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America in
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A GUN FOR BUFFALO August 1, 2010

That’s it: I have made up my mind. In November of next year
(provided that there _is_ a next year), I’m going to hunt and kill a
buffalo. I know where I’m going to do it (in Wyoming), I know how much
it will cost (much less than I thought), and I’ve always wanted to do
it.

Wikipedia says “bison” and “buffalo” are equally correct, with
philological seniority going to the latter. The animals can stand 6’6″
tall, weigh 2500 pounds, and the “woods” variety are the largest wild
cattle in North America. The animals available to me will most likely
be somewhat smaller. It’s said that a derringer bullet, fired under a
poker table, will be stopped cold by a buffalo coat. A good thing to
know.

Some obstacles stand in the way. The first is my health, which
could be better. I have a foot it’s difficult (but not impossible) to
walk on. I have most of the problems associated with diabetes. I’ll
have to get a thorough examination to make damn sure my heart is up to
it. Although I’m 64 years old, I don’t believe I look it (Y, as the
saying goes, MMV), I certainly don’t think it, but I really do feel it
from time to time. Jeff Cooper once observed that if you’re over 50
and you wake up in the morning and nothing hurts, it’s because you’re
dead.

Sometimes I feel like I’m 164.

There is the matter of scratch. Although the hunt is going to cost
only a quarter of what I anticipated, it’s still a lot of money. Same
for processing, and saving the head and pelt. Don’t know where we’ll
hang the former, but the latter goes on the bed. I shudder to think
about the price per pound of the resulting meat. Not, I fear, terribly
economical.

I have a couple of new books coming out this year, and several in
the planning stages. This November, during NaNoWriMo, I’ll interrupt
_Ares_ either to write a new North American Confederacy novel (a Win
Bear murder mystery — featuring Clarissa and their two daughters —
concerning Confederate baseball) or the first sequel to my new vampire
novel _Sweeter Than Wine_, which I intend to call _Only the Young Die
Good_.

You, my friends and readers, could probably help by buying lots
of books, but I’m far too classy to point that out, especially since
you’re already doing it. For my part, I’ll make sure that lots of
pictures get taken, and the hunt will find its way into something I
write. Maybe I’ll do a magazine article or three — it’s been a long
time.

There’s only one question — a very pleasant one — remaining, and
it’s the principal reason I’m writing this blog entry. I have three
rifles that I believe are suitable for buffalo. Which one should I
take?

You can kill a large animal with practically anything if you can
get close and do a good job of placement. There used to be an Indian
woman in this county (or Siberian-American, if you prefer) who ran
mule deer down on foot — it isn’t impossible; they’re sprinters, have
no concept of long-range purpose; a determined jogger can tire them
out in a relatively short time — and killed them with a big kitchen
knife.

Famous African hunters didn’t always use big-caliber guns. Walter
Dalrymple Maitland “Karamojo” Bell took a thousand of his 1500 or so
elephants with a 7x57mm Mauser. Pygmies killed elephants by running
under them with a blunderbuss, shooting them in the belly at contact
range.

Famous entrepreneur George Leonard Herter, whose greatest (and
funniest) advertising slogan was “You won’t live long enough to wear
out this derringer” was always killing things with his latest catalog
offering. I believe he took an Alaskan grizzly with the .401 Herter
Powermag revolver he invented. We need to recreate that very useful
offering.

When it comes to choosing calibers, though, I’ll take big, having
seen too many deer run off to die, wounded by rifles of .30 caliber or
less. One of those was mine, a buck I shot at 80 yards with a Savage
Model 99 take-down chambered for .250-3000. I think about it all the
time. The famous scientist Roy Chapman Andrews carried a .250 Savage
just like mine all over the world and killed thousands of specimens
with it, including, believe it or not, a blue whale. Either Andrews
was a better man than I am, or he never talked about the ones that got
away.

I have a CZ-550 Magnum bolt action Mauser rifle chambered for .416
Rigby, a wonderful beltless magnum invented for magazine rifles in
1911 (a very good year) by the brilliant English gunmaker John Rigby.
It will hurl a 410-grain bullet downrange at 2650 feet per second, to
generate some 6393 foot pounds of energy. I’m not sure if my “efficacy
scale” applies to long guns, but this load produces an “F-number” of
869.

I should mention here that the ballistic calculations in this article for
“Efficacy” were done using an extremely handy program written by my
friend (and yours) Bill St. Clair. I find myself using it practically every
day.

I also have some 300-grain custom loads at 2975 fps: 5895 ft/lbs
and an F-number of 801. They travel flatter — the same trajectory as
a 165-grain .30-06 bullet, by design — but they’re absolute hell to
shoot, easily the worst recoil I have ever experienced in my life. The
rifle is big and heavy, but it has great sights and a fancy single-set
trigger.

Another excellent choice (and there are some bullet options here,
as well) is my “sporterized” military Brno 98 Mauser, also Czech-made,
which began as a “wildcat” project — meaning that you have to make
your own ammunition for it, because no factory does — and with the
guidance and help of my friend, gunsmith Roger Owen, took ten long
years to complete, by which time the cartridge, the time-honored and
distinguished .35 Whelen, had at last become a standard commercial
offering.

The simplest way to make a wildcat cartridge is to squeeze down or
open up the neck of a factory cartridge to accept a different-sized
bullet (for a different-sized barrel, of course). The old, familiar
.30-06 has been the parent of many a wildcat cartridge, and not a few
of them have graduated to become commercial offerings. My wife’s .270
Winchester is an example, the .308″ of the “Ought-Six” reduced to
.277″, which may not seem like much, but makes a hell of a difference,
ballistically.

The Whelen cartridge goes the other way, from .308″ to .358″. The
two best bullets weigh 250 grains and 225. For mathematical reasons I
won’t go into here, unless somebody asks me to, my choice is the 225
(again, in part, because it duplicates the flight-path of the best
.30-06 bullet). But I may have to recalculate where American Bison are
concerned.

The 250-grain round-nosed bullet moves out at 2623 fps, yielding
3535 ft/lbs and an F-number of 356 (I actually have some doubts about
these factory numbers that I won’t go into here). The 225-grain, which
is a real peach, ballistically, gives us 2613 fps, 3412 ft/lbs, and an
F-number of 343 which I believe is a bit more realistic. The excellent
pointed, “boat-tailed” 225 reaches further and retains more of its
energy.

It’s said that the .35 Whelen is good for any big game in North
America and would probably work for elephant except that most African
countries require .375 caliber. The rifle itself, a barrelled military
action with a “ghost ring” rear sight in a fine Ramline injection
molded stock is relatively light and handles well, despite its army
trigger.

My third choice for hunting buffalo is the lever action Marlin
Model 1895CB (for “cowboy”) I waited many years to acquire, a 26″-
barrelled rifle, not a carbine, bored for .45/70, a cartridge first
introduced in 1873. The tubular magazine beneath its barrel hold nine
rounds. It has a very good ghost-ring rear sight and a hooded front
sight.

The .45/70 is a cartridge that won’t lie down and die, but keeps
coming back, every time somebody needs a heavy hitter in dense brush.
I gather it’s popular with today’s cowboy competition shooters. I
fired my first .45/70 from a trapdoor Springfield 45 years ago, at a
gooseberry bush that was 1800 yards away, and actually hit the bush.
On the prairie, although it wasn’t the favorite of commercial hunters,
it has probably killed more buffalo than any other cartridge still in
use.

Bullets for .45/70 range in weight from 500 grains, through the
classic military 405, down to 300. I use the last weight, a jacketed
softpoint, because it shoots flatter than any other in this caliber.
The Federal commercial load runs at 1880 fps (yes, it seems turtle-
slow to me, too) yielding 2354 ft/lbs with an F-number of 388. It may
seem like the weakest reed here, but its unfored bullet diameter is
what all good little bullets want to achieve by expanding in a big
game animal. Its historic track record with buffalo is truly
astonishing.

The Marlin 1895CB has the best handling qualities of anything I
own, shoots straight and hard, and has surprisingly mild recoil. It
has twice the magazine capacity of the other rifles in this essay,
although this isn’t combat, and it shouldn’t count when hunting for
sport.

So what should it be? The great African .416 Rigby, the home
brewed .35 Whelen, or the venerable .45/70? Which one would you
choose?

Comments

1. R.D. Bartucci - August 1, 2010


You reminded me for the first time in decades that I have had personal experience of the .45/70 cartridge – almost certainly the 405-grain projectile, though I wasn’t savvy enough at the time to take note of it. And indeed the recoil was “surprisingly mild.”

I suppose that was why my uncle introduced me to it.

When I saw the title of your essay – “A Gun For Buffalo” – I immediately thought CAPE buffalo and flashed back on that scene in John Ross’ 1996 novel *Unintended Consequences*.

With much trepidation, I might add. I go out after such animals, I want to bring along anti-tank weapons, and for preference engage with naval artillery. I’m a coward. Always have been. Don’t mind the sight of blood, but only when I’m dead certain that none of it is going to be mine.

Having done all my hunting in my youth (and the word is “hunting,” as in “zero hitting anything” except for the occasional crow, and that was simply a matter of protecting my grandmother’s garden from aerial vermin), I am not prepared to offer you any advice on the selection of firearms. My uncles equipped me, advised me, introduced me to the practices of the art, and did not press me to persist in participation.

On balance, however, I should note that I never took up golf, either, so there is some virtue in my character.

And, like Mencken, I can say that “I am not a Republican.”

I wish you well of your cardiovascular evaluation. Even if you have difficulty ambulating, a Persantine (dypiridamole) injection can be used to undertake pharmacologic cardiac stress testing when an exercise treadmill study is not practicable.

It’s how I wound up undergoing a cardiac catheterization, and the next day got my sternum split by muscular enthusiasts with a bone saw and a rib spreader. Ouch.

I am certain that such a stress testing evaluation will be recommended to you, inasmuch as those of us with diabetes mellitus are commonly afflicted with painless (“silent”) angina when coronary arterial flow is compromised by the atheromatous disease to which we are susceptible.

We can hone for a heart attack and not feel a twinge until it takes us down like the proverbial poleaxed steer. Ain’t that nice?

Presuming that all will go well, and you won’t have to defer your buffalo hunt while recovering from induction to the Zipper Club (as I told my wife the first time she got a look at it, the damned things heal from side to side, not end to end), I commend your determination to ensure your physiological integrity before you go off to put an end to that of your prey.

And bison meat is notably lower in saturated fat than what we get from feedlot cattle, too. Good for you, that’ll be.

2. Bill St. Clair - August 1, 2010

My own hunting experience consists of one deer, one antelope, and one elk, each taken with one shot from my father’s 6.5/06, a .30/06-based wildcat (necked down to 6.5mm and fire-formed to a larger case capacity), and a Bighorn Sheep trip into the Bridger Wilderness, which netted much wonder, traipsing around at 13,000 feet, but no sheep.

I suggest that you take the rifle you most like to carry and shoot, which, from your description, sounds like the .45/70. Corbon makes some mighty stout loads in that caliber, but you might prefer your own.

3. Parabarbarian - August 1, 2010

I have never hunted anything the size of buffalo (or American bison if you prefer). My hunting experience is limited to deer, wild pig, antelope, jackrabbits, various small game and the occasional coyote. My only advice is to remember that shot placement counts for at least as much as bullet size and energy so, if any of the three can reach the vitals of a buffalo, take the rifle you can shoot the best.

4. al perez - August 1, 2010

I guess it depends on whether you are in the mood for tradition (.45-70 lever action) and want to use a buffalo hunter’s gun or want to recreate at least part of the experience of an African hunt (,416 Rigby bolt).

Since we’re talking about guns you already own I’d probably want to see which one you shoot tighter groups with and which one is handier (easy to carry around by weight and length.). Which one can you shoot most accurately after a light work out?

All three are enough gun for bison, the question is which would you enjoy best?

Never having hunted buffalo I’d go for a Barrett Fifty with reduced handloads, but I go in for overkill especially when Crazy Al is taking over. It would give me an excuse to raise the money for the Barrett in the face of having other financial obligations.

Of course that isn’t one of the choices you listed and would fail the handiness test.

Guess it depends on whether you are on a Cody or O’Roarke mood next fall.

5. Ken Holder - August 1, 2010

Speaking of wildcats, I’ve wanted to build a .375-06, and maybe I will one of these days. If it were me I’d take the .45-70, having admired that very same rifle in the local gun store. It’s a beauty!

I’ve also had that “chemical stress test” — made me feel like I’d just ran up the stairs to the top of the Empire State bldg. And that and the CAT scan caused the Cardiologist to say “I don’t need to see you anymore.” Excellent!

6. Victor Milan - August 2, 2010

The buffalo was killed by:

El Neil.

In Wyoming.

With a .45/70.

It’s frontier CLUE!

(PS – yeah, go with tradition. You know you want to.)

7. Ken Holder - August 2, 2010

Oh yeah, and bison meat is much taster to my … er … taste than beef.

8. El Neil - August 3, 2010

I truly dread my cardio exam, Richard. I didn’t mention it in the essay, but I had two MIs in ’93, and a few years later was told that I had a 100% RCA occlusion, but had built collateral circulation superior to what I’d had before. You’ll pardon me if I don’t really want to join the Zipper Club.

How long does it take to heal from something like that — meaning how soon would I be able to go out in the field and shoot something ten or fifteen times bigger than I am?

Bill, 6.5mms have a reputation for killing power far in excess of what you might initially think. Nobody knows why, although the rate of spin is sometimes mentioned. The Scandinavians hunt what they call moose (elk) and what they call elk (moose) with 6.5 all the time.

Me, I’ll go with “more is better”. And I’ll check out those Cor-Bon loads. Right now I’m using Federals.

And Parabarbarian is right: placement is practically everything — although I have some fascinating stories about elk that I may tell someday.

Albert is probably right about seeing which rifle I can shoot the straightest. Another tedious and boring day at the range. Oh well, it has to be done. (^_^)

Ken, I have heard it said (or read it written) that .375 on a .30-06 leaves insufficient shoulder for reliable headspacing. P.O. Ackley, among others, believed that.

Which is why, for 30 years, I have wanted to build a cartridge- rifle combination I call .375x68mm — I recently discovered it actually got done in 2007 and has a German name — using a parent cartridge called 8x68S Magnum and a couple of “demilled” Enfield actions I bought for about eleven bucks apiece. I think I can equal .375 Holland & Holland with it, and possibly the old .375 (not .378) Weatherby.

I love the idea of “Frontier Clue”, Victor. Might be some intellectual property rights issues, though.

And you are dead right, Ken. The only wild game meat that tastes better than buffalo is antelope.

Hmmm. Think I’ll go have lunch.

9. El Neil - August 3, 2010

.45/70 Factory Load Comparisons

I can’t get this table to work right. Values, respectively, are for Mass in grains,
Velocity in feet per second, Energy in foot/pounds, and F is for “Efficacy”.

Federal 300 1880 2354 388

Cor-Bon Hunter BC 350 1800 2518 415

Cor-Bon Hunter FPPN 405 1600 2302 379

Cor-Bon Hunter HC 460 1650 2781 458

DPX Hunter 300 1900 2405 396

10. Kevin Wilmeth - August 3, 2010

These sorts of conversations are simply enjoyable, aren’t they? I’ll make an attempt at brevity (the snickering you hear there is from anyone who knows me) and see how it goes.

For what my opinion is worth, I’d go with the .45/70 for a couple of reasons. First, there’s simple history. .45/70 and Bison bison simply have a long association going. There’s also that big lever rifle you would use to fire it, it’s just “right” for the whole picture. Just as the Rigby would be most appropriate in Africa for pachyderms and Syncerus caffer…just as the Whelen would “go” with elk or moose in the Bob Marshall…if your story is to be American bison in Wyoming, a .45/70 levergun is the very first thing that springs to mind. It seems clear to me that any of your options would be capable of completing the task, but why not take a little extra poetry when you can get it?

I can appreciate your trying to engineer a trajectory you already know, but I would not try to poke an animal that big with a 300-grain .45. The Marlin is fully capable of safely pushing 400-grain pills at the same velocity, with much improved sectional density and bullets more suited for the task; I’d probably go with this load if your rifle shoots it well. If I recall the Cor-Bon load mentioned above, it would certainly be an improvement over any 300 that I’ve seen, although I think the wide-meplat cast bullets in the Buffalo Bore load will do more reliably in the largest animals, and they seem to cost less than the fancy high-tech stuff. :-)

I love the Marlin ’95. I’ve handloaded 400s in that 1800-1900 f/s range for it for a good while now, and it is amazing how pleasant the gun is to shoot, considering what those LFN cast bullets are capable of on the far side. My 1895 is an incredibly handy rifle–short, light, and responsive for snap shots, and its recoil is a large, genial push. (By contrast, after just a few rounds through my father’s .300 Weatherby, I do feel rather beat up; that recoil is sharp, fast, and difficult to recover sight picture from.) It is truly my unassuming, underestimated “little friend”, and I believe that (sorry, col. Cooper, for my indiscretion) I may love that rifle more than my Steyr Scout. :-)

Were it me, I’d spend approximately three nanoseconds deciding on the Marlin, and perhaps as many as eighteen full seconds trying to decide on a 400-grain or 500-grain load for the task. I’d enjoy the mental banter, but really, flip a coin and be happy.

Be interested to see how you go. “Front sight, press!”

11. Charles Fuller - August 3, 2010

The title of your essay reminds me of what was likely my most proud moment in Science Fiction fandom.
Back in about 1981 L. Sprague DeCamp visited the LASFS. (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society).
I was able to tell him that his A GUN FOR DINOSAUR was one of my all-time favorite short stories.
He responded, “Yes, but the .600 Nitro Express is not the most powerful round.”
To which I responded back, “Yes, now. But it was in April of 1956 when your story was published. The Weatherby rounds did not come out for a couple years after.”
I am a traditionalist. While I own a Marlin 1895 in .45/70, it would not be the .45/70 I’d take.
Instead I would take my Ruger #1 in .45/70, with some of my own loads of course.
If I took the Marlin I’d load it with some of the 300-grain Nosler Partitions I have on hand. Projectile mass is light for the caliber, but the Partition design insures penetration anyway.
Sorry to hear about your health problems. As a lifelong asthmatic I can understand.
The quote about waking up in the morning I heard was quoted to a different retired US Marine Corps officer, Olver North.

12. Kent McManigal - August 3, 2010

I am not an expert on ballistics or stopping power or anything like that and instead keep thinking that I would have to use my Hawken if I were in your position. Or use it as an excuse to get a Sharps. I’ve wanted a buffalo robe for years, and a mounted head or a skull would be nice, too.

I read this blog post just a few hours after standing and watching a captive herd of bison near here. The old bull was beautiful. His skull would be magnificent on a wall. He stood aside watching me as the younger animals grazed and the calves played. Then as I left, the old bull started rolling in his wallow; dust was flying and his legs were flailing. I love bison and have always wanted my own herd. That I could cull for my own use, of course.

13. El Neil - August 3, 2010

A boy and his buffalo. I’d call that a worthy aspiration, Kent. Like my dream of a third-story office, mostly glass, where I could watch girls in bikinis through a big brass telescope water skiing on the nearby lake. I hadn’t thought about a skull mount. Believe I’ll confer with the lady of the house on that.

Gotta confess, part of the reason I got my ’95 CB was _Quigley Down Under_. Not a single-shot, not a Sharps, but still with that unmistakable 19th century feel to it. We actually have two ’95s, a short one with a 20″ Micro-Groove barrel, half magazine, semi pistol grip, and curved lever, all of which I’d like to do something about. Technically, that’s Cathy’s, and although it walks her around a bit, she handles it well.

Her lightweight .270, a Ruger 77 International, hurts a whole lot worse.

Mine is the 26″ Ballard, with a nine-shot magazine and straight wrist and lever. I confess that I adore it and have a gimmick I want to install on the Webley Page where you see the rifle standing up, and it says MARLIN at the bottom, then it appears to rotate and you see my lovely HD-35 and it says MARTIN. And then back again.

I plan to go up to this ranch and check it out. They have a restaurant there I’ll take my family to and get some idea of the terrain and conditions. Also the likely ranges and their experience with various loads. I’m not a heavy bullet fan, per se. I usually like whatever yields the most energy or the highest F-number. But I’ll give your advice a thorough examination, Kevin, and thank you for it. One trouvboe is that a lot of that stuff is too expensive to practice with.

I actually had De Camp in mind when I titled the article, Charles. He, more than anybody else — possibly excepting the Scouts and the Junior NRA — is probably responsible for my love of guns and especially ballistics. The bit where the Smithsonian (as I recall) tries to do a Brontosaurus with a .50 Browning is really priceless.

So much for the Butterfly Effect.

Of course he couldn’t have known that dinos were energetic and warm-blooded, either. Or that there was half again as much oxygen in the air back then.

So what would be a good piece for Tyrannosaurus? Probably the .416 Rigby, right through the pump. Or .475 Atkinson-Marquardt.

14. Fred James - August 3, 2010

Aloha Mr. Hunter To Be,

May I contribute to your discussion. I don’t hunt for reasons that have to do with the Vietnam War and division of labor but I have no problems if you do so.

Did the MI thing in 1995, stent in 1998 and the rip and tear sternum schtick for a triple bypass in 2000. I urge you to take the stress test seriously. I want you around for more SCI-Fi words.

As to the rifle, for a mere American bison I would be content with my .308. Placement is all. I know an Alaskan who never fails to get his yearly moose. It takes him about a week or less. He takes a bolt action .22 rifle with him with about five bullets. Where he strikes the monster is not known to me but he does take them down.

And moose meat, if properly dressed and prepared is delicious!

Prepare thee well both physically before the hunt. May you take a monster and eat well!

Aloha Nui Loa,

IL Fettucinni

15. Ken Holder - August 3, 2010

Actually my favorite wild game meat is pheasant and quail. But I’ve always been a fowl lover, food-wise.

16. Tod - August 3, 2010

Any of those rifles with proper loads will take a buffalo. I’ve seen people kill them with 44 mag revolvers and crossbows. The place I hunt told me a 7mm-08 would be acceptable. But they know I can shoot. The actual complement was “For a City Boy, you’re not a bad shot.”

From a practical standpoint, more important is being able to carry the rifle and use it appropriately on your hunt. Will you be on foot for most of the day and then shooting standing up? At what range? How accurately? Can and will you go prone to shoot?

From an impractical standpoint, the other question is, with what do you want to have shot your buffalo?

BTW, in terminology, what I’ve noticed is usage is that the American Buffalo, at a place that also has Cape or Australian Buffalo, will be called a Bison. On the mount, I definitely think a shoulder mount is better looking with all the nice fur.

17. al perez - August 3, 2010

Which one of the guns in question is “your gun”? The one that loves your shoulder, magically lines up on your target, kicks like a .22 and hits the target like Thor’s hammer? No matter how much better the other(s) is (are) take that one.

I know that’s a very subjective pseudo mystical statement, but from knives through computers and pick up trucks i’ve seen this to be true. It should make a special hunt more special.

18. R.D. Bartucci - August 3, 2010


Neil, I recently passed the six-week postoperative point on my own coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedure, at which time I was officially given permission to resume driving. Prior to that, I was only allowed to ride in the back seat. The cardiothoracic surgeons do not want fresh thoracotomy cases riding where they might go chest-first into a steering column, or encounter an air bag.

I would have to ask the chest cutters when it might be feasible for the average patient in an uncomplicated recovery from a sternum-splitting procedure to resume firing longarms, particularly those with substantial recoil. Bear in mind that the recoil from such an exercise is absorbed by the torso, and much of the physical stress is transmitted directly to that shield of squamous bone which makes up the body of the sternum.

Titanium wire notwithstanding (they’ve gotten into using non-ferrous materials for this purpose since nuclear magnetic resonance imaging – now politically corrected to “MRI” because “nuclear” terrifies the technologically illiterate – came into extensive use, though when I was in training many decades ago we employed stainless steel sutures to reunite the halves of manubrium and corpus sternum), the bone has got to heal, and heal completely before I would personally be confident to recommend that a patient experienced with firearms resume propping a butt against his shoulder and blasting away.

At the six-week-plus point, you should note that I am still in almost constant pain, worse with any sort of exertion, including elevation of the shoulder blades. The anterior chest wall is still tender on palpation, and when I cough, sneeze, or laugh the pain flares nastily. This is all expected and unremarkable.

I estimate that the greatest part of postoperative healing will be completed by the six-month mark, and by twelve months postop I will have healed as much as it is possible for such a (hopefully uncomplicated) surgical wound to heal.

The first chapter of Robbins *Pathologic Basis of Disease* (for decades the humongous standard textbook for second-year American medical students’ study of human pathology) is “Wound Healing.” Believe me, it’s a high-priority point of attention in the sawbones trade.

I would think that handgun use could resume very soon after “zipper” surgery is completed, particularly if the Weaver, modified Weaver (Chapman), or isosceles stances are employed, but again I would have to ask a surgeon for his opinion on the subject. This is outside my own discipline and professional experience.

My recent personal experience as a patient is such that I really would not have resumed handgun practice until about four weeks postoperative. The pain on that much upper extremities range of motion (ROM) would have been prohibitive, even if the recoil stress associated with firing a pistol chambering the 9mm Parabellum round (I have no real experience with the sorts of hand cannons you and your hoplophilic fanatic buddies favor, except to know that at my best I simply could not control them) would not put the integrity of the surgical wound at risk.

[One of the reasons why the Ft. Hood shootings piqued my interest was the way that Islamic nutcase chose to do his execution of the infidels with the FN Five-seveN, the handgun designed to chamber the 5.7x28mm cartridge developed for the P90. In the course of reading on the subject, I have learned that the recoil associated with this pistol is negligible even when compared with that of the Browning Hi-Power, with which I am most proximally familiar. I would welcome amplification by readers in this forum who are more knowledgeable than I. Frankly, I am badly put off by the price FN is charging for the Five-seveN. I am not an unmarried psychiatrist, and therefore not wealthy enough to throw that kind of money around.]

A history of two myocardial infarctions (MI) sustained in 1993 with recent demonstration of satisfactory coronary arterial collateral circulatory compensation gives me to consider that your medical care might properly include antiplatelet therapy (low-dose Aspirin, possibly clopidogrel [Plavix]), high-potency statin treatment (simvastatin [Zocor] now being generic and hellaciously cheaper, almost everybody is writing for that one), and omega-3 fatty acid supplements (good old fish oil).

I’m not averse to niacin therapy, particularly if you’ve got high triglyceride levels as well as high cholesterol. If you think to do it yourself with over-the-counter supplemental niacin, start at very low doses, take it with aspirin, and gradually increase the dosage. Uncomfortable facial flushing is very common, but I’ve been able to get patients past that problem with patience, even avoiding it altogether.

The statin drugs, however, are the sine qua non. Atheromatous vascular disease is to a considerable extent an inflammatory phenomenon, and the statins have been demonstrated to operate on that level even if they do not show objective evidence of reduced plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and cholesterol levels. In other words, the statins seem to work even if they don’t APPEAR to be working. This is one of the reasons why the FDA has been entertaining GRAS (generally recognized as safe) petitions to permit low dosages of even high-potency generic statins like lovostatin (Mevacor) and simvastatin to go over-the-counter.

Hmph. Ask me the time and you’ll get instructions on how to design and build a chronometer. Enough.

19. R.D. Bartucci - August 3, 2010


Regarding a gun for taking Tyrannosaurus rex, call me impossibly old fashioned, but I’ve always had a fondness for the Mark 12 five-inch/38 caliber naval rifle.

In a dual-purpose mount, of course.

Sure, the M2A1 40 mm automatic gun is sexy as all hell, if you’re into that “fire many times promiscuously and rend the earth” bit, but if you’re going after T. rex, wouldn’t you really prefer opening the engagement at 16,000 yards or so?

If you want to keep things sporting, the 5″/38 even permits you to select BL (blind load, unfuzed, non-explosive, non-fragmenting) rounds so you’ve got to score a bull’s-eye to put old Rexie out of your misery.

Extra points for a head shot.

20. Kevin Wilmeth - August 3, 2010

Mr. Bartucci’s mention of the Five SeveN brought back some memories, as I had a relevant bit of fun with some of the hysteria about that piece even before the Fort Hood fiasco. I cannot speak to the sort of recovery he may be talking about; my own cardiac recovery has been limited (thankfully) to an attempted cardioversion (it didn’t work–I live in perpetual a-fib to this day, 24/7/365), which was impressive enough even without any cutting, and it was a while before I was back at the pistol myself.

I would think, however, that if you can actually manage a proper stance and grip in the first place, that the recoil of pistols in the .45 ACP range should not prove that objectionable. (I find the P35 slightly harder to control than the 1911 at speed, with a snappier muzzle rise and a “faster” recoil impulse than the .45s gentle push.) I went straight back to the 1911 after I could cough without falling out of my chair, but did hold off on the Airweight J-frame for a while–as that little beastie really does get your attention.

But I’ve been lucky–my own recovery was quick. There may well come a time when I do need some help with recoil, and if that time comes, I may consider something like an integral “carry comp” modification, in which a 5″ 1911 would retain its outward dimension by going to a 4″ barrel and an expansion-port compensator to reduce muzzle rise and rearward impulse. I understand they can be made to work very well, and may be a viable solution to reduced physical capacity. I just don’t think I could ever trust my own hide to a round like the 5.7, period. I’ll admit that this response is mostly visceral, but I’m a pretty simple guy: 40-grain .22 vs. 230-grain .45? That sounds like a de facto invocation of the “Hackathorn Theorem”.

I’ll be the last person to discourage a new gun purchase, on general principles, but respectfully, I can’t imagine anyone could improve his station by going from a P35 to a hopped-up .22. I will say this, though: if the difference between the Five SeveN’s recoil and that of the Browning is really enough to be significant, I would be interested in hearing more details, simply as a data point for my own mental archives.

One way or the other, I simply wish the best possible recovery for anyone who has to “see a ‘smith” for cardio work. Scary stuff.

21. Kevin Wilmeth - August 3, 2010

Oh, and as far as game meats go, I haven’t had the African antelopes yet, but my vote goes to caribou, and then moose. (Fortuntately, we’ve got that latter in some abundance up here.)

22. Ward Griffiths - August 3, 2010

Ghod, this thread brings up a lot. Neil, I love Rigbys and even more my Marlin lever-gun. Shoot with what hurts less, as Parabarian said. IL Fettucinni, you won the shoot at the first LRT Conclave and it was almost a decade later that I got to read the revised version of your prize (I’m glad you’re still in good health). Chuck Fuller, you may remember my sorry ass from early 80s LASFS (attached to Deby Barges aka Alondra Orre), I was an idiot then, I’m an idiot now — I’ve learned my strengths, I keep marrying women who are not those you’ll see on “The View”.

23. Charles Fuller - August 4, 2010

To Mr. Bartucci
I recall my father’s description of just how much more effective the “five inch thirty eights” were on the Buck when guided by fire control radar.

24. R.D. Bartucci - August 4, 2010


Mr. Fuller, I was interested recently to read that in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the 40mm Bofors automatic cannon were responsible for the greatest total percentage of anti-aircraft kills (33%), followed by the five-inch gun (30%, two different kinds of fuzing), and then the 20mm Oerlikon autocannon (28%).

My father was Submarine Service, and he recounted how the crews of the pigboats considered gunnery practice with the 40mm automatic cannon to be a spectacular treat.

Drills with the three-inch/50 caliber deck gun were nowhere near as much fun.

Actual kill rates notwithstanding, the crews of the ships under aerial attack correctly perceived the five-inch/38 gun’s 55-pound shell to have hellaciously greater pure stopping power than anything the Bofors gun (despite its much higher rate of fire and the larger number of these weapons in action against air attack at any time) could put up.

If you could get a VT-fuzed round to go off in the vicinity of an enemy airplane, chances were that the crew thereof were going to be stumbling into Yasukuni Shrine before they could say “Wasn’t the rape of Nanking a helluva party?”

25. Charles Fuller - August 4, 2010

Mr. Bartucci, R.D. if I may…
I seem to recall that the first deployment of the VT or “proximity” fuze was in the 5″/38, the first version to see service being overly large for any smaller caliber guns.
From the reference I made to the “Buck” (DD-761) you no doubt know that my father is a Tin Can Sailor. I should also add that his service was strictly post war. He is a bit young for WW-II, since he turned seventeen two days after VJ Day.
Something that is to me amusing, whenever I hear mention of the 5″/38 naval rifles I think of one of my favorite revolvers.
Lord Kalvan is, from the serial number range, a 1930 vintage Colt Official Police .38 Special revolver. It happens to have the 5″ length barrel, instead of the more common 4″ or 6″ tubes. It is also beautifully preserved, it’s original Colt blue being about 95% intact.

26. R.D. Bartucci - August 4, 2010


Mr. Fuller, my own father deceased some years ago (non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma). He enlisted in the naval reserve in 1944, trained as a Diesel mechanic, volunteered for submarine school, and went out to the Pacific aboard a tender later that year.

Inasmuch as he had been a naval welder in civilian life (he was involved in the construction of the large cruisers Alaska and Guam), the officers responsible for maintenance and repair were reluctant to release him for service aboard any of the PacFleet submarines, though he did manage to make one war cruise.

Apart from this, he was stuck ashore, either at Pearl Harbor or – working out of the submarine tenders maintaining an advance facility late in the war – at Midway.

I remember as an adolescent learning of the fatality rates sustained by the Submarine Service during World War II and laughingly took him to book for risking his portion of my germ plasm in such a callous and negligent fashion.

His response was that in 1944, the casualty rates had been coming in on operations such as the Tarawa invasion, and that he and most of his contemporaries did not expect to live through the war. “If I was going to get drafted,” he explained, “I figured I might as well serve with people who wanted to be where they were. The Submarine Service was volunteers only.”

I think he was also surprised to discover that in the Navy’s aptitude testing scheme, he had scored very high. He had been a poor student in his teen-aged years, and had dropped out of school at the age of 16. When he got to submarine school, he found that he had very good response to a no-bullshit approach to teaching.

When he unexpectedly survived the war, he decided to parlay his GI Bill benefits, and eventually wound up with the award of the ’50s equivalent of an MBA (Masters in Business Engineering). I took much of my own assault upon higher education from his advice, though I stubbornly refused to suck up to my instructors as he recommended.

I have great respect for destroyermen. My late brother-in-law, like your father, had served aboard such ships in the late ’40s and ’50s, though most of my family has been Army, with a few shameful examples entering the Unconstitutional Service (which really should have been continued as the Army Air Corps).

One of my father’s favorite sea stories was the result of his unauthorized hanging around in the radio room of the sub tender on which he was traveling (by way of the Panama Canal) from New London to Pearl Harbor.

As was not uncommon, the sub tender was the command ship for the convoy in which she was sailing, meaning that radio communications were required at all times to coordinate both the general movements of the ships in the convoy and the antisubmarine screen (destroyers and destroyer escorts) surrounding the convoy.

On one damned stormy night in the approach to Pearl Harbor, with green water sloshing over the decks of all but the biggest vessels, the radiomen aboard the tender were performing routine TBS checks on the positions of the escorts. One of the destroyers was queried about its location.

“We’ll let you know as soon as we surface,” responded the destroyer’s radio operator.

Submarine people tended to regard the destroyer folks with a mixture of sympathy and antipathy. In dirty weather, a fleet boat could submerge and ride out the storm if necessary. The DD/DE boys had no such option.

But then again, stories of American destroyers making “blue-on-blue” attack runs on American submarines were well appreciated by pigboat sailors throughout the war.

27. Ken Valentine - August 4, 2010

To R. Bartucci:

The FN 5,7 is scarcely more powerful than a .22 WMR. (Winchester Magnum Rimfire.) The last figures I saw listed the FN 5.7 (with a 40 grain bullet) as having a muzzle velocity of 2,034 FPS.
The .22 magnum (with a 40 grain bullet) has a muzzle velocity of 1,910 fPS.

Now the design/shape of the bullet (projectile) will make a bit of difference — mostly at longer ranges– unless it’s a military round, which forbids hollow-point or “ballistic-tip” bullets.

But when comparing the energy of the two, the FN 5.7 is nothing to cheer about.

FN 5.7 muzzle energy (M/E) = 367 foot/pounds.

.22 magnum M/E = 324 foot/pounds.

Compare this with the 45 ACP which has 369 foot/pounds of M/E, or a 9mm, which has 351 foot pounds of “M/E.” (125-grain bullet at 1.125 FPS.)

My 9mm reloads — admittedly hotter than normal, but not BLAZINGLY hot — have 400 foot/pounds of M/E. (125-grain bullet at 1,250 FPS.) My REALLY hot 9mm reloads have 478 foot/pounds of M/E. (125-grain bullet at 1,313 FPS.)

Ballistically, the 5.7 Johnson would be a much better round.

What Colonel Johnson did (about a half century ago) was to rebarrel the M1 Carbine, and neck the Carbine cartridge down from .308 to .224. I don’t remember the velocity off hand, but it was significantly more powerful than the FN 5.7 cartridge.

The Carbine is a locked-breech rifle while the FN 5.7 has a straight blow-back action.

So, what FN effectively did was to do a fairly pathetic job of re-inventing the wheel.

28. El Neil - August 4, 2010

‘Fraid I agree with Ken about this, Richard. I wasn’t going to say anything. But since he brought it up, here’s a thought for everyone to ponder.

The new Kel-Tec PMR-30, which has just come on the market, has a magazine that holds 30 rounds of .22 Magnum. With two spares — 90 rounds –you could fight a small war.

The 1911-sized weapon is covered all over in attachment points, and I think it would be great to sling a laser under the barrel, placement being what it is and all.

The original high price estimate is out the window. I just got a catalog offering it a $299.00, available now.

I’ll take two, thanks.

P.S. I also meant to mention a fourth possibility, buffalo huntingwise. I have a Ruger Number Three carbine, a good, tough, simple lever action single shot of the Farquarson falling block variety. Not fancy like the Number One. Operates quite a bit like Quigley’s Sharps or the British military rifles in _Zulu_.

I have such a rifle, chambered for .30/40 Krag (which seemed like the thing to do at the time). As soon as I can — it’s been about 20 years, now — I will have it rebarreled for .44 caliber (.429″) and chambered for a cartridge called .445 SuperMag. This is a specialty cartridge invented for silhouette pistol shooting. It is a “stretch” .44 Magnum in the same sense that .44 Magnum is a “stretch” .44 Special. The gun would shoot all three, plus .44 Russian and .44 American.

My numbers are telling me I could get very close to .444 Marlin performance in a rifle-length barrel. I have a Dan Wesson revolver (with eight and four inch barrels) in this caliber, and I’ve shot mule deer with my Marlin .44 Magnum lever action. It all seems quite feasible. Might be fun to shoot something really big with this odd but powerful cartridge.

29. R.D. Bartucci - August 4, 2010


I confess to having been intrigued by the FN Five-seveN (brought into recent prominence by the Ft. Hood battue) partially because it was created to chamber the 5.7x28mm round developed for FN’s P90 carbine-cum-submachine gun, which has become prominent by way of Stargate SG-1.

Who doesn’t remember Jack O’Neill “selling” a shipment of P90 firearms to a motley lot of rebel Jaffa?

“This [he holds up a Goa'uld staff blaster] is a weapon of terror; it’s made to intimidate the enemy. This [he holds up the P90 slung from his LBE harness] is a weapon of war; it’s made to KILL your enemy.”

FN was obviously trying to peddle the Five-seveN as a sidearm to the same NATO military forces which had put forward the requirement that resulted in the P90. This latter firearm had been designed to function as a modern “cooks’ and bakers’ rifle” akin to the .30 caliber (7.62x33mm) M1 carbine of World War II, but to cope with the increasing use of personal ballistic protection in the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact.

But then, of course, the Soviet Empire went whoosh-boom! and the inter-German border was no longer the forward edge of the battle area.

I appreciate Mr. Valentine’s response to my request for information facilitating comparison of the Five-seveN (and the various 5.7x38mm cartridge types) with comparable sidearms and the rounds they are capable of firing.

I suspect that FN elected not to go with Col. Johnson’s .22 Spitfire (5.7x33mm, I think) or the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire cartridge because Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal wanted to make good and goddam certain that they had a supportable proprietary lock on the ammunition supply for their P90 and Five-seveN products.

In the words of F. Paul Wilson, “cherchez la moolah.”

And let us close with a quote from that move, *Zulu* (1954), after the Undi corps, savaged by the firepower of the Rorke’s Drift defenders, had a last broken off their attack and withdrawn:

Colour Sergeant Bourne: “It’s a miracle.”

Lieutenant John Chard: “If it’s a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it’s a short chamber Boxer-Henry point 45 caliber miracle.”

Colour Sergeant Bourne: “And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind.”

30. Ken Valentine - August 4, 2010

Speaking of the rifle used in ZULU, (the 577/450 Martini-Henry) that cartridge was used on African Big Game (or at least Medium-Sized Game) for decades.
I even heard of an American who, on Safari, surprised his guide by using a 45-70 to take a Cape Buffalo.

As for the Ruger #3, it has the strongest action of any of the single-shot “lever” guns.

The Sharps and Trap-Door Springfields have the weakest actions, with the Marlins falling in between.

With the Springfield/Sharps, you’re limited to a pressure level of around 18,000 CUP and with a Muzzle velocity (with that 300-grain bullet) of 1,661 FPS (most accurate round according to Lyman.)

The Marlin (with the same bullet) will withstand around 28,000 CUP which will give you a muzzle velocity of a little over 2,000 FPS.

The Ruger on the other hand, will take a pressure of around 40,000 CUP and — again with the same 300-grain jacketed bullet — will give you a muzzle velocity of around 2,200 FPS.

In terms of muzzle energy, this translates to:

1,838 foot/pounds for the Sharps/Springfield

2,721 foot/pounds for the Marlin

and 3,224 foot/pounds for the Ruger.

Any of which would take down a Bison.

Back in early ’95, my Uncle Lewis (dad’s youngest brother) took a Bison with a Winchester Model ’94, in 30-30.

Mind you, it wasn’t at a great distance, but Uncle Lewis was in his mid Seventies, and he said that he ended up with more than 1,300 pounds of meat.

He too had his “trophy” done European-style: the skull mounted on the wall, and the hide tanned into a rug.

31. Ken Valentine - August 4, 2010

Mr. Bartucci, the M1 Carbine was more than just a “cooks and bakers” rifle.

That’s what my father was issued when he served as a Forward Observer on Guam and Iwo Jima.

32. al perez - August 4, 2010

The .30 carbine was meant to replace the ,45 ACP pistol because it was felt that the1911 was too inaccurate and had insufficient stopping power. Besides REMF’s it was meant for use by officers who were expected to use it only for self defense while leading their troops, machinegunners’ assistants, mortar crews, radiomen, naval corpsmen who had to deal with enemy who did not respect their Red Crosses or the rights of wounded soldiers under the laws of war and others whose battlefield duties made them secondarily riflemen. Later folding stock for paratroopers and full auto (M2) versions were put out as primary weapons for soldiers as the current doctrine of using riflemen as bait while tanks, arty and aerial support destroyed the enemy.

The STG-44, AK-47/AKM, and AR-15 (Type classified M-16) were meant to replace the submachine gun and self defense carbine. The PS-90 is a step back.

I understand the Air Force likes it. Meanwhile the Army wants to go to the 6.8 Rem.

None of them would be as good as .45-70-400 for a buffalo.

33. R.D. Bartucci - August 5, 2010


Albert, the .30 caliber M1 carbine was also issued because when weapons crews, officers, forward observers, technicians, vehicle drivers, (and, yeah, cooks and bakers) had to use their personal sidearms defensively, their purpose was primarily suppressive, meaning volume of fire was perhaps the most important consideration.

This is one of the reasons why the design of the M1 carbine was finalized to feed from a large-capacity (15-round) box magazine, and with the M2 variant these weapons began to receive 30-round magazines, a development which simply would not have happened were there not a sharply perceived requirement for greater volumes of fire.

It is not just that the M1911 was inaccurate in the hands of most people who had to depend upon this weapon in extremis, but also that the .45 caliber Colt semiautomatic pistol – with only a 7-round magazine – could not sustain a satisfactory rate of suppressive fire.

Interesting to note was the fact that during World War II the .30 caliber M1 carbine was noted to be ideal for equipping allies from nations where the average combatant was smaller in stature and weaker in musculature than was common in the U.S. military. With less weight and lower recoil, it was a particular favorite among the Filipino guerrillas engaged against the Japanese during the years of enemy occupation.

I tend not to view the P90 as “a step back” because the NATO request that resulted in FN’s development of this carbine-cum-SMG was for a personal weapon that could be worn on the person (suspended from standard LBE harness) much as a pistol could, and employed by the driver of a truck or other vehicle with one hand, just as a pistol could be.

Such is definitely not true of the assault rifle models you mention, and barely true of very small submachine guns like the Uzi variants, and this design feature accounts for much of the damned odd appearance of the P90.

It should come as no surprise that with the dissolution of the Soviet Empire, the P90 came into far more restricted issue, being presently employed by the thugs guarding politicians (such as the Secret Service), by the militarized special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams of civilian police departments, and by special operations types in military forces all over the world.

Remember how the Uzi submachine pistol got to be all hot and sexy forty years ago, after it got photographed prominently in the hands of Israeli paratroopers in the 1967 war with the Wogs?

What’s going on with the P90 reminds me of that.

34. El Neil - August 5, 2010

When the conversation turned to the rather disappointing 5.7×28mm, I meant to mention another low-cost alternative, especially for those who reload.

I have a friend who has a Soviet Tokarev pistol (as do I), a 1903 Browning-style autopistol that uses 7.62x25mm, sometimes known as .30 Russian. This is a bottlenecked cartridge of not very much power — similar but not identical to .30 Mauser — which is nevertheless interesting.

Normally, it uses an 86-grain .308″ bullet which it sends downrange at 1640 feet per second. My friend loads it using a 55-grain .224″: bullet (originally meant for the M-16) in a special “sabot” (pronounced “sab-OH” that allows it to be fired in a .30-caliber rifle or pistol. The sabots are easily available online. Winchester has made up similar loads for .308, .30-06, and .30-30 and called them “Accelerators”.

When you fire this thingie (another technical term), bullet and sabot travel down the barrel until they exit the muzzle, whereupon the slipstream around the projectile peels the sabot off the bullet. The sabot lands a few yards downrange and the bullet travels on (incidentally, without bearing any rifle marks). Occasionally, the separation doesn’t happen right. My friend is working on this.

I’m anxious to try it in my Tokarev, and even more in my ugly-but-it-gets-you-there CZ-52. (I suggest you look up both guns on Wikipedia.) Both types can be really cheap. There are all kinds of accessories out there for them, as well.

Velocity may reach 2000 feet per second, and the principal reason FN offers for their pistol is even better accomplished with this gun-load combination.

A gun for buffalo — shrimp.

I’ll keep you posted.

35. R.D. Bartucci - August 5, 2010


Neil, the discarding sabot concept has been in much use for kinetic (as opposed to high-explosive) anti-tank rounds since about 1940.

As you certainly know, the advantages in range (external ballistics) and armor penetration (terminal ballistics) have made discarding sabot designs very popular, with fin stabilization enabling tanks to be armed with smoothbore main guns such as the L44 and L55.

Using a 5.56mm projectile as a penetrator fired from a 7.62mm pistol is a way cool idea. i would expect that performance against ballistic protection would prove impressive. From a rifle….

Hm. The projectile most commonly used to make up the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge (M-16 fodder) is notorious for yawing and fragmentation in tissue upon impact. Part of that, of course, is due to the velocity with which the projectile strikes the target, but I would think that effect would be far more profound if the bullet were to be fired from a .30-06 or .308 caliber rifle.

Pardon me for thinking about wound ballistics, but anyone who has spent time in the Emergency Department training for and handling gunshot wounds tends to put the emphasis on what happens when flying lead meets human flesh.

36. Ken Holder - August 5, 2010

Back during WW2 (“that was the Big One you know”) my dad’s ammo supply company got issued M1 carbines just before the invasion of Oky-kna-wah. Except for my dad who got issued a big heavy ’03 Springfield with a scope and stuff attached. He went to the Company Commander to bitch and was told that since he was the only guy in the company who could actually shoot — him being a Texas country boy and all, whereas the other guys were from the Big City — that he’d been appointed the company sniper.

So he had to hump around that big ol’ ’03 for the rest of the war. He was also the only guy in the outfit who could hit things with the 1911.

37. El Neil - August 5, 2010

Doc, the discarding sabot, as you correctly call it, is fairly new to small arms. The’re made so blackpowder rifles can use pistol bullets. I once saw some sabot for reducing .44 to .38. I have grouped the .30-06 Accelerators, and they are, as Winchester promises, as accurate as the rifle. From my (dad’s) Model 70, they group exactly as .30 caliber 165s or 180s do. I don’t know much about their terminal ballistics, although I’m as interested (though not as educated) as you are in that area. Have you read _Hatcher’s Notebook_?

If I start reloading again (which I hope to do this winter) I also plan to load up some “Accelerator” .30 Carbine to try in my little rifle and my Ruger revolver. I wonder if they’ll do as well as Melvin Johnson’s wildcat.

Ken, I hear that all the time about the .45, that it’s somehow mysteriously unshootable. My dad believed that –he carried a .45 aboard the B-17 with which to destroy the ultra-secret Norden bomb sight — until I showed him otherwise. I have taught all kinds of people to handle the 1911, including my wife and daughter, and they simply regard it, as I do, as the unanswerable argument. Cathy actually shot NRA Falling Plates better than I did, and Rylla can shoot anything she can pick up and aim.

38. Ken Valentine - August 5, 2010

To the “other” Ken:

That’s interesting.

My dad was a Colorado “country boy,” and he joined the Marines because the recruiter promised him he could work heavy equipment — building landing strips and the like.

Never trust a recruiter.

He ended up as a mortar squad leader — he was older than most of the other guys, and was made squad leader because he had had more “life experience.” He HATED mortars, but he figured that he had no choice in the matter, so he learned mortars as best he could.

On Bougainville, he was a mortar squad leader and was issued a “Grease Gun.”

After Bougainville, he was promoted to Sargent and attached to a Rifle Company as a Forward Observer.

On Guam, he carried an M1 Carbine, and on Iwo Jima, he had the Carbine as well as his own personal 1911.

Look out for those “Country Boys!” Dad qualified; Expert Rifle, Expert Pistol, Expert Bayonet, and Sharpshooter Automatic rifle.

I was surprised to see some of his “papers” which listed him as Mortar Instructor, Sniper, Forward Observer.

39. Ken Valentine - August 5, 2010

And Neil,

As I mentioned to you before, I’ve been teaching Annabel (that 21 year old art student I told you about) how to shoot hand guns, and her favorite seems to be my .45 long-slide — you’ve seen it; 6.25-inch slide/barrel, welded-on mag well funnel.

Her father gave her an AR for Christmas, and maybe her next gun will be a 45.

It seems that a lot of women are initially intimidated by the .45, but after shooting one a bit, they come to like it very much.

At least that’s my experience with women and shooting.

40. al perez - August 5, 2010

An extremely liberal friend of mine’s daughter went to college on a rifle team scholarship.

Query: as guns become more of a chick thing will liberals stop flogging gun control? At least for women maybe?

BTW: El Paso has had its second murder of the year by a civiliam (note one possible murder by police depending on political opinion and outcome of FBI investigation): man was beaten to death with a baseball bat. Our murder rate is all the way up to one in 375,000. Just watch out for El Pasoans with car keys, if traffic deaths are counted we give a whole new meaning to scary.

Up the block from my house somebody hit a deer that came into town for water . Is it legal to use a Jetta to bag a bison?

41. Ken Valentine - August 5, 2010

I would imagine that hitting a Bison would be like hitting a hog — depending on the speed of the car, the car would probably be destroyed and the Bison/hog would just get up and walk/hobble away.

42. R.D. Bartucci - August 6, 2010


Mr. Valentine makes mention of a car hitting a hog. Though we have ample deer east of the Delaware River, we are not afflicted (as, has been discussed much of late) by domestic swine gone feral.

But this is advertised to be a helluva vermin problem in the Midwest and points ranging therefrom out to the Pacific, to the point at which even the “Liberal” hoplophobes and bunny-huggers are desirous of animal control measures.

A drift of feral hogs not more than a couple of generations escaped from the state in which they were kept and fed for pork production, ranging through woodlands and waste ground, can be counted upon to breed like socialists, and will do great damage to the landscape, thereby displacing a bunch of far more charismatic megafauna.

And, like socialists, they’re cranky, vicious creatures who pose a hazard to human life.

Inasmuch as even the “Liberals” count the taking of these critters as a public good, why does there not seem to be more about this bruited in the lamestream press?

I would think that in the infested areas, firearms fans would be out in the fens, potting pigs, every weekend, with much praise on the part of whatever passes for animal control in these polities.

Don’t politicians resent the competitive depredations of rival species of swine?

43. Charles Fuller - August 6, 2010

The Ruger #3 was a simplificated version of the #1 rifle. As such it should have been able to take the same pressures as the #1. The #1 is chambered in such rounds as 7MM Remington Magnum, with a pressure well over 50KPSI.
Not that I would load most of the rounds the #3 was chambered in that hot. (.223 is in that pressure range.)
I lament the pasing of the #3, now over a quarter century in the past. More, I wish that Ruger would see fit to do a current version in stainless, call it a #5. Candidate rounds for a #5 might include .30/30, .303 British, .444 Marlin and .45/70. Also the cowboy shooters revival of the .40/65 has made it popular enough to possibly ride again.
One of my rifles I did not consider when I first weiged in on this discussion is my Ruger #1 in .375 H&H. It’s the most powerful firearm I own. It would certainly be adequate for Bison bison. It just does not esthetically appeal in the context.
In solidarity with another comment I would also consider my good old T/C Renegade .54 caplock. I have several boxrs of the discontinued 540-grain Maxi and while recoil with them is very harsh, they shoot to about 3″ at fifty yards. Should be adequate.
My 1895 Marlin would not really be esthetic for bison. Mine is the GL version. Eighteen inch magnaported barrel makes it pretty modernistic.
How about my Danish rolling block? It’s chambered for the 11.7MM Danish service round, ballistically the same as our .45/70.

44. R.D. Bartucci - August 6, 2010


Neil, anent discarding sabot munitions, I was surprised upon recent online research to discover that the French had initially come up with the idea of sub-caliber kinetic anti-tank penetration rounds. I’d always thought it was a British invention, one of the ways in which they’d made their 6-pounder (57mm) and 17-pounder (76.2mm) anti-tank artillery so much more effective than either weapon’s muzzle velocity would otherwise enable.

To the best of my appreciation, the Brits came up with a narrow cross-section tungsten penetrator which they enveloped in a light metal shroud so as to get a projectile about the same mass as the solid steel shot originally devised for these anti-tank guns.

I recall in my youth having read much about the Germans developing anti-tank rounds bearing long-rod tungsten penetrators (particularly for their 5-cm PaK 38, which type of round was characterized in contemporary Allied intelligence reports as “AP 40″).

The 7.5 cm PaK 40 – which largely replaced the PaK 38 by about 1943 – was an up-scaled version of the earlier anti-tank gun, and employed much the same types of munitions.

Despite the terror invoked by the very long-ranging 8.8 cm FlaK gun commonly used to service ground targets (and the derivative PaK 43 and KwK 43 anti-tank and tank cannon), the PaK 40 was effective against just about all allied armored vehicles throughout the war. It was simply damned good that production of the tungsten-core armor piercing rounds was relatively limited, and such “silver bullets” were not ready to hand most of the time.

45. Ken Holder - August 6, 2010

Dangerous Pat’s favorite pistol is the .45 ACP Para-Ordnance P-13, although the time we looked at a P-O P-16 she wanted one as soon as she held it. Or was that the Glock 21? Can’t remember. Ah, that ol’ Age Related Mental Decline, it’s’ so …
age-related, and declined.

46. Neale (spelled the right way) Osborn - August 7, 2010

My wife shoots a .38 snub for carry, but she bought me an Officer’s ACP for our wedding. I love it, and she can bullseye tennis balls at 35-40 yards with it consistantly. She says it doesn’t really kick at all. On the FN POS, if given one for free, I’d use it for trade at a gun-show. MY ideal military style weapon is the M-1A (semi-auto only M-14) in .308. I don’t give a damn about wounding people, if I shoot’em they need to DIE. And the .308 can do that reliably far farther than any pissant souped up .22.

Ken H- I am a HUGE fan of the PO 14-.45, having built and carried one for a long time when they first came out. Neil and I put it together. Then, I stupidly let it get away from me, and I would like to find another of the older aircraft aluminum frames to put a left-over slide and barrel I have. BTW- my 10 year old son finds the 1911 an easy shoot, and wondered where the recoil complaint came from.

47. al perez - August 7, 2010

In another venue we were discussing Teddy Roosevelt’s politics.
He was a tyrant, more pleasant than others, but a tyrant.

he was also a great hunter. He would have used a .45-70 to hunt bison and a .416 to hunt African buffalo.

BTW did you know that his granddaughter married Alexander Sturm, co-founder of Sturm, Ruger & Company?
This info is trivial yet unimportant.

Boo for TR the socialist tyrant! Hooray for TR the boxer, target shooter, rancher and hunter!

48. El Neil - August 7, 2010

Actually, TR would have used an 1895 Winchester in .405 for both buffalo and elephant. And did. I had an 1895 in .30-40 Krag. It had its problems. I think sometimes about getting one of the new reproductiions in .30-06. .35 Whelen would be better. Is it feasible, Mr. Valentine?

It’s too bad that TR was not the character portrayed by the great Brian Keith in _The Wind and the Lion_.

49. al perez - August 7, 2010

When your own kids comments (and may have actually invented the saying, “He has to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, the baby at every christening.” ya got issues. TR was the asshole who stole a country, and created the concept of an imperial presidency. It is a shame so much talent was misdirected.

BTW, none of the Presidents are either the monsters, buffoons or heroes shown in the movies and on TV. Damn shame too, it would be easier to teach people not to trust monsters and buffoons with power, to not wait on heroes, and be free. Instead we have to deal with guys who were damn fool enough to take on a job that will test their respect for liberty in ways no man should face, and too many of them don’t ha’ much love of liberty walking in.

50. R.D. Bartucci - August 8, 2010


Brian Keith wuz robbed in the Best Supporting Actor category. I recall astonishment when I learned that he hadn’t even been nominated for his portrayal of Roosevelt the First in *The Wind and the Lion*.

The role of the character was critical to the advancement of the plot, and Keith did what can only be described as a masterful job.

– Off-topic Alert —

On another Weblog, I’m involved in a dispute with someone who avers that Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and the Federalists are disliked by conservatives as responsible for “…the philosophical seeds that have germinated into the current liberal trends of centralized, big government — things totally odious to conservatives.”

Odious to libertarians, certainly. My point had been that among the TRADITIONALIST conservatives, these men have been of late much admired and extolled.

The HBO series recently presenting Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of John Adams and books praising Alexander Hamilton and the other Federalists among the founding fathers had evoked florid praise among these traditionalists, who have always counted themselves the political heirs of the political party which had made itself odious to the American people by way of the Alien and Sedition Acts and the later Hartford Convention.

I am mindful of Mr. Smith’s writings on how the Federalists had taken up the notion of mercantilism (against which Adam Smith had written his *The Wealth of Nations* in founding modern economics), and I am well aware of recent libertarian scholarship – notably that of Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo – who have enraged traditionalist conservatives with their bulletproof historical revisionism condemning the Federalists.

Any thoughts on this?

51. al perez - August 8, 2010

Alexander Hamilton was literally a poor bastard (or at least one of limited means) who was engaged in successful acts of social climbing and wished to make sure there was a privileged class to climb into. John Adams, while having some affection for liberty, had a much greater love of order.

Much of what is vile (and on a good day I will concede they did some good) of what these two intellectual leaders of the Federalist party did comes from these needs expressing themselves in the creation of a strong government tied to a strong financial system managed by a strong ruling class.

Traditionalist conservatives see themselves as members (or at least supporters) of the ruling class these two men supported.
They view themselves as “Generals Bullmoose” and you know how that line from Li’l Abner goes.

These figurative bastards will even support socialism as long as they form the Central Committee.

52. El Neil - August 8, 2010

Fifty comments.

I must say, this conversation, mostly about “A Gun For Buffalo” has been so thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable — especially as contrasted with all the bullshit we’ve been wading through at the same time about intellectual property rights — that it’s given me an idea.

I’m thoroughly overbooked at the moment. Having finished the copy-read of _Pallas_, I will go back to work Monday morning on _Where We Stand_ with the idea of finishing in the next two weeks and then turning it over to my daughter Rylla for her part of the work. Don’t ask; too complicated.

I will then go back to _Ares_ and not stop again until it’s finished. It’s conceivable that it can be published in correct sequence, after _Pallas_ and before _Ceres_, which would be nice.

A primary object would be to leave November free to do either _Only the Young Die Good_, a sequel to _Sweeter Than Wine_ (the damn thing’s already outlining itself in my head) or the Win Bear Confederate baseball murder mystery which, uncharacteristically, I don’t yet have a title for.

But here’s the idea: What if my lovely and talented spouse Cathy were to go over my catalog of 800 or 900 essays, even back to before _Lever Action_, and assemble every word I’ve ever written on guns and gun rights? Some would be updated, others annotated so people will understand what was happening in the libertarian Stone Age.

Over the years, I have discredited just about every argument in favor of victim disarmament ever written or uttered by the enemies of liberty, and I have exposed their dark, evil motivations as best I can. I’ve also written fun stuff like “My Little Pony”, the story of the evolution of the personal sidearm I most want to be buried with in my pyramid.

This time we’ll have an index and a decent table of contents (the one failing, in my view, of my earlier book _Lever Action_). I haven’t thought through the practical arrangements just yet. I guess that will depend, at least in part, on what my readers think of the idea.

Naturally, it would be available in all modern media.

53. Warren - August 8, 2010

I don’t think it’s possible to have too many books on guns or gun rights. And given your passion for and knowledge of the subject there will be great value in this collection.*

You may remember that I am fascinated by the Dardick and would love to have all of what you’ve written on that topic, updated (if possible) in one place. One thing I have been interested to know, if you have this info, is just what kind of plastic were trounds made of. Why didn’t they melt or split during firing?

Also, how is that Space Cadet Manual coming along?

*Is it done yet?

54. R.D. Bartucci - August 8, 2010


–Yet More Off-Topic —

Regarding traditionalist conservatism, I note that Wiki-Bloody-Pedia cites Russell Kirk’s “Six Canons of Conservatism,”:which I find worth recapitulation here:

1) “Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience.”

2) “Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems;”

3) “Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes, as against the notion of a ‘classless society’.”

4) “Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked: separate property from private possession, and the Leviathan becomes master of all.”

5) “Faith in prescription and distrust of ‘sophisters, calculators, and economists’ who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs.:

6) “Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress.”

Except for number 4, I consider this the rankest kind of bullshit. I came to libertarianism in large part because I am a futurist, and recognize that change – whether “salutary” or not – is impossible to avoid.

As in physiology, healthy stability is found only in the dynamics of adaptation. The conservative spirit, in its blatantly mystical affection for prescription, for “orders and classes,” and for locking things into stasis smells more like Pharaonic Egypt than America.

Or to get stefnal, more like the Goa’uld than the Tau’ri.

Either way, I know what side I’m on. And it ain’t the Snakes.

I submit that anybody who extols “mystery” in “human existence” is either too fucking lazy to keep looking for the sense of things or he’s trying to deceive. Human beings are part of the real world. We’re not supernatural. Calling ANYTHING in the real world a mystery strikes me as a rank and duplicitous effort to mark it as forbidden territory and keep people from poking into it.

That’s about as “anti” Western civilization – and especially anti-science – as you can get. It’s the same crap I got from the priests in my parochial school religion classes.

Remember George Carlin’s routines? “Well, son, it’s a mystery.”

Translation: “I can’t give you an officially approved answer, so shut up, sit down, and don’t stir up any more trouble.”

And thus we get to Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists, the first two POTUS guys (one of whom, remember, Mr. Smith puts before a firing squad in *The Probability Broach*), and today’s traditionalist conservatives’ affections for these creatures among the Founders.

– End Off-Topic Stuff —

Mr. Smith’s notion of a book on RTKBA strikes me as potentially valuable. His “Why Did it Have to be…Guns?” is one of the best essays on the subject ever written, and is much quoted all over the Web. It sets the political context of this issue in a commonsense fashion, and offers a perspective which I confess I have not seen in the writings of other commentators on this issue.

The question I have is whether or not a new book on this issue – even if expanded to include the author’s well-informed opinions on personal firearms and some savvy advice for the beginner interested in acquiring things-that-go-bang for self-defense, for home defense, and for the hell of it – can be produced in such a fashion as to be differentiated from the stuff that has been published over the bylines of people like Wayne LaPierre and David Kopel over the past five to ten years.

There’s got to be a solid plan for getting this book reviewed, both on line and in periodicals. The potential purchasers have got to be notified of its qualities and availability, and the best way to get this done is to make a dent on reviewers who are themselves read by both hoplophiles and supporters of individual rights in general.

Thoughts on this?

55. Ken Valentine - August 9, 2010

As for the Winchester ’95 in 35 Whelen, off hand I’d say yes. The 95 had a very strong action and was chambered in .405 Winchester — a cartridge that was developed specifically for that rifle. A 300 grain bullet at 2,200 FPS Muzzle Velocity and is probably more powerful than the 35 Whelen.

The only question would be regarding the overall length of the cartridge.

If you’ve seen the movie AUSTRALIA, you’ll notice that “The Drover” carries a ’95 winchester.

56. Ken Valentine - August 9, 2010

Regarding Theodore Roosevelt, I think he was a Sociopath.

What would you think of a 20-year-old who (after an argument with his girlfriend) went home and shot and killed his neighbors dog.

Or, on the occasion he killed his first Buffalo, (according to wittnesses) “surrendered himself to complete hysteria,” jumping up and down, shouting, screaming, and waving his arms in the air.

Or, (according to wittnesses) had the same reaction on the occasion he killed his first Spaniard.

A man who had no military training, (at least as far as the Army is concerned) had one day of “combat” and went back to the U.S. and spent months lobbying members of Congress to get himself nominated for a Congressional Medal of Honor — which they (Congressmen) refused to give him.

A man who (after having met him on a few occasions) Mark Twain described as being “completely insane.”

57. R.D. Bartucci - August 9, 2010


Mark Twain (it must be borne in mind) was one of the founders of the anti-imperialist movement in America.

And Teddy Roosevelt was one of the leading imperialists.

Mr. Clemens would naturally think that TR was “completely insane.” By his standards, this was entirely correct.

58. Ken Valentine - August 9, 2010

From Greece, to Rome, to Spain, to Portugal, to Britain, to Belgium, to … to … to …, Imperialism has virtually bankrupted every country that engaged in it.

With a couple thousand years of knowledge of the results of Imperialism available for study, anyone who believes in it today (and even in the last century) MUST be insane . . . or evil . . . or just plain stupid.

59. al perez - August 9, 2010

As El Neil would say and has on various occasions “Evil, and stupid, and insane.”

From the viewpoint of power junkies, destroying your own society to temporarily control more land is acceptable. These are the guys who when asked “what does it profit a man to gain the World if he loses his soul?” will answer “A whole bunch.”

They are alpha males whose drive to rule has overcome all sense of loyalty to their group, and even more frequently beta males trying to assert an alphaness they will never achieve and willingly to destroy the group in the process.

60. Neale (spelled the right way) Osborn - August 9, 2010

El Neil- I’ll take 2 copies of “RTKBA according to Smith” the moment they hit the shelves. DO IT, NOW!!!!!! (AFTER you get STW, Ares, Ceres, OTYDG, WWS, ……. done. Oh hell, just clone yourself and get working harder!)

61. Larry Wright - August 15, 2010

If the conclave will forgive me for returning to the bison getting-

El Neil:

WRT the choice of weapons for bison, if you are going to use your .45-70, based on everything I have heard, I’d second the suggestion made earlier for the 405 grain load. It penetrates, and penetration is what is wanted.

If you are going to use your Whelen, Barnes used to make a .358″ 275 grain soft point, and may make them on special order even today. Hornady did, too, IIRC, but they may be less likely to do a custom run. If that weight is not available, I’d go with either a 225 grain Xbullet, or a 250 grain Hornady softpoint. (I favor X bullets; things shot with them drop. I’m told that applies to large things, although I haven’t killed anything bigger than a whitetail). I still have 11 of the 275 grain bullets that came with the rifle and am saving them for elk or moose hunting, should I ever get the opportunity.

I have an Ackley Improved .35 Whelen that seems to like the 250 grain bullet best; it won’t group worth a damn with 200s or 225s, but I can get it into 2 1/2 inches or so from prone or a rest.

I shoot a 405 grain hard cast bullet from my .45-70 Contender. Recoil for loads up to 1300 FPS is manageable, but after that it gets progressively unfun to shoot. The 405 is more accurate than any of the lighter bullets I have tried, and it plows right on through whatever it hits.

As regards the new books, I echo the rest of us who eagerly await your efforts. If I may make so bold as to suggest it, I’d love to see you do a modern version of Tom Paine’s “Common Sense”. You are one of a few who might be up to the task.

62. Ward Griffiths - August 17, 2010

Larry, Neil has done an update of _Common Sense_. It’s spread across a gagload of essays published in The Libertarian Enterprise over the last decade and a half and in the collection of the early essays by Mountain Media, _Lever Action_. Plus of course in the “fiction”.

If you want it in one publication, I think that’s more or less what he’s working on with his beautiful daughter (hi, Rylli!) presently.

63. Michael J. Bates - August 19, 2010

Go with the Marlin! Lever action, iron sights, 45-70 – the best of all worlds.

Or if you prefer, I’ve got a Cabela’s reproduction of a .50 cal Hawken rifle your welcome to use.

Either one will take pretty much any load you want to use. And as the fella said, shot placement is everything.

Man I wish I was going with you!

64. Tod - August 19, 2010

Going back on target, I’d take a handgun for buffalo. :) I don’t think this one would be appropriate, but for close range fallow, axis and sika, I’ve been wanting to build a 6″ longslide upper for my Glock 20 in 9×25. The 9×25 I like is the 125 grain bonded bullet going 1700fps with 803 ft lbs of energy. And it has very little recoil.

65. Cory Brickner - August 20, 2010

Neil,

Sorry, late in getting here. Enjoy the reading. I’m not a hunter, but wanted to echo, bring what you shoot best with. It sounds like you won’t have an issue with any the rounds you suggested.

I personally like the lever. I have a Legacy Puma 454 and at 6 lbs, it is light, quick, unassuming and hits hard. I don’t think you can ask for more than that.

With respect to your issues with your multiple MIs, I have heard that Chondroitin repairs damage from heart attacks. I take it with Glucosamine not for that, but because I ride horses and this has almost completely taken away my related joint pain. I take the Costco stuff. Just wanted to give you a heads up so you might be able to investigate that if you wish.

66. Paddy - August 22, 2010

I’d back the Rigby, if only for history. While Wilfred Thesiger, one of the last of the true explorers, was travelling among the Danakil and killing lions for them as an exercise in diplomacy, at least one of his three guns was a Rigby.

67. Donald Qualls - August 28, 2010

Late to the party again — I really need to find a way to remind myself to check back on this blog more frequently — but I’d have to suggest the .45-70, loaded with a one of the .35 Whelen bullets in a sabot (easily obtained for muzzle-loaders in a size that will fit the case and bullet) might be the best choice of all, if not for that tubular magazine. I don’t think I’d want a pointed bullet loaded in a tube behind the next primer, especially not in the combination of chambering and weight your ’95 offers. Of course, you could load a 200 grain flat-nose soft point made for .357 Maximum; a .45-70 with modern cases, rifle, and powder ought to be able to push that out at around 2200 or a bit more, but I’d be concerned about a bullet made for pistols penetrating buffalo hide at reasonable prairie hunting ranges.

Failing oddball stuff that has to be handloaded, however, factory .45-70 rounds outpace the black powder that was in use when that round killed literally tens of thousands of bison before 1900; if you can work with the relatively high-arched trajectory to place your hits, I see no ballistic reason not to take the rifle you like best.

68. Renata Russell - September 1, 2010

All I can add is a true story. My family was touring Yellowstone ever so long ago. We sighted a herd (of three or so) buffalo. My Dad got out of the car, thoughtfully taking the car keys with him, to take a photo of this huge bull, in the middle of a dust bath (I did not get close enough to check if bull or cow). My brother backed up my Dad, in case the animal charged, with —

a slingshot. Bro was seven at the time. Hey, it was what he had! Both Dad and bro survived, since the buffalo was not finished with his (or her) ablutions.

Yep, you are gonna need something with more firepower. Best of luck, and god hunting!

69. Renata Russell - September 13, 2010

Slip of the fingers — I meant good hunting! But a blurb for _The Jehovah Contract_ by Victor Koman just crept out. Maybe the lead character (with Connections) has a few ideas….

70. Renata Russell - September 17, 2010

… maybe a bolt of lightening. Double-action: dispatches the buffalo, and also renders the beast medium rare. :)

71. El Neil - September 17, 2010

Wasn’t there some guy in _Tunnel in the Sky_ who had some kind of electric weapon, with a power supply he carried on his back?

I think I’ve said before that while I agree with the Old Man in principle about carrying a combat weapon into a pure survival situation, in addition to a good knife or two, I would take a .22. Not enough power to get you into trouble, but enough to feed you and maybe get you out of trouble in a pinch.

I have a ten-plus-one-shot Walther PP .22 that would be about right (that’s the gun that Arran gives to Loreanna in _Henry Martyn_). But I’m kind of interested in a 12-shot single action revolver I saw a while ago, and especially in the Kel Tec PMR-30, a 30-shot .22 Magnum. Now that would make a _spiffy_ survival gun.

Ah, well. Another time another dime.

72. J. Colonnesi - September 27, 2010

I’d say use the .45-70.

Personally, I’d go with the heavier bullets, but the 300 gr rounds should do nicely.

Have fun!

73. John - September 28, 2010

El Neil, I think when you’ve done all the accuracy testing you want, “thoughts on carryability”, etc. and are set :

You’ll do just fine with any of the modern safari type bullets. As others have opined more than once here, any of those three that you hit well with, will do the trick.

I know it’s not Cape Buffalo, but I still prefer to insure through and through penetration – that can even be the right sort of lead, a la Garret, Buffalo Bore, etc. http://www.google.com/search?q=.45-70+hard+cast

Of course, there are a bajillion options out there these days, but I think they all come down to being able to go through big shoulder bones, drive straight, and drive deep.

http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/Federal-Safari-Grade-Ammo/ (I know, but glean what is worthy if anything, hah)

Best of Health and Luck to you Sir, I’ll continue to enjoy your work while you’re off reaping the rewards of that work.

74. Donald Qualls - October 4, 2010

Neil, I’ll second the fascination with the Kel Tec PMR-30. First time I saw one of those in a gun store (twenty years ago, near enough), I started trying to figure how I could afford it. Still trying…

75. El Neil - October 4, 2010

Actually, the PMR-30 is new. What you saw years ago, Donald, was the Grendel, which proved unreliable and was withdrawn from the market. This incarnation is supposed to be much better.

Jeff, I was at a gun show yesterday and saw some Federal .45-70 325-grain loads that were supposed to be high-performance. I plan to look into that today.

I must say that the mood at gun shows has changed. The economy is bad, but the political panic seems to be gone. On the other hand, the ATF was there , at a tiny little show, which I felt was pretty heavy-handed.

I saw a brand new Springfield Armory M1A “in the box” that might just change my mind about choice of battle rifles. It was clean, new, and had an all-black synthetic stock and handguard. Very, very impressive, and I know the track record of the M1A.

Now if I just had an extra grand and a half to spare …

76. Neale (spelled the right way) Osborn - October 4, 2010

Neil- I want one, as well. “It will be mine. Oh Yes, it WILL be mine.”

On the gun show topic, I haven’t been in one since the gun shows around here started requiring ID, entered into a computer database, to enter. I chose to leave and not return, after telling them specifically WHY I would no longer patronize them.

77. Ed Cassidy - November 12, 2010

El Neil, haven’t written in a long time (since back on the smith2004 list), but have followed your writing on the net. A buddy shot one here in Laramie with a Hamilton Bowen converted Ruger Vaquero .45 colt. 325 wide flat nose at about 1300. Shot right through the buff. Unfortunately it was a heart shot and the buff took a while to die while the herd herded (not sure if thats a real word?) around him so he couldn’t get another shot. We each got 275 lbs. of really good meat. It is very lean so the burger needs to be cooked with bacon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that . I’ve got a 16″ 1895 and the Hornady 325′s chrono about 1700. I have loaded some 405 WFN to 1800 in the same gun but it’s not pleasant. I have some old PMC cowboy loads that are 405 FN at about 1300 and I believe they would shoot through the buff lengthwise. Heavy bullets moving slow or medium with a big meplat are the best in my opinion. But then I still carry my 1911 and model 58 as a second gun Still have my Detonics but don’t shoot it much anymore. If you’re up here, holler and I’ll buy you a cup of joe. Ed

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82. Looppefeace - January 21, 2012

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