Let’s See Whitworths Shoot!

In our ongoing tribute to our now deceased friend “Hognose” , owner of weaponsman.com , we repost   his best articles.  Kevin O’Brien   US Army Special Forces  Veteran passed away in April of last year.

 

 

Let’s See Whitworths Shoot!

Last month we had a couple posts on the Sharpshooters of the Civil War, and on the Confederates’ unique Whitworth rifle.

Fred Ray, who’s written an excellent book on the Rebel Sharpshooters, sold us a copy of his book (highly recommended, and it’ll be in the next review roundup), and also linked us to a few videos of modern Whitworth shooters. Fred has forgotten more about this stuff than we’ve ever learned, so you can read what he writes with confidence.

Let’s take them in the inverse order from the way Fred posted them: hardest first. Here is a guy trying to hit a target at 1,300 yards with a Whitworth.

That kind of hit was credibly reported by both Rebel and Yankee observers of the Confederate marksmen. (The English Whitworth rifle was only used by the Confederates).

One of the real problems is seeing the target. While many of the wartime Whitworths were equipped with high-tech (for 1860!) Davidson telescopic sights… …this marksman is shooting over irons. One of the real problems at that range is seeing the target. Since more of you are familiar with more modern rifles, consider that the front sight post of an M16A1 rifle subtends just enough arc to match an E-type silhouette at 175 meters.

Another fact that should be evident is the sheer power of the Whitworth. Look at that thing kick! The recoil is visibly greater than that of an ordinary rifle-musket.

Reproduction Whitworths

The class of the repro field is the long-discontinued Parker-Hale, but they are few and far between. After Parker-Hale went the way of all flesh, there was a EurArms repro which used the Parker-Hale barrels with its own lock and stock. Here, Balázs Némeththe proprietor of CapAndBall.eu has gotten his hands on one of them, and not only fires it, but provides a good run down on its unique and remarkable technology.  “The Whitworth,” he notes, “pushed the limits of aimed fire out to 1½ miles.”

Pedersoli is making a new version of the Whitworth. It is available in Europe, but not exported to North America (yet, we hope). Here is his video rundown on the Pedersoli Whitworth. The Pedersoli has hexagonal rifling, but it’s cold hammer-forged. The rifle also has much simpler sights. He did not have a hex bullet mold, so used a .451″ cylindrical round, and still got quite good accuracy at 50 and 100 meters.

The finish on the Pedersoli rifle is, like many of their premium muzzle-loaders, very good.

His enthusiasm for these rifles, so far ahead of their peers that they seemed ahead of their time, is infectious.

Finally, here’s a special treat. It’s our friend from Cap and Ball again, but here he’s firing an original Civil War vintage American target rifle, of the sort that many sharpshooters mustered in with.

If you go to the Fred Ray post that we linked way, way up there, you’ll also see another one about the Civil War buck-and-ball cartridge — the only loading we’re aware of that has its own statue at Gettysburg. But that’s another story!

 

Optic of the week: AK sights

Ok, so this week is sort of a cheat for me as these are iron sights and not an optic.

I’ve found that people unfamiliar with the AK tend to be surprised at how narrow the rear notch is.  AK sights can be quite fast to use if you are used to them, but I have seen novices struggle to line them  up.  It is not uncommon to see AK owners here in the states widen the rear notch.

The AK rear sight is adjustable for distance.

You zero by adjusting the front sight.  It is adjustable for elevation and windage.

You will need a tool to adjust AK sights.  Adjusting elevation requires rotating the front sight post.  1 full turn of the front sight post is about 8 MOA.  You could turn the front sight post with needle nose pliers, but it would be better to use a tool made for it.

Windage is adjusted by pushing the rear sight drum.  This is a friction fit in the front sight base and can be a real pain to adjust.  You might be able to get it to move with a hammer and punch, but it is preferable to use a sight pusher.  It is also not uncommon to hear about cheap sight pushing breaking on AK or SKS sights.

I use the Magna-Matic sight tool, it is the best one that I know of.  While not obvious, the top of the tool is cut to go over the front sight post for adjusting elevation.  The O design instead of a C shaped design helps prevent it from slipping off the sight or breaking while it is in use.

How much windage  adjustment you get per turn of sight pusher will depend on what thread pitch the sight pusher uses.  Rule of thumb is that it will be approximately 1 MOA per 1/10 a turn of the sight pusher.

It is very common for AK sights to be canted, and for them to require excessive windage adjustments to zero, such as this Arsenal AK pictured above.

Some AKs use the “RPK” rear sight.  This has a windage adjustment built into it.  The knob on the right side of the rear sight is spring loaded and can be pulled away from the sight and rotated to adjust windage.  I have no clue how much adjustment per click, but they are very easy to use.

There is also a rare rear sight for suppressed AKs that has a cam for switching between different ammunition.

AK have simple and effective sights, but sometimes they can be a real pain in the ass to get zeroed.

REMEMBERING KEVIN O’BRIEN

We are coming up  on the 1 year  point of the passing of our friend Kevin, also known as “Hognose” the owner and writer of weaponsman.com.

If you have not been to his website which is now preserved as is by his brother as a monument to Kevin, you are missing out on what was honestly the best gun culture blog on the internet.  I will let Kevin’s own words on his website speak for themselves below.

The Best of WeaponsMan Gun Tech

http://weaponsman.com/?page_id=11760

 

Since his passing he has been sorely missed by his family and many friends and readers.    You will have noticed that we often repost a lot of Kevin’s technical articles in an attempt to save them in case something happens to the weaponsman website and to help others discover his writing,

After Kevin died, his brother  had to sell Kevin’s collection and take care of his estate.  When he announced this sad fact of life, he made a post about it on his brother’s website with a list of the many fine firearms Kevin owned.   I was very keen to buy one of Kevin’s guns as something to remember him by and to keep in his honor.

I had just at the time spent a large amount of a few pistols so I was not able to buy  some of the highly desirable pieces like the Johnson rifle.  I was able to buy an old vintage .22 rimfire bolt action rifle.

It is a Springfield single shot from a time before series numbers.

It is in pretty rough shape with several parts missing.  I have been looking online  for the parts needed to restore it to shooting condition.

Much of the parts are missing and it has a pretty tricked out tack to act as a means to keep the bolt knob down.

The rifle was clearly sold as a cheap offering likely for boys. It was made with no buttplate. I know because it has none and has no holes for where the screw to hold one would be.

 

I don’t know the back ground story of how Kevin got the gun or how long he had it. I liked to think he owned it as a boy and imagine him running around the New England woods shooting chipmunks and cans imagining his future  self shooting commie  as the Army Green Beret he became when he grew up.

I hope the gun will get restored by me soon but if not thats ok. I didn’t buy it for that.   I bought it to honor a man I much admired.  And it is one of the most valuable guns in my safe.

If any of you purchased one of Kevin’s  guns from his estate, please let me know and share with the rest of us.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

A CALL TO ARMS

Today I am sharing  a rallying cry from  “Miama_JBT”     a member of ar15.com,  mod there and a FL police officer who  has worked hard and sacrificed much to  protect the  rights of  all gun owners.    As we watch state after state   make attempts to pass unconstitutional gun bans and restrictions  and the media make antigun darlings of  teens not even legally able to vote things are inching closer to what the left has wanted for decades.  It is time to do more than bitch online to each other , make jokes  or wait for the NRA  or even more  laughable, the GOP, to stand up for your civil right.  No more excuses unless you simply are willing to  make you into a monster then  make you into a felon with their “laws.”  

 

The 2nd Amendment is a very simple premise. It is 27 words.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, the current events across the country on the local, state, and federal level say that such a simple statement is very hard to understand by a number of elected officials and unelected bureaucrats. But what does that have to do with gun owners losing?

Real simple. THEY DON’T FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS. Gun Owners as a whole do not fight for the 2nd Amendment. Instead they want someone else to do it for them. Across the web and society all I see are gun owners making statements of anger at government, at the NRA, etc… yet I don’t see Gun Owners attending rallies at their Capitols. I don’t see them beating down the doors of their elected officials. I don’t see them attending Republican Party meetings and Raising Cain about the sudden turncoat actions by the GOP. I don’t see any of that.

Instead, what I see are people that want someone else to do the heavy lifting for them. They want someone else to do the fighting. I’ve spent a good portion of this decade burning my vacation time to fight for the 2nd Amendment in Florida. What do I see at the Capitol? Marion Hammer of the NRA, Eric Friday of Florida Carry, and maybe if I’m lucky, someone from one of the Libertarian groups in Florida. That’s it.

I don’t see anyone meeting with their elected Representatives or Senators. I don’t see them scheduling face to face meetings with the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, the Majority Whip, or the Governor. I don’t see Gun Owners speaking at Committee Meetings when Pro and Anti gun bills are in discussion.

What do I see? I see 7,000 fellow gun owners going to the Tampa Gun Show on Saturday alone to buy more stuff to horde instead of going to the Capitol or their elected officials offices. I see people complain that the NRA isn’t doing anything. I see gun owners claim that the GOP betrayed them. But when I ask these people what do they do, let alone if they know their elected officials. I get blank stares and gaping mouths in return.

Paying a yearly membership to the NRA doesn’t do much. It just gives them a member due. The NRA is only 5 million in the USA as a whole and only 300,000 in Florida. There are 1.8 million active CCW permits in Florida. That means there are six times more people that carry guns in Florida that are NRA members. But even then, the NRA is just one organization. They have their own goals and their own mission. But people believe that the NRA is a like their parents and will keep all the bad meanies away from their guns.

Far from the truth. The NRA backs Gun Violence Restraining Orders that violated the 4th Amendment. Marion Hammer, Chris Cox, Wayne LaPierre, and now another NRA lobbyist by the name of Rick Armitage have all stated at one point or another since October 2017 that they support the ban on bump stocks and similar devices.

Yet people either blindly support them or outright hate them. But I can tell you they don’t take any action to correct the issues within the NRA. Issues that can be solved by voting in strong Pro 2nd Amendment Gun Owners to the Board of Directors.

Folks like Tim Knight and Adam Kraut.

Gun Owners do the same with their elected officials. They don’t question their elected officials. They blindly pull the lever and vote for any candidate that has an (R) by their name on the belief that such a person if Pro Gun. And that if we’re lucky. A good portion of gun owners don’t even vote. You know it, I know it, and the politicians know it.

Just as a quick recap for history. The following Republicans Governors have passed gun control.

    • Ronald Reagan banned open carry and made a waiting period mandatory in California.
    • Mitt Romney signed the assault weapon ban into law in Massachusetts.
    • George Pataki signed the assault weapon ban into law in New York.
    • George Deukmejian signed the first of many assault weapon bans into law in California.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the ban on .50 BMG caliber firearms in California.
    • Rick Scott signed the ban on Bump Stocks, pushed Gun Violence Restraining Orders, and prohibits anyone under 21 from buying a firearm in Florida.

But gun owners don’t raise the issue until it is too late. Even with President Trump. They elected him into office with the belief that they don’t have to fight for their rights now. Someone else will do it for them!

The common excuse I hear from gun owners is “it’s too far away“, “I can’t afford it“, “that’s why I’m a member of XYZ group“, “why vote, my voice is outnumbered“, “it’s too hard, we don’t have the numbers“, “I don’t want to be on a list/registry“, etc…

The majority of Gun Owners are much like Homer Simpson.

I write this to raise awareness and stir the masses. We only have ourselves to look at for these failures and assaults and on the 2nd Amendment. I personally burn my vacation and sick time from work to fight for the 2nd Amendment. I put myself out there and at the same time put my own marriage on the side to fight.


Me speaking in support of Stand Your Ground.


Me speaking in support of ending gun free zones.


Me speaking against the passage of SB 7026 in the Florida Senate.


Me speaking to fellow gun owners willing to rally at the Florida Capitol.

I put my career on the line when I speak up for gun owners at the Capitol. I put myself on lists when I enter public comments on websites like the Federal Registrar’s public comments for BATFE’s revisal of Bump Stocks or when I email or write to any elected official in Florida due to our public disclosure laws.

I’m not afraid. Our Founding Fathers put their wealth, property, lives, and most importantly their honor on the line to fight for our independence from oppressive government. Many lost their wealth and some lost their lives. But they saw the sacred duty that they swore to and fought for liberty.

I ask that you, my fellow gun owner, stop being the sunshine patriot and instead bear the true duty that is needed. Stand up and fight for your rights and those of your fellow man. Do not make boisterous statements of “from my cold dead hands” without actually fighting.

Stand up and take notice! Stop relying on others and do the task that is needed. Go to your elected officials. Meet with them, make your voice heard. I’m just one man, but if I knew I had an army of fellow gun owners independently doing the same as I.

WE WOULD BE AN ARMY

Reach down and find the pair that our Founding Fathers had. MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!

 

Optic of the Week: C-More Tactical Reflex Sight

C-More ARW-4.  Black aluminum body, 4 MOA dot.

Around 2003ish I learned about the C-More Tactical Reflex sight which paired a C-More Reflex Sight along with a cut down adjustable rear sight carry handle base for the AR15.  I’ve wanted one since then.  Back in 2017 I learned they were discontinued, so I found a used one and purchased it.  I fully expected to have it for two weeks before deciding that I didn’t like it, just to turn around and sell it.  Instead I really love it.

The C-More sights never seemed to gain much ground in the tactical market as they were seen as fragile and unreliable.  Yet they were very common place, and still used a good bit on the competition side of things.

First thing of note with the C-More sight is that there are a huge number of variations of them.  The body can be plastic or aluminum.  It can be a rail mount, slide mount (for pistols) or a bridge mount (for pistols).  The sight can be purchased in different colors, Black, Grey, Red, Blue, and Green.  Also you can change the dot size by replacing a module giving you the choices of 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, or 16 MOA dots.  Then there are also differences in the battery compartment and, the intensity switch between models.

I think the C-More is popular in the competition market for several reasons.  Being able to choose a dot size that works best for you(E.G. larger dot for use on a pistol) is a major plus.  Some of the C-More models are rather inexpensive, down to about $240 list price right now.  Also being able to get them in a color that matches your competition gun doesn’t hurt.

Now I don’t know for sure why the C-More Reflex Sight never really caught on in the tactical community.  From what I’ve read it sounds like early on the Army and some individuals tried the polymer C-More and decided it was not durable enough for combat.  I believe this was also done back in a time before reflex sights had become mainstream for combat weapons, and they were still rather untrusted.  In any event, the C-More seemed to have found its home primarily in the competition environment.

For me, my C-More sight found a home on a Colt 6933 upper.

This C-More model gives me a standard rear sight.  If I wanted to I could remove the optic from this base and attach it to a rail mount base.

The Iron Sights provide a lower 1/3 co-witness.

Looking over the sights give an awesome sight picture with a crisp red dot in a thin circle.

Brightness is adjusted by a knob behind the emitter.  On this model the brightness knob has distinct clicks and the first couple of settings are for night vision.  On many C-More models this is just a click-less rheostat.

The battery compartment is in front of the emitter.  On this model there are 2 non-captive thumbscrews holding the top plate on.  Other C-More models use Allen screws.  I don’t think these screws would come loose on their own, but if they did they would be easy to lose.

Windage and Elevation adjustments each have a locking screw.  Neither adjustment has clicks, so you just turn the screw the amount you hope is right, lock it down, test fire, then adjust again.  While click less adjustments are sometimes heralded as superior due to the ability to make smaller adjustments than a set click value, but in reality it tends to just make the zeroing procedure guesswork.

When I came up with the idea of doing the optic of the week posts, I planned to do side my side speed and handling comparisons of the various optics.  For example, in years past it used to be considered common knowledge that the Eotech was “faster” than the Aimpoint.  I believed this for a while and that is why I started with Eotech.  Finally the multiple personal Eotech failures drove me to Aimpoint.  Now when I try these various optics side by side, I don’t notice a measurable speed difference, they all just work (with a few notable exceptions).

I really love this sight, but in the end I do not recommend it.  It has been discontinued, so that makes it hard to recommend in the first place.  Now days we have newer and smaller optics that have proven to be very durable and have much longer battery life(such as the Aimpoints) that render this old design obsolete.  The open design of the C-More allows the chance of dirt or debris to block the emitter.  In the past the light from the emitters of reflex sights were often considered a major deal breaker as it might compromise your location to the enemy.  Over time the massive force multiplier that optics function is considered to well offset the risk of your location being revealed to the enemy by the sight.  I find the C-More red emitter and glare from the lens is very visible from in front of the optic.  It seems more so than newer alternatives.  I tried to get some pictures of this but I was unable to get it to show up well.

I think the C-More is a really nice sight, but it has been eclipsed by newer, better options.