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More info on CMP 1911s

The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act approved by Congress last November outlines a two-year pilot program for moving some of the Army’s surplus .45ACP GI longslides to the federally chartered non-profit corporation tasked with promoting firearms safety training and rifle practice. The CMP received the first batch of guns earlier this year and has been grading and inspecting the vintage pistols. The good news is, there is a wide array of guns that will be available from rack grade models that need some TLC, to more rare pieces.

The guns will be in four grades:

Service Grade $1050. Pistol may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

Field Grade $950. Pistol may exhibit minor rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

Rack Grade $850. Pistol will exhibit rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips may be incomplete and exhibit cracks. Pistol requires minor work to return to issuable condition.

Auction Grade (Sales will to be determined by auctioning the pistol). The condition of the auction pistol will be described when posted for auction.

More info in my column at

Rough Rider Krag at auction

Charge of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill by Frederic Remington: Theodore Roosevelt leads the charge on his horse, Little Texas. K Troop officer, Woodbury Kane is the brown-uniformed officer in the foreground with pistol in right hand and saber in his left. To the upper right of Lt Kane is a hat-less African-American Buffalo Soldier from either the 9th or 10th Cavalry that got mixed in along with the Rough Riders as all of them raced to the top of Kettle Hill.

Last weekend, Skinners had an early 1895-production Springfield Model 1896 Krag Saddle-Ring carbine up for grabs. Few of 1896s were made, just 22,493– with only a handful being 1895-marked. With their handy 22-inch barrel and 41-inch overall length, the five-shot”half-capsule” fixed magazine, bolt action repeater had a magazine cut-off to allow single .30-40 Krag rounds to be fed to keep the stumpy horse gun topped off.

It was also the last saddle ring (due to its ring and bar sling attachment) carbine ever made for the U.S. government– the end of an era. It even had a cleaning rod that was stored in the butt trap.

Another thing that made this gun special is that it was SN 27892, known to be issued to Alvin C. Ash, a trooper in G Troop of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry.

More in my article at

As noted by Springfield Armory, who has a similar 1895-marked M1896 (SN 30023) in their collection, TR and his buddy Leonard Wood (now remembered with Fort named after him) really worked to get them:

“Wood and Roosevelt had to put forth some effort to obtain the Krag carbine for the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry; this was the first-line cavalry weapon, and it had been in service only two years when the Spanish-American War broke out. All the carbines issued to the Rough Riders were new, unused weapons, even though many of them were manufactured in 1895. The mechanism of the Model 1896 Carbine had been improved in a number of respects over that of the Model 1892 Rifle, many of which were in the hands of regular infantry troops at Santiago.” – Franklin B. Mallory MAN AT ARMS, July/August 1989

In the end, Ash’s Krag went for $30,750, with most of that being the premium for a Rough Riders-connected named piece, as Saddle Rings of the same vintage normally go for about a 1/10th of that.

Pike’s Standard, now 205 years in custody

Here we see U.S. Naval Museum Catalog #1849.001.0014.

It is the British Royal Standard taken from the Parliament House at York, now Toronto, the British capital of Upper Canada by 1,800 regulars under noted explorer, U.S. Brig. Gen. Zebulon Montgomery Pike, in conjunction with a squadron of small shallow-draft vessels under U.S. Navy Lt. Isaac Chauncey, on this day (27 April) in 1813 in a raid known as the Battle of York.

According to the USNA, it is the only Royal Standard captured by U.S. forces and has been on display at Mahan Hall for over 150 years. It is currently undergoing maintenance.

The British and Canadian naval attaches in Washington recently traveled to Mahan Hall to view the standard

It was last on public display in 1913 when the great Amelia Fowler and her team of seamstresses moved to restore the banners.

Amelia Fowler and her team working on the Royal Standard in Mahan Hall, 1913, note the “Dont Give Up the Ship” banner hanging on the right

As for Pike, he was killed the same day the Standard was taken, aged 34, by shrapnel and debris when the much smaller British garrison blew up their ammunition magazine as they withdrew.

Chauncey, on the other hand, lived to command the Mediterranean Squadron and New York Naval Shipyard. He passed at a ripe old age of 67 as a Commodore and President of the Board of Navy Commissioners. Three different 20th Century destroyers (DD-3, DD-296, and DD-667) were named in his honor. Pike, of course, has a mountain.

Snake eaters, or maybe just snake adjacent

“A Southern Black Racer slithers across the barrel of a NationalGuard Soldier’s sniper rifle during a 1-173 Infantry training exercise Saturday, April 7, 2018, at Eglin Air Force Base. Snipers are trained to remain still for hours and invisible to enemies and even to wildlife.”

US Army photo by Staff Sgt. William Frye

Eglin’s panhandle training area is the stomping ground not only of Air Force SOF commandos but also the Army’s co-located 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and the black bears and assorted snakes in the area see lots of company.

1st Battalion, 173rd Infantry Regiment is part of the Alabama National Guard based in Enterprise, AL. Since their activation in 2016, they have been aligned as a mobilization asset of the Louisiana-based 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as the Tiger Brigade. The latter is sure to be a matter of heartburn during Alabama/LSU games.

Til Valhalla!

So long shave profile!

So, a Norse religious group aided a Soldier in providing supporting documentation for a Religious Accommodation Request Requiring a Waiver to Army Grooming Policies, saying a beard was part of the serviceman’s religion– and it was approved.

Tromso, Norway’s NORSKK reportedly helped with the request.

Fooling with sticky plastique

Making friends and influencing people with some M118 Demo Charge, aka Flex-X (the military version of Detasheet or Primasheet, a PETN-based rubberized sheet explosive) via this 1960s Army training film

As a bonus, here is a period piece on electric priming, because you really need one to have the other

If you have a rifle grenade, all things are possible

As illustrated in this Signal Corps image, a pair of servicemen of the 7th Air Force wrapped the line around a cricket bat-esque float, then stuffed it on the end of an M1 rifle grenade launcher device attached to an M1906. Launched by a special .30-06 cartridge, the M1 could kick out an M9A1 grenade at 165 feet per second.

The reason these Army Air Force personnel “somewhere in the Pacific” in 1944 hit on the idea to use a wooden float, some line, and a 1903 Springfield? To carry a hook offshore to help augment their diet.

More in my column at

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