Friday, November 30, 2012


Over at GUNS HOLSTERS AND GEAR, which you can also find in my blogroll to the right, they report that Henry Repeating Arms suffered extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

He reports that, amazingly, Henry plans to be back online as of tomorrow, December 1st!

That doesn't surprise me. I'm not his big buddy or anything, but back in 2011 I contacted Henry via email to see when the new .22 Mare's Leg would be in stores. That led to several further emails from the President of the company himself, offering updates. What a great guy and what absolute customer service!

So I'm gonna ask my kin to chip in with each other to get me a BIG prize this year, a .22 Henry lever action rifle. Their Mare's Leg is a great gun, no recoil of course and fun to shoot. I think the rifle version of the Mare's Leg pistol would just be more of the same. It also has a tube fed magazine, and I'm a big fan of that, as you can carry many rounds as well as use shorts, longs and long rifles.

They also make the rifle in .22 magnum, and make a slew of other great small and big bore rifles and even a big boy version (and much more expensive than the .22 version) of the Mare's Leg in .45 Colt that's a great gun.

You might already have your Christmas list made, or you might have other ideas for yourself for your gifts this year. No problemo. All I ask is that you consider buying yourself a Henry in the next few months as they resume production in this the shopping season of the year. They are American made, by Americans, and they make a great product.

If you're a shooter, a hunter, a fisherman or just an outdoorsman who appreciates a fine quality firearm at a very reasonable price, you owe it to yourself to check out the Henry line if you haven't already. Chances are, if you're one of the above, you're at least familiar with the guns made by Henry.

I don't work for Henry, and I don't know anyone other than the tangential relationship I had with the President of the company as mentioned above.  I'm strictly doing this because I'm impressed by their product and want them to do well so I can buy some more guns from them in the future.

Plus, they're a good company. The company and the employees, all American, deserve our support.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Outdoor Life is one of those magazines I've read since childhood. Like many other publications, it's changed over the years, with casts of changing writers and editors and the like, and of course like many things perhaps I recall the old Outdoor Life better than it really was. I still think it's a pretty good read.

This month's Outdoor Life has a one pager on a survey done with 10 Alaskan Bush Pilots.

Not surprisingly, the majority carry a mix of a 12 gauge pump and the Model 29 or a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum. One of the fellows carries a Glock 10mm in a chest rig.

Three of the pilots opt for lever action Marlin Guide Guns in .45-70. Several of the pilots pack their normal hunting rifles and I think .30-06 was the caliber mentioned.

All of the shotgunners carried a mix of buck and slug. All of the cartridges had bullets that were heavy, large and flat nosed.

I was surprised not to see at least a mention of the Marlin  take-down Marlin Guide Gun called the Alaskan Co-Pilot get at least a mention.

One of the pilots said he used to pack a shotgun and a 1911, but then gave up guns in favor of bear spray.

In any event, it's a good read, and I'd like to see some expansions on what gear they carry with them. One guy mentioned that he wore his gun on him because he assumed that in the case of a crash and he survived that he might just have what he had on his person to survive.

It's highly unlikely I'll be in the Alaskan Bush anytime soon, despites some desires to do some Alaskan or Yukon backwoods "fish jump jump jumping on the hook" fishing. I'd like to stay in America, and be able to tote my own firearms for fishing expeditions, so although parts of the Yukon are mighty cool for fishing trips, they have draconian firearms laws.

I have no desire to hunt a beautiful creature as the bear or his other way up yonder breathren. However, I strongly believe in protecting yourself in the wild from four and two legged predators as well as snakes.

I do have a desire to catch fish in the great white north, and that's where the bear problem comes, as they also like to catch fish and that puts us in the same place same time problem.

In my ordinary sporting life, anything from a .22 to a .357  to a .45 ACP is likely to be my companion. There's a lot of possibles in between those calibers listed as well. We don't have a bear threat in my part of Texas, and only a very slim bear population in our state. They are black bears, and there is almost no chance at all I'd encounter one.

It's more likely I'd encounter a cat, like a bobcat, or even a mountain lion in some of the Texas areas I fish. Rabid skunks have been a problem over the years, both near populated areas and in the wilds. I assume they're rapid when not avoiding people and in fact chasing folks in some cases.

Hogs are frequently encountered in the Texas wilds. Hogs and pigs and javalina and probably some other type of pork I'm forgetting. They are usually only a problem if they feel trapped. They are frequently encountered near water at night or at the times of dawn and dusk.

The State of Texas says there are about 2.5 million wild hogs and pigs in the State, and I think that is a conservative estimate. The different species all have their characteristics, but I was once tree'd by several hundred angry javalinas in South Texas. They eventually went away, and I'm glad I had a substantial tree to clamber up into. I had a shotgun and a Thompson Contender pistol, and not near enough shells to do anything but really rile up the javalina.

If there is a problem with a hog, it can usually be solved with a .357 or a .45 of some sort. Of course, a .44 magnum will do, but that's overkill. The .45 Colt and ACP do just fine for hogs as well, particularly with some of the hotter ammo for those guns that's available. Of course, a 12 gauge pump is also a great problem solver with the hog and pig population.

Lots of folks carry rifles when going fishing in areas with large wild hog or pig populations. Lever actions from .30-30 to .45-70 are popular, but lesser recoiling calibers like the .243 have been used to great success by many friends. Others like using calibers like .308, .270, .30-06 and 7mm. And many friends also carry rifles in .223/5.56 and 7.62 x 39 for hog hunting with semi-auto style.

So Texas Bush considerations are less than those in Alaska where the Grizzly is the biggest worry, at least in the areas fisherman would visit.

Still, it's interesting to see what these guys working and living in the last frontier do and see for a living. It's probably same old same old to those that have been doing it for 20 or so years.

So if nothing else, it's a quick read you can do at the store the next time you are shopping. It's a one page read in Outdoor Life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Click on over the Zach's blog and look at this gorgeous holster by Matt Del Fatti. I am going to seriously have to consider a belt holster out of this leather. It's elegant.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Yeah, I'm googling and reading the forums fairly regularly about this newly announced "replica" from Walther, the PPK/s. I've been reading one thread on the Walther Forum, the place with folks most likely to care about this introduction, and of course like I do they have minced words from the Walther video announcing the new gun to make all sorts of predictions. You can read the thread at the Walther Forum here.

One thing I did actually learn from the Walther Forum thread is that Gungrabber has already created a sales page for this gun and lists the gun as being available in both BLUE and STAINLESS. Myself, I'd go with the blued version for old times sake.

That's no guarantee that  they will be available in blue, as the Gungrabber page also lists the magazine capacity at 7, when the Walther marketing guy said that magazine capacity was 10. Which stands to reason for other .22's and the various anticipated attempts to pass laws limiting handgun magazines to holding only 10 cartridges each.

I used the word replica above, because in the official Walther product release video, the marketing guy refers to it as a "replica". I don't know what this means, other than it's not going to be a real forged steel slide and frame, as with the original issues of the PP, PPK and PPK/s in all steel.

I have no issues with using alloy for a .22 "replica" but I just hope upon hope that it's not pot metal.

My best guess is that it unfortunately will be at least partially made of pot metal, and I'm guessing that because the price point is so low.

That's the other thing I learned looking at the gungrabber site. They are currently pricing this pistol at $369, and although it won't be available for months, you can join their waiting list if you are so inclined.

We all know about release dates. If they say 1st quarter of 2013, as does Walther as of a couple of weeks ago, it'll be 1st quarter 2014 before I likely see one of these available for sale at my LGS.

It took over a year for me to see and feel a Ruger SR1911 or the Kel-Tec PMR-30, and I'm still not seeing that many of them two years plus.

Maybe the chains like Academy and Cabela's might have increased access to these due to their high volume sales. Ealier this year, I noticed that the Umarex .22 1911 Rail Gun and Gold Cup versions appeared at Academy a few months before hitting my LGS.

So we all know it takes new model guns usually longer than predicted to hit the stores in any numbers that mean we can see or buy one. There is no telling when the new Walther will be available for the average joe.

Be all that as it may, I'm still excited that this gun is coming to the marketplace. There is a chance it will be cool, in ways we don't know about yet. It could have an alloy frame and perhaps a thinned steel slide instead of pot metal. There's all kind of potential for it, and if they did it right or even close to right then this gun will likely be a healthy seller.

And on the other hand, of course, it could be a regurgitated P22 with a new frame and slide. Well, at least that would be a different take on the P22 rather then producing the gun in all sorts of silly colors, as Walther has done recently with the pink P22's.

Friday, November 23, 2012


To the marketing departments at Savage and Chiappa:

It's great that both of your companies are making combo guns. Savage has a classic history of building them and Chiappa has a nice looking combo gun line out there as well.

There is a need for a combo gun that will go beyond the .22/.410 chambering. Some small design and possibly materials change and you've got a combo gun that is a triple threat that shoots .22 and .410 and .45 Colt.

The gun would have to be made to withstand the higher pressures of the .45 Colt and I suppose would require some altering to the chamber. Then you'd have to decide if you wanted the barrel rifled or not. I say, have it rifled. For the sportsman like me, shooting a mix of .410 and .45 Colt a few times a year, I think the rifling would hold up for years. Not perhaps, as in a real rifle, but I don't think the shotshells would destroy it. Time would tell, and perhaps redoing the rifling might be necessary after a time.

In any event, for a survival or backpacking situation where the need might arise for something a bit more than a .410 slug, like a hot loaded Keith semi-wadcutter in .45 Colt. Something that might be useful to have in the woods.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It seems that replica guns in .22 are all the rage. Major makers like Sig sell the *made somewhere to the east* 1911's chambered in .22, as do numerous other makers. Colt is somehow partnered or has licensed Umarex to make various 1911 models in .22, including a Gold Cup model.

There are lots of other replica guns out there, in fact, there are so many I know I'm going to miss a few. In addition to Single Action .22's like Colt and Ruger and others have made, there are .22's resembling M1 rifles, Uzi pistols and rifles, some kind of Russian sub-machine gun, AK's, Beretta M92s and a ton of M4 or AR-15 imitations.

Walther just last week announced the new Walther PPK/s in .22, and from the price point of around $400 to $429 per the Walther spokesman, it's got to be an Umarex/Walther product.

I'm thinking we need an HK Umarex version of the P7 in .22 caliber. As any P7 fan knows, there was a version similar to the P7 that came in .22 called the P7K3. It had interchangeable barrels and slides and such to convert it from .22 to .32 to .380, if one wanted to buy the extra parts.

I'd like to have one, but used ones are not only rare, but when seen they are out of my price range.

Like Walther and Colt, HK is already partnered or somehow licensed with Umarex making .22 replicas of some HK sub-machine guns.

I say it's now due time to reintroduce thee P7K3. 

Re-engineer it for a polymer frame and see about some new design for the slide.

You can read this excellent summary HERE of how the P7K3 operates and how it operates very differently from the PSP/P7/13 line of pistols. Chris has a very good explanation, and instead of cutting and pasting it here, just click over there. I can't duplicate the cool page he has, and of course if you're a P7 fan then you've probably already googled the subject and seen this excellent site, full of good information and links.

The whole reason to go to the trouble of doing all this R and D and reconfiguring and basically developing a totally new product is because the squeeze cocker design is simply the safest gun ever made. Period. Make it right and it's a highly accurate gun. And a pleasure to shoot.

Rifle. Shotgun. Handgun. There is no gun as safe as the P7. With sufficient practice, the squeeze cocker becomes second nature upon presentation and let's face it, who wants the possibility of an AD (accidental discharge) EVER. EVER.

That's why I feel comfortable carrying the P7.

As I recall reading some years ago when handgun writer/retired cop/competition shooter Massad Ayoob was big into carrying the P7 and lauded it on it's safety. Ayoob carries lots of different types of guns, but it means something to me that the gun impressed him.

I know I've owned several and as far as reliability, accuracy, fit, safety, function, build quality and materials quality goes, it gets five stars in every column.

But I've dwelled on my admiration ad nauseum previously in other posts. Suffice it to say, I think the safety factor alone would be a marketing truth that could really interest the shooting enthusiasts as well as the home defense buyer.

Like it or not, many folks all over our nation rely on nothing more than a .22 of some sort to defend the home and hearth. I've always said that the .22 has probably killed more people in this country than any other round, simply due to it's prevalence.

Although the lowly .22 is not my first choice for home defense, there are men as well as women who don't want more. They really don't want to blast an invader into oblivion, for religious or personal reasons. They want to be able to injure someone enough not to hurt the shooter but don't want to kill another if they can help it, if that makes sense.

It's not my philosophy of home defense to use a .22, particularly in the case of invaders, but I can respect their opinions. And there are some advantages to using a .22. Multiple rounds can be directed at an attacker, and if a laser is used with say an M4 in .22, 30 rounds of .22 might discourage attacker(s) if those rounds were delivered in a lightning fast nature and in small concentrated target areas.

The low recoil of the .22 results in faster follow-up shots with more accuracy and tighter groups than one might get rapid firing a larger caliber under duress and stress.

As many gun writers have noted, the .22 is all some people can or want to handle for a defense gun. The elderly, the infirmed and weak, those who are disabled or handicapped and again, many men and women who don't mind shooting a .22 but don't like recoil and won't upgrade to any larger caliber.

As for my market sector, lots of my friends would buy a .22 version of the P7. It's a great design and a fun shooting gun in 9mm, and I know if properly done it could be an incredibly fun and cheap to shoot version of the P7.

It's a safe gun to have around households with children, who lack the grip strength to activate the squeeze cocker. Yes, a gun in such a house should be in a safe or with a gun lock, but we know accidents happen, and if they do and a .22 is your choice of a home defense weapon, should it be of the P7 design or a cocked and locked 1911 clone?

Could Umarex make this gun? No problem. Would they? I don't know.

I think it would be a great gun if the recoil system could be designed in such a way as to operate reliably and allow accuracy with the barrel. Perhaps a lighter weight slide would give more options to the designers. I think part of the heavy duty design of the bigger P7 line carried over to the P7K3 resulting in typical German overkill in certain products.

German overkill is not bad. For me, it's preferred. For many years I played Sonor drums because they were made with high quality wood and metal featuring luxurious features and a great sound. Unfortunately, most Sonors are VERY HEAVY to tote around. They're more suited for a studio or home kit where they don't have to be moved.

Likewise, particularly in the 70's and 80's, HK guns were built to bulletproof standards. Very high quality metal and components. I've always been impressed with the high quality metals used in the P7. Stronger than it needs to be. And I like that in a gun.

So in the past couple of years, several of the guns I'd long wanted to see made have been made or have been announced. The Walther PPK/s, the Henry Mare's Leg in .22 LR, and the very reasonably priced but surprisingly well constructed Rossi Ranch Hands in .357, .45 Colt and .44 Magnum. Although I and others have previously blogged for someone to makes these guns, I'm not sure we influenced the makers in their decisions to do so.

The point of this post is the hope some marketing guy or product guy at HK or Umarex will stumble across this on a google alert, as other companies have who have commented here or emailed to me that they did, and either thank me for the mention or ask me my opinion on something. That HK or Umarex employee can then take full credit for re-designing and introducing the P7 in .22 and rapidly rise the corporate ladder on this fame and glory.

And I can have a very fun P7 chambered in .22 that I can shoot often and for very little money. Selfish, I know, but I'm up front about it.

Monday, November 19, 2012


In looking at videos released last week after a gun industry trade show, I came across two new Chiappa guns, the Badger and the Double Badger.

They are almost perfect. Read on for what I think a great product for Chiappa to make would be.

The Badger is a folding, single shot .22 (or .17 or .22 Magnum) rifle with a wire stock. It has a tactical rail behind the triggerguard for attaching a pistol grip (optional) that resembles an AR-15 grip, and a triple rail in front of the rear sight for a scope and two side rails. It has a threaded barrel and cap. It looked like it had the flip up/down dovetail/ring rear sight and an elevated front sight.

Again, it'd be cool if the Badger had a fiber optic front sight. I'm curious as to the weight and to the cost, of course.

Then they have the Double Badger, coming in .22 LR/.410 and .22 Magnum/.410. Wood stocked and it folds at the touch of a button. And...wait for has a yellow fiber optic front sight. Double triggers and what sort of appeared to be a tang safety with the standard combo rifle/shotgun opening lever on top. It looked very nice, with maybe a 18" barrel and it folded without disassembly into a tiny package. 

They've got the right ideas at Chiappa. Now let's hope they make some more combo rifles and some drillings. There's not much details out right now, but maybe in a few days Chiappa will release some specs on these fine guns and the pricing.

Now the suggestions. Rifle the .410 shotgun barrel and then make it be able to chamber the .45 Colt round and tolerate the increased pressure with HOT rifle style .45 Colt rounds with ease. That turns this gun into a whole new ballgame as far as a survival or camping gun, with the ability to use some rifle. Then it's a Triple Badger.

I didn't get a good look at the Double Badger's rear sight in the brief video but some threaded holes in the top of the top barrel would be nice for attaching a rail mount, like Ruger provides with it's guns. If it doesn't already have a rail as included or an option.

It looked sharp and the finish looked blued in the video. Hope so, as that reminds of the late, great Savage 24 series of Combo guns, sometimes finished in nice deep blue finishes.

Hat's off to Chiappa. Again, let's see some more Combos and make a drilling out of the Triple Threat design. 


What do you call an 18 1/2" barreled shotgun with the stock cut to pistol grip for an overall length of 28"?

I call it a gun I can legally own here in Texas, without any permits or licenses.

Our state law defines the limits for such a gun here:

(A)  "Short-barrel firearm" means a rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches or a shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches, or any weapon made from a shotgun or rifle if, as altered, it has an overall length of less than 26 inches.

As far as I know, our state law mirrors Federal law on the topic.

As one forum writer notes, Oh, of course I want this.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Here's a short video of the Triple Threat.

Unfortunately, I'm hearing it's overpriced. Yeah, I know there's a ton of R & D and machining and tooling costs and such, but I was thinking initially before I actually knew the rumored MSRP of $1,500 that it might go for $799, with that being pricey for what it is.

I WOULD PAY $1,500 dollars for a drilling, and it would require very little effort on Chiappa's part to create a drilling out of this lineup. Throw two rifle barrels down under and add a second trigger for the top barrel and you got a great drilling. Now, I'd start looking for trading and ebay fodder today if Chiappa were announcing a drilling instead of a triple barrel.

One of the posters on the forum linked above notes, as the thread sort of evolves into a drilling posting, that with barrel sleeves or relining suggested to turn this gun into a drilling of sorts. I'm not sure how that would work with barrel sleeves or relining, as rifle pressures are so much more than those of a shotgun.

Still, I'd like to see some other combinations of calibers as well. I'd enjoy a 5.56 or 7.62 x 39mm with a .20 gauge. There's a ton of other worthy calibers as well for the rifle portion, but I've always thought that with the cheap ammo prices that the 7.62 x 54r would be a great and powerful caliber to have. And there would always be those who would choose a 12 instead of a 20 as I'd have as my preference nowadays.

I'll note that on one of the blogs I saw some kind of AK gun with a CAR telescoping stock that was chambered for 7.62 x 54r and being introduced by ATI. That would definitely be worth a look and I'm curious as to what that gun will be going for. The Mosin-Nagant is fun to shoot and all, but a modern rifle shooting that caliber that wasn't a surplus sniper rifle would be cool. Especially if it didn't cost a lot. Ammo prices for the non-corrosive variety is still screaming cheap for this great round, often called the "Russian 30.06".

So here's to Chiappa for making the Triple Threat. I'd like to have the full size and the cut down model. Of course, more suggestions from me would include fiber optic sights and making it in 20 gauge.

Beggars can be choosy, though...


I couldn't think of a better Christmas gift, and I'll certainly add that to the list of things I'm thankful for. Even though these won't be shipping until the first quarter of 2013, and no telling when I might actually physically get my hands on one, I can't wait.

So first of all, go look at this brief Walther made video posted on youtube by Davidson's Gallery of Guns Sneak Peek  talking about the impending release of this Walther PPK (it appears to be a PPK/s actually) in .22 L.R.

I'm going to go get on a waiting list, and will deal with one of the larger dealers in Texas as I know they move Smith and Wesson product out the door more than probably any other dealer in Texas. The current relationship between Smith and Wesson and Walther is not clear to me. Earlier this year, they announced that Smith and Wesson will not be distributing Walther guns but will continue to make the PPK and PPK/s in America in .32 and .380.

This new offering, the PPK/s, was announced at a trade show a few days ago. Word of it began to sort of hit the forums the past few days. I've watched the Walther video on youtube several times but I can't really see the details I want to see. Yes, it looks like a PPK, but over on the Walther forum there are some speculating that it might just be a P22 on the inside with a PPK exterior.

I really hope it has the same firing mechanism as the real PPK series.

I'm gonna guess that since the price point MSRP was announced at around $400, that it's gonna be an Umarex product. The US made PPK line goes retail for about $600, less in some places. A German made PPK of "real" specs would go for more than that, way more I suspect. I would think that if it were like a PPK from the days of old that it would go for at least $600 for US built and $900 at a minimum for German made if it was a "real Walther". 

I've never understood why Smith and Wesson didn't seek to have the .22 version of the PPK added to their contract with Walther because I think it would outsell the .380 and .32. A real Walther, anyway.

Which being made by Umarex in .22 L.R. is not necessarily a bad thing. Umarex supposedly uses pot metal for slides in some of their guns. I'd rather have a steel slide and aluminum or steel frame, but so far my experience with Umarex as been good.

Shooting many rounds through an Umarex Colt M-4 over the past year and a half with no issues at all using moderate priced ammo left me a believer that a good product can come out of their shop. I do enjoy their line of 1911 "Colt" .22 pistols, but have found function and reliability vary. That's my only concern. Maybe I got lucky with the Umarex rifle.

The new gun shown in the video has a unique looking finish, which leads me to believe it is made by Umarex. There's also a big black space behind the barrel showing via the ejection port when the gun is "at rest" and I wonder what that is. It's a single stack magazine

The safety appears to be the same as on the real PPK, but is not ambidextrous on the video model. I've owned several PPK's made by Smith and Wesson and they have all had ambi safeties, but I can't recall if the Walther Interarms PPK/s in .22 that I had in the late 70's and early 80's had an ambi safety. It seems like it did, but I could be wrong.

Mark Thomas, the Marketing Director for Walther, says in the video the gun is lightweight. Of course, years ago I considered the PPK to be a lightweight gun, but in comparison to the ultra light weight scandium and plastic guns out there these days, it's heavy for it's capacity and caliber.

Even steel guns in 9mm, like the Sig Sauer P938 and the Kimber Solo weigh in at less loaded than the PPK unloaded and shoot a more powerful round. So lightweight is in the eye of the beholder, and we'll have to see what the real weight of the gun is. If it is substantially lighter than the real PPK, then we know it either has an alloy frame or uses a lesser quality of steel if it's an all steel gun.

I've owned a Colt New Frontier Scout in .22 made back in the 60's that had an alloy frame and steel cylinder and it worked fine for years, and is still working fine for the friend who now owns it.

You can read some of the less desirable "what if's" and speculation regarding this pistol and it's as yet unknown composition over at this long post at the Walther forum.

If it functions as well as the new Ruger SR22 pistol, I'll be a happy man.

Mr. Thomas calls it the PPK/s in the video, although the video is titled WALTHER PPK.

Walther made a lightweight version of the PPK, called the PPK/L, in the 50's and 60's. Here a video link to a review of one of these real Walther PPK/L

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Some long time friends of my parents have been doing a Reality TV show for a production company, trying to find a network or cable channel to pick it up. It's a retail sort of show, dealing with their business, and one of the ladies is my former piano teacher and has been friends with our family for forty years now.

If it does ever make it on cable, I'll watch it to just to watch our friends, not so much for the topic of the show. They're not the Kardashians, or the Gosslin's or any of the other highly dysfunctional types that abound in reality TV. So it won't be lively in the way that some of these other shows are.

I'm not much into reality TV, although lately I have been watching the Yukon and Alaska shows involving homesteaders and their hunting, fishing and other exploits living somewhat off the grid. I enjoy the sporting aspects of those shows, and the wildlife and sporting opportunities in the areas these folks live.

I've also been watching some of the gold prospecting shows, including one where they are in Ghana or somewhere I'd not want to be worried about some random armed Chinese miners squatting on a claim they can't work.

With most of these reality shows, you see it once or twice and you've pretty much seen what's going to repeat season after season. Ice Road Truckers pretty much took one viewing to see that it's not something I'd do out of choice, and it is highly dangerous.

Same thing with Arctic Circle fishing and crabbing. Highly dangerous. Far more dangerous that Ice Road Trucking, me thinks. I'd take the trucking over being on a teeny, tiny boat (compared to the size of the sea and ocean) in sub-freezing whether with all kinds of accidents waiting to happen.

But all it took was watching a couple of two or three shows and I got the drift of working on a professional fishing vessel in Arctic waters. I understand the motivation of these folks, the truckers and fisherman and the like. They'll be doing this job anyway, so why not be on TV for it. I'm sure they get some bucks for doing it, and mostly they are not cast in a negative light.

But other shows that seem to have no point, like the Kardashian franchises, seem to have no point at all.  So many people want their 15 minutes of fame, even if that fame is highly derogatory and negative. They want to see themselves on TV. It's as if to validate their existence, they are willing to shame themselves, intentionally at times, in front of millions of viewers, in order to be on TV for some very short period of time and then fade away forgotten save for a footnote in a wiki entry somewhere.

I'm sure Tampa Bay socialite Jill Kelley and her twin sister will have a reality show soon. And it will no doubt be tortuous. And tedious. And short lived.


Like my good friend A.J. MacReady once said, his doctor told him he needed to do some relaxing, or as some of my East Texas relatives might say, relax-at(e)ing. For me, eating my way is not the way to relax. My doc recommended a movie he'd seen that had been released just this week, thinking it well done.

So I rented Savages this weekend. Highly violent, and not just gratuitous violence. And a few gratuitous sex scenes as well. Plenty of action and the acting is actually fairly decent. The story has a few unpredicatable twists and turns although as the female lover of both protaganists notes, this is just like that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid movie. Well, sorta. 

I'm not a big Oliver Stone fan, though I did like his take in JFK, and would back then have enjoyed talking up various aspects of the case that don't make sense, like the life of Oswald.

I recently got JFK on dvd, and had it for years on vhs. In JFK, although Stone adopted some of the theories I might not believe totally in,  but given the huge amount of information, or TMI (too much information), which is the nature of the JFK investigation, Stone did the amazing job of telling a cogent storyline and hopefully getting some folks to think and maybe read some books and see some of the well done documentaries out there on the subject.

So Stone's politics are not mine. Nonetheless, although my liberal friends are not anywhere as far left as Stone, I have some pretty dear friends who are downright insufferable when having to listen to them espouse the many wrongs of the right, conspiracy theories and socialist bullcrap. So I'm a guy who has a wide ranging group of friends. Pretty much across the political spectrum.

But I can still watch his movies. I can't recall the last movie of his I've seen since JFK, and I'm too lazy to look him up on IMDB, but I'll buy Savages when the price drops a bit. It's a movie worth watching more than once. And I guess that's the best compliment I can make these days, is that I'll buy it and watch it again.  


Friday, November 9, 2012


Walther just this week introduced a new handgun at a trade show, the PPX. Not much is known about it, but pics are out there on the web and check the blogs to the right side of the screen for updates on this handgun.

That's all well and good, and I hope this attracts the attention of their marketing and R and D departments, but what the world needs now is a PPK and/or PPK/S in .22 LR caliber (hereafter referred to collectively as the PPK).

You've made this pistol before, and as I've said on numerous occasions, there is a great market for the PP series in .22 caliber. I've never understood why Smith and Wesson didn't see the sales possibilities for the PPK in .22 when they began producing the PPK's in .32 and .380 under license from Walther.

You're making this pistol now but with a different slide and firing mechanism, barrel and magazine. So no biggie on modifying the assembly line. It'd pay for itself in the first run.

Plinkers like me would like to have another .22 PPK (I foolishly sold my 1976 Interarms version). Although a .22 is not a good self-defense weapon for me, for some it's a great weapon for self-defense for those who are going to use a .22 for self defense anyway. Although my mom prefers a .38 snubbie, my sister prefers a .22 snubbie.

So there are a multitude of markets for the PPK in .22. Cheap(er) ammo is another compelling reason to make the PPK in a rimfire chambering.

I keep searching for a reasonably priced Interarms PPK in .22, but have not found the right one at the right price. I'd much rather buy a new one than pay the king's ransom that used ones go for now.

Monday, November 5, 2012


You never know what you can learn by reading, either a book, newspaper, magazine article or increasingly, something on the internet.

Today, I was able to learn about a couple of books I want to buy and read, and the story of the interesting couple from the 1930's to the 1950's upon whose lives they are based, and I surely wish I had heard about them before and read them in my youth. Nonetheless, I look at it as a surprise, like "discovering" a musical artist or group you had never heard of, perhaps from the 1960's or 1970's, with  something fresh and interesting to listen to.

Here's the back story about how I became aware of the very interesting story of DANA AND GINGER LAMB and one of two books they wrote (they might have written more) called Enchanted Vagabonds (1938) and Quest for the Lost City (1951).

Image from

A year or so ago, I picked up a copy of a bi-monthly magazine called THE BACKWOODSMAN and found it an interesting read. I found myself searching the newstands at the grocery store or Wally World every couple of months for the new issue. I found some old issues at a half-price bookstore.

I'm not a backwoodsman by any means. I've never trapped, and the hunting I've done has been for pedestrian species like deer, feral hogs and javalina, various birds including geese, duck and quail, bobcat and a whole host of predators and pests (snakes, raccoons, skunks, possum, nutria, beavers, etc.).

Although I've been threatened by gators a time or two, always while fishing,  I haven't ever had to shoot one, although it's advisable to have firearm protection "ready to go" (RTG) if outdoors  in Texas in gator country.

But I enjoy the magazine greatly, and will probably subscribe soon. The fellow who owns it and runs it, a Charlie Richey, even lives in here the Great State of Texas, a few hundred miles south of where I live. His address on the magazine contact information is in a part of Texas near to Corpus Christi, Rockport and Port Aransas, all places I've spent lots of time fishing at over the last 40 years.

He's had the magazine for quite a while, and when I subcribe I want to get some of the back issue compilations he has available. Mr. Richie also has a fishing lure company and sells nice old knives on the back cover of the magazine. From looking at the list of employees, it's largely a family operation, at the top at least, but the magazine features a varied group of writers and lots of interesting tips and ideas for all kinds of things.

So there's usually articles on living off the grid, on firearms, on fishing, on outdoors cooking, survival skills, trapping, archery, gardening, short, all the things that go with backwoods living. I'm not sure I ever see myself living off the grid willfully, but it's nice to see lots of cool articles on making things work and improvising and such in a wide variety of areas.

Some of the content reminds me of the cool do-it-yourself articles in Popular Mechanics and other magazines from 40 years ago and more. There's been interesting articles on building shelters and on all kinds of things like cooking without power, building an inexpensive travel trailer, foraging various plants, survival lore and stories of folks who lived off the land in some legendary fashion, as did our ancestors in many cases.

I've been fortunate in that I grew up with lots of access to the woods and hunting and fishing and camping and the ways of my grandparents and even my dad. My dad as a young kid living on an East Texas farm with no electricity until he was about 8 learned alot about living off the land. They had an outhouse until my dad and his siblings bought my grandmother some window unit A/C's and an addition to her home with a bathroom, toilet, lavatory, shower, the whole shooting match, in the early 1960's. I still recall those pre-indoor-toilet days and having to use her outhouse, wall papered with the pages of the Sears catalog.

I got to see a still in the woods at an early age, and did lots of farm pond and creek fishing and woods wandering in deep East Texas. I did trotlining on the Trinity River and at Lake Palestine and have fished up and down most of the well-known lakes and rivers in East and Central Texas over the years.

Of course, as El Fishing Musician, I live, therefore I fish. Every chance I get. I'd fish in six inches of water in a kitchen sink if I thought there was some remote chance of catching some kind of fish, undoubtedly on super-ultra-light tackle.

So stories that involve fishing, especially stories from the past when our lakes and streams and rivers and creeks and bayous and ponds were not so polluted, not so comtaminated with all kinds of stuff bad for the human body. When climate change (as I theorize anyway) and Mother Nature were not so extreme, causing weird extreme weather events.

Those days where you could go as an American on an adventure to a part of the world that not much was known about, or at least that was little visited by tourists.

So getting back to the focus of this post, that's the story I came across in The Backwoodsman. A short review of the Lamb's Enchanted Vagabonds book. It's a fascinating story, and I googled a bit to get a little more information and find some interesting pictures.

As the wiki link about them says, the Lambs got married during the depression decided to take off on a three year trip down the Baja and then Central American coasts ending with passage through the Panama Canal.

You can go here to this Flickr site and see some photos of the Lamb's, their boat and their journey, including one of the frame of the boat under construction.

Image from:

Heady stuff for a young married couple who left San Diego for points south, with few provisions, less than $5.00 in their pockets, a Luger pistol and a .22 handgun in a homemade 16 foot boat that was a combination surfboat, kayak, canoe, sailboat and who knows what else. That's not the boat they used shown in the above-picture, but the picture of the book cover at the top of this post IS the tiny boat they braved the Atlantic Ocean on. 

There's a pic I found of the boat under construction, and I have to say that it took some guts to hit the open ocean, no matter how close to the shoreline they stayed, in a boat that size.

I've been on a fishing trip on a large trawler in stormy December weather one year, and a 60 foot boat is easily dwarfed by the waves that even a mild Pacific storm can muster forth. I can't imagine soldiering through those waves in a craft such as they did.

Some critics claim embellishment in both books, particularly the Quest for the Lost City work, but the adventures they had can't be denied. I have not read either book, but will be hitting the local library to see if I'm lucky or hitting Amazon or Ebay if I can't get them through the local library system. And calling a few half-price book stores nearby.

It does sound cool as hell. Although I once took a sailboat trip down a portion of the Intercoastal Canal, as a Sea Explorer Scout in the 1970's, that's as bold as I've been in a small boat. Even that got rough with spring winds and rain during forays into the Gulf of Mexico. I've been out fair distances on both power boats and sailing craft into the Gulf and again, couldn't imagine taking those larger and better equipped boats on the same journey that the Lamb's took their homemade boat on.

Here's a neat bio of Dana Lamb at Classic Travel Books dot com and here's their websites description of their first journey in the 16 foot boat:

Dana and Ginger Lamb had no motive but adventure when they left California in the autumn of 1933 and headed south in a 16-foot vessel they had built themselves. How else would could you explain setting off on a 16,000 mile voyage? However the romantic young explorers did possess the Vagabunda, a frail combination of sailboat and canoe. Not wanting to overload themselves the young newlyweds also brought along a minimum of equipment and, as an afterthought, less than five dollars between them.

What followed was the one of the greatest adventure travel tales ever to emerge from the action-packed 1930s.

The Lambs shot through mountainous surf, landed on fabled islands, lived through violent storms, weathered nearly a dozen fatal wrecks, were upset in a traffic jam of whales, caught in quicksand, trapped inside an extinct volcano, and lost in a shark-infested lagoon. Then, armed with only their wits and an old machete, they survived malaria, fought off Indians, cut their way through a jungle, and avoided flesh-eating insects, all in the name of love and adventure.

“Enchanted Vagabonds” is thus the action-packed true story of their amazing combination of courage, love, and endurance. Filled with photographs taken on their historic trip, the book is a non-stop thrill from start to finish. 

Some guys my age get younger girlfriends, get divorced, get Covettes or Camaros or Boss 302 Mustangs or Harley's or Ninja's or any number of crotch rockets.

Me, I've had some adventure in my life. Some of it was life and death. Some of it I went into knowing it might be reckless and dangerous, and some of it caught me by surprise. Still, when the adrenaline is flowing and there's adventure at every bend, you feel alive and relevant. Danger to me is not synonymous with adventure, but it does often unexpectedly occur.

I'm not interested in danger per se, or thrillseeking like vertical mountain climbing or skydiving or BASE or bungee jumping. I'm more interested in seeing things that need to be seen. The Amazon. The Sahara. Australia's Barrier Reef. Various parts of Africa, particularly in the interior where some wild game still runs free. The East coast of Italy and the West coast of Croatia. Various Scottish and Irish islands, and perhaps some small French coastal towns.

So while interneting around and reading about Dana and Ginger Lamb, I came across a club of which at least Dana (it's a gentleman's club) was a member, The Los Angeles Adventurer's Club.

Image from as linked below in text.

Yes, there really is such a thing. It's been around quite awhile, and there are a few other clubs like it in some other major cities of America and the world. They have the actual boat of Dana and Ginger Lamb on display at the club, and you can go here to see it and get access to their website.'

I'm pretty sure I'm not rich enough to be a member of what appears to be a pretty cool club, this Los Angeles Adventurer's Club. However, the idea of reading some of the stories of the adventures of it's members might be food for thought and fodder for an adventure of my own. Also, I'm way overdue for visiting L.A. and when I go They have meetings every Thursday except for a few weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and for a modest fee apparently a guest can attend and dine with the members. I don't know if the guest has to be a guest of a member (probably) or whether a guest can request to attend. I'm pretty sure I could email one of the members and talk them into letting me attend a meeting just for the fun of it.

So I learned all kinds of things Sunday afternoon when reading The Backwoodsman from (mostly) cover to cover in a couple of hours. I look forward to reading the tales of the Lambs and their travels. Many of the places that they traveled, according to some maps of their trip from their first book that pop up in google images, are way too civilized or touristy nowadays. But some of the areas are still wild, or fairly wild. I'm not sure that Central America and the West coast of Mexico are places I want to go right now, as an American who is also an anglo.

It's sad but true. The things that the Lambs could do in the 30's and later in their interior of Mexico and points south travels you can't do today. In my blog roll is the blog of an Austrian national male who has been traveling the world for the last 7 years, and some of the places where he slipped seamlessly into and out of without being killed for being who he is are places most Americans would be killed or kidnapped.

I look forward to getting these books in a few days and reading their stories. No telling what I might learn...  

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Deer season for firearms opens this weekend in Texas, and most of my diehard friends are out at their leases in South Texas getting ready for a few solid days of hunting. Lots of these folks have their own places close to their homes, yet still lease land in South Texas where the big bucks roam. One of my friends, Cowboy, has been leasing his place down south near Laredo for near twenty years now with a good friend and a steady group of fellows that's been there the whole time.

Likewise, my friend David and his family have had the same lease in the Hill Country, near Stonewall, Texas, which itself is near Johnson City, Texas (birthplace and ranch of L.B.J.). It's a much more lush area than the Laredo/South Texas area in terms of live water and captive ponds. The area has bounced back well from the killer drought of record of 2011 that reeked havoc and dry wells all throughout this part of Texas. Mother Nature can do amazing things in terms of both devastation and bouncing back.

I plan to go out to David's Stonewall lease once the season opening frenzy dies down a bit, after most folks have used their tags. Hogs, of course, plague that area as they do the rest of Texas, and in the past couple of years the hog action on their large lease has taken out some fawns as well as lots of habitat, cover and feed plants.

They've got hookups out there for their trailers and have places to keep stuff under cover in barns during the rest of the year. They've got the run of the place and have stands spread across hundred of acres. There's also a couple of decent ponds with two pound bass and catfish aplenty. They use the lease year round, and it's a nice spread.

I must admit that although I'm not deer hunting anymore, I do hunt hogs and predators. But game cameras fascinate me, and I enjoy watching game camera pics and vids that friends send me with the type of wildlife visiting their feeders. I suspect we'll see some actual mountain lions and not just bobcats or cougars in the Hill Country of Texas this year.

Along with the start of deer season means that it'll be trout stocking time in  30 days or so. They generally do the first stockings in far north Texas where it's less hot and humid, sometime around the first few days of the month of December. They will release the exact stocking schedule sometime in November but it usually follows the same general pattern from year to year.

I also urge sportsmen of all states to buy the combo type fishing and hunting license in your state, if that's available, even if you are a fisherman and not a hunter or vice versa. It pays to help the Parks and Wildlife Department in your locale. In Texas, ours is having trouble, and private donations have been made in lots of areas benefiting them. As Texas doesn't have much public land or public use land to begin with, State Parks and Natural areas are important places for families to fish and camp.

I always get the combo license, even though I'm usually not hunting anything I need a license for, like predators or pests. If it keeps the trout stocking going, and the best trout fishing for stocked rainbows often goes on in state park lakes, then I'll keep buying the combo license.


For quite some time now, I've been hoping to find some of the Aguila .22  ammo called SSS, which stands for Sniper SubSonic.


The other day, the perfect storm of:

(1) me actually remembering to look for it at a gun store;
(2) me having the extra money for a couple of boxes of shells; and
(3) the gun shop actually having the product in stock,

came together and I got a couple of boxes of these. Actually, I tried to buy two and the gun shop owner gave me the other one for free. So I got two boxes of 50 rounds each of these cartridges for
$6.35 plus tax.

They're an odd duck looking cartridge, and except for the fact that the slug itself is 60 grains, it resembles a .22 short shell with a .22 LR bullet placed in it, only bigger.

Common sense will tell you that drastically reducing the case size like that will reduce the amount of powder and the resulting pressure that can be placed in and on a shorter shell casing. Thus, with the larger and heavier bullet itself making up the larger part of the cartridge. it shoots much slower than other .22 LR ammo. Consider that the bullet itself is heavier than what is often shot out of .223 rifles.

My friends that have shot it say it's quiet enough for pest control in your backyard without the neighbors being aware, but one complained vigorously about it's lack of accuracy. We'll just have to see how it goes out of my guns.

I watched a video on youtube where one of these is shot into a block of ballistic geletin. It was an impressive wound cavity that it left behind and watching it in slow motion tells you this is no ordinary ammo.

You can compare the Aguila SSS with another premium round like the CCI .22 ammo products. For closer range shooting, I think I'll be going with the Aguila, and I've been a CCI user for decades and really like their product.

I have not had a chance to shoot the SSS yet. I plan to shoot it out of several Smith and Wesson, Colt and Tanfoglio revolvers, and maybe a Ruger SR22, which so far has been eating every kind of ammo expensive and cheap that's been fed into it.

Several forums have discussions with folks claiming that the round works well in the Ruger Mark series of handguns as well as in the venerable 10/22. Numerous youtube videos have the round being fired from 10/22 rifles with no issues. The ballistic gelatin video I watched on youtube was shooting the round out of one of the NAA sub-tiny revolvers with a 1" or so barrel. 

This hopefully will be a great round to have loaded in as rounds #4 through #8 in a Smith and Wesson M317, with rounds #1 through #3 being CCI shotshells. As a kit gun, it's a popular item to have in my vest pocket when fishing. For snakes, if 3 rounds of snakeshot doesn't stop it, then the Aguila should do the trick. If it's a predator of the two legged kind, or perhaps a rabid skunk or squirrel, then a rapid shoot through of the CCI shotshells would get me to the Aguila rounds pretty quickly.

I'll give a full report later, after I get to try some out. It's been awhile since I wanted to test the penetration of a cartridge myself, and I always have in the past used phone books duct taped together to gauge penetration of various rounds.

But the decline in the size and frequency of phone books has made me go to another medium. The tons of print catalogs I get go into a 9" x 13" computer paper box that holds about 15 inches vertically of paper. Once it gets full, I duct tape the catalogs and magazines that get thrown in there together. Not quite as good as phone books though...