All posts by Shawn

Col Owen G. Birtwistle’s Singer

Today Rock Island Auction has put up a video of their newest treasure.  The video  gives a look at very special Singer. Of course we aren’t talking about a sewing machine . we are talking about the  greatest handgun every devised.  The Model 1911.   This example is a Singer made  1911 so rare that we aren’t even sure how rare it  really is.  Reports of around only 500 made before singer stopped to make other things needed for the war effort.   Of course the war, loss, being used up and destroyed or simply mixed up with other parts have made the Singer 1911s even more rare.  One in this condition is  like a miracle.   While talking with a friend about this video and gun he submitted that the gun should even be sold.  We both agree that the gun should have been buried with it’s master.  The  gun was clearly dear to the  Colonel. Him having  kept it immaculate all those years.   It is easy for me to think it should be in the NRA museum in Fairfax or in the family still or buried with the Colonel, to perform its loyal duty by his side forever. I am a romantic like that.   But then again I like the idea of guns like this being in the public  so people can touch and handle it and interact it with real history in a tactile way.    But, no doubt some super rich collector will buy this and it will not see the light of day again until the next owner dies.   Or  maybe some not so rich  guy  will buy it ( and end up divorced for spending that much ) who can really say?    Maybe you will be that guy when the gun goes up for auction shortly.

 

Some More Vietnam USMC Sniping History

Lately  my mind has been  stuck on Vietnam war era sniper optics and rifles.  Friends keep asking me about the subject and it has come up a lot this month.    It is an evergreen topic for most people interested in US martial arms , sniping and long range shooting  anyway so I thought I would touch on it a little more today before my longer article on the Unertl 10X USMC sniper optic some times next week( hopefully).

I like to think most of our readers are already familiar with the M40 and Redfield 3x-9x optics since I’ve covered it a few times already.  When the M40 came from Remington originally the rifle. the optic and mounts were all marked with the same serial number.  Remington had very carefully zeroed the optics to as to nearly bottom out at 100 yards with only a few clicks lefter over.  This gave the scope its 40plus  minutes left over and allowed the scope to dial up to shots at 1,000 yards. Of course once the guns got to Vietnam, things got taken apart and mixed up and precious kept the scope/base/gun matching.  As a result  most of them could not be dialed up to 1,000 yards. Or much past  500 really.    Below is an example of how things got mixed up.

The Redfields were had a range finding capability. The reticle was standard crosshairs but there was also a range ladder to the right side with two extra  horizontal stadias.   As you can see below the idea was to adjust the zoom ring until the two top stadias  fit with the top on a man’s shoulders and the bottom on his belt.  The ranger scale would then show the yardage.   The redfields ranging scale and measuring stadia  worked well with the average measurements of an adult  asian male. Now if that was done on purpose  or not I have yet to find out.   One you had the range you could either dial in the DOPE ( usually never done as it took too much time) or you held off.  This system was also incorporated as part of the US Army’s  ART system used on the XM21. But that is another day.  Word has it few Marine snipers used the scope’s ranging ability very often.  The  range finding stadia and ladder  often  melted when the sun came through the objective lens after a  relatively short amount of time so care was taken to keep it covered or out of direct sun.  Because of that a lot of the scopes are minus the range finding  ability.

And here we have a picture of The Master Sniper himself  with the M40 he used on his second tour as a scout sniper.  The picture is noteworthy not only for being who it is but for he gear he is carrying.  What  Hathcock carried with  him on most missions has been recorded multiple times.   He noted many times he usually took nothing more than his rifle, binos a belt with two canteens, a pistol, a poncho ,   a knife, a compass and a bandoleer of 30cal match in cloth  bandoleer tied around his waist.  This was done in case he had to drop his pistol belt  to run, he still had “all he really needed.”  Yes, a gun and some ammo is truly the only thing Hathcock really needed if you  had the idiocy to chase him through  the countryside.   The rest he carried in his pants cargo pockets.  Here is is wearing the M56 belt with what appears to be two M56 ammo pouches, a flak vest and his  NVA pack.  I found it interesting that  Carlos appears to have a lanyard  attached to his 1911.   Hathcock wears his signature 3rd pattern  ERDL jungle fatigues and his boonie with his white feather in it laying on his back.

Here is a photo taken from where Hathcock took perhaps his record breaking 2,500 yard shot.  If you have seen this photo before else where claiming that is Hathcock in the image beside the gun, it is not .  That is SSGT Roberts, his spotter on that mission and the picture is from Carlos’ own collection so I think he knows who was in the picture.    You can see the 8x Unertl mounted to the M2 Browning he used to make his famous shot and the terrain beyond. Perfect position to make a shot like that.

Back to the 3x-9x sniper Redfield.  Few seem to know but it was also used on the M2 browning.

Back to the Unertl 8x for a bit.  The scope is forever tied to Carols in the minds of many when it comes to USMC sniping and of course the gun Carlos used in his first tour  during the time he made most of his most celebrated accomplishments of combat sniping. Below is pictured a real USMC Model 70 sniper rifle with USMC contract Unertl 8x.   I’m sure many younger people would look at that and see ancient gun tech and wonder how they did what they did with it.  Truth is even today that combo would wreak havoc  as a sniper rifle in capable hands.

The Unertl was used  on the model 70s and the M2 browning, but some imaginative snipers managed to mount it on other rifles they  wanted to snipe with.  I’m don’t think I need to say how much I would love to try that out.

The Mil-Dot reticle used by the USMC was made by Premier reticles and sent to Unertl to be installed into the Unertl 10X USMC sniper scope.    Below  is a  tray of the mildot reticles ready to be shipped out to J. Unertl.

 

K.K.V. Casey

“There are about three men in the country who could equal Casey and it is doubtful if any of them could beat him.” “This statement was high praise indeed, but particularly so when it was issued from the typewriters  of the well credentialed but normally critical  rifleman/writer E.C. Crossman in 1908. The man Crossman referred to was the well known Captain K.K.V. Casey, the most outstanding military marksman of the Krag era.”

It was custom a hundred years ago to identify one’s self  in print with only one’s initials. In K.K.V.’s case, the tradition spared him a mouthful or a dose of writer’s cramp .   Before his career was over over, every rifleman enthusiast on the planet would know who K.K.V. Casey was.

Casey center looking to the right

 

Almost nothing is known of the man’s early years and Kellog Casey doesn’t make tracks on the paper trial until the end of the Nineteenth Century.  Events in Cuba in 1898 had a profound influence on the young Casey’s life.  “In a fit of patriotism, we mst suppose, twenty year old Kellogg enlisted in the 71st Regiment of the New York National Guard on May2, 1898, either days after war was declared on the heathen Spaniards.”   He was assigned to  B Company.  Later that month, Private Casey facing a two year enlistment , left for Florida  to prepare  for his departure for Cuba. The 71st participated in the entire Santiago campaign, and drew Mauser fire on a number of occasions.  Elements of the 71st battled  their way to the top of San Juan Hill.

It was in Cuba where Kellogg Casey fell in love with the Krag and rifle shooting. Once he was back home the love only deepened and began shooting the Krag rifle in the National Guard competitions. “Lance Corporal Casey was  a natural born rifleman, and he made a name for himself at regimental and regional contests.Casey became unusually proficient at long distance shooting Thousand yard marksmanship was his specialty and he picked up the nickname “Long Range Casey.”

In 1901, K.K.V. Casey began winning important matches and attracted an attention at a national level. In 1902, he traveled to Sa Girt, New Jersey and returned with the Wimbledon Cup Prize. The first of thee.   That summer, he tried out for the U.S. Palma, and easily made the cut. On September 13,1902, Casey and the rest of the American team made the trip to the Rockcliffe Range near Ottawa, Canada for a try at the Palma.

“A fluky 25mph wind at the 900 yard stage bewildered the Americans, including Casey, but had lesser effect on the Englishmen. The British team won the match by a measly 12 points, but Casey and the rest of the Americans made a good showing”

In 1903 Casey received his commission and he shot the 1903 Palma contest as a lieutenant with the 71st.  “The 1903 field at Bisley. England was comprised of the finest rifleman from seven nations. Lieutenant Casey contributed significantly to the American victory that year, and picked up valuable coaching experience in the process.”

All through the century’s first decade, Casey was recognized as the nation’s best long range rifleman.  He won every significant long distance match there was. In 1903, he took first place in the National Individual Military Championships, and won the Spencer the following year. In 1905, he won both the Thurston and Hayes Matches. About  1905. Casey went to work for DuPOnt in Washington, DC, Casey was given a position in the firm’s smokeless powder division and eventually  was put in charge  of smokeless  powder production. At the same time he transferred to the Delaware Guard. There he was assigned to the 1st Delaware Infantry.

“Casey became authoritative enough on the subject of smokeless powder that he was invited to submit powder related articles to the period’s sporting magazines. One such, written with unusual eloquence and clarity, was published in Rod and Gun in Canada  in 1915. While with DuPont, Casey co authored a book on the construction of rifle ranges, which was distributed by the powder maker in 1909. He also put together a 45 page booklet on smokeless powder for sporting application, and was often called upon to deliver lectures on behalf of the company.”

Casey’s contributions to the improvement  of the match ammunition are not well known. He was one of the first to call for the abandonment of the cupro-nickel bullet jacket with its troubles, and for the wide adoption of gilding metal jacket.  At Dupont he helped the staff techs in the development of progressive burning smokeless powder. He also pointed out the merits of the boat-tailed bullets for match shooting and was instrumental in converting shooters from the conventional flat based bullet to the more streamlined projectile.  Some development work in this field was also attributed to Casey.

Casey was one of the few vocal proponents of reloading( hand loading) during his era.  Unlike most of his peers Casey handloaded  most of his own match ammo. It was said the he won his reputation with his handloaded ammunition, a marketing point which DuPont was quick to advertise.  One source insists that Casey loaded his own to avoid favoring any one cartridge maker as he was an employee of a powder company.

“In 1907, Casey again qualified for the US Palma team, and shot his Krag at the long range matches at Rockcliffe on September7th. The Americans established a new record score for the match. Shooting a possible at 800 yards, Captain Casey once again pulled his weight. “Casey was an Olympian, a member of the rifle team representing the US at  1908 London Games. By 1908 the competition Krag was a thing of the past. The new Springfield was the service rifle required by the Olympic rules. Prior to the games, Captain Casey worked with Springfield Arsenal personnel to select star gauged barrels and assemble the finest rifles possible. He attended the team tryouts held at Camp Perry in June of that years and made the cut for the American squad. The rifle match segment of the games was held at the Bisley Range  in July, 1908. Colonel J. Milner, a formidable adversary and member of the original British Palma Team took home the gold medal in the 1.000 yard Individual Competition with a 98×100, fired under nasty wind conditions. Had Casey not shot a 2 early in his string, it would have been a closer match. Captain Casey finished with a 93 for a second place and the Silver Medal. Casey shot a straight military Springfield in an event open to match rifles, which did not fo unnoticed by an army of awed spectators and reporters. Millner used a Mannlicher rifle fitted with a .303 British service barrel and a Blood telescope sight. In addition to Casey’s silver each  member of the US six man team picked up the gold medal for beating the rest of the world in the International Rifle Team Match. This was a 90 shot contest which was shot at ranges varying from 200-1,000 yards.”

In 1908, the War Department needed an evaluation from a practical  rifleman’s standpoint, of the Warner and Swasey telescopic musket sight which was under consideration for adoption. Of all the service men in all branches of the US Armed forces, Captain Casey was selected  to do the test firing at the D.C National Guard Range. ” Casey lay  prone, tightened his sling, and pointed pointed the muzzle of and ordinary  issue Springfield equipped with the sight at the “C” target  1,760 yards away. He first shot, a richochet three, was followed by a close four. Shot three called for the white disc. Despite a 20 mph wind from five o clock, K.K.V. Casey proceeded to hammer the next seventeen shots into the bullseye. Captain Casey’s shots were the talk of the military rifle shooting crowd for a long time thereafter ”

Casey pictured in 1908 bottom center.

“1908 was a good year for the peerless long distance rifleman. Captain Casey  put his name on the Wimbledon cup for an unprecedented third time and won the coveted Leech Cup”.

“From 1901-1913 K.K.V. Casey dominated long range marksmanship competitions at every possible level. At the 26th Interstate Trournament of the New York and New Jersey State Associations in September. 1919, first Sea Girt gathering since 1915, competitors of the Krag days assembled between relays to exhchange “I remember whens” of the glory days of theSea Girt shooting fame.  K.K.V, now reduced to old timer status joined them.”

In 1920 Casey selected Springfield rifles for the Olympic team and three years later he acted as team captain for the American Palma team. During the 1920s he was fixture at Camp Perry and Sea Girt, representing the interests of DuPont. He served as the executive Officer of the Sea Girt Matches throughout the 1920s. During this time, he was also very active in the affairs of the NRA.  After 32 years Casey was with DuPont and ultimately worked his way up to Director of Sales while he lived in Fairville, PA with his wife Claudia.

In 1938 Casey developed an infection in his toe from a hangnail. Gangrene set in and amputating the entire right leg didn’t help. He died on October 18, 1938 at age 61 years.  One of the finest long range rifleman this country ever produced, a man once called “The best shot to ever face a target”.

Precision Shooting

Arms and the Man 1908

The Springfield 1903 Rifles  Lt. Col. William S Brophy

 

 

The Colt 7.62X39 Carbine ( R6830)

In 1993 Col introduced a new caliber into its AR15 line up.  The gun was marketed  as a hunters carbine chambered in 7.62×39  a round more or less identical to the .30-30 WCF.

The R6830 was a 16 inch barreled carbine . The barrel is not really what we think of as “lightweight ” these days and is closer to what many would call heavy. Probably good because the x39 round  has noticeable recoil compared to the 556. The barrel does not have a chromed ore on these.   The upper  is  a A2 fixed carry handle type.

The sights are the same as the A2 except the lack the markings found on 556mm guns since they would obviously not match.

The gun was made during that weird period before the 94 AWB and after the important ban.  This was a time when a lot of pressure was put on Colt by the feds and  gun rights were being pushed back.   The result is this model has the sear block  and no bayonet lug. But it does have a flash hider.  The hider is the A1 style and  not the A2 style with the closed bottom.

The bolt and barrel are really the only major changes.  The carrier is the same  as a standard AR15 and most other parts save the barrel etc.

 

The front sight base is standard with all the usual markings for its era .  The only difference is of course the milled off bayonet lug. This was done in a wasted effort to get the antigun kooks to back off. Since  a bayonet can not work on a 16 inch barrel carbine with a carbine length gas system,  the lug is pointless anyway except for making leftists twist their panties.  The front sight is the A2 post.

The Carbine also came with the A2 buttstock and pistol grip.  The solid stock was a good choice I believe as it helps with the recoil and comfort for a gun meant to be sold as a hunting rifle.   A 762×39  carbine AR15 with the collapsible stock  is not comfortable for  the casual user.  The hand guards are the  slimmer CAR15 type.

You will see some people online talk about how the 762×39 ARs don’t work reliably.  Seems when I read this  or see some one in a video talking about it, they are holding some frankenparts gun built up by bubba.    The colt carbine  has been nothing but reliable when using the factory mags or the one Cproducts 30 round mag I tried.

The mags  that came with the gun are nothing more than  30 round mags with a blocker in it that limits it to 5 rounds  and a floorplate marking it as  a 7.62×39 magazine.  You can see the installed block in the picture below.  In a pinch you can load about 5 or 6 rounds of x39 into any AR15 magazine and it will work.  Though more will cause problems due to the geometry of the commie case and the magazines not playing well together.

So how does it shoot? It shoots pretty good.   It  is an AR15 after all  just one in a round not exactly known for being  a match winner.  But that can be over come some what with careful ammo selection or hand loading.

 

Groups were shot from bags using iron sights only.  I did not have a carrying handle mount available to me for mounting a optic for precision shooting so I was limited by my own eye sight,  iron sights and distance.   Real accuracy with most 7.62×39 loads becomes  iffy pat about 200 yards anyway and I feel it  was reasonable to not shoot beyond that anyways.    Handloads, factory loads and import wolf was  used above for testing.   This hsould give a good indication of what the gun can do and what the ammo can do  depending on quality and care put into it.

I did shoot at the steel gong below  at 300 yards using the iron sights and  wolf ammo.   All shots stayed on the steel plate.   Very acceptable combat accuracy.

 

These  7.62×39 carbines are sweet little guns.   Again, I think it was a little ahead of its time.   Back then  no one wanted an AR15 in  x39.   Especially for hunting. Most everyone was still stuck on the stupid idea that you have to use something at least .30-06 class to kill a 90 pound deer.   Not that we don’t still see that today.     Add to that 556 ammo was dirt cheap back then  and AKs could be had. so why buy what would be considered like a premium  gun just to shoot commie crap?

Now, this model isn’t the only one Colt offered.    There was a 20 inch( R6851) barreled rifle with A4  “flat top “upper.  There  was also a  flat top upper carbine ( R6850) which was sold as a complete  gun or sold as the upper only as a “conversion kit”  The conversion kit uppers are the  ones you may have seen with  “Colt 7.62×39  roll marked on the left side of the receiver.   The two conversion kit  uppers came with  a rifle scope and mount.

 

If you  want  one  of the Colt 7.62×39 carbines and can’t find the conversion kit upper models and you plan on using it, I would not hesitate to  just buy a Colt A4 upper receiver  from Brownells and put the barrel  on it.     Yes it will ruin any collector value  but If you want it bad enough..    One of the flat top models with an ACOG would be one heck of a short range hunting carbine for  any game you wanted to hunt and would make a nice choice for defensive use if you are one of the unwashed who still thinks the 5.56mm won’t kill a man.    Recently  some  Colt 6940 uppers chambered in 7.62×39 have turned up for sell online.  That would really be the ultimate  AR upper in x39 as far as I am concerned. As you likely know I am 100 percent sold on the Colt monolithic upper guns.  The free floated barrel  with the  6940 barrel nut would bring out all the accuracy that could be milked, I would love to see  what one would do with good ammo.

WHEN GUNS ARE OUTLAWED ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE KNIVES AND WATER AND METH

Two teens are behind bars after Nye County deputies say they stabbed their mother to death.

https://news3lv.com/news/local/two-pahrump-teens-arrested-accused-of-stabbing-their-mother-to-death

Pahrump teens.JPG

I bet you already know where this is going from that opening.

 

“On July 30, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office received a missing person’s report on 46-year-old Dawn Liebig.

“When deputies responded to the 6300 block of Wedgewood Street in Pahrump, they encountered 17-year-old Dakota Saldivar and 17-year-old Michael Wilson..”

Two teens who are the same age have the same mother and have differenet last names.   What good can come of that I ask?

“The teens initially provided a statement to police that Liebig simply disappeared and they had not heard from her.

Deputies found inconsistencies with their story and conducted additional interviews and a search of their cell phones.

During additional interviews, the juveniles then claimed that Liebig was suicidal and asked them to assist her in suicide. They reported that at her request, she asked for them to stab her to death.”

So it was a act of mercy?  She wanted to die and they just acted out of compassion to grant her an end to her suffering.

“The juveniles told us they waited until she fell asleep, then attacked her. They recounted stabbing and bludgeoning their mother. They also told us that this attack lasted approximately half an hour while Liebig fought for her life,” said Sgt. Tippets.”

That doesn’t seem to line up with some one wanting  you to help them die. That sounds like the exact opposite!

“One of the juveniles led detectives to a shallow grave in the desert where the body of Dawn Liebig was discovered. The other juvenile led detectives to the general area of the murder weapons,” said Nye County Sergeant Adam Tippets. More interviews were conducted and both juveniles finally confessed that a few hours prior to the murder, they had a fight with Liebig and were tired of her parenting style and demands on them.”

I guess it was unreasonable to ask them to take out the trash,stop playing Xbox or take a shower.   Who could stand up to such demands?

The juveniles sound more like they have the cold blooded murderous  personalities of the heartless career criminal to me.  May be time to stop referring to them  as “juveniles” and try and execute them as the abominations that they are.

In other news. This one taking place in Howard’s stomping grounds.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article216045485.html

 

“Four-year-old Je’Hyrah Daniels was screaming as her mother dragged her toward the Hillsborough River on Thursday afternoon, waded into the water, tossed her in and left her to die, witnesses told police.

Je’Hyrah died at St. Joseph’s Hospital less than an hour later.

Shakayla Denson, 26, was charged with murder, aggravated child abuse and grand theft of a motor vehicle. She was booked into the Hillsborough County jail late Thursday and is being held without bond.

The chaos started at 3:09 p.m. Thursday when Denson stole a gray Nissan Altima from Jordan Auto Repair, 5604 N. 40th Street, according to police.”

“Things just unraveled from there,” Chief of Police Brian Dugan said during a news conference Friday morning.

Yes chief, I would say things did unravel from there indeed. I can see why this guy is in charge.

“Witnesses say they observed her forcibly push a child into the backseat of the car. One witness attempted to intervene and was struck by the car as she fled the scene.”

Denson drove the stolen car to the river and parked on Rome Avenue just north of West Aileen Street, where witnesses watched as she forcibly took Je’Hyrah out of the car”

“She started dragging Je’Hyrah by the arm and heads toward the Hillsborough River,” Dugan said. “Witnesses report that the child was screaming and at one time, both the child and the mother were screaming.”

Denson grabbed the girl with both arms, pulled her close to her chest as she waded into the water, continuing until the water was near the top of her shoulders and then let Je’Hyrah go. She then turned around toward the river bank and walked south down Rome Avenue.

By about 4 p.m., Tampa police had received multiple calls reporting that a woman had thrown a child into the river just north of the Columbus Drive Bridge. Officers rushed to the scene, and by 4:16 p.m. Tampa police divers had began searching for Je’Hyrah.

At about 4:30 p.m., a diver pulled the 4-year-old girl out of the river about 75 feet from the bank not far from where her mother tossed her in, police said.

Je’Hyrah was rushed to St. Joseph’s, but was pronounced dead at 4:49 p.m.

Moments later, just after 5 p.m., police found Denson walking in the 2300 block of North Oregon Avenue — less than a mile from the scene — and she was taken into police custody.”

It is hard for most people to image the  thoughts and minds of the kind of sub-human animal that would do such a thing.   All one can do in response it to put her to death in the most painful way hands can devise.

Now in the mid-west. Where those middle-America values are still as strong as ever.

Police: IN father didn’t call 911 after child’s meth overdose

http://www.wave3.com/story/38799741/indiana-father-didnt-call-911-after-childs-meth-overdose-police-say

SEYMOUR, IN (WAVE) – A father accused and jailed in the death of his young son could have his bond reduced.

Curtis Gilbert Collman, 41, has been charged with neglect that led to the death of a dependent and possession of meth.

Detectives said his eight-year-old son, Curtis Collman III, accidentally ingested meth while in his father’s custody. The amount of meth he consumed was enough to kill a grown man, according to officials.

Anyone that is a parent, you know, would be emotionally upset,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Detective Tom Barker told WAVE 3 News. “It kind of hits home if you have kids.”

“Your worst nightmare as a parent,” Jackson County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Chalfant said.

Apparently for some people it is not their worst nightmare.

But, that parent did just the opposite Chalfant believes.

Around 10 a.m. on June 21, Collman noticed his son was falling ill. He reached out to a friend who came over and advised the child might need medical care, according to police documents.

The father then took his friend’s cell phone to prevent her from calling 911. He also pointed a gun at her and threatened her life, according to police. Collman and his son then drove to his mother’s house, police said.

Curtis Collman II (Source: Jackson County Detention Center)

I will spare you most the details of story  about the actions of NOT  Father of year.
“You have an eight year old child that most likely suffered for many hours,” Barker said. “It upsets you.”  Indeed it does.
The story is always the same with these  offal. Living in squalor , neglecting anything that doesn’t involve getting more drugs. destroying anyone and anything that gets in the way of acquiring more dope.
Now we come to my favorite part of these stories,  where we learn the scumbag has a long well known record of being the worst humanity has to offer.

“Collman also faces charges for pointing a firearm, theft and failure to register as a sex offender. He requested a bond reduction so he could spend time at home with his parents while awaiting trial. The judge will decide by close of business Friday if the bond will be lowered.

Both Barker and Chalfant said they’ll fight to keep Collman behind bars.

Collman’s previous criminal record includes trafficking and sexual misconduct with a minor.”

Why? How?  This man is a known sex offender, pedo and all around dirt bag  and the “authorities ” knew this and yet he was out on the street.   We can thank that revolving door justice system.  Little Curtis can thank modern criminal justice system for that. RIP.

Curtis Collman III (Source: Family photo)

Happy Monday folks.

 

C-more Sights/Colt Optics

For a while during the 90s, Colt  and Cmore sights worked together to bring to market optics for Colt rifles and pistols as well as some competition parts for M1911s.

The first year these optics were introduced was 1997. This is the same year the Colt Accurized Rifle  CAR-A3 HBAR Elite was introduced ( CR6724).   The CARA3 as you can see above, was pictured with a tactical 10x optics with Mildot and target turrets.  By all accounts it was a very nice optic. Though now the idea of a fixed 10X optic  wouldn’t find much favor with discerning shooters.  The rings and mounts available for most users of the  flat top AR15s of the of the day left much to be desired.  At this point in time, few civilian shooters did not have many options available to them.

The 10x was an optic I hunted for years to acquire and have still not found one.   You can see blow its features.  An adutable objective lens, tactical/target turrets and plenty of internal adjustment for longer range shots.  In the inserts can be seen a spotting scope and three smaller optics  more suited for hunting.  I have never had my hands on any of these.

Being Cmore was the maker of the optics it is no surprise that they also offered their most well known AR15 optical sight with the colt name.  Pictured below is the the red dot/A2 rear sight combo.  If you want more details about this sight Howard has already written about his earlier this year. While not the Colt branded one it is more or less identical.  While I have seen the Cmore sight before, I have never seen the colt marked units.

 

You can see the cantilevered version below.  Also are two other smaller optics. One a carry handle mounting optic that brings back memories of the original 3x and 4x Colt scopes and a 1x-5x variable power illuminated reticle  scope. The “ring and dot” is very likely to be similar to the system used on the leupold  MK AR 1x-4x optics.  The 1x-5x  seems a little ahead of its time  since now a days a variable power optic in low magnification with  a dot has become the current hot choice for carbine optics.   I would love to find one of those.

You might be asking right now”did these ever hit the market or were they just advertised vaporware”?      Good question and It would be reasonable to think they never sold.  They did though.  I have  seen at least 3 pictures in the last 10 years of shooters  who posted them online who have the 10X  optic  and a couple others.    Here is an image  I saved years ago of one of the 10x optics up for sell.   Too late for me to buy it of course.   Sad panda.       It seems there was either a change to the 10x optics at some point before it was discontinued or there was more than one version of it.  As you can see below this one is slightly different and doe not have an AO.

Sorry to say I don’t have much more info on this stuff for you.   I wish I did.    I will update if I turn up more.

Toggle-Locked Orphan: the Benelli B76

Since the passing of Hognose we have been sharing some of his best work  here at least weekly.  Since I have to spend most of the weekends  taking pictures and shooting all the guns I review  or research on the other articles I usually don’t out anything up Saturdays and Sundays.  With those two days of no new articles I have decided to make the weekend the slot for our tribute to Kevin and his work.

 

Toggle-Locked Orphan: the Benelli B76

by Kevin O’Brien

If you have a well-rounded firearms education, the name Benelli needs no introduction. Now part of the Beretta family, the marque has been known for its semi-auto shotguns since its founding in 1967. But Benelli made an attempt, in the 70s and 80s, to make a NATO service pistol. It’s interesting for its unusual toggle-lock mechanism (one we missed when we covered toggle-locking), its fine Italian styling, and its relative rarity: internet forum participants, at least, think only about 10,000 were made. (We do some analysis on this claim below, and posit a lower number).

benelli b76 pistol

There were other Italian semi-autos at about the same time, like the Bernardelli P-018, competing in part for European police contracts, as many Continental police departments replaced 7.65mm service pistols during the 1970s and 80s rise of European communist terrorist groups like the Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhof Gang. But the Benelli was a unique blend of design and functionality. Arriving too late into a market saturated with double-stack double-action pistols, it might have been a killer competitor for the P1/P.38 or the Beretta M1951 twenty years earlier, but by the end of the eighties, the market was heavily oriented towards double-stack, double-action, and often, ambidextrous-control service pistols. Even European police services who had thought 8 rounds of 9mm a real fistful of firepower had moved on — and so did Benelli, retreating to a concentration on its market-leading shotguns.

Mechanics of the B76

The toggle-lock is not truly a lock in the sense of a Maxim or Luger lock, but more of a hesitation lock or delayed blowback. Other weapons have used a lever in delayed blowback, like the Kiraly submachine guns and the French FAMAS Clarión, but the Benelli one is unique. It’s described in US patent No. 3,893,369. The toggle lock or lever is #5 in the illustration below, from the patent.

US3893369-1Benelli B76

Benelli often cited the fixed barrel of its design as a contributor to superior accuracy in comparison to the generic Browning-type action.

Aesthetics & Ergonomics

The styling of the B76 is a little like its Italian contemporary, the Lamborghini Countach: angular, striking, and polarizing. You love it or hate it, or like Catullus, both at once: Idi et amo. It came in a colorful printed box, resembling consumer products of the era…

BenelliB77Pistol in box

…or in a more traditional wooden case.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The somewhat blocky slide needs to be protected by a holster with a full nose cap, if you intend to carry the B76. It’s a large pistol and it would be prone to print if you did, much like any other service pistol like the M9, the Glock 17, or various SIGs. Where the pistol comes into its own is when you handle and shoot it. The safety falls right to hand, like that of a 1911, although as a DA/SA gun it’s perfectly safe to carry hammer down on a loaded chamber. The grip angle is much like the P.08 Luger, making for a very natural pistol pointing experience. The pistol’s steel construction and roughly 1kg (2.2 lb) weight makes it comfortable and controllable to shoot. The heavily-contoured grip on the target models makes it even more so.

The guns are known for reliability and accuracy, and their small following is very enthusiastic, reminding us of the fans of the old Swiss SIG P210 pistol: the sort of machinery snobs whose garage is more accustomed to housing premium European nameplates than generic American or Japanese iron, and who not only buy premium instead of Lowe’s tools, but who can take you through their toolboxes explaining why the premium stuff is better.

Production and Variations

The Benelli company was relatively new when it designed the B76. The US Patent application for its locking mechanism dates to 1973, and the planned start of production was 1976 (that may have slipped).

There were several variants of the B76, most of them sold only in non-US markets. The B76 was the name ship of the class, if you will, but there were several variants. The B77 was a scaled-down model in .7.65 x 17SR (7.65 Browning/.32 ACP); it was a completely different gun. The B80 was a 7.65 x 22 (7.65 Parabellum/.30 Luger) variant, largely for the Italian market; only the barrel and magazine differed from the B76. The B82 was a variant in the short-lived European police caliber, 9 x 18 Ultra (sometimes reported, mistakenly, as 9×18 Makarov). In addition, there were several target pistol variants, including the B76 “Sport” with target sights, grip, longer barrel, and weights, and a similar target pistol in, of all things, .32 S&W Long called the MP3S. We’ve covered some of these exotic Benellis before, in the mistaken belief that we had brought this post live, which we hadn’t. (D’oh!)

The one modification that might have brought Benelli sales to police departments or military forces was never done, and that is to develop a double-stack magazine. A “mere” 8 rounds of 9mm was already insufficient in 1976, when many NATO armies already issued the 13-round Browning Hi-Power as their baseline auto pistol, and the novel Glock 17 coming on strong.

Benelli dropped the pistols from its catalog in 1990. The company still produces its signature shotguns and a line of high-end target pistols, and even some rifles based on the shotgun design, but its foray into the pistol market has left Benelli with bad memories, red ink and a few curiosities in the company museum. But the curious pistol buyer looking for a firearm with a difference will find here a remarkable and character-rich handgun. If you’re the sort of man who can rock an Armani suit or avoid looking ridiculous in a Countach, this might be a good companion piece.

We’ve mentioned the internet claims of production of 10,000. The highest serial number we found on the net (5462) was well below that, but we certainly don’t have a statistical grasp on production yet. With 7 known serial numbers we can make a rough calculation that there’s a 9 in 10 probability the total production is under 6400, and a 99% probability it’s under 8500. That’s assuming our rusty MBA-fu still retains its potency.

Market

No B76s are on GunBroker at this writing, and only very few — single digit quantities — have moved since 2012. The guns offered were all in very good to new-in-box condition, and they cleared the market at prices from $585 to $650. One went unsold at $565 against a reserve of $600, hinting that, despite these guns’ character and quality, there’s just not much of a market for single-stack full-size DA/SA autopistols.

For More Information

We’re seeking a better copy, but for the moment, heres a .pdf of the manual. Unfortunately, it takes greater pains to describe the mundane DA/SA trigger system than the rare, patented breech lock!

benelli_b76.pdf

COLT COBRA PART 2 ACCURACY REVIEW

 

Last time in part 1 we took a look at the gun.

COLT COBRA REVIEW PART 1

Now we are going to take a look at how accurate it is.  I won’t bother saying anything about reliability, it is a double action revolver after all and one made by Colt so it obviously will work.

I shot a variety of  commercial factory loads  for accuracy at 25 yards.  The Buffalo Bore plus P load being one of the best.  It was also one of the hottest.  While it shot great it was not a pleasure to shoot out of a small compact revolver.

I tried this 90 grain lighter load in anticipating that a lot of users of a gun this size would buy loads that may mitigate recoil.   It wasn’t a tack driving load but it is certainly  pretty decent.   I would carry it and use it inside the ranges I expected  I could make a hit under pressure with a snub nose.

 

The next was the Hornady critical defense flex tip, 110 grain bullet. Another lighter load.  Again, it shot pretty good.

The worst of the ammo I tried  was the Winchester super X.  Not gonna set the world on fire.

I’m not going to lie,  I have never been much of a wheel gun shooter and even less of a snub nosed revolver guy. The lighter guns surprised me how tiresome it can get shooting for groups with stiff loads.  I was happy try this reduced recoil self defense load from federal.  It shot great too.   The best group picture blurred and already tossed the target,  but here is the second best group.

 

I had a few rounds of this Fioocchi some one gave me a few months ago.  I fired all ten rounds  offhand at 25 yards at the head just to use them up.  I was dumbstuck at how well it shot and how well I shot on double action off hand.  May be because I was relaxed and did it just to goof.     But, surprises  do happen if you shoot enough long enough.  I wish I had  more of this ammo to   shoot another group from the bags.

 

 

Lastly, again because I aim to please, the 10 0 yard target.  I fired these from a rest, but not bags, at a man sized-ish  target to see what  all CCW guns could do if pressed into having to make a critical longer range shot.  Ammo was the stiff Buffalo Bore +P round.

 

A few notes.   I need more time to get uses to the revolver sights.  I am used to a back sight like a Novak  or BOMAR. The trench in the top strap with front sight is something I keep shooting too high with.   I would really have to work with revolvers with this sight set up for a while to get used to that if I intended to carry it.   Using +P ammo in a small frame revolver, even in 38spl  gets hard on the hands after a while, rubber grips are a must for me anyways.

The action of the Cobra is very slick  and smooth.  Lovers of the mythologized python would no doubt like the action of the Cobra. I have never shot a revolver on DA  as well as I have this one.  It is a nice  compact gun that I can find no fault with if you are looking for one to CCW or just to buy cause you like 6 shooters.  For a closer look at the gun, its finish and craftsmanship, refer back to part one in the link above.

OPTIC OF THE WEEK Leupold VARI-XIII TACTICAL 3.5x-10X

This scope has a lot of history.   Leupold made these in the 90s and for a long time, it was the standard scope that came with the Remington M700 police sniper rifle package sold to countless LE departments across the country.    The scope is the  Leupold VARX-III 3.5x-10X tactical with mil-dot . It has a one inch tube and  comes with the target turrets used on most target and varmint optics from that time.

Adjustments are 1/4 inch per click with  60 clicks in one full rotation.  Being a leupold, the adjustments are solid, repeatable and accurate.This scope is over 20 years old and it has not failed me.  The turrets have set screws that can be loosened to reset the turret to have the index line  and the “0”  line up  where you want to set it.  You can also remove the turrets and replace them with a large version that can not be covered by the turret protective caps that screw on and protect the turrets. If you don’t like either of these, leupod will install the M1 tactical turrests for $130 yankee dollars.

The scope comes with the tactical mild dot reticle.  The glass is clear as is usual for leupold.

The power is 3.5x at the low end and 10x at the max end.  The power ring is also marked like all variX-IIIs in that you can use magnification and the reticle to range a target within hunting distances. Not needed with a mil-dot, but  was marked anyway.

 

It is a long way from the ultra modern long range tactical optics found today with its once inch tube and  no side focus knob or illuminated reticle. It does have enough internal adjustment for long range shooting.  It has a reticle that is useful still especially for those of us older guys who grew up with it and not the various christmas tree reticles now popular.    It is a tough and dependable optic so much so that I still use it on my MK12 MOD1 and have no plans of replacing it.

Mounted on the most excellent Larue SPR base it is a favorite combo for me.   If you see one some where used at a good deal I give it my highest recommendation.  Even if its too”cold” or not tactical enough for you, or you are ashamed to show it at the gun prom it would still serve you perfectly in any thing you see fit.

 

 

 

SO, WHAT DID HAPPEN TO UNERTL OPTICS?

As you may have noticed my love o vintage target/varmint weapons and optics have been on my brain recently.  Last night I got thinking about Unertl again after a friend asked me something about those old beauties and remembered some years ago there was a forum discussion some where or other about what happened. As usual with most gun forums, few of the poster new much about much and were posting all kinds of BS about Unertl and US Optics ( which did some shady stuff after Unertl went into limbo and got sued for their troubles irrespective of what you may hear otherwise) until most unexpectedly John R Unertl himself popped up to set the record straight.  I saved his comments as they were a peak into the history of a legendary firearms industry company.   I have long forgot where I got it from but a clever googler I’m sure could turn it up.  No need anyway.  I saved Unertl’s only post on the matter and the rest of the posts were nonesense. AS one forum “expert” even made the idiotic claim that the Unertls were made in a barn.. 

 

Gentlemen, Let me clear up some inaccurate or most likely a lot of bogus information out there regarding the Unertl Optical Company and make clear some facts about the rifle scopes themselves. I have the authority to discuss the intimate details of this since I AM the last John Unertl that worked at the company you are referring to.

My grandparents started the company, my parents worked at the company, I worked at the company. All of the personalities involved here were strong personalities in their own right. Each conmtrbuted to, and detracted from the business. I don’t plan on writing a book here so I will condense this discussion to it’s bare bones form. My grandmother being a company founder was quite reluctant to leave the company even though she was getting up in years.
This gradually built a resentment within my father and their relationship began to fall apart. My father John Unertl Jr., was a brilliant engineer, but frankly didn’t care much at all about ‘marketing’, relegating this to mostly bullshit.
He also had quite an abrasive side and could alienate people fairly easily. I was schooled as a mechanical engineer because that was what was expected. Going  into the late ’70’s several issues were at play. Family discord for one. Secondly I could see that my father was not doing the necessary training and improvement for future development and expansion. I elected to resign at that point and move on. I took a job with Leitz, a well known optical instrument company. We used Leitz autocollimators and related equipment in our optical testing. Ultimately I became a Division President for that organization.

When my father died, my mother (who did not have a clue about the technology here) asked if I was interested in coming back to run the company. When I went back, I saw the company in the shape I figured it would be in. Not much had changed. It would have needed a small fortune to bring it up to speed. I had neither the time, inclination, and didn’t want to make the financial
commitment. I already had another business. I must say it was a sad moment. My heart strings pulled, but the realities of the situation were compelling. I suggested to my mother to pursue other alternatives.

Enter Rocky Green. My understanding is that he had two different involvements in the company. One as a liason to an initial group of buyers. They couldn’t handle the project, so the second time around he was a principle. I met Rocky one time when he came to visit me with the 1911’s. At that point I knew they were not
going to make it building scopes. I fear that anybody who wasn’t involved directly with the company couldn’t know the painstaking manufacture and care that went into building them. They were assembled, taken down, re-assembled,, numerous times. Hand fit parts meticulously assembled by true artisans. I can only assume the guys that bought the company just figured to buy some drawings,
program a CNC machine, stamp it Unertl & watch the money roll in. Sorry, didn’t work that way. I’m not sure if any of you out there were aware we made very sophisticated optical/mechanical instrumentation, optics for military jet gunsights, fire control optics (military stuff, not firemen) and wind tunnel instrumentation. Unertl Optical was far from operating out of a barn. We made the money with the high end optics, not making scopes. The scopes were that
labor of love because that’s how the company started. The scopes had the benefit of this financing. I fear the other guys missed this key ingredient.
The Unertl employees were true atrisans that made these rifle scopes. I doubt you can find guys like this any more with this kind of skill and dedication. The marine corps sniper scope was the last offering that my father made for Rocky Green when he was still in the service. At that point our old guys started dying off, and with them closed a page in the anals of the shooting industry.

I still have the opportunity to get together with the few remaing
company people. They have all played an important part in my life and I hold  special reverence to each and every one of them. They are truly the last of abreed.

Enjoy those scopes, I would have no reservation saying they are STILL probably the best scopes out there.”

John Robert Unertl

There it is from the man himself.  I only wish he would have written a book or an article about the company in some form for posterity.

If you didn’t know, this Rocky Green fellow did market a few  M1911s made with the Unertl name on them  and they were a take on the  older USMC  used 1911s  before MARSOC. I never touched one but I did see a couple.   They were pretty meh if  you are a real 1911 guy. Around that time a few scopes trickled out.   Some years ago I got in touch with a fellow who did work at the original Unertl and had bought out the rest of the bases and accessories  that were on hand when the real Unertl closed its doors.   I regret that I have since forgot his name and lost his contact info.  I do agree with Mister Unertl.  They are pure art and they  are still some of the best optics ever made.   A man can only dream about what they would have made had the younger J. Unertl had taken over the company and expended it and moved into modern designs.   The original Unertl closed its doors in the mid 1980s.  You can see in the image below what a high grade riflescope with all the trimmings looked like.  Box included.

J. Unertl Sr.  immigrated to the US from Germany and  worked for J. W. Fecker. Fecker scopes was a company that built the highest of quality target scopes which started selling his optics in 1922.  How high quality? Well, in 1926 when a Winchester Model52 rifle cost $36 yankee greenbacks, a Fecker optic would cost from $30 to $50 yankee dollars.  You can do the math on what the equivalent to 30 dollars   in the mid 20s  would be to today.   Unertl worked there as one of Feckers most talented and skilled engineers  until leaving to start his own optics business in 1928. In the early days of the Unertl Optics Co.  J. Unertl even supplied his scopes with Fecker mounts ( or what you would think of as “rings”) until developing his own.    Below is a Fecker advertisement and you can see the resemblance.  Fecker as a rifle scope maker more or less ended July 1956 as it was bought out by some one who had no interest in shooting. The company was purchased for its advanced designs for missile tracking and guidance systems during the cold war.  As of 2002 it still exists as a division of Contraves Co.    But the story of Fecker scopes will have to wait for another day.

AS mister Unertl said above, the last Unertl to  be developed and sold  as a new design was the USMC  10X sniper scope. A very tough optic that was the first to use the Mil-dot crosshairs.  A model was also made for use on the M82, 50BMG sniper rifle.  The original was developed for use on the M40A1 sniper rile and was in use even through to the M40A3 and A5  models though it is now probably complete phased out.  The USMC sniper 10X was a fixed power scope but it had some pretty trick features, especially for its time.   I promise that there will be  a longer upcoming article about it. The 10x was much loved by  Carlos Hathcock himself as he was one of the original  testers of the optic for adoption  to be used on the M40A1.   He even told of using the scope to pound a tent stake into frozen ground one day and the scope  was unfazed. 

It is a little sad to me that today few younger shooters even know the name.  A few years ago I saw a post on TFB where one of their worthies ran into a guy who had a Unertl optic and he was shocked as he had never seen nor heard of one.  Though I would expect  that from TFB.    Unertl optics helped set many world records,m win matches and make history in wars.  All of the  who’s who, of the shooting world used Unertls and knew  John Sr. back in the day and John Sr. was very active in the shooting community. He tried to give shooters what they wanted and offered nearly anything the heart desired.  

John Unertl Sr. pictured below, top row second from left. If you know who the other famous shooters are witout me telling you I will be very impressed. You can see  how well they thought of Mr. Unertl’s  product. The picture was taken in 1948 in Johnstown, PA at an important event in precision shooting history.