Last weekend I was on the range for the first time in I-can't-remember-how-long, helping out with a rifle class taught by my friend Georges Rahbani. One of the rifles on the line was an old Colt SP1, complete with skinny barrel, A1 sights and stock, and the teardrop forward assist.
I'd forgotten how light and handy those original guns were. My main AR is a mid-length Rock River with a very heavy barrel, and the SP1 felt like a feather in comparison. I was so taken (or would that be re-taken?) with the gun that I think I'm going to build a 'retro' AR-15.
There are companies that specialize in making vintage-style uppers and lowers, the stocks and handguards are readily available, and the only issue is the skinny barrel. They’re a lot harder to find, especially if you want anything other than the 1:12 twist. I’d love a 1:8, but would settle for 1:9. Finding one of any decent quality is another matter.
If nothing else, I’m sure Pac-Nor could do something for me if I hand them enough money. It’s that last part that bothers me!
You may have noticed that there was no Friday Surprise last week. In fact, it wasn't until yesterday that I noticed there was no Friday Surprise! Apparently I simply lost track of what day it was, one of the risks of working by and for oneself.
I need your help. I'm looking to scope a few old .22 rifles, and would like to find some vintage scopes to do so. What I'm looking for are the Weaver Model A4 (4x power, 3/4" tube) or the '60s vintage Bushnell Custom jobs with the integral full-length dovetails (also 4x magnification.) Yes, I've tried the usual places (eBay, etc.) and for such a common item they just don't show up very often. They're not exactly high dollar attractions, and I suspect that's the reason no one bothers to list them on the auction sites -- not enough return on investment.
Should you happen to possess one of these, and should its optics be in excellent condition, and should you wish to part with it, drop me an email.
Speaking of .22 rifles: there are tons of inexpensive autoloading .22s in the marketplace, and if they're not Ruger 10/22s no one seems to take much notice. I've talked to more than one person who bought a Mossberg or Savage or Marlin .22 auto at a gunshow and sold it off immediately because it "didn't work right." They usually end up going to Wally World (or the local equivalent) and getting a 10/22 on sale, secure in the knowledge that the Ruger will work where those "cheap guns" wouldn't.
I've salvaged several of those gun show rejects, and with only one exception (where I had to replace an extractor) they were returned to proper function simply by cleaning the bolt. A .22 rifle is a dirty beast, and over decades of shooting the extractor and firing pin channels become caked with goo (a technical term used by gunsmiths.) By pulling the bolt from the gun and getting rid of that sandy, greasy mess you can solve 90% of functioning problems.
Cheap .22 rifles are to be celebrated, not feared. They're easy to fix and loads of fun, even if you can't buy carbon fiber geegaws for them.
I haven't done a Wednesday Wanderings post for a while, but since I took the holiday off what would have been posted Monday got shuffled to today.
So, what's going on in the world? Well, Tam continues her slide to a greener lifestyle. She's almost to the point where she could move to Portland and lobby for more bike paths to further clog traffic. (I'll bet she's developed a taste for tofu, too.)
The Firearm Blog recently posted a great old television commercial for the Mattel "Tommy Burst" gun. Someone I knew as a kid had one of these, though for the life of me I can't remember who it was nor do I remember the commercial. I do, however, remember the sound the bolt made as it was pulled back. Fun toy that would cause apoplexy of sold today. (Readers of a certain vintage will recognize the voice of the narrator and the face of the bad guy as both belonging to Hal Smith, the great character actor and voice artist.)
Gabe Suarez recently posted an interesting article of the value of simplicity in training. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but his point about not having unlimited time to train is spot-on. That point alone deserves an entire article.
As if the Judge phenomenon couldn't get any sillier, I give you the Tactical Judge. Make of it what you will.
Rob Pincus recently returned from a teaching stint in South Africa, where he made this video of a Glock suppressor that he (and I) didn't even know existed. Square (of course), made of plastic (what else?), and disposable (!!), it fits on a special barrel that Glock also sells.
Cool stuff, but why in 'repressed' South Africa are these things freely available, but here in the 'free' United States are they demonized and heavily regulated?
The SHOT Show, that yearly orgy of all things that go 'bang', starts next Tuesday. The products shown there will be arriving on dealer's shelves over the coming months, but the ads will show up almost immediately. That's how commerce is done.
It was serendipitous, then, that I recently ran across a site called Vintage Ad Browser. The site collects images of old ads for all kinds of products, including guns and ammo. Just like the SHOT Show, you'll find ads aimed at hunters, collectors, and those interested in self defense:
Take a look - how many do you remember from your youth?