Ed Harris says: “A Hillbilly Assault Rifle? You bet!”

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marlin44magtrijicon-006.
Ed Harris, ballistic experimenter extraordinaire, is back — this time with some details on his “lever action utility rifle”. As usual, he’s got some good ideas!
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Modern Sights to Upgrade the Lever-Action Utility Rifle
by C.E. “Ed” Harris, Gerrardstown, WV

I like the 1894 Marlin. I have three of them, in .357, .44 ...
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DVD Review: Defensive Firearms Myths and Misconceptions.

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In my ongoing review of new DVDs from the Personal Defense Network, I come across one that’s interesting and a little different from the rest of PDN’s offerings. This one deals with what you know that you probably shouldn’t!

Defensive Firearms Myths and Misconceptions
Presented by Rob Pincus

Do you know what a “negative target” is? It’s a cardboard target with shapes cut out of it; you’re expected to shoot into the holes ...

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Gun makers plus consolidation equals history!

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How many U.S. gun makers can you name? I’ll bet there are quite a few that you’ve either forgotten about, or never even knew existed — but their legacy lives on, even today!
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It’s tempting to think that the way things are today is how they’ve always been. This perspective changes as the generations do; for kids growing up today, they probably assume that ...
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Rifles of the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”.

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French firearms are a popular source of amusement for enthusiasts in the United States. That’s sad, because there are some real gems to be had from the land of Napoleon.
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A popular pastime amongst the British is making fun of the French. Apparently we inherited more than a little of our attitudes from the people we beat in the Revolutionary War, because no matter how much the French do for us (you realize we wouldn’t ...
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I don’t care what Joe Biden says, the shotgun isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

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I have a confession to make: I’m not a fan of the shotgun as an in-home self defense option!

I know this goes against every Billy Bad-Boy trainer in the world and even against our own Vice President, but though I have a shotgun within reach of my bed it’s not the first gun I’d grab in an emergency. I’ve trained with them extensively and even taught others how to use them, but I’m still not wild about them.

Why is that?

Let’s ...

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The never-ending quest for the “perfect” rifle round, or: Grant is lusting for another lever action!

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I got a surprising amount of email on last week’s lever action article. Seems I’m not the only one with a fondness for the simpler things in life — nor for getting a new rifle just so I can have a different round to shoot!
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That article also got me to thinking about a particular interest of my own: .35 caliber rifle cartridges. I’ve often opined about the utility of the lever action in .357 ...
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I like all rifles, but lever actions have a particular place in my collection. Here’s why.

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The lever action may seem antiquated, but maybe its old virtues still have value in today’s shooting world!
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There’s been a lot of talk about lever action rifles lately. One well-known person in the industry wrote an article about how much he likes them, and another industry personality wrote a social media rebuttal about how they’re ...
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Is a rifle or carbine a good choice for home defense? Here’s how to decide.

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I recently received an email asking about my thoughts on using a pistol-caliber carbine or a rifle for home defense. Sometimes it’s a viable idea, sometimes it’s not — and occasionally it’s only part of an overall solution. How can you know if it’s right for you?

Self defense inside the home (which is a very different thing than perimeter defense, which happens outside the house but on your property) is a task usually assigned to the handgun, and with pretty good ...

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The lever action as a military arm? Yes, it’s happened – but not often.

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We all know about the use of the Winchester Model 1895 in the Russian army (and later trickling down to smaller militaries), but what of it’s more famous sibling: the Model 1894?
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The lever action rifle has never been a popular choice as a military arm — even though the first successful lever action, the Henry rifle, was purchased in small quantities for cavalry use by the Union army during the Civil War. While its ...
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Grant want big boom. 37mm worth of boom.

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I mentioned last week that I was tired of heavy rifles and yearned for something lighter, but that wasn’t completely true. I’ve found a very heavy rifle I do want — so heavy, in fact, that it’s mounted on a carriage!

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It’s actually pretty rare these days that I come across a gun that really pushes my buttons. In fact, I’ve gotten so jaded that the opportunity to shoot a new gun isn’t all that appealing any longer; there ...
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From my email inbox: what’s the best .22 ammunition for a rifle?

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A recent email asked about the accuracy of .22 ammunition, and which I found was the best in my rifles. I couldn’t answer that question, and here’s why!
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I’m sometimes amazed at the coincidences of life. I’m currently testing ammunition in a rather unusual (but awfully neat) .22 rifle for an upcoming article in Gun Digest, and at the same time I get an email from Anthony asking about .22 ammunition for a ...
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How do the Swiss make a sniper rifle? Carefully. Very carefully!

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As you might guess from my watch & clockmaking youth, I admire the Swiss. I especially admire the way their commitment to self-preservation scared off the Nazi war machine when everyone around them was being invaded. What was their secret? Accurate rifles and soldiers who knew how to use them!
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Ahh, the Swiss. Aside from chocolate and fine timepieces (two things of which I’m ...
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What’s old is new again: the SMG Guns FG42 rifle.

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While I was teaching in California last week I got to handle (but, sadly, not shoot) a brand-new reproduction of a WWII German autoloading rifle!
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The FG42 was a select-fire rifle issued to German paratroopers during the Second World War. The concept was to supply the troops with a relatively compact rifle capable of firing both in semi- and fully-automatic modes, one which ...
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Shotgun lust: the Remington Versa Max.

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Sometimes when I teach I learn something new. That happened to me just the other day!
Last week I was down in California doing some training for a private group at a members-only range. This was my second teaching trip to this particular club, and I must say I enjoy it immensely!

One of the students had a shotgun I’d heard about, but not actually had ...

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The full squat: the most overlooked rifle shooting position?

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Instructor Georges Rahbani teaches the squatting position

If you’re a rifle shooter you’ve probably practiced standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone; but have you practiced shooting from the full squat? Maybe you should!

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When I got my first formal rifle training we focused on the traditional shooting positions, the ones that the NRA had been training for perhaps a century. It wasn’t until some years later, when I took my first “tactical” or ...
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A different design for a revolving rifle, but this one is full auto – and a mystery!

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Ever wanted a revolving rifle that fired three-round bursts at an equivalent cyclic rate of 4,900 rounds per minute? Three inventors in the 1970s came up with an idea to do just that. Maybe.
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The revolver mechanism has proven itself over the last century or so to be a robust and reliable means of providing repeating capability to a handgun. Of course not all revolvers have been handguns; there have been a few revolving rifles over the years, ...
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You know what grinds my gears? YouTube videos where women suffer shooting big guns.

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There’s a genre of YouTube videos consisting of women shooting guns with heavy recoil for which they’ve not been properly prepared. Those vids disgust me.
For some reason a certain segment of the male shooting population loves to see what happens when a woman (old or young) is given a powerful firearm and allowed to shoot it on camera without proper instruction or preparation. The results are predictable and serve to show just what can happen if a shooter ...
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The sad story of the Smith & Wesson Light Rifle.

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There aren’t really a lot of engineers in the firearms business who move between specialties easily and with equivalent successes. In the case of the S&W Light Rifle, its designer was just a little out of his element.
Joseph Norman was once the chief engineer at Smith & Wesson, and was responsible (or at least had a lot to do with) some great S&W guns: the models 39, 41, 52, and 59 ...
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The Remington Model 8 and 81: guns I wish I’d bought when they were cheap!

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The Remington Model 8 and its restyled cousin, the Model 81, were once common at gun shows. They’re getting harder to find these days; are collectors finally taking an interest in these fine rifles?

Some years ago I got to know a local gun show fixture by the name of Mike Percival. Mike was a holdover of sorts, because when everyone else was selling Glocks and AR-15s Mike dealt in old iron and walnut: guns of the past. In stark ...

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The semi-automatic submachine gun: a fun oxymoron!

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Some years ago a local company was producing very nice semi-auto reproductions of the British Sterling submachine gun, like the one in the picture. I didn’t buy one, and I’ve kicked myself ever since. But why?
The submachine gun made its debut with the trench fighting of World War 1. The idea was to give a soldier the rapid fire capability of a machine gun with the portability needed to move in ...
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Nosler announces a new 6.5mm rifle cartridge – but will it sell?

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The 6.5mm caliber offers tremendous possibilities but just can’t seem to make many inroads in the U.S. market. Can Nosler’s new hyper-performance iteration gain a following for my favorite mid-range bullet?
I must admit to being a big fan of 6.5mm rifle cartridges. I’ve only owned a few, but the 6.5mm caliber is interesting from a ballistic standpoint: its bullets are very heavy relative to their diameter, which gives it excellent penetration ...
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Wouldn’t you love to have this fully-loaded sidecar rig in your garage?

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The other day Ed Harris sent me some pictures he made on a trip to Italy a few years ago. I looked at them and thought “wow, what a great museum restoration that is!”

Then he explained that it wasn’t in a museum.

Ed Harris, as regular readers will know, is a firearms industry veteran with shooting friends in many parts of the globe. A couple of years back he took an extended trip to Italy and, as he seems ...
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Those crazy Belgian gun designers!

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Know what this is?

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(Photo courtesy of Ian McCollum)

Let’s just say that it’s for one of the oddest pseudo-machine guns the French army ever bought. And *that* is saying something.
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Before mankind perfected the automatic firearm (also known as the machine gun) there were a bunch of attempts to make a gun that would fire more than one round before needing to be reloaded. The faster it could fire them, armies around ...
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The Streetsweeper shotgun: gone and unlamentedly so.

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A couple of decades back there was a shotgun (and I use the term loosely) called the Streetsweeper. It was basically a giant single action revolver chambered in 12 gauge, and it was the AR-15 of the times: politicians paraded it around decrying its deadly intent and capacity (not to mention its chilling name) and calling for its ban.

In 1994 the ATF finally classed it as a destructive device requiring registration and a tax stamp to transfer, like any other ...

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Keeping the AR-15 (and M4 carbine) gas system running.

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I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who believe that the gas impingement system of the AR-15 rifle and M4 carbine is somehow a liability. So strong is this belief that there is today a growing subset of the industry making good money by adding parts to the original Stoner design in a misguided attempt to “fix” the “problems”.

Over the years (and many tens of thousands of rounds) I’ve not found the gas system of the AR pattern rifles ...

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A true story about my Ithaca Model 37 shotgun: it’s all about how much lead you can deliver.

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A number of years ago some friends and I belonged to the same gun club. One day the club was holding a “shotgun speed steel” match, and my friends talked me into going. Since it was a spur-of-the-monent decision, the only thing I had with me was my old Ithaca Model 37 in 20 gauge and some birdshot (perhaps #4 or #6, I don’t really recall.) My Ithaca had a Modified choke tube installed, which is what I normally keep on ...

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Ithaca Gun Company is expanding to South Carolina!

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I’ve made little secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of Ithaca shotguns. The venerable Model 37 is my favorite shotgun of all time; the light, smooth action is just a joy to use, and I’ve said many times that it’s the cure for chronic short-stroking. Hand an Ithaca to someone who’s having trouble cycling their Mossberg and the problem almost always disappears.

Because I’m a fan I tend to follow the company fairly closely. It hasn’t always been ...

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Let’s talk antique guns: the Husqvarna m40 and the Gustoff Volkssturmgewehr!

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Just the other day, Forgotten Weapons put up a story by Peter Rasmussen about the Husqvarna M 40 pistol (sometimes referred to as a Lahti, for its designer Eimo Lathi.) Rasmussen goes into some detail regarding the pistol and its history in Sweden, including the reasons for it eventual demise.

This was particularly interesting to me as I once owned an M 40. I found it at a local gun show, pristine and complete with holster, two magazines, ...

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