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folkchick
05-12-2010, 05:03 AM
My MC needs it to be a quick and easy shot, easy to hold, etc. I'm reading about the Beretta with Windchester ammo. But basically, I am a clueless hippie and need more information. Thank you!

alleycat
05-12-2010, 05:16 AM
I'm sure you'll get a lot of replies (questions about firearms always do).

You might want to give a few more details about the MC and the setting. For example, the US or elsewhere? Is the MC ex-military? Prior experience with handguns?

Most of the time you don't really have to go into a lot of detail about either the gun or the ammo, unless it's needed for the plot of your story.

I don't usually point out typos (it's poor form), but it's Winchester, not Windchester. I thought you might actually want to know that.

folkchick
05-12-2010, 05:34 AM
Thank you alleycat!

The setting is Indiana,1956. The MC is a young woman who has never been around guns. She needs something that will kill her enemy quick, because she knows it might be a one-shot deal, literally. So again: easy to hold, easy to pull the trigger, female friendly, but very deadly.

Stanmiller
05-12-2010, 05:39 AM
:evil says,

Best of the semi-autos of that period? Probably the FN/Browning Hi-Power in 9mm and the Colt Government Model 1911A1 in .45 ACP.

Best revolvers? That's tougher. The Colt's Python .357 Mag and Smith and Wesson Registered Magnum or Model 27 .357s would be neck and neck, if it weren't for the S&W Model 29 .44 Mag introduced in 1955.

:evil flips a coin. It comes up...drum roll...Model 29 .44 Mag, Clint's Dirty Harry Special.

Oops. :evil just saw your post about being small female friendly. Now :evil says give her the gentleperson's pistol, the elegant Browning Hi-Power, instead of the brutal .44 Mag.

alleycat
05-12-2010, 05:43 AM
Thank you alleycat!

The setting is Indiana,1956. The MC is a young woman who has never been around guns. She needs something that will kill her enemy quick, because she knows it might be a one-shot deal, literally. So again: easy to hold, easy to pull the trigger, female friendly, but very deadly.
A double-action revolver is probably the easiest and most intuitive to use by someone with little or no experience with handguns.

I'll throw out one idea: a Smith & Wesson Chiefs Special in .38 Special (.38 Special is the ammunition used). It's powerful, but small enough for a woman to handle. The .38 Special was a popular round, and was commonly used by police departments at that time.

folkchick
05-12-2010, 05:52 AM
Okay, thank you. Would she buy the gun and ammo at the local general store? Or would it be a special store? It's a very small town btw, not sure if I mentioned that.

Adding- looks like I will go with the Smith & Wesson w/ .38 Special ammo. Thank you!

alleycat
05-12-2010, 05:56 AM
There were gun stores around, but back then most small town hardware stores also carried guns. That would be a good option to use, I believe.

Stanmiller
05-12-2010, 06:01 AM
A double-action revolver is probably the easiest and most intuitive to use by someone with little or no experience with handguns.

I'll throw out one idea: a Smith & Wesson Chiefs Special in .38 Special (.38 Special is the ammunition used). It's powerful, but small enough for a woman to handle. The .38 Special was a popular round, and was commonly used by police departments at that time.

Except that the glaring issue with the S&W J-Frames (the frame size of the Chief's Special) is that they are experts' weapons. The 2 inch barrel and short sight radius, along with the small grip makes them very tough to shoot. Many, many rounds have to be expended before the weapon is effective beyond five yards or so. :evil has been through two of the critters (Airweight Bodyguards) learning how to shoot them.

Mrs. :evil won't shoot the blasted things at all, preferring the controllability and feel of the Hi-Power. She's 5-4, weighs in about 110 lbs, with small hands. She took to it right away and regularly outshoots :evil himself with it.

--Stan

folkchick
05-12-2010, 06:49 AM
I guess the main issue is, now that I think of it, what would have been available at the time? I'm guessing the Smith & Wesson. Emma would probably prefer a revolver to something that uses a clip, however I do agree that a fatter nose (?) would be of a hinderance. It's a close range shot, about ten feet or so, but still, she wants to be accurate.

WriteKnight
05-12-2010, 06:58 AM
Just want to point out, that you are basically receiving the dialog that can take place when she purchases the weapon.

"I need a gun."

"Well little lady, I have two guns right here that might do the trick. Then one is simple, point and shoot - this one takes a little training - you can practice right here at the range. In fact, let's go out back and shoot them both so you can pick out the one that feels best"

Something along those lines.

thothguard51
05-12-2010, 07:36 AM
Sears would also have carried small arms in the sporting goods department during that time period as well as most local hardware and sporting goods stores in small town America.

While a lot of people might disagree, because of the stopping power, a 22 pistol would be a perfect weapon for a woman who has never handled a gun before. You can pop round after round off without worrying about recoil.

Also, the sound like a firecracker and more than likely would not draw much attention if she is worried about that king of stuff. Buying a 22 would also not draw much interest since lots of rural folks kept them around to scare off stray dogs and stuff. A woman buying something larger in a small town might get tongues wagging about what she needs a gun for...

poetinahat
05-12-2010, 08:03 AM
Any reason the weapon has to be a gun? If it's a small town, I'd imagine buying a handgun would raise some eyebrows. Unless, maybe, she takes a trip to Chicago?

folkchick
05-12-2010, 08:15 AM
I'm going to ponder all of this tonight because it is all really good information. Thank you!

The main thing is to kill fast. Her target is the leader of a group of men who can paralyze with only one thought, so it has to be done quick and she's hoping to phase back into the future right after. That means a loud gun would be okay—what does she care?

I'm liking the hardware store. It sounds right to me.

RJK
05-12-2010, 06:11 PM
My wife, who is not a small woman, had difficulty working the slide on my 9 mm and my .45 ACP. She just wasn't strong enough. For close in work, the .38 chief's special is as good as any. It fits a woman's smaller hand, and has enough stopping power to do the job.

folkchick
05-12-2010, 06:44 PM
Thank you RJK, and to everyone. Yeah, I think I really am going to stick with a .38. A 22 pistol would be too small, from what I read last night.

So, she's doing target practice up on the bluffs. What kind of power does her ammo have with limestone? I know, probably a really stupid question. I'm going to have her setting up targets—drawings she's made of each person from the Soul Seekers ministry. Would Limestone crumble behind the picture, or is there a chance it could ricochet off?

Todd Bayliss
05-13-2010, 03:07 AM
Both. The bullet would either ricochet or splatter itself into oblivion, but would also blast out a decent crater in the rock and send fragments flying.
Check out http://www.theboxotruth.com/ for pics of what happens when bullets hit stuff.
Don't discount the little .22 though. It penetrates deep and tends to explode when it hits something hard (like bone). Weapon of choice for professional hits because of the quiet report. Sounds like a nail gun, but does require skill and close range to be effective.

Tiger
05-13-2010, 03:56 AM
I'd go with a S&W Chief's special... Still relatively new in '56. .38 is certainly lethal enough.

RobinGBrown
05-13-2010, 03:42 PM
If she's from the future she might have read/seen a Bond movie - Walther PPK

(Just reading Dr No this morning)

justAnotherWriter
05-13-2010, 05:25 PM
Any reason the weapon has to be a gun? If it's a small town, I'd imagine buying a handgun would raise some eyebrows. Unless, maybe, she takes a trip to Chicago?

Not in the slightest. Not even today, but especially in the 50s.

You must be a city person think like that. :)

Gary
05-13-2010, 05:51 PM
No problem buying a gun without generating curiosity, but finding a larger caliber handgun in a small town would be difficult unless the town was located in an area where there were bears and other large animals, and reasons for people spend time in the woods.

I lived in a small town in 1956, and while rifles were a glut, the local hardware store usually stocked only one or two cheap .22 caliber pistols. If you wanted something more powerful, you drove to a larger town with a well stocked sporting goods store, or you ordered it through the mail.

WWII German surplus 9MM Lugers were cheap and readily available from several outdoor magazine advertisers, but it took time to get them without the Internet and UPS.

folkchick
05-13-2010, 10:47 PM
Okay Gary. Everyone made a great point, but you can't beat a real anecdote. I'll have to rethink the .38 special and consider what you said about the .22 caliber pistol. Darnitt too, because I read Annie Oakley had a Smith & Wesson, and I was all gung ho about that.

Thanks to every one again. The information has been amazing!

RJK
05-14-2010, 12:44 AM
If your character is target shooting, she'd probably buy a box of wad cutters. The bullet is soft lead and the cartridge has a lighter charge of gunpowder. The softer bullet makes for lower chance of ricochet. These bullets are still deadly, but are commonly used for target practice.

Gary
05-14-2010, 05:12 AM
One other thing to consider. In every small town or rural area, there is always a gun nut who owns dozens of guns and buys and sells constantly. Our neighbor was one of those guys, and those of us who couldn't afford to buy a gun would often borrow one of his when hunting season rolled around.

You character might try buying a gun in a hardware store, and the store owner might suggest she visit a collector to see if he had one to sell.

folkchick
05-14-2010, 05:38 AM
That's an interesting thought, Gary. There's a guy that lives out past town that Emma tried to buy a car from in the first book (when it's 1979) and she could buy a gun from him in this book as well. Hmmmm, wheels are a turnin'.'

And thank you for the info RJK.

folkchick
05-14-2010, 05:48 PM
My final decision is the .38—Emma will be obsessed with getting one after reading about Annie Oakley. She'll try the hardware store at first, but since it won't be stocked, she'll get referred to the guy who lives out past town. He's a collector and will have the gun and all the answers she could ever hope to ask (a conglomeration of you guys!).

I really appreciate all the help!

R. A. Lundberg
05-14-2010, 07:34 PM
Oh, say, how about something really common in the 1950's- the Colt Police Positive Special in .38 special. Although they originally came in four and six inch barrels from the factory, having the barrel cut back to the end of the ejector rod and a new front sight fitted was a fairly common modification with gunsmiths. Your used car guy could easily have a Colt Police Positive Special roaming around.
Another dirt common gun in the 50s era, and probably the #1 most common police issue of that period, don't forget the S&W Military and Police. In continuous production since the turn of the century, by the 1950's The S&W M&P was THE handgun to own, kind of like the Glock is today. More importantly, the M&P came in a two inch version and carried six shots, but would not be as cheap as the Colt.

folkchick
05-14-2010, 09:18 PM
I'm really sold on the Smith & Wesson, and you just helped confirm it for me.

Emma might have to sell her wedding ring to buy one of these guns. Just realized that. Geez. But it's to save her husband's life, so . . . I think it will be okay.

quixote100104
05-15-2010, 02:52 PM
My wife, who is not a small woman, had difficulty working the slide on my 9 mm and my .45 ACP. She just wasn't strong enough.
Have her cock the hammer first, to take the tension off the spring. That's what she's fighting, not the slide. A trick I picked up playing with my Dad's old Beretta Model 34, which is a PIA for even me to rack conventionally.

Also a nice bit of color for any literary females having similar problems with stiff mainsprings ;-)

Oh, say, how about something really common in the 1950's- the Colt Police Positive Special in .38 special. Although they originally came in four and six inch barrels from the factory, having the barrel cut back to the end of the ejector rod and a new front sight fitted was a fairly common modification with gunsmiths. Your used car guy could easily have a Colt Police Positive Special roaming around.
After the mid-late 20s, that mod was in production as the Colt Detective Special, still probably the Chief competitor of the J-frame Smith to this day. It has an extra round on the Js, if a touch wider and heavier. It's one of those little points serious gun nuts like to argue over, like whether or not you are really better off with a 9mmP or a .45ACP which, like most such debates, really depends on you.

Folkchick, that might also be a good element for the purchasing scene, depending on how much text you want to put into it. As has been said elsewhere in this thread, the J-Frame Smith (which probably would be introduced to her as the "Chief's Special", FYI) is pretty state-of-the-art for the mid-50s. Any small town gun counter that had one would likely have one or more Colt Detective Specials as well, probably used. It's the classic "snubnose" of the 1930s & 40s detective stories and it's popularity is likely the reason S&W brought out the J-frame. So there could be a choice between a used Colt and a new Smith, with the latter's slightly more compact frame, lighter weight and the Annie Oakley thing (nice touch, that...perfectly representative of the way uninformed gun buyers make decisions ;-) ) tipping the scales.

Stanmiller
05-15-2010, 08:54 PM
Folk, evil gun geek here,

Whichever of the snubs she ends up with, don't forget to have her pick up several boxes of ammo and practice a bit.

About all that was available in .38 SPL in those days was the 158 gr lead or jacketed load. It has significant recoil in a snub, so add a bit of verisimilitude by having her think her wrist is sprained after the first practice round.

Also, the Smith's cylinder latch will chew a hole in her thumb the first few shots if she's right-handed. She'll learn real quick to get the thumb out of the way.

Keep in mind it's tough to hit anything with any of the snubs beyond spitting distance.

Better yet, go to a gun store with an indoor range and rent one of the critters. Bring the targets in close and put a hundred rounds or so through it. You'll know for sure how to describe the aches and pains then.

:evil

folkchick
05-15-2010, 10:01 PM
That's a good idea about going to an indoor firing range just to get some tactile experience.

Thanks for the info on the ammo, Stanmiller. And thank you quixote for all your great advice and info. I appreciate it!

folkchick
05-18-2010, 02:00 AM
New question: if Emma buys a used gun in the 1950's how much would it cost? I saw a new gun would have cost around $138.00 and up. Also, how would the hardware store have displayed the guns? Inside the glass counter? Up on the wall?

As always, thank you for the help!

Stanmiller
05-18-2010, 02:21 AM
FC,
if new prices were 140, she could get a used one for half that.

Typical gun display in a hardware or sporting goods store then, as now is a glass case for handguns, accessible only from the back. Long guns would be in racks on the wall. Usually, ammo would be out of reach of the customer, but not always. Stores were a lot less security-conscious in those days.


--Stan

folkchick
05-18-2010, 03:00 AM
Thank you Stan.

Chase
05-18-2010, 07:48 AM
New question: if Emma buys a used gun in the 1950's how much would it cost?

Lots of good advice. Since you’ve decided to go with Annie O’s Model 3 Smith & Wesson, here’s a blurb from Mass. Moments from April 25, 1888:
http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=124 (http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=124)

It might be fun for Emma to go with an actual Model 3. In the mid-’50s, there were lots of Model 3s going for ten to twenty dollars at estate sales, pawn shops, and the like. I wish I’d bought up every one I saw, because in the ’70s the old revolver took off as a collector’s item.

Below are two photos of a replica of the Wells Fargo version with a 5-inch barrel. As you can see, it was a break-open, simple to load and shoot. Then as now, it’s an accurate gun. Annie O’s Model 3 held five .38 S&W cartridges, a forerunner to the .38 Special.

http://i523.photobucket.com/albums/w355/chasenott/SW3WellsFargo.jpg

http://i523.photobucket.com/albums/w355/chasenott/Model3break-open.jpg

folkchick
05-18-2010, 08:00 AM
Love it. LOVE IT!!! Thank you!

quixote100104
05-18-2010, 01:16 PM
It might be fun for Emma to go with an actual Model 3. In the mid-’50s, there were lots of Model 3s going for ten to twenty dollars at estate sales, pawn shops, and the like.

Nice info and pics, Chase, not to mention a great idea I would never of thought of :-).

A couple of further points to consider:

1) .38Spl was developed in response to the belief that .38S&W was underpowered. That means lighter recoil (easier for the character to shoot accurately) but less stopping power. The latter is not a big deal...in literature, any round can stop anyone as effectively as you like (presuming it enters the body n a potentially lethal zone; no one shot kills by shooting someone in the for with a .22 ;-) ) and realism is not badly offended. It could, however, be a useful point for discussion or for drama if you want the target to go down hard.

2) Historically, many 19th century revolvers were carried with th chamber empty because of the lack of a firing pin safety and the possibility of an accidental discharge. I know S&W was an early pioneer of such safeties, but I'm not sure whether the Model 3 had one or not. Perhaps one of the more knowledgable gun nuts on the board could address this. Note that I'm referring to an internal, automaticly operating safety, not a manual one. Characters flipping off the safety on revolvers is a frequent mistake of writers unfamiliar with guns and makes those who know better growl
;-).

Again, this is a minor detail, more for color than anything else. As anyone who's seen John Wayne in "The Shootist" knows, even with the less safe guns you still "load six if your insides tell you to." The empty chamber under the hammer is a safe carry precaution, not something someone loading it up and heading out looking for blood would nessesarily be overly concerned about.

3) The Model 3 is a single action revolver, meaning she will have to cock the hammer manually for each shot. For an inexperianced shooter, this can really mess up rate of fire and accuracy, even at close range. If you want it to, of course ;-). The other revolvers discussed here were double action, meaning you can fire them just by pulling the trigger or by cocking them (assuming the hammer isn't concealed, as in some models, but that's probably too deep a detail for your purposes). When firing by trigger only, the pull is longer and harder, so accuracy and speed is still affected in an inexperianced shooter, but not as bad as changing grips continuously to manually cock for each shot.

Stanmiller
05-18-2010, 05:17 PM
Arrrgh! So many guns, so little time. Kudo's to Chase and Quixote. Good stuff.

Folk,
You could have her get a couple different ones. Say one of the Model 3s, plus a J-frame for concealed carry. Maybe even *gasp* a Model 29 .44 mag if she's really mad at the bad guys.

--Stan

folkchick
05-18-2010, 05:35 PM
LOl! Yeah, she's pretty mad. I am pretty sold on the model 3 because of the whole connection with AO. However, it does decrease her odds of having an accurate, and deadly, shot . . . I think. Plus, it seems a lot bigger than the others. Emma's going to need a big purse.

folkchick
05-22-2010, 07:16 PM
Sorry Stan, I never addressed your question—yes, I admit I am a ditz at times—and read through posts too fast. I think I had all this gun information in my head and was overwhelmed! But I have loved every minute of it.

I won't have her buy more than the Model 3 S&W.

I wrote the scene where she buys the gun, yesterday. After I get it fine tuned, I'll post it for you guys to read—if you want.

Stanmiller
05-22-2010, 07:57 PM
Sure. What genre so I'll know where in SYW to look for it?

folkchick
05-22-2010, 08:05 PM
Novely-with a hint of romance. I'll post a link here for it. I swear I won't put any kissy stuff in there.

Stanmiller
05-22-2010, 08:29 PM
Novely-with a hint of romance. I'll post a link here for it. I swear I won't put any kissy stuff in there.

Kissy stuff? Go to M/T/S for a poll on romance in mysteries. Entertaining, if not educational.

Have fun.
--Stan

folkchick
05-23-2010, 07:34 PM
Okay. Here it is. Whew, I'm nervous.

Emma buys a gun (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180881)