Wednesday, March 16, 2011

History's Oddities

This is Comanche, reputed to be the only survivor of Custer's 7th Cavalry after their fateful battle at Little Big Horn.

The plaque states:
" Comanche, the only survivor of the Custer Massacre, 1876. History of the horse and regimental orders of the 7th Cavalry as to the care of Comanche as long as he shall live 1887."

I would think that some other horses survived and were taken by the various tribes that fought there, but it does make for an interesting picture.

Predator Tactical .500 S&W

For those of you with a lot of money to burn through...
The new Predator Tactical .500 S&W. It is a pump action rifle with a 16.5" barrel and a six round tubular magazine. The basic model comes with a Cerakote® finish in black or tan with Ashely Express sights. It weighs 7 pounds, unloaded. It was developed to maximize the ballistics of the .500 S&W cartridge, developed by Cor-Bon and Smith and Wesson for the X frame revolver. The basic idea is that with a rifle you have a longer barrel, giving the projectile greater velocity. Also, you have less muzzle flash and report because more of the hot gases are used up pushing the bullet out of the longer barrel. You can also have a longer sight radius (the length between rear sight and front sight) this makes it easier to aim, giving better results in most cases. The third benefit is that you can shoulder the weapon and steady it with your weak hand, making it easier to shoot, especially at longer range.

I have fired one(1) round from a S&W .500 and I think the pressure wave gave me a mild concussion. It is something else. Although, in felt recoil, it wasn't too much worse than the .454 Casull Raging Bull I fired. Some of you may not be familiar with the world of ballistics, so I have included two pics to help you:

First, the ballistics data. Not very sexy, but it does give one an idea of the type of power we are dealing with here. For comparison, I have a very "hot" (high pressure = high velocity) 9mm cartridge, the Cor-Bon Pow'rball. It fires a 100 grain projectile at about 1400 FPS. Most of the above loadings are that fast, but 3 times heavier.
Next for those who like a more visual representation:
This is the .500 S&W next too what was once the standard for powerful handgun rounds, the .44 Remington Magnum.

Here is a neat video of the PT 500 being shot:

Who drinks Coke Zero? Be a man and drink real Coke or drink water.

Now the truth is that this is going to be an only marginally useful gun. It would be okay for some types of hunting, but the 16.5 inch barrel will limit its range, making it a good gun only for relatively short distances, perhaps 150 yards as a practical limit. For dangerous game, I would rather have a full sized rifle and a 4" barrel .44 Magnum revolver. It is mostly a gun for rich guys to take to the range and impress their friends. Why rich guys? Because it is from a custom gun shop and is listed at $1895.00 US. All that being said, I sure would like an afternoon with this little gun and a stack of paint cans. Of course I would need about $200 for all the ammo. Oh well.

I would like to see it in a "tacticool" version with rails, polymer furniture and pistol grip with a collapsible stock, but that's just me. And if you are a traditionalist, you could go the lever gun route with the Big Horn Armory Model 89 in .500 S&W.

Camouflage Project

So I decided to try my hand at a camouflage finish for a weapon. Being nervous but smart, I came to the conclusion that I did not want to try it on a real gun without some practice. So I painted my paintball gun.

I originally wanted a simple scheme that would make it a little easier to conceal when playing in the woods. I started by disassembling it and taping off any areas like the barrel and trigger where I didn't want any paint to get. Then I gave it a couple of base coats of ultra flat khaki Krylon spray paint. Then having breathed too many fumes I decided that I would attempt to give it a "digitalized" paint scheme. I only had three colors to work with, all from Krylon: khaki, and a fairly dark green and brown. Some more intermediate colors like coyote brown, olive drab or foliage green would have been nice, but you have to work with what you have. After the base coat, I took out the painters tape and began to cut and place pieces of tape to start the design. It ended up like this:

One thing it is hard to keep in mind with this is that the parts you are taping off will be the base color and the parts currently visible will be the next color in the design. It is usually best to base coat with your lightest color, then use the next lightest and the darkest color last. Also, use the darkest color very sparingly.

This is the result of the masking and green paint. It is okay, but I thought that adding the brown would give it a little more depth. So, more hours of cutting and placing little pieces of tape.

This is the main receiver just prior to getting the last coat of paint. Note that there are more places taped off, as I want less brown than green or tan. Also, it is important to make sure that your third color overlaps both earlier colors. I also tried to keep the lines uneven and to leave little islands of each color surrounded by the others to help the shape breaking up effect. This will help to give the design some depth.

This is the final result. I am fairly pleased with it. It isn't as bad as I feared or as good as I might have hoped. I do think it came out a little too "busy" but I think it is not too bad for a first try. If I did another, (which I certainly would not) I would try to make the various colored areas larger and more blob-like and less line-like. That would make it more like the real digital patterns like CADPAT and MARPAT.

In case anyone is curious, the paintball gun is a Spyder EMR-1. If you choose to do something similar, heed my warning: this takes a lot of time. Too much really. You can get just as good an effect with a couple of stencils and instead of spending hours of time, get it done in minutes- minus the drying time. Let me know what you think, I will moderate the comments so that it looks like everyone loves it anyway. :)