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Old 03-26-2016, 07:52 PM   #111
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Night scopes for predator hunting

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
By 'predator gun', I mean a gun for foxes/bobcats and coyotes* that will not damage their fur too much.
Perhaps it's just a total lack of fur-hunting in Florida but when I was reading a lot of gun magazines in this period (no internet so I read hand-me-down copies of Guns&Ammo, Shooting Times and American Rifleman along many other miscellaneous things) I didn't read about fur-hunting there either.

The article I read about coyote-hunting out west had that being done for bounties/government payments and the fur was not harvested.

If you've got your Maine sources about fur-hunting that's fine and go right ahead but it seems terribly, terribly odd to me, especially in the context of blood-sport for the wealthy. I thought pelts were mostly gathered by trapping and it was an activity for pretty marginal back-woodsers.
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Old 03-26-2016, 07:53 PM   #112
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

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I couldn't tell you what the cost would be for CMP weapons, Dad bought the one I have now in the early 1960's before I was born. As to the age for being able to buy rifles, that would be under control of State laws. I don't know what Maine's would be, although I would be surprised at a twelve year old living in a rural area not being able to buy a single shot .22LR in the 1950's anywhere in the U.S.

In Missouri;
I was born the last year you did not need to take a Hunter's Safety Course to get a Hunting License (1966). I graduated High School in 1984, students who were over sixteen could get Driver's Licenses, during Deer and Turkey Seasons students would have rifles or shotguns in their cars where they had hunted before or after school (with the windows down and the cars unlocked). Until the Clinton era gun laws of the 1990's, I don't remember any significant difficulties for anyone old enough to drive being able to buy rifles, shotguns, or pistols. I bought .22LR at Wal-Mart when I was thirteen, but I did not try to buy firearms.
In Pennsylvania in the late-'70s/early-'80s, fifteen or sixteen was the age for buying longarms (rifles and shotguns) and ammunition in sporting goods stores. (Not sure about pistols, to be honest; we didn't have many folks carrying them.) Hunter Safety courses were held in the local volunteer fire departments annually, and both boys and girls entering their teens attended. In a lot of ways, the Hunter Safety course was a rite of passage. Only half of those who attended actually went on to hunt, though.

I would imagine rural Maine would be much the same.

First day of deer season one year, the school district decided to stay open (they'd traditionally had it closed that day for the past twenty-odd years; school district formed in '60 when the population of the four townships comprising it outgrew the single-building K-12 schools they'd each had). Half the students and half the teachers called in 'sick' because they were going to be out hunting. That was the first and last year we had school the first day of deer season. ;)
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Old 03-26-2016, 08:54 PM   #113
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

I'm coming late to this conversation, but the year is actually at the beginning of my adult life so I have a decent memory of the era.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has an online inflation counter but as it happens cumulative inflation since 1988 is 100%. So when in doubt, take modern prices and halve them.

Politics was less polarized then - conservative Democrat and liberal Republican were not yet oxymorons. Admittedly, that was in part because the Republican party was still building itself up institutionally but party identity was a less reliable indicator of political views than it is now. In some ways things were reversed - the Republicans seemed to have a lock on the White House while the Democrats kept control of Congress. California was not yet a liberal state. The younger generation (Gen X) tended to be more conservative/Republican than the boomers. I would say on the whole the country was more conservative - the conventional assumption was that the Democrats needed a moderate white preferably Southern candidate (Gore or later Clinton) to win back the White House. If you're curious, the 1988 or 1990 Almanac of American Politics is very cheap and provides a useful political snapshot and perhaps more importantly capsule histories of each state and congressional district.

Anti-gay prejudice was much more common and acceptable then. Being gay was grounds for a dishonorable discharge from the military and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was still five years away. If you need a secret to hide for a basically decent NPC, sexual identity is a good one. This is also in the middle of the AIDS epidemic.

There were significant cultural divides between young and middle aged that don't really exist today. The draft ended in 1973. So men over 40 would have served in the military or would have an explanation for not doing so - I remember most of my male public school teachers were veterans. Who did and didn't serve in Viet Nam was a major political question as Dan Quayle found to his sorrow. Korean War vets and even a few World War II vets were still in the work force and active in public life. There were other significant social changes in the 1970s. The sexual revolution went mainstream in the 1970s as did feminism. And the Civil Rights Act was a little over 20 years old in 1988. Thus, someone who was 50 came of age in an era when male military service was the norm, the Jim Crow system still existed, when women were blocked out of many professions and when rules for sexual behavior were very different from 1988. Someone who was 25 in 1988 grew up in a very different world culturally.

Elaborating on female characters - women were scarce in senior positions in public life. The law schools and medical schools had opened up in a big way less than twenty years before. Congress - both parties - was overwhelmingly male. I don't know if you want to get into that but it could be significant for a young female character. Incidentally, the Silence of the Lambs came out (book, not movie) in 1988 so that might be of interest for a popular view of the FBI at the time.

Regarding computers, my personal experience was that it was not purely a geek thing even in 1988. Most people didn't have or need email accounts but email accounts and internet chat boards were pretty common among college students and a number of professions and hobbyists. Wargames came out five years before so the idea of hacking was already in popular culture. The events of the Cuckoo's Egg weren't public as of 1988 but I think the FBI was already involved. The Morris worm has already been mentioned and would hit in November - might be a good way to confuse the characters if they don't know history.

This is my own impression but college students were more independent of their parents. College was cheaper in real dollars and it was easier to pay through work and scholarships. Helicopter parenting wasn't a thing - indeed there were sometimes complaints of too little supervision. Part of that was communication - calling long distance was costlier and texting didn't exist then.

I realize this is more roleplaying background than hard data but hopefully something here will be useful.
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Old 03-27-2016, 05:48 AM   #114
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

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I couldn't tell you what the cost would be for CMP weapons, Dad bought the one I have now in the early 1960's before I was born. As to the age for being able to buy rifles, that would be under control of State laws. I don't know what Maine's would be, although I would be surprised at a twelve year old living in a rural area not being able to buy a single shot .22LR in the 1950's anywhere in the U.S.
Oh, I assumed the .22 LR was a boyhood companion for most of the NPCs in the adventure. Clayborn Allen got a single-shot Stevens passed down to him at age ten and bought his own bolt-action Winchester 52 .22 LR rifle at age 14. Law aside, everything I've read suggests that before 1968, you could buy .22s by mail order through ads in almost any magazine aimed at boys.

I was merely wondering at what age Clayborn got his own deer rifle. For his first hunting trip, he could have used a spare rifle owned by his father, but Clayborn and old Dick Allen were not warm and affectionate as father and son. As soon as possible, Clayborn would have liked to get a rifle of his own and gone hunting with his own circle of friends (some of whom were older than him by 2-3 years).

The Allens were the richest family in Allagash-Dickey in the 40s and early 50s, but at that time, it merely amounted to a middle-class standard of living in a very working class rural area, where actually starving was a real possibility for the potato farmers in bad years. They didn't begin to get 1-percenter rich until Clayborn took over his father's business in the 60s.

Edit: From the 1930s onward*, you could get a DCM/CMP version of the M1892/M1896/M1898 Krag in .30-40 Krag, modified for the NRA for sporting use (including a handy 25" barrel length), for GURPS $70 to $280, depending on exact model, year of sale and availability. Even in the 50s, I think that a Krag in fine condition could be gotten at those prices or maybe even lower.

The Enfield M1917 in .30-06 was available at GURPS $100+ from the 1920s. Before collectors started influencing the price, it seems that the Enfield was always slightly pricier than the Krags. I'm pretty sure that the price from the CDM/CMP didn't rise all that much, even after WWII, as the government never did manage to sell off all their stock. If anything, the Enfield should drop in price steadily after WWI.

The Springfield M1903 was always a lot more popular than the Enfield among American shooters and it wasn't retired from US service until after WWII, so while it was possible to luck into a surplus WWI model in the 1920s for GURPS $70+, a more realistic price would be higher, up to the ca $450 that a CMP Springfield cost back when you could still get it in the modern age.

For a game set in the 50s, I'd call the real GURPS price of a used Krag $70, an Enfield M1917 $100 and a Springfield M1903 $150. The M1 Carbine would be around $200, with a lot of fluctations in the price, with Malf. 14-16 examples often going very cheap. The M1 Garand wouldn't be available until 1959 and then only at full list price from High-Tech. The price went down quickly in the 1960s for the Garand, bringing it down to ca GURPS $280 to $300, which fits the rule for half-price for recent military surplus rule in GURPS High-Tech Pulp Guns 2.

For my game, set in the 1980s, the Krags are pretty scarce compared to the 50s, but if not mint condition and with matching parts, aren't worth all that much to collectors. Same for the Enfield M1917 and the Springfield M1903, really. I'd call the same prices for the older pieces fair, but note that this buys a lot more used guns now for the older service weapons, with a well-maintained piece going for $130 (Krag) / $160 (Enfield) / $240 (Springfield) / $320 (Garand).**

The M1 Carbine cost GURPS $600 new in the 80s from a commercial manufacturer, but a Malf. 16 weapon made out of WWII-era parts would still be available for under $200, with heavily used or badly made Malf. 14-15 weapons going for a song. I suppose that prices between those extremes might be fair for an M1 Carbine in good working order.

Mind you, prices below GURPS $300+ aren't buying as-new good-looking rifles many decades after those rifles were made surplus, they are buying functional used weapons from someone who took care to keep it working, but will probably have used 'incorrect' parts to replace damaged ones over the years, or at least damaged the weapon through hard use enough to make it cosmetically unappealing to collectors. If available 'new' from the CMP in the 80s, those Krags, Enfields and Springfields will probably be at 50% or so of their GURPS book value, i.e. $325/$400/$450 and the Garand will fetch the listed GURPS price of $510.

*Before that, the price was GURPS $30+ for an unmodified military Krag, especially if bought before WWI.
**Beginning in the mid-80s, lend-lease or military assistance weapons sent to allies in WWII and Korea to finally be re-imported to the US, which gave the CMP access to a lot of mint Springfields and Garands (the Brits didn't like them and seldom fired them).


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In Missouri;
I was born the last year you did not need to take a Hunter's Safety Course to get a Hunting License (1966). I graduated High School in 1984, students who were over sixteen could get Driver's Licenses, during Deer and Turkey Seasons students would have rifles or shotguns in their cars where they had hunted before or after school (with the windows down and the cars unlocked). Until the Clinton era gun laws of the 1990's, I don't remember any significant difficulties for anyone old enough to drive being able to buy rifles, shotguns, or pistols. I bought .22LR at Wal-Mart when I was thirteen, but I did not try to buy firearms.
Mandatory safety courses for hunters date back to 1976 in Maine.
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:50 AM   #115
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Default Re: Night scopes for predator hunting

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Perhaps it's just a total lack of fur-hunting in Florida but when I was reading a lot of gun magazines in this period (no internet so I read hand-me-down copies of Guns&Ammo, Shooting Times and American Rifleman along many other miscellaneous things) I didn't read about fur-hunting there either.

The article I read about coyote-hunting out west had that being done for bounties/government payments and the fur was not harvested.
That sounds right. In 1930s to 1960s Maine, there was a bounty on bobcat and black bear. Coyotes were just getting common* there by the time social mores has changed enough for bounties to end. Of note in connection with that is the fact that protective measures, such as a limited season and even a licence to hunt, started applying to black bears the moment they stopped being a pest with a bounty on their heads. Quite a jump, eh?

More southerly counties in Maine seem to have retained a bounty on black bears into the 70s, though I think that the Sheriff or Chief of Police needed to approve someone to act as his agent to go after a black bear that had been causing trouble in a suburban area. Incidentally, Maine County Sheriffs in the 80s seem to have still retained a pretty free hand to deal with animals that weren't the subject of politically significant conservation efforts. For example, they can appoint people as coyote hunters for the county and allow them to use artificial lights for night hunts to that end.

Given the presence of one (out of three) County Commissioner in Aroostook County on the predator hunting party, not to mention that former guests include a State Senator, several State Representatives and the State Attorney General and an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, I think that Clayborn Allen arranges for Sheriff Darrel Crandall and his replacement, Sheriff Edgar Wheeler, to appoint him and his guests as official county coyote control agents for the duration of the hunting party.

It's not corruption. It's a courtesy. And he does donate generously, not just to the campaign funds of courteous Sheriffs, but also to the Maine State Police, Game Wardens and the Aroostook County Sheriff's Office. Why, he's donated shipments of high-quality Smith & Wesson handcuffs and revolvers from the Houlton plant** to all of the above.

*As noted earlier, I discovered that they got there in the 1930s and were common by the 1960s.
**To which he is the landlord, through some land he owns there.


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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
If you've got your Maine sources about fur-hunting that's fine and go right ahead but it seems terribly, terribly odd to me, especially in the context of blood-sport for the wealthy. I thought pelts were mostly gathered by trapping and it was an activity for pretty marginal back-woodsers.
Fur-hunting is mostly done by trapping, but assuming local laws allow it, trappers have often added to their supply by shooting. Everyone in the rural areas of Aroostook County in which my adventure is set will know some family which supplemented their income through trapping and sale of fur, especially back in the Great Depression (and earlier).

Men like Clayborn Allen, his brother and his businessmen, politician, lawyer and banker friends, however, will not have any commercial need for the fur. However, that does not mean that they have no interest in it. Especially if they do not need to skin the animals themselves.

Clayborn has an uncle on his mother's side, Henri Sinclair, who was born rather simple-minded. There is nothing wrong with either his manual dexterity or his work ethic, however. Clayborn assisted him in getting a part-time job for the local school distrct and he often employs him for odd jobs besides. One of them is cleaning and skinning game for him and his friends, as well as curing and tanning pelts.

Finishing the pelts and making them into a nice pair of gloves, scarf, hat, lining or even a fur coat is done by an old widowed cousin*, Rachel (Jackson) Denis and her daughter-in-law, Sherilynn (Denis) Cyr, who lives up in Frenchville. Mrs. Denis is an artist with fur and her daughter-in-law is very good.

Even if a man might be able to afford shopping at exclusive furriers, many people will still be more impressed by a gift of a fox scarf or bobcat mittens when they shot the animal themselves. They don't even have to be strange blood-sporting rich men for it. I know I would far rather like to own a nice trophy made from the fur of an animal I shot than just a bought fox scarf.

The coyote fur is less desirable than either fox or bobcat, of course, but Sinclair usually tries to harvest it nevertheless if the animal was healthy. If the guest doesn't want something made out of it, the coyote** fur goes to decorate the cabin or is kept by Sinclair, who has a pretty nice collection of coyote fur wear by now.***

Edit: I know some people in Iceland who shoot foxes and while the .22 LR is overwhelmingly popular (it's not as if fox hunters here can expect to encounter anything heavier than 11 lbs. fox, with most animals well under that), there is a vibrant community of shooters who favour .22 WMR, .22 Hornet and the newer varmint calibers, for their flat trajectory out to any range where a human being can expect to spot a fox, and for their fur-friendly natures, which match the .22 LR with proper load and bullet selection.

Not all fox hunters here harvest the fur, but people who do it for sport are actually fairly likely to do so, especially if they fairly seldom have the opportunity to hunt anything other than birds. It's a really nice trophy that you can have made into a memento of your hunting trip. Even those shooters who do not harvest the fur are often careful to select a bullet and caliber that will not blow through the foxes with graphic terminal effects. It's a sportsmanship thing for many of them, I think, where humane killing is extended to mean not just with a minimal of pain for the animal, but also with a minimum of gruesome mess.

TL;DR: it's more elegant to hunt with a load suitable for the target, killing cleanly and without unnecessary splatter.

*Her grandmother and his were sisters.
**Maine coyotes have a lot of wolf in them, by some accounts 22% of their DNA comes from fairly recent wolf ancestors up in Canada. The winter pelt of a Maine coyote is actually far from ugly.
***The annual hunting party tradition among Allen's friends started in 1972, but has been at the end of December and focused on predator hunting only since 1979. That makes for eight previous occasions, with this hunting party being the ninth.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:47 AM   #116
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

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Also, in the 1950s, could underage boys just buy a hunting rifle? That is, should Clayborn Allen's first deer rifle be bought at 18, when he became a voter, or can he have saved up and bought a rifle at sometime between 12-16?

I haven't found yet how the laws on hunting licences for juniors worked in Maine in the 1950s. I don't think that any laws would precisely forbid him from buying rifles in the 50s (yay, FREEDOM!) and, indeed, had imagined that he bought a .22 in that period, but a local proprietor of a general store might not be in favour of a boy buying a rifle obviously meant for hunting deer if it were against the law for him to go hunting.
I don't know about Maine, but my dad grew up in California in the 40's and 50's, and he bought his first shotgun at (if I recall his stories correctly) age 12. He grew up hunting deer and ducks and snow geese and jackrabbits - underage hunting is very much a thing here in the U.S.A where kids as young as 12 often get deer licenses and go hunt deer (usually with their folks). It is harder for kids to buy firearms now (read, illegal) than it was back in the 1950's, but youth hunting is still generally encouraged. I would guess that Maine wasn't much different.

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Old 03-27-2016, 05:21 PM   #117
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Default Flashlights

Does anyone know what models and brands the TL7 tactical flashlights on p. HT52 represent?

The Kel-Lite First Generation SKL flashlight with 2 D-cell batteries is statted in GURPS Tactical Shooting p. 59 (in the write-up of the High Standard Model 10 shotgun, which could mount such a light). The stats are an exact match for High-Tech's TL7 'Small Tactical Light', except it has a 15-yard beam instead of a 25-yard beam. This is most likely because the flashlight was designed and made around 1970.

Presumably, the more powerful High-Tech 'Small Tactical Flashlight' represents improved Kel-Lite flashlights and/or models that came on the market in the late 70s from new manufacturers like Streamlight, Mag Instruments (Mag-Lite) and Laser Products Corporation (SureFire).

I'm having a hell of a time using Google to find the weight or performance of the original models of these manufacturers, given how many they advertise these days. And some of them even have the gall to name current models the same as their first offerings, with 'original' or 'classic' appended! But these might be (and usually are) a lot brighter, lighter and longer-lasting. It's like they are deliberately mocking me!

I found this list of late 70s/early 80s police flashlights, but for some of these, I don't even know which are brand or model names and which are manufacturers: Kel-Lite, Bianchi B-Lite, Stud-Lite, Greenwood Uniforms, Pro-Light, Code-4, Grendelite, Cold Steel Brute, Enforcer, Gemlite, Smoke-Cutter, Spec-Lite, Phaser-Lite, Mag Vari-Beam, LA Screw, GT Price, Brinkmann, Legend, Tru-Grit, Mag-Lite, Nordic, Streamlight, Camo-Lite, Bright Star and Ray-o-Vac Police.

I'm looking to pick a model and manufacturer that is close to the stats of the TL7 'Small Tactical Light' and 'Large Tactical Light', so the NPCs aren't carrying a nameless piece of equipment if some player wants to know about it.

It's okay if I have to note that it has a sligtly different weight, a marginally shorter or longer beam range or a different number of batteries (and thus more or less endurance), as long as whoever knows something about these brands can tell me what these differences are.

I can figure out that the new lights from SureFire, Streamlight and Mag-Lite, among others, that were regarded as top-of-the-line and revolutionary in 1982-1984, were probably the first TL8 tactical lights. For full nerd effect, one might represent some of these 80s lights with stats better than TL7 ones, but worse than current TL8 ones, say by allowing the lighter weights, but knocking a little time of the endurance or even not allowing the darkness penalty within the beam to get to -1 (instead of the TL7 standard -2) until the technology is more mature.

I can't find anything that might be the TL7 'Large Tactical Light'. Not saying that those didn't exist, but my Google-fu has been weak at discovering any models that would fit that were made before the big Mag-Lites that debuted in 1979. Maybe that's the TL7 'Large Tactical Light', a 4-cell D light from Mag-Lite or a similar manufacturer. I'm not sure how right that feels, however, given that large and robust flashlights were certainly made during TL7, even if they were much inferior to the 80s police lights.

I'd feel pretty comfortable with having the effects of modern high-lux, high-efficiency LED or otherwise improved tactical lights be at a relative +1 over the early police flashlights of the 80s. What candlepower/lumen/lux comparisons I can find, even if those numbers are often jiggered madly by marketers, indicate that there was an awesome difference in illumation power between an 80s vintage tactical light and a 2010s one.

Maybe a lot of economical and commonly used flashlights after WWII and until the late 70s still counted as TL6 beams for the purposes of the combat bonus on p. 19 of GURPS Tactical Shooting, simply with better battery life and some other features that still counted as a TL improvement. TL7 beams widely available in reasonably compact and affordable flashlights would then be the birth of the modern tactical flashlight and TL8 beams in those tiny little weapon-mounted lights is what we have in the last 15 years or so, with extremely efficient LED lights. This seems like a reasonable interpretation to me.

Edit: Man, setting a game in the 1980s really brings home how much technology in all kinds of different fields has marched on. I know it's difficult to draw a line and say: 'We are now at a new tech level' when you are living it, but we really have to consider if TL8 might not be ending / have ended. The changes to the world, as a typical GURPS character interacts with it through technology, are at least as great between 1980 to 2010 as they were between 1940-1980.

For all intents and purposes, movies, books and games set in the 80s are period pieces, just as much as WWII ones or a Victorian one. The world is different, the gear used to do a lot of common jobs is radically different, how adventurers go about adventuring is different, etc. The past is a different country and it's rarely as obvious as when one examines the world pre- connectivity revolution and post it.
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Old 03-27-2016, 05:50 PM   #118
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

An original Kel-Light is 2# 4 3/8 ounces or 1032 grams, with spare bulb and two D-cells. I just weighed Dad's. Until LED bulbs became reliable, it was the best flash light I had used. In 1988 I had a three D-Cell Mag-Light, and Dad's Kel-Light was still better. It gives good light out to 20 yards.
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Old 03-27-2016, 05:57 PM   #119
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

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An original Kel-Light is 2# 4 3/8 ounces or 1032 grams, with spare bulb and two D-cells. I just weighed Dad's. Until LED bulbs became reliable, it was the best flash light I had used. In 1988 I had a three D-Cell Mag-Light, and Dad's Kel-Light was still better. It gives good light out to 20 yards.
Would this be Kel-Lite First, Second or Third Generation? Large head KL model or small Head SKL model? Or maybe the medium head?

Or was it a police model, which would be the Baton Light? The weight suggests that it was a baton model. It might have been the trucker's model at that weight, as well, which I think was more-or-less identical to the police one, except for finish and marketing, and named, hilariously, Stud Light.
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:21 PM   #120
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

It's one of these;

http://s1117.photobucket.com/user/fl...ite-2.jpg.html
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