Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oh, To Dream....

It's true, I have a lot of cool toys. In fact, I just finished a grueling two-year 1911 build-up based on a Springfield GI 1911. (Long story short, just buy the trim level you want and save the time of doing it yourself.) Lately, however, my heart has been lusting after cowboy guns. There's just something cool about big-bore single action revolvers, and lever-action rifles. I'm planning on getting one of each, chambered in the venerable .45 Colt (aka .45 Long Colt). My choice for a revolver is the mighty Ruger Blackhawk (with 5.5" barrel), and for a rifle, the classic Marlin 1894. Heck, I might even get one of those cheesy leather cartridge belts and a ten gallon hat.

Why .45 Colt? Well, quite simply, it is cheap and easy to reload. Also, it can be loaded down for plinking, or stuffed full of powder and tiptoe into .44 magnum territory. I plan on loading rounds that are just a little stiffer than factory ammo, so I can use them in the pistol and the rifle. I say this because master gunsmiths like John Linebaugh have shown that Ruger Blackhawks can take absurd levels of pressure-- levels that would reduce most wheelguns to shrapnel. NOTE: I AM NOT ADVOCATING EXCEEDING RECCOMMENDED LOAD DATA. RELOAD AT YOUR OWN RISK. ALWAYS FOLLOW MANUFACTURER AND LOAD DATA PUBLISHER DIRECTIONS. Loading .45Colt rounds into the stratosphere of load data may cause damage to mechanisms like those found in lever action rifles. Therefore, I'm going to keep my loads in the realm of the reasonable.

The Ruger New Model Blackhawk is available in any flavor you like. Go to to see the full menu. The one I'm after is the one pictured above. I may put either rosewood or fake pearl grips on it. Either way, the Blackhawk is a tried-and-true, rock solid platform. The thought of holding one while a 200 grain lead flat nose bullet downrange at 1000 feet per second makes me smile. Aside from being built to withstand a nuclear holocaust, the Blackhawk isn't too hard on the eyes.

Now for the rifle; the Marlin 1894. This rifle is also available in .357mag, and .44 mag. It is relatively lightweight at 6.5lbs, and fairly short at 37.5" end to end (An M-4 is 35" with the stock fully extended). It has an octagon barrel, and buckhorn sights. It is simple to use, and holds 10 rounds of .45 colt. It makes for a handy "walkin' around gun". The combination of the two should keep two and four-legged pests at bay at most practical ranges. Without loading .45colt into silly levels of pressure, the rifle is only really useful out to maybe 200 yards tops. Plan on keeping most shots inside the 150 yard mark.

So why do I want these guns? My Glock 17 and M&P 15 will do pretty much the same thing, and do it faster and at longer ranges. Well, sometimes a guy just wants to be John Wayne for a few hours. Sometimes I don't feel like dragging around a 12 pound rifle with a 3 pound scope and a pistol that holds 33 9mm rounds. Sometimes you just need to shoot a gun with a bore you can roll a marble down. No, I don't really need more guns, but these two sure would be fun.

No comments: