Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Christmas Ideas for the Shooter

Praetorian 2 gloves from 5.11 $54.99

Yellowknife mits with removable liner from Duluth Trading Company $99.00

Hornady Rapid Safe $249.00

Barksa combination safe $24.99 at Amazon

Complete cleaning kit including mat $49.99 at Russell's for Men.

Irish Blackthorn Walking Stick from Russell's for Men $110.00

Grant Cuningham's Picks:

Quark Tactical QT2A-X flashlight  $78.00 from $34.49  Priced by Course  $15.24 training, accessories, matches and more!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Yet Another Kimber, The Pro Carry II in 9mm

1911's come in a diverse mix.  There are some of superb quality with prices ranging from $3,000.00 to $4,000.00 and up.  If you have the money you can't go wrong with any of them.  There are a few at the opposite end of the price range for a few hundred dollars to around six hundred dollars.  Some of them are OK, some make good project guns if you want to spend more money on upgrades and some of the value priced 1911s are not worth the money, time or effort you would need to make them reliable and shoot to point of aim.  

This is where Kimber comes in.  Kimber's models start around $800.00 and level off just under three thousand.  They come with most everything you will need so any additions would be minimal.  The model being reviewed here is the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm.  The price was just a few dollars over $800.00 so this is one of Kimber's entry level pistols.  The Pro Carry II has a matte black aluminum frame with a steel slide and  4 inch match grade barrel.  It has a height of 5.25 inches, a length of 7.7 inches, and a width of 1.28 inches.  It weighs in at 28 ounces empty, has a set of rubber double diamond grips and a trigger pull between four to five pounds.  The sights are fixed Novak style low profile in plain black both front and back and this is where I decided to make a change.  
I asked the gunsmith at Bill's Gun Shop in Robbinsdale, MN to put a red fiber optic sight up front.

And I asked him to make that red pipe as fat as he could so my aging eyes couldn't miss it.  
I opted to leave the rear sight as it was, just black and serrated.  I have found that I pick up the front sight quicker if there are no distracting dots on the rear sight.  Lining up three dots is no more accurate for me than having just one dot to put on target. It is certainly a smidgen faster to acquire the proper sight picture if you are not trying to put three dots in a row.

The trigger and hammer are of the skeleton variety.
This fine but if they we solid it would not have been a deal breaker for me.  The trigger itself is long which I prefer as it allows for better placement of my trigger finger.  Those with smaller hands however may want to replace it with a shorter trigger.  The Pro Carry II is also devoid of a "memory bump" at the bottom of the beavertail grip safety.  The "memory bump" has become very fashionable on 1911's and is designed to allow more positive contact with the grip safety ensuring proper engagement so that the pistol will fire when gripped.  I am fine with no "member bump" on the pistol as I have never had a problem properly depressing the grip safety when I grip the pistol.

Let's see how she shot!

I first loaded up five rounds and pushed the target out to a scant 15 feet to get acquainted with the pistol.
These were the first five rounds out of the box and with four of the five touching any further "getting acquainted" time was not necessary.

The targets were then pushed out to 21 feet with the following results:

The target was then moved to 30 feet:

And then to 35 feet:

And finally we rolled the target out of 75 feet:

The pistol shot very well and is probably the second most accurate 9mm in my safe.  The Kimber's weight of 28 ounces tends to negate most of the felt recoil making the Pro Carry II a great pistol for a newer 1911 shooter or one who is more prone to recoil sensitivity.  The overall accuracy and low recoil makes the Pro Carry II one satisfying pistol to shoot and the lower priced 9mm ammunition allows you to make the fun last a little longer!

Overall Kimber makes a great 1911 in the moderate price range.  You don't need to spend thousands to get a great 1911.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kimber Sapphire Ultra Carry 9mm

Oh, how I love the Kimber brand of 1911s.  I hear a lot of flack directed their way via the inter web and mostly voiced by people who have never shot one and a few who put a couple of rounds through a friend's pistol.  I have never had a problem with Kimber 1911s and have owned more than I can remember.

Kimber's lower priced models begin around $800 and those prices escalate to around $2,000 for their pistols with greater handcrafted customization.  The Sapphire is about $1600.00 therefore it is a very Un-Average Joe type pistol, but everyone deserves a BBQ, Sunday go-to-meeting pistol.

I apologize for not having photos that are up to my expectation but the finish on this pistol is so reflective that every photo I took had a reflection of me, my camera, or the lights in my light box lights in them.  The ones chosen have the least amount reflected items in them.

So let's delve into the specifications of the Sapphire pistol.  The Sapphire is basically a special edition of the Kimber Aegis pistol.  It's 6.8 inches in length with a 3 inch barrel.  It's 4.75 inches in height with a width of 1.15 inches and a weight of 25 ounces.  There's checkering on the front strap of the aluminum frame, tactical wedge night sights on top and blue/black G-10 thin grips.  
The butt of the grip has been slightly rounded to reduce the chance of the pistol printing through or hanging up on your cover garment.

The stainless steel slide, safety levers, hammer, and beavertail grip safety all sport a high polish blue Physical Vapor Deposition  (PVD) coating with scroll engraved boarders.  Wikipedia tells us that "Physical Vapor Deposition describes a variety of vacuum deposition methods used to deposit thin fils by the condensation of a vaporized form of the desired film material on various workpiece surfaces.  The coating method involves purely physical processes such has high-temperature vacuum evaporate with subsequent condensation, or plasma sputter bombardment rather than involving a chemical reaction at the surface to be coated as in chemical vapor deposition.  PVD coatings are sometimes harder and more corrosion resistant than coatings applied by the electroplating process. Most coatings have high temperature and good impact strength, excellent abrasion resistance and are so durable that protective topcoats are almost never necessary."

The PVD process is used on semiconductors, precision cutting tools, precision watches, automobile bumpers, surgical equipment and firearms.

The other thing the coating does is round off edges.  This is no problem on the magazine release button but your thumb can slip off the the slide release, safety and the slide serrations.  But let's face it, this pistol is a safe queen, not an everyday carry piece.

However, it does shoot.  Here are two targets at 21 feet from two different shooting sessions"
The ammunition used in all of the shooting was MagTech 115 grain full-metal jacket.

Here's 10 rounds fired from 30 feet.

24 rounds fired at 35 feet.

And 50 rounds fired at 50 feet.

This is a good pistol but has limited appeal.  Some will not like the finish and it is difficult to keep it fingerprint free.  Some don't like 3 inch 1911's which is a category I usually fall into.  Some will feel that a 1911 chambered in anything other than .45 ACP is sacrilege which is a category I don't fall into.  And for most the price tag is out of budgetary range.  But there will be some, like me, who see this pistol as a work of art.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Ruger 10/22 50th Anniversary Limited Edition

"A feller just can't have too many 10/22s".  Those sage words were uttered by some old timer looking over a slicked up 10/22 at Cliff's Guns, Safes, and Reloading in Boise, Idaho back in early 2004.  And just a few days ago I read this article on posted by Howard on 9/29/2012 and attributed at Mark Hatfield.  The title of the article is "What REALLY is the Best Gun for SHTF" and this excerpt caught my eye:

"The late ‘Skeeter’ Skelton wrote about that question using one of his fictional characters, an old Texas rancher whom he called Dobe Grant. Reportedly, ‘Dobe’ was a composite of several real Texan old timers.  When the ‘one gun’ question was posed to the tough old dude (Oops, ranchers aren’t ‘dudes’), he wanted at first 4 guns.  A scoped 30-06, a 12 gauge shotgun, a revolver in 44 magnum, and a revolver in 22 rimfire.
When pressed to get to one, the first dropped was the shotgun, then the rifle.  The rancher was skillful enough that he could use the 44 to hunt big game and to deal with predators upon his livestock.   The 22 revolver was just so useful for just about everything that he would not give up that option.  But that is still two guns.

He later returned to Skeeter and said ‘If I could have only one gun, it would be a 22 rifle’."
The Ruger 10/22 had always been a good seller since it was introduced.  The fact that it had more than passing resemblance to the M1 Carbine probably didn't hurt the 10/22's popularity.  I bought my first 10/22 in the early 1980's and back then we had two options.  The standard model with a hardwood stock (probably birch) and a barrel band holding the barrel to the fore stock or the more expensive version with a walnut stock, checkering on the pistol grip and fore stock, and no barrel band.  I'm pretty sure the standard model was much more popular as it was less expensive and bore the closest resemblance to the M1 Carbine.

Back then Ruger had little in the way of accessories for the 10/22 but the aftermarket industry had long realized the opportunities for customization.  Soon after acquiring it I purchased a folding stock for it made by Federal Ordnance that gave it the M1 Paratrooper look and I also picked up a 25 round magazine and a 50 round teardrop magazine manufactured by Mitchell Arms.

On October 1st, 1987 I was living in Los Angeles when the Whittier earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 on the Richter scale struck while I was shaving.  In the 21 months I had lived there it was the first earthquake of any notice that I had experienced.  The news anchors for the local NBC station kept diving under their desk whenever an after shock hit and I braced myself in a doorway as I had heard you should do (which as it turned out was no longer the best response).  The actual news coming into the station was bleak and gave viewers the impression that society might be up for grabs and civil disobedience might erupt (it didn't).  So as I ventured out that day I dropped my loaded Smith & Wesson model 10 into my trunk along with the six spare rounds I had on hand.  The Ruger 10/22 went in also with the 10, 25 and 50 round magazines along with 200 spare rounds of Remington High Velocity ammo.  I figured if the SHTF there probably weren't too many people familiar with the profile of the 10/22 in the folding stock configuration with the 50 round magazine affixed to it so they might not have recognized it as a .22.  And...if anyone posed a threat I could squeeze off several rounds pretty quickly and hopefully scare them off.  As it turns out it was an interesting day but society did not crumble into a state of utter chaos.

Fast foreword to the present and Ruger has more variations of the 10/22 than you can shake a stick at (as if that were a valuable use of your time).  They got 'em in wooden stocks, synthetic stocks, black stocks, a couple of different versions of camouflage, two different lengths, standard and fiber optic sights and several versions of a model where the barrel and part of the fore stock unscrews from the receiver with both sections of rifle fitting into a custom backpack.  And now the 10/22 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is at Bill's Gun Shop and Range in Robbinsdale, Minnesota and is their November Gun of the Month for the attractive price of $269.00!

Now let me show you what you get for $269.00 and
believe me it was like Christmas morning when I opened the box and went through the goodies inside.

Of course you get the 10/22 pictured above but the first thing you find is this commemorative tin sign.
I suggest leaving it in the plastic wrap and 49 years from now you kids will put it on ebay to pay for you grandkids college tuition.

The bolt is tastefully roll marked with the 50th anniversary logo.

It also sports a set of easy-to-see contrasting red and green fiber optic sights that really help the eyes of us closing in on 60.

A rail is included if you want to attach other optics to the 10/22.

There is also a commemorative lapel pin, a bumper 
sticker and a sealed envelope containing a copy of the 1 sheet advertisement for the original 10/22.  Keep the lapel pin and ad in pristine condition for your kids to put on ebay too.

And...last but certainly not least...also included in the
is a Ruger 25 round magazine.  I told you the box was full of goodies!

Now, if that wasn't enough, Bill's is also adding a Ruger 10/22 laser by LaserMax.

The unit attaches to the fore end and provides a rail on the side.  The allows you to also attach a tactical light which would make this an ideal nocturnal vermin/varmint control rifle.

But the best part of all is how the 10/22 shoots.

For warm-up I put 5 rounds of Winchester M.22 ammo at 21 feet into a 3 inch Birchwood Casey target:

Here are two targets at 30 feet shot with 5 rounds each:

Here's 20 rounds at 50 feet and

Here's 20 rounds at 75 feet.

I need to fine tune the windage to move the point of impact slightly to the left but otherwise this 10/22 is good to go and a ton of fun to shoot!

Trust me on this dear reader, there is a new 10/22 in your future because "a feller or a gal just can't have too many 10/22's".