Saturday, February 25, 2012


Those of you like ZACH over at THE NEXT CHAPTER know of and indeed share my fascination with Combination rifle/shotguns. Just as cool to me, and probably Zach as well are Drilling guns and Double rifles. Drillings are three barreled guns, either two shotgun and one rifle barrel or two rifle and one shotgun barrels. The ones I've seen had two triggers, one that operates in sequence with the like barreled doubles (as with a single trigger double barrel shotgun) and one trigger that fires the single barrel. Double rifles are just what you'd think, a double barreled rifle.

Both of these types of guns are generally VERY expensive. And I mean very expensive. So much so that the average El Fisho like me can't even begin to afford one. They often stray into the five digit price range. Most of these guns are big game hunting guns used in Africa, Asia or South America on what is known as Dangerous Game, meaning game that is very capable of killing you before you can kill it.

So living here in Texas the only justification I can think of to get either a drilling or a double rifle is, once again, hog hunting. I've always thought double rifles and drillings were the essence of "cool", and there are a myriad of caliber combinations that drillings come in.

If I could make my own drilling rifle, it would have a double barreled 12 gauge with a very large bore caliber, and I'm thinking a .458 Socom would be just the ticket. Match that up with the mercury recoil absorber like in my Benelli Super Nova shotgun and a kevlar or better yet, polymer stock inner covered with a substantial about of Pachmayr or Hogue rubber like they use in pistol grips. It would ideally be a takedown gun a'la takedown double barreled shotguns. It would have a green daytime laser and very strong flashlight built into the foregrip, as one shotgun foregrip maker does with a flashlight mount, and fiber optic sights on top.

The double rifles I've seen and handled at high end gun stores were very large caliber guns, in calibers popular for hunting large, dangerous game in Africa. I've never seen one that cost less than $10k, although I'm sure they are out there under that price. But not too much under that price.

I know recently EAA began importing a double rifle priced at about $600, calibered in .308 and .30-06. About a year ago I was in a Gander Mountain store in College Station that actually had some tolerable prices on some sales guns, and I can't remember the brand but one gun they were selling for about $400 was a double barreled over/under .308. I'd have probably bought it right then and then save for the fact it had 18" barrels. Now normally I appreciate short barrels on rifles, but in a double rifle I'd sure like to have at least a 22" or 24" barrel.

If I'm going to have a double rifle or a drilling, I'd like to have it in a large caliber, something worthy of say a rhino or elephant, and certainly more than a .308 or a .30-06. Something manly and large, about as large as my ringfinger. I'm not knowledgeable enough about the large African hunting calibers to be talking about them, but I know on some of them the numbers are followed by the words Nitro Express. I know bullets for these guns are very expensive as well, but it's not the sort of gun you'd be shooting like a .22 or a .223/5.56 or 7.62 x 39. After getting used to shooting it at various distances, it'd be a hunting gun.

I think the whole reasoning about why a drilling rifle is cooler than a two barreled combination rifle/shotgun can be analogized by why Spinal Tap's guitar amps went to "11" instead of "10". You get one more shot than a regular combo rifle/shotgun with a drilling, and to paraphrase Nigel Tufner, well...that's one more, isn't it?

Which brings me back to the subject of this post. Why doesn't Ruger or Remington or Winchester make a kickarse drilling and sell it for under a grand? Surely there is enough of a market to justify making a drilling, wouldn't you think?


Who remembers the manmade "mountain" that was The Houston Watercoaster located adjacent to Interstate 45 North where Stuebner Airline intersected with I-45, immediately north of the Little York and I-45 North intersection? Well, J.R. Gonzales, who blogs for the Houston Chronicle didn't mention it in the excellent article he wrote last week about the MALIBU GRAND PRIX that was right next door to the Watercoaster, but someone in the comments section did mention it and it brought back some memories for El Fisho.

Way back then, when the Watercoaster opened, I got a job there. It was a fun place to work, even though it was fatally flawed from the start. It had two troughs that came down the side of the manmade hill but the fatal flaw was that instead of covering the surface of the troughs with some sort of plastic compound, they were more or less bare concrete. Maybe gunnite. I'm not sure, but I know that many Watercoaster riders got strawberries on their bodies if part of their persons came off of the foam mats that were used to ride down the Watercoaster.

For historical information, since that Watercoaster and it's twin located at Stewart Beach in Galveston are long gone, I wanted to note it's existence somewhere. As far as I can recall, it was open the summer of 1978 and 1979. Several of us who worked at the North Houston Watercoaster were detailed on several occasions to go down to the Watercoaster in Galveston and work due to employee shortages at the beach. It was a lot of fun, sortof like a busman's holiday. They paid for our gas and food and several nights at a local motel down there to help train new employees and cover shortages in employees while they were getting fully staffed.

One thing that I soon learned was that if you were wearing the proper pair of tennis shoes you could surf the Watercoaster standing on the inch thick foam mats. At the time, various types of upscale tennis shoes were all the rage, like Adidas and Reebok. I had a pair of yellow mesh Reebok running shoes that were perfect for getting wet at the Watercoaster, as they were mesh and dried quickly, and it was hard to avoid your shoes getting wet. These shoes worked great for surfing the Watercoaster, but the best shoes were cheap Keds slip-on tennis shoes. Something about their sole gave great traction on the otherwise slippery foam mats.

Of course, regular customers weren't allowed to surf the Watercoaster, but before and after opening the employees would have at it. Not being a great athlete, I was pretty limited to straight surfing down the Watercoaster, but a few of the more athletic employees could do 180's and 360's without hurting themselves. I can't remember everyone who worked there, but I remember my friends Lionel, Stanley and a guy named Freddie who dealt with all of the plumbing and mechanical issues. All of us were either in high school or fresh out, about to go to college, and I often wonder what happened to the folks I worked there with.

When school started, the Watercoaster closed, and several of us went next door to the newly opened Malibu Grand Prix to get a job. Contrary to what some of the commenters said in J.R.'s article, the North Houston Malibu was located right there at the triangle of land that existed where Stuebner Airline intersected with I-45 North, with Little York to the immediate south. Malibu was an import from California, where it had been wildly successful, bringing a 28 horsepower Wankel engine powered fiberglass bodied mini-race car to the throngs who were tired of riding lawnmower engine powered go carts.

The course itself was designed to keep speeds down to the 30 mph range or so, as the many twists and turns and curves in the course made it necessary to slow down quite often. We soon found there were design flaws in the course, where either bad drivers or those who tried to go too fast would shoot off the course in certain spots and slam into the chain link fence that surrounded the course. Our solution was to put the used tires from the cars in these spots at the fence line, thus cushioning the crashes and keeping the fences from falling down on the errant drivers.

Malibu was even a better place to work than the Watercoaster. Of course, it was necessary for employees to "test" the cars, both before opening and during the day as issues arose with the cars. I never came close to beating the track records, but became pretty good at driving the cars simply out of fun.

All employees there began working "in the pits", helping drivers in and out of cars and taking tickets and such. After a couple of months working there, I got promoted to mechanic, which was a far better job than working in the pit area. I used to open the track on Saturdays, and soon myself and others made friends with several HPD officers who patrolled the area out of the North Shepherd Substation. Once we forgot to turn off the silent alarm and had a significant police response, but as we were all attired in Malibu shirts and were engaged in washing and servicing the cars when they arrived, they were quickly able to surmise we were actual employees and not burglars.

One thing led to another that day when HPD came by and soon they were regular visitors before we opened on Saturdays. On my red metal toolbox that was in the garage area was a popular pro-police HPD bumper sticker of the late seventies that featured an HPD badge and the words THE BADGE MEANS YOU CARE. I was already aspiring to be an officer myself, but as a college freshman was too young yet to apply for the force. Once these cops saw that sticker, they started talking to us. Of course, like everyone else, they liked driving the cars, and we would let them have free laps and give them comp tickets so they could come when off duty with their families and friends.

One of us, and I think it was one of my managers, mentioned to the HPD guys one Saturday morning that the Malibu cars were capable of doing nearly a hundred miles an hour if on a straight-a-way instead of on the curvy track. That led to some officers closing down a stretch of the I-45 feeder for a few minutes so we could all radar test the cars. Although covered in a fiberglass shell, the cars of course had an all metal chassis and frame, so as the cars raced down the feeder at speeds of close to, but not quite 100 miles an hour, an officer at the other end was shooting them with radar since the cars had no speedometer.

One of the more daredevil officers not only raced the Malibu car down the feeder, he then cut through the still empty in the early morning hours parking lot of the K-mart located next to the Watercoaster and onto Stuebner Airline, and on that longer stretch probably got the car up to close to 100 miles per hour. There was no radar set there, and the early morning traffic he was passing was quite surprised to see a mini-race car zipping past them.

I worked with some memorable folks there, and everyone of course had their own stories. One of the managers of the track, Kurt Koesters, had moved to Texas from California after starting work for Malibu there. When Warner Brothers bought Malibu, they transferred him to the new track and he relocated. He was a helluva nice guy to work for, and I often wonder what happened to him. The chief mechanic was an extremely interesting fellow named David Bennett. He too was from California but had not worked for Malibu before he joined in Houston.

David is a story in himself. He drove a new Chevy Z-28. At the time, I was driving a 1970 Mustang Mach One that my father and I had restored, and that a relocated-from-Detroit mechanic nicknamed "Mr. 289" had rebuild the 351 Cleveland engine in. It was a far faster car than anyone my age needed, and one day one of the older well heeled Malibu customers inquired about buying. One thing led to another and I sold the car to him for a tidy profit.

About that same time, David's parents had "relocated" to South America. The story about David's dad was always sketchy, but I knew he had what we called "large money" because every now and then David would show up for work with one of his dad's three new Cadillacs. David pulled me aside one day shortly after I had sold my Mustang and told me that his dad and young second wife and baby had moved to South America and that he would be joining them.

David needed to sell his car quickly and knew I was flush with cash after selling the Mustang. I bought the Z-28 from him in a couple of days, and ended up driving David to the Airport to catch his flight to South America via the Bahamas.

I didn't hear from David for about a year or so, and then one day got a call from him that he was in town, staying at the first location of the very upscale Guest Quarters Hotel, located then behind the Galleria a few blocks. I went over there and was visiting with him in his room when suddenly his dad burst in demanding to know who I was and calling David into the adjoining room to have a heated but undiscernable conversation with him. David came back in, quite embarrassed and told me his dad didn't like having strangers around and I had to leave.

And that was the last I saw of David Bennett. Several years later, a series of articles appeared in the Houston Chronicle or the long defunct Houston Post about David's dad and his upcoming testimony against a bunch of bankers and others who had been involved in the latest bank swindle. According to the article, at the time I knew David, his dad and indeed his whole family were in the Witness Protection program. His dad had been hooked up with some mob banks and had been involved in some sort of nefarious activities that involved siphoning off money for the mob from these banks, and if memory serves, some kind of money laundering.

After testifying against the mob in that situation, the family was relocated from California to Texas. Unfortunately, David's dad couldn't keep out of the business and soon got involved in some sort of multi-million dollar check kiting scheme involving out of state banks. Some form of organized crime was also involved in that endeavor, and when the family made their hasty departure to South America, that scheme had begun to fall apart.

One interesting thing I recall is that during that brief meeting at the Guest Quarters Hotel David had told me that after arriving in the Bahamas and taking a smaller plane to another locale enroute to South America, the plane had crashed and he had spent months/weeks in a Bahamian hospital recovering from injuries from that plane crash. From his telling of the story, once I later learned of his father's true identity from the news articles, I had strong doubts that the plane crash was accidental.

The news articles about David's dad indicated that he had really been a Vietnam fighter pilot, as David used to tell us, and a heroic one at that. David often wore an Air Force pilots flight jacket with the name tag reading Bennett. So the name tag was fake but the story about his dad being an ace fighter pilot was true. You could see that David was really taken with this father, and David's eyes would literally light up whenever he talked about him.

When I met with David at the Guest Quarters Hotel, his father was in town to turn yet another deal with the feds to testify against his former cohorts or enemies or whoever they were. So it appears he lucked out again, knowing enough that the feds were willing to offer him some sort of deal in exchange for his testimony. I haven't been able to locate the articles in the Houston Chronicle archives and if memory serves the Post's archives perhaps got merged with the Chronicles but I will keep looking, and if I find them I'll post a link here to them.

I have a feeling it's gonna take a trip to the downtown Houston Public Library. I haven't been there in decades, but hopefully somewhere they still have a microfiche copy of the Post from the early 80's. I remember it was a front page story, not "THE" headline story but it was on the front page.

Again, as memory serves, the Bennett family went back into the witness protection program and assumably changed identities and locales again, and who knows what happened to them. I know David was an honest guy, a couple of years older than me, but I never saw him engage in anything other than hard, honest work while we worked at Malibu. He never cheated on time or on buying his own tools from the Snap-On salesmen who frequented our location, and he worked like a dog. Like a fellow soldier stated in a statement about my great-grandfather's time in the Confederate Army, David was "allright as long as I knew him". 

Likewise, the Z-28 I bought from him was as he said, in perfect condition. Being an ace mechanic, he had maintained it in perfect like new condition and besides, when I bought it the car only had 7,000 miles or so on it. I remember when I bought it I went to a local Exxon station where a friend worked as a mechanic and we put the car up on a lift and took torque wrenches and the GM maintenance manual and checked all the nuts and bolts and such with the maintenance specs provided by GM. Everything was torqued to the exact specs it should have been, as David had said.

My more talented mechanic friends and I went over every inch of that car for several days, and everything was in perfect order. All scheduled maintenance had been done and had been done well. I paid slightly under book for the car, which had sold new at that time for about $7,500. It served me well for quite a few years.

I still wonder, thirty plus years on, whatever happened to David Bennett. Maybe he'll google his old Witness Protection name, that was outed by the Chronicle or Post way back when, and stumble across this posting one day and pull my email from my profile and contact me. Maybe he'll remember the 8 track tape that he left in the car he sold me.

So you see, my brief few months working at Malibu Grand Prix was a memorable experience. And not because of driving the mini-race cars. But that was fun too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Three years ago, on a Christmas vacation to the Big Bend area, whilst we were relaxing in the Fort Davis State Park, we spied a very young and small mountain lion walking through one of the camping areas, in as relaxed of a mood as it could be. Sauntering, as if it owned the place. Which, knowing that where there is a baby of nearly any mammel species that there is likely a momma nearby, I gathered the family into the SUV and caught a peep of the momma in some brush as she watched her young spawn. We left that area pretty quickly.

Over the past few years, as perusing news articles will tell you, there has been an increase in sightings of mountain lions and bobcats and perhaps other types of non-domesticated cats in Texas. As the articles say, whether this means an increased number of these critters or that due to drought, water and food shortages they are just making themselves more public is anyones guess. We've also had hog and deer population explosions throughout many areas in Texas. Although deer don't attack, the larger numbers have led to many auto-animal collisions as deer seek forage near roads in near more populated areas as the drought and as overcrowding of their species mandates.

Again, on that same trip to the Big Bend, we hung out in Alpine, Texas, one of our favorite Texas towns to visit. At sundown, hundreds of deer descended from the nearby mountains to invade the front yards and the city golfcourse. Although deer are very cool animals, they become pesky like a rodent infestation in certain parts of Texas. At about that same time, I was watching a friend's cabin that was located near the town of Blanco, north of San Antonio, Texas. My friend Billy Ray and I had to take a night time roadtrip from nearby San Marcos, Texas to the area south of Blanco known as Twin Sisters, which refers to two mountains/hills located in that area.

The route we took was Ranch Road 12 (RR 12), and I actually slowed to less than 30 miles per hour upon much of that trip because foraging deer were EVERYWHERE on the roadsides, leaping hither and yon as the car lights approached. Never mind that I had one of those ultrasonic deer whistles on the front of my SUV, which is supposed to deter and make deer go away when they hear it. It seemed to have little or no effect on the deer we encountered that night. Folks were angrily passing us quite frequently but I was not going to speed through such an area with so much roadside deer activity. I've had a friend whose F 150 truck was broadsided by a large fast moving deer some years ago in Fort Bend County and his truck was actually knocked over onto it's side by this deer. And the truck was totaled out by the insurance company from the damages to the frame where the buck struck the truck.

Recently, in a part of central Texas ravaged by wildfire, a friend of a friend was guarding his home from vandals and looters. The home, and in fact the entire sprawling subdivision in which it was located was out of power, since the power lines had been burned by said fire. This is a very hilly subdivision, replete with many ravines and hills and has many brushy and wild areas. Firefighters had been all around that area, dousing homes that had not burned and fighting the fires that raged, which resulted in some large puddles in certain areas.

At the friend of the friends home, there was a huge puddle on the back portion of the several acre spread he lived on, with wilderness coming right up into the lot. As this fellow sat there with his AR-15, a campfire and some auxilary lighting provided by the small generator he had, he spied a very large mountain lion creeping up to the edge of the brushline. He said the lion was side-eyeing him as the lion approached the large puddle of water, as if to say that "hey, I've lived through this dang fire and I'm just here for something to drink.". The lion drank for a long while from the puddle, and when finished again crept away back into the woods, still side-eyeing the man as if to say "Thanks for letting me get a drink." He said the cat was clearly aware of his presence, and he was drawn down with his rifle attached laser on the creature during the entire event, but the cat never attempted to approach him.

Last week, the newspapers had the story of an Austin area boy, six years old, snatched from his parents in the Big Bend National Park. Walking hand in hand with his parents, the unusal thing about this attack was that it occurred at the park's lodge. The family was returning to the lodge from the adjacent restaurant when the cat lept onto the boy and grabbed him from the grasp of his parents and drug him into some nearby bushes.

Fortunately, the parents were not weeping willows and the father jumped into the attack and began punching the lion while the mom held onto the cat's hind legs. They described the cat as thin and sickly looking. Finally, the news reports indicate the father got his pocketknife out and began stabbing the critter, which convinced him to move on. It's unfortunate dad didn't have some sort of handgun present, as this would've instantly solved the problem. Fortunately, although injured pretty badly, the young man is apparently  recovering as I write this.

Mountain lions and even black bears reside in the Big Bend area. Mountain lion sightings are really not unusual for that area, but they mostly occur in areas of the park that are not regularly occupied by humans, mostly happening at remote sights and trails as far as I know. 

Today, I saw in the news where a large gray cat was spotted in Chambers county, which borders the bays that feed ultimately into the Gulf of Mexico and is located to the east of Houston, Texas. Several huge wildlife preserves are located in this county as well. This cat was spotted by several folks, including the mayor of Beach City, Texas according to news accounts. Mayor Billy Combs described it as bigger than a coyote, and gray in color. Although I was aware that Texas has it's fair share of big cats of several varieties, until today I was not aware that these cats resided in coastal areas.

For those unfamiliar with the coastal areas of Texas, the bay areas are often populated by gators, rattlers, various species of hogs, copperheads, water moccasins and other creatures who bode ill for the unaware sportsman or tourist. On more than one occasion, I've seen beachgoers rapidly fleeing sand dune areas near the beach, where these folks decided to go when nature calls, because they stumbled onto a rattler or rattlers.

One time about 12 years ago, whilst driving the family jeep down some trails that wound through sand dunes just off the beach at Matagorda Island, Texas, Mrs. El Fisho and I (actually it was I, because I was driving that day), acccidently took a corner too quickly and the back end of the jeep slid or rather slammed into the side of a sand dune, collapsing the dune and revealing what can only be described as a "nest" of rattlers. We were lucky we had the top up and closed, otherwise a few of the snakes were positioned at a height where they could have fallen into the back of the jeep.

Talk about a scene that reminds of the movie Snakes on a Plane. Yikes!

I'd heard of "nests of snakes" all my life, but had never actually seen one until that day. Unfortunately, I didn't have a shotgun with me because the natural instinct I had was to start shooting into that writhing nest with birdshot until it moved no more. After that, I reflected on the tens if not hundreds of times over the years I had traversed dunes and other coastal areas in snakey territory and upon how lucky I was that I had not stumbled into a nest of rattlers during some of these journeys to either heed nature's call or to get to areas I wanted to fish.

I don't go walking in the dunes anymore. And that cured Ms. El Fisho of wanting to buy a beachhouse in Matagorda.

I'll wrap up with another wild cat sighting from my formative years. When I was about 12 years old, we were up at the family place, fairly deep in the woods of East Texas. Our property was divided by a year round, twenty foot wide and twelve foot deep creek, and we had a large amount of frontage on that creek. Needless to say, as the only live water in that area, it daily attracted a wide variety of critters, both seeking water and some seeking those critters who came there for the water. Big snakes of several poisonous variety were in abundance, as were hogs and deer and possums and raccoons and nutria and turtles and all sorts of animals.

My dad standardly carried one of his .38 Special revolvers with him as we traversed or worked on the property. There was a large four bedroom, two story cabin on the easily accesible side of the creek, and as with most cabins, there was always something that needed repairing. The cabin, indeed the whole property of about 45 acres, was comprised of many huge pine, pecan, magnolia and oak trees. Really tall and big old growth trees.

Those trees that lined the creek tended to be tall, and formed a canopy over the creek. One day, when working with our hired handyman Charlie repairing the tin roof on the cabin, some kind of mouse or rat was stirred up out of the attic and onto the roof by their hammering. As the handyman took aim at the rodent with his Ruger .22, what was described by my father as a very large bobcat lept down from the canopy of trees onto the roof in pursuit of the rodent. Apparently, the cat had been poised somewhere in the tree canopy for at least a little while, which after the fact gave my father pause to think as to how long the bobcat had been watching him and Charlie and whether the bobcat thought they were meal size or not.

The arrival of the bobcat onto the roof spooked my dad, but not so much that he couldn't draw and fire a shot at it before it again lept away into the canopy of trees. Likewise, Charlie got off several shots. One of the shots did hit home, as there was a blood trail across the roof, but beyond that they didn't know who hit it or where it was hit or what happened to the bobcat.

Before we went back out to the land, my dad acquired a Ruger Blackhawk in .41 magnum with a 7 and 1/2 inch barrel. He was determined that the next time a bobcat was in his vicinity that he was gonna make sure his bullet did what it was supposed to do. Over the next few years, in addition to accounting for dozens of dead water moccasins and copperheads, he took out two bobcats that dared come into his comfort zone. He called that Ruger his "Bobcat Medicine".

Every now and then, Mother Nature reminds that it is she who makes the rules and that those who don't abide her with caution can deal with the sometimes fatal results that spring forth. And as the attack last week in Big Bend shows, it's not just hunters, hikers, fisherman and other wilderness trekkers that tempt fate by virtue of their activities, but regular folks just walking from a restaurant to the motel at a National Park are not immune from attack.

EDIT: Mike Leggett, the sports columnist for the Austin American Statesman, ran this commentary today. I'll note that, although he hasn't responded to my email suggesting that soaking in the Hot Tub at the Big Bend National Park be added to his bucket list of x number of things a Texan needs to do before they die, I enjoy his writing and outdoor columnists are few and far between with in the struggling newspaper business. Nonetheless, great minds think alike. LOL.

Friday, February 10, 2012


There's a lot of interesting new guns out there or about to be released. There's several of them I'd like to add to the collection.

In the past several years, there has been an explosion of .22 LR replica guns that resemble, either closely or not, various centerfire cartridge guns. There's scads of AR-15/M-16 (or for you younger folks, the M-4) looking rimfire assault rifles, as well as those that resemble HK's, AK's, the M-1 Carbine and other guns. In the handgun department, you can get many different brands of 1911 clones and other replica guns that shoot .22 LR.

Now ISSC has come out with a .22 that resembles the excellent FN SCAR rifle, which goes for about 3 grand. The ISSC MK22 rifle is a fair clone on the exterior, and it's given decent ratings in the several reviews I've read. I'm familiar with the Glock .22 clone that ISSC makes, and it seems to be a decently made pistol, adding a much needed thumb safety to the layout.  A reasonably priced and much cheaper to shoot alternative to the real thing.

Another exciting and fun .22 that's supposed to hit the shelves this month is the Umarex UZI .22 Pistol and Rifle. They both look like lots of fun but I'll be opting for the .22 pistol first. Again, it's reasonably priced and cheap to shoot. On second thought, after looking some more at the Umarex Uzi rifle clone, if I come across that I might get it too.

Stoeger one made a pretty cool looking Luger .22 LR replica. Unfortunately, all the reviews I've read on them say it's a Ronco Jam-O-Matic. But this year Stoeger put an interesting twist on the existing line of side-by-side double barreled defense shotguns with an Over/Under model. For some reason, I'm attracted to that, even though I use a pump 12 gauge for home defense.

The Stoeger Double Defense over/under looks like a fun gun. I'd set one up with a lowprofile combination laser and flashlight. It's a great truck gun, under the seat gun or just general good to have with you on the tractor or the lake gun.

For home defense I prefer a few more rounds standing by, because reloading a double barrel with shells from a stock mounted shell carrier is not the fastest or best way to deal with any miscreant you'd need to throw down on while they are breaking in your home. Four or five rounds, as carried in most pump or semi-auto shotguns is usually plenty, but two shots might not be enough.

But hey, a double barrel was good enough for Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven.

Kel-Tek is coming out with a pretty cool .22 magnum rifle, the  RMR-30  that uses the same magazines as the PMR-30, which is a heck of a fun pistol to shoot. Supposedly it's almost ready to ship, but it's yet to appear on Kel-Tec's website, and I know I waited a year and a half until I could find a reasonably priced PMR-30, so Kel-Tec is pretty well known for S--L--O--W--L--Y getting their new products on the shelves.

Likewise, I've yet to see any of the Kel-Tec KSG 15 round bullpup pump shotguns yet, and they are already supposed to be on the shelves. I'd like to see how heavy of a weapon the KSG will be, particularly if it will be front heavy, and I'd want to shoot it before I develop an opinion on it. It could go either way.

I've yet to see the Ruger version of the 1911 or the Browning .22 caliber version of the 1911. Some gun shops have had a few come in, and either had them already on waiting lists or they were sold immediately after touchdown. I'm still interested in seeing these two takes on the 1911.


It's a damn nice rifle. I've been aware of these beauties since the 1990's, when I read a feature on them in GUNS magazine. Since then, I periodically pined for one every now and then, only to tell myself it's too expensive.

This week was a particularly difficult week for those of us who think the Alaskan Co-Pilot is a rocking rifle. I happened to mention to my gun friend Max that I was really thinking seriously about buying the Co-Pilot and began to explain the concept of the rifle to him. To my surprise, he has also been a longtime fan of the Co-Pilot, and even visited with the owner of Wild West Guns, who craft the Co-Pilot from a Marlin lever action rifle, at an NRA convention in Houston in the 2000's.

Max sounds just like me when talking about the Co-Pilot: "...And you can get it in hard chrome!".

So we were at lunch with our friend Cowboy, an inveterate hunter and firearms fanatic if ever there was one, and it turns out that he too has been a'wanting one of the Co-Pilots for many years as well.

I'm shopping for a used Marlin .45-70 that I can send off to have customized and modified by Wild West Guns. One of my friends here locally has several, and was talking about getting rid of at least one of them, so I've got a track on getting one at a reasonable price.

Unless I do some heavy duty ebaying, I'll be getting the parkerized version with the synthetic stock, rather than the ultimate kevlar stocked and hard chromed version.

I'll keep you posted.