About the Blog

Educating fellow Jews about the sporting and defensive use of firearms. Especially Jews in North America, too many of whom are instilled with the belief that guns aren't for nice Jewish boys and girls.

If you know of notable Jewish shooters that should be documented on the blog, even if it is only at the local club level, I am happy to report and profile them. And don't be shy if that person to be documented is you! Please drop me a line at jewishmarksman at gmail dot com. Also follow me on twitter @JMarksmanship.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Suggested 2013 Listening

I am a big fan of podcasts and internet-based radio.  I can download audio to my smartphone or listen live online, and then via bluetooth use my car speakers or a headset.  I listen while I drive and jog, but also while I practice shooting and at the reloading press.  Unfortunately, the tools I use to access the podcasts and audio are a bit hodgepodge.  I use Google Listen, which integrates with Google Reader (a great web and phone-based RSS reader), also tunein.com and now stitcher.com.  Here are a few of the things I listen to:

1. http://www.hebrewpodcasts.com/

There are a few sample .mp3 files on the site, but you have to pay.  The great thing is though, you can pay once and they make it easy to download all of the past .mp3 lessons.  So I paid for 90 days or something like that, and downloaded all the past lessons, which should keep me busy for a year or so.  I think this podcast is the right way to learn a foreign language, which is to listen to conversations, repeat them, repeat them, repeat them, repeat them, repeat them...  This is how children learn.  Learning a language is not an intellectual exercise...like shooting skill it is a habit mastered by rote.  Last year's new year's resolution to become fluent in Hebrew failed...hopefully this year these podcasts will help me get there!

2. Dennis Miller via Tunein.com

I really like the former Saturday Night Live and NFL commentator's daily radio show.  His style is not for everyone, but give him a try, he might be an acquired taste.  I use the tunein.com app on my phone, but also on a TV where I practice shooting dry fire via the tunein channel on a roku.com box.

3. Black Man with a Gun - Urban Shooter Podcast

This podcast is by Rev. Ken Blanchard, a Baptist pastor.  Rev. Blanchard is a scholar, a gentleman, a tzadik and a mensch.  Trust me when I say that if you tune in for a few episodes of his podcast, it will not be what you expect.  Here is how he describes it:

It is here that I passionately, positively and persistently produce this podcast to encourage, educate and enlighten people around the world that want it.
I sing, I joke, I interview interesting people I have met or hear of that are not afraid of coming on a show where they might find a new friend.
The podcast is not just about guns its about the people behind the guns. It’s the unsung heroes of our communities. It’s the women, mothers and sexy grandmothers that choose to arm themselves. It’s those that hunt and compete too, (the women) that folks like to ignore or pimp only on special occasions.
This show is about all nationalities, ethnicities, white, black, brown, yellow and every combination in between that shoot, own guns and fight to do so because of misinformation and racism. It’s for the urbanite and rural shooter. It’s for America.

I would tune in even if he never talked about guns, it's that good.  There are several ways to hear the podcast, lately I have been using stitcher.com on my phone, I have mixed feelings about that app as I used to use Google Listen which was easier to deal with.  I think there is a way to use tunein to get it as well.

4. Chabad.org

I am part of the "conservative" sect of American Jews, so I do not belong to a Chabad schul, but every time I have been to one I have felt welcome, despite the fact I am far less observant or versed in the siddur (prayers) or kashrut (kosher laws) than more observant, orthodox Jews.  I don't take the label of me as "not yet frum" as an insult at all.  To be blunt, anybody who tells you Chabad is a cult has no clue what they are talking about, and are probably just insecure in their own beliefs.  So don't be afraid, give their web site a try.

Well in any case, Chabad has excellent Torah study podcasts for every level of Torah knowledge and every learning style.  Want to take a textual approach?  They have a podcast for that.  More into the emotional and spiritual?  They have a podcast for that.  Only have 2 minutes a week?  They have a podcast for that.

The web site is a little difficult to navigate sometimes, but you can find the weekly Torah portion podcasts here:

I like the weekly lectures by Elimelech Silberberg, because he gives a run down of the text (helpful for those many, many weeks I fail to read it) and then transitions to the practical and spiritual applications.  I also like Moishe New, who gives a spiritual, kabbalistic lecture on the week's portion.

5.  BBC World News

Although I do watch the CBS nightly news (in my opinion it is one of the more fair and balanced mass media outlets out there), I also like the BBC world news podcasts and streaming through tunein.com.  The BBC is not always fair to Israel, but overall I don't think there is a better news outlet out there for what is happening around the world.

So with that, have a Happy New Year and keep 'em in the 10 ring!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mosollom the Archer

Joseph ben Matityahu ("Josephus") was a first century Jewish historian, and is a somewhat controversial figure.  He wrote several histories of the Jewish people.  In one of his books he recounts a story told to him of the Jewish archer named Mosollom, who lived sometime Alexander the Great, so roughly 300BC:
As we were travelling towards the Red Sea, there was one Mosollam in the company, a Jew, and one of our horse-guards, that was looked upon to be very brave, and a famous marksman with bow and arrow.
As they were advancing on their way, a soothsayer, that took upon him to foretell the fortune of their voyage, bade them all stand, and they did so.  This Jew asked them what they stood for. The cunning man, showing them a bird, replied, "If that bird stands, you are to stand; if it rises, and flies on, you are to go forward too;  but if the bird takes its flight the contrary way, you must all go back again."  
The Jew, without any more words, let fly an arrow, and killed the bird.  The diviner and his companions fell presently upon the Jew in most outrageous terms.  
"Why certainly," says Mosollam, "you are all mad to be thus concerned about a foolish bird.  How shall that poor wretch pretend to tell us our fortune, that knew nothing of its own?  If this bird could have foreseen good or evil to come, it would have kept itself out of the way of this arrow." 
I like that story.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jewish Legal Minds and American Gun Rights: Gura, Sigale, Gottlieb, and Posner

It has not escaped notice of many gun owners that Jewish politicians like Dianne Feinstein (D-California) are contributing to the efforts of late to destroy Americans' gun rights.  However, many are unaware how prominent Jewish attorneys have been in protecting those rights.  Here are a few examples:

Alan Gura is a sort of superstar in the fight for 2nd Amendment rights.  First he won the 2008 case  United States Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, which finally settled the notion that the 2A provides a right to firearms ownership independent of membership in any organized "militia."  Then in 2010 he won  McDonald v. Chicago, which held the 2A and Heller applied to the states.  His most recent 2012 win is Moore v. Madigan, where a federal district court held that Illinois' ban on concealed carry (the only state to ban all concealed carry) is unconstitutional.

In a 2008 article about Gura:

Gura, in contrast, said statistics indicate that gun ownership tends to reduce crime and increase public safety. Moreover, self-protection is a fundamental right, he added, because citizens cannot always depend on the government to protect them from criminals or tyrannical rulers. He said Jews, in particular, should take note.
"We should examine our history and see that our reliance on governmental officials to preserve our liberties has not always worked out so well," explained Gura, who considers himself a libertarian. "There is still anti-Semitism. The sad fact is that many Jews have the option of being armed or dead and not that many prefer to be armed."
Asked why Jews seem disproportionately opposed to gun ownership, Gura said, "It's puzzling. Many Jews seem to prefer heavy government intervention, and it's not a good thing." Jews, he said, often have the mistaken belief "that the government is a beneficent force to always do good and help people out."
An Israeli native now living in Alexandria, where he attends the Conservative Agudas Achim Congregation, Gura, 37, came to the United States with his family when he was 7. They settled in Los Angeles. He received his undergraduate degree in government from Cornell University and his law degree from Georgetown University. Gura, whose law practice, Gura and Possessky, has offices Alexandria and D.C., focuses mainly on civil rights and intellectual property matters.
Gura, who with his wife has a 1-year-old son, first became a gun owner in the early 1990s because, he said, he wanted to be able to defend himself against crime. Among the contributing factors in his decision to buy a weapon were the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, which Gura said he watched on TV "with a great deal of concern" while he was in college at Cornell. He said he has never used the gun in self-defense.
Gura was hired to handle the case in 2003 by social acquaintance Robert Levy, a nonpracticing attorney and libertarian scholar. Levy and another lawyer recruited the plaintiffs, six D.C. residents who wanted to own handguns. 
Another attorney, David G. Sigale assisted Gura on the McDonald and Madigan cases, and appears to be involved in a Chicago-land synagogue.

The Jewish judge writing the majority opinion in the Madigan case was none other than Richard Posner.  Posner's opinion is very good for gun rights, because he wrote that "...a ban as broad as Illinois's can't be upheld merely on the ground that it's not irrational..."so substantial a curtailment of the right of armed self-defense requires a greater showing of justification than merely that the public might benefit on balance from such a curtailment, though there is no proof it would."  That language is critical because the Supreme Court's Heller opinion did not explicitly tell courts what test to apply when determining whether certain laws restricting gun rights are constitutional or not.  Lower courts are still feeling out the parameters, and Posner's opinion is a step in the right direction towards strict, or at least intermediate scrutiny.

Finally, Alan Gottlieb is not an attorney (according to Wikipedia) but is  is the Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.  The SAF, as I understand it, funds Gura's and other gun-rights lawsuits, but also promotes knowledge of the 2A and its history.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Glock 19 Review

I recently wrote about my experience with a new Glock 17, and on my lunch hour today I played with a new model 19.  They are very similar, except the 19 is smaller in several dimensions.

Overall, I was not as thrilled with the 19 as I was the 17.  Not that there is anything wrong with the 19, but in the ways that matter to me, the 19 is inferior.  The sight radius is shorter, and today with overcast skies I had a hard time getting a good look at the sights.  The trigger on this gun is heavier and mushier than the 17, and I found myself nudging slightly left given how much force it takes to get the thing to fire.  It may be one of the worst triggers on a pistol I've ever handled.

Above is my target at 50 feet, two hands standing, about 60 rounds, some slow fire some semi-rapid fire.  Slow fire I basically shot out those two large holes, rapid fire was a little dicier as the lighter gun likes to jump a bit more than the 17.

Now I know some will say that at 50 ft. that is a good target for 60 rounds (mostly fitting in a dollar bill), but I'm used to them all in the 10 ring.  I think the sights may need just a nudge to the right for me, and I do have a sight pusher tool, but the verdict is not out yet as to where the problem lies.  I was not able to ring the 50 yard steel plate at the range as consistently as I could with the 17, even with a very slow and steady trigger pull.  I just had a hard time seeing that front sight center up in the rear, and the trigger took like forever to break.  (I know, I know, a Glock was not meant to be a target gun, and if I track the rear sight just a smidge right I'd have a nice ten-ring concentration and maybe wouldn't be complaining at all.....)  The elevation (vertical spread) of the shots does look pretty good, especially because I was doing some quicker shooter where elevation can be tough to keep tight anyway.

At the advice of one my readers I did order 3.5# connectors for both the 19 and the 17 and will install them soon.  From hundreds of reviews I've skimmed by others, this simple swap totally transforms the trigger feel of the gun and size of the groups one can produce, so I'm looking forward to that.  I'm also thinking to modernize at least one of the pistols with a 3-dot sighting system with night sights and start practicing for more speed at closer range as opposed to being "that guy" who likes ringing steel at 50 yards with a gun never meant for that purpose.  Kind of a culture change for me...

Last but not least, I left the range with more brass than I came with, which is always a good day for a frugal Jewish marksman!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Year End Tzedakah (Donation) Suggestions

One of the cornerstones of the Jewish faith is Tzedakah, sometimes translated as "charity" (although I think the real meaning is far more complex).  Like many Americans, I sometimes wait until the end of the year to make financial donations.  Aside from the various donations our family makes to various causes (animal shelters, various Jewish causes), this year I added a few more given everything going on in the world of firearms.

1. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

It may surprise some readers that up until today I was not a member.  Why?  I typically do not like to donate to charities unless there is easy-to-access detailed transparency as to how the money is used.  I looked on JPFO's web site, and did not see any financial disclosure information.  But now more than ever, I think the message the JPFO puts out is critical and must be heard.  I gave less than I might if more detailed financial information had been made available, with a simple one year membership.  I am thinking about buying one of their bumper stickers which reads "Gun Control is not Kosher".

2. Gun Owners of America

I have known of this organization for some time, but had not contributed or joined due to the fact that I already maintain a membership in the NRA.  Besides the political arm of the NRA, it is the controlling body of the shooting sports I participate in.  But given the current politics of "gun control," I became a one-year member in GOA.

3. George Zimmerman Defense Fund

The case has fallen out of the news, but Zimmerman is the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin.  Zimmerman claims he fired in self-defense.  In my opinion the Florida State Attorney has conducted itself deplorably in this case, and based upon all of the publicly available information, in my view at this time it appears Zimmerman did indeed act in lawful self-defense under the laws of Florida.  So I made a small donation.

4. Friends of the IDF

FIDF does various good works and support for IDF troops, especially American kids who go serve in the IDF.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Fran Saltzman - Jewish Marksmswoman and First Female Jewish Mountie

“I’m a marksman, which means I’m a pretty darned good shot with a gun and a rifle.” 
Today's Jewish markswoman is Fran Saltzman, who had the distinct honor of being the first Jewish woman in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  In a recent article she described her experiences in the 1970s:

Saltzman likened her six months of boot camp to scenes in the movies Private Benjamin and GI Jane. As if their rigorous training wasn’t hard enough, women were on the receiving end of every form of sexism, from belittling comments to outright hostility and sexual harassment, she said. Saltzman recalled that one trainer introduced them to ammunition by explaining, “The bullet is like a lipstick; the pointy end goes in first.”
As the first female Jewish officer in the RCMP, Saltzman said, “I experienced very little antisemitism... My major battle was proving that women could do the job. The issue was gender and not religion.”
She spoke of one ugly incident that occurred when her troop was taught how to use gas masks. They donned the equipment and prepared to enter a small building in which gas would be released. According to Saltzman, the sergeant asked, “Are there any Jews in this troop?” When she “proudly” raised her hand, she said, he responded, “Hmm, Aronovitch, your people like gas.”
She refused to give him the satisfaction of crying but was so shaken that she failed the test. However, she stressed, this “was the action of one ignorant, prejudiced sergeant, and was not representative of the attitudes of the RCMP as a whole.”
Saltzman is yet another example of Jews serving proudly on police forces in North America.  She is not the only Jewish Canadian marksperson I know of, but I believe the first Canadian I have covered on the blog.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Thoughts on Assault Weapons Bans

Short answer: Banning so-called assault weapons will not save lives. Such bans are nothing more than an "assault" on a sub-culture that some do not understand, and therefore fear and demonize.

I. Digression on cosmetics.

A. Color
I have written before about how so-called assault weapons like the AR-15 have been maligned by many simply according to its cosmetics.  It "looks" like something evil and menacing, no doubt due to it's black color (sorry, but the fact is that throughout the history of Western culture, the color black is associated with evil, death and disease) and prominence in violent Vietnam-era war movies like Full Metal Jacket.

So first let's look at some examples of fully functional AR-15s which are cosmetically less menacing:
Do you see how powerfully colors effect human perception and emotion?  Changing the color allows you tho view the AR-15 rationally and with intelligence, as opposed to emotion.  It took Americans hundreds of years to overcome using color as a basis to judge human beings, and some of them haven't quite made it all the way.  Why would the public consciousness about black rifles be any different?  Now you are equipped to use your intellect instead of emotion.

B. Cosmetic/Ergonomic Features
Our legal system is governed by statutes and regulations, not feelings.  This means law makers must define what makes one rifle an "assault rifle" and another not.  Uninformed law makers having conjured up the term "assault rifle" simply fall back on cosmetic features.  For example, a rifle's having a pistol grip is usually one element of being termed an "assault rifle."  As you can see in the pictures immediately above, the shooting hand holds the AR-15 similar to a pistol.  And this matters...why exactly?  Below is an example of a M1A rifle, used by the US military prior to adopting the AR-15, and actually making a comeback because in most configurations it shoots a more powerful cartridge than the AR-15.  Note that it does not have a pistol grip like most AR-15s have:
The pistol grip is just an ergonomic preference.  Some people prefer them for comfort, some people don't.  A pistol grip has nothing to do with the deadliness of a firearm.

Other "assault weapon" features lawmakers have identified is the presence of a bayonet lug.  Yep, the fact that a bayonet can be easily attached to the rifle is, supposedly, a great threat to public safety.  Actually, the reason the bayonet lug remains on many AR-15s today is that tripod manufacturers have developed mounts to attach there, helping shooters who like to shoot from tripods.  I don't know of anybody who has ever actually attached a bayonet to their AR-15, and I believe that 99% of AR-15 owners don't even own or care to own a bayonet.

As you can see, once you learn about these so-called "evil features" that define a so-called "assault weapon," you begin to see that behind the curtain sits an uninformed fool.  The politicians who scrabble together the legislation have no education regarding firearms, and are navigating by feel.  Now you know better.

II. Reasons why an assault weapons ban will not save lives.

A. Pistol vs. Rifle Caliber Irrelevant at Close Range

Modern pistol chamberings are more than effective at killing at close range, including but not limited to: 9mm, .45ACP, .40S&W and .357SIG.  For example, on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others using a pistol chambered in 9mm as well as one chambered in .22LR, the latter being one of the weakest pistol calibers available.  In 1999 the Columbine massacre primarily involved 9mm rounds.  9mm is by far the most popular handgun chambering round worldwide, with .45ACP a close second in the U.S.  Therefore, concerns over weapons chambered in more powerful rifle rounds are moot, because common pistol calibers are already extremely effective.  Banning certain firearms, in part because they are chambered in powerful rifle rounds will not save lives.

By way of analogy, this is akin to banning 500 horse power sports cars out of concerns that they have the ability to travel far in excess of a 75 MPH highway speed limit.  Such a ban would be senseless because even a 250 HP motor can accelerate a car to dangerous speeds, and in fact even a 120 HP motor can.  All modern cars can hit 125 MPH and above, even with only 4 cylinders, which is extremely dangerous on trafficked roads in the US.  Worrying about and banning a car that can hit 150 MPH or 160 MPH is somewhat pointless, and in point of fact, AFAIK there is no legal limitation on horsepower or how fast a car is capable of going with respect to being sold, manufactured or possessed in the US.

Concern over cartridge power might be relevant if indeed mass shootings ever took place at distances of 100 yards or more, but these are extremely rare, and in any case, a typical hunting rifle would be a more effective tool for that task.  In 1966, this is what a shooter did on a Texas college campus, killing several students from a tower at long range using a hunting-style rifle.  It is true that in 2002 the so-called Beltway sniper used and AR-15, but in that case the rifle was used in a manner similar to a hunting rifle, i.e. one well placed shot for each kill and not as a rapid-fire weapon.  The shooter took only a single shot from one location hidden inside the trunk of a car, and the driver then sped away to a completely new location.

B. Magazine capacity irrelevant and banning high capacity magazines will not save lives.

I blogged separately on this point, so go read that post for that argument.

C. Semi-automatic irrelevant and will not save lives.

This argument is based on pure ignorance of what revolvers based on 19th century designs are still capable of, primarily because revolvers re no longer featured much in movies and TV.  But some sportsmen still use them, and millions are still used for self defense.  With practice, a revolver is just as capable of being a tool for mass murder:
Even a cowboy lever action rifle can inflict serious damage:
Again, this 1800's-era technology in the three videos above.

In conclusion, gun ban legislation is conjured up by folks who have very little or any knowledge of firearms at all.  Clearly, any firearm is capable of killing large numbers of people in a short amount of time.  Therefore, bans on so-called "assault weapons" is nothing more than smoke and mirrors designed to:

a. Give the public (and politicians) a false sense of security and control over violence.
b. Distract from the fact that the US has deplorable mental health care policies.
c. Distract from the fact that pop culture pumped out by Hollywood and video game makers contributes to a culture of violence.
d. Attack people on the conservative end of the political spectrum, who are more likely to own firearms and oppose gun bans.
e. Attack people who belong to the sub-culture of gun enthusiasts, who others don't understand and therefore fear and demonize.  Jews have known and suffered this trait of human culture for centuries.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Thoughts on Magazine Capacity and Proposed Bans

Short answer: banning high capacity magazines will not save lives.

1. Reason #1: Magazines can be quickly swapped, even before they are empty (i.e. when convenient for the shooter) such that whether a shooter carries one 30-round magazine or three 10-round magazines makes no difference.  Check out USAMU member Travis Tomasie:
If you watched carefully, he only took 6 shots from each magazine!  I think the video speaks for itself, case closed.

2. Reason #2: Magazines are based on the exact same design as a simple PEZ dispenser.  It is very easy to either modify an existing magazine or make a new one into a "high capacity magazine."  If someone set on mass murder cannot buy one, he/she will just make one.

It seems to me that most people who propose bans on high capacity magazines don't really know what a magazine is or how it functions.  So hopefully some of them will read this.  If as a kid (or adult) you ever ate PEZ candy with PEZ dispenser, you need to understand that firearms magazines are pretty much designed exactly the same way.  The website collectingpez.com has this diagram of a PEZ dispenser taken apart (and what kid didn't take his/hers apart?):

And here is a Hello Kitty PEZ dispenser in action:
I think you can see it would not take a mechanical genius to create a "high capacity" PEZ dispenser.  Just lengthen the inner sleeve and inner sleeve spring.  It can be done with simple hand tools, or if you want to get serious, use a "3d Printer" (an inexpensive home CNC machine).

Most firearms magazines are no different.  Here is a diagram of the internals of a Glock handgun magazine:
And here is a disassembled AR-15 magazine:
So unless you are the kind of person that struggles to change a light bulb, I think you can grasp the concept that magazines are primitive devices that can and are made and modified at home.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Israeli Mauser Watch 12/20/2012

Today on Gunbroker.com someone listed exactly the kind of Israeli Mauser that I like to see most of all, an old captured German make with a Star of David and other Hebrew markings, as described by the seller:

Very good condition WWII German 98k Mauser rifle that has the “ar 43” code on the receiver for production by Borsigwalde in 1943. This rifle was later reissued to Israeli forces after the war, where is was converted to 7.62 NATO, or .308, caliber. The Nazi eagle proof on the receiver was peened and replaced with a Star of David
Even if you're not in the market, it's worth a click to see the pictures of this special part of Jewish history.  Current bid is $155, and my guestimate is that it will go for $300-$500.

As always,  I have nothing to do with the auction and buyer beware!

(If you are researching Israeli Mausers, you can follow the Israeli Mauser tag to see all my posts on the subject.)

UPDATE: It sold for $405.  Mazal tov to both buyer and seller.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Shooting Update

A little late in reporting it, but a couple weeks ago I shot a smallbore match, this time with the Anschutz 1807, a rifle I had not touched in more than few months.  The match started well, and I completed the Dewar stage of the match (20 shots at 50 yards, 20 shots at 100 yards) with an Expert score, dropping only 5 points.  The rest of the match did not go so well score-wise, but only because I decided to conduct some experiments with canting the rifle a bit, because it felt more comfortable to do so.  That tightened the groups and allowed me to relax more in position, but it took me some time to figure out the sight adjustments due to the canting.  When you hold the rifle at an angle, then sight clicks are going to move in two planes, so for example, a right click will not click so far right as a level rifle, and will actually angle up a bit.

I think I am having to cant the rifle because the stock is too thick where I am gripping it.  My stock was made for 3P, not pure prone, so it is thicker (taller) near the trigger guard and then gets thinner towards the muzzle, so that the rifle sits higher in the standing position.  What I may do instead is try to move my hand further forward to a thinner part of the stock and maybe I'll feel less need to cant.  Some people just take a file or rasp to the stock and thin it out where there hand is, but I'm not prepared to do that to this stock.  I have been thinking that maybe my prone position is a little high off the ground, so moving that support hand forward is a good experiment for that issue as well.

Whatever the case, once I get settled in I'm pretty confident I can sustain an Expert score with just a little more consistent smallbore practice, instead of going months at a time between matches and never practicing with that rifle.  I'm toying with the idea that after I finally shoot an Expert score with the Israeli Mauser I'll focus on making Expert in smallbore, then go back to High Power (with a new bolt match rifle I haven't even shot yet) and finally chase High Master XTC with serious prone skills.  

Well, one step at a time, for now my focus is on the Israeli Mauser and proving it can shoot an Expert score in reduced High Power.  I have had a minor breakthrough on the SCATT with the Israeli Mauser.  I tried a narrower aperture in the rear Mojo sight, such that it creates a thin ring of white around the front sight.  This has greatly improved alignment and on the SCATT I am shooting 95+% in slow prone.  That is a major missing piece of the puzzle to making Expert with the Israeli Mauser, as all of my sitting and standing positions have both had 90%+ scores in matches, but prone has been dragging down the aggregate instead of lifting it (like it does for most shooters).

And readers, remember, I'm happy to report about your shooting competition escapades as well!  Don't be modest and don't be ashamed!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Antisemitic Gun Control Post on Gawker.com? More to Come?

In light of recent events, the "gun control" debate has resurfaced in the American consciousness.  And with it, the search for who to blame for recent tragedies.  To those who know Jewish world history, it would be surprising if some segments of society didn't blame the Jews.  Well, sure enough, I suspect some hate-filled people may be headed down that path.

As I have previously written about, there are a (perhaps surprising) number of Jews in the firearms industry.  I actually know of more than I've written about, but those folks have asked me to respect their privacy.  We certainly don't dominate the industry, but like all productive and respected social endeavors (like business, science, academia, law, medicine) Jewish participation is disproportionate to our numbers.  We are underrepresented in the welfare and prison populations.  Both good things.

So today on Gawker.com, editor Drew Magary wrote an attack piece against the CEO of a gun manufacturer, whose name happens to be Ron Cohen.  The piece is laced with profanity.  All of the Elders of Zion themes are in play, where Magary portrays Cohen as a shadowy, greedy character hiding behind Gentile front men.  The deceptive Cohen has deceived innocent gun owners into thinking they need guns, caring more about profit than human life.  One senses a theme that Cohen is a hook-nosed puppet master destroying good, honest, Christian society.  Magary writes [censored by me]:
Now, I am not the ADL--I don't cry antisemitism every time a Jew or Israel is criticized.  Read the piece and decide for yourself whether some of the ancient antisemitic themes haven't been put in play.  I think they are.

DISCLOSURE:  I have no idea whether Ron Cohen is Jewish, I never confirmed it.  But with a surname like Cohen, odds are he is Jewish.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jews Should Buy AR-15 Receivers NOW!

Jews should BUY AR-15 RECEIVERS NOW.  I capitalize "receiver," because at this time if you do not want to own a complete rifle, then by all means, don't.  A receiver is not a full blown rifle, although it is treated by the ATF as the only part of an AR-15 that constitutes the "firearm."  A picture of a stripped AR-15 receiver is at the left (click to enlarge).  As you can see, it is really just a hunk of metal--no barrel, no trigger, no magazine...just a hunk of metal (although there are even cheaper polymer plastic receivers available now).  You can obtain a stripped receiver like the one in the picture realistically for $80-$120 retail.  A receiver is treated like a firearm, so if you decide to acquire one all federal and state laws apply as if it were a full firearm.

Why do I say now is the time?  Because in light of recent events, certain members of Congress are avowed to pursue legislation banning future sales of AR-15 receivers.  It is possible that you and your Jewish family will never have another chance to acquire an AR-15 receiver, at least not at today's reasonable prices.  If you mean it when you and your Jewish family say "NEVER AGAIN" on Yom Ha Shoah,  then in my blunt opinion, you are at best impotent and at worst a hypocrite if you knowingly do not make a move now.  You know our Jewish history.  Everywhere we go, eventually we are hated, hunted and killed.  I hope the US is different for me and my progeny, but who knows--history counsels otherwise.  I know I will do everything in my power to make sure my progeny have the means and ability to defend themselves if need be.

Again, it is just a piece of metal.  If your children find it they can't hurt themselves with it unless one throws it at the other like a stone (and if you get a polymer receiver, no harm at all!).  If a thief sees it, he probably won't even know what it is, but even if he does, he can't do anything with it.  You are just holding it so that one day, if necessary, you can quickly and easily acquire the rest of the parts to assemble it into something that can defend your Jewish family, or if it comes to it, take as many of the bastards who come for us out before they finally get you.  What else do you think "NEVER AGAIN" means?

BUT, "I have a pistol..." you say.  That's good, but a pistol is not a rifle.  There is an adage among soldiers, that "your pistol is only for getting you to your rifle."  This is timeless advice.  In the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the great Jewish leader Mordecai Anielewicz wrote to his friend:
Three battle companies will move out tonight, with two tasks: reconnaissance and obtaining arms. Do you remember, short-range weapons [(pistols)] are of no use to us. We use such weapons only rarely. What we need urgently: ... rifles ....
I have written before about AR-15 rifles and why Jews should own them.  If you are not ready for a rifle now, then just buy the receiver.  If nothing else, keep in mind that full auto machine guns that were only a few hundred dollars to buy new are now worth tens of thousands because in the 80's it became illegal to manufacture any new ones for civilian sale.  Maybe the same could happen with AR-15 receivers.

I recommend Code Red Firearms, as I have personally found their receivers to be of excellent quality.  The proprietor, Tony Vega, is not Jewish but is a friend of the Jewish people.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jewish Marksman Rocks a Glock

So I recently acquired a Glock 17 (the details of such acquisition to remain classified).  My version is Glock's "Gen 3" model, a full-sized 9mm.  I loaded up some rounds after acquiring some used brass, bulk bullets and load recipes.  The Internet is chock full of Glock reviews but I'll give my impressions anyway.

So first and foremost, the target at left was shot with 10 rounds, two-handed standing at 15 yards.  It's a pretty good group.  It was a cloudy day shooting from a covered firing line, so visibility of the sights was not great and I blame that for the 9s.  I had some ammo left so I shot 4 rounds at 25 yards, that picture is the end of the post.  Again, a good group.  Then I shot at a 8" steel plate at 50 yards, ringing it almost every shot.  For the day a total of 50 rounds, no problems.  So in a sense, maybe nothing more needs to be said.

But (there is always a but) the trigger leaves much to be desired. The break is not clean, it feels like breaking a piece of plastic instead of a piece of glass...kind of mushy.  That is what everyone reports about Glocks.  There are ways to clean up and lighten the trigger pull, I might try the cheap and effortless ones, or not.  Also, I find the sights really tough to use, the rear notch is a little narrow for my taste.  I might think about some low-light or night sights.

My overall thoughts of a Glock versus, say, a similarly sized revolver in 38 special, say S&W 686?  Hard to say.  As range toys, they are both fun and cheap to reload for.  Some might say the G17 is more fun because of the ability to plug in a 33 round magazine, others like the challenge of the wheel gun.  Also with the G17 you might have trouble recovering your brass at some ranges if reloading is important.  Triggers are different but hard to say one is better than the other, maybe I'll feel different if my G17's trigger is modified.  Based on most statistics I've seen 9mm and 38 special are roughly equal in self defense roles.  The G17 balances and points a little more naturally for me than a 686.  Recoil is roughly the same.  So far the G17 has been reliable.  I'm still in the revolver camp for self-defense based on reliability, simplicity, and the statistical probability of a civilian not needing more than a few rounds in self-defense.  But if engaging multiple bad guys is something you think could realistically happen to you, or if you just can't get yourself to stop worrying about it, then I give the G17 a thumb's up.  If and when I try other Glock models I'll report in.

For those that want to know, the load was Zero 115gr. FMJ over 4.2 grains of Alliant Bullseye, 1.13 COL with CCI spp, I believe it's #500.  I ran the load through Quickload software, and it is well short of max pressure.  I did not make enough ammo to really do much rapid-fire testing, but now I know my load recipe works so I'll rock and roll next time.   25 yard target below, just took 4 shots because I wanted to save my remaining ammo for the 50 yard steel plates:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Harsh Firearms Hebrew AR-15

The picture at left and at the bottom of the post (click them to enlarge) are of a Hebrew and Israeli flag inscribed AR-15 owned by Jared Harshaw, who is the owner and operator of Harsh Firearms.  I contacted Jared to learn about the inspiration for the receiver, which was very educational--not so much about the receiver, but of Jared's religious beliefs (he is neither Jewish nor Israeli).

First of all, let me comment on the fact that I see many parallels between the ignorance and resulting fear that many American Jews have with respect to firearms, and the ignorance and resulting fear many American Jews have with respect to Christian Zionism.  Every American Jew should read David Brog's book, Standing with Israel (I was sent a free copy for some reason, so there may still be some organizations giving it away, otherwise get it from Amazon used for under $5).  The book gives a basic overview of the theologies driving Christian Zionism (i.e. Christians who strongly support Israel and more specifically, the Jewish State), which is essentially founded in respect (or love) for the Jewish people and their covenant with G-d.  There are way too many uninformed American Jews who think Christian support for Israel is either some plot to convert Jews to Christianity, or a convenient "frenemy" relationship in opposition to radical Islam.  In their minds, all Christians=Catholic Inquisition, just as in their minds Guns=Murder.  Pure ignorance and secular progressive group-think.  And even for those Christian Zionists who believe Jews ought to become Christians...who cares?  If we are really believing Jews, then we should believe that everyone else ought to convert to Judaism!  I see nothing wrong with anyone believing their religion is absolutely correct, so long as that does not imply the use of force or other undue pressure on others to convert.  The entire world is currently threatened by a religion that simply doesn't grasp that last point.

So back to Jared, here is his response to my inquiry about his AR-15:
Hello, Nice to meet you. My name is Jared Harshaw, I own Harsh Firearms. The rifle is my personal firearm. I'm a Hebraic Roots follower, believe in the holy days and the rest of the commandments found in the Torah. So when I decided to change the upper on my AR I went ahead and re-coated the whole thing. I do a lot of cerakote and came up with the idea as I was trying to put a personal touch on it. Its a good way for the conversation to be brought up when I'm out shooting and a way to educate. Its not finished yet and I just posted a few quick pictures of it. Waiting on the barrel to come in and coming up with an Idea for the Suppressor I have for it. Not really sure what else I can say other than we support Israel and not just with our mouths. Our congregation sends money to Itimar monthly and have had Moshe and Leia come through many times at Bet Ami.  You do a full on interview if you would like, I'm open to every bit of it. I would say the Wikipedia is pretty close to what I follow. Just trying to get out of Egypt per se. Discarding the lies of our fathers and looking to see the lost 10 find their identity and their way home. 
You can find the Hebraic Roots Wikipedia page here.  I strongly suggest you take a look and educate yourself.  I am a strong believer that Christian Zionists (including the unfortunate loser of the 2012 presidential election) are the true friends of Israel in the US, perhaps more so than most liberal, secularized Jews.  As for the Hebrew on the receiver, along the top is inscribed Devarim/Deuteronomy 28:7:
The Lord will cause your enemies who rise up against you, to be beaten before you; they will come out against you in one direction, but they will flee from you in seven directions.
The full-auto fire select (which I assume is non-functional?) is Tekiah Gadolah (loosely "the big blast")...as in the the long blast of the Shofar on the High Holidays!  I believe I first learned of Jared's lower from a post by Double Tapper.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Shooting Update

Another weekend passed without me being able to crack the 90% barrier using the 70 year old Israeli Mauser in the High Power match.  But we nudged a little closer.  Last month, I shot 86.5%, and this month 87%.  Probably the biggest barrier to real gains was a lack of practice this past month, due to the fact that I participated in my first half-marathon (13.1 miles) which took a bit of training for.  For those interested, I did finish, averaging a 9:55 mile.  I only had time to practice some standing position and prone position shooting with the scatt. I had never done any serious slow fire prone shooting with the scatt and mauser, and noticed a number of triggering flaws but did not have time to figure them out.  So long story short, here's how I did:

Standing: 183-2 (91.5%).  This was a big improvement over last month's 85%, and was actually the third best score in the 13 person match!

Rapid Sitting: 169-0 (84.5%).  This was a disaster, including a six and a (gasp!) miss!  Last month I shot 90.5%.  What went wrong?  Basically a month without practicing sitting with a timer left me completely out of tune with how long 60 seconds actually is, and I rushed, rushed, rushed when there was absolutely no need to. Actually the score is not that bad all things considered, even with the miss.  But really, given that it is the same target and a stable position, my sitting should be as good or better than standing.

Rapid Prone: 174-0 (87%).  This was a decent improvement over last month's 83.5%.  But like sitting, I am still rushing things.  In fact, I miscounted my first 5 shots, fired shot six on an empty chamber, but still had plenty of time left after all was said and done.  If I slow down I am confident I can break 90% here.

Slow Prone: 170-2 (85%).  This was basically no change from last month's 87%, and in fact, the target looked eerily similar with 4 or 5 7's dropping out the bottom.  I learned from the scatt that this is probably due to bad trigger technique, so I need to work on that.  I tried using a smaller front aperture  which on the scatt resulted in tighter groups, but at the range did not seem to make much difference, and in fact darkened and blurred the bull uncomfortably.  So I will probably go back to the bigger aperture and just work on trigger technique.

Total: 696-4 (87%) versus last month's 86.5%.

Once again, shooters in the club took notice.  I shared a position with another shooter who was quite impressed with what the Israeli Mauser could do compared to his AR-15.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Israeli Mauser Watch 11/30/12

Listed on Gunbroker.com is a 1944 stamped Israeli Mauser.  I do like the straight bolt-handle as most are bent, but this can be an issue if one wants to scope the rifle.  Current bid is $99 with no reserve, I would guess this will go for around $300.

Also for sale is a nice-looking Belgian with the IDF crest.  I like the seller's spiel, "Just a great piece of history & have seen renewed collectability due to recent events."  Current bid is $305 with no reserve, I am guessing it will close $400-$450.

Again, I have nothing to do with these auctions and as always buyer beware!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Israeli Mauser Watch November 25, 2012

Notice how they always seem to come in bunches?  Here is another Belgian with the IDF crest listed on Gunbroker.com.  From the sounds of it, might be a good shooter.  Starting bid is $299, I wouldn't feel bad paying $425, and wouldn't be surprised if it goes for a little more.  From the sound of it, the barrel is in good shape and the bolt headspaces, which is a good sign that it will likely be safe to shoot (have a gunsmith check!).

As always, I have nothing to do with this auction and buyer beware!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Israeli Mauser Watch November 24, 2012

Today on Gunbroker.com I noticed a nice looking Israeli Mauser...this is one of the contract builds form Belgium  not a WWII captured rifle.  I prefer the latter, but of course the Belgians have the beautiful IDF crest.  This one has a "buy now" price of $1350, which I assume is based on the fact that all the serial numbers match.  I'm not going to venture a guess at the value, because I am always surprised how much collectors will pay for matching serials (i.e. the bolt and receiver).  Certainly a handsome stock.

As usual, I have nothing to do with the auction and as always, buyer beware!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: Shooters by Jewish Author Abigail A. Kohn

I recently finished reading "Shooters - Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures" by Jewish author Abigail A. Kohn.  The book purports to be an academic analysis of "gun enthusiasm" in America.  In the book's first chapter, Kohn describes her methodology:
In the fall of 1997, ... I set out to conduct an anthropological study of gun enthusiasm.  To collect data, I used the traditional anthropological method of participant observation, which basically entails joining the designated group in question, making friends with its members, observing and participating in community events, and engaging in group activities with the community.  For fourteen months, I spent time at shooting ranges, gun shops, and shooting competitions ... [and] conducted in-depth interviews with thirty-seven male and female gun enthusiasts and spent hours hanging out shooting with dozens more.
Kohn informs her readers that anthropologists term this method "ethnography," although to me, as a trained economist and lawyer, it just sounds more like simple journalism.  But either way, Kohn tells us "... [e]thnography fills in the gaps and provides a window for the social world of any given group" and her goal is to inform her readers as to "what gun enthusiasts really think and do."

As I will discuss shortly, Kohn succeeds at her task, but for those like me already in the "gun enthusiast" camp, the book tells another, perhaps unintentional story.  That story is Kohn herself, or more generally, the transformation of a liberal intellectual to a gun enthusiast (or at least gun-tolerant).  This subtext unfolds as Kohn reveals events she observed and conversations she had, and the manner she chooses to interpret these facts and explain them to the reader.  Kohn does more than simply observe and participate...it is clear her mere exposure to "gun enthusiasm" transformed her.  And while Kohn many not explicitly discuss this personal metamorphosis in the book, one of her articles at reason.com does:

I am a 32-year-old anthropologist, and the focus of my research is gun use in the U.S. For a "gun scholar," I think I have an unusual background. I did not grow up with guns; I grew up on the East Coast, the daughter of white, politically liberal, Jewish parents. After finishing college and a master’s program in England, I came back to the U.S. and decided on more graduate school. I chose to study anthropology because I liked the spirit of adventure it embodied, and because I liked the idea of working within a nonjudgmental discipline that encouraged the study of human social interaction. In 1993, I entered the joint program in medical anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco.
I didn't expect to study guns. But after several years of studying and living in Berkeley, I found that my interest in my original topic of inquiry -- culture-bound psychiatric syndromes -- was waning. So I slowly began looking around for other research topics, hoping to find something current and interesting. Around that time, I met a fellow anthropology graduate student named Michael (his and all subsequent names have been changed), who was writing his dissertation on Moroccan tourism.
Michael was a fascinating person. A highly educated secular Jew from New England, he was pro-choice and pro-feminism -- and he liked to ride motorcycles. Most intriguing of all, Michael was a hunter. I found this last facet to be particularly odd. I felt that I had a lot in common with Michael, but I didn't expect a man who was so liberal and so urbane to be interested in guns. Unlike me, Michael had grown up around guns. He hunted with his father and brother, and he owned several guns, including a rifle, a shotgun, and a starter pistol that he used to train his dog to hunt.
We began by studying the right-wing militia movement of the early 1990s. Our first foray into the subject would have been comical if it hadn't been so naive. Our initial attempt to meet local militia members took us to a shooting range in the Bay Area, where we assumed local militia meetings would be held. We went on a Tuesday night, fully expecting the range to be seething with radical political activity. Why else would people congregate at a shooting range, if not to meet other like-minded, potentially dangerous right-wing gun nuts? It never occurred to us that they might be there for the simple enjoyment of target shooting.
It embarrasses me now to recall that trip. We went expecting to find militia members milling around in camouflage gear, holding signs, and handing out radical pamphlets. Needless to say, we didn't meet anyone during our visit who fit that description. There may be isolated ranges across the U.S. that do cater predominantly to shooters involved with the militia movement, and even ranges that covertly sponsor "radical political activity." But there were no militia meeting schedules to be found at the range we visited, even though we did see a radical bumper sticker or two: "Gun control is hitting your target."
After we realized that we probably weren't going to accomplish our original goal of establishing contact with the militia, we starting paying attention to what we could learn at the range. And that first time shooting, I discovered something I knew absolutely nothing about: gun enthusiasm. That Tuesday evening at the range we met a lot of people who were there for essentially one thing: to shoot guns. For the most part, they were friendly people who were ready and willing to talk about their interest in guns and their enjoyment in shooting. Eventually Michael and I dropped the militia project, but my interest in gun enthusiasm continued. It has proven to be a very fruitful avenue for research.
As for the superficial text, I believe Kohn did an excellent job of exposing herself to the "gun enthusiast" community and developing a personal understanding of our thoughts, beliefs, and political positions.  Particularly compelling is that Kohn selected particular people she interviewed and informs the reader with selected portions of the interview, letting the interviewee speak directly to the reader.  To the best of my knowledge, Kohn's work may be the only instance of a liberal academic allowing a diverse group of gun enthusiasts to speak for themselves, rather than imposing misconceptions and stereotypes on gun enthusiasts as a whole (i.e. that we all wear camouflage and sport confederate flags on our vehicles).  Although the book was copyrighted 2004, it is still very much relevant.

It is abundantly clear that Kohn fully appreciates that there is no single "gun culture" in America and that our reasons for gun enthusiasm are diverse.  Kohn seemed to almost go out her way to make sure that the reader is exposed to the normal, everyday people that we "gun enthusiasts" really are, and she never cherry picked any stereo-typed portrayals.  She took up shooting herself, debunking yet another liberal myth about guns, and especially about guns and women.

That said, the book is not what I would call an easy read.  It is an academic treatise, and reads as such, including extensive footnotes.  Gun enthusiasts may find that much of the book states the obvious in tedious analysis and prose.  Which brings me back to the subtext, as I believe this is an excellent book to give to an open minded academically oriented liberal, because it was, after all, written by one.  As we know, sometimes the packaging of an idea is as important as the idea itself.  There is something about a message from the NRA that will always offend liberals.  Kohn's book, on the other hand, speaks their language, delving deep into nuance and theory, but ultimately articulating a positive message about "gun enthusiasts."  Foreigners studying American culture would also greatly appreciate the book, as it does present an excellent portrait and explanation of our "gun enthusiasm."

Kohn's book may be especially appealing to some because it does not approach the gun culture with logic, statistics, law, facts or reason.  Instead, at its core, the book is about people.  The book humanizes gun enthusiasts and exposes us for who we really are: perfectly normal, fully functional human beings with normal jobs, normal lives, and normal views of the world.  One gets the sense that Kohn's book shouts to the intellectual elite to set aside their fears and stereotypes of the gun culture and approach the subject with an open mind.  It is as if Kohn, as "one of them" vouches for the "rest of us" as decent human beings with whom a dialogue can (and should) be had.

You can read more reviews of the book and order it at amazon.com.  My copy will proudly join my growing library of gun-related books by Jewish authors.  I myself am waiting for just the right open-minded, academically oriented Jewish liberal to lend my copy to.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Shooting Update

Over the weekend I shot another NRA High Power match with the Israeli Mauser.  I was a little under the weather but shot fairly well, except for some zero issues I'll discuss below:

Standing: 170-2 (85%)
Rapid Sitting: 181-1 (90.5%)
Rapid Prone: 167 (83.5%)
Slow Prone: 174-2 (87%)
Total: 692-5 (86.5%)

Standing suffered from some zero confusion.  The past few months I have been playing with the ammunition loading so I have not been careful about zeros from match to match, sort of finding the zero as I went.  So I kept my slow prone zero from last month going into this match, and it turns out that on this rifle the zero is different for me in different positions.  I think I lost about 10+ points standing before I resolved this, and probably 5 or so sitting.  Rapid prone I had some bolt issues that forced me to take some shots too quickly, but also the zero was off. For the first time I applied grease to the bolt before a match, and this turned out to be a mistake...I'm going back to a clean bolt with dry lube only.  Basically the bolt became difficult to lift, but was fixed as soon as I wiped the grease from the cocking cam area.

The target upper left is my slow prone target.  For reference, the black is 6" wide.  The horizontal spread is fairly tight.  For now, I'm on the fence as to the cause of the 7's.  Certainly the fact the sight radius is so short is not helping, but I am going to play with different aperture sizes and see if that helps.  Obviously the majority of the shots are in the 10/9 rings, so probably some of the 7's can also be blamed on less than perfect technique on my part.  I can say all the 7's were called, although I was a little surprised they were 7's and not 8's.  Truth is I did not practice any prone last month before the match, so my trigger technique was probably a little rusty.

Overall, I think that a 90% (Expert class) score is very attainable soon.  I took careful notes on the zero changes for each position so hopefully next month I will be dialed in better.  Last month I spent most of my time practicing the sitting position, so this month I'll split my time primarily between prone and standing.

But perhaps most importantly, the Israeli Mauser continues to win fans in the club.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan - Still a Jewish Markswoman

About a year ago we learned that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan enjoyed exercising her right to bear arms.  Today we learn she is still at it, with hunting large game her shooting sport of choice:

Witty and affable, Kagan often kept the crowd chuckling with her preference for American Top-40 music and tales of learning to shoot fowl with Scalia.
"Last spring, he said to me 'It's time to move on to the big game,'" she said, adding that she will miss Saturday's football game in Neyland to hunt with him in Wyoming.
"I'm hoping to bag myself an antelope."
Remember that when Kagan was appointed by Obama in 2010, she was widely regarded as a stereotypical left-leaning Jew, likely to rule in a manner unfriendly to the Second Amendment.  But two things happened: 1) someone invited her to go shooting and 2) she kept an open mind.  So share this blog with your fellow Jews and TAKE A JEW SHOOTING!  You never know what the positive repercussions may be.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Israeli Mauser Watch 10/30/12

Hope all is well with my readers affected by the storm.  For those with power and internet access, today there is another Israeli Mauser up on Gunbroker.

This one has a bolt with matching serial number, which for some reason collectors tend to pay more for, so I am not going to make a guess at the value.  As described it appears to be a very fine specimen, almost a shame to use as a shooter.  At this time the bidding starts at $530 with no reserve.

As always, I have no connection whatsoever to this sale, and buyer beware!

UPDATE 11/24/12 - Gunbroker.com shows it sold for $535.00

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jewish Marksman Shoots Sharpshooter Score with Israeli Mauser!

Last weekend went fairly well with the Israeli Mauser in another reduced High Power match.  The little tweaks I did since the last match helped tremendously, in particular the grip tape.  But most importantly, my bolt speed has really improved.  In both sitting and standing rapid fire, I had several seconds left over so I know now I can slow down slightly and get off better shots.  My reloads with the stripper clips were quick and snag-free.  The match was only a 50 shot match this month instead of the usual 80.  Here is how it broke down:

10 shots standing 85%
10 shots rapid sitting 87%
10 shots rapid prone 89 %
20 shots slow prone 161% (80.5%)
Total 84.4% (Sharpshooter cut-off is 84%)

So looking at the percentages, I'm pretty confident that if we had done the full 20 shot stages as usual, my total percentage would have been much higher.  I attribute the low prone score to the fact that I did not have a good zero having switched to a new load.  (I dropped the powder charge thinking it would help with recoil. I don't think it made much difference with recoil, and actually the bullets are not well stabilized at the slower speed because the target holes were larger and ragged.  That instability actually helped me gain a few points when the larger holes broke higher scoring rings!)

In the same match there were 12 other shooters using an AR-15, one M-14.  Some of these were newbie shooters but I came in 7th place with the Israeli Mauser.  There were also 4 shooters using Springfield bolt guns, although they used the 200 yard target for the entire match.  Nonetheless, I beat two of them even with the different targets, and I suspect the other two if they had used the longer range targets.

I'm now fairly confident that a 89% (Expert class) score is an attainable goal in the near future.  But as my readers know, for some time I've been gunning for a Sharpshooter score.  It was quite a sense of accomplishment when the match was over.  I have shot many Master and an occasional High Master score with the AR-15, but it's not the same.  Something about shooting competitively with a 70 year old bolt rifle just makes one feel like, well, a Rifleman!

Perhaps the best part is the fact the other club members are starting to respect the old Israeli Mauser more and more.  Especially those that can't beat me yet with their AR-15s, but even those who can are still impressed by what the old girl can do.  I sometimes think that the expense of a good rifle intimidates too many from taking up this sport.  Many of us are conditioned to think we have to spend thousands to have a competitive rifle.  I don't think there is any reason why someone can't take an off-the rack Remington 700, that new Ruger Scout or something similar, and after figuring out an iron sights solution and trigger replacement, have a Master class-capable rifle for less than $1000.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jewish Gunsmith Hyman S. Lebman

Thanks to reader Henry Sapoznik for alerting me to this one.  As loyal readers will remember, today you can indeed send your guns to a Jewish gunsmith, Budd Gardstein. However, back in the 1930's, you might have visited Hyman Lebman, today's profile.

From the articles about Lebman it is difficult to discern whether he was a busy gunsmith who happened to have had a minority of customers who happened to be gangsters, or if he was some sort of arms dealer to gangsters.

One article (click here) relates the view of Lebman's son, Marvin:
Standing on his lawn, Marvin Lebman said his father hadn't done anything but sell guns to men in nice suits and hats.
"This was an open business, that had doors that were open. And we were a half a block south of City Hall, half a block north of the police department. Across the street from the county sheriff's office. We did more work with policemen than we did with anybody else."

Another article discusses (click here) a full-auto 1911 conversion he did, and how it ended up in the hands of two gangsters:

One day in 1933, he met a pair of otherwise charming young men who were in need of some effective firepower.  They portrayed themselves as new money Texas oilmen and gave Mr. Lebman no evidence to the contrary. What the gunsmith did not know was that one of them was a man born Lester M Gillis, but infamous later as "Baby Face Nelson" and the other one John Herbert Dillinger. Both were master outlaws and desperados who raced to the top of the FBI's Most Wanted List. The two even visited the Lebman home and ate dinner with his family.
Lebman started with the standard .45 ACP caliber Colt M1911A1 semi-automatic pistol as used by the US military in World War 1 and made it into something quite different—he modified the action and trigger group to allow for full-automatic fire. The firearm was not select-fire but full auto only with a cyclic rate of 1000-rounds per minute. To help control this little dragon's flame he added a ported extended compensator to the muzzle that forced the barrel down as it fired.
A Thompson 1928 style finger-grooved fore grip was added just forward of the trigger guard on the bottom of the frame to allow both hands to be used to steady the weapon. With its standard 7-round magazine capable of being exhausted in just the blink of an eye, an extended magazine was fitted that extended about nine inches from the handgrip. Some of these weapons were upgraded in caliber to .38 Super Automatic. The round, invented in 1929, was similar in size to the .45ACP yet pushed a smaller 130-grain bullet at a blistering 1,280 ft/s. The 45ACP versions used an 18-round extended magazine, while the .38 Super used a 22-round version.
Five guns were made and sold to Nelson, who Lebman knew under the alias James Williams.
Nelson and Dillinger both used and abused their Lebman room-brooms. The gang at the 1934 New Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin used one weapon, a .38 Super 1911 S /N 14130 in the shootout. A second Lebman Pistol was recovered from Dillinger later. One more was recovered from Lebman's shop at 111 South Flores Street in 1935 after the gang had sent it to him for repair.

Although the article mentions Lebman was charged with NFA technicalities, he was never convicted and apparently went on to continue working as a gunsmith until the 1970's.  Lebman is featured in Ron Franscell's book, The Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Texas (click here), but again, I have the sense there is not a lot of meat on the bone to the assertion that Lebman was some kind of "gangster's gunsmith."  I am certainly not trying to whitewash Jewish involvement in prohibition-era crime, as there definitely were some brutal Jewish gangsters.  But read the articles on Lebman and judge for yourself.  Wikipedia also offers a brief summary.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Corporal S." Jewish Markswoman and IDF Hero!

The story below is a tale of two Jews.  We Jews often face a choice as to what kind of people we are when our enemies seek to destroy us.  I sometimes wonder if G-d has decided there will always be these two types of Jews among us, but I firmly believe He give each Jew a choice.  Read the story, and decide what kind of Jew you want to be, and how you will raise your children.  And of course, may you have a meaningful and reflective fast tomorrow!  From Yoav Zitun onYnetnews.com 09/24/12:
Female sniper: I didn't think twice
Soldier who killed terrorist recounts events leading to attack on Egyptian border; says 'I did what had to be done.' Meanwhile, it has been revealed that another female soldier hid behind bush during incident, was feared to have been kidnapped Yoav Zitun.
As the story behind last week's deadly terror attack on the Egyptian border unfolds, Corporal S., who has been commended on her performance during the incident, recounted the chain of events for the first time.
S. said that even after seeing Corporal Netanel Yahalomi shot dead in front of her, she did not hesitate to attack the terrorists.
"I didn't think twice. I jumped out of the hummer and did what had to be done. I ran under fire until I reached Netanel, but when I saw his condition, I told my commander there was nothing we could do to save him and we must move on," she said.
S. explained how it all began: "All of a sudden we heard a female soldier shout on the radio 'We're under fire.' I then told the driver to drive to her location. We didn't know what to expect. It was the battalion's first encounter with terrorists."
S. said that while driving to the scene, she thought of her parents. "I was also worried about the soldier on the radio. The whole unit deserves praise, not just me. It takes a lot of courage to remain calm under pressure."
After Yahalomi was killed, S. managed to kill one of the terrorists who was carrying powerful explosives. "One of the terrorists exploded right in front of us," she said.
S. then managed to make her way to one of the injured soldiers Mati Yalovski. "I told him to stay strong and most importantly stay awake."
S. finally said that she was very proud of herself. "It is a privilege. Not everyone goes through such an ordeal."
Corporal S. further said that she did not always want a combat position in the army. "Initially, I wanted to be a paramedic but I later realized that I wanted to have a combat role."
She emphasized the importance of serving in a combat unit and contributing to the State of Israel.
Not so heroic
Meanwhile, as the investigation continues, the IDF has learned that not all soldiers followed protocol during the incident: One of the soldiers, who was afraid of facing the terrorists, hid behind a bush throughout the attack and stayed there even after it ended.
According to the investigation, the soldier was in a patrol jeep when the shooting began. She immediately called it in and informed her superiors.  While other soldiers were under fire, the soldier in question hid behind a large bush for an hour and a half.
Shortly after the attack, as the unit commander began "counting heads" in order to see if all members of the unit were there, they were stunned to realize that one of their own was missing.
They immediately thought that she had been kidnapped by the terrorists and taken into Sinai.
Helicopters and search units were immediately called to the scene to search for the missing soldier. She was later found by her commanders, dehydrated behind a bush.
The soldier said she was afraid to shoot back at the terrorists out of fear a "gun fight" would commence. "I thought I didn't have a chance against them."
The soldier was reprimanded by her commanders shortly after.
An initial military investigation launched into the incident reveals that the terrorists took advantage of the arrival of African infiltrators and the fact that IDF soldiers left their post to offer them water.  The terrorists then emerged from their hiding spot, approached the four fighters who remained at the post and opened fire, killing Yahalomi.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Israeli Mauser Watch 09.23.12

Another Israeli Mauser up on Gunbroker (click to see it).  This is a pre-WWII rifle with supposedly matching serial numbers on parts (which collectors love).  This is a rifle that Mauser collectors will love, but for me it lacks some vavoom because it doesn't seem to have any stamped out Nazi emblems that the later Mausers have.  If you look carefully there does seem to be a Star of David and some other Hebrew letters, so that's cool.  This is the kind of Mauser that is really outside my ability to estimate a price, because my guess is it will draw in collectors, and also I've grossly underestimated in the past what collectors will pay for matching numbers.  It seems to me that the sling and stock are probably not original, and the finish seems a different color (more green) than most Mausers I've seen so I wonder about that.  

As always, I have no connection to this auction and buyer beware!

UPDATE 11/24/12: Looks like it was re-listed several times, and appears to have sold for $795.00.