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Old Trooper Gunsmiths LLC


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The "sideways gun"

Posted on October 1, 2016 at 5:33 AM Comments comments (124)
              There comes a time in all of our lives where some things just plain go , well sideways. Everything that could go wrong did. We have all been there at one hopefully minor level or another. Heck just had to junk a car from what started as a tire issue... So, yeah.. Things went well.... Sideways...  

     And in today's world of mass idiotic protesters under what most of the times sounds like purely false or BS reasons. And these are filled with people who just want to cause trouble it looks like. I really hope this is not a sigh of things to come! But there are a lot of young, impressionable people that seem very passionate about their causes. Well, it is good to have passion, but not to the point your burning police cars. 
    So this is the world we have found ourselves into. Mass groups of humanity that block traffic as a form of "protest". Mass groups that seem to be a breath away from "call in the national guard" riot levels.  
       So, when the world seems close to skidding sideways, what is the rational person to do? 

       Be prepared! 

       There are a lot of people who are investing in smaller rifle caliber pistols, or sub gun sized pistols. Any high capacity large sized, easily storable firearm that will get you home when things go "sideways". 
         The requirements: something that fits into a non gun looking case. The old stand by of a instrument case is good. Racket cases, book bags and pool cue cases are becoming Increacindgly popular.  Nothing that screams "I have a gun"!  Yes, avoid covering it with "bravo company" stickers or morale patches...
     Second: it has to be reliable! I know you all love those AR pistols, but how well dose it run? You are betting your life on it after all. And it will take some abuse. So, you may not want to put that ACOG on it. Or with those flip up sights.... Test your firearm. Tune it, make it reliable! 
      Third: should be basic. Gizmos break. Batteries die accessories add weight with little benefit (mostly). Plain is better, you can tacticool it when you get home. But until then, it stays in the bag....
       Fourth: it should look impressive. Think of this as the one up from your everyday carry pistol. This is something that WILL GET YOU HOME regardless of what happens. Yet not be a full sized battle rifle. So, to make up for its lack of size you need it to look deadly. Yes, even the hi-point carbine can be made to look "mission capable" however refer to rule 3. 
       Five: do not forget about it. Clean it, keep it oiled. Check the ammo. 

Examples: cost should not be a reason to not be prepared. Sideways guns can cost as little as $100 or less to several thousand dollars (why???) . They can be as cheap and basic as a 18.5 barreled single barreled shotgun. Simple, reliable, basic and cheap! Throw one of these and a box of game loads into your trunk, and you are good to go.  Moving up from the break barrel are the pistol caliber carbines or the "mutant pistols" class. Our personal one is the 9mm semi auto only pistol version of the ww2 PPSH43 sub machine gun. That oversized pistol and 4 mags fits into a old spare barrel bag.  But there are others like the previously mentioned hi-point carbine, Baretta Storm, Mastrerpeice arms or mac style pistols. Not as much substance as a rifle, but more robust than a pistol.  Then there are the "pistol rifles". Most of these are stock less and short barreled versions of the full size rifles. These can be quite effective in most situations. However a lot of them are less than reliable. The AK pistols seem to be the cheapest and are running with almost am reliability. There are many, many ar-15 style pistols out there. There would be no shortage of ammo and mags if you choose one of these. Just make sure they run before you bet your life on them. They do have a history of less than Rely ability . There are also lever action pistols in pistol calibers that are quite nice and may relieve your inner "zombie hunter" (zombie land reference) And if you have deep pockets here are G3 and Fal pistols in the massive 7.62 NATO cal. 

      Ammo: we recommend a choice in a common caliber. Just in case you are out much longer than you intended or wanted to be. Yes .300 blackout may be nice, but where are you going to find more ammo? 12ga is everywhere. As is 9mm. .40 used to be common as with .45.  But find a good stash of ammo, about 100 rounds should do you. Keep it cool and dry. Maybe seal in plastic bags if needed. 

        Portability: I know, you are already putting it together in your head: G3, 500 rounds of ammo, all on mags...... As portable as a footlocker and weighs as much! Remember, something portable that can be grabbed quickly from a disabled or stuck vehicle. And NOT OBVIOUS!! Just enough to get you home in your Individual situation.  

LEGAL consumes: your state may have off laws regarding the cartage of pistols in a motor vehicle and what constitutes "loaded". If ammo is kept Sepretaly it may avoid some legality, but would be less portable. Where is it going to be in your vehicle? Is it subject to your states ccw laws? Do you have a permit? Do you need a permit? These are all local considerations when selecting a "sideways gun". 

   We hope this quick primer helps. 

     Old troopers actual,


Out of the AR buisness.

Posted on August 20, 2016 at 10:56 AM Comments comments (160)
             Due to recent events and the changing of many ATF ruling regarding on what is now "manufacturing" and what was "gunsmithing". And on the definition of what constitutes a "rifle" and what is an "other",  we have elected to discontinue offering "built" rifles to to our customers. 
     So, if one wants an AR platform gun, the coustomer would have to purchase the lower first.  Than it becomes a "gunsmithing"  issue rather than a manufacturing issue. Unfortunately for you out of state residents we can no longer sell you an ar receiver due to it now being (regardless of what is attached to it) an "other" and is transferred like a pistol. 
      There is a lot of confusion on this issue at all levels (the ATF even contradicts itself on quite a few occasions) we just want little part of it. 

Sorry for the I convenence. 

Old troopers actual,


Geek royalty and a bit of a backlog

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 4:43 AM Comments comments (151)
         There comes a time when one must confess. 

      Yes  I, can probably speak for the company, we are geeks... For those of you that have actually visited the shop have hopefully cought on to that. The Dl36 blaster, the superhero suits, Legos, Legos, the "authorized blaster and lightsaber repair center" sighin. You know little things like that. 
     But it had come to Me And "Mrs. Old troopers" that we have achieved that fabled "next level". Now neither one of us were that popular in school. Heck we tried to blend in so as not to be targets for the "popular kids". So our social circles were rather small. We accepted that, moved on pushing  middle/ high school back on not our minds like some sort of distant trauma. And frankly moved on. 
      Well there lies the repressed inner geek... The theater neard that went to the treck conventions. Who buried somewhere DEEP there is a DS9 jumpsuit. Somewhere back behind my retired war of 1812 gear... Yes, WAAAAAYHYYYYYY back..... But it is still there...  
        So, it started with our (Mrs. Old troopers) first theme party. "That 60's party" if I recall correctly. I came as a kent state guardsman, she was rocking a beehive and a mod dress... Civil deffence water Barrels of rolling rock and buckeye beer.. Costume was required.. 
      Little did we know, that almost 10 yrs later the seed was planted... A pirate party, a steven king theme party, a si-FI party, ect... And of course, the now epic Halloween parties.  
     And our most recent incarnation. Summerween!  See, with the birth of the "little shop helpers/hinder ers" the epic parties had taken a downturn. You know, life gets in the way. But they are old enough now that they can participate. And with a cue from our favorite cartoon "gravity falls" (yes, it is from a Disney cartoon, sue me...) thus came ... Halloween in mid summer. If you can have Christmas in July, we can have Halloween in the summer too!  And of course, costume is required. 
     This year was perhaps the most elaborate. Took the bar outside. Outside under the cammo netting. The fires were lit. The jack'o melons were carved and placed. The DJ was tuned up. And the GP medium tent was thrown up over the driveway! 
     This years theme: freak Show! So, the big top was oddly appropriate!  We had the bearded lady, two tattooed lady's, tri-breasted woman, three legged woman, lobster man, and some rather terrifying clowns! And me... Your bartender/ master of ceremonies Grunkle Stan...

       And you know, it never occurs to you till long after the half finished drinks are poured out and the last of the cigar buts are swept up that : we had a lot of people here.... These people really enjoyed themselves... They are going to keep coming back... Lots of stories were passed from our guests that they wish they could have had parties like this. It makes you wonder: why? No one else puts on elaborate parties anymore... None with a theme, catered  and a full bar and DJ.... 

So, that leaves us....

 The two geeks putting this thing on. Putting together all of our loyal geek friends that we could have never done this without... Especially our faithful table Oger/ DJ/ residence "auckward costume" wearer:Frank.  If we did not do it, no one will. . No one thinks about how the nerds/ freaks/ and geeks party. It looks like we found out how. It took us a few years, but we have done something that neither I or Mrs Old trooper had ever thought we would ever achieve......

We have become: GEEK ROYALTY. 

 What dose that get you? Well a huge bar bill. Many dirty forks, a full trash can, decorations placed in very odd locations and in compromising positions, filthy floors and a dam big tent obstructing most of the driveway and a few pissed off neibors who are probably afraid to say anything..

And I would not trade it for the world. 

 We have people from all walks of life. From the chronic underemployed to doctors and lawyers. The entire staff of Old troopers to reputable people! They look foreward to these parties. For all of the "others" in school, this is what we all have become...  Sure beats most parties where you have a "bar" of a few bottles of "plastic bottle" booze and a few two liters. Crappy music so loud you have to leave the room to think. Yeah, none of that... 

So, this is how geeks party... In a costume, with good drinks... Go figure....

And for some odd reason, they come to us to do it! 

    So, the moral of this curious, rambling tale: Embrase your I ever geek, chances are you are not alone. Forget blending in. Find others like you: get together. Take over the world.... 

Or at least throw a great party! 

      And in other news, 

We are swamped! Have a months solid of work and only a few days to actually try to do it in! My "normal job" scedule is becoming more erratic, so that makes for a non productive gunsmithing production scedule. But on the bright side, will hopefully be picking back up #1 (our first apprentice) and may actually get some work done! Everything from a martini henery with a firing pin issue, M1 carbine build with a handguard that will not fit, piles of m44's, to poly guns that need a detail strip and clean. Hell, somewhere in there is a semi auto tommy gun that needs a rebarreled...

Help can not come to soon! 

The shop still has yet to be cleaned... And it shows! 

Odd we are....

Old troopers actual:


100 years, and yes I am back!

Posted on July 14, 2016 at 3:08 AM Comments comments (325)
           It has been 100 years since the greatest combat bloodletting known to man. The centennial of the Some offensive. Where old ideas of chivalry, glory and honor died, face first in a mud filled trench. The brightest and best Europe had to offer was swept away under the terror of machine gun fire or the random obliteration of massed artillery strikes. The war started with old Europe. Wooden stocked bolt rifles, colorful uniforms, horses and flags flying. Ended with machine guns, drab utilitarian uniforms, aircraft and a changed world. It came out good for us in America. Despite our administration's best efforts (Wilson) we became a big player on the world stage. Sort of funny (odd, not ha-ha) if you think of it. From being more territory than country before the Spanish American war (1898) to a major player with outposts as far as the Philippines and a few seats on the League of Nations, dictating terms to the old world (1918).  
     Yes, it did not come easy. The Spanish American war was a lot of bluster with really crappy tactics. And we would end up inheriting Spain's problems in the Philippines, those pesky fundamentalist, sword swinging,  Muslims trouble-makers     : the Morrows. Than there was the whole Pancho Via thing. Americas first "dessert war" chancing a Mexican bandit with political aspirations. With little success.  Than there is the whole "WW1 experience".  That was just interesting. Started off as isolationist (good move considering the blood letting that would result) ran on staying out of "European problems" as a reelection campaign promise. To being fully involved in the war in a few months! All it took was one ship being torpedoed  off the Irish cost and a telegram to Mexico... One of the few, if only prompts I will ever give to the Woodroe Wilson (I hate that guy) administration, is his "spin doctors" and propagandists were brilliant! They thought the world modern propaganda. Or as we call it now: modern ADVERTISING! Heck, the Nazis learned a lot from the progressive Wilson administration. They just took it a step further. Even the Margret Sanger eugenics thing, yes, they went further than black family's and abortions... But the Germans were never known to do anything "half bottomed"!  It is safe to say, the bitterness and mismanagement that followed ww1 set the stage for ww2. But that is another story for another day. 

   I would like to think that we have learned a lot in the last 100 years. 

   But I read the news and unfortunately see differently. 

       Anyways, there will be an article on "trench warriors" in the very near future. So, please stay tuned. 

      In other news, I am back from my unwanted Texas vacation. Yep, Ft. Bliss still sucks.. And I would like to thank my administration section for making my retirement decisions for me. Yeah, not doing this crap again. Is safe to say I am as outdated as a softskin cargo back HUMMV. Will see what the next administration has in store for the war fighters. This one seems to want them out as fast as possible. 
      Got back shortly before the Independence day holiday. About an hour before it actually. Celebrated it the way they did originally. Firing a wad from a flintlock ever so often, cooking meat over a fire... Was a good time...
    So, over the last week have been attempting to put the shop back together. Finding half of my tools. Most of which was due to the disorganized nature of a busy shop in the first place!  And then the sudden work stoppage, others borrowing tools in my absence. Oh! Fun! But did get the experiential AMD65 put back together. The "redemption gun of the quarter" built. A very nice parts kit M1 rifle in 7.62 NATO. The stock is still soaking up finish, so not quite ready for its owner yet. Still have "mongo's" remington10 to fix. Broken firing pin and jammed bolt to an overcharged round. But is an auto5 copy, so is complex to preform Maintence on this monster. Along with a pile of "tec-9's and tec-22's" to clean and test fire. I hate these dam things. Have a hole in a parts bin from a customer's tec9 with a jammed bolt. Unloaded, yeah, sure... But have a 1911 to customize after those get off the rack. Than there is an ar10, who's manufacturer will remain nameless that had two of the screws break off that held on the free float handguard. Two out of eight is not that bad. But why did the brake in the first place? We got one out, but the bit broke on drilling out the second... So much for an easy job. The bit is still in the tiny hole! 

   Little bit, by little bit...

    Toledo is having it's first "jeep fest" in August. And yes, the "company car"  will hopefully be there. So far she has a wretched track record for making it to these events. But to to the great ability of my "old school" mechanic/father inlaw it has its trashed carb replaced with a fresh rebuild.  Now to get that steering shake thing fixed, will be fine... But has to run first!  

Maybe paint out the scratches again...

   Enough rambling for tonight. 

      Old troopers actual, 

**** interruption in service***

Posted on June 11, 2016 at 4:24 PM Comments comments (108)
I really hate this time of the year. Not only do we get to experience the annual "humidity fest" here in the Great Lakes, where you can take a warm bath and never have to get undressed. But it is also time that the collective national guard units have their annual "sustainment training" or what us old timers refer to as "summer camp". 

        In the "Obama age" it is as bad as one may think it is. Lots of UN nessary training about things that combat solders, heck any soldiers should have to worry about. Many, many UN needed paper work that is now done on a computer. Nothing ever moves smoothly and is constantly a game of one hand not knowing what the other hand, or even what the foot up its ass is doing...

    Retirement can not come soon enough. 

     Needless to say, even though I had attended the EXACT SAME TRAINING two years ago. I get to go back for the same training in the same southern Texas *£€^% hole.  Many, many people in the unit have not gone to any "sustainment training" for the better portion of a decade, but for some odd reason ** cough, cough** my number "mysteriously" came up..... 


Last shafting from the "big blue weeney" before I hang up uncle sugars uniform for the last time. 

Fine, fine... Can not wait for my "out interview" and they ask me why I chose to separate... It is going to sound like a George Carlin bit.... Yeah, that bad.... 

And then I can not collect till I hit 60! Well, will have the store to worry about soon enough... 

And I will have my sanity back............ 

     Anyways, from June 15 to July 05 we will be running with our "back office" manning. So, we will still be able to receive firearms. But transferring them will be the problem. We will have someone come in to do transfers, but it may be once a week at best.  We are doing our best to adapt and overcome. And it may not go well as we hope. So please bear with us. 

Thank you for your understanding..

Your normal programming will resume shortly. 

Old troopers actual,


Money pit: the rifle version

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 12:21 PM Comments comments (545)
There are some guns that you never realized you wanted until you sold one..... For me that was the metric FN/FAl. We have built a few of them. Had one on our sale rack for a month that went to a good home. It was one of those "if I find one for a good price I will get it" sort of deals. Kicked around the thought for a few years. Only cash out of wallet a few times, but never bought. Well three shows ago there was a man set up behind me that had bought many kits when they were cheap and was selling off his stock. Nice guy, talked to him most of the show. Well, ended up buying at a good discount a Imbel lower receiver and an IDF heavy barrel. 
     The lower was pretty standard. Unlike an ar15, the upper on a fal is the "registered"(serial numbered) part. It had black synthetic hard wear and a paint over parkerization finish on the metal. The seller had already installed the semi auto only fire control group. So, ready to build on. 
     That barrel however........

     Do not get me wrong, it is an expensive barrel I got at a discount. Turns out the IDF (Israel defense force) had two versions of the FAL in operation. The standard infantry version and the "squad automatic" heavy barrel. Well lucky me, found a very heavy barrel! New and chrome lined! Yeah... Happy until I found out it takes rather special parts to get it to full rifle status. And of course, those cost almost twice as much as standard parts.

. Great, so much for a cheap build.....

       Than there is the receiver. Found a "assault weapons of Ohio" new unfinished lower. Dam, those are expensive. Almost $400! For a stripped lower! 

         Took some time and a whole lot of fitting to get this monster together. And way over budget. But heck, is NOT FOR SALE anyways. Finished it off in dark gray parkerization. And than did something I would never have thought I would ever do: put a bipod on it! The rifle is a very nose heavy 11.7 lbs empty. And it even comes with a convenient carry handle. 

     Than there is this curious part that has to be pounded in with a punch and a hammer. The "breach block support pin". I have been gunsmith ing a long time now, but the full use of this part leaves me a little perplexed. And the fact they come in apparently 25 different sizes throws me a bit. But I think I have the correct one. 

        Now we get to the fun part: getting the thing to run! 

      Turns out there is is almost a darn art form to get the gas system tuned. Read the manual. Turned out there is a lot of room for "tweaking" on one of these! Tuned it in the back shop. With a cosmolined BFA from APEX. Tuned it with Austrian brass case blanks. Than just for giggles, tried the German green plastic blanks. Had to crank the system even further down for those...  

With that much room for crud and fouling adjustment, it is a small wonder why if you turn over any 3rd world crap hole a few FAL's will come tumbling out. Heck, we found one in Iraq that had been ran over by a tank! Iranian markings to boot! 

      So, am going to hopefully be able to throw my face behind this thing soon. 

    Always wondered how test pilots felt.. Sure it passes a bench test, but dose it work? Yeah, not sure... Go fly/ shoot the thing..,,

     Stay frosty Patriots, it is not looking good out there.

Old troopers Actual,


All I ever wanted to know about life, I learned from a 70yr old jeep.

Posted on April 25, 2016 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (83)

              Odd title, I can figure what your thinking: The crazy gunsmith is going to ramble again. 
      Well, yes and no. It takes a wile to figure out how to put these deep thoughts into an at least a mildly entertaining story. 

     This is Martha. She used to be called "Misty" by her old family. But with us, she is named Martha. Yes, well before the current movies. We had gotten her from a retired reenactor who had lovingly restored the old jeep over a decade ago. He had a daughter and son that helped and are now grown.  And he (the old reenactor) had had the misfortune of injuring his right arm in a major industrial accident. And if you have ever driven one of these little devils, you know you need your right arm to do EVERYTHING! So, he was happy it was going to another home that it would be taken care of and be enjoyed by another family like it had grown up in. We got it at a decent price and had drug it down in a rather..... Eventful journey from Clare Michigan. Let's just say it got back to its birthplace (yes, it was made in Toledo Ohio) via a AAA trailer bobtail wile the pull vehicle was towed separately. So, she came to us in a rather eventful manor to say the least. 
   Once we had winched it off the trailer and into the drive we began to look it over. Rust here. Mangled sheet metal there. Dry rotting tires. Damaged tail light bracket. Holes in the floorboards. Patches of bondo here and there, tearing seats, Dead battery...  Uggg, well I got what I paid for I suppose. Mrs. Old trooper was not happy with how much we, ok I spent in the first place. And we really did not talk it over... Put gas into it, wouldn't you know it: yep it leaked. And the battery would not take a charge.. Well dammit, I chose poorly... 
        A few days later I got a new, giant 6v battery. I had little faith that would work. The old truck had been sitting for a wile, can only imagine what it will need to turn over. So, put it in and closed the hood, put some gas in the tank. What do I have to loose?  A few pumps on the petal. Hit the floor mounted solenoid.  Wouldn't you know it: the darn thing started! And stayed running! 

     I guess it wanted to stay. 

        So the summer "touch up" restoration began. Painting out scratches, retouching the hood numbers. Put a coat of gloss white on the big white star on the hood. Washed it, got out the organic debris.. Got talked into my first car show. With this thing?  It is a clumsy old CJ2a. Why would anyone want to see one of these? This old thing is no where near show quality. We showed up at the event. There were a few other cars that came in. Mustangs, some classic Chevy, and than me.. All of them staring at this homely looking green jeep with this look of apparent disgust.  Turns out, that with the Toledo water crisis the show was canceled. Good, the shabby little thing would not be judged today. So, we drove it home. Stopping at Office Depot on the way. I stayed with the thing due to not trusting it not to catch on fire. So, I sit in the lot in the August sun. Hand on the extinguisher... 
     Than it happened. Had a guy in a mid 80's AMC jeep (pre Chrysler) that was mid restoration. Or at least it looked that way with all the fresh bondo pulls up next to me. He cranks down his window "hey man, nice Jeep". I wrinkle my nose and point to the hole in the passenger floor pan. "This thing?" I asked. "Yeah man, you do not see the old willys this nice anymore, good to see one out and not made into a rock crawler." I nodded and thanked him for the compliment. Said he was off to a good start as well.  For the first time I received that curious two fingered wave and the old AMC drove off. 
    Humm.... Odd...

    We drove it around occasionally during the summer. Had a few similar experiences. It was not until the next spring when it developed a phantom electrical issue and I had several repair places fighting over who got to fix it,  that it finally hit me......

   One of the more important lessons one can learn about ones self and others relayed by a 70 yr old truck. 

       We see our scars. We see our dents, our patches of Bondo, replacement parts, chips, rot and holes. We think badly of ourselves because we think others see all these faults and nothing else. 

      When actually others see just a really nice, unique jeep. Or in our case an interesting, beautyfull person. 

    We own ourselves, we own the jeep. All we see is what needs to be fixed. All the problems. 

    Seldom do we get to step back and look at the whole thing. Not just a sum of our problems and faults. But as a whole, complete package where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, faults and all. 

      So, we might see you at a car show or two with our little "girl".  I will get to the scratches, I will get to that body panel. But until than, enjoy the jeep: it is the only one like it. And she is ours. 

Old troopers actual.


Under valued firearms in history: the pattern17 (1917) rifle.

Posted on March 20, 2016 at 6:54 AM Comments comments (397)
There are a few guns and equipment that is truly under appreciated in millitary service. Like the 2.5 ton truck or the 5 button sweater or the C130. But here is a tale of a great rifle that should have been more and was a reliable "stand by" for almost 40 years. 

     The story of the P17 is a convoluted one. The rifle that we are so familiar with was not even designed here. It was originally intended to be the new British service rifle in .270! This was known as the Pattern 13 rifle. And was based on a Mauser design and built to take advantage of the carnage a small, fast moving bullet can make vs. a large slow one.   
     The project was shelved after the great bloodletting that became WW1 came about. To invested in the Short Magazine Lee Enfield and the .303 round to switch over now. There is a quick war to be won. Or so they thought. 
      So the meat grinder of trench warfare drug on climbing countless lives, and unfortunately also claimed countless rifles. The Commonwealth factories were churning out as many SMLE's as possible. Only to loose them to the cruel  mistress of the trenches.So, the board of Ordinance went to the largest industrial base that was not at war: the Americans.  They gave them the design and patterns of the P13 rifle with the desighinndesighn change of a rechamber to the .303 caliber and some simplification of the finished product. So the Pattern 14 rifle was born! They needed rifles as fast as possible. And as many of them as possible. The new rifles went into production Winchester, Remington and Eddystone (a division of Remington). The conversion was a success. The rifles proved to be rugged and more accurate than the old "smelly".  Some were even adapted sor sniping service and were retained all the way into WW2. They were, however not loved by the Bord of Ordinance. They were only. 5 shot vs the Enfeilds 10. The sights were different and the bayonets were not interchangeable. Once the large English contract was up, the commonwealth had cought up with production and simplification of the #1mk3*. So no more rifles were ordered. Fortunately (for the rifles, not for humanity)  under the Wilson administration, who promised to keep us out of war as part of his reelection campaign, drug the country off to war. 

    The 1903 springfeild was our primary service rifle at the outbreak of war. Unfortunately it was a complex machined Mastrerpeice. The rear sight alone was over eight pieces. And it was only made by Springfeild armory and Rock Island armory. And they simply could not make them fast enough. So. The pattern 13/14 plans were dusted off and redesigned to take the American 30/06 round. The rifle was just as rugged and accurate as the British rifle. And due to it being a thinner round was now a 7 (6. In mag, one in chamber) round rifle. But when your ammo is issued in 5 round clips it is a moot point. The p17 or "Enfield" as may called it was not really that wel, liked. It was heavier than the 1903 by almost a pound, and felt chinky and unrefined compared to the grasefull Springfeild. But it was successful enough that (at best estimate) at least 65% of the AEF were equipped with them. 
          After the war the rifles were placed into storage. There was some debate on making the P17 the new American service rifle due to numbers on hand and its distinguished combat record. But the "not designed here" nationalists one out with that argument. So they stayed in storage. Some were sold off as surplus to requirements and many were chopped up ("Bubbaed") into deer rifles. 

    Now comes the Spector of WW2. Again, not having learned our lessons from the First World War, the allies were found short of rifles. Especially after the disaster at Dunkirk the Brits needed rifles. So, the venerable P17 was pulled out of storage. Many were rebuilt, restocked, refinished and rebarreled.  Most rifles sent to the Brits in ww2 will have a red band painted around the rifles stock to denote that it was NOT its .303 caliber cousin! The p17 went to the home guard, some Canada units and eventually the free French and free Belgian forces.  Some were even sent to the Chineese nationalists. Many of them were rebarreled to 8mm Mauser. Some of the luck ones stayed  stateside for training use.  

    However after WW2 the age of the auto loading infantry rifle was well under way. And once again, the p17 was cast off. This time for good. Many found their way to the CMP, to be resold. Many more were surplused out at scrap prices. Many, many were again butchered into cheap deer rifles or crafted into spotters ov various calibers taking advantage of the "American Enfields" extremely strong action. Many of the old under appreciated war horses are still around today. Wearing fancy stocks, rebarreled, restored, or just used up. But there still widely available at affordable prices. More so than many of its counterparts.  So, want to collect us rifles, a P17 may be in your future! 

This is old troopers actual...


Where have all the Mosin's gone?

Posted on March 13, 2016 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (8)
          Long time passing....

Cue winey 60's protest music. 

    This is a question we get asked rather often: got any nagants?  

The answer is usually no. Or the ones we have are all "over priced" and we will hear that old song and dance : but your goudgeing they were $80!  Yeah, unless they find more countries hat are selling them for pennies on the dollar, get used to paying over $200 for a mosin. 


 Here is what happened. We have been spoiled by almost every former com-block country dumping their 70plus yr old surplus rifles on the market for the last two decades. It was nice. I bought my first nagant (a Finn rebuilt 91) for the princely sum of $70 back in 1997. And a Hungarian carbine for $65 in the proceeding years. Yes they were cheap. I remember. 

     Now, well something a sanders voter will never understand, but economics took hold. 

    They flooded the market: prices were low and they were plentiful. As was he ammo. The governments that had warehouses filled with them wanted them and their old corrosive ammo gone. So they could buy newer rifles and ammo. Times were good, they did not need them and did not want to keep them. They probably have piles of SKS's and Ak47's in reserve, why keep these things?  So to the market they went.  Americas new cheap surpluses darling. Replaced the Chinese sks in Bubbas  workshop. The after market industry for them spring up. Life was good for the often under rated communist stand by rifle/ pike.  All was fine and dandy. Till they reached the back of the warehouse.  So, the prices started to creep up. Supply was still plentiful. Even if you had to pay $120-160... Night problem... Ok, problem. The Russians started invading. First Georgia (the country, not the state) than , a few years later: the Ukraine. So supply is now made more..... Difficult for the importation of these low profit (for the sellers at least) rifles. 

   So, you have a low profit gun that is now more difficult to export. That has reached the bottom of the pile. Guns with broken stocks, need re serial numbers, ect.   To much hassle when there is a war on the horizon. 

    Than there is the ammo. Yes, I miss $70 a can. But most of the ammo they wanted to be rid of is already here. Mind you the 7.62x54r round is the comm block equivalent of our 7.62x51 (NATO/.308) so is still used by them as a med machine gun and sniper CTG.. So there is a need for it still. Hence less hitting the surplus market. And more in war reserve.  This "pinch" lead to the importation and domestic manufacture of "new" 7.62x54r in some rather impressive loads. But that did little to keep prices down. So the cost of surplus when you find it is around $150 a 440 can. Almost to commercial ammo prices. 

   So, where dose this leave us? There is one, yes ONE wholesaler who currently has the 91/30 rifles. And they are around $225 . But they ARE the only game in town. So either find a used one  or order one from them. There are the Chinese type 53 carbines out there. Same rifle as an M44 carbine, but some minor differences.  Even those have dried up. Some do pop up here and there. But most are rather gundgey.. And will require a lot of work to get fixed. Up to shooting standards. 

    So, like the real estate market. We got spoiled and the bubble has popped. And now, we pick up the hits. They are still relatively cheap, and easy to feed. Much better than say, 303 British. Or 8mm. Mauser! So, if you are just now getting into the military collecting field, get something now. You will not regret it. 

Old troopers actual,


The sate of the musket

Posted on March 3, 2016 at 5:56 AM Comments comments (191)
       I know some f you are probably trying to figure out the title of his one and wondering just what it is about. Well, please  be patient. We will get there. 

   A topic that is rather near and dear to my heart is the old "front end loaders". From my former life as a black powder era reenactor, I was forced to learn the in and outs of the musket. And th clumsy old replica flintlock I was issued was no exception. Thing was built sometime in the mid 70's and had gone through many careless volunteers. Stock had a few cracks, some repaired, some not. Think it, like most of its brothers were on their second or third ram rod. Stocks had been refinished at least twice before my era. Heck they stopped making these in the 1980's. Yes, they were the old American made Navy Arms guns. What few bugs that they may have had were worked out a long time ago. Some had the locks tuned so well they could be fired up side down. Others had the frizzens so battered they would not spark to save their souls. All of which were available to my impressionable 16yr old self. 
   So that is how it began for me. With the old replica 1763 pattern muskets. I learned on these old, battered replicas on proper Maintenance , fitting and tune ing. I never knew how good I had it. After a few years, and a job of my own I purchased a musket of my own, a slightly used petrisoli 1777 musket. Looked like a Whitney contract musket. And this thing received many nicknames over the years. None of them good. Compared to the trim old navy arms guns this thing was a club. The barrel was thicker than it needed to be, the stock was chunky compared to the thin streamline 1763 stocks. It was sort of like comparing a k98 to a M48 Mauser. Close, but not quite. But the biggest difference was my 77' was a good two pounds heavier than the loaner musket! But to a strapping 17-23 year old self did not mind the heavy 11 lb musket. I was constantly fighting with the thing. To much spark and destroyed the flint after a few shots. Or few if any sparks regardless of what flint you could throw into it. Many, many unpleasantries were exchanged between me and that musket. Many creative frustrated utterances were exchanged. Enough to the point where the "pat Boone" type reenactors were horrified. I supposed it Prepared me for my early years as a machine gunner with a battered M60. Remedial action on a flintlock and an M60 became things I could do in my sleep wile still drunk without my contacts in... And yes, have done it. Hell, made a practice of it... Some days I am amazed I am still alive...
       So after a falling out with my 1812 unit In threw myself into doing WW2. Swinging around that 12 lb loaded Thompson was easy for me. Nothing compared to that dam musket! Would spend a whole weekend without that thing leaving my hands. And yes, even slept with it. 
   Much time passed. The cost of .45 SMG blanks became more than live ammo. The cost of 3/06 blanks became more than surplus Greek ammo. Reenacting started to cost more.. And more... Hence the 7.62nato M1 I currently use. For the time being the blanks are plentiful and cheap.  
     But,Indecently looked into the current replica muskets. SWEET GHOST OF WINFEILD SCOTT!! What the hell happened!?!?  THe current replicas cost almost as much if not more than a new Fn/FAL! The cheapest civil war replicas are still in the $600 range! The military flintlocks are all in the $1000 range. A far cry from the $500 they were in the 90's! And the most disturbing fact: they have gotten heavier and chunkier! The barrels have gotten thicker and the stocks are "pudgier". And perhaps more disturbing is the reenactors carrying them. They, for some odd reason think that you must have a petrisoli (Italian) replica otherwise it will be a pipe bomb with a stock!  I honestly think that this is part of an evil Italian plot to make up for ww2. Sell the world poorly made, vastly expensive mass produced replicas of long obsolete weaponry. And to defame anyone else who makes another replica. This seemed to be the only logical explanation..
       Well,let me give you fine people the gunsmiths two cents. Buy an Italian gun: get a better chunk of wood that has some moisture in it still. Yet will be expensive and heavy.. Compare it to an original, I dare you. And you  will be disappointed!  Buy an Indian made gun. I can hear the "new model reenactors cringe and gasp.  Probably getting ready to call me a moron on line on a Face book forum or something pointless like that.Ooooohhhhhhh... I am terrified... (Note, sarcasm) "but they are not proof fired!" Well neither are the Italians you dolt! 
     "No touch hole drilled, they were never meant to be fired!" Try "importation issues" is the reason. 
     "The stocks will break into pieces once you fire it!" This is a partial truth. The Indians use a lower grade of wood, sort of the nature of the beast. Not many walnut trees in India. And they are DRY. Do yourself a favor: treat the wood. Soak in some linseed oil please! Do this and you will have many years of service.

     "But I knew a guy that knew a guy in another unit that said he had one that blew up on him and killed him so he sued them!" Umm... Are you listening to what your saying? Dead men don't sue. That is sort of like a guy that knows a guy said something at sometime. If they were bad, and got sued. Than why are they still being sold?  So, in the words of Penn Gelett: bull shit!  

       There are a lot of affordable Indian made muskets and rifles out there. Why not give one a try? And no, we are not getting any kickbacks from them in any way. But I am eying up the Baker rifle or a blunderbuss they have...

     Or really turn a few heads: find and carry an original!  I think I heard someone faint... Yes an original. In many cases they are cheaper than a replica. And mostly better constructed. Sure a "reenactor grade" gun will need restocked. But it may be worthwhile! Honestly, if you are worried about an explosion, use lighter loads. If your Reenacting with it you may never fire a live round out of it. So, the most breach pressure you may have is possibly from loading paper wadding or maybe a double charge. But with no ball? Yeah, I would be more worried about a Italian gun pipe bombing than an original.

 "Well if your so sure,why don't you do it". 

   I have. 

    My percussion conversion 1816 musket. A Harper's ferry from 1823 has been fired. With a full service buck and ball load. Recoils much like a 12ga slug. But musket is still in top shape. Well as good of a shape a 187 year old musket can be..turns out they are rather fun to shoot. And if they were not such a pain to clean, would shoot them more regularly. 
    Not a black prouder fan? Never tried? Entry level kits of traditional guns can be had for around $200. I would personally avoid the in line abortions. But that is just me. Heck. Go flintlock. Just to give you "full appreciation" of the experience! Just do not wear synthetic fibers when shooting... They sort of melt.... 

Yeah.... About that.....

Until, the next, 

This is old troopers actual. Keep you forelock oiled, flint sharp and your powder dry. 

Old troopers actual,