Filthie's Mobile Fortress Of Solitude

Filthie's Mobile Fortress Of Solitude
Where Great Intelligence Goes To Be Insulted

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Cult Guns

If you are looking for the most advanced, practical and versatile rifle in the world - it's the AR15 hands down. It's not even an argument anymore. About the only work it can't handle would be that handled by the big magnum rounds - but you can buy AR variants that can handle those too. If you're looking for the same in a pistol - it's a Glock. You can beat the chit out of those things and they just keep going.

But sometimes the bestest and greatest just doesn't scratch some of the odd itches that the gun nut gets. AR's and Glocks are cool - but they have no romance, no soul, no mystique and no real history. And - what is 'cool' anyways? What does it mean? The older I get the more I love revolvers and antiques. I don't care that they aren't the best - these days I love the stories the old guns may have and their value as conversation pieces has become more important. Getting old does funny things to gun nuts.

This is a hot rodded M1 Garand. It looks like a tanker/scout
build that has been exceptionally well done.

For me, when it comes to shooting fun - nothing... and I mean NOTHING - beats the old milsurps for being fun AND cool.  There's a jillion old service rifles out there but one of the undisputed kings of milsurps is the M1 Garand. This gun is so damned odd that you just have to love it! It feeds from an 'en-bloc' clip - that thing with all the shells in it in the pic. That is inserted down into the receiver and the gun is ready to function like any other semiauto. But, when the last shot is fired, the gun spits out not only the brass - but that clip too! It has a distinctive clang when it does that.

The best shooters in the world are the United States Marines. And while they are the toughest sonsabitches in the world - they are, at the same time, the biggest bunch of bitches and complainers you'll ever meet! They have elevated griping and complaining to a high art form and when Uncle Sam introduced them to their new rifle - they shat bricks and they were square! Previously they were shooting the superlative Springfield bolt gun - it was robust, deadly accurate and reliable enough to stake your life on. Can you imagine your CO telling you to hand it over - and giving you this oddball thing? The squaddies had a bird! "It's a fuggin semiauto! Everyone knows they bung up in dirty and dusty environments! What are those? Target sights? On a battle rifle??? Wah! It's so heavy...!!!" Grumbling squaddies openly considered mutiny and revolt over the replacement of their beloved Springfields.

But the first few engagements proved to even the bitchiest squaddie that this rifle was a tough and mean as they were. For all intents and purposes battlefield accuracy matched the Springfields, Mausers and Arisakas that ruled the roost. In speed shooting it blew everything else away - literally! Those 'target sights' were armoured and tough and held their zeroes. Recoil was moderate enough to allow for real precision shooting - and America's enemies found themselves sorely outgunned.

Today these old relics are respected and beloved veterans at formal target events like the Nationals at Camp Perry. Competitors will pay small fortunes to armourers to tweak and tune them for maximum accuracy. Aftermarket gun companies make their living supplying parts and accessories to keep these guns shooting. That one in the pic has probably been rebuilt from the ground up.

I've always wanted an M1 for my collection but got turned off by the price tags. A good shooter up here starts at $1700.00 CDN and goes up from there. For me that's a lot of money for a milsurp and you have to be careful with these old soldiers - some are collectors and worth a pile of cash - you don't want to lower their value by shooting them out or kicking them round the range.

If one of these should fall into your hands through inheritance or a shrewd deal - the gun gods have smiled upon you, and you need fear nothing that walks in the valley either.


  1. I have one of each. A December 44 Garand, and a 1943 built Springfield. Both are great rifles but in very different ways. I also have a 1918 built Eddystone model 1917. I think it is a far better rifle. More robust, and easier to shoot. What I am looking for now is a Ross...

    1. I remember when I was a kid, you would see them from time to time in the surplus stores. We all turned our noses up at them preferring the the Smelly .303's because they were cheap and common (the fact that most of them were washed out wall hangers didn't bother us one bit!).

      Today even those are fetching crazy prices and your Ross ... why I haven't seen one in a gun shop in decades now. I think the collectors nabbed them all...

  2. Ahh now the SMLEs are a whole 'nother story. I have 3 from WW1. (2 1916s, 1 1918, all built by BSA. Then a 1950 Long Branch that is really nice, and a 1955 Fazakerly that was new and unfired when I bought it.
    I fix Jags and other British cars down here, so it is only right and proper that I collect Brit and Commonwealth guns...My Brother lives in Ontario, so maybe I will get lucky and he will turn one up on a day when I have the money to spend... Crossing the border is expensive though.

    1. Well maybe you can shed some light on the Smellies, J: Mine wasn't bad - I got it from a surplus shop where they put them in barrels and the buyer came along and if it wasn't too scratched or beat up - he bought it. Most went home with Bubba who would do unspeakable things to them and call it 'sporterizing'.

      Mine was left bone stock...but I found that I couldn't make brass last for love or money. The cool kids round here said that was because the steel in the Smelly's action was too springy and if you got 1~3 loadings out of a case - you were doing good!

      I flogged mine off on a .30-30 which REALLY shot like dirt for me...and didn't really do good with guns until I found a Mauser K98 that the Israelis had captured and rebarrelled to .308. I loved that rifle and still miss it sometimes today...

    2. I am just starting to reload, but what I have read is, the chambers are oversize, to accomadate dirt etc from "the trenches". What I have been told is to neck size only, and use the brass in the gun that shot it in the first place. I am waiting til the next gunshow to get 303, and 30 06 dies so I can test that theory. I am told PPU brass reloads well in 303.
      I had an Israeli Mauser once also. Fine gun, sold it off to a young Jewish lad who was delighted to get it.