Saturday, August 29, 2015

Unintended Consequences...

Look for the costs of opening a McDonald's or Burger King franchise to rise in the future, because the order-taking kiosks and burger-assembling robots will add to the front end costs significantly, although they'll be less expensive over time than unionized New Minimum Wage workers.

A Good Sign

Indy Arms isn't open-open, as such. We did a "soft open" before the scheduled Grand Opening, with limited hours from noon to five on weekdays and no publicity. Nevertheless, people have been turning up. We had a fair number of customers in yesterday, people who stopped by on the way to the post office or one of the other local businesses when they noticed the gates were open on the front door.

I sold a guy a shotgun, just a basic synthetic-stocked Remington 870. It'd been a while since I slung a gun across the glass. It felt good.

As it ticked down to five o'clock and time to tidy up before going home, I stepped out front with the Windex and a paper towel to shiny up the glass, and noticed this sign...

Your 92D is okay here.
We approve.

EDIT: It pains me to have to spell this out for the Hard-of-Reading and the Perpetually Offended, but the sign doesn't say "No open carry." It says "Firearms must be concealed, holstered, or cased."

If a sign said "Pizzas must have pepperoni, sausage, or bacon," would that mean all pizzas must have pepperoni? No. No it would not. Just don't come in waving a gun around in your hand. It needs to be concealed, holstered, or cased.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Tab Clearing...

Isn't this where we came in?

Ten years ago I started this blog. Some things haven't changed, like my opposition to asset forfeiture laws or the looming threat of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Others have; for instance I'm a lot less opposed to the idea of the local po-po at least having access to some sort of bullet-resistant vehicle than I was. (Although in most smaller communities it would probably make a lot more fiscal sense to talk the bank president or car dealer into taking up an interest in WWII surplus armored cars and then handing him one of those auxiliary deppity holster-sniffer badges in exchange for a spare set of keys.)

I was working in a gun store & indoor range at the time and that seems to have come full circle, too...

"Do you want to interview?"
"Er, I really don't have much time for a job."

"Part time is fine!"
"I'm out of town a lot for gun school."
"Let us know ahead of time! Wanna interview?"
*scuffs toe* "I guess. Employee discount and free range time?"

Blogger says 12,103 posts. From 2008 to 2010, I was a postin' fool, it looks like. Since that time, I've gotten published in dead tree rags, largely because of this blog. I'm told that it's more usual for writers to have to shop article ideas and column proposals around than to get approached by editors and asked to write stuff. Being almost morbidly shy, I'm glad the latter route has worked for me.

Anyhow, I'd ramble on more about this stuff, but I've got today's blog post to write. Thanks for reading and for all you awesome readers have done for me. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog, already in progress...

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #132...

Some glamor shots of Bobbi's stainless Colt Government .380...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

...and finally Part Two.

So two things remained to do with the BG380 test.

First, determine how much of Monday's fiasco with the ignition problems on the Sig Sauer FMJ ammo was the gun and how much was the ammo. Second, would the BG380 return to some semblance of reliability when returned to a diet of the Fiocchi FMJ from Lucky Gunner?

This obviously required a second .380 as a control, and since all the other pistols I own in the caliber are antiques of questionable reliability themselves, I used a Colt Government .380 thoughtfully provided by Bobbi to double check the Sig ammo.

Above are the nine rounds of Sig .380 and the one Remington that qualified as "duds" in Monday's testing, each showing the marks of multiple primer hits from the BG380.

When fed into the Colt, they all fired normally on the first try. Obviously, despite being a hammer-fired gun with a stout mainspring, the BG380 had reached a point where it was having ignition problems after going a thousand-plus rounds with no cleaning or lubrication.

The second part was to re-try the Bodyguard with the Fiocchi. To this end I ran another hundred rounds of the Fiocchi through the gun. All fired. However, four of them did not go on the first try. This time, though, instead of ejecting the round, photographing the primer, noting the round number, and reloading it in the magazine, I took advantage of the true Double Action Only trigger mechanism and just pulled the trigger a second time.

All four ignited with a second trigger pull.

Obviously the BG380 had reached a point where the increasing amounts of propellant residue and lack of lubricant were affecting its reliability. I decided to call the test done at a round count of 1335 rounds total through the gun.

"For you, ze var is over."
My hypothesis, and I'm just guessing here, based on the slightly off-center primer hits on the "duds", is that the gun had reached a point where it was sometimes stopping just a tiny fraction of an inch out of battery, and the fall of the hammer would push the gun the rest of the way closed. This, however, was absorbing enough energy to keep the primer from popping. This is why they went off, four-for-four, when I just pulled the trigger again, instead of cycling the round out of the gun and back into the magazine.

Regardless, the gun still shoots fine. And all the trigger practice on this thing has been a big help! I was standing there Tuesday shooting 20-yard steel with a tiny mousegun with a 10+ pound DAO trigger like it was the most normal thing in the world. This is not something that was in my skillset not all that long ago.

I will clean the gun, give it a good lube, function fire it, and resume carrying it with more confidence in the gun than I had before I started this program. (Do note that there was not a single failure to feed or failure to eject over the course of 1335 rounds.)

I am not a Wally World shopper, generally...

...largely because the one nearest us has atrocious service. However, they are an invaluable resource when I am on the road. If you're in a far-off small town for gun school or house-sitting for a friend in another state and find yourself in need bug spray, a cyalume stick, shooting glasses, beef jerky, bottled water, tube socks, shotgun shells, and toothpaste, you know where your one-stop shopping experience is to be found.

The only two Wally Worlds whose gun departments I've paid any real attention to in the last couple years were the ones in West Lebanon, New Hampshire and Salem, Ohio, and both of them were almost 50% AR-15 variants in the long gun department. Given the latest news, it would not surprise me to find out that Wally-World belatedly went long on AR-15s late in the panic and is now sitting on a several year supply at current purchase rates...

Words I never thought I'd use...

"The Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda…
Well there’s a name I never thought would make me blurt “You cowardly sniveling weasel!” It’s a shame to find out that lead foot was really clay all along.

Pusillanimity, thy name is Niki.

(Over in comments at WM, someone asked how posting video of shooting a different kind of rifle at a target range was "insensitive" to the victims of the train attack, to which I replied "It's an Herbivore Thing. You wouldn't understand.")

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Range Trip Part One-and-a-Half

I know I promised a Part Two of Monday's range trip yesterday morning, but that's been sort of overtaken by events. I went to the range again yesterday and that means that Monday's "Part Two" was turned into "Part One-and-a-Half" of a bigger story.

So, where were we? Oh, yes, I had just finished shooting the Remington and was about to start in on the Sig Sauer Elite Performance FMJ, provided for testing purposes by Sig...

The Sig Sauer offering features a flat-pointed 100gr FMJ bullet. I haven't yet chronographed it, but it sure felt like the zippiest FMJ offering I've yet tried in the little gun. It's certainly the heaviest bullet, with all the rest of the test ammo thus far being either 90 or 95 grain projectiles. Sig claims 910fps in their advertising, but doesn't state the barrel length from which that velocity was obtained.

Anyway, I settled down to loading magazines and shooting. It didn't take long for the BG380's new nemesis to raise its ugly head...

*BANG* *BANG* *click* Round number #103 of the day didn't ignite on the first try, but popped on the second. Then round #109 didn't go, and didn't go on the second try, either. Same with #113... and then #114... Before long, I'd covered the back of a Pet Supplies "Plus" receipt with my tale of woe. Was it the gun? Had it just gotten that dirty? Was it the ammo? Were the primers just harder than woodpecker lips?

"I was told there wouldn't be any math!"
Four rounds into the second box, having experienced a dozen light strikes, nine of which didn't respond to a second trip through the magazine, I threw up my hands in frustration and went home. This was going to require two things to diagnose properly: Another .380 pistol to give the Sig ammo the all-clear, and the previously reliable Fiocchi from Lucky Gunner to see how much of it was the BG380's fault.

This made 1235 rounds through the gun without cleaning or lubrication.


Jay's post I linked to yesterday, the one in which he came close to being cleaned off his stationary motorcycle by an Acura in the throes of a NASCAR-grade single vehicle accident, was extra sphincter-puckering for me in that it recalled a very specific incident almost fourteen years ago.

So, once upon a time, very shortly after I got the Z3, when Marko and I were still roommates...

Google "The Grove at Deane Hill" on Google maps. That was where our apartment was, in the top floor of the southwestern most building in the complex, overlooking the intersection of Morrell and Deane Hill. We got to see some pretty spectacular wrecks there as Morrell was downhill to the traffic light from both north and south, and people sped right along.
A: Normal, civilized place to watch wrecks, on a third-floor balcony. B: Bad place to watch wrecks. C: Wreck.
I was heading south on Morrell, coasting up to the traffic light in the turn lane with the top down on my shiny new roadster, when a Ford Ranger heading down the hill from the other direction apparently didn't notice they had a red light and clipped the front of the car making a left turn from Deane Hill.

I was then treated to the sight of a Ford Ranger going ass-over-teakettle, doing two complete bumper-to-bumper endos in midair before coming to rest maybe a dozen feet from my front left fender.

If it had landed in my lap, I don't think the fates would have given me bonus points for leaving the bike home that day.

The thing that sticks with me most was the time dilation effect. As that truck was flipping lengthwise through the air in my direction, a view we don't normally get unless it's being projected in two dimensions on a theater screen, I had plenty of time for a whole cascade of thoughts to run through my head. "Wow, they look bigger when they're vertical like that. Jeezis, his front bumper's gotta be three feet off the ground. He's going over a second time. How fast was he going? He must've been hauling ass and clipped the dude just right. He's gonna land on his wheels. Wonder which side he'll bounce over on?"
...and simultaneously the realization that the whole thing was happening so fast that by the time any processed information was converted into physical action by my hands and feet and then into motion by my vehicle, the whole thing would be over. I was essentially just a very interested spectator until physics finished having its way with its new play toy.


This new Trijicon sight intrigues me. I've had Aimpoints on my carbines for years now, a Comp M2 on my older one and a PRO on the newer gun. They're great optics but I've thought about switching to the smaller T1 because of size and bulk. But ai yi yi! The price!

Aimpoint PRO (top) and M2 (bottom)
This new Trij, with its MSRP in the mid fives, bodes a street price at your more competitive sellers that should go head-to-head with the PRO, which is pretty much the current bang-for-the-buck champ in red dot optics.

Trijicon's known for good gear, and life is too short for junk optics... It's tempting to start rolling my pennies and watching the longer term reports from Steve Fisher and Pat Rogers and others whose opinions I respect.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Overheard in the Hallway...

Me: "You mean you don't turn the boxes of Doo Dads upside down on the grocery store shelf so they read 'Spep Oop'?"

RX: "Tamara, that's childish."

Me: "Yeah, and...?"

RX: "I am adultish."

Tab Clearing...

  • Jay has a close call on his motorcycle that was enough to raise goosebumps just looking at the pictures.

  • Two Fields: Spring and En.

  • Mad props for the post title.

  •  One of the highlights of Paul-E-Palooza was getting to put faces with names you've known from the intertubes for years. For instance, I finally got to meet Tiffany Johnson.

Overheard in the Dining Room...

Me: "I really would like to go to that shotgun class, but even though it's a one day class, it's a five hour drive to Alliance, Ohio. That means that even if I can figure out an angle to get the class comped, we're talking two nights in a motel plus gas there and back and I just don't have that in the budget right now with everything else coming up..."

RX: "Plus, when's the 1500?"

Me: "That's this weekend, but I don't need to buy no more guns..." *my eyes bug and my hands fly to my mouth, accompanied by a horrified, high-pitched intake of breath* "Oh my God, what did I just say?"

RX: "Are you feeling okay?"

Range Trip Part One

Well. The wheels came off yesterday's range trip just a little bit, and so I'm going to divide the write-up into two parts.

First, of the 1090 rounds through the BG380 thus far, 750 of them have been Fiocchi. In fact, the bulk of the remainder will be Fiocchi, too, thanks to the generous donation from Lucky Gunner. However, in the interest of testeing a variety of ammo with the gun, when I left the house yesterday I grabbed a hundred rounds of Sig Elite Performance 100gr FMJ that had been donated by Sig Sauer and a hundred rounds of Remington 95gr FMJ that I'd purchased from TDS.

The Remington first...

Remington's ammo used pretty conventional round-nosed 95gr FMJ projectiles. Everything fed and ejected fine, however there was a light strike on the 15th shot of the day (1105th of the test) and another on the 40th shot of the day (#1130 of the test). Both rounds fired on the second try.

The gun had experienced light strikes before, but the most recent had been 'way back on round #628. This was disappointing. Then came round number eighty-four of the day, which didn't go on the first try, nor on the second. Or third. Or fourth. I'm not counting that one against the gun. So that's two strikes against the Smith and one against Remington.

That's 1190 rounds in the books with no cleaning or lubrication. There have been five light strikes on primers (#140, #357, #628, #1105, #1130) and one dud primer (#1174), but otherwise the pistol has gone through the complete cycle of operation with each pull of the trigger. 910 rounds to go.

Part 2 to follow...

"Hang on, I gotta call you back."

This reminds me that I have a couple of old phones to sacrifice to the cause of finding out what they do to frangible pistol bullets...

They say that Google is personalized...

I was looking to make a witty bon mot on Facebook and wanted to make sure I had my line right and, hand to God, all I typed into the search box was "no cyril" and it autofilled the rest of the line...

You know how some people say that the suitability of Earth for human life is proof that the whole universe was created so they could be comfortable in their jorts while watching football on the sofa without needing a space suit or being a giant amoeba that eats Doritos by enveloping them with its butt? The anthropic principle? Well Archer is proof that the entire medium of televised audiovisual entertainment was created so I could laugh myself to tears on Thursday nights in the Twenty-Teens.

Automotif CV...

Seen in the Arby's parking lot in Speedway on the way to the range today: A 1969 Pontiac Catalina ragtop.
That's not a 2-golf-bag trunk, that's a 3-Hoffa trunk.
In the late Sixties, the Catalina was the cheaper of Pontiac's full-size rides, below the deluxe Bonneville. The base motor was a 2-bbl 400, but the options list included several more potent offerings, including a 390-horse 428 H.O. mill. Of course, this motor had to propel a car that stretched a whisker over ten feet between the axles* and which cast a shadow a full ten inches longer than a Hummer H2's.

*In other words, this car's wheelbase is half a foot longer than a Smart ForTwo's overall length.

Monday, August 24, 2015


The circled video in the sidebar is from early June, 11% of the market ago...

The Ceremony of the Season

When I first moved to Indianapolis, I was a little skeptical at the enthusiasm with which Bobbi discussed the State Fair. You know, not really my cup of blood and brimstone, but I guess if people wanted to go ride Ferris wheels and gawk at cows, it was a free country.

I don't think we went until 2010 or so, and it managed to endear itself to me almost instantly, to the point where it's one of the most important rituals of my year. This year, a last-minute chance for me to attend Paul-E-Palooza put a last-minute scrub on our plans to attend the Fair that Friday. However, as the last day of the Fair dawned yesterday, I realized I would not be able to face the coming winter without having performed what have become the Ceremonies of Summer. (People who have read Hogfather will perhaps grasp this.)

I had a couple hours before I needed to meet Brigid for lunch, and that was enough time to pedal to the Fair and do what I needed to do.

First the three rituals...

The ritual of the feeding of the animals.

The ritual of the photographing of the tractors.

The ritual of the gawking at the engine of the grist mill.
...and then the three sacraments...

The sacrament of the ice-cold Hoosier Red Gold tomato juice.
The sacrament of the lemon shake-up.
And the sacrament of meat on a stick.

 There. Now all is right with the world and the seasons can turn properly.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Long Day

After inflicting Meet the Press on myself this morning, I hopped on my bicycle and pedaled down the Monon to about 38th street, because it was my last possible day to complete the most sacred ritual of Summer...