Friday, January 31, 2014

Survival Gun Picture History

Survival guns is not just about those we may use to survive but also those which do survive. Revolvers are old school, they have been around in their current form well over 100 years and there is a reason for that, they work.
Now I know other guns work as well but over all the revolver is the ultimate user-friendly weapon. There is no safety, they don't misfeed or jamb and in the case of a misfire you simply keep pulling the trigger (double action) till it does fire and the biggest drawback is the ammo capacity which in my opinion is not as critical as some would have you believe.
Now all this has been stated before but after writing the piece on the Victory Revolver I did a little research and came up with some interesting history and information which I will share. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

During WW2 thousands of  Victory Revolvers were sent to Commonwealth countries in a Lend-Lease program, here is a picture of some of them being unwrapped and inventoried in England during the war.

Here is an American General pinning an award on a Australian soldier with a Victory Revolver holstered on his side. It is sporting after market pearl handles.

This is an Australian soldier guarding a Korean prisoner with one of these S&W revolvers.

This is an interesting picture, an Australian combat engineer assisting American forces in Vietnam with tunnel clearing operations. He is armed with a Smith & Wesson fitted with a suppressor. Now I understand this is an exercise in futility but my guess is if you could just harness a portion of the blast it could save you hearing in a tunnel. It does appear he is wearing ear plugs as well. Could this also be one of the first tricked out handguns with flashlight attached.

Here is an American 'Tunnel Rat' in Vietnam also armed with one of these revolvers.

Here is two pilots in Vietnam. The one on the right is carrying a Victory Revolver in a shoulder holster while the one on the left is carrying either a newer model 10 (Military and Police) or a Victory fitted with newer grips. The model 10 and the Victory are basically the same weapon with the model 10 being only a little better polished.

This VF-11 pilot is armed with a Victory revolver. the butt is visible in the lower right of the picture with a lanyard attached it also appears to be sporting stag handled grips.

WW2 pilots going over mission plans. The pilot right of center with Victory Revolver.

This is an interesting picture from the TV series 'Black Sheep Squadron'
The handguns on the right and left are 1911's while the center is a pearl handled Victory revolver.

George Bush carried a Victory Revolver on his combat missions during WW2 (left) and had it with him when he was shot down in the Pacific during the war, you can see the rescue sub right of photo.

After the ocean rescue he gave the revolver to another officer to safe-keep and lost track of it till it was returned by the officers family upon his death in 1983 Bush is shown here inspecting it before donating it to the Constitutional Museum in Philadelphia.

The gun is show below. It is Serial # V361858  and is in remarkable condition especially considering it survived a ocean rescue. The serial number dates it as mid 1943 manufacture.

George Bush Victory Revolver, Serial # V361858

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Old Guns, Smith & Wesson Victory.

Yesterday I did a post on my old lantern and the question was asked about the story behind the old stag handled revolver in the picture so here is some history and of course a little rant.
The revolver in the picture is a K frame Smith & Wesson (pre model 10) made during WWII
During the war most arms manufacturing was busy in the war effort and S&W was no different. These revolvers were 'no frills' handguns and originally were produced with smooth grips like the ones shown in the lower right of the picture.
These guns were sold to the Navy and Army and used mainly for security on military posts, ports and military manufacturing plants, they were also used by air crews and pilots even up through Vietnam.
The picture here shows a WWII air crew all carrying the Victory Revolver.  Also many thousands were made and 'leased' or loaned to the British, Canadian and Australian governments. The ones made for U.S. use were chambered for 38 special while most if not all for Commonwealth countries were chambered for 38 S&W which is basically a short version of the 38 special.
These revolvers were all called Victory Revolvers and are easy to spot due to their "V" prefix in the serial number. Many times you will find them missing the lanyard ring as surplus guns were reworked to look 'civilian' and the hole may even be plugged to hide the original mounting point on the butt of the revolver.
At one point these guns were cheep and plentiful and there are still plenty available however they are going up in value. If you do find one marked U.S. Navy or United States Property as the two examples shown here they are worth a lot more but be warned because they command a premium price they are faked quite often and I don't know if I would be able to spot a counterfeit marking.
 I have a couple of these revolvers one was made in 38 special and is in excellent condition.

The one shown in the post yesterday was first chambered in 38 S&W (The CTG was short for Cartridge) and more than likely was 'leased' to England or Canada and like most returned to the US after the war where the government sold them to the civilian market.
Many of these guns (like mine here) were then re-chambered for 38 special and re-marked as such. The markings are faint but can be made out in the pictures at right.
The 38 S&W has a bore of 0.361 while the bore of the 38 special is 0.358 (or .357 thus the origin of the 357 mag) so it is slightly larger however this particular gun is very accurate especially with lead bullets, the action is smooth and overall an excellent shooter.

Side note, my experience has been that any Smith & Wesson 38 of this era (and prior) is that it is more accurate with lead bullets because that was what it was designed to fire, even police used lead bullets mostly up through the 1950's and in fact this revolver is the father of the Model 10 which was a police standard gun (along with Colt) till the early 1980's

  Because this gun has been re-chambered it is not original and is at the lower end of the price range for these revolvers ($200-$300 range) I did not feel the need to find period correct grips and just left the stag grips like I found it at a gun show a few years back.

Now for a little 'Duke Rant'..... Those of you who are astute will notice in the first picture as well as the last couple of pictures the firearm is loaded. You can either see the cartridge heads or the bullets in the chamber. The reason I mention this (beside the fact it makes liberals lose bodily functions)  is because it kind of gripes me so many times when watching a gun video someone has made, they go out of their way to show it is unloaded and safety checked like they think it will go off in the camera and kill someone through the computer. Now I am all for safety especially when doing a function check or cleaning but give me a break, taking pictures will not cause an accidental discharge.  An unloaded gun is nothing but a paper weight and anyone who can't talk about their gun or do a video or take pictures without the need to impress upon me that it is unloaded may I suggest you need to either find another hobby or learn better control but that is just me, you are responsible for your own actions.
 Remember, I always treat a gun as if it is loaded because it is.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Old Stuff

I admit I like old stuff, I like old cars, trucks and motorcycles , I like old guns and knives, I like old cast iron and old coffee pots. I even like old people (well most anyway....come to think of it....well never mind I will refrain from making derogatory comments about my good friend Stephen)
Now I am sidetracked......... Oh I remember, as I was saying I like old stuff, preferably American made old stuff.
A couple of Sundays ago I went for a afternoon drive with my wife and ended up in St Augustine, and for someone who likes old stuff the oldest city is pretty neat.
On the way back we were traveling along the Kings Highway (US-1  for you people born after the early 1800's) and passed an antique mall I have visited before, anyway something made me do a U-turn and go back. It was only a few minuets before closing so I made a quick walk through (by the way something quite impossible for my wife to do nevertheless I tried)
I came across an old US made Dietz, Little Wizard Lantern which I instinctively picked up to inspect, it seems most I see nowadays are severely neglected and the few you find which are worth having are expensive. The price was marked as $18 which is usually only reserved for the ones in the worst shape but this one seemed different, it had fuel in it and appeared only very dirty so I quickly decided it was worth having. Usually antique malls will give a small discount if you ask however after we had made them late for closing and seeing as the price was below that of a Walmart, Chinese made lantern I really didn't have heart to even ask so I paid the sticker price and left....after I coaxed my wife out the door with a promise of a stop for coffee.
Upon arriving home I lit the lantern and it worked perfectly just as it was found in the store however due to it being extremely dirty and full of soot I carefully cleaned it and discovered the original paint was still in good shape as you can see from the picture above. It goes to show bargains are still to be had if you keep a look out and old lanterns like this are worth having for a number of reasons including survival situations or times of power outages plus they are cool just to look at as well.

 Why do I like old stuff ? ...... I don't exactly know because it makes me sad. It reminds me simpler times and how things change, sometimes not always for the better I might add. I am very nostalgic and the last few mornings I find myself sitting on the front porch, in the dark with my old lantern lit beside me, it is cold and the little flame it seems gives off just a little warmth to my soul and as I sit and drink my first cup of coffee for just a little while I imagine being back in time. I watch the headlights of the cars passing by presumably of people on their way to work most of whom don't have a clue as to what they have lost.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hot coffee weather.

It's another cold morning in the Florida Tundra but I am enjoying the cold snap, it will kill off the bugs in the garden.
A few days ago I picked a wheelbarrow full of oranges from my tree and squeezed four and a half gallons of fresh juice. My grapefruit did poorly last year  but the oranges were a bumper crop.  
Think I might go get a glass of vitamin C now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What is wrong with people ?

Sorry I have been a little of a slacker lately when it comes to blogging. I was over visiting my friend Stephen the other day and it got me back in the groove a little.
I was watching a little 'Fox and Friends' this morning and caught a clip about this former State Trooper from Virginia who is in trouble  because he bought a rifle for a gift to his uncle (who was not a felon) and it is going to court because the feds claim it was a 'Straw Purchase'
I don't know where to start with this, first off the guy is an idiot for telling what he did and asking for permission. What is wrong with supposedly free people asking the government what they can do ? Free men don't ask permission, they just do it, second of all if you do get in a bind there are loop holes which legally allow him to do this. He could have said (if asked by authorities) that he intended to keep the gun but sold or traded it to his uncle because he didn't need it anymore

 I do agree this whole thing is absurd because from the ATF's own web site they state that the reason for making straw purchases illegal is to prevent people buying guns for those who aren't legally able to on their own and this is obviously not the case here. At the gun store when you sign the form stating the firearm is for you to enjoy who is to say you don't enjoy giving it away as a gift to a family member.
I feel so sorry for people who live their whole life worrying what the government thinks and wanting the governments blessing on their lives, as I have said before when I want to do something I ponder many things but what the government thinks is last on the list.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year etc.

I am back in town after a few days in the mountains.
This was the view from the back porch, it was good to get away.
 I did notice (as I suspected)  that Phil Robertson is back on Duck Dynasty and I am sure it was really just a big publicity stunt (I hate being right so often) Anyway hope the new year is good to everyone. If you can't stay safe then at least have fun.