Crossfire April 2020 Issue

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Taffin Autograph

I love the magazine, BEST gun magazine of the 4-5 to which I subscribe! John Taffin and Mike Venturino are my favorites.
John Taffin’s new book, Book of the .45 caliber, as per the full page ad on page 25 of the February 2020 issue, is on my “To-buy List.” If I buy this book, what is the possibility of getting John’s autograph in the book?
Chris Haynes

To keep things easy for everyone and save shipping costs I will send a peel-off stick-on label with my autograph as they want it. They will need to send me a SASE. This is what Elmer Keith did with his last book and it seemed to work well. Wolfe will have some autographed copies which will probably be higher in cost as they have to ship them to me by the case, I sign them and ship the case back to them. —John Taffin

1903 Softy

I discovered the 1903A3 I bought in the 1970s was not Remington made. It does have a Remington WWII 2-groove barrel but the receiver is stamped National Ordnance. Now I have reviewed claims National Ordnance receivers are “soft,” that is, improperly heat-treated. My research indicates this only happened in receivers with serial numbers less than five million, though my receiver s/n is over five million.

I have never shot the 1903 and would like your opinion as to its safety. Could I take it to a gunsmith and have him do a Rockwell hardness test? Could the ’smith do a headspace check, fire the gun 10 times or so and re-do the headspace to verify it is still in limits? Or should I do nothing?
Anthony Barbuto

As for the National Ordnance 1903A3, my very first military rifle was one, bought in 1971. I fired it hundreds of times with no problems. However, to be on the safe side I would have a gunsmith check it if you have one in your area. My guess is he will say it’s fine. —Mike Venturino

A Phony Invoice?

I wanted to make you aware I have received an unrequested invoice from an organization calling itself (name deleted). Although my subscription to GUNS does not expire for six months, according to my most recent magazine label, (name deleted) sent me an invoice for 12 issues at a price which is much higher than what I have paid in the past — $49.95 to be exact.
I am a senior citizen and imagine some, brought up in an era in which trust and authority were more respected, might send the money, believing they were dealing with FMG Publications. I don’t know if what they are doing is illegal, but certainly smacks of fraud in my book. At least I thought you should be made aware.
Gary Gillespie, MD

I can’t call these people “scammers” because their lawyer might call it “libel” in a legal proceeding — so I won’t. However, this company is using the questionable business practice of offering a magazine subscription at a very highly inflated rate, using intentionally confusing or official-looking correspondence. If you pay them, they will purchase a subscription in your name at regular prices and pocket the significant difference. They are NOT associated with FMG Publications in any way. Our corporate office has informed this particular company we won’t fulfill orders coming from their business. To get the “real deal” on a subscription, simply visit fmgpubs.com or call (800) 933-9116! —BW

Stay Prickly!

So what is the gun the senior lady is holding on page 26 of the February 2020 issue?
Charles Lano

The gun is a UTAS UTS-15 pump shotgun. I thought Mom looked pretty serious with it as well! —Will Dabbs
So far, that picture is in the running for my favorite GUNS photo of all time! —BW

New National Holiday

Almost 50 years of reading gun magazines and never felt motivated enough to write to one. GUNS is my favorite and Will Dabbs is quickly becoming my favorite writer. His comment “if we had any real sense as a nation, we would celebrate John Moses Browning day,” made me simply want to say, “Amen, brother.”
Michael-Shannon McDowell

Older Than Dirt Club

Dr. Dabbs’ recent Shooter’s Rx column hit much too close to home as I am officially a member of the prestigious “Older than Dirt” club. I marveled at his knowledge of my medical disparities without having ever examined me. The one issue I have was only partially addressed when he spoke about having arthritis. My problem as a shooter is the tip of my trigger finger has decided to take a 45-degree bend to the south. Prolonged trigger time has me scraping the inside of the trigger guard. The left hand is only slightly better. Any suggestions how to make this a happier adventure?
Eric Strange

Ouch. That’s rough, bro. A proper hand surgeon could potentially address this surgically if it was important enough to you. Not sure what the insurance considerations might be. It would likely be an easier sell if it’s painful. 

I suspect that’s joint erosion secondary to osteoarthritis. I saw a lady with a bad case in the clinic this morning. Worst case he might fuse the joint but get the alignment back where you want it so you could run a gun comfortably. 

Life is all about choices. I had eye surgery to adjust my focus so I could shoot without glasses and have been very pleased. This might be a hard sell for a hand man. He or she might just laugh and tell you no. However, I’d have that chat if it seems worth the trouble. —Will Dabbs

It Doesn’t Get Easier

Excellent article and timely for me as I just attained 75 years. I too had a serious back injury when I was 33. In my early 70s I found I could no longer bench press even light weights then I discovered that by putting a 18″x18″x4″ stiff foam pad under my head, I could bench without the pain in my back between my shoulders. Also I am starting to find racking my 1911 Kimber more difficult. Racking my S&W Shield is even worse. I have been looking at the S&W EZ Shield 380 and think it might be a good way to go.
Dean Osborne

It’s All Taffin’s Fault!

Love the magazine and guys like Duke & Taffin! I would like to suggest a new section called “Taffin’s Fault.” LOL. John’s articles keep costing me money when he reviews certain guns and I get that urge to buy one. I’ve already bought a Metro Arms 1911, Rossi 92 357 magnum, Ruger Blackhawk Convertible, Ruger Security 9 Compact and a Ruger American in 22 Magnum. It’s all John’s fault for giving great reviews and tips on the guns.
Bill Dyne

Thanks for the kind words but just imagine how much $$$$ I cost myself! —John Taffin

Liking The Crossbow

I was glad to read in the Feb 2020 Letters to the Editor that you only received one negative letter about Mark’s review of the Ravin R26 (Editor’s Note: The tally is now three). I liked the article and I am planning to buy a Ravin at the end of this season. Over the years, I’ve had some wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries that have prevented me from practicing with a traditional bow so I was glad to see a fellow hunter endorsing a crossbow as an alternative solution. Keep up the good work (and the variety)!
Joe Davies

Stop Buggin’ Me!

Sometimes I swear you have my car bugged. My friend “Smalls” and I like to go pawn shopping to see what we can turn up. On our most recent trip across North Carolina, two of the main guns we discussed were the stainless Rossi R92 with a 20″ barrel in .357 Magnum and the Ruger PC9. I opened your magazine this month and Mr. Taffin is discussing his Perfect Packing Rife, a stainless Rossi R92 with 20″ barrel in .357, and Duke (who I NEVER would have guessed would cover a modern plastic rifle) is talking about the PC9. You never cease to surprise me. I’ve been subscribing for about a decade now and love every issue. Thanks for all the great content!
Shawn Dain

P.S. We hit 26 Pawn and Gun stores that day and didn’t find a thing, but sure had some good conversations, hope you were still listening in!

Yes, your car has been bugged by the crack GUNS Wiretap Division — you really need to stop singing those Michael Bolton songs at stoplights! We also need to discuss your personal hygiene routine using the rearview mirror. Other people can see you! —BW

It’ll Be DIY

In Mr. Taffin’s article on page 31 of the Feb 2020 issue he shows a picture of a NexPander and how he uses it. I have checked a number of sources for reloading supplies and cannot locate the item. Can you ask Mr. Taffin to advise please.
Gene McMasters

Just finished reading John Taffin’s handloading article for 7.62×39 in the Feb 2020 issue. He mentions a neck expanding tool called the NexPander. I have searched the internet and not found one hit on this tool. Is it an obsolete item? Looks to be a hand-held tool versus one that screws into a press like the Lee universal expanding die.
William Gaylord

I’m thinking these are no longer being made but any machinist could make one easily. —John Taffin

The Hat Wasn’t So Bad …

Wanted to give a heads-up to Duke Venturino. I recently saw a show called Strange Inheritance from 2015. The inheritance was drawings of natives from the early 1900s that had survived the battle at Little Bighorn. One of the Indians claimed to have shot Custer as the troopers charged across the river.

I think Duke can find the show online. Years ago I took a cheap shot at Duke’s hat so I figure I owe him. In a cold rain a couple of days ago I went to pick up a take-out order for lunch and the guy at the restaurant broke up over my hat. It is a camo boonie with one side pinned up with a revolver expert pin from the local police dept back in the ’70s. Keep up the good work.
David Walker

Another Taffin Fan

Wanted to express to you how much your publication is enjoyed! It is in a deadlock with my other favorite, Leatherneck! I really take pleasure in reading articles by Mr. Taffin. He, and of course the other fine writers on you staff, really do a wonderful job! As an Arizona guy, it’s nice to see a magazine publishing articles on classic firearms, especially western themed pieces! I continue to pick up interesting and useful tidbits from the assortment of work presented. My only regret is I didn’t run across Mr. Taffin’s work much sooner.
Mark Taylor

Mark, thanks for writing. Fellows like you keep me shooting, reloading and writing! Good Shootin’ and God Bless. —John Taffin  

Red Ryder Rides Again

I enjoy GUNS Magazine and haven’t had cause to say much because I’ve either agreed or admitted I’ve learned something from every article. I was a 15-year-old lad when The Rifleman first aired in 1958 and having a prized Red Ryder, I taught myself to shoot just like him because Chuck Connors was a hero. Because I had to work until 1 a.m., I would use the old wooden light pole for a target every night, aiming at the darker shape from the hip, rapid-fire, listening for hits. I’d count 10 hits and end my night’s shooting. On Sunday afternoon, when I met up with the guys from the area for the junkyard shoot, they didn’t think it was strange. We just shot cans and that was it. Yes, I became a very good shoot-from-the-hip guy but only target shooting. This “Tall Tale” is to let you know even us scrawny short lads could do everything our “Heroes” could do, but “Wanted, Dead or Alive” is another story. Thanks for your Red Ryder trip down memory lane and thank you for your magazine.
Charles Braughton

I’m sitting here chuckling, thinking about all of our collective adventures … and misadventures … with those ’Ryders! —BW

Don’t Tell Anybody About The .40!

I have a bone to pick with Massad Ayoob. I grew up reading his articles and he was my late father’s favorite gun writer. In the February 2020 issue, he let the cat out of the bag on the .40 S&W! As an FFL holder, I have been quietly buying .40s to sell for my business. The day my issue arrived, I won a GLOCK 22 on an auction site for $216! The ride to the bottom for the .40 S&W is a perfect example of how people follow and do not lead. People who are loyal to the .40 have just been smiling!
William F. Hastings Jr.

Lever Love

The “Perfect Packin’ Rifle” story by John Taffin in the February 2020 edition was a joy to read. Lever-action rifles are my favorite right beside single-action revolvers. I hunt with a Winchester 1894 Timber Carbine chambered in .450 Marlin. The barrel is 18.5″ and the weight is perfect. I have walked many miles in the woods carrying this rifle and it’s perfect for such adventures. I also have a Winchester 1892 in .357 magnum with a 20″ barrel. I enjoy shooting it more than any other lever gun I own. Recoil is minimal, but power and accuracy is superb. Thank you, John, for writing another fine article. I hope the Perfect Lever Gun series of articles is long-lived.
G.W. Holt

Thanks for the kind words. I am planning to do a series of levergun loads for my reloading column in the coming months. My favorite rifles are leverguns and my favorite leverguns are the short, easy-to-pack and handle Trappers. Your .450 Marlin can handle anything that walks. —John Taffin>/em>

Kid Proof?

I recently purchased some 45 ACP self-defense ammo in plastic boxes. This is fine ammo, performs very well and was well worth the price but the plastic boxes are very hard to open! I am 61 years old, in good health, work with my hands in assembly and maintenance but it took me 10 minutes to open the first box. I handed my wife a box, along with my 1911 and told her to make believe someone was breaking into the garage, and she needed to load a magazine right now. Her solution was to get the meat hammer out of the kitchen cabinet! With Smith & Wesson making handguns geared to the elderly, I think the ammo manufacturers need to look at their packaging.
Paul Chaney

I forwarded Paul’s letter to the ammo manufacturer for their consideration. Maybe we’ll start to see EZ-open ammo for shooters with hand problems. —BW

M4 Contour

Why do barrel makers use an M4 barrel contour? Most of us don’t need a grenade launcher and more seriously, this adds another vibration node. Increasing harmonics cannot increase accuracy. The only explanation I have seen is that M4 barrel blanks are cheap.
Jens Jensen

You’re correct — more barrels are made in M4 contour, therefore competition drives the prices down. Price is an important factor for most buyers and a cheaper barrel makes for a less expensive gun. There is strong demand for the M4 barrel because it’s “military” and that’s a positive thing for the majority of shooters. Of course, most folks aren’t really looking to wring ultimate accuracy out of their gun; they’re primarily looking for reliability and are happy as long as the gun has reasonable “minute-of-bad-guy” accuracy. Fortunately, we are seeing more manufacturers offering other barrel profiles for the shooters who want to wring the best accuracy out of their gun. —BW

Hair Trigger

to the elderly, I think the ammo manufacturers need to look at their packaging.
Paul Chaney

I forwarded Paul’s letter to the ammo manufacturer for their consideration. Maybe we’ll start to see EZ-open ammo for shooters with hand problems. —BW
M4 CONTOUR
Why do barrel makers use an M4 barrel contour? Most of us don’t need a grenade launcher and more seriously, this adds another vibration node. Increasing harmonics cannot increase accuracy. The only explanation I have seen is that M4 barrel blanks are cheap.
Jens Jensen

You’re correct — more barrels are made in M4 contour, therefore competition drives the prices down. Price is an important factor for most buyers and a cheaper barrel makes for a less expensive gun. There is strong demand for the M4 barrel because it’s “military” and that’s a positive thing for the majority of shooters. Of course, most folks aren’t really looking to wring ultimate accuracy out of their gun; they’re primarily looking for reliability and are happy as long as the gun has reasonable “minute-of-bad-guy” accuracy. Fortunately, we are seeing more manufacturers offering other barrel profiles for the shooters who want to wring the best accuracy out of their gun. —BW
Hair trigger

Started with GUNS in 2003 and love your magazine. I have a question for maybe John Taffin or Duke. In 1973 I bought a second gen SAA in .45 Colt for $200. This gun has a hair-trigger. I never thought about it before, but what do normal Colts have for a trigger pull? Is this normal? Why would someone have such a light trigger pull?
Greg Odenahl

A “hair trigger” on a Single Action can be very dangerous. I prefer to not go below 3-4 lbs. and factory triggers are usually set higher than this. You might have a gunsmith check yours out. It is possible the top of the trigger is worn or broken off or the hammer notch can be worn or broken. —John Taffin

From A Left-Coaster

Re: January 2020. A good issue, especially Handloading, Think Tank and GUNS Insider. As an inmate of “San Franfreako,” you can’t imagine how bad it really is here …
Fred W. Davis

Truer Words …

From time to time I see in various gun magazines a reference to science fiction writer Robert Heinlein’s quote “An armed society is a polite society.”  It is from his novel Beyond This Horizon, published in the late 1940s. In it everyone goes armed. Everyone has rayguns (now would be called lasers, I suspect) except for our hero who carries a Model 1911. However, I believe there is a far stronger quote in support of gun rights which I never see in any gun mag. It is found in A.E. Van Vogt’s early 1950ish novel The Weapons Shops of Isher. In the book each weapons shop has a sign prominently displayed stating, “The Right to Buy Weapons is the Right to be Free.” Perceptive truth to me! 
Mike in Mesa

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