Crossfire December 2019


The .455 Webley

Take it easy on the Sixgun

Mr. Taffin, I found your article “The .455 Webley Part 2: Dealing with the conversion question” in the September 2019 issue of GUNS Magazine very interesting. You mention you can shoot .45 ACP and .45 Auto Rim in these guns — what type of loads are you using? I have read and heard from more than one source that although these guns were converted to .45 ACP they were only designed to cope with the much lower pressure .455 round. Also, a related question — many S&W 2nd model Hand Ejectors originally chambered for .455 were also converted to .45 Long Colt. I’ve read the same precautions regarding these conversions. Would you recommend keeping to “cowboy” pressure loads, or do you have a handloading recipe more appropriate for the situation.
Adam D’Amico via email

For both of your questions I would definitely err on the side of caution with both of these sixguns. They are old and who knows what they may have been subjected to in the past. Easy is the watchword!
—John Taffin

Taffin’s Footsteps

In reference to Taffin’s Campfire Tales in the October 2019 issue (“Marlin or Winchester? A lever-lover wrestles with the eternal question”), I must have followed in John’s footsteps. I grew up in the same era and was influenced by some of the same TV westerns! I did fill a hole in my want list a few years ago with a Marlin 336CB in 38/55.  I’ve been playing with a few different home-cast bullets and a few smokeless powders. To help things along I have put an MVA Soule sight on the tang and an MVA aperture with level sight up front. I did manage to ring steel at 927 yards with the setup using cross sticks and my wife Louize doing the spotting! (Photo: Carl Zmuda)
Carl Thomas Zmuda via email

What Gives In CT?

I am more than a bit confused regarding Brent Wheat’s “Insider” article on page 10 of the October issue of GUNS. I believe the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCCA) is still in effect and should have nullified any lawsuits by Connecticut parents for simply manufacturing a weapon which was stolen and used illegally. I suspect I will not be the only reader/subscriber confused by this. 
Mike Quill via email

You aren’t the only one asking this question. In a decision from March of this year, the Connecticut Supreme Court allowed a state lawsuit against Remington to proceed despite protections of the PLCAA. Basically, the court said “Yeah, the federal law applies everywhere … except here.” We’ll see if this actually survives another legal challenge. If the plaintiffs eventually win, two things will happen: First, it will become legal open-season on firearms manufacturers and secondly, the progressives/socialists will wet their organic-cotton free-trade non-GMO gender-fluid underpants with joy. —BW

Blackhawk Pin Problem

I recently purchased a Ruger .44 Magnum Blackhawk with a four-digit serial number dating to the first year of production. It has some light rust in a few areas and it appears the spring in the catch holding the base pin in place is broken. The base pin is very difficult to remove for disassembly but jumps out of position when the gun is fired with loads as light as 8 grains of Unique and a 250-gr. Keith-style cast bullet. Now that I know this gun is from the first year’s production, I wonder if I should just have the base pin issue repaired and let it go at that or proceed with custom work and full refinishing.
J. Larry Lohr, via email

Since the .44 Flat-Top is not in pristine condition I would not hesitate to “make it the way I want it” if I were you. A good start is a Belt Mountain Base pin — #5 locking style would look great. — John Taffin

The Joy Of Sharing

I am a long-time subscriber but I don’t archive old issues — I pass them on to new shooters or leave them in public places for others to peruse. In the September 2019 Crossfire section there was a mention of an article that John Taffin wrote on the Marlin 39A several years ago. Is it possible to get a copy of that article from the archives? Thanks. I enjoy the magazine very much.
Joe Tucker via email

Joe, thanks for passing along our magazine. I often leave them in airline seatback pockets, I’m sure it upsets a few people, especially on California flights! I’ll see what we can do about the old article. Don’t forget you can purchase recent back issues and download some free old classic GUNS Magazine issues at —BW

Singing The Praises

Best gun magazine ever! I’ve received them ALL for over 40 years. I enjoy keeping up on all the new firearms and love your attention to our incredible history and the continued interest in the production of our SA/DA revolvers!
Brooks Jarrett via email

Brooks, on behalf of our world-class predecessors and the current top-flight team at GUNS, thank you! Don’t worry, you’ll keep seeing plenty of revolver action here! —BW

Sniper Story Becomes Personal

I found Mike “Duke” Venturino’s  article in the September issue very interesting (“WWII Snipers — Myths, realities, tools of the trade”). I have always been interested in WWII history and particularly the firearms used in the conflict. I grew up in that era and it is a very vivid part of my memory, even at nearly 82.  It may appear morbid to some that I am fascinated by stories of snipers, in that I lost a brother to a sniper according to my father. I don’t know how it may have been verified, but the inscription on his tombstone reads “Killed by German sniper while manning machine gun in Northern Italy, Oct 20, 1944.”
Robert Reef via email

Not Enough Tension

I have a 9422M XTR Winchester and John Taffin mentioned he also had a 9422 and loved it in your latest GUNS (Oct 2019). I have a problem with the tube magazine rod being loose, especially when it is unloaded. There seems to be not enough tension somewhere when you turn the knurled knob into the slot. I have heard this is a common problem with 9422s. Do any of you know a fix? I am a retired Industrial Machinery Mechanic and am familiar with fitting such things but want your expertise before experimenting on such a quality firearm.
Nelson Slate via email

You are experiencing a common problem not just with Winchester .22s but Browning and Marlin as well. I have been able to bend the Marlin catch slightly to solve the problem BUT it could also break. Perhaps as a machinist you could come up with a better catch? All great guns with this one flaw. —John Taffin

The Dislike List

I must agree whole-heartedly with John Taffin in the Aug 2019 issue of GUNS on page 25 where he writes “What would make sense today would be a reasonably priced Webley-style revolver in modern chamberings!” I hope someone from the firearms manufacturers reads GUNS. It seems there is a “Me Too!” attitude toward new products. I don’t want a 1911 in 9mm, I have GLOCKs. I don’t want a striker fire 10mm, I have .44 magnums. But something different like a stainless-steel Luger or a high-quality top-break revolver in .38 Special would be different and interesting. They don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just offer something different.
Jens Jensen via email

First, rest assured most manufacturers read GUNS. Secondly, I will agree with your premise to some degree, but then again, the world would be a duller place if we didn’t have all the great new — and occasionally laughably awful — guns and shooting toys! Plus, I can show you a stack of reader letters taking completely the opposite position. In other words, “to each his own,” so long as we all support the Second Amendment like rabid badgers! —BW

Plains Spencers

Mike Venturino’s interesting historical article, “Plains War Spencers” (October 2019), somehow overlooked the Modoc Indian War of 1872-1873. This conflict occurred inside the Lava Beds National Monument in Northeastern California. Warm Springs Army Scouts deployed in the Lava Beds on the south shore of Tule Lake were armed with Spencers. The Oregon Volunteer Infantry, including U.S. Army regulars, were armed with the Model 1868 .50-70 trapdoor Single-Shot Springfield rifle Third Allin Conversion. The cavalry carried primarily the Model 1868 Sharps carbine conversion, also in .50-70. The Modoc Indian War was the only Indian campaign where a U.S. Army General was killed: General E.S. Canby in April. This six-month campaign deserves far more attention and recognition.
James A. “Jim” Farmer via email

Exultation Of Spirit

I was rereading letters in both Guns and Handgunner today. I noticed a vibrant pattern that is getting stronger, especially in Guns. Readers have a varied interest but the same Joie de Vivre. (I think that’s French). I searched the periodical section at the big library we have here this afternoon and could not find anything to compare. Perhaps you have found a segment of the population that is far superior to the rest? If we reach a point of numbers where we can influence society, all the better. Also, we are armed and competent!!
Ted P. via U.S. Mail

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