Saturday, January 23, 2016

Flintlock rifles

There are those who amuse themselves with long obsolete technologies in most areas of scientific inquiry mostly out of curiosity.  The longer you live as a shooter, the greater the likelihood you will get to the basics, the start of firearms. The 17th century matchlock generates a little interest, but the 18th century flintlock firearms seem to have a much larger following these days, due in part to the fact that several states permit an extended deer hunting season for flintlock shooters.  That was the reason I first seriously considered getting a flintlock rifle.

Well considering a flintlock, for most of us, even gun aficionados, means doing some research.  And researching flintlocks leads into how they were made and used.  And researching how they were made leads invariable into building your own.  You quickly realize that the commercial offerings, good though they may be, are faint examples of the originals, and that a much closer approximation of the originals, to the extent our limited knowledge and modern apprehension allows, comes only by making them yourself.

Well I got the disease.  I started researching in 2013 and started buying in 2014 and concluded by starting to build in 2015.  To date I've "built" six flintlock rifles.  Now this is a whole other shooting style and discipline than most modern shooters are involved in.  Note that the length of time and fine motor skills necessary to reload and aim a flintlock makes it pretty much a one shot weapon for fighting purposes.  Crazy Lewis Wetzel's load-on-the-run notwithstanding, as a general rule once you discharged your "fire-lock," the rest of any combat engagement was conducted with clubs, knives or tomahawks.

Hunters today with their .300 Win Mag rifles and 50 power scopes should readily adhere to the one shot one kill motto.  However in the flintlock days, the requirement to meet that standard was even more greater (no kill--no dinner) even if it was more difficult.  It's important to note that celebrated "good shots" were celebrated because they were rare.

As always, questions, comments and general harassment welcome.

New Rugers!

Been a while, but I try to post when I have something to say.  Just wanted to announce that I'm very impressed with two new offerings from Ruger.  In fact I've bought and incorporated both into my firearms usage plan.

First, welcome to the new Ruger "American" Pistol (RAP).  These come in 9mm and .45 ACP but mine is the 9mm variety.  The "RAP" being a new pistol, there are tons of videos on youtube, full30 and no doubt elsewhere extolling their virtues or squealing about their shortcomings, real, potential or imagined.

I picked up my RAP at my local firearms emporium, Gettysburg Trading Post, which, by the way, I highly recommend for new and used firearms of all types.  The RAP is a striker fired synthetic frame pistol with 17rd magazines, Novak sights, an excellent trigger, and adjustable backstraps to accomodate different hand sizes.  I've put 150 rounds through the pistol with no problems of any type.  I find it to be accurate and reliable and recommend it for use as a duty pistol.  At 30 oz empty, it's a little portly for concealed carry, but is an excellent home defense pistol and a great soft-shooting pistol for training, practice or plinking.

My second new favorite is my new CCW, the Ruger LC9S Pro.  Now don't confuse this with the LC9S (not Pro) which is in wide circulation and is also an excellent pistol, but I digress.  The "Pro" terminology is what Ruger uses to explain that the pistol so named has no external safety lever and does not incorporate a magazine disconnect, features that "professional" shooters tend not to use and so prefer to have omitted.  My LC9S Pro has seen only 50rds so far because my first LC9S Pro through which I'd fired over 200rds was bought out from under my by a close friend and compatriot, so the new one is still waiting to be broken in properly.  So I bought two of these in quick succession because they are reliable, accurate, slim and trim and easy to conceal.   They are excellent for pocket carry.  My recommendation to students now is to consider the LC9S or the Pro model first and foremost.

I welcome questions or comments, to include alternative points of view, as they say.