At one time or another many of you have probably wondered "Who is Mrs.IV8888 and why is she never in the videos?" My name is Brandy and I am Mrs.IV8888. I don't appear in videos very often for a few reasons - one big reason is stage fright. The other reason is I do a lot behind the camera.
In February 2013 I was able to quit my job to help Eric full time. We were growing so fast a decision had to be made for me to quit or hire someone - the decision was easy. Having worked 20+ years in administrative/management roles, we felt my experience would be a good fit. Essentially I run the business end of the channel. Most of the social media is handled by me as well as the IV8888 website and members only module. Also, most of the photos you see were taken by me.
In a recent Facebook post I posed the question "If you could ask Mrs.IV8888 one question, what would it be?" I decided to take those questions and write this blog so you could get to know me a little better.
Behind the counter at Moss Pawn and Gun is shooting enthusiast Eric Blandford, usually sporting a baseball cap and smile. After a lifetime of handling and firing guns, he happily gives customers suggestions on what equipment to get or ammo to stock. However, in his off time Eric also manages one of the most popular shooting channels on YouTube with over 200,000 subscribers.
Around the gun shop he’s known as the “YouTube Guy,” while his fans know him as Iraqveteran8888. With a team of fellow experts, Eric offers a variety of videos that touch on gunsmithing, firearm tests, politics, and even the oddball favorite such as firing chocolate shotgun slugs. We recently got the chance to talk with Eric after a video shoot and ask him a few questions that his fans have been dying to know.
So Eric, what got you into making these videos?
Well it actually is sort of interesting story. I never thought much of YouTube in terms of making videos or especially making a living out of it. Then I got back from Iraq in 2006 and found work to be in short supply. I wasn’t unemployed, but I wasn’t working full-time either. I had a lot of spare time on my hands to do little things. I don’t know what made me start, but I started making these videos and put them up on YouTube. One thing led to another.
Me and my cousin-in-law would go out shooting and I would film these trips. YouTube rolled up their partners program around the same time. I got invited to join the program and I didn’t really know anything about it at the time. I decided okay, if it can pay for some ammo and make little bit of money, we’ll try it. If I remember right we were among the very first YouTube partners with the first 75 people. It was very early back when you required an invite. The first checks started rolling in, a couple hundred bucks here and there. Then they started getting larger and as the years went on they became a grand or two. We took that money and invested it in better equipment, high-quality cameras, and overall better production. We try to keep up with the game so to speak. Later I started working at Moss Pawn and Gun and definitely made good use of the resources available to me. Having a gun store at your disposal is a great thing when you’re trying to film the videos that we do. I think it gives us an edge up on the competition.
What is the K31?
It should be no surprise to my viewers that the first write up I decide to put on my website would involve the K31 rifle, or more specifically, the Karabiner Model 1931. I'll begin by saying that they were probably the finest rifles of the era, which is saying a lot when Mausers, Mosins, Enfields and other fine firearms like the M1 Garand dominated the field of war at the time. The Swiss maintained an armed neutrality during WW2, and the K31 never received a baptism of fire. The design was developed from the famous lineage that was the Schmidt Rubin straight pull service rifle which began in 1889. The rifle fires a 7.5x55mm cartridge which is essentially a .284 WIN necked to 30 caliber. Loading was on par with rifle cartridges of the day producing around 2600 FPS from a 174 grain bullet. Case capacity of the 7.5x55mm is closer to .30-06 than .308 WIN. The K31 uses a very unique straight pull design which has some advantages and flaws. The bolt is housed in a sleeve that serves as the locking shoulder containing the locking lugs. There is a cam machined into this sleeve that is actuated when you pull on the handle. Essentially, not too much different than a gas operated semi automatic, but without any gas, springs or tubes. The bad part is that the rifles lack primary extraction power and if not kept clean can cause fired brass to stick in the chamber. This certainly was not a problem with the strict care Swiss soldiers gave their rifles. The K31 was the primary service rifle for Switzerland between 1931 and 1958, until it was replaced by the semi auto PE-57. The Papal guard in Vatican City ordered 100 K31 rifles for their guards as late as the early 70's. Many of the rifles remained in service with the Swiss as late as the mid 70's. Just over a half a million rifles were produced, making them considerably more rare than a Mosin or Mauser rifle, which were produced in much higher numbers.