Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Range Time Again

Yesterday morning featured a quick range visit at Indy Arms Co with a hundred rounds of Winchester 124gr "NATO" FMJ. The cerakote is unmarred; that's just schmutz oozing out from the frame rails.

I was in a hurry, so this was just stuffing rounds into mags and burning them downrange in mag dumps.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 300 rounds since the weapon was last cleaned or lubed with no malfunctions of any type. 1700 rounds to go.
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Overheard in the Office

As linked by Unc, some dude in England had his undercover gun stash exposed to the po-po when his house caught fire. Seems the firefighters putting it out caught sight of his gats and all those burly hose-draggers no doubt had to retreat to the fainting couch having been exposed to deadly gun radiation.

Bobbi is perusing the photos of the inevitable junk-on-the-bunk display at her desk...

RX: "Nice looking Sten!"

Me: "You know, I'm not sure I've ever heard those words used in that particular sequence before."


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It's pretty obscure; you've probably never heard of it.

Mirrorless Musings...

So, it's been coming up on a decade now since modern, mainstream Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras made their debut. Countless pixels have been slaughtered over when they'll completely replace DSLRs, but I think we're a long way from that day, especially for professional and advanced hobbyist use.

I do think that they will continue to erode the sales of low- and midrange APS-C DSLRs, but a savvy consumer (or at least one well-educated by a good sales clerk) understands that buying that cheap Nikon or Canon DSLR with its janky kit zoom lens gives you a camera body that can use a huge variety of lenses. On the Nikon side, the narstiest plasticky entry-level D3400 can use pretty much any Nikon F-mount lens going back to the late Seventies, or even earlier if the lens has been altered to work with newer cameras.

This means that the DSLR still has the advantages of a vast lens library and if you decide to get more serious and buy a higher end prosumer or pro-grade camera, you don't have to pitch your lenses and start over. (Well, it's a little more complicated than that, but we'll talk about full-frame vs. crop-sensor/FX vs. DX/EF vs. EF-S issues in a later post.)

At least two Mirrorless systems are starting to catch up in terms of lens availability, though. There are a huge number of Micro Four Thirds lenses out there, and Sony's E-mount is to the point where there's a pretty respectable lens variety for both crop-sensor and full-frame offerings.

It's interesting looking at the variety of directions different manufacturers have taken with MILCs. The Micro Four Thirds offerings from Olympus and the mid- and upper-end Sonys are very photography-hobbyist oriented, with a ton of manual control available over the picture-taking process and the buttons and dials to go with it.

These are aimed at the photographer who just doesn't want to carry a big camera around with them, and they further leverage the small sensor size to allow them to use physically smaller lenses. I've got a Panasonic Lumix 40-200 zoom here...that's an 80-400mm in 35mm terms...that's the size of the 24-70mm f/4 on my full-frame A7. Bigger sensors need bigger glass.

Nikon's MILCs are aimed very differently. Obviously worried about pillaging sales of its own low-end DSLRs, the Nikon 1 series it marketed toward people who were looking to step up from a compact camera to something with interchangeable lenses, but didn't want to be bothered with knobs and dials and settings and such. Sales have understandably been tepid, and first gen cameras and lenses are at giveaway prices on the used market.

Canon is...I don't know what Canon is trying to do with the EOS M. Like Nikon, they are obviously loathe to poach sales of their own EOS Rebel entry-level DSLRs, so they initially launched a largely button'n'dial-less offering. However, succeeding models were offered with more controls and bigger numbers on the price tag, essentially becoming slightly smaller Rebels, only more expensive and without as many lenses available. Which may explain why I don't think I've yet seen one in the wild. Maybe they're popular in Japan?

Since it's winter and I have big coat pockets available, I'm happy to toss an Olympus PEN E-P5 in a coat pocket as my walking-around camera. Sure, the Micro Four Thirds sensor is small when compared to an APS-C or Full Frame, but it's positively ginormous when compared to the tiny sensor on my usual Ricoh GXR pocket cam.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Tale of Two Sonys...

Sony Mavica FD-88, a 1999-vintage 1.3 Megapixel camera with a 1/3" CCD sensor (Actual dimensions and explanation here.) Shooting in the highest resolution mode, you got three images like the above on a 3.5" floppy drive, and it takes a couple seconds of gronking and chortling to write to the disc after each shot.

Sony A7, a 2013-vintage 24.1MP full-frame mirrorless camera, with a sensor the same size as a 35mm negative. The A7 had an MSRP of $1699* when it came out, which is considerably more than the $999 the Mavica cost, and the A7's price is just for the camera body, so figure another few hundred for even a basic 50mm prime lens. Then again, the FD-88's price was in great big 1999 dollars and not tiny little 2013 ones...

Of course, the differences amount to a lot more than just the pixel count on the sensor.

*They just released the latest A7R III, which means that new old stock A7's are about the cheapest way into full frame these days...
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Range Trip No.2

So, after the last range trip with the CZ75, vacation intervened and the gun sat unused either locked in the trunk of the Zed Drei or cased up in my room at the cabin until Friday, when I got it to the range along with a hundred rounds of Winchester NATO 124gr FMJ.

Fifty rounds in the 8" circle, not really pushing speed, but fast-ish. Then a magazine of eighteen rounds fired at the 3x5, still at seven yards. Then a mag of fifteen rounds at the three 2" circles, again still at seven yards, shooting right-left-middle DA/SA/SA for five reps. Then I brought it back in to three yards and ran a magazine of seventeen rounds, shooting DA from the press-out at the 2" circle in the top right followed by a single action shot on the 1" square above it, repeated until I was out of BBs.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 200 rounds since the weapon was last cleaned or lubed with no malfunctions of any type. 1800 rounds to go.
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

The dude literally cannot keep his mouth shut.


Not trending on Twitter this morning? Worried people might start thinking you're a little low energy, a little sad?

Hey, I know! Why not try and remind everybody about the awkward allegations of Campaign '16? Can't let Al and Roy grab all the squicky headlines, now.
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Next test is underway...

Coming off the DA/SA HK P30L test, I figured I'd stick with a theme and try the CZ75. My local gun store, Indy Arms Co, had a used CZ75 in the showcase. specifically a CZ 75 B Ω Urban Grey Suppressor-Ready version. Actually, like most "used" guns it was more "pre-owned" than "used". Does anybody actually shoot their pistols? Judging from the almost total lack of wear on the various bearing surfaces, if this thing had more than a couple boxes of ammo through it, I'd be shocked.


On Monday the 6th, I field-stripped the pistol, lubed it to spec with Lucas Oil Extreme Duty Gun Oil, and took it to the range, where I purchased a box of Winchester 124gr "NATO" FMJ and a box of Sellier & Bellot 115gr FMJ.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 100 rounds since the weapon was last cleaned or lubed with no malfunctions of any type. 1900 rounds to go.
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Spelling is tricky...

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

I can't believe I stuck the landing on "Lacedaemonian" on the first try, but flubbed "Amenhotep". Too much Tolkien probably causes me to get my Egyptian and Sindarin confused.
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Today's No Context Required Quote...

"I keep getting the government my next door neighbor deserves." -Me on the Bookface

Double Standards?

What I found interesting was how many of my internet acquaintances... the same ones who lose their minds if a model in an ad has her finger on the trigger or some n00b makes the grievous error of calling a magazine a "clip" in earshot...were absolutely silent when Roy Moore whipped a J-frame out of his pocket, handling it like a can of corn, and then muzzled the entire audience stuffing it back in his trousers.
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Seems legit...

"Dear Costumer..."

I'm surprised they didn't ask me to do the needful and send bobs and vagene while they were at it.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Home Again, Home Again...

A much needed vacation in a cabin in the Smokies with a few friends. I didn't do anything remotely work-like after the first day, either.

Since writing is work now, that meant I kinda neglected the blog, so... sorry-not-sorry?

Also, after four full days of low-level debauchery, half-assing my carb counting, and way overshooting my daily calorie budgets, I only gained six tenths of a pound, and that's not enough to be worrisome. It'll be gone in no time.

Anyway, home and back to the keyboard.
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Other things I did.

I learned how to play two fun new party games yesterday.

First, I was secretly Hitler and managed to get elected Chancellor!

Then I built amazing monsters to destroy armies of babies!
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The only way I could feel like this...

...would be if I stayed up until 4AM sipping bourbon in a hot tub on a balcony in the mountains.
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Still cracks me up...


Thin Yellow Line o' Heroes...

So, first were the "blue line" license plates and bumper stickers sported by the po-po. When I saw red ones, I knew that hose-draggers decided that they wanted a little signifier, too. Then came the green line, for deer cops and tree police.

When I saw the yellow line license plate, I was stumped, until the car it was on turned and I saw that the Crown Vic with the light bar and antenna farm was not, in fact, the IMPD, but rather was operated by a private security company.

So the yellow line represents the thin yellow line of heroes standing between civilization and higher retail prices caused by shoplifting and skateboarding on the sidewalk. We finally have a way to acknowledge the selfless service of the rent-a-cops, the mall ninjas, the brave men and women of loss prevention.

This is getting wack.
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Ugh.

My email inbox is a horror show. There's still stuff in there from the last week or so in New Mexico that I haven't dealt with.

No matter how much I pretend it's not there, it keeps not answering itself.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

A fun project...

Almost all the the photos I posted on this blog from its inception until the middle of 2011 were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 990 that was a hand-me-down from Oleg. He asked, just before SHOT Show this year, if I still had it. When I answered in the affirmative, he asked if I wouldn't mind letting him have it back so that he could see what kind of pictures he could make with it now, versus the ones he took more than fifteen years ago, when it was one of his first forays into digital.

That gave me an idea. The camera I had before Oleg gifted me that Nikon 990 was a Sony Mavica FD-88. I handed it on to Marko, and it's long gone, but it wasn't too hard to track one down...

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

These were taken with the Mavica back in the day...


I wonder what I could do with it now?
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Using vs. Collecting

This post about de-cluttering one's photographic gear resonated, especially since I'm in the process of paring down a couple decades' accumulation of old military rifles for very similar reasons. I don't shoot them and, in fact, I don't really have them stored in the sort of accessible fashion that allows me to really get them out and appreciate them, so I reckon it's time to get them back out into the marketplace and let them find homes where they will be loved appropriately.

In general, however, I don't really have a problem drawing a distinction between "using" guns and "collecting" guns. The former tend to need to justify their keep and I have minimal attachment to them as objects, while the latter don't have to be objectively useful to be appreciated. I give you exhibit A:
They don't even load .32 Rimfire anymore, but that's okay. All this gun needs to do to justify its existence is sit there and look pretty. Further, since it's over a hundred and fifty years old, I reckon it's probably already done plenty of shooting. With a durable artifact like this, I'm just a temporary custodian, holding on to it for the next person.

I still haven't put a roll of film through the IIIb, either, although I fully intend to. I'd like to do at least some shooting with a Barnack Leica, if only to say I have.
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Monday, November 06, 2017

It kinda grew on me...

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

The system uses a sort of "chassis" that has the screen and the controls and the battery/memory card compartment, and then has interchangeable modules that slide in and out. I'd originally had my interest piqued by a piece at Leicaphilia, where it was pointed out that with the module installed that accepts M-mount Leica lenses, this thing was a sort of modern day Minolta/Leica CL.

In the process of trying to track down one of the (now years discontinued) bodies and a Leica-mount sensor module, I wound up with two bodies and not only the M-mount module but one with a small sensor and a superzoom lens that could take over from where my dear departed Nikon P7000 left off.

In the picture are two chassis units and, from left to right, four lens/sensor modules.
  1. A module with an APS-C sensor and a 24-85mm f/3.5-5.5 zoom

  2. The Leica M-mount module, which has a 12MP APS-C sensor and is here wearing a 40mm f/1.4 Voigtlander Nokton

  3. The superzoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 module with a 1/2.3" 10MP CMOS sensor

  4. A 24-72mm f/2.5-4.4 zoom lens on a 1/1.7" 10MP CCD sensor

Heckler & Koch P30L 2000-rd wrapup, part 1...

To wrap up the 2,000-round test with the Heckler & Koch P30L, I dropped in at the local indoor range on Thursday with a fifty-round box of Federal Premium 124gr +P HST, which is my preferred carry load in Federal Ammo, and is pretty much a coin flip with Speer's 124gr +P GDHP in terms of proven effectiveness.

In order to finish out the two thousand round test, I bought three fifty round boxes of 9mm FMJ ammo from the range: One box of Aguila 124gr ball, one of Winchester 124gr "NATO", and one of Armscor 147gr subsonic.

The Aguila ran fine, and I used it to shoot the 1" and 2" targets in the top right corner, first shot double-action from the low ready on the 2" circle and then transition to a single shot on the 1" square. Lather, rinse, repeat 24 more times until the box of ammo is gone...

Next was the Winchester 124gr "NATO" and the Armscor 147gr FMJ shot at the lower 8" circle at about a half-second pace. It was with the Armscor subsonic that some problems cropped up...

Out of the fifty round box, I was greeted by this sight six times, with only the angle of the spent case varying. It didn't matter how firmly I clamped the gun (and as softly as these rounds were recoiling, it wasn't hard to grip hard enough to nearly eliminate muzzle flip.)

Spent Armscor brass litters the tray in lane six, from where it had dribbled out of the ejection port, instead of flying over my right shoulder as is proper for spent brass from this pistol. So, I don't know whether it's just this lot specifically or if all Armscor 147gr is complete weaksauce, but I wouldn't run it in this pistol.

The 1-inch square and 2-inch circle at top right were shot at a leisurely pace from the 3-yard line by presenting from the low ready and firing double-action at the 2" circle and then transitioning to a single-action shot on the 1" square. The upper 3x5 box was the HST at five yards, and the 8" circle is a hundred rounds fired at a .5 or so pace at seven.

The HK P30L has now fired 2000 rounds since it was last cleaned or lubricated with ten failures to eject (#1,568, #1,578, #1,606, #1,750, #1,965, #1,972, #1,980, #1,985, #1,988, #1,998) and one failure to feed (#1,664). This concludes the 2,000 round test. Stay tuned for dirty gun pics and a summary post.
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Saturday, November 04, 2017

Friday, November 03, 2017

Hey, look!

My review of the FN 509 is up at Shooting Illustrated.
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Not A Contradiction...

People have a hard time processing the fact that these two statements are not mutually exclusive:
  1. The average LEO isn't that great of a shooter.

  2. The average LEO is a much better shooter than the average private citizen gun owner.
You and your buddies in your squad waiting for the stage to be reset at a Saturday morning USPSA or IDPA match (or standing around waiting on the safety briefing at a Langdon Tactical or Sentinel Concepts class) are not a representative cross-section of the average private citizen gun owner.

Yes, the one cop on your squad might be catching a ribbing for not doing so good this morning, but drop him into the line at the public indoor range across town and he will be a veritable shooting demigod by comparison.

And those people at the public range represent the...oh, I'd guess ~30% of private citizen gun owners who can even be arsed to get out and shoot their guns more than once per year.

Fortunately, the majority of private citizen defensive gun usages aren't real complicated from a shooting standpoint.
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In the city...

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Three Percent of Full Potato


"I am a member of the three percent of armed Americans who will shoot back at our tyrannical government if they try to take our guns. I support our troops. That I will shoot at because they're jack-booted thugs. That I support. Or something. I'm confused. Here's a Punisher skull."

I'm reminded of this guy...

Not a lot of following things to their logical conclusion going on here.
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Closing in on the finish line...


I didn't do a lot of shooting in October. A couple hundred rounds at Blogorado and 275 rounds at ECQC and yesterday was my first range trip since I got home. The P30L had been languishing in a lockbox locked in the trunk of the Zed Drei, and the only bulk 9mm FMJ I had on hand was that TulAmmo...

I picked up a couple boxes of the range's 9mm ball ammo, which was currently a Remington 115gr load in brown cardboard boxes claiming to be a military/LE practice load.

Like I've come to expect from Remchester, velocity was wildly variable, at least judging by ejection patterns. Some rounds sent spent brass caroming off the lane divider and halfway across the floor, while others barely dribbled out of the ejection port and landed on the tray in front of me.

Round #50 failed to eject in a classic stovepipe.

The HK P30L has now fired 1800 rounds since it was last cleaned or lubricated with four failures to eject (#1,568, #1,578, #1,606, #1,750) and one failure to feed (#1,664). 200 rounds left to go.
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Ow.

Between forgetting to put my sunscreen-enhanced Chapstick on until it was too late at ECQC and the epic windburn I got, my lips are a peeling, bloody mess. Owie.
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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

On that touchscreen keyboard, no less...


"Oh, tell the Lacedaemonians to damn the torpedoes!"

Sony a7 days...

Downside, Upside

Sluggish.

I got to bed about midnight last night and awakened with the alarm clock at 0600...and again at 0615. I stayed awake long enough for an egg and a slice of bacon, but burrowed back under the covers and dozed until 10AM, which apparently my body still thinks is 8AM.

Which means I missed the snow flurries.
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