Backlog of Video!

While I have been posting daily videos from the recent series of Rock Island Auction material, I have also been publishing the occasional video on InRange TV – and some of those would probably be of interest to folks here. So now that we have a hiatus from auction content, here are a few things you may not have seen:

1) Jim Sullivan on Bill Ruger and the Mini-14. I had a chance to interview Jim Sullivan (co-designer of the AR-15, and designer of the Mini-14, Ultimax, and other guns) a while back, and have this segment of the interview is about the design of the Mini-14 and a couple humorous episodes with Bill Ruger Sr.

2) A close look at the Soviet PU optic, which was used on the 91/30 and SVT-40 sniper rifles. At first glance it looks like a very plain reticle, but it actually has a remarkable amount of rangefinding capability built into the very deliberate choice of line and space sizing.

3) My friend Karl and I took a trip up to St George, Utah for a big steel match a couple weeks ago. It was 18 stages of shooting over two days, a combination of several different disciplines of action pistol shooting. In order to make it interesting, we both opted to shoot in “pistol caliber carbine” division, with Karl shooting his full-auto Lage/M11A1 submachine gun and me shooting an Inglis-made High Power with shoulder stock. Unfortunately the High Power was having serious extraction issues (which did not show themselves when I tested out the pistol prior to leaving for the match) which really clobbered my showing. However, I was surprised at how practical and effective the stocked-pistol concept did seem to be. It was far more convenient to carry than a carbine when not actively shooting, and the stock gave it excellent practical accuracy. Unfortunately, experimentation with this concept has been pretty much squashed by the NFA in the US. I will have a more in depth video on the gun later, but I did put together a highlight reel from the match of my malfunction issues and Karl looking impressive with his subgun:

4) On a slightly more goofy note, we also decided to try recreating an event recorded in several Old West gunfights, in which point-blank fire actually lit a combatant’s clothing on fire. Smokeless powder doesn’t really have the capacity to do this, but black powder firing creates a huge amount of burning particulate matter. So we rounded up a cut down 1860 Army revolver (a reproduction of a Mormon Danite “avenging angel”) and some period-correct clothing material (linen, muslin, and pure cotton) and gave it a whirl:

5) Lastly, just for viewing entertainment, I have a slightly artsy short video I put together of my Vickers machine gun and a rifle-rated steel target:


  1. Interesting video, thanks. Curious how much the flammable cardboard backing added to the flammability of the linen target. Thinking humans would not be as flammable as cardboard.

    • I’ve seen (dry) grass at the shooting range set on fire by the burning wad (or other non-powder components) of a black-powder weapon.

  2. Hi Ian!

    I love all your videos but I really would have liked you to ask Jim Sullivan why in the world it took so many decades for Ruger to solve the problem of poor grouping with the Mini 14!

  3. I wish I could say I own a Vickers Gun. Would rather want to say that then “I own a Bugatti Veyron”.

  4. I bought a pre-war Belgian HP years ago-had been refinished and had a CH barrel. It ran just about like the Inglis. It took a very close inspection with a very bright light to spot the tiniest chip off a corner of the extractor. I replaced the extractor and it has since been one of the most reliable pistols I have ever owned.

    Looks like Karl did a fine job of turning that into a subgun match!

  5. Very nice! Is that a sideplate vickers? I saw you with a Vickers in your earlier intros but I didn’t realize it was yours. Any interest in .308 conversion parts for it? on another note- would it be heresy to convert a .303 Bren to a .308 Bren?

    • It’s an Australian WWII kit on a US 1918 aircraft gun sideplate. I have conversions for 54R and 8×57. The trouble with .308 is finding links of belts that work, and with the amount of 8mm and 54R I have socked away I haven’t really had much interest in .308 or .30-06 conversions.

      • Any chance you could do a short video on the belt loader? That thing looked cool as hell.

        Also, love the Burt Gummer shirt.

    • Marty Hogan – “on another note- would it be heresy to convert a .303 Bren to a .308 Bren?”
      Brens in 7.62mm NATO were used by the UK, India, and possibly others. In Britain it was known as the L4 LMG. I haven’t gone shopping for one, but it’s possible the L4 may be easier to find on the market than the original .303 version.

  6. The Mini-14 was popular with a lot of police forces who were looking to replace their M1 carbines which were wearing out at the time. The police wanted a light weight rifle that didn’t look too “militarized”, and the Mini-14 fit the bill quite nicely. The solid stock was also good for cracking off someone’s skull without damage (to the rifle).

    The reason for wanting a non-military look was based around the idea of keeping good relations with the local community by not appearing to be overly heavy handed, something which some of today’s police forces could use to learn. Police aren’t soldiers, and unless they are in some place like Afghanistan, they’re not fighting in a war.

  7. I remember way back, probably early ’70s, seeing a Ruger “coming soon” ad in one of the gun rags announcing a 7.62/.308 version of the Mini-14. As I remember it, the ad had either a photo or a very good artist rendering of the rifle. The rifle never materialized on the market, I would assume Ruger didn’t feel it would or could compete with the M1-A, but I would be interested in hearing any comments Mr Sullivan would have about that rifle also.

  8. Great videos, Hopefully Karl helped sell some of those Lage conversions, maybe they’ll let him take out their M41A1 for a video sometime.

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