PIGS AREN’T FLYING – YET, BUT RUGER IS!

The big news of the year in the firearms world, in case you haven’t heard, is that this week RUGER announced a “factory offering” of Super Blackhawk SINGLE-ACTION revolvers chambered for .454 Casull and .480 Ruger calibers! This is something single action enthusiasts have been begging for and Ruger has been denying they would ever do since the .480 Ruger cartridge was first introduced in the Super Redhawk double action revolver back in 2009. Although customer revolver smiths like Hamilton Bowen and Andy Horvarth have been producing custom five-shot single actions in .480 almost since its introduction, Ruger has maintained that they could not maintain their normal margins of safety in such a gun, and reserved the .454 and .480 to the heavier-built Super Redhawk.

The new gun is an all stainless steel Bisley model with a 6 1/2″ barrel. The frame is 416 stainless, while the cylinder is machined from Carpenter stainless developed for the space program – just as the Super Redhawk is constructed. The Bisley grip frame is to help with the recoil expected from this revolver, which is lighter than the SRH. Other options usually found on custom revolvers are a locking base pin and recessed chamber “heads” allowing the cartridge rim to be enclosed, which helps keep the cartridges from extending too far the wrong way and impeding the operation of the gun. Keeping this a 5 shot gun allows for more thickness of metal between chambers, and also keeps the cocking notches between cylinders – both proven steps for greater strength. The original Super Redhawk .480’s were also 5 shooters.

Max Prasac – a noted gun writer who specializes in big bore handguns – was allowed to participate in the secret testing of the new guns (and I know he didn’t let the secret slip when emailing me about .480 loads and techniques in the past month or so!), and says he fired approximately 5000 rounds through the .480, 1000 through the .454 – leaving him with a pair of very sore hands! Others who were “in the loop” while these guns were in the development and testing stage – and while I wasn’t – are Bogue Quinn of the GUN BLASTS website and Jack Weigland – who makes no drill scope mounts for various revolvers. I have seen pictures of the mount Jack came up with for the .454/.480, and it appears massive and well designed. He answered the question of why Ruger did not bring these calibers out in their “Hunter” model with integral scope mounting system by saying he thought the .454, at least, would destroy the Ruger rings in short order. My Super Redhawk .480 has the same mounting system, though, and it seems to handle the recoil of that cartridge perfectly. Of course, the .454 is a more savage animal than the .480.

Personally, I have not felt the need for a .454 anything, but admit to a feeling of yearning for a certain black finished .480 single action Jack Huntington built for Max Prasac! I suspect Ruger will be taking a lot of business from the custom guys with these two new revolvers. At the present, these big boomers are a Lipsey’s dealer exclusive only, but hopes are they will go into regular production as did the .44 Special Flat-Top recently. The MSRP is being stated as $969 – as compared to a custom single action that will run upwards of $2,000, with a long wait time – but I have already seen one dealer offering the .454 for $789.

Although I am very much in favor of this step by Ruger, and think it will be very successful for them, after overcoming my initial excitement I think my own .480 Super Redhawk will take care of my .480 needs – at least for now.

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Airgun pest control!

In areas where you don't want to shoot a firearm, but need to protect things (like my banana trees!) from marauding critters, a good .177 air gun comes in handy!

In areas where you don’t want to shoot a firearm, but need to protect things (like my banana trees!) from marauding critters, a good .177 air gun comes in handy!

A good .177 or .22 airgun will “control” raiding ‘coons, and do it much quieter than a .22 rim fire. My dogs treed these two before they go to my banana trees.

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ELK ANTLER GRIPS FOR MY PARA 1911!

These are elk antler grips on my Para Expert Compact 1911, from Zane Thompson of Lone Star Custom Grips.

These are elk antler grips on my Para Expert Compact 1911, from Zane Thompson of Lone Star Custom Grips.

After I took the advice of Zane Thompson of Lone Start Custom Grips in Johnson City to go with light colored grips on my dark Ruger .44 Special Flat top, I decided to try lighter grips on my black Para 1911 .45ACP. These are elk antler, and I think they look very good. Also fit my hand better, and have a nicer feel!

The right side of this set has more "bark" on the antler.

The right side of this set has more “bark” on the antler.

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SEASON FOR AMBERJACK IS NEAR!

The season for greater anberjack in Federal waters will open as scheduled August 1. Officials project the Federal quota to be met, and the season closed again, in September.

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MY NEW “MOVIE-STAR” GRIPS – FROM HOLLY-WOOD!

Grips of white American Holly make a viable substitute for ivory in a natural material.

Grips of white American Holly make a viable substitute for ivory in a natural material.

When I found my new-to-me Ruger .44 Special Flatop-top Blackhawk recently, it wore grips of white faux ivory – plastic. The fit was very good for a “budget-type” grip, and I found the white a surprisingly attractive contrast to the deep bluing of the Ruger frame. Problem was, I didn’t want plastic. When one grip ended up broken, I started shopping around. Real ivory is pretty expensive, and stag or other horn grips are also more valuable than I wanted to invest in. I was almost ready to try Corian, even though I didn’t really want a kitchen counter for a revolver grip, when Zane Thompson of Lonestarcustomgrips in Johnson City, Texas, suggested American holly. This is an almost white wood when finished, and over time it yellows nicely, just like ivory will. It can also develop those little aging “cracks” that ivory gets – but the price is much more reasonable.

American holly is a very attractive wood for revolver grips.

American holly is a very attractive wood for revolver grips.

When I received my new grips I immediately put them on the .44 Special. While admiring them, I noticed the wood has just a little rather faint figuring – just enough to add to the look, I think.

The almost white holly sets off the dark Ruger bluing very well, and really stands out.

The almost white holly sets off the dark Ruger bluing very well, and really stands out.

Some of the guys who have seen these grips think the Holly would look good on a polished stainless gun, as well. Since mine has a polished stainless ejector rod housing, base pin, and base pin latch to go with the polished “in-the-white” cylinder, I think I get the best of both worlds, and I really like the effect.

The figuring of the wood is there, but it doesn't shout at you, just adds a little something to the look.

The figuring of the wood is there, but it doesn’t shout at you, just adds a little something to the look.

My .44 Flat Top gets more “Special” to me with each small change I make, and these grips are towards the top of the list of improvements. I don’t think they are as attractive as my Lacewoods, but they will definitely be right up there with my favorites. Zane did a great job of fitting them without having my grip frame to work with, and they are a bit thicker than the plastic grips I had, which makes them more comfortable to my hand.

I usually don’t have medallions added to custom grips, but the Ruger emblems just seemed to “belong” on this gun!

I am still trying to decide where I would want to “open carry” a handgun, but this one would be worth showing off a little in public. One other idea I had I got from a book by Maysaad Ayoob, where he said wearing a dark gun and holster against dark clothing could make the gun very hard for most people to pick up on except in very good light, making an “open” carried gun almost concealed without bending any rules. Might start looking for a set of black grips for the .44 Special, for Special occasions? Or maybe just put the black stock grips back on my black Para “Compact” 1911?

To get your own Holly – or other fine wood – grips, contact Zane at www.lonestarcustomgrips.com.

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NEW BILL FOR RED SNAPPER CONSERVATION/ANGLER ACCESS

To All Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Sara Leonard
sara@sportsmenslink.org
202.543.6850 x 11

Graves-Miller Bill Will Better Conserve Gulf Red Snapper, Improve Access
“States are simply better equipped to manage the fishery — and more aware of its importance”
July 16, 2015 (Washington, DC) – Leaders in the recreational fishing community today lauded new bipartisan legislation by U.S. Representatives Garret Graves (R-La.) and Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) that the president of the Center for Coastal Conservation predicted “will better conserve Gulf red snapper and finally give recreational anglers reasonable access to red snapper fishing.”

“For too long, the federal government has relied on outdated and inaccurate information to unfairly limit recreational Gulf red snapper fishing to just a single weekend a year,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center. “Representative Graves’ bill will improve recreational fishing opportunities and safeguard the thousands of Gulf jobs that depend on recreational red snapper fishing.”

Rep. Graves’ bill will extend formal federal recognition to the historic agreement between the chief fish and wildlife officials of all five Gulf States to accept joint responsibility for management of the red snapper fishery in federal waters. Red snapper management is currently under the jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

“The state fisheries agencies and the recreational angling community have a long-standing partnership in successfully managing our fisheries resources for species abundance, while ensuring appropriate public access,” noted Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane.

Crane added that “the states are simply better equipped to manage Gulf red snapper; have a proven record of managing fisheries in their own state waters, and are more aware of a fishery’s importance to recreational anglers and their state’s economy.”

Original co-authors of the Graves measure include: Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Brian Babin (R-Texas); Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), Paul Cook (R-Calif.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Pete Olsen (R-Texas), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.).

The Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act will likely be referred to the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee.

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CAMERA CAUTION!!

Watch out for "squatters" around game cameras and feeders.

Watch out for “squatters” around game cameras and feeders.

Made a wise decision to wait until morning to change camera cards on a recent trip to my woods property – which kept me from likely disturbing these wasps nesting on the outside of the camera box! I usually check for such things, but will be even more cautious in the future!

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Senator Shelby of Alabama Introduces Appropriations Bill Addressing Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper (Mis)Management

Alabama’s Sen. Shelby Takes Action to Address Mismanagement of Gulf Red Snapper Fishery
Federal funding bill includes several provisions to benefit recreational fishing

Alexandria, VA – June 16, 2015 – The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill. The bill included a number of provisions that attempt to address the ongoing mismanagement of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery that has resulted in the current 10-day season for private recreational anglers.

“Senator Shelby’s provisions mark significant progress in addressing the combination of insufficient angler data collection, an inaccurate stock assessment and poor management decisions that have all but eliminated private anglers’ access in federal waters to the wildly popular and economically critical red snapper fishery,” said Scott Gudes, vice president, Government Affairs, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “Once again, Senator Shelby has demonstrated his leadership and his expertise in the legislative process to help anglers and recreational fishing-dependent businesses across the Gulf of Mexico.”

The appropriations bill funding the Departments of Commerce, Justice, State and Related Agencies includes language secured by Sen. Shelby that:

Increases the role of state fisheries managers in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas by expanding state waters to nine miles.
Dedicates additional funding to alternative approaches to data collection and assessments.
Recognizes the disparity created by current Gulf red snapper management decisions and urges NOAA Fisheries to provide 80 percent of all increases in total allowable catch to recreational anglers for the purpose of increasing days on the water.
“This is the latest example of Congressional leaders attempting to rectify the broken management of Gulf red snapper,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Ocean Resource Policy director. “In the House, Representatives Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Garret Graves (R-La.) secured language in the CJS funding bill that will keep the recreational fishing community intact, and address inequity in seasons between the commercial and recreational sectors. Separately, Representative Graves, along with Senator David Vitter (R-La.), continue to champion transferring management of Gulf red snapper to the five Gulf states, which are much better equipped to manage this fishery than NOAA Fisheries.”

Leonard also noted a recent letter sent by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan expressing concern with the abbreviated Gulf red snapper season and calling for an extension based on available data.

“All of these actions are positive and important steps in addressing the continued mismanagement of a vital public resource that is critical to the Gulf coast economy and saltwater anglers,” Gudes concluded.

Posted in General saltwater fishing | 6 Comments

“THERE IS A SEASON, TURN, TURN, TURN” – The Story Behind Turn Rings On Revolver Cylinders

Make no mistake about it, I really, really like revolvers. For me, there are few disadvantages to a “wheel gun”, and many advantages. One of the only things I DON’T like about my revolvers, is that ugly “turn line” around the cylinders that most all brands get with any amount of use. The cause is the cylinder bolt not retracting far enough when not actually in one of the lock notches, causing it to “drag” on the surface of the cylinder when it is moved, or “turned”. Some revolver lovers tell me they consider this a mark of “honest wear”, and are not bothered by it at all. Others more knowledgeable perhaps about the nature of the problem, and more sensitive to the looks of their guns, feel the manufacturers are at fault for not properly “tuning” the guns before they leave the factory. For the purposes of this post, I am going to take a position against turn lines, and look at what can be done to prevent or remove them. I am told a good gunsmith – or a very apt do-it-yourself-er – can alter the locking bolt to prevent lines from occurring in the first place. It seems, however, that many revolvers come from the factory with such scratches, as test firing or even just turning the cylinder to function test it will likely begin the scratching process. I am told that the lock work was a bit different on the Old Model Ruger Blackhawks, and the turn lines could be prevented by never letting the hammer down from the “half cock” position. On New Model Blackhawks, however, there is no half cock notch, so this solution does not apply.

The "turn ring" on this older New Model Ruger Blackhawk is not really extreme, but does show up immediately in any examination of the revolver.

The “turn ring” on this older Ruger Blackhawk is not really extreme, but does show up immediately in any examination of the revolver.

On a blued revolver like my New Model Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt, about all that can be done after the rings have established themselves is to cover them up by regular use of a bluing pen.

One way to at least minimize turn rings is to purchase a polished stainless revolver like this Ruger New Model SBH Hunter.

One way to at least minimize turn rings is to purchase a polished stainless revolver like this Ruger New Model SBH Hunter.

Sticking to polished stainless revolvers helps keep scratches to a minimum, and when they do appear, they can be “polished” out with a Scotch Brite pad. This is especially true on a highly polished finish, as with this Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter model.

This nearly new polished stainless cylinder for a Ruger Super Redhawk has faint scratches that will have be to be polished out.

This nearly new polished stainless cylinder for a Ruger Super Redhawk has faint scratches that will have be to be polished out.

I bought this stainless Ruger Super Redhawk cylinder for my .480 Ruger as much for the polished stainless look as anything, but even though virtually new, it still has the beginnings of faint turn lines.

This is a nickel plated Super Blackhawk .44 mag cylinder I bought originally to use in a blued revolver frame, but it only fits my stainless SBH. It only has faint turn lines, but still has them.

This is a nickel plated Super Blackhawk .44 mag cylinder I bought originally to use in a blued revolver frame, but it only fits my stainless SBH. It only has faint turn lines, but still has them.

Nickel plating is not completely resistant to scratching, either.

When I had this Super Blackhawk Cerakoted, I was hoping the ceramic based coating would be more resistant to scratches, but it still shows a little.

When I had this Super Blackhawk Cerakoted, I was hoping the ceramic based coating would be more resistant to scratches, but it still shows a little.

Cerakoting is a very scratch resistant finish, but even this ceramic-based material shows turn rings after some use.

The tough “Target Grey” coating Ruger put on early Super Redhawk .480’s does not totally resist turn scratches, either.

Even the tough "Target Grey" Finish Ruger put on some Super Redhawks is not completely immune to turn lines!

Even the tough “Target Grey” Finish Ruger put on some Super Redhawks is not completely immune to turn lines!

While cylinder scratches of this type are sometimes referred to as “Ruger Lines”, they can be found on nearly any “factory” revolver, double or single action. This early Colt double action has the deep, scratch resistant bluing Colt was known for in those days, but still shows some turn marking. Some of the very high quality guns, like maybe an all stainless steel Freedom Arms revolver, might be “ring-free”.

Even the beautifully blued finish of an older Colt like this one can show turn scratches.

Even the beautifully blued finish of an older Colt like this one can show turn scratches.

This poor Charter Arms Bulldog has seen some abuse in it’s lifetime, so turn marks are probably the least of it’s appearance worries. It is already scheduled for a re-finishing job, soon.

This older Charter Arms Bulldog shows turn lines, in addition to other finish problems related to age and neglect.

This older Charter Arms Bulldog shows turn lines, in addition to other finish problems related to age and neglect.

As mentioned in my post on the Ruger .44 Special Flat Top model I recently acquired, the previous owner had stripped all bluing off the cylinder, and says he does this with all his blued revolvers, so it is easy to remove turn lines with a Scotch Brite pad. He reports that if the metal is polished and kept oiled, rusting is not a problem. That makes sense, as the trigger and hammers are normally left “in-the-white” on blued guns, and are not known for corrosion problems. As a sort of scary aside, he says the original blued finish is very easy to remove – he uses a gel-type rust remover and just rubs it gently, then polishes with a Scotch Brite pad to emulate the “brushed stainless’ look of a factory stainless finish. Maybe this is why they scratch so easily, if it is that easy to completely remove the finish?

The previous owner of this Ruger stripped the bluing from the cylinder, leaving it "in the white", so turn rings can be easily polished out.

The previous owner of this Ruger stripped the bluing from the cylinder, leaving it “in the white”, so turn rings can be easily polished out.

Because the finish was already off this cylinder (which probably dropped it’s value for some buyers), I decided to try an idea I had presented to the CEO of Ruger in an email. With a small triangular file, I “cut” a track for the locking bolt to travel in without touching the cylinder itself. I used the original turn lines as a pattern – which had returned, pun intended – shortly after I got the gun and began shooting it. While I don’t claim to be even an amateur gunsmith, I don’t think my new giant turn ring really detracts from the appearance of the revolver – especially since it is obviously intentional, rather than a mark of a poorly executed design. I will probably leave it as is, at least for now, but have considered using a bluing pen to darken this ring for a further accent effect. A “pro” could put the cylinder in a lathe and get a wider, more uniform ring that would undoubtedly look better. By the way, I have shot this gun since my “modification”, and the cylinder did not separate at the ring, nor was cylinder lock-up and operation affected in any way.

I have recently been told that the Mag-Na-Port company will put a chromed band on a cylinder to resist turn lines, and I am waiting for a return call from company President Ken Kelly about this procedure.

UPDATE (&/6/2015) – Spent quite some time on the phone today with Ken Kelly of Mag-Na-Port, discussing turn rings and other things. First, he says his company has never offered polished chromed cylinder rings, mostly because he does not think this idea would work, rather that the chromed ring would just scratch faster and maybe deeper. He also does not know of any way to effectively “tune” or adjust a revolver to prevent the problem from occurring. It was an interesting conversation, though, and I confirmed that my .480 Ruger IS Mag-Na-Ported. I was concerned because it was not marked as such, but he assured me the trapezoidal shape of the ports his company uses are patented themselves, and are all the “trademark” he considers necessary! I will obviously now need to do a supplemental post just on the subject of Porting, to include some of the information he gave me in this very long and very productive conversation.

This .44 Special cylinder represents one possible solution to turn lines that is a fairly easy "fix"

This .44 Special cylinder represents one possible solution to turn lines that is a fairly easy “fix”

I took some grief from certain quarters about the unfinished cylinder, but then a prominent Ruger enthusiast admitted to having a Blackhawk with a blued cylinder, but on which the finish had been stripped from the entire frame. He confirmed that polishing and regular oiling would prevent rusting, and is of the opinion that very few casual observers will know they aren’t looking at a stainless steel frame. I have seen a picture of his gun, and it is really beautiful.

Perhaps if enough revolver owners began taking their guns to custom shops for solutions to turn rings – and spending the money to have these procedures performed – manufacturers might recognize the demand and decide to keep that money themselves by producing and selling a revolver that was free of turn rings and the possibility of getting them – from the factory!

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STANDARD CATALOG OF RUGER FIREARMS – Jerry Lee

This is a pocket size book meant to be carried with you as you journey looking for the very best in used Rugers for sale. It contains information about grading Rugers according to quality and desirability and gives estimates of values according to that grading system. I also have this book on my Kindle, and use it probably more often than the print version. In its own way, the book has been of value to me in helping me determine if a used Ruger might be worth consideration. Like most such volumes, however, I find it to be only a rough guide. While others might disagree, the values usually seem low to me – and not just because they are lower than what I paid most of the time! In the real world of firearms enthusiasts, a gun is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, and that might be dependent on a lot of different factors.

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