Sunday, August 13, 2017

Politics without Pain

In these troubled times where far too many Americans feel the need to take to the street and throw rocks and bottles at each other, I would like to suggest some more peaceful alternatives to riots and needless bloodshed.

A Riot in Philadelphia in 1844

For example, instead of having a riot, you can express your views to your political representatives.  It's easy.  It's painless.  You can sit on your ass and do it.  Plus, you won't have to visit the ER or Urgent Care place for stitches.  Better still, you won't have to visit the jail and enjoy quality time with someone who has been in jail regularly.

Here are three painless political things that you can do from the comfort of your own home:

1. Write Your Congressman.
2. Write Your Senators.
3. Join a Political Action Committee.

If you are planning to express your beliefs and need to bring a gun, knife, rock, helmet, or sword, you are part of the problem in this country.  Sit your ass down, write your congressman, and find something to watch on TV.  I've written my congressman on the topic of guns several times.  It's easy and it will make you feel better.  If you disagree with me, I would strongly prefer that you write you own damn congressman rather than throw a bottle at me.

One more thing:  when it's time to vote, go out to the polls and vote.  Once you have voted, generally accept the results of the election.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Importance of Fun Guns

I primarily shoot for the fun of it.  While I have the requisite hardware for home defense, I mostly enjoy guns that are interesting, that have a story, and that are just plain fun to shoot.  When you shoot for fun, you don't have to worry too much about stopping power, magazine capacity, ruggedness, or rapid reload capability.

Shooting for fun is truly liberating.  Since I don't entertain any realistic thoughts of becoming "an operator," I don't have to do thousands of sit-ups, go jogging every day, swim several miles a week, or learn to rappel.  I don't have to practice wrestling or fist fighting with anyone.  I don't even have to jump out of perfectly good airplanes.  All of this saves lots of wear and tear on my knees.  While I appreciate the service of our military and police, I'm 50 and I just don't expect that the fat bastard brigade will be activated anytime soon. I am free to build up an arsenal of fun guns.

Navy SEAL Trainees In Endurance Training

I might start carrying a concealed weapon.  But, concealed carry requires some important commitments.  For example, if you carry a concealed weapon, you should probably have enough money to hire a good lawyer and be able to make bail.  Everyone who ever tried to kick your ass in elementary school is probably waiting for the chance to kick your ass in jail.  I don't think that would be fun at all. Instead, I try to be aware of my environment and follow the 5-As of self-defense.  I have also made a commitment to flying under the radar and not looking like a worthwhile target.  It's easy to do since I don't have a lot of extra cash.  I have $1 in my wallet today and--if I buy a megamillions ticket--I'll have no dollars in my wallet tonight.

Jail sucks.  By (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I'm also not planning to overthrow the government.  I'd rather just vote.  If the revolution comes, I might set up a shooting table and wait for it.  But, I'm not marching anywhere for a revolution.  Marching just sucks.  Since I've been aboard a JSTARS plane and since I've seen an A-10 Warthog up close, I've decided that driving to a revolution is a pretty bad idea.  Since I'm not participating in any revolutions, I don't really need any heavy machine guns or grenade launchers.  That doesn't mean I don't want the freedom to have all that stuff or that the Second Amendment isn't a check on government power.  It very much is and I'd do push-ups if I really had too.  However, I'd prefer to fight those battles at the ballot box.  Most of the Army veterans I know hate camping and enjoy a good 5-Star hotel.

A-10 Head On - By Staff Sergeant Christopher Boitz (US Air Force Public Affaris [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ultimately, fun guns are good for the soul.  I don't think it's totally healthy to constantly focus on guns as a killing machine.  When you constantly focus on which bullet will stop a man the fastest, how to draw and get on target the quickest, and how much ammunition capacity your firearm can carry, your mind and soul must travel down some dark roads.  As a society, we ask our soldiers and police to travel these roads regularly and sometimes the journey takes them to places no one should be.  These violent destinations and the things they see often reverberate in their souls for years.

Carlson's Raiders fording a river

By all means have what you need to defend your life and your loved ones, but have fun at the range too.  Collect guns of historical interest.  Collect guns that are mechanically nifty.  Collect weird guns from Italy.  Collect big guns that won the west.  Collect guns that can put dinner on the table.  Collect .25 caliber pistols.  If something does go bump in the night, don't worry.  If you can hit your target with a 90-year old pistol, you can hit your target with today's obligatory 9mm.  Just remember that thanks to our veterans and police officers, we can just shoot for the fun of it.  We are blessed!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Handgun Review: H&R 622 .22 Caliber Snub Nose Revolver

I recently purchased an H&R 622 .22 Caliber Pull-Pin Revolver.  It's a six shot, snub nose, revolver with a two-inch barrel.  Harrington & Richardson was originally founded in 1871 and made simple, single-shot, rifles and shotguns and utilitarian pistols that were of fairly solid build quality, but affordable.  In keeping with that reputation, the H&R 622 is a very utilitarian revolver that would be perfectly at home with farmers and woodsmen who need a handy revolver for dispatching varmints, trapped game, and recreational target shooting.

H&R 622 Pull-Pin .22 Caliber Snub Nose Revolver

Why Buy An H&R 622?

There are some guns that you buy because politicians don't want you to own them.  Other guns you buy because local criminals make them necessary.  Other guns you buy just for fun.  The H&R 622 is definitely a fun gun.  I bought the H&R because I wanted a project gun to perhaps re-blue or refinish with Duracoat.  I also wanted a simple revolver for .22 caliber plinking.  I also relished the idea of practicing with a snub nose revolver to see if it is the type of firearm I'd like to have in a larger caliber for self-defense.  Finally, I found the $100 price tag to be highly appealing for a fun gun.

H&R 622 Most Interesting Feature

The most unusual feature of the H&R 622 revolver is the way it is loaded.  Most of us are used to revolvers having cylinders that swing out for unloading and loading or that have a loading gate for loading one round at a time, or that have a hinged top-break action that opens up for loading.  The H&R has an even simpler loading mechanism.  To load or unload the H&R 622, you simply pull the cylinder pin and remove the cylinder for loading or unloading.  While it isn't fast or tactical by today's standards, this simple loading and unloading mechanism allowed H&R to bring an inexpensive revolver to market.

H&R 622 with Pin and Cylinder Out

H&R 622 Safety

According to the Internet, the AR prefixed serial number of my H&R 622 indicates that it was manufactured in 1977.  While I'm still a little unsure of the year my H&R 622 was made, the little revolver does have a transfer bar safety.  That should prevent an accidental discharge if the gun is dropped.  However, I still wouldn't want to drop a forty-year old firearm.  The heavy double action trigger pull also helps ensure that any discharge is deliberate.

H&R 622 Flaws

I noticed one flaw in my H&R 622 after I got it home.  The pinned barrel could rotate just a tiny bit (perhaps a degree) and move the position of sights.  Since the barrel did not move forward or backwards, I still felt safe firing it.  However, I was a little concerned about the accuracy of the revolver.

While I haven't taken the grips off yet, internally there is some sort of plastic mainspring guide that is prone to fail.  A metal replacement part is available from some of the major parts suppliers online.

Testing my H&R 622 Revolver

A fired about a box and a half of Norma Tac-22 .22 caliber long rifle rounds at a target about 20 to 25 feet away.  I'd estimate I fired easily about 60 rounds total. I mostly fired single action, but I tried double action as well and the revolver was quite accurate.

A Nice Pile of Norma Tac-22 Brass!

H&R 622 Shooting Impressions

The H&R 622 was a complete hoot to shoot!  At the short snubby ranges I had no problem getting good groups out of the little revolver.  The front sight blade is quite narrow and it was sometimes difficult for my 50 year old eyes to get a great sight picture.  But, when you focus small, you miss small and my groups were quite small.

First Group:  H&R 622

At longer range (50-feet plus), my group spread out quite wide.  I solved this issue by moving the target back closer.  I'll try it again once I have resolved the issue with the play in the barrel.  However, since snubbies are made for close range shooting, I wasn't overly concerned. Here's my close range target!
Give Me 3 Minutes and I'll shoot you some more!
Like many revolvers, the double action trigger pull is pretty heavy and the single action pull is much lighter for precision shooting.  If you try to be slow and deliberate with double-action shots, you can be accurate, but the experience was rough on my trigger finger.  While self-defense experts recommend shooting exclusively double-action, this revolver is for plinking and fun.  I did most of my shooting single-action and found that much more comfortable.

Loading and Unloading the H&R 622 Revolver

I enjoyed the pause for reloading the H&R 622.  Taking the cylinder pin out was easy and quickly became second nature.  You simply push a button in front of the cylinder, pull the pin out, and push the cylinder out into your hand.  The cylinder pin was used to push the spent shells out of the cylinder.  This became easier as the range session went on.  I think if I had cleaned the revolver before taking it to the range that would have made it a little easier.  Dropping rounds into the empty cylinder was certainly easier than trying to feed them into a magazine for a semi-auto.  The whole process was relaxing.  However, if you are trying to be tactical, off-loading spent shells and reloading is time consuming.  Your best tactic might be a different revolver for self-defense.

H&R 622 Grip Size

The grip for the H&R 622 is pretty short.  It does not have room for a pinky.  However, I found that I could still shoot a .22 accurately and that I didn't miss having a longer grip.  I was able to hold the 622 quite steady.  That will be useful knowledge if I ever decide to concealed carry a snubby or other small firearm.


Overall, the H&R 622 revolver was sufficiently accurate for casual plinking.  I suspect that I would be equally pleased with longer barrel models.  I suspect that accuracy could be further increased with a few tweaks like painting the front sight and fixing the barrel play issues on this particular revolver.  

The bottom line:  the H&R 622 provides just about the most fun I've ever had per dollar spent on a firearm!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Revolvers Chambered for .32 H&R Magnum

This is a list that I have been putting together of revolvers that are chambered for the .32 H&R Magnum cartridge.  The cartridge was designed to be useful for self-defense and is generally reported to stand somewhere between a .380 ACP cartridge and .38 Special in terms of power.

.32 H&R Magnum (Center) compared to similarly sized cartridges - Drake00 at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

My sources for this list have included Wikipedia, the Smith & Wesson Forum, firearms manufacturer websites and various online gun sale sites. There are undoubtedly more different revolver models chambered for .32 H&R Magnum and I will update this post as I come across them.

.32 H&R Magnum Revolvers

H&R Model 504 - .32 H&R Magnum
H&R Model 532 - .32 H&R Magnum (pull-pin cylinder)
H&R Model 586 - .32 H&R Magnum (pull-pin cylinder)
NEF R73 - .32 H&R Magnum
NEF Lady Ultra - .32 H&R Magnum
Charter Arms Undercoverette SS
Charter Arms Lavender Lady
Charter Arms Pink Lady
Freedom Arms (Model 97 - chambered for .327 Magnum & .32 H&R Cylinder available) 
Dan Wesson DW 32 
Ruger LCR
Ruger Blackhawk
Ruger Single-Six
Ruger SP-101 (KSP-3231X)
Smith and Wesson K-32, Model 16-4
Smith and Wesson 431PD & 432PD Airweight Revolvers
Smith and Wesson 631 & 632 Stainless Revolvers
Taurus 731 Ultra-Lite

As of this writing, I believe only the Charter Arms Undercoverette and Lady models are still being produced for .32 H&R Magnum.  Ruger is still producing firearms for the more powerful .327 Magnum cartridge.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

How to Make Cleaning a Ruger Mark III Easier

Disassembling and cleaning a Ruger Mark III Target Pistol can be a very difficult task.  Even experienced firearms owners can find it daunting.  However, there are a few aids that can make this gun cleaning chore a little easier. 

1. Ruger Mark All-in-One Tool.  One of the things that Ruger Mark III owners find most daunting is the process of disassembling and deeply cleaning the popular target pistol. However, there is an "All-in-One" tool that can make the process far easier.

2. Ruger Mark III Cleaning Mat.  A diagram showing all the parts of a Ruger Mark III is also useful to have just in case you can't remember where a part goes or how parts fit together once you have the firearm taken down.

While I ultimately chose to sell back my Ruger Mark III target pistol when money got tight, these two accessories could have made long-term ownership much more feasible.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Popular Ruger Mark III Accessories

If you own a Ruger Mark III, there are a number of accessories that could prove helpful and make the popular target pistol more convenient.  Fortunately, the Ruger Mark III comes with a nice plastic case from Ruger.  Here are two other accessories that every Ruger Mark III owner should have:

1.  Ruger Mark III Holster.  As a gun owner, I firmly believe that ever handgun in my arsenal deserves a proper case and a proper holster.  Since I don't live in the country or wear a handgun on my hip every day, I don't have a leather holster for every firearm.  My baseline is typically a well-made black nylon holster.

2. Ruger Mark III Easy Loader.  During my short period of Ruger Mark III ownership, I noticed that loading those long metal clips can be rough on the hands.  One of the first accessories that I bought was a Mag Pal Easy Loader for the Ruger Mark III.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Handgun Review: Ruger Mark III 22/45 .22 caliber Target Pistol

God punishes those who sell perfectly good Ruger Single-Six convertible revolvers. In my case, he chose another Ruger product to visit his vengeance upon me:  the Ruger Mark III 22/45.  Of course, thou shalt not sell your Ruger Single-Six is not one of the commandments God etched in stone. It's one of those minor karmic missteps that the good lord punishes you for in mischievous ways.

Ruger Mark III Features

In my case, I bought a slick Ruger Mark III 22/45 to occupy the .22 pistol slot in my gun cabinet.  Technically, the Ruger Mark III is a widely respected target pistol and there was nothing terribly wrong with my example.  It was reasonably priced, had a 4-inch bull barrel, came in a real plastic case, and had a mount for a scope or reflex sight.  From a safety perspective, the Ruger Mark III has a loaded chamber indicator, a safety, and an internal lock.  It was also a fairly accurate pistol with a nice tall front sight and an adjustable rear sight.  I loved the fact that my Ruger came in a nice plastic box that could serve as a carrying case.  It even had a small padlock to locking the case when the pistol was not in use.

From a looks perspective, the Ruger Mark III 22/45 had a bit of the whole La Femme Nikita thing going on.  However, the grips were a bit generic and blocky.  All pointed towards serviceable but not overly sexy compared with other .22 target pistols.  On sale for less than $300, I thought I got a pretty good deal.

Ruger Mark III Shooting Impressions

However, the Ruger Mark III 22/45 lost me on the firing line. It simply made a bad first impression.  My fingers got raw loading the magazines, I remembered how easy it was to simply open the loading gate of the Single-Six and drop the bullets in one by one.  Then, there were the safety, magazine release, and bolt stop to deal with on the Ruger Mark III and all of those were stiff and uncomfortable.  Firing the Mark III was certainly less therapeutic than closing the loading gate of a single-action revolver, taking aim, cocking the hammer, and squeezing an ever so light trigger.  Although the Mark III was quite accurate, the stiff new pistol  made me realize that I was probably more of a revolver person when it comes to .22 caliber fun.  Although I had done a quick cleaning of the Mark III prior to shooting, my new pistol failed to chamber a few rounds out of the hundred or so that I shot.  Finally, somewhere during my range session, the Mark III actually bit me.  I think a part of my thumb got in the way as the slide moved back into battery.

The Loaded Chamber Indicator on the Ruger Mark III 22/45

Ruger Mark III Competitors

To add insult to injury, after I bought my Mark III, Smith & Wesson came out with their snazzy new Victory target pistols and Ruger came out with the easy to clean Ruger Mark IV.  The Mark III is reportedly very difficult to fully clean.  I took that as a sign from above.  Someone above was making me regret my purchase.

Ruger Mark III 22/45 Bull Barrel & Front Sight


I simply didn't fall in love with my Ruger Mark III 22/45.  When I really needed a little extra cash, I sold the pistol back to my local gun store.  With all the snazzy new pistols in the market, I took a hit there too.  But, living near a wretched hive of scum and villainy where people kill each other over sneakers, I felt safer selling back to the gun store.  In truth, I could have worked on my relationship with my Ruger Mark III.  I bought a Mag Pal Ruger Clip Loader to save my fingers during loading.  The Ruger Mark III was plenty accurate.  It presented a great sight picture.

Ruger Mark III 22/45 Sight Picture

For me, this pistol was a paradox.  Nothing was wrong with it and everything was wrong with it.  I can't totally pan the Ruger Mark III.  It is a safe, accurate, handgun.  It just wasn't the pistol for me.

My firearms collecting journey isn't over.  I'll likely add another .22 pistol to my arsenal in a few months.  There's a very good chance it will be a revolver--preferably an old and inexpensive one.