Triad, Medusa, and the multicaliber dream

Ian, aka ‘Gun Jesus‘, has a neat little video about the Medusa revolver.

Basically, the idea was to have a revolver that would shoot, essentially, any straightwall case cartridge, rimmed or rimless, that fired a bullet around 9mm…9×19, .38 Special, .357 Mag., .380 ACP, 9×21, .38 Colt, etc. It would be a ‘survivors’ gun since you could scrounge ammo from just about anywhere.

It wasnt an original idea. It was supposed to be the Colt Survivor but Colt let it languish and it never went anywhere. (But prototypes do turn up.) The story, as I rad it, was that ATF tol Colt that if they made this thing they wouuld have to give it very distinctive rifling so that bullets could be identified as having been shot outta the thing since it could, in theory, fire dozens of different cartridges.

Anyway, about ten years ago Taurus decided they’d got on the bandwagon and announced the Taurus Triad…a more modest caliber selection: 9mm/38/357. It was pure vaporware and although it was cataloged I never found one.

Ruger made their single-action Blackhawk convertibles in 9/357 but required a cylinder change. It’s only as of late that they have made something of a comeback with their new .45 Redhawk that fires .45 ACP/.45 Colt. However, I still want a revolver that shoots 9mm/38/357 interchangeably.

Taurus just announced that they are bringing out a DA revolver that, with a spare cylinder, will allow you to shoot the 9mm/38 cartridges but only time will tell if they actually make the bloody things.

I rather like the idea of a DA revolver that can digest three of the most common cartridges found in this country. But, is it practical? Ehhhh…..not sure. But on paper it seems like a good idea.


Speed loading and speedloaders

If you can divorce yourself from nostalgia, sentimentality, and a desire to appear ‘old-school’, it’s hard to argue that for most cases of defense against things with two legs, the automatic pistol has nudged the revolver into a distant second place. That isn’t to say that people still don’t carry revolvers for defense against people (and this is an important distinction I’ll touch on later), but rather that objectively the auto trumps the revolver for self-defense in most ways.

The revolver’s strength? Cartridge selection, simplicity of use. It’s drawbacks? Everything else. For defense against more-than-two-legged things (think claws and teeth) revolvers have the advantage of being able to throw out stuff that generates a buttload of ft/lbs. that most automatics can’t. (Yes, you can carry a Desert Eagle or a Wildey in the woods and be just as well heeled as any .44 Mag toter, but you’re doing it at a sizable weight/size disadvantage.)

Having said that, there are still days I tuck a revolver into my pocket, or sli\ip one into a belt holster, when I go about my day. But I always make sure to carry spare ammo.

The NYPD (Motto: “Ahright, Shows Over, Shows over..let’s go.”) used to, believe it or not, issue revolvers to it’s troops right up until the 1990’s. And as if that wasn’t archaic enough, they had you carry your reloads in what were called ‘dump pouches’. These were little leather boxes on your belt that held six cartridges. The opening flap was on the bottom of the box. You’d pop the flap and the cartridges would fall into your palm where you would then reload your revolver one round at a time. In 1986. Sonny Crockett had a 10mm auto but NYPD cops were still loading like they were in Mayberry.

Why didn’t they NYPD issue speedloaders? Good question. Inertia and training seems to be the answer. My cursory research shows that it came down to these reasons: too complicated, too fragile, we’ve always done it this way.

And then, one day, a cop got into a bullet party with a bad guy and while reloading his revolver the cop caught a round in his melon. The subsequent outrage pushed the NYPD into allowing the use of speedloaders. (Honestly, I’d be surprised if there weren’t a whole bunch of guys already carrying them in their pockets or on their belts when they thought no one was looking.)

Brand of choice? HKS. For the most part, thats the big name in speedloaders although there have always been smaller shops making specialty ones. After HKS the next biggest name is Safariland. Once you get past the speedloaders, your next option for loading your revolver faster is two load by twosies rather than onesies – the Speed Strip. When Bianchi brought these things out, back in the days of aviator sunglasses and porn ‘staches, their advertising said that they would be offered in other calibers as well. That never happened. Fast forward a few decades and another outfit picked up the slack to give us Speed Strips (under a different name to, no doubt, avoid trademark issues) in other calibers.

When I’m carrying a revolver for protection against the two-legged, it’s usually a .38 or .357. (A J-frame or K-frame of some brand.) My personal preference is the Speed Strip if I’m just tossing the snubbie in my pocket as I walk out the the door. The Speed Strips lay flat in a pocket and are handy to use. While a tad slower than a speedloader, they are still light years ahead of the old dump pouch.

When I carry the larger framed guns (K-frame, like a Model 10 or Security Six) I carry a couple speedloaders. I used to carry the HKS speedloaders and they work fine. They’re quite reliable, well made, and can usually be found at gun shows for $10 or less for each one. The speedloader has a knob at the back that needs to be turned to release the cartridges. Drop the speedloader into the cylinder, grip the cylinder to keep it from turning, twist the knob on the back of the speedloader, discard speedloader, close gun. Shoot, rinse, repeat.

I kinda prefer the Safariland Comp I & II speedloaders. Instead of a knob to twist, the speedloader releases its cartridges when the cylinder pin contacts the release on the speedloader, Basically, you drop the speedloader into the cylinder, shove it home, and the cartridges automagically release into the cylinder. It’s not that the twist motion of the HKS speedloader is a big deal, but I find the Comp I speedloader to be wonderfully compact since it doesnt have a big knob protruding from the back.

My next revolver is going to be one of the new 8-shot Ruger Redhawks. Fortunately 8-shot speed strips exist for it, and I’ve no doubt that speedloaders will follow.

But, getting back to the first two paragraphs, my G17 without a spare magazine carries as much ammo as my GP100 with two speedloaders. So..there’s that. On the the other hand, my N-frame drops heavier and faster lead than the Glock does, which is why I carry the G17 in town and the N-frame in the boonies. (Although at some point I’ll go full Nugent and get a Glock 10mm as my woods gun.)

Remington introduces mag-fed 870

Well this is just absolutely fascinating:

You’ve heard the old saying “everything old is new again”. Well, that applies to the tried and true Remington 870 shotgun. The 870 is probably the most popular police shotgun ever. Remington has given the 870 a facelift with several new magazine fed models which would serve just about any shotgunners needs.

There have been various aftermarket attempts to make the 870 (and the Mossberg 500) into mag-fed firearms. Those attempts have met with mixed results and the fact that you may not have even heard of those conversions should tell you how widely accepted they’ve been.*

And then the Russkies came out with the 12-ga AK-pattern guns and all of a sudden everyone started taking another look at the mag-fed pellet-heaver. Problem is, even if you get past the fact that there are ALOT of variations in shotgun shells that make a one-size-fits-all method of semi-auto functioning a challenge, the shotgun shell itself is a challenge.

Ask anyone who owns a Vepr or Saiga or other mag-fed shotty and they’ll tell you that one of the problems is that the plastic shotgun shells, when under the pressure of several others in the magazine, or pushed up against a closed bolt, will start to deform. That nice round profile becomes oblong or squared on one side and feeding issues arise. Sure, the easy solution around that is to store the gun with bolt open on a loaded mag, or switch to brass shotgun shells (which is what the military did way back when.)

If Remington drops this conversion into their 1100 platform I’d be very curious to see how it works. Is it something I’d buy? Well…no. For my needs, I just don’t see it. Pumpguns have two things going for them: a) ability to use funky ammo like rubber buck, blanks, slugs, flares, etc. and b) sheer brutality. I cannot think of many occasions where a mag-fed shotgun is going to be a better choice than my mag-fed rifle…more power, more range, more capacity, more compact ammo, etc.

However…sometimes you want to send a message or make a statement and when it’s time to go to the matresses the shotgun gives your message that bold, heavy underlining.

No doubt, if these things take off, MagPul will wind up being everyone’s mag choice, and someone will come out with a drum. But, for me, a regular 870 with an extended tube will probably serve for most of my post-apocalypse needs. (Although I’m seriously jonesing to get my hands on Mossberg’s 930-series tactical autoloader to try out.)

Anyway, I hope Remington manages to crank these things out with better quality than..well..pretty much anything theyve cranked out lately.


* = Yes, there have been a few factory-made mag-feds in the last few decades (The Franchi, Atchison, Daewoo, and a few others spring to mind.)


Go to try one of these today:
thumbnailImpressions? Well…I had been pretty curious to try one. After getting the chance to try it, my enthusiasm has gone from “I need five of these” to “Eh..two will be plenty.”

Now, before you say anything, yes I have seen all the YouTube videos about the ‘proper’ way to shoot this thing. That said, it is still wildly impractical for anything beyond ‘narrow hallway’ venues. Would I feel comfortable with one in the house at 2am? Maybe. But unless you think spending $390 for a gun that, in my opinion, is best used at distances where you can do target identification using the Braille system, I think there are better options.

Recoil? Well, obviously, yes, there’s recoil. The furniture is too slick for my tastes. The forend, especially, was prone to sliding right out of my hand. A Hogue or Pachmyer ‘rubbery’ forend would be my choice. The strap on the forend helped, but my hand still slid around a bunch.

Throw a ‘wrist brace’ on there and I’d be much more pleased. Honestly, I’m not thinking of many circumstances where I would not be better served with a handgun or a carbine. Like a lot of niche guns, nine times out of 10 it isn’t the right tool for the job. But that tenth time….

However, it has a ‘cool’ factor, is fun to play with, and someday they’ll probably legislate it into NFA badness, so I might get one just for the sake of that. As a primary weapon, I cant see any circumstance where it would shine over a handgun or M4. But, as a ‘specialty’ kind of thing it might be useful. Either way, interesting to play with, and I’ll probably get one, but unless it has a stock on it i’m going to relegate it to ‘range toy’. YMMV.

As an autoloader, however, I might be a little more inclined to think that it has a tactical niche.

Another P95DC

Picked up a thoroughly neglected P95DC Ruger off Gunbroker for $200, delivered.

There was , literally, not a drop of oil or lube anywhere on it. Just driving out the slide release to facilitate takedown took the use of a punch and hammer because everything was so tightly seized. But, got it all apart, smoothed everything with some steel wool, lubed it up like a nervous virgin on prom night, and now it seems to be doing well. I’ll take it to the range this weekend to function test it and then tuck it away for the Deep Sleep.

I’ve found these old P-series pistols to be quite the value. They can be had pretty cheaply and they are extremely durable. Although the P85/89 series are way, way, way overbuilt for a 9mm I have no doubt they’d survive just about any punishment that could be dished out at them. I have a bunch of the P89’s floating around, I prefer the P95DC out of the entire line of P-series guns.

20170909_113936The P95DC is decock (hence the DC designation) only…no manual safety. Just point and shoot. Single or double action. And it’s far less bulky than the P85/89. At only $50 more than what a HiPoint dealers at, it’s a far better choice. Cheap enough to be, basically, disposable but ‘real gun’ enough to trust in Katrinaville.

On the flip side, Ruger made some delightful 9mm carbines that shared mags with the P-series. The carbines never sold well and now when you can find them they command insane money. Still, I’d really like to have one.

Although I’m pretty vested in Glocks, I love the P95 for it’s suitability as a secondary or tertiary level of redundancy. It is the perfect gun for leaving under the floorboards at the cabin, tucked into the springs under the drivers seat, or stashing at an undisclosed location.

Bang, bang, click

Took my DMR-style AR to the range today. Fired about 10 rounds through it and started having problems. Failure to extract/eject. In fact, in many cases the bolt didnt even unlock. Hmmm.

Ok, unload and let’s see whats going on. Pulled the bolt carrier and thought that, since it was new, I hadn’t really lubed it up. So, a quick couple of sprays of CLP and put it back in the gun. No joy.

Disassemble bolt. Aha! Gas rings!

20170903_130229Stagger them properly, re-assemble, no joy.

Alright, now I’m really curious. My buddy is shooting an AR that is also virtually new (less than 50 rounds) so we went ahead and swapped bolt carriers and bolts (yeah, yeah, I know….) Same result. My carrier/bolt worked fine in his gun. Ok, try the ammo. His ammo failed in my gun, my ammo worked fine in his.

Ok, clearly the issue is not in the receiver (upper or lower). It’s gotta be something in the gas system. Couldn’t really do much at the range without proper tools. Came back to the house and took off the forend. Please note this:

20170903_154204Those two screws keep the gas block in place. See how that one is backed out? The other one is also loose. How loose?

20170903_154115.That loose.

“Well there’s yer problem!”

:::sigh::: You know, I have been shooting AR rifles for over thirty years and this is the first time I have ever had anything like this happen. Solution? A dose of Loctite and some torque.

And, really, if I had the proper hex wrenches with me at the range I could have taken care of this right there…so, lesson learned. I’ll head to the range tomorrow to confirm that, indeed, was the problem.


Ruger bolt gun that takes Mini-30 mags

Ruger announced today that they will be adding a new chambering to their Ruger American Ranch line up – 7.62×39! The new Ruger American Rifle Ranch 7.62×39 will feature the same 16.12″ medium contour, threaded, hammer forged barrel found other American Rifle Ranch offerings. It feeds from Mini-30 magazines and weighs in at under 6 pounds.

This interests me on several levels. Even though the days of $100 cases of 7.62×39 are long gone, there’s still plenty of 7.62 AK ammo to be had. Ruger used to offer the 77 in this caliber and I really would like one, but a bolt fun that takes a (somewhat) readily available magazine? Yes please.

Purpose? Well, you can hunt with an AK or SKS, of course…I’ve seen it done. But a nice bolt action with a decent scope would probably serve better, and if you’re already stocking the AK round why not streamline logistics?

I’ll be getting one (or three) of these as soon as my vendors have them.


So this happened…..

20170726_104914A used but not terribly abused .45 ACP GC NM Series 80. 1911’s are fun guns to play with, but the notion that they are somehow the pinnacle of combat handgun design would seem to ignore the last hundred years of gun development.

I picked it up as a range toy, and because the price was right, but I’ll happily swap it for a pair of Glock 9mms or a HiPower.

Nice El Paso Saddlery scabbard, though. But…..left handed.

Deer Lodge Gun Show

Still a buncha 10/22 Steel Lip magazines, and $10 Magpuls availalable. Retail is for suckers.
The Deer Lodge gun show was today. Drove out there with a buddy and looked around. Surprisingly, I ran into someone I recognized who was, I think, more surprised to see me than I was to see them. Either a ruptured appendix isn’t as debilitating as everyone thinks or..well…

Saw a few interesting things at the show. Most notably a Valmet in 7.62×39, a couple PTR’s, and a bunch of 870’s in various condition hovering in the $200-225 range.

There were a buncha AR’s floating around but, short of another Obama/Hillary panic, I think AR’s have gotten to be taken for granted…there are so many out there now that we’re only surprised if we don’t see a dozen of them on a dealers table. But…us old timers…we can remember some days when you could not get your hands on an AR for love nor money. Happened before, will happen again. I truly do think this window we are in will be the Golden Age of buying an AR…. a time when you could have one for less than the cost of a new Glock…but that window will, I think, start closing as supply starts to dwindle and demand slowly inches up.

Good trip, nice time, mediocre show, but always nice to go and always nice to run into folks you meow.