Monday, February 27, 2023

Week 9 2023


This Week in Firearms History:

February 26: In 1846 Buffalo Bill Cody is born

February 27: In 1917 John Browning demonstrates two machine guns in Washington D.C., they became the M1917 and M1918; in 2015 H&R ceases production after 144 years

February 28: In 1997 The Bank of America Shootout in North Hollywood takes place, in 2011, the last veteran of WWI, Frank Buckles, dies at the age of 110

March 1: National Horse Protection Day; in 1932 Charles Lindberg's baby is kidnapped

March 2: In 1796 Napoleon Boneparte is appointed Commander in Chief of the French Army in Italy; in 1836 The Republic of Texas declares independence from Mexico; in 1951 Gary Kleck is born

March 3: National Anthem Day; in 1634 the first tavern in Boston opens; in 1815 The United States declares war on Algiers for taking American prisoners and demanding tribute; in 1837 U.S. Congress and President Jackson recognize the Republic of Texas.

March 4: Hug a GI Day; in 1801 Thomas Jefferson is the 1st President inaugurated in Washington D.C.; in 1861 Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President and the first Republican, in 1892 Crescent Firearms is incorporated in Norwich, CT; in 1918 the first recorded case of the Spanish Flu recorded at Funston Army Camp in Kansas.

Gun of the Week: Ruger No. 1 Rifle

The Ruger No.1 Rife is not, as the name may imply, the 1st rifle produced by Ruger, that honor belongs to the .44 Carbine. 

The No. 1 rifle is a single shot, falling block design, mostly a copy of the Farquharson rifle.

The No.1 has been chambered in over 60 calibers from .22 Hornet to .458 Winchester Magnum. It was introduced in 1966 and is still produced today. See more here

Cartridge of the Week: 50 Action Express

The .50 AE was developed by Action Arms in 1988. Although it was first chambered in the AMT Automag V it is most associated with the Magnum Research Desert Eagle.

The 50 AE or 50 Magnum as Magnum Research call it, is a true 50 caliber round. The bullet diameter is .500, which is the limit set by the BATF for civilian cartridges.

The bullets can range in weight from 300 grains to 410 grains, the limit being the overall length, too long and it will not feed or fit the magazine. 

Gun Quote of the Week:

"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy." - Jeff Cooper

Bubba Gun of the Week:

This gun was submitted ahead of the judging for the 4 semi-biannual Golden Poop Awards for Gunsmithing by Jim Bob "Goldey" Squilish of Tabacco Gap, Kentucky

Gun Sticker of the Week:

gun control isn't about guns, it is about control, buy them here

Gun T-shirt of the Week:

This week's t-shirt is from We The People Holsters

Friday, February 24, 2023

Firearm Factory of the Month: Sterling Arms

The story of Sterling Arms begins in Buffalo, New York in 1967

In the Kenmore area of Buffalo on Elmwood Avenue.

The first product was a copy of the Hi-Standard HD model (which is ironic as the original Hi-Standard was a copy of the Colt Woodsman). It came in 4 variations with different barrel lengths, all in .22 Long Rifle. Although the number 300 was associated with these pistols their model numbers were the 283, 284, 285 & 286

Next came a "pocket" version of the 300 series, called the PPL. The PPL was made in both 380ACP and 22 LR

In 1968 The U.S. Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968, among its many restrictions was a ban on the importation of small pistols.
This put Streisand Effect into action....the unintended consequence of this was the void left by the absence of cheap imported pistols was soon to be filled with dozens of domestic gun makers (see my write up on the Los Angeles Ring of Fire here).
Sterling decided to build a copy of the Italian Rino Galesi pistol, seen below, that was no longer being imported.

The new Sterling pistol would be called the model 300, chambered in 25 ACP

It was soon followed by the model 302 in .22 LR

According to at least one source the company moved from Buffalo to Lockport, New York, about 35 miles away.

In 1971 Sterling Arms was contacted by a machine shop (E&R Machine) in Lockport about becoming a subcontractor or licensee of their pistols. I have no other info on this exchange except that Sterling accepted the offer and a deal was struck.
The following year  E&R Machine set up a second and larger shop in nearby Gasport in order to manufacture the Sterling pistols.

In December of 1973 the owners of E&R Machine, Eugene Sauls & Robert Lindke purchased Sterling Arms and the headquarters was moved to Gasport.
In 1975 Eugene Sauls bought out his partner and became the soul owner of E&R Machine and its subsidiary Sterling Arms.

During the late 70's more models were designed and brought online including a 380 pistol, the model 400, which was a bit of a copy of the Russian Makarov (which in turn was a bit of a copy of the Walther PP)

Then a single shot pistol was added, this was similar in concept to the Thompson/Center Contender, it had interchangeable barrels. They dubbed the gun the "X-Caliber" and also like the Contender it could fire both center and rimfire cartridges. 
Available chamberings included .22LR, 22 Magnum, 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum. Barrel lengths were 8" or 10".


I have read that the barrels from the X-Caliber were made by Ithaca in Ithaca, NY. When Sterling went under Ithaca bought the rights and produced the gun for a short time.

Time Line of Events

1961 - E&R Machine started in Lockport NY by Eugene Sauls and Robert Lindke
1963 - E&R Machine moves to nearby Gasport
1967 - Sterling Arms is incorporated in Buffalo
1968 - The Gun Control Act of 1968 is signed into law
1968 - Sterling Arms moves to Lockport
1971 - Agreement between Sterling Arms and E&R Machine to produce parts for Sterling pistols
1973 - E&R Machine buys 100% of Sterling Arms
1975 - Eugene Sauls buys out Robert Lindke and becomes soul owner
1978 - E&R Machine and Sterling Arms moved to a new facility in Lockport
1984 - Due to product liability lawsuits Sterling Arms is closed
1991 - Eugene Sauls retires, his son Garry takes over
2010 - Eugene Sauls passes away

What Remains:

It took some hard searching to find the original Buffalo factory in which the Sterling pistols were produced. 
I had three addresses from their time in Buffalo, 2206 Elmwood, 2209 Elmwood and 2215 Elmwood. I believe the 2209 address to be the correct one. Here is a overhead view of the three addresses, 2206 is in the center left of the photo, on the corner of Elmwood and Hinman, it is now a Tim Horton's. The 2215 address no longer exists, but the 2209 address is the building in the upper center of the photo on the corner of Elmwood and Ramsdell. 

Another view of 2209 Elmwood

The building in Gasport at 4436 Prospect, just a block from the old Erie Canal still stands.

The two locations in Lockport still exist, they are next to each other at 211 & 221 Grand Street


Monday, February 20, 2023

Week 8 2023


This Week in Firearms History:

February 19: In 1924 Actor Lee Marvin is born, in 1945, WWII; Medal of Honor recipient Marine Sergent John Basilone is killed in action on Iwo Jima

February 20: In 1895 Frederick Douglass dies at the age of 77; in 1942 Lieutenant Edward O'Hare becomes America's first World War II flying ace; in 1967 gun designer Eugene Reising dies; in 2005 Author Hunter S. Thompson commits suicide.

February 21: In 1431 Joan of Arc is put on trial for heresy; in 1808 Russia invades Finland; in 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the "Communist Manifesto" in London.

February 22: In 1732 President George Washington is born; in 1935 John Browning is posthumously awarded a patent for his Hi-Power pistol; in 1999 Marine Sniper Carlos "White Feather" Hathcock dies.

February 23: In 1836 the Battle of the Alamo begins; in 1945 U.S. Marines raise the American flag over Mt Suribachi on Iwo Jima; in 1997 gunwriter and lawman Bill Jordan dies. 

February 24: In 1817 Samuel Hamilton Walker is born; in 1885 U.S. Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz is born; in 1904 gun designed James Paris Lee dies.

February 25: National Clam Chowder Day; in 1836 Colt is issued his 1st patent, it is for the Colt Patterson revolver.

Gun of the Week: Remington model 12

The Remington model 12 is a pump action rimfire rifle designed by John Pederson and introduced in 1909.

The gun was most often chambered in .22 LR, but also in .22 Short & .22 Long as well as .22 Remington Special (identical to the .22 Winchester Rimfire). Some 832,000 Remington model 12s were built between 1909 and 1936. The rifle was replaced by a series of pump actions by Remington. Read more here.

Cartridge of the Week: 7.62mm Nagant

The 7.62 Nagant is a unique revolver round designed specifically for the model of 1895 Nagant Revolver. The brass cartridge completely covers the bullet, leaving only the end exposed.

The Nagant Revolver is very unique, it was designed by the Nagant Brothers Leon & Emil for the Imperial Russian Army. The gun is not just a double action revolver, it is actually a triple action in which the cylinder is moved forward by the pulling of the trigger. This almost seals the gap between the cylinder and barrel, when fired the case swells, sealing the gap completely, thus the strange, enclosed end of the cartridge case. 

Gun Quote of the Week:

"Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum" - Publius Flavius Vegetius Renutas: De Re Militari (If you seek peace, prepare for war)

Bubba Gun of the Week:

This gun was submitted for consideration in the 1st annual Golden Poop Awards for Gunsmithing in the "Best Artistic Expression" category, the customizer is Flower Suncloud, she calls this Bersa pistol "Springtime Acid Trip"

Gun Sticker of the Week:

Another one from Patriot Patch Company

Gun T-shirt of the Week:

This week's shirt is from gun prophet Colion Noir

Friday, February 17, 2023

S&W Model 29 Evaluation

 Recently I acquired this Smith & Wesson model 29. The gun came with a presentation case, tools and manuals, but the factory Goncalo Alves target stocks had been replaced with a set of Pachmayrs

Whenever I buy a gun, the first thing I try to do is evaluate the condition and then determine when the gun was made.

When evaluating the condition, the main focus is the mechanical condition. Judging the condition of the finish is pretty easy, we will get to that.

Mechanically a revolver needs to be timed properly so that the cylinder will come to a stop in line with the barrel BEFORE the hammer falls.

The way to check this is simple, put a finger or thumb on the cylinder to cause a slight drag, then cock the hammer, make sure the cylinder stops before the hammer reaches full cock.

Failing this test does not mean the gun is unsafe or would blow up, it would warrant further evaluation before that determination could be made.

This gun passed that test

The gun should also be checked to make sure the cylinder opens easily and locks in place when closed. Lastly the bore should be checked for obstructions and pitting. In this case everything worked and looked as it should, but the bore was fouled and needed cleaning.

As far as the finish is concerned. The NRA has a long-established guide for determining the condition of the firearm, which has a huge impact on the value.

Here is the NRA's Modern Gun Condition Standards courtesy of the NRA Museum.

  • New: Not previously sold at retail, in same condition as current factory production
  • Perfect: In new condition in every aspect
  • Excellent: New condition, used but little, no noticeable marring of wood or metal, bluing perfect except for muzzle or sharp edges
  • Very Good: In perfect working condition, no appreciable wear on working surfaces, no corrosion or pitting, only minor surface dents or scratches.
  • Good: In safe working condition, minor wear on working surfaces, no broken parts, no corrosion or pitting that interfere with the proper functioning.
  • Fair: In safe working condition but well worn, perhaps requiring replacement of minor parts or adjustments, no rust, but may have corrosion pits which do not render the article unsafe or inoperable.
  • Poor: Major and minor parts replaced, major replacement parts required, and extensive restoration needed; metal deeply pitted, principal lettering, numerals and design obliterate, wood badly scratched, bruised, cracked or broken, mechanically inoperative; generally undesirable as a collector's firearm.

Once cleaned and oiled this gun would be rated as Excellent (maybe Excellent plus?), there is no bluing loss on the sharp edges or muzzle and only a faint drag line on the cylinder. The color case hardening on the hammer and trigger are flawless and the gun is mechanically like new, but the gun has been fired.

 There is only one thing missing: the factory grips. Now this is an easily and often replaceable part, so I don't know if that affects the grading, but it WILL affect the value.

Luckily, I had a pair of like new, period correct target stocks for this gun.

Now we move on to determining the age of the gun. On modern S&W guns (made after 1957) the model number is stamped on the inside of the crane, just above where the yoke enters the bottom of the frame.

This one is marked 29-3. This means that the gun design had been modified 3 times, this being the third version. According to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, the 29-3 appeared in 1981/1982, there is often some overlap as the factory doesn't wait until the start of a new year, nor do they throw out the parts from the previous design. This tells us the gun was made after 1981/82. The serial number (found on the bottom of the grip frame) helps us dial it in further, the N prefix with 945 starting serial numbers gives us a birthdate of 1983.

The discussion of the condition of a firearm nearly always ends with what the gun is worth.

Guns are always worth more if the box and paperwork are present. In the case of S&W revolvers of this vintage (and earlier) the presentation case, tools and paperwork have a huge impact on the value.

This gun came with the aforementioned components, but the flocking on the tray and foam was almost completely gone. This is not uncommon and is easily repaired, which I will demonstrate in another post.

What is this gun worth? As with everything, it is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Once the presentation case is restored, I would guess this gun would sell for somewhere between $1000 and $1500

Monday, February 13, 2023

Week 7 2023


This Week in Firearms History:

February 12: In 1809 President Abraham Lincoln is born; in 1893 General Omar Bradley is born

February 13: In 1866 Jesse James robs his 1st bank in Liberty, MO; in 1945 WWII, Nazi & Hungarian forces surrender to the Red Army in Budapest

February 14: St. Valentine's Day; in 1779 Capt James Cook is killed by native Hawaiians, in 1854 S&W is issued its 1st patent; in 1885 gun maker Benjamin Hotchkiss dies, in 1911 John Browning is issued a patent for the 1911 pistol, in 1929 Al Capone has his gang murder 7 members of a rival gang in Chicago.

February 15: in 1764 St Louis, MO is founded as a French trading post; In 1898 the USS Maine explodes in Havana harbor, killing 260 Americans, sparking the Spanish-American War

February 16: in 1945, WWII, US forces land on the Filipino island of Corregidor 

February 17: in 1865, US Civil War; Columbia, SC is burned as Confederate forces flee the city; in 1910 John Browning applies for a patent for the 1911 pistol

February 18: In 1878 the Lincoln County War begins in New Mexico; in 1886 Dirty Dave Rudebaugh (aka Arkansas Dave Rudebaugh) is killed in a gunfight in Mexico; in 1983 the Wah Mee Massacre leaves 13 dead in Seattle


Gun of the Week: Colt Cobra

The Colt Cobra was introduced in 1950 and was the first of 7 Colt revolvers to be named after snakes.

Essentially an aluminum framed version of the Colt Detective Special, the 6 shot revolver was chambered in .22 LR, .32 Colt New Police (aka .32 S&W Long) and most commonly 38 Special. The original Cobra was made for 31 years, being disco'd in 1981. Colt brought back the name, with a new stainless pistol using newer lock work in 2017, read more here.

Cartridge of the Week: .300 AAC Blackout

The .300 Blackout is a rifle round designed for subsonic use in the AR-15 rifle.

The .223 Remington case was shortened and necked up to create the 300 Blackout cartridge. Developed in 2010 by Advanced Armament Corporation, it was a built upon the work done by JD Jones and his .300 Whisper. Using heavy .308 diameter bullets the round is capable of subsonic velocities while still operating in the AR platform. If need be the cartridge can be loaded for supersonic operation as well. The fact that the parent case is the 223 Remington, the cartridge feeds from a standard STANAG magazine.

Gun Quote of the Week:

“Most gun control arguments miss the point. If all control boils fundamentally to force, how can one resist aggression without equal force? How can a truly “free” state exist if the individual citizen is enslaved to the forceful will of individual or organized aggressors? It cannot.”  - Tiffany Madison

Bubba Gun of the Week:

The gunsmith behind this gem, is Camaro Wade Smith, he calls it the "undercover rifle-pistol". He was a contender for the Golden Poop Award for Gunsmithing in the Best Tactical Rifle under $100 category 

Gun Sticker of the Week:

Buy them here

Gun T-shirt of the Week:

Salt Girl T-Shirt from Ballistic Ink

Friday, February 10, 2023

Interesting Firearm Photos #67

 I am sure there is a story behind this, based on the date and location I will guess this was from Vietnam

This almost makes me want to strap a fake AK-47 to the hood of my truck.....