Monday, August 28, 2023

Week 35 2023


This Week in Firearms History:

August 27: In 1835 gun maker Daniel LeFever is born; in 1945 Elfego Baca dies, 60 years after the gun battle that made him famous.

August 28: In 1916 Germany declares war on Romania and Italy declares war on Germany; WWII in 1944 the last German troops in Marseilles surrender.

August 29: In 1842 Great Britian and China sign the Nanking Treaty, ending the Opium War; in 1862 The Second Battle of Bull Run; in 1991 The Supreme Soviet Parliament suspends the Communist Party.

August 30: In 1682 William Penn leaves England for the New World; in 1914, WWI, The Battle of Tanneberg, Russian forces decimated; in 1945 General Douglas MacArthur lands in Japan; in 1995 the Ruby Ridge siege ends.

August 31: In 1888 Jack the Ripper claims his 1st victim in London's east end; in 1911 the "Sullivan Act" requiring New Yorkers to have a permit for concealed carry goes into effect; in 1944 The French Government moves back to Paris.

September 1: In 1752 the Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia; in 1938 Mussolini cancels civil rights of Jews, in 1939 Germany invades Poland, starting WWII; in 1951 Israel creates their secret service: Mossad.

September 2: In 1798, the 1st bank robbery in the US occurs in Philadelphia; the Empire of Japan sign orders of Unconditional Surrender to the USA. 

Gun of the Week: S&W K-22 Masterpiece

The story of the S&W K-22 Masterpiece begins in 1899 when Smith & Wesson introduced the .38 Hand Ejector Military & Police model, it was the first "K" frame, which turned out to be the perfect size and weight for a revolver.

The Springfield gunmaker introduced the K-framed 22 in 1930 and called it the K-22 Outdoorsman, then in 1939 it was improved into the K-22 Masterpiece. Production (for civilians) was halted during WWII but resumed afterward and in 1957 it got a model number, the Model 17.
In 1990 a stainless version, the 617 was introduced. The Model 17 K-22 Masterpiece is still in production, see them here.

Cartridge of the Week: 307 Winchester

You may not have heard of the 307 Winchester; many may just figured it was a typo. 

No typo, there is a real 307 Winchester and yes, it is related to the .308 Winchester. In fact, they are one and the same except for a couple of small differences. 

The 307 Winchester is a .308 Win cartridge with a rim and thicker case walls. It was developed for use in the Winchester model 94, which is a lever action rifle designed for a rimmed cartridge. 

The 307 was introduced in 1982 and only the Winchester model 94 has ever been chambered for the cartridge.

Reloading dies for the .308 can be used, but the shell holder for a .30-30 Winchester needs to be employed.

Gun Quote of the Week:

"I heard some from the other party saying, we won the cold war, it made me wonder who they meant by WE" - President Ronald Reagan

Bubba Gun of the Week:

This week's Bubba Gun comes to us from North Lawndale, Chicago. Chad "Stoney" Williams-McFadden created this multi-purpose Glock style pistol on his neighbor's 3D printer. He calls the pistol his "Glong".

Gun Sticker of the Week:

This weeks gun sticker comes from Grunt Style

Gun T-Shirt of the Week:

The gun shirt for this week is from Battle Cat Company, see them here.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Monday, August 21, 2023

Week 34 2023

 This Week in Firearms History:

August 20: In 1741, Alaska is 1st sighted by a European, Vitus Bering; in 1866 President Andrew Johnson officially proclaims the Civil War to be over; in 1932 Ed McGivern sets a World record by shooting 12 shots from 2 revolvers in 2 seconds.

August 21: In 1861 Eliphalet Remington dies; in 1863 Lawrence Kansas Massacre (Quantrill's Raid), 150 unarmed men and boys are killed by confederates; in 1995 The Ruby Ridge Siege begins; in 2009 Inglorious Basterds is released in theaters.

August 22: In 1485, Battle of Bosworth Field, King Richard III is killed in battle, the last English Monarch to die in battle; in 1851 Robert Adams is granted a patent for the double action revolver; in 1934 General H. Norman Schwartzkopf is born

August 23: In 1305 William Wallace is executed;  in 1942 the last calvary charge in history as the Italian Savoia Cavalleria charge the Soviet Army.

August 24: In 410 AD Rome is sacked by the Visigoths; in 1814 the British Army captures Washington DC and burn the White House down; in 1896 Bill Doolin, leader of the Wild Bunch is killed by US Marshal Heck Thomas.

August 25: In 1718 French colonists arrive in Louisiana and found New Orleans; in 1852 gun maker and inventor of the milling machine, Simeon North dies; in 1944 Paris is liberated after 4 years of NAZI occupation.

August 26: In 1945 Japanese diplomats board the USS Missouri to receive instructions for the formal surrender. 

Gun of the Week:  Ruger PC 9

The Ruger PC-9 is a pistol caliber carbine from Ruger that was re-introduced a few years ago.

The original PC-9 & PC-4 looked like a larger version of the 10/22 rifle. When in introduced in 1996, the PC stood for "Police Carbine" as law enforcement was its intended customer base. The carbines, in 9mm and .40 S&W, accepted the magazines from Ruger's P series pistols (P85, P89, P91), the gun was discontinued in 2007.
Ten years later a redesigned version emerged from Southport with new magazine compatibility and take-down function along with threaded barrels and stock/forearm options.
The new Pistol Caliber Carbine takes both Ruger SR9 magazines and Glock 17/18/19 magazines.

Cartridge of the Week:   .410 Shotshell

The .410 shotshell is only shot shell that uses its bore diameter rather than a gauge (measurement of how many lead balls that fit the bore that weigh 1 pound).

The .410 was designed in England by Eley Brothers in 1857 as a "garden gun" for dispatching critters.
The .410 has a similar rim diameter to the 45 Colt and is often chambered in guns that can fire both rounds.
Brass cases are available or can be made using 444 Marlin brass (which is an elongated 44 Magnum).
The cartridge was most often loaded in single or side by side shotguns, but in recent years has been loaded in pump shotguns as well as pistols and revolvers.

Gun Quote of the Week:

“I have never been taken with the idea of selling a gun. When you possess a firearm, you possess something of importance. If you trade it for cash, you have lost it − and the cash in your hand will soon be gone. Sell something else!” – Col. Jeff Cooper

Bubba Gun of the Week:
This weeks Bubba Gun is from Queens, New York. L'Carpetron Dookmarriot built this custom Glock-1911 hybrid. He painted it green for the money and gold for the honeys...

Gun Sticker of the Week:

Molon Labe.....Come and take them, available on teepublic

Gun T-Shirt of the Week:

This week's t-shirt is from Liberty Maniacs

Friday, August 18, 2023

Firearm Factory of the Month: Syracuse Arms & Hollenbeck

This is the story of one man and several gun companies. A not so uncommon thread that is seen in many of these gun factory posts.

We'll start with the man behind it all:

Frank Abram Hollenbeck was born on April 30th, 1851 in Tully, New York.

In 1888 Frank Hollenbeck was already a well respected gunsmith, went to work for William Baker at the Syracuse Forging and Gun Company in Syracuse, NY.

In 1893 Hollenbeck decided to go off on his own and started the Syracuse Arms Company in Syracuse New York.
Two years later, in July of 1895 he left his gun company in the care of its investors and went to work making bicycles parts.

When the bicycle business didn't pan out he went back into the gun business by designing a gun for the newly re-organized Baltimore Arms Company in Baltimore, Maryland. This was circa 1900.

Baltimore Arms produced his design for a few years, in the mean time (circa 1901) Hollenbeck moved to Wheeling, West Virginia and secured a shop on the Wheeling Creek on the corner of 18th & Chapline streets. 

There he made side by side and three barreled guns

With slow production, low demand and a very expensive product, the Hollenbeck company fell on hard times. By 1905 they were in bankruptcy. On May 1st 1905 Hollenbeck sold his company to a James Ritz who reincorporated the company as the "Three Barrel Gun Company".
One of the employees of the Three Barrel Gun Company was one of Daniel LeFever's sons, who brought along an agreement to produce some of LeFever's designs.

Not much had changed and after three years the new company also reorganized, this time under the name "Royal Gun Company". This company was listed at 1213 Market Street in Wheeling. I don't know if this was just the office and the factory remained on 18th street or if the entire operation moved.

By May of 1910 The Royal Gun Company had closed its doors.
Although they were not officially in business, rumors are that guns would continue to be assembled and sold for several decades after the official closing of business.

Time Line:

1888: Hollenbeck goes to work for William Baker in Syracuse
1893: Hollenbeck starts Syracuse Arms Company
1895: Hollenbeck leaves Syracuse Arms to make bicycles
1900: Hollenbeck goes to work for Baltimore Arms Co.
1901: Hollenbeck moves to Wheeling WV and forms Hollenbeck Gun Co.
1905: Sells Hollenbeck Gun Co. to James Ritz
1908: Ritz reorganizes company into Royal Gun Co.
1910: Royal Gun Company goes bankrupt.

What Remains:

I did a post on the Baker Gun Company awhile back (see that post here). Here is what the Baker factory location looks like now, this is obviously a new building, the old one was torn down long ago.

I could not find an address for the Syracuse Armsthese were large operations and may have leased space in an existing factory, which was not uncommon at the time.

I did find reference to the location of the Baltimore Arms Company, on the corner of Sharp and Stockholm streets. The location borders the railroad tracks and is near the water. There are several buildings that could be the old factory.

The Google Earth satellite image shows the intersection of 18th & Chapline as having a vacant lot along Wheeling Creek. I believe this was the location of the Hollenbeck factory, as it was the early days of electricity and the town and factory may not have been energized yet, so the creek could have provided the power for the machinery.

Google Street view was an older image, showing a two story brick building on the lot, this could be the original Hollenbeck factory.

Six blocks north at 1213 Market Street


Monday, August 14, 2023

Week 33 2023

 This Week in Firearms History:

August 13: In 1792 French revolutionaries imprison Marie Antoinette; in 1860 Annie Oakley is born; in 1981 Ronald Reagan signs largest tax cut in US history.

August 14: In 1851 John Henry "Doc" Holiday is born; in 1873 Field & Stream begins publishing; in 1945 President Truman announces the Japanese Unconditional Surrender.

August 15: In 1945 US wartime rationing of gasoline ends; in 1947 India gains independence from UK; in 2003 Open Range is released in theaters.

August 16: in 1777 American forces defeat the British at the battle of Bennington in Vermont; in 1942 the 101st Airborne is activated. 

August 17: In 1786 Davy Crockett is born; in 1940 Hitler orders total blockade of Great Britian; in 1943, WWII, Patton takes Sicily.

August 18: In 1846, Mexican-American War, US forces capture Santa Fe, NM; in 1940 Battle of Britain "The Hardest Day"; in 1976 two US soldiers are killed by North Korean soldiers while cutting down a tree in the demilitarized zone.

August 19: In 1692 five more people hanged for witchcraft in Salem; in 1863 Pres Lincoln & Sec of War Stanton shoot the new Spencer rifle on the Washington Mall; in 1895 John Wesley Hardin is killed in the Acme Saloon in El Paso.

Gun of the Week:  Ruger Super Redhawk

The Ruger Super Redhawk owes its existence to a lubricant.

The Ruger Redhawk (the smaller framed 44 Mag revolver) was having issues with barrel separation, while investigating the causes, one solution was a redesigned revolver with a larger frame. The larger frame was not only stronger, but it also had room for much longer barrel threads in addition it provided space for scope mounts.
The Super Redhawk used the lock work from the GP100, whereas the Redhawk used the older lock work from the Security/Service/Speed Six line of revolvers.

Once the issue with the barrels was discovered to be a faulty lubricant, Ruger decided to keep both guns in the catalog.
Introduced in 1987 with one finish (brushed stainless), one chambering (44 Magnum) and two barrel lengths (7.5" & 9.5"). Today the Super Redhawk is available in four chamberings, in addition to 44 Magnum, buyers can choose from 454 Casull, 10mm and the 480 Ruger. There is also a short-barreled version dubbed "The Alaskan".

Cartridge of the Week:  327 Federal Magnum

The story of the 327 Federal Magnum begins in 1878 with the introduction of the .32 Smith & Wesson cartridge.

Smith & Wesson introduced the 32 S&W as a defensive round for gamblers, shop keepers and "sporting ladies". In 1896 S&W introduced a longer version with a little more power called the .32 S&W Long (Colt called it the .32 Colt New Police).

Fast forward nearly 100 years and H&R lengthened the case again, creating the 32 H&R Magnum in 1984.

In 2007 Federal Premium Ammunition along with Strum, Ruger & Co developed the 327 Federal Magnum by lengthening the 32 H&R Magnum by 1/8 inch, providing double the pressure and an increase of 400fps (with a 100 grain bullet).

The Ruger SP101 was the first gun chambered in 327 Federal Mag, since then the Ruger Blackhawk, Single Seven, LCR & GP100 have been chambered in the cartridge as well.

Taurus, Charter Arms, Freedom Arms, Henry Repeating Arms and US Firearms have all produced guns in the caliber.

Gun Quote of the Week:

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." -Thomas Paine

Bubba Gun of the Week:

This week's rifle comes from Dick Weiner of Big Tooth Gap, West Virginia. He calls it the Universal Modular Rifle Scope Mount, patent pending of course.

Gun Sticker of the Week:

Our sticker for this week comes from My Southern Tactical

Gun T-Shirt of the Week:

This week's gun T-shirt comes to us from the fine folks at 1776 United.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Featured Gun: Smith & Wesson model 29



The story of the Smith & Wesson model 29 begins long before the introduction of the 44 Magnum in 1955, even before S&W made their first cartridge revolver under the Rollin White patent 100 years earlier.

The story starts with two men named Sam. Samuel Colt and Samuel Walker, the latter was a Captain in the Texas Rangers and was one of the first to recognize how a repeating weapon can be effective in battle. 
In 1846 Walker asked Colt to build him a revolver, much larger and more powerful than the Colt Patterson (Colt's first revolver). Walker wanted it to be a .44 caliber revolver, why that is, we may never know. 
The load for the Walker was a 141 grain lead ball in front of 60 grains of black powder. This pushed the ball to around 1,200 fps and around 500 lbs of muzzle energy.
The 44 Walker Colt was the most powerful handgun in the World and maintained that status until S&W introduced the .357 Magnum in the 1930s.

As with the 44 Magnum revolvers that followed, many thought the Walker was too heavy and produced too much recoil.

Fast forward to 1907, black powder has been replaced by the more powerful smokeless powder and Smith & Wesson introduced a larger version of their model of 1899 .38 Military & Police. This was done to compete with the Colt New Service revolver. 
This new S&W revolver also came in a new cartridge, the .44 Special, the 44 Special was derived from the 44 Russian, a cartridge developed by S&W for the Imperial Russian government.

Fast forward again to the 1950s, gun writer Elmer Keith and others had been experimenting with the Smith & Wesson .38-44 "triple-lock" revolver and loading the .44 Special to its limit. These wildcatters called themselves "The 44 Associates."

After lots of pushing and questioning both Remington and Smith & Wesson agreed to look at the possibility of "magnumizing" the .44 Special, exactly as they had done to the .38 Special 20 years earlier.

The operation was simple, the 44 Associates had already done the load development and proved the .44 Special case could handle the pressures.
The developers lengthened the .44 Special cartridge by .14". This was done for two reasons, one is adding room for extra powder, the other is to prevent the new, more powerful cartridge from being chambered in the .44 Special guns.
In 1955 Bill Ruger had heard about the new cartridge, stories vary on how he came about the information, but it was probably not a big surprise that a .44 Magnum would be created at some point.

Ruger went quickly to chamber his Blackhawk revolver in .44 Magnum and was able to get it into the hands of customers before Smith & Wesson could. Read more about that story here.

On December 15th, 1955 S&W announced the new gun, they gave it the name: "The .44 Magnum Hand Ejector". Two weeks later on the 29th, the first .44 Hand Ejector was assembled. This first revolver was presented to the president of Remington, RH Coleman.

Elmer Keith was presented with the 3rd 44 Magnum. On January 19th, 1956, the new revolver was introduced to the rest of the world via advertisements in outdoor magazines.

The first 500 44 Hand Ejectors were blued with 6.5" barrels. The inital price was $135, but was raised almost immediately to $140.

Later 4" barrels and nickel plated revolvers were offered.

In 1957 Smith & Wesson assigned model numbers to their guns, starting with serial # S179000, the .44 Magnum Hand Ejector became the model 29.

In 1958 the 8 3/8" barrel was offered along with a special run of 500 5" barreled guns.

Sales were good for the new revolver, but many buyers did not anticipate the stiff recoil. There are stories of many a model 29 for sale in the 1960s with a free partial box of ammo with only 6 rounds missing.

By the end of the 1960s the model 29 was not in regular production due to slowed sales. 

Just when it looked like the model 29 might be dropped from the catalog, work began on a film about a New York Cop named Harry Callahan. This cop not only had a penchant for ignoring rules and policies, but also carried an over the top sidearm, the S&W model 29.

The film's main character was originally written for Frank Sinatra, who according to legend, owned a model 29.

After the script was sold a couple of times (and re-written) and numerous actors turned down the part of Callahan. Things came together when Clint Eastwood was drafted to play the part of San Francisco Inspector # 2211, but Eastwood would not be the only star of the movie, the S&W model 29 would share the spotlight.

After release of the movie, on December 22nd, 1971, sales of the model 29 increased dramatically. So much so that the model 29 was on backorder. Dealers, when they could get them, were charging prices well above MSRP.
Now everyone wanted the gun carried by Dirty Harry.

In 1978 S&W began offering a stainless steel brother to the model 29, per S&W's model designation, they simply added a 6 to the front of the model #, so the stainless model 29 is the 629.

As the years passed S&W engineers discovered problems with the design, the first being the ejector rod, who under recoil could unscrew itself, locking the gun up. The cure was to change the threads to left-hand, the change in design was designated the 29-1.

Every major change would result in a dash and a consecutive number.

Original model 29 specs:

Length: 11.25” (with 6.5” bbl)

Barrel Lengths: 4 & 6.5” (originally)

Weight: 47 ounces (with 6.5” bbl)

Capacity: 6 rounds

Sights: Adjustable rear, ramp front

Value: $250 (parts gun) to $2,500 (unfired, NIB)


1955 44 Magnum Hand Ejector designed.

1956 introduced to the public.

1957 renamed the model 29.

1958 8 3/8" barrel and 5" barrel offered.

1960 (Nov) presentation case changed to mahogany

1968 prefix changed from S to N

1978 stainless model 629 introduced.

1979 barrel shortened to 6”

1981 29-3 update pinned barrel and recessed chambers eliminated, also grips receive relief cut for speed loaders.

Of course, there many other updates, I believe they are currently on the 29-10 series.

The model 29 has been much more than Dirty Harry's gun, it has been used by real law enforcement as well has home defense. The gun has also taken just about every game in North America including the infamous 12 foot tall Polar Bear shot by publisher Robert Peterson, whose stuffed carcass now resides at the NRA Museum in Fairfax, VA.

The bear is shown below in Peterson's warehouse, next to a snowmobile and motorcycle.

The model 29 has come and gone and come back to the S&W catalog. At the time of this writing the model 29 is still available.

This post, as most of them are, was inspired by a recent acquisition I made. This 29-3 was made in 1983 and features the blued finish, 6" barrel, adjustable rear sight and red ramp patridge front, .500" target hammer, .500" target trigger and target stocks.


The Dirty Harry Gun - Smith & Wesson's Model 29 -

Smith & Wesson Model 29 - History and Beauty Shot - Handguns (

A Look Back At The Smith & Wesson Model 29 | An Official Journal Of The NRA (

Dirty Harry's Model 29: America's Shooting Star | An Official Journal Of The NRA (

hrdp-1303-01-roddin-at-random-petersons-polar-bear-take-two-1966-winternationals-display1.jpg (1600×1200) (