Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ruger 10/22 Collector's Series Second Edition

Ruger, of late, has certainly become a very prolific firearms manufacturer.  New model designs with a variety of caliber choices in just about all of their catalogued lines has kept Ruger's manufacturing plants very busy and has kept the shooters scratching their heads trying to figure out which new model(s) to purchase.  

Back in the olden days before smart watches, streaming video and Uber, I was a lad and you only had a choice of two models, the standard and the deluxe.  The deluxe model had better wood, checkering on the pistol grip and fore-stock and no band around the barrel and fore-end   Most of us kids back then coveted the standard model because of the barrel band.  It made it very M-1 Carbine-esque.  Ruger has come a long way since then as their website now lists 22 different models of the 10/22. 

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the venerable 10/22 rifle and Ruger released a 50th anniversary collector's edition.  2015 marks the release of Ruger's Collector's Series Second Edition.

Upon seeing this second edition your eyes will focus on two parts.  The first is the dark gray composite stock and the second is the sighting system.
Up front is a wing-protected, non-glare sight with a ghost ring adjustable aperture sight at the rear.  These sights are designed for fast target acquisition  and, with the adjustable aperture, you can dial the sights in for your favorite 22 Long Rifle brand and load.  No squirrel, jack rabbit, rodent, aluminum can or paper target will ever be safe again!

On the aft end of the firearm is Ruger's modular stock system which allows you change the comb from the standard hight  to a raised comb which raises your line of sight if an optic is mounted on the picatinny rail.

Ruger has also stamped the Ruger Collector's Series markings on the bolt.

As with all Ruger 10/22's the Collector's Series Second Edition comes with a standard 10 round rotary magazine.
The rotary design has been a hit with Ruger for 51 years because it work and works well.  With quality ammunition the 10/22 is amazingly reliable.  But, as good as the 10 round rotary mags are, you may want to stock up on some higher capacity magazines before the zombie apocalypse begins and the hi-cap mags become scarce.  Well, you are in luck as the rifle's box will also contain a $25 gift certificate and that will get you most of the way to a high capacity magazine.

But wait...there's more!
The box will also contain a Ruger lapel pin, a reproduction of an early magazine ad and a limited editions Ruger street sign.

Ruger 10/22's are easy shooting and easy packing rifles that can go just about anywhere and provide reliability, accuracy and fun.  Everyone should own at least three  10/22s:

  1. The first one you received as a kid
  2. The one you upgraded to for hunting or more serious target work
  3. A collector's edition (or two, or three, or more)
You probably already have the first two and now it's time to add the second collector's edition to your battery.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Guns of Disneyland

There are those in the left-wing progressive camp that would love to extinguish firearms from our culture and expunge any mention of them from our historical records despite the fact that without them this country would not exist.  Yes, firearms have been used by both the good guys and the bad guys but if they were taken away the bad guys would commit mayhem with something else.  Julius Caesar and the legions of Rome conquered most of the known world with spears and short swords. 

People have always needed weapons for the self protection of their tribe, state, nation or themselves and history has shown us that the most tyrannical regimes on earth have always been able to exploit a population that is unarmed.    Spears and short swords were state of the art weapons technology in Caesar's time and today firearms represent the current evolution of weaponry.  Weapons, in one form or another, have been used by the members of ancient tribes, nations and individual citizens since the dawning of the human race.

The left-wing progressives prefer to move toward their stilted version of an enlightened society where there are no firearms nor any mention of them in historical studies.  Their efforts have resulted in misguided gun control legislation that has no effect of violent crime.  Their impact has also been strongly felt in the toy industry.  Trying to find a toy firearm in a lot of retail chains across the county is akin to finding the preverbal needle in a haystack.  Toy manufacturers have faced terrible pressure to cease or at least greatly decrease their manufacture.  My generation grew up reenacting the old west frontier with duels at high noon in the driveway or playing Army and pretending to oust the Nazi's from our backyards.  And we did this with plastic armaments from Mattel.  They gave us authentic Winchesters and Colt Peacemakers for the kiddie cowboys and realistic Thompson submachine guns and M16 rifles for those of us who chose to pretend that they were in 20th century conflict.  As far as I can tell our generation, who played with these realistic toys, turned out very few mass murders compared to recent times.  And as far as I can recollect no mass murderer has ever been a member of the National Rifle Association.  I haven't fully researched that last statement but I am sure if one had been the news media would have blasted that information across the stratosphere to the point where I could not have missed it.

So, if you want to visit a place which still remembers that guns were used in our history's past and still sells toy guns then maybe you should visit the happiest place on earth: Disneyland!  Disneyland has a plethora of firearms that are used on attractions as well as replica toy firearms for sale to the general public.

Upon first arriving at Disneyland and entering Main Street you will see a cannon situated in the town square.  Main Street is designed to capture the essence of small town America as the 19th century morphed into the 20th century.  It was very common in those days for the town square to have a cannon to memorialize the town's members who fought and possibly died in battle.  In fact, in the Broadway musical "The Music Man" as the Wells Fargo wagon approaches River City, Iowa the townsfolk gather in their town square and sing about what they think or hope might be on the wagon.  The members of the school board who have been transformed into a barbershop quartet harmonize that "The D.A.R has sent a cannon for the Court House Square".  

When Disneyland was first built their imagineers fanned out across the globe to find artifacts that were needed like an old wooden carousel, vintage vehicles and a cannon.  This one was found in France and brought over to Disneyland.

If you head up Main Street and take a left at the hub you will be headed into Adventureland.  After passing the Tiki Room the first attraction you will come to is the Jungle Cruise.  Onboard the boat the skipper keeps a revolver nearby.

The skipper uses the revolver to scare away a hippo that seems bent on attacking the boat.  This is an actual nickel-plated Smith & Wesson revolver with a plugged barrel.  The lanyard was added about 20 years after the ride debuted because a couple of them were stolen from the boats.  The attachment of the lanyard is pretty ingenious.  The revolvers have square butts on them and whoever attached the lanyard put round butt grips on the revolver and then drilled out a hole at the bottom of the now exposed portion of the grip frame.  

After leaving the Jungle Cruise you head further away from Main Street and find yourself in New Orleans Square.  There you will find the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.  Inside you will find that many buckles get swashed and there is a fair amount of cannon fire as Captain Barbosa directs the the fire from the Black Pearl
and drunken pirates take potshots at each other in the coastal town they are raiding:

As with all Disney attractions you exit them through a gift shop and the Pirates of the Caribbean shop contained a veritable battery of arms to equip your pirate crew.

There were stores of Winchester repeating rifles because didn't all pirates use the gun that won the west?  There were also plenty of pistols in the battery as well.

There were small caliber double-barreled/doubled-hammered flintlock pistols as well as a brace of larger caliber single barreled flintlocks.

As you leave the gift shop and head toward the Rivers of America you might spy the mighty sailing ship Columbia.

As of yet, no one has pressured Disney to remove the  cannons 

which is a pretty good thing as occasionally at night Captain Hook takes charge of the Columbia and does battle with Peter Pan.

Continuing deeper into New Orleans Square you run smack dab into the Haunted Mansion.

And even in this stately abode you will find portraits of two men, the ghosts of whom appear in the painting and show us that the two men died in a duel.

Doubling back through New Orleans Square you take the left fork in the road and venture into Frontierland.  Here you'll find firearms that you can actually shoot or at least shoot laser versions at the Frontierland Shooting Gallery.

These are very realistic Hawken percussion-cap styled rifles with iron sights and, aside from the laser, give you a pretty good shooting experience and are a ton of fun as well.

Venturing into the local mercantile establishments you can find all the shootin' irons needed for your venture into the wild frontier.

This Western Ranger Deluxe Set gives you a Winchester rifle with realistic sounds and a shoulder stock for easier targeting!  You also get a Colt Revolver a large tin star badge and a red bandana because you just can't be a real cowboy without a red bandana. Or, you might want to go old school with a percussion cap revolving rifle.

As my niece shows us this is an old Spanish made variant with  break-top access for reloading and a double set of hammers that fire through one barrel.  Perhaps Ian from Forgotten Weapons can provide some insight on this apparently rare specimen.

There are also six-shooters of different varieties such as this large caliber revolver complete with a skeleton speed holster
and smaller caliber revolvers like this one which I would guess is in .22 short.

I also noticed a couple of large bore lever action rifles behind the counter, probably chambered in 50-90 for taking buffalo.

Heading out of Frontierland, you go across Fantasyland (which is false advertising because my fantasies are not represented there) and find yourself in Tomorrowland.

There you will be asked to help Buzz Lightyear defeat Emperor Zurg by flying double passenger space crafts while firing laser weapons.

You can also go on Star Tours where you will come face-to-face with Darth Vader and a horde of Storm Troopers with their blasters aimed right at your space shuttle.

But fear not for the shops are full of the advanced weaponry you will need for the future that awaits you.

You can purchase an official Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Blaster to help defeat Zurg.  In fact, you can also purchase Zurg's blaster which features a built in power generator and this one goes to ...

For facing off against the Empire you have several choices.  First you can purchase a Stormtrooper's blaster.

Or you can select the blaster of the galaxy's most famous bounty hunter which comes complete with a detachable shoulder stock.

You can even get Chewbacca's Bowcaster.

And lastly, you can pick up the ultra rare Broom-handle Mauser with a fire extinguisher nozzle attached as used by Hans Solo.

I find it interesting that Disneyland sits in center of one of the most liberal, left wing, politically correct states in the country and yet they still show firearms in their historical context (with the exception of the blasters) and offer more toy guns for sale than you are going to find at your local Target, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, or Toys-R-US stores.  I applaud them for it because no one has anything to fear from history (except repeating historical mistakes if they didn't learn anything from the first go-round) and no one has anything to fear from children playing at whatever their imagination conjures up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Just Right 9mm Carbine

I love pistol caliber carbines so when Bill's Gunshop and Range in Robbinsdale called and asked me to shoot and review the Just Right 9mm carbine I jumped at the opportunity.  Spoiler Alert: I'm really glad I did!

The JR 9 is a straight blowback operated semiautomatic carbine with a 17 inch barrel.  As with most modern sporting arms the JR 9 does not come with either sights or optics.  A Picatinny rail is machined into the top the received leaving it up to the owner to decide what he or she would like to mount on top of the firearm.  The folks at Bills put a nice TruGlo red dot optic on the JR for my evaluation. 

The JR comes with a six position collapsing buttstock and the receiver, trigger housing and magazine well are machined from aerospace grade 6061T-6 aluminum with black hardcoat anodizing.  The carbine weights 6.5 pounds and is 33.5 inches long with the fully extended buttstock.  Best of all JR proudly makes their firearms right here in the U.S.A.

Southpaws will be happy to know that the bolt charging handled can be placed on either side of the receiver.

The JR Carbines are chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .357 SIG.  Once you buy the base model you can convert it to the other calibers via an adapter kit (sold separately).

The specimen I shot was in 9mm which is exactly what I would have chosen if this were my carbine.  Full metal jacket range rounds in 9mm are more reasonably priced than those in .40, .45 or .357 SIG. For self defense purposes a 9mm out of a 17 inch barrel is nothing to sneeze at.  According to the website "Ballistics by the Inch" ( a 17 inch barrel provides great velocities for the 9mm cartridge, for instance:

  • Cor Bon 115 grain +P jacketed hollow-point produces 1550 feet per second
  • Federal 115 grain standard velocity jacketed hollow-points will generate 1320 feet per second
  • Federal 124 grain Hydra Shok jacketed hollow-points will give you 1250 feet per second
  • Speer 124 grain Gold Dot Hollow-point ammunition provides a very respectable 1400 feet per second
  • Cor Bon 90 grain +P jacketed hollow-point will sizzle down range at 1766 feet per second

The JR 9s are produced to accept either Glock or Smith & Wesson M&P magazines and this one came with one Glock model 17, 17-round magazine.  If the carbine was mine I would get about three of the 33 round magazines or one of the larger capacity drum magazines.  The larger magazines would provide plenty of fun during recreational shooting and would provide some peace of mind if I had to use the carbine in defense of hearth and home.

Overall the JR 9 was very reliable.  This carbine was new, just out of the box, and out of 100 rounds fired I did experience one failure to eject.  In fairness to the JR, this was the last round pushed into the magazine and as I placed it in it felt different.  The case rim was sharp and the case seemed to be thicker than the rest of the ammo.  I was not surprised that this round caused some difficulty.

The bolt does not stay open after the last round is fired.  You must manually retract it and push the bolt handle downward into the "hold open" position.  This is of no moment for the recreational shooter.  If you were in a self-defense shooting scenario the chances that you would need reload would be fairly slim.  Your 17, 33 or 50 round magazine would have probably provided all the firepower you need.  I am not saying that I would not want an extra magazine I am just proffering that if I needed to reload then I am really in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now here's the best part, the JR 9 is really accurate! The above target was shot at 75 feet with five round of Mag Tech 115 grain full metal jacketed ammunition.

The JR 9 provides a carbine that is a ton of fun to shoot, more accurate than you would expect and could save your bacon if your homestead was invaded.  There is nothing about this little carbine that I did not like!  Stop by Bill's and give a look and, as always...tell "em Average Joe sent you!

Glock Days at Arnzen Arms

Sunday, June 14, 2015

VZ Grips A Serious Upgrade For Your Pistol Or Revolver

(VZ Grips come standard on may new firearms such as the Dan Wesson ECO)

If you are unfamiliar with VZ grips you have probably seen them but may not have known what they are.  More and more savvy gun makers are supplying them on their pistols such as with the Dan Wesson ECO pictured above.  They know that the addition of a VZ grip is a mark of quality and showcases the pride that they have taken in the manufacture of their product.  As this review progresses I will show you some of the upgraded VZ grips that I have added to a few of my personal handguns.

The VZ grips are made of a composite material either being Micarta or G-10.
(Above is my CZ 75D PCR sporting VZ Tactical Diamond Black Desert Sand grips)

While to many people (myself included) Micarta seems to be a relatively new material it has actually been around since the 1890's.  Westinghouse developed a process for producing thermoset laminates and bestowed the trade name "Micarta" to the product.

(Kimber Pro Carry HD II wearing Double Diamond grips in Hyena Brown)

Micarta is made by applying heat and pressure to layers of paper and canvas or linen cotton material which have been impregnated with synthetic resin.  The result is a solid industrial laminated plastic that is extremely durable, lightweight and moisture resistant.  Unlike less durable plastics Micarta will not soften if it comes in contact with heat.

(CZ SP-01 Shadow with VZ Frag grips in Hyena Brown)
G 10 is similar to Micarta expect that glass is added to the cloth and resin before the heat and pressure is applied.  It is even more durable than Micarta and besides handgun grips and knife scales it is also used as an insulator in the electronics field as it is nearly impervious to water seepage.

(Kimber Pro Aegis wearing Frag MARSOC G 10 grips)

VZ makes a plethora of grips styles in different colors and textures as well as in standard or thin widths, which currently fit the following handguns:
  • All standard 1911s (Colt, Kimber, Springfield, SIG, Smith & Wesson, etc.)
  • Beretta 92
  • CZ
  • Springfield EMP
  • Browning Hi-Power
  • Smith & Wesson Revolvers (J, K/L, and N frames)
  • SIG
  • Rock Island Double Stack (but not for the TCM 22 frame)
  • Ruger 22/45
(Kimber Pro Carry II wearing the Elite Tactical grip in Black Desert Sand)

As you can see I have generously applied the VZ grips to my pistols but I recently bought a set for my Smith & Wesson Model 65 Ladysmith Revolver.

The set chosen was the Tactical Diamond Round Butt G 10 in Black Cherry.

These grips were a veritable Godsend for me as most revolver grips do not fit my hand and are not conducive to my accuracy or ability to fire follow-up shots with any reasonable speed.  Not so with the VZ grips.  They were just the right length and width and the Tactical Diamond checkering kept the grip secure in my grasp during firing.

I am not a particularly great shot with a revolver but these grips helped me post this 8 round group at 21 feet using Speer 135 grain+P Gold Dot Hollowpoint ammo.  That's more than enough accuracy to get the job done.

If you're looking for a great set of grips give VZ a look at and tell 'em Average Joe sent you.