Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dumpster Diving and Hammerless Types

I thought I’d let up on serious subjects and talk some more about the fun stuff us CHL folks and members of the “gun culture” community do.

I’m not a constant “garage saler”. I go once in a while usually with a lady friend who initiated the process. Invariably when we stop I look for any gun stuff clues. Gun rugs, ammo boxes, rifle cases etc. and that’s pretty much at every stop.  A gun show, after all is just a big garage sale for gun folks. I think they used to be the same as swap meets. Now flea markets have taken over that realm it seems.
 Well every gun store or outlet that I go into I drop into gun stuff “dumpster diver” mode. I f you go into Collector’s or Carter’s Country or Bass Pro, they all have clearance tables with stuff on em. At Collector’s Firearms they have several places where they place big tubs or boxes with things like holsters, cases, boxes, accessories that were traded in with guns or were out of boxes and they put them in different areas of the store for us to “dumpster dive” so to speak. Over  the years I have found several super bargains on holsters and other accessories in those particular barrels. I’ve also found things like flip up scope covers, magazine holders, short lot reloading supplies, shooting gloves and many others.

If you are really serious about your “dumpster diving” gun style, get a copy of Shotgun News and read it , study it, know it for the used wholesale guns and stuff on the surplus market that are always seen at the Gun Shows. Sarco, and J&G Sales among others show what the wholesale price is on used Sig, S&W, Glock, etc that you will certainly see at the show and you have a starting point to bargain from.

If you’re a catalog freak try Cheaper Than Dirt, Sportsman Supply, Natchez Shooters Supply, Midway USA, and the others that are out there along with Shotgun News and you’ll find lotsa good stuff and surplus stuff and prices to shoot for if bargain hunting in “dumpster diver” mode.

If you have a “common” handgun semi auto or revolver from a major manufacturer and need the basic accessories of a holster or magazine carrier you have a veritable buffet of places to dumpster dive. Go to any Firearms retailer and ask where the clearance table is and if they have a used holster bin. Next gun show, look at all the used holsters on the tables and in boxes, I mean just look for the used ones. You’ll be shocked how many there are and how low you can buy them for. If you see a $20.00 tag on a used holster or mag carrier or used magazine, ask the vendor what he’ll take for it “cash”. I have gotten fantastic deals in the $5.00 to $25.00 range on “as new” conditioned items I just mentioned that would catalog/retail from $40.00-$100.00 and up. I have had the same luck at firearms retailers and pawn shops. Recently T-Bone and I went to a retail outdoors store in Spring looking for black powder stuff for his muzzle loading rifle. While he sought out his gear I hit the clearance and bought two rifle scope covers of the flip up variety, and a box of .357 diameter Sierra bullets with 35 missing from a box of 100. I paid $4.99 for each item. Only thing awry about the covers were that they were out of the box but brand new. (they normally start at $8.-$14. Retail). They are now on two of my rifles, and the bullets will be reloaded in short order. I took the time to look at this retailers gun racks of course (it’s one of those retailers that has the big log cabin buildings and sells everything from boats to guns to beef jerky , but this one also sells used guns.) I was amazed as I have said before at the prices on the used handgun (and rifle) inventories. The used guns sold at prices that you would pay for brand new ones at a gun show.  I will not buy new or used guns from these companies and I strongly advise that you shop around if you are in the market. Everybody sells guns and ammo and accessories cheaper than these outlets.

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 An email question came in a couple of days ago that I am taking from a discussion with a friend. I quote: question,

“What is a hammerless gun and are there advantages to having it as opposed to one with a hammer?”

Answer: A CLUB!

No seriously, we were talking about revolvers (S&W specifically). All striker fired handguns, i.e. Glock, Springfield XD, Smith & Wesson M&P and Sigma, Ruger SR 9 etc. are handguns where the trigger releases a striker and spring to fire the weapon, and to my personal knowledge these are all semi autos. I know of no striker fired revolvers.

The “hammerless” term is not a definition of the revolvers mechanism. It is descriptive of the lack of what is known as the “hammer spur” on the exterior of a revolver. There are three variations of “hammerless” revolvers that I am familiar with. One where the entire body or frame surrounding the cylinder is solid with no slot machined for an external hammer. One where the normal slot IS cut in the revolver for the hammer but it (the hammer) is shaped so that it rides completely enclosed in the frame body and a portion of it is machined to ride in the slot. This portion usually has checkering machined into a tab area so that one can actually cock the hammer and fire it although the process is difficult to do under pressure. Thirdly, there are models that simply have the hammer spur removed when manufactured and an area of checkering is on top of the hammer to facilitate cocking the revolver. These latter two are still normal double action revolvers that can be both cocked before firing or pulling the trigger will do both. The first version can only be fired by stroking the trigger, ergo “double action”.

Now I will simplify. All revolvers that I know of be they double or single action, have hammers. Those termed “hammerless” by the manufacturer still have hammers; they are just completely enclosed within the frame or are without the hammer spur stickin out. The advantages? They are less prone to snag on clothes or in pockets. The completely enclosed ones have one less place for dirt and crud to get into the works, and as a general rule they are small most being five shot variants. I am sticking with the most common handguns of this type as I know other cylinder capacities are available in a limited number of models from manufacturers.

The “hammerless revolvers from the majors that I have fired and seen the most are of course from Smith & Wesson. There are others from Taurus, Charter Arms, Ruger, and I believe Rossi. I even believe Taurus has one of their extensive line of “Judge” revolvers in “hammerless” form. (I think it’s in the Public Defender series of Judge models). Personally, I want a hammer on my revolvers, and I have them. If I want to go hammerless I’ll go for the old “gunfighter option” I’ve mentioned before of grindin/cutting off the spur and polishing it smooth.

Your Instructor... Eddie

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