Saturday, July 30, 2011


Normally, within the colorful confines of my family tree, a post with this header would, could and should conjure possibilities of a East-Texas Hillbilly-esque fued replete with gunfire or at least gunplay.

And I strongly suspect that at some point in my families history it has happened, folks. Either with firearms or swords or knives or whathaveyou deadly weapon of the day and age. Some inter-family feud spawned some sort of combat.

And more. But I don't want to air the family dirty laundry, fortunately I want to rave about my great cousin Jimmy and a simply magnificent creation of art as a firearm and a TRULY custom and handmade firearm as a superior example of it's genre, that being the single action revolver.

Handmade. Hand machined. All parts made from solid steel. You can literally feel the sturdiness and excellence of the lockwork just by fondling the very attractive and might I add, very well done non-fluted cylinder.

I'm a sucker for a non-fluted cylinder on a SA revolver, heck, on any revolver, and although Jimmy doesn't know that, I bet he'd tell you my eyes really lit up as that fine weapon cleared the holster and I spied the lack of fluting and said something instinctual like "ohhhhhh, that's nicccceeeeeeeee" as my finger shot out to touch the cylinder, as if to confirm my aging eyes were not deceiving me.

I don't want to give too many details, because I'm not familiar enough with the gun and don't want to err in it's description. I'll get more details, as I've promised to do the legal research to find out what he needs to do to explore starting a firearm company. It's a daunting and serious proposition, but he's a serious craftsman and has some great support in his immediate family. It'd be my pleasure to do it pro bono, i.e. free, as Jimmy and his clan have always been there for my family, in sickness and in health. Literally.

And besides, they are close family. They're the kind of folks that make you proud you're kin to them because they are honest and earnest and they support and take care of each other within their family, as does my family.

And my cousin Jimmy has always been a highly talented individual, not only occupationally, working his way into management as a success story, but with his kids and grandkids and wife as well as with his parents and siblings. But I'd like to see him get some recognition as an artist, which when you see some pics of this pistol, you will say to yourself, "Self, that's a work of art. It's also a revolver but it's truly a work of art. It's a gorgeous simple yet sturdy design, and it just glows with quality.

I'm sure I'd "have to demand" as part of my pro-bono contract an early sample, not for keeping "long term" but to ensure my ethical requirements of adequately representing my client are fully developed. So I can tell people what an absolutely excellent firearm it is for multiple purposes, and truly know what of I speak. LOL.

Jimmy hails from what I'd consider the normal side of my gene pool. Indeed, his mother and lovely wife, three brothers and sister are all sterling examples of what any family tree could claim as their finest. Jimmy's mother and my father were siblings and close in age. Raised in the depression in a poor farm family, they've seen the things that make this nation great. Several of her sons served our country, and all of her children have successful family and work lives.

They, like my parents, wife, sister and I, have a work ethic. They can't imagine not working. Their hard working mother, making sure they wanted for nothing materially or spiritually or in a family sense, spoiled them with not only good love but with common sense as well. Like my father, my Aunt (Jimmy's mother) was more successful than most of her siblings but shared that success readily with her mother, relatives in need and of course, taking care of her family first.

So first I have to establish that these are the cousins I'm always been impressed with, and I do come from a large family. Mannerly. Friendly. Very sweet and kind and genuinely loving to our family for many years, as long as I can remember. Non Toxic to us.

I just wanted to establish that these are good people. Good Americans. Good Texans. To me that's important because I'm trying to talk my cousin Jimmy into going into the custom handgun business. Read on, and I hope to inspire him to chase the American dream.

It seems that 20 years ago, my cousin Jimmy, a one time machinest extraordinaire who later became an administrator and management type, got associated with a veteran artist in revolvers and had the opportunity, as I understand it, to build three single action revolvers under the license and tuttledge of this master handgun craftsman who built/milled most or all of the parts by hand.

I don't have the full story and but I'll be getting it. I'll have more details later and will clarify. I can't recall the fellows name but I have heard it before. This master's name was engraved on the buttstrap of the frame of the gun, as was my cousin's on the barrel.

So Jimmy pulls out this holstered gun that appears as it sits in the holster to be of a cross between a Ruger Super Blackhawk and a Colt Single Action/Peacemaker with what I can see of the gun in the near full coverage Hunter holster it's in.

First now, I've have not seen Jimmy in over a decade, and we've never discussed holsters in the past, yet I see he and I favor the same type of Hunter holster for traveling, a near full coverage belt holster with an old school strap and snap instead of a thumb break for keeping the gun under the seat or on you.

This is the type Hunter holster that has the flap on the rear with a loop and snap so the holster can be placed on the belt while wearing the buckled belt. It's sort of the standard Hunter holster of years gone by.

So I have several Hunter holsters and began using them as a kid in the early 70's, buying them via mail through Herter's catalog. I just got a new one at a great ebay price for a Colt .357. And I found it "DNA/Same bloodline" interesting that here two cousins tend to use the same type holster when traveling with big guns.

So once the revolver, finished in a deep, deep, deep, deep blue begins to clear leather, I can see it is neither a Colt nor a Ruger. I later learn there are only two screws for the entire exterior of the gun. It is a .44 Magnum for sure, and it looks magnificent.

It seemed that the barrel is a bit larger, bigger than a Ruger or a Colt. Jimmy's gun had adjustable rear sights. It seems lighter on handling that the Ruger Super Blackhawks that I've owned and shot, and if this makes sense, it WAS lighter than it looked.

The barrel, as I said, was of larger diameter than a Colt or Ruger, although not by a whole lot. Enough to be noticeable to someone like me or perhaps a handgun expert and "genius gun chooser/trendsetter" like James Zachary would notice. In any event, Jimmy's lovely wife reports that the gun has minimal recoil in her opinion, shooting full on magnum loads. That tells me a heavier barrel has something to do with it, as well as a well designed gun with the right tolerances.

I have never in my life had the urge to call anyone, as I did with Jimmy today,  over to my gun safe, open it, stand back and say start looking for gunS (note the plural GUNS) you want to trade me for that work of art you made.

I'll be honest. I thought about it. Before we split up today, I joked about it, and I think he and his brother knew I was really not so joking.

It's nice to know that even though I don't own any of these guns that there are some REAL family heirloom weapons in the family now. El Fisho Jr. was with me today, and of course he like me appreciates fine horseflesh in the form of a firearm. He was near speechless for a few moments upon the initial inspection of Jimmy's gun. That's because as you go from feature to feature to feature, you see the quality and detail built into every part. 

El Fisho Jr. noted the wide hammer and the very nice grooves in it. He noted the comfortable grip angle and like me, also said the gun felt lighter than he thought it would. He noted the tight cylinder lock up and liked he way that gun felt in his hand. The trigger face was comfortable and wide as well, reminding me of a fine German trigger face on the high end guns. 

Note to self: Ask Jimmy more questions about the gun next time instead of staring in awe at it as you pawed your mitts over it's gleaming surfact. Like, how much does it weigh? Why is the barrel bigger? Do you have any idea the kind of money that gun people with money would pay for a gun like this?

In any event, before I could ever get Jimmy to make me one, no matter how much I would pay, and trust me on this, I would pay A LOT more than I've ever paid for any gun for the gun I saw today, or one made by the same hands.

Of course, part of that is the family tie. I wouldn't be willing to spend that kind of money, even on a Bowen gun or other like dream gun, but the fact that one of my favorite and *has always been very nice to me* cousins made this fine instrument with his own hands would motivate me to do some ebaying and some serious saving to pay enough money for the blood, sweat and tears that would go into crafting a single action masterpiece, built from solid steel.

But a big part of it is the gun. I didn't get to fire it, live or dry, but felt the action and cylinder which to me is as important as trigger pull. And something *just tells me* that a gun with that much handcrafting and attention to detail and custom features he built into the gun did not get neglected in the trigger department. I listened to the lockwork as my cousin worked it, and opened and closed the extremely nice feeding gate. Oh man, the firm yet easy feel of opening and closing the feeding gate was enough to tell you this is no normal single action.

Like me and most of the rest of my cousins, Jimmy's been a shooter all of his life. His dad who passed recently was a legendary North Texas lawman for decades. Twenty years ago, I heard numerous excellent stories about Jimmy's dad duing several teaching stints I had at the DPS academy, where many of the old timers who worked with their dad and had known him for decades had stories to tell me and respect for him.

So Jimmy has not only been around general shooting, he's been around lots of law enforcement shooters and lots of the philosophy and opinion about defense shooting that comes along with hanging out with coppers socially.

So although the gun I saw today is not per se a self defense gun, I'd surely take it into a gun fight. I'm not one of those who believes that a single action is too obsolete for personal protection, but you need a back-up piece and you better be a good shot and good at reloading a single action revolver.

But if I owned Jimmy's gun, you can bet I'd have a Bianchi or Mernickle holster for the occasional carry when it is serious jacket or coat weather and a larger gun like this can more easily be concealed. And I'd carry it often in the field. And I'd be proud that I was carrying it.

So I'll be doing an update and if Jimmy will allow, some pictures and let me flesh out the story. I'm still struck by the fact that Jimmy's lovely wife (I'm not using a lot of names here on purpose) told me it kicks less than a 9mm, and she's an astute and very experienced handgun shooter as well. And thus I have absolutely no reason to doubt her as she's never steered me wrong before so I'll accept her assersion about the recoil sight unseen and simply say: Please put my name on the waiting list for one today. Exactly like the one I saw.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


'Tis the season of awaiting some of the supposed new models introduced at the SHOT show and other venues this year. There are a lot of very reasonably priced guns that came out in the past few years, with new models and variants trickling out this year.

For example, the supposedly street priced Kel-Tec PMR-30, the 30 round magazine holdin' .22 mag-a-num. Although the .22 magnum pales in comparison to the 5.7 round shot by the FN Five-seveN pistol, more than one reviewer of the Kel-Tec has referred to it as the poor man's 5-7. And to some extent, I have to agree.

Thirty rounds in a 16 oz pistol that fits in Glock 9mm holsters (According to Mr. Q at Gunblast, I think) that will cost, once supply begins hitting demand, about $300.  And, it actually comes with an extra magazine! How about that in this day and age of companies selling what I consider to be high end guns with only one magazine included in the deal. You buy one of these guns and get a crappy plastic box you'll likely never use again and some kind of crap gun lock and frankly, I'd rather have a cardboard box, fired casing, the paperwork, maybe a cleaning tool and an extra magazine instead of the plastic box and gun lock.

In any event, I'm looking forward to the day of getting to feel the heft of the PMR-30 in my hand. The grip angle. Depending on where I run into it, perhaps sample the trigger pull, with or without a snap cap, depending on store preferences. You already know that with a .22 magnum the grip will be long, probably not unlike the old AMT or whatever they were autos in the 80's that shot .30 caliber rounds. But I suspect it won't be bad at all.

Likewise, all my friends have been wanting to see this Ruger version of the 1911. It's the big boy, and weighs in at full 1911 weight. I'm hoping they come out with a Commander sized version with an alloy frame and get that weight down to about 26 to 28 oz  with empty magazine. I'm a big Ruger fan, and so even if this ends up being the only 1911 they make, I'll have to get one someday.

If Ruger could ever get some inventory out there to the stores, they could be well competing with the TONS of entry level and foreign made 1911 clones that are out there for sale at or just under the street price that the few Rugers I've seen reports on have been going for. Even near the full list price, me thinks it's a good deal based on who is making it, it's made in America and that it comes with many mods from the factory.

Those that have seen it and handled it say the Ruger version of the 1911 is a tight pistol and well made. In fact, several friends at several different gun shops report the 1911's coming in and that only one person out of about 10 that advance ordered did not buy the gun after it came in. The pistols are apparently coming in one or two at a time, and far apart in time.

I'm glad for Ruger and for Kel-Tec. They've got a little feeding frenzy going on with their product lines with these two guns. Both are American companies and they make many very cool products and I think they deserve our support. Lots of folks I know are ready to buy either or both if they hold up upon actual physical inspection to the great reviews and internet lore that has been circulating about them.

I've been looking at a lot of the .22 clones of different guns coming out, and it's a cool market in this area right now, with lots of reasonable and semi-reasonably priced weapon out there.  A couple of observations. It would be cool to see a AR-15 clone that shoots .22 magnums. Also, why hasn't a company made a .22 replica of a light machine gun, with some kind of belt feed?

And since Colt has all but abandoned the making of double action revolvers, perhaps Umarex could start making some .22 double actions revolvers from the past Colt catalog. Perhaps start with the Diamondback and the Cobra in .22 LR AND .22 Magnum. Alloy frames. Steel barrels and cylinders. Nice triggers. Tight lock up. 

Billy Ray has been waiting to see the Governor. Me too. I've wanted to handle one, in hopes it feels more sturdy than the countless Taurus Judge and Public Defenders I've messed with. The full size all steel 3" Judge feels the most sturdy, but the lockwork and the trigger, to me at least, are lacking. They just don't feel sturdy to go the long haul shooting shotgun shells.

So I'm hoping that the Smith is like the Smith of old or at least the better Smiths of new and sturdy in it's construction and heft. With a nice trigger.

The added ability to shoot .45 ACP with the Governor over the Taurus is another big win. I'm a big fan of .45 ACP and for a defensive weapon like the Governor, a followup of three .410 buckshot shells followed by three .45 ACP Cor-Bon's or Federal Low Recoil (depending on the shooter and environment) shells would be a great combo. 

I've owned (note the past tense) S&W 25-5 revolvers and although both were excellent quality handguns in every way, the .45 Long Colt did nothing for me. I much prefer the .45 ACP, as does my wallet, incidentally.

There are other guns out there, of course, that have caught my interest. The crop of 1911-22 clones in .22 long rifle seems to be getting larger every year. In reading about the various guns on internet forums, it seems the Chiappa is not very well regarded, but the GSG version (same factory as the Sig .22 btw) has some finish issues and it sure seems like a lot of them are breaking internal parts, if the internet reviews are correct. 

I did get to handle the Umarex Colt Rail Gun, and although it seems to get the best forum frenzy going about it, I wasn't that impressed. I want to wait and see the Gold Cup model their website touts, which I have not seen in stores. I've just seen the Rail Gun.

I was more impressed with the construction of the Umarex than the Chiappa, but liked the construction and "feel" of the GSG better than the Umarex. I wish these companies wouldn't feel the need to throw a rail on everything to make guns "cool and upgraded" for cheap, or at least wish the rail could easily be detached. One problem, gun makers, with rails is that I have a bunch of 1911 holsers for 1911's without rails and don't really want to have to buy yet another holster just because a rail is a cheap way to upgrade a gun for marketing purposes: it becomes "tactical".

I'll talk more later about the new crop of .22 LR 1911 clones as well as some of the .45 ACP clones of the 1911.

I'll close with this, about a gun I'd like to see that is not currently on the drawing boards. The Walther PPK/S in .22LR. Why doesn't Walther/Smith and Wesson make this a part of their lineup? It was made in German made PPK's for many years, and although American made PPK's are sold in .380 and .32, they're not made here in .22 LR.

Why not, Walther?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


As one of the commenters whom I am honored to have grace the webspace of this effort of mine, Helene Burnett introduced me to the phrase "Gift Rooster", which is not just a phrase but really a descriptor, a series of events and much more that surround a surprise rooster that appears in the area.

Several months ago, Gift Rooster appeared from down the road. Several folks in my area raise yardbirds, small time chicken and egg operations mostly for their own consumption and for farmer's market fodder for trade and sale. After a few weeks of circling my home and my terrified bird dog mutts, the Gift Rooster moved on down the street, several blocks away. One neighbor who lives over that way erected a canopy, a stoop and a feeding area for the Gift Rooster on the side of his garage.

It's been hot as Hades ALREADY in Texas back in May, same kind of hot others in the USA are getting in this heat wave we're having. And back then, Gift Rooster spent his days under foliage in the back of a neighbors yard, roaming and crowing in the early and late hours when it was much cooler.

Somewhere in the past several weeks, Gift Rooster managed to talk my neighbor Ms. College Professor/Urban Farmer into letting him move into her coop. I don't know what her rooster situation was before Gift Rooster, but apparently the coop belongeth to Gift Rooster now, as evidenced by the cell phone pics from last Thursday.

Gift Rooster climbed atop the metal chicken coop that Professor Urban Farmer has and was letting the world know that he's the king of that roost. Man, he was crowing as if his life depended on it. The pic is not that great, and bear in mind I had to sneak up on him and take the shot without him knowing, because he's highly skittish and will move at a moments noise or activity. So I crept up on him and at least got a couple of pics.

I haven't had a chance to talk to the Professor Urban Farmer to find out why she moved the Rooster in her coop. I'm sure she has her reasons, and I still enjoy hearing the crowing in the mornings, because it reminds me of the old days at Grandma's in East Texas.

So alls well that, for now, ends well. The old owner doesn't want Gift Rooster back, and his new owner appears to be getting along great with him. And the psychological condition of my dogs has improved vastly since the Gift Rooster found a permanant abode out of their sight. They can't see him but they can hear him, and when his crow flies through the air, they stop and listen and try to figure out how far away he is.

The Gift Rooster Abides.