Friday, February 28, 2014

Broken Shell Removal

it happens to every shooter at some point. A cartridge case splits (due to age, exposure to chemicals or being re-sized too many times). This is not a problem when it happens on your reloading bench, but when it happens in the chamber of your gun, it can be a BIG problem.

This is a re-enactment of a broken shell incident that happened to me several years ago. I did not think to document it at the time.

While shooting my Winchester Model 94 Saddle Ring Carbine, I had a jam, I could not get a cartridge to load, so I tried another one, same thing. I looked in the chamber and found that part of the case was stuck in the chamber. This is what the half that ejected looked like, it was cut almost exactly in half.
 So I took the rifle back home and began searching the internet for a broken shell extractor for a 44 Magnum. A broken shell extractor is designed to fit in the chamber just as a cartridge would, the base is held against the bolt by the extractor and the body is smaller that the cartridge, so it may fit inside and grip the mouth of the stuck case. The one below is from Brownells, unfortunately they no longer have them in 44 Magnum, no one does (or at least didn't a few years ago when I was looking)
The problem was made that much more difficult by the fact that the chamber in a model 94 Winchester is shrouded by the receiver and there is limited access.

I tried using a brass cleaning brush. I inserted the brush from the muzzle end, no luck it wouldn't budge. I tried the chamber end, pushing the brush just past the broken case. I pulled pretty hard before the brush "bent-over" against itself, still, the broken case remained in place.

I came up with the idea of using a tap. I went through my selection of taps and found one that would thread its way into the cartridge case without cutting all the way through the brass (which would ruin my chamber). A 7/16" x 20 NF tap was a perfect fit.
I dis-assembled my gun, removing the bolt and cartridge elevator.
I then carefully threaded the tap into the broken shell until it was snug. I found a wood dowel that would fit down the bore and I gently tapped on it with a hammer, and shazamm! the broken shell and tap came falling out

Friday, February 21, 2014

Firearms Dictionary

Like all hobbies the firearms hobby has its own nomenclature. We use nick names, abbreviations, acronyms, Military designations and slang to describe our guns, ammo and accoutrements. I thought I would help out the less experienced among us with the start of the Firearms Dictionary. This will be an "evolving" post and I will update it when I find another acronym or word that is misunderstood or under-defined.

So let's get no particular order

Hoplophobe: A person with an unreasonable fear of weapons. This follows the tradition of naming phobias using the Greek word for the item. Hoplon is the Greek word for weapon. So someone who fears an inanimate object that is or can be a weapon, they are a Hoplophobe. The name of the phobia was introduced by Col. Jeff Cooper.

Gas Check: A small cap of copper that covers the bottom of a lead bullet. The purpose is to seal the barrel so that gas cannot escape around the lead bullet when using high pressure loads.

BATFE: Acronym for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Originally part of the Dept of Revenue (taxes on alcohol & tabacco) they enforce all Federal Gun Laws.

Breech: The area in which the cartridge or shell is inserted.

Chamber: The place in which the cartridge resides during firing.

Muzzle: The end of the barrel in which the bullet exists the gun

Carbine: A rifle with a barrel length of 20 inches or less, originally designed for Calvary (horse mounted troops), they were employed for paratroopers and are often used for hunting in thick woods or brush.

A.O.W.: Acronym for "Any Other Weapon", as defined in the National Firearms Act of 1934. No one really knows the correct definition, it appears to be anything BATFE says it is.

Magazine: a place to store ammunition or gun powder, also used to describe a removable, self contained clip that holds ammunition for the bolt. All repeating guns have a magazine: tube, box or removable.

Clip: used to insert cartridges into a magazine. Some clips stay with the gun and are ejected with the last round.

S.B.S. or SxS: this usually is an acronym for "Side by Side" as in a Side by Side or double barrel Shotgun.
Rabbit Ears: This is a term used to describe a double barrel (or SxS) shotgun that has dual exposed hammers. See the picture above.

M9: This is the military designation for the Beretta model 92, provided under contract to the U.S. Military. The guns are pretty much identical to the ones available for civilian purchase.

Gun show Loophole: No such thing exists. In the mind of a Hoplophobe, anyone who buys a gun without filling out paperwork with a licensed dealer is somehow "slipping through the cracks". Private sales between individuals has always been legal. in addition selling a gun to a person who is not allowed by law to posses one is against the law. 

Hammer Bite/Slide Bite: This when the slide of a semi-automatic handgun cuts into the thumb and or top portion of the web of the shooters hand. Also when the hammer comes back and pinches the skin between the hammer and the frame of the gun.

Beavertail: An extension added to the grip or grip safety of a pistol to prevent the hammer and or slide from making contact with the shooters hand (see above).

B.U.I.S.: An acronym for Back Up Iron Sights, referring to metal sights that can be folded down when using an optic.

Chain Fire: This is when the firing of one cylinder ignites the powder in another cylinder. This was a risk in shooting cap & ball revolvers. Shooters of the day would seal the chambers in grease or wax to prevent a chain fire and also to keep the powder dry.

Chain Gun: A gun that uses external source of power to operate the mechanism. Usually referring to a machine gun that uses a bicycle chain to connect the action to the source of power. The term "Chain Gun" is a registered trademark of Alliant Tech Systems Inc.

L.O.P: This is short for "Length of Pull", this is the distance from the butt stock to the trigger, this is often adjusted for smaller stature shooters.

AR500: AR in AR 500 stands for "Abrasion Resistant", the steel is often used for targets dues to its ability to withstand glancing hits from bullets. It has no relation to the AR rifle.

Squib: This is a bullet that leaves the cartridge, but fails to exit the barrel. An Extremely dangerous condition that all gun owners should be aware of.

Suppressor/Silencer: A device attached to the muzzle end of a firearm to quiet the report generated by the explosion inside the chamber. There are many gun "experts" that will tell you that "silencer" is not the proper nomenclature, however, when Hiram Percy Maxim, patented the device in 1909, he used the term "silencer", so while a "silencer" does not completely silence a firearm, either term is appropriate.

Dry Fire: The act of operating a gun without live ammunition, sometimes artificial ammunition is used called "snap caps" which have a spring to absorb the firing pin inertia. 

Snap Caps: A simulated cartridge with a spring loaded primer. Used for test firing or dry-firing a gun. Especially important with older guns whose firing pins were brittle and could break if dry-fired.

M.O.A.: an acronym for "Minute of Angle" or "Minute of Arc". This is a unit of measurement that is equal to 1/60th of a degree, measured as 1" at 100 yards, 2" at 200 yards, 3" at 300 yards etc.. Visit the NSSF website for more details:

Gunman: You hear on the news all the time that the "gunman" was "armed" with an AK-47. According to Jeff Cooper, you are no more a gunman (or "armed") because you have a gun that you are a musician because you have a guitar. Having a gun and knowing how to use a gun effectively are two different things.

Dragoon: Originally a term used to describe light infantry, that were often mounted on or transported by horse. When Samuel Colt built a special revolver for the U.S. Mounted Rifle Companies (Dragoons) the name became synonymous with the large heavy barreled revolver. A unique feature of the revolver was the squared back trigger, now known as the "dragoon trigger guard".

Pinned and Recessed: You will hear these words used to describe older Smith & Wesson revolvers (made prior to 1982). The earlier guns had screwed in barrels that were pinned in place, also the cylinders had recessed chambers where the cartridge rims would fit flush to the end of the cylinder. S&W quit making guns this way, not because they found a better way, but because they found a cheaper way. These guns are considered to be worth more money than the later guns.

 Gas Operated Gun: This means that the automatic operation of the gun is propelled by gas that is scavenged from the barrel, and used to push a piston with a rod or a piston on the bolt (as in a direct impingement system on an AR-15 Rifle)

Recoil Operated Gun: This means that the automatic operation of the gun is propelled by the recoil. A recoil operated gun will have some sort of locking lug that holds the bolt against the breach until released by the recoil.

Blowback Operated Gun: Similar to the recoil operation, except that spring pressure is the only thing holding the bolt against breach. These guns tend to have larger and heavier bolts.

Cosmoline: A type of grease used to prevent rust & moisture damage to military weapons when put into long term storage.

Glass Bedding: This is a way of treating a rifle stock's barrel channel with fiberglass epoxy resin. The end result is a sealed stock that will not swell or shrink during changes in temperature or humidity which can affect the accuracy of a rifle by putting pressure on the barrel.

Hammer Spur: The ledge on the rear of a hammer that allows a thumb or finger to pull it back
Idiot Scratch: This is a mark commonly found on the left side (with muzzle facing away from you) of a 1911 pistol. The scratch is made by improperly swinging the slide release lever (which also acts as the barrel pivot pin) into place by dragging it across the frame. The proper installation involves pushing the pin straight in from the side.
 Jungle Clamp: This is when a person clamps two magazines together, usually inverted from one another and held together with duct tape, but sometimes a special clamp is used. Read more here

Point Blank: This is a term derived from the french word for white (Blanc). While point blank originally meant the white part of the target, it now means the range at which a marksmen can hit a target without adjusting his sights for bullet drop. This is of course different for every gun and cartridge and although it could be correct, it does not necessarily mean "close range", point blank range could be as far as 200 yards away.

Scope dimensions: Telescopic sights for guns are measured using two measurements, the first ones are the power of magnification. For instance a 4X scope is magnified 4 times a person's regular vision. Adjustable scopes will have the two numbers separated by a dash, for instance a 3-9X scope is adjustable from 3X power to 9x power magnification. The second number is the objective lens diameter, measured in millimeters. The objective lens is the one at the muzzle end of the scope, the larger the diameter the more light it can gather. A scope designed for low-light conditions will have a larger objective lens diameter. 
So a scope with 3-9 adjustable magnification with a 42MM objective lens will carry a designation of 3-9x42mm.

Eye Relief: Also a term used with scopes. This is the distance the eye needs to be from the scope to get a clear sight picture. Rifle scopes had a short eye relief, whereas pistol scopes have a longer eye relief.

Mil-Dot: These are the range finding dots located on the reticule of a scope, it allows the shooter to estimate bullet drop or windage and how far off center the shooter should aim the gun
 Dope Bag: This is an old term derived from the shooter "doping the wind" which is to discover the direction and speed the wind is moving in order to adjust their aim. It came to mean a bag for holding ammunition or shooting tools.

Blunderbuss: An old muzzle loading shotgun that had a belled muzzle, it was loaded with a variety of things including nails, glass, rocks and lead balls. They were used by sailors to repel pirates.

Single Action: A revolver or semi-auto pistol in which the trigger's sole job is to release the hammer, allowing it to strike the primer (the hammer must be manually cocked before pulling the trigger)

Double Action: In a double action gun, the trigger both cocks and releases the hammer, most double action guns will have a hammer spur, allowing the user to fire the gun in single action (by cocking the hammer manually) and double action. Single action trigger pulls are always lighter as they do not have to overcome the resistance of the hammer spring. 

D.A.O.: Double Action Only, a gun whose hammer spur and or single action sear has been removed making the trigger pull double action only.

L.P.K.: This is an acronym for "Lower Parts Kit". This is usually in reference to the parts for a lower assembly of an AR-15 Rifle.

BCG: This is an acronym for "Bolt Carrier Group". This is usually in reference to the parts for a bolt assembly of an AR-15 Rifle.
Buffer Tube: This is the tube that makes up the shoulder stock of an AR-15 Rifle, the buffer & main recoil spring reside in the buffer tube.

Flat Shooting: When someone describes a cartridge, bullet or chambering as "flat shooting" what they are saying is that the particular cartridge moves at a very fast speed for its weight and the amount of bullet drop over the normal range is minimal. 

B.A.R.: An acronym for Browning Automatic Rifle, the first B.A.R. was the U.S. Military M1918 (see below). The name has since been used by the Browning Company as a designation for all their auto-loading rifles.

Forcing Cone: The flared breech end of a revolver's barrel, this is the entry point for the bullet after it jumps the gap between the barrel and cylinder

P.P.C.: Acronym for Police Pistol Competition

IPSC: Acronym for International Practical Shooting Confederation

I.D.P.A.: Acronym for International Defensive Pistol Association.

Rimfire: A cartridge case with no primer, the priming agent is built into the rim.

Centerfire: a cartridge case with a removable primer, that ignites the powder

 O.D.: sometimes expressed as OD Green, the OD stands for "Olive Drab" the matte green color used by the U.S. Military for most of the 20th century

F.D.E.: Acronym for the color, "Flat Dark Earth", a medium dirt color.

Lug: This could be used to describe the material under the barrel of a gun (usually revolvers), the cross bolt that absorbs the recoil or a spot at which to mount a bayonet or accessory.

Bandoleer or Bandolier: A belt or sling that contains pouches for storing ammunition, it is a way to distribute ammo quickly among troops during battle.

Bore Snake: A device used for cleaning the chamber and bore of a gun, the cloth "snake" has embedded brass brushes to help clean the fouling left behind from the bullet and powder residue.
Choke: just as you might guess this is a restriction at the end of the bore of a shotgun barrel, it changes the characteristics of the shotgun pellets as they leave the muzzle. There are 4 types: Full Choke, Modified Choke, Improved Cylinder and Cylinder Bore (which is no restriction at all).

Muzzle Brake: A device mounted on the muzzle to direct the muzzle blast in a different direction to aid in recoil management. Also called a recoil Compensator.

Flash Suppressor: Also called a flash hider, a device mounted to the muzzle of a firearm to cool the gases and reduce the flash signature. This is to prevent the shooter from being blinded by the flash of light and may also help hide his position (although this is a minor benefit from most flash suppressors). 

Headspace: The distance between the bolt face and the "step" in the chamber that stops the cartridge's forward progress. The step could interface with the cartridge rim or the shoulder on a rifle cartridge.

High Brass/Low Brass: This is used to describe a shotgun shell. Higher pressure shells use more brass at the base, lower pressure ones use less.

Bullpup: A type of stock for a rifle or shotgun that moves the action/receiver assembly to the shoulder stock area, making the gun's overall length much shorter (see below).

Gauge: Used to describe the size of a bore of a shotgun, it is measured by how many lead balls, sized to fit the bore it takes to make 1 pound. So a 12 gauge shotgun round slug, is 1/12th of a pound in weight.

Buntline Special: A long barreled Colt Single Action Army Revolver. An old legend told of Ned Buntline, an author of dime novels, ordering some of the guns from Colt and gave them to the objects of his novels like Wyatt Earp & Bat Masterson.

Extractor: a clamp that secures the rim of the cartridge case to the bolt face.

Ejector: a post or spear that pushes against the opposite side of the case from the extractor, when the bolt is moved backwards the cartridge hits the ejector and kicks the case out of the ejection port. 

V.F.G.: Acronym for Vertical Fore Grip, added to rifles & carbines, when added to a pistol it becomes an A.O.W..

Rimless: This is actually a misnomer, referring to the rim on a cartridge case, a rimless case still has a rim, but the diameter is equal to or less than the diameter of the cartridge case body.
See more here 

MIM: an acronym for Metal Injection Molding. A way of producing small parts fast and cheap. This process is usually reserved for small parts like safety levers and triggers. The parts are generally not as strong as forged, machined or cast.

Investment Casting: A type of casting using wax molds, Ruger employed this for their 1st revolver and have been casting frames and receivers for other gun makers since the 1960's.

Sintering: A casting process of sorts. Sintered (powdered) metal is placed in a mold and the mold is heated to melt and fuse the metal together. The process was used by Winchester on the model 94 receivers from 1964 to 1982 when they returned to forged receivers

Stock: This can have multiple meanings. It could mean that the gun in question has not been altered from the way it left the factory. It could also describe the wood or synthetic piece that you use to hold a rifle's barreled action. Some people also use the word "stocks" to refer to the grip panels on a handgun (in lieu of the word "grips").  A rifle stock has a few parts:

    The barrel channel: This is where the barrel rests, usually about 1/2 the barrel's diameter rests below the top edge of the stock

     The Fore end: Some times this is a separate piece of wood, as in the case of a lever action gun, it also refers to the part under the barrel held by the forward hand.
      The Butt: As you might guess, this is the back end of the stock, the part that rests against your shoulder.
     The Comb: This is the top edge of the back of the stock, the part in which you rest your cheek against when firing.
     The Heal: This is the top of the Butt end of the stock.
      The Toe: This is the bottom end of the Butt end of the stock.
      The Wrist: This is the part your trigger hand grips the stock with, sometimes it is flat, sometimes it is pistol grip shaped.



As always, if you are not a member of the NRA, you should be, click here to join the NRA

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Winchester Model 94 Rifles

The Winchester model 1894 (or '94 as it is now known) had a hand in the death of more deer than probably any other gun. With over 7 million sold it is the most popular sporting rifle of all time.
Designed in the days of black powder by none other than the great John Moses Browning, the model 94 was designed to be the larger framed version of the model 1892, which was too short for the then new necked rifle cartridges.

The '94 went through a few changes during its 112 years of production in New Haven.  
Many people try to break the model 94's production into just two groups, pre '64 and post '64, but there were other changes made that we should consider.

In 1894 black powder was still the predominant propellant. Smokeless powder was just coming on to the scene. As a result the Winchester had to re-engineer the steel alloy used in the receivers due to the new smokeless powder cartridges having more power than the original .32-40 & .38-55 black powder cartridges that the 94 was originally chambered for.
This nickel steel didn't hold bluing well and most of those older guns have no bluing on the receiver but still wear it on their barrels and other parts.

Around 1930, the heat treating of carbon steels had improved dramatically and Winchester again re-engineered their steel alloy. Then came the dreaded changes in 1964.

You may have heard that the pre-1964 guns are the best to have. That may be true, but why?
There is a lot of misinformation out there about the changes that were made to the gun that year, so I set about to find the truth.

In 1964 Olin (the owners of Winchester Repeating Arms at the time) made a decision to change the way in which Winchester Rifles were manufactured. The folks at the helm of the company were forced into a corner. The labor costs involved in the intricate machining needed to manufacture the gun continued to rise. At the same time Winchester hoped to maintain a "working man's" price point and then of course there is that pesky requirement known as profit. Something had to be done.

The changes made that year were not limited to the model 94. The model 70 bolt action received a make-over as well. We'll cover the model 70 another day.
The changes to the model 94 included:
  • The receivers were no longer made from forged steel, they changed to a sintered metal casting process using an alloy that included graphite, nickel or chromium (actual recipes are not known, nor available from any source that I could find).
  • Some of the screws were replaced with pins
  • Many of the solid steel internal pins were replaced with hollow roll pins
  • The final machining was changed, perhaps this was because the sintering molds produced a part that was "close enough"
  • Some of the internal forged steel parts were replaced with stamped steel ones, of particular concern was the cartridge lifter/elevator
While most of the changes did not in any way affect the performance of the gun, or the strength of the receiver. 
The testimony of its strength can be found with a lack of stories of post '64 Winchesters blowing apart.

Just prior to 1964 Bill Ruger had begun using investment castings for his gun frames, this process saved machining time and time is money. Perhaps his success was the inspiration for the change at Winchester?

We can surmise that the durability of the stamped steel parts may have suffered. It must have been a problem as they made a change a few years later to a cast steel cartridge lifter/elevator. This picture shows the differences:

Many gun owners noticed the obvious changes, what may not have been noticeable at the time was that the new receivers would not take traditional bluing. 
As a firearms restorer, this is important information to know. In researching the reasons why, I read a lot of misinformation. As always there is no shortage of "experts" on the interwebs. 

Whenever trying to get to the truth, it always helps to go to the source.
Winchester had, for a long time, used the DuLite company for their bluing salts. A quick search of the DuLite website uncovered the real story.
The 1964 thru 1968 receivers were indeed made of a mystery alloy that required a special formula to get  them to take bluing, DuLite called this the "3.0 Process".

Here is a picture of a pre and post 64 finishes

In 1968 the alloy was changed again, why it was changed I don't know. DuLite developed yet another formula called "Black Chrome Plate", it actually looks like the name implies, black chrome.
Here is a 1968 vintage model 94:

in 1972 the sintering alloy was changed once more, this time the amount of steel was low enough that the receivers needed to be iron plated in order to accept bluing, the DuLite formula used was the original WinBlue/Oxiblack.
Here is a picture of a 1974 vintage model 94 that had lost some of its finish:

The guns from the '72 to '81 era could be reblued with traditional methods, if the iron plating is not removed. They can also be cold blued, although the results are not as pleasing and also not as permanent. Here is the gun above after cold bluing:

In 1982 Winchester made another change. Machining costs had been reduced by technology and robotics (CNC Machines). So the Winchester model 94 was once again machined from of forged steel.
Winchester also had a new owner, United States Repeating Arms Company had taken over the previous year. 

Here is a time line of the changes to the model 94:

1895: Winchester re-engineers the alloy using additional nickel in the steel to make the guns capable of withstanding the higher pressures of the then new smokeless powder cartridges. The .30 WCF (30-30) is introduced and chambered in the 1894.

1930-33: Around this time, Winchester removed the excess nickel from the receivers steel alloy and employed new hardening processes.

1964: The receivers changed to sintered metal alloy and the screws and pins changed along with stamped steel parts replacing the forged steel ones.

1967: The .44 Mag chambering is introduced

1968: The formula in the sintered alloy changes again

1971: The cartridge lifter/elevator is changed from stamped steel to a cast steel one.

1972: The formula in the sintered alloy changes again, this time requiring iron plating before the receivers could be blued.

1978: The model 94 XTR is introduced

1981: U.S. Repeating Arms takes ownership of the company

1982: The receivers are again made from high carbon forged steel, also they add an angle ejection, allowing the use of scopes.

1983: .307 & .356 Winchester chamberings are introduced.

1984: A hammer block system is added and the Trapper model is introduced (replacing the Saddle Ring Carbine)

1985: The 45 Colt chambering is added

1989: U.S. Repeating Arms files for bankruptcy, the company is purchased by FN Herstal.

1992: A cross bolt safety is added along with the .357 Magnum chambering.

2003: The safety was moved to the tang.

March 31, 2006: after 112 years in New Haven, Connecticut, the old Winchester plant closes its doors.

Winchester rifles are again available, now built by Miroku in Japan.

A lot of people ask the question: What is the best vintage model 94 to own?
From a collectors stand point the pre-64 is by far the best investment. 
For a hunter/shooter that cannot find an affordable pre-64 model, look for a model made between '82 and '91. These have the angle eject, forged steel receivers, but have not yet had the cross bolt safety cut into the receivers, this is purely from a value standpoint, I personally have no problem with the cross bolt safety.

Here is a breakdown of the serial numbers for the various changes:

Post '64 models start with serial # 2,700,000

Post 1982 models start with serial # 5,103,248

1992 serial numbers start somewhere in the low 6 millions, the data is not easy to come by, ('91 production started with 6,008,296)

That still leaves the question of how to restore the finish on a model 94 made between '64 and '82. While you could attempt to blue it using the process invented by Dulite, or you could try one of the painted on coatings. I have reviewed many of the painted coatings and most of them show "orange peel" on the surface. Which I guess is OK for a hunting/utility gun, which is what the '94s made in those years are probably destined for anyway, due to their lower value. Another option could be to polish the metal and keep it coated in oil or wax.

A great pictorial showing the changes made in 1964 can be found here:

Shooting with Hobie

Winchester History by Chuck Hawks

Winchester's Timeless Classic by Doc O'Meara

Winchester History/FAQ page

Winchester serial number history

Gun Digest

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ghost Gun that shoots 30 Caliber Clips

California State Senator Kevin De Leon is about as lost as his namesake Ponce DeLeon (you remember, that crazy Spaniard that got lost in Florida searching for the "fountain of youth").
Watch this video and you'll understand:

For starters this poor hoplophobe has no freaking idea what he is talking about. 30 Caliber clips? 30 bullets in 1/2 a second? I don't think so. He must have failed math, that works out to 3,600 rounds per minute, about four (4) times the rate of fire of a fully automatic M4 Carbine. 
3600 RPM is faster than the M-134A Mini-Gun can spew lead, and it has 6 barrels! Also keep in mind the gun he is talking about is not usually fully automatic (one continuous trigger pull empties the magazine) but instead it's normally (about 99.9% of the time) a semi-automatic, one trigger pull for each shot fired. Fully automatic firearms are regulated by the Federal Government and are horribly expensive.

The six barreled M-134 Mini-Gun:

A quick Google image search revealed the real Ghost Gun
 Or maybe he was thinking of the Ghost Buster's Proton Pack (aka "unlicensed nuclear accelerator")

Second, what he doesn't realize is that he just started a new gun craze.....The Ghost Gun. Just like the Zombie Gun Craze, the Ghost Guns will be everywhere....but you wont be able to see them, because according to DeLeon, they are "undetectable".

As soon as the Hoplophobes try to ban something, all gun owners will rush to buy the subject of the ban, perhaps that is human nature.
We will now see people building what they imagine a Hoplophobe means by "ghost gun".

Our friends at Aero Precision in Tacoma, have created the "Ghost Gun" AR-15 lower receiver.

Get yours now: Aero Precision

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pistol Caliber Carbines

The popularity of pistol caliber carbines has waxed and waned over the years.
The idea dates back to the old west, where frontiersmen, cowboys and lawmen sought a rifle or carbine (usually a lever action) that used the same ammunition as their side arm.
The first pistol caliber carbine was the Winchester model 1873. Originally chambered for the 44 Winchester Center Fire (aka the 44-40) 

Colt soon followed by chambering their Single Action Army Revolver in .44-40. While the model Winchester 1873 was never chambered in the more popular 45 Colt, the Winchester model 1894 was. It was also chambered in .38/.357 and .44 Mag.  Colt was very interested in the concept of the pistol caliber carbines and in 1884 they introduced the Colt Lightning Carbine. 
Winchester did not like the idea of another competitor in their rifle market and a meeting was scheduled between the two companies, but that is a story for another day. Here is the Colt pump-action Lightning Carbine:

Marlin followed suit and from 1894 to 1934 they produced their model 1894 in pistol calibers.

With the rise in popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting, Marlin re-introduced their 1894 lever action in .38/.357, .44 Mag and 45 Colt. They also made one in .32 H&R Mag at one point. 
During WWI General John Taliaferro Thompson saw a need for a sub-machine gun for trench and close quarter combat, he set out to design a pistol caliber sub-machine carbine. The choice of calibers was obvious. The U.S. Military had adopted the .45 ACP cartridge in the model 1911 pistol just a decade before. His creation was too late for WWI, but became popular with the gangsters of the 1920s and eventually found use with the U.S. Military in WWII.

In the early 60's Sturm, Ruger & Company was looking to build a rifle. The popularity of their .44 Magnum Blackhawk revolver probably influenced their decision to introduce a gas operated .44 Magnum Carbine. 
This made a nice pair for the hunter stalking prey where short distance shots were the norm.

Ruger took the opposite approach when they chambered their Blackhawk revolver in .30 Carbine. I'm sure at the time surplus .30 Carbine ammo was plentiful, not so much today. Either way an owner of an M-1 Carbine could now have a side arm chambered for the same cartridge.

Taurus/Rossi did something unique (at least something that hasn't been done in a while). they created a revolving rifle. They converted their Judge revolver that fires .45 Colt & .410 shot shells into a carbine. They call it the "Circuit Judge".

In 1989, Israeli Military Industries introduced a slide action carbine called the Timberwolf, chambered in .38/.357 and .44 Magnum. The Timberwolf gave hunters and sportsman another choice in pistol caliber carbines

Sometimes manufacturers will build pistol caliber carbines just because the cartridge is so awesome. Many pistol cartridges can benefit from additional barrel length, increasing their feasibility as hunting rounds.
Predator Tactical at one time was offering a slide action carbine chambered in .500 S&W Magnum.....What else is there to say? Except, I want one!

Big Horn Armory is producing a lever action carbine in .500 S&W Magnum, the gun is a mix of Winchester designs from the 1886 & 1892 models.
Of course you could go a cheaper route and pick up a H&R/NEF Handi-Rifle chambered in your favorite magnum handgun round (.357, .44 or .500)

 Law Enforcement for years were only issued revolvers (in .38 or .357) and sometimes a shotgun. With the adoption of the 9mm pistols in LEO circles, a renewed interest in pistol caliber carbines naturally followed.
Marlin introduced the Camp Carbine in 1985, the 9mm version used Smith & Wesson model 59 double stack magazines and the 45 ACP version used 1911 magazines. The gun was discontinued in 1999. Since their discontinuation, the values have begun to escalate considerably.
In 1996 Ruger followed Marlin's lead and introduced their own pistol caliber carbine, focused on the sport and LEO market. Their PC9 (9mm) & PC4 (.40 S&W) utilize magazines from the Ruger P series of semi-auto pistols. The "PC" stood for Police Carbine, the gun was discontinued due to lack of sales in 2006.

Hi-Point firearms developed a pistol caliber carbine as a mate to their economically priced line of pistols. Made in 9mm, .40 S&W & .45 ACP. the originally 995 carbine could probably win a contest for ugliest gun. They have since remedied that with a redesign, in addition ATI makes an aftermarket replacement stock that mimics the look of the CX4 Beretta.
 Their capacity was limited to a factory 10 round magazine. Which was a disappointment to some.
Caracal introduced their CC10 carbine that uses magazines from their 9mm pistols

Pistol caliber carbines have become quite popular with the civilian sporting market. Kel-Tec introduced their Sub-2000 carbine in 2001 (2000 is probably a designation for the new millennium?). 
Kel-Tec took Marlin's idea, the use of other manufacturer's pistol magazines and stepped it up a notch. They made models that used magazines from all the popular pistols:  Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig and Beretta. There were ten models between the two calibers (9mm & .40S&W).
The Kel-Tec also had a unique feature in that it could folded up for storage and transport.


Not to be left out, Beretta decided to introduce their own pistol caliber carbine. Like Marlin & Kel-Tec the gun was designed to use magazines from more than one Beretta model. The CX4 Storm was designed around Beretta's new PX4 pistol, but Beretta decided to make a versions that would also accept magazines from their Cougar pistols as well as their popular Model 92 (and NATO Military M-9) pistol. Four chamberings are available: 9mm Para, 9x21mm IMI, .40 S&W & 45 ACP.

 The gun has a futuristic look to it in addition some really neat features. The controls can be easily swapped from side to side for ambidextrous use, the take down procedure is extremely easy and the peep sites can fold down when using an optic. The copious use of picatinney rails make adding accessories a breeze and multiple sling mounting locations make adapting slings a snap.
You many have noticed that I left out the AR style rifles chambered for pistol calibers. Yes there are plenty of those. Even some that accept pistol magazines. I decided to limit this post to dedicated designs.

Thanks to:
Shooting Times
The Specialist Ltd.
Big Horn Armory
Sturm, Ruger & Co
H&R 1871