Kral Puncher Breaker 22 air rifle (FAC version)

A quick look at two of the Kral Puncher Breaker range…

And some stills:

Walnut blued (top) and Marine synthetic (bottom). These are excellent value guns and come with two mags each, a single-shot adapter, a built-in scope rail and (in the synthetic stocks) a storage space for the second mag.

The Marine variant with synthetic stock. This was the one I went for. It has a slightly shorter and more curved stock and I found it much easier to set up a scope the way I wanted.

Walnut blued variant. These air rifles are pretty much half the price of competing bullpup guns and yet the quality is excellent. The walnut is good quality with a sculpted and slightly futuristic look.

The Marine with a scope on top of a riser and a torch attached for night shooting.

Taurus shine-up

This is a UK-legal Taurus long-barrelled revolver, or LBR. The configuration you see here, with 12″ barrel and peculiar “dough paddle” at the rear, is the only lawful remainder of centrefire pistol shooting in this country.

Made in Brazil, these revolvers have been a staple of British LBR shooting for decades.

There are other types of LBR out there, such as Alphas and, very rarely, converted Smith & Wessons, but most long-barrel shooters go for a Taurus. This is because there are quite a few in circulation and, although expensive, they aren’t as cripplingly so as the other makes.

The only trouble is, Taurus has stopped making LBRs for the British market, so prices have spiralled upwards.

Another major issue is the finishing, the quality of which varies a lot, especially internally. The Model 66 and Model 980, on which our LBRs are based have a couple of besetting issues to do with their cylinders and, if these aren’t slicked out, owning a Taurus can become an exercise in frustration.

Then there’s spares. Taurus parts are not easy to come by in the UK. 

All that said, you can take one of these revolvers and turn it into something really pretty to look at and you can make them work.

This is mine:

It’s the 44 Magnum version. I sold this gun to someone who got it all sorted out and was intending to keep it. Then he changed his mind and sold it to a friend of mine and I eventually bought it back.

Just recently, I got handed another 44 Mag Taurus. This one had only seen light usage and for very good reasons. Nothing worked smoothly and the cylinder was barely rotating. Not good for a nearly-new gun.

I decided to give this revolver the makeover of its lifetime and sort out its rotational problems.

Here it is:

All stripped down and ready to be sorted out.

The sideplate was a pig to remove, because it hadn’t been finished well and was way too tight. A sideplate should be a snug fit, but shouldn’t require a sledgehammer and dynamite to remove.

These guns are always supplied in a brushed finish. That has charms of its own, but is poorly set-off by the uninspiring rubber grips that come with the gun. They’re narrow too, which means they transfer a lot of nasty recoil to the web of your hand.

The cylinder. Meh.

The ejector (the odd-looking angular thing sticking out) was so stiff it was barely operating. The centre pin (which pokes out the centre of the ejector and locks the cylinder into the frame) was stuck in its hole and couldn’t do its job. Dreadful!

Day one. I was still considering how far to go with this revolver when curiosity got the better of me and I polished the top of the vent to see how hard it would be to get it mirror-bright.

Damn. That’s torn it. Now I’ve got to do the rest of it!

OK… here goes.

Really getting stuck in now. No turning back.

By now, I had sorted out the grotty cylinder release problems and that ejector. All working smooth as butter.

This first bit went more quickly than I had anticipated. I refined my technique as I went along; learning  how far to go with polishing before calling it done.

Not totally done yet – still some scuffs and lines to get out, but we’re nearly there!

Internally, I had got to grips with the poorly-fitting sideplate. I’d made it snug, but without the nasty peening at its leading edge resulting from over-tight initial fitting at the factory. Unfortunately, the sideplate is on the opposite side to this photo.

And that’s Jenga.

Some crud and oil on the gun make the bit around my thumb look duller than it really is.

The revolver is now away having some finishing touches added by my good friend David at Shooting Shed. Click the link for David’s journal.

This was a labour of love, initially to see how long it would take (about 2 weeks on and off), but I now think there could be a new lease of life waiting for dozens more Tauruses out there.

Once I have it back and new grips on (those may take some while to get), I will post an update.

The Limehouse Golem

I haven’t said much about films lately, but not because I haven’t seen any. In fact, if anything, I’ve been watching quite a few but I tend to only pick out ones which have really made an impression to talk about on here.

Let me say right away that I’m no big fan of murder mysteries/whodunnits (or Victorian period pieces) but The Limehouse Golem (2016) sticks out as an extremely well-made piece of drama with a solid evocation of the period.

Image result for the limehouse golem

I won’t spoil the story for you, but this film recreates the seedy world of Victorian East End London so well that you won’t have to suspend disbelief.

If you’re the kind of viewer who grew up devouring Agatha Christie and enjoys second-guessing mystery dramas, then you may work out what’s actually afoot in this film. I can never be bothered to puzzle it out. I just like to sit back and enjoy,  so for me this was a solid 105 minutes’ entertainment.

Image result for the limehouse golem

The film centres on the goings-on in and around a popular London music hall company. A string of grisly murders takes place, pre-empting Jack the Ripper’s infamous doings and so horrible that the killer is nicknamed the Golem; a legendary creature of dark and murky origins.

Image result for the limehouse golem

The narrative is ever so slightly non-linear, at least in the beginning, but the threads are skilfully woven together by director Juan Carlos Medina, who also elicits some terrific performances from Bill Nighy,  Douglas Booth and especially rising star, Olivia Cooke.

Image result for the limehouse golem

Not for the squeamish and definitely not for young children, The Limehouse Golem is a little bit like the Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey, but minus the daft contrivances and laugh-aloud gags.

Bill Nighy is Inspector John Kildare, a very clever and capable policeman whose career progression has been quietly capped, owing to bitchy rumours about his sexuality. Olivia Cooke is the young actress married to a cruel and domineering man. Her career has also been stunted, because of her husband’s interfering.

Image result for the limehouse golem

There isn’t a wasted talent in this picture. All the supporting cast turn in fine work and the story zips along nicely. For nearly two hours, you’ll feel transported to the Limehouse of the late 19th Century.

 

James Boyd – concert guitarist

For quite some time, I’ve been meaning to mention James Boyd, a virtuoso concert guitarist based here in Norfolk. I’m fortunate enough to have lessons with James and he is, without a doubt, one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met.

When I first went along to see James, I don’t mind admitting I was very, very nervous. I hadn’t had much luck with teachers, was petrified of playing in front of other people and, aware of how good James was, was worried he would simply confirm my fears: that I was actually rather crap and should stop playing altogether.

Boy, was I surprised.

Within the first lesson, James had got right to the issue and got me actually playing. I’d been struggling along, on and off, for decades and had always stalled at the same page on the same book… and then eventually given up.

Image result for james boyd guitarist

I’d gone along to that first lesson with some preconceptions; scales, grades, strict regimens of practice and so on. However, the conversation ran something like this:

“Do I need to think about grades?”

“Do you want to?”

“No.”

“Well don’t do them then.”

“I guess I’ll have to study scales?”

“You can, but why not just do them when they crop up in a piece of music?”

James won the Julian Bream prize at the Royal Academy of Music when he was there and now travels all over the world giving recitals and concerts. He knows what the pitfalls are and his emphasis is always on being a good musician, not on “producing notes”.  More to the point, he’s overcome all these obstacles in the context of world-class performance.  This is why I’d always recommend learning from a pro player.

I’m aware that this post could become a hagiography, but when you’ve had the frustration of never quite getting it right and then come across someone who helps you succeed and  tells you you’re a good player (and James never bullshits people)… well, those moments are gold dust.

I’ll leave you with a link to one of James’ executive training sessions. He’s taken all that he’s learned over years of playing the guitar professionally and applied it to business development and corporate learning strategies. I think you’ll agree, he’s someone you could listen to for hours.

 

Sheridan “Cowboy” .177 pellet/BB revolver

I’d like to show you this great little airgun from Crosman – the Sheridan Cowboy:

It’s designed to look like an 1858 Remington revolver which was of course a muzzle-loader. This one copies the later cartridge-converted variants on those guns.

The size and weight are quite a surprise when you get it in your hands. It’s not light and tinny as you might expect.

It has a Peacemaker-style loading gate and takes six dummy cartridges, each with a pellet or BB.

This is how you load the dummy shells.

Pop them in with the hammer at half-cock and you’re good to go.

A very nice touch is this little under-frame safety catch. Red means ready to fire.

A CO2 bulb is loaded via the left-hand grip and an L-shaped hex key is included to make life a bit easier.

It even comes to bits like the real thing. The ramrod under the barrel isn’t moveable, but the pistol has an ejector rod.

Totally authentic-looking from the outside, the cylinder is actually hollowed out, so no danger of it being converted illegally.

The end of the barrel shows imitation rifling.

 

Shoots pellets or BBs. A total of twelve shells are included (six for pellets and six for BBs), plus instructions.

These are terrific back-garden plinkers and very satisfying to use. The grip is a lot larger than you might expect but that makes a very comfortable fit for adults at least.

The trigger breaks at about 4lb.

Now selling Dillon presses & accessories plus Mr Bulletfeeder

Good news for fans of progressive reloading: we’re now selling Dillon equipment and the Mr Bulletfeeder range.

If you’ve ever wondered about the convenience and ease of cranking out ammo to your chosen spec, then this brand definitely warrants checking out.

It’s a good idea, if you’ve not loaded much before, to come to progressive loading after a bit of time spent on single-stage or turret press work. That will provide you with the basics needed to move on to these more complex machines.

There is something pleasurable about setting one of these machines up. They actually look quite scarily complicated, but the step-by-step instructions make it dead easy if you follow them carefully.

There’s a variety of machines and setups to suit differing needs and budgets. These range from the Square Deal B machines, through the RL550s and excellent XL650s, all the way to the Super 1050s, which can chuck out over 1,000 rounds per hour!

Personally, I have been pleasantly surprised by the consistency and quality of ammo my machine produces. You wouldn’t think something so complex could turn out such accurate results, but they do and they’re worth the time and investment.

The Mr Bulletfeeder setup is an aftermarket line of gear intended to take the one remaining nuisance step out of progressive loading: adding the bullets by hand. These devices drop the bullets into place so all you need do is pull the handle.

There’s even a fully automated add-on for those who want to phone in their reloading and go make a cuppa.  The Mark 7 Autodrive (made for the XL650 and Super 1050 presses) is for serious ammo makers and clubs. These machines automate the whole process.

Whatever you end up buying, you won’t be disappointed. The Dillon range has been perfected over decades and is now the last word in quality progressive loading.

Get yourself a kit and start cranking them out!

To make an enquiry, please mail me on: jon@jdrguns.com

Face the music (or not)

Not long back, I had a break of several weeks from playing the guitar. I don’t get that much time to devote to practise anyway. Really just a few minutes at the end of the day at the moment.

I’d been butting heads with a couple of tricky pieces (for me anyway) and so decided to park it for a bit and do something else. Watch films, clean the car, load some ammo, God forbid, even just sleep. Anything but go over and over the same troublesome musical phrases.

After my break, I’d been quite concerned that what I’d learned would have evaporated or that I’d have to backtrack several months in order to catch up.



Weirdly, I found the opposite to be true. I went back fresh into what I’d been learning and, instead of getting to those knotty bits in the music and falling over, I found that they pretty much just trotted out as though I’d been doing them for decades.

This is apparently something well known to musicians. Not just retained muscle memory, but an entirely different function of the human brain; it seems to go on working on problems in the background.

I guess that’s why it’s often better to sleep on a difficult decision or other issue that you can’t resolve by stressing about it and getting nowhere.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that I did sod all practice and then woke up one morning and found I had the hands of David Russell, but it was an important lesson that sometimes you’re just meant to leave something be and allow it to percolate.

After all, music is meant to be fun isn’t it?

 

 

October bullet order arrives

Well, they’re here folks. Everyone’s bullets (and other bits of equipment) arrived safely yesterday. I’ll be sending it all out on Monday/Tuesday by ParcelForce.

A new list has been opened right away and we’re taking orders for that now. Why not mail: jon@jdruns.com and see what we can do to keep you shooting?

We can get most things reloading: bullets, brass, tools, dies, gunsmithing kit and cleaning supplies. Just send us a message for a quote.

The Siege of Jadotville (Netflix)

I’d had this film on my watchlist for quite some time. When I finally got round to seeing it, I wondered why I had waited so long. It is, quite simply, excellent.

I think part of me was expecting it to be depressing because it had “siege” in the title and sieges don’t often end well. What transpired on screen though was a fascinating tale which, had it not been based on true events, would have had me shaking my head in cynical disbelief.

“The Siege of Jadotville” is the story of 155 men from the Irish Army ONUC who served as peacekeepers in the 1961 Katanga conflict. These are the real guys:

Netflix pours a ton of money into making original series and films. They, and others like them, have ramped up the quantity of available viewing material to saturation point, so it’s essential to pick and choose a bit or you’d never be away from the telly.

This film told the story which really should have come to light much sooner. The Irish Army unit concerned did not go home as heroes and were vilified as cowards upon their return from the Congo because of a lack of transparency or any kind of support by the politicians who sent them over there in the first place.

In 1961, the United Nations sent what was meant to be a body of peacekeepers into what turned out to be a far more dangerous situation than they had predicted. The Congolese had, in the past, welcomed the Irish Army to act on behalf of the UN because they were regarded as entirely impartial and thus ideally suited for the job.

Unfortunately, on this occasion the Irish soldiers, led by Commondant Pat Quinlan, were sent to a less than ideally situated barracks, right in the firing line of several thousand French mercenaries hired by vested interests in the country.

I won’t say any more about the plot, but if you like military adventure stories or true-event drama than do watch it. It’s an amazing tale.