A little bit of very big firearms history

A reader was doing some research on 19th-century firearms, and wrote to ask me why so-called “market hunting” had been banned in the USA in the latter part of that century.  The reason was that so many waterfowl and migratory birds were being slaughtered for the “market” by commercial hunters that they had become endangered.  The tool of choice for these hunters was the so-called “punt gun“. The history of such guns starts in the 19th century, when the rise in demand for meat in the marketplace led to mass-hunting of waterfowl. Also, the best women’s fashions at that time

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Where was this guy when we needed him???

A link at SNAFU’s place showed me a fast, ingenious way to fill sandbags. When I think of the literally thousands of never-to-be-sufficiently-damned sandbags that I filled the hard way, bending over with an entrenching tool and scooping sand, earth, mud and rock into a bag that always flopped closed at the critical moment . . . I’m speechless with a combination of rage, envy and bitterness.  Why didn’t we think of such an ingenious device when we needed it?  (On the other hand, if we had, I’m not sure our NCO’s would have let us use it.  The old-fashioned way would probably have been

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Boys and their highly explosive toys

The Aviationist brings us this video of weapons tests at China Lake. Located in California’s Mojave Desert, China Lake is home to NAVAIR’s Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD).NAWCWD is responsible for supporting NAVAIR programs by:Among the services NAWCWD provides, there is also Missiles and Free-Fall Weapons Research and Development. This means that China Lake develops explosives and propellants, and conducts basic and applied research in science and technology of weaponry.Weapon systems regularly developed at China Lake include Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), High-Speed Antiradiation Missile (HARM), Hellfire, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), Penguin, Phoenix, Sidewinder, Sea Sparrow, Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM), SLAM-ER, StandardMissile, Tomahawk and Vertical

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Sailing on the ragged edge of disaster

I received this video clip last night via an e-mail list to which I belong.  I must admit, having sailed aboard yachts now and then during my younger days, I watched it with my mouth hanging open in amazement.  I “raced” according to the standards of 1970’s ocean yachts – not the pro’s, but weekend sailors out for some fun.  The high technology of these modern boats, and the speeds at which they move . . . it’s breathtaking!  I can’t imagine how the helmsmen keep them under control.  In fact, I wonder whether computer-assisted steering (possibly by adjusting the

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New toy

Following Mike’s recommendation concerning larger-caliber firearms, I’ve been trying to upgrade my defensive battery.  Ideally, I’d like to replace my .38 Specialsnubnose revolvers with .44 Special equivalents, accepting the slightly larger size and greater weight of the latter in return for greater power and (hopefully) better performance. In the process, I happened to run across this beauty.  (Click the image for a larger view.) It’s a Taurus Model 431, a fixed-sight 5-shot .44 Special revolver.  This example is one of the relatively rare 4″ barrel models (most were made with 3″ or shorter barrels).  It was made during the 1980’s, but is in near-mint condition,

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Not sufficiently remedial

Shamelessly stolen borrowed from Kim du Toit (clickit to biggit): I’m trying to think how many of us in the North Texas Writers, Shooters and Pilots Association could have filled that out, in our younger days. So far, everyone qualifies! Peter

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Slings and slingshots can be a lot more dangerous than I thought

I used to play with slingshots as a kid.  In those days, we made our own out of Y-shaped branches we picked up among the trees on Table Mountain, and used strips of old bicycle inner tube (or, on one memorable occasion, my mother’s entire stock of elastic for clothing – she was not amused!) to make the sling.  They could launch acorns, or small pebbles, or nuts from my father’s old-nuts-and-bolts jar, out to 20 or 30 yards.  I never hunted with them, but plenty of other youngsters did (including a younger Lawdog, with hilarious results). I hadn’t realized that slingshots have

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Practical measurements of defensive ammo effectiveness

A police officer’s recommendation for self-defense against an attacker hopped-up on the latest generation of synthetic marijuana generated some discussion.  I was struck by how many of the comments ignored the point of the police officer’s advice, which was: … typical deep-concealment (i.e. small, lightweight) pocket revolvers and pistols are simply not adequate to deal with people under the influence of this stuff.  His personal opinion was that .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .38 Special, and even 9mm. Luger or .357 Magnum rounds,if fired from smaller weapons whose barrels aren’t sufficiently long to give high velocity and promote bullet expansion, are not going to get

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