WOLF-ISH?

This canine critter captured eyeballing a deer stand appears to have at least some characteristics of the "Texas Red Wolf"?

This canine critter captured eyeballing a deer stand appears to have at least some characteristics of the “Texas Red Wolf”?

This canine recently captured on a game camera appears a bit larger and darker in coloration than the average coastal Coyote? My friend, Chester Moore, the Executive Editor for Texas Fish & Game Magazine, agrees with me. Like myself, Chester is intrigued by wild canines, and does not believe the red wolf genes are completely extinct on the Texas coast. He feels this animal shows a lot of the wolf characteristics, which would make it at least a hybrid with coyotes, if not a full wolf.

Of course, if this particular critter continues to study deer stands after “the season” opens, HE may well be “extinct” soon!

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LARGE LIVE OAKS ARE FAIRLY COMMON IN BRAZORIA COUNTY

While Brazoria County boasts of several well known and public big oak trees, this one is on private land.

While Brazoria County boasts of several well known and public big oak trees, this one is on private land.

My wife – who by the way is a bit short, but NOT a midget (although I apologize to any readers who are, no offense intended!) stands next to an impressive live oak tree on our Brazoria County property. Looking at this tree always makes me feel better – no matter my mood!

Finally got around to measuring this tree. Circumference is 16 feet, 8 inches! That puts the diameter (circumference divided by 3.14) at 63.7″, or 5.3 feet. There is an accepted formula to ESTIMATE the age of large trees which multiplies the diameter in inches at about 4.5 feet above the ground times a set “growth factor” for the species of tree, The GF for live oaks is 5.0, by which my “Big Tree” would be an estimated 318 years old!

Those who tell me I am “older than dirt” may be onto something, but I am NOT older than this tree! It is common to think something like “Oh, if this tree could talk, the tales it could tell!”, but since this one has always been back in thick woods, it may have had a long, rather boring life?

Guess we’ll never really know?

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Hard Cast .480 Ruger Results

Recently I was re-arranging the stack of old truck tires that makes up my target backstop at the 50 yard distance on my “home range”. On the ground in the middle off the outside stack I found two .480 Ruger bullets that had been fired from my Super Redhawk with a 7.5″ barrel, at a velocity of around 1000 fps. These bullets would then have traveled the 50 yards to the target, went through the thin wood siding to which the target was stapled, and penetrated one side of the tire they hit. This penetration would have been through the tread portion of the tire. The bullets evidently failed to penetrate the other side of the tread.

These 375 gr Hard Cast bullets from Cast Performance were shot into the tread section of a truck tire at 50 yards. They lost little weight, and could be loaded for firing again without resizing - as the one on the left pushed into a new .480 case demonstrates.

These 375 gr Hard Cast bullets from Cast Performance were shot into the tread section of a truck tire at 50 yards. They lost little weight, and could be loaded for firing again without resizing – as the one on the left pushed into a new .480 case demonstrates.

As originally loaded, the bullets were Cast Performance flat nosed designs of 375 gr. After recovery, they showed rifling marks, and one had some black rubber embedded in a crack that had formed in one side. Recovery weight was 356 gr and 359 gr. I have fired other rounds into this stack, from 300 gr .44 mags to 376 gr coated “Thumper” bullets in .480 from Missouri Bullet Company, but have not done a thorough search to see if any of those penetrated both sides of a tire.

In my opinion, these bullets showed good penetration for the velocity they were fired at – certainly sufficient for hog hunting – and as the photos show, either could be loaded and fired again – with or without re-sizing and re-lubing!

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HUNTER BANDOLEER REVOLVER HOLSTER

For roaming the woods – or for a holster that can quickly be “donned” for any sort of action – I prefer a shoulder holster. I don’t use the concealed carry type holster for my hunting guns, I like something like the 1940 Tanker holster by El Paso Saddlery that works so well with my 1911 semi-autos. This holster hangs around the hunter’s neck and over one shoulder, and can be further secured to a waist belt. Getting the gun off the belt makes it much “handier” when riding a tractor or any type of ATV where a hand gun might be helpful. I think there IS a Tanker holster made for revolvers, but I have not been able to get my hands on one.

Since I recently added the old Herter’s .44 to my arsenal, I wanted/needed something to carry it in, and selected to bandoleer style rig from Hunter’s for the task. The Herter’s is a bit bulkier than my Ruger Super Blackhawks, and is a tight fit in this holster – but that is good, as it will “wear’ in just right.

This bandoleer style shoulder holster form Hunter's is going to make my Herter's .44 an easy to carry companion for woods walking!

This bandoleer style shoulder holster form Hunter’s is going to make my Herter’s .44 an easy to carry companion for woods walking!

Obviously, this is also a good holster for a “BBQ Gun”!

Hunter’s leather quality is not fancy, but certainly good enough for a working holster. The price is very reasonable, and it is well constructed. I expect to get many pleasant miles of comfortable woods carry from this one!

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PAPA G’s GUN SIGHT TAPE

Most know that I am not a fan of open sights on my hunting hand guns, as my eyes do not see as well as they used to. The only set of open sights I have not modified somehow are those on my Ruger Super Redhawk, although the excellent bright orange insert on the front sight is really wasted as long as I keep the Ultra Dot sight mounted on it!

I have tried various type of paints to brighten my front sights, and all work at least reasonably well. A couple of times I have used orange vinyl tape cut to fit the rib of the front sight, and found that sometimes even better than paint.

Papa G’s Gun Sight Tape comes in three colors – white, green, and orange – and already cut for proper width on most revolver front sights, so the only cutting the user needs to do is for length. If the directions are followed as to cleaning the area to be taped properly, it applies easily and so far seems to stick very well.

Best of all – the price is dirt cheap!

The bright orange tape from Papa G's  is easy to apply, durable, and makes the front sight blade much easier for the eye to "pick up" when sighting.

The bright orange tape from Papa G’s is easy to apply, durable, and makes the front sight blade much easier for the eye to “pick up” when sighting.

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BIRCHWOOD CASEY GUN SIGHT PEN KIT

In my post on gun sight tape, I mentioned painting the front sight rib of a revolver to make it “brighter” and easier for the eyes to pick up. I have tried various types of paint, from those that are supposed to glow in the dark, to plain enamel, and the Birchwood Casey paint pens seem like a better way to paint front sights to me. This system eliminates the need for paint brushes and open bottles of paint – just uncap the pen, press it against a piece of scrap card board to start the paint flow, apply it, and clean the tip of the pen with alcohol or any paint solvent. This type of paint should be easier and more durable than plain enamel, as well as more visible.

The Birchwood Casey paint pens are a good solution to sight painting needs.

The Birchwood Casey paint pens are a good solution to sight painting needs.

First step in application, after cleaning the sight rib with a solvent to leave it free from oil or grease, is to apply two coats of the Bright White paint as a base coat to make the final color show up even brighter. Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.

Birchwood Casey recommends two coats of Bright White paint first, as a "base" for whichever color is desired as a final coat.

Birchwood Casey recommends two coats of Bright White paint first, as a “base” for whichever color is desired as a final coat.

For my testing of the Birchwood Casey Paint Pens, I chose Fluorescent Red as my “top coat”. In actual use, it is more orange than red, but I prefer orange for my front sight color, so I have no problem with that.

The Fluorescent red on top of two coats of white makes for a very bright, easy to see front sight in most light conditions.

The Fluorescent red on top of two coats of white makes for a very bright, easy to see front sight in most light conditions.

Application of the paint was very easy, both pens worked as they were supposed to after following the simple instructions – and I WILL use these pens again!

Two coats of the red on top of two of Bright White, and the sight is good to go!

Two coats of the red on top of two of Bright White, and the sight is good to go!

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What “Goes Around”, Sometimes Comes Back Around: Herter’s .44 Magnum Revolver Project

I recently saw for sale an old Herter’s .44 magnum revolver. Now, I need another .44 mag like I need, well – another .44 mag! Although I have a couple of .44 mag revolvers, a Contender single shot (and extra .44 mag barrel), and a Ruger .44 mag semi-auto carbine, the big .44 is my favorite cartridge. I reload for it, so I keep a good supply of brass, powder, primers, and bullets for it on hand – and usually a supply of loaded ammo. The Herter’s asking price was reasonable, I thought, and the seller was willing to entertain trades. We ended up making a deal with him taking my old Charter Arms Bulldog .38/.357 that I originally bought as a truck gun after a disturbing incident found me unarmed when I would rather have been “carrying”, and these days it was mostly being used as a “door gun”, kept in a hideout in the front room of the house. Although a 5 shot, it was a double action with a 6 inch barrel, and pretty accurate for a gun with basically no sights. My justification for wanting to trade it was that I much prefer a heavier bullet at lower velocities – for both hunting and home defense.

The deal actually cost me more than the trade gun, as I had to drive to Dallas to get the .44, but we found a couple of other excuses to make the trip more worthwhile.

My main incentive for wanting the old Herter’s gun, was that a similar Herter’s revolver was the first .44 mag I ever owned – or shot. I got that one in a trade that also brought me a Ruger Blackhawk .357 mag. The Herter’s was a very heavy gun, but had a 4″ barrel – which made it a rough introduction to the big .44 – that thing kicked like two mules! It kicked so hard that after firing only a few rounds I had to tighten all the framing screws, and the cylinder base pin was prone to “jumping out”. Still, I enjoyed the feeling of sheer power that came with touching the thing off! Getting another one was a nostalgia thing at first, but then I refreshed what I may have known about the Herter’s revolvers – or maybe not, as there was no inna net in those simpler times.

The Herter's line of single action revolvers were made in West Germany, by J.P. Sauer & Sons.

The Herter’s line of single action revolvers were made in West Germany, by J.P. Sauer & Sons.

Herter’s was a big mail order sporting goods company, based in Minnesota, and the revolvers were made in West Germany, by J.P. Sauer & Sons, in the days before they began making semi-auto pistols and sub machine guns. This would suggest a level of quality above the average “mail order Saturday night special”. The first thing I noticed when getting reacquainted with these guns was that they are not made like the New Model Rugers – no transfer bar safety – and they still had the old 4 click cocking sequence that uses a “half cock” position as a sort of safety feature and as the free spin position for rotating the cylinder for loading. Interestingly, they also share the 3 screw frame construction – although the slotted heads of the screws are on the left side of the frame, instead of on the right as with an Old Model Ruger. They are, however in the same positions on the frame as the Ruger screws. As I intended from the start to “restore” this gun as much as my limited talents allow, I first tried to fit some extra Ruger parts on it. An extractor rod housing (and rod/spring) from a Super Blackhawk should work, although the one I had on hand was off a flattop .44 Special with a 4 5/8″ barrel, and was a bit too short. A Ruger cylinder base pin fits and presumably functions – good news in case this one wants to shoot out, and can be replaced with a locking base pin from Belt Mountain designed for the Ruger.

One disappointment was my “extra” nickel plated Ruger .44 mag cylinder does NOT fit the Herter’s. Overall size appears the same, but the gears on the end are cut differently. Grips are another difference that sort of disappointed me, since I have quite a collection of custom Ruger grips I could have used. The Herter’s grip is huge – at least a half inch longer than a Ruger Super Blackhawk grip. The overall shape resembles that of a Ruger “plow handle” grip frame, however. The grips that were on the gun were in such sad shape I did not even take photos of them as they were, and may have been “home made” from a piece of plywood. Until I could do something else, I sanded them down and refinished them, but still found them sadly lacking.

The grips on my "new" .44 mag revolver needed to be shaped and refinished before I could dare take a picture of them!

The grips on my “new” .44 mag revolver needed to be shaped and refinished before I could dare take a picture of them!

With the grips off, the main spring was revealed – a sturdy piece of spring steel instead of coil springs like a Ruger. This is NOT meant as an indictment of coil springs, as Ruger obviously switched to that type for a good reason – I am just pointing out a major difference in the construction of the two guns.

The Herter's uses a spring steel, one piece mainspring to operate hammer and trigger functions, instead of the coil springs used by Ruger and most other "modern" revolvers.

The Herter’s uses a spring steel, one piece mainspring to operate hammer and trigger functions, instead of the coil springs used by Ruger and most other “modern” revolvers.

Soon found I could not use any of my Ruger grips on my Herter's revolver!

Soon found I could not use any of my Ruger grips on my Herter’s revolver!

The Herter’s grip frame is longer, but otherwise the two revolvers look very similar – even though I have been told the Herter’s was more of a “copy” of a Colt revolver than a Ruger. Interestingly, Herter’s original trade name for their revolver was going to be the Single Six, until Ruger threatened court action!

Some readers may remember that my Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt wears custom grips made from a piece of Lacewood that was once on my beloved Bertram 31. No more of that wood exists, but I did find a piece of what I think must be white oak that was a part of the stringer/engine bed system in Curtis Boler’s old 39 Post – “The Rascal”. I think this piece was removed during remodeling – maybe to make better room for the generator? It fits my “theme”, and cleaned up pretty nicely. Doesn’t have a lot of fancy figuring, but shaped well into attractive grips.

In keeping with a personal theme of using wood from old boats tied to my past as hand gun grips, these blanks I cut of white oak from the stringers of an old Post sport fisherman I spent some time on will be fashioned into new grips for the old revolver.

In keeping with a personal theme of using wood from old boats tied to my past as hand gun grips, these blanks I cut of white oak from the stringers of an old Post sport fisherman I spent some time on will be fashioned into new grips for the old revolver.

The front sight would warm the soul of disciples of the late, great (at least according to HIM!) gun writer Elmer Keith. Keith wrote a lot about long range shooting with revolvers, mostly in .44 magnum caliber. His “secret” seemed to be that if you employ a very tall front sight blade, and sight the gun in to hit zero at 25 or 50 yards with the top of the front sight nestled snuggly in the “vee” of the rear sight, then when you move that front blade up in the rear sight it raises the point of impact (and the barrel). If you have the front blade high enough to be almost sighting down the barrel, you move your shots out to 400, maybe 500 yards – IF you believe that raising the line of sight that much with a short range pistol cartridge will do that. Personally, I don’t.

Of course, in the real world, a .44 magnum does not have the ballistics to shoot consistantly at 400 yards from a rifle with it’s much longer barrel, and certainly not from a 4″ hand gun barrel, as Keith used. I actually read Elmer’s book on “Sixguns” – and not an easy task that was – and when he discussed “lobbing” shots at such distances, he admitted it was “stunt” shooting, so I suspect old Elmer wrote with tongue firmly in cheek.

The tall front sight of the old Herter's would have caused Elmer Keith to smile!

The tall front sight of the old Herter’s would have caused Elmer Keith to smile!

The Herter’s rear sight is adjustable, and has a gold semi-buckhorn blade.

The rear sight on my Herter's  is a "semi-buckhorn" style with a gold blade - and adjustable.

The rear sight on my Herter’s is a “semi-buckhorn” style with a gold blade – and adjustable.

The cylinder of the Herter’s features recesses for the cartridge case heads – something normally found only on custom revolvers these days. These recesses allow the case head to lie flat against the face of the cylinder – or maybe even a bit lower – and is mostly the reason the cylinder-to-frame fit on this gun is so tight for the rear of the cylinder and the loading gate. This system also offers more support for the entire cartridge, adding needed strength for firing heavy magnum loads. Of course, as that old “sixgunner”, Albert Einstein, once observed, every “action” can have an equal and opposite “reaction”. In this case (pardon the pun!) some clearance is probably a good thing. I found that a couple of chambers did not seat the cartridge deep enough, causing it to “hang” and lock up the revolver instead of rotating properly. Part of this was easily diagnosed as carbon build up inside the chambers from a previous owner shooting too many .44 Special loads without properly cleaning the gun. The shorter “Specials” will shoot just fine in a .44 mag chamber, but because of their reduced length unburned powder tends to collect in the chamber, in the area where a magnum case would extend further to the end of the chamber. If this area is not cleaned thoroughly and regularly, a “ring” can form that will make it difficult for full-length magnum rounds to chamber properly. Running a wire brush chucked into my cordless drill over these spots after wetting them well with Hoppes #9 got most of it out, but them I found a “scar” in one chamber where it looked as though someone had used a screwdriver and hammer to “extract” a cartridge at one time. This was also keeping a round from seating properly, until I went over the spot with a small, half-round gun smith’s file.

At this point, all was pretty good, but one chamber still had some drag when rotating – sometimes still locking up the gun. I cleaned the recessed area as well as I could with a variety of tools and cleaners, and finally settled on using only new Star-Line brass, and making sure the primers were well seated. Of course, if I want or need to shoot other ammo than my tailor-made hand loads, I can simply NOT load a round into the chamber that gives me trouble. This is not a bad practice, actually, since this type of action (without the Ruger transfer bar safety) should really be carried with an empty chamber under the hammer, for safety purposes.

Recessed "case heads&#039

Recessed “case heads” Allow the revolver’s cylinder to need less clearance between the cylinder and frame, and also provides the ultimate in case support for the cartridge when fired.

No need to have a custom shop mill in recesses for the case heads in the old Herter's .44 mag cylinder - they are already done!

No need to have a custom shop mill in recesses for the case heads in the old Herter’s .44 mag cylinder – they are already done!

Another pleasant surprise was found when checking the trigger pull – my gauge showed it “breaking” at 3 – 3.5 lbs, which is in the range I personally prefer.

I will want to do something to the finish of this old gun – even though it really was not all that bad. There was no surface rust at all, and when I rubbed it briskly with a silicon-impregnated rag, it shined up nicely. I like the concept of removing all the blueing and leaving the gun “in the white” – when done properly and kept polished it looks almost like stainless steel – and since anything I did to it would require the old finish to be removed, I used oven cleaner and a Scotch Brite pad to get started. It did not come out bright and shiny, though – like the cylinder on my Ruger Flattop did. This one ended up more of a grey, similar to the Target Grey of my .480 Ruger Super Redhawk. I think it contrasts nicely with the blued frame. What it looks like is that if the finish is scrubbed off with a WET pad, I will end up with the gray color. If the metal is allowed to dry, then worked with a dry Scotch Brite pad, it will polish out bright and shiny. Actually, I think I like the grey better. When I put on a coat of a stainless steel polish and then buffed it a bit with a Dremel wheel, it actually looks a lot like pewter! I plan on either leaving it the way it is, stripping the finish completely from the gun and leaving it that way, re-blueing the blued part, or CeraCoating it. The beauty of a project gun is trying different things to see which you like best.

Old blueing may be removed with oven cleaner and Scotch Brite pads - and some patience!

Old blueing may be removed with oven cleaner and Scotch Brite pads – and some patience!

To properly refinish any firearm, the old bluing needs to be removed, in this case on my cylinder I used oven cleaner and a Scotch-Brite pad.

To properly refinish any firearm, the old bluing needs to be removed, in this case on my cylinder I used oven cleaner and a Scotch-Brite pad.

Next in refinishing is to remove the blueing from the barrel.

Next in refinishing is to remove the blueing from the barrel.

Removing the finish from the grip frame and trigger guard area was a bit more tedious than the same task applied to the cylinder and/or barrel, but I like the result. As noted, the “unfinished” steel after polishiung looks a lot like pewter. At this point, I am considering a “rust brown” finish on the cylinder frame, for contrast.

Polishing the metal after removing most of the blueing with oven cleaner results in a finish that looks a LOT like pewter!

Polishing the metal after removing most of the blueing with oven cleaner results in a finish that looks a LOT like pewter!

This is only the second set of grips I have made, and I feel certain the guys who do this “for money” have more tools available than a Dremel, a Skill Saw, and a sander! Still I don’t think these look half bad, and certainly better than what was on the gun when I got it!

The Herter's grip frame does not have normal locator pins to keep the grip panels in place, but instead uses two larger lugs - one on each side.

The Herter’s grip frame does not have normal locator pins to keep the grip panels in place, but instead uses two larger lugs – one on each side.

Best method I've found for correctly seating the locators is to cut a larger hole than necessary in the general location, fill it with a thick epoxy, and allow that material to harden around the pin with the grips in place and screwed on tight. When removed, the "hole" needed should be the correct size and in the right spot.

Best method I’ve found for correctly seating the locators is to cut a larger hole than necessary in the general location, fill it with a thick epoxy, and allow that material to harden around the pin. When removed, the “hole” needed should be the correct size and in the right spot.

The new grips were cut from pieces of white oak, then shaped, fitted, sanded, and ready to finish

The new grips were cut from pieces of white oak, then shaped, fitted, sanded, and ready to finish

Since this was to be a true project gun, using only my somewhat limited abilities, I fashioned my own grips - and got them to fit decent on the first try!

Since this was to be a true project gun, using only my somewhat limited abilities, I fashioned my own grips – and got them to fit decently on the first try!

Naturally, the proof of any gun is in the shooting. My first effort with this gun was more of a function test than one of accuracy. I first fired six rounds of .44 Special semi-wadcutter rounds at around 15 yards, offhand. While the results were not anything to write home about, all the shots DID hit somewhere on the target.

This cylinder of .44 Special rounds was fired more to check function of the revolver than anything else.

This cylinder of .44 Special rounds was fired more to check function of the revolver than anything else.

Next I ran through 6 rounds of my “mild” .44 magnum loads – 310 gr Hard cast bullets pushed to just over 1000 fps by a charge of Titegroup powder. These were more interesting. As expected, the heavier bullets hit high with the same hold at the same distance – still offhand – BUT, the first three holes were almost touching. This is not the type of accuracy I normally get offhand with open sights – so I was impressed! The next three I experimented with the sight picture, but I think I am confident of hits in the vitals on hogs at 15 – 25 yards.

The first shots of .44 mag handloads were more accurate than the .44 Specials - possibly because of the quality of the bullets. They also shot a bit higher, as would be expected, but those 3 grouped closely together were the first 3 shots, the other three were when experimenting with the sights.

The first shots of .44 mag handloads were more accurate than the .44 Specials – possibly because of the quality of the bullets. They also shot a bit higher, as would be expected, but those 3 grouped closely together were the first 3 shots, the other three were when experimenting with the sights.

By a lucky coincidence, I had a fairly large supply of 292 gr cast lead bullets I acquired with the vague expectation of loading them for use in my .44 Special – before I realized they were a bit heavy for that use. These should be near perfect for the old Herter’s revolver. Loaded to 900 – 1000 fps they certainly will not strain the gun – or require me to have additional Carpal Tunnel surgery. Bullets in this weight class should put a good whack on hogs, also.

UPDATE ON SHOOTING THE HERTERS .44:
When trying to solve the problem on the one chamber that did not allow the shell to seat deeply enough to properly operate, I tried the loads I just mentioned, and they clocked right at 1000 fps on my chronograph. Then I loaded some .44 Special power level loads averaging 750 fps using 255 gr Hard Cast flat nosed bullets in new Star Line .44 MAGNUM brass. This gives me a .44 Special load that will not result in a carbon ring in the chambers. These round fired well, and operated perfectly as far as cylinder rotation. My next batch of reloads will be with the 292 gr cast lead bullets loaded “down” a bit, to maybe 700 – 800 fps. These should operate well in the gun and provide a little more “knock-down” power than the 255 gr bullets.

At this point in the Herters .44 "project", it is time for reloading and shooting.

At this point in the Herters .44 “project”, it is time for reloading and shooting.

What it seems I am doing here is making a “Special” .44 Special out of this old .44 magnum, and I don’t think this is a bad thing. I had already checked some .44 Special loads that chronoed 770 fps out of my .44 Special Flat top Ruger with it’s 4 5/8″ barrel, but increased to 800 fps out of the 7 1/2″ barrel of a Super Blackhawk .44 mag. The Herter’s 6 inch barrel should fall between these tow with a similar charge and bullet weight, but the apparently heavier construction of the gun should handle the heavier bullets better than most purpose-built .44 Special revolvers. I LIKE .44 Specials! Using the Herter’s as just a big Special is not a problem for me, especially since I have a several .44 magnums to hunt with – allowing me to reserve the Herter’s as strictly a gun for “fun’ and opportunity.

Reloading without using a chronograph is an exercise in futility.

Reloading without using a chronograph is an exercise in futility.

With the finish removed from the grip frame, the "back strap" now  matches the cylinder and barrel. The ammo shown is recently loaded 292 gr cast bullets in .44 magnum brass, at a power level estimated to be between a .44 Special and a sub sonic .44 "magnum".

With the finish removed from the grip frame, the “back strap” now matches the cylinder and barrel. The ammo shown is recently loaded 292 gr cast bullets in .44 magnum brass, at a power level estimated to be between a .44 Special and a sub sonic .44 “magnum”.

My next “shoot” will be with loads using powder charges at a level in between .44 Special and sub sonic .44 “magnum”, with 292 gr cast bullets in .44 magnum brass. When I checked these in the gun for function, the cylinder rotated freely, with no rounds rubbing. Should be good to go for another session with the chronograph!

Project guns, of any age and type, are pure fun – and make it very hard to see a firearm as “evil”!

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WEIGAND “NO-GUNSMITHING” SCOPE MOUNT BASE FOR RUGER .22R AEMI-AUTO PISTOLS

The Weigand scope mount base for the Ruger series of .22 LR pistols requires no gun smithing, and does an excellent job.

The Weigand scope mount base for the Ruger series of .22 LR pistols requires no gun smithing, and does an excellent job.

I love “messing” with guns, and rarely reach a stopping point. Recently I came across a good deal on a 3X Tasco Pro Class hand gun scope which I wanted to try on my Ruger Standard pistol – having already gone through Tascos of 1X and 2X power ratings. The 3X scope was of a “silver” finish, which is good as it compliments my stainless steel barrel, but it was a 30mm diameter tube size, which meant it did not fit the 1″ (25mm) rings of my B-Square mount.

The solution was a Weigand Combat mount which replaces the dove tailed rear sight on the Ruger barrel and lays flat against the top of the barrel. The mount is designed for attachment by Weaver-style rings, and proved “just right” for optimum sighting with my Tasco 3X.

Since I bought the scope used and did not get a set of 30mm rings with it, I emailed Weiland’s customer service for recommendations on a good ring to try. To my surprise, I got a prompt reply from Jack Weiland, owner of the company, advising me the any good quality rings would work, although cautioning me to avoid those rings made in China.

The mount was fairly easy to install, although I had to drive the rear sight out with a hammer and punch because my sight pusher tool would not fit the Ruger receiver, and looks and functions just as it should!

Now, of course, I needed mounting rings for the 30mm scope tube. I want to add a suppressor to this pistol in the near future, so I was concerned about the ring height keeping the scope high enough to “see” over both the front sight and the suppressor itself. The first rings I ordered were “medium” height, which turned out to be just right! The Vortex rings I got, however, were made in China, so I did not follow Jack ligand’s advice, but I have a much more expensive set of rings coming I found on a website that I can replace them with (and save the Vortex rings as “spares”).

In honesty, I think the Vortex rings will work fine – they are certainly study enough to hold up to the recoil of a .22 LR!

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IN DEFENSE OF REVOLVERS

Revolvers of almost all types still have uses in home and personal defense.

Revolvers of almost all types still have uses in home and personal defense.

Once upon a time, the revolver was the premier handgun for self defense and battle. Police departments and military units used revolvers – usually of the double action variety – in all sorts of calibers, with the .38 Special being normally the low end of the power spectrum. Even when semi-autos had begun to replace the revolver for most “combat” uses, in WWII the military found itself running short of 1911’s in .45ACP and commissioned a large number of double action revolvers from Smith & Wesson and Colt chambered for .45ACP, so they could stick with the same caliber of ammo.

Because civilian self defense weapons very often mirror those most in use by Law Enforcement and the military, when these organizations began switching to semi-autos – especially non-1911 semi-autos – so did the average Joe.

Personally, I think the 1911 semi-auto pistol ranks with the automobile and the outboard engine as one of the greatest inventions of all time, and John Browning therefore as definitely one of the greatest inventors of all time. Having said that, the revolving cylinder hand gun is my all-time favorite firearm! There all all sorts of reasons NOT to select a revolver – especially a single action revolver – for self or home defense, but an objective examination just might reveal most or all of these reasons to be a bit shaky.

First, the advantages of a semi-auto. Normally, a semi will have more cartridge capacity, is faster to reload, easier to operate, and its shape lends itself better to concealed carry. Actually, except for the capacity, the other points are debatable. And on capacity, rarely will a defensive situation involve a long, drawn-out gun battle. Even a 5 shot revolver can make a strong statement when used by an experienced shooter – and there are now 7 – 9 shot double action revolvers available in several calibers including the hard hitting .357 magnum. With a double action using speed loaders, reloading can be almost as quick as changing magazines with a semi – and there is no need to worry about the possibility of a jam or failure-to-feed.

With a semi-auto, or auto-loading pistol, the shooter only need to keep squeezing the trigger to fire as many rounds as the magazine holds. Except that if the pistol is not a “double action” model that both cocks and loads the first round when the trigger is pulled the first time, the slide must be “racked” to load a cartridge in the chamber before it can be fired, and not all models can be safely carried or even stored in a “cocked and locked” condition. 1911’s are the best for this, striker-fired pistols such as Glocks the worst in my opinion.

This DA Colt "Police Positive" .38 revolver is a fine choice as a defensive weapon, hence the name!

This DA Colt “Police Positive” .38 revolver is a fine choice as a defensive weapon, hence the name!

A double action revolver, in most cases, can be safely carried fully loaded in an uncocked condition, and the first pull of the trigger both cocks the hammer and rotates a full round into firing position. Each additional round is fired by pulling the trigger successive times. There is no safety except the action itself, and a double action revolver can be fired almost as fast as a semi-auto. I would consider a double action revolver the safest of all hand gun actions, except maybe a singe shot. For a less than experienced hand gunner, the DA revolver is the easiest to learn to operate properly and safely. Although a .41 or .44 magnum DA revolver is more powerful than normally recommended for self defense, most popular semi-auto defense calibers – such as the afore-mentioned .45 ACP, .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, and 10mm can now be had in double action revolvers, if a .357 magnum isn’t prefferable for your needs. Double actions can be concealed almost as easily as a “full-sized” semi-auto, and barring an ammunition malfunction, there really isn’t much that can put one out of operation.

Although magazine capacity on a 1911 is usually 7-8 rounds, 10 round extended magazines are available, and great for reloads.

Although magazine capacity on a 1911 is usually 7-8 rounds, 10 round extended magazines are available, and great for reloads.

Double action revolver: MikesTexasHunt-Fish

Reloading a double action revolver is much faster than the one-round-at-a-time operation of a single action.

Even the 5-shot Charter Arms Bulldog can see its firepower increase with properly sized speed loaders.

Even the 5-shot Charter Arms Bulldog can see its firepower increase with properly sized speed loaders.

Although this .480 Ruger Super Redhawk is a bit heavy and bulky for a "carry" gun, except in hunting and "trail" use, there is no denying the firepower available for home defense - especially with a couple of full speed loaders!

Although this .480 Ruger Super Redhawk is a bit heavy and bulky for a “carry” gun, except in hunting and “trail” use, there is no denying the firepower available for home defense – especially with a couple of full speed loaders!

At this point, some readers might be agreeing with me that a DA revolver could actually be a very good defensive hand gun choice, but surely the “out-dated” single action has no place in the personal defense world? In my opinion, again, in this you are wrong. Besides my firm belief in the saying that ANY gun you have is better than a gun you don’t have, a single action – in which the hammer must be manually cocked before firing each shot – is safer even than a DA revolver, and for that all-important first shot (if we are talking about taking a gun from uncocked to ready to fire) pretty much nothing is faster, since the cylinder on modern single actions can safely be kept fully loaded, requiring only a hammer “click” to be ready. Ruger pioneered the “Transfer bar” safety system in single actions that requires the trigger to be pulled before the transfer bar is moved into a position between the hammer and the firing pin. Until this happens, the hammer cannot strike the pin, and the gun cannot fire, so dropping or jarring the revolver will not result in an accidental discharge. After the first shot, fast “spray and pray” shooting will not take the place of careful, aimed shots. So you have only six shots, perhaps only five? If the “problem” is not resolved in the time it takes to discharge those rounds, the situation should at least be patterned well enough to allow for a sheltered reload. Six rounds of well-placed .38 Special +P ammo – or even more powerful rounds – can do a lot of damage.

Either the .45 Colt with 7 1/2" barrel, or the .44 Special Blackhawk with 4 5/8" barrel would be a good "house gun" for protection.

Either the .45 Colt with 7 1/2″ barrel, or the .44 Special Blackhawk with 4 5/8″ barrel would be a good “house gun” for protection.

I have been giving this subject some thought lately. I have several semi-auto pistols, and 3 of them are for defense and recreation shooting only. I also have several single action revolvers, in such “hunting” calibers as .44 Special, .44 magnum, .45 Colt, and .480 Ruger. Any of these would be devastating at “repelling” an intruder. Between my wife and I, we have 2 double action .38 revolvers – mine is a .38/.357 magnum. These could be more than just bedside guns – they could be carried comfortably with the right holsters. Right now I am working on a deal to trade my Charter Arms Bulldog .38/.357 for an older single action .44 magnum. I could load the .44 with .44 Special ammo to reduce recoil and power – still dwarfing the .38 in power – but better would be to load .44 Special level rounds in .44 magnum cases. This would equal or surpass the power level of a .45 ACP. Either way, I prefer a big, heavy bullet to a smaller, higher velocity one MOST of the time. The .44 could be kept handy and fully loaded, requiring only a pull on the hammer to arm it. If this trade does not go through, I already often keep my Ruger .44 Special with its 4 5/8″ barrel handy at night.

Either of my open-sighted single actions could be open carried in a belt holster, but the .44 Special with the 4 5/8" barrel could be carried open OR  concealed under a coat or jacket in a shoulder holster.

Either of my open-sighted single actions could be open carried in a belt holster, but the .44 Special with the 4 5/8″ barrel could be carried open OR concealed under a coat or jacket in a shoulder holster.

Of course, Texas now allows (permitted) open carry of handguns, and for that use a revolver – even a single action – in a belt or shoulder holster is a fine choice. I personally do not see the need to open carry in public, and probably never will, but I have a custom shoulder holster I bought from someone a couple of years ago that I have never used – because I did not like it and felt it was vastly over-priced, especially considering how long I had to wait for it. My .44 Special fits this holster perfectly, and although it would not offer a particularly fast draw, it could be used to carry the single action “concealed” beneath a jacket or coat.

One undeniable fact is that large caliber revolvers will be very LOUD when discharged inside a building, and there might not be time in a defense situation to don hearing protection. Suppressors do not work well on revolvers, due to the barrel/cylinder gap – despite what the movies sometimes show us. A more powerful round also raises the worry of shooting through walls and other “barricades”, and these factors should be considered when selecting a home defense gun. Of course, shotguns are not quiet, nor are the other alternatives, like AR type rifles.

Whether you agree with me or not, and apologies to Herr Glock, but I do not think a high capacity semi-auto is necessary for home defense. As Jeff Cooper said, a pistol is only good for fighting your way to your rifle. If more firepower is needed than a 6 shot revolver can provide, keep an AR or shotgun handy – or better yet, another revolver!

I am possibly the only person I know somewhat wearing the title of “gun writer” who has advocated semi-auto pistols for handgun hunting, and both double and single action revolvers for self defense! In my “defense”, pardon the pun, I may have been reading too many articles and shooting forum posts about bear defense lately!

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BIANCHI LAWMAN HOLSTER FOR RUGER BLACKHAWK

Every handgun needs it’s own holster, mostly. I have a canvass shoulder holster made for a scoped revolver that I use alternatively for two scoped .44 mag Super Blackhawks and my .480 Ruger Super Redhawk with an UltraDot red dot sight, because all of them fit well in it, and I rarely carry more than one of the 3 at a time. For my two Blackhawks that don’t carry a scope or red dot sight, however, I need for each to have it’s own holster, as one is a .44 Special Flattop with a 4 5/8″ barrel, the other a .45 Colt with a 7.5″ barrel. These I will usually carry when just “woods walking”, and they will be carried on my belt.

I already had a serviceable holster for the 4 5/8 44 Special, so I began the hunt for a decent holster for the .45 Colt, at a reasonable price.

The holster I selected is a Bianchi 1L “lawman” in tan leather, with a hold-down strap. While not “flashy”, it has the good looks that come with a well done piece of leather, and which is found in all Bianchi products. This one fits my revolver like it was made for it (it WAS!), and should provide me many years of good and faithful service.

The Bianchi Lawman fits the .45 Ruger Blackhawk with a 7.5" barrel perfectly

The Bianchi Lawman fits the .45 Ruger Blackhawk with a 7.5″ barrel perfectly

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