Monday, October 23, 2017

Gun Give Aways - Ruger Redhawk

The only thing I'd love more than a good gun give away would be winning a good gun give away!  I just found out that the folks over at Second Amendment University are giving away a Ruger Redhawk revolver.  It's a classic double action revolver much like the one shown below.

Ruger Redhawk by Mcumpston at English WikipediaMike Cumpston (Own work (Original text: self-made)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I'd love to add a really stout big bore handgun to my collection so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  But, it would be a great gun to add to any collection and you can enter to win right here!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Holster Review: GunMate Hip Holster for Small Frame Revolvers

This is a quick review of the GunMate Hip Holster for Small Frame Revolvers.  It is a small holster for small revolvers.  At less than $10, it also sells for a small price.  This is a right-hand-only holster for snub nose revolvers with barrels of up to 2 1/2 inches long.  I bought it for my H&R Model 622 snubby and found it to be a perfect fit.

GunMate Hip Holster for Small Frame Revolvers
I bought this holster because I needed something to protect and carry my recent dirt cheap revolver.  It's a typical inexpensive nylon holster.  The manufacturer says it has a tough outer shell and a smooth padded lining to protect the finish of your firearm.  If you are looking to fit an H&R 622 snubnose revolver, then Size 20/Model 21020 from GunMate does the trick.

I bought this holster merely as a cover for a pistol that will be a range toy.  Gun magazine writers will tell you that--if you want a serious holster for daily concealed carry--you are going to want something more than the cheapest available nylon holster.  One reason is that you are going to want something solid to hold your revolver snug against your hip.  Some of the better nylon holsters feature a metal belt clip.  To wear this GunMate holster, you just feed your belt through the nylon strap shown below.  If you are wearing a regular men's belt, there is a good chance that the revolver/holster combination will twist and move around quite a bit with this setup.  Not a big deal if you wear this merely to protect your firearm and you are shooting at targets.  However, if you are carrying concealed and plan to get in a gun fight with robbers at your nearest convenience store, this holster isn't your best choice.

This holster has three advantages:

  • It's Cheap
  • It's Convenient
  • It fits my revolver well.
I should note that I do need to trim off some of the excess strap shown in this photo.

In my opinion, this holster has three disadvantages:
  • It's really just for administrative use at the range
  • It's not for fast draw
  • It doesn't have a metal clip and backplate to stabilize your firearm on your hip.
For me, the GunMate Hip Holster is perfectly adequate for my latest low cost range toy.  It surely beats a plain paper bag.  If you want to order online, this holster is available on Amazon.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Reasons to Choose the Ruger Mini-14 Instead of the AR-15

When it comes to Modern Sporting Rifles, most people have standardized on the AR-15.  It's interchangeable, customizable, and fun to shoot.  I recently enjoyed some range time with an AR-15.  It was my first experience shooting an AR-15 on my own.  I found many of the controls to be just a tad cumbersome.  The experience made me think about the Ruger Mini-14 versus the AR-15.  If you come from a civilian background, you might want to check out the Ruger Mini-14 as an alternative.

Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle
If you are a civilian stepping up from a civilian semi-automatic rifle such as a Ruger 10/22 or a Marlin 795, you'll find the Mini-14 far more intuitive to use than an AR-15.  You'll also find it far more ergonomically friendly than the AR-15.  If you look at the placement of key features on the Ruger Mini-14 versus the placement of the same features on the AR-15, you'll find the Ruger Mini-14 easier and faster to use.  Here are two key aspects of the Ruger Mini-14 and AR-15 to consider.  Forgive any terminology errors, I'm just a civilian remember.

Safety:  On the Ruger Mini-14, the safety is located on the front of the trigger guard and simply needs to be pushed forward in order to fire the firearm. 

Ruger Mini-14 Safety

On the AR-15 the safety is on a lever mounted along the side of the firearm.

Charging Bolt:  On the AR-15, the charging bolt is on the back of the receiver.  This requires shooters to move their hand far from the firearm's other controls to chamber a round.  You can see the charging handle is the T-shaped part at the top of the photo below.

AR-15 Partially Disassembled

On the Ruger Mini-14, the slide handle is on the right hand side (see photo below) just as it is on countless other civilian semi-automatic rifles.

Ruger Mini-14 Slide  

Magazine Release:   On the Ruger Mini-14, the magazine release is just behind the magazine.  It's in a similar location on countless civilian semi-automatic rifles.

Ruger Mini-14 Magazine Release
 On the AR-15 (or M4 Carbine), you'll find the magazine is released by a button.  It's on the opposite side of the rifle from the safety.

M4 Carbine Magazine Release

Major Controls:  If you look at the overall locations of key controls on the Ruger Mini-14, you'll see that they are all located close together in a manner that they can quickly be accessed with one hand. 

Ruger Mini-14 Key Controls

On the AR-15, some controls are on the left-hand side of the rifle while the magazine release and bolt forward assist is on the right-hand side of the rifle.  If you have been in the military and had the benefit of a large bellicose man screaming at you until you can take an M-16 apart in the dark, running an AR-15 is easy.  But, for the rest of us, it may take time and training.

Key Controls on the AR-15 or M4 Carbine

As a civilian without the benefit of countless government studies or battlefield experience, it just seems like the manual of arms for a Ruger Mini-14 would make for faster operation.  In a military operation with a whole well trained unit, the control locations on an AR-15 may not make much different.  If you are on alert or on patrol, you are ready to go.  However, if you are a civilian responding to the sound of broken glass in your home late at night, you will likely have to instinctively insert a magazine, chamber a round, and take the rifle off safe as quickly as you safely can.  In such a situation, the simplicity of the Ruger Mini-14 may be a deciding factor.

Mossberg Plinkster 702 Semi-Automatic .22 Rifle

If you can run a Mossberg Plinkster, you can run a Ruger Mini-14.  If you have only run a Mossberg Plinkster, you may find an AR-15 confusing when it counts.  It's just one thing to think about when you choose a rifle for home defense.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gun Giveaway: Rock-Ola M-14 Rifle.

If you are addicted to gun give away contests, you are going to want to check out the Give Away from Classic Firearms.  They are giving away a classic Rock-Ola M-14 Rifle.  If you like 7.62mm fun, then you need to click over to the contest site here:  Giveaway: The Big One - M14

An M-14 Rifle

These guns are made by James River Armory under the Rock-Ola name.  They look like a high quality quality firearm by any measure.  There may be many others like it, but I'm hoping to say this one is mine!

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!