Thursday, February 13, 2014

The three little pigs.

No, not Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Those would be three large porkers, not three little pigs.

Back in the days of the western frontier, wheelguns with long barrels were referred to as hoglegs. Ever since I was a little boy back in west Texas, I've had a fascination with hogleg wheelguns.

One of the cowboys on the neighboring ranch always carried around a hogleg .357 Magnum in a shoulder holster. He shot many a rattlesnake with that thing, more than one coyote and a few wild/feral dogs. He even shot a drugged out vagrant hitchhiker who he caught sleeping in a shed and who rushed him with a rather wicked looking knife. That same hitchhiker had broken into a farm home in the next county several nights prior and slashed up a grandmother pretty good with that same knife.

.357 Magnum - One.
Drugged out knife-wielding vagrant - Zero.

Over the holidays, I came into possession of a beautiful, barely fired but much admired Smith and Wesson Model 17-4 .22LR with an 8 3/8" barrel. It joined the Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum and the Smith and Wesson Model 686 .357 Magnum, both of which sport 8 3/8" barrels.

I'm quite familiar with the Model 17, especially in a four-inch barrel as it is my favorite firearm in which to teach new shooters. I have not fired this particular Model 17, but it's been primarily due to time restraints. I have plenty of .22LR ammo stashed between here and the hangar and elsewhere--and I'm amazed at how hard it is to find, and then when you do, how damned expensive it has become.

No shortage of ammunition for the 17's big sisters as having been a reloader now for over forty years, there is ample stock.

There is something about a wheelgun that just suits me perfectly. Maybe it's my country, cowboy upbringing. Maybe it's my west Texas roots, or just my Texas roots. Maybe it's the simplicity of a wheelgun--you point the thing and then pull the trigger. No magazines, no safeties, no muss, no fuss.

Maybe it's because it's hard to pimp out a wheelgun. I'm sure it can be done, but the commandos and gun-store snipers break out in hives at the thought of carrying anything that holds less than two dozen rounds augmented by six more magazines carried on the belt, in the jockstrap and on each ankle right next to the BUG (which I only recently this past year found out stands for Back Up Gun--something we used to call a "throwdown" back in the day).

And of course, there are the trained internet killers and kings of caliber bragging who argue that no wheel gun caliber can ever match the sheer and awesome stopping power of semi-automatic calibers.

Dunno about you, but I'll take a .38 Special over a .380 and a .357 Magnum over a .40 S&W and a .44 Magnum over a .45ACP any day. And I like .380ACP, 9mm and .45 ACP a lot. I'm still trying to warm up to 40 S&W, but I don't have anything against it.

It's always entertaining when I head out to the local gun indoor gun range and I have one (or more) of the wheelguns with me. You'd be surprised at the number of shooters who actually admit they've never held a revolver, let alone fired one. I generally try to rectify that observation by letting them run a couple of cylinders of ammo through them.

The huge grin that ensues is thanks enough.

I'm sure I'll have that same grin whenever I finally get around to firing this beautiful Model 17.

I'll be sure and let you know.


Evyl Robot Michael said...

I have no revolvers with that barrel length. For a while I was tempted by a S&W M27 at the local pawn shop, but those places are not museums and someone else jumped on it before I had made up my mind. There's a 6" 617 and a 6.5" M29 around here as well as Jennifer's 627PC with its 5" slab-side tube. The 5-6.5" guns think they are carbines though. Those 8-3/8" guns must practically shoot themselves! I'm looking forward to the after-action report on the 17. I bet it will be quiet. I would have preferred one like that to the one that we purchased, but it was the right gun at the right time. No regrets.

Robert Fowler said...

BUG (which I only recently this past year found out stands for Back Up Gun--something we used to call a "throwdown" back in the day).

Also called a "New York Reload".

Old NFO said...

Pretty ones, and yep 'Hoglegs'... :-)

Glen Filthie said...

Well Tex the way I figure it YOU are the one with pimped out guns! Double actions? Smokeless powder?? Jacketed bullets?!?!? Damn kids these days!!! ;)

I bought one of those Uberti cap and ball repros - and those darn guns are more fun than a barrel of monkeys! And they SHOOT too! The kids see me dumping them all in the black at the range and then come over to see the soot burner stinkin' and smokin' - and they fall in love with it. Uberti should pay me a commission because I have sold at least a half dozen guns for them.

You need to add one more to that fine collection, Tex. You will thank me for the advice if you do! They are not for serious work like self defence or critters...but you won't beat them for fun.

Glen Filthie said...

PS - Good to see ya back!