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April 3rd, 2009

Congress Called… Please Send in Your $30,635.00 Check

Congress has just approved a new $3.6 TRILLION dollar budget for fiscal 2010. This will include $1.75 trillion in deficit spending according to independent analysts (though House Democrats assert the deficit will only be $1.2 trillion). The budget was approved on party lines. No Republicans voted for the budget. In the Senate, the budget was approved 55-43, while in the House of Representatives the vote was was 233-196, with 20 Democrats dissenting.

With the U.S. population estimated at 305,529,237 as of 1/1/2009, (U.S. Census Bureau data), President Obama’s $3.6 TRILLION budget represents a historically unprecedented level of spending (and borrowing) per capita. Check out them zeros: $3,600,000,000,000.00!

The 2010 Federal Budget works out to $11,783.00 for every man, woman, and child in the United States, and represents $30,635.00 per household. This figure ($30,635) is 61% of the median American household income.*

A Trillion Here, a Trillion There…
For many Americans, the scale of the numbers being tossed around by Washington politicos is hard to comprehend. To put things in perspective, has created a handy visualization of what one trillion dollars would look like, in stacked $100.00 bills. Here, for starters, is a mere $100,000,000:

trillion dollars

The image below shows one Trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) in stacked $100.00 bills. (Pallets are double-tiered). To give you a sense of scale, the little red figure in the lower left corner is a human, the same guy in the picture above. Is your mind sufficiently boggled now?

trillion dollars

How Much is a Trillion?
Here are some other interesting Trillion-dollar calculations, offered by Doug Furton, a physics Professor at Grand Valley State University:

• 1 trillion dollar bills stitched together end to end in a line would stretch about 94 million miles — a bit more than the distance from earth to the sun.

• 1 trillion dollar bills stitched together to form a quilt would cover an area about the size of the state of Connecticut.

• If we spent $1.00 every second, it would take 32,000 YEARS to spend 1 trillion dollars.

How about repaying the $1.75 trillion dollars Congress intends to borrow in fiscal 2010? Think that will be easy? Think again. Prof. Furton explains: “If we borrowed 1 trillion dollars at 6% APR with terms similar to a conventional home loan the debt would accumulate interest at a rate of $1929 per second. If we paid the debt off at the rate of $2000 per second we could discharge it in about 56 years — a working lifetime. By the end of this massive loan we would have paid a total of nearly 3.5 trillion dollars, putting a tidy 2.5 trillion dollars in the coffers of whoever made us the loan”.

*According to the Census Bureau, the average American Household size is 2.6 persons. U.S. Median Household Income is $50,233.00, last officially calculated in 2007.

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April 3rd, 2009

The Remarkable History of Arthur Savage and his Model 99

Savage logoThere is a fascinating article in about Arthur W. Savage, founder of Savage Arms Company. A brilliant inventor, Arthur Savage had a remarkable personal history, full of adventure. (Did you know that, in addition to being a great gun designer, Savage invented a torpedo, built race cars, and is credited as being the inventor of radial tires?)

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Arthur Savage was educated in Britain and the United States. In his 30s he explored the Australian outback with his wife and eight children, eventually coming to own the then-largest cattle ranch in Australia. But he soon sold the ranch and bought a coffee plantation in Jamaica. In 1892, still in his 30s, Savage moved to Utica, New York, hiring on with a Railroad and part-time with a gun parts maker. Savage turned his attention to gun design with the goal of producing a lever-action rifle that could shoot the sharp-nosed .303-caliber spitzer rounds favored by the military. To overcome the problem of pointed bullet tips detonating primers in a tubular magazine, Savage invented a new rotary magazine. Arthur’s new rifle also featured a spring-activated firing pin rather than a hammer. The design, perfected in 1893, became the classic Savage Model 99, credited as the first mass-produced hammerless rifle. In 1894 Arthur Savage founded Savage Arms Co. in Utica in 1894 to produce his new rifle. Savage’s Model 99 rifle stayed in production for 105 years, being produced with relatively minor changes through 1999.

Savage 99 engraved

Savage 99 engraved

Photos courtesy Hallowell & Co., Livingston, MT, purveyor of fine sporting arms.

Origin of Savage’s Indian Head Logo
You may wonder about the Indian head logo Savage arms still uses as its trademark. Here’s how it came into use. In 1919, Chief Lame Bear (illustration below) approached Arthur to purchase lever-action rifles for the Indian reservation and the two men struck a deal. The tribe would get discounted rifles and Savage would get their support and endorsement. It was at this time in the company’s history, that Arthur Savage added the Indian head logo–a direct gift from the Chief–to the company name.

Savage logo

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April 3rd, 2009

Great American Gun Giveaway on

Every month ShootingUSA offers a handsome new firearm in a drawing. This month the prize is a S&W 1911 with Crimson Trace Laser-Grips, MSRP $1,493.00. Sweet Pistol. To enter the contest, you need to provide personal info and the name of an FFL-holder to whom the gun can be shipped. In addition, you need to answer a question. We thought all our readers should know the answer to the current question: “You shoot a One MOA group at 1,000 yards — How wide is the spread of the group?” The suggested answers range from 5 inches to 12 inches. HINT: 1 MOA is 1.047″ at 100 yards.

SW 1911 contest

About the Contest Gun
The S&W 1911 PD is a Commander-size model with 4 1/4″ barrel, carbon steel slide, and Scandium frame. With an 8+1 round capacity, it weighs 28 ounces empty. This model features a Novak rear sight, external extractor (for reliability), and wrap-around Desert Tan Crimson Trace Laser grips. This Editor owns a full-size, all-stainless S&W 1911. My gun has proven exceptionally accurate and has excellent fit and finish. With handloads my gun will shoot as accurately as some Baer and Wilson customs I’ve tried. Below is 5-round group I shot offhand at 10 yards with my 5″ S&W 1911. The bullet hole edges are sharp because I was using semi-wad-cutters. I used Vihtavuori N320 (my favorite powder for 45acp) and 200-grain SWCs from Precision Bullets in Texas. The only thing I would change on my S&W 1911 is the trigger shoe. I prefer the old-fashioned short trigger in 1911s (but that’s a matter of personal preference).

Target from Editor’s 5″ S&W 1911 (not contest pistol).
SW 1911 contest

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