Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I'm not deaf, I'm ignoring you.

Well, actually, I'm not ignoring you; I'm just learning about Savage pistols. I've got the great big book of Savage Pistols open, as well as the NRA's Firearms Assembly: Pistols and Revolvers, and both of my roomie's Savages to poke and prod at.

I'm hoping to get an Arms Room piece on them in detail, including some of the cool advertisements they ran back then. I mean, dig this ad copy from the Saturday Evening Post, circa 1910:
Woman's Turn Has Come

Ten women of Noroton, Conn., on April 15th, tried shooting a Savage Automatic. Eight of them had never handled a fire arm before. They shot at a man-shaped target thirty feet away. Eight women made vital hits, each with her first shot. The other two made vital hits with their second shots. Thus, with the first trigger pull, those women novices found that they were dead shots.

First shots are the shots that count.

Next they tried a common revolver, one of the finest built. Not one made a hit with her first shot; only one scored on the second.

Could there be any better proof that the Savage does not require practice? Anyone can shoot this wonderful arm accurately, because it points instinctively, as you point your forefinger.

This was a full page ad in a national, mainstream general-interest magazine. Interested readers could put $15 in cash or cheque in an envelope and receive a brand-new Savage 10-shot .32 caliber semiautomatic pistol in the mail. It was a different world.


Justin Buist said...

I'm going to have to remember that experiment the next time some reknob suggests a S&W 442 (or similar) for a novice female shooter.

Joanna said...

"Interested readers could put $15 in cash or cheque in an envelope and receive a brand-new Savage 10-shot .32 caliber semiautomatic pistol in the mail."

If you need me, I'll be over here sobbing quietly in the corner.

Anonymous said...

Women are the easiest to teach. They don't grow up assuming they are blessed from birth with the marksmanship gene. Bob Brownell, sometime in the 1930s or 40s, had been bugging his wife, Lois, to try shooting, talking about the challenge, etc. She finally relented. He explained sight picture to her, trigger squeeze, etc. and handed her his S&W revolver. She cocked the hammer, took aim and put her first shot dead center in the bullseye. Handed him the gun and walked into the house without comment. - Larry Weeks

Weer'd Beard said...

Larry, I was teaching a novice shooter some basics, and durring the range session I said "Man you shoot like a woman!"

Then I had to explain to him that that was the highest compliment. He never once rushed his trigger pull, and his accuracy with all the guns shot, from .22 to .45 ACP was VERY good.

Most young men are constantly slapping the trigger, and chasing the front sight, and rushing their shots.

Low and left is the result of that game.

PHV said...

I would guess that the minimum time go pistol ownership in Norwalk, CT nowadays is about 4 months, the time needed to get the pistol permit.

Anonymous said...

"It was a different world."

You could order up a batch of coke from Sears, too...but it was decided that it should be "controlled"; problem solved.

No doubt buoyed by that success, other controls were inevitable...for your own good, of course.

Do it again...harder!

Kristophr said...


BobG said...

"It was a different world."

Yep. Even when I was a kid you could send away to Sears-Roebuck's for guns.

Jay G said...

Hell, when *I* was a kid, which is around when Tam was a wee sprog as well, you could walk into any Sears, K-Mart, or Service Merchandise and come home with a rifle.

Try that nowadays...

homebru said...

Not that long ago, BobG.

It was only in the 70s that Sears got out of the gun business. And I wound up with a sweet 20-gauge Winchester pump with a Sears name on it for a very nice price.

Tam said...

I bought my first gun from the Oshman's in a mall. Ate lunch at the food court with a Ruger 10/22 box in my lap.

Anonymous said...

"It was a different world."

Actually it was the same world, but with less statism and more freedom.

Some women can shoot well from the beginning, just like some men. As with men, I've seen women do extremely well, and others that can't hit for anything until they've had more instruction. One was hitting the ground halfway between her and the 7 yard target, after we explained the whole anticipation issue.

I'm not putting any sex weight on shooting ability without some hard statistics from a large sample pool.

I submit that the whole "women can sure shoot well" thing comes from the expectation that they can't, followed by evidence that the expectation may be wrong. I say it may be sexist in the same way it would be racist to say; "Gosh; them black people can sure do math. Whoda thunk?" -- Lyle

Anonymous said...

Lyle, good comments, but I've been instructing since about 1979, both in the Army and as a civilian. Ladies are way easier to teach as long as your a teacher. They have few bad habits or testosterone poisoning. :) Got to watch the upper body strength issue though - www.corneredcat.com has great tips for working with the ladies.

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Skip said...

I handed my Mom a smif .38 spl, threw a can out about 20 yards, no instruction [just watched the barrel], and told her to shoot it.
Four out of six ain't too shabby as the last shot was about 40 yards.
I took the pistol back and went home.

Stranger said...

Do not get too excited about the price. In 2009 buying power, $15 in 1915 bucks was equal to $325 of Obama's minibux.

By 1933, the value of a dollar had increased so much that $12.44 would but a $325.00 marketbasket of today's goods and services. Or a NIB Savage ten shooter.

And you could order and take delivery on a mail order gun up to December 12, 1968. The inception date of the "Gun Control Act of 1968."

And I'm not much impressed with the advertising copy. The percentage of girls who hit in the black the first time is much higher than the percentage of men. The ladies pay attention.


Anonymous said...

This site has a bunch of old gun ads, including one for the Savage:

Tam said...

"And you could order and take delivery on a mail order gun up to December 12, 1968."

I thought GCA'68 closed off long guns and an earlier law had done for mail order handguns, but I may be remembering incorrectly...

Tam said...

Further, tell me where I can get a U.S.-made handgun, machined entirely from forgings, hand-assembled and with a polished blue finish today for $325. ;)

Strabger said...

Tam, I took delivery on a J9 Herters barreled action and one of their really wild stocks on December 9 of '68. I was sweating that one, 'cause I really did not want to have to go to Minnesota to pick up my action. Especially not in December.

Not to mention that ATF was so disorganized nobody knew what was legal. So a 2,400 mile round trip might have been useless.

Before GCA'68 there was a lot of talk, but Kali, Ill-inois, and NJ all banned mailorder by 1967. The other 47 were still free.


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Noah D said...

maybe even a chick of the same '68 vintage (priceless!);)

Mine most certainly is!

She puts up with me. :)

Tam said...

"Why? Well, as in so many things, they just don't make 'em like they used to, and we as a society are the poorer for it."

I was being half-rhetorical and half tongue-in-cheek, of course.

The reasons for the difference are many, of course, but I'd guess that regulatory overhead, which effects everything from plant and tooling costs to employee costs, is vastly greater.

Grumpyunk said...

Tam, you really shook the dust off some unused neurons with this post. Mail order surplus WWII weapons were my dream as a kid. Damn if I ain't still dreaming of owning them as the GCAof68 came before my 18th birthdate.

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Anonymous said...

I have two handguns. One is a cheap Sigma 380. I hit the bull every time with that thing. It is so easy to use. The other is a $1000 M&P 38. The triggle pull is so stiff, I have to put 3 or 4 seconds between shots to be accurate, even with a laser grip. WTB happy medium.

JPG said...

My first handgun was a Mk. IV Webley, which my Dad mail ordered for me from Golden State Arms. $12.95 plus $3.95 for a leather holster.

Some years later, I mail ordered a Beretta model 418 .25 for $19.95 plus 2.00 shipping. It was delivered to my apartment door by U. S. Mail.

No more mail order, but I can still drive to the store, pay my money, and leave with a new gun in maybe ten minutes.

Ed Foster said...

Since the post was about both Savage pistols and lady shooters:-)

No experience with Savage pistols, but some suprising ladies in the family.

I came home from highschool one day with a Navy Arms Zouave and a pocket full of minie balls I'd bought used for a piddling sum.

I stepped out into the pasture and started shooting at an old bamboo hat rack 50 yards away.

My grandmother came over, and I showed her how to shoot the thing. Then she showed me how to shoot the thing.

First she snapped a few caps, to clear the flash hole, then showed me how to bounch the ramrod to make certain the thing wasn't loaded, and she put a bit of spit on her thoumb, then used it to cut the glare on the front sight.

She then proceeded to cut a divot out of the bamboo offhand, and told me to scrub it with boiling water when I was done.

It seems target shooting was very popular in western Ireland when she was a girl, but for some reason the authorities were loth to give the Irish cartridge weapons (imagine that).

So everybody fired muzzle loaders, well up into the early 20th century. Powder and bullets were strictly rationed, but caps were uncontrolled. So, she would stand in the parlor and shoot caps at candles, snuffing out the flames.

The only thing that ruined it for me was her calling her father's rifle a Henry. I was 16 and knew everything, and felt sad that she had confused Great Grandfather's muzzle loader with an American lever action.

Years later, I saw the rifle, a glorious Scottish made Alex Henry target model with false muzzle and Whitworth sights.

I'm sorry Gramma.

Julie said...

i'm with Joanna crying in the corner ...

staghounds said...

"I can still drive to the store, pay my money, and leave with a new gun in maybe ten minutes."

Unlike, say, the Queen of England. Or the President of the United States, or mayor of New York for that matter.

It is a real jolt to see big, prominent, expensive, good SELF DEFENSE gun adverts in old magazines. They seem to have died out in the 1930s.

Anonymous said...

re, regulatory overhead:

One way I know this must be a big chunk of the price of new guns is the comparison between black powder / muzzle loader and more modern firearms. I know there are some manufacturing differences, but I'm guessing not enough to make the difference between a $105 mail order entry level smoke pole and an entry level bolt gun which goes around six times as much.

I'm guessing $100 of that is differences in materials and manufacturing; the other $400 or so goes to government and lawyers.

Carmel IN

Tam said...


Compare the entry-level smokepole to a rifle barrel and action, sans bolt and receiver.

The best comparison would probably be between a high-end dedicated black powder T/C break-open 209-primer deer gun like the Triumph or Impact and an Encore with a 209x50 muzzleloading barrel.