Sunday, May 24, 2015


L to R: Canon EOS Rebel XTi, Canon EOS 20D, Nikon D1x

SLRs from the big Japanese manufacturers have come in three distinct size/price classes for years and years now.

There are your basic consumer-grade cameras, with polymer bodies and pentamirrors instead of pentaprisms. The next step up are your "prosumer"-grade cameras, which are usually more ruggedly constructed, feature-rich, and offer some other benefits, such as powering up faster. On the downside, they're bigger and heavier, but not terribly much.

Then are the "pro-grade" cameras. These are big, heavy things, packed with batteries and usually with a built-in vertical grip. They've got pretty good sealing against rain and dust, although you wouldn't want to jump in the pool with one, and are built to take a beating.

My first DSLR was a Canon Rebel XTi (400D overseas) and it was your pretty typical consumer DSLR. It takes nice pictures and is actually my newest DSLR, and has the most megapixels and autofocus zones and what-have-you. However, when I was visiting with Marko a couple years ago and got to coonfinger his Canon EOS 10D that was a hand-me-down from Oleg, I got sold on the idea of a prosumer camera and ordered a used 20D from KEH.

Although the 20D is two years older and has a sensor that gives up a couple megapixels to the one in the Rebel XTi, it powers on slightly quicker and has a confidence-inspiring heft in the hands. I know these are just machines, but they're also conduits for inspiration, and so seemingly woo-woo factors like being inspired by the camera can matter. There are cameras I don't mind leaving on a shelf to collect dust, and then there are cameras that I can't keep my hands off of, that I want to pick up and paw and play with, that make me want to get out there and make photos: Which one do you think will give better results?

That brings me to the really honkin' big pro cameras. A kind reader sent me a Nikon F5, gratis. Now, the F5 may be a completely superseded 35mm film camera, but I remember when it was the mack daddy of them all. I am so madly, passionately in love with this thing, so unable to keep my paws off it, that I ordered its digital stepchild, just because, even though it's a totally outclassed camera in this day and age.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that, when I needed to do some macro photography of the Glock the other day, I pulled out the Rebel XTi, because that's where I keep the 60mm macro lens parked these days. After more than a year with the EOS 20D and my recent dabbling with the big Nikons, that Rebel felt so tiny and light! I want to put a little 40mm pancake lens on it and go walkabout in Broad Ripple!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

QotD: Not A Fine Line At All Edition...

From Popehat:
"The line between free speech and X" is often the rhetorical equivalent to "the line between vegetables and rutabagas": the author doesn't have a coherent argument that rutabagas aren't vegetables, but doesn't like rutabagas and thinks you shouldn't either.

Gun Nerds

Somewhere in this house is an old Powerbook, I think a 190, that I used back in '01 or thereabouts to keep a spreadsheet into which I assiduously copied all reported chrono data from gun magazine reviews. I even had a column that would automatically calculate the Taylor Knockout Value. I almost certainly used this data to argue on the internet. It occurs to me that I may have sounded like this guy, and I just want to cry.

If I can find that laptop this weekend, I am going to power it up one last time, just to delete that file.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Speaking of magic bullets...

10mm Auto Glasers: There's so much different hype I'm believing there that it's not even funny. I'm practically crossing the hype streams.
Once upon a time, I used to think Glaser Safety Slugs were the heat. Glasers, for those who don't know, are basically a copper bullet jacket wrapped around, not a solid lead core, but rather a lightly-compressed bunch of small birdshot pellets. The idea being that, on penetrating, the bullet basically comes apart, sending tiny little birdshot pellets into the assailant like a shotgun blast inside them.

The "safety" name comes from the idea that the bullet won't overpenetrate the bad guy. Further, should you miss and hit some solid object, the bullet will just disintegrate, rather than ricocheting or going through the wall and hitting the school bus full of nuns and orphans on the other side.

This all sounds great in theory, but the bullets hardly ever work that way in practice, and there's a reason that no serious users recommend the things. Ever heard the one about how fishing lures are designed to attract fishermen, not fish? Bullets are like that, too. Anyhow, my favorite Glaser Safety Slug story...

It must have been back about '87 or so, and I'd read some folderol about how devastating these Glasers were compared to normal rounds in an issue of Combat Handguns, borrowed from the magazine rack at work.

So we went to the gun store and bought some .25ACP Glaser Safety Slugs, which the writer in the magazine had sworn did more damage to a shoulder of beef than his .44 Magnum. There were even some fuzzy black and white pictures of what purported to be said shoulder of beef, all blowed up. But we were dirt poor and had blown our dough on the Glasers and couldn't afford a shoulder of beef, so we bought a chicken at the grocery store instead because... well, we were, like 19, okay?

That night we drove up to the old quarry on the mountain just outside town, which we frequently used as our informal shooting range (at least until the cops showed up.) We loaded one of the precious Glasers into our only pistol, my FIE Targa .25, and put the chicken on a fence post and drilled it. It was pretty underwhelming. The chicken didn't explode or anything, or even get blown dramatically off the fencepost. It just kinda rolled off and plopped on the ground.

We hopped into my friend's car and drove off, leaving the chicken for the coyotes, poorer and sadder but no wiser...

QotD: New Math Edition

Because it's my blog and I can have two quotes of the day if I want to...

McThag, in a post discussing the New Economics Math (which postulates that $8.50 x 35 is a smaller number than $15 x 0) dropped this verity:
"I keep repeating, jobs are the side effect of a successful business.  If the costs are such that it can't be successful, then there won't be a business and thus there won't be any jobs."

QotD: I Don't Drop My Gun Edition

From a Go RTWT post at Joel's Place:
"Nobody who’s got your best interest at heart would ever demand that you be helpless."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What fresh hell is this?

There are checkered flags hanging all over town at a time of year when local meteorologists include "track temperature" along with humidity and air temp...

...and I'm having to drag long-sleeved shirts back out of the basement where they'd been hung up for the season two weeks ago and am going to have to zip up my jacket to avoid a chill when bicycling to the store today.

Brand Recognition

Hydra-Shok® jacketed hollowpoints enjoy tremendous name recognition and are still steady sellers almost thirty years after their introduction, despite being superseded by newer and better-performing bullet designs from the same manufacturer (to say nothing of offerings from other makers.)

While they did expand often, which was an advance over some previous JHPs, it was often erratic and frequently involved jacket separation when it did happen.

Still, the distinctive post in the middle and the dramatic name ensured the sort of attention that makes for strong brand recognition and strong brand recognition makes for good sales. Good sales make for continuing presence in the catalog, and thus the cycle perpetuates.

Judging by responses, it's one of the favored loadings of the internet and of gun store denizens everywhere, right up there with not-sold-in-two-decades Black Talons*. "What kind of ammo do you carry?" is met with the answer "Hydroshock[sic]!" in the same tone that would be used for "Hammer of Thor!"

Now, mind you, bare ballistic gel is about the most favorable environment for getting catalog model pictures of expanded bullets. It's of a uniform texture and doesn't have any substances in it or on it that could clog the nose cavity or impede uniform expansion; the only thing better for taking runway model bullet pics is shooting straight down into a big tank of water. Given that, it's almost disappointing to see the results turned in by Hydra-Shok® in this day and age of perfect mushrooms.

Where's your Hydroshock god now, internet?
In a pretty typical P9HS1 performance, the cavity is rolled back, barely larger than the shank, and the bullet went about 18" into bare gel, leaving a pretty ho-hum permanent cavity.

Of course, this not being my first day on the internet, I have no idea why I'm bothering to post this. This is where some guy who invested $25 of his ego in a box of bullets and marketing is going to say "Well, let's see you stand there an' let me shootchu with one!" and I throw up my hands in disgust and say "Whatever, Cletus..." and walk off, shaking my head.

*The idea that someone is carrying around 20+ year-old Black Talons, that they lovingly polish like the family silver and can't test-fire, in their carry gun, in the mistaken belief that they are better in any way than current offerings from Winchester, falls somewhere between "ludicrous" and "disturbing".

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dirty Glock

So, back to the Glock that's been woefully neglected since last month...
Two thousand rounds of shooting, two years of neglect. All the ammunition represented by the empty boxes in that photo went through it, pretty much never more than fifty rounds at a lick, over the course of a little over two years. While not as spectacular as going out and dumping two cases of ammo into the berm in two hours while you have people loading mags for you, it's probably a lot closer to the lifestyle of the average pistol. Plus, it's not like someone's sponsoring this and that stuff costs money and time.

There was a weak round of Sumbro that didn't cycle the gun at round #1,392 and a light primer strike on a round of Brown Bear steel-cased garbage at round #1,057 but other than those two instances, the gun did not fail to go through its complete cycle of operation whenever it was asked.

All the ammo was all factory new. Four hundred rounds of steel-cased, a hundred 'n' fifty rounds of aluminum cased CCI Blazer, and the remainder was brass-cased ammo (including a hundred rounds of filthy, erratic Sumbro Macedonian 9mm.)

The muzzle end is pretty crusty-looking, as one might imagine.

 Not a terrible amount of carbon buildup on the bottom of the slide.

The feed ramp and the whole breech end of the barrel has a pretty good amount of carbon caked on it, however.
The RSA is full of cack.

Since it's not a carry gun, I'm not going to go overboard with cleaning it. I'll wipe off the worst of the dirt on the outside and on the internal working parts and give it a few squirts of the Slip 2000 EWL I picked up at last week's EAG carbine class and decide what to do with it from there. I may keep it, on account that everybody should have a G19/17/34 on hand, or I may sell it and use the money for something else to abuse.

Stay tuned...


"Ice Soccer": You heard it here first.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My morning belly laugh...

From the reporting on the raid at Stag Arms, WeaponsMan found the money quote:
"The anti-gun reporters at the Hartford Business Journal breathlessly reported that, “a large cache of gun parts” was found — at the gun factory. Layers and layers of editors!"
Oh, man, that's rich. A cache of gun parts? Oh noes! They must have been up to something! Like maybe they were planning on making guns... AT THE GUN FACTORY, YOU SIMPLEMINDED CRETINS!

What's next? Finding a cache of pepperoni at a pizza parlor?

Telepathy is a curse.

Automotif LXXXVII...

1975-76 Porsche 914
I thought these were so cool when I was little. They had pop-up headlights! How cool is that? Pop-up headlights added 100 cool points to any car in my childhood reasoning.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ah, the Reynolds Wrap Yarmulke crowd...

...they're just the gift that keeps on giving.

Never stop being your kooky selves, kids; you have no idea how much entertainment you provide to those of us who know the real secret behind the chemtrails.

Dimmer Skies Are Safer Skies!

(Seriously, though: If I were deliberately trying to discredit patriotic, liberty-loving Americans, I'd pay people to spout this kind of BS to sucker the gullible and make our side look risible. Alex Jones does more damage to the patriot cause than Mike Bloomberg could buy on his best day.)

Art Fair and Other Stuff

Shootin' Buddy showed up early yesterday morning with his new bicycle in the back of his truck, and we pedaled into Broad Ripple village for breakfast at Public Greens before heading on to the Art Fair.

In a triumph of optimism over thinking things through, I packed both pro-size Nikons in my camera bag. According to what data I can find, that's 2.3 kilos of camera bodies alone, exclusive of batteries, lenses, and whatnot. I like the heft of the big Nikons taken one at a time, but both together are a bit much. It would have been more excruciating without the well-shaped shoulder pad on the new bag.
The weather was threatening, and I wound up not snapping very many pictures at all, and most of what I got wasn't very good. If I hadn't stumbled across that Mustang on the way home, taking the cameras at all would have been a scrub.
In a demonstration of one of the weaknesses of film versus digital, I didn't take any pics with the F5. See, I'd loaded the camera with 100 ISO T-MAX the other day in anticipation of shooting pics of old radio stuff in a sunny outdoors setting. The gloomy overcast at the Art Fair wouldn't have been very conducive to good results with the slow, fine-grained film.

When we left the Art Fair to head to the movie, the sky to the south looked threatening, and that's when I got a chance to deploy the handy, built-in rain fly on my new Lowepro messenger bag for the first time. It worked well once I figured out how to thread the shoulder strap through it. It's also just exactly sized to fit in the basket on the back of my bicycle, which is super convenient and I wish I could say was because of foresight and not happy accident...