Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Should I Refinish My Old .22 Rifle?

Background - My Ranger M34 Single Shot .22 Rifle

One of the coolest old firearms in my collection is a single-shot Ranger M34 that was passed on to me from my grandfather.  I believe it was made in the early 1930s.  Here is an an advertisement for a similar Ranger single-shot .22 from that era.  Can you imagine being able to buy a rifle for $3.49!!! 

Today, single-shot .22 rifles are still not terribly expensive.  They have some advantages when it comes to teaching young people to shoot.  With a single shot rifle, you have to slow down, make sure you are in a good stance, get a good sight picture, exercise breathing control, exercise trigger control, and hold steady to follow through and let your bullet leave the barrel.

The Eternal Question:  Should I refinish my rifle?

I'm in a quandary about my single-shot .22 Ranger.  They aren't very valuable monetarily.  But, the family connection in the rifle is strong.  I'm very tempted to clean up the stock and the barrel by removing any external rust from the barrel and refinishing the stock.  It would make for a nicer shooter and preserve the rifle for posterity.  However, you could argue that every nick and scratch tells a story.  It's a tough call.

Conventional wisdom in the gun magazines is that refinishing and particularly re-blueing a firearm destroys its value as a collectible.  However, it might be okay to refinish firearms that aren't considered valuable or likely to grow in value.  Finally, there are a few people on gun forums who have the perspective that the firearm belongs to you and you can do with it what you wish.

My grandfather was a very practical man and I don't think he ever really collected anything for sentimental reasons.  If he thought it would preserve the firearm and keep it a useful tool, he would probably have it refinished.  Alternatively, if he really thought he needed a firearm, he would probably just go out and buy a new one.

It seems like there is a pretty good chance that I'll go out and some sort of Birchwood Casey kit and try my hand at improving an old firearm.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If Hillary Wins: Here Are The Guns You Can Still Enjoy!

The election is creeping closer and closer.  Soon America will have to decide between Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or one of the third party candidates.  As nearly every gun owner knows, this election is vital.  Hillary Clinton has made no secret of her disdain for the Second Amendment.  Hillary Clinton made gun control a centerpiece of her campaign from the outset.

Hillary Clinton - Presidential Candidate & Gun Control Advocate

She is likely to appoint liberal Supreme Court justices who will interpret the bill of rights to reduce our access to firearms.  If she wins and gets the votes she needs in Congress or gets her nominees onto the Supreme Court, a constitutional right that we have long taken for granted will be reduced in stature and slowly interpreted away.

As the pendulum swings towards gun control, what are the firearms that you will likely still be able to enjoy?

1. Traditional Hunting Rifles.  The Democrats have long said that they "support the second amendment" for hunters.  Thus, some of their legislation has actually protected selected hunting firearms like the Marlin 336 .30-30 deer rifle.  Hillary and her henchmen are likely to leave 4 and 5 round capacity traditional hunting rifles alone.  If Hillary wins the White House, gun owners might expect a revival of an updated assault weapons ban as proposed by Senator Diane Feinstein in 2012. By listing many popular hunting rifles as exempt, the Democrats hope to split hunters off from gun collectors, target shooters, and self-defense shooters. Ultimately, this sort of measure paves the way for more and more aggressive forms of gun control.

Marlin 336W .30-30 Lever Action Hunting Rifle - Photo By Boris Barowski (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
2. Double Barrel Shotguns.  When you except huge speaking fees and foundation contributions from the uber-wealthy, you aren't going to pass laws that will greatly impact their skeet and trap shooting.  Even current Vice President Joe Biden has made irresponsible statements about how to defend your home with the double barrel shotgun.

Double Barrel Shotgun - Photo original uploader was Commander Zulu at English Wikipedia [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
Of course, we don't have to go through another round of ineffective gun control laws.  There is an alternative.  Donald Trump has been clear in his support for the Second Amendment.  He has been endorsed by the NRA.  He has pledged to appoint judges who will interpret the constitution as the founding fathers intended.

For gun owners, there is one clear candidate to support this November:  Donald Trump.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Gun Contests: Patriot Ordnance Factory P415 G4 Rifle Give Away

Here's another great gun give away. is giving away a really cool set of prizes.  Over $5800 worth of loot is up for grabs.  The grand prize winner gets --

  • Patriot Ordnance Factory P415 G4 Rifle
  • Trijicon ACOG Optic
  • 1yr Membership to NGOA Buyers Club
  • $100 Botach Gift Card
  • *Or Cash Prize
The Runner's Up get -

  • 1yr memberships to the NGOA Buyers Club and
  • $100 Botach gift card!

You can enter here for the Gunwinner POF give away.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Contests for Shooters: Win Free Ammo for a Year from Cheaper than Dirt

I just came across the coolest contest on Twitter!  The famed online retailer of ammunition and all things gun-related, Cheaper than Dirt, is giving away a years worth of ammunition.  Technically, they are giving somone $10,000 worth of ammunition!  You can enter every day through November 9th!  Here's the link: Cheaper Than Dirt $10000 Ammo Give-Away!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Replacing and Restoring Grips on a Smith & Wesson K-Frame Revolver

I've really enjoyed owning and shooting my 1940s vintage Smith & Wesson British Service Revolver.  But, I haven't been enamored with the false pearl grips.  I'm sure that the Brits didn't send their officers into harm's way looking like riverboat gamblers.  I wanted something no nonsense.  When the grips shifted a bit when I shot Buffalo Bore .38 S&W at the range, I decided to get some wooden grips.

I had a tough time finding some that would look right and I was torn between smooth walnut or more traditional civilian grips.  I was also on a budget.  Fortunately, I was able to find some used grips online at Sarco, Inc.  

How to Clean Old Wooden Grips for a Revolver

When they arrived, they were pretty dirty and left brown marks on my hands.  So, I searched the internet for advice on how to restore them.  There were plenty of videos featuring men with garages working with a variety of compounds to get the grips into shape.  I didn't have the budget or dedicated space to do that kind of project.  So, I used plenty of Dawn dishwashing soap, warm water, an old toothbrush and some elbow grease.  The grips cleaned up in no time.  I did a couple of cleaning sessions, rinsed them thoroughly and let them dry overnight in front of a fan.  Then I used some acetone nail polish remover to remove some silver numerals that had been painted onto the bottom of grips by some former institutional owner.  Then I soaked them with Dawn again and hit again with the toothbrush and put them in front of a fan for another evening.

Smith & Wesson K-frame Grips Drying After Cleaning

How To Refinish Wooden Revolver Grips with Tru-Oil

There are a number of ways to refinish revolver grips.  Serious hobbyists do some excellent work with linseed oil.  However, since my grips were going on a cosmetically challenged shooter grade revolver and since I was on a tight budget, I opted to use Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish.  Some folks do an awesome job and achieve a fine sheen with this product, but I just wanted to apply a couple of coats and stop while I was ahead.

Here are the steps I used:
  • I created a work area with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
  • I applied the oil with a rag (left over material from some new khaki pants that had recently been hemmed). 
  • I applied the oil in the direction of the grain of the wood.
  • I used another old toothbrush to work the oil down into the checkered areas of each grip.
  • I immediately wiped off excess Tru-Oil with my rag.
  • I set the newly oiled grips on top of a plastic shoe box to dry. 
  • After 2 or 3 hours, I applied a second coat of Tru-Oil. 
  • Again, I set the newly oiled grips on top of a plastic shoe box to dry.
Here is one of the grips shortly after oiling when I set it out to dry:

Smith & Wesson K Frame Grips Drying After Tru-Oil was applied.

My Old Smith & Wesson Revolver's New Look

Here are a couple of photos of my old Smith & Wesson British Service Revolver sporting it's spiffy new old grips.  I think these grips give me a better grip on the firearm, have the appropriate vintage look, match the aging metal work, and look pretty darned good.

The wooden grips definitely fill the hand much better.  I like the extra purchase provided by the checkering as opposed to the smooth faux pearl grips.

Observations on Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish

I'll let the serious woodworkers debate the merits of Tru-Oil versus other finishes.  I'll just say that Tru-Oil was easy to apply, didn't require a dedicated garage space, and didn't stink up the apartment.

Applying Tru-Oil.  I used a rag to apply Tru-Oil to my grips.  Since some of the Tru-Oil seeped through the material, I also got some on my fingertips.  I found that for a small project, it was fairly easy to clean my hands using Dawn.  But, some of the internet gurus recommended using gloves and I think I would go that route for a larger project.

Using a Toothbrush with Tru-Oil.  I also tried applying Tru-Oil directly to the checkering by dunking a toothbrush in the bottle.  That made a mess as the brush comes out with way to much oil and drips all over the grips.  Fortunately, the rag was handy and it was easy to wipe away the excess oil.  The toothbrush was handy for getting the oil down into the checkering.  I just don't recommend dunking it into the oil.

Tru-Oil Smell.  My wife can pick up on the faintest of scents and she said she noticed it.  However, it didn't linger, we didn't have to run fans, and we didn't have to leave the apartment.  Compared with many other gun oiling and cleaning products, Tru-Oil wasn't objectionable.  Amazon sells it in various sizes and you can also get it at retailers like Walmart.

Overall, I'm really happy with my little project and I found Tru-Oil convenient and easy to work with on my pistol grips.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Give Aways & Great Tactical Gear from Ridgeback Tactical

I've recently been involved in some very cool knife and gear give-aways!  I've been fortunate enough to win some very cool tactical swag.

Winning is exciting!  I was lucky enough and persistent enough to win two re-tweet contests on Twitter.  A Charlotte, North Carolina, tactical gear shop and on-line retailer, Ridgeback Tactical, has been running contests to get retweets of their auction announcement posts.  They've had some awesome gear for sale through  They've got AR-style uppers and lowers, AR-box magazines of all kinds, tactical optics, great knives, bullet proof backpacks and more!  Best of all, they have really reasonable prices on all the gear they sell.

I started retweeting them when they announced a knife give away a few weeks ago and I won a great Boker pocket knife.  It's called the Boker Magnum:

Boker Magnum from Ridgeback Tactical

Boker is a German-based company with a long history of making excellent blades.  This particular model is made in China, but it is quite hefty for a pocket knife and it has a nice thick cutting blade that should stand up to some real use and abuse.  I'm putting together an every day carry kit for our car and I think this will be an excellent addition.

I followed up two weeks later with another RT victory.  This time the guys at Ridgeback sent me a laser etched magazine and a T-shirt!  The laser etched magazine is a great addition to my small collection.  They have etched magazines commemorating the flag, the Gadsden Flag ("Don't Tread on Me"), Army special forces, the Marines, the Air Force, and the Navy.  These magazines would make great gifts for veterans.  Plus, with etched magazines, shooters can know which magazines are their favorites and which have been problematic at a glance.

The T-Shirt and Laser Etched Mag that I won from Ridgeback Tactical

You can see all the Ridgeback Tactical auctions on right here.  But, I really recommend following them on Twitter and jumping in on their weekend Retweet contests.  You can help a small business grow by spreading the word about their products and you can possibly win some great gear when they have a contest.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: How to Shoot Like a Navy Seal

There are some big differences between formal target shooting and tactical shooting for self-defense.  In a real life self-defense situation, your body is charged with adrenaline.  You might have someone shooting at you.  Your life and the lives of innocent bystanders are at risk.  Speed matters.  Accuracy matters.  It's a real challenge.  However, since I received my formal firearms training in college, my training was focused on marksmanship for small bore rifle shooting at the rifle range.  As I read more about shooting, I've always wondered how to adapt lessons that applied to slow deliberate shooting at a range to practical shooting for self-defense situations.  Fortunately, the e-book How to Shoot Like a Navy Seal by Chris Sajnog bridges this training gap perfectly.

A US Navy SEAL in Afghanistan

While Chris Sajnog excelled in for many years as a Navy SEAL and SEAL firearms instructor, he does a good job of tailoring his book to normal everyday shooters.  I had feared that a book by a SEAL might require me to run hundreds of miles, half-drown myself, experience hypothermia, and total exhaustion before expending unlimited amounts of ammunition at the range.

Navy SEAL Trainees covered in mud

Instead, Chris dispenses with the bravado and writes cogently about the fundamentals of shooting and how those fundamentals are adapted to combat shooting.  He covers basics like safety, stance, grip, sight picture, trigger control, breathing, and follow through.  For each topic, he thoughtfully covers the basics in a way that is practical for the civilian or law enforcement shooter faced with a tactical situation.  He shows how the basic technique changes for combat shooting. Chris covers the basics of pistol and carbine shooting using ubiquitous Glock-style handguns and AR-style carbines.

How to Shoot Like a Navy Seal is a quick read and is filled with very sensible training advice and tips on combat marksmanship fundamentals.  However, once you register with links provided in the book, you also get a series of free online videos that demonstrate the concepts discussed.  I found these invaluable.  They let you see exactly what Chris writes about in the book.  He shows you how to practice at home.  If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can get the book for very low cost or even borrow it.

Overall, I highly recommend Chris Sajnog's book, How to Shoot Like a Navy Seal, and recommend you download it today!  For more training from Chris Sajnog, check out the training company he founded:  Center Mass Group.