years are going to be rocky for those who value their Second Amendment rights. Fortunately individuals with an “A” rating from the NRA still hold a majority in the House and enough seats in the Senate to prevent a supermajority. However, hoping that our representatives will be able to stem the tide is not going to be enough. Second Amendment supporters have generally been representative of the “speak softly” mold. We don’t march on Washington. We don’t hold massive rallies or protest (we have jobs…). However given what’s at stake, it’s time we reconsider speaking softly and adopting the tactics that have been used so effectively by others to raise awareness of the fundamental issues.

We as Second Amendment supporters must make it clear that we OPPOSE Obama and Biden’s stance.

We as Second Amendment supporters must make it clear that we will fight any attempt to enact Obama’s stated policy into law. We will first fight it when it is proposed. If it’s passed we will then fight it in the courts. We have to make it clear that we will not meekly submit to unconstitutional and therefore illegal infringements of our Second Amendment rights.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Straight Talk: The AK-47 in America

If there is any one weapon that is instantly recognizable the world-over, it is the ubiquitous AK-47. With nearly 100 million produced if you count all of the variants, it is the most widely produced military rifle the world has ever seen. The simplicity and ruggedness of the design made it a popular choice for armies the world over. Unfortunately many of those regimes have been brutal, which has resulted in the AK-47’s checkered reputation, especially in the West.

Officially, Mikhail Kalashnikov began work on the AK-47 design in the waning years of World War II taking cues from several contemporary weapons – including the locking lug system used on the M1 Carbine and M1 Garand, as well as the German Sturmgewehr. It was designed around the intermediate power 7.62x39mm cartridge. The initial design was accepted after modification in 1947 and became the Avtomat Kalashnikova - 47, (Kalashnikov automatic rifle, model of 1947). It was then widely produced and exported to Soviet satellite states and pro-Soviet regimes across the world.

As with many military rifles, some started making their way to the United States, even though it was technically the rifle of the “enemy” during the cold war, and importation of fully automatic firearms was difficult. Bringing home “battlefield pickup” rifles was common for veterans of World War II, but far less common in Korea and Viet Nam. Popularity of AK variants in the United States started to soar in the 80’s when importations of Norinco and Polytech semi-automatics started. Unfortunately the increase in popularity didn’t go unnoticed.

With the passage of the ironically (and insultingly) named Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 – specifically its Hughes Amendment – the transfer of fully automatic weapons not registered by (and therefore not manufactured by) May 19. 1986 was prohibited. At that time there were very few fully automatic AK-47’s in the nation, though the number of semi-automatic “sporters” was growing rapidly. As the 80’s came to a close and through the early 90’s, many more came in as parts kits or were directly imported as completed semi-automatic firearms.

The AK-47 and so-called “assault weapons” are also became the rallying cry for groups steadfastly opposed to the Second Amendment. These groups state that they simply want to keep the AK-47 out of the hands of criminals and gang bangers, but in all of their rhetoric they fail to mention that fully automatic AK-47’s (and thus the only ones that could be semi-accurately termed an “assault weapon”) are exceedingly rare in this country – and the few that exist are either expensive collectors’ items or are held by Class III manufacturers, dealers, or law enforcement. The gun banners fail to mention that it is currently illegal to import fully automatic AK-47’s. They fail to mention that it is currently illegal to convert a semi-automatic AK-47 to a fully automatic one. They fail to mention that it takes a fair amount of gunsmithing skill to make that conversion successfully. They also fail to mention why they cling to the misguided belief that criminals willing to break all of the above laws would suddenly comply with an “assault weapon ban.” In fact the Justice Department concluded that the original 1994 ban had little effect on crime rates, largely because “assault weapons” were used in such a small portion of crimes before the ban, and because the ban was largely cosmetic.

Currently, semi-automatic AK variants in the United States are required by law to have a maximum number of imported parts (10). The American made parts are generally referred to as “compliance” parts as they are required to “comply” with Section 922(r). The number of parts varies from rifle to rifle, but for most AK’s there are a total of 16 or 17 parts, which means to build or manufacture a semi-automatic AK you need at least 6 or 7 American made parts, one of which is the specially designed semi-automatic receiver. The receiver design of these semi-automatic AK variants is approved by the ATF – and their criteria are fairly stringent as the ATF doesn’t want individuals to be easily able to convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic one. There is a whole industry which has built up around parts manufacture for the AK in the United States, with very few of the parts numbered under Section 922(r) requiring importation at this point. As a result of the latest ATF unilateral (and Constitutionally questionable) “reinterpretation” of the law to now ban the importation of barrels , you can even get US made barrels for AK’s and many of its variants at this point.

The semi-automatic version of the AK has now become a common rifle in America, interest was renewed after the sunset of the 1994 ban (as many people incorrectly believe you couldn’t buy an AK variant during the ban). The 7.62x39 round is a good round for game up to the size of a deer, and with 5 round hunting magazines available, a semi-automatic AK can serve well as a short range hunting rifle. They are also excellent bush rifles and varmint rifles as their rugged design and good reliability in adverse conditions means they can take the abuse and still function flawlessly. Of course, given its heritage, the semi-auto AK also works very well as a self-defense or home-defense weapon. The 7.62x39 round is more powerful than the majority of pistol rounds (though less powerful than the majority of rifle rounds), so if the firearm is used in this capacity, you must be cognizant of your surroundings.

Though it is demonized by many (some out of malice, some out of ignorance), the AK and its semi-automatic variants represent an amazing success story. The key is understanding what the AK is, and what the AK is not. In the United States, the overwhelming majority of rifles are semi-automatic. They are not truly “assault weapons” – they are not “spray and pray” weapons. Anyone who tells you differently (see the myriad anti-Second Amendment groups, factions, and organizations) is lying to you. The cartridge used by the AK is not “powerful” except as compared to some pistol rounds. As rifle cartridges go, it’s on the weak side. The AK is not the weapon of choice for gangs, nor is it used in a large percentage of violent crimes. Again, anyone who tells you differently is lying to you, which beg the questions “why must they lie to support their case for legislative action? What are their true motivations?”

In the battle to preserve the Second Amendment, the AK-47 and other mislabeled “assault weapons” represent what many hope is an easy first step in a more comprehensive plan to remove all firearms from the hands of private citizens. It is seen as an easy target because in the past it has been used as a wedge issue to divide gun owners. Labels like “terrorist weapon” have been used when referring to the AK – in a blatant attempt to move public debate from one based on logic and data to one based purely on manipulated emotions. If the law-abiding gun owning community is divided, those who want to abolish our Second Amendment are going to have an easier time reaching their goals. Believe me, if so-called “assault weapons” (in reality semi-automatic hunting and sporting rifles) are banned, next on the list will be “rapid fire weapons” (any semi-automatic rifle or pistol), followed by “long range sniper rifles” (any hunting or target rifle with a scope). If we truly value our freedoms, we must avoid this slippery slope at all costs.

Until next time!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cartridges of the World

I picked up a book recently entitled Cartridges of the World – it’s in its 11th Edition, and at first blush seems to be an invaluable reference for anyone into hand loading, obscure firearms, obsolete cartridges, wildcat cartridges, or military surplus rifles. The book is part reloading guide and part comprehensive look at the various existing and obsolete smokeless powder and black powder metallic cartridges which have been used over the years.

I picked up the book largely because I’m working to duplicate military loads for my World War II vintage firearm collection. For bolt actions like the Mosin Nagant or even early Arisakas with their high quality workmanship, I’m generally not worried about damaging the firearm, but for more fragile weapons like the Soviet semi-automatic SVT – damage to the gun is a concern. Another concern for me is that the sights on these weapons are set for the standard military load used at the time. The more accurately I can reproduce that load, the more accurate I can be with the rifle.

According to the cover the volume covers over 1500 cartridges, and after flipping through it, I believe it. For many cartridges some reloading data is provided, although the reloading data is not comprehensive. Generally only one powder level will be given for each bullet weight, so it won’t take the place of a more comprehensive reloading guide. For other cartridges, only the performance data is given. However, some of the cartridges provided are so obscure (including both Japanese Murata cartridges and a host of obsolete blackpowder loads), I can easily forgive the lack of reloading data. Over all it’s a great reference that I can heartily recommend to any serious reloader. The ISBN-10 is 0-89689-297-2, and the ISBN-13 is 978-0-89689-297-2.

Until next time!!!

American Rifleman February 2009 Review

My copy of the February 2009 issue of American Rifleman just arrived in my mailbox – lots of good stuff this time. As expected with the inauguration only days away, there is an article dealing with Obama, Biden, and Pelosi’s anti-Second Amendment agenda. Unfortunately there’s nothing really new in the article – but it does represent a very good summary of the tactics the extremists are going to use to try to deny law abiding Americans their rights. The conclusion also has some good advice about what the average citizen can do to protect their rights, including teaching classes and getting more people involved at the grassroots level. Unfortunately at this point, suing some of these politicians for criminal violations of our Civil Rights doesn’t appear to be on the table.

For you Garand collectors, you’ll want to read the “Random Shots” section. Apparently in October of last year there was a very special Garand match – four owners of the early “Gas Trap” M1 Garands participated in a shooting match. Given these early variants of the M1 Garand are rare (only around 50K produced with many converted to the new “gas port” system) and expensive (Lexus anyone???) – you generally don’t even see one, much less four, and much less being shot. Later in the issue, the “Exploded View” feature covers a Winchester M1 Garand.

There’s also an article on the Springfield XD series. It’s hard to believe that this little pistol has only been around for about 10 years. The article details the XD’s history including the new XD(M) series. At this point I have three of these little pistols, two in 9mm one in .45 ACP. I love how these firearms shoot. I’ve found them to be accurate with only moderate recoil in the .45 ACP version.

There’s also a great article on “Carbine” Williams separating the myth from the reality in relation to his role designing the legendary M1 Carbine. The M1 carbine is a great little firearm and it’s always good to see interest in this handy rifle remaining high. If you enjoy reading about the history of the M1 carbine, I’d also suggest the War Baby series of books.

The “I have this old gun . . .” section covers the 2nd Generation Colt Single Action Army revolver. The particular revolver featured was manufactured in 1959 and is given a value of around $1,500. I honestly know next to nothing about these post-war Colts, but I’ve always loved the look of the Single Action Army Revolver. Maybe one of these years . . .

All in all, another great issue of American Rifleman! If you’re not an NRA member and therefore don’t get AR – PLEASE JOIN! As the leading proponent of the Second Amendment, NRA membership is more important now than at any time in the recent past!

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Restoring a Mosin Nagant Sniper

As mentioned in a previous blog entry, one of the types of Mosin Nagant 91/30 sniper rifles out there is the “restored” sniper. I actually went through the process of restoring a Mosin sniper (with some help from a friend), and the results are awesome! Restoring a sniper isn’t an easy process, and some collectors prefer that decommissioned snipers remain decommissioned. I have examples of both in my collection.

The key is to start with an actual decommissioned sniper rifle rather than normal M91/30. A decommissioned sniper rifle will have the four holes for the scope mount plugged (two for the mounting pins, and two for the mounting screws). It will also generally have a normal stock, or a plug filling the cut out in the stock for the scope mount. A decommissioned sniper will also have a scope serial number crossed out on the receiver. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a former sniper with the pins remaining and the holes drilled and tapped, but these are hard to find.

Assuming you’re starting from scratch (a plugged receiver with a normal or patched stock), the first step in the restoration is disassembling the rifle. This isn’t too hard to do on a Mosin Nagant. You have two barrel bands to remove and two screws connecting the receiver/barrel to the trigger guard/magazine housing. At that point, you’ll be able to remove the barrel from the receiver.

Next you’re going to need to open back up the holes for the mounting pins and screws. The weld used to plug these holes is generally very hard, and it takes very good cobalt bits and a good vise to do this correctly. Bit sets and tap sets are available to do the job. Once you have the holes drilled, you’ll need to tap the holes for the mounting screws. I goofed the first time I drilled one of the holes, so we had to rebuild some of the receiver with weld. Second time was the charm (with substantial help from a buddy of mine). Once you get the holes drilled and tapped you’ll end up with something like what you see below:

On my rifle, I had to do some re-bluing where we had to rework the mounting holes. After giving it a quick hot blue (most of the area is going to be covered by the scope mounting block), the next step is actually attaching the scope mount to the receiver. This is accomplished through the use of two screws and two pins. You’ll need a good punch and hammer to get the pins to go as they’re fairly tight. The screws also have capture screws, so once you get the whole assembly tightened down, make sure you can insert the capture screws. My scope mount and scope had steel hardware – be careful, there’s a lot of aluminum reproduction hardware out there and it is a lot more fragile!

Mosin Nagant sniper rifles all have turned down bolts as the scope blocks the normal bolt configuration. These are difficult (if not impossible) to make from a standard bolt effectively. Many ex-snipers are available with the turned down bolt. Services are available to turn down standard bolts (to retain a matching rifle), or sniper bolts are available for purchase. Mine came with a matching sniper bolt, so I didn’t have to expend any calories on this part of the restoration. If the stock is not cut for the scope mount, then this is the time to cut that slot. Some will simply have that area plugged so it’s a simple matter of removing the plug. On others, the slot must be cut – consult good reference data before proceeding!

At this point, all of the pieces are together, and all that’s required from a mechanical standpoint is to reassemble the rifle. Simply put the barrel / receiver and trigger guard / magazine into the receiver and screw them back together. Then replace the handguard and barrel bands. At this point the rifle itself is back together – now add your scope to the scope mount and you’re ready to sight it in!

There are lots of references out there for sighting in a Mosin Nagant sniper rifle. You may need to add some shims to the scope mount to ensure a reasonable zero. The PU scope isn’t a bad little scope – it’s not incredibly sophisticated, but it gets the job done. The actual restoration was alternately frustrating and exciting – but the end result was very satisfying!

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take Action on Holder for Attorney General

As I pointed out in previous blog entries, Obama’s nominee for Attorney General has a long record of anti-Second Amendment positions and action and represents a clear and present threat to our rights as affirmed under the Constitution. Gun Owners of America has added the an alert to their legislative action center. The alert highlights some of Holder’s previous actions:

“Holder, who served as Deputy Attorney General from 1997-2001, supports a 3-day waiting period for handgun purchases, one-gun-a-month rationing, licensing and registration of all gun owners, mandatory so-called smart gun technology, a lifetime gun ban for certain juvenile offenses and regulating gun shows out of existence.”

Their legislative action center includes a form you can fill out to send letters to your Senators and urge them to oppose Holder’s confirmation. A pre-printed letter is provided which you’re free to edit or change at will to ensure that your voice is heard.

Until next time!!!

Leftist Wants to Make the Ruger 10/22 a Class III Weapon

A new bill introduced in the House effectively wants to make any firearm with a detachable magazine a Class III weapon. The bill, H.R. 45 is sponsored by Representative Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and according to the Firearms Coalition , represents a “comprehensive anti-gun wish-list bill”. The only good news at this point is that the bill has no co-sponsors, and even if it did it is extremely unlikely to pass the House which still maintains a pro-Second majority.

The full text of the bill is online and I encourage everyone to read it – if you have a strong stomach that is. The bill is named after Blair Holt, according to the bill:

“Blair Holt, a junior at Julian High School in Chicago, was killed on a public bus riding home from school when he used his body to shield a girl who was in the line of fire after a young man boarded the bus and started shooting.”

This was a tragic incident and Blair Holt is indeed a hero. However is the incident justification for more gun laws? How many laws were broken by the assailant in the senseless crime cited above? Would more laws give this individual pause? I seriously doubt it. Chicago is a city rife with economic problems, social issues, gangs, crime, and hopelessness. In such an environment no body of laws will change the behavior of animals who believe that the rules don’t apply to them.

Ultimately the proposed bill is built on the same fallacy that all gun control bills use as a cornerstone – that the gun is guilty of the crime, not the person – that somehow limiting access to firearms will make the violence go away. It’s like trying to cure leukemia with an aspirin – these laws don’t address the root cause of the violence, they’re merely a politically expedient panacea that demagogues can hold up as an example of “doing something”.

The bill itself basically requires registration and restricted transfer of any magazine fed weapon (that’s not an antique). It places the Attorney General in charge of the registration, and registration requirements include all of the “normal” information, training, and anything else the Attorney General decides he or she would like to see. It also requires people to have “firearm licenses” to possess firearms,

To say that this bill is blatantly unconstitutional is a gigantic understatement. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not a privilege – it is a right affirmed by our Constitution. The bill may as well propose that people need a license to practice a particular religion or speak their mind. Even though I believe that this bill has no chance of succeeding in the House, I encourage you to write your Representatives and urge them to not only oppose this bill, but censure Representative Rush for violating his oath of office to uphold the Constitution.

Until next time!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Anti-Second Illinois Governor Impeached!

Unfortunately his anti-Second Amendment positions get a free pass, but the Illinois House has voted 114-1 (with a few abstentions) to impeach disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich. To the media, Blagojevich has proclaimed his innocence and his desire to fight the charges against him and the impeachment vigorously. However, he hasn’t bothered to testify before the House Impeachment committee or to provide any reason for the corruption charges against him.

Democratic Rep. Monique Davis said:

"If the governor walked down that aisle today, how many of us would fall over ourselves to greet him? I think we'd hold our heads down in shame. We wanted him, we elected him, we supported him and he's disgraced us."

The only individual to vote against impeachment was, no surprise, Chicago Democrat Milton Patterson. What is it about Chicago that seems to make it a breeding ground for corrupt politicians?

I sincerely hope that the people of Chicago and Illinois will take a harder look at their politicians, and stop putting blind faith in a political machine that has produced decades of corruption, payola, and the systematic dismembering of the Second Amendment in Northern Illinois. Unfortunately I’m not hopeful that any substantive change will occur as a result of this scandal.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. At least in Northern Illinois they’ve been following that pattern for at least 80 years.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The "Last Ditch" Arisaka

When browsing the usual internet auction sites and classifieds, you often run across something called a “Last Ditch” Arisaka. These generally appear pretty crude, don’t go for as much money as the earlier vintage rifles, and often come with warnings like “don’t ever try to shoot one of these” or statements like “made in the waning days of the war”. Like any other piece of firearms history, there’s a little bit of truth, and a whole lot of misinformation out there. In this article, we’ll look at exactly what a “Last Ditch” Arisaka is in detail, and hopefully correct a few of the urban legends about this fascinating piece of history.

The Type 99 rifle was originally designed in two versions – a “long” and “short”. The Type 99 Long rifle was short lived and soon all production moved over to the Type 99 short rifle (which is simply known as the Type 99 to collectors). The short version was originally adopted in 1939, and had many features dropped on later rifles – including the monopod, the anti-aircraft sight, and the dust cover over the bolt mechanism. Eight different arsenals produced the Type 99, with each arsenal being assigned one or more series designations for their production. Nagoya had a total of 13 such designations, while three arsenals (Howa Jyuko, Jinsen, and Mukden) had only one each.

As the war progressed, Japan quickly began to run short of raw materials. Indeed one of their primary motivations in starting the war was the need for ready supplies of raw materials to support domestic industry. What’s worse, war with America necessitated an increase in rifle production. Therefore, by 1942 many simplifications began to appear on Type 99 rifles. By 1943, so many simplifications had been introduced, that the rifle was re-designated the “Substitute Type 99”. In the collector world, the Substitute Type 99 is the “Last Ditch” Arisaka. So contrary to popular myth, the “last ditch” rifle was actually produced for the last three years of World War II (representing almost the entire duration of the War with the United States), and not just “in the desperate days of 1945”.

As indicated above, simplifications were made to the Type 99 rifle even before the Substitute version was adopted. By the sixth production series (Series 5), Nagoya had abandoned the monopod and dust cover. In the next series (Series 6) the anti-aircraft sight was gone and the knob on the bolt handle was simplified to a cylinder rather than the more elegant “oval” or “plum” shape. By their eighth production series (Series 7), all of the features of the Substitute Type 99 were present. Kokura began simplification with their next to last series (Series 24) with Substitute Type 99 production taking place in their final series (Series 25). For arsenals with only one series – some of them are all essentially Substitute Type 99, others are a mix depending on the serial number of the rifle (with Substitute 99 features dominating high serial number rifles).

The actual simplifications comprising a Substitute Type 99 rifle vary from arsenal to arsenal, but there are several common themes based on the need to produce more rifles, in less time, with less wood and metal. Japan always used a two piece stock (with a lamination in the buttstock) to conserve wood. In Substitute Type 99 rifles, the hand guard was eliminated and the lower stock was separated into two pieces. The forward portion of the stock of many Type 99’s therefore tends to “rattle” a bit – this is normal. This separate stock piece also lacks provision for a cleaning rod – largely because the cleaning rod had been eliminated by this point. Finally in another effort to save fabrication time, the finger groove was eliminated from the stock.

Given substitute Type 99’s lack a hand guard, one can see the quality of the lathe work used to manufacture the barrel. It’s often rough and fairly crude with no polishing. This shortcut saved time in production. Also, the chrome lining in the barrel was generally eliminated for Substitute Type 99 rifles. The chrome bolt face was also eliminated. The bolt itself also saw simplification. As mentioned above, some arsenals modified the bolt knob so it was a simple, easily turned cylinder rather than the elegant “oval” or “plum” used previously, although the Kokura arsenal did not and retained the more elegant bolt handle through the end of the war. The safety knob was also simplified from the complex knurled knob of the Type 99. Early simplifications included vertical grooves or simple smooth conical machining (same shape, just no knurls). Substitute Type 99 rifles did away with that and simply left the weld blob un-machined.

Other simplifications were made to the sling swivels, barrel bands, buttstock plate, and sights. Some arsenals went with a one screw sling swivel, and Nagoya even eliminated this in their next to last production series (Series 11) and simply drilled a hole in the stock for the sling. The elaborate anti-aircraft sight was eliminated and a simple fixed peep sight used instead. The metal buttplate was eliminated and a used a wood one nailed in place instead. Even the “9 9 Type” characters were eliminated from the receiver, although the chrysanthemum was retained for all rifles. Complicating matters is the fact that sometimes previously rejected parts or even parts left over from previous runs would be used. So occasionally one finds a “Last Ditch” rifle with a chrome bore, or a one piece stock, etc.

Given that so many shortcuts were used to produce the Substitute Type 99, this begs the question about whether or not the rifle is safe to shoot. As with any historical firearm, this question can only be answered by a competent gunsmith. I know of several individuals who routinely shoot “Last Ditch” rifles with great success. The bore on one of my Substitute Type 99 rifles is actually in better shape than the bore on one of my early production rifles – it’s in fact, brand new with mint lands and grooves.

As mentioned previously, “last ditch” rifles tend to have a lower value than early production Type 99’s. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. Nagoya only produced 1,000 Series 12 rifles. These are very rare and hard to find (I’ve never even seen one for sale). The Mukden arsenal in Manchuria only produced 3,000 Type 99’s total – any type 99 from this arsenal will command a premium – last ditch or otherwise. Jinsen arsenal in Korea made additional changes over and above the normal Substitute Type 99 for their last 12,000 rifles including an extra wide barrel band and a bolt release with a finger notch instead of the usual raised lip. These are typically referred to as “Jinsen Special Last Ditch” rifles, and they also command a premium.

From 1939 to 1945 Japan produced almost 2.5 million Type 99 rifles. Almost a quarter of the rifles produced are the “simplified” Type 99’s. The number of Substitute Type 99 rifles is even higher, representing over one third of total Type 99 production. Japan continued to churn out rifles even as American submarines cut off vital resources and American planes bombed the production facilities. The Substitute Type 99 not merely a numerically important variant of the Arisaka, it represents a very key era in World War II history, and in my opinion is a must-have for anyone seriously interested in World War II rifles.

Primary data reference and for further information see: McCollum’s Japanese Rifles of World War II

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mosin Nagant PU Sniper Buying Guide

The Soviet Mosin Nagant rifle is one of the most affordable and collectable rifles available today. Their popularity remains strong and has only been enhanced by World War II movies like Enemy at the Gates. Full length Model 1891/30 rifles can be had for as little as $70, and some of the carbines (the M44 carbine with Bayonet) can fall into the same price range as well. One of the more prized variants of the Mosin Nagant is the M1891/30 sniper, which came in several varieties including the what are called the “PU” and “PEM” based on the type of scope used and its mounting mechanism. The “PU” sniper is the most common.

There are several Mosin Nagant PU snipers available on the market today – and not all of them are created equally. Make sure you understand what you’re buying before you put your money down. Generally there are four levels of PU sniper – reproduction, restored, refurbished, and original. The value of these rifles varies greatly.

Reproduction sniper (above): These rifles usually made on a low-wall (non-sniper) receiver. They generally have the right "look", and are fun to plink with, but are generally worth the sum of parts or about $350 to $450, which is what most distributors sell them for. Many of these will have reproduction mounts and post-war scopes. The reproduction mounts are made from anodized aluminum – easy way to tell if you have an aluminum mount is to hit it with a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the mount, it’s an original steel one. If it doesn’t, it’s an aluminum reproduction. Remember, just because the mount is steel doesn't necessarily mean it's WW2 vintage as there were many original mounts fabricated after the war (and many scopes as well!).

Restored sniper (above): Many sniper rifles were “decommissioned” after World War II during the mass refurbishment of Soviet rifles for storage. During the decommissioning process, the scope and mount were removed, the mounting holes were filled, and the rifle was placed in a non-sniper stock (with no cut-out for the scope mount). Sometimes it was returned to its original stock with the scope mount cut out filled as an arsenal repair. A restored sniper takes a decommissioned sniper and restores it to sniper configuration. Best ones use vintage parts, some are using reproduction parts. These command a little bit of a premium over a straight repro, but unless you have original parts, you're still looking at a $450 rifle - add another $50-$100 for an original scope and mount with the high end of the range reserved for WW2 vintage parts. Some vendors have offered a few of these from time to time. You can occasionally get an ex sniper that’s drilled and tapped (maybe with the pins present) and then add your own mount and scope. Mounts and scopes vary up to $250+ for a set.

Refurbished sniper (picture coming soon): This a legitimate sniper rifle that did not go through a decommissioning process as a part of the post war mass refurbishment. Generally refurbished snipers will have a matching scope and mount numbered to the rifle. As these are actual sniper rifles with matching parts, they command a hefty premium over the repro and restored versions. Prices for restored sniper generally run in excess of $800, with Tula arsenal rifles starting around $900.

Original sniper (no picture): Original Soviet weaponry from World War II is exceedingly rare in the United States. Generally most Soviet weaponry has been through the post-war refurbishment program. An original sniper is going to have its original mount and scope, these will be matched to the number on the receiver. As these rifles are very rare, they command a huge premium – figure at least $1200 if you can find one, and quite frankly I’d plan on even more than that!

Hopefully this buyers guide helps you pick out the rifle that is right for you – and at the right price!

Until next time!!!

SF Housing Authority Stops Ignoring Constitution

After the landmark Heller decision, the NRA filed several lawsuits against municipalities with similar unconstitutional (read illegal) abridgements of the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. One of these was the San Francisco Housing Authority which maintained a blanket ban on handguns in public housing. The Mercury News reports that a settlement has been reached in the case.

As a result of the settlement, which ends the federal lawsuit, the SF Housing Authority will restore the Second Amendment rights of its tenants and drop the blanket ban on legal handguns. In exchange for settling, the Housing Authority “won't be required to pay any damages or attorney fees.”

This is great news for the people of San Francisco, though I’m sure the extremist politicians in city hall are crying in their beer at this point. Hopefully this is only the start of rolling back years of unconstitutional laws concentrated in urban areas and a few allegedly “progressive” states. Personally I don’t see how abridging the right of an individual to defend himself or herself – effectively turning a “citizen” into a “subject” as surely in any of the 17th Century Monarchies – can be labeled “progress”.

Until next time!!!

Brady Campaign Gets it Wrong Again

As reported earlier , the Brady Campaign not only thinks spike is because people are “stupid” to think that a new anti-gun Obama administration may encroach on the Second Amendment, but that most of the people responsible for that spike are predominantly existing gun owners. Recent information shows the Brady Campaign is wrong on both counts.

According to a recent article at News Times (Connecticut), firearm training classes are filling up at an unprecedented rate. Forest & Field has classes currently booked for several months – and first time gun owners make up a large proportion of the people taking those classes. Other ranges are seeing unprecedented demand for novice level and beginner firearm classes. Honestly this is the best possible news for those concerned about the future of the Second Amendment. An increase in the proportion of the population that owns firearms and values their rights is the best insurance against draconian gun control measures.

A well-informed public that values their Second Amendment rights is the Brady Campaign’s worst nightmare. As responsible gun owners, it is up to us to increase our ranks to ensure that we can never be dismissed as an insignificant minority segment of the population.

Until next time!

The Ongoing Oregon CHL Controversy

The Oregon Firearms Federation recently posted an update on the ongoing efforts and activity around maintaining the privacy of Oregon concealed handgun license holders. The ruling that the Jackson County Sheriff should turn over the personal information of CHL owners is still under appeal, and I don’t have any word at this point as to when that case will actually go to trial.

In the meantime, OFF is working to introduce legislation that would protect the names and personal information of CHL holders. The upcoming legislative session starts on January 12th, and the bill will either be introduced early in the session or "pre-session filed."

In the latest news, Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson has called a town meeting to be held on January 13, 2009 at the Redwood Grange in Grants Pass. On the agenda:

"Should concealed handgun permit holders information remain private? Should the media be allowed to publish the names and address of permit holders? Sheriff Gilbertson recently stated his opinion on this issue, and his strong belief in the Constitution, specifically the 2nd amendment. This will be the central topic of discussion, as well as other 2nd amendment related issues, such as “restricted shooting districts”. This will be an open forum, with questions from the audience welcome. As time allows we will also discuss the ongoing funding issue, and the future of Josephine County Law Enforcement. Plan on attending this informative meeting and learn more about this important issue, the Sheriff’s position, and how this affects you."

Sounds like it will be an important meeting, and any readers from Southern Oregon should plan on trying to attend!

Until next time!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Much Maligned Japanese Type 94

Ask someone about Japanese Sidearms of World War II and anyone with a passing knowledge is going to come up with the “Nambu”. The next tidbit that many people will come up with is “isn’t that the gun that fires if its dropped?” During World War II and during the fifties, sixties, and early seventies, Japanese goods had a (frequently deserved, especially in the late war and early post war years) reputation for poor quality. However, only some of that criticism is deserved.

Kijiro Nambu was a military officer responsible for the development of Imperial Japan’s semi-automatic handguns from the early “Grandpa”, “Papa”, and “Baby” Nambu pistols all the way through the Type 94 (which he designed and produced). While the fit and finish on these his early pistols (including the Type 14 and Type 94) was excellent, as the war progressed, the pressed Japanese armaments industry had to cut corners on finish and simplify components where possible with late war examples receiving very little in the way of final polishing, simple slab grips, and a very rough blue.

The particular design features which lead to the perception that the Type 94 will fire if dropped or landed on, etc. is the long external sear on the left side of the weapon. Because the sear is exposed, there is at least a mathematical possibility of firing the weapon by striking that sear perfectly. However the actual force required would be fairly strong and stories of the Type 94 frequently suffering this failure are exaggerations, and the failure can only happen if the safety is off.

Derby and Brown point out some actual flaws of the design that are justified. It does suffer from a weak firing pin, and the magazine catch protrudes far enough out to release the magazine if the weapon is roughly placed on its left hand side. One final deficiency could be pointed out – the 8mm Nambu cartridge itself. This cartridge was fairly weak by the standards of the day (when compared to the German 9mm or especially the U.S. 45 ACP). These deficiencies in the design generally stem from Japan’s inexperience in modern warfare conditions.

The Type 94 is a popular collector firearm, but it has never reached the level of popularity of the quintessential Type 14 Nambu. Neither of these firearms are a desirable as the rarer Japanese side arms (nor do they command the prices). A decent Type 94 can be had for under $400, but early models in original finish (or near to it) will easily command twice that or more for rare examples.

Until next time!


1. Brown, James D. Collector’s Guide to Imperial Japanese Handguns 1893-1945, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2007

2. Derby III, Harry L. and James D. Brown Japanese Military Cartridge Handguns 1893-1945, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2003

Clackamas County Sheriff Believes in Privacy for CHL Holders

As reported earlier, the recent Oregon court ruling that the Jackson County Sheriff would have to release the personal information contained in CHL files has caused a firestorm of controversy across the state. The ruling is under appeal, but as stopgap measures, many county Sheriff’s have been taking matters into their own hands. As I reported on December 16, 2008, Rob Gordon, Washington County’s Sheriff, has refused to hand over the information. Now we can add Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts to the list. He states:

“It is my belief that CHL files should be private and not disclosed. As a general matter, Oregon’s Public Records Law grants every person a right to inspect any public record unless a particular record fits within specific exemptions to public disclosure.”

If you go to his website there is an exemption request Clackamas County CHL holders can fill out to ensure their information is secure until the case is heard on appeal.

Honestly this strong position in favor of CHL holders from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office doesn’t surprise me. Clackamas County has a very strong commitment to CHL and firearms education. They maintain a Public Safety Training Center which is comprised of not only an excellent indoor handgun range, but handgun and self defense classes as well. I’ve shot there several times, and the staff (all Sheriff’s department officers and employees) is professional and firearm owner friendly.

Until next time!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year’s Roundup!!!

First off I’d like to wish everyone a safe and prosperous New Year! In 2008 great strides were made in protecting our Second Amendment rights with the landmark Heller decision, but many challenges lie ahead. While Congress still remains pro-Second Amendment, the incoming administration is the poster child for the failed policies of big city gun control and gun grabbing. While I expect economic issues will dominate the first several months of the new administration, at some point Obama and his allies in Congress will want to shore up the base before the 2010 mid-term election. Of course, last time the Democrats did that was in 1994, and it cost them mightily at the polls. Furthermore, there are several pro-Second Democrats who know voting in favor of additional useless gun laws would be tantamount to political suicide.

One issue I do expect to come up is the so called “gun show loophole”. In many states, this is a non-issue as the states require background checks at gun shows anyway. The key question is what happens to private party sales. An Editorial in the Duluth News Tribune explores that question:

“A week before Minnesota’s firearm deer season I visited my 86-year-old father. He regaled me with an entertaining stream of tales from his 70 years as a deer hunter in the north woods. He lamented his failing eyesight and then rose from his ancient recliner and went to the closet where he keeps his guns. He took out a battered old case and handed it me. ‘I want you to have this.’

“I knew what was inside. A Savage model 219 single-shot 30-30 rifle. My father bought it in 1944 for $12. . .

“However, if some people had their way, my father would be a felon the next time he passed on a firearm to a family member.”

The so-called “gun show loophole” represents a “soft target” for opponents of the Second Amendment. It is something easy to build up fear in the populace over, even though the data shows that firearms obtained at gun shows are used in a miniscule portion of crimes.

Looking to Congress itself, the House of Representatives remains staunchly pro-Second with a majority of the Representatives receiving an “A” rating from the NRA. In the Senate, the picture is far more murky, though with over 40 “A” rated Senators, the filibuster remains in play. Two high profile “F” rated senators (Clinton and Obama) are being replaced.

The much ballyhooed media darling Carline Kennedy seems to be a leading candidate for Clinton’s seat. As far as I can tell her only qualification for the job is the surname “Kennedy”. Of course, her other qualification is that she seems to have inherited the Kennedy abhorrence of the Second Amendment. Granted, the family has seen tragedy, but given that JFK was an NRA member, it seems odd that the Kennedy legacy has now become the dismantling of the Second Amendment. Here’s what she had to say about the Second Amendment according to MND:

“Under the controlling authority of the only Supreme Court case to address the scope of the Second Amendment, U.S. v. Miller, the court concluded that ‘the right to keep and bear handguns is not guaranteed by the Second Amendment.”

This excerpt came from a book on “Constitutional Law” she wrote with Ellen Alderman. The quote is actually lifted from the Quilici v. Morton Grove decision, which is a lower court decision that makes several factual and legal errors (and should really be challenged in light of the new Heller decision). The fact that she’d base her Second Amendment opinion on such clearly flawed reasoning speaks volumes. Of course, given she’d be replacing Clinton, it would be a wash in the Senate for that seat.

In the auction, errrr, serach, to replace Obama in the Senate, disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich named Roland Burris to fill the seat that Obama will be vacating. While at this point the chances of him being confirmed in the Senate look remote, his own record on firearms is, of course, typical of a Chicago politician. The Campaign Spot reports that he was a major promoter of the 1993 Gun Turn-In Day in Chicago, but was then caught with a handgun at his home in 1994. Yet another “do as I say, not as I do” politician bought and paid for by the Chicago political machine.

While 2008 represented a watershed event in the history of the Second Amendment with the Heller ruling (which still should have been 9-0, but clearly 4 justices failed reading comprehension), but 2009 promises to be more challenging. It has never been more important to stay tuned in and stay involved in the process. Our rights and liberties affirmed by the Constitution only go away if we let them go away, “they” can’t take them from us. I look forward to continuing to fight the good fight with my fellow Americans this year, and until I’m taken from this world.

Until next time!