My article on guns safes must have hit a responsive note as several readers
have called or e-mailed to relate their own experiences in shopping for a
gun safe. These experiences illustrated a couple of points that I didn’t
cover in the article. For instance:
Delivery. When buying a gun
safe, look for a full service dealer. What’s that? It’s a dealer that not
only sells safes, but will deliver and install the safe as well. Most
people just don’t have the right kind of transportation to haul a 1600
pound safe from the dealer to their homes, much less the specialized
equipment to safely unload it out of the rear end of a pick up. Now once
you’ve got it out of the truck, how do you lug it up the front stairs. A
full service dealer can do all that for you.
If you’re buying your safe out of a
catalog, you’ll note that there will be an extra charge for “driver’s
assistance” in getting the safe into the house. Once it’s in the house,
you’re on your own. If you don’t pay the extra fee, the driver’s only
obligation then is to drop it on the driveway and that’s it.
Installation. Before you even
start to bring the safe into your house, there are some things to
consider. First, where are you going to put it? Safes are heavy. Some
times they’re really, really heavy. Is the floor where you want to place
the safe strong enough to support its weight? If you live in an older
house, maybe it’s not, and it needs some reinforcing before you take
delivery. Perhaps the floor needs some reinforcing just to accommodate the
tie down bolts as well?
Another basic question to ask is “Can
you get the safe through the front door without ripping out the
frame?” Take some measurements before you go to visit the dealer.
Do you have the tools, knowledge, and
most importantly, the inclination to install the tie down bolts for the
safe? Look for a dealer that can do that for you. It’s extra, but they’ve
done it a million times before and can do it for you with a minimum amount
Service. If you need warrantee
service, can the dealer handle it promptly? Safes rarely need it, but when
it happens it’s usually not a small thing.
The bottom line is to look for that
full service dealer. They can take a lot of the hassle out of your buying
experience. If you live in an area that just doesn’t have a full service
dealer, do some planning ahead of time and line up some burley friends (a
case of beer and big plate of sandwiches often helps). Many thanks to Dave
Taylor from Idaho and the many others who called or wrote.
Some number of months ago, I did a
review of the mechanical and optical differences between a rifle scope and
an airgun scope. I also included a matrix of the features that were
offered by the various scope manufacturers. In that matrix, I showed that
Weaver rifle scopes were not suitable for use on airguns.
Shortly after the article appeared, I
was talking to a friend at Blount headquarters (now ATK) about the
situation when he said that he wanted to check something with the Weaver
engineers and would call me back. The following day he called to say that
the engineers thought that the Weaver V-16 model, while not specifically
designed for airgun use, was built in such a way that it should be able to
handle the double recoil of a spring type air gun. However, they had never
tested it for such an application. Would I be interested in doing so? I
said “sure”, and so a V-16 showed up on my doorstep about a week later.
The V-16 is a very nice 4 X 16, target
style scope marketed primarily for varmint hunting. It falls in the middle
range of things price-wise ($250 -$275) and is an excellent value for the
money. The target knobs are nice and high and the clicks very positive. It
also comes with a very nice sun shade. More importantly, the image that it
provides the shooter is bright, clear, and impressively crisp.
In fact I was so impressed with the
sight picture I did a side by side comparison with a similar Leopold scope
and could see no difference between the two. Just to make sure I wasn’t
imagining things, I wrapped a towel around each scope to mask their
identities and asked two other people to look through them and judge which
provided the better sight picture. Both people said they thought they were
about the same with one person giving a slight edge to the Weaver. When I
unwrapped the towels, both persons were surprised that one of the scopes
was a Weaver.
In my article I said that an airgun
scope had to do two things. Focus down to 10 meters and be able to
withstand the double recoil of a spring type air gun. In order to see how
the Weaver test scope would stand up to these requirements, I mounted it
on my RWS Model 45 spring air rifle using a set of high BSA scope mounts
and a Gamo scope stop.
The RWS M45 is a powerful, heavy duty
air rifle with an advertised velocity of 1000 fps. Scopes take a true
pounding when mounted on this rifle. The plan was to fire approximately 25
rounds per day through the gun for 90 days straight to see how the V-16
would hold up during real world conditions, and that’s exactly what I
did. Problems? None. Based on my own experience, I’d say that the Weaver
is tough enough to do the job.
I also instantly found that the V-16
when adjusted to its highest power setting can not only focus to 10
meters, it can actually go down to around 8 meters. Image quality is just
as nice at 10 meters as it is at 100 and beyond.
The bottom line here is if you want a
middle priced scope that offers high quality performance that you can use
for your big bore, small bore, or even your airguns, the V-16 deserves
your close consideration.
Kudos to Uncle Mike’s
Everyone has their own way of hauling
their ammo and gear to and from the range. Personally, I’ve always favored
range bags, especially those made by Uncle Mike’s. Particularly, I’ve been
using their model #5247-1, which is their Police/Sportsman Equipment Bag.
It’s primarily designed as a personal equipment bag for police officers.
This bag is big. It measures 18.5” X
12” X 7.5” and is made from tough, 600 denier, water resistant nylon. I
can stuff my fat Nikon 80mm spotting scope, bench tripod, screwdriver kit,
notebooks, ammo, glasses, targets, marking pens, feeler gauges, lens
cleaner, pens and a million other things in this baby and still have room
The bag is not only large, but it
comes with rigid plastic panels that go into the bottom and the two sides
to mold it into a true rectangular box shape.
As a result, it’s easier and more
efficient to load and unload, and finding that elusive little gizmo that
always seems to be hiding in one of the corners is a lot easier than it
would be otherwise. If you’d rather have a bag with soft, loose sides for
easier stowing in small spaces, no problem. Just remove the panels.
There’s also lots of zippered pockets on the front, sides, and lid of the
bag for even more gizmos and thingamabobs.
I’ve had my bag for about 6 or 7 years
now and it’s given great service, but my bad habit of tying to stuff 50
pounds of gear in a 20 pound bag finally caused the main zipper to split
apart. I really loved that bag and so there was no way that I wanted to
give it up. So I called Uncle Mike’s to see if they could repair it. I
was ready to pay whatever it cost. I didn’t care. I wanted my bag to be
To my utter surprise, they said to
return the bag and they’d replace it for free! Now that’s what I call
customer service! Well, they gave me a product return number for the old
bag and I shipped it off back to the factory. In about 2 weeks time, I had
a brand new bag in return. To my delight, I found that the main zipper had
been upgraded over the years and was now beefier and more robust than the
old one. Once more, the double zipper pulls on the main zipper on the top
and the two large side pockets have been redesigned so when together, you
can pass a small pad lock through them to secure the bag if you wish.
Before I couldn’t say enough nice things about this product, now I can’t
say enough nice things about their customer support. Hats off to Uncle
There’s a certain kind of
internet user who loves to circulate rumors and conspiracy theories. These
people are instantly ready to believe preposterous stories,
inaccurate stories, misleading stories, or stories which are sometimes
deliberate, malicious lies. Their philosophy seems to be “If I heard it on
the internet, it must be true and it’s my duty to spread it around as much
as possible. After all, I’m just trying to help people”. Sure you are.
is Falling (Yawn) Again
The latest bit of
silliness involves the most insidious type of distortion - the
half truth. It goes like this. The Canadian supplier of
powders to IMR has gone bankrupt. IMR Powders are going to
disappear. Better stockpile all you can now before it’s all
Yes, the Canadian supplier
of IMR’s extruded powders, a company called EXPRO, did go
bankrupt. In fact, this was actually the second time that
happened. The first time, the local Provincial Government, the
Canadian Federal Government, and the various labor unions
involved, bailed them out.
There was just no way the
Canadian government was going to let them go under at that
time, or this time either for that matter. EXPRO is only one
of two extruded powder manufacturers on the whole North
American continent, and as such, they’re a critical supplier
to the Canadian military. They also make the mini, rocket
motor-like gas generators used to inflate automotive air bags,
and as such, are also vital to the country’s automotive
industry. Lastly, It also happens to be one of the largest
employers in the somewhat remote region where it’s located, an
area where there are very few employers of any significant
size at all.
In a deal brokered by the
Canadian Federal Government, the assets of EXPRO, were sold on
Dec 6, 2001 to SNC TEC, a very large military ammunition
manufacturer for the Canadian army and NATO. SNC TEC, which
used to be owned by the Canadian government before they let it
go public, makes artillery, tank, and aircraft ammo, as well
as small arms ammo, mines, mortar shells, training rounds,
etc. etc. All of the key EXPRO personnel have been retained by
SNC TEC and, most importantly, powder production has not been
interrupted, nor will it be interrupted. End of story. Now
what am I supposed to do with this 200 pounds of IMR 4759?
California Nuts & Dan Wesson
A “safety” law recently
went into effect in California which requires that all
handguns being commercially sold in the state to meet strict,
functional mechanical requirements - supposedly to ensure that
the guns will operate properly when used. I guess the nuts in
the state legislature wanted to be sure that the Saturday
Night specials favored by the gang bangers will function in a
reliable fashion while they’re murdering each other and the
In order to meet those
requirements, a manufacturer must furnish guns, ammo, spare
parts etc. to the state for the required testing and in
addition, pay California an exorbitant amount of money for the
privilege of doing so. The president of Dan Wesson once
mentioned to me that it would cost his company over $300,00 to
get his guns tested. However, without this testing, no
handguns can be commercially sold in the state. (I’d like to
see them pull this stunt on the automobile industry).
However, there’s a
loophole. For some reason, single action revolvers are
exempted from this requirement. (There’s been some speculation
that the single action cowboy shooters successfully lobbied
for this exemption, although I haven't been able to confirm
this.) Consequently, Dan Wesson is making available a single
action version of all of its revolvers for sale in California.
In fact, the 32 H&R Magnum Dan Wesson that I evaluated in
these pages last year was actually a single action.
Originally, the gun was sent to me before the law went into
effect as a standard, double action model, but as an
experiment, I converted it to a single action through the
removal of two very small parts. The gun functioned perfectly
as a single action and accuracy was not affected in any way.
So if you’re a California
silhouette shooter and you want to buy a Dan Wesson, fear
not. You can special order a “California Model” single action
through your local gun shop or FFL holder with no problem.
Just have them call the factory direct to do so.
Mac 1 Pellet Wax
Lead Fouling in an
airgun? You bet. You won’t see it but it’s there and it’s
affecting the accuracy of your gun. I remember the first time
I pulled a patch on a piece of fishing line through one of my
air gun barrels. It came out as black as the devil’s heart. I
was totally flabbergasted. I had no idea that kind of fouling
could build up like that in an airgun.
MAC 1, one of the premier
airgun distributors in the U.S., is run by Tim McMurray, one
of the top air gun mechanics in the world. His shop is only
about a 50 minute drive from where I live and so I drop by
from time to time to buy supplies or an occasional new gun.
Tim and his sidekick Steve always have time to chat and talk
about this or that aspect of air gunning. There are very few
subjects on air gunning that they’re not expert in. It’s really
a cool place to visit.
Anyway, Tim is now
distributing the first pellet wax product that I know of.
Essentially, its a small plastic bottle containing a extremely
thin wax lube that must be about the same weight as a light
sewing machine oil or perhaps the new Iosso gun oil. It
evidently was originally developed as a bicycle chain
lube. The spray nozzle on the bottle is designed to dispense
the lube in a very fine spray. To treat, stand the pellets in
a group, head up, and give them a light mist from directly
overhead. Don’t over do it and don’t spray the bottom side of
To treat your barrel,
first clean thoroughly, and then shoot the treated pellets
through on a regular basis i.e. every shot or as little as
every third or fourth shot. The wax is supposed to prevent
lead from building up in the corners of the lands and thus
preserve accuracy. After 500 shots, clean your barrel again
and then go back to using the treated pellets. I haven't used
this stuff yet, but plan to shortly. The suggested retail
price is only $4 for a 2 ounce bottle which will last a long
time. A $9 twelve ounce bottle will last a life time. Call
310-327-3582 for more info or visit them on the internet.
Stoney Point Target Knobs
These have been around a
while, but surprisingly not that many silhouette shooters seem
to be aware of this very useful product. Scope shooting has
definitely become mainstream in silhouette competition these
past couple of years. As we all well know, quality scopes can
easily cost as much as the gun they’re mounted on, or
more. Buying a scope with target knobs bumps up the price even
more. However, there can be no doubt that target knobs are a
highly desirable feature to have on a competition scope.
They’re easy to grasp with no fumbling around when you want to
crank in a sight setting change and the numbers and graduation
markings on the turret are larger and much easier to see which
helps to avoid mistakes.
If you already own a scope
without target knobs, you always have the option of sending it
back to the factory to get it upgraded. However, doing so is
not inexpensive. Then there’s the time issue. It’s a fact of
life that prior to certain hunting seasons, the repair
departments of various scope manufacturers usually get
inundated, and the wait to get your scope back can be easily 6
to 12 weeks.
Another less expensive and
far more timely option is to use Stoney Point’s aftermarket
target knobs. Originally manufactured only for Leupold scopes,
they’re now available for a wide variety of brands including
Burris, Tasco, and Simmons. My good friend Dr. Jim Williams
first got me interested in this product. Turned out that he’d
been using them on one of his silhouette guns for some years
now with perfect satisfaction. I had always assumed that the
knobs on his scope were original equipment. Based on the
scores he shoots, they obviously work well, so I got a set.
Installing them couldn’t
be simpler. First remove the dust cover caps on your scope.
Now grip the lower half of the Stoney Point knob and screw it
down, insuring that the internal screwdriver like blade is in
the coin slot of the elevation or windage turret of your
scope. You want to make sure that one of the large hash marks
on the bottom of the knob is facing directly to the rear
(toward you, the shooter). This is your reference point. You
also want to be sure that the knob is tight against the dust
cover rubber gasket on the scope so it doesn’t come loose when
shooting. Now loosen the set screw on the top rim of the knob
with the furnished allen wrench, and turn the top half of the
knob until the “0” is aligned with your reference mark.
Tighten the set screw, and that’s it.
Now if your scope is not
equipped with clicks, the Stoney Point knobs won’t provide
that capability. However, you will have all of the other
advantages of a classic target knob and at a very reasonable
cost. If your scope already does have clicks, the installation
of the target knobs won’t degrade their operation in the
least. In fact, the knobs actually seem to enhance the “feel”
of the clicks. For more info call them at
507-354-3360 or visit them at