Made in USA – When size and quality matter.

Builders,

When you have a shooting range right in your back yard, you never know what friends and neighbors will show up with. At our home, almost all designs put to work are products of American minds and hands. I am sure our international friends are just as proud of the craftsmanship of their own countrymen, as they should be,  but our small range tends to highlight America’s outstanding work in the field.

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We rarely shoot after sunset, but Daylight Saving and weeknights, leads to turning on the lights. Some of the larger hardware produces spectacular muzzle flash, which adds to the artistry of a night event. Tonight was such an evening. If your only exposure to firearms is TV, accept an invitation from a sportsman in 2017 to expand your understanding and experience without the media deciding what opinion you will have.  I never pick up a firearm without considering my gratitude that I live in a country where rights and responsibilities are considered as they apply to the individual. The fact this is ingrained in our culture is also why we have the right to fly planes which serve no purpose for society, just for satisfaction of the creative individual.

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Understand the Quality of “Made in USA”: In my hands I am holding a Winchester model 1906. This specific one was made in 1912. Although it is 104 years old, it works perfectly, and I put about 20 rounds through it. This was the design that Teddy Roosevelt used to teach his children to shoot. In an era where disposable appliances like I-pads are worshipped, it is a simple human pleasure to use a machine that was built to last more than a century.

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If you know firearms, it is easy to see the family resemblance to an 1897 Winchester pump shotgun. There is a reason for this, they were both designed by the greatest firearms designer who ever lived, John Browning (1855-1926). His designs of the Colt 1911 and the M-2 are still in mass production at 105 and 97 years of age. No rational person would argue the man’s genius.  He was, and remains, without compare. Yet on any discussion of “Made in USA” there will always be 20% of Americans who compulsively chime in to say the best of everything, the best designers, the highest quality are always imported. If you bring up John Browning, they must mention Paul Mauser; mention Charles Kettering  and they will pathologically bring up Robert Bosch. I am an aircraft mechanic, not a psychiatrist, but I will guess that something happened in these peoples youth to make them compulsively identify with foreign products and people rather than their fellow countrymen and their work. Factor that in the next time someone is telling you Mercedes are the best cars ever built.  A Rotax 912 is certainly a good engine, but watch how some of its fans compulsively dismiss O-200s because they emotionally believe that anything imported is better.

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Size matters: Smith and Wesson 500 Magnum.  On the topic of impressive muzzle flash, this may be the last word. Get a look at the Corvair Gold Oil Filter housing for size comparison. The rounds pictured are L-R a 510 grain S&W 500 Mag, a .22LR and a .38 Super. Look closely, right above the trigger it says “Made in USA”. This has some sharp recoil. In between rounds we were shooting full power .357 Mag. rounds out of a 1960 Colt Python, and by comparison the .357 suddenly felt mild, if not down right soft.  I am typing this six hours later, and my elbow joint still smarts.

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I happen to like all kinds of mechanical devices, planes and firearms are just two of them, but they are both things that the United States has an outstanding record of creativity, manufacturing, and lasting quality on. The history of the designers and craftsmen, and the places where the products are/were manufactured is a great part of our country, something to be proud of. Your Corvair engine, both as an original General Motors product and as a product of your own workshop, is a perfect part of this pantheon of machines that we celebrate, both for their design and creation, but also our right to use them responsibly in a way that enhances and expresses our individuality.

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-ww.

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About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

9 Responses to Made in USA – When size and quality matter.

  1. Sarah Ashmore says:

    I for one fully appreciate our rights with regards to firearms and Florida’s liberal Concealed Carry laws. I have a Concealed Carry permit along with two S&W pistols, one almost 35 years old and a fine firearm. I never travel unarmed and it provides great comfort at times. Just a few weeks ago traveling North on I-75 between Ocala and Gainesville I suddenly had a tire failure. It was just before sunset and given the labor and potential risk of being outside my vehicle and alone I called AAA for assistance. It took two hours and having those firearms gave me great comfort, especially when a car suddenly pulled over in front of me that was neither AAA or law enforcement. They were there for a few moments then left but I can assure you I had my purse sized gun gun in hand, safety off and finger on the trigger. It was only a .380 but at close range more than enough to kill and my time at the range shows I can hit what I aim at. If I was in a state that did not allow for such self defense I would have felt very vulnerable. Talking with AAA operator, she was concerned if I was in a safe area or needed police response and I assured her I was legally armed and quite safe until the service vehicle arrived which she commented on as a very positive statement that I did not accept the part of the defenseless female.

    • Sarah, I take the Stanford Rape case, where the convicted criminal was facing 14 years, but only did 90 days even when the case was under a national media spotlight, as all the evidence required to prove that society has no serious interest in providing a deterrent to sexual assault. In spite of the progress we have made on other facets of justice in the last 50 years, sexual assault has made none, and the conviction rate may be as low as 1%. Jeff Cooper pointed out that when societies deterrents fail, the assailant must be taught to fear his intended victim. -William
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      • Sarah Ashmore says:

        Florida is a Stand Your Ground state and as a wise man once said “Dead Men Do Not Give Conflicting Testimony”. My philosophy on the use of firearms is: 1) if you have to shoot you shoot to kill period; 2) you never, never, bluff; 3) when the gun comes out you have to be fully prepared to take a life or you leave it where it is.

        I do not think many men can appreciate the feelings that women truly have towards male strangers, they are all potential rapists until proven otherwise. It is a crime of terrible violence, control and humiliation, not se, and the worst thing that can happen to a woman. A dear friend was raped in college many years ago and as deeply close as we were (she died in a house fire 10 years ago) she could never bring herself to go beyond the fact that it happened and it affected the relationship she had with her husband.

        The facts of the case you brought up just show how bad our judicial system can be at times. So I go everywhere with my trusty S&W Bodyguard .380 in my purse and my hand goes in at the slightest hint of threat. My older S&W model 59 9mm stays by my bedside when not traveling and if I ever detect an intruder all 15 rounds will end up in them. I do not even answer the door for pizza delivery without that pistol in my hand behind my back. I bet the delivery person is glad not to know that !

        This all has nothing to do with aviation but all to do with American values and the state of our criminal justice system, points worthy of civilized debate.

      • Sarah Ashmore says:

        I just to add in an extra 2 cents worth on the subject of the Stanford case. The most common defense men use in Rape cases is that the woman was asking for it, dressing provocatively, excessive drinking leading to unconsciousness or inability to resist but that is absolute male B.S. When your fancy BMW gets carjacked is it an acceptable defense that you were flaunting your wealth in front of a person of limited means creating an overwhelming urge to take it for themselves. This is a horrible thing to do to a woman who was subjected to a humiliating and demeaning act, virtually reduced to sub human status and society wonders why the victims are reluctant to lodge a complaint or follow through if originally willing. My friend who was a victim of that horrible crime never went to the police, that was many years ago in collage and the Police and legal system were far worse in those days than they are today (which still needs improvement in many places). Maybe the Islamic Law approach to punishing rapists is not so bad, all it takes is a big block of wood, a nice sharp blade and a crowd to bear witness to justice.

  2. Stuart Snow says:

    A Very Nice Piece of American Firearms history. I also enjoy shooting my Winchester 1906. It and my Remington Model 8 are two of my favorite John Browning guns. Like my Willys Jeep and now my Corvair engine I see these finely crafted mechanical devices as a kind of art in motion.

  3. Steven Meier says:

    Unrelated to your post… Thought you might get a kick out of this, except for the price.
    http://jalopnik.com/for-28-000-could-this-1961-chevy-corvair-camper-let-y-1789511868

  4. Robin Oldfield says:

    William:Thank you for sending this story and continuing to champion Made in USA products. God Bless you and your work. I thought you might find of interest these pictures of a Remington Model 1900, I believe manufactured in 1902,  that hangs in our family room. The gentleman on the right holding this gun in a 1909 photo was my wife’s great grandfather. As you know modern ammunition is not compatible with “Damascus” barrels, but it remains a beautiful American made firearm.Robin

  5. Guy Bowen says:

    I have a Winchester Model 1890 LR (mfr in the 1920s) that is a family heirloom. It is very similar to that 1906. Still shoots like a champ. Old US steel endures for sure!

  6. Sten Backhans says:

    William
    John Moses was all that. The 1911 has all its levers in the right place and is the very right quality. Blew up a barrel in a 1943 Colt, squeezed the slide together again & put in a new barrel..

    The abiility to point the hand and smite at a distance is one of man´s deepest evolutionary strivings… Seriously, shooting powerful firearms (of any kind) AND hitting is a godsend, an unadultered joy for boys,, I mean men. Did build a Casull once. And to top it all I now tackle plane & motor building.

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