Wednesday, August 01, 2007


The "Old" and the "New"

By Stephen Camp

I prefer to believe that others who have been shooting longer than I have are reading this board now and again. It makes me feel younger. I know some that came down the trail a bit after I did are and there are some that have just gotten into handgunning while others have been in the shooting community a few years.

Primarily associated with the devotees of the Browning Hi Power and to a lesser degree, the 1911 and CZ-75, I receive correspondence, Emails, and questions on the Internet forums concerning various other pistols and revolvers with which I've had some experience. I'll bet some of you do, too.

Every now and again, I get a query that goes something like this: "Do you think that the older Hi Powers are better than the new ones?" Similar questions might be asked concerning other makes and models, but not quite so frequently.

This is not as simple a question as some might initially believe.

Let's look at the criteria concerning both current designs as well as what it was 25 or more years ago. While doing this, let's also take a look at the differences in handguns that have resulted not only from the evolving expectations not only from the "seasoned" shooters (sounds better than "old"), but the younger folks who do represent the future of the shooting sports. We'll need to toss greatly expanded lawful concealed carry into the mix as well.

General Expectations in the Past: Consider the gun shops of the '50's and '60's in your mind's eye. Some of you remember, but others will need to imagine. (We won't even dredge up the barrels literally full of Lugers and P-38's that could be had for a song!) In the glass cases, you'd see S&W revolvers of several types, calibers, and sizes. With the exception of something like the Model 28 "Highway Patrolman," all would have a beautiful, high-gloss blue finish and you'd see only wooden grips. All barrels were pinned and in "appropriate" chamberings, the cylinder chambers, recessed. You'd also see Colt revolvers and the finish and blue on the early Pythons had to be seen to be truly appreciated. You'd see quite a few more nickel-plated revolvers back then as well. You did not see Taurus and Ruger's handguns were pretty much his little .22 standard with the Bearcat following a few years ahead.

It is my recollection, that Americans bought revolvers in greater numbers than autos back then. I know the police did. Beautiful blue Colt Commercial Government Models could be found, almost always in .45 ACP, but some could be found in .38 Super. Browning Hi Powers were not nearly so popular. You'd see a Commander or two with the brown, checkered plastic stocks and you didn't have to ask if it was a "light weight" as the all-steel Combat Commander had yet to be born.

Ammunition choices were "easier," too. You could get about any thirty-eight special you wanted as long as it 158-grain LRN, maybe a box of wadcutters could be found and on occasion the Winchester 200-grain "Super Police." In .45 ACP, you'd find 230-grain FMJ, the "army load" although it might be from Winchester or Remington. I really don't remember much about Federal ammo from back then, but in the '70's, lots of folks liked "Federal match hardball."

Prices that seem cheap now were not then and the purchase of a quality handgun was expected to "hurt" some and was something most of us saved and saved for. My first handgun was actually bought by my dad for me, but with strict guidelines for its use, and I do mean strict. I worked two months for the $37.50 that the new one cost.

It seems to me that the older handguns could be looked at as "art forms." Wood was chosen for its richness, grain, and good looks and wood-to-fit was considered "important." Many wanted and expected their firearms to look good.

This old Colt Agent is a revolver I purchased never intending to carry or shoot +P ammunition in. It's just a classic old design that I want own and admire for the times it represents and the memories of a different time where things were so much different than today. Considered a standard for the time, many would say that it lacking today considering the more potent calibers, loads, and action-types available for the defensive-minded. If seen at all these days, the Agent or others of its genre are used as back-up guns. In earlier times, this might very well have been a detective's sole handgun.

I sort of think that people shot their handguns less then than now. A fellow might buy a Colt Government Model or "forty-five automatic" and shoot it a little and then either load and put it away or empty it and do the same thing. Certainly, there were exceptions, but I don't seem to remember people ever wearing out guns back then.

I bought this S&W Model 19 for my father in the early '70's. It has recessed chambers and a pinned barrel and a pretty decent action. The blue is impeccable. The stocks have been changed, but this S&W was built in a different time when ideas on what was "important" differed from what's expected these days.

This S&W Model 27 represents and old and revered revolver. It's 3 1/2" barrel is distinctive as was the checkering on the top strap. This particular revolver shows movement from the "old" to the "new." Even though the design is a "classic," this gun does not have the pinned barrel nor recessed chambers. Concessions to increased competition were being made in terms of departing from some traditions. In a practical sense, this revolver shoots just as well as the older ones I've owned.

Expectations Today: This is kind of interesting. Some of today's shooters still want the classic designs, but they want them to group better than in the past, to be 100% reliable with any and all of the ammo choices we now have, and the "shooters" expect them to last. Of course, the price must be "right," too.

This STI Trojan evolved from the "GI forty-five." Where the old Government Model had the same length barrel, it was not stainless steel, nor was it match fitted and the bushing was not fitted to the slide. Sears were not wire-cut and triggers were steel…even though this meant a really light trigger-pull in the range possible on this Trojan was impossible. Unless you have one custom made, you had two choices in grip safeties, the standard one on the 5" gun or the short one for the Commander. Slide serrations were exclusively at the rear, not angled, and very narrow. Full-length guide rods were not heard of. While I do appreciate and admire the old 1911s and do believe that they looked sharp, today's offer more out of the box for the shooter. This one has adjustable sights, extended thumb safety, stippled front strap, beavertail safety and other features not even considered by the vast number of yesterday's gun owners and none of the factories. If the slide serrations fore and aft are wide (and ugly in my opinion), they are easier to clean and machine. They perform the same function they always did. Colt's National Match and later, the Gold Cup, were built for competitive shooters, but some had light slide for light loads. The front sight used the small tenon and would frequently leave the gun! Today's guns have front sights that are dovetailed in and able to take wheelbarrows full of ammunition.

This old National Match has been "updated." Though the gun had barely been fired when I bought it, the surface had not been cared for. This one's been matte blued and an Ed Brown beavertail safety and a lightweight hammer and trigger added. I appreciate its classic looks, but do appreciate today's advances at the same time.

As is mentioned elsewhere on this site, I saw my first Browning Hi Power about 1969 and eventually got one a couple of years later. While I appreciate the fine blue finish and much better trigger pulls, as a user, I've come to prefer the much less elegantly finished Hi Powers of today, the Mk III and its brethren. The newer Hi Power is much more reliable with a wide variety of ammunition types out of the box and if you don't get the red-interior, black leather pouch with today's gun, you get better sights and extended thumb safeties. That said, the older ones uniformly had better trigger pulls. I also think that the cast frames are tougher. That said, I still own, appreciate and use some Hi Powers from that other time. "Number 1" is such a pistol as is "Number 2," shown below.

Several decades ago, I had some custom work done on this '72 commercial Hi Power. Since this picture was taken, I've replaced the Spegel grips shown with its original checkered walnut factory stocks. This pistol is reliable and accurate, but some work was required to get the reliability that we've come to expect of the current Hi Power.

While a few little things have been done to this Mk III, nothing's been necessary in terms of reliability and the fixed sights that are standard now, are much better for the defensive, "practical" shooting done so much today.

I fall into the class of older shooter that likes what he likes and for the most part, that's the older designs. Could this be because that's what I learned on? Might that be true for many of us? It very well may be and frankly, there's not one damned thing wrong with it.

Other folks views on what's important may be the same in terms of reliability and some may want pretty good accuracy, but quite a few tend to the "form follows function" view of things. A prime example is the Glock. Today, these are proven pistols that have seen huge inroads in both police and military service. In the beginning, many of us old traditional pistoleros thought they were a joke and about as ugly as sin. I'll admit it; I was wrong. Though not perfect as the company's logo might like us to believe, they are functional and probably about as resistant to corrosion and hard use as anything the pistol world's seen. Though evident that "looks" were not a high priority for Gaston Glock, he did come out with a pistol made from unorthodox materials and a protective finish second to none in durability. It ain't no high-gloss polished blue, though! On the other hand, a fingerprint doesn't turn to rust on the Glock, either. HK's USP series, and now Springfield Armory's XD pistols are more examples of firearms meeting the set parameters of the "modern" handgunner

Looking at the "outdated" revolver, consider today's Smith & Wesson vs. yesterdays. All that I'm aware of either have matte finishes, or are of stainless steel and some are being constructed of titanium rather than exclusively steel or a combination of steel and aluminum alloy. I sure that to the S&W collector and admirer of the traditional guns, they are a step down, but guess what? It's been my experience that the timing is uniformly better from the factory and if the finish is not as pretty, it is more durable. The guns are capable of handling hotter loads than in years past as well.

You get the idea and rather than just prattle on, let me suggest that one can like and appreciate both the classic models and the newer examples of current handgunnery. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a fellow enjoying is 1930 commercial Government Model with ball handloads at the range while relying on a Glock 21 for protection. What's wrong with maintaining a collection of old revolvers, but using a new one for protection?

Which is better? Depends on what you call better.



32naa breakage

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Message Board Member
Username: Bobkiger

Post Number: 12
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Monday, July 23, 2007 - 10:40 am:

I'm wondering what i'm doing wrong first i broke the drawbar spring, then the drawbar, then my fingerrest clip falls out while shooting, now my firing pin breaks. whats next? this is my carry gun. Help from Carl has been great i ground off my fingerrest and that solved that problem. NAA has sent me new parts in just a week each time. but that leaves me without a carry gun each time. should i just not shoot this gun each range visit? shooting is what i enjoy. help






































The Sharon Assassination
Attempts - Part Two

By Barry Chamish

On December 18, Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres raised wineglasses together in the Knesset. Half an hour later, Sharon suffered a stroke. He was brought into hospital by Yoram Rubin, the bodyguard who murdered Yitzhak Rabin. On Jan. 4, Sharon returned to hospital with a massive cerebral hemorrhage and within a few hours I published my suspicions that Sharon was the victim of a second assassination attempt by the same Peres/Rubin team which had finished off Yitzhak Rabin.

Naturally my critics howled that I saw conspiracies everywhere. To their dismay, I'm certain, within a day, so did the rest of the Israeli media. How well they have been trained since the Rabin murder!

I'll let the following typical reports summarize the suspicions of foul play, then we'll return to more political mayhem in Israel:
Last update - 11:42 06/01/2006

Hospital director: Letting Sharon go to Negev farm was negligent
By Ran Reznick, Amos Harel and Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondents

Several senior doctors raised a host of questions Thursday about the standard of treatment Ariel Sharon has received over the last two weeks, with the director of a large hospital telling Haaretz that according to the media reports on Sharon's medical treatment, he fears "there was indescribable negligence."

The questions cover the period from Sharon's first stroke two weeks ago to his arrival Wednesday night at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, where he is being treated for a severe stroke and cerebral hemorrhage. They pertain to the supervision over Sharon's physical state, following the blood-thinning medicine he received after his first hospitalization.

Such supervision is essential, as these medicines could cause a cerebral hemorrhage, like the one Sharon suffered. Questions were also raised about the dosage he received.

"Yitzhak Rabin was not wearing a bulletproof vest that could have protected him from the murderers' bullets, and now, 10 years later, Sharon was not given the required medical treatment that could have saved him," the hospital director said.

"Israel has not learned the lesson from Rabin's murder, and thus lost two prime ministers because of inadequate protection - one from weapons, the other from illness. I cannot understand how the prime minister could have been sent to stay in an isolated farm, more than an hour away from the hospital he was supposed to be treated in, two weeks after a stroke and one night before a heart procedure he was afraid of."

Sharon was slated to undergo a cardiac catheterization procedure Thursday to fix a small hole between the chambers of his heart that doctors said contributed to his initial stroke.

"A night before the catheterization he should have been hospitalized in Hadassah or at least made to stay in Jerusalem," the director said. "I also have questions about the dosage of blood-thinning medication he received. My feeling is that Sharon did not get the best medical treatment he deserved."

A senior doctor told Haaretz that "Sharon's medical condition was iatrogenic - that is, induced by treatment of physicians, as it was likely that the blood-thinning medicine Sharon was receiving had caused the severe brain bleeding."

According to the doctor, "Clearly, Sharon needed complete rest at least until the catheterization, as anyone who had undergone a stroke would. But it is hard to say that Sharon's refusal to rest caused the hemorrhaging."

Another senior doctor said he suspected "Sharon's treatment was partly faulty because he fell victim to the political-media spin intended to show the public he was back to work as usual."

"He paid a high price for this spin," the doctor said. "My concern is that non-professional considerations dictated the chain of medical events. The doctors took a dangerous but calculated risk when they gave him blood-thinning drugs at home instead of in the hospital under full supervision. But he should have been kept under constant supervision and certainly not allowed to return to work as usual."

Several questions have been asked this week regarding the standard of treatment Sharon has received: How much time elapsed from the moment Sharon told his son, Gilad, he wasn't feeling well to the arrival of his personal doctor at Sycamore Ranch?

Why wasn't there a doctor at his side since the first stroke, especially on the eve of the catheterization? Why wasn't Sharon taken to the hospital by helicopter? Why was he taken to the distant hospital in Jerusalem, rather than to Be'er Sheva's Soroka Medical Center? To what extent did the treatment Sharon received after the first episode account for the hemorrhaging?

Sharon's aides said nobody thought he was in danger when he left his office for Sycamore Ranch on Wednesday afternoon. The paramedic of the Shin Bet security service's VIP protection unit, who was always at his side, accompanied him.

According to the initial plan, a doctor was to be with him after the catheterization, when he returned to convalesce at the ranch.

Since his release from Hadassah on December 20, after the first incident, Sharon was frequently examined by his personal physician, Dr. Shlomo Segev, who also administered his blood tests. Sharon did not complain of pain or feeling bad.

The chief cardiologist at Hadassah, Professor Haim Lotan, who was supposed to perform the catheterization, visited his office on Tuesday. Sharon received two Claxon shots a day intended to thin his blood and prevent blood clots and a recurrent stroke. He received the last shot on Wednesday morning, so that its effect would wear off before the heart procedure.

When Sharon felt unwell on Wednesday, his personal physician was called in from the center of the country. According to one version, he arrived at the ranch just as Sharon was being put into an ambulance, and joined him on the trip. According to another version, he met the convoy at the Masmia junction on the way to Jerusalem.

Sharon's aides, who pieced the event together, said Sharon did not want to be taken to hospital. He said he was due at Hadassah for the procedure the next morning anyway. Apparently, his son, Gilad, and the Shin Bet paramedic convinced him to go anyway. Even when in the ambulance, he told Segev he wanted to turn around and go the following morning.

Segev, who refused to comment Thursday, was under the impression that Sharon had suffered another stroke, which was worse than the first one. He decided to proceed to the hospital in the ambulance rather than scramble a helicopter. He feared that the movement of the helicopter would harm Sharon more than a few more minutes in the car.

Apparently, Segev was the one who decided to take Sharon to Hadassah rather than to the closer Soroka center. The trip to the hospital took 55 minutes, during which Sharon's condition deteriorated.

Doctors asked why Sharon wasn't required to stay in his Jerusalem residence instead of the ranch, at least while he was being treated with Claxon and until the procedure to mend the hole in his heart had been performed. Why wasn't a senior doctor at his side at all times, one who could have administered immediate treatment when the deterioration began?

Some of the questions suggest that Sharon and his aides' desire to show that the prime minister had returned swiftly to his daily routine resulted in inadequate treatment and supervision.

The senior doctors asked why Sharon's physicians had not insisted that he take a significant rest after the first stroke, as they would have done with any other patient. They asked to what extent political and media considerations were involved. They also asked why the catheterization was not performed earlier.

Other questions refer to why it took about two hours from the time Sharon felt unwell at his ranch to the time he arrived at the hospital emergency room at about 11 P.M., and why he wasn't taken to Soroka for preliminary treatment at least.

Sharon's Stroke Raises Medical Questions
By Amy Teibel
The Associated Press

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke in the back of an ambulance while on an hour long trip to a Jerusalem hospital, raising a host of questions about his treatment.

Why wasn't he flown to the hospital or at least driven to one closer to his home? Did doctors take an unnecessary risk by treating him with blood thinners after he had a mild stroke two weeks ago? Did they wait too long to schedule a heart procedure designed to prevent another stroke?

And perhaps most important: Could political pressures have colored his treatment?

The stroke followed a mild stroke Sharon suffered Dec. 18 that was caused by a small blood clot. Doctors at Hadassah released him less than 48 hours after that stroke and gave the 77-year-old leader blood thinners to prevent future ones. His neurologist, Dr. Tamir Ben-Hur, said "chances are excellent that he won't have another one."

On Dec. 26, doctors said they found a small hole in Sharon's heart they said had led to his mild stroke. They planned to seal the hole in a procedure scheduled for Thursday to prevent another stroke.

But on Wednesday night, Sharon complained of feeling ill and his sons and a paramedic loaded him into an ambulance that had been stationed at his ranch in the Negev Desert since the stroke. The closer Soroka Medical Center in Bersheeba was told to prepare for his arrival, but he was taken instead on the hourlong trip to Hadassah.

Sharon was conscious for most of the drive, and didn't deteriorate badly until about 15 minutes before reaching the hospital.

Some Israelis questioned whether the outcome could have been different if had he been airlifted.

"If there is an ambulance that is available at the door to the house that can leave immediately and a helicopter that still takes time to arrive, it is preferable to get moving," Dr. Zeev Feldman, a neurosurgeon at Tel Hashomer Hospital outside Tel Aviv, told Channel 2 TV.

Surgery to stop the bleeding apparently had been complicated by blood thinners Sharon took following his initial stroke, and the medication may also have contributed to the severity of Wednesday's stroke.

There you have it in a nutshell. The prime minister of a modern nation suffers a stroke and is released from hospital in two days, unsupervised by a doctor. Though he has a residence in Jerusalem, he chooses to reside on his ranch 100 miles away. When he feels ill 18 days later, he is trundled off to Jerusalem in a car, passing by a major hospital ten minutes away, so he may better enjoy a 75 minute ride to the hospital which misprescribed his original treatment. Of course, he should have been flown to hospital by helicopter, but here is the excuse why he wasn't.,7340,L-3195358,00.html

Why wasn't Sharon airlifted to hospital?

According to initial explanations, ambulance left on way to Jerusalem hospital before proposal to use chopper was raised; doctor concerned carrying Sharon to helicopter would have worsened his condition due to the change in air pressure. Just last night I shared dinner with a group of visitors from the US. One of the party was a Colorado doctor who served in Viet Nam. He explained why the explanation was nonsense. "You fly at 300 feet following the landscape and there is no air pressure difference. When you medivac someone in Sharon's condition, you don't fly at 12,000 feet." That simple.

Now, let us examine Sharon's last moments before being rushed to the hospital. He had two appointments at his ranch. The first was with Otniel Shendler, who is not part of any murder plot but provides an interesting digression. Shendler was managing director of the Yesha Council during the Gush Katif expulsion. Sharon had invited him to join his Kadima party. Shendler gave Sharon a gift. It was a book he co-authored with Yair Hirshfeld, one of the two negotiators of the Oslo Accord. Just another piece of evidence that the Yesha Council worked hand in hand with the government to sell out Gush Katif.

The next and final meeting was with Ehud Olmert. The following day, Sharon was supposed to have undergone minor heart surgery to repair a small hole in his heart. The operation was to last 3 hours and during that time, Sharon signed the papers appointing Olmert temporary prime minister.

According to the newspaper Hashofar from the same week, Sharon was utterly opposed to Olmert as his successor and had, instead, chosen Moshe Katsav. And that may go a long way to explaining why Olmert was so concerned about receiving the temporary transfer of powers authorization from Sharon himself in the Negev Desert, when the very same papers could have been faxed to him in his Jerusalem office.

Yediot Ahronot on Jan. 5, published a revealing account of the meeting. Olmert then entered the room. "Arik," he said, "There are a few matters I want to handle while I'm serving as temporary prime minister." Sharon retorted, "I thought so. I'll transfer my authority to you but I remind you it's only for three hours. Do you understand? You will deal with no one and take care of nothing without me."

Within minutes of the stern warning to Olmert, Sharon was stricken and taken by the picturesque route to Jerusalem. And who was there to make sure things went as planned?:

Embedded in the lead story on " today: "No politicians have been permitted to visit Sharon, but Shimon Peres was to have been the first one, had Sharon not been taken to the operating room."

By January 11, Olmert had announced his intention of inviting Shimon Peres to sit in his new government cabinet.

It may be instructive to look at the three days leading to Sharon's demise. As my readers know, Sharon was a longtime agent of Henry Kissinger and the Council On Foreign Relations. Two days before his fall, Sharon agreed to put their plans into final action:

Sharon's New Plan: Uproot Towns in Judea
and Samaria in Exchange for American Compensation
12:06 Jan 02, '06 / 2 Tevet 5766

and in Hebrew:

( The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reports that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is planning on replacing the U.S. backed road map peace proposal with a new plan that would uproot Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in exchange for American compensation.

Sharon reportedly would implement his new plan despite any deterioration in Israel's security situation due to an upsurge of terrorism from the Palestinian Authority.

Details of Sharon's new plan were reported by sources close to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The day before his demise, Sharon put the plan into action:

"Security Forces Handing Out Expulsion
Order to Jews Living in Reclaimed Hevron
Marketplace in 15 Minutes."
Dateline= 08:35 Jan 03, '06.

On the day his brain was drowning in blood, Sharon was implicated in a scandal that seemed guaranteed to fell him politically. Police had found evidence in the Schlaff family computers that Sharon had accepted a $3 million bribe from casinos owner Martin Schlaff via his frontman, Cyril Kern. We may safely assume that in return for the bribe, Sharon promised Schlaff a new money-laundering casino somewhere in his realm, but widely reported to be in the former Gush Katif. After he was struck down, the police began to reconsider their intentions:

Police said Sunday they would reevaluate continuing their investigation into bribery allegations against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon due to his health condition. Police said that it was still too early to tell if the case would be closed but that the possibility would be considered.

The investigation - dubbed the Cyril Kern loan affair - focuses on the nature of several money transfers made to the Sharon family by South African businessman Cyril Kern.

Police suspect that Kern served as a front for Martin Schlaff - an Austrian-Jewish businessman - and that the money was meant to serve as a bribe to the prime minister.

Apparently, a possible police reevaluation wasn't comforting enough for Cyril Kern, who on Jan. 8 flew all the way from South Africa to be at Sharon's side. From Maariv, Jan. 10:

Ariel Sharon's friend Cyril Kern arrived in the country to be by him. Kern arrived at Hadassah hospital two days ago and went to the seventh floor where the Prime Minister is interned. Sharon family sources explained that as soon as he heard Sharon was fighting for his life, he felt he had to be by his side... According to a State Comptroller's report, Sharon's son Gilad accepted an illegal 4.7 million shekel loan from Kern...Kern was not allowed to see the prime minister in his room but did meet with his sons for an update of the situation.

Would it be too forward to suggest that one of the messages Kern delivered to the Sharon boys was, "You keep your mouths shut, or else."