Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What I've Been Up To

I haven't been posting much here as I haven't been buying, trading, or shooting firearms much lately. Instead, I've been spending a lot of time playing with archery, something I first got involved in back in the early 1970s. Back then I shot a 3-piece take-down bow equipped with a sight and a magnetic flipper rest,me hooting Easton GameGetter shafts with plastic fletching. Today it's all longbows, shooting feather fletched cedar arrows, Seen above is my latest acquisition, a Rudderbow Tri-Lam English Longbow. In the quiver are an assortment of arrows I was testing that day, including several (the ones with the red barred feathers) made from ordinary hardware store dowels. 

As long as I'm talking longbows, let me share a pet peeve: To me, a longbow has straight limbs, period. Maybe the limbs have a bit of backset, as many primative bows did. What's termed a "Reflex/Deflex Longbow" is really closer to a recurve than a traditional longbow. Such bows have strongly curved flat limbs, which the traditional longbow has narrow, deep, limbs.

Howard Hill, the greatest of American archers and bowhunters, used a longbow long after recurves had outstripped longbows in popularity. His reasoning was that the longbow design was more forgiving of a less than perfect release, and more consistent and accurate in real field conditions. He wrote that he wasn't a good enough archer to shoot a recurve well. Now Hill could probably outshoot most everyone on the planet with any bow, but he had a very good point. The true longbow is far more tolerant of all sorts of shooting errors, as the limbs are much stiffer in resistance to twisting than are the wide, flat, limbs of a recurve or modern R/D longbow. I prefer the traditional style longbow in part for that reason, and in part because it is traditional. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Is ammunition becoming more available?

I read an article in the business section of a national newspaper ta few weeks ago that said the demand for and sales of guns and ammunition had been slowing down. Coincidentally, I received an email from Sportsman's Guide saying they'd just gotten in a big shipment of Wolf .22 Match ammunition. I thought about it, and decided to buy a few brinks, just to be on the safe side. A week later I saw this in a number of papers:
"Despite overall Black Friday spending down 11-percent nationwide, gun sales increased that weekend and Montana store owners report they just keep rising."
I went back to Sportsman's Guide and saw they were out of the Wolf, along with just about every other .22LR with the exception of some of the more expensive Ely and RWS match ammunition.

Surprisingly, they did have a lot of ammunition in stock that's been difficult to find. They've got a few dozen varieties of .380ACP, and not just the premium stuff- they have PMC (50 rounds/$15.95) GECO, Federal and a few other under-$20 boxes. I counted 36 different varieties of .38 Special in stock, and several other calibers that have been in short supply. The biggest shortages were in rimfire ammunition of all sorts. There was zero .22Mag, .17HMR or .17Mach2.

Over at Midway, things looked a bit better, with several non-match .22LR varies being available- although not my favorite, CCI Standard Velocity. But reloading powder is still in very short supply, with only 17 differ t smokeless powders in stock- and none of my old standbys, Bullseye, Unique, 2400, and Trail Boss.  I have a few bottles of each of these on hand, which should get me through a year or so. There's one bright light:  Midway appears to have plenty of small pistol primers from Winchester, CCI, Federal and Remington, none of which could be found a year ago. Maybe supply is finally starting to catch up with demand.