Sunday, February 13, 2005

Caches and Arsenals

Alas I didn't get out to shoot my M1 carbine today. I did get to show it to my dad though. My dad is a veteran and served in the Army in Korea in the late 1950s. This was after the war but also when the military though a new one might be starting at any time. He remembered the gun enough to know that the metal upper handguard Auto-Ordnance put on mine isn't GI spec (it should be wood). I think he went through basic with the M1 Garand though and I'd imagine his memories of that M1 are a lot clearer.

My dad rarely talks about his stint in the military. However seeing him handle my gun and the look of recognition in his eyes has already paid for the purchase. Perhaps I'll get a CMP garand some time in the future.

On the topic of buying guns and gun collections, QandO has a story about gun control in Canada. I'd like to bring to your attention the following language:
Two people are facing charges after Toronto police uncovered a large cache of weapons and ammunition in a north Toronto apartment.
What are the specific contents of said "large cache"?
Seven guns, including a high-powered sniper rifle, and a large amount of ammunition were seized. Police say there were military knives, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a small amount of explosives.
There are two words that I hate to see in print "cache" and "arsenal". Once, just once, I'd like to see someone call one of these a "collection" instead. The actual contents of the "cache" aren't that intimidating for people that actually understand firearms. Let me decode the actual contents of the "cache" for the laymen reading this:
  • Seven firearms This isn't actually very many. My grandfather was a hunter who never lifted a firearm against his fellow man. He owned 5 guns. It really isn't hard to need 5 to 9 guns depending on the firearms sports you pursue. If you hunt, each animal generally requires at least one weapon. Most shooting sports also require several guns each. Seven guns isn't an impressive number. Hell, most small gun cabinets have room for eight.
  • High-powered This phrase is reporter-speak for scary. There isn't any other way to translate it. Journalists regularly talk about AK-47s and AR-15s firing "high power rifle cartridges". They don't. They fire intermediate rifle cartridges that aren't powerful enough to hunt with in most states.
  • Sniper rifle This could be sniper rifle, but it is also could be any scoped hunting rifle. The two are practically indistinguishable and reporters and politicians can't generally tell the difference. Remember that when someone in your area wants to ban "sniper rifles".
  • Military knives A kabar or two maybe? Perhaps a bayonet? By the way the military doesn't actually issue knives and bayonets much anymore. They aren't seen as useful anymore.
  • 1,000 rounds of ammunition This sounds like a lot but it isn't. When I received my grandfathers shotgun I probably inherited over a hundred rounds of ammo to go with it. Ammunition doesn't generally go bad, so a smart shooter buys in bulk. Typically, bulk means a five hundred to a thousand rounds at a time in each caliber they shoot. In some shooting sports, like some of the clay games or action shooting games, you will go through several hundred rounds in a days competition.
  • A small amount of explosives These are most likely reloading components. Remember when I said smart shooter buy in bulk? Smarter shooters reload their own. It allows for better precision than commercial ammo and it's also a lot cheaper. The gunpowder and primers used to do this are explosives.
Amybear and I have talked about gun ownership. She would prefer that I not build an "arsenal". She'd like me to draw the line at 10 guns. I think I can do that unless I start playing a serious shooting sport like cowboy action which requires 4 guns (2 single action revolvers, a shotgun, and a pistol caliber rifle). But I won't do that without her blessing anyway.

I have 4 guns in mind currently (an AR-15, .22 rifle, .22 pistol, and a double action .38/.357 revolver). I basically shoot handguns so the .22 pistol gives me lots of trigger time and the revolver forces me to learn trigger control. The .22 rifle is great for short range rifle shooting (25-50 yards) and the AR-15 for longer range target shooting (100-200 yards) at the fairly short rifle ranges around here.

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