Remington 870 Police

Better than fifty years ago Remington introduced what was to become one of the predominant working shotguns of the 20th century.  Arriving in 1951, the Model 870 was of markedly simpler construction then most contemporary sporting shotguns and provided an economical alternative to Winchester's Model 12, than the reigning king of the shotgunning world which had successfully held the market against Remington's prior offering, the Model 31. 

Though downplayed at the time as a cheap and crude claimant to Winchester's throne, the 870 was already a reliably strong seller when the Model 12 was dropped from general production in 1963.  It has continued as such in the years since, surpassing the ten millionth sale in 2009. 

At present the 870 is offered in a number of variants.  Most common is the Express, a no-frills model (with a pseudo-parkerized finish guaranteed to rust before you get it home).  The Marine Magnum includes an electro-nickel finish for maritime environments.  In a more classical vein, the Wingmaster offers a higher quality in respect to fit, finish, and wooden furniture.  A model marketed for lawmen was introduced in 1994 - fairly late, given the presence of the 870 in law enforcement and government agencies almost since its introduction.

The specimen depicted here is widely regarded as the Cadillac of working guns.  Available in blued or parkerized finish (not the same as the Express) the 870 Police ships with 20-inch barrel and the option of a factory +2 magazine extension. 

Ruger Speed Six

In the late 1960s, Ruger came out with a new trio of double-action revolvers.   Nominally intended for the law enforcement and security markets, the Speed Six (round butt, fixed sights) Service Six (square butt, fixed sights) and Security Six (square butt, adjustable sights) were produced in numbers of excess of a million all told.  Though the various Sixes never really sprang to mind as the service handgun like the various models offered throughout the 20th century by Smith & Wesson and Colt the designs were nonetheless ergonomic, Ruger-tough, and (from what I hear) generally well-received as duty guns.   

Eventually the Sixes were dropped in favor of the GP100 which, to my mind, was a mistake.  Having shot both series I find I prefer the Speed Six of the lot; there are few revolvers that balance so well as the 3-inch barreled models, nor fit so easily in the hand, and while the too-large-for-concealment GP100 and too-small-for-much-else SP101 remain in production Ruger seems to have abandoned the mid-size double-action revolver market for the time being.  Alas.

Interestingly, the Service Six is noteworthy for its use in nations of the former British Empire with export versions chambered in the marginally shorter .38 S&W.  Other offerings in 9mm parabellum surface from time to time, and once a great while models can be found bearing the markings of various agencies of the U.S. government.  

Beretta M9

Retroactively posted over the complaints of my lately non-extant internet access,  a subject I've been poking at for a while now.  There's been a couple of things in the way - my aforementioned lousy connection (eat it, Skybeam) the many years since I've done anything more with a Beretta than looking at one through counter glass, and the perplexing difficulty of finding the correct markings and stamps for an M9 as opposed to a 92; no, Google, they are not the same, and no, dumbass, the hundred-dollar chunk of plastic you bought for your airsoft hobby is not Just Like the Real Thing (this is a complaint I will likely make many, many times - my apologies in advance).


My experience with the Beretta family is fairly limited.  Once upon a time when I was a teenager my father bought a 92 Inox with the intent of using it for his eventual CHL class.  It was a short-lived resident of the safe; neither of us had the gorilla fingers necessary to shoot one with any degree of accuracy, extra magazines were expensive, the thing was heavy, and the DA/SA operation was an annoying quirk to shooters more familiar with shooting a straight single-action autoloader.  The pistol lived with us for a couple of months, ate maybe two boxes of ammo, and failed to return home from the next Saxet show.  

Personally I'm not convinced the 92/M9 can do anything that a Glock can't do cheaper, lighter, and for half the price, but each their own.   

D-Day Anniversary M1 Rifle & Accoutrement Cards

 In time for D-Day...the rifle called by Patton the 'greatest battle implement ever devised'.  Fortunate that Canada was on our side, I suppose.  Admittedly the accessory card isn't everything that might be affixed to an M1 by your average dogface, but I think it makes a fair representation of what might be common. 

With any luck I'll follow this up eventually with versions displaying the later scoped version as well as a card displaying the rifle with grenade launcher and sight in place. 

But I've been up all night and my eyes hurt, so I'm calling it a day. 

Remington-Rand/Colt 1911A1

As a fan of the 1911 for several years now I realize I've come to develop a strong appreciation for what's commonly called the "G.I model."  And, as I've learned in my on-going attempts to build my very own copy of a pistol like one that Grandpappy carried back in the war, I've come to realize two things:

a) most 1911s advertised as G.I./milspec aren't, and

b) that the best time to buy parts for the old warhorse was thirty years ago

In respect to the former I take a pretty narrow view of what I want in a pistol; I want something that, while not wholly original, could pass the ten-foot test as a specimen issued out of an armory in 1941 or thereabout and potentially carried to the far corners of the world.  That means no accessory rail, correct (small) sights, no frame checkering, a proper high ejection port, and no manufacturer's billboard engraved down the slide.

In respect to the latter, this is problematic.  Moreso in some respects than others.  I cannot tell you the hours I spent scouring the internet for an unmolested high-port slide in good shape before I bought a depot replacement.  Perhaps not what I had in mind setting out, but better than the lowered ports that come standard one most commercial GI guns (including the so-called WWII model I bought from Auto Ordnance to use as a base).  The slide stop and wide-spur hammer I picked up from the parts guys when the gun show came to town.  I'm still hunting a correct checkered mainspring housing. 

But on the subject at hand...the as-issued 1911 is a minor work of functional art.  Usually mixed and matched through arsenal rebuilds or field maintenance an original-parts gun is an extreme rarity, much to the chagrin of collectors.  Certainly I'd love to own an all-matching Colt (especially with the U.S. Navy rollmarks) but in the meantime I'm content to respect the contributions of the average pistol as seen here: the mixmaster broken down, reconditioned, cobbled back together, and shipped to the hot spots of the day throughout a hundred-odd years of service. 


About this blog, and what it does.

The idea behind Steel Carnival is simple; I am a gun nut - part of that vast, vast tribe of people who enjoy the acquiring, shooting, and general admiring of firearms.  In the big scheme of things I've been collecting since the age of three and shooting since roughly the age of seven.  My interests run the gamut from small military small arms to blackpowder and western shooting to the various and sundry accoutrements that go along with this hobby/pastime/crack habit. 

As I'm also a former college student/current broke job seeker, I find my collecting urge usually far exceeds my buying budget.  Hence, I draw.  As most of the things I draw are rooted in my ongoing projects elsewhere there's really no rhyme or reason as to what's on the block at any given time.  Some of them are specimens I own, some I wish I could own, and once in a great while I'll throw in something I'd like to build if I can ever leverage myself into gunsmithing school.

In among the illustrations I may throw in the odd word on things unrelated; my general dislike of zombies, their fanboys, and the genre conventions, my odd ventures to the range, my bitching about the public at large, the present state of country music, things I like, things I can't afford, and if it's a slow enough week (God help you) small fictional excerpts from the dead-end projects I pursue in hopes that one day I can trade printed words for shelter, munitions, and canned beans. 

But mostly I need a place to post pictures and I'm too cheap to buy a website.