Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Gotta go 2 #beheading, C U l8r"

Tweeting your way to jihad.

It's almost hypnotically appalling.

And in the vein of the previous post...

Here's something both fascinating and vaguely disturbing: Digitally skinning somebody.

Overheard in Front of the Television...

Man in TV Insurance Commercial: "There are always things between you and your dreams..."

Me (happily): "Horrible, eyeless things from outside of time!"
Having a bit of a Hello Cthulhu moment, I guess.

Friday, September 19, 2014

September 19th.

Today is the day to put on an eyepatch and go to the range with your ARRRRR-15.

(AK fans can't play, unless their gun is an Arrrrrsenal, of course.)

Excuse me, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?

MkIII 22/45 with a lotta miles on the clock
I've been a member at the Marion County Fish & Game club for, I think, three years now. Those first couple years, my range time probably worked out to $50+/visit. Not so, this year. So far I've been successfully busting caps at least weekly, and sometimes two or three times a week.
Glock 19 in Dark Star Gear holster
More importantly, I've been more consciously trying to improve specific things, rather than just "shootin'". Working from the holster against the clock. Shooting smaller or further targets. Working on speed and transitions. And because I'm trying to keep track of benchmarks, I can see where I'm improving.

It's a lot easier to see improvement that way, as opposed to just shooting the same old holes in the same old B-27 at seven yards. Maybe I'll even start a training journal over at, because I have SO much room for improvement. I'm just getting started.
Glock 19 with CTC LightGuard
So anyway, the point of this is that yesterday, as I was shooting steel plates at 25 yards weak hand only, I was happy that I'd been putting in the effort that I usedta wouldn't so that now I could do things I usedta couldn't.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #112...

Star M45 Firestar.

WhyHow We Fight

In writing my "Good Guys Win!" column for S.W.A.T., I spend a fair amount of time searching up news stories on the intertubes where honest citizens use firearms to defend themselves from bad guys. It's not a straight-up "Dead Goblin Count" because in armed self-defense, there's very rarely a dead goblin. There's often not even a shot one, although those certainly make for more dramatic reading than "Mr. Johnson said the burglar fled into the night. Police are searching for..." or "Mrs. Blascowicz held the intruders at gunpoint until police arrived."

I try to take a different tack from the NRA's "Armed Citizen" by picking four incidents every month that have a common theme and put a little fortune cookie wisdom in the photo caption. October's issue had four incidents where a good guy used a gun against an attacker with an edged weapon, and before anybody starts with the "Hurr hurr! Bringing a knife to a gunfight!", two of those incidents ended with the badly cut-up good guy getting an ambulance ride to the hospital right along with the shot-up assailant.

That's why I'm noting with interest John Johnston's "Sentinel Event" concept. We like to read the stories about Mrs. Blascowicz holding the perps at gunpoint with her deceased husband's service revolver, but is "Mr. Johnson was found dead in his Rochester home. The police say several valuables, including a coin collection and a registered handgun, were stolen," also a Defensive Gun Use story, just with a less happy ending? What about the ones where the citizen screws up and gets horsewhipped through the public square by the media? Could those have ended differently if the good guy had prepared differently?

I'm not saying everybody needs to be a ninja. I know people who are absolutely fearsome with everything from pistols to P'Kals to rolls of pennies, and I also know what it took for them to get that way and maintain that edge and frankly that level of dedication would seriously cut into my naptime.  There's got to be some sort of bell curve at work, but where's the sweet spot?

I'm gonna probably be coming back to this again, because there's a lot of grist for the thought mill here. But first I gotta go to the range and bust some caps. Just for fun.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Fifty rounds of GECO FMJ. No malfunctions. Total now at 1250. Scored some gun show kydex because the lack of a holster was making me itch.

So, let me get this straight...

Americans are rightly leery of getting into yet another land war in Asia (I mean, other than some bombing, which apparently isn't "war"-war, in a Goldbergian sense) despite arguments that could be made about national interests, such as the proximity of the short-fused neolithic goatherds to the world's oil spigots as well as more mundane things like trying to build a successful YouTube empire based on shortening American citizens.

So the White House, sensitive to public opinion about "boots on the ground" jerks a general's leash short for even hypothetically suggesting that such a thing might be necessary to fight an overseas contingency kinetic-aliocious, or whatever it is we're calling not-actual-"war"-type-wars these days...

...and then turns around and orders 3,000 troops (that's six thousand individual boots on the ground, in case anybody's counting) to West Africa to... I don't know, shoot Ebola viruses or something.

I was going to get outraged and say "The military is not there to boost the president's poll numbers!" but that would be disingenuous; of course they are, and presidents have been using them for that since George had to make a standing army to go shake down Pennsylvanian farmers. But they should at least be used for military-type missions.

The administration says that the troops in West Africa will be there for logistical support reasons, to build hospitals and refugee housing and whatnot. But haven't I just spent a whole damned Iraq war hearing about how KBR and DynCorp and Spacely Sprockets can do that stuff cheaper and more effectively than the lumbering dinosaur of the DoD?

Are we sending 3,000 personnel into even theoretical danger so that congresscritters in tough races can go pose with carefully-selected-for-diversity photo-op platoons of ACU-clad troopies stacking rice bags and building hospitals among throngs of smiling wogs right before election time? It's cynical of me to think so, but if true, then for shame! (As though the parties responsible would know shame if it bit them on the ass.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hey, look what's on newsstands now!

I bet that article right there is especially insightful and witty and worth reading. You should buy a copy for yourself, and maybe one for each of your loved ones and pets, too!

(Although I have to give somebody else credit for the best cover blurb in the history of cover blurbs, which I am still kicking myself for not coming up with on my own...)


So, one thing I'd been curious about was the effect of, not only barrel length, but the presence or absence of a barrel/cylinder gap on various rimfire loadings. So I scooped up four different firearms and four different rimfire loadings I've used a lot in the past and headed to the range. There were Smith wheelguns in both 2" and 4" flavors, my trusty and much-abused bargain-basement fixed-sight 4.5" Ruger Mk III 22/45, and my beloved little Papoose, now sexied up with an inexpensive Tasco red dot.

For ammunition, I brought 20gr Aguila Super Colibris, Remington's 40gr Target blue box standard velocity, my ammo can of Federal Champion 36gr High Velocity bulk pack Wally World fodder, and a box of CCI's 40gr flat-nosed SGBs.

Aguila Super Colibris generate a bit more velocity than regular Colibris, making them usable in rifles, but they still have no powder and rely on the primer to propel the little conical 20gr bullet. This doesn't mean they turn the gun into a harmless toy, however; they will kill a possum or a groundhog deader than a hammer, especially if you walk up and shoot them behind the ear while the dog's got them cornered and you can guess how I know that.

From the 2" revolver, they averaged 522 fps; they were a little faster from the medium-sized handguns (543 from the 4" revolver and 532 from the 22/45) but the surprise was that they gained velocity in the Papoose. With only the primer to burn, the point of diminishing returns was probably halfway along the barrel someplace, but nevertheless they still managed a 623 fps average. They were probably moving at similar rates of speed from the Browning BL-22 I used with good effect on garden pests some years ago.

Remington's Target ammo did not much like short barrels or B/C gaps. It averaged 863 fps from the 2" Smith and 933 fps from the 4" gun and in both cases it had a velocity spread of ~100 fps and a Standard Deviation over 30 fps. From the Ruger pistol, the Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation were cut roughly in half relative to the 4" wheelgun, and the round averaged 946 fps.

It was ever so slightly more consistent from the 16¼" barrel of the Papoose, but in the carbine-length tube it belied its Standard Velocity descriptor by turning in an average velocity of 1124 fps, which is probably flirting with being supersonic at 68° and ~700' above sea level and I don't know what the humidity was but it wasn't too bad yesterday.

The Federal bulk pack ammo was a reminder that cartridges packed loose in cartons of five hundred or more and sold inexpensively aren't packed and sold that way because they were carefully assembled and weighed and sorted by white-gloved hands.

The Federal plated 36gr hollowpoints averaged 917 fps from the 2" revolver and 1021 from the 4" gun and had the rather dubious distinction of a velocity spread of 162.7 fps in a ten shot string from the 4" Smith, which is the largest I've yet seen in my chronoing experiments.

From the Ruger, they averaged 999 fps, and 1203 fps from the Papoose. It's hard to say too much based on a ten-shot string from ammo where the outliers can be so outlying, but in general the longer barrel and lack of a B/C gap again seemed to have a positive influence on consistency.
I am very fond of CCI's rimfire ammo in general and the SGB in particular. The 40gr LFN bullet will whack a critter but good, by all reports, and you rarely hear any complaints about the quality. I was prepared for it to show good, consistent numbers over the chrono, but what I was not prepared for was how consistent those numbers would be.

Even from the 2" snubby, the round averaged 911 fps with a spread of less than 50 fps between the fastest and slowest, and 978 fps with a similar spread from the 4" revolver. From the Ruger pistol, the average was 971 fps, and it was 1190 from the Marlin carbine. In no case was the Standard Deviation for a string over 20 fps, and it was actually 14.86 in the Kit Gun. I'd be nodding my head approvingly if that was centerfire duty ammo from a service pistol; for rimfire loads from a 2" revolver, that's freaky good. Good enough that I want to get some from other lots and see how much of a fluke it was.

I've got a fair amount of 22 match ammo, Wolf and Eley and Gold Medal Match and suchlike, squirreled away, and now I want to sacrifice some of it for science, too.

Anyhow, the takeaway from this, broadly, is you get what you pay for in consistent performance from ammunition. If you're plinking cans and it doesn't matter if the speed of your bullets varies by almost 200 fps from shot-to-shot, it's probably not that big a deal. If you're shooting a bullseye for score or a squirrel for the pot, you want the next bullet to go to the same spot as the one you used to sight in the gun. And that's why some kinds of .22LR cost more than others.

"The signal is coming from inside the house!"

Slowly, in the dark of night, the robot orbits your house. Using entirely passive "x-ray vision", without emitting telltale RF beams of its own, it builds a map of the floorplan, the furniture, and where everybody is.

It doesn't need to use an active emitter for its see-through-walls magic, you see, because it's using yours.

It's still right at the edge of SciFi, but only barely.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #111...

A 1955 Smith & Wesson K-22 Combat Masterpiece and a 1957 Smith & Wesson Model 34 Kit Gun. It was an excellent and relaxing morning at the range, thank you very much.

Weird dreams...

Renting a room in a seaside resort town. Riding my bicycle to a little cafe to do writing. The bike path skirted city parks and wended under the soaring overpasses of a tangle of highway interchange. While the scenery was SoCal, the weather was suspiciously Portland/Seattle. Apparently there are cool, wet deserts in dreamland.

It was raining and there were flash floods. Some of the tire ruts on the bike path were flooded and much deeper than you'd think: Only as wide as a bike tire but filled with water and deep enough to swallow a bicycle wheel to the axle. And ISIS was putting mines in the bottom of some of them. I think this is what comes of dreaming while the news is on.

There was this old Bosniak guy at the cafe every day with one dead eye and his skull obviously deformed from a long-healed injury. The guy behind the counter told me that he'd been hit in the head by a Nazi rifle bullet when he was with the partisans as a kid, and now he was going to head to Syria to fight jihad.

I decided to look for a new apartment closer to the cafe and the seaside, so I didn't have to ride under the interchange. LabRat had a car and offered to drive me around looking for places with good balconies; I wanted something in town, but with an ocean view where I could sit outside and look out over the buildings at the sea and write.

Then I woke up.

I'm doing this for you, internet!

(Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.)

In the interest of chronoing All The Things, I've got other things I'd like to try...

  • .22 Stingers or SGBs or similar loads from my M&P15-22, 4" Ruger 22/45, and 2" revolver. I'm curious to see the difference between latter two, especially; how much velocity is left after the Kit Gun's stubby tube and barrel/cylinder gap have taken their toll?

  • .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, and .32 H&R Magnum out of the same gun. (I've also got .32 S&W Long revolvers with 3" and 4" barrels...)

  • This gun needs to meet the chrono. For science.