Wednesday 26 March 2014


The very first ever rifle that I bought in New Zealand was a STIRLING M20 s/a .22" rimfire Serial Number A2737**.
                                           Stirling M20 / M22 s/a 22" rimfire rifles.

With my very new shiny "Lifetime" Firearms Licence in my wallet and forty dollars cash to pay for my winning bid - I'd had a successful outing to the Christchurch 'Police and Customs Auction' . I was a happy chappy on the drive home and couldn't wait to buy some ammo and take the wee rifle out to the local Waimakariri river bed and sight it in. ( Apparantly the NZ Police have decreed that one is no longer allowed to shoot in river-beds "for safety reasons".)
                                           WAIMAKARIRI RIVER BED

That original Lifetime Licence is dated 28 May 1986 and notes that a licence fee of NZ$27.00 was paid.

Times have Surely Changed! - The Police no longer feel able to auction legal firearms to legally licenced "fit and proper" persons - and my shiny red passport-book styled Lifetime Firearms Licence was cancelled (at a stroke of a Parliamentary Pen) and replaced with a plastic credit card styled Photo ID card that needs to be renewed (currently) every ten years. Hmmm.

The earlier Stirlings were marketed in New Zealand as 'Squires Binghams'  and currently they are sold as 'ARMSCOR' products. - I understand that the name 'Squibman' was used at one time.

Historically the first Squires Bingham was a retail Gun Shop in Manila, Philippines started in 1911.- They went on to greater things and the business owned by Squires Bingham & Co was changed to The Arms Corporation Of The Philippines - "ARMSCOR" in 1952.

Currently, ARMSCOR makes a range of small bore rifles including "look alike" models for the AR and the AK, - shotguns,  and several good looking low cost semi-auto Pistols. - Here in New Zealand 'Cameron Sports Imports'  is the wholesaler - importer.

Armscor  have a manufacturing agreement with Fratelli TANGFOLIO Snc of Italy. - This may come as suprising news to some who rate Tangfolio highly for their quality target pistol "race-guns" - while classing the Stirling / Armscor  product as cheap'n'nasty.

Well - personally I wasn't all that impressed by "race guns" that seem to need much modification and "tuning" ( like 1911 models) before they can race - but I've had a soft-spot for the 'cheap'n'cheerful' Stirlings ever since that first used auction purchase !! - Just goes to confirm that I am a bloody minded "pom" eh.

The M20 range is in my experience accurate and trouble free - and cheap. The action is not fussy about brand of ammunition and all the working bits readily come to hand and operate fine. - I put 10 shots of Winchester sub-sonic into a 1.25 inch group at 25 yards rapid fire no worries (-sighted through a cheap 'scope).

The bolt can be locked open simply by pushing-in the handle sleeve, - and the magazine release is also easy to use (unlike my otherwise excellent Ruger 10/22 !).

-As a rough-use knock-about gun that may be rattled around in the back of a farm truck  and generally neglected, they are fine. - Indeed the only problems that I have had with a Stirling was after  I decided that it was time to clean and oil it - probably because it needed a pack of .22"s put through it to clear out all the gun-oil that was drowning the action.

The shorter model above is a very useful size and would suite a younger and smaller new shooter - but I prefer it to the longer version anyway as it's "handier" and there's no need for a full-length barrel in .22" Rimfire - anything much over 16" doesn't count for much (ballistics!).

Mind you, the internal components of the action seem to be die-cast alloy which is likely not as strong as steel forgings or stampings, - still "mustn't grumble eh".

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?

Monday 24 March 2014


In 1938 Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov was only nineteen when drafted into a tank company where he worked using his technical ability to improve the function of  engine recording gauges - but before he could fully test and develop this work - Germany attacked and he was sent to the front.

 - Within weeks he was wounded, hospitalised, and seriously frightened of what the German Maschinenpistole  MP40 could do. - By 1945 the Germans would have made over a million MP40s - so effective that even the Allied soldiers preferred the German SMG (often wrongly known as a "Schmeisser") to their own STENs and 'Tommy-Guns' .

Kalashnikov dedicated himself to making a gun that would enable his much loved Soviet Homeland to throw-off any attack - and when, his left arm still stiff, he was discharged from hospital he returned to the railroad workshops where he'd worked before combat with the army - and there focused on the Russian sub-machine-gun to improve it. His efforts were rejected as too complex but the authorities sent him to a technical school to refine his skills - where he worked on a carbine design.

In 1943 the Soviets selected the new short cartridge 7.62x39mm and Kalashnikov joined other top designers, including Sudayev & Simonov in designing rifles to use it. Sudayevs design won, the war ended and Kalashnikov was put into a "collective" to try refine his design ideas into something better.

                                              Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov

Listening to soldiers stories about jammed guns he made no attempt to achieve tighter tolerances but went the other way - using "sloppy" loose fitting parts that seemed to just chew-up the dirt and sand before spitting it out. - It works.

That widely rotating Bolt -  pushes carbon gums aside by twisting or screwing itself into battery. It works.

That distinctive "banana " magazine is that shape because that's the shape taken by 30 rounds of  tapered 7.62x39mm lined up touching in a row.

That safety that serves as an ejection port cover wasn't new - the 1906 Remington Model 8 s/a Rifle used it. - No need here for a separate flappy trap-door, - just use the idea that works.

                              AK IN 'FIRE' MODE - EJECTION PORT UNCOVERED

Between 1947 and 1949, the AK47 was changed, modified and refined more than 100 times as Kalashnikov listened to what soldiers and others said to him. Kalashnikove rightly designed his 'assault rifle' to be made using welded stampings - but the early production models were re-drawn to use forged components - as the Soviet factories at that time were unable to stamp parts of the needed quality fast enough.

                                                   Video of AK Firing Cycle.

And the beauty of that piston design is that as it nears the end of its stroke - the soot and hot gases are safely exhausted forward into the air - making the AK a self-cleaning device. It works.
Kalashnikov did it all for his country, not for profit or status. - Indeed you might conclude that he was very poorly treated throughout, - until his end-stage life when the Soviet Government noticed  western shooters admiration and respect for him.

The AK47 Series might not be pretty, but ...

The AK family of weapons has been produced in more than five times (maybe closer to ten times) the quantity that the AR15/M16 has - making it the most successful design - but it's interesting ballisticly (a little sad?) that the AK102 in the "Western" calibre .223" (5.56x54mm) is found to be 22% more accurate than the AKs in the Russian 5.54x39mm calibre.
 Note: The "straight banana" magazine in .223" (5.56x54mm). (Not as required by EU rules!)


References: 'AK47  The Weapon That Changed The Face Of War' by Larry Kahaner
                  : Wikipedia.

Marty K

Friday 21 March 2014


'ARAWATA BILL' was born William James O'Leary at 'Wetherstons' about 25 miles from Milton, Otago, 28 October 1865. The family home was near to the Phoenix dam built to supply water for washing the 'pay-dirt' from the Tuapeka Goldfields.

As soon as he and his brothers were big enough to manage a rifle they were let out to roam around  shooting rabbits for the pot - and they often 'wagged' classes preferring the bush to the classroom. Aged twelve he ran off from school for the last time and was set to work about the small home farm - there was wood to be chopped, a garden to be worked, cattle to be cared-for and the house cow to be milked.

 After his mother moved to Dunedin, Bill  made his way working with gold mining, clearing bush, rabbiting and cattle drafting throughout his home territory of Southland, Westland and Otago.

 - This is sandfly country.- Much as I love these parts of NZ - I am banished to the drier areas by the female sandflys that relish my sweet blood & sense me coming from afar - the instant I get-out of my car!  Arawata Bill coped with sandflys by laying still until they were thick on his blanket - and then rolling-over to crush them all - or so the story goes!

               West Coast Female SANDFLY - apparantly the males are vegetarian !
                   ( this strengthens my long-held theory about females in general)

 -Bill is said to have lived for a few years by shooting 3,000 wild rabbits with a muzzle-loading gun and even to have once competed  in Australian rifle shooting championships in Sydney.

Over the next sixty years Bill worked different labouring jobs such as maintenance on the Haast Pass bridle track, and ferryman on different West Coast rivers. He would from time to time also seek buried gold coin treasure and a "lost ruby mine".

 - But it was his exploration of the remote back country as a gold prospector that earned him his long term name of "Arawata Bill". He would disappear into the mountains for many months at a time, packing-in supplies on foot - or where possible with his long term packhorse 'Dolly'.

                                              Arawata Bill and bay mare Dolly

Aged thirty he started seriously fossicking for gold in unmapped parts of Otago and Westland and came to the publics notice when he packed through the Dart Valley above Lake Wakatipu - crossing over the mountains into the Arawhata Valley - and was later interviewed by a Queenstown paper. To this day this precipitous mountain pass is known as 'O'Learys Pass' or 'Learys Pass'.
                                               THE ARAWHATA VALLEY.
He was reputed to sometimes be found living on porridge cooked in his three-legged camp oven - both hot, and later through the day - cold. But he also became well known for his stews made from native pigeon  mixed with assorted flightless birds (incuding kiwi) and parrots, rabbit or any other fair-game he could shoot or throw a rock at.

He perfected a method of using a "Mobile Hangi" whereby he would pack freshly killed game into his saddle bags together with stones heated red hot in a fire - wrapped in sacking - and hours later on arriving at his campsite - dinner would be well cooked, ready for eating.

"On his horse he would carry his mining equipment of pan, pick, and improvised short-handled shovel, made by hacking most of the handle off a conventional shovel. Later he would take to sluicing with hose pipes, and sluice boxes made from ponga or tree ferns. He would also carry a small axe or slasher for track clearing, a tent, blanket, billy, tin plate, and sometimes a rifle. There was no need for tent poles. A frame could easily be fashioned from the surrounding bush."

" Food consisted of the barest essentials of oatmeal, flour, rice, split-peas, or beans, sugar, tea, salt, treacle or syrup and hard ships biscuits. Oatmeal was the staple .. with maybe a bit of black treacle."

- From: 'Arawata Bill: The Story of Legendry Gold Prospector William James O'Leary'
       by: Ian Dougherty  ( I have the Kindle edition - very worthwhile insights into NZ history)

I regularly come across "on-line survivalist" and "off-grĂ¯d" sites debating what to have in a "grab-bag" or "shtf-bug-out bag" - well the above lists would make a good basis (- provided the "bugger-outer" knows how to live rough - and can cook!)

There is a fine sheltered and beautiful campsite in the Dart Valley, under Chinamans Bluff at the top end of  Chinamans Flat - that is known as Arawata Bills Campsite.

Arawata Bill himself later admitted that his prospecting (and searching for a rumoured cashe of gold coin - and a 'lost ruby mine') were really the means of justifying his back country way of living.

 - When close to his eighties he became unable to continue going bush, - he was taken-in to The Sacred Heart Home by the Catholic Little Sisters Of The Poor in Dunedin - who looked after him well for some years until, after being admitted to hospital he died in November 1947 aged 82.

Marty K



Saturday July 26 2014


(Set up from 3pm Friday 25)

Club Stand
Riccarton Park Function Centre

Riccarton Raceway

WW 2 Veterans free
Children 12 & under with adult free

Special Feature

Sales Tables, Club Information,
Collectors Displays, Free Valuations
Firearms, Antiques, Medals, Badges,
Uniforms, Collectables, Swords, Bayonets,
Scale Models, Books, Military Vehicles & Reenactments,
Hunting & Fishing

Presented by Mainland Arms & Militaria Shows Ltd
For information Phone: 0274 35 1940

Thursday 20 March 2014

A Low Cost (US$10.?) PVC PIPE BOW.

Hawaiian Bowmaker Nicholas Tomihama has written books and made videos about his archery sport - and I first found this one on the 'Off-Grid'  (life unplugged) website. He shows how to build a fully working and effective five foot Bow (40 pound draw weight) using standard 3/4 inch bore PVC electrical conduit pipe, 'paracord', 5/16" glass-fibre rods, and a few strips of duct-tape!

                                MY BOW MAKING KIT - It cost more in New Zealand
                                            but still makes a very LOW COST BOW.

Considering that here in New Zealand you have to pay around NZ$300. to NZ$2,000. for a decent bow and $10 plus each for arrows.  - Tomihama's "10 dollar bow" got me all of a quiver.

I even went shopping on-line and bought a copy of his book 'THE IMPOSSIBLE BOW'  for my Kindle. This book shows how to make a range of other PVC Bows and Quivers using the same sort of readily found materials and they look OK and certainly seem to work well.

This Simple Five Foot Bow uses four 5/16" fibre-glass rods as laminations to stiffen the middle 'Handle' area and taper-off the stiffness of the bow toward the 'Nocks' that are cut one inch in from both ends.- I found some reject tent rods in a Christchurch shop and used them as they were cheap.

                  This 5 foot Bow uses Fibre-glass 5/16" Rods 12", 18", 30" and 36" long.
                     These are bundled together (top) by lightly wrapping with duct-tape.

My bundle of  four rods was very tight to push down and centre in the grey PVC pipe - maybe our kiwi metric conduit is smaller/tighter than the American stuff - but please note it was hard work hammering-in my bundle of  'laminations' - but once it's in there and the nocks are cut - You've got a BOW that feels very strong and weighty.

 - I made two initial versions #1 was a grey 5 foot PVC bow with 'cut nocks'.
 - #2 was orange PVC - 5 foot 4 inches overall length  having flattened ends and "pin nocks". -  #2 was much easier to insert the fibre-glass bundled laminations (before flattening the ends with a heat gun) - and has a lighter pull weight.

- Using 'para-cord' to string these simple bows seems to be satisfactory (so far) and I'm currently thinking that the 'pin-nock'(orange) bow looks better but may prove to be more exposed to damage from rough handling than the protected string 'cut' nock on the grey bow.

                                                              VIDEO CLIP

                                             Nicholas Tomihamas Video - It WORKS

Practicing archery in the back-yard is nearly silent, and non-threatening to passers-by. - It's also a fun way to get some fresh air and sunshine - but be careful not to leave your bows exposed to the suns UV rays, as it will over time cause deterioration of the PVC polymers ( Well, you wouldn't leave a Glock or an M&P outside either!).

Now , I'm definately a better shot with a handgun - but that candy-striped "Target" was suprisingly heavy to carry - being stuffed with winter clothes ejected from a ward-robe - and the strain may have caused my arm to shake - maybe practice will help improve my skills!

Now that you've had a look at making a simple Bow - as gun-enthusiasts you owe it to yourself to check-out The Backyard Bowyer's videos on 'THE 100 POUND CROSSBOW'  (in 12 parts) using flattened PVC Pipe for the bow prod.- I'll have to build one of those next - as this stuff works!

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 March 2014

10MM Glock 'DUPLEX LOAD' - Two Bullets One Bang


What happens if you load two projectiles (bullets) into a semi-auto pistol cartridge? - Does the gun blow-up, - do they just lock together as a single slug – or maybe you might get the result that I was seeking and get two holes in the target for one shot.

When I came across a story by Wiley Clapp in an American shooting magazine (GUNS & AMMO Nov.1990) I was immediately intrigued by the possibilities suggested by that story about loading multiple bullets for use in .38s and .357s. Mr Clap told how to use bullets cast from a Hensley & Gibbs #333 mould to wildcat two or even three-bullet loads in a revolver.
                                                #333 Mould and Cast Bullets

It struck me that my favorite semi-auto pistol cartridge – the 10mm Auto, was a little like the .357” in that they both are longer straight sided cases when compared to a 9mm Luger or the .45ACP. Perhaps - like the .357”Magnum, - there might be enough room inside a 10MM brass case for more than one projectile.

 - Grabbing a hacksaw I cut open a case and then shortened two cast pills to approximate the length that I thought a pair of 100gn x .40”pills would be - if loaded into the 10MM case. Well they looked comfortable and very much 'at home' – and there was room for a normal looking amount of powder to fit behind the twins – so maybe I was onto something useful.

                                         'MOCK-UP' Of 10MM DUPLEX LOAD

If two 100gn 10mm (.40”) pills could be safely fired from one round in a 10MM semi-auto like the GLOCK 20, and give minimum separation on a target at short ranges – seven to ten metres – the surface area on impact would be twice that of a single bullet but still deliver the same momentum, and reduce over-penetration.

 - A problem that I have experienced in Bowling Pin Matches is that often a decent on-target hit with the 10MM will splinter the pin and leave it spinning on the table while the bullet goes straight through without stopping - and carries on unperturbed to the backstop, - whereas a slow soft .45” slug will push the pin gently back and off the table while lodged in the timber pin.

                                                10MM - May be HOT when fired !

I have a theory about the lack of enthusiasm for the 10MM Auto in America. - When Col Jeff Cooper was proposing the development of a powerful cartridge between .45” and 9mm – he should have first gone with something smaller like the .40”S&W (short & weak !) - Then later on, had a public 'eureka moment' and proposed a magnum version for real Americans - called maybe THE .40”AUTO MAGNUM .

It would be the same superior, versatile, flat shooting, powerful, and controllable caliber for modern handguns as it is today – but with an 'All American' name that even  "Bubbers" could vote for – it's a MAGNUM, an American Gun.

The Wiley Clapp .357' double / triple load in GUNS & AMMO was worked-up as a defensive load using very short 'wadcutters' cast from a Hensley & Gibbs #333 Mold. These hard cast bullets weigh only 66.6gn and measure just a quarter of an inch front to back. This short flat shape readily allows three pills to be gang-loaded into a .357" Mag case (and two into a .38”) – and there's no snags to using a flat nosed wadcutter round in a revolver. - Certainly if I could find a  #333 bullet mould in New Zealand I'd snap it up like a cold beer in the desert, and would load up rounds for my six inch barrel RUGER .357".

– But of-course wadcutters wouldn't do in a 10MM semi-auto - which would certainly need some lead-in from a tapered or round nose projectile to help feeding up the ramp into the chamber. What I had in mind was a shallow 10mm pill weighing no more than 100gn with a truncated cone nose profile that would feed in a semi-auto action when poking out of the front of the case, – but the same tapered nose, when reverse-stacked (base-to-base) with the top slug would ease down into the internal tapering case and act like a semi boat-tail back end for the twins and help them slip into place without pushing out a bulge on the outside wall.

First I approached some guys who were swaging projectiles requesting a batch of lightweight 100gn pills,- but they said that they couldn't swage them small enough for me – So next I turned to a fellow Pistol Club member who had told me that he'd made his own mould to cast 9mm Truncated cone pills to feed a GLOCK 19 Compact. - Robert liked the idea – and in only a couple of days he produced samples weighing exactly 100gns that looked great except he couldn't get the lube to sit in the grooves using his homemade sizer / lubricator - so we tumble lubed the samples for testing.
                         SAMPLE 100grain CAST TRUNCATED CONE BULLETS

Thinking 'all care'.. I decided to use brand new Winchester 10MM cases and hand seated the Winchester large primers using a LEE Ram-Prime. I ran all the new cases through the sizer die before priming and bell-mouthing them. The 100gn bullets were covered with a slightly tacky coating of lubricant so I wiped clean all the bases using a rag on a flat surface to ensure the sticky brown lube didn't glue them together as one slug.

The first five cases were loaded with one only 100gn projectile over a light charge of Winchester Superlight (WSL3) – really just to ensure that the cartridges would feed in & out of the GLOCK 20 chamber and confirm that the bullets 'truncated cone' shape would work. - Robert had sized the castings to .401” and I seated them down to give an overall cartridge length of 1.160” which looked right and they barrel-dropped and fed up from the magazine when hand-cycled through the action.

                                        Glock 20 10MM - Functional & So Good-looking !

Not wanting any complications caused by a compressed powder load, I had measured the powder space below the duplex load which indicated that a maximum powder charge of WSL3 might be 5.0gn. I also needed to ensure that more than half the capacity was filled behind the bullets to eliminate the chance of the propellant flame 'flashing' across the powder surface and resulting in an instant detonation with high pressure – so I chose a bottom limit powder charge of 3.0gn WSL3.

Hand weighing each charge on scales I loaded five duplex loads each of 3.5gn, 4.0gn, 4.5gn. & 5.0gn powder charge and the paired 100gn pills balanced and fed easily into place for the crimp to be applied to each case just like bought ones before sealing them into clearly marked plastic bags.

                        LOADED DUPLEX 10MM AUTO CARTRIDGE & 'MOCK-UP'

When I got to the outdoor range it was a dull day with just enough of a breeze to blow my note paper away every time I forgot to weigh it down with a rock. - I set-up two IPSC buff targets and stuck a large black patch in the A-Zone as an aiming point and fired the five 100gn “singles” - making a fair group but had to hand eject as they were too light to work the GLOCK 20 action.

- The first twin-load chambered - and POP as two 'snake eyes' appeared near enough to the black patch. - Yeahh!, quickly in with the magazine holding the remaining four 3.5gn loads – and a nice set of paired holes built up on the cardboard target – this was getting to be fun . - The big 10MM GLOCK 20 was running like an Austrian watch on these twins and the paired holes were appearing right where they should.

 - It wasn't until I got to the 4.5gn loads that the “plastic phantastic” began to feel like a 10MM – and the 5.0gn loads did get the GLOCK to move a bit - ejecting the spent cases three or four metres to the side. A bit far to retrieve them conveniently - but no excess pressure signs. The 10mm brass is a lot easier to find than lesser cases – try picking 9MM cases from the gravel when they're mixed in with all those broken bits of Desert Eagle in the dirt!

-Having used all my test loads at seven metres I had to go home and load more to try on bowling pins – and I also needed to check the spread at longer ranges and pick a standard powder charge to run with. - Close examination of the targets showed that some of the hottest 5.0gn loads had tumbled and gone through the target sideways – and the lighter charges had given the widest separation on the target, suggesting that a powder charge somewhere between 4.0gn & 4.5gn as thrown by my LEE Powder Thrower should give the optimum result.

I loaded fifty more of the 'tandem tens' again using new Winchester cases with a thrown powder charge of 4.3gns of the WSL3 propellant. I was working the next couple of weekends but in due course I got to the range and set-up another clean IPSC Target at 25 metres and test fired five rounds - with the paired holes ringed by felt pen between each shot. - the widest spread at this 25metre range was 135mm (5.5”) and the friendliest pair were only 20mm (0.5”) apart.

- So far, so good – but the big test was to see how bowling pins reacted to my home-made pin- pushers. - setting-up a couple of slightly used pins and carefully aiming ..'whack' - the twin loads certainly knocked the plastic coated pins back and off their table – with all the 100gn pills staying under the plastic coatings rather than blasting splintered exit holes. - I'd have to shoot pin matches to prove the load, but certainly the duplex rounds demonstrate the versatility of Col. Coopers ideal calibre for semi-auto pistols. It would be hard to develop a similar load for shorter auto calibres such as the 9mm, .40”, or .45”.
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 March 2014

Stanley Graham,1941, - David Gray, 1990.- NZ 'AMOK' Shootings

Fourty-one year old Eric Stanley Graham was dairy farming at Kowhitirangi, nr Hokitika on the Wild, Wet, West Coast of the South Island NZ during the second world war.

 -The South Island of New Zealand lays in "The Roaring Forties" surrounded by sea, angled almost square-on to the prevailing strong Nor-Westerly winds. The long central mountain spine that rises to 12,218 ft (3,724m) make the moisture laden airflow rapidly lift and chill, - causing rain to fall heavily on the narrow coastal flats that border the steep 'rain-forest' clad mountain slopes.

                                                           Stanley Graham.

That 'West Coast' rain makes the grass grow - but the washed-out ('pakihi') soils over an iron-pan - and short fast flowing boulder-filled mountain rivers don't make for an easy life farming. - Graham was having problems with his stock health - and his cream had been rejected and dyed blue as contaminated, by the Co-operative Dairy Company.

- He blamed his neighbours. - Sinking into debt, his behaviour became aggressive and threatening over  several years, and he was in dispute with the local police - who had for some time been trying to collect his .303" rifle for the war effort.

After he threatened a neighbour and a carpenter with a rifle, four police officers went to Grahams farm on October 8th, 1941 where they were confronted at the door and shot. - Also shot was an agricultural instructor, George Ridley. - The next day two members of The Home Guard approached Graham - who although wounded, shot both Guards. All told seven men died from their wounds.

There is a story that the Japanese war propagandist "Tokyo Rose" broadcast a radio message to Graham saying that if he would hold the South Island - they would send a man to take the North Island.

The wounded Stanley Graham went bush for twelve days until he was again shot  and fatally wounded by Constable Quirke (from Auckland) when spotted emerging from the forest.  - Graham told Quirke "I am done, I was going to chuck it tonight .." and died in hospital the next day.

The Graham home was shortly thereafter burned to the ground.          


In 1990, David Gray, a 33 year old unemployed reclusive resident of a small coastal settlement Aramoana had been in dispute with his neighbours and shopkeepers in nearby city Dunedin  - Eleven months before the shootings Gray had argued with a bank clerk, threatened a cafe worker, and threatened a bookshop owner with a firearm in a cardboard box - and had been served a "Trespass Order" and reported to the police. - Gray was visited by local police but no action was taken to cancel his firearm licence or remove his firearms.

                                                                 DAVID GRAY

Grays mother with whom he lived, had died five years before - and he had moved into the Aramoana  family holiday home. -  He was an animal lover - and in dispute with his neighbours whos pet animals kept dying - and whos children kept wandering onto his property.

 His mental and physical health had seriously deteriorated. An emaciated 57 kilos weight he had withdrawn from contact with friends in recent months.

On the evening of November 13th 1990 Gray started an argument with his neighbour, and returning with a rifle, shot him and set fire to their house. In the next 23 hours, thirteen victims died (and three were wounded) from bullets fired - including first responder Police Sgt. Stewart Guthrie - while Grey walked about shooting, prepared meals, ate and slept, - until The Special Tactics Group arrived from Christchurch and entered the village (that had been sealed-off  by more than 150 police and the Armed Offenders Squad) and shot Gray in a hail of automatic fire.

Four of Grays victims were shot using the .223" Chinese "Assault Rifle" - the nine others died from rounds Gray fired from a .22" rimfire "rabbit gun", - but this tragic shooting was used by Police and politicians to justify new laws against the so called "Assault Rifles".

Three days after the shootings some 50 locals and the Fire Brigade watched as Grays house was deliberately burned to the ground.

In 1972 when five members of the Bain Family were shot in their Dunedin home (with a .22" rimfire) - the house was also burned to the ground. - Such burnings of crime scenes prevent later enquiries into seeking further evidence.

These and other shootings world-wide, have been highlighted as failings of Gun Laws but seem to me to be more accurately classified as failings of Mental Health Care and the under-resourced Police failing to act on information supplied.

Note: The UK 2010 'Cumbria' Shooting, and the 1996 'Dunblane' shootings both involve either lack of police action on known criminal acts - or failure to help with prior Mental Health problems.

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 March 2014


There is plenty of 'Classic' Hunting available in NZ  - furthermore it is open to anyone with a licence, a gun and the energy to access legal hunting country. - In the UK and many parts of Europe, most of the hunting and fishing rights are held in the hands of landed aristocracy who may lease-out these rights to syndicates able to pay thousands of dollars for one days hunting, deer stalking or fly fishing.

Here in the underpopulated South Pacific, anyone who is keen to take a rifle for a walk can usually access suitable country by talking to friends with contacts in the farming communities - where busy rural workers will welcome trustworthy shooters onto their properties. Back-country farmland is often plagued by nuisance populations of rabbits, pigs and possums

                              RABBITS Cost New Zealand Agriculture $5 million every year.

Often a shooter who can prove trustworthy and effective will be supplied with ammunition by the "Cockie" (farmer) in return for thinning the numbers of these animal pests - it being said that five rabbits eat more grass than one sheep.

There are localised populations of wild Turkey and Pheasant, - and Quail used to be found in high concentrations but recent years have seen stoats etc greatly reduce their numbers. Where I live, there are often California Quail to be heard and I've even had a pair wandering about my garden.

The Australian Brushtail Possums were introduced into New Zealand to form a fur industry in the 1850s and have thrived here without any of the natural controls of bushfires and dingoes. They do indeed provide a valued fur-fibre that is blended with wool to make beautiful warm and soft clothing - indeed I would not surrender my possum/merino wool blend socks to anyone (- only from my cold dead feet !).
                                                      BUSH-TAILED POSSUM

 - However, at what a cost! - Possums have found our native trees very tasty and they are responsible for killing large areas of native forest trees by defoliating the canopy - and they are blamed for spreading bovine tuberculosis among dairy cattle. - Estimates for the numbers of possums infesting the country vary between 30 million, 50 million, and 70 million - so I'd be safe to say that there are lots of them available to shoot despite serious efforts to reduce their numbers by poison and trapping.

A .22" semi-auto rifle fitted with a low power optical sight and a powerful light are the ideal tool for both rabbit and possum
Ruger 10-22 set-up for spotlighting.
 Pig in NZ needs a minimum centre-fire cartridge such as a .357" or .44"  Magnum lever action carbine - but there is a big tradition of pig-hunting using dogs to hold the animal while the fit fellow runs in and "sticks" the porker with a long sharp blade such as a bayonet. Following this strenuous excitement you get to call-in any missing dogs, gut the pig, and mount the still twitching pork-roast to back-pack it out down to where you left your transport, for the drive back to the kitchen oven or freezer.
                                                             GET IN THERE!

Not for me - but pass that plate of crackling please!

- While talking about feral introduced animals - some eighteen months ago in Southern England the whole town (Stubbington) was infested with grey squirrels and foxes - they definitely need to get the boys out with traps and air-rifles, before all their bird life and pets disappear. - " Oh but you mustn't hurt the pretty squirrels".
                                                                                                                                 Marty K

Thursday 13 March 2014


The first Red Deer were introduced into the wild in New Zealand in 1871. - Acclimatisation Societies were formed to bring-in game land mammals ( and fish like Trout & Salmon) for both food and sport for some sixty years from the 1860s - as there were no mammals here other than the small NZ Bat!
                                                            RED DEER (NZ)
There had been a variety of flightless birds from the small Kiwis and Weka (known locally as "Bush Hens") to very large grazing Moa (- now long extinct). I'd say that this lack of wild meat must have greatly increased the popularity of SHEEP for the early settlers - and made the often unwise importation of Pigs, Rabbits, Hare and later stoats and ferrets to control the rabbits a more urgent need !!

Those indigenous ground birds, and native pigeons would have provided many a hungry traveller with "tea" by the camp-fires flickering light before rolling-up in a blanket a couple of hundred years ago - but are all now protected species.

Nowadays there is 'rough shooting' around farming areas for pig, rabbit, hare, possums, and wallaby - all "introduced" pest animals. But true Hunting is available higher-up into the bush country and mountains - where bigger game animals remain and present a fine challenge to the fitness and marksmanship of keen hunters.
                                                              THAR at home.

Thar were introduced into the Central Southern Alps area (South Island) in 1904 from The Himalayas and although today regarded as a pest species by the Department Of ConservationDOC - are a highly valued and challenging target trophy animal. (- tastes good too).

Chamois (1907), another mountain goat-like animal, are also at home in our high country - and are also officially classed as pests to be controlled.

As well as Red Deer there are viable herds of Fallow Deer, Rusa, Sambar, Sika,  and  Wapati and Whitetail Deer populations are to be found and may be hunted. Moose were introduced into remote, wet, Fiordland in 1910 but are believed to have all died out since 1956 when perhaps the last one was shot - but traces have been observed in 2002.
                                                WHITETAIL Stewart Island, NZ.

There not being any dangerous or BIG animals in New Zealand (nor any snakes) - a typical rifle here might be a 7x57mm, 6.5x55mm, 223", 222", or 7.62x39mm. - For many years sporterised ex-army SMLE .303" rifles were serving as tough low cost hunters tools but are fading-away now.

                                         'Scoped & Sporterised Lee-Enfield .303"

There is an extensive 'network' of "Huts" throughout the New Zealand back country - many are serviced and maintained by DOC while others are privately owned or are cared-for by hunting groups such as The New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association.

                       Hut on Four Peaks High Country Tack, Fairlie, Canterbury.

These 'Huts' vary from simple mountain shelters on the snowline , old stock-mens huts, up to well equipped large bunkhouses with cooking and toilet facilities - very popular with Trampers, climbers, and hunters. Those facilities on the well trodden tracks such as the 'Heaphy Track' are so well used that there is a need to advance book bunk-space with DOC.

- As I write there are several new huts being built on Stewart Island in an effort to reduce the need of bush walkers carrying in bivouac materials like plastic sheeting.

We get quiet a lot of overseas hunters visiting - usually shooting with organised hunting guides - and the fishing is good too for those into fly-fishing or sea fishing. However I have noticed during my time here (nearly 40 years) that population pressures are growing and hunting areas have become more restricted and controlled.
                                                                                                                          Marty K

Wednesday 12 March 2014

THERMETTES - Back Country Boilers:

I've got a couple of old copper "thermettes" or "Back Country Boilers" that I really value - as they are the ideal tool for a quick cup of tea or 'cuppa-soup' when out and about in the back-blocks. 

This type of water heater may have been around for as much as 3,600 odd years with "SAMOVAR" tea urns going way-back in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The key feature is a water jacket surrounding a tall chimney that produces an up-draught to help the kindling to burn hotly - bringing water to the boil in minutes.
                      Time for a 'brew-up' of Tea at LAKE WAKATIPU, Queenstown.

A New Zealander John Ashley Hart  patented his version of the 'Thermette' in 1929 and they sold well - but ten years later in 1939 he was asked by the NZ Military to waive his patent so that they could get them made and issued to the New Zealand Army as standard kit - which he agreed to, - and the water heaters became very popular with the men in North Africa as "Benghazi Boilers".

Rod says that the Brits could always tell where the Kiwis had been in the Desert by the blackened rings in the sand where they'd stopped for a brew-up!

Modern versions are available from an English maker Eydon Kettle Co. in aluminium and Stainless steel, called "Storm Kettles" - in four different sizes. I was reading a very positive review from America recently.

 - But there is also a New Zealand maker OUTDOOR ATTITUDE of Taupo who still make their version in copper. - Copper has to be the very best of materials as it doesn't corrode, it transmits heat very well, and any copper or copper alloy ( such as brass), has a strong anti-bacterial affect on anything in contact - so is unbeatable for cooking utensils.


                       My two battered old "thermettes" (with some home-grown garlic).

- Fill the water jacket, stand boiler on some stones or the proper base,  and put some crumpled paper in the bottom - drop in broken twigs, small pine-cones etc down the chimney and light the paper. Get out the drinking mugs and the 'makings', - pour on boiling water when you see the steam - take it easy and think about what's for tonights cook-up.

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 11 March 2014

Massad Ayoob. Expert Witness & Firearms Safety Writer:

Over the years I have read many thousands of informative gun stories by thousands of authors - but the one name that has most stood-out is Massad Ayoob.

As I "matured" I've noticed that Mas is also ageing and his photos no longer show that earlier fit young father at the height of his powers, but rather they now show a bearded grandfather with greying hair.
                                MASSAD AYOOB (he's four years younger than me!)

His very latest 2014 Gun Digest book 'Gun Safety In The Home' tells how he has been shooting since he was four years old - firing his older sisters .22" rifle with his father - and 'carrying' when working in the family jewellers shop at twelve years old.

 - I feel that you can tell his advice is meaningful and truthful when he details how he himself has experienced a negligent discharge in competition on a range, during a training match using a Colt 45" auto weak handed -covered by a napkin - safety off.

I own several of his more than twenty books, and many annuals and magazines containing his writings - perhaps my single most valued book is 'The Truth About Self Protection' - a paperback that is looking well "dog-eared" now following years of being lent to mates. - The best Au$12.00 I ever spent at a Sydney Gun Show years ago!

I didn't start shooting until I was fifteen years old in England -  and was enjoying military cadet training at school. I managed to earn a 'First Class Shot' uniform badge on the school small-bore rifle range. (How many schools have their own Rifle-Range today?).

Just as Massad writes - guns are a type of power tool used to cut or drill holes very quickly - and deserve care and respect at all times to ensure that they only work where and when intended.

Like all other mechanical devices there are inevitable failures to function correctly - combine this with the less than perfect nature of  the individual operators - the 'nuts behind the wheels'  and you have the strongest possible argument for learning and using a rigid set of rules such as  the late Col. Jeff Coopers four core safety rules:





At my long time workplace I was trained to investigate accidents - and it was known that accidents nearly always happen as the result a succession of failings rather than for one single reason. A shooter who has fixed those four "laws" into his shooting behaviour may well experience an "accident incident" but each of "the laws"will come into effect and may prevent any serious outcomes.

'Nuff said?

Saturday 8 March 2014

South African 'BLASTER' - "BMW Flamethrower"

Medium-Rare or well done sir?

In 1998 South African inventor Charl Fourie designed a defensive system for use against carjackers - I guess he might have been furious eh!

The system used LPG (liquid petroleum gas) flame thrower nozzles installed on the sides of the vehicle that would, at the flick of a switch, project five metre high plumes of flame upward into the faces of would-be attackers.
Of course, in South Africa it is not illegal to use lethal force to defend oneself if in fear of ones life, and there are few restrictions on the ownership of such devices.

There was much debate about this design - including speculation by the South African Automobile Association - as to maybe would such defensive systems increase the trend of carjackers to just shoot first as they approach their targeted victims.

The devices were not a commercial success - selling only in the low hundreds due partly to the high selling price - and manufacture ceased in 2001.

LPG fuel conversions were for many years popular here in New Zealand, as a means of reducing transport costs. The conversions were subsidised with a Govt. grant and the LPG fuelled Taxis are still used as the cost savings are worthwhile on higher mileage vehicles. The two basic options were to switch entirely to LPG or to retain the original fuel system switchable to yield a 'duel fuel' system with much increased distances between re-fuelling stops.

Big Fords and Holdens (General Motors Australia) are available new LPG fuelled for a couple of grand premium - but conversion costs here are in the area of NZ$5000. American readers will need to distinguish between Gas fuelled vehicles and gas fuelled cars.

Carjacking is not a problem here - and any such flamethrower system would certainly be frowned upon immediately unless intended for recreational camping barbecues and lighting - but there wouldn't be much extra technology and cost in the required pipework and nozzle fittings to adapt an existing installation for camping.

*WARNING*  - Do not do this at home !

Friday 7 March 2014


Between 1949 and 1959, the massive 70 metre wingspan, ten engined B36 was the delivery vehicle for Americas 'cold war' Nuclear Deterrent, - their means of delivery of massive nuclear bombs from mainland USA to the USSR.

The 'Peacemaker' had a payload of 33,000 kilos and an intercontinental range of  16,000 kilometres without re-fuelling.

                                                CONVAIR B 36 PEACEMAKER

Following  my post about the Colt "Peacemaker" Revolver, a mate John drew my attention to this other "Peacemaker"  I'd never heard of it - as despite working for an airline for twenty-nine years, - I'm not that fascinated by aircraft or by sitting inside them!

 - The truth is that I actually hate flying and spend the hours when I'm locked-up inside those metal tubes testing the floor by intermittently pushing against it with my feet to check that it's still there.

The thickest point of those huge wings was 2.3 metres giving a crawl space inside the wing that let the crew work on the engines in flight - which is lucky, as those engines, - all ten of them, were not very reliable.

 - The six propeller Pratt & Whitney engines had three bladed 5.8 metre propellers and were mounted backwards as pushers. - Problem #1 was that they were designed to point the other way and the reversed mounting caused overheating, engine fires, and carburettor icing.

                                                          B-36 TAKE-OFF

- Then  the two turbo-jets each mounted in pods near the wingtip were very thirsty (and smokey!) so were mostly shut-down and their intakes blanked-off  by louvres operated from the flight deck. But the four General Electric jet-engines did greatly help with take-off power and gave a sprint capacity when speed or extra height was needed.

On Take-off, the Captain of the 15 man crews would report to the control tower " - Six turnin' and four burnin' ".

Over time, with a history of poor running, overheating and engine fires - this catch phrase changed to:
" - Two turning, two burning, two smoking, two choking, and two more unaccounted for!".

The aircraft was too big to fit inside hangers for maintenance and tech crews despaired of such tasks as changing the 336 spark plugs on the freezing ground in Northern Arctic Continental America where the B36 operated from. - Each of the six 28 cylinder radial engines had 56 spark plugs!

One extreme experiment using a B36 was 215 flight hours equipped with an air cooled nuclear reactor being carried to see what effect it might have on the aircraft systems(!) during which test time the reactor became 'critical' for 89 hours! - They were investigating whether nuclear powered propulsion was usable for aircraft. - "Only in America!" - But they did have a four ton lead disc shield in the middle of the aircraft between the reactor and the cockpit.

Worth reading more about the B36 'Peacemaker' on Google, - if you're into aircraft history eh.
Marty K