Due to having to take my Father to a doctors appointment today and some other things, there won’t be any detailed technical article or historical writing. Instead I will be letting my mind wonder a bit and share a few things that have caught my interest over the years. I hope it will be a fun post for all. If there is any “theme” for today’s post it wold indeed be scattered shots.
A few years ago I ran across the pictures taken during the war in SE Asia. They are from a news article reporting on the young girls of RVN training to fight the communists. When ever I rear or see a video on youtube of some hot, big name expert firearms trainer ex-marine SF trooper advising people about how hard it is to control the recoil of the .45ACP and the M1911. I think of these pictures. Having spent many years around Vietnamese, I can safely bet you not a one of them is over 5foot 4 inches tall or barely break 100 pounds. ( apologies for not using the metric system for all of you who do and have yet to land a man on the moon).
Speaking of Vietnamese ladies using big bore handguns we have a great picture of Trần Lệ Xuân. Maybe better known to you as “Madame Nhu.” She was the sister in law to RVN’s first president, Diem and in this man’s opinion, both of them got a bad rap. Had the left in the US not had their way and Diem was not allowed to be killed, the country would still exist to this day. In the picture Xuân is putting on a shooting demonstration and she was well known at the time to be an excellent shot capable of rapid and accurate shooting and pulling off some impressive trick shots. She always used a large bore or magnum powered pistol for her shooting and would turn down offers for something less powerful. It was said she was a big fan of the .357 magnum.
There has been a lot of talk hereabout the M1903 Springfield rifle in the last month. Many aren’t aware of the M1922 training rifle. Developed to closely feel and look like the’03 but in .22long rifle. It has an interesting history that will have to wait for another day. Some very fine sporter rifles have been made with its barrel and action. That action by the way is ultra slick.
The RIA post about the trench guns the other day reminded me another US martial shotgun. This one used during the Vietnam war. The Remington 7188. The 7188 is/was a select fire combat shotgun used in small number mainly by the SEALS. Based on the 1100 the shotgun was of course full auto. It suffers all the usual drawbacks of using a shotgun in combat, lack of range show to reload, limited capacity and empties too fast. It would have been an amazing wall of lead while it lasted though. Combined with the “duck-bill” shot spreader, it would have wreaked havoc in close range jungle fighting..for a few seconds. Which may have been all that was needed in an ambush or to break out of one. Reliability may have been an issue in the jungle with ammo at the time. Below some one has posed the shotgun with some ERDL uniform, a Vietnam era shotgun shell pouch and bata type boots. All things that would have been used by the people who carried the 7188. While the 7188 had to bow out from history, the 1100 went on to be a classic shotgun and developed into the 11-87.
With shotguns now on my brain, I have to talk about my personal favorite sporting use shotgun. I could only be talking about the most excellent Remington Model 31.
Like many good things in this world the M31 owes its existence to John Browning. An altered version of JMB’s Remington Model 17, the Model 31 was brought out to compete against the Winchester model 12. It didn’t quite match the popularity of the Model12 and so the M870 came about and we all know how that turned out. The Model 31 action went on to be changed slightly and used as the base for the very reliable Ithaca Model 37 and a cheaper simplified version known as the mossberg 500. The model31 is in my opinion the ne plus ultra of pump shotguns. It is hard to describe to you how smooth and slick the action of a 31 is. It almost cycles itself. Mine is a 16 gauge because I don’t think it gets much better than the 16 for most hunting uses. The model 31 can be found in 12, 16 and 20. If you ever run across one, my advice is to buy it.
I don’t recall where I found this picture below. Obviously taken on some island in the pacific in WW2. Two Marines pose with their newly acquired war trophy, a Japanese officer’s chest. The now dead man’s wife in a variety of pictures stuck to the lid. The level of hate both sides had for each other in the Pacific theater is probably hard for many of current generation to understand when thinking about how close an ally Japan has been since then. I have often wondered if anyone who was shown that chest at the time paused for even a second over those pictures of some Testsuo’s wife and thought maybe they were just people too. Even monsters can love their wives. It is fascinating to me that the same military that raped or killed everyone in china it could find had officers that had such tender pictures of their own women. Just goes to show the ability of many ( and you better believe it is MANY) humans to be loving and tender with some and on the other hand still commit atrocities against other people and their loved ones as if they aren’t anything other than insects.
I have always loved the idea of the “assault kit”or the “deployment kit” when it comes to guns. You can’t take everything you have with you as bad as you wish otherwise. But, thanks to the unlimited modularity of the AR15 you can take one gun and some carefully chosen accessories with an upper or two and have the ability to tailor a rifle for several needs.
Thanks to modern tactical optic mounts, you can now have optics pre-zeroed for an upper, or just left on an upper and swap them as needed. Then, with a choice of uppers you can have a plan for several mission needs. Going inside a mud hut? Put the MK18 upper on. Maybe need to take a long range precision shot? Put your MK12 upper on. Or just swap optics around before you leave. Maybe even possible to swap optics hours or minutes before needing it depending on circumstances. Add to that kit a handgun or two, a suppressor and some odds and ends and you could put together a kit you could grab and travel with that would be very versatile. I know some like the barrel swap but this never had much appeal to me. It is a lot faster to swap uppers and changing the upper doe not require tools nor re zeroing the optic or iron sights. No one in the real world swaps barrels on a rifle/carbine or swaps uppers in the field on a “mission” anyways so size and ability to carry a spare upper compared to a barrel is irrelevant.
In the1980s it was still possible to buy some pretty neat stuff from other countries. One of those I wanted but never got my hands on was the semi auto imported Valmets.
I saw and handled a couple back then but this was before I had the money to buy one. It was the M76FS. Which is to say the folding stock model. They are as rare as hen’s teeth now a-days and I have given up on owning one unless I win the lottery but I still think back fondly on them and how close I came. I have said to Howard a few times how back then we had a much larger selection of foreign rifles, the Ar15 options were a small fraction of what we have today. I would give up those options from other countries gladly for the development that went into the AR15 and the result of it today.
Last is a picture of my assault wheelchair. I sometimes write reviews for movies at grindhousefilms.com and one of the guys over there asked if I could make him a machinegun wheel chair. I took a stab at it and produced this. Any gun person knows it is absurd and is completely non-functional but it does look cool if I do say so myself.
Sorry for the lack of a normal article or review today as I said. But I hope this was some what enjoyable for you and a fun few minutes while you are goldbricking at work. Hopefully things will be back to normal tomorrow.