Armchair Quarterbacking: MARLIN

Before I go on – let me but this out there.  Marlin lever action rifles are my favorite Lever Action Rifles.  More over, they are my favorite rifles that are not auto-loading.  Of all the Manual Loading Rifles, Marlins are my first choice.  I can’t help but to love the Marlins.  But Marlin has some issues going on and they need some serious help.  Many people have lost faith in the Brand.  And it’s understandable.  So here’s my plan…

If Remington were to hire me to be the Brand Manager for Marlin, I’d have a list of changes to make.

First off, everyone that is charge of Quality Control that’s been there since 2007… Those guys are fired or demoted to push broom control.  All the current executives since 2007 would all be fired as well.  What they have done to the Marlin Brand is unforgivable.


They brought out the X7 series of rifles.  Cheap Bolt Action rifles, which on the surface is just fine.  But this isn’t keeping in with the Marlin Brand; the Marlin Image. Marlin should be a recognizable brand like Jeep is.  But the X7 is like Jeep building a cheap little Sports Car.  Sure it’s rather interesting, but it’s not keeping with the Brand.  That makes it wrong.  I know a couple guys that quite like their X7 rifles.  Bully for them.   But I’d most likely kill the line.  Marlin is owned by Remington and Remington already has cheap bolt actions, so there is no need come compete within the company family.  Of course, Marlin’s not had to have a Recall on these that I am aware of or remember, so I don’t know for sure… I’d have to look at the numbers.   What do know though, is that I hate the X7.  The stock feels cheap and flimsy and I just hate it.  I’d perhaps ask Hogue to make a strong OEM stock for it, or look at a Laminate Wood option.  This will of course raise the cost – but it would be a huge improvement.  So I’d either have other stocks or I’d kill the line.  Simple as that on the X7.  Done.

The XLR series of rifles… Marlin’s longer range lever guns.  You can get them in .308MX, .338MX, or .30-30.  There is a note on the web page that says it’s also coming (in 2007) in .35 Remington.  But I’ve yet to see that.  I’d also like to see a .45-70 and .444 Marlin versions as well. These need the 24/7 rail, like what comes on the 1895 SBL.  This rail should be on the XLR’s since everyone who buys them puts a scope on them.  The longer 24/7 scope rail would allow more and better scope options for the rifle.  It only makes sense to include it.

That brings us to the 1895 SBL.  This is one of my favorite guns.  The only problem is that it’s Stainless.  Or I should say, that it’s ONLY in Stainless.  There should be the option for one in Blue.  Don’t you think?

Since Marlin doesn’t make one, I made one. This was the 1895GBL.  But the GBL doesn’t come with that 24/7 Rail like the SBL has.  This is an oversight that.   I’m not all about railing up all the guns – but this rail for the 1895’s just makes too much sense.  You can then use what ever scope up want and mount it where you like.    These SBL and GBL rifles should also be available in .444 Marlin and .35 Remington.  Again, it only makes sense to offer these guns in more calibers.  Not everyone wants .45-70.
Marlin used to offer a 16″ version… And I shot one.

This was my GBL with the 24/7 Rail. It was fantastic.

I called it a “Guide Gun”, which is wrong… It had another name but I forget.  But it was factory direct like that.  That option needs to come back.

I would like to see an even bigger version of the Guide Gun.  In .50 Caliber.  The best .50 round that could work is the .500 S&W Magnum.   This would require some resizing of the action – Something you are not wanting to do, but it needs to be done.  Slightly larger and a lot stronger.   Every option in the 1895 line  should be available here.  Including SBL’s and GBL’s.    The guns would chamber both the .500 S&W Magnum and the .460 Magnum.    Right now people who want one bad enough are shelling out over 2400 bucks  to have one custom made – This is money Marlin could be making.  If some company no one ever heard of is doing this – Marlin could be doing it too.  Excuses are too late.  This is why I had all the prior execs fired.  Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  Do it.  Just Fricken Make It Happen, you lazy, slackwits.  People will buy it.  Because for 9 years people were constantly asking for it.   So what if it would costs 1400 bucks per rifle – People would buy it.

This brings us to the 336 family.   Again, the 24/7 Rail and Big Loop combo should be offered.   There should also be a 16″ Barreled version.  Before, there was a 16, in the 336Y model, which I can’t find anymore.    The 20″ barrel is fine, but some people like them to be shorter.  Basically I want the same options in the 1895 line as in the 336 line.   .30-30, .308MX, .338MX, and .35 Remington should all have homes in all versions of the 336.

The Cowboy series has 2 guns.  One in .30-30, and one in .45-70.  Where are the other calibers?  And why  is the .30-30 so short?  Where’s the long barreled option?  It needs to 26″.  The .45-70 option is a bit disappointing.  Where is the classic tang mounted aperture sight?  The Cowboy Gun needs a stepped up version for the Cowboy Action competitions.  Those guys take their shooting seriously and to attract them in greater numbers, let’s do a 30″ barreled version, with Brass buttplate and end caps.  A “Quigley” variant, if you will.

The 39A is a Classic.  But it’s long and heavy and from spending 9 years behind a gun counter, selling these to young fathers for their young boys and girls… It’s a bit too heavy.  Shortening the barrel down to 16 inches and offering it with a lighter weight synthetic stock as an option would really help that.  So a light and short youth version is required.  The 39Y.  And since some guys like me like Carbines, a 39C, with a 16″ barrel.   Now, let’s also offer a Stainless Steel version of the A and C guns, and call them simply the AS and CS.

The 39 series also needs to have a Magnum version.  Call it the 49 series, with all the options as in the 39.   .22 Magnum and .17HMR.  Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  Henry, Winchester, and Browning made them.  Henry still does.  And let’s do a special edition 49 Cowboy.  Because that would just be amazing.


The 1894 line.  First off…  There needs to be the SBL version that was in the 2011 Catalog but never really made.  It’s time to make it.  Also, like as I said with the 336 line, the 1894 Line needs to have all calibers available in all versions.  Where is the .45 Colt option?  Over there in the Cowboy version.  That’s it?  What jackoff said that it can only be in the Cowboy?  He better have his desk cleared off.  .38/.357, .44 Mag/Special, .45 Colt/Casull.

I want this, in blued steel and walnut.

(Forgive my sloppy PhotoChop)  Legacy, Rossi and Henry are doing Mare’s Legs.  Where is Marlin’s?  12 to 13 inches.  Also, as a factory option, offer the Mare’s Leg with a full sized rifle stock for the guys that want to turn them into a Short Barreled Rifle.  Hell, we’d just throw the stock in the box with it.  We’d have to come up with a different name… Bounty Hunter and Mare’s Leg are both taken.  Maybe call it the “Outlaw”, or “Rustler”.  And of course, make it available in all caliber options.  Top it with that 24/7 Rail and a Red Dot, I’d call mine the Borderland Pistol, or the Jacob Pistol.  Stainless and Grey or Blued and Laminate Brown Wood.

The internals on all the Levers I’ve seen have been HIDEOUS.  I’ve had to disassemble every Marlin I’ve ever owned and hand finished and polished the internals as best as I could.  Every time.   Why?  This should be done on every gun before it leaves the factory.  Reason?  Because the Marlin name is on every rifle that leaves the factory.   I’ve had gouges and burrs on Internal Operating parts.  On the levers.  Ive had bolt’s so rough I thought they were threaded.   The inside areas of these 1895’s, 336’s, and 39’s have all been drastically unfinished.  It’s as if you were digging the metal out like you were carving a canoe out of a log.  It’s tragic.  It’s a failure.  It needs to be addressed.    For the love of all that is holy – Can’t you jackwagon’s just deburr the inside of the loading ports?  I’ve cut myself on them more than once.

And where is a Centerfire Takedown Lever Action?  Taylors and Wild West Guns can make them – Where’s Marlin’s Take Down?  The 39A takes down… Come on now, let’s get with the program.

What do you say Remington?  Pay me 200 grand a year and give me a bull horn and a Chainsaw… I’ll have people lining up to buy Marlins.

Hero or Vigilante?

Interesting story coming out of Texas.  A concealed carry permit holder used his weapon to not just stop a crime but to apprehend the criminals.   The news story is here.

How would this have played out in other states?


Utah, AZ, AK, GA, WY, MT, ID… Probably would have gone over just as it did.
Other states – NY, CT, MD, VA, NC, IL, CA, OR, WA and many others… The story probably would have been taking a much different tone.

Had this situation come to a different ending before the police arrived, I’m sure the story would have been negative even though the person tried to do the right thing.     Or what if the Hero didn’t have a Permit – but had the gun in his car and was able to get it out and get into action.   Would that have changed the tenor of the report?  I be it would have.   Heaven forbid that someone other than a Permit Holder attempt to do what’s right.

Do what’s right.   Simple phrase.  But dire consequences here.  And things could have gone very pear shaped very quickly in this situation.   But this man did the right thing – because it turned out okay.  But what if he did the right thing and it didn’t turn out well?  If that had happened, the Hero would have been branded a Vigilante and the report would have been that he shouldn’t have intervened.

The Police were of course, as always in case like this – advising Citizens to NOT get involved and just get good descriptions.  “Observe and Report”… like most Security Guards.   Notice that the Security Cameras are not good enough to get Plates?  You can’t depend on Cameras.  Cameras don’t reduce crime.  If they did – this wouldn’t have happened, no?


Here’s the deal… We have far more GOOD GUYS than we have COPS.  Permit Holders, or GOOD GUYS With Guns that DON’T have Permits.   You see, if it was a First Aid situation, the person trying to help is covered under the Good Samaritan Law.   But for a guy like this, there is no Legal Coverage for attempting to stop a crime in progress.  So if you try and succeed – you are a good guy.  Try and Fail – You will become “Part of the Problem” and you will be the Bad Guy.

Should we extend the Good Samaritan Law to cover attempting stopping crime in progress?  Oh, the Liberal Mind will boil and explode on that question!   Many Gun Owner’s will too.    There will be more George Zimmermans out there… More Vigilantes… and some day someone might actually wear a costume while doing it!  Oh this will be great entertainment… Debating the validity of something Good Men have been doing ever since there have been Bad Men.

I think we should… Amend the laws to protect the Good Samaritans.  Just like a LEO is protected by law.   Just think of it… Instead of a few cops in a town  – you have thousands.   Just like in the old “Wild West”.  Here’s the thing about the Wild West…  NEVER has this country had a period of greater Peace and never had people been so removed from Government.    Oh we know all about the Shoot Outs that happened there because there were so few, each one was documented and talked about in detail.  Now days?  There are so many the Internet can’t even keep track.  Let’s bring back those days of Peace.

The Nock Gun

Also known as a Volley Gun.  There was one on display at the NRA Convention last weekend that has attracted much attention.

We’ve been seeing photos of this gun popping up all over the place.  It’s a cool gun.  It fires all seven barrels at the same time.  Like a shotgun, but more effective since each Ball was fired at much higher velocity than the shotguns of the time.  You can read some more about this gun here.

Many have said that these guns would be cumbersome.
That is not so.
The Nock Gun was fairly short.  And while not a light weight, was certainly not too heavy to be cumbersome.
The series of films “Sharpe’s Rifles” feature a Sargent that uses one to good and dramatic effect, dropping several foes in one grand blast.
You can watch the movies here… There are 14 films, Rifles is the fist.


Leonard Da Vinci.  Thomas Jefferson.  Benjamin Franklin.

Do you know why these men were so great?  Because they were not Pigeonholed into thinking that they could only do one type of job.    Yet the tradition of Corporate America is to Pigeonhole people and ID People by the Job they did before instead of everything that they are capable of.

I find this sad.

The Bikes I’m interested in, at this moment.

You guys have noticed I’ve been posting about cars and trucks and such a lot more lately.  Probably it’s because I love cars and trucks – always have.  My first words were – and I’m not kidding here – “Vooma-Vooma”.  Those might not be words according to Webster’s, but they were my first words.   I’ve avoided looking at bikes too closely because, well, it’s painful to me because 1, I don’t have one and 2, I can’t afford one.    But let’s go ahead and look at some Bikes.  Because I’m in the mood to do so and it’s well past time.   I’m looking at a relocation soon and first order of business once that is done, is acquiring a motorcycle, even if I have to sell my car to do it.    There are some specific machines I’m looking at… They are shown in No Order:


The KLR-650.  Like a Jeep Wrangler, I’ve always wanted one.  And like the Wrangler, when it finally came down to getting something – I always got something else…. And I’ve always kicked myself for passing on the chance.  But I’ve been on a new kick lately – I call it “Finally Getting What I’ve Always Wanted”.  Those things that I’ve always wanted… I’ve been getting them.  One of these days – I’ll get my Wrangler.  And In the Garage next to it will be a KLR-650.  Because.  I don’t know why I’ve always passed it up.  Maybe it’s because the WANT is better than the HAVE.  Or the fear of that being the case.  The newest version though addresses my two considerations that have caused me to pass it up.  1 is the KLR Doohicky and 2 is the seat.  That being said, the KLR is most likely going to be the bike I end up with next.    But we’ll see.


The STAR Bolt R Spec.  It remains in my mind as a bike I really want.  If I was to get a new bike – this is probably the bike that I should get, as it represents pretty much what I’ve been looking for… A simple runabout for pure cruising enjoyment.  Nothing fancy or special… Simple.  But satisfying… it scratches that “I need to take a ride” itch.  It has short legs… So not interstate travel… but around town on a nice day to run light errands and goof around… The Bolt-R is probably ideal.  That and I think it looks just awesome for what it is.   But I think really this would be a horse for the stable if I had other horses for more specific purposes of Sport and ADV.


This bike… The FZ-09… I was with friends when I first got my hands on this one.  It’s the new style of “Standard Bike”.  But Yamaha took Standard and gave it a mohawk.  This bike would bring out the Hooligan in me.  It feels like it’s as light as a Mountain Bike, yet has Big Bore Punch.  That’s a wicked combination.  I could ride it nice and sedately passed the cops, and then when I get out of sight – instantly Wheelie like a total squid.   I could probably get this one before the KLR or the Bolt-R, it’s that likable when I see it up close.  And if you throw a leg over it – You will want it.   This bike also makes way too much sense.  It’s like that friend of yours that is way too smart for his own good and comes up with Evil Genius plans that sound perfectly well reasoned and logical and then they get you in trouble.

KTM 1190 Adventure 2013 basic model

Because one day I want to ride across Continents and screw BMW.    This is my Hail Marry dream bike.  Load it up with some luggage and a backpack and go hunt Orc with this bike.  It’s name is Adventure.  No, seriously, it is… the KTM 1190 Adventure.  There are two versions… Adventure and the Adventure R.  And I don’t care about the differences.  Either one would make me the happiest man on Earth… and then I’d want to go around that Earth.  Or at least Coast To Coast following back roads and exploring what needs to be explored along the way.  KTM should sponsored The Long Way Around instead of letting BWM take the show.


This is the evolution of the concept that Yamaha’s FZ-09 was playing with.  KTM’s Super Duke.  If the FZ-09 was Dr. Bruce Banner, then the Super Duke is The Hulk.  It got big, gnarly and pissed off.  It’s a monster.  It’s brutal.  It’s a rage beast.  And that’s what I love about it.  This thing is all about aggression, making no apologies for it.   It’s the 2 wheel version of a Shelby 427 Cobra, but with less manners or concern for what is socially acceptable or politically correct.  This is a Dream Bike right here.   Should Hollywood buy the Uprising Saga and make movies out of them… I’ll have one of these bikes.  And I’ll take it to the California Super Bike School and have Keith Code teach me how to control this beast.


Keeping with the theme of taking a bike type and having a reasonable version and an dream version of it… This is the Dream Bike option for the Star Bolt R.    That Cruiser bike just for the sake of Cruising.  This is the Victory Vegas.  I looked at the 8-Ball version and love it… a lot… And then other versions.  There was one locally that was eyeballing before I left my job.  Had I not left that job – I probably would have got it.  The Vegas “FITS” me.  Head to Toe.  Or should I say Bars to Pegs?  This is America’s Other Motorcycle Maker… Victory pretty much has everything you would want in a Motorcycle like Harley, but done better.  Seriously – if you even THINK you might want a Harley – go to a Victory Dealership and take a good hard look.  The Victory is a step up.  It just is.


Okay, now this is a bike that is intriguing me.  If I could find one.  This is a US HIGHLAND “Viking”.  It’s a Liter Class V-Twin.  Very light weight, very compact.  It’s what I loved about my beloved Honda Superhawk… without what I didn’t like about the Superhawk.  (Side Mounted Radiators) This bike could replace the all the other bikes on my list save for the ADV machines. There is something about this… I really want to get to know US HIGHLAND better.  They put out a bike… Read the Review from 2011 here.  It doesn’t look like they are marking the Viking or the Enduro that they were also developing.  I hope they enter the US Market as a serious production Bike Maker and not just Engine Builders.


Sick and Tired: Spartans.

The Gun Community really goes overboard on THEMES.  Someone comes up with something cool and 89,000 other people do spin offs of that theme and it’s a Forbidden that anyone else says anything about it.  Well, let me break that ice.


Spartans.   Molon Labe. introduce the Gun Community to “MOLON LABE” back at the turn of this Century when Rich went up against the Anti-Gunners and used quite astutely “Molon Labe” as their battle cry.     Combine that with the move “300” and holy freaking hell it’s been nothing but Greek Spartans all over the damn place.   Tactical Greek Spartans of some sort must account for 1/6th of the entire Gun Industry now.  Okay, I exaggerate… But come on… This theme is tired.  The only thing more tired is the eternal battle of “Who is more tactical than Who”, which is only slightly more tired than “.45 vs 9mm”.   Don’t get me wrong – 300 was the ultimate badass movie.  We all love the Epic Sentiment found in the film that loosely correlates with actual history.   But to say you are a Trainer and you want to come up with your own Training Company – and you pick Spartan as a Theme?  You have a dramatic lack of Imagination.

Let me help you out if you have no imagination.  You know who else is Badass, other than Spartans?  Vikings.

minnesota vikings logoVikings raided and pillaged there way all around Europe and the Mediterranean, into the Middle East, and across to North America.  They were Ultimate Badasses because they literally became the Boogey Men of all of Europe.    I had one History Professor that even suggested that Vikings were one of the peoples that fought the Egyptians that were called the Sea People.    They were all over the place.  Scary.  Monstrous.  Why don’t you call your Ballistic Dojo something along the lines of the Vikings?    CalicoJackThe Pirate theme has some popularity in the arena of motivational patchworks… and that’s cool too.  Unfortunately the popular motif is the Calico Jack standard.  Yes, that image is very piratey but unfortunately John Rackham was terrible at being a Pirate.  Sure, he was a smooth talking rouge that had a couple hotties on his ship with him… living it up like the very image of the label on a bottle of Captain Morgan’s… but he just sucked at being a Pirate.  His biggest score was the taking of another ship… In plain view of Authorities and when they caught up to him – Calico Jack and his crew were hiding in the jungles as the Good Guys took his ship.      Don’t use that as your Pirate Theme – but pick another.  There are lots of awesome Pirates out there.   And just think about how epic your Booth Babes will be one day at SHOT SHOW.


So who do you want to surround yourself with?  A bunch of Magic Mikes or some beautiful Pirate Booty?

Years ago, Gundoc and I started CRUSADER WEAPONRY.  We used the Crusader Knight as our icon and it worked.  But now there are a lot of other guys out there… If I had a dollar for all the other rifle maker’s “Broadswords” out there – I’d have a Broadsword rifle of my own.  Many Copycats…. And that’s fine… as long as they are not overdone like the Spartans are… Judas Priest… I’ve seen more Tactical Spartans at SHOT SHOW last year then their were in the Movie.

Keep the MOLON LABE – Get the Tat.  Because that’s awesome.  But if you are going to name your company something… BE ORIGINAL.



The Coolest Muscle Cars of All Time

Hands down the Golden Era of Muscle Cars was 1966 to 1974 .  Those years were the most awesome years in the history of the world.  Through time frame American Car Makers were not afraid to try new things… to be as badass as they wanted to be.   Forget the little British Sports Cars… with their silly little go-cart motors.  American Muscle Cars were all about the big beefy V-8 engines and body stylings that blow a girl’s skirt up just sitting at a stoplight at idle.  Muscle Cars were Awesome.  All of them.  But some, are more awesome than others.

Here’s my list in No Order.


The 1970 Boss 302 Mustang.  This car was Ford’s top of the line Mustang the year I was born.  Maybe why it’s been my favorite.  The Elinore and the Bullit Mustangs are undoubtedly cool… But 1970 302 is my Unicorn.  It’s one of those cars I’d go back in time, buy several, and put in a Time Capsule for my own pleasure back in the future.  In 1971 though, the Mustang really started to go to hell.  The ’71 and later Mach 1 body styles were disgusting, and then in 74 the Mustang II took over… *shudder*  But in 1970 the Boss 302 Mustang was at the zenith.  Handled better than the Boss 427, and actually tracked faster.  It was just good.  Ford hasn’t been able to hit again since the 2015 Mustang… which will become the best Mustang Ford has ever made.  But we’ll see if it stands up to the mighty 1970 Boss.


The 1969 Dodge Charger.  The classic Dodge Charger had great lines.  Streamlined while still being “Muscle Car”.  Bo and Luke Duke?  Admit it – you watched The Duke’s because of the girl in the short shorts that drove the Jeep.  We all did.  But if you painted your Charger bright Orange to look like the General Lee – You suck at Life.  Because of that one TV series – there is a drastic shortage of good classic Chargers.  And too many of them are Orange.  The show burned through so many of them, it’s criminal.  But there are some left out there in the wild.  And if you find a good one – It’s a rare thing of beauty now.


This is the Baddest of the Bad.  The 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454.  The most powerful factory installed engine of the Muscle Car Era.  It was Big and Bad and embodied everything the Muscle Car stood for.   If it was any more powerful it would come with it’s own Wookie Mechanic and would outrun Imperial Cruisers.  These are the real “SS” cars that Chevy seems to have forgotten about.  Later year versions of the Chevelle would feature only one headlight on each side – but I don’t think those are quite as menacing as the dual headlight cars.  The SS looks like it wants to throw you a beating.
You can see these cars in action in DEMOLITION MAN, and JACK REACHER.  Two movies which are worth watching just for the Chevelles.  That and Sandra Bullock’s ass in her Police Uniform in Demolition Man… Wow.  Just wow.


Yes.  That was my reaction when I first saw that.

Edit:  I was wrong.  As pointed out by an astute reader, Demolition Man featured the Olds 442.  I was wrong…  My memory was faulty.  And I’ve not watched DemoMan in a couple decades.  Here’s the Olds 442:


They do look very similar, but the front grill is distinctly different.   Forgive me… I was distracted….


Moving on… The GTO.  Pontiac’s Greatest Thing Ever.


Specifically the 1967 Pontiac GTO.  This is THE CAR… This is one that defined what a Muscle Car was all about.  It set the rules.  It established the very definition.  This was Muscle Car Purity.  There are a lot of different versions of the GTO, but in 1967 Pontiac got it just right.   The right balance of size, weight, output, and looks.  As far as car designs go, it shows that it’s a 60’s era car, but it’s a design that has aged very well…. so well in fact, that they actually look better now. These are the Jane Seymour’s of Muscle Cars.  When one drives by, you can’t help but to stare at it.  There is just something about it.  Just like Jane Seymour.



The TV Show Supernatural has 3 Leading Characters.  Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, and the ’67 Impala.  This is the show that eclipsed Firefly as The Coolest Show on Earth.  It has Classic Rock Music, Guns, Monsters, and this Impala.  The Impala is just flat out cool.  Old School Muscle Car, with refined looks and a nice feature that makes it practical for every day use.  Four Doors.  Looking at my other choices – this is the only one with four doors.  I find that kind of odd…. as I don’t have anything against four doors, but most look like grandmother’s sunday barges.  The 67 Impala has something rather menacing about it that later Impalas lost in the 70’s… and really have never regained.

Out of this short list – If I could pick one that the Gods of Torque and Recoil could bestow upon me… It would be between the 302 Mustang and the Chevelle SS 454.  I think I’d have to take BOTH.  And of course the GOT&R would nod sagely and give me both… Because they are just awesome that way.

Honorable mentions going to the ’70 AMC AMX, the ’71 Olds Cutlass, and the Buick GSX.  But really… those cars were just taking cues off of these cars.


America’s greatest car.

Let me ask you guys a question.  What is America’s greatest car?  What car is the icon of all that is America?  Maybe we should ask those that don’t live in the USA… What car do they see in the American Dream?  The symbol of the United State…  The 4 wheel statue at the top of the flag pole.  Eh, who cares what Jeremy Clarkson thinks… This is our car we’re talking about.  America’s car.  What is that car to us?

Is it the Mustang?


The Mustang is now 50 years old.   And it’s been mostly a good 50 years.  Never mind the Mustang II years… 1973 to 1978… Those were terrible years and I am not convinced anything good came out of those years.  Interestingly, ’73 to ’78 were the very same years as the run of Kojak.  Telly Savalas may have single handedly saved The 70’s, I’m not sure, but it sure wasn’t the Mustang II.  Side note, according to the Wiki, Consumer Reports recommended the Gremlin over the Mustang II.  Ouch.  That stings.

Maybe America’s Car is the Corvette.

Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.
Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.

The Corvette is now well over that 50 year mark.  It too has a long and storied history marred by that awkward time through the 70’s.   But overall, the Corvette weathered that storm and really never forgot what it was quite like the Mustang.   The 2015 Corvett’s styling is brilliant… it blends hallmarks over everything the Corvette always was, with everything the Mad Men at Chevy want the Corvette to be. Then they put in the best interior that the Corvette has ever had.  The best seats, the best dash layout, the best cockpit area… It’s the promise of the Corvette finally fulfilled.  Driving one, just for a few minutes, tells you that the Corvette has finally arrived.  For it to be any better than this – It will have to run on a Mr Fusion and fly.

Both the Mustang and the Corvette share one thing in common for me.  I never really wanted one until the 2015 Model year for both the cars.  If you look at the development of these cars, you see a progression of development, with both cars getting better with every year… but 2015 marks what is probably the pinnacle for both platforms.    Maybe overall the Mustang had a lead.  Especially in 1968… Because of one man.  No, not Carroll Shelby*.  But Steve McQueen.


I think overall this is what saved the Mustang through those lean 70’s years.  That and the fact there really were not a lot of good options during that time anyway.
In 2004 is when Ford started taking the Mustang seriously though.  That’s when Carroll Shelby came into the scene, bringing with him the Cobra packages.  Mustangs all the sudden became something more than just a habit for Ford.  It became a real thing again.  Something that they could actually show some pride in.  They had gone past the Fox Bodies – which really were not all that bad – into that newer clam shell topped car that was just… not all that inspiring. They were like a place holder car until Shelby bolted in an Awesome kit.    Come on, Ford’s Special Vehicle Team couldn’t do anything with it… The best work that they had done in some time before or since with any car was the Contour.  When automotive journalists compare the SVT Contour to a BMW M3, that really says something.  Too bad nobody paid attention to those journalists.  Come on, SVT’s biggest idea for the Mustang was a 4 cylinder turbo.  They should have put that in the Contour and supercharged the Mustang.  Or something. I will give them credit for the Lightning… because that was awesome… and the Raptor… because that was even more awesome.  But without Shelby, the SVT guys were just lost.

Okay, now here’s the thing though… America’s best selling car isn’t a car.  According to AutoBlog, the top 10 vehicles sold doesn’t even have an American car in the list.   You see that the #1 rig is the Ford F-150, and #2 is the Chevy Silverado.   It’s been said that Ford sells about 6 F-150’s every Minute.  But best selling doesn’t necessarily mean best vehicle.  Motor Trend (my favorite American’ Auto-Rag) named the Ram 1500 as the Truck of the Year for 2014.    I have to say, that’s a good choice.  I drove a Ram 1500 from Vernal, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada and I have to say… it was incredibly comfortable and incredibly smooth.  It was a joy to drive.  And that was, what, a 2012 model?  The newer ones have got nothing but better.  I especially love the storage boxes above the wheel wells along the sides of the beds.  That’s smart.  And the fact that you can get 28 MPG’s on the highway – thats’ incredible.

More than Car Guys – Truck Guys can get seriously argumentative over who has the best truck.  Ford – Chevy – Dodge – Toyota… They battle like the families in Game of Thrones.   I’ll let you guys decide which Family is which Brand.  For me, there is something wrong with Ford F-150 that I can’t put my finger on.  Maybe it’s the looks.  I HATE the look of these new F-150’s.  They look like they were designed by Mayan-Cylon Architects.  That’s not a good look for a truck.  I’m not a fan of the dual turbo V-6… Ford’s EcoBoost.  Sure, it’s popular and guys that have it love them.  But I’d rather have the 5.0 Liter…   Now, the Ford’s 5.0 is said to put out more power than the 5.3 Liter Chevy V-8, but the Chevy’s has Cylinder Deactivation for more efficient highway driving.  When trying out both trucks, I really can’t feel a difference.

As I have mentioned before, I do like the Chevy interior better than the Ford’s.   The Ford’s feel like you are flying in Coach Class by the Emergency Exit.  You might have plenty of leg room, but you don’t really want to be there.  The Chevy’s is more comfortable, with a better layout all around.  So I think between the two I’d take the Chevy**.

Overall, in my opinion, America’s Car for 2014 is the Chevy Silverado.

*The fact that Dodge locked up Shelby to merely gussy up some ulgy hatchbacks is something America should never forgive Dodge for.

**Actually most likely I’d take the new 2015 Chevy Colorado.  With a V-6 of course.  For economy reasons.  This is a class of Truck that Ford has ignored for some time now.   But that’s another topic.    But if I was rich and could just buy whatever I wanted – The Silverado High Country edition with that 6.2 liter engine… Just because.

The 1911 Platform Observations

The 1911. It’s a fantastic shooting platform. I had gotten away from it for some years and now I’m back to it for the time being. As an instructor I’ve made many observations on the guns and the shooters and I think I’ve come up with some conclusions.

1. The 1911 demands loyalty. You can’t cheat on it and have it be faithful back to you. If you are going to carry a 1911, you need to marry it. Here’s why… In most every class I’ve taught that had a 1911 shooter in it, I’ll catch a guy draw his weapon, push out from the high compressed position, and then crush his trigger to no effect because he forgot to sweep the safety off. Most of the guys that do that, do so because their other guns are not 1911’s. They are Glocks or XD’s or M&P’s or something altogether not 1911’s. Don’t cheat on the 1911. Because that’s going to lead some issues.
2. Don’t go shorter than 4 inches. 1911’s that are shorter than a “Commander” start to give up reliability. You give up other things as well to the point that you are detracting from the fantastic qualities that make the 1911 the 1911 in the first place. The long sight radius, the accuracy, the pointability… These things make a 1911 what it is. Chopping them down to 3 inches… you’ve ruined it. You no longer have the pointing, the accuracy, the very things we love the 1911 for. And I’ve never seen a compact 1911 of any sort complete one of my handgun courses without turning into a hot mess of problems. The Commander is 4.25 inches. Many 1911 makers are doing a 4″ version, and they seem to be running just about as well as any good full sized 5″ “Government” model. Shorter than 4, it’s effecting the geometry and the timing and it’s just not worth the risk in reliability for the perception of greater concealment.
3. The 1911 needs to be well lubricated. Some guys like oil, some grease, and others a combo of both in different places. However you like it – that’s fine. As long as you oil it. Most every 1911 I’ve seen with issues that wasn’t shorter than 4″, was a pistol that was bone dry. Just like an AR-15, it can be hot, and dirty… but it can’t be dry. The 1911 likes to be wet.
4. The 1911 is a traditional type of pistol so it needs a traditional type of holsters – leather. Good leather. Most 1911’s are north of $1,000 dollars, so don’t even think about it letting it ride in a cheap rig. And remember what I said about marrying the 1911? That means showing it the respect that it deserves… let it ride in something nice. Let it know you care. Here’s the other reason… The 1911 is not for the Duffers. It’s a pistol for the experts. It’s for the experienced shooters. It should show some miles on it. Let it get some holster wear, let that holster break in… And you do that by #5…
5. You Must Train with it. Practice your draw. Practice your re-holstering. Practice getting that one thing that the 1911 excels at – that fast and precise first round heavy hit. All gunfights have one thing in common. That first shot. Make it count.

Bundy Ranch

Yes, I’ve been quiet about the Bundy Ranch situation.   Fine… You want my opinion?

Bundy is a nutter and owes his grazing fees.  But he also has a point.  I believe the States should control their own land and not the Feds through the BLM.  I know a lot of guys that work for the BLM and they are good guys.  But in Nevada, they are over-stepping quite a bit.  Pulling back like they did was a smart move.  They had nothing to gain by pushing further.
Harry Reid is right when he said that this isn’t over.  The BLM will make their bones on this.  That much is for sure.  Because it’s BLM land, not Nevada land.  The Feds will get their due.  They are like the Lannisters from the Game of Thrones.

Does anyone really think this is about Turtles?  Does anyone really give a crap about the turtles?  Las Vegas is killing them because they have too many.  Even though they are “endangered”.  Really?  What’s really going on?

The BLM controls most of the western states.  This is patently wrong.  See the Feds made these huge land grabs by offering PILT deals.  Payments in lieu of Taxes.  The States turn over “unproductive” land to the Feds and get payments from the Feds in return.  “More than what they would earn in taxes” or so they said.  Utah took it.   And it so happens that the PILT money is a fraction of what they would be making on the revenue from the Mineral Rights… OIL MONEY.  Crude, Tar Sands, Oil Shale, Fracking… Black Gold… Texas Tea… And then all the Natural Gas on top of that.  Billions of dollars worth and the Feds pay out Pennies in PILT.  Nevada gets PILT payments as well.  How’s that working out for them?

Now, in Nevada, they don’t have as much oil as Utah.  Not like in the Uintah Basin.  But Harry Reid’s son has a solar energy deal with China… a deal that is supposed to happen on that contested land.   You can bet the farm – er – the Ranch… sorry… That Harry Reid is fully set and ready to destroy the Bundy’s so his son and he can make some bacon on that land the Bundy’s are raising beef on.  Reid is ready to go Full On Waco on the Bundy’s.  Yet that clown points a finger at the people that are saying “hey, that’s not right” and calls them Domestic Terrorists.  Well, I can’t say how I feel about Reid.  The G-Men would be knocking on my door if I did.

All I can say about this situation in Nevada is “Follow The Money”.  Who benefits from this?  Nevada?  No… Nevada doesn’t get nothing.


Huh…  Looks the Sheriff might be getting some scratch.  The Reid Family sure is.  But the people of Nevada are getting the thumb screws.  As are all of us…  Because this is a States Rights issue at the core of the Bundy’s arguement – and it’s an issue that needs to be looked at.

When I ran for office in 2010 in Utah, my platform had two key issues I wanted to push.  Taking Back Utah and Constitutional Carry.  Now, when I was running, the US Forrest Service had just shut down the majority of the routes through the Uintah Mountains.  Trails, Dirt Roads… basically all access to old family hunting grounds that the people of Uintah County had been hunting for generations.  I was there at the meetings and listened to the proposals and listened to the people – and let me tell you.  The Feds didn’t give a damn.  They had their goals to accomplish.  Keep everyone where they could be found easily.  “For their safety” and to keep the wear and tear down on the trails.  Yeah – by concentrating all that traffic in one big loop.  They never explained just how that works.

Utah can manage Utah better.

Nevada can manage Nevada better.