December 16, 2021
By Firearms News Staff
If the staff of Firearms News could ask Santa for anything this holiday season, what do you think they would ask for?
What does Editor-in-Chief Vincent DeNiro want for Christmas?
Well, I would love to replace the pair of transferable Thompson submachine guns (with matching serial numbers, a West Hurley 1928 and M1) I sold almost 30 years ago, but the price is a bit steep these days! If I could have that wish, I would contact Rubin Mendiola at Dealer NFA to make my pick.
Okay, back to reality.
I could get a full-size replica 1928 Thompson for only 185 bucks! Sarco has these great replicas which feature wood stocks, metal construction, removeable 50-rd drum magazine (non-functioning), and you can cock the charging handle! Check it out on their website here.
-Vincent DeNiro, Firearms News Editor-in-Chief
"Dear Santa" from David M. Fortier
While DSA is best known for their FAL rifles, they also offer some very interesting pieces for AR-15s. They offer a number of lightweight Titanium pieces intended for building ultralight rifles. What caught my eye is their Enhanced Low Mass Aluminum Sand Cut Complete Bolt Carrier Group. This is a complete AR-15 bolt carrier assembly, featuring a bolt made from MPI 9310 steel, but a 7075 T6 aluminum bolt carrier.
The carrier features sand cuts and a properly staked gas key, and the whole assembly only weighs 5.2 ounces! It drops nearly 7 ounces of weight from your AR-15. The reduced reciprocating mass lowers both recoil and muzzle movement. With the gas system properly tuned and the right buffer weight, this low mass bolt carrier can make your 5.56mm AR-15 very smooth shooting! A great Christmas present priced at $159.95! Click here to get one!
-David M. Fortier, Firearms News Senior Field Editor and Editor of Be Ready!
Paul Scarlata's Letter to Santa
I've been a very good...well, pretty good.......boy this year and I'm hoping that you would consider giving me one of my all-time favorite handguns. A Smith & Wesson .38-44 Heavy Duty revolver.
The Roaring Twenties and Lawless Thirties were times of great social change and economic unrest and a new class of criminal arose who were equipped with modern firearms and displayed a willingness to use violence.
Just as significant, the newly popular automobile allowed them to commit crimes, escape quickly, and elude pursuit. Automobile bodies of the day were made from heavy gauge steel, which in some cases provided these mobile criminals with a kind of "armored" vehicle.
Around this time some gangsters began wearing early bulletproof vests which provided protection against the .32 and .38 caliber revolvers used by most police forces.
As these automobile-mounted banditti were often impervious to .38 Special gunfire calls went out for a handgun cartridge capable of dealing with this situation. In 1929 Colt introduced their 1911A1 pistol chambered for the .38 Super cartridge which launched a 130 gr. FMJ bullet to 1,215 fps and proved effective at penetrating auto bodies and bulletproof vests. But the majority of American police forces were firmly wedded to the revolver that only limited numbers of Colts saw service.
S&W and Remington developed a .38 Special load capable of penetrating auto bodies. When fired from a 6.5-inch barrel, its 158-grain metal-tipped bullet attained a velocity of 1175 fps, generating 460 ft/lbs. of energy. Offered by Remington as the .38/44 S&W Special Hi-Speed the cartridge has always been best known as the ".38/44."
To provide a revolver capable of handling these heavy loads, in 1930 S&W introduced a large frame revolver that, over the years, was known by several names: .38/44 Hand Ejector, .38/44 Heavy Duty and .38/44 Super Police.
It was basically a .44 Hand Ejector revolver but chambered for the .38 Special with an ejector rod shroud to help hold down recoil by increasing muzzle weight. Offered with four-, five- and 6.5-inch barrels, it could be had with blue or nickel finishes and, on later production guns, with either service or Magna style grips.
S&W 's.38/44 revolver and the .38 Special Hi-Speed cartridge were popular especially in rural areas and the Western states. The highway patrol and state police of Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Missouri, Washington, Alabama, Colorado and the British Columbia Provincial Police all adopted the .38/44 Super Police revolver, with some using them well into the 1970s. By 1941 over 11,000 were produced.
The .38-44 retained its popularity even after S&W introduced the .357 Magnum, because until the 1950s, S&W .357 revolvers were expensive, prestige items while the .38/44 Heavy Duty was an affordable service weapon.
After World War II, .38-44 revolvers were reintroduced as the Model 20 and an additional 10,000 were manufactured.
Revolvers such as the .38/44 exude an air of rugged reliability and dependability – it’s no wonder they were the preferred weapon of soldiers, lawmen, explorers, and all those who followed adventurous occupations. Despite the current popularity of Magnum revolvers and high capacity semiauto pistols, I believe anyone carrying a S&W .38/44 stoked with hot .38 Specials could not wish for a finer defensive handgun.
BTW, if you can get me a .38-44 revolver, I'll also need a fedora, leather jacket and a bullwhip.
-Paul Scarlata, Historical Firearms Field Editor
Christmas Wish List from Will Dabbs, MD
For Christmas this year, I’d like for Santa to reactivate my registered DEWAT .55-caliber Boys rifle. While I realize most gun nerds would request some sort of greasy trinket to greet them on Christmas morning, this year I’d just prefer a service. I’ve been a fan of Santa’s capable workshop since I was a little kid and have always admired his work. In my extensive experience, his workmanship and attention to detail have always been top flight.
I’m sure Santa maintains a 07/02 manufacturer’s SOT with his shop. I know this because he once brought me a sound suppressor. As such I’d be able to ship the gun to the North Pole for repair without any undue administrative hassle. Even if it takes him a year to get it back to me that wouldn’t be out of line for a niche gunsmith these days.
Santa is a rugged manly man who clearly has to traverse some sketchy neighborhoods on his annual Christmas Eve trek. As such, he no doubt packs heat. If the wares he has brought me in the past are any metric, he is also likely quite the committed gun nerd. I suspect he’d enjoy the project.
My behavior this year would rate a solid decent. I wasn’t always nice, but I didn’t wreck the US economy or get 13 good Americans killed in a botched effort to leave Afghanistan, so there’s that. If Santa will fix my antitank rifle I’ll gladly let him shoot it, despite the fact that ammo costs $50 a pop. I just might need to ask to take the sleigh for a spin just for giggles while we’re in the neighborhood. As a pilot, I bet that is one sweet ride.
-Will Dabbs, MD, NFA and Movie Guns Field Editor
What Rikk Rambo Wants for Christmas (Spoiler Alert: It Won’t Fit in The Stocking)!
If you’ve ever spent time at the range utilizing a chronograph to customize your hand loads or get a good read on what your factory ammunition is up to after it leaves the barrel, then you’ve probably experienced the first-world problems associated with a traditional chronograph’s setup process. Don’t worry...you are not alone in the fight. There are several Debbie-downers that commonly nibble away at your subconscious while readying a chronograph for a day at the range. Most prevalent among them is the anxiety generated by the fear of accidentally shooting one of the rods (guide wires) diffusers, or in extreme instances, the base/display itself while testing out a new round. In addition to a catastrophic bullet strike, other potential complications include lighting conditions, dusty sky-screens, inclement weather, and the failure to ensure your chronograph base unit is level.
Enter the top item on my Christmas wish list: The Labradar. This unit utilized an advanced Doppler-tracking radar to measure the speed (and subsequently calculates the kinetic energy) of bullets, shotgun slugs, and even arrows at velocities ranging from 65 to 3900 fps and to distances as far as 100 yards. This device is advertised by Labradar to measure projectile velocities with only a .1% margin of error.
Unlike traditional chronographs, the Labradar is placed to the side of your weapon rather than in front of it and utilizes radar to capture the speed of your projectile of choice. The Labrador’s power source consists of 6 AA batteries and the data you retain may be transferred to your device of choice via a USB cord or SD card.
This unit’s forward-thinking design, ease of use and setup, and all-condition/all-weather capabilities (along with its worry-free, “out of harm’s way” placement) make it my pick of the litter for the 2021 Christmas Season gift lineup for only $599.95!
-Rikk Rambo, Hunting Field Editor