We’re just getting started talking about this one. Here are a few links READ MORE
The Colt SAA is perhaps the most easily recognizable revolver in the world. READ MORE
Some handguns give you a 1200 psi adrenaline flow just handling them. Others are as exciting as a dance on broken ground. The Colt Single Action Army is among the former. The Colt is an icon in the truest sense, and iconic handguns and the use they have been put to in times of war and trouble are immensely interesting. Despite being introduced in 1873 the Colt SAA (sometimes called Frontier Six Shooter or Peacemaker) remains in production and is still a useful firearm. I often carry the Colt Single Action Army in the field, as a trail gun, when hiking, and sometimes just because it feels right. My philosophy of a hard hit delivered with accuracy in preference to a flurry of small caliber shots seems a good fit for my lifestyle. The Colt isn’t at the top of the list for personal defense anymore but then it isn’t at the bottom either. For protection against dangerous animals including feral dogs and the big cats the Colt seems just right. The Colt was the first choice of experienced gunners many years ago, in spite of good quality double action revolvers being widely available. Lawrence of Arabia, Frank Hamer, Tom Threepersons, Douglas McArthur, George S Patton and others relied on the Colt SAA for everyday use. It is a practical and hard hitting handgun and these men were on the point of danger. (Hamer and Lawrence each referred to the Colt SAA as their Lucky Gun or Old Lucky, and each also used the 1911 pistol.)
In the early 1870s Colt Firearms was given the task of creating a new Army revolver. The goal was a handgun and cartridge capable of taking a Native American war pony out of action at 100 yards. (More horses than men were killed in practically every battle in the west.) The result was the solid frame Single Action Army. The .45 Colt used a variety of loads ranging from 230 to 260 grains, at 750 to 900 fps, and in both copper and brass cartridge cases. The cartridge lived up to its promise. While there were other cartridges chambered in the Colt, notably the .44-40 WCF, the .45 Colt is my favorite. It resounds with authority today.
The original Army revolver featured a 7 ½ inch barrel. The later Artillery Model featured a 5 ½ inch barrel and finally a popular 4 ¾ inch barrel or Gunfighter’s Model. The Single Action Army requires the hammer be put on half cock to load. Open the loading gate. Load one cartridge, skip a cylinder, load four and cock the hammer and lower it on an empty chamber. The revolver then and now is only safe to carry with five beans under the wheel as the firing pin would rest on the primer of a chambered cartridge otherwise, an unsafe practice. To unload open the loading gate and kick each cartridge out individually with the ejector button. The first guns were manufactured with iron frames that were case hardened to strength. I still prefer the case hardened look with modern high quality steel revolvers. There are incremental improvements in the type and many different chamberings. The SAA earned a reputation as a durable and hard hitting handgun. The balance of the revolver is excellent. It is among the fastest pointing and hitting handguns I have used. The 1911 fits my hand well and it is superior in rapid fire, the double action revolver required a different grip style to stabilize the handgun as the forefinger works the trigger. But nothing points like a finger like the SAA. Even today few handguns are as fast and sure to an accurate first shot at moderate range. The wound potential of the lumbering old slug is unsurpassed in standard calibers although equaled by strong loads in the .45 Auto Rim.
My modern SAA is the 4 ¾ inch version with case hardened frame. The revolver is plenty accurate for most uses. I have used quite a few loads in this Colt and still enjoy working up handloads and testing factory loads. Winchester still produces the original 255 grain conical bullet. The Super X load is faster than the modern cowboy action loads and breaks just over 800 fps in the 4 ¾ inch barrel SAA. This load exhibits excellent penetration. The bullet will tumble in some media creating an extensive wound the length of its travel. I have the greatest respect for this load as a personal defense load and for defense against animals into the big cat class. I have also tested the Winchester PDX hollowpoint. This load operates a modest pressure but jolts a well designed 225 grain JHP at 800 fps. Expansion is good. This loading would make an excellent defense load for home defense. There are combinations I load myself for occasional use that are even stronger including a 255 grain SWC at 1,000 fps, but I do not need these for most uses. With any of these loads the Colt will group five shots into 2-2.5 inches at 20 yards.
A great advantage of the SAA is its balance on the hip. The revolver sets right, with the proper balance of barrel, cylinder and butt to offer a forward tilt on the draw. While I am not adverse to tucking the revolver in my belt — with the loading gate open in the appendix position == you really need a good holster. Among the finest possible holsters to be had is the DM Bullard shoulder holster. This is a relatively fresh design with excellent utility. The holster load bearing harness features a steel reinforcement for rigidity. The holster itself may be detached for belt use if needed. The rig shows excellent fit and finish including creased straps and excellent adjustment. During the winter months there is no handier type of carry. I also use a concealed carry holster with a severe tilt that offers practically as much concealment as an inside the waistband holster. Mine is of carefully crafted exotic leather. Also from DM Bullard this holster is a sturdy companion that keeps the handgun secure but ready for a rapid presentation.
The Colt has the famous plow handled grip and a decent trigger. A tip on firing the beast- don’t take the time to carefully steady the gun and fire slow fire but use it as intended. Draw, cock the hammer as it is brought on target, and press the trigger smoothly but quickly. Colt revolvers are among the most famous of handguns. They are historically important and offer practical utility today. If a sense of history and emotional attachment mean anything to you these are the handguns to have. Don’t lock them in the safe. Fire them often. Carry them. They are valuable but in my opinion more valuable to a shooter than a collector.
The history of the gunfighters gun is fascinating and rings true today in handgun selection. READ MORE
“Gents, Please send me one of your Nickel plated .45 Caliber revolvers. It is for my own use and for that reason I would like to have a little Extra pains taken with it. I am willing to pay the Extra for Extra work. Make it very easy on the trigger and have the front Sight a little higher and thicker than the ordinary pistol of this Kind. Put on a gutta percha handle and send it as soon as possible. Have the barrel about the same length that the ejecting rod is.
W.B. [Bat] Masterson”
A gun has a face, a soul and a history. Some handguns have been around the block. The Colt Single Action Army revolver built the block. The relationship to firearms isn’t attachment to an inanimate object but rather to the country and a respect for the men that used the firearm. Handguns are used in great wars and battles but most of the actions are close range and of a more personal nature. These battles are less important to the world but important to the men involved in them. The men that used the gun, the men that invented the gun and the craftsmen that made the gun are all important. I mean this in the best sense of the word — the Colt is made by Yankee craftsmen in Hartford Connecticut and has been for many years — over one hundred forty years for the Colt Single Action Army. This handgun was selected for the US Army partly due to General Stephen Benet’s insistence that the Army have the best tool for the job. Among the chores the Colt Single Action Army had to perform was dropping an Native American war pony at 100 yards. The new revolver met a higher standard of reliability, accuracy and power than ever before for a military handgun. The result was a handgun that served the Army well, was adopted by bad and good men in the West, and which rode with western lawmen until the 1950s. Frank Hamer carried his Old Lucky .45 in pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde, and Tom Threepersons favored his custom Colt SAA when walking the mean streets of border towns in the 1920s. Douglas McArthur killed 7 adversaries with his Colt in a number of wild battles in Mexico, while a young George S Patton killed at least two bandits. General Wainwright took his to the Philippines and General Patton wore an engraved SAA in Europe. A young Marine named Jeff Cooper saved his life with the Colt SAA on more than one occasion during World War Two.
“If you want to kill a man use a revolver. If you want to make a lot of noise use an automatic.”
Gen . George S. Patton
The use that the Colt was put to that is the most remembered — and perhaps this is fueled by the cinema — is its use by dead eyed gunfighters in the streets of the old west. They were used in fear, on the side of justice, for retribution, and for survival. Some wielded them with deadly efficiency. The Colt embodies the spirit of the west, and perhaps independence we love and hold dear. This was America’s gun and the piece is closely associated with American lawmen and gunfighters. (Although a young Brit that became Lawrence of Arabia also preferred the Colt Single Action Army.) The Colt was not the most advanced gun of the day. Hinged frame revolvers loaded more quickly and there were double action revolvers that could be fired more quickly. The Colt was rugged and worked, and that is what really counts in a fighting handgun. A warranty means little far from home or a gunshop. The handgun had to be reliable.
The gunfighters gun was the Colt SAA preferred by Bat Masterson, Tom Threepersons, Frank Hamer and others. This was the Colt Single Action Army with 4 ¾ inch barrel. This is the finest balanced handgun in the world, in my opinion. The balance is neither handle heavy nor barrel heavy but simply ideal. The grip has been called a plow handled grip. The angle is nearly identical to the small plows used to till the ground. Most anyone was familiar with this grip in those days. I prefer to think that the grip was designed for excellent hand fit. After all flintlock pistols that came before were not too different in grip angle. When you wrap your hand around the grip of the Colt Single Action Army something says friend. The grip angle allowed a soft rocking in recoil. Even with heavy .45 Colt loadings the revolver was comfortable to fire. As the barrel rose in recoil the hammer was presented at the ideal angle for the shooting thumb to quickly reach and cock the hammer. This isn’t done in the modern manner by reaching from the back of the hammer but by laying the thumb over the hammer. The distinctive sound of the hammer being cocked says C-O-L-T to those with an ear — even if the gun is a modern clone. The .45 Colt revolver cartridge was the most powerful handgun cartridge of the day. Power wasn’t debatable among those that really needed a sidearm. They carried the most powerful revolver available. As for Bat Masterson’s custom front sight Tom Threepersons Gun, now in a museum, also sports a tall front sight. Perhaps these lawmen learned long ago what we know now — keeping your eye on the front sight is what matters in a gunfight. Speed is good, Masterson said, but accuracy is final.
A Divine Angle and Heavenly Balance
Why was the 4 ¾ inch Colt the gunfighter’s gun? The 7 ½ inch barrel Colt was the Army’s choice. The long barrel made certain that the most velocity possible was gained. The long sight radius gave every advantage in firing at aboriginal warriors at long distances. Civilian demand for a shorter length led to the 5 ½ inch barrel revolver in 1875. Colt began offering the 4 ¾ inch barrel version in 1879. It had been a special order item in the past, but the 4 ¾ inch barrel revolver was now a standard offering. Most lawmen worked in town. Few wore ‘traildriver’ attire except when tracking or leading a posse, and this was something done primarily by US Marshals. The town police often wore a suit jacket over the firearm. This practice continued until the time of Tom Threepersons in the 1920s and Frank Hamer in the 1930s. When carrying the revolver under covering garments the 4 ¾ inch barrel revolver was much easier to carry and conceal. While face offs and fast draw contests are primarily the province of the cinema there were times when speed into action could be critical. The 4 ¾ inch barrel Colt cleared leather more quickly than the longer barrel versions. On the other hand the short barrel Sheriff’s or Shopkeeper Model Colt revolvers were not as well balanced or accurate and also eliminated the ejector rod assembly, making reloading difficult. Another big plus for Colt — the revolver was fully ambidextrous. Later swing out cylinder revolvers favored the right handed user. The Colt was sometimes said to favor the left hand handed shooter. With either hand, even switching to the left hand for right handed shooters during reloading, the revolver was ambidextrous. And don’t think the Colt was as slow to load as all that. By snagging a handful of cartridges and quickly ejecting the spent case and slipping another into place as you spun the cylinder the Colt could be reloaded relatively quickly.
The 4 ¾ inch barrel Gunfighter’s gun was brilliantly fast into action. At the usual ranges involved in saloon fights or across the gaming table the black powder loads then in use the adversary’s clothing was often set on fire. This resulted in quite a scene I am certain! The cloud of black powder smoke sometimes found its way under the skin of the protagonists and more than one old time gun fighter wore these flecks under his skin. Having been struck by a bullet on one occasion and on another having a bullet pass my ear so closely it compressed my ear drum I assure you these events are far more nerve wracking than the usual cinematic depiction. The short and well balanced 4 ¾ inch barrel Colt was the greatest gunfighters gun and remained so for many years. Then and now, the Colt was among the more expensive handguns. If just any handgun would do there were handguns available for half the price of the Colt. Today the better replicas — and some, such as the Cimarron, are very good — are not inexpensive. But the Colt was acquired from a burning desire to have the very best handgun on the belt to save your life. The Colt SAA Gunfighter’s gun is a legendary handgun that still delivers speed, accuracy and power. It is an American icon without equal.
A question remains — why did lawmen carry the Colt SAA revolver until well into the late 1940s in some cases? Others, such as Skeeter Skelton, carried the Colt on patrol with the US Border Patrol well after World War Two. The answer is simple — handling, weight and balance. The new breed of double action revolvers offered greater rapidity of fire but their accurate rate of fire wasn’t really different from the SAA. They were much faster to reload, that was true. But due to the more complicated mechanism the double action revolver was larger and heavier. Some, like the Colt New Service, were at least as durable as the SAA. The 4 ¾ inch barrel SAA was no more difficult to carry and conceal than a 4 inch barrel Smith and Wesson Military and Police .38 revolver. The SAA also offered a sweet trigger press and high practical accuracy. When the 1911 automatic came along some Texas Rangers and other lawmen adopted the 1911 because it too was relatively light and had that sweet trigger press. But many, like Frank Hamer, relied upon the SAA for daily carry and only occasionally carried the 1911.
The .45 Colt Cartridge
While the .44-40 WCF was also popular the majority of lawmen carried the .45 Colt cartridge revolver. The cartridge case held 40 grains of black powder under a 250 grain bullet. This load averaged about 900 fps in long barrel revolvers. The cartridge proved adequate at dropping an Indian Pony and drovers appreciated the ability to drop a crazed bronc or steer before it beat a man to death. While some argument may be made as to the superiority of the .44-40 as a rifle cartridge, the .45 Colt was the favorite gunfighter’s cartridge and the one that survived the longest.
COVID-19 hasn’t curtailed the California Legislature’s never-ending quest for gun control. Read how it’s all part of the process in the Golden State HERE
The same cannot be said for efforts to maintain good governance in the Golden State. Through restrictions on access to the state capitol and disorganized attempts at remote hearings, Californians have had their opportunity to be heard during the legislative process diminished by the pandemic.
At present, a handful of significant gun control measures are making their way through the California Legislature.
AB 2847, which passed out of the State Assembly’s Public Safety committee on May 19, would curtail the models of handguns available for purchase in California by requiring the removal of three firearms from the Roster of Certified Handguns for each new model of handgun added to the roster.
That same day the Public Safety committee also advanced AB 2362, which would empower the California Department of Justice to further harass gun dealers by levying fines of up to $1,000 for minor technical violations.
On May 20, the Senate’s Public Safety committee passed SB 914. This legislation would further restrict the ability to loan long-guns to minors and tax gun owners by raising the fees the California Department of Justice can charge for eligibility checks on certain ammunition purchases and precursor parts.
According to NRA’s resources on the ground in Sacramento, changes made to hearing procedure ostensibly for COVID-19 have limited stakeholder participation. Despite being home to Silicon Valley, technical limitations along with confused procedures have limited the opportunity to comment on proposed legislation remotely. In at least one instance, disorderly procedures made it so that witnesses attempting to testify were not notified of when they would be able to speak. Testimony for one committee hearing had to be cut short when the committee appeared incapable of troubleshooting the third-party vendor technology that they were using for the hearing.
Further, during the COVID-19 outbreak, lobbyists have been discouraged from attending committee hearings in-person and meeting with lawmakers in their offices. The term “lobbyist” has taken on a negative connotation in some corners, but when it comes to a civil liberties group like the NRA it is undeserved. In the case of NRA, average gun rights supporters from all over California pool their resources to ensure that their views are represented during the legislative process. Lobbyists that communicate to lawmakers the views and concerns of their constituency, especially those of a grassroots community like NRA, are a vital part of the legislative process.
Restricting avenues of participation in government is anathema to a proper functioning republic. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects “the right of the people… to petition the government for a redress of grievances.?” In regards to lobbying, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun noted in his concurrence in Regan v. Taxation With Representation of Washington that “lobbying is protected by the First Amendment?.”
With their actions during the pandemic, the California Legislature has made clear, that in their view, extremist gun control proposals are essential, but the average citizen’s opportunity to meaningfully participate in the legislative process is not.
Some of America’s most pro-gun people ironically inhabit some of its most anti-gun locales. Like plants that can survive the harshest desert climates, they are among the hardiest of their kind. And for those in the know, they are as much a part of the Second Amendment landscape as cacti are to the desert. READ MORE
In New York City, epicenter both to America’s COVID-19 outbreak and to anti-Second Amendment fervor, one of the city’s gritty gun culture icons has already succumbed to the economic pressures of the Big Apples interminable lockdown and another is fighting for its life. Your help can ensure the latter survives.
First, the bad news. John Jovino Gun Shop on Grand Street in Little Italy and Chinatown had served New Yorkers since 1911 and billed itself as “the oldest gun shop in the USA.”
Ironically, 1911 was the same year Tammany Hall grifters – including Sen. Timothy Sullivan – enacted a New York State law that made possession and carrying of concealable firearms subject to a license issued at the discretion of local officials. In New York City, the infamous “Sullivan Act” was openly promoted as a way to keep firearms out of the hands of such “undesirables” as working class Italian immigrants, or the same people the New York Times described at the time as “[l]ow-browed foreigners.”
Born in those inauspicious times, John Jovino Gun Shop nevertheless managed to survive World War I, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-69, the blackout of 1977, the Cold War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Passers-by were lured to the store by the unlikely sight in Manhattan of a giant wooden revolver hanging outside the shop.
But thanks to the modern manifestation of the Sullivan Act, there could be no impulse purchase of any such handgun at John Jovino. That act in New York City is still treated as a privilege reserved for the well-heeled or well-connected. At best, it involves hundreds of dollars in fees and takes the better part of a year, if it proves possible to the average city resident at all.
In the 1920s, John Jovino Gun Shop passed from its namesake founder to the Imperato family, who at the time lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Beginning in the 1990s, the business even included a gun factory in Brooklyn, which made reproductions of Civil War-era Henry Rifles and cap and ball Colt revolvers. That part of the operation later moved to Bayonne, New Jersey, and lives on as Henry Repeating Arms, now makers of fine lever-action rifles.
More recently, the Manhattan retail outlet was able to survive on the business of the local law enforcement community and some especially determined civilians. Fittingly for a New York City staple, it also appeared in hard-nosed film and television productions, including Serpico and Law and Order.
Charlie Hu, the store’s manager since 1995 and known in the neighborhood as Gun King Charlie, spoke emotionally to the local press upon the store’s closing last week. “I’m very emotional right now, as you can see, I am having a rough day. Everything is super sad,” he said. “My whole life went into this,” he continued.
Throughout the day, according to the article, longtime friends at the New York City Police Department called to thank Mr. Hu for responsibly serving the local community and to wish him well. Finally came a call from the boss himself, Anthony Imperato. “You are completing the mission,” he told his faithful employee of 25 years.
Meanwhile, further uptown on West 23rd Street, a steely survivor of the New York City Second Amendment community continues to fight for its life.
If making and selling guns seems unlikely in New York City, maintaining a public range in the heart of Manhattan seems downright preposterous. But Westside Rifle & Pistol Range has done just that for over half a century since its founding in 1964. Now it is Manhattan’s last surviving public range, offering equipment, facilities, and training to help local gun owners responsibly and effectively exercise their Second Amendment rights. It also helps New Yorkers negotiate the complicated process of applying for a handgun license in the city.
Unobtrusively located in the basement of a large office building, the facility has been run since 1989 by Darren Leung, a former New York State peace officer, who said a lifelong interest in firearms was shaped by uncles on both sides of the law. An NBC News profile noted in 2017 that local gun owners are as likely to come by Westside to shoot the breeze as the targets in the range’s multiple shooting bays. The business is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, its big city locale notwithstanding
A staunch supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, Leung and his business are undoubtedly a lynchpin in keeping a meaningful Second Amendment alive in America’s most populous city. Perhaps prophetically, Leung told NBC three years ago: “If I ever close, I might be killing off a whole couple of generations of shooters ahead of us. … So it’s always in the back of my mind that it’s important to maintain the range, and to maintain it correctly.”
That is exactly why members of the gun owning community have established a GoFundMe account to help keep West Side Rifle & Pistol afloat during the city’s ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. New York City rents are brutal under the best of circumstances. When there’s no opportunity for regular income, they can doom even the most resilient of businesses and business owners.
Gun owners to date have been generous, and the range remains determined to fight on for as long as possible. Said the organizer of the effort, “It’s both overwhelming and humbling to realize how many folks care and love us.“
For the time being, Westside continues to stand as a symbol of America’s Second Amendment culture even in the core of the Big Apple. A symbol that even the city’s many notorious anti-gun snobs, chief among them former mayor Michael Bloomberg, have yet been able to extinguish.
What the song said of New York is as true for the Second Amendment as it for aspiring talents: if it can make it there, it can make it anywhere. With luck, grit, and the help of gun owners, New York City’s pro-gun stalwarts will hopefully add the COVID-19 pandemic to the long list of challenges they have successfully overcome.
Of all the recent developments in American life arising from state lockdown orders, perhaps none is so sinister as public officials encouraging people to inform on their neighbors and community members for perceived violations of supposed safety protocols.
This trend is made all the worse by the fact that people are getting an unprecedented glimpse into each others’ homes through pervasive online video conferences now being used to facilitate activities like work, school, and religious worship. For one family in Pennsylvania, the “discomfort” a schoolmate’s parent felt about seeing a toy gun in a Zoom call even resulted in police showing up at their home.
A segment on the May 15 edition of the Todd Starnes Radio Show included an interview with Sheila Perez Smith, the mother of a 7–year—old first grader. Perez Smith recounted how the child had received a plastic toy gun as a gift, which quickly became the boy’s “favorite new thing.”
During a school-related Zoom call with his classmates and teacher at the Cumberland Valley School District, she said, the boy was seated with the toy next to him. He was not, however, interacting with it in any way.
After the call concluded, the family received an email from the child’s teacher “basically saying that another parent of another classmate had been very uncomfortable by the fact that the gun had been in view of the Zoom call.”
But that was not the end of the incident.
Within a couple of hours, Perez Smith said, an officer from the Hampden Township Police Department came to their home and asked the family to step outside so he could question them about a complaint involving a child and a gun.
The boy’s parents explained that it was only a toy gun and showed it to the officer. They went on to reassure the officer that they have no actual firearms in their home and that everyone in the residence was safe and well.
Perez Smith indicated she thought that would have ended any concern over the matter. Nevertheless, she said, “I did not feel that it was something where they said, ‘We understand. We just had to follow through.’ They took if very seriously, as if there was some sort of chance that we had weapons in the home.”
She also said the police officer made a point of continuing to lecture the family about the necessity of keeping children away from any sort of guns, even once he understood there was no danger to the kids.
Perez Smith stressed that she did not blame the school itself and called Cumberland Valley “a wonderful district that we have always loved.”
The problem, she believed, arose because another parent claimed to feel “uncomfortable” over the sight of a completely harmless object in the privacy of someone else’s home. “I don’t believe the accusation was made with concern for my own child,” she said, but because the other parent objected to that parent’s child being exposed to the sight of a fake gun.
Indeed, officious busybodies are being encouraged not only to report violations of public health orders but to call out perceived violations of political correctness during “virtual meetings.” An article providing advice from two professors at state public universities warned that the sight of wedding pictures and references to fun family activities during online meetings can be construed as “microaggressions.” Strategies to counter these offenses, they counseled, include “calling out microaggressions when they occur, whether “naming [them] on the spot” or taking action after the fact.
Yet the example of one Pennsylvania family shows how radical intolerance toward others’ private choices can have damaging effects on children who are too young to understand the culture wars being waged by politically-motivated adults.
Perez Smith described how her children – already experiencing anxiety, sadness, and confusion over the idea of having to shelter from a dangerous virus – were subjected to the additional fear that their parents would be taken away by the police.
She also noted that the family will be opting out of future school-related Zoom calls. While that will result in further isolation of the children from their peers, she sees it as a necessary safeguard against “completely bogus” accusations like the one her family endured.
Obama administration tried to cover up failed operation. READ MORE
Nearly a decade has passed since the public first learned of the botched Obama-era gunwalking scandal Operation Fast and Furious. These days, Barack Obama spends his time collecting money from a lucrative Netflix contract, shuffling between lavish homes in Washington, D.C. and on Martha’s Vineyard, and occasionally offering his tepid support for presumptive democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Former Attorney General Eric Holder enjoys a profitable position as a “rainmaker” at high-powered D.C. law firm Covington. Meanwhile, those who lost loved ones to the Obama Department of Justice’s misguided gun trafficking scheme are still searching for answers and accountability.
On Friday May 8, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador shared his intent to demand that the U.S. provide Mexico with further information on Operation Fast and Furious. According to Reuters, the failed operation has once again come to the forefront of Mexican politics “amid a debate over historic U.S.-Mexico cooperation on security.” Speaking of the gunwalking scheme at a news conference, Obrador said, “How could this be? A government that invades in this way, that flagrantly violates sovereignty, international laws.”
The following Monday, Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced in a video message that the country had sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. Embassy seeking information on Operation Fast and Furious. The minister made clear who he wanted information on. Reuters reported that “In the video, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard cited former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as saying Mexican authorities knew about the 2009-2011 scheme known as ‘Fast and Furious’” and that “It was the first time Ebrard or President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had made direct reference by name to a key U.S. figure connected to the program since the issue resurfaced in Mexico a week ago.”
Operation Fast and Furious was largely run out of the Tucson and Phoenix ATF field offices. Agents would allow suspected illegal purchases of firearms by gun traffickers to take place and then track the guns with the purported goal of uncovering the workings of a larger criminal organization for which these individuals were purchasing firearms. In some cases, concerned FFLs were instructed by ATF to go forward with suspicious transactions. Rather than interdicting these firearms, ATF permitted the guns to flow into Mexico.
On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death in a gunfight with armed criminals near the Mexican border. Following the incident, firearms used by the criminals were traced to Operation Fast and Furious. Subsequently, whistleblower ATF Agent John Dodson, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), intrepid gun rights supporters, and CBS journalist Sharyl Attkisson helped bring the truth of what happened to the public. Illustrating the opacity of the Obama DOJ, the DOJ inspector general was forced to open an investigation into whether the government had retaliated against Dodson after he came forward with information on the botched gunwalking scheme.
Word of the failed operation struck a nerve with gun rights advocates. Around the same time as the operation was taking place, American gun rights were being blamed by the Obama Administration for Mexico’s crime problem.
In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Americans, stating, “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.” In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that same month, Clinton endorsed a ban on commonly owned semi-automatics firearms. Mitchell brought up the problem of Mexican violence and a potential “assault weapons” ban, to which Clinton responded “I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons don’t belong on any one’s street.”
By its conclusion, the failed operation involved as many as 2,000 firearms. The firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico. As of 2016, Operation Fast and Furious firearms were linked to at least 69 killings. That same year, CBS news reported that one of the firearms was found at the hideout of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.
In 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 255-67 to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to hand over requested documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.
Mexico’s request for further information on Operation Fast and Furious is understandable, given the Obama administration’s extensive efforts to conceal the details of the gunwalking scheme. Moreover, American gun owners have an interest in a full accounting of the misguided operation.
Gun Control scheme backfires, targets law-abiding citizens. READ MORE
On April 5, 2019, three days after New Zealand’s Arms Amendment Act 2019 advanced from its first reading in parliament, NRA-ILA noted that “[g]iven the abundant research on Australia’s similar gun confiscation efforts, New Zealand officials can expect that their gun control measures will do little more than trample the natural rights of gun owners…” This week the first evidence vindicating this position came in when Radio New Zealand (RNZ) published figures it had obtained from the government showing that for last year crime involving firearms was the highest it had been since 2009.
According to an RNZ article titled, “Rates of gun crimes and killings using guns at highest levels in a decade in 2019,” last year “there were 3540 occasions where an offender was found with a gun.” The report went on to note that “in both of the last two years, the rate of deadly incidents involving a firearm was the highest it had been since 2009” and that “[t]he number of guns seized by police is also on the rise, up almost 50 percent on five years earlier at 1263 last year.” Making clear that the figures cited in the article were not skewed by the horrific shooting in Christchurch, the report noted that “[t]he 15 March terror attacks were listed as two separate firearms-related incidents.”
On March 21, 2019, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern targeted New Zealand’s law-abiding gun owners by unilaterally halting the sale of semi-automatic centerfire firearms that utilize detachable magazines to normal gun owners. The Arms Amendment Act 2019 was passed into law on April 10 and received royal assent the following day. The key provision of the legislation outlawed possession of all semi-automatic centerfire rifles and their magazines.
In order to enforce the ban, the legislation provided for a firearm confiscation scheme. As with Australia’s 1996 national firearms “buyback” program,” law-abiding New Zealand gun owners were forced to turn their lawfully-acquired property over to the government for a set amount of compensation. The program ran from June 20-December 20, 2019. Compliant gun owners were treated to poor compensation and a breach of their personal data.
At the end of the confiscation program the government had collected roughly 56,000 firearms. A June 2019 report from consulting firm KPMG had estimated that there were as many as 173,000 newly-prohibited firearms in the country. New Zealand gun rights group, the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners estimated that 170,000 prohibited firearms were still in the hands of Kiwis after the confiscation program.
It should come as no surprise that New Zealand’s new gun control laws haven’t appeared to effect gun crime. After all, gang members told the government as much.
At the outset of the gun control push, the Waikato branch president of the Mongrel Mob street gang, Sonny Fatu, made clear to the press that his gang and others have no intention of obeying further gun laws. The gang leader stated, “Will gangs get rid of their weapons? No. Because of who we are, we can’t guarantee our own safety.”
Moreover, as noted in the April 5, 2019 NRA-ILA article, the research on Australia’s confiscation program is clear. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice reviewed the available research on Australia’s firearm confiscation program and issued a memorandum that concluded that the effort had no effect on crime generally. In coming to this determination, the memorandum cited work from University of Maryland Professor Peter Reuter and Jenny Mouzos, aptly titled, “Australia: A Massive Buyback of Low-Risk Guns.”The NIJ memo made clear that the researchers “found no effect on crime.”
With this new data it is tempting to call the New Zealand’s gun control efforts a failure. However, to do so one must assume that Ardern and her government’s goal was to reduce crime perpetrated with firearms rather than to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Concerning the latter, Ardern’s gun control has proven an undeniable success.
You’re stuck with a lot of loser loads. Now what? READ MORE
Last time I threw out a circumstance where, during the will and want to deliver high-volume output a mistake was made and the result is that you’re left with honking pot full of substandard ammo. We talked about what might have gone wrong, but probably the worst is there’s something that’s created a load too hot. Too much pressure. There are other dimensional issues as well that might prevent graceful reuse. But, for the most part, unless the load produced is well over pressure, I’d be looking to send them downrange. Cut my losses, get the cases back, start over.
Directional miscues are pretty clearly decided on how to overome. Bullets out too far? Seat them deeper. It’s not going to be so little that there won’t be some influence, but not enough to escalate pressures.
I can’t say “how much” overpressure is safe to shoot, but can tell you that it’s likely to be a good deal more than you might think. Now, this doesn’t have to do accuracy or manners, just safety. That’s also not a recommendation from me to willingly ignore your own instincts. There’s varying of degrees or levels of abuse to be enured.
Digging all the way out from under this problem is also liable to require the use of specialty tooling, something like, dare I say, a bullet puller. One of these will salvage both propellant and bullet, and give the opportunity to crank right back up and a have another go at it. I have shot a plenty of pulled bullets and into very small shot groups. It was once popular among mil-spec-type target shooters to break down M193, replace the 55 gr. with a commercial 52, 53, or 55 match bullet and head to the firing line. Groups would be about 60-percent smaller. Right, just pull them and replace them. No extra sizing, no nothing.
Forster is my first choice for a bullet puller because it’s simple an fast, and because it allows the reuse of a bullet. It’s tedious, but way on better than the headache created by a kinetic type puller.
Back to the start: preparation prevents problems, as long as paying attention is involved! Taking time to make notes and run a checklist helps keep race cars on the track and airplanes in the air, and handloading ammunition safe. Take the time.
The preceding is a adapted from information contained in Glen’s Top-Grade Ammo. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads. Also, check out our new lineup of eBOOKS!