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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Firearms’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, November 19th, 2016

With a rare weekend not teaching and realizing we hadn’t shot a match since first quarter 2016, the Evil Princess and I did a quick look for what was available and found a .22 steel match at the friendly Little River Sportsmen’s Association.  We grabbed some bulk box .22 ammo, threw an ACOG atop her 10/22, blew the cobwebs out of the Clark Custom 10/22 I had used years before to make Rifleman at my first Appleseed event, and as an afterthought grabbed an out of the box S&W M&P15 .22 rifle I had won at a match in 2010 or so. For pistols, we grabbed two of the EP’s Ruger 22/45 pistols, the only .22s we had on hand for which we had four magazines) and headed for the shoot.

We didn’t win a damn thing, but the shoot was still a hoot.  We were reminded that when you’re “away from the game,” you get slow. Lesson learned.  We were reminded of something else: autoloading .22 rimfires are not the most reliable firearms on Earth.  Long and narrow with a big protruding rim at the rear, the .22 Long Rifle cartridge is not ideal for feeding from box magazines. On our whole relay, only one shooter escaped malfunctions, and the EP and I both had several.

Our ammo had been purchased during the long ammo drought of the Obama administration, brought on by the well-grounded fear that there was an anti-gunner in the White House.  In discussing the matter with other shooters who regularly hit this neat little .22 match, the general consensus was that CCI Mini-Mag is currently the most reliable ammo for self-loading .22 firearms.

The Evil Princess took some iPhone video, and on the way back I remarked, “You should be able to put together a helluva montage of jam-clearing vids.”  “Oh, (expletive deleted)!” she replied. “I didn’t think of that, and I deleted most of them.  They mostly had comments you wouldn’t want on the Backwoods Home blog, anyway.”

Still fun.  And cheap.  (The ammo, not the Evil Princess. She is fun, but not cheap.) Yes, we all kvetch about the price of .22 ammo, a direct result of its near-unavailability for the last eight years.  I recall being offered a 500-round brick of economy grade Winchester .22 in West Virginia in 2013…for a hundred dollars even. (I passed.)

On Facebook today, friend (and occasional commentator here)

22 Ammo on sale today in Lewis County Washington. Photo courtesy Tom Walls.

22 Ammo on sale today in Lewis County Washington. Photo courtesy Tom Walls

Tom Walls posted a photo of Federal’s good quality American Eagle .22 ammo for sale in Lewis County, Washington at $2.89 per box of fifty.  While that provokes us geezers into fits of what the Evil Princess diagnoses as “fogey-ism” – “When I went to the Western Auto and bought .22 Long Rifle for my dad when I was a boy, it was fifty cents a box!” – we have to remember that just about everything else costs ten times more now than it did then.  That would translate to .22 Long Rifle at under thirty cents a box if old money were new…not as bad a deal as we seem to think it is today.

My take-away? .22 rimfire in a semi-automatic firearm is not reliable enough (and certainly not powerful enough) for life-or-death firearms use…but it’s still affordable…and it’s darn sure still FUN!


Evil Princess runs her RB Precision Evolution stocked Ruger 10/22 under Trijicon ACOG. You know they’re serious when the sight costs more than the rest of the gun.

LRSA RBP Evolution Ruger 10/22


Lee Turner does a masterful  run with Ruger 10/22 rifle.

Or watch video here.

Overall match winner Lee Ovaert shows how it’s done. Pistol is S&W Model 41 target .22 with C-More optical sight.

Or watch video here.


Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Ah, November. Depending where you are, it’s either deer season already, or it’s about to commence.

Have you scouted out where you’re going to hunt yet?

Are you sighted in yet? Be reminded, “It was sighted in when I put it away last season” is not enough.  Consider:

Guns get bumped and dropped. That can alter point of aim/point of impact.

We traditionalists who like walnut or other wood stocks on our rifles have to remember that wood absorbs moisture. When it expands and bears on the barrel, point of aim/point of impact can be altered by that, too.  The mount screws on our telescopic sights can loosen with time and use, and that changes POA/POI coordinates as well.  Are we absolutely SURE that the ammo we set out for THIS season is EXACTLY the same as what we used last season, and are sighted in for?  Same concerns.

Hunters’ ethics:  We owe the animal a swift, clean kill.  It’s what makes our harvesting the creature more humane than the miserable death a wild animal can expect from old age out there in the wilderness.  If anything has happened to make the shot go somewhere other than where we aimed, the humane demise can turn into hours or even days of the animal slowly dying in agony, not to mention that all that meat for the table is lost.

Take the time to verify POA/POI coordinates, preferably off the bench at the distances from which you are most likely to take a shot in the field.  Then, verify from field shooting positions (kneeling, standing, whatever) that you and your deer rifle are still in tune with one another in that respect.

I suspect there are readers of this blog who can share stories of where the whole point of aim/point of impact thing went well, and where it went wrong.  Those comments are, as always, invited.

Good luck, and safe and happy hunting.

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

One of the most popular backwoods home firearms is the simple, sturdy Ruger .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol.  Introduced in 1947, it was an instant commercial success, and became the core of what now appears to be America’s largest firearms manufacturing entity.

A few short years later, they introduced a target-sighted target model called the Mark I.  Over the years there evolved the Mark II with separate slide lock lever, the Mark III with a loaded chamber indicator, and now comes the Mark IV, introduced today and which the Evil Princess and I were shooting a few days ago at FTW Ranch in Texas.

If you ever owned a Ruger .22 auto, whether the classic steel guns or the later polymer frame versions, you know that they aren’t very easy to take apart, and are a nightmare to put back together after complete takedown.

Ruger fans, rejoice!  The new Mark IV comes with a hinged “upper and lower” which breaks open and can then be separated, rather like an AR15.  Hopefully, the new push-button takedown system will “take the worry out of takedown.”  I didn’t bench the gun, but it seems to show the same rock-solid accuracy and reliability we’ve come to expect from this handgun line for some 67 years.  Available in lightweight aluminum frame, too, as well as all-steel with long heavy target barrels.  More info at

The new Mark IV Has a push button in the rear for easy disassembly, then the rear pivots up to take apart.


The Mark IV disassembled.


View of the rear showing the disassembly button.


Another view of the rear prior to disassembly showing the button and the rear sights.


Massad Ayoob


Thursday, September 1st, 2016

A couple of entries ago, I posted this.  Lots of readers responded.

One of my favorite blogs, Tamara Keel’s “View From the Porch,” adds this.

I offer a hearty “Amen!” to Tam’s sentiments. A few months ago in GUNS magazine, where I’ve been handgun editor for 30-some years now, I had this to say on the topic.

As always, readers, your input is most welcome.

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

When I was a little boy, my dad’s choice of home defense gun was “American Traditional”: a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun and double-aught buckshot. Joe Biden would have approved.

The shotgun was the home defense standard in this country for centuries, but recently we’ve seen a huge surge in the adoption of the A15 rifle for this purpose. With proper ammo, it won’t penetrate through residential building materials any more than a service pistol bullet, but is very easy for all authorized members of the family to manipulate, particularly when equipped with the telescoping stock so hated by those who scream for the ban of “assault weapons.”

At the other end of the spectrum, my old friend Rich Grassi made a case in The Tactical Wire for the tiny Ruger LCP .380 pistol as part of the home defense armory. Reason: it can be constantly carried in your pocket, giving you a firearm instantly at hand wherever you are inside or outside the four walls, buying you time to fight your way to something more substantial if necessary.

As I write this, our current home defense guns motel room defense guns are a couple of .45 autos: A Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911A1 on my side, and a ROBAR Custom Glock 30-S for the lady of the house hotel room.

What’s your current approach to home defense hardware?


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