Prepared for Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Many people prepare for the end of the world due to economic collapse, natural disaster, terrorist attacks and many others occurrences including failure of our government. They are all disasters worthy of our attention. We may be able to minimize their impacts by a little proactive thinking and a little hard work.

If you worry about economic collapse you might consider a plan for financial stability. If you are in debt, work to retire those debts. Live a lifestyle of spending what you can afford. It is not easy nor enjoyable at times. Your spouse and children may not understand not eating out as much, shutting off cable TV, wearing clothes that are of good quality, but not the latest style. Driving an older vehicle to avoid high interest loans and the payments that accompany them may not be acceptable to many. I have driven vehicles that are 15 to 20 years old and very reliable. Just as in a newer vehicle, regular maintenance is required for reliability. Keep a ready reserve of cash on hand. And I mean on hand not in the bank where you cannot access it without their permission. Cash can speak volumes in an emergency. In the event of a total economic collapse, a little gold or silver on hand is also a good idea. Keeping out of debt and having financial reserves helps keep the wolves at bay when things get bad.
Pulsar's new Trail series of thermal riflescopes are now shipping to select dealers in North America. These thermal riflescopes boast an ultra-easy user interface with ergonomic button locations.
Leatherman is sharing and showcasing real-life moments from fans around the world depicting how Leatherman tools have helped them save the day in harrowing to hilarious ways. For more than three decades, fans have been sending in their unique and personal experiences, through emails, letters and phone calls about how their Leatherman multi-tool came to the rescue in their daily life and in the moments when it counted the most.
Ontario Knife Company worked with veteran firefighters to design the all-new patent-pending Fire SPAX. It's a combination fire axe/Halligan and pry bar multi-tool -- for firefighters, law enforcement, military, or civilian rescue units who need a tough, multi-use tool that can cut through, pry open or smash to clear a way to safety for those involved in a dangerous situation.
S&W Model 34-1
This piece, about light, compact .22 revolvers, ran in our companion service Shooting Wire. The light, compact .22 revolver -- either a single action Ruger Bearcat or the Smith & Wesson double action guns depicted here -- are handy for outdoors adventures, especially if you have a piece of land. They're great tools. The new Ruger LCRx in .22 LR will also fit this role, as you'll see in the initial report in Shooting Wire today.

I last wrote about Smith and Wesson Kit Guns in a print feature in 2012. What I found then was that the first of these were categorized as .22/.32 Kit Guns: guns chambered in .22 rimfire (Short-Long-Long Rifle) in gun made on the .32 frame. Smith & Wesson would produce a "Chief's Special," a five-shot .38 Special on a .32 (J-) frame.

Fired from a stable rested position, the guns were quite accurate. Their great claim to fame, though, was portability. Hence the problem: how often do you use a field handgun from a stable rest position?

Model 63 three-inch, stainless steel.
The guns were made in the square and round butt formats with two and four-inch barrels. Six firing chambers were cut into the cylinder – shorter on the original .32 caliber I-frame than on the longer (and later) J-frame. A square butt two-inch Model 34-1 from the period of around 1984 or so is in the shop. It weighs 22 ounces.

Many years ago, one of the greatest of gunwriters was Skeeter Skelton. As I recall it, he'd left police work to take up ranching. As a gentleman rancher, he snagged a two-inch Kit Gun to carry about the place. According to him, he quickly realized that the gun was hard to hold on target and those fine little sights were hard to see – this from someone who made some impressive hits with the hard-kicking Chief Special snubs in his time.

Portable means portable. This is the Bianchi Model 152 "Pocket Piece" holster. The 34-1 fits deeply enough to keep the adjustable rear sight from snagging.
I took the Model 34-1 to the range, along with the current version of the Model 63 – a stainless, 8-shot, three-inch gun. It's 26 ounces and has a HI-VIZ fiber optic rod up front in red. As it was nearly no additional weight, I threw in a Model 317 Kit Gun, a 12.5 ounce, three-inch eight shot .22 with a HI-VIZ green fiber optic front sight. Both of the newer guns are round butt and have largish synthetic stocks factory-installed.

I found what many people find: short rimfire guns are hard to shoot well. The new fiber optic sights light up but I don't find them to be sharp. If it's very bright outside, the brilliance of the fiber optic rod obscures the top edge of the front sight.

These aren't target guns, but I found the older square butt kit gun to fit my hand better and fit my eyes and hold poorly.

As to the newer guns, the Model 63 thought it was a lot more target gun than it is. I could hold it steady and keep it still during firing strings. The shorter throw of the 8-shot cylinders was noticeable compared to the more conventional (for my era) six-shot cylinder. After a little practice, I was able to keep a rhythm with the 8-shot guns.

I'd made a grandstand shot in Wyoming last summer in front of a witness – something that's rare—by hitting a prairie dog in the head with the sub-two-inch Model 317 (fixed sights) at twenty-plus paces. I had a rest – a Ford F150 pickup truck. Trying for 20 yard groups on a target with three guns showed me what that phenomenon in Wyoming was: luck.

Here's the great thing about them: they're light, they're handy and fun to shoot. I won't win a PPC match (they still have those, right?) but they can't be beaten for portability and fun.

- Rich Grassi
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