Wanna Get Your Crank On? With a Gat? (ling?)

Sure, there’s always a couple of vendors trying to sell Colt’s new-edition 1875, 1877 or 1878 Gatling Guns for prices around $50-60k. (There were eleven of them on GunBroker when we put this story to bed last night). What about those of you who jones for a Gatling, but can’t afford the price of a luxo car or SUV for it, or can’t get a decent trade for your first-born child?

Fear not, the cheapskate New Englanders at WeaponsMan.com have your back. Mission: save you money on a Wild West icon, so you can go bankrupt buying blackpowder or Cowboy Action rounds and getting your crank on.

Fun fact about Gatlings: they had been so well employed by one American officer that the US Army’s machine gunners — who were, mostly, under his sway — clung to the Gatling into the 20th Century, long after the armies of Europe and the modern armies of Asia had chosen automatic machine guns.

Item 1: Museum Quality Gatling Gun w Carriage 45LC Mag

Price: Buy it now for $18k, or make an bid on the penny auction — against the unknown reserve. No bids yet.

Gatling Portland 01

Great looking Gat(ling).

Seller’s been trying to unload this gat since 2015, at least on GunBroker and at the Portland, OR gun show. Initially he wanted $30k, then $25, and now he’s down to $18k. Ground shipping to your FFL (it’s a Title 1 firearm) is $600.

$18k too high? Let’s move on.

Item 2: Replica Gatling Gun in 45 Black Powder

Price: No Reserve sale with minimum bid of $10k, or actually $5 under that number. No bids yet.

Gatling Tucson 02

This one’s not as impressive as the $18k gun; it has a homemade-y look. But it’s $10k plus actual shipping from a gun shop in Tucson. The seller says:

Up for auction is a Modern Replica of a Gatling Gun, built in the 1980’s by a machinist who was also a civil war re-enactor.

6 barrels. Working Black Powder Gatling Gun, designed to fire cap and ball blanks only but barrels are .45 caliber and rifled.

Perfect for Recreations, Movies or Stage Prop. The gun has been a fixture in the shop for years and gets a lot of attention but it is time for us to change some of our decor so it is reluctantly for sale.

Item 3: GATLING GUN FULLY- FUNCTIONAL LIVE-FIRE 45 L.C.

Price: No Reserve sale with minimum bid of $7k, or actually $5 under that number. No bids yet.

While this is the price leader of the authentic(ish) Gatlings, it seems to be a high-quality piece with a lot of brass. The seller complicated his sale by not taking a single good picture of the whole Gatling, but there are some character-rich detail shots. The business end:

Gatling OK 04

And here’s the rear half, left side:

Gatling OK 03

The rear half, right side:

Gatling OK 01

And the forward:

Gatling OK 02

Sure, it’s not for everybody. Some guys will complain about its lack of Picatinny rails and others will turn it down because there is no place to mount a bayonet. The magazine capacity probably makes it illegal in Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and North Korea.

But it would be worth the price of the ammo (and the target frames) to crank this puppy up from time to time… maybe on the anniversary of the Little Big Horn.

But there you go — three options for less than the somewhat stiff cost of entry to the Colt Repro Gatling Club. Just the thing for getting your crank on.

And on the other hand, if you feel diffident about saving money on a 19th Century classic firearm, there are eleven Colt replicas available for up to $60k.

But if you feel diffident about saving money on anything under the sun, we don’t know what you are but you are not a cheapskate New Englander.

The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch… was a Thing?

One of the more entertaining scenes, at least for a WeaponsMan, in the old cult film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, involves the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

For decades we’ve believed it to be a fiction, but it turns out that it might have been a real thing. Fox News reports on donations to an Israeli museum from a powerplant worker who collected artifacts that washed up on the beach,for his hobby. He passed away, and his survivors donated the items — which turned out to be older than anyone expected:

A centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the crusaders is among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel.

Some of the artifacts. The 'nade is the heart-shaped object at center.

Some of the artifacts. The ‘nade is the heart-shaped object at center. The needle and knife blade at bottom center date to the Bronze Age.

The metal artifacts, some of which are more than 3,500 years old, were found over a period of years by the late Marcel Mazliah, a worker at the Hadera power plant in northern Israel.

Mazliah’s family recently presented the treasures to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Experts, who were surprised by the haul, think that the objects probably fell overboard from a medieval metal merchant’s ship.

The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era, which began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13thcentury, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Grenades were also used 12th and 13th century Ayyubid period and the Mamluk era, which ran from the 13th to the 16thcentury, experts say.

Haaretz reports that early grenades were often used to disperse burning flammable liquid. However, some experts believe that so-called ancient grenades were actually used to contain perfume.

The Haaretz story that Fox links is unfortunately off limits to goys and other nonsubscribers.

Sam Bostrom at Ancient-Origins.net tried to provide some technical background on the little bundle of joy illustrated here.

Close up of the 'nade.

Close up of the ‘nade.

One of the most striking gems the family had hung onto is a beautifully decorated hand grenade, of a type commonly used during the Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods.

Hand grenades filled with Greek fire (burning naphta) was a Byzantine invention that spread to the Muslim armies in the Near East.

They were filled with Greek fire and sealed so that all a soldier needed to do was throw the grenade toward the enemy to eliminate him. Characteristics that made it singular include its ability to burn on water and stick onto surfaces, extinguishable with sand, vinegar, or–bizarrely–old urine. Some historians believe it could be ignited using water.

Although the technology has changed over the centuries, the concept remains that all the soldier need to do was to hurl the grenade toward the enemy and it´s disseminate burning naphtha at impact. The hand grenades we have now are a direct descendent of these contraptions; we’ve just updated the concept by using explosives instead.

Here’s a worker with the Israeli antiquities office, holding the milennium-old weapon.

Grenade-Authority-employee

Bottom line: Three is the number you shalt count. Five is right out. And perhaps your enemies will snuff it.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Wicked Stepmothers

wicked stepmotherTurns out, it’s not just a stock character from the Brothers Grimm. There really are wicked stepmothers out there. Case in point:

Shamdai Arjun, 55, was charged with murder at Queens Criminal Court for the death of Ashdeep Kaur, whose bruised and lifeless body was found lying in an empty bathtub Friday.

Ashdeep Kaur wasn’t just anybody. She was Arjun’s stepdaughter.

“This defendant repeatedly and on numerous occasions threatened to kill the victim,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Curtis said.

“On Friday she made good on that threat.”

Arjun allegedly killed her stepdaughter by “manual strangulation” on Friday, then calmly left their apartment for a doctor’s appointment.

She eventually fled to her ex-husband’s home. The girl’s body was discovered several hours later.

The stepmom was held without bail and will return to court in September. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Meanwhile, the woman’s ex-husband, 65-year-old Raymond Narayan, was also arrested for refusing to allow police into his home to arrest the stepmom.

OK, now, Wicked Stepmothers with Wicked Ex-Husbands, that’s a modern, 21st Century twist on this old fairy tale. We think we liked the old tales better.

Especially the part where the woodsman came in and cut off the wicket stepmother’s head. The city courts of New York are a pale substitute.

How Anti-Soldier Lawyers Banned a Kind of Ambush

(File photo of Navy Recon Doc Michael Conti firing a sniper rifle in training).

(File photo of Navy Recon Doc Michael Conti firing a sniper rifle in training).

Two men from the IED cell padded silently down the road. Abdul and Roshanullah had two 107mm rocket warheads, a cell-phone detonator, and detailed instructions, including a sketch map of their emplacement point. The rest of their cell waited for them to return.

At a point where the road crossed a filled area, the two HIG men — many Afghans changed allegiances more frequently than their shalwar kameez, but once you were Gulbuddin Hekmatayar’s man, you were always Gulbuddin’s man — slipped down the side of the fill to the mouth of the culvert. This one hadn’t been fitted with a grating yet, but even if it had, they had been prepared.

There was just enough starlight for Abdul to see Roshan’s grin. This was going to be easy! First, the blessing: “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem,” In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful…

High on a hill facing the culvert, nearly half a mile away, a sniper team leader whispered, “Send ’em.”

The wind was fortuitously towards the hill, and at the culvert, all that there was to hear was the thwack of bullet impacts. Then one of the men — Roshanullah, not grinning any more — groaned and moved.

Thwack. 

All was still.

An hour before sunrise it was visibly getting light in the valley, and the five armed men who came down the road moved from cover to cover, nervously. They were breaking every tactical rule that had kept them alive this long, but their leader wanted to lay his own eyes and hands on the IED team.

They all died within the span of one and a half seconds. With five targets, both snipers, the spotters, and the team leader had all taken one. That was breaking a tactical rule too, but the difference was, the rulebreaking worked for the ISAF snipers. They recovered their 360º observation as soon as the shots were sent, also.

The team met the road clearance unit for a ride into the FOB. Intelligence collected from the dead laid bare the workings of the cell, and the telephone carried by the deceased IED cell leader allowed the Afghan NDS to identify two key HIG facilitators; one fled to Peshawar and the protection of ISI, but the other was reputed to be singing like a canary.

It was a successful operation until the Staff Judge Advocate spoke up, taking, as usual, the side of the enemy, and demanded the snipers be charged with war crimes — for shooting armed unlawful combatants carrying out combat operations!

Believe it or not, Army lawyers have defined this tactic as a “baited ambush” and have worked hard, if not to make it a “war crime,” at least to create a grey area in which it is the slightly less felonious “violation of the laws of war” and possibly a “war crime.” Lawyers, of course, love grey areas which take decisions out of the hands of decision-makers and deliver them, instead, to the captivity of cabals of, what else, lawyers.

For example, Army judge advocate LTC Chris Jenks — clearly, from his writing, the sort of SJA who joined the Army for personal gain, hostile to the guys with guns who make up the actual Army part of the Army — wrote in The Army Lawyer1 that this tactic “comes close to, if not enters, the law of war violation continuum….”2

Certainly this is an example of why it is impossible to win a war without first staking out the enemy’s fifth columnists, to wit, about 95% of SJAs, on culverts like the ones in our hypothetical, and letting the enemy have their way with them.

Jenks also doesn’t think the troops should enjoy a victory:

Members of the unit filmed the artillery strike and can be heard laughing and cheering, which presents additional challenges to a command.3

One gets the impression that his spectator sport is golf or tennis, not football or hockey. And he grew up in the age of scoreless soccer, and participation trophies.

Jenks makes a few clumsy gropes in the direction of understanding military necessity, a concept he, not surprisingly, has not picked up by osmosis merely by donning a bestowed uniform bearing an unearned rank. But he still concludes that hunting over bait is outside of the fish and game regulations of scoreless-soccer SJA war:

Ultimately, in the absence of an armistice or suspension of fire, engaging combatants attempting to recover their dead and wounded is not a per se violation of the law of war, but utilizing known—or even suspected—enemy wounded and dead as “bait” for such targeting enters the continuum and, at some point, will constitute a violation of article 15.

(The reference is to Article 15 of the First Geneva Convention of 1949). Jenks continues:

The more time that passes following the engagement, the closer the engagement is to U.S. forces, and the more control U.S. forces have over the “field of battle,” the more likely the failure to search for enemy wounded and dead becomes to violating the Geneva Convention.4

We bet we can guess what Scoreless Chris Jenks thinks about whether pirates should be held hostis humanae generis or treated with kid gloves in Article 3 courts, just based on the way he reasons himself into coming down on the side of our hypothetical decedents Abdul and Roshanullah here.

Army lawyers are entertaining, if you don’t have to operate like Combat Houdini, kicking off every patrol with their manacles and straitjacket on you.

Sources

Jenks, Chris “LTC”. The Law and Policy Implications of “Baited Ambushes” Utilizing Enemy Dead and Wounded. The Army Lawyer, June 2010. DA PAM 27-50-445. pp. 91-94.

Notes

  1. The Army Lawyer is a monthly magazine in which the judge advocate fifth column coordinates their attacks on combat troops.
  2. Jenks, p. 91 fn 1.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Jenks, p. 93.

Praga Pistol Picture Post

We recently discussed the brief service history of the 7.65mm Praga pistol here. The gun is, frankly, cleverly designed and, at least in our late-production example, better finished than the generally disparaging run of the literature suggests.

praga_10024-02

praga_10024-19(OTR came by and tried it and even disagrees with our opinion that it feels awkward and points low. “I could work with this,” was his verdict, 7.65mm and all). As we ought to have mentioned in the last post, if we didn’t, the sights are unusually prominent for a 1919 design, even if the rear sight notch is a small V.  They’re not 2016 quality, or even Tokarev TT-33 quality (arguably the best fixed sight picture of WWII), but he’s right: you can work with ’em.

After the jump we have more pictures, including some interesting design details and field-stripping photos.

Continue reading

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Second City Cop

second_city_copWe find it hard to believe that, for all the times we’ve quoted, cited, or just flat chortled at the Second City Cop blog, we’ve never made it Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week.

Oversight, fixed.

SCC is one of the only two websites you ever need to read to understand crime in Chicongo (and in Chicagoland generally) and why the ineffectual official response to the same has been so, well ineffectual. (The other website is HeyJackass.com).

It’s because Chicago City management (Mayor and Aldermen and all their minions) and the senior appointed leadership and sucked-up-and-moved-up white shirts in the Chicago Police Department have problems with competence and character.

Competence? Yeah. Most of them couldn’t pour piss out of a boot, if the instructions were written on the heel.

Character? If Chicago ever wants to hold a reunion of its Aldermen, do you have any idea how many prison transfers would have to take place?

Of course, there’s competence and character in the Chicago Police Department, mostly in the blue shirts and in the actual, case-working, line-dog detectives. And Second City Cop is there to write about it — and about the management’s ongoing efforts to stamp it out, wherever found.

If you’re a Chicagoan, this stuff is, unfortunately, life or death for you. For the rest of us, it’s entertainment (and such entertainment!), albeit with a dash of black humor.

Second City Cop. Spend some time there and you’ll have a different angle on police work, for sure. It’s not like those TV cop shows, is it?

Bubba Beautifies a Tokarev

Well, Bubba thought he was beautifying it. How about a two-tone hack paint job — black and candy apple red? Take it from the top:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-4

If you look at the area around the rear sight, you’ll see that the paint job is not only gaudyit’s also lousy and inept. 

Same is evident from the bottom:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-5

And, guess what? We just showed you this abortion’s two best sides. Look at the crappy job around the slide serrations, and the orange peel and bubbles in the paint on the slide:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-3

Two other things about that picture… ask yourself, what’s wrong with that firing pin retaining pin? And where’s the clumsily added safety on all recent Tok imports?

Now, we’ll let you see the whole thing:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-1

A coyote ugly Bubbafied Tokarev. And yes, he didn’t even use a crappy recent import job for his failed attempt to teach-yourself-cerakote. (Or more likely, “teach yourself Krylon”). He used a pre-68 import and/or GI bringback of a relatively uncommon postwar Tokarev. An all-matching gun, too.

But that’s not even the worst violation of this poor rape-victim of a pistol. Bubba had his way with the slide, too, in his inept attempt to, apparently, change firing pins.

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-2

He helpfully had TOKAREV TT-33 stamped on it, in case no one could recognize it any more after his close-enough-for-government-work ministrations. You know, where he milled the slide serrations off.

The current owner — who’s trying to sell this junker for $400 — suggests that Bubba might have been trying to get at the firing pin retaining pin. That’s as good an attempt to read Bubba’s mind as we’re likely to get, because that ol’ boy just don’t reason like the rest of us.

What he has done is blow it right past “gunsmith special” into “parts gun” land. It would take a lot of work on that gun to make it good enough to stink, and if Fyodor Tokarev Himself weren’t dead and pushing up whatever they decorate Soviet cemeteries with, this’d kill him.

Maybe we should take this page down, lest Russians who take pride in their achievements in the Great Patriotic War consider it a casus belli. In the meantime, you can always go see it (and the other Tok the guy is selling, a recent import in arsenal-overhauled shape) at this thread in the ARFCOM Equipment Exchange.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Amoebas

In this electron micrograph, n. fowleri looks like an evil, grinning mask. Source: National Geographic

In this electron micrograph, N. fowleri looks like an evil, grinning mask. Source: National Geographic.

It’s just a little thing — a unicellular organism that is often used to teach kids the basics of cell biology. The ameoba, in its various species, has a number of ways of killing Homo sapiens dead, dead, dead, such as dysentery (a bad way to go) and this one, a brain infection that the press describes as the amoebas “eating the brain” — a vivid, if not precise, description of the process this poor kid underwent.  The technical term, which one hopes never to hear in a hospital waiting room, is primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.

An 11-year-old South Carolina girl has died after she became infected by a brain-eating amoeba in a river where she had gone swimming, an undertaker said on Saturday.

The girl, Hannah Collins, of Beaufort, died on Friday night at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, said Carla Smith, director-manager of the Anderson Funeral Home in Beaufort, which is handling the funeral.

Hannah is thought to have been exposed to the amoeba on July 24 in Charleston County’s Edisto River, the state health department said this week.

Hannah’s mother, Elizabeth Crockett, wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to her: “I will try to find comfort in the fact I will one day be united with her in her new home, Heaven.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that a South Carolina resident had been exposed to the Naegleria fowleri organism, which is found in warm freshwater and triggers an infection that destroys brain tissue.

The fatality rate for an infected person is more than 97 percent, according to the CDC.

The brain-eating amoeba was blamed for the death in June of an 18-year-old Ohio woman, who became infected after rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

via South Carolina girl dies from brain-eating amoeba | Reuters.

In another recent case, a kid infected with Naegleria fowleri beat the infection and lived, but that’s a very rare outcome. Doctors are cautiously optimistic that a combination of induced coma, antibiotics and cryotherapy (as we understand it, they reduced the survivor’s core temperature to 93ºF — maybe 34ºC) and drugs may save more patients going forward. But the fate that befell poor Miss Collins is the standard prognosis. (Indeed, the survivor’s doctor, told the kid’s family to say their goodbyes before putting him under).

Human life is very fragile. Another of our family members is at death’s door this week, although he has long been ill; but all these things, taken together, remind us to celebrate family and friends when we have them, because there is so much to say when they are gone, and no one to say it too.

May the Collins family find, if not actual peace, a modus vivendi with this heartbreaking loss. And everyone else, take the time to hold someone close.

Non-Factory Cutaway AR (Semi M16A2 Clone)

You don’t see many cutaways. Here’s a shot of a Colt M16A1 cutaway:

Colt M16A1 in Museum

This one was done by a little shop called Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company — you may have heard of them — for a retiring worker, and resides in the Cody Museum — you may have heard of it.

So one of the ARFCOM retro heads, “Trimdad” of Oklahoma, got it into his head to do a cutaway of this: M16A2 clone with M203. By himself. With a Dremel tool. Here’s the thread.

A2 Cutaway 01

Here’s a shot to compare with the Cody Museum Colt:

A2 Cutaway 09Here’s an overview:

A2 Cutaway 03

And some close-ups. The receiver:

A2 Cutaway 04

The bolt and gas subsystem:

A2 Cutaway 05

The trigger group (note that this lacks the auto sear of the factory gun):

A2 Cutaway 07

The business end:A2 Cutaway 08

And the buttstock and its features:

A2 Cutaway 06

It all came about because he had parts for an A2 build, but not for an authentic A2 build (kind of a big deal in the retro world). As he puts it:

This one started because I had some A2 parts I was saving for a clone, but they weren’t Colt parts do I decided to sacrifice them . The upper is a dpms with a strange texture on it. The lower was a 80% A2 that braceman couldn’t sell.  The barrel is a FN that was rusted and shot out. The 203 is a Colt licensed airsoft and the rest was laying at the bottom of the parts box.

The airsoft nature of the 203 is evident on close up of its left side — you can see the circular marks from the ejector pins used in injection molding.

A2 Cutaway 02

Since these live, mostly, on the “inside” of the firearm, as it’s displayed (and it is a firearm — the lower would actually function, with a functional upper), the giveaway doesn’t really matter.

Moral of story: a Dremel does not turn you into Bubba, any more than a Glock turns you into some cop killer from Black Criminals’ Lives Matter. The tool is fine and good, but it’s what a man does with it that cements his place in the universe.

Well done, Trimdad.

He’s also done an A1. Next? Maybe an M4… complete with a sectioned ACOG, or maybe a Chinese Fake-COG. We’re guessing it’ll be awesome.