Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hamming it Up.

Hanging out with Bobbi at a hamfest this morning, going to gawk at tables of stuff that is a total mystery to me.

But you never know what you'll find at these things, because the ham radio nerd circle tends to overlap a lot of other nerd circles I belong to.
.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A big chunk of the problem...

From an away game...

From a FB discussion stemming from some of that goofy overheated "Kill the NRA" rhetoric... Specifically, a person stating someone should shoot "the kids of the NRA", like it was some faceless entity someplace and not an organization composed of other people participating in that very conversation.

I commented:
It's turned into a self-licking lollipop. If you're a J-school grad writing for a major metropolitan or national news outlet, you almost certainly don't know any (non-closeted) NRA members. So the NRA is a faceless bureaucratic lobbying organization.

This allows such nonsensical soundbites as "the American people are growing fed up with the NRA" without even the faintest twinge of awareness that, dude, the NRA is a subset...and not an insubstantial one...of The American People.

I'm sitting here watching Savannah Guthrie run her suck on the TV and I'm thinking "Actually, honey, I'm not at all fed up with myself. Feeling pretty good about me today, actually."
As far as the "kill, kill, kill" rhetoric, primates heterodyne off each other's moods. Anybody who's ever shot fast for practice at the range and noticed other range patrons start speeding up and doing mag dumps has seen this behavior in action.

Right now, everybody's trying to out-emote each other. You want the chimp on either side of you to see you carrying your share of the troop's weight in the throwing-leaves-and-beating-branches display.
.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Granny Guns & Kilts in the Streetz

A gun that allows you to yell down a dark hallway "You'd better leave! I've called the cops and I have a gun!" and not be lying will put you ahead of the game in probably eight out of ten private citizen defensive gun usages. If the gun will make a loud noise, there's a better than even chance it will solve the ninth.

It's only on that unlucky tenth incident that things like capacity, caliber, reliability, bullet selection and other angels we gun nerds like to set to dancing on the heads of pins come into play.

As Claude Werner is fond of pointing out, we do a disservice when we make people think that unless they're rocking a G19 in AIWB kydex and can shoot an Advanced score on the FAST cold and on demand, they might as well not even bother carrying a gun at all. Better the LCP in a pocket now than the Glock someday.

The great objective is that every man (and woman) be armed.
.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Computers, life, and stuff...

So, the big desktop gaming rig had sat lifeless on the corner of my desk for...well, several years now, I'm ashamed to say. The hard drive had shat the bed and I kept meaning to replace it, while using my laptop as a substitute machine.

First it was my cheap 17" HP Pavilion, before going through a couple of more potent, game-capable 15" machines. The irony of the latter is that when doing anything that works the GPU hard, you generally want to keep the lid open for maximum cooling, and so here I'd be, playing games on a 15" screen with a dormant 25" monitor behind it.

I'd been kicking around the idea of a Mac Mini for a while, especially now that I'm using an iPhone and iPad. Being able to get stuff seamlessly back and forth between tablet and phone and working computer would be mighty handy.

I mentioned this in a discussion on Facebook and Marko PM'ed me to say he had a Mini that wasn't being used for anything right now. Further discussion developed that he had a MacBook Air that was also surplus to requirements at the moment. He made me a good price on the pair and so now I'm doing all the stuff involved in setting up a new desktop for work.

Except this one isn't going to have games on it. It's strictly for work stuff during the day. At 6PM I can rack the keyboard and hang up the mouse and lift the lid on the gaming laptop, pull out my Razer Naga, and get my WASD on until bedtime.

The MacBook Air is because, after dragging this six pound beast of a computer and its ginormous power brick around SHOT in my laptop bag, I'll be damned if I'm doing that for NRAAM. Or SHOT next year, for that matter. It doesn't take a lot of machine to do word processing and some simple Lightroom work, or blog updates.

I hadn't used a Mac as my primary machine since...what? OS X Snow Leopard on a G4 eMac? So there's some learning curve going on here as I get back into the groove with the shortcuts and menus and the whole driving on the left side of the road thing.

The Mac Mini desktop had another, unexpected benefit. Moving that huge tower case out and replacing it with the tiny mini-pizza box of the new computer caused me to start excavating the hideous mess on the back of my desk. I'm about halfway to a clean desk and starting to eyeball other notorious clutter areas. If I can quit smoking cold turkey, then turn around and lose some seventy-plus pounds, who knows what other things I can find the willpower to do?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Age related issues...

So the Zed Drei is twenty years old this year. That's the chronological equivalent of a 1966 Jaguar E-type (Or a BMW 1600 coupe) when I was in high school. I've been driving it for seventeen of those twenty years. And age is starting to catch up with it.

There are a host of niggling issues: The car's been needing a new top for years. The HVAC fan only works on the highest of the four settings. The windshield washer packed it in last summer and I haven't gotten around to figuring out why. The power steering pump leaks (a known issue). The headlight covers need replacing or polishing.

Of late, the car's developed a tendency to want to stall when it switches from cold to warm idle, so I guess it's time to take it into the shop to see what's up, and probably get the front brakes done while it's in there.

It's definitely time to decide what I'm going to do about the top; replace it? Or get a transportation pod for foul weather and roadtrips and just have the Zed Drei for top-down days?

Monday, February 19, 2018

I don't think you've thought this through.


As George Washington said when he burst into the Hessian commander's room in Trenton, "Prithee, what now, bytches?"
.

Stew night...


I ran by Fresh Market after lunch today and picked up a few ingredients which Bobbi turned into a fabulous stew for dinner. The turnips are a great lower-carb stand-in for potatoes in this application.

In other news, my weight loss app on my phone says I've lost a hair over twenty pounds since I started using it in September. I'm only three pounds over what I wanted to weigh at SHOT Show time. Onward!
.

Self Betterment

But-heads.

The brown stuff is obviously worse.

Sebastian brings a fantastic analogy for the "assault weapons" debate. You should go read it right now.
.

Remember...

In a world of home CNC machine shops and 3D printing, if you "ban guns" you're only going to keep them out of the hands of the law-abiding.
.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gun Store Find

Even though I used to work there, and even though I'm in there three to five times a week to shoot, I never darken the door of Indy Arms Co. (or any gun store, really) without spending some time scrutinizing the showcases to see what's new.

It paid off last Thursday when I spied with my little eye a Gen2 Glock 19 in pretty decent shape with Meprolight night sights and sporting a price tag of $375. "What's up with this one?" I asked.

"It's old," was the response.

"Well, hey, set it back with my name on it and I'll scare up something to trade in and come back for it tomorrow."

I was back the next morning with a couple gats that were excess to requirements and traded straight across.

The gun ran fine. The above target is a hundred rounds of that Winchester steel-cased stuff at seven yards against the upper A-zone. The lower is fifty rounds from my trusty Gen3 19 former carry gun.

Getting home, I broke out the spares box and set to putting things straight on the new acquisition. It had had a ClipDraw on it at some time in the past and, while the clip itself had been removed, the slide cover plate with the mounting screws was still in place. I swapped it out for one of the spare slide cover plates I had lying around and placed an order for a Striker Control Device from Tau Development Group.

The trigger in the gun is a smooth-faced trigger from a full-size gun. Whichever previous owner did this knows what time it is. I like that, and both my other 19s sport that modification. I might put an SSVi Tyr in this one, and I might leave it like it is.

The gun had a metal aftermarket guide rod and recoil spring assembly in it. I had several Gen3 19 recoil spring assemblies in the parts bin, and tossed one into the gun. Lastly, I ordered a Tango Down Vickers slide release to replace the factory extended unit in the gun. I'll pick up a Vickers mag release at Indy Arms Co. tomorrow and install it.

Of interest in the above photo:
The 2006-vintage Gen3 19 on the left sports the bevel on the leading edge of the chamber hood which is one of the suite of modifications done in response to the NYPD's "Phase 3" malfunction issues, whereas the Gen2 on the right, dating to 1996, doesn't have that.

The Gen3 also has a shinier finish, replacing the dull phosphate of the earlier gun. Glock did that back in 2000ish in response to complaints that the matte phosphate didn't collect fingerprints. Yes, when we were playing defense against the Clinton DOJ, Glock went to a more fingerprint-friendly finish to mollify the antis. I remember all the yelling and hollering and "ZOMG! BOYCOTT ALL THE THINGS!" from the gun boards like it was yesterday.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
.

That's handy...

NCStar, purveyor of airsoft-grade optics and garbage mounts and accessories to the "Just-As-Good-As/Works for me!" crowd, has finally succeeded in making a product that looked intriguing enough to me to shell out some of my own hard-earned dough: The Magpopper.

With my pathetic lack of grip strength, getting Glock magazine floorplates off has always been a challenge. See, the way you're supposed to do it is to take the magazine in one hand and squeeze the sides in hard. Then use your other hand to depress the retaining button in the floorplate with a Glock tool or other similar punch. Then you slide the floorplate off with your third hand.

There are workarounds for us weak folk with only two hands, such as using a c-clamp or the corner of a countertop or desk to aid in squeezing the mag tube. This tool promised to let me do it with only one-third as many hands as before.

And they weren't lying. It works dandily.

The hook folds away and is retained in its stowed position by a little magnet, and the tool also has a bottle opener built in. Recommend.
.

QotD: Culture Wars Edition

McThag's most recent:
"How do I know the gun culture is superior?  I know and am friends with stone killers.  People who've killed in the military and sleep soundly at night; but whom own so many guns you'd need a semi to move them all.  Yet they've never murdered single person once removed from the military and war.

So, let's try something new.  Since guns aren't going away, not even "evil black guns" why don't we inculcate our children into the gun culture and reject the victim culture which has no respect for life or property?
"

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Thursday at the range...

Thursday's range day was just for fun, no work-related stuff at all. I brought the Wilson, because I hadn't fired it for a while and I wanted to check the install on the new light pipe in the front sight. I also brought my former carry gun, the Gen3 Glock 19, which now gets used as a practice substitute to keep the round count down on the Gen4 19 I'm currently carrying.

Generally, if you see a Phlster Flatpack TQ carrier on the range tray, it means there are other customers out on the range. I have trust issues...well, "trust but verify" issues...with the gun-handling skills of John Q. Public. Better safe than sorry.

Both guns ran fine. I was trying to get my Ricky Bobby on with the Glock and let one get away from me, there.

While I was shooting it, I realized that the last time the Wilson was cleaned or lubed, Donald Trump was still the GOP nominee. I hadn't done so because I need to take detailed macros of the filthy interior for a 2k-round wrapup for an online article elsewhere, and I keep not getting around to that.

It doesn't malfunction, despite me never adjusting the spark advance or degaussing the heads or whatever this "periodic maintenance" the internet tells me I'm supposed to be doing to 1911s is...especially snugly-fitted ones like a Wilson.
.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Tab Clearing...

Dirty Laundry



Notice how this lady is holding the mic herself, with no on-the-scene reporter standing next to her? This is a straight up setup. Find a grieving parent, hand her the mic, and stand aside to let 'er rip and edit the raw footage later so it begins and end at the right spots.

This was probably edited with one hand on the console and the other down their trousers, with visions of a News & Documentary Emmy dancing in their head.

And that's the only reference you'll see to this here.
.

Weather or not.

Joel's getting freaky and much-needed rain at his desert hermitage.

Here in Indy we enjoyed a brief intermission from winter yesterday, with temperatures rising into warm (if damp) low sixties.

After my morning errands, I parked over by Sam's Gyros and grabbed lunch, only to discover I'd left my wallet at home. I drove home to get it and decided I might as well grab an umbrella and walk back to settle my bill, since it'd likely be just as quick as driving back and circling the block to park.

Here's a picture of an Audi S7 I drooled on before lunch...

There's a front moving through right now, with the temperature having tumbled twenty degrees in the last few hours. Today'll be in the mid-30s all day and we'll be back to normal winter by nightfall.
.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Not preps.

As an aside, using the word "preps" as a plural noun for freeze-dried food and spam cans of Russian ammo grates on my ears like fingernails on a chalkboard. So, next time we chat face-to-face you now know how to get on my last nerve in a hurry.

Anyway, the thump was just heard on the front porch announcing the latest delivery, of work supplies. I mused aloud to Bobbi "You know, the UPS driver probably thinks we're squirreling this shit away in the basement in case of zombies, when in reality it gets burned up about as fast as it comes in."
.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cue See Part Three

After yesterday's allusions to QC and the link to Og's post on the topic, I thought I'd throw this into the mix: An older article on "The Walmart Effect".

Remington and Winchester arguably both felt negative effects by having to drive costs lower to meet theses sorts of demands.
.

Clarification.

Regarding the P2000SK post yesterday, it wasn't meant to be a solicitation of aid but rather a recounting of events.

The point behind it, which I apparently conveyed poorly, was that when issues crop up with recoil-operated pistols, one of the first things I do is toss a fresh recoil spring in it. This is because it's usually among the cheapest wear parts in the gun, not because it's necessarily the likeliest source of the problem. Eliminating "out-of-spec/worn recoil spring" as the cause of problems is often a sub-$10 part away, and for personal guns I usually have a spare recoil assembly or two on hand.

This is likelier to be an out-of-spec hammer spring or too-tight extractor claw.
.

I can't tell which is funnier...

The hilariously awful "research" upon which this Duke University professor is basing her theory that Libertarians are a pack of autistic meanies, or the predictable reaction to her claim."ARE YOU SAYING MY MANDATORY GOVERNMENT VACCINATIONS CAUSED ME TO BELIEVE TAXATION IS THEFT?"

Dude, the proper reply is to laugh at her and walk away, not to sperg out in response, but the internet's gonna internet.

It's real-life clickbait. She's going around and giving her little talks at Unitarian Universalist churches to audiences of a dozen people, and if it weren't for Reason going full-on lolcow over it, nobody but those couple dozen people would know or care.

nobodycares.jpg

.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Speaking of QC...

...Og has some thoughts.
.

"Remington files bankruptcy, let's blame Trump."

The headlines on Remington's bankruptcy are pretty funny. Not a sparrow can fall from a tree without Cheetoh Jesus catching the blame.

It can't have anything to do with shittastic QC, questionable product decisions, failed gun launches, or massive overleveraging by Cerberus (who is...thank God...losing control of the company.)

I remember being so excited when libertarian darlings of Cerberus first stuck their toe in the gun biz back in the early Aughties. I think Bushhamster was their first acquisition? Anyway, a decade and a half or so later, I have to ask: If a group of wealthy investors decided to try and destroy the domestic firearms industry, how would it have looked any different?
.

The price of snowflaking...

I'll preface this by saying that I bought the P2000SK used, and therefore have no idea what its round count was before I got my hands on it. I consider myself a fair judge of round counts on a pistol, and this one looked lightly used.

At any rate, the first hundred and fifty rounds went off without a hitch, and then came Federal 124gr +P HST. Recoil was snappy, with that distinct feeling of the slide bottoming out the recoil spring, and then stopping a fraction of an inch out of battery.

It did that a total of six times in a box of fifty rounds. I tried standard pressure 124gr HSTs the next day and managed to induce it four times in a box of fifty. It doesn't do it with mild-shooting range ammo.

My first diagnostic here would be to replace the recoil spring assembly, which with a Glock or 1911 or even a Sig or M&P is a twenty- or thirty-buck transaction with Brownells or Lone Wolf or whoever. But the P2000 series is almost stereotypically German in its complicated multi-part, multi-spring recoil reducing guide rod and spring parts package, which is $120-$140 and out of stock almost everywhere.

So the P2000SK test is called off before it really started, while I look into what the factory recommended maintenance interval is on the RSA.
.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Goldilocks...

I have stumbled on a Micro Four Thirds setup that will actually ride in my shirt pocket like a compact camera. The Lumix GF3 body was only $85 at KEH Camera Brokers. I already had the little 12-32mm pancake lens. For once, I'm not mad about a lens being all plastic, because that compact and light lens makes it small enough to go in the document pocket of my gun burka.

The NEX-5T isn't much bigger, and sports an APS-C sensor rather than Micro Four Thirds, but the bigger sensor needs bigger glass, and the smallest zoom lens for the E mount is the 16-50 PZ, and it weighs almost as much by itself as the whole GF3 and lens combo.

The pancake collapsible 12-32mm isn't exactly a superzoom, but it'll snap a picture of a car parked on the other side of the street, which is about all the zoom I usually need.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Automotif CXLIV...

Scion, Toyota's attempt to create a young, hip, sporty division to appeal to Gen X'ers and Millennials who had come to associate Toyota with the bland Camry and its plushbottom cousin, the Avalon, only ever succeeded in producing one model that was young, hip, and sporty. And they needed Subaru's help to do that. Then the division folded.

Sisyphus in the Styling Department

I'd never paid much attention to the '80s-'90s Buick Century. It just wasn't the sort of car someone in their teens or twenties pays a ton of attention to.

Built on GM's A-platform, darling of rental car lots everywhere, it's what happened when you took a Chevy Celebrity and added plush velour and plastic woodgrain. (If you added alloy wheels and fog lamps you got a Pontiac 6000.)

Going to school for automotive design and winding up at Buick in the Reagan/Bush Sr. years must have been like getting picked last at kickball and parked way out in the outfield: A sign that others were less confident in your abilities than you were.

So I'm walking through the parking lot at Meijer's yesterday and really looked at the prow of a late fifth generation Century (I had to look them up on Wikipedia to verify the year) and I felt sorry for the guy in Buick's styling department.

The model received a mid-cycle facelift in '89 and from the leading edge of the hood forward was actually a sharp-looking car.

The thin, dangerous-looking bumper and reverse-sloped front end have a sort of Eighties BMW 635CSi thing going on. The grill has a hint of that throwback Buick waterfall and it's framed by narrow, mean-looking flush glass headlights that flow into wrap-around glass for cornering lamps. The whole thing is obviously supposed to generate a bit of brand identity that marks it as being from the company making the Reatta.

That fascia is actually pretty nice. Some dude worked hard on that. And then it's bolted to one of GM's dullest, most plebeian transportation boxes. Because the rest of the A platform is the Brutalist architecture of automotive styling, carrying forward the torch originally lit by Ford's Granada. "There will be no fun to be had behind the wheel of this car," is emphatically stated by its lines.

Friday, February 09, 2018

And scratch that.

It looks like the indoor range today instead.

Today in the glamorous life of the gunwriter I discover that the manufacturer wants me to ship the test gun back so they can send me a fresh copy. It wouldn't make sense to get the chrono data from this one and then do the accuracy testing and the rest of the writeup on the replacement.

At least I don't have to play in the muddy snow, so...yay?
.

Oh, well...


It looks like this is the best outdoor chronograph weather I'm going to get in the next week or two. So be it.

There'll be snow in the pistol bays. I'm debating whether I should bring the tripod and mount the chrono on that, or just set it on the table like usual.

"Hurr durr a bad day at the range beats a good day at the office!" Yeah, no. I'd rather stay here and write and futz around on Facebook than go out there and get my nose froze off getting chrono data. You can turn anything into work, ask a porn actor.
.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Deadlines...

I seem to be up to my ass in deadlines post-SHOT. On the one hand, it's good to have the work. On the other, staring at the blinking cursor on the blog after sweating out a couple thousand words to make an editor happy is daunting.

My skull is positively devoid of anything to write about. Well, that's not actually true. I have things I want to write about, but I can't put them to text. It's a weird feeling.
.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

New 2k Test Gun...

So, if I switch to AIWB carry of the P30L, as appears to be underway right now, this little fella is a strong contender for a more-concealable backup. It's got the LEM trigger (V1 style). I have a temporary holster solution in the form of a Blade-Tech Klipt with Melody Lauer's little life hack done to it, but I'll be ordering a better one if this turns out to work.

I lubed all the indicated spots with Liberty Gun Lube and ran fifty rounds of Aguila 115gr FMJ through the gun on Monday morning. There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

As you can see, despite the last time I shot an LEM trigger being ToddG's HK45 test gun back in 2010, the gun shot pretty okay for me.

This makes 50 rounds since the firearm was last cleaned or lubricated with no malfunctions. 1,950 rounds to go.
.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Still Standing...

Despite being exposed to the muzzle blast of a thousand rounds of .357SIG generously donated to the cause of science by Lucky Gunner, the Surefire XC1B is still working fine. I'm thinking that whatever durability issues the original XC1 had, they're pretty well worked out in the new version. Plus it's half again as bright.

The Glock 32 is probably due for another cleaning and lubing, and I guess I'll move the light over to my Glock 29 and see if 10mm Auto does anything to it. (And if that doesn't rattle it, I have a 9x25 Dillon G29 barrel and some Double Tap ammo sitting here...)
.

Will you look at that?

I leave the blog alone for a day to catch up on some paying writing and the stock market craps the bed. This would have been prime blogfodder and yet here I am with my word tank on "E".

I need to refill it.
.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Friday, February 02, 2018

Post Title Goes Here

 Thursday's session used up another hundred rounds of .357SIG from Lucky Gunner.

950 rounds in and the Surefire XC1B continues to function just fine, with all switches and levers working correctly and the mounting screw hasn't even loosened.
.

It's not lying...

I have to get chrono data for a magazine test gun. It's not going to happen today, I can tell you that.

The downside is that looking at next week's forecast, there aren't many balmy days in the near future, and we're into the part of the season where anything north of freezing feels pretty doggone balmy. By early February, 35°F and no wind is practically sunbathing weather.

I should have asked for a Labradar for my birthday. Being able to shoot my mandatory 25-yard groups in indoor comfort just down the road at Indy Arms Co has done wonders for foul weather testing, but I don't have an indoor chrono solution yet.
.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Hey, look!

I wrote a thing.
.

Overheard in the Kitchen...

Me: "'♫♪Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah, stronger than the Old Man Joe!♫♪' When I was little, I always wondered who the Old Man Joe was, and why was he noted for being particularly strong?"

RX: "He's the cousin of Round John Virgin. I think one of them was the guy Jimi Hendrix kissed."

BOOM!

In what has been a daily tradition this week, Wednesday morning saw me at the range with another hundred rounds of .357SIG, generously donated to the cause of science by Lucky Gunner (so go buy stuff from them), in an attempt to break the Surefire XC1B.

Also along for the ride was a magazine test gun and some ammo I'd purchased to feed it. While Lucky Gunner occasionally sponsors some ammo, I also buy a ton of it from them. The reason for this is because not only are they good folks with whom I enjoy doing business, but also that when I put my order in before 3PM and select FedEx Ground delivery, the ammo shows up on my front porch the next morning before the range opens. That's handy.

Anyway, the test ammo for the other gun was Speer Lawman 200gr FMJ +P. If I knew this load existed, I'd somehow forgotten about it. If you carry 200gr +P JHPs in a .45, it's definitely handy having an FMJ practice load that's a ballistic twin.

I shot one box of .357SIG in big, lazy mag dumps at the lower A-zone, keeping the light on the whole time. The second box I used up doing Mozambiques, checking the light's function after each one. The light continues to function normally and hasn't loosened on the rail. This makes 850 rounds of full-house .357SIG muzzle blast that have failed to cause issues.
.