Truth.

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."

Ariel Durant

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Sydney Colonial Muzzle-Loading Club Hill End Winter Muster 2016, and some good clips from a good movie.



I have a friend who is Australian, and a black powder enthusiast.  He and his cronies get together at a big shoot, camp out, and just enjoy the good company and the shooting.  Many years ago, the gun club here used to do that, when it was mostly older guys and there weren't so many members. So I particularly enjoy hearing about his experiences.



 I asked him if I could use some pictures he sent me, and he was ok with that.

These guys are blazing away.  I wish now I had put more effort into learning black powder shooting. I have a Hawkins Plains rifle replica, and a Colt Army replica, but just never got the knack of using them.

Shooting black powder is so meticulous, and the steps involved are more intricate than just putting another magazine in the weapon.

I was surprised that the kick from my .50 caliber Hawkin was not very much.  I thought it would be a lot worse than a smokeless powder battle rifle,  but it wasn't.

One nice thing, as long as you have powder stored up, you can get lead from all kind of things and make your own bullets. The guys I was shooting with used "fake" black powder, that wasn't so explosive. The real deal is dangerous, but I think that would add to the experience myself.






 These fellows camp out on site.  Take a look at that vehicle! I don't know what it is, but I'd like to have one.  Looks like something out of Mad Max, which is appropriate since these shooters are Australian.



This is more like a camping vehicle you would find here. My crony and his wife travel all over Australia.  He's an accountant, and having been one myself, I hope he retires pretty soon before the job kills him.  However, he and the wife get out enough to provide some stress relief.



When I still went out in the woods and stayed there, I didn't mind roughing it some. There is a wilderness area SW of me, and you could meet some interesting people camping there. So I imagine that when you get a bunch of shooters together in that environment, good times are had by all.


Who doesn't enjoy sitting around a camp fire at night, with boon companions to hand?  Of course, in Australia there are things like giant snakes and monstrous crocodiles, but these fellows are well away from the ocean or the swamps. I'd still take a big light and a pistol if I had to go out to the woods after dark.


Looks like fun.  All in all, given the interaction I have with this particular individual and other Australian friends, they seem to be more inclined to "rough it" when they hit the road. Most of us, I think , are more Holiday Inn campers. Of course, there are some people like Six Bears who are stalwart travelers and think nothing of living it rough. I just think it's kind of  a dying breed here in the states. I don't count the young people who ride their bikes around and camp in little bitty tents, I'm talking about  real camping.

Thanks to the Sgt. for letting me share these pictures with everyone.


I was lurking (I do that a lot) on a blog that had a conversation going on about the crusades. I didn't participate because, in all honesty, the folks were not really looking at the historical aspects of it, just using the fact that the crusades took place to justify Islamic radicalism. They seem to feel like there was no history between the West and Islam prior to the Crusades.  Not so.  The Spanish, Carolingian's , the Balkans , the Byzantines..... there was a lot of history in this regard before the Crusades.





In the 8th Century A.D. the Carolingian's (French) and the Spanish were fighting Moslems, before Ragnar and his doughty band of TV Vikings ever reached Paris.  We are still fighting them today.

I didn't hang around, as I mentioned, but it did put me in mind of the movie "Kingdom of Heaven." A very good and fairly accurate drama about the Horns of Hattin and it's aftermath.  Here are some good scenes from the movie, presented for your viewing pleasure!

This first scene from "Kingdom of Heaven" always makes me think of two things. One, you had to be pretty hard  to be a soldier in the Middle Ages. That hand to hand stuff has no appeal for me. I think just before the charge, I would have been the dust trail headed for the castle as everybody else went forth to do battle with the Islamists. "Hold them off boys, I'll go get help!"

<

The other thing the movie reminds me of.. They didn't horse around with a bunch of philosophical breast beating. They liked simple solutions.  I've been in many a conference and meeting where "God Wills It! " would have been a great way to end an interminable get together!

<


Thought for the day.




42 comments:

  1. Looks to me like nobody was too worried about offending anyone's sensibilities. They just went in and did what needed doing. Kind of like we used to do.

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    1. Things were not so complicated as they are now, you're exactly right. Yesterday there was a story on the news that one of Al Qaeda's leaders had sent out a message to all the faithful telling them that when they attacked in America, they should try very hard only to kill white people, so that it would not look like the Islamists are racist. If I am reading that right, it means that even terrorists are worried about being politically correct these days.

      Back then, all you had to worry about was what was right.

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  2. I like studying the Middle Ages but my favorite is the Renaissance. We just started watching the first season of Game of Thrones. Kind of gory and trashy but I really like the story line.

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    1. I never could really get interested in hte Renaissance, although I've read "The Prince" and some things about the Landsknects and other warfare related subjects of the period. I love the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages because they were truly heroic times.

      I was going to say, I heard the Game of Thrones has a lot of vulgarity and depravity in it. Still, my grown up kids watch it and really enjoy it. I have never seen it, since I don't get the channels it's on.

      There was a BBC mini-series about the Dark Ages, called "The Last Kingdom" based on a series of books I really like. I just learned of it and have been trying to find a copy I could buy.

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  3. As is often the case, those with the strongest opinions know the least on the subject.

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    1. In a country where we no longer bother to really teach American history, I guess it's not to be wondered at that most people have a skimpy knowledge of world history at best. But it's really dangerous.

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  4. I don't know so I am asking: Are black powder rifles the only thing legal to own in Australia now?

    One of my favorite crusader films was "El Cid". I'm sure you liked Heston in that one. --Troy

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    1. Troy, I' sure the Sergeant can answer that better than I can, but I think he has a lever gun and I am pretty certain the old bolt guns are OK if you go through their licensing requirements. Hopefully he will stop by and give us the word from the horses mouth.

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    2. G'day Troy,

      The laws vary from state to state, however Centre fire semi automatic rifles are banned except for a few very special circumstances. Back in the old days I used to shoot an M14 and SRL at a Military rifle club but sold them to get into black powder. I still have 2 .303 rifles as well as my lever guns and flintlock
      Cheers

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    3. I thought you had an Enfield or two. Seemed like to me you have a Henry, or am I mixing you up with another friend?

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    4. Troy, forgot to say that El Cid is one of my all time favorites.

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    5. Harry,

      I have an Italian repro of a Winchester 1873 44/40 carbine and a Rossi Winchester Model 1892 in 44/40 (with the rectangular barrel). Both are great fun to shoot and very accurate, I am reloading using an original hand reloading tool from the 1880's, and casting the bullets with an original mould and of course loading with black powder. Also have an "Italian" Sharps rifle but don't shoot it much, it gives you a good whack in the shoulder!

      Despite our English heritage Winchesters have been very popular in Australia since the 1870's, but an original is far out of my price range.

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    6. Sgt., thank you. So it would seem that bolt action rifles are legal at least in your state. Our media told us that ALL guns were banned there. --Troy

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    7. I was pretty sure you told me you had those, but my memory is bad these days I might have been wrong. Not long ago, I looked all over the kitchen for the tube of ferret paste, because it was time for Spikes breakfast. But I couldn't find it anywhere. When I went to the ice box to get a coke, it was in there! No idea why, since it isn't supposed to be cold, but I am sure I put it in there for some reason.

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  5. I've looked into black powder rifles, but the only place I can shoot them at is the rifle range my son and I go to several times a year.

    It's a good hour drive from here, so that puts a damper on going there regularly.

    Perhaps when we get out of Kommiefornia.....

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    1. I just couldn't really get going with it. I did take mine out and I fired the rifle some, with a fellow mentoring me who was proficient in black powder. I could shoot it off the front porch if I wanted to, but I really like my old military rifles best. I shoot them off the front porch too.

      I guess everybody has their own interests. I know some people who are crazy over Cowboy Action Shooting. The way I see it, the more the merrier, as the Cowboy Action guys money helps the NRA as much as mine does, and their votes count too. Once you get out of the PDRC I bet you can give it good try and see how it strikes you.

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    2. A buddy of mine I worked with at Boeing was really big into the Cowboy Action Shooting. He and his wife would get all dressed up, and go for a full weekend of activities.

      I chuckle about it, but I agree with you. We should embrace ALL the shooting sports, as it helps us all.

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    3. I know those folks really get into it. The weird stuff like sitting on a saw horse with a saddle on it and blazing away is not really my cup of tea, but if people have a good time and it recruits shooters and gun owners, then it's a good thing. The more of us there are, the less chance the dems can beat us into submission.

      I actually subscribe to "Guns of the Old West" because I own some old west replicas and enjoy blasting with them.

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  6. Hey Harry,

    Yeah' those battle scene video's were cool.

    I could handle up close and personal bloodletting. Now suicidal frontal attacks against an foe with superior numbers is out of the question. There is a difference between 'bravery and stupidity' If I was guarding Jerusalem against the 'Islamic barbarians' I would not hole up inside the walls.
    I would create a light, high speed cavalry forces and conduct night operations and 'hit and runs' to slowly drain numbers from the Islamic horde. Keep them off balance. Create fear, havoc and mischief. Hit their water sources, supplies. Go to their cities and attack drawing the enemy forces away from Jerusalem and keep the battlefield 'fluid' I would enlist and remaining 'Vikings' as mercenaries and have them do 'hit and runs' on Mecca and Medina. That'll really piss off 'Saludin' or whatever that barbaric Islamic leader is named. He Saludin. You ever read 'Tsung Tsu'

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    1. It's a good movie and fairly accurate. I personally wanted to know who was behind me and on either side. I don't think I would have lasted long in a melee.

      All of the crusader cavalry was wiped out at Hattin, largely because the two morons leading the crusader army did not understand logistics. They made no provision for water and their army was debilitated before they engaged.

      In the crusade that established the crusader kingdoms, decades before Hattin, the crusaders did make use of mobile forces as you suggest.

      The Byzantines used Vikings in both their army and the imperial guard. Harold Hardrada, the Viking who fought King Harold of England at Stamford Bridge, had been a Varangian Guardsman in Constantinople as a young man.

      Saladin was exceptional for a Moslem. He was honorable, merciful at times, and a good combat leader. After he retook Jerusalem he was later killed in a minor skirmish, in an unimportant campaign. Life is like that, I guess.

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    2. Hey Harry,

      I gotta admit that I know very little about 'Saladin' I do know that he was a muslim and the enemy and to be fair. The 'Crusaders' spent to much time enthralled by religious fervor (and greed) to think straight and had horrible tactic's.

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    3. In all the reading I've done on Islam, and on the crusades, Saladin is the only Moslem I came across that struck me as being a decent sort.

      The Crusaders were a mixed bag. I know lots of people today with the same religious fervor, they live right here in my county!

      Wish I was down there on the beach at your place today. Started out cool and dry but by this afternoon it's supposed to be nearly 100. The wife and I are just staying inside. I guess you will be down there surfing!

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  7. G'day Harry
    I am honored to have such a fine article posted on your blog! This winter shoot is my favorite of the year. The Mad Max truck you liked is an Oka Atv truck, they were made in Australia in the 1990's and are pretty much unbreakable.

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    1. I appreciate your letting me use your photos. I thought your trip to the shooting get together was pretty interesting, like a trappers rendezvous in the old days.
      I am enthralled with that Oka vehicle. Until now I was well pleased with my 1988 Ford F250 extended cab, long bed diesel Lariet. But now, I look at it with a jaundiced eye!

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    2. I'll ask the bloke that owns it for some more pictures of it and the modifications he has made. This bloke is famous for the acetylene bomb he set of many years ago at the Winter Muster, it was late at night and was the biggest blast the town had seen since it's gold mining days. The next day the Police Sargeant in town asked us to not let off any more as half the town woke him up ringing in reports of the explosion.

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    3. Man, if somebody did that here, the FBI and the GBI would be all over the county trying to run down the "terrorist."

      That's why I'm afraid to fire off those marine flares a friend sent me. I'm sure they would dig up some B.S. law and put me away. A couple of weeks ago, they arrested a guy in this town for "possession of prescription drugs not kept in the original container." In his case, he had some opiates stashed in a leather bag. But I read the law, and the way it's written, an old guy who puts his blood pressure medicine in one of those little container things that divides the week up into individual days is just as guilty. Not that I know anybody who has to do that, of course. But there must be some older dudes around who have to use those or they can't remember if they took their medicine today! ;-)

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  8. Harry while R.V. and campgrounds aren't the same thing as camping in the wilds its getting crowded. In the last 3 years it has been a real change . Today you better have reservations for a site where before it wasn't an issue most places.

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    1. I worked at our state park one summer. You are absolutely right. They had 165 camping hookups and they were full all summer. Some of the RV rigs people brought in cost more than my house.

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  9. I had a chance to shoot an old Remington Rolling Block in 43 Spanish, which is a black powder cartridge rifle. It kicked decently, but was damn fun to shoot.The initial ammo buy is expensive, but it can be reloaded I have one of those on my wish list for sure.

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    1. I have not owned a rolling block but I've seen them. Remington sold them all over the world so I am sure you can find a shooter in good shape for a reasonable price. They chambered them in just about every cartridge going at that time too.

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  10. Harry,

    My husband wants to purchase a black powder rifle. He uses (or shall I say borrows) a friends black powder rifle to help train the boy-scout's yearly out at the range.

    We love to go camping and usually use a tent, and haul all the tools needed for camping. This past weekend, we finally bought ourselves a travel trailer. This will make for good camping and/or bugging out.

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    1. Sandy, they don't cost much and you can find them in just about any sporting goods store. Might be a fun thing to do.

      My wife and I have an on going discussion about whether or not a camper or a motorized RV would be a good investment for us. If I lived closer to the desert, where you can get out way away from anybody, I would be sure to have one. But here, unless you can go off road, any park you go to is going to be very crowded. I am also still thinking about a houseboat for "get aways." Just dock it at one of the big lakes up here, go out for a day or , then back to the house.

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  11. I think I'd even enjoy the campout. I love going camping. The boys would love watching those guns go off.

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    1. You have a young family and that's when camping really works well. When I was a kid, we used to go up to a meadow in the Sierra Nevada mountains for a week every summer. I still have found memories of fishing in the trout stream, and walking on the trails there.

      The kick from a black powder rifle is not much, I imagine someone would let the boys shoot under supervision. Alas, Australia is a long way off! ;-)

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  12. I've got a muzzle loader rifle. The place I work has a large acreage that we are allowed to hunt on. We can use MLs or shotguns, I took the less expensive route because I seldom get to go. Several of the guys use a Savage 20 ga bolt action that with the right shells is really more like a large bore rifle.
    I used to have a Ruger Old Army SS BP revolver, i always enjoyed shooting it. Almost no perceived recoil at all. But, I found some other gun I wanted more and sold it. Like every gun I've ever sold I have come to regret it and am trying to find another. There's one on the other end of the state from me that has 2k balls to go with it, all I need is money and the time to go get it.
    I've been watch a pirate based TV series recently, lots of flint locks in that. That has put the thought in my head of building me one of those.
    Teach your kids to love shooting, they'll never have money for drugs, booze or tobacco, or anything else!
    Have a good Independence Day weekend Harry.

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    1. Hey, S.C.

      When I was a teenager, I built one of those kits, of a muzzle loading derringer. Gave it to my dad. I don't know what happened to it after he died. Probably one of my brothers has it.

      I almost never trade or sell a gun once I get it. Probably, over the last thirty years, no more than ten of them. And those were part of a lot I bought to get a couple of specific guns, and didn't really want the others anyway.

      My daughter and son both know how to shoot, but they live in a big Northern city now, and the sport is not popular with their contemporaries. Nor is there anywhere to shoot unless you drive a long way and know someone who will let you shoot on private property. So sometimes when they come home we do a little shooting, but more often we wind up trying to do so many other things during their visit we don't shoot.

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  13. Two of the things that made Christian forces so effective during the Crusades was the style of fighting and the style of weapons used by the Europeans.

    Europeans fought as heavy shock troops (think Spartans or Romans). Tight formations, mass tactics. Crushing blows with strong formations running over the opponent. Like the lance charge with heavy horse: hit the enemy hard, crush the opposing line, punch through, circle and strike (like sharks through a school of sardines). These tactics were extremely effective against the numerically superior muslim troops, who tended to break when the line of battle is broken. Muslims favored the slashing mobile style of battle.

    Arms and armor are another factor few take into effect. Sure, Damascene blades are nice and sharp (and pretty) but the European style blade of a hard edge with softer core pattern welded blade is much better for causing damage to an armored opponent. Simply put, Crusaders used very narrow crowbars (causing shearing damage through armor and clothing) while Muslims used razor blades (cutting and slashing). Again, an emphasis on concentration of force to penetrate. European armor (metal exterior, boiled leather, cloth padding) was designed to hold up to euro weapons, and withstood cut and slash extremely well. Punching penetrating attacks were still very dangerous, but even then, euro armor, tending to be multilayered, was more effective than most people think. (Forget what you see in the movies, please).

    We see this today in the way our troops fight (heavy shock troops, body armor, really good weapons, well trained and well stocked) fighting a numerically superior raid oriented force. Which is why, when they engage us in a location we can shock attack them, the enemy casualties tend to be all out of proportion to our casualties (and why our casualties are so high when they use raid tactics (mines, ieds, sniping) against us.

    Stupid tactics like forgetting your logistic train or being suckered into fighting in places where European tactics did not work were the main causes of lost battles.

    The BBC series 'Crusades' by Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) is an excellent look at many aspects of the era (I especially enjoy his reason why the Norman/French landings during the first Crusade succeeded against an overwhelming number of muslim defenders. Hint - it's all about horsepower, hahahaha.

    And yeah, having done some medieval recreation fighting, there is nothing like a good shield wall to smash the crap out of a bunch of light fighters, and it feels great to trample your enemy underneath you (and drink with them afterwards)(it's a fun part of the recreation field.)

    Thanks for the great blog, am working on catching up to real time (am at December, 2015)

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    1. Reading your comment, I figured before I got to the bottom of it that you might have been in one of the medieval recreation groups. There's a really great poster about those I used to have a picture of. I'll try to find it and post it.

      I saw the BBC series on the crusades. In fact, I taped it and have it in my VHS library down in the family room. Great show.

      Thanks for the comment. Adds a lot to the post.

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    2. I have enjoyed doing armored fighting (full contact using rattan weapons) for a long time. Being on the inside of the helmet gives you a whole new perspective on what our ancestors went through.

      Some of the best times were going to "wars" and being in armor for 6-8 hours, fighting on and off all day long. Imagine armoring up, walking 1-2 miles to the first fight carrying your warshield (big shield for battle) and a tourney shield (small shield for individual pickup fighting between battles), at least two to three sword sticks, a glaive (blade on a stick) and a spear (9 foot poking only weapon) along with hand protection, your helmet, lunch, liquids, wallet, cell phone and handheld radio (for keeping in touch with your spouse when you aren't hitting people) and a small repair kit for when something done get broken, and it maxes out to about 60lbs or more. Hit people, get hit, rest, hit people, get hit, repeat, eat, try using the portapotty while in armor (easier than you think unless really tired) and repeat fighting (interspersed with lots of bullshitting with your friends and enemies) and then shlog your way back to the encampment with all your kit on and about you, unarmor, clean and repair, stack arms, get your surcoat and fighting garb cleaned, go fix dinner, hang with friends and family (lots of drinking if you are into this), finally go to bed. Wake up, eat breakfast, start armoring up again...

      Do this for 6-7 days. End of the week your arm is so blown from lifting your weapons you can barely put a t-shirt on, let alone do anything else.

      Damn, I miss that.

      Learning to use sword and shield is a blast. I have noticed that when I am faced with potentially dangerous situations I tend to lead with my shield side. Weird but it works.

      Well, thanks for letting me ramble on.

      And anybody out there, get yourself a gladius (Roman sword). Don't worry about getting a real one, the Coldsteel machete version is fine. 22" blade, with heavy chopping edge and a good piercing point is pretty much the ultimate home defense blade. Find someone from a good martial arts school or better yet, from a good medieval recreation group to show you the basic moves and you can defend home and hearth like a pro. These blades are usually legal in places that guns aren't, and are a good backup for a gun (why waste ammo with a round to the back of the head when you can stick it in directly (Don't freak, but in a SHTF situation, ammo is a finite resource and you never ever want to leave a zombie/attacker alive (SHTF situation only!!!)))

      God, I am babbling, may have to get my own blog to bloviate on rather than yours.

      Keep up the good work and remember "Gott Mitt Uns!!!" if you are a German, but if you are a true Crusader, "Deus Vult!!!" (why not, they see me as one already.)

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    3. You're not babbling at all. I think a lot of people, myself included, are very interested in this subject. My brothers and brother in law were very big into Civil War reenactments when they were young but I have never actually known anyone who was into the swords and hordes reenactment scene. I might have been able to withstand the regime you describe thirty years ago, but today I would have to be a churl, I guess.

      I actually have two good Roman gladius type swords on the wall in my bedroom. I just got a catalog from a historical reenactment company that supplies clothing,arms,and armor for the Roman, Dark Ages and Medieval periods among others. They had three different versions of the Gladius, with standards, for two bills each. Got to buy myself at least one, they are top flight.

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  14. Heh, I picked up a bolt action Mossberg 12 gauge. I had one of my buddies rework the stock to a more military shape and finish, and fitted it with a sling. I refer to it as the 20th century "Brown Bess" Now I need to figure out how to make a larger capacity magazine...

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    1. J, that sounds like a nice gun. I like shotguns, most of mine are pumps. A bolt gun would certainly get the job done just as well though.

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