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RETRO MONTH: A MID-MONTH REPORT — 32 Comments

  1. Beauty pieces, Mas.

    Not that guns fault… 298/300 isn’t so bad. Jet lag perhaps? 😉

    More range time, for me, must be the best therapy. Indeed, it is!

  2. Mas, I’m shocked that you shot less than a perfect score up in NJ!!! I’ve seen you shoot enough to know that you almost never miss during a qualification. In fact, I wouldn’t bet against you if you did it blindfolded. I guess you must have signed a few more $5 bills than usual up there, even though it’s significantly more difficult to shoot a .357 Magnum revolver with dark iron sights against a dark target than it is to shoot a 9mm with more visible sights. The same thing happened to me several months ago when I decided to go retro in an informal shooting match with an old Browning Hi-Power that had gunmetal gray service grade iron sights. The gun is extremely accurate, but we were shooting in the shade in the late afternoon & I couldn’t see anything. It was very educational though, because it reminded me why most of my carry guns have night sights.

    Coincidentally, I’ve also gone a little retro this summer with one of my carry guns. I’ve been carrying an old (1969) Colt Agent with Pachmayr grips just for old time’s sake, occasionally replacing my usual Glock. I had forgotten how comfortable the old full sized Pachmayr grips are on those revolvers & they don’t stick to my clothing. They fit my hand perfectly & make the gun noticeably more pointable than the original Colt grips did. When the weather gets a little cooler, I may have to follow your example & get out my Model 19, too!!!

  3. I want to try one of those round-butt Model 19’s. I didn’t know they existed until I read the article this morning. I imagine that they are indeed pretty rare, though. I had an excellent Model 28 that I should have kept, but that 19-3 might have been even more perfect as a carry gun.

  4. My marksmanship has never been anything to brag about, but between age and creeping cataracts I’m even worse than I used to be.

    The rifles are slowly accumulating scopes, and the optics I see on pistols don’t look nearly as ridiculous as they used to.

  5. Did the Model 19-3 come stock with the grip adapter, or was it a later add-on? Either way a very nice piece and I wish it were mine.

  6. Mas, I’m just impressed that you’re actually packing both Combat Magnums at the same time(I see that round-butt 19-3 peeking out of your shoulder rig!)…

    …now, let’s see if we can find you some brown leather speedloader pouches to match the rest of your leather gear, instead of black Kydex. ;^)

  7. Nothing wrong with revolvers. I wish I could blame my 298 on my Glock, but we all know the equipment is only a minor component. That’s what is so impressive about handgun masters like you, in that you can expertly use any tool in the toolbox. Great class last week. Thanks again.

  8. @ Mas:

    “I was diagnosed with cataracts last year, and the doc tells me it won’t be time to carve them out until the end of this year.”

    I can sympathize with you. I have had all kinds of eye problems myself. I have had cataract surgery in both eyes. I have had detached retina surgery in both eyes. I have had Macular degeneration in my right eye. I had to take injections directly into the right eye to stop that! (BTW, it is not a natural act to open your eye real wide and let someone stick a needle into it. Believe me, I know. 🙁 ).

    I also have Glaucoma. I take eye drops and pills daily to keep my eye pressures down.

    The result of all these problems is to leave me partly blind in my right eye. Very fortunately, I am left-handed and my good left eye is dominate. So, I count myself very lucky. By rights, with all these problems, I should be blind. The skill of my eye doctors and the advancements of modern medical technology have acted to save my vision so far. I am a lucky man.

    Don’t worry too much about having the cataract surgery. They have that down to a science today. It used to require hospitalization. Nowadays it is outpatient surgery that is quick and painless. When it is over and you recover, you will be amazed at the difference it makes in your vision.

  9. The round-butt Model 19 was, to my knowledge, only catalogued by Smith & Wesson with a 2.5″ barrel. The 3″ and 4″ ones were made only on special order. I first ran across the round butt 4″ circa 1972 in Concord, NH. Back then, the top-shooting lawman in New Hampshire was an FBI agent named Tom Hannigan, who was assigned to the Granite State. His issue weapon as an agent was a tapered barrel 4″ .38 Special S&W Model 10, but his issue sidearm in those early days of FBI SWAT teams was the 4″ round butt 19. It imprinted on me as having ideal balance in both the visual and the tactile sense.

    It turned out FBI got those guns from the US Navy’s ONI, the Office of Naval Intelligence, for whom S&W had originally made them on special order. I kept an eye out for one for decades and finally found this one a few years ago at Pickett Weaponry in Newberry, Florida.

    In the early ’70s, when I first pinned on a badge, police PPC matches (Practical Pistol Course/Police Pistol Combat) allowed revolvers only, and the 6″ maximum allowed length was the winning gun. In NH, cops were restricted to 4″ service revolvers in the State Shoot, hosted by the NH Police Association each year. That event, like NRA PPC events, also had side events for off-duty revolvers known colloquially as “snubby matches.” The most serious competitors would buy a 4″ square butt Model 19 and a 2.5″ round butt one, and have a gunsmith swap the barrels. The 4″ round butt would become their real off-duty carry gun, and the square butt snubby with more stock to hang onto became their competition gun in snubby matches.

    I don’t know if mine left S&W with a 4″ barrel on the round-butt K-frame, or whether someone “did the switch.” I should probably write to Roy Jinks, the great S&W historian, or the S&W Historical Association and send them some money so they can check the records and see how this one left the factory.

  10. Spencer, to the best of my knowledge S&W only sold guns with grip adapters attached prior to WWII, and that was special order from the factory. That particular S&W adapter required special stocks, too. The one on this particular 19-3 is an old Pachmayr adapter I had in my gun box, and I didn’t put it on this gun until I decided to use it for something serious.

  11. Never had a round butt mod 19, but had a partner who had a 2 1/2″ round butt he carried as his primary side arm in uniform. I never shot it, but I did handle it once. It really felt natural in the hand. It had a similar grip filler, don’t know if it was factory or aftermarket.

  12. Mas, you make me want to dig out a couple of my old revolvers and “take them out for a spin”. I’ve been sort of put off by their weight (compared to modern plasic guns, whichI don’t like, but even modern metal frames, like the Kahr and some Beretta and Ruger. The heavy trigger pull on the double action stock ones is a bit off-putting as well, but I happened across a really sweet Smith .357, K frame, six inch, that had been “sweetened” for long range target work by its original owner. My friend, who sold it me, told me his friend, (original owner and the target guy) had put six rounds in a six inch circle at two hundred yards on multiple occasions. My friend is a good shot, but he just stood there and stared…. we joked when I got the revolver.. if this thing doesn’t shoot accuratelhy I KNOW where the problem lies… it is BEHIND the trigger…..

    Sounds like you have been enjoying your summer.. I’m glad. Nothing like working hard AND it being fun…….

  13. Mas, Curious if that class was ‘revolver only’ because of the curriculum or if you were simply teaching a normal MAG class with a wheelgun. The reason I ask is I’d be interested in a very good, intense revolver class to upgrade my abilities. Being an old grey beard myself, I have a healthy decades-long lust on for old S&W revolvers and it’d be a blast to run one through such a course.

    I’ve got a Smith Model 28 that I was able to acquire when my agency, the Texas DPS, transitioned to the Sig in late ’90 or so. In fact my Dad, who retired from that same agency about 15 years ago, has a few of them. I’m certainly N-Frame sized, he’s more L-Framed, but we both have a very healthy love of those old Smiths. I’ve fired more than quite a few of the Federal 125 gr. SJHP’s through my m28, and they still make one damned serious statement every time they fire. I seriously doubt any troll would rise again after an effective application of said round.

    And you’re right about what the old guard Texas Highway Patrol Red Patchers say about it, it was truly legendary. And even if it wasn’t as good as we like to remember or the legends say, as Carleton Young said to Jimmy Stewart in ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’, “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” I think we might do that just a bit here in Texas!

    Anyway, please advise if you do or are planning an in depth revolver course. I’d love to run that Model 28 through it, or perhaps one of two near-future acquisitions; a S&W Model 19-5 2 1/2″ with Ahrends grips or a S&W Model 657 3″ with the wooden, finger groove round butt grips.

    Thanks again for the article, very well done as usual!

  14. On my 18th birthday I purchased my first pistol. A S&W Model 19-5 4″ Nickle. What a beautiful firearm and what a shooter it is. Now just shy of my 60th birthday I can still remember that day. Still looks as new as the day I picked it up only it has a lot more friends in the safe to keep it company. It’s the one that didn’t get away.
    Thanks for all you do Mas. Been following you for some time. I’ve learned alot from your adventures. Take care of them eye’s, those front sights seem to keep getting smaller..

    G.

  15. Mas,

    Your 298 makes me feel better about my 295 (4″ M13) during the pace setter in May. I’m glad to hear this retro month is going well.

    Take care,

    Jim

  16. BTW, the grip adapter on my M13 was a Tyler T-Grip. Talk about old school, you can only get them by mail order. You can print out an order form on line & mail it with a check.

    Thanks
    Jim

  17. Mas,

    Good to have a forum with “mature shooters.” I had cataract surgery five years ago. You will find that there are options, especially between multi focal vs. mono focal implants. In my right dominate eye I have a toric which is mono focal but corrects for astigmatism. Left eye just straight mono focal as no significant astigmatism.

    I had both eyes corrected for distance vision. But some people use mono focal lens and do what is called blended vision with one implant corrected for distance and other implant for closer in.

    Multi focal lens are interesting, but given problems I chose the safer mono focal route. So I advise you read, ask questions and chose wisely.

    Now in need of a posterior capsulotomy. Natural lens capsule gets cloudy and you think getting cataracts back, which is not the case. Have to use laser to make hole in natural lens capsule and let in more light.

    Will be interested to learn what options you chose and how things work out for you. Please report on your progress and how you adapt. Good luck.

  18. I myself keep being drawn back to revolvers and hopped to take a MAG 40 with one because, as you know Mas, the new breed of instructors doesn’t know how to run a wheel gun. But I’m past the point of my health allowing me to do that.

    So, keep up the great work and good to see someone “in the know” wringing out the old-style shooting irons.

  19. Now using bifocal (reading & pistol shooting, not ‘distance’). I have them with me all the time now. They really help with reading!

    At 64, being told cataract starting in dominant eye.

    If I had the glasses for MAG 40 a while back, I might havehad a chance at 300.

    Regarding wheel guns, I need the trigger cleaned up on Dad’s S&W. I think it is a model 10. It is spectacular and light (read hair trigger) single action. Years of sitting left it less that reasonable double action. I am embarrased to say I cannot recall the model of the .357 hammerless in stainless. It is ok but would benefit from a trigger job also.

  20. Shane, it’s been a long time since we’ve done a revolver-only class, but it’s something we cover in the regular MAG-40 classes.

    And folks, thanks for the advice on eye surgery.

  21. And floaters … Dang! Drive me nuts reading, hunting and occasionally during bullseye shooting. A mild astygmatism causes trouble; Especially so with red. Lasers, red dot & other sights Must be green for me!

  22. Paul S,

    Are you sure it’s a hammerless? If it looks like a mod 10, but in .357, it’s a mod 13 if blued, a mod 65 if stainless.

  23. My wife had cataract surgery done two years ago. Very stressful for the first eye, second no big deal.

    She went to a outpatient surgery. We signed in at 0600, they took her in back at 0610, and I was helping her into the truck at 0645. I was impressed at how fast and efficient everything was.

    I’ll be going there myself in a couple-three years…

  24. Hey I still cannot hit the broadside of a barn. I could blame it on the wind
    also. and or old age.Actually I haven’t done enough practice yet. I wait
    for my husband. He is retired miltary and I am very safety concuison
    Blessing
    Debby

  25. Dennis, I didn’t make it clear … I was talking about a 2nd wheel gun.
    It is a S&W 640-1 stainless.

  26. As an armchair gunslinger, I have come across a school of thought, that back in the old days of six-in-the-gun and six-on-the-belt, you only had concerns if you were attacked by thirteen bad guys.

  27. @ Fruitbat44:

    Your comment goes along with what Jeff Cooper used to say:

    “A large capacity magazine is most useful if you plan to miss a lot.” 🙂

  28. @TN_MAN

    It was a school of thought, I’ve come across. Along with the statistic – from, way, way back – that the average number of rounds discharged in a gunfight was 2.8. No, I can’t recall the source of that statistic.

    Good comment from the Colonel, although I believe a rejoinder might be along the lines of:

    “Single column magazines are most useful if you plan on hitting each and every bad guy, first time, first shot.”

    “That is exactly what I am planning on doing.”

    “How often do things go to plan in a gunfight?”

  29. @ Fruitbat44:

    That average number of 2.8 rounds fired per officer per shooting incident probably comes from the NY Firearm Discharge Reports.

    The NYPD began keeping statistics on officer shootings back in 1971. They have about 45 years worth of data in their database at this point. That is a lot of incidents for their bean counters to number crunch! 🙂

    Back in the revolver era, the NYPD did find that the average fired was about 2.8 per incident per officer. Note that, once the NYPD switched to 9mm semi-auto’s, that number began to climb. It is just too easy to “spray and pray” with a semi-auto.

    I believe the average settled to about 4.0 rounds fired per officer per incident once they got the whole police force switch over to the 9mm instead of the 38 special.

    You might want to read a few of these firearm discharge reports. The ones for recent years are posted here:

    http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/stats/reports-analysis/firearms-discharge.page

  30. Shane, Grant Cunningham is teaching his “Threat Centered Revolver” course in Phoenix in November.

  31. @TN_M<AN

    Thank you for links. They look interesting and I will peruse in due course.

    Hmm . . . statistics.

    "There are lies, damn lies and statistics."

    "Statistics are like bikinis; what they reveal is interesting, what they conceal is vital."

    Though I personally like a variation on the last one:

    "Statistics are like bikinis; they often repay closer inspection." -blush-

    IIRC Mas once wrote of an Agency whose average number of rounds fired in a shooting incident went from 1.6 per incident to 2.8 per incident. (Or something along those lines.) When a new Chief excluded from "shooting incident" such things as accidental discharges, suicides and humane despatch of an injured animal. All of which didn't involve more than one round being fired.

  32. OK, on the NYPD reports, I used to study those extensively to glean training tidbits. The stats vary year to year, but the average for a police shooting run in the 3.5-4.7 rounds per good guy per bad guy range. In a gunfight (rounds going both ways) not surprisingly, the round count goes up. That runs 6.? -8.? per good guy per bad guy. As noted, these exclude negligent discharges, suicides, putting down injured animals etc. Back in the old days, when those were included, the round count was around 2.7 per GG per BG.

    Now then, for retro, last fall I realized we had a bear visiting our rural property. The snubby in a pocket seemed a bit less reassuring. After some thought, I dug a model 28 S&W I’d hung a heavy barrel on in the 1980s out and brewed up some reasonable bear loads for the 150-300 lb black bears usually seen in the area. While at 52+ oz, it’s a bit of a load, but it’s a comforting load. And yes, it did take some practice to regain my round gun mojo.

    For further retro, and recalling a previous thread, Mas, you might want to retro more than your iron. When away from the home place I generally now sport a nice Panama in summer and a fedora otherwise. I get a lot of appreciative comments from the ladies.