Speaking of the shooting public and the market for arms and ammunition, the ammo crunch is easing up a lot now. Rimfire and 9mm Luger ammo are still tough to find in places like Wal-Mart, where they sell out really quickly, but gun shops and gun shows tend to have at least some selection of them. The rimfire ammo remains obscenely expensive, however. I just can't bring myself to buy any of it. I did over-pay for some Brown Bear brand Russian manufactured 9mm Makarov cartridges we found at a local gun show yesterday. That is to say, I paid the current market for the stuff. It's just hard to wrap my head around the concept that 9mm Mak is 20 bucks a box and hard to find right now.
I also picked up some european-manufactured 7.65 Browning, for 17 bucks per 50 cartridges. 7.65 Browning is arguably the same thing as .32 ACP, but I've found that some US manufacturers make their .32 ACP brass with scant extractor grooves that prevent the cartridges's "semi-rim" rims from fully nesting in the extractor grooves of the neighboring cartridges in the magazine. This results in mis-alignment and slop in the presentation of the top cartridge in the magazine column. If you have a .32 ACP pistol that will generally cycle okay if the magazine is loaded short, like maybe 3-5 cartridges, but jams if the mag is fully loaded, you might try a brand of ammo that has the larger extractor grooves.
I picked up the 7.65 Browning because I'm debugging an old "Ruby" type pistol. The Rubys, as they're most commonly known here in the US, were Spanish knock-offs of a simple early 20th century Browning pistol design. They were made in a cottage industry fashion in northern Spain (though the Basques would say the area isn't really a part of Spain). The town most associated with manufacture of the Ruby is Eibar (rhymes with Kabar). Little shops made various parts for the guns, then another shop would assemble them. The Ruby was bought in large quantities by the French during WWI. About 750 thousand of them. They're remarkably crude in manufacture, and the cartridge is remarkably low in power for a military issue side arm, but they apparently worked OK, and the decision of the French military to develop a .30 caliber pistol as their standard side arm after the war seems to indicate that they felt the guns were plenty deadly enough to be worth carrying. The Ruby does have problems, however. And they're big problems. The sear in a Ruby is massive, and there is no mechanism to prevent that massive sear from disengaging if the gun is knocked against something or dropped on its rear end while fully loaded. I'd bet that the French instructed their officers to keep the chamber empty until they had the gun in hand and meant business with it, but Americans are not WWI French officers and it's a pretty good bet that many of us here will make the mistake of thinking that the guns' manual safety (which blocks the trigger only) is adequate to render the gun safe to carry fully loaded.
The good news is that I'm pretty sure I can modify the sear and trigger bar of the Ruby in a way that makes it much more like the Astra 400, and that with careful fitting it will be a lot less likely to fire accidentally. I'm probably also going to lighten the sear by cutting holes through the body of this part. Reducing the mass of the sear will greatly reduce its tendency to dis-engage in a dropped of knocked gun.
And I guess that's about it for the moment. Fishing season is still on, and one of the boys is obsessed with fishing, so that's what we're up to tonight. I spent a good part of the morning repairing rods and reels. Julia and I are taking the hunter's safety courses and starting to get ready to try our hands at hunting rabbits and waterfowl this year. I'm not sure if we'll deer hunt this season or not. Obviously, there's a limit to how much we'll be able to learn in time to have a good and safe time in the field -- and deer hunting may be a bit too much to add to the plan right now. Julia's very taken with the Saiga .410 Kalashnikov shotgun. She's a good shot with it and bought herself a full choke. It'll pepper paper plates nicely out to about 20 yards with 7 and 1/2 size shot. So, despite the horrible reputation .410s have earned as cripplers of game, it seems that this is the gun she'll go rabbit hunting with. I looked around for a Saiga 20 gauge, but the market is still really wierded out from the 2013 Obama administration gun and ammo scare. One of the things that a lot of folks don't understand is that semi-auto weapons are very user-friendly for women, who tend to be less recoil tolerant than men.
And I had a good laugh when I took Julia out to shoot the 9mm Makarov - chambered Polish P-64 the other day. She kept running that little gun dry and looking at it in disbelief that all the cartridges were already fired. In one of those moments she said "What the hell? I want, like, forty rounds in this thing." It was a moment of clarity. Like -- oh, I get the concept of reasonably-sized magazines, now -- and I understand that a low-capacity pistol runs dry frighteningly fast.
I've been very busy with work lately. I've shifted over to psychiatric nursing (and no, I don't let my patients know that I know thing one about guns). So, big changes and a lot of new stuff to learn. Not everyone is cut out for nursing. And most nurses run from psychiatric patients just as fast as they can, but the reality is that psych patients are very vulnerable people. Kind of like sharks are vulnerable animals, though. You really have to be careful not to forget where you are when you're in a room full of people with serious mental health problems. And you have to know how to prevent injury to yourself and others when they attack someone, or attack you for that matter. And that does happen pretty frequently. This requires techniques that are, essentially, a form of martial arts. It's a gentle hands minimal force art of physical restraint, and I sure hope I've got enough of it ingrained now, because when things get wild, staff has to move quick to prevent serious injuries -- and that includes injuries to the patient launching the attack.
Okay. I guess that about wraps things up for the moment. Stay safe out there, take care of each other, and enjoy the last bit of the Summer