Sunday, August 31, 2014

Novel debate strategy.

I'm not sure whether the following is an example of Argumentum ad anus extractus, which is the logical fallacy of pulling stuff out of your ass, or Argumentum ad feces fabricatum, which is argument by making shit up.

Well, I'd heard that the "Well-Regulated Militias" referred to Hitler's SA Stormtroopers, and they only included it in the BoR because they were afraid they couldn't ratify without the Bavarian GOP vote...

Seriously, dude, if you're just going to make stuff up on the internet, why not eliminate all the tedious intermediary steps and go straight to Hitler?

Not to bust your chops, but while your Just So story on the origin of the Second Amendment is as fallacious as we could expect from a "poet and novelist" on the faculty of a Vermont* college, you might be intrigued to find out that most of those sensible gun laws you champion were originally put out there to disarm black people.

By Democrats.

Put that in your bong and spark up, hippie.

*His utterly specious  historical theories are rendered doubly hilarious by the history of the flag used by his state's National Guard units to this day.

Golden BBs.

Gun Show Acquisitions
Rain, rain, go away! I wanna go to the range and play!

Specifically, both these boxes have a date with the chrono, because I want to see how close they come to the velocities as measured at the box flap.

On the left, is Hornady's new Critical Defense loading in .32 H&R Magnum; the first new loading in the caliber from a major manufacturer in  more than twenty years, as far as I can tell. The claimed 1150fps velocity would be smokin' fast, but even if it topped 1000fps out of my 432PD, it would be plenty acceptable. And while other defense loadings in .32 Mag have been pretty much stuck with the antediluvian 85gr Sierra JHP, Hornady's modern FTX offers a quantum leap in bullet design over the old projectile.

On the right, we have Hornady's Critical Defense Lite .38 Spl loading. The "Lite" does not signify 30% fewer calories than the competitor's loading, but rather a reduced recoil round which, as the pink packaging implies, makes it "A Bullet, But For Girls!®" (I guess the pink ribbon on the side of the box means you can support breast cancer research while you shoot a fool in the face.)

What's interesting is the 90gr FTX bullet combined with the claimed 1200fps velocity and no +P rating. FTX bullets perform pretty well for light-for-caliber projectiles. The old Treasury "Q-load" 110gr +P+ barely broke 1,000fps out of 2" barrels with a bunch of noise and flash, and used a bullet that was designed with slide rules. I'm dying to see how close to the box flap claims this one comes, too.

If the .32 Mag averages over a thousand FPS, I'll likely order a case forthwith and consider myself set on .32 Mag defense ammo for some time to come.

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.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Overheard in the Office...

We kinda need a POTS land line at Roseholme Cottage because reasons, but I was musing about how, when I lived in the cottage on the lake and only had my cheap Cricket phone, I went for years without a telemarketer, only getting calls from people to whom I actually wished to speak...
RX: "I don't know, I kind of enjoy the chance to be rude to people on the telephone sometimes."

Me: "But you could pick up the phone and be rude to some random stranger any time you want!" *mimes dialing motions*
I have to admit that when Singh called from Bombay Mumbai to tell me he was from the "Windows Service Department" the other day, I barked "There is no 'Windows Service Department', you heathen scam artist!" before hanging up.

I wish I'd answered the phone on Bobbi's desk phone, a Western Electric 302, rather than one of the cordless handsets, because there's no way to punch an "off" button with your thumb that has the level of tactile satisfaction of slamming that Bakelite handset into its cradle. You kids today don't know you're born.

"Fit and Finish"

Flawless Fit and Finish
 Elsewhere on the intertubes, some AR-lovin' California tactical dressup guy was going on and on about the "Fit and Finish" of a new brand of top shelf AR, using the analogy of a custom Wilson 1911 versus a generic Springfield Armory 1911 when other people dared ask how it differed from, say, a BCM or DD or whatever.

Just to copypasta my FB rantings because I hate wasting the keystrokes:
That thread is making me sad. All the gawping about "fit and finish" and comparing custom ARs to custom 1911s from that ██████ dude. Look... a custom 1911* takes a bunch of time with hand tools and power tools because it starts with oversize steel components that are fitted to each other, not to mention any external cosmetic work, such as blending the back of the slide or doing funky treatments on the front of the slide or frontstrap texture work. Not counting the metal finishing, a really good 1911 'smith is lucky if he can do a gun a day, and that's starting with a bunch of relatively pre-fit stuff.

By comparison, talking about the "fit and finish" on an AR... ANY AR like talking about the "fit and finish" on some kid's Lego Millennium Falcon model. The value of an AR is determined SOLELY by the value of the prefabricated parts, which can be assembled by a chimp (seriously, staking is not that hard) and how much someone is willing to pay for the roll mark on the magwell. There is practically NO labor cost in an AR.

And that post from █████ is the most hilarious bit of douchery I've ever seen. Don't hand-wave at me about what goes into building an AR, █████. It's not like it's some kind of secret formula.

I love how it's all "MILSPEC" and "TDP" until it comes time to defend some fawning idiocy from that ██████ dude. 
I've never timed it, but it wouldn't shock me if it took more time to do a decent stippling job on a Glock frame than to assemble a quality, reliable, sub-MOA AR from a pile of parts. Almost certainly if you're doing a grip reduction on the Glock.

With most "custom" ARs from small builders (if they're open enough to provide a parts list) you can sit down with your Brownells or BCM catalog and decide if you're willing to spend the difference to let them put it together for you**. In the case of some of the bigger assemblers, it might be a good deal, since they get a price break on barrels and BCGs for buying them by the case lot, as it were.

*Of course, there are a lot of 1911s out there that people think are "custom" that are assembled from bins of drop-in parts, but that's a matter for another post.
**I almost always am with uppers, because I can't be arsed to put the thing together myself, so it's either buy it preassembled or carry a box of parts down to Tennessee on one of my quarterly pilgrimages.


I was on the radio yesterday. It was harrowing for my introverted self, because it combined two things on which I'm borderline phobic: Talking on the Telephone, and Talking to a Bunch of People.

I think it's somewhere around the 1:20 mark.

Buried under the idiocy...

...this guy has a point.

"Militarization of the police" arguments from Team 2A need to be carefully crafted, and not just "zomg look they have AR-15s!" because to an outsider, it looks more than a little crazy to be talking about how normal and wholesome your "Modern Sporting Rifles" are one minute and then flipping out about the cops having them the next.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summertime in SoBro, 2014 Edition...

Went to an interesting local used car lot yesterday with roomie, mostly to kick tires. The cars displayed out on either corner of the front row were a Porsche 928 S4 and a '79 MGB...

They had a pretty interesting selection for a medium-sized "tote the note" lot. The 'Vette in the foreground was clean, even if it did come from the Dead Ball Era of automotive performance.

1990 Ferrari 348 ts, from about the time that they started being real cars. Before this? Well...

If you haven't been in one of the Italian exotics from the Seventies or Eighties... Have you ever seen some of the props from a SciFi movie or TV show up close? You know how you were like "Wow, this isn't the battle steel bridge of a space warship! This is all sheet styrene and crappy off-the-shelf LED indicators from Radio Shack! It's flimsy!"? Well, that's what the interior of a Maserati Bora or Magnum P.I.'s 308 was like. Flimsy trim that fell off if you looked at it funny and switchgear outsourced from some third-rate manufacturer that didn't work or came off in your hand; people would have revolted if their Pinto or Cavalier had been that much of a slapdash, kit car, school play production inside, but... Maserrghini! It's the price you paid for the ride.

1958 Ford Thunderbird. From the Baroque period of Detroit auto design. Interestingly, of the two designs competing to be the new T-bird, the losing one was eventually stretched by a back seat and a set of suicide doors and became the understated, immortal 1961 Lincoln Continental.

The T-bird above is some odd sort of restomod, with a lot of the chrome emblems blacked out and the interior done up in the same yellow-and-black motif.

After walking the car lot, we were a little hungry and ready for some A/C, so...

...we went to 317 Burger. I had the "None the Wiser" burger, which is topped with Swiss cheese, pineapple, bacon, jalapenos, and BBQ sauce, and washed it down with a pint of Bier's Weizengoot. Bobbi ordered a custom "build your own" burger and iced tea.

On the way home, I stopped to get beer and saw that the store had Zombie Dust! There was a one six-pack per customer limit, and while I was standing in line, people holding smart phones in hand suddenly started streaming through the door and collecting their one six pack. By the time I walked out the front door, they were out. Sure enough, it was a Zombie Dust flash mob. Follow the Twitter hashtags to buy the stuff, I guess...

Up near where 61st crosses the Monon, I asked Bobbi to swerve into the parking lot so I could get a pic of this awesome Mad Max Honda CB650-based rat bob.

Automotif XLVIII...

Walmart is the great American cultural leveler, as this slammin' Jaguar XJR parked two spaces over from us attests...

Bad Ideas

A guy elsewhere was asking about the effectiveness of beanbag or baton rounds out of a shotgun. He was asking because he was thinking about using them for home defense. You know, a couple rounds of less-lethal in the magazine ahead of the warshots, so that maybe he could encourage the bad guy to leave without actually having to shoot them for real. I commented:
I don't think it's a good idea to point a 12 gauge shotgun at someone you don't want to kill or seriously injure. There's a reason that police department ones used for less-lethal munitions have orange furniture and aren't used for anything but less-lethal munitions. 
It's called "less-lethal" these days rather than "less-than-lethal" for a reason, you know. It's eminently possible to kill or maim someone at close range with an unlucky shot, even with "less-lethal" ammunition. And if you do kill or maim somebody with it, the very fact that you used a beanbag or baton round is prima facie evidence that you didn't think the guy was enough of a threat to shoot him with real bullets. This will not look good to a jury.

Like the old "Just shoot 'em in the leg!" thing, this is another example of the fool notion that it's somehow okay to shoot people just a little bit.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Round number one thousand three hundred and ninety two...

A day at the range. Gen 3 Glock 19 w/CTC Lightguard.
So, I started keeping track of the round count on my Glock 19 in January of last year, partly because I wanted to do that "2,000 round" thing with it out of curiosity more than anything else, and partly to help field test a part.

1400 rounds so far, and it's not been eating just the good stuff.
The round count accumulated slowly, partly because the Glock isn't my carry gun and partly because I started the affair right as the worst ammo drought in my adult lifetime hit the retail shelves. Yesterday I crossed the 1400-round mark on the gun, basically doing it fifty rounds at a time, when I remembered to bring it to the range or squeeze it in to whatever else I was doing there.

Yesterday was fifty rounds of that Sumbro 124gr FMJ, and on the second round of the last magazine, the recoil felt funny. It was too loud to be a squib and I was sure I'd heard steel get hit, so I risked my fingers and tried the trigger again, to be rewarded with a "click" instead of a "BANG!".

There was an empty case still in the chamber and when I locked the slide back and checked the bore, there were unburned powder flakes in there. I don't know if it was just contaminated or what, but apparently it fired with enough force to launch the bullet downrange, but not enough to fully cycle the slide, rechambering the empty brass.

Not counting that against the gun, then.

I'll be hesitant to use this stuff for anything other than fairly sedate slow-fire at the range for a while.


Overheard in the Office...

Me: "Huh. There's a browser extension that replaces the word 'literally' with 'figuratively'."

RX: "I literally love that."

Then we got in an argument about whether or not periods should ever be put outside quotation marks. (She's American, but I'm right.) It's hard to find people who are actually passionate enough about this stuff to hold strong opinions on the topic.

"Whose side are you on? Ours? Or ISIS's?"

The ratings, baby.

I wouldn't tell a CNN or NBC reporter his own debit card PIN for fear he'd leak it just to get the scoop.

(I'm letting Foggy Bottom off the hook in this post because everybody with a room-temperature IQ knows they've been a branch office of the Lubyanka since the 1940s.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Automotif XLVII...

Seen in the Fresh Market parking lot yesterday:

Super-tight Benz 450SL

Yellow calipers, cross-drilled rotors, and AMG wheels

Canary yellow

Immaculate interior

You must be this nerdy to enter.

So, as I was heading toward GenCon last weekend, I reflected on the fact that I hadn't set foot in a Con since... what year did Cool World come out? ...since I helped work the computer gaming broom closet at Dragon*Con in '92, helping folks run Wing Commander and Aces of the Pacific on a couple dozen 386s.

Anyhow, I was a little unprepared for the size and scope of the convention, as well. I mean, I didn't get to see Larry or Mike while I was there, but with 50,000 attendees, that's like going to Elkhart, Indiana and saying you didn't bump into Fred or Joe.

I was amazed at the makeup of the crowd, too. Playing wargames back in the day, I was never very surprised if I wound up the only chick in a room full of people that looked like a casting call for Revenge of the Nerds V: The Undiscovered Country. Now? Endomorphic cracker neckbeards are still probably the largest single demographic, but it was a bare plurality; there were all shapes, sizes, and colors of nerd on hand. And why not? It's an easy club to join: All you gotta be is a nerd who likes to play games, and let's grab some d20s and throw down, friend. Hell, Curt Schilling's a gamer, and he's a known jock*.

As we were walking back to the car, Shootin' Buddy commented at how much more like a Benetton ad the exhibit floor looked like than the gaming stores of our youth, and we agreed this was a cool thing.

Apparently we were at a different GenCon than the one attended by the Tor columnist who received a brutal and well-deserved fisking from Larry, because the convention he attended was some horrible throwback to the Raj, where mustachioed white male villains were being waited on hand and foot by cringing dusky-hued servants.

I'd hate to live inside that dude's head; it's a messed up place.

*Anybody who holds onto the silly jock/nerd stereotypes past high school is doing themselves a disservice, BTW. Smash your cliques; like what you want; befriend who you want.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Speak softly and carry a 3-wood."

Savages gonna savage.

The Good Ol' Days

There's an odd ahistoricity to some of the "militarization of the police" discussion kicked off by the Ferguson rioting. Joel, one of my wookie-suited moral compass needles, has pointed out to the people suddenly noticing that the po-po had scary guns that
Cops have been gunning up very publicly since the seventies...
Which is true enough, as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough back.

In the Twenties, cops had better guns than the military. Submachineguns and self-loading rifles were widespread in law enforcement before they ever were in the Army. People need to stop getting their history from Andy Griffith reruns. Frank Hamer didn't gun Bonnie and Clyde down from ambush with a flintlock musket, you know.

In the Sixties, they’d have already turned the dogs and water cannons on the Ferguson protestors. In the Twenties, Andy and Barney would have broken the old Potato-Digger out of the armory and started mowing them down. The po-po used to be pretty quick to go weapons-free on unruly crowds, especially if such crowds were made up of black folk or commies.

Delaware Statie in the '60s.
Realistically speaking, the rate of police violence (like all violence) is probably at a low ebb, but in this age of social media, ubiquitous cameras, and the 24-hour news cycle, you get to hear about every bit of it. (And of course the media is 100% infallible when they report on police brutality, the way they are with gun-related stuff. We mock the "shoulder thing that goes up" utterances and then Gell-Mann our way across the page to nod in sage agreement at reported use-of-force abuses.)

Sure, in the old days, Officer Flatfoot walked a beat and said "Hi!" to the kids and helped people carry their groceries in. He also "tuned up" the occasional vagrant with some brass knuckles for giving him lip or helped a black guy ensure that the sun didn't set on his back in Pleasantville, and everybody just shrugged and went on, because that's how things were.

Let's everybody be thankful that, so far, Ferguson 2014 hasn't turned into either Los Angeles 1992 or Tulsa 1921.

The MIM meme continued...

When Og talks about MIM and manufacturing and machining and such, you should listen. He very likely helped make the stuff that made your stuff.

Pockets must have been sturdier...

Nearly a hundred years separate the two pistols above. The Pieper Bayard 1908 was, for many years, the smallest .380 self-loading pistol ever made. The derringer-sized auto held 4+1 rounds of .380ACP and fit in the palm of your hand, or a vest pocket...

...but it would need to be a sturdy vest pocket, because the Bayard is a little brick of a gun. Based, to an extent, on John Browning's original 1899/1900 pocket pistol design, the recoil spring is above the barrel, and it and the slide's mass are the only things resisting the rearward force of the cartridge in this straight-blowback design. By contrast, the BG380 is a locked-breech short recoil pistol, and its slide can be lighter since it and the barrel are locked together for the first few millimeters of travel.

The Bayard is 15.8 ounces empty and 17.6 ounces with five rounds aboard, compared to 12.4 and 14.7 for the Smith (and the Smith holds 7 rounds; almost half again the capacity, if you want to look at it that way.)

The Smith is much easier to shoot well, with the Bayard having a fairly wretched single action trigger, unlike the Smith's heavy-but-smooth DA pull. The Bayard also has, like almost all pistols of its vintage, only the most notional of sights. Still, if you dropped one in a sock, you could really mess someone up with it, I suppose.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Automotif XLVI...

Seen at lunch today:
1958 Chevrolet Corvette

'58 Vette, with Porsche 944 Turbo and Lotus Eclat in the background.

1972 MG Midget

Bentley Continental GTC

Morlocks and Eloi

My first thought was "How do you reach adulthood without knowing what foam earplugs look like? Have you never been on a shop floor and seen the dispensers? Or rode in a military aircraft? Or been on a shooting range?"

No. No, they haven't. Same planet, different worlds. Speciation is well underway.

Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle.

In the picture above, you can see the polymer Picatinny rail on the underside of the KSG's foreend, to which the Magpul vertical foregrip is attached.

Yesterday, Unc linked to a report of a KSG user who had been running a ProMag VFG on a Kel-Tec KSG and managed to blow part of his hand off when the grip's attachment to the rail failed. Apparently on the forward stroke his hand continued on out past the muzzle, probably still clutching the busted grip, while his trigger finger said "F&#$, I Got My Orders" and went ahead and pressed down with predictably gory results.

As noted over at The Firearm Blog's post on the incident, the ProMag grip in question does not use a crossbolt to secure itself to the rail, but a little plastic nubbin that is conspicuously lacking in confidence-inspiring qualities. While not at the Tapco level, ProMag stuff does tend to be pretty chintzy, and this is an extreme example of what can happen when you cut corners on things like this.

On an AR, this grip failing would have been a little "Ha ha!" moment. On the stubby pump shotgun, it had permanently life-altering effects. But, hey, the ProMag unit is half the price of a Magpul MOE VFG and a full fifty bucks cheaper than a Troy modular VFG!

I hate cargo cult crap.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Paging Og...

Can anybody decode the dimples on the underside of the BG380 slide? Paging Neanderpundit...

I've got the laser, now all I need is the shark.

Both my 432PD and the Bodyguard 380 have lasers. The latter sports an integral laser made by Insight (new ones are by CTC) and the former has a set of CTC Lasergrips.

My feelings about the two lasers couldn't be farther apart.

I think the J-frame lasergrips are handier than a pocket on a shirt. I wouldn't carry a J-frame without them anymore, given the choice, and that set right there is on its second gun, having first been installed on a 442 a dozen years ago. They're fantastic dry-fire aids on the snubby revolver, and for a gun that may be fired from an awkward position in a hurry and under less than ideal lighting conditions, they're a boon.

Meanwhile, the laser on the BG380 is next to useless for me.

The difference? The CTC Lasergrips on the J-frame are grip-activated. There's nothing you need to remember to push or nudge or whatever; grab the gun and the laser switches on.

Meanwhile, on the BG380, the activation switch is a lightly countersunk rubber nubbin in front of the trigger guard that takes a deliberate press with your trigger finger to turn on. It might as well be in Albania for all the odds that I'll remember to hit it in a hurry.

Building the frames with a built-in laser using a button on the front- or backstrap would probably add too much cost to the little guns. There's a no-laser variant available now, and if it had been around when I bought mine, it's what I'd have gone for.

Silver King tractors...

1939 Silver King
1939 Silver King. I think an R-38?

Closeup of the sign in front of the little Silver King.

silver king tractors
Nicely restored 1948 Silver King on the right, unrestored original finish on the left.
silver king tractor steering wheel
View of the unrestored tractor's dash.

"Weight, weight, don't tell me..."

Out of curiosity, I threw them both on the postal scale:
  • 6-shot 432PD revolver: 14.0 oz. empty, 16.0 oz. loaded
  • 7-shot BG380 pistol: 12.4 oz. empty, 14.7 oz. loaded

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Speciation continues apace.

Back in New Jersey, Tony Soprano is dead, but Snooki is still alive.

(H/T to Bitter.)

Overheard at GenCon...

His bike was too speedy for me. We also saw Darth Vader. Apparently the chow's pretty good in the Death Star cafeteria these days, 'cause I don't know if the Sith lord could pass the Imperial Forces PT test anymore.
So, we're walking toward the exhibit floor at GenCon, which started out as a convention for tabletop wargames* back in the day before morphing into the general station of the cross on the nerd party circuit it's become. Threading our way through swarming gamers and cosplayers...
Shootin' Buddy: "So, where are the games with the maps with hex grids and the cardboard counters with numbers on them?"

Me: "In the 1980s."
First card games and then computer games put paid to the classic games of SPI and Avalon Hill from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Although, I do find it interesting that a couple of publishers are doing revivals of the old intellectual property; there are reboots of Panzer Leader and other classics out there, and Advanced Squad Leader has been in constant publication by Curt Schilling-backed** MMP since Avalon Hill went moribund and got bought by Hasbro. As the nerds of Gen X reach our peak earning years and start having midlife crises, I predict a revival of the old style of games: Nostalgia runs on 20-to-30 year cycles, after all.

I will also note that crowds don't come much more peaceable: They were bandying about attendance figures of around 50,000 souls, and we didn't see a single uniformed cop anywhere in the convention center. I'm sure there were a couple, but we never saw 'em.

*If anything, map-'n'-counter wargames are even farther outside mainstream pop culture than pen-'n'-paper role-playing games. They never did a Saturday morning cartoon based on Wooden Ships & Iron Men or Drang Nach Osten!, after all.

**Yes, that Curt Schilling, who is apparently a big ol' fellow nerd.

Just to note this someplace...

Phrases from recent forum or Facebook conversations that I thought would be swell in a musical context:
Band Name: Hopeless Dirtshooter
Debut Album: Benevolent White Ass

Band Name: Biogas Jackrabbit
Debut Album: Punching Bozo
Facebook is too ephemeral for my taste... well, it's not actually that ephemeral, vis-à-vis any other content on the tubes you'd care to pick, it's just hard to search. If I'm still blogging five years from now, for instance, this post would be pretty easy to find by searching on "ephemeral" which is not a word that pops up in conversation too often...

Overheard on the Internet...

Someone was asking how good the new M&P22 Compact was as a general bumming around/woods walking/critter pest disposal gun:
Caleb: "The three dead prairie dogs and the biogas jackrabbit say it's pretty good."

Me: " Is that autocorrect, or a new alternative fuel source out of the Dakotas?"

Caleb: "Autocorrect. I got a new iPad recently and I haven't trained it up yet. It still thinks "Kimber" means "Kimberly.""

Me: "For the record, Biogas Jackrabbit would be an awesome band name. "

The MIM meme...

So, here's a closeup of my Bodyguard 380, manufactured in August of 2012, all field-stripped. Notice anything (other than that I should have stopped down on the aperture for more DOF)?

Growing mold.
See the mold line atop the chamber? Unlike the multipiece barrel of the Walther PPX and its forged barrel housed in a MIM breechblock, this is a one-piece barrel, machined from a MIM blank. I never thought I'd see the like.

I didn't know such a thing was possible, as the internet has long informed me that powdered metallurgy is responsible for parts breakages, guns malfunctioning, rains of frogs, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. (This is, ironically, the very same internet that is practically wetting itself with excitement over the possibilities of "3D printed guns". Shhh. Don't tell them; it'd break their little hearts.)

.380 ACP maximum operating pressures are, of course, only ⅔ of standard 9x19mm and barely more than half those of 9x19mm +P. But they're about the same as .45 ACP. You'd think if there was a rash of BG380s going high-order in people's hands, we'd have heard about it by now, no? I've got a little over two hundred rounds through mine now without a malfunction, which isn't a lot by any measure, but probably more than most of them will ever shoot. Most will shoot a box of ammo, plus how ever many rounds it takes to pass a particular state's CCW licensing regime, and that's it.

In my book, these little pocket .380s like the BG380, P3AT, and LCP are largely disposable anyway, so complaints about their soulless qualities are pointless. Their primary virtues are light weight, compactness, and a price low enough "that every man (and woman) be armed." This is as volkspistole as it gets right now; in a perfect world, these things are sold in blister packs next to the disposable vacation cameras.

More Tab Clearnig...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Looking for work?

Contact this guy. He's getting paid big bucks by his employer to fill in in an entry-level position because they don't have enough entry-level people. (And entry-level is apparently a $50k/yr gig, which is plenty enough to keep body and soul together.)

In case you hadn't seen it...

I'm only about halfway in. It's interesting so far.

Random stuff...

A good start for a Friday morn.

Bobbi's working odd hours this week, which has juggled the sleep schedules of everybody in the house who is not a cat. She's sleeping from the early afternoon into the night, so as to go in at 0MyGawd30. I catch a late night nap, see her off, and then go doze another three hours until awakened at 0600 by an 18-lb cat who is sure he is about to starve to death if he doesn't get some food right away. I then get another couple hours of sleep before stumbling into the office to turn on the free ice cream machine and then do some writing for people who will exchange money for words.

This morning, it seemed that no sooner had I dozed off from the cat feeding than I was awakened by the sound of... Oh, damn! That's the garbage truck!

I hope the neighbors dug my PJs.

Because I hate using all my material at away games...

In response to the suggestion that America no longer has the constitution to make the rubble bounce, despite having the manifest ability to do so:
I dunno. I dunno what we'd do if NASCAR America were sufficiently terrified, but I don't imagine it would be pretty (and have no delusions it would be "permanent", except for those directly under the bombs.) As you alluded, we're a big country composed, by and large, of little men these days. Bob Heinlein had a quote that was something like "Never frighten a little man; he'll kill you." All the head-chopping and VBIEDing on the far side of the globe has only titillated Middle America; they have not frightened Joe Sixpack and Suzy Soccermom. Yet.

I'm talking the same quasi-libertarian isolationist line now that I was in '03, but let 'em set off bombs in Lucas Oil Stadium and I reckon I'll be out there in the street, clamoring to "Burn the nest!" like everybody else.

ETA: Also, thinking back to the mood thirteen years ago, the perpetrators of the attack on Manhattan had one thing in their favor: They were stateless actors. By declaring a "caliphate" and drawing borders and claiming nation-state status, IS has also drawn a handy bullseye around itself in a way AQ never did.

Blogmeet-Type Sort Of Thing

With the Indy 1500 coming up on the last weekend of this month, who wants to meet up for lunch at the Broad Ripple Brewpub at 3PM, Sunday the 31st? I'll be there for sure, because it's a fantastic way to relax my aching dogs after shuffling up and down the crowded aisles, getting crop dusted by Cletus and Jasper.

Tin cans beware!

I see Smith has a new miniature-size plinker-grade .22 pistol out, and this one's not a 1:1 scale model of a centerfire like the existing M&P22. Well, Umarex and Ruger are laughing all the way to the bank with their P-22 and SR-22 designs, and when it's raining soup, a company would be a fool to not stick a bowl out the window. (cf. S&W Governor.)

I've heard good things about the larger M&P22, and liked the ones I've tried. I'm dragging my heels on buying one as a replacement for my 22/45 simply because the latter gun may not be a perfect "understudy" for my carry gun anymore, but it's just been such a little trouper. I have put an ungodly crap-ton of ammo through my MkIII 22/45 for several years straight, and that with a cleaning regimen that would probably have ToddG accusing me of gun abuse; I'm talking chipping big chunks of carbon out of the receiver with a dental pick a couple times a year when the bolt starts getting sluggish no matter how much more lube I glop on it.

If the light-metal slide full-size understudy M&P22 will put up with that, I'll buy two.

Although I didn't get my Ruger from Bud's, this right here is the one I got. I see that they still list a new retail price of ~$250, which I think is pretty near the best deal in Christendom in a new self-loading pistol. It's a soulless little Sten gun compared to a Woodsman, Smith 41, or a High Standard, but it seems to thrive on abuse and neglect.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Not all veneers are created equal...

...or, "If you get snowbound in a Bentley, you could burn the trim for days."

Mostly tagging this here for my woodworking, British auto loving roommate...

Also, here's a gratuitous Rolls picture...

It was parked near that Willys Jeepster.

Data for gun nerds...

So, I played with the two S&W pocket heaters and the chronograph yesterday. Here're the numbers for the five loads I tried:
 Smith & Wesson Model 432PD, .32 H&R Magnum:

Federal 95 grain Lead Semiwadcutter:
LO: 832.1
HI: 864.1
AV: 842.0
ES: 32.02
SD:  9.64

Federal 85 grain Jacketed Hollowpoint*:
LO: 831.5
HI:  945.7
AV: 898.7
ES: 114.2
SD: 30.23

Georgia Arms 100gr Jacketed Hollowpoint:
LO: 854.6
HI: 912.1
AV: 877.5
ES:  57.5
SD: 19.87

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380, .380 ACP

Winchester 95gr PDX1 Jacketed Hollowpoint
LO: 852.7
HI: 901.6
AV: 876.3
ES: 48.97
SD: 16.91

Hornady 90gr Critical Defense FTX Jacketed Hollowpoint
LO: 835.7
HI: 907.4
AV: 884.9
ES: 71.67
SD: 20.83

If you're the sort that likes muzzle energy figures, that's an average of 150, 152, and 171 for the .32s and 162 and 156 for the .380s.

If I'd been clever, I'd have used my Suunto Vector to get the weather data at the range, but Weather Underground says it was about 70 degrees out

While the velocity spread wasn't horrible on the Hornady, I was a little surprised that it wasn't more consistent, mostly based on the 9mm Critical Duty I've chono'ed, I guess. That stuff was freakishly consistent for +P service ammo.

*The Federal 85 grain got an asterisk because that ammo was rolling loose in the bottom of my ammo can and the ten rounds likely came from several different lots purchased over a five or six year period.

So, then there's this...

Some now-banned dude dropped one of those perennial bits of internet wisdom in a thread:
Also the [Delta Elite] 10mm had a reputation for cracking the frame at the slide stop hole. I saw one crack after only firing a 50rd box of Norma ammo.
Because bailing the Titanic with a teacup is a hobby of mine, I had to reply.
Just in case anybody stumbles across this thread via search engine in the future who isn't familiar with this issue, early Colt Deltas would crack the frame rail above the slide stop cutout. This was no biggie, since the slide stop cutout effectively stop-drilled the crack, preventing it from propagating, but "zomg Delta Elites crack their frames!" became such a staple of the gun store commando that Colt fixed the problem by removing that section of frame rail.
Despite this fix being applied several years before the letters "www." meant anything other than the "w" key on your IBM Selectric was stuck, it somehow persists with guys like the one I'm quoting.

Oddly, they all talk about the "zomg Delta Elites crack their frames!" thing, and yet none of 'em ever comment on the junky plastic recoil spring guides they came with that disintegrated in short order under a diet of Winchester Silvertips... Makes me wonder how many of them actually had any time with the pistol in question.

A Recovering Delta Elitist

*Le sigh*

It's Thursday. That means the range doesn't open 'til noon because they're mowing. I had plans that involved dipping out the back door on the heels of rush hour, running down to MCF&G, and busting some caps to get the rust off my 1911 shooting for an upcoming review.

Heck, I'll have to blow literal dust off the guns, they've been sitting idle for so long.

I know that a lot of gun writers mention that they CCW the piece they're reviewing. I'm not sure how I feel about doing that myself. First of all, with my luck the one time I actually need a sidearm, it'll be some loaner I had no intention of buying. Second, there's a certain level of trust I have in a gat that I've carried and shot for years that isn't equaled by running a few boxes of ammo through a strange gun at a range and then holstering up. I know some people change carry guns more often than they change socks, and that's fine, but I change carry guns almost as rarely as Catholics change popes; 'reactionary' is too mild to describe my feelings on the topic.

While I'm reviewing the 1911, I might carry a 1911 again, so that I arrive at the range with a usable holster on my belt, but the 1911 I carry is going to be one I know and trust.