Friday, July 14, 2017

Girls with Guns - Summer Edition

It's time for another girls with guns post, just in time for summer.
What's not to love about the two best things in the world? Girls and Guns!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Shooting the .470 Nitro Express with a Pricey Searcy Double Barrel Hunting Rifle

The only word that accurately describes the .470 Nitro Express cartridge is "MASSIVE". It's a round made for big game hunting, the biggest game. I'm talking Rhino's and Elephants, that sort of thing. So when J. Scott Drake of Drake Fine Sporting Arms of El Paso called me up asking if I wanted to make a video of him test firing one, well, I had no choice but to change the plans I had made for the day and go along for the ride.

He had recently done some gunsmithing work on a Searcy double barrel hunting rifle and needed to test fire it. The Searcy is a unique and expensive hunting rifle (costing upwards of 10 grand) and is made for big game hunters. The kind of hunters that spend lavishly on African hunting safaris.

We were only out at the range for an hour or so. And at a whopping 7 dollars per cartridge, Scott only put 4 rounds down range. After all, this was just a test firing. But we also have some fun shooting whatever else we had on hand including a 100 year old Winchester 1894 30-30 that also needed to be test fired. Not knowing if the rifle would blow up in his hands, Scott fired it one handed, with a combat media standing by with a first aid kit. Fortunately, all went well with the test firing and the medic was not needed.

Felix Mena and J. Scott Drake showing the .470 Nitro Express cartridge and the Searcy double barrel hunting rifle.

Searcy .470 Nitro Express double barrel hunting rifle

Scott lines up a shot with a custom AR15 that he was sighting in for a friend

J.S. Drake gunsmith/owner Drake Fine Sporting Arms

Commonly known as the "quarry" or the "wall" near Santa Teresa, New Mexico

Felix holding the Searcy rifle

Left: .470 Nitro Express - Right 5.56x45

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is it Ethical to Shoot Tannerite Easter Bunnies Around Easter? Sure, Sounds Like Fun!

Nick and I are scheduled to go shooting this Sunday morning, he wants to put some rounds through his newly acquired USP .45 ACP and we have both been itching for any excuse to fire off some rounds at the range. That being said, I came across a Facebook post from Dragonman in which he was promoting his upcoming, annual Easter Bunny Shoot which is a fun shooting event that features tannerite stuffed bunnies, for some slightly deviant reason, it sounds like some good harmless fun, so I brought up the idea to Nick, to which he replied in the affirmative. Now, I just need to hope there are some stuffed bunnies available at the local Walmart or wherever, and the end result is that Nick and I would record it and post it as a video on our YouTube channel.

This is far from an original idea mind you, there are plenty of these kinds of videos on YouTube already...

But for some reason, they haven't had many views (am I the only one doing a search for "tannerite easter bunnies" on YouTube?).

Is it perhaps that some people might feel some sense of guilt when it comes to shooting and blowing up a harmless, stuffed Easter Bunny? I wonder how many, if any, of the so-called "Social Justice Warriors" out there, would have a problem with this past time? Is the Easter Bunny considered off limits for this sort of debauchery?

I don't know the answers to that question. but perhaps along the way of doing it, if it happens on Sunday, I'll be able to find out.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Time is the Time for Girls with Guns

"We surround ourselves with the things we love" - Felix Mena

The birds are singing and busying themselves with building their nests. Meanwhile, we celebrate the coming of spring with the things we love best... Girls and Guns!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Curious Case of the Skyrocketing Mosin Nagant Prices

Relatively speaking, I haven’t been collecting and shooting firearms for that long, only around 9 or 10 years as of today. My first firearm, a Christmas gift from a former employer, was a Bushmaster ORC AR15 (nice gift eh?). I soon followed that up with my first handgun, a Smith and Wesson M and P 9mm, these are typical firearms for a newcomer to the wonderful world of gun ownership. But, it didn’t take long for me to discover the joys of military surplus firearms, especially given the fact that I am a self-confessed military history buff.

Mosin Nagant 91/30 1933 Tula Hex Receiver

My first mil-surp was a Mauser 24/47 that I bought off a guy in one of my college classes. He happened to over hear me talking about guns with someone else in our class and mentioned he had a rifle (Yugoslavian 24/47 Mauser in 8mm) he was trying to sell. It needed a bit of cleaning up and the metal had some rust, so I offered him 50 dollars (a number which was suggested by a local gun smith who inspected the rifle for me before I bought it) and the seller surprisingly agreed, as this was well below the average price for that rifle at the time. Around that same time, I was introduced to the venerable and legendary Mosin Nagant. The year was 2010 and a typical Mosin Nagant 91/30 was selling for between $99 and $129 dollars. It was a good time to be a buyer. But then again, we always hear the clich├ęs about the “good ole days” don’t we?

For some reason, which I still fail to comprehend, the Mosin Nagant is frequently described as an “ugly gun” or, “not much of a looker”. The other phrase I have heard often times goes something like this, “she ain’t much to look at, but she sure shoots straight!” I’m left scratching my head because the Mosin Nagant is actually quite a beautiful rifle. The stocks are often a dark, rich shade of reddish/maroon and the long, slender barrel is unmistakable.

I’m still beside myself when I think that there was a time when these rifles were not in high demand, or considered undesirable. What I’m saying is that they are absolutely fantastic, and I am not alone judging by the rising prices.

Back to 2010, I knew that I was getting a good bargain at $99-$129 so I bought myself a few of them those first couple years of my collection. Perhaps 3-4 in all, including my first M44, which unfortunately due to my bad memory (which is getting worse with each passing year) I don’t remember what I paid for, so I can’t give you an exact number, but I think it was around $200-$250.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the prices I’ve been following in the past couple months;

- At a gun show in Kansas, a Facebook user posted a photo showing a 1943 Izhevsk 91/30 (1943 Izhevsk Mosin Nagant 91/30’s are the most common and will usually be the lowest priced) priced from $325 to $350.

A pair of Mosin Nagants for sale at a recent gun show. (Photo courtesy of Derrick Wilkins)

- A 91/30 for $229 (date unknown but probably a 1943 Izhevsk) at a Massachusetts retailer.
- Polish 1952 M44 $290 on a Gun Broker auction.
- Romanian 1955 M44 $391 on a Gun Broker auction.
- Russian Izhevsk 1943 M38 $300 on a Gun Broker auction.
- Russian Izhevsk 1943 M38 $285 at
- Russian Izhevsk 1933 91/30 $225 at
- Russian 91/30 (various dates) $199 at (sold out)

A typical Mosin Nagant is now selling for no less than $100 more than what it was selling for just 7 years ago. Close to a 100% increase, some times more in some cases. That is an excellent return on any investment over the same time frame. Prices like that even have left me to consider selling some of my collection. But how much higher will prices go?
It looks like prices will continue to rise for now. My prediction is that prices will stabilize for the next 6 months but if the ban on Russian imports doesn’t bring in a massive influx of military surplus, then prices will just keep going up steadily (the Obama administration imposed a ban on Russian imports as reaction to the Russian invasion in the Crimea and their meddling in Ukraine. The new administration has yet to lift those sanctions).

I find it difficult to blame retailers. Businesses have an obligation to maximize profits without losing customer loyalty. Naturally, they will collectively be watching the market and their sales results to see what’s the most money they can get for a particular product. Used guns sales are a lot like used car sales.

Some of the people I surveyed mentioned inflation. OK, that’s one possibility. But I calculated the inflation rate for a Mosin Nagant 91/30  that was priced at $129 in 2010. In today’s dollars that would be the equivalent of $144. With most 91/30’s going for $229 and up, inflation alone does not account for the entire increase in price.

The vast consensus is that the ban on Russian imports, combined with a decrease in inventory across the USA and the increase in interest from new shooters and collectors makes for a perfect storm which results in the massive price increases we’re seen recently.

As of today, you should expect to pay no less than $229 for a 1943 Izhevsk 91/30 and anywhere from $289 to $325 for some of the more desirable 91/30’s such as any Tula or Hex receiver. For an M44 you should expect to pay $280-$300, an M38 is going to run you about the same. However, the premium prices for any Mosin Nagant variant are currently going to the 91/59 and any Finnish model (Please note that this article refers strictly to the most common Mosin Nagant’s which are Russian in origin. Other Mosin Nagants from non-Russian factories generally command higher prices). Prices for those are all over the place but unless you get one with blemishes, such as the cracked stocks Fins that Classic Firearms is currently selling, you’ll end up paying anywhere from $400 all the way up to the $600’s.

It’s a seller’s market, to say the least, however, new owners of Mosin Nagants, even if they are paying more than double what some of us paid for ours, are still getting an amazing piece of history for less than $300 US Dollars. Do I wish prices were lower right now? Of course I do! Then again, maybe part of me is just upset that I didn’t buy a couple of crates worth (20 rifles to a crate) back in 2010? 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Video - Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 vs Original M&P

It was a beautiful spring day at the Fort Bliss Rod and Gun Club. The warm weather and clear blue skies provided the perfect setting for testing out two awesome pistols; the Smith and Wesson M&P and the all-new Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0!

Enjoy the video, be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my channel!

Original Smith and Wesson M&P in 9mm. Pictured with a Hogue rubber over grip.

The new Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 in 9mm

A beautiful pair. From L to R: original Smith and Wesson M&P and new Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Video - Mosin Nagant 91/30 Sniper Rifle vs. Iron Sights at the Zero Range

I've been waiting for 4 years to shoot my Mosin Nagant sniper rifle. How accurate was it? Have a look for yourself! And how do the groups match up at 25, 50 and 100 yards versus iron sights?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Girls with Guns - March 2017

It's been a while since my last "Girls with Guns" photo gallery update. I guess that's because I've been adding actual blog posts about actual gun related activities. Haha. All the same, "Girls with Guns" has been a staple of this blog and it's not going away anytime soon. Why? Because this blog is all about celebrating the First and Second Amendment. And with that, let's celebrate the things we love, girls and guns!