Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #107...

Pardon the hasty flash-illuminated snapshot.
It's referred to as the "Savage Model 1917" because that's when the design work was done, but Savage spent 1918 making Lewis machine guns for the war effort and this pistol didn't hit the commercial market until 1920. The market was glutted with wartime bringbacks, Colt had firmly established itself to be synonymous with "automatic pistol" in the US, and production of Savage's offering was discontinued in 1926, although apparently models sold out of overstocks for a time after that.

There were two variants of the 1917; the later ones, starting in 1922, had "Savage 1917 Model" on the frame above the left grip panel. This one, dating to 1921, does not feature that and is referred to by collectors as a "1917-20".

Fun Show Time!

Let's all sing the Fun Show Song!
Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyefull
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.
I had originally intended to track down a used Glock 17 to get it chopped down into a "G19L", but all the talk about militarization of the police recently has me craving a Remington Model 8 or a Winchester 1907.

EDIT: Heh. People started arriving @ Roseholme Cottage a little before 0800, and I walked off and left this post in the editing window without hitting "publish". Now I've been and I'm back and no Winchester Model 1907 or Reminton Model 8, but I did find a half-decent little Savage 1917, which I needed in order to have one of each main Savage variant.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Sky Is Falling!

Chicken Little!

Everybody is always predicting disaster, yes. But sometimes they're right. I think the potential danger to the US of the whole ISIS/ISIL thing is largely overblown; Mr. & Mrs. Middle America generally don't care if the wogs* kill each other in boxcar lots, so long as they do it over there someplace foreign and don't disrupt gas prices too much. I am keeping a weather eye on the situation in eastern Ukraine, though, as that plate appears to be wobbling on its stick and could fly off with more force than anybody is really expecting.

A lot of big wars have started with the expectation that the other side would back down or acquiesce.

*Which, I'll remind you, start at Calais.

Hummingbird Guns!

A Kolibri pistol and the perfect brace of double-barrel fowling pieces to go with it! Linky.

Pink Herring

I don't even want to think about how old Michaela and Morrigan are now. Photo by Oleg Volk.

I really wish that the person who had shot the putative "instructor" was a twenty-something dude. First of all, it wouldn't have been as sensational. Second of all, it would have removed the big red herring in the discussion.

I know plenty of people, myself included, who could have taught that girl to fire a Mini Uzi (or determined if she wasn't physically up to the task) by a proper, graduated introduction to full-auto fire. One round in the mag; two rounds in the mag, selector on SEMI; two rounds in the mag, selector on AUTO; three rounds in the magazine... Incrementally loading the magazine is a nearly universal TTP in subgun instructor programs and aped by any conscientious place that rents full-auto weapons.

Others have hit the nail on the head with the inherent problem in the Buzzgun Disneyland business model; "Buy a book of tickets and shoot as many machineguns as you want in an hour before getting on the plane back to Hoboken!" Handing somebody a full stick and letting them fire one shot on SEMI before flipping the switch to the Group Therapy setting and telling 'em to hold the trigger back while you stand immediately to the left of the muzzle? Shooting yourself would be quicker, but not really any more efficient.

That girl wouldn't have been able to shoot the Uzi at my former place of employment... because she hadn't already been a range customer for three visits. And then she (and the adult accompanying her) both would have gotten the whole "Here, hold the gun. Like this. Okay, now I'm going to load one round in the magazine... Stand like this, you're going to want to lean into it... Okay, good. Now we're going to put two rounds in the mag..." orientation.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Not feelin' it today.

At least I have (belatedly) discovered the cause of my increasing lower back woes. When I bought the new computer last year, I also bought a righteous modern widescreen 25" monitor to go with it. Said monitor, however, is not height-adjustable and, even with my desk chair lowered as far as it will go, my eyes are level with the top edge of the monitor itself. Any extended surfing of the intertubes, which comprises a large chunk of my days, finds me leaning forward, elbows on knees or the edge of the desk to support myself.

As a result, the muscles of my lower back have become unemployed, and grown soft and lazy and tend to rebel when asked to do work, like bending over to empty or load the dishwasher, manage the extension cord for the lawnmower, or even, as happened yesterday, get a range bag out of the trunk of the Bimmer. This is clearly unsat. I have always been proud of having good posture, and it's going to go away if I don't do something about it, starting with a cheap monitor stand to jack it up 4" or so.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #106...

Another 100 rounds of 115gr Winchester White Box FMJ brings the total to 1100. No malfunctions to report. Clanged steel plates from 15 yards with the first ninety rounds and then ran the last ten into the berm really fast, just to see if being hot and dirty might help induce a malf. Nope.

As an aside, this was some vile, smoky WWB ammo. I don't know how much the ~90% humidity exacerbated that.

The telescreen was behind the painting.

I wonder what Winston's monthly subscription fees for telescreen service were? Could he pay extra for more bandwidth?

The future is strange.

Instant feedback.

I'm not going to dwell on this because the responsible party has already paid as much as they can pay. There is a process for instructing someone in handling machine pistols, especially small ones with high cyclic rates, that is neatly summarized by my 'net pal Gary here:
First step is to familiarize the shooter with the firearm. Muzzle control and finger off the trigger, insert empty magazine. Remove the same. Load magazine with one round. Cock. Fire. Remove the magazine.
Load the magazine with two rounds. Cock. Fire one shot. Fire one shot.
Load the magazine with two rounds. Set on full. Cock. Fire a two shot burst.
Load the magazine with three rounds. Set on full. Cock. Fire one shot. Fire a two shot burst.
Repeat but with more bullets in magazine. Object is to get the user familiar with the recoil of the uzi.
Never ever give a full magazine to a novice and tell them go set on full auto and spray. 
That's pretty much how I did it when instructing people in using the Glock 17 with "da switch".

As several posters in that TFL thread noted, they (or their children) had fired more rounds in full auto by the time they were 8-11 than most adults ever will. There's nothing magic about a buzzgun but, just like with any gun, if certain safety procedures are not adhered to, the results can be traumatic.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Via Instapundit comes this bit of creepiness:
The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”
The tone-deafness is gobsmacking.

Boy, I really feel jaded...

...when I read something like this:
"I have been fortunate enough to shoot many, many different firearms over the course of my life. While I have enjoyed most, a precious few have made their way into my heart as towering giants that provide an unparallelled shooting experience that is meant to be savored and appreciated."
...and my first thought is "'Savored and appreciated'? What the f$## does that even mean?"

*rolls powder smoke around in mouth before exhaling slowly* "Ah, yes... A fine Eastern European single-base... Late Cold War vintage? Smoky, with a hint of ammonia and a lingering aftertaste of fart."

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's funny 'cause it's true.

200 years ago today, as a matter of fact.


I was not surprised to find that the first thing that the guys who took Tripoli airport did was to burn it. Like a dog that ruins stuff it can't eat, just so another dog can't have it, they just trashed the place.
Television images from the scene showed jubilant, bearded, militias dancing on wrecked airliners, firing machine guns in the air and chanting "Allah O Akbar" ("God is great").

On Sunday, they set airport buildings ablaze, apparently intending to destroy rather than hold the site.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but the entire southern and eastern Mediterranean Littoral is one great big failed state right now except for Israel, the parts of Egypt nearest the flagpole, and Turkey, and the latter's just waiting for a push. The area hasn't been this big a mess since Gaiseric. Never in my lifetime has such a large swath of the planet been, effectively, ungoverned Injun Country. As recently as twenty years ago, as long as you weren't trying to use an American or Israeli passport, you could probably have driven from Cairo to Casablanca and been reasonably certain that the uniformed guys with machine guns at the checkpoints only wanted to stamp your passport and shake you down for a bit of mordida.

It worries me that we may wind up looking at the vanished world of the turn of the century the same way we do the Gilded Age/Victorian Era/La Belle Époque. Regardless, I don't think it's very outlandish to claim that we are witnessing the results of the end of Pax Americana.

Embarrassing confession:

Sometimes I frickin' hate Internet Forum Libertarians, mostly because I'm afraid I came across as that frustratingly obtuse in TFL's Legal & Political subforum a decade and more ago.
Internet Libertarian: "Why didn't they just up and fire that stupid cop? My boss would fire me if I did that."
Me: "Your boss isn't the government. Government actions against individuals, even individuals it employs, require due process. Pesky Constitution."
IL: "Due process applies to criminal justice, not human resources."
Me:"Courts have disagreed with you since the 1930s. They seem to think that the government cannot act summarily against you, even if you are working for it. You'd think libertarians would be all in favor of preventing the government from doing things capriciously, wouldn't you? "
IL: "You still got it wrong. The Constitution isn't what requires the government to ensure due process for employment issues."
Me: "SCOTUS disagrees with you. They seem to think that the due process clause applies to government employees. Now, you may wish it didn't, and you can argue it shouldn't, but here in the real world it does. Here, let me Google that for you."
"I think it should be like this!" is not how the world works. (Do I think that such robust protections are needed for government employees? No, I don't. Usually. But the courts didn't consult me when they made those rulings.)

Coming up...

Shooting deer with a scoped rifle in .243 Win is against the law in Indiana*. Hunting deer with a handgun is okey-dokey, however.

Ceci n'est pas une fusil.
Need to get the Leupold 2x20 scope dialed in with the 100gr GameKings. This should be fun; I'll write it up as I go.

*Whitetail were successfully eradicated in this state and then reintroduced, which is like reintroducing rats. Subsequently, Hoosiers were forced to hunt them with one hand tied behind their back, metaphorically speaking, lest they be wiped out again. This is the reason behind the "shotgun/muzzleleoader/handgun-only" law. Somehow, over time, folklore decided that the reason was that Indiana's flat and rifle bullets would hit an orphanage in the next county, without stopping to think that it's legal to hunt squirrels or coyote with a .300 Weatherby Magnum in this state. Apparently those bullets turn into pixie dust if they miss?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Automotif XLIX...

Mid/Late-'80s 911 Carrera with the turbo-style tea tray on the back.

Going around!

As has become something of a Sunday morning tradition, when Roomie went into the office to write, I took over her bedroom TV and dozed my way to Meet the Press.

This meant catnapping through the local and national news programs, with the predictable results on my dreams...
Brigid had a Grand Caravan with a neat interior; no seats on the left side, and on the right was a single seat behind the co-pilot's chair, a bunk with a nice headboard/bookshelf/nightstand, and then the two seats abreast at the back of the cabin. Everything was very tidy, like the cuddy on a small sailboat. She and I and another person were flying from IND to SEA.

There were a couple of refueling stops along the way, one in western Nebraska at a little airport that felt like some hangars and an FBO in the middle of God's own pool table, and another in the intermountain west of Idaho somewhere.

As we were on short final into SEA through a brutal downpour, the other passenger came up and started chattering at Brigid, who calmly replied "I'm going to have to go around now," and went missed on the approach. Dream Sea-Tac had a pair of parallel runways, and as Brigid fed in the power and climbed out to go around again, I got a view of a C-5B out the left windows, climbing out next to us at a distance that felt like I could reach out and touch it. Brigid was unflappable at my excited gawping.

Later, in Seattle, I was staying with imaginary dream friends at this cool little coffehouse/wine & cheese shop/hippie bodega in this artsy neighborhood of rowhouses and Victorian-era walkups and office buildings. There was worry because ISIS had threatened an attack on America. I was pointing out that surely they'd do something in NYC or Chicago when, over the roofs of the rowhouses across the street, I saw a round object falling from the sky. "Get down!" someone yelled as I jumped behind the ice cream freezer...

Caveat emptor, baby.

So, here's a listing for an Italian M1870/87/15 Vetterli-Vitali rifle for sale.

Armies are funny things. They'll spend a mint giving everybody new dress uniforms or coming up with a new tank or something, but they get all parsimonious and skinflint-y when it comes to things like ammo or boots. Back in the late 19th-early 20th Centuries, rifle technology was changing by leaps and bounds, and it must've been hard to keep up, so there were lots of ways armies would wring one more decade out of obsolescent gear...

The army of newly-unified Italy adopted a version of the bolt-action Swiss Vetterli rifle, simplified by ditching the tubular magazine, as the single-shot M1870 Vetterli in the 10.4x47R black powder centerfire chambering. In the late 1880s, with France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary having adopted repeating rifles, Italy began issuing a version of the Vetterli fitted with a four-round box magazine designed by an Italian artillery officer named Vitali.
Vitali-pattern magazine, seen here on a Dutch M1871/88 Beaumont-Vitali.
The resulting rifles, M1870/87 Vitalis, were nothing more than a stopgap, as Italy soon began issuing a modern, small-bore smokeless powder rifle, the M1891 Carcano, which held six rounds of 6.5x52mm ammunition in its Mannlicher-style magazine. (The Carcano's magazine was an improvement over its German and Austrian contemporaries in that its en bloc clip held an additional round and had no "right-side-up" orientation; it could be inserted into the magazine either way.)

When the Great War finally arrived and Italy joined in on the side of the Allies, the meat grinder of the Isonzo front used up men and material at such a ferocious pace that Italy began breaking the old M1870/87 Vetterli-Vitalis out of armories. Fitted with 6.5mm barrel liners and Mannlicher-style magazines, they helped make up for losses and equipped some fraction of the huge number of hastily-conscripted replacements feeding the corpse fires of the front.

These M1870/87/15 rifles still used the old Vetterli-pattern bolt, with its smallish locking lugs at the rear of the bolt body. While adequate to the task of a limited amount of fire, their ability to absorb extended use of the >40k psi smokeless rounds is questionable at best.

Were it me selling such a gun, I'd place a note explaining the history of the piece and cautioning against firing anything but light handloads on the thing, just as a legal CYA. Perhaps even sell it with the firing pin in a separate ziploc baggie. But that's me.