Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Seventy years ago today...

...advancing Red Army units liberated Auschwitz, and that's why this is Holocaust Memorial Day.


 Someone had put knitting projects all over the museum.

A pair of Canons.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tuckered out. More later.

Fun and full day out with Roomie. Went downtown, did fun stuff; museum, lunch, grocery shopping*, that sort of thing. More later.

*It's easier to rationalize buying bresaola if you call it "groceries".


Which one to take downtown? Hmmm...

I smell smoke, pass me my fiddle...

The first segment in that '80s midnight movie classic, Heavy Metal, was set in a run-down, crime-infested future version of New York City. Like Escape From New York, this was just simple extrapolation of the arc Gotham had been traveling for the last century, projecting it into the inevitable future. Let's face it: 1970s New York was a dump and only getting dumpier.

The turn-around of the city in the Nineties was nothing short of amazing. I may find the politics and personalities of the last three mayors despicable, but there's no denying that they made the trains run on time. An inevitable side-effect of the city's transformation is a skyrocketing cost of living, and class warfare is always a winning campaign platform in those conditions. The current mayor basically ran a campaign against golden eggs by promising everybody a slice of goose meat.

Certain recent news stories make me wonder if de Blasio will be able to get Manhattan back to status quo ante Dinkins in one term, or if it'll take a second one to finish the job.

Everything old is new again...

via The Online Darkroom.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Your... well, my moment of zen...

Busted caps for the first time this year on Wednesday. I didn't bring a timer or anything, just dragged the table back to somewhere between fifteen and twenty yards and started thumbing rounds into the Ruger's magazines.

Why are those tables all the way up at about seven yards when I get there? I like to think that whoever it was wasn't shooting steel, but that might be giving people too much credit.

I ran through two sets of mags for the 22/45; one hundred and twenty rounds of plated Federal. One failure to fire. Wasn't doing much except playing tunes on the steel... "Ting! Ting! Tang! Ting! Tang! TingTingTing! Tung! Tang!" ...just seeing if I remembered how to work a gun. Yeah, I've been pretty good about dry-firing, but I can lie to myself about my sight alignment when I'm dry-firing; the steel doesn't lie.

Used up the last box of Sumbro in the Glock 19. Fifty rounds with no malfunctions brings the total to 1800 rounds with no malfunctions or cleaning or lubrication since I installed that T&E part. The pistol has lived a life of benign neglect, but it's only 200 rounds from getting a bath now. Ejection has become more erratic in the last three hundred rounds or so.

Hopefully back to the range tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That explains the camera thing, then.

Over on a forum I frequent, a fellow shooter who I believe works as a pilot said about model railroads:
"I'll admit it is my only interest that either is not tied to my livelyhood or doesn't have armies of statists trying to take from me. As such, it brings me a large degree of relaxation."
...and suddenly my enjoyment of this film camera thing made a lot more sense.

Once I actually started getting paychecks for writing, blogging became a lot more of a busman's holiday. The digital SLRs are something I justified as being worth buying for work use; editors like good pictures.

The armies of statists thing? Those two little .25s I purchased at the gun show as collectible historical curiosities are as abhorrent to the Antis as any modern pistol. In my mind, they're hardly even part of the same hobby that includes AR-15s and plastic pistols, and yet I have to expend mental energy and political effort defending their ownership.

But the film cameras? Those are just for fun and nobody's trying to take them away or will look at me askance for owning them. I can parade through Broad Ripple waving around a Leica or Olympus and it's not any kind of political statement. I can tell the waiter at the brewpub that the reason I look happy is because I just got a new camera and not worry about it turning into a philosophical debate.

It's a little refreshing to have a hobby that's just a hobby and that I don't have to defend to anybody.

(Yes, there are some places in rural America that are a lot more gun-friendly than the national average, but outside of some wide spots in the road in Alaska or the intermountain West, if you're the kind of gun nut I am, then you're probably a lot gun nuttier than even the waitstaff at the Stuffed Moose Saloon.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "That's a pretty thing. Oldest commissioned warship still afloat!"

RX: "Are they firing..."

Me: "...a 17-gun salute. Yup."

RX: "But just because it's commissioned, we wouldn't actually use it except as some last resort."

Me: "They take it out every couple years and turn it around I think."

RX: "But they don't engage the enemy."

Me: "They could. They're right there in Boston harbor, after all."

Happy Birthday, John Moses Browning!

Colt Model 1902 Military, an early short-recoil pistol design from JMB.
So, the problem with a self-loading pistol is keeping the action closed until the bullet has left the muzzle and pressure in the chamber has dropped low enough that the brass case will be ejected neatly, as opposed to being transformed into a spray of shrapnel in the shooter's face.

Early autopistols relied on complex mechanical setups, like the well-known Borchardt/Luger mechanism derived from Maxim's toggle joint, to provide mechanical disadvantage against which the recoil had to work.
Beautiful, but complex.
It would not shock me to learn that the two main parts of that toggle required more separate machining steps than an entire modern pistol slide. Further, the entire works were exposed to the great outdoors. Friend Marko once jokingly called it "The perfect handgun for a gunfight in a computer clean room."

So, what are our choices to hold the breech closed for that crucial fraction of a second? Well, there's spring pressure, but you can only add so much of that before the action can't be worked by human hands. You can also add weight to the breechblock.

The three locking lug cutouts on the inside of the slide.
It is John Browning who actually patented the idea of extending the breechblock forward and wrapping the forward end around the barrel; this adds weight without adding a huge bulk at the back of the gun. In other words, JMB patented the one-piece slide and breechblock, which is to modern firearms what the wheel is to modern automobiles.

The barrel in battery. Note how the muzzle protrudes slightly beyond the front of the frame. The little metal key is all that keeps the slide from activating the shooter's dental plan, by the way.
This slide was locked to the barrel at the moment of firing by means of mortises on the underside of the slide into which fit matching lugs on the top of the barrel. The slide and barrel would travel rearward together for a fraction of an inch until a downward camming force, originally applied by a pair of swinging links one at the front and one at the rear, pulled the barrel down and arrested its progress, letting the slide continue rearward, extracting the the spent case from the chamber.

The barrel is now fully to the rear and dropped down.

Modern pistols usually dispense with complexity of separate links and locking mortises in the slide, instead just using a camming lug on the bottom of the barrel and a shoulder on the chamber that locks into the ejection port, but the principle is the same one Browning came up with in the closing days of the 19th Century.


I was going to offer a wager as to whether we'd send somebody bigger than the ambassador, but I see that Biden's already on his way to Saudi Arabia.

In many ways, this really is the most transparent administration ever.

The difference...

A staple of my blog is snapshots of cars, as opposed to photographs of automobiles.

My game has a long way to step up.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wet streets and baked treats.

Downtown Indy on Christmas Eve. This is from the second roll of film I shot through the Leica R4, some past-its-best-by-date Kodak BW400CN [EDIT: Wrong roll. This was Ilford XP2.] Still getting the hang of shifting gears on the camera.

Pastries in Starbucks. After dinner that night, Shootin' Buddy and I walked around downtown a bit, and stopped in the Starbucks there on the circle for some coffee.

Automotif LXIII...

I have no idea how many Teslas I've seen running around the north side of Indianapolis, because up 'til yesterday all the ones I've seen were either white, black, or silver. It could have been dozens, or just the same three over and over. With the sighting of this red 85kw Model S in the Marsh parking lot yesterday, I now know it's at least four.