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Old July 16, 2013, 08:45 PM   #1
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Saturday Night Specials



I admit that I own a SNS.

A Phoenix HP22, and I have owned it for about 25 years and never regretted it.

It is FUN!

Anybody else want to 'fess up to owning (and possible enjoying) a Piece of Cr*p Saturday Night Special?

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Old July 16, 2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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"Saturday Night Special" is a liberal LIE, meant to denigrate low-cost firearms so they could be more easily banned. There really is no such thing. Same with "Cop Killer Bullets." Another left-wing LIE. And for people less well off, thank heavens some companies are committed to making low-cost firearms poor people can afford to acquire for their self-defense. You don't own a "Saturday Night Special." Nobody does. You own an inexpensive firearm. Enjoy.
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Old July 16, 2013, 10:13 PM   #3
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Low purchase price may be one thing, but I thought a SNS was a +/- .25 -.32 cal semi pistol that was cheap because it was likely "missing" if not flat out reported stolen.
What am I missing?
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Old July 16, 2013, 10:34 PM   #4
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The original meaning of the term Saturday Night Special is murky, During the 1930's , when if you could find a job, it was at least 12 hours a day and 6 days a week, with maybe Sunday off. A SNP was something you slipped into your pocket for a night of drinking and gambling on Saturday night, just in case some one tried to settle a grudge against you. It was either a knife or a cheap gun that could be thrown away if the heat got too close. To have a gun in your back pocket was almost a badge of honor. Hard times and hard men, Now that is one source of the term , Saturday night special. That is the story I was told many years ago by someone who lived in those times, so that is the one I pick as the origin of the Term. Of course the liberals picked up on the term and are using it to mean any small or cheap gun.
Ron James
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Old July 16, 2013, 11:02 PM   #5
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The term does not go back that far, only to the 1950's. At that time, Germany was in bad shape economically and some German companies began to make inexpensive .22 revolvers for the U.S. market. These really were not very good guns and the firearms community modified the earlier term "suicide special" to "Saturday Night Special." The original phrase is racist, from a common description of lawlessness during weekend violence in a minority community as "N*****town Saturday Night."

Those guns sold at retail for $9.95 to $14.95, dirt cheap even then. Frames and barrels were cast zinc with a barrel liner; cylinders were poor quality steel. The most common brand (sold under several names) was Rohm Gesellschaft, or "RG" and the RG-10 was the most common of its products. For that reason, "RG-10" came to be a common term for a very cheap imported revolver, whether made by Rohm or not.

After the passage of GCA '68, which effectively banned the import of those cheap revolvers, some U.S. makers began production of inexpensive .22 and .25 caliber semi-auto pistols. Gun control advocates, having achieved a ban on inexpensive foreign guns by using the "SNS" perjorative, promptly applied the term to those auto pistols. While not exactly fine examples of the gunmakers' art, the U.S. pistols were never as bad as the imported revolvers.

In fact, those guns are reasonably well designed; the main deficiency is in material and quality control. Made of good steel or alloy and by good workmen, they would be decent, if not high quality, guns.

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Old July 17, 2013, 12:21 AM   #6
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I like my story better, and I heard it before 1950
Ron James
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Old July 17, 2013, 12:53 AM   #7
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I really liked my Phoenix Arms HP22 until it broke. Eventually I'll get around to ordering parts for it and then I'll like it again.
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Old July 17, 2013, 02:21 AM   #8
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Saturday Night Specials

I am actually carrying my ja-22 right now around my property. It's 3am and don't trust coming outside unarmed. A 22 is better then nothing
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Old July 17, 2013, 06:06 AM   #9
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As I remember it, the out-cry to ban them was centered on inexpensive small caliber guns that the police referred to as a "Saturday Night Special", because they claimed it was most often involved in violence on Saturday night, the most violent night of the week. So it was the Police who coined the phrase. When common criminals got richer via drugs, the term no longer was apropos because now they have expensive, 9MM guns and the whining about "need" for getting the Saturday Night Specials off the streets evaporated. It was the Teddy Kennedy era.

Last edited by Tom Servo; July 17, 2013 at 11:44 AM. Reason: Removed "liberal." Not everyone who voted for these laws was.
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Old July 17, 2013, 11:40 AM   #10
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Now SNS is usually a state defined term and usually main criteria is melting point. In MN it is 1000 degrees but many are 800. Usually the reason guns like the Chiappa 22 pistols are not sold in those states.
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Old July 17, 2013, 12:03 PM   #11
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When common criminals got richer via drugs, the term no longer was apropos because now they have expensive, 9MM guns and the whining about "need" for getting the Saturday Night Specials off the streets evaporated.
Actually, most gun crime was traced to S&W revolvers in an ATF study 2002. See,00.html
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Old July 17, 2013, 12:04 PM   #12
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Mines a Regent 8 shot 22, made around 1960 or so. I still shoot it.
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I do it better outdoors !
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Old July 17, 2013, 12:13 PM   #13
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Now SNS is usually a state defined term and usually main criteria is melting point.
Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and South Carolina use melting points. California requires the gun meet "safety standards," and several states use drop-testing. Maryland and Massachusetts also exclude them via an "approved handgun" roster.

There's a great book by Robert Sherrill called The Saturday Night Special: And Other Guns With Which Americans Won The West, Protected Bootleg Franchises, Slew Wildlife, Robbed Countless Banks, Shot Husbands Purposely And By Mistake And Killed Presidents – Together With The Debate Over Continuing Same. You can get a used copy for a dollar or so on Amazon. It's not the most, shall we say, pro-gun book, and it's crammed with inaccuracies.

However, it's a fun read, and it gives you a good window into what the gun-control movement looked like in the 1970's, and the impetus to ban guns through supply controls.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
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Old July 17, 2013, 06:36 PM   #14
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One proposal Sherrill makes is that the police be disarmed first, before the general public. I have used the book to show police officers that the anti-gun gang really does mean to disarm them. Sometimes the awakening is startling as cops, believing that "only police should have guns" find out that the real intent is that "not even police should have guns."

They know the criminals will always have guns, and the idea that the police would be expected to patrol unarmed is an eye-opener to the real insanity of the gun control movement.

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Old July 17, 2013, 08:41 PM   #15
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I have a HP22a as well and love it. Fun little gun but it weighs 21oz.
I also have a ROF Phoenix Raven .25ACP. It is a reliable and accurate little sucker with a fixed barrel and minimum moving parts. On my short list is a HP25 just because. I reload for the .25ACP so the stupid prices of .25ACP ammo doesn't stop me from shooting it. They are fun but that's about as far as I'll use them.
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Old July 17, 2013, 08:56 PM   #16
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I have a rohm snubbie 22 goes bang every time got it for 30 bucks at a yard sale lol
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Old July 17, 2013, 10:36 PM   #17
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In No Second Place Winner Bill Jordan refers to the "Owl's Head" (i.e, Iver Johnson)and "Saturday Night Harrison", I recall an article by one of the gun writers refering to an "East Dallas Special" (though that may have been a knife.). I recall the attempt by anti-gunners 40 years ago to make "Saturday Night Specials" the focus of their attempts, we saw it as just another attempt to drive a wedge into the ranks of RKBA advocates.
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Old July 18, 2013, 02:03 PM   #18
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There was also a term "suicide special" used to refer to a cheap spur-trigger revolver, usually a .30 or .32 RF or a .32 CF, that was generally scorned by those who could afford better guns. It is unclear whether the term implied that those guns were good for only one shot and thus would be good enough for self-destruction, or whether it would be suicide to draw one against a better armed opponent.

Some time ago, there was a book written on the suicide special, and there is some collector interest, fueled in part by the wide variety of imaginative names applied by the makers. With no reliable records, it is often not even known which company made a given gun, let alone when it was made. All are of the black powder era and it is good advice not to fire them, even with moderate loads.

Jim K
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Old July 18, 2013, 02:55 PM   #19
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A collective term, that incorporated..


Even the Chater arms Undercoverer was considered to be a SNS, until

research showed that most the orders for it were to LEO's and Ddepartments for issue.

I got a RG 34A, in .22LR, bought that for $25, in the mid70's. used it for squireel hunting and plinking.

Barrel wobbles in the frame, the LR cylinder now partially chambers a .22Mag round. [just too MANY CCI Mini-mags and Ferderal Hi-powers put through it.]

Still have it and when I get a job in this "STINKING, HOT, Economy, will get a used South Bend Lathe for the garage and make a bushing to tighten the barrel and new cylinder, to get it back into service.
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Old July 18, 2013, 03:11 PM   #20
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Here's mine,,,

It's a ROHM chambered in .22 short only,,,
I bought it practically new at a garage sale in 1963 or 1964.

I was 12 years old at the time,,,
I just handed the old lady a $5.00 bill,,,
And all of a sudden I was armed and dangerous.

When the front sight fell off,,,
I told my dad I did that so it would clear my pocket faster.

He said that was good thinking 'cause when someone took it from me and shoved it up my butt,,,
It wouldn't hurt nearly as bad coming back out.

I moved away from home to South Dallas when I was 16,,,
That little piece of junk lived in my jacket pocket until I went into the USAF in 1970.

I still have it today.


Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old July 18, 2013, 07:44 PM   #21
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Just traded my HP22A for a LNIB, never-fired Mossberg 702 Plinkster. Happy, Happy, Happy!
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Old July 19, 2013, 12:25 AM   #22
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The Jennings J-22 definitely qualifies as a Saturday Night Special. And, yes, it is definitely fun!

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Old July 19, 2013, 01:39 AM   #23
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First off there is no such thing as SNS . Secondly there are multiple historical presecedents for related terminologies. Henry VIII probably bitched about Sat Nite longbows. Roman Senators probably griped about Sat Nite swords.

The HP22 n etc may have been inexpensive , with built in limited lifetime , but those are way ahead of the the actual guns refered to as SNS.

Even more than legislation , it was product liability lawsuits that made them disapear. Not for criminal misuse , but for blowing up , and otherwise injuring lawful users.

Of course the bottom line result is that instead of turning to a life of charity and piety , they criminal element upgraded their armament to closely match that of the general public , which in turn closely relates to LE .
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Old July 19, 2013, 09:39 AM   #24
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Targa GT27B

Here's the closest thing I have to a SNS.
Targa GT27B .25
Italian parts assembled in Florida. There's actually quite a bit of information available on it.
While it states 13 oz I weighed it unloaded with magazine at 11.6 .
It works and actually has a fairly solid feel.
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"When the Going gets Weird the Weird Turn Pro"
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Last edited by LewSchiller; July 19, 2013 at 10:09 AM.
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Old July 19, 2013, 09:52 AM   #25
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I really like RG 66's. I've had three. Ex wife got one, traded one off and the last one got stolen. One day I'll find another one.
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