Saturday 31 May 2014

Electromagnetic Rail Guns - 100 mile range?

Electromagnetic Rail guns (these are not the Railway Guns of WW2) work by accelerating their projectile between two electrically charged 'rails' as depicted here"

Now please don't dismiss this as being a load of old guff - as the US Navy is already testing their prototypes:

Rail Guns achieve much greater velocities than conventional chemical propellant guns - and these velocities suggest that there will be no need for high explosive shells - as the kinetic energy of the projectile will be so destructive on terminal contact.
                               German Electronic Rail Gun Drawing (Sabot) from WW2.

We're talking here about velocities in excess of 2.4 kilometres per second. (Mach 7). - And ranges out to 100 miles.

A 'single loop' rail gun requires a launch current of a "few million amperes" - Although there is no chemical 'explosive' propellant involved - the heat generated by the speed of propulsion is considerable.

                                              Prototype Navy Rail Gun.

Researchers were aiming for velocities of 11,500ft/per/sec (Mach 10)  - Yugoslavian researchers are already seeking 23,000 ft./per/sec.

These extreme high velocities not only mean that explosive laden warheads are not needed - but also mean that the launch vessels will not need any 'magazines' full of explosive propellants on board either - reducing the threat of catastrophic on-board fires. - Think nuclear powered electricity generators on-board warships.

               New US 'DDG (DD-X) "Zumwalte"  Class Destroyer (all electric drive).

 - DDG 1002 was named 'USS President Lyndon B. Johnson' in April 2012 - after the 36th President of USA.

 I'd guess that portable 'rail gun rifles' might be just around the corner too (- think modern re-chargeable electric battery development). - forget case-less ammo and 3D printed guns!

Martin K

Thursday 29 May 2014


Some folk think that the longer the tool, the better the performance:
(I once read a lady say "-A hard man is good to find"! - as opposed to "A good man is hard to find")

                                A 'Buntline' - That's silly, but quiet pretty eh.

- A barrel needs  to be long enough for the powder charge to all burn and use all its hot gas to accelerate the projectile to optimum velocity - once the powder is used-up - the remaining length of barrel will start to slow the bullet by friction losses.

 You can't really state that one specific length is right for any calibre - as each loading of different pill weight, propellant type and charge weight will have a different need - so the best that can be done is select a length that is either somewhere in the middle of the range of that cartridges possibilities or around the longest ever likely to be utilised.

                                         Hickok45 tests three barrel lengths.

-Then it comes-down to your priorities. If you need something that is handy and of minimum length or weight - it's worth pruning the tube by a hands-width and accept the loss of few hundred foot per second velocity. - Shooters do this all the time with handguns, as nearly all revolvers and pistols throw-out unburnt powder from the muzzle - an unexpected amount when you check - perhaps by collecting it on a clean surface ahead of the muzzle. - You'd have to wonder about 'hot' loads eh.

                                    Ruger 'Alaskan' .44" Magnum 2.5inch
                      - that's silly too  (44 Magnum in a 2.5" !) - but still pretty!

Indoor ranges need to regularly sweep or vacuum the area in front of the firing position as unburnt powder collects and can become a risk of accidental ignition. - I used to sweep my indoor range at intervals and deliberately light the sweepings heap to safely burn it with a spectacular cloud of grey smoke - to test the ventilation system (and for fun!).

It may be possible that by shortening a rifle barrel you might improve accuracy - as a shorter tube may be less floppy and less inclined to droop when it gets too hot.(I refer you to what the lady says above). Another consideration must be that shorter barrels are a lot louder with gasses exiting at higher pressure.

Experiments cutting-off barrels inch-by-inch do show the expected linear changes in velocity but the resulting accuracy changes have been reported as mostly random. For velocities take a look at Ballistics by the Inch web site as they may have saved you from taking a hack-saw to your best gun - and have tested many popular calibres and ammunition options.

Marty K

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Unwanted Colt SAA - Old Rusty Shot-shells:

Way back in March - writing about the Colt SAA 'Peacemaker' - I joked that I'd be happy to adopt and care-for any old neglected example that was collecting dust in an attic or barn - Well you could have "knocked me down with a feather" - when only weeks later my 'Ex' told me that her line-dancing friend had found "a 45 Colt Peacemaker" and some old ammunition in a box in her garage!

                              An orphan 'Peacemaker' - for me ? - You'd be lucky!

- First opportunity to drive down the hill onto the plains and take a look at this discovered treasure came and - as I'd expected - the found treasure-trove turned-out to be a die-cast "replica" toy - still with its packaging - but also a crappy nylon shot-shell belt containing dangerously rusted 12 gauge shells.

I say "crappy" because the cartridge loops are so slack that the shells fall straight through to drop in the dirt - and many of the shotgun shells 'brass' bases have rusted and present a disposal problem as you'd have to be very foolhardy to risk firing them in a gun.

I told this lady that it was only a toy and not worth anything - real 1873 Colts weren't sold in foam polystyrene - but she protested "no - its got real ammunition and everything" - so I had to agree with her that it did have real ammunition - real TOY ammunition in the toys packaging - and REAL shotgun ammunition that was in a dangerous condition and needed sorting-out safely - but as she wanted the "dangerous gun" out of her garage I put the stuff in the back of my car and waved 'bye-bye'.

- What do you do with dodgy ammunition? - I guess that I could try hand it in at a police station but that's just passing the buck - and anyway the police posts around my way are either closed and empty usually (the Cops are out catching cars exceeding the speed-limits by 4kph.)

 - or the office is manned by a bespectacled middle-aged clerk who'd likely not welcome being fronted with an armful of live 'dangerous!' ammunition: BOMB ALERT, BOMB ALERT.

- I plan to cut the shells open and to empty out the shot and propellant powder - maybe burn the unknown powder and might re-use the lead shot or pass it to someone who re-loads for shotgun - either way it's going to be a waste of my time and I've got a feeling that 'line-dancing-lady' thinks I'm ripping-her-off and have taken her valuable real antique!

As for the Spanish made die-cast toy "Colt 45"  - does anyone know a young person who'd like a toy cowboy gun to run around with and have fun? - Aw, perhaps that's not a good idea either as..

 a/- most kids now only play on their computers or 'tablets' and..

 b/- a reported sighting of somebody running around in their back-yard with a realistic looking *GUN* will likely result in a full 'Armed Offenders' call-out of black clad, bullet-proofed, booted & helmeted, face-masked men carrying full-auto assault weapons as they slide down ropes from their black helicopter to detain the armed suspect..

 - twelve hours late - when the kid is cosily sleeping in bed with his new toy.

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 27 May 2014

INFERIOR Modern FLINTS - Heat-Treated:

In an earlier piece I looked at salvaged flints brought-up from under the sea by divers using a suction dredge - from the wreck site of 'The Earl of Abergavenny'  - an "East Indiaman" that was sunk (1805) after leaving for Bengal:   'Brown Bess FLINTS from under the sea' (- April 2004).

The story was that flintlock shooters were buying these old salvaged flints and finding that they were much stronger performing and longer lived than modern 'shop-bought' pieces that are not cheap to buy.

                                        Hickok45 fires a flintlock 'Brown Bess'

-My latest reading casts a better light on this small issue - it seems that back then the English Brandon Flint Works (Suffolk) was the major Government contractor supplying the British Ministry of War with flints for their Service issued flintlock arms. This flint was knapped from nodules found in chalk - having variable colourings but all completely natural and of proper hardness - that makes the old, real knapped flints mostly 'self-sharpening' and long lasting.

                                   'Masters of Flint' in a Brandon Flint Shop 1876.

- The problem with 'modern' flints is that the suppliers heat-treat or 'bake' the raw material for many hours - even days - to make the cooked flint more brittle and easier for the knapper to work. This treatment can be detected by the flints having a "waxy sheen & texture" and results in these modern produced flints being too hard and having a tendency to shatter when the gun is fired - and the striking edge quickly disintegrates. - You pay more - and what do you get?

In his booklet 'Gun-Flints And How to Make Them'  GJ Kelly explains all this - and also describes the chemistry and mechanical make-up of flint - how it is worked - and how black-powder shooters can save their money by making their own flints that will out-perform current shop bought items.

He is charging only ninety-five cents ($0.95) for his book loaded with valuable experience - so if you are a do-it-yourself  'smoke-pole' enthusiast get on to your Kindle and get with it.

- A 'mystery' solved ? - it sounds like it to me anyway. - Good shooting - Have fun - Life is Good.

Marty K

Monday 26 May 2014

Musket balls cast from black-powder cans.

I'm currently reading (just finished) "Weapons of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" by James B Garry - (Kindle Ed.) and have also down-loaded - but yet to start on "The Journals of.." 
                                                           Lewis & Clark.
 Things were very different in the Americas 200 years ago - but peoples basic needs were similar - and their brains needed to be used every bit as much as they should be now. - The 'Weapons..' book is well worth the read although I was annoyed by some passages being repeated in later chapters.

 - One singular detail really impressed me and that was about their way of caring for the most essential stores for their weapons - the powder and lead for bullets.

All members of the party were equipped with a personal long-arm (plus a knife, tomahawk, etc. ) each gun also needing various extras like a bullet-mould, flints, picks, rammers, patches, grease, - best carried in a 'possibles bag'  - but Capt. Lewis is credited with inventing a most clever way to combine carrying  lead & black-powder in the right proportions - while ensuring that the powder is kept dry and ready for use.
Yes - Real Men Used to Carry a Handbag!

You need half the weight of lead projectiles in black-powder to fire them - every ten pound of lead needed five pounds weight of gunpowder. - And that powder needs to be carefully protected from the elements and from sparks or impact. The lead was typically supplied as sheets of the metal while the personal powder supplies kept by the shooter were held in powder-horns.

Lewis ordered that the sheets of lead be made into fifty-two lead canisters each weighing eight pounds and holding four pounds of powder. The hole through which the powder was loaded was then sealed using corks and wax. - Spark-proof and water-proof - Clever.

           One Design ensures correct quantities, and dry powder, in a spark-proof leaden Can.

When needed for distribution - they poured out the dry powder and filled their powder horns - cut-up the lead canister for melting-down - and the men could then-cast their bullets for re-filling their pouches.

                                                     OLD GANG MOULD

For two years this group fed themselves off the land while on the march (and in boats) - food was supplemented with stuff traded with the local native tribes - but they really sought-out bears for the meat, skins and 'bear-grease' - soon realising that the smaller bore rifles were likely only to annoy the bear into charging. - Grizzly Bear outpace a sprinting man by better than twenty-five per-cent faster!

Different lands - different problems.

Mart K

Sunday 25 May 2014


The latest amok shooting in Santa Barbara, USA by a mentally ill twenty-two year old - will no doubt again bring the anti-gunners to boiling point. The specifics of this shooting are awful - with the killer leaving both video and written evidence of his vicious intent to "punish" girls for his inadequate social life. - I will not use this sickos name - but forecast that his video and 'manifesto' will provide sensational media excitement for weeks.

 I extend my sincere sympathy and regrets to the families of all the victims.

I will, once again repeat my wish that if it were possible - I would choose to totally eliminate ALL means of killing other humans. - But of-course that is not possible.

 - All that seems possible for our law-makers - is to restrict ownership of firearms by law-abiding folk and take away their means of self-defence - from the very people who are not a problem.

-Those who ignore laws will remain armed and unaffected by any "bans".

 - Those in the  pay of  our Governments will continue to be armed military forces.
 - Those members of law-enforcement units will remain armed.
 - Both Military and Civilian Law Enforcement organisations have no difficulty in justifying their possession and use of firearms - to protect lives and extend their governments authority & political aims.

 - But those same governments have policies that cut the budgets for (mental) health-care, education, and law-enforcement to the minimum - and seek to apply restrictions on the ownership and use of guns by legitimate law-abiding, sane, citizens. - trying to show that they are "doing something" about the problem.

- One useful step might be to require that the details of all persons needing treatment for mental illness be added to a National (Federal) register of those prevented from legally buying or possessing any kind of firearm. - Then they would need to enforce that ruling on both the individual and their families. - This would of-course require funding from taxes.

Marty K

Saturday 24 May 2014

Historic Maori Fire-Making:

When Europeans began to hang about on-shore and mingle with maori - the tribesmen had no problem grasping the value of the pakeha muskets. - "Load, Aim, FIRE"

The early maori greatly valued iron tools - but frequently chose to use the European tools in their own Polynesian ways - for example they saw iron as replacing stone - and as they did not use stone to work the soil - were reluctant at first to waste iron on such work.

 - But it was not only the use of flint-locks for shooting food or each other that was impressive - equally it was the pasty-faced whalers technology of using flint and steel for making fire that also got their attention and made any piece of scrap iron worth trading or stealing from the ships, when they grew to value its utility..

Pre-European Maori didn't have iron - they made beautiful tools and  very effective weapons painstakingly slowly from hard stone and wood.

- And they made fire in the same way as the rest of Polynesia did - by the 'fire-plough'.

 - A hard plough stick was rubbed to and fro while pressed firmly onto a flat piece of wood creating a groove. - Nobody failed to notice that the cylindrical plough rhythmically moving in the groove until the needed climax of smoke and fire arrived in the charring dust - had a connection to another human need shared by man and woman.

Tiring work but often shared with a long term partner for mutual satisfaction!

So valued were the right male & female parts made from hard dry reddish coloured woods that the fire maker would hang his tools around his neck - at the back - safely warm and dry under his cloak. They picked red coloured woods as having fire in their substance and the words "Hika ahi" used for making fire were also used for 'making babies'.

Ray Mears rightly has a passion for fire-making the native or 'primitive' way - fire often being the key for survival and comfort in the wilds of every continent and island:

Although Maori used drills for cutting holes in hard 'Greenstone' tools they didn't use the 'fire-drill' until after contact with whalers/sealers.

 - Hikaia he ahi - to kindle a fire - was heart of many traditional stories and remained unchanged through time. - It's not too much of a coincidence that we pakeha used our fire-making word 'kindle' also for the making of children.

Maori would also carry fire with them when on the trail - a 'wick' made from flax could be kept smouldering for days when held protected by a 'nest' of tinder.

                                         The guys must have been Hungry.

- There is a dodgy way of using a cartridge for fire making - supposedly you pull the bullet - empty-out most of the powder - stuff some loosely packed fabric in the muzzle and fire it into the air - then catch the smouldering rag to place in your nest of tinder and gently blow into flame. I've not tried it - as it sounds like a good way to burst a barrel - but maybe in an extreme emergency?

- Look after that Bic lighter eh - it's much easier to use than a fire-plough - and even if empty, the sparking wheel can still make the sparks to ignite dry kindling, bringing the magic flame.

Marty K

Friday 23 May 2014

Stopping Power - Velocity versus Momentum

I lean towards a heavy slug at moderate velocity to do the job. - First reason is that I can't see all that way-out to maximum sniper range for ultra-high velocity rounds - so I'm only shooting at close to medium ranges usually. - Therefor, if I don't need a high-velocity light-weight round - why waste all that down-range speed (and powder) when I can balance a lower speed with a heavier pill to smack harder into a deer or pig?
                          12 Gauge Brenneke slug  - I've put one through 1/4inch steel-plate.

The old African big-game hunters using their 'obsolete'  big-bore black-powder rifles managed to bring-down huge numbers of elephant, rhino, and vicious horned "bush-buff" - beasts that would circle round and hunt them - if given the chance.

 They didn't need (or have) flat shooting high -velocity long-range weapons. Mind you - they did have a couple of trusty 'bearers' to follow them around carrying their heavy rifles and spare ammunition for them.

                                                     Sweet to Shoot .30:30"

I once used a borrowed "thuttythutty" (30-30" calibre)  single shot Thompson Contender for a week in outback Australia and hit my share of feral pigs, roos and feral cat - never feeling under-gunned or disadvantaged against guys with more modern rounds and optics at their cheeks. - Talked my share of 'bull' too, with a can in my hand by the camp-fire - so many bright stars up there!

The late Elmer Keith - father of the Magnum pistol - designed revolver bullets with the heaviest possible mass and largest practical meplat (front face) that are still known as "Keith Bullets". And they worked for him.

                                       Keith 160gn bullets for 38"/ .357 Magnum.

Mass by Velocity equals Momentum - and effective hunting results seem to be measured by Momentum Density ( Momentum divided by bullet Frontal Area) This points to slow big calibre heavy bullets working well - think about a shotgun slug knocking-down deer etc.

Momentum Density is (apparently!) a measure of a unit of pressure by a unit of time. - what?

IPSC 'POWER FACTOR' is calculated by multiplying bullet weight in grains by velocity in feet per second divided by 1000. and is more of a 'Momentum Factor'.

My heavy slow slug (maybe sub-sonic through a silencer - think 300 Blackout again!) will do the job quietly without 'shouting about it" or annoying / alerting folk in the vicinity. - As long as you know your bullet-drop for the range - otherwise you might hit better with a flatter shooting round!

But, " All things being equal" - I do like silenced guns anyway.

Marty K

Wednesday 21 May 2014


National Shooters Association president Richard Lincoln has complained to police that Minister Judith Collins was filmed shooting restricted handguns illegally, unsupervised - at Aucklands Environmental Science and Research Centre last month (April). The Police are reported as saying that they won't investigate the matter - so Mr Lincoln is taking it to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

 Lincoln - due in Parliament today for a select committee on a separate matter is expected to face questions over Ms Collins

The images screened on TV show Ms Collins - believed to not be licensed or endorsed for restricted weapons - shooting while unsupervised in breach of Police Regulations.

Judging by her stance - it seems likely that Minister Collins has received some instruction on use of handguns.

This episode follows closely on disclosure of the theft of two police Glock pistols from New Plymouths Courthouse where they were held as evidence. The Ministry of Justice yesterday conceded that it had no idea exactly when the two handguns went missing.

The two missing police semi-autos were involved in the shooting of Stephen Wallace fourteen years ago and were not known to be missing until one was found in the possession of a man arrested on methamphetamine charges last year !

Labour spokesman for Justice Andrew Little said that the incident raises serious concerns about the security systems in place at the courthouse.

Marty K

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Joe Fyffe (Rear Admiral) - & a "handy" padlock.

Wouldn't you like to be remembered for doing this !! - From a US Savings Bonds Advert. -scanned from a 1956 (Sept.) American Rifleman Magazine. - Talk about 'bloody minded'. - Yes!

I Think That's a giggle.
 I wonder if it sold many Bonds? - I actually found this set of five early American Rifleman bound into a book on a stall for $8 - bargain I thought.
- Talking about 'bargains' - when I bought my Ruger 10-22 it was already set-up with a plated telescopic sight and a matching shiny silencer screwed on the barrel - I did my usual laugh at the asking price and joked that would he stop mucking-about and tell me the real price.
                                Stainless Ruger 10-22 - good looking and practical
                             - The recoil-pad is to lengthen the butt(and protect it)!
 -  then I remembered to ask for the carton, instruction book etc. - Well, the 'etc.' turned-out to be a Ruger branded padlock with a long shackle and some sort of security bracket.
Now - bear in mind that the NZ Police advise us citizens not to confront robbers - but to back-off and telephone emergency 111 - and then wait to see if they can respond sometime soon. 
- However, should you have a firearm stolen - don't be surprised if they decide to cancel your firearms licence due to your failure to maintain adequate security!
 -It's good to know that if any misguided "Goblin" tries to steal my 10-22 rifle while I'm around - I've got the Ruger padlock to stop him getting away with it eh.
                                                        Handy - Thanks Bill
 - It fits neatly into a pocket - no worries.
Marty K

Monday 19 May 2014

Reduced Loads, Shuetzenplinker, Gallery Cartridges:

I think the first 'plinking loads' I tried were 6.5 x 55mm hard-cast pills fired from my Swedish Mauser Rifle. - A mate gave me about forty cast pills to try around thirty years ago and they shot very well at medium ranges - but I can't quote you any loading details as it's long-gone. That was a neat rifle, very well built and an excellent hunting calibre.

                                6.5x55 Swedish Mauser Rifle - Complete with Bayonet.

I had worried that the big hard-cast bullets might badly lead the bore - but they weren't at all bad.

About the same time I tried building a load for Bowling Pin Matches run at the Christchurch Pistol Club. I squeezed 158gn jacketed hollow-point .357" Revolver projectiles into 9MM cases with a smallish powder charge and they worked very well on the Pins (slow and heavy) - but the soft lead hollow-points didn't chamber very reliably at first - 'dragging' up the steep loading ramp on the semi-auto Glock 17. - I cured that by rounding the noses and spraying them with silicon lubricant to help them slip into place. I won the "Nine-for-Nine" match that year with that load - but if I was doing it again now I would run the .357" pills through a resizing die down closer to .355 for the 9mm bore. - I went on from that 9x19mm load to dreaming-up the duplex (twin 100gn cast lead pills) load for my 10mm (40Auto Magnum !) Glock20 I talk about in an earlier post.

I guess that the subsonic 300 Blackout loads for shooting through a silenced rifle come into the same class of reduced loads but the ideal load here would be a 200gn or heavier jacketed round -  220gn or even 240gn if you can find them - I'd try and get a few first to load and select which one works best for accuracy before loading in bulk.

I'm still working on being able to pay for that as a new toy - either an AR15 or and AK platform silenced semi-auto in 300 BLK - I'm left-handed and get warned that there may be unpleasant hot gasses blasting back into my face from the AR15 but not from an AK - still working on it! - If you have any experience of this, I'd value your input as a 'comment'.

                         300 Blackout Sub-Sonic 220gn - That's a chunky looking pill
                                                             -Some "squib-load' !

- I guess that it is OK to term these sub-sonic loads as reduced - but with the heavier weight bullets they remain very hard hitting at proper ranges. - Reduced velocity but increased mass.

Right now I'm looking for a lead ball 'Triple 0' (000 Buck) at .360" diameter (- tumble-lubed) - to try as a plinker load for my Ruger GP100 357 Magnum Revolver - That would count as a "Gallery Practice Cartridge' or "squib-load' - but if you slipped-in three of them into a .357 Magnum case that would be a whole different 'ball'-game altogether eh. - I'm thinking that a really light single ball load might give trouble with the primers backing-out and jamming.

I'm also waiting for 1000 147grain copper-plated flat-nose lead pills to land (from South Africa) to use as sub-sonic 9MM loads through my ' De-Lisle' Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifle.(They work fine in my Glock 17 too). The classic WW2 De-Lisle Commando Carbines were in .45" ACP and very quiet.

                  My 9MM "De-Lisle" Conversion on an Antique Lee-Enfield Rifle
                                          - Needs a sub-sonic load to be really quiet.

I generally make my reloads as light-loads as I don't see much point in sending full power bullets down-range to punch a hole in a piece of thin paper and then to bury themselves six inches deeper in the stop bank - But I do keep a batch of full-power rounds to hand and make a point of shooting with them regularly so that they don't surprise me.

Todays Joke":  My idea of regular exercise is jumping to conclusions !

- All these experimental loads produce an interesting variation from the norm - may reduce costs - and often produce unexpected effects down-range. - It's all added interest - Life is good.

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 18 May 2014


My 'Bug-Out Bag' is actually a plastic crate in the rear of my car (boot / trunk).

 In it I've stashed a Glock Trench-Tool (this is a combined / adjustable spade-shovel-pick with a saw-blade in the telescoping handle. - You can sharpen one edge of the spade-blade to use as an axe.- A "mountain-man" hunter friend who traverses the Southern Alps on foot for fun - with a cheese sandwich and an apple in his pocket - over-nighted in a bivvy (bivouac) bush-camp built using only the Glock tool to test it. - No worries as they are tough!
                                                 Glock Spade or Entrenching-tool.

Glock knives are very tough too:

There is a saucepan, kettle, stainless-steel pan/plate, canned foods (beans, Irish stews, tinned meat etc.) a packet of plain biscuits (crackers?), a jar of dry 'scots oats' (porridge), a screw-top container with tea-bags and sugar, - large plastic water container (with a squirt of bleach in it to stop it turning green) - eating irons, a sheath knife, a pruning saw, a machete (or axe if you prefer), matches, lighter, box of candles, strips of old rubber inner-tube, fuel-tablet folding stove, cord (para-cord is great), LED battery lights, a small first-aid kit ..

I should have a couple of space-blankets and a sheet of polythene or something better for a 'fly-sheet'.
- Remember to 'Rotate' - replace, the food items whenever you think of it. - Why not keep a sleeping-bag and a small gas stove in your vehicle?

If things Nuclear are on your mind - consider that while you can 'purify' water with tablets or bleach - 'tincture of iodine' will also sterilise water - and drinking water with iodine in it will help saturate your glands with "good iodine" and prevent radio-active iodine from being absorbed.

We Kiwis live where we get earthquakes - so do Californians, Italians, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Japanese, etc., etc. - so there is  a REAL possibility of a problem. - We had two serious quakes some four and a half years ago in Christchurch - destroying lives, homes, and businesses - it will take tens of years to re-build peoples lives, the roads, sewers etc. - And those quakes were not the BIG ONE that we are due from the big South Island Alpine Fault - sometime when?

                                           QUAKE Damage to Christchurch Street.

In America, with "bug-out-bags" - the 'what-to-put-in discussions' often focus on what rifle to include, how much ammunition and what calibre handgun(s), pistol or revolver? - All important issues that we avoid here in New Zealand - as we are forbidden by our Police to even consider (or voice an intent to use) the need of firearms for self-defence! - However, no-body could complain about you having a rifle to hand for hunting / food gathering in emergency times. There's nothing wrong with rabbit meat - roasted or in a stew..

Would it be bossy of me to suggest that if you keep an axe or machete for emergency shelter building and firewood cutting - Use it, carefully for practice now and then - to 'train' your muscles and become practiced at keeping every part of your body CLEAR of the area down-range of the edged tools swing - as an axe sticking-out of your foot would not be a good starting point for long-term comfort.

I guess that in theory your 'bug-out' bag might contain as much as is practicable of all the things you need to live - so that involves some SHELTER, HEAT, WATER, FOOD, CLOTHING, LIGHT, and TOOLS. Also rotate through your 'bag' a supply of any essential Medications.

Having that equipment handy means that if you are out in a good hunting location or a  beautiful fishing river etc. - you can change your plans and stay overnight anytime.. that's Freedom eh.

Marty K

Saturday 17 May 2014

That Emergency Kit:

I have made a start on my Emergency Kit that I mentioned a couple of Posts back. I bought a $20 'Billy Can' in stainless-steel (Chinese made), a small folding fuel-tablet stove $10 (Chinese made), a mini can-opener $2 (Chinese made), and a new Bic lighter (made in France- yeah).

                                      My 'EMERGENCY KIT'  - in progress:

Also shown in the picture above are a flexible 'ring-saw' (German), a coil of fine wire (for snares etc.) a box of 'water-proof matches, soup mixes and tea-bags, freshly sharpened Opinel knife and some para-cord.

 - I am getting better with these 'photos' and the new p.c. eh.

The matches and  Bic lighter are an example of  'be prepared for the worse' -  'belt & braces' redundancy policy - Like the basic firearms Safety Rules - even if there is one failure - the others may click-in to save the day. - Maybe I should look for a decent flint & steel magnesium fire-lighter too.

Missing and yet to be collected are a 'space blanket', a water container, a drinking mug, a small plastic screw-cap pill-bottle filled with sugar or a mix of instant coffee?/ whitener/sugar (if you can drink that crap), a wee LED torch, a candle - and some sections of old bike inner tube firelighter (these might be used to keep the para-cord tidy and under control eh. - Oh - how about a small spoon?

 - a cuddly toy, - something for the weekend? - a  ....

- For a water container I'm thinking that a plastic jar with screw-top, such as a peanut butter jar might do as long as it doesn't leak and fits inside the drinking mug.

- Any ideas from out-there that I'm missing? - remember it's got to fit in the "Billy".

Marty K

Friday 16 May 2014

RE-LOADING pistol calibres mostly:

Many Pistol Club shooters here in New Zealand collect their fired 'brass' cartridge cases with the intent of re-using them. The process of re-cycling your used cartridges is economically worthwhile and is, of-course, a sustainable and 'Green' action.

It's really a very simple process - but you do need to be careful - as any stupid mistake can be damaging to either your firearm or yourself.

The basic process can be done with simple hand operated tools - I recall that for the first year or so that I re-loaded - I used a spent case with a soldered-on wire handle to 'dip' a charge of powder and refill my 9mm cartridges. - It worked perfectly well - cut to a length to give the needed charge weight.

                                                         Hand made Dipper 

- Now I've got three presses bolted to a small bench - two of them are Lee 'Progressive' presses each set-up for different calibres - and a basic low-cost single stage press that I use for de-capping and experimental loads.
                 A Basic Set-up Using a LEE single stage press - with the usual clutter.

When a shot is fired - the bullet or projectile impacts the target and is lost or destroyed, the propellant powder is burnt to produce the gas that drove the bullet, and the primer that was ignited by the firing pin or striker is used-up and now dead.

To re-load all you do is replace the dead primer with a new one, re-charge the brass case with a measured weight of powder, and insert a new projectile into the case to the correct length and crimp it in place. - Job done. - Money in the bank! (Be careful about saying that - as your significant other may well say "OK - where is it?")

What you do need is a set of  'Loading Dies' for your calibre and a simple press. I use Lee dies and presses and have few complaints or reservations - but many folk swear by Dillon equipment. - "You makes your pick and pays your money." - Select a suitable powder for your cartridge and refer to the loading data for bullet weights and suggested charge weights.
                                   Lee Die Sets (With Two Plastic Dippers)

Most Gun Shops will stock components, powder and equipment - and will be able to point you in the right direction with advice - but the best way to start is to watch a shooting mate doing his re-loading, or get him to come around and show you how to do it. - Me? - I just bought a book about it and followed the pictures! - Touch wood (my head!) - but so far - so good.
 - but there is probably a YouTube video that you can watch. ("It rubs the lotion on its skin"! - Joke!)

                                                MY RELOADING BENCH

You can see my two Lee 'Progressive' presses - The left press is set-up for 9MM and another short cartridge, the 45"ACP. The press in centre of picture is used for longer cases, either .38" or .357" Magnum (or 10MM) - while I use the single stage (right) for de-capping and small trial loads. I like to 'prime' my cases by hand - feeling-in the primers with my Lee 'Auto-Prime', rather than by setting-up the Progressives to do it all for one stroke of the handle.

- I guess there are some re-loaders who keep their bench clear and tidy - but the really important safety factor is to stay alert at all times, watch that the powder level in the hopper doesn't drop too far - and I feel that checking EVERY shell for powder level before seating the bullet is essential. - I adjust a light to shine down into the dim case interior and glance into it as I place the projectile into the mouth for seating. - Works for me anyway - so far!

I find that the Lee powder charger that delivers a charge metered by volume is plenty accurate for pistol calibres - but when loading rifle cases I would prefer to weigh each 'drop' - feeling that the internal pressures are perhaps more critical.

                              Lee 'powder-thrower meters the charge by you selecting
                                  the disc hole size that throws the weight you want

Many new shooters think that a double powder charge is the danger - but a round loaded with NO  powder (sometimes called a "squib-load") can be worse - as the primer alone can push the bullet into the bore and the next round fired slams into it causing massive over-pressure that can blow the barrel, or maybe only 'ring' or bulge it if you were lucky.

 When shooting re-loads rapid-fire you should be alert for "bang, bang, pop, bang" - Oh NO.

There are other bits of gear you may feel essential - such as a case cleaner or tumbler to polish your brass - but I've reloaded now for nearly 25 years without one - however, my dirty, grubby brown stained cases may offend younger viewers.

Marty K

Thursday 15 May 2014

Left - Right - Practice to Stay on Target

" Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary."

- Who said that? Karl Marx (1850)

"That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourers cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."

Who? - George Orwell, Author of 'Animal Farm' and 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'.

The above quotes are from an E-book ' The Left Wing in Defense of the Right to Bear Arms'.

                              This guy is so fast I had to include the video here!

Only in recent times has it been thought that left-wing parties are naturally 'anti-gun' and that to be 'pro-gun' you need to vote for a right-wing party such as the G.O.P in USA or 'National' in New Zealand.

Personally - I am a 'leftie' and very keen on enjoying my shooting sport here in NZ - and indeed I am also a 'greenie'. - If we fail to protect our natural environment there'll be no wild food to hunt and eventually there may well be no healthy natural food of any sort for us to eat. "They" will then expect us to eat stuff grown in factory labs as squishy grey 'meat' dyed pink -  and insects ground into flour with worm meal for dinner. - Oh, is that what's in burgers and hot-dogs already?

                                                         Jerry Miculek is fast too!

I get very worried that ' Gun Bans' have been introduced  - in UK and to some extent in Australia  and New Zealand among others - that have completely failed to reduce gun crime and violent crime.

- Logic would dictate that such abject failure to produce the goods would be followed by repeal of the failed laws and return of the shooters rights at least to where they were previously.

 So I guess that we can conclude that logic, fact, and truth do not play a dominant part in the governance of our 'Democratic' nations.

- Sorry, but that's all I could think about writing today ! - I'll try find a decent joke to include in the next post.

Marty K

Tuesday 13 May 2014

California Quail - just down the road!

Some Joker was writing in an old 1987 Aussie 'Sporting Shooter ' that he'd had a long day shooting Coturnix Novaezelandiae,  (New Zealand Quail)  and had bagged a few after he learned to control his dog.

- He did bloody well - as that bird has been extinct since 1875 ! - His Aussie birds likely would have been 'Stubble Quail' Coturnix Pectoralis. or Brown Quail maybe.

                                                      Brown Quail

Living up here in the hill country of the South Island NZ - I sometimes hear the "where are you?" call of  California Quail - and indeed a couple visited my backyard last year and poked about for a while - but the male mostly stood on-guard on top of the fence.

                               California Quail - Pretty Birds eh - and tasty.

A couple of weeks back as I drove-up to the junction at the top of my road and the 'GIVE WAY' sign - straight ahead on the far side of the road I spotted a 'covey' of a dozen or so birds running together through the grass close-in to the scrubby hedging.

- Great to see, as that must indicate that there aren't too many introduced pest stoats, weasels, or ferrets around.

I could be tempted to get a few birds to breed for eggs & meat as there is a breeder advertising them (and pheasants) for sale in Kaiapoi near Christchurch. - I'll have to think about it as all livestock can be a tie when you need to be away. That would be the only way I could get a feed of Quail - as I'm useless with a shotgun unless it's a stationary target !

- Such pretty birds - Roast potatoes, parsnips, pumpkin, and some silver-beet (chard) from the garden steamed with carrots & peas - Yum.

Being largely an underpopulated and rural nation with large areas of steep country - either wild bush (including rain forest) or 'hill-country' that has been cleared of bush by logging and burning for grazing sheep and cattle - there is generally plenty of room for wildlife. We used to be able to just move off the highway and out of sight for camping, fishing and a spot of shooting.

Now, with our population creeping up past 4.5 million and the many welcome tourists travelling in camper vans - local authorities are introducing camping regulations to restrict "free-campers" and imposing cash fines on casual 'overnight-stoppers' - with the intent of directing everyone into paying for fenced camp sites and holiday parks.

Some of our back-country streams are now contaminated with Giardia - a nasty stomach-bug, and roadside lay-byes, 'picnic spots' and viewing points are increasingly ringed with little fertiliser heaps and crumpled toilet paper.

Hmm, - but we've still got fifteen times less people than the UK (-The Land of the 'No Parking' sign - I used to be a Londoner).

Marty K

Monday 12 May 2014

GOOD MATES, a Birthday, and emergency kit.

I've got a couple of good mates around the place who have rather touched me by buying well thought-out presents for my Birthday - and 'excused' themselves by repeating that it was a "Big Birthday".
- While we were having a feed after the session at the Pistol Club range - another old mate came on the phone from twelve and a half thousand miles away to say "Happy Birthday".

The 'prezzies' of superb books, a  new silencer & thread-cap for my Buckmark S/A pistol, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, - and an Opinel  #8 Outdoors knife are much appreciated. - And I guess it was a biggish birthday really - and I will have to last another 10 years for a repeat!

Did you know that the Irish and Americans spell it Whiskey while the Scots and Canadians prefer 'Whisky' ? - Way back in the 1870s Scottish Whisky wasn't very good, so the Irish put the "e" into the whiskey name to differentiate their superior distillate from the poor stuff.

Over a smooth sip of the Bushmills malt the new Opinel quality folding-knife reminded me of my plan to put together a 'handy' 'Survival Kit'.

The first consideration has to be the container - as a plastic 'lunch-box' wasn't going to do it - but a metal billy-can might serve brilliantly:

- Is that copper  - nah, that'd be titanium eh - I've got to have one !! - or maybe a 'Zebra'  stainless steel outfit like Ray Mears uses.

                                                          Billy Set by Zebra.

- Into it goes a 'Bic' disposable lighter, a couple of packet 'cuppa-soups', a 'space blanket', tea-bag & sugar sachet, a sharp Opinel knife, - maybe a wee LED torch, a length of 'para' cord, and some bits of old bicycle inner-tube (for fire lighting) and, depending on the container sizes - how about a small water bottle (full), some wrapped energy foods, an emergency collapsible cook stove with 'meta' or hexamine fuel tablets.

                                          INNER TUBE FOR FIRE LIGHTING

 - This is different again from a 'Bug-out Bag' that would need to be a full-sized back-pack or car-load of gear and foodstuffs. - What you decide to include in your kit may be very different as the result of your different circumstances and location. e.g. if you are in an arid desert area water stores would need be big - whereas on the West-Coast of New Zealand or in UK - you'd more likely need cover or shelter from too much water.

The way I'm set-up at home I'd not be 'bugging-out' but staying-put in an emergency - such as a big Southern Alpine Fault Earthquake - because I've got wood heating, battery PV lighting, rain-water tanks, bottled gas cooking, and food growing in the veggie garden.
To be honest - most everywhere that I go will be on wheels so I'm not too concerned about weight or bulk - but trampers, climbers, and touring cyclists will have a stronger emphasis on weight eh. - But what I'm talking about here is an emergency kit - not a full camping - away for the summer vacation - outdoors set - for that maybe I could find room in the vehicle for the Bushmills too.

Saturday 10 May 2014


I know that I'm waiting for my new Ruger SP101 revolver to arrive - but when you think about it - it's odd that 'six-guns' actually work as well as they do - because they are no more likely to work well than a bumble-bee is to be able to fly!

If we hadn't seen the experts demonstrate what feats of trick speed shooting can be done - you'd put good money on a bet that they'd just miss. Revolvers were a very early way of getting multiple shots that worked.
                                                THE 'ENOUY' REVOLVER of 1855
                             - I wonder why they only made one of these 48 shot guns !

 - There was a later 12 shot pin-fire M1857 Lefaucheux revolver in 9mm way back when.

These short barrelled revolving firearms have a lengthy lead-in to the rifling with a leaky breech - multiple (five, six or more) chambers of various dimensions that are misaligned to differing extents - and the bullets have to jump that gap between the front of the chamber and the rear of the forcing cone before they can get down to the business of accelerating down the bore and spinning to gain stability

                                             That's a great photo of the gasses.

 - before popping-out at the muzzle - only then to be overtaken by a rush of high pressure gasses and powder residues set on pushing past to overtake and knock them off-course. - If you look - there are plenty of gory photos online of "flame-cut thumbs" said to have been 'cylinder-gapped'.

                                               Hickok45  has gas.

No wonder I get all overcome with the raptures when I manage to put three .38" shots touching on the paper. Various makers over the years, Nagant et al, have tried 'Gas Check' designs with their 1895 design and special cartridges - but just like some other revolver features - I think I'd play real safe - for example - next time anyone offers me a cylinder of full-power .44" Magnum to try - I'd say thanks very much but I'm just going for a pee!

                                           Part 2:  Hickok45 is braver than me !

- Mind you - among the various stupid things that I've done in public - I have shot a semi-auto pistol with my thumbs crossed behind the slide (Oh No!). - Once.
 It took a couple of weeks for the nasty ragged cuts on the web of my hand between thumb and finger to heal completely. - There are a lot of hard, sharp bits in the recoiling underside of a nine millimetre steel slide. - Never mind - mustn't grumble eh.

Did anyone ever tell you that a firearm is a simple 'heat-engine' of very low efficiency ? (NRA 'FACT BOOK') - a decent rifle can achieve around 30% fuel efficiency - which is a lot better than the average car engine does. - Of course, our leaky revolver won't be anywhere near as good as that. The wasted 'fuel' energy slips away as friction losses, heat losses and obviously in all that gas pressure escaping, as in the above shots - but the bullet still manages to leap-out of the barrel and do its job down range.

Marty K