Is the old lever action half-cock safety really all that safe?

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We’ve all been taught about the half-cock notch on lever action rifles. How safe is it, really?

When I was growing up lever action rifles (with the exception of the Savage 99) had no safeties. It was assumed, and taught, that the safe way to carry a lever action with a round in the chamber was to lower the hammer to the half-cock notch. When needed, the hammer was thumbed back as the gun was brought to the shoulder.

Fast forward to ...

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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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Ed Harris makes the .32ACP into a real tackdriver!

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Ed Harris returns, and this time he’s tackling a new mystery: why does the .32ACP have such a bad reputation for accuracy? As usual, Ed gets to the bottom of the problem!

(Which gives me an excuse to show a picture of one of my favorite autoloading pistols of all time, the Colt Model 1903 Hammerless in — of course — .32ACP!)

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Looking through the smoke and mirrors…
by Ed Harris

Much misunderstanding exists regarding ...

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Ed Harris: How to Make and Load All-Brass .410 Shotshells.

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Ed Harris is back with another of his terrific articles! This time, it’s about making your own all-brass shotshells in .410.
(If you’re not familiar with Ed Harris, you should be. Ed is one of the best sources of technical information in the shooting world, and he’s always doing something interesting. His articles are always popular, and today he shares with you how to ...
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Ed Harris: Loading Cast Bullets In the 9mm Luger/Parabellum.

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rugerp85
It’s been too long since Ed Harris has graced our presence. He’s back, though, with an article about shooting cast bullets in 9mm — and, of course, with related stories about his days doing just that at Ruger. Enjoy!

Tales from the Back Creek Diary:
Loading Cast Bullets In the 9mm Luger/Parabellum

by Ed Harris, Gerrardstown, WV

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Lately, with ammo supplies in retail stores either drying up entirely, or becoming frightfully more ...
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Ed Harris Friday: Testing .22 Ammunition.

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Editor’s Note: Here’s Ed again, with some data and procedures on testing .22 LR ammunition for best results. I’ve found that .22 LR is the most finicky of all calibers, both in terms of accuracy and function. I’ve seen numerous cases where a .22 rifle or pistol will shoot horrendous groups with one brand/type of ammo, and turn into a tack driver with a different brand or type – and cost isn’t always a good predictor of success! The same ...

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Ed Harris Friday: Blackpowder Revolvers

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(Editor’s Note: I’ll admit to knowing nothing about blackpowder arms, so this article from Ed was quite enlightening! If you’ve thought about getting a cap-and-ball revolver but weren’t sure about how to use it, Ed’s article will tell you everything you need to know!)

Handling Cap & Ball Revolvers
By C.E. “Ed” Harris

Learning to shoot a cap & ball revolver requires common sense and attention to detail, but these guns are effective and satisfying. Safety, reliability and accuracy of a black ...

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Ed Harris: America’s Greatest, The All-Around .30-’06!

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(Editor’s note: Today I’m pleased to bring you another Ed Harris article – this time all about the .30-06 cartridge. As you’ll soon learn, Ed is a HUGE fan of the ’06 and has probably done more experimenting with it than any ten people you’re likely to find. In it are Ed’s recommendations for bullets and loads for an incredibly wide variety of uses. As always, any reloading data is used at your own risk; always start 10% below the ...

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Ed Harris on metallurgy for firearms.

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(Editor’s Note: Ed’s back with an incredible article on firearm metallurgy! This originated as a reply to an email from a “DG”. Ed gives some phenomenal information on the metals used at his employer, Sturm Ruger, to build their guns. I think you’ll find it very interesting, if a little complex!)

DG: A toolmaker friend wants to know what types of metal are used in a revolver. Having read your posts, I figured you would probably have the answers. Please feel ...

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Ed Harris: My Observations on the Ruger Mini-14

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My Observations on the Ruger Mini-14
by Ed Harris

(Editor’s Note: Today Ed candidly talks about the Ruger Mini-14, a gun with which my wife and I have a love-hate affair. She likes the size, the handling, and the appearance, while I like that it uses a round which I already have in abundance! When we went looking for a rifle for her, we acquired and quickly disposed of several examples as we couldn’t find one that was both accurate ...

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Ed Harris: Building an accurate .22 field rifle!

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(Editor’s Note: Ed Harris is back! He recently sent me a big archive of his older articles, and there are some real gems in there. I’ll be featuring one of these treasures every other Friday! Today Ed talks about rebarreling a .22 rifle to turn it into a budget tackdriver. Some of you may remember that I love playing with .22 rifles, and you can bet I was taking notes as I read this!)

RE-BARREL YOUR 22 BOLT ACTION AND… Make ...

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Ed Harris: The .32ACP in a rifle??

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Editor’s note: today I’m pleased to bring you another great article from Ed Harris, experimenter extraordinaire. This time he’s built a couple of rifles for some common .32 caliber pistol rounds, making for handy and quiet woods rifles. Enjoy!

Tiny Handgun Cartridges Are Also Small Game Rifle Rounds!
by Ed Harris
Gerrardstown, WV

After fooling around with a pair of chamber inserts using .32 S&W Long and .32 ACP ammunition in the .30-30, I thought about building a light “walking rifle” which ...

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Ed Harris: Using the .45ACP in a rifle!

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Tales from the Back Creek Diary – A .45 ACP Rifle?
By Ed Harris

I like having at least one long gun capable of firing each caliber of handgun ammunition I keep around. Rifles chambered for center-fire handgun calibers provide greater kinetic energy than any rim-fire, but also have low noise, usually not needing a suppressor.

The .45 ACP and .38 Special are my favorite cartridges for this, because standard pressure (non +P) loads are quiet when fired in a rifle, their ...

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Ed Harris: Casting and reloading the .38/.357

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(Editor’s Note: for those who don’t know him, C.E. ‘Ed’ Harris is an engineer who’s worked for Ruger and the NRA. Ed is one of the great repositories of technical shooting knowledge in the field; his expertise extends to all areas of shooting, and trust me when I tell you that he can’t be stumped. I’ve tried. Ed has forwarded several articles to publish, and I’m going to start with one of particular interest to me.)

Today’s article is about casting ...

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Ed Harris: Revisiting The Full Charge Wadcutter.

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Happy Black Friday! Today I am pleased to present another great article from Ed Harris, this time about an old load that he’s finding useful in the modern era. It’s helpful to note that Ed lives in a very rural area, and regularly hunts small game with his handguns. This gives him an enormous amount of experience, the kind that is getting hard to find in these days. Sit back, relax, and enjoy his article on the “full charge wadcutter”!

Revisiting ...

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Some bits of rifle stuff: 6.5mm cartridges, slings, and lever actions.

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The Firearm Blog (one of the few blogs I read religiously) brings us good news: Alexander Arms (AA) has decided to stop gouging people who want to make 6.5 Grendel rifles! Apparently Hornady submitted the cartridge to SAAMI to be standardized, but AA refused to relinquish their trademark. That recently changed, and now the 6.5 Grendel is available to anyone who wants to use it.

This is great news; I’d once considered building an AR-15 in 6.5 Grendel ...

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Multi-caliber revolvers: why you don’t see them on gun store shelves.

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Every so often I get an email asking about the feasibility of building a multi-caliber revolver along the lines of the short-lived Phillips & Rogers Medusa. There have been several attempts to build and market such a revolver over the years, and none of them succeeded. The Medusa was probably the most successful of the efforts, and even it didn’t last long.

Aside from the general silliness of the concept (you can’t get .38 Special during the Zombie Apocalypse, but you can ...

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Bore cleaners: is there really any difference? What do I use?

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A recent email asked my opinion on bore cleaners, and to my surprise I found that I’d not written anything on the topic. It is, after all, unlike me to have no opinion – and it may be a bit of a surprise to learn that, on this topic, I don’t have a strong opinion.

When it comes to bore cleaners, it’s been my experience that everything works. Shooter’s Choice, Hoppe’s, Butch’s, Break Free, it really doesn’t matter – with one ...

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Everything has a purpose in the hands of Ed Harris. Even the .32 ACP.

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Many of you are familiar with Ed Harris, firearms engineer and ballistic experimenter. One of Ed’s passions is the hunting of small game – squirrels, rabbits, etc. – and the guns that facilitate that activity.

(Before we go any further, it seems that a lot of folks today don’t have any experience with serious small game hunting. There are an awful lot of people who consider it somehow inferior to the taking of large game, but they are sorely mistaken. In ...

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