Friday 28 February 2014


Military Style Assault Vehicles - Controls Needed:

The time may be overdue for our politicians  (as a representative democracy nation) to have a look at restricting dangerous vehicle use here in New Zealand.

 These massive noisy, antisocial and often high-powered machines are huge consumers of imported oil-based materials and fuels - and cause thousands of injuries and avoidable deaths to our innocent citizens and children every year.

Powerful commercial interests and influential lobbyists such as the New Zealand Automobile Association have prevented meaningful debate and the introduction of new controls on this avoidable  accident & death toll of our island nations roads.

How long must we ignore the need to stop this toll on our innocent families so that corporate entities can maintain their massive profits - earned from vehicle sales, petrol consumption, and easy revenues from insurance policies?

Let us be clear - 'SUV's such as 4WD "Landcruisers', Hilux,  Landrovers, Jeeps, Safaris, etc - as a class of  ASSAULT VEHICLES must be removed from our roads as they serve no useful function other than to threaten other legitimate travellers by their obstructive bulk and power.

 Their military style off-road traction abilities serve only to allow their users to avoid controls by legitimate road traffic authorities - by rough riding through our otherwise pristine countryside (where they endanger our rare native wildlife and snails.).

New age restrictions are needed with a minimum age of 25 for starting driver training for males and 21 for female potential license holders.

- Further more - high powered race-style machines such as the Mazda MX5, Porche, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes,  etc serve no useful purpose and are capable of killing many innocent victims in one single crash.

Users of such 'Miltary Style Assault Vehicles' can easily have their transport needs satisfied by other means such as bicycles, walking, step-through electric scooters, and public transport - including buses, trains, and taxi shuttle services.

Any move towards these preferred modes of transport will also yield savings in fuel use and help limit our carbon footprint.

There is no need for a total ban on all privately held individual motor transport - all that is needed is new legislation to severely restrict the ownership and use of any vehicles with the following features:

High Capacity Fuel Tanks.
Automatic Transmissions.
Hood Scoops
Audible Noisy Exhausts
Any performance enhancement such as turbo-charging or supercharged motors.
Any engine having more than four cylinders (five, six, eight, or more).
High Power Engines - capable of exceeding Statutory Speed limits.
"Mag-Alloy" Performance Wheels.
'Go-Faster' Speed Stripes and embellishments.
GPS Navigation Systems (what is wrong with paper maps?)
High or Low seating capacity - the standard two plus two seating arrangement serves well and any variation merely increases dangerous misuse.
- Anyone wearing a hat (including reversed baseball caps) while behind the wheel.

We are not talking about  car crushing,  or car confiscation here - merely essential controls to end a libertarian era of  'First Ship' feral driving - and the tragic crashes on our 'Kiwi' roads.

Pedestrian Organisation Of Foot Free & Ecologicaly Responsible Cyclists.


Theodore Roosevelt - Cattleman, Rancher, Hunter, (26th President)

Theodore "T.R" Roosevelt Jr. 1858 - 1919.

Born an asthmatic sickly child into a wealthy New York family, Roosevelt - while enjoying the best of home-schooled  education  (followed by Harvard) that money can buy, compensated for his less than robust health by strenuous activities like rowing and boxing and outdoor nature studies, biology, and naval studies - while determined to rise into a position of power in the ruling classes.

That's about all I intend to say about that side of Roosevelt as it's obvious that he was most successful and clever politically - but that's a whole other story, - And I'd guess most parents will know that their kids "Teddy Bear" cuddly toys were named after Theodore R  in 1902 when he was reported widely for refusing a shot at a Black Bear when hunting in Mississipi.
                                                     Roosevelt Standing off Indians
'T.R' Roosevelt was a writer of many books - but particularly of interest here are those about his life in the Dakotas cattle ranching, riding, hunting, shooting, indians and camping-out in extreme blizzard weather. - He describes one time desperately struggling homeward through a freezing snow-storm, without his usual fur overcoat - with icicles hanging from his pony's lips. His stories of hunting and tracking are well worth reading.

                     Roosevelt on a 'White Goat' Hunting trip with "The Missourian"
      from a  F.Remington painting in 'RANCH  LIFE AND THE HUNTING TRAIL'

'T.R'  left the Dakotas ranching phase of his life when he lost all his cattle from blizzards - and returned to political life - forming the "Rough Riders" in the Spanish - American War in 1898. He became famous nation wide for his brave fighting exploits in Cuba.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick" was his slogan in the early 1900s.

In 1909 'T.R' went hunting and collecting in Africa killing approx. 11,400 specimens that were shipped back to American museums.

With him and his son Kermit on this trip were legendary hunter-tracker R J Cunninghame and from time to time the Big-Game hunter and explorer F R Selous.

Roosevelt took with him on this safari as his personal arms - a presentation Holland and Holland double rifle in .500/.450 - a Winchester 1895 in .405 Winchester, - a customised M1903 Army Springfield in .30/06, and a Fox No 12 Shotgun.

On October 14th 1912, Roosevelt was shot in an assassination attempt, but survived and continued with his blood seeping onto his stained shirt, to give a 90 minute speech before agreeing to go to hospital.
- The bullet lodged in his chest only after passing through his metal glasses case and a thick once folded 50 page copy of his speech notes in his jacket pocket. The bullet lodged in his chest muscles

                                           FROM ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

had penetrated three inches and was not removed by doctors. This consequently made his arthritis worse and he could no longer exercise regularly and became somewhat obese.

In 1913-1914 Roosevelt took part in a Brazilian jungle expedition exploring the river Rio da Duvida that was later renamed in his honour. He suffered further injury and illness - being delirious with infection and fever on this mammoth jungle trip - there is his popular book 'Through The Brazillian Wilderness'  that tells all.

I think it would be fair to say that Theodore Roosevelt held many powerful positions in public office and led an interesting and full life that was closely involved with firearms - both from behind and in front of guns (as a target).

When five years later -suffering from breathing difficulties he died in his sleep in the early hours of January 6th 1919 - his son Archie telegraphed his family "THE OLD LION IS DEAD".


After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?

Wednesday 26 February 2014


Twenty-one years ago I bought this book by Massad Ayoob at a Gun-Show in Sydney Australia - at the beginning of a pig ("Grunter") hunting trip around CUNNAMULLA in Western Queensland. - A large sheep property called 'Thuralgoona', - out back of BOURKE ( just drive straight up the Mitchell Highway after crossing over The Blue Mountains above Sydney. - You pass through the 'Dog Fence' at a wee place called 'Barringun' - then you're getting close.)

 - It takes a couple of days of solid out-back driving in relays to get there eh - but that's no great hardship when you are towing a trailer loaded with the best food money can buy and multiple crates of bottled amber liquids and cider behind each of the (cool box equipped) Toyota Landcruiser 4WDs. I guess that it does help when one of the company is an ex-chef !! - One strange effect of the Aussie Outback is that I seem to prefer to drink cider with my steaks (to beer) when I'm there in good company - I don't know why, it's just one of lifes mysteries eh ! (- nothing wrong with Aussie beer but).

Massad Ayoob wrote 'THE TRUTH ABOUT SELF PROTECTION' in 1983 and I have been known to call this book "my bible" when in company with real people. Although it (like me) is now getting on a bit, you may still find it for sale - try on the internet. Mas Ayoob is a well known US Police Training & Crime Prevention Instructor and Author of many fine gun related books and contributor to shooting magazines.

He writes: "I ran with criminals as a kid. Later, because I was lucky enough to get out of their mold before it marked me, I became a police officer. Then I arrested criminals. Since then, I've spent a lot of time researching them."

- So Mas knows what he's talking about then. - Some more telling quotes from this book, talking about a psychotic killer: "- he's bright and engaging and informative to talk to, and when I'm alone in a briefing room with him, I keep my hands free and my chair back from the desk so I can move fast, just as if a strange Doberman had walked into the room."

Massad tells you that you need to be aware - and then tells you, under 47 headings, some ways that you can prepare to protect yourself and your family.

"Psychiatrists call them sociopaths. - Sociopaths don't really care about other people one way or another. They see people as a resource, as food as it were..."

" - Being a sociopath isn't necessarily bad. There are times when society deliberately trains sociopaths since they can serve extremely useful functions.. a personnel executive who can be ruthless about firing people who don't produce .. he is doing it impersonally"

Personally - I well recall resenting being classed as "human resources" by management !

"The sociopathic outlaw .. does it for the greater good of himself; the suffering of his victims doesn't concern him. He is isolated from it. He feels he has his own problems that drove him to this lifestyle; the agony that he causes others is simply their problem." - Why do I think of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when I read that ?

Security Locks, Alarms, Telephone use, Safes, Cars, Makeshift weapons, training in Non-lethal Force, Survivalism, and of course Firearms - Remember this is an American book written where it is not unlawful to defend yourself.

Ayoob likes the 'Police Flashlight' (Maglight) - a four or five 'D' cell heavy alloy torch that can have multiple emergency uses. I'd certainly suggest that living here in earth-quake prone New Zealand is plenty of justification for keeping a torch handy at all times - both at home and in the car.

'The Truth About Self Protection' is a most thorough text and you'll gain a lot of thought-provoking info from reading it. - If you take in what he says, you may well find it would be healthier exercise to join a martial arts club rather than the golf club, - the exercise will improve fitness and help control weight - while the physical skills might one day save your life.

Some folk might think that you need to be paranoid to listen to Ayoobs advice, - I mean, - just because violent crime and "terrorism" is on the increase, there's a looming oil crisis, the Credit / Finance & Banking racket has collapsed around the world and America has bombed more than 33 countries since 1950 - why would anyone need to consider their personal security?
 The Australian 'Outback' pig hunt was, as usual, great fun in great country, with great mates. I shot a few wild pigs, a very big and healthy looking ginger feral cat (-a long shot with a 30-30 - they each reputedy kill hundreds of native birds a week)

- and I gave-up shooting kangeroos as just too easy (Just whistle loudly and they stop bounding away, sit-up and wait for you to fire!). The meals of steaks, good Aussie red wines - Cheers Fred, and fresh caught 'yabbies' (blue fresh-water crayfish) cooked in garlic sauce in the shearers quarters were so good.

 - Aagh, I also picked-up a nasty spider on my shirt when having a leak in the bush, but was rescued - thanks Johnno. I love Australian back country in their winter - those fence-lines disappearing over the horizon - you definitely need a GPS - but I don't think I could take their summer temperatures - up to 50 C ( over 120 F !)

Marty K

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Frederick C SELOUS 1851-1917 - Warrior, Hunter.

Selous was one of five children born in Londons wealthy Regent Park area to his French-Huguenot aristocratic father (F L Slous), the Chairman of the London Stock Exchange.

            Old Blue-Eyes Selous with bustards and Farquharson Rifle On Safari - 1890s 

Despite the obvious early disadvantages and deprivation(!) in his life - his affluent capitalist family of artistically inclined poets, ornithologists and clerics, and successful businessmen failed to hold him back for long as he was early reported, aged ten, by his boarding school teacher - as having been discovered sleeping on the floor beside his bed in preparation to harden-up for his life's ambition to be an African explorer and hunter!

On 15th January 1867, Selous then aged 17 was skating on the frozen Regents Park pond with a crowd of 200 when the ice gave-way. Forty people died by drowning in the freezing water but Selous with many others managed to scramble out over the slabs of broken ice and reach shore.

When he was nineteen he travelled to Matabeleland in Southern Africa where in 1872 he was given permission to hunt game by Lobengula, King of The Ndebele people. - For the next twenty years he shot anything that moved throughout the Transvaal and Congo Basin regions exploring the area now known as Zimbabwe among natives who had not seen a white man before. It seems that his youthful confidence and clear blue eyes gave him a status with the locals that was strengthened by his western weaponry - He is said to have fathered, looked-after, and educated children by three African wives.

"Bestowed with exceptional qualities in a man" (!) - he favoured a small hand cannon, four bore black-powder muzzle loaded musket for killing elephant, that fired a quarter pound bullet using 540g of powder - even using it from horseback (poor bloody horse I say!). Between 1874 and 1876 he used that gun to slay exactly seventy-eight elephants.( - A "four-bore" is just over one inch - 1.052"  (26.7mm) bore.)  - However, after a double-loading incident - he gave it up as too "upsetting my nerve". - He used a ten bore (.775") muzzle loader for lion - but eventually modernised to use falling-block rifles in .256" Mannlicher and a .450" Nitro Express on bigger game.

This man was a bit of a character!

He returned to Africa in 1893 (having married in England) and fought in the First Matabele War with  Robert Baden-Powell while serving as a leader in the Bulaweyo Field Force.

F C Selous joined the Theodore Roosevelt museum collecting and Big Game hunting party from time to time during 1909 - 1910, the two men becoming lifetime friends.

                     T R ROOSEVELT, Govenor JACKSON, F C SELOUS, Dr MEARNS
                                         Travelling Inland From MOMBASA.

Aged 64 Captain Selous DSO fought in East Africa during the First World War with the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers - The FRONTIERSMEN.

January 4 1917  - fighting a bush-war while outnumbered five to one by German colonial 'Shutztruppen'  - while creeping forward he raised his binoculars to spot the enemy - and was killed by two shots from a sniper.

The 44,800 square kilometre Selous Game Reserve in south-eastern Tanzania was named in his honour - but is not much visited as it is home to the Tsetse fly and remains a mostly undisturbed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The SELOUS SCOUTS operated as an anti-terrorist force in Rhodesia between 1973 and 1980. Their motto "pamwe chete" in the Shona language means "forward together". The Selous Scouts was a mixed race unit that themselves used many 'irregular' tactics in an all-out effort to hold-back the advance of the independence fighters who eventually won, and formed the Nation of Zimbabwe.
Marty K

Monday 24 February 2014

Elmer Keith: 'Father' of the .357" -.41" and .44" MAGNUMS

Elmer Merrifield Keith 1899 - 1984 was well known as a hunting enthusiast, writer, and rancher who always appears wearing a ten gallon Stetson, chewing on a cigar, and holding a sixgun ! - although just to prove the point - in this photo he's got a straight-stem pipe stuck in his face!

There can't be anyone out there who hasn't heard of a MAGNUM - so that means that you should have heard of Keith - as he's the man who invented The Magnum  revolver rounds and shot them well too. Keith worked-up high power loads during the 1920s and 30s by handloading  (overloading!)  .38"Special cartridges beyond accepted limits by taking advantage of  modern guns much improved metallurgy and strength.

In 1935 Commercial .357" Magnum cartridges were released being built with slightly longer brass cases (approx 1/8 inch) than the .38"Special so that they would not chamber into older guns that were not designed with the higher power and pressures in mind.

Elmer Keith did much the same process again with the .44" Special Revolver and the .44"Special Magnum was released in 1956 with a 1/8 inch longer brass case than the earlier .44"Special. - He had worked with S & W  and Remington to bring-out the new hot rounds and guns - but according to Wikipedia's  Elmer Keith page Sturm, Ruger beat them by a couple of months by marketing their single-action 'Blackhawk' revolver in .44"Magnum first.

 - Factory records show that the Ruger .44 Blackhawk was introduced November 1956. The M29 was released for sale early 1956 according to the 'History Of Smith & Wesson' by Roy Jinks, the official S&W Historian. - Me? - I've no idea, but it seems that in some States Rugers .44"Magnum was on the sales shelves first. - but Rod Woods who checks my facts knows his stuff - so thanks.

** Note: Do I detect a degree of sensitivity here about who did what first - (S&W or Ruger) perhaps this is further fuelled later by Glock getting their G22 .40"S&W on sale before S&W got their .40"S&W semi-auto out? - Rod?


The .41" Magnum was introduced in 1964 as intermediate between the big blaster .44" and the lesser .357" - aimed at the US Law Enforcement market, - and although Keith worked-up the concept as with the other rounds - the .41" Magnum was a completely new case and bullet - being a true .410 inch diameter bullet rather than the older .40" approx diameter earlier rounds.

Elmer Keith should also be well remembered for his 'Keith Style' Semi-wadcutter bullet designs that have a meplat ( That's the flat bit at the front) that is between 65% to 70% the diameter of the bullet dia. and convex sides to the "nose"

 - that hold a greater  percentage of the bullets mass sticking out of the brass case - thereby giving more space behind the projectile for extra propellant.

Just how much actual input came from Keith and how much development work came from the cartridge and gun makers will never really be known - but, Hell - He was There !!
                               A more typical shot of Elmer Keith -complete with cigar!

 - Including a couple of African Hunting Safaris where he took elephant, using guns with bullets and cartridges that he'd helped design. - For a smallish guy, he was a Big Man.

I just watched and uploaded that very good "hickok45" youtube clip above. - and feel I don't need to write anything more about this huge character, - and I reckon that one day, hickok45 will deserve similar status as an ambassador of ballistics.

Elmer Keith -writing aged 76 in 'Guns & Ammo 1975 Annual' says that many folk, including himself  griped about shooting his heavy .44" Special loads in narrow S&W frames and the pounding to the web of their hands - so he worked-up grip furniture wider and higher at the rear to ease it.

It is thought that Elmer Keith's well known hunting-shooting-macho persona resulted in the word FUDD coming from the Looney Tunes cartoon characterisation "Elmer Fudd" who used to chase after BUGS BUNNY in the late 1930 - 40's always trying to hunt bunny but always cocking everything-up and usually injuring himself.
 -- My final, closing comment is that I still find that six full-house shots from a .44"Magnum  S & W Revolver is more than enough, - like drinking Guinness stout - you need to be a real man - and try not to screw-up your eyes and mouth in distaste!
Marty K

After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?


Saturday 22 February 2014

APPLEGATE - FAIRBAIRN - SYKES. Knife, Pistol & Combat Instructors

Colonel Rex Applegate, William E Fairbairn, and Eric Anthony Sykes came together during World War 2 as Armed / Unarmed Combat instructors and creators of weaponry for the British Army Special Operations Group Commandos and US Special Forces such as The OSS, Marine Raiders, US Army Rangers,  and joint US-Canadian "Devils Brigade".

Fairbairn had joined the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) in 1907 and served with them for some twenty years. - Much of his body was said to be covered in scars from hundreds of  street fights involving knife attacks. He had developed a stileto type of knife, precise as a surgeons scalpel, ideal for his style of street fighting in a flashing, slashing vigorous offense that invariably proved fatal to his opponent.

When asked in Burma, - behind the Japanese lines in WW2 - "Why is it so long and thin?" he answered "It doesn't have a cutting edge, - It doesn't leave any marks on the body - scarcely more than a tiny drop of blood." Fairbairn and Sykes had together designed the narrow double edged , sharply pointed knife while both were in the Shanghai police long before the war.

 The very first batch of fifty knives to their design was built January 1941, as the 'FAIRBAIRN-SYKES'  Fighting Knife by Wilkinson Sword  in England - following a visit to that factory in November 1940 by both men. - Knives to this pattern are still being made by various factories to this day worldwide.
                              Diagram from 'Kill or Get Killed' by Rex Applegate.

First Pattern knives had a 6.5 inch (17cm) blade, whereas the original Shanghai knives were said to be only 5.5 inches (14cm) blades. - Second Pattern blades were longer again at 18cm - just under seven inches - The longer blades are said to have been made to ensure proper penetration through military winter greatcoats on the Russian Front - with later patterns being 19cm (7.5 inches long).

Sykes joined the SMP in 1926 as a volunteer 'Special' with rank of Inspector, and later he and Fairbairn worked together on various military special operations until a falling-out in 1946 after they had co-authored the classic book on pistol combat  'Shooting To Live' in 1942.- Their books are all available from Amazon on Kindle.

Rex Applegate, borne in Oregon in 1914 was commissioned into the US Army(1940) and the OSS where he closely studied combat with Fairbairne and had contact with Sterling, the Founder of the British Commandos. In 1943 he wrote 'Kill Or Get Killed' . At one point during the war he was personal body-guard to President Franklin D Roosevelt - and as a friend of John Wayne, - he taught Wayne how to shoot.

Applegate while a student of Fairbairn, worked-up a series of modifications to the F-S Knife, culminating in the Applegate-Fairbairn Fighting Knife

                                            APPLEGATE-FAIRBAIRN FIGHTING KNIFE

The blade is similar to but wider than the F-S, but the handle is much flatter and has provision for internal lead or steel weights to refine the balance - and may currently be bought from Boker.

It is very clear that these three gentlemen, who between them authored many books - left their mark on the way all-out warfare was conducted by the Allies Special Forces - their influence continues even to this day. - However, it is worrying that a whole generation seems to have forgotten or to have gone into denial of the facts - so much so that here in NZ their double-edged knives are now deemed "banned imports" and require a special Police application / Permit that has to be completed with 'special reasons' for possession.

.-  No question but that those three World War 2 heroes would be subject to much 'politically correct' and agressive media questioning today, and would need to be highly circumspect with their answers.
                                                                                                                 Marty K
After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?

Thursday 20 February 2014

New Zealands Wartime GUN MAKERS

In the Trentham War Museum there is a rather special MAXIM Gun that was built here in the Petone Railway workshops during the 1914 -1918 First World War. This gun is no mere specimen replica - it is a fully working 'war-horse' that fired thousands of rounds in military service and was in every way as servicable as the worn-out condemned gun that it was copied from.

 The old railway workshops at Petone are long gone - but when they retro-engineered and built our New Zealand Maxim (without drawings) they were a workforce depleted of  both men and materials by wartime conscription, - yet they achieved their accurate machining  using the machinery designed for heavy railway maintenance. The mounting tripod was claimed by some  to be actually much more useable than European models with a full 360 degree arc of fire but according to Rod,- is in fact a standard British MkIV as used on the later Vickers guns. - The project to see if the NZ Government might establish a small arms plant here was abandoned in 1916.

During WW2 - A thousand MkII STEN GUNS were built by the The Precision Engineering company of Wellington for the NZRAF - but were designated ARMAF MkI . The seven inch 9MM barrels were made by cutting-up worn-out .303" barrels, reboring and rifling them!
                                      Radio Corporation Sten with Australian Barrel Set.

 Then 10,000 more Stens were built by the Radio Corporation Of New Zealand in Wellington for the Army - but as we had run-out of old .303" barrels - their 9MM barrels were imported from Australia. This model was designated LP (Local Production) and was a blend of MkII and MkIII features but with MkII barrel & barrel nut.

 - A further 5,000 Stens were ordered but possibly not completed - or maybe not even started, according to Rod Woods, before 1949 - when they were phased-out and replaced by British made Mk5s.

 - The Railway Workshops, Addington only made parts for the Stens - all of which were destroyed after the war by gas-cutting.

Philip Charlton designed the Charlton Automatic Rifle in 1941 as a local substitute for Bren and Lewis light machine guns that were in short supply. Approximately 1,500 were built as a semi-auto / full-auto conversion of old Lee-Metford and Magazine Lee Enfield rifles.

                Surviving CHARLTON AUTOMATIC RIFLE in Waiouru Army Museum

Most of the New Zealand guns built by Charlton Motor Workshops in Hastings were destroyed in an accidental fire just after the end of WW2, when the Palmerston North storage depot burnt to the ground. - A second version of the Charlton was built in Australia by Electrolux who converted SMLE MkIII* rifles - using the same action design but without the forward pistol grip.

Rod has told me the names of lots of gun makers over the years - Indeed I personally owned a beautifully built 'Bradley' L.H. Bolt Action .22' in the '80s that was built in Washdyke near Timaru, and I know there is a book about the WW2 'Mitchell' SMGs somewhere. And what about the 'Hayes Longline' ? - But I don't know enough about any of them to do them justice - all information will be valued and passed-on.
Marty K

After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?

Wednesday 19 February 2014

RUGER OLD ARMY - Lightning Ridge Opal Fields, Australia

I met my first Ruger Old Army on a pistol range in Sydney. - the Aussie guy in the shooting bay on my right got all panicky when instructions were called to "cease fire - unload, and show clear."  - as he couldn't !!

- What he'd done was load his brand-new black powder 'cap & ball' at the bench (with a suggested load that proved to have too much powder!), and had discovered that the .457" lead balls were sitting proud of the forward cylinder face preventing it from 'revolving' and firing while fully loaded. - So he was caught rather like the guy with a piece of sensitive skin jammed in his zipper - not knowing if he should push, pull, or just scream in pain.. HELP!

He had already tried forcing his balls(lead!) to seat deeper into his new gun with no joy, and now was shifting from foot to foot with sweat breaking out under his ear muffs.

 So - as luck would have it - we ("Prickles" & I) had earlier that day ridden the bus from central Sydney out to the suburban  'Horsley Park Gunshop' on a repeat pilgrimage to that Aussie Mecca of shooting hardware - where I had bought an 'OPINEL'  French "ring lock" folder knife and had it in my hip pocket. - "Do you want me to sort it out for you?" says I before opening the wee blade and slicing the tops from the soft lead balls, freeing the cylinder to rotate - problem solved.

OPINEL Knives from my collection

- Now, as I recall it, days later on an expedition 'outback' to Lightning Ridge  where the local Pistol Club was holding its big yearly 'Opal Open' match - I got to shoot another Ruger Old Army (ROA)  on their range and loved it - the careful loading sequence details, placing the caps after slightly crimping them ,-  and that soft push recoil when discharging the clouds of black-powder smoke while 'miracle' holes pop-up on target, is all very satisfying.

A Stainless Steel 'ROA' will provide endless hours of shooting therapy and meditation, to delight and maybe annoy others with your smoky smoke-pole. The Old Army is not a copy of a true historical design, but is based on Rugers own modern 'Blackhawk' model ( which itself was based on the Colt 'Peacemaker') and has some styling features like the Remington Model 1858.  - Have fun!

                                           Opal Mine workings at Lightning Ridge

Lightning Ridge is located up near the Queensland border in North-West New South Wales and is where Black Opals are mined. It has a 'transient' population who tend to 'stake' or buy a bush claim and live in "humpies" or other rough living arrangements of sheds and caravans - but they also have the habit of living underground down mine shafts, where the temperature stays around 22C all year - to avoid the 40C plus above ground summer searing heat. This is something like the famous 'Coober Pedy' dug-outs- but not as flash! (Coober Pedy is aussie speak for the aboriginal "kupa-piti" that translates as 'white fellas hole').

 - When I was there I was warned not to ask any awkward questions like "what's your name?"  as it might be resented and cause embarrassment to any folk trying to keep a low profile. - The second 'heads-up' warning was NOT to go wandering about the mines area, particularly at night, as mine shafts tended to absorb anyone who might fall (or be pushed) in the dark.

 -  The Pistol Club put-on a massive barbecue with five pigs and a sheep rotating and basted over a long fire of 'paper-bark' gumtree wood - what a feast! - what a place! - what an eye-opener!

OPINEL knives with a traditional beech wood handle have been made in Savoie France since 1890 - and while simple and cheap - they work. The 'twist-lock' collar (Virobloc) is a clever idea patented by Marcel Opinel in 1955. - As sold the knives need two hands to open - but if you care to push half a match-stick into the blade slot at the pommel end - the blade point will be kept slightly raised and the knife can then be opened single-handed by hooking the point into the seam of your jeans and then locked open with your thumb.

 Marty K
After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Air To Ground Radar UK Traffic Police 'neutralised'

I got this story second-hand and cheap :

Two British traffic patrol officers from North Berwick were involved in an unusual incident while checking for speeding motorists on the A 1 (Great North Road - London to Scotland).

One of the Officers (not named) was using a hand-held radar device to check the speed of a vehicle approaching over the crest of a hill - and was suprised when the speed was recorded at over 300 mph. - the radar device then stopped working and the officers couldn't re-set it. - The radar had in fact latched onto a NATO Tornado fighter jet over the North Sea which was engaged in low-flying exercises over the Border District (England-Scotland).

Back at Police Headquarters, The Chief Constable fired-off a stiff letter of complaint to the RAF Liaison Office. - Back came the reply in true laconic R.A.F. style:

"Thank you for your message, which allows us to complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computor in the TORNADO had automatically locked on to your 'hostile radar equipment' and sent a jamming signal back to it. Furthermore, the Sidewinder Air-To- Ground Missiles on-board the fully armed aircraft had also locked onto the target. Fortunately the Dutch pilot flying the Tornado responded to the missile status alert intelligently and was able to override the automatic protection system before a missile was launched".

 - While we're having a laugh ..
- Did you hear about the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac ?
 - He lay awake all night wondering if there really was a 'DOG'.

Marty K

Monday 17 February 2014

RUGER GP 100 .357" MAGNUM Revolver

Sturm, Ruger & Co introduced the GP-100 in 1986 as a mid-sized replacement for the Security-Six series. The GP-100 looks something like the earlier guns that it evolved from but is very different mechanically inside. it uses a coil mainspring on a strut mounted inside a frame extension that is not really a 'grip frame' at all like the conventional S&W or Taurus style.

 Because of this slim mounting extension with the mainspring - the size and shape of hand grips can be much more widely varied to suite the biggest and the smallest hands and have a complete wrap-round grip..

                      My Six inch Barrel GP-100 is a nice chunk of .357" Stainless

My gun came with rubber grips set with wood inserts that I guess are meant to give the comfort of  rubber while retaining the 'real wood' look - but personally I wasn't turned-on and think that the two contrasting materials clashed awkwardly - so was well pleased when Santa (my mate John)  brought me a set of  rubbber Hogue Monogrip stocks to fit - hmmm, so comfy ! - they look great against the stainless steel.
                                                   Original Ruger GP-100 Grips.

The GP-100 uses a firing-pin transfer-bar system and has a pretty good, crisp trigger feel in single action that might be worked  lighter, and the double-action pull is OK when you pull straight through as you're meant to, - but if you "stage it" slowly there seems to be three stages, first it feels light, then the pressure builds to a stacking point where you can hold it and feel the bolt drop into its notch in the cylinder - then there's a light final "let-off" squeeze as the hammer goes the last bit and falls 'BANG'.

The frame is very strong and will fire all day for years with any amount of full-house magnum loads - the top strap is visibly thicker and heavier than a similar size S&W .357". The sturdy Rugers have a reputation for being pretty indestructible - And even I can shoot decent groups in the black around 3" spread with my re-loads - so I'd guess that a good shooter with the best ammo would be in the one and a half inch zone. The heavy barrel with full length underlug measures 5 and 1/4 inches from the front of the frame, and a light back-end gives a weight forward feel and easy felt recoil.

 Another feature that really impresses me is the ergonomic cylinder release latch. - Located in a scalloped cut-out rear of the recoil shield it is a natural and comfortable push inward to release - not the sharp-edged and notchy S&W slide forward. - Love it - I wonder if Ruger could be persuaded to make a 10MM version with full-moon clips? - now that would be forward thinking.
                                                                                                                                      Marty K
After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?


The BUCKMARK series of .22" semi-auto pistols commenced production in 1985 - Mine is a 1990 model and has a 'slab-sided' barrel that is male threaded for fitting a sound moderator or barrel weight. 

Buckmark frames are precision CNC machined from solid 7075-T6 aluminum alloy - unlike many other makes that are stamped or forged. Other than the grips, all other components are machined steel. The blow-back action slide has a rear cut-away area on both sides and is heavily machined in this scalloped area with slanting grooves, to aid grip when cocking the pistol. The top-strap with the rear sights is fixed so the slide requires a firm grip on either side from the rear - rather than "over the top" from above as on most centre- fire guns. - Some later models have projecting slide cocking ears at the back of the slide similar to those on Rugers.

My pistol grips are a very nice pair of polished wood that may be 'Cocobola' wood and the trigger is bright plated in contrast to the rest of the gun. - All round a good looking and well behaved, versatile wee gun. I have three tempered steel (ten round) magazines that have been fitted with foam-rubber 'bumper pads' on the bases that help protect them from scuffing in .22" Action Matches when ejected on the run - and also provide more room to grasp the magazines when "unloading & showing clear". My Buckmark was not as good as it should have been when bought - having a wad of cardboard in place of the recoil buffer pad and a worn firing pin assy. I imported replacement parts including a new extractor from America and the gun is now excellent.

Not fussy on which brand of .22"L.R. it consumes - the Buckmark is a more accurate shooter than I'm capable of, - but when you buy any gun for precision target shooting it's a good idea to grab one pack from each of a wide range of makes and velocities to see which ones the gun prefers to run-on, which is cheapest, and which gives the tightest grouping - before buying that brand in bulk quantity.

The BUCKMARK replaced the previous 'Challenger' model in 1985, that had started production in 1962 - and had flat slant-grooved slides. In our small rural club there are four of us with 'Buckmarks' - and we all speak well of our guns. - The earlier 'Challenger' (mks 1, 2, & 3) was a development from the COLT WOODSMAN Target Model via the FN Browning 150, Match 150 with some influence from the Hi-Standard pistols.

 A crisp trigger feel, conventionaly located controls, and quality build, make for a handy versatile package. - But I would like to add my usual comment about guns fitted with a "SAFETY"  - NEVER RELY ON A SAFETY  - If I could - I would re-name 'safeties' as 'DANGEROUSES'.
Marty K

After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?

Sunday 16 February 2014


Ed McGivern was "Something Else" ! The man is a Legend.

His shooting feats with a S & W Model 10 revolver are mostly- to this day - unequalled, - although Jerry Miculek has managed to break some of them. Wikipedia lists these McGivern records:

 (with either hand !)
He could break six simultaneously thrown clay pigeons in the air before they hit the ground.
He could hit a tin can thrown 20 foot in the air five times before it hit the ground.
He could drive a tack or a nail into wood by shooting it.
He could shoot the spots on a playing card at 18 feet, or even split a playing card edge-on.
He could shoot a dime on the fly.

The single thing that most impressed me from his book 'Fast And Fancy Revolver Shooting'  was the testified and recorded feat of papering-over the hole in a washer and shooting through the paper to make the hole again when that washer was thrown high in the air !

  So - Get practising lads.

McGivern was interested in police use of the revolver and instructed many police agencies and the FBI - as well as giving shooting demonstrations around America. His book was published in 1938 and I only have a Kindle version of it - the illustrations don't come-out very clear on my small grey-tone screen. Wikipedia says that Eds book may still be available from SKYHORSE PUBLISHING
I'll have to follow through on that and see if I can afford to buy a copy and have it shipped over.
- Update: - Possible as it's available in paperback - but they want US$40.0 postage on top of book cost - too much, I'm sorry !

Ed McGivern demonstrated that his favourite .357" cal could be used on man sized targets out to ranges up to 600 yards - using appropriate sights . McGivern experimented with different iron sights and his favourite was a small diameter aperture rear peep-sight with a gold bead for the front. - I've sometimes wondered how my Glocks might get-on with a rear 'ghost-ring' sight as can be bought in USA - but again, they're not cheap to buy and getting gun-stuff sent from USA can be problematic with NZ Police and Customs regulations. - Maybe I'll win the Lotto - but I'd have to start buying tickets I guess !!
           Ghost ring Sight Set (with Tritium inserts). Stocked in USA by Brownells

Ed McGivern - a contemporary and friend of Elmer Keith - was still breaking shooting records when he was 57 years old - but then had to give-up competitive shooting due to arthritis -  but he made fairly old bones at 83 when he passed.

Marty K

Saturday 15 February 2014

Joshua Shaw (1776-1860) Percussion Caps to Primers.

History is littered with good clever and hard-working inventive people who got scant reward for their work - while some other greedy cheating liars took all the credit and money. - The classic "Rip-Off".

Joshua Shaw worked on a farm (aged 7) after his father died, minding cattle and using an old flintlock musket to scare plundering birds from corn fields. Over the next three years the kid taught himself to draw, read and write in the sand at his feet - and also became familiar with the use of firearms before his tenth birthday. His stepfather trained the ten year old as a glazier and his Uncle gave him schooling for nine weeks before he continued his education in the "university of life" in rural England.

 He got a job as an apprentice painter by answering a newspaper 'help wanted' ad  and quickly gained a reputation as a superb artist - moving to London then Bath where he came in contact with higher society. - Finding aristocratic attitudes of the day politically disgusting ( what changes?) Like millions before (and after) Shaw sought change by emigrating to the New World of America.

Aged 38, Joshua Shaw had used his experience with firearms to develop the Percussion Cap. - He expanded on the earlier work of Reverend Alexander Forsyth a Scotsman who had experimented with various explosive compounds to improve reliability and ignition times of black powder guns. - Does this pose questions about the value or need for a 'University Education' -  as Shaw had hardly any schooling at all?

 - Forsyth who 'discovered' and patented the use of fulminate of mercury ( after its discovery by E C Howard in 1800 !) was himself  little rewarded or recognised for his work - using loose fulminate powder in the flash pan of flintlocks - this step forward of itself greatly improved reliability and lock-times igniting the powder charge.

Once settled in USA Joshua Shaw  applied for a patent for his percussion cap and cap lock  (1822) . His application was refused on a technicality but after years of protracted investigation by the US Patent Office his claim to the invention was supported - but he got very little financial compensation for his inventions.

US Committee of Patents report dated February 10, 1846 :
" this is one of the most ingenious, and one of the most useful inventions of modern times."

'Cap-Locks'  were and are, vastly easier to use than the older flintlocks and their antecedent matchlocks.

In a 'cap-lock'- the cap placed on the nipple was made of copper containing the detonating composition made of three parts of chlorate of potash, two parts of  fulminate of mercury, and one part of ground powdered glass as a friction agent.

Later again, these loose-used percussion caps were, in the 1850s, fitted into the base of brass cartridge cases as the primers that we would recognise today.

 I guess that we all "stand on the shoulders" of those who came and went before us - so perhaps, in theory, we humans are slowly rising above the animal baseline we started from ?? - Don't hold your breath though eh.

If enough people read this post, - I'll try a follow-up on centre-fire cartridges and primers !

Marty K
After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?

Friday 14 February 2014

'SHANTARAM' and Knife Fighting (and camels!):

'SHANTARAM' by G D Roberts (published by Scribe")

In 1978 Gregory David Roberts committed a series of armed robberies while addicted to heroin - and was sentenced to nineteen years imprisonment in Victoria Australia. - In 1980 he escaped over the wall of the maximum security prison in broad daylight.

 - He has written the story of the next ten years of his life on the run ( initially in New Zealand), - in a great book "SHANTARAM' - describing life in the Bombay India slums and criminal underworld.

His adventure story involves much criminal activity and involvement in terrorist action in Afghanistan factional fighting. - He frankly details how he survived as a counterfeiter, drug-smuggler, gun-runner, and street fighter for the Bombay mafia ( and also how he ran a free clinic for his fellow slum dwellers!).

This is a BIG book of 933 pages. - Buy it - as it's worth every cent that you'll pay for it.

His description of knife fighting in Shantaram reminded me of a piece in the NZ Antique Arms Gazette (March 2008) titled "The English Dirk Fighting Knife As Used By The NZ Forest Rangers" - In this piece the author tells of Major Von Tempsky, Commander of No.2 Company New Zealand Forest Rangers in 1863:
"Von Tempsky encouraged his men to carry fixed blade fighting knives and trained them in their use. The knife was held diagonally in a sheath fixed to the front waist belt for ease and quick withdrawal. Later Armed Constabulary Force Inspector John Roberts outlined the training: "We were taught knife fighting drill, grip the knife handle, small finger against the guard, bending the wrist so that the blade was laid along the inner arm enabling warding-off, cutting and stabbing actions by arm extensions and wrist movements."

- Now, to me this description confirms what the other Roberts writes in Shantaram - which certainly raised my eyebrows when I read it:

"His second mistake was that he held the knife as if it was a sword and he was in a fencing match. A man uses an underhand grip when he expects his knife, like a gun, to do the fighting for him. But a knife isn't a gun, of course, and in a knife fight it isn't the weapon that does the fighting: it's the man. The knife is just there to help him finish it. The winning grip is a dagger hold, with the blade downward, and the fist that holds it is still free to punch. That grip gives a man maximum power in the downward thrust and an extra weapon in his closed fist."

I won't quote any more of the five pages on this knife fight  - buy the book eh ! - but my point here is that I'd previously thought and read that the sword-type hold was the way it was done - and that the dagger-hold was a crude mistake - so there you go ! - except that knife (and pistol) fighting experts -

"Fairburne & Sykes" whos design dagger was used as the WW2 Commando knife, OSS Knife etc etc, teach it exactly the opposite way (fingers and thumb against the guard - sword grip) ! - So there you go - take your pick ! - Anyway - I expect most of you have heard the joke about taking a knife to a gun-fight !
                                               NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM UK
                                      Lovely Old Bloke - I'd Buy him a Beer anytime!

Oh, another aside, - In Shantaram Roberts mentions seeing destitute young boys being sold into slavery as racing camel jockeys in Arabia - having lost everything to floods etc. - When I was in The United Arab Emirates over Christmas 2007, I enjoyed (!) a camel treck in the sand-dunes near Al Ain Oasis, Abu Dhabi, that stuffed my back and bum for days - making it painful to sit or walk


- but was told by several ex-pats that the racing camel jockeys (young boys) were being replaced by radio controlled robotic jockeys because of a growing public outcry about the young jockeys being seriously hurt in racing falls from the camels. (No, I am not joking)

 - But the bad news is that the slave-jockies are not being released to go home - but are being passed-on as "companions" to wealthy arab men with different bedroom interests to camel racing. - Oh yes, a good racing camel is worth hundreds of thousands of  Dollars, - whereas a young Bangladeshi destitute slave - who knows?

 By the way, - a further scandel is that those Robotic jockeys can be fitted with high voltage cattle-prods to encourage the camel to try harder.. that's life as we know it eh.

- Which do you think would have the better life - a camel or a young camel jockey?

Marty K