Californians may be relegated to shooting revolvers soon. On February 27, 2015, a Federal Judge in California over-ruled objections to a California state law requiring that all new semi-auto handguns have microstamping capability. In granting summary judgment to the State, Eastern District Judge Kimberly Mueller halted legal efforts to over-turn microstamping requirements for semi-auto pistols. Unless this District Court ruling is overturned on appeal, this Federal Court decision would effectively ban the sale or possession of most (if not all) new semi-auto handguns in the state.
Editor’s Comment: There is some hope however — the Calguns Foundations said counsel has already appealed the recent ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ruling was issued in Peña v. Lindley, a Federal case that pitted California resident Ivan Peña and three other individual plaintiffs against Stephen Lindley, the chief of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms.
At issue was California’s microstamping law, which was signed into law in 2007 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but which only took effect in 2013. In the two years since the micro-stamping requirement went into effect, no manufacturer has made a new firearm that complies with the requirement. Both Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co., are not shipping their latest (post-2013 design) firearms into the California market because of the microstamping law. Opponents of the law argued that the microstamping requirment was, effectively, a de facto ban on all semi-auto pistols, since not one manufacturer has offered guns that comply with the law.
“This is about the state trying to eliminate the handgun market,” said Alan Gura, the lead attorney in Peña v. Lindley told Fox News last week. “The evidence submitted by the manufacturers shows this is science fiction and there is not a practical way to implement the law.”
The Peña v. Lindley case was argued at the trial court on December 17, 2013. Peña, gun manufacturers, and attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation argued that microstamping relies on impractical and unworkable technology. The plaintiffs argued that, if guns without the technology can’t be sold in California, and gun manufacturers can’t implement the technology, then the law functions as a de facto handgun ban that violates the Second Amendment.
The Calguns Foundation stated that the group is “disappointed that the district court sidestepped a clear violation of Second Amendment civil rights in its decision today. However, we are absolutely committed to litigating this case as far as necessary to reverse this incorrect ruling and restore the right to keep and bear modern handguns in the Golden State.”
This is a message to my friends in the shooting community: be careful with your skin. I wasn’t careful enough and now I have skin cancers. When the Doctor says the “C” word, trust me, it’s a scary thing. That’s me in the photo below. The reason I have band-aids on my cheek and my chest is that I was just diagnosed with multiple basal cell carcinomas (the band-aids cover biopsy sites). These basal cell cancers can (and will) be surgically treated, but any skin cancer is worrisome. The worst kind of skin cancers, melanomas, can be fatal if not detected very early.
An Ounce of Prevention — How to Protect Your Skin
Fellow shooters, my message to you is: Protect your skin… and see a dermatologist regularly. If you are over 40 and have spent a lot of time outdoors, I suggest you see a skin doctor every year.
As gun guys (and gals) we spend a lot of time outdoors, much of it in bright sunlight. When working and playing outdoors, you should always try to minimize the risk of skin damage and possible skin cancers. Here are some practical tips:
1. Wear effective sunscreen. Get the kind that still works even if you sweat.
2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and quality sunglasses with side protection.
3. Protect your arms and neck. It’s smart to wear long-sleeve shirts with high collars. There are “breathable” fabrics that still offer good sun protection.
4. Stay in the shade when you can. Direct sunlight is more damaging to your skin.
5. When testing loads or practicing you can make your own shade with an umbrella fixed to a tripod or scope stand. This has the added benefit of keeping you (and your ammo) cool.
6. Do a “field survey” of your skin every few weeks. Have your spouse or “significant other” inspect your back and the backside of your legs.
What to Look For — How to Spot Possible Skin Cancers
Here is an illustration that shows various types of skin cancers. But understand that an early basal cell carcinoma can be much, more subtle — it may just look like a small, pale pink spot. Also, if you have a scab that flakes off and re-appears, that might be a cancer. In the case of the basal cell on my face, I initially thought it was just a shaving abrasion. The skin was just slightly pinkish, with a little scab that would form and come back. But after a couple months, it never got any better. That’s what prompted me to see the doctor. And I’m glad I did….
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Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang has been working overtime at his SEB COAX production facility in Indonesia. That’s good news for benchrest and F-Class shooters. Seb is finishing up a large shipment of coaxial front rests for customers around the globe. Dozens of new NEOs (is that an oxymoron?) have been completed and are ready to be sent to customers. Seb tells us: “We are progressing. Here are some NEOs ready to be packed and shipped”.
Click image to see full-screen photo:
CNC Machines Speed Production
After acquiring new CNC machines, Seb has been able to increase production in response to high demand: “Though they are only 3-Axis, my new CNC equipment sure helps to make the components.” However, even with the new CNC units, Seb says: “I think I will need more space, employees, and more equipment in the near future.” Whatever it takes Seb, keep those NEOs coming.
Today is the 179th birthday of the revolver, as invented by Samuel Colt of Hartford, Connecticut. On February 25, 1836, Samuel Colt was granted a United States patent for an “Improvement in Fire-Arms”, specifically the “Revolving Gun”. The rest is history. Colt’s original patent drawings, along with the text of his application, are available online.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is seeking to ban commonly-used 5.56 M855 “green tip” ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition” and is seeking public comment on the proposal. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) urges target shooters and gun owners to contact ATF to oppose this proposed ban.
For decades, under the “sporting purposes” doctrine, commonly-available “green tip” M855 and SS109 rifle ammunition has been exempt from federal law banning armor-piercing ammunition. There is no question that this 5.56 ball ammo has been widely used by law-abiding American citizens for sporting purposes.
Winchester-brand 5.56X45 62gr NATO M855 FMJ Ammunition
The NSSF has an online form that makes it easy to voice your opinion on the proposed ban on 5.56 ball ammo. This form will direct your comments to Congress and/or the ATF. Click the button at right to navigate to the NSSF online form.
Commentary by Jim Shepherd, The Shooting Wire
Should the ATF reclassify surplus (and widely used) M855 and SS109 ammunition as armor-piercing, it would then be illegal for consumer consumption. This weekend, we received word that apparently many gun owners didn’t find this to be a compelling reason to record their objections with the federal government. With only a few days remaining in the ATF’s solicitation of comments, fewer than 6,000 shooters have registered their displeasure with the proposal.That, as one of my least-favorite instructors used to say, is simply unacceptable.”
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Here’s your chance to own the guns of an American legend, Elmer Merrifield Keith, one of the best-known gun writers of the 20th Century. Keith’s firearms, including his much-modified Colt SAA “Number 5″, will be auctioned March 15-16 through James D. Julia Auctioneers. “The importance of the Elmer Keith Estate Collection cannot be overstated,” the auction house announced. “This truly represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of firearms history.”
Born in Missouri, Elmer Keith was raised in Montana, Idaho, and eastern Oregon. He had a ranch on the North Fork of the Salmon River (in Idaho), and was active as a hunting guide. His first article appeared in the American Rifleman in 1924. Over his career he wrote ten books, beginning with Sixgun Cartridges and Loads (1936) and ending with his autobiography Hell I Was There! in 1979. During his long writing career, Keith’s stories appeared in The Outdoorsman, American Rifleman, Western Sportsman, Gun, and Guns & Ammo. Called the “voice of big bore six-gunning”, Keith pioneered handgun hunting and he was instrumental in the development of the first magnum revolver cartridge, the .357 Magnum, as well as the later .44 Magnum and .41 Magnum cartridges.
A Very Unique Colt — the “Number Five”
If you know much about Colts, you’ll immediately recognize that the “Number Five” in the photo above is no ordinary Single Action Army (SAA). This famous revolver started as a Colt SAA in .44 Special, but then was heavily modified. The top strap of the frame was welded up into a flat-top target configuration, with an adjustable rear sight added. The front sight was changed on the 5 ½” barrel to a hi-visibility Patridge style. The hammer was modified with a Bisley-type target spur, and the trigger was curved and moved closer to the back of the trigger guard. The unique grip of the Number Five was created by marrying a modified Bisley backstrap to a Single Action Army trigger guard. Add contoured ivory grips and the resulting is probably the most comfortable-to-shoot revolver grip ever designed. Keith called this handgun “The last word in fine six-guns.”
Dangerous Game Rifles in Collection
Along with famous handguns, the Elmer Keith collection at auction includes prized long guns, including the legendary “Corbett Tiger Rifle”, a Jeffery boxlock .450/400 used by famed hunter Edward James “Jim” Corbett. This rifle was featured in Corbett’s book Man-Eaters of Kumaon. Two of the man-eating tigers Corbett hunted were believed to have killed over 800 humans in the Kumaon Hills of India. Other valuable long guns in the collection include English Best Quality stopping rifles from Westley Richards and Holland & Holland.
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Earlier this month, the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix hosted America’s top long-range shooters at the Berger SW Nationals. This week cowboys and cowgirls take over Ben Avery during Winter Range, the SASS National Championship for Cowboy Action Shooting. Winter Range, which runs February 23 through March 1, is the second largest Cowboy Action event of the year, after End of Trail, the annual Single Action Shooting Society World Championship held each year in Edgewood, New Mexico.
Hundreds of cowboy action shooters, ages 12-80, will compete in multiple classifications based on age, and type/caliber of firearms. In addition, this year the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and the SASS Mounted Shooters will run an exciting 3-day mounted shooting event. This is expected to draw more than 100 competitors mounted on horses. You’ll see this kind of action:
Cowboy Action Shooting requires that contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West: single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and period shotguns. Participants each have a registered cowboy shooting alias (such as “Deadeye Dave”), used in SASS events. Competitors, organized in “Posses”, shoot a series of multi-gun stages. This is a fun shooting sport that draws multiple generations of the same family. In addition to the primary competitions, Winter Range 2015 will feature displays of period militaria, exhibitions of western skills and crafts, a fast-draw contest, and nearly 100 vendors selling vintage-style clothing and “sundries”.
How would you like to “reach out and touch” someone 110 nautical miles away? Well America’s Navy may soon be able to do exactly that with an amazing new, high-tech weapon system. BAE Systems has developed (and successfully test-fired) an electro-magnetic rail gun that fires a 23-lb projectile at Mach 7 — (about 5300 mph or 7800 fps). This futuristic weapon can send its projectile 110 nautical miles (126 mi / 203 km), five times the range of the big 16″ guns on WWII-era battleships. This railgun has serious “knock-down” power — at Mach 7, that projectile carries a whopping 32 megajoules of energy. BreakingDefense.com says: “23 pounds ain’t heavy. But it sure hurts when it hits you going at seven times the speed of sound.”
Watch Video to See Navy Rail-Gun in Action:
The latest prototype of the railgun developed by defense contractor BAE, in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research, can accelerate a projectile up to Mach 7 within 10 milliseconds. The gun uses no gunpowder to generate propelling force. Compared to an item on a smaller scale, the railgun projectiles resemble crossbow darts, except they deliver such massive Kinetic Energy they don’t need to carry explosive ordnance. The railgun can strike targets 110 nautical miles away.
To prepare a charge, the ship stores electricity in the pulsed power system. Next, an electric pulse is sent to the railgun, creating an electromagnetic force accelerating the projectile. Because of its extreme speed, the projectile eliminates the hazards of storing high explosives in the ship. Each shot costs about $25,000 — but that’s cheap compared to the price of a missile.
“It’s like a flux capacitor,” chief of Naval research Rear Admiral Mathias Winter said in a video posted by Reuters Friday. “You’re sitting here thinking about these next generation and futuristic ideas, and we’ve got scientists who have designed these, and it’s coming to life.”
The Electromagnetic Railgun Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) was initiated in 2005. The goal during Phase I was to produce a proof-of-concept demonstration at 32 mega-joule muzzle energy, develop launcher technology with adequate service life, develop reliable pulsed power technology, and assess component risk reduction for the projectile.
Phase II, which started in 2012, advanced the technology to demonstrate a repeatable-rate fire capability. Thermal-management techniques required for sustained firing rates will be developed for both the launcher system and the pulsed power system. The railgun will begin testing at sea in 2016.
Getting tutored by Olympic-class experts — now that’s a rare opportunity in the shooting world. ELEY Ltd., makers of precision rimfire ammo, has announced a special contest. Two lucky marksmen (one pistol shooter and one rifle shooter) will win the chance to train with the U.S. National Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. All ammunition for the one-day training session (in June, 2015) will be supplied by ELEY. (The winners must supply their own firearm.) The lucky winners will even be able to use the elite Olympic Training Center strength/conditioning facilities.
Training day sessions will be conducted by top coaches/atheletes from the U.S. National squad. Rifle coaches may include: Bryant Wallizer, Thomas Csenge, Michael Liuzza, Justin Tracy (2013 Prone National Champion), Dempster Christenson, Sarah Beard, Sarah Scherer, Emily Holsopple, Amy Sowash, Reya Kempley, and former National Rifle Coach Dave Johnson.
Pistol coaches may include: Keith Sanderson, Nick Mowrer, Jason Turner, Teresa Chambers, Morgan Wallizer (2004 rifle Olympian now training pistol), National Pistol Coach Sergey Luzov.
How to Enter Contest
For more information, or to enter the Training Day Contest, visit ELEY’s Training Contest Page on Facebook. NOTE — the deadline for contest entries is March 16, 2015.
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Trijicon is out, and Magpul is in (as lead sponsor), so the much-ballyhooed NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC) will continue — at least for one more season. Held at the Peacemaker Nat’l Training Center in West Virginia, the inaugural 2014 “World Shooting Championship” left some folks shaking their heads after match directors made a few puzzling rule changes on the fly. In addition, it was hard to call last year’s NRA event a true “World Championship”. In 2014, almost all the WSC shooters were American, and, what’s more, a real ISSF World Championship was staged at the very same time last year in Granada, Spain. That important ISSF event in Spain had shooters from 40+ countries and many Olympic medalists.
Nonetheless, we’ll see more WSC action this fall. The 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship will be held September 24 – 26, 2015 at Peacemaker in WV. This will once again be a “big money” event, with a $200,000 prize table and $50,000 in cash awards. With a quarter-million dollars worth of cash and hardware prizes up for grabs, this is probably the richest shooting event in the world. And, as before, the match organizers will provide all the guns and all the ammo.
Competitors at the 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship will compete in three divisions: Pro, Amateur, and Junior. The event will feature twelve (12) stages drawing from a variety of firearm disciplines, such as Cowboy Action, F-Class, and Smallbore standing.
“We’ve created the NRA World Shooting Championship to be the top competitive shooting event in the world,” said NRA General Operations Executive Director Kyle Weaver. “Not only will providing all firearms and ammunition help level the playing field, but it will alleviate competitors needing to buy new equipment and simplify international and domestic travel.”
Report by NSSF
Apparently, today’s shooters like the sounds of silence. Americans are buying and licensing more suppressors and other NFA (National Firearms Act) items than ever before. The number of NFA applications filed with the NFA Branch at ATF continues to rise. With a greatly increased staff of 25 Legal Instrument Examiners, the backlog of NFA forms has been whittled down from more than 80,000 to about 36,000. Much of the intense increase in interest in NFA items is focused on silencers. According to ATF’s 2011 Commerce in Firearms Report, as of December 2010 there were 284,087 lawfully registered silencers in the United States. As of March 2014, there were 571,750. That’s means the number of registered suppressor more than doubled in three and a quarter years. And 2015 will probably be a record year for suppressor sales.
This X-ray photograph reveals a variety of suppressor baffle configurations:
A Brief History of Suppressors (aka “Silencers”)
Hiram Percy Maxim, the son of Hiram Stevens Maxim (inventor of the Maxim machine gun) created the first firearm sound suppressors. An early advertisement for his Maxim Silencer Company explained that the hot propellant gases from discharging the firearm “are made to whirl around inside the Silencer,” and cannot leave the silencer until they have slowed down enough to not produce a loud noise. Initially, silencers were inexpensive and easy to obtain. Before the adoption of the National Firearms Act in 1934, Mr. Maxim sold a variety of silencer designs priced from $5.00 to $9.50. These were shipped in the U.S. Mail, without restrictions. Things are much different today — to own a suppressor, one must obtain federal approval and pay a special tax.
Silencers consist of a few basic parts. The CTD Shooter’s Log explains: “The envelope is the cylindrical metal tube in which the other components are stuffed. Inside the envelope are the expansion chamber and baffles. The expansion chamber is a relatively big empty space surrounding the muzzle, and the baffles are like coffee cups stacked on top of each other with a hole drilled through the middle of them for the bullet to pass through. This is where most of the ‘magic’ happens within the silencer.”
The 2015 Berger Southwest Nationals are now history. It was a remarkable event, one of the best-run matches in the country. Over 350 shooters enjoyed generally fine conditions, with sunny skies and warm temps. Records were set, and there were some remarkable performances. The talk of the tournament was Derek Rodgers’s stunning F-TR score. Derek served notice that F-TR rifles can run with the F-Open rigs (at least when piloted by a wizard). Rodgers shot superbly to finish at 1234-56X, just two points shy of F-Open winner Bob Sebold, who shot 1236-63X. In fact, Derek’s score would have placed him third overall in the F-Open division, one point behind Christine Harris (1235-45X). In sling division, shooting a Palma rifle, Trudie Fay won with 1242-64X. Two points back (at 1238-66X) was last year’s sling winner Bryan Litz.
Brilliant F-TR performance by Derek Rodgers shocked some F-Open shooters…
F-Open Winner Bob Sebold loved the bling, but for Sling winner Trudie Fay, “Cash was King”.
The Harris Clan — Top Shots
Christine Harris was one of four talented Harris family members shooting at the event. Husband Scott Harris (1220-46X) took second in F-TR, and son Devon Harris (1203-29X) was F-TR High Junior. Twelve-year-old Adrian Harris also shot well, piloting a .223 Rem in F-TR. Adrian did great in the mid-range match, beating most of the adults. Dad Scott Harris says Adrian may have set an Age Group record during the SWN.
The Harris Clan: Scott Harris (2d Place F-TR), Christine (2d Place F-Open), and Adrian (600-yd High Junior)
Bob Sebold – 1236-63X
Christine Harris – 1235-45X HW
Dan Bramley – 1230-54X
David Mann – 1229-57X HSR
William Wittman – 1227-48X
Derek Rodgers – 1234-56X
Scott Harris – 1220-46X
Matt Schwartzkopf – 1216-38X
Jade Delcambre – 1214-44X
Daniel Lentz – 1213-35X
Trudi Fay – 1242-64X P
Bryan Litz – 1238-66X
John Whidden – 1237-76X
Justin Skaret – 1235-63X P
Phil Hayes – 1234-56X
FINAL TEAM RESULTS
Third Gen. Shooting – 2551-100X
Lapua/Brux – 2544-108X
Spindle Shooters -2544-90X
Team Berger – 2542-92X
U.S. F-TR Team Blue – 2513-67X
Mich. Rifle Team F-TR – 2498-60X
Team Savage – 2492-68X
U.S. F-TR Development -2487-67X
U.S. Nat’l Tompkins – 2563-127X
Team Phoenix -2562 -122X
Team Challenger – 2555-112X
Two Worlds – 2550- 113X
The Guns of the Southwest Nationals
We saw some serious hardware on display at Ben Avery. Here is a beautiful maple-stocked F-Open rig. We believe this belongs to David Mann of Texas. This gun shoots as good as it looks. David Mann scored 1229-57X to finish fourth overall (and High Senior) in F-Open Division.
Click Photo to View Full-screen Version
Stunning Phoenix sunset after Sunday’s awards ceremony…
NOTE: Scores listed may be subject to final correction.
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